March 17, 2009

Nine mayoral candidates at Taxpayers' forum

L-R: Dickert, Shakoor, Charon, Plache, Karas,
Spangenberg, Helding, Harding, Fay (click to enlarge)


So many candidates, so little time.

The Racine Taxpayers Association threw a mayoral forum at the YMCA Tuesday, and nine of the eleven candidates showed up -- only six had RSVP'd -- forcing strict time limits on answers to a series of serious questions about the city's future.

Still, by the time the hour and a quarter was over, the 40 or so citizens in the room had a good opportunity to spot some policy differences and perhaps whittle down the field a bit. If my notes are correct, there were nine questions in all, and each candidate got a first crack at -- and a leisurely 90 seconds to answer -- just one. Each then responded in turn, with the first four getting 45 seconds, and the rest only 30. Then on to another question. (In each instance below, I'll start off with the candidate who led off the answering, and then add responses that caught my interest.)

Q: How can we create jobs when a lot of companies are laying off?

John Dickert: "We have to focus on what's out there...green technology jobs. Tap into federal and state funds. Be aggressive. Can't sit back and wait."
Q.A.Shakoor II: "Good police department and public service are the key, along with RCEDC."
Kim Plache: "Work hard to control spending, to attract businesses."
Pete Karas: "Mayor has to be the lead marketer of the city. A public electric utility will give us an advantage over surrounding communities."
Greg Helding: "Focus on quality of life issues."
Jody Harding: "Racine has a very bad reputation (taxes and schools) and not a good workforce (lacking 'soft skills' like coming to work on time)."
Raymond Fay: "Should enforce our 'Racine First' policy."

Q. Do you support having a City Administrator?
Shakoor: "I do support it. The mayor should be working with federal and state, not tied to the day-to-day. Having one would free the mayor up."
Jaimie Charon: "I'm on the fence with it."
Karas opposed it in 2003 and says the position is "unaccountable." He favors a deputy mayor, paid less than the mayor and with a term of office tied to the mayor's.
Jim Spangenberg supports a city administrator, and says Karas' deputy mayor proposal would lead to "cronyism."
Plache, Helding, Fay and Dickert support.
Harding is against: "Mayor should be the city's administrator, not just a figurehead."

Q. Should the city join the countywide dispatch center?
Charon: "Yes, if it improves communication and services."

Plache: "This is one example of ways there can be collaboration."
Helding: "We need to get serious about intergovernmental cooperation. We need to give up ego."
Karas: "I'd (first) like to see a proposal from the county. I'm a little skeptical."
Spangenberg: "We've never gotten a firm proposal."
Harding: "It's a great idea: improves efficiency, reduces cost. No downside."
Fay: "Territorial issues are undone with new technology. Go for it."
Dickert: "Partisan bickering has to be put aside. Put it all on the table."
Shakoor: "I support joint dispatch, but it's got to be done right. Tear down that east/west wall."

Q. What have you done to bring new jobs?
Just about everyone has served on one or another development boards and talked about projects they've worked on: Plache mentioned CATI; Karas the facade grant program and brownfield grants; Spangenberg working with grocers for West Racine.
Shakoor talked about the Walgreens and Sav-a-Lot on State Street, and said they tell kids, "take that crack cocaine and replace it with a calculator."
Harding: "I have a great deal of experience from the business side; they do not need to be over-regulated."
Dickert: "We need to work on infrastructure and a long-term plan for Racine."

Q. The city is $180 million in debt. What will you do to reduce that?
Karas: "Much of that is for health benefits for retirees. Many communities have it. I'd go back to the public electric utility. It would produce $4, $5, $6 million a year; some could go to debt, some to reduce taxes, some to services."
Spangenberg: "It's really $104 million. We retire $X million of that every year, to stay with our A bond rating. We need to be conservative in spending."
Helding agreed with the $104 million figure, pointing out that it is well within the sate guidelines. "We borrow to build streets like the one you all drove on to get here."
Harding: "20% of our tax levy goes to debt service; that's much too much. I drive an old car. The city needs to postpone capital expenditures and bring debt down by half."
Fay: "It's fiscally sound but needs to come down. The key is spending."
Dickert: "The more development and building you do, the lower taxes will be."
Shakoor: "Control spending."
Charon: "There are definitely places we can cut, buy down debt."
Plache: "We need a complete reform of the budget process. Zero-based budgeting like Kenosha."

