Northwest Park Flood Control Project Should Stand On Its Own Merit


Park Ridge resident Dennis Sladky has spoken thoughtfully about flooding at several Park Ridge City Council meetings. But his letter to the editor (“Park District’s land grab is greedy,” Park Ridge Herald-Advocate, September 23) reflects a misunderstanding of recent actions by the Park Ridge Park District.

In fairness to Mr. Sladky, however, his misunderstanding seems to have been caused by the inept and heavy-handed way the Park District presented its proposal for letting the City use Northwest Park as part of its flood control program.

The premise of his letter is that the Park District is using its permission for the City to use Northwest Park as a flood water detention to extort the City out of an excessive amount of compensation, including the former public works facility at Greenwood and Oakton, a property reportedly appraised at $1.8 million. Mr. Sladky sees this as a sign the Park District is callously holding approximately 450 Northwest Park area flood-prone residents hostage.

First of all, Mr. Sladky seems to be making a mistake common to many/most residents: thinking that the City’s taxpayers are the same as the Park District’s taxpayers. Although the overlap is substantial, the City’s boundaries are not the same as the Park District’s, meaning that certain City taxpayers are not Park District taxpayers, and vice versa. That’s why the City and the Park District are two separate taxing bodies with two separate governing bodies.

Chalk that up to the absurdity that is Illinois government, with more governmental units – 6,968 – than any other state: over 2,000 more than Pennsylvania, the first runner-up in governmental inefficiency with 4,871. As if we needed 2,000 more ineptly and/or corruptly-managed governmental units.

Absurdity notwithstanding, the City Council and the Park Board are duty-bound to look out for their own provincial interests. Which is why, before the Park District can offer Northwest Park to the City for storm water detention, it owes its taxpayers a duty to lock the City into a binding legal obligation to minimize, and then repair, any damage to that park caused by the storm water.

That kind of guaranty is an appropriate quid pro quo for the Park District’s cooperation with the City’s flood control project for that area.

We suspect Mr. Sladky’s perception of over-reaching by the Park District came from the District’s September 10 letter to the City, in which Park District Exec. Director Gayle Mountcastle appears to link the District’s permission for the City’s use of Northwest Park to the City’s agreement to a variety of other District demands – including the City’s unmet TIF obligations to the District, a new City lease of the Salt Dome at Oakton, the District’s acquisition of the old City garage at Greenwood and Elm, and a variety of Northwest Park amenities like a “trail system for the park” and “tiered concrete retaining walls and stadium-style seating.”

We can find no evidence of the Park Board’s directing Mountcastle to draft up such a list of demands and figuratively nail them to the door of City Hall, Martin Luther-style. So we’ll chalk that up to Mountcastle’s one-dimensional, zero-sum view of the Park District-City relationship.

Any deal to use Northwest Park as a storm water detention area should stand on its own, and not be tied to other deals. The City and its taxpayers need to ensure the Park District and its taxpayers that any damage to Northwest Park from storm water detention will be prevented and/or remediated by the City.

But flood control should not be made dependent on other unrelated matters, such as whether the City can satisfy its Uptown TIF-related obligation to the Park District by selling the Greenwood and Elm former public works garage property for $1 – even if such an Uptown TIF deal may make sense in its own right.

Unfortunately, the Park Board apparently gave Executive Director Mountcastle a free hand to deal with these issues. And, not surprisingly, Mountcastle bungled them with her stupid and seemingly extortionate linkage of unrelated projects to the Northwest Park storm water detention deal.

Wake up, Park Board members…you should know better by now!

To read or post comments, click on title.

48 comments so far

If I remember correctly, Mayfield Estates and Park Ridge Point are not part of the PR Park District, but are part of the Des Plaines Park District. Whether or not that has any bearing on the NW Park situation, I don’t know, but the letter from Mountcastle does seem rather heavy handed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Interestingly, when we went to the Park District’s website looking for a map of the District’s boundaries, we couldn’t find one. The closest we came was an FAQ regarding whether a person was a resident of the Park District, and the answer was to look at your property tax bill – although it did go on to say that “those living north of Dempster, west of Potter or north of Farrell, as well as those residing at Park Ridge Pointe” are not.

