April 8, 2009

Plache will serve on the Racine Unified School Board

Update: Fourth-place-finisher Stella Young tells the Insider News she wants the School Board seat.

Original: Kim Plache lost the election she was trying to win and won the election she wasn't trying in at all.

The former state senator finished third in the Racine mayoral race behind John Dickert and Bob Turner, leaving her out of the May 5 special election to elect the city's new mayor.

But Plache also finished third Tuesday in the race for Racine Unified School Board. That was good enough to earn her a three-year term on the board along with incumbents Don Nielsen and Gretchen Warner.

Plache said Tuesday she'd accept the School Board seat.

"I'm honored to have been chosen and I will serve," she said.

It's something of a change of heart for Plache, who had declared her candidacy for School Board in January only to switch her focus in February to the mayor's race after Gary Becker was arrested and resigned.

Plache said when she launched her mayoral campaign that she tried to take her name off the School Board ballot, but couldn't.

"If I didn't have to die to get my name off the ballot, I'd take it off," Plache said on Feb. 18. "I'm completely focused on running for mayor."

But now that the votes have shaken out, Plache said she would accept her elected seat on the School Board. She replaces former School Board President Tony Baumgardt, who did not run for re-election.

Stephanie Hayden, director of communications for Unified, said Plache is entitled to the seat. Once she put her name on the ballot, Hayden said, it became the voters' choice.

"If she wants the seat, it's hers," Hayden said.

Plache received 7,747 votes for School Board and outpaced fourth-place finisher Stella Young by about 700 votes.

Plache said Wednesday she's always been committed to public service and supporting public education. Her daughter is a sixth-grader in Racine Unified, which Plache said gives her extra motivation to join the board.

She described the support she received for School Board as "heart warming," if unexpected.

Plache did not campaign for the School Board and publicly declared she was only running for mayor. But Unified voters jumped at her name recognition and experience as a state senator and representative and elected her anyway.


  1. Come on, guys!

    This morning you posted
    “She did not campaign for the school board seat and said she would resign if she finished in the top three. So, taking her at her word...”

    This afternoon you post and totally play down the fact that you can’t take her at her word.

    I’m not saying that Plache doesn’t deserve the slot, but are we just going to let her off the hook. Clearly, you’re not even thinking about Ms. Young who this morning was probably taking her former state senator at her word and was pretty happy.

    Let’s be fair. You don’t let Paul Ryan get away with anything—and you shouldn’t. Why should you be so gracious to Ms. Plache?

  2. Eric,
    Kim has listened to the voters and decided not to disappoint them by turning down this gift she has been given. Plus she is human and allowed to change her mind. She will not be mayor, but Racine still wants her to be a part of decisions made.

  3. She absolutely should not serve, did not run for the board, and it's wrong for her to "take the seat."


    Anyone who knew anything, knew she was running for mayor. Not RUSD. She wanted OFF the ballot. She played the game, lost, now wants her marbles anyway.

    Her child goes to Montessori; she should NOT be on the RUSD board.

    Wake up, voters!

  4. f I didn't have to die to get my name off the ballot, I'd take it off," Plache said on Feb. 18. "I'm completely focused on running for mayor."

    How can she think to serve? That's right she is a Democrat they can lie and we have to put up with it.
    IMHO if a member of the GOP did this The Post would be first in line to lynch them!
    What's going on here?

  5. I am pretty sure her daughter goes to Jefferson Lighthouse. I think I heard her say that. It is what it is, the voters voted her in and well.....Blame the silly ones who don't pay attention and voted for her, or should we blame the others who didn't even come out to vote?

  6. Hey Colt -
    What's your problem with someone changing their mind? Apparently YOU have. Here's one of your comments posted mid-Feb. when Plache announced she was running for mayor:
    "Colt just loves Kim!! Very yes! She rocks call it Spring! Call it what you will but Colt just loves Kim! More Dancing!"
    Now you're trashing her .... hmmm

  7. I totally agree. People should be allowed to change their minds.

    That said, I think it is irresponsible of the media to ignore it when a public official does change their mind.

    People can use the noble "change their mind" as an excuse to explain away everything from pandering to being self-serving.

    How are we ever to know if Kim Plache is being self-serving or had an honest to goodness mind change if no one asks her about it? Should I trust her?

