Sustainability is a fancy way of saying that we need to live responsibly to enjoy life for generations to come. Whether we need to add more green space to balance nature with land development, upgrade our operations to keep up with new technology, or reduce waste going to our landfills, it must be done in a way that makes financial sense and remains sensitive to the needs of Naperville residents and businesses.
Here are some of the issues near and dear to my heart:
Taking care of our environment is a major part of fiscal responsibility. Pollution cleanups, garbage collection, flood damage, and wildlife rehabilitation are very costly. Preventing environmental damage saves everyone money in the long run. We can achieve this by promoting the use of native vegetation in landscaping, reducing landfill waste through composting, and educating the public on non-toxic lawn care.
Flooding causes property damage, traffic accidents, street closures, injuries, and sometimes even death. The financial impact of flood damage adds up after every flood event. We can’t control the weather, but we can reduce flooding by adding floodproofing measures, upgrading stormdrains and detention basins, and adding stricter stormwater management measures for land development.
Naperville has its own Electric Utility. Naperville purchases our power from the Illinois Municipal Energy Agency (IMEA), which is a group of 32 municipalities that have joined together to provide stable, reliable, and affordable power to its users. Our contract with the IMEA was signed in 2007 and does not expire until 2035. The vast majority (approximately 90%) of the power purchased by the IMEA is generated by coal – a large producer of greenhouse gas. We need to move away from coal and increase the use of renewable energy. Our goal is to meet the State standard of 25% renewable energy by 2025. I think we can go further than that and I hope to be a driving force behind our renewable energy efforts and reduction of energy consumption. Naperville should use its position as an influential member of the IMEA to steer the agency toward sourcing more renewable energy.
As my personal contribution to the solution, I installed solar panels on my roof in 2020. I hope to see more residents take this step and I support the City’s renewable energy grant program to provide financial incentives for residents and businesses to install solar power systems. We can all be a part of the solution.
Leaf collection has become more complex over the years due to the later arrival of autumn weather and earlier arrival of snow. Piled leaves along the curb make snow removal difficult. Bagging wet or frozen leaves isn’t always possible for all residents. It is time to consider new solutions to this issue. Parkway leaf collection might be the answer. It would preserve street parking, enable early-season snow removal, and eliminate the need for residents to bag their curbside leaves.
The Naperville Police Department works hard to ensure that the citizens of Naperville feel safe and secure. City Council recently approved the purchase of body cameras to be worn by police officers. Body cameras will be an effective tool to help protect citizens and law enforcement officers alike. I will work ensure that the policies and procedures will be developed in a way that makes financial sense to the City and balances safety with privacy.
To hold true to the nonpartisan role of a City Council member, I have not sought financial support from either political party. I have spent about $1,300 of my own money to pay for my campaign website and yard signs. I have raised an additional $1,200 in donations from friends and family to pay for the rest of the campaign materials. I am capping my campaign budget total at $2,500, because I hope to be able to show that a middle-class Naperville resident can win a local election on a relatively small campaign budget.
Illinois has legalized the use of recreational marijuana. My opinion is that it is not a controversial issue to sell a legal product. The question is I am most concerned with is whether we agree that Naperville should capitalize on the tax revenue generated by the sale of all legal products that are available to our citizens. Based on that, I do agree with the stance the Council has taken on permitting cannabis sales in Naperville. I would like to consider a public education program to allow residents to understand the effects on the community and how this will impact on Naperville’s expenditures.