We've said this numerous times this election season: What knowledgeable, engaged and personable candidates we have in this race. Any one of them would make a strong elected leader. In the case of Wheaton City Council, it's six people running for two seats, one in each of the East and West districts. Here's the rundown:
Candidates are: Michael Barbier, 32, a civil engineer for the DuPage County transportation department; Thomas Dymit, a professional musician and North Central College faculty member; W. Thorsen "Thor" Saline, 52, a program manager for DuPage County's probation and court services department.
Saline is the incumbent, well-versed on city issues, supportive of the city administration and an advocate for looking into lowering speed limits and stronger enforcement in some residential areas of Wheaton.
No knock on Saline or Dymit, who seems like he would be a bulldog on keeping taxes low, but we give the nod to Barbier, who says his engineering background would give the council a member with needed expertise in public infrastructure. We also like his creativity. He suggests that to elevate Wheaton's downtown into more of a destination, the city needs to do something dramatic, such as creating a walking and biking path that connect to the venerable Illinois Prairie Path. Is that viable? Would it be expensive? Maybe, but we like such out-of-the-box thinking. Barbier is endorsed.
Candidates are: Robert "Bobby" McNeilly, 28, a leadership director for Turning Point USA who has served on the city's community relations commission; Lynn Robbins, 49, a project manager for retail stores and development companies; and Todd Scalzo, a local attorney and a two-term incumbent. McNeilly is full of enthusiasm and we salute Robbins' passion for getting better lighting for streets near the commuter train station.
But in this race, we like Scalzo, who has a strong appreciation for how well the city is run (i.e., he notes despite being a predominantly bedroom community, residents' tax bills are comparable or lower than adjacent communities). He joined the council when Wheaton was going through a rough time, laying off workers and played a prominent role in helping Wheaton weather the period still boasting a AAA bond rating and more streamlined processes to deliver services. Scalzo is endorsed.