IVI-IPO 2006 WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT QUESTIONNAIRE - Section 1 Metropolitan Water Reclamation District DATE: January 6, 2006 PARTY: Democratic Party NAME: Barrett F. Pedersen VOTING ADDRESS: 9757 Schiller Boulevard , Franklin Park, Illinois 60131 HOME PHONE: (847) 343-7008 BUSINESS PHONE: (847) 455-9476 CAMPAIGN ADDRESS: 9701 Grand Avenue, Franklin Park, IL 60131 CAMPAIGN PHONE: (847) 455-9476 FAX: (847) 455-9478 EMAIL: Barrett@BarrettPedersen.com WEBSITE: BarrettPedersen.com CAMPAIGN ADDRESS: 9701 Grand Avenue, Franklin Park, IL 60131 CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Fred LeBed NUMBER OF PETITION 15,750 NUMBER REQUIRED: 7,996 SIGNATURES FILED: A. Elective or appointive public or party offices previously held including dates. Lower Des Plaines Watershed Council 2006 Democratic Committeeman of Leyden Township 2002 to Present Trustee, Village of Franklin Park 1989 to 1993 Trustee, Franklin Park Public Library District Board 1987 to 1993 Commissioner, Cable Television Commission, Village of Franklin Park 1995 to 1989 B. Other elective offices for which you have been a candidate Democratic Committeeman of Leyden Township 1990 C. What is your primary occupation? Attorney at Law - Estate Planning and Real Estate Transactions D. Briefly list your civic activities of the past ten years. -American Legion Post 104 -Host of the current events television program, "ILLINOIS ISSUES IN REVIEW" seen in Chicago, Thursdays 9:00 p.m. Channel 21 and in 100 suburban communities -Leyden has a Heart Food Drive Chairman -Leyden Family Services Food Repository -Boy Scout Troop 152 Food Drive -Junior Achievement Instructor - Vance Hester Jr. High -Kiwanis Peanut Day Volunteer -Vice President of the Franklin Park/Schiller Park Chamber of Commerce E. What subjects have you studied and what experience have you had which will be most helpful to you in the office you seek? - Urban Studies - Urban Planning, Elmhurst College - Local Government Attorney - Anael Glink Diamond and Cope - Chairman Water and Sewer Committee, Village of Franklin Park - Implemented $40 million worth of storm and waster water delivery and flood control measures including a 100 million gallon retention basin - Lower Des Plaines Watershed Council - Commissioner representing the unincorporated areas of Cook County - Fifteen years of legislative and quasi-legislative experience - Counsel to the Addison Creek Flood Control Project, whose goal is to reduce the possibility of raw sewage discharge by reducing storm water overloads to the Districts storm water capacity. This project also has as its goal to remove 2,200 homes from the flood plain and thus remove the homeowners mortagee’s flood insurance requirements that average $1,500 per year. The specific towns affected are Westchester, North Riverside, Bellwood, Maywood, Northlake, Stone Park, and Melrose Park. I started college with a double major in Biology and Chemistry with an interest in air and water quality. I had developed an interest in the environment as a member of SOAP (Students Organized Against Pollution) and CURE (Citizens United to Restore the Environment). While serving on the Village Board of Franklin Park, I used my chemistry background to persuade the Village President to prohibit the use of herbicides on all village owned properties; Chemicals I am sensitive to. I have spent many hours of free time either walking in a stream bed or canoeing streams (I own five canoes). Through the forty years of stream exploration and observing the presence or non- presence of invertebrates along and in streams, I have come to understand the difference between non-sustainable development and sustainable development. I have come to understand the damage of clear cutting to our streams and waterways. F. What candidates have you supported? Please be specific in describing your role in each campaign. Most notably, I have supported for election the following: Barack Obama - 2004 - Committeeman (Leyden Township Coordinator) Lisa Madigan - 2002 - Committeeman (Leyden Township Coordinator) Nancy Kaszak for Congress - 5th Congressional District - 2002 Committeeman (Leyden Township Coordinator) Simpson for Congress - 5th Congressional District - 1992 and 1994 - Committeeman (Leyden Township Coordinator) David Orr - 1990 - Coordinated Leyden Township for David Orr’s County Clerk Campaign Paul Simon for Senate - 1984 - Paid Campaign Field Coordinator (I coordinated Oak Park, River Forest, Norwood Park, Leyden, Proviso, Cicero, and Berwyn) G. Please list all endorsements you have recieved so far. -Dick Simpson -Mike Kreloff -Teamsters Joint Council #25 - John Coli -Teamsters Local 731 - Terry Hancock -IBEW Local 134 - Mike Fitzgerald -Operating Engineers Local 150 - Bill Duggan -Gas Workers Union Local 18007 - John Groenwald (Attached please find a list of additional endorsees) H. As concisely as possible, please state why you feel you should be endorsed over the other candidate(s). What goals for the office you seek are most important to you personally? I am the only non-incumbent candidate to have actually performed environmental restoration by helping to remove waste water discharge into our waterways. While a trustee in the Village of Franklin Park, I implemented $40 million dollars worth of storm and waste water delivery and flood control measures including a 100 million gallon retention basin. These measures, along with other similar projects such as the deep tunnel have precluded any raw sewage discharge into Lake Michigan since August 2002. One of the problems facing my constituents is the high cost of flood insurance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency expanded flood plains throughout Cook County requiring an even