May 4, 2009

The long and winding road ... to City Hall

Our two candidates.

One-hundred-twelve days ago, Gary Becker logged on to Yahoo Instant Messenger as WISC_GARY and struck up a not-so innocent conversation with Hope_Ulikeme14.

As we all know, Hope turned out to be Department of Criminal Investigations Agent Eric Szatkowski and Becker's chat led to his arrest at Brookfield Square Mall. Six days later, Becker resigned and a political free-for-all ensued. John Dickert and Rep. Bob Turner emerged from an 11-candidate primary field to compete in Tuesday's special election. Jody Harding (lower right) also stuck around as a write-in candidate.

The reason this story exists.

It's been a long four months for the city; incredulous, sad, stirring, confusing and even exciting four months, but mostly just long. I saw it Saturday with Dickert and Turner during a radio interview for WGTD (listen here). Both candidates are so well rehearsed at this point the answers roll of their tongues without thought. They've participated in about 10 forums in three months, banged on countless doors and together spent more than $50,000 trying to convince city residents they should be the next mayor.

Turner and Dickert have given city residents a choice (click here to see where you vote). Turner ran as the seasoned veteran. He repeatedly touted his state and local government experience, and painted the more aggressive, but less experienced, Dickert as naive. Turner has the strong backing of local unions and would be Racine's first African-American mayor (and the second elected African-American mayor in the state).

Dickert ran as the change candidate. He touted an ambitious "10-year plan" to make Racine a "Top 10" city, and ran a high-energy campaign that outraised Turner by at least $8,000. While Turner talked about rolling city government back to the pre-Becker era, Dickert pushed for a post-Becker era. Dickert has support from much of the business and real estate community.

But neither candidate pulled away in the last month. Both come from a Democratic background and both were smart enough to tailor their campaigns around the city's key issues: jobs and crime. That left the race a battle of personalities: the youthful Dickert vs. the reliable Turner.

The good news for voters is there's not a bad choice tomorrow. Both candidates are capable of being an effective mayor. Dickert brings his real estate and lobbying skills to the job, and Turner brings a wealth of experience. We can't go wrong, but we have to choose. If you're undecided, here are three questions to consider for each candidate:

1. Do you trust him as the city's chief executive?
2. Do his business and real estate ties help or hurt him as mayor?
3. Does the city need "change"?

1. How valuable is his experience?
2. Do his union ties help or hurt him as mayor?
3. Will he be aggressive enough as mayor?

Have your answers? OK, now get out vote!


  1. "The good news for voters is there's not a bad choice tomorrow.... We can't go wrong, but we have to choose."

    C'mon, just admit it already. The Racine Post is a liberal blog.

  2. Bob Turner applauded the KRM debacle brought about by John Lehman and Cory Mason. He's a part of the establishment that only cares about its own self preservation and not the people of Racine.

    Turner needs to pay the price for that endorsement. Accountability starts here and now. One by one, all of these Democrat establishment whipping boys must be taken down.

    Turner works for other Madison Democrats, not Racine.

    I'm excited to have him lose this election and look forward to taking him down on his Rep seat.

    Everyone involved in killing KRM is a target. First up, Turner.

  3. This is our oportunity to vote for a change Racine.

    Time for some wins.

    Vote Dickert

  4. This is our chance to move away from the " legacy of Gary Becker" and elect an honest and experienced mayor who will look out for all of us , not just real estate agents/brokers.

  5. Vote Turner !

  6. Vote Turner !

  7. Anon 5:34 you are right. That is why I am voting Dickert

  8. "Slam the door on Gary Becker" is what the article title says.

    A vote for Dickert will never slam the door on Gary Becker.

    Vote for anyone except Dickert!

  9. Vote Dickert!

  10. Turner will eliminate the City Administrator position saving the Racine taxpayers 100 thousand dollars PLUS benefits PER YEAR.

    Dickert refused to offer this, yet offered a "ten year plan" which no one seems to know what that is. Vote Turner, at least he made 1 specific promise which is 1 more than Dickert ever did.

  11. I will never vote for sleazy real estate.

  12. "Slam the door on Gary Becker"

    Dickert is Gary Becker from Closed door deals with Good Old Boys
    To selling the City to anyone with a bit of cash.

