Candidate Name: Mark Urda
Office Seeking: City Council
Campaign Website: www.urdaforcouncil.com
Subdivision/Neighborhood: Historic District
Occupation and/or Professional Training: BSEE University of Notre Dame, Founder of Synergy Systems Inc, Industrial System Integrator
How long in years have you been a Naperville resident? 40 years
Service on Boards, Commissions, Task Forces, etc. with dates served (nonprofit too): Historic Preservation Commission 2015 to present, NFPA 85 and NFPA86 Technical Committees 2015 – present, founder and President of Synergy Systems Inc. since 1979.
The following answers have only been edited for formatting purposes.
1. Why are you running for City Council?
I believe more can and must be done to help those local business adversely impacted by Covid-19. I believe that balance needs to be restored between the residents and the developers and their attorneys to ensure that Naperville continues to grow but responsibly without jeopardizing the character of city and its neighborhoods.
2. What is Naperville’s most pressing need?
To help local small businesses to recover from the impact of Covid-19 in the coming year of 2021.
3. In your opinion, what’s the City’s most important private/public partnership?
Naperville Development Partnership given the significant city revenues that are contributed to it. NDP has had many great successes including the recent Costco project and redevelopment of the Fair Oaks property but it is viewed with suspicion by some because limited reporting of how city funds are used. I favor working with NDP to keep the success coming and to improve the reporting of city funds expenditures to include specific details about who and how much funding is being awarded.
4. Name three policies that need review or immediate attention.
- Investigating redirecting some of Naperville Development Partnership funding to directly supporting local restaurants and small businesses adversely impacted by Covid-19
- Change from recommending face masks to requiring them in all cases where social distancing cannot be maintained
- Supporting increased transparency by disclosing campaign contributions on City of Naperville website
5. How often are you in touch with members of the current Naperville City Council of City Staff?
Over the last five years on the Historic Preservation Commission, I have had the opportunity to speak individually with the mayor and council members, and collectively during many speaking appearances at City Council meetings. In preparation for this campaign to gain insight into the functioning of the City and establish relationships, I have spoken with almost all City department heads or assistant department head. These conversations left me impressed with the dedication and capabilities of Naperville city staff.
6. What planned development will have the greatest impact on the City?
Fifth Station because the land involved is owned by city and potential impact on neighborhoods can be significant
7. What up-and-coming development is most important to the City of Naperville?
Islamic Center size requires careful attention to city infrastructure plans to minimize impact on traffic and neighbors.
8. How often do you patronize Naperville restaurants?
In these times of Covid-19, we frequently get take-out from Nicky’s, Portillo’s, Q-BBQ and Cassano’s Pizzeria. Special occasions from White Chocolate Grill or Meson Sabika.
9. When folks come to visit, where do you take them in Naperville?
The Riverwalk, Centennial Beach, downtown shopping and dining at Meson Sabika.
10. How has the Special Events and Cultural Amenities (SECA) Fund served the City of Naperville?
SECA funded events like The Last Fling and new events The Naperville Salute and Naper Pride bring people together in celebration of community, heritage and diversity and that is a good use of the Special Events and Amenities Fund(SECA).
11. When was the last time you read the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights?
This question made me realize that I probably last read the Constitution many years ago in my high school government class and this prompted me to re-read last week.
12. What do you think is significant about Naperville’s council-manager form of government?
It works well because it uses professionals to handle city business directed by elected officials. The business analogy is the Mayor is the Chairman of the Board, Council are Board Members, the City Manager is the President and city staff is the enterprise. The many awards and accolades that Naperville has and continues to receive is proof of the success of this arrangement.
13. What is a recent book, television program, or movie you have read/watched that you think everyone should read/watch to gain perspective on life?
Although it is not a recent movie, it has been recently shown over the Christmas holiday, so my suggestion is “it’s a Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. Stewart’s George Bailey serves as an excellent example of the value of service to others and true meaning of success. Emerson said it best “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.”
Anything else would you like to add?
Although the city council election is non-partisan, the most common question I was asked when gathering petition signatures was what my political party affiliation. I will not hide from the fact that I am a life-long Democrat, but I am running as a long time and concerned Naperville resident who happens to be a Democrat and not the other way around. Please visit my website: www.urdaforcouncil.com to learn more about me and my campaign or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Lastly, thanks to Positively Naperville for providing this opportunity to introduce myself to people of Naperville.