Public Watchdog.org

Small Stuff Can Teach Big Lessons

06.16.11

A few of our “regular” commentators enjoy criticizing certain of our posts for what they deem as our making mountains out of molehills – when we gnaw on those comparatively smaller examples of local government inefficiency and mismanagement. 

But we do that because we believe that small stuff often can make big differences: big, seemingly intractable, problems can become solvable when broken down into smaller, more manageable components.  That’s why observing how public officials, or our community organizations,  deal with the “small stuff” also can provide keen insight into how they can be expected to deal with the “big stuff.” 

Take the Park Ridge Mural Restoration Committee, led by Tony Borrelli, which is committed to raising $38,000 to restore the “Indians Cede the Land” mural that was salvaged from the former Park Ridge Post Office building when it was converted into the current School District 64 headquarters in 1970.  Some might consider a $38,000 project as “small stuff,” even if the mural’s historical significance to the community makes its restoration worthwhile. 

We find it noteworthy how this committee already has been able to raise $10,000 towards its goal – without looking for handouts from City Hall like certain other private community organizations we have criticized, and notwithstanding that the mural’s restoration is not one of those “human needs” causes that seem to provoke knee-jerk budgeting and appropriations from certain public officials without regard for the requirements of City Council Policy No. 6 concerning City funding of private organizations.   

Similarly noteworthy is how quickly $20,000 was raised for the community’s July 3rd fireworks display after the sponsor of the past two years’ displays (Americaneagle.com) elected not to donate another $18,000 of fireworks – in protest of private corporation Taste of Park Ridge NFP’s years of free-loading as to the many thousands of dollars of City services provided to the Taste of Park Ridge event, free of charge, since 2005. 

According to a story in this week’s edition of the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate (“Community contributions ensure fireworks for Fourth in Park Ridge,” June 14), the Park Ridge Indian Scouts raised $10,000 for that purpose, with four commercial sponsors providing the rest of the funding – with no handouts from the City.

Larger-scale private fundraising is being done by the Kalo Foundation, which already has collected approximately $160,000 in private donations towards acquiring and rehabilitating the former Iannelli Studios, also without feeding at the public trough.

What this small stuff teaches is that the people of Park Ridge are not cheap or uncaring.  They are willing to get behind the causes and projects they believe in – such as these, where both the c0mmunity purpose and the goal are clearly stated and/or apparent; and where the folks running them are motivated in their fundraising efforts.  Park Ridge people don’t need their public officials, or anybody else, acting as Big Brother in making such decisions for them.

Isn’t it about time our City Council – and those private community organizations that would rather feed at the City Hall trough than bust their butts obtaining voluntary private donations – learned that lesson?

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2 comments so far

City Council learning that lesson…Bwaaa haa…sniffle…bent over laughing…that’s a good one. You should be a writer for SNL. City Council learning….you are kidding us correct? I thought you were going well until the conclusion. Glad to see you have a sense of humor.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We realize the previous Council (and a number of the aldermen on Councils before that) were effectively uneducable, but we’re willing to let this new Council write on a clean slate. And after hearing a recent NPR report on how scientists can cause learning in Aplysia marine snails – albeit using electric shock stimulus – we’re guardedly optimistic.

12:06:

Brilliant!!! They have been in office for about a month and they have already proved to you that they do not have the ability to learn – give me a break. I understand that it is our right (actually obligation) to be ctitical of elected officials but how about we wait for some data.

Allow me to remind you that this is YOUR elected city council!! Either by participation or by not participating, you got exactly what you deserved.



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