Q. Drugs, prostitution, gangs: what will you do about them?
Spangenberg: "Education is part of the problem. There are so many with no high school diploma. We need to get these kids trained, with GEDs. The long-range plan is education to get them jobs. Also: enough law enforcement on the streets."
Helding: "Take action to shut down public nuisances. Make it uncomfortable for drug dealers."
Harding: "Police do a good job; need to have the resources."
Fay: "I support the COP program, Neighborhood Watch, the DA's Victim Witness program."
Dickert: "We've been putting band-aids on this; Racine needs major surgery. The three legs: housing, jobs, crime."
Shakoor: "It takes collaboration." He said 40 organizations worked on State Street, "and in less than two years we reduced crime 94%."
Charon: "We need a task force. These folks are smart; we have to be ahead of them."
Plache: "The future is breaking the cycle of poverty."
Karas: "Community policing and engagement. Jacato Drive: nobody every goes there, nobody of authority. As mayor I intend to spend time in those neighborhoods."

Q. What about taxes downtown, fair assessments?
Helding: "We're shifting some of our assessments in the wrong direction." He cited a large brick building housing a bar where the assessment was just $40,000.
Harding: "A lot of assessments are out of whack; too high, or two low. We need to be at fair market value.
Dickert: "People are buying houses at much less than the assessed value. We're going to see lawsuits over assessments."
Everyone supported fair assessments. Karas declared that moving from every year to every-other-year assessments last fall was a mistake; the move was done to reduce expenses in the assessors' office.

Q. Can we get back the stadium tax and use it for KRM?
Harding: "We can't get it back; we'd be stuck with another .5% for KRM. KRM is not a good investment. Metro-rail is not the answer. It will cost a tremendous amount of money, and the number who'd use it is minimal."
Fay: "KRM is important, but we need an elected Regional Transit Authority. Twenty years down the road, KRM is important, as important as the North Shore Line used to be."
Dickert: "We're spending $1 billion to expand I-94. Infrastructure is the key to growth. Take Metra to Chicago: at every stop there are multi-millions in growth."
Shakoor: "Sunset the stadium tax; make it happen. KRM is a good, positive thing."
Charon: "I am not for KRM. There are other alternatives. This is a beast of a rail service and will be a big tax burden."
Plache: "It's 100% unlikely we can get the stadium tax for rail. KRM will connect Racine to the largest economy around us."
Karas: "It's 101% impossible. KRM is important; we have to do it. The sales tax should be on everyone in the county, not just east of the I."
Spangenberg: "We have to look to the future. Getting rail service to the city makes us part of one big region. I'm really for KRM."
Helding: "The Hiawatha is busting at the seams, which shows the demand. A small sales tax is a reasonable funding source."

Q. The final question concerned the "criminalization" of garage sales -- referring to the ordinance passed last July to limit the number of rummage sales a resident may hold each year (four, of three days maximum) and the number of signs that may be put out for each (two).
Fay: "I have no problem with it."
Dickert: "Don't we have bigger fish to fry?"
Shakoor: "I voted against that measure. People intermingle; sales are positive."
Charon: "Let the rummage sales season begin!"
Plache: "When it becomes an off-line business that runs full-time, that's what's being regulated. "
Karas: "It's not that big of a deal, unless you live next door. They should be regulated; they create havoc for neighbors."
Helding: "Sometimes there are small fish that need to be fried. They become problems for neighbors."
Harding: "We already have ordinances against littering, selling from home. We don't need the city telling us we can have three sales, with three signs."

44 comments:

  1. Jody Harding has no clue what she is talking about. Racine is full of dedicated, hard working folks who show up to work on time.

    Hey- maybe if people don't show up to work on time, they lose the right to vote!

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  2. Can anyone that was there, please give us your unbiased opinion of the candidates? Thanks.

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  3. Anon 6:13- I'm not seeing the bias in Pete's reporting of the event... can you tell me where it may be hiding?

