Of Rolling Eyes…And Sighs


Given the tomfoolery that passes for local government here in Park Ridge, we generally avoid looking beyond our own community’s boundaries for governmental silliness elsewhere.

But the July 19, 2010, edition of the Chicago Tribune’s “Trib Local” for the City of Elmhurst got our attention with its headline: “Elmhurst considers violation for eye-rolling”.   It seems that Elmhurst officials are considering a “disorderly conduct” ordinance designed to prohibit certain behavior by citizens attending city meetings. 

This comes in the wake of the recent ejection of an Elmhurst woman from an Elmhurst city committee meeting for…you guessed it…”rolling her eyes”…and for…wait for it…”sighing”…during the discussion of a proposal for Elmhurst’s hiring of a state lobbyist which she opposed.

The Elmhurst city attorney indicated that such an ordinance would not provide for criminal penalties but would simply be a way for that City’s public officials to enforce its sense of “decorum” at its meetings.  If the Elmhurst officials go the ordinance route, we can’t wait to read the official description of what constitutes “eye-rolling” and “sighing.”

Whether such a proposal gets any traction in Elmhurst or elsewhere remains to be seen, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t appeal to those thin-skinned public officials who have what is disparagingly referred to as “rabbit ears” when describing certain sports referees and umpires who over-react to every chirp from the fans.

In fact, we can think of one particular Park Ridge alderman who, when sitting at The Horseshoe, appears nettled by virtually any sound from the audience other than “Hosannas.”  And we must confess that the memory of former mayor Howard Frimark’s upbraiding of a City Council meeting attendee for (as best as we recall) “smirking” brings a wry smile – okay, a smirk – to our faces.

Based on what transpires at many City Council meetings, a mere smirk could be considered admirable restraint.  And based on what goes on at some of those meetings, even torches and ropes might be viewed as nothing more than a measured response.

But it’s good to know that for the time being, to the Elmhurst City Council a kiss is just a kiss and a sigh is just a sigh…even though the latter might get you thrown out of a city meeting.

9 comments so far


Just when you think things can’t get any more stupid this comes along. And on a day when a poll is published suggesting that the US Congress is about the least trusted/respected institution around (a mere 11% of us trust/respect the US Congress) a public body actually wants to ban sighing and eyerolling… what next?!?

My thin skinned alderman must be who you refer to. I recall him whining at Frimark to get Frimark to admonish the gallery for the smirking, smilimg and chuckling you refer to.
Here’s a clue Robert, and the rest of you in public office in Park Ridge or anywhere else, do the job you were elected to do and do it with some iota of respect for the office you hold and the people you represent. IF you do THAT you may well double or more the percentage of people who trust/respect you.

On the one hand this makes me realize that our city council may not be any dumber and frivolous than other communities’ councils. On the other hand, it is sad to consider the possiblity that all of these communities are run by idiots.

I think I know the alderman you are referring to, and he acts just like the those rabbit-earred refs you mentioned.

Bobby has incredible hearing. He can actually pick up the sound made by the optical nerve when someone rolls her eyes. The problem is it causes him to lose his concentration, so he has to start his pontification all over again. I don’t blame him for being upset. Nobody likes pontificus interruptus, especially a well-bred person like Bob.

Mr. Ryan doesn’t realize that he’s losing his Brit accent, which was the most impressive thing about him. An that ain’t saying much.

Lordy, lordy, can the Thought Police be far behind?

If eye rolling, sighing, smirking, or ridiculous facial contortions become cause for removal from a Park Ridge council meeting, Bob would have to be the first one shown the door. This might not be a bad thing!

As a Fifth Ward resident I still have a hard time believing I am represented by a big-spending lightweight like Robert Ryan. Too bad his only real opponent was Judy Barclay, head of the 2 person CURRB club. IF Robert runs again, I hope he has some real competetion because four more years of him would be a night mare.

Don’t know about sighs and rolling eyes, but Bobby’s attendance problems have resurfaced. Looks like he decided to take the summer off. he should give back his salary for June and July.

Gee….that is all of $200.00!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, but it’s $200 that could better be spent on something other than a missing alderman who may actually contribute more by his absence than his presence.  On second thought, maybe he should be paid to stay away?