FRANK WENDELL: Why I’m Running for Mayor
By FRANK WENDELL
May 4, 2014
I am running for mayor because I love Cape Charles. It’s just that simple. My grandfather, Frank Wendell, emigrated to Cape Charles from Lockenhaus, Austria, with my great-grandfather Joseph in 1884 at the age of 12. My family has been living and working in Cape Charles ever since. My father, Francis Wendell, lived his entire life in Cape Charles and taught me at an early age the value of public service and giving back to your community. So we’re all come-heres from somewhere – some just got here sooner than others.
Small-town life in Cape Charles has gained a lot of appeal in the last 20 years, and the town has benefitted greatly from the resurgence and investments that accompanied it. How we go forward without losing our small town charm and quaintness is one of the many challenges we face as a community. According to the Cape Charles Comprehensive Plan Vision Statement, “the people of Cape Charles cherish and nurture the unique qualities of this small historic town.” I encourage all the town’s people to become more familiar with the Comp Plan and participate in its updating currently in progress.
The issues, opportunities, and challenges facing Cape Charles are as diverse as our richly diverse community:
- Emergency medical services and our public school system require us to partner with our county leaders in solving these complex problems that have a tremendous effect on our collective economic development.
- The PSA-proposed Southern Node sewer project and commercial development of Route 13 has benefits, but in my opinion the risks to our downtown outweigh the benefits.
- Our $10.8 million debt and our continuing need to build, acquire, and maintain infrastructure will remain an ongoing challenge.
- Harbor development, beach replenishment, and Phase 2 of the Community Trail Project, along with the cooperative efforts with Southport, Bay Creek, King’s Creek Marina, Bayshore Concrete, and Bay Coast Railroad all offer reason for great optimism.
- Proper management of the town’s 30-employee workforce while insuring proper compensation and keeping town taxes and fees reasonable and fair is paramount.
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Addressing these issues and more requires the mayor and Council to make smart business decisions. In my 30 years of managing at Wendell Distributing Co. I have constantly been presented with challenges and opportunities for problem-solving. As president I am responsible for all aspects of operation in a territory encompassing the entire Eastern Shore of Virginia. Implementing efficiencies and maximizing productivity is among my primary tasks, and has helped me develop skills that would be very useful as mayor.
Perhaps my most important qualification is my nearly 14 years’ service as a Cape Charles Town Councilman, working with three different mayors. There is simply no substitute for that experience.
Much has been said lately on whether or not our community has become divided. I, for one, feel that to the degree it has, it is a product of poor leadership and decision-making and a lack of transparency on important issues. Denying obvious truths and encouraging staff and fellow Council members to “Don’t answer that” when asked simple questions is not good government. Locating our sewage treatment plant on the road to our multi-million-dollar golf course and harbor developments recklessly and unnecessarily devalued the nearby real estate and continues to be a symbol of the poor decision-making that happens when weak leadership is given the reigns of power. When citizens can trust their mayor and Council, divisiveness will subside.
If elected mayor, I will work hard to lead the new Council to successfully address and deliberate on all the issues that face our town over the next four years. Together we should strive to reduce spending where we can and spend wisely where we must. We should endeavor to cap and then reduce our outrageous utility bills and fees, and also keep in mind that higher taxes disproportionately penalize the less fortunate and senior citizens living in our community on fixed incomes.
So on Tuesday, May 6, I ask for your vote. Vote Frank Wendell for mayor, and then let’s all work together for a better Cape Charles – because we all LOVE this town!
The Wave is providing every candidate in the May 6 elections the opportunity to answer the question “Why I’m Running.”