April 6, 2009

Racine's Greatest Election



Racine should be proud.

If there was a way to clean away the embarrassment Gary Becker brought to the city, this was it. 11 candidates. Packed forums. Volunteers. Donations. Heated debates. If anyone wondered, it's clear now: People care about this city and its future. We'll be fine with Mayor Becker. We are fine without him.

What's remarkable about the field of 11 candidates up for election on Tuesday is that any of them could be mayor. I believe that. These are smart, dedicated, experienced political, business and community leaders who would do well to fill the chair at City Hall. Perhaps most importantly, there's a general decency to the field.

And while only two of the 11 candidates will advance, we may look back on this race as the launching point for elected offices. Are there aldermen, County Board members, a County Executive, state representatives, state senators even a Congressman in this mix? Quite possibly.

In my 10 years in Racine, this is hands down the greatest election I've been part of. Racine's 2003 mayoral race was a great campaign. Becker defeated Ron Thomas with incumbent Mayor Jim Smith launching a write-in campaign after sleeping through the primary.

But this year it's been beyond impressive to see groups like Community for Change and YPR draw hundreds of people to hear and meet the candidates. Thousands of people will go to the polls Tuesday as informed voters with a plethora of choices for what they want this city to become. Let's not forget this.

In 2007, Becker ran unopposed and the city was worse for it. Elections are a time to reflect on our community and hold candidates accountable for their promises and actions. When an incumbent runs unopposed, it can be a sign that everyone is happy with the direction of the city. More likely, it's a lack of courage among challengers unwilling to put themselves on the line.

This spring, we have candidates who took the risk. Every one of them has a vision for the city, and, regardless of outcome, every one of them deserves a voice in city decisions. Nine candidates will lose on Tuesday, and a 10th on May 5. But the eventual mayor - and the City Council - would do well to recognize the wealth of talent that's emerged this spring.

As a community, we are fortunate to have this many choices. Now, it's our job to weigh in on these choices and decide how we wish to proceed. Don't miss your chance to participate in what may well go down as Racine's greatest election.

Vote Tuesday and remind a friend to vote too. With this many candidates, a handful of votes could mean the difference between second and third place - the difference between advancing to the general election or getting left behind.

As a personal note, thank you to the candidates for being accessible and open throughout the campaign. Without exception, all of the candidates have been a pleasure to work with and we're looking forward to the future mayor running an open and transparent government.

Good luck to all.

37 comments:

  1. Well said Dustin. With 11 candidates, the primary could have been a circus. Each candidate was sincere and professional and the city is better for it. I congratulate the candidates on running campaigns that overall were more about vision than being vicious.

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  2. Turner of course showed how completely nuts he is.

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  3. Thank you Racine Post. An excellent piece.

    I noticed that the JT's last mention of the mayoral race was in their Friday Finishers (and it said nothing...)

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  4. Here here.
    Nice article Dustin. I wholeheartedly agree.

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  5. O'Callahan4/06/2009 11:26 AM

    Dustin,

    I would like to chime in with those people thanking you for a nice wrap up piece. It' s not often we get to hear the softer side of journalism from someone who actually cares about his community and how media influence affects that community. Thank you for your unbiased and carefull approach to this campaign. I felt more comfortable reading your takes on this whole thing than any other news source around here. So many times we don't want to have to wade through the nonsense and negativity we are forced to read to get to the information. I feel you and Pete stay away from that which makes reading the Post so much more enjoyable. I made my pick today for Mayor. It is because I had the opportunity to research all the candidates on your site that I was able to make an informed decision, and I am proud to say tha I have chosen John Dickert as my next mayor.

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  6. Now why did the Dickert machine have to go and ruin a nice article with a plug? Shameless.

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  7. Does anyone really believe that Dickert post? I got suckered in by the beginning. Man oh man.

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  8. Dickert would make a good Governor of New Jersey.

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  9. You've lived here ten years and you're declaring this "Racine's Greatest Election." You transplants are so full of yourselves. Believe it or not, Racine existed long before you moved here. In fact, one might say that things were going pretty well until we were "discovered" by greedy outsiders.

    All of the current candidates for mayor except one are Becker backers and clones. This does nothing to clean up Becker's legacy - it only perpetuates the denial that Racine lives in. Crime and corruption are bursting out at the seams all over Racine. Ignoring it will not make it go away.

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  10. Who is the one? Jody claims to be, but she is one of the "transplants" you are dissing.

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  11. "I have chosen John Dickert as my next mayor"
    For shame!

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  12. Anon 12:39, you're right. I'm a transplant with a successful small business. I should close it up and go back to where I came from. There is no crime there. In fact, I was tricked by the people from Racine about how great it is here, so convincingly that I dumped tens and thousands of dollars into this town to be a part of this great community. Would that make your day better? Maybe you need to change your attitude and be part of the solution rather than dogging down those who still have the momentum to bring your town back to its glory days. God bless you.

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  13. I'd rather be in denial than live with anon 12:39. Just because one person sees opportunity doesn't mean they don't see the challenges too.

    Anon 12:39 you sound as much fun as an unscheduled colonoscopy.

