Last day filings leave 4th Ward race contested in Park Ridge
J.B. (Jane) Johnson
Updated: January 7, 2013 6:08PM
PARK RIDGE — With Park Ridge 4th Ward Alderman Sal Raspanti not pursuing another term this spring, two candidates have emerged, each looking to be his successor.
Roger Shubert filed petitions with the Park Ridge City Clerk’s Office at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 26, the final day to file, while Jane Bland Johnson filed at 4:40 p.m. that day.
“I decided to run for alderman because I’m certainly interested in the city environment, especially with small businesses and trying to look at ways to get more small businesses to come to Park Ridge,” Shubert said.
Shubert believes the city can do more to market itself and promote itself as being more business-friendly in an effort to attract new businesses and increase the city’s tax base.
Shubert said one of the biggest issues facing his ward is the recent decision by the Park Ridge Recreation and Park District Board to go ahead with a $7.1 million Centennial Pool project without going to referendum.
“There’s a lot of neighbors concerned about parking,” said Shubert. “I think it’s a big enough project (to go to referendum.) I’m more of a fiscal conservative so I want to make sure the funds and spending are appropriate.”
Shubert acknowledged that he understands the city does not have authority over Park District decisions, but wants to make sure the changes at Centennial are “palatable to residents” who live near the park.
“Wherever the City Council can play a role in would be valuable for the community at large,” he said.
Shubert is a four-year resident of the city and works in product marketing for CVS Caremark. He is married to Amy DeGrazio, owner of New Prospects in Uptown Park Ridge.
A former teacher and one-time 9th District Illinois State Representative candidate, Jane Johnson, who has asked that her name appear as J.B. Johnson as the ballot, says her political experience and background make her the one to vote for.
“I decided to run because, being a former educator, I’m concerned about where the community is headed,” said Johnson. “I’m exceptionally concerned about the direction of the moral stability of not just Park Ridge, but everywhere. I’m concerned about the children and the protection of the children.”
As for Park Ridge itself, Johnson believes budget issues are significant in the 4th ward and the entire city.
“It’s a budget crisis here,” said Johnson.
Johnson said priority should be given to making safety improvements in the city, such as putting up stop signs in certain locations. Johnson said that she is also concerned with the Park Ridge Senior Center and making sure they have enough funding.
The Park Ridge Senior Center is currently overseen by the Park Ridge Recreation and Park District and not the city.
Though Johnson told the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate that she ran for a state representative seat, her e-mailed biography twice states that she actually held the seat. A spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections verified that in 2006 Johnson, under the name Myra Bland, ran unsuccessfully as a Republican in the race for the Illinois 9th District State House seat. Myra is Johnson’s middle name.
Johnson is a three-year resident of the city and is married to George Johnson who is perhaps best known for organizing community blood drives.~.
— Jennifer Johnson contributed