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Mike Robins: City Council Candidate [2011]

18 February 2011 RS 11 Comments

Candidate Mike Robins at Rakow Branch Library, Elgin Candidate Mike Robins at Rakow Branch Library, Elgin (Photo by The Elginite).

The questionnaire below was completed by city council candidate Mike Robins.

First off, can you tell us a bit about your background, both personally and professionally?

I am 53 years old, have lived in Elgin for 11 years and have been married for 24 years. I have worked in the court system for 23 years, facilitating changes and new direction with past and current assignments. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. I have always been a go-getter, striving to be the best at whatever I do. I was a member of the Elgin Civil Service Commission, during which time I interviewed applicants for jobs and worked with fellow commissioners on union issues and in upgrading our hiring policies for new employees and promotional interviews for existing employees.

My wife and I have had great satisfaction taking our registered therapy dog to Sherman Hospital for several years, bringing patients there some sense of joy and a bit of relief from the concerns associated with being hospitalized.

What spurred your decision to run for Elgin City Council?

I’m an everyday citizen, not a politician. The Elgin City Council needs a breath of fresh air.

I want to give a new voice to the citizens of Elgin, both young and old alike. I will never speak like a politician because I’m not one. I will only speak and vote my convictions.

Sometimes you just have to create what you want to be part of. I want to be part of an Elgin City Council that speaks to the concerns of other everyday citizens.

A good council candidate should celebrate the differences of our multicultural community. We should seek harmony, not uniformity. We should strive for oneness, not sameness. When we learn to honor the differences and appreciate the mix in our community, we’ll be on our way.

In your opinion, what are some major issues facing Elgin going forward?

Economy –
If we want our local economy to grow and produce jobs again, we must work harder at facilitating a climate of cooperation with the private sector. It is this type of reciprocal relationship that will help pull us out of our current recession.

Crime –
Under the leadership of Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda, we must continue engaging everyday citizens in tackling crime and halting the erosion of community spirit. I have had a long career in the field of criminal justice. The starting point for any discussion about crime prevention is an understanding that without public action, support and confidence, the police and other criminal justice agencies cannot make communities safer, including ours in Elgin. However, for the public to play their part, they need to see and experience services that tackle crime effectively, give them confidence and back them up. Chief Swoboda is making marvelous strides in community policing, as well as in making Elgin a safer place than it has been over the past decade.

Illegal Immigration –
It is the responsibility of our federal government to foster, manage and maintain a secure—and fair—immigration process. Locally, we can establish statues against employing, housing and aiding illegal aliens. Generally speaking, I would support city council initiatives to curb illegal immigration.

Senior Services –
We need to cherish the relationships we have with our community’s most important asset. We need to be especially mindful of the our seniors, using city resources to address any quality of life issues that may arise.

How do you feel about the direction that the Council has taken Elgin in the past and the direction they aim to take it in the future?

I wouldn’t say there has been anything eye-opening from the council in the past two years. As a future member, I would work on a professional level to obtain fresh ideas for new business growth in Elgin. No one council member can make positive changes alone. This should be a concentrated effort of communication and cooperation among professionals, as each member works to share ideas and keep any and all disagreements constructive.

Would you agree that your views mostly coincide with those of Mayor Schock? If not, how do they differ?

I’m comfortable that I am not endorsed by the current mayor, which is no reflection on my respect for him or the job that he is doing in helping to lead the city. My voting will be independent and in stride with the pulse of the community. Therefore, when it comes time for a swing vote, I am, as always, vote my science and do what’s best for Elgin.

Once elected, what do you expect to accomplish during your time on the council?

My expectations are the same expectations I have carried my entire life: to strive for a full understanding of tasks given to me and to develop a plan and follow through to reach a common goal. Our city needs leadership on issues such as our economy, high foreclosure rates, the local school system, gang and crime prevention, quality of life for our families, including our seniors, and continuing to restore Elgin’s image. I will fulfill commitments to our residents to strengthen our neighborhoods through practical and sound judgment.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I am an outsider, free from the constraints of connections developed through the years with the powers that be. I am an independent thinker. I have more than two decades of experience in public service. I know how to work with a diverse group of people in almost any situation.

Why should Elginites vote for you?

I suggest that voters look long and hard at all the candidates. Don’t be swayed by a familiar name. They should vote for someone who will truly represent their interests; someone who isn’t beholden to established alliances, whether political or otherwise; someone who will truly represent the citizens of Elgin and its neighborhoods. Too often, city leadership involves only a select view. I want to open things up and give all residents a voice in their future.

What’s the best way for people to find out more about your campaign or ask you a question?

My email address is mjrsmr@sbcglobal.net. My cell number is 847.280.1958.

