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updated: 2/22/2013 6:31 PM

Jo Malik: Candidate Profile

Naperville City Council (2-year Terms) (Independent)

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  • Jo Malik, running for Naperville City Council (2-year Terms)

      Jo Malik, running for Naperville City Council (2-year Terms)

 

 

 

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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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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: Naperville

Website: http://www.electjo.com

Office sought: Naperville City Council (2-year Terms)

Age: 50

Family: I have been married to my husband Steve for over 20 years, we have one son who just graduated paramedic school and is training to be a firefighter. We also share our home with two resuce dogs, and one cat that we found abandoned in a vacant house.

Occupation: Naperville small business owner;Property Management co., and a Metal and Glass Artist.

Education: I have attended several colleges without receiving a degree;the majority of my education comes from life experience. I am industrious and entrepreneurial and have always used the difficulties in life as opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Civic involvement: I have been involved with Care for over 15 years, Best Friends for over 10, Charity Watchdog for 8yrs. and the Naperville Art League for about 6 years.

Elected offices held: None

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: I have never been convicted of a crime. I was arested 15 yrs. ago for damage to property valued under 300 dollars, and it was completely dismissed.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Electing an Open and Responsive City Council. The current council is neither open to hearing what residents have to say, nor do they respond appropriately when they do listen.

Key Issue 2

Transparency and truth. Residents should have easy access to their elected city officials. Questions should be answered honestly and openly by the people we elect without the need for filing Freedom of Information documents.

Key Issue 3

Fiscal reform. We cannot continue funding our pension liabilities at the minimum level, nor can we go on spending money we don't have on the whim of the current City Manager and council.

Questions & Answers

There are increasing concerns about safety in downtown Naperville, especially on weekend nights. Is the city doing enough to promote downtown safety and, if not, what other steps should it take?

Naperville is still one of the safest cities of our size in the country. We have a beautiful downtown area that attracts people of all ages. Since the increase of incidents is on weekend nights we all know that increase stems from alcohol. We have a growing college population within walking distance of the bars downtown which are specifically geared toward a younger patronage after 10pm, and that in turn attracts younger people from surrounding cities. When you mix young people and alcohol you are going to have more incidents. When the only business open at midnight on Friday and Saturday are bars, I think it's almost unavoidable that you?ll see an increase in incidents. To combat the increase, bar owners may have to increase security personnel as the patronage grows. We already have a strong police presence downtown and the bar's security personnel go through BASSETT training. Maybe we just need more of them per shift to decrease or at least limited the seriousness of the occurrences.

What is your vision for the continued development of downtown? Are there types of businesses you would like to see in the central business district or other parts of the city?

I like the current mix of small independent retailers alongside larger chain retailers. I like the older buildings mixed in with new construction, seeing our history alongside our future. This question is also about the Water Street development project. That area should be developed to incorporate it fully into the existing downtown area. We just don't need a 166 room Holiday Inn Express right there. I believe a smaller 60 room boutique hotel like the Herrington in Geneva would fit more with the Naperville 2030 Vision for developing downtown. We need to keep it scaled to approachable heights. We don't need to compete with Chicago by having ever increasing heights and density.

Has Naperville's image gotten better or worse over the past four years? What are two things the city needs to do better?

The answer to that question depends on who you talk to. We have long been known as one of the best places to raise your kids. I think that still holds true, however, with the current financial plan of ignoring the underfunded pension, I don't know how happy our kids are going to be that we left them to pay for a huge deficit and unresolved pension issues. The second thing that Naperville needs to improve is the relationship between the government and citizens. City hall is certainly not a welcoming arena, and I believe we should have town hall type meetings where residents are able to ask questions and get answers in an open welcoming environment.

In these tight economic times, municipal budgets have to be prioritized. Where, if anywhere, could the current budget be trimmed, and conversely, are there areas the budget does not give enough money to?

The budget need trimming in the areas of non-essential improvements. For example, smart meters. I know we are all sick of hearing about the smart meter issue. But that was, and continues to be with every new dollar spent, a huge waste of taxpayer money. That capital should have been used to improve the electrical infrastructure and burying power lines, one of the main reasons we have such reliable power during storms. Upgrading the city's website before it was compromised, instead of repairing it in an emergency situation where the associated costs are much higher. We need to honor the obligations we have committed to funding. For example, pensions. We are funding at the minimum level leaving us underfunded by about 100 million dollars.

What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?

It's a small thing, but I would like to see the farmers market moved to downtown Naperville from its current location at 5th Ave Station. We could close Jefferson Ave to vehicles between Washington and either, Main St. or Webster, every other Saturday and Sunday morning to get families into the city center. It wouldn't be competition for any of the current business downtown, and they would benefit from the increased foot traffic. I think it would bring a friendly festival atmosphere to downtown on a more regular basis and increase support of local farmers and businesses.

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