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updated: 9/21/2012 4:38 PM

Arlene Hickory: Candidate Profile

Lake County board District 21 (Democrat)

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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.

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City: Lake Bluff

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Lake County board District 21

Age: 71

Family: Divorced, three children, nine grandchildren

Occupation: Nurse Clinical Specialist (retired from Veteran's Administration) work part- time at the Cradle in Evanston Illinois.

Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Loyola University, 1962; Master of Science in Nursing, University of Illinois, 1967.

Civic involvement: Progressive Democrats (PDA):AFSC

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

Protect Lake County from privatizing of resources.

Key Issue 2

Balance need for jobs with maintaining worker rights, health and environmental protections.

Key Issue 3

Encourage development and use of renewable, sustainable energy resources.

Questions & Answers

Now that golf at Fort Sheridan is a dead issue, what types of amenities should be added to the site?

Prior to the March primary, I expressed that the decline in interest in the golf course in the midst of an economic downturn made this a non-priority issue. What is of priority is that the residents of Lake County should be the ones to contribute ideas to enhance this site and it should be the county's job to develop those ideas into a plan. It could be that its current usage and service as a small wildlife refuge is all that is desired. It is my contention that county actions should include input, engagement from the community from the planning stages through execution and followup monitoring of programs.

What, if any, new ethics-related rules are needed for the county board and county staff?

Ethical standards have been promulgated/altered/added to since 1989 and finalized/effective in 1993 (with additional changes along the way, I believe). It is fairly evident given the past and recent disclosures in the media globally and locally, that it is not a lack of standards or regulations but a lack of enforcement. The precarious situation of the "whistleblower" who often is the first line of defense in situations of fraud, conflict of interest, dereliction of duty, misuse of funds, etc., is strong evidence where the major problem lies. I would work for increased involvement of citizens, increased access to information and increased pathways to provide input and participation in governance. Greater transparency at all levels would change the paradigm from "whistleblower" to "systemic self awareness".

Government transparency has been an important issue in recent years. Name one thing the county government or forest preserve district should do to improve transparency.

There are some useful tools available to the public regarding transparency of government. The Sunshine provides evaluation of County websites transparency. Lake County earned a Sunny Award for 2011 for a perfect website transparency score. Budget and audit data, tax information, FOIA and other categories are evaluated. This is a good place to start to become better informed about the work of the county. There are two important points: 1. There are areas where additional data is needed. For example, certain categories of employee salaries are not included, pension data and pension funding levels are not complete. Are some categories of employees also outside employed? Where are county capital funds invested? Is there data concerning Employee Standards of Conduct compliance? 2. Technology needs to be employed to integrate government transparency and citizen engagement. granicus is an online venture that facilitates government/community collaboration. Let us learn about "cloud-based technologies" to create more effective governance. Let us do this one thing.

Should the forest district use eminent domain to acquire the land needed for the final link in the Des Plaines River Trail? Why or why not? If your answer is no, how should officials go about acquiring that land sooner than later?

Eminent domain is a powerful tool and should be used with care. There has been cautious discussion in some counties of using this tool in communities with large number of foreclosures to reclaim and restore areas back to the community. I don't think this situation meets this standard. Eminent domain has deep meaning for people. My understanding is that there has been community generated suggestions for alternative action. I do not know if these have been evaluated. This would be a perfect situation for using "cloud-sourcing"technology that would allow for quickly gathering and analyzing public input and providing quick feedback to the community of viable options. It is evident that the issue isn't just about "acquiring land" or getting it "sooner rather than later". It is about the community being part of developing its own resources in a way that holds public space in high regard as well as rights of individuals. It is about everyone being part of a process that is concerned about benefiting future generations which makes us all caretakers of the commons.

What will be the biggest issue facing the county over the next decade, and how do you propose dealing with it?

Lake county is in the position of being financially stable with a 2011 balanced budget that is 9 million dollars reduced from two years ago.. This was done by eliminating 113 positions, largely by vacancies. There has also been no discretionary spending or wage increases. "Approximately 120 million dollars of American Recovery and Reinvestment funding has been awarded or anticipated for Lake County" (from Lake County website). At the same time we know foreclosures continue to plague the economy and efforts to support mortgage refinance and principle write down have been blocked by agencies one would expect would support relief to the people and communities struggling to survive. As people experience a seemingly indifferent government it becomes more important that local government stays close to and responsive to the needs of its citizens and the struggle of college students carrying enormous debt facing an unsure future. There are states, cities, towns, municipalities that sought to resolve their budget crises by privatizing their public resources. As they sold off their water systems management, they later found themselves confronted with a decrease in services, increased cost, neglected infrastructure and suffering residents. Because of the sand mining corportions ( part of the fracking industry) sand mining in Wisconsin and Minnesota, those states have experienced land loss, degraded water quality, loss of tax revenue and and decline in community life. Another consequence often overlooked is that this selling of resources is often to entities that are not local which drains money out of the community reducing any hope of capital recapture. The county needs to be aware of the level of well being of its component governing entities (townships, cities, municipalities). Paying attention to housing and energy needs will be critical and can be an avenue to recovery activities; integrating transportation resources, reducing automobile commutes, increase of jobs from sustainable energy development, etc. This speaks to the crucial need for an ongoing participative citizen/government collaboration. I would promote use of new technology to create this partnership. I would bring attention to new economic models, some aspects of which are happening in Lake County now. For example, there is an increase in the number of small farms in Lake County because of the increased demand for organic products as well as the incentive from the buying local movement. We could establish a county bank. It should be noted that North Dakota was the only state with a major budget surplus - largely due to its state bank. Illinois joins about 18 other states by introducing HB 2064 to establish a state bank. The Public Banking Institute (PBI) formed in January 2011, a non-profit organization, has as its mission to facilitate "the implementation of public banking at all levels--local, regional, state and national". A public bank is owned by the people, it is a ready source of affordable credit for local government,it is constitutional as ruled by the US Supreme Court, PLUS there are other advantages. In the next ten years we could be facing tragedy, or with mindful planning we could introduce a deepening of Democracy-Community-Dignity-Humanity.