Seven candidates seek four Westlake seats

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Seven candidates are in the race for four at-large seats in Westlake. Elected officials in Westlake have a dual role, overseeing town government and serving as a trustee for the town-owned, Westlake Academy.

Of the four open seats, expired seats include those held by council members David Levitan, Mayor Pro Tem Carol Langdon and Rick Rennhack. Langdon and Rennhack filed for re-election. Langdon, a certified master gardener, has served on the council since 2008 and has lived in Westlake for eight years. Rennhack has served on council since 2009. He is a consultant who has lived in the town for 12 years.

Also in the race are Gregory Goble, a manufacturer representative who has lived in the town for one year; Michael Crowe, a senior vice president of Caris Life Sciences, has lived in Westlake for eight months; and Wayne Stoltenberg, a energy executive, has lived in the town for six years.

A special election was called for the fourth seat open in Westlake. The spot is held by Michael Barrett, who was appointed to a one-year term after a vacancy of the seat in 2012 when councilman Tim Brittan did not file for re-election and had no challengers.

Barrett, who filed for re-election, is senior vice president for a financial company and has lived in Westlake three years.

Barrett originally had two opponents, Gregg Malone and Scott Bradley, but Bradley withdrew in March. Malone is a purchasing manager who has lived in Westlake for three years.

Candidates responded to questions by The Times-Register:

Why do you want to be a candidate for this position?

Michael Barrett: I am seeking re-election to the Town Council of Westlake because I want to continue to give back and take a leadership role in supporting Westlake residents in the execution of the strategic pillars of Westlake. If re-elected, I will work with our mayor, other town council members and staff to strive to ensure the town of Westlake's continued progress on the path consistent with the town's Vision, Values and Mission. It would be an honor to represent the citizens of Westlake again.

Michael Crowe: My neighborhood comprises nearly 30 percent of the homes in Westlake. Currently we are represented by David Levitan, but he is not seeking a second term. I felt my experience and conservative approach would make me an ideal candidate to take his place and ensure representation for my neighbors.

Gregory Goble: I believe it is incumbent on all of us to be part of the debate, in some manner, as it relates to the decisions that need to be made in order to provide a quality education for our children, security for our families and managed growth for the towns where we live.

Carol Langdon: I want to continue as a Westlake Town Councilman and Westlake Academy Trustee because I am passionate that Westlake remains a great small town with solid infrastructure, great services and a renown school.

Gregg Malone: I want to ensure that the Town Of Westlake remains the best and most viable town in Texas by promoting responsible growth and neighborhood vitality while preserving the larger landscape, both pastoral and agricultural; reduce the property tax burden; and continue developing Westlake Academy into one of the most prestigious International Baccalaureate institutions in the nation.

Rick Rennhack: I believe Westlake might truly be the last best place to live. Time has been generous to our community because our major landowners have been slow to develop their properties. Having grown up in this area I have seen the results of good and bad decisions by local governments. Consequently, I have learned many lessons, and I want to keep Westlake a one of a kind community.

Wayne Stoltenberg: Westlake is the town in which I’ve chosen to live and raise my family. I believe I can help continue to improve what is already an outstanding place.

What challenges do you foresee if elected?

Barrett: There are some challenges, but none that do not present opportunities for the town of Westlake. We have a vibrant engaged community that wants to see the town continue to be recognized as a one-of-a-kind community in the DFW metroplex. We have a true asset in Westlake Academy – one of the top IB charter schools in the nation. We have Fortune 1000 companies that have established a corporate campus in Westlake. Therefore, with these attributes we have a premier knowledge-based community with high standards, a solid foundation and a strong sustainable value proposition. The challenge is to make sure that we maintain the fabric and the relevancy of what makes Westlake a special place to live and work.

Crowe: The town is experiencing growth and this requires council members that will ensure our growth is consistent with the town’s strategy, vision, and comprehensive land use plans. I will ensure that our growth remains consistent with the town’s strategic plan. Our strategic plan should be an inclusive plan, built with the involvement of all residents of the town. If elected, I will ensure we remain an inclusive community and actively encourage involvement from all residents.

Goble: Facilitating the further development of our school and town such that transparency is achieved to the greatest extent possible. Ascertaining the collective views of the people must be accomplished to a degree whereby the best course for our town is realized.

Langdon: Ensuring that both the town and school budgets remain balanced, while providing our citizens with the best possible services and an enjoyable and beautiful living environment.

Malone: It’s going to be a challenge to achieve a perfect balance between preserving the natural beauty and exclusivity of Westlake for the residents, while encouraging economic growth for the Town. I look forward to meeting the challenges of ensuring that Westlake will be thriving 20 years from now because it has handled its current growth well, and continued to be elevated from its peers by setting and maintaining higher standards.

