Public Watchdog.org

Even A Couple Of New Faces Can Make A Big Difference

08.22.14

What difference can one or two votes make on any of our local governmental bodies? Plenty.

Back on April 4 and April 14, 2014, we published posts criticizing the Park Ridge Library Board’s endorsement of the Staff’s recommendation to close the Library for 14 Sundays this summer. The vote on that decision was 6 to 3, with Trustees John Benka, Audra Ebling, Margaret Harrison, Dorothy Hynous, John Schmidt and Jerry White voting “yes,” and Trustees Joe Egan, Charlene Foss-Eggemann and Robert Trizna voting “no.”

But at the very first Library Board meeting after Patrick Lamb and Dean Parisi replaced Benka and Schmidt, that summer Sunday closing was reversed by a 7-1 vote (Hynous dissenting, White absent). And the Library reopened for the remaining summer Sundays on July 27.

Similarly, in our October 3, 2013 post we criticized the Library’s “Food for Fines” (“FFF”) program as a misuse of taxpayer dollars (estimated at $7,000 last year, because Library staff kept no record of exactly how much in fines was being forgiven) that also demeaned the voluntarism, generosity and public spiritedness of Library patrons by effectively suggesting they would contribute food to the Kiwanis food drive only if they received a quid pro quo forgiveness of their Library fines.

We also noted that $7,000 isn’t chump change for a Library that chose to close for 14 Sundays this summer in order to save approximately $20,000.

Last year, when the FFF came up for what may have been a first-ever “consensus” vote, the resolution to cancel the program lost by a 4-4 tie: Foss-Eggemann, Hynous, Trizna and White voting “yes”; Benka, Ebling, Harrison and Schmidt voting “no”; and Egan absent.

But this past Tuesday night the FFF program for this year was cancelled by a 7-0 vote (Parisi and White absent) – although the Board indicated that it was happy to have the Library serve as a collection point for food donations from those altruistic patrons whose generosity doesn’t require any quid pro quo fine forgiveness.

Those two votes produced outcomes directly opposite from what the previous Board had decided, arguably because of just two changes in the composition of the Board: Lamb and Parisi in place of Benka and Schmidt. That change in composition even appears to have changed the minds of Ebling and Harrison, who either found religion or just decided to opportunistically jump on the new bandwagon in both instances.

Whatever the reason, however, it’s the result that counts.

Some of you might not like these changes. We’re pretty sure there are some unhappy Kiwanis members out there, including the ones who showed up and spoke in support of the Library’s continuing the FFF program at the January 21, 2014 Board meeting, as reflected in the relevant excerpts of minutes of that meeting.

That’s not too surprising, given all the special interests out there who want to get their hands on taxpayer money – starting with many of our private “charitable” groups that seem to have figured out that it’s a lot easier to raise money by snookering or guilting our local elected and appointed officials into picking the taxpayers’ pockets on those groups’ behalf. That way, those groups can still claim the fundraising credit for themselves without even having to break a sweat, and without having to account to the taxpayers for how those funds are spent.

These two Library issues are just the very tip of a pretty good-sized iceberg, however, and there’s still a lot more work for the Library Board to do. Irrespective of whether or not the Library’s November tax increase referendum passes, giving all Park Ridge taxpayers the biggest bang for their Library buck will require a lot more innovation and fiscal discipline than the Library has consistently demonstrated over the past decade.

But maybe, just maybe, it now has a Board majority that is up for such a challenge.

And that might be because of just two new faces.

Robert J. Trizna

Editor and Publisher

Member, Park Ridge Library Board

To read or post comments, click on title.

29 comments so far

It seems like ever since the new library referendum was handily defeated in 2002 nothing has been done to the library to give it a fresh look or feel. Same old same old. There’s got to be a new (and better) way to pump some new life into the place.

GET OFF MY LAWN!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Stupid and boring.

