Speaking Truth To The People


Right before Wednesday night’s City Council meeting, Mayor Dave Schmidt gave what is believed to be the first-ever mayoral “State of the City” address.  The picture he presented was not pretty.

As he promised, Schmidt didn’t mince words.  He stated that we have been “misled for years about [the City’s] financial health” and that “the budget process has been a shell game.”

That comes as no surprise to anyone who observed former city manager Tim Schuenke produce a “balanced” budget by seemingly fabricating whatever revenue numbers were needed to equal expenses.  And it explains why the City posted deficits when reality inevitably intruded on Schuenke’s fantasies. 

The departed Schuenke may have been deceptive, but the City’s current financial mess required him to have accomplices: our mayors and aldermen, who provided us with only one non-deficit fiscal year during the past decade – in 2006-07 but, even then, only with the help of the one-time $6 million+ sale of the City property on which the Uptown development now sits.

Current City Manager Jim Hock didn’t distinguish himself with his first budget, which he pronounced as “balanced” even as it dripped $2 million of red ink.  Since then, Hock has ignored Schmidt’s call for the expedited production of a decent discussion-draft budget to start the process earlier and avoid the last-minute scrambling of years past, making himself more problem than solution.

Perhaps that’s because Hock basically serves at the pleasure of the City Council, not the mayor.  Which means that his continued employment depends upon keeping the Council, not the major, happy.  And this Council, with the exception of newcomer Joe Sweeney (1st Ward), seems happiest when budgets are in deficit and spending remains un-examined and unquestioned.

But the most significant line in Schmidt’s address Wednesday night was one he repeated twice for emphasis: “Everything except essential City services must be on the table” and subject to being cut in order to avoid bigger tax hikes.

It’s about time somebody in government – at the federal, state, county, or local levels – had the courage to say that.

Let’s face it, folks…government has grown in size and expense not so much because of increases in the cost of “essential” services, but because of all the non-essential amenities and frills that the special interests and their pandering politician allies have layered on over the years – almost all of which are so non-essential and cost-ineffective that the private sector won’t even touch them (for example, outdoor water parks in Northern Illinois).

That’s why we applauded Schmidt’s prior call for the implementation of zero-based budgeting (“ZBB”) that would force every City department to wipe the slate clean and justify each and every function and task it performs in order to warrant its appropriation of tax dollars.  But Hock and City bureaucrats rejected ZBB; and the Council – despite some disingenuous lip-service by Alds. Don Bach (3rd Ward) and Tom Carey (6th Ward) that is belied by their voting records – has done nothing to move ZBB forward.

Schmidt’s address Wednesday night sounded the alarm, and it also provided some practical suggestions for turning around the City’s irresponsible budgeting and spending practices.  Unfortunately, a majority of the Council is comprised of Schmidt’s political opponents who seem indifferent, if not outright obstructionist, to any of the fiscal reforms the mayor has proposed. 

Which is why we predict his address will be met, if at all, not with competing ideas from the alder-dwarfs but by petty personal criticisms of the mayor and his “confrontational” style of leadership.

But that comes with the territory when one speaks truth to The People…and the opposition has no ideas of its own.

60 comments so far


You fail to mention that the only year of budget surplus was also the only year where the entire budget process and financial operations, start to finish, were controlled by the same “Dirty Democrat” City Council that was accused of “stealing Mayor Frimark’s powers” by then-Frimark fans Judy Barclay and her purple ribbon gang that included our current mayor.

It looks like the current mayor may now be reaping what he helped sow.

Finally, a new revenue generating idea for the Higgins corridor:,park-ridge-prostitution-bust-021110-s1.article

Anon 2:36

I have to admit it is enjoyable to watch.


e: by AF at the request of the poster

236, you are a bozo. Did you actually read the post? The surplus that year was due to the fact that the Council sold off the most valuable piece of city-owned real estate in town, and they got taken big time at that. Go back to watching Judge Judy.


So in your mind they should have cut back on services and pretended they weren’t balanced?


What an amusing response from you. Do you understand how a budget functions?

If a council budgets revenue and expenses and then, at the end of the year, remains within the parameters of the budgeted revenue and expenses, isn’t that a good thing?

Or were you taking exception to the idea that A2:36 believes the current Mayor is, indeed, reaping what he helped to sow?

