Public Watchdog.org

Will Park Board Lets Its Arrogance Show Again?

12.05.12

Tomorrow night (Dec. 6) at 7:30 p.m., the Park Ridge Park & Recreation District Board and Staff will hold  another hearing on its proposed $7.1 million Centennial Pool outdoor aquatic facility.

Whether the Board and Staff listens and, more importantly, actually hears what the taxpayers of the whole community – not just those who can show up tomorrow night or at the next scheduled hearing – have to say about this issue remains to be seen.  So far, the comments by individual Board members suggest an adamant insistence on moving forward with this project without an advisory referendum because, according to them, they already know what the residents want.

And besides, they were elected to make decisions like this…without consulting the taxpayers who elected them. 

Anyone who has read previous posts on this blog about this issue knows that we think building a multi-million dollar, entirely-outdoor aquatic facility that can be used only 3-months a year is that special kind of stupid and wasteful idea only a public official spending other people’s money could love. 

But that’s just our opinion.  There are plenty of other opinions out there, all of which deserve to be considered before the Park District commits $7.1 million (including $6.3 million of 15-year bonded debt) on a facility that will substantially encumber and affect Centennial Park and impact this community for the next 20-30-40 years.

Which is why we believe this project should go to referendum, even if it’s only a non-binding advisory one.  That way, the Park Board and Staff – who claim to be so very interested in finding out what The People want in the way of Centennial aquatics – can get an unequivocal “yeah” or “nay” on this project from the 8,000+ voters expected to go to the polls in April.   And if they don’t like what the voters have to say, they can turn around and do the project anyway, and take whatever political fallout may ensue. 

Unfortunately, that Board and Staff don’t seem to want to hear from 8,000+ voters.  Instead, they want to take their marching orders from a whopping 682 respondents to an expensive “survey” they commissioned, with questions seemingly designed to elicit the answers the Board and Staff wanted while avoiding any questions about costs.  Which must have been part of the plan, because the consultant they hired to provide this rigged survey just happens to be none other than…wait for it…Stantec Consulting, the District’s new aquatic facility’s designer.

Isn’t that special – a pool designer that also produces the justifications for its project! 

Over the past 20 years, each time the taxpayers were given a chance to vote on replacing Centennial Pools with a new aquatic complex, they voted “no.”  Whether they would do the same on the Park District’s proposed project is unclear.  Maybe they don’t like this design, or don’t like spending that kind of money, or don’t like spending that kind of money on this design.  Or maybe they think it’s a winner.

But whatever they thin, they deserve a chance to vote on this project for any of those three reasons, or dozens of others.

This Park Board and Staff, however, are dealing with that problematic pool history by adopting the cowardly and disingenuous strategy of “we’d rather ask for forgiveness than for permission” – effectively telling the taxpayers they don’t deserve a vote on this issue, while at the same time arrogantly assuming they can put this issue to bed quickly enough so that they can then embrace those same taxpayers and schmooze a “yes” vote out of them in the April referendum for the Youth Campus project.

That’s how little respect this Board and Staff have for the concerns, the attention span and the intelligence of the Park Ridge taxpayers: “If we can screw them quickly enough, they’ll have forgotten about it come April.” 

That’s pure arrogance talking.  And when the arrogance of public officials talks, there’s little chance the taxpayers can be heard.

To read or post comments, click on title.

53 comments so far

They did put a survey recently on the PRPD’s home page, which I completed. I’m curious if results will be shared at the meeting. I’m actually even more curious about how many people responded to it.

Incidentally I was one of the residents surveyed and I thought this brief web survey was more user friendly and allowed for more open-ended responses.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This appears to ba nothing but after-the-fact back-filling by the PRRPD now that they are getting push-back and criticism of their original 682 response survey from the pool designer.

As for those “open-ended” questions, they have produced all-over-the-board results, including ones like “making it a water park…so that it is competitive with Skokie and Des Plaines…” and others like “we do not need to spend money on new features only used 3 months of the year.”

PW, how has this project gotten this far along without a referendum? I didn’t even here about this until a few weeks ago. I’m not a NIMBY, but I don’t see the wisdom of this project for many of the reasons you and other commentators have stated. Are these Park Board people crazy?

EDITOR’S NOTE: We can’t help you, as the first we heard of this was last May when the PRRPD announced that the Centennial Pools were on the verge of breakdown. At that time, we wrote:

“This is especially important in light of the recent discovery that Centennial Pools are in need of imminent replacement after 60 years of faithful service. With Oakton Pool gone, the District is no longer over-saturated (pun intended) with outdoor water for a community our size in a northerly climate such as ours.

It’s with that last point in mind, however, that we hope the Park District seriously considers a design and/or features for any new Centennial pool complex that would permit the new facility to operate for at least double the customary 3-month outdoor pool season. Perhaps some form of indoor/outdoor facility (such as is available from companies like the Berndorf Baderbau Group) might be the answer, although it will require a little outside-the-box thinking and greater initial expense.

But it beats committing several million dollars of capital, or issuing an equivalent amount of bonded debt and then servicing it for 5-15 years thereafter, for a facility usable a mere 3 months per year.

That doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense, even for government.”

We don’t think the Park Board members and Staff are “crazy” – but arrogant, cowardly and a bit over-impressed with their power and authority might be closer to the truth.

Those indoor-outdoor pools cost more like twenty million. Not sure how that gets past referendum.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We haven’t suggested a whole new stand-alone indoor-outdoor facility – we’ve talked about an indoor-outdoor component of the new facility, possibly tied to the Community Center. Even PRRPD Director Gayle Mountcastle, at last month’s public hearing, talked about an indoor-outdoor component costing a couple/few million dollars omore, but without adding any concrete details because…wait for it…that would exceed the District’s non-referendum debt ceiling. Avoiding a referendum is the REAL driver behind this half-baked design.

@1140pm – Keep in mind, this blog owner will complain about anything. Looking out his window from his basement blog, it must be very dark and dreary, with loud kids playing. He found a magical website with a beautiful picture and pretends to be an expert.

RT complains about a $300,000 improvement to a mold filled inadequate police facility but wants to spend “just a few million” more on an indoor/outdoor pool because he saw a cool picture on the internet. Guy talks in circles. He has an agenda. He’s on a political team in town…completely zero credibility. Name calling response below —–>

EDITOR’S NOTE: Apparently the Chief and his Task Force members don’t take that mold nearly as seriously as you do, because NONE of that $300K is going to remedy that problem. So your beef on that count should be with them.

Re the pool project, if the voters support spending $7 million for this half-baked concept that the community will be saddled with for the next 20-30-40 years, that’s okay with us. But we’re decidedly not okay with this decision being made solely by the Park Board without a referendum, especially for something this lame that the PRRPD is willing to settle for just to avoid a binding referendum. That’s so stupid and wastedful it should be a crime.

You’re right, Dog, there should be a law that limits the amount of money the park board can spend! Oh wait, there is one already. That is the law they used to determine how much to spend.