As we understand it, the Mayfield Estates flood control project would have no significant effect on the Northwest Park flood control project, and vice versa.

What leverage does the city have in this “negotiation” ?

The city is desperate and broke and needs something from the Park District badly.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The City has the same “leverage” every party has in any “negotiation”: the ability to say “no.”

As we recall, Burke has identified alternatives to the Northwest Park detention option, each with its own costs. If those costs are less than the costs of the Park District’s demands (and equivalent in timing, degree of disruption, etc.), then the City’s taxpayers are best served by the City’s choosing one of those other options. Otherwise, the Park District’s is the winner.

But all of the foregoing assumes that the City (a/k/a its taxpayers) want to/should commit the resources required for any of those Northwest Park options, under what circumstances – a decision neither the Council nor the taxpayers (via referendum) has yet made.

Just another example of how consistency is not a requirement in the world of PD and by PD I mean Pub Dog, not Park District.

How often have you lamented that government is not like the private sector related to the school board and/or teachers salaries, or related to measurement and ROI on proposals (all good points by the way).

But now in this example, you want our elected officials to behave in a way that is EXACTLY the opposite of how the private sector would behave in a case like this. Do you think a party like the Park District would consider this one issue in a complete vacuum, ignoring all other potential current and future interactions with the other party??? Of course the would not and if you were their attny would never advise them to do so.

SO if it benefits you, you demand govt behave like the private sector and if it does not benefit you, you want them to do just the opposite

EDITOR’S NOTE: NONE of this “benefits” this blog or its editor, at least not in any way different from a majority of Park Ridge taxpayers. And if this blog or its editor were looking for personal “benefits,” we wouldn’t have published our 09.11.14 post.

This is not a public-versus-private sector issue, except to the extent that public sector panderers try to tie as many special interest deals together as they can in order to grease each of those interests and create a kind of co-dependency that most often results in either gridlock or half-baked compromises that cost more than they should but deliver less value.

In the private sector, the competent/savvy business people (which admittedly number well short of “all”) make informed decisions as to whether “linkage” makes enough sense, and stands enough chance of being productive, to even to propose it. As we noted in our note to the previous comment, there’s no good reason why the City should choose the Park District’s NW Park option if it ends up more expensive than other options because of the TIF/old city garage, salt dome and other gew gaws attached to it.

Does this article completely “fly in the face” of the below articles, when you wanted the park district to “take one for the team” or “pay up”?


Within those three articles, the Park District was asked by you to choose ancillary issues (or pay user fees), but now, NW Park Flood help should only surround that specific issue?

I’m not trying to punk you, I’m just saying, the Park District has every right to ask for a ransom from the city council. This city council has been nothing buy “jerky” to pretty much everyone, and entity that it deals with. Payback is a b****.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Let’s see now: your first cite is to a post in which we AGREED with the City Atty’s advice “that linking the City’s approval of the YCP zoning matters to the Park District’s granting of rights to the City to use Northwest Park for storm water detention might violate the City’s Zoning Code” and shouldn’t stand.” So that doesn’t help your argument.

Your second cite is to a post in which we DID advocate “linkage,” BUT only on the issue of the Youth Campus Park receiving a variety of zoning variances and amendments so long as its design was certifiably “in full compliance with the City’s stormwater management ordinance for a 100-year rain event” – which we viewed as relatable to the Park District’s offering of Northwest Park for storm water detention at the City’s entire expense. We did not, however, suggest that such a deal include flooding-unrelated items like the Uptown TIF and the salt dome.

And your third cite has no “linkage” element at all – just an argument that Park District affiliates should pay to use City facilities.

As we said in a previous note, if the Park District wants to bundle unrelated things together with the Northwest Park option, all it’s doing is making a deal on Northwest Park more economically demanding on the City and, therefore, more difficult to achieve. C’est la vie.