We have no opinion on whether 2:36 is a “bozo” or not, or whether he/she watches Judge Judy.

But a check of former City Fin. Director Diane Lembesis’ “Finance Review” from last Fall reveals that in 2006/07, the City posted a $6,376,394 surplus “due to sale of asset for $6,129,089.”

Which means that $247,305 of that surplus was not related to the sale of the Uptown property.

Which also means WE mis-stated the situation by writing that the surplus occurred “only with the help of the one-time $6 million+ sale of the City property.” While approx. 96% of that surplus consisted of the sale proceeds, there still would have been a surplus even if that property had not been sold.

We apologize to that 2006/07 Council for that mis-statement.

But if it’s any consolation, “Rambler,” we agree with you that the City may have gotten taken on the price of the property, although as best as we recall that price was negotiated and contracted for prior to the 2006/07 Council being seated.

It is funny how what goes around comes around. Barclay (and Schmidt) supported fellow Republican Frimark against a Democrat-led council majority. THen Frimark supports Schmidt running unopposed but chooses Ryan over Barclay for fifth ward ald. Then Schmidt gets sideways with Frimark on the council and runs against him for mayor, with the support of scorned Barclay AND some of the Democrats that Schmidt and Barclay purple-ribboned out of office.

There’s gotta be lesson there somewhere.

Politics makes for strange bed fellows.

Serves me right for sticking my nose into someone else’s rant. My apologies to the Gang of Nine for not recognizing their net surplus in ’06-07.

Alpha, if a Council prepares a budget with a deficit and happens to meet that number, it is still bad, because it is still a deficit. Or perhaps I don’t get what you are saying which is entirely possible.

Regarding reaping what one has sowed, I believe most folks on both sides of the purple ribbon fiasco have moved on, and many purple ribbon folks and members of the Gang of Nine worked together to help this mayor get elected. Apparently not everyone has moved on.


An imperfect act of contrition is still an act of contrition. Ald. Schmidt learned rather quickly that “things” were not as they appeared, though his knees still tend to jerk reflexively.

Mayor Schmidt is where he deserves and has earned the right and responsibility to be.


It appears you did not “get” what I was saying, because my presumption is that councils should not accept and approve unbalanced budgets; it appears you presume they do, and recent history does provide you with a foundation for that presumption.

I’m sure there is tremendous desire by all to “move on” (which is a rather creepy throw-back to former Mayor Frimark’s “move forward” phrase) from being reminded of their roles in the, as you phrased it, “purple ribbon fiasco.”

Simply saying there is little to gain from rehashing something that happened 5 years ago. Hell, even the French and the Germans love each other now. Can’t we all just get along?

Rambler, all past is prologue so you ignore it at your own risk. But from the sound of your comments you’re not the kind of guy that learns from mistakes, either your own or others’.

Oh my god!!! I am falling over laughing. I am relatively new to Park Ridge and missed the entire Purple Ribbon thing. Just some of the small pieces of information brought out in this thread ate too funny!!!!!! Schmidt supported Frimark and then Frimark supported Schmidt running unopposed?!?!?! I had no freakin’ idea!!!! No matter how the party names change it seems like it is still the little “Payton Place” of insiders.

Past is Prologue

a previous poster mentioned the French and Germans. Funny how history is full of examples and cautionary tales.

The french allowed a corsican corporal to Dictate to them what to do back in the early 1800s.

The Germans allowed an austrian corporal to Dictate to them what to do back in the 1930s.

The Park Ridgians allowed an Evanstonian corpulent to Dictate to them in the 2010s.

Let us hope the latter does not have the same tyrannical effect the former two had upon the \”adopted\” constituency of the would be Emperors.


I see you’ve come back with yet another attempt to peddle a “carpetbagger” premise in assessing your preferred elected official target, though you have rather meticulously avoided using the term “carpetbagger.”

It was you, wasn’t it, who recently said, “It is the lack of leadership which the Mayor exhibits and the close mindedness of \”carpetbagger\” schmidt that many feel is detrimental”

I asked you then, “Can you be more specific about Schmidt’s lack of leadership? What do you have against people who move to PR, instead of having been “born” here? How long do you have to live in PR before you aren’t a carpetbagger and you’re allowed to hold elective office, in your opinion? Wasn’t Howard P. Frimark originally from Wisconsin? Did you consider Howard P. Frimark a carpetbagger?”

