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posted: 12/27/2012 6:17 PM

St. Charles: Contested races from top to bottom of ticket

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Nearly every elected office in St. Charles has a contested race, including several rematches of old political foes.

The highlighted contest is at the top of the ballot. Mayor Don DeWitte is not seeking another term. That's drawn four candidates into the race. Voters are already familiar with two of the candidates.

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Third Ward Alderman Ray Rogina announced his candidacy in September. Rogina, an instructor at Aurora University, is serving his first term as aldermen. He was elected in April 2011.

Jotham Stein also seeks the office. Stein has run three unsuccessful campaigns for public office. He ran as a Democrat for the old 14th Congressional seat, and received less than 8 percent of the vote in the 2008 primary. He performed better in a 2009 bid for St. Charles mayor against DeWitte, losing by about 1,100 votes. Most recently, Stein came in third in an April 2011 run for the Fifth Ward alderman seat currently represented by Maureen Lewis.

Two new faces are also running for mayor.

John Rabchuk is the vice chairman of the St. Charles Comprehensive Plan Task Force. He is running for mayor with concerns about the approach aldermen have taken with potential new residential and commercial developments. Rabchuk said aldermen have put the desires of a vocal minority ahead of the overall good of the city. The denial of the Lexington Homes proposal for the old Applied Composites site is one example where Rabchuk believes the city council got it wrong.

"To take a site that's a safety hazard and have that turned into a townhouse development, I don't understand why it was turned down," Rabchuk said.

He says there are a places for rental property and the use of financial incentives, such as tax increment finance districts, to encourage smart developments.

"There is a very vocal group in town that doesn't want anything other than single-family housing anywhere," Rabchuk said. "I'm not sure that's in line with the majority of residents. There is room in St. Charles for all types of housing to accommodate all types of lifestyles and income."

Jake Wyatt is the fourth mayoral candidate. Local veterans will be familiar with him for his active involvement with the local American Legion and VFW posts. He is a business management consultant who believes officials are losing control of the city's finances. Key projects, such as downtown's $101 million First Street development, have stalled for too long, he said.

"We are chalking up red ink every day that site sits empty with no development," Wyatt said. "There is no payback to the community at this point."

Wyatt said city officials have offered financing for development projects while getting too little in return. He pledged a different approach to financing projects.

"We will come up with some financing, but it's a loan," Wyatt said. "Once you put the development there, you will pay it back to us at a very good interest rate to us."

There is plenty of intrigue further down the ballot. Fourth Ward Alderman Jo Krieger is the lone incumbent with no opponent.

The Fifth Ward race is a rematch between incumbent Maureen Lewis and challenger Kim Malay. Lewis beat Malay by only two votes in April 2011.

The Second Ward contest features another just-missed-it candidate in Art Lemke. Lemke is a former aldermen who sought to regain a seat against Rita Payleitner in April 2011. Payleitner beat him by only six votes. Lemke will now challenge Payleitner's fellow Second Ward Alderman Cliff Carrignan.

The First Ward contest features another rematch, this time going back to 2009. Former Alderman Ron Silkaitis is taking on incumbent Jon Monken. Monken unseated Silkaitis by only 26 votes back in April 2009. A third challenger, Justin Osborne, also seeks the seat.

Finally, the Third Ward has a contested race between incumbent William Turner and newcomer Mario VanDerHeyden.

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