greater number of Cook County residents to be subject to flood insurance mandates by their mortgage lenders. My hometown of Franklin Park has approximately 500 homes in a flood plane. Seventy percent of those homes carry flood insurance at $1,500 per home per year. Flood control projects such as the Addison Creek Flood Control Project will remove 2,200 homes from flood plains, eliminating the burdensome cost of $1,500 dollars to homeowners from flood insurance. These projects will provide great numbers of union jobs and stimulate the local economy. The flood control projects will reduce the possibility of raw sewage discharge into our waterways, thereby improving the quality of our waterways. I work as counsel to the Addison Creek Flood Control Project. I have met with the Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and other state officials to obtain state approval of this environmental project. I have the experience in this field to be effective. I am the only candidate, aside from the incumbents, who has attended the meetings of the MWRD on a routine basis. Only one other no incumbent candidate has attended any District meetings and that candidate has not been to a District meeting for over three months. No other non-incumbent candidate has bothered to attend the District meetings. I. What is your campaign budget? How much have you raised to date? I have on hand $125,000 and anticipate raising an additional $140,000. I will spend $265,000. J. How many people are on your campaign staff? How many volunteers are on your list? I have five full-time and part-time staff and 270 volunteers. IVI-IPO 2006 WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT QUESTIONNAIRE - Section 2 1. Should Commissioners be elected at-large or by district? Electing Commissioners by District may make them more responsive. I am in favor of Districts. 2. Should cumulative voting be used to elect commissioners? If it does not add to the cost or detract from the effectiveness of the District. I know that since cumulative voting has been eliminated from the Illinois House of Representatives, many analysts have suggested a less efficient House has resulted. 3. Do you have a business relationship with or financial interest in any entity doing business with the MWRD or other governmental bodies in Cook County? No. 4. Will you accept or have you accepted campaign donations from current or potential suppliers, employees, or outside contractors? No, not to the best of my knowledge to date and none in the future. 5. a) In what circumstances should the District contract for outside professional services? Wherever and whenever the District’s staff cannot efficiently or economically expand and then contract for special projects that go above and beyond what is practicable for the District’s employment objectives. I would warn against outsourcing, where outside companies are hired to perform routine functions of District Employees for the sole purposes of reducing costs. These types of outside Pinstripe Patronage outfits hire workers at pay rates significantly below prevailing wages, fail to pay the employee for overtime, and fail to provide health care, retirement and other benefits. The only persons who benefits from outsourcing is the employer. The employees cannot afford healthcare, education for their kids, or properly support their local economy. Outsourcing is not beneficial to the tax payer. b) In what circumstances should competitive bidding for contracts be required? Any time there exists more than one responsible bidder for a service or product and the dollar amount of the contract represents a substantial sum of money. c) Please comment on any existing abuses. The District just received three awards from the Government Financial Accounting Officers th Association. One of the awards was given to the District for the 30 year in a row. Another was for the soundness of its pension plan. The District was mandated by a consent decree in the 1970's to hire personnel through a Civil service process. Technical questions arise from time to time as to whether a vendor complies with hiring goals of minorities and women, but for the most part the District has been free of contract letting abuses. 6. Would you support contracts for outside services with companies located outside of Cook County? Why or why not? Yes, under certain circumstances. The District should play a role in safeguarding the health of the local economy and businesses. To that end, the definition of "responsible" in the phrase "responsible bidder" should include a formula where dollars are deducted from a "local" or "in county" bidder’s bid to make a local bidder more competitive. Where there is a clear difference in price and quality in favor of an "outside the county" bidder, that bidder should be awarded the contract. Additional terms in the definition of "responsible" should be that the bidder pay prevailing wages, benefits, provide adequate work place protections, and be in compliance with these practices and all labor laws in other locales or states. 7. Should MWRD tradespersons be paid the prevailing wage rate? Yes. 8. Do you support patronage? No. It opens the door to hiring unqualified employees which is detrimental to the efficient operation of the MWRD. The District has Civil Service and almost all patronage hiring has been abolished. 