Saturday, December 25, 2010

Recycle Now

Every Tuesday and Friday

7:00 am to 1:00 pm

Firearms Training Center 1180 Half Day Road

Save and Bring all your Holiday E-Waste, Styrofoam, Fluorescent Lamps, and old used HP 18gal green (old recycling containers)

Electronics, Including:

Personal Computers,

Monitors and Keyboards Printers,

Scanners, Copy & Fax Machines

VCRs and DVD Players

Telephones & Cell Phones Televisions,

Stereos and Radios

Microwaves & other Small Household Appliances

Holiday Lights & more!

Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Foam #6 (“Styrofoam”),

including: Packaging Foam

(Often used to package new TV's, Stereos, and other Electronics).

Rinsed/Clean Foam Cups, Containers, and

Food Trays Foam Egg Cartons

Foam Ice Chests All Foam should have the logo embossed on it.

18 Gallon Highland Park Recycling Bins

Contact Brian Bourdeau, for information on this event or call 847-926-1043. Visit the SWALCO website,, or call 847-336-9340 for more information on the electronics recycling program.

January 2011 Roundup

Our POSO district (Pro-Retail/Anti-Bank) boundary in our Central Business District was modified slightly by taking out Laurel Ave between 1st and 2nd street. The Plan Commission will consider and further recommendations on appeals will be coming forward in the next year.

Extended agreement with Community Family Center to continue their fund raising efforts to rehab our Karger facility unifying several social organizations under one roof. These are great people helping many people in our community. Check out the website and please support their efforts.

Preliminary Approval of Thorntons Gas Station/Convenience Mart and Medical building on the site of the former Lincoln Mercury Dealership North of the intersection of Lake Cook Road and Old Skokie Blvd.

Sign ordinance was changed so candidates could not place multiple signs together to bypass our ordinance's size regulations.

Highland Park is paying $500,000 out of 2.3 million in infrastructure work on Western Avenue. Even though the street itself is almost totally in Highwood, we are sharing certain costs because homes in Highland Park on the West side are serviced by Western Ave.

Nancy Rotering and I voted against the Budget for the second year in a row because it used increase taxes as part of the revenue stream to match expenditures. Budget and 2.56% increased tax levy did pass. We were successful however in convincing a majority of the Council from preventing use of our rainy day reserve fund for the first time in the last three years. Terri Olian and Mayor Belsky wanted to dip into the reserves for a third year in a row. I just don't understand why some of my colleagues refuse to fully adopt a recalibration of government NOW, three years after our economy shifted. I know we will have the votes after May.

Cell Phone Ban will be discussed at our City Council Meeting on Monday January 10th starting at 7:30 pm . Check out our City of Highland Park website to get the specific order of our Council agenda.

Friday, December 24, 2010

About time Government Took Less.....

The Park District of Highland Park has decided to reduce the levy and our property taxes. With a staggering reserve balance in the bank, I agree this is a very welcome change from their past dramatic escalation of taxes over the past decade.

The new blood of David Fairman, our wonderful past City of HP Finance Director, I'm sure had something to do with this recalibration of their 2011 budget document. Thank You!

When I voted against our City budget that will increase taxes for our residents, I explained that it is time government started taking less and leaving our citizens more in their pockets. It is a simple statement that can be achieved by reducing the size of government and wasteful spending. Again, governments need to consolidate and provide shared services to reduce costs.

School district communities should look at ways to start shrinking their levy. Reducing the bonding capability by 10% or even 20% would be a good start. As we look at home values decreasing, the burden of over taxation plays a large roll in this market. If the schools would reduce costs to homeowners it would help in a large way send a strong signal to home buyers that Highland Park and Deerfield are serious about property tax reduction.

If our other governments would follow the Park District lead and reduce their levy, it would help support a large majority of citizens that need relief. Instead of giving us reasons why it can't be done supported by fear and uncertainty, let us hear approaches and reasons on how to make it a reality now.

What Makes A Good Public Official?

My Experience with elected officials has left me with pretty strong opinions of their ability to represent us in government. I can pretty much tell after a few encounters with these folks how far they are willing to stick their neck out representing me in their elected positions. The Arena of Politics is not a spectator sport. I see many of those in local government refusing to dig into the issues and make hard decisions. Unless you are willing to push the system to do the right thing as a elected official, you might as well not take up space at the table. We are not served well by representatives always agreeing with the business as usual approach.

During elections many people make a big deal about someone that has little time served or even slams those of us that have been around too long. Honestly, how many years you have been an elected official doesn't mean a whole lot after about a year of service. After getting your feet wet, this is not brain surgery. As long as you are smart enough to get it, willing to provide policy direction based on understanding the subject and desired outcomes, one has all that is needed to be able to do a great job. What I look for in a public servant is the ability to allow input of creative ideas, ability to generate consensus among colleagues, provide concise direction to staff, and to generate outcomes for the citizens in a timely manner.

The idea that we need to do business with an old established firm is not always the best choice. Old practices and rules do not always provide the best outcomes for our citizens. I am also not saying all old practices are bad. The idea of a fresh approach to government should not be feared, but welcomed to become part of the never ending debate of best practice. Do not confuse best practice with old practice!

Now that we are in election mode for Mayor, Council, and School and Park Board members, I would suggest you not be steered by some to fear change and challenges to the "Old Ways". The times are a changing and I suggest you open your mind and hearts to listening to new dialog that creates a better more sustainable practice for our future.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Happy Holidays in Highland Park

After a great week of Thanksgiving Feasts that we have shared with families and friends, the spirit of this season is building as we close on the end of the year. Highland Park is calling all of you to come and visit our shops, restaurants, and theaters this holiday season. We have never looked so beautiful and the merchants have never done such a great job in promoting great deals and aesthetics of the seasonal spirit.

While the basis of the holiday has been one of religion, basic human nature allows us the warmth of sharing, giving, and celebration of the wealth of life that we do have in our community. It is the time to unshackle from the battles of the arena and embrace all in the true spirit of community.

Join us and Celebrate in Highland Park this season! Have a wonderful holiday and a happy new year!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Big Change in City Government

Well, I will be entering my 19th year on the City Council after this next April election and under any circumstances the scenery will be changing around me. Mike Belsky is out along with Councilman Silberman and Councilman Levenfeld retiring after 8 years of service. With Councilwoman Olian throwing her bonnet into the ring against Mayor hopeful Nancy Rotering, we could have 4 or 3 new Councilmen this year depending on the Mayoral race outcome.

