Is Teen Center Closing A Ryles Political Stunt?


Better grab a sandwich and a beverage, not-so-gentle readers, because this is a long one.

On October 13, 2010, and on December 29, 2010, we published posts about the Park Ridge Teen Center in response to the whines and howls from the Teen Center crowd when the City cut its funding – along with the funding for all but three other private “community groups”: Center of Concern, Meals on Wheels, and the Maine Center for Mental Health.

But apparently you can’t keep an entrenched entitlement down.

According to a March 8 article in the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate and a similar article in the March 13 edition of the Park Ridge Journal, the Teen Center is again threatening to close its doors at the end of this April because of…wait for it…the City’s cutting off of its funding.

Back in 2010!

If you think it’s not merely a coincidence that this latest threat arrives just in time for the April 9 election, then you have been paying attention.  And you also understand how slick the folks running challenger Larry Ryles’ mayoral campaign can be.

Of course, it could be just a coincidence Teen Center board member Kate Kerin and friends are bringing up this imminent closing – without any prior warning – just before next month’s mayoral election.  But that would mean the Teen Center operators didn’t know what their finances were; or they just had the financial rug pulled out from under them; or they suffered some other major setback.  But if any of those things had occurred, wouldn’t they have made it into the Teen Center’s press release?

They didn’t, so we have to assume that the timing of the announcement is an orchestrated political stunt.

Which should come as no surprise, considering that Ms. Kerin is the wife of former 4th Ward alderman John Kerin, who over the years contributed over $700 to Howard Frimark’s campaign fund.  Kerin also was a member of the old, post-Marty Butler Homeowner’s Party (the “old HOs”) and is rumored to be part of the “new Homeowners” group (nominally known as the “Citizens for Non-Partisan Local Elections”) that just gave Ryles a whopping $10,000 from that group’s $15,000 war chest it received when the old HOs went out of business in early 2009.  Kerin also gave the old HOs almost $700.

Besides being a one-term alderman, Kerin is a former chairman of the old Economic Development Corporation, a weird public-private group that spent City money but held closed meetings and achieved little actual economic development over the roughly 12 years its existence – other than recommending the Uptown TIF.  He’s also a Center of Concern board member and advocate, which makes him another Kerin whose pet ox has been gored by Schmidt’s efforts to stop tax dollars from going to unaccountable private corporations.

Using something like the Teen Center as a political pawn was never beneath Frimark, so there’s no reason to think it’s beneath his newest BFF, Ryles – or beneath Frimark/Ryles supporters such as the Kerins.  And there’s no reason to think that the timing for moving this particular pawn to help Ryles defeat incumbent Mayor Dave Schmidt (who beat Frimark 4 years ago) is just happenstance.

Mrs. Kerin is quoted in the H-A article as pointing out that: “Since the inception of the Teen Center, the city of Park Ridge was our main funding source.”  Indeed, the City had been a/the major source of funding for almost all of those many private “community group” corporations who fed at the public trough despite providing many/most of their “services” to non-Park Ridge residents, including the Center of Concern, Maine Center, Meals on Wheels, and the Park Ridge Senior Center, as run by private corporation Park Ridge Senior Services, Inc.

All those groups would still have been getting their government handouts if it were up to Frimark’s then-alderpuppets Don Bach (3rd), Jim Allegretti (4th), Robert Ryan (5th) and Tom Carey (6th), who voted to throw another $190,000 at those groups back in 2010 but came up one-vote short of over-riding Schmidt’s veto.  Since those alderpuppets’ departure from the Council in May 2011 without even seeking re-election, however, the Council has adopted two more budgets that haven’t included Teen Center funding.

But it looks like the Kerins and their Teen Center comrades are counting on a Ryles victory to change all that.

Despite Mrs. Kerin’s sky-is-falling laments 3 years ago, the Teen Center managed to remain open, reportedly by soliciting a major donation from the Park Ridge Juniors in 2012, and donations from other local groups like the Park Ridge Community Fund and the Kiwanis Club.  Why those groups have shut their wallets is a question neither the H-A story nor the Journal story addressed, presumably because the Teen Center’s press and its designated talkers preferred it that way.

We’ve always viewed the Teen Center as another one of those manufactured “needs” that are really “wants” or “amenities.”  Realistically, how many Park Ridge youths actually need a place to watch t.v., play games, and generally hang out?  That might even explain why the Teen Center reportedly serves so many teens from Chicago’s nearby Edison Park neighborhood (one of the more affluent neighborhoods of Chicago) and “from all of Maine Township.”  The only Teen Center users quoted in either article were from Chicago, with one girl talking about how she was invited there by her friends from Taft high school.

