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DuPage County Board Republican Primary Candidates Talk Economic Development

Candidates recapped their views on spending and the role of government, but delved into ways DuPage can draw new business and new jobs.

Republicans vying to serve DuPage County Board’s District 2 met in Lisle Wednesday evening to field audience questions on how they define government’s role, and their ideas on attracting business to the area.

Five of the candidates were present, including Michael Loftus of Lisle, Zachary Wilson of Lombard, Elaine Zannis of Oak Brook, and Pete DiCianni and Rafael Rivadeneira of Elmhurst. Jim Long of Downers Grove, and Charles Mueller and Sean Noonan of Elmhurst were not in attendance.

Early voting is underway for the primary election on March 20. District 2 affects the north and east portions of the village.

The sponsored the event. Candidates echoed their sentiments from a February forum at Elmhurst College on . (Click through to the story to read their extended comments.)

In addition to curbing spending or streatmlining services, a bulk of the candidates spoke to the county’s need to be more business-friendly. DiCianni, Loftus, Rivadeneira, and Zannis are business owners; Wilson is an attorney.

DiCianni, who currently serves as Elmhurst mayor, and Zannis, an Oak Brook trustee, both spoke to their experience recruiting new business and jobs to their respective towns.

DiCianni said one key is to maintain a low commercial property tax base. “You’ve got to bring business, you have to promote jobs. You have to bring businesses that bring in other forms of revenue, like sales tax,” which he said will keep residents’ property taxes down.

Candidates offered an array of suggestions when asked how they planned to promote business “with the state of Illinois working against you.”

Wilson, a Lombard trustee, said while the business environment here is friendly, government should “get out of the way.” He believes businesses are interested in coming to DuPage, but said they may feel intimidated by the sea of permits and inspections.

“All those sorts of things are so cumbersome that the businesses just don’t want to go there. They don’t want to have to deal with people that are making their lives difficult when they’re trying to benefit and better their community.”

Loftus, who said he supported building the county’s business base, recalled his service on the zoning board of appeals.

“One of the things we try to do is apply the law that allows people to come in with special needs and expound on why zoning law needs to be bent, if you will, to proceed with their business. Because there are circumstances that require that from time to time,” he said.

Loftus believes Springfield has created a “toxic” environment in Illinois for business. However, he said SunCoke’s recent choice to was an example of a businesses coming to the area for its amenities, rather than the lowest price tag to do business.

Zannis said it is essential to understand the needs of businesses looking to relocate.

"Retaining, recruiting and keeping employees happy is very important in bringing jobs to the county," she said. "Every aspect of bringing new business is collected, and we sit there and talk to the client, the people looking into the area, and we say, 'What is it that you need? What can we do for you? We want you to be here, how can we accomodate you?' "

Rivadeneira however, focused his message on cutting government spending.

”The idea that DuPage is in some sort of vacuum from the state of Illinois is obviously ludicrous,” Rivenderia said. “What we have in our control is to make our government smaller, make our taxes smaller, so residents have more money for the things they want to spend on or give.”

