Des Plaines mayoral candidates have radically diverse ideas for improving the city
Des Plaines' three mayoral candidates have radically different ideas how to improve the city.
Three candidates -- each with elected experience -- are running for the post in the April 6 consolidated local election: Andrew Goczkowski, the city's 8th Ward alderman; Michael Charewicz, a former 8th Ward alderman; and Malcolm Chester, the city's 6th Ward alderman.
Incumbent Mayor Matthew Bogusz cannot run for reelection because of city term limits.
The candidates discussed their ideas for improving Des Plaines in a joint, online interview with the Daily Herald.
Goczkowski wants to engage Des Plaines' minority populations by creating a multicultural commission. The group would meet with city staff to discuss how to get the needs of those residents met.
This also would build trust with minority populations and engage groups "that are sometimes underserved and overlooked," said Goczkowski, a staffer for U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky.
Similarly, Goczkowski suggested launching a cultural festival that would showcase Des Plaines' diversity.
"It's part of what makes us great," he said.
Charewicz thinks the mayor should be more accessible to constituents. He suggested hosting periodic town hall meetings that are less formal than city council meetings and might encourage more community participation.
Speaking at council meeting can be very intimidating for residents, said Charewicz, who owns a local auto repair shop. "It shouldn't have to be that way," he said.
Chester proposed a local environmental cleanup program to improve the city's appearance.
"Appearance is very important ... for economic development," said Chester, an attorney. "When communities do a better job of caring about their community and cleaning it up ... people respond."
The program could emphasize recycling and reducing litter, Chester said. It also could include environmental curriculum in local schools "so children learn at a very early age what it's like to recycle, what solid waste is all about (and) about litter," he said.
The program could refresh the city, Chester said.
"We're an old city," he said. "Every time we see something in the city that doesn't look right, that looks worn down or bad, we ought to consider that a challenge and we ought to go out and see what we can do to clean it up and make it look better."