Stephen E. (Steve) Foster
         
ALDERMAN WARD 7

 

Elected Vice Mayor 2001-2003
Chairman Public Works Committee 2003-2005

Return to Home

Telephone 217 213 5299 ~ Email (sfoster@ beamsco.com)

Danville Illinois 1869

See YouTube Videos - Links Below!

WDAN ~ WDNL Messages Worth Hearing!
 Minute 1      Minute 2

 
About Steve - Bio
 
Danville Now
 
Opinions
 
Email Steve
 
Replies ~ Q&A Page
 
 

Community Leadership
Experience
Caring & Serving Danville Since 1984
 Past: Chair: Historic Preservation Commission~ Pres: DSO ~ Pres: DSO Foundation ~ Founding Director: VHF ~ Pres Elect: Danville Noon Rotary Club ~ Leadership Danville Class Five ~ Strategic Planning Steering Committee ~ VP: Boys & Girls Club ~
Board of Directors DACVB
~
Past Chair: Public Works  ~
Past  Vice Mayor City of Danville
Chairman City-County Public Safety Building Committee 2013 

MY VIDEOS FOR THIS 2013 ELECTION
General city overview ~
What I have been doing

Click here to see this 2013 Video

The cost of running for public office ~ My views in my mail out
Click here to see this 2nd 2013 Video

YouTube Videos in 7 clips 2009
PART 1-discusses 1st impressions of
Danville and background. Past, present, future community involvement (4:10)

 
PART 2 discusses his civic group experiences, city finances and challenges. Bad theories. Alternatives. High Expenses. (4:14)
 
PART 3 discusses opportunities to solve fiscal expenses, cuts, issues, public safety. (3:45)
 
PART 4 discusses other issues - more taxes not the answer - reorganization - economic development, Section 8 housing. (4:04)
 
PART 5 Streets, new solid waste trucks, discusses solutions and other services. (short)
 
PART 6 discusses expense cuts, projects, pensions, our future economic stability.(3:28)
 
PART 7 Conclusion, why re-elect me. (short)
Danville March 2017
I thank all of you for the support in the recent election. I will do my best to continue the positive advancement of our city...
.

Danville March 2013
Please take a few moments to view my video (at left) for the 2013 election on April 9th, 2013. If you also read my responses to the Newspaper Questioners you will get a good idea of my approach to Danville's present and future directions, and it's importance to all of us. Due to lower turnout in off year elections, a single vote can (and has been) very important.

Many registered voters have never voted in Aldermanic elections in the off years (non Mayoral elections). Yet, the greatest personal effect on your well being from any government branch is your local government, You live in Danville and local services, taxes, and quality of government has a daily effect on your well being and quality of life. Both City Council and School Board elections significantly affect your taxes and community attraction for years.

Your vote truly counts in these smaller elections, and care should be given to your choice of candidates. For Example, I (and a few other council members), have not voted for a property tax increase any year during this current last 4 year term starting in 2009, and just two of us prior to 2009. So, If a candidate has a website - then go to their website,*  this will tell you a lot and give you a clear view of their positions and will aid you in your choice. Please go out on TUES APRIL 9TH AND VOTE. Thanks to all of you that have supported my efforts over the years and this year.

* Most candidate website's address will be something like www.SFoster.info or www.PhyllisRoth.com  or www.MichaelPuhr.com

Danville Mar 2013: My response to the Commercial News questioner:

Here are the Questions - see my response in March:
1. Why are you running for alderman? Why do you think you would/you will continue to make a good alderman?
2. What are the three biggest issues facing the city council? Explain your answer and how you'll address them:
3. If budget cuts are needed, where would you look first in the city's budget?
4. The city has been giving retail incentives for businesses to locate here. Do you support this? Why or why not?
5. Do you have the time to serve as alderman and attend meetings? Should pay be based on attendance at meetings?
6. Other issues/additional comments:

Danville January 2009
Responsible representation is critical for Danville - special interests and political affiliations have no place in our local city government. Vote wisely this April, a lot is at stake.

