/ Coleen Liebsch
ARLINGTON – An Arlington businesswoman says the community’s political leadership has failed its citizens, and she’s heading a recall effort to remove Mayor Amiel Redfish from office.
Coleen Liebsch, former president of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce and an active member of the Arlington Community Economic Development Corporation, says the council – and the mayor in particular – must be held to account for failure to resolve the Global Polymer Industries issue.
The plastics manufacturer has been refused a rezoning for expansion and has announced that it may leave Arlington, its home of more than 17 years.
Liebsch, who operates a marketing company, championed the Global Polymer case at a recent city council meeting where the rezoning rejection was discussed.
“"I am 100 percent confident that Arlington can create a business environment where both existing and startup companies can grow and succeed,” Liebsch said today. “Unfortunately, I am not confident that we can do so under our current leader.”
“Before appearing in front of the city council at their last monthly meeting, I needed to find out for myself if the city of Arlington was willing to fight for its businesses. The answer was a resounding yes, but not a unanimous yes. Statistics showed that over 95 percent of the 172 people surveyed want to fight for all of our businesses, starting with Global Polymer.”
Liebsch charged that the mayor and council have “adamantly refused to re-evaluate the areas that have made Arlington a poor fit for Global.”
“I see no other option than to begin a mayoral vote of recall.”
Liebsch said that petitions are now being drafted and will be circulated starting Monday.
“While I cannot yet tell Mr. Palli that Global Polymer’s concerns are being addressed, I can tell him with absolute confidence that they will be.”
Contacted at his home today before Liebsch’s announcement, Mayor Redfish did not address a potential recall but did speak about Global Polymer.
“I want to stay neutral on the whole thing,” Redfish said. “This is kind of dividing up the community – everyone has his own opinion. And the only people who know what they’re going to do are Todd Huntimer and Dan Palli (the owners and chief executives of Global Polymer).”
The mayor, who recently retired after serving Arlington for many years as a physician assistant, said he has no idea if the council will reconsider the matter, or whether any of the members will change their minds if a re-vote does occur. He said it’s hard to tell if there’s been a shift in the council’s attitude.
“It just depends on what happens at the meeting.”
In the initial rejection of the rezoning and plant expansion, he explained, the residents in the area were “very vocal.”
“We listened, and there was just too much objection from surrounding landowners. And the council backed it (the denial) as such.”
The mayor is philosophical about Global’s possible departure:
“I certainly would like to have them stay in town, but at this point, I don’t know. They need to expand. They’re a very successful business, getting bigger and bigger. Just like Daktronics and Twin City Fan had to expand out of town to get workers, that’s the kind of situation they’re in. Business is business.”