Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Commercial Vehicle Parking Study Committee Meets and Dissolves in One Night

Monday night, the Commercial Vehicle Parking Study Committee met to discuss the commercial vehicle parking in residential areas. It was an interesting experience and one that I am proud to have participated in positively.

The public meeting had no attendees besides other trustees; However, I want to acknowledge the citizens who contacted me with their opinions about the subject before the meeting. I was very impressed to have received two emails and one call regarding this issue. I am certain that forums such as this blog encouraged this interaction. Thanks to you who wrote and I hope it serves as motivation to others to get involved, let me know what you're thinking on topics we tackle as well as anything that's on your mind.

I believe we came to a conclusion that best serves our community at large.

Essentially, we are amending our zoning code to allow commercial vehicles with D plates that are no taller than 9 feet to be parked in residential areas (driveways). Additionally, we are limiting the type of trailers that can be parked in residential areas to TA plates (3000 lb capacity) with TB and TC plates on a call-in basis limited to approximately 5 days per year. Further details and exact language will be available at our first January Committee of the Whole meeting on January 12.

The discussion was healthy and civil. It was tough to work through a few compromises, but I am proud of every member of the committee and honored to have worked alongside them.

One thing I realized during this experience is the importance of thinking for the greater good. We live in an era that is so very consumed with individual rights. I've heard it said that the late 60s kicked off the "Me" generation - if that is the case then I don't even know how to describe where we are today.

It is imperative to listen to all point of views and look at how what we do affects the entire community. Then, we are charged with moving forward toward solutions that serve the greater community best.

Are we going to satisfy everyone, every time?

Not a chance.

So the Commercial Vehicle Parking Study Committee accomplished what it set out to accomplish - discuss and bring closure an on-going parking issue in the village.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Commercial Vehicle Parking - Open Your Mouth - GET RECRUITED

Two citizens and myself did just that a few weeks back and now we are all on a committee to investigate how to best approach the Commercial Vehicle Parking situation in Lake in the Hills.

Essentially, we have had three citizens in a three month period come before the board regarding commercial vehicle parking.

The first citizen, a few months back, came to us because of his D plated licensed truck getting ticketed for overnight parking in his driveway. At the time, I was uneasy with the thought that we could be limiting employment options for anyone based on the plate of their truck. I read the ordinance and offered a suggestion to the citizen but really left this issue alone. I will stress that while I felt uneasy, it did not occur to me, then, that this could be a bigger problem.

Fast forward to the November 9 Committtee of the Whole meeting...

On this night, two citizens came before the board. One with a similar issue to the previously covered issue of a D plated truck and citations and then an opposing view - about the lack of limitations on commercial vehicle parking. The citizen cited trailers, snow plows and other commercial vehicles or accessories that were being stored in driveways.

On this night - it hit me. We have a problem.

You see, in my view - one person is probably representative of a broader issue that may or may not be chronic. Three people within 10 weeks is definitely a bigger issue.

We don't see very many citizens at Committee of the Whole or Board meetings. I can probably tell you each citizen who has been before us since I was sworn in in May and their concern WITHOUT looking at the minutes because it has been so few.

With three people in ten weeks on the same issue, it is apparent that is much bigger than we realize and must be investigated. So I am glad I opened my mouth.

Check out an article covering the Nov 9 meeting: First Electric Newspaper

Here is where you come in... We will meet on Dec 14 at 6:00pm at Village Hall and I want to know if you or someone you know in Lake in the Hills has an opinion on Commercial Vehicle Parking.

Are you a contractor who has had to park elsewhere due to tickets on you D-plated vehicle?

Do you just get sick and tired of seeing commercial vehicles parked on your block?

Leave a comment.

Email me at

Speak up. The committee is formed so you have no fear of being recruited :)

Wind Energy Part Two - Dec 14

After a lively discussion and productive meeting on Monday night, the Planning and Zoning Commission tabled the Small Wind Energy system ordinance until the next meeting on Monday Dec 14, 7:00 pm at Village Hall.

