Originally Posted Online: March 23, 2013, 10:06 pm
Last Updated: March 31, 2013, 7:08 pm

Cordova candidates seek to move village forward by reducing political strife

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By Lyle Ernst, lylernst1@gmail.com

After four tumultuous years in village government, Cordova residents have an abundance of choices when they go to the polls to choose new officials April 9.

Trustee Dean Moyer is giving up his board seat to challenge incumbent mayor Robert VanHooreweghe.

Nine candidates are vying for three open trustee seats; and two candidates seek the clerk's job, on the ballot as an elected position for the first time in more than 12 years.

Virtually all the candidates said they hope to move the village forward by reducing the strife that has marked village affairs.

The village police department was disbanded, a long-discussed new city hall project stalled, the mayor vetoed several council actions and refused, in some instances, to follow through when the vetoes were overridden, Additionally, a dispute with the fire protection district over office space led to talk of legal action.

Mr. Moyer, a Peoples Party candidate, said, "I want to stop the fighting, and get everyone to work in the same direction. We need to concentrate on repairing all the streets, not just Main Street, and continue with water/sewer upkeep and improvements. A primary project, after the election, will be to build a new village hall, and I believe it is important to restore an amicable relationship with the fire district."

Mayor VanHooreweghe, running as an independent, points to his experience of 10 years as a trustee and the previous four as village president. "Moving forward with a positive attitude is a must," he said. "We need to have a board and mayor that can work together to accomplish the goals that are best for the Village of Cordova, not just for a few.

"I fought to prevent the loss of police protection, and want to see some form of it re-established. Priorities include repairing streets, finding and maintaining water shutoffs, finishing the riverfront campus with handicap facilities and improving our website." he said. "It's imperative that we move ahead with plans for a new village hall."

Mr. VanHooreweghe said when he took office, the General Fund was borrowing from the Well Fund. As of today, the General Fund shows a $200,000 balance.

Citizen's Party candidate for trustee Alvin Barber said, "I would like to see respect and the issues handled, rather than bickering and personal conflicts. The board needs to listen to the people who voted them into office."

Shannon Craigmiles, of the Peoples Party, said she will represent the voices of the community. "We need to act only in the best interest of the community, and work toward a bright future. I believe that we are at a point in time where we need to decide as a community what we want to become, where we want to go and how we want to get there."

Independent candidate Greg Deines said, "Cordova needs to determine long range goals. In order to establish and obtain these goals, the village must elect a board willing to work as a cohesive unit. Electing the 'correct' combination of representatives is the first step in achieving those long range goals."

Richard Gaylord, an independent candidate, said, "I look forward to removing Cordova as a source of humor in our local newspapers, improving the respect of our village government and restoring pride in our community. Restoring police protection and maintaining and improving village infrastructure are also top priorities."

Independent candidate, and former village president and trustee Mike McCullough said, "We need to have the items that are placed on the agenda dealt with in a timely manner, not tabled for months and months with no action taken. We need to update the entire village infrastructure, not just the main road, and continue the development to access the river and enjoy what it has to offer."

Citizen's candidate Barry Oleson said, "I want to be a voice for the people of the village who sees that issues and improvements are dealt with in a timely manner."

Willard "Bill" Somers, People's candidate said, "This mayor and board members wasted $1,000 of studies that the village did not want, or need; money that should have been used for things that are needed."

Citizen's candidate Harvey Sothmann said, "I care about the community, and am concerned about the future. Now that I am retired, I have the time to invest in it."

Trustee John Stickler, of the Citizen's Party, said, "The board needs to work together in a positive way, and I want to see a new village hall built and the playground completed."

Carol DeWilfond, independent candidate for village clerk, said, "I have 26 years of administrative experience. To remedy the disagreements amongst the board, the mayor and the current village clerk, the new clerk must be non-partisan, courteous, professional and within the limits of the law. I pledge that I will treat everyone in the village with respect."

Deniese Womack, Peoples candidate for village clerk, said, "I have three goals: to provide clear and accurate meeting minutes; provide fast and courteous customer service to all residents and to organize and improve information for residents to review via the website and office postings."

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