Civics Lesson Lost On City Officials And Freeloaders Alike


Talk to any Park Ridge alderman and he probably can tell you about how often a Park Ridge resident complains to him about some problem involving the Park Ridge Park District, or Park Ridge-Niles School District 64.

That’s because too many residents apparently don’t know enough basic civics to realize and/or understand that the City is a different governmental body from the Park District or District 64 – or that each of those bodies is basically autonomous, with their own separate budgets and tax levies.

That means if the Park District or D-64 were to run out of money, the City wouldn’t cover their bounced checks.  And vice versa.

While most of the City’s taxpayers are also taxpayers of the Park District and D-64, the populations of all three are not identical because their borders are not the same.  For example, certain parts of Park Ridge (such as Park Ridge Pointe) are not within the Park District’s boundaries, and certain parts of the Park District and D-64 are in Niles.

Not only is this concept lost on many ordinary residents, but it seems to be lost on certain City officials, according to a story in last week’s Park Ridge Herald-Advocate (“Officials looking into Park Ridge Baseball’s rent-free use of city building,” Nov. 21).

As reported in that article, for the past two years Park Ridge Baseball/Softball, Inc. (“PRBS”) – a private corporation that runs the Park Ridge Park District’s baseball and softball programs as an “affiliate” of the Park District – has been using the City’s former public works building at Elm and Greenwood, rent free, for winter practices.  In the process, PRBS has run up approximately $9,500 a year in gas and electric bills.  Not surprisingly, the idea was initially approved by then-city mgr. Jim Hock, which should make it suspect on that basis alone.

We have a problem with $9,500 being charged to the account of the City’s taxpayers, some of whom are not even Park District taxpayers, just so a private corporation affiliated with the Park District can have a free practice facility for its program participants.  That’s not a king’s ransom, to be sure, but it is another one of those situations where the principle is what counts – as well as the concern that, if the little things can be botched, then bigger things also are at risk of of going awry.

Like those no-bid contracts for $32,000 of fire hydrants, $150,000 of defibrillators, and million dollar-plus professional service fees for sewer and flood control consulting and design.

How do our highly-paid City officials explain PRBS’s free use of a City facility?  Like they took a crash course from the Bill Clinton School of Parsing and Dissembling.

City Mgr. Shawn Hamilton says he doesn’t think the free use constitutes a violation of the City Council Policy No. 36 because PRBS is an affiliate of another public body, the Park District; and those baseball practices constitute “approved meetings” of “other governmental bodies.”  Amazingly, City Attorney Everette “Buzz” Hill seems to agree with Hamilton, claiming that the phrase “approved meetings of other governmental bodies” can be broadly interpreted to include a gathering of baseball or softball players organized by a private corporation that effectively serves as a vendor of the Park District’s baseball and softball programs.

The silliness, if not outright disingenuousness, of such a tortured interpretation of Policy No. 36’s plain language should be obvious to any plain-speaking, plain-hearing person.  Unless, of course, the first thought that pops into your head whenever you drive past Kalina Field or Hinkley Park while a baseball or softball game is in progress is: “Gee, I didn’t know the Park Board was meeting tonight”; or “What number on tonight’s agenda is ‘runners on the corners, two outs and your .091 hitter at the plate?’ ”

Then again, you have to remember that Bill Clinton didn’t have “sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky,” either.

Don’t expect the absurdity baseball practices being treated the same as Park Board meetings to bother the folks who run PRBS, or the parents of the li’l sluggers who get to sponge off City taxpayers, if only to the tune of $9,600 a year, and thereby avoid having to pay the City to use the old City garage space.  That way, those parents can more easily afford to pay the $200/hour it reportedly costs to rent space at The Dome in Rosemont, or to pay the costs of “supervision” whenever PRBS uses the Park District’s own facilities.

Not surprisingly, long-time PRBS czar Garry Abezetian calls the arrangement “a great partnership” that “saves the kids and families in the program from having to rent space.”  He must have taken the Bill Clinton course, too, because all partners in a “partnership” are supposed to benefit from the “partnership’s” activities; and, try as we might, we can’t see what benefit the City and its taxpayers are getting out of this deal.

According to Abezetian, PRBS has paid for some “improvements” to the old City garage, like “new carpeting and lighting and a fresh coat of paint.”  Of course, all of that just happens to benefit…wait for it…PRBS!  The City previously was able to rent that facility to NICOR for $250,000 in the last year of NICOR’s tenancy, without any of those “improvements.”  We seriously doubt any prospective purchaser of that property is going to care one whit about, or pay one dime more for, those amenities.

