Candidates for City Council discuss growth, downtown issues
By Hank Beckman For The Sun December 1, 2012 5:16PM
Updated: January 3, 2013 10:59AM
This is the second in a two-part series looking at the candidates running for Naperville City Council in the spring election. The first part ran in Friday’s paper.
In April 2013, Naperville voters will decide who fills four open City Council seats. The 12 candidates include three incumbents and nine challengers.
Six of the candidates were profiled in Friday’s paper. Here is a look at the rest of the candidates.
Krummen is a Cincinnati native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in mechanical engineering and later earned his MBA from Indiana University.
He works as an engineering consultant and is an adjunct faculty member at Benedictine University, where he teaches economics and finance.
Krummen, widowed father of two boys, credits Naperville for helping his family through a difficult time.
“This community helped me raise my boys,” he said. “I want to give back to the community that helped raise them.”
Krummen said a key to Naperville’s future is economic growth, stressing that his experience as an engineer would be helpful on the City Council.
“No one up there has the technical background I do,” he said.
Krummen also wants to see Naperville improve working relationships with both its citizens and neighboring governments.
Wentz is a Naperville attorney who has served as a Naperville Township trustee since 2009.
He earned his law degree from the University of Illinois.
Wentz twice served as project chairman of the Naperville Healing Field of Honor, an event that allowed people to support research for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or traumatic brain injuries.
“I love Naperville and have deep respect for its history,” he said.
Wentz said that city leadership has managed the enormous growth in Naperville very well and that continued managed growth was important in both the business community and in the few remaining areas left open for residential development.
He said that the recent rash of violent incidents in the downtown restaurant district left him concerned.
“A vibrant and safe downtown is the lifeblood of our business community,” Wentz said.
Without being specific, Wentz also sees room for improvement in the way that City Council members sometime interact with residents.
“City Council could do a better job of respecting the opinions of the citizens, even though they may disagree with them,” he said. “And the Council needs a better means of communicating about decisions that have been made … we can do better.”
Jeff B. Davis
Davis is a North Central College graduate who earned his MBA from DePaul University and serves as vice president of sales and marketing for Phoenix Closures, a manufacturing company that has called Naperville home since 1965.
Davis has previously served as an Indian Prairie School District 204 Board member (2000-2003), chairman of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Committee (2005-2006), was appointed to the Naperville Library Board by Mayor George Pradel in 2006, and was recently named president of the Library Board.
“I have a lot of experience to offer,” Davis said. “I think the city runs well and the current leadership did a good job of with the 2008 recession.”
Davis said he supported the Smart Grid Initiative, calling it, “the wave of the future,” and praised the city for being on the cutting edge of technology.
He also supports the Water Street development project.
“Any city in America would love to have a project like it,” Davis said.
Davis pointed out that although many thought of Naperville as being built out to its physical capacity, there were still opportunities and needs to be met.
“There are some properties that need upgrading,” he said, stressing that the area to the north of the downtown district along Washington Street and land along the railroad tracks in town could be sites of future development.
Habel is a 17-year resident of Naperville who grew up in the Maywood area.
He is currently business agent for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 701.
Habel said that his focus if elected would be on working with the business community to help bring jobs and development to Naperville.
“I like working for people,” he said, stressing that he represented 1,800 electricians in DuPage County, most of them working in private industry.
Habel said he supported the Water Street development project, although he conceded that City Council members had properly raised concerns about the scale of the development.
He also pointed out that the downtown is not the only area of the city that needed the attention of the business community.
“There are a lot of development opportunities outside the downtown area,” Habel said.
He said that, if elected, the most pressing issue would be to find a way to continue to provide good city services.
“You need to try and maintain service at the same level without looking at (raising) the property tax rate,” he said. “That’s where I would focus.”
Brodhead, originally elected in 2009, is running for her second term in office.
She is a native of New Jersey and holds two degrees in English from Rutgers University.
She has taught for more than 20 years at North Central College and served previously as a member of the Naperville Transportation Advisory Board (1990-91) and the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission (1991 to 2002).
“Naperville is a great place to live and I like being part of the process that will help it stay that way,” she offered as her reason for running again. “We need to balance the needs of the residential and business communities to help maintain a sense of community.”
Brodhead said that while many were justifiably concerned with the quality of life for residents, Naperville’s financial status in the state was often taken for granted.
“We are one of the state’s top economic engines,” she said.
And she left no doubt as to the importance of the business community.
“For every dollar that community brings in, that’s one less dollar residents have to pay (in property taxes),” she said.
Brodhead said that two areas were particularly troubling to her as she seeks a second term: downtown violence and growing heroin use among young people.
“We need to make sure we have a good handle on the late night bar traffic,” she said. “We have the power to take care of that.”
Naperville saw a numer of overdose deaths from heroin in the past couple of years.
“That’s very frightening,” Brodhead said, noting that she was glad the city’s most recent budget allocated money to tackle both heroin use and suicide prevention.
Floegel is a special education assistant at Highlands Elementary School that recently returned to the work force after spending eight years as a stay-at-home dad.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Floegel has lived in various places around the country. He feels the experiences equip him to look at Naperville issues with a fresh eye.
“I’ve lived in a lot of different places and I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work,” he said.
Like many of the candidates, Floegel is concerned about the city’s finances and calls himself “a fiscal conservative … if we don’t have the money, we shouldn’t spend it.”
Floegel said that he was in favor of some sort of development for Water Street, but not the one presently being put before City Council.
“Not in its current form,” he said. “It’s a behemoth.”
Floegel said that if there were one thing he would change about City Council, it would be the way it relates to citizens.
As an example, he pointed to the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative. He stressed that he was in favor of bringing the technology to Naperville, but felt the Council did a poor job of responding to critics.
“It doesn’t seem like the Council is listening to constituents,” he said.