David Richter: 2021 candidate for Lisle Village Board
Seven candidates are competing for three, 4-year seats on the Lisle Village Board in the April 6 election. They are incumbent Marie Hasse; and challengers Robert Taylor; Lisle First slate members William Trussell and Dan Grecco; and Be Lisle (Lisle Forward) slate members Thomas Duffy, David Richter and Mary Jo Mullen, Lisle Township supervisor whose term is expiring.
Occupation: Chief investment officer, GreatBanc Trust Company
Civic involvement: Lisle Park District commissioner since 2013; active member of the Lisle Chamber of Commerce since 2015; member and coordinator of the Lisle Police volunteer group and the Lisle Emergency Management Agency since 2015; and multiyear recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award
Party slate: Be Lisle
Q: How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state and federal authorities?
A: Officials at the federal, state, and even county level are going to have much better data than anyone at the village level. Given this, I believe village leadership needs to set the example by following the proscribed actions and precautions laid out by these better-informed authorities while also working as advocates for our community to bring attention and resources to our community.
Q: Did your town continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A: I believe staff should be commended for their ability to keep the village operating under difficult conditions both through the pandemic and through conflicted leadership. Village leadership could have taken a more active role in keeping citizens informed, and while uniformity of opinion can be counterproductive in government, uniformity of message to the residents should be paramount. The inconsistent dissemination of information and inconsistent actions by people in leadership roles is to be lamented.
Q: In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A: One of our greatest weapons against COVID is the immense amount of knowledge and research generated during the pandemic. One of the failures during the pandemic is the lack of a unified and dependable flow of information from local sources when public trust of the federal government, state governments, and the media is at all-time lows. There should be a plan in place to push vetted, actionable information to Lisle residents from reliable local sources. Not knowing what the next crisis will be makes planning difficult, but a policy of swift action at the local level leaves us less susceptible to problems and delays at higher levels of government.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: While I am certain there are some cuts that can be made to the village budget, I think those opportunities are "de minimis" in comparison to the benefits to be had by implementing a villagewide pro-business agenda. A vibrant business community is the key to reducing the tax burden on Lisle residents and also brings with it an increased quality of life.
Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?
A: Given the history of Lisle's problems with stormwater and flood management, I don't believe that issue should ever take a back burner. Beyond that, the village's master plan from 2018 lays out quite a few low-expense, non-disruptive methods of improving the parking, walkability, and attractiveness of the village. I believe we should hold off on major infrastructure projects until we have seen a resurgence of business activity. We should see what form that economic growth takes and then plan out infrastructure improvements to support the new form Lisle has taken.
Q: Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board/council has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A: I disagree with the stance the board has taken regarding marijuana sales. While many of the supporters of cannabis sales focus on possible tax revenue lost to neighboring towns that do allow cannabis sales, I think the real issue comes down to individual freedom. The government's role in "guiding the morals" of people is in direct opposition to the fundamental values this country was based upon: individual freedom, personal responsibility, independence and personal privacy. The times the government has embarked on these legislative crusades, like 18th Amendment Prohibition, have proved disastrous.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: I believe attracting and supporting local businesses is the key to a prosperous Lisle. One key stumbling point in attracting great businesses is Lisle's reputation for being difficult to work with. Until that reputation is addressed and reversed, our new business deal flow will always suffer compared to our neighboring towns; solid, smart, well-capitalized, and profitable business opportunities will simply leave Lisle off the list of possibilities. We have some great existing programs and other new ideas to assist new businesses, but if we never get that first meeting, prospective Lisle entrepreneurs will never hear our story.