I was impressed that we had three citizens join the discussion and was encouraged by each of their comments. It is interesting, one of the citizens apologized for not being part of the discussion before now. From my point of view - we accept that apology heartily and are glad you are part of the discussion now. I also received feedback from citizens who could not make it. This is local government at its best - when we collaborate to come up with the best solution for the greater good. This is why I ran for office and I am glad to be part of this so soon in my term.

Here are the links to articles related to the issue for your review:

First Electric Newspaper - actual meeting coverage
Northwest Herald - meeting day coverage

So once again - I ask - if this issue is one that you hold a strong opinion on,  one way or another, please come out on Dec 14 and make your voice heard.

See you on the 14th!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Eco-conscious Lake in the Hills Residents Wanted - Nov 16

If you are an eco-friendly  Lake in the Hills resident interested in making your voice heard - please come to the Public Hearing Scheduled Monday November 16 at 7:30 at Village Hall.

Details about the meeting can be seen here.

Essentially, our board is being asked to amend text to our local zoning ordinance related to Small Wind Energy Systems and this is the public forum to give us your views.

It is the 9th anniversary of my 29th birthday and I will be there to hear your views! Come and join me!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Quiet is Deafening

The fall has began in full force in the Village of Lake in the Hills.

I love driving westbound on Algonquin from Randall and seeing a few bunches of trees rapidly turning and dropping their leaves. Nothing is better.



Perhaps the quiet humming of my new role on the board is quite deafening for some.

I have never been one to speak with nothing to say but thought I'd drop a quick line on this blog to make sure people know I am still here and interested if there are topics they'd like to dish about.

A few things upcoming for me...

Next week, I intend to connect again with a speaker I met at the IML conference who led the workshop about Parks and Recreation surveys and how to best serve your community through programs. She resides in downstate Illinois and equal to me in energy. We've already had one really dynamic discussion and I look forward to meeting with her again.

Wednesday Oct 28 I will be attending the McHenry County Council of Government meeting in Woodstock, IL

On November 4, I will be attending a Homeowner's Association's quarterly meeting.

On Friday November 6, I will be "lunching with a cop" - a very cool program hosted by the Lake in the Hills Police Department - check it out here for details.

I plan to announce the site of my next quarterly coffee talk in about four weeks - and no later than the week of Thanksgiving.

Stay tuned and let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Until next time.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Time at the Illinois Municipal League 96th Annual Conference

I had a great learning experience last week at the Illinois Municipal League 96th Annual Conference. I attended Friday and Saturday sessions but the conference started Thursday.

I attended 4 workshops and the general session. The general session and two of the workshops are what I'd like to share (and hear from you about).

Our general session was packed with star power - on the day he was to leave for Copenhagen to hopefully secure the 2016 Olympic Games, Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley started the morning with a short address to encourage us as the "front line" in the economic crisis. He spent a few minutes describing the Olympic effort and legacy of how the Olympics have changed the lives of many but particularly two Chicagoans who competed in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalf. Regardless your politics - I am here to tell you that the Olympic Games would be tremendous for Chicago. I worked at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta and I can tell you first hand that it will benefit the city much more than it will harm us. Before the Olympics - Atlanta was just another southern city - home to big corporations, Delta, UPS and of course, Coca-Cola. The games transformed Atlanta to the hub of economic activity for the south and catapulted its Hartsfield International Airport to the busiest in the world - supplanting Chicago's O'Hare. But I digress.

Christopher Gardner, NY Bestselling Author of The Pursuit of Happyness and subject of the film starring Will Smith of the same name, was the headliner of the general session and worth every cent Walgreens paid to bring him to us. His talk - "Breaking Cycles" touched on every possible inspirational theme known to man and excited me at every turn. If you walked out of that room unmotivated - well to quote him "If that don't set you on Fire, then your wood must be wet." He was comfortable on the stage and reminded us to do what we loved. I was 100% validated in my current journey by his talk. Honestly - that talk was worth the whole conference to me and I could have gone home. But I decided I should at least try and attend some of the workshops designed for municipal officials.

