Public Watchdog.org

Going To Pot(holes)

02.25.08

One of the central purposes of city government is to provide and maintain our infrastructure: the streets, sidewalks, sewers and other structures that are absolutely necessary to the sound functioning of our community.  Those are the “meat and potato” essentials that must be given a priority over the mere amenities which, while “nice” to have, are more like “dessert.” 

The task of maintaining our infrastructure, however, isn’t a sexy one – probably because politicians have not yet figured out how to hold a ribbon-cutting for a newly-repaved street or mark a repaired curb with a bronze plaque, at least without looking more ridiculous than usual. 

So it should come as no surprise to anyone who has been driving around Park Ridge that Public Works Director Wayne Zingsheim is readily admitting that Cumberland Avenue “is really falling apart…Busse’s falling apart too.  Touhy east of Washington is falling apart.  Oakton’s got a bunch of potholes.” (“Aching Over Potholes,” Park Ridge Journal, Feb. 13)  As Ald. Frank Wsol (7th Ward) noted: “If anybody wants a front end alignment, go down Cumberland Avenue.”

We agree with all those assessments about those state-owned roadways, and note that some of our city streets are just as bad.  So what are our city officials going to do about it?

5th Ward Ald. Robert Ryan took this opportunity to insist: “I think this is something that we’re going to have to address long term.  The state does not have the money. What state routes do we want to repave, or resurface at the minimum, in the future?”

Fair enough, alderman, but where’s the money going to come from?  Director Zingsheim noted that just repairing Cumberland could cost $500,000.  

Ironically, Ryan was one of the Mayor Frimark alderpuppets who recently voted to give Napleton Cadillac $400,000 of our tax dollars – 80% of the cost of repairing Cumberland – to clean up the pollution it caused at its former dealership site, so that it can sell that property to PRC for an undisclosed price (and, presumably, a healthy profit).  And another part of that same foolish Napleton deal could, over the next 15 years, give Napleton up to another $2 Million in sales tax revenue to which the City would otherwise be entitled.

That averages out to over $130,000 a year for each of those years, which is more than the City gets annually from the State of Illinois to maintain the state roads running through Park Ridge.  That kind of money sounds like it would go a long way toward the “long term” solution Ald. Ryan claims he wants to address.  Too bad he was one of those who spinelessly kicked that money away to a shameless Bill Napleton.

But Ryan’s not the only alderpuppet who doesn’t get the big picture.  3rd Ward Ald. Don Bach’s contribution to this discussion was to say: “We need to shame our state representatives to do something to help us.”  Ald. Bach, have you been paying attention to anything that’s been going on down in Springfield for the past year?  Do you have any idea that the state is facing between a $600 Million and $750 Million 2008 budget deficit?

But, then again, this is the same guy who was so insulted by Bill Napleton’s affronts to the City Council at the January 28, 2008, council meeting that he vowed not to spend his money on another Napleton vehicle – but then voted to give Napleton up to $2.4 Million of our money. 

Ald. Bach, if you aren’t ashamed of your vote for the Napleton giveaway, how can you expect the strangers down in Springfield to be shamed into giving us anything?

5 comments so far

So is that going to be the legacy for these Aldermen…squandering money while the town literally falls apart?

Do I hear Mayor Frimark in the background playing the fiddle while our town burns?

Outstanding post, Pub-dogs!

Kaiser: Good point. But Frimark doesn’t have to play the fiddle so long as he can control who gets the fiddle contract…and how much “extra” will that contract provide.

The more I hear about this guy Bach, the more I find myself thinking “Really dumb, or something worse?” But what the hey, Bachmeister, get Rosemary Mulligan on the horn and see what your shame treatment can shake out of her.

I’ve lived in this town for years and I never remember seeing anything as bad as this. It almost seems like the paving work is poorer quality than in the past, although I recall reading something about the new paving material supposedly being better than the old. Any chance that we’re paying for premium and getting regular, or that maybe the quality of the grading and prep work is second rate?



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