Gladue joins race for Hazel Park City Council

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published September 13, 2019

 Chuck Gladue, a candidate running for Hazel Park City Council, says he is running in part because he feels that current elected officials don’t question the city administration’s recommendations enough.

Chuck Gladue, a candidate running for Hazel Park City Council, says he is running in part because he feels that current elected officials don’t question the city administration’s recommendations enough.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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HAZEL PARK — A longtime resident of the city, Chuck Gladue still cherishes the tight-knit sense of community in Hazel Park.

However, he has concerns about the city’s current elected officials. He said he feels that they blindly follow the recommendations of the city’s administration without thinking critically about each issue. He is running for Hazel Park City Council because he feels change is needed.

This is Gladue’s second run for council. His first attempt was two years ago. He has lived in Hazel Park for 24 years. He currently serves on the Hazel Park Planning Commission, the Hazel Park Zoning Board of Appeals and the Hazel Park Board of Review, which handles property tax appeals.

In addition, Gladue is the chairman of the Hazel Park Historical Commission and the president of the Hazel Park Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was set up to assist the Hazel Park Historical Museum, located at 45 E. Pearl Ave.

During the last 40 years, Gladue has worked in either retail management or support. He went to the Lawrence Institute of Technology for two years, majoring in architecture and math. He believes his experience in management would serve him well in office, as would his years of serving the public on citizen boards.

If elected to office, Gladue said, “I will take a hands-on approach and make my own decisions when voting on council, based on experience and citizen input.”

“For too long now, we’ve had a majority of the current City Council vote whatever way the city administration recommends, regardless of what the proposal or change is, and without any regards as to the long-term effects on the city,” he said. “Now, mind you, I’m not saying everything the city administration proposes is wrong or bad. I’m just saying that some members of council just base their vote on whatever the administration tells them, without giving it the due thought it requires and deserves. We need a City Council that thinks on its own.”

Gladue said that he will always be honest when sharing his thoughts with residents. He said he will continue to be involved at city events, meeting with residents and listening to what they have to say.

In terms of his agenda, Gladue wants to scale back the number of medical marijuana licenses that the city grants. He feels that they hinder the city’s ability to create a walkable downtown district, tying up vacant buildings that sit empty as the owners wait for a license or the opportunity to lease out to someone with a license at inflated rental rates.

“Most of the empty commercial properties are held by a very small select group of people,” Gladue said. “We cannot have, and will never have, a walkable downtown if this situation continues. This has got to change.”

Gladue also wants the city’s administration to be more transparent and accountable, which he said he would accomplish by setting up additional rules and guidelines for staff to follow. In addition, Gladue wants to push for more civility between members of the council.

“The attacks and ambushes need to cease. Also, along that same vein, the volunteer bashing (by council members), for lack of a better word … needs to be stopped,” he said. “The recent trend of alienating the core volunteers needs to be reversed. Otherwise we’ll cease to have people volunteer.”

He said the challenges facing the city include the fact that it’s landlocked with little room for new development that would grow the tax base. In terms of strengths, meanwhile, he sees the city’s volunteers as its greatest asset.

“(If elected), I will do my best to promote what is best for the city, not just certain individuals,” Gladue said. “I will always be pushing … for accountability, transparency and honesty, something that is currently lacking among certain members of council. I will also strive for a more positive relationship with our volunteer organizations, as well as amongst members of council.”

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