The two that struck a cord with me the most were "Parks and Recreation: Identifying the Real Needs and Desires of Your Community" and "Using Social Networking Tools To Manage Your Message."

The Parks and Recreation workshop was extremely insightful and energized me for one of my passions for running for office in the first place - providing quality, affordable programs for village residents. The talk challenged us to get feedback and ask our constituents what it was they wanted in the way of programming before we had our strategic planning and gave us tips on how to gather and make actionable the feedback we collect. The passion and energy of our facilitators was infectious and I have already made contact with one of them for some follow-up idea exchange.

Using Social Networking talks was sort of a sales pitch for the company that conducted the workshop but very informative on how to properly utilize these new and every changing media tools to engage your residents. Luckily, Lake in the Hills is already making steps in this direction with its recently redesigned website and e-newsletter, Resident Insider, that goes out weekly. If you are not signed up for it - click here to enroll. They are a great way to be plugged in to what is happening around our community on a more timely basis than our quarterly printed newsletter. There were several discussions on the use of Twitter - which I have not been able to get into personally - and how the IML uses it during legislative sessions in Springfield. I will take a peek at that and I am sure I'll subscribe just out of curiosity.

Overall - I was extremely impressed at the quality of opportunities to learn and network with other municipal officials from throughout the state. I met some very interesting people and look forward to putting in to practice some of the principles I learned this past week.

I would love to hear any feedback and answer any questions you have about this conference. Shoot me a note and I will respond as soon as I can.

Until next time - Happy Fall, Lake in the Hills!

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Take on the 1st Quarterly Coffee Talk with a Trustee

This past Saturday I hosted a coffee talk for residents of Lake in the Hills. I've got several key thoughts about the event and ideas on what I need to do for the future. Before I share them, thought I'd link you to the press coverage of the event.

First Electric Newspaper coverage here
McHenry County Blog coverage here

The Good

Nice coverage for a very busy news Saturday with the protesters in Crystal Lake and Lake in the Hills on Randall Road. Two reporters showing up while the one citizen was there definitely was better than them showing up to me and 8 year old only. Additionally, it was good to introduce myself and my ideas to them. Neither had very much information about me and it was good to share my story.

Great day for it. The weather cooperated.

Got to meet a Parks and Recreation Board Member who was sitting there enjoying the Saturday as the whole event came and went. In the end, he quickly introduced himself and we connected. I look forward to working with him in the future.

One citizen took the time out of their morning activities to come and ask me a few questions. Just like my campaigning - meeting people, one-to-one is a good thing.

The Opportunity

With only one citizen showing up - clearly I need to get the word out better for my next meeting. Since I am looking to do it quarterly - technically that puts us in December - clearly not a good time so I will shoot for January. I will look begin identifying a date and place in the next few weeks.

In describing my thoughts about politics and life in general - I will recap from my point of view. So here's the context of my soundbites...

Gen X not loyal. This is my belief that as a generality, my generation is much more concerned with individuals vs. groups. We vote for people. We choose our places of work based on our needs and we leave as easily as we come if we are not able to contribute the way we want to contribute. I spoke about it as it relates to the current party system. It is tough on the two major parties our thinking and behavior. We are not loyal for loyal sake. I think the reporter was 100% on is saying that I am not fixed in my ideology.

Shameless plug for Urban Faith - I have written articles and book reviews for This site is part of Urban Ministries that creates content targeted to Christian African-Americans. Very cool site.

