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Editor’s note: This letter to the editor reflects the opinion of Caledonia resident and Racine business owner Mark Balwinski.

Dear Racine Residents:

Just a reminder that Tuesday, February 17th is Primary Election Day in the City of Racine.

It’s time to once again make a choice for who will be the candidates to represent the city residents in the general election to be held this upcoming April.

The race Tuesday is nevertheless important, for determining which of the qualified candidates will be selected to compete in the race for who will lead the city over the next four years.

The choice this election amounts to casting a vote for one of three hopeful challengers or for the incumbent of the current woeful status quo.

As reported in our daily paper earlier this year, the city administrator admitted that over the past year and as you may have noticed with last month’s tax bill, your property taxes have risen, however the true increase was hidden as your assessment has been reduced. This amounts to the City administration has been stealing the equity in your home.

Now at a time when taxpayers are already stretched, many in our community are struggling just to live from hand-to-mouth and at a time when the city consistently leads the state in unemployment it’s time we do something about the state of the current status quo.

Recently, a study released by the University of Vermont ranks Racine, WI., as the least happy place in the United States.

Think about that for a second. Think about your happiness. Ask yourself are you ready to be the change and get up and vote to make a difference?

This election set for a dreary Tuesday in February is just the chance we need to begin to change direction for the City of Racine and the surrounding community.

I am writing to you today, as a fellow Racine-area resident imploring you to come out and vote this Tuesday to stand against the business as usual pay-to-play politics, back room insider dealings and the subsequent fiscal mismanagement that sees the city of Racine turn off and remove streetlights, while reducing staffing levels for police and fire positions at a time we read about increased acts of crime robberies committed near daily on the streets and longer response times to fire and rescue emergencies.

Then remember the city hasn’t even been paying it’s budgeted obligations for the shared dispatch services with the neighboring communities.

Just peruse the pages of the Racine County Eye or the other local media outlets, from the daily paper to the village idiot bloggers.

From current lawsuits facing the city administration, to the risky redevelopment deals that sees the city engaging once again engaging in real estate speculation the current administration carries on with reckless abandon and operates as if the community has unlimited revenues to support the whims of their family and friends.

Something is seriously wrong people and we have to do something to better the opportunity for all who call Racine their home.

This Tuesday, let us take the first positive steps towards that progress and move away from the business as usual of the current administration and help elect a candidate who will do everything he possibly can to help those who need it.

That candidate is Eddie Diehl.

I encourage you to learn more about Eddie and his visions for the city by visiting his website www.diehlformayor.org

Vote, February 17th for a better deal.

Thank you.

Mark Balwinski

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.