Five are on the ballot for the three open City Councilmen seats. Please go online to read about these candidates to make the best choices for our city. There will not be a primary, so the City Council Election will be held in April 5, 2011. If you know folks or young adults that are not registered to vote..... please encurage them to participate.

This will be a whole new City Council with fresh ideas that will develop creative policy for our future, as these folks make their imprint on Highland Park politics and our quality of life. I am strongly encouraged that we will forge ahead on the sustainability front, making huge progress on government reorganization by strongly engaging neighboring communities and other local governments to provide shared services for our residents. We need to spend less money overall on administration and overhead costs. More dollars need to be freed from current budget to rebuild infrastructure and providing essential needs to our citizens.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Economic Tolerance of our Citizens

In Government, staff always shares with the City Council best municipal practices on wages for our employees. We want to provide fair compensation and offer enough to retain good employees. Staff also points out our share of property taxes (6.5%) and how our fees, water rates, sales tax, etc compares to many other communities of size and proximity to Highland Park.

All of this is fine, but in private business, the cost of delivering your service should not be more than the revenues you can retrieve from sales in the open market. How I relate this to government is that the economic tolerance and the services provided to citizens should be regulated by the elected officials with an observance of the service delievered kept within the costs of our citizens ability to pay.

At our last meeting, I suggested we show a spreadsheet on the economic tolerance of Highland Park's citizen in respect to the combined impact of all these taxes, fees, and rates. I am not asking just about the City of Highland Park's costs, but rather total community costs and how that economic burden compares to other communities of similar size and proximity. This will help us better understand how expensive it is to live in Highland Park.

As I have stated in past writings, I am concerned that we are asking for too much and continue to ask for a greater percentage of the resources from our citizens pockets. Again, we are asking for more money from citizens than the any index of inflation has shown. Social Security Checks have not increased in 2 years, housing and stock values have declined, yet we continue to ask for more.

Enough---- We should do what it takes to roll back costs and reduce the burden on our population before more people have to leave our great community because they can't afford to live here anymore.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

December 2010 Roundup

We have asked Counsel to draft and ordinance Creating the new Natural Resources Commission that will combine our existing Environmental and Lakefront Commissions. This is occurring in part to the continued efficiency efforts, less work load on the Lakefront Commission, and combining a united focus across the board on sustainability and our environment.

We continue to work with SWALCO, our Business Community, and Commissioners to Remove Styrofoam and Plastic Film (bags) from our waste stream.

Veolia apologized for sending our late billing that had an incorrect late notice. They explained the bill is not due until 12/25/10.

We made an amendment to our lease agreement with The Art Center to reduce their costs while they continue to restructure their operations and provide a great contribution to our Cultural Arts mission in Highland Park.

Made a deposit of $428,000 to Com Ed for a transformer for our water plant upgrade. I continue to oppose moving forward on a water plant increase until we can assure our water rates won't skyrocket.

Decided not to move ahead with mandatory residential sprinkler systems for new homes built in Highland Park because of increased costs in consideration of this stressed housing market.

After the City Council voted unanimously at our last meeting to take down the NO U-Turn sign by the theater on Central Avenue, I am still optimistic that our staff will obey our directive at some point. Who is in charge here? Staff, in their infinite wisdom, put the sign back up last year after our City Council led by Ray Geraci had it taken down many years ago.

We passed a Tree Trimming contract, not to exceed the 100,000 for 2011. This operates our eight cycle maintenance of our urban forest. The city is divided into 8 tree maintenance districts of which we focus on one every 8 years.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Mike Belsky will not run for Mayor in 2011

I want to thank Mayor Mike Belsky for his service to our community over the past 16+ years as Councilman and Mayor. He has just told us he will not run for re-election as Mayor in 2011.

We have worked together on issues across the board and while sometimes disagreeing, much progress has been made on behalf of the citizens of Highland Park. Mike is a smart and heart felt individual that has given all he has to this community during his service. His support and encouragement of my efforts on the environmental, fiscal, and visionary fronts have always helped us achieve better outcomes for our community. I hope my support of his initiatives have given him the same confidence to push further than others have before.

While politically things have been bumpy at times, I look back at the achieved outcomes we have planted and taken root over the past 16 years, and I am proud to have worked with Mike on behalf of Highland Park.

November 2010 Roundup

The City Council formally approved the Prospect Street end plan on Oct. 25th and was promised it would be completely implemented by Nov. 30th this year. Agenda item#8 to allow Richard Tucker to install four (4) Green Giant arborvitae on the public property was tabled for a possible future discussion at the request of Richard Tucker.
At the recommendation of the Business and Economic Dev. Comm., the City Council approved amended Sales Tax Sharing agreements with HP Ford Lincoln-Mercury and North Shore Auto Grp. This sharing of NEW sales tax dollars offsets a share of the costs for improvements to the site.
We are looking at building code changes that include mandatory home sprinklers, demolition debris recycling, conservation energy code, additional licensing, and bird safety glass.
Water rates will increase about 3% and will cost the average homeowner $18/yr more. I did not support this! I continue to ask for information about this project and long term costs to taxpayers.
Passed $53,840 in service grants for the Arts and Human Service organizations. Many non-profits are struggling and if you can help in some way.... Please contribute. This is a good thing!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Clock Ticking on Budget Process again....

In November 2009, at the 11th hour, we were given staff recommendations to cut $750,000.00 of costs out of the 2010 budget to balance our revenues and expenditures. The majority of the Council decided to take money out of reserves instead of moving forward with those recommendations mostly because there was not enough time to deliberate on all the cuts properly.

Councilman Rotering, Levenfeld, and myself asked to continue the dialog on the budget cuts immediately in January so we would not run out of time in 2010 to balance revenues and expenditures in the 2011 budget. The majority, including the Mayor, Councilwoman Terri Olian, Councilman Jim Kirsch, and Councilman Larry Silbermen did not support to continue the budget discussion in January. Real detailed discussions did not commence until the Fall of this year for the 2011 budget. Too Little, Too Late, Too Much.

Here we go again...... I am feeling like we are in the same boat without enough information or time for the majority of the city council to balance the budget without increasing fees, taxes, and taking out of reserves again. The city manager is proposing cutting costs across the board in police, fire, (building and community development ), a redesign of youth and senior, and public works. All these cuts are proposed still with a 3% property tax increase, and increased fees in water rates and sewer fees. The Library has also given us a budget with an increase of 4.99% for their share of the levy.