EDITOR’S NOTE: No, there should be a law that limits the amount of money the Park Board can spend without having to submit the project to an advisory referendum. But there isn’t, Zippy – the law to which we assume you are referring only limits the total amount of non-referendum debt they can have on their books, not the expenditure itself.

But what the heck, you were kind of almost in the right ballpark.

Tonight is one of two BIG NIGHTS for the Park District this month.

Tonight, and December 13th at are the nights the Park Board intends to discuss (in public) their “mini-waterpark” project. I for one expect to be there and I hope others, no matter their outlook on the project, will attend.

The public needs to input their thoughts before the Board spends this kind of money on a project clearly designed, I believe, to circumvent the voter’s prior waterpark referendum decisions.

Some of the readers on my site have already learned that the “plan” includes more than one phase. The first phase is worth $7.1 million. But that’s not all!

I received an email from Gayle Mountcastle today discussing the additional phase-two costs. She wrote: “The Lazy River is in the Conceptual Plan for Phase 2, there is no timeline or dollars budgeted for this. A timeline has not even been discussed. The bath house renovation would also be in phase 2. The cost for phase 2 is estimated at $ 3,453,300. This includes lazy river, bath house, site work, and support. “

So, what we’re really talking about here is a $10.5+ million enterprise!

It will be interesting to see if the Board, (without the public’s assistance), brings this new information to light!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks for the info, Ken. That further corroborates how this project’s main driver isn’t providing the community with a forward-looking, top-notch facility that will serve this community well for the next 20-30-40 years but, instead, one that the Park District can slide under it’s non-referendum debt limit – so that the taxpayers aren’t legally entitled to a vote that might disprove the District’s insistence that “the residents” really want this particular aquatic facility at this price and with this amount of debt.

What’s a NIMBY?

EDITOR’S NOTE: It stands for Not In My Back Yard. You can get home from there, right?

I find it interesting that in Mr. Biagi’s email message regarding the two upcoming meetings tonight and on Dec. 13-I did not get the email but found it at http://www.parkridgepatch.com-that he seems to be indicating only two options for Centennial pools. Either we get on board and support the PRPD board and their “modern aquatic facility” (the new name for a waterpark) or the PRPD will plan to move ahead and tear out the 58 year old Centennial Pools. Is this a threat from Mr. Biagi? Are we to believe that if the PRPD board does not get what they want-support for this waterpark at a total proposed cost of now $10,600,000-then they will demolish the two aging pools and be done with it? If this is indeed his message on behalf of the PRPD board then they are acting like spoiled children who did not get their way.

It is beneath the taxpayers of PR to be threatened by this board. Some of us who are questioning and challenging the PRPD’s end around the taxpayers who have voted 4 times “NO” to a waterpark are concerned about the ever increasing amount of property taxes we pay. We are the major provider of funds for the city, the schools and the PRPD. With all the taxing authorities from the federal government to the state to the county and to PR raising our taxes we have to spend wisely. PRPD services are not high on the priority list when economics requires us to make smart choices. If the pools can be replaced for $2,000,000 less than the first phase of a $10,600,000 waterpark why was this option rejected by the PRPD board?

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ll let Mr. Biagi’s words speak for themselves. But as we understand it, the main reason the PRRPD doesn’t want to simply replace what we have with the same basic thing is that it believes more people want zero-depth, kiddie-focused water entertainment than pools designed primarily for actual swimming.

That’s the “conventional wisdom” from the parks & recreation crowd, but whether that’s true or not remains to be seen.

I use the pools in the summer. I see lots of families and kids having fun at the Centennial pools as they currently are built. There is already a kiddie pool for kiddie-focused water entainment that the PRPD recently spent over $1,000,000 to build. Can’t the current Centennial pool with the diving boards be rebuilt with a zero depth entry? Problem solved.

Mr. Butterly:

I was under the impression (from a thread on one of your blogs I believe) that you are a resident of Niles. Is this correct??

EDITOR’S NOTE: Although Mr. Butterly can answer for himself, we understand he is a resident of that portion of Niles which is withing the borders of the PRRPD – just like some portions of Niles are within the borders of D-64.

Zippy? Really?? Now lets use some big boy words.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’d like to use “big boy words,” but based on the goofiness of some of these comments we’re not dealing with big boys. Or big girls, for that matter.

“the main reason the PRRPD doesn’t want to simply replace what we have with the same basic thing is that it believes more people want zero-depth, kiddie-focused water entertainment than pools designed primarily for actual swimming”. Oh, really? See pools for: 1) Des Plaines; 2) Skokie; 3) Glenview; 4) Niles; 5)Morton Grove; 6) Prospect Heights; 7) Arlington Heights; 8) Wilmette; 9) Palentine; 10) Barrington (I can go on if you want). Building “same” pool doesen’t solve over-crowding at existing pool caused by closure of Oakton Pool due to costs of operation, which caused over-crowding at Centennial Pool.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Oakton Pool was losing $80K-90K each of its last few years, so it’s obvious nobody was going there. “Over-crowding at existing pools” is caused primarily by hot days and kiddie camps. On 75-80 degree non-camp days, the pools are half-empty.

So you are saying that a percentage of his Niles property taxes got to the PRPD???

EDITOR’S NOTE: What we’re saying is his house is within the Park Ridge Recreation & Park District’s boundaries, so he pays the “park district” portion of his property taxes to the PRRPD.

You’re a funny guy anon. I am glad you created this blog here for your self-amusement.

If Oakton pool lost 80k-90k, what does the library “lose” each year that you are on the board of?
Give us the breakdown of revenue vs costs.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You must have missed the memo, because the Library doesn’t charge admission for visitors. Therefore, it is not comparable to the Oakton Pool which did charge admission in an attempt to cover its operating costs.

Good Lord!!! 6:36 asks a perfectly valid question. It does not compare only when you do not want it to compare. You yourself have written many times on this blog about those sponging off their fellow taxpayer at the library and all the free programs they unfairly take advantage of. Of course that was prior to you being named to the board. You have been on the board for quite a while now and with the Mayors endorsement. Hell, you should have the library turning a profit by now!!! What dramatic
revenue enhancing plans have you put in place???

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you can’t appreciate the difference between a facility that has always charged an admission fee and a facility that never has, there’s very little we can do to explain it any better.

But to address your second question, this particular Library Board member has been the only one to suggest – on several occasions – that the Library should begin raising operating revenues by charging admission fees for its movies, programs, and similar functions. Up until now, however, those efforts have been unsuccessful. But feel free to voice your support for the Library’s generating of revenues.

So what this blog owner is saying:
He is an appointed member of a library board, that basically is completely taxpayer subsidized?
I’m just trying to understand your point of view. So, you like tax dollars for things YOU approve of?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Municipal public libraries – including Park Ridge’s – have always been heavily subsidized. That’s the way it is all over, not just here. But you are encouraged to let the City know that you would prefer a less-subsidized facility, which is one of the goals of this editor.

Wow, big difference tonight in the crowd. People overwhelmingly supported the board.

Park Ridge homeowners showed up tonight! Time to stop letting the loud crotchety few who are scared of everything continue to ruin on our town.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yep, the “gimme” crowd turned out in force, all 20-30 of them.

