Sunday, January 31, 2010

Finally, a great and fair analysis of the Junkas-Flynn battle, in the Regional Newspaper

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The big debate in the battle between Jeffrey Junkas and Molly McAvoy Flynn, especially in the news media, hasn't been so much about the issues but rather about which one is a "Democratic plant." The debate reflects the divisions that exist in the Republican Party between moderates and hardline extremists who are trying to silence the divergent voices.

The Regional's Meg Sullivan does the best job in describing this battle in her report this week in the Palos Reporter Newspaper, which also covers Orland Park. Click HERE to read the story.

Flynn is backed by Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman, the Cook County Commissioner from the 17th District and Republican Committeeman in Orland Township. Junkas is backed by a rebel faction led by some of Gorman's critics.

The truth is that the Republicans can't afford this name calling and should instead focus on preparing to come together to challenge State Rep. Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy has been a muted member of the legislature. I don't know him and have never met him, though ironically his office is the equivalent of two houses north of my home. Amazing, isn't it, that I ran for the district rep spot in 1991 (in my bid to learn firsthand the experiences of a public candidate in launching my then political consulting firm) and McCarthy never says hi. That's because he does what he is told to do.

I don't blame McCarthy for doing what House Speaker Michael J. Madigan orders him to do. Madigan is powerful and smart, probably one of the smartest politicians in Illinois and maybe the MidWest. It always amazed me that Madigan would not have run for higher office like the U.S. Senate. But his power in Illinois is formidable and he is essentially Illinois' de facto Governor.

But I do wonder about the harsh attacks against Gorman and what motivates them. Gorman has really strengthened her leadership during the past two years. As a longtime Democrat myself, many years ago, I was one of her critics (and admirers, too). But Gorman has clearly redefined what voters need, someone who has an allegiance to a political party but who is also smart enough to reach across the partisan lines to work for the best interests of the voters.

The attacks against Gorman -- and some extremists in the Republican party have tried to blame her for this dispute between Flynn and Junkas -- are unjustified. She, more than anyone, has brought the best in the Republican Party together while being mindful of the needs of the 17th Cook County District. She's a dedicated Republican and if I were a member of the Republican Party, I'd take her advice on what needs to be done in Orland Township and the 17th District.

Gorman backs Flynn and that is a powerful endorsement that Junkas can't take for granted. His focus on the phony issue of who is or isn't a Republican is ridiculous. Every candidate in every election is always blasted as a "ringer" or a "plant" from the other side. A good candidate for public office pushes that aside and instead focuses on the issues and tells voters what needs to be done, rather than making excuses.

Whether either candidate is a plant is irrelevant. What's relevant is who is best to represent the party in making McCarthy accountable to the voters instead of to the State Machine.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Liz Gorman wins endorsement of newspaper in Thompson's backyard; Maher slammed in his

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The influential Journal and Topics Newspapers, which covers the north suburban end of the 17th Cook County District, gave Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman a solid endorsement over her challenger in the Republican primary race Tuesday Mark Thompson, who is from the newspaper's back yard.

The Journal and Topics newspaper also declined to endorse in the race between Patrick Maher and Dr. Victor Forys in the Democratic primary, however, seeing neither as worthy.

In a double whammy for Maher, the SouthtownStar newspaper also refused to endorse in the Democratic race between Maher and Forys, slamming Maher for his refusal to provide basic information on the controversy-plagued and budget bloated Orland Fire Protection District.

Here is what the Journal and Topics Newspaper wrote in their editorial, followed by the Southtown Star  Editorial:

Gorman Deserves Voter Support
Journal Endorsement | As we've come to know all too well in the last year or so, county government really does matter. It has a profound affect on our daily lives whether it is with road building projects, maintenance of the local forest preserves or flood relief.

And if that isn't enough, remember the infamous 1% sales tax that Cook County Board President Todd Stroger proposed more than a year ago?

If it wasn't for the stink raised by ordinary citizens who have to foot the bill, the tax hike probably would have passed. When the public raised its voice, political leaders raised their heads and the county sales tax hike was trimmed in half. Like they say, half a loaf is better than nothing.

