Posted on Wed, Sep. 06, 2006

3 City Council candidates making case to voters With Twin Lakes and other issues looming, primary will narrow field BY STEVE SCOTT Pioneer Press

Three candidates are actively seeking to replace longtime Roseville City Council Member Dean Maschka, who is not seeking re-election.

Roseville also has a hotly contested mayor's race, but that won't be on Tuesday's primary ballot because the two candidates, City Council Member Amy Ihlan and incumbent Craig Klausing, will square off only in November's general election.

Tuesday's primary, however, will narrow the field for the council vacancy to two. The candidates include Dan Roe, Karen Schaffer and Mary Vidas, all seeking their first elected post. Joe Machyowsky is listed on the primary ballot but said he will announce today that he is discontinuing his candidacy because of health concerns.

Roe is making his fourth run at a council seat. But this will be the first in which he isn't facing a current council member.

He lost in the 2003 mayor's race, a special election for the council in 2004 and in last year's council race.

"The thing people still talk about is having the council work together better,'' said Roe, who attends virtually every council meeting. "There is still a lot of residue left over from the last few years.

"That continues to be somewhat of an issue with the Twin Lakes project, and so many strong feelings on that can get in the way of other things the council needs to be working on.''

One of those issues for the next council, Roe said, will be implementing the findings of the city's current 2025 visioning process.

But the Twin Lakes redevelopment, now in limbo in the Minnesota court system as the result of a citizen lawsuit opposing it, may come before the new council, too.

Roe, who said the previously adopted Twin Lakes plan was a "reasonable approach,'' is more closely aligned to the outgoing Maschka on that issue. Maschka was part of a 3-2 majority that favored the now-contested plan.

Schaffer and Vidas would align themselves with the current council's minority, which opposed Twin Lakes.

Schaffer opposes tax-increment financing to help build the project, calling it a "subsidy" for developers.

Vidas says "big-box retail" is a poor mix for the neighborhood, which like the rest of the city, she said would benefit from more single-family homes.

Schaffer, assistant Dakota County attorney, said residents care most deeply about preserving residential neighborhoods.

"Noise and traffic are a threat to neighborhoods because development is so relentless,'' Schaffer said. "I don't have a grand plan. My first approach would be to pledge to look at issues through the eyes of the residents first and foremost. Others are important: Developers and consultants and commercial interests come and go, but their interests are secondary to the people who live there.''

Schaffer is marketing herself as a "new voice'' to reduce the sense of council division.

"Unanimous votes all the time that's not going to happen,'' she said. "But the constant division and constant dispute do not inspire confidence. A 3-2 vote on big issues just makes people mad.''

Vidas is stressing her background as public policy program manager for the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum working on issues such as land use, development, "green economy" and urban design.

"Roseville is at critical crossroads, facing some huge challenges that affect our quality of life,'' Vidas said. "Central to Roseville's future is the health and safety of our neighborhoods, a balanced approach to development, the support of public services fire, police, public works and the preservation of what park and open space we have.''

She disagrees with developers who say major retailers are necessary to redevelopment projects such as Twin Lakes in order to make the housing component of such projects financially feasible.

"Roseville is really more than its retail,'' she said. "I would rather see us support smaller, locally owned businesses who can provide that neighborhood feel. Many younger people hoping to move in say they love the little shops down the street that we can walk to, and that's what we need to create in Roseville.''


Voters will be able to ask questions of Roseville City Council and mayoral candidates from 7 to 9 p.m. today at the Guidant John Rose Minnesota Oval. The Roseville Citizens League is sponsoring the forum. The primary election for City Council is Tuesday. The top two candidates will advance to the general election Nov. 7. The mayor's race will be only on the November ballot.

Dan Roe

Age: 38.

Family: Single

Occupation: Regional sales manager for an industrial equipment company

Political/civic experience: Member, Roseville Planning Commission, Roseville HRA Rental Licensing Study Group. Served on Twin Lakes Stakeholder advisory group.

Education: University of Michigan (mechanical engineering)

Background: Making a fourth try for the council, after losing in the 2003 mayor's race, the 2004 special council election and last year's council race

Viewpoint: Supports multiyear city budgeting, not the current annual approach. Backs stronger roles for citizen advisory commissions and creation of a public safety advisory commission and a volunteer citizen traffic enforcement patrol. Believes the Twin Lakes redevelopment plan previously endorsed by the council was "a reasonable approach.''

For more information: Phone: 651-487-9654. Web: E-mail:

Karen Schaffer

Age: Declined to give her age

Family: Married with two children

Occupation: Assistant Dakota County attorney

Political/civic experience: First run at elected office. Former member, Roseville Nonmotorized Pathways Committee. Member of public infrastructure/public safety subcommittee for Roseville's 2025 visioning process.

Education: Georgetown University (foreign service), Johns Hopkins University (teaching), University of Minnesota (law)

Background: Resident of Roseville for more than 30 years. Former high school history teacher.

Viewpoint: Wants to manage increased traffic, noise and light pollution. Opposes shrinking open and green spaces. Supports completing bikeway system to get users safely from one recreational location to another. "You can either sit back and wonder and complain or try to be part of the solution. Coming in as an outsider, my focus will be on bringing a new culture to the City Council.''

For more information: E-mail: Phone: 651-636-7359.

Mary Vidas

Age: 52

Family: Partner in committed relationship for 27 years

Occupation: Public policy program manager, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Political/civic experience: First run for elected office. Former member of Roseville human rights commission.

Education: Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. Metropolitan State University (business and technical communications).

Background: Consultant, Office of Business and Community Economic Development, University of Minnesota. Project partner, U.S. Attorney General's Community Outreach. Former high school educator.

Viewpoint: Believes city needs to support single-family housing whenever possible to keep residential neighborhoods strong. Favors locally owned small businesses and start-ups. Believes her regional public-policy background distinguishes her from other candidates. Says City Council should devise ways to evaluate its own performance between elections.

For more information: Phone: 651-308-0154. Web:

Joe Machyowsky

Age: 73

Family: Married with one daughter and two grandchildren

Occupation: Retired planner and supervisor for Whirlpool Corp.

Education: Rutgers University (political science)

Background: U.S. Air Force special operations, 1960-65

Viewpoint: Entered race because he strongly opposed the Twin Lakes redevelopment plan. Although his name is on the primary ballot, Machyowsky says he will announce today that he will not remain a candidate because of failing health.


2006 St. Paul Pioneer Press and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.