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  4. Anon 6:13 - I meant if anyone was at the Taxpayer's forum - what did they think of the candidates. I wasn't referring to Pete's reporting at all. Just wanted to hear from anyone who was there. How did they think the candidates came across, etc.

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  5. Sorry - meant Anon 6:16 PM

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  6. I was there. Everyone did a pretty good job, which is encouraging. Some are a little more polished/practiced than others but most seemed sincere.

    My only lingering concern is that Jody Harding is so negative. The comment about the "soft skills" and showing up late to work was a clunker. She doesn't want the train...not worth the investment. She talks about coming back to town and being appalled. Why does she want to be Mayor? She doesn't seem to like the people, doesn't like the town. She reminded me of Leona Helmsly.

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  7. I was there too and most did a good job with their words. The most relaxed and mayoral looking were Kim Plache and Pete Karas.

    These two came across professional, smart, and their smiles stood out as welcoming.

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  8. concrete katie3/17/2009 11:02 PM

    I was impressed Pete Karas went door to door on Jacato Drive; impressed, too, that Jim Spangenberg is not giving up on a grocery store for West Racine; impressed by QA's obvious pride in West Sixth Street. I agree with anon above - Kim Plache and Pete Karas are low key and mayoral. Racine needs some good candidates and it has them.

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  9. I think there are a bunch of these coming on channel-25. This should be entertaining.

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  10. I don't quite understand what it is the city administrator is supposed to be doing? Hughes did not run the day-to-day operations. The department heads ran their individual departments.

    If we have a department head who is not able to do so, they should be replaced. I wouldn't expect any department head needs their hands held and babysat, if so they shouldn't be working there.

    So what is it exactly the city administrator is supposed to do that would "free" up the mayor's time? And what is it the mayor is supposed to be involved with in the day to day operations that is consuming his time?

    It's been a very vague job description with very vague expectations.

    Do we have a performance report of the last city administrator? Or the one before him?

    Do the aldermen have any clue what Hughes spent the last year doing? If so, I wish they'd share it with the rest of us.

    If the current aldermen running for mayor have not checked into all of this, then a big shame on them for not questioning the replacement of this position.

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  11. dickert looked really nervous.

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  12. anon 8:18 and concrete katie:

    i had the same impression. while the others seemed stiff and nervous, pete and kim seemed at ease and spoke like it was from their hearts.

    i agree about both of their smiles. these are the two candidates that i'd to invite over for dinner and expect to have a nice evening.

    although i'm leaning towards voting for pete because i think he will make some bolder changes, i'd like to see these two in the final election.

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  13. The 4 candidates on the right are taking up half the table and the rest of the candidates on the left are squeezed together like sardines!

    Whether a person appeared nervous or not is not an indicator to me that they would or would not be a good mayor. It's their first forum - I'd expect them all to be a little nervous.

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  14. Per the City Website www.cityofracine.org, here are the responsibilities of the City Administrator:

    The position of City Administrator was created in 2003 in order to: 1) manage the efficiency of employees of the local government, 2) insure that people or departments working on the same affairs would operate harmoniously on these affairs, and 3) maintain a fair, uniform application of policy between all departments within the City of Racine organization.

    He is responsible for coordinating and supervising daily city operations, coordinating and supervising the preparation of the budget, monitoring budget spending, and also reporting any changes in the budget as a whole directly to the Mayor. He also evaluates the efficiency of all city employees and managers and recommends salary adjustments to the mayor, based on their performances.

    The City Administrator is involved in the "visioning process" for the City, which includes:

    Focusing the future vision of the community -- long term horizon
    Translating this vision into specific target issues that need to be addressed during the life cycle
    Recommending policy direction and guidelines for the community
    Policy leaders have the responsibility of sensing community values and obtaining feedback on local government performance. A comparison is made between the desired outcomes and the actions of the local government. The Mayor and Administrator have the responsibility to interpret the directives of the policy leaders and translate them into guidelines for employees.
    The management process focuses on designing mechanisms for translating the vision and target issues into action. The key players are the local manager in conjunction with other managers and supervisors within the government organization. The primary functions of the managers are:

    To develop an organizational philosophy that reflects values and beliefs on how the local government should be managed and operated on a daily basis
    To develop specific programs for achieving consistency between values and actions
    To anticipate issues
    To resolve problems hampering management and service delivery
    To build the capacity of the organization

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  15. We have a city administrator job description - that's great. But now more importantly, does anyone, including the aldermen, know how the city administrator was performing and if he was meeting the expectations of the job description?

