In the Spring of 2002, a group of Park Ridge citizens – Democrats and Republicans alike – formed an organization they named “Citizens for Responsible Government,” which soon became known by supporters and detractors alike as “CRG.”

It articulated a set of governing principles:

Responsible government requires broad public participation by an informed citizenry that can be achieved only through the timely dissemination of complete and accurate information and vigorous public debate.

Government operations must be transparent so that both our elected and appointed officials can be held strictly accountable to their constituents.

Fiscal policies must be value-based and focused on common sense cost-effectiveness that, whenever possible, complements rather than competes with private enterprise and investment.

Government initiatives that further special interests or place long-term demands on public resources require the highest level of public scrutiny.

The best way to maximize the value of our public resources is through synergy and cooperation between the units of local government who consume them.

Partisan party politics have no place in local government, which should operate free of external political influences.

Armed with those principles, CRG members set out to put three referendum questions related to the Park Ridge Public Library on the November 2002 ballot.  3,000-plus petition signatures and one petition challenge later, those issues were on the ballot; and the voters overwhelmingly voted to maintain the current library on its current site.

That referendum also served as a catalyst for several “Independent” aldermanic candidates to challenge the hegemony of the Homeowners Party, four of whom defeated their Homeowner opponents in April, 2003.

Unfortunately, CRG fell victim to petty partisan political differences and disappeared almost as quickly as it emerged.  But hopefully its founding principles will live on in Park Ridge.

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