Recruited by Paula Yensen - Paula is a close friend and political mentor. When we were working hard to get her elected last fall (precisely now and I certainly don't remember it being this nice outside but I digress), we barely discussed me as a possible candidate. In fact - I brought it up to her after I'd finished canvassing my precinct for her. I felt so comfortable at the door and did think - "man if I can do this for her - I can do this for me". My only uneasiness with the "recruiting" sounded like this "party machine" and it simply was not so. I am extroverted and a leader who has always loved politics. Timing was really the number one recruiter.

"maybe the only Black Elected official in McHenry County and race as irrelevant" - This one is interesting. Race was clearly irrelevant to the residents who voted for me. And I appreciate that. I believe people heard what I had to say and wanted to give me chance. Period.

Still have not checked on my status as the only black official - if someone knows - let me know, it is an interesting fact that would be a great trivia question for my 25th high school reunion. Point here - not important. Again - I believe my generation is the first that truly integrated our lives with those who are different than we are and we are less likely to have deep ingrained issues with race. Of course, we saw the Kanye clip from last night and I will say on the record - he's younger than me. By a lot. He's a millenial.

Finally - I grew in Chicago Heights and it is where I got my "Italian" roots. Forgive me.

SO - I appreciate anyone who is following this journey and ask for your feedback on how to get more folks out to my next coffee. I have a feeling a snowy January Saturday morning offering free coffee might be more relevant.

Next week, I am attending the Illinois Municipal League's 94th conference and will blog about my experiences there.

Tune in.

Monday, August 31, 2009

First Quarterly Coffee Talk - Sept 12, 9:00 am at Starbucks!

As promised, I am posting the location of my first Quarterly Coffee Talk.

Starbucks - Lake in the HIlls
343 N. Randall Road
Lake in the Hills, IL

This is a very informal opportunity to meet and buy a coffee for any LITH residents who care to come and meet me.

I will be there at 9:00 and promise to stay for at least one hour (a little longer if we get some great dialouge going but need to leave by 11 at the latest - celebrating my first born's birthday later that afternoon)


I don't have any prepared remarks nor will I have a schedule - this is simply a chance to meet residents and hear from you - the Lake in the Hills constituents.

Coffee is on me.... regular or decaf fresh brewed Starbucks coffee. No fancies, please.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Save the Date - Denise's Quarterly Coffee Talk - Saturday Sept 12 - 9:00 am

Hello Lake in the Hills!

Monday marked my first 100 days in office as a Lake in the Hills Village Board Trustee.

I can honestly say that it has been a lively 100 days.

While I am still learning and settling into office, I don't want to lose touch with the residents in the process. On the contrary, as I am forming my thoughts and views on issues, I want them to be in sync with what is most important to the people I serve. During the first part of 2009 - I spent every weekend on the doorsteps of residents - educating them about me and learning the issues important to them. Now that the residents of Lake in the Hills entrusted me with this role - I want to be sure that I interact with residents as often as possible.

That said, I want to ask that you SAVE THE DATE for Saturday September 12 at 9:00 am.

I will host my first Quarterly Coffee Talk. I have not arranged for location just yet but will do so this weekend and post all the details early next week. One thing I know is the coffee will be on me. Regular, fresh brewed coffee - not the latte, frappucino-types. You're welcome to come but I'm only buying for the old fashioned coffee drinkers like me. :)

I am not setting an agenda.

I will show up ready to drink coffee and listen.

Join me.

Tell your friends.

Friday, July 24, 2009

My First Appointment from the President

A few weeks back the Village President reassigned all the Lake in the Hills Board member liaison appointments and I landed as the alternate to him for the McHenry County Council of Governments.

I was excited as this was my second choice of appointments.

In case you didn't know - the McHenry County Council of Government (MCCOG) is a non-profit network of municipal governmental bodies who seek to provide cooperation on all levels of government. It is a great opportunity for me to get to know other local government officials as well as quickly gain an understanding on the legislative priorities we have in McHenry County.

