Jacob Hill: 2021 candidate for Elmhurst 2nd Ward Alderman
In the April 6, 2021, consolidated election, incumbent Jacob Hill and challenger Tristan E. Dacre are vying for Elmhurst 2nd Ward Alderman.
The Daily Herald asked the candidates several questions about issues facing the city.
Below are Hill's responses.
In-person early voting with paper ballots is available at DuPage County Fairgrounds Building 5, 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton. In-person early voting with touch-screen voting begins March 22 at locations throughout the county. Learn more at www.dupageco.org/earlyvoting/.
Occupation: Librarian and university professor, Elmhurst University
Civic involvements: Appointed 2nd Ward Alderman in December 2020; York Community Advisory Committee, North Graue Woods Benevolent Association, Graue Woods Flooding Task Force, Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce Memorial Day Parade Committee
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: At this point in the national vaccine distribution rollout, I would see my role as informational as opposed to leadership on the issue.
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: I believe Elmhurst's city services during the pandemic were very good, considering that we had a hiring freeze in place and had staff filling multiple roles and duties to make up for vacant positions.
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: I'm not sure. I think we need to have local, regional, and national conversations about acceptable vs. non-acceptable risk. What is the threshold for us as a society for risk that we can live with (e.g. vaccinated people who might still contract COVID-19 and die as a result) vs. unacceptable risk?
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: Elmhurst has already frozen hiring for positions that have become vacant over the pandemic.
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: Stormwater and sanitary sewer infrastructure are always one of Elmhurst's most pressing issues, due to the age of our system and our vulnerability to extreme storm events. I think some items, such as public EV charging stations, are not well matched with the realities of electric vehicle needs (e.g. hybrids and plug-in hybrids, that are not as reliant on public charging infrastructure).
Q: Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A: I would have to evaluate that issue in the future; for now, we appear to be coming off that topic as a matter of community concern.
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: Although recreational marijuana sales are a potential tax revenue source for Elmhurst, I am not enthusiastic about the possibility. As a parent, I think the presence of these commercial outlets in a community sends an unintended message about what the community values. To me, it's a complicated issue that I would prefer to discuss at length.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: The power of our existing community organizations to effect change and support community. I feel that our existing civic and social organizations (American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Elks, Friends of the Public Library and many more) should be brought into discussions as to how they can best work with the city in terms of programming and cross-organizational support. I know that we could also help these entities with promotion and resource-sharing.
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