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Walker Recall Petitioners Find Their Place — On the Sidewalk

With most municipalities prohibiting political activity in public buildings, and businesses trying to stay neutral, volunteers must take to public sidewalks to collect signatures.

In her first 15 minutes stationed outside of store in Shorewood, Karen Morris-Cetin collected five signatures from passers-by for her petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker.

Her folding chair, with the back cushion removed and replaced with a "Recall Walker" sign, stood on the public sidewalk — one of the only places in the North Shore where petition holders are allowed.

Of every public building in Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, Fox Point, Bayside, Port Washington and Saukville, the only place people have been allowed to collect signatures is in the lobby of the , due to a precedence of campaigning there.

“The library in the past has been used for political activity,” Shorewood Village Manager Chris Swartz explained. “We either have to say 'yes' to everything or 'no' to everything, but we can’t be picking and choosing.”

Banned from collecting signatures in public buildings in Port Washington and Saukville, groups of petitioners have gathered in downtown Port Washington on the sidewalk along West Grand Avenue — carrying recall posters and prompting honks of support from passing traffic.

According to a memorandum from Kevin Kennedy, director and general counsel for the state's Government Accountability Board, there is no statute governing the use of government buildings for political activity, and it is up to local communities to decide what to allow.

In Whitefish Bay, for example, officials have established rules prohibiting political meetings defined as "gatherings for candidacy for a person or a party" in village hall. Village Manager Patrick DeGrave said he considers collecting recall signatures to meet that definition.

So the petitioners, , have kept mostly to the sidewalks.

But even there, they occasionally step onto the private property of businesses and have bothered some customers and managers who want to keep politics out of their establishments.

manager Frank McGlockin said the store has asked the Shorewood police to investigate the presence of the recall petitioners, but police said they are allowed to collect signatures outside the Oakland Avenue store as long as they stay on the public sidewalk.

McGlockin said some people have crossed the line onto the store property and managers have asked them to move back to the sidewalk.

"I don't care for it; I wish they would go elsewhere,” McGlockin said. "We're not a political entity. We're neutral, and we don't want to upset one group of our customers over the petition … But they are protected by the constitution to be on a public sidewalk."

McGlockin said about two customers per day complain about the recall volunteers outside the store.

"They say they don't want to be bombarded when they're coming into the store,” McGlockin said.

Many businesses consider collecting signatures to be a form of solicitation and prohibit it by policy on their grounds, though they can't force petitioners off the sidewalk.

Bayshore Town Center, while permeated with busy sidewalks, is privately owned and can decide who to allow on the walkways on its grounds. According to marketing manager M.P. Theriault, Bayshore prohibits solicitation and has told the Democratic Party of Wisconsin not to collect signatures there — a request she said they have respected.

Looking to field more serious complaints about petitioner behavior, the Republican Party of Wisconsin set up the Recall Integrity Center, a hotline for concerns about suspicious behavior in collecting signatures.

"The Republican Party of Wisconsin has been alerted to multiple instances of misconduct by means of the RIC, including the use of government resources to communicate documents pertaining to the recall effort, as well as multiple online communications regarding potential recall petition fraud on the part of Wisconsin Democrats," Ben Sparks, communications director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, said in a statement.

But Graeme Zielinski, communications director for the state Democratic Party, said most petitioners have cooperated with local business and are abiding by what the business owners ask, which is to not badger and harass customers.

“A lot of businesses support us and the process has been smooth,” Zielinski said. “Republicans are just trying to show there is a problem with petitioners and businesses.”

Morris-Cetin, who has collected signatures in Glendale and Shorewood, said the hasn't had any major issues, and her biggest conflicts are with individuals walking or driving by who disapprove of the recall.

"Scott Walker has totally polarized the state," she said. " My sister and I cannot even discuss this. To me, that's sad."

