Endorsement: Baldino, Bertucci, Grasse, Tinaglia for Arlington Heights village board
We have long held that Arlington Heights is one of the jewels of Chicago's suburbs, a model in many respects for other communities that follow the spine of Metra's Union Pacific Northwest Line from Park Ridge on up to Harvard.
It's not that the village is free of challenges -- the infrastructure is aging, the commercial entrance at the south is slumping and government inclusiveness is wanting.
But all that said, there is a vibrancy in Arlington Heights that is hard to match elsewhere. As just one example, consider Arlington Alfresco and the invigorating response it provided last year to the pandemic's isolation.
This is a professionally run community overseen by a capable village board of trustees who historically have worked together as respectful teammates rather than as the kind of adversaries engaged in political intrigues you might see in some other suburbs.
Four seats on the village board are up for election on April 6, including two seats being vacated by incumbents. Greg Padovani, appointed to the board two years ago, decided not to run. And Bert Rosenberg is stepping down after two decades of care devoted in particular to watching the village finances and looking out for the business community. They will be missed.
But six outstanding candidates will greet Arlington Heights voters on the ballot, and we're impressed by the lot of them, disappointed only in that we will not be able to give two of them our endorsements. We base our recommendations on the following rationale:
The imminent sale of Arlington Park puts a premium on experience. As sad as the end of the village's horse racing legacy is, it also provides the community -- and the surrounding suburbs too, for that matter -- with tremendous opportunity.
What happens to that parcel has implications for Arlington Heights and the suburbs for decades into the future.
The village needs to embrace that opportunity with imagination, experience and know-how.
That means incumbent Jim Tinaglia, a detail-oriented architect whose enthusiasm for the possibilities is enticing and seemingly boundless. He's thinking big and Arlington Heights ought to think that way.
And it means incumbent Rich Baldino. Baldino is not flashy, but he has a nuts-and-bolts tenacity that plays an important role on the village board.
In addition to Tinaglia and Baldino, we endorse Jim Bertucci. He is a financial planner who is well suited to replace Rosenberg's role on the board, a representative of business interests and a guardian for the taxpayer. But that's not all Bertucci is. He's a visionary and a civic leader, and he would be a great trustee.
Finally, we endorse Nicolle Grasse, a hospice chaplain who would bring added balance and perspective to the board, a socially- and service-oriented collaborator who would contribute new ideas and a fresh way of looking at things. Her wish is to build on the village's "City of Good Neighbors" motto to create a community wide Good Neighbor Project to foster an inclusive collective identity. It is, we think, a breathtaking idea.
Two other strong candidates are running as well -- veterans advocate Will Beiersdorf and civically engaged Wendy Dunnington. We're impressed by both of their candidacies and regret that we are unable to endorse them. If they do not win, we hope they will nonetheless stay involved.