While I will not support increases in taxes or fees, I am only one lonely vote.....and not sure we have enough time to get through a process and produce effective alternatives to get 3 more votes to agree with me. I'm not a tea party fella but believe we need to hold the line for our citizens.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Swalco "Recycling" Stuff.......

Check out >> Where Should My Stuff Go?: Recycle and Redirect Guide to find out what to do with much of your unwanted "stuff", including batteries, latex paint, documents, cell phones, and more.

Third Annual Recycle-O-Rama and Environmental Fair on Saturday, November 20 from 9:00 am until Noon at the Warren-Township O’Plaine Campus.....................For those who are unable to make the workshop, the toolkit is readily available and free online at The program is hosted by SWALCO and College of Lake County. The event will offer an opportunity for individuals and families to gather resources and information on recycling, composting, vermi-composting, and information on living a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. Lake County residents will have an opportunity to recycle household items that can not be placed in curbside recycling like athletic shoes, eyeglasses and accessories, cell phones, smoke and C02 detectors, fire extinguishers, propane tanks, ink jet/printer cartridges, wine corks (no plastic), latex paint (for a minimal fee), household electronics, baby car seats, and more. Look for upcoming information on this website to confirm items you can bring to be recycled. Only items listed on the website will be accepted at the event. Additionally, a swap area will feature items including: fabric, yarn, DVDs, CDs, and books – bring your unwanted items and swap them for another. Games and activities are planned for kids - with prizes too! Loads of information, loads of items to be recycled and loads of fun are expected for the day! Continue to check back here or Contact Merleanne Rampale, 847-336-9340 x 4 for more information on the event.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Looking for Mr. or Ms. Sustainability

Update 110210- we are scheduling a meeting with Deerfield to talk about sharing sustainability resources.
We have a sustainability plan...... We have dedicated revenue sources to pay for a sustainability person or firm. We know how other communities have tackled the issue of implementing their sustainability goals........ SO WHATS NEXT?

We had a great meeting with Oak Park, their City Manager, and Sustainability Coordinator trying to figure out how we were going to proceed.

The question here is what we are expecting for outcomes from this new hire compared to what others have gotten as the business as usual approach to sustainability. While most current sustainability folks have been focused on carbon footprints and energy use, I am looking for a strong environmental mission incorporating government reorganization that would reduce cost substantially. Payback in cash money to the citizens would be expected for anyone taking this job in my opinion.

I am sure many in government elected and hired would say I must get real unless I want to reduce the services dramatically and "gut" government from being able to do their job. I disagree...... I see many opportunities to share services, consolidate, and create many efficiencies that will create better and broader services for our citizens.

One point of controversy on this issue is, should our Sustainability Czar be locally based or regionally based? The Mayor and I disagree on this issue since I think Sustainability can better be achieved by regionally working together in a multi-community format. Deerfield, Highwood, Lake Forest, Glencoe, Northbrook, Lake County, and Cook County all have areas of common services to our citizens that might be better unified to cut costs and provide better quality. Being able to create a sustainability network over multi-governmental jurisdictions is essential for real movement. If the Mayor gets his way to hire another city employee to implement our sustainability plan, I will work with him to achieve the best outcomes. I did however suggest he try to contract this person out to other governments in Highland Park and neighboring communities to network and provide us revenue. He has agreed.

I have suggested that SWALCO(Solid Waste Agency of Lake County) of which I am the appointed director from Highland Park, be a central point to coordinate Lake County sustainability. To these goals our SWALCO Executive Director Walter Willis is examining managing a network with our 41 communities in Lake County which would also connect to our Cook County neighbors to achieve the best outcomes in efficiency for all our residents.

If SWALCO can work out a business model that will benefit the 41 community members in Lake County and provide needed funds to SWALCO for operations it will be a go. But for now we are in the learning phase trying to piece together different models that could benefit our citizens.

Stay Tuned......

Free Prospect Street End Now!

UPDATE 102510- The Council formally approved the plan last night and was promised it would be completely implemented by Nov. 30th this year. Agenda item#8 to allow Richard Tucker to install four (4) Green Giant arborvitae on the public property was tabled for a possible future discussion at the request of Richard Tucker. To be Continued...........
Well, we had a discussion on Prospect Avenue Street end at our last City Council meeting and achieved consensus on taking down the old fence, creating a large VISTA overlooking Lake Michigan, and putting up a barricade at the curb and another keep out fence 30 ft back. My fellow Councilman Nancy Rotering and I suggested that a fence obstructing full pedestrian access was not appropriate, but the Mayor and 4 the other members of the Council disagreed and affirmed staffs suggestion that a split rail fence be installed some 30 feet from the curb.

The good news is that we all agreed on a open wide VISTA, unencumbered on our very own city property street end.

Well, so much for votes and consensus because just a few days later I met Nancy Rotering and a few members of the neighborhood on site. In the process, we CAUGHT the adjoining neighbor trying to install several 20+ foot conifer trees some 25 feet into the city property. These trees would have partially obstructed that beautiful VISTA we just got consensus on! Seemingly while staff did have a hand in condoning these actions, because of Councilman Roterings and my objections, all work was stopped, the planted trees were pulled out, and we were assured no further planting would be permitted on the public lands.

We were recently told this is now an agenda item on our October 25th regular Council Meeting Agenda starting at 7:30. Please check our city website at for specific information. Obviously the watchfulness of the citizens needs to prevail in this situation for it really.............., I mean really become a reality. BE THERE!

How much more will water cost us every month?

It has been many years of research and planning that has gone into the water plant renovations being contemplated to begin soon. Reasoning for renovation are increased capacity and new technologies that provide safer water. Micro filtration, I am told, is the state of the art system that allows us to keep a smaller footprint with higher output. The cost of this project is expected to come in at over 25 million dollars. These new costs will be shared among users in Highland Park as well as our customers in Deerfield, Bannockburn, and Lincolnshire.

Highland Park should be a leader in Water Conservation and demonstrate good stewardship of our natural waters. But just last week I commented with great concern on several statements our City Manager Limardi made talking about selling water to far western suburbs that currently don't have Lake Michigan water. How much water can we take out of the Lake until it starts to shrink? We are the only Great Lake State that can even legally take water out of this watershed whose Highland Park boundary is approximately Greenbay Road. We can't take this body of water for granted!

