Maschka will not run for fifth term
George Fairbanks, Roseville Review, News Editor
7/25/06

The announcement that Dean Maschka has decided not to seek re-election to his Roseville City Council seat guarantees at least one new face on the council next January.

Maschka described his four terms on the council as an enjoyable experience but noted he felt it was time to do other things.

"I've been there 16 years, and that's probably long enough," Maschka said. "I want to travel a little more, write a little more, work a little harder."

He pointed to the city's many park improvements and his work in securing funding for renovations at the Guidant John Rose Minnesota Oval as career highlights.

"All of those are a great satisfaction," Maschka said.

He added that through it all, he believed the city had been as wise with the taxpayers' money as possible. "I think we've been fiscally responsible." 

Dan Roe, Joe Machyowsky, Karen Schaffer and Mary Vidas have all filed to replace Maschka. The field will be whittled to two candidates after the Sept. 12 primary. The top two primary finishers will then face off in the Nov. 7 general election.

Maschka's current term expires Dec. 31 and he's got a couple of issues he to tackle before his career draws to a close.

"I think the visioning process is something I wanted to see get done before I left," Maschka said, adding that he'd also like to see a new city manager hired before he leaves office. 

For now, Maschka believes Finance Director Chris Miller, who is serving as interim city manager following the recent resignation of Neal Beets, would be the ideal candidate to replace Beets on a permanent level.

"I'm not sure we should spend the money for a search when we already have a good fit, but I'm not sure the council agrees with me on that," he said.

Maschka was still wrestling with his decision whether to run just a few hours before the 5 p.m. July 18 filing deadline. 

"It was not an easy decision," Maschka said. "It's a mixed feeling, bittersweet is what I would call it."

Of the pool of potential replacement, Maschka pointed to Roe as the best fit.

"I think he'd be an excellent replacement," Maschka explained. "He's demonstrated he's thoughtful. He would certainly be my candidate."

Seasoned campaigner

Roe was quick to embrace Maschka's endorsement. 

"I don't think there's any question his support would be a good thing for any candidate," Roe said. 

Roe is a familiar name to people who follow Roseville politics. He ran for mayor in 2003, and the council in 2004 and 2005.

In 2005 he finished fourth in a race to fill three seats.

As a member of the council he would concentrate on Roseville's future. "We need to have a better focus in Roseville on long-range planning," Roe said.

He added the current Imagine Roseville 2025 community-visioning process could help the council as it sets goals to move the community forward. 

In addition to Maschka's support, Roe explained he's heard from a number of people who encouraged him to run. "I'm proud of my wide-ranging support in the community," Roe said.

To effectively deal with the various issues in the community, Roe said the council members must find some level of cohesiveness.

"It becomes a question of how people work together despite their differences," he said.

Roe said while out in the community he's heard from a number of people concerned about the fate of the Fairview Community Center, which is currently owned by the Roseville Area School District. If that facility eventually closes, people will want an alternative, Roe said.

"There's a lot of desire for something in the form of a community center," he added.

As he looks forward to the campaign, Roe said he'll spend much of his time walking Roseville's neighborhoods, trying to meet as many people as possible. He's also hoping there will be debates with the other council candidates.

"Debates are probably equally important," he said. 

Ultimately, Roe thinks his experiences with his previous campaigns will help him this time.

"No question about it," he said, "If I haven't learned something I shouldn't be running."

Community activist

Retiree Joe Machyowsky is passionate about Roseville, and it's that passion that led him to file for Maschka's seat.

"I've been studying the council, and I've been concerned about the regular fellow," Machyowsky said.

Currently, three of the five council members are attorneys and Machyowsky - who has a political science degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey - noted he'd like to see someone other than "highly educated attorneys" on the council.

"They get away from the needs of the people," he asserted.

As he's followed the council over the last several years, Machyowsky believes he's seen a lack of leadership at times.

"What's happening with our council is not acceptable to me," he said. "We badly need leadership at the mayoral and council level."