    Do the aldermen receive an annual statement of performance or accomplishments of the city administrator?

    Who is monitoring the performance of the city administrator if not the aldermen? Or perhaps the department heads should participate in an annual review of the city administrator's performance. Somebody needs to be doing it!!!!

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  16. I'm going to insert my thoughts to the description of the city administrator in italics.

    1) manage the efficiency of employees of the local governmentthis should be up to the supervisors of each department and those supervisors should report to the mayor and city council, 2) insure that people or departments working on the same affairs would operate harmoniously on these affairsharmoniously? intra-department bickering wouldn't happen if each department head had a very clearly defined task per "affair" and should the occasion of such bickering it should go directly to the mayor, and 3) maintain a fair, uniform application of policy between all departments within the City of Racine organizationthis one should be overseen by city council to ensure there is no favoritism by any mayor .

    He is responsible for coordinating and supervising daily city operations No, no, no. This has to be left up to individual department heads--otherwise what are their duties?, coordinating and supervising the preparation of the budgetWhat? There is no budget committee?, monitoring budget spending, and also reporting any changes in the budget as a whole directly to the Mayor.Again, where is the budget committee? He also evaluates the efficiency of all city employees and managers and recommends salary adjustments to the mayor, based on their performances.And, here is the big hammer Hughes used! This should be left up to the mayor and it should be based on clearly written criteria. This isn't something that would require more than a few days time for evaluating the managers and the managers should be evaluating their department employees

    The City Administrator is involved in the "visioning process" for the City, which includes:

    Focusing the future vision of the community -- long term horizon
    Translating this vision into specific target issues that need to be addressed during the life cycleVision should come from the residents, local community leaders, elected representatives and the mayor.
    Recommending policy direction and guidelines for the community.This should be the mayor
    Policy leaders have the responsibility of sensing community values and obtaining feedback on local government performance. A comparison is made between the desired outcomes and the actions of the local government. What did they do before 2003?The Mayor and Administrator have the responsibility to interpret the directives of the policy leaders and translate them into guidelines for employees.Go back to pre-2003



    Everything below should have already been set in place by now and the city should have a mission or vision statement. Everything else can be taken from existing criteria that has been proven to be successful in other similar cities. Why did Becker want to reinvent the wheel? So he could feed his huge ego. Someone without an ego issue would be smart enough to use what has already been developed and tweak it for Racine at very little cost and effort.

    The management process focuses on designing mechanisms for translating the vision and target issues into action. The key players are the local manager in conjunction with other managers and supervisors within the government organization. The primary functions of the managers are:

    To develop an organizational philosophy that reflects values and beliefs on how the local government should be managed and operated on a daily basis
    To develop specific programs for achieving consistency between values and actions
    To anticipate issues
    To resolve problems hampering management and service delivery
    To build the capacity of the organization

    I hope that Pete, when referring to a Deputy Mayor, meant a mayoral assistant. That seems to be the most efficient way to accomplish all of this with the least amount of cost and without giving someone who has not been elected too much power to wield over others

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  17. I was at the forum at thought a few candidates did well. Greg Helding was ok, seemed informed enough. Plache had rehearsed canned responses taken from other similar questions from past debates, nothing from the heart, nothing that indicates she put thought into the answer. Karas was way too laid back, like he smoked something before he came in, wishy washy on his answers. Harding was so negative and had no intelligence to her answers. QA just kept saying "Get the job done!" Charon has no clue, he needs to drop out of the race. Spangenberg was very uncomfortable and showed he didn't even like his answers, very unsure of himself. Saving Dickert for last because he is the one who impressed the most, bold answers, a sense or urgency, seems to be what we need right now in a mayor.

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  18. re: Sheila's comment

    I see the Dickert PR machine has changed tactics. They are now on page 243 of the handbook.

