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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.
Office sought: Aurora City Council Ward 9 (4-year Term)
Family: Married to Don (2nd husband) for 25 years 3 daughters, Margie, Linda and Laura 10 grandchildren
Occupation: I have been employed in public service with The Village of Glendale Heights since 1984. For the past 18 years I have served as the Assistant Planning and Zoning Administrator.
Education: Candidate did not respond.
Civic involvement: City of Aurora 9th Ward Committee - since 2003 City of Aurora Block Grant Working Committee - since 2010 Glendale Heights Founders Day Committee - since 1983 AFSCME Local 3768 President from 1994-1999 Staff Liaison to the Glendale Heights Plan Commission (since 1994), Glendale Heights Zoning Board of Appeals (since 1989), and Glendale Heights Appearance Commission (since 2007)
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Reestablish the lines of communication between the 9th Ward residents and the City of Aurora.
Key Issue 2
The Eola Road widening project.
Key Issue 3
Economic growth in the undeveloped commercial areas in the 9th Ward.
Downtown Aurora is undergoing a revival, but there are still a number of vacant storefronts. What should be done to spur more business development?
One thing I learned from my 28 years of experience in Community Development is that quality improvement and neighborhood revitalization is a long and sometimes slow process. The City has undertaken a huge project in the redevelopment of Downtown Aurora, and should certainly continue to invest in the future with this plan. As the individual projects are completed and the overall vision becomes more evident to the public, more developers and business owners will be attracted to the area. City staff should partner with property owners, real estate brokers, development committees and the Chamber of Commerce in a joint effort to target specific, desirable users and work in partnership with those business prospects to streamline the development and relocation process.
The city recently celebrated an entire calendar year without a murder for the first time since the 1940s. What are your top two ideas for making Aurora a safer place?
The crime statistics that I've seen show that the City is already doing an excellent job at making Aurora a safe place to live and do business. I believe that the Police Department should continue fighting crime through collaborative efforts with all City departments, other law enforcement agencies, faith based groups and, most importantly, the citizens. If possible, the Police should consider utilizing resources and manpower currently involved in homicide and major criminal investigations to bolster the Patrol Division. In the 9th Ward, an elevated Police presence would deter speeding vehicles on streets where young children play and prevent loitering in schoolyards and playgrounds. In addition, Aurora should remove the opportunity for criminal behavior by emphasizing current building codes and working with property owners and banks to restore run-down buildings and foreclosed homes, and by strictly enforcing the Crime Free Rental Program.
Residents will be paying more property taxes for the next 30 years to pay for the new library and library technology improvements. What can be done to keep property taxes in check? What are your ideas for streamlining city services or reducing its budget?
First, the $10 million Library Grant recently awarded to the City should help offset some of the increased property tax burden regarding the project. The new library will be an asset of which all citizens should be proud. Residents who take advantage of its educational and technological resources will benefit long into the future. The City Council should also consider implementing new ways of generating revenue for the Library, such as non-resident fees and the rental of space for educational purposes and/or meetings, which will further lessen the burden on taxpayers. With the downturn in the economy, the City has reduced spending and made many budget cuts. Aurora should continue to operate with less and keep spending down.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I am the best candidate for the job because I have 28 years of experience in public service. Being a municipal government employee gives me insight on how a local government should work. On a daily basis, my responsibilities include working with residents and assisting them with their questions and concerns. I am not seeking this office to further my career or to use it as a stepping stone into politics. I am seeking this office to now assist the residents in the 9th Ward with their questions and concerns. I am retiring this year and will have the time to dedicate myself to the City of Aurora and to my neighbors in the 9th Ward. On a personal note, I take pride in my family, my home and my neighborhood. Instead of vacationing, I prefer to welcome my extended family and friends to my home on weekends. We participate in events within the City, shop locally and frequent area restaurants. So naturally, I want Aurora to be the best that it can be. I've lived here for 11 years, so I am but a small part of Aurora's long history. I would like to be a larger part of its future. My heart is my home and my home is Aurora.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
The entire 9th Ward is outside of the Aurora School Districts, creating a somewhat 'disconnected feeling' amongst the community with regards to their children's primary education. The 9th Ward is served principally by Oswego School District 308, with a small portion of the ward being served by Indian Prairie School District 204. Aurora should reach out to these school districts and build a solid relationship with each of them. The families of our school aged children deserve City representation in discussions and planning for the future. The safety of our children in schools and their transportation needs are on the minds of everyone these days. We need to establish a line of communication that will reassure the residents that the City and these school districts are working together as a unified team. In addition, if elected, I would undertake a study of the Aurora Fire Department. We can't forget about our firemen. With so many budget cuts in recent years, it is time to review their needs to make sure our residents are receiving the best possible service at the most realistic cost.