RACINE COUNTY — In front of Todd Nelson’s Caledonia home, he had a recall Walker sign posted last week. But when he woke up on Thanksgiving, the recall portion of the sign was cut off and just the Walker part remained, as if he were a Walker supporter, said Nelson, 60, a retired Racine County human services worker.
“It’s a shame in this country, where we have freedom of speech, yet people try to deprive us of our right to express our opinion,” he said.
That is one example of the alleged inappropriate activities that have been going on since the recall campaign against Gov. Scott Walker officially launched two weeks ago.
Kelly Gallaher, the organizer for the local progressive group Community for Change, said when she was with a group of people on Friday near a laundromat by River Run Family Restaurant, 3616 Northwestern Ave., someone sped directly at a group of organizers. People ran out of the way, she said. “It was that close,” Gallaher said.
Also on Saturday, a driver deliberately backed his vehicle toward people collecting signatures outside All Sports Pub, 3458 Rapids Drive, Gallaher said. That same day, Gallaher said someone threw a big glass of soda or some other drink at a man collecting signatures outside the Social Security Office, 4020 Durand Ave.
“It’s concerning,” Gallaher said. “My biggest fear is that someone is going to get hurt.”
Bill Folk, chairman of the Racine County Republican Party, said he couldn’t comment on the specific allegations without confirmation that they happened.
“I would never assume anyone would do such a thing,” Folk said. But if it’s true, he said, “I’m appalled… It should not be done.”
Also, people could end up with citations for their actions. Over the past week, the Caledonia Police Department received two complaints about destroyed recall Walker signs, Lt. Gary Larsen said.
“We usually see a little bit of that during any election cycle,” Larsen said. But anyone doing this is subject to a $447.90 citation for criminal damage, he said.
“You don’t have to agree with someone’s views, but you need to leave their stuff alone,” Larsen said. “People have a right to have signs on their property.”
While Folk has not heard directly about people harassing people collecting recall signatures, he said he has heard complaints about people collecting signatures on property where they shouldn’t be, which concerns him.
“If they are not getting permission from the business owners, it’s exposing the business owners to a political segment they may or may not agree with,” Folk said. “They are putting a business owner in an awkward situation politically.”
Gallaher said “I cannot speak for all of the volunteers,” but she said people did have permission to be at three locations where she said the inappropriate activities happened, such as the alleged soda incident.
Where to go to sign petitions, report complaints
To sign petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, people can go to the Racine Labor Center, 2100 Layard Ave.
It is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Also the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's website keeps a running list of recall events around the state. To view the list go to www.wisdems.org, click on the "events" tab and enter your ZIP code.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin has set up a Recall Integrity Center hotline at (608) 257-8032, for reports from the public of any fraud or intimidation. For more information go to: