Thursday, February 19, 2009

Just when I thought ...

Just when I thought the Republican Party in Orland Township was getting their act together and showing leadership, I see that it is asking not telling its members who to vote for.

That may sound good, but the choice isn't between two Republicans for office. It is between Republicans and Democrats, all running on the non-partisan April 7 election ballot in Orland Township.

It's significant because so far the race has not seen much real activity. No mailers inundating our mail boxes. Some fluff pieces with no real substance in the local newspapers, but nothing that even suggests there is an impending election.

Instead of endorsing the Republicans who are running in the Township races, Orland Township Committeeman Elizabeth Doody Gorman is asking her precinct captains and paid GOP members (all of them) if they want to support Democrats who are running, not just Republicans. Ooops!

If you are a Republican, that has to be disappointing. It's another example of Gorman's failed Republican leadership. She did a poor job as county chairman, and has been replaced by the very active and energetic Lee Roupas. And now she is not doing a very good job as Orland Township Republican Committeeman, either. She launches a great web site that touts all of the Republican party achievements, that far outshines the non-existent web site of the Orland Park Township Democratic Organization, headed by Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin.

And then she goes and does this.

The Democrats have to be happy, though.

A GOP precinct captain recently wrote that the GOP and Democratic Party are prohibited by law from slating candidates in the local elections. That's not true, but maybe that's the pitch being made to explain the GOP's double-edged non-action. The GOP could have slated Republicans in the election primary Feb. 24. Running as "Republicans." That's the election for "established" parties. Instead, the Democrats and Republicans are running on "independent" and "new party" slates. But anyone can see who they are and what their party affiliations are.

On the Township Level, that's Township Supervisor and incumbent Robert Maher, who is a Republican. He's done a great job although he is getting challenged by Paul O'Grady, who is a Democrat and is NOT tied in anyway to the 19th Ward Republican commissars insinuating their way into local politics.

Who is the GOP backing? Gorman has a habit of supporting herself over other Republicans. The rumors are strong that she may step down from her county board seat and give it to Paul Vallas, the former Chicago schools CEO who is running against Mr. Taxman Todd Stroger for president of the county board. Having a seat on the board would give Vallas a forum to challenge Stroger and do what many on the county board are failing to do, fight Stroger's tax Tsunami.

That might be the best thing Gorman can do for the Republican Party.


In the village, incumbent Mayor Dan McLaughlin is a Democrat for sure. He's the Orland Township Democratic Committeeman. Under his watch, Orland Park has grown tremendously and has much to showcase, although I do have some issues with property taxes, the tax rebate and a few other issues like some of the people around him. He's the favored to win with a long record of wins. He's being challenged by Gerald Maher, who ran against him once before and lost, but that loss was before many of today's taxation and economic issues were around. It is a new ballgame. Gerald Maher happens to be Robert Maher's brother, although they are not working together.

And of course, neither Robert nor Gerald Maher are related to David Maher, the incumbent candidate for clerk who is running for re-election, too, and who is the father of Patrick Maher, the head of the Orland Park Fire District, which faces many confused issues that need to be better sorted out like the change in ambulance service.

Turns out what Patrick Maher is trying to do is NOT sock residents with an ambulance charge, but is trying to get the help of residents who have insurance to make the insurance companies reimburse the district for ambulance service. It's all confusing, but the bottom line is if you don't have insurance, no one is going to make you pay for an ambulance. If you do have insurance, make those insurance company robber barrons pay. The district needs you to give the insurance forms to the insurance companies so the district can get paid. The district lost as much as $1.3 million a year from not getting reimbursed.

Patrick Maher, who is not running for re-election, is working for some of the candidates, too. And maybe it's in the bi-partisan spirit we're talking about here. He is supporting O'Grady in the Township race, but backing Patricia Thompson and Marty McGuire, incumbents on the re-election slate of Robert Maher. He insists it is not for political reasons, but because they asked him and I believe him.

In elections, there is one important rule about voters and support. If you don't ask, you don't get. I remember the stories of elected officials who told me they met voters and shook their hands and the voters said they loved them. But when it came time to vote, the voters voted for the opponents. When the candidate asked the voter why, the voter said, "You never asked me for my vote."

And even though you didn't ask for my opinion -- or maybe you did by visiting this blog in record numbers -- I'll give it to you. Robert Maher is a solid candidate with a good track record. Paul O'Grady is not a front for the 19th Ward, though, and is NOT related to any of the famous O'Grady's. Gerald Maher is an important independent voice in the village and deserves credit for challenging the incumbent. And Mayor McLaughlin, who I have chided in the past for his poor choice of associations, is re-examining those ties and still has the edge.

Of course, the election is about six weeks away. Sounds confusing.


  1. Just when I thought the Orland Parker was being reasonable, you go and do something like this.

    I am a member of the Orland Township Republican Organization. I have been to every meeting. I have participated in functions, elections and I've paid my dues.

    You see, Mr. Hanania, the difference between Republicans and democrats is that we Republicans have faith in our members and voters that they are smart enough to know who to vote for.

    HOW DARE COMMITTEEMAN GORMAN ask us for our opinions? I mean, we are only the people who have paid the dues and made the party what it is. We are the people whose name is attached to any endorsement.

    Your post does need some clarification. First off, the ballots were mailed to EVERY dues paying member...not just precinct captains. Second, most of our members had the opportunity to meet and listen to Supervisor Maher and his party at our January meeting. Third, there are democrats and Republicans running on both tickets and I think we are smart enough to know who the Democrats are and who the Republicans are.

    In closing, Committeeman Gorman has done so much for the Republican Party and your hint that she has not fought Sir Tax-A-Lot Stroger and all of his tax increases is laughable.

    Now you are just being disingenuous and trying to mislead your readers.

  2. Wow. After reading the part of your article about one of Orland GOP precinct captains making a statement about running partisan candidates in local elections, I had to go back and check. It took me some time, but I found the article.

    YOU SAID: "A GOP precinct captain recently wrote that the GOP and Democratic Party are prohibited by law from slating candidates in the local elections. That's not true, but maybe that's the pitch being made to explain the GOP's double-edged non-action."

    What he actually said was that "Legally, neither major political party can slate candidates to run in Village elections as Republicans or Democrats" This in in fact VERY true. You just changed one word to make his statement false.

    Don't worry. Ill be back when I have had a chance to read and check into each and every statement you made in this post.

  3. That is absolutely not true. The Republican and the Democratic Parties CAN slate candidates to run in local village elections. (I didn;t misquote the write, I paraphrased it.) The point is the same. The February 24 primary date is in fact for those parties to slate candidates. Some communities choose to use that date as a consolidated election, such as in Cicero, where major parties can slate. You CAN run established parties int he election.

    But the responsibility of the Republican party is NOT to ask its members to support Democrats running in the election, just as the Democratic Party doesn't ask its members to slate Republicans.

    It's ridiculous to claim that's good. But then, Ms. Gorman has been an ineffective leader first as GOP County Chairman -- failing tos late candidates in the countywide elections except her friend to run against her enemies (I wonder where the Republican members were when that happened?)

    But, we do have hope that in the next election, she will be challenged and the Orland GOP will actually have some qualified and strategic leadership, one with less controversy.

    I understand how hard it is to ask your representatives to be representative. Afterall, you don't want to be ostracized at the next Christmas Party!

    Thanks for the comments
    Ray Hanania