Public Watchdog.org

The Maine Township Stupid Party Presents: “Assgate” (Act 2)

09.29.18

To our readers: An incomplete version of this post was inadvertently published on September 29; and it took us until the morning of October 1 to correct and complete the post. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion.

As the curtain rises on Act 2 of “Assgate” two Ancel Glink attorneys, Robert T. McCabe and Margaret Kostopulos, are conducting their interview of Jones on June 7 – 16 days after Jones’ accusation of Carrabotta and 13 days after Jones filed her “Formal Complaint” against him at the suggestion of Township attorney Keri-Lynn Krafthefer.

In the Formal Complaint, Jones described Carrabotta’s alleged acts of harassment on January 24, 2018, as his having “lightly swiped his hand across [her] bottom,” which she “chalked…up as being an inadvertent mistake”; and on May 16 as his having “again lightly swiped his hand across [her] bottom” to which she responded with “a dirty look” that Carrabotta “pretended” not to notice.

According to the transcript of Jones’ interview by the attorneys, they started by explaining that their questions would be “specifically and narrowly tailored” to that Formal Complaint. (Page 3, lines 6-11). But they also told her that she was free to provide any other relevant details she may have. (Page 3, lines 13-22)

Jones described Carrabotta’s actions as being, variously, “a brush…maybe that was inadvertent” (Page 7, lines 20-22), “a real faint brush” (Page 11, line 24), a “light brushing” (Page 28, lines 7-9) and a “touch” (Page 14, line 2; page 16, lines 17-18; and page 38, line 10) to her “butt” (Page 16, lines 17-18) or “ass” (Page 14, line 2; page 38, line 10). Heck, she wasn’t even sure whether she might have “backed up into his hand.” (Page 12, lines 23-24)

In both the Formal Complaint and in her interview with the attorneys, Jones described how she promptly reported both incidents to her fellow Township government RINOs: Supervisor Laura Morask, Non-Assessor Susan Moylan-Krey, her “longtime friend [Highway Commissioner] Walter Kazmierczak,” and Clerk Pete Gialamas. (Page 14, lines 1-13; page 20, line 8 through page 21, line 9; page 38, line 4 through page 39, line 14)

If these incidents actually occurred, however, and if Jones reasonably perceived them as sexual harassment, why didn’t she say anything directly to Carrabotta? After all, she admitted to the Township’s attorneys that there was “nothing personal” between her and him, despite the fact that “[h]e usually [voted] with Susan Sweeney and [she/Jones] usually [didn’t].” (Page 19, lines 7-18).

And if politics wasn’t an issue, why did Jones tell only her fellow Township RINOs about the incidents? Why didn’t she also tell fellow Trustees McKenzie and Sweeney that their Reformer colleague, Carrabotta, was harassing her?

Curiously, the attorneys – both before they started questioning Jones (page 4, lines 6-22) and again at the end of the questioning (page 57, lines 4-7) – requested that Jones treat all information about the incidents as confidential until the investigation was completed; and she said she would. But on July 7, with the investigation still in progress, she signed a letter, along with nine other members of the Maine Township Republican Women’s Club, addressed to Township Republican Committeeman Char Foss Eggemann but widely distributed, demanding that Foss Eggemann “condemn [Carrabotta’s] behavior and call for his resignation immediately.”

Jones and her nine friends (including Morask, Moylan-Krey and their consummate political hack/lackey, Jean Dietsch) didn’t call for a criminal investigation. They didn’t call for an ethics investigation. They called for Carrabotta’s resignation from the Board.

Why? Because they wanted to strip The Reformers’ 3-2 Board majority of his vote so that Morask (as we understand Illinois law in this regard) could appoint another RINO as his replacement – perhaps Kelly Schaefer, who lost her Trustee’s race in 2017 before Morask promptly created a $30K/year part-time Township job for her without Board approval, but which Schaefer quit in the face of withering Daily Herald articles and a Daily Herald editorial ripping the kinky deal.