12:00 pm: Duct-taping a bunch of unrelated disputes together and demanding that all of them be resolved in one fell swoop is exactly how not to settle any one particular dispute, in this case the most important one: NW Pk. flooding. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Exactly. If you want to solve – actually SOLVE, rather than simply address – a complex problem, the best way is to break it down to its more manageable individual components and solve those, one by one, the way one eats an elephant.

Pub dog,
Your analysis on this is solid. Linkage and bundling should be non-starters. I sincerely hope that this is all driven by Park District staff and that it won’t seriously be considered by the Park Commissioners. It wasn’t long ago that the Park District bristled at the suggestion by some city aldermen that the requested Youth Campus variances be tied to use of Northwest Park as a detention basin. The Park Board, their staff and their attorney were outraged by the suggestion and in no uncertain terms threatened the City Council with legal action should the two issues be linked. The majority of the city council at the time dismissed any suggestion of linkage and accepted the Park Commissioner’s and staff’s assurances of cooperation and working together to solve the Northwest Park issue. Yet a few months later here we are. The park district staff is recommending that now that they have some perceived leverage over the city they should throw everything in and the kitchen sink. This is the opposite of cooperation and of working together with the city toward solving a problem for the residents we both serve.

To make matters worse they (Park District staff) have presented options in regards to the Northwest Park project that are nothing short of asking that the city pay for the Taj Mahal of parks. I fully understand that the Commissioners and the Park District have a mission that is somewhat different of that of the city and its aldermen. The Park District and our residents should by no means lose use of Northwest Park for recreational and sport activities but that should also be balanced by the dire need for flood relief in the area. The commissioners can and should strive to achieve both without adding exorbitant amounts to a project that is already expensive. I hope that the commissioners will exercise creative thinking outside of the narrow and expensive options presented by their staff and consider this as an opportunity to view the NW Park rebuild as a blank slate rather than a mandatory replication of the park exactly as it stands right now. In other words, baseball fields that are currently in NW Park are sensitive to water conditions. Why not move the existing baseball fields to a park that right now only has soccer fields (i.e. Northeast Park) and bring those soccer fields and football fields to Northwest Park after it has been turned into a detention area. Soccer and football fields only need turf and are not subject to the sensitivities that competitive baseball fields are subject to. This way the district does not violate its mandate and it maintains full use of Northwest Park for sport and recreational activities without unnecessarily and callously adding expenses to a project meant to provide necessary flood relief to the area. Additionally, the park district should avoid expensive add ons that don’t currently exist at NW Park, such as covered picnic areas, restrooms, tiered stadium seating etc. The district should be made whole, not arbitrarily enriched.

I sincerely hope that our Park Commissioners will display more of this outside of the box independent thinking rather than blindly accepting what their staff presents to them. Some already have (Jim O’Brien) which heartens me and the residents of the area. I hope more will follow. I wish that the commissioners will display fiscal restraint and not ask for the moon from the city understanding that this is not an opportunity to get the latest and greatest in park facilities but an opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the quality of life of many of the same residents both governmental bodies serve. Besides the district’s very own mission statement seems to indicate that is what the commissioners and the staff should be striving for: “Park Ridge Park District’s Mission is to enhance Park Ridge’s quality of life by providing park and recreation opportunities for all residents while being environmentally and fiscally responsible.”

Be fiscally and environmentally responsible and enhance the quality of life of the residents neighboring Northwest Park.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ald. Milissis:

While we have disagreed with you on some flood control issues – primarily how it will be paid for – we fully concur with your observation that any deal between the City and the Park District should be a “made whole” one, rather than an enrichment one, for the Park District. But Exec. Dir. Mountcastle’s mini-“95 Theses” is the kind of thing you tend to get when elected officials let their one-trick pony staffers loose without a saddle, bit or reins.

Your idea of re-imagining Northwest Park (i.e., the “blank slate” approach) is well worth serious consideration, although we trust that you realize it would involve additional costs to the City for turning soccer/football fields into baseball fields, and vice versa – albeit small potatoes in the scheme of that multi-million dollar flood control project.

