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: Lombard Village President (4-year Term)
Family: MARRIED, WIFE SHANU, ACCOUNTANT; SON SHAAN, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR
Occupation: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Education: MA, MBA
Civic involvement: Village of Lombard's Community Relations Committee (Member), DuPage Chapters of American Cancer Society and United Way (Director) Village of Bloomingdale's Fourth of July Commission (Commissioner) India Development Service (Board Member), Federation of Indian Associations (Secretary, Vice President, President-Elect), Asian American Journalists Association (Vice President), Bihar Cultural Association (Founding President) Founding President of the Asian American Caucus of DuPage
Elected offices held: York Township Trustee: 2005 through 2012 Republican Committeeman of York Township
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: NEVER
Key Issue 1
WORKING TOGETHER AND NOT IN FACTIONS - STOP THECOUNCIL WARS? AND CHANGE THE BALANCE OF POWER ON THE BOARD: I believe politics should not be based upon groups and ideologies, but it ought to focus on principles and values and most importantly on compromises. You may be political foes, but you?re not political enemies. Lombard is witnessing the resurrection of the infamous Chicago Council Wars fought under the tutelage of Ed Vrdolyak, the Fast Eddie. The village board is divided between two asunder groups that have no respect for each other's ideas or proposals, whether it is the issue of who should be pro-tem president, whether the village pay on the spruce up of the city's front desk, whether the board pay for the additional fire fighters, whether the idea of revisiting the town's budget, and the list goes on. These two power hungry blocks do not own the Village of Lombard. The town is owned by the its about 45,000 residents, who are White Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans as well as Hispanic Americans; who are Republicans and Democrats, and independents; who are Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and adherents of other faith traditions; who are straights and gays; who are men and women. We cannot run a village like an old boys? club.
Key Issue 2
UNITY IN DIVERSITY - REPRESENTATION TO ALL THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF LOMBARD: The Village of Lombard has about 30 percent population that belongs to Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and African Americans. However, the diversity of the population is not reflected on the village board, village committees, commissions, employee roster and payroll, village police force, village fire department. An in depth analysis of the village's demographics should be obtained from the census board and should be displayed on the village website. The village should also publish annually a chart showing the demographics of the village staff, trustees, committee members, village police force, village fire department, etc. The village personnel, police department, fire department, committees, commissions must reflect the proportional diversity of the town. The village administration should become a role model in terms of diversity for all the other municipal agencies of the town, like park, library, etc. The constitution framers did not envision for a benevolent dictator. They crafted a representative democracy based on the principle of no taxation without representation.
Key Issue 3
REFORM SOME OLD AND OBSOLETE VILLAGE BUILDING CODES: When village inspectors visit a house and a business, they should try to provide some alternate ideas on how to accomplish the project while following the codes. When the housing market was better, residents might have had not paid much attention to the cost of village codes. Now, homeowners are struggling, and the village has to demonstrate some flexibilities. Inspection rules need to be more home-owner friendly. The fear of security and safety should not be used to compel home owners to undertake expensive measures to improve their houses. If a car remains parked on the street overnight and the home owner forget to call the village to inform them, there should not be a fine. If somebody is parking on the street constantly, we should certainly issue a ticket in that situation. If a resident fails to remove the garbage from the front of the house, the village should not send out humiliating letters. If a complaint is filed against a resident, the complainant should provide his or her complete details that will be saved in the village database. At the same time, there should be a system of balance to ensure that all residents are living peacefully and are not harassing each other with overzealous complaints. Right now anybody can complaint against anybody as many times as he or she wants and send out village code officials. A lot of people are using this tool to harass his or her neighbors. If we keep the contact information of the complainant, he or she will not make complaints unnecessarily. We should waive the permit fees for new businesses to be located in the downtown Lombard area. Also, we should set up a One Stop Window Shop for new businesses to accelerate their inspection and other paper works with a deadline of maximum two months. I will advocate for strong public safety policies and adequate funding for our Public Works, Police and Fire Departments so they can serve the community effectively. A new contract should be negotiated with the waste management so the agency will not charge for stickers for extra pickups. Buying and saving stickers create a lot of inconvenience for homeowners. All costs should be included in one monthly bill. The waste management carrier is charging very high rates from businesses of Lombard. Numerous business owners have told me that they can similar and better services at half of the cost that the Village of Lombard is charging. Create an app on the village website in which common residents can suggest issues that should be on the agenda for the next month's meeting. The trustees can discuss the issues. If a resident pulls out a permit, he or she should be given a log in ID for the village website, which should provide inspector's report and other related information.
