Ward 5 candidate profiles: Incumbent Stacey Brown and Noemi Wierwille
Published: 10-30-2023 6:39 PM
Modified: 10-31-2023 2:32 PM
Stacey Brown says she has been an effective city councilor for the people of Ward 5, listening to their concerns and pushing for action on the issues that matter most to them.
She’s championed the effort to diversify the membership of city boards and committees to better reflect the community at large, and pushes for social infrastructure projects, like parks, pools, sidewalks, and trails.
Noemi Wierwille said residents deserve a city councilor who can collaborate with others and represent residents on all topics, including public safety. During her two-year term as councilor, Brown has had to recuse herself from discussions and votes involving the police department because her husband is an officer.
“I am running because so many of my fellow Ward 5 residents know my commitment to public service and asked me to step up,” Wierwille said. “I agreed with a lot of what I heard. They want a city councilor that listens, promotes transparency and has high ethical standards for themselves and city government.”
Brown said she’s been transparent about her agenda as a councilor and her conflicts of interest, unlike Wierwille.
“I am happy that I am able to spend the time investing in my residents and, unlike my opponent, I have been very transparent in recusing myself from the connections that I have when I meet with voters and residents,” Brown said.
Wierwille is a sitting member of the Ad-Hoc Beaver Meadow Golf Course Building Committee, which is forming plans to build a new clubhouse.
Brown has been critical of the city’s plan to build a new clubhouse and said those millions of dollars could be used to pay for services and projects that would serve a greater number of people.
“That’s half a million dollars to design a clubhouse ahead of a library, an ADA playground, a new police station and a middle school,” Brown said.
Despite their differences, the duo expressed similar values in their vision for the city including their commitment to increasing affordable housing, broadening the tax base and solving homelessness.
“Voters in Ward 5 have a desire for more flexible use of the space they already have and they would like to turn their homes into multi-family homes which would require a shift in zoning so they can do things differently,” Wierwille said. “This would require a lot of public input from areas that are very dense and areas that are very rural.”
Brown said councilors should look at the entire city and update the master plan to reflect the city’s current situation and values, she said. To do that, councilors should prioritize homelessness, the city’s existing infrastructure and sustainability and equity.
“When we do that, we are correcting wrongs that were made long before us and we can address future challenges such as the climate,” she said. “We need to make sure the infrastructure can support a network where people in these units can access services in a safer way by adding more transportation routes and increasing the bikeability and walkability of the city.”
When asked about lowering the tax burden on residents, Brown said $5 million for a new clubhouse could be better used elsewhere. Additionally, she suggested that non-Concord residents should be required to pay higher fees for municipal resources than city residents in order to generate more revenue.
Citing diversity and city leadership, Wierwille said all city councilors are committed to diversifying city representation, while adding that volunteerism fosters community. To continue the efforts, she suggested creating more accessibility and transparency for all residents and focusing on the diverse parts of the community that make Concord whole.
Brown has pushed the council to act more quickly to address the lack of diversity on city boards and committees. She conducted her own analysis of all elected and appointed positions in the city and found less than 1% of people serving were people of color. The city of Concord did not conduct its own analysis.
She said that if city boards and committees lack different perspectives and voices, the city can’t foster meaningful change.
Urging residents for their vote, Brown reiterated her commitment to the community and asked residents to continue to support. Wierwille cited her leadership skills and her national work as an educator which has allowed her to work alongside others.
Both candidates participated in a forum for city council candidates hosted last week by the Monitor. It was recorded by Concord TV and can be viewed online.
Editor’s note: This story has been changed to reflect that Noemi Wierwille is a sitting member of the Ad-Hoc Beaver Meadow Golf Course Building Committee, according to the city website.