Saturday, July 9, 2011
Racists in Orland Fire Protection District lie about almost everything
The Orland Fire Protection District election in April was a cry from taxpayers that they were tired of the excessive spending by the fire district.
It was marked not only by the election of two newcomers, regular Orland Park residents and taxpayers who had no name recognition but who were concerned about the inability to get facts and data from the old Pat Maher/Salvatore Cacciato run board. Voters threw the incumbents out of office and they did it in a voter landslide that had a HIGHER VOTER TURNOUT than the same election four years earlier.
Since the election sweep, bigots and haters who have been writing on the Orland Park Patch (a web site I like, by the way) have libeled and defamed all of the people like myself who supported that change on the Orland Fire Protection District. Their lies have run the gamut and have been posted by anonymous people who refuse to post using their real names because their information is so exaggerated, inaccurate and wrong, it is pathetic.
Here are a couple of examples:
THE OPEN MEETINGS VIOLATION LIES
For example, a guy named "Spike" -- who clearly is hiding is relationship to the OFPD -- claimed that the new board members, Blair Rhode and Chris Evoy, were violating the Illinois Open Meetings Act by meeting with each other.
The law says that no number of an elected board that equals a "majority of a quorum" can meet together. For a board of 10, 5 is a quorum and 4 would be a majority of a quorum which means 4 people could not meet. Without doing research "Spike" and his minions on the Patch then claimed that since the OFPD board is 5 members and a quorum is 3, then a majority of a quorum is 2 and therefore -- according to these geniuses -- two board members could never meet to discuss issues.
But, the fact is the state has a special provision that is right in plain site that excludes 5 member boards from this rule and that says that the majority of a quorum rule does not apply. Instead, a quorum of a 5 member board cannot meet. That means 3 can't meet, but 2 can.
THE RACISM ATTACKS
Spike has peppered the Patch with references to my heritage which I am proud to claim is Palestinian Arab. (My mother is from Bethlehem and her church was the Church of the Nativity, where my cousin is now the Pastor.) Being a Christian Arab is important to me. But it provoked hate from Spiek and his minions who referenced numerous links to my Arab heritage and posted it on the Patch ridiculing me and my race.
THE ELECTION TURNOUT LIES
The most recent lies from Spike and his minions is that the April 2011 election was the worst turnout of any past election.
Again, they are lying. They are basing it on the FACT that the voter turnout in Cook County was the lowest ever. But NOT in Orland Park or the Orland Fire Protection District.
In fact, the newly elected board members, Blair Rhode and Chris Evoy got more votes than not only the two board members they defeated (Maher and Cacciato) but also more votes than were cast (in 2007) for two of the three incumbent board members, Glenn Mihalek and Marty McGill. The ONLY person who ever got a significant number of votes above all was Jim Hickey in the 2009 election
Here are the FACTS:
In the April 2007 election Blair Rhode received 3,347 votes and Chris Evoy received 3,483 votes. Cacciato received 2,350 votes. More than 6,200 votes were cast for five candidates. In the Village trustee race (non-mayoral race) that same election, Ed Schussler got the highest vote with 2,616 votes cast in a field of 9 candidates and about 6,000 votes cast.
NOW, compare that to four years earlier (the off-year equivalent election), in the OFPD District the winning candidates Marty McGill got 2,603 votes and Glenn Mihalek got 2,695 votes, which were almost 1,000 votes less than Rhode and Evoy got. About 4,700 votes were cast in that election. In the village election (again, non-mayoral race) Bernie Murphy got 3,492 votes of a total of 4,120 votes cast.
The new board coalition, led by Hickey, Rhode and Evoy, are determined to implemented the mandate demanded by the taxpayers to cut costs. In the first 60 days, the new board cut nearly $500,000 from the budget.
FULL TRANSPARENCY DEMANDED
The new board hired me to help them get the word out on their efforts, and we immediately implemented a FULL TRANSPARENCY policy to place ALL public records on the Orland Fire Protection District web site.
We did that. It's called Dollars & Sense. There, all the questions that the old board REFUSED to answer are now available for the public to see for themselves. Instead of relying on the lies and exaggerations of people like "Spike" the public can get the facts firsthand and make judgments themselves.
Leading the way are Jim Hickey, Blair Rhode and Chris Evoy. They are determined to get the facts and truth out to the taxpayers.
The documents BEGAN not with exposing past spending but by detailing the spending of the current board. All of the new contracts are posted on the web site. And then, the new board began posting documents looking backwards including, for the first time, a full line-item budget of the Orland Fire Protection District and the salaries of every employee. The fact that many employees are making over $100,000 a year is of concern and interest to the taxpayers and the new board is determined to make sure the truth and the facts are released.
Obviously, based on their campaign of hatred, racism and name-calling, Spike and his (or her) minions are not happy that people know what they have been doing for the past 12 years behind the curtain of secrecy.
Visit www.OrlandFire.org to view the documents. And when you visit the OrlandPark.Patch.com web site, enjoy the great writing of Ben Feldheim and the reporters there, but be cautious and wary of the lies from anonymous posters like Spike and his minions.
-- Ray Hanania
(PS ... my contract is $36,000 a year compared to the $48,000 contract that Spike's pals were paying the previous media person and I have done more in the past two months to get public records out than was done before.)