Morton Grove Melodrama Part 14 – The Power of Incumbency

One of the advantages of being the incumbent party and controlling all the municipal functions of the village is being able to “game the system” to your advantage.

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For example, a recent Morton Grove Champion article , recounts how a challenge to the current Action Party candidates was refused a hearing by the village clerk, who is also one of the candidates running on the Action Party ticket in the upcoming election.

Albers’ objections were filed Dec. 23, making the papers late, according to Board of Elections attorney Menzel.
“Those candidate petitions are presumed to be valid and the candidates move on — even if there were flaws in the petitions — because the time window for the challenges passed,” he said.

Albers maintained that the Action Party nomination papers were accepted a half hour before the clerk’s office opened and questioned whether statements of economic interest were filed with the clerk during the filing period.
Not filing statements of economic impact during a filing period could be “fatal,” he acknowledged, but there is no way to investigate further because of the lack of timeliness.

“The only way to challenge candidates’ petitions and qualifications to get onto the ballot is through the objection process and it has a hard and fast deadline,” he said. “I’m not going to speculate what happened here, but there isn’t a format to challenge because they were too late with their objections.”

So, in essence, there could have been hanky-panky but there will not be a hearing, there will not be transparency and the voters will have one less chance to fairly judge how this current administration is dealing with following election laws ethically.

When you are in charge and control everything you can pretty much do as you please apparently. For example, a few weeks ago there was a village newsletter that more resembled an Action Party campaign piece mailed to residents. It follows, almost word-for-word, the political web site of the candidates running on the party ticket for the April 4th election.

Just this week residents received a post card announcing a “Town Hall” meeting for Thursday, March 16th. It’s funny that this administration which promised transparency decides to have what could rightfully be characterized as an Action Party campaign rally paid for at taxpayer’s expense within three weeks of the election. Illegal? Maybe or maybe not but unethical and politically sleazy? Absolutely!

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Many might think that political patronage was long dead. After all, the Supreme court in Elrod v Burns decided that political patronage hiring was illegal, ( 427 US 347) and reaffirmed the decision in Branti v Finkle, ( 445 US 507). What the court left standing, however, was what is commonly referred to as “white collar patronage”.
In recent cases the US court of appeals held that the first amendment protection under Elrod does not extend to government contractors. This preserves on of the most highly valued elements of the patronage system the distribution of government contracts and awarding of government money and commission positions as a means of rewarding political supporters and donors.

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For example, the TIF money that was earmarked for the revitalization of Prairie View Shopping Center has, instead, been used to underwrite Heartland ( the development company behind the luxury apartments at 8700 Waukegan Rd, political donors to the Action Party. Money from the Lehigh-Ferris TIF  went to underwrite Moretti’s pizza restaurant, (another political donor to the Action Party).

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Three of the candidates running for the Park District are officers of the Action Party and appointed members of village commissions. It is interesting to see coordination in the placement of their campaign signage,  so apparently there is now a plan in place for the Action Party to have all elected and appointed offices under their control.

Some would say that the folks running the Action Party are gaming the system, but you don’t have to game the system when you can make up the rules as you go along and decide which rules, (like the village ethics ordinance), you choose to ignore.

As the actor Mel Brooks says in his film “History of the World-Part 1”; “It’s good to be the king!

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Morton Grove Melodrama Part 3 – In Vegas a high roller is known as a whale.

Well, dear readers, when we left our story last week we wondered why Chaser’s, a bar from Niles was making political contributions to the Morton Grove Action Party. We also wondered why the Village never tried to buy the old Maxwell/Studio property when it first went up at foreclosure sale but waited to buy it from Ted Mavarkis, another political donor, after he bought it in foreclosure. It gave him a hefty profit of hundreds of thousands of dollars and he got to keep one third of the original site, thus making any redevelopment limited, at best. And, finally there was the question of why was the deal structured so that Moretti’s, yet another political donor, could walk away with a prime piece of Dempster street real estate at net zero cost?   