Again I ask for you to answer those questions.

I’d also suggest that, if you are truly interested in “good government,” intellectual honesty dictates you at least begin to offer assessments of each and every representative and their respective policy positions, not just the one with which you seem rather obsessed.

That\’s funny–

\”intellectual honesty dictates\”

Seems like \”DER Führer\” Mayor Schmidt Bonaparte\” and his minons like to Dictate to everyone.

Is that the same \”intellectual Honesty\” Schmidt possessed while alderman and voting for unbalanced budgets and now he suddenly Dictates a change in course?

Other posters indicated that Past is Prologue, well schmidt\’s self admission to his deliquent tenure as alderman can only lead one to ponder how he will continue in his delquency as Mayor.

To answer your questions –In no particular order the answers are: maybe, yes, no, sometimes, 9:30 am, and fried tuna sandwiches.

As to assessing other people, I subscribe to the supposed principles this forum purports to operate upon which is anonymous speech aimed at illuminating people about the issues of the times.

I do not yield to any dictates or would be dictators and thus offer no other assessment than that of the untrustworthyness of the current mayor and his ineptitude which is only exacerbated by his unimpressive grandstanding attempt to point fingers and assign blame. That is not leadership. That merely wastes the citizens\’ time and patience.

Past is prologue –That austrian corporal was elected by democratic means before he laid waste to a nation, a generation and a world. Will Park Ridge\’s Current Mayor be as impactful–not on the world stage, likely, but upon the stage that matters to Park Ridgians, he bodes ill and we should be diligent to prevent the harm he would seek to inflict upon us.


Apparently not everyone has moved on, starting with you and the “Gang of nine” reference.


“An imperfect act of contrition is still an act of contrition.” Huh? What contrition? When has Schmidt ever PUBLICALLY admitted he was wrong about the purple ribbon fiasco? Never that’s when. Him and Judy B will talk until they are blue in the face about all the wrongs committed by others, but make no mistake about it, they and the other lemmings that followed Howard off the cliff are responsible for this fiscal quagmire and until one of them has the honesty to admit publically that they were wrong about Howard and the City Council that he de-capitated while they watched they will get no respect from me.


An act of contrition, imperfect or otherwise, does not require the inclusion of a full confession. You might even say the lack of a confession is part of what makes the act of contrition imperfect.

I would like to point out that upon taking the oath of office, out of Mayor Schmidt’s mouth came words to the effect that “the Council has the right to organize its’ own committees.” That’s an admission far better than any I’ve heard; and the very funny thing about the entire “fiasco” is, I cannot find anyone willing to admit they voted for Howard P. Frimark’s (and John Kerin’s, Steve Huening’s, and Amy Sullivan’s) referendum to reduce the Council to one Alderman per ward.

Finally, maybe you meant to say, “Him and Judy B will talk until they are RED in the face?” After all, as you know, they’re both Republicans.


I see your point, but I guess there are two schools of thought here. One is that in actual practice Dave has seen the light. That’s nice. But the on the other side, failing to publically condemn direct actions by him and Barclay which caused the current situation raises a strong hesitation to believe in his leadership. People do make mistakes. It is so much easier to pretend he wasn’t responsible, or that someone else did it, or that it just didn’t happen so let’s just move on. I have always been much more forgiving of an employee who comes to me and says “I’m sorry I screwed up”, “Here’s what I learned” and “Here’s how I’ll fix it”.

There are a lot of people in this town who knew that Howard was pulling a power grab and that his intentions were less than honorable and yet they remained silent. They had an excuse. They were scared. Yes it was a poor excuse and yes they should have acted on their instincts. Dave and Judy however, publically handed Howard the gun and loaded it for him.


I will tell you what I’ve long told some of my closest cohorts, *ultimately* the voters were and are responsible for everything that has come to pass. Especially since the actions taken in a voting booth are taken in privacy, and so the “excuse” of being “scared” holds no water for me.

What I hear you saying are those who knew what was being done remained silent. They did. Again, I will tell you, responsible adults are responsible for their own decisions. The “silently knowing” are not more responsible for the seemingly preferred thoughtless ignorance of the majority of voters than those voters are for themselves.

