Caucus Community Event – March 9

Saturday, March 9, 2024
8:30am-10:30am at Gorton Center

You are invited to meet and talk with Caucus Committee candidates and current Caucus Committee members on Saturday, March 9th from 8:30am to 10:30am at Gorton Center. Learn more about Caucus Committee activities, including our School Board Search, and provide welcome feedback.

Please join us in this casual setting to mingle over coffee and donuts. Caucus Committee candidates from all 4 Wards will be present during these times:

  • Candidates from Wards 1 and 2: 8:30am – 9:30am
  • Candidates from Wards 3 and 4: 9:30am – 10:30am

Look for the Caucus Committee ballot mailing, called the Caucus Connection, in your mail in the second week of March! Please VOTE and return your choices for Caucus Committee members postmarked by April 2nd.

We hope to see you on March 9th!

2024 Spring Meeting

Tuesday, April 2, 2024
7-8pm at Gorton Center

Agenda

  • President’s Report – Chris Benes, Caucus President, will present an update on Caucus Committee activities, including City Boards and Commissions appointment recommendations.
  • Treasurer’s Report – Fred Brewer, Caucus Treasurer, will provide an update on the financial condition of the Caucus.
  • 2024-25 Caucus Officer Slate election.

Support the Caucus

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Our city has long been a place of natural beauty, historic significance, and a vibrant sense of community. It is this very community spirit that makes Lake Forest a truly special place to call home.

The Lake Forest Caucus is an essential organization that plays a vital role in maintaining and enhancing the unique character of our city. Comprised of dedicated volunteers, the Caucus tirelessly works to identify, recruit, and support exceptional individuals for leadership positions, both appointed and elected, within our local government. By doing so, the Caucus helps to ensure that our city remains a place of non-partisan responsible governance, fiscal responsibility, and open discourse.

It is essential that we all support this vital organization to continue its nearly 90 year mission of fostering good governance and community unity. However, we cannot do it without your help.
We are asking for your financial support. Your generous contribution will enable the Lake Forest Caucus to carry on its important work, supporting candidates who prioritize the well-being of our city and its residents.

Every donation, no matter the size, makes a difference. Whether it’s $25, $100, or more, your contribution will go a long way in ensuring that Lake Forest remains a place we are proud to call home. You can make your donation easily and securely here on our website, using the QR code below, donating at our upcoming Annual Meeting on November 7 at Gorton Community Center, or by sending a check payable to “Lake Forest Caucus” to 736 N. Western Ave, Suite 256, Lake Forest, IL 60045.

Your support will have a lasting impact on our community, preserving the values and character that make Lake Forest a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.

Thank you for considering this request, and for your commitment to our remarkable city. Together, we can ensure a bright future for Lake Forest.



Caucus Preservation Act FAQ

What is the Caucus Preservation Act (“CPA”)?

The Caucus Preservation Act (“CPA”) is an amendment to the Caucus Bylaws to preserve the Caucus’ objective and transparent process that has made Lake Forest municipal government free from agenda-based politics for 90 years.

What is the Caucus process?

Lake Forest residents elect their Caucus Committee representatives to objectively find, vet, and recommend the most qualified, agenda-free volunteers to serve on city boards and commissions and elected positions including mayor, city council, and school board.

Can I still vote for my preferred candidates?

Yes, you can still vote for any candidate of your choice in any general election. You can still vote for Caucus members to represent your interests in the Caucus candidate selection process. You can still run as a candidate in any general election.

What is a general election?

An election in the spring governed by the Illinois State Board of Elections in which a Lake Forest registered voter can vote for any Lake Forest municipal government (city council or mayor) or school board candidate, Caucus endorsed or otherwise.

Why act now to preserve the Caucus?

Typically, less than 1% of Lake Forest registered voters attend a Caucus annual meeting. Self-serving individuals can exploit a small turnout to adversely influence our elections to serve their own agenda, thereby undermining the Caucus mission.

Does this mean the Caucus will never hold a public vote on a matter?

No. The elected representatives on the Caucus Committee can hold a public vote on any matter as and when necessary to best serve the residents of Lake Forest and support the Caucus process.

Who benefits from the CPA?

Every resident in Lake Forest.

What if we don’t act now to preserve the Caucus?

The effectiveness of Lake Forest municipal government and school boards can be compromised by groups or individuals with self-serving agendas. This is one of the main risks the Caucus process mitigates.

What are other benefits of the CPA?

The CPA also allows the appointment of qualified Officers to lead the Caucus without disruption. Officers are appointed by Caucus Committee members who themselves are elected by the residents to represent their interests. Committee members know who among Committee members are the best qualified and experienced to support the Caucus mission as Officers.

Removes a Ward Chair’s service from counting against the 3-year term limit of serving as an Officer on the Executive Committee.

Allows for the Spring Meeting to be held in March or April to provide more flexibility in scheduling.

Where can I find the proposed Bylaw amendments?

The proposed Caucus Bylaw amendments can be found HERE.

