Nosek, Kienbaum vie for at-large post
The problem began in the neighborhoods surrounding the UW-Whitewater campus, but it since has spread to other parts of the city, he said, as more and more single-family homes are gobbled up by student renters.
Fellow city councilmember Marilyn Kienbaum agrees there are problems. But the blame should not be placed solely on students, she said. The city also is at fault for not properly enforcing its ordinances.
Nosek, who is completing his sixth term on the city council, and Kienbaum, who is completing her fifth, are vying to represent the city at large.
Kienbaum said students aren't the only ones at fault for the supposed "destruction" of single-family neighborhoods in the city. Non-student renters and landlords also contribute to more noise, more property neglect and more foot traffic on quiet streets.
"The city has got to have someone go around and enforce the ordinances," she said. "I don't know why it should be any different with students than it is with anyone else."
Nosek agrees. In fact, although it's easy to misinterpret his efforts as being anti-student, they're not aimed solely at them, he said.
"The fact is, students are being taken advantage of as much as single-family homeowners by people who are willing to cheat," he said.
Nosek said there's no problem when a property owner chooses to rent out a house. But it becomes a problem when a property owner violates ordinances such as the one that prohibits more than three unrelated people from living together, he said.
"There are people who cheat the system," he said.
Nosek said the city simply must enforce the rules it has in place, and he's worked to make sure that happens.
He recently helped form two neighborhood associations, which, he said, give residents hope because now they—along with the city—are looking out for their neighborhoods.
In addition to dedicating more city staff to code enforcement, Kienbaum suggests the city develop an easy-to-understand booklet that spells out the housing-related ordinances and the penalties for violating them.
Such a booklet should be given to every student when he or she comes to UW-Whitewater, she said. It also should be given to all renters, landlords and homeowners, she said.
Kienbaum emphasized patience in solving the housing problem, criticizing Nosek for being overly harsh.
"To criticize the people who live here or work here is uncalled for," she said, "and you don't get anywhere by doing that."
Roy A. Nosek
Address: 210 N. Park St., Whitewater.
Education: Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee
Community service: Former Boy Scout leader.
Elected posts: Whitewater City Council member, 1976-78, 1981-85, 1988-90, 1992-94, 2007-present.
Marilyn M. Kienbaum (I)
Address: 272 S. Wisconsin St., Whitewater.
Job: Retired from doing survey work for the U.S. Census Bureau
Education: Graduate of Whitewater College High School; attended Whitewater State Teachers College
Community service: Director of the Whitewater Food Pantry, 1989-present; former Whitewater Lakes 4-H Club leader.
Elected posts: Whitewater City Council member, 1999-present; Whitewater Town Board chairwoman, 1990-95; Whitewater Town Board supervisor, 1988-90.