ELMHURST, IL — Peter Dabertin is one of four candidates for the Ward 6 seat on the Elmhurst City Council. Here are his responses to the Patch questionnaire: Peter M Dabertin Age (as of Election Day) Does anyone in your family work in politics or government? No Education Indiana University MBA 1989 Ball State University
ELMHURST, IL — Peter Dabertin is one of four candidates for the Ward 6 seat on the Elmhurst City Council. Here are his responses to the Patch questionnaire:
Peter M Dabertin
Age (as of Election Day)
Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?
Indiana University MBA 1989 Ball State University BS
Sales Engineer/Manager (recently retired)
Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office
The single most pressing issue facing our city is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
Without a doubt the most pressing issue facing Elmhurst is the effect that the pandemic has had on city revenue and the lasting impact that it will continue to have, the finances and emotional health of our citizens, and our businesses, particularly those that provide personal services or are dining drinking establishments. The Elmhurst City Manager has done a good job dealing with reduced revenue. I will look to delay projects that do not affect the quality of life of city residents and will support any program designed to help our small business community. We can help Elmhurst residents by trying not to impose more costs on them, recognizing that many have suffered financial hardship, and that this is not the time to make things more expensive for them.
Do you support Black Lives Matter and what are your thoughts on the demonstrations held since the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake?
Because I believe that the right to petition our civic leaders is at the heart of our democracy, I wholeheartedly support both the right to protest. The people who did protest in Elmhurst this summer peacefully should be congratulated and not scorned. However, I do not support the Black Lives Matter organization. I read their platform and I don’t agree with many of their positions. It must be noted that many of the BLM protests this summer turned violent and resulted in the loss of property and life. And although we did have a peaceful BLM protest in Elmhurst, concern that it might be violent resulted in the boarding up of several buildings as a preventive measure.
Like many others, I strongly believe that we absolutely must find a way to reduce deaths and serious injury resulting from citizen/police interactions. The number of U.S. citizens that get killed by police in the US is especially troubling when comparing our statistics with other major democracies. For those that think this problem affects only one group, I suggest watching the very disturbing videos of the police killing of Deven Guilford in Michigan or Daniel Shaver in Arizona. Anything like what happened in Minneapolis to George Floyd or Laquan McDonald in Chicago must not ever happen in Elmhurst.
Training is key. I will wholeheartedly support any training that will help our police calm any situation that arises. Teaching police officers method to de-escalate situations is critically important. This makes the likelihood for a bad outcome for both the citizen and police officer much less likely. Body cams are another useful tool and every officer should have one on while on duty. Accusations of excessive force must be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.
Do you think the current board has done enough to support racial equality, and if not, what specifically should be done to do so?
One obvious point that is being completely ignored in regards to whether the city council has done enough on equality issues, is that Elmhurst, (about 93% white according to demographic reports), is not a very diverse community. I believe that Elmhurst is a welcoming place for all. I own rental property within Elmhurst and have rented to a very diverse group. Their Elmhurst neighborhoods have been very welcoming to them. I know of no incident where residents did not obtain city services based on race or other factors.
Concerning issues of race, the focus has to be on public safety where there is always a potential for an interaction to go very wrong. And in regards to diversity itself, there are a couple of things the city can do; work with developers to develop low cost housing and actively recruit applicants from minority groups when there are employment opportunities.
What are your thoughts on the national and local coronavirus response? Do you favor measures such as limiting operation of non-essential businesses and restricting indoor/outdoor dining? And do you favor a local mask mandate?
The nationwide or federal response resulted in getting three vaccines developed and produced in record time which are now being distributed to the state. In other matters, the response to the pandemic was determined by the individual states which varied widely. Though the pandemic is real and has resulted in thousands of deaths, 92% which have been of people over 55, some of the responses were overly restrictive. There was no reason to shut the schools down. Private schools stayed open with no adverse results. Some of the shutdowns of businesses were unnecessary, but were implemented anyway, destroying jobs and livelihoods.