    I just spent years being told by gov't officials on a national level to "trust me;" sorry if I want my local officials to have to explain themselves.

    The Post has a responsibility to ask the question...and they didn't. Shame on them!

  8. Plache is obviously not committed to doing the job as a school board member. A person can't flip flop around like that and still expect people to take her seriously.

    It's wrong for her to take it now - she should take a step back and honor her word.

  9. Dustin and Pete are losing credibility with this site by the second. First, a tasteless Becker April fools joke, deleting negative comments about Little Johnny Dickert, and now this. I am disappointed fellas.

  10. Anon 7:13: Be as disappointed as you like. Frankly, m'dear...

    Yes, I deleted one tasteless comment. Shoulda deleted more of them -- regardless which candidate they're aimed at. The tenor of comments on our site make me think once again of shutting them off entirely if civility can't be restored.

    "And now this." This what? We reported Plache's vote total; we reported her wish that she could have removed her name from the RUSD ballot, and her promise to resign if elected. Actually, we reported it three times: when she made it in February, on election night and today; we even wrote a haiku about it. What more should we do -- tar and feather her? Is that really the role you want for us? Well, it's not one we want to assume.

    We checked with the School Board; the option is purely up to her as the elected school board member, since her name was legally on the ballot. What you might want her to do has nothing to do with anything; the voters have spoken. Get over it. And stop trying to make us your scapegoat.

  11. "Colt just loves Kim!! Very yes! She rocks call it Spring! Call it what you will but Colt just loves Kim! More Dancing!"
    Now you're trashing her .... hmmm

    Colt still loves KIm as in Big Love

  12. Pete

    Again if a member of the GOP did something like this you would lead the mob

  13. "A person can't flip flop around like that and still expect people to take her seriously."

    Tell that to the voters who elected her despite the fact that she didn't even campaign!

    "Colt still loves KIm as in Big Love"

    house on the hill big love?

  14. I voted for Kim Plache for school board even though she wasn't campaigning for it. I had a feeling that she wouldn't win the mayor's spot. I do think that she will be good for Racine Unified with her experience at the State level. I think it would be more of a disservice to the voters if she didn't take the seat since so many people voted for her. I am sorry that a few people are upset that she is going to keep her spot. Just get over it. Grow up. I so tired of all of this if the GOP did this or the dems are this. We are all in this together. The voters spoke yesterday and said that they want Kim on the School board. Leave it at that.

  15. Plache shouldn't have said she would not take the school board seat.

    I suppose if she had worded it, "If I lose in the mayoral primary THEN I'll accept the seat" it would have sounded very self serving. Oh wait...

  16. C'mon people - how many people do you know go in to vote for one particular candidate, and then are surprised at all the other choices on the ballot?

    I went to vote for mayor and was taken aback by some of the other positions I needed to vote for. I hadn't even given the school board any thought, so I chose a couple people at random that I knew something about.

    How many other people do this same thing? I wouldn't necessarily say that all of Plache's votes were because people thought she'd be great on school board. I think the woman just got lucky, honestly.

  17. If she really was interested is serving on the RUSD BOE she would have continued to attend BOE meetings as did the other candidates.

    Yes, a person can change their mind -- we all do. But to so publicly state that she was no longer running for a school board spot and would not take the spot if elected -- seems she should stick to her word.

    It makes sense that people might have picked her name at random -- not knowing she had no stopped running for the school board. But I would hardly call that the will of the people.

    Will see how this all plays out. Hope that she will take her job seriously and not decide to run for mayor as a write in candidate.

  18. I heard various people say that they wanted Kim on the school board, Turner as a Rep and Dickert as Mayor to wrap up as many seats as possible with Democrats. I think that is a valid strategy. It is politics, after all and there are strategies involved no matter how some may deny it.

    This is democracy in action and we should all be celebrating the voters making a choice even after Kim said she wanted out. It's like being drafted, she should be very complimented. I think she is and will do an excellent job knowing how much support she has.

  19. Stella Young in a video says Plache highjacked the seat.


  20. Okay Stella, You needed to get out and campaign a bit more, as a matter of fact, alot more.

    Many people voted for Kim who had that feeling she wouldn't make it through the Mayoral primary. Get over it. She got the votes, she reconsidered and so what. She shouldn't give that seat up.

