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Wauwatosa 5th District aldermanic race

Voter's guide for Tuesday, April 3, election

March 21, 2012

Joel Tilleson

Age: 30

Address: 7915 W. Clarke St.

Family: single

Years of residency: five

Job: attorney with Falk Metz

Education: bachelor's from the University of Minnesota, law degree from Thomas Cooley Law School

Community involvement: volunteers with Wills for Heroes and American Red Cross

Contact: joel4tosa@gmail.com, (414) 226-2139

There have been a number of burglaries, thefts from vehicles and robberies on Wauwatosa's east side in the past year. What should be done to protect residents?

Everyone can do their part. The reality is that with a recessed economy comes an increase in crime, and we can all be more diligent in protecting our person and property. My block was among those targeted in a rash of break-ins last year, and everyone stepped up efforts to protect their home - lights were put on timers, curtains close when it's dark outside and suspicious activity is reported. The city recognizes the increase and has stepped up patrols. Contact your civic leaders for statistics on crime so you know the facts and can educate your friends and neighbors. Also, consider reaching out to Officer Don Semega, police liaison for the East Tosa community, to discuss what steps can be taken to enhance home security. Lastly, let's emphasize redevelopment along North Avenue - the more people walking our streets and enjoying what we have to offer, the safer we'll all be.

East Tosa has seen some redevelopment in the commercial district. What should be done to build on this momentum?

The city must do a better job of promoting the East Tosa master plan. The city spent $40,000 on a plan that is needed now more than ever after the loss of five anchor businesses along North Avenue this past year. To attract young homeowners who will move here with a desire to improve their homes and spend money at local businesses, we need to focus on the long-term vitality of East Tosa. That means demonstrating a commitment to what helps property values over time - safe and walkable streets, unique businesses and festivals that draw outsiders in, and well-maintained homes. This will entice young homeowners to move to our area knowing that the future holds a likely increase in property values and return on their investments. Unfortunately, my opponent has not met this call to action and has largely been absent from the public discussions that have recently taken place.

Private sewer laterals have been identified as a major contributor to overwhelming the system, which leads to basement backups. Do you support performing work on private property and, if so, should homeowners pay?

While work needs to be done on private property, the city alone should bear the costs. Sadly, the urgency of this problem was largely avoidable. The city has known for a long time that the sewer system was in dire need of upgrading, and in December 2007 the council lifted the general obligation bonding cap so that money could be freed to finance this upgrade. Instead, the Budget and Finance Committee soon thereafter diverted substantial funds to Hart Park for improvements that were far less pressing. One year later we had record flooding and substantial damage in East Tosa. This was done while my opponent was a member of that very same committee that ignored East Tosa and sent the money elsewhere. East Tosa needs a better advocate who will keep our taxpayer dollars here in our district and help us avoid problems like this in the future.

 

 

Michael Walsh (i)


Age: 42

Address: 2560 N. 63rd St.

Family:
wife Aimee, son Padraig, daughters Maura, 8, and Meghan, 6

Years of residency:
14

Job:
DHI Corp., fulfillment manager

Education:
bachelor’s from Marquette, MBA from UW-Milwaukee

Community involvement:
Tosa Tonight, board member; Park and Forestry Board, liaison; Wauwatosa Revolving Loan Fund, board member; block captain

Website:
Facebook.com/michaelwalshfortosa

Contact:
mwalsh329@hotmail.com; (414) 477-2830

 


There have been a number of burglaries, thefts from vehicles and robberies on Wauwatosa’s east side in the past year. What should be done to protect residents?


Officer Don Semega, the community officer assigned to our neighborhood, was nice enough to address this very same issue at the recent annual meeting of the neighborhood association. He reported, unfortunately, like much of the city, crime is on the rise in our neighborhood. He recommends, and I very much believe, we all need to take a more active role in our safety. Namely, we must call 911 for all suspicious activity so smaller crimes will not escalate to larger, more violent crimes. We have budgeted for an officer to be assigned to the 5th District at all times. When calls like this are received, this officer will respond and investigate. Regarding the assaults in our neighborhood, these are particularly disturbing. We have budgeted for additional police in the schools and these officers will fold into the larger police presence when school is not in session.
 

East Tosa has seen some redevelopment in the commercial district. What should be done to build on this momentum?


I think of economic development as an incubator. Start with the smaller businesses already on North Avenue and help them grow into larger operations on North Avenue. The private sector is where jobs are created. For instance, getting Cranky Al’s into a new space. Even though they are no longer there, helping Aqua Terra into a larger storefront. These two examples, unfortunately, the owners had to navigate this process themselves. The city has many tools to help business such as Tosa Yoga, Ono Kine Grindz and Cosmos Café take the next step toward growing their businesses on North Avenue. The Economic Development Advisory Committee, the community development director and the Wauwatosa Revolving Loan Fund are there to help small businesses become larger businesses. The city does need to do a better job marketing these programs to make sure all businesses owners are aware of the tools afforded to them.

Private sewer laterals have been identified as a major contributor to overwhelming the system, which leads to basement backups. Do you support performing work on private property and, if so, should homeowners pay?


Absolutely not. Currently, Wauwatosa finds itself in the unenviable position of no direct representation on the MMSD Commission, which has taxing authority. In East Tosa, we are all part of the same watershed that drains into the Menomonee River. Storm water flows downstream from Enderis Park through East Tosa right to the Highlands and, eventually, finding its way to the river. I would like to see MMSD deal with the larger issue of demanding Milwaukee separate their storm and sanitary sewers like we have already done in Wauwatosa before asking our neighbors to pay thousands of dollars in private lateral work. Are laterals part of the overall problem? Yes. But, no one knows exactly how much a part of the problem. We are studying this exact issue in East Tosa this summer with a pilot project on 65th Street. The data needs to be clearer.
 

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