Batavia, IL (14 years)
Bachelor's Degree, Electrical Engineering, Univ. of Iowa
Engineer, Fermilab (for the past 24 years)
Married, Gretchen (18 years)
Son: A.J. (both children are in high school)
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
For the last couple of decades at Fermilab, I’ve worked in several large collaborations. I’ve helped solve problems with the complex data acquisition systems. This involved dialoging with people from all levels of the collaboration including managers, other system experts, and system operators. In general, I am able to understand complex issues and then explain them, in several different ways, such that people from different backgrounds can understand.
What are your top two or three priorities if elected?
My top priority is connecting with the people of ward 6. I’ve have learned, from a past alderman, that it is possible to do this utilizing email for the majority of the residents and then filling in the remainder via phone, neighborhood contacts and/or face-to-face meetings. My second priority would be to move forward on the downtown revitalization with an emphasis on “return on investment” for the residents. My third priority would be to increase the level of transparency associated with council activity.
Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
From the 2012 BPS Tax Extension presentation: “Your EAV no longer dictates what your tax bill will be: your property’s change in value relative to the district’s overall change will.” With that, instead of housing prices, household income would be more appropriate. Most residents I’ve talked to are struggling because the change in their income, over the past few years, has been well below the increase in CPI. They have accepted that they have to cut services. The degree of struggling may be masked by Batavia’s demographics data which shows the Est. Average Household income has increase 6.1% from 2010. The CPI for the same period is projected to increase 6.4%. These are fairly close. However, I believe the situation is worse because A) the median income only increased 2.2% and, B) there has been significant increases in the lower income ranges and significant decreases in the middle ranges. With this in mind, continued considerations to “freeze” levies should be made until a more uniform increase in income occurs. My latest tax bill shows that 11 of 17 levies resulted in decreased dollar amount from the preceding year. However, the levies from the remaining 6 resulted in increases. The overall result was a higher bill. The residents would appreciate being involved in dialogs on potential cuts to services provide by the districts so the overall result will be a lower bill.
What one decision by the city council do you most disagree with and why?
I disagree most with the decision, made by 7 of the current council members back in May of 2007 (6 of the other council members are no longer serving), to buy an additional 5.2 Megawatts share of the Prairie State Project. They had already put “all their eggs in one basket” with the 50 Megawatts share which 8 of the current alderman voted for. There was one alderman (no longer serving) that voted against the additional 5.2 Megawatts suggesting it would limit the city ability to diversify its energy portfolio. This decision has had many negative consequences over the years and is projected now to have significant adverse effects for years to come.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the city council in the past year?
The council approved the Proclamation honoring John Heath for his work with thousands of students and his work in enhancing community events with the music of the High School bands.
Why should voters elect you to office?
Voters should elect me because I will work hard to connect with them and be their voice. I’m hard working and conscientious. On issues where my personal opinion does not match the majority of the people in the ward, I will always vote the will of the people even if the rest of the city council votes the other way. On complex issues where the residents need help in understanding why the city staff is recommending a certain course of action, I will work hard to first understand, in detail, the issues myself and then at explaining the issues to the residents.
Other Local Races
Richard “Dick” Sharp