With the goal of teaching students the elements of political campaigns, polls, debates, advertising and responsibility to community and nation, seventh grade students and staff are participating in an Election 2008 unit in all of their core classes that recreates all aspects of the presidential and senate campaigns.Three elections ago, the social studies teachers at West Middle School approached the other teachers on the building’s teams with the idea of a large interdisciplinary election unit. “We asked our teammates to give up a week of teaching their standard curriculum and totally focus on the election and they willingly agreed,” said WMS history teacher Megan Speers. “The result was students became more actively involved and knowledgeable about the election than most adults,” she said.“When we asked teachers to do it again this year, not one person hesitated to say yes,” said Speers.In U.S. history classes, all students play an assigned role in the campaigns including the candidates, secret service agents/security detail, reporters, key advisors, campaign workers and campaign managers. Students are required to perform the specific duties of each of these roles.In language arts, students learn about the different types of political advertising techniques and evaluate current ads. Each campaign creates a television commercial, leaflets, posters and announcements as well as a plan for distributing these messages throughout the election week.In math, students become pollsters and the Electoral College analysis center. Each party creates effective polls to gather information on the issues and their candidate’s progress. They also review the validity of polls and debate the role of the Electoral College in campaigns.In science, students study effective methods of debate and speech and watch the candidates participate in debates and rallies and analyze characteristics of effective public speaking. Issue groups write speech segments for their candidate to use during “town hall” meetings and the candidates practice for the “town hall” meetings and receive feedback from the rest of the class.The election week for the project runs from October 27-31 with a town hall meeting planned for November 3 at 11 a.m. and a school-wide election on Tuesday, November 4. Students are allowed to vote before school or during lunch and results are announced at the end of the day.“The enthusiasm that students have for the election is amazing. One hears debates happening in the lunchroom, in encore classes and during passing time,” said WMS social studies teacher Mandy Kraus about the experience.
Dan Gustafson: What prompted you to run for office?
Andrew Mullin: Well it’s something I have been thinking about doing for a number of years, I have been very active for the last four years both as a community volunteer and as a civic volunteer. Two reasons: One I wanted to give back, and Two I am concerned many elections in recent memory go uncontested. What I mean by that is there are tons of wonderful volunteers, giving time, talent, sometimes treasure, in a number of different ways. My evidence is, the last two or three elections have been light in the number of candidates that have stepped forward. Now in the early to mid 90’s, even late in the 90’s when Barry Petit was still around, there was some activity. Lots of candidates, but it’s dropped off. You know, two mayoral elections uncontested. This one [Wayzata City Council] was about to go uncontested, and I stepped in at the last minute at the encouragement of lots of other citizens.
DG: What do you hope to accomplish?
AM: I have two things that I am passionate about. One is traffic, and the second is open space or public amenities. I’ll tell you why on both of those. The first, in terms of traffic, there is lots of work that is done around redevelopment and measuring the impact of redevelopment at a specific location, or the specific contributing arteries to that location. But I feel we need to take a step back and realize one thing and try to come up with a plan or a vision 10 years out to address it. There is a lot of pressure coming from the other communities in town here, around our town. Medina, going out 15, Minnetonka, we somewhat are a victim of our own little 394 problem. There’s two ways to get in off 394 but they kind of intersect at one point. So we have got a design issue, and I think we need to put some thought behind what is our overall traffic management plan. What is our overall vision for how we might change it.
It’s going to be complicated to implement, you’ve got State money, County money, local money involved. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, if it’s easy it would have already been done. I do believe there is a way we can enhance the major arteries in town and do a better job protecting the neighborhoods, getting people to downtown if that’s where they want to go. Try[ing] to discourage, cut[ing] through the neighborhood. Think about it, Wayzata Boulevard, it’s pretty easy, but where does that go through? A neighborhood! So there is a lot of work that can be done.
The second thing is, I want to work on open space, public parks. My definition is not the definition of Klapprich Park, but any project, especially a couple of the larger ones put forward recently. You can have a public amenity that helps pedestrian friendly, space for public meeting or public gathering, that can be part of projects. It’s not that hard to do. I just think we need to push harder on that front. Not to mention, we have a significant amount of money sitting in a park fund, which we keep hearing a skate park might be possible. I don’t see any priorities for here are the top 5 things we want to invest in as a community as community assets. I’d like to see some focus there.
