Dozen candidates file to run for Naperville City Council
By Hank Beckman For The Sun November 29, 2012 3:18PM
Updated: January 1, 2013 6:28AM
This is the first of two stories on candidates running for City Council in the spring election. The second story will run in Sunday’s Naperville Sun.
There will be a dozen residents running for City Council in the April 2013 election.
Candidates had to turn in their completed petitions this week to be on the ballot in the spring.
The field includes three incumbents: Council members Judith Brodhead, Paul Hinterlong and Doug Krause. Current Council member Kenn Miller is retiring from the Council and will not seek re-election.
Others seeking one of four open City Council seats are: Planning and Zoning Commissioner Kevin Coyne, attorney Dave Wentz, Jeff Davis, Bill Habel, John Krummen, nurse Tara Leigh Gregus, Wayne Floegel and members of Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Tom Glass and Jo Malik.
Here are six of the candidates talking about the upcoming election. The rest will be featured in Sunday’s Sun.
“I love doing what I’m doing,” Hinterlong said recently. “And I love giving back to the community.”
Hinterlong, a lifelong Naperville resident and union plumber, noted that his initiation into the Naperville City Council came almost simultaneously with the implosion of the national economy and all the fiscal challenges that came with the crash.
“The number one challenge is still the budget,” he said, stressing that difficulties remained in keeping Naperville’s fiscal house in order while providing services to the community.
Hinterlong said remaining challenges include growth in business, both large and small, and making sure Naperville retains the businesses it has.
He also noted that one aspect of the job that surprised him was the amount of civic involvement by community groups in Naperville.
“There are so many I never realized were out there,” Hinterlong said.
First-time office-seeker Tom Glass first became active in local politics through his opposition to the Naperville Smart Grid initiative, an issue that still concerns him.
He is also concerned about the city’s financial situation.
“The biggest thing is a decline in city services even though the taxes have increased,” he said.
He also criticized the city for underfunding its pension liabilities, which he estimated to be about $100 million.
Glass thinks the city should not be contributing toward what he termed “pet projects” like the DuPage Children’s Museum and the Millennium Carillon during difficult economic times.
Glass is still rankled by the process of implementing the Smart Grid Initiative.
“They’re (city officials) not transparent at all,” he said.
Jo Malik, another first-time office-seeker, agrees with Glass and has worked with him as a member of Naperville Smart Meter Awareness. She has been a constant opponent of the Smart Grid Initiative.
Malik, who operates a real estate and property management business with her husband, acknowledges that the Smart Grid project was a prime reason for her throwing her hat into the ring, but she has other concerns as well.
“The way they’re spending the money and not engaging citizens,” she said. “It’s our money…as soon as they (office-seekers) get in there, their own agenda takes over.”
Tara Leigh Gregus
Tara Leigh Gregus is a Republican Precinct Committeeman who holds degrees from Texas A&M in economics and biology, the University of Oklahoma in economics and chemistry and St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing.
A 14-year resident of Naperville, Gregus is an Oklahoma native who seeks office as someone who’s “been around the block,” living in several different states and now realizes “there’s no place like Naperville.”
In Gregus’s email communication, she described herself as a problem solver and “dedicated fiscal conservative. My mission is to preserve and enhance the fiscal and cultural integrity of this phenomenal city.”
Gregus stressed that she is running completely independent of any special interests, saying, “My only interest is the people of Naperville.”
Incumbent Doug Krause is seeking his seventh term on the City Council, and sees smart development as the key to Naperville’s future.
“We want to keep the ratio of businesses to residential (balanced),” he said. “We need to make sure the whole tax burden is not on residential.”
But he stressed that any future development or redevelopment needed to be mindful of the needs of the greater community.
“We need to make sure it ties in with the neighboring residential and business community,” he said.
Krause said that he had gained great satisfaction from his years serving on the City Council from being able to help residents navigate the inevitable red tape that seems to come with government.
He spoke of helping one elderly resident align his electric bill with his Social Security deposit and of another that involved a woman who needed help with parking tickets she was receiving because the city had blocked the sidewalks in front of her residence.
“We could have done with a little better communication,” Krause said with a laugh.
Kevin Coyne is a member of the Naperville Planning and Zoning Commission who also served on the Naperville Fair Housing Commission.
His profession is that of a business lawyer and he feels that experience, along with his work for local non-profit groups, will make him a powerful advocate for development in Naperville.
“I have an excellent background that will allow me to contribute immediately to the Council,” Coyne said.
Coyne said the Council is an excellent “bully pulpit” for advocating for business development in Naperville and stressed that developing new business will be key to the city overcoming fiscal problems.
Coyne stressed that he was in favor of the controversial Water Street project and wanted Naperville to be more proactive in attracting development.
“We have to want development to come here,” he said.
But Coyne also warned that recent fights in the downtown area restaurant district were starting to give Naperville a reputation as a violent place, particularly on weekends.
“More needs to be done with respect to this issue,” he said. “It could really hurt the city.”