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District 11 primary in Waukesha has five aldermanic candidates

Four challenging Patton in downtown district

Feb. 12, 2013

Downtown Waukesha has been front and center since the Downtown Business Improvement District controversy surfaced last summer.

Many have voiced their opinion on how they would implement changes for downtown.

So it's no surprise that District 11, the area that covers downtown, has the most candidates of any of the 10 races for an aldermanic seat this spring.

Five candidates are running for the seat, including incumbent Alderman Roger Patton. The two who receive the most votes in Tuesday's primary advance to the April 2 General Election.

The position is a three-year term.

Patton is being challenged by James Cowee, Lenny Miller, who unsuccessfully ran for the seat in 2010, Tyler Hoffman Sr. and Kyle Villarreal Sr.

Waukesha NOW asked each candidate three questions relating to their interest in the seat as well as how they would address city and downtown issues.

However, as of the NOW deadline, Villarreal Sr. refused to take part in the interview after repeated requests via phone, email and letter, hanging up on Waukesha NOW twice when contacted by telephone.

Why are you running for the position and why should people vote for you in the primary?

Patton: I am running to complete what I have started in my three years as alderman. People should vote for me because I have studied the GRAEF long-range plan for our downtown and want to implement it (the Brookfield firm is studying Waukesha's Central City Master Plan). I have not missed a planning commission meeting in the past three years, and I will continue to attend, seeking to influence our city's future. None of my opponents have attended a single planning commission meeting, even though they are open to all.

Cowee: Having lived in Waukesha the last 11 years, I have been blessed with many professional, civic and personal opportunities. It is out of this sense of "community" that I want to lend my time and efforts to the constituents of District 11. I find it incumbent, as a leader, to authentically listen to the concerns and the voice of the people.

I have been well served embracing those tenants in the eight years I worked as a representative for GE Capital and the four years I have been with the Nice Ash Cigar Bar. I will continue to exercise that same mentality if humbly elected your alderman.

Miller: Because I am a homeowner, I have a vested interest in our neighborhood. I want to continue living in a neighborhood where I know my neighbors by name and they know me. I am frustrated by the lack of leadership in my district. I am frustrated by the housing codes not being enforced. We have become an area where we are so used to seeing things the way they are, no one can see the trash, windows missing, yards unkempt. I want to "Raise The Bar" and make a difference in my neighborhood and community.

Hoffman Sr.: I'm running because there needs to be abetter code enforcement as far as properties with maintenance, the structural integrity of buildings, trash and debris and we need to hold landlords responsible.

Ordinances are there in the books and we need to fine property owners so they meet the standards. People should vote for me because I have youth and energy and work well with a group.

What's the No. 1 issue you would tackle in the city and how would you solve it?

Patton: The No. 1 issue is to improve our city's infrastructure - streets, water mains, sewers, bike paths, crosswalks, sidewalks.

Cowee: The biggest issue facing Waukesha is obtaining a radium compliant source of water. This will cost all taxpayers of Waukesha, regardless of them owning property or renting. Our current request, if approved, would create precedence for other communities outside of the Great Lakes Basin to also request water. I am relieved that Waukesha is also looking at a Plan B option if the Great Lakes application is rejected.

On March 22, I will be attending the Fox River Summit. The symposium will include Eric Nitschke, Southeast Region Director of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, as well as Dr. Jerome Delli Priscoli of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

This will continue to be a hot-button issue, and one that affects all of us. I do not purport to be an expert on this issue, but will promise my constituents that I will be well read on the issue and will do anything in my power to meet with anyone that is an expert in water resource management.

Miller: Accountability. We have regulations, policies and the necessary resources to enforce these regulations and policies. What we need is someone to hold our department and civic leaders accountable. I will hold myself accountable to the residents of District 11 and I will expect nothing less from our leaders.

Hoffman Sr.: The growing crime issues are the biggest problem with the city. I would like to see a police substation put up somewhere between downtown and the south end of Waukesha. I also would like to work with Waukesha County Technical College on a police cadet program focused on the downtown area. This will free up officers for the rest of the city.

