If Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic plans to coast through another election unopposed, she has another thing coming. Bill Buresh, a lifelong Democrat of Bayview, is challenging her for the County's fourth supervisory district. Defeating Dimitrijevic won't be easy; but if anyone can pull it off, it would be Buresh.
Growing up in a single family home, Buresh didn't have much time to be a kid. His mother worked third shift at a factory leaving him with adult responsibilities. At 10, Buresh was tasked with the primary care of his newborn sister. He got her up every morning, packed her lunches, and took her to daycare on his bike. By 16, Buresh worked two part-time jobs to help his mother when possible. By 18, he bought his first house using the money he had saved from his paper route as a down payment.
Shortly after buying his first home, he converted it from a single family into a duplex. He soon rented it out and realized he had a knack for real-estate. Buresh now owns five properties including an eighteen-unit apartment building. To keep the costs down, he mows all the lawns, plows all the lots, and does all the repairs himself. He even bragged that all the apps on his Iphone were free.
So thoroughgoing is Buresh about saving money, he bought toilets for his rental property estimating the cost by the flush. This is no joke. He determined the average number of flushes per family per day. Of course, each family is different. Some stay home more than others so their flush volume would be higher. No worries, Buresh had a formula for that as well. New toilet installations reduced his water bill from $1200 per quarter to $690. He recovered the purchasing cost of those toilets in just five years although the toilets will last much longer.
Buresh intends to bring the same fiscal philosophy he uses in his own finances to the county government. If the spending goes up, then you need to ensure that your revenue can meet your fiscal obligations, Buresh told me. This is a far different philosophy than his opponent, Supervisor Dimitrijevic, whom some say she hasn't met a tax increase she didn't like. Her crowned jewel spending program called "Green Print" already cost county taxpayers roughly $30 million so county facilities could be retrofitted with green technology such as solar panels.
Some have argued that her program is "a bit more show than go" and that such programs would have been in place anyway, but without all the fanfare. Yes, Green Print uses technology that conserves energy, but $30 million over a 20 to 25 year span is a hefty price tag when technology goes obsolete by the day. And of course, there is also a concern about creating a County Board Sustainability Office to monitor the program. Does the county need another highly compensated czar?
When asked about Green Print, Buresh said the county should invest in something that brings good returns and a swift payback. For instance, the costs of Buresh's toilets were recovered in five years. There is no need for porcelain toilets - unlike green technology - to be replaced frequently over a 20-30 year span. Buresh said it's great to go green; but before you invest millions into a project, "make sure you're recouping your money in a reasonable amount of time."
Two weeks ago, I broke the story that Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic had endorsed Penny Sikora for County Supervisor, a delinquent with a long criminal rap sheet. Over a ten-year span, Sikora had two charges of spousal battery, theft, unemployment fraud, three restraining orders, and a few small claims judgments. County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic endorsed Sikora anyway saying he was the best candidate for the job.
Buresh said he would never give his endorsement to discreditable candidate without first putting him in a position where he can demonstrate improvement. "You give him a breadcrumb of responsibility before you give him an entire meal," said Buresh. "Let him demonstrate he can work consistently without hiccups before he can assume a county position of public trust."
Buresh also thought that Sikora's past was revelatory of his character. He may incline him to do other unethical things if elected to office, Buresh said. This wasn't a concern for Dimitrijevic, however. She asked reporter Dan Bice, "Don't we want people to have second chances?"
Sikora exceeded his second chance in 2002 and is well onto his ninth or tenth chance with the law. Dimitrijevic has yet to answer El Conquistador about why she endorsed Penny Sikora over candidate Deanna Alexander - an Army veteran with a master's degree in Public Administration and accounting experience in the private sector.
Spendthrift Dimitrijevic may have her hands full against a candidate who shows a mastery of getting more for less. Buresh took on more responsibility at the age of ten than many adults are willing to accept even now. As Dimitrijevic goes toe-to-toe with Buresh, he just may teach her a thing or two about spending the public's money as if it were your own.