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!