This past week, at our monthly meeting we had participation from our state representatives and it was enlightening to see the dynamic of their interactions and hear about their work on behalf of our county.

I also learned about an event in September where I hope be reunited with someone who inspired me to write my first political donation check, John Norquist.  John is the former 4 term Mayor of Milwaukee and current President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism and will be speaking in Lake in the Hills in September. CNU is a dynamic organization that spreads the word on the message of New Urbanism versus suburban sprawl. Click here to learn more.

It is not ironic to me that now would be the time we would reunite. You see, John's was the second political campaign I ever worked on and as I mentioned early on in my blogs, one of the many influencers of my long time interest in local government.  I was a "Friend of John Norquist" in 1995 and volunteered my time on reaching young single folks for his campaign in Milwaukee.

Some of the tactics used then to reach people, I used in my recent successful campaign. 

Good old fashioned, skin-to-skin contact with as many people as possible. I canvassed all across my downtown Milwaukee neighborhood on his behalf. I talked about him every Thursday night over beers at Soccer City or the Landmark on the east side.

I built relationships with young people from all walks of life for John Norquist in his 1996 re-election campaign.  He won and that was so cool for me the twenty something who helped with little money and lots of sweat equity!

How rewarding to think that I did that this past winter for myself and got the same result!

Glad to have such wonderful reminder of why I did this in the first place on my very first night fulfilling my new assignment.

Not a coincidence, but yet another reinforcing sign that I am right where I need to be. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

1st Press on the New Trustee

No sooner had I posted last week's blog did I get a call from the Daily Herald the next morning.

This article is the result of that call. Please read it.

Overall - very accurate accounting of the conversation.

The omission that I would have liked reported was this:

My reference to the commision to study exotic animals was not a "typical political response" to throw a committee at something. I said that we are not going to spend money on a study which is what it would take for me personally to feel comfortable allowing exceptions to our municipal code. In our current economy - we cannot afford to do more than we have done in research and what we found leads me to believe that our municpal code is well written for this specific case.

Does it cover all potential exotic animal species? That could be debated.

I do not have the expertise to decide if this animal or any naturally wild animal (this one happens to hail from Madagascar where they are naturally wild) is a safe pet or better stated, not a threat to our community.

Without further study - I stand by my decision.

Funny, to those watching and commenting all over the articles (the aforementioned and this one from the Northwest Herald), this is a very unpopular decision out the gate for this new trustee.

I am ok with that. I wasn't sure how I'd react the first time I was accused of meddling or called an idiot.

I am happy to report that I am fine.

Yeah - it stings to read how "stupid" I am but I have a clear conscience and know I made the right decision for the community.

That soothes the sting.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Learning by Fire

Ok - so I mentioned that I felt as though I was being punked my first round of meetings in late May.

There has been action every week since I started and I love it. It is forcing me to cut my teeth on figuring out how to best think through and solve common village issues.

I will say this.

It is tough looking a resident in the eye and declining their request. My heart broke as I did this Tuesday night but my conscious is clear. My stance was made in the best interests of the greater community after a few weeks of research and speaking to other community leaders. I was open to options that never surfaced and so in the end, I had to rule the way I did.

I am heading to a leadership conference later in the summer where Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair is on the faculty. Interesting enough, just today, I watched a preview of his session and he specifically spoke on doing what you know is right regardless of how people will view you. Here you can see it for yourself.

Now, governing the Village of Lake in the Hills cannot be compared to being the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at a very volatile time in history. But the principle of leadership is the same. My sense of duty to the citizens of Lake in the Hills is every bit as important to me as Prime Minister Blair's was to his citizens.

Stay tuned - later in the summer I plan to have a "chat" with all the citizens who care to join me for coffee after my first 100 days in office.

Until then stay cool.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

First Week Under My Belt

Last week was my first full week as an elected trustee on the  Lake in the Hills Board of Trustees.

