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Dist. 15 candidates talk about openness in Lake Co. government
By Russell Lissau | Daily Herald Staff

David Serdar


Carol Calabresa


Del Parra


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Published: 9/20/2010 11:19 AM

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Political scandals and criminal prosecutions have led residents, activists and politicians to call for more governmental openness in the state.

A recent revamping of the state's Freedom of Information Act was seen as a positive step.

The three candidates running for the Lake County Board's 15th District seat shared their ideas for more transparent government operations with the Daily Herald.

Veteran Republican incumbent Carol Calabresa is challenged by Democrat Delfino "Del" Parra and Green Party candidate David Serdar.

The county board doubles as the Lake County Forest Preserve District Board. The 15th District includes the Libertyville area.

The candidates talked about open government and other issues in questionnaires for the Daily Herald. They were asked to name one specific step they'd take to increase government transparency, if elected.

Calabresa, a board member since 1986, touted the county board's record of openness. The panel already televises its meetings and broadcasts them online, she said.

As for a new step, Calabresa suggested the county board and forest board could expand their use of social media, such as Facebook or similar computer systems.

Parra, an employee in Diamond Lake Elementary District 76 who unsuccessfully ran for this post in 2006, suggested creating an independent office to handle the hiring of new employees for the county government and forest district.

The same office could oversee the contracts for county projects and field complaints from local companies that aren't awarded county jobs, he said.

Serdar, an unemployed first-time candidate, said the county board and forest board should stop holding private, executive session meetings.

State law allows government agencies to close meetings to the public to discuss pending litigation, land purchases, personnel matters and other sensitive issues.

"Let's see the (politics) of government in action," he wrote.