You say:
“…all the special interests out there who want to get their hands on taxpayer money – starting with many of our private ‘charitable’ groups that seem to have figured out that it’s a lot easier to raise money by snookering or guilting our local elected and appointed officials into picking the taxpayers’ pockets on those groups’ behalf. That way, those groups can still claim the fundraising credit for themselves without even having to break a sweat, and without having to account to the taxpayers for how those funds are spent.”
You put quotes around “charitable” to indicate your disbelief in that status for any organization — does that include your church that rides tax-free for all it does, charitable and otherwise? Is it “stealing” to give it, in effect, free money from the taxpaying public in the form of tax abatement, even though many members of the taxpaying public don’t buy into it? I thought not.
You use inflammatory, demeaning and libelous words like “snooker” and “picking the pockets of taxpayers” to indicate your belief that the Library’s substitution of fines for food is theft. You don’t seem to feel any “guilt” about bullying and harassing people out of doing something empathetic though, do you?
You ascribe fundraisers’ motives for projects like food for fines as a ploy to get credit for fundraising without doing the work — even though the Maine Township governmental entity runs the Maine Township Food Pantry and runs other events throughout the year to support that Pantry. Most ludicrous of all, you say there’s no accountability for how the funds are spent. Really? You couldn’t get the figures on how much was spent on beans vs how much was spent on spaghetti with a FOIA to the Township?
Admit it: This is beyond your normal rant against wasting public funds on the public good. It’s obvious to anyone that your vendetta against food for fines is not only against the library as a public resource not set up as a retail pay-for-play operation. Your rant is also against the existing Maine Township elected officials, namely Cheryl T., for her losing fight against Ms. Foss as the new face of the Republican party. Anything you can do to erode any alternative to the Tea Party AND curtail an efficient local effort that feeds the poor is a twofer in your book.
So you got your way again. The hungry children, old people and working poor of all ages are glad somebody’s getting what he needs, I’m sure.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog and this editor, also a Library trustee, has always viewed the receipt and use of tax dollars taken from taxpayers by governmental bodies as a public trust, to be used solely for the purposes intended. And there is no, repeat NO, Library purpose to forgiving $7,000 worth of fines so that the Kiwanis can more easily donate food to another governmental body, Maine Twp.

If Maine Twp. government wants Park Ridge money for its food pantry or any other purpose, let it demonstrate the honesty and integrity to tax us directly for it; or let it collect voluntary donations directly from Park Ridge taxpayers – because Maine Twp. has no legal claim, and no legal right, to Park Ridge Library funds. And this Library trustee is not about to breach his public trust by giving away Library funds to Maine Twp. or the Kiwanis.

Unlike the tax-exempt Kiwanis, this editor’s tax-exempt church has never even attempted to snooker or guilt previous Library Boards into giving it tens of thousands of tax dollars, through fine forgiveness, that belong to Park Ridge taxpayers for Library operations.

you don’t need fine forgiveness when you have a total tax-free pass. But there’s no point in using terms like “guilt” or “forgiveness” around you, since you clearly have no concept of either. So let me leave you with one thought from your tax-free establishment: “Faith without works is dead.” St. Paul

EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually, it’s James 2:17. And we believe in both faith AND works – not that it should matter for purposes of government.

However, this editor (and, we believe, most of those who are responsible for the operation of this blog) subscribe to the separation of church and state as articulated in Mark 12:17 (“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s”); by Thomas Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802; and by JFK’s remarks to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12 1960.

We didn’t have a voice in the Revenue Act of 1913’s creation of the tax exemption for churches AND the Kiwanis, but the constitutionality of such exemptions has been upheld by the Supreme Court. So we don’t have to take on that issue in order to oppose the actual diversion of City tax dollars to private organizations like the Kiwanis, or to other taxing bodies like Maine Twp.

The separation of church and state is null, thanks to your activist SCOTUS fellas. But I do appreciate the corrected Biblical reference.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’d appreciate some context for your grand proclamation: “The separation of church and state is null.” And just to keep the record straight, they’re not OUR “activist SCOTUS fellas.”

Seriously? Two words: Hobby. Lobby. with a side of Eden Foods.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Okay, maybe we missed it, but where in the Hobby Lobby or Eden Foods decision did the SCOTUS state that the government should give taxpayer money to a private corporation?