So, if we don't sell more water and further decrease our use by let say 25%, do we need this renovation and if so, can we afford it? To this last point, I have been asking for the last few years to create a spread sheet showing the anticipated rate increases while inserting the variables of both water consumption decreases, projected operating costs, and the debt service.

Waiting for an answer........ and until I am convinced this won't overburden our citizens I will not support rate increases based on the 2006 projections that don't include all the variables I described.

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 2010 Roundup

We are looking at the boundaries and possible revisions of our POSO District (created to stop banks and non-retail businesses from fracturing our core pedestrian areas) in our downtown. A subcommittee was formed to recommend changes back to the City Council in about 60 days.

Budget is in full gear with a large proposed cut in personnel for fiscal year 2011. Meetings are posted on our website at and the budget information as well. We need to reinvent our government and work with other governments to consolidate and create MORE efficiencies. Some want to brag about how great we are and not change..... but I feel we need to work harder and re-engineer a smaller economic impact on our citizens!

Public Access broadcast facility at the Police station will be shared with Deerfield and Winnetka... Good job staff getting others to pitch in!

We talked about the cost of Downtown sidewalk snow removal contracts and asked for ways to reduce costs.

Your "Main Man" Councilman Steve Mandel was appointed Mayor Pro Tem to the City Council by the Mayor and supported by my fellow Councilman.... While this should have happened immediately after the 2009 election, I am honored by the appointment and will serve in the position, in the Mayors absence, with respect of my fellow Council, facilitating discussion that will give us strong and solid consensus for staff to carry out. Thank you!

Eliminate Position of Treasurer

In early 2007 I expressed my opinion to eliminate of the Treasurers position. My feelings have not changed over the last 4 years since I tried to get a City Council consensus on changing the status of Treasurers position from a paid employee to a volunteer commissioner position. I am hoping my fellow Councilman will now embrace my idea to remove this political position of Treasurer from the payroll.

Currently the Treasurer gets paid 5000 dollars a year and gets free health insurance. Many other Volunteer Commissioners throughout the city that are professional lawyers, doctors, CPA's, and Mba's give their expertise without any compensation. While our Treasurer Ron Zweig is a asset to our non-elected recommending personnel, his position is no different from several other commission members. We have a wonderful professional Finance Director Elizabeth Holleb that fills the job of Treasurer.

For years this position has been a "Political Bone" for the Mayor to hand off to whom ever they wish. Mayor Mike Belsky handed this bone to his neighbor and good friend Ron Zwieg. Now, I again must say Ron Zwieg has been a great asset to the community and our finance committee, BUT no more than many of our City Commissioners that get NO Compensation.

It is time to eliminate the position of treasurer upon the next seating of the newly elected Mayor this year.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Free City Council Health Insurance must end in 2011

When I ran for City Council in 2009 I pledged to vote on removing free health insurance offered to the City Council. November 2nd, 2009 I brought this matter up during our budget discussion on a way to reduce the cost of government. (originally wrote in blog Nov. 2009)

State law does not allow benefits to be changed (lowered or raised) during the full term of a elected official. We can however change the code so all elected officials stop receiving FREE health insurance elected in 2011 and beyond.

The best practice for Council/Managerial 32,000 population towns like ourselves is clearly and obviously no health insurance benefits to City Councils.

Since this policy was enacted some 30+ years ago, health costs have skyrocketed. With the challenges of the current economic climate we need be clear and conservative on any spending. As we streamline government, Health Insurance for the Council should be first to go in our budget process for 2011 and will save us MILLIONS. The City Council must change the code now to inform candidates of the 2011 race what their benefits will be during their term as Mayor or Councilman. We must control government costs and the City Council can't be immune as we reduce expenditures and do what is right for our community.

Currently an ordinance to continue the practice of FREE COUNCIL HEATH INSURANCE for FOUR more years will be discussed at our September 13th meeting and I would like the public to weigh in on this issue and help me convince the Council to end this practice.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Labor Day and the American Dream

Reflection of the Labor Day holiday and the great strides our workers have made over the many decades of the 20th century has given us the strong America we all enjoy today. Most of us that are retired or getting close to retirement have been able to raise a family in our own home, have a car, get a decent pension, and live the American dream.

For younger folks this might not be as attainable if we all don't work together to upright the American business, government, and labor model in the near future. There is not the availability of money that is needed to fuel the old or current ways. Bankruptcy, foreclosure, and job loss is becoming way to normal.

All of us in business, government, and the labor movement must work together to reduce the cost of everything within our control. We must all sacrifice some of the good life to do accomplish what we need to do.

Instead of raising prices, taxes, salaries, and benefits, we must reduce all these numbers to make ends meet. Reflecting on labor day and continuing the dream means that workers too in our governments that are making up to $225,000 per year (not including benefits) must take some of this responsibility. We can still live the American Dream with less and be able to preserve it for our children.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

September 2010 Round Up

Mayor Geraci's OP-Ed Article on Inflated salaries, bonuses & Pensions in public sector at taxpayer's expense. - Mayor Geraci hits the nail on the head here!

Since the beginning of 2010, the Prescription Pill Drug Disposal (P2D2) program has successfully provided medication disposal services at two Highland Park locations (police station and North Shore Health Center). Recently, 386 pounds of discarded medication were destroyed. To date this year, the City has collected and properly disposed of 586 pounds of prescription medication as a result of this program. Lake Forest and Lake Bluff have recently instituted similar programs within their communities and the Police Department has been contacted by several other agencies that have expressed interest in the program as well.

Our current biweekly payroll system that is based on a 364 salaried year has cost our city an extra 700 thousand dollars over our posted payroll passed in our annual budgets. We have asked staff to look at a semi-monthly payroll system to recover this money going forward. Staff will be getting back to us on the cost of software and legal challenges to get this done. I brought this up last January and am hoping implementation soon.

Passed a set of City Council protocols that lays out how we are suppose to deal with staff and the public. I have always opposed this resolution since it is elementary (I already took the boy scout oath) and also attempts to hogties Councilman from using all options available to represent our citizens, whom are the only ones we are accountable too.

Approval of new trail along County Line Road from the Botanic Garden East through Braeside.

