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updated: 2/10/2012 4:31 PM

Patricia Ferruzza: Candidate Profile

Lake County board District 5 (Democrat)

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  • Patricia Ferruzza, running for Lake County board District 5

    Patricia Ferruzza, running for Lake County board District 5




Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Fox Lake


Office sought: Lake County board District 5

Age: 49

Family: Married. Four adult stepchildren and eight grandchildren across the country.

Occupation: Copy editor, reading attorney reference material on a contract basis, primarily American Law Reports

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Northern Illinois University, 1985

Civic involvement: I have volunteered for local and national political campaigns since 2004, and have served as an election judge since 2005. I have been involved with the Grant Township Democrats since the group was formed and help organize the cleanup of our Adopt-A-Highway stretch of road. My other volunteer activities tend to be ad hoc depending on what the needs are at any particular time. One example would be when I joined with some friends in a ?giving circle? where we found a family in crisis and worked with them for a year. We met weekly to help with budgeting, goal-setting, prioritizing and resume writing. We assisted in finding professional help with family counseling and financial planning, and at the end of the year the family had more secure employment and stable living conditions.

Elected offices held: None.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

In what undoubtedly will be a challenging term, I want to make sure that the hardworking families in my district are represented in the inevitable talks about austerity, and to see that those that have the least don't pay the price in the effort to do more with less at the county level.

Key Issue 2

Encourage the implementation of green power in Lake County, and especially to revisit the issue of wind turbines and the very stringent requirements that have been set for private installations. Natural gas vehicles, wind power, solar power and green roof technology will help keep our air and water clean and provide opportunities for job growth.

Key Issue 3

Support smart retail development in northwestern Lake County to capture dollars that are currently going to McHenry County and across the state line to Wisconsin.

Questions & Answers

The county remains in the black, but property taxes across the region are high. Should programs be cut to save taxpayers money? If so, which ones and why?

Before we propose cutting specific programs, I would advocate for a thorough independent review of the budget. A fresh look might reveal ways to economize without impacting service to residents. Examining executive pay and better management of the vehicle fleet come to mind, and we can look at partnering even more closely with municipalities to eliminate any duplication of services. Of course, the reduction of government may come at the township, city, town or village level. While this would not impact the county budget's bottom line, it will save the individual taxpayer money.

What should be done with the Fort Sheridan golf course? If no building or management proposals come back from vendors, do you propose abandoning golf? If so, are you concerned about a lawsuit? If you propose building a course, how should it be funded?

I support the advisory committee in their effort to find a resolution that minimizes the cost of negotiating a settlement with those the county has contracted with. Once we have satisfied that obligation, I would advocate keeping the land as open space, since it seems to be very popular with residents already. I truly do not think the area needs another golf course, and I would be concerned about drawing business away from the other taxpayer-supported golf courses currently operating in the county.

The Winchester House nursing home recently was turned over to a private company for operation. Should other county or forest district departments be privatized to save taxpayers money? Please explain.

I am not at all satisfied that the decision on Winchester House was the proper way to go. We are already seeing that the level of service for the residents is suffering due to turnover because of the pay scale, and we are sending money to an out-of-state management company while eliminating front-line positions that provided a good living to local employees. We must demand that tax dollars be used efficiently, of course, and we have to establish what our priorities are for county services, but I fundamentally believe that it is a mistake to expect government to compete with for-profit companies in vital areas. We don't ask the sheriff's department to play by the same rules as private security firms, nor the court system to pay its own way. There are things that we choose to do together because they are important for the community as a whole, and we have to be willing to fairly pay for services that we all use, or benefit from indirectly. Also, my experience with the giving circle shows that while private entities do provide valuable and appreciated service in so many ways, there is too often an element of luck as to who gets assistance. The family that we worked with happened to have just been in to a church-based food pantry when one of our members stopped in, so they were the first ones suggested when the member asked how we could help. I feel that government can serve as the best central location to help those in need of service find the resources available, some of which ultimately may be provided by non-government sources in the community.

Is there a specific type of service or amenity that is lacking in your district? If so, how do you propose to provide and fund that?

It would help to bring county services closer to the northwest corner of Lake County. There could be periodic, regularly scheduled in-district seminars on small-business development, job fairs, housing assistance presentations and open forums. To hold down costs, they could be held in library meeting rooms or municipal facilities.

Should the county continue to pursue open space policies' Why or why not?

Yes! Open space is one big advantage Lake County has to offer residents and visitors alike. Our lakes provide ample opportunities for boaters, anglers and snowmobilers in the winter, and for anyone who likes to see sunlight playing on the waves. Undisturbed prairie locations are great for hikers, birders and photographers. We have dog parks, picnic areas and watercraft launch locations that let the public make full use of all the natural wonder of this area. Making open space a priority in planning, with financing for new purchases approved by referendum, is something I absolutely support.