Pioneer Press Editorial
Oct. 31, 2005 

Ihlan, Pust, Roe

To mention redevelopment of the Twin Lakes area at a meeting with Roseville City Council candidates is to light a rhetorical fire. Although the financing and development contract for the first phase of the Twin Lakes project were approved last summer after years of contention, the underlying issues are imbedded for future political leadership to manage in the large first-ring Ramsey County suburb.

Voters will choose a significant part of that leadership, choosing three City Council members on Nov. 8. Six candidates are competing for the three seats, two incumbents and four challengers. One member of the current council is not seeking re-election.

We recommend the election of Amy Ihlan, Tammy Pust and Dan Roe to the Roseville City Council.

Pust astutely points out that when candidates are out at forums and door-knocking the most frequent citizen concerns they encounter are more direct than the proxy debates behind Twin Lakes. Citizens express concerns about keeping taxes down, maintaining the city's signature hockey rink and similar day-to-day life-quality issues.

But it is those proxy fights that delineate choices for the voters. The issues are the mix of development between retail and residential, environmental cleanup, traffic and the prudence of a tax policy that forgoes a large chunk of revenue through tax-increment financing for Twin Lakes developers. In short, how to strike balances for a sustainable future in a mature suburban community that has limited resources.

Roseville voters have the benefit of a strong and passionate field of candidates who are well informed.

Incumbent Tom Kough and challengers Gale Pederson and Joy Anderson all bring assets to the race, but on balance, we think Roseville's strongest council team would include incumbent Ihlan and two newcomers who have vibrant backgrounds to contribute positively.

Residents of Roseville have been served well by Kough, an opponent of the Twin Lakes plan. He has given four years on the council and brought to that work his long previous experience in governing Austin, Minn. But others bring fresh perspectives. Pederson, who supports the Twin Lakes plan, has vast experience as a community leader in volunteer posts, including the Roseville Parks and Recreation Commission and the Twin Lakes Stakeholder Advisory Panel. Anderson, who opposes the Twin Lakes plan, declined our invitation to screen for Pioneer Press endorsement.

Ihlan, an attorney, has led opposition to the first phase plan on Twin Lakes. She is passionate, well-versed and has built a strong constituency. She ran unsuccessfully for the council in 2003 but was appointed to a vacant seat early last year. She is particularly critical of the amount of tax-increment financing and of including big-box retail in the Twin Lakes mix. We have supported the Twin Lakes plan and continue to do so. But we can also enthusiastically support Ihlan's continued service on the Roseville council. She's an informed, energetic, able voice for challenging the conventional wisdom.

Pust, an attorney and mediator, is a former mayoral candidate. She has lived in Roseville 17 years and served on the city Planning Commission. She also is a former Minnesota assistant attorney general and former assistant commissioner of the state Education Department. She has extensive volunteer experience in other civic groups and in the schools. Pust is in command of the issues and projects a practical centrist analysis of how to meet needs in the city. Her skills as a mediator would be put to good use on the council.

Roe is making his third run for office in Roseville. The sales manager ran unsuccessfully for mayor and for the council previously. We think the third time should be the charm for Roe. He is experienced in volunteer service, including on the Twin Lakes Stakeholder Advisory Panel. The 14-year Roseville resident emphasizes the need for strategic planning related to infrastructure and the city's changing demographics.

Ihlan, Pust and Roe bring different skills and viewpoints, along with ample public service records that indicate they would make valuable contributions to governing in Roseville in the years ahead.
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