And THAT’s where the rub comes in.

As a matter of public policy, Park Ridge taxes should be used for Park Ridge property and Park Ridge residents.  Period.

If private corporation Park Ridge Teen Center, the private United Methodist Church (which provides the location) and other private community groups want to fund a teen hang-out 8 hours a week, or 80 hours a week, we don’t particularly care where the teens come from – even if we doubt those Edison Park kids have any more of a need for the Teen Center than their Park Ridge counterparts.  But Park Ridge taxpayers should not be forced to fund the recreation and entertainment of non-Park Ridge teens with tax dollars confiscated by the City and diverted to those private groups – especially when a good chunk of that money is going to pay for administrators and “adult supervisors” doing what should be unpaid “volunteer” work.

While the Teen Center leadership claims that they made “valiant fundraising efforts,” we sure didn’t see or hear about them.  But if they really did make serious fundraising efforts, then their inability to raise enough funds to keep their doors open speaks even more volumes about the lack of that widespread community support Teen Center proponents invariably claim.

Like the Park Ridge Senior Center (as run by private corporation Park Ridge Senior Services, Inc.), the Park Ridge Teen Center looks and sounds like just another semi-private club run by a select few for the benefit of a select few.  No vote of the taxpayers or their elected representatives created any of these private organizations; and no taxpayer oversight, either direct or indirect through their representatives, has ever been volunteered by those groups.

That’s particularly problematic when, for example, non-profit resource Guidestar shows no Teen Center Form 990 tax return since 2010.  So the ability of the City or the general public to keep a meaningful eye on these groups is virtually non-existent.  Yet the folks who run these private “community group” corporations cling tenaciously to their privacy, even when they demand public funding – and, even then, they prefer their handouts without any commensurate disclosures or accountability.

Kind of like those private corporations and banks that insist on privatizing their profits but always want the government to “socialize” their losses by means of subsidies and bailouts.

The Kalo Foundation and the Mural Committee have shown how to rally public support and raise money privately, without demanding handouts from the City and without badmouthing the City when they don’t get those handouts.  The folks running the Teen Center might learn a lesson from the Kalo and Mural folks.

Unfortunately, demanding handouts from the City and beefing about not getting them seem to be more their style than real fundraising.

Especially when there’s less than a month before an election, an incumbent who vetoed their handouts, and a challenger who keeps on emphasizing his “big heart.”

To read or post comments, click on title.

34 comments so far

Folks would do well to remember that contrary to what the Ryles faction would have you believe, Mayor Schmidt did not single handedly cut off funding to any group. The City Council did. And yes, the timing on this one is very fishy. But that’s just how Frimark rolls. He’s a petty, vindictive little man and Ryles has fallen right in lockstep with him. Birds of a feather….

EDITOR’S NOTE: The only question is whether Ryles is a Frimark stooge or a knowing Frimark co-conspirator.

Too funny. PD- You’re one a kind. I have a very short comment.

Howard Frimark and Paul Sheehan.

Nuff said, se y’all April 9th.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Don’t forget Dick “Cones” Barton, the City employee unions, the three former mayors, and around 25 former aldermen who will be plying their troth to Ryles because the taxpayer-centric government of Mayor Schmidt troubles them.

Did anyone catch the bit Ryles went on about at the CoC debate when the teen center was brought up? Something far fetched about talking to the kids at Maine South or one of the other schools in town and it turns out they all told him they don’t even hang out or shop in PR anymore! Apparently you can find them in Rosemont, Des Plaines, Niles, maybe even Morton Grove instead these days.

I didn’t quite get his point at first (I thought maybe he was trying to say their parents didn’t hug them enough), but can now assume the Starbucks in those towns must have nicer (taxpayer-funded) facades then the ones here. Hence the mass exodus of native teens and the Taft kids moving in to fill the void. So simple.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Apparently (according to Ryles), teenagers and retail both abhor a vacuum.

Why does Larry Ryles remind me of Sarah Palin? I can almost hear it – “I can see Rosemont from my backyard.”

Political stunt?? Does that mean Mayor “fiscally responsible, watching the tax payers money” or, as some would say, “Mayor No” is no longer proud of his position(s) on this issue??

