David Cannon: 2023 candidate for Aurora City Council Ward 5


Town: Aurora

Age on Election Day: 34

Occupation: Accountant

Employer: Robert Half

Previous offices held: N/A


Q: What is the most serious issue your community will face in the coming years and how should the city council or village board respond to it?

A: We are currently in a housing crisis locally, and will continue to be unless we start building more units, changing zoning restrictions, and taking a more active role in development. Housing is in short supply - less than ½ of 1% of units are available currently - leading to higher and higher rents. At the bottom end of the market, this is pushing people out of housing, and making it extremely difficult for the working class to afford even a modest unit. We should pilot a municipal land bank - a local authority to manage inventory of surplus land - which would give cooperatives and nonprofits a right of first refusal to acquire and redevelop city owned property. Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity and Neighbor Project can not do this alone. We must support their ongoing efforts and expand the scope of not for profit housing development in Aurora.

Q: How would you describe the state of your community's finances?

A: Working people are struggling right now. We are feeling it at the grocery store, our utility bills, and our monthly rent. The number of individuals receiving food at the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry in January 2023 was nearly double what it was in 2021 and 2022. We must come together to help one another in bad times in order to prosper together in good. The city must do more for the people that live here.

We could improve the financial health of the city (and regain public trust) by banning political contributions by people and businesses who do business with the city, effectively ending pay-to-play. Also, there should be more transparency in city contracts.

Q: What should be the three top priorities for spending in your community during the next four years?

A: From talking to my neighbors, I believe we should prioritize spending on HOUSING (more, affordable, sustainable), INFRASTRUCTURE (roads, bridges, sidewalks), and SOCIAL SERVICES (Senior & Disability Services, access to food, homelessness services, mental health services).

That said, I believe we should determine spending more democratically than we currently do by implementing a practice of participatory budgeting - where Aurorans would directly decide how to spend our own tax money. This is already happening successfully in thousands of cities around the world. This structure would give some power back to the citizens and give us more reason to care about what goes on at the city level.

Q: Are there areas of spending that need to be curtailed? If so, what are they?

A: TIF districts must be reined in. These are supposed to be used for infrastructure that benefits all citizens. We must stop giving massive handouts of public money to private corporations headquartered elsewhere. They are extractive, expensive, and risky. We are not a private equity firm, but a municipality. Let's act like one.

Also, we should transition the city's fleet from gas to electric as soon as possible. Many different models of reliable, long-range electric vehicles are currently available, and should be leveraged. They are more efficient, cheaper to operate, and cheaper to maintain, not to mention better for the environment. This is a guaranteed return on investment and should be pursued in earnest.

Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project the community must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what project(s) can be put on the back burner?

A: In the 5th Ward, I will finish the sound barrier on Orchard. The affected residents have put up with this nuisance for far too long. The current alderman has had two terms to resolve the problem, yet here we are, still waiting. If I am elected, I will see it through. It will be completed with input from the residents of the 5th Ward and it will be done correctly.

The casino development project should be put on the backburner. Under the current administration, we are about to take out a $58M+ municipal bond, which is supposed to be repaid by a TIF district on a new casino space. As we appear to be entering into a recession, this move is highly risky and should be reconsidered.

With the gaming expansion signed into law in 2019, the suburban casino market is about to become highly saturated. Six brand new casinos will be built in Illinois, including one in Chicago proper. And if that wasn't enough, Penn Gaming is also building a new casino in Joliet.

Q: Describe your experience working in a group setting to determine policy. What is your style in such a setting to reach agreement and manage local government? Explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions with your village board or city council.

A: I have determined policy on a number of boards. My approach is democratic - Does what we're writing take into account the will of the people, or is it being dictated from above?

Policy should be simple, yet precise. I will consult with city employees, policy experts, and my constituents whenever crafting ordinances.

I will work with my fellow alderpeople to improve wellbeing, maintain infrastructure, and build community in our fair city. We will demand more on behalf of the working families of Aurora and we will get it. If you vote yes on everything that comes before you, why do you even bother calling it a democracy? And if there is conflict, so be it. Conflict is not necessarily bad - it can help you get to the essence of an issue and resolve it through good communication and negotiation. The alternative is often bad policy.

Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?

A: When confronted by a pollution problem from the Hello Fresh plant, I rallied residents who had already created a survey and begun gathering air quality data. We canvassed the neighborhood and held public forums to determine the facts of the situation and to form a plan of action.

After doing our due diligence, we presented our findings to the city council and demanded action. Hello Fresh was forced to respond publicly and remedies have been promised. We will continue to hold them accountable until the issue is resolved. This is what an alderperson should be doing.

I will not dismiss your concerns when it is inconvenient for me. I will fight for what is right, no matter what. I will not be a rubber stamp. I can not be bought. I will not be intimidated by bullies.

I am an excellent listener and am highly empathetic. I will fight for my constituents and work tirelessly for your benefit. I hope to surprise you with my creativity, attention, and passion for good governance.

Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?

A: I have heard many of my neighbors voice concern about speeding and traffic accidents on West Galena Boulevard. There have been a number of deadly accidents on this stretch in recent years.

Reducing speed would not only reduce the number of traffic accidents, but also the likelihood of death in these collisions. A novel solution to this problem is to convert Galena from a four lane undivided road into a three-lane undivided road that consists of two through traffic lanes and a two-way left-turn lane in the center. Benefits include: crash reduction; fewer rear-end and left-turn crashes; fewer lanes for people walking to cross; provides space for bicycle lanes, bus stops, curb extensions or other uses; simplifies left turns from side streets; smoother traffic flow; and less lane switching.

Is it possible that a little paint could make walking and biking safer (think WAHS and Greenman), improve public safety, and save us money and lives? I think it's worth asking the question.

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