David Barkhausen: Candidate Profile
Lake County board District 13
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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: Lake Bluff
Office sought: Lake County board District 13
Family: Married to Sue, a learning disabilities teacher at Everett School in Lake Forest. Two sons: Wicks, 24, and Billy, 21.
Occupation: President of my own fee-only life insurance consulting firm - Life Insurance Advisors, Inc. Licensed attorney.
Education: B.A., Princeton University, high honors, 1972; J.D., Southern Illinois University, 1976 (the first class of what was then a new law school).
Civic involvement: Secretary, Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Rotary Club; Member and Usher Recruiter/Coordinator, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest; former board member of the Allendale School in Lake Villa, the Illinois Nature Conservancy, and the Gorton Community Center in Lake Forest.
Elected offices held: Clerk, Shields Township; former Lake Bluff Village Trustee (2003-2011); former Illinois legislator (Illinois House, 1981-1982; Senate, 1983-1996), representing all of the area within the new 13th County Board district for at least 10 years and some of it for all 16 years of my legislative tenure.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
Controlling taxing and spending and facilitating appeals of property tax assessments. Please see website for details.
Key Issue 2
Relieving traffic congestion through greater traffic light synchronization and improvements to 120 and building Route 53. Please see website position papers on these topics.
Key Issue 3
Strengthening partnerships between the Forest Preserve District and other public agencies and private organizations with a similar mission. Please see website position paper on the Forest Preserve District.
Now that golf at Fort Sheridan is a dead issue, what types of amenities should be added to the site?
Expand the network of trails, including a link to the widely acclaimed new trail funded by Open Lands of Chicago on the south-east portion of the property near Lake Michigan, which is not owned by the Forest Preserve District. This is an example of what I mean by strengthening partnerships with organizations sharing a similar mission.
What, if any, new ethics-related rules are needed for the county board and county staff?
Prohibit county officials from hiring relatives. Provide detailed disclosure of the components of compensation for all elected officials and top staff members, as was instituted at my suggestion for the Village of Lake Bluff and Shields Township.
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.
The County Board should seriously consider televising Committee of the Whole meetings where many important decisions are made that are quickly ratified at the televised Board meetings. Forest Preserve Board meetings should be televised, and their budget details should be prominently displayed on the District's website, as they are currently invisible.
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 powers should be used rarely and sparingly and only as a last resort where the public interest is compelling. I would want to know the nature of the property and its use, the extent to which an easement would interfere with its use, and the difficulty posed in getting around the unlinked section. For example, the unlinked section on the southern Des Plaines River Trail is not that difficult to circumvent.
What will be the biggest issue facing the county over the next decade, and how do you propose dealing with it?
Maintaining the County's strong (Triple AAA) financial position in the face of likely cutbacks in State and Federal funds will require the Board to keep a tight lid on spending, especially in the personnel area, which expenses make up the lion's share of the budget. This may warrant re-evaluating the existing level of program activities in non-mandated areas.
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