When does the CPA start protecting the residents of Lake Forest?

After a ⅔ favorable vote at the Caucus Annual Meeting on November 7th, 2023 at Gorton Center.

Caucus Preservation Act

The Lake Forest Caucus mission is to find, vet, and recommend the best candidates to serve the City and its residents in our municipal government and school boards without personal or other pre-established agendas.

The Caucus Preservation Act (“CPA”) is an amendment to the Caucus Bylaws to preserve the Caucus’ objective and transparent process that has made Lake Forest municipal government free from agenda-based politics for 90 years.

As typically less than 1% of Lake Forest registered voters attend a Caucus Annual Meeting, individuals can exploit a small turnout to adversely influence our elections to serve their own agendas, thereby undermining the Caucus mission. The CPA shields the Caucus mission and process from such manipulative behavior.

Since Lake Forest residents vote for their Caucus Committee representatives, and also for their chosen candidate in a general election, a third, easily manipulated Caucus candidate ratification vote is not needed for residents to have sufficient opportunity to influence the election of their municipal government officials. Given the consistently very low turnout of residents for Caucus candidate ratification votes at a Caucus Annual Meeting, there is no reason to believe a vote at this meeting has been or will be representative of a large portion of the Lake Forest community.

The Caucus Committee operates on a short timeline to search for, vet, and recommend qualified candidates for elected positions. This timeline is dictated by the Illinois State Board of Elections. It is impractical to codify in its processes a timeline whereby a candidate search, vetting, and recommendation process must be repeated multiple times.

The Caucus process has served our community for 90 years as a primary driver for the quality of life we all enjoy in Lake Forest. Please support the Caucus in its mission to keep agendas out of Lake Forest municipal government. Vote in favor of the Caucus Preservation Act on November 7th at the Caucus’ Annual Meeting at the Gorton Center. The proposed Caucus Bylaw amendments can be found HERE.  Frequently Asked Questions about the CPA can be found HERE.  Please feel free to reach out to a Caucus Committee member with any questions.

Nov. 7, 2023 – Annual Meeting

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Gorton Center

Vote from 4 to 8:30pm
Presentation from 6 to 7:15pm

Voting

Prior to consideration for adoption, recommended Bylaw amendment(s) shall be reported to Caucus membership.  Proposed Bylaw amendments found HERE.

Registered Lake Forest voters can approve or reject:

To vote:

  • Bring your ID to validate Lake Forest residency.
  • You must be a registered voter.

Presentation

  • President’s Report – Christopher Benes, Caucus President, will present an update on current Caucus Committee activities, including recruiting for City Boards and Commissions.
  • Treasurer’s Report – Fred Brewer, Caucus Treasurer, will provide an update on the financial condition of the Caucus.
  • City Council Candidate Introduction and Community Address

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday!

Weber 2023 Term Summary

Chair – Civic Beautification Committee

  • Enforced the term limits of the Garden Club representatives to encourage fresh ideas and new input.
  • Assessed Deer Path Streetscape Project and provided feedback on the designs of Deer Path Road between Golf and 41.
  • Approved landscaping plan for the on and off ramps of 41 to provide a harmonious entrance and exit of our great City. Planting to begin fall of 2023.
  • Provide feedback on the Community Garden initiative from ESC and street corner landscape improvements in the Central Business District and North Croft Park Master Plan.
  • This committee has extensive community outreach through our four local Garden Clubs and the Lake Forest Historic Preservation Foundation.

Chair – Environmental Sustainability Committee

  • Prioritize the Committee’s initiatives such as community awareness through communications: partnering with summer camps (recycling campaign).
  • Reviewed solar panels on City owned buildings when infrastructure needs replacing.
  • Considered converting mowed areas of grass to natural areas where appropriate.
  • Researched and implemented a curbside composting program with WasteNot.
  • Currently accepting resident registrations, with marketing to schools and businesses.
  • Applaud staff as they include environmental components in public works projects.
  • This effort has become standard practice for our City and should be recognized.
  • With my horticulture background, I can provide leadership and directon on the development of a Community Garden in partnership with Elawa Farm Foundation.  We hope to bring this to fruition in 2024.

Public Works Committee

  • Provide real time feedback on parking upgrades at Elawa Farm and throughout the City’s Central Business District.
  • Review and assess City Storm Water upgrade projects to mitigate resident disturbances.
  • Engage in future planning of improved intersection work at Everett Rd. and Waukegan Rd.
  • Always keep the tax payer’s best interest in mind when spending dollars for infrastructure, building and fleet maintenance, and staffing numbers.

Finance Committee

  • Always prepared to discuss the Annual Operating Budget, Tax Levy Ordinance and Appropriation Ordinances. Review and approve funding for all operational priorities of the City, policies and procedures where applicable for the financial health of our City.

PPL Committee

  • Contributed to the purchase of the Joytime property by promoting fiscal responsibility and not overpaying for the site.

