Marc Bregman: 2021 candidate for Villa Park trustee
Six candidates are running for three seats on the Villa Park Village Board.
City: Villa Park
Occupation: Villa Park Police Lieutenant (retired)
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 as a Village Trustee is to support the efforts and goals of the Village. This includes following the recommended CDC guidelines and procedures. We want to make sure that all of our employees are well educated and have all the proper safety equipment necessary for them to do their jobs safely. We also want to support our community and make sure our citizens have the best information possible and to help anyone who needs additional assistance or resources.
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 that Villa Park did the best it could under the situation at hand. Throughout the last year the information and resources have been fluid and constantly changing. Villa Park has adjusted accordingly and has done an exceptional job in keeping up. Our emergency services and public works department as well as our community development continue business as usual while adjusting for social distancing and personal protection equipment usage. Although I don't have a specific incident in mind, I can say with certainty that the officers of our police department put their PPE on, got into their squads and performed their duties like any other day without missing a beat.
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: At the village level I think its difficult to come up with policies on how to deal with hypothetical health crisis. We took guidance from our federal government which trickled down to the state, county and then local. We have a number of procedures set up for emergencies situations but not a lot of procedures set up for long term issues such as the one we are experiencing. I think looking back on the pandemic there will be opportunity to reflect and study the short comings and successes which will surely be documented and put into the plan book for the future.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: I think from a financial standpoint Villa Park is surviving at this point. I would like to see a real shift in economic development and a streamline process to support new incoming businesses as well as businesses that are currently in existence. We really need to push for new businesses to come to Villa Park. The Village needs to be ready to support these businesses and help them get off the ground. We need to make sure the businesses that are currently here have all of the resources we can provide them to keep them running especially with the restrictions that are being forced upon them due to 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: There is a press and plan for street restoration which many citizens are frustrated with. The process has taken a very long time and for the streets that really need some work, there doesn't seem to be much progress. I think more information about what is planned and when it is planned for needs to be put out. I would like to be able to explain to the citizens what they can expect and when. There has been a lot of talk about doing some type of over or under pass for pedestrians at the Union Pacific Tracks. This is fine if someone else were going to pay for it. I believe this to be an expensive endeavor and without much benefit it return. People would like the convenience of this but there hasn't ever been one either so it's not something that will be missed. This could definitely be put on the back burner.
Q: Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A: This is a frustrating time for everyone but especially small business owners. Villa Park businesses have been cooperative and we haven't seen much defiance. At the same time I think we need to be doing everything possible to help keep businesses open while at the same time being mindful of any restrictions. It might require special variances or some other type of resource the village could provide but I think its important to provide as much support as possible. If at the end of the day there is nothing else that can be done and there is no cooperation by the business owner than that certainly needs to be addressed. Thankfully we haven't seen very much of this.
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 have no issue with the dispensary sale of marijuana. Villa Park has approved the opening of one and I don't see this as an issue. People don't hang out at them. They make their purchase like any other store and leave. The reality is that marijuana has become main stream and acceptable. Whether people agree with this or not is neither here nor there. It will only be a matter of time before this issue is amended at the federal level. So far I haven't seen or heard of any issues at any other dispensaries.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: My big push is obviously economic development. Villa Park seems way behind its surrounding communities and I have yet to figure out why that is. There is a reason that business do not want to settle here and that is something that I will be working on. With that said, I would like to see a program that would benefit many of our seniors and people with disabilities. Its been a long time since we have seen this much snow and I'd like the Village to get more involved in trying to plow out driveways of people that cannot afford to have it done and are physically unable to do it themselves. This year has been tough on people and this season has just made it tougher. We are a community that relies heavily on personal transportation. We need to make sure our people can continue to function even in the worst of conditions.