Of course, if they and the arrogant but cowardly Park Board really believed they represented a majority of the taxpayers/homeowners, they wouldn’t be terrified of a referendum. But they don’t, which is why they are.

Dear “Tonight”:

I notice your comment is time-stamped at 9:37 p.m. That’s funny, because I was there until the end, after 10 p.m. Later in the meeting we heard a lot more from Centennial’s neighbors, who are concerned about the effect of these pool plans on their properties. They have a right to comment.

It’s true that more residents spoke up at the meeting in favor of the board’s plan than against. We all know why: The park district board conducted an aggressive get-out-the-word e-mail campaign to get them there.

Those of us who questioned the board were not loud, crochety or few, as you say. If you were there when I stood up, you know that I said we need to repair and replace the pool, and that I asked three questions about the board’s plan to expand the facility.

The board answered my questions. We’re dealing with the same set of facts. Our judgments are different, however. My personal POV is that the board doesn’t need a plan that maxes out their statutory borrowing authority.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And the Board members don’t want a referendum by which a measurable majority of the 8,000+ voters expected to turn out in April tells them that. Without a referendum, the board members can continue to spread the lie that “everybody” except for a “crotchety” few want this facility. That’s exactly how we got an undersized, second/third-rate Community Center 20 years ago.

Anon: 12.06.12 2:01 pm,

You believe correct. Mr. Trizna unfortunately, is not correct. Sorry Bob!

I live in a small section of Niles that is wedged between two Park Ridge neighborhoods. My home is a half-block from North Park and I am a firm believer in supporting local businesses.

My wife and I learned early-on that Park Ridge was a “bedroom community”; and since we liked the town, we made a conscious decision to support local Park Ridge businesses whenever we could.

I go to MickyD’s in Park Ridge almost every day to share a cupa with my buddies. My wife and I shop for food at Jewel, Morningfields Market, 7-Eleven and Trader Joes in Park Ridge. We go to the Picwick Theater.

During the course of the year my wife and I go to Gumba Joes, Picwick Restaurant, Wally’s, Houlihan’s, Al’s Italian Beef, Andrews Open Pit, Goldy’s Grill, Hay Caramba, Siam Thai, Le Peep, D’ Agostino’s, Original Pancake House, Oberweis Ice Cream, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Five Guys Burgers, Eggsperience; as well as Jade House and Bailey’s when they were open.

I buy my bagels Einstein Bros Bagels across from the library and my donuts as Dunkin’ Donuts on Touhy, and my afternoon-evening coffee’s at Panera’s – sometimes Starbucks.

My wife purchases cards from Hallmark across from the library and chocolates from Fanne Mae.

My car was purchased at Bredemann, where I’ve had it regularly serviced for seven years. For over five years, I’ve used Lockup Self Storage. I’ve even had my bike serviced at Bob’s!

When my dog was alive I used (former) Busse Animal Clinic (six years). My wife uses Caruden; and I get my curly’s cut at Scissorhands on Devon.

Like you, I support District 207 and Maine Township with my taxes; and like many reading this comment, my hospital of choice is Lutheran General.

Finally, I am a former dues-paying member of Park Ridge Senior Center.

Unlike you however, I don’t own property in Park Ridge and do not directly pay Park Ridge Park District taxes. That said; I do what I can to support Park Ridge and its tax-base!

If that’s not good enough for you – tough!

Furthermore, I view very suspiciously people who do not refute ideas but instead attack the credentials of the person who presents the idea.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We stand corrected, and we apologize to our readers and to you for the error.

That being said, Ken, your voluntary patronization of Park Ridge services and your voluntary expenditure of money (primarily to private vendors) here doesn’t give you some legitimate stake in this community’s decision-making. To the contrary, your poaching of our community’s goods and services underwritten in whole (the Library; the parks) or in part by Park Ridge’s higher R.E. taxes while at the same time enjoying the lower R.E. taxes of Niles seems almost like a kind of parasitism.

Consequently, like it or not, your particular non-resident, non-taxpayer, non-stakeholder “credentials” will color the way your ideas are perceived.

Ken, you are welcome in Park Ridge whenever you like!

Dear 9:37-The reason there were suporters of the board in the crowd is likely due to the fact that Board President Biagi sent out what can only be viewed as a threathening email to some PR residents. The email can also be found on a few internet sites. In that email Mr. Biagi states in part:

“In my mind, the sole question for the taxpayers of Park Ridge is quite simple…do we or don’t we want outdoor pools in our city. If we don’t want them then the board should be planning for the demolition of the Centennial pools within the next year, given the significant mechanical and physical problems the current 58-year old pools face.

However, if the citizens feel that outdoor pools are an important fixture in out City, then we need to move forward on plans to bring a modern aquatics facility to Centennial Park.”

So those in support were lead to believe by Mr. Biagi’s email plea that if PR citizens don’t support the waterpark then there will be no pools at Centennial. This strategy worked last night. Perhaps Mr. Biagi can clarify-now that the meeting is over and the board the support from 20 or 30 people-whether or not he actually intends to vote for no pools at Centennial at all if the PR voting taxpaying citizens don’t want to pay for a waterpark.

It was also surprising that many of the people who spoke in favor of the $10,600,000 waterpark don’t have a problem with their real estate taxes going up-which they inevitably will despite assertions to the contrary by the board. This waterpark will not increase property values and can only be used at most 90 days a year so where is the return on the extra investment in a waterpark versus replacing the pools?

Also after you left, the board revealed that Phase II of the project which includes the lazy river and a new bigger bath house will not be completed for quite some time-if ever. Remember from the bond expert that the next round of bonds that will be paid off in full does not occur until 2017. The board does not have the money from operational surpluses or the non referendum bonding authority to spend another $3,500,000-the projected cost of Phase II. The lazy river seems to be the feature that was the second most favored feature with 393 of the 637 survey respondents favoring.

You also missed the part where the board said that if the waterpark-which is projected to make $75,000 in a best case scenario-does in fact lose money then the board cannot raise real estate taxes to cover the loss and will have to look to other parts of the PRPD operating budget to make up this loss. I take this to mean that the PRPD will either have to cut operating expenses somewhere else in the budget that has nothing to do with the pools or raise revenue. And since 97% of the PRPD revenue is from PR taxpayers in the form of either re taxes or fees, then the PRPD may have to raise fees on other non-waterpark programs to cover the loss.

Interestingly, though, Ms. Mountcastle actually said the this type of waterpark, in her experience, rarely loses money. So now the PRPD board and staff are calling it a waterpark which the taxpayers of PR have voted “NO” to building 4 times before.

Another resident asked the board if they had considered the PRPD tax burden on taxpayers in conjunction with the taxes imposed by the city and the schools etc. And though the PRPD may be fiscally sound-in part because we have said no 4 times to very expensive projects-the town is not and the schools also raise their tax levy’s. The only response to this was that operational surpluses of the PRPD cannot be used for the city or schools budgets. That should be common knowledge. However, the main source of revenue for these taxing authorities is the homeowner. Many PR homeowners cannot afford the continual increase in taxes while their property values and the services received in return go down.

