Steve Kapitan looks to keep an independent voice in the office

By Laura Grandt

Third Ward Alderman Steve Kapitan is up for re-election.

“I am an independent voice that isn’t swayed by special interests,” said 3rd Ward Alderman incumbent Steve Kapitan. “I’m not a rubber stamp for the mayor. I’m not a rubber stamp for the staff either.”

Kapitan pointed to the Northland Plaza vote to exemplify this. He said a vote on the final offer was turned down by a one vote margin. He was one of those votes. Then the proposal was brought back with the incentives lowered by nearly $1.5 million.

Kapitan said the Growth Summit and the Pleasant Street neighborhood revitalization are important issues.

He said the Growth Summit was proposed by Mayor Greg Sparrow in response to his moratorium on expansion. He said the summit ties into other issues, such as the burden growth creates on taxpayers and the school referendum.

Kapitan said he would not vote in favor of subdivisions until the Growth Summit was resolved.

He also said he would support incentives for industrial development so long as they provide living wages for workers. He would not support those that provide low wages because workers then would have to find alternative ways of making ends meet, such as living in illegal overcrowded housing.

For Pleasant Street revitalization efforts, Kapitan pointed to include gathering neighborhood input, creating a task force, using $100,000 from the federal Community Development Block Grant as well as local dollars in the neighborhood, increasing attention to code enforcement of property maintenance and increasing police bike patrol.

Kapitan said he has not sought endorsement by any unions.

“If I had my choice, I think it would be better if the city unions refrain from endorsing any candidate for city or mayor because of the relationship,” he said, referring to contracts.

He said he thought the fire department endorsed his opponent because he voted against a police contract he felt was too costly, although that was not the reason they gave him. He added he voted to hire three new firefighters a year ago.