Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Plastic Bag Recycling Program Announced

A new plastic bag and film (wraps, etc.) recycling program is being launched. For more information, visit the SWALCO site at http://www.lakecountyil.gov/swalco/PlasticBagRecycling.htm.

Plastic Bag and Film Recycling GuidelinesResidents are encouraged to recycle both plastic bags and film. The bag-in-bag system, where plastic bags and film are collected in a larger plastic bag before bringing to a local retailer is recommended. Click here for the Plastic Bag Recycling Flyer with pictures and descriptions of items that should be recycled.

Items that can be recycled should be empty, clean and dry. They include:
Grocery Bags
Newspaper Bags
Bread Bags
Produce Bags
Plastic Retail Bags (hard plastic and string handles removed)
Zip-Lock Bags (remove hard components)
Other Storage Bags
Cereal Box Liners
Toilet Paper, Napkin and Paper Towel Wraps
Tyvek (no glue, labels or other material)
Diaper Wrap (packaging)
Plastic Shipping Envelopes (no labels)
Case Wrap (e.g. snacks, water bottles)
Furniture Wrap
Electronic Wrap
All empty, clean and dry bags labeled #2 or #4

Retailers and stores in Lake County participating in the plastic bag recycling program include:
Butera Market
JC Penney
Piggly Wiggly
Sunset Foods

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Participate in Environmental Public Hearing Aug 5th at City Hall at 7 PM

Please come and participate in a discussion on a proposal to ban the use of disposable Styrofoam food ware for prepared or packaged food and also restrictions on the use of single-use plastic shopping bags. The public hearing will be held on August 5th, at 7 p.m., at CityHall, 1707 St. John’s Avenue.

Regulation of Styrofoam is important for our environment, and has been proven to work in other cities. Styrofoam, a petroleum product, is designed for a useful life of minutes, but continues to exist in our environment for hundreds or thousands of years. In addition, there reportedly are potential health impacts from Styrofoam. Recyclable and biodegradable food service ware is an affordable, safe, and ecologically sound alternative to Styrofoam and other non-recyclable single-use food ware.

Single-use plastic shopping bags are made from natural gas or petroleum and do not biodegrade. According to the Worldwatch Institute, less than 1% of the 100 billion free single-use plastic bags thrown away in the United States each year are recycled. Learn about ways to minimize the use of plastic bags and how to promote an environmental approach.

Please come to the public hearing to express your views on whether Highland Park should adopt these environmental proposals.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Time to dissolve the Finance Committee and bring back to Entire Council

The time has come to dissolve the finance committee and bring the discussion back to the Whole Council. Before 2003 when Mike Belsky became mayor and created this Committee and Chairmanship for his up and coming political star Councilman Kirsch, the entire City Council had discussed finances at our Committee of the Whole meetings.

While I am not on the committee, I probably have one of the best attendance records. I have always felt we need to be present to hear staff's presentation and weigh in on the decisions. Current Finance Committee Council members are Jim Kirsch, Mike Belsky, and Larry Silberman. I am usually joined by non-finance committee member Councilwoman Olian that also feels a strong need to be present. Now with Councilman Rotering elected and committed as well to attend the meetings, six will regularly be attending the current finance committee meeting.

What really troubled me a few weeks ago was when Mike Belsky asked Councilwoman Olian and myself not to speak at the meetings since we were not on the committee. The Mayor was totally out of line on this one and I DO OBJECT.

Now is the time to add cast members to this Belsky/Kirsch production and bring the finance discussion back to the Committee of the Whole where the entire City Council has a voice in the discussion of the issues. The City Council needs to be more directly engaged on this important issue.

When is the City going to CUT spending

Over 18 months ago I asked the City Manager to come up with a balanced budget to show the City Council. I still have not seen anything that comes within 1.5 million of bridging the gap of the shortfall of revenues to expenditures.

While things with our economy are still going down, we have not met the challenge of cutting government down to meet our revenue streams. While we are lucky to have great reserves to cover the shortfalls over the past several years, we need to address this matter soon.

Councilman Kirsch who heads the Finance Committee has done nothing to ask staff for a balanced budget or even close to one. While Councilman Kirsch seems pleased with his role as chair of this committee, I don't call a budget being balanced by taking the saved money out of the bank to fill the gap.

We need to act now and get a budget that bridges the gap between revenues and expenditures with real cuts in government.

Some folks on the Council and Staff need to realize that our community is not required to meet the needs of government but rather government must live within the means of the community.
Currently that is not the case.

Old Briar and Valley Residents Held UP!!!

Last night by a 4-3 vote the city council passed a resolution supporting a recapture agreement that will transfer the cost from Newly built Mega Mansions to the adjoining neighbors on the street for the storm water sewer construction. While both New Constructed properties built from lot line to lot line at costs of millions, now the neighborhood must foot the bill for public improvements associated with this new construction.

Councilman Levenfeld, Kirsch, Silberman, and Councilwoman Olian (whom supported the recapture) all said it was fair to share the cost of the public improvement with all the residents. I say HOGWASH! Stop putting these economic burdens on the citizens of which many are struggling with this economy to stay in their homes. Let Development Pay its Own Way!!

The cost of the encumberment on each one of these unsuspecting citizens range from $7,000.00 to $22,000.00 each. Can you imagine? Maybe that is small change to Councilman Kirsch but I find it appalling that our City Council would be so bold and harsh on our residents.

Time for thinking about running for 2011 Election

In 2011 there will be at least one seat open on the City Council and probably the Mayors seat as well. Anyone interested in this public service should drop me a line to talk about my experiences with participating in 9 elections. I look forward to helping candidates step up to seats available in 2011.

We need to move forward on cutting edge environmental initiatives and promote better limits to mega mansions. While the Mayor speaks well on these issues, very little substances is generated by our government to promote a better policy. MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE ! ! !

Email me or call me at home at 847-831-0373 or on my cell at 847-456-6933 with your thoughts.

What do you think about government cutting services

One of the discussions we have on the City Council is keeping a high level of services. This however runs opposite to the idea of a balanced budget where we have to cut millions of dollars of expenses.

I am of the belief that under these times we need to have drastic cuts in the budget and therefore services. We might not be able to do as much for Seniors and Youth as we have done in the past. We might need to cut our Community Development and Building staff to levels that match the amount of revenues that support those departments. While police, fire, and public works are the backbone of our mission, we will also have to cut personnel in these areas too to be able to live within our means. Managers might have to be reduced as well. I would rather see more boots on the ground than more managers in the office. We need to cut both!

Please email me at stevemandel@comcast.net to share your thoughts on this question. When you cut the costs of government they will not be able to do as much... What do you think?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Hope Everybody had a great 4th of July

While my wife convinced me to go up to the cottage in Wisconsin and miss the HP parade, I still reflected on how I could be a better citizen and public official. I have never really enjoyed being the object of attention at these big public events. I would much rather be out there with you in the crowd cheering and enjoying the sights and sounds.

What always amazes me is the willingness of citizens to give of themselves to our country in the armed services, helping the less fortunate, and just helping others in general through many worthwhile charities and not for profits. Appreciation for those folks that constantly give should always be promoted and recognized.

This is the best county in the world and all of us can take an important role in working to make it better. That spirit of Independence and the sacrifice of our founders should never be taken for granted and always calls on us to push our generation to take another step forward to promote the welfare of our nation.