published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Admiration for a citizen standing up to power
Some of you may be tired of reading News-Sun stories about Gingerlee Mitchelllindo's fight with the city of Sebring. She is trying to save her retention wall.
We, on the other hand, not only think our coverage is warranted, we think the community should be paying attention, even getting involved.
To briefly recap: Mitchelllindo's property, a small single house, is opposite the Sebring Middle School at 503 Center Ave.
In 2009, with the construction of Sebring Parkway Part II, Center Avenue was reconfigured and widened for a safer entrance into the middle school and to feed into the Parkway.
Properties along the affected areas were surveyed.
As a result of the survey, the city judged Mitchelllindo's retaining wall encroached on the city's right-of-way by about a foot. However, when succeeding surveys were done, none of the results were exactly the same.
Mitchelllindo insists when she built the wall in 1996, she stayed within the line set by the surveyor, who happened to be Buddy Whitlock. Whitlock went on to sit on the city council and took part in the controversy. He is on record voting on the issue.
People who have complained about the wall to the News-Sun refer to the wall's appearance, not safety issues.
In 2012 the city won a legal fight to demolish the wall, and Mitchelllindo was denied an injunction against it. Once the last precautionary paperwork to protect the construction company doing the work is completed, Mitchelllindo's wall will come down.
It was supposed to have been torn down during the school's winter break. It is not known at this time when the work is rescheduled.
Our reasons for supporting Mitchelllindo include: 1) questions regarding the surveys; 2) questions regarding the actual motives for removing the wall -- being ugly in some eyes is no reason for government to trespass on a citizen's property, making demands; and 3) removing the retaining wall takes away Mitchelllindo's security.
There are other, more important issues involved. We admire Mitchelllindo's single-handed fight for just process against tremendous odds. It isn't often a citizen stands up to a government. It takes money, persistence, a thick skin, courage and a lot of research to stand up on your own.
Mitchelllindo told the News-Sun she is on her own because local lawyers refused to take on her case. The only lawyers who did express an interest, she said, work out of Miami and are prohibitively expense. Mitchelllindo said the reason she did not get the injunction was because she had made a mistake in the paperwork.
We wonder why the city, in these tough times, continues to spend thousands of dollars in its fixation to tear down a retaining wall. The News-Sun doesn't yet have the latest figures, but by 2011 the city had spent $22,325 in legal fees. What a waste of money. What a waste of Mitchelllindo's time, City Attorney Mike Swain's time, and the city council's time.
Worse, what arrogance of power.
To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, "Sebring, don't tear that wall."
BE THE WALL (by: GINGERLEE DREAD - 1/19/2013)
LETTER TO THE, EDITOR, AND ALL, THANK YOU FOR THIS ARTICLE. I KNOW THIS PUTS A THREAT OF FINANCIAL BURDEN ON YOUR PAPER TO STAND UP TO WHATS RIGHT AND JUST AGAINST OUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN THEIR CONTRACTS OF WORK, AND I THANK YOU.
Tourist attraction (by: yabba dabba - 1/17/2013)
Add this property to the Sebring CrA and make it a tourist destination point... "The Little Wall That Could".
Bad Karma (by: Blindman - 1/16/2013)
All involved in pushing against this wall should be ashamed. The city council, engineers, and even the contractor if he goes through with the job. Maybe even the judge should reflect on how he ruled. Laws are laws but couldn't a little descretion and common since be used here? Ms. Mitchelllindo's wall should be left right where it is, If you tear it down your going to be wasting tax payer money for nothing and anger others as well. You should all remember, what goes around comes around, so just lit it be!
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