All Show, No Dough


On Wednesday (Feb. 11) Mayor Howard “Let’s Make A Deal” Frimark for the first time graced a hearing of the Illinois Gaming Board with his presence, during which he made Park Ridge’s initial argument to the Board to move the proposed Des Plaines casino from the planned Devon/River Road site.

As Frimark was told by the Gaming Board’s top attorney at the City Council meeting on January 26, the Des Plaines casino and its location have already been given final approval, subject only to the Board’s completing its due diligence investigation of the casino’s corporate owner and its investors.  The time for Frimark to have given Wednesday’s speech was months ago, at the meetings which occurred before Des Plaines was named as one of three finalists in October, 2008; or at the Board’s public hearing on December 22nd, before the license was awarded.

But Frimark was MIA for all those meetings and hearings, just like he was MIA for all those ONCC meetings over the past 3-1/2 years leading up to the new O’Hare runway’s opening in November.  At least he can claim that he’s consistent.

Besides his guest appearance at the Gaming Board being way too late to matter, Frimark’s reasons for a new casino site were weak, at best:

(a) the new runway is bombarding Park Ridge residents in the south/southwest end of town with airplane noise (as if that’s supposed to be a concern of the Gaming Board’s);

(b) the “quagmire” of traffic that the new casino will bring to that end of Park Ridge; and

(c) Maine South High School is installing football lights (another non-issue for casino licensing that the Gaming Board couldn’t give two hoots about). 

Really…those were the reasons he gave, which you can hear for yourself by clicking here.  You also can hear him tell the Gaming Board members – as if they cared – that he’s going to be asking Des Plaines for cash reimbursements for the extra expenses the casino will cost Park Ridge. 

So why wasn’t he asking for dough from Des Plaines before the casino license was awarded, when our neighbor to the west and the private casino developer may have had an actual incentive for trying to garner Park Ridge’s support?  Why did he wait until after the casino became a done-deal at Devon and River to put on his show for the Gaming Board?

It looks to us like he was too busy with other things, like working on sweetheart deals for Frimark campaign contributors Norwood Builders and Napleton Cadillac.  And let’s not forget all the time and effort he expended trying to find the right piece of private land to take off the tax rolls as the site for the big new cop shop he wants built ASAP.

Whether Park Ridge could have influenced the choice of Des Plaines as the casino site, or of the casino location in Des Plaines, is speculative-to-problematic.  But by not even showing up for the meetings and hearings leading up to the Gaming Board’s December 22, 2008, decision, and not even sending a letter voicing the City’s concerns, our Park Ridge City government – under the “leadership” of Mayor Frimark – made it a moot point.

This wasn’t just Frimark’s snafu, however.  The City Manager and the entire City Council – including First Ward Alderman/mayoral candidate Dave Schmidt and every one of Frimark’s Alderpuppets – were all asleep at the wheel on this casino issue, just as they were asleep at the wheel on the new runway.  And each and every one of them should be called to account for why they weren’t paying attention to projects (the runway and the casino) that may have such significant, long-term impact on the quality of life in Park Ridge.

But at the end of the day, Frimark is the guy in the big chair making the $1,000/month (v. the aldermen’s $100/month) to do something more than cut deals with cronies and cut ribbons at store openings.  So that’s why the buck stops there.

11 comments so far

Yes, his lack-luster performance was nothing more than an attempted feather in his hat, to be able to come back and say “I was there defending my residents” thinking, I’m sure that no one else would be there. As you could clearly see his suprise, when he was attacked by the filmer.

Funny that his list of accomplishments DO NOT include how he addressed and handled the issues that have plagued out city before they became a problem rather then WEEEEELL after that fact, but how he plans to take care of them now. He does however have a great deal of foresite to promote things like developing Higgins, Target area 4, and a big shiney new police station. You see these things all have one (or 2) things in common, they have pizzaz and a visual wow factor, and friendly connections.

Another of his listed accomplishments, he claims as, listening to the changing voice of PR and restucturing the city council to increase responsiveness and efficiency. And this was done how? Surely not by reducing the city council from 14 to 7. That may have made it more efficient for him, but certainly not for the residents.

It’s time to move on.

Mea culpa, especially on the casino issue. The moment I first heard about a casino in Des Plaines, I should have asked “where in Des Plaines?” But I did not. The next thing I should have done is ask Howard what he had learned during his lunches with the mayor of Des Plaines. But I did not.

I could say I was busy focusing on other things, which I was, but that really is no excuse for ignoring the casino issue. I promise to do better in the future.

Wow. A guy who actually is not trying to bullshit us! Alderman Dave, thanks for falling on the sword on this issue.

Now all we need is for the Mayor, the City Manager and the rest of the Aldermen to do the same. Anybody care to bet what the chances are that that will happen?!?

Alderman Dave, you and the rest of this gang screwed up but YOUR admission and promise to do better is appreciated. Keep working hard to get elected Mayor and you will get the chance to keep that promise!

A Park Ridge elected official actually admitting they made a mistake? It’s about freakin’ time!

Here’s one voter who hopes that, come April 7, Mr. Schmidt will be the one sitting in the chair where the buck stops

We give Ald. Schmidt a well-deserved point for accepting his share of the responsibility for the City’s neglect of the runway and casino issues – and a bonus point for doing it so promptly.

We invite Mayor Frimark and Alderpuppets Allegretti, Bach, Carey, DiPietro and Ryan, and apprentice Alderpuppet Wsol, to do likewise. We’ll even give them through the weekend to earn that bonus point for timeliness – because we understand they aren’t regular readers of the “evil blogs,” so the extra time is for somebody to tell them about this offer.

I am doing my very best to fight my urges to see something when it may not be there. Let me just say Thanks Alderman Dave for your comments.

He mentions his kids and I remember someone mentioning on the PRU site he didn’t have any kids from his first marrage and Nancy’s kids are grown.

Thanks for that astute observation Mike.

So do I take it that we feel that kids from a second marriage do not count and therefore it was wrong for him to mention them??


No, what “we feel” is that Howard Frimark shouldn’t try to portray himself as having acted in a Father role and raised a family, with any understanding of the demands for that, when he hasn’t ever done it.

It is, at best, a misrepresentation of his life experience for purposes of political gain. Who would have believed Howard Frimark would do that?!

My understanding is the same as Mike Touhy’s: Howard does not have kids of his own, either by birth or adoption. But I didn’t take his comments as claiming he did have kids of his own.

What bothers me about his saying “my children” is the same thing that bothers me about his saying “my town” and “my neighborhoods”: It shouldn’t be all about him. He could/should have used “our” instead of “my.”

By making everything his, however, he shows once again that he just doesn’t get the concept that, when he shows up in his capacity of mayor of Park Ridge, he’s representing US, not just himself. So “I,” “me” and “my” have no business in his statements – unless he is referring specifically to something that is ONLY his.

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