DG: How long have you lived in Wayzata?
AM: 11 years.
DG: You have some family here?
AM: I’ve got two kids, a second grader [Walker] and a kindergartner [Paige] at Gleason Lake Elementary. I am married to my wife Kristyn, who works at Allina Hospitals and Clinics.
DG: What are the three biggest issues facing Wayzata residents today?
AM: The Bay Center, and even though it has been decided, there is still a lot of work ahead to make sure that it is the best possible outcome for the City. That has those intersections associated with it. The Bay Center is where I would like to see a lot of focus. I know they are working very hard on it, Superior and Lake, Superior and Wayzata Boulevard, Wise and Lake Street Extension–those three… It’s gotta get done right. What I don’t want to see happen is oh we’ll try something, and leave it out there for a while, and suddenly we will get distracted in our priorities or the capital will get redirected and we won’t ever finish it. So I really want to put some focus to that and see it through.
Probably associated with that is the Muni. The Council has put forth a resolution stating that they intend to move forward with the Municipal Food and Liquor operation–there’s no details behind it. There is not enough of a plan behind where it’s going to go, how it’s going to work, how it’s going to be funded, do we have to bond for it. What is the footprint going to be? So there is a lot of work left there.
The third issue that I think–development is always an issue, redevelopment. Just a side note, there are several projects in que that we can go through if you want to, but I think the third one is Bushaway Road. The redesign of Bushaway Road, it’s a County Road, there is some pressure to redesign, widen it. There’s a lot of details to be worked out there. That is a major impact, I think, to the City.
DG: Do you have any public service background?
AM: I do. Last year I served on the City of Wayzata Heritage Preservation Board. Previous to that, the last 4 years on the Wayzata Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Committee. I have been an active participant, although I did not sit on the committee, I want to be clear about that, about the Comprehensive Plan redesign. They had several workshops and hearings, and ways in which to contribute.
DG: Fill in your professional resume for us.
AM: I currently part owner of a management consulting firm in Eden Prairie. We provide professional services in the area of marketing, strategy and research. I started that with another gentleman.
DG: How about your education?
AM: I have my MBA from the University of St. Thomas, and attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I have lived and worked in Minneapolis, since, well grew up here. Went away for school, been back in the Twin Cities since 1994.
DG: If people wanted to find out more information about you, how would they do that?
AM: Good question, I wish I had a website, but I haven’t had time to do that. I’ve got an email, email@example.com, they can email me and I will be happy to get back to them.
Dan Gustafson: Mary, what prompted you to run for office?
Mary Bader: I wanted to continue the work that we had begun. There are a lot of important issues facing Wayzata, and we are kind of right in the middle of it. I thought that the responsible thing to do was stay involved, and continue to use the experience I have acquired. So that’s why I decided to run. I initially decided to run two years ago, when I went for the appointment, because John Berns was elected to the State Legislature. His seat was open so I thought, I did it because I have a life long commitment to public service, and I had always intended to be more involved in my town when my kids were grown and my business was under control and I could do it. Again, I knew some really important issues were coming up in town and I wanted to have a vote as well as a voice.
DG: What do you hope to accomplish this time around?
MB: Well, I hope to keep a really excellent council working together because we have a great team of people right now. I think we all feel we work well together. I am in the middle of a leading a task force on communications for the city, and I hope to continue accomplishing something in that department. We already started it a year ago, and a forward team of people with professional expertise in communications, they have upgraded our newsletter and improved our website. I hope you link to it by the way.
DG: All the time.
MB: And it needs to get even better, it’s getting better all the time. We are now focusing in on the cable TV offerings. We think they can be improved, and now we are looking at how we can do that without a great deal more money being expended. So continuing to improve communications, because my core belief is that citizens need to be informed and engaged–and then we have a better town. That’s why Wayzata is such a good town. So there is one thing, communications.
