This is long but some have asked my view the upcoming election. I have a unique perspective because I was the President before Carl F. Krueger. I know all the candidates and I’m supporting Wanda J. Montgomery. I’ll tell why and then I’m done – I won’t debate, justify or respond; I’m just sharing my view for what it’s worth.
I first ran for office in 2001 with Jeff Baker and Gary Springman, Carl was on the Plan Commission. Jeff, Gary and I ran together as outsiders back then. When I decided not to run Carl to stepped up to President, ran unopposed, and has been serving ever since. Back when I talked to Carl about running for President I admitted I didn’t always agree with his politics – we were on opposite sides on many issues – but I appreciated how he made decisions. To me that’s critical – I never vote for a candidate based on one issue, because the issues change over a term in office. I vote for the person I think will make good decisions.
The Village Board incumbents running this spring have lost my vote for many reasons:
1. Eminent Domain is a bully’s tool. In 2013 the incumbents were on the Board when it sued 22 owners in the village (2011CV018995) over eminent domain for sidewalks. Since then, most of those 22 have left the Village (Janet sold Prime Time, Jim Marks sold River Lane, Tony Reno sold the Deli and Salon, etc.). Then in 2017 it was Rite Hite, after paying taxes for over 30 years and giving $1M to the YMCA. Good corporate citizens shouldn’t be targets of our Village Board.
2. Recent big ticket purchases. The contract for the new DPW building was $9.1M. $7.6M for the building, and $1.6M to remodel Village Hall; on top of $1.37M (plus legal fees to fight Rite Hite) for the land. I can’t believe we needed a $10M facility for a DPW that manages 4 square miles of built-out land and contracts with Veolia for garbage collection.
3. The Library, of course, that I see as 2 issues: First, the sudden crisis of “the sinking fund that’s going broke if no one takes immediate action to buy a building and save the Library” did not develop overnight. If moving to the original village was in the Comprehensive Plan since 2009, why didn’t the Board buy the same building back in 2014 at auction for $800,000? We paid too much already and it’s going to cost more to remodel.
Second, why is the Village Board making decisions about our Library’s future? WI Stats. 43 requires an independent Library Board run the library and its budget. The Village Board is in way too deep on this matter and shame on Jeff Baker, who serves on both Boards, for not pointing out the conflict. None of what I’ve seen over the last 6 months makes sense and frankly it’s embarrassing.
4. Communication. The committee meetings aren’t to train future trustees, they’re to get input from residents before decisions are made and to have a network of informed people sharing Village news back into the community. Internet messages can’t replace conversation. Past Boards have engaged enough people for quorums from our 12,000 residents. Their input was valued and it helped make our best decisions.
5. Leadership. The craziness of this election proves that experience isn’t the same as leadership. Good leadership allows for full debate, where all opinions are heard and considered. We don’t need a board that’s a “united front” as much as we need them to listen – to each other and to the voters who put them in office.
Bottom line to me: we need more trust, respect and inclusion on all these matters.
18 years ago I was with Krueger, Springman and Baker but not anymore. Wanda’s knocked on thousands of doors, asking people to come to meetings, to see and learn for themselves rather than say anything negative about the other candidates. She’s spoken face to face, not through ghost writers or campaign managers, to voters to make her case for Village President. I’m convinced she’s what we need moving forward in the Village, and I’m voting for Wanda.