Christopher James Bauman: 2021 candidate for Lake Barrington village board
Five candidates for three seats
City: Lake Barrington
Occupation: Owner, Shirley's Piano Bar (Barrington); Owner, Zenith Music Group; Owner, Patio Theater (Chicago); Owner, Avondale Music Hall (Chicago) and other ventures
Civic involvement: President of Farm Trails HOA -- Lake Barrington
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: As a Trustee I believe my role would be to continually navigate the delicate balance between top down leadership from the State and Federal levels, all while always representing the best interests of Lake Barrington individual residents, families and businesses. There is no one size fits all with COVID -- Guidance from the Federal Government and the State has continually changed throughout the pandemic and at times has even been contradictory. I would see my leadership role as A) Getting the most up-to-date information at a specific time from the most trusted sources and then clearly informing residents of this information so THEY can make the best decisions for themselves, their families and businesses and B) As Trustee making the best overall decisions possible for our community while truly understanding that any decisions being made at the village level will greatly effect each individual resident in either a positive or negative way -- Leadership will need to be agile enough to continually shift as needed going into the future yet at the same time create stability in decision making for the ongoing safety, health and overall wellness of our community.
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: Lake Barrington administration did a great job of shifting from primarily doing business from Village Hall physically interacting with residents to moving many services to an online format / portal. I would continue to embrace residents being able to self-serve through online portals for things such as permits and other day-to-day logistical paperwork to free up capacity for staff to focus on existing and future community enhancement-oriented projects.
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: We need to learn from this experience and enhance the specific plans put in place should a health crisis of this magnitude resurface again in the future. These plans will never be perfect; however, we need to be as prepared as possible so that when things potentially go wrong or not according to plan, the community is kept progressively safer as plans evolve. We need to take the specific lessons learned from COVID to adjust as well as enhance these plans so that in the future services residents depend on can continue to function as seamlessly as possible.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: At the village level, I do not believe cuts are needed. There may be opportunity to put fresh eyes on older servicing contracts and tighten those up, but instead of making cuts to reduce the tax burden on constituents, I believe the ultimate solution is in finding new ways to generate revenue by leveraging community owned assets for private use, to produce revenue positive community events and specific project fundraisers as well as by accessing both government and corporate grants to finance existing and new projects.
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 serious safety issue with high traffic roads in Lake Barrington and specifically for kids, families, bikers, joggers, and others trying to make their way to the nature trails, Village Hall or other LB community amenities from their homes utilizing the shoulders of these roads to get there. I have witnessed many times mothers choosing to off road with strollers on rough grass / rocks / rough terrain (to avoid walking near the road) while at the same time trying to manage multiple young children while navigating their way to the Village Hall playground. I've witnessed families riding bikes together on a Saturday in an effort to get to the nature trails with cars carelessly speeding by coming within feet of them. We are dangerously close to a tragic and catastrophic accident happening as families choose to venture out and take advantage of all the wonderful amenities LB has to offer. This would be my #1 priority when it comes to infrastructure, finding creative ways to connect our many trails and create safe passage / paths to LB attractions from ALL neighborhoods. In terms of putting other projects on the back burner, I know of none needed to be de prioritized.
Q: Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A: The village should play a supportive and understanding role when dealing with our businesses which have both sacrificed and suffered extensively during the pandemic for our community's overall well-being. However, this understanding and support at the village level should never be viewed as a green light for businesses to be reckless in their conduct
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 believe since marijuana became legalized throughout Illinois, the sale of marijuana products by businesses in Lake Barrington should be considered in a similar context to the sale of alcohol on a case-by-case basis.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: I would like current Lake Barrington residents and future Lake Barrington residents to understand how truly special our community is and enhance communications / invitations to participate in Trustee / resident designed "cool" community events utilizing online / email surveys. I would like residents to fully understand the incredible LB amenities available to them. I believe this would improve the overall community standard of living and attract new homebuyers / increase home values across the board -- A perfect country setting, yet urban access. I'd like to set up a community chicken coop at Freier Farm where every resident is given a FOB access key to collect fresh eggs each morning. When you are a new LB resident you would receive a welcome packet with a "welcome to Lake Barrington" letter outlining the various LB events and amenities along with the egg access FOB. LB also has Fox River front access and I have already started exploring how we would ultimately be able to create a community friendly river beach front and boat pier / launch for LB residents to utilize. The possibilities and dreams that can be accomplished are endless if we believe it is possible. I believe it is.