As we join our story this week we continue to question what looks suspiciously like “Chicago Political Machine style” pay to play.

A few years ago, a Morton Grove village trustee, Larry Gomberg, introduced an ethics ordinance for the village. The current mayor, a trustee at the time, voted in favor of that ordinance and it passed and became part of the village code and is in force today.

One section of that ordinance states:
D.  Prohibition Of Political Contributions:
1.   Any person or business entity whose contract(s), and pending bids for contract(s) with the village of Morton Grove in aggregate annually total more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) shall be prohibited from making any contributions to: a) a political organization established to promote a candidacy of an elected village official, or a declared candidate for an elected village office, b) an elected official, or c) a declared candidate for an elected village office in excess of one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) per year per official, declared candidate, or political organization. This prohibition shall be effective for the duration of the term of office of the elected official, or for two (2) years after the date of the election for a declared candidate for an elected village office, whichever is longer.

In addition, all village officials must sign a copy of the code of ethics, ( section 1-8-12 adopted 10-26-2009, effective 1-1-2010), which states, in part:

“F.  ADHERENCE TO ALL LAWS: I shall comply with all state, and local regulations, including without limitations the Village of Morton Grove’s Code of Ethics, the State of Illinois Open Meetings Act, the State of Illinois Gift Ban Act, the State of Illinois State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.”

Now, just for fun, let’s look at the following list of contributors that the Action Party accepted donations from that by their acceptance are in violation of Village Ethics Code.

Year 2014:
1. Groot Industries, Inc (source of payments: Morton Grove Village warrants) (proof of donation: Action Party D-2 Quarterly Report 10/1/14 to12/31/14). Groot billed Morton Grove $658,298.59 in 2014.
 
2. G & L Construction, Inc   (source of payments: Morton Grove Village warrants) (proof of donation: 2014 Action Party Sponsor Board. Guy & Lu Batista are owners of G & L Construction, Inc. The minimum donation for sponsor board was $200.00) (This donation was not reported on any Action Party D-2 reports).  G&L Construction billed Morton Grove $158,140.53 in 2014.

3. Terry Liston (Village Attorney).  (source: Village payroll records) (Proof of Donation: 2014 Action Party Sponsor Board, minimum donation was $200.00) (donation was not reported on any Action Party D-2). Ms. Liston’s salary was over $100.000.00 in 2014.

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Looking over the sponsors of the political golf outing it is easy to see why some businesses and individuals would want to contribute. It is called access. Sometimes it is called “pay to play” and it happens at all levels of government.

We saw this recently with the Federal election where a major Clinton Foundation donor was placed on a sensitive government intelligence advisory board even though he had no obvious experience in the field, a decision that appeared to baffle the department’s professional staff.

A prolific fundraiser for Democratic candidates and contributor to the Clinton Foundation, who later traveled with Bill Clinton on a trip to Africa, Rajiv K. Fernando’s only known qualification for a seat on the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB) was his know-how as a Chicago securities trader, who specialized in electronic investing.
(SOURCE: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/clinton-donor-sensitive-intelligence-board/story?id=39710624 ).

The son of Sri Lankans who moved to the United States, he was raised in Oak Brook. Fernando, who turned 45 this past summer, is a graduate of Hinsdale Central High School and Beloit College in Wisconsin.

After learning the ropes at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Fernando, a Bucktown resident, founded Chopper Trading, whose high-speed trading is conducted in domestic and international financial markets.

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Fernando was a major fund-raiser — a bundler — for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election bid, funneling $500,000 to his campaign. He also hosted fund-raisers in his Chicago home for Vice President Joe Biden in September 2011 and for Clinton in July 2015 and he made sizable contributions to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s political funds for his 2011 and 2015 elections.

You might rightfully ask; “What does all this have to do with Morton Grove?”

If you look at the Action Party Golf Outing sponsor board for 2014, you will find Chopper Trading’s logo in the upper left hand corner. This is the trading firm that was owned by Raj Fernando, (however, once again, the contribution does not show up on any of the Action Party D-2 reports).

