Excuse me are you listening? 6-16

Dear Readers,

Since I last wrote we’ve had two more murders. Lansing lost Debra Waidelich and 64-year-old Sandra Eichorn. As of press time a 56-year-old Lansing woman was beaten in her home on Jones Street.

You drink your morning coffee and take a bite of your breakfast sandwich–yes, the breakfast sandwich that you don’t really taste anymore because life has just become a routine. Your taste buds are no longer in love with the slight tastes that separate mundane food from the fabulous. You’ve just settled. I am asking you to put away the box of crackers that you munch on all day and start paying attention.

Hunger makes you uncomfortable. Munching gives you something to do so you don’t have to put all your brain into what you are doing.

Think clearly and eat, because it is a necessity and not leisure.

I ask this of you because I feel as though people are not quite paying attention. Since press time, we have had two more murders. I might add they both are women. I mentioned it in the beginning of the article but felt it necessary to say it again.

Lansing’s Mayor Virg Bernero has a plan that he is trying to push the City Council to pass. One of his ideas for a “safe city” is to have a landlord-licensing program. According to the plan it will crackdown on run-down property. Well, there are some rental properties that are kept up better than owner occupied homes. Also have you seen some of our COMMERCIAL properties? Just look at Saginaw corridor from Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. going east. There are two houses that have been empty forever by El Azteco and Parks Furniture Store that have not been addressed in years. Almost an entire block of blight!!!

Licensing landlords unfairly would add extra expense to a “good landlord”. In my area, there are about 10 houses for sale. We are talking about 4 blocks in the Walnut area. The houses are up for sale due to foreclosure, job displacement, tired landlords, and retirement. The young people coming into this town are in and out for the most part. What about the tenants who are currently renting? An added expense on the landlord will be passed on to the tenant, which will result in higher rents.

Virg is trying to push through his agendas under the six-point plan to fight crime, and I hope that the community doesn’t allow themselves to be hoodwinked and bamboozled.

If landlords are to be licensed, then we need to make sure that all of the big developers who are currently building apartments and also public and senior citizens complexes are licensed too. If residential landlords are licensed, shouldn’t commercial landlords be licensed too?? It seems as though the commercial landlords are getting all of the tax breaks in our town.

Crime occurs in all segments of housing. Hopefully, our City Council will come up with a plan to enforce rundown commercial properties to keep up businesses and find a way to punish bad landlords, instead of unfairly punishing good landlords.

But that is rational thinking, which I believe is sometimes lacking from Virg.

For the naysayers, life is quite simple. Put yourselves in this situation (Remember this is hypothetical):

Your wife is a huge Michigan State University fan. She works at a relatively large company. She just started working at a new company. She has heard about how immature her boss could be but decided that just as long as she did her job and minded her own business nothing would happen to her. Oh, by the way, two days ago she watched as a co-worker was told that he was worthless because a public relations issue wasn’t handled right.

It wasn’t her, so she put it aside. She felt sorry for the guy. He had to go home and deal with his wife who was an at-home mother. He had 8-month-old twins and a daughter from his first marriage. Your wife thought about how happy she was that she did not have a blended family.

Immediately after the brow beating from his boss, the co-worker went outside to smoke a cigarette. She was grateful that she did not smoke.

The pressure was not on her until…. she decided to decorate her cubicle with pictures of you, her loving husband, graduate of the University of Michigan. Of course, she is a fan or Michigan State University, where your daughter would attend in the fall.
In the 5×7 photo, you sported a U of M hat and sweatshirt. She enjoyed the picture for a few days until… her boss saw it.
He stormed into her office and asked her to remove the picture immediately. He said that MSU was a better school than U of M.
She was confused; what did that have to do with her right to have her favorite picture of her husband hanging in her office?
He told your wife that if she did not remove the picture she would suffer great consequences as an employee.
When she went to Human Relations. They told her that he was exercising his right to free speech and that she should be used to him berating people because he does it to others.
Hmm… you are probably wondering how this employee stays at her job. This is a hypothetical situation. It is not real. I just made it up but how many of you would stand for it. It makes the company look bad so why do they continually give excuses?

In the last edition, I wrote about what a scary time it has been for people in the City of Lansing. Well, it seems like it just has become scarier.

Recently two shop owners in Old Town were threatened by Virg because they had a sign in their window of a candidate that our mayor didn’t approve of.

This story is incredible “Melinn: Virg in Old Town china shop” (www.lansingcitypulse.com).

The interesting thing is that given all that Old Town has been through in the last year, no one in their right mind should be threatening anyone’s business.

You would think that there would be rules or laws against this happening.

There needs to be some type of Ethical Rules that should be followed. I wonder if the city of Lansing’s Ethics Board makes decisions on this type of behavior. Or is it just the ethical conduct of any city official other than the mayor that deserves scrutiny?

There should be NO distinction between what and how a leader treats people, nor the core value of who he is as a person.

Virg’s lack of common sense when it comes to respecting other people’s opinion has become a cut and dry issue. It is either my way or the highway. Incredible!!! His primary belief should be that the people in the city are number one. When this period is all done and the dust has cleared, we will realize that his behavior does not match that of a person who should be dedicated to continuous improvement in the city and uplifting its people.

You would think that the City Council would stand up and denounce this behavior. I would like to add that these threats were towards two women business owners.

One business still will not talk about it, which causes me concern. You actually can see fear written across her face. We want to focus on what is great about Old Town. They are currently in the running for a contest that would get them over $50,000 worth of goods.

Why would the mayor take the time to exert energy to bully people into taking a candidate’s sign out of their windows? Virg, there are more important issues.

How can we come together when we have a bully running the city? One who has left so many bridges burning that the forecast is always cloudy with a 90% chance of rain. Unfortunately, the bridges continue to burn and we get a great lightening and thunder show but no rain.

There was a murder/suicide recently. A husband murdered his estranged wife, Debra Waidelich , and then killed himself.

The homicide rate in Lansing is climbing. Violence against women is climbing.

It is time for people to start speaking out. Where are our religious leaders? Where is our Faith Based office on these issues? And for that matter, can someone tell me what the bullet points of success are for the Faith Based office? I would like to know. I will ask and get back with you in the next edition.

We need to stay optimistic. I still love my city. I love it enough to stand up for it. If you don’t agree with my points, that is fine but you must admit there is a problem.

We need to confer with the professionals who inhabit our city. A magic wand is not going to help anyone unless you are living in a fantasyland.


Rina Risper

P.S. I appreciate all the phone calls regarding my overall safety. I’m am not afraid to speak out for what I believe in. There are people who are losing their lives.
People who stick their heads in the ground come up with nothing but dirt in their mouths.