What this blog attempts to do, in part, is remove some of that ignorance and make it even less of an excuse.

In some small, indirect way I see Mayor Schmidt making a modest attempt to atone; that’s worth noting, at least for its uniqueness on the political stage. And while I thought his address to the public, about the State of the City, could have been more “impactful,” I see it as a baby step in the right direction, as it too attempts to remove the ignorant blinders from the electorates eyes, get their attention, and hope for their collective wisdom to prevail.

Having said all that, the sins of the past are haunting and not lost on me. I assure you, nobody…and I mean NOBODY…could rip Schmidt a new asshole wider than I could, but not on this particular issue.

edited to add:  In reconsidering the ripping, I believe there might be one other person equally, if not more, adept.  But again, not on this issue.

This discussion disappoints me. I read the post, saw “22 comments” and eagerly clicked to read some ideas about how to make the current City Council accountable for this year’s budget process. Instead there was an argument going on about what happened in the past three years. Meanwhile my property tax bill gets fatter with city and school tomfoolery. Go back to you conversation, folks — I am going to call my alderman.


Schmidt screwed up by voting for unbalanced budgets as an alderman, but at least he has realized AND ADMITTED his mistake. That’s more than what alder-idiots Allegretti, Bach, Carey, DiPietro, Ryan and Wsol have done.

Since our form of City government gives the Council all the power, and the mayor virtually none, calling Schmidt a dictator when five of the seven aldermen financially contributed to his opponent is moronic.

You call Schmidt untrustworthy, but you give no examples. Pointing fingers is exactly what has to be done if the public is going to understand exactly who is responsible for the mess we’re in.

… and for who can “fix” it.

Under our system of government, the first “fixer” is the City Manager. He is the person who prepares and submits the budget. In the past, the city managers have cooked the books and submitted proposed budgets which relied heavily on borrowing, coupled with inflating projected revenues and downplaying projected expenses to make the budget APPEAR balanced. As the fiscal year progressed, the veil of balanced revenues and expenses would fall by the wayside, but it would be too late to fix it for that year. The problem is the aldermen did not learn any lessons and would fall for it again the next year, and the next year, and…now we are in deep shit.

So the mayor has wisely called for a stop to that practice. It is up to the aldermen to back him up. Whoever does not should step aside or be replaced by the voters.

While an alderman Schmidt distinguished himself from Frimark and Frimark’s aldermen, and he beat Frimark even though the aldermen supported Frimark. Now he’s distinguishing himself from those same aldermen and embarrassing them for their ineptitude, which is ticking them off. BFD.

I am struck by the title of this thread….”Speaking Truth To The People”. It seems like the problem is that there are sooooo many versions of what the “truth” is!!!

There is not a single thing the mayor said on Wednesday night that was untrue. He quoted statistics and recited some documented history. He identified a problem, gave his opinion as to what should be done and then set the stage for the discussion which will unfold over the next few weeks.


You slay me. Actually he distorted several things. Let’s cover two. The first untruth is that “We are in dire straits because, for years, the City Council and the City’s staff have collectively ignored sound fundamental economic principles, the most important of which is a balanced budget.” As pointed out earlier in this blog the very City Council that he helped to disband did in fact balance the budget. Why he refuses to acknowledge this continues to disturb me.

The second big twist of the facts is “I cannot accept a budget which cuts essential city services and personnel but which leaves in place optional contributions to community groups.” Here he assumes two things in the budget equation. One is that all community groups provide unessential services. Not true. Some of these groups provide human need services at a cost level far below what other communities handle in house. Second, he seems to be under the impression that the only way to reduce personnel costs is to cut people and services. How about doing what businesses and governmental bodies all over the country are doing? Call the unions in, sit them down and start discussions regarding compensation and benefit levels that are justifiable in this economy.

356, you are disturbed all right. How exactly does a SINGLE balanced budget 4 years ago render inaccurate the statement that the Council and staff have ignored sound economic principles and not balanced the budget? What does the purple ribbon thing which happened FIVE, repeat FIVE, years ago have to do at all with the present situation? It only matters to those who are still bitter about it. But it has nothing to do with what is happening today. So get over it.

