In Their Own Words: David Shorr
City Times Staff
David Shorr is running against incumbent Denise Mrozek for the city’s second district council seat.
Why are you running?
DS: “I’m a policy guy, through and through; not only is my professional background in public policy, but I love issues, I love questions of what government can and should be doing. I think it’s given me some skills in terms of figuring that out, in terms of what political leaders should be deciding. I’m frequently trying to make a case to political leaders about what they should do. Any advocate is trying to put him or herself into the shoes of the official, trying to present recommendations that make sense, or that there’s a compelling argument for. That’s the difference between the decision maker and the advocate, but they should both be looking in a very practical way to what can be done and what should be done.”
You’re relatively new to the area, right?
DS: “It’s the story of being a commuting family; we were a commuting family for many years because the job I had for a long time was in Iowa, so we’ve had our home [in Stevens Point] for ten years. I’ve spent a part of every week here every week for nine years, I’ve voted here for six years and lived here all of every week for more than two years. It’s modern life, when sometimes job inconvenience hasn’t always gone together. But I’m here now.”
What do you see as some of the big issues coming before the city in the near future?
DS: “I see a couple of big issues coming; they’re going to be complicated and they’re going to be complicated from a financial perspective, and we’ll see whether they have to be complicated or not. They are: where the future [location] of the city’s offices will be and the plans for the Division Street corridor. The city offices issue has a link to my district because of [the former location of] Mid-State.
“One of the first questions is, how important is it [for city offices] to stay downtown? I don’t think these questions have obvious answers but it’s a natural consideration, how much you want to leave downtown. There’s going to be consideration of costs of different options and that’s going to weigh heavily, but there’s a cost of convenience and symbolism in the equation.
“In terms of the [former] Mid-State site, there’s also a question of parking because that parking, in terms of the immediate practical impact, has always been for people who go to [KB] Willett Arena. That’s always been an immediate consideration, who to make parking available to. So, I don’t have the answer whether some or all of the offices should move to Mid-State, but given the complexity of the issue, we clearly should devote some real time and discussion into it. Public discussion. Maybe with enough discussion the best option will present itself.”
The city has approved a pocket park, known as Cultural Commons, which was planned partially by some who work for the city and without public input. Did you agree with that process?
DS: “I can’t say I was as focused on that as strongly as I was focused on other issues. When it comes to city office issues, it’s big and it needs to be extensively publicly vetted.”
What are some city issues you’re passionate about?
DS: “Edgewater [Manor]. I think that for me, the Edgewater financing; I look at that as an easy call, not a tough call. I think that those costs are small price to pay for preserving low income senior housing and hanging on to a real asset to city property. I’m also passionate about sustainability and whatever we can do to conserve the environment and energy.”
Not long ago the city approved reintroducing “just cause” language back into its administrative policy. How do you feel about that?
DS: “I think that it is in the interest of fairness, and treating the public employees who work for us fairly, to have a set of standards. We did in the past, and the status quo was changed by state law, so the move on ‘just cause’ was to bring back some of the standards that out.”
Do you feel it’s a priority for the city to encourage new business growth?
DS: “It’s essential for a couple of reasons. It’s the natural process of growing updating and remaining vital, and it’s essential financially — particularly with all the constraints on local finance than now come from the state government. Development and growing the tax base are necessities for healthy city finances.”
How do you balance your passion for the environment and the need for new business growth?
DS: “I don’t have a formula. The community and elected leaders and staff come together in good faith and try to reach a good faith solutions.”
You’ve spent a lot of time in the community during this campaign, attending meetings and meeting people. What are you hearing?
DS: “I’ve been going door-to-door every weekend. Generally people like living here and I’m not running into a lot of dissatisfaction. I think people are generally quite positive. The district surrounds [the former] Mid-State and [KB] Willett and the [Goerke] Park area, and I’ve met some people who experience a bit of nuisance from being right there, and others who don’t have real complaints.