Concerned Citizens of New Berlin’s recall effort “fizzled” reported the Journal Sentinel recently.
Yup, it was a dud. Laura Karvala’s Concerned Citizens of New Berlin group (CCNB) tried to oust Mayor Jack Chiovatero and Alderman Bill Moore from their elected offices and failed to muster our community’s support.
However Ms. Karvala and her group try to spin it, they really can’t get around the fact that CCNB’s plans for a recall were unsuccessful.
Recalls can be costly. CCNB had been willing to spend City funds (obtained from taxpayers) on the recall.
CCNB registered with the City Clerk in May as a political action group. CCNB filed papers with the City in June for the recall attempt, specifically targeting Mayor Chiovatero and Ald. Moore. The Journal Sentinel conveyed that CCNB wanted to drive the mayor out of office over his handling of an affordable housing project proposed for the City Center. In pursuit of its political agenda, CCNB dispersed fliers and recall petitions aplenty.
CCNB reportedly needed 4,821 signatures to force a recall of the mayor and 683 signatures to force a recall of Ald.Moore, and had 60 days to collect signatures. When the time was up, CCNB admitted it had not gotten enough signatures to force a recall.
CCNB contended that Chiovatero and Moore had not acted on behalf of the will of the people regarding the City Center development.
But given CCNB’s failure to collect that number of signatures required to trigger a recall—which is merely a fraction of the population of New Berlin--- one could certainly argue that it is “the will of the people” that Mayor Chiovatero and Ald. Moore remain in office.
Evidently, most New Berlin citizens did not support CCNB’s political agenda--- and CCNB cannot credibly argue otherwise. CCNB’s pleas and arguments failed to persuade them to sign the recall petitions. Vern Bentley’s published letter ( Aug. 12 New Berlin NOW) also failed to garner significant support for a recall.
While under attack by CCNB, Ald. Moore responded via a letter to the editor (Is recall drive a move to quash dissenting voice?, July 8 New Berlin NOW). Moore pointed out that he was not on the Plan Commission and had cast no votes for the MSP development, etc. If the recall against him had moved forward, I bet Moore could have successfully challenged it.
Under attack by CCNB, Mayor Chiovatero opted to mail a letter to New Berlin residents, which states, “Authorized and Paid for by Jack Chiovatero”. But CCNB complained to the District Attorney anyway. CCNB iissued and published a “press release” about it. It’s on their CCNB Web site. In a recently published opinion piece, Ms. Karvala writes that “At the request of our citizens group, the Waukesha County district attorney is investigating the mayor for his questionable use of city resources in a mailing sent to residents.”
Speaking of the District Attorney investigating concerns: Several weeks ago, I discussed with the City Clerk, several concerns I had regarding the paperwork CCNB had filed. For example, the Campaign finance report that CCNB filed on July 20 did not mention any in-kind donations, nor any disbursements (expenditures) whatsoever for its fliers, logo, Web site, different email addresses, or the $75 fee for using the Eisenhower school gym for a meeting June 24. The City Clerk then contacted the Waukesha County District Attorney. She subsequently notified me that the DA requested that I put my concerns in the form of a formal citizen complaint directly to his office and he would investigate. I sent it to him on August 20.
I suppose I could or should communicate this to the community: “At the request of a citizen, the Waukesha County district attorney is investigating Concerned Citizens of New Berlin for their questionable campaign finance reporting.”