January 28, 2009

Deja vu all over again: Jim Smith for (interim) mayor?

After days of quiet questioning from various aldermen and city employees, former mayor Jim Smith has made clear his position on another term as Mayor.

Absolutely not.

But in a letter sent tonight to all the aldermen, Smith says he would be willing to serve as Interim Mayor until a new mayor is elected.

Smith writes:
I have been asked by numerous individuals to consider serving as Interim Mayor, and would be willing to serve if asked. I have no interest in running for mayor in the future, and pledge not to do so. But, because of my love for Racine and respect for the institution of the Office of Mayor, City employees and Racine residents, I would agree to be of service until a new mayor is elected by the voters. I would make a full-time commitment to the job of Interim Mayor and take a leave of absence from my current employment as a Realtor with Century 21 Savaglio & Cape.

Being away from the daily business of City Hall since leaving office in 2003, I would come in with a fresh perspective as well as knowledge of previous history. We need to stop the barrage of negative press about problems at City Hall so the city can move forward and restore Racine's reputation. By working together, we can rebuild trust, confidence and transparency to the office.

Many of you know me and have served with me. While at times we may have had differences of opinion, I respect the critical role of the City Council and each and every person who makes the decision to serve as an elected official. I have no political agenda except for what is in the best interest of the city and its residents. i would direct all my energy to work with each of you and believe that together we can restore the people's faith in City Hall.
In the letter, Smith also noted that he had 10 years as an alderman and 8 as mayor, and is "uniquely qualified and would be able to step in immediately and get to work." He listed some of the accomplishments of his administration, including the regional sewer agreement, becoming an All-America City and consecutive National Make-A-Difference-Day awards, accomplished "because of the solid partnerships between aldermen, staff an citizens..."

Choosing Smith would allow the Council to avoid the "King-Maker" effect some members feared if they picked a sitting alderman as interim mayor... one who might then run for the post as the de facto incumbent. It would also avoid the problem any alderman would have relinquishing his or her district seat to take the Mayor's chair for just a few months, thus having to run again for alderman.

Keep in mind the irony if Smith does succeed Becker, even if just as Interim Mayor for a few months. City Hall watchers remember well the incident in 2006 in which Smith's wife, Joyce, called then-Police Chief David Spenner, to say she thought they'd seen Becker driving drunk. The inconclusive handling of that report led shortly to the departure of Spenner.

But whether City Council egos could be subsumed with such a selection is in question, especially as so many have already filed for the election, or are still considering filing. So far, the Council has voted to hold that election on June 2, but it won't be formally set until the Council meets again on Feb. 3. Smith said he had heard from three aldermen suggesting he offer himself up as Interim Mayor. I talked to another tonight -- one who wished to remain anonymous -- who said he thought it was a plausible idea; and this is an alderman who said he had clashed with Smith on many matters when they served together.

The council meets tomorrow at 6 p.m., as a Committee of the Whole, to decide how to move forward.

16 comments:

  1. downtown_racine1/28/2009 6:04 PM

    Hear ! Hear !

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  2. Jim would be a great choice!

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  3. this should be discussed over an ice cream cone....

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  4. ...FOR ME TO POOP ON!

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  5. Isn't it time to move forward and not go back to some old politician that had his own baggage?
    Maybe he won't run for mayor, but he certainly could give a huge edge to whomever he wanted to....we don't need a Blogo situation here, do we?

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  6. Still lmao

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  7. no - No - NO to Jim Smith. Him and his wife have caused enough trouble in Racine. Go back under your rock and stay there. Council Members: Do NOT pick Jim Smith to fill in. For once in your lives, stand up and be leaders. One of the current aldermen need to fill in the job before the election.

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  8. You've got to be kidding.....I know there are alot of dumb asses around these parts but NO.....we must move forward not backwards...please.

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  9. Let Mr.Smith go to Washington, Vegas, Little Rock anywhere but back to City Hall. He hid his past when he initially ran for the office. (Was it a misdemeanor or felony?)He cheapened the role of ex-mayor with the tawdry ice cream cone incident (who would go from one side of town to another and back for an ice cream cone?). Briefly put he is a liar. Who can believe his "promise"?

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  10. Let Mr.Smith go to Washington, Vegas, Little Rock anywhere but back to City Hall. He hid his past when he initially ran for the office. (Was it a misdemeanor or felony?)He cheapened the role of ex-mayor with the tawdry ice cream cone incident (who would go from one side of town to another and back for an ice cream cone?). Briefly put he is a liar. Who can believe his "promise"?

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  11. NO! Absolutely not!

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  12. Only in Racine would an idea like this surface. It would be a hilarious mistake.

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  13. I can't imagine why someone would want to go into a situation where the People Of Racine (your bosses) voted you GONE - overwhelmingly!! Stay retired from city politics...it could only be detrimental for you to come back. We want to go forward and forget the bitter and hurtful past.

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  14. Mighty noble of him to offer to take a leave of abscence from "selling" houses. This would be a nice little money maker for him, seeing how NO ONE is buying houses right now!!! He acts like he would be making some great sacrifice for the good of the city or something. Does he think we are stewpud??? lol.

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  15. Thank God, the Common Council didn't vote for Smith. Goodbye to you and Joyce forever!!! Good luck Tom Friedel as interim Mayor.

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