With that in mind, we turn our attention to the 17th District of Cook County. It's an oddly-shaped geographical area that stretches north from Orland Park and Palos Hts into Des Plaines and Prospect Hts. For the last eight years, Elizabeth Gorman has represented that district and we feel she has done a credible job, which warrants voter support in the Tuesday, Feb. 2 primary.

Challenging Gorman is Mark Thompson, a well-known figure in the Northwest suburbs where he currently serves as Maine Township Republican committeeman. Thompson's public service has been long and solid as Maine Township supervisor and Maine Township trustee. Besides his race with Gorman, he is also seeking reelection as committeeman against State Rep. Rosemary Mulligan (R-65th). So you see, Thompson has a lot on his table.

On the Democratic side, running for ballot placement to take on either Gorman or Thompson in November are Victor Forys of Park Ridge, Patrick Maher and Donna Sanders. Running as Green Party candidates are Richard Dalka of Des Plaines and Matthew Ogean. The Journal & Topics is not endorsing in either of these races.

In the GOP race, however, we think Gorman deserves voter support primarily because she saw the light on the poorly thought out sales tax increase and worked to repeal it along with the state requirement to override Stroger's veto. She didn't sit on her hands. In addition, we feel Gorman's look to the future of county government makes sense where all-out efforts must be made to streamline county government at a time when waste cannot be tolerated.

In the Cook County Board's 17th District, Democratic primary voters will choose between Orland Fire Protection District President Patrick Maher and Park Ridge physician Victor Forys. A third candidate is on the ballot, Donna Sanders, but she is largely believed to be a plant in the race. Don't waste your vote on her.
Maher and Forys both say they would streamline Cook County government and reduce waste and inefficiency in the health delivery system.
Forys, a medical doctor who wants to bring his expertise to the county's health system, would look at curtailing generous pension benefits for future county workers. Maher would fight tax and fee increases but leave the pensions alone.
Maher, of Orland Park, cites his experience overseeing the fire district as proof he would take the same level of professionalism and cost-cutting to Cook County. Indeed, Maher has helped professionalize the fire district.
However, we can't endorse a candidate who willfully ignored repeated requests from this newspaper for information about the fire district when it experienced one of the biggest scandals in Southland history.
Firefighter Larry Masa was arrested and convicted after illegally collecting more than $190,000 in salary and benefits. Masa claimed for years he was on active military duty in Iraq when in fact he was working for a private contractor, not the U.S. military. Evidence suggested Masa was ripping off taxpayers and yet fire district officials looked the other way.
Maher doesn't deserve all the blame for the debacle, but he also never restituted accusations in a trumped up report that falsely blamed Deputy Chief Art Granat. He never apologized. He never accepted responsibility.
Maher says lawsuits prohibited him from being able to speak publicly about the case. Talking about it could have jeopardized the district's efforts to recoup taxpayer money, he said.
But as a newspaper that demands elected officials respect the public's right to know, we cannot offer our endorsement.
We also cannot endorse Forys.
While he would bring a unique perspective to a board that struggles with its health care system, he did not seem to fully understand the role of county government. A better fit for him would be a position on the Cook County Health and Hospitals System Board.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pat Maher's candidacy takes another beating in the media

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Patrick Maher, whose only real claim to fame is his father's name (shared by many by the way) and overseeing one of the most bloated Fire Protection District's in the State of Illinois, got more bad news this week. The Chicago Tribune, the Daily Southtown and other major newspapers, have all endorsed Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz"Doody Gorman in the 17th District.

Now, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald has also endorsed Gorman in the Republican primary over mudslinger Mark Thompson. They also endorsed Dr. Victor Forys in the Democratic Primary.

