Lord of Dogtown

Tom Bauer wants his opponents to say uncle. They just want his job.

Bauer declined to comment on whether his triumph over Ribaudo might benefit Moench and company during the current litigious go-round. But he was quite willing to chat about the recall drive, whose outcome, Bourisaw concedes, could be a nail-biter. (On June 13 Bourisaw reported that canvassers had reached or were very near the required threshold of 1,705 24th Ward voters' signatures. The canvassers plan to collect 200 more signatures by the June 24 deadline in order to pad the total and guard against the inevitability of duplicates and invalids.)

Bauer's not too worried. "Even if they get the signatures, I don't think the recall is going to gain traction among normal voters," he says. "I will defeat the recall effort easily and handily because it is an effort that is not broad-based. It's an effort that is being pushed by a limited number of special interests."

Even if he's right, Bauer certainly didn't help his cause by refusing to meet with 24th Ward Democratic leadership prior to their June 9 vote to support the recall petition by a margin of 28 to 14. President John Corbett said he offered to meet with Bauer "any time at all" between the aforementioned May 26 meeting and June 9.

Total recall:  Tom Bauer isn't  too worried about losing his position.
Jennifer Silverberg
Total recall: Tom Bauer isn't too worried about losing his position.

"He wouldn't meet with us," says Corbett, the popular runner-up to Bauer in the '96 legislative race and onetime president of the State Council of Firefighters, who has acknowledged that he would be interested in running for Bauer's seat in a special election, should the process get that far. "Tom's statement was, 'It's not convenient for my lawyer to meet at that time.' He couldn't meet any night at any time? If Tom would drop his lawsuit, maybe they'd drop the petition, but he wouldn't even meet with us. So we didn't really have a choice in the matter."

Bauer claims such negotiations would have been superfluous and ultimately pointless.

"I refused because I'd gone to their [May 26] meeting and answered questions for an hour and a half, and that was sufficient," says Bauer. "Their complaints about me are pretextual. They had already determined to be for recall. This is not about me; it's really about the desire of John Corbett or [24th Ward Committeeman] Bill Waterhouse to be named as the Democratic nominee to replace me."

At the May 26 meeting, Bauer's supporters circulated a glowing list of the alderman's accomplishments and reasons to maintain the status quo. Second-to-last on the list: "If you lose Tom Bauer, you will lose everything."

But as Corbett and Bourisaw might argue: One's man loss is another man's gain.

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