Monday, September 19, 2011

Gorman responds to personal attacks from Gira/Schussler

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Dear Editor:

After reading the letter to the editor by Orland Park Trustees Gira and Schussler regarding the public financing of a privately owned apartment building known as “Ninety7Fifty”, I must address several of their points.

In their letter, Gira and Schussler complain that Trustee O'Halloran is doing my bidding? Is it doing my bidding because he is displaying a conscience when it comes to saddling the taxpayers with a record amount of debt? Is it doing my bidding because he decided to openly share his views with his fellow Orland Park residents?  O'Halloran is an elected member of the Village Board of trustees, and serves as a respected director on the Metra Board. Trustees Gira and Schussler should be appreciative that their colleague is able to represent the region, and just successfully stopped proposed service cuts to the Southwest Line where Ninety7Fifty and our tax dollars are being banked.  Bottom Line is O'Halloran is being attacked, because he has asked questions about the Ninety7Fifty project, that they don't want addressed.

Gira and Schussler then ultimately tell me to mind my own business and worry about County taxation. First, one does not give up their right to question their local government when they get elected to public office. Second, as they need to be reminded, I successfully lead the charge to repeal the infamous Todd Stroger sales tax, which gave some competitive relief to the businesses in the area. Stroger never mortgaged County taxpayers and their homes to finance a project to the tune of $65M…even Stroger knew better than what our Mayor and trustees are about to do.

I asked for two things. We must have public hearings and we should slow down. Why the rush? They are going to pass this today regardless of the public's concerns.

Gira and Schussler further complain that Trustee O'Halloran issued his open letter not to them and Mayor Dan McLaughlin but to the public through the media. Are they saying that they prefer that all questionable public financing projects be discussed in closed door sessions among themselves? That's what got Mayor McLaughlin in trouble last week when the public demanded to know more about the project at a public hearing the village only scheduled at the last minute in response to complaints.

What we are seeing is not strategic leadership but rather politics at its worst. Instead of addressing issues, they attack individuals. Instead of discussing the project with the public -- the taxpayers of Orland Park -- they want the issue to be put behind closed doors.

The letter makes many ridiculous claims that are intended to distract voters away from the real priority here.
The Village of Orland Park should not be a banker, especially in today's economy, underwriting risky projects that are direct burdens on the taxpayers who are already over taxed. The Village Board should suspend action on this project and give the public more time to hear all sides to this debate before rushing a decision at today's board meeting.

I urge the Village Board to postpone a vote on the Ninety7Fifty Development and instead spend more time listening to the feedback of the public, the taxpayers and the community, and get a back-up plan before pursuing this monumental project and its financing.

Liz Gorman
Orland Park Resident & Cook County Commissioner

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