Passed our Sustainability Master Plan and will now turn to looking to hire a sustainability advocate to create efficiencies and sustainable government..... SAVE MONEY

Ravinia underpass at West gate was approved and will be ready for the 2011 season.

SWALCO Household Chemical Mobile Event in Lake Forest Sept 25th

I want to let you know that on Saturday, September 25, 2010, SWALCO (Solid Waste Agency of Lake County) will be holding a Household Chemical Waste Mobile Collection event at the Lake Forest Municipal Services Center, 800 N. Field Drive from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary. The collection events is for Illinois residents ONLY and is FREE. You do not need to be a resident of the community in order to participate.

Materials ACCEPTED at HCW Collections:

  • Aerosol Products
  • Antifreeze
  • Asbestos
  • Batteries: Rechargeable (NI-CAD), Lithium and Metal Hydride Batteries (NO ALKALINE or LEAD-ACID)
  • Drain Cleaners
  • Driveway Sealers
  • Fertilizers, Herbicides
  • Fluorescent Lights and CFL's (compact fluorescent bulbs)
  • Fungicides
  • Furniture Strippers and Varnishes
  • Garden and Lawn Chemicals
  • Gasoline
  • Hobby Chemicals
  • Household Cleaners
  • Insecticides and Pesticides
  • Mercury (including thermometers and thermostats)
  • Metal Polishes
  • Motor Oil
  • Oil-based Paints
  • Paint Removers
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Prescription Drugs (for People and Pets), Over-the Counter Medicines and Supplements (NO DEA CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES - see below)
  • Personal Care Products (including cosmetics, skin-care products, shampoos, nail polish and remover, etc.)
  • Solvents

The following materials are NOT ACCEPTED at HCW Collections:

  • Agricultural Chemicals
  • Alkaline Batteries
  • Business or Institutional Wastes
  • DEA Controlled Substances (click for list at DEA site)
  • Explosives and Ammunition
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Fireworks
  • Household Electronics
  • Latex Paint
  • Lead-acid Batteries
  • Propane Tanks
  • Medical Wastes
  • Sharps/Needles
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Tires

If you have questions regarding items that are accepted, please contact SWALCO at 847-336-9340

Please also check our recycling guidelines for home curbside pickup and plastic bag (film) dropoffs at grocery stores

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Park District Pension Blow Out

Park District Board MEETING--August 19, 2010, Workshop/Board Meeting will be held at the Highland Park Community House, 1991 Sheridan Road, Highland Park. The Workshop Meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m. as scheduled. The Board Meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.An Open Letter to the Highland Park Community-Read Here

I was stunned and outraged to read the original Tribune article or Aug 2 followup article that described the wasteful spending of our money by our Park District Commissioners. Lorry Werhane should very much regret the increased liability of about $56,000/year (based on $166,000 Vs. $110,000 pension if done properly) of increased benefits that the citizens of Highland Park and the State of Illinois must pay per year.

Salaries for Executive Director of $435,203 his last year and the current salary of $218,372 for Ken Swan is way over the bar. Wow.... full transparency and discussion forums of this travesty needs to be implemented now. Not only should the government look for ways to recover these wrongly sanctioned payments, but we should examine all our employment contracts and benefits to be sure things are now done properly.

We will be passing a Pension Reform Resolution at our next City Council meeting to insist our legislatures reform pension law to create a sustainable pension program and STOP abuses like the Park District imposed on our backs. Karen May who is on the pension subcommittee, is our best hope to champion these efforts and create change. Drastic changes from the current benefit defined plans to contribution defined plans must be implemented for real change to occur. We must not lay any additional current employee liability on future wage earners.

The Park District issue is the tip of the iceberg and we must change government NOW....... Please speak out!

Seniors, Disabilities, Economic ability, and the GARBAGE

I have been trashed by a few of my Senior Citizens in town for not demanding in negotiations a special subsidized provision in the new garbage contract for Seniors. First of all, just being a senior does not invoke immediate subsidy on a economic level from government. People in need, no matter what there age, are the ones we must try to help. There are two reasons of hardship where we must reach out to help folks, low income and disability. While these issues might be realities for some seniors, it is not the majority. Many seniors have sufficient cash flow and pretty good physical and mental abilities. I look at my 84 year old mom and thank G_D she can still drive and live a good life on her Social Security. You don't have to be a rich senior to be able to pay the $7.50 - 25.00 costs of garbage pick up. To be able to pay under 15/mo. for garbage pick up is a real bargain. Just ask your friends in other towns. If you are disabled, can't take your garbage to the street, and cant afford the $22.35-$25.00 costs/mo. for back door service we need to come up with an alternative to help.

As someone who initiated the low income rebates for utilities for our residents, I am very sensitive to the costs of living in Highland Park. I have also been leading the way for years on reducing the costs of government for all and any escalations in non-discretionary taxation and fees (property taxes, and basic services).

While I think we have the best residential waste hauling contract we could have negotiated, we must still workout issues with those that have problems bringing their garbage to the street and can't afford the increase for backdoor service.

August 2010 Round Up

Cell phone usage while driving will be put on agenda at an upcoming City Council meeting to either limit use to hands free like Chicago and Evanston or totally ban cell phone usage while driving. I have made a pledge to not use a cell phone in my car while driving. We must lead by example and increase safety on our streets for ourselves and our community.

We Okayed waivers on street use promoting the Lincoln School Annual Fall Frolic on Aug. 26th and the Ravinia Nursery School's Annual Family Fall Festival on Oct 3rd.

Council voted 5-2 to okay City Managers Limardi's recommendation to replace Fred Allen's management of the Highland Park Theater with Kemper Sports, the management team that runs the Highland Park Country Club. Nancy Rotering and I voted against this contract ratification.

Awarded a $50,000 contract to seal the cracks on our streets this year. I again brought up the point that we should be doing a better job reaching out to neighboring communities to do more Joint bidding to reduce costs to our residents.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Keep Politics out of our Council/Commission Governance

Commission members for the City of Highland Park should not be asked if they will endorse a Candidate for Mayor or the City Council. Commissioners should be appointed on their merits and abilities to contribute to policy rather on than being politically committed to the Mayor or Councilman.

As the City Council has talked about protocols designed for the City Council and our Commissions to be ethically clear of interests that might be interpreted as influential decision making, I would ask us politicians not ask Commissioners to politically endorse any member that runs for political office in the City of Highland Park.