    At least its entertaining

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  19. Government flunkies talk about "creating jobs" and "economic development" - how much revenue would have been collected from and how many jobs created by the guy who wanted to open the laundromat? Nope, stiff arm the guy with a ridiculous up-front fee.

    Here is a quick economic lesson for all you visionaries: 5% of a lot is more than 100% of nothing!

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  20. Anon 7:19: ("The 4 candidates on the right are taking up half the table and the rest of the candidates on the left are squeezed together like sardines!")

    The table was set for six, and those already there made room for the three who had not RSVP'd: the two on the far left, Dickert and Shakoor, and one at the right, Fay.

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  21. It says a lot that Turner didn't even bother to show up. Probably afraid to have someone ask why he is trying to move from a job that requires him to do actual work to one that would let him rely on a city adminstrater so he could take more personal time.

    It also says a lot that Dickert, Shakoor, and Fay didn't bother with a response to the rsvp. I guess they feel entitled to just show up when they feel like it.

    Plache probably did sort of good because her is so full of herself she doesn't think she can make a mistake. Her first answer seemed like she didn't hear the question.

    Harding is really delusional. like medically delusional and needs some help.

    Helding is way out of his league. Once people figure out he's just bluffing at knowing anything or having any original ideas he's going to be gone.

    Karas is trying to play fair and nice in a very dirty business. He's naive if he thinks people are going to be nice to him if he wins. He's going to be getting attacked by both the democrats and republicans at the same time.

    Charon and Fay are doing this on a whim because they don't have a clue as to what they are going to feel like when they end up with 100 votes between them. I hope they stock up on tissue now.

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  22. Want Pete Karas to be Racine's next mayor? Find out how you can help People for Pete Karas at
    http://tinyurl.com/PeteKaras

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  23. Anon 9:20 I think John gets a lot of positive blogs because he has a lof of people following him because they know him and trust him. He is a great leader, very well presented. There is no PR machine. Supporting someone and have the courage to say it is a positive thing. Don't make it negative. You could better serve your world if you would spend your energy doing something good. Being negative isn't going to fix anything. Join us who support John Dickert if you need help with faith in your future !

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  24. Anon 9:56 -

    Here is a quick lesson for you: 0% of a good development is better than 100% of a crappy one.

    A laundromat on Sixth Street? How many more ways can Racine find to scream "Move here if you are low income!"

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  25. All but Harding are promoting welfare and more social services. Why is everyone else promoting irresponsibility? The work force here sucks. They're unskilled and uneducated. Why is that ok with the rest of the candidates? Why are so many young black men unemployed (not counting drug dealing as an occupation)?

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  26. I attended the Racine Tax Payers forum. I was very impressed. I wish alot more people could have attended. I felt this was a great way to see the candidates for yourself. The audience even had the opportunity to submit the questions.

    I like Pete Karas's public utility. WE energies is a monopoly. Would be great to have a choice. However he really turned me off with his answer to regulating the rummage sales. I wonder what else he will see fit to over regulate, protect us from....

    QA Shakoor impressed me with his logical answers. He was level headed and well thought.

    Jody is rough around the edges, but she I think she has the courage to make the tough decisions and get us in a better position finacially.

    I was not impressed with Kim. I have to disagree with the other posters. She did not look mayoral. She touted her accomplishments with WHEDA, I didn't verify them yet and asserted she was the only one qualified having a track record. I disagree. She too is rough around the edges.

    Turner didn't even show up. What more can I say.

    Dickert had some great answers. I wonder if he will deliver what he is promising?

    That is the short of my take on the forum. I am going to make it to the next one, March 23rd at Gateway. I think this is an important vote for us all.

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  27. Dickert = Poison

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  28. concrete katie3/18/2009 1:50 PM

    I love the picture. It speaks volumes. Look at that body language! One of my favorite moments was when QA tried to prop up his sign which kept falling over and would not fit because of the sardine situation. Reporter Pete once again performed in stellar fashion by reporting what candidates said. Definitely, there is a PR machine. It is so transparent. Voters need to know where candidates stand on the issues. Thank you, Taxpayers Association. Thank you, reporter Pete.

