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Eight candidates in race for four seats on Janesville City Council

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
January 5, 2011
— Eight candidates, including three incumbents, have filed nomination papers to run for four open seats on the Janesville City Council.

Incumbent Bill Truman is not seeking re-election. One resident, Paul Higginbotham, took out nomination papers but opted not to run.


Seeking a seat in the April 5 election are incumbents George Brunner, Frank Perrotto and Russ Steeber and challengers K. Andreah Briarmoon, Deborah Dongarra-Adams, Michael Knilans, Sam Liebert and Billy McCoy.


Briarmoon filed the papers too late for City Clerk Jean Wulf to certify the signatures on Tuesday.


-- K. Andreah Briarmoon, 58, of 339 S. Locust, is self-employed by Briarmoon Realty Group.


She said she is running to "raise the important issues. The most important one is repairing our system so that our elected officials represent the entire community and not just a handful of special interests," she said.


Briarmoon has run unsuccessfully for council six times. She said she does so to educate the public on the issues and "what's needed to repair the system."


-- Brunner, 70, of 2423 Stonefield Lane, is a retired Janesville police chief. He said he is seeking his fourth term because he wants to continue serving the community.


The city continues to face many challenges because of the economy, he said.


"With the challenges come opportunities to work for improving the quality of life in Janesville," he said. "We must work to pursue economic development to strive to diversify our economy."


Economic development and maintaining city services are his highest priorities.


-- Dongarra-Adams, 49, of 615 Waveland Road, is operations manager for Land Title and Closing Services of Janesville and Beloit.


She said she is running to help get Janesville back on its feet. "I guess I feel like it's my time to step up and help out," she said.


"I really feel that right now our city is in the process of reinventing itself. I really believe in this community. I think it has a lot to offer."


Dongarra-Adams would especially focus on attracting small- to mid-sized businesses.


Dongarra-Adams is a member of the city's plan commission and also the Downtown Development Alliance.


-- Knilans, 52, of 1516 Winchester Place, is the brother of Joe Knilans, who recently was elected to the state Assembly. Michael Knilans said he is running because he believes the council must be more fiscally responsible.


"They're just too spend happy," Knilans said. "They need to back off just a little bit. There are needs and wants, and you got to prioritize your needs and also have to remember that the wants come after the needs are filled."


Knilans believes in less regulation, and he has heard the "hue and cry" in the city from people opposed to the city's sidewalk policy. The council after a two-year delay recently implemented a plan passed by the 2008 council to fill gaps on the comprehensive sidewalk plan.


-- Liebert, 25, is a student at UW-Rock County majoring in history with a goal to teach.


He said his main issues are bringing jobs back to Janesville, transparency and living within the city's means.


He supports using tax incentives to bring new business to Janesville.


"The government should be acting like your average American family working within (its) means," Liebert said. "Not every family has a credit card (to) swipe to cover what they can't."


Liebert agrees with Councilman Tom McDonald, for instance, that the city should not borrow to pay for street maintenance.


Liebert said he would provide the viewpoints of a young business professional.


-- McCoy, 57, of 1326 Putnam Ave., could not be reached on Wednesday.


-- Perrotto, 58, of 4512 E. Milwaukee St., is a financial investment adviser. He is seeking his second term. Perrotto said he loves Janesville and wants to use his financial and business background to help it.


"We will succeed, and I want to be a part of that," he said.


Perrotto said he was convinced to seek re-election because many residents encouraged him to do so.


"It has been a consistent message: ‘You have done a great job, and we still need your voice on the council,'" he wrote in an e-mail to friends when announcing his decision to seek re-election.


-- Steeber, 53, of 4266 Greenbriar Drive, is an administrative captain in the Rock County Jail. He is seeking his fifth term on the council.


Steeber said is running to see a few projects through, mainly improving Janesville's economic position.


"I want to see Janesville start coming back to life, which I know it's going to do," Steeber said.


Several projects are brewing behind the scenes that could be "very dynamic for the city," he said. "There's a few things in the hopper that are starting to get some legs.


Steeber also wants to be a part in the decision on the future of the ice arena.



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