Mundelein candidate slams branding project as waste of time and money
A Mundelein trustee candidate on Monday soundly criticized the village's recent branding campaign, calling it "a waste of time."
Candidate Kerston Russell served on the village's volunteer branding committee, which formed in 2013. He said the mission behind the effort -- to spruce up Mundelein's image and make it an attractive place to live, work and shop -- "has real value."
But he slammed village leaders for taking little action other than adopting a new star-shaped logo for the town.
"The branding process was a complete waste of time and money," Russell said during a candidate interview at the Daily Herald's Libertyville bureau. "I think the iconic brand we came up with wasn't worth the $150,000 we spent on it."
Russell and two other candidates -- Dakotah Norton and Paul Roscoe -- participated in the interview session. A fourth candidate, Bill Rekus, had a schedule conflict and fielded questions earlier by telephone.
The four candidates are running for three open seats on the board. All three seats carry 4-year terms.
Three seats are open because a trio of incumbents -- Terri Voss, Ed Sullivan and Robin Meier -- aren't seeking re-election.
The candidates were asked about public safety, video gambling and other issues. They agreed on many points, but the branding question got a passionate response from Russell.
One of the goals of the branding project was to promote local entrepreneurialism, Russell said. Officials have failed that mission by not promoting Mundelein as a place to local and build small businesses, he said.
The current trustees, Russell said, "don't understand entrepreneurialism."
"Forget the logo," Russell said. "They need to embrace the mission itself."
None of the other candidates were as critical of the marketing campaign.
Rekus, who also volunteered on the project, said officials must promote Mundelein as a "vibrant community and "a great place to live" on social media. Officials need to share that message with the local community and potential real estate developers, he said.
Roscoe said a village marketing campaign should target people living outside Mundelein. It should promote Mundelein as a transportation hub with a Metra station and close access to major roads, he said.
Officials should also promote the town as a place to locate light commercial and industrial businesses, Roscoe said.
Like Russell, Norton said Mundelein could improve its image by creating an incubator program for new, small businesses. He also said Mundelein should be innovative and suggested village hall accept a digital currency called bitcoin for utility payments.
"Just having that option to accept bitcoin would be cool," Norton said.
Norton also said officials should host more community events in the downtown area.
"In Long Grove they have their big strawberry fest, (and) we could embrace something similar," Norton said.