This is why I believe I need to run again and be reelected. In reality it is fairly simple. As I re-read my comments below and on the Opinions page, posted over the years, my positions are clear (if not always popular). The best interest of all has been my guiding catalyst for my votes and positions. I believe we have reached an impasse in these times that clearly indicates a reduction in services and personnel are the only options available to all of us. New taxes and fees of any kind currently are not responsible if the financial future of the city is to stabilize and survive increasing costs. (See my recent letter to the editor in Opinions). Your calls and comments to me on the street encourage me to continue in this position again. My health is very good (or I would not run - knowing the demands and responsibility as Alderman). Following is my biggest concern: Last election, of the 3,900  registered voters in Ward 7, only 874 votes were cast for Alderman. Because of new primary/general election rules -if this trend continues - less then 10% of the voters in Ward 7 may elect their Alderman for the next four years and determine policy and economic guidelines closest to our pockets. Some issues should not be a primary reason to seek office, we see enough of special interest candidates in Washington. I believe a candidate should not seek office to support a certain program or the interests of a specific group of persons or organized employees. All employees and all program's future must be considered objectively to meet the needs of all the people. If you want me to continue my  policy of expense reductions as opposed to income increases through new taxes and fees, I NEED YOUR VOTE APRIL 7TH 2009...Which ever way it goes I thank my past supporters for the opportunity of serving our community here in Danville for the last quarter of my life.........Steve

Danville Mar 7th 2009 My response to the Commercial News questioner:

1. Why are you running for alderman? Why do you think you would/you will continue to make a good alderman?
 I am alarmed with what is happening in the world, our country, state, and our community. I believe each of us should do all we are able to have maximum effect on our future. The largest effort should begin where we live. Since moving to Danville in 1983 I have contributed much of my time and resources to bettering our city, serving on many boards including the Council. I see no reason to abandon this effort as long as I have my health. There is much left to do. I will continue to work hard for all.

2. What are the three biggest issues facing the city council? Explain your answer and how you’ll address them.
1-Declining revenues and increasing costs: We can no longer increase revenues through new taxes and fees. Continued reduction/reorganizing of personnel is our only course if we do not experience new income through economic growth.

2-Decaying infrastructure: We have addressed and resolved our sewer problems. I have actively pursued a similar long-range plan of street repair and new construction, the fuel tax will go a long way to meet this. Now we include bridges and Fairchild subway to this challenge, at a sum of many millions, unobtainable by ourselves. I will actively support seeking much needed funds for these mayor projects in 2009-2012 from the State and Federal infrastructure grant programs.

3-Abandoned and neglected properties: We have made great efforts to remove blighted property over the past ten years. In order to prevent a continuation of this problem we have passed (and must continue to pass) new ordinances and beef up old ones, instituting stricter code enforcement and establish efforts to monitor potential trouble sites, all without undue burden on citizens who are actually trying.

3. Do you support the city’s reorganized departments and budget cuts? What would you do different? How would you save money elsewhere?
Yes, in the past eight years I have supported the Mayor in reorganizations and trimming of employees. I would have pressed harder to make some changes earlier.


4. Under the city’s reorganization, the planning manager will work more directly with Vermilion Advantage and Downtown Danville Inc. to facilitate economic development and growth. How can the city specifically encourage more development and the use of local labor?


I previously supported incentives to businesses locating here when using local labor. We should continue to pass competitive incentive ordinances to attract retail and new development.


5. The city’s 2008 tax levy is almost an 8 percent increase from last year’s. Will you support future property tax increases? Why or why not?


I vocally did not support, and voted against, this tax levy. I will continue to oppose the increases of property tax to meet cost increases. I presented other means to meet these expenses and will continue to do so.


6. The city cut funding to Renaissance
Danville and will oversee the organization’s goals and objectives. What should the city’s role be with Renaissance Danville?


We established the district several years back and I have supported funding it (though never at the full amount). The role of more city oversight is correct, with the housing as it is now, and the use of a part time director for the past year, would require our direct participation if the program is to survive.


7. A $4.75 million bond issue will partly pay for Fairchild Subway engineering to take the street over the railroad tracks. Do you support the massive construction project? Why or why not?