Here's what the DH said about Gorman:

Liz Gorman, 44, of Orland Park, the incumbent Republican representing the 17th District on the Cook County Board for the last eight years, wins our endorsement in the primary over challenger Mark Thompson, 54, of Des Plaines. Thompson makes the easy case that Cook County government needs to change, but is unconvincing in how he would do it.
He charges that Gorman is too cozy with Democrats, while Gorman persuasively argues that she has fought for and passed useful measures such as the reduction of the sales tax increase by working with members of the Democratic majority whose support is needed to get anything done.
And with Thompson having recently come in third in the race for Des Plaines mayor and currently under challenge from state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan for the Maine Township Republican Committeeman post, Gorman clearly is the stronger candidate in the general election.

-- Ray Hanania

Orland Park issues warning on Coyotes and pets

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Feeding Coyotes In Orland Park Is Illegal

Never Leave Family Pets Unattended Outside

ORLAND PARK, IL - Coyotes have been in the Orland Park area since the late 70s when they used area railroad tracks as highways to Chicago’s south suburbs. The current population is growing because coyotes have no natural predators. They are the number one killer of white-tailed deer fawns.

“Coyotes look like German Shepherds and, at this time of the year, they look very large because their winter coats are in,” explained Orland Park Police Animal Control Officer Steve Stronk. “When they’re wet, they look like a 40 pound dog,” he added.

It is not uncommon to see coyotes in packs of as many as eight. The coyotes’ breeding time is normally in February and March with their pups being born in the spring, April and May, after 60 to 63 days of gestation. Coyotes can have anywhere from five to seven pups in a litter.

“Most coyotes feed on rabbits and mice but they’ll never pass up a free meal,” Stronk noted. “They do eat bird seed and all other animals and birds that feed on the seed,” he explained. Stronk recommends that residents who feed birds and see coyotes in the area should stop feeding the birds for at least a month.

“The Police Department knows of Orland Park residents who --- despite our repeated warnings --- have been feeding coyotes,” Stronk lamented. “This is one of the reasons why coyotes are losing their fear of humans,” he added.

It is illegal to ground feed any animals or birds in the Village of Orland Park.

“We cannot stress enough that people should not feed any wildlife in Orland Park. They must let Mother Nature take its course and let these animals forage for their own food. Whether it’s the geese at the ponds, coyotes, raccoons, deer in your backyard or any other type of wildlife, do not feed them,” Stronk firmly said.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources records show no documented coyote attacks on humans; however, they will attack family pets.

Residents who encounter a coyote are cautioned to never run from it or take their eyes off of it. “If you run, you could engage a predatory instinct and the coyote could give chase,” Stronk explained. Residents who encounter coyotes should yell, scream and wave their arms, making themselves look larger than they actually are.

“If that doesn’t work, throw whatever is handy at the coyote or carry an air horn like boaters use,” Strong suggested, adding, “An air horn should make them leave in a hurry.”

Residents are encouraged to always carry a cell phone when out walking or walking their dogs. “Take your cell phone with you so you can call for help,” Stronk recommended.

Walkers are also encouraged to go to the nearest house for help and ask that the homeowner call 9-1-1 so that a police officer can respond.

“I cannot stress enough the importance of never, ever leaving your family dog or cat to wander alone or unattended outside,” Stronk said. “This is when coyotes have attacked, when they come upon defenseless family pets outside by themselves,” he added. “Do not leave your family pets unattended outside,” Stronk emphasized.

Orland Park is surrounded by forest preserves and the village will always have wildlife in its environs. “We have deer, muskrats, coyotes, geese and more,” Stronk said, adding, “We can’t choose which animals pass through our yards but there are several things we can do to make them not want to stay.”

“Everyone needs to be careful and pay extra attention when it comes to wildlife, especially when it comes to family pets,” Stronk advised, adding that coyote information packets are available at the Orland Park Police Department, 15100 South Ravinia Avenue.

Residents with additional questions about wildlife in the Village of Orland Park may contact Stronk by calling the Police Department’s non-emergency number, 708/349-4111.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rash of garage break ins reported by police

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Common Sense Prevents Vehicle Burglaries
Orland Park Residents Reminded To Close Garage Doors

ORLAND PARK, IL – The Orland Park Police Department has issued a community alert to make residents and visitors to Orland Park aware of recent criminal activity.