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  29. anon 12:40 - so we should be worried that a laundromat would bring in low income people? You think that Racine needs to worry about (more) low-income people suddenly moving here because someone builds a laundromat? I'm sorry but are you high?

    On a related note, won't the new train allow all those low-income people to take jobs in Illinois, or was it low-income people in Illinois could take jobs here, or was it new businesses would build here, . . .

    There is another old saying about beggars not being choosers. What if the laundromat sold art and had an artist in residence? What if they had condos upstairs only for artists and those artists really really really promised to wash all their clothes there?

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  30. Dickert was a lobbyist. I thought all the Obama people disliked lobbyists?

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  31. Previous 6th Streeter3/18/2009 3:39 PM

    I met John Dickert in the fall of 2002. He was working at the Art Walk on 6th St in downtown Racine. I found it inspiring that we would work so hard to help 6th Street Businesses when he didn't have a business of his own in the downtown. Art Walk is still an annual event downtown thanks to John and people like him.

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  32. The dickert relatives blogging in here are pathetic. I notice Sheila and Sherri always post together in here. You want 4 more years of Gary Becker, then vote Dickert for mayor.

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  33. Unfortunately, poor political/ethical decisions stick with you forever.

    Tip toe, through the tulips......


    Mayor's phone call irks friends of challenger
    By JB
    Thursday, November 1, 2007 2:18 PM CDT


    BY JOE BUTTWEILER

    Journal Times

    RACINE - Supporters of Racine mayoral candidate Mark Eickhorst are crying foul over a supposed attempt by Mayor Jim Smith to oust an Eickhorst campaign worker.

    Smith, however, said his opponent's campaign has blown way out of proportion a call he made late last year to the office of state Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen, R-Waukesha, to find out whether a lobbyist can legally work on a mayoral campaign.

    After a subsequent call by Jensen to the lobbyist's employer, campaign worker John Dickert stepped away from the political race.

    "I think there was a definite attempt to make him leave my campaign, if not lose his job,'' Eickhorst said this week.

    Smith said he had no intention of getting Dickert fired. He said he called Jensen's office to speak with Steve Baas, who is a family friend, to check on the legality and whether it is ethical for a registered state lobbyist to be involved in a local campaign.

    Baas said he told Smith he didn't think there was any problem but would double-check. Baas, who grew up with Smith's sons, said Jensen mentioned Dickert's campaign work in a subsequent conversation with Dickert's boss at the state Credit Union League, Tom Knabel.

    "The extent of it was Tom asking how the credit union's lobbying team was doing,'' Baas said. " The speaker told him it was doing quite well, and that the only thing he had heard that was remotely negative was people wondering why Dickert was involved on Eickhorst's team when Smith had such a broad coalition and was so well supported and Eickhorst didn't seem to have a whole lot of credibility.''

    Asked why he called Jensen's office instead of the state election board, Smith said there was no particular reason.

    He said he regularly calls legislators such as Sen. Kim Plache, D-Racine, and Rep. Robert Turner, D-Racine, often to ask questions. "I guess I wondered what this came under,'' Smith said. "I figure that's the reason legislators are there.''

    Dickert, who has since joined a new lobbying branch of the Foley and Lardner law firm, said he withdrew from Eickhorst's campaign because he didn't want it affecting his clients.

    Alderman Jody Karls, an Eickhorst supporter, called Smith's action a case of "using your political clout to get someone fired just for helping out on someone's campaign.''

    He, Eickhorst and Alderman Gary Becker, another Eickhorst supporter, called the move typical of the Smith campaign.

    Baas characterized the controversy as a "Hail Mary-type attempt by Eickhorst to get some sort of traction on his campaign.''

    "If Scott had it in for John Dickert for being in this race, he (Dickert) would not be in a better position in a law and lobbying firm managed by some of Scott's closest political allies."

    Dickert, who is a former aide to former U.S. Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, was asked if he felt he was influenced away from working for Eickhorst. Dickert said he could not comment.

    He said he was concerned that the work for Eickhorst would affect his clients, so he stepped back.

    "I didn't want my personal life affecting the Credit Union League so I took a step back, and now that I've taken a different job I have stepped out,'' he said.