Had they succeeded in that effort, they also would have deprived all the Carrabotta voters of their duly-elected representative – which obviously would have been readily-acceptable collateral damage for Morask, Jones and the rest of the Maine Township RINO cabal politically aligned more with Maine Township Democrats like state rep. Marty Moylan and state sen. Laura Murphy.

Another curious aspect to that July 7 letter is how Jones’ prior description of Carrabotta’s actions as consisting of a “touch” or a “brush” that might even have been “inadvertent” somehow became “actual groping.” To date, neither Jones nor her nine friends have explained that sudden metamorphosis.

Jones insists Carrabotta touched/groped her and that she’s a victim of sexual harassment, not one of the perpetrators of purely political maneuvering. But actual proof of any touching/groping is something Jones and her supporters so far appear to totally lack.

For example, Jones told the attorneys that Gialamas and Kazmierczak told her stories about Carrabotta’s also having harassed Township employees Dayna Berman and Vicki Rizzo. (Jones transcript, page 38, line 4-16; page 40, lines 10-18; page 42, lines 12-23).

And according to the transcript of Gialamas’ testimony, Berman and Rizzo told him not only was Carrabotta “very handsy” and made them uncomfortable” but, also, that Berman told him that Carrabotta “even had touched her rear end.” (Page 9, line 18 through Page 10, line 4; page 11, line 13 through page 12, line 11) Gialamas admitted to the attorneys, however, that he never saw Carrabotta do anything inappropriate” because, if he had, he would have called Carrabotta on it. (Page 19, lines 3-14)

So, instead, he merely gossiped about it.

And when the attorneys got around to Kazmierczak, the transcript of his testimony shows that he, too, was spreading unsubstantiated hearsay about what Berman and Rizzo told him concerning Carrabotta’s conduct: That “somehow their buttocks were touched” by Carrabotta. (Page 19, line 9 through page 20, line 6)

Not surprisingly, Morask’s testimony to the attorneys consisted of the same hearsay as Gialamas and Kazmierczak conveyed to them about Berman and Rizzo having been made to feel uncomfortable by Carrabotta and afraid of retaliation for saying so. (Page 36, line 1 through page 40, line 6)

But when the attorneys interviewed Berman, the transcript of her interview discloses that she insisted that she never told anyone that Carrabotta “was ever inappropriate” around her; and that she wasn’t afraid of any form of retaliation for telling the truth. (Page 20, lines 17-23).

Similarly, the transcript of Rizzo’s interview establishes that Rizzo told the attorneys she “never felt uncomfortable around…[Carrabotta], in any way.” (Page 33, lines 17-21). Rizzo also explained how Morask – supposedly at the direction of Township attorney Keri-Lynn Krafthefer – pre-interviewed Rizzo (Page 27, lines 2-24), which made Rizzo angry because she didn’t have any problem whatsoever with Carrabotta. (Page 29, line 4 through page 30, line 23).

For those keeping score, Krafthefer is the Township attorney who privately counseled Jones about how to deal with Carrabotta – including telling Jones to file the Formal Complaint against him – without Krafthefer disclosing to Carrabotta or the Board that she was counseling one Trustee (Jones) in her personal claims against another Trustee (Carrabotta).

Can you say “conflict of interest”?

Good for you! Because Krafthefer apparently couldn’t, or wouldn’t – at least not if it might jeopardize the prospect of additional fees flowing into her firm’s coffers as a result of her advice to Jones.

Based on the totality of the facts and circumstances disclosed during the investigation, the attorneys issued their final Investigation Report dated July 30, 2018, finding that there was inadequate evidence from which they could conclude that Carrabotta touched Jones’ buttocks or sexually harassed her in any other way. And, not surprisingly, the accuracy of the report’s summaries of the various testimony has been demonstrated by the transcripts of that testimony.