9. Do you support Affirmative Action? Yes. 10. Do you favor restructuring the wage scale of MWRD employees to correct disparities based on gender by instituting equal pay jobs of comparable worth? Yes. 11. Do you favor permitting MWRD employees to hold other public sector employment concurrently? No, if the employee is employed on a full-time basis. Yes, if the employee employed by the District on a part time basis, does not present a conflict of interest with the District, does not impair the employees ability to perform his District duties, and comports with all applicable laws. 12. Do you favor permitting MWRD employees to have outside employment or contracts with entities which do business with the district? No. 13. Is the District in good financial condition? Please comment on both expenditures and sources of revenues. It is in great financial condition. It just recieved three awards from the Government Financial Officers Association (GFAO). One of the awards has been given to the District for 30 years in a row. The Pension system is fully funded. The Districts Pension Accounting was one of the areas for which the District received a GFAO award. The District in October of 2004 was provided an additional revenue stream by the legislature for Storm Water Management of the County. The Districts Bond rating is excellent. 14. a) What should be the MWRD’s role in policy on lakefront, riverfront, and canal development? One of the roles of the district is to ensure that the wastewater discharged from the District treatment plants comports with the Clean Water Act. Another role of the District that has been recently placed on its shoulders is Storm Water Management for all of Cook County. To the extent that development affects either of those roles or any of the other many roles of the District, the District will play an important role in the development of lake front, river front and canals. As someone who spends a great deal of time walking through streams and canoeing streams, you can be certain that any development that needs the approval of the District will be done in a manner that will not interfere with the quiet enjoyment and recreational activities that remain vital to a quality urban area. To paraphrase Daniel Burnham, our lake fronts, river fronts and canal systems should be forever open, free and clear for the public to enjoy. There remain important commercial uses for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District canals that provide an ever larger stream of revenues to the District. To the extent that those commercial uses do not substantially impair the public uses and beauty of the canals, they should be given a favorable review. Any development along lake fronts and river fronts, as well as the canal systems should be completed within the purview of sustainable development. b) What responsibility should it have for planning or monitoring such development? The District already plays a significant role in the planning and monitoring of such developments. Most, if not all, of the property along the rivers and canals in the county are owned by the District. To the extent that these developments on the rivers or canals do not interfere with the general public’s use and enjoyment of those waterways, and to the extent that those developments do not provide a deleterious environmental impact, the District should review them favorably. Within that favorable review, however, should be a consideration as to whether the development will increase interest by the general public in the river system. It may be that developments along the Chicago River that enhance the public’s use and that draw attention to the river, may serve to provide present and future political support for continued environmental improvements and restoration of the environmental characteristics of the river system. The District participates in a number of agencies and consortiums regarding Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes. Through the Great Lakes Consortium, we have had a great number of highly qualified individuals involved over a long period of time developing a regional approach to what will be in the future an asset so valuable and so gargantuan that many of the issues confronting the District today will pale in comparison to the value of such a large body of fresh water. One half of all the people on this planet have to walk more than a mile just to get fresh drinking water. I remember Paul Simon, for many years, working on the issue of available fresh water to human development all over the world. As the amount of available fresh water continues to diminish, the value of Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes will continue to increase at an astronomical pace. Ensuring that human waste or any other contaminant is kept from being discharged into that valuable asset will be a responsibility that I accept willing and seriously. 15. a) Do you support public access to the Chicago River and should access be a priority for the MWRD? Yes, I do support public access to the Chicago River. I do believe that access to the river should be a priority for the District. To restate Daniel Burnham’s idea; forever open, free and clear. I do believe that the District has an additional responsibility to taxpayers to ensure that any development or access to the river be done in a manner that does not expose the taxpayer to unreasonable risks of liability. b) Do you support the existing agreement between the district and the property owners on the North Branch of the Chicago River? No agreement has been concluded. The matter remains in litigation. I believe negotiations are ongoing with regard to whether there exists a liability risk to the District and whether the owners of these developments will agree to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement with the District and purchase a liability insurance policy that protects taxpayers in the event that a personal injury or a property damage occurs as a result of these developments. You can be certain that my mind will be open to any reasonable solution that serves the public’s interest. To the extent that these developments on the North Branch of the Chicago River enhance interest and political support in the ongoing improvements of the river system, they should be viewed in a favorable light. 