The road to council chambers is littered with bruised and battered smarty-pants types who didn't factor in how rough engaging in a political battle can be. It is not a fool's game.
The most recent example is the failed battle to recall Racine Alderman, Jim Kaplan. No one is exactly sure why they were recalling him, least of all the tomato-can, aka. Dr. Ken Yorgan, who served as spokesman for the effort.
First, it was because Kaplan opposed the opening of a bar by recall petition filer, Oscar Bueno. But Bueno got his bar when the licensing committee approved his application. Sooooo, what? Yorgan admitted he hadn't talked to Bueno.
Then, they said it was for abuse of power. The vagueness did not bode well for the effort.
As the representative for the "Racine Equality Project," Yorgan served as the distinguished face for a group of City Hall malcontents - Jim Spodick, Keith Fair, Thomas Holmes, the displaced Wisconsinite, Eric Marcus, their lawyer, Vince Bobot and sometimes, Kate Remmington.
They all hate John Dickert, and that's fine, but their reasons have more to do with running failed businesses and a string of lawsuits than fighting on moral grounds - whatever floats your boat.
They boasted that recalling Kaplan was going to be a cakewalk - and boy, were they wrong.
Recalls are hard in spite of whatever, smirky Robin Vos says. They are NOT all about just getting the signatures and that was Oscar Bueno's big mistake.
Sure, getting signatures takes time - and you only have so much of it. Recalls are about making sure that every signature is unimpeachable and that goes for the petitioner too. If you can impeach the petitioner (the person who circulates the paper) then you can get a whole bunch of signatures tossed.
In a small recall like this one - every signature you can toss is important. Getting a petitioner tossed is golden.
Knowing how to do this makes all the difference between triggering a recall election and just wasting a few Saturday's on a corner.
What failed this vague recall was that Oscar Bueno lied about his residence address. During the recall he moved to a new apartment - but listed his old address on petitions after he moved. His new address would not have disqualified him from collecting signatures - something he probably didn't know or no one told him. However, lying about his address does.
Jim Kaplan got Oscar Bueno's post-move petitions disqualified, putting Bueno four signatures short. Ouch.
Spokesman, Ken Yorgan said learning of Bueno's false address was "surprising." Making him the worst political spokesperson ever.
“The fact that Oscar Bueno made some mistakes — that is really a technicality,” he said."Yeah no, Dr. Yorgan, it's a Class I felony. Seriously, did they even read the recall petition?
Organizers and supporters of Kaplan's recall - all five of them - are disillusioned and disappointed their effort was thwarted by City Hall. They can't believe the City Clerk, Attorney and staff would give credence to this "technicality" and collaborated to avoid it. To this observation, the Siren says:
What did you think was going to happen? How naive can you be?! Of course they got an affidavit from Bueno's former landlord to say he moved - he did!
Kaplan isn't going to just roll over just cause a few people don't like him and City Hall isn't going to just let it happen because once one succeeds the door is now open to more.
Yorgan says they know a few people who are interested in trying to recall Kaplan again - which is loser speak for "I meant to do that." Puhleeze.
The Siren has a word of advice for these people:
John Dickert won his election with 70% of the vote. He's going to be Mayor of Racine for a long time. You better find a way to talk to him or you will be tilting at windmills longer than you imagined. These people have more resources and more friends than you ever will.
If you have a candidate to run against Jim Kaplan, then do it. He's up for re-election in April. But if you think you can elect someone who will vote your way, every time, then this was just the first in a series in hard lessons.
Few system's ever get changed from the outside and not the inside - and frankly, you guys aren't that smart.