1114, I’m curious to hear specifics as to how this City Council has been “‘jerky’ to pretty much everyone.” Are we talking about spending, or is this a personality issue? As I see it, this Council has done its best to be vigilant about safeguarding the City’s finances. Perhaps you prefer the Councils of 5-10 years ago who were much “friendlier” when it came to spending and handouts to the point that recent Councils, including this one, have had no choice but to be the adults in the room and just say “no.” If that is being a jerk, then so be it. 62% of the voters in the last election decided that “warm and fuzzy” was no way to run a fiscally responsible city government.

No where in the mission statement of the PRPD does it state that it is the duty of the park district to turn public park space into a flood detention/storm water storage for a portion of the homes in town.

However, if the decision is made to opt for this possible solution (not a proven solution) to flooding concerns in one part of PR, then in no way should the taxpayers of PR be responsible for significantly upgraded the PRPD facilities at NW park and also giving the PRPD a city asset valued at over $1,000,000.

This sounds like extortion by Mountcastle with the approval of the commissioners, including Mel Thillens who is running for office as an alternative to politics as usual in Illinois. Mr. Thillens continues his hypocrisy from what he says his candidacy is about-honest government and fiscal responsibility-to what his actions are-$21,000,000 in new debt at the PD and now letting the ED of the PRPD try to extort the taxpayers of PR.

It is also worth remember that the PD has indebted itself with the $13,000,000+ Youth Campus and the $8,000,000 waterpark/parking lot project so the PRPD will not be able to- without going to referendum-expand its facilities. What better way to add the old public works building turned indoor practice facility to the PD’s asset base without asking the taxpayers of the PD for approval of the money to buy or build such a facility. Didn’t we say NO to this type of project some years back? If the travel sports programs of PR-soccer, baseball, football-want an indoor practice facility-let these private not-for-profit organizations pool their resources and buy the building from the city for its estimated FMV.

EDITOR’S NOTE: No flooding solution will be “proven” until it is implemented and demonstrates its successful operation. Until then, it’s all some degree of a crap-shoot.

But while we believe the Park District violated the pooch in multiple ways with its ham-fisted demands, we do not believe they included the City’s “giving the PRPD a city asset valued at over $1,000,000” – if what you are referring to is the old City Garage property at Greenwood and Elm. That’s because (as we understand it) the City owes the PRPD well over $1 million in Uptown TIF payments, and the City Garage property transfer would satisfy that obligation, assuming equivalent value.


I could not agree with you more about your Thillens comments. There is only one good reason to vote for Mel but it is a big one (spelled M*A*D*I*G*A*N).

It is also worth noting that Mr. Moylan scores an almost perfect 10 on the hypocrite-a-meter as well. Just look at some of his big votes as compared to what he has stated.

The well under 40% of the people who will actually take the time to vote will do what we always do in Illinois politics. Hold your nose and vote!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Listen up, Campers.

We can see how this comment, and this Note in response, may be viewed as an opportunity to hi-jack this discussion to a Moylan v. Thillens one. So we’re exercising our owner’s/editor’s/publisher’s privilege and pre-emptively advising/warning that we will not publish any subsequent comment to this post that mentions the names Moylan or Thillens – or cleverly/sloppily references them in any way.


Why are we trying to solve the flooding problem by utilizing land owned by the Park District?

Is it in the Park District Mission statement to solve flooding problems for the residents of Park Ridge?

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is neither the Park District’s duty, nor a breach thereof, for the Park District to alter its property for the benefit of the City – so long as that alteration does not substantially impair the public’s use and enjoyment of Northwest Park.

The Northwest Park storm water detention option was identified by Burke, the City’s flood consultant, as a potentially more economical way of managing that area’s storm water than other options.

If the city owes the PD $1,000,000 or so then give the PD the money. Ms. Mountcastle and the commissioners severely depleted the reserves-about $1,500,000 or so-of the PD to pay for the portion of the waterpark construction and parking lot rebuild not covered by the $6,300,000 in bonds that were issued.

