Over the past 30 years, I’ve had the opportunity to serve Racine residents as a School Board member, alderman, mayor and as the city administrator. I strongly believe that honesty is the most important attribute that a candidate for office must demonstrate. I have known and worked with both of the mayoral candidates for many years.

Alderman Sandy Weidner’s advertising and public remarks are deliberately misleading, incorrect and a blatant effort to create an incorrect picture of gloom and doom. There are facts that show otherwise.

Her statement that the city’s level of indebtedness has increased in recent years is false. The city’s annual audit will verify that the level has in fact decreased by more than $6 million dollars in the last four years. Over Alderman Weidner’s 17 years in office, the level of debt has been very consistent. Annually, the bond rating agency, Standard and Poor’s, cites the stable level of debt and high level of fiscal management as strengths in the city.

Her characterization that little attention has been given to promoting local businesses is also false. In a report to the Common Council, the Racine County Economic Development Corporation reported that more than 1,800 jobs have been created or retained by local businesses through the city’s direct intervention since 2010, resulting in $107 million dollars in investment.

During my 30 years of public life, I accepted personal criticism as a part of the job and usually refrained from responding when the facts did not support the claims. But Weidner’s claims that the position of administrator is not needed belie her previous support for the position and the people who have held it. She advocated for the position when it was created and now it doesn’t suit her campaign agenda, so she opposes it.

One of the functions the aldermen looked to improve with the addition of a city administrator was someone to answer their questions and concerns directly. During my time in that office, Alderman Weidner was my most frequent caller. I spent more time answering her concerns than any other alderman and now she states that I was in over my head. Amazing!

Some candidates will tell you anything to get elected. Don’t believe everything that you hear and read.

Tom Friedel is a former Racine Unified School Board member and alderman, mayor and city administrator for the City of Racine.

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