“We’ve received a number of reports of vehicles being broken into,” said Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy. Both commercial and residential areas of the village have shown an increase in motor vehicle burglaries.

“The Police Department has compiled a list of simple reminders to help the public prevent vandalism to their vehicles,” said Lieutenant John Keating of the department’s Investigations Division. “The most obvious reminder is to lock the doors on your vehicle. Locked doors are the first deterrent to vehicle break-ins,” he added.

“During the holiday season, law enforcement agencies across the country remind shoppers to not leave valuables or purchases in plain sight,” McCarthy explained. “This rule holds true throughout the year --- not just when you’re Christmas shopping,” the chief said. “Electronics left on windshields and recent purchases left on the seats make your vehicle a target,” McCarthy said, adding that power cords tell thieves that there’s an electronic device inside of the vehicle.

“Don’t leave purses or bags that look like purses where potential thieves can see them in a vehicle,” the chief warned. “All of our tips are common sense but we oftentimes forget that we need to take that extra step to prevent someone from stealing our personal property,” McCarthy added.

The Police Department’s Investigations Division warns that car burglars will watch the parking areas of restaurants, fitness and entertainment centers, watching for people who place items in the trunks of their cars before entering the establishments.

“Once the thieves see someone place valuables in their trunk, they wait for them to enter the building, break the window and use the automatic trunk opener inside of the car to access the trunk,” McCarthy explained.

“This is all done within a matter of seconds and the vehicle owners don’t know what’s happened until they later return to their cars,” the chief added.

“Be aware of your surroundings,” Keating cautioned. “If you have to move valuables to the trunk of your car, don’t do it in a public area where people may be watching you,” he added. “Leave the valuables at home or move them to the trunk before you’re in a public area,” Keating said.

McCarthy noted that the department is working with local businesses asking that they post signs reminding patrons to lock their vehicles and to not leave valuables where they are visible.

“We’ve created a cooperative public education effort, reminding people to take that extra step necessary to protect their personal belongings,” the chief said.

Residents leaving garage doors open have also invited unwanted thefts. “We’re reminding everyone to pay attention to their garage doors, making a conscious note to close the door after entering or leaving their garages,” McCarthy said.

Keating echoed, “When residents leave their garage doors open, they not only give thieves access to their bikes, tools and other garage items, more often than not, they’re giving them access to their house because many families leave their inside garage service doors unlocked. This is a very preventable crime. Close your garage doors.”

Police officials ask that residents pay attention to what’s happening in their neighborhoods.

“If your neighbor’s garage door is open, call them on the phone or go ring the bell to let them know,” McCarthy said. “Or, you can call the Police Department and we’ll either try to close the door or contact the family to let them know,” he added.

Residents are encouraged to pay attention to vehicles in their subdivisions, knowing which of their neighbors travel during the winter months and keeping a watchful eye on their surroundings.

“Neighbors helping neighbors is the best way to deter crime in residential areas, both single and multi-family,” McCarthy said. “And, using common sense with valuables in your vehicle in public areas will prevent unwanted thefts,” Keating added.

Residents who witness suspicious activity are encouraged to contact the Orland Park Police Department at 708/349-4111 or if it’s an emergency by dialing 9-1-1.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Southtown endorses Liz Gorman over her mudslinging foe Mark Thompson

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The Southtown/Star came out with a powerful endorsement of Liz Gorman in today's editorial:

Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth Doody Gorman (R-Orland Park) is a strong, consistent, dutiful voice on the Cook County Board for her constituents.
She earns our endorsement as the candidate for Republican primary voters in the 17th District.
She faces Mark Thompson, of Des Plaines.
On the board, Gorman repeatedly has shown her loyalty lies with a district that encompasses much of the southwest suburbs. She also has shown an independent streak, working well with both Democrats and Republicans to accomplish what's good for Cook County.
She fought President Todd Stroger over his 1 percent sales tax.
She voted against the hiring of Stroger cousin Donna Dunnings as the county's chief financial officer.
She sponsored and worked to pass legislation that requires county contractors to disclose any family times to Cook County government.
She lead the push to remove disgraced Cook County schools Supt. Charles Flowers from office, even though Republicans created the office a decade earlier so folks such as Flowers could exist. Gorman, in fact, was the only commissioner to vote against extending a $190,000 loan to Flowers back in 2008 - a loan he eventually defaulted on.
She spearheaded efforts to get more south suburban representation on the Metra board.
For all of those reasons, Gorman deserves another shot at continuing what she's started on the board

