I have carefully stayed out, at least publicly, of national, state, county and school issues as mayor. I think that is the right thing to do. Nobody wants to hear from me on issues that have nothing to do with why I was elected.
I have made exceptions only when something has a real impact on the operation or ordinances of the city. Therefore, I thought long and hard before deciding to say anything about the recall.
If the very same issues were raised during a regularly scheduled election, I would not have commented publicly. Whether I agree or disagree on the issues raised, they are fair game in a regularly scheduled election. Moreover, I do not believe that I have any particular knowledge regarding these issues. Like most residents, I have opinions, but they are not entitled to any more weight than anyone else’s.
However, the recall process has direct impacts on the city. Even though the city will be reimbursed, a sizable number of staff will be taken away from their regular responsibilities over the next month, causing the clerk’s office to be delayed in other responsibilities. Moreover, if this becomes a regular occurrence (remember, this is the second recall effort in as many years), it will impact the city’s staffing. I expect, if this recall is successful, there will be more. Finally, this recall has impacted how everyone approaches government on all levels.
I firmly believe, as the letter I signed states:
“Recall elections are an important tool in a democracy. There must be a way for voters to remove elected officials who have used their office for personal gain, who have committed crimes, fraud or some other malfeasance or misconduct, or who unambiguously lied to achieve office.
There have been none of those allegations. Instead, the recall organizers have raised policy concerns. Policy differences, even those that are serious, should be resolved at regularly scheduled elections.”
Contrary to the assertions of some, I am not engaging in political gamesmanship (although I will never be able to convince them of that). My position is consistent with the position I took during the Scott Walker and Alberta Darling recalls. Here is some of what I posted on Facebook at the time of the Walker recall.
My position has not changed. I wonder how many of my fellow Walker-supporters who argued that was an improper use of the recall process are being consistent?
I have received all sorts of reminders that my seat is up for election in April. I recognize that. I have neither announced I am running nor announced I am not. That does not matter (it never has with respect to any decision I have made or position I have taken).
It obviously would have been easier for me if I had stayed quiet. However, I try to do the right thing, and the chips will fall where they might when and if I decide to run. I have a lot of faith in the people of Mequon to elect a good representative in April.