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So, the question that now comes to mind is what is there in Morton Grove that would be of such interest to a heavy-duty political contributor and donation aggregator like Rajiv K. Fernando? What kind of access or consideration or favor could there be in a small Chicago suburb that would interest a high-power individual who rubs elbows with the upper eschallon of the Clinton Foundation?

Until shown otherwise, our theory is that there must be something in town that’s a reward for yet another big political donor. It is a fair assumption that Mr. Fernando is looking for something more than a large sausage and mushroom Moretti’s pizza with extra cheese. Garbage-Pizza

And so, dear reader, tune in next week when we will explore if our mayor has announced any more amazing projects, if Babbling Billy, disappointed that Moretti’s hasn’t opened yet has resorted to eating library paste,  000000kid-eating-paste

and if their trusty counselor, Ophelia Ordinance finally researches the definition of ethics… and we ask the question why was the new consultant in the water deal involved in litigation over child pornography?

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Morton Grove Melodrama – Episode 2 Real Estate involves dirt

Well, dear readers, when we left our story last week we found that the village attorney ordered a Phase One EPA study to be done on the old Pequod’s property… and that they canceled the agreement with Peqoud’s on the grounds that they did not want to be liable for cleaning up the property.

As logical as that sounds, the village did not do it’s due diligence in making that final decision.

We also found that Chaser’s, a bar from Niles was making political contributions and the talk around town was that the village and Chaser’s were negotiating a deal to for the site where Pequod’s was planning to build.

As we join our story this week we wonder why the Village never tried to buy the old Maxwell/Studio property when it first went up at foreclosure sale!

Why did it wait to buy from Ted Mavarkis after he bought it in foreclosure? It gave him a hefty profit of hundreds of thousands of dollars and he got to keep one third of the original site, thus making any redevelopment limited, at best.

Why oh why?

Could it have anything to do with the fact that Ted Mavrakis, the owner of the Giordano’s property is a political donor?Oct 2015 001
(See this link  Dempster Ozark Corporation $360.00; Giordano’s $510.90; Ted Mavrakis is the Principal of both these business entities.)
One would think that an “investment” in a local politician that resulted in over 1/2 Million dollars in profit was a pretty good “bang for your buck”.

Business wealth
Adding insult to injury, why didn’t the village do an EPA Phase One Study on the Maxwell/Studio property before paying and taking ownership of it?

They made the environment an issue with the Peqoud’s deal. Who dropped the ball on this, and more to the point, was the ball dropped intentionally?

Were they willfully ignorant, only finding out the property was environmentally contaminated when the owners of Moretti’s had  a Phase One Study so they could secure financing?
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Why was the deal structured so that Moretti’s could walk away with a prime piece of Dempster street real estate at net zero cost? 
 
Why do an EPA study on one property and not the other?  Was the Phase One EPA Study waved? If it was, who made the decision to do so?

Isn’t it the responsibility of the village attorney to protect the interest of the residents by making certain that all of the legalities are accounted for?

(The Village bought the Domicile property eleven years ago the same way on Ferris and Capulina that has environmental issues and will cost hundreds of thousands to cleanup.)

Is there a pattern here? Was it incompetence or ignorance or malfeasance… or was there some other reason?A P foxes in the hen house

The answer here will go to the grave with the powers that let that happen, unless there is an investigation to uncover the truth.

Why has the Village gone to such great lengths to renegotiate the TIF agreement to keep the Morretti’s deal alive, sweetening the deal with more TIF dollars and paying for the EPA cleanup?

Why?

The Morton Grove News has a theory.

Since Moretti”s is another political donor and there is an election coming up, Dan DiMaria, Terry Liston  & Bill Grear have to do make it look like they have done something besides catering to, and taking money from big political donors.

…regardless of how much it cost the people of Morton Grove.

Until shown otherwise, our theory is that the Village bottle-fed the Moretti’s deal as a reward for another big political donor. As the old Illinois politician Everett M. Dirkson once said; ” a million here and a million there… and pretty soon you’re talking about some real money.”