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gorman receives huge endorsement along with Forys in 17th District

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The Chicago Tribune, the region's most influential newspaper, this morning endorsed Incumbent Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz"Doody Gorman in the Republican Primary and Dr. Victor Forys, the Democratic challenger who will face-off Feb. 2 against Patrick Maher, the son of Orland Village Clerk David Maher and head of the controversy-plagued Orland Fire Protection District.

Here is what the Tribune Editorial board wrote about Forys, Gorman and also Jeff Tobolski, a rising star in the suburbs:

17th District (Southwest, west and northwest suburbs): Victor Forys, a Democrat from Park Ridgewho came to the U.S. from Poland at age 4, would be the only doctor on the board. He would work to make the independent health panel permanent, repeal the remaining sales tax hike, and protect the forest preserves from municipal land grabs. The Tribune endorses Forys.

GOP incumbent 
Liz Doody Gorman worked tirelessly to roll back the sales tax hike and to protect employers and jobs. We hope voters reject smear campaigns that bizarrely portray her as a Stroger lapdog. Gorman is anything but. We have endorsed her in the past and do so again.

16th District (western suburbs): McCook Mayor Jeffrey Tobolski is respected by officials in other suburban governments but doesn't toe anyone's line: He would be a strong defender of the county forest preserves. He also would vote to kill the rest of the sales tax hike. And he knows firsthand that county taxes are, in his words, "killing our businesses." Tobolski is endorsed.

The endorsements are huge.

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Charges to be filed against Suburban Regional Schools Supt. Charles Flowers, officials said

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Charles Flowers, Superintendent of the Suburban Cook County Regional Office of Education, turned himself into authorities today on charges of public corruption, officials said today. 
Flowers is alleged to have stolen thousands of dollars from the bankrupt agency.  He and the agency are also owe $190,000 loaned by the Cook County Board that was never repaid.
County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman praised the arrest. Gorman was the only commissioner who opposed the loan when it was first brought before the board, and last year, the entire board reversed itself and joined Gorman in condemning Flowers' alleged mismanagement of the office.
“As a suburban commissioner, I worked closely with his predecessor Robert Ingraffia which gave me familiarity and perspective of the office so when Flowers came to the county board asking for the loan I did my due diligence and was made aware of some alleged questionable practices taking place in his office.  That’s why I stood my ground and was the only commissioner to vote “No” and oppose the $190,000 loan to Flowers.”  In July, a civil suit was brought against Flowers and the agency by the state's attorney's office for failing to repay this $190,000 loan from the county.
“It’s such a shame that the voters chose to replace a well-respected career educator and a man with the highest integrity like Robert Ingraffia with an alleged criminal like Charles Flowers.”
State's Attorney Anita Alvarez is expected to formally announce criminal charges against Flowers at a press conference this afternoon.
The charges are the result of a separate criminal probe into allegations that he used agency funds for his own personal gain. Last year, a state audit found that the agency was $1 million in debt and accused Flowers of using a work credit card for personal use as well as giving a $6,000 advance to a relative he hired to work for him.
-- Ray Hanania