With the issuance of that report and with the sound of preternatural howling and wailing in the background, the curtain falls on Act 2.

To read or post comments, click on title.

 

 

The Maine Township Stupid Party Players Present: “Assgate” (Act 1)

09.24.18

Anybody who has observed Illinois politics with any degree of objectivity over the past few decades can be justified in concluding, sadly, that Illinois Democrats are the corrupt party while Illinois Republicans are the stupid party.

If additional proof of that second point were needed, the folks running Maine Township government have provided it with the theatrical goat rodeo production we will call “Assgate” – based on Trustee Kim Jones’ claim, in a “Formal Complaint”, that Trustee Dave Carrabotta “touched my ass” during photo ops at two or three Township events during the past year.

We begin with a little background for context.

Jones and Carrabotta are both nominally “Republicans,” although Jones – along with Supervisor Laura Morask, Clerk Peter Gialamas, Non-Assessor Susan Moylan-Krey and Highway Commissioner Wally Kazmierczak – are more aptly described as “RINOs”: Republicans In Name Only. Over the years they have demonstrated that their philosophy of Township government closely mirrors  that of Illinois Democrats’: Make it bigger and more expensive while minimizing transparency and accountability so that the taxpayers don’t realize what’s actually going on.

SIDEBAR: Morask was elected Trustee in 2001 as a Democrat, but she promptly learned how to go along to get along with a Republican (albeit RINO) majority; and she ran for re-election in 2005 as a Republican.

That difference in philosophy pitted Jones and the other RINOs against the more conservative views of Carrabotta and fellow Republican Trustee Susan Sweeney, and even those of Democrat Claire McKenzie, the three of whom we dubbed “The Reformers” following their election in April 2017 because they tried to bring transparency and accountability to a previously opaque and irresponsible Township Hall. More importantly, The Reformers comprised a majority of that 5-member Board and started regularly criticizing and out-voting the Morask/Jones minority.

That proved to be a rude awakening for Morask and Jones because, as best as we can tell, they never were on the losing side of any Township Board vote during their respective tenures of 17 years (Morask) and 5 years (Jones). But the most jarring wake-up call for them may have come when The Reformers refused to certify Moylan-Krey’s Non-Assessor position as requiring at least 1000 hours/year of her services, the bare minimum requirement to entitle her to one of those sweetheart public pensions.

Although Morask and Moylan-Krey got The Reformers’ non-certification overturned by a kinky secret appeal to the state pension fund’s retiring general counsel (which you can read about in our February 13, 2018 post), Carrabotta, McKenzie and Sweeney finally found out about it and are now in the process of attempting to reinstate the non-certification.

But that non-certification vote and other 3-2 votes by The Reformers made destroying their majority Job One for the RINOs. And it’s against that backdrop that, as the curtain rises on Act I of “Assgate,” we find Jones – reportedly on the boneheaded (and arguably conflict-of-interest) advice of Township attorney Keri-Lynn Krafthefer – stupidly inviting Carrabotta to a “private” one-on-one discussion during the “bill pay” portion of the May 22, 2018, Board meeting.

During that private meeting Jones accused Carrabotta of brushing/touching her “butt” and put him on notice that she would not tolerate further instances of such touching.

As we see it, at that point Carrabotta had four reasonable options.

1. He could have admitted it (assuming it were true) privately to Jones, apologized, and asked for Jones’ forgiveness while promising not to do it again;

2. He could have admitted it (assuming it were true) publicly, apologized to Jones and the assembled multitude, and asked for forgiveness while promising not to do it again;

3. He could have denied it to Jones privately (assuming it were not true) and just let the matter drop; or

4. He could have come out of that private meeting with Jones and (assuming her accusations were not true): (a) identified for the record, with the videotape running, the specific conduct of which Jones had just accused him; (b) categorically denied those charges; and (c) challenged Jones to file whatever claims she believes she has with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”), or the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”) for investigation.

