Public Watchdog.org

The Watchdog’s Kibbles & Bits – Box 16

10.30.09

School Rankings Time Again. Today’s Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times each have feature articles on the annual ISAT scores registered by our public school systems.

As usual, Maine South is on both lists of the top high schools, tied for 12th position (with Lake Forest H.S.) on the Tribune’s “Top 50” list, for which the rankings are a function purely of the percentage of test scores that met or exceeded state standards; and ranking 13th (several spots below Lake Forest) on the Sun-Times’ “Top 100” list, which uses a more complex formula that the S-T claims “allows for more definition among top schools.”

But for the first time in recent memory, a District 64 school makes an appearance, with Carpenter Elementary School ranking in a tie for 49th on the Tribune’s list, although no District 64 school shows up on the S-T list.  But it’s a start.  So a big wag of the Watchdog’s tail to the folks at Carpenter – maybe you can share some tips with the other schools in the District that were, once again, notably absent from the lists of ISAT achievement.

Walk On By.  They’re ba-ack.  “They” are those residents who want their own special deal at the Park Ridge Community Center: they want $2 per visit punch passes so that they can walk around the Community Center any time it is open because they don’t want to pay for one of the several kinds of Community Center memberships that were created after numerous other “limited-use” memberships wisely were eliminated several years ago in an effort to make that facility’s operations more efficient and cost-effective.

The problem with limited-use privileges at the Community Center is that the facility’s ridiculous “open” layout can’t reasonably accommodate anything but full-facility membership.  Too many residents found it too easy to buy some low-price, limited-use membership and then expand their use into areas where they weren’t supposed to be – causing migraine headaches for staff, irritating members who were paying full-fare, and ultimately cheating the taxpayers. 

Commissioner Mary Wynn Ryan claims to be offended that people might drive to Golf Mill to walk if they can’t have their $2-a-visit walking pass. 

We here at PublicWatchdog disagree.  If folks would rather drive to Golf Mill than buy a Community Center membership, let ‘em – just add them to the list of all the other people who go elsewhere because the Park District doesn’t offer something they want, like the golfers who drive to Tam in Niles or Chick Evans in Morton Grove to play a round of golf; or the sailors who drive to Lake Opeka to Hobie Cat; or the mini-golfers who drive to Des Plaines or Skokie; or the skiers who fly to Vail or Steamboat….

Not With A Bang But A Whimper.  We hear that City Attorney “Buzz” Hill and the Park Ridge City Council will be spared the agita and potential embarrassment of having to decide whether to prosecute former mayor Howard “Let’s Make A Deal” Frimark for violating the City’s ethics ordinance by selling/brokering insurance for the Uptown parking garage in which the City has an interest. 

Word is that Mid-America and/or the Uptown Condominium Homeowners Association (“UCHA”) decided to pull the pin on Frimark’s insurance coverage.  We don’t know whether Frimark had any say in the matter, but that “Whew!” you heard emanating from the direction of City Hall was the collective sigh of relief from elected officials and bureaucrats alike.  And that means no tap dancing or sleight of hand at the City Council meeting this Monday night, when this matter was to have been taken up in earnest by the Council.

But we wonder whether the Council will also try to sweep under the carpet Frimark’s execution of the “First Amendment” to the easement and operating agreement for “Phase III” of the Uptown project – by which, as we understand it, the City ceded some of its voice and authority in the operations of that portion of the project to the developer and the UCHA?

Go, HAWKS!  Tomorrow afternoon the Maine South Hawks start their drive to the 2009 state championship when they host Oak Park-River Forest.  We wish them well in their effort to repeat as state champs, and we encourage all Park Ridge residents to show up and support another Hawks football juggernaut, led on both sides of the ball by University of Indiana-bound Player-of-the-Year candidate Matt Perez and quarterback Tyler Benz. 

3 comments so far

I’m surprised at you ‘Dog. Are you getting soft in your old age? Just because PRC et al did the right thing and pulled the plug on the insurance contract does not mean this is over. Not by a long shot.

Howard did NOT do the right thing and cancel it himself. If he had, then perhaps this really would be over. However, he was perfectly content to reap the rewards from this transaction even after being confronted with his alleged ethics violation. The Council will still need to determine whether to pursue prosecution. My guess is they will not, but they still need to discuss it, and before they do that, they will need to disclose their economic interests with Howard.

So why does this still matter now that the contract is cancelled? Because elected officials and senior staff need to receive the message that this type of conduct will not be tolerated. Period.

Good point Roarke. How does this let Frimark off the hook? Just because the developer doesn’t like to play with lights on doesn’t mean Frimark’s actions weren’t illegal.

I don’t care if this is worth $360 or $360,000 or $3.60 it needs to be pursued, investigated, and any illegal activity needs to punished in order to discourage this type of behavior in the future.

Does this mean Frimark will still not pay his property taxes?



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