EDITOR’S NOTE: Want to try your question again, as we don’t understand how a political stunt staged by Ryles supporters suggests anything about Schmidt’s view of his positions on issues like the Teen Center?

Anyone know if the last debate video has been posted? Can’t find it anywhere yet.

It is rather simple. If the Mayor is still as proud and resolute about his position(s) and decisions and vetos on this matter, this only represents another opportunity to confirm his position and contrast it with his opponent.

The only way this could be a political stunt is if this is an issue that the Mayor would rather not talk about or have people consider prior to the election.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Schmidt has never backed off from his “no tax dollars for private community groups.” What’s Ryles’ position…if not support for tax funding of those organizations that seems implicit in his “Big Heart” charade?

I thought of your blog immediately while reading that article, especially when I got to the part about how much the Teen Center means to the needy Edison Park/Taft kids. I thought the slant of the article was strange or somehow incomplete and that the timing seemed fishy. I didn’t know the full backstory, which is, I guess, why the article didn’t make sense. Now it does.

This is what I do know. I’ve lived here for 2 years. I have a teen and a pre-teen and I’ve never heard a peep from any of the many families I’ve met through school and sports and the neighborhood about the Teen Center.

I only vaguely knew it existed. If it was truly trying, like so many other community groups, to raise funds, I’d think I would have somehow caught wind of it. Which leads me to believe they certainly haven’t put much effort in raising any money themselves.

What’s more, I can see the need for a “Teen Center” in a community where parental oversight is minimal and/or where opportunities and resources for teens are hard to come by. Neither of those things is true about Park Ridge…so it doesn’t surprise me that it doesn’t have much visible support. There’s just not much need.

The fact that Ryles and Co. want to exploit it in this way speaks volumes to me about little they seem to know or care about what matters to residents. I will be embarrassed to call him my Mayor if Ryles is elected.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sometimes it seems like there are more backstories than front-stories here in Park Ridge, especially for newbies (or the conveniently clueless or amnesiac veterans).

“Ryles and Co.” have to exploit things like Teen Center funding because they need to distract the voters from the fact that Ryles’ entire campaign is just a smoke-and-mirrors rehash of all the old failed ideas from the Wietecha, Marous and Frimark years that got the City in the financial mess Schmidt and the Council have been digging us out of.

Kate Kerin has devoted many years to the Teen Center and it has been a haven for many Park Ridge teens as well as teens from other places. Its sad that you have to tear down the woman and all the people who have devoted their time and energy to the Center, especially after your friend Schmidt took away their funding. When Larry Ryles wins things will be set right again.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you had paid attention to all of those votes, you would know that the funding in every instance was taken away by the vote of the Council, albeit with Schmidt’s encouragement and sometimes in the course of sustaining one of his vetoes.

Ms. Kerin may be a wonderful woman in many ways, but in this case she’s effectively trying to steal money from taxpayers (through City funding) who haven’t been willing to give to the Teen Center voluntarily. That’s just plain wrong, and deplorable.

I don’t think anyone is trying to disparage Mrs. Kerin or the teen center but after reading the article and knowing the proximity to the election it’s clear to anyone what it is… A political stunt. If it’s not it’s just REALLY bad timing.

Hey 12:42, how much did you contribute last year to every Park Ridge charity organization last year? Don’t really care but don’t tell me that I have to pay more in taxes so PR charities can exist.

That is great! Then rather than a political stunt this is simply a great opportunity for Schmidt to further differentiate himself from his opponent.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Have you been merely asleep for the past four years, or in a coma? Schmidt’s entire record – including as it relates to tax funding of community groups – differentiates him from Ryles. And if you or any other voter is having trouble figuring that out, we submit it’s because Ryles’ stealth campaign is doing its best to not take a more definite stand on anything, other than “big heart” – whatever that means in practice.

I too am anxious to watch the last debate hosted by the LoWV to see if anyone was able to sneak a relevent question in there amidst the muck from special interests regarding economic irrelevancies from the CoC or the tedious emotional pleas of niche community groups.

It would be completely sickening to make it all the way to April 9th without Ryles once having to explain to us in concise language how he intends to keep our tax levies equal to CPI!?

All the distractions of heart and hugs have obscured the fact that he is still trying to play the “my budget is better than Schmidt’s” game on top of the teddy bear game. I mean he, in effect, accused Schmidt outright of distorting the surplus projections at the CoC debate and should, above all else, have to answer to us how his budget will operate.

