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Archive for the ‘OP/Ed’ Category

Many suburban school districts are fortunate to work with private foundations that help raise money for special projects and coordinate diverse volunteer programs. An effort under way in Barrington Area Unit District 220 calls attention to these efforts and demonstrates how creative and supportive communities can be in helping to meet the needs of their students.

The nonprofit Barrington 220 Foundation has announced it will provide a donation to support an outdoor science laboratory where students can work first-hand with scientific principles on a 67-acre conservation area across from Barrington High School. Our Robert Susnjara reported this week that the students will learn to monitor the health of streams, research soil composition and prairie habitat and study renewable resources.

Read the full Daily Herald editorial here.

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Over the years, we’ve seen the worst of townships, as when the separately elected township supervisors or assessors or road commissioners or clerks or boards do battle, duplicating costs and getting less work done for the public.

Recall, for example, the assessor in Antioch Township in Lake County moving her staff out of the township building and renting new offices after fighting with the supervisor. Or Algonquin Township in McHenry County almost running out of road salt after highway commissioner Andrew Gasser ordered a supply and the township board refused to pay for it.

We’ve also seen the best of townships, as when well-run food pantries or senior transit or general assistance programs provide safety nets for suburban residents who’ve run out of options.

With that in mind, we’re not fully in the growing “throw them out” camp that seeks to abolish townships as rural throwbacks not needed in the suburbs.

Read the full Daily Herald editorial here.

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Four years ago we asked readers of The Observer to trust our judgment when voting for 3 new trustees to be on our Village Board of Trustees (see Croll, Maison and Cecola for Barrington Hills Trustees).

In what turned out to be a hard fought, oft times contentious campaign, some may have thought we were asking for a leap of faith from our readers, and we continue to appreciate the confidence bestowed upon us by our readers. Though this year’s campaign is the quietest we’ve witnessed in 10 years, the stakes are no less high than they were four years ago.

Five residents are running for three seats on our Board of Trustees. Two residents are incumbent Trustees, one is a current member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, the other two ran unsuccessfully for village positions in 2017.   Here are our thoughts on these five candidates:

Louis Iacovelli: Louis seems like an affable guy in the computer software business. His campaign website is well done, though it would be more suitable to have photo of a location in the Village on the home page and not unincorporated McHenry County.

We cannot support Louis candidacy for the simple reason his wife, Gigi Iacovelli, is the treasurer of the Barrington Hills Park District. Currently a candidate for election on the park board herself, she derives at least part of her income by providing lessons at the district. While this is not a direct conflict of interest, the potential for lack of objectivity may cause concern in a trustee position.

Linda H. Cools: Linda ran as a write-in candidate for trustee 2 years ago, and after two recent Board of Election hearings, she is running for trustee on the April 2nd ballot.

The best thing one can say about Linda is she will do anything to get elected. This was evidenced by the fact that she (‘misspoke’) under oath multiple times to the Village President, President Pro-Tem and the Deputy Village clerk (see Truth or consequences). We have no place in such a small village for unrepentant (misspeakers)!

Buettner

Debra Buettner: Debra had served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for nearly 4 years when President McLaughlin asked her to consider running for Trustee. When she asked if he needed her help, he replied “Yes.” And that’s why she’s running today.

Debra founded her law firm about the same time she moved to the village nearly thirty years ago.   She is a graduate of Barrington High School, and she has her CPA as well as a law degree. Her confident attitude and her experience on the Zoning Board warrant our endorsement for Board of Trustees.

Cecola

Brian D. Cecola: Brian became a Trustee in 2015 and was given responsibility for Roads and Bridges as well as Public Safety.   No one adequately prepared him for the conditions he would be inheriting, but as most residents now recognize, he was up for the challenge and then some.

Brian also graduated from Barrington High School and he also owns his own business. He and his wife, Stephanie, and their three children are active in the community, participating in the neighborhood clean up days and riding trail maintenance.

Brian is also very active in philanthropy, is President of the Lions Club, and helped found and run the Fourth of July tent and fireworks. Despite all this, when President McLaughlin asked him to serve another term, he agreed, and he has our wholehearted endorsement.

Bryan C. Croll: Bryan was also elected to the Board of Trustees in 2015. He has been in charge of monitoring the finances of the village with the day-to-day oversight Peggy Hirsch, Village Treasurer.   He and Peggy also keep track of police pension fund performance.

Bryan and his wife Josie have three children and he manages his family business remotely in Arizona.   He donates his spare time to causes such as Barrington Area Conservation Trust and the local riding club.

We had some concerns with Bryan’s willingness to work with others early on in his first term. We now are equally concerned with his motivations in seeking a second term, and this publication cannot in good conscience unreservedly endorse him.   

