Jenifer R. Vinezeano: 2021 candidate for Rolling Meadows City Council, Ward 4
Jenifer R. Vinezeano: 2021 candidate for Rolling Meadows City Council, Ward 4
2 Candidates -- 1 seat
Hometown: Rolling Meadows
Occupation: Home Care Field Nurse
Employer: Northwest Community Hospital
Civic involvement: Current 4th Ward Alderman, City of Rolling Meadows; Alderman Liaison for Economic Development Committee City of Rolling Meadows
Q. What is the primary reason you're running for office? What is the most important issue?
A. The primary reason I am running for reelection is to continue severing and advocating for the residents of the 4th ward. I want to help make Rolling Meadows a community we can continue to be proud of for generations to come. The most important issue for my reelection will be to continue supporting our residents and being their voice on the city council. Representing the residents of the 4th Ward in our community has to be the most important issue, because what matters to them and what they need and want are what influence what is important to me.
Q. Given the upcoming sale of the Arlington racetrack just outside of town, what kind of development would you prefer to see as a replacement?
A. I think it premature to comment on the type of development at this time. I do however, hope that whatever does replace the racetrack brings economic prosperity to all of the surrounding communities.
Q. How should the city of Rolling Meadows proceed in trying to influence any development of Arlington Park?
A. I don't think city of Rolling Meadows as an influence in this development as the property is located in Arlington Heights. As a city council member I would offer my support for the city of Rolling Meadows to be apart of the discussion and or planning of the site.
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. My role during the pandemic as an Alderwoman this past year has been imperative and if reelected will continue to be instrumental in planning of health safety concerns such as COVID-19. My medical and infection control training as a nurse has allowed me to assist city staff and city council during these unprecedented times. I have been on the front lines of treating COVID-19 and with that knowledge I have been able to share my experiences and information with residents, staff, and council to make our community a safer place and help stop the spread of COVID-19. I have, and will continue to reference public health officials during these times, and encourage residents to seek out reputable sources for information. In a time when there is so much information being shared it can be difficult for people to know what to believe. I share the information I have with residents and will continue doing so, to make our community a safe and healthy place to live.
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. As an Alderwoman on the current city council one of my goals during the early stages of the pandemic was to continue serving the community in any way possible. Council continued to have weekly city council meetings, public works continued with services, with some of my insight to public works on safety precautions with serving the public during a pandemic the services our community has come to expect continued. I was also an advocate for our local business in assisting them with outdoor dining options and shopping locally.
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. COVID-19 has taught us so much as a community, as a health care professional, as an Alderwoman, and as a resident in my community. Having enough PPE available and having the proper training is imperative for our current pandemic situation and for planning for the future. Infection prevention education is also very important, educating the public on proper infection prevention is key in decreasing the spread of germs. Having the resources established to share this information with the residents has to be in place and established for all future events. A safeguard I would like to work on if reelected is to have measures in place to have more community outreach during a public health crisis so that some of our most vulnerable populations are not neglected if ever faced with a situation such as this again.
Q. What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A. During a pandemic there are so many uncertainties, which is why I was the 1st Alderperson at the start of the pandemic asked our Finance Director, and other department directors to re-evaluate their current projects and future projects in the next year and prioritize them. The impact of the pandemic on the city's budget was and continues to be unknown. I believe it is important to have the directors of our departments work with the council in assisting lead us with making cuts to our current budget and projects. Once these are presented to the council then I would take these suggestions back to the residents for their input on them, since it will ultimately affect all of us. Despite being in a pandemic I am pleased that we did not have a tax increase to tax payers and there were not any community services cut.
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 of the most important infrastructure projects that is currently not on the cities capital improvement plans is waste disposal services. This topic has been discussed among residents for a long time and the residents of the 4th ward have voiced their concerns that they would like improvements to this service. City Council has briefly brought this topic up in previous meetings, but this item is important to the residents of my ward, so that makes it important to me. Residents would like trash cans that they can put to the curb and the city garbage trucks have a swing arm that will lift the trash can and empty the trash. There needs to be further discussion if our current fleet of trucks can be outfitted with the necessary equipment to make these changes, since that will determine the cost of the project. The other cost would be material like the trash cans. It has been proposed by residents that the cost of the project be offset by an increase in the monthly waste bill. I would like to explore if there are state or federal environmental grants that we can apply for to help with the cost before we propose any increase to residents.
Q. Do you agree or disagree with the stance your municipality has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A. I agree with permitting recreational marijuana sales in our community. Despite what some people may believe, I do not support it for the tax revenue reasons. I support it for the medical and safety reasons. People that buy recreational marijuana now have a safe, controlled environment to make their purchase at. This establishment is heavily governed and monitored by state agencies. This ensures the safety of the product that its customers are purchasing. I have seen all too often the bad outcome when a person makes a purchase of recreational marijuana and it turns out to be a bad purchase and the person ends up in the hospital. The establishment that currently sells recreational marijuana in our community is a well respected business that contributes to our community and its residents and I am happy that our residents have a safe business to support.
Q. What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A. A program that I am passionate about that I would like to expand on if reelected is our senior program. We have a population in our community that needs more assistance than they are currently getting. We currently offer services such as discounted snow plowing, discounted home repairs, free home safety inspections, and assistance with trash. I would like to expand this program with discounted yard services, health resources, discounted transportation, senior programs with local business, and a good neighbor program. This is a program that can be built upon for years to come and that can serve so many that need it in our community.