Pat Maher, the president of the Orland Fire Protection District, is accusing Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman with sponsoring one of his challengers. Their evidence is that one of the candidates, Donna Sanders, a respected member of the local library board, is backed by Orland Hills Mayor Kyle Hastings. He says that the petitions for Sanders and John Maher, another candidate in the crowded primary, will be made available to the public.
Maher's campaign has been trying to ignore the challenge from Dr. Victor Forys, who has the backing of most Democratic leaders in the 17th County district in the February 2, 2009 Democratic Primary.
I had a chance to review all the petitions for all the candidates and the only thing thats truck me as odd was the petitions circulated by Maher's dad, Orland Park Village Clerk David Maher. In one instance on one of the petitions circulated by David Maher, the signatures of four family members at the same address were signed exactly alike, as if one person signed them. That's how it looked to me. Of course, being a village clerk, David Maher would know that each voter must sign their own petitions and no one can sign for some else
In the release, Maher also denies he raised taxes for the Orland Fire Protection District, which is not truthful. The fact is Maher cut back the amount of taxes in the county's budget one year, and then increased it back, creating an artificial reduction in taxes. The tragic fact is that under Maher, the Orland Fire Protection District has the largest tax bite of any government agency on your property tax bills. Look at them yourself, 12.51 percent of the entire property tax bill -- the largest bite with the exception of the schools -- is what the OFPD takes from your taxes.
You can bet this is going to a muddy campaign. Here is Maher's press release and statement from his campaign manager in front of the release, Trevor Montgomery:
Mayor Kyle Hastings of Orland Hills, his family and supporters circulated the vast majority of Donna Sanders petitions. Hastings is a known ally of Republican incumbent Liz Gorman. Paid workers circulated the majority of John Maher's petitions. Other petitions were circulated at a bar in Orland Park that has hosted recent fundraisers for Liz Gorman and is owned by a support of Gorman's. John Maher has only voted once since 2002 and filed at a different address than he is registered to vote. Copies of petitions filed by John Maher and Donna Sanders are available upon request.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/16/2009
Media Contact: Trevor Montgomery
Democrat Patrick Maher Shuts Down Gorman’s Political Games
Republican incumbent Liz Gorman is already playing the tired old political games for which our failed Cook County Board is known.
Patrick Maher, Democratic candidate for the Cook County Board, has filed a petition challenge against two candidates — John Maher, of Palos Heights, and Donna Sanders, of Orland Hills. Maher said the addition of John Maher, in particular, to the ballot is a clear attempt by Gorman to confuse Democratic Primary voters.
“Putting someone with the same last name on the ballot to manipulate voters is one of the oldest and lamest tricks in the book. John Maher and Donna Sanders have a history of not voting in Democratic primaries, they are not active in local Democratic politics and they are not serious candidates. Most importantly, they did not meet the qualifications for appearing on the ballot,” he said.
Both John Maher and Donna Sanders filed petitions rife with errors.
“I’m not going to allow the Republican incumbent to hijack the Democratic Primary so she can pursue her selfish political agenda. She knows that I’m the strongest candidate in the field. My concern is that the primary voters and my campaign do not fall victim to politics as usual.” Maher said he personally filed the challenges because it was important for him to ensure that the Democratic Primary ballot includes only serious Democratic candidates.
“We’re at a crucial turning point in terms of Cook County government. I put my own name on these challenges because I’m not going to hide, to have someone else go through the process for me. I’m not going to play games. My campaign is about fixing the way politics is done and changing the way politics is conducted on the Cook County Board,” he said.
Gorman is already pulling out all the stops in her bid to interfere with the Democratic Primary and smear her strongest likely opponent in the General Election. Just last week, she sent out a misleading email indicating that the Orland Fire Protection District is raising your taxes. The fire protection district, of which Maher is President, has actually lowered its tax rate by over 20% and has returned more than $1.3 million in tax cuts to the voters.
A hearing will be held today at the Cook County Board of Elections regarding both petition challenges.