Tag: Mayor Jones

A Brief Conversation With Broadview Mayoral Candidate Maxine Johnson

Maxine Johnson .jpg

Thursday, March 30, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

On Wednesday, I had a phone conversation with Maxine Johnson, who is running for Mayor of Broadview in the April 4, 2017 election.

Johnson, 57, is running atop the Independent Democrats of Broadview Party slate, which includes candidate for clerk, Debra Gillespie, and trustee candidates, Sandra Taylor, Norlander Young and Craig Flowers.

Johnson, who served as the village’s clerk from 2009 until 2013, is a former ally of Broadview’s current mayor, two-term incumbent Sherman Jones. Johnson won her clerk seat running on Jones’s ticket nearly a decade ago. Now, she’s a big reason why he won’t be running for a third-term as mayor.

“I was the one who initiated and organized the term limit referendum in Broadview,” Johnson said, adding that she was motivated to run for mayor partly due to the response she received from residents during that referendum campaign, which she said started roughly a year ago. Johnson said that most of her running mates helped organize that referendum campaign.

The ballot measure, which passed on Nov. 8 with 65 percent of the vote, stated that “no person shall be eligible to seek election to or hold the office of Village President where that person has been previously elected to the office of Village President of the Village of Broadview for two (2) consecutive full four (4) year terms.”

The referendum appeared on the ballot despite numerous attempts by the mayor’s supporters to persuade the courts to remove it. They argued that the measure was largely a personal attack on Jones by his opponents on the board. That it did not apply to any trustee positions, they said, bolstered their claims.

In our conversation, Johnson — a former nonprofit grant writer and longtime advocate for victims of domestic violence — framed her candidacy as a grassroots uprising against the outgoing mayor. She also addressed some of the criticisms lodged against the referendum.

Johnson is running against Katrina Thompson, who heads the Broadview People’s Party, on which Jones is running for trustee; independent candidate Princess Dempsey; Better Broadview Party candidate Judy Brown-Marino; and independent candidate Vernon Terry.

So, what was the motivating factor behind your decision to launch the referendum? 

We took the initiative from former governor Pat Quinn. [Last year, Quinn launched a petition drive to limit Chicago’s mayor position to two terms].

When people are voted into positions like mayor and governor, they tend to make it a lifetime thing. Just look at all the people who are running in Broadview now and who aren’t afraid.

Why didn’t you all apply the term limits referendum to other positions, such as trustee seats? Some critics of the referendum say this is about a personal vendetta against Jones and they bring up the fact that the term limit referendum only applied to his seat.

They say that the people who organized the referendum are connected to the strip club [that’s been trying to come into Broadview for years]. That’s not true. We’ve been aware of the strip club since 2007. The strip club lawsuit was going on when I was clerk. Independent Democrats oppose the strip club and we oppose Mayor Jones for taking strip club money.

There isn’t any technical reason why we didn’t include the trustees as part of the referendum. We were just taking our cue from Quinn. We took his initiative and ran with it in Broadview. It wasn’t that we were looking to move Sherman out. We really didn’t even know how the residents would react to it.

But extending term limits to the trustees is something I’m in support of. Some of the present trustees would also like to see term limits applied to those other board seats. I would like us to bring the younger generation on so we can mentor them and teach them our government. Hopefully, someone else can organize [a referendum that applies to trustee seats] or a new board can come up with something.

What are some areas in which you disagree with Jones? And what governing vision does your party have for Broadview?

I really oppose everything Sherman has done. And we oppose Thompson because she wants to carry on some of the same things Jones was considering, such as home rule. We’re against that.

[Home rule communities have greater self-governing power than non-home rule communities, particularly the ability to raise taxes with fewer restrictions from the state. Click here for more information].

The reason we oppose home rule has a lot to do with taxes. If we become a home rule community, it would give too much power to the board to keep increasing our taxes. I think we’re taxed enough. For example, we shouldn’t have tax levies every year. We should only have them when it’s necessary.

I also don’t think Jones has done enough for seniors, so we want to expand senior services. He did establish some programs, like snow removal, for seniors and we want to continue that. But we also want to do more for the seniors. For instance, we want to beef up home repair services for seniors.

And mainly, we want to return good services, like street cleaning, to all of Broadview’s residents. Under Jones, if you weren’t a friend or family member of the mayor, you didn’t receive the same kind of services.

We’re also looking at new technology, such as a cell phone app that allows residents to pinpoint crimes, report problems, get a calendar of events and other things. We would like to integrate that program within our police department.

Why should voters elect you and your running mates?

The reason why I ran, and why we are better candidates, is because we’re not politicians. We’re all advocates in the community and we can bring our passion to Broadview and to collaborating with local governments across Proviso Township, such as communities like Maywood and Bellwood.

You have to be able to reach out and meet people where they’re at. When you have a hunger for community like we do, it makes you a better person. VFP

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Maywood, Broadview Begrudgingly Contemplate Consolidating 911 Dispatch Systems


Wednesday, June 8, 2016 || By Michael Romain

A new law that went into effect in January requires municipalities with populations of less than 25,000 to consolidate their 911 dispatch systems. The law also revokes the authority of local governments to collect surcharges from telecommunications and wireless carriers while enacting a uniform statewide surcharge.

That means that Maywood, with a population of around 24,000 residents, would be required to consolidate its services with a nearby municipality unless the state grants the village exemption through a waiver process. According to Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley, the village applied for that waiver earlier this month and is waiting to hear back from the state.