But apparently that was asking too much of Carrabotta, Jones, and the rest of the “Assgate” cast.

Using a poker metaphor, Carrabotta “saw” Jones’ stupidity (of holding a one-on-one “private” meeting with her alleged harasser) with stupidity of his own: He emerged from that private meeting and stupidly demanded an immediate closed session discussion of a potential “discipline” matter, even though it’s unclear whether Jones’ accusations could even support a closed session under the Illinois Open Meetings Act (“IOMA”).

Carrabotta then “raised” Jones with a second stupidity of his own making: Once they got into closed session he reportedly requested a formal investigation – a request that at least a majority of the trustees stupidly approved, perhaps also in violation of IOMA. And McKenzie and Sweeney unfortunately appear to have chosen to indulge both Carrabotta’s wrongheaded closed session request and his wrongheaded request for the investigation.

Not to be outdone by the stupidity of the Township’s elected officials, however, Attorney Krafthefer stupidly advised Jones to file the formal complaint against her fellow Trustee – which apparently was necessary to initiate an investigation – even though Jones later told investigators she “didn’t really want to.”

That’s right, folks: The Township’s attorney compounded her initial arguably conflict-of-interest personal legal advice to Trustee Jones (to hold a private meeting with Trustee Carrabotta) by giving Jones more personal conflict-of-interest legal advice, this time to file a Formal Complaint against Carrabotta which, just coincidentally, was likely to generate some nifty investigation fees for Krafthefer’s law firm, Ancel Glink.

The curtain closes on Act 1 with Jones – who could have let the matter drop then and there, and might well have done so were it not for Krafthefer’s advice – submitting the Formal Complaint against Carrabotta.

In our next post we will present Act 2 of “Assgate.”

To read or post comments, click on title.

Park District Needn’t Be In A Pickle Over Pickleball

09.19.18

An article in this week’s Park Ridge Herald-Advocate (“Pickleball could replace tennis courts at Park Ridge park,” Sept. 17) caught our attention, if only because the existence of something with a name as silly as “pickleball” deserved a bit of investigation.

To save you readers the trouble: Pickleball has nothing to do with pickles. You don’t eat them while playing. You don’t throw them. You don’t hit them. You don’t even tickle them.

Instead, it’s a game played with a wiffle ball, a paddle and a modified tennis net, on a badminton-sized court.

But if certain folks have their way, the four tennis courts that have been at Woodland Park for decades will be replaced by six to eight pickleball courts, assuming a big chunk of the cost is picked up by a grant from our semi-bankrupt State of Illinois.

The push for pickleball courts appears to be led by…wait for it…the Park Ridge Pickleball Club, whose 60 members reportedly overcrowd the single pickleball court in Park Ridge (wherever it’s hiding), forcing them to drive to Northfield, Wheeling and even Hoffman Estates for their pickle fix.

The removal of the Woodland tennis courts is being vigorously opposed by members of the Park Ridge Women’s Tennis Association and other local tennis players, rumored to number in the hundreds if not thousands.

The editor of this blog served on the Park Board for eight years (1997-2005), during which time the demand for tennis court time was always high. During his tenure no courts were removed, and lights were added to the courts at Hinkley Park to enable after-dark play. Based purely on admittedly anecdotal, drive-by observations, the District’s 21 outdoor courts still get plenty of use.

So rather than rip out the four tennis courts at Woodland and replace them with pickleball courts, we’ve got a better idea: Put the pickleball courts at that newest jewel in the Park District’s crown, Prospect Park, along with a couple of paddle tennis courts.

After all, the District pulled a bait-and-switch on the taxpayers when it promised them, before the April 2013 Prospect Park $13 million referendum, that the new facility would include at least two paddle tennis courts and a warming shelter. The District reneged on that promise shortly after the referendum passed once it became clear in late 2014 that the District had seriously under-budgeted the Prospect Park project and was going to fall significantly short of cash if it built all of the features it promised in order to win the taxpayers’ votes.

