Monday, March 30, 2009

Reconsidering Liz Gorman -- yes, she's not that bad!

As a columnist, I always am compelled to write what I feel. And over the years I have been tough on Elizabeth Doody Gorman, the former Cook County GOP Chairman and the Orland Township Republican Committeeman and Cook County Commissioner.

Well, I give her credit. She has ... let's call them ... well, let's not. Let's just say she has the courage to recognize that as an elected official, part of her responsibility to the public is to take the criticism, right wrong, harsh or mild. Gorman took up my invite and came to the WJJG 1530 AM Radio "Fight the Taxation" Forum held tonight (Monday, March 30) at the Orland Park Civic Center.

The forum featured a lot of speakers including a welcome from Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin, and guests Rita Mullins, the mayor of Palatine, and Jim Tobin, president of the National Taxpayer's United of Illinois, one of the most effective tax fighting bodies in the state. Mullins' township of Palatine is one of five that are considering secession referenda on the local ballots. The others are Hanover, Elk Grove, Barrington and Schaumburg townships.

But Gorman's participation made it an even better event because Gorman -- who I still have a few differences with on public policy -- is one of the county commissioners who had the courage to stand up to County Board President Todd Stroger's unjustified sales tax increase. Her county district runs from north to south and spans the length of the county and many of her businesses and watching as residents jump the border to make their big ticket purchases in Will, DuPage and other neighboring counties.

So, I am going to say this: Liz, you impressed me. We may still have some issues. But you are welcome any time to join my radio show and talk about the issues -- those we agree on and those we have disagreement. But you will always be welcome.

And as I expect your organization will chill a bit, I will too. Kindler and gentler for both of us will benefit the public more.


The forum drew about 75 attendees. It's a Monday night and not easy to get out these days. But we had many other officials and candidates and I would be remiss not to thank them for attending, too.

Orland Park Trustees Pat Gira and Ed Schussler both came to the meeting. And that isn't surprising because they both have always been very open and accessible. Gira sat through the entire meeting listening and that's a trait more elected officials should learn.

Chris Ciciora and Cindy Nelson Katsenes also attended the meeting. Both are running for the single seat on the Orland Fire Protection District.

Gerald Maher, the candidate for mayor of Orland Park, also attended and greeted everyone. Although I was too busy making sure the remote radio broadcast and guests were lined up properly to try and get Maher and McLaughlin to say hello to each other. I do believe that every elected official should have a challenger and while it's not easy to defeat an incumbent, I admire Maher for running and helping to insure that voters get to hear a debate. McLaughlin has been very amiable too, understanding that the public always has concerns about government and he insists he is listening.

Orland Township Trustee Joan Herman also came by. What a great lady. Real class. I haven't seen her in years but she is running on the Orland Township ticket for re-election and she definitely adds some strength to the incumbent slate led by Robert Maher, the township supervisor. She was first elected to the Township in 1973 and has been there save for one term the entire time. What a great asset to the community she is.

Also coming by was Rob Willett, who is running for mayor of Tinley park against a very popular and effective mayor, Ed Zabrocki.

The evening radio forum was taped and will be broadcast on Thursday morning from 8 until 9:30 am on WJJG 1530 AM Radio. I will also have it podcast, possibly before Thursday so you can hear the comments and observations from the guests, Gorman, Mullins and Tobin, and the great questions fromt he audience.

And a special thanks goes out to one of the first professional journalists I met some 32 years ago, Jodi Marneris, whose mention in her column in the Southtown/Star helped get the word out about the forum and pushed the crowd. And thanks goes out to the Palos Regional News also for their ongoing publicity. Also covering the event is the Orland Park Prairie which has the largest circulation in Orland Park and most of the neighboring suburbs. The reporter there was Jamie Lynn Ferguson. Aaaannnnd! We also had FOX 32 News (Channel 12 on Comcast Cable) covering the event that evening and the next morning. Plus WBBM Radiow as there grabbing interviews ... great coverage!

-- Ray Hanania

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