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11 Responses to “Mike Robins: City Council Candidate [2011]”

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  1. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:


    I know you were not on the city council in 2004 when Mayor Schock and his informal majority proposed to hire the Futterman Law Firm at a cost of $44,000 to consider suing OUR OWN SCHOOL DISTRICT.

    At that time I thought that was the most stupid idea I ever heard of. The tax payers who pay taxes to Elgin and U46 lose either way the suit goes. So far we have lost 9 million dollars of tax dollars defending this class action suit. We have lost teacher and staff jobs in U46.

    The mayor and all involved should not even had whispered suing. In my opinion they should have taken a proactive role and did their best to calm every one down and explain that filling Futterman’s pockets will not accomplish anything for either side.

    With Futterman’s track record in the google past that was research-able they should have known they were pawns in the hands of Harvard and Yale chess masters.

    I will be asking these questions of all the candidates running for City Councilman or City Councilwoman.

    1. In 2004 when the city was informally proposing to hire Futterman were you for that or against that? Yes or NO please.

    2. In 2004 were you for the parents group suing OUR OWN SCHOOL DISTRICT ? Yes or No please

    Councilman Steffen’s wife (who is lawyer Kerry Kelly) is quoted back then in a Daily Herald article that I will share the link below. She said -


    “It’s great if the city is on board, but we’re still here if they’re not on board,” said Elgin resident and U-46 parent Kerry Kelly, who is not a potential litigant but supports the parents’ efforts.

    Three times I tried to get a direct answer out of Anna Moeller and three times I failed. I hope the rest of the candidates don’t side step the questions like she did.

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      Mike called me and told me the answer to my two questions.

      1. In 2004 when the city was informally proposing to hire Futterman were you for that or against that? Yes or NO please.

      Mike said No, he was against that.

      2. In 2004 were you for the parents group suing OUR OWN SCHOOL DISTRICT ? Yes or No please

      Mike said No, he was against that.

      It is nice to get another straight answer from a candidate.

  2. Mary says:

    I truly enjoy reading Michael Robins’ statements as being an independent thinker and person. My husband and I had an opportunity to speak with him during the past city council forum at the Elgin Library. He came across as focused, with a plan of action, and didn’t digress into a repertoire of platitudes. Next to most of the others, this was refreshing. We want to hear “How” to accomplish what needs to be done…not a repetition of just “What” needs to be done.
    Obviously promoting new business in Elgin is necessary. Professionally Michael Robins’ statement of hiring legal citizens is paramount to using our tax dollars correctly for incentives to business.
    His approach to crime reduction reads impressively, and the issue of civil gang injunctions to curb their activity is much needed.
    We also appreciate his foresight in speaking out on frivolous city spending and the need for community involvement.

  3. Mike Robins says:

    Hello everyone, it’s time to address some issues and points of view that we all have. My entire life I achieve RESULTS in my business and personal life. Working in the court system for 23 years I have had some rewarding times and some hard knocks. Working through this bureaucracy has trained me to deal with several diffrent departments employees and administrators. Being a fast learner, once I recognize weakness in a given process, I usually am the one to attempt to change it. This can bring friction if not done properly with others, especially in a bureaucracy where things usually are not expected to change. My wife and mother, who know me better than anyone, have come to me for years telling me they could not believe I implemented change with all odds against me considering the subject matter and who or what I was going up against. This talent is what I will bring to the council. I was also on the Elgin Civil Service Commission, where an issue arose with our unions and employees that had objections to who was present and scoring during interviews for a supervisory position. For several months, this was tabled, at which time I consulted with fellow commissioners with my plan on who would score and be present during such interviews. This was accepted by them and the union attorney. I do have a college degree, however, I strongly feel that any amount of education or civic involvement, including volunteer work, does not necessarily mean that one will perform on the council and achieve RESULTS.
    I want to curb spending in our city. I do not believe that we needed all of the brick pavers downtown as several years ago, they were removed. The majority of residents I speak with along Wing Park Blvd. or other areas of the city, feel the islands in the middle of the street were a waist of time and money. I am not in support of a round about on Dundee in front of the CVC. If IDOT has plans for their own construction with minimal fees from us due to an agreement from 10 yesrs ago, let it be. The latest matter of spending 97000.00 for another consulting firm to study the possible upgrade of Rt.20 is another expense we don’t need. The improvement of this five mile area, will not increase the home values along the roadway and will not motivate people to walk or bicycle in this area. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. I will not build a legacy for myself while on the council with your tax dollars.
    Any company that relocates to our city can hire employees from anywhere they desire. However, if they solicit incentives from us if and when they hire Elgin residents, I want them to contract with us to hire legal citizens if our tax dollars are part of the equation. Any efforts to legally curb illegal immigration matters in our city by the council will have my support. Many of you in the past weeks have informed me that you have been using our new ordinances on square footage violations regarding overcrowding issues and living space. We have made proactive improvements with this issue, if the wrong prople are elected to the council, the clock can go backwards.
    If I am elected to the council, I will opt. out of the $10000.00 yearly salery, and I will also opt. out of the health insurance and all other perks. This is not a full time job, it is part time and it is of a volunteer nature. Why should your tax dollars pay for a yearly salery, health insurance that I would only have to pay fifteen percent on, and a city credit card to use for city purposes. I will comment on other issues as they arise. Remember, once I am elected, I will return your call within 3 days for full discussion of the matter. You won’t get a message from me with-Best Regards.