We suspect Supt. Ken “Snow Job” Wallace and his 7 Board Dwarfs over at School District 207 are employing a similarly crass political tactic with their  $195 million ($340 million, all-in) “trust us to replace what we intentionally neglected to maintain and/or repair over the past several years.”

But we digress.

The District – and especially current Board president Mel Thillens and member Jim O’Brien, the only two current Board members who were also on the Board for the Prospect Park paddle tennis bait-and-switch – might be able to redeem some of its credibility by finally building the paddle tennis courts and warming house as originally promised, while also adding four pickleball courts.

We would like to think that such a plan would get a ringing endorsement from economic and social class warriors like Mary Wynn Ryan, Kathy (Panattoni) Meade, Dena Lucy and Ashley Hawkes – given that the only paddle tennis courts in Park Ridge are at the Park Ridge Country Club and not generally available to non-members.

They could bill their support of the paddle tennis courts as striking a blow for all of Park Ridge’s commoners and groundlings who can’t afford a PRCC membership.

And also for our town’s tiny and oppressed pickleballer minority.

What a great dill it could be!

To read or post comments, click on title.

The 100s Of Millions Of Dollars Question: Renovated Schools Or Flood Remediation?

09.14.18

Readers of this blog know that we have crossed swords with former 6th Ward alderman/former Park Board member Mary Wynn Ryan on numerous occasions. Ms. Ryan and this blog’s editor rarely see eye-to-eye on local – as well as state and national – governmental and political issues.

And that’s okay: A thriving marketplace of ideas needs competing views, not concurring ones.

So consider today one of those rare occasions when this blog acknowledges the merit of a point raised by Ms. Ryan in a couple of comments she made to a post on the Park Ridge Concerned Homeowners Group FB page, in which she suggests that the Park Ridge City Council and the Maine Township School District 207 Board may have reached some sort of accommodation to give the latter first crack at Park Ridge taxpayers’ wallets.

Ms. Ryan is a battle-tested class (and race, and gender, etc.) warrior skilled in the art of identity politics, which explains her analogy of Park Ridge residents to “poor folk, choosing between heat, rent, groceries and medicine” – except that we “poor folk” live in $385,000 (median value, per Zillow) residences; and our choices are between $200-350 million to address D-207’s decades of neglect of its physical infrastructure, or $106+ million to address the City’s decades of neglect of its sewer system.

Ms. Ryan’s analogy is not an apples-to-apples one, however, because the $200-350 million cost of D-207 projects will be spread over a much larger taxing district than the City’s $106+ million of flood remediation projects.

Whether that difference in taxing districts will result in Park Ridge residents paying more for the D-207 projects or more for the City’s projects is unclear to us. Park Ridge generates much higher residential RE tax revenues than does Des Plaines ($245,000 median, per Zillow), Morton Grove ($301,000 median) and Niles ($276,000 median). Nevertheless, we understand that those other communities generate significantly higher commercial RE tax revenues than does Park Ridge.

Not surprisingly, those intra-District residential value differences are not highlighted in the pro-referendum propaganda created by those public relations professionals that Supt. Ken “Snow-Job” Wallace and his 7 D-207 Board Dwarfs hired back in January – at over $115,000 of taxpayer money – to run a pro-referendum political campaign masquerading as “community engagement,” which we wrote about in our 08.24.2018 and 08.31.2018 posts. Snow Job, the Dwarfs and their p.r. pros know that reminding Park Ridge homeowners about how much more they will be paying than their counterparts in neighboring D-207 communities “wouldn’t be prudent.”

But is this really about a choice between neglected schools or neglected sewers?

We think that depends, in no small part, on who the voters are.

Those of us who live in Park Ridge know that 100% of the money spent on local flood remediation would directly benefit Park Ridge residents. But because the D-207 projects will require allocating referendum funding to each of the District’s three high schools – the exact percentages of which we don’t know because Snow Job and the 7 Dwarfs apparently don’t want to tell us – it’s very possible that no more than 1/3 of the new referendum taxes contributed by Park Ridge taxpayers will directly benefit Park Ridge residents.