THank you pointing out what some of your commentators don’t want to admit: that they want the taxpayers to pay for stuff they want so they don’t have to pay full fare.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s what we often refer to as the freeloader mentality – even if it’s not completely “free,” it’s intended to get more for less by making others pay for non-essentials they don’t want.

So what is worse, someone who fits your definition or a freeloader, or someone who takes advantage of every loophole and dodge resulting in them paying a tax percentage way below the published number, and perhaps even avoiding buying things that contribute to city funds (like city stickers) and then sits around (perhaps over coffee at starbucks) and bitches about how “bad” they have it and about how everyone else is a freeloader?

EDITOR’S NOTE: If “every loophole and dodge” is legal then that’s what the law permits, so what’s your beef? Blame the people who passed the laws that created those loopholes and dodges, not the people who abide by them – like we blamed the Library Board members and staff responsible for Food For Fines, not the patrons who took advantage of it.

Anybody who fails to buy a City sticker is a scofflaw and freeloader. Who claims otherwise?

Ironically, the people who seem to beef the most about “how ‘bad’ they have it” are the freeloaders, who want free this and free that because “we pay taxes” even though they have used, are currently using, or are planning on using more in services than the taxes they’ve paid and/or will pay.

After reading this post I went back and read your previous posts about FFF and summer Sundays and agree wholeheartedly with what you and the new Library Board are doing. That’s also the same kind of view of city government that Mayor Schmidt and the City Council look like they have, which is why I think the city is better managed today than since I moved here (while Wietecha was mayor). And to your point, Schmidt replacing Frimark was a big step in the right direction there, as was his getting a couple more aldermen on the council with the same viewpoint. So I agree with you that even a couple of people can make a difference, especially if it creates a new majority.

Those Kiwanis people who spoke at the January meeting don’t understand the difference between true charity and forced government funding. And from the names I recognize, these are prominent people in the community. They must not have been taught civics in school, or else they missed a lot of those classes, because they have no idea what they are talking about.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s pretty much the way those comments struck us. Clearly, none of them ever read De Tocqueville’s “Memoir on Pauperism,” or they completely reject its lessons.

Isn’t the library a not-for-profit? Should the library be used as a resource to help people? Why is FFF so negatively viewed? Why is the Library Mission so narrowly defined? Which is more important the money raised for fines for library operations or food for homeless people?

EDITOR’S NOTE: No, the Library is government entity, not “a not for profit” – which legally is one of the Internal Revenue Code Section 501 entities.

The “Library Mission so narrowly defined” because a library (according to Wikipedia) is “an organized collection of sources of information and similar resources, made accessible to a defined community for reference or borrowing.” Or, per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it’s “a place where books, magazines, and other materials (such as videos and musical recordings) are available for people to use or borrow.” So, no, the Library is not “a resource to help people.” It’s not a welfare agency founded, or funded, to provide jobs, food, shelter, or health care.

FFF is viewed “so negatively” because it diverts money intended for library services – i.e., information – to non-Library uses.

And comparing “money raised for fines for library operations” to “food for homeless people” is an absurdity conceived by someone who apparently can’t understand why a tomato seed doesn’t grow into a watermelon plant.

It is the same game all over again. You go on and on about politicians bending over to special interest, and yet when it is pointed out to you that you (and me) benefit from so many modifications and loopholes in the tax code that were a result of, you guessed it, politicians bending over for special interest, you say…..”that is what the law permits….what’s your beef??”

How do you think these things became legal?? By politicians bending over for special interests!!!You love nothing more than railing about politicians and spending/giving away money to special interest, unless it is an interest that you benefit from. So I have no beef, except you are a hypocrite.

One question, do you tell all your friends who register their cars at the lake house or the winter hoe that they are scofflaws and freeloaders?

EDITOR’S NOTE: We have no idea what “special interests” were behind the Revenue Act of 1913, nor did we have any opportunity to comment on it. But it IS the law of the land, and it protects Kiwanis, and Rotary, and Lions, et al. just as it protects churches.

This editor has no knowledge of any “friends who register their cars” any place other than where they maintain their primary residence. But if he did, yes, they would be scofflaws and freeloaders – unless, of course, what they are doing is legal according to the laws of Illinois and whatever other state(s) are involved.