    So go yell at the people who didn't go out and vote. She's in, she will do a good job.

    Stella, stop whining. People can change their minds, it happens. Done.

  21. Pete,

    You're right. You did report it three times. I thank you for that. Had you not noted it the first two times, I wouldn't even have known there was an issue. Thank you.

    But, Pete, you don't seem to get it. If a reader had just read this post as it was originally posted (with the Stella Young link on top), they would never had known that Stella had good reason to wake up Wednesday morning thinking she earned a seat.

    I'm not saying you should have slammed Plache. I'm not even saying that the article should have been written radically differently than it was. I do think, however, at the very least you needed one line that said something like, "Plache's decision to accept the seat may prove interesting since until now Stella Young had good reason to assume that she was going to get it." Something like that which at least acknowledges that this change of heart matters and has real consequences--because anything that has consequences should be looked at closely...especially when it involves a politician "changing their mind."

    Because of the environment you create, Plache doesn't even feel the need to apologize to Young.

  22. Sorry, Stella had no reason to wake up assuming she "won" the seat. She came in fourth. Plache has a right to change her mind. Stella, Obama changed his mind from taking public campaign financing. Best switch decision one could make, he ended up with plenty of money to run a sensational campaign. People have a right to change their minds. It's done, you didn't have enough votes.

  23. Eric,
    I really don't think Plache owes Stella any kind of apology. Stella needs to toughen up in the political world. She got the votes. She deserves the seat. Had Stella campaigned a bit, she would have perhaps gotten a few more votes. You want the Post to pound on Plache, sorry, these guys are doing a great job with the Post and I don't see them making a big whoopee over a non-story.

  24. Plache should not have said she wouldn't take the seat on school board, plain and simple.

    I don't care that she came in third - she was still obligated to keep her word. That's what this is all about - keeping her word. Basically she lied to the people.

    When Plache had the mayoral seat in her sights, the school board was no longer good enough. Now that she failed in the mayoral, the school board looks more appealing again. Doesn't sound like someone very committed to the job. Sorry but I've lost a ton of respect for the woman.

  25. A lot more people will respect her for exercising her right to change her mind and serve on the board. She got the votes. Done.

  26. What we are forgetting here is that Stella Young would not automatically get the school board seat.

    If Plache were to resign (and as a political opportunist, I think she should) then it is up to the school board to appoint someone to fill out the remainder of Tony Baumgardt's term.

    Stella Young could apply, along with other interested individuals, but it would be up to the current board to appoint someone to the seat.

  27. Do you really think that most of the people who voted for Plache for school board did it accidentally? It strikes me that many of them were hoping for this very result. Also, are we sure that the fourth place person automatically steps up if an elected member resigns after being elected? I'm asking this question, not knowing the correct answer and would like an expert opinion.

  28. You know it is pathetic that Stella thinks she won. You only win if your in the top three. She wasn't. I am very disappointed that we are stuck with the incumbents and now Plache. I would have loved Stella or Leiber to get on the board. It is a huge hurdle to unseat the incumbents on this board. I hope we do it. Lets not underestimate the massive post cards that get sent out and mysterious financial contributions.

    You know another post talking about Turner blames the "black" vote for winning it for him. If that is the case then why didn't Stella easily win?

  29. Plache had to state she wasn't campaigning for School Board if she wanted a real shot as Mayor. The public would never have tolerated her campaigning for two jobs.

    It is a legitimate strategy to say if she won the Mayor's Primary and the School Board, they can appoint their own member when she resigned.

    Stella and John had to know this was a possibility all along. They had to come in third. Even if Kim resigned the position, it doesn't go to the next person.

    Politics is tough and sometimes dirty, but always fascinating.

  30. Colt here As for Kim 1) Big Love as the HBO show!
    2) Got to love how the Democratic part shows itself and they Key need new med if for a minuet she thinks its ok.
    Then too I guess when Obama ends free speech and forces our youth in to his reeducation camps Kay will back that too.

  31. Cake to have, cake to eat4/09/2009 10:35 AM

    Remind me again how Bob Turner navigated through all of this....

