Saturday, March 24, 2012

Winter 2012 Round Up

The Lakota Group was selected for a cost of $57328.00 to help facilitate a planning exercise that will focus on our B4 zones to the North (triangle of Elm/GreenBay/First) and West of GreenBay by Central. While we will study our B5 (core downtown), a focus will be on redevelopment possibilities of B4. Signage, parking, and other adjustments could be discussed as well.

Renaissance Place was given a pass on parking to allow more office and restaurant place. Council action will give them the ability to park some additional 35+ cars at no addition cost.

Three Parking spaces were added in front of the Highland Park Theater... Can't get enough of those on street spaces in our downtown.

When I asked the the Executive Director of the Park District for an update on repairing the stairway from Central Avenue Park down to our beach President Scott Meyer told me not to ask her questions directly. I was told the protocol is to channel all questions through the President Scott Meyer. I guess if anyone has any questions about the Park District, Call Scott! I think he is listed.......

Western Avenue Communication Good

If you go to you can get updates and information about the project. The website shows maps, schedules, completion level, and pictures of the street showing the conditions and changes that will occur.

As I said at our City Council meeting, this is pretty cool and will be a boiler plate of how we deal with future projects that directly impact the citizens of Highland Park. I think it provides almost any kind of information that a resident could ask and gives a level of knowledge and transparency that we all demand.
Thank you staff for a great job.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Your Democratic Candidate for Lake County Board Dist. 11

I want to thank Everyone for taking the time to vote. The 3197 votes I received on March 20th was the highest count in all 21 Lake County Board district races of both the democratic and republican contests. Since I am now the official democratic candidate I will be spending some time attending committee meetings and getting more familiar with the discussions happening at the County Board and Forest Preserve.

With your help and support I will be elected in November to represent you on the Lake County Board. I will be sending out a letter to my supporters in the next few months kicking off my November election race.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Electric Aggregation - Let's Go Green, not Brown

UPDATE.... March 23rd Special City Council meeting. Hats off to Councilman Paul Frank for "getting it" and joining us in voting for the 100% Green Power option. This option would have saved us $19/mo. off current pricing on a average home while removing over 50 Million lbs. of emissions by using green power. On the good side staff did a great job getting individuals an option for green power at a reduced rate. Unfortunately looking at past experience only about 3% of homeowners are expected to take advantage of this offer so we must all pass the word........ Aggregation does work and was supported by over 75% of our voters. Reducing our costs and raising our green energy purchases, its not too bad!  You will be getting notification from the City over the next few months explaining the details.

At the March 12th City Council Meeting (click on Item 14 on agenda list to watch discussion video) we talked about the decision point of how much green power buy-in that Highland Park wanted to sign up for as part of our contract with our energy supplier.

The cost of savings by keeping the same brown power of 7% mandated green share would be about 30% off the currently charged Com Ed energy rate. We were shown the average bill was $77/month and that with the aggregation bids we would be able to lower these average rates to $54.25- $56.00 / month. That would be a savings of approximately $21.00 to $22.75 /month to the average homeowner.

Now looking at past bidding prices the cost of Green Energy represented by REC'S (Renewable Energy Credits) was about 2% more for a 100% Green Energy commitment from Highland Park. What this means is the cost would be only 1 to 2 dollars more per month and our savings from the current Com Ed energy charge would be $19.00 to 21.75/ month and we would be supporting a 100% green energy platform. (additional costs for 25% through 100% renewable energy over brown energy range from 25 cents a month to 2 dollars) We could not get any other Councilmembers to acknowledge the great importance of us integrating some level of green energy credits understanding the forthcoming impact of the vast majority of residents adopting this program by default.

As leaders in sustainability this was a no brainer for Councilman Jim Kirsch and myself but could not get the others on the City Council to sign on. By a 5-2 majority the City Council voted to not support any green energy REC'S and voted to write a Brown Energy contract to save 1-2 dollars MORE a month. Jim Kirsch and I were the only Council Members to support Green Energy REC integration in our supplier contract.

I was very disappointed in our City Council and very proud of my colleague Jim Kirsch for standing with me on this issue. How are we leaders in sustainability if we will not support green power with the majority commitment of the City of Highland Park.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

New City Manager David Knapp

David Knapp will start working as our new City Manager on May 14th and I could not be more excited about his arrival. We recieved over 100 applications and interviewed several excellent candidates for this position. Mr. Knapp has had a stellar career which has included a vast bandwidth of expirience and successes.

My expectations are huge in his ability to be our staff quarterback on the progressive policies this City Council has adopted. He is a man that has demonstrated strong leadership and will work with our City Council on getting the job done. I am proud of my fellow Council members on this choice and look forward to the great work we will be doing together.

Back on the Campaign Trail again!

Well.... I accepted an invitation to attend a get together in Deerfield to speak with Lake County United on the rebuilding of Winchester House and affordable housing in Lake County. While I thought it would be a discussion and an informative round table interaction, it actually turned out to be a full blown debate amongst about 11 candidates for County Board and the State Senate......

After being unopposed in the primary as the Democratic Candidate for County Board District 11 and being fully engaged in my current position as a Highland Park City Councilman, this DEBATE was like a push off the dock into the cold ice water of POLITICS... Hey, I am running for the County Board and I'm sure I was graded on a curve amongst all 11 candidates... While I was nervous and started out weaker than I wanted, I finished strong and was personally happy with what I shared with my gracious hosts.

This debate kind of kicked me into gear and actually sent me out to early vote today. I look forward to working with Lake County United and the many other volunteers that are engaged county wide in networking to help our residents.