Machyowsky believes the council needs to focus more closely on listening to individual resident's and then specifically acting on their comments and concerns.

Machyowsky is also very opposed to the Twin Lakes project.

"It would wreck old, fine, neighborhoods," he said.

Like Roe, Machyowsky has heard concerns about the Fairview Community Center from numerous Roseville residents.

"We have a very large population of senior citizens," he said. "If Fairview closes, we need to give seniors an adequate place to meet and gather."

Traffic congestion, particularly around rush-hour, is another of Machyowsky's concerns and he advocates using motorcycle police to help control traffic and ticket speeders.

When it comes time to vote, Machyowsky thinks people will appreciate the fact he's not a "professional politician." He added, "I'm going to say the things nobody else will dare to say."

If elected, Machyowsky pledged to deal with citizens one-on-one.

"I'm going to listen carefully, and I'm going to take action accordingly," Machyowsky said. "We have a wonderful community, but it could be better."

Concerned about neighborhoods

For City Council candidate Karen Schaffer, Roseville's increasing traffic levels and its impact on the quality of the city's neighborhoods, is one the major factors that drove her to make a run for office.

"Roseville is a great place to live," the long-time resident said, adding she thinks the community should be recognized as more than simply a regional shopping destination.

Schaffer also wants to bring a new vision to the council.

"I'm inspired to run to bring a new quality of leadership to the City Council," she noted. 

Schaffer also explained she doesn't consider herself a "single-issue candidate" and is running to put an emphasis on Roseville's future. She thinks the community is under stress from "modern life" and wants to listen to the concerns of neighborhood residents.

In talking to community members about her candidacy, Schaffer said residents have repeatedly mentioned traffic concerns and a desire to see wise use of tax dollars. 

Schaffer also explained she hasn't been impressed by the City Council when she's had a chance to watch it in action.

"The impression one gets from watching is that the decisions have been made before the meeting," Schaffer said.

If elected, Schaffer said she would spend a lot of time simply listening to the concerns of citizens. "I would give all voices an opportunity to be heard." 

As she looks ahead to her campaign, Schaffer expects to have a busy summer and fall. "I plan to mail, door-knock and continue talking."

Schaffer is also eager for an opportunity to debate her fellow candidates. "We have had a tradition in this community for pre-election debates."

In the end, for Schaffer it's about serving her community, "rather than the people who shop here and leave."

Public-policy experience

Mary Vidas sees a spot on the Roseville City Council as a good way to put her years of public-policy experience to work for her community. She's currently a public-policy program manager for the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

"It seems like a natural extension to the work I'm doing now," Vidas said of serving on the Council.

Vidas thinks Roseville needs a strong vision and strong planning as it moves into the future. "Roseville's at some critical crossroads here."

Vidas also is concerned about how the city uses tax-increment financing as well as the level to which it's currently funding the police and fire departments and public works. "Public services are suffering."

If elected, she would examine ways to increase funding to public-service programs. "I want a redesign of how money is allocated."

Vidas also wants to work to maintain and improve Roseville's neighborhoods, an issue she's heard often when talking to residents.

"I want to make sure the health and safety of our neighborhoods are looked after first," Vidas said.

Regarding the makeup of the current council, she thinks it is too adversarial.

"I would like to see that change; it must change," Vidas said, adding that as a trained mediator she's got the skills to help the council stay focused. She believes a council that gets along better would also increase citizen participation at meetings.

"No one wants to engage in a broken process," Vidas stated. 

Traffic congestion is another issue that residents have brought up to Vidas, as is good access to public transportation.

"The elderly are concerned about their own sense of safety," she said.

Vidas also thinks drawing Roseville's youngsters into public debate would be a prudent move "so they have ownership."

As for her campaign, Vidas plans to knock on doors, attend picnics and house parties and participate in debates with the other candidates.

Copyright 2006, Lillie Suburban Newspapers