On the other hand, those Park Ridge residents who live in areas where flooding is not a regular or substantial problem, and/or who currently have kids in D-207 schools or have kids who will be attending those schools in the future, might prefer paying extra taxes for school improvements instead of flooding.

One way to find out whether Park Ridge taxpayers are willing to pay enough extra taxes to remedy both neglected schools and neglected sewers – or to find out whether those taxpayers prefer one of those sets of projects over the other – would be to have both referendums on the same ballot.

But because the City dragged its feet for months on making decisions about what to do with those 8 projects identified in the December 2017 study by the City’s long-time flooding consultant, Burke Engineering – or because, as Ms. Ryan suggests, the City had some understanding with D-207 about not pursuing a flooding referendum that might compete with the schools referendum – the City had no flooding remediation referendum question ready for placement on this November’s ballot.

That deprived Park Ridge taxpayers of a direct choice, this year, between neglected schools and neglected sewers – assuming, for the sake of this argument, that they aren’t willing to pay for both sets of projects.

So the only way for Park Ridge taxpayers to regain such a choice would be if: (a) the D-207 referendum loses in November; (b) D-207 comes back to the taxpayers with the same referendum question, or its smaller Plan B referendum question, on the April 2019 ballot; and (c) the City decides to respect its taxpayers and give them a vote on the whole $106+ million Burke enchillada by putting a funding referendum question on the April 2019 ballot.

Does the City Council have any desire to do all 8 of those flood remediation projects, and to do them over the next 5-10 years? Or is it fine with doing them over 20-40 years as funding from the Storm Water Utility trickles in?

If either of those two possibilities is the case, it’s way past time the Council said so – in public and in no uncertain terms.

Because even if the D-207 referendum fails in November and Snow Job and the 7 Dwarfs respond with another referendum in April 2019, if Ms. Ryan’s suspicions are correct, the Council will continue to wink-and-nod itself silly over these flood remediation projects rather than go for the gold, literally and figuratively, with its own referendum question this coming April.

But first things first.

To read or post comments, click on title.

Why Have City’s Flood Remediation Plans Stagnated?

09.10.18

Does the City of Park Ridge really care about dealing meaningfully with its flooding problems?

We’re beginning to have our doubts.

Last October we published a post about what was then the “new” Christopher B. Burke Engineering comprehensive flood remediation plan. It was designed to provide protection against those 100-year floods that we seem to get at least once or twice a year.

Burke published a more comprehensive version of that plan in December 2017. The price tag was $106 million for eight (8) “prioritized” areas, not counting the $10 Million or so of debt service expense if 20-year bonds were issued to finance the project. Part of that plan included a Storm Water Utility (“SWU”) fee – to be calculated by each property’s size and amount of rain-impervious surface area (e.g., the house’s footprint, concrete patios and concrete driveways) – that Burke suggested be set at $11 per Equivalent Residential Unit (“ERU”).

In that October post we encouraged the City Council to determine taxpayer support for the Burke plan by putting a $100 Million-plus bond issue to referendum on either the March 2018 or November 2018 ballot. And we voiced our concern that the Council – or at least those aldermen whose terms will be expiring next May – might choose to play “Springfield-style politics” and delay such a referendum (and any controversy that it might cause) until AFTER the April 2019 election.

Since then, what has the Council done to advance those prioritized projects or to give the taxpayers a referendum vote on a bond issue and/or the SRU?

As best as we can tell, nothing. Nada. Niente. Τίποτα. Nichts. Ничего. Zip.

Even though the Burke study provided a map that showed how approximately one-half of Park Ridge was “at risk” of sewer back-up from storms as small as a “1-year event (1.2” rain in 1 hour duration)” if residents don’t install their own on-site devices (like check valves and/or overhead sewers), it appears that the Council has been fiddling for the past year while Park Ridge has continued to flood from both sewer back-up and overland water.