We don’t begrudge PRBS, or any other community organizations which satisfies the eligibility requirements of Policy No. 36, the use of City facilities.  Section I (A) of that Policy, however, permits non-City use of City facilities – other than the current Public Works Service Center and the Library – only for “[a]pproved meetings of other governmental bodies (i.e., Maine South Clinical Government Class and the Cook Co. Zoning Board).”  Kids’ baseball practices and games are not “approved meetings,” nor are they conduct of another “governmental body.”

That means we have yet another instance of “what’s-in-it-for-us?” private mooching – like with those D-64 “boycotters” we wrote about in our 11.18.13 post.  And our City officials don’t seem any more inclined or competent to deal with such moochers than are our D-64 officials.

So just stick that $9,500 of gas and electric charges on the taxpayers’ bill, and chalk it up to the shameless once again prevailing over the spineless.

Who, in this instance, also have shown themselves to be clueless.

To read or post comments, click on title.

29 comments so far

Well, you sure are consistent, PW. Making mountains out of molehills again. At least you graduated from a $4000 used SUV to $9000 of heat and electric. I can’t wait until you look into how many slices of baloney the police station puts in the sandwiches it serves prisoners. 1 or 2?

EDITOR’S NOTE: No, we’re just pointing out the molehills. It’s only a “mountain” when it comes to the policy aspect of it, because it’s so painfully stupid we have to question whether some of our City officials need GPS to get to and from work every day.

We’re betting “2” – but that’s assuming the Park Ridge jail actually holds prisoners on a regular basis.


I disagree with you about the insignificance of these kinds of things. Anytime dumb decisions are made by City staff it ends up on the City Council’s plate, and then thye have to spend time dealing with somthing that distracts from other more important matters. And PW is right when he says that a kids baseball game is not a Park District meeting.

The prisoners in jail get McDonalds, I think. I hope the City only shops on the dollar menu.

Why can’t some people, including 8:20PM, understand that decisions should be made to adhere to principles and policies, regardless of the amount of money involved?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because principles and policies are hard to live by, especially when they cost you money (li’l slugger parents) or don’t let you play Santa Clause to li’l sluggers and their parents by giving away OPM (PRBS and the City staffers who authorized the free use of the old public works building).

This situation may be a molehill, but that doesn’t make it right.

I would, however, be way more interested in having the city, school districts and park district explain how the city’s TIF fund means that some of my taxes paid to the city are actually paid to the other entities, all of which seem to have sudden surpluses yet continue raising taxes that I actually see on my bill. Same principle, many more zeroes on the end.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Some of your City taxes are BRIBE money promised to the school districts and the Park District so that they wouldn’t file suit to prevent the TIF.

D-64 had the most to lose from the TIF’s diversion of property tax revenues, so it hired top-drawer private TIF attorney John B. Murphey to advise the D-64 Board. Murphey repeatedly advised that a suit against the TIF would likely be successful because the TIF zone did not satisfy the “but for” TIF test: that the property in that zone would not be redeveloped BUT FOR the City’s multi-million dollar investment.

Despite paying Murphey a tidy sum in fees, the then-D-64 Board members – Joe Baldi, Rich Brendza, Ares Dalianis, Christine Heyde, Dean Krone, Steve Latreille and Sue Runyon – wimped out, took the bribe money, and rubber-stamped the boondoggle then-mayor Ron Wietecha and the Homeowner’s Party-dominated Council wanted.

The rest is history.

First off, the $9500 is not a real cost number, it’s an assumption.

Second, it was an agreement made years ago by the city CEO. So PRBaseball is doing everything they should be doing.

Third, this is nothing like the SUV political kickback to Maine Township. There is no tangible transfer of money.

Does the city ever use Hodges Park or other parks for activities without paying? Did the mayor pay the park district for his “fundraiser” at Hodges Park???? Who mowed the grass for that event? Was there any seedlings that were destroyed?

Should “Concerts in the Park” be banned or admission be sought? I don’t attend, but I see steps from city council used as well as the park? How do we navigate that cost between government bodies?

Obviously, I’m being facetious. The point is, nitpicking for things like this is neurotic, negative and a waste of time.

Why leave a taxpayer owned facility dark, dirty and unused, when it can actually be used by TAXPAYERS in the town. It is OUR facility. We get the different taxing entities, but it’s called “best use” of an asset for the taxpayers.

Crossover of taxing bodies makes perfect sense in this case. It’s actually a plus to this town that bureaucracy doesn’t rule everything. It’s smart governing.

Here is another issue the city council would rather debate rather than dealing with the “mountains”. No good leader focuses on the “molehills” while ignoring the mountains.

I think many of us had hope this council, which is heavily controlled by the mayor, would be one of action. However, it’s starting to feel a lot like the last few councils.