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  34. I'm slow I guess. So, I will ask straight forward. Does the article posted above mean if you vote for Plache or Turner you will get another Jim Smith who almost gave the city away in debt and in caving to all the union's demands. And, if you vote for Dickert you get another Becker minus the perv part?

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  35. I wish Jim and Joyce Smith would quit writing crap about John Dickert. We get it already - you hate the guy. But give it a rest please. And hey I'm not a relative of Dickert, I just recognize the ugly Smith politics back at work. I thought they were out of the picture.

    Smiths, please go retire and do something positive with your lives.

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  36. How come Jim Spanenberg can put his signs on Spring Street on land that is either owned by the City or Lutheran High School on Spring Street? Hard to tell who's land it is but I thought in either case it was not legal to put candidates signs on city or non-profit school property.

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  37. FYI Jim Smith is working for Turner I understand. Why Pick such a loser Bob?
    Kim P and Mr. D are NOT running for Mayor but IMHO Ryan's seat.
    I have also heard that Mr. D might be gearing up for Turner's job interesting. Love a good civil war in the Democratic Party

    Trying to understand Q.A.'s love of RCEDC and the 0 jobs to Racine BUT the no bid contacts for WEB Pages. Do not forget the great job RCEDC has done with West Racine (The try to build a slum project forced on that part of town)and the Uptown (All the Artiest make driving there a pain)a reporter MIGHT want to ask the 6th St Neighborhood watch group when the last time was they have seen Q.A. because of the above I can no longer support Q.A. for Mayor. Still a good guy but not for Mayor

    Kim P as too lock step with Doyle and the whole pay to play games in Madison. 5 Billion in debit the State is more and more taxes coming and we are not started to see what Obama has for us. No more taxes no more Kim

    Trying to understand the LOVE for KRM and what the plan might be for when no one rides it? And who is going to get up 3 hours early to take it to the non existing jobs?
    How about we put it to a VOTE of the people who would have to pay for it?

    And why have a full time Mayor and a Mini Me?

    And gee are not the last two are issues that the Johnson's been pushing for years. IMHO perhaps J-Wax should buy a third world country and play with that for fun. Racine I feel has suffered too long!

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  38. Speaking of monopolies, it's nice that we have to feed the Time-Warner monster to get to watch things like this.

    I chose to stop feeding the monster, and now I'm cut out of being able to participate in local activities, as mainly it seems that CAR25 is as corrupt as the City Administration that created it, being unable to provide service outside of the Time-Warner monopoly.

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  39. Anon 7:10, why do you say nobody rides the train? I take it often and it's always full. There have been days taking Amtrak from Sturtevant to Chicago there were not two seats together so my spouse and I had to split up. I've seen people have to stand because it was completely full.

    There are many arguments for and against KRM, but please don't throw comments which are totally untrue.

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  40. Oh one more thing, you don't have to get up three hours early to take the train, I have found the train ride to be much faster than driving through traffic, especially during rush hour.

    My suggestion if you want to be vocal either for or against the train, take the time to experience it so you know what you're talking about at least.

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  41. Why is it that the Dickert supporters get so bent out of shape when past incidents are exposed? No one is making this stuff up. To all Dickert supporters, read the blogs, there is mud being slung on ALL candidates in here, not just on Dickert. You all sound like a bunch of arrogant, uppity, cry babies. Get over it. Let the election results speak for themselves.

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  42. I'm not bent out of shape and not even sure I'm a Dickert supporter yet. But, digging up ten year old articles is a Smith tactic. I also don't see that the article is an issue for Dickert at all.

    I hate to see the Smith political machine back in action. Politics had become relatively civil since the end of the Smith era, but now it seems they have resurrected from the dead.

    I hear Jim Smith is using his sign intimidation techniques again too. Sad, very sad.

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  43. If anything that article makes Jim Smith look bad. Calling up the Speaker of the Assembly to get someone fired from their job because they are helping someone in their community? That is the epitome of sleazy ethics.

    If Jim Smith would have done that to me I would have sued his ass so fast he would have had whiplash.

    Maybe we can all go out for an ice cream.

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  44. See the forum for yourself at:
    Racineinsider.blogspot.com

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