Newcomers vie for Aurora’s 3rd Ward seat
By Stephanie Lulay firstname.lastname@example.org January 27, 2013 9:44PM
Reece Boyd, Aurora 3rd Ward aldermanic candidate
3rd Ward aldermanic candidates
Occupation: River’s Edge Cafe manager
Lives near: Seventh Avenue and Fifth Street
Website: reeceboyd.com; on Facebook at Reece Boyd for 3rd Ward Alderman
Occupation: senior park planner, Oswegoland Park District
Lives in: the Hometown subdivision off Montgomery Road
Website: on Facebook at Chad Feldotto for 3rd Ward Alderman
Theodore “Ted” Mesiacos
Occupation: principal architect at Themes Architecture
Lives near: Jackson Street and Fifth Avenue
Family: Wife and two young children
Website: No website
Updated: March 1, 2013 6:04AM
AURORA — Former Alderman Stephanie Kifowit’s move from city politics to state politics has motivated three new candidates to run for her 3rd Ward spot.
Kifowit, elected to the new 84th House District in November, started her term in Springfield this month representing parts of the East Side of Aurora, Naperville, Montgomery, Boulder Hill and Oswego.
Her exit from the City Council means cafe manager Reece Boyd, park planner Chad Feldotto and architect Theodore “Ted” Mesiacos will vie for the 3rd Ward aldermanic seat, representing Aurora’s near East Side.
Boyd, 22, manager of River’s Edge Cafe in downtown Aurora, also studies at Waubonsee Community College and takes classes part-time at Charis Bible College in Oswego. He volunteers at Rebuilding Together Aurora and Emmanuel House and is active at Community Christian Church. A Detroit native, he’s lived in the ward for about one year.
Boyd said he aims to bring integrity to the City Council by staying in touch with residents.
“I’m truly passionate about meeting people’s needs,” Boyd said. “That’s our mission at the cafe — to reach people. I like to be plugged in.”
Feldotto, 37, a senior planner for the Oswegoland Park District, is heavily involved in the Aurora Township Democrats, volunteers for the League of United Latin American Citizens and attends Faith Lutheran Church. An Iowa native, he’s lived in the ward since 2005.
Feldotto said he is running for the 3rd Ward post to restore communication between the ward and the city. There’s good things that are happening in the ward that are not being communicated, he said.
“I really feel there’s a disconnect there,” he said. “I have a mortgage that I’m underwater in. While there’s nothing I can do about the recession, promoting (the ward) will help raise property (values).”
Ted Mesiacos, 43, principal architect at Themes Architecture located in the 3rd Ward, serves on the city’s Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals. He has a background in urban planning, and was born and raised in Aurora.
Mesiacos said he’s running for the council position because he believes in the power of service.
“As a spouse and parent, I’d like to improve the quality of life for the residents of the 3rd Ward,” he said. “I believe in service above self.”
Running for this elected office is a first for all three candidates.
Kifowit has said she will not endorse anyone for her old 3rd Ward seat — or in any other city race.
Aldermen recently voted for a slight increase in the city’s portion of the tax levy — 2.3 percent — to cover the costs of a new main library location and rising pension costs.
Although he said he aims to hold the line on property tax increases, Feldotto said if he were alderman, he would have most likely voted in favor of the slight increase.
“The city didn’t create the pension problem itself,” Feldotto said. “(And) the library is an institution in this city that needs to be promoted.”
Mesiacos said he, too, would have backed the increase. He noted the city dropped the levy in the two years preceding this vote.
“For me personally, the library was very instrumental getting me where I am today,” he said. The library board secured a state grant that covered about one-third of the new location’s cost and underwent a long public process for review, Mesiacos said.
Boyd said that he is fiscally conservative, but he understands that there is a large infrastructure that needs to be maintained. That includes the library, he said.
“If we’re going to (build a new library), some of the money needs to be allocated to translating publications into Spanish,” he said. “And a lot of people in my ward don’t have computers.”
In light of Aurora’s homicide-free year, the City Council last week approved Mayor Tom Weisner’s plan to give a $500 bonus to all sworn police officers.
Mesiacos said the bonus makes sense, especially with the overall picture: violent crime is down 50 percent in the past decade, he said.
“Being a lifelong resident, I have seen the low side in my neighborhood and the community,” Mesiacos said. “If you’ve ever experienced a drive-by shooting, you probably think that $500 is not that much.”
Boyd said he would not have supported the expenditure. The $144,500 price tag of the bonuses was too much, he said.
“Everyone feels much more safer about the city that we live in,” he said. “(But) I don’t know if it’s the right time to be patting ourselves on the back so quickly.”
Feldotto said he had no comment on the cop bonuses.
“But I fully support and commend (the police) for their efforts,” he said.
On top of property taxes, Boyd said that although the Old Copley Hospital, a longtime issue for the 3rd Ward, is now in the new 4th Ward, he’d like to help make something happen there.
“It’s not good for the community to have a vacant building. It’s an eyesore,” he said.
He said he would also foster relationships with non-profits to get the ward’s aging homes up to code.
Mesiacos said that Aurora is generally moving in the right direction. He said he would like to restart neighborhood groups to give people an opportunity to express their views.
“I want to ensure the 3rd Ward is firmly planted in the city’s success,” he said.
Mesiacos also said that he aims to “keep an eye” on absentee landlords in the ward.
Feldotto said 3rd Ward residents are most concerned with property taxes. He thinks the city has done a fair job of holding the line on taxes, but as alderman he’d keep an even closer eye on tracking the city’s budget.
“As homeowners, we have to live within a budget. I think the city needs to live within (it’s) means, as well,” he said.