Let the kids practice…in fact, don’t waste the time of part-time elected officials with pointless issues. There are too many real issues for it to be silly season. We don’t have the luxury.

Focus on the mountains.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Spoken just like an anonymous freeloader – anonymity being something most freeloaders insist on preserving so as not to jeopardize their standing in the community.

First, that $9,500 number was based on “[c]opies of utility bills for 1200 W. Elms St. obtained by the Park Ridge Herald Advocate.” That sounds like “a real cost number” to us.

Second, just because PRBS cut a deal with the former city mgr. before he was sacked doesn’t make PRBS and its participants not freeloaders. They’re just opportunistic freeloaders.

Third, there IS a “tangible transfer of money”: $9,500 of City money went to ComEd and NICOR that presumably would not have been spent if not for PRBS’s use of the facility.

Re Hodges Park, are you claiming the Park District mowed the grass specially for the Mayor’s and Council’s fundraiser, the proceeds of which went to the organization that puts on the concerts? Are you claiming the use of the City Hall steps by the Park Ridge Civic Orchestra increased maintenance or repair costs for those steps?

We’re not suggesting the old public works garage be left “dark, dirty and unused, when it can actually be used by TAXPAYERS in the town.” We’re just saying that (a) its use should conform to City policy No. 36, which it most definitely doesn’t; and (b) its use (in conformity with the policy) should be paid for, at least so as to cover all costs to the City. But freeloaders have a hard time with those kinds of concepts.

The ONLY thing about this mayor and this Council that “feel[s] a lot like the last few councils” is that there’s only 1 mayor and only 7 aldermen. But if you liked Frimark and/or the pre-May 2011 councils, you must have positively LOVED multi-million dollar deficits, crumbling infrastructure, etc.

Most freeloaders loved those things, too.

Charge admissions for “Concerts In The Park”, surely you jest….don’t tell me you’re going to let that one go. Ironic how the righteous PWD conveniently looks the other way when laws are blateneddly disregarded with the consumption of alcohol during the CITP. but is willing to nickel and dime other less serious issues. Is it because you and your buddies on the city council are regulars at CITP? C’mon dog, you’re better than that!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Charging admission for an outdoor concert where venue access is not restricted/controlled is a non-starter – for the same reason that you can’t effectively charge admission for the use of the various parks around town. But if you want to fence in the parks so admission can be charged, show up at a Park Board meeting and propose it.

Although a supporter of CITP, this editor was able to attend only one CITP this season: the one on 08.09.13 at which Mayor Schmidt and Alds. Sweeney, Milissis, Smith, Shubert, Knight, Mazzuca and Maloney held a barbecue – on City property, not in Hodges Park – that raised over $1,200 for the Park Ridge Fine Arts Society.

If your beef is with alcohol consumption during concerts in Hodges Park, in violation of Park District ordinance, feel free to file a complaint with the Park District and the Park Ridge Police Dept., and show up at a Park Board meeting demanding better enforcement at CTIPs. Meanwhile, please explain how the consumption of alcoholic beverages in Hodges Park during CITP cost the taxpayers $9,500 a year (what PRBS’ freeloader use of the old public works building cost the taxpayers), or cost the taxpayers anything more than what the CTIPs would have cost irrespective of alcohol consumption?

I’m a proponent of city/park events like concerts in the park. It’s a great community event for people who choose to enjoy it, in a very nice setting. I don’t participate, but I can recognize that there are things in the city that can go on even with public dollars that I don’t use.

There is hypocrisy on this issue and the mayor/council fundraiser, which according to CITP website said it was held at Hodges Park. it’s on the front page.

The community should be able to share public (taxpayer owned) resources for the betterment of each other if it makes sense.

The exact reason I brought up the concerts is that it’s a seamless joint effort between two taxing bodies. I’ll call it good government. In fact, I see the Park District even DONATED $2000 to the concert series.

Again, the $9500 is ASSUMED. Was there a meter that tracked usage when practice was going on? No.

This isn’t freeloading, it’s doing the best we can as a community with the resources that are available. Why is this even an issue?

Lastly, I think readers of this blog are seeing a clear divide in town. Those that USE uptown for deeply discounted parking as well as concerts…and those that don’t.
Hmmmm, maybe more of us freeload than we think?

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you actually attended that August concert, you would have seen that the barbecue was set up on the City Hall property, not in Hodges Park. Whether one could call that “at Hodges Park” versus “in Hodges Park” does not change the fact that it was NOT on Park District property.