Mark Thompson lobs election mud over, and over, and over again at Gorman

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I never heard of Mark Thompson until he announced his candidacy for commissioner in the 17th District. His web site describes him this way:
"Mark Thompson has 8 years of experience as a Municipal Chief Executive as he was elected and re-elected Maine Township Supervisor for two 4-year terms (1993-2001).  He has experience as an Attorney and former Prosecutor.  Mark served for 10 years as Chief Deputy Director under then-Secretary of State Jim Edgar.  Additionally, Mark is a former member of the Northwest Municipal Conference and was elected to two terms as Secretary of that body."
 His goal is to beat Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman who is the incumbent in the 17th District. Gorman has her critics in the Republican Party, mainly those associated with ostracized Commissioner Tony Peraica, a decent person who works hard at making every enemy a worse enemy and every friend an enemy, too. Peraica can't seem to work with anyone.  He seems obsessed not with his own re-election, or defending the rights of residents in his own district, where he will likely face-off (if he is fortunate to beat his Republican challenger Westchester trustee Brian Sloan)  in November with Democratic challenger Jeff Tobolski in the November election, but rather he is focused on hating Gorman.

Is Thompson a Peraica disciple?

I can't connect all the dots, and I don't think it matters, but there is no doubt that they sure share the same kind of profile. Because Thompson REALLY hates Gorman.

In the past six weeks, all I have received from the Thompson campaign, which claims on his web site at that his foe is "Todd Stroger," are negative mud-slung garbage that has nothing to do with the issues facing the district and have everything to do, every time, with bashing, name-calling and slander against Gorman. Gorman's web site is

Where is the 10 point plan to defend the rights of taxpayers in the 17th District that stretches like a bowling alley from Orland Park in the South to Wheeling in the north?

Where are the plans to confront the Stroger Sales tax -- something that Gorman has done brilliantly and effectively over the past two years. In fact, if Thompson says his fight is against Stroger, why hasn't Thompson released a press release detailing how he would roll-back the remaining 1/2 percent sales tax hike that Stroger imposed? 

More importantly, why is Thompson focusing all of his attacks against Gorman, the one member of the Cook County Board who didn't flip-flop on the sales tax issue and singlehandedly helped build the coalition of Republicans, Democrats and Independents who have forced the roll-back of the first 1.2 percent of the sales tax.

It was Gorman's persistence that has kept the battle to roll back the sales tax alive until it finally succeeded after four major votes. Might I remind everyone that nine (9) commissioner originally voted to approve the sales tax? That one of those, had he not voted to support it and now opposes the sales tax, could have stopped the whole issue with one correct vote but failed int he first place?

Gorman did not fail in her fight against Stroger. She's been all over it. The roll-back was the result of a coalition finally coming together and standing firm with 12 votes to support rollback, and, with the help of the Legislature -- which legislative members said they were motivated by Gorman's persistence and refusal to give up -- voted to lower the number of votes needed to override Stroger's headlock on the corruption plague Cook County Government that he heads.

Peraica tried, too, to roll back the sales tax. But he couldn't get one of the other 17 commissioners to "second" or support his motions so they could even be considered. Is that what Thompson is promising too? More reckless lone-gunmen style politics where personality clashes prevent a good commissioner from defending the needs of taxpayers?

Part of this battle is about the needs of the taxpayers. But a large part of the battle, as I discovered in sitting through a press briefing that Gorman conducted at her offices with United Republican Fund activist and columnist Fran Eaton (She writes for the Southtown and the Illinois Review which is a great resource on conservative politics), is that there are some Republicans who are not happy with candidates who have been slated for office in Orland Township. (Click here for the link to the interview session.)

Gorman talked about her achievements and what she plans to do when she returns to the Cook County Board. Gorman didn't initiate any attacks against Thompson, although Gorman DID respond to questions posed about assertions and claims and name-calling Thompson has made.

She was the sole voice in challenging giving Cook County money to Stroger pal Dr. Charles Flowers who Gorman repeatedly warned the Cook County board for a year was not managing his finances properly as regional schools superintendent (Why do we even have that job in the first place). Here's a story from WBBM TV (Click HERE for the YouTube video) detailing how Gorman opened the County Board's eyes to Flower's alleged mismanagement of his office's finances.

