Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Everything is Peachy here in Joliet. This is the city full of champions" Mihelich uses Xtranormal on YouTube page

This is the first time I've seen a local candidate use Xtranormal to communicate his or her message.  If you're familiar with Xtranormal, you know it usually takes a sarcastic tone; the target here is the current Joliet City Council.

Here is the video Andy Mihelich posted on his YouTube account:

Joliet City Council District 2 Candidate Robert O'Dekirk

Will County News Politics spoke with Joliet City Council Candidate Robert O'Dekirk at the recent Informate/Get Informed Candidates Forum hosted by the Unidos Marketing Network.

O'Dekirk is challenging incumbent Timothy Brophy, along with fellow challengers Brian Baltz and John M. Gurka.

O'Dekirk said District Two residents take a lot of pride in their neighborhood and Joliet, saying many District 2 residents have lived in the same neighborhood their entire lives.

O'Dekirk said residents of District Two are concerned about crime, and with the Joliet police department running 40-50 officers short, it is a legitimate concern.

O'Dekirk said among his main goals is getting the city back on a healthy financial track by sitting down and working with the unions.

O'Dekirk said while some have advocated for a 10-20% cut in the budget, he is not sure if citizens are ready for a 10-20% cut in services.  Along with cutting back to an economically sustainable point without jeopardizing services, O'Dekirk would like to focus on increasing revenue.  For example, he said he would push to prosecute misdemeanors locally so that the City of Joliet could collect the fine money.  To do that, Joliet would pass local municipal ordinances that the city could use to prosecute the case and keep the fine money if the person was found guilty. O'Dekirk also said Joliet could increase its use of asset forfeiture to increase revenue.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jan Quillman: "I believe our unions will come together because they love this city as well"

At the March 23, 2011 Informate/Get Informed Candidate's forum held at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish Banquet Hall on East Jackson Street in Joliet,  City Council Woman and Mayoral Candidate Jan Quillman stated she wanted to make it clear that she "was not there when the money was spent."

Quillman said she saw the current budget crisis coming, noting that in 2010, 15 million was taken out of reserves just to cover the 2010 budget.  Quillman said with many advisors she will fix the budget crisis because, "failure is not an option."  Quillman said after her forensic audit of the budget, she will talk to the unions to gather trust and level the playing field.  Quillman said: "I believe our unions will come together because they love this city as well."

Video of Quillman's speech:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Warren Dorris, Joliet Mayoral Candidate: "We need to make sure the jobs we got here are paying a decent wage, so people can support their families"

At the Informate/Get Informed Candidates Forum hosted by the Unidos Marketing Network--a locally owned business in Joliet--Warren Dorris explained why his experience makes him the leader Joliet needs. Dorris cited his work with the Rev. Isaac Singleton to reduce the gang problem on the East Side of Joliet. Dorris also said he has a vision for Joliet and he has a 100 day plan to work on the issues Joliet faces.

Dorris also said we need justice for the warehouse workers of America, which struck a chord with the Warehouse Workers for Justice--a Will County group that advocates for improved working conditions, pay, and benefits in the many warehouses to have been built in Will County in the last decade.

Watch Joliet Mayoral Candidate Warren Dorris discuss his qualifications and his positions on the city budget and other issues:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Andy Mihelich: "We need to utilize the Latino business owners on Collins Street as an example of good entrepreneurship and use of private capital that creates jobs in the local neighborhood"

Will County News spoke with Joliet Mayoral candidate Andy Mihelich at the recent Informate, Get Informed Candidates forum held at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish Banquet Hall in Joliet.

First, in regards to salaries of City of Joliet employees, Mihelich said that City of Joliet "salaries and fringe benefits have to be sustainable, they have to be the right size to meet the needs of the citizens of Joliet without a property tax increase."

Next, Will County News asked Mihelich what he thought of a recent report by the Warehouse Workers for Justice which argued that many jobs in area warehouses are temporary and do not offer benefits.  Mihelich responded: "I don't consider a good job anything less than $10 dollars an hour with benefits.  We should not promote, we should not incentive any project that pays less than $10 an hour."

Mihelich said that if elected, he would implement an aggressive economic development program to include an economic development commission which would promote Joliet as Joliet, not as a suburb.  Mihelich also said he would create partnerships with local business groups and community resources such as JJC.

Mihelich said he would ensure minority contractor participation meets its goals.

Mihelich also said Joliet "needs to utilize the Latino business owners on Collins street as an example of good entrepreneurship and use of private capital that creates jobs in local neighborhoods."