With the exception of feeling like I was being "punked" on my first night  - I enjoyed every minute. Even when I was looking for the hidden camera and Ashton Kutcher to come busting out of the break room - I was right at home on the board.

Preparation was key. In reviewing the materials - I drove by Well 9 and the future Well 17 to be sure I at least had an idea of what we were discussing related to this project. I read and read and read ordinances and codes - it is getting practically engrained in my brain and I count that as a good thing.

The big thing I learned this week - was being prepared to just listen.  In preparation for the meeting - I read the materials, did some research and drive by views of places we'd discuss; all good and significant activity to be "ready" for the meeting.

Preparing to listen seems counterintuitive but it is not. 

Listening for understanding and without judgement is key for me and I will work very hard to do this at every opportunity this term. I am certain I will have plenty of practice.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's Official - Swearing Set for May 14

We are just a few weeks away from my official swearing in ceremony.

The swearing in takes place at a Village Board meeting on Thursday May 14 at 7:30 pm at the Village Hall in Lake in the Hills.

I am excited and ready to get to work.

I have completed my orientation and learned so much about all the departments of the village. Recently, I spent an informative morning at Village Hall with our adminstrator and his team and an equally informative afternoon with the Police Department and Public Works Team.

After months of campaigning and meeting citizens, it was great to meet the people who actually serve the village full-time.

From just a quick glimpse - I can say we should all be proud to live in such a well run municipality. I hope to dig in over the next four years and find my niche - where we can best put my talents to work for the staff and residents.

I am open to questions or inquiries of any kind and ask that you post something here or email me at

See you on the 14th!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Your thoughts on the Daily Herald article

It is still not officially certified by the clerk's office but I will be joining the Lake in the Hills Village Board of Trustees on May 14.

I want to once again thank the residents of Lake in the Hills for trusting me with their vote earlier this week. I am very excited and humbled to serve you.

Interesting enough - I have had several people ask me my thoughts on this Daily Herald article. Read and tell me what you think.

My thoughts are somewhat complex. In the new post-Obama era - I know there is a definite "exhaustion" by many with the subject of race. That said - I was disappointed that that was the key thought in the DH piece. While out with some friends last night (some of whom voted for me Tuesday) I was asked - what I thought of the article and the headline.

"Such a complicated matter" - I hesitantly replied. On one hand - I am proud. If you read my other blog and/or spend any time around me - you know that I am a trailblazing pioneer. I love breaking  new ground - it is in my DNA to be the "only" or the "first". Somehow this time it is a little different because I am in the public eye. I have many times been the "first black" you-fill-in-the-blanks but this is the first time it was written up in the paper and does not feel quite the same as before.

You see when I spoke to the reporter on election night - I talked about how I felt (validated, humbled and excited), I talked about opening up communication between the residents and their government, I talked about how I had a plan to win and I executed it to perfection.  I talked about adding a fresh perspective - that of the younger, more diverse families moving into the area. I was asked if I knew if I was the first black person on the board and I said - "I did not know".

Yet the final points became the only point. I get it and I'm not upset. But I do realize it is a new arena I am playing in now.

One of my friends last night joked,  "I did not vote for you to make history (referring to the first line of the article), I voted for you because I believe in you." 

And I know many others in Lake in the Hills feel the same way. 

I am curious though, to hear open honest discussion on the topic. Three days later and no one has left any comments on the DH webpage with my article - I bet there are thoughts and I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thank you Lake in the Hills.

You won't be sorry you trusted me with your vote.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

In the Voter's Hands

This afternoon- as the sky spit a rain/sleet/snow mixture - I spent my final hours canvassing neighborhoods to encourage voters to consider me.

As always - I am so energized by meeting and speaking with residents.

I want to get to work on their behalf right away!

Tomorrow night - I will make a few more calls and call it a campaign.

It's in the voter's hands now. 

I am humbled and excited all as once to see if the voter's will entrust me with the opportunity to represent them.