Currently, an 87-cent surcharge is tacked onto residents’ cellphone bills to help pay for the village’s dispatch services, Talley said. Starting in 2022, half of that surcharge will go to help pay for a statewide 911 system.

Village attorney Michael Jurusik said Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration “is all about consolidating these multiple municipal governments, so they looked at all these public safety access points, or PCAPs. These are your dispatch centers. They said, it’s too many of these things out there; let’s get everybody to consolidate.”

Jurusik also noted that part of the state’s motivation for the bill was the lack of quality emergency dispatch systems in rural areas largely concentrated downstate.

“The idea behind the legislation was to get everybody to a basic floor,” he said. “Most towns in metro Chicago are at the ceiling with good technology and good 911 systems; but other parts [like rural areas and much of downstate] didn’t have any 911 [dispatch centers].”

But to achieve that parity, some urban areas like Maywood and Broadview may have to suffer. The law isn’t welcomed by government officials in either town.

“This is like a lose-lose situation,” Talley said at a May 11 board meeting during which the issue was discussed. “In my opinion, it was a bad decision in Springfield that nobody really thought through [and] it’s being forced upon us.”

Broadview Mayor Sherman Jones said that his village, which operates its own dispatch center as well, applied for the same waiver in order to get out of having to consolidate. Both he and Talley said that no cost-savings will be realized from the move. Broadview’s population is just under 8,000.

“My gut opinion is that we’re not going to realize any cost savings, because the call volume won’t change,” said Jones during a recent phone interview. “It’s just easier for us to control our own 911 system.”

If Broadview’s and Maywood’s waivers aren’t approved by the state, the two neighboring villages may be forced bedfellows when it comes to emergency dispatch. While each town operates its own dispatch center, they both utilize the North East King County Regional Public Safety Communication Agency, or NORCOM, for their emergency communications technology.

“We may end up being with Maywood, because other local municipalities are already consolidated,” Jones said.

If it comes to that, Jones said, the two villages would have to nail down “a lot moving parts,” such as which village will host the consolidated dispatch center. Either Maywood would need to move its eight dispatch employees (who currently work in a room within the Fifth Avenue police station) to Broadview or Broadview would have to move its six dispatch employees to Maywood.

In light of the Maywood police department’s flooding problems, Jones said, he thinks Broadview’s dispatch center would be a much safer choice.

“Our [facility] is in much better condition,” he said. “Even towns like Westchester use our facility when major flooding and storms hit.”

Jurusik said, if consolidation does become an only option, the village could realize cost-savings if a third municipality were to come on board with the move.

“It works if, for instance, we do a three-party agreement and Maywood is the entity with all the dispatchers and enough capacity over in its current room, which would be built out,” Jurusik said.

“You operate that and have two other towns helping to pay for the operation. If we go from, say, eight to 12 people because we’re covering three towns, we could share those costs. On a per capita basis, we’ll pay more, because our larger population would mean we’d have a few more heads to finance, but we’ll still have two other towns [paying in].”

Jones also brought up another potential headache if Maywood and Broadview are forced to consolidate: Which town will receive the surcharge revenues?

“Somebody’s going to have to be the custodian of the funds from the 911 system,” Jones said.

Until the state’s decision on those waivers returns, however, all of these matters are still up in the air, he insisted.

In the meantime, Talley said, Maywood is making preparations to consolidate — just in case it comes to that.

He said village staff will prepare an evaluation of a potential move to combine with another municipality, most probably Broadview. That report could be available in the coming months, depending on the outcome of the waiver process. VFP

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Coffee with the Chief

Briefly: Still Without A Budget, Broadview To Consider Approving One Tonight, May 16, 7 PM

Broadview village hall.pngMonday, May 16, 2016 || By Michael Romain  || UPDATE: 3:42 p.m.

The Broadview Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on a proposed budget tonight, 7 p.m., at the village’s municipal building, 2350 S. 25th Ave., Broadview.

The hearing comes a week after the four-trustee board majority — including Trustees Judy Brown-Marino, Tara Brewer, John Ealey and Diane Little — scheduled a special meeting to consider an ordinance that would change the year-end date of the 2016 fiscal year, since the board didn’t pass a FY 2017 budget by the statutory deadline of April 30.

That ordinance was tabled at the direction of the village’s attorney, who noted that his office hadn’t had sufficient time to review the proposed ordinance.

Broadview Mayor Sherman Jones noted that the village has gone beyond the statutory deadline in the past. Jones said it isn’t unusual for municipalities to go beyond their budget deadlines; they’re only penalized if they haven’t passed a budget before taxes are levied.

But the proposed budget, the mayor said, is relatively foreign to him, since it comes after the board had already agreed upon a FY 2017 budget, he noted. He said, before last week’s special meeting, he wasn’t informed about the board majority’s new budget.

“We already had three meetings about the budget before this [most recently proposed] one,” Jones said in an interview last week. The two-term mayor said he sent out robocalls to inform residents about the special meeting, an action that Trustee Little said was inappropriate and politically motivated.

According to many residents and village officials, Broadview’s day-to-day operations have been caught in the friction between the four trustees, who won election in 2013 on the Better Broadview Party ticket, and Mayor Jones.

The mayor and some village employees castigated the board majority for sabotaging basic services like website maintenance, emergency sewer repairs and snow removal for personal reasons, while the four trustees have noted that their decisions are based on reforming the status quo. VFP