I was very concerned with the cost of engineering to create the plan necessary, but the only other emergency vehicular route trough the city without a railroad crossing is Winter and
Poland. Fairchild must continue to be a major route east, and is critical.

8. The city has started the Jackson Street Corridor Community Design Project to improve problems with the pavement, curb and sidewalk conditions, intersections, vehicular speed and pedestrian accommodations. Why or why not should this be a priority for the city?

With the passing of the fuel tax we now have annual funds to begin long range street improvement. Jackson and Vermilion are the only north bound corridors past Winter until Bowman, and is the only quick alternative to the north end in the event of emergency blockage of Vermilion. Jackson needs to be high on our list of priorities.

9. Mayor Scott Eisenhauer wants to amend the city’s consolidated plan to reduce the number of public housing and Section 8 units in the city. Do you support this? Why or why not?

Yes. The consolidation plan is one of the few means to address an ever increasing burden to the city. We can locally support only a certain number of those seeking assistance. Funding is being cut at every government level, we are now expected to take on more than we can afford, and this will result in hurting people currently under assistance as well as our ability to aid all our citizens.

10. Other issues/additional comments:

Some issues should not be a primary reason to seek office, we see enough of special interest candidates in Washington. Locally a candidate should not seek office to support a certain program or the interests of a specific group of persons or employees. All employees and all programs must be considered objectively to meet the needs of all the people. I ask that those that agree be certain to vote and mark your ballot for me in April.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

News Gazette Questioner and Answers April 2009

What skills, experience and/or qualities do you possess that would make, or do make, you a good city alderman?

Active in our community since 1984. Leadership responsibilities include Past: Chair: Historic Preservation Commission~ Pres: DSO ~ Pres: DSO Foundation ~ Founding Director: VHF ~ Pres Elect: Danville Noon Rotary Club ~ Leadership Danville Class Five ~ Strategic Planning Steering Committee ~ VP: Boys & Girls Club ~ Board of Directors DACVB ~  Past Chair: Public Works  ~  Past  Vice Mayor City of Danville. Retired Pilot and Multi-Businesses Owner. Active in internet business marketing.

In this tough economy, what should be done to keep the city financially sound?

Great oversight efforts and tight fiscal policy. In the past eight years I have pressed for and supported the Administration in reorganizations and trimming of employees. I also have supported incentives to businesses locating here when using local labor. Secondly, I want to work to find income sources related to economic growth and encourage new businesses to come to Danville in all areas: retail, services, and manufacturing.

Would you support more personnel cuts or cuts in services to balance the budget?

Yes. My solution is first to review each year’s circumstances, and if feasible, press for continued efforts to reorganize city departments and cut the number of employees, minimizing cuts which affect services and public safety.

 Would you support raising the property tax levy to increase funding for the city in order to achieve a balanced budget?

No! My goal is to continue to diminish future tax increases for budget solutions, and especially oppose any increase in property taxes. In this year’s budget, the city of Danville passed a property tax increase to meet an increase in State mandated employee retirement contributions.  I vocally opposed and voted against this tax increase as a method of meeting the State’s requirements,  Next fiscal year the City will likely face another large increase in employee retirement contributions, due to a decrease in pension fund values, and I will likely vote the same next year if I remain on the Council..


How would you approach your responsibility as an alderman in terms of attending city council and committee meetings and preparing for those meetings?

Only 14 alderman and the Mayor can vote yes on an issue. There are 30,000 people in Danville who only can be present and observe a vote. I think, and have stated, as one of 15 out of 30,000, an alderman should never vote “present” do to pressure or to duck an issue. If there is a legal conflict of interest the alderman can and should vote “abstain”  and refrain from debate as well. Attendance is critical and only fair to the public especially when a zoning request is to be voted. While it is understandable that an illness can occur and anyone may have to miss a meeting; but, a high rate of absences and early departures occurs too often with some. We all should do our best to be informed of the issues to vote properly and make every effort to keep absences to a minimum.

What do you believe are the top three issues facing the city?
(Same reply as in the Commercial News form above)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Danville, Jan 8, 2009: Why several filed objections to some nomination petitions.