D R March 02, 2012 at 04:32 PM
When the DuPage Democrats held a Democrat Primary Candidate Forum it wasn't hosted by an organization that pretends it has no political agenda like the Lisle Chamber. It was hosted by a political organization. They had to pay to use a room at the Naperville Municipal building and they did not get use of the Board room. And the City did not provide use of its audio video equipment. I agree with Bill - this is a big problem for the Village of Lisle and the Lisle Chamber in using public facilities and employees to promote the Republican party. http://napervillesun.suntimes.com/photos/galleries/index.html?story=10771193#
NancyC March 02, 2012 at 04:32 PM
The article does not reveal where the event took place or whether any fees were paid. Does any one know the answer to either of these questions?
Bill March 02, 2012 at 04:43 PM
The event was held at the Village of Lisle Village Hall in the large BoardRoom. It was billed by the Chamber as a Dist 2 Candidate Forum, not a "Republican" forum. The Chamber did not pay a rental fee for the room and did not pay for use of the audio/visual equipment or the salaries of the village employees to operate the equipment during this political event. The video is in fact posted on YouTube by LisleCATV which also posts the videos of the Village Board meetings. I believe this is illegal. I bet the video is pulled from LisleCATV Youtube by the end of the day today. And Lisle will be in CYA mode re-creating paper to charge the Chamber fees for the room and the A/V equipment. http://www.youtube.com/user/lislecatv
D R March 02, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Here is a link the the Lisle Chamber of Commerce Event annoucment for a Candidate Forum for County Board District 2. You will see it was at Lisle Village Hall on Feb 29, 2012 at 7 pm. How can the Chamber host a "Republican" event? Simple, pretend its a Candidate Forum for all candidates, but only invite the Republicans and make sure to send the announcement of the forum to only the Republican organziations in the area. Did the Chamber issue a press release for this event? Did they mail a letter to every household in Lisle urging them to attend? http://lislechamber.chambermaster.com/directory/jsp/events/EventPage.jsp?ccid=27&eventid=1286&qs=ccid=27|visibility=2|month=1|year=2012|context=month
NancyC March 02, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Thanks Bill and D R. There is another Candidate Forum listed for March 7 but it does not give any details at all. Also, Liz Chaplin has not yet responded to the query by Maria of whether she was invited or not. I hope she was!
D R March 02, 2012 at 05:31 PM
The March 7, 2012 event is billed as "County Board District 5 Candidate Forum" This will be interesting... there is at least one Democrat running in Dist 5. I bet he gets a call today - 3 business days before the event. http://lisle.patch.com/events/dupage-county-board-district-5-candidate-forum
Liz Chaplin March 02, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Jane, I share your concerns with regards to Choose DuPage. I have talked with Greg Bedalov who is the new administrator about my concerns. The organization is a 501c3 which means they do not have to respond to FOIA's. I have a big problem with that. If this organization can't be transparent I think it needs to go. Nancy, I was never invited to the Lisle Chamber Candidate Forum.
Tammy Henson March 02, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Liz - are you the same Liz Chaplin who ran as a Republican 2 years ago against Jeff Redick, until you were thrown off the ballot because you couldn't follow the simple rules for filing to be a candidate in the primary? If so, now you are running as a Democrat? I certainly hope the rules around managing a $500 million a year budget aren't as difficult as filing to run for office...
RobertAWilson March 02, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Last time I looked, the Democratic primary was uncontested in District 2. There's no reason to invite the candidate because there's no choice involved beyond deciding which ballot to pull.
RobertAWilson March 02, 2012 at 06:41 PM
And she ran against Redik as a Dem. in 2006, a fact discovered via a simple Google search.
D R March 02, 2012 at 06:49 PM
It doesn't matter if the Dem race is uncontested. If there is a Candidate Forum hosted by a not-for-profit and a public entity, then it needs to include ALL of the candidates. Its really just that simple. Hosting a "Republican" event is political. Not-for-profits like the Chamber and public bodies like the Village of Lisle are prohibited from participation in political activities. It is illegal.
Jane March 02, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Tammy, I believe this is the same Liz Chaplin that was credited with uncovering the wrong-doing at the water commission. http://downersgrovechronicle.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/dupage-water-commission-whats-next/
Dan March 02, 2012 at 07:23 PM
The Naperville Sun has an article about the county news letter and some of the questions being raised.
Lisle Watchdog March 02, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Mayor Broda and Trustees, This political use of our public facilities must end. What other organizations have been allowed to use the Board room and A/V equipment at Village Hall (aka: Taj Mahal) for free in the past 10yrs? Sincerely Lisle Taxpayer
Dick March 03, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Village of Lisle has a pattern of illegal activity. Illegal TIF for Navistar, illegal closed meetings, secretly setting up another TIF for UTI/Navistar and now illegal political activity. None of this surprises me. This will only end when voters demand accountability and transparency and vote to replace this Lisle Mayor and Board.