Again, the $9500 is not “ASSUMED” but came directly from the City’s utility bills. Since PRBS did not offer to pay ANYTHING for its use, and the City didn’t demand any payment for its use, we won’t waste a whole lot of concern about whether there is a base utility cost versus an enhanced cost tied to PRBS’s use. If PRBS wants to make that argument, let them run the numbers and pay the difference – although we won’t hold our breath waiting for that to happen.

How ironic that a pro-freeloader is complaining about “deeply discounted parking.” Care to explain what measure you are using? But if you really think the rates should be higher, by all means show up at a Council meeting and propose it.

It is not about policy (or at least consistent application of policy). He gets to pick an choose when this “steadfast” policy makes sense and doesn’t make sense.

But the part he really likes is he gets to call his fellow PR citizen’s freeloaders when ever he feels like it. He seems to really get a kick out of that.

By the way, I have never been to a CIP and my kids do not play baseball but I have no problem with my tax dollars supporting either the concerts or the use of the public works building. I hope those who use them find these tax payer supported events and services to be of value.

I also know that there are services provided by taxes that I probably get more than “my share” of. For example, I would bet if you took a hard look at the numbers, my family is getting more than our share of library use.

That is the way it works. Your tax dollars are not like a cafeteria. Ya see it’s called living in a community.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ah, the old “living in a community” argument…one of our favorites because you can count on it being selectively employed by the users/freeloaders.

But if it’s that kind of “living in a community” you want, let’s take it up a notch. Why not eliminate vehicle stickers and parking fees, and jack up property taxes to make up for the loss of that revenue? How about doing the same for water and sewer fees? And shouldn’t the Park District get rid of those anti-community Community Center, Oakton Ice Rink and Driving Range fees? Of course, those annoying $260 book/materials/activity fees at D-64 would go too, right?

And yes, this editor loves to call freeloaders “freeloaders.”

PRBS is also being subsidized by the PRPD. Though an affiliate of the PRPD, the PRPD has no financial or organizational or management control over PRBS. According to a recent article in the HA, PRBS pays only $7 per participant per season to use the PRPD owned and maintained baseball fields. Assuming 1500 participants, how does $10,500 cover the cost of mowing, dirt, etc needed to maintain the fields?

In addition, PRBS has exclusive use of the PRPD owned and maintained fields. No other baseball organization like junior hawks or Little League International can use the fields.

PRBS only recently started providing financial information to the PRPD. Per the 2010 tax return, PRBS collected over $294,000 in revenue and $319,000 in 2009. No financial information is available for previous years because despite collecting several hundred thousand in revenue each year, no tax returns were filed before 2009. Why? Why did the PRPD board not ask for any financial accountability from baseball despite providing baseball with nearly free use of the fields? Why weren’t returns filed? How has PRBS a not-for-profit spent the hundreds of thousands of dollars they have received over the last 30 years while being controlled by the same handful of people during this time?

It should be noted that only the travel baseball players use the city owned facility. So there may be 1500 kids in PRBS but only a handful are on the travel teams who use the old PW building.

It would appear that PRBS has the money to pay the city a fair market rental fee. If not, then collect the rent from the parents of the kids using the facility.

EDITOR’S NOTE: All good points and questions.

In the interest of full disclosure, this editor was on the Park Board from May 1997 through April 2005; and many/most of these issues were raised then. Unfortunately, they were not resolved. Consequently, this editor, like all other members of that Board for those eight years, is accountable for those failures.

It is hard to believe that over your 8 years on the PRPD board these issues could not be resolved. It is also hard to believe that in the 30 years the baseball czar as you call him has been in charge he has been able to prevent the PRPD board and the taxpayers and the users of PRBS from getting the transparency and financial and operational accountability they deserve. What magic powers does this guy have?

EDITOR’S NOTE: The “mageic” starts with “baseball” – as in “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet” and “If you build it, they will come.” Then add “kids” to the mix and you’ve got an even more powerful force. And because PRBS was the Park District’s only official kids baseball “affiliate” most Board members just overlooked the fact that it was a private corporation managed independently of the Park District, and pretty much bowed or curtsied whenever requested.

This editor recalls that it wasn’t until his last 2 years in office that a majority of “new” Park Board members even considered stricter oversight and regulations for District affiliates like PRBS. And it may not have been until 2007 that new financial disclosure requirements were adopted, with PRBS not being much of a fan of them.

Anon 4:32 “subsidized” is not proved. Please show me a link. Subsidiary is correct, but subsidized isn’t proved.
Would the grass not be mowed if there wasn’t baseball? I see coaches raking fields all the time, not park district staff.
What do the Falcons pay? I see Maine South baseball games/practices at our park district as well.
There are other activities there besides PRBS. Do you advocate eliminating all sports programs if they don’t make money for the parks?

