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updated: 5/1/2013 5:25 AM

New Barrington trustees ready for their close-up

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  • New Barrington village trustees Pete Douglas and Sue Padula will be sworn in at the village board meeting of Monday, May 13. Both won election April 9 in uncontested races.

       New Barrington village trustees Pete Douglas and Sue Padula will be sworn in at the village board meeting of Monday, May 13. Both won election April 9 in uncontested races.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • New Barrington village Trustee Pete Douglas speaks Tuesday about his upcoming term while at village hall.

       New Barrington village Trustee Pete Douglas speaks Tuesday about his upcoming term while at village hall.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • New Barrington village Trustee Sue Padula speaks Tuesday about her upcoming term while at village hall.

       New Barrington village Trustee Sue Padula speaks Tuesday about her upcoming term while at village hall.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 

In a reversal of the standard reality TV formula, the two new personalities Barrington viewers will start seeing on their local cable-access channel this month will be casting the votes, and their decisions will affect the audience's future.

Barrington's two new trustees, Pete Douglas and Sue Padula, will be sworn in May 13, along with returning incumbent Trustee Tim Roberts and third-term Village President Karen Darch.

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Because they ran unopposed in the April 9 election, Douglas and Padula have not had the chance to share their outlooks and positions with residents other than those they met during the campaign.

The two trustees-elect spoke with the Daily Herald on Tuesday about what motivated them to run for office and what they see as the critical decisions of the next four years.

For Douglas, a sales professional, this was his second run for the board after an unsuccessful campaign in 2009.

Then as now, downtown redevelopment is among his top priorities. But four years ago he hoped to kick-start a process that appeared stalled. Now he wants to see the successful continuation of work under way.

"My main motivation is to get involved," Douglas added. "Neither time have I been a one-issue kind of guy."

Padula, a former corporate attorney who previously volunteered at her children's schools, said she believes her responsibilities to the community have broadened as her kids have matured.

"As you get older, your world and the impact you want to make on it changes a little," she said.

Originally expecting to run against a slate comprised of Mike Kozel, Jim Magnanenzi and JoAnn Fletcher, the campaign became much quieter for Douglas and Padula after their opponents were removed from the ballot for failing to file statements of economic interest.

But the two watched with interest as Kozel challenged Darch as a write-in candidate. The issues debated -- the redevelopment of the southwest corner of Hough and Main streets, as well as the impact of increasing freight traffic on the Canadian National Railway -- allowed them to sharpen their own views.

Padula said she comes to the board with a fresh pair of eyes. While she doesn't necessarily agree with every decision of the previous board, she differs with Kozel's distrust of the research that went into them.

"I feel good about the way they've made those decisions," Padula said.

Douglas also believes the village is on the right track with its downtown redevelopment, arguing that a specifically "Barrington" approach was called for rather than a one-size-fits-all model of high-rise apartments or condos, as perhaps most successfully exemplified in the Northwest suburbs by Arlington Heights.

As demonstrated by last Thursday's public-input meeting at Barrington High School, a possible grade separation at the crossing of Route 14 and the CN tracks almost certainly will be a major issue of the next four years.

Residents and businesses directly affected by the proposal -- either by having their properties taken away or sitting adjacent to the possible overpass or underpass -- need to be heard, Douglas said.

This needs to be a time in which the whole village works together, with the village board taking a leadership role by listening to and educating the public, Padula added.

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