Arthur Velasquez: Candidate Profile
Kane County Board District 2
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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.
City: North Aurora
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Kane County Board District 2
Family: Widowed, five children
Occupation: International Representative for the Carpenters' Union, retired
Education: Candidate did not respond.
Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Promoting job growth and retaining existing jobs in Kane County by cooperating with other government entities and by discouraging petty political squabbles
Key Issue 2
Promote public safety by cooperating with citizens, as Aurora did with the Latino Engagement Committee.
Key Issue 3
Enforceable, effective ethics reform
Do you support a more stringent ethics ordinance for Kane County governing the conduct of elected officials and county employees' Why or why not? If so, what should the ordinance contain?
I would support a stronger ethics ordinance for Kane County elected officials and employees that is enforceable and addresses the issues. The ordinances that have been proposed recently have been weak and lacked some important things. We need an ethics ordinance with some real enforcement mechanisms. An ordinance is ineffective if it does not act as a deterrent to the activity that it is supposedly trying to end. A strong ordinance will stop the revolving door and prohibit former county board members from lobbying the county board or being employed by the county. It will also limit contributions to board members and countywide elected officials from companies who do significant business with the county.
The county's portion of gambling proceeds has been decreasing every year for several years. What is your plan to prioritize use of that money? What might be done to wean the agencies and programs that receive this money off of it?
As I said earlier, the most important priority for Kane County is the need to promote job growth, and the most expedient and reasonable way to accomplish this is to rebuild the infrastructure in the county. Main county arteries such as Randall Road and Orchard Road are congested which results in countless hours wasted by residents sitting in traffic, and lost income for businesses. Some of the aging bridges are in need of reconstruction. County buildings and courtrooms are overcrowded, as shown by the county's recent expansion of the old Montgomery Ward site. With a well-planned project to rebuild infrastructure (one that is not packed with unnecessary and overpaid consultants and lobbyists) that puts people to work, the county can take steps toward solving two of its biggest problems. The gambling proceeds can be the seed money for this investment in Kane County's future and its present.
The agencies and programs which have relied on these proceeds can be slowly weaned off the money over the next year or two. The county can help direct these agencies to state and federal grants, as well as encouraging similar agencies to collaborate to share resources.
Do you believe the Kane County court system needs a computer system upgrade that might cost as much as $12.6 million? If so, do you support using RTA sales tax money to fund the cost, or do you have a different plan? If not, what is your alternative plan?
Although the Kane County court computer system is outdated and in need of an upgrade, I do not feel that the proposed $12.6 million system is the best answer. While I do not claim to be an expert on technology, I do understand that this system is not the only option available. We can look to neighboring DuPage County and find a system that was reportedly developed internally by the county at a much lower cost. Kane County has a great deal of knowledge and skill in its own personnel and we should take advantage of that.
Do you believe county board members and the chairman should receive health insurance and pension benefits' If you are running for one of those positions, do you plan on accepting those benefits' Why or why not?
Being a county board member is a part time position, and it allows board members the opportunity to have a full-time job with benefits. Public service should be about helping the community, not about self-enrichment. I do not plan on accepting health insurance or pension if elected. I worked for many years as an international representative of the Carpenters' Union and earned my benefits from that position, and I do not need to need duplicate benefits. The double and triple dipping of pensions and benefits is part of what has led many governments into this mess.
How do you resolve the ongoing debate over the county board setting budgets for departments run by other elected officials whom the county board has no control over? How should the county board enforce the budgets it sets'
The battles between the County Board and other countywide officials over their respective budgets could have been avoided or at least much more controlled. The Circuit Clerk, County Clerk, Sheriff, Treasurer, etc., are officials independently elected by the county's voters and have a responsibility to the taxpayers to craft a fiscally reasonable budget and spend that money appropriately. Ultimately, the responsibility to set the budget lies with the County Board, and it has the ability to enforce that power; but there is room for input from the other officials. The County Board should cooperate with these elected officials to create a reasonable budget that takes these difficult economic times into consideration. If the elected officials submit a budget that does not dramatically increase the requested amount (with the exception of unforeseen circumstances like a special election, a new unfunded mandate, or a new law requiring additional employees), the board should not withhold its approval of that budget.
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