Mike Ontiveroz: 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: Construction and state of Illinois Licensed Home Inspector, self-employed, I.AM.MIKE, Inc.
Civic involvement: Served as vice president and president for Glendale Heights Chamber of Commerce; on the Glendale Heights Charity Golf Classic Committee; president for Ollman Recreation Association (HOA for Westlake Subdivision in Glendale Heights)
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'm a team leader. I would create a task force consisting of local government officials, resident and businesses to maximize collective responses in addressing pandemic concerns in the community. As a collective body, we need to quickly adapt and adjust the way in which services are delivered so as to minimize the negative impact on residents and businesses.
As a leader, there's also the human element of compassion. A good team leader possesses the ability to listen and understand the community's concerns. It's important to gain their respect and trust.
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: At the peak of the pandemic, our village president and board felt the need to open the community swimming pool whereas other municipalities and private entities closed theirs for the 2020 season to ensure the safety of their residents. It would have served the community better if the monies spent on the opening, personnel, and ongoing maintenance of the swimming pool went back into a fund supporting residents and local businesses.
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: By creating a joint task force of local government officials and residents, we will be able to make informed and timely decisions on future public health crises. Further, we'll work with local governing bodies and health officials to come up with a comprehensive plan to ensure adequate PPE supplies are available to all. This is about keeping our residents informed and safe.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: Offer an early retirement incentive package, to eligible village employees, to reduce operational costs and benefit payouts. Revisit all vendor contracts for options to renegotiate products and services at a better rate to maximize use of funds. Explore all programs from state and federal entities for COVID-19 relief that can be passed along directly to residents and businesses.
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: The Redevelopment Project Area, along Calgary Drive and Army Trail Road, is an important project to address; formerly zoned as an industrial park, it is now zoned as a business park.
There are residents living next to the former industrial park and I have concerns regarding the environmental impact this will have on them. A former concrete forms manufacturer operated there dating back to the 1960s. To date, there is not a comprehensive plan made available to the public by the village or the developer as to who will pay for the study.
The village board has announced it is adding a fully accessible playground, a "Ninja Warrior" course, outdoor workout area, and splash pad. Construction on this project is anticipated to begin in early 2021 with completion anticipated later in the summer. At a time when the pandemic is far from over, many of our residents have yet to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The second dose is still unclear as to when that will be made available.
Monies earmarked for these projects should be put on hold until we have a better grasp on the pandemic. Rather than providing a 50% discount on liquor licenses for this year, I would propose the village board waive the licensing/liquor fees for 2021 altogether.
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 am open-minded to hear from the board and the community on how it will affect the village and its residents. By committee, we would hold public meetings, take public comment, and work with our residents to consider recreational marijuana regulation and sales. Let me be clear, it will be up to the voters to decide in the end.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: Adopt A Senior Program. While the title seems a little humorous, it's a way our community, our neighbors, can assist seniors in time of need. Our seniors possess a wealth of knowledge and in many instances give back to our community by volunteering their time to assist others. With this program, neighbors on a given block can reach out and provide interaction, assist with errands for food or medicine, and in extreme weather help shovel snow in the winter months.
It's all about a community coming together to help others.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I've been a homeowner here for over 30 years and have established deep roots within the community. As a business owner here in Glendale Heights, I interact with residents every day and understand their concerns. As an independent candidate without a slate, I'm able to bring new ideas to the board, and I'm an excellent leader and team builder.
I'm committed to upholding ethical standards while fostering straightforward governance. I'm passionate about providing superior taxpayer service while keeping an eye on the bottom line when it comes to taxes we all pay as homeowners. I'm an advocate for economic growth.
I look forward to serving the residents of Glendale Heights, adhering to the principles of fiscal responsibility and transparency in government.