Ald. Allegretti’s Priorities


4th Ward Alderpuppet Jim Allegretti was the topic of an article in last week’s Herald-Advocate that deserves special mention – not just for what it says about Allegretti himself, but for how it reflects on his political lord and master, Mayor Howard “Let’s Make A Deal” Frimark.

In “Alderman: Work interferes with budget meetings” (March 19), the H-A pointed out that for the fourth straight year he’s been in office, Allegretti has missed the City Council’s annual Saturday budget workshop.  His excuse: He works on Saturday afternoons when the workshops are held. 

We don’t begrudge anybody making a living, and a lot of people in Park Ridge work Saturdays and even Sundays.  In a tough economy, many of us are just darn happy to have a job that requires Saturday and/or Sunday hours.

But public service requires more than just phoning it in; and we already have seen another of Frimark’s Alderpuppets, Robert Ryan (5th Ward), get well-deserved criticism from the H-A for having the worst attendance of anybody on the City Council despite having the least responbilities of any member.  So the last thing we need is yet another alderpuppet joining the MIA ranks, even so predictable a Frimark “yes”-man as Jimmy A. 

Allegretti’s missing budget workshops may be even more problematic than Ryan’s absences, however, if only because he might be the biggest spendthrift on the Council – which is saying a lot when he’s surrounded by the likes of Alderpuppet Don “Air Marshall” Bach (3rd Ward), who was willing to throw $2.4 million of our money at Frimark campaign contributor Napleton Cadillac weeks before it announced it was closing; Ryan, who never met a consultant’s study on which he wouldn’t spend bushels of City funds; and Alderpuppet Rich “Richie D” DiPietro, who has been mindlessly rubber-stamping City giveaways of our tax dollars since before the City’s 2002 waste of $650,000 on a Peotone airport.   

Allegretti, you might remember, also is perhaps the biggest cheerleader for a new multi-million dollar police station.  Heck, he even opposes any kind of advisory referendum on a new cop shop because he thinks he was elected to make decisions like that without citizen input.  And he also has been a strong opponent of reinstating the City’s debt ceiling – a voluntary cap on how much debt the City can undertake.  When it comes to fiscal responsibility, Allegretti makes drunken sailors look positively frugal. 

So when Allegretti misses a budget workshop, it’s a lot like an illiterate missing a reading lesson – or an alcoholic skipping an AA session.

Allegretti, however, understands at least one type of money matter: making sure Mayor Frimark’s re-election committee is well funded.  Which is why, just last week, Allegretti added another $500 to the $1,000 he previously contributed, making him (at least for the time being) the single biggest reported contributor to Frimark’s campaign – even bigger than usual suspects like James Davlin ($1,000), Bredemann Toyota ($1,000), Joe Dickerson ($500), Owen Hayes ($500) and Marilyn Goll ($500); and newest “big-hitter” Joseph Chiczewski ($1,000), a real estate guy who gives his address as 505 N. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.  

Being Frimark’s lapdog apparently doesn’t come cheap.  But in a State like Illinois, where pay-to-play politics is the rule rather than the exception, we can’t help but wonder whether continued lapdog status is the only thing Allegretti expects in return for his big-bucks contribution to our “Let’s Make A Deal” mayor.