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Office sought: Schaumburg Township Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Single mother, three children, one grandchild
Occupation: Part time teacher
Education: Ms. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, Northern Illinois University, 1991 B.A. in Psychology and in Elementary Education, Knox College 1977 (Galesburg, IL) Certified Master Gardener from University of Illinois, 2011 (McHenry County Extension Office)
Civic involvement: #NAME?
Elected offices held: Never held Public Office, but did serve as elected Democratic Precinct Committeewoman, Algonquin25 in Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills, 2008-2010
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Accountibility and Transparency - Who is getting the contracts to work for the Township, and why is that not made public? - Why are current, past and proposed Township Budgets not easily available to the public? - Meeting agendas are online, but they are vague and refer to secret report documents. - Past audits are not available without waiting for Freedom Of Information Act intervention. - What is behind the attempts to wipe opposition off the ballot in the last three township elections?
Key Issue 2
Setting Priorities - Putting first things first - What is more important: the 450 families currently depending on the Township Food Pantry, or a new parking lot at the Township Government Building? Families go first. - What is more important: a community of Youth at Risk, or a new gym floor for the Township Government Building? Kids go first - What is more important: providing services to residents or providing perks to Trustees at Township Government? The taxpayers deserve resident services first and foremost. - What is more important: Replacing senior buses beyond repair, or purchasing a whole new phone system for the Township Government Building? We must have safe buses, and they should have been in the first budget as a priority. - What's more important: Listening to the concerns of constituent neighbors by reaching out to them, or publishing and mailing a dozen different newsletters promoting the current board's activities? Too often, public officials are better at speaking than listening. I put hearing what the people need first.
Key Issue 3
Innovative Thinking for a bold new era - Establish special community gardens: We can raise fresh vegetables for the food pantry, where community members can get guidance for their own gardens, and where we can we can model landscape solutions for our Schaumburg Township micro-climate. - Install a Schaumburg Township Alternative Power Station on site: We can have solar panels and/or a windmill to generate all the power needed to run our own government building. - Institute Teacher of the Month awards and Volunteer of the Month awards (we do already have Veteran of the Month awards): We can reward excellence in education at no cost to the taxpayer, and we can promote community service in the township. - Televise Township Board Meetings on Schaumburg cable Television. Hold meetings at various times and dates more convenient for public attendance and oversight.
Name the three most important goals or objectives this board should tackle in the coming term. Prioritize them, and briefly discuss why you believe each to be critical, and how the board should go about addressing them.
1. Create an atmosphere of trust in public servants at the Township Level. Stop hiding what's going on in meetings. Start making decisions based solely on what's best for the people and the township. 2. Adhere to a responsible and professional schedule. When the taxpayers pay for two meetings a month on particular dates, hold those meetings. Seven scheduled meetings in 2012 were canceled according to their website. Hold the meetings on time and make decisions in front of the public instead of behind closed doors. Insist on making budget and policy decisions after a public hearing rather than before, as wasn't done in Feb/Mar of 2012 regarding the Youth Spectrum program - resulting in public outcry. 3. Get meeting agenda available by weblink and by bulletin board posting in the lobby not less than seven days prior to the scheduled meeting. Get proposed meeting minutes available by weblink and by bulletin board posting not more than twenty days after a meeting. When I attended the January 2013 meeting, they approved the November minutes which we were not allowed to see. The minutes from September were printed and available to the public on a table at the January meeting. The current rule is to publish the minutes within 30 days of approval. That means the latest minutes I could read were four months old. It's not responsible, it's not professional and it reduces the public trust.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