In the past six elections in which I have been a candidate I have never had occasion to examine someone's candidacy filing papers. After the Ward 1 objections and hearing, a second hearing in Ward 5 ended in 2 candidate's filings being found in violation of the State Codes and removed from the ballot. After seeing the newspaper's report about Ward 5 hearing on a Friday evening, I was made aware that living in Ward 7 there was also an alderman and treasure candidate with omissions on their filings. I then decided to join the objectors because I believed all candidates should be treated equally in each Ward. I went down to the election commission the following Monday (the last day to file objections). My reason for my actions are made clear in the following excerpt from a summary of my objections to the Election Commission Board.

"...Many believe that nomination papers completed (accurately) by election candidates should demonstrate a basic ability to review and carefully complete all the questions on the petition forms required under Illinois Election Codes. The inordinate number of erroneous omissions on election candidate’s filings may indicate a questionable ability to serve and meet the basic requirements of the reading and  comprehension of detailed volumes of reports, forms, resolutions, and ordinances presented to Elected Officials monthly".
(Added comment):  The opinion above was the most common comment I received from several people, especially the several petition omissions as it related to a Treasurer (candidate), given the necessity for absolute accuracy in reports and forms required. (The petitions for Alderman contained only one omission, but necessitated a challenge in fairness to other Ward candidate's petitions with the same error) The Ward 5 Alderman in his objection also stated .."It is my strong belief that if a person desires to run for political office it is crucial that they understand the correct way to fill out the required papers for the (office) they desire to serve. ...Mike Puhr".

In five of the seven Wards in the city of Danville one or more persons in each of these wards (1-2-3-5 & 7) filed nomination petitions only partially completed. The primary error in all 5 wards was the failure to place on their petitions the Office they were actually seeking. Under state Election Code this invalidates the petitions, and entails removal from ballots

Considering the Objections to petitions in Danville, Champaign, Urbana, and the hearing yesterday in Decatur it would seem that the forms may not be clear (as is the defense for many petitioners). Yet the State forms are clearly printed with boxes and blanks to be filled in.

This must be difficult and I do not envy (the Election Commission Board Member's) positions. Certainly treating all the same would be your first inclination. Equal treatment for all was my final catalyst to file these two objections. I had opposition in five previous elections which often gave me an opportunity to debate important issues and views, so eliminating opponents through legal technicalities is not a reputation that I seek, and in fact was a determent, initially, to object, insofar as the Aldermanic race was concerned.

Perhaps, to avoid these situations in the future, sample forms for the candidates and objectioner’s petition’s general outline should be available to help citizens on either side of the issue. We need to encourage and not discourage persons to get involved and seek public office. Such confusion only adds to difficulties perceived by many in running for office.


Danville March 2005 ~ Why reelect Steve Foster
Historically, off year elections (non-Mayoral) get low voter turnout and less interest. However, these off years elections are of equal importance to our community. One half (7) of the fourteen City Council members will be elected this April. Two times in previous elections your Alderman for Ward 7 was elected with 19 votes separation. Your Vote is essential. I believe that, while an Alderman should represent his or her ward and address the needs of his constituents, an Alderman needs to understand the over-all needs and goals of our entire city. Many of the problems facing us require long term planning and real time decision making. An understanding of finances and resources is critical. A sound knowledge of past applications of our resources to problem and needs solving is essential.
      I believe that my experience and involvement in our community on many boards and agencies, and prior presence as an Alderman on both Public Service & Public Works Committees and Strategic Planning lends an important understanding and experience in the applications of our resources. I wish to continue to participate in our on-going efforts to maximize use of our financial and human resources, to continue to bring about an increasing rise in the quality of our community, and contribute input into the present operations and plans for future development of our assets. Working towards maximum efficiency and increased quality of results continue to be my goal. I appreciate your vote for my reelection to Ward 7


April 6th 2005 A commentary on the Ward 7 - 2005 Elections

The One vote margin, what happened & how it happened. An insight into Understanding  Statistics & the Work, and Time required to run for public office

The numbers in this opinion-commentary, and a single vote’s value are worth considering  when one becomes a major aspect. A number of obvious conclusions can be made in the City Ward 7 Aldermanic Election - and some less obvious elements are worth considering.

