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Three more seek seats on Wauwatosa Common Council

Walsh, Kofroth, Pokrandt join Byrne as candidates for open positions

Dec. 11, 2013

Three more candidates for Common Council seats have emerged, bringing the total to four — all seeking a place in one of the three districts in which incumbents are stepping down.

Former Alderman Michael Walsh, who represented the 5th District for one term, has moved, and is running in the 4th District, a seat now held by Alderwoman Jill Organ, who has said she is not seeking re-election. He will be opposed by John Pokrandt, who announced his candidacy this week.

Resident Jason Kofroth also said last week he would run, seeking the seat now held by 7th District Alderman Donald Birschel, who is stepping down.

They join Allison Byrne, an intern in Mayor Kathy Ehley's office, who previously said she would run for the 6th District seat held by Brian Ewerdt, who said he was not running again.

Michael Walsh

Walsh served from 2008 to 2012 as 5th District alderman, before moving to the 4th District to be closer to his children's school, he said.

He is the operations manager of Interior Systems Inc., a Wauwatosa manufacturer of restaurant seating and decor, and received his bachelor's degree at Marquette University and a master's in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is a former Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, and is a member of the board of directors for Tosa Tonight, the free concert series in Wauwatosa.

Walsh said he was a supporter of Hart Park, having backed capital projects there such as the stadium and the playground in the past, and said he hopes to continue efforts to support the park.

"I think that has been the epicenter of the renaissance currently happening in the Village," he said in an email response to questions.

He called himself a fiscal conservative, and said he would look for and support "innovative ways to keep the current service levels, while keeping the staffing levels constant."

He praised the new dual-use garbage pickup system, which reduced manpower, and a self-service library checkout system as examples of innovations that save money.

John Pokrandt

Pokrandt, a marketing and advertising professional, is a board member of the Friends of Hart Park Foundation, a member of the Quarry Heights Neighborhood Association, a member of the Washington School PTA, and a volunteer with the Friends of the Monarch Trail, he said in a release.

He is a 12-year resident of the 4th District, with a son and daughter who attend Washington School.

Calling himself "passionate about Wauwatosa's future," he said his priorities as an alderman would be supporting land conservation; encouraging sensible economic development that benefits the community long term; historic preservation; advancing the city's master plans for the Village and North Avenue; emphasizing public safety; upholding city services; and taking a long view of budgeting and infrastructure planning.

Pokrandt has a business certification from Madison Area Technical College.

Jason Kofroth

Kofroth also calls himself a fiscal conservative. He said he has considered a run for council for more than two years, and has watched as the east side has drawn a series of new businesses and restaurants — a trend he would like to see continued west.

"The west side of Tosa has the space available on North Avenue to bring in new business that would enhance the neighborhood and make it more attractive to home buyers," he said, in an email response to questions.

Kofroth received his bachelor's degree in accounting and management from Trinity International University, in Deefield, Ill., in 2009, and expects to receive his master of business administration in finance and risk management this month from Concordia University Wisconsin. He is a retirement services relationship coordinator at BMO Harris Bank.

Kofroth has been a board member of the Fisher Woods Neighborhood Association since 2011, and, like Birschel, whom he would replace, he says opposes the sidewalks proposed for the 7th District in an early draft of the Bike/Pedestrian Facilities Plan.

"My neighbors on 116th Street have spoken and the city should listen," he said.

The bike/ped plan is expected to return to the Plan Commission in a revised form in January.

Papers due Jan. 7

Common Council candidates' statements of candidacy and signatures are due Jan. 7. A candidate is required to collect at least 20 signatures and no more than 40 signatures of qualified electors within the district they hope to represent.

Incumbents who decide not to seek re-election are required to file a statement of non-candidacy by 5 p.m. Dec. 27.

Forms and instructions for candidates can be accessed through a link on the city's website, Wauwatosa.net.

The election is April 1.

In addition to the aldermanic races, Municipal Judge Richard Baker has filed to run for re-election, said City Clerk Carla Ledesma. The judge's term is four years. Baker is so far unopposed.

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