Northwest Herald Campaign Questionnaire
Name: Tim Ritter
Office sought: Village Board Trustee
Occupation: Materials Research Scientist
Education: Bachelor of Science – Mechanical Engineering – Purdue University
Master of Science- Mechanical Engineering – University of Illinois at Chicago
Doctor of Philosophy – Materials Engineering – University of Illinois at Chicago
Elected offices held: None
Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/TimRitterforTrustee/
1. What is your largest priority for Cary if elected?
My largest priority is two-folded. Firstly, I’d like to continue to update the village’s policies in key areas that Cary has neglected over the years. I was happy to finally see updates to transparency through the videos of town meetings and the newly updated zoning upgrades that have been updated after 20 years. We now need to provide updates in several other areas such a business development engagement, ethics & harassment policies, building codes upgrades, money in politics and sustainability. These are all areas that Cary has outdated policies and procedures in that should be brought into current methods of thinking. Cary should be leading the way and up-to-date in all these areas.
Secondly, I am highly interested in the outcomes of the Maplewood property and the Meyer’s Park property which will be key issues for the future board. The park is something that has been promised for over 20 years and I want to see that happen as residents have been more then patient for that project. Maplewood, if it is to be developed, should be done so in a sustainable way that will benefit the community at large.
2. What changes should Cary make in the future?
Cary needs to start being more proactive in the policies that they have if we want the outcomes we desire. Cary takes a laid-back approach on many issues such as building development, business recruitment, sustainability issues, etc. They deal with the problems as they come instead of planning for the future and getting ahead of them.
If you want to recruit new businesses, you can’t sit back until they show up at our board meetings, you must actively promote and encourage them to come set up shop. If you want to develop new land such as the Maplewood property, the approach should be to seek out people who will develop it in the manner we wish to have instead of sitting back to see who comes and hope the concepts they create meet our views for the space.
The recent transparency updates and the new Unified Development Ordinance are a great start to updating Cary. Now we must continue updates in other key areas of the Village so that we continue to be an attractive place to live and do business.
3. How do you feel about Cary’s video gambling and any potential expansion into places such as gas stations?
I have been fine with Cary allowing video gaming in general as long as the place is appropriate for such an activity. I believe that if we are looking to gas stations as another location for video gaming we may be reaching too far. Video gambling does provide additional revenue for the Village, but video gambling is an entertainment activity and should be focused in establishments that provide an entertainment aspect to their business such as bars and casual dining venues. We certainly do not need them in gas stations as gaming machines are an entertainment product and should be installed at applicable entertainment venues.
4. How do you feel about Cary's recent and upcoming senior housing projects?
I think that the new senior development being built behind Jewel-Osco is important for the community. The company building the structures appear to take sustainability to heart in their building practices thus reducing the long-term costs for future residents and the surrounding area.
We have a large and active senior population in Cary that continues to grow, and many people wish to down size their residence as they age. It is important not only to provide suitable places for seniors to live but also affordable houses as well. Affordability in the housing market is important not only for seniors but for younger people as well and having affordable housing is an issue that has become a problem across the nation.
I will always encourage the building of sustainable structures in Cary, especially those that are going to support our growing senior population. As this cohort grows in numbers, we need to make sure that activities, such as those found at the Cary Senior Center, are fully funded & supported by the Cary. This will make sure that our seniors can continue to call Cary home for a long time.
5. How do you feel about the way that Cary handled its harassment investigation of a village trustee?
It was a disgrace from start to finish how that entire situation was handled and an embarrassment to the community. The fact that there were no set procedures for dealing with such an event shows how far behind the times Cary is on several issues. Public institutions should have clear and set guidelines for what harassment is and how to conduct oneself in a dignified manner. On top of that, there should be very specific procedures that are followed, such that if a claim has been made that an unbiased third party conducts the investigation.
The village then spending taxpayer money on outside legal practices without a board vote is also alarming since a small group of unelected individuals can decide by themselves what tax dollars to spend. There is a reason why the power of the purse has always been given to a large group of individuals as mismanagement of funds becomes more difficult.
The final meeting on the issue with the constant name calling might be the most troubling. Our elected leaders are supposed to be held to the highest ethical standards and it showed that many on the board do not fulfill this basic requirement.
6. How do you feel about Cary's new social media policy?
Having a social media presence is currently needed but it depends greatly on what is being portrayed. As a scientist, I believe that it is important to inform people of facts, regardless of how positive or negative they may appear, as facts have no bias. Organizations such as NASA or the Weather Service have social media pages that inform and relay information to people at a faster pace than other methods. At the same time, there are social media accounts that spout misinformation to the people at large. My concern with all social media pages is that people get incomplete facts that they might use to base their decisions on. My hope is that these pages become another set of tools to further educate and inform Cary residents with useful information and not a feel-good page that ignores important issues that Cary residents should be informed about. Cary does need a social media presence, but we need to make sure the information being distributed is to the betterment of Cary residents. If the people running it can provide these useful facts for the residents, then I am for it.
What else should voters know about you?
I do a lot of work in the energy and sustainability areas. I think that sustainability is important in many areas such as economically, environmentally, and business development as well. These are all areas that a local government should be concerned about. A village should be economically sustainable by making smart long-term investments in the community so that it can grow and prosper without putting additional tax burdens on residents. It should be environmentally sustainable by making sure that future land development is done in a sensible fashion. It also means making the best use of our open spaces. The village should also provide sustainable business development that encourages new businesses to move into Cary while at the same time making it possible for current businesses to grow and expand. With my engineering background I have a high degree of knowledge in all the areas that are needed to make Cary succeed in the years to come.