I also hope to work with everybody else to keep Wayzata on a fiscal sound track. It is more important than ever right now, with what’s going on in Washington and New York. I don’t intend to do any of this alone. I also intend to continue to work on solutions to the traffic in town. Traffic is terrible. I intend to continue to try to tamp down the railroad noise, we have made some progress on that with the quiet zone that is going to start… Of course the Bay Center is unfinished business. I did not vote for the Bay Center, but I think our job now is to make sure that it is successful for the City. So I will be working hard, continuing to ask a lot of questions and try make sure that is done right.
DG: How long have you lived in Wayzata?
MB: 38 years.
DG: What prompted you to move here?
MB: My husband was transferred here. I grew up in St. Paul, we were living in Chicago, and he was transferred here. I came up to look for a house, he was still down there, and he called me and said, “Hey, I have been looking at a map, there is a very big lake west of Minneapolis, and that’s where I would like to live.” He grew up near Lake Michigan. “And there’s a town there, W-A-Y-Z-A-T-A, and that’s where I think we should live.” I said are you out of your mind? We could never afford to live there. He said, “Well just look.”… We found this house and never wanted to leave. I love Wayzata because it always had room for a lot of different kind of people. It wasn’t just Ferndale, or Bushaway, it was a real community.
DG: What are the three biggest issues facing Wayzata residents today?
MB: I think the biggest issue is the need to protect our single family neighborhoods from inappropriate development. It’s not just the Bay Center, I mean it’s all over town. There is so little room available for anything in Wayzata and speculators and developers are looking to be a part of it. Everybody seems to want to be here. But we have to protect those neighborhoods because they are the heart and soul of the City. We have quite a bit of multiple housing already, and I’m glad we have it. I don’t think we necessarily have to promote it a whole lot more. Our multiple housing has a lot of affordable units… But the single family housing is the heart and soul of Wayzata. That’s where people raise kids, and we need to protect them and keep them from being inundated with cut through traffic.
The other very big issue is keeping us on a sound financial track, making prudent investments, being cautious, and keeping a cap on taxes. It’s very hard to do all that stuff at the same time. Right now, with what’s going on, nobody knows what’s going on. I just talked to the Mayor this morning and I asked for us to have some sort of meeting with our bond advisor to find out what our risk situation is in terms of what is going on nationally. Probably it’s pretty good, but we would be imprudent if we didn’t ask that question.
Did you say three? It’s hard to choose between traffic and the Bay Center. I would say doing the Bay Center right is the third issue. Doing it right. Doing it so that it turns out to be a successful project for the city.
DG: You served on the Council for how long?
MB: Just under two years. When I first moved to town in the 1970’s I was chairman of the Human Rights Commission… During the time when I was chairman of the Wayzata Human Rights Commission, I along with several of my friends, succesfully advocated for the building of the Boardwalk Senior Apartments over on Central. That was a very fine community effort. At the time all these seniors, mostly elderly widows, couldn’t really afford to stay in their homes anymore, or keep them up. They had no where to go, and there were not enough apartments in Wayzata. That was the solution then, it has been very successful. Very nice building, really… it’s well constructed. It’s as nice today as it ever was… Because I was a journalist, I tried to keep out of holding any formal office.
DG: Would you please fill in your professional resume?
MB: I was a journalist for 25 years, and then in the last 18 years, I have run my own business [as] …a business communications consultant.
DG: How about your educational background?
MB: I graduated from Marquette University [with a major in] Journalism.
DG: If people wanted to get in touch with you and or find out more about you, how would they do that?
