Public Watchdog.org

A Two-Fer Tuesday: City Water & Choosing The New Tiu

11.20.18

Today we’re giving you a two-fer: A regular-sized discussion of the City of Park Ridge’s water increase and a BONUS discussion of the Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 Board’s replacement of recently-resigned Board member Eastman Tiu.

City Water And Sewer Rate Increase. Last week the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate reported on the Park Ridge City Council’s November 7 vote to raise its water and sewer rates effective January 1, 2019. Not surprisingly, some people are already beefing about the increase of 14 cents per 1,000 gallons of water used, as well as a smaller increase based on the size of the user’s water meter.

This post is directed at the group of beefers who are trying to resurrect that three year old brain cramp: The City buying its water from Evanston instead of Chicago, which we last wrote about in our 04.21.2015 post, our 07.13.2015 post and our 10.12.2015 post, all of which pointed out the many risks, and no guaranteed commensurate benefits, of what we called the Evanston Water Option (“EWO”).

To say that buying water from Evanston is a dumb idea is an understatement, in the first instance because just the estimated 30-year cost to the City’s taxpayers of building the Evanston water delivery infrastructure was $90 million – and that was when the City was exploring a joint EWO with Niles and Morton Grove and would only be paying a fraction of the cost. If the City were to go it alone, the cost presumably would double or even triple. And that would be for only one water transmission line, not the current redundancy of two lines that we have with Chicago.

No wonder one of the promoters of that EWO boondoggle three years ago was Kathy (Panattoni) Meade, the unofficial queen of Park Ridge freeloaders – and one of the ringmasters of the Park Ridge Concerned Homeowners Group FB page – whose principal life goal appears to be finding ways to stick all City/Park District/D-64 taxpayers with the lion’s share of the costs for whatever services and amenities she wants for herself and her kids.  

Fortunately, the City balked at the EWO until Niles and Morton Grove decided to do a cheaper (for them) deal with Skokie for Evanston water, in which Park Ridge could not join because the water capacity of the Evanston/Skokie/Morton Grove/Niles venture could not support a fifth participant, especially with water demands like ours.

But the cost of the infrastructure needed for a switch to Evanston water is not the entire story. Another important consideration was, and is (as we understand the deal), that the City’s per-gallon rate for Chicago water is exactly the same as what Chicago residents pay, not counting the different additional fees that both Chicago and Park Ridge charge their respective residents in connection with water and sewer service. So, at least in theory, Chicago can’t gouge Park Ridge on water costs in order to subsidize the cost of Chicago residents’ water.

That’s significantly different from the situation being played out in both the federal and state courts between Evanston and its long-time water customer, Skokie, after their latest water contract expired on December 31, 2016, and Evanston tried to double the 1,000 gallon rate. The Circuit Court lawsuit by E-Town was filed in September 2017, while the federal court lawsuit by Skokie was filed in June of this year.

As anybody who has read this blog knows, we’re all about user fees: To the extent a user fee can reasonably be calculated and allocated to individual users for the cost of any government-supplied necessity or amenity, it should be done and the result charged to those users instead of hanging more taxes on all taxpayers.

Ideally, the user fees for water and sewer provide not only an appropriate way to cover the costs to the City of providing those services to its residents but, also, a way to cover at least part of the related costs of maintaining the water and sewer infrastructure. But increased costs presumably also generate a very desirable collateral benefit: More intelligent, disciplined (and, therefore, reduced) water usage by our residents.

So we would have expected those Go Green Park Ridge folks – Amy Bartucci, Cindy Grau, Andrea Cline, et al. – to be all over Arpad Glomski’s November 14 post about the water rate increase on the Park Ridge Concerned Homeowners Group FB page, supporting those fees with their commentary. But guess what?

Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Unless you count a brief colloquy between Cindy Grau and Meade, in which they both appear to lament user fees for water and sewer, while Meade lets her freeloader flag fly by her outright mocking of the concept of people paying “their fair share.”

Apparently “green” means something more to the Go Greenies that just what is found in nature, at least when it comes to keeping the “green” in their own pockets.

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Choosing The New Tiu. Last week D-64 Board member Eastman Tiu tendered his resignation from the D-64 School Board, which has stirred quite a commotion on the Parents of D-64 Students FB page, a “closed group” FB site administered by Helen Gossel Pasley and Carol Sales. “Closed group” means that non-members can’t see the posts and comments, unlike with other community FB pages such as the Park Ridge Concerned Homeowners FB page and the Park Ridge Illinois Online FB page, or with this blog.

The main event so far has been an unscheduled 10-round bout between activist Alice Dobrinsky (in the dark blue corner) and D-64 Board member Tom “Tilted Kilt” Sotos (in the plaid-with-cleavage corner) about how transparently the D-64 Board will conduct the whole selection process for Tiu’s replacement.

As tends to be the rule rather than the exception whenever Sotos engages in these bouts, he tends to be over-matched; see, e.g., his  09.19.2016 bout with resident Jayne Reardon over the Board’s refusal to disclose the secret terms of the closed-session negotiated 2016 PREA contract, in which Reardon left him so bloodied and incoherent that his corner man, Board president Tony “Who’s The Boss?” Borrelli, stopped it after only 9 minutes – starting at the 1:03:20 mark of the meeting video and finishing with the TKO of Sotos at the 1:12:21 mark.

