Scoggins, Rebholz retain Woodbury City Council seatsTuesday’s election results were no surprise to Woodbury City Council members who sought re-election for the two open seats.
By: Riham Feshir, Woodbury Bulletin
Tuesday’s election results were no surprise to Woodbury City Council members who sought re-election for the two open seats.
Amy Scoggins and Paul Rebholz, both have been on the council for eight years, won third terms with a combined total of 63 percent of the votes.
“I feel like our City Council has done a pretty good job and the residents of Woodbury have been pretty satisfied,” Scoggins said. “I’m very happy about it; it’s not a total surprise.”
Scoggins and Rebholz were leading the race right off the bat. In the end Soggins got 37 percent of the votes (16,177) and Rebholz took 26 percent (11,476).
“People are pretty happy with the way things are going in the community so we’re fortunate in that regard,” Rebholz said.
Challenger Mike Thissen came in third at 18 percent (7,978), followed by Mark Doree at 10 percent (4,511) and Joe Grinols at 6 percent (2,995).
Now that the elections are over, both incumbents said the next four years will consist of decisions to be made regarding Phase 2 and the Bielenberg Sports Center expansion.
“The next phase of development is obviously going to be a huge priority,” Scoggins said.
Rebholz said traffic and growth will continue to be a concern for residents and with a city-wide survey coming up in the spring, the council will have a better idea of what they’d like to see changed or improved.
“Generally people are pretty positive about what goes on in the community,” Rebholz said.
But challenger Doree was eager to bring some changes to City Hall.
Doree expressed opposition against the $22 million price tag of the proposed Bielenberg Sports Center expansion, and vowed to introduce a ward system to divide up representation of the city evenly.
“The voters have spoken and my efforts didn’t rise to the heights of public office,” Doree said. “I will not give up on my quest to bring a voice to the council from every part of the city. I will continue to work towards a ward system for the residents of Woodbury, as I know it’s the best way to move the city forward.”
Rebholz said issues raised during the campaigns will likely be discussed at upcoming council meetings.
“When you go through this process, people come and raise those questions, I think that’s something that needs to be looked at,” he said.
Rebholz said the council considered a ward system concept two years ago when a significant number of candidates ran for two open seats after Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens vacated her seat to run for mayor.
He said city officials looked into the option of primary elections to narrow down the candidates and to allow voters to get to know names that end up on the ballot.
Also when it came to the ward system discussion, Rebholz said research indicates that it’s a relatively expensive process that would require redistricting.
“It’s a fairly technical issue in the state of Minnesota and there is only 12 percent of the cities in the state (including Minneapolis and St. Paul) that are set up as a ward system,” he said, adding, “There aren’t many of the other communities or suburban communities that are set up that way.”
But he said that’s something that council and staff will have to take a closer look as they study its pros and cons.
Challenger Grinols, a 24-year-old college student, said he ran to bring to light an "unneeded restriction in Woodbury on speech, which is a basic constitutional right."
"Free-speech and the long term goal of a debt free city were the cornerstone of my campaign," he said. "Free-speech is not a radical idea for our country. A debt free city should not be a radical plan either."
Challenger Thissen said he also ran to bring changes in terms of the way city officials respond to citizens’ requests.
He said he wasn’t able to come to a resolution with city officials on speeding and road closure problems in his neighborhood, which is what prompted him to run for office.
“This wasn’t meant to be this round,” he said.
Although he did not participate in public forums and hardly campaigned this election season, Thissen came in third with nearly 8,000 votes.
“I didn’t participate in any of those, I didn’t do any mailings, I didn’t have any signs, I didn’t do any calling,” he said. “I didn’t do anything. Just name recognition, I guess.”
Thissen is hoping another run for public office next year will garner enough support to win him a seat on the District 833 School Board.
“With the Mark Porter, Spanish Immersion, adding on to Liberty Ridge (Elementary School), just stuff like that, just the ridiculousness and the idiotic things that they’ve been doing,” he said. “I just want to run to address common sense issues because I don’t think there is much common sense over there.”
Scoggins said she appreciated challengers’ participation in this election and encouraged them to continue to be involved.
“I hope that all three of them remain active in the city and work with us to make good things happen in the community,” she said. “We’re very lucky in Woodbury, we’ve got growth and we’ve got good things happening. Our economy has really remained pretty strong.
“I just hope things are going to continue along that line.”
The total number of registered voters in the 16 Woodbury precincts was 38,095, according to the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.