Public Watchdog.org

WWRD? – Mayoral Debate Edition

03.13.13

The first of the final two mayoral debates – the only two opportunities for Mayor Dave Schmidt and challenger Larry Ryles to confront each other with their respective ideas and opinions about how the City of Park Ridge should be run for the next four years – kicks off at noon today.

Because Ryles dodged the first scheduled debate – at the town hall meeting at the Park Ridge Senior Center on February 7 – and because the format for last week’s Park Ridge Republican Women’s event was a candidates’ forum rather than a debate, the candidates will need to cover a lot of ground at today’s luncheon debate at the Park Ridge Country Club hosted by the Chamber of Commerce (lunch begins at 11:30 a.m.) and tomorrow night’s debate at City Hall hosted by the League of Women Voters (7:00 p.m.).

Mayor Schmidt has a clearly-defined, thoroughly-explained and fully-transparent record of accomplishments, most of which involve pulling the City out of the economic and financial tailspin that it had been in since Ron Wietecha spent 99% of his waking hours – and millions of our tax dollars – unsuccessfully battling O’Hare Airport.  Four years ago Schmidt, in no uncertain terms, said what he would try to do if elected.  And, for the most part, he’s done just that.

Challenger Ryles, on the other hand, has been running a vague, warm & fuzzy, stealth-like campaign more befitting a candidate for student council president than mayor – as was evident from his performance at last Thursday night’s Republican Women’s forum.  He has studiously avoided Council meetings and, to our knowledge, has not shared any of his ideas or opinions about City governance with those elected officials during Council deliberations, when any such ideas and opinions might have been able to influence the decision-making process.

That’s why we have run an occasional feature titled “WWRD…” – What Would Ryles Do – concerning various City issues: on 09.05.12, 11.26.12, 11.28.12, 01.31.13 and 02.12.13, for example.

So as a public service we’ve come up with some questions for candidate Ryles which the folks who will be attending these two debates can ask if they don’t have questions of their own:

  • On your website you state: “When elected Mayor on April 9, 2013, I will immediately take the lead on limiting future tax levy increases to a rate that is less than the annual inflation rate.”

Q:       Do you endorse the 2.15% tax levy increase recently passed by the Council? 

Q:       If not, what percentage levy increase would you have endorsed if you were mayor; and what expenditures would you have cut to reach it?

Q:       Why did you not attend the Council meetings at which the levy was discussed to share your thoughts and ideas on the subject?

  • On your website you criticize Mayor Schmidt for raising the property tax levy by a cumulative 155% of the rate of inflation over the past 4 years.

Q:       Isn’t that 155% of the rate of inflation a lower rate of levy increase than achieved over any 4-year period by any of the three previous mayors who have endorsed you?

Q:       Isn’t the average property tax increase, in real dollars, less during Schmidt’s 4 years in office than during any 4-year period under the three previous mayors?

  • On your website you promise that, if elected, you will assess “each planned expenditure by determining whether the expenditure will improve the lives of our Park Ridge residents.”

Q:       Which three City expenditures during the current fiscal year would you have cut based on your quality-of-life standard; and how much would you have saved with each such cut?

Q:       What three expenditures would you add, and in what amounts? 

  • On your website you state that each step of your budget process will always start with the question:” Is this the morally correct thing to do.”

Q:       Name five expenditures during the current fiscal year that you believe are not “the morally correct thing to do”; and have you ever asked the Council, in person at one of its meetings, to stop doing any of those morally incorrect things?

Q:       How is it “moral” for you to accept a $1,000 campaign contribution from a union representing certain City employees whose sole goal is to get more money from Park Ridge taxpayers for no additional, or better, work? 

Q:       How “moral” is it for you to criticize various actions by the mayor and the City Council on specific issues, but not even show up at the meetings when those issues are discussed to voice those criticisms and share your views? 

Q:       Do you consider it “moral” for the City to divert large amounts of tax dollars taken involuntarily from taxpayers in order to “incentivize”/bribe businesses to locate or remain here?  If so, do you consider it “moral” for the City to give such funds to certain businesses but not to other competing businesses who already are here?

Q:       Do you consider it “moral” for the City to divert significant amounts of tax dollars taken involuntarily from taxpayers in order to give those funds to private “community group” corporations who have been unsuccessful in obtaining voluntary contributions from those same taxpayers?