Maybe this ground was covered last Thursday, but based on the “Cost/worth – We can do better than that!” clip shown on PR Patch it seems like Ryles is still only willing to argue in the abstract.

This is exactly what Nassim Taleb would describe as trying to completely remove one’s own amount of “skin in the game”. Ryles & co. want the upside and Schmidt and the taxpayer can keep the all downside.

“When Larry Ryles wins things will be set right again.”

Meaning certain groups will get funding from the City? While others, who arguably do just as much for the community, will have to continue to work to find funding on their own?

As as someone said, this is not to disparage the Teen Center or its director or the service they provide…but seriously has she not heard of applying for grants or holding a fundraising event the way the majority of nonprofits routinely do? This article boo-hoos about how they can’t survive after their City funding has been cut off. How about all the groups that never had any tax-payer subsidized funding in the first place and still manage to survive?

The Teen Center obviously did not meet a significant need for a place to go, perhaps through no fault of its own (being inaccessible on foot to the under-16 set it served might be one reason). And they may have been less than vigorous in their fundraising. But it is, to use your word, “deplorable” for you to characterize anyone involved with the Center as “stealing” from the taxpayers. You have been hunkered down listening to hate radio too long. It’s not “stealing” if citizens, legally elected by their fellow citizens to create and implement operating budgets, choose to allocate funds for this or that service provider. We may agree or not that putting service providers in genuine vendor relationships with the City may be better than outright grants, but the fact remains it’s not stealing. We live in a republic in which representatives are elected to do the will of the peeps. If the peeps don’t like funding this or that, they can tell their elected rep (alderman)to vote “No” next time. (Conversely, if they do want it funded, they can tell him to vote “yes.”) This kind of inflammatory, over-the-top personal attack is not needed and makes less of you, not Kate. And you don’t have to be a Ryles fan to get that.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ms. Kerin and her fellow Teen Center staffers insist it does indeed “meet a significant need,” which is why they are ripping the City for not funding them.

How is the Teen Center “inaccessible on foot to the under-16 set”? If you are saying kids under 16 can’t walk to United Methodist, what’s your preferred location?

You’re right: it was the “legally elected” public officials who did the actual “stealing” from the taxpayers: the Teen Center and its paid “adult supervisors” were merely the intended and willing beneficiaries of that theft. But given the lack of public outcry, apparently “the peeps” are just fine with the Council’s ending that theft in 2010, even if Ms. Kerin doesn’t seem to get the “no” side of republican (small “r”) government as well as the “yes” side.

Finally, the only “hate radio” this editor regularly listens to is NPR, to go with the only “hate tv” he regularly watches being MSNBC. Since you brought up the media, however, can we assume Ryles got his “heart and hugs” campaign from the Lifetime network?

Anonymous 9:03- Maybe you are right that the accusation of the Teen Center staff “trying to steal money from the taxpayers” is not quite correct.

I would propose that what they are really doing is trying to BLACKMAIL us into giving them taxpayer funds or else they close their doors forever with the implication that when these sorry sap teens have no where else to go we should all hang our heads in shame and feel so sorry. Yeah right!

Maybe Larry & co. don’t see the value in teaching young people that in life you should have to work for the things you enjoy and love, because no one else is going to do it for you. So no, lets not suggest that if these kids really care about this place that they get out there and raise the funds to save it themselves. That doesn’t fit the coddle and hug model of parenting these days…

Here’s a thought experiment for Ryles, Kerin or any of their ilk: Next time your teen wants the money for a new phone but doesn’t want to get a job and you say that times are tough and work hasn’t been as easy to come by as it once was, and they turn around and say “Well fine, then I’ll just have to stop talking to you for good”, are you going to run out and buy them that phone?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since Park Ridge has provided a Teen Center for Edison Park kids for all these years, Ms. Kerin et al. should hit up the Edison Park merchants to sponsor a teen center over there for the next decade or so. Who knows, maybe a few Park Ridge kids will use it.

You nailed it, PD. For whatever reason these people decide on some social cause and form a not-for-profit corporation so that they can control it with minimal outside oversight and no interference. Then they demand government money and the government mopes (usually friends of the NFP organizers) give it to them without any strings attached, including asking why those “adult supervisors” you refer to are being paid for what should be volunteer work. And when government finally wakes up and cuts off the allowance, people like Kerin and Ryles go to the newspapers and wail about how heartless they are.

