Tag Archives: Jay Rohe

Congratulations Mayor Windschitl

Let me offer my congratulations to Mark Windschitl on winning the Chaska Mayor Special Election last night.

Although I supported Jay Rohe, ultimately the great thing about Chaska is that most people share a vision of where this community needs to go, and now we all need to rally around the new Mayor and the Council to ensure that they take the actions that do move this community forward.

I encourage all Chaska residents to stay informed and involved.  The more we get involved, the better and more responsive the city will be to our concerns.


The Mayor’s Term and a not-so-good argument against Rohe

The Chaska City Council broached the subject of lengthening the term of the Mayor’s position from two years to four years in its January 4 session.

The Council should not move forward with such a move without other reforms.  Why not revisit the wisdom of the ward system at the same time?  Is Chaska really served by wards versus at-large council members?  I’m not sure that it is.  No Council candidate — in the time I’ve been in Chaska, anyway — has run a campaign based on the specific needs of their ward.  The lack of at-large council members was a key reason I couldn’t support any appointment scenario when Gary Van Eyll resigned as Mayor.  How can I support the installation of someone I never had the chance to vote on to be Mayor?

Ideally, the city should be structured with four at-large council members and a mayor all serving four-year terms.  Barring that, though, the Council would be well-advised not to lessen accountability by lengthening the Mayor’s term.

Meanwhile, user “Bella” posted an blog entry about the charitable efforts of Jay Rohe’s wife, Heidi.  “Bella” objects to Mrs. Rohe’s use of Costco as a key vendor for her charitable food program that opertes out of St. John’s Lutheran Church.  “Bella” further stipulates that the use of Costco for this program should be a reason not to vote for Jay Rohe, because Costco isn’t located in Chaska.  When we’re at the point of criticizing how people run a charitable food program (barring evidence of negligence or fraud), we’ve officially reached campaign silly season.

Jay Rohe for Mayor of Chaska

I will be voting for Jay Rohe in the Chaska Mayoral Special Election on January 19.  Let me tell you why.

This isn’t a knock on the other candidates.  They have long histories in Chaska.  They have many friends and relationships across the community.  They have contributed significantly to Chaska.  But the other candidates don’t project any real agenda they seek to pursue, both claiming they will “listen to the people” to guide what they do as Mayor.  Listening to the people is part of the job description, not a platform for action. 

This is an important time for Chaska.  We have a downtown that is struggling.  Major projects – such as the Heights of Chaska and Bio-Science Zone – will be built out over the next few years as the economy recovers.  Chaska needs a Mayor who has a clear vision of where this city needs to go and knows how to get us there.  Jay Rohe is the right candidate for the challenges we face right now.

Jay has built relationships with key decision-makers, not only within Chaska, but across the region and state in the numerous commissions he served on while on the City Council.  When Chaska faces issues that require support and resources from other governmental bodies, Jay is ready from day one to represent this city and advocate for the projects that are critical to our community.

Jay is committed to revitalizing downtown.  The city recently hired a consulting firm to help develop a Downtown Master Plan.  That’s an idea Jay had been pushing for years.  He’s the right candidate to lead that effort forward and implement the plan, because he’s already been in the trenches fighting to build a better downtown.

I didn’t agree with every decision Jay made on the City Council, and I may not agree with every decision he makes as Mayor.  But I can tell you that Jay approaches every issue with an open mind and gets to heart of every decision that comes before the Council.  He gives everyone a fair hearing.  When our neighborhood had an issue with a city project a couple of years ago, Jay was more responsive to our concerns than any other member of the Council – and Jay represents a different Ward!  With Jay Rohe as Mayor of Chaska, your voice will be heard.

The other candidates talk about listening and being responsive to the people of Chaska.  The other candidates talk about what they could do to move projects forward. 

But there’s only one candidate in this race who has a record of actually doing it.  And that candidate is Jay Rohe.  I encourage you to vote for Jay on January 19.

Two more candidates join the fray; field set at four for special election

On the last day of filing for the Chaska Mayor Special Election, two more candidates filed, setting the field at four.  The two new candidates are:

  • Robert (Bob) Snyder — Snyder works for Positive Connections and has been involved in River City Days and the Boy Scouts in the past.
  • Doug Williams — occupation unlisted, Williams lives on Audubon Road and says “I don’t need four years to freak up the town like those other Council members!”

Snyder and Williams join former Ward 4 Councilor Jay Rohe and former Chaska Cubs GM Mark Windschitl in the special election field.

The race is on! Windschitl files

Mark Windschitl filed his paperwork to enter the Special Election for Chaska Mayor on Friday afternoon.

Filing closes on Wednesday; no other additional candidates are expected at this time.  Former Ward 4 Councilor Jay Rohe is already in the race as well.

Chaska Mayor Election: Moving Past “Vision” to “Action”

When talking about the needed attributes for the next Mayor of Chaska, we hear a lot of talk about “vision”.  In my seven years here in Chaska, I’ve heard every candidate for Mayor or City Council talk about their vision of Chaska.  And they all pretty much sound alike.  Everyone is interested — more or less — in advancing the same things.

Most people generally agree on what they want this city to be, and what they want this city to pursue — a more vibrant downtown, take care of traffic issues, responsibly manage the development of the Bio-Science Zone and the Heights of Chaska, continue the strong Park & Rec system, etc.. 

I suspect that if you had given Gary Van Eyll and Jay Rohe each a magic wand back in 2008 that would allow them to make the city of Chaska look how they would want it to look in 20 years, the results wouldn’t have been radically different.  The difference between Van Eyll and Rohe was — to me, anyway — more about how to get there as opposed to what the destination was.

