Seven candidates crowd field in Franklin Park village trustee race
Updated: February 25, 2013 11:51AM
FRANKLIN PARK — Seven candidates from two political parties, as well as one independent, are vying for three spots on the Franklin Park village board this year.
Two candidates — including the independent — are incumbents.
YOUR VILLAGE YOUR VOICE PARTY
John C. Johnson has served as village trustee since 1999 and has chaired the finance committee for all but four years of that time. He owns and runs C. Johnson Sign Co.
Johnson said he wants to address infrastructure needs – particularly aging water mains - as well as oversee the completion of the police station and to try to entice more businesses to Franklin Park.
“As a businessman, I feel I bring something to the board in representing businesses,” Johnson said.
Besides serving in Franklin Park, Johnson says his familiarity with other local governments through his business make him valuable as a trustee.
“I have very good knowledge of how a municipality should work and interact with businesses in town,” Johnson said.
Andres Ybarra, an attorney, has served as a trustee at the Franklin Park library for two years.
Ybarra said his connection to Franklin Park is his main reason for running.
“It’s simply home and I want to see it become better,” Ybarra said.
Ybarra said his experience as a library board trustee would make him a good trustee as well as his ability to hear different opinions and ideas.
“You have to be reasonable and understand there isn’t just one good answer,” Ybarra said.
If elected, Ybarra would like to improve the industrial base, bring in more retail businesses and immprove infrastructure, especially to alleviate flooding.
Karen D. Special is a full-time realtor and a part-time office manager. She ran for village trustee 10 years ago but was not elected. She’s served on the Zoning Board of Appeals and currently serves on the Plan Commission.
Special said that experience on village boards has given her insight into how a village government runs. She’s also reviewed government financial statements and tax increment financing statements.
If elected, she’d like to bring businesses to Franklin Park, serve as a liaison to seniors, find funding for infrastructure improvements and “to try to hold down on the increase in property taxes.”
UNITED COMMUNITY PARTY
Barry Brandell, a certified public accountant, has worked in finance and accounting for 25 years. For the last four years he has been a controller for a flexible package printing company.
If elected, he’d like to use his expertise in accounting and finance.
“I’m interested in slowing down the growth of property taxes,” Brandell said. “My mantra is going to be the taxpayer first.”
He also would like to attract a diverse group of businesses to Franklin Park.
If elected he would like to serve on the village finance committee.
Kurt Kugelberg hopes his third run for village trustee will be the charm.
Before retiring, Kugelberg worked as a city planner for 23 years. He has served on the village Plan Commission.
“I know the workings of city inside and out,” Kugelberg said. “Before I ran, I proposed a farmer’s market. I’ve proposed several other things the village (government) is looking into.”
If elected, Kugelberg would like to bring in more retail businesses, particularly at Grand and Mannheim and along Franklin Avenue.
“The sale tax is our biggest source of income outside property taxes,” Kugelberg said.
Peter Negron is a minister at Pure In Heart congregation. Prior to moving the congregation to Franklin Park eight years ago, Negron was active in community organizing in Chicago. His efforts included anti-violence programs, pushing out drug dealers and pushing the local alderman to work on infrastructure.
In Franklin Park he worked to get bring local Latino-owned businesses a place at Railroad Daze.
If elected, he would work on finding places to save money in the village budget, see if a property tax free is possible for a year or two and help retain families that are financially stressed, particularly those facing foreclosure.
Tom Brimie won election as village trustee in 2009 with the Your Village Your Voice Party. This time, he will run as an independent.
“I can run with no string attached,” Brimie said.
Brimie works as a finance manager for an automobile dealership. He said his job and his experience as a village trustee are reasons to reelect him.
“I have a good pulse for the people,” Brimie said. “I look at their credit. People are still hurting. It’s hard out there.”
Brimie is fan of the meetings-of-the-whole, in which board members met to discuss village topics between regular meetings.
“We need to discuss stuff more thoroughly than a phone call and an e-mail before the meeting,” Brimie said.
If reelected, Brimie would like to address the cost of buying new village vehicles vs the cost of rebuilding existing vehicles, bringing in businesses that cater to young people and economic development.