And so, dear reader, tune in next week when we will explore if our villain, Dubious Dan has made any more backroom deals,   000000crayon-up-noseif Babbling Billy, amuses his collegues by stuffing crayons up his nose, and if their trusty counselor,  Ophelia Ordinance finally realizes that her assessment might be hanging out

… and we ask the question who is Raj Fernando?

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The Game Is Rigged

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Hurry, hurry, hurry! I got it here and I’m gonna show it to ya free. So starts the “come on” speech of the old time carnival barker hoping to get the “rubes” onto the midway where the operators can separate the “marks” from their money.

When dishonest carnival game operators found someone who they could enticetinyest-show-on-earth00001 to keep playing their gaffed” game, they would then “mark” the individual by patting their back with a hand that had chalk on it. Other game operators would then look for these chalk marks and entice the individuals to also play their rigged game.

It seems as though the Action Party has “gaffed” not only the way the village is governed, but the way that candidates are chosen to run for office.

Breaking from long standing tradition, and taking a political lesson from Illinois power house Mike Madigan, (and other political bosses), The Action Party did not advertise or seek candidates to run for office in the spring election. This is a strange break from long-standing tradition. Nor did the Action Party screen any perspective candidates from their own party.

human-corndogIt was all prearranged by Dan DiMaria, Billy Grear andsnake-girl-00001 Terry Liston so they would not have any challenge to their complete control.

The Action Party has amassed what is considered a huge campaign fund by local political organizations standards. The methods and means they have used over the past four years are questionable at best and possibly illegal at worst. (We will be running a story on that in an upcoming edition).

Morton Grove now is a total political dictatorship.

You, the residents who live in and pay taxes to Morton Grove have had NO input who to vote for next April. It has all been locked up, rigged, gaffed… a done deal.

The Action Party, the sole Local Political Party has complete control of every elected office in Village government. They have once again thrown transparency and ethics away… but ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chances. You might win a stuffed plaid cat.

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Whose welfare is the Village attorney protecting?

According to the local press, the Morton Grove Board of Trustees held a first reading of an ordinance that, if approved, would result in a number of changes to village liquor laws.

The ordinance would create two new types of liquor licenses – the Class M liquor license for microbreweries and Class N license for “video gaming cafes,” which would establish caps on how many liquor-license holders can have video gaming machines on the premises at one time. Additionally, the ordinance would raise permit fees on certain liquor licenses and increase the maximum number of Class A licenses.

During discussion of the ordinance at the board’s Sept. 14 meeting, trustee John Thill asked if it would be possible to set a more permanent cap on the number of establishments that have video gaming machines. Terry Liston, attorney for the village of Morton Grove, said a cap would not be possible because it would hamstring future boards. That answer just doesn’t make sense. If the Board of Trustees has the power to change ordinances, which they obviously do, why would it not be possible for a future board to change the cap if they so chose?

Thill added that he was concerned about video gaming’s effect on Morton Grove’s reputation, as well he should be.

Originally the home of the Huscher family before it was converted into a “swanky roadhouse.” During the late 1920s and early 1930s, The Dells eclipsed its competition. Located at the northwest corner of Austin and Dempster, it became the best known and most patronized of the roadhouses in Morton Grove, Illinois. The Dells offered live music and entertainment, dancing, fine food, comfort and ambiance.

The Dells was an incredibly popular and successful commercial enterprise. It boasted a spacious dance floor, broadcast its music performances over the radio airwaves, and, because it was not subjected to the musician union local controls within the city, freely imported nationally renowned musicians and entertainers. The Dells had tasty cuisine — steak, poultry, seafood and even frogs legs — in a well appointed setting on a tranquil wooded lot.

There was more, of course, because The Dells’ prosperous run was concurrent, not the least bit coincidentally, with the Volstead Act and prohibition. Additional attractions included beer, liquor and gambling and gangland wars over the profits of the same. The Dells was said to be owned or controlled by Al Capone and his gang. It is commonly referred to as the most notorious of the Morton Grove roadhouses.