I do support following CDC advice on washing hands and mask wearing. Our state has been establishing policies regarding the pandemic, based on county data, and not the city. I would not support any additional mandates, fines, or restrictions on Elmhurst citizens or businesses.
What are your thoughts on the state and local coronavirus vaccine distribution, and how do you think local governments should work together to handle vaccine rollout?
Elmhurst is not going to manage the vaccine program. The city should provide public spaces and facilities for vaccine administration if this can help people get vaccinated more quickly. The city can provide information about where sites are located and who is eligible although, it should be noted that, other government entities, clinics and pharmacies already do this.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
If voters look at my answers it is clear that I have an honest and common sense approach. Above all, I passionately believe in responsive, effective leadership that reflects the will of those you represent. While I have no elected office experience, please keep in mind that that many of the most prominent national leaders had no prior governmental experience before running for office either. In addition, I am not considering seeking another office. I also am fiscally conservative to the extent that I won’t spend voter’s money if they won’t see direct benefits. At the same time, I want to make sure that money prudently spent and sensible projects reach this ward.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform
I believe that government leaders should serve their constituency above all else. You are there to help them and to articulate with a passion their concerns in the city council. I will do that. Too often people campaign and, after winning, they then seek to implement their own agenda with little input from the people they represent, other than maybe their friends. The citizens feel as though no one is interested in them. I will work to communicate with the people who live in my ward. In addition, I will work with other council members to help our businesses recover from the pandemic, maintain a high level of service while keeping costs down and cooperate with other governmental agencies. I will advocate to expand the city program to fix backyard flooding and always for the sixth ward to get the attention it deserves.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
I have a MBA from Indiana University and many years of business experience. I understand accounting and budgets. I can tell if something is fiscally sound and what it will ultimately cost voters. I traveled the entire United States and Canada throughout my working career and visited hundreds of cites and towns. I saw first hand what seemed to work and what didn’t. I sold products that were used for infrastructure projects and worked with civic engineering firms throughout the United States. I understand how infrastructure works and is constructed. I negotiated pricing and sold to city governmental agencies. My experience and background is not of an attorney, but all of it is relevant to the alderman position and provides a different, but dynamic, perspective.
If you win this position, what accomplishment would make your term in office as a success?
Accomplishments that would make me think that my term in office is a success would be for the residents to feel as though they are part of the system, informed as to what is happening and comfortable in expressing their opinions. I would hope to get projects implemented and completed in the ward, especially those to alleviate flooding and in a way that we don’t reduce already limited usable park or green spaces. I would also feel that I was successful if Elmhurst businesses affected by the pandemic thrive, contributing to the economic vitality of Elmhurst and enhancing the character of our city. In addition, it would also be an indicator of success if taxes and user fees were not much greater than they are right now.
Why should voters trust you?
I was taught by my mother from an early age that you have to be responsible and do what is expected of you. My father died unexpectedly when I was five years old. My sister was seven and my brothers were age four, three, one was a week short of being a one year old and my youngest brother was born eight months later. Because of our financial situation, my mother went to work full time when I was eleven. We were latch key kids. There was no one to take care of us while she worked, so we took care of ourselves and each other.
I can devote more time to this position than anyone else since I no longer work full time. I never ran for office before because I had to do a lot of unplanned travel and I was also concerned that I would not have the time to effectively perform the duties for the office that are necessary. I have that time now.
What are your views on fiscal policy, government spending and the use of taxpayer dollars in the office you are seeking?
Low interest fees don’t change the fact that borrowed money must be paid back. Every local tax dollar spent must directly benefit the citizens of Elmhurst. User fees, such as water bills, are another concern. Although downtown is important, projects and money need to be directed at the 6th ward. Elmhurst is experiencing lower revenues because of the pandemic and will do so for some time in the future. The city has managed this fairly well leaving open 21 city positions and delaying some routine maintenance. I support continuing to find ways to get by with less until the economy can return to normal rather than raise taxes or fees.
Is there any reason you would not serve your full term of office, other than those of health or family?
The best advice ever shared with me was:
Think before you speak
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I would really like to hear from the residents who live in Ward 6. I want to know what your concerns are and what is important to you. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or through my website.