I suspect all of this not only involves Peraica, but also another Gorman nemesis, Patrick Maher, who also spends a lot of time attacking Gorman even though he is in a tough race on the Democratic side Feb. 2 being challenged by popular candidate Dr. Victor Forys. Forys and Maher are running in the Democratic primary race and Gorman and Thompson are in the Republican primary, both Feb. 2. Maher is the son of Orland Park village clerk David Maher. And is anyone surprised that another Maher is also trying to unseat Gorman as Orland Township Committeeman, Gerald Maher?

When everyone gangs up against a candidate, and a woman, by the way in a field of only a few women candidates, and they are all hammering her and attacking her and calling her names and slandering her family and avoiding talking about the issues like the fact that Gorman has helped save the taxpayers millions over the years, you have to wonder what's going on.

I think the taxpayers and the voters are smart enough to figure this all out. A bunch of arrogant men in politics -- isn't that always the case? -- want to take control of the 17th District and they don't like a woman who has the chutzpah to kick ass and take names when it comes to defending the rights of taxpayers.

I've been upfront in this column repeatedly. I think Gorman is doing a great job when it comes to defending the rights of the taxpayer sand voters. I haven't seen anything from Thompson or the Maher-twins either about what they would do to really put the brakes to Stroger's mismanagement of Cook County and Stroger's abusive taxation policies, other than their vicious attacks against Gorman.

I think voters see that, too.

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Egg thrower sues homeowner for defending home is voted top ridiculous lawsuit

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Faces of Lawsuit Abuse blog asked readers to vote on which of five lawsuits was the most ridiculous. And there results show that the case of the boy who alleged egged an Orland Park home and then was roughly handled by the homeowners who chased him and is now suing those homeowners is the most ridiculous lawsuit filed.

Click here for the link.

The other lawsuits considered include:

January 2010

Woman trips over 'wet floor' sign, sues movie theater (7.39%)
Woman sues restaurant for $5 million for sending her 3 text messages (23.48%)
Convicted killer sues to receive electrolysis as part of state-funded sex change (31.3%)
Teenager forced to clean up the house he egged sues homeowner for $100K (35.65%)
Star Trek fan sues for $7 million over $24k in memorabilia not as unique as he assumed (2.18%)

-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A great idea from Orland Park: don't push snow into the street

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The Village of Orland Park has put out a great release today (read it below). I love this release. It's right on! Homeowners who push the snow onto the streets are a huge nuisance and cause all kinds of traffic problems. I've actually driven past while morons push huge piles of snow right in front of the car as I am about to drive by believing the car traffic will mash the snow and make it go away.

I can understand some snow ending up on the street when you are trying to break through the ice at the end of the driveway caused by the snow plows.

But snow should be moved with either a shovel or a snow blower on what would normally be grass areas. NOT ON THE STREET.

Good release Orland Park. They deserve credit.

Now, get all those darn cars parked on the streets off the streets so plows can clear all the snow. Those cars should be ticketed!

-- Ray Hanania

Orland Park Public Works:

Do Not Push Snow Into Street

Removed Snow Should Be Lawn Bound

ORLAND PARK – The Village of Orland Park Public Works Department is cautioning residents about the hazards of pushing shoveled snow into the street.

“Orland Park’s snow plows are like those that other northern Illinois agencies use to clear streets,” explained Director of Public Works Ed Wilmes. “The snow is discharged to the right, resulting in a ‘wind row’ at the edge of the street where the snow is discharged from the plow,” he said.

Shoveling homeowners are asked to not shovel or blow the wind row or other snow at the end of the driveway back into the street.

During the last few snow events in Orland Park, plowing crews have discovered a number of homes where the snow has been pushed back into the street.

“This snow then becomes packed down and freezes, creating an unnecessary hazard within a residential area,” Wilmes explained.

Residents should shovel or blow the snow from the end of the driveway onto the parkways next to the drives, paying attention to keep deep accumulations away from pedestrian areas and sidewalks.
Each year, the Orland Park Public Works Department releases its Top Ten List of Snow Tips for village residents.

“We’ve put together our own top ten list to let Orland Park residents know what they can do to help us when it snows,” Wilmes said.

“The most important thing we ask is that residents be patient. All of the streets in the village will be cleared in as short a time as possible, as the storm allows,” the director added.

