June 16, 2005: Headlines: Figures: COS - Solomon Islands: City Government: La Raza: Linda Chapa LaVia, Tom Weisner (RPCV Solomon Islands) join forces for townhall meeting

Peace Corps Online: State: Illinois: February 8, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Illinois : June 16, 2005: Headlines: Figures: COS - Solomon Islands: City Government: La Raza: Linda Chapa LaVia, Tom Weisner (RPCV Solomon Islands) join forces for townhall meeting

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Linda Chapa LaVia, Tom Weisner (RPCV Solomon Islands) join forces for townhall meeting

Linda Chapa LaVia, Tom Weisner (RPCV Solomon Islands) join forces for townhall meeting

Tom Weisner, elected mayor of Aurora, IL in 2005, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Solomon Islands.

Linda Chapa LaVia, Tom Weisner (RPCV Solomon Islands) join forces for townhall meeting

Chapa LaVia, Weisner join forces for townhall meeting

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By Matthew DeFour STAFF WRITER

AURORA State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, D-Aurora, has rallied Aurorans to attend her quarterly townhall meetings for years, but Wednesday night, she finally got one to attend whom she had been after for a while the mayor.

Mayor Tom Weisner became the first Aurora mayor to field questions from residents at Chapa LaVia's regularly scheduled information sessions.

"Linda and I have a really positive relationship and a very similar vision," Weisner said. "We're a good one-two punch."

During brief remarks at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum, Weisner emphasized how a new noise ordinance is helping improve the quality of life in Aurora. The city has cracked down on vehicles blaring loud music.

When the floor was opened to questions, one resident wanted to learn more about plans for senior citizen housing at the old Copley Memorial Hospital.

Weisner said his office has encouraged Guiding Light Community Development Corp. to negotiate the sale of the building to a Chicago developer, but the mayor "can't make people do what they don't want to do," he added in reference to the Guiding Light board's protracted efforts to finalize a deal.

Last week Guiding Light officials announced they had reached an "agreement in principle" with the Chicago-based real estate developer Draper & Kramer Inc.

Another resident asked for more details on the city's role in Waubonsee Community College's plan to develop a larger downtown campus.

Weisner said the city helped the project by selling some property to the college, but otherwise, the issue of property acquisition has been handled by Waubonsee.

Chapa LaVia asked Weisner a question posed by a resident who could not attend about how the city was handling drugs and prostitution.

The city is hiring three community-oriented officers this summer, Weisner said. He also mentioned the increased funding for the Aurora Ceasefire program, which helps communities respond to gang-related shootings.

Chapa LaVia revealed that the Aurora Ceasefire program is looking for a new director after recently hired director Anthony Burns decided to take a job elsewhere. The program received $250,000 for this year, more than twice what it received last year.

Before Weisner took the floor, Chapa LaVia, who is in her third session in the state general assembly, updated the audience of about 20 residents on legislation in Springfield she had either sponsored or supported.

"I've been working really, really hard to make sure the city of Aurora receives its money," she said. "I'm proud to have brought back millions of dollars for our schools," she added, referring to $4.7 million earmarked for the East Aurora school district and $2.9 million for the West Aurora school district.

She also secured $1.8 million for Rush-Copley Medical Center and $1.9 million for Provena-Mercy Medical Center.

Chapa LaVia's bills that have been sent to the governor include a measure to give students in bilingual programs more time to finish standardized tests required by No Child Left Behind.

"I was at East Aurora and talking to a bilingual class," she said. "And this came out of kids saying, 'We're not dumb, but the tests that the state makes us take take us longer to translate from English to Spanish and back to English.'"

Another notable bill she sponsored would prevent video game retailers from selling violent or sexually explicit video games to minors without parental consent. Illinois would be the first to pass such a law if it is signed and upheld under the First Amendment.

She mentioned how she was one of the only Democrats to vote for the medical malpractice reform bill "because you wanted me to."

Other initiatives dealt with identity theft, veterans issues and senior citizen issues, all of which pertained to committees of which Chapa LaVia is a member.

Many of the initiatives were by-products of previous townhall meetings, she said.

"And I was able to do this without raising your taxes," Chapa LaVia said, receiving polite applause. Beacon News

When this story was posted in June 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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The Peace Corps Library Date: March 27 2005 No: 536 The Peace Corps Library
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Story Source: La Raza

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Solomon Islands; City Government


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