Thank you all for coming. I would like to formally announce my intention to run for the position of alderman for the City’s 1st Ward.
My roots in Geneva go back to 1903 when my great-grandparents Paul and Anna Berrettini moved “out to the country” and settled on North Sixth Street for Paul’s health. I began visiting Geneva in the late 60’s when my grandparents, Frank and Ida Bruno, moved back to the place where Ida’s parents had settled generations earlier. At the time, as a young boy driving from Streamwood in our Rambler station wagon, Geneva seemed in the middle of nowhere. That boyI had no appreciation for the community that Geneva was, even then, that it drew my ancestors back from points afar. My younger self knew that I could occupy my time at Wheeler Park, or playing on the courthouse cannons, or skipping stones down at Island Park.
Fast-forward to 1979 when I began a career at Burgess-Norton that would pay my bills for the following 21 years and introduce me to my wife-to-be, Debbie, on top of it. We raised our son, Adam, on Richards Street and then here on Fulton Street. I think as a parent I, more than ever before, came to appreciate just what it meant to live in a real community and I thoroughly enjoyed playing with my son in those same parks and on those same cannons. Geneva is not just a place to park your car at night. Geneva is a rare gem amongst a backdrop of withered small towns that succumbed to the urban sprawl. Geneva is a place to know your neighbors and a place to identify with.
I became involved with the city some years ago and, most significantly, have been sitting on Geneva’s Historic Preservation Commission for nearly 11 years. In survey after survey, Geneva residents have identified Historic Preservation and our downtown as central to our identity and our vitality. My time on the Historic Preservation Commission has given me a front row seat to the management of our history and experience unique amongst the 1st Ward candidates. It is a complex and important symbiosis between our downtown merchants, our downtown residents and our historic identity. Our careful management of our historic assets create the inviting downtown that draws residents and, importantly, visitors from near and far to enjoy our eclectic and varied merchants and partake at our dining and drinking establishments. It is my intent to promote and protect that identity so that our downtown can be economically, culturally and visually vibrant. That economic vitality benefits every resident through the tax revenue which, to the extent the city can affect our slice of the pie, helps keep your taxes in check.
Other matters before the city are varied and range from the mundane to the far-reaching. I cannot say how I would weigh in on issues on the horizon until I have seen the evidence and heard the arguments. But, as an engineer by training and vocation, I can tell you that I will rely on evidence and fiscal pragmatism to see that our City best utilizes its resources and gets the optimal return for monies spent. I intend to play the long game and my thinking will always include the metric of “How will this affect the City tomorrow and in 5, 10, or 20 years down the road.”
I am very proud of the service I have offered to the city to date and it will be difficult to relinquish my seat on the Historic Preservation Commission. It is my desire, though, to step up that contribution in service to the City. It has been a persistent suggestion by my many good friends that I run for elected office and now seems the time.
I am confident that the remaining body of diverse and competent commissioners will ably manage our city’s historic assets in my absence. And, with your help, I can add my voice and my talents to the 1st Ward and the City. Thank you.