What would you do as alderman to help the downtown?

Patton: Everyone I talk to wants Freeman Friday Night Live to continue just as it is. Now, my opponents want to reduce it or move it. My winning this election solves the problem. As an alderman, I have worked on the details of all the programs in the downtown, such as the Farmer's Market, where I was there at 5:30 a.m. every Saturday to help set up.

Cowee: With the impending water issue, the taxpayers of Waukesha will be asked to pay more in the form of increased water rates that will be phased in. As such, I think it is paramount the tax levy be held as low as possible. I would even like to see a zero increase in the tax levy, especially in times like these when taxpayers are asked to give more to their government.

Furthermore, with the recent spate of robberies in the area, Waukesha needs to continue to confront those in our community that want to harm others or property. If elected, I will make sure I reach out to neighborhood watch groups and neighborhoods that are concerned about crime. I will make it a priority to complete police ride-alongs on a regular basis. Safety remains a top issue.

Miller: The BID. It is at a crossroads. It needs to be revamped and revitalized. It also needs to represent all of downtown, including homeowners who live downtown. They are included in the BID tax but feel they are not represented. This needs to change. Change to represent all of downtown owners and businesses. Put a stop to the finger pointing. This has hurt many businesses and damaged our image as a community where people would want to shop, work and live. (I would) be an ambassador for downtown to help attract business that will encourage positive growth in our community.

Hoffman Sr.: Getting the downtown property owners, business owners and the council on the same page. Communication between these parties is needed. After the BID debacle the downtown is left with a huge black eye.

Clean it up. Fix the streets and sidewalks, remove the graffiti and pick up the trash. Make downtown Waukesha a place that's inviting for businesses.

Roger Patton

Age: 76

Address: 222 Park Pl., #368

Years in the district: I have lived in Waukesha County for 38 years and in the city for 10 years.

Occupation: Presbyterian minister, retired and licensed real estate broker

Education: Manchester, Iowa, High School; University of Dubuque, Bachelor of Arts; Princeton Theological Seminary, Master of Divinity; University of Dubuque Seminary, Master of Sacred Theology; McCormick Theological Seminary, Doctor of Ministry

Previous political experience or other related experience: Alderman, District 11 for three years; Substitute preacher at First Presbyterian in Waukesha

Military experience: None

Family: Three adult children, all graduates of Carroll University

Contact information (Phone number, email): (262) 951-1391, revroger.patton2@gmail.com

James Cowee

Age: 37

Address: 325 W. Main St.

Years in the district: 11

Occupation: Bartender

Education: B.B.A. University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh, Human Resource Management

Previous political experience or other related experience: None

Military experience: None

Family: Single, no children.

Contact information: (262) 442-7247, jcowee@gmail.com

Lenny Miller

Age: 55

Address: 126 Central Ave.

Years in the district: 8, lifelong resident of Waukesha.

Occupation: Retail Sales Consultant-AT&T Mobility

Education: BS Degree from UW-La Crosse

Previous political experience or other related experience: Worked part time for the Waukesha Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department for more than 20 years as a recreation professional working with department leaders and council members

Military experience: USMC

Family: Wife, three children, ages 29, 21, 5

Contact information: (262) 957-6743, lenny@millerforalderman.com

Tyler Hoffman Sr.

Age: 35

Address: 408 N. West Ave.

Years in the district: 4

Occupation: Stay-at-home dad /pizza delivery driver with Dominos Pizza 

Education: WCTC, University of Phoenix

Previous political experience or other related experience: Executive Director of the nonprofit, Wisconsin-branch Fallen Riders Memorial Fund; Committee chairman for Cub Scout Pack 9 at Hadfield Elementary and on the Membership Committee of the Boy Scouts of America Potawatomi Area Council

Military experience: None

Family: Wife and five children

Contact information: (414) 380-9407, fallenriderswis@gmail.com

 

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