  • On your website you state that “[w]hen elected Mayor on April 9, 2013, [you] will immediately take the lead in improving the process the city uses to collect all past, present and future fees and fines owed to Park Ridge” by “better management oversight of its revenue streams….”

Q:       What specific elements of “management oversight” will you implement?

Q:       What exactly would you do to collect on more than 2,200 tickets and violations that you acknowledge “have no name or address attached for collection purposes”?

  • On your website you state that “[w]hen elected, [you] will take the lead in reaching out to retailers, both local and national brands, and will convince them to bring their stores to Park Ridge.”

Q:       What are the three most important “national brands” retailers you will convince to bring their stores to Park Ridge, and what exactly will you do to get them here?

Q:       What are the three most important “local brands” retailers you will convince to bring their stores to Park Ridge, and what exactly will you do to get them here?

Q:       What are the five most important factors that distinguish Park Ridge from neighboring communities and make it attractive to business; and why haven’t those factors already attracted the “local and national brands” you intend to bring here?

Q:       If Park Ridge is such a “strategic location…for the 5.2 million shoppers of Cook County,” what specific reasons can you give to explain why retailers aren’t flocking here already?

Q:      What three specific things would you do to “keep the business home”?  To “bring new business home”? 

Q:      What three specific things would you do to “market our great city to our own residents”? 

  • On your website you talk about a number of “leadership principles” you put into practice during your 24 year military career and your 18 years in the insurance industry.

Q:       Under Park Ridge’s city manager-form of government, in what specific ways does the mayor’s roll and job duties reflect those of your rank of Command Sergeant Major?

Q:       In what specific ways is being mayor of a city with a city manager-form of government similar to being an insurance agent or agency manager?

Q:       In what specific ways do you consider your “character” superior to Mayor Schmidt’s?

Q:       In what specific ways do you consider your “competence” superior to Mayor Schmidt’s?

Q:       What five “smart people” will you surround yourself with if you become mayor?

Q:       If you had been mayor these past four years, would you have retained Jim Hock as city manager? 

Q:       Are there any “yes” people currently in City government whom you would like to “shuck”?  And, if so, who are they?

  • On you website you state that “[w]hen elected Mayor on April 9, 2013, [you] will immediately take the lead in investing in our emergency health services….”

Q:       Do you believe our residents are currently at risk because the City has yet to purchase replacement cardiac monitors/defibrillators?  If so, do you believe Fire Chief Mike Zywanski was lying when he recently assured the Council that the current monitors/defibrillators do not pose any health risk to residents?

Q:       What five other community health and/or safety purchases would you take the lead in making during your first year in office, what are their costs, and how would you fund them?

  • On your website you state that, “[w]hen it comes to purchasing priorities with available funds, [you] will never put resident safety second to anything!!!”

Q:       Considering that the City is currently finalizing a contract with the public works employees’ union (which just contributed $1,000 to your campaign) that will increase the cost of the public works services the City is “purchasing,” do you oppose such cost increases until the City purchases replacement monitors/defibrillators?  If not, why not?

Q:       Do you support all of the wage and benefit increases given to unionized and non-unionized City employees over the past four years?  If not, would you have advocated for higher or lower wage and/or benefit increases?

Q:       How can you justify your support for building a new police out-building and bike storage corral when that money could fully fund the monitors/defibrillators?

Q:       Which of Mayor Schmidt’s vetoes, if any, do you support?  To the extent the Council sustained those vetoes, do you believe the Council was wrong in doing so?

Q:       Considering how vocal you are in criticizing Mayor Schmidt’s positions on City finances, do you favor the type of fiscal management demonstrated under Mayor Frimark?  Under Mayor Marous?

Q:       Which of the three (3) Kane McKenna suggestions for reducing the continuing multi-million dollar deficit from the Uptown TIF, if any, do you recommend the City choose to deal with that problem?

And that’s just for starters.

To read or post comments, click on title.

30 comments so far

And GFL getting a response out of Ryles here or at a debate or otherwise.

Here is hoping that I am proved wrong and that at one of these debates the moderator(s) will ask some of these legitimate questions and press for legitimate answers.

I just watched your embedded Ryles forum performance and still have no idea what specifically he intends to do about anything. He might as well just say “I’m not Schmidt” and sit down, because that is all he seems to be saying.