Schaumburg Township does not have wide-open spaces up for grabs anymore. Gobbling up vacant land was more of an issue here in the second half of the 20th century. Still, we do have unincorporated residential areas outside the villages? Here's the real question, and it's very valid:Have the townships become a superfluous layer of government gobbling up the people's taxes for an insignificant return on services?? I say yes, they have. But they shouldn't be. The best government is NOT about establishing a power base for individual politicians, nor for a particular political party.Should they be serving a new and different role?? Certainly. Absolutely. Local government is vital to a working democracy. Of the people. By the people. For the people The local townships are closer to the people than other governing bodies, but in order for that to be vibrant; they must by Responsive and Attentive to the people. Townships should be about empowering the people who are residents. The mandated mission is to provide social services to meet the needs of the community in a fiscally responsible manner. The current board of trustees has a disconnect regarding the actual needs of the community. Has our township been responsive and attentive? Marginally. But it could be fabulous. Consider the Township Library, and compare it to the Township Government Facility. All our villages come together to provide a jewel of a library. Grade A+. The Township Library is invested in the future with an awesome Youth department and a brand new Teen Center. Everyday, people looking for jobs during this economic crisis come to the library for resources and encouragement. You don't have to like books to love our library. Now look at the Township Government facility, which literally gets an F from the Illinois Public Policy Institute. Out of a hundred possible points for transparency and accessibility, we get 17.8. Hmm. What about our Focus on the Future? The current board of trustees voted out the whole Youth Spectrum Department. All the staff and their jobs - gone. All those kids - gone. It was a line item removed from the budget in 2012. But do the taxpayers get a refund? No. How about a focus on the needy? While Public Aid is in the process of moving out of our Township facility, are we putting in a new department to help people navigate services available for jobs, food, or homes? No. Are we increasing mental health support? No. But the current township trustee board planned to put in a new phone system throughout the building. Oh an a new parking lot. And a new gym floor. All of those plans were discussed at their January 2013 meeting. Instead they needed to be discussing what the people need today and how to meet those needs.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
Ask. Listen. Respond. Ask the residents about their concerns. Hear them. Take action. Our township may not be facing the dilemma of whether to use or preserve open spaces these days, but they are facing the dilemma of empty store fronts. And we have an overriding concern about the value of our homes going down while taxes increase dramatically. The township can help to increase property values. They should respond to that concern. We have a thousand people everyday in our township who are hungry. Another thousand are worrying about how to feed their family next month. The township can help to decrease food anxiety in the township. They can and should do more. When the state cuts back on funds for mental health programs, townships should not do the same thing, they need to do the opposite thing. The township should be there to pick up the slack where state government and federal government don't address the needs of our people. Our neighbors in between towns shouldn't have to rely on Cook County government for all their needs. Our neighbors in the villages shouldn't have to turn to Cook County or wonder what the township does for them.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
Don't eliminate the programs for seniors, but let's take a hard look at how we're spending money there. Do we really need to offer Zumba classes for local seniors? They already have access to free Zumba classes in the area at a private nursing home. It's also offered at local park districts and local gyms. So does this really matter in the township budget? It does if you're buying a new gym floor for it! Do we really need to publish and mail so many different glossy newaletters with color photos? Is it to inform the public or to promote incumbents? This is a $70,000 budget item. Publishing fewer and less fancy newsletters could cut costs and still get necessary information to all the residents.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
Having served on the Pantry Garden committee of the Schaumburg Community Garden Club, I have experience with helping to provide for hungry families in the township. As a member of the executive board on a number of volunteer organizations I understand how to work with parliamentary procedure to make decisions for the public good. I grew up in Schaumburg and went to school on the very site where the Township Government Building now stands. I have a deep connection to the community and our collective concept of how to be good and courteous neighbors. I served with organizations to raise funds and improve communities. For example, in Crystal Lake I helped to design and deliver a set of activities towards building new baseball fields that the park district couldn't afford. (Diamonds Are Forever) We successfully built four new baseball diamonds at Lippold Park. As the Chair of Golden Circle for Delta Delta Delta, I was in charge of a committee for outreach to members who pledged 50+ years ago. And I worked on fundraisers for supporting families dealing with pediatric cancer. I volunteered for a program in town we called "Shop with a Cop" where at-risk youth were paired with local police officers for a shopping spree to get Christmas gifts for their own needy families. It was outstanding, and I'd love to see that happen here.