Yet Another Plan To Declare War On O’Hare


As best as we can tell, nobody who lives in Park Ridge likes airplane noise.  Most of us are also concerned about whatever pollutants from those planes might be contaminating our air.

But last week we received information about yet another effort at doing something, anything, about O’Hare.  Unfortunately, that effort could end up being more damaging to our community than O’Hare itself – something that not only will be ineffective and expensive, but that will also publicly brand Park Ridge as an unsafe and unhealthy place to live.

Included with one of the e-mails we received was a flyer [pdf] with Gene Spanos and Tom Math referenced as the contact persons.  We don’t know anything about Mr. Math, but Mr. Spanos has been an outspoken and relentless critic of O’Hare expansion.  From the sound of things he is looking to get us into class action litigation – and appears to have already made some kind of commitment in that regard, as suggested by reference to “our next step toward a class action lawsuit.” 

That would also explain why the guest speaker is none other than “Mr. Joseph Karaganis – Attorney at Law,” who served for more than a decade as the lead litigation attorney for what we understand is the now-defunct Suburban O’Hare Commission (“SOC”) and whose firm reportedly made a bundle in legal fees from litigating over O’Hare. 

Now, maybe litigation is the only chance we have left to get some relief after all of us (including our elected and appointed officials) were too busy with other things – our kids’ soccer practices, Market Days, purple ribbons, school variety shows, the PADS shelter, Uptown redevelopment, etc. – to have paid close enough attention while the O’Hare Modernization Plan (“OMP”) and the new runways were being discussed, planned, budgeted, approved and built over the past eight years.  

But before we allow ourselves to get stampeded by Spanos and friends into a briar patch of litigation over OMP, we should stop and think about what we can expect to achieve from litigation…other than running up huge legal bills.

First of all, what are our chances of winning – whatever “winning” means in the grand scheme of things?  Has any single community (like Park Ridge) ever “won” in a fight with a particular airport, the FAA, the airlines, and all the other players who want the OMP and who have already invested hundreds of millions of dollars just to get it to its current stage?

Second, just what does “winning” mean?  As we’ve written before, after spending one-half billion dollars on the newest runway at O’Hare, we don’t see a chance in hell for that runway to not be used as much as possible.  And even if we could get a cut-back on use of 9L/27R, that just means that those flights will be re-routed to 22R and 22L, which run right over the Maine East and Country Club neighborhoods, thereby pitting neighbor against neighbor.

We can’t imagine those folks in the 1st and 2nd wards wanting to spend tax dollars on that option, and we can’t blame them.  That’s bad government and bad politics, plain and simple.  And with Karaganis’ track record on behalf of Bensenville and Elk Grove Village, it could be just plain dumb.

But if anybody out there thinks they’re going to get a financial windfall in the nature of “reparations” for the loss of their property values, guess what?  Before somebody writes you a nice big check, you will have to successfully plead, argue and prove that your home lost all that value.  In other words, you will have to establish that Park Ridge is a terrible and unsafe place to live.

That sure sounds irresponsible to us, unless the proponents of this misbegotten “strategy” are hoping to get some quick cash and then get out ahead of the rest of us, before all property values start sinking even more because we have tarred and feathered the quality of life in our own community.  Then it’s not irresponsible, it’s reprehensible.
As the “Ty Webb” character in “Caddyshack” would say: “Thank you very little.”

3 comments so far

All this proves the old quote “There is a sucker born every minute.” Karaganis is nothing but a snake oil salesman and he’s got some new suckers he is going to sell to. These folks can spend all their own money on this legal carnival show for as long as they want just so long as they don’t try to spend mine. Taxes should be spent on fixing things we can really fix, not loser lawsuits.

Bensenville settled with Chicago today. The lawyer needs to replace the money pipe.

Does Spanos have any idea what he is doing? Isn’t he the resident who was sending threatening letters to the IOC telling them not to give the Olympics to Chicago unless Daley shuts down the new runway?

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