Community Engagement

  • I have attended many community events to show support such as the ribbon cutting at the renovated South Park, Dedication of “The Grove” at the West Lake Forest Train Station, the groundbreaking of “The Lawn” a short game practice area at Deer Path Golf Course, the Dedication of the Hughes Clubhouse and Kiely patio at DPGC, march in the Lake Forest Day parade, attend Police Foundation awards, ground breaking of Deer Path Community Park, dedication of Veteran’s Park, ribbon cutting of many local businesses, actively visit our local Library, Forest Park Beach and shop at local businesses.

Timely email and phones responses and follow-ups to residents inquiries on issues and/or requests

Prepared for and attend bi-weekly City Council meetings and all applicable committee meetings

Additional Community Involvement

  • Monthly floral design instructor at Elawa Farm, Junior Garden Club of Lake Forest: member of and Director at Large, member of the School of St. Mary Advisory Council, Kernal for BSA Pack 49, member of St. Genevieve Circle of the Guild of St. Mary, volunteer at the School of St. Mary, member of the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce.

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Notz 2023 Term Summary

Finance Committee

Review and recommend funding for all operational priorities of the City, including but not limited to the Annual Operating Budget, Annual Appropriation Ordinance, Annual Tax Levy Ordinance, and other policies and procedures applicable to the financial health and systems of the City.

Highlights include two significant bond refinancings that had the City’s investment grade credit rating reaffirmed, helping the City continue providing high quality services to its residents as cost effectively as possible.

Public Works Committee

Works with City staff to provide guidance, oversight and recommendations to city council that concern maintaining and enhancing infrastructure, facilities and equipment, following the City’s Capital Improvement Program, Capital Equipment Program, existing ordinances and fiscal policies while minimizing disruption to residents and communicating with them.

Significant recent public works projects include stormwater mitigation across the City (particularly North Western Avenue and Deer Path Road), creating artificial turf playing fields behind Deer Path Middle School, stabilizing Forest Park Beach’s bluff, entering into expense sharing agreement with State of Illinois that allows the City to take better care of Route 60 and Waukegan Road during the Winter and maximizing grant programs to reduce City taxpayer burden of infrastructure costs.

Property and Public Land Committee

Assess City’s inventory of land, buildings and related improvements to determine whether enhancement, disposal or acquisition of public lands, buildings and other assets of the City is warranted, in a manner that serves the public interest, protects the health and safety of the community, enhances the quality of life, and preserves the character and traditions of community.

Highlights include the acquisition of the Joytime pre-school property, allowing the City to expand West Park while protecting integral underground infrastructure.

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Patch article by Caucus Secretary Dale Tauke

Long time ward 2 resident and current secretary of the Lake Forest Caucus, Dale Tauke, recently penned an article about the Lake Forest Caucus and the Caucus Committee for the Patch.  It highlights the structure of the Caucus and Caucus Committee, the mission of the Caucus, and how you can get involved if you are interested in joining the Caucus Committee, serving the city of Lake Forest in various positions, or simply subscribing to the newsletter to stay informed of what’s happening with the Caucus.  Check it out at the link below.  It’s a quick and extremely informative read!

https://patch.com/illinois/lakeforest/lake-forest-caucus-new-year-september-26-open-call-meeting-nodx

 

Novit 2023 Term Summary

Finance Committee August 2022 to Present

  • Reviewed and recommend funding for all operational priorities of the City, including but not limited to the Annual Operating Budget, Annual Appropriation Ordinance, Annual Tax Levy Ordinance, and other policies and procedures applicable to the financial health and systems of the City.

Public Works Committee August 2022 to May 2023

  • The committee meets as needed (usually once a month or more) to review projects being presented to the Council for consideration. Much effort is put into the presentation of these projects and committee members meet with the Public Works Department Staff members to review and approve each project.
  • Financial impact is one of the areas assessed in approving the specific projects, and the committee members regularly review its inventory of land, buildings and related improvements to determine whether enhancement or disposal of assets are appropriate as well as to determine whether acquisition of additional assets is in the public interest.
  • The City Council also has a responsibility to manage and utilize public lands, buildings and other assets of the City in a manner that serves the public interest, protects the health and safety of the community, enhances the quality of life, and preserves the character and traditions of community.

Environmental Sustainability Committee June 2023 to present

  • Since joining, I have supported committee’s initiatives specifically helping with the launch of the voluntary curbside recycling program and encouraging schools and businesses to join in.
  • Discussing the addition of recycling bins where there are public trash cans
  • Other initiatives to support Lake Forest’s position as a Sustainable Community

Legal Committee Liaison for City Council June 2023 to present

  • Attended quarterly meetings and weighed in when asked about pending legal matters before the City
  • Senior Resource Commission Liaison for City Council
  • Attended bi-monthly meetings and provided information to City Council regarding the pending matters before the Commission.

Community Engagement

  • Attended community events to show support including the Lake Forest Day parade and carnival, Coffee with the Alderman, Town Hall Meetings

Timely email and phone responses and follow-ups to residents’ inquiries on issues and or requests

Prepared for and attended bi-weekly City Council meetings

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