One year after Zan Shields ran for an at-large Platteville Common Council seat, Shields is running for an at-large seat again.
This time, one year after she finished third in the race won by Ald. Dick Bonin, Shields is running as a write-in candidate for the seat held by at-large Ald. Steve Becker.
“I’m running because I’m concerned about how the council runs things,” said Shields, a caterer who has the Jambalayas food cart on Second Street. “And I’m concerned about the students here, and also elderly people. Students don’t seem to have a voice.”
Shields described most of the Common Council as “outdated.”
“The council doesn’t listen to what people are saying; they only listen to the person making the complaint, and it’s like it’s etched in stone,” she said. “There is no diversity; there are no people on the council who get out and go around town to find out what’s going on. I find a lot of people use the council and the police as appeasement — an ‘I’ll fix you’ sort of thing. I’d say five of them, they don’t understand anything about a black person.”
Shields’ main criticism, however, is reserved for her opponent, Becker, and Common Council President Mike Dalecki.
“Two people are the problem on the council,” she said.
Shields called Dalecki a “dictator; we don’t need a dictator.” Of Dalecki and Becker, she said, “It seems like it’s their way or the highway. To me the keep beating the same dead horse over and over again.”
Shields has lived in Platteville for 10 years. She lived in Milpitas, Calif., near San Francisco, then moved to New Orleans and then Chicago. She served on the city’s former Arts Board, and has been involved in downtown fundraisers.
Shields believes the council micromanages city operations too much. “Maybe if they let the city manager do his job, he could manage,” she said. “Let the Police Department do policing.”
Shields believes the council mishandled the downtown parking issue by requiring permit parking south of Pine Street. She said people now park in front of her house at 65 Mitchell Ave. when they’re not visiting her.
Shields called the proposed brush pickup fee, which was defeated by the Common Council March 12, “ridiculous — they can solve that some other way.” She sees the brush fee and the $60-per-household garbage fee as “it seems like it’s always nickel-and-diming people.”
Shields believes the council gets little business input when making decisions. She said she was asked to do fundraisers on Second Street, but was prevented from doing so after complaints from Second Street bar owners.
“It’s like I’m an outsider because I’m not from here,” she said. “You’re a nuisance if you’re a student. And people are divided into two classes — the haves and the have-nots.
“It’s always complaints — trust me. You have a group of complaining people in this town.”
Shields supports the city’s promoting small locally owned businesses, to “grow your own city,” over major national retailers.
Shields believes the city needs to do more to give children and young adults, including those younger than 21, to do.
“I feel as if there was something in this town for them to do, a community center, there’d be an outlet for that,” she said.
She also supports an expansion of the city taxi service on Sundays after it ends at 1 p.m.
“That’s what happens when you get out and talk to people,” she said.