Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Patrick Maher claims endorsement of Tinley park Village Board -- oops!

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They're calling it "another Maher." Why not, there are so many "Maher's" in the election and Patrick Maher, the son of Cook County employee and Orland Park Village Clerk David Maher has challenged one of them -- the one running against him. But he didn't challenge the one running against incumbent Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman, and that is Gerald Maher. Maher dropped out of the county board race to help Pat Maher and instead is focusing his campaign on challenging Gorman for Orland Township Republican Committeeman. As much as I like Gerald Maher, he is a terrible candidate and did so poorly in the last election, I was embarrassed for him.

I realized how strong Gorman was before the last election when Gorman had the courage to attend a tax forum my radio show "Radio Chicagoland" sponsored at the Orland Civic Center. There, Liz Gorman detailed all that she is doing to fight rising taxes and she impressed me and everyone else. Even Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin attended the forum and spoke and shook every hand while Maher sat in the audience.

So Maher has now paired up with some no-name Republican from the north suburbs, who the Gorman's say is tied to County Commissioner Tony Peraica, to challenge Gorman in the Feb. 2 primary.

Why? Because Gorman has fought harder than any other elected official or elective office wannabe to fight rising taxes. I don't need to tell you the role that Gorman played in refusing to give up on rolling back Todd Stroger's 1 percent sales tax/ Her persistence is exactly what taxpayers in Cook County needs and have been lacking in others.

Meanwhile, amazingly, Patrick Maher is making fighting taxes his campaign foundation. So that's why he is running to unseat the one champion against rising unfair taxes in Cook County who has refused to give up. Pat Maher is a nice guy, probably being led around by a bunch of political opportunists who have done nothing for taxpayers except to help themselves. Had Maher been on the county board, how do you think he would have voted on the sales tax repeal with his father earning some $80,000 working for the Stroger's county government?

And they're not just opportunists. They are incompetent opportunists. Who was it that put in the Maher newsletter that Maher had the endorsement of the "Village Board of Trustees -- Tinley Park?" Ooops! It's "another Maher."

No, a disturbed Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki told me. The Tinley Park Board did NOT endorse Maher at all. Maybe Maher got the expected nod from the affable Gregory Hannon -- but who cares whether Hannon did or did not endorse anyone?

They should put on their endorsement list that Maher has the endorsement of Gerald Maher. Now that would be a story, and bring the truth out from under the fog of politics, too. Or maybe Maher has the endorsement of Tony Peraica? Or maybe Maher has the endorsement of Todd Stroger? (Notice in his literature Maher is careful to attack Gorman on false charges that she is not fighting for taxpayer rights, and that he's opposing a bunch of other obscure and generic issues taken right out of the headlines that Gorman has been fighting against, too.)

Like I said, Pat Maher is a decent person. But would he be the best person to stand up to Stroger's excessive taxes? I don't think so. In fact, I bet Stroger would be happy to have him on the board. They'd probably have to lower the veto override again, though.

Instead of running for the Cook County Board, Pat Maher should show some real leadership and cut down the outrageous $26 million budget of the Orland Fire Protection District that he heads. The OFPD collects the largest chunk of taxes in Orland Township, outside of the schools, and although there was a tax reduction several years ago, the reduction was compensated for in an increase later. It is a cute trick that some politicians use so they can argue that they are cutting taxes for citizens. Except the key flaw is that the OFPD is one of the most expensive district's in Northern Illinois.

I've suggested that voters instead send Maher a clear message in Feb. 2 and support the elimination of the OFPD, merging fire protection services into Orland Park and cutting the budget to something more reasonable like $12 million. That's one tax cut I can support but we know its president won't.

Of course, there is also the lingering and unanswered issue of the OFPD allowing its battalion chiefs to drive their gas-guzzling SUV's all over the suburbs, even for personal use and outside of the district. That's a waste of taxpayer money, in my opinion.

-- Ray Hanania

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