Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Don't be fooled by old political tricks," including by people who say that

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I am not going to say that Pat Gira and Ed Schussler are the worst candidates we've seen run for re-election to hold their jobs. I'm not going to say they are bad candidates, either. But at the same time, the burden is on them, the incumbents, to address the issues, and the challengers to tell us what the incumbents did wrong and how they, the challengers, would change things.

So far, the incumbents have done a poor job of telling us what they plan to do for the Village of Orland Park, except imply that they will continue doing what they have been doing. Their slogan is "Orland Park - a great place to live ... Let's keep it that way!"

That sounds good, I guess. But not at a time when increasing numbers of homeowners have lost their jobs, many of us can barely pay our property taxes and village fees, and the government that oversees how we live our lives is spending money foolishly.

Yes, I do hold the Village Trustees partly responsible for the financial mess and the wasteful spending we see at the Orland Fire Protection District. They are the most bloated, over-taxing government agency in Illinois. They have taken $30 million in property taxes and other taxes and fees from us to cover their luxury work lifestyle. And they fought how many fires last year for $30 million? Four? That's almost $8 million to fight one fire.

But then, who cares about what the Orland Fire Protection District spends, hiring all their friends, and their friends' families and their political pals and giving consulting contracts to pals who help them run for higher offices, and keep secrets?

Well, the incumbents should care. And the fact that the incumbents haven't said a word about the Fire Protection District does bother me as a voter.

So the incumbents pay a fortune for another full color mailer -- I looked at their campaign contributions and for the life of me, can't figure out how they are paying for everything. And that mailer tells us that their challengers are "throwing mud."

Throwing mud? You mean, asking the questions that no one around here in public office -- with one exception  -- wants to have answered?

How is our tax money being spent?

Here's the "mud" that Gira and Schussler claim is being thrown at them from their challengers, John Brudnak, Molly McAvoy Flynn and Steve Williams.

1 - Did the incumbents increase village spending by 13 percent in the last four years even as village revenues decreased? That's a claim Brudbnak, Flynn and Williams are making. Is that "mud?" No. It's called a campaign issue. 
2 - Did the incumbents increase the cost of our vehicle sticker fees 100 percent. That's a claim Brudbnak, Flynn and Williams are making. Is that "mud?" No. It's called a campaign issue.
3 - Did the incumbents increase vehicle sticker fees on seniors by 1000 percent. That's a claim Brudbnak, Flynn and Williams are making. Is that "mud?" No. It's called a campaign issue.
4 - Did the incumbents cut property tax breaks for local residents. That's a claim Brudbnak, Flynn and Williams are making. Is that "mud?" No. It's called a campaign issue.

Instead of addressing any of these issues, the incumbents are pretending they don't exist. Why? Maybe they think we're all morons, stupid sheep who just write checks to pay our steadily rising property taxes each year.

They promised to give us our property taxes back in return for the increase in the Orland Park sales tax. Then they took that property tax rebate away and we still have to pay that increased sales tax.

That's an issue the incumbents call mud?

The one official in Orland Park and the Orland area who has stood up for the taxpayers is Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman. And Gorman is backing Brudnak, Flynn and Williams. Why? Because the incumbents tried to throw her out of office and install a political hack, the relative of the powerful Hynes family in her place, Pat Maher. Maher, the son of the village clerk David Maher, runs the over-taxed Orland Fire Protection District. And the incumbents are on his side.

This isn't about you, the incumbents. This is about us, the taxpayers.

Maybe some elected officials should get that straight for a change.

And maybe tell us how any of the four points above are, as your latest campaign mailer claims, "Lies, distortions, half-truths and misrepresentations."

I'd like to hear that some time. And so would the voters in Orland Park who slammed Patrick Maher's candidacy down by a landslide margin in Gorman's favor. I guess that possibilityw ould make anyone desperate to make accusations of mud slinging.

-- Ray Hanania

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