Joliet Mayoral Candidate Michael Marconi: "Stop Marketing Joliet as a tourist location, market Joliet as a place to make money."

Will County News spoke with Joliet Mayoral Candidate Michael Marconi at last night's Informate, Get Informed Candidate Forum at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish Banquet Hall on East Jackson Street in downtown Joliet.

First, Marconi said more nightclubs and bars are not the way to bring prosperity to Joliet.  Marconi expressed outrage at the recent fight outside an all-ages nightclub on East Cass street.  Marconi said no matter how much is spent on banners and decorative lighting, no one is going to go downtown for business purposes until there are more policemen on the street and people feel safe.

Next, Marconi said Joliet needs to stop marketing itself for tourism because tourism connotes short-term stay.  Marconi said, "our buildings are suited for commerce.  Our roads and our skilled labor force make Joliet a place to make money, and we need to communicate that message--that Joliet is a place to make money--to businesses so they locate here and create jobs.  Again, we first need to clean up downtown and make it safe."

Lastly, Marconi shared that on a recent trip to downtown with a family member, as his group was walking back to their car, they saw 3 cars getting parking tickets. Marconi said he would examine the city's parking ticket policies because he thinks if people get tickets while parked downtown, they are less likely to come back to do business downtown.  Marconi said if you are trying to get people to go downtown and do business, you need to welcome them and give them encouragements to return downtown, not parking tickets.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Unidos Marketing Network Informate/Get Informed Joliet Mayoral and City Council Candidates forum draws large crowd

Joliet mayoral and city council candidates met with citizens tonight at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Banquet Hall on Jackson Street in Joliet.  Organized and sponsored by the Unidos Marketing Network, the event gave citizens a chance to meet 1:1 with candidates as well as listen to candidates state their case and answer questions.  Here are some photos from the event:

Warehouse Workers for Justice at the Informate, Get Informed Candidates forum at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Banquet Hall in Joliet, Illinois

Informate, Get Informed Candidates forum at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Banquet Hall in Joliet, Illinois

Informate, Get Informed Candidates forum at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Banquet Hall in Joliet, Illinois

Informate, Get Informed Candidates forum at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Banquet Hall in Joliet, Illinois

Informate, Get Informed Candidates forum at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Banquet Hall in Joliet, Illinois

Here is a video of downtown Joliet from the Mt. Carmel parking lot on the night of the event:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Unidos Marketing Network hosting Joliet Mayoral and City Council Candidates Forum

Unidos Marketing Network, a Will-County business, is hosting an event to help the public get informed about the upcoming Joliet Mayoral and City Council Election.

The event is open to the public and will be held March 23rd at Mt. Carmel Banquet Hall, 205 E Jackson Street.  All Joliet mayoral and city council candidates have been invited to make presentations.  Also, there will be time to speak with candidates individually.

The event starts at 6:00 p.m. with an hour of networking with the candidates.  From 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., mayoral candidates will make presentations and answer questions.  From 8:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., city council candidates will make presentations, and there will be another opportunity to network from 8:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m..

Check out the Unidos Marketing Network for more info!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Richard Rodriguez, Candidate for Joliet City Council, District 3: "Don't blame the EMPLOYEES, BLAME THE CITY COUNCIL"

The debate over public employee compensation has arrived in Joliet.
In response to The Herald News' challenge to city council candidates to respond to the question, "When union negotiations begin will you seek -pay cuts, -a pay freeze, -pay raise, -a hike in employee contributions for benefits, -to keep benefits and contributions the same," Joliet City Council Candidate Richard Rodriguez has released the following press release:

"The Herald News recently listed the City of Joliet’s 2010 payroll, and issued a challenge to all city council candidates and incumbents to put forth their proposals to resolve the city’s fiscal crisis as contract negotiations approach.

“I don’t blame the employees, I blame the previous and current city council for the fiscal crisis,” said Richard Rodriguez. “City council has refused to live within their means, and they are the ones who have allowed the city’s payroll to grow out of control. I want to go on the record saying we need an honest and open dialogue, and a collaborative approach to resolve our fiscal situation.”

Rodriguez, a candidate for City Council District 3, is running against incumbent council member John Gerl who was appointed in 2010, and former council member Robert Hacker who did not win his re-election in 2005.