And except for a small handful of two-year aldermen who were referendumed out, I believe the rest of the aldermen on the ’06-07 Council participated in passing at least 3 unbalanced budgets out of 4 years. In fact, three of your heroes from that Council are still sitting and have passed three of their own since then. So, one more time, what did the mayor say that was untrue?

Your second paragraph is complete nonsense. Go back and read the speech. He said that the City needed to reduce its payroll costs and specifically referred to how other communities were laying off and imposing furloghs and renegotiating union contracts and reducing employee benefits. Really Einstein.. he said all of that in the first 10 minutes. Regarding the definition of what is an “essential” service, that is certainly a fair question which can and will be debated. But where is the twist? He gave an opinion. Others will have theirs. Even you are entitled to yournopinion, but you should really brush up on the “fact” thing. You obviously have no grasp of them.

3:56 pm

Schmidt is right about community groups providing non-essential services.

If those services were “essential” then the City itself would provide them. Or the City would make a specific payment directly tied to each specific service or individual served, not some arbitrary dollar amount based on an equally arbitrary request by each of those groups.


It may be best not to attempt to play too loosely with double-standards; if you’re going to allow the Mayor leave to cite “historical data” and “actions,” then it seems only fair to allow others to cite “historical events” and “actions” which, by the way, you clearly still do not grasp the significance of.

There were a “small handful” of independent aldermen elected to the Council, then another “small handful” of independent aldermen were elected to the Council, and together those “small handfuls” made up a majority who, for only 1 year had total control of the City budget, from beginning to end. And for that one year, they booked a surplus beyond the mere sale of the reservoir property; in addition to expanding some infrastructure programs, such as street paving.

Try to keep up.

 eta:  Further clarification for you; those two “small handfuls” of independent aldermen were in fact the target of Howard P. Frimark’s (and John Kerin’s, Steve Huening’s, and Amy Sullivan’s) Council reduction referendum.  Only one of the aldermen from that target group, Frank Wsol, remains on the Council today, and I think it unlikely he could claim any credit at this point for being responsible in any way for directing the budget process during the time in which a surplus in the City budget was achieved; I say this based upon his actions during the last 3 years.

Mayor Schmidt’s conduct, prior to becoming an alderman, was a very direct contribution to the “purple ribbon fiasco” and the subsequent Council cut.  Mayor Schmidt and his conscience will have to learn to deal with that. 


You’re thought process is bizarre. “except for a small handful of two-year aldermen who were referendumed out”? Yes, they were the only ones cut out by Frimark’s coup. The others term was over anyway. It matters because that very council was the one who balanced the budget and Schmidt and the other stooges worked to throw them out. Now he sits and lectures the “magnificent seven” about fiscal management. What a joke.

On the second matter, you are right. Non-essential items are a debatable topic. So let’s see, Schmidt cuts a few non-essentials. That gets him how close to balanced budget? He needs a much bigger list than what he provided. What is it? If he’s going the Libertarian route then a true Libertarian ends with funding police protection. So either he is or isn’t favoring a budget that funds only the purely essential or is it that he’s somewhere in between. It would appear that he has an opinion as to where some items lie, but after that all he has given is generalities. It is so easy for him to say “I will not sign any budget that is not balanced” and throw it at the Alderman or City Manager.

I agree the budget should be balanced, but if all he’s doing now is pulling up a few items that won’t even scratch the service. Let’s see his list. Let’s see his balanced budget.

So in a nutshell, the two of you think he should have stopped his speech, give plaudits to the one balanced budget and thoise responsible for it and then confess that his support for Frimark and the purple ribbon crowd has caused all of these unbalanced budgets since then. You’re both nuts. I’m now returning to my regularly scheduled life.


I’m not particularly interested in seeing Mayor Schmidt give plaudits or confess his ignorance. I believe plaudits are unnecessary when a record can stand for itself, and I believe Mayor Schmidt’s ignorance does too.

I believe what A7:04 may object to is the disingenuous nature of Mayor Schmidt’s selective memory and the overly-broad brush strokes Mayor Schmidt used when discussing “historical” failings of predecessors; a political perversion of the facts, which some may argue is, well,nuts.

I do confess though, if Mayor Schmidt had recognized those horrible, rotten, purple-ribbon-inspiring previous Aldermen as having been the same Aldermen who were the only Aldermen able to achieve a balanced, black-ink budget within recent memory, and then if Mayor Schmidt had turned to the current Aldermen and said, “Can’t you do the same or better than them?” I’d have wanted to throw him a parade…pending review of event costs to the City, of course.

