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Wayzata is a premier suburb located 11 miles west of downtown Minneapolis. With a population of 4,500 people, Wayzata is a tight-knit community which is known for its vibrant downtown and picturesque setting on Lake Minnetonka. A popular destination for visitors, Wayzata’s downtown is home to a number of specialty shops, boutiques, professional services, and restaurants.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

VOTER GUIDE: Mary Bader - Candidate for City Council

As part of the Wayzata Voter Guide, Incumbent Mary Bader was kind enough to sit down with me and talk about her about her candidacy for Wayzata City Council.

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 mary@mpb-assoc.com.

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