The Watchdog’s Kibbles And Bits – Box 5


How Much Is Too Much, Mr. Mayor? Mayor Howard Frimark wants to be known as the “pro-business mayor.”  So far, that seems to mean greasing the give-away of zoning variances and tax dollars to campaign contributors like Bruce Adreani ($250 on 2/8/05) and his Norwood Builders ($250 on 2/7/05), and Napleton Cadillac ($1,000 on 11/5/04), respectively. 

He claims that one of his guiding purposes is to not lose businesses to neighboring communities.  So far, the City has given Adreani/Norwood an estimated $600,000 in extra profit by granting them an 8-unit variance for their Executive Office Plaza project, and as much as $2.4 Million (over a span of up to 15 years) to Napleton Cadillac.  So, Mr. Mayor, is there any limit on giving away favors and spending taxpayer money to keep a business in Park Ridge?  And are there two standards: One for your campaign contributors, and one for everybody else?

Will “Richie D” Walk The Walk? According to the draft minutes [pdf] of last Tuesday night’s (Feb. 5) Park Ridge City Council Procedures and Regulations Committee meeting, 2nd Ward Ald. Rich DiPietro would like to see an amendment to the City Council’s ethics ordinance that would prevent a “breach of confidentiality issues” – apparently to protect Park Ridge residents from having too much information, like what’s been coming from 1st Ward Ald. Dave Schmidt.  That’s a typical Richie D attitude: The voters are smart enough to vote for him for alderman, but once they accomplish that task they immediately become too dumb to deserve to know all the things the Council is doing.

Those draft minutes reveal that DiPietro stated he would not vote to go into another closed session until these confidentiality issues are resolved.  The City Council’s agenda for tonight’s meeting shows two closed session items: “the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal, of specific employee(s)” (could this be another discussion of buying-out Police Chief Jeff Caudill?) and “to approve Closed Session minutes.”  Richie D has talked the talk – now let’s see if he’ll walk the walk.

Sex Education At Maine South: This week’s Park Ridge Herald-Advocate reports that Maine South High School will change its freshman biology course to reflect concerns recently expressed by parents about how birth control was being taught. (“Dist. 207 to change biology unit,” Feb. 7).  According to the H-A article, compromises have been achieved under which birth control will continue to be taught – but in ways that address the parents concerns “while still preserving the academic integrity of the district.” 

Birth control has been a controversial subject, sparking many strong emotions on both sides of the issue.  We believe that it is a subject that should be taught, as the consequences of unintended pregnancy are far too important and life-changing to be ignored.  But if the H-A’s account is accurate, both the parents and the school administration should be commended for handling what could have been a difficult situation in what appears to a reasonable, mature and mutually-respectful manner that will benefit the students.

Police Dept. Audit RFP: Also on tonight’s agenda is approval of a Request for Proposal for the Police Dept. audit that has been the topic of closed session meetings for several months.  Apparently it’s still a secret as to which firms will be receiving this RFP [pdf], but some of the items listed there are intriguing to say the least.  We know about some of the “[a]lleged Citizen abuse,” including an incident that the City (along with Lake Zurich) recently settled for $500,000, but we sure would like to know about the “[a]lleged filing of false police reports”; the “[a]lleged intentional loss or destruction of evidence” and the “[a]lleged insider actions relative to land purchases.”

We can’t tell from the description on the City’s website whether this is the RFP that is supposed to go hand-in-hand with Chief Caudill’s “separation agreement” that lame-duck City Mgr. Tim Schuenke was quacking about in one of his “confidential” memos [pdf] last month, but it sure sounds like it.  So is the plan to launch Caudill, then make him the scapegoat for everything the audit turns up? 

4 comments so far

So far $3,000,000 worth of give aways for developers and businesses. How long will it take for us to break even on these deals?

The money give aways are bad but what’s as bad or maybe even worse is the additude that Frimark and his ilk on the counsel have regarding the citizens of Park Ridge.
They don’t seem to think we matter. They certainly take little of what we express to them as a concern seriously. And they seem to think they know what is best for us and the community regardless of what we tell them otherwise.
Was it Bach who (said he) talked to 30 people in his ward and then based his Napleton vote on that?
Did you ever talk to Frimark and hear him say “I”, “my” and “mine” throughout the whole conversation? And talk about how “he” is doing this and doing that?
What these guys all seem to have in common is the mistaken idea that they were voted in to their jobs so that they could do what THEY wanted – not to represent the best interests of their ward and community residents.
Frimark will very assuredly tell you he expects to be re-elected because of the great job he is doing. More than ever we need to make sure that he is very wrong about that!!!

I’ve lived here over 12 years and I’m not sure what sickens me more, all of the money that’s being thrown around or the arrogance of Frimark and his cronies.

At last night’s council meeting at least five people spoke up in support of Ald. Schmidt and against secrecy in city government. Frimark and the other aldermen didn’t look too happy, which means we need more people speaking out.

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