A Hinsdale man is challenging a 10-year-incumbent for her seat on the DuPage County Forest Preserve District Board.
Irfan Ibrahim, the Democratic candidate for District 3, said he believes board members should have term limits and cuts in pay. But incumbent Linda Painter, who lives in the Timberlake community, said she works extremely hard in the elected position.
“This is my full-time job. I put an incredible amount of time into it,” Painter said.
The six board members are paid $50,000 a year, plus health benefits that cost between $13,800 and $19,620 a year, depending on the plan. The board meets on Tuesday mornings, usually for less than an hour.
“Some people look at the meetings and how long they last,” Painter said. “If that was all I did, I would be way overpaid. But I’m constantly in the forest preserve, talking to people and finding out what they want.”
Painter said it was her idea to put a dog park in the Oldfield Oaks Forest Preserve at Interstate 55 and Lemont Road.
“People in the dog park wanted a water fountain for their dogs, so we put in one that is for humans on the top and has a bowl for dogs at the bottom,” she said.
Painter said she also recommended installing new directional signs in the 2,500-acre Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve. People were getting lost and spending more time than they wanted to there, she said. The signs direct people to destinations, such as the waterfall, outhouses and parking lot.
Ibrahim said the board is definitely overpaid and said he would propose an 8 percent cut in pay, and would not use the district’s health insurance.
“I believe the majority of Illinois’ problems stems from not having term limits,” Ibrahim said.
Painter said she has mixed feelings about term limits. She recognizes that people can become stagnant in the same position, but the forest preserve board members work effectively together, she said.
Ibrahim said that despite Painter’s 10 years on the board, there are basic infrastructure problems, such as lack of parking, running water and toilets in the forest preserves.
His top priorities would be to provide for the basic needs of all the runners, bicyclists and other visitors, starting with improving the parking at Waterfall Glen, rather than building what he termed a lavish clubhouse for the golf course at The Preserve at Oak Meadows.
The clubhouse, which will cost upwards of $7 million, will provide the amenities needed to host golf outings, which are important sources of revenue for golf courses, Painter said.
However, it also will have space for meetings and educational programs for the general public, she said.
Ibrahim said the forest preserve has done a terrible job informing DuPage County residents about its resources and activities.
“If elected, marketing and communication to every resident will be my primary priority,” Ibrahim said.
The forest preserve, however, just completed an extensive community outreach to gather input on a new five-year master plan, which is being finalized.
The top priorities residents identified, Painter said, are restoring and maintaining the district’s natural lands, maintaining or improving the existing buildings, parking lots and outdoor recreation areas, and continuing to connect trails.
Ibrahim said, his goal, too, would be to protect public lands, which are threatened by commercial development, such as the warehouse recently approved in Darien.
Information about the survey and the draft of the master plan can be seen at www.dupageforest.org/master-plan.
District 3 includes all or parts of Burr Ridge, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Hinsdale, Willowbrook, Westmont, Downers Grove, Woodridge and Naperville.
Lives in: Timberlake community in unincorporated DuPage County near Willowbrook
Age: Declined to give age
Time lived in District 3? 28 years
Profession/work experience: Retired registered nurse in pediatrics for 28 years
Education: Bachelor of science in nursing, Winona State University, Minnesota.
Elected office: DuPage County Forest Preserve District Board since 2008
Civic involvement: President of the Timberlake Civic Association; Argonne National Lab Community Leaders Round Table; Kiwanis Board; Sierra Club; Conservation Foundation; DuPage Mother of Twins Club
Family: Married with three adult children
Time lived in District 3? Two years
Profession/work experience: Physical therapist in Hinsdale and Elmhurst, clinical manager for multisite rehabilitation clinics
Education: Doctor of physical therapy, Alabama State University
Elected office: None
Civic involvement: Volunteer at Wellness House in Hinsdale; health care ambassador and volunteer at Robert Crown Center; volunteer at People’s Resource center’s food pantry; started petition against warehouse in Darien near Waterfall Glen and against Sterigenics; Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy and Environmental Defense Fund
Family: Married with two children, ages 5 and 9
Region: DuPage,Local,Region: Suburbs
via Clarendon Hills News – The Doings Clarendon Hills https://ift.tt/2EfCXPl
October 7, 2018 at 07:03AM