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.
Website: http://TBA electdanwhittington for Facebook
Office sought: Lombard Village Board District 1 (4-year Term)
Family: Married, 6 children, 4 grandchildren
Occupation: Director of Sales - Illinois Business Systems, Inc
Education: Candidate did not respond.
Civic involvement: President Lombard Town Centre 3 years currenty Executive Board member - V.P. Lombard Chamber of Commerce - Lombard Masonic #1098 member - Team leader DuPage FORWARD - 2012 Lombard Man of the Year
Elected offices held: President Lombard Twon Centre - V.P. Lombard Chhamber of Commerce
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
I?ve actually circulated a survey in District 1 in early January which has resulted in many responses. The first weighed issue is my District is flood abatement. Residents have been pleading for relief in this area, specifically near Terrace View Pond. Further north in the district, every rainstorm, modest or substantial has turned into a flooding event for a lot of residents. I have experienced this problem myself. Since this is not a new issue in this area, there is a great deal of frustration that it hasn't been adequately addressed and there's a sense our current Trustee has simply given up on the issue. There have been far more proactive approaches taken by elected officials in other districts that have mitigated their flooding issues in a major way. They have kept the issue front and center until steps were taken to alleviate the problem. In my searching for answers to this ongoing problem I received some information from the Village. There is now a plan for the Terrace View Pond area with an intergovernmental agreement between the Village and our Park District that will allow the Village to lower the water level by 1 foot. A new pumping station and control panel will be installed at the southwest corner of the pond. This will add storm water storage capacity to the pond. Although this is commendable and overdue I will be completely involved with the progress of this important project to ensure the community is served a solution that makes an impact for the short term and long term. The Village has acquired the property at 115 W Crystal to install twin relief storm sewers in conjunction with lowering the pond elevation. That is a start however for the residents in other sections of district 1 flooding will continue to be an important issue. My platform will be to continue to be deeply involved in flood abatement in all of district 1 until all of our residents can breathe easy when the rains and when real storms come to Lombard.
Key Issue 2
Compounding the flooding problem, our #2 issue is more like a #1A issue. The power outages that occur in this area when there's a little wind, a little rain, when we do have a real storm we know it is only a matter of time before the lights, air conditioning and refrigeration are gone that is maddening. Owning a gas generator in this district isn't an option, it's a must for those who are able. For the unfortunate who for whatever reason do not have a generator or cannot afford one it is a terrible time. People are concerned about sump pumps, freezers, and enough light to navigate their home safely. For people with health conditions, the loss of air conditioning can be life threatening. Living in our community should not be compromised by these consistent power outages. The Village as a whole has a significant franchise agreement with power companies. It can't be a handful of neighbors desperately begging for relief. It needs to be a village wide effort demanding that upgrades be made to minimize these occurrences. Our last major outage, which was as a result of a major storm, left many in this area of town without power for over a week and some didn't see it restored for almost 2 weeks. Two of our village officials demanded a meeting with ComEd. Our representative was not one of them. What causes despair in that situation is that our area of town was the first to lose power and the very last to have it restored. I can safely promise the residents of District 1 that I will most certainly be on the front line demanding answers and action as their voice in village government.
Key Issue 3
My wife Colleen and I along with many outstanding volunteers have served Lombard Town Center for the past several years, myself as President for 3 years and now as an Executive Board member, for my wife several years as Promotions chair. Our mission has been to bring vitality and business to our Downtown. We have collectively created momentum by adding 8 new business establishments and the expansion of 2 more in the Downtown. Currently there are 2 additional businesses that will be open by spring. The new energy those businesses have added created a new perception about doing business in Downtown Lombard. We must stay the course and keep the momentum going. If we could create this synergy in a difficult economy, imagine what can happen with a better economy. It's been very challenging, but the business owners, landlords, village and neighbors are all pulling in the same direction now and it shows. We need to increase our offerings in our downtown even more, we know that and that is the correct direction. We have used a number of the incentives that have been available. Our goal is to be able to lure people solely because of the consumer opportunity our downtown provides for a business. To lure people solely because of the consumer opportunity our downtown provides for a new business That goal is still a way's off, but it's in the realm of possibility now. The Trustee of District 1 has the unique privilege of representing our downtown central business district. I see that as a real plum and a great incentive to continue serving the public. I?m already an extremely familiar face downtown and I promise to be even more familiar as Trustee of District 1. It's already a pleasure to stroll the downtown, but it has the potential to be even more alluring. For me, this is Campaign Issue - 1B. District 1 contains theheartbeat? of our entire community. I?ll will always continue treat it that way.
Should the Ken-Loch golf links remain open space or be developed? Why?
