Part 1 of two parts
At a debate Wednesday, the two candidates for Niles mayor at times disagreed. They challenged each other and gave Niles issues a vigorous airing, but the overall tone was respectful.
Andrew Przybylo and Krzystof "Chris" Hanusiak, who are both current trustees running for mayor in the April 9 election, even agreed on a few issues--such as instituting a senior advisory board to keep the village board apprised of senior issues.
At the debate, held at the Niles Park District's Oasis Fun Center and sponsored by the Journal & Topics, they also both said they want to expand the Niles Teen Center's hours. And they agreed the village will not have to cut services to residents.
But they diverged on other issues.
Ban on video gaming?
As moderator Amy Kruppe, superintendent of Niles Elementary School District 71, asked questions written by audience members, Hanusiak took a strong stand against video gaming, saying a study found that any revenue the village made on it would be offset by increased costs to police it.
"The cost benefit to Niles is zero, the cost to the character of Niles is huge," he said.
Przybylo said he does not favor video gaming, "but would I set up a commission if there was a groundswell of interest in it? Would I bring in a citizens' committee and hold hearings? I would do all of that. I’m not going to dictate," he said, leaving the door open to looking at the idea again.
"Let’s be against it until we look at it again, if we want to, and if we don’t want to, we won’t," he added.
Term limits a good idea?
The candidates sort of agreed on term limits, with Hanusiak strongly for them and Pryzbylo advising people to vote for them but giving examples of why he felt they were a bad idea.
"The best term limit is an election," Przybylo said, adding that Mayor Bloomberg in New York is being forced out after three terms because of term limits, and that may stop the progress he made.
"Having said that, vote for term limits, but it ain’t the right thing," Przybylo concluded.
Hanusiak said he completely supported term limits. "If you like term limits, vote for both of them (the two referendums on term limits on the ballot)," he said. "Please go out and vote for term limits."
Is open debate among trustees a good or bad thing?
In response to a question from the audience which asked, "Do you feel open debate and disagreement is good or bad for the village board?", Przybylo said, "I think it’s good but we should adopt rules... I like the give and take but I don’t like personal agendas and people who try to micromanage.There’s nothing wrong with discussion."
He said he would assign each trustee responsibilities, such as for the public works or family services department.
Hanusiak responded that the board adopted a format which allows discussion.
"We have spirited meetings because there are no more phone calls before meetings telling people (trustees) how to vote. It’s not scripted," he said, adding that under his administration the board would develop a structure of standing committees.
Part 2 of this story will post tomorrow