    Turner is far from perfect but he I think is a honest man

  13. Do the Turner supporters on here have anything positive to say about their candidate? I would think on the last day you would want to push the positives of your candidate.

    I have been impressed with John Dickert's vision of what the mayor should be focused on, aggressively seeking companies to expand or come to Racine bringing jobs and declaring war on gangs and drugs in Racine. That is why I have decided to vote for John Dickert.

  14. On my way to work this morning, I saw in two different locations a number of Dickert supporters holding signs and waving at cars. That is the type of excitement I want in a mayor when he markets the city to attract jobs.

  15. I see Turner as a bad choice. In his position with the state, what has he done for Racine all these years? For that matter, what did he do while he was alderman?

    Looking at Turner's past, just sitting in a position for years isn't enough for me to be excited about his "experience". He should have been using his position to make positive changes and to date, I haven't seen anything.

    And then, why did Turner feel he had to pay people like Craig Oliver thousands of dollars to haul in inner city votes on election day? Sad.

  16. Dickert is the clear choice! He wants to see change in the city, will work with businesses, has plans for development and will be an excellent representative for Racine wherever he goes as he's articulate and engaging. GO DICKERT!

  17. The only thing the Turner camp has done in this campaign is talk negatively about Dickert. Why haven't they been able to speak positively about their candidate instead? Seems the Turner camp sat around a table one night and decided, "I know - we'll try to paint Dickert and Becker together as best friends - that should turn everyone off."

    There's been too many posts regarding Dickert/Becker for it to be random. This has to be an organized effort by the Turner camp.

    What's really sad about their strategy is that they are not even correct. Becker and Dickert were not friends, they had a falling out right after Becker was elected as mayor.

  18. Hard to believe its been 4 months since this began.

    When I look at both candidates I've made my choice based on how they ran their campaign. A good indication of how they might run City Hall.

    Turner depended on outside special interest groups who paid people to canvass and deliver literature. He's banked on unions to generate votes from the rank and file, the check for that will come due at a latter date. He paid street money to people to hire vans for knock and drags. All at the expense of real volunteers excited about his campaign. This is old style politics at its worst.

    The Obama campaign organizers in Racine and around the country refused to pay street money. They envisioned a different kind of campaign. A fact that severely angered some of the very same people involved with Turner now.

    During the Obama campaign, Turner showed up a few times to walk the red carpet when someone important came to town. Dickert helped find staging locations for the campaign and helped out regularly with all the rest of the volunteers. Yet Turner has the nerve to send out a flyer with Barack's picture on it!

    Dickert has generated real support from volunteers here in Racine. He hasn't paid anyone to support him and his campaign has done the hard work from scratch.

    Turner is a throwback whose style is no longer relevant or wanted. I'm voting for Dickert today.

  19. Dickert IMHO has in the actions of his worker statrred a civil war that will hurt the city and the Democratic party for years to come

  20. Bob Lee

    Lehman, Mason and the rest of the Madison Democrats did this, not Dickert.

    They should all have agreed that two democrats running is a win and keep their mouth shut. Instead they drew the battle lines.

    Dickert ran for mayor. That's all he did and these establishment democrats demonized him for it and supported their buddy simply because he is their buddy.

    This is a good thing for Racine. We need to clean house of people that operate this way on either side of the aisle.

    We elect politicans and expect results.

    Sitting in meetings doesn't qualify as experience, it qualifes as watching others get experience.

    Time to fight for Racine, not lay down for the establishment. A lot of good that has done us so far.

  21. The party boys did that themselves when they rolled over every paid member in order to get their piece of the pie.

    They have no influence, because if they did they would have been able to clear the field for one strong candidate. Instead we got a buffet of Dems running who could care less about what they want.

    Let's put them to rest once and for all. Vote Dickert.

  22. Let's leave Turner in Madison where, as he says, he has represented Racine for so long. Vote Dickert in as the new mayor. That either gives us a win-win or lose-lose situation. It's a crap shoot, pure and simple. :-)

  23. Dickert does not have the qualifications to be Mayor and run the City of Racine. He is a salesman, nothing more.

  24. I've already voted for John Dickert and I have been talking to every person I come in contact with to vote for him. This is the second time I've actually been excited about an election. Obama was the first. I'm new to town and I feel John's leadership to be inspiring. His enthusiasm is contagious. VOTE FOR JOHN DICKERT...I DID !

