Dave Reid

Recall? I don’t think so.

By - Nov 3rd, 2009 09:04 am
Nik Kovac

Nik Kovac

It seems every month there is another recall proposed.  It might be lead by the Citizens for Responsible Government (CRG), because they disagree with Governor Jim Doyle‘s policies, or it could be some members of the left debating a recall of Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker.  But, regardless of party it seems that in Wisconsin anytime a group disagrees with a politician on a position or policy the talk of a recall pops up.  The most recent example of this overzealousness is the CRG backed recall of Alderman Nik Kovac.  In fact, it was the mere sponsoring the Rental Property Inspection ordinance that prompted Third District resident, Matthew Davis, and CRG to begin the process to recall Alderman Kovac.  To be fair I should point out that we supported other candidates for the Third District Aldermanic seat.  Jeramey, supported Sam McGovern-Rowen, while I worked on John Connelly‘s campaign, and I’m sure we both thought we had the better candidate, but this is too much.

Clearly, there is a time, and a place for a recall.  For example, when Alderman Michael McGee was recalled, the list of complaints against him was long and included the likes of resisting arrest, threatening a woman, possibly perjury, and the improper use of an alias.  A recall certainly was warranted, but simply disagreeing with a policy or position of an elected official is not or should not be grounds for a recall.

If we disagree with Alderman Kovac, or any politician we will certainly write about it here at UrbanMilwaukee.com.  Further, I’d suggest if you disagree with an elected official, attend public meetings to have your voice heard, get out and work on the next campaign to have them ousted, or run yourself, but recalls because we disagree with a single position or policy?  No.

UPDATE: Despite the press release from CRG/Matthew Davis stating “The committee will study all statutory options available to citizens including removal via recall and general elections.” they ended up not filing a recall committee which is good.


14 thoughts on “Recall? I don’t think so.”

  1. Bryan Buchs says:

    What a joke! I was a supporter of another candidate before Alderman Kovac was elected, but he’s been a fantastic representative for those of us in his district. Luckily the majority of these “recall” efforts go nowhere beyond a press release and 10% of the signatures needed to move ahead.

  2. Mike Poe says:

    Wow, I had no idea there were politicians who could not please 100 percent of the voting public.

    Your last sentence says it all.

  3. SF says:

    Wasn’t Kovac backed by CRG when he got elected?


    “What is most ironic is that CRG Network actually provided assistance to a citizen group that endorsed Mr. Kovac in his successful bid for office.”

    Ironic indeed. This seems like a good ordinance, maybe Kovac left his CRG ways? I guess the ends justify the means…

  4. Dave Reid says:

    @SF My guess is that the support he received from CRG revolved around on particular issue, but yes that does make the situation even stranger.

  5. Dan Knauss says:

    I think Nik has learned the enemy of his enemy is not his friend.

  6. Jeff Jordan says:

    Nic’s rising profile and accomplishments in his first term are enviable. Crackpot organizations that still preach the government is the enemy is one of the big reasons we are in the mess we are in. Objection to policy, noted. Recall, you have to be kidding. Don’t cry wolf to often or nobody will listen when one actually appears.

  7. Dave Reid says:

    @Jeff Right when there is someone who honestly needs to be recalled all of this crying wolf will hurt that effort.

  8. Chris says:

    Should we expect any less of an extremist group like CRG? They’re reactionary “thinking” rarely goes beyond skin deep.

  9. Dan Knauss says:

    Yes, the right to grow plants up to 3′ high along the curb is an unprecedented achievement. The landlord leash-law is a little more valuable to neighborhood stability, IMHO. I’m ready to support Nik on that if he’s really going to bat for it. At the ZND meeting he seemed to be riding much fence.

    There are many reactive groups that “cry wolf” all the time and try to use the most extreme rhetorical and political methods they can, but yes CRG is the one that does views the recall as a tool to use frequently.

    It’s interesting that CRG might be a wholly suburban/exurban focused organization if not for Seymer’s landlording and the ties that led to. Seymer was previously president of the AASEW, correct? I heard he ran it into the ground and they lost membership. Now Tristan Pettit and Tim Ballering are running the show.

    How many of these people actually live in the city? Are they going to focus on getting signatures and votes from students/tenants? Have these low-class, low-brainpower outsider-exploiter parasites ever succeeded at any of their plots in the city? I guess they feel they got Nik elected, but other than that…?

    Pettit is definitely a much better front-office man than Seymer. He has the sense to keep his complicity with Ballering’s Seymer-like agitprop antics subtle:
    He tends to know what he is actually talking about when the subject isn’t the certification program. His legal advice and documents for WI Legal Blank have certainly helped me, and I wonder if he is just politically wedded to the CRG knobs. At ZND Pettit looked embarrassed, spoke very briefly and unmemorably. Seemed like he wanted to get away fast. Judging by the speakers there, the AASEW did not seem to turn out many people.