It seems PRBS actually is an efficient way to run the baseball program. There is no way I can see the current Park District staff have the capability to run the program successfully. They would have to hire at least 1-2 salaried positions to take over. Do you have any experience in Park District programs? If so, you would know running programs isn’t their strength.

Re Fields: Trust me, the fields are nothing to brag about, so there is not above and beyond care going on there. I would call them the worst fields in the near N and NW Suburbs.

With the uproar focused at the Junior Hawks, I’m wondering if there are ulterior motives. These kids work there butts off. They were selected and are the best in town for their ages. Is there a bit of jealousy? I almost feel bad we gotta stick them in a old building. They do pay a lot of money to be part of the junior hawks. They aren’t freeloaders. I have a feeling the people who are complaining are in the “everybody gets a trophy” crowd or their little precious got cut.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hey, troops, this isn’t about PRBS v. Jr. Hawks, who got cut and who didn’t, or whether the Park District subsidizes the PRBS programs by failing to charge PRBS more of the cost of field use.

This post is about why the CITY is effectively subsidizing PRBS, a private corporation “affiliated” with the Park District, through the free use of CITY property – i.e. why one taxing/governking body (the City) is subsidizing another taxing/governing body (the Park District) or, worse yet, a private corporation that isn’t even another taxing/governing body.

So let’s leave the PRBS/Jr. Hawks turf wars for another day.

Mr. or Ms. 1112… You are entitled to your opinion, but to say that this Council is “heavily controlled” by me or that it has been inactive is quite wrong.

Go ahead and ask any of the aldermen if they feel controlled by me. They make up their own minds, and I often have disagreements with one or more of them. Fortunately, those disagreements no longer involve the acrimony which was a hallmark of previous Councils.

And as far as this Council being inactive or “do-nothing,” you are flat out wrong. This Council, and the Council before it which also had some of the current aldermen, has managed to facilitate a vast improvement in the City’s management, it has made the City government more accountable to the taxpayers, it has continued the recent trend of passing budgets with healthy surpluses which has helped rebuild our General Fund and will soon be passing a second straight tax levy increase of under 2.5%. And as a coup de grace, please note that the tax levy would have decreased, substantially, if the current Council did not have to deal with the albatross of the Uptown TIF debt foisted on us by a previously “active” Council. If that is what we get with an “active” Council, I’ll take these guys any day.

EDITOR’S NOTE: So will we, Mr. Mayor – although let’s not lose sight of just how low a performance bar those “active” Uptown TIF-obsessed Councils set.

Subsidiary is most certainly not correct. PRBS is not a subsidiary of the PRPD or the city. Neither the city or PRPD has any control or input over what PRBS does or how it does it. PRPD is not the parent corporation of PRBS.

But the PRPD and therefore the taxpayers do subsidize PRBS. How does $10,500 paid by PRBS to the PRPD begin to cover the cost of maintaining the baseball fields owned by the PRPD and used a significant amount of time by PRBS? It doesn’t.

And now the city is providing a subsidy to PRBS letting the travel ball players on the Warriors use the old PW building rent free.

This post is about freeloaders. And the czar of PRBS-who has been running the program without any financial accountability to anyone for 3 decades-has figured out how to get what he wants for PRBS without paying for it from the PRPD and now the city. No one is suggesting that the sports programs should make a profit for the PRPD or the city-just cover the costs incurred. And PRBS does not appear to be doing that.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s just about right, but with one caveat: PRBS has every right to seek a freebie from the City, the Park District, the State of Illinois, or the Commonwealth of Virginia.

So while we don’t have much use for freeloaders who take advantage of feeble-minded, short-sighted and sycophantic public officials who irresponsibly spend OPM, its those public officials – more than the folks running private corporation PRBS – who are selling out the taxpayers they are sworn and/or employed to look out for.

According to the Park District, PR Baseball is an affiliate.
Affiliate Definition:
1. “A person, organization, or establishment associated with another as a subordinate, subsidiary, or member”

So again 12:28, should the park district auction off baseball field time? PR Baseball is an affiliate, therefore completely doing it’s job, unless you have facts telling otherwise. Please don’t be a curmudgeon.

Circling back to this subject: The gap of comparing an OLD, unused garage space to the spectacularly developed “Baseball Dome” is 1000 times larger than comparing the Pickwick to Muvico! To use them in the same sentence is laughable.

I’ll continue with the pattern comment from above. The loud “Get of my lawn” minority are hell bent with wanting terrible facilities, parks and conditions in Park Ridge. They are scared of improvements in Park Ridge. They had to walk 5 miles in the snow to school I’m sure.
They are still mad the Youth Campus park went through. They are still mad the Police aren’t working in mold. They are still made that there is a new pool coming instead of the one that was about to be forced closed. They won’t allow lighted signs. They force volunteers and kids to put up holiday lights and they make kids practice in old garages while wanting to profit from it.