Why the delay?

We don’t know. But we have to wonder if former 6th Ward ald. Mary Wynn Ryan might be onto something with her suggestion, in a couple of comments on the Park Ridge Concerned Homeowners Group FB page, that there’s a “gentleman’s agreement with the school district [207] not to put a competing ‘ask’ on the ballot in Nov. or April.” She goes on to “suspect a sewer referendum will not be offered while the [D-207] school referendum is in play,” analogizing Park Ridge voters being given a choice between school renovations and flood remediation to “poor folk, choosing between [sic] heat, rent, groceries and medicine.”

Ryan is an unabashed fan of big government and unrestrained tax/borrow/spending who views referendums the way most people view root canal surgery: To be avoided at all costs unless absolutely necessary. While on the Park Ridge Park District Board in December 2012 she helped engineer the District’s $7 million non-referendum bond issue for the second-rate Centennial water park so that there would be no water park referendum competing for the taxpayers’ votes with the District’s $13 million bond issue referendum for the Prospect Park project on the April 2013 ballot.

So if there’s some kind of “deal” by the City  and D-207 to let the latter get first crack at the taxpayers’ pocketbooks, she might be someone likely to know about it.

Although we can find no evidence of any overt “deal,” that doesn’t preclude an informal wink-and-nod understanding between various aldermen and their corresponding D-207 Board members. And that kind of understanding could explain why the Council has done nothing during the past year to put the Burke priority projects to a referendum vote, or to adopt the proposed $11 per ERU or some other rate.

Even all that Labor Day weekend flooding – along with articles in last week’s Park Ridge Herald-Advocate (“Talks planned on stormwater utility fee, future capital projects following Labor Day flooding in Park Ridge,” Sept. 5) and Park Ridge Journal (“Park Ridge Hit Hard By Storms,” Sept. 5), and a rash of social media postings about the City’s inaction on flood control – appears to have done nothing more than motivate Ald. Marc Mazzuca (6th) to schedule a discussion of funding projects solely with SWU fees at the Council’s September 24 meeting.

Why is all of this disingenuous and/or just plain screwed up?

How about because Burke’s proposed $11 per Equivalent Residential Unit (“ERU”) is projected to yield a mere $2.4 million of revenue annually. That’s not nearly enough to get those 8 identified projects done on anything more than a snail’s pace timetable.

Are all you folks whose basements flooded on Labor Day, or will flood during the next big rain or the next one after that, willing to wait until 2058 for just those 8 priority flood control projects to be completed through funding with SWU fees?

With the November 2018 ballot referendum deadline already blown because the Council members sat with their thumbs up their kazoos for the past year, the next opportunity the City will have to get objectively-measurable taxpayer support for a $100 million-plus bond issue via referendum will be April 2019, when Alds. Moran (1st), Wilkening (3rd), Melidosian (5th) and Joyce (7th) presumably will be running to retain their seats around The Horseshoe.

And if we’re right about D-207’s master plan of using the November 2018 referendum as a type of stalking horse for a smaller, gentler Plan B referendum question on the lower-turnout, easier-to-win April 2019 ballot, the Council might very well let D-207 have another unchallenged shot at the taxpayers if its November boondoggle fails.

Will the Council respect the taxpayers enough to put a $100 million-plus anti-flooding funding referendum on the April 2019 ballot so those 8 projects might get done within the next decade instead of the next four decades? That would appear to be a no-lose proposition given that, even if that referendum were to fail, the Council could go forward with its current 40-year SWU-funded plan.

Or will the Council continue to kick the flooding can farther down the road, either to give D-207’s bigger bonding referendum questions first dibs on the taxpayers’ pocketbooks, or because it just doesn’t care that much about flooding…but isn’t willing to say so?

To read or post comments, click on title.