The Chicago Tribune asked Davis Schneiderman these questions about pensions, TIF districts, and business development, and then excerpted the answers for this story.
The full answers appear below:
Q: Would you support raising the portion of the City of Highland Park's property tax levy that goes to the police and fire pension funds? Please briefly explain your position.
Davis Schneiderman: The Council must grapple each year with the City's mandated obligation to fund the Fire and Police pensions. Because we operate under an external state mandate to fund, I would support raising this portion of the levy but only if the City continues to make significant contributions to the fund. Residents should not be asked to shoulder this burden without City participation. The City must recognize the difficulties any increased levy has on our most economically vulnerable.
More recently, the City decided to put $7.5 million toward these pensions. That is $2.1 million more than the requirement and was used to cover a growing shortfall and includes $1.7 million from the City’s portion of state income tax. The most recent report from our independent actuary indicated that the City’s combined debt is $86 million and that we have slipped to 43% (from 45%) funding for the Police Pension Fund, and 47% (from 50%) funding for the Fire Pension Fund from the previous year. We are required to reach 90% funding by 2040, and by continuing to meet a yearly target, we can maintain our AAA bond rating that allows for more favorable borrowing. Should we fall short in our pension obligations, we risk a reduced bond rating that would raise our borrowing costs.Read more
Ravinia Neighbors Association Candidate Questions
1. State your reasons for seeking a position on Highland Park City Council
Davis Schneiderman: I’m running for Highland Park City Council because I have a deep commitment to our city. I’m running because we have an amazing repository of cultural, historical, and economic resources, and I know that we can together continue to build a community that is home to new families and lifelong residents, that puts sustainability first, that is green and inclusive, and that lets its residents know that their voice is truly heard. I’m running because “character counts” is more than a slogan on a street sign.
I’m running for City Council because I’ve come to call Highland Park my home, and I’ve been continually impressed in my years of public advocacy just how much this community cares about its collective future. I have learned more from knocking on doors, participating in coffees and public debates, and talking with the people who make up our town than I ever could by merely sitting in a room.
As a Reconfiguration 2.0 Community Team Steering Committee leader, former leader of CARE and community organizer, and parent of nine- and ten-year-old daughters, I have a perspective on Highland Park informed by the challenges facing our schools that expand well beyond those challenges. I believe in active participation in the political process, and my work with NSSD112 is only a small part of my community engagement.
I advocated for the beach improvement with Friends of Rosewood, supported CLEAR in the second 113 referendum, volunteered at Ravinia School's annual Fun Fair, and I serve as a Ravinia Neighbors Association Board member. I am passionate about historic preservation and architecture and have served as the trolley docent for the Historic Ravinia tours. I lead the Second Wednesday Book Discussion group at the Highland Park Library, and will also lead this spring’s discussion on the One Book, One Highland Park selection. Recently, I led a two-part history of the Grateful Dead at the library. As an author, married to an actor, I have dedicated my career to the arts. As a professor and higher education administrator, I have dedicated my career to inclusion, critical thinking, and civic engagement.Read more
It is time for the next edition of the Davis Schneiderman for City Council update newsletter, and we’ve got all the news that’s fit to print.
1) We’re exploding the meet-and-greet. We love candidate coffees (and coffee in general!), but we wanted to kick the ordinary up a notch or two with these events: this past Saturday’s music extravaganza and March 11th’s “Night of Comedy” for Davis Schneiderman for City Council and Alex Brunk for 112 School Board (see details here and at the bottom of this message).
At the first, Fast & Cheap (the band!) entertained with their mix of bluegrass, rock, and country, and they even coaxed Davis into singing two songs (note: that takes basically “zero” actual coaxing).
2) We have a few more spaces at next week’s “Night of Comedy,” and we’ve curated a series of Chicago performers who are very excited to bring their skills to Highland Park.
The “Night of Comedy” features Chicago actors who are generously donating their talent to perform everything from improv to music to our headliner–– one of the nation’s premier Asian-American comedy troupes––Stir Friday Night, whose alumni include Danny Pudi from "Community," and Steven Yeun from "The Walking Dead." That’s right, community college and zombies!
When: 7-9 p.m. Saturday, March 11 / Where: 220 Beech St., Highland Park
Please join us, and RSVP to the queen of comedy at, firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) We're getting a haircut: Yana Khernburg and Tanya Zayats at Ravinia Barber Shop have endorsed Davis. Yana says: "Davis Schneiderman not only listens but he also cares. He’s taken the lead on fixing our school issues, and he understands that community and history are important and cab be balanced with development. He’s not afraid to ask questions, and to fight for what’s right.”
4) Mail call! Some great people published endorsements for Davis, including the current Chair of our City’s Transportation Commission and co-chair of our Bike-Walk Advisory Group Peggy Laemle and the multitalented Dr. Loren Schechter, as well as former TribLocal and Highland Park Patch writer Ed Brill’s great letter just reappeared in Daily North Shore. Chelsea Duggan's letter also made the Landmark!