I was not directly referring to the RA of 1913. I was more referring to the long list of loopholes that you (and I) benefit from. Are you denying that there are loopholes that you benefit from, that have been carved out for people like you because politicians bent over to a special interest, that are available to partners in law firms or people who make enough etc, etc, that others tax paying citizens have absolutely no access to??

Related to the RA of 1913:

1. It an amusing example of just such a loophole that you take advantage of/

2. While neither of us were around to know exactly what happened, I would bet the house that it involved politicians bending over for a special interest.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re not about to speculate on what “loopholes” you’re referring to, so why don’t you just end the suspense and actually say what ones you suggest we (and you) benefit from so then we can say “yes” or “no” without playing a guessing game. We’ll even make it easier for you: this editor at one time benefited from the home mortgage deduction and private school tuition tax credits, neither of which this editor was involved in enacting – and which this editor believes are, arguably, foolish public policy.

You’re turn.

What do you have against Kiwanis? Isn’t ripping public officials enough for you?

EDITOR’S NOTE: We have nothing against the Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, Elks, Moose, or any other private organization or corporation, 501(c)(3), (4), or (6) or otherwise. In fact, God bless their charitable activities – and even all the networking for personal business gain that goes with it – so long as they don’t expect to have their favorite activities funded by tax dollars.

By the way, to point out the sheer hypocrisy of your argument, a person who avoids paying their proscribed tax percentages by using a loophole is apparently not a freeloader so long as it is “legal”. There are people all over town who have FLorida, Michigan, Wisconsin plates who actually spend most of their time in PR. They are “legally” not required to pay for stickers so apparently they are not freeloaders.

Meanwhile, there are people in PR who have been using services provided by the city and doing so legally. For example, it was never against the law to use a PC at the library. Yet you have been labeling people like this (PC users or other users of services)as freeloaders for years.

In your mind, for a person to avoid paying for a fee or tax that is intended to cover services is fine, but in another case a person who follows the rules as legally defined is a freeloader. A person who legally avoids buying a sticker is fine but a person who legally uses a PC is freeloader.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sorry, Slick, but we don’t hang with the folks you’re talking about. Maybe you need to find a better circle of friends.

As for the users of the free Library computers, they’re no more “freeloaders” than the folks who took advantage of the FFF program – and basically no different from the folks who avail themselves of the home mortgage deduction, or Social Security at 62 instead of 65, or any other of the perfectly legal options that you call “loopholes.” Once they start thinking talking and acting like they are ENTITLED to such benefits, however, they cross the line into the Freeloader Zone.

“…..Of course, we expect this suggestion to create howls of outrage from the freeloaders who flock to such programs so long as somebody else (a/k/a, the non-user taxpayers) is paying the lion’s share of the costs. That usually includes parents of young children for whom these programs – along with many of the programs offered by the Park Ridge Park District – effectively serve as no-cost/low-cost babysitting……”

So now all these people are NOT freeloaders?? PD, which is it?? I guess they are not freeloaders so long as they do not howl?? It is OK to use a free PC or take your kid to a program just so long as you do not feel “entitled”?? Or is it that PD gets to label people all he wants. IF PD does not find a program to be of value he stamps his feet and calls people names. But if others short the govmnt and avoid paying “their fair share” by figures that are multiples of PC fees….oh well…..”hey, it’s legal so what is your beef?”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hey, you’re actually starting to figure this stuff out! Keep up the good work and someday you might graduate from the ranks of the freeloaders. Or not.

Yes, recipients/beneficiaries of government services or other benefits are not “freeloaders” so long as: (a) the services/benefits they get are reasonably within the scope of the providing governmental body’s mission/authority; (b) the receipt of those services/benefits is legal; (c) the recipients/beneficiaries don’t assert an “entitlement” to them, unless those benefits fall within the reasonable scope of ESSENTIAL services for which taxpayers expect to pay taxes; and (d) the recipients/beneficiaries don’t “howl” when their NON-ESSENTIAL services are stopped or a reasonable fee is imposed.