If anybody asks him your questions and actually demands a responsive answer, his head might explode.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The more we hear from him, the more we hear the empty sound of his master’s voice: Frimark’s.

On the other hand, history has proved that voters can be pretty easily seduced by the siren’s song that white noise provides. 4,900 people voted for Frimark’s empty promises in 2005, and 3,770 still voted for him again in 2009 despite a record in office that the term “horrible” would be insulted to be used to describe.

Move over Martha Raddatz, there’s a new moderator in town! Great questions, all of them. I’d pay good money to watch Ryles dodge each and every one of them. Because he sure as heck hasn’t demonstrated any ability to answer even a single one thus far.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks for the on-the-scene report, but who is this uber-Martha causing Ryles to dance?

@10:48, my impression since last summer has been that Ryles’ campaign has been less about Ryles and more about electing Anybody But Schmidt. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t feel the need to speak up about anything of substance. I think it’s sad. That attitudes assumes voters are fools. Which, unless he manages to get himself elected, I refuse to believe. We residents deserve better and to me Schmidt is the only rational choice.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since he announced his candidacy Ryles has been running a popularity contest, long on personality and painfully short on any specifics.

H.L. Mencken said that democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. While we here at PW always have trusted the common people far more than Mencken’s quote would indicate he did, Illinois government and politics is solid proof of Mencken’s point.

Let’s start with the lead first. Stop the heavy breathing!! Schmidt is going to win.

Ya’ll are just going to have to live with the reality that people have different views and some will vote for Ryles. Hell, I am sure many of you are still in shock that anyone voted for Obama! Believe it or not some will vote for Ryles based on (gasp) issues.

For example, Schmidt has made himself the posterboy for ending support for the community groups. While many see this as a good thing, there are some will vote against him on this fact alone. This is what Ryles is playing to when he says “moral decisions”.

A second example is the Mayors positions with unions. Believe it or not there are union families that live in PR and some see this as a negative.

Finally, I think there are some people out there are just sick of all the crap and the back and forth. They may vote for Ryles not on a particular issue but on personality. You see in the national polls that people want our elected officials to work together (corny huh??). I think it is fair to say that someone who has earned the name “Mayor No” probably does not score well in this area. I am sure that most who come here see that as a postive but some will see it as a reason not to vote for Schmidt, hence the Ryles statement about no vetoes for 6-1 votes.

All these reasons will not be enough to defeat Schmidt, but I thought it was worth posting. Feel free to wack away!!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: The most oft-stated canard in modern politics is that “people want our elected officials to work together.” What poll after poll has shown is that “people” want the elected officials they don’t favor to “work together” (i.e., roll over for) with the elected officials they do favor.

Hence, the gridlock in Washington due to the partisan split in Congress.

Attended the luncheon today; the good news is that the Country Club’s food was excellent and the service was attentive. The bad news is that Ryles’ schtick has much improved but his substance is more scary and pointless (hard to be both) than ever. Talked the whole time about how Schmidt is a “bully” for making demands of staff, and then spent a lot of time saying, directly, “shame on you” to the Mayor. None of the Anderson 9 would ever have spoken to Frimark that way. So much for “respect.” I thought military guys were taught to salute the uniform, at least? Ryles plans to schlep out to Vegas to pitch South Fork, I mean Park Ridge, for big retail, even though Kim Uhlig’s exhaustive research indicated the big retailers think we are already being served in Old Orchard, Woodfield, Village Green, etc. But don’t let facts get in the way, Larry. He also talked endlessly about the City’s “heart” and its volunteers but didn’t mention his own scant role in same. He rebuked the Mayor for not “following the service groups out the door” if he couldn’t afford to fund them, asking what he could do to help them raise the money. Notice he did not say the City should have continued funding the charities, nor did he promise to restore that funding, altho the room was packed with folks who were clearly there as his claque. My favorite part was when he said repeatedly and scornfully, “It’s not about the budget, it’s about heart,” and Mayor Dave replied sweetly, “Um, matter of fact it IS about the budget.” Larry talked a lot about how we have to be much, much nicer to City employees and should have been much, much nicer to Hock. Hard to believe seniors would prefer this kind of financially heedless approach, but then, Frimark is running Ryles, and off the cliff is fine with him. Frimark is all about payback, and he’s found a vain rooster to take credit for the dawn.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Insurance salesmen stick together.

