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: Naperville City Council (2-year Terms)
Family: Single, 6th generation Napervillian
Education: School of Police Staff and Command - Graduate
Civic involvement: ? Councilman, Naperville City Council, 2009-2013 City of Naperville Plan Commission, 2005-2009 City of Naperville Advisory Commission on Disabilities, Board Member, 2012-Present City of Naperville Special Events Committee, Board Member, 2012-Present City of Naperville CAPS (Citizens Appreciate Public Safety), Board Member, 2012-Present Naperville Healing Fields, Board Member, 2012 Centennial Beach 75th and Naperville Park District 40th Anniversary Aquathon Committee, 2006 Naperville 175th Birthday Heritage Committee and co-chair of the Electric Light Parade, 2006 Naperville 175th Birthday Unity Committee- area captain, 2006 Westside Homeowners Association President, 2002-2005 Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation Director, 2004-2005 Washington St. Corridor Study stakeholder group, 2003 Downtown DuPage River Trail stakeholder group, 2003 Centennial Park Skate Park Facility citizen committee, 2003 City of Naperville Comprehensive Transportation Plan work group, 2002 Community First Founding and Board Member, 2000-Present Conservation Foundation member and annual participant of the DuPage River Sweep Naperville North High school Class of 1983 Reunion Committee
Elected offices held: Naperville City Councilman, 4 years.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
The city's budget and taxes. Keeping a close eye on the bottom line, continuing to be fiscally responsible, and ensuring the best value for services to residents is the paramount issue facing the city in the coming years. Although the economy is improving, the city must remain diligent in ensuring residents get the most from every tax dollar.
Key Issue 2
Public safety throughout the city. Ensuring that our residents are safe throughout our community, whether it be downtown at night or around our schools. Safety has always been the top priority for me as a councilman.
Key Issue 3
Business growth and business retention. Keeping our current local businesses healthy and attracting new businesses to Naperville has always been a priority for me. Every resident has an opportunity every day to help our city be a bit stronger by choosing to shop within our borders. Everyday purchases like gas, groceries, clothing and restaurant dining can have a meaningful impact on the overall financial health of our city. And maintaining the health of our shopping districts can attract shoppers from the surrounding area, further strengthening our financial situation.
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?
As a testament to our vibrant downtown area, the restaurants, stores and taverns are increasingly active on the weekends. In part a victim of its own success, the excellent selection of establishments attract a wide variety of patrons including some bad apples. The city and the police department, under the direction of Chief Marshall, have developed a new set of policies and procedures to help control these issues as they arise. Chief Marshall's plan is to be proactive instead of reactive, and to create an environment that is overall more prepared to properly manage the challenges. Step one in this process is to get all waiting staff, door staff and bartenders BASSET trained. BASSET training instructs restaurant and tavern staff on the city's liquor ordinances and rules. It also trains staff to recognize signs that patrons may have had too much to drink and take the necessary steps to ensure that patron does not become a harm to themselves or others. There is a belief that some individuals are showing up at the downtown establishments already intoxicated. This training will empower door staff to identify these patrons and notify other staff?thus preventing a dangerous situation. This training has already paid dividends as two recent arrests stemmed from individuals being refused alcohol because they were already intoxicated when they entered the establishment. The management of these establishments have also taken steps to more proactively involve police before a situation gets out of control. The many stakeholders in this issue have committed to improved communication and working collectively to meet these challenges. Weekly meetings are held between the Naperville Development Partnership, the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Restaurant Association of Naperville and Downtown Naperville Alliance among others to work toward solutions as they arise. Empowering our businesses to meet these challenges is a role of our city government. If an establishment continually fails to keep an orderly atmosphere, we must be ready as a city to hand down appropriate action so all can understand the importance of keeping our downtown both orderly and prosperous. I believe the chief is on the right track with his new policies, and I look forward to its success.
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?
A diverse approach to our downtown area has always been a cornerstone of its success. It is essential that we always consider the integrity of our downtown plans. I believe as residents increase near our downtown, additional retail and services such as grocery stores and prepared food stores should be considered. Just as the Downtown Plan suggests, having a good mix of service-oriented shops, retail uses, restaurants, financial institutions, residential and office uses, creates a 24/7 downtown experience. I think we are getting a little more weighted in our restaurants and would like to see more retail or service oriented stores as well as a grocery store of some kind. One concern is the possibility of forcing out our mom and pop stores due to high rents. The greater focus we can place on pedestrian traffic throughout the downtown area, the more welcoming and financially stable it will be. These same principles hold true in other commercial districts in Naperville like Freedom Commons, Naperville Crossings and the Route 59 and 95th St. corridors.
Has Naperville's image gotten better or worse over the past four years? What are two things the city needs to do better?
Naperville surely has faced its challenges over the years but make no mistake, it is still one of the best places to live in the Chicagoland area and throughout the country for that matter. We continually come in as the highest-ranked city in Illinois for being the best place to live by Money Magazine do in part because we have maintained a AAA bond rating and the fact that we have lowered the city portion of a resident's tax bill three years in a row. Also, we are blessed with a beautiful park system nurtured by our Park District, excellent schools managed by outstanding faculty and staff, and a wonderful sense of community that does not exist everywhere. I believe the city will continue to attract businesses like the new auto dealerships along Ogden Avenue, Sikich, BMO, Handi Foil and Standard Market. We should also strive to retain existing businesses as the city has with companies like Navistar, Walmart and the Marriott hotel. Maintaining and increasing our focus to retain and attract businesses to our city will stimulate our economic growth and pay dividends for years to come. But no city is perfect. There's no doubt we have lost some ground with the past events that have occurred at night in the downtown area. We could also do better with our overnight parking issues out in the neighborhoods. Chief Marshall recognizes these issues and has just completed new plans to address them both. I have all the confidence in him and the police department that these issues will be resolved.
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?
Since 2008, we have continued to cut costs and budgets of all city departments. And entities like the library and Naperville Settlement have done the same. Most have been operating at bare bones levels since the recession hit. But we must maintain that mindset moving forward due to the instability of our economy and the lack of confidence in our state and federal governments. The city is currently borrowing 40% less than our past year averages, and with no new borrowing we could have all our debt paid off in year 2028. Right now the city is eyeing a $5.2 million budget surplus. The city staff have diligently approached the budgeting process and have made the necessary cuts to move forward. I do not see necessary any further cuts at this time. I believe further cuts would have a severe and adverse effect on resident service levels. The fiscal focus for the city is on improving revenues by encouraging commercial and retail activity.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
Gather recorded evidence for prosecution at trial or to influence guilty parties take a plea agreement and save the Village prosecution expenses;