Verhalen Reacts To Election Loss, Says He Will Stay On Sidelines
The Oak Creek-Franklin School Board member, defeated in Tuesday's mayoral race, said he remains worried about the future of Oak Creek.
Mark Verhalen, who fell short of the Oak Creek mayor's office for the fourth consecutive time Tuesday, said he congratulates Steve Scaffidi on a good race but cautioned the city on the direction it is headed.
"I hope these guys know what they're doing because based on the votes at the Common Council meeting last night, I see everyone is walking in step with borrowing a heck of a lot of money," he said.
Verhalen was referring to the council's votes -- just a few hours before the polls closed -- to move forward on a tax-incremental financing district at the former Delphi site and approve a set of land swaps involving Delphi and the Civic Center property.
"What they're planning on doing is unprecedented in the history of the city and I would hate to see, at the end of the day, the citizens on the hook for 50, 60, 100 million dollars worth of debt," he said.
Verhalen spoke a day after Scaffidi defeated him in the mayor's race. Scaffidi, a two-term alderman, earned 55 percent of the vote.
The result means that Scaffidi's aldermanic seat in the 3rd District, where Verhalen resides, is now vacant.
But Verhalen dismissed the idea of running for that seat, or for any other public office, and said he plans to stay on the sidelines for the next few years.
"If I do anything with politics, I'm going to get out of the local stuff," he said. "There's too much nepotism that goes on ... and it seems to get worse and worse.
"It's not that I've given up, but I'm at that point now where I'm seeing the writing on the wall."
With all three alderman up for re-election retaining their seats, Verhalen added that he would view himself as the odd man out on the council. He could have more success continuing to work from the outside, he said.
"I know how the council is comprised," he said. "There's more liberal people on the council than conservatives, so why should I be the only minority anyway."
Verhalen, 55, has been involved in city politics for some time, and is usually at odds with the administration in place.
Last year, he was elected to the Oak Creek-Franklin School Board, where he is in the second year of a three-year term.