Barrett Recall Announced
Curious cast of characters behind effort, which will require 52,000 signatures.
A group that calls itself “Save Our City, Milwaukeeans Can’t Wait” has delivered to City Hall a notice that it intends to launch a recall effort against Mayor Tom Barrett.
The group is headed by recall petitioner Allen Jansen, who lives in the Jackson Park neighborhood, on the city’s South Side. Jansen previously donated $50 each to the mayoral campaigns of both Joe Davis and Bob Donovan, according to Urban Milwaukee’s Political Contributions Tracker. He did not reply to calls for comment.
The group would need to collect approximately 52,000 petition signatures to trigger a recall election against Barrett, who won a fourth term as Mayor last year.
The group listed several reasons to recall Barrett, most notably that he “has directed that tens of millions of City of Milwaukee tax dollars be used for the construction of a downtown trolley at the expense of” other city needs, that he “has not fulfilled his obligation to sufficiently protect the residents of the City of Milwaukee from crime” and that he has not acted to protect residents “from the serious health effects of lead poisoning caused by lead lateral pipes impacting at least 70,000 homes throughout Milwaukee.”
The issues together are reminiscent of those that have been pushed by Republican PR operative Craig Peterson, who backed an unsuccessful referendum effort against the streetcar, backed Davis and Donovan against Barrett, and has worked with Farmer and others on the lead lateral issue. Peterson, however, says he is not involved with the effort. “But I do know the players involved in the recall, and if I were the mayor I’d be concerned,” he said.
Barrett told Urban Milwaukee he was not surprised by the recall. “I had been hearing rumors about this for two or three weeks, that some people who were unhappy with the results of the last election were waiting the required one year before launching a recall effort. So I’m not surprised.”
“Nobody loves a recall,” Barrett added, “but at the same time I welcome the opportunity to talk about the progress we’ve made in Milwaukee.”
The recall is also supported by KINGFISHmke.COM, whose leader Chris Johnson has been a fierce critic of the Barrett administration for not doing more to address the issue of lead laterals, as has its contributing columnist, Robert Miranda, though he says he has no personal position on the recall. Their concern about lead laterals have been echoed by others, who’ve criticized the city for not being proactive enough on the issue.
Barrett said the lead lateral issue “is a strong personal issue for me that we have taken the lead on since day one, since we first discovered the problem. Funding has been an issue and continues to be an issue, but we’ve taken this issue very seriously.”
Correction: an earlier version of this story wrongly called Robert Miranda a co-leader of KINGFISHmke.COM. He is a contributing columnist.