Clearly the Park Ridge community is moving away from these degenerative opinions. What really created this uproar from reading the comments above, is calling these kids freeloaders. I’m sure their dream of making this elite team wasn’t to be practicing in their own taxpayer owned, old, and cold garage and then be called names.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since you appear to be another anonymous advocate of the freeloader class, let’s get a few things straight:

1. This isn’t about baseball, or how well or poorly PRBS runs its baseball program. This is about a private corporation affiliated with the one governmental body (the Park District) getting free space from the another governmental body (the City) that is coming out of the City’s – not the Park District’s – budget, thereby costing the City’s taxpayers money that presumably wouldn’t be spent if PRBS wasn’t using that space.

2. Whether you go to Muvico or the Pickwick, you’ve still got to pay for admission – or does PRBS get to freeload there, too?

3. If only a “minority” doesn’t want what these “improvements,” then why isn’t the majority running new facility/tax hike referenda every election, knowing that those referenda will pass by majority vote? To the contrary (and fortunately), it’s the freeloaders who are the minority; they know it; and THEY’RE the ones who are “scared” – of being told “No!” when, instead, they can manipulate OPM-intoxicated and/or mopey public officials into giving them what they want. See, e.g., the new $8 million Centennial water park.

4. Police personnel are STILL “working in mold” because the PRPD hierarchy and the Chief’s Task Force members chose to put off mold remediation until the LAST of three annual phases of a renovation/expansion project that they knew – or reasonably should have known – might not get completed. But, hey, isn’t that a spiffy new building they put up with money that could have been used to remediate the mold?

5. Finally, re-read the post (move your lips if you have to, nobody will mind) and you’ll discover that we didn’t call the kids “freeloaders” – we saved that term for the adults who were able to finagle the since-sacked Jim Hock and other City bureaucrats into giving them free use of the old City garage.

We applaud anybody with a dream, whether of making an “elite team” better, or of climbing Mt. Everest, or of inventing a perpetual motion machine. But we see no good reason for the taxpayers to finance those dreams.

Freeloaders do.

You are saying there is no where that we can find where the city uses Park District resources without paying for them?

Be careful, when we do, I expect a full rebuke and write up.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Please point out where we’ve said that.

So the city DOES use Park District property without paying the park district? Wouldn’t that nullify the whole meaning to this article?
So the council, mayor and city do “freeload” as well?

Again that’s by your definition. To me, different government entities working together creates good government.

Maybe this article is opening a huge can of worms. I remember Newsweek had a headline “We Are All Socialists Now” a few years ago. Should the Park Ridge Herald Advocate declare “We are all Freeloaders Now” ?

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ve said nothing of the sort, and we again invite you to point out where we have. Or, alternatively, identify the specific Park District services of facilities the City uses without charge.

Actually, that would be permissible under Policy No. 36, as they’re both governmental entities and not private corporations like PRBS.

Don’t expect any such article out of the H-A. You freeloaders are still a distinct minority in Park Ridge, fortunately.

Subsidiary-in legal terms-requires a parent company to have control over a company it owns the majority stake in. The PRPD does not own PRBS-it merely calls it an affiliate-just like soccer and football. The PRPD has ZERO control or input in how baseball is run-or football or soccer. Therefore, it may be an affiliate but PRBS does not fit the legal definition of a subsidiary. PERIOD.

PRBS freeloads by paying a very minimal amount to the PRPD for use of the land-baseball fields-and equipment owned and maintained by the PRPD, also known as the taxpayers. Now PRBS is freeloading off the city.

The parents of the kids playing baseball pay a fee to the czar. Where does that money go? Where has all the money gone for the past 30 years he has been in charge? The parents certainly pay enough money in participant fees to PRBS so PRBS and the czar should be reimbursing the city for the use of the PW building and to pay a fair amount to the PRPD to pay for the exclusive use of the taxpayer owned and maintained fields.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re losing focus again, folks. We didn’t elect or employ PRBS to safeguard the City treasury, we elected and employed our public officials to do that.

Unfortunately, the former city mgr. was so lost in the funhouse he was sacked my a unanimous Council vote. But why his successor has signed onto this is the better question; as is why the City Attorney endorsed it – other than to CYA for Hamilton…who does, after all, have hiring and firing authority over the City Attorney.