Overall endorsements: The Daily Herald, Village President Martin McLaughlin and President Pro-Tem Colleen Konicek Hannigan have endorsed Bryan Croll, Brian Cecola and Debra Buettner for Trustees of Barrington Hills.

Cecola and Buettner have the unconditional support of The Barrington Hills Observer. Both have demonstrated a passion for our Village and willingness to serve our community. Both display the honesty, dedication and sound judgement that will represent the residents of Barrington Hills admirably for the next four years.

Early voting ends today, April 1.  Election Day polls open tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM.

Please Vote!

 

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Two candidates for trustee advocate “live steaming” (broadcasting) for Board of Trustee meetings as well as some committee and commission meetings. May be a good idea, but at what cost?

Barrington CUSD 220 has been streaming their board meetings for many years.   We’ve attended a few of those meetings, and there are usually at least two or more people working the camera(s), computer(s) and microphones.

Much time is spent setting up the equipment long before the start of each meeting, and then breaking down the setup afterwards.

Clearly, Village Hall meetings needn’t be this elaborate. Costs to live stream meetings have decreased given advances in technology, such as YouTube, but are they really cost effective? The answer is NO for our Village, and here’s why…

We’ve watched numerous District 220 meetings from the comfort of our homes using their YouTube channel. A counter on the screen indicates number of viewers at any given time, and that’s when the reality of true resident apathy hits home!

Approximately 9,000 students attend District 220 schools. Tens of thousands of potential viewers reside in communities from Tower Lakes to Hoffman Estates to Carpentersville to Deer Park and beyond, but for all that the District pays to live stream their meetings, can you guess how many viewers are actually tuned in? Nearly none!

We observed on average only 5-8 people watching a typical District 220 meeting. Chances were that   1/3 were students, 1/3 were reporters or salespeople and the rest too lazy to drive to the meeting. 5-8 people! (Imagine viewership in a community of only 4,200 residents – maybe 1 or 2 viewers for a meeting?)

Recordings are available on demand, so it is likely District 220 residents watch the meetings at their convenience, and as common sense might suggest, viewer totals per meeting may become more acceptable, but still not cost effective.

Barrington Hills has invested time and money in audio recording equipment to accommodate residents who cannot attend meetings. Recordings are usually available for review a few days after each meeting.

So, for those advocating live streaming meetings on the Village’s dime, we suggest a more cost effective alternative for those wanting the service.

Invest their own money for the ability to live stream meetings, and sell it to residents who wish to subscribe to your service. Chances are they won’t because they’d lose money from the start, which begs the question, why are they asking our Village to subsidize their personal (and likely selfish) needs?

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Bryan Croll, Debra A. Buettner and Brian D. Cecola

In keeping with what is becoming something of a tradition in otherwise bucolic Barrington Hills, voters are being treated to a feisty race for the village board in the April 2 election.

Three trustee seats are up for election, and cameras seem to be a campaign focus one way or another.

We did not endorse Cecola and Croll when they first ran in 2015, but they have delivered on their campaign promises. Spending has been cut as has the village property tax levy, and the village website has been improved.

We endorse them for re-election. Buettner is a potentially good teammate with sound judgment and experience. She wins our endorsement, too

Read the full Daily Herald endorsement here.

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Five candidates will be vying for three seats on our Village Board of Trustees in the April 2nd Barrington Hills election in a few short weeks.

The first campaign mailer arrived in residents’ mailboxes this week. The websites are up, and soon, signs will appear in neighbor’s yards asking would-be residents to vote for his or her candidate(s).

When it comes to websites, we thought we’d share three that have emerged for this year’s campaign. They are listed in the order candidates names as the appear on the ballot:

One Barrington Hills: Incumbent Trustees Bryan Croll and Brian Cecola will be running with Zoning Board member Debra Buettner. To learn more about their cause, their website can be viewed here.

Linda Cools 4 Trustee: Linda Cools ran for office two years ago as a write-in candidate. She is running independently, and her website can be viewed here.

Vote Louis: Louis Iacovelli campaigned for Village President two years ago. This time he’s running independently for Village Trustee, and his website can be viewed here.

Early voting begins on Monday, March 18th and runs through Election Day, April 2nd.

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Barrington Township Trustee Fritz Gohl

There’s new hope in Springfield for putting power into the hands of voters when it comes to controlling and trimming their governments.

At nearly 6,963 units, Illinois has more governmental bodies and bureaucracies than any other state in the nation. Texas and Pennsylvania are next, according to the website Governing and they have only 5,147 and 4,897, respectively.

And while there’s been some momentum in recent years around merging governments, streamlining and setting up processes for dissolving bodies like sanitary and mosquito abatement districts in Illinois, the processes largely have been complicated or left in the control of public officials — some of whom, obviously, have a self-interest in keeping governments operating and themselves employed.

Read more from the Chicago Sun-Times here.

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