Gee, Larry really is such a nice guy! He is going to go to more “dark and dangerous places” like Las Vegas, pay his own way even, and cheerlead for PR with a DVD in hand wearing his most huggable outfit!

So maybe when Schmidt is re-elected next month he can feel comfortable rethinking the hiring of that Economic Development Manager afterall, and save us taxpayers at least $70,000? Why pay another Kim Uhlig when you’ve got this guy willing to do it for free?? Did I mention, what a nice guy though, all that volunteering! Let’s all hug Larry next time we see him, even if we don’t give him our vote…

EDITOR’S NOTE: For some strange reason, every time we hear Ryles talk about hugging, the image of “Ari Gold” of “Entourage” demanding “Hug it out, b*tch” comes to mind.

Sure….He’s the poster boy for Budweiser.
And the Ten Million state tax payers funds spent in pork projects here need to be mentioned. Right Judge Judy…..?

So there is absolutely no sentiment in America today that people are sick of the extremes and want compromise? You will notice I did not say a majority, just some. Hell, I even started with Smith will win. Ijust said some voters will will see this as a reason to vote against him.

During the several recent elected official created “fiscal cliffs”, there no call for politiciams working together and compromise. The polls reflecting a record low rating for congress are not in part becuase on every freakin’ issue the pick at each other and end up doing nothing?

The gridlock in Washington is becuase of the peoples positions….nothing to do with gridlock and lobbiests?? Even though background checks, for example,polls at 90%, deep down people really want our politiciams to take the extreme positions and end uop doing nothing?

It is all just a big canard. I know we both live in PR but I swear sometimes we live in different universes.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And what color is the sky in yours?

Sure, people “want compromise” – because that’s what so many of the media talking heads tell them they should want. But what that “compromise” is supposed to look like is very different if your particular talking heads are from MSNBC and the New York Times, versus if they’re from Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.

The “polls” you write about have mostly become political tools created by one side or another, one special interest or another, to generate “proof” of popular support for their particular positions that will sway the uninformed and/or the just plain stupid.

If you really object to “extreme positions,” however, then you should be AGAINST compromise – because compromise actually ENCOURAGES “extreme positions”: the more extreme and unreasonable a position you take, the more room you have to “compromise” without cutting into your core goals/wants/needs.

That’s why we get Occupy v. Tea Party, “47% lazy bums” v. “1% rich bastards” – and all those other extreme positions staked out in anticipation of some “Grand Bargain” or other that will end up being neither “grand” nor any “bargain.”

Forgive the mistakes in the post. I guess it has to do with lack of coffee and of course I meant Schmidt.

Editor… it is nice that you apparently publish any comment submitted but I for one would not mind if you trashed the likes of the Darth Vader comment. What the hell is that even supposed to mean??
Some drunken ass*ole sitting in his basement in front of his pc pounding out random crap is all it seems to be to me.
Darth… may the Force be with you!

EDITOR’S NOTE: We tend to err on the side of letting stuff in, on the off-chance that “The Might Be Giants” – folks who sound like idiots but actually are saying something so profound we just can’t comprehend it.

But mostly they’re just morons, or “drunken ass*oles.”

Ohhhhh I see. So all those folks who take completely extreme positions don’t really think that way. They are just faking it in the hopes of negotiation. Wow now that is a relief!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ooh, sarcasm…one of our favorites.

Sure, there are more than a few nut jobs who want a United Socialist States, and more than a few who want to abolish the income tax entirely. But when “compromise” becomes a mindless end in itself – as the talking heads and their dull-witted acolytes keep advocating – there’s no incentive to be thoughtful and reasonable; and every incentive to take mindlessly extreme positions.

Hence, modern Washington D.C.

Larry talks a lot about how he will lower taxes. But he doesn’t get a vote. The seven alderman get a vote. What will Larry do as mayor if his councilmen vote to raise taxes above the cost of living? Veto???

EDITOR’S NOTE: He could always put on his beret and give them a direct order to not raise taxes. But then he’d have to figure out how to pay for all the employee raises, community group funding and other things he wants.

The debate went poorly for Schmidt, who was portrayed as so misanthropic that our city services suffer, and then he lays the blame on staff.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Schmidt clearly needs to work on his hugging. But what specific City services have “suffered” since Schmidt became mayor?

