RACINE — A recall election aimed at ousting Alderman Jim Kaplan could be scheduled soon.

City Clerk Janice Johnson-Martin on Wednesday confirmed that signatures collected by a group of people looking to remove the alderman from his Fourth District seat had been certified by her office, with at least the minimum required 243 valid signatures.

Asked by The Journal Times how many signatures there were in total, Johnson-Martin refused to provide an answer.

“I am busy. I am not going to take time to do that. They have the 243 and that is all I am required to confirm,” she said.

Following state Government Accountability Board guidelines, the next step in the process will be for City Council to set a recall election date, something it could do as soon as its next meeting on Tuesday.

Under state law, the election date must be set for about six weeks after the date petitions are deemed sufficient.

The only way the council might not set an election date next week is if Kaplan challenges enough signatures to bring the number of unchallenged signatures below 243.

According to Kaplan he has until July 15 — 10 business days after the petitions were certified by the clerk — to go over the signatures, and that’s what he’ll be doing.

An initial challenge

Racine resident Oscar Bueno began circulating petitions in early May to recall Kaplan for what he called the alderman’s “abuse of power.” On June 11, he filed petitions in the City Clerk’s office containing an estimated 312 signatures.

During the weeks that followed, Johnson-Martin reviewed the petitions as part of her role as city clerk, eventually deeming that several signatures were not sufficient. The clerk could not provide an exact number Wednesday but it was enough to bring the number of signatures below the 243 threshold, GAB Spokesman Reid Magney said.

“Initially (she) contacted us about questions she had about some of the signatures. We provided some guidance to her. At some point (she) may have determined that there were not enough sufficient signatures at which point we heard from the recall committee,” Magney said.

Some of the issues raised about signatures and petition sheets were problems with incomplete dates and addresses, Magney said. There were also some questions about whether some of the signers lived in the district.

The GAB advised the group about its ability to rehabilitate signatures by providing — via signed affidavits — the missing information, he said. That is what Bueno and those who helped him circulate the petitions did.

Magney did not have information about when Johnson-Martin and the recall group contacted the GAB, how many signatures were initially deemed insufficient by the clerk or how many affidavits were filed.

After an initial interview Wednesday afternoon, an additional attempt to reach Johnson-Martin to obtain that information was unsuccessful, and Bueno said he wasn’t sure.


“I think it is a total waste of money,” Kaplan said of the recall effort Wednesday, adding that he has no idea why the group still wanted to recall him.

Among Bueno’s complaints against Kaplan is an allegation that the alderman abused his power when he opposed giving a liquor license to a tavern called the R & B Latin Club that wants to open at 1600 Douglas Ave.

“The license was approved by Public Safety and Licensing (Committee). It was approved by the City Council. When you get your way why would you waste Racine taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars with an unnecessary recall. And I am up for election next April,” Kaplan said. “It seems really selfish to me.”

Asked about the issue, Bueno said the recall is about more than the bar.

“We talked to people in the district ... they thought he was not doing his job right,” he said.

(13) comments

Penny Sharp

To Urban Pioneer: You must not attend city council meetings very often. Jim Kaplan ripped up his union card at a council meeting for all to see. Why bring us into this? I helped his opponent for County Board and guess what....the opponent won!

This should be a clear warning to all council members that when spending other peoples money; you had better do it wisely or you will be on the recall hit list.

I have nothing to do with the Recall efforts against Kaplan, yet...........

Comment deleted.

The WI constitution allows for recalls. That is a fact. We, the people who hire these politicians to do a job, need to be able to "fire" them when they aren't listening to their "boss". Our constitution allows us to recall a politician for these reasons. Thank goodnesss! Would you, at your job, keep disregarding your boss and his/her wishes? And expect to keep your job? No.

I understand that there is a cost involved to run a recall election. Again, Let's place blame on the politician. I agree that resigning would be the respectful thing to do if money were truly the issue. We shall see in this case if Kaplan really cares about money. Somehow I doubt it.

For those people who are against recalls in general....either advocate for a change in the WI constitution or move somewhere that doesn't allow for recalls. But the fact remains that it is within our rights in the WI constitution to formulate a recall on a politician. I, for one, am glad we have that ability to hold politicians in check. Maybe they would listen to their constituents and try to find a better balance in the decisions they make on our behalf if they realized that the "god complex" many of them get in their positions comes with a condition of possibly losing that position.


Come-on you guys.

You Wish

“I think it is a total waste of money,” Kaplan said of the recall effort Wednesday.

REALLY? Now all of a sudden this guy gives a rip about wasteful spending within the city?

On that comment alone he has to go.

Can't "waste" money on a re-call election, but he can agree to spend half a MILLION dollars on a crapper inside of City Hall and OVER ONE MILLION dollars to paint the Main Street bridge?

I'm noticing that clowns in this city don't wear face paint.


I have a guy???? I don't have a guy nor do I know of any "guy" that would be running. I do however know of 2 very smart, honest women who live in the 4th that will be entering the election. But more importantly, is ousting Kaplan due to his abuse of power and failure to do his job and represent the 4th district. Now, will Kaplan do the honest, responsible thing and step down and RESIGN, saving the money and saving the city resources, or will he be selfish, self centered and ignore the will of the people? The people have spoken!