Although slot machines and other forms of gambling were banned in Illinois and Cook County before the turn of the century, they remained relatively easy to find.

The hottest place around here was the “Little Bohemia” strip in Morton Grove, on Dempster Street near Austin. While prohibition was in effect, law enforcement was especially scarce and easily controlled in sparsely populated and rural unincorporated Cook County. Roadhouses there included Club Rendezvous, Lincoln Tavern, Wayside Inn, Club Morton, Walton Club, and most notoriously, The Dells, a roadhouse with a small casino on the second floor, stocked with slot machines, roulette wheels, and other games.

The Dells casino chip

Gambling was permitted to operate in the outreaches of Cook County under a hear no evil, see no evil code of inaction and paid protection during prohibition.

During Morton Grove’s gambling heydays operations were protected through political connections. Surprisingly, today, the man who rides herd of gaming interests in Illinois is none other that State Senator Lou Lang (D-16), who represents Skokie & Morton Grove. Whether it’s gambling, booze or tobacco, Lang’s campaign coffers benefit from contributions. Lang’s campaign fund is one of the largest for a state lawmaker, with more than $1 million. During his 28 years as an Illinois legislator, Lang received more than $6.56 million in donations, state campaign finance records show.lou langLou Lang isn’t a household name, but the veteran state legislator is well known to many as the driving force behind one of the biggest changes to Illinois’ law books in decades: The legalization of medical marijuana.

Before his work on medical marijuana, Lang earned a reputation for expanded legalized gambling in Illinois, proposing dozens of bills over the years seeking to increase wagering in casinos and horse tracks, with slot machines, video consoles and the Internet.

He was among the forces behind the controversial 2009 legislation that allowed municipalities to offer video gaming. Since video gambling went live in 2012, thousands of machines sprouted in thousands of locations including florist shops, truck stops, cafes and coin laundries. Even Lang said the law went well beyond the original intention.

Morton Grove village attorney, Terry Liston, says that to cap gaming in town would hamstring future boards. Since Senator Lang is also an attorney, I wonder if it is possible that he consulted with attorney Liston on this opinion?

Refusing to Learn From History

The Morton Grove Village pension obligation is one of the highest for a local taxing body In Cook County. Every full time employee is entitled to get a pension, and Mayor DiMaria has increased the village payroll substantially since taking office, thus increasing the village pension obligation. Even the Village Attorney gets a pension and she works part time.

A pile of cash

When she was appointed to be the village Attorney the village was supposed to be saving money by have an attorney compensated with a flat fee rather than being paid on the hours of service rendered to the village. This might have looked good back in 2004 when then Village Administrator Ralph Czerwinski  wanted her for the village attorney, but  now, ten years latter the village attorney has less duties to perform because, the Mayor hired an outside law firm to handle Village Adjudication Court held on Wednesday’s that was being handled by the Village attorney.  Surprisingly, there was no decrease in compensation or hours allocated to the position so as not to  prevent her from being vested in the village pension program.

With the village pension liability topping one hundred million dollars with no end in sight and with the Village Administrator and the Village Finance Director leaving under mysterious circumstances what does the Village President (Mayor ) do?  He brings back the highest pensioner the village has and puts him on the payroll .

Ralph Czerwinski, Czerwinski the former Fire Chief, has left Morton Grove employment twice before after qualifying for not one, but TWO pensions. You can rest assured now that those pensions will be honored and paid promptly… regardless of cost to the taxpayer. 3 pigs trough

Ask yourself this question; if you are already getting 75% of your salary of over $100,000 after 30 years of service and then put in another ten years on  another job with a different village that would qualify you for hefty additional retirement benefits, would you need yet another source of income at taxpayers’ expense? What you have here is not a double dipper but a triple dipper at the public trough.

Municipal  Pensions that continue to burden and drag down  the State of Illinois are alive and growing in Morton Grove.

