Thoughts about Village of Roscoe elections


The 1882 double-arched bridge over the South Kinnikinnick Creek in Roscoe

Mark Szula and Carol Gustafson share many common goals. For example, both candidates claim to support responsible growth for Roscoe and they seem to agree fairly closely on specific road developments. When he heard Gustafson's goals, trustee Justin Plock retorted, "What she is saying she wants to do is already being done," a retort which supports my point even if you disagree with the retort. Joining Gustafson's slate are William Babcock, Michael Sima, and Michael Wright. Joining Szula's slate are Michael Dunn, Jay Durstock, and Anthony Keene. So what is the difference between the two slates of candidates? (Brian Black is not part of either slate but is still a fine candidate).

    • The Village of Roscoe election is a choice between incumbents and challengers. Szula's appeal is directed to those who are happy with the way things are in Roscoe. Gustafson's appeal is directed to those who aren't happy with the way things are. The incumbents may have more experience, but voters may be willing to take the risk of voting against them if they get unhappy enough. The Hononegah School Board race may be similar. 
    • Communication styles may be a major difference between Szula and Gustafson. A case in point: the furor over the new waste management contract for the Village of Roscoe. It was probably the best contract possible under the circumstances. Still, many residents felt the board had negotiated it without consulting them. In other words, the problem was almost entirely caused by lack of communication, and most  current trustees are men of few words. Not that there are many words on either slate's respective Meet Your Candidates webpage: see Moving Roscoe Forward and Citizens for a Better Roscoe. But at least Citizens for a Better Roscoe made a video.
    • Everyone on Mark Szula's slate has been part of Roscoe government for years. That turns off some people and pleases others. None of his challengers have any government experience, except for Carol Gustafson. That appeals to some people and turns off others.
    • Some candidates on both sides say they're tired of taking sides. In 2019, Mark Szula said there had been "a lot of negativity." And Michael Dunn, who has been part of both sides, says, "There has been too much division." Brian Black doesn't belong to either slate, and he agrees.
    • The candidates on Carol Gustafson's slate were all involved with some of Roscoe's more emotional zoning controversies: a wedding venue near Promontory Ridge/Hidden Creek (where the trustees added restrictions that annoyed the developer and still didn't make the neighbors happy) and multi-family townhomes in Hawks Pointe (where the trustees voted against what the neighbors wanted without saying much).
    • Mark Szula has a lot of campaign money in the bank. He has raised $817,090 since 2017. He is still receiving donations through two of his three political action committees, Citizens to Elect Mark W Szula and Moving Roscoe Forward. Almost all his contributors are in the construction industry. How do they possibly expect him to spend all that money? 
    • Carol Gustafson is very frugal with money. That can be either good or bad. Sometimes she has been the only trustee to vote against giving funds to an organization that everybody supports, such as 50 North or even SMTD, simply because they haven't explained to her satisfaction how the money would benefit Roscoe. She even voted against Christmas lights. But she denies charges that she is against youth sports. She says that every teacher knows that wanting to maintain their athletic eligibility often motivates students to keep up with their schoolwork.
    • Each slate has accused the other of dishonesty or worse. One Gustafson mailer quoted from our article on Anthony Keene, reporting that he had been living in California for more than a year. Soon after, Keene posted a photo of himself on Nextdoor next to a Roscoe sign, saying "Don't believe everything you read in the mail. I'm in Roscoe." (We stand by our reporting. Keene had been in California, he had not told us he was returning, and we had asked.) One Szula mailer said that Gustafson had misappropriated Village resources for her campaign. That is, she had used her photo from the Village website without permission (full legal details here). Szula's mailer was illustrated with two photos of Gustafson - taken from her campaign website without permission. 
    • For years, both candidates for Village President have been, shall we say, authority figures. In a war zone, I wouldn't want to be standing anywhere where Mark Szula wanted to park a tank or bulldozer. And I wouldn't want to be a Guilford sophomore who forgot to do the Government homework Mrs. Gustafson assigned last week. But maybe I'm being overly imaginative.

    More about the Village of Roscoe election

    Village President Candidates

    Village Trustee Candidates

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