So the PRPD board answered the question in the title of this blog. Will those seeking a more fiscally responsible approach to the Centennial Pools issue show up at the next meeting?

EDITOR’S NOTE: If Mr. Biagi is being honest about the only question “for the taxpayers” being “do we or don’t we want outdoor pools in our city,” why hasn’t he pushed to put THAT question on the April ballot – and put this Centennial project on hold until then? Because that’s a sham “red herring” issue designed to distract from the simple and direct issue of: “do we or don’t we want to spend $7.1 million, and commit $6.3 million of 15-year debt, to this particular plan?”

Sadly, the Park Board member who just last month cast the only vote against the PRRPD’s 5.97% property tax increase because he “wasn’t interested in raising taxes” and didn’t think Staff “adequately justified why we need the additional money” has mysteriously rolled over on something far more economically burdensome to the taxpayer than that property tax increase.

Mr. B:

Thanks for the reply (2:01pm here). I read your blog about the senior center and, while I do not agree with all that you write, I appreciate your civic involvement.

That said, you confirmed what I thought to be true, and I find it somewhat odd for a post trying to stir up the troops about this outrage is authored by a person who is not paying taxes in the community. If the author of this blog gets his wish for a referendum you will not be able to vote on it. I am wondering if at the meeting last night youstood up and pounded the podium and yelled, “as a citizen of Niles I find this to be an outrage……”. THat would have drawn some laughs.

As to whether you are suspicious or not is of no matter to me and, the fact that you percieve my 1 sentance question to be an attack shows even you can see you are on shakey ground. Like it or not, I think it is relevant for those reading this blog (or yours) or seeing you at a meeting talking about PR tax issues to be aware that you do not pay PR taxes. Again, if you somehow see my revealing that fact as an attack that is your issue, not mine.

I am quite a few years from retirement but I hope when I reach that age I have your fire and passion about issues. But I also hope that in retirement I have better things to do with my time than attending park district meetings for communities that I do not currently, nor have ever resided.

Robert,

I’m fascinated by your response. I do not understand your “poaching” comment. Can you be more specific?

EDITOR’S NOTE: To use one of your favorite literary devices: “poach: to encroach upon especially for the purpose of taking something.”

In your case, you pay the low R.E. taxes of Niles and then “encroach” on our community “for the purpose of taking” the benefits that Park Ridge offers, and then use that “poaching” as your standing to comment upon our community’s governance.

The Niles Park District Board meets on the third Tuesday of each month. If you happen to shop in Niles, you should go to a Park District meeting and let your voice be heard!!!!!!!

10:37 – As the editor of this blog likes to say, you are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. Ms. Mountcastle said that waterparks make money, but did not call the project the PRRPD is proposing a waterpark (although call it whatever you want). She said she figured it would make money in spite of the fact that it isn’t as grand as the waterparks that make money, because surprisingly the numbers for the current pool result in even the current 58 year old design making money. And you can scream all day that you think this will raise taxes, but the fact of the matter is it won’t. The debt service will replace expiring debt service that we are currently paying for. Granted, it won’t lower your taxes. And it was further explained last night that IF there were operational losses on the new pools, they would be absorbed by the current operational surplus (last year about $700,000). The fact of the matter is the Park District is in very good financial shape, and has very tight restrictions on what it can tax, and it can afford the project. Frankly that is refreshing from a government entity.

It appears that the people opposed to this project include (repsectfully) NIMBYs who think the slide will wreck the view from thier house, those who think the spending on this project is too much, those (like the editor of this blog) who think the project is too small in scope, and a blogger who doesn’t live in he tax district. If the opposition can’t decide if the project is too big or too little, it might be just right.

I do not believe there is any one pool project plan that could be conceived of that would get the votes of over 50% of voters in the next election. And frankly, I think we should do it anyways. Even if half the voters agreed that we should expend capital to replace the pools, there would be enough disageement as to the layout, size, scope, and location of the project that it would make any specific pool plan a minority position. This is coupled with the fact that the nature of park amenties are such that any one feature is not used by a majority of voters in any given year. The pools are some of the most easily tracked and the figure last night was that there were 5000 pool passes and ~40,000 individual turnstyle entries last year at the pool. That doesn’t sound like half the people in town to me (unless everyone averaged no more than two visits per year). Most voters vote thier immediate interest, and most voters’ default vote on a spending referendum is “no”. If a person doesn’t use the pool this year, they are less likely to vote in favor of spending $6 or 7 or 10 million on a pool. But that doesn’t mean the pool shouldn’t be built. Nearly all families, over their lifetimes, as far as I can tell do use a public pool. So whether a couple who’s kids are grown, or a childless family, or a divorcee now living on his own wants a pool this year means less to the community than the long term benefit for all involved and the expectations of potential future Park Ridge home buyers.

That is why we use representative government, to allow elected individuals the ability to research an issue in depth and take a longer view than an individual voter might. And that is what is needed here.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And as this editor likes to say: “In a contest between the shameless and the spineless, the shameless always win.” In this case, the shameless and the spineless are one and the same: the Park Board members.

“Shameless” because they arrogantly claim that “the community” wants this new $7.1 million Centennial Pool plan and disingenuously claim that not getting a tax decrease isn’t the same as a tax increase. And “spineless” because they are terrified of going to referendum to prove it where it counts: at the ballot box.

Their spinelessness also proves one other damning character flaw: they are liars. Only liars who know this project isn’t favored by a majority of the taxpayers would nevertheless loudly proclaim it the people’s choice. By not going to referendum because they know they can’t get 50% of the votes in April, they are knowingly imposing MINORITY RULE.

So much for basic civics, unless we’re talking about civics Syrian-style.

Anon: 12/07/12 10:31 AM,

I appreciate your appreciation of my “civic involvement”.

Let me respond to your comments one concept at a time.

You wrote: “… I find it somewhat odd for a post trying to stir up the troops about this outrage is authored by a person who is not paying taxes in the community.”

My response: I’m sorry you find it odd that this citizen writes a blog about the going-on at the Park Ridge Park District. Do you also find it odd when the Journal-Topics, Pioneer Press, Tribune, Sun Times or Public Watchdog comment, even when the author of those comments might not live in Park Ridge?

I know Park Ridge is a “small town” but being “small town” does not always have to equate to being provincial and parochial. I’d like to believe Park Ridge is big enough and mature enough to handle the opinions of this outsider’s blog or comments without going goofy!

You wrote: “If the author of this blog gets his wish for a referendum you will not be able to vote on it. I am wondering if at the meeting last night you stood up and pounded the podium and yelled, ’as a citizen of Niles I find this to be an outrage……’ That would have drawn some laughs.”

My response: Bob Trizna’s “wish for a referendum”, a NON-BINDING referendum, is something I support on principal. If the Niles Park District, wanted to indebt the taxpayers for a cool 10+ million dollar project, as PRPD is currently attempting to do, I’d be asking Niles Park District for a NON-BINDING referendum myself.