First, no one could hardly fault a candidate, losing by one vote out of 874 cast, to not consider a recount of the votes. I telephoned my opponent Wednesday morning and told him that all I talked with in our area, that knew him, had nothing but nice things to say about him and his children. I congratulated him on his great effort. I we discussed future community involvement and other personal topics. 

As the declared winner I would like to share my views leading up to the election and the results. I will start by looking at what did not happen. There were 3,884 resisted voters in Ward 7 eligible to vote, a net increase of 44 since the 2003 elections. The 873 valid votes cast represents 22.5% turnout and 77.5% did not vote. 

Having followed the voting precinct by precinct in Ward 7 since 1993, you can develop a good idea of what to expect, assuming normal issues, and average opponents. I was first elected in 1993 with a margin of well over 50% of approximately a 25% turnout. In all years but one I had to first win a primary of 3 or more candidates. In 1997 I won by 19 votes with a turnout out of less than 25%. In 2001 I was reelected with a turnout of  around 10% (unopposed).  

The off year elections (non Mayoral elections) are historically low turnout. So in the two elections 1997 and 2005 with an opponent I won both elections by only 20 votes collectively. The Council is supposedly nonpartisan, but well organized opponents backed by a political party, or likewise - a special interest group, or ethnic group could and did have a strong chance of winning an election, especially in the odd year’s elections. In fact the same candidate, backed by a political party that lost  by 19 votes in 2001 also lost by 19 votes in a Mayoral election year running against the other Ward 7 Alderman (in 1999). Understanding that once again this was likely a close race, I anticipated a heavy turnout of certain newly registered voters and previously registered voters, generally not voting in off year elections, to vote this time - mostly as a block in one of our ethnic communities. This is nothing, on my part, to be construed or implied as wrong, all  minorities need representation and the right to work and support a member of their community to be elected to public office is recognized, commonly done, and applauded.  

On Monday April 4th - by that evening, I and my wife had finished walking over 60% of Ward 7 and talked to a large number of potential voters. I had examined the voting trends precinct by precinct comparing the 2003 precincts to the new 2005 reorganized precinct’s records. I considered all comments made to me personally, and other factors, and I believed that in normal years and with an unknown candidate I should expect 55% to 57% of the votes cast.

On Tuesday before the polls closed I showed these following special factors revision of my election projection numbers to several people at the scheduled City Council before the 6PM meeting. I  worked in the special factors for this year and concluded with a projection that anticipated a turnout of 832 voters or 21% turnout, which included the voting block factor and projected that I could receive 419 votes and my opponent would receive 413 or a 6 vote margin equaling 50.03% to 49.97% for my opponent. Everyone doubted it would be this close that saw these projection numbers, but my opponent had campaigned hard, had good support, and an incumbent of 12 years accumulates some dissenters - since you can not vote both yes and no on various issues in order to please everyone.

 

The actual certified election results was 873 votes cast – 437 or 50% to 436 or 49.89% for my opponent (there was one write in). I won five of the seven precincts and lost two precincts that contained most of the ethnic group residents, (which I anticipated I could loose). In reflection, I  can count scores of people I talked with that made that one vote, and my wife and I literally went the extra mile (walking the Ward streets). By Monday evening we were worn out but I walked one more street. The last person I talked to had not generally voted in off year elections but said she would this year. The first person I talked to was on Thornhill. He said that he was going to “vote for the other guy”. I asked him what I did wrong in case I should be reelected and might correct in the next four years. He said “nothing wrong”, but he was “voting for the other guy because” ( I had) “been (serving) long enough”. That last person four days later that committed to vote this year, counts as one vote gained to offset one vote lost - and elections are won or lost by a number of one votes added together. The only number needed to break a tie is one. 

Returning to “looking at what did not happen”, all who voted are to be commended and whether or not your votes represent everyone who did not vote, we can never know. My opponent’s votes of 436 do imply that 11% of voters are in opposition to me, but is this 50% total disapproval in Ward 7? I know, of course, that many persons that voted for my opponent do not in fact disapprove of my record and efforts on the council but wanted to vote for a friend or acquaintance (and some told me so). So while the one vote margin is no mandate, neither is the 11% not voting for me.