If this is such a great thing for Park Ridge, why don’t the Juniors (or the Jaycees, or the Rotary, or Kiwanis, etc.) become permanent sponsors rather than just dabble for a year?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Good question.

I’m still wondering what will Ryles do about the Teen Center if he is elected, because he hasn’t come out and actually said he would restore all these community group funding, just implies it with this heart and hugs business.
I think I’m like most Park Ridge residents who contribute good money to their churches and charities that mean something to them. The last thing I want or need is the city deciding who I should contribute to.

EDITOR’S NOTE: But maybe you’re just not as enlightened about your contributions as our elected officials are – or, should we say, USED to be.

I have it from MA Tate at the LWV that Joe Kovit videoed the last debate and that it will air on Comcast “some time the next 3 Mondays.”

Pardon me if this is off topic but does Ryles endorse 2nd ward Melissis? In the past election Melissis donated money to Frimarks campaign and Frimark previously appointed him to the City’s Civil Service and Fair Housing Commission. Sounds kinda Chicago politic’ish, or is that how things go around here. When Melissis knocked on my door he did not actually say he was being endorsed by anyone but made it seem like it was a under the table endorsement by Schmidt. Is this BS or flip-flopping? thanks

EDITOR’S NOTE: From the positions he has espoused on the campaign trail so far, it would seem that Mr. Milissis’ views are much more consistent with Mayor Schmidt’s than with challenger Ryles’, but that’s just our opinion.

Unfortunately, except for the town hall debates organized by the mayor, and the candidates’ forum put on by the Park Ridge Republican Women, nobody else has given aldermanic candidates a venue in which to go toe-to-toe. So you’ll have to draw whatever inferences you can from what the candidates say and how they say it.

Update on Videoed debate: The airing dates are 3/35, 4/1, 4/8.
I thanked MA Tate for the update and inquired if Joe had considered posting on Youtube for those who do not have Comcast. Let’s see.
Personally, I think that all of these debates should have been posted in a convenient location for any and all voting residents to view. But I guess that the CofC only hosted their venue as a fund raiser and once the $ were paid and the lights shut off that they felt their “job” was over. Or, dare I say, it was a self-serving venue and if one wanted to hear it, one should have “paid” to do so.
Maybe I’m off base here, but if I understand correctly, the PR CofC is primarily funded by the State of Il – or in other words, THE TAXPAYERS.

I’d only add “Shame on them!”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks for tracking this info down. We agree that the more available these videos are, the better.

Frankly, we don’t know for sure how the Chamber of Commerce is funded, but we understood it was by membership dues, not the government.

I incorrectly typed Joe Kovit (re: video of last debate) and it is Jeff Kovit, who can be reached at [email protected]

Let’s revisit how Ryles plans on improving Economic Development. He wants to be the spokesman for Park Ridge and key on several national and local retailers attracting them with hugs and kisses. He mentions a few on his campaign website. Urban Outfitters, Ann Taylor, Forever 21, GameStop…..oh wait, Gamestop just shut down it’s doors in Evanston yesterday…hhmm wonder how well it would’ve done in Park Ridge. Maybe Evanston didn’t hug enough.

EDITOR’S NOTE: From 2005 through 2009, the City had a six-figure salaried economic director AND mayor Howard Frimark, the consummate salesman; and other than the businesses that moved into the Uptown development with the various incentives that developer offered, we drew in few significant businesses. So if those two couldn’t draw in big-time – or even a lot of small-time – retail, we question how Frimark’s disciple, Ryles, will fare any better.

Ironically, without Frimark and/or the salaried economic development director chasing retail, we’ve acquired Five Guys, Chipotle and Potbelly’s; and the under-construction Whole Foods will be the biggest dog to set up shop here in quite some time – even after having been turned down by the City Council for over $2 million of tax revenue sharing. Which suggests that retailers know where they want to be; and when they don’t give a serious look at Park Ridge, its for reasons that Frimark couldn’t do anything about and his acolyte Ryles won’t be able to do anything about – with or without a part-time or full-time staff economic development person.