MB: They can call me. My telephone number is 952-473-5908, and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Gustafson: Tom, thanks for meeting with me. What prompted you to run for the Wayzata City Council?Tom Tanner: I have always had a feeling that at some point in your life, it’s nice to take your life experiences and talents and give back to society what you have gotten out of it. When I first got involved with the City of Wayzata, it was at the urging of former Wayzata Mayor Barry Petit, because of my background in the construction industry. He felt that a guy with my talents knowing construction, and rules and regulations, it would be a good asset for the planning commission. When I didn’t make it the first go ’round, I was asked to serve on the Heritage Preservation Board. So I did that for a year, and when an opportunity came for a new planning commissioner… I thought, I’ll give it a shot. …I got the highest number of votes from the [Wayzata City] Council to take the three year term. So with that, I joined that enthusiastically, and I have always had a love for this community and being a part of it.Years ago I ran, because I felt at that time, that you had two candidates, running for their own seats, and I wanted the citizens of Wayzata to be able to choose who they felt best represented their community… I ran hard, learned a lot about myself, it was great. I didn’t make it, I lost by 50 votes, it was a good experience and I was still on the Planning Commission serving as Active Chairman. My last year, I stayed on as Active Chairman, I applied for re-appointment, and my peers elected me to be Chairman. With the election coming up, I thought we had a good Council, and when Andrew [Humphrey] decided to step down, and when Ken Willcox decided to run for the Mayor position, I thought, I’ll throw my hat in the ring. This is a great community to be a part of.DG: What do you hope to accomplish in office?TT: I hope to be fair, look at it from all sides of an issue on an application. The one thing I have learned, you really can’t think with your feelings, you have to look at it, you have to remove yourself–there are projects I have seen that I wished didn’t happen and there are projects I didn’t see happen I wished would have happened.DG: Do you have any family?TT: I have a son JP, I raised by myself. He’s an architect in Phoenix, and I just became a grandfather a month ago.DG: Why did you decide to move to Wayzata?TT: …I was here [Wayzata] one Saturday morning, I was at the office, came out for breakfast at the Original Pancake House. I started looking through the local paper, and saw a couple of townhouses for sale and I thought, here’s my opportunity, I might never have it again… So I bought it and have been remodeling it the last few years.DG: In your opinion, what are the three biggest issues facing Wayzata residents today?TT: I think the declining retail market, we need somebody to get that thing kick started. One of the avenues is to bring business owners together, and bring in some outside consultants and figure out what is it that we can do better to assist them to create a more positive and growing economy for them. I was just at the Bay Center, and it’s like a ghost town in there… I don’t know how the people down their survive. …We need somebody to figure out how to kick start the retail avenue until the Bay Center gets built. The Bay Center is not going to be the end all to retail…The second issue I see is the traffic and how it pertains to people in the community. The big concern is with Central Avenue and Wayzata Boulevard. How do we gauge traffic, how do we make it so it is palatable to the community. I don’t want people driving down Wayzata Boulevard at 80 miles per hour while you’ve got people trying to cross to Klapprich Park or areas like that. Traffic is a real concern…The third issue one that is close to my heart and that is Lake Minnetonka… the mil foil, concerned about the curly pond weed, the invasive species, zebra muscles. Right now we haven’t had any issues with zebra mussels yet… Wayzata is really kind of a playground, that’s what it is. I would say that if you could figure out a percentage, if you have people that come here, greater than 50% to play here. The rest come here to dine here, they come here to shop, some people want to work here, some people want to live here. But I think it’s very important that we keep the lake as clean and as beautiful as we can. It’s really our biggest asset.DG: Fill in your resume for us, if you would.TT: For the first 20 years of my life, I worked with a manufacturer… Inland Steel out of Chicago. My first real claim to fame was I sold all the metal wall panel around the Metrodome. The I went to work for a basketball floor company, (Note from Dan: Tom said he sold the floor to the Timberwolves and several other NBA teams earlier in our conversation, but I missed it on tape) …[Then] I decide to make a career change.What I am doing now is I have my own company, I have a sales and marketing company… really high end commercial type ceilings and expansion joints. Right now we are working on the Twins Stadium and the Gophers Stadium. The name of that company is Tanner Company.DG: Your education, what are the details?TT: I have a degree in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin. While is was in Chicago, I attended Rosary College and got my MBA in finance.DG: If people want to get in touch with you, how should they do so?TT: They can send me an email to my office address: email@example.com. Otherwise they can call me at my home. That number is 952-473-0036, otherwise my cellphone is 612-889-2594.Stay tuned to Wayzata.com for all the latest info on Tom Tanner’s City Council race.
