Karl Skala is a familiar face at Sven’s Kafe and Gallery, where he holds his regular “office hours.” But Saturday afternoon was a little bit different than Skala’s normal attendance at Sven’s. This time around, Skala was holding an event to kick off his campaign to remain in his position as Third Ward councilman.
About halfway through the event, Skala spoke to the crowd about taking a "bottom up approach" to government.
“I’m not the boss,” Skala said. “You are.”
In his speech, Skala outlined the three components of his platform: public safety, prosperity and responsive city government.
Around 60 people came to the event and they had the opportunity to sign up to volunteer with Skala’s campaign or donate to the campaign.
“I won’t take a lot more of your time,” Skala joked at the end of his speech. “But I will take more of your money.”
Mahree Skala, Karl Skala’s wife, is working to organize volunteers to work on the campaign. Mahree said the campaign had 25 volunteers now, but she expected that to grow.
As the campaign kicks off, Mahree said the campaign is working to fill up the next month with house parties in the different Third Ward neighborhoods. She said volunteers will begin going door-to-door in March when the election is closer.
“But Karl will be out knocking on doors tomorrow,” she said.
Alyce Turner, a volunteer for Skala, said grassroots organizing will be important in this race. She said the campaign will be working over the next several months to distribute Skala’s blue and yellow campaign yard signs. Turner, an Environment and Energy Commissioner, is giving time to the campaign even though she doesn’t live in Skala's ward.
“His vote doesn’t just impact his ward,” she said. “His vote is for the entire community."
She said Skala's experience on the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Environment and Energy Commission made him an “effective council person.”
Sixth Ward councilwoman Barbara Hoppe attended the event and said she respected Skala’s hard work on the council and supports him “absolutely, 100 percent.”
“He really does what’s best for the public and his ward,” she added.
Although Skala is not publicly endorsing candidates in any of the races, he said with three seats up it was a “critical election.”
Skala is running against Gary Kespohl for the second election in a row. The two also ran against each other for the Third Ward seat in 2007.