I was waiting for a comment from someone on how Schmidt did. I figured it must not have been a great performance considering yours is the first to even give a mention to it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We heard that Ryles won big on “style” points, but Schmidt won “substance” by default – because Ryles had none.

I am just catching up.

From last summer:
“Also remaining to be seen is whether Ryles is the beneficiary of part or all of the $15,000 campaign fund bequeathed by the now-defunct Homeowners Party to the Citizens for Non-Partisan Local Elections, a political committee created by former First Ward HO alderman John English back in 2009.” You guys are even smarter than I thought.

I heard from several people that Ryles was reading from notes to answer questions that he must have been given in advance.

I wish I was as confident as the other writers about Schmidt winning. The Ryles campaign is well focused on what people want to hear.

Standing in the wind and saying no pisses off a lot of people who want something for nothing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s like “Groundhog Day”: when you do something over and over, you can’t help but figure it out.

There’s no reason to be “confident” about Schmidt winning, only optimistic. As you point out, “no” is not what many people – especially those of the “where’s mine” special interest persuasion – want to hear.

And those special interests are willing to spend some money (on Ryles’ campaign) to make some money – on City funding, more favorable union contracts, a new cop shop, real estate speculation, facade improvement subsidies, billboards, etc.

I would like to tell Mr Hug-a-Bunch that there is NOTHING he proposed doing that he need to be “mayor ” to do. In fact, since he proposes to do so much with his own money and time, why hasn’t he already made his video and booked his flight to Vegas? And will he do so even if he isn’t “mayor”?
And if Schmidt is so “mean”, what was his smear campaign? Heck, he never even blew Schmidt a kiss!
Bottom line: Do we want tax relief, or will a hug suffice when we’re taxed right out of our homes?

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you liked his hug-it-out session yesterday, you better get to City Hall early – because we’ve heard tonight is puppies and kittens.

3:56:

No….no….no….you have the terminology all wrong. Something for nothing is out….makers and takers is in!

4:38:

You hit on another problem for some of the folks who will vote for Ryles….Tax releif. Take a hypothetical PR resident who pays 10K in property taxes. Exactly how much tax releif has Schmidt provided to that taxpayer?? I mean even if give him credit for 5-6% by keeping the increase at a littover 2%, it is still an increase. If ytou take the city share of that 10K and look at what 5% is it ain’t a hell of alot of money. Do you think that any PR folks are walking around happy about their taxes or who have noticed any difference?? It is kind of like when Obama was selling the idea of how many jobs would have been lost if he had not acted even though jobs were still being lost. I guessing not many of you bought that.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Whether it’s $10 or $10,000, the “wise and frugal government” Jefferson advocated 200+ years ago is still a worthy goal. And just a $10 savings for every one of the 13,000+ households would, or example, pay the salary of one of the City’s department heads. So it’s still real money.

Two main services mentioned were economic development, were Schmidt mentioned that we wanted a person for that role, but that Hock dismissed her and they hadn’t replaced her, and permitting, where Schmidt said they hadn’t had a qualified person leading that department for three years.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We disagree with Mayor Schmidt’s assessment of former ED director Kim Uhlig, a pleasant woman who – as best as we can tell – didn’t bring enough new retail to Park Ridge even to justify her six-figure salary.

Lovely quote PD. Did you say it with your hand over your heart? I was just trying to give some perspective from Ryles supporters. I have actually spoken with neighbors who proudly display Ryles signs in their yards.

Poster 4:38 asked do we want tax relief and if you polled mot in this town if they feel the have received tax relief in the last 2-4-6 years, the answer would be a very large NO!!

What the Ryles camp is doing is building a narrative. Mayor says he has made tough financial decisions but it has not really translated to home owners. Mayor tries to defend economic development record but it has not translated into reality still empty store fronts etc.

Again, my unscientific “reading or the tea leaves” still has the Mayor being re-elected, but you can certainly put together a case for those who vote for Ryles.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Any time we repeat that quote, we put our hand over our wallet to make sure it’s still there.

If you can’t display a sign – any sign – “proudly,” you shouldn’t display it at all.

You sound like a “Grand Bargain” person: if you can’t get the whole enchillada, there’s no reason to do anything. It anybody doesn’t like the fact that this year’s City tax levy increase (at 2.15%) is the smallest in over a decade, or that the City has posted over a million dollars in surpluses during Schmidt’s tenure after millions of dollars of deficits under Ryles…uh, we mean Frimark…, then they should vote for Ryles.