But FYI, this editor never “stamps [or stomps] his feet.” And unlike Sen. Elizabeth (“You didn’t build this”) Warren, we don’t claim to have the magic answer for what is anybody’s “fair share” for taxing purposes – except that we’re convinced it’s most definitely not Karl Marx’s “from each…to each” folly.

Senator Warren never said you didn’t build this. But I get your reason for saying she did: At this stage of the game, she’s a lot scarier to guys like you than O is.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That is correct: “you didn’t build this” is a meme that serves as shorthand for the conflation of what Sen. Warren and Pres. Obama said.

But au contraire…actual elections where people get to vote up or down on things and people NEVER have scared this editor, and neither does Sen. Warren. Frankly, I would love – positively L-O-V-E – to see her receive the Democratic nomination and run for president in 2016, preferably against a Republican as conservative as she is liberal.

Let the voters finally get a real clear choice of what direction they want the country to go in, and then let’s see what happens if/when it actually goes in that direction.

Your acolyte said: “Those Kiwanis people who spoke at the January meeting don’t understand the difference between true charity and forced government funding. And from the names I recognize, these are prominent people in the community. They must not have been taught civics in school, or else they missed a lot of those classes, because they have no idea what they are talking about.”

Seems to me your acolyte here must have missed civics in school. See, in a democratic republic, the people get to say what they want their taxes spent on, and they achieve that say by electing officials who agree with their priorities. So the division between “true charity” and “forced government spending” is a false one. It’s one thing to say that bureaucrats need to be accountable for how carefully they spend the public’s tax dollars, quite another to say it’s hopeless to expect that so let’s not use tax dollars for any charitable purpose. That’s where you and the rest of the Teabags are coming from.

It’s our government, “Slick” — if we need to hold employees’ feet to the fire, we need to elect less corruptible officials and make it possible for decent people to run and win, we must do so — even if that means curbing lobbying largesse for those who really piss away America’s hard-earned money.

As for the Kiwanis, they’re probably old guys who came of age when civic duty wasn’t seen as contemptible, and when successful men knew they should pay it back and forward to keep society going — both with their automatic contributions known as taxes, and with their voluntary, episodic contributions on their own.

I’d wager those Kiwanians are almost certainly much happier and more productive human beings than you and your gaggle of Grinches. And if conventional belief holds true, they’ll be a hell of a lot happier later as well, when the roll is called up yonder

EDITOR’S NOTE: A lot of entertaining observations that might actually be true…for anybody living in a different galaxy, or a different dimension, or in a coma; but most definitely NOT for any sentient and discerning human living in the wreckage that Illinois has become over the past 30 years under the iron-fisted rule of Madigan, aided and abetted by 3 “Republican” governors.

As for the Kiwanis folks, it’s hard to tell exactly how much they are paying “back and forward” in the form of community service because, according to THEIR website (http://www.parkridgekiwanis.org/Page/10739), they meet every Tuesday for lunch – which sounds a whole lot more like a business networking group than a “community service” organization. And according to another page of THEIR website (http://www.parkridgekiwanis.org/Page/14761) they claim a whole lot of charitable/community work, except they don’t report on exactly what it is they are doing and how much in actual benefits they are providing (e.g., “College scholarships” without saying how many, how often, and how much for each; “Holiday Food Baskets” without saying how many, how often, and how much). For all we know from their website, the approx. $7,000 they got from Park Ridge taxpayers through the FFF program might represent the lion’s (not Lions Club) share of those food contributions.

And that’s what we mean by the “accountability” of these community groups being severely lacking.

They’ll never get a “real clear choice” when it takes tons of strings-attached money to get into the game, and when politicians exploit the fears of average Joes to deflect their ire from the power brokers to the weakest and most marginalized among us. I’m a Kraut and I know whereof I speak.

EDITOR’S NOTE: So it sounds like you’ve thrown in the towel on our republcan form of government. Does your Kraut-ness prefer to institute a government by Kaiser?

Let’s see. If you disagree with DP you either subscribe to Marx theory, are a freeloader or a Kraut. Oh well, at least he has not brought out the Hitler references….yet.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Oh darn…you were doing so well with your 7:00 a.m. comment, but now you’re backsliding again.

