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Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

The candidates answer: Pete Donegan

Wauwatosa mayoral candidates, Peter Donegan

Thanks to both Pete Donegan and Kathy Ehley for responding to the questions posed in my last blog.

First up, Alder Donegan. Ehley's will follow in a day or two.

I am not sure how to take being called an “accountant.” I do know this: When the Finance Director reports tonight at Budget and Finance Committee that, “. . .a five year forecast will be presented in the near future that will continue to show expenditures persistently outpacing revenues. . .,” the Mayor better damn well be on top of the numbers.

To your questions: About children: Our city is built to raise families.Most of our homes accommodate a family of 4-6. We have always placed a high value on our schools. Many kids can walk to them. Many parents can find employment within a short drive and attend the after school stuff or just get home from work soon after the kids.

I went a little “out-of-character” a few years ago when I aggressively advocated for the expensive renovations of the Hart Park athletic fields. What turned me was the aggressive advocacy of many young parents.The City has come to the aid of the schools in a few other ways since I have been on Council. I did so because I believe that our schools are our most fundamental and critical service.

Family life and raising children is the heart of our community. We empty-nesters can take comfort in a steady demand for our homes because of this.

What else can the City Government do to maintain this family culture? #1) Defend and build the tax base for the schools, #2) keep the streets and the city very safe. The parents and schools will take care of the rest.

To your second question regarding the “collision” of development vs. “neighbors-of-development”. We had a lot of that in 2006-07. Not much since then because there has not been much new development. I much prefer the former because the later is indicative of our dead flat tax base.

The City does not pursue new development in order to advance the interests of the developer/investor. We pursue development in order to continually revitalize our city and in order to build tax base in a way that relieves the burden of current tax payers. Those are very good causes and I have found it necessary on a number of votes to disappoint immediate neighbors of the development in order to advance the cause of economic vitality and tax base expansion for the greater community.

Of course, it is all about balance and we have to take it one development at a time. The neighbors always have legitimate issues and we should go out of our way to support them. But one thing that I have learned on Council is that Tosans really take it personally when the city allows a near-by development they don’t like and, that if Tosa leaders aspire to serve the greater community, they will need a very thick skin.

Pete Donegan

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