February 15, 2009

How Keith Fair played the JT ...

There was a bizarre story in the JT over the weekend in the First District race for City Council. Reporter Pete Wicklund breathlessly reports:
A candidate running in Tuesday’s primary for 1st District alderman is alleging possible electioneering and breaking of federal law on the part of incumbent Alderman Jeff Coe.
Sounds pretty serious ... until you find out the alleged violation is once sentence on a brochure that reads:
“The District is really lucky to have Jeff Coe as their alderman.”
That sentence came from Rachel Westergren, a community builder with Neighborhood Housing Services, a nonprofit engaged in rebuilding and improving houses in the First District. Westergren isn't quoted in the story, nor is anyone else from NHS.

But here's the strange part. Fair throws Westergren and NHS under the bus by alleging they violated federal law endorsing Coe in the First District race, but then suggest it's not NHS's fault because Coe strong-armed them into an endorsement.
Fair accuses Coe, alderman from 2001-2005 and since 2007, of “shaking down the nonprofit group” for an endorsement and said he is concerned what might happen to NHS funding if Coe had not received the endorsement.

“We can not allow the Rod Blagojevich Chicago-style ‘pay-to-play’ politics to creep into Racine,” said Fair, who said he is exploring filing a complaint against Coe.
I guess it's theoretically possible that Coe walked into NHS, demanded Westergren (who isn't the head of the nonprofit) write a sentence for his campaign brochure, and then threatened to pull all of NHS's funding if she didn't comply. But that's supposing Coe has a great deal of control over city funding (he doesn't) and that NHS would fold under small-time political pressure (probably not). It's also completely unsupported, aside from Fair's word. Seriously JT, you let an aldermanic candidate compare his opponent to the impeached governor of Illinois?

More likely is the JT got played. Fair drops off a press release late in the day on Friday, the city desk needs a local news story for Saturday, the reporter dashes off a couple of phone calls and an incompete, highly suspect story ends up in print.

JT, you just can't do this sort of thing. It's lousy journalism, unfair to Coe, irrelevant to issues in the First District and harmful to a nonprofit that's doing important work in some of Racine's most depressed neighborhoods. The editors should not have published this story.


  1. 1) Right on!
    2) The Racine J-T shows why they are losing readership. I do not think the J-T understands that readers want the real news not pap the J-T wants to give them
    3)Fair shows again what a bad chose he would be as councilmen

    I hope those giving Fair help in his campaigning would think again.

  2. It's a campaign ad disguised as journalism. I saw the story, spit coffee through my nose, and almost started a blog about it, then counted to ten, again . . . It's the Journal Times, the toilet (news)paper. It's not even fun to mock them anymore. They are so skewed, so far off base, so far removed from the reality of life in Racine, so disconnected from the damage that they inflict . . .

    I used to be concerned about the possible failure of "Racine's newspaper." No more. It would be much better if they just folded. Perhaps then someone(s) with integrity would take up the gauntlet on a print newspaper in Racine. And if not, then not. No paper is better than daily distortion, lies, misquotes, and terrible English. And, really, that's the part that bothers me the most. I can accept their bias, but where do they find the people who write the stories? Do you really have to fail 7th grade English to get a job there? It's been ha-ha-what-a-joke-the-JT-is for decades now. The people who work there could not write their way out of a wet paper bag. They cannot even properly construct a sentence, let alone report on anything of importance or, God forbid, actually investigate something. Their ONLY tool is language, and they don't know how to use it. What idiocy. What an embarrassment they are to Racine. Please fold, please, please stop shaming us in front of the world.

    As for Fair, he buys votes. Everyone knows that. How could you possibly vote for someone who trucks in and registers homeless people? Instead of being ashamed of that, he went to court and "won" the election. That has nothing to do with representing the people of a district. That has nothing to do with the well-being of a district. That is pure, unadulterated ego. "ME win, no matter what!" Coe cares about the residents of the 1st District; Fair cares about Fair.

  3. Right on ditto. But here is the thing. Fair has NO credibility. None. Fair is a farce and people know it. Phony and he has a hard on for Coe. It's ridiculous. Yes the JT got played but look at some of the stories they print, pathetic.

    Do aldermen get insurance benefits?
    Does the county board get insurance benefits?

  4. Fair might have Joyce Smith's power over the JT. They printed whatever she wanted and she supports Fair.

  5. 10:26 interesting if true perhaps we should boycott Friz Cape's Realty company since Mr Smith works out of there. Fight fire with fire

  6. Keith is a fun guy, and old pal and in many ways can be a fine alderman.
    But he has used questionable tactics...including trying to wield some power with his "former Keno cop" status. He throws his weight around and it's dangerous.This is not smart, Keith.

    Stop playing games and tell us what you will do for the city and our youth, our jobs, our environment.

  7. Oh I ma sorry but Joyce Smith as as much political leverage as Gary Becker right now. If someone prints something of JOyce's it is another picture of the grandkids, etc etc. But political leverage? Nada. They are a joke.

  8. They don't call the "paper" the Urinal Times for nothing. It is true that Fair buys people for votes. He always has. Fair never fought "fair" in his life. He's out for himself in everything he does. Guy can't even hold down a job and stick with it. The Smith's were behind Fair the last time he ran for alderman. They're all a joke. Jeff Coe is the best candidate for alderman of the 1st District of Racine.

  9. He is a racist moron, plain and simple. The RJT is a JOKE

  10. I agree the JT did its usual lousy reporting.

    That said, from reading the JT article, it looks like Coe admits to doctoring a quote. Not a good thing to do on his part....

