The Case For More Mayoral Debates – Exhibits “A” And “A-1”


Two items in today’s Park Ridge Journal could be Exhibits A and A-1 for why Park Ridge voters deserve at least the 8 mayoral debates Ald. Dave Schmidt (1st Ward) proposed, instead of the maximum 4 that Mayor Howard “The Coward” Frimark prefers. 

Exhibit A is a Page 5 article about the candidates’ views on all things O’Hare, including its expansion, new runway 9L27R, the O’Hare Residents for Environmental Safety & Trust (“ORD-REST”), the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (“ONCC”), and whether either or both of them could have done more to help address the problems posed by the new runway. (“Mayor Shoots Back After Schmidt Allegations”) 

You should read the article and judge for yourself who makes the most honest, reasoned and plausible arguments – and whether Schmidt is unfairly casting blame or Frimark is merely shirking responsibility.  We note, however, that Frimark does not dispute Schmidt’s contention that he (Frimark) didn’t attend but one ONCC meeting from the time he became mayor until after the new runway opened in November.  And Frimark’s excuse that he “was not allowed to be on that group [the ONCC]” by the former City Council rings hollow in light of the fact that, after the Council was cut in half by the Frimark-initiated referendum that put the Council in the hands of a majority of Frimark alderpuppets in May 2007, he appointed Don “Air Marshall” Bach as ONCC liaison instead of going to any of those meetings himself. 

One thing that article makes clear, however, is that the issue of how Park Ridge should have dealt with O’Hare Airport, and how it should deal with O’Hare going forward, could and should be the topic of an entire mayoral debate all by itself.  But don’t expect that to happen with no more than four debates on the horizon. 

Exhibit A-1 is a close to full-page letter to the editor from Alderpuppet Jim “Chicken Little” Allegretti, which reads like a paid political advertisement for Mayor Frimark.  That’s not surprising given the fact that Allegretti contributed $300 to Frimark’s campaign fund a few months before Frimark appointed him as his replacement 4th Ward alderman back in June 2005 – without either of them bothering to mention such an interesting and relevant fact at his Council confirmation hearing, before that contribution had been publicly reported and could have been discovered by the Council members.  Curiously, Allegretti tossed another $200 contribution into Frimark’s fund about a month after his appointment.  

Already this election cycle Allegretti has upped the ante with a $1,000 contribution to the Frimark campaign, so it’s no surprise Allegretti is one of Frimark’s attack dogs (a Chihuahua?) nipping at Schmidt’s ankles. So with his and “Air Marshall” Bach’s letters already having been published, we can assume that Alderpuppets Carey’s, DiPietro’s and Ryan’s can’t be far behind – all of them raising questions about Schmidt’s character and candidacy. And we’re sure a number of “ordinary” citizens will write letters questioning Frimark’s character and candidacy.  

But the voters and taxpayers of Park Ridge would be far better served by the candidates’ debating their qualifications and their positions on the issues in person, face to face, instead of in print via dueling press releases and letters from surrogates.  Unfortunately, Howard “The Coward” Frimark has already shown that he’s not about to let that happen any more than he absolutely has to, and then only in “structured” formats. 

20 comments so far

Howard Frimark is a liar. A big, fat, stinking liar.

I personally requested, 5 times, that Frimark attend ONCC meetings. He ignored every request until attending a single June meeting, where he did nothing but goof off with his buddy Tony Arredia; rolling his eyes at some of the topics being discussed among ONCC members.

At no time did any member of the city council prevent or discourage Howard Frimark from participating at ONCC meetings.

Howard you are a Big. Fat. Stinking. Liar.

Perhaps it would be helpful to the readers to see the Council meeting minutes and the alderman’s memo(s) wherein she urged/begged/cajoled Howard to do his job as mayor. I have seen them. They are an indictment of Howard’s lack of attention to the O’Hare issue. Others should see them as well.


You or anyone else who is interested can review the relevant documents in our Public Watchdog posts of 12/17/08 and 1/5/09.

With Ms. Markech’s permission, I am also posting an email memo of 4/29/06 and the relevant portion of an email letter she sent to Mayor Frimark and the city council on 5/1/06 on the subject of O’Hare and the ONCC, but which has not been published for general consumption before.

The memo and relevant portion of Ms. Markech’s email letters are:

4/29/06 Memo to Mayor Frimark


To: Mayor Howard Frimark
City Council

From: Ald. Jeannie Markech

Re: Elk Grove Village Mayor’s letter

Mayor Frimark:

I noted with interest the inclusion of the captioned letter, from the Chicago Sun Times newspaper, in our packets today; and Ms. Irvine’s indication (I presume it was Ms. Irvine) that you had requested the letter be copied and distributed to Council members.

I am wondering, for what purpose did you request that Mayor Johnson’s letter be included in the Council packets?

I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you of an outstanding request I made for your attention to Park Ridge interests, as they relate to O’Hare expansion; I’ve attached a copy of my February memo for your re-review.

Thank you,
Jeannie Markech
2nd Ward Alderman

Relevant portion of email letter is:

>>Now, on to what I believe is the real craw in your throat, Mr. Mayor…

I believe very strongly that your comments at the City Council this evening were an attempt to slap me (as well as serving the extended purpose of slapping Ald. Crampton and Mr. Baldacchino) for my 4/29/06 memo to you and the City Council concerning your purpose and intentions for distributing a news item in our Council packets, as well as your lack of response to a request for attention to the interests and citizens of Park Ridge; I have also pasted a copy of my 4/29/06 memo below, as well as attached a copy of my February memo to you.