Sam Vedder December 06, 2011 at 09:44 PM
Yes Dave Koven... can I help you?
Dave Koven December 06, 2011 at 09:58 PM
Sam Vedder...You have just floated off into "cloud cuckoo land". The Borg collective? 9/11 an inside job? And you think my ideas are strange?
Dave Koven December 06, 2011 at 09:59 PM
AWD...Thanks for the deep thought.
Bob McBride December 06, 2011 at 11:20 PM
The $250 a month for family coverage is a bargain compared to what many are paying, "Aaron". As for how do you do it? Do it the same way I did when I took a 20% pay cut AND an increase in the amount I contributed towards my high-deductable insurance in 2007. Budget and cut back while you look for something else.
Lyle Ruble December 06, 2011 at 11:51 PM
@Sam Vedder & Ima Hippee...If the Patch is such a "left wing rag", then why do people on the right even read it, blog on it or comment on it?
Bob McBride December 06, 2011 at 11:56 PM
Generally if both sides think it's biased one way or the other, it's a pretty good indication it's just about right. Then again, Lyle, you seem to have completely ignored Vicki's misinterpretation of it being overrun by those on the right. Is that because that's what you believe as well?
Ima Hippee December 07, 2011 at 12:02 AM
Lyle - I don't think anyone called it a left wing rag. I was enlightening Ms. Vicki on the genesis of Patch and the owner. As for reading and comments - I think it is good to have balance. In addition, keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
Lyle Ruble December 07, 2011 at 12:04 AM
@Sam Vedder...Healthcare costs have been rising constantly for the last 35 years and exploded during the Reagan years and not slowing down. When are we, as a society, going to stop this theft by the healthcare industry?
Keith Schmitz December 07, 2011 at 12:28 AM
You're such a sensitive flower child aren't you. Your turn. So what is the valid reason for conceal carry other than catering to a certain class and so the gun industry can sell more of their product at the expense of our civilization.
Keith Schmitz December 07, 2011 at 12:34 AM
"If you had a clue?" And you're acting sensitive. Furthermore you have no answer about my comment on unions. From what I gather Greg there are going to be thousands of taxpayers out there with no voice thanks to voter ID. What is really disgusting is the way Walker and the GOP is pitting one part of the middle class against the other. But this is what we expect from this incompetent loser we have as governor.
Keith Schmitz December 07, 2011 at 12:36 AM
If IMA whatever doesn't get it then I must have said something right. But who am I to get between you and the abuser you love.
Desiree Erickson December 07, 2011 at 04:01 PM
Thank you!
Sam Vedder December 07, 2011 at 04:39 PM
@ Dave Koven... These ARE your ideas. You are the one propping of Keith Schmitz and agreeing with his "predator capitalists are designing a system to prevent you from becoming rich. These supporters of the rich are in effect becoming the suicide bombers of capitalism, expecting to meet the nonexistent 75 virgins on the other side." Really? This is the guy you want to hitch your wagon to? I guess I need to dumb this down for you Dave. Keith believes he is being held down "by the man" and thinks rich people keep him poor. Anyone (you) who believes that probably believes 911 was an inside job. You believe that you need a union to speak for you. The Borg collective may be lost reference on you, but it is a "group think" mentality that the union uses to squash individual thought. The "we know better than you, and you are nothing without us" mentality that powers unions. I really hope this helps you understand Dave, but I'm not holding my Breath. (saying that "I won't hold my breath" is just an expression meaning I don't think you will understand, so I won't hold my breath because I would pass out from holding my breath so long... get it?).
Dave Koven December 07, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Sam Vedder...Make it so, number one, and don't step in any number two. LOL
Keith Schmitz December 07, 2011 at 05:38 PM
Like all righties you make assumptions. I'm not poor. I'm certainly not resentful but no doubt that is you projecting, because you seem awfully resentful towards public employees based on things your echo chamber makes up. Me personally, I'm not held down. But the person who has to work two jobs because of artificial wages is being held down. The person who is in deep debt hole because of medical expenses is being held down. The person who was talked into taking a subprime and has low lost their how is being held down. The student who has a pile of student loan debt and now no decent job is being held down. The inner city resident who has been cut off from mass transit thanks to our numbnutz governor is being held down. And this woman -- http://www.bluecheddar.net/2011/12/07/that-fascist-bastard-scott-walker/ -- is being held down because of the nitwits in the GOP who want to take away her right to vote is being held down. Do some googling. Social mobility in this country is falling behind the rest of the world, including England, WHERE THEY HAVE AN ARISTOCRACY! And I don't belong to a union. You assume an awful lot and that is probably the way you digest "information." It would pay you and us if you'd get outside of your FOX "News" bubble and do a lot more reading and a lot less assuming. In other words, stop exemplifying the definition of the word assume.
235301 December 07, 2011 at 05:39 PM
@Sam....stop you are turning purple. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the ultimate hero of the socialists: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVgYJ_8MZKs It's always someone else's fault, it's always someone else's responsibility.
Greg December 07, 2011 at 06:12 PM