16. Are present systems for monitoring and eliminating water pollution from industrial and domestic waste adequate and appropriate? Please elaborate. No. I do not think that any waterway along areas of human development or waterways adjacent to land is used for industrial purposes will ever have systems for monitoring and eliminating water pollution that are completely adequate and appropriate. What remains to be seen is whether we continue to increase our standards for monitoring and purity commensurate with the advancement of technology on these issues. To the extent that the District’s budget allows, the District should establish escalating limits on the amount of phosphates and nitrogen that can be released into our waterways. I must express a considerable amount of surprise at the number of questions asked without any reference to flood control. The District has enjoyed a record of no discharges of raw sewage into Lake Michigan since August of 2002. However, outside of Cook County’s boundaries, development along water ways that lead into Cook County continues at an alarming pace. The community I live in now, and the one I was born and raised in, is Franklin Park. Franklin Park has approximately 500 properties that are in a flood plain. As you may be aware, anybody who attempts to refinance or purchase a property in a flood plain is required to get flood insurance. As a residential real estate attorney representing a buyer on Monday, January 9, 2006, I observed that my client was paying $1,500 per year for flood insurance. Seventy percent of the homes in that flood plain area have existing mortgage liens that require flood insurance. That means that approximately 350 homes are spending $1,500 per year for an approximate annual total of $525,000 departing a village that has a population of only 17,000. Now consider the fact that Franklin Park in the late 80's and early 90's implemented a $40 million storm water and waste water delivery system designed to avoid flooding and to slow the transport of water from its entry to the District’s interceptor. Part of the project included establishing larger sewers underneath the streets of Franklin Park to store water from heavy rains. An additional part of the project was the construction of a $100 million gallon retention basin near Mannheim and Grand Avenue in Franklin Park. Despite these improvements, the Army Corps of Engineers, through the direction of FEMA, actually expanded the flood plain in Franklin Park around the year 2000. Part of the increase was due to an increase in elevation in the definition of a food plain. But a large consideration in the expansion of the flood plain was due to development that continues outside the parameters of the Cook County boundaries. While the District has not discharged any raw sewage into Lake Michigan since August of 2002, these developments outside the county boundaries present a real risk to that non-discharge record. I believe that substantial resources have to be dedicated to flood control projects that will adequately compensate for these ever increasing water flows from outside the District to ensure that no raw sewage discharges into the lake occur. Large swaths of farmland in DuPage, McHenry and Lake County continue to be gobbled up by developments. I believe one of the responsibilities of the District and its commissioners is to continue to pressure the legislature and the collar counties to adopt a regional approach to development for any long term solution to the Districts problems to be accomplished. Flood control projects mean reduced chances for raw sewage into Lake Michigan. 17. Should the MWRD assume responsibility for solid and other wastes in addition to its current responsibilities to prevent water pollution? If so, what should be the scope of the responsibility and how should it be exercised? Such a responsibility would be a monumental undertaking requiring massive amounts of additional tax dollars. Since October of 2004, the District has been given the responsibility for all Storm Water Management throughout Cook County. This task may increase the responsibilities resource-wise by as much as 40%. To the extent that the District can provide intellectual resources with regard to lechetes contaminating ground water from landfills, and provided that the District was properly compensated for that expertise, such a proposal may be viewed favorably. However, to the extent that the District would take on overall responsibility for solid and other wastes would be a distraction from the original purpose of the District which was to insure water quality. 18. When will TARP be completed and will it adequately address flooding and pollution problems in Cook County? The tunneling portion of TARP will be completed in March of 2006. Three storm water detention basins are part of TARP (Tunnel and Reservoir Project). One is completed near O’Hare just south of the Northwest Tollway at Elmhurst Road. Two others are under construction in Thornton and McCook and will not be completed for several years. 19. What precautions, if any, do you believe should be implemented to protect the environment surrounding the TARP waste water reservoirs? Monitoring wells are used to ensure that the District is notified when there is any leakage. The waste water retention basins are located within an area of bedrock. The one foot reinforced concrete lining is used to ensure that exfiltration into the acquifir does not occur. I look forward to exploring any new technologies developed for such a purpose in the future.