In a campaign letter sent out to Morton Grove Voters by the Action Party on 3-16-2015, certain statements were made that show that either these candidates have become disconnected from reality or they believe that the voter of Morton Grove have the I.Q. of a turnip.
Either way, these candidates need to be called out over the inaccuracies and downright misinformation that is contained in this campaign piece.
For example, in the first paragraph, they say that “In 2013, you gave us a loud and clear message to move Morton Grove forward. You told us to maintain our excellent services but keep taxes as low as possible.”
The question here is; “If the message to maintain our excellent services was loud and clear, why didn’t you do that?” For the prime example of the failure to keep excellent services you only have to look to the downgrading of the many Senior Citizen programs over the past two years. An award winning program that was a good working partnership between North Shore Senior Center and the Village was dismantled. The North Shore folks were strung along on a month-to-month basis until it was no longer possible for them to continue. We were told that the Village President had appointed a committee to review the situation and that North Shore was found lacking… but the report was never made public and due to what appears to be intransigence on the part of Mr. DiMaria, we lost the services that had worked so effectively. Where were the trustees during this fiasco? Isn’t it their job to represent the people, make policy and insure that the proper measures are taken to serve our residents? Seems like the sitting trustees were asleep at the switch.
The next paragraph states; We are proud of the accomplishments of the past two years. We invited all residents to provide input for the village’s first strategic plan…”
Perhaps it would have been a good idea to do some research before making that statement. In 1999, when the village was first contemplating it’s original TIF district that eventually resulted in the Lawnware property being transformed into THE WOODLANDS condominiums, there was much ado over reworking the village’s strategic plan to accommodate the new TIF project. The village attorney, Theresa Hoffman Liston was a trustee on the board at the time. It is curious that she wouldn’t have told these folks that this much touted strategic plan ain’t nothing new for Morton Grove. The one thing that this new plan seems to have in common with the old plan is that it is long on promise and short on results.
The letter goes on to claim; “We enhanced senior programming and social services, allocated millions of dollars for street improvements and are aggressively pursuing options to lower our water rates. We have also made economic development a top priority in order to attract businesses that our community wants and lessen the tax burden on our residents.”
The first question that comes to mind after reading those statements is; “What are you guys smoking?
Please share with us just which senior programming has been enhanced. Please enumerate the new social services that are being provided for the village. How many senior programs have been cancelled folks? Since it seems as though the fire department has been put in charge of senior services, please educate us on how they are more qualified than the folks your administration chased away.
What street improvements are you referring to? How many miles of curb and gutter? How many feet of new sewer? On the Action Party’s Facebook page is the following statement; “Maintaining our streets is vital. We had to hold back on major improvements during the downturn in the economy, but we’re ready to restart the program. In 2015, we will be spending over $1 million in street improvements and an additional $2.3 million through 2017.” So what we have here is, once more, an empty promise and a deliberate misleading of what is reality. Isn’t it strange that the previous administration, in the height of the recession, was able to pave over 40 miles of village streets, but your administration had to hold back? Were you lying in the letter or were you lying on your Facebook page? Or, is it possible that the dollars were redirected to some other administration priority? We know for certain that the dollars were not used to pay down the police and fire pension deficits.
Aggressively pursuing options to lower our water rates? Really? Was this increase just sprung on Morton Grove by Chicago or did the administration have some notice… like maybe at least the two years since the last election? What happened to the possibility of the lowest cost option of bringing water in from Wilmette through Glenview? The village didn’t tell us it was off the table, we had to read it in the newspapers.
Economic development a priority? Is that what this crew calls it when they’re hiring multiple consultants? The village has a full-time salaried person who is in charge of economic development. Why do we have that person if we are to depend on outside firms to do that job?
Attracting new businesses to Morton Grove needs to be more than increasing liquor licenses and electronic gambling poker permits. A Waukegan TIF district was approved by this administration. The stated purpose was to increase the sales tax base to relieve some of the burden on homeowners real estate taxes. The best bet for that would have been a cooperative effort between the owners of Parkview Plaza and the village. Mr DiMaria kept saying there was progress… that a major grocery store had interest. Now, we are led to believe that the answer is more condominiums on the west side of Waukegan rd. Sounds like a condo developer has his hooks into the TIF money and the taxpayers are getting more happy talk from the politicians.
On the Action Party Facebook page we see; “Lobbyist –The word lobbyist has a stigma. An NRA or Monsanto lobbyist is very different than a municipal lobbyist. For the $58,000 we paid him last year, he secured $200,000 in cash and a $1million dollar grant for our police facility. Every other surrounding community has had a lobbyist in Springfield representing them. The lobbyist’s job is to know every dollar available to municipalities and to fight to get them for Morton Grove – it’s our turn!“
Really? Are we once more into the “wacky tabacky”? There are no state dollars to be had… none… nada… bupkis. The state is broke and cutting back further. The story about all these state dollars coming to rescue us here in Morton Grove would be closer to reality if it were to begin with the phrase; “Once upon a time”. Meanwhile we are told about Mr. DiMaria’s vision”…Helen Keller and Stevie Wonder have a more viable vision for Morton Grove. Following Mr. DiMaria’s vision contributed mightily to the downgrading of our village’s bond rating.
Once again from the Action Party Facebook page we see; “In order for Mayor DiMaria to continue the progress he has made in two short years, he needs a team with the same vision as he and the overwhelming majority of voters have for the future of the Village. We believe that investing in our future with real planning and marketing initiatives, while balancing the budget and maintaining excellent services, is vital to this mission.“
There are a couple of problems here. One, Morton Grove has a Village President/Board of Trustees form of government. Morton Grove does not have a Mayor. It is the Village President’s job to preside over board meetings and, with the advice and consent of the village board, appoint the village administrator, village attorney and various department heads. Two, there has been no REAL planning, just Mr. DiMaria’s gunslinger “shoot from the hip” self-promoting rhetoric. It is not now, nor has it ever been, his job to set policy or articulate a vision for Morton Grove. What we see here is a village board of trustees abdicating their responsibility to make policy, pass ordinances, plan finances and, probably most importantly, represent the interests of the people of Morton Grove.
You have to wonder sometimes if the politicians are unable to smell what they are shoveling.
The election is now less than two weeks away and the voters of Morton Grove need to ask themselves one more question; “Are you better off and is Morton Grove better off now than it was two years ago?” The answer to that needs to be the determining factor in your vote on April 7th.