This race started early, as far as St. Charles’ municipal elections go, when Mayor Donald DeWitte announced in late August 2012 that he would not seek a third term as mayor.
The announcement marked the beginning of a campaign that has become centered largely on whether the mayor and council are responsive to residents. Much of that contention was brought on by two key council votes related to the controversial Lexington Club development. A City Council committee voted to reject a tax-increment financing plan for the project in December, but then in early January, approved not only a revised TIF agreement, but the entire project on a tie 5-5 vote broken by DeWitte, a longtime supporter of the plan.
If the Lexington project had been controversial before, what appeared to be a sudden reversal fanned the flames of anger among a very vocal group of people who had opposed the development. That anger has framed much of the public discussion on the campaign.
A key question, however: Just how large a group, and how widespread is the anger over Lexington Club?
Raymond Rogina, midway through his first term as 3rd Ward alderman and the first to enter the mayoral race, was one of the five alderman voting against the project. John Rabchuk, an entrepreneurial businessman, is the only candidate to speak in favor of Lexington Club. He also came out early in support of the city’s 2013 draft Comprehensive Master Plan, which has drawn scrutiny and criticism from Lexington Club opponents.
The anger has some residents complaining bitterly that the aldermen and mayor ignored their voices and are defying the “will of the people” in favor of developers.
That has prompted several candidates to focus on the city's communication with residents as an issue of its own. One of these is retired Army Col. Jake Wyatt, whose campaign announcement in late November focused on on his business experience and expressed concern about the present state of affairs in St. Charles. Since then, Wyatt, Rogina and Rabchuk have focused on the importance of being accessible — and listening to — St. Charles residents.
While the fallout from Lexington Club has the potential to have a large impact on the April 9 election, it is far from the only issue at hand. Still, it might be frustrating for candidates focused on other issues to be heard over the din.
Attorney and author Jotham Stein has focused his campaign on property taxes and, more so, on economic development. Amid all the outcry on Lexington Club and voter representation issues, he largely has ignored Lexington Club-related issues to focus on economic development. Stein says the city needs to do more to attract new businesses to St. Charles. He says that not only will new businesses fill up empty storefronts in town, they also would direct more tax revenues into city coffers and allow the city to cut property tax rates.
Early voting begins March 25. Election Day is April 9. As the campaign continues, we will continue to post links to related stories.
Candidate Announcements, Bios
Bio & issues: About Raymond P. Rogina
- Sept. 14, 2012: Rogina Announces Run for St. Charles Mayor
Bio & issues: About Jotham Stein
- Oct. 15, 2012: Jotham Stein Announces St. Charles Mayoral Bid
Bio & issues: About John Rabchuk
- Oct. 18, 2012: John Rabchuk Enters St. Charles Mayoral Race
Bio & issues: About Jake ‘Wayne’ Wyatt
- Nov. 30, 2012: Jake Wyatt Becomes 4th St. Charles Mayoral Contender
The ‘Must-Read’ Stories
- Aug. 31, 2012:Mayor DeWitte Won’t Seek Third Term
- Sept. 1, 2012:Analysis: Who Would Be St. Charles Mayor?
- Nov. 18, 2012: Rabchuk Endorses St. Charles Draft 2013 Comprehensive Plan
- Nov. 18, 2012:Alderman Rogina: Plan Endorsement Premature
- Nov. 20, 2012:Mayoral Candidate Critical of Tax Levy as an Increase
- Dec. 10, 2012:St. Charles Aldermen Kill Corporate Reserve, Lexington Club
- Dec. 18, 2012:Mayoral Candidate Decries St. Charles ‘Tax Rate Increase’
- Jan. 3, 2013:Rabchuk Suggests St. Charles Aldermen Reconsider Lexington Club Vote
- Jan. 7, 2013:St. Charles Shocker: Council OKs Lexington Club
- Jan. 7, 2013:Review Jan. 7 Live-Blog Coverage of St. Charles Council
- Feb. 17, 2013: Rogina Outlines Vision for St. Charles Central Business District Renewal
- Feb. 19, 2013: Stein, Rabchuk: Rogina's Downtown St. Charles Plan Not Enough
- April 3, 2013: Review Live-Blog Coverage of the April 3 Mayoral, School Board Candidates Forum
- March 28, 2013:Review Live-Blog Coverage of the March 28 St. Charles Mayoral Forum
- March 12, 2013: Review the March 12 St. Charles Mayoral Forum Live-Blog Coverage
More Local Election Coverage on Patch
- St. Charles Election Central: A guide to every race that affects residents of St. Charles will be posted by mid-February.
- St. Charles City Council: Catch up on what the City Council has been doing before you vote.
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