South Bethany all set to elect three new council members


Three seats on the South Bethany Town Council will be up for election on May 23. Voters have their pick of six candidates: Elizabeth Baker, Don Boteler, Joel Danshes, Wayne Schrader, Carol Stevenson and Frank Weisgerber. None of the incumbents ran for re-election this year.

Each council term is two years.

Polls will be open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Town Hall, 402 Evergreen Road.

For more voter information, visit the “Election Information” page at www.southbethany.org.

In preparation for the big day, the Coastal Point has asked a series of questions of the candidates. Their responses are listed alphabetically by the candidate’s last name.

Elizabeth ‘Betsi’ Baker

Q. How are you qualified for this position?

A. My training is in business (MBA, University of Delaware) and education (MS, the University of Chicago). I have worked as benefits coordinator for a startup business that grew to 1,400 employees, as well as for several non-profit organizations.

In recent years, I have been active as a volunteer. For example, at the Armed Forces Service Center at Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport I was a volunteer for seven years, developed the volunteer training program and served on the Board of Directors. In all of these settings I have used my skill in working with people to help forge progress through compromise among competing constituencies, which I believe is a skill that will be very useful as a town council member.

One advantage I bring with my “newness” to South Bethany’s government is that I come with an open mind and an enthusiastic readiness to learn about the issues and participate wholeheartedly in the community. I have been very involved in local civic affairs in the places we have lived. From the town meetings in Connecticut to the precinct organizations in Minnesota, I have used my voice and my vote to be an active participant trying to affect the quality of life and government in our community.

Over the past 28 years, South Bethany has become the center of our family life — we come for Christmas and spend (a bit of) New Year’s Day in the ocean! Our three children worked summer jobs here, and two of them got married here. We didn’t just “vacation” here — this is Home.

In 2014, we “semi-retired” and now live here permanently year-round.

Q. What do you feel is South Bethany’s biggest challenge for the next two years, and how will you address it?

A. I believe that the quality of the town’s canals and wetlands, and the threat of the rising oceans is probably the biggest challenge South Bethany will face in the near (and not-so-near) future.

The canals, the beach and the wetlands are South Bethany’s greatest assets — and as we go forward, it will be vital to continue the good work the council has begun in this area. I will join the Sea Level Rise & Storm Surge Committee and/or the Water Quality Committee. It will be vital to work with state and federal agencies to provide the guidance and leadership the community needs in the near future.

Q. Why do you want to be part of South Bethany Town Council?

A. As soon as we knew we were able to make South Bethany our full-time home, I knew I had the time and wanted to become involved in helping keep this delightful and lovely town the unique and special place it has been — for the “part-timers” and the year-round residents.

We chose to build our home here after a thorough search of communities from Lewes to Fenwick. That search convinced us that South Bethany was, indeed, the “best little beach in Delaware” and we have been very pleased with how it has been managed. I want to be a part of continuing to ensure that South Bethany thrives as it has — so that our children and grandchildren will be able to come and enjoy all that this town has to offer.

Q. What else would you like to tell voters before election day?

A. I promise that I will be diligent, spend the time to learn about the issues, and listen to all sides and views. I will be available to meet and talk with members of the community. I will listen more than I talk — so that I can learn from both the more experienced members of the town council and committees, but also from members of the community. I will bring my enthusiasm and all the skills and talents I have to this position — and I ask you for your vote.

Don Boteler

Q. How are you qualified for this position?

A. My primary qualification is one I share with all of my fellow South Bethany property owners — a love of our town and a desire to help preserve its character as a safe and beautiful place for our families for generations to come. My family’s roots in South Bethany go back to 1973 and our six grandchildren are the fourth generation of our family to enjoy the privilege of having a stake in this special place. My wife, Ann, and I deepened our commitment to South Bethany when we moved here permanently in 2013.

I believe all of the other candidates possess superb qualifications based on educational and career backgrounds, and I am honored to be in such strong company. My own work history includes both public- and private-sector experience.

In my early career, I served in various federal government positions for a period of 13 years, the final four years as a member of the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission staff, where I specialized in applying the federal securities laws and regulations to investment advisors and mutual funds. I then spent 26 years with the Washington, D.C.-based national association of the U.S. mutual fund industry, retiring in 2012 as a member of its senior management team. That experience gave me the opportunity to develop the consensus building skills and analytical capabilities essential to advocacy work.

I currently serve as a trustee (or independent director) on the boards of two separate mutual fund complexes. As a fund trustee, I am obliged under federal and state law to represent the interests of the funds’ public shareholders by ensuring they are fairly treated and protected from conflicts of interest. I see the role of town council member similarly, as I would be entrusted with other peoples’ money and obliged to deploy those and the town’s other resources carefully and thoughtfully and only in ways that clearly further the interests of the town and its property owners.

My education included degrees in economics and accounting and I am a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Q. What do you feel is South Bethany’s biggest challenge for the next two years and how will you address it?

A. I am reluctant to identify any one single issue or item on the council’s current agenda as the biggest challenge for the next two years. Water quality, wetlands preservation, beautification, safety and security, flood insurance, community engagement and other current matters are all important in varying degrees to different property owners.