In addition to the GameStop closure there are a few other questions I’d like to ask him on his quest for new business. I didn’t have the opportunity to ask him this when he visited the Uptown Girlz grand opening a few weeks back. But looking at his other targets, Ann Taylor, Forever 21, and Urban Outfitters. Mr. Ryles how would our exisitng business’s Uptown Girls, Camp Willow, and other independent retailers fare if you brought such business’s into their market? That’s really being nice to your existing business’s in town isn’t it? Or perhaps they don’t need hugs.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If any new business that competes with an existing local business chooses to locate here, you can be pretty sure the new business believes it can eat the existing business’s lunch – hugs or no hugs.

Just got off the phone with Jeff Kovits and the LWV debate is already up on Youtube and he’s looking into putting it up on WOW.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We just went to YouTube and couldn’t find it. Any directions you can share with us and PW readers about how to find it?

I am surprised!!! Kate Kerin knows how to fundraise. Back in 2010 she brought together a group of people to raise over 24,000.00 to build a library close to Mount Kilimanjaro.

Kate must be tired of running the teen center, because when Kate puts her mind to it she has shown she has the ability to raise needed money successfully. Or it is a political stunt.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Now that they’ve got a library, maybe those Kilimanjaro teens need a place to hang out with their friends from the Serengeti.

All this talk about What Would Ryles Do….

Ryles cannot do anything without the support of the 7 aldermen. It is our alderman that vote. Ryles can only follow Dave Schmidt’s lead and if Larry feels the aldermen are out of line, he can VETO. or he can be the tie breaking vote if an alderman is not present or recuse themselves from voting.

However, with all of Larry’s “Shame on you” for what Dave has been successful vetoing and sending the alderman back to rethink. I really don’t know how Larry plans on pulling it all off.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Howard will explain it to him.

As the much-disparaged Economic Development Task Force spent the last year concluding, the City of Park Ridge’s obligation is to create reasonable requirements for businesses, administer them fairly (sorry, Howard) and consistently and promptly, and not let bureaucracy-for-its-own-sake get in the way. After that, professional marketing and communications that tells residents and others what’s going on with, for example, shared business events will, by inference, help with marketing what’s here and attract what’s wanted. Along with that, actually pursuing business via a professional economic development representative will close the deal if it’s closeable. (As you say, the big dogs know where they want to be based on demographics, not demogogery.) You gotta have heart, yes. But a few brains wouldn’t hurt. Wishful thinking and saber-rattling won’t make “Mission Accomplished.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Can you identify three unreasonable requirements for businesses imposed by the City of Park Ridge?

The Youtube wideo is titled Park Ridge Mayoral Candidates Forum 3/14/13.

Funny how here we are almost 4 years later and the conversations around this issue are exactly the same. There has been no progress over the last 4 years about what the answer is or, if there is even an answer at all.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t have an answer because we never honestly answer the question: “If Park Ridge is this outstanding place for retail, why isn’t retail pouring in?”

And whatever the answer to that question might be, how does it jibe with the fact that businesses like Whole Foods, Five Guys, Chipotle, Potbelly’s ARE coming here – without tax concessions, facade improvements, an economic development director seducing them, or a mayor hugging them and stalking them in Las Vegas.

my 7:37 post is referencing the economic development post.


This may come as a surprise, but if you are a Schmidt supporter and you agree with an open transparent government who’s primary responsibility was to steer votes on the taxpayer’s behalf, then you better get your walking shoes on because this one’s going down to the wire. I, as well as many others, took his bait and thought this guy was going to put us to sleep with his stealth campaign but now see it as brilliant. He waited for 6 weeks before the election, when he knew he was going to receive $10K from the previous HomeOwners party and to push a “doom and gloom” debate to sway the voters. This guy has a bigger facade then Frimark when it comes to hugs and smiles. His hand’s will be going straight to your back pocket and you better let your friends and neighbors be aware of it before they fall for it. Last night I watched the City Hall debate and saw nothing but deception and trickery on any response he provided. This guy has learned from Frimark well and the Schmidt campaign is now in the same position they were 4 yrs ago behind the dollars, they need to get the foot soldiers back in gear to stay in front.

@7:42 you are so right. Ryles is everywhere now, including paid ads on my Facebook feed. I didn’t really see the onslaught coming until now when, as you say, it’s almost too late to do anything. Except get to the polls and vote for Schmidt and hope others do the same.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s what $10,000 from the new Homeowners, $1,000 from the public works union, and another $1,000 from an old “friend of Frimark,” John Bredemann, will do for you. And we suspect there’s more of that special interest money still to come.

