March 24, 2009

In their own words... more from mayoral hopefuls

So much was covered at Racine's mayoral candidate forum Monday night. Here are a few more quotes -- some conflated from more than one answer -- from the ten candidates who attended:

Jaimie Charon: "I am new to politics, but I'm here because I believe it's time for a change. We've seen many of these voices and faces in the past. After two years I'll hold myself accountable. I don't believe this is a city in disrepair. There are a lot of good things going on. My main focus is the economy, I'd like to see more job development. There's a lot of opportunity here; this is a great place to be."

John Dickert: Racine's biggest missed opportunity was "to attack the bleeding out of jobs over the past 20 years, and to deal with it with a band-aid and not major surgery. Kenosha took it on head-on. We have all the components of a great city: lake, parks, etc. We haven't attacked the issue of job-letting... the next mayor needs to do that, be aggressive on housing, jobs and crime."

Raymond Fay: "I live and breathe Racine. I think we have a bright future." Asked whether he supports KRM: "I support it. It gives us the opportunity to travel the entire corridor, Chicago to Milwaukee. And the Regional Transit Authority will give us the opportunity to take the bus system off the property tax."

Jody Harding: The biggest problem facing Racine is "the sense of despair that hangs over our people. Young people don't believe they'll find a job when they graduate. To encourage job-providing businesses to come here, we must provide hope, an atmosphere of opportunity, and not smother them with over regulation. I want to put power in the hands of the community. We've spent far too long having power work its way down. It needs to flow upward. In 10 years I'd like to see the fruits of those endeavors; I would like to see the open smiles of our kids living in a safe and friendly town."

Greg Helding; Asked what would be on his poverty agenda, he said, "In a word, jobs. That would be the agenda and the first action item. I don't want to just do the status quo, where we manage our problems, I want to solve them. Take major steps to eliminate crime and gangs and drugs. We need to make major strides in that, not sending our police in the same untenable situations."

Pete Karas: "I have a strong sense of participatory democracy. I think out of the box. I come up with ideas others haven't thought of. If you want the status quo, don't vote for me." Asked how he defines diversity, he said: "It's coming together and respecting people who are not the same race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation. We can start with the city commissions, boards and committees: right now, you see a lot of white males over 50 and that's unfortunate."

Kim Plache: "I offer strong, pro-active leadership, hitting the ground running with many more years than I look like I have. Our community has not fared as well as community to the south of us in federal and state resources."

QA Shakoor II: "When my relatives visit, they say, 'Man, this place is clean.' Some of us who live here, we don't recognize that fact. This is a clean, safe place. A lot of us don't recognize that, but I can guarantee you with me being mayor we will take care of that. We have a problem with the positive community image. I would schedule meetings with organizations on a regular basis to come up with plans. RCEDC is a good vehicle to use; they're a great resource. Racine is a wonderful place and we will turn it around."

Jim Spangenberg: Asked whether he'd support a "green" building ordinance: "I'd have to see the ordinance. We wouldn't want to limit our development in Racine. More than that, we need education in energy efficiency, in what it can mean to saving and protecting the earth, I'm not real big on putting a lot of ordinances in, unless people have time to adjust to them, and be educated."

Bob Turner: "I served the citizens of Racine over 32 years and only missed two meetings. I'd bring integrity back to the city council. I worked with over 80 alderman, served on every City Council committee. I can put Racine back on track. It's a great city. I would go and visit each business periodically and see what policies they need. I'd make sure Racine is the kind of city people have no problem moving to. Racine doesn't have to reinvent the wheel"


  1. West Side Willy3/24/2009 9:04 PM

    I am just awestruck that these candidates are taking on John Dickerts agenda. What a compliment to Dickert. All these things that they are saying here was already put out by John Dickert as his agenda and his priorities. Must be a good platform if all the others are hanging on it.

  2. West Side - no kidding, this article should have been called "In John Dickerts Words" instead of "In their own words" because they sure look like they stole his thunder. Can't any of them have an original thought?

  3. two posts... within two minutes of eachother... completely agreeing with eachother... hmmmmmm

  4. the Dickert/Becker agenda?!?

  5. These posts by West Side Willy are getting ridiculous. I guess blatant PR and SPIN is what we should expect from the lobbyist in the race.

  6. I do not see or agree that everyone is talking about the same issues, first brought up by Dickert. The quotes all had different elements to them. I think most of them (Spangenberg's could have been better) were a good representation of each candidate. I think bloggers can tell when someone is manipulating the comments.

  7. Anon 10:38 -

    I agree with you. I was at the forum. If you listened, there were plenty of differences to choose from. Karas wants a city-owned power company, Helding wants to get tough on gangs and drugs, Plache will use here experience as a State Rep to bring us $$, Dickert really knows housing issues, and Jody thinks we are all depressed and stressed out.