That said, I believe a perennial challenge of overarching importance for our town is the need to always seek to find a satisfactory balance between the preferences and priorities of property owners who may have different views about where to place emphasis. For example, we have all seen and appreciated the ongoing efforts to improve the visual appeal of South Bethany. Continuing with such initiatives supports pride of ownership and property values and doing so in the most cost-effective manner possible advances an equally important objective of fiscal responsibility.

My career experience ingrained in me an unalterable belief in the importance of integrity and transparency in building and maintaining credibility. In that spirit, I would work hard to discern and understand the interests of property owners, endeavor to reconcile honest differences with open and respectful debate, and pursue fair outcomes that promote healthy and positive community relations.

Q. Why do you want to be part of the South Bethany Town Council?

A. My interest in serving is based on a desire to contribute meaningfully to the life of South Bethany and my fellow property owners. Retirement is happily affording me the time to start paying back my community for the many years of pleasure that my family and I have enjoyed in South Bethany.

Now that we are fortunate enough to live here full-time, I feel a particularly strong sense of protectiveness toward our town. I also feel a strong sense of gratitude toward all of my fellow property owners, past and present, who have served and are serving, and a desire to honor their contributions with my own.

I also believe the good people who make their livelihoods working for South Bethany do a terrific job and deserve our thanks and support. I would appreciate the opportunity to help ensure they have what they need to continue to provide the excellent service for which they are rightly known.

Q. What else would you like to tell voters before election day?

A. It would be a singular privilege and honor for me to represent you as a member of the town council. Ann and I have made a fair number of new friends around town since moving here permanently, and we constantly remind ourselves how lucky and enriched we are to live among such friendly, interesting and accomplished people. And I feel like we have just scratched the surface! I look forward to getting to know more of you and working with you on things that matter, win or lose, in whatever ways I can. Thanks for your kind consideration.

Joel ‘Joe’ Danshes

Q. How are you qualified for this position?

A. I am an extremely honest, trustworthy and a highly motivated candidate for this council. I am ready to put in the time necessary to be a good leader, and become a great team player when the time arises. My expertise in resolving problems and issues are outstanding, and helping to organize actions that work, will be my first priority as a council member. I am totally confident that with my knowledge and expertise as a construction manager, and foremost, my huge love for this wonderful community, makes me the perfect candidate.

Q. What do you feel is South Bethany’s biggest challenge for the next two years and how will you address it?

A. For me, the biggest challenge facing this town to date, continues to be the poor water quality conditions that exist in our water ways. One of my goals on this council would be to work closely with the individuals who are and have been searching for a reliable solution for systematically bringing back these truly remarkable attractions. With the right science, I do foresee a significant revival there.

Q. Why do you want to be part of the South Bethany Town Council?

A. If honored and chosen to be a member of South Bethany’s town council, my number one priority will be to work closely with my fellow council members in resolving issues, and do everything in my power to focus in on what’s in everyone’s best interests, and continue to help make this already great town, even greater.

Q. What else would you like to tell voters before election day?

A. You may not realize how important it is to choose the proper candidates for our town council, and how truly important it is for them to have the effective leadership, good character, and intellect, when challenged with the town’s business at hand. That is why you need my voice there, with my ability to make the right calls and proper decisions. Hopefully, your strong sense of community, and my message, will help me to continue on this path, and that I am one of the candidates that brings you and I closer together. Thank you for your support.

Wayne Schrader

Q. How are you qualified for this position?

A. I have a bachelor of science degree from the University of Southern California and a juris doctorate degree from UCLA School of Law. During my undergraduate years, I had the opportunity to play baseball for the greatest college coach in the history of the game — Rod Dedeaux — and to be a member of three NCAA championship teams. I understand the value of and the need for teamwork.

Aside from the time I drove a truck during college, my work experience is entirely in the legal profession. I was a partner in the D.C. office of a large multinational law firm for over 29 years until I retired in 2012. I then joined a small law firm in Tysons Corner, Va., on a part-time basis.

I have extensive experience dealing with various government entities, including prosecutors, regulators and legislators at the local, state and federal level. I have worked on flood insurance issues with FEMA and various financial institutions making loans in flood zones. I have also appeared before the Delaware Supreme Court.

Much of my career has involved negotiating or mediating the resolution or settlement of the disputes in which my clients were embroiled. I believe that this experience can be applied to the work I would perform on the town council. I know how to look at things or issues from all sides and I know how to find common ground.

Q. What do you feel is South Bethany’s biggest challenge for the next two years, and how will you address it?

A. Preservation and improvement of the environment will be a significant challenge. This includes the water quality in the canals and wetlands and the overall health of the wetlands and our beach. We will need to develop even stronger relationships with the other government entities [local, state and federal] that have the ability and funding to affect the South Bethany environment.