No one is taking away anyones right to vote. How do you spend $200 to correct a birth certificate? Olbermann lies. The other "held down" issues are Obama issues. You sir have just moved up to number 1 moron. Congrats.
Keith Schmitz December 08, 2011 at 12:13 AM
Wow, from you that's like being accused of having bad hair by Donald Trump.
Greg December 08, 2011 at 12:24 AM
Nope, more like being promoted to number 1 moron by Donald Trump.
Keith Schmitz December 08, 2011 at 01:48 AM
Well then here, I know it's not FOX "News" which we know is incredibly true and accurate, but read about Ruthelle Frank in the Wausau Herald -- http://tinyurl.com/bls7b5t. BTW -- Olbermann is rarely wrong. My late mother-in-law was incredibly active politically and she would not be allowed to vote because she did not drive. I hope it's Obey running for governor because he'd wipe the floor with Walker's hapless behind. It is just disgusting what the numbskull hacks in the GOP are doing to make it difficult from someone like this to vote. Pearl Harbor day reminds us that people died to protect this right. Now we have a bunch of confederate wannabes doing their best to take it away. Nobody is so naive to believe that this is being done to protect the vote. Bet you cannot come up with even one person who lost their right to vote because someone stole their identity. Or is all you have are mindless insults for a comeback?
Greg December 08, 2011 at 04:06 AM
OK I'll play. What does your late mother-in-law not driving have to do with her voting? When you're done with that, please explain the other "held down"/Walker connections.
Bob McBride December 08, 2011 at 02:31 PM
Keith's absolutely right. The Voter ID law is about keeping his or anyone else's late mother-in-law from voting.
Keith Schmitz December 08, 2011 at 02:37 PM
You can't be that much of an idiot Greg. Or...? She didn't have a driver's license. As for the rest, how can you explain things like this to someone whose into serfing. Bob can explain that to you what that's like since he doesn't get out of the house.
Bob McBride December 08, 2011 at 05:05 PM
What Keith's trying to say is that since she didn't have a driver's license, she would be SOL in terms of getting an ID and, hence, be unable to vote because, apparently, no one in her family would have been able to take the time to help her. How she managed to get through the rest of her daily life unassisted without a drivers license is a complete mystery, but for sure she would have been unable to vote. Republicans - baaadddd. Grassroot lefties - too busy being lefties to help the family.
235301 December 08, 2011 at 07:24 PM
@Bob: Kind of reminds you of the incident a few years ago in Europe when they had the heat wave and so many elderly people died. Their relatives were all off on holiday and too busy to check in on Grandma. But, yes, they are wonderful socialist paradises with universal healthcare. A true beacon of light for us to emulate. Shameful, really.
Greg December 08, 2011 at 07:30 PM
I understand what he is trying to say, not that he is doing a very good job of saying it. Saying that your dead relitive can't vote really is not going to move my position much. I understand most democrats think the dead should be able to vote, as many have, but that just makes a better case for voter ID. At one point you didn't even need a DL to drive, back when Kieth's MIL was young, but times change. Back then women probably could not vote -preiod-, but times change. Now the law requires you to prove who you are, not dead and all, times have changed. Get over it.
Greg December 08, 2011 at 07:47 PM
Just to be clear, I am not equating the Right to Vote with the driving privilege. So don't bother jumping on that one. Just using the DL because Kieth's comment used it. I am pretty clear on the other forms of photo ID, that have nothing to do with driving. A death certificate will not be accepted, they don't have photo's.
Sam Vedder December 08, 2011 at 07:49 PM
@ Keith... So you're the one that watches Olbermann. There is a reason his ratings are horrible. It's cause he's NEVER right. He even lies about the college he attended. You have lost all credibility (like you ever had any) if you defend Keith Freak'n Olbermann - The worst person in the world! Please answer the question: explain how your mother-in-law not having a drivers license has anything do with her ability to vote? By the way Keith; you are a hypocrite of the worst kind. You accuse me of making assumptions about you and then in the same rant you make assumptions about me. By I guess, in typical liberal fashion, those rules only apply to other people and not you. Keep it up Keith, you are well on your way to take over Olbermann's spot as "Worst Person in the World." Although, we may expand it for you.
Greg December 08, 2011 at 08:07 PM
The vote to allow Keith's MIL to vote: The key vote came on June 4, 1919, when the Senate approved the amendment by 56 to 25 after four hours of debate, during which Democratic Senators opposed to the amendment filibustered to prevent a roll call until their absent Senators could be protected by pairs. The Ayes included 36 (82%) Republicans and 20 (54%) Democrats. The Nays comprised 8 (18%) Republicans and 17 (46%) Democrats. It was ratified by sufficient states in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment, which prohibited state or federal gender-based restrictions on voting. Thank god for the republicans, people like Keith would never have given her the right in the first place.
Mike December 10, 2011 at 01:12 PM
Keith definitely made my day by talking about his LATE mother in law not being able to vote. Another strong liberal arguement about voter suppresion of the dead.

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