Cristina Castro: Candidate Profile
Kane County Board District 20
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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.
Office sought: Kane County Board District 20
Family: Candidate did not respond.
Occupation: Marketing and Communications
Education: Master of Business Administration, Northern Illinois University, 2009; Bachelor of Science in Marketing, Northern Illinois University, 2001; Associate in Science, Elgin Community College, 1998
Civic involvement: Board member, Black History Family Festival, 2010 - Present; Commissioner, City of Elgin Zoning and Subdivision Hearing Board, 2005- 2008; President, Elgin Hispanic Network, 2005-2008; Board Member, City of Elgin Centre Advisory Board, 2004-2005
Elected offices held: Commissioner, Kane County Board, 2008-Present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Key Issue 2
Improving Public Services
Key Issue 3
Did the county board get it right when they decided to leave an ethics ordinance that is more stringent but more open to a legal challenge in place? Would you support the creation of more detailed economic interest statements?
I supported the original and more stringent ethics ordinance passed in 2010. While some provisions will need to be adjusted, I believe it was a solid effort. It was very important to me that we offer provisions limiting contributions from people who do business with Kane County, or those appointed to serve on a board, commission, authority or task force. These restrictions remained in the ethics ordinance passed this year. While the State?s Attorney feels some of the provisions are unenforceable, others disagree with that interpretation of the law. It is also important to note that DuPage County passed a similar ethics ordinance; It is much more stringent than ours and has yet to be challenged in court. Yes, I would strongly support the creation of a more detailed economic interest statement. Transparency in government is very important and as elected officials, we should ?set the bar? high for ethics and accountability.
Would you support the buildout of the shell space in the Kane County jail if it could be shown that the space could/would be used to increase profits from housing federal inmates?
If a resolution was brought forth to increase the number of federal inmates from the current number I would be in support of it as long as the current jail space can be utilized. While building out the jail space to house more federal inmates sounds like a great idea and is something we should explore in the future we also have to be mindful of what the financial impact will be and need to examine the financial impact of building out the space and staffing before deciding to move forward.
Do you believe the 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 it, or do you have a different plan? If not, what is your alternative plan?
After evaluating the current court management system, I agree it is time to seriously consider investing in a new computer system, which could ultimately pay for itself by reducing labor costs. It is important that all areas of the judicial system -- from the circuit clerk to the judges to the state?s attorney?s office ? are operating at peak efficiency. In addition, a new system would also help to report accurate numbers to the State of Illinois, which would result in Kane County getting more state dollars. Currently, these numbers are being calculated by hand, an inefficient use of staff time. I am not in favor, however, of spending what has been proposed as the solution, a solution that could cost the County approximately $12.6 million or more. With a new Board and new circuit clerk to be elected soon, we should not rush into this major purchase. New officials may offer additional insight. All advice is needed during these bad economic times. To fund the system, RTA sales tax money would be an appropriate option. We must be mindful, during these trying times for our county and our state, that taxpayers are ?tightening their belts? and expect us to do the same.
Do you support the call by the state's attorney and public defender for raises for their staffs? Where should that money come from?
Many departments are going to ask for a salary increase for their nonunion staff since a majority of them have not seen a salary increase since 2007. If they plan on proposing that in their budgets, my expectation is that not only find the money in their respective budgets but also decrease their overall budgets and pass that budget savings to Kane County taxpayers. Many taxpayers have not seen a salary increase for many more years than those employees who are employed by the county. Many of these constituents have had their salaries decreased and themselves taken on more responsibilities at their own jobs. These are tough time for all and we need to be mindful of that. As a member of the Finance Committee, I would have to look at each department, elected officials budgets, and the final overall projected county budget to determine whether a salary increase is appropriate. It is premature to make that decision without all that information presented.
What aspects of the Fabyan/Settlers Hill campus redevelopment vision created by the task force do you support? What should happen to the old county jail property?
I do not support the Fabyan/Settlers Hill campus redevelopment proposal for a number of reasons. My most serious concern is opening up liability to the County and taxpayers. Waste Management has not signed off on any of the preferred plans for the redevelopment of that site. Earlier in the year, the City of Geneva and Waste Management were investigating Settlers Hill due to reported methane gas leaks. While Waste Management ruled them to be safe, I remain concerned. If redevelopment were to be approved, there is no guarantee that other leaks may develop ? putting residents and businesses at risk. I have not heard a strong enough proposal that Waste Management has wholeheartedly approved. Until, there is a solution offering no risk to residents or liability to the county or taxpayer I will not be in favor of the project. At this point in time, the County should hold onto the old county jail property.
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