Sunday, January 4, 2009
Shields could be asked to step down as chairman of Dems Party
Long-time Alderman Michael Shields now is trying to explain away a vote that he made against the licensing of a proposed gay community center in Uptown Racine.
Shields, also recently elected president of the Racine NAACP, was one of four no votes cast to deny the petitioners for the LGBT Center in Racine. The other no votes came from Aldermen Q.A. Shakoor, Ron Hart, and Jim Kaplan.
Kaplan argued the LGBT Center didn't fit with the city's plans to relocate artists into Uptown. Apparently, gay people and the arts are a bad match suggests the article that appeared on the RacinePost blog.
The blog went on the say, "When that argument didn't work, Kaplan and a few others went to the old fallback of parking. (Note to readers: If you're ever trying to kill a building project, bring up the parking issue. When it suits their interests, elected officials love to worry about where people put their cars.)"
According to Insider News sources close to the Democratic Party executive committee, plans are in the works to ask Shields to step down from his position as chairman. Shields told friends that his no vote was misunderstood by the Racine Journal Times. He said his intention was to vote to have the entire recommendation sent back to committee for additional study.
The LGBT Center would be located in Shields' district near the Uptown area where an arts district has been proposed by Racine Mayor Gary Becker and City Council members.
The council voted 9-4 in favor of granting the conditional-use permit. Shakoor said during the debate that the issue needed more public discussion. Hart and Shields didn't add much more than their vote to the discussion
The Insider News was also contacted by phone and told a group loyal to the petitioners had recruited a candidate to run against Shields in the upcoming spring election. It had been reported in the RacinePost that no one had filed papers to run against Shields until he voted against the tavern. Anyone planning to run for the alderman's seat will have to file papers no later than 5 PM Tuesday, January 6, 2009.
It was also rumored that the NAACP executive committee was also looking into action to take because of Shields vote. "The NAACP does not discriminate against anyone," said the informant.