Rennhack: Patience. Will Rogers said, "Buy land because they’re not making any more of it." Current economic conditions, our close proximity to the airport, Dallas and Fort Worth, combined with a large percentage of undeveloped land present opportunities and challenges for Westlake. Residents moved to our town because it was exceptional. I want to maintain our standard of excellence in development and open-spaces with careful, strategic planning and the willingness to stay the course.

Stoltenberg: The town of Westlake will need to address the following areas in the years ahead: Manage development so it is both aesthetically pleasing and financially beneficial; continue to support the growth and success of Westlake Academy which is owned by the town; provide essential services well and cost effectively but not try and be all things to all citizens.

What strengths do you bring to the city if elected?

Barrett: I am seeking re-election, so, my first strength would be from having served as a Westlake Town Council member. I have the knowledge and the history of the key strategies the town is embarking on and I am an active resident of the town, participating in a number of events. I am also inclusive, a good listener with a fresh perspective and understanding and appreciative of the importance of representation as part of the community. I bring a strong business acumen given my 20 plus years of corporate business leadership experience in financial services . A few of my top priorities are fiscal stewardship, educational leadership and transparent government.

Crowe: I have 28 years of broad business experience running companies and operations of all sizes. I bring that business perspective to the council along with the ability to collaborate and work with constituents of all types to find successful outcomes.

Goble: I have owned and managed a technical sales organization for over 28 years. This experience has afforded me the ability to balance the diverse and often idiosyncratic needs of our customers with the capabilities and multitude of personalities of our manufacturers. I believe that this experience will greatly aid me if elected to the town council.

Langdon: Five years of experience balancing a town and academy budget. Hard working and staying informed on all issues before the council. Having good, sound ethics while taking a balanced approach to decisions. Twenty years of proven business experience in the communications industry, certification as a Master Gardener, enabling me to understand the importance and the impact of decisions on our environment. I will continue to be an ear to community needs, while making myself available for citizens' input and incorporating their input into the legislative process.

Malone: Connectivity, collaboration and communication with residents are my strengths which are enhanced by my personal experiences both as a previous US Military Leader and current mediator in dispute resolution. As a husband and father to young children looking forward to decades in Westlake, my passions and drives will be focused on our small community.

Rennhack: Continuity, experience and balance…this elected position is unique to Texas. In Westlake you wear two hats at the same time serving on both Town Council and the school board. I have developed a balanced approach over the years having been a pastpPresident of the Westlake Academy Foundation, a Planning & Zoning member and a two-term councilman.

Stoltenberg: I hope to apply some of what I’ve learned in my 20 year business career as an investment banker and corporate executive. Specific areas of focus for me will be strategic planning, budgeting and financial management.

What priority do you place on economic development?

Barrett: I believe the town needs to have a balance between the strong robust unique community that we have today in Westlake and the potential economic development opportunities. As the market continues to get stronger and Westlake's assets gain even more prominence, I foresee the town being approached by more developers for economic development projects, however, the town needs to be discerning and evaluate these prospects with long-term broad vision as to what is right for Westlake now and in the future. It needs to maintain the same fabric and standards that have made Westlake unique, attractive and relevant to the DFW metroplex, and not just seek economic development for the sole purpose of driving growth

Crowe: Growth is inevitable and vital to keeping our community strong. I want to ensure we take a conservative approach in managing growth, so we don’t compromise the qualities that make Westlake a special community.

Goble: The economic development priority should be to maintain the high development standards as set forth in the Westlake Strategic Plan. These development standards should include managed growth such that the distinctive nature of our neighborhoods is not compromised.

Langdon: It is important to carefully evaluate economic development on the horizon for Westlake and that which is developing in our surrounding towns. Westlake has been the standard bearer for excellence and strict building requirements, which has enabled our citizens to enjoy the benefits of prudent and viable development.

Malone: I am interested in the preservation as well as the continued development within the town of Westlake. I would like to be involved in preserving Westlake as the best and most livable town in Texas by promoting orderly/responsible growth and development, safe/responsible construction and neighborhood vitality.

Rennhack: I am in no rush to develop Westlake; however, I have learned careful planning is the key to a good outcome. The FM 1938 / Precinct Line project is a great example. Almost four years ago at one of my first town council meetings, we reviewed the landscape guidelines and subsequently approved the plans. I recall pondering the merit of this exercise when the town clearly had no money in the budget for such a project. I now realize these plans were vital to maintaining our development excellence.

Stoltenberg: I place a high priority on managing the economic development that inevitably will take place in Westlake. Striking a balance between the rights of property owners and the town’s residents is extremely important. Economic development is also critical for the long-term financial health of Westlake. I believe that Westlake should be known as a town that says to developers, "We’ve got high standards for development and we welcome those willing to meet them."

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