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  14. O'Callahan4/06/2009 1:06 PM

    Hey Anon 11:35,

    Why is it that when someone comes out with a standpoint they are first accused of being part of a "political machine"? I am proud that I am taking part in the democratic process and yes, I am proud of John Dickert as our next mayor. He represents the best ideas which I happen to agree with, so don't be so smug to accuse me of being part of "machine" when I took my own time and research to figure out John Dickert is the best choice for our city. It is insulting to every thinking voter in Racine. And by the way, looking at the race now, if I had been invited to be part of the Dickert "machine" I would have be proud to participate. In fact, you have convinced me to go to his campaign office and sign up to volunteer tomorrow. Thanks for the motivation!

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  15. O'Callahan -

    Yeah, right!

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  16. Looks like Joyce Smith is in overdrive on this blog. Shouldn't you have more important things to do than carry on with your obsession of one man.

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  17. O'Callahan

    The tactics of the John Dickert machine have so disgusted me that should he make the final two I will do everything with in the law I can to be sure John Dickert does not win no matter who the other one may be.
    I rather see Keith Fair as Mayor before John Dickert

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  18. I'm not part of any campaign or part of any "machine". I'd also like to add my 2 cents by saying I plan to vote for John Dickert as well. In my opinion, of the people running, I feel he's the best candidate for the job.

    And as for "transplants" - what is wrong with people who moved here from elsewhere? We should be glad to have people moving TO Racine because we've had the problem of too many leaving FROM Racine. I also feel being a "transplant" helps a person bring other ideas and experiences to the table.

    Colt - why do you have such issues with John D? He's a nice guy - what has he done to you to make you so upset? I don't want to hear a response saying he's a Becker clone or similar garbage, because he's definitely not. He fell out of favor with Becker almost immediately after Becker was elected.

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  19. I would like to say it really was great to see and hear these candidates on CAR25....What a great service to the city and a great opportunity to hear these folks personally and not through any filtered news source. I must say most of racine should be able to make a well educated choice.

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  20. That is NOT so!!!!!!!

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  21. 2:53 easy try O'Callahad.
    and all the other multi postings by his machine.

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  22. Seriously Colt - I am not part of any machine and I am going to vote for John Dickert.

    How about answering my previous questions I posted at 2:53?

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  23. Hey! Did anybody actually READ this?!

    http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/445902
    Ignore all the stuff about the pot head and scroll about half way down:

    “ If Turner is elected in Racine, he says he will retain his Assembly seat, at least in the immediate future.”

    What the HELL. Turner wants to run a CITY AND keep his assembly seat?! That is INSANE!

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  24. After watching the mayor forums on CAR25, it was evident that the only person who can speak with clarity and confidence was John Dickert. Everyone else had to consult their binders or read off of notecards for every single question!
    Shouldn't someone who's running for mayor be able to speak about the issues for at least 60 seconds without having to read off of notes??
    Racine has been too complacent for too long, and we haven't expected enough from our politicians. That's why we're in the mess we're in with our current elected officials.
    Hope Dickert makes it.

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  25. Electing John Dickert as Mayor would be like putting Becker in charge of a Girl Scout Troop

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  26. John Dickert didn't speak about issues. He kept talking about this mysterious plan that NO ONE has seen yet.

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  27. I am not a city resident and can not vote. Good luck to all the canidates, their campaign committees, and supporters. All of you have worked hard for your canidate and have gotten your platforms out. To the citizens of Racine, look carefully at all the information and vote for the person you feel would best represent you. I can't wait to see the results tomorrow night!!!

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  28. Please vote Jaimie Charon for the next of Racine! He has an excellent plan to tackle the tough issues regarding crime, education, and employment. We all want a better more attractive Racine, but we need to get to the "core" problems immediately and the rest will fall into place. We don't need another mayor that has become disconnected from the great people of Racine.

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  29. Raymond Fay is an honest man with much integrity. He sees Racine as a community with a rich past and a great future. He believes in Racine and deserves the opportunity to reinvigorate this city. Vote for Raymond Fay on April 7th.

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  30. Good luck to all the candidates. Still, where were they during the last election???? I've also done research on the candidates and the issues. Most don't give you specifics on how they are going to do things. There seems to be a lot of talking points. I'm still a bit undecided and I have to vote today. Harding, Dickert, Turner will not get my vote. Harding doesn't understand how things work, and I don't care for how Dickert and Turner have been running their campaign. Don't care for their tactis, which to me says a lot about the candidates. Will be interesting to see who the top two candidates are.

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  31. "John Dickert didn't speak about issues. He kept talking about this mysterious plan that NO ONE has seen yet."

    Not no one more big developers like those I think that brought you the West Racine project, Uptown Art District and other special deals.
    John Dicker strikes me as the kind of guy who would drive home owners out of West Racine to sell them houses in his new housing development

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  32. Get out and vote today. Let your voices be heard.

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  33. I am just appalled! I just saw 4 Dickert signs placed in Solbra Park, which is ILLEGAL! If this is any indication of how he runs things, then everything I have heard about him is true - he is not the candidate for me. If his campaign workers did this, then it is clear that he has no control over his own people - how will he run the city if he can't run his own campaign?

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  34. Liar. I just drove by and they are not there.

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  35. First, I am not a city resident and cannot vote. I am not supporting any canidate. I DID go past Sobra Park today and there were four signs on the corner by the fence. On my return from shopping over at Elmwood Plaza, I did see city employees taking them down. So, I guess the first person to notice was not a LIAR! The canidates just need to let the day go on and wait. I would hope by now that the people of Racine are informed and have made up their minds.

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  36. Josh- Screw you. I also saw them there. He is less than genuine.

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  37. Dickert = GARY BECKER!!!!!

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