Wednesday, April 6, 2011

And now the dizzy spin in Orland Park follows a record election

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Salvatore Cacciato will leave office at the Orland Fire Protection District with a big chip on his shoulder. He can't understand why the voters threw him out of office. He complained that he's a better person and criticized the "negative" campaigning. But that's the problem with incumbents who lose touch with the public and are not accountable. They think that when the public questions their actions, that is some how negative.

That's why you are out of office, "Bob." You just don't get it.

The other spin is that while voters are fed up with the excessive spending and wasteful policies at the Orland Fire Protection District, they are also fed up with the excessive spending and increased taxes in the village of Orland Park. Yes, increased taxes.

When a village gives you a property tax rebate and then takes it away, you are actually paying more in property taxes. The village officials don't want you to know that, though. They're too busy wiping their brows from a very close call that almost threw them out of office.

Here are the facts: More than 6,000 voters cast ballots to select three candidates in a field of nine candidates.

With a three-way contest for each of the three available seats, the so-called "winners" actually lost the public mandate.

Ed Schussler and Pat Gira and newcomer Carole Ruzich received ONLY the largest vote. But the fact is more people voted against them in Orland Park than fore them. Schussler got only 43 percent of the total votes cast (2,711 out of 6,200). Gira got only 41 percent of the total votes cast (2,597 out of 6,200) and Ruzich got even less, 36 percent of the total votes cast (2,304 out of 6,200).

That's not a mandate. That's not an embrace of their tax and spend policies. That voter margin is embarrassing. And it was driven by a last minute push by Mayor Dan McLaughlin, who clearly wields some influence in the village.

But the message is that voters ARE tired of the way the village is being led and the lack of accountability and even the arrogance that is being displayed, that they don't have to answer any questions about their actions.

Voters in Orland Park want change. They got change at the Orland Fire Protection District election Blair Rhode and Chris Evoy. But they also demanded change in the Village and they did not get change at all.

So if 43-percent Schussler and 41-percent Gira and 36-percent Ruzich are happy with their results, it only explains why the village faces the problems it does. There is nothing to be proud about in those numbers, unless of course you only care about winning.

I would love to hear them say that!

Regardless, change is coming. This is the first election in nearly 20 years where challengers came so close to tossing incumbents out of office in the village, and achieving that miracle in the Orland Fire Protection District where wasteful spending and excessive taxation has raised the ire of voters.

-- Ray Hanania

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