Endorsements: Clements, Kaven, Maladra for Geneva City Council
Two years ago, we said the Geneva City Council operated diligently. The city has been well-run for years. People are proud to live there. It's no surprise that during election season there's no shortage of qualified candidates.
Voters will elect three aldermen April 2. Incumbent Michael Clements is challenged by Tad Hemming in Ward 2, newcomers Paula Merrington and Gabriel Kaven square off in Ward 4, and in Ward 5 incumbent Craig Maladra is opposed by former alderman Tom Simonian, who lost the mayoral race in a bitter battle two years ago.
Residents OK'd a sales tax increase last year, as the council saw a balanced budget and a decreasing property tax levy. Council members are aware of empty storefronts in the city's still-strong shopping districts.
Clements was endorsed in 2017, lost to Richard Marks, and was appointed with Marks' backing in 2018 to fill a vacancy. Clements is strong on the issues and knows that extra time and dedication mean there's more to being an alderman than showing up Monday to vote. Clements works in quantitative finance but, in her words "is not shackled by numbers." Given changing trends in retail, he said he'd like to work with the city to develop policies to repurpose and modernize certain properties in commercial areas, advocate for more mixed-use development, and consider residential use above existing commercial structures. Clements is endorsed.
Merrington said "people don't seem to know what's going on" in Geneva and she wants to change that. Kaven has expanded views on local matters such as thinking beyond "another generation of big-box stores" and addressing empty storefronts. He suggests dining, entertainment and housing be considerations the next decade. Kaven is endorsed.
Among his admirable qualities, Simonian is budget-conscious, always looking for ways to save and speaks his mind. Maladra, first elected in 2003, gets credit for his work in the reduced tax rate and helping keep finances on point. The Home Rule advocate is low maintenance, an even-keel collaborator, and good at what he does. Maladra is endorsed.