The five candidates running in the first primary election for the River Hills Village Board in possibly more than 30 years agree education, not regulation, will protect the Milwaukee River.
The board last year voted 5-2 against increasing the size of the environmental corridor along the river to better protect it. The proposal would have regulated what residents could do with their properties.
Incumbent Randall Perry, who voted with the majority, is running against four challengers, Cordelia Gelly, Victor Harding, William Lemorande, a leader of the fight against the proposed environmental corridor ordinance, and Michael White.
The four winners in the Tuesday, Feb. 17, primary will advance to the Tuesday, April 7, to battle for the two three-year terms on the board.
Perry said uppermost in his mind, as it was when he was first elected in 2003, is keeping the police force strong as the village faces potential budget cuts and calls for the department to be consolidated.
"I'm concerned about rising crime rates in areas somewhat close to us," said Perry, who has lived in River Hills for 10 years.
He also advocates maintaining the current level of Department of Public Works services while keeping finances conservative.
In describing the qualities he brings to the board, Perry said, "I've been a successful (chief executive officer) of very large companies in the past with very large budgets, and I've developed a lot of strategies for reducing costs."
The mainstay of Gelly's campaign is representing the wide variety of residents and integrating their different points of views.
"There are many religions and, obviously, political views with multiple perceptions on different levels," she said. "Because I've lived in many places, I would bring an openness to different points of view."
She has lived in urban and suburban locations including New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Belgium, France, England and Ireland. She has lived in River Hills four years.
Gelly, who is making her first try for public office, said she would improve communication with residents by improving the village Web site and newsletters.
She said she has experience in decision-making from serving on the board of the former Milwaukee Shakespeare theater company and as a vestry member of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in River Hills.
"I don't have any agenda other than to preserve our unique way of life," said Harding, who grew up in River Hills.
One of the threats to that way of life is invasive species that take over the landscape and pollute waterways. Buckthorn is the worst, he said, because it causes a great deal of silt to build up in Indian Creek.
His occupation uniquely equips him to grapple with issues before the board, he said.
"I have 30 years in the legal field where I've done nothing but solve other people's problems," said Harding, who is making his first try for public office.
Lemorande, who represents River Hills on the North Shore Technology Committee and helped develop the village Web site, has lived in the village for 28 years and also is making his first try for public office.
Lemorande said he is running on two major issues: preventing an increase in the budget and preventing what he called any future takeover of private property. That is how he views the attempt to widen the environmental corridor.
He cited his experience in the business world and in the military as being assets for the board. He produced television commercials and corporate films and then operated his own advertising and video production company for 17 years. He also served in the Naval Reserves for 25 years, retiring as a commander in 1994.
Although White has not run for a village office before, he is no stranger to area voters. He served six years each on the Maple Dale-Indian Hill and Nicolet school boards.
White, a resident for 26 years, said supporters of a wider environmental corridor might call for more government controls on riverfront property. They should be countered, he said.
Education will go far in protecting the river, he said.
"If you inform people of what's appropriate, people of their own accord will be good stewards of our environment," he said.
White also said he wants to continue the tradition of village governance being conservative, efficient and effective.
His business background would help him make decisions on the board, he said.
Jane Ford-Stewart can be reached at (262) 446-6607.
ADDRESS: 1155 W. Dean Road
OCCUPATION: partner in Cross Creek Partners, private equity investors
EDUCATION: bachelor's degree in economics from Rollins College, Winter Park, Fla.; graduate of the Kellogg Management Institute, Evanston, Ill.
FAMILY: married, two children, ages 12 and 10
ADDRESS: 1350 W. Dean Road
OCCUPATION: homemaker, community volunteer; formerly architectural designer
EDUCATION: bachelor's degree in French from Davidson College, Davison, N.C.; master's degree in architecture from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville
FAMILY: married, three children, ages 17, 15 and 13
ADDRESS: 7730 N. River Road
OCCUPATION: attorney specializing in civil litigation
EDUCATION: bachelor's degree from Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio; law degree from Marquette University
FAMILY: married, eight children; four adult, others ages 16, 6, 4 and 4
ADDRESS: 7295 N. River Road
OCCUPATION: retired former owner of an advertising, video production agency
EDUCATION: diploma in mass communication from Milwaukee Area Technical College; bachelor's degree in advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
FAMILY: married, two adult children
ADDRESS: 1150 W. Bradley Road
OCCUPATION: chairman of Rite-Hite Corp., Brown Deer, manufacturer of industrial equipment and door products
EDUCATION: attended Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Harvard Business School Owner/President Management program degree
FAMILY: married, six adult children
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