Three seek to lead Burr Ridge
Who they are
John J. Bittner
Occupation: retired business owner, Plastic Film Corp. of America
Length of residency: 39 years
Positions held: board member, Little City; Misericordia Foundation volunteer; Organizer, Helping Hand golf outing; co-founder, West Suburban Charities
Robert N. Sodikoff
Length of residency: more than 25 years
Positions held: current acting village president; village trustee 1999-2012; chairman of Plan Commission, 1989-1999; chairman, Economic Development Committee, 2003-2013
Occupation: owner and president, Sales Activity Management Inc., Burr Ridge
Length of residency: 25 years
Positions held: Member, Burr Ridge Veterans Memorial Committee; precinct committeeman, Downers Grove Township election judge; DuPage County coordinator, Gower Playground Project (2004); legislative chairman, Insurance and Financial Advisors Political Action Committee
Updated: May 6, 2013 2:12AM
BURR RIDGE — The three candidates for village president each see a need for a greater sense of community in Burr Ridge.
But John Bittner, Robert Sodikoff and Michael “Mickey” Straub each has his own ideas for creating it.
Bittner, a retired businessman and longtime resident, has suggested more community events, such as weekly European nights and a villagewide Valentine’s Dinner to help neighbors get to know one another. European nights would take place on Saturday evenings in the summer. Village Center Drive would be closed and tables set up outside for dining, drinking and shopping, he said.
Sodikoff, acting village president and longtime trustee, said the village can support a sense of community by encouraging single-family residential development, including housing for young families and empty-nesters, and by helping to promote the village’s businesses. If elected, Sodikoff said he will pursue a ZIP code for Burr Ridge.
The village now shares a ZIP code with Willowbrook. Having its own would help to identify the village to outside vendors and services, Sodikoff said.
Straub, a local business owner, said a better sense of community could come from changing the makeup of the Village Board. He said the current at-large board includes four people from one neighborhood.
“The needs of Falling Water are different from Carriage Way,” said Straub, who would favor single-member trustee districts to ensure equal representation of every part of town.
Sodikoff would like to encourage restaurants and retail stores that serve the needs of the village’s customers.
Straub said he would favor businesses, such as another area hotel, that would build on the village’s reputation as a first-class business center.
“I think of Burr Ridge as the Barrington of the south suburbs,” he said.
He also supports residents’ requests for a local drug store.
Big-name retailers and restaurants top the wish list for Bittner.
To attract such businesses, however, the village must become more business friendly, Straub and Bittner said.
Bittner said the current village government makes it difficult for business owners to make changes, which is driving businesses away. He would like to pursue a streamlined process that would make it easier and quicker for businesses to make changes to their facilities.
“I certainly think we appreciate the businesses that are here,” Sodikoff said. “We certainly want to see them thrive.”
But he said he is against is gambling with village funds, noting he opposed the village’s plan to guarantee a loan for a brewery that wished to move into town.
“That is gambling with taxpayers’ money,” he said.