Orland Park’s snow removal crews plow and salt more than 250 miles of roads throughout the village. The fleet includes twenty-four village owned trucks plowing and salting pre-designated routes. Private contractors are called in to plow when more than two to three inches of snow fall. Staff from the village’s Parks Department plow and shovel village owned properties and provide back-up for Public Works crews.

An integral part of combating a snowstorm is street salting. In Orland Park, first priority is given to the main streets, those with heaviest year round traffic, followed by secondary thoroughfares and cul-de-sacs. Orland Park is able to store more than 3500 tons of salt under a protective cover throughout the year.

Village ordinance prohibits parking on village streets once two inches of snow has fallen.

Parked vehicles must be kept off of the streets for ten hours after it has stopped snowing.

When clearing the driveway, residents should place snow on either side of the driveway---on the lawn---and never in the street.

Residents should keep garbage cans and recycle bins from rolling into the street on garbage pick up day.

Designate curbs with five free stakes available from the Public Works Department.

Digging from the street, clear out hydrants so that fire personnel can easily access them if necessary.

Do not clear your driveway at the curbline until the snowplow driver has made his last curb pass in front of your residence.

Be patient. Every storm is different with many variables. Streets may have to be plowed more than once.

Communicate with the Public Works Department. Report any ice formations on the street so that they can be salted. Clear the snow from storm sewers in front of your home so melting snow can easily drain, preventing ice patches.

10. Mailboxes should be kept in good repair and be placed at least one foot behind the curb to avoid damage. It is the residents’ responsibility to clear a safe path around mailboxes to ensure delivery. Homeowners’ associations are responsible for clearing the area around cluster mailboxes.

“Public Works personnel are hard working, dedicated people who take great pride in the work that they do. These village employees strive to make the streets as safe as possible for the motoring public,” Wilmes said.

While all of the snow tips are important for an effective removal campaign, Wilmes noted, “One of the biggest problems our drivers face is the number of vehicles that are parked on the street after two inches of snow has fallen.”

“We ask all residents if they know that a snow storm is coming, to move parked vehicles off of the street. This will allow snow crews to complete the plowing faster, safer and in a more efficient manner,” he said.
Further information about Orland Park’s Snow Removal Program is available by calling the village’s Public Works Department at 708/403-6350.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

One of the better columns I have read in a long time on Orland Park Plaza

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I have to say I was a bit surprised but I found this column to be one of the better ones I've read in a long time on the Orland Plaza controversy. I think Phil Kadner nailed it on the head.

Orland Plaza, at 143rd and LaGrange Road, is one of my favorite shopping malls, besides Orland Park Place further south. I always visit both but rarely go to the Old Orland Park Mall, though I do drive through it's parking circle to get to the main Orland Park post office -- at 25 MPH while everyone else speeds past at 40 MPH and sometimes even 50.

The Cafe is my favorite and it has great steak skillets and everyone who is anyone eats breakfast there, as everyone who is anyone enjoys Italian food at the new "Orland Park place to be" Ottimo, 1611 So. LaGrange Road.

Come to think of it, LaGrange Road is a hopping place. I just wish they could do something about the terrible traffic. Ooops. That's right. They said they did.

Click HERE to read the column.

-- Ray Hanania

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Condolences in horrific and sad tragedy in car accident

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Bryan Sord is one of the most generous people we've met over the years. The owner of several great restaurants including 94 West, Sord has been a philanthropist who has helped many charities and good causes. His parents owned a very popular restaurant that served the green pasta in Chicago. It was a place where I found great memories going with my mom and dad when I was young.

So it was even more painful to read this weekend that his son, Nicholas, 21, was involved in a tragic car accident that took the life of Jessica Mejia, 20, of New Lenox who was in the car with Nicholas. Our condolences go out to the Mejia family and the Sord family. New Years is supposed to be a good time for people when they can look forward to better times. This will be a terribly difficult time for both families. (Read story)

Both families need our prayers and we wish them all the best as they navigate through these terrible events.

-- Ray Hanania