March 28, 2011 1:38PM
William Hanson, candidate 3rd Ward alderman in Palos Hills, Illinois. | Supplied photo
Office Sought: 3rd Ward Alderman-City of Palos Hills
Name: William (Bill) Hanson
Address: 9731 Hickory Crest, Palos Hills
Date of birth: March 24, 1958
Web site: http://aldernews.homestead.com/ward3.html
Education: Oak Lawn Community High School, Moraine Valley Community College
Spouse, spouse’s employer: Kim, also retired
Children: Justin, 28, daughter-in-law Lindsay, 27, Jordan, 25, fiancé Marie Lorenzi, 24, daughter Taylor, 24. Of course our dog, Maggie, 13
Relatives, including in laws, currently by a government agency: I currently have no relatives who are employed by a government agency at any level. My wife Kim’s late grandfather, John A. Oremus, was the mayor of Bridgeview for 40 years..
What other elected offices have I sought, held, what year:
I have not held any other elected office other than the position of Alderman that I currently hold.
Have you ever been arrested or charged with a crime: I have never been arrested or charged with any crimes. I have no criminal record.
Political (elected or significant appointment) experience: As a young man in my 20s I enjoyed working with my wife’s grandfather on his mayoral campaign in Bridgeview. It was a great experience going door to door and addressing the issues the residents would have. Prior to my decision to seek the office of Alderman, I served on the Palos Hills Plan Commission for six years.
In your view, what are the two most important issues facing your constituents?
I feel the most important issues facing my constituents are the same as many other municipalities; Our residents are concerned about their taxes. We on the city council need to continue to manage our local government in such a way that our issues do not affect our citizens. Principal of these of course is the city’s finances, and not putting any additional pressure onto the shoulders of those we serve. The city council has had to address some tough issues and has made some difficult decisions, and of course that is why we were elected. Second, families are concerned about the quality of life in their community and we need to continue to do our part to make Palos Hills a great place to raise a family. I know the benefits of growing up in a great neighborhood and I enjoy doing what I can to address the issues that affect the people that literally live right around me. When a resident or business calls I enjoy addressing their concerns. Some issues are easier than others, but you give each one the same effort.
Explain something significant you would like to accomplish within the next two years if you are elected:
My first priority will remain the growth of Palos Hills’ economic development and working with our small business owners. I am proud that I went to Springfield and successfully brought grant money home to Palos Hills to help our businesses succeed and become stronger; I intend to put forth this same effort in my second term. Next I would like to make better use of available city owned property. One example of this would be through a Community Garden Program. In this program, residents would be given the opportunity to cultivate a garden and share the yield to help support the various kitchens that work to assist the less fortunate in our community.
Please explain how you believe the office you’re seeking can help create jobs: Jobs come from the growth of opportunity. The result of helping our business community to grow should be opportunities for employment. We have a great asset here in Palos Hills in Moraine Valley Community College. There are so many ways that Moraine can help the business community. I am hoping we can capitalize on that and create opportunities for those seeking employment.
Do you believe the current way Illinois pays for education is working? Why and what would you change?
Education is a tough subject because local government is not part of the decision making process, even though in many cases the quality of education defines the neighborhood it serves. How it is funded and how it is managed is part of another whole group of candidates, marketing themselves to virtually the same electorate. Yet I don’t think they are researched and scrutinized as deeply as other publicly elected positions are. You often see school board members who have absolutely no business experience and in some cases, no employment experience. Yet on my property tax bill, schools receive 67 percent of every dollar that is paid. When elected, these candidates are then responsible for educating the children of their school district and making financial decisions that can really decimate a community by placing it under a mountain of debt if not properly managed. I would like to see the business community more involved in our education system. Who couldn’t benefit from their business experience and knowledge? The vitality and involvement of the business sector is an important part of a community, as is the quality of education. These can be key issues for those families who are looking to move into a healthy community. I believe there is a correlation there.
Would you make any changes to the budget of the governing unit to which you are seeking elected office?
In Palos Hills we really pull the budget apart by line, by department and I believe we do not run from the tough questions. As a challenging line item appears, we discuss it. We need to make it a practice to have the previous three years expenses in hand as we contemplate the coming years’ budget. It is almost impossible to detect a trend in increased costs without such a report. I have asked for and have received the expenses for the past years, and I create the report myself and have made copies available for the other council members. I find that by looking at the numbers in this way, you can get a better idea which department heads are doing a better job of consistently managing through these difficult financial times. Our department heads do a great job and are easy to work with.
Are there any other issues you want to bring to the public’s attention?
Yes, Kean Avenue in Palos Hills. This street is used not only by local residents who reside around Kean, but it also used by commuters looking to avoid traffic on LaGrange Road when it is slowed by an accident or simply the morning and evening traffic rush. Students especially use it as they make their way to Stagg high school or Moraine Valley. This street is extremely narrow and the absence of curbs, proper storm sewer drainage and sidewalks all contribute to the poor safety this street is known for. The Illinois Department of Transportation is responsible for Kean Avenue, and they need to address these issues for us as Palos Hills has essentially no say in this.