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Continued: Road Rage: Lino Lakes City Council elections could hinge on road-repair debate

  • Article by: SHANNON PRATHER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 29, 2013 - 1:05 PM

“Ultimately, you are just passing the buck to future generations.” Grochala said.

It would require a voter referendum to change the charter.

In separate interviews, the three candidates (in alphabetical order) laid out their position on the charter debate.

William Kusterman

The City Council should have the ability to work with the citizens to amend the charter, Kusterman said.

“The process is broken,” Kusterman said. “I am a limited-government guy, but at some point how are we going to make this community better?”

He said that taking every road rebuild to a vote means critical road and infrastructure projects don’t always get done.

“They don’t want to pay for somebody else’s road. They ask, ‘What’s in it for me?’ ” he said. “This is representative government. You allow the City Council members to make decisions on your behalf. We have to think of the greater good in the community.”

Kusterman, 52, is an executive director of Ernst & Young in Minneapolis. He is married with four daughters. He has lived in Lino Lakes for 17 years.

Melissa Maher

The city charter provides protection for city residents and shouldn’t be changed, Maher said.

“It’s a protection method. Public improvements that create special tax assessments need to go to a public referendum,” Maher said. “The city has tried to say we can’t fix our roads because of the charter. It appears to me that what the city has done is really neglect road maintenance and attempted to blame the charter.”

Maher said that she is the only pro-charter candidate and that, if elected, she will be more receptive to the residents she serves.

Previous failed attempts to change the city’s charter are what prompted her to run.

“I am just sick over what the city is trying to do with the charter. To amend it to get their own way is not acceptable. I decided to be the person to stand up and say, ‘No, we are not going to do this.’”

Maher said she’s also worried about the city’s comprehensive plan, which she says calls for “unrealistic, explosive growth.”

“I moved out here because I love the fact there are working farms a mile from my house,” Maher said. “I really want to preserve the rural feel we have out there.”

Maher, 45, is an attorney with the Minneapolis law firm of Lockridge Grindal Nauen, which represents plaintiffs in class-action lawsuits.

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