Do you know the words to “Deutschland Uber Alles”?

You may not have much imagination, otherwise known as empathy, but nobody can say you don’t have stones. Now Kiwanis is the evil empire? My Krautness doesn’t need a government by Kaiser. I’ve got you, babe!

EDITOR’S NOTE: We have plenty of empathy, we just don’t toss it around indiscriminately.

And the Park Ridge Kiwanis isn’t any “evil empire” – even when it’s picking the taxpayers’ pockets via FFF.

The world according to PD….”I (we???) have plenty of empathy. Just ask me.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Why not? It sure beats asking someone without the courage even to sign his/her name to the comment.

PD:

If anonymous posts are so useless to you all you have to do is no longer allow them. Of course that would mean there would be zero posts on this thread. Hell, even those that are drinking the Kool-Aid post anon 98% of the time.

Related to empathy, I will admit that I do not know you personally so my jab was probably less than fair. It is entirely possible that your friends and/or family might tell me I was wrong and give me many examples of your “ability to understand and share the feelings of another”.

The problem is all I have to go on is the opinions, positions and tone you have taken on this blog. While not a personal relationship, I would submit to you that the hundreds and hundreds of posts and thousands of times you have joined the discussions in the threads gives a pretty vivid picture. There are all kinds of traits and emptions that come through clearly in your blog, many of them positive……empathy is not one of them.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We didn’t say anonymous comments are “useless,” otherwise we WOULDN’T post them.

But when an anonymous commentator basically tries to wage a “character” war with this editor, his/her failure to disclose his/her identity so that his/her own “character” bona fides for waging such a war can also be judged is cowardly.

As for your concern about this editor’s lack of empathy, this blog is about local government and operates from the premise that empathy, while essential in private inter-personal dealings within our society, has no place in government – a premise validated in part by the absence of quotes by any of the Founders implicating the role of empathy in government, and in part by the fact that the only president with an “empathy” BrainyQuote is Barack Obama, on the first page alongside government policy heavyweights like Oprah, Edward Norton and Susan Sarandon.

I don’t think of a library fine as a “tax’. It’s a payment for the privilege of keeping a book or other checked-out material longer than the permitted time, so it’s a voluntary payment.

I doubt that I am the only one who was less vigilant about due dates during November and December, because I could donate food instead of paying a fine–something that I was happy to do without making the trek to Ballard Rd.. I don’t know how the $7,000 “lost revenue” figure was arrived at, but it might be overstated because the fine total might go down when patrons no longer have an alternative available.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s not a “tax” but a penalty paid by forgetful people and by the self-centered who don’t care that they may be depriving other patrons of the book or other item they have failed to timely return.

The $7,000 figure was calculated using the average monthly fine revenue, adjusted to reflect the revenue differential for the months immediately before and after the FFF period. Sure it might be “overstated” but it’s the best we could do because staff never bothered to keep track of the actual fines forgiven – perhaps because they were too busy checking expiration dates on the cans of food?

Mr. Trizna, I agree with 3:52 p.m. yesterday that you do have “stones,” more than the ones who anonymously criticize you personally because they don’t have the firepower to take on the policy positions you advocate.

Until you caused me to think about FFF, I knee-jerk supported it. But you were and are right about it, and right (I hope) about the people of this town not needing to get something in return for doing something charitable.

If the Kiwanis needs the library to give up thousands of dollars of fine money in order to get the food Kiwanis donates to Maine Twp., why doesn’t it ask the City to forgive parking and minor traffic fines? Chief Kaminiski is in Kiwanis, isn’t he? Let him propose that to the city council.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Excellent point, especially since Chief K showed up last January to argue successfully for the Library’s keeping FFF, so actually making that suggestion to the City Council would be a perfect role for him.

FYI, Board president Joe Egan made a similar point during the Library’s Planning & Operations Committee meeting on August 12.

PD:

First of all, I did not intend it as a character attack. As you clearly follow IP addresses, you know that I was not even the poster who brought up empathy. I simply commented on your reply.

