Sol Cristal Cabachuela: 2021 candidate for Mundelein trustee
7 candidates running for 3, 4-year seats
Occupation: Parent liaison, Mundelein High School
Civic involvement: Current Mundelein village clerk; current vice president of the Mundelein Citizen's Alumni Association; current vice president of the Mundelein Latino Police Academy; I assist in coordinating the food drives and different events (holiday drives, Thanksgiving Drive, etc.) in our community.
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: I think we can confront the pandemic with a combination of the three: providing leadership, listening to our constituents, and adhering to state and federal regulations. If the state and federal government mandates certain rules, we will need to follow them. However, we can also get creative in how we help our residents and businesses. For example, during the pandemic indoor dining was not allowed, so the Village tried to help businesses by allowing outdoor dining and providing seating for the businesses that were interested. The Economic and Development Committee (EDC) created a task force that visited all businesses and heard their concerns. This was very important so the Village could know how to best support businesses. I feel that we can also provide leadership in learning about different resources for our residents and having that information accessible to everyone.
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: These are unchartered waters. Mundelein officials and Village staff did their best in keeping up-to-date on restrictions and trying to help businesses. I believe we could have done more to help our residents during these times of hardship. Through the many food and supply relief events that I helped coordinate, I saw firsthand the need in our community. As the pandemic continued, the number of cars at food distributions continued to increase. Our neighbors are still struggling. The beautiful part of this is that our community saw a need and responded. Week after week we were overwhelmed with the donations for families in need. I believe in the power of community. Our Village could have joined forces with local organizations from the very beginning to help make sure that basic needs were being met. There could have been better communications to our residents regarding eviction moratoriums and the freeze on water shut-offs to help ease the worries.
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: Hopefully we don't ever go through this again, but if we did I would like to see the Village develop a proactive plan to respond to another crisis. We can take all of the learnings from this pandemic and document what worked well and what still needs to be developed. The most important thing, however, would be to grow our reserves to ensure we are financially stable to support our community. We can make sure basic necessities are met for all residents, businesses are given support, and there is clear communication between all taxing bodies in our community on how to best support each other.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: Build on reserves, prioritize projects. Which are important: roads. I think what's most important is to prioritize projects and really analyze if they are imperative now. I would consider any project that has to do with resident's safety a priority. Purchases on properties for future projects I would not consider a priority during a pandemic, unless we have funds available without dipping into emergency funds and we have a well thought-out plan on how to help out residents and businesses first. The key point is to plan and be proactive for hardships. We need to build on our reserves by looking into ways on how to generate more money, similar to the packaged liquor tax.
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 believe that adults can make their own choice and use it in their home, away from young children or adolescents. The revenues generated from marijuana sales have helped our Village balance our budget. In the future, when we are no longer in a pandemic and generating additional revenues, we can look into using those funds for different projects. One thing I would like to change is to enforce that people use it in their own space, away from the public. During walks in the parks with my family, I have seen people smoking marijuana out in public. I respect people's choice to use it, but I would also ask for the same respect for people that do not use it. It comes down to being good neighbors and respecting each other's opinions on it.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: Community-building is key to a wholesome, thriving community. Community-building to me means that we work together in making sure all our residents have what they need to feel supported and be successful. By collaborating with other taxing bodies in our village we can create an even better community for our residents. I envision partnerships where we can help provide activities for kids whose families may not have the means to partake in extracurricular activities. I envision partnerships with local organizations where residents can learn about different topics like mental health, how to start a business, owners/renters rights, etc. I envision the Village hosting events for residents that may need to renew their passport or work with health care providers to provide free flu shots. Mundelein is great at hosting many events and activities throughout the year, but we can make it a better community in providing different types of resources for all residents.
Q: What is the primary reason you're running for office? What is the most important issue?
A: One of the main reasons why I'm running for office is because our LatinX community has not been well represented in our Village. There are many factors to that (language barriers, not many candidates running for office, etc.) but I still believe it's the Board's responsibility to ensure all community members are aware of issues and understand what's going on in their community. By making sure we do simple things like translating documents/announcements and thinking outside of the box to communicate important issues, we can make a difference in breaking down those barriers. My intention is to serve all residents of Mundelein. However, I refer to our LatinX community because Mundelein's demographics is about 35% Hispanic and this issue has not been addressed.
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: One important infrastructure that needs to be addressed is a safe crosswalk or overpass across Route 45 on the South end of Mundelein. I have seen many residents walk to and from work and families cross Route 45 to take a walk or visit Hickory Park. It is very dangerous, especially in the winter time when the sidewalks are not plowed. I realize it is a difficult topic because Route 45 belongs to the state, but the idea needs to be explored. Perhaps this can be paid by different grants that are given to municipalities to increase pedestrian safety. On the other hand, the pedestrian bridge that is being placed by the Metra Station could have been put on the back burner. I understand that the purpose is to give people on the East side access to the train station and help support the growing number of apartments in the area. However, I don't believe it's imperative that we have this overpass now.