These responses were submitted by Don "Chip" Frank, a candidate for Bloomington City Council in Ward 4. The questionnaire was prepared by GLT in partnership with the League of Women Voters of McLean County. See more candidate responses.
What in your personal and professional background has prepared you for this position? Include any experience serving in local government.
Owning and operating a business Capen Frank Proctor & Bowles, Inc. provides a unique perspective such a balancing a budget, human resources and sustaining your place in a competitive market. You learn how to prioritize your time and manage resources to obtain your goals. I had the opportunity to serve as president, of our state insurance association IIAI. Serving almost 10,000 independent insurance agents through out the state. Allowing me to learn a great deal about the problems facing businesses in Illinois.
What would be your approach to building effective working relationships with other aldermen, the mayor, and city staff?
I view the city council as a "board of directors" for the City taking in the big picture and setting policy. I think an alderman needs to be a good listener and willing participant in bring people together to accomplish common goals.
What new programs or initiatives do you think the city should pursue?
First being a new alderman I think that it very important to get a better handle from our Mayor and other eight aldermen on what initiatives they may already be working on. Then help to determine and prioritize those that will have the most positive impact and importance to the citizens of our community.
When is it appropriate for local government to use incentives to achieve an economic development priority? How would you make those decisions?
The city should be a willing participant to consider all possible incentives when approached from the private sector to help achieve economic growth. We need to be aware of both the cost of our investment as well as the economic benefits to help us understand if this would make sense for our community.
What specifically would you support to make Downtown Bloomington a more attractive destination for residents, tourists, and business owners?
Our downtown certainly should be a focus as in any city or community. I would like to see us take advantage of some of the real positives that we already have. The Law and Justice Center, a great artists community, several restaurants and bars, as well as some great venues for all types of concerts and entertainment. IF we can figure a way to make those more user friendly and think we would be on our way.
What should be the city’s role in expanding affordable housing opportunities?
The city should be proactive from everything from our zoning and regulation to transportation costs.
City staff say O’Neil Pool needs to be replaced and the public library needs to expand. Should the city pursue those projects? If so, how should they be funded?
Our city has several large long term issues as it pertains to infrastructure and public safety. Knowing that I think that it is important as a community to be able to balance quality of life issues as well, which would included both of those projects. It really gets back to working with the other council members to be able to prioritize projects so we can accomplish both our short and long term plans that the citizens really want and need.
A recent Governing magazine investigation found a big disparity in median incomes between white and black households in Bloomington. What can the city do to address this and other inequalities that exist within the community?
This seems to be a country wide issue. For the most part I do not feel that local government should legislate social issues. However as a community you want to be able to provide all the opportunities possible for our citizens. We want a community that everyone is proud to call home.
What additional steps should the city take, if any, to better protect and serve local immigrants, especially those who are undocumented?
We need to continue to be proactive to make sure everyone feels welcome in our community, their are several different initiatives as examples. I feel that this is a community issue and should incorporate all possible resources to accomplish this, with a focus on recognition of immigrants contribution to our community development.