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Wildwood Candidates: Vote for Continuity or Change?

Several of the 13 Wildwood municipal candidates present at Thursday evening's forum spoke of the need for consensus building and fresh starts.

in Wildwood's April 3 municipal races attended a candidates' forum Thursday evening held at Wildwood City Hall. The forum, which was hosted by League of Women Voters' (LWV) volunteers, was witnessed by approximately 50 residents.

LWV representative Nancy Miller said the forum was "based on issues, not on personalities." Each candidate received 2 minutes for an introductory presentation, 1 minute to answer each question posed from attendees, and 1 minute for wrap-up comments.

Both mayoral candidates fully participated:  former Wildwood mayor Ed Marshall, and the current (incumbent) mayor Tim Woerther. One term for a Wildwood mayor is four years.

Marshall lives in Ward 2, and was first appointed to city council in 1997. He then served on council until 2004, afterward becoming mayor from 2004 to 2008. Then he returned to council in 2009 to serve the past three years; his current council term expires in 2013. He said he thought Wildwood representatives had done a great job as the city grew, referencing a $1.7 million budget for the city's first year. "It takes a lot of people to make a city special. Everybody has valuable input, and I think the mayor's job is to get people to work together," he said.

Woerther, from Ward 7, served as a city council member for five years before becoming mayor. Prior to that, he had served on the city's Planning & Zoning Commission from 1998 to 2002. He said one of the area's challenges is drawing together the different lifestyles represented by the diverse and expansive boundaries of Wildwood. He referenced two major topics spanning his time as mayor as rural Internet access and park planning. "We have worked through events, city groups or commissions to do what's necessary to help provide all of us as city representatives with direction," he said.

Jack Clark for Ward 4, Jim Kranz for Ward 7, Larry Goodson for Ward 8 are all unopposed, and were not present at the forum. The only other unopposed candidate—Colleen Murphy for Ward 6—did participate in the forum.

Questions from the crowd were summarized into four categories by LWV volunteers. One question asked the candidates how they were communicating and connecting with potential voters. Their collective techniques included homeowners' meet and greets; talking face-to-face; emails; phone calls; leaving cards at homes; web pages; going door-to-door; Facebook pages; and practically having "a house account at for meetings."

They mentioned a few topics rising to the top of many interactions with voters:  lack of high-speed Internet access; too many deer; speeding; spending and tax concerns; and overall frustration.

One question challenged the candidates to state what quality they believed was most important for a mayor or council member. The candidates' collective "qualities" were:  leadership, teamwork, listening, learning, transparency, acting courageous when issues are important, ethics, being servants of the people, respect, integrity, fiscally responsible, open-mindedness, consensus-building, honesty, preserverence, open communications and action-oriented.

A candidate said it was vital to have facts, but not to make issues personal. Another said she thought they should be like how U.S. President Abe Lincoln's qualities have been described.

Editor's Note: Check back to Eureka-Wildwood Patch for a second story regarding the candidates' responses to other questions.

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