ELECTION 2019 QUESTIONNAIRES | Champaign mayor: Deb Frank Feinen

ELECTION 2019 QUESTIONNAIRES | Champaign mayor: Deb Frank Feinen

1. What prompted you to run for mayor?

"I am running for office because I grew up here and love Champaign. It is also my firm belief that we can continue to evolve into an even better community.

"I am proud of the work I have been a part of since 2006 on the Champaign City Council and the work we have accomplished since 2015 after I became Mayor.

"I originally ran for mayor because I believed that Champaign deserved a professional, compassionate mayor willing to work with everyone in our city."

2. What would make you a better candidate than your opponent?

"I am a lawyer and small business owner with real-life budget accountability. I understand the realities of the hard work and rewards that come with being a small business owner.

"I am approachable and even when I am not in agreement with someone's position on an issue, I am respectful, listen and try to understand the other side of the argument.

"As an attorney I am trained to negotiate and find solutions and I enjoy working with people different from me. I also have valuable experience working with city staff and my council colleagues."

3. What do you consider the greatest challenge facing the city in the next four years?

"Our biggest challenge in the next four years will be the city budget. The state seems to be poised to make the cut to our LGDF permanent and the economy seems to be slowing.

"The city needs to continue to work to grow tax base. Funding, or lack of funding, impacts every decision we make as council members."

4. How would you evaluate the CU Fresh Start anti-gun violence initiative after two years?

"Through the end of 2018, of the 34 call-in participants, 16 engaged and signed up to receive services. This is above the national average.

"I believe that disruptor programs such a Fresh Start are necessary to break the cycle of violence and to provide options for offenders in our community."

5. How worrisome an issue is gun violence in Champaign-Urbana, and what more, if anything, can be done to curtail it?

"Addressing the violence that is occurring in Champaign County is one of the highest priorities of the mayor and council. We should continue to support and adequately fund our police, while continuing to improve their communication and relationships with the community through the efforts of our Community Coalition.

"We also need to financially support local service providers our school district, and programs improving our efforts to address social problems before they become criminal problems.

"We need to continue to work with youth through programs such as the Summer Youth Employment Program and Goal Getters while also providing social and economic opportunities for adults in our community.

"We need to continue to support job training and mentoring through our membership at the Regional Planning Commission (RPC).

"As a community, we have to work to preserve funding for mental health services and substance abuse programs and work on creating healthy families, not just healthy children."

6. Assuming recreational cannabis is legalized, what additional resources, if any, would you be in favor of devoting to police and DUI enforcement/education?

"Depending upon the legislation that passes, the costs for training/enforcement and education may be paid for by the state through a fund devoted to these issues.

"However, it is clear that enforcement, training and education will be needed, whether paid for by state funds or city funds."

7. What are your thoughts on the growing number of high-rises near campus, and their impact on the look and feel of Campustown?

"Density on campus has increased due in part to revised zoning and the elimination of parking requirements for multifamily units. These changes allow for a more urban feel on campus.

"Solving the drainage issues in the campus area has also resulted in significant reinvestment in the Green Street corridor with new and larger apartment buildings. The growth in and around the Campustown area is an economic driver for the city and often the developments also include retail spaces.

"I think that development that is responsive to the current needs/wants of the students is important and I like the more urban feel of the Green Street corridor, particularly as enhanced by the MCORE project."

8. Do you worry about the loss of historic structures as this development expands?

"I support the city applying for grant funding to do an inventory of historic structures within the city so that we have baseline information about what is actually historic within the city."

9. Given the recent Clark Park issue, how would you protect central Champaign neighborhoods that want to retain their character?

"I think that zoning is the appropriate way to address these neighborhood issues. The city completed this process with the In-Town neighborhood recently.

"It is important to provide a process to hear from as many residents as possible as there may not be a consensus on how to proceed and council must weigh all input."

10. Similarly, are you worried that developments on the fringe of town — i.e., Carle at the Fields — will simply draw retail, etc., away from downtown and central Champaign?

"The development at Carle at the Fields has a different feel and clientele than Downtown and Midtown. Ultimately, the additional growth at the fringe will respond to the employee needs of the businesses out in that area and the surrounding neighborhoods.

"Our downtown is continuing to see growth and change — such as with the PNC property — and Downtown and Midtown remain the heart of our community with an incredible energy and local flair."

11. Has the city done enough to award contracts to minority- and female-owned businesses? And, if not, what specifically would you propose?

"Council has been committed to the goals of supporting minority- and women-owned businesses. Council has updated procurement processes and implemented measures to promote minority- and women-owned businesses in recent years.

"We adopted the EOPO, implemented a Minority and Women Business Development Program in 2013 and Council's Goals for 2013-2015, 2015-2017 and 2017-2019 include the strategic initiative Explore Opportunities to Expand City Incentives to Support Small, Local and Minority and Women owned businesses.

"Council has also supported CDAP, which allows city departments, contractors and others doing business with the city of Champaign to increase utilization of minorities, women and other socially disadvantaged groups in city purchasing strategies, as proposed. The CDAP program is in its infancy so it is too early to tell what impact it will have.

"Additionally, the small business development program is just ending its pilot program and we need to review carefully whether or not it has met the goals relating to minority business support. At this time, I propose that we give the CDAP program an opportunity to be fully implemented and then evaluate its impact."

12. How significant an investment should Champaign make to try to lure back the IHSA boys' basketball tournament once its contract with Peoria expires in 2020?

"The city continues to work with Visit Champaign County (VCC) to attract economic opportunities such as IHSA basketball to our community. We make a significant investment in VCC of approximately $300,000 and in the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) of approximately $100,000.

"I do not oppose some level of additional funding relating to economic opportunities such as IHSA basketball as long as there is money in the economic development budget to accommodate the expense."

13. What's the thing or two you're proudest of about living in Champaign?

"Champaign has been rated in the top 50 places to live in the country according to Livability.com. We also were the winner of Best Midwest Food Town in 2018.

"Champaign is a diverse and culturally rich community with amazingly short commute times and friendly Midwestern people. I am proud of the work done at the University of Illinois and Parkland College.

"But, my absolute favorite thing about Champaign is the Illinois Marathon and the weekend events that surround it."

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