Someone asked me, why I was so critical of the statement made by Village of Orland Park Trustees Ed Schussler and Pat Gira, compared to how I simply ran the letter from Trustee Brad O'Halloran a week earlier.
I told him to re-read both statements.
Here is O'Halloran's statement from Sept. 9: Click Here
Here is the Gira/Schussler statement from Sept. 18: Click Here.
There is a marked difference and the person emailed back later and said they understood. Brad O'Halloran addressed the issues in his statement. In fact, he was very respectful, mentioning Mayor Dan McLaughlin by name not to criticize him but to explain that although he respects him and the other trustees, he respectfully disagreed. "Respectfully."
That's the difference. O'Halloran is a gentleman with class. His letter tried to express the outrage that he was hearing from his constituents. He said that in his letter, more mildly than I have described it.
He explained why he disagreed with the approval of the Ninety7Fifty on the Park project.
Instead of reflecting the same professional and respectful style, Gira and Schussler filled their letter with diatribe and personal attacks. They attacked O'Halloran and then they attacked Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman.
Why Gorman? Well, during the recent village elections where Schussler and Gira, both incumbents, won in a crowded field with far less than a majority of the votes cast -- in a one on one race, they would have both been ousted -- they had been behind the election the previous Fall of Pat Maher who challenged Gorman for Cook County Board. It was their support of Maher that cost them so many votes. Maher went on to lose the battle to control the Orland Fire Protection District (where I now do media consulting) and thank goodness he's gone. The policies he pushed were outrageous and unsympathetic to the needs of taxpayers. The new board is pushing reforms and transparency and what everyone has seen there has been shocking in almost every respect. The new board is making changes to conform with the interests of the taxpayers, who Maher and his crew ignored.
So Schussler and Gira are upset with Gorman and they know that Gorman was the key factor in galvanizing public outcry against the Ninety7Fifty project. Gorman, who is a champion of fighting for the taxpayers and led the battle to rescind the oppressive Cook County Sales Tax -- that the Village Officials backed with their silence -- went on to represent the concerns of the taxpayers in addressing the Ninety7Fifty project.
The Village is going to LOAN the developers some $62 million, like a mortgage, to build the project and, assuming it works and so far similar projects have not, the taxpayers will be slowly paid back, or so the village officials claim.
Really. Has anyone noticed how the mortgage market has collapsed and now is not the time to be loaning anyone money, especially taxpayer money to risky developmenrs?
Those are legitimate concerns that O'Halloran express, that Gorman expressed and that the taxpayers expressed. But the village won't listen. And instead of defending the plan, they decided to try and make it personal, attacking O'Halloran viciously and attacking Gorman viciously and in directly attacking viciously all of the taxpayers and residents of Orland Park who agree with the issues that O'Halloran and Gorman have expressed.
That's the difference between O'Halloran and Gorman, and Gira and Schussler. One is concerned with the views of the taxpayers. The other, Gira and Schussler, are concerned about politics.
Notice how Mayor McLaughlin is having Gira and Schussler do all the attacking? They just got re-elected. The Mayor, who is standing by as this fight is launched from his camp, will be running for re-election and some people are speculating that maybe Gorman might run for Mayor against him. She'd be a more powerful challenger compared to the easy races he coasted through in past years.
But there is even a rumor that now O'Halloran, having been slandered to the edge by his colleagues for expressing legitimate views about an questionable project that may harm taxpayers, might consider running for mayor too. Actually, O'Halloran would be a good mayor, one who avoids rancor and one who tries to address the issues.
The village board votes tonight on this plan. It could define the leadership of this important community moving forward.
-- Ray Hanania