In addition, the PD does not need another fixed asset to have to pay for the cost of maintaining and operating. The PD has already stretched itself thin fiscally and operationally. What is going on at the Youth Campus property? How much money did the waterpark lose this past summer that will have to be absorbed by other programs offered by the PD? The PD has other assets in need of some repairs or upgrading like the ice rink and Maine Park to name just two.

And to date the only group using the old garage is the Warriors baseball teams. Why should the taxpayers of PR and the PD provide this separate legal private entity with a place to practice? Again, if the travel programs of baseball, soccer and football want an indoor practice facility they should pay for it-not the PD.

Ms. Mountcastle and the commissioners have certainly complicated unnecessarily and one could argue unethically the discussion of whether or not to allow the city to use NW park for flood mitigation. Why haven’t any of the commissioners-particularly the president of the board-come out against this attempted extortion?

EDITOR’S NOTE: The PD apparently prefers the old City Garage property to cash. Or at least Mountcastle does.

But if you’ve got a beef with that, contact your elected Park District commissioners or show up at one of their meetings – because you can’t expect Mountcastle to stop her empire-building just to mollify taxpayers when she is so adept at manipulating the Board to give her what she wants. And what she can brag about at Park District conferences, and in her resume.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We warned you…and not just about not mentioning names. Hence, your comment has been deleted. But had we published it, our response would have been:

ALL top bureaucrats in local governments manipulate the elected officials to some degree because they can: they are all getting paid six figures for what’s supposed to be a full-time job while being overseen by part-timers with other jobs; and these top bureaucrats belong to bureaucrat associations (e.g., Illinois Park & Recreastion Association, the National Recreation & Park Association, etc.), where they network, compare notes with their peers, and learn even more creative ways to bamboozle elected officials – especially the dumber ones and those who’ll do just about anything to be liked – and the taxpayers.

And, yes, what elections have become in Illinois are choices between inept/oppportunistic/corrupt officials from the Democratic Party that has dominated the Illinois General Assembly and driven this state to the brink of bankruptcy over the past 30 years, versus the merely inept candidates from the Republican Party who, with a little luck, at least aren’t opportunistic/corrupt and HAVEN’T driven this state to the brink of bankruptcy because they haven’t been in office.

No problem not printing my post. I am not looking to have my work “up in lights”. I was more interested in the response.

While I agree that bureaucrats can and often at least try to lead and present data in a way that supports what they want, that is why we have elected officials. You often compliment the Mayor and Knight for seeing through the “data” CM or PW director (for example) on some issues or at least trying to get to the heart of the matter with tough questions in an open forum.

I would expect the same out of the PD board, especially that guy I did not name. Or at least I would expect him not to be guilty aiding and abetting in the manipulation, as he was with the pool and the new park land.

At least we agree on the “choice” that the voters are faced with.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Too many of our local elected officials are either outright dolts or, probably more often, they just want to be liked. And those are two of the easiest types of folks for skilled bureaucrat lifers to manipulate. That’s why we get what we get when we elect dolts and bootlickers.

Is the cost of the northwest project worth it? Will it benefit enough tax payers in PR so that those benefitting dont become what pubdog blogger calls freeloaders benefitting from other peoples money. Shouldn’t those benefitting pay extra for this project (at least if pubdog blogger and certain elected officials who fancy themselves “fiscal conservatives” are to remain consistent with how they labeled other public body cash outlays?). Is this really a “need”that will benefit all taxpayers for all taxpayers to bear the burden ? Or just a want for certain parts of PR and certain elected officials looking to benefit from “Other Peoples Money”? For those making the pitch for this project look back at your record and try and be consistent for the sake of the taxpayers.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If the voters say “yes” to the taxing/borrowing/spending necessary to do it, then it is “worth it.” Or if the beneficiaries are willing to undertake a substantial portion of the costs through Special Service Districts (“SSA”s), then it vert well might be “worth it.” Yet the vast majority of those prospective beneficiaries who show up at Council meetings to voice their opinion want neither a referendum vote nor an SSA.

Can you say: “Freeloaders”?