LizW March 04, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Interesting to read about corrupt politics in Lisle and also interesting that the Lisle mayor placed a robo call to support his pal Pete DiCianni. I see a common similarity and a greater cause for concern when selecting our next county board members. Pete DiCianni is telling Elmhurst residents that his position in the county will help with flooding issues in Elmhurst. Problem is the county only funds stormwater projects that are caused by streams and creeks that overflow their banks. The flooding that Elmhurst experienced was caused by sewers backing up. The project he mentions in this video and is now claiming credit for in Carol Stream was funded by Dupage only because the creek, Klein Creek, overflowed and was the cause to their flooding. This also appears to be a very good example of a conflicting government obligation. Had Elmhurst needed this funding for Salt Creek, Dicianni as mayor and if ever a board member would not be allowed to participate in such a contract due to the conflict of interest between the county and the city. A vote for him to county board would be useless to Elmhurst residents with regard to county stormwater funding, even if they did have the funds available.
Darlene Heslop March 05, 2012 at 01:24 AM
i had the opportunity to finally view this video in its entirety. here is what i found: first...dicianni stated that elmhurst had been "deficit spending" for 15 years...ummm...prove it...'cuz i can't find the numbers to support that one...at all...not even close. second...by law elmhurst has to have a balanced budget...every single year...no matter what...so dicianni didn't invent the wheel here... . third...i thought that wilson and loftus came across really well, and i was surprisingly impressed by rafael's tenacity which i found to be refreshing. zannis came in late and i thought should not have been allowed to participate. dicianni contradicted himself and looked very small next to loftus, who must be a foot taller, the chair engulfed him, like edith ann and he needed a booster seat. fourth...if you own a printing business and do not report "fair market value" for all of the multiple, full-color, multi-page mailers you send out, not to mention the hundreds of signs...many of them oversized...as well as the robo calls, of course you can make it seem as if your opponent outspent you 2:1...tell the truth, pete...if you didn't own a printing business...you would have easily spent as much, if not more, than your closest opponent. fifth...39% is not a mandate... . sixth...you are on the swc because you assumed the position vacated by the former mayor of elmhurst, tom marcucci, not because all of the other mayors of du page county wanted you on the board... .
Darlene Heslop March 05, 2012 at 01:34 AM
i think wilson had a great sense of humor and seems to be a "doer", not a talker, as does loftus, which i liked. rafael makes a good argument that there is the need to take on the issues and debate them, and ideas are what generate results, and i am very happy to see that the 3 of them are on board w/pension reform. dicianni's position that we need economic development is of course, right, but he kept talking about how he was endorsed by "17 other mayors" (he said it at least 6 times), and about mariano's grocery...how specifically pete are you going to stimulate economic development in du page county when, let's face it, creating a TIF district on every major corner in the county isn't going to be the answer...and sorry to tell ya, but you are all for taking the salary, bennies, and pension as a county board member...and that is exactly why companies don't want to stay here or come here - because of the pension crisis, outrageous taxes, career politicians, and big government.
Pamela Redmond March 06, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Quick comment, you Darlene and other have too much hatred in your heart. Please find someone to spend time with love and have fun. Plain simple get a life. I know the response I get will be defensive with hatred, but honestly look in the mirrow and say I have a problem. All of these know it all that have no life.
Darlene Heslop March 06, 2012 at 02:05 AM
ms. redmond..., i have a lot of very wonderful people in my life. i volunteer, have a great family, and have a lot of fun. i do not have any hatred for anyone - that is not in my nature. since you and i have never met, you have nothing to base your commentary, just like, if i were to make the exact same commentary about you, you would feel the same way, think about it. how would you have felt if i was to have written to you - "get a life, look in the mirror" without knowing anyting about you? the problem that i have is i do not like people who are hypocritical and who lie - the end. the state of illinois has a problem with politicians that think that taking my hard earned money, as well as yours, is their right, because they get elected to office, allegedly for public service, and instead, take $50,000 per year for a part-time job (there are people that support entire families and then some on less than this), plus benefits, and then, are guaranteed from the time they leave office, a pension, yes, a pension, which in the private sector, is unheard of, and not only do you and i have to pay for this, but, the next generation and the generation after that will continue to pay unless something is done. since you have never in your life met me in person, and until you and i have the opportunity to get to know one another personally, you have no basis for any of your commentary, just like i have no basis to make the exact same commentary directed at you.
Pamela Redmond March 06, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Darlene, your comments on the Patch over and over again paint a picture about who you are and the hatred you have toward the Mayor. You have and are committing what is called character assassination. What the heck has he done to make you so mad. I do know some people that have seen you in action in some of your tirades while serving in some organizations. Happiness returned when you left. Trust me I do not want to get to know you or meet you, I am a happy person.
Darlene Heslop March 06, 2012 at 03:27 AM
and i too am a very happy person...as for the mayor of elmhurst...i don't hate the man at all...i don't like what he does....he does not tell the truth...and i don't like people who lie... . hatred is an extremely strong, vulgar term that you have used...not me. happy people never allow that word to enter into their vocabulary, even if used to describe someone else.
