June 11, 2009

Dickert has big plans for Racine's Sister City program

Mayor John Dickert meets with the Sister City Committee on Tuesday.
Committee Chairman Al Guetzlaff sits in the left corner.

Mayor John Dickert may be looking outside of Racine – way outside of Racine – for business opportunities.

The new mayor told the city’s Sister City Committee this week that he’s hoping to expand the program and broaden its focus from cultural exchanges to business relationships.

Dickert suggested the committee study grant opportunities through the U.S. Department of Commerce to help investigate business opportunities. He’s particularly interested in connecting with cities in China, Costa Rica and Canada. Grants and business sponsorships could help pay for expanding the program, Dickert said.

But, he added he intended to consider the Sister City program in the city's upcoming budget. Dickert told committee members he wanted to make Racine’s Sister City Program “bigger and more grandiose for everybody.”

“I think there’s nothing but opportunity here,” Dickert said.

A first step for the Sister City Committee will be filling three vacancies on the 18-member board. Just six people showed up to their meeting this week.

Long-time Chairman Al Guetzlaff – he’s worked with five mayors as head of the Sister City committee – said it’s not unusual for the committee to have lulls, particularly when there are no events in the near future.

Racine was preparing to host a group of students from Oiso, Japan this summer, but the trip fell through because of concerns over the H1N1 flu.

The committee recently helped host a group of students from Montelimar, France. The students visited The Prairie School, toured Racine and spent a day in Chicago.

Guetzlaff said he hopes to find “workers” not “bench” players to fill the three vacancies. In other words, the committee needs people who are really interested in working on the program.

Racine has Sister City relationships with Oiso, Montelimar, Aalborg, Denmark, and Zapotlanejo, Mexico.

Members of the Sister City Committee include: Martine Albritton, Alderman Bob Anderson, Jay Christie, Dick Ehlert, Jerry Greenfield, Guetzlaff, Tom Kennedy, Pedro Lopez, Amy Maack, Linda O’Connell, Dwayne Olsen, Bill Pucci, Keiko Skow and Rachel Westergren.

Anyone interested in joining the Sister City Committee can contact Al Guetzlaff at: guetzlaffrev@sbcglobal.net.


  1. The Translator6/11/2009 10:18 AM

    Hey John,

    Can ya figure things out here in this city before you do any more to the sister cities.

  2. How many sisters do we need ?? 4 is 3 tomany !! Big plans ?? = more $$$ ?? Is this SELF supporting ?? No city $$ should be spent on this. We have people here who need help.

  3. Finally, someone smart enough to use this for economic development. Great idea John keep it up! You are really shaking things up and righting the city.

  4. Isn't that the whole point of the sister city project - to get more businesses to Racine and help the people here? That's what the article says, at least.

  5. Why though would these future sister cities like us to steal their businesses? This is pie in the sky. Quit dreaming and start doing. Hi we are Racine and we need businesses to move here and be subject to our nanny city council. Any takers? Where is the 10 year plan? What businesses has he talked to so far? I want less blah, blah, blah and more here is what we are doing.

  6. and don't forgot, hey if you move your business here the crime is outta control but we have a cool statue that cost us $50k from a rip off from an artist and our city looks like hell

  7. This is a great idea!

    Dustin you forgot Blue Fields Nicaragua.

    Lots of great out of the box ideas is what this City needs.

  8. The Translator6/11/2009 3:12 PM

    Sorry Anon 1:23, but you FAIL.
    What this city needs is less crime, lower taxes, better schools and no KRM. Unless our sister cities are going to give us funds, cops and teachers, Dickert has more important things to focus on.

  9. Jesus Christ, another Gary Becker.

    Party on!!!

  10. Nice, but how about that inside the U.S.? Americans for American jobs! What about linking other American cities to creat jobs. Its bad enough that Chrysler is exporting jobs with American money. Nice try Mayor but way to easy eh?

  11. Great idea, Mayor Dickert. Lots of potential. Strategic thinking and a smart business plan.

  12. What a stupid guy.

  13. Sister City Chair and/or committee members, From the efforts of the Sister City Program during the last 5 mayor's terms, have there been any positive, productive benefits to Racine? Just wondering.

  14. It is utterly rediculous. Seriously this is the bright idea, to use the sister city program to bring businesses. Where is the 10 year plan? What businesses has Dickert talked to worked on? This is utter sillyness. Tired of all the planning, meeting, talking and consulting. Just start doing for Pete's sake.