Letters of support mean a lot, and we’d be very thankful if you wanted to write on to. We can provide the media contacts! Just email email@example.com.
5) Let’s debate (or not…)! Davis called for a debate for the two-year City Council seat so that voters can best understand the differences between their choices. After both Stolberg and Saret responded without directly accepting or rejecting the offer, Davis emailed them to suggest all three meet to discuss, and to reaffirm that Davis is open to any schedule, venue, and format that each candidate would be comfortable with. Both Stolberg and Saret have rejected Davis’ offer, and will not agree to even meet to discuss a debate.
As a professor and higher-education administrator, Davis always shares his ideas and states his positions, even when he disagrees with someone. Voters deserve to listen to the candidates engage with each other in a meaningful back and forth. Otherwise, what’s all of this for anyway?
6) The Ravinia Neighbors Association hosted an excellent forum for all candidates, and Davis spoke of his background, experience, and passions. See the video here, and we'll soon post Davis’ responses to the RNA questions.
6) Early voting is March 20 - April 1 at the Highland Park Police Station. (M-F 9:00 am -5:00 pm, and Saturdays, 9:00 - 2:00 pm). Election Day is April 4!
7) Yard signs! Just reply with yes and we’ll place one for you.
8) Please show your support by making a donation, "liking” Davis' Facebook page, and supporting the campaign by volunteering, lending me your name, or through other opportunities. You can also help at early voting or Election Day (on the volunteer page).
Best, and all good things,
--Friends of Davis Schneiderman
MARCH 11: Night of Comedy for Schneiderman & Brunk
What: Night of Comedy for Davis Schneiderman for Highland Park City Council and Alex Brunk for District 112 school board.
When: 7-9 p.m. Saturday, March 11
Where: 220 Beech St., Highland Park
More info: Love politics? Love to laugh? You’re cordially invited to a “Night of Comedy” to support Davis Schneiderman’s campaign for Highland Park City Council. Davis is a lifelong supporter of arts and culture. The "Night of Comedy" is also supporting Alex Brunk for District 112 school board.
The “Night of Comedy” features Chicago actors who are generously donating their talent to perform everything from improv to music to our headliner–– one of the nation’s premier Asian-American comedy troupes––Stir Friday Night, whose alumni include Danny Pudi from "Community," and Steven Yeun from "The Walking Dead."
There will be time before and after the show to talk with Davis Schneiderman and learn more about why he’s the right candidate for Highland Park City Council. There will also be time to meet Alex Brunk and learn why's he's the right candidate for 112 school board.
Feel free to bring a friend or two.
Festivities start at 7 p.m. with actor Chris Fair performing improv with a laser; the improv duo Flowershop Bangers Stuart Allard and Daniel Anderson; David Knoell singing original tunes on his guitar; the candidate’s wife Kelly Haramis performing a short improv set with friends; and our headliner Stir Friday Night (www.stirfridaynight.org). Thank you to all of the performers for donating their talent!
Davis Schneiderman's campaign website: www.friendsofdavisschneiderman.org
Alex Brunk's campaign website: www.brunk112.com
Facebook pages: www.facebook.com/DavisSchneidermanforHPCityCouncil
For Immediate release 3/2/17:
Highland Park City Council: Davis Schneiderman invites Laura Saret and Adam Stolberg to engage in public debate
In my candidacy for the two-year Highland Park City Council seat, I have had the chance to speak with many residents about not only their hopes for Highland Park, but also their families, careers, and stories. In these conversations, I am often asked what distinguishes me from my two opponents, Laura Saret and Adam Stolberg.
We are lucky enough to have so many Highland Park residents who are engaged voters, and who want to make informed decisions about their vote. All three of us are also currently not serving on City Council, and since the result of this race will result in a new member of Council, there is no Council record for voters to turn to in making their choice. Therefore, I am writing to respectfully invite my opponents to engage in a public debate.
We could collaboratively determine schedule, venue, and format, so that we may all feel it to be a worthwhile event. A debate would provide an opportunity for us to address the public and each other, in a way that will benefit the electoral process.
I have sent this release with a cover note to the candidates, asking that we connect at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 224-212-0787, so we can discuss how best to proceed.
I am writing to officially announce my candidacy for the Highland Park City Council seat vacated by Paul Frank (the “unexpired term” of two years) in the April 4, 2017 election.
I’m running for Highland Park City Council because I have a deep commitment to our city. I’m running because we have an amazing repository of cultural, historical, and economic resources, and I know that we can together build a community that is a home for new families and long-time residents, that puts sustainability first, that is green and inclusive, and that lets citizens know that their voice is truly heard. I’m running because “character counts” is more than a slogan on a street sign.