Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey Wednesday Journal sent out to all candidates running in this year's elections.
Previous political experience:
At the state level, I served as the State Superintendent of Education while at the Illinois State Board of Education. At a local level, I am enthusiastically running for the first time for Village Board Trustee for the Village of River Forest.
I have served as an in-house attorney at the following public institutions:
- Illinois Attorney General's Office – Served as Assistant General Counsel and Special Assistant General Counsel
- Chicago Public Schools – Served as Assistant General Counsel
- City Colleges of Chicago – Served as General Counsel
- Illinois State Board of Education – Served as General Counsel (in addition to State Superintendent of Education)
Previous community experience:
My community service involves:
- Member of the River Forest Caucus 2014 and 2017
- Member of the Inclusiveness Advisory Board at River Forest School District 90
- Pronouncer for Spelling Bee at River Forest School District 90
- Board President for the Ritchie Court Condominium Association
- Board President for the North Town Village Condominium Association
Attorney/Partner at Franczek Radelet P.C. – my practice is focused on education/school law and I represent public elementary, middle and high schools, community colleges and state universities.
- Law/JD Degree from DePaul University College of Law
- Bachelor of Science in Commerce from DePaul University
- De La Salle High School
Economic development has been a major focus for the village board in recent years, but some projects have stalled and the review process for some have been complicated. How can the village board make the review process more efficient while also looking out for concerns residents?
- Be open, transparent and welcoming to potentially new businesses.
- Village should establish an orientation meeting with potential new businesses to provide them all of the materials and information required for submission and approval by the Village. At this orientation meeting, the Village would describe the process from beginning to end and assist the potential business in what they need to focus on for a successful application process.
- Village website can be more user friendly for potential new businesses by describing the process from beginning to end and assist the potential business in what they need to focus on for a successful application process.
The village board has granted numerous extensions for proposed developments at Lake and Park and Lake and Lathrop. At what point, ifever, should the village board seek other alternatives?
- Village's review, evaluation and granting of private development proposals should contain detailed action items with specific timelines.
- The Village should be vigilant in monitoring the progress of such development proposals and enforce the timelines that were originally set when the development proposal was granted. Any extension should be an exception and not the rule. Extension approvals should be measured for reasonable circumstances involving unforeseeable issues that are not within control of the developer.
The village board has identified TIF districts as a tool for promoting development on Madison Street and may seek to do the same on North Avenue. What do you think about TIF districts as tools for redevelopment in River Forest? Are you in favor of sharing incremental revenue with other taxing bodies, such as school districts? Why or why not?
- I am open to establishing a TIF district as a redevelopment tool in River Forest.
- A TIF is the local economic development tool available to River Forest.
- The tax increment created is collected and deposited in a special TIF account which is supposed to be used solely for economic development.
- Although on a personal level, I am sympathetic to our other RF taxing bodies, TIFs do not allow sharing the incremental revenue that is supposed to be used for economic development only.
- However, at the expiration of the TIF, all taxes generated on the new assessed valuation are distributed to all the RF taxing bodies.
How important is it to ensure preservation of River Forest's historic homes? What can the village do to safeguard those homes from demolition? How doesthe question of property rights play into the equation?
- One cannot deny that River Forest is a treasure containing beautiful homes and landscape.
- I do believe in preserving RF's historic homes.
- RF has established a historic district.
- RF has also established a Historic Preservation Commission who conducted a survey for further consideration of preserving historic properties in RF. The survey has recommendations for the Commission to conduct further research and investigation of the Buurma Brothers homes, the ranch homes and the 900 N. Block of Park & Franklin Avenues. The Village should await and consider this Commission's future recommendations after completion of their research.
- I respect the property rights of every owner and any declaration of historic preservation should be appropriately balanced and measured.
Do you support red light cameras? If so, why? If not, how can the revenue generated by the cameras, which is set aside for capital improvements, be replaced?
- I am concerned and advocate for safety at RF.
- The red-light cameras enhance the safety of RF in promoting compliance in obeying our traffic signals in the best interests of pedestrians and other vehicles.
- The red-light cameras allow our police department to focus on other safety matters at RF.
What other issues involving village government are important to you, and how do you plan to advocate for them?
- I am concerned about the general health and safety of RF.
- I am concerned about the RF environment and I am happy to see the establishment of a Sustainability Commission by the Village.
- In conjunction with my interest in economic development, I am concerned about the environment such as the cleanup and/or containment of the soil contamination at Lake & Lathrop. Any development of this area should include addressing this soil contamination by a future developer with minimal or no expense to the RF taxpayers.
Answer Book 2017
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2017 Answer Book, please click here.
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