  10. A couple of points just for the record. Given that much of the above commentary is jaded, pejorative or just plain inaccurate, please forgive me if a little sarcasm bleeds through.

    1. CRG is an all-volunteer organization. As such, we have little time to look for trouble. People come to us. If we have time (you know, we have jobs, families, and all) and we have resources (thankfully innovation, experience, and efficiency keep costs low) we will help citizens pursue fiscally conservative issues.

    2. There is no recall of Alderman Kovac. A modicum of research using the open records law or even so much as a simple phone call to CRG (it is listed on our website) would reveal that the PAC created by one of Mr. Kovac’s constituents is a “Resident Committee” not a recall committee. As such, it cannot, per statutes, start a recall. It can, however, work to replace Mr. Kovac at the next election. Although we may disagree on the proper application of recall, I doubt many serious American’s would have a problem with using the electoral process.

    3. CRG did indeed provide assistance to a group that endorsed Mr. Kovac. Whether his constituents keep or replace him, via election or recall, is none of our business. What is our business is to teach citizens how to take control of their government. Our only criteria is that the motivating issue be related to fiscal conservatism, property rights, or political corruption and that the effort be led by consitutents within the political jusridiction in question (no carpetbagging). We have even helped opposing groups on the same issue.

    At the end of the day all I see here is name-calling, distorted facts, and whining when a group with fiscally conservative values (CRG does not get involved on social issues unless there is a fiscal component) fights as relentlessly as the opposition. At the risk of demonstrating a little hubris, I suppose if we were not making any waves, no one would be talking about us. With that in mind, we will make the following compromise. We’ll keep doing things and others can keep talking about us.


    Chris Kliesmet
    CRG Network

    P.S. FYI, we have endorsed both Republicans and Democrats and even helped people increase taxes (no, not all taxes are bad). Name another group who can make that claim. Like it or not we are all in this together. Why let politicians on both sides of the aisle divide us? Anyone brave enough to at least talk – if so, call! I’ll bet we’ll find agreement or suitable compromise on plenty of issues. Or, we can keep fighting while the politicians keep laughing. It’s your choice. Imagine what could be accomplished! Yes, the first few ambassadors on both sides will probably be attacked by party apparatchiks (ask any major party tool – they all dislike CRG – Republican and Democrat alike), but hey, that’s where the “brave” part comes in! Anyone even the least bit curious about the mysterious and dreaded “CRG monsters” you keep hearing about?

  11. Dave Reid says:

    @Chris To some extent I stand corrected (and I guess the Journal Sentinel as they reported it as well), as I take it the recall idea was dropped (I wonder why?). Good. That said I’ll say the press release I have with your name on it, and that in fact quotes you reads:

    “The committee will study all statutory options available to citizens including removal via recall and general elections.”

    So my point is still certainly valid, that this just isn’t worthy of a recall.

    PS I thought the discussion on the left of a recall of Executive Walker was just as ridiculous.

  12. Dan Knauss says:

    @Kliesmet: You bet it’s pejorative. Seymer showing up at neighborhood association meetings where he suspected conservation overlays were being discussed, Kaye’s bogus RICO suit–this was carpetbagging and a whole lot more.

    So you want friends and allies in the city, students to tutor how to take control of their government? What should we think is out of control? What are you offering? Manpower? Money? An army of scarecrows?

  13. Dan:

    In my experience people generally disagree on only 20% of things but often let their egos get in the way of accomplishing the 80% they agree on. Heck, I’ve had people tell me they agree with me 99% but won’t work with me until I give that last 1%. On the other hand I have worked with people who disagree with me 99% yet still work together to get that 1% done (quite effectively I might add).

    There is certainly a heated competition going on. But watch any NFL Football game. The players will do whatever the rules allow to win including goading the opposition and calling them names. But watch what happens when the game ends. They take off their helmets to reveal not just numbers and team colors but real people. They meet at the 50 yard line and ocassionally join in prayer – happy for the opportunity to even be in the game at all!

    I cannot guarantee what might happen if some of us step off the field of battle to discuss things. All I can do is offer my open hand. You can either shake it or spit in it. It’s your choice!


    Chris K.

  14. Dave:

    I don’t know that the idea of a recall was dropped per se. Of course, it’s tactically best to have all the options on the table in any competition. A recall is just not legally possible as the paperwork for the committee was filed – although it could always be refiled. Like you, I personally think there is more to be gained through a standing committee working toward the next election but that is not my call – just my recommendation. The final authority belongs to the citizens – individually and collectively – of the Third Aldermanic District. Either way, CRG will provide the best advice and tools it can to help them achieve their goals.

    The sometimes painful fact is that if there is a mistake to be made it is the citizens to make and no one elses. But, painful mistakes are often life’s best teacher. Frankly, I believe it is time for more people to go out and get that experience. Better to make small mistakes now than much bigger mistakes later.


    Chris K.

    P.S. As a side note, CRG has only filed one recall in its existence – the Ament recall. All others were filed and run by other citizen groups albeit with our technical assistance.

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