Everyone has a complaint!

I do not attend often, but I attended the city council meeting on Wednesday and I was very pleased at Dave’s speech. I am proud we have a mayor who can get up at the podium and speak well. When Howard would make an attempt at a speech, he couldn’t even pronounce words and used words incorrectly.

Dave admitted he was part of the unbalanced budget but he called on the current city council and Jim Hock to produce a balanced budget.

WHO CARES ABOUT THE PURPLE RIBBONS or what happened over the last 4 – 8 years. Let’s move forward. Dave made a call for change, I applaud him and will write the alderman asking for them to support him. Looks like everyone is still pointing fingers at each other. GET OVER IT!


That rumbling sound you hear is George Santayana spinning in his grave.

I must tell you, we should all have just a wee bit higher expectation and demand more of our elected officials than their ability to pronounce words correctly; though, I’m grateful when they do.

anon 7:04:

Thank you for your comments on “non-essentials”. I think there is a great deal of hypocracy related to non-essentials. It seems like what the word means is… something that the person using the word non-essentials does not want to pay for. Certainly people have a right to not want to pay for non-essentials, but at least let’s try to be consistent about what is and is not essential. How it is that someone can get all hacked off about 6,000 for meals on wheels and yet be OK with paying huge tax dollars every year to the Park District is beyond me. I know they are different budgets, but if all these people who only want essentials paid for really feel that way why do they not start the process of what ever would be required to stop funding the Park District with tax dollars. If you took what goes into the PD in tax dollars every year there would be no budget issue.

Repeating my earlier comment: I rest my case.

Without Tears, are you a purple ribbon person trying to get people to ignore all the crap from the past three years that you and your fellow purple ribboners like Barclay and Schmidt helped Frimark give us?

So long as it exists, the seven person city council will be a monument to that conniving insurance peddler, his knee-jerk purple-ribboned supporters, and those gullible voters who mindlessly bought into his bullshit.  If you want people to start forgetting, circulate a referendum petition to bring back the 14-member council.

This is an inane debate. Who cares whose fault the mess is or who should get a gold star for being a good little alderman. It has absolutely nothing to do with how we are going to solve the problems going forward.

So to you 843, I say get off your ass and help elect a new Council if you are not satisfied with this one. But quit dumpingh the budget deficits in Barclay and Co.’s lap. It is a stupid argument that gets us nowhere. And even if it isn’t a stupid argument, it still gets us nowhere. Which means it’s a stupid argument.

Stupid = Shhhh! I don’t want to talk about that, because it makes me look bad.

Shhhhh. That’s a stupid interpretation.

Without Tears,

Feel free at any time to offer up your own ideas or subject for the discussion, instead of simply bemoaning the current discussion.

Though to borrow a phrase, should you choose not to “get off your ass and help,” I’m sure Rambler will come along to castigate those engaged in discussing and assessing the results of the “smaller more efficient council” over the last three years while ignoring your own repose.

Sadly, Rambler along with yourself insists upon “moving on” to address the current budget issues and what may be needed to fix the problems and at the same time citing “history” as to how things have become what they are, while explicitly choosing to ignore, or worse, totally failing to comprehend, some of the very same “history” which has led to things having become what they are.

Personally, I view the “purple ribbon fiasco” as a black eye to those who conceived it and promoted it, because the “history” seems to have provided proof of their intellectual dishonesty and extreme ignorance, and the result is in fact a potentially disasterous deficit precipice.

However, I will also personally kick anyone in the ass who would choose to denigrate a tangibly positive record of service to this community with deminishments via “gold stars for being good little aldermen” because I’m well aware of who was a good alderman and achieved something of substance in the face of nothing but criticism, versus those who performed the job of being an alderman with tremendous prodding, urging and support, after having had their path rather smoothly paved along with a hearty spoon-feeding of “history” and substantive research.

Did not intend to denigrate. Perhaps the finest alderman I have known, Ald. Markech, came from that group. She knows because I told her so. All I have been saying is that the mayor’s speech was not the time or place to address what happened with the purple ribbon drive. The speech was directed at the budget process, not the political process.