The unexpected endorsement by a local newspaper for my opponent seemed to have little or  no bearing on the race (5 votes?). The factors I used were arrived at before the paper came out Monday afternoon. Speaking of this newspaper, I was asked for comments late Tuesday night by a reporter for this paper. When asked my opinion - and then how I understand the results. I told her I was happy with the victory. And mentioned the dissenter's comments on my first stop and the voter’s intention to vote for my opponent (as an example of uncertainty of voter's opinions). I said that so few people call me on issues it is hard to determine which way to vote on some things and could not always know which way the people want me to vote since I get little input, and would like more. The quote in the article the next day is in error and is phrased in such a way that it implies ignorance and arrogance on my part. The “quote” and the implied conclusion follow:
    [Foster said he’s happy he came out on top, but realizes “I have to pay more attention to the people”]
 First, I did not say this. I “pay” very close “attention” to each call or contact. And second, I “realized” nothing new - as I am well aware of what the few that take the time to contact me are concerned about - and my responsibilities to the people I represent. I have never dozed off and fallen into unawareness on my watch, and work hard to be aware.

In conclusion: If the Courts and Election Commission find errors in the recounts, and my opponent is seated on the council, then I can accept this. But I am not ashamed of my work for and in this community for the past 20 plus years. There is much to be done and very soon we plan to aggressively address some of our cities mayor needs - and I hope to continue to be a part of solving these problems, but if is not to be - I still live here and will likely die here, and I will always care about our city and fully support those who will sit on the Council this May - and all the years to follow. I thank those who voted for and supported me this year and in the past, and I thank those who voted for my opponent too. You have my respect, and you alone spent the time to care and express your preferences. I now address the 3,011 citizens that did not vote. I understand that for various reasons it was impossible for some to vote, like my dear neighbor that was ill in a hospital and never fails to vote in every election, but to many I ask: Do you now believe that every single one vote counts? I can not believe that you do not care.....Steve Foster

Replies and comments are welcome and will be posted - with your permission

Danville Now April 21, 2003:

4/2003: The recent elections hold much promise for Danville. I have met with all the new Aldermen and they are intelligent, eager, qualified, and committed to serve our community well. In particular, the election of Scott Eisenhauer to Mayor represents many positive changes, and an extraordinary opportunity for betterment of our community in virtually all areas of concern.

Having served on the council for three terms with Mayor Jones and the departing former Aldermen this should in no way imply that many achievements of Mayor Bob Jones, this past Council, and his administration were not important. On the contrary, under Mayor Jones, and the new form of Aldermanic Government, we have seen unparalleled advancements and accomplishment in many aspects of our community. In just one example: Even with the loss of major companies the past fifteen years, through the efforts of Jones and the Vermilion Advantage (EDC), we have seen an actual net increase of over 3,000 new jobs brought to our city. For another example, an enormous amount of blight has been removed from neighborhoods and the downtown thru demolition and clean up.

Mayor Eisenhauer has a strong foundation from which to launch his proactive community development plans, phase by phase. His knowledge, understanding, and involvement in our prior efforts allows him the "hit the ground running".

For those that say “it’s business as usual”, you maybe certain that this will be business by no means as usual. We have entered a new age of opportunity, progress, and community involvement that will cause our city to prosper and grow. “Business as usual” departed Danville this April 2003 figuratively and perhaps literally.

In my meetings with Mayor Eisenhauer before, and especially since being elected, I can assure you that his involvement, dedication, and understanding of what needs to be done, and how, exceeds my expectations.

This is a good time for Danville, and a good time to live in our community. Get involved, get on the train, we’re going on a great journey; don’t leave your seat vacant, there’s a place for everyone……Steve Foster

 

 

 

Created by for Alderman Stephen E Foster Ward 7 Danville Illinois 217 442 0823
By use of this Website you agree to our ACCEPTABLE USE Policies-Copyright Restrictions