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District 2 race eyes city's vibrancy and affordability

Arney, Causier face off April 6 for aldermanic seat

March 17, 2010

Two newcomers to city government are competing to take the Wauwatosa Common Council seat being vacated by a 20-year veteran.

Margaret Michele Arney and Kathleen Causier are running for a four-year term representing the city's 2nd District.

Quality of life a priority

Arney's campaign focuses on three issues: preserving the quality of life in Wauwatosa neighborhoods, improving communications between the city and residents, and promoting business vitality.

When it comes to development, city officials have to be cognizant about how it could affect surrounding residential neighborhoods, she said. Driving traffic onto quiet streets or putting a bar that's open late near single-family homes could negatively impact the quality of life.

As far as communications from City Hall, "it seems like we're kind of outdated right now," Arney said.

She knows staff members are working to launch a new Web site, but she would also like to see efforts made to provide more details about issues facing the city, plans for development projects and actions that are being taken.

"I sense that residents care and want to be informed," she said.

When it comes to economic development, both candidates want to see the Village thrive and said they support the long-term planning that's getting under way. But people are less worried about the Village's vitality because they are seeing positive improvements over time, Arney said.

Taxes a top concern

It's another area of the city - outside District 2 - that residents are most concerned about, both candidates said.

"The Burleigh Triangle, it looks terrible and people want to know what's going to happen out there, what can be developed there to bring good tax revenue into the city," Causier said.

Causier said a top priority for her is keeping an eye on spending so that residents don't see big increases on their tax bills. She doesn't have a specific recommendation for budget cuts but said sharing services with other municipalities, looking at the amount of money employees contribute toward benefits and shifting staffing to keep departments from being too top heavy or having too many people doing similar work are all possibilities.

"This is an era of compromise and creativity," she said.

Up until last week, she would have said that the property tax was the top issue among residents, but campaigning on the west end of her district in the neighborhood of 107th Street and Garfield Avenue, she heard from residents upset about changes since Dave & Buster's opened across the street a few weeks ago.

They are seeing parking and late-night traffic, litter and people urinating on lawns, she said. Some are taking a wait-and-see attitude, hoping that once the newness of the business has worn off that less parking will be needed and it could all be accommodated on-site. Others were against the development from the start and have not changed that opinion, Causier said.

Reasons for running

Causier, 57, has volunteered for many local organizations and projects in her 30 years living in Wauwatosa. At this point in her life, she has the time to dedicate to city government, she said.

"I am truly committed to Wauwatosa, so it just feels like a good progression, a natural fit," she said.

As for Arney, 40, her reason for running was echoed by many of residents she's meeting on the campaign trail, she said.

"The dominant thing I hear is that they love living in Wauwatosa. I say 'Me, too. That's why I'm running.' "

MARGARET MICHELE ARNEY

ADDRESS: 1447 St. Charles St.

JOB: Fondy Food Pantry development director

EDUCATION: master's in social work, University of Illinois-Chicago

CIVIC EXPERIENCE: Wauwatosa Village Neighborhood Association, Block Watch, Girl Scouts, visitor to the elderly

CONTACT: (414) 771-8850, margaretmichele.arney@yahoo.com

KATHLEEN CAUSIER

ADDRESS: 8213 Aberdeen Court

JOB: diagnostic teacher, Milwaukee Public Schools

EDUCATION: bachelor's in education, UW-Whitewater

CIVIC EXPERIENCE: Wauwatosa Historical Sociaety, Tosa schools Curriculum Council, Lowell Damon Neighborhood Association

CONTACT: (414) 771-0123, kathy2477@gmail.com

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