Q. Why do you want to be part of South Bethany Town Council?

A. My wife, Sue Schrader, and I have been married for 41 years. We have five children and one new grandchild. Sue and I built our home in South Bethany in 1997, having rented vacation homes over the previous 10 or more years. We have spent the entire summer in South Bethany every year since 1997; and two of our children have been beach lifeguards on the South Bethany Beach Patrol.

Sue and I and our family cherish the years we have spent at South Bethany. It is our hope and desire that the beauty, the hospitality, the warmth and the charm of South Bethany will be preserved for our lifetime and the lifetime of our children and grandchildren. The town council will or can play a role in and affect whether the magic of South Bethany will live on.

Sue and I plan to spend more time at our South Bethany home during the off-season. In light of that, I would like (and am now available) to contribute to the continuance of the excellent government that has well served the people of South Bethany during all of our years spent there.

Q. What else would you like to tell voters before election day?

A. I would hope to govern or serve with an awareness of and sensitivity to the need for government to focus on its primary purposes of providing for the safety and security of citizens and the continuation of the prosperity of the people — defined in part as the maintenance of and increase in the value of properties. Beyond this, and as I have already noted, I recognize that the town council must also act to preserve the look or feel and the character of South Bethany that makes it such a special place to live and recreate.

I look forward to serving the community and will attempt to make myself fully and completely accessible to all citizens in order to receive input, advice and counsel. Your vote would be greatly appreciated.

I would be happy to address any issues or concerns that any of you may have or any questions you might have about my candidacy. My email is wschrader@islerdare.com and my phone number is (202) 250-4800.

Carol Stevenson

Q. How are you qualified for this position?

A. I believe that my experience as a board member and chairman of the Maryland Pharmacists Association has made me uniquely qualified to be a member of the South Bethany Town Council. This position gave me the opportunity to work with a community of volunteers. I assisted in developing budgets, reviewing regulations, hiring personnel and lobbying for the organization on a state and national level. I have also been a volunteer for the South Bethany community on the Community Enhancement Committee and for the South Bethany Property Owners Association. These town experiences have given me insight into needs of the community of South Bethany.

Q. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing South Bethany in the next two years, and how do you plan to address it?

A. I am concerned about keeping our community attractive and safe, while at the same time offering our residents the most efficient use possible of their tax dollars. Therefore, I see the proposed budget process as the biggest challenge facing South Bethany in the next two years. As evidence of this challenge, the State of Delaware recently informed our council that our Town will likely be required to assume a greater share of the cost of maintaining our streets.

In a climate of decreasing State funding, our council will need to create innovative approaches to achieve solutions that can be supported by our residents. I am inclined to give budget priority to public safety and community enhancement activities, and am disinclined to support tax and fee increases until all alternatives have been investigated and the public has been afforded an opportunity to share their opinions.

Q. Why do you want to be part of the South Bethany Town Council?

A. We are indeed fortunate to live at the “Best Little Beach in Delaware.” If we expect to continue to live in such a wonderful community, I would encourage each of our citizens to offer our talents on a volunteer basis towards maintaining and improving our town. Accordingly, I look forward to offering my service on the South Bethany Town Council with the hope of encouraging more of my friends and neighbors to join me in contributing to this terrific little resort destination.

Q. What else do you want to tell voters before election day?

I believe there is nothing more important in serving the public as being willing to listen to their views and concerns. I have always been interested in discussing issues related to making our town a better place to live. If I am privileged to be elected to serve on your South Bethany Town Council, you can be assured that you will have a person who is willing to take under consideration your opinions, concerns, complaints and compliments about “the best little beach in Delaware.”

Frank Weisgerber

Q. How are you qualified for this position?

A. I believe in being involved in one’s community. I attend the Town meetings and Property Owners meetings, I closely read local newspapers and magazines so I’m aware of what other coastal towns are doing (good and bad) and how it might apply/impact South Bethany. I’m a member of the Community Enhancement Committee, SB Historical Society, SB Meet & Greet committee, Fourth of July Float committee, News Years Plunge team and Annual Bull Roast committee, which has helped me get a feel for how our Town functions.

I’m a quick learner with analytical and logical background gained from a mathematical degree enhanced by business experiences. I hope to utilize these skills as a council member always being mindful of the impact of council actions and unintended consequences.

Q. What do you feel is South Bethany’s biggest challenge for the next two years, and how will you address it?

A. The Town of South Bethany needs to maintain its strong town finances and continue its efforts for clean water in our canals.

I believe that South Bethany’s planning and codes needs to continuously work to encourage property enhancements. I will become involved, hopefully, as one of the council members on the appropriate Planning, Code and Clean Water committees so to better understand the challenges and help the efforts.

Q. Why do you want to be part of South Bethany Town Council?

A. I love the “small town” feel of South Bethany. The friendly and supportive people in the community are always quick to smile and say hello. As a newcomer to the Town Council, I will work to continue to create that town environment. Now that I’m retired and living full-time here in South Bethany I think it’s time that I give back and join our town council and help wherever I can.

Q. What else would you like to tell voters before election day?

A. I take pride in being open-minded and I am always appreciative of input, comments and support. I would consider it an honor, as well as a challenge, to serve South Bethany as a council member.