If it can remain open space, I would completely favor that outcome. At the moment it is privately owned and is not currently within the corporate limits of the village. If there is to be any development there, I would like to see that the village has some control as to how that development would occur. I?m not in favor of any high density project there. I would be sensitive to the character of the neighborhood surrounding the property in reviewing any development plan the village would have control over. I?ve heard speculation about the Park District or the Forest Preserve possibly stepping in. Since those are public taxing bodies that manage open land and recreation, I would welcome either or both getting involved. Municipal taxing bodies like our village owning large parcels of property with no intent for development any time in the future is a questionable role for the village to play. If the village can be a resource to help another more suitable body like the Park District or Forest Preserve acquire this land and keep it open, I?d be very much in favor of that. It is a beautiful piece of Lombard and I would be absolutely in favor of looking at any options to continue the beauty of this land.
Village government in Lombard has been sharply divided and the board has been deadlocked on several key issues since Bill Mueller's death. How will you help unify the board so it can better address Lombard's needs?
As President of Lombard Town Center, I had a very good working relationship with President Mueller and the Board. The spectacle that occurred after his passing, the dissention and rift of 3 Board members vs. 3 Board members is unacceptable behavior and counterproductive to reaching any kind of collaboration or consensus. Unfortunately, my District 1 Trustee was among the group who abandoned the meeting. That action along with other issues played strong role in my deciding to run for the District 1 Trustee position. It was not a proud day for Lombard. As I along with Lombard Town Centre are in other communities working hard to ask small businesses to consider opening a business in our downtown, the media was covering a story that embarrassed the very town I was trying tosell? as the great community it is to prospective merchants. Individually, I can help by adding a member to the board who takes his oath seriously and subtracting one who clearly does not. Secondly, I?ll commit to listening to every idea that comes before the board and give it a fair hearing. My best answer to this question is that I?ll be the best Board member I can be and work toward consensus with a wide open mind and even wider open communication.
Given the delicate balance between the need for revenue and over-taxing local businesses, what is your opinion of your community's present level of local sales taxes? Is the tax just right, too low or too high? Explain.
I sincerely wish they could be lowered, but that's not reasonable given the state of the economics now. Our tax rate compared to others is a bit lower and in some cases, much lower. All of our merchant's downtown are competing with other brick and mortar locations in our neighboring communities as well as the internet where people often don't pay any sales tax at all. That makes it difficult for a book store or any number of specialty stores to compete on the street these days. Any competitive disadvantage, no matter how slight must be taken into consideration. As Town Center President, I can share that many of the businesses we spoke to told us our local sales tax rate was less than their other locations. I?m not excited to say any tax rate isjust right?, but ours appears to be competitive at the moment. We shouldn't raise it under any circumstances.
Talking with your friends and neighbors, what seems to be their biggest public safety concern? Explain the concern as you see it, and discuss how you think it should be addressed.
We have some traffic crossing areas that need some additional attention. We recently added a crosswalk to downtown and we need to get people conditioned to the fact it's there and how traffic and pedestrians are to observe these areas. We?ve had some break-ins in our district. We?ve had things stolen from lawns and some property damage. Our police department has been very responsive when these types of incidents occur. Our neighborhoods are pretty tight knit as many of the people living in this section of town are longtime residents. That helps if there is suspicious activity going on. People do report it. I really do think our biggest safety concern in the district goes back to our much too frequent power outages. There are a lot of people for whom this is an inconvenience, yet some for whom this could be a matter of life and death if they suffer from severe allergies, pulmonary conditions or heart conditions. In my survey, these are the kinds of things people are sharing.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
One idea that's alreadyout of the bag? is events downtown at other times besides the summer months. This past January, we hosted a party outside for the NCAA National Championship football game between Notre Dame and Alabama. We had some propane heaters and a big screen outside where we normally put our bands on Cruise Nights. With only a couple of weeks to put it together, we had some great results with cooperation from the Village and the Park District. I was thrilled to see so many faces of people I don't normally see downtown. We reached a demographic that is different than what we ordinarily have for our other downtown events. One thing we know for certain is that our downtown is a major draw for events; Cruise Nights, Craft Show, Spooktacular, Jinglebell Jubilee, etc. MyGood? idea is to look at additional events to draw more folks to the downtown. We have to be mindful of these events so they do not cause any disruption for our businesses. To insure that we will as always meet with each business that may be affected and I want to know their thoughts and I want them to share their ideas as we have a many great minds in our downtown. Some additional events that may take advantage of S. Park as a sometimes entertainment plaza is: Theater on South Park, an evening event that could feature a live play, or a family comedy troop. The downtown businesses could all engage with special offerings pre, during and post event. Others may include football games, a Cubs or White Sox World Series game! Let it be said that I?m an optimist by mentioning the Cubs. I have dozens of ideas of how to use our downtown as the ultimate gathering place and help our businesses at a time when there ordinarily wouldn't be much foot traffic there. 1AGood? idea is my commitment to my district to be the very best I can be for the residents, business owners, and property owners. Communication is a key ingredient in my representing district 1, everyone that wants them will have my cell phone number, e mail and web site information, and they will be published. I plan to communicate with all of our district 1 businesses by actually visiting them at a minimum of every 4 months if nothing more than just to sayHello how can I help you??