Ask yourself another question; “Why was the village bond rating downgraded?” One answer; “PENSION DEBT”; another answer; Mismanagement of Local Government… or maybe, with the recent Chicago Tribune article showing how Morton Grove is becoming famous in the drug culture for a codine-based cough syrup manufactured in town, mixed with Skittles candy and a soft drink  to make what they call Sizzrup or Purple Drank… the administration got curious and tried some. Codine sizzrup

It has been said that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Unfortunately, those of us who have learned from history are doomed to watch our unenlightened elected officials repeatedly mess up.

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A Loud and Clear Message

In a campaign letter sent out to Morton Grove Voters by the Action Party on 3-16-2015, Action 3-16-15 lettercertain 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?  photo tn1292.jpg

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. scamming seniors

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”?  photo big-joint03.jpg   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.

approved-rubber-stamp  What we have here is a board of trustees who are nothing more than a rubber stamp for a village president’s ego.

You have to wonder sometimes if the politicians are unable to smell what they are shoveling.  photo horse_manure.jpg

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.

What if they held an election and nobody came?

Voter turnout for local elections, typically held in off-cycle years, has historically lagged behind state and federal races that take place in November, but recent results suggest it’s slowly becoming even worse.

If local turnout doesn’t improve, the implications could extend much further than the ballot box. Low-turnout elections typically aren’t representative of the electorate as a whole. Along with these facts, local politics mostly functions in an “equilibrium state” that isn’t conducive to generating voter interest.

Morton Grove was one of only two suburban municipalities to have a primary election this year. In that election, only 1,574 ballots were cast out of 14,660 registered voters in the
election.  The primary boiled down to a close race that separated the winners by only a couple of hundred of votes, at the most.

Action Party political boss Billy Grear said he was impressed with voter turnout, which totaled nearly 11%. hogwash

Long ago, political machines routinely mobilized a healthy cadre of voters with often predictable results. It appears that with voter disinterest and disengagement the Morton Grove political machine was able to accomplish it’s initial goal with less than 1,100 votes out of a possible 14,660, (which means that only 7.5% of those registered to vote decided at least three of the four April election results).

The residents of Morton Grove spoke, and we’re excited about the high level of involvement on behalf of the voters tonight,” Grear said. “We believe the best candidates were slated to win because we believe they operate in the best interests of the village.

Less than 8 out of 100 residents spoke in this election. High level of involvement Billy? What are you smoking?

 

Part of the problem is that most people in Morton Grove do not know the issues that plague the village and who would be best to correct them.

There are some basic questions you need to ask yourself:

scamming seniors

Are Morton Grove seniors receiving better services now than they were two years ago?
The current administration dismantled a program that worked and replaced it with… nothing. Thill, Minx & Witko say they share the mayor’s vision, so I guess the answer to this question is…NO!

All Inn  biggies 2

Does Morton Grove have a better quality of life today than it did two years ago? The current administration has increased both liquor licenses and video poker licenses creating a sleazy atmosphere. Thill, Minx & Witko say they share the mayor’s vision, so I guess the answer to THIS question is…NO!

 

money down the toilet

Do the residents of Morton Grove have more disposable income because of lower water bills and lower taxes than they did two years ago? The current administration has not communicated any plans to replace Chicago water with a more reasonable provider and they have raised the tax levy while the bond rating has gone down. Thill, Minx & Witko say they share the mayor’s vision and MINX WAS PART OF AN ADMINISTRATION THAT RAISED YOUR TAXES 28%! So, I guess the answer to THIS question is also, NO!

Empty Prairie View 1
Do the residents of Morton Grove have a local super market where they can shop for groceries like they did two years ago? The current administration has trumpeted great plans for the Prairie View shopping center, but it’s been all show and no go. Thill, Minx & Witko say they share the mayor’s vision, and we all know the answer to THIS question is…NO!

What system of government do we have here in Morton Grove?

By law, We have a weak Mayor strong village board system here in the village. In a weak-mayor-strong-village board system, the board is both a legislative and an executive body. Board members appoint administrative officials; they make policy; they serve as ex officio members of boards; and they prepare the budget.

