Endorsements: Kaptain for mayor; Dusenberry, Powell, Shaw, Steffen for council
Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain is seeking his second term in the city's top elected post. He faces a challenge from businessman Joseph Galvan, who is making a bid to become the city's first Hispanic mayor. Kaptain has been immersed in city business for decades; prior to his election as mayor, he served as a council member for six years. He was a homeowners association president, executive director of the Elgin Community Network and served on the city's planning and development commission. He makes concerted efforts to ensure that the city's increasingly diverse population is welcomed and included. Moreover, Kaptain maintains a vision for Elgin to be a vibrant, destination type of community with its expanding arts and entertainment options and by making better use of the riverfront and the Fox River that cuts through the heart of the city.
To be sure, Galvan comes to the campaign well-prepared and with an impressive background of civic involvement and municipal administration. A business owner, Galvan touts his leadership abilities and suggests there is a "disconnect" between Kaptain and the Hispanic community. It's true the city's efforts at furthering Hispanic involvement have fallen short, but it isn't for lack of effort. Most recently, Kaptain has been front and center on a multipronged initiative involving the very fabric of the community and one that should touch on its minority population.
It's the Alignment Collaborate for Education, a consortium of city, school and businesses leaders working on a goal of ensuring kids start kindergarten ready to learn, can read at grade level by Grade 3 and graduate from high school ready for college or employment -- all to improve the city's social and economic status. Kaptain is endorsed.
Elgin City Council
The Elgin City Council has seen more than a few 6-3 votes. In a nutshell, the "3's" are the fiscal conservatives who often vote against spending items and see themselves as guardians of the taxpayer dollar; the "6's" would argue they see the shades of gray and the financial challenges of running a city of 110,000 residents. Three of the four incumbents -- Rose Martinez, Tish Powell and John Steffen -- fall into the majority group; one, Toby Shaw, often ends up on the short end of the vote. Martinez was appointed to the council a few months ago; Steffen and Powell are council veterans with 12 years of collective experience. Steffen, an attorney with an array of community service, and Powell, a longtime community volunteer and former city employee who knows the ins and outs of government, are endorsed. We also endorse Shaw, a senior database manager, who has been a strong addition to the council since his election two years ago. He has shown that his views are not intractable. For instance, after learning the details of the city's outsourcing of economic development efforts through a division of the chamber of commerce, he now supports the effort, of which he once was critical. The challengers are an impressive lot, and they are: web designer Andrew Cuming; hotel manager Jason Dusenberry; taxi company owner Jaime Hjelm; retired IBM and AT&T executive Fred Moulton; lawyer and civil engineer Mohammad "Mo" Iqbal; project management and technology contractor Julie Schmidt; and Aurora police officer Kyle Scifert.
Several of these candidates seem to fall on the fiscally conservative side and produce some 5-4 votes on spending matters. We recommend one from that camp: Dusenberry, general manager of the Hampton Inn in Elgin. He has an excellent business and economic development background, and is passionate about keeping city spending in check. But we think he's open-minded enough not to be a knee-jerk "no" vote.