Dan March 06, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Ms. Redmond If you have the time there are two articles you can google in the Naperville Sun that might give you some perspective on the issue that concerns me with the county board. One is titled Residents decry county newsletter as promoting incumbents and the second can be linked to it from the upper left corner called Candidate questions timing of DuPage County District 3 newsletter. Just for perspective I have a good friend that is running for county board in district 6. He has spent thousands of hours knocking on doors talking to people in his district. He isn't a millionaire that can self fund his run for board and is doing it on a shoe string. In my opinion the stunt the board pulled just isn't right. If you take the time to read the excellent investigative reporting done you will see that the story being told by the county doesn't add up. Should I just shrug my shoulders and say oh well that's life? That certainly would be easier. Instead I decided ti do what I hate speak out in public because unfortunately there doesn't seem to be anyone else willing to take the time to do it.
Darlene Heslop March 06, 2012 at 03:57 AM
i received a similar one here in district 1 - all are running again as incumbents. interesting that this has the appearance on the surface of just being "a newsletter", but, i see your point, dan, it does look like a "promotion" piece (i'm being nice, aka, "politically correct"). it is a shame when there are some great people out there that would make terrific public servants, who aren't in it for any other reason, not to hold more than 1 job, not for the $50k, not for the bennies, not for the pension, but who cannot make it simply because it costs so much to run. i hope that your buddy makes it though...best of luck to him.
Dan March 06, 2012 at 05:03 AM
He is running against 2 incumbents and 2 others in the republican primary. To do even a very selective plain mailer it will cost over three thousand dollars. The board voted themselves a $66,250 four page color "newsletter" with pictures of the specific district board members tied to a paragraph or so of their accomplishments sent out 22 days prior to the election. It went out to 50,000 households. The Spring edition came on the very day of early voting even though the news letter hasn't been sent out since 09 before another election. I have all sorts of news letters from the city, library, historical museum etc. and none of them feature the accomplishments of the individuals but talk about the organization itself. This was 6 distinct mailers each used to feature the incumbents in each district not 1 newsletter for the whole county. These were clearly sent out to give a boost to the incumbents right before the election. Now the county is claiming the Spring edition was sent out late even though they only approved it on the 24th of January. They even tried to blame the timing on the printer but apparently he is saying that he didn't get the purchase order till February. I think there are good decent people on the board. I honestly don't understand why out of 18 board members no one stood up and said this isn't the right thing to do. If we aren't gone to have fair elections then they might as well just hire the board like another county employee and forget about voting.
NancyC March 06, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Dear Pamela, If you can't stand the heat, get out of the conversation. Presenting policy positions held by elected officials is called the facts of the matter, if you think those policies are hateful then call them such but not the messenger who simply clearly repeated them. Scripture says perfectly what you did in your comments regarding one person, "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Mt. 7:4-5) You have projected your own hatred for a position that differs from yours on to one person! Remember to stay on subject in these discussions. They are about what is being done by whom in their elected positions and holding them accountable for those actions so that we can be a more informed and vigilant people. Facts are facts. The truth is the truth and should be sought in all things. I would greatly appreciate it if you share what you think about the facts, not what you think about one person. Thanks everyone, especially for the sources of further information on the goings on with the County Board.
Darlene Heslop March 07, 2012 at 01:41 AM
dan, i understand what you mean about the expense, and i believe it prevents many from ever putting their "hat in the ring" to run. thanks for the information regarding the county mailer, you did your leg work by finding out exactly what happened, i never thought to even question it. thank you for educating me on this. and i do wish your buddy the best, i know firsthand how hard it can be when you have little if anything in the way of funding.
Thomas March 09, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Did I hear DiCianni take some credit for the new Elmhurst Hospital? FIrst, it was privately funded and second (and most importantly) that project was approved in 2007 and broke ground, I believe, in early 2008. He wasn't elected mayor until 2009. How can he talk about the hospital when that thing was getting built almost two years BEFORE he was elected mayor. I don't trust this guy at all.
Maria March 09, 2012 at 04:33 PM
When I got that robo-call from Lisle Mayor Broda asking me to vote for his "pal" Elmhurst Mayor DiCianni, that was all I needed to make the final decision that I would not vote for this guy.
Darlene Heslop March 10, 2012 at 03:11 PM
he states during the debate something to the effect that he "put the shovel in the ground" on elmhurst hospital (you may have to review the tape to get the exact wording, but i believe i'm close, and no, i'm not saying this because i'm a hateful person), which, i can assure you, was not the case as i was at the "groundbreaking" ceremony in which the honorable thomas d. marcucci, mayor of elmhurst, along with other dignitaries, "put the shovel in the ground" for the new hospital.

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