  32. OMG, I cannot believe someof these comments. Face it folks, the election is over. Ballots were cast, winners won, losers lost and there is no way everyone is going to be pleased with the results. But puleeze can people (in this case Colt specifically) stop saying that Obama is going to end free speech and place our youth in reeducation camps. That is positively ludicrous - Michelle Bachman/Jody Harding ludicrous. And oh so very unamerican.

  33. I agree with anon 12:00PM’s comment that this conversation has degenerated and become inflammatory at times (unfortunately, anon 12:00 ends the post with an unhelpful incendiary comment. Come on!)

    Dustin & Pete:

    Please note this long thread. The very fact that this posting has generated as many comments as it has proves my initial point: there was news here and, unfortunately, you guys buried the lead.

    I like the reporting on the Racine Post. You do great work. I definitely don’t think you should change the tone of you articles. I don’t want ideologues bashing anyone. I just think we’d be well-served by journalists who use their keen insight to report the news and not spin it in a politically friendly way.

    Plache’s change of mind is news. If it wasn’t, no one would have posted any comments on this thread. Some of us think it’s bigger news than others. (Honestly, I don’t think it deserves much attention within the initial article.)

    Hope you see lessons learned from this and it informs your future writing.

    Thanks guys.

    And thanks to all of you who care enough about this issue to respond. Whether we agree or not, I appreciate that there are so many fellow Racine citizens who notice and care.

  34. Anon 9:34 asks: "Are we sure that the fourth place person automatically steps up if an elected member resigns after being elected? I'm asking this question, not knowing the correct answer and would like an expert opinion."

    We asked and got an answer from Gib Berthelsen, the board's attorney: The fourth place person DOES NOT step up. In case of any resignation or vacancy, the board gets to choose whoever it wants to fill the seat -- from previous candidates or not, as it chooses.

  35. Are you people reading the article? Because it says she changed her mind!

    Why are you criticizing? The Post has reported the story as it is. Move on or get your own blog!

  36. Why not just ask Racinians for Academic Progress who they want?

  37. (in this case Colt specifically) stop saying that Obama is going to end free speech and place our youth in reeducation camps

    And the day will come mark my words when Obama will end free speech and place our youth in camps.

    All ready their are calls for the fairness doctrine to be brought back. Steps being taken to allow the Government to cut off part of the web.
    Obama bring Marxism to a country near you.

  38. If Kim had successfully removed her name from the ballot for school board and someone then started a write-in campaign, and she won the seat would you still think she flip-flopped and hijacked it if she accepted the seat?

  39. Obviously when Plache thought she could get the mayoral seat the school board didn't look so appealing anymore. Now that she can't have that she'll settle for the lowlier position on school board.

    No matter how you slice and dice this one, Plache is the definition of Political Opportunist at its finest.

    I don't care about the legalities of who comes in 4th, or what ifs...Plache told us all that she would not accept the position, period. She did not say she would not accept the position ONLY IF she won the mayoral. Shame on you Kim Plache.

  40. I was one of the 7,747 people who voted for Kim Plache. I am very pleased that she has chosen to serve on the School Board. The votes have been counted, it's time to move on.

    To those of you who continue to post negative comments and call Plache nasty names, I would ask: "What boards do you serve on? What things do you do to benefit your community?"

  41. 5:07

    Doing the right thing has nothing to do with the number of boards you sit on. Has a lot to do with why.
    Is Kim on the school board to help Racine or herself? After going back on her publicly given word can she be trusted?
    Or 5:07 the ONLY thing you are looking for is the D after her name knowing that Kim will dance to any tune RUSD plays?
    I voted for KIm in every ellection I could till the last one (Voted for Pete) BY God I will never vote for Kim again and call those that do fools.

  42. Plache made a decision to accept the RUSD seat after vehemently denying she would serve - SHE wanted her name taken OFF the ballot! Accepting the seat is her legal right. However, that bold, selfish grab begs both ethical and moral questions, just as her hasty change of address before the primary did. Where will she live now?

    She should have been honest, stating clearly that if she lost the mayoral primary, she's take the RUSD seat if voted in.

    Now, she's lost the respect of many voters because a fair-minded view of this situation leads to one conclusion only: she is somewhat devious and utterly self-serving.