  25. It's not good enough to send Turner back to Madison either. We still need to know what the heck he is doing up there and how he is leading the effort to improve Racine.

    Just because the election will be over, doesn't mean the questions have been answered. Turner needs to deliver in Madison and do a better job of telling us what efforts he himself is leading.

    If he can't, well then it's time to go. Electing Democrats for the sake of electing Democrats makes no sense. What does make sense are results. We need more than what we've had.

    The time has come to raise the bar here in Racine for our elected officials.

    If Dickert wins, then he's included. We better damn well see a top 10 city in 10 year plan pretty quick and see some tangible things happening to move forward.

    Otherwise, he'll have to go too and the search will continue.

  26. C'mon, just admit it already. The Racine Post is a liberal blog.Everyone knows that (except the authors)

  27. That's why you get to have your own blog Fred. Don't you have some teabagging to do?

    I'll take a salesman over a seatwarmer any day. Those are kind of qualifications we can use. Dickert knows his way around Madison and he knows how to close a deal.

    Turner trades favors from unions and special interests. Let's just buy him a watch and get some energy in City Hall.

  28. Bob congratulates Lehman and Mason on brokering a deal for KRM that gives the illusion they did something when they know they've handed us a failed deal. They think we're stupid. How dare we complain and expect them to cast a principled vote!

    You don't have to be a fortune-teller to see the future.

    I've already voted for Dickert this morning.

  29. Gee Fred, What the hell is your blog. What a big bag of wind you are. If we called you Racine's Rush you would actually think it was a compliment.

    These guys are doing the best job reporting. If they have political leanings, so be it. Don't read it then. I don't read yours. Stepp is going broke and will need to run for office, Mark Neumann will run for Govenor because his home building business sucks right now and they need money.

    If anything, these republicans are grasping for any straws. Go back to your bloated blog Fred. These guys are doing a great job.

    As far as I am concerned, I like Dickert but if Turner wins, it isn't a loss. They are both honorable men.

  30. After the alleged split in the party?? C'mon.. there's no significant difference here. The Unions lined up for Turner. The Extreme lefties supported Dickert. If you really want to make a change in the City Vote for Jody for Mayor. Write here in TODAY..It's not too late to save our City from the Obamites.

  31. Quick question. Dickert has a 10 year plan but how long will the new mayor be serving and what's to say that if another mayor is elected after that, that his 10 year plan would actually go beyond a short term? Not bashing him at all so please don't take it that way just curious

  32. I guess it depends on whether or not the plan is working.

  33. Dickert = Becker5/05/2009 5:42 PM

    Dickert owns shell companies that bought real estate along KRM line on state street.

    Red Flag #1
    He has never been forthcoming about his business dealings.

    Red Flag #2.
    Claims to have created $28M in development. Majority of those projects failed, were never realized or went into bankruptcy.

  34. Dickert = Becker5/05/2009 5:46 PM

    ...and you wonder why Dickert has such strong convictions to KRM. He personally stands to haul in some serious $$

    We don't need slick real estate salesman, we need integrity.

    Vote Turner.

  35. Pete?? Dustin??

    Are you going to investigate the above claims against Dickert or not??

    I'll bet you don't. Lol.

  36. Dingbats! I looked into property along the rail line myself and I'm just a regular guy.

    Sometimes in business its good to anticipate future opportunities.

    Some of you people are real morons!

  37. So the Dickert = Becker person is essentially agreeing that Bob Turner endorsed the deal that screwed Racine on KRM by the Madison Democrats.

    You know what, I'll take KRM and Dickert making money vs. No KRM and Bob Turner as my rep.

    At least we'll finally get someone that cares enough about KRM to get it done. If he makes a few bucks, who least it got done for once.

    All Turner will tell you is that he'll have meeting about it and get back to you.

    Expect more Racine. Expect results.

  38. Darn, after everyone's comments, I guess I should have voted for myself.... At least I know where I stand, that I'm not perfect, but I don't BS. Yep maybe next election Anonymous will be on the ballet....