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Oak Lawn Mayor: Sandra Bury

Sandra Bury is challenging the two-term incumbent for mayor of Oak Lawn.

Name: Dr. Sandra Bury

Position sought: Mayor of Oak Lawn

Campaign Information:

Personal Information:

  • Age: 51
  • Family:  Single, three sisters, one brother, father Bruno, and large extended family
  • Time living in Oak Lawn:  35 years
  • Education:  Doctorate in Optometry (Illinois College of Optometry) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (Northern Illinois University)
  • Occupation:  Optometrist and Owner of Complete Vision Care
  • Previous offices: President of the Illinois Optometric Association, Trustee of the Illinois Optometric Association, President of Oak Lawn Rotary, Director of Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce, President of VOSH-Illinois, Vice-President of VOSH-International

Candidate Questions:

Use as much space as you need.

1. What is the primary reason you are running for this office?

If you ask anyone what they think of Oak Lawn politics, they roll their eyes and wince.  I am not the only one to be frustrated with the lack of transparency, lack of leadership and lack of connection to the values that residents hold dear.

Frankly, the people of Oak Lawn deserve better.  When elected officials spend more time hiding information from taxpayers than they do moving the Village forward it is not just wrong, but dangerous for our future.

When I started talking to people about my interest in running for office in Oak Lawn and my concerns with the current leadership, nearly everyone said, “oh that’s just politics as usual.”  I feel that this is not simply something that voters should accept as just status quo. 

What I do know is that if we change nothing, we will only get more of the same.  I am personally committed to facilitating that change with every resource and skill that I have at my disposal.  I am not seeking office for financial gain or power, but because I love this community and you deserve better leadership.

Oak Lawn’s Mayor should put Oak Lawn First.  Plain and simple.

2. Why do you deserve to be elected/reelected? What sets you apart from the other candidate(s)?

I am not a politician, but a successful local business owner, doctor of optometry and long standing community volunteer.  I present the voters with a different perspective that I feel is more aligned with their core beliefs as well as what they are looking for in a leader.  I will put the “Service” back in “public service.”

Oak Lawn’s Mayor should be very involved in all facets of the community and I feel this is simply not happening now.  As Mayor I will enthusiastically attend local business and community meetings, listen to your concerns and make sure that they are heard at the board table.  My office is in Oak Lawn and it is a very simple matter to be on hand for the variety of meetings and events that an effective Mayor should attend. 

As Mayor of Oak Lawn I would also make a point to represent Oak Lawn at regional mayors meetings and advocate for Oak Lawn in Springfield as well.  This currently is not being done and I feel that Oak Lawn misses both economic and developmental opportunities as a result.  It is shameful to have a Mayor that is not promoting our wonderful community at every opportunity available. 

Lastly, my leadership style is more collaborative in nature and there is no doubt that this is what is needed after years Mr. Heilmann’s divisive and authoritative style. 

3. What are the three issues in the village that you feel need to be addressed right away? Why are these issues important?

1)    Safety - Every available resource must be allocated to improving the safety of our schools and our neighborhoods.

2)    Transparency - This is critical to positive change in Oak Lawn.  See my detailed comments below.

3)    Service fees - Advocate Christ Medical Center should be a strong partner with the Village of Oak Lawn.  Both need each other and that relationship must be fair to the taxpayers.

4. Give one example of how you would work with an adversarial village board?

Transparency will go a long way to build trust among adversaries. The current climate of distrust and anger must end.  If methods of hiding and manipulating information are removed as a matter of policy, much of the source of the fighting will be removed as well. 

5. Should Advocate Christ Medical Center be required to pay impact fees and permit fees for future expansion? Why or why not?

Advocate Christ Medical Center is a fantastic community resource and their expansion is both much needed and and much anticipated by both patients and hospital staff.   Over the years they have moved from being a fine community hospital to a world renowned medical center right here in our own backyard.  

As the hospital has grown, so have the demands on Village resources that support that growth.  Advocate Christ Medical Center is the now largest single user of Village resources such as our police and fire departments, water and sewers.  This is both wonderful and problematic.

The problem lies in the fact that the Medical Center does not pay a penny in taxes back to the Village.  Until the past few months, they were not responsible for building permit fees.  The residents of Oak Lawn have borne 100% of the cost of the hospital’s success - even though a large percentage of hospital patients are no longer from Oak Lawn.

In the spirit of community partnership, it is entirely fair and reasonable that Advocate Christ Medical Center pay a service fee back to the Village to help defray the costs that the taxpayers bear in supporting a non-profit entity of this magnitude.  As such, I support such a service fee. 

Attempts by some elected officials to request some other form of community involvement from the Medical Center in lieu of service fees does nothing to alleviate the present burden on taxpayers.  What has been discussed publicly will likely increase the burden to taxpayers instead. 

In this case, simple is better.  I support a service fee agreement which provides immediate relief to the taxpayers and allows the Medical Center to continue as a proud partner in the Village of Oak Lawn’s growth and success as well as their own.

6. Should there be a cap on video gaming licenses granted to new businesses coming to Oak Lawn? Why or why not?

Video gaming was presented to the Board of Directors as a way for existing businesses to find a new revenue stream in these difficult economic times.  When Mayor Heilmann cast the deciding “Yes” vote to approve the first business in Oak Lawn’s history that will exist only for gambling, I believe a line was crossed. 

This does not represent the family values that made Oak Lawn the fine community it is today.  The small amount of revenue the Village will get is not worth the social costs the families and community will bear.   We should never sink so low that we need gambling houses to balance our budget. 

I am opposed to new businesses coming into Oak Lawn for the sole purpose of gambling.   As a result, I support a cap on video gaming licenses for new businesses.  Oak Lawn is a family community and our laws should be a reflection of that. 

7. What do you like best about Oak Lawn?

Without a doubt, the people of Oak Lawn are what I love best.  I spend each and every day talking with residents and admire and respect their goodness, kindness and decency.  The shared values and sense of community are strong in Oak Lawn and I that is something I will fight to preserve, promote and protect as Mayor.

Not A Bimbette April 04, 2013 at 02:25 AM
What a Fool. You were warned. LOL

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