Edward Pope: 2021 candidate for Glendale Heights Village President
In the race for Glendale Heights Village President, incumbent Linda Jackson is facing challengers Chodri Ma Khokhar, Mike Ontiveroz and Edward Pope for the top spot in the April 6, 2021, election.
In-person early voting with paper ballots is now 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/.
Town: Glendale Heights
Occupation: Director of Business Development
Civic involvements: I am currently a board member of a 501(c)3 organization that works to raise funds for nonprofit groups. We have helped many veterans groups, cancer patients and the homeless community. This continues to be a passion of mine and I always look forward to having the opportunity to work with them.
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 feel the mayor should have a very active role during the pandemic as in all things. I think we should put out a weekly update to our residents and create a hotline so that anyone in the endangered class can get the highest priority to make it onto one of our lists. I also feel that the weekly updates will make our residents extremely informed so that they can manage their health and family life together with us.
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 think the village has done an overall good job in keeping all services running during the pandemic I don't believe there have been any layoffs or disruption in service. I just think we need to do a better job keeping all residents informed so they know what's going on and when and where they should be coming in for their health needs.
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 think continuing to follow the government guidelines, to continue to keep masking up staying 6 feet apart social distancing and keeping things to small gatherings are still the best for COVID-19. As previously mentioned, I do also feel we need some sort of hotline for information and outreach so that residents in need can get a hold of us and we can help them.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: This is a tough question because we do have to balance our income to maintain the quality of services that the residents expect. I think we can meet to look at are we right-sized in terms of employees for the village? Can we freeze taxes at least temporarily to give them some stability knowing that that won't change for maybe the next two years? Reduce fees to help them with their out-of-pocket expenses.
And I'm also an advocate of eliminating the vehicle stickers I don't feel that there is a need for them in this day and age. It's only a small savings to the residents but it will save the village quite a bit of money and I do feel they are unnecessary.
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: I think one of the most important things is that our roads are in bad shape and we are in great need of accelerating our road program. This would continue to be paid for by the gas tax. I think we could also look into grants or other funding sources so that we can accelerate the program. I also feel that continuing to upgrade our parks and recreation department is very important but anything that is not currently being funded by a grant should be put on hold until the pandemic is over, and we have the revenue stream to once again go forward with upgrading our parks.
Q: Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A: I think that I would be more inclined to have a medical marijuana facility, but I also think that it's something that we should put in front of the voters and let them decide. It is a great source of revenue, but it does come with a share of problems.
A thorough examination of how it has worked for other municipalities should be looked into with those towns and their police departments to make sure that crime has not gone up, that revenues are on track, and that has not become a burden to the city.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: Glendale Heights is a melting pot of ethnicities. I would be forming a multicultural board made up just of residents to look at the needs for all people in our village, made by people from our village. This would truly be an exciting group to have working side-by-side with our mayor and board.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I don't think it's about who is the best candidate for the job the current mayor and board have done a very good job. I just think it's time for some new ideas, some new leadership. And just a general change that can be brought to our residence. I feel I am a good leader, a great team builder, and have the listening skills that our residents are looking for to take the village into the future.