“As a candidate for city council, I am fortunate to have conversations every day with city employees, concerned citizens, union working families, and many others who are passionate about our great city,” Rodriguez said. “If we are going to resolve our city’s financial problems we need to have an open, honest conversation with all the stakeholders. Whether or not I am elected to the city council, I want to be at the table with the council members, the city employees, the unions, and most importantly the residents and taxpayers of the City of Joliet as we collaborate to return Joliet to a stable financial footing.”
Rodriguez has laid out a four part plant to address Joliet’s financial future:

City of Joliet: A Sound Future for a Great City
There is no magic wand and no single silver bullet that will resolve Joliet’s fiscal crisis.  A nuanced and deliberate approach is crucial to tackling the complex problems the city faces.

My four part plan creates the framework for tackling these issues:
1)      Prioritize Spending. We must first and foremost prioritize our spending. One of my top priorities is to re-assess spending that does not provide a financial or ‘public good’ return on investment towards the city.
2)      City Finances Community Advisory Board. Create a City Finances Community Advisory Board comprised of members of the community to work with the city as it evaluates where to cut and where to prioritize spending.
3)      Equitable Evaluation. In looking at cuts in payroll, finding an equitable solution that evaluates levels of pay, experience, tenure, overtime accrued, and many other factors must be the guide instead of a blanket 20% cut that would inflict hardship on the lowest paid working men and women.
4)      Share in the Sacrifice. I was proud to help lead the charge at to eliminate free lifetime health care for former council members and mayors. It was crucial as the city council asked others to make sacrifices, that very same council lead by example. The same will go for everyone working for the city and the community as a whole. "

Monday, March 7, 2011

Joliet Mayoral Candidate Jan Quillman says she would "ensure success of the multimodal transportation center"

During a Joliet Chamber Forum, current Joliet City Council Member and Mayoral Candidate Jan Quillman said that if elected she would: "concentrate on urban development to ensure the success of the multimodal transportation center.   This development is essential for the state to continue to thrive and business to grow."

According to the application for American Recovery and Reinvestment funds for this multimodal transportation center prepared by the City of Joliet, "The JOLIET REGIONAL MULTI-MODAL TRANSPORTATION CENTER (“JRMMTC”) in Joliet, IL, will be the key component and catalyst to the City of Joliet’s “Central Area Plan and Implementation Strategy” ( for the redevelopment of Downtown Joliet.  The City of Joliet retained VOA Associates to conduct a major comprehensive downtown area planning effort, “The Comprehensive Development Plan for Downtown Joliet”, which kicked off in October 2008.  The JRMMTC will be built and managed by the City of Joliet and is designed to serve local, regional, interstate, state and national needs.  The City of Joliet is requesting $55.0 million from the Department of Transportation for the project. " 

The candidates for Mayor of Joliet in the April 2011 election are:
Kevin Hegarty
Andy Mihelich
Jan Quillman
Tom Giarrante
Diane Harris
Lester Brown
Michael J. Marconi
Warren Dorris
Dale Vollmer

See the rest of Quillman's speech:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Joliet Mayoral Candidate Michael Marconi questions whether rise in City Budget is Proportional to rise in City Population

Joliet Mayoral Candidate Michael Marconi's ad in the Joliet Herald News today features a comparison between Joliet in 1991 and Joliet in 2011.  According to Marconi, from 1991 to 2011, Joliet's population increased from 91,000 to 147,433, an increase of 62%, while the Joliet budget increased from $61,400,000 to $293, 000,000, an increase of 477%.

In his ad, Marconi asked, "How does the rise in population of 62% equate to a rise in the budget of nearly 500%?  Are you getting 5X the city services?  Are you making 5X the wages?  Are there 5X the city employees?"

Marconi goes on to state: "The answer is clear.  The citizens of Joliet can no longer afford career politicians, who treat the city budget as their own personal bank account.  We can do better.  We have to have a strategy to attract industry and commerce to the city."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Candidates for Mayor of Joliet speak at Plainfield Township Republicans forum

2011 Joliet Mayoral Candidates Warren Dorris, Lester Brown, Tom Girrante, Andy Mihelich, Dale Vollmer, and Kevin Hegarty speak at the Plainfield Township Republicans forum on February 10, 2011.  The candidates discussed important Joliet issues such as: the budget, taxes, the deficit, and safety.  Check out the candidate's responses:

The nine candidates for Mayor of Joliet are:
Kevin Hegarty
Andy Mihelich
Jan Quillman
Tom Giarrante
Diane Harris
Lester Brown
Michael J. Marconi
Warren Dorris
Dale Vollmer