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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: Mundelein Village Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Claude Garesch?- Husband 22 Years, 2 Children - Kyle and Tom
Education: Bachelor- Communications Northwestern University, 2001 Juris doctor- John Marshall Law School, 2005
Civic involvement: Volunteer at Carmel Catholic High School Volunteer at Women's and Children Center Pro Bono Legal Counsel
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No, never.
Key Issue 1
My first campaign issue is to elevate Mundelein's business stature in Lake County. Important work remains to ensure the new downtown expansion is a success, including promotion of the development to attract businesses. The downtown expansion should stimulate momentum to attract new businesses to also revitalize the Route 45 corridor. Promoting the downtown expansion by utilizing technology, like a smart phone Mundelein app, can highlight business opportunities and current Mundelein destinations. Route 45 is a major thoroughfare, and there is an opportunity to make it a destination rather than a route for transportation. Mundelein has great anchor stores and restaurants and pubs at either end of the corridor, but we also need to attract foot traffic businesses to the community, while concurrently promoting the businesses that made a commitment to Mundelein.
Key Issue 2
Another campaign issue quite related to the first is to work for improved infrastructure, which importantly includes finding or generating funds to repair and replace some terribly degraded roads
Key Issue 3
My third campaign issue relates to the community dialogue regarding police policy. Chief Rose, who recently retired, is known to have promoted proactive and community based policing approaches, a philosophy and professional stance that served and protected Mundelein for years. My understanding is there are candidates for mayor and trustee who reject and do not support the program. In our climb to smartly improve business and infrastructure to make Mundelein a destination community, increased gang activity and other public safety problems will be a deterrent to our vision for Mundelein. Therefore, I will support the commitment made by our new Chief, Eric Guenther, to continue with proactive and community based policing.
The village is moving ahead with plans for a municipal hub near the train station that would include a village hall, retail space and office space. What is your vision for that area and how would you fund the project?
The new Mundelein Village Hall is the focal point of the development. I know from talking with neighbors that it was not universally considered the best use of village resources to build the new Village Hall. However, a Village Hall is often the first point of contact for many potential businesses, developers, contractors and homebuyers. In its current state our Village Hall is truly inadequate to operate the business of the village, but beyond that it cannot drive and support the improved image of opportunity Mundelein must generate to compete with local villages for businesses. Having said that, the new downtown square is an opportunity to draw citizens out to shop, dine and do their errands while creating on enclave for growth that can expand to surrounding businesses. Its funding is well documented. We have a seven-year contract with a partner Weston Solutions, and development impact fees collected by the village and tax increment finance district revenues also fund it.
Talking with your friends and neighbors, what seems to be their biggest public safety concern? Explain the concern as you see it, an discuss how you think it should be addressed?
Because of this question by the Daily Herald, I spoke with friends and neighbors about their biggest public safety concerns, and none shared the same response. One elderly neighbor said she feared she could not walk on our damaged neighborhood streets without falling, another complained that parents send their kids to school sick too often and perhaps don't have proper vaccines, and another said it wasn't safe to ride their bikes around town without more bike paths, while still another said he is worried that kids have too much screen time. Importantly, those things commonly considered public safety problems related to crime and violence and security were not mentioned. I think this speaks volumes about the fantastic public safety services our police and fire personnel provide Mundelein. However, Mundelein police still consider gangs and fighting gang presence and substance abuse in our community and schools public safety priorities since they can undermine children's opportunity for growth and community safety. As mentioned, the proactive and community based policing is how gangs and substance abuse is currently addressed, and I will support those efforts.
In these tight economic times, municipal budgets have to be prioritized. Where, if anywhere, could the current budget be trimmed? Conversely, is there something that should be reinstated or have resources directed toward?
Mundelein has already trimmed and cut its budget during this difficult economic period. Now is the time to develop Mundelein. Funds should be redirected and generated where possible to improve roads and infrastructure, although I understand currently there is not much money to move around. When I am elected, I will study the budget and work with those who created it to better understand the decisions driving financial allocations.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
My one good idea to better the community that no one is talking about is not flashy. I will work to ensure strategic plans and commissioned studies are fully utilized, implemented and measured for accurate deployment. One of my professional skills is developing and extrapolating strategies that reveal priorities where action plans and budgets are forced through it to drive the results spelled out as Village objectives. In the best of times, it is a good practice to ask how we can do better. In these difficult times, it is an essential practice to answer that question with specificity. How can we do better to get the most out of the resources available to develop our community? I know Mundelein has a comprehensive strategic plan and an economic development strategic plan and committees and commissions and boards and movements. It is integral to our growth that all the moving parts with various personnel and objectives are strategically aligned to ensure actions taken are not working at cross-purposes to others. Creating and following a blue print that objectively proves we are effectively meeting the performance goals promised to our citizens is how you develop a best in class community.
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.
Our sales taxes are higher than surrounding communities, and the matter to be evaluated is whether it negatively affects the Village's competitiveness to attract and keep businesses here. We have home rule, which allows the Village the flexibility to negotiate rates, which seems an off set to potentially higher sales taxes. Also, we currently do not have utility taxes, while surrounding towns do have them. The problem is no one has a definite answer as to whether higher sales taxes have a negative impact on our Village. I can speculate, but it seems that is all we have now is speculation. It's unfortunate we don't know, but when I am trustee I will add this determination to our strategic plan, so we can benchmark with other surrounding communities to evaluate how these tax variables impact our opportunity for revenue growth.