Access to information, affordable housing among issues in race for Lake County Board District 3 seat

  • Wendy Meister and Charles "Chuck" Nozicka are Democratic candidates for the Lake County Board District 3 seat in the June primary.

    Wendy Meister and Charles "Chuck" Nozicka are Democratic candidates for the Lake County Board District 3 seat in the June primary.

 
 
Posted6/9/2022 5:30 AM

Broadening access to information and to affordable housing are among the issues for the two Democratic candidates running for the District 3 seat on the Lake County Board.

Newcomers Charles "Chuck" Nozicka, a pediatric emergency physician from Green Oaks, and Wendy Meister, a consultant from Riverwoods, are squaring off in the primary election June 28 to represent the party in the general election in November.

 

Meister said there is a need to examine the "structural components" of Lake County government because it hasn't kept pace with growth.

"Specifically, the county has a large part-time board overseeing a $600 million annual budget," she said. "This structure may have worked in the past, but I don't see it as a sustainable model moving forward."

Options include reducing the number of members, moving to full-time positions or keeping part-time jobs but establishing a separate entity to oversee forest preserves, she said.

Meister said video recording meetings and online access to most contract information is a positive. She cited cost overruns with the new courthouse building in Waukegan in calling for all contract information to be archived in a manner that can be accessed in a single search.

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"You shouldn't have to (file a Freedom of Information request for) basic information that should be public," she said.

Better organization of the county website would improve online services, she added.

Nozicka said he has worked with various groups and as a community advocate and would use his experience to improve countywide mental health and attain affordable housing for seniors and veterans.

"As a physician, I've seen the impact that a lack of housing has on a person's well-being," he said. "Without housings, people cannot maintain optimal physical and mental health. Often our seniors and veterans are priced out of local affordable housing," he said.

Maintaining the Zoom platform and recording all meetings are essential for continued transparency, Nozicka said. He added that the county generally maintains an excellent website to access offices, tax and meeting information, but he acknowledged there could be tweaks to make finding information easier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Nozicka said he lives by an ethical code and is committed to integrity.

"Transparency and integrity is at the forefront of politics now," he said. "Most people don't know what the county board does. Government can do a better job of educating citizens on how it works."

The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican incumbent Ann Maine of Lincolnshire, who has served on the county board since 2002.

District 3 includes all or parts of Green Oaks, Gurnee, Lake Forest, Libertyville, Lincolnshire, Mettawa, Riverwoods, Vernon Hills and Waukegan.

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