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District 7 alderwoman challenged by longtime resident Kris Seals

March 11, 2014

Eight-year incumbent Alderwoman Lisa Mellone and challenger Kris Seals both say whoever represents the 7th District moving forward will face challenges with business development.

But each brings with them a different set of experiences they think is best for the job of representing the southeast corner of Brookfield.

Comparing experience

Kris Seals, who has lived in the city since 1969, said he thinks his experience in sales, working with many Brookfield companies, sets him apart. He is the head of the sales department at Nolan Accounting Center, and an ambassador for the Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce. He has worked with the Greater Brookfield Chamber in the past.

"I meet a lot of different people and get their perspectives on how they feel about what's happening in the city," Seals said. "I'm well aware of activities in business districts, and that keeps me well-informed for my constituents."

He said he doesn't have any direct criticism of Mellone, but that he would be more engaged with businesses.

"I just think that I'd have a better handle of the city and the people of the city because I see a lot of them," Seals said. "I work with businesses up and down Bluemound (Road)."

Mellone, a litigation paralegal at Ratzel and Associates, pointed to her own experience serving the city, even going back to working in the lunchroom while her kids were in grade school. She said she volunteered with the parent-teacher organization and served on several committees and fundraising teams, and has taken part in multiple civic groups, making her transition to alderwoman eight years ago feel like a "natural progression."

Mellone said she first ran after a personal experience of being unaware of a development that was built by her house.

"There was a lack of communication between government and its residents," Mellone said. "My whole platform was, 'I'm going to communicate with my residents.' That's what I have done, and I think I've done that very well."

In office, Mellone said, she has continually reached out to residents through district meetings and emails. This communication was especially important during planning for the Target on Bluemound Road, where residents fought to make sure there wouldn't be a traffic connection to the Columbia Drive neighborhood, which they thought would be a significant disturbance.

"I think we were really successful in making sure there was no connection," Mellone said. "The residents felt protected, and it turned out to be a premiere development right at our gateway."

Setting goals

Seals said he thinks the 7th District sometimes gets the short end of the stick when it comes to services.

"Being in the southeast corner, we're kind of like the stepchild of the whole deal, and I'm hoping to change that a little bit," Seals said. "We have very little police presence and very little as far as plowing and salting. The crime in our area is minimal, but it still would be nice to see that they're coming through on a regular basis."

Mellone said she thinks residents enjoy a high level of services.

"I think in the city of Brookfield you get a really good bang for your buck," she said. "I get many compliments about our plowing. Same with Police and Fire, and the library, and parks and recreation."

Looking ahead, Mellone said, those representing the district will have to keep a close eye on development, with one in particular coming up. Briscoe Development and Management is proposing a 13,000-square-foot retail center at Moorland Road and Hackberry Lane, the site of a former city fire station.

"We have to make sure, as that comes forward, we have acceptable operating hours and lighting that is safe for the development but not intrusive on the neighborhood. Landscaping is crucial," Mellone said. "The devil is always in the details."

Looking beyond the district, Seals said he thinks the city needs to promote itself better to bring in more business. Without being more specific, he said he thought Brookfield should consider more ways to create tax incentives.

Noting vacancies on Bluemound Road, he said attracting business to that area would be important to all residents.

"Bluemound Road affects the tax base of everyone in Brookfield," Seals said.

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