By enacting this protocol, Commissioners would not feel obligated to endorse incumbents because of a concern they might not be re-appointed to the commission or not be considered for Chairman. These appointments should be solely based on merit and not politics.

There is plenty of politics going on in Highland Park as candidates will be spending between $20,000 to $100,000 in the 2011 races to get their positions out to the citizens. There is every reason to keep politics away from our Commission system and let our appointed citizens make their recommendations on the facts of petitions and not allow politics to cast a influential shadow on their work.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Who needs Government?

With all the stress and skyrocketing costs of government, one might think we should just leave everybody alone and stay out of your life.
In Tisch Mills they must think so!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

NEW Volume Based Garbage Deal

Last night the City Council okayed a new 5 year contract with Veolia for our Residential Volume Based "Pay as you throw" program. Residents need to understand changes in Options and Pricing so watch for the mailed survey and information in the upcoming Highlander.

Our first Volume based contract was negotiated over 8 years ago and because of its great success in getting residents to use stickers and producing the highest recycling rate in Lake County, Veolia stated that they had been loosing large sums of money monthly on the existing contract. To continue a low cost sticker Volume Based system we needed to charge a minimum $60/year ($5/Mo.)base service fee to all households in this new contract to cover some costs of operations. In exchange for that reliable fee we were able to get the sticker price lowered to $2.35 from the current price of $2.84.

Also, along with most other communities in the nation, we are moving our garbage curbside to allow automated truck systems to operate in a more sustainable fashion. We will be getting all new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles and free carts for refuse and recycling. Promotion of these CNG trucks reduces our reliance on oil and imported fuels. As a matter of fact our entire Volume Based Program will promote reduction of waste, increasing of recyclable products, and a much reduced carbon footprint of our entire refuse system.

Current rear door/top of drive will still be offered during this 5 year contract at a cost of $15/month add on but I suggest you wheel it down to the curb for the best rates.

Change is never easy and there is always reasons not to move forward, but I am proud of Highland Park being a leader in sustainability and doing what is right for us and our world.

Friday, July 23, 2010

July 2010 Round Up

1. Authorized reconstruction for Orchard Lane to a tune of $658,033.00. Along with reconstruction of the street we will be putting in a bike lane and a new water main.

2. On Pleasant Avenue we will be upgrading the storm sewers at a cost of $445,099.

3. We accepted the water distribution Master Plan that has called out millions of dollars of needed upgrades over the next decade. We need to really address this infrastructure so we don't have increasing failures in our water system.

4. Discussed the continuation of the Special Service Area that funds the Downtown Business Alliance which includes the Association of Property Owners, Chamber of Commerce, and members of the City of Highland Park. It is important we keep a close eye on our downtown and the revenues it can produce for the community.

5. Presentation of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal year Ended Dec. 31, 2009. See this report, our budget, and all you ever wanted to know about our finances.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Independence Day Spirit

Riding down Central in the parade and viewing the many Highland Park families that attended demonstrates the great national and community acknowledgement to the values that created our country.

What strikes deep in my heart during these times of economic stress is the need for government to lighten up on the citizens. We need to constantly bring back that revolutionary spirit that slaps complacency and pushes back big government. Burdening our citizens with unsustainable public pensions and robust programs that can be trimmed can't continue. We must not lose steam in creating sustainable government.

We must demand immediate reinvention and priority on the REAL needs of our community. Consolidated government, reduced costs, and networking across our municipal boundaries for efficiencies will produce great results.

Municipalities, School Districts, and Townships need to evaluate solutions together to reduce administrations and create efficient programs that serve the people at reduced costs.

The spirit of 1776 lives within us still and can liberate us from the burdens that we face today if we are willing to change.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Unite on June 28th and Promote Lake Michigan Access

UPDATE*****Last night the Mayor released a statement that told residents there would be no license given, the fence would come down, and the staff would develop a plan for the public enjoyment of this street end. I want to thank all of you for your emails and calls to support public access to Lake Michigan and the street end program. This result has come forward because of your expressions.
Thank you!

The request to continue the privatization of the Prospect Ave. street-end really drives home the need to promote public awareness and interaction with the lakefront. Currently the Prospect Ave. street end is barricaded and used by the adjacent owner as their private back yard. While the lakes majestic beauty is in full bloom, the vista down Prospect is the obstruction of our lake with an old iron fence and dense privately maintained foliage that enforce private property use of these public lands. Please come to the meeting and petition the Mayor and City Council to tear down these fences and obstructions to allow public view and access to our lake.

Please look at our city website at and download the agenda for the June 28th for information on the time of this discussion in front of the City Council. Let the Mayor and City Council understand our connection to our public lands, lake, and values concerning community rights and expectations. Words from my colleges on the Council have been weak and very confusing as they have been on the fence and non-committal on protecting the public right for access to our lake. Request that they step up and take affirmative action at this meeting to really open up this street end to the public. FREE PROSPECT AVE. STREET END!

June 2010 Table Roundup

Our Social Hosting Ordinance to help prevent teen drug and alcohol abuse will be getting a tweaking using best practices used in neighboring communities. Bottom line here is that parents can't take a hands off approach and need to be proactive on guiding the actions of children in their homes. Party houses that tolerate teen drug and alcohol abuse is not okay.

Discussion of government consolidation continues with the merger of the Lakefront and Environmental Commissions. I think that together they can unify their passion and expertise for a greater impact on our environment.

A filibuster emerged to delay the continuation of our Downtown Alliance Strategy's funding (Special Service Area) mission to promote the success of our core business district. While the jury is still out on the payback for this mission, the signs are positive and the consensus from a majority of our property owners and business leaders seems to be supportive. After a 60 day window for appeals the SSA will come back to the Council for a final vote.

UPDATE- This item was pulled from the agenda and use of Tasars seems to have been put on hold.Police were scheduled to carry Conducted Energy Devices "Tasers" in the coming months as another instrument of force to preserve the peace in Highland Park. I voiced my minority objection if the Tasers use would be to control upset suspects instead of an alternative to deadly force. Officers should be instructed to continue to put their hands on disorderly suspects and not resort to Tasers in my opinion. Tasers have caused death and large lawsuit settlements paid to the suspects. Hope neither of these results happen in Highland Park.

Highland Park Historical Society will hold its annual Antique and Classic Auto Show on July 31st between 11am and 3pm.