I respectfully suggest you make some semblance of an attempt to conduct yourself honorably as our Mayor, instead of trying to cast aspersions on what is perfectly legitimate, legal and wholly inconsequential behavior on the part of other elected officials – especially as those aspersions are merely an attempt to distract from your own failure to take action on behalf of Park Ridge residents. It’s about time you got down to the work of being our Mayor, instead of hiding from it by distractions over who is seen in a public place with whom. Who knows, Howard…if you put as much energy into devising solutions for the issues facing Park Ridge, as you do in conducting baseless smear campaigns and engaging in rumor and gossip against other people, you might actually accomplish something worthwhile.

Most sincerely,
Jeannie Markech
2nd Ward Alderman
Park Ridge.

Alderman Markech and Alderman Bach served as liason’s to THE PARK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL not the Mayor. No Mayor has ever before, since or during any seated City Council been appointed to act as Liason for them. Even then Bach and Markech served only as alternates.

The Mayor and the Mayor alone is responsible for acting on his behalf. The buck stops on his desk.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it, good and hard.

Appearently around these parts, democracry has taken on a new meaning of..

people have no idea what they want or need, that’s why they elected us….so we can tell them what they want and need and furhter more what’s best for us…um…them

Oops that’s not democracy…

p.s. good for you JKM


That surely is how Park Ridge democracy seems to be played by the boys in the big chairs.

Thanks for the nod.

thank you, ms. markech, for the information. i now understand why mayor frimark doesn’t like you and is glad you’re no longer on the council. i hope you will consider running for alderman again some day, as you clearly were a better representative of second ward residents than the current alderman, poor richard.

Thank you Watchdog. I read through all the documents posted here and can’t believe Frimark would actually say in the paper that Markech never brought anything back to the council or that he wasn’t allowed to go to ONCC meetings because the council wouldn’t let him. The records here sure reflect a very different story.

Mrs. Markech, please, please, please send a letter to the HA editor with the information you stated above. I believe the citizens of PR need to know what their Mayor is truly doing to this city. Your information is first hand. I fear too many people in this town think Frimark is doing a good job and we are in for another 4 years of his crap.


You’re welcome and thank you. I must tell you, I hated being an Alderman, so I must also tell you I’ll never ever do that again!

Anonymous on 02.05.09 7:27 pm,

Sorry to disappoint you, but my answer to your request for a letter to the papers is an unqualified and absolute no. However, I would encourage you to write your own letter.


I’m sorry to hear you wouldn’t consider sending this to the papers as I also believe this info to be TOP NOTCH. If half the people in this town rely on the local news to get their information and make their decisions then these decsions NEED all the facts and not the hosed down versions.

Clearly we will NOT ever be afforded a real opportunity for an open debate with real folks asking real questions which would require on the fly answers, so I too worry that people won’t know the truths and we’ll be stuck another 4 years.

If the papers aren’t your cup of tea I respect that, perhaps there are other avenues that can be looked at that will reach out into the community.

Give me a break! 8 mayoral debates for a city of 38,000 residents makes sense? Obama and McCain only had 4 debates. Our comfortable, small, homeless shelterless, bedroom community does not have 8 debates worth of issues to discuss. Four is plenty.

Big Picture,

Your idea of the big picture is limiting contact with the public? Sounds a lot like something a nervous campaign manager might suggest.

Also, since you are posting from a spam-tastic internet/web service, consider this a warning that any further comments from you at that address will be directed to our spam folder.

Big Picture,

Welcome to the spam folder, compliments of your Integral Corporation web address.

You truly are far less bright and capable than you give yourself credit for.

Have a nice day.

Big Picture on 02.06.09 1:20 pm:

That this isn’t a national election but a mayoral election in a city of 38,000 residents is exactly why 8 debates makes sense! It’s so much easier to give the people in each ward a chance to ask questions of the candidates on their own turf. And we have more than enough issues for 8 debates – they could do one whole debate on each of the following issues: General redevelopment, the Higgins corridor, PADS, the casino, the new runway, the police station, flooding, and the City budget (and deficits).

I’m not if sure the number of debates is quite as important as the quality of debates. If one limits himself to restricted debates with pre-approved questions from a moderator, with pre-written answers, those answers are far less abt to convince any real thinking person that somewhere in there lies the truth.

Now if one puts himself out there to the public, for free, for any and all to come, and addresses concerns on with off the cuff answers and are able to do so with style and grace because the answer you are about to give is an answer you believe in,
well then now you have something.

But…we will not be offerd that as a community.

What we will get is watered down flowery pat answers many of which we heard 4 years ago.

anon 9:58 PM:

The argument when the 8 debates first came up was that there are unique issues for each of the wards that need to be addressed. I did not buy that. In your post every issue you name is a city wide issue. I live in the 4th Ward and I cannot think of one single issue that is unique to my Ward or so unique that it would require a seperate Ward 4 debate.

I applaud Alderman Dave’s strategy but I cannot for the life of me see why 8 debates would be required for the citizens to understand the issues. I guess, like so many things, it all comes down to opinion.

I will say that the whole CURRB thing bothers me a hell of a lot more then 8 debates.


As usual, you prove yourself to be ill-informed and rather idiotic.

The 2nd ward (Mayfield Estates) flooding was worse and different from what we had in other areas of town, with some different causes. The Youth Campus presents a problem for the 1st Ward that it doesn’t present for the other wards. The Casino will have a more direct and immediate impact on the 6th Ward than the 2nd.

Those are just three examples of how individual wards have unique/different concerns.

But even if every ward had the exact same problems and concerns, a debate in each ward would be a good idea because it would make the candidates more accessible on a more
“neighborhood” basis.

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