But Schmidt got badly outspent by Frimark – $61,478 to $32,460 – in 2009, yet he won convincingly. Obviously, he will be badly outspent by Frimark…er…we mean Ryles…again this time around. So it’s up to the voters to show whether a record of integrity, fiscal responsibility, transparency and accountability can beat smoke and mirrors backed by a ton of special-interest money.

I’m one of the “adult supervisors” at the Teen Center. Think what you will about the politics of the situation, but know this – none of us that work there went into this for the money. I can’t speak for everyone, but to liken us to thieves is more than absurd. We have given our time (most every Friday and Saturday night) to provide a place for teens of the area to come and hang out off the streets. True, PR is not known for its “tough streets”, but there have been times when we have provided a safe haven for a few kids to get away from bullying, fights, etc.

I’ve seen a quite few comments that have been less than sad to see the TC center go (and from all I can tell, it will indeed be closing) and that’s troubling. To think that kids – teens especially – are “fine” and that PR has no problems with its “parental oversight” is short-sighted at best. The kids I’ve met over the last few years have opened up my eyes to what they are experiencing, and I can tell you, many parents (myself included) have no clue. Even though I have teens of my own, the perspective I’ve gained has been an eye-opener.

Over the years we’ve seen all types of teens come and go. There are good and bad, smart and struggling, popular and wallflowers. But no matter the kid – they were always welcome at the TC no matter what. It’s been a place where they can “get away” from their parents, yet still be supervised. That may sound canned, but that’s something almost every kid has said to me at one time or another.

I feel very lucky to have been able to share in conversations with these young adults. Whether you care to believe it or not, the TC will be missed by the teens of this area.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If all this isn’t just political pap, why didn’t YOU, Ms. Kerin, and the rest of the “adult supervisors” come out with this article in the paper six months ago? Or started staging fundraisers that the average resident actually heard about and might consider attending? Or getting sponsors? Or otherwise making a serious effort to fight for the place?

No, Mr. Johnson, either you folks don’t care enough about the place to bust your butts to raise the kind of money for it you claim you need, or this community (for whatever reason) isn’t buying what you’re selling. Either way, years of putting the arm on a heretofore compliant City Hall appears to have turned you into dependents surviving on entitlements.

But look on the bright side: after decades of farming their kids out to Park Ridge’s teen center, maybe Edison Park will give those Taft kids a Teen Center that Park Ridge kids can go to.

I see you missed the point of my post “editor”. No one working at the Teen Center is “surviving on entitlements”. All of us work 5+ days a week and then turn around and give up our weekend nights to be there (but maybe you’re right, maybe we still don’t bust our butts enough). And even if that wasn’t exactly your aim – your language speaks loud and clear. That notwithstanding, we do it willingly because it’s worth it. Perhaps you also missed the part about how the teens that go there, appreciate it. Who really cares where they’re from?

But it seems that this will fall on deaf ears. You (and your “fans”) probably see the Teen Center only as a money sucking “entitlement”. I guess I can’t blame you for your ignorance, after all, it’s not like you ever worked there and got to know the teens of Park Ridge or Edison Park or Niles. They’re probably not worth it anyway, right? Oh, forgive me, I’m sure that’s not what you meant by saying the community isn’t “buying what we’re selling”. What exactly do you think we’re selling “editor”? You think someone’s getting rich off this somehow?

A any rate, I will take some of your advice to heart though. I will look into seeing what I can do for my neighborhood here in Edison Park and the surrounding area. The kids and parents here might appreciate it a bit more – after all, most of those that went to the Teen Center are from EP and go to Taft.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Instead of trying to run your little guilt trip, Mr. Johnson, why didn’t you just answer our questions from the previous EDITOR’S NOTE: “[W]hy didn’t YOU, Ms. Kerin, and the rest of the “adult supervisors” come out with this article [about the Teen Center’s funding crisis] in the paper six months ago? Or started staging fundraisers that the average resident actually heard about and might consider attending? Or getting sponsors? Or otherwise making a serious effort to fight for the place?”

That you folks can’t raise $22,000 a year means one or more of the following three things: you completely suck at fundraising (because you grew too accustomed to your entitlement from the City all these years); the general public doesn’t hold your Teen Center in particularly high regard; or you folks are treating the Teen Center as a political football.

If you, Mrs. Kerin, and your fellow “adult supervisors” want to take your hobby to Edison Park, God bless. We’re pretty confident the local politicians over there can find a slush fund or two from which to throws some public money your way.

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>


(optional and not displayed)