Should the Ken-Loch golf links remain open space or be developed? Why?
OPPOSE ANY HOUSING DEVELOPMENT IN THE KEN LOCH GOLF LINK AREA: I am the only presidential candidate who attended most of the Lombard's Plan Commission's hearing on Ken Loch issue and spoke before the advising body too. There are hundreds, and if not thousands, of houses either for sale or for foreclosures in Lombard and in neighboring cities. Another development in the quiet neighborhood will wreck havocs on the lives of the families living in Lombard. Visualizing the eyes of the storm spiraling in this area, I asked a young activist to run for trustee, hoping to unseat the incumbent trustee who has been rumored to be under the influence of the developer of Ken Loch housing project. District 3 Trustee candidate Muzammil Saeed is equally committed to the open space so is my running mate for the village clerk, Deanne Theodore. Being an environmentalist, I will support more open space in Lombard.
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?
TRUE BIPARTISANSHIP: In the deadlocked situation, you need a complete neutral, bipartisan village president, who does not owe any loyalty to anybody except fidelity to the interests of the residents of Lombard. I am the only person who does not belong to any of the warring factions. If it was the best in the interest of the village to elect the senior most trustee as temporary president, I stood up and supported at the village hall meeting. Keith Giagnorio and his block supported it. When the overwhelming number of Lombardian opposed any housing development at Ken Loch Golf-Link, I spoke twice at the Plan Commission. I was the only presidential candidate who came out openly and staunchly. The Daily Herald reporter knows the trustees who will be supporting housing developments at Ken Loch. I am opposed to spending money on the sprucing up of the front desk as did by Trustee Zack Wilson. I favor frequent and intense review of the town's budget as proposed by Trustee Peter Breen but opposed by Keith Giagnorio. I will welcome any good ideas coming from any block and work hard to effect consensus. If we change the balance of power by electing a neutral village president, we can break the deadlocked situation. Bipartisanship helps to avoid extremes and imbalances. It causes compromises and accommodations. So let's cooperate.? (Zbigniew Brzezinski) Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen, it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf.? (G.K. Chesterton)
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.
FRUGALITY AS A NEW FASHION STATEMENT: All the elected officials should take a pledge not to raise any taxes until the US economy bounces back. Frugality should be our mantra. A penny saved is a penny earned. This year again, the village has increased its budget by 3.61. If we don't have money, we should not hire new employees, we should not undertake new projects, we should not spend thousands of dollars on the spruce up of the front desk. Elected officials should work hard to cut costs and not to bloat the bureaucracy. Creating jobs is not the responsibility of the village. For this, state and the federal governments should strive for. We are not in the days of prosperity right now. It is recession, great recession or even depression time. Every house has an unemployed person. The Daily Herald reported on its front page the story of ubiquitous poverty in western suburbs.
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.
RISING GUN VIOLENCE: The rising gun violence is on everybody's mind. Domestic shooting incidents have become more alarming than the news of bombings in foreign lands. Unfortunately, all the solutions come from partisan and polarizing angles. We should approach this issue with a bipartisan approach.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
SUPPORT ALL EFFORTS TO UPGRADE THE VILLAGE LIBRARY AND ESTABLISH A RECREATION CENTER FOR THE VILLAGE: All the neighboring cities, like Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, Addison, Downers Grove, Carol Stream, have wonderful libraries and fitness centers. These two institutions are the symbols of pride and prosperity of a town. I will work hard in creating a consensus to promote these two projects.