Without wasting valuable time describing another TKO of Sotos, this time administered by Dobrinsky, we’ll cut to the chase: The whole process of replacing Tiu should be conducted exactly the way the estimable Joan Sandrik, another resident who has previously used Sotos as a punching bag, suggested in her comment on D-64 Students:

“Post the vacancy, accept applications, schedule interviews (in an open forum), deliberate (in an open forum), make the selection (in an open forum), swear in the new board member, ba-bam. Done. There. Now what’s so difficult about that?”

Not a damned thing, unless you’re a secretive demagogue like Borrelli, or a Borrelli lackey and apologist like Sotos. Or any other Board members who reflexively run and hide in closed session whenever its arguably legal – and who can’t spell H.I.T.A. even if you spotted them both consonants and let them buy both vowels.

To read or post comments, click on title.

9 comments so far

Right on not Evanston water, right on OPEN D64 selection process.

The best thing would be for Borrelli to resign so that the Board could fill two vacancies with an OPEN process.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That would be what’s called “addition by subtraction,” but it isn’t going to happen.

I am stunned that you would give any credit to Dobrinsky for anything. She is a radical lib gender jihadist who wants to replace all elected and appointed male officials with females based solely on gender. Is that what PublicWatchdog now supports?

EDITOR’S NOTE: PublicWatchdog has always tried to support what’s good, right and just for this community, especially for its taxpayers. So if something’s right – like total transparency in the selection of Tiu’s replacement, including Board deliberations – it’s right irrespective of whose idea it is or who supports it.

It’s this editor’s understanding that Dobrinsky is no fan of this blog or its editor. If that’s true, c’est la vie. When she’s wrong, or when we think she’s wrong, we’ll hammer her. And when she’s right, or when we think she’s right, we’ll say so and support her position, irrespective of whether she’s a “radical lib gender jihadist,” a new world order globalist, or a neo-Mau Mau rebel.

Because that’s the way we roll.

Why are you complaining about the D64 Parents FB page being closed? You’re not a D64 parent so why should you care what’s being discussed on it?

EDITOR’S NOTE: The better question is: Why should it be a “closed” page? What is being discussed on there that all the other taxpayers of this community – who make it possible for a minority of parents in this community to have free education for their kids – shouldn’t be allowed to see?

Ms. Meade’s “LOL” mockery of people paying “their fair share” seems to be becoming more and more prevalent among Park Ridge residents, especially the newer ones coming here from Chicago for the schools because even our much higher taxes still save them the cost of private(Catholic) schools.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Agreed.

You forgot to mention that the Park Ridge Virtual Chatter FB page (administered by Maureen O’Connor and Karen Alyce Saari) and the Park Ridge Organization for Progress (“PROP”), formerly Park Ridge Women for Hillary (administered by Alice Dobrinsky, Helen Gossel Pasley and Stefanie Hodge Murphy) are both closed groups, as is the Parents of D64 Students (administered by Helen Gossel Pasley and Carol Sales).

Gender politics? I think so.

Facebook gives anyone the ability to have a group opened or closed. These are not government bodies or elected officials running into closed session (which still happens by the way). Rather they are private citizens who have the right to gather and communicate as they see fit. Do you want to see all of their text messages as well? Should all the conversations the RWOPR have among themselves be public domain? Of course not!

Oh well. At least it is nice to see you all are having a little whine with your Thanksgiving dinner. Cheers!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Of course those private citizens “have the right to gather and communicate as they see fit” – just like others have a right to question why they don’t wish their communications to be viewed by the public.

As for the RWOPR, their FB page is open.

Since we can, and already do, measure the amount of water we use, it makes sense to cover not only the cost of the water but also the cost of the sewer service that handles its disposal. And since the more water you use and dispose of further taxes the water and sewer system, it makes sense to include some of the system cost in the water and sewer fees.

Present D64 board has been an abject failure. April can’t come soon enough. Total, top down housecleaning is order.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Agreed on “failure,” not 100% sure on “abject.” Unfortunately, it seems as if Heinz and staff own 6 of the 7 Board members (Exception: Biagi).

But, interestingly enough, that’s been the case since Heinz was hired in 2014 yet almost nobody beefed until we got to SPED and SROs – which seem to be linked in the minds of many of the beefers. So we are getting a distinct whiff of “special interests” behind these beefs.

As one of the admins of the Parents of D64 Students FB page, last June I created a poll for that group: 76 members wanted the privacy setting to be closed; 5 wanted it public; and 3 wanted it secret. I went with the majority and understand that taxpayers shouldn’t be left in the dark. I also think it would be good to have a public D64 FB group, because the concerned homeowners and PR citizens FB groups don’t include Niles residents (as far as I can tell). However, I should probably create a separate group instead of changing the privacy setting of the current group, because the change might annoy some group members. For example, the current group contains several pics of kids in bed wearing their pajamas and reading. These posts (of students reading) were encouraged by the district, but parents might have only wanted to share those pics with the 1,000+ group members and not the general public.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Carol: Thanks for your comment, and for owning it. Obviously, it’s your FB page so it’s your call. But didn’t the U.S. Supreme Court decide decades ago that separate is not equal? 🙂

But anybody who believes that there can be anything close to “privacy” among “1,000+ group members” is either kidding themselves or trying to kid everybody else.



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