Friday, June 14, 2024

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From the desk of Bob Malkas: An open letter to Lansing voters

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Submitted by Bob Malkas

Because it would not be possible to address all the questions our trustee candidates should be asked at the February Candidate Forum, there should be additional opportunities for them to be addressed during the campaign. I have put them in this article and ask that they be answered sometime before Election Day.

Public forums are the foundation of American democracy. It is the way people can have direct contact with their elected leaders. It is only successful when the decisions that must be made are presented to the public. The candidates for 2023 Village Board election owe it to the voters to have their individual positions known on what they hope to achieve once elected. I have complied a list of current issues facing the village’s future that I feel should be considered during the coming campaign period.

The people of Lansing have a rich history of achievement. All that is needed is leadership and to point them in the right direction. That releases their true spirit.

Economic development projects just do not come to Lansing when a business is ready to implement a new idea. They should be encouraged and sought out. At one time the Village had an economic development person on staff assigned to do the groundwork to encourage prospective developers to come to Lansing.

Years ago, Lansing took a leadership role in managing the Southland’s efforts to make residents prepared for any future flood events, not only for Lansing, but for the entire region. The Village should consider reinstating those efforts by asking each candidate if they would accept the idea of bringing back the Lansing Flood Awareness Committee.

The Village has worked hard to promote Fox Pointe, but does not do the same for its airport, which also has the potential to mirror the progress made at Fox Pointe. If elected, how would you make the Lansing Municipal Airport more beneficial to regional economic development?

In 2011 the Village assigned the responsibility for future use of the Ford Hangar to a citizens committee. How would you feel about reinstating the Ford Hangar Foundation to find the best possible use of the building?

Lansing Code of Ordinance Article II Section 2-15 requires the Village to have a full-time Superintendent of Aviation on staff. If elected, would you consider supporting that requirement?

The recently passed Southland Reactivation Legislation has the potential to help Lansing’s future economic growth. I had an opportunity to ask that question during the public comment period. Will you commit to read PA 102-1010 to determine a course of action to follow for Lansing to take advantage of it?

In 2017 the Village created a Human Relations Commission to study and make recommendations to the residents on how to reorganize human relations-related issues facing the village at that time. Would you consider asking the HRC to prepare a report to residents on the progress the Commission has made to fulfill its mission, and circulate their report to the entire village to get the entire community involved in their work?

In the next few months, the subject of the Cook County leasehold tax which was imposed on the Lansing Municipal Airport by Cook County will be resurrected. I strongly recommend that those elected be prepared for the reaction it will have on the residents of Lansing.

The recently enacted SAFE-T legislation went into effect on the first of the year. It could have a devastating impact on Lansing residents. Will you be ready to align with other Illinois communities now on record in opposition to it, and hold our elected representatives responsible for it if crime is increased in the village?

The Village of Lansing has the only operational airport in Chicago Southland. It is an available tool for the Village to use to encourage future economic development projects, not only for Lansing but the entire region, if administered correctly.

I decided to begin writing this article before the February 28th Candidate Forum. I wanted to develop a list of questions that would expand on what the moderators would be able to ask in 90 minutes. The next step in my plan was to report what I learned during the session.

The well-controlled format allowed the candidates to introduce themselves and explain their qualifications and how they planned to serve the people of Lansing. For the most part they were in agreement on all the basic issues: infrastructure improvements, public safety, economic development, community involvement, keeping an eye on the money. There were some distinctions for voters to consider before casting their votes.

One concept that stood out was their understanding of what a trustee should be doing: give their opinions on issues or casting votes to advance the will of the people.

There were comments made about Fox Pointe development on how effective it can be in serving the people of Lansing. What was not discussed was the reality that the outdoor venue is closed 6-months out of the year.

There was one question pertaining to the airport and what its future would be. Comments were made that showed an understanding the extension of runway 18-36 should be explored as soon as possible.

One response showed a complete misunderstanding of how the Ford Hangar property is being managed. It was said the building has been taken out of the airport’s footprint. That is not true and could not be possible until it is removed from the official Airport Layout Plan with FAA approval.

One scenario will be interesting to follow as the mayor makes committee assignments if the Village Voice Party candidates are all elected. For the last two years Trustee Zeldenrust has chaired Police and Fire. Most probably a good decision because of his long career in the Lansing Police Department. In this election candidate Robert M. Collins, the now Police Chief in Dalton has an equally long history of police enforcement also. Who will be given that assignment?

Bob Malkas

Local Voices
Local Voiceshttps://thelansingjournal.com/category/lansing-voices/
Local Voices is The Lansing Journal's version of “Letters to the Editor.” The opinions posted here are those of the writers, and posting them does not indicate endorsement by The Lansing Journal. We welcome input from fellow residents who have thoughtful things to say about topics that are important to our community. Submissions may be sent to [email protected] with “Voices” in the subject line.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Fox Point is a summer setting as-is and goes dormant with the coming of winter. Could some part of the grounds be flooded to support an ice skating rink. Skate rental or no skate rental. Hot chocolate or no hot chocolate. S’more or no s’more. Just watching the fire department flood it would be an event in and of itself.

  2. Very good article and good points as usual Bob ! I think the airort has been put on the back burner for quite some time now ! The airport need a good solid manager that knows about aviation so on and so forth ! The airport is open round year as Fox Point is not. The only difference is the vilage makes money on beer and liquor at Fox Point ! When Patty was a trusteet in charge of the airport alot of things were getting done ! She bacame Mayoy under Dan ( previous Mayor ) Who actually runs the village and it came to a screeching halt! The airport run right could be a big asset for this town. But it
    has to be brought there ! It is not going to do it by itself !!!! Infrastruction in this town pretty much sucks. Most of the streets are bad , sewer and water lines are so old. You have to make and spend the money to correct these things ! The airport as an example run right could bring in alot of money ! Fox Point , the Ford Hanger their are so many possibilities in this town ! I thought the trustees did a good job answering all their questions
    , i guess we wil see election day

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