The KING

If you watch the village board meetings you will understand just how strong this Mayor is. While the Mayor is supposed to be held responsible for his administering of the city this Mayor is never held responsible for anything. His total disdain for the village board is very evident in his treatment of them.

great leadership
As a result of Tuesday’s primary election, the mayor will control the  trustees who owe their  positions to him. He will be the political boss with the trustees little more than puppets dancing to his tune.

The folks in Morton Grove have one more chance to have someone beholden to them and not a political machine in Village government.

There is another contest in Morton Grove in that will give Morton Grove voters one more chance to have an independent voice on the village board. Library Board member Mark Albers is running as an independent for Village Trustee.

IMG_0717

He is not part of the current political machine and will represent only you, the people of Morton Grove… NOT  the political machine and its’ servants. He deserves your consideration. Check out his positions at his web site http://ma4mg.com

Power corrupts, absolute power is kinda neat!

Action arrogance

Monday found most Morton Grove residents digging out from  Super Bowl Sundays  snow storm that dropped over 14 inches of snow  on Morton Grove.

Village snow crews worked throughout the night to clear streets so residents could get to work.

Village snow crews were out plowing early Sunday morning and keep plowing until the early Monday morning grueling as it was.

The men who work for the village are experienced at plowing 24 hours nonstop, that is why Morton Grove is recognized for having great snow removal .

You would think that by 11:00 am Monday after plowing all night the village would let the guys have a break.

They had one more job to do. The Mayor, who parks on the street in front of his house,  needed his parking spot cleared. 

So the village sent over a plow and  several spots were plow out for the Mayor and his family. 

snow storm 2015 002 snow storm 2015 005 snow storm 2015 004 snow storm 2015 003

Did the Village send a plow over to clear in front of your  House?

 arrogance-cat

Power is great when you know how to use it!

We are the Borg of Morton Grove

 

borg

In a letter to the Morton Grove Champion 12-30-2014, Action Party secretary Terri Cousar said, in part; “The Action Party started over 40 years ago with the goal of listening to the residents and working together for the best interests of Morton Grove. National political affiliations don’t matter(1). We are, and have always been, “inclusive,” and by that I mean we have often sought out and encouraged people who ran against us in the past to join us.

Mayor DiMaria’s (2), election in 2013 spurred many new people to get involved in village government(3)…”

(1) http://www.russstewart.com/articles/2005/01-26-2005.html “Two-term (1997-2005) incumbent Mayor Dan Scanlon is retiring… Scanlon’s predecessor was Dick Flickinger (1977-97), a Democrat and Sutker ally, whose Action Party was really an adjunct to the Caucus Party/Democratic Party.”

(2) Morton Grove does not have a Mayor, it has a Village President.

(3) Niles Bugle Thursday, December 23, 2004 Letter to the editor from (then) Trustee and Action Party President Dan DiMaria: “This letter is in response to the Morton Grove Caucus Party and their 11th hour attempt to confuse the residents of Morton Grove into thinking they could turn the 2005 budget from having a potential shortfall into a huge surplus. It became clear to me that Mr. Krier is more interested in his own political gain than the good of the people of Morton Grove… By the way, I ran for trustee because I was and still am tired of “typical” politicians

2005 Caucus Party candidates:

From the 2005 Caucus Party Brochure:

Brunner + Minx 2009Caucus 2005-Time for a change

It sounds like the Morton Grove Action Party has more in common with the old Chicago Democratic machine or the Borg from Star Trek than it does with a non-partisan group of small town folks looking out for the residents of the village.

 

The Borg were a pseudo-species of cybernetic beings, or cyborgs, from the Delta Quadrant. No single individual truly existed within the Borg Collective, as all Borg were linked into a hive mind. Their ultimate goal was the forcible assimilation of diverse sentient species, technologies, and knowledge. As a result, the Borg were among the most powerful and feared entities in the galaxy, without really being a true species at all.

So, Ms. Cousar,

one party rule