Now, you probably noticed; I didn’t stand up to comment last night, although I’d been invited to comment on other occasions regarding different issues. To date, I have refrained from doing so, because I have always been cognizant of my place as a non-resident-non-taxpayer observer and commenter.

You wrote: “As to whether you are suspicious or not is of no matter to me and, the fact that you percieve my 1 sentance question to be an attack shows even you can see you are on shakey ground. Like it or not, I think it is relevant for those reading this blog (or yours) or seeing you at a meeting talking about PR tax issues to be aware that you do not pay PR taxes. Again, if you somehow see my revealing that fact as an attack that is your issue, not mine.”

My response: I stated: “Furthermore, I view very suspiciously people who do not refute ideas but instead attack the credentials of the person who presents the idea.”

The fact that you’ve chosen to discuss my Park Ridge tax-status or my limited comments as a blogger/commenter instead of PRPD’s potentially expensive actions; activities that have real consequences to the Park Ridge community; the subject of Mr. Trizna’s post, tells me you have nothing valuable to add to the conversation at this time.

You wrote: “I am quite a few years from retirement but I hope when I reach that age I have your fire and passion about issues. But I also hope that in retirement I have better things to do with my time than attending park district meetings for communities that I do not currently, nor have ever resided.”

My response: First, I’d like to thank you for continuing to fund Social Security. Without your direct help, I don’t know what I’d do.
I also hope you have fire in the belly and passion on issues that affect your life and the lives of your friends and family, even if those issues fall outside the borders of Park Ridge. I hope your retirement years are filled with good health; mentally and otherwise because, in the end, money really doesn’t buy either.
You say, in retirement, you hope you have better things to do with your time “than attending park district meetings for communities that I do not currently, nor have ever resided”. I sincerely hope that wish comes true for you as well.

In the meantime, continue reading the Watchdog and if you can stand it, come on over my way!

2:02-I like your optimism about our taxes not being raised because of the pool but I think it already has. Last week the PRPD voted to increase the tax levy. As Mr. Hunst pointed out this was to increase the PRPDs’ revenue stream of which 97% comes from PR residents and PRPD users to pay for issues/improvements related to being compliant with ADA requirements.

As you state, the PRPD seems to be fiscally sound. Per the audited financials for 12/31/2011 the PRPD had an increase in net assets of $1,121,810. The previous year also showed an increase. This is money that can be put in reserve for future needs-like being compliant with ADA requirements. However, the PRPD is using a chunk of the reserve about $800,000 to pay for that part of Phase I of the waterpark that cannot be covered by issuing nonreferendum bonds. So our taxes go up or the fees they charge more for PRPD programs (another form of tax) to replace this decrease in the reserve.

I don’t think any of the PR taxpaying citizens who are concerned about the waterpark and impact on the use and enjoyment of their homes if they are neighbors to the new waterpark or the impact on their real estate taxes don’t want a pool of some sort at Centennial. The concern is to put in something appropriate for the space and the fact it is used only at most 90 days of the year.

According to the PRPD there were an average of 43,000 individual uses of the outdoor pools over the last three years. If one assumes 70 days of use in the summer that is 614 per day. How many of the 614 per day are repeat users? Does this also include Hinckley? How many more unique users will be attracted if a waterpark is built? Should the PRPD spend an additional $5,200,000 on a waterpark (total cost of $10,600,000 for waterpark versus $5,400,000 to replace with the current footprint) for such a small number of people in a town of 37,500?

We do use the pools in town. But I do not think the additional cost is worth it-particularly when you consider that the other governmental taxing authorities are also asking the taxpayers of PR for more money. And since the difference in the cost replace versus waterpark is significant then put it to a referendum. Start with Mr. Biagi’s question that he stated in his email-do the citizens of PR want outdoor pools in PR. Then ask if they want to spend $5,400,000 or $10,600,000.

No screaming here just the opinion of a PR taxpayer who is concerned about how our tax dollars are spent.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That “43,000 individual uses” figure, as we understand it, means only that over the last three years a certain number of people made 43,000 unique visits to the pool. That could be 43 individuals making 1,000 unique visits, 1,000 individuals making 43 unique visits, and any other permutations you might come up with. But rest assured it is not 43,000 unique individuals; e.g., all 37,000 Park Ridge residents plus 6,000 non-residents all going to the pool at least once.

to: 2:02pm… You said: “The debt service will replace expiring debt service that we are currently paying for.” That, my friend, is called a tax increase.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Except in the Bizarro World the bureaucrats and elected public officials live in. Those folks are such liars that its amazing they can go out in public without masks or disguises.

Dear 2:02 pm: Actually, Mountcastle did use the word waterpark. Not a big deal, because the project doesn’t make any more or less sense to me based on what you call it. I’m just calrifying what was indeed said at the meeting.

As a town we have to realize there are families from a newer/different generation that want park ridge to be nice (if not elite). It’s sad that those who seem to have lived here for 30-40 years and enjoyed park ridge at its best are so willing to say no to any improvement in the city. We are waking up. We showed up yesterday. We will continue.

EDITOR’S NOTE: There are a lot of geezers who ripped off the system just like the current crop of young parents with young kids are looking to rip off the system. It’s sad that the whole lot of them lack even a thimble-ful of honesty and integrity. But it’s sadder still that the elected officials on this Park Board are a bunch of panderers – starting with Mary Wynn Ryan and the rest of the Board members who didn’t even have the common sense to shut down the Oakton Pools while they were losing $80-90K a year – who are hell-bent on giving away taxpayer money to keep a small special interest happy.

Anon at 202pm. THANK YOU. Well said and exactly right. Lets have a referendum on Triznas library money. How much out of our taxes was that again? Glurp glurp

EDITOR’s NOTE: Bring it on. This editor would love to have a group of citizens call this Library Board to account for all the taxpayer-subsidized giveaways they feel obligated to bestow each year to keep their freeloader constituency happy and pacified. It’s pathetic how many upper middle class Park Ridgians rip off the decent taxpayers of this community year in and year out for subsidized babysitting at both the Library and at the Park District and D-64, as well as all the other subsidized stuff they want and get.

Good run on this one dog, but as Dandy Don would say “turn off the lights, the party’s over, it was fun while it lasted”….the Centennial Water Park is finally coming!!!!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t disagree with you. The current members of the Park Board are corrupt panderers to certain special intersts, and they don’t have the nerve or the integrity to hold an advisory referendum on this stupid and overpriced Centennial aquatic plan. We do believe, however, that they will get their payback when the voters realize how they have been b*tch-slapped by this crew of craven politicians and, in response, tell the PRRPD to pound sand on its Youth Campus referendum come April.

Hey Mel…do you really think you can get away with telling the voters that they don’t deserve a vote on a $7.1 million aquatic center, but then persuade them to kiss your buns and approve your equally ridiculous Youth Campus referendum?

RT- How is making Park Ridge nice “ripping off” taxpayers? If you want to live in a downtrodden community, I could show you a TON of zip codes in Chicago. I want nice parks. I want trees taken care of on my parkway. I want functional sewers.
Do you understand that having crumbling infrastructures hurts property values??

