Thursday, April 5, 2012

Milwaukee Alderman Witkowiak Files Recount For Tuesday's Election Results

James N. Witkowiak

Alderman Witkowiak has yet to concede in the 12th Aldermanic District and is seeking a recount.

By H. Nelson Goodson
April 5, 2012

Milwaukee - On Thursday, Alderman James "Jim" N. Witkowiak for the 12th Aldermanic District officially filed a recount for Tuesday's election results. The election results for the 12th Aldermanic District was to close to call in a tight race between Alderman Witkowiak and José G. Pérez. Witkowiak has not conceded in the election. The Witkowiak campaign confirmed, that some ballots have come into question and are working to resolve the issue.
Since February, Pérez and his campaign manager Sachin Chheda ran a negative campaign, which included making false allegations that Witkowiak was shaking down bar owners, misinformation and targeted Witkowiak for being White. Pérez is of Puerto Rican descent and his campaign focus on race became an issue to get elected.
On Wednesday, Chheda responded to Witkowiak's request for a recount on Facebook and wrote, "Let's examine every ballot, every voter, every action. Sunlight is a wonderful thing!" Pérez who declared himself the winner on late Tuesday with a leading margin of 86 votes is confident that after the recount, he will be declared the winner.
The Milwaukee Election Commission has yet to finish counting absentee ballots for the 12th District and hasn't officially released the final results for the district.
The tactics use by the Pérez campaign no doubt divided the community where part of it expressed racism, willing to engage in misinformation, lies, and a corrupt conspiracy to elect their candidate. Pérez in a statement admitted that he was "not proud" about some of his supporters and Chheda's negative Facebook online discussions about Alderman Witkowiak, his staff and supporters. Apparently, Pérez believed his group was forced to use false allegations and negative tactics against Witkowiak, the incumbent.
On Monday night, Milwaukee police temperarily detained several people for passing out flyers from a group called Citizens for a Stronger South Side (CSSS) at the 1300 block of W. Greenfield Ave. The flyer contained false and misleading information against Witkowiak and even alleged corruption. The flyer contained a disclaimer for the CSSS and had an address that indicated a parking lot that Witkowiak owns. The suspects told police that José Pérez and his campaign had authorized the distribution of the flyer. A Witkowiak supporter who busted the suspects passing out the flyers said, that the suspects had called Juan Carlos Ruiz, a Pérez campaign supporter to the scene. Police did not issue any citations to Ruiz and the suspects for passing out flyers. The CSSS was created for the sole purpose of passing out misleading and false information about Witkowiak. Witkowiak said, he will pursue legal action against the CSSS suspects and others connected to the case. (CSSS flyer
Ruiz on Thursday, when the issue about the CSSS group passing out flyers was brought up by Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA) on his morning Spanish radio program Nfoque Latino on 1460 AM radio, he declined to address the issue to avoid commenting why he was involved. Ruiz has yet to confirm or deny publically his connection and involvement with the CSSS.
JoCasta Zamarripa, State Representative from the 8th Assembly District who appeared as a guest on Nfoque to reflect on last Tuesday's election, was asked by HNNUSA to compare her two prior positive campaigns to get elected to Pérez negative campaigning during the last month. Zamarripa said, she stood by Pérez who she supported and did not see any negative campaigning. Zamarripa follows both Pérez, Chheda and others on Facebook, but seemed to have missed or notice any negative discussions on Facebook about the Witkowiak and Pérez campaigns.
The unfortunate side, most of the Pérez supporters were well educated and professionals that supported and resorted to using what ever means, even to compromise respect, integrity and honesty to get their political agenda on the table.
Witkowiak friends and supporters in Facebook labeled Pérez and some of his campaign workers as thugs and goons for relentlessly engaging in dirty politics, bashing women and making false allegations against Alderman Witkowiak. Witkowiak ran an honest campaign with integrity and respect, which Pérez lacked, according to Witkowiak supporters.
Supporters for Pérez are now calling for healing and unity in the predominately Hispanic district, but they face a difficult challenge to actually succeed in doing so. Pérez is not the first Hispanic to run for alderman in the 12th District, but has become the first Latino who has lost respect from part of the Latino community for his lack of integrity and honesty by engaging in negative campaigning to represent the Latino community as a whole.
More than several thousand people voted in the 12th District on Tuesday, according to the Milwaukee Election Commission.There are about 65,000 residents, including 15,000 registered voters in the 12th Aldermanic District.
The unofficial count without absentee ballots was José Pérez with 1,290 votes and James N. Witkowiak with 1,204 votes.

City of Milwaukee Election Commission posted results for April 3, 2012 elections at link:

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