"We all want our children to breathe clean air and drink clean water. We want fair taxes and responsible government. The question is how we get there. Outdated ideas aren't working. We need 21st century leadership to get us where we want to go."
Good Government

Good government is transparent, accountable, and efficient. Governing is hard and issues are complex and nuanced, but after spending the last nine months watching the current Board, several troubling issues have come to light and need to change:

  • Lack of transparency. There are currently no rules requiring contractor disclosure of conflicts-of-interest around county contracts and contributions. In fact, my sitting representative, my opponent, openly defended that way of doing business during an Aug. 10 committee meeting. His words: "I don’t like the policy about disclosing every donor and all that, every contract." That is unacceptable. Good government requires full disclosure of conflicts-of-interest on all county contracts and contributions.

  • The Board recently voted to stop videotaping Finance Committee meetings, where they make decisions about spending taxpayer money. These important committee meetings should be videotaped.

  • Lack of oversight and accountability. One example: Millions of our tax dollars have gone missing and the Board doesn't know why. The County is resisting an audit of circumstances surrounding the purchase for $5 million of an e-filing system that was never fully delivered. (Read about it here.)

  • The contract for the e-filing system above was made when the Board voted to waive the public bidding process because of previous work done with the County. This is wrong. Government contracts should undergo an open bidding process--especially for vendors with long-standing relationships with the County.

Fair Taxes

No retiree or person with a disability should have to leave their home because they can't afford the property taxes.

Until Illinois fixes its unfair tax system by getting rid of the flat income tax, and until Lake County fixes its assessment problems, our property taxes will continue to be a burden.

  • Fulfill the Board's duty to oversee the Lake County Assessor and make sure that some property owners aren't receiving arbitrary property tax breaks at the expense of other homeowners; that veterans with disabilities who apply for property tax breaks are being served in a timely and efficient manner; and that township assessments aren't being unduly overridden.

  • Advocate for reforming our tax system in Illinois, stemming from the 1970s, and encourage our  state representatives to get a graduated income tax on the ballot. A graduated income tax will ease the burden on lower and middle classes, ensure we're all paying a fairer share, and ease the property tax burden on all of us.

  • Create a Taxpayer Bill of Rights that clearly explains a property tax bill, homeowner rights, and county spending.

In defense of their vote to increase the tax levy each year, some current Board members explain that the County takes only 7% of our property taxes. That's only partly true. They fail to mention another 3% for the Forest Preserve, on which each County Board member serves, for a total of 10% that the Board is accountable for. Also: 10% is 10%. Elected officials should be accountable for every last cent.

Environmental Stewardship

The children of Lake County have the right to breathe clean air and drink clean water. Period. As the adults in the room, we have a responsibility to move forward on renewable energy.

  • Shutter the coal plant. The Waukegan coal plant is the largest source of air and water pollution in Lake County and, according to the EPA, is partly responsible for 34 premature deaths, 54 heart attacks, and 570 asthma attacks every year. I support Clean Power Lake County's effort to transition the plant to renewable energy and create a transition plan for its workers.

  • Go 100% renewable energy. It's good for the environment, public health, and taxpayers.

  • Develop a Zero Waste plan--for Lake County and to encourage municipalities to join cities around the country in developing plans to drastically reduce and eventually eliminate the waste we send to landfills and incinerators.

  • Reduce suburban sprawl--the County could serve as a partner to municipalities in planning for the "big picture," and advocate for smarter urban and environmental planning, connected developments, mass transit, and walkable communities. Young professionals are moving to the suburbs but they expect better than the outdated, inefficient suburban planning of the 1950s. The County should pay attention.

  • Re-hire a Sustainability Coordinator. This position was eliminated by the Board. If the environment and public health are a priority, we need someone working full-time to incorporate sustainability into all areas of government.

Green Jobs

Lake County is uniquely positioned to be a powerhouse of green jobs. Jobs and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand. We could lead the way on this environmental-economic sustainability in three key areas:

  • renewable energy

  • recycling

  • local food production/farm-to-table enterprises

Transportation

We need to build smarter, not just harder. Congestion is a problem that needs fixing. But building more roads will not solve the problem--making existing infrastructure work better for us, and adding public transit, can.

  • Add train viaducts at Rte 60/Diamond Lake and at Old McHenry Rd in Hawthorn Woods

  • Coordinate traffic signals

  • Develop a plan for a light rail network

  • Increase public transit service

  • Work with employers to encourage employee incentives for living close to work

  • Connect not just forest preserves but towns and villages with bike paths

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Paid for by Jessica for Lake County Board

P.O. Box 256, Wauconda, IL 60084

jessicaforlakecounty@gmail.com

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