August 24, 2010

Journal Times releases Dickert's 10-year plan for Racine; Mayor delivers on campaign promise 15 months after taking office

Well, at least we know what Mayor John Dickert ate for lunch Monday.

The JT has the scoop on the mayor's "10-year plan," and it smacks of the behind-the-scenes agreement we reported last week. Dickert and the newspaper coordinated release of the plan in an "exclusive" package of stories that included an interview with the mayor, a sidebar interviewing two UW-Madison professors who haven't read the mayor's plan (more on that tomorrow), and then a verbatim reprinting of the plan itself. (Read the plan here.)

Oddly missing? Any sense of the heavy criticism Dickert has been taking for months about his overdue plan. Comments on the JT story filled that gap quickly.

The main story begins:
It's Monday afternoon and Mayor John Dickert has a few minutes between meetings to talk over lunch about the future of the city he's been elected to run. 
On the menu - a leftover burrito and a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips from the vending machine two floors down from his office in City Hall.
On his mind - the 10-year plan he promised the voters in Racine. It's the plan he said would turn the city around. It's the plan he said would put the city back on top.
The plan, which Dickert released Tuesday night, hasn't seen the light of day, until now.
The "news" of the article is buried. Dickert admitted he took too long to release the plan.
As soon as he took office, Dickert set to work and forgot what he'd told the voters while campaigning - that he'd give "the public the opportunity to benchmark me."
"I had told them that I was going to do that. That was the transparency of the campaign and of what I believed in this," Dickert said. "I just forgot about it. I just didn't think about the fact that the public deserves to benchmark me."
In hindsight, Dickert, who has been in office now for 15 months, said he waited too long to deliver the goods. The plan was something he promised. So here it is.
It's worth noting the main article contained a significant factual error. Reporter Paul Sloth initially said Dickert had been in office for 9 months, when he's actually going on his 16th month in office. The error has been fixed in the JT's online story.

The Mayor's office answered our records request, filed last week, for a copy of his "10-year plan" at 7:07 p.m., roughly the time the JT article went to print at the special website:

This entire production was scripted over a month ago when Dickert met with Journal Times Publisher Mark Lewis. The two agreed on the type of story would be written and when it would run. Both were adamant about the plan not appearing on RacinePost before it runs in the JT.

So, that's our daily newspaper and chief executive. The JT attempts to provide political cover for a mayor's failed campaign promise, and the mayor backs down to a publisher who's been in town for less than a year.

They deserve each other.

(As a side note, why did the JT ever reassign reporter Stephanie Jones off the City Hall beat? She was the reporter who got Dickert to admit his 10-year plan existed in his head. Shortly after, she was covering a new beat. Hard to believe she'd turn in a story about leftover burritos, but then again, maybe that's why she was reassigned.)

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  1. Looks like he really wants his campaign worker to have a city paid job as in Consultant for CAR 25
    that explain why the equipment approved by the City Council has not been bought.
    If the Mayor wants a Media war let it start here

  2. So each week Storm Racine will happily talk about the failures of the Mayor and be sure as many hear about them as I can

  3. Mark Lewis should be ashamed.

  4. The point of view of this story reeks of jealousy.

  5. Reeks of Petty corruption of the city and J-T I think

  6. A newspaper should report the news, rather than try to prop up this failure of a mayor.

  7. This joke of a mayor has been a complete failure.....judge him on what he has done.....YOUR FIRED! WAKE UP RACINE! Dickert failed us. How can anyone take that ridiculous fake plan serious? He really should be ashamed for dicrediting the citizens like he has. He embarresses me.

  8. Illegal? Immoral, Arrogant, Deceptive, Un-Ethical, Un-Fair...........There you have it! City Hall......A great place on a great lake.......

  9. The 'plan' consists a handful of random notes on 7 broad topics, with question marks throughout. Anything listed as an actual goal is either unattainable or immeasurable, and anyone that has ever ran a business knows that 10-year plans don't work because too much changes in that time period. A one year, three year and five year plan is what all 'normal' businesses create so there are tangible, measurable goals and results. If this is the plan for the city, this city is screwed. A better plan can be summed up in two words: New Mayor.

  10. The plan sounds like a bunch of B.S. Why does he rank public safety #5 on his list? The report states that we have more than double the amount of crime than the national average. We just had another shooting last week. Why would people want to come to Racine if they are scared to live here. I know there are parts of town that I will not travel through after dark. That does not make me prejudice, it means I have common sense and I know what is going on in those neighborhoods.

  11. Racine's problem in a nutshell: "Completed at least some college (% of residents) 48.3%"

    I bet that number includes a lot of people who count gateway as college when it is really just Racine's largest high school.

  12. All I can say at this point is WTF

  13. This isn't a plan folks. This is nothing more than a set of goals with no strategy how to accomplish them. The Post and JT want Dickert to have a plan that he is able to pass off a list of goals as a plan. This is nothing more than a dreamer rambling over a vending machine lunch. I will be impressed when he can actually come up with a plan to accomplish these goals. If it took 15 months to get this list out of his head, most of us will be dead before he actually can formulate a plan.

    It is sad to see the Post and JT get taken in so easily by this guy.

  14. I'm not necessarily a Dickert fan - but I'd like to know what goals some of the posters out here would set and let's make sure they are measurable and clealy stated as to how you are going to achieve them and in what time frame.

    It's easy to take shots, but let's see you back it up.