  11. The Journal Times reporting, in this case, reminds me of what I used to read many years ago by cub reporter Joe Buttswiller... take a non-event and try to make something out if it. Mr. Wicklund can do hetter than that (and has).

  12. StopthemadnessNOW2/15/2009 3:16 PM

    Dustin called this one exactly right. Local political types pull this crap all too often.

    Here's what happens: 1.) A campaign (or a government agency) issues a B.S. press release on a Friday afternoon or on a weekend. 2.) The newspaper's city desk, which has space to fill, hands it off to the nightside reporter. 3.) The reporter unsuccessfully tries to fill in the holes and turns in a lame story. 4.) The story is judged as "news" and appears in the next day's paper.

    Sadly, the J-T is not alone in this practice. You see it in Milwaukee, Chicago and all points in between. It's a combination of laziness and scant resources on the part of the newspapers and sleaziness on the part of politicians and bureaucrats who know they can get away with it.

    Thanks for calling the J-T and the Fair campaign on this, Dustin! We all know, however, that this practice won't stop - ever!!

  13. Dustin,
    I believe you need to get your facts straight. I had nothing to do with throwing NHS under the so called bus, Jeff Coe did and he admited it. You might think that it is an unimportant issue but we will just have to see what the Accountability Board says. If you have a dog in this fight let it be known, because I would love to hear what it is. Jeff Coe admitted to altering the email from Rachel Westergren but that too is an unimportant issue for you also. As far as your opinion as to the unfairness to Jeff Coe, define it.I believe you need to get your fact straight befor you do exactly what you are accusing the J-T of doing. Call me or continue to hide behind the blog.The complaignt will be filed rather you like it or not.

  14. Why would I vote for someone who can't even spell "complaint" correctly? When you fail to be elected, perhaps there is a job waiting for you at RJT.

  15. It seems the author is continuing his diet of sour grapes.

  16. Reporting the facts and not being a tool is sour grapes?
    Keith how did your job at KPD turn out for you

  17. Ketih Fair, you have once again proven just why the voetrs of the 1st disctrict should not elect you. Your blog entry here proves all the other points. Your ignorance shows profoundly. It would benefit you to go back to high school.

  18. Sorry gang, I mistyped a few words above. I am not as uneducated as Mr. Fair, just in a hurry and upset over this.

  19. Keith Fair questioning someone else's logic.

    Dude, get a freaking mirror.

  20. A man who buys votes from homeless people talks about being "fair" in an election?


    What a disgrace this man is to the honest people of our district. He is an insult to decency.

  21. Mr. Fair, please clarify several things for the readers.
    Exactly what facts did Mr. Block get incorrect?
    Please give an example of how Mr. Coe had thrown NHS "under the bus". The phrase means to scapegoat someone or sacrifice them. How did he sacrifice or scapegoat NHS?
    Everyone has a "dog in this fight" because the article is about both clean campaigning and media integrity. If you could look past your own personal self interests you might be able to see that. Unfortunately, you appear to be focused on only yourself.
    Altering an e-mail doesn't mean exchanging a word with one of the same meaning but shorter to fit nor does it mean adding someone's title or affiliation so that they can be recognized. He never presented the quote as if she were speaking on behalf of anyone other than herself.

    I certainly hope you have not approached her in an intimidating manner over this.

    It isn't "hiding behind a blog" when you sign your own name. That statement proves that you are completely ignorant of the basic concepts of logic.
    I'm posting as anonymous, which is hiding behind a blog, because I am afraid of the consequences if you knew who I was.

  22. One thing that Mr. Coe did was change what a staff member had written.

    Secondly he acted unbecoming to being an elected official by jeopardizing NHS status as a 501C3 that receives large funding from the city.

    Would any of you believed that Mr. Coe would do something as underhanded as to actually change something someone had said. As a child my parents taught me that outright lying and miss-using the trust someone has in-trusted upon you is wrong.

    Blind by anger, blogger on the site has given Mr. Coe a past on his behavior in order to give Mr. Fair damnation.

    I hope that the people get it right and realize that Mr. Coe is flawed and is not the best person for the job.

  23. I'd like to know what the current alderman has done for the district to improve it. I choose to stay away if I can avoid going downtown because of the parking meter game. One of the meter maids seems to have it in for me or so it seems. If I were homeless I would still have the right to vote, wouldn't I? Maybe we should set up a tent city in front of city hall like they did in California so everyone can have an address and be close to the polls. I'm not even a democrat but you people are without mercy. Also, I don't see our current alderman walking through the hood talking to potential voters.

  24. A 501c3 cannot lose it's non-profit status because of the outside action of one person. The organization would have to have shown some involvement in the action itself, such as having a meeting where an endorsement was made by the organization as a whole and a strategy was discussed as to how it (the organization) may affect the outcome of an election or assist in a campaign.
    Just thought I would throw that out there so people don't start panicking about NHS being eliminated from the community.
    Meanwhile, I thought that Jeff Coe was rather active in his district and the city in general. Doesn't he volunteer for community service stuff all the time? Like doing neighborhood picnics and something with Walden school and doing stuff for the festivals?

  25. You don't have to worry about NHS losing their funding. Rachel Westergren is dating (and rumor has it they are now engaged) the city administrator, Ben Hughes!! I'm sure he will make sure she keeps her job and NHS keeps getting funded by the city.

  26. IMHO Fair is a coward who I think try to use intimidating tactics on those he sees as weaker then himself. Even send others to do his dirty work for him.
    However the RPD should he do nasty things will not play the lets be scared of Fair game. Oh yes we all want to know what happened with the KPD

  27. 8:20

    See the film delovly

  28. I've seen the film DeLovely - what has that to do with anything? Unless you mean....oh.....ok.....