Endorsements: Burke, Schaller and Pearson in Lake Barrington
For years, Lake Barrington village board elections have been startlingly quiet. In fact, the incumbents -- despite serving eight years in one case and 10 in another -- have never faced an election battle.
Come April, six candidates will be vying for three spots on the board. The reason? A contentious debate over a Speedway gas station at Route 14 and Kelsey Road, approved by the board over the angry objections of residents who lived nearby.
On one side of the debate are challengers Agnes Tomasian, Lou Incandela and Christopher Pearson. Running as a slate, the three argue that Speedway was a poor choice for the site and that the board failed to listen to residents' concerns, which ranged from increased traffic to questions about the risks of contaminated groundwater.
On the other side are incumbents Andrew Burke and John Schaller, who point out that Speedway will generate about $120,000 a year in sales taxes for the village and that development is key to keeping services up and taxes down. Newcomer James Thompson hasn't taken a stand on Speedway, but seems more in line with the incumbents than the other candidates.
Few developments are going to garner 100 percent support in a community, and boards must weigh the needs of the whole village against any opposition. That was the challenge facing the board on the Speedway station, and while better communication should be a goal going forward, we believe both incumbents have served the village well. We endorse Burke and Schaller.
We do, however, agree that an infusion of new blood is a good thing and are concerned that Thompson is too closely aligned to the current board to provide that. Among the other challengers, we like Pearson's background in budgeting and finance, and his stance that Lake Barrington needs to be more proactive in marketing itself to attract development. He gets our support.