EDITOR’S NOTE: Taking $7.1 million from taxpayers for an amenity (rather than a necessity) without consulting them via an advisory referendum is a rip-off. Of course, when one’s view of government is dominated by “I want,” those rip-offs that satisfy those wants probably seem just fine.

A lot of voters will be voting for the Youth Campus purchase. It’s a great investment in our city. You can’t grow open land.

My only problem is…why the heck would we rent that building on it for $1 or whatever to the Historical Society??? Those are the things are that hurt revenue. Also, if it’s wanted then it should be privately funded and rented for a proper rate. Otherwise, let’s put it to better use.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If they do, it will only be because the arrogant yet cowardly Park Board members can’t legally bury the taxpayers in that much additional debt without the voters’ approval. Otherwise – as we’re seeing with the Centennial Pool – they most certainly would, all the while lying about how “the community” wants that project, too.

So RT- Should we just sell the library to something commercial? That’s a sweet piece of land!

EDITOR’s NOTE: This editor helped put three referendum questions on the November 2002 ballot – when then-mayor Ron Wietecha and his rubber-stamp City Council refused to do so – that included keeping that Library on that land. But if you have a proposal to make, come to a Library Board meeting and make it.

You say the park is “arrogant” when they don’t go to referendum for Centennial Pool, AND still arrogant when they put a referendum for the youth campus?

Also, are you for or against the historical society having pretty much free rent on park property (if it passes in April)?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Read the post and the Editor’s Notes again, and you’ll find no reference to “arrogance” of those Park Board members re the Youth Campus referendum – if only because state law prevents them from running up that much debt without a referendum.

If you’ve been reading the blog with any regularity, you should know that We’re against ANY private person or organization getting “free rent” – or “free” anything – at the taxpayers’ expense. Period.

Regarding the “I Wants” or whatever you call them…local (especially one of 38,000 people) doesn’t equate to “wants” of State or Federal Govt. Some of us pay an extreme amount of property taxes…and would be willing to invest in things to make the city better. It’s not sponging of government.

What made you so bitter about our city? If you hate it so much and want it to crumble, why do you stay?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Who (besides you, now) has brought up “wants” of “State or Federal Govt.”?

If the Park Board members had the integrity, honesty and courage to put this Centennial Pool plan to an advisory referendum and a majority of voters supported it, we would still consider it a third-rate facility; but as with every election, we and everybody else in town would/should accept the results of that vote.

Like the vast majority of residents, we love this community – which is why we hate it when selfish special interests and arrogant, gutless politicians and bureaucrats lie to, and strong-arm, decent taxpayers.

Robert, that’s an interesting take.

My intent when I wrote the comment was to explain my fondness and financial commitment to this town; a financial commitment to its businesses that I’ll put up against most of your readers any day.

I am able to spend my limited resources this way because I do not have children, not because I pay less property tax in Niles, which I do not.

My “street cred” is not based on paying high local property taxes, but on presenting truth (as I see it) based on FOIA generated facts which I readily and consistently present.

Property taxes are not what make the town Bob; any town. People make the town. The demographics of Park Ridge are changing. The men and women who lived in Park Ridge prior to Y2k were not well paid technocrats working for others, but small business owners, CEO’s of major corporations and “professionals”. Like those arriving today, they had children. One of those children proudly serves on today’s Park Board.

Today’s arrivals, unfortunately, inherited a town past its prime and are looking to recreate a town that never was.

Someone sold these poor folks a vision of Park Ridge; maybe that Park Ridge was just like Wilmette, or Glencoe or Winnetka, without the lake and closer to the airport and their offices in the Loop. Many are from Chicago and came to escape the bad schools and gang crime.

While looking over the comments this morning, I came upon the following quote from Anon: 12.07.12 5:47 pm. It read:

“As a town we have to realize there are families from a newer/different generation that want park ridge to be nice (if not elite). It’s sad that those who seem to have lived here for 30-40 years and enjoyed park ridge at its best are so willing to say no to any improvement in the city. We are waking up. We showed up yesterday. We will continue.”

You Bob; you and Biagi and Wynn-Ryan are the reason the commenter felt comfortable with the statement. With the Senior Center (take-take-take) debacle, you three showed them the way to get things done in this town; and the Gen-X’ers, are quick learners.

Forget referendums Bob; no time for that. It’s time to spend your money; and time for them to get theirs!

One last thing.

My role in this situation is to provide information, analysis and voice my conclusion(s); and sometimes to take sides where I think wrong has been committed. Pioneer Press, Journal-Topics and others play a similar role when they wish to; and they don’t pay property taxes in Park Ridge either!

Their opinions, as mine, are enshrined within the protection of the US Constitution’s First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Bob, no one is required to read my blog or comments I may make on yours. If my “taxing situation” is such that a current reader feels compelled to become a former reader; so be it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ken, it’s not that your comments aren’t welcome, something we consistently prove by posting them. But those comments deserve to be considered in light of the fact that you aren’t a PRRPD taxpayer, or a City of Park Ridge taxpayer, or a D-64 taxpayer.

And, truth be told, those SSI folks who have been enjoying their particular special interest (the Senior Center) at the expense of the PRRPD taxpayers for all these years have much in common with the special interest folks pushing the new Centennial Pool project without a referendum.

Y’all are whack. The push-pull between the future and the past is ever-present. The only bad apples in this discussion are those who persist in personal name-calling and character denigrating when they sense they’re losing the larger argument.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Whack”? Really? What part of the ‘hood are you from…the Manor or the Country Club area? hat must be where the pseudo-sanctimonious hang with their homies when they sense they’re going to get away with ripping off the taxpayers.

Ken- No one on the park board made me feel “comfortable” for saying that I expect the city and park to be kept up and nice. They probably just have some common sense and forward-looking knowledge.

I know you are from Niles, but Park Ridge has always been a community that had higher expectations. I feel terrible that the people who raised a family here and enjoyed Park Ridge at its best have sold out to benefit themselves and hurt the current families.

We have no commerce here because of them and now they want to have our “amenities” be dumps. We have people with nothing better to do than complain about anything new. We are really sick of that voice that keeps Uptown empty.

I won’t stand for it.

Oh, and you have ZERO freedoms on a private blog. 1st amendment doesn’t matter here sir.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you and the Park Board truly believe that this Centennial Pool project is a “common sense” one, why are you all so terrified of finding out just how “common” it is – by putting the project to an advisory referendum?

As for a lack of “commerce,” the old Economic Development Corporation couldn’t do anything, the well-paid Development Director couldn’t do anything, the new Economic Development Task Force hasn’t done anything (except rip the Council for not giving Whole Foods a few million tax dollars and claim – totally erroneously, as it turned out – that without such a bribe Whole Foods would run away), and throughout it all the Chamber of Commerce hasn’t done much.

Finally, if the First Amendment wasn’t being applied here, you wouldn’t have a forum to anonymously spout your entitlement philosophy of local government.

You’re welcome.

Editor- Yes, but you choose to apply the amendment…obviously the point is, speech isn’t “free” on a blog. You can choose to delete comments at your whim.