Urban Pioneer

The problem PrimeTime and Green and SlumDogg, is the guy you are putting up against Kaplan doesn't have a clue why he wants to be Alderman or what he would do differently. Nice enough guy. Kaplans problem is he claims to be more or less conservative, but then he spend taxpayers money like a liberal. He feels his empathy having been a city worker will buy him some cover. Maybe it will. Will the Scott and Penny Sharp and Local 67 show up and throw some support to Kaplan? I think he has kept the interests of their Union members in his voting support. So the question is..what do you hope to get with a new guy, that couldn't have waited until April?


How many city employees live in the city? REMEMBER - John made it a Sanctuary City.

Where is the Hispanic District represented on Douglas Ave.?

Those people hardly fit onto the Democratic Plantation. They work.

City Hall Monitor

The only waste of money is all of OUR MONEY YOU WASTED AWAY with your corruption and greed under your watch as president of city council. There are a wide range of instances of ethics violations, discrimination, and abuse of power to say the least, but of course your kangaroo court of Friends and Family won't hear of it because they only want to keep you in charge to keep cutting the checks their way.

This is a good step toward fixing the city. Next to go should be your yes-men buddies Helding, Shakoor, McCarthy, Wiser, Hart, and DeHahn. Then we can finally eliminate the City Administrator position and start looking at Dept. Heads that are in on the fix while taking home six figure salaries and benefits.

What positive things have you done for the community? NOTHING!

What negative things have you done for the community? Hmm, let's check the list:

- Bid rigging, discrimination and unfair business practices
- Unfair property taxes and assessments (and resulting lawsuits)
- Removing streetlights (still going through despite all the opposition)
- Increased recycling and service fees (still going up despite promising it would not)
- Unnecessary cuts to essential services like Police & Fire (despite all the opposition)
- Porters $1.2 Million Giveaway (nothing to show for it)
- Delta Hawk Giveaway (nothing to show for it)
- CAR25 Giveaway and increased spending (see bid rigging)
- Uptown demolition and wasteful spending (see bid rigging)
- Unnecessary City Hall Bathrooms & Renovation (paying friends)
- Excessive Zoo subsidies while still increasing fees (paying more friends)
- Unnecessary City Hall roundabout (paying friends yet again)
- Excessive charges to residents for streets, sidewalks, and landscaping
- Failing school system (and failing school board)
- Unnecessary cuts to public transportation (where are bus ad revenues going?)
- Mass exodus of residents and businesses (with outdated population signs)
- Elitism and special rules to favor Aldermen (including guns in Council Chambers)
- Censorship, slander and libel against community members
- Begging local churches and nonprofits to donate money to the city
- Excessive cronyism, favoritism, and back room deals
- No real plan for recovery (see bond rating downgrade)
- Hiring consultants for jobs that should be done by staff
- Incompetent City Administrator and Finance Director
- Pushed through union contracts (plus legal fees) without waiting for Act 10
- Lost potential contracts for water service due to arrogance
- Unnecessary hurdles for local businesses
- Violation of open meeting laws
- Violation of city ordinances and state statutes
- Complete lack of ethics, even by the Ethics Board itself
- Overpaid positions and benefits for City Staff, Mayor & Aldermen
- Continuous and excessive debt service (over 25 cents of every dollar)
- Excessive tax rates to deter any new residents and businesses
- No new development (besides liquor stores and discount shops)
- Massive amounts of foreclosures and pending foreclosures
- Free fall of home and property values toward ZERO for those that remain
- Rampant corruption and disregard for the community
- Lies

Vote for your favorites (or add to the list)!


Lets not forget the No Parking signs he had put up in front of his home so the teachers couldnt park there...Things like this go on all the time so lets recall and fire all that get these nice perks.


“I am busy. I am not going to take time to do that. They have the 243 and that is all I am required to confirm,” she said.

Sour Grapes!

“I think it is a total waste of money,” Kaplan said of the recall effort Wednesday, adding that he has no idea why the group still wanted to recall him.

Well Jim, when you are a large part of the problem - it's simply human nature to deny that the solution would be to remove you from office. Thanks to your incompetence, you have made Racine Tax Hades - and created a mini-Detroit.

Jim, you've wasted tens of millions of $$$, thrown your neighbors out of their homes and businesses with your reckless borrow and spend (for what) and run up a debt that financially cripples future generations with your largesse. You are clueless.

Who's going to manage Racine's looming Default?


I don't think the residents know what they want, but a very few just don't want Jim Kaplan, but their OWN person in office....right GR ?


Kaplan, your comments are EXACTLY why the people want you removed! Remember your last comments of " Those signatures are from people who do not even live in the district" Well guess what Kaplan, more people want you out of office than want you in, now it's time to STOP COSTING THIS CITY MONEY AND RESIGN!!!!! You Jim Kaplan can stop this madness and serve the people for once and just RESIGN! This doesn't have to cost the taxpayers or the city one dime if you just RESIGN. The time to stop being in denial and blaming others is over Kaplan, stop wasting city money, do the right thing and just RESIGN!

Green Racinereal

The residents want an Alderman NOT a Mayor Dickert Puppet.

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