Public Watchdog.org

Ignore Balaskovits And Sign “Restore The Council” Referendum Petition

04.23.10

Park Ridge resident Ken Balaskovits is at it again.

This week’s Park Ridge Journal carries another letter from Kenny B (“Council Must Stay At Seven,” April 21) arguing against restoring the City Council to the 14 alderman size it had for close to 100 years – before it was cut in half through a referendum initiated by former mayor Howard “Let’s Make A Deal” Frimark.

Although he would never admit it, we’re pretty certain that cutting the Council in half was Frimark’s strategy for making it easier to control City government: it’s easier to elect a 4-alderman majority than an 8-alderman one.  And Frimark was instrumental in recruiting and helping elect the current Council majority Alds. Jim Allegretti, Don Bach, Robert Ryan and Tom Carey in 2007 – another one of Frimark’s “gifts” to the City that keeps on giving – who, 2 years later, returned the favor by contributing over $3,200 to Frimark’s unsuccessful re-election campaign.

The central thrust of Balaskovits’ letter is his more-aldermen-mean-more-uncontested-elections spiel, which ignores the fact that the 14-member City Council produced more contested races in the past decade than the other three 7-member local governmental bodies (School District 207, School District 64, and the Park Ridge Park District) combined!  From 2001 through 2005 (the last election year for the 14-member City Council), the Council had 35 candidates for 21 seats, compared to 16 candidates for 12 seats on the Park Board, 13 candidates for 12 seats on the District 64 board, and 14 candidates for 11 seats on the District 207 board – and that’s including 2001, the last year of Homeowners Party domination, where 6 of the seven HOs ran uncontested.   

But Kenny B was never one to let facts get in the way of a totally bogus argument, especially one of his own.

Balaskovits warns readers of his letter: “Do not sign this petition and, if you have, make an effort to have your name removed.”  In other words, don’t let the matter even get on the ballot.

Frankly, we think a referendum on restoring the size of the City Council is worthy of voter consideration…certainly a lot more worthy than at least one of the 3 referenda proposed by Ald. Bach: Whether to reinstate the position of City Treasurer, which was a worthless one before it was eliminated in 2005 and has no realistic prospects for providing any greater value if reinstated.

So we applaud the restore-the-Council petition circulators for their efforts; and we encourage the voters to help them put this important issue on the November 2010 ballot. 

4 comments so far

Is this guy Balaskovits so tin-eared that he doesn’t realize how un-democratic this sounds: “Do not sign this petition and, if you have, make an effort to have your name removed.” Ja Herr mein Kommandant!
WTF?!? A group of interested citizens is going about one of the most basic forms of governmental participation and this guy wants to prevent it and is actually encouraging those who have signed to seek out and have their signatures struck. What’s next? Standing outside the Oberweis or the Library to prevent petitioners from collecting signatures… oh wait, we already did that didn’t we Ken?

Ken don’t you see the irony?

Kenny’s got the trifecta going: wrong facts, wrong policy, wrong outcome.

But at least he’s “outed” himself as anti-democratic, so he’s a known quantity to anybody who actually cares.

Don’t ignore the possibility of the citizen referendum being bumped for the “let’s go back to being a village” proposal. A Mayor/Manager position
is a twinkle in some eyes.

I would expect some more discussion on this topic in the very near future.

So I Hear:

That’s exactly what could happen, especially because the City Council can pass referendum resolutions a lot quicker than citizens can get the required number of petition signatures to put things on the ballot.



Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>