However, since we don’t run government by magic wand, we need to move past defining the vision and see who the right person is to make sure that we achieve the vision.

Who’s going to be the right candidate to guide the creation of the downtown master plan and then marshal the resources to execute it successfully?

Who’s going to be the right candidate to have city government operate more transparently, with more accountability,  and actually embrace and encourage citizen input?

Who’s going to be the right candidate to make financial decisions with a long-term perspective?

Who’s going to be the right candidate to advocate for Chaska on a regional and state level to make sure that projects critical to our community are addressed?

Those are the questions that need to be answered.  It’s more about action than vision in my mind.

Jay Rohe and Mark Windschitl, the ball is in your court.  Show us you are more than vision — but that you can bring the needed action to Chaska.

Waiting on Windschitl

Jay Rohe has filed his papers to enter the Chaska Mayor special election.

Word on the street is that Mayor Pro Tem Chris Schulz will not run.

So, now, it seems we’re waiting on Mark Windschitl to determine if he is in the race.  All indications are that he is leaning toward entering the race.

Various updates from around town

  • Sounds like Pauly’s will soon be under new ownership.  Word has it the restaurant (which barely survived the chopping block a couple of months back) will be bought out by the folks who own Victoria House.
  • The city’s website, now months into the vaunted “redesign”, is still lacking and it is still not being updated.  City Council agendas and minutes are not posted on a timely basis.  Not a single Park Board agenda has been posted this year, and only a few of the minutes.  What will it take for the folks at City Hall to take basic tasks like this seriously?
  • Still curious to see who will enter the Special Election.  Beyond Jay Rohe, who will be running.  Many assume Chris Schulz is interested, but is there a third candidate out there?

Van Eyll resigns: What now?

Chaska Mayor Gary Van Eyll announced , his resignation effective August 31 at Monday’s City Council work session.  Van Eyll, who was approaching the midpoint of his fourth term as Mayor, will be taking a position with the U.S. Census Bureau that requires him to give up public office.

The City Council will formally act on Van Eyll’s resignation at their next meeting on August 31.  They have two options for filling the seat:

  1. The Council can appoint someone to the position.  Per Minnesota law, any position that has less than two years remaining on its term can be filled by appointment.
  2. The Council can choose to call a special election.  This would likely be held in the October/Novemebr timeframe.

Considerable speculation has already begun regarding what the Council will do and who the new mayor will be.  Greg Boe’s blog seems to hint at an appointment (although he does point out that the Council has options), as Boe encourages people to advocate on the blog for who they think the right selection is.

Some names bandied about are Ward 3 Councilor Chris Schulz, who will serve as Acting Mayor in Van Eyll’s absence.  Jay Rohe, who lost to Van Eyll in the 2008 election, will receive support from a segment of the population.  It’s also unclear if Councilors Boe, Rick Ford, or Gino Businaro have interest in the job.

If one of the City Councilors is selected or elected to the position, then the Council has the same set of options for filling that vacancy.

I think a special election is the way to go. I realize this has two significant downsides: the expense of holding the election and leaving the council with only four voting members for a couple of months. However, what is easy and cheap isn’t always what is right.

The mayor position is the only city-wide elected office. All residents should have a say on who the mayor is. Promoting a city council member who has only been voted on by one-fourth of the city (or worse, someone who isn’t even holding an elected office at the moment) violates that principle.

Additionally, in municipal positions, incumbency is major advantage come re-election time. If the council appoints someone, they are giving that person a significant leg up in the 2010 mayor’s race.

The potential candidates listed above (and others not mentioned) should have the opportunity to make their case to the citizens of Chaska, not just the four members of the City Council.

A little sunshine, please?

A mid-level brouhaha is developing over at City Hall, as the Rivalry between Jay Rohe and Gary Van Eyll seems to be escalating over Rohe’s expected appointment to the Southwest Transit Commission.

Rohe was believed to be the only candidate applying for the position, and completed the necessary paperwork and interview with the City Council on January 5.  However, a decision was made not to fill the commission role that evening.

Rohe sent a letter to the Chaska Herald, detailing his conversations with Mayor Van Eyll.  Rohe indicates that his nomination was being held up because of Van Eyll’s desire to have former Chaska mayor Bob Roepke in the position.  Roepke, in addition to being a key Van Eyll backer, is also an investor in the EdCampus development that is slated to be built near a proposed SWTC station at Engler and 212.

In the comments on the Herald’s website, much more is alleged about the so-called “good old boys” network.  Namely, that:

  • Van Eyll now works for former City Administrator Dave Pokorney.
  • Pokorney also served as a consultant for the Goodman Group on the senior housing project recently approved to be built at 41 and Hazeltine Drive.

If true, that would raise serious questions about whether the Mayor should have participated in such a vote.

Combine that with the fact that newly elected Council Member Rick Ford also has a financial stake in the EdCampus project, we have a whole lot of potential conflict of interests floating around out there. 

The questions posed are good ones.  The Mayor and the Council Members should come clean about their associations and be willing to recuse themselves as necessary to preserve the integrity of Chaska’s city government.

I’m not one who believes that stoking the “old Chaska” versus “new Chaska” bit does a whole lot of good. We shouldn’t be looking to divide the community, but rather bring it together around the best ideas.  But one has to wonder if this alleged “good old boys” club is really interested in listening to ideas from folks who aren’t in the club.  If not, it may be time for “new Chaska” to get organized (after all, over 55% of the community could be classified as “new Chaska”) and send the good ol’ boys packing.

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