The Lake County races, request worth watching Tuesday

 
 
Posted11/7/2016 5:30 AM
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  • Republican Rod Drobinski, left, and Democrat Sam Yingling are candidates for the 62nd House District seat.

    Republican Rod Drobinski, left, and Democrat Sam Yingling are candidates for the 62nd House District seat.

  • Republican incumbent Michael Nerheim, left, and Democrat Matthew Stanton are Lake County state's attorney candidates.

    Republican incumbent Michael Nerheim, left, and Democrat Matthew Stanton are Lake County state's attorney candidates.

  • Republican incumbent Keith Brin and Democrat Erin Cartwright Weinstein are candidates for Lake County circuit court clerk.

    Republican incumbent Keith Brin and Democrat Erin Cartwright Weinstein are candidates for Lake County circuit court clerk.

Lake County voters will face Election Day choices featuring candidates who have been in contentious campaigns and a question about whether a village should start a local property tax.

Notable local races on Tuesday's ballot include the feisty 62nd House District race between Democratic state Rep. Sam Yingling of Grayslake and Republican challenger Rod Drobinski of Wauconda; a request to create Green Oaks' first municipal tax to help pay for road maintenance; and spirited countywide contests for state's attorney and circuit court clerk.

62nd House District

Yingling, 36, and Drobinski, 40, have disagreed on many issues and complained about distortions and falsehoods generated by or on behalf of the rival campaigns. Two years ago, Yingling narrowly topped Drobinski to win his second term representing the district, which includes all or parts of Grayslake, Hainesville, the Round Lake communities, Lake Villa, Gurnee, Wauconda, Wildwood and Gages Lake.

One issue where the candidates differ is potentially changing education funding from the current model that relies heavily on local property taxes to a formula that provides more from the state.

Yingling said it could be worth looking at other states for long-term school funding ideas. He said some states have a variety of taxes on personal property, with the money going into a general fund and divided proportionally per pupil.

Drobinski said he would press for a state funding mechanism requiring school districts to reduce administrative and bureaucratic costs.

He said the state might need to shift priorities and possibly cut other programs to direct more money toward schools.

Lake County state's attorney

Democrat Matthew Stanton is looking to upend incumbent Republican Michael Nerheim, saying not enough has been done to address a series of wrongful convictions that surfaced under the previous administration.

Nerheim, 43, of Gurnee, said he established a volunteer case review panel, which is made up of judges, lawyers and others, and an in-house conviction integrity unit after he was elected in 2012. New protocols and training programs were implemented as part of efforts to rebuild trust. Personnel changes also were made.

Stanton, 56, of Gurnee, contends a "culture of conviction" exists in the office and new leadership and a fresh perspective are needed.

Lake County circuit court clerk

Republican Keith Brin is looking to fend off Democrat Erin Cartwright Weinstein to win a second 4-year term.

The office handles criminal and civil court filings, traffic ticket payments, passport issuance and other tasks.

Brin, 44, of Highland Park, won the job in 2012. Weinstein, 43, a family law attorney the past 12 years and former Lake County prosecutor who lives in Gurnee, is making her first attempt at public office.

Technology has been a major issue. Brin said the office has come a long way since he took over, noting it now has a smartphone application and a website that allows users to find court information. Weinstein says Brin has not kept his promise to improve technology available to those who use dated computers in the Waukegan office.

Green Oaks

The current and future condition of roads in Green Oaks remains a concern for village officials who again are asking voters to bolster resources for a maintenance program.

After last spring's defeat of a request to borrow $18.8 million, voters this time are being asked to authorize the first municipal property tax in the village's 56-year history. If approved, the owner of a house valued at $300,000 would pay about $93 in village property tax each year, and the money would be earmarked for road repairs and maintenance.

The measure would generate $235,000 annually to be added to the $180,000 to $200,000 -- mostly state motor fuel tax funds and local vehicle sticker fees -- the village now receives for roadwork.

• Daily Herald staff writers Mick Zawislak and Lee Filas contributed to this report.

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