Lenny Miller has been direct during his campaign. He says the finger-pointing in downtown needs to stop. And with its Business Improvement District likely disappearing, he says there has been a lack of leadership.
That's why, despite losing three years ago in the District 11 aldermanic race, Miller decided to seek the seat once again.
But if Miller's going to win this time, he'll have to overtake Alderman Roger Patton. And Patton, who said downtown is going in the right direction, had the early edge in the primary.
He finished first in last month's five-person primary and received 44 more votes than the second-place Miller.
So who will win this rematch to lead the 11th District, which in addition to downtown includes Frame Park on the northeast side and the Waukesha School DistrictAdministration Building and Central Middle School on the southwest side?
Waukesha NOW asked each candidate questions leading up to the election.
How have you provided leadership in this district during these last three years?
Unlike the other candidate, I never miss attending the Common Council committees and participating in the discussion and decision-making. These meetings are open to the community, but my opponent has never once attended any of these meetings. Also, for three years I attended the BID Committee, providing strong leadership, particularly when I resigned with seven othermembers of the 13-member board following me (Editor's Note: 11 board members resigned last fall).
Why do you feel the BID is close to disbanding? How have you tried to bring business owners together?
For three years I was active in the BID, attending every committee and helping in every program of the BID. But now the Waukesha Downtown Business Association has gradually replaced the BID. Things are now improving and more peaceful.
You mentioned at Common Council meetings about compromising in the downtown. If re-elected, what can you do different in the next three years with this goal?
I have been in the middle ground in many votes in the council and in the Ordinance and License Committee, helping get approvals for licenses. My compromises are always what is good for downtown businesses, particularly Friday Night Live, which is opposed by many.
What is your biggest contribution to your district?
I am proud of the new construction I have helped approve, such as the Kendal Lofts and Prairieville Apartments. The increase in population downtown promises increased customers for businesses.
How would you improve the city's infrastructure?
I fought for the approval of $700,000 to repair the downtown lights this summer. I voted for the new firehouse on Pearl Street and for the reconstruction of East Avenue at South Street for the residents of East Terrace and will continue to fight for it if I am re-elected.
You said during the primary homeowners in downtown need to be represented. What would you do to make sure this happens?
Simply by listening to what they have to say. It has been only recently, because of the money supply being stopped I suspect, that leaders from (the) BID and (Common) Council have asked for "compromises." My question back to them is, where was this "compromise" six months ago when property owners were trying to be heard?
You mentioned your frustration in the lack of leadership in the district. What kind of leader would you be?
I would be the kind of leader who would champion results and listen to all constituents before all stuff breaks loose.
What has frustrated you the most?
Look around, look at the streets and sidewalks downtown. The current leadership in the district has said many times he has "made referrals" to have them fixed. I would not make referrals, I would go visit the director(s) and ask them personally to get them repaired or replaced. If it comes down to an issue of money, I would help find funding for them.
Also, you trailed the current alderman by 44 votes in the primary. How can you close the gap?
I did trail by 44 votes, however there, were over 90 other votes cast against the incumbent. I can only assume they are not happy with the incumbent so with those votes I would actually be ahead by 46 votes. Having said that, why should people come out and vote for me? I would listen to constituents and not give them a flippant response. I will achieve results. I will also earn the respect of fellow council members.
You also mentioned during the primary about housing codes not being enforced. Can you cite some examples and how you would address this if elected?
In my neighborhood there are several homes that are abandoned. Whether or not the banks have foreclosed on these properties, in my opinion, is a moot point. They need to be kept up, grass mowed, sidewalks shoveled, windows replaced. I would work with the building and fire inspectors to ensure the properties are maintained.
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, email@example.com
Address: 126 Central Ave.
Years in the district: 8, lifelong resident of Waukesha
Occupation: Retail sales consultant-AT&T Mobility
Education: B.S. Degree from UW-La Crosse, double major recreation management and theatre arts
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
Military experience: United States Marine Corps
Family: Wife, three children, ages 29, 21, 5
Contact information: (262) 957-6743, firstname.lastname@example.org
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