The Racine Common Council Committee of the Whole is recommending a special election for mayor on June 2nd, with a primary May 7th, at a total cost of about $70-thousand, to fill the vacancy left after Gary Becker's resignation amid charges of child porn and teen Internet sex chatter.
Alderman Tom Friedel, in countering talk about an earlier time frame said the extra expense would be worth letting the public learn about the candidates. "In all deference to the technology that's out there, I believe in this community – especially in this community – people want to know and meet the candidates. They want to talk to them, they want to hear them," Friedel said. "I don't think it's in our best interest to rush through this."
"We have fifteen aldermen that are capable of making sure . . . that this city is run properly," said Alderman Q.A. Shakoor, arguing that city government has continued to function and "there's no need to rush." Alderman Mike Shields in reference to the ex-Mayor called the situation a "major disaster" and urged and election as soon as possible. Alderman Robert Mozol spoke against an initial suggestion of a primary in April and general election 4 weeks later. "I think a lot of people were for action quickly on another matter, that's already been taken care of," Mozol said, referring to Becker's resignation earlier this week. "I too feel that we would be rushing this, with probably the most controversial mayoral election that Racine's ever seen."
Alderman Ray DeHahn said it's time to move forward. "Most of the people that are putting their names out there, most of those folks are known," DeHahn said. "I think it's important that we move ahead . . . and start healing, and get over this." The vote to recommend June 2nd as the special election date with a May 7th primary was 10-4. No decision could be reached on naming a new mayor for the interim so Council President David Maack will remain as acting mayor of Racine pending further discussion.