  4. Ruth says:

    The proponents of roundabouts will argue statistics show they reduce fatalities. Emphasis on can. But if drivers and pedestrians are unfamiliar with roundabouts combined with other unmentioned variables, those statistics are misleading.

    Some idiots in Ingleside, Lake County want to place a new roundabouts directly next to a school. The plans shown by the political morons have sidewalks going across the roundabout in a fashion where kids are left playing “Frogger”, hopping from curb to median to curb, while moving traffic is moving all around them.

    Moving traffic plus unfamiliarity plus crossing kids is a recipe for disaster. No one in their right mind wants their kid being a “Human Frogger” so a politician can get their claim-to-fame.

  5. Wondering1 says:

    Mike, you are correct. The corner of Randall Road and Bowes Road is very dangerous with many accidents. I believe there are several reasons for all of those accidents. First, general police traffic enforcement at that intersection is very lax. Drivers routinely run red lights. Second, the nightly drag racing that goes on in that area on any nice night from Spring through Fall. Police once caught a driver going over 110 mph through that intersection. The problem was the police were only out there once and didn’t follow up with more patrols. Everybody who has lived in that area for more than a couple of years knows about this problem, as does the City and police.

  6. crocodile says:

    Mike, a traffic signal makes sense at Golf & Shales. Just don’t put a camera there to go with it.

  7. paul says:

    Sounds like Mr. Platitude.
    Stands for everything. Stands for nothing.
    Brings nothing to the table.

  8. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    Voters of Elgin,

    Ever since 2004, with the city, the parents, and their relationship with the Futterman Law Firm driving up the cost of a lawsuit into the millions of dollars with no end in sight; it has been my goal to see the principal players voted out of office that I contend should not have been talking litigation. I wanted them out of office to send a message to future possible litigation advocates on future issues to think twice before they say something else foolish that would cause some future issues to burn out of control with our tax payer dollars through litigation.

    At the candidates forum 3-2-11 it looked to me like Mayor Schock is aging quite a bit, perhaps because of this issue, perhaps not. It also must be hard for the lawyer wife of Councilman Steffen named Kerry Kelly, to always be reminded of the foolish quote she used to support the parents back in 2004 especially since she is a trained lawyer.

    One last time I will share a Daily Herald news story from 2004 so that people not familiar with this will realize what I am referring to. The article is titled – Elgin Wont Sue U46


    So last night I was reflecting on all this. I was also reflecting on how possibly we lost an ex councilman years ago perhaps partly because of the way he left office over another foolish issue he was involved in.

    I was going to be persistent in my writing on this issue clear up to Election Day but I have decided I am not going to write anymore on it. It will be up to the voters to educate themselves on who they want in office after April 5 without my input as to why they should not vote for some who had foolish litigation talk or had a trained lawyer wife with foolish litigation talk.

    I just wish someone or some group could end this class action lawsuit as easily as I am going to stop my blogging or writing on this issue.

    How about it Futterman?

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward

  9. confoozdbear says:

    Hi, Mr. Robins — I have heard you speak and agree whole-heartedly with all your positions and overall candidacy except for one small point you made at the forum at the church on Griswold St. You expressed a desire to lower some fees for city services, in particular the cost for connection for water service for businesses. Please be aware that the Water Fund for the City of Elgin is an “Enterprise Fund”, which means it gets no money from either the General Fund or the Riverboat. The water service connection fees are an important part of the revenue for this fund, and to lose this source of funding would necessitate an increase in something else [possibly higher water rates] to enable the Water Department to continue to function as it currently does. I would suggest something else be addressed as a potential reduction of fees. Thanks for listening.

  10. Mike Robins says:

    Confoozbear, Thankyou very much for the post and the information. This is exactly what I am talking about if Elected on the council. The fact that I don’t know everything and won’t pretend to. Council members must have a two way street with the people, and not feel that they’re needed in their position, or know more. I am glad you appreciate my positions on our issues. I try and give it as straight as I can, which is the way it should be, and do it independently! Any more information will be welcome.