Well, at least you came up with a bumper sticker. “Vote Dolt”.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Only when the other choice is the incumbent dolt/opportunist/crook – a/k/a, Illinois Democrats.

Come on, PD, you have had an ax to grind with Mountcastle from when she pushed through the new water park without the referendum you wanted. You aren’t going to give her a break no matter what she does, so this damning her for this combined demand is just a dodge.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, we have had an axe to grind with her since then, and with those Gumby elected Park Board members who were either too stupid or too in need of faux self-esteem to challenge the idea of socking $8 million (almost $7 million of which was bonded debt) into a facility that can barely be used 3 months a year – at least not without a referendum where the voters could voice their opinion of whether that was just a dumb or an even dumber idea that a doltish, self-aggrandizing bureaucrat can come up with.

One question. Who has the ability to hire and fire the bureaucrat?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Generally, the board/council hires and fires the top bureaucrat; and the top bureaucrat hires and fires his/her underling bureaucrats. But you knew that.

So, while not defending Mountcastle, let’s not paint her as the villain in this picture. The board WANTED the pool. The love it. Were you at the grand opening with the VIP entrance……they were all grinning away about what they had accomplished.

Multiple times throughout the summer that guy (the one who I did not name) could be seen accepting congrats like a proud papa while taking a dip. It will be the same way with the new park when it opens……ribbon cuttings and so on.

The entire time he and they had the ability and the authority to handle these things in a different, more fiscally responsible, more transparent way but they, not her, chose to not do so. They could can her tomorrow but not only do they not do that, there was no real disapproval for anything she has done.

So what is your answer? Let’s blame the bureaucrat and promote the guy who ran the board and lead the legacy group. Now there is accountability!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Under previous PRPD administrations, the taxpayers were asked to vote on whether they wanted to borrow and spend boxcar dollars for an outdoor waterpark, and the resounding answer was “no.” Mountcastle cajoled her band of Gumbys into multi-million dollar boondoggles that boosted their self-esteem without giving taxpayers a vote.

The other issue isn’t about “promoting” anyone – it’s choosing heart disease over terminal brain cancer, which is the kind of choice we get here in Illinois.

To me this is a basic as basic gets. The Park District has something the city wants/needs. The Park District offered a package and now it’s up to the city to offer something back.

The crappy old garage to the Park District for its’ owed $1 Million seems like a win win for taxpayers. It’s not like we need another apartment complex shoved in somewhere.

Each Park Board members duty is to represent the Park District assets and interests. How do they know what’s going to happen to their park if they let the sewer project pass? What happens in 10 years if its way worse than thought, and an asset is ruined?

Ald. Millissis— Why does the whole city (or in this case Park District taxpayer base) have to subsidize the special interests of a few homes? You advocate 3 things that are absolutely objectionable:

1. You want taxpayers to subsidize you and your neighbors home at Mayfield, even though YOU bought it all well knowing AND SIGNING what comes with and without your property. You are a lawyer, right?

2. NW Park- The Park District didn’t say no. They asked for something back for possibly ruining an asset. It’s their right. You can say no or offer something back.

3. Condos- You want these deals also retrofitted to sting the rest of the city.

As someone who has invested $15,000 in my own flood control, I find it troubling to pay for yours as well.

The trend of pooling everyones money to pay for YOUR special interests is infuriating. This isn’t utopia.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In one sense you’re right: the PRPD has something the City wants and believes it can get more out of the deal than just a commitment by the City to rebuild Northwest Park if it is harmed from serving as a detention area. But the more nonsensical demands the PRPD gratuitously tacks on, the less attractive it becomes to the City.

Dear Mr. Editor:

I think it may have been a little harsh to label “our local elected officials” as “outright dolts”. I know you meant some and not some others, but I’m left to imagine what percentage they comprise.

To be sure, I’ve witnessed some doltish statements, such as the alderman who ripped into Bill Napleton, empty-gesturing that he’d never buy his cars again — right before voting to give him $400,000 in taxpayer money.

For the most part, however, our local elected officials are very smart people, well-credentialed even, who want to help the community.

