Pioneer Pres Editorial
September 3, 2003

Four candidates -- including the current mayor and a former councilman -- are seeking to unseat a 12-year incumbent on the Roseville City Council.

But incumbent Dean Maschka is an experienced and knowledgeable council member who has earned another term.

Maschka has clashed with Mayor John Kysylyczyn and often found himself in the two-man minority on council votes during the past four years. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. He voted, with Craig Klausing, against throwing decisions for code enforcement prosecutions to the council rather than local prosecutors; against abolishing the city's Ethics Commission; and against giving the mayor sole authority to appoint citizens to advisory commissions.

A financial planner, Maschka, 56, brings a solid understanding of finances and budget matters to the council. He will be an asset as the city confronts the loss of more than $1 million in state aid over the next couple of years.

Amy Ihlan, an attorney and trained mediator, is another strong contender for the council. She was drawn into the race by a proposal to bring big-box retail to the Twin Lakes development near her home and believes that she has the leadership skills to end the rancor in the current city government. While Ihlan, 43, opposes the current plans for Twin Lakes, she said she does support smart growth in Roseville that combines homes and shops in a more pedestrian-friendly manner.

Former Councilman Al Kehr, 88, is a supporter of the current mayor, yet finds himself running against Kysylyczyn in the council primary. Kehr said he is running a positive campaign because he is "sick and tired of what's going on in Roseville," but offered few other details of his vision for the city.

Kysylyczyn, who is giving up his mayoral post and running for council instead, said there is more that he wants to accomplish in city government. He would like to find ways to ease traffic congestion and step up traffic enforcement; come up with a new vision for the city's future; and develop a system of neighborhood councils loosely patterned on St. Paul's. Kysylyczyn has come up with many good ideas in his tenure as mayor, but too often found himself a lightning rod for discord. While he blames a lot of that on his political opponents and the majority will of the council, he must accept a good portion of the responsibility as the city's mayor. He was too often a source of division as mayor, and we have no reason to believe that would change if he merely changes seats.

Stuart Shwiff, 39, says that his 15 years of business experience -- he was a marketing manager for Sprint -- will serve him well in helping the city to address its budget problems. He said he decided to enter the race to give something back to his community as a "neighbor and resident." He favors plans to develop Twin Lakes and more economic development in the city.

Voters have a wide selection of candidates -- representing both change and the status quo -- in the council primary. Maschka's experience and financial acumen set him apart.

2003 St. Paul Pioneer Press and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.