“Secret Plans” To Battle O’Hare Sound Like Bad Bet


California-based attorney Steve Taber and his law firm claim to have a litigation plan that will help Park Ridge kick O’Hare Airport’s keester.  But even though he “would love to discuss specific litigation strategies” for doing that, he claims he can’t do so openly without putting “Park Ridge legal prerogatives” at risk.  

Don’t you just love secrets like this? 

Taber suggested a closed-session Council meeting, apparently because nobody told him that under the Illinois Open Meetings Act nothing said in closed sessions is legally secret or even just confidential: it can be freely disclosed, except for information that is protected under other laws (like HIPAA, for example).  That may be why Ald. Don “Air Marshall” Bach suggested that Taber meet privately with each alderman instead of in closed session. 

Bach is one of several aldermen who have never seen a closed session they didn’t like.  But ever since then-Ald. Dave Schmidt lawfully blew the whistle on then-mayor Howard “Let’s Make A Deal” Frimark’s closed session plans to acquire 720 Garden as the site for a new police station – and to have the City pay a couple hundred thousand dollars more than the City’s own appraisal of the property – Bach and his fellow Cultists of Secrecy have seemed a bit insecure about closed sessions. 

That’s a good thing for many reasons. 

But we have to wonder exactly what kinds of anti-airport litigation weapons Taber and his colleagues have in their arsenal that are so secret, especially since any such weapons that have already been employed in litigation – albeit with what Taber described as varied degrees of success – are now a matter of public record in whatever court they were utilized. 

After years of pouring hundreds of thousands, if not more than a million, dollars of legal fees and expenses into the pockets of the now-defunct Suburban O’Hare Commission’s legal team headed by attorney Joe Karaganis, without any significant “success,” we catch a whiff of snake oil in the claims of successful litigation strategies that can’t be publicly discussed. 

But desperate people will grasp at any straw offered, and we’ve seen fellow residents virtually suspend all reason in demanding expenditures of scarce public funds for what so far seems like nothing short of lottery odds at getting meaningful relief from increasing O’Hare air traffic. 

Case in point: In April the federal government committed $410 million to further O’Hare expansion. Our City Council has budgeted $165,000. Vegas won’t even post a line on that bet. 

And as we’ve pointed out several times before, the additional problem with this renewed effort to battle O’Hare is that it seems to pit one part of Park Ridge against another: The Belle Plaine Corridor’s loss is the 1st and 2nd Wards’ gain. 

So when it comes to secret plans to deal with O’Hare, we’re more than a little skeptical.  

Maybe that’s because we remember President Nixon campaigning for election by touting his secret plan for ending the Vietnam War.  He was re-elected and, true to his word, after several more years, tens of thousands of additional American deaths, and the waste of additional multi-billions of dollars, it finally came to fruition. 

It culminated in helicopter evacuations of the American embassy in Saigon.    

1 comment so far

So the guy is kinda like Dean Wormer and his “double secret” plans. UGH. Another one who sees the people of Park Ridge as prey and can’t wait to take advantage. WHEN are we going to learn?