Thursday, February 28, 2019

City Council Candidate Forum

Sat in on the League of Women Voters city council candidate forum with current members Loos, Kang and Grant and candidates Fronabarger and Hennrich. Rather uprising how little daylight there was among the five in response to the questions. Of course, the questions were all ones that almost noone would oppose.

Should the Park District be merged into city operations?  Loos, Kang and Fronabarger all said "yes". Hennrich and Grant hewed more closely to the wording of the initiative on the ballot which calls for the merger to be "looked into", with which they agreed.

Should the city enforce restrictions on grass height and encourage other forms of yard growth? All five candidate say yes, the city should have a maximum grass height, that enforcement should have some leeway and that the city should also encourage/allow other forms of ground cover than grass (Seriously? I guess the yellow signs might annoy some people but if you want to have a lawn in the city, it comes with some responsibility).

Do you support the city becoming more energy efficient and utilizing renewable energy? everyone was in favor of this, pointing out that the new streetscape lighting utilizing LED bulbs that consumer far less energy. Installing solar panels was brought up, although candidates showed some concern about funding them.

Growing SIUC?  Yeah, this is a good thing, all the candidates agreed but how? The university itself doesn't expect to reach 25,000 students again, having set a target number of about 18,000 by the middle of the next decade. Loos even commented there was very little the city could do to grow SIUC as that was in the hands of the Board of Trustees and the state.

Water Pollution?  Again, this is a bad thing. All of the candidates agreed that the city should monitor pollutants entering its water supply and look at taking action regarding the use of fertilizer and chemical pollutants in the city. It was pointed out that, due to its location, the city has remarkably little control over its primary water source, Cedar Lake, and could do very little when an industrial poultry farm wanted to locate nearby.

Like I said, not particularly controversial and not a lot of daylight between the candidates. If I got something wrong or missed something, let me know in the comments.

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