As your recently retired Mayor of Aurora, I am more hopeful than ever about Aurora’s future. Amazon’s choice of Aurora will bring up to 1,400 new jobs to our City. Homicides have fallen in Aurora by 73% in the last 20 years. The Paramount Theater’s attendance rose from 52,000 in 2011 to 310,000 last season and, along with RiverEdge Park, is helping to bring a half million visitors to Downtown Aurora each year.
All of this is good news for Aurora, its economy and its future. But as we approach a Mayoral Election next Tuesday, the question becomes: “How do we continue our progress as a city?” On Tuesday, voters will choose between Rick Guzman and Richard Irvin for Aurora’s next Mayor. While both candidates are intelligent and affable, there is a clear contrast between the two.
Although he touts his previous prosecutorial experience as an attorney in fighting crime, Richard Irvin has spent the last decade as a criminal defense attorney plying the trade of plea bargaining to put gang-bangers and other violent offenders back on our streets as quickly as possible.
I might be convinced that Richard could change his ways as Mayor, were it not for the fact that he couldn’t even persuade himself to vote for the Censure of Lynne Johnson, our shop-lifting alderman, even after she had pled guilty to stealing from a store in the ward she represents. She has subsequently been arrested again, in the same store, this time for burglary, yet Irvin allows her to actively campaign for him. Meanwhile, our past two Police Chiefs have endorsed Rick Guzman.
On our City Council front, Alderman Irvin is known as one of our least prepared – and least effective — alderman. Irvin has not proposed a single piece of legislation in his 10 years as alderman. Moreover, Irvin has been largely invisible in our community . . . rarely appearing at events except when he is running for Mayor, this being his third attempt.
In contrast stands Rick Guzman, who long before starting in the Mayor’s office was already busy working to make our community a better place. For his efforts with Emmanuel House, a not-for-profit that helps people of all races become first-time home buyers, he was recognized nationally as one of “the brightest minds and boldest leaders solving problems through innovation.”
Thanks to Rick’s ability to think innovatively, the historic St. Charles Hospital is now a revitalized Senior Apartment building that will strengthen its challenged neighborhood and generate real tax dollars. It was also Rick Guzman’s innovative ideas that helped us avoid having to rebuild Jericho Circle, a crime-plagued and inhumane public housing project. And while Richard Irvin talks vaguely of improving schools, Rick Guzman has helped to develop the Pathways to Prosperity program that our West Side Schools (Dist. 129) is busy implementing to make sure its graduates have real job opportunities.
Although the Irvin camp is busy trying to persuade Republican voters that Rick Guzman is a Democrat, while at the same time telling Democrats that he is Republican, Rick Guzman is simply this: an inclusive and open-minded Leader who will follow my tradition as a non-partisan mayor.
I am writing this letter because I believe Rick Guzman is the person who can and will multiply Aurora’s positive advances of the past decade. Given his five years of experience in the Mayor’s Office helping to create those advances, Rick Guzman is in fact “Ready to Lead on the First Day.” Thanks for taking the time to read my perspective and please don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, April 4.
City of Aurora