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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!

Kathy Ehley: the candidates answer

Kathy Ehley, Wauwatosa mayoral candidates

Both mayoral candidates were kind enough to answer two questions I posed following the candidate's forum March 26. Kathy Ehley's reply follows.You can find Pete Donegan's answers in the previous post.

  1. What place is there in Wauwatosa for children and younger people? What do you see as the city’s role in supporting and encouraging those populations?

Wauwatosa is a city filled with people of all age groups which is one of the many things that makes it such a great place to live. A healthy mix is beneficial. Question asked at the forum on Monday evening focused on needs of the seniors but not on other age groups. 

Young families and couples planning on having children move into the area because of the desirable school district, safe neighborhoods, variety of housing stock, and the sense of community. More and more singles are choosing this area as well.

The City has invested in rebuilding Hart Park to include structured recreation areas that serve all ages, a new playground opening in early summer and open space for more passive recreation.  The investment in Hartung Park provides another recreation area. I have heard from numerous parents involved in kid’s baseball leagues on the need for more baseball diamonds.

Our library, one of the top in the metro area, and our health department services are also important to children and younger people.

Pedestrian and bicycle safety is currently a big issue especially around schools.  We must continue the efforts in this front.

It is important that we continue to work to keep our schools, block watch programs, and neighborhood associations strong.  Many of the things I mention are City services strengthened by volunteer efforts.  The City needs to make every effort to continue the level of services and to encourage and support volunteer efforts that supplement and strengthen its efforts.

  1. In working to develop the city’s tax base revenue through economic development, the interests of business and neighbors will sometimes collide. What thought and measurement framework will you use to weigh the interests of the people living in the communities, the neighbors and taxpayers, the neighborhoods and the environment that makes this city so desirable, against those of business development?

There is always a delicate balance between new development or redevelopment and the existing neighbors and environments.  Each situation is unique. It is important to look at the potential impact on the surrounding neighbors and determine if there are ways to minimize the negative impact.  This requires communication and conversation between the City staff, officials, and the neighbors to find the solutions.  It requires give and take and an understanding on the part of the individuals as to what the City can or cannot do legally.

There is a new process in the works of how to handle economic development projects through the approval process.  Within this framework, early on representatives of all the appropriate departments would meet together to review the application and identify any potential concerns.  I recommend the potential impact on surrounding areas be taken into consideration at this point.

A new business moving into a commercial area that abuts established neighborhoods; the need to create new routes for high voltage power lines to supply power to growing development; new housing adding density to an already existing neighborhood; development that has potential to impact natural habitats.  Each of these economic development scenarios is unique and requires thoughtful conversation to determine the best solutions. 

We are a community that is evolving, not frozen in time. The process of finding the right balance may get a bit messy at times but that is okay as long as the result is positive for the community.  The ultimate responsibility for the final decision is in the hands of the policy makers who represent the constituents.

 

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