I am quite sure you will disagree. But there is no point to continuing to argue our points because we will end up back at this point. So instead, I bid you all adieu. Time to start watching Super Bowl commercials.


Perhaps you confuse “fine” with “verbosity,” but the compliment is noted.

However, in the context of this discussion, the former alderman to whom you and this community owes some measure of gratitude is Jim Radermacher; also a “member of that group.”

Certainly, he did not achieve anything alone since there were 14 bodies to try to politically navigate at the time, but his facility with finance matters was the fundamental, driving force behind his fellow “gang of nine” cohorts, the policy choices they made, and ultimately a balanced, black-ink budget.

Perhaps you may consider bestowing a “gold star” for his being a “good little bean counter?”

Just a suggestion.

PS  Enjoy the game and the commercials.

Absolutely correct on Ald. Rademacher. A good man.


Sorry to offend everyone.

I don’t understand what this purple ribbon stuff is all about. I just want the City Council to pass a balanced budget.

As for Alpha Female’s exhortation that I “get off my ass” — yes, I have been to City Council and other public meetings. I presume you have, too. I have my own opinions about the people who sit around that big circular table, and hope we replace some of them via the next election. I will continue to participate regardless of who is involved.

I hope you find what you’re looking for.

Good luck, everybody.

Without Tears,

I was not and am not offended. I was merely annoyed.

It’s funny that you should confess to not understanding “the purple ribbon stuff” but chose to complain about the conversation taking place.  If you’d like, you can read a Watchdog column on the subject: Ms. Barclay Doth Protest Too Much

I suppose I can understand your frustration because you clearly prefer to deal with the here-and-now issue of the unbalanced/deficit city budget. Fair enough.

Here’s why some others are disturbed, as it specifically relates to “the purple ribbon stuff:”

Mayor Schmidt ran for first ward alderman, along with an overwhelming majority of the current council (nearly all of them are Frimark’s hand-picked representatives), based almost entirely on the coattails of Howard P. Frimark and his promises that a “smaller more efficient” council is just what the political doctor ordered for Park Ridge to be able to “move forward,” despite tirelessly repeated, though failed, warnings from certain folks about having fewer representatives keeping an eye on the City budget.  Yes, Mayor Schmidt has seen the error of his ways. A little bit, anyway. But he failed to see that when you continue to denigrate a positive record of performance, through either ignorance or unintention, you contribute to “business as usual” and reinforce a false message.

Mayor Schmidt is now in the unenviable position of having to admit his own votes for unbalanced budgets were a mistake. I believe such admissions merit kudos for their unique honesty. I believe follow-through on promises not to repeat those mistakes also merit kudos. I believe a bubbling vat of tar and a bushel full of feathers should be waiting for Mayor Schmidt should he fail to keep those promises. 

I don’t believe anyone expected Mayor Schmidt to take a time-out to wax poetic and nostalgic about any previous council or its individual members. I do believe it’s too much to ask that some previous council members take a back of the hand, distortion of positive records of performance, and sit quietly without complaint after having worked their asses off to get him elected Mayor, despite his own “historical” performance and conduct during their public service.  Those previous council members have never asked Schmidt for a single thing except for him to honestly and fairly perform his job as an elected official.

If I had had the opportunity to assist the Mayor in writing his address, I would have pointed out that he may want to remind the council that all of them together came in on promises made by Howard P. Frimark, and nearly all of them together parrotted Howard P. Frimark’s message to the folks of Park Ridge about a “smaller more efficient council,” and that nearly all of them together worked mightily to unseat a previous council which had booked the only black-ink budget in recent memory.  It behooves them all to take a look at that positive portion of the budget record, work to reproduce it in some fashion, and make good on their own promises to the folks of Park Ridge. Nearly all of them together promised it would be this council that would be better for the folks of Park Ridge. Get to it.

As for what I may be looking for personally…that would be a reversal of the one alderman per ward model, but such a discussion is not relevant to this post, nor would it have been relevant in the Mayor’s State of the City address. My opinion on the issue isn’t original either, which reminds me that a former elected official owes me a holiday cocktail…

Fascinating. As a relatively new follower of PR politics, are there any articles I can read about this “purple ribbon fiasco”, and “Gang of Nine”? I Googled it and found a couple links back to 2005 PubDog and PRU posts, but a few more background articles would help me understand better.

