Q&A: Jon Denison, Candidate for Northfield City Council Third Ward

Jon Denison faces incumbent Erica Zweifel.

Two candidates are vying for your support to become Northfield's next Third Ward representative.

They are:

  • Jon Denison
  • Erica Zweifel

Patch asked candidates to respond to a series of questions. Below, you will find responses from Denison. You can also read responses from Zweifel here. Responses are written by the candidates and have not been edited by Patch.

In the coming weeks we'll run more Q&As and video interviews for candidates who are on Nov. 6's ballot in Northfield-related races. You can also find out more information about the candidates by checking out our election guide for all election-related stories.

Jon Denison

Age: 40
Education: Graduate Northfield High School 1990, 3 Years The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
Occupation: NAR/CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) Northfield Care Center
Political Experience: Northfield City Council 4th Ward 2006-2010, Grace Whittier Fund 2006-2010, Safety Center task force and design committees 2009-2010, Northfield Library Board 2011-present

Why are you running for a seat on the Northfield City Council?

I was born and raised in Northfield and have a real passion for this community. I really enjoyed my time on the council and having the ability to help people. That being said, I've been disappointed with the actions taken by this council. If elected I intend to achieve 3 things day one: 1.Restore the EDA to full membership. 2. Reinstate council liaisons to boards and commissions. 3. Fix the Safety Center debacle.

What's the most pressing issue facing Northfield and the City Council?

Lack of jobs. In the last two years Northfield's lack of complete membership on the Economic Development Authority and turnover of the director's position created by the turmoil this council has caused with that board has brought economic development in this city to a standstill.

What is something the current Council has done well?

Absolutely nothing. It all started with the hiring of a new city attorney in 2009 while I was still on council. The council had a chamber full of angry citizens that didn't see reason to change providers from a well respected local law firm to a firm from the metro. I remember a letter from a constituent whom wrote passionately about the experience she had with Mr. Morrisette in particular. Councilors Pokorney, Vohs and myself voted against changing firms. Councilors Zweifel, Buckheit, Pownell and Mayor Rossing voted for it and I believe that was the beginning of a number of decisions members of this council were involved with that demonstrated their inability to listen to their constituents. This pattern continued with the Y project, the reconstruction of Jefferson Road, and now the safety center.

What is something you think the current council hasn't done well?

Listen to its constituents, boards and commissions. This was demonstrated by the council's doing away with liaisons to the boards and commissions. Being a member of the library board I know first hand how this has affected communications between the board and the council and how the other members feel about it. We even sent a letter to the council which was read at the open mic to the council by the board president that we feel very strongly that not having that connection to the council has had a detrimental effect on the board. That was almost a year ago and still no response from the council.

What would you have tried to do differently?

Before taking such a drastic measure I would have sought input from the boards and commissions to find out just how passionately they may've felt one way or the other about the idea and why. Just like they should've met with the hospital board before taking the step to have a finance committee look at ownership status of the hospital creating anxiety amongst the staff and residents.

Why should constituents vote for you on Election Day? What makes you a better choice than your opponent?

When I was on the council I studied the material, corresponded with constituents and came to the meeting prepared to ask questions and stand by my convictions. If I disagreed with someone I calmly explained why, cast a vote, and moved on however it turned out. I never took cheap shots at constituents that came to the mic to express concerns. I never rolled my eyes at them in a dismissive manner. I never belittled staff. I never disrespected my fellow councilors even when they were rude or hostile towards me. I was there in the best interests of the city, the residents and my constituents. If privileged to be sent to the council once again, I will again conduct the affairs of the city in the same manner.

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