2008 had a contested Village Trustee race (Fee, Siegel, Fehring) and a WI SC race, Butler and Gableman.
losing was slightly surprising, as incumbents rarely lose.
But how many voters actually could name their Trustee?
Probably not many.
This was Fee's first contested election, and I think he
struggled to find his
I don't recall getting any literature from his
I had endorsed Fee
, as I was impressed with his
skills, and believe the board will miss his
is running for his
second 3-year term, and was unopposed in 2005.
I interviewed Fee
for two hours.
is a man of substance, precision, and intelligence.
is conscientious and thoughtful.
My one concern with Fee
is that he
is too "risk-averse" when it comes to Silver Spring redevelopment.
Don't get me wrong, Fee
has well-thought arguments for his
ideas on redevelopment, and one would be hard pressed to find flaw.
Generally speaking, he
aligns himself with the school of thought that TIF dollars should go for public improvements, like street-scaping, not for assisting individual businesses.
did, however, explain that he
is open-minded, that if a great plan came along for a property on Silver Spring that had solid partners, that he
could foresee himself supporting Village involvement.
But great plans are hard to come by.
Silver Spring is far behind in the game, and, in football terms, needs to give up the running game, and start passing.
We're at a point that we need to take on some risk, some gambles, to see improvement.
is a solid friend of home-owners' rights and has a common sense approach to architectural and historical preservation rules.
remains a solid choice.
thoughtfulness and analyitcal skills are needed.
has the background and solid talent to remain, and I endorse him for Village Board Trustee.
I commend anyone who raises their hand to volunteer, but Fee
and Fehring are better choices.
WFB Village Board Candidates: David Fee
I spoke to David Fee
for a couple hours last week.
While Fee grew up in Brooklyn, NY, he's spent the past 17 years in Whitefish Bay, and has served one term on the Village Board.
ran unopposed three years ago, making this his
first election with a challenger.
I asked Fee
was running again.
He explained that he ran three years ago to represent the northern side of Whitefish Bay during the JCC expansion, but that you "get past that single issue pretty quickly.
There are many more issues that starkly define the vision on how to manage our community.
is pleased with a number of items he's
He represents the Board on the Shorewood/Whitefish Bay Public Health Board, and in this past term, the Board, working with the Northshore Board of Health, hired a sanitarian to execute food inspections and perform training on food safety issues in the North Shore.
Responding to his
concerns for the tax-payer subsidy of this service, the communities voted to fund it primarily through the license fees, and to make it subject to efficacy audits to determine the cost effectiveness of annual and complaint based inspections.
Another item Fee was proud of, was the new rules for the Historic Preservation Commission
The original draft allowed the unelected commission to designate a property as Historic without the approval of the homeowner.
believed that over-stepped bounds and reduced homeowner rights, and obtained an amendment that dictates a homeowner must approve of the designation.
believes the new rules concerning demolitions hit the mark as well, as he
believes there is wisdom in the "organic replacement" of housing stock in the village.
"When renovations are managed through the Architectural Review Commission (ARC) to protect size and scale, demolition and renewal can add value to a block, and tax base to the community", he said.
provided this quote: "Though a village survey found support for multi-use development up to 4 stories (Johnson Bank building), I am concerned that such extensive development the length of the street would drastically change the image of Whitefish Bay
I understand the CDA echoes text book planning to utilize a mixed used development with condos as a tool to enliven a commercial strip.
My concern is that with the limited space of Silver Spring, and the existing residential density WFB, such mixed use would have marginal impact on the night life of The Bay.
Given the significant number of un-leased apartments and office space in the new Bayshore Town Centre, and the below expected performance of virtually all the restaurants, I am very cautious on any joint development the Village would invest in through the eminent domain process."
pointed to fellow Board Member, Rita Cheng as an expert on how TIF monies should be used in redevelopment, and he
repeated advice to the CDA and Board that "TIF money should go into infrastructure, like streetscaping, that benefits the whole community in the long term.
While skeptical, he
is open to using TIF dollars for individual projects that subsidize one developer "if there is a clear business plan that indicates potential merchants that would occupy the space," Fee
We spoke at length about the Talbots/Famous Footwear spot, and his
vote to deny the village the use of Eminent Domain to purchase the property and try to develop it in accordance with the CDA's master plan.
Fee is joined by Trustees Brennan, Berg, and Cheng, who are against this process.
In broad terms, Fee
"will not vote for such action unless there is a solid business plan with identified financial partners.
said prefers "to negotiate for the site on the open market
, rather than use eminent domain to force a 'fair market valuation' on the property owner."
stated a number of times that he
would keep an open mind about the Village
working with developers for Silver Spring, "but you can't chase it.
If there was a great business plan put forth, and a reason to believe it was a workable concept, I could see the village ponying up.
No such plan has been presented at this point.
also said he
"had a philosophical problem with using eminent domain in a selective environment.
If the property was clearly blighted, sure, but in this case it was a heavy handed ploy, and the village doesn't have a plan for the property."
believes that if the Village
were to ever propose making large investments in Silver Spring, he
would support putting them to a referendum, so the citizens could have a vote.
concluded with explaining how he
loves Whitefish Bay
"It's a special place.
Development can't be rushed, and the first rule is to do no harm.
Governmental action can have unintended consequences and do far greater damage beyond the problem that was being solved."
I wish to thank David
for taking the time for the interview.
I hope to speak to David Fee
in the next week, and follow up with all the candidates as we approach the April election.
I will try to get interviews with Pritchard, Weas, and David Fee in the next few weeks.
Since incumbents have a great probability of re-election, David Fee
will probably retain his job, which means this race is mostly between Julie Siegel and Thomas Fehring, who submitted campaign paperwork last week.
I've been told incumbant David Fee
is indeed running again, and as interviewed last week, newcommer Julie Siegel has filed papers for the other open spot.