Friday, April 1, 2011

When businesses appear to take sides in supporting election candidates

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Terry Kunes and Terry's Automotive Group purchased a full page advertisement in the Orland Park Prairie this week praising the Village of Orland Park elected officials. It was a little surprising that a local business would get so heavily involved in a contentious election and appear to take sides.

I guess it is far smarter to do that then simply let those you support fill your business frontage with their election signs as many other businesses are doing. At least Kunes is doing it the right way, using his money to back the officials he supports. I wish the village would remove ALL of the campaign signs that litter the fronts of businesses along LaGrange Road.

The headline of the paid advertisement is "Congratulations."  Congratulations for what? The Ad says that the village officials have done a great job with making Orland Park one of the best in the nation.

Writers on other web sites have published comments that the dealership is taking sides in the election to help the two incumbents who are running for re-election.

The dealership, according to published reports, has received many contracts to provide vehicles to the village. I think it's great that a village buys products and services from local businesses. But, is it wise for a business to be so obvious in village politics by appearing to take sides?

Kunes must be well-versed on village politics because the advertisement promotes six bullet points in the public advertisement that address the state of the village's finances and tax policies.

Although the advertisement gives the elected village officials great credit in the bullet points for the villages great financial status, it doesn't address other financial concerns raised by residents including: the village has 1) broken its promise to rebate property taxes, 2) recently dramatically raised fees for vehicle stickers and more.

Maybe Terry's (where I have leased cars in the past) has purchased such Ads heaping accolades on the elected officials in the past that I have not seen. But this ad being purchased just before the election is curious.

It seems to me that it might be risky for any major business to be so out front on a contentious political election, if that's what he meant to do. Maybe Kunes didn't intend it to be political, although that's how some readers might view the advertisement. However, the timing will lead some to believe he is taking sides.

Here's a nice profile of Kunes from the Orland Park Prairie that ran in August of 2007. Click to read article. Kunes, it says, started his dealership in 1971 and began working on cars in Oak Lawn.

-- Ray Hanania

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