Editor, since you are such an expert on Park Ridge… why is it that business won’t come here? Park Ridge has excellent economic demographics, it’s easy to get to and plenty of open commercial places. So, what is your opinion why the city can’t attract business (besides banks).

Also, you are saying a park is an “entitlement”? You have a strange, narcissistic view of the city. You need to get out and not just commiserate with your strange inner circle.

EDITOR’S NOTE: By your standard, speech isn’t “free” in any medium, because there’s always an “editor” of some type or other. But if you aren’t satisfied with the process by which you can comment anonymously, feel free to sign your name (and provide information by which we can verify you are who you say you are) and you won’t have to worry about whatever editing paranoia afflicts you.

We can’t begin to answer the question without knowing what “business” you want that won’t come here: Barney’s of New York? A BMW dealership? Williams Sonoma? Home Depot? Victoria’s Secret? Maybe you should ask the experts at the Economic Development Task Force, or the Chamber of Commerce? Or the developer who is bringing Whole Foods here, or whoever brought Chipotle here?

Narcissism is what afflicts “I want”-ers like yourself, who believe they are entitled to expensive amenities at everybody else’s expense, without even the courtesy of asking everybody else – via referendum.

Ken:

Take a deep breath!!! The first amendment?!?!?! Come on!!! Not a single person here is going to take away your right to comment or run a blog or attend meetings. Are you seeing the black helicoptors again??

My god as a guy who loves FOIAs I am surpirsed you don’t get this. You poor over reems of e-mails to find information for people to consider and you include it in posts on your blog. Some of it may touch a nerve and some may not but all is information you believe is worth consideration.

That is exactly what I did when I asked you for confirmation of you not living in PR. I was providing information for people to consider. Some may find that it changes their perception of some of your comments and many may think it does not matter at all. I thought, and still think, it was worth consideration.

Some how in the process I seem to have made you all huffy and for that I apologize….that was not my intent.

Merry Christman!!

Anon: 12.08.12 2:17 pm,

Although I appreciated Bob’s comments, let me respond to you directly.

You wrote: “Ken- No one on the park board made me feel “comfortable” for saying that I expect the city and park to be kept up and nice. They probably just have some common sense and forward-looking knowledge.”

My response: It is clear; you, Rick Biagi and Mary Wynn-Ryan are simpatico. But what makes you believe that others who do not believe in this “expanded aquatic facility”, this “mini-waterpark”, are not also simpatico with you regarding the keeping-up and keeping-nice of Park Ridge Park District park facilities?

Many people in this town think they’re in sad shape; the park down the street from me included.

I noticed you also wrote: “They probably just have some common sense and forward-looking knowledge.”

My response: I disagree with your take. I certainly don’t think their handling of the Senior Center’s transition from 30 year private/public partnership to singular PRPD management; the most important issue of 2011-2012 as per then Board President O’Brien, a class act by any sense of the word.

You are welcome to disagree.

As to “forward looking knowledge”, are you suggesting members of the Board have mystical powers and knowledge of the future? Are they using Tarot cards or Juigi Boards in closed session?

If they do have this skill, then they know they aren’t going to get their Youth Campus referendum approved next April!

You wrote: “I know you are from Niles, but Park Ridge has always been a community that had higher expectations.”

My response: Are you suggesting Niles residents are less sophisticated than their neighbors in Park Ridge?

You write: “I feel terrible that the people who raised a family here and enjoyed Park Ridge at its best have sold out to benefit themselves and hurt the current families.”

My response: No one in Park Ridge; and that includes you, have a responsibility to the town to not do the right think for their family; and that includes moving on when the time comes. You came to Park Ridge for what it has to offer. When you’re done, when your kids are gone and out of the house; when the cost to own property in Park Ridge makes no sense, you’ll move on too. As to Park Ridge at its best; who defines best? Maybe the “best” is yet to come!

I still think it’s a nice town. Think positive!

You wrote: “We have no commerce here because of them and now they want to have our “amenities” be dumps.”

My response: Actually I think you have it wrong. You moved to Park Ridge because it is what it is; a bedroom community. If you wanted industry and shopping malls you would have chosen Niles or Skokie or Des Plaines. You chose Park Ridge. To complain about your primary choice at this point is crazy.

As to “amenities be dumps”; you have to blame the Park Ridge Park District Board of Commissioners for part of that. The pool problem has been around for a long time. Successive Boards have kicked the can down the road. Now, with their back to the wall, the Biagi/Wynn-Ryan Board, have no choice but to replace the pool. Everyone I’ve talked to wants a pool at Centennial Park. Most of them wand a simple replacement pool! Not necessarily an exact replacement. A pool with longer lanes for example – but they don’t want a waterpark!

You didn’t move to Park Ridge because of the “mini-waterpark” as there is no waterpark, mini or otherwise. Yes, it would be nice to have one, like the other bordering towns. We all would like to have something we don’t have, but that doesn’t mean should have them or that we can afford them. Our wants are unlimited – our needs a finite!

A couple days ago I drove from Centennial Park to the Oasis Waterpark in Niles; an eight minute drive. The next day I drove from Centennial Park to Mystic Waters; a twelve minute drive. Are you that lazy that you can’t drive 8 to 12 minutes to get to a real waterpark with a varied variety of users, or is racial and ethnic considerations the hidden agenda?

You wrote: “We have people with nothing better to do than complain about anything new.”

My response: Actually you have that wrong. Truth is, not enough people in Park Ridge complain or get involved in local political problems. Had they come out in force against TIFF’s, there would be a hell of a lot more money for THINGS in town. Take a look at the off-year voting turnout. What a shame!

You wrote: “We are really sick of that voice that keeps Uptown empty.”

My response: I don’t understand that one. Who’s “voice” are you talking about?

You wrote: “I won’t stand for it.”

My response: Great! What are YOU going to do change that? Remember: if you want something done right you’ll have to do it yourself!

You wrote: “Oh, and you have ZERO freedoms on a private blog. 1st amendment doesn’t matter here sir.”

My response: I beg to differ. My freedom to express myself is currently protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Unfortunately, what is not guaranteed; is that someone will actually read, or care about what I have to say.

Anyone who comes to my blog does so voluntarily! Had blogs like Trizna’s Watchdog and Butterly on Senior Issues, not openly discussed this issue in public, I am sure the Board would have approved the “mini-waterpark” item already!

The majority has unequivocally told the Board, it does not want a “waterpark”; as was evidenced by two defeated referendums. What doesn’t the Board understand about the word “NO”? This entire initiative is nothing but an effort by a small minority to subvert the will of the majority!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Several illustrations of your point can be found in that half-baked “survey” the PRRPD conveniently commissioned its pool designer, Stantec Consulting, to conduct.

At Page 32 of that survey, “Figure 27” shows that a whopping 34.0% of the not-so-whopping 682 survey respondents wanted “Restrooms in Parks,” while only 24.9% wanted a “New outdoor aquatic center”; and 24.3% wanted to “Expand Comm Ctr Fitness Center,” with an additional 17.2% wanting to “Expand Comm Ctr indoor pool.”