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Ken Willcox is running unopposed for Mayor in the City of Wayzata. He was kind enough to join me this afternoon to talk about his life and his candidacy. When I asked him what prompted him to run for office, he indicated, “I wasn’t sure I even wanted to run again for my council seat. I was surprised when Andrew [Humphry] decided to retire, and he encouraged me to file [as a candidate for Mayor].”
Having served on the City Council for Wayzata for a 4 year term already, Willcox felt qualified to run the City. Add the 6 years on the Planning Commission board earlier, and Ken has over a decade of serving the City of Wayzata under his belt. Mr. Willcox also listed his experience in serving the public in the City of Minnetonka a number of years prior to the move to Wayzata.
I asked Ken what he felt the three biggest issues are facing Wayzata. He responded by indicating the following four things:
- Development pressure across the entire City
- Where to place the Muni now that it no longer has a home
- Addressing the the intersection of Lake Street and Superior and the desire for a T intersection with respect to the gas station
- The Sunset’s parking lot, which is actually city owned property that may receive a boardwalk and or park
“I think we are at such a critical juncture in Wayzata, with so much happening, so much development, so many issues. I thought for continuity, and to have the same people that had been making decisions continue to help guide the process, that I thought it was important that I step up and provide that guidance–The Bay Center, resolving traffic issues, the whole development pressure in the city.”
Willcox is co-owner of a truck equipment manufacturing company by the name of Delta-Waseca. DW manufacturers van bodies for commercial trucks–dry freight, refrigerated, curtain side, and more.
Ken and his wife Winnie have lived in Wayzata for a number of years, having moved here from Minnetonka after finding a house that met their criteria.
Wayzata.com will keep you up to date with full media reports of Ken Willcox as other voting guides become available in the Star Tribune, the Lakeshore Weekly News, and the Sun Sailor.
Elisha and I were on a walk on Sunday down lake street. Someone in a new black crossover vehicle pulled over and asked us where the Obama campaign office is in Wayzata, as they were on their way to attend a meeting. I told the driver it was over by the Roger Fazendin realty offices, and in the same strip mall as the Wayzata Bait & Tackle.
The official address, according to Obama’s website, is:
I am writing to the Citizens of Wayzata to ask their support of my election to the Wayzata City Council in November.
For the many Wayzata residents I know personally my interest to serve its citizens will come as no surprise. For those of you who are not familiar with me, I have lived in Wayzata for over 11 years and have been an active civic and community volunteer. My wife Kristyn and I are the proud parents of two Wayzata public elementary school kids, Walker and Paige and I am the part owner of a successful small business.
Wayzata is a great community with a proud history and I plan on being an active listener to the citizens of Wayzata. I will work to protect the vitality of our neighborhoods and balance the needs our Wayzata businesses that includes making certain that Wayzata remains a healthy vibrant community. One of our greatest opportunities for the future is to enhance the city wide traffic plan making certain we foster a pedestrian and bike friendly environment.
I will bring to Wayzata City Hall a strong work ethic, integrity and passion for helping people. Wayzata, I ask for your support on November 4. I welcome your feedback, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ken Wilcox is running unopposed for the Mayor, and Mary Bader the incumbent, Andrew Mullin and Tom Tanner are running for those two council seats. Stay tuned to Wayzata.com for all the latest news on these races.
Ken Wilcox, a four year City Council Member, is running unopposed for the Mayor of Wayzata, MN, according to an affidavit of candidacy released by Sandy Langdon, Communications Director at the City of Wayzata. Additionally, three people are running for two council seats: Mary Bader, Andrew Mullin, and Tom Tanner. We will try to get an interview with all of these candidates for you in the coming weeks.Image courtesy City of Wayzata.
The City of Wayzata has two City Council seats and the Mayor’s position open for four year terms starting in 2009. If you have interest, filing for these positions starts on Tuesday, Aug 26 and closes on Tuesday Sep 9. Pick up a copy of the filing application at City Hall. There is a $5 fee to file.
The Primary Election will be held Tuesday, September 9th.
The Genereal Election will be on Tuesday, November 4th.
Standard Voter Registration Guidelines apply for any one who is interested in voting.
Absentee Voting is also available as always. Contact City Hall at 952-404-5300 for an absentee ballot application.