Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mudslinging in local Orland Township elections

Like many residents in Orland Park and Orland Township, I have been inundated with political mailers, mainly from one candidate, Paul O'Grady. O'Grady and his slate are challenging Orland Township Supervisor Robert Maher and his slate of incumbents.

While Robert Maher, I believe, has focused on the issues, O'Grady seems to be emphasizing the personal attacks. He begins in his mailers to talk about issues, but never explains how he will achieve his campaign promises. And then, he quickly shifts to what I feel are personal attacks against Robert Maher, including in a recent mailer in which he blasted Maher saying that he was wasting taxpayer dollars by taking people out for lunch on the taxpayer dime.

Really? Who were the people he dined with and why? All O'Grady did was list the expenses, which are made public at every board meeting for viewing. But O'Grady hasn't been talking about these issues for long. The first I heard of O'Grady was when he announced. Who is he and where has he been all these years?

Is O'Grady also saying that if he wins the election and he becomes an elected official that he won't file for expense reimbursements? That's not what he says in his slick mailers.

O'Grady and I exchanged emails in which he said he wasn't some 19th Ward hack trying to take over Orland Park, as many alleged. He insisted he had no relations to the big 19th ward heavies, nor was he tied to the 19th Ward political honchos.

But then, he comes out with a telephone campaign call from, you guessed it, 19th Ward heavy and County Sheriff Tom Dart.

When I wrote about it, O'Grady emailed me this passioned response expressing disappointment that somehow I didn't believe everything he has told me. In fairness, instead of publishing the email he sent me, I asked him, as a courtesy, to give me an email response that I could publish.

He hasn't responded. O'Grady stopped emailing me. The attitude reflected in his mean campaign mailers comes from somewhere. I'm not surprised that maybe he just decided to pack up his marbles, and ignore me. No problem, Paul. You want to be like that, fine. I've seen a lot of politicians like you come and go in the past 32 years of covering Chicagoland politics. Politicians always promise big things after coming out of nowhere. but the first sign of criticism and they run and whine, and stamp their feet in anger. They pick up their marbles and go someplace else. It isn't about educating the public. It's about wanting to win an election.

Your campaign literature is mean. I'm not sure Orland Township can afford to have a person who allows mean attacks to inundate our mail boxes to run the Township.

O'Grady says he has no 19th Ward ties, but using Dart -- who never mentions that he is a boyhood friend with O'Grady -- doesn't help O'Grady make his case. If anything, O'Grady's use of Dart suggests the opposite.


The meannest was the Ad published in the Orland Park Prairie Newspaper, which goes to every home in Orland Park. The Ad is signed by Village Clerk Dave Maher, his son Orland Fire Protection District President Patrick Maher and Brian Maher, a trustee in Tinely Park who is a cousin. The letter blasts Robert Maher and Gerald Maher, (Robert's brother is running for mayor in Orland Park against Village President Dan McLaughlin). It's mean, too, and it was paid for by Paul O'Grady's political committee.

I spoke with Dave Maher about it. He alleged that Robert Maher and Gerald Maher have been telling everyone they are related to Dave Maher and his family, riding on their election coattails.

To be honest, I spoke with Robert and Gerald Maher and not once did they ever say they were related to Dave Maher or his family. Not once did they ever imply they were related. And not once have I seen any official and unofficial literature claiming to be related to Dave Maher's family, or to ride on Dave Maher's coattails as Village Clerk. I wrote about the issue of how the names sound the same but are unreleated and I doubt anyone believes the families are related.

But I have seen O'Grady's team slate someone with a name that sounds like two of the candidates on Robert Maher's slate. Brian Younker who is the candidate for Highway Commissioner challenging the incumbent and highly praised Highway Commissioner running for re-election on Robert Maher's slate, Donald Yunker.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black? Sounds a little hypocritical to me.

Of course, Dave Maher couldn't have designed the Ad because the Ad lists Dave Maher as the "Orland Park Village Manager." Ooops! I think Village Manager Paul Grimes would take issue with that. It lists Pat Maher as :President Orland Park Fire Department" -- who is the president of the Orland Fire Protection District. It ends with a big, boldfaced call to "Vote Paul O'Grady Supervisor of Orland Township," although I would not have been surprised if it had a mistake, too, and urged that we vote for O'Grady to be Alderman of the 19th Ward. At least, Paul O'Grady got his own totle right!


I am sure Paul O'Grady will take this opinion commentary personally. I think that is what people who don't explain how they will improve things campaign. How do you plan to make Orland Township a better place to live? Waste ink on that. We could use more details.

In my opinion, the meanness crosses the line. Instead of reflecting badly on Robert Maher it says more about Paul O'Grady.

Too bad. I thought Paul would be a great candidate for public office. I am disappointed. And of course, this is an election. Some candidates have great respect for the right of the public to challenge them. And then there are others who feel they are above criticism and can do no wrong.

I know Orland Township Supervisor Robert Maher respects how the public feels. O'Grady's literature doesn't say the same about Paul O'Grady; as an individual, though, O'Grady comes across as a decent individual. I wish his campaign material reflected that instead.

-- Ray Hanania

No comments:

Post a Comment