2010 vehicle sticker design will be honoring the 100th year anniversary of our Chamber of Commerce of Highland Park. I would ask you to shop local and support our merchants which in turn provides needed revenues to support the community services that we all enjoy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Staffs Budget Ideology pushes increases in Taxes and Fees

While I have been asking that we immediately talk about reducing costs of city government to meet existing revenues, we again turn back the clock and listened to the old ideological discussion about bringing up revenues to meet existing cost of government PLUS++++. Now this all seems like open and clear government in action.. at it is!.... Staff again wants to increase revenues by raising fees and taxes to support an unsustainable government. If more infrastructure work needs to be done (and it REALLY does), staff suggests we get more fees and taxes from the residents. I have suggested we cut costs in our City Mangers office and other departments to increase spending on our infrastructure. Up until now the opposite has occurred and we have continued to allow our infrastructure spending to fall behind.

Staff is pairing under achieving revenues with over demanding infrastructure costs in an attempt to justifying raising fees and taxes. This is just a government strategy to raise taxes by mental gymnastics accounting instead of simply adjusting revenues to be shared by priority amongst all the expenditure accounts. While we should have a basic plan on understanding the revenue structure in relation to our city expenses, the major emphasis on setting the budget must be the fiscal impact on our residents.

Where is the Knife?? Lets start cutting fellas and ladies.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Was the Right Decision made about Arizona travel?

First of all lets get the facts straight! The administration that made the decision to not let the girls go to Arizona is hired by a board of elected officials and is a representative government of citizens that live in Deerfield, Highwood, Riverwoods, and Highland Park (attendance map). For the citizens or the City of Highland Park to unilaterally take any heat for 113's decision is unwarranted. This was not a Highland Park decision!

The Community of Highland Park is a place I am proud to have spent my entire life raising my children and serving the citizens as a City Councilman. We have a wonderful community that offers a great friendly cultural, historical, and business climate for all area residents to enjoy.

Political diversity and the tolerance of views is what we should teach our children and not lead them by the nose in any direction. Let them be part of the process with their parents. Tolerance and objective reasoning was not demonstrated by this school administration decision process. District 113 had no business putting our community or children in the center of this controversy by representing that their decision to not send the girls represented core values of this community.

I personally do not think any child is unsafe in Arizona and to okay foreign sanctioned visits anywhere over our children's ability to visit places within this country is ridiculous.

We need to deal with our immigration situation on a federal level immediately. Existing illegal residents and future immigrants need to live under a practice and law that supports the need of our country to have immigrant labor. This is mostly just supply and demand but it needs to legally work.

We should learn from this unfortunate situation with our schools and leave these kind of national debates to our citizens that vote and simply promote education, tolerance, and objective reasoning to our children.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Publics Prospect Street End up for discussion

On May 10th the City Council will decide the fate of the Public Street End that overlooks Lake Michigan at Prospect Avenue. Over the past 30 years a license has existed that has kept this publicly deeded property in the control of the adjoining private property owners hands. A fence was erected and access to the bluff edge was prohibited during the past 30 year life of the license.

Good news is that the license has now expired and the disposition of the street end is entirely within the will of the City Council. The City Manager has placed this discussion on the agenda for our next meeting.

Now back in 2007 we put together an amendment to our Greenways Plan that incorporated 12 publicly owned street ends that terminated at the waters edge of Lake Michigan. Prospect Ave. was one of the twelve that we designated for this program. Prospect Ave. was designated for public views of the lake, possible access to the beach, and overall connection of the citizens of Highland Park to experience Lake Michigan in the neighborhoods.

The license that gave private property rights to this public property have expired. It is understood that the adjacent owner wants to renew those rights. I would ask all those citizens of Highland Park that have wishes that these public street ends return and stay in the public hands come to the meeting on May 10th and voice their support for public access. Look on the website after May 6th for time and location of meeting as part of the City Council agenda packet.

Round-Up on Current Issues

I am going to try a new format for general issues that are being discussed to help immerse you in more topics "On The Table". I will still be using old format as well.

1. We are looking to have a new Residential Garbage pickup contract in place in Sept. of this year. Just putting out our RFP asking waste haulers to give us bids. This has been a hot topic in the past and big changes need to happen to keep our volume based system intact. We will be getting larger wheeled recycling toter's as our first priority but they will need to be brought to the street curb for pickup. We are asking for subscription options for those of you that want to keep the current small carts in front of your garage.

2. If you read the paper you mostly know about the HP theater and the fact that the committee was asked to look at renovation options. Recommendation is to not proceed with any major upgrade at this time and to clean up the existing movie theater in ways to increase net revenues. The operating budget is projected to run in the black for 2010.

3.Ravinia Farmers Market permit okay starting June 16th through Oct 27th from 5am-1pm.

4.The Arts Center (TAC) has been given a break on the rent through December of 2010 and modifications on moneys due the city to help them get back on their financial feet. Their default would not serve our community while their mission enriches our life's and community. Please help us promote their success.

5. We saved $70,000.00 by contracting out our street sweeping instead of doing it in house.

6. Received a bid for $254,400 for salt for the 2010-11 season.

7. Okayed contracts of $989,000 for Asphalt and Concrete Street repairs.

8. Our Automobile Boot Law will now cover anyone that receives 5 unpaid parking citations which are over 90 days old.... Pay them tickets or get booted!

9. I have also asked to get the cell phone ban on an agenda as well as talking about the extra payroll last year that cost the city over 500,000 dollars.

10. We talked about the budget and asked staff to present us a balanced budget that was defined by revenues being equal to expenditures. In the past several years money was taken out of reserves to define a balanced budget.

11. All on the City Council except for myself gave the go ahead for a Special Zoning Permit to go directly to staff for approval of variances for extended porches, pillars, and basketball hoops in the required front yards instead of the past practice of notice and public hearing in front of the Zoning Board of appeals . It also moves multiple garage doors to the staff for approval...... Very slippery slope on the vision of how our community front yards will look and will cause friction amongst adjacent neighbors that are asked to sign off. More development and lot coverage policy from staff again! This should be on agenda May 10th.