There are other questions as well. Here is one. They had a meeting on this issue. It was not just the CM and the CA at that meeting. It was the Mayor and the entire council. I mean it was discussed in a COW, correct?? Why is it that, at least as far as I can tell, not a single elected official demonstrated the outrage you seem to have on this issue? Why didn’t Knight or the Mayor go off on this??

Here is a second question. The Mayor graced us with his presence on this thread. He took the time to write 100+ words defending the council against the label of being “inactive”. Why is it while here he did not even take a moment to address the topic at hand, that being the city supporting all these “freeloaders”???

EDITOR’S NOTE: Answer No. 1: They’re newer to local government than this editor and haven’t watched this kind of special interest-oriented stupidity go on for nearly as long? They were initially mystified and/or bamboozled by the City Mgr’s and City Atty’s explanations?

Answer No. 2: He was more concerned about being called “inactive”? He’s already got “mountains” on his mind?

Or you can always ask him yourself – you can show up at a Council meeting or you can reach him by e-mail through the City’s website. Oh, wait…that won’t work for you, will it?

11/27 at 532, you might want to check the video of this past Monday’s COW. I think the issue was raised to be revisited in light of the Herald Advovate article wherein the utility costs were raised. It’s possible the PR and the bragging about what a great partnership this is might backfire.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The perps of these kinds of sweetheart deals usually try to keep them quiet. It’s only when they come to public attention and questions are raised does the bragging start.

“Sweetheart deal”? Hyperbole much?

“Molehills” exploding while mountains get ignored.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sweetheart deals come in all shapes and sizes – whether it’s $9,500 of electricity and gas, $150,000 of no-bid defibrillators, $700,000 of no-bid professional service contracts, or multi-millions of dollars of subsidies to TIF developers. And people who cut sweetheart deals on molehills can be expected to do the same with mountains.

Thanks to the tireless legal machinations of one Mr. Charles Baldacchino, aided and abetted by PubDog, the TIF project was held up for a year, during which the recession reared its ugly head. As a result, which you will certainly refuse to acknowledge, the TIF project was even less productive for the City than its far-too-savvy developer had planned. So today, the City owes the school districts and the Park District beaucoup bucks for the TIF repayments it’s not making to them. Where’s the outrage about that? Where’s the workout? And as to why PRBaseball got away with being a tax dodger for decades, you are right: The ole mom, baseball and apple pie icon, added to militantly non-professional PRPD management until Ray Ochromowicz showed up, made it easy for PRBaseball to pull this off. In fact, a majority of then-Park Board members excoriated former Park Commissioner Steve Hunst for unearthing, and then pursuing, the non-tax-payment issue. Because it’s baseball! Except for football, what is holier and more exempt from every edict?

EDITOR’S NOTE: More half-truths and whole-cloth fiction masquerading as gospel.

Check the court record for Case No. 2005-CH-09275: Baldacchino never even could get a TRO or preliminary injunction to slow down or stop the Uptown project, and the Gumby-like City Council under Mayor’s Marous and Frimark promptly gave the developers’ lenders every guaranty demanded.

As far as we’re concerned, the City should pay the Park District and the School Districts EVERY DIME owed. And every time it makes such a payment the City should issue a press release that names those two mayors and every alderman who voted for the TIF, the multi-million dollar bonds to subdsidize the developers, and/or the guarantees to the developers’ lenders in recognition of their total ineptitude on behalf of the taxpayers.

Concerts in the Park are allowed to sell souvenirs and such to fundraise, but they are funded primarily by a grant from the musician’s union that expressly forbids charging admission. Since the union’s support is reliable and the public’s support is not, no way will will the Concerts abandon their founding supporters’ wishes.

EDITOR’S NOTE: How much funding do you contend is “primarily” provided by that grant from the musicians union?

While this comment isn’t related to the subject it’s definitely related to the title.

What are you thoughts of 3rd Ward Alderman Jim Smith extorting the Park District for approval of the voter approved Youth Campus?
Unless the Park Board approved (which no reason they should) storm water detention,
Smith wouldn’t support the Youth Campus plan.
“That is the price of my vote in favor of the park district,” said Smith according the the HA.

Has a vote been “traded”, “extorted” or publicly “sold” before between taxing bodies in Park Ridge?

EDITOR’S NOTE: You must have missed previous posts and Editor’s Notes describing how D-64 sold its support of the Uptown TIF even after it hired a top-shelf TIF attorney who told the then-Board that the TIF could be successfully challenged in court.

If the City needs flood relief in the form of detention areas on the Youth Campus Park grounds, and the Park District needs accommodations from the City regarding zoning or permitting matters, what is inherently wrong with that quid pro quo?

Is the city trying to “freeload” off the park district? Maybe the park district should charge the city?

