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County's Top Cop lies about signatures

Incompetent Election Commission puts Sheriff David Clarke on the ballot for Mayor anyway

The Emperor has no clothes.

Last month, Sheriff David Clarke made that completely obvious when he first lied about how many signatures he had, and then submitted less than he needed.  Only though incompetence of election commissioners did he manage to get on the ballot.

Clarke’s blatantly Republican loyalties have earned him the love of talk radio show hosts.  But if republican radio is going to provide free advertising for him day in and day out, they should at least be consistent in their message. 

After all, Republicans claimed that the Clinton impeachment hearings were all about lying and not really about sex.  What message does this send to our children -- that it’s ok to lie?  At least that was their whine, as though their failure to teach their children morals was the entire responsibility of a politician.  But to use that same twisted logic, what does it say when the Clarke campaign says they have 5000 nomination signatures and then shows up at City Hall with less than the 1500 valid signatures needed to get on the ballot? 

That’s right.  Clarke submitted less signatures than were needed and an incompetent election commission still put him on the ballot. 

He submitted signatures from Racine, Glendale, Franklin, Wauwatosa and even Massachusetts!  He submitted signatures that put peoples residences as PO Boxes, a banana factory, a church, office buildings and even one signature of someone who put The Rave nightclub as their address.  Clarke even managed to get one woman who signed to perjure herself by swearing in an affidavit that she lived at a Milwaukee address when her soon to be ex-husband pointed out that they have been estranged for a year and she has not been living where she claimed. 

Credit for pointing out these gaffes belongs solely to Mayoral hopeful Vince Bobot.  Early last year I pointed out in this column that the then-unknown Bobot had potential to make it through the primary as the dark horse in the Mayoral race and that prediction is fast becoming fact.  Bobot, who stepped down from his position as Judge to run for Mayor, is emerging from the field as a detail oriented, friendly guy willing to point out what is right and what is wrong with our community.  Some Clarke supporters blasted Bobot for pointing out Clarke’s errors, but Bobot, can’t be faulted for a mistake he did not make.  Credit candidates like Vince Bobot and Tom Barrett for submitting twice as many valid signatures as he needed to get on the ballot, while Clarke didn’t submit enough. 

There was no conceivable way that any remotely competent election commission could have put Clarke on the ballot. 

The staff at the election commission deserves to be congratulated for recommending to the commission that David Clarke not be included on the ballot.  The fact is he didn’t submit enough signatures.  It’s a simple gaffe that even novice political players don’t make, but Clarke who has in his own right been elected Sheriff, should have known better.  It was the commission, not the staff, who decided to put him on the ballot despite the obvious failings of his signatures. 

Election commissions are supposed to be objective, but when Clarke excused himself from the commission hearings, one of the commissioners shot him a “thumbs up” sign as if to say, “hey, don’t worry buddy – I got ya covered”.  And sure enough, at the end of the evening they had put Clarke on the ballot. 

But you have to ask yourself, why would Clarke lie about how many signatures he had prior to submission?  There was nothing to be gained from claiming he already had 5000 signatures.  If he was looking for a way to send a message to his volunteers that they could relax and not work on the campaign, telling them he already had the needed signatures and any more was just gravy certainly would have done the trick. 

If Republicans held Clarke to the same standards as they held Clinton, his efforts to get on the ballot would have been lambasted.  With those same standards in mind, police officers are supposed to tell the truth, right?  We’re supposed to be able to trust them, right?  Don’t we all tell our kids that police officers tell the truth?  What are we supposed to tell then when the County’s top cop lies?  Imagine the conversation parents would be having with their kids if a child could wrap their mind around Clarke’s most recent debacle.  ‘No little Johnnie or Janie, it’ not ok to lie just because the Sheriff lied.’ 

This is a man who could have picked up the phone to call his buddy Charlie Sykes and, like a bullhorn; an immediate call to action would have been issued on WTMJ radio.  With that sort of power, Clarke could have likely gotten more than enough signatures in a single day.  The radio talker is a regular shill for Clarke.  Although his show is essentially a rip off of the format of talk radio host Mark Belling, Sykes pulls in a larger audience – in no small part because of an aggressive advertising campaign with WTMJ television. 

Sykes claimed that Clarke immediately took responsibility for the gaffe, which is unusual for Clarke.  You may have remembered the many times over the past two years that there were crises in the Sheriffs department and Clarke would march out and proclaim with astounding predictability, ‘some people in this department still don’t get it’.   

This time the person who just doesn’t “get it” is Clarke.

"We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home".

Edward R. Murrow

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