'Honest, Open, Transparent:' New Racine street mural proposal met with roadblock

On the heels of its first street mural, a group has proposed another one in the City of Racine. One that would call for government transparency. But approval appears a bit more complicated this time. 

Take a drive toward downtown Racine and there's a good chance you'll pass through this roundabout.

That's why Alderman Henry Perez says it's the perfect spot for Racine's next street mural.

It would say "Honest, Open, Transparent" right in the shadow of city hall.

"Since this is a major road, the community will look at it and go 'Huh, I wonder what that's about' and inquire as to why even it's being put on there," Perez said.

Inspired by the "Black Humanity Now" mural outside the courthouse, Perez says this would be a not-so-subtle reminder to Mayor Cory Mason and others about the need for open government.

He's a member of the Racine-based Honest, Open, Transparent — or HOT — government group that says there's room for improvement here.

"You wouldn't buy a house without all the details, and that's what they're asking us to do many times. We don't have enough time to vet some of the stuff," Perez said.

But this time — there's a hold-up.

Because the roundabout is actually the merging of state highways 20 and 32, prompting questions about jurisdiction.

"I'm trying to get an answer from the state would ever allow something to be painted on a state highway," said Scott Letteney, a City of Racine attorney.

And since the mural would essentially don the "HOT government" name...

"It could be inferred that the city is endorsing or is otherwise behind the views of that organization, and that could open us up to some type of legal implications," said Edwin Santiago, Jr., Racine 4th district alderman.

It may have to change before given approval.

This week, the city's public works committee deferred the proposal.

It's asking HOT government to come back with a full plan, which may include a different location, depending on the state.