Denise Rodd: Candidate Profile
Des Plaines City Council Ward 3 (4-year Term)
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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.
City: Des Plaines
Office sought: Des Plaines City Council Ward 3 (4-year Term)
Family: Spouse and 2 children
Occupation: Web editor, American Osteopathic Association
Education: BA in Communication from DePaul University; MA in Writing from DePaul University
Civic involvement: Volunteer editor of the Ward R3PORT online newsletter for the 3rd Ward at www.3rdWard.org; Regular attendee of monthly 3rd Ward meetings; Girl Scout leader for Junior Troop; Girl Scout School Coordinator for Terrace School; Terrace School PTC member; Pet rescue volunteer, foster family, and adoption counselor.
Elected offices held: Village of Lombard front-desk clerk and deputy voter registrar, 1988-1991; state senate internship, 1991
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Fiscal responsibility by continuing to use casino revenue for infrastructure improvements and paying down debt.
Key Issue 2
Government transparency in City Council actions and expenses. As an example of my commitment to transparency, if I am elected, I will not accept the health care benefit that the City has traditionally offered to its part-time elected officials. Residents have brought this topic up at recent 3rd Ward meetings, and have expressed a unanimous disproval of the practice.
Key Issue 3
Upgrading our City's image by supporting our cultural and generational diversity; and emphasizing our public amenities and recreational assets such as the Park District, Library, Youth Commission, Senior Center, bike paths, and the Des Plaines River.
There's been talk about using casino revenue to update the city's infrastructure. Where is that money most urgently needed?
The money should first be spent on the current and future flooding masterplan so that our neighborhoods are protected by excessive rain events.
What can be done to fill vacancies and draw new businesses to the downtown area? Be as specific as possible.
First, the market needs to change. We're coming out of a recession that nearly vacated Metropolitan Square and that kept unoccupied storefronts empty. Second, we need to show that we have a fiscally responsible and consistent government in place that will support small businesses. Third, we need to invest in the downtown infrastructure (and the Oakton corridor as well) to make the physical landscape more attractive so that we are competitive with neighboring towns.
What is the biggest issue facing Des Plaines at present, and what are your thoughts on it?
Probably its reputation of being "rough around the edges." When my husband and I were looking for a home in the area, and chose Des Plaines, our real estate agent questioned our decision and showed us a copy of a Chicago magazine article called "The Starbucks Gap." The article compared Des Plaines to Highland Park, and how it lacked basic amenities such as a coffee franchise. But we were attracted by the City's affordability, good schools, and diversity, and decided it was where we wanted to raise our family. It seemed the City was on a path to improvement. Thirteen years later, we have two Starbucks; however, we're still fighting a reputation that has been hard to shake. I think the history of politics in Des Plaines may have had something to do with it. By electing genuine representatives of the people of Des Plaines who are for the people of Des Plaines, we can turn it around.
Given the delicate balance between the need for revenue and over-taxing local businesses, what is your opinion of Des Plaines' present level of local sales taxes? Is the tax just right, too low or too high? Explain.
Our sales-tax rate is competitive with our neighboring northwest suburban communities. If a business were considering opening in Des Plaines, the sales-tax rate wouldn't be an issue that would make them go elsewhere.
What are the city's biggest public safety concerns? Explain the concern as you see it, and discuss how you think it should be addressed.
As with other cities our size, violent crime and theft are our biggest concerns. While our crime rate is lower than most cities our size in Illinois, we can still work together with the Police Department to help prevent crime in our neighborhoods. The Des Plaines Neighborhood Watch program emphasizes getting to know each other, watching out for each other, and calling the police when something doesn't look right. My friends and neighbors in Des Plaines practice this philosophy, and I know it makes a difference in our community. I wrote an article that addressed this topic in the Winter 2010 issue of the Ward R3PORT featuring a school crossing guard. While his priority is crossing children safely over the railroad tracks, he is also on the lookout for anything unusual happening near his post. He is a great example of neighbors watching out for each other to help reduce crime in Des Plaines.
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