Either way - I am a better person because of my interactions with the people of Lake in the Hills during this campaign. 

Thanks Lake in the Hills for your consideration.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Early Voting Ended Today - 5 Days Until Election Day

Today, early voting ended.

Tuesday April 7, 2009 polls open at 6:00 am.

Tonight, I had an experience that captures what politics should be about.

I called an angry voter to apologize for a misunderstanding and earned her vote tonight.

We exchanged our hopes, dreams and fears for the future of Lake in the Hills and you know what, we had something in common.  We both want to best for our village and want to keep it as a welcoming place for working families to live and raise their families.

We did not agree on every point but we found common ground without disrespecting one another. 

I did not call her with an agenda nor was it my intention to sway her one way or another. 

I wanted her to know that I care. 

She appreciated the time and pledged her vote.

I was and continue to be humbled by this encounter. This is precisely why I entered this race.

Voters - if you trust me with your vote on Tuesday - I promise to do the same for you.

I will listen.

I will share.

I will represent you.

Elect me - Denise Barreto to the Village of Lake in the Hills Board of Trustees.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Election Coverage - Check it out!

As we are in the final two weeks of this campaign, there are several sources for information on all the candidates that I suggest.

The Daily Herald has done a great job of compiling detailed profiles on all the candidates for the Village Board of Trustees here 

The Northwest Herald has a new story published here

I'll keep on the look out for more information as we get closer to decision day. 

My hope is that the people will take all the information into account and choose me to represent them on the Lake in the Hills Village Board of Trustees.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

About Me

Today while meeting voters and introducing myself - I said the following many times. Just in case you have not met me yet (and oh, I plan to meet as many of our citizens as possible over next three weeks), here's a little..

About me...

I married the funniest,  most supportive man eight years ago later this month.

I am a mom of two kids - 7 year old girl and 3 year old boy

I am a marketer by trade having worked for some of America's most storied companies such United Airlines, Pella Windows and Doors and now Sears - with each company hiring me to usher in change as we introduced new products and/or services see more about my work history and as well as references

I am a proven change agent and leader who loves taking different points of view and gaining consensus to drive results.

I want to put my talents, that have helped me for many years in corporate America,  to use for the citizens of Lake in the Hills.

Two examples of key issues for me: 

Parks and Rec - affordable options for individuals and family activities

Working families - keeping the interests of this key group as our priority

Join me on April 7 or  you can start voting on Monday March 16 at the Algonquin Township Office or Huntley Park District.

Vote for me - Denise Barreto for Lake in the Hills Board of Trustees

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Top Five Reasons To Elect Me

Whether or not you've had an opportunity to see my printed piece - I wanted to expand on a message that I have out in the community today.

5. I am a proven leader

I have excelled in the workforce over the last 16 years as a marketing executive. With each move - I have gained more responsibility and had to manage in all levels within the various corporations I have served.

Eleven years ago - I founded and led the FireWorks for Kids Foundation for the first three years of its existence. This foundation is the 501- c3 not-for-profit arm of the Chicago Fire Major League Soccer team. It was an incredibly innovative concept at that time in Major League Soccer(MLS) and we were the first team to launch a non-profit. There are over 8 of them today and because of with my leadership - the league started a Community Relations Summit in 1999 to address the needs of the community relations departments throughout MLS.

I am also a volunteer leader at Willow Creek Community Church in the Promiseland Children's ministry.

4. I love Lake in the Hills!

After we married and started a family, my husband, Isael and I settled in Geneva and really enjoyed our time there. However, when it was time to make a choice on where to live and raise Emma (our only at that time) - we were very deliberate in our choice of Lake in the Hills. Not only was it affordable with excellent schools, but we could see the budding diversity that was starting at the time of our move in 2002. There was a time when I used to say "this is not my dream home" - and I literally meant my house on Alexandria Drive -but I have grown to love my corner lot and cannot imagine moving anywhere anytime soon.

