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Voters Guide: South Milwaukee 4th District alderman

Candidate information for Tuesday, April 7, election

March 24, 2009

David Bartoshevich (i)

Age: 64

Occupation: project engineer at Grunau Co.

Education: attended Milwaukee Area Technical College for two years, took classes at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Contact: (414) 764-2836

How can downtown be improved?

To attract small businesses, we must improve our community image and encourage resident patronage. We should first create a committee of business owners and city officials to study successful efforts of other communities. If we understand why a business failed, we can correct this, if possible, and continue our growth.

How can city better communicate with residents?

Officials must listen to the concerns and suggestions of our residents and make them feel comfortable sharing comments on issues. Knowing their voices are heard will encourage more residents to attend meetings. Meeting notices are posted at the library, City Hall, senior center, fire and police stations, and at ci.south-milwaukee.wi.us/calendar2009.htm.

What is the role of city government during a recession? Should the city ease the taxpayer burden at the risk of cutting services?

To help maintain quality services, the Common Council and department heads established a two-year borrowing in our budgets. The hard question: What would most voters rather sacrifice to keep taxes affordable while maintaining quality services? With proper communication between the city and residents, we can make this a community decision.

Give the Common Council a grade.

"A." Council members take responsibility for the daily issues and safety of our community. People don't realize the hours spent discussing each issue during committee meetings in order to make recommendations to the council. I am proud of our accomplishments during the past two years.

Erik Brooks

Age: 33

Occupation: staff writer at MillerCoors

Education: bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Marquette University

Contact: (414) 764-8673, erikbrooks32@yahoo.com

How can downtown be improved?

There are many solutions, from participation in the state's Main Street Program to smaller fixes like streetscaping enhancements. However, city officials finally must take the lead. Let's work with business and property owners and residents to create a true downtown action plan - something we currently lack - and work that plan.

How can city better communicate with residents?

This is a top issue for me. My communication plan starts with redesigning all city Web sites, which are outdated, poorly organized and ineffective. More importantly, they poorly promote our city to potential new businesses and residents. Other priorities are bringing back more regularly printed newsletters and improving street signage.

What is city government's role during a recession? Should the city ease taxpayer burden at the risk of cutting services?

We can actually do both; staying vigilant on taxes and spending while maintaining, even enhancing, our top-notch city services. You can do both by investing in the city, not just spending. Let's invest in programs and initiatives that promise a return for the city budget, priorities like downtown redevelopment.

Give the Common Council a grade.

"C." The council has adequately dealt with difficult budgets, and the wheels of government turn smoothly. However, it's deeply concerning that we aren't tackling key issues that must be addressed now more than ever - namely our declining downtown. I pledge to bring a new voice and perspective to these debates.

Donald Stewart (i)

Age: 59

Occupation: retired sales representative for Eli Lilly and Co.

Education: bachelor's degree in psychology from Indiana University

Contact: (414) 571-5959, dvsdon@msn.com

How can downtown be improved?

We need to give these store fronts some curb appeal, which will make developers take a second look; and we need to continue our mixed-use condo and apartment developments to show potential businesses we have the population to sustain their business.

How can city better communicate with residents?

It would be great to get every resident's e-mail address. We could then send meeting notices and any updates directly to everyone. And I think that as more people read about how the city is run, they might tend to take a greater interest in the city.

What is the role of city government during a recession? Should the city ease the taxpayer burden at the risk of cutting services?I believe the role of city government is to maintain financial stability during a recession. We can't try to make the city recession-proof by raising taxes. So it's necessary to scrutinize every expenditure and investment. We can only cut services to the extent the taxpayers want.

Give the Common Council a grade.

I overwhelmingly give the council an "A." In a tight fiscal environment, we have kept tax increases well below the inflation level. Our policies have resulted in an increased bond rating from Moody's Investor Services, thereby saving thousands of dollars in interest charges. We should all be proud of that.

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