Champlin Mayor’s Debate
By Andrew Richter
OK here’s the long-awaited Champlin mayor’s debate analysis from me! Don’t worry folks I’ll be doing Crystal’s soon!
The debate was hosted by the League of Women Voters. Four candidates filed to run but two of them renounced their candidacy. So it’s really down to two people: Ryan Karasek and Bruce Miller who are both presently on the city council.
The first three questions were told to the candidates before the debate. Personally, I can’t stand that, mostly because I hate prepared answers or answers that are read. I prefer shooting from the hip. The moderator also kept calling Champlin “Shamplin” and man that was annoying. But anyhow, the first two questions were the typical ones: who are you and why are you running etc. The third question was more interesting where the question was about what issue you are most passionate about;
Bruce Miller had a great answer where he spoke about keeping Champlin a city with a small town feel and a good place to own a business and raise a family which I can tell you is a big issue with a lot of folks. Karasek fumbled the first part but he seemed to regain himself talk about the Riverfront/Mississipi Crossing development though he didn’t say anything specific about what he would do.
The next question was on providing free government space for non-profit groups to meet. Karasek answered that he “found it tough” to raise fees and he “sees the need” for space but provided no details on what he would do. Miller pointed out that there needs to be a set of standards as to who can and can’t get “free space.” Miller also pointed out that there are churches and others who provide meeting space as well. He commented that there is a cost to providing space and seemed open to changes.
Question number five was about police brutality and both candidates pretty much backed up the police department. Personally, I’m not their biggest fan. I’m going to skip the next two questions about programs for seniors and senior housing since it’s not an issue that concerns me, nor were the candidates answers anything unexpected.
The next question had to with what would you do differently than the current council. Karasek spoke first and pointed out rightly that it was an interesting question being that both he and Bruce Miller are members of the council. Karasek mentioned communication was an issue he’d like to improve on but again mentioned no specifics. Miller got some laughs when he praised the current council he’s a member of and then spoke about the fact that he isn’t happy with the budget process and that more time needs to be taken to digest all the numbers. He also said he wants some more joint meetings with the city commissions.
Public transportation was the topic for the next question. Miller pointed out that public transportation is being supplied by the county and the Met Council and they are being underutilized. Karasek agreed but said he’d look into fitting it in the budget but once again didn’t say how he’d do it.
The Mann Theater dominated the next question where as mentioned in a previous post is seeking financial assistance from the city. Karasek thinks the theater is amenity to the city and said he wanted to keep the theater and wouldn’t raise taxes to do it which to me is a tad head scratching. Miller is opposed to bailing out the theater and didn’t think your tax dollars should be used to remodel it. He also pointed out the flaws of the government partnering with business.
The final statement was rather interesting. Karasek told a story about where a resident called him and told him that he thinks Karasek listens and cares. He then teared up and spoke out advice from his late father. Basically he loves “Shamplin” and he cares. Miller talked about how his term is up and it’s all on the line for him and he’s out there knocking on every door.
Analysis: Bruce Miller did a good job of distinguishing himself from his opponent. He was more specific and more forthcoming in his answers. Karasek simply is a nice guy who wants to be mayor by saying as little as possible.
Bruce Miller: two thumbs up!
Ryan Karasek: played prevent defense
A link can be found HERE