We are strong participants in the Lake in the Hills Parks and Recreation offerings. From the dance program that my daughter participated in for three years to the Funstastic Day Camp - I have been an active advocate for the programming here. In addition to donating my talents to the staff in order to better the program by formulating focus group facilitation materials - I have been a personal reference to many parents considering sending their kids to the Funstastic Camp program.

I have voted in all elections here, big and small and made my voice heard. This is an important trait in a public servant - one who is diligent and consistent to vote in private will not hesitate to vote publicly representing your concerns.

3. I will represent working families

The majority of us living in Lake in the Hills are not independently wealthy - so that makes us working families and I am one of you.

I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago - in Harvey and Chicago Heights both working class cities with no "rich" side of town. I understand hard work as I watched my dad - Albert provide for us by working as a union journeyman mechanic. I remember vividly - his oil crusted nails and his restlessness for sitting around because he worked so hard physically everyday of his life. Gratefully - he is retired to his native Alabama.

It was during the fall campaign season as I knocked doors on behalf of a potential McHenry County Board Member (she was victorious and our face-to-faces with the citizens made the difference) - that I learned of the concerns of working families in Lake in the Hills.

It was the neighbor two streets in back of me that told me of the spotty work that has been available for the last two years as siding blew off the side of his house. It was the anger in his voice and the tenderness of his wife's caresses on his shoulder that touched me most. He had something to say and no one to say it to.

It was the empty homes that line my subdivision and the many others in Lake in the Hills that tell the story of the families who just didn't make it for one reason or another.

The clear concerns that our home values keep dropping as our property taxes continue to rise.

I get it and am ready to roll up my sleeves to help us keep our taxes in Lake in the Hills in line.

2. I am proven change agent.

In 16 years and seven career opportunities - only two jobs existed before I arrived. That makes me a pioneer by nature. I thrive in an environment that wants to change and most often, personally led those efforts to bring change about. 100% of the people that have hired me has asked that I come in and motivate those around me to a new direction.

1. I want to serve YOU.

I love politics - always have and always will. I also can say that I have been involved in politics on a local level in just about every place I have lived - in Chicago, Milwaukee, Atlanta and now Lake in the Hills. I believe that the heartbeat of politics is local. Everyone needs a voice in this community. I have been overwhelmed by the support of my neighbors, co-workers and others in my network who have encouraged me to run. I am humbled by the opportunity. I have served others in many capacities over the years and am ecstatic to have the chance to put my talents to work for you.

Please feel free to post a comment or send me an email at with any questions or if you want to talk to me in person. I look forward to meeting and speaking with as many citizens of Lake in the Hills as I can over the next four weeks.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The New Headquarters For My Political Campaign

With only 4 weeks until the election and lots of activity surrounding the campaign - we have launched this locale for supporters and future supporters to learn more about my quest to win a seat on the Lake in the Hills Village Board of Trustees. You can find this site easily at

The election is on Tuesday April 7. Early voting will open on March 16. 

I am seeking my first public office and there is a field of six candidates for three open trustee positions. There are two incumbents - one who was elected twice and is now seeking a third term and one who was appointed to finish a term of a former Trustee who went on to serve on the McHenry County Board. Including myself - there are four new candidates in the field.

From now until the election I will be post blogs commenting on my adventures as I campaign and meet the electorate of Lake in the Hills.

My number one objective as Trustee is to represent the working families of Lake in the Hills - with or without children. This is impossible if the people I want to represent do not know what they want and/or need. I will be challenging the citizens of Lake in the Hills to become more involved in their community.  Not a la "44" but I will invite the opinions of citizens to weigh in on issues that the village faces and ask that they make the meetings that are held twice monthly  -their meetings. I have said that I want everyone to know that those meetings are not for the Village President nor any of the Board of Trustee members - they are for everyone. 

Thanks for caring and check back for updates.