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Office sought: Aurora City Council Ward 2 (4-year Term)
Family: Single, three children: Marbella Duran, daughter Ricardo Duran, son Hafid Cristobal, son
Occupation: Fulltime alderman, Ward 2, Aurora
Education: Degree in Elementary Education, Pablo Livas Normal Superior, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Civic involvement: Present: Board member, Fox Valley Park District Board member, Historic Auto Row Board member, Joseph Corporation Associate member, Family Focus Past: New Horizons 1979-1980; an organization that focuses on improving literacy within the Hispanic community. Kiwanis Club 1982-1987; a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. Cermak Road Chamber of Commerce and Industry 1987-2004 LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) 1987-2004; whose mission is to advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, and the health and civil rights of the Hispanic population of the United States. Hispanic Civic Alliance of Illinois 2002-2005 Community United for the 21st Century 2005-2006
Elected offices held: Ward 2 Alderman, City of Aurora
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
Continuing to promote the importance of Hispanics learning English and assimilating in the larger community, while educating the community at large of the value Hispanics bring to the City of Aurora. For eight years, the Ward 2 Hispanic Pioneers Breakfast has highlighted the contributions of Hispanics in Aurora. I've offered computer programs and English classes that provide Spanish-speaking parents with valuable skills. I've worked with social service agencies like Interfaith Food Pantry, Family Focus, and VNA to offer a variety of programs to help lower-income families. Every year I work with area supermarkets to provide turkeys for Thanksgiving, and food and candy for winter posada celebrations.
Key Issue 2
Continuing to improve the quality of life in the Second Ward. To that end, I pushed for the passage of several ordinances, including the elimination of caravans of vehicles during Mexican and Puerto Rican celebrations, and the timely removal of holiday lights. My fencing program has helped 33 property owners replace chainlink fences with ornamental fences, improving their homes on our gateway streets. Ornamental streetlights now illuminate the homes in Tanner District on Aurora's Near Westside, as part of a joint project of the Second and Sixth Wards. Dollars have been set aside for the Historic Auto Row restoration on LaSalle Street. McCarty Park's revitalization restored a landmark park, making it an inviting area for families and small children. Every year, the Ward 2 Committee offers refuse collections, in order to maintain clean neighborhoods.
Key Issue 3
Continuing to improve the sewer and streets. Improvements have been made to almost all of the Ward 2 streets since I was elected alderman, including the alleyways. I have worked with ComEd to replace aging street lights. Sewer lines were separated on Spring Street on the East Side, and on West Park Avenue on the West Side. Light poles were replaced with decorative historic street lighting in the Tanner District.
Downtown Aurora is undergoing a revival, but there are still a number of vacant storefronts. What should be done to spur more business development?
We should continue to support the TIF programs for downtown Aurora, and offer reasonable incentives to viable businesses seeking to move into the city's center. We also need to continue to work with Aurora Downtown and the Economic Development Commission to identify businesses that will be a good fit for downtown. The city's infrastructure and bridge improvements, and RiverEdge Park are proof that the aldermen understand the important role the downtown plays in defining the city.
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?
It took years of local, state and federal policing efforts, crime-free housing ordinance crackdowns, neighborhood watch involvement, and school and social service programs before Aurora could celebrate this milestone. We need to continue to support the successful programs already in place, and not be complacent. We also need to focus on reducing the number of gun incidents that take place, since there were several shootings last year where people were injured.
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?
It is important to continue to invest in infrastructure improvements and maintain city services, while being a good steward of taxpayers' dollars. I understand the challenges that face the people of my ward, and vote with their best interests at heart.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
My long list of achievements since being elected as alderman in 2005, including improving childcare opportunities by investing in and working toward the siting of a daycare center in the heart of the Second Ward; maintaining the city's green areas by revitalizing McCarty Park and Penson Park, and creating Freedom Park and Thaddeus J Weisner Park (handicapped accessible park); enhancing security by installing lighting in Ward 2 alleys, creating a historic lighting district in Tanner District; improving the city vista with the decorative fencing project; donating Ward dollars for the creation of the VNA Center on Highland Avenue; and spearheading the passage of a number of ordinances to improve the quality of life in the Second Ward.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
Candidate did not respond.