So, basically Frimark, a woman named Barclay, Schmidt and others mobalized a group to halve the number of aldermen to its current 7. (I knew it was recently halved, but didn’t know Schmidt was part of the group behind it.)

Now Schmidt chides the current council for budget ineptitude. As it turns out the only council that was able to balance the budget was largely successful in doing so because of the councilmen who were run out by the purple ribbon group.

I almost expect Schmidt to give his next State of the City with a skull in his hand.

No one can claim that the long ago history of 2005-2007 doesn’t directly impact our City Hall and budget today.

In the meanwhile, how about all the elected officials and city staff, including the mayor, come up with actual budget proposals, now. We (really they) will have a hard time agreeing on enough “non-essential” budget items to cut, and a difficult negotiation with our employee’s unions if there is any chance of a balanced budget coming out of Butler Place. Let’s start seeing budget drafts, and solid cut ideas in big money items from everyone in City Hall.

Call your alderman to let them know you are interested in seeing these things.


Can I ask a favor? When ever an election takes place, like the 2011 Aldermen elections for example, can you please post an update on those running, the “players” and their history. I did not know any of this about Schmidt working with Frimard to reduce the number of Aldermem. I am not sure it would have made a difference, but it would have been nice to know. What is funny is that I purposely had conversations with neighbors and long time PR residents and asked, is there any history I should know and heard nothing about this.

I find this piece of information to be just amazing!! I have read so many posts demonizing Frimark for reducing the number of Alderman (a power grab!!!!) and now I find out Schmidt (our hero!!!) was in on it.

I will step in very briefly only to say that I had no involvement in the Council reduction referendum, although Alpha would likely argue that my support for the purple ribbon crowd might have helped set the stage for the reduction. I did not have a strong feeling about it either way at the time. I now recognize it to have been a mistake, both because it generally meant that residents received less representation and also because it led to shortened terms for some good aldermen.

Mayor Dave,

Your involvement in the referendum effort was not overt; however, you have stated to me, personally, you supported it and voted for it.

Though I do understand the effect time can have upon diluting one’s memory and “feeling.”

All true, but as you know, I passed no petitions, wrote no letters, and distributed no materials. No one knew how I felt until well after the fact when I was asked for the first time, perhaps by you. I am now merely trying to clarify that I was not “ringleader” as one of the previous posters believed.

I should have paid closer attention. If I had, perhaps I would have realized then what I now know: the Council reduction was bad for Park Ridge.

Mayor Dave on 02.08.10 6:41 pm said

-I should have paid closer attention.-

And Thus the mayor in his own words illustrates why we should not trust him.

If he didn\’t take his tasks as alderman seriously and pay \”closer attention\”

Then many have the rightful position to not trust him now.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda….didn\’t.

Mayor Schmidt admitted in his address to the city that, and I quote the mayor\’s words:

\”I did not do my job as an alderman…\”

Hey Mayor Schmidt, how about reimbursing the taxpayers the $2400 you publicly admitted to stealing?

You took money, but did not do your job–sounds like a chargeable offense.

The State\’s Attorney\’s office will be contacted in the coming days to investigate this.

But those words prove what many have already said all can\’t trust mayor Schmidt.


Yeah, as if YOU are a paragon of f-ing virtue in public discourse, good government, and policy choice(s). Puleeze!

I’m inclined to begin leaving your ridiculously twisted comments in the spam bin; why I continue to fish them out, I can’t explain…

If failure to perform is the equivalent of stealing, then Allegretti, Bach, Ryan, Carey and Wsol should be incarcerated; as a newbie, Sweeney’s on probation and DiPietro, in my opinion, merits only house arrest.

Lord in heaven, YOU are a doofus.

Anons 7:06 and 7:23 –

Your comments are as dumb as a Bach’s or a rock’s. Which one are you?

If failing to pay close enough attention to Council duties is a “chargeable” offense requiring return of aldermanic pay, then everybody on the Council (except perhaps Sweeney) should be under indictment and writing checks to the City.

Yo, Richie DiPietro! You owe us 18 large.

Yes 706, you are a doofus. Schmidt was not an alderman when the Council reduction issue was being debated and voted upon. Geez, I could swear you are Frimark, but he had no grasp of the English language. So you must be that cute little tart who ran his campaign.

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