Second, your statement……”this blog is about local government and operates from the premise that empathy, while essential in private inter-personal dealings within our society, has no place in government”……only validates my comment. I do not know you personally, only from your blog. ANYONE who reads your blog and does not have the “god fortune” to know you personally would reach the same conclusion I did. You said so yourself and are even proud of it. Nothing personal.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Of course it was a “personal” attack: two of the three paragraphs of your comment were directed solely and entirely at the empathy (or alleged lack thereof) of this editor; and the other paragraph addressed anonymity, not the role of empathy in government.

SO you can call people dirtbags or the equivalent for thinking government feeding impoverished kids might be a sound idea, but when they say you’re one for thinking it’s a waste of taxpayer money, that’s wrong?

EDITOR’S NOTE: No, we called the Library’s use of the FFF program to divert money demanded from, and paid by, the taxpayers for the express purpose of running the Library “theft” – and the Board members who perpetrated that theft as breaching their official duties – irrespective of whether it’s used to feed impoverished kids, pay for some poor old guy’s hernia repair, or build a Hebrew school in Botswana.

And because you can’t possibly be so stupid as to not understand that basic concept of government, we can only assume you’re just being gratuitously contrary. But thanks for providing us with yet another “teaching moment,” albeit a remedial one.

NO, you’re the one who doesn’t get it. Food for Fines was no different than any other service or benefit provided by any agency that was not strictly within the narrowest interpretation of its stated mission. Personally, I think nourishing the brains that house the minds for which the Library offers food for thought is a pretty close connection. Your problem, and that of those like you, is you’re not comfy saying “we just can’t afford it right now.” It offends your pride or something. So you put out there that the giving itself is morally wrong. That justifies a short-sighted, penny wise, pound foolish approach in your mind. You’re not a crimp-souled miser who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, you’re laudably ideologically consistent. You know that $7,000 (if it’s indeed anywhere near that much; I’m guessing $4K is closer) for feeding hungry neighbors in Maine Twp. would not even put a dent in the plan costs for a remedial sewer program — although $7 would make a huge difference in one American kid’s wellbeing and development when used for food. You can’t affect the big prices that should be reduced, so you cut where you can. Lousy cost-benefit analysis, my friend.

EDITOR’S NOTE: NO, the most fundamental problem with FFF has NOTHING to do with the Library’s “stated mission” or what the Library can “afford.” Instead, the problem is with the independent sovereignty of separate taxing bodies – in this case, the Library (either stand-alone, or as a branch of City government) vis-a-vis Maine Twp. (that distributes the food acquired by the Library’s foregoing fine revenue).

So even if your feeding-brains-and-minds analysis had any merit, taking money from CITY taxpayers earmarked for the CITY Library’s nourishing of minds from a CITY facility in order to give that money to the TOWNSHIP to feed whatever brains the TOWNSHIP chooses to feed, isn’t “morally wrong” as much as it’s governmentally and politically wrong. And that $7,000 (or $4,000) of lost CITY fine revenue that you seem to regard as pin-money/chump-change arguably led to cutting hours for CITY/Library employees and/or the closing of that CITY Library several Sundays this summer while alleviating $7,000 (or $4,000) of the TOWNSHIP’S tax burden.

It’s same kind of inter-jurisdictional stupidity reported in today’s news about STATE Gov. Quinn sending $10 million in STATE money (from borderline-bankrupt STATE coffers) paid by STATE taxpayers while STATE needs continue to be neglected, so that CHICAGO’s Mayor Rahm can pay 1,900 “safety monitors” to protect CHICAGO school kids traveling CHICAGO streets to CHICAGO public schools from CHICAGO neighborhood gang-bangers that CHICAGO cops can’t control…in large part because Rahm doesn’t want to increase taxes on CHICAGO taxpayers to hire more cops to fight CHICAGO crime.

If Ms. Foss were in Ms. Teschkey’s elected position, would you be as ardent in your defense of Park Ridge monies not going into to Township mouths?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Of course! Because if Ms. Foss shared Ms. Teschkey’s philosophy of government we wouldn’t ever have supported Ms. Foss.



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