LWV’s City Council candidate forum–2-year candidates
This is a follow-up to another League of Women Voters candidate forum post that focused on 4-year candidates. Since that post, the Courier News has covered the forum as well.
Based on candidates’ responses at the forum and in questionnaires, I have decided to cast my vote for Mike Warren. I believe he will be able to follow through on his promises of fiscal responsibility and be creative financially because of his business background. I believe his history of community involvement will allow him to understand the many complex issues Elgin faces. I like that he has a strong commitment to neighborhoods and supports efforts toward sustainability.
Below are summaries of the responses each candidate gave on Monday night. These summaries are from the forum only, and do not include other sources. Their names link to their websites, where you can find more information if you so desire.
Morales introduced herself as a person born, raised, and educated in Elgin, who now owns a home here and works as a practicing lawyer. She believes the Council should’ve waited until after the election to appoint a manager. Though she did not give a definitive answer of how many Council meetings she’s attended over the past year, Morales stated that she’s either attended or viewed all meetings online since declaring her candidacy. She believes community policing, more ROPE officers, and prevention programs such as DARE and GREAT are the answer to a safer community. Morales mentioned “inclusive” zoning as a method of providing affordable housing to residents, after noting that houses for sale in Elgin range from $49,000 to $2 million in price.
Regarding illegal immigration, Morales commented that Elgin might want to reconsider pursuing 287G since it could lead to racial profiling and does not come with its own funding. Morales believes it is important that local, county, and federal officials all forge relationships in order to bring in money to our area. She supports red light cameras for safety reasons.
Robins put forth illegal immigration as one of his top issues and noted that 4-year candidate Prigge has endorsed him. He believes the Council should’ve waited until after the election to appoint a manager. He has attended 10+ Council meetings over the past year. Regarding safety, he noted that Illinois has the highest number of gang members per capita. Robins is against higher density developments and does not believe people will walk to a corner store, especially with our winters.
Robins wants to focus on landlord/rental licenses as a means to dealing with illegal immigration, which he states has a strong negative impact on the local economy. He said the other candidates’ cries of “lawsuit” were nothing more than “scare tactics.” Robins believes Elgin wasted money by doing a study to find out the public’s perception of Elgin, and also by changing Wing Park Boulevard. He is against fees for increasing revenue to the City, including those that would add costs to dog owners. He wants to look into having one city fund instead of both a Capitol fund and General fund. He supports red light cameras only at certain locations because of safety reasons–not for revenue.
Rodgers believes the Council should’ve waited until after the election to appoint a manager. She has attended 6-7 Council meetings in person over the past year. She wants to improve safety in Elgin by having more officers on the street, forming neighborhood watch groups, and increasing the brightness of street lights. Rodgers stressed the importance of affordable housing for people returning from college or from war.
Rodgers said we must wait for ICE in order to further deal with illegal immigration. She has done an informal survey of other communities and the process appears to take 3 years, so she does not find it unusual that Elgin has been waiting over a year for a response. Rodgers believes that attracting businesses that pay a living wage is a way to help the local economy. She commented that in the past she has e-mailed the Governor’s office about roads that need resurfacing, and it appeared to help move things along more quickly. She supports red light cameras for safety reasons.
Warren introduced himself as an entrepreneurial Elginite who is getting involved in politics so his children can live in the kind of Elgin in which he grew up. He does not believe the Council made an error by appointing a manager, since we cannot afford a national search at this time and Sean Stegall is qualified for the position. He has attended three Council meetings in person over the past year. Warren thinks strong communication between police, neighborhood groups, and the City Council is necessary to improve safety. He said overcrowding in Elgin suggests a lack of affordable housing, while also noting that the definition of “affordable” changes over time.
Warren believes illegal immigration must be dealt with through the cooperation of different levels of government including the county, the municipal police department, and neighborhood groups. Warren named the declining economy as the most important issue facing Elgin today, and said measures toward sustainability might also be ways to save money. He stressed that roads must be better maintained. For example, if cracks are filled in regularly that could extend the lifetime of the road surface. He supports red light cameras, but only for reasons of safety, not as a revenue generator.
Stay tuned for a post covering the LWV forum featuring Elgin Township, ECC, U-46, and Gail Borden Public Library candidates.