Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Chicago's Olympics and Orland Park

Mayor Dan McLaughlin said Monday he pushed through a resolution endorsing the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid because "... what's good for Chicago is good for the suburbs."

That would come as a shock to most people living in the suburbs, including in Orland Park. Many suburbanites moved from Chicago to get away from the city's corrupt political system, seeking freedom in much the way as our immigrant ancestors once fled the persecution, corruption and repression of their countries to settle in America.

No, Chicago's interests are NOT Orland Park's interests, unless of course, you work for a union that has much at stake with Chicago politics.

But jeez, if you criticize Hizzonner "da Mayor" -- I'm not talking about Mayor Daley but Mayor McLaughlin -- he get's his royal monarchy feathers in a ruffle. McLaughlin's idea of "serving the public" is to serve those who are loyal to him. If you are a voter who doesn't agree with his policies, then he ostracizes you.

I've been there with da Mayor. We've had our differences. he didn't mind soliciting my support when he was first running as an officeholder in Orland Park ... but once in office, turned and got sour.

Now, without any public discussion, the Orland Park village board approves a resolution endorsing the Chicago bid for the 2016 Olympics.

Great. What do the Southwest Suburbs really get from the 2016 Olympics. As a reporter, I've spent a lot of time pouring through the proposals and the fact is the Southwest SUburbs get nothing. Zilch! Nada! The South Side of Chicago gets a lot. Daley is smart. He is using the Olympics as a plan to rebuild and revitalize the depressed South Side of the city, which has needed help for years. Even the South Suburbs -- which are NOT the same as the Southwest Suburbs -- get programs and benefits. Which is why the South Suburban Mayors Association has endorsed the plan.

Orland Park is NOT a rubber stamp for Chicago. We should be always defending the rights and needs of Orland Park First! We should be transparent about our conflicts of interest and insure that when our elected officials act they are acting in our interests and not the interests of others where they may work.

Some elected officials will get angry at this as they always do. It's their only response to demands that they be accountable.

But leadership means that they must be accountable to the people of Orland Park. And accountability means answering the tough questions and TAKING THE CRITICISM, which does not come often enough in Orland Park, where some of our officials seem to reign like monarchs and royalty.

Ray Hanania

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