Endorsement: Oskerka, Ludwig, Brookman and Smith for Des Plaines City Council
Des Plaines government will see a lot of new faces this spring, with the mayor and one alderman departing because of term limits and another alderman retiring.
Four seats on the City Council are up for election on April 6, and voters are fortunate to have plenty of qualified choices.
The biggest field of candidates is in the 3rd Ward, where Eugene Fregetto, Shawn T. Killian, Sean Oskerka and Norbert J. Paprocki are competing. Each of them would be a good addition to the City Council, but we particularly like Oskerka's ideas for more events to draw the community together and for belt tightening to help the city climb out of the pandemic. He is endorsed.
Oskerka suggests freezing nonessential spending, delaying equipment replacement and considering ending city-funded health and dental insurance for part-time elected officials, all logical ways to economize.
Oskerka, an emergency room nurse, backs the city's precautions against COVID-19 but says officials could have done more to organize testing or mask distribution after the city began to lead Cook County in COVID-19 deaths last year.
A fifth candidate, Robert K. Suriano, could appear on the ballot in the 3rd Ward, but he dropped out of the race, citing a new work schedule.
In the 1st Ward, former City Clerk Gloria Ludwig is running as a write-in candidate against four-year incumbent Mark Lysakowski, whose name will be the only one on the ballot. We endorse Ludwig over Lysakowski, who has not responded to Daily Herald requests for comment about his January arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence and did not participate in the endorsement process.
Voters can brush up on write-in procedures at cookcountyclerkil.gov/service/about-write-candidates.
In the 5th Ward, incumbent Carla Brookman is challenged by Jennifer Nutley. We endorse Brookman for her experience, which will help balance the turnover at City Hall.
Voters in the 7th Ward will decide between two business-minded candidates. Christopher Wozniczka owns the Illusion Cafe and would add a voice from an industry battered by COVID-19. Patricia "Patsy" Smith has a businesswoman's view of working with city departments as a longtime former owner of a local heavy equipment sales and service company. She formerly was an appointed member of the city's Economic Development Commission. That added experience gives Smith the edge and we endorse her, though we hope to see more of Wozniczka in Des Plaines civic affairs.