I think Smith and Millissis are looking for Northwest Park detention, not Youth Campus park.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Given all the variances, to say nothing of the MAP Amendment, the Park District is looking for, it would appear the Park District is trying to “freeload” off the City.

Irrespective of where the detention would be (or whether both Northwest Park and Youth Campus Park would be beneficial locations), it seems like an appropriate discussion to have at this juncture.

WTFacts? With the huge amounts the City owes the Park District from the TIF funds, how can you say the Park District is freeloading off the City? It’s obviously the other way around and always has been, for that matter.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Can you quantify the “huge amounts the City owes the Park District”?

How do you quantify the value to the Park District of the 9 variances and the MAP Amendement it is seeking from the City?

Referendums carry HUGE weight on this board. The voters OVERWHELMINGLY approved the Youth Campus park. Now, Millissis, Smith and maybe other City Council members want to undemocratically nullify the peoples vote by extortion and/or dealmaking?

I’m actually SHOCKED that this editor is ok with this. I think it speaks to the character of the officials playing games with approved referendums.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Referendums carry NO weight with the current Park Board, otherwise they would have held one for the Centennial water park. And if the District had enough non-referendum bonding power to do the Youth Campus Park deal, there would have been no referendum on that, either.

Did the referendum language include a zoning code MAP amendment and 9 different variances? No, which means there never was a ‘people’s vote” on those zoning matters.

Editor- You know this has nothing to do with the variances and MAP amendments. It’s bad government. It’s chicago-style governing that doesn’t work out in the end. The city council can’t figure out / pay for flood relief so they are going to try to override the voters by extortion.

Textbook extortion by Millissis and Smith. Extortion meaning: “Law. the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one’s office or authority”

Strange, Millissis was on the park board, did he suggest the detention ponds then?

Between trying to sell assets to pay for projects and now extorting the park board, this City Council is on an ugly path of over-reach in year one of its tenure.

Re-read your own post and if you really don’t see the irony of your post and this extortion, than you are proving to be an advocate for the city officials at all costs over other SEPARATE taxing agencies.

Also RE your referendum comment. So the results aren’t valid, because they were forced to go to referendum? I’m not sure where democracy fits into your local government model?

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s hard to tell whether your comments are stupid or merely ignorant. But we’ll try to sort them out and address them as best we can.

STUPID: What passes for your “reasoning” that, if the Park District had run and won a referendum for putting a 5-story building on the Youth Campus Park, the City would have to give the PRRPD whatever variances and MAP amendments it wanted/needed for such a building because the voters voted for it.

The Park District may want variances and a MAP amendment for Youth Campus Park, but the City is obligated to enforce the Zoning Code – just as it’s obligated to enforce it when private developers can’t seem to, or don’t want to, comploy with Code provisions. The Park District doesn’t, and shouldn’t, get a pass just because it’s another governmental body, or because it passed a referendum that didn’t even mention Zoning Code matters.

IGNORANT: Your comment about when detention ponds not being discussed when Milissis was on the Park Board – because the City didn’t have the Flood Control Task Force recommendations or the Burke Study recommendations back then, so nobody was even talking about detention ponds as a significant component of flood control back then.

STUPID: Your comment claiming we suggested that referendum results aren’t valid if the Park District was forced to go to referendum. What we said is that because the referendum question did not include whether the voters wanted the City to issue 9 variances and a MAP amendment for that project, the “Yes” vote on the Youth Campus Project can’t legitimately be extrapolated to be a directive to the City to grant those variances and that amendment.

STUPID AND IGNORANT: Calling this “Chicago-style governing” where we have two truly separate governmental bodies under the control of two truly separate, independent boards – compared to Chicago where the City Council and the Park District Board are puppets of Mayor Rahm, and the Evil Midget before him.

I wish you would just explain how it’s good for the Park District taxpayers to subsidize the city with a detention pond at Northwest Park?

If Millissis and Smith truly think that these variances are bad for the city, why is ok to not think that anymore if they get a detention park at NORTHWEST Park (not close to Youth Campus)

The Chicago-Style reference was when these two alderman will hold up projects (beyond their elected power) to try to get what they want.

EDITOR’S NOTE: And we wish you could understand that it doesn’t matter whether the City’s enforcement of its Zoning Code is good for the Park District.

If the Park District were willing to build Youth Campus Park in strict compliance with the Zoning Code, Smith and Milissis – and the rest of the City Council – would have nothing to say about it; and there wouldn’t even be any negotiation over a detention area. But since the Park District can’t or won’t comply, a detention area is a legitimate topic of conversation, whether on the Youth Campus Park grounds or in one of the other parks.

And unlike in Chicago, an alderman – or even two – here in Park Ridge cannot hold up projects.

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