Saturday, June 29, 2013

Just a spectator in this years parade and Happy Fourth to ALL

Well, I think I will be on the sidewalk for the first time in 20 years watching the parade on the 4th of July. Last year I rode on the fire truck and had my wife drive the Electric Nissan Leaf with the Natural Resource Commission as a promotion of clean energy and zero emissions. This year I am happy to sit and watch all the politicians, musicians, merchants, organizations, and invited entertainment march on by. Happy Independence Day to All and enjoy this glorious holiday!

Big Dogs are Cool

Big Dogs will be on display through July 26th. Art is a very cool part of Highland Park. We are lucky to have several Art Shows visit us throughout the year and this new exhibit in front of City Hall and our downtown is no exception. Check them out while you shop and eat!!  RUFF!!

Pushing for a Green Courthouse Tower

Shortly after I was sworn in on the Lake County Board I asked staff about the work that had gone into making our new Court Tower project Green. I have been assured that while Lake County does not look for any Leeds designation, that any green cost effective measure has been analyzed and moved forward if it makes sense.

It seems to me that promoting green infrastructure on a 100 million dollar project in a Green County is a no brainer... I will continue to dig into the project and look for opportunities to promote the GREEN. Clean Air, Clean Water, and a healthy habitat is important to our residents and that point is of great value in trying to promote this GREEN agenda.... Stay tuned.!!

Construction and Demolition Recycling

The Lake County Board just passed a Construction and Demolition Recycling ordinance that requires recycling of material on structures over 1500 square feet. This ordinance is stricter that our City of Highland Parks ordinance that only requires recycling on structures over 2500 square feet.

Again, Walter Willis and SWALCO has been instrumental in providing leadership to our Public Works and Transportation Committee on moving forward on the recycling issue. In accordance with our 60% recycling objectives and commitment, I am hopeful Highland Park and other Lake County communities will move forward in increasing their recyclables accordingly.

Guns, Violence, and the USA

There is no doubt that we are overwhelmed with gun violence in Chicago and this nation. Family break down, mental illness, economics, and social failures have given fuel to this problem.

We are a nation that rules the world with peaceful assistance and the mighty arm of our military. Armed soldiers, missiles, drones, bombs, and many other deliveries of death are used by us daily to protect our great nation. To say that we do not live by the gun is not reality. We are not a non-violent nation within and without.  I do support the use of our might to level those enemies in this world that want our destruction. It is interesting to me that when we depend on violence so often to deal with  our enemies and terrorists, some Americans believe in total passive resistance when it comes to us personally in our homes and community.

Dealing with criminal events within our country is complex and should always demand our attention. With the Supreme Court ruling on personal rights to carry firearms we need to focus on remedies that are legal and can help us mitigate criminal firearm violence. With all the issues that face our municipalities and state, I have little tolerance to watch my tax dollars fight a battle that has already been decided. I also don't think the City of Highland Park should pass ordinances that will not increase safety in our community and only continue to divide our citizens.

The City Council of Highland Park voted 6-1 to pass a assault weapons ban in Highland Park. During one of my initial terms on the City Council I had the pleasure of negotiating our 20 year ordinance between Highland Park firearm owners and the ladies from the League of Women Voters that wanted a total ban. From that discussion we passed a law that prevented any sale of firearms in Highland Park and regulated handguns to individuals by requiring registration with the City and taking a course on gun safety. I thought it was a good compromise at the time that has seemed to work for the past 20 years. With the recent court rulings my understanding is that our old ordinance is now on shaky ground.

While I personally don't need to have an "Assault Weapon" as defined by the new city ordinance, I don't see that this firearm is any different from the many thousands of other semi-automatic firearms that are currently in Highland Park. Yes, there are thousands of guns currently owned by law abiding residents in Highland Park. Laws regarding personal firearm ownership in a small town like ours only causes conflict and continued disobedience to the legal system we must uphold. As most citizens have had enough with government inaction, over taxation, and intrusion, I would ask this City Council to retreat from this current position and let the State and Federal government deal with these issues.