Locals voters elect incumbents, vote to pass referenda


William Kyles, right, democratic candidate for Champaign City Council district one, and Dave Tomlinson, left, president of Champaign School Board, read election results at the Brookins Center in Urbana on Tuesday evening.

By Kevin McLoughlin

Incumbent Mayor Laurel Prussing reelected

Incumbent Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing won with 53.39 percent of vote, defending her seat against Rex Bradfield with 31.93 percent, Durl Kruse with 8.56 percent and Rob McColley with 6.11 percent.

Prussing attributed her victory to her success during the last four years. She said the public was pleased, and her opponents were hard-pressed to convince them otherwise.

“They had to sort of manufacture issues,” she said. “Their issues didn’t get traction.”

Diane Marlin, newly elected Urbana City Council alderwoman for Ward 7, said that she looked forward to working with Prussing again. “I think she’s done a good job,” Marlin said. “The city has improved a lot in the last four years.”

Marlin said that Prussing kept the budget balanced and prevented the city from accruing debt. She also greatly improved citizen involvement on many levels, including adding five policemen to the force. Marlin added that Prussing also created an amiable environment within the city council.

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Not all voters were content with Prussing’s victory. Before results were in, Urbana resident Robert Dunn said there was discontent toward Prussing. “We need someone who can display some civility with the general public,” Dunn said. “Instead of interrupting them during meetings or belittling them.”

However, Esther Patt, Prussing’s campaign chair and a former council member, said that Prussing is the first mayor to sit down with the city council. Other mayors had kept the council deliberately at an arm’s length, she said.

Prussing said that her first actions would be to sit down with the council and create a plan as they did four years ago. She said they would maintain their focus on public safety and economic development while also addressing sustainability, which Prussing referred to as the “issue of the decade.”

Incumbent Brian Christie wins for Champaign City Assessor

A 23-year-old Univeristy alumnus who ran for Champaign assessor was defeated by his rival, 20-year incumbent Brian Christie. Christie won with about 54 percent of the vote.

Wayne Williams, who graduated from the University in 2008, said he was disappointed.

“I really expected to win, but it is what it is,” he said.

He said he decided to run for the office in response to inequitable property assessments under Christie.

Christie was not present at the Brookins Administration Center on Tuesday night.

It is the assessor’s job to determine the value of property, which plays a part in determining property taxes for the owner. A July 2007 News-Gazette article revealed significant under-assessment in certain neighborhoods with high selling prices.

Some less expensive homes were also continually over-assessed, Williams said, which led to a shift in tax burden to owners of more modest homes.

Williams extended thanks to voters, volunteers and the Democratic party.

He also said he was grateful to Debby Auble, the owner of real estate company Ward & Associates. Auble first brought the inequities in assessment to light in the Champaign City Council after noticing patterns in which assessments were over and under.

Williams said the campaign process had been long and difficult, but was also a “wonderful experience.”

“I met a lot of good people,” he said.

Williams said he is unsure of what he will do next and that it is too soon to decide whether or not he will run for the office next election season.

“I am going to look for ways to serve my community,” he said.

Williams said that he hopes the challenge will inspire change in the assessor’s office in the future.

“If things change, it’s a victory,” he said.

Incumbent Alderman David Gehrig defeats senior in LAS

Incumbent Alderman David Gehrig defeated opposing candidate Mark Mallon, senior in LAS, with 60.73 percent of the vote in Urbana Ward 2.

Despite an early lead, Gehrig was hesitant to call his victory. He said since Ward Two is primarily composed of students, the results were unpredictable.

“If the students get really active they could potentially make a disproportionate impact,” Gehrig said.

He said he and Mallon had ensured that their race would avoid “below the belt” campaigning.

After the results came in, Gehrig said he was “relieved.”

“The next big hurdle is (the) budget for next year,” he said. “Making sure it makes sense without stripping everything to the bone.”

Mallon said he felt he had run the strongest campaign possible, and he hopes students will follow his example.

“I hope that students get involved in local government,” he said. “We are part of the community.”

William Kyles won the seat of Champaign City Council member for District 1.

Kyles said his first step as councilman is to build stronger ties with students.

“I want them to know that I care about them,” he said. “To invite me to things, I want to know their thoughts.”

Kyles said he would work with student organizations on issues such as recycling.

Kyles’ supporters were enthusiastic.

Todd Hunter, Champaign resident, described Kyles as a fast learner who had never met a stranger. Hunter said he looks forward to Kyles giving a voice to issues such as crime and lower-income housing.

“(It’s) mostly just representing a district that does not always get more than window dressing,” Hunter said.

Other winners

William Kyles (Champaign Dist. 1)

Michael La Due (Champaign Dist. 2)

Kyle Harrison (Champaign Dist. 3)

Marci Dodds (Champaign Dist. 4)

Dave Johnson (Champaign Dist. 5)

Charlie Smyth (Urbana Ward 1)

Robert E. Lewis (Urbana Ward 3)

Brandon Bowersox (Urbana Ward 4),

Dennis P. Roberts (Urbana Ward 5)

Heather Stevenson (Urbana Ward 6)

Diane W. Marlin (Urbana Ward 7)