At Page 39, “Figure 34” shows that while 34.8% want to “Expand or make improvements to Centennial Pool,” that wish is in a statistically dead-heat with the 34.5% who want to “Expand or make improvements to Community Center indoor pool.”

“Figure 22” at Page 27, and “Figure 33” at Page 38, identify the most desired “aquatic amenity” as being a “lazy river,” a feature that is not included in Phase I of the PRRPD’s new Centennial Pool project because its inclusion would likely push the project over the limit of what the PRRPD can get away with so as to not go to referendum.

And at Page 33, “Figure 28” shows “Expand Centennial Pool” in a dead-heat 12.3% with “Renovate Oakton Ice Arena.”

But the PRRPD isn’t interested in letting any of these results get in the way of their foolish and expensive Centennial plan, nor it it willing to give the taxpaying voters a chance to approve or reject the new Centennial plan.

Ken:

I appreciate your diatribe (Noun: a prolonged discourse) but there is really a very simple solution to this. When the members of the board come up for election simply excercise your right to vote against them and for someone else.

Opps….I forgot. You do not have that right. Oh well!! Prattle (Verb: to utter or make meaningless sounds suggestive of the chatter of children) on!!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Unfortunately, that will be closing the barn door after the horse has escaped. By the time the Board members “come up for election” the taxpayers will already have been tagged with the millions of dollar in expense and the millions of dollars of debt for a project that those Board members were too arrogant and cowardly to submit to the taxpayers via referendum.

Ken- You’re incorrect throughout your (albeit well-written) tirade.
For example:
No one moves to Park Ridge anymore because it’s a “bedroom” community. That’s absolute nonsense driven by a few loud older folk. We want commerce. We want fun. We love the people of Park Ridge, and understand that it’s 2012, and peoples enjoyments have changed since 1950’s.

People move here for schools, parks, proximity to Chicago, transportation and closeness to the airport. Your generation has to understand…we aren’t scared of lights and business! We’d like to walk to commerce and be proud. We would enjoy others coming here and spending their money.

As far as your racial comment: Take that somewhere else. It’s nonsense. You have no idea what I am, or where I”m from, so don’t accuse me of that nonsense. If I want nice facilities here, and want people to come to Park Ridge…wouldn’t that make me inclusive of others. Go take your meds.

Editor- As far as the Park Board…many of us readers are newer, and do not understand the history of the community center (and why it’s so small and outdated already) and park issues. Isn’t this board one with a lot of new members? I’m serious when I say this…why don’t you post a short bullet pointed version of these major projects.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a question of history, or “new members” v. “old members.” It’s a matter of public record that the Community Center was under-built on the cheap so that no referendum was needed; and that every outdoor water project that has gone to referendum has failed decisively.

Hence, this is a question of whether what appears to be a special interest of a vocal minority of “I want”-ers should trump what the rest of the taxpayers want. The “I want” crowd – and the Park Board members who pander to that crowd – don’t want a referendum that would disprove, with hard vote totals, their lies and speculation about what a majority of taxpayers want and are willing to tax and borrow for.

Yeah, and Obama just gave in to the I-wanters.
Here’s a clue, Ace: EVERY VOTER is an I-wanter. In Park Ridge, those with kids DO want them to be able to safely bike and walk to their local facilities for wholesome entertainment. That’s the whole point of living in suburbia for many people. Not everyone can stay home and chauffeur kids of all ages to nearby towns to give them our hardearned money. The young families from the City are used to being able to walk to shopping and entertainment, as one seems to have pointed out here. What’s so wrong with that? And let’s not forget in the late l950s and early 1960s when all of these crumbling amenities were new, the top tax rate was over 90 percent and the Park Ridge average tax rate was well above 30 percent. That’s how all that stuff got built and paid for, along with the Interstate and other Communist infrastructure. The public bodies are doing their best to pay for repair and replacements with the money they have, and the young families want what the older families had. If you have a problem with this, I feel sorry for you.

EDITOR’S NOTE: What does Obama’s being elected have to do spending $7.1 million on a third-rate aquatic facility without a referendum? “Communist infrastructure”? If “the young families want what the older families had,” start campaigning for three television networks, the Soviet Union, no athletic programs for girls/women, etc.

And when we criticize the “I want”-ers, we’re referring to those people who want non-essential services and/or facilities – and want a majority of the taxpayers to pay for them, irrespective of whether those taxpayers want those same services and facilities; and without a referendum to actually determine what the majority of voting taxpayers want.

I’ve been here most of my life ( which is 38 years) and I don’t know how the PR Community Center can be outdated now.

Are we expected to remodel/rebuild stuff every 10-20 years?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mike, the Community Center was substantially under-built and outdated from the time it opened – because that Park Board didn’t want to go to referendum for the bonding authority it would have taken to build a suitable, forward-looking facility.

2:15-If you stayed for the meeting then you may recall that there were several people who stood up and suggested to the PRPD board that the pricing of admittance to the waterpark be set high for nonresidence to keep non Park Ridgians out of the waterpark. They do not want people from other towns coming to PR to use a waterpark. Of course then the waterpark will have a hard time turning a profit if only PR people use it. The PRPD will need as many people as possible to pay the $12 nonresident admission fee to create revenue to pay for the operating costs. But how sad that in this day and age when the world is really so small that residents of this town want to keep others out. Way to prepare your children for the real world.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a sociology experiment, it’s a park facility. And anybody who thinks this insipid Centennial pool design is going to draw flocks of non-residents – of any race or economic class – is delusional.

This blogger is nothing more than a lackey for Dave Schmidt. Hopefully, when his puppet master gets voted out in April and Mr. Ryles takes over, perhaps more efficiency and common sense will become the new tradition of local PR government, unlike wasting hours upon hours of unproductive time debating whether a Dunkin Donuts store can put up a sign or not. Absolutely and utterly ridiculous.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mayor Schmidt will win or lose on his record (just like Howard Frimark lost on his 4 years ago), not on anything written here. Meanwhile, we’re still waiting to hear any specifics about What Would Ryles Do to actually accomplish all those warm and fuzzy things his website talks about.

Folks, this blog is NOT about the first amendment, and believe it or not, isn’t even about issues concerning Park Ridge. It was created to provide a narcissist his own forum to tell others he’s right while everyone else with different opinions are wrong. It is truly sad this is how the blogger has decided to spend their time. However, there will be no sympathy provided. Enjoy your own self fulfillment, hope its been worth it. Why don’t you stop spending every waking hour looking at your PC, sifting through Park Ridge gov’t. documents, and go outside and notice there’s a big wide world out there. You might find there is actually something to smile about. And now, time for some sarcastic and unintelligent editorial response —>

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks for reading. Kumbaya.

Figures

EDITOR’S NOTE: It usually does.

1027pm- The reason behind the higher fee is…..that Park Ridge residents are investing in it, so other should pay slightly higher.

Every local park that I know, has higher non-resident fees.

Also, what’s with the Dunkin Donut sign?? Always wondered why it was dark.



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