David Rupp: Candidate Profile
Wildwood Park Board
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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
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Family: I am a husband of 33 years to my wife Shylie and we are the proud parents of two grown children and two lovely granddaughters.
Occupation: Project Engineer
Education: Bachelor of Science from Cal Poly Pomona
Civic involvement: I served Wildwood Park District Board in the 1990s. I was both a commissioner and vice president. I am also a volunteer softball coach for Warren Township.
Elected offices held: Vice President and Commissioner of the Wildwood Park District during the 1990s
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
I am a twenty five year resident of Wildwood and was on the Wildwood Park District Board in the 1990s serving six years as Commissioner and Vice-President. I have a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the California State University of Pomona and am currently employed as a Project Engineer. Married to my wife Shylie for 33 years, we enjoy living here in Wildwood right on Gages Lake. I am a proud father of my two grown children and grandfather of two, who all enjoy our Wildwood community parks and lakes. I am motivated to run for commissioner again as I have major concerns about the recent park district finances and the condition of the Wildwood parks and lakes that we love. The board and staff spent recklessly while our parks and lakes were neglected. I am running to make sure that kind of spending never happens again.
How do you assess the state of the district's finances? What, if any, changes do you propose to alter the district's financial picture, whether through cost reduction or revenue increases? Please be as specific as possible on where you would propose cutting or how you would propose increasing revenue.
Reviewing the Wildwood Park District financial documents, thousands of dollars were misspent on park district credit cards. There has been rampant corruption from the past director down to all of the commissioners with the exception of recently elected Commissioner Dan Bundalo. The two remaining commissioners still on the board that allowed and participated in this corruption should be held accountable. If elected I will see to it that the taxpayer funds received by the Wildwood Park District are spent on park district improvements and not on personal spending, gift cards and restaurant meals. The park district board even rented limousines to go to parties. We need to rebuild the Wildwood Park District and make the Wildwood Park District great again.
What programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?
We need to take a close look at all of the programs. Programs should be offered at the lowest cost available to provide our community with options to enjoy. I was involved in the past community event of Apple-fest that was a yearly Wildwood Park District Festival. It was events like this that made us a community and was enjoyed by many residents. Apple-fest needs to return to Wildwood again. As a commissioner I commit to working hard to make that happen by 2018 if not before.
Are there any unmet recreational needs? If yes, what are they and how would you propose paying for them?
I will encourage our neighbors to let us know what programs we are lacking and we will take a detailed and comprehensive review to satisfy our resident needs. Both of our lakes in Wildwood are in dire need of attention. The boat ramps on Gages Lake need complete renovations. I question where is all the boat ramp key fee money that residents paid from the past years. That money was earmarked to maintain these ramps - what happened to that money? Valley Lake was neglected for years and needs immediate attention. I will make lake management for both our Wildwood lakes a number one priority. Our lakes are precious assets we must maintain for all Wildwood residents current and future use.
If you are a newcomer, what prompted you to run for the park board? If you're an incumbent, list your accomplishments or key initiatives in which you played a leadership role.
I was on the Wildwood Park District board with past director Joann Ellison over 15 years ago. She is a woman I hold with the highest level of respect. Before my first meeting as a new board member she gave me a book of "Roberts Rules of Order" which dictates how government boards and meetings operate. After attending the last Wildwood Park District meeting in January, I think most of the current board members need to obtain a copy and read it. I already know the commitment it takes to be a board member and I look forward to getting back to work with the residents and give our community a park district we can again all be proud of. The Wildwood Park District should be known for its outstanding lakes, parks, programs and community events, not for reckless spending.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
We are on our way to big changes with the park district finances. Since the last election, the three full time employees that were misusing those credit cards have all resigned and we have a new director and staff. The monthly credit card bills that were in the thousands of dollars are now only hundreds of dollars. The misspending has stopped and currently there is only necessary spending with receipts supplied. The board can now make sure that those extra tax payer dollars are spent on improvements all residents can enjoy. My experience in engineering and project management will be an asset in undertaking these projects. We need to have a majority of commissioners that will work for the people of Wildwood and to rebuild Wildwood's parks, programs and lakes. I am one of those Candidates for the Wildwood Park District Commissioner.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
My father-in-law was an engineer that contributed work to NASA and was a man of highest character and intelligence.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
I learned the importance of hard work. My mother was a teacher and my father an engineer, and they both inspired me.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
I competed in the Olympic Trials as a high jumper. I would go back pause working and devote more time in preparing for it.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
Art was my favorite. It taught me how to find the beauty in the world around me.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Do what you enjoy. Be passionate so you can achieve great things.