Ryles’ “narrative” is like the premise of “Seinfeld”: nothing. The promise of a lot of activity – almost all of which has been done many times before without even as positive a result as just one Whole Foods coming in. $1 million more in sales tax over these last four years – a 24% increase – sounds like “reality” to us. Meanwhile, all Ryles offers is the prospect of unspecified “national brands” and “local brands” in a scene reminiscent of the name-dropping that accompanied the plans for the Uptown TIF, only vaguer.

The best case that can be made for Ryles’ election is that, if Park Ridge is planning to invade Des Plaines, he’s the best man to be riding in the command car leading the column of Park Ridge militiamen up Lee Street. Or, given his self-styled cuddliness, hugging it out with whichever candidate – former mayor Tony Arredia or aldermen Matt Bogusz and Mark Walsten – wins the mayor’s race over there.

Seems like the Ryle camp is rallying around the ending argument last night of Larry receiving endorsements from 3 previous mayors and 25 previous alderman…..reminds me of Bluto rallying his frat brothers…”Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yep. Now all we need is the Ryles’ Deathmobile – although in Ryles’ case it should probably be re-named the “Hug-mobile.”

Wonder if folks will realize that those 3 mayors and 25 previous aldermen are the ones who mismanaged the City into its TIF-assisted economic mess? If gross stupidity and ignorance in government service were a crime, their pictures would be thumbtacked to a cork-board in the post office.

PD:

I agree that 2.15% is a good thing and I very much look forward to WF. The problem is perception. In the first case, I do not think when most folks paid their recent property tax bill they had a big grin and said thank god for Mayor Dave. Their taxes still went up and their was no noticeable improvement. In the second case, the Mayor has not done a good job explaining exactly what he did to bring this increase in Sales tax. In fact, he claims that the business community has been ignored for the last 3 years. Hell, there is a possibility that a big chunk of that increase came from Trader Joes in a development you and he hammer on related to the TIF.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t recall the mayor ever claiming HE caused an increase in sales tax revenue. He simply has noted that it went up – suggesting that retail in Park Ridge isn’t as dark and dismal as Ryles and his entourage keep trying to characterize it as being.

As for TJs causing “a big chunk” of that $1 million increase – fat chance of that. But for the sake of the argument, let’s lie to ourselves and say it did: that still doesn’t even cover the money the TIF sucked out of the City’s General Fund last year to cover the TIF’s deficit.

So what exactly is your point?

Apparently I misread your reply to my prior message. You stated…..”$1 million more in sales tax this last year – a 24% increase – sounds like “reality” to us”. I took that to mean you were crediting the Mayor for that. I guess I read too much into it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It would appear so. And to avoid another possible mis-reading of things, he also hasn’t taken credit for Whole Foods coming to Park Ridge – although he was opposed to the Zoning Code-violative condo development that Norwood Builders wanted to put on that site. Had that been built, that site wouldn’t have been available for WF.

Poster 4:38 – and you made a better point still, “those who have noticed any difference”. My tax bill in early 2000 was just over 6K, last one just under 10K. Twice a year I rant to the 8-10 different people I see each day in my profession about this, and most (really MOST) either haven’t really looked at it, or the bank pays it, or (worse yet) go on the old “what’d are gonna do?” or the older “taxes and death” adage – which really needs to change to “the only sure in life is that you will be taxed to death”.
My point: I was told by a former alderman that “sewer” charges were always built into my water bill. Then a new “sewer charge” was added (on top of that) to my water bill. Then I get my RE tax statement, and what?!? ANOTHER sewer charge!!! Someone, anyone, please correct me if I’m wrong, but that sure looks like I’m being charged THREE time for “sewer services”.
I grew up in PR, raised my kids in PR, I like PR, but IF I could sell my house for anything near what it should be worth, I’d get the hell of PR, Cook county, and the Sate of IL. God knows I’ll hardly be able to afford to retire in PR – neither of my kids can afford to live here either, and they make more money than me!

EDITOR’S NOTE: As we recall, several years ago the – before Schmidt became mayor – the City created a separate sewer fund to better budget for, fund and manage the expenses of that critical City service. As a result (per our understanding) sewers are no longer being funded from any account but the sewer fund. We have no idea what SECOND sewer charge you are being billed for.