  16. Sir easy

    1) Fire Brian O'Connell today
    2) End all Contracts with RCEDC ASAP
    3) End the Uptown Art Project ASAP
    4) Sell all City owned housing at auction ASAP
    5) Fire the PIO and City Adim today
    6) Fire City Grant Writer Today

    I think those are self explanatory

    7) Hire 3 more UNIT works for Tracks 1-5 ASAP
    8) Staff all COP houses so an officer is there 12 HRs a day 6 days a week 3 months

  17. Sir- None of us promised that we already had a 10 year plan when we ran for mayor like Dickert did. And none of us waited 16 months to release a confused list of items because we had hoped the voters would have forgotten.

    It is very obvious that Dickert has not spent a day in the business world. This list is nothing but a scatter shot list and not a 10 year plan with goals and benchmarks.

  18. Tim the Shrubber8/25/2010 9:03 AM

    "Fire City Grant Writer Today"

    Yep, because we only want other cities to get grant money. We don't need it and don't want it in Racine. {sarcasm}

    Hiring a full time grant writer is probably one of the smartest things that the city has done. The payoff is not realized immediately, but long term this position will probably be a big net plus to the city.

  19. The Grant writer is a smart thing that BECKER did! But YES FIRE THE PIO & CITY ADMINSTARTOR right away! Even with a City Admin and PIO the Mayor gets NOTHING done, what a waste of our dollars! With these idiots gone Racine would see an immediate boost.

  20. Where is our unqualified City Administrator's plan? No applicable experience, no applicable education or degree, no respect for city council or local business leaders, and no plan = wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. The dual-dictatorship between the Mayor and City Admin is the biggest problem this city has right now. The City Admin and PIO need to go first, then the Mayor next. We need to take back control over our city before it gets even more out of control. Even Dickert would admit this plan is a joke, and that is precisely the problem, they do not care.

  21. I think the City got grants before it became a full time city job. RPD get grants all the time on their own.
    The City could get Work Study person out of Parkside if we really truly needed one

  22. 8:43 Small ideas = small minds

    These are whiner ideas

  23. because Sir, you do not like them. Removing dead weight is a good idea.

  24. 8:43/11:02 Removing dead might be a good idea, but is not a 10-year plan with measurable goals as many are insisting (rightfully) that the Mayor have.

  25. A lot of talk. The 10 year plan could have been a first prize winner of a high school project. I sat and watched this local government along with John shut down 11 million dollars on two sights for development. John was all for shutting them down. So when does the ten year plan start?

  26. So why is it OUR job to come up with a 10 year plan? Which one of us commenters ran for mayor and promised a plan? When someone fails to deliver a service as promised, do you accept "Can you do better?" as an excuse? How about your doctor or car mechanic challenges you do to do their job better? WTF?

    I am NOT the mayor of Racine. I did not LIE to the citizens of Racine. Our mayor DID. How does that put the onus on the citizens of Racine?

    Lying politicians lie, and lie, and lie. He should have his tongue cut out.

  27. Tim the Shrubber8/25/2010 12:28 PM

    OrbsCorbs: "He should have his tongue cut out."

    You are a scary and mentally disturbed individual. Get back on your meds.

  28. After reading these comments no wonder Racine is in present state it is in.

    Get off the computer, turn off Jerry Springer and do something positive for once.

  29. Tim the Shrubber8/25/2010 12:52 PM

    "We need to take back control over our city before it gets even more out of control."

    Fine, throw them out. Then what? Change for the sake of change is not a plan, idea or ideology.

  30. Instead we should lay down like Sheep? Allow this ethically challenged to run the city into the ground?
    Tim perhaps you should practice licking boots.

  31. The only ethics problems comes from the NAACP and Tea Partiers.

  32. I like John. I think that he screwed up when he brought up the idea of a 10 year plan without specifying how it would be written, presented and implemented. People assumed that he would have action items written in stone with numbers attached to them that were not flexible. In reality you cannot do that because there are simply too many circumstances that can change that are out of any city's control that have a huge effect on that city.

  33. Tim the Shrubber8/25/2010 3:11 PM

    "Instead we should lay down like Sheep?"

    Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. Baa baa. {sarcasm}

    Tomorrow, Dickert could resign and the PIO and City Admin jobs could be eliminated...and nothing will have really changed. You might be able to argue that these people are a road block to some great plan/idea, but getting rid of them is not enough in itself.

    I am not too inclined to blindly support change...I want to know what will be in place after a change before I could support it...otherwise it is probably better to stay with the devil we know.

  34. Note to Mayor Dickert when it comes to our rights and wanting more taxes for your evil acts μολων λαβε.

  35. Tim the Shrubber8/25/2010 3:38 PM

    Evil acts? {ROTFLMAO} Oh, you folks are just barking mad....totally insane.

  36. Kay- You need to read the "10 year plan". There are only broad goals, that are frankly unattainable, with no details on how he is going to get there and no benchmarks to evaluate progress.

  37. "Revamp CAR25 to tell Racine's Story" - really? The local prodcuers do a great job and keeping up with city activities and sharing their creativiy! The City meetings are recorded (this is currently Racine's story). Just provide CAR25 with the equipment they need to continue doing a geeat job.

  38. Kay, you scare me.

  39. See the distrust of the Mayor. Does not look good for reelection

  40. This is what I have to say about this --

    I truly wonder if Racine will ever emerge from ---
    Seems to be a city of caterpillars and cocoons --
    But so few butterflies.
    G. L. Karwowski.

  41. I think we should believe in the Mayor! He knows Housing and how to sell homes.
    He has brought so many jobs to Racine,He walks on Water,has ended crime,cured the sick,and only hired a few friends to City jobs!
    Yes John Dickert one phone call from Obama

  42. stormracine you really need to work on your 'radio voice'. you talk very fast and don't make an effort to pronounce your words.