I do agree with your other characterization, that “they just want to be liked”. We might call this a “go-along, get-along culture.” Unfortunately, all this going along and getting along always results in higher levels of public spending.

If I could ask only one thing of our local elected public officials, it would be to interrogate matters more deeply. Rarely do they ask any questions at all, and few of those demand any details, consequences or contingencies. There’s little or no concern for taxpayers because there is little or no curiosity or critical thinking. These men and women are not dolts, but they seem to leave their great analytical talents at the door. If no hard questions get asked, bureaucrats get the idea they can do what they want.

Actually, I have said this to many of my local elected officials, face to face, on the phone or in a meeting. They all get it; few of them do anything about it. That’s the real shame.

Two gentlemen who get it and do something about it are Dave Schmidt and Dan Knight. They ask hard questions, and while I don’t always agree with their conclusions, they always make sure we get a clear reading of the facts, pros and cons. And then what happened in the last election? Their opponents said they were “mean” or “harsh”. So be it. I vote in every election, and I’ve never been asked to decide among candidates for Mr. or Ms. Congeniality.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We concur in most of your comments, except that only a dolt could believe that spending $8 milion on a facility usable only 3 months a year, at best, makes any sense given our community’s other needs.

Interesting read on things. Now I understand that the incompetence and inflexibility with Park Ridge Park District emanates from the top and works its way down to the employees. I don’t want to bore the readers of your blog with my numerous experiences of rigid inflexibility with the park district, but at least now I understand where it comes from. They are the most tightly wound bunch of individuals at that governmental entity…more so than almost any other governmental agency I’ve dealt with – and that includes the employees at the DuPage County Judicial Center and they have the reputation as the most inflexible group of people in all of Chicagoland…

Did anyone see this? I don’t remember seeing this in the news last year when they found the drugs…..the cartel has infiltrated park ridge, and you’re worried about the park district???

EDITOR’S NOTE: One house is not an infiltration.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You just got edited. Arbitrary? Perhaps. But you can’t say you weren’t warned.

But, yes, Gumby is better than the alternative evil.

I’m not going to defend nor pile on Ms. Mountcastle and the tone or substance of her letter to the City, as many would wish. Instead, I would like to address two inaccuracies that I read in this string of posts.

1) Alderman Milissis suggests that that Board, vis a vis Ms. Mountcastle, has done “nothing short of asking the City to pay for the Taj Mahal of parks”. For the record, the alleged Taj Mahal was proposed by none other than Burke Engineering, the firm that Alderman Milissis has entrusted to educate the City on what, precisely, needs to be done at NW Park in order to save the 2nd Ward from further flooding. It was not, as some might suggest, concocted by the Park District. The proposal that the Park District brought to the City with regard to NW Park is to simply recreate what Burke has done in Downers Grove, where competitive baseball/soccer fields exist within a water detention area. The tiered concrete (while doubling as seating) is part of Burke’s design to control the water within the park area. I couldn’t agree more with Alderman Milissis and fellow Commissioner O’Brien that we need to look at NW Park with a clean set of eyes…maybe we can move the ball fields somewhere else and repurpose NW Park for another concept (e.g. move the driving range there and put ball fields in where the current driving range is). In short, everything should be on the table.
2) The notion that this proposal is tantamount to some nefarious linkage proposition (and akin to the wholly illegal suggestion that Alderman Smith made during the zoning hearing on the Youth Campus) is pure malarkey. After receiving what was a terribly flawed draft agreement with the City regarding use of the salt dome (located at Oakton Park), the Park Board unanimously directed Ms. Mouncastle to go back to the drawing board and re-look at the salt dome agreement in the context of the other pending issues with the City (i.e., TIF renegotiation and NW Park water detention). The idea was that each side (the City and Park District) had things to gain and things to lose in each of the individual issues. The hope then was to try and put some context to the three separate (potential) agreements and determine if there is some middle ground that could be reached – keeping in mind that any gain that the Park District gets is at the expense of the City (and thus the same 38,000 taxpayers