The national Presidential Election is Nov. 6, but the local Consolidated Election in the spring of 2013 is beginning to attract attention as citizens are reminded of the impact of local elected officials who serve on governing bodies.
These early days of autumn are reminders that the landscape is changing. Events of the past week also are reasons for local residents to pay attention to changing leadership on many levels and to be prepared to sign nominating petitions for registered voters who have expressed a passion to serve the community.
In April 2013, citizens again will go to the polls to elect officials to set public policy and approve school, municipal and park district budgets where local voices can be heard. Do the hopeful individuals passing petitions have the skill sets to serve?
City Council Election
Since late September, 24 individuals have picked up petition packets in the City Clerk’s Office regarding running to serve on the Naperville City Council. Four two-year terms are up for election. Councilman Kenn Miller announced that he will not run for re-election. The nine-member City Council includes the mayor. The mayor currently is in the middle of his four-year term.
The reason for the two-year terms instead of four-year terms is the result of a 2010 referendum when voters overwhelmingly approved a hybrid district and at-large system. During the same election, voters also approved term limits of three four-year terms for City Council members, including the Mayor. At the Naperville City Council meeting on Sept. 18, the council approved a map of voting districts. Several residents, pro and con, addressed the city council regarding the new district representation.
In a 7-2 vote, the approved map now divides the city into five districts, scheduled to go into effect in 2015. Doug Krause and Joe McElroy voted against the new district map. (To watch the public comment and council discussion, visit the City’s e-archive archive of meetings.)
For more information about the city’s new voting district map, pull up the PDF of the final district map. While reviewing the map, note the boundaries of five districts that move from the upper northwest to east and around toward the southwest.
Also, use the handy tool that permits residents to enter their address to determine their district.
Only District 1, located in the northwest section and south to 75th Street, currently has no representation.
District 2 that includes downtown appears the largest due and primarily uses 75th Street as a southern boundary.
District 3 is on the far east side of the city. On the north, it is bounded by parts of Chicago and Prairie avenues and Hillside Road as it drops down to Royce Road.
District 4 is located in the area between Route 59 on the west, Washington on the east, 75th Street on the north and 95th Street on the South.
District 5, located on the city’s southwest side just south of District 1, is the least populated district with 24,813 people.
Hopefuls can file petitions from 9AM to 5PM on weekdays only, Nov. 19 through Nov. 26. If more than eight individuals file to run, a primary election will be held in February.
School Board Elections
In addition, four four-year seats are up for election at both local public school districts. The approved new district boundaries do not apply to school elections.
Nominating petition packets for District 203 candidates are available in the district office, 203 W. Hillside Road, Naperville.
Packets for hopefuls in District 204 are available in the district office located in Crouse Education Center, 780 Shoreline Drive, in Aurora.
Individuals who seek one of the four four-year terms on the seven-member boards must be at least 18, a registered voter, a U.S. citizen, and a resident of Illinois and respective school district for at least a year prior to the election.
Hopefuls may begin circulating petitions Sept. 25.
The deadline to turn in paperwork for registered voters hoping to run is the week of Dec. 17-24.
Vacancy to be filled in District 204
In a surprise announcement of leadership at School District 204, Board of Education President Curt Bradshaw has been appointed to serve as a member of the Illinois State Board of Education.
According to the district’s website, Bradshaw has resigned from his board position in District 204 effective immediately. The Board of Education announced the first step is filling the vacancy created by Bradshaw’s resignation. The deadline to file paperwork for consideration is 12PM on Oct. 1.
Interested applicants must submit a cover letter indicating interest and describing what a candidate brings to the position; resume, including a summary of education-related experience, applicant’s address, phone, and email.
Send application to Kathy DeSantis, at Indian Prairie School District 204, P.O. Box 3990, Naperville, IL 60567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
After October 1, the board will review applications and discuss how to proceed with the interview process. The person selected will serve as a board member until the next school board election on April 9, 2013, at which time a successor will be elected to serve the remainder of Bradshaw’s unexpired term, which ends in 2015.
For more information, contact Kathy DeSantis, Board of Education Secretary, (630) 375-3010 or visit www.ispd.org.
Naperville Park District Board of Commissioners
Over at the Naperville Park District, located at 320 W. Jackson Ave., residents interested in serving on its Board of Commissions also may pick up petition packets and begin collecting signatures of registered voters. Four four-year terms will be up for election. The park district schedule for passing and filing petitions is the same as the school districts. The deadline is Dec. 24.
For information, visit 320 W. Jackson Ave. or www.napervilleparks.org. Or call (630) 848-5000 or e-mail email@example.com
Editor’s note about folks passing petitions for another referendum: To challenge the November 2010 vote for the hybrid system for City Council representation, advocates who support “Yes! At Large” are collecting signatures from registered voters to place another binding referendum question on the April 2013 ballot to reverse the earlier decision. In addition to the Yes! At Large website, an earlier story posted on this website provides an overview of the first public meeting of the Yes At Large initiative, now in progress.
Before the vote in November 2010, several forums and town hall meetings were hosted by the impartial Naperville Voter Education League regarding the two referendum items that would impact the election of Naperville City Council members. One referendum question asked “yes” or “no” for three four-year term limits. The other asked “yes” or “no” for a hybrid mix of council representatives from five districts and three councilmen and the mayor at-large.
It has long been this editor’s view that with term limits, there would be no need for district representation because turnover would happen at least every 12 years. We were quite surprised when both questions passed overwhelmingly.
It is still our assertion that term limits will encourage new challengers and fresh ideas while solving many of the issues created when elected officials stay too long in their seats, listed among reasons some advocated for a hybrid district representation.
Now nearly two years later, as unintended consequences begin to surface, pro and con, it is our hope registered voters who reside in the corporate limits of Naperville will sign circulating petitions to place the question of a hybrid district system on the ballot again, allowing time for a rigorous and more in depth discussion together as a community—as well as another vote in April 2013.
Then perhaps whatever change Naperville voters decide will be without question.
RELATED POSTS: 22 Residents picked up City Council petition packets (Updated to 24 with the addition of Jo Malik and Judy Singer.)