City services – for 37,000+ people – represent about 10% of your tax bill. Elementary School Dist. 64, which serves approximatel 4,000+ students, accounts for approximately 35% of that bill. So if you’ve got that much of a beef about property taxes that you want to pack up and leav town, until you do you might want to start paying attention to the people you’re electing to run D-64 (a/k/a, the D-64 school board). We’ll be writing about those candidates over the next few weeks, too.

Per the Illinois Board of Election site, Citizens for Non-Partisan Local Elections contributed $10,000.00 to Mr. Ryles on March 12, 2013.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yep, but the only person identified with that organization is former 1st Ward alderman John English, an extremely nice guy who – in typical post-Marty Butler Homeowners Party fashion – went along to get along for his entire four years on the Council.

We understand that there are other people involved in this “new Homeowners Party,” but so far they’ve been in hiding. Perhaps they’ll pop out of the ground just before the election in an old-fashioned “We Support the Homeowners Candidates” newspaper ad, except that “Homeowners Candidates” will be changed to “Larry Ryles.”

On the way out of the LoWV Forum Thursday night, I was walking just ahead of former Mayor Frimark. An older gentleman was complaining to him that he had been a long time member of the Homeowners Party, but nobody had asked him whether a donation to Ryles was appropriate. I only heard a snippet of their conversation, but I suppose this explains it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It does indeed. We just find it curious that the “new HOs” seem to be doing their thing on the down-low, letting John English be their innoccuous front-man.

Dear Disgusted Resident:

Thank you for paying attention to what’s on your various tax and utility bills. It is a byzantine collection of charges. The blog publisher is right, though — the city is about 10%. Most of it is the school districts; some is the park district. Crook County, amazingly, has held the line on how much they charge us. God bless Mrs. Preckwinkle.

The city is getting things under control and that’s great.

The school districts and the park district, however, think it is just fine to keep on raising their budgets and our tax bills every single year by the full amount allowed under state law. That’s the lesser of the CPI or 5%.

It never occurs to them we might want to reduce their budgets.

The shell games like the one you identified are part of their strategy.

I’m sure that citizens like Mel Thillens mean well in advocating that we spend $18 million to make the youth campus a park. But Gayle Mountcastle and the permanent staff see it as a way to expand their portfolio. At our expense, of course.

Join me in voting NO on April 9th.

Thanks for the clarification on the “sewer” charges. So, funding for such is no longer blanketed under “city services”? – which I was told by either Township or CC Assessor includes: fire, police, streets and “sewer”, etc. – which lead to my conclusion of “multiple (and hidden) funding”. Thank goodness for that!

My complaints about our heavily taxed-funded education system extend well beyond PR. What easy prey we become when the “welfare of our children’s future” is at stake, despite that the more money we throw at it, the worse it gets nationwide. Here in PR we have top-paid teachers for NOT such top-rated schools, and yet we are constantly told that our school system is one of the main draws for families to move here. What always baffles me are the people who pay these extremely high education taxes and then send their children to schools outside the public system. Maybe we should ask them what REALLY drew them to PR – the parks? the retail? the safety? proximity to O’Hare and downtown? I, personally, would really like to know, and maybe it would redirect the “merits” of our city to another perspective. So, you parents out there who do so, please enlighten us! We need to know!

And one more comment – if the park referendum passes I sure hope it’s really a nice park so when that $72/yr tax to me escalates to far more then projected I’ll have a place to pitch my tent when “the tax man cometh.”

That’s our understanding of the sewer situation.

Park Ridge schools ARE better than the “neighborhood” schools in Edison Park, Norridge, Harwood Heights, Des Plaines and Niles. And Park Ridge is arguably a more attractive community than those. The question we keep asking, however, is: “Are those schools as good as they could/should be for what they cost the taxpayers?” And one big factor has to be the ISAT scores that let people compare our schools to schools in other communities.

Your point and my “round-a-bout” one are the same. I live in PR because it is an attractive place. I comment often on the fact that as I drive thru town on my way to work Sat morns, I feel like I’m driving thru Mayberry. People are everywhere – strolling, jogging, walking their dogs, kids biking around, people dashing in and out of Starbucks. And this is all at 7:45am! Do you see that in downtown DP, Mt.Prospect,AH, EP, Niles?
People aren’t just moving into or staying in PR for the schools, so it’s even more important that the tax dollars that system requires can fully substantiate the worth of its cost.



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