12. Central (Downtown) District Plan came in front of the City Council for a visioning sign off.... As I told the Mayor and staff, this should be directed and visioned by the City Council first before staff reaches out for citizen involvement. I am open to tweaking a great 2001 plan that is approved but do not want to see Evanston type goals brought to Highland Park. Yes, we can work on small changes that have discouraged redevelopment of needed areas but the goals and vision we set in 2001 is SOLID! While it was a great exercise for our round table participants and many good thoughts emerged, I think it is premature until the Council weighs in on direction.

13. Structures on public property laws will be redefined again on the May 10th agenda. Basically just regular mailboxes approved by the post office will be allowed. Also, 18 inch boulders will be allowed no less than 24 inches from the street edge. Past structures and boulders that are legally existing will be allowed unless they are unsafe.

14. We approved transfer of money to library but I asked for a strong commitment from their President Ken Henry to work with us on consolidation and efficiencies to save the taxpayers money. They committed to work with us across the board.

15. We recognized Dr. Mark Hill and the wonderful students from Elm Place School that participated in Project Citizen and the Sustainable Green School Compact. Our kids are our Future and they will make a difference!

16. We put in a place new multifunction machines that copy, print, and scan. This consolidation and updating has saved us $500 dollars per month on our current contract.

17. Repair of our pedestrian overpass at Central Ave in the amount of $110,170. This upgrading has been phased to lower yearly costs.

18. New laws were passed concerning Group Homes to better address compliance with our local zoning ordinances and best practices. I have been informed that providers for these facilities were part of the process.

19.Worked out a Traffic and Parking agreement with Ravinia Festival to better deal with enforcement to provide reduced neighborhood disruptions.

Spring Cleanup and HP Recycling Options

Remember Spring Clean up is available from the City so put your trash on the curb. City program is described in this link. Also, remember not to throw out recyclables that can be picked up on normal trash days in your recyclable container. One more thing!! Electronics should be taken to the public works drop off site on Tuesday and Friday from 7am until 1pm. Check out best disposal and recycling options at this link.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Council needs more time

As I have shared with my fellow colleagues on the City Council, we need to spend more time together to make timely decisions on many outstanding discussions. Many times we discuss a subject and review 10,20, or 30 pages of documents just to not have enough time to discuss the item fully or even at all. The next time we might see it is months down the road. This is not good!

I remember that past Councils always afforded more time to get through all the issues on the table. It seems lately that the issues are piling up and not discussed in a time connected manner. It is like mental gymnastics sometimes. Lets put in the time to get the peoples work done!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Lets get moving on the budget......

For this years budget that Councilman Rotering and I voted against, we cut our spending on our infrastructure about $750,000 and took about another $500,000 or more out of reserves to balance 2010's books.

At the time Nancy and I also asked that we immediately move forward on making additional core decisions to realign our government to have a better sustainable position in this new economic climate. While we were unsuccessful in getting a continuous process to proceed, we were promised that in March we would move on tackling these issues.

Well March has come and gone and we are next scheduled to talk about the budget April 26th, from 2:30 to 4:00 at City Hall. But instead of picking up where we left off with the City Manager proposing some $750,000 in expenditure reductions, we are back to first base talking about policy statements and looking at the optimistic tea leafs we have been fed for the last 3 years. I say plan for the worse and hope for the best.

We need to realign spending from large administrative purposes to boots and actions on the ground. This government over thinks and acts less than I think we should operate. We should be increasing infrastructure repairs instead of slashing them. Lots of work to be done and NOW is the time to start to finish the job.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Payroll change can save Money!!

Recently, the City Council was informed that an additional payroll was made in 2009 because of using a bi-weekly (26 payment) payroll system. This additional 27th bi-weekly payroll is an anomaly that occurs every 11 years because our bi-weekly payroll it is based on a 364 (52 week) year versus the reality of a 366 on leap year and 365 normal year. The extra 1 or 2 days(leap yr) add up to an extra payroll on the 11th year.

What this all means is that an annual salary's that we voted on in our budget (look at page 7-10 of this personnel summary) was altered by this extra week . My understanding is the proper salaries were paid in the first 26 payments. Problem is that we had 27 in 2009.

The remedy to this problem is to do what the State of Illinois and many other large corporations do. That is to change to a twice a month(semi-monthly) payroll system that is based on a full year and never has anomalies like this one. The switch not only saves us the salary in the extra payroll every 11 years, but also saves us the cost of having two extra payroll periods every year (24 vs 26).

It is amazing to me that this is the first we have heard of this extra cost since it is accumulated every year. We have been struggling with getting our revenues to match expenditures and this adjustment can fill a big hole since we are talking about hundreds of thousands. I don't know about you but anywhere we can cut costs without reducing services or laying off employees I Say Yes!!

Contributions Requested

I am asking you to donate to the Steve Mandel Committee (2157 St. Johns Ave. HP) by mail or online at to pay for the online content that is hosted and emailed on the internet. I would like to raise about $1000... Thank YOU

Friday, March 19, 2010

GreenTown Shows Green Solutions not Green Wash

This was my 3rd Greentown event that I have attended. It is produced by Gary Cuneed from Seven Generations Ahead and John Harris from A5 inc. These guys do a great job of bringing us back to reality. Their presentations remind us we have an obligation to our children. We need to correct the environmental unbalances that we have brought upon our planet. Bob Dixon, Mayor of Greensburg Kansas, spoke about a community working together in sustainably rebuilding their town after a devastating F-5 tornado destroyed everything. Mayor Dixon talked about how we need to spead the word on green solutions to promote future life for humans on this planet. Bottom line is the reality of green wash (talking the talk but not walking the walk) has to be replaced by action by a majority, promoted by strong leadership in government and business. We need to start to walk soon for the preservation of our children's future. Who's In??

Friday, March 12, 2010

All Public Meetings should be Recorded

UPDATE>>>>Council unanimously supported resuming verbatim recordings for COTW City Council Meetings(afternoon session) and the Commission Meetings. YEA!!!
Recently I have found out that staff had Stopped Recording pre-session City Council meetings otherwise refereed to as Committee of the Whole. Staff has also stopped recording the commission meetings. This was done unknown to the City Council. At the last Council meeting I asked to discuss restoring those recordings at our next meeting.

It is important to have these recordings to have a specific record of events. Also, to provide a resource to those of us that might miss a meeting or are interested in a subject on an agenda and want to research how a specific vote was discussed in detail.

As we move forward in open and accessible government this was a big mistake to stop recordings. I am hopeful that the Mayor and fellow Councilman will agree with me and move to restore these recordings for all to hear if requested.