Two candidates are vying for a seat on the Verona City Council in District 2 in the April 3 election. Terms are for two years. (I) indicates incumbent.
Address: 552 Hickory Court
Family: Husband Peter; daughters Lily and Maecie
Job: Senior forensic scientist — DNA analyst at the state Crime Laboratory in Madison
Prior elected office: None.
Other public service: New Century School Governance Council, volunteer with Badger Prairie Needs Network, Girl Scouts and 4-H
Education: B.S. in biology from UW-Milwaukee, 2005; certificates in forensic science, forensic toxicology and death investigation
Jack Linder (I)
Address: 873 Glenwood Drive
Family: Wife Nancy; children Katie, Emma, Owen, Darren and Malcolm
Job: Production manager at Cardinal AG in Spring Green for the past 15 years
Prior elected office: Member of the City Council for the past four years, for a total of more than six years of council experience
Other public service: Member of the Verona Plan Commission (11 years), Finance Committee, joint city/town joint review board, tourism commission and Community Development Authority; former chairman of the Public Safety and Welfare Committee
Education: Master of Business Administration, Edgewood College, 2007; B.S., electrical engineering, UW-Madison, 1996
List three of your top priorities.
Kohl: 1. Housing opportunities for all Verona residents. 2. Common-sense, sustainable development, including support for our public infrastructure. 3. Continued investment in our downtown shopping district, including ongoing support for local businesses.
Linder: 1. Continue to be a good steward of the public money. We reduced city taxes 15 percent over the past four years. 2. Maintain or improve our already exceptional public safety (police, fire and EMS). We reduced response time for the fire department by 40 percent over the last four years. 3. Smart and innovative development such as the North Neighborhood design.
If you could reverse one city action, what would that be?
Kohl: The development of the central downtown intersection in Verona (Main Street and Verona Avenue). I think Verona missed an opportunity to create a true gateway. The intersection could also benefit from safety improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians, and it’s generally unattractive and generic. There is nothing about this location/gateway that says “Welcome to Hometown USA.”
Linder: I would reverse the apartment development on the west side called the West End. The apartments were sold to us as a catalyst to further commercial/retail development but that development never came. In similar situations now, I look for assurances that the commercial/retail is built first.
How would you change the way the city handles development?
Kohl: I would like to see a more focused effort on development in our downtown area, cultivating an environment where people want to walk around, eat and shop. I would like to see more small, local businesses versus big chains and fast-food restaurants. I would also like to see more opportunities for public input so that the city staff can get a better feel for the type of development residents want, not just what developers feel is best.
Linder: I would like to see a return to the traditional 70 percent single-family home, 30 percent multifamily ratio that has been the city norm. Lately, we have been closer to 50/50. The other development item I would like in the city is senior housing that operates similar to Oakwood in Madison where seniors can live even in declining health.