Endorsements: Goldman, Piwko, Westberg for Huntley village board:
Although the five candidates for three, 4-year terms on the Huntley village board differ in their views on some issues, they all agree the village rose to the challenge in its handling of the pandemic, all while operating a lean budget and holding taxes steady.
The village board was quick to offer help to businesses and restaurants by allowing outdoor eating on the Square and other public areas in the downtown area, and fast-tracking requests for tents and other accommodations.
This is a board which seems to have a firm grasp on what its residents need.
The incumbents in this race are JR Westberg, Ronda Goldman and John M. Piwko.
Piwko, a board member since 2007 and a quality assurance business consultant, is opposed to recreational marijuana sales in the village and would like to see the village bring in a destination attraction, such as a museum.
Goldman, a retired teacher who is involved in several local service organizations, including the Lions Club (honored as Lion of the Year in 2020), the Chamber of Commerce and the historical society, has served on the board since 2013. She approves the use of medical marijuana and would like to see more affordable apartments built in the village.
Westberg, a trustee since 2013, impressed us with his detailed knowledge of current and proposed infrastructure projects in the village and commitment to running a tight, balanced budget. He shows an openness to consider a recreational marijuana dispensary site if, after considering all the hidden costs and variables, it would bring sufficient income to the village to make it worthwhile, without negatively impacting residents' safety. He favors adding a water feature such as an ice-skating rink to the downtown area and technology improvements such as a villagewide mesh Wi-Fi network to help students with remote learning and adults working from home.
Newcomers Mary Holzkopf and Burt Natkins are strong challengers, Holzkopf, owner of a local bakery, has some good ideas about improving outreach and education within the village, and Natkins, an attorney with a background in planning and zoning commissions, would like to see improvements to the village's cycling paths and promote bike safety.
Their ideas are worthwhile. But when a village board is serving its residents as well as this one is, you don't look to change it.
Goldman, Piwko and Westberg are endorsed, but we encourage Holzkopf and Natkins to run in the future or for another local office, as they have valuable experience and insight to contribute.