A Powerless Mayor?


Summer’s back, and with it the power outages that have vexed our community for years.  So far this month alone there have been several power interruptions, including at least two significant outages, the most recent one occurring yesterday afternoon that lasted several hours and that ComEd was reportedly blaming on some problem in Evanston.

What’s our Mayor, Howard “Let’s Make A Deal” Frimark, doing to alleviate this problem? 

After large portions of Park Ridge lost power for as much as four days last August, Frimark made a grand gesture of bringing in ComEd public relations people to explain why we continue to have regular outages and what it was doing to alleviate them.  The report from residents who attended those meetings: “Same stuff, different day.”

As part of those Frimark-orchestrated dog-and-pony shows, ComEd admitted to 268 power interruptions in 2007, most of which were “miscellaneous equipment malfunctions, fallen trees and branches, and weather — primarily lightning and wind.”  ComEd’s p.r. folks promised a variety of actions to remedy the problem.  Consequently, back in April we asked what Frimark and City staff were doing to make sure ComEd was making good on its promises. (“Still Powerless In Park Ridge,” April 23, 2008)  The silence from City Hall has been deafening.

We also suggested that maybe Frimark should consider following the lead of the Village of Deerfield, which in April sued ComEd for bad service as reflected in 223 service interruptions last year.  Again, not a sound from Frimark, who’s idea of acting “mayoral” runs more toward posing for ribbon-cutting photos, planning events like Taste of Park Ridge, and arranging sweetheart deals for his friends and campaign contributors.

Since we reported on the Deerfield suit, we have discovered that Hinsdale is considering such a suit; and that the City of Darien sued ComEd in 2005, also because of poor service.  The Darien suit prompted a settlement that caused ComEd to spend $3.4 million to repair more than 14,000 feet of cable and other aging technology.  As a result, outages are down almost 50% since 2005, to a rate of 1.38 outages per resident per year – compared to ComEd’s system-wide average of 1.57 outages.  

We’re not necessarily suggesting that a lawsuit is the only way to get ComEd to provide us with dependable power,  but we haven’t seen much in the way of results from anything else the City has done so far.  And if suing ComEd is what it will take to get a few million dollars in repairs and improvements to our power grid, we think that’s definitely worth a lot more consideration than our mayor and City Council have given it.

But that will require Mr. Frimark to start acting like a real mayor.  

12 comments so far

Maybe ComEd needs some property for new equipment that a friend of Frimarks could lease back to them… I know, we could hire one of Frimarks friends as a consultant who can study the problem and report back on how to fix the problem… History seems to proving that Frimark won’t act unless he or one of his friends stands to make out on the deal.

I was at the September meeting that the mayor arranged for Com Ed and it was a joke. Com Ed was blowing smoke from the moment they walked in, and the mayor talked and acted like our problems were solved. Guess the joke was on us.

You guys pointed out awhile ago that somebody’s got to start talking about burying the cables or else trimming the trees way back. We also need to know that the transformers, switches and other mechanicals that serve our grid aren’t antiques.

ANd Frimark should be the guy whose leading this charge.

Has anything actually changed since last summer?

Aside from the dog and pony show that Com Ed did with the Mayor, have there been ANY changes or improvements to the power delivery infrastructure of Park Ridge?


As far as I can tell the ONLY thing that has changed since last year …. is the weather. Not as many severe storms. If there were you can bet it would be the same ‘ol same ‘ol.

Of the 24 houses on my block, three have permanent natural-gas driven generators and another 12 have portable gasoline-powered ones. Since graduating college I have lived for at least 2 years in 8 different towns (suburbs of bigger cities) in 6 different states – including Mississippi – and have never had worse electric power than this. And I also don’t think any of those towns had as many crumbling streets as this one, either. Which is too bad, because in all other respects it’s a great town with an almost Norman Rockwell feel to it – before they added those monstrosities on Northwest Hwy, I should add.


I wouldn’t bet on less storms. We’re still early in the Summer, I think THE storm last year was in August, so we have a lot of runway ahead of us.

Guess we all should be gassing up our generators now.

I love these Blogs! There are some things that I read that I think are a bit unfair but that is the diversity of opinion. On this topic I am 100% on board.

Mr. Mayor, I understand that this is a difficult fix and there are a variety of players involved but I am seeing no progress.

When I moved to PR 5 years ago, virtually all my neighbors warned us about flooding and power outages. Nothing has chnaged in 5 years.

Like one of the above posters, I have lived in a variety of different places (urban and rural) and I have never experienced anything close to this!!!

Mr Mayor, Is it acceptable that everytime we have anything close to bad weather, the entire town holds out collective breath???

I’m a 15 year Park Ridge resident who moved here from Daley City. I own a portable generator for one main reason: I need to keep my sump pump running so my basement doesn’t flood because our sewer system sucks. Add sewers to the list of things Frimark hasn’t done, just like his predecessor, Mike (Uptown Redevelopment) Marous didn’t do, just like Ron (I Hate O’Hare) didn’t do.

Listen, Mr. Frimark. Stop wasting your time and our money on stuff that is a whole lot less important than electric power, flooded basements and crumbling streets. No more talk about a new police station. No more talk about a homeless shelter for bums who don’t live here. No more talk about more townhomes and condos. No more talk about library expansion.

Stop talking about all this other crap and FIX OUR DAMN INFRASTRUCTURE NOW!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous 7/1/08 @ 7:45 a.m. makes a good point. If we can’t get better sewers, better streets and better electric power for what we already pay in taxes, then there is no reason to even consider taxing and spending bundles for a new police station or all those other non-necessities. There are times when I wonder whether our mayor, city mgr. and council are singing from the Todd Stroger tax and spend hymnal.

And by the way, those steps and railings at our main METRA station are pathetic, as is the parking lot along Summit. If METRA won’t fix it, either sue them to do it or do it ourselves because its all a disgrace.

Looks like there’s another meeting tonight where you can say what you feel..

I think it’s best we take care of the immediate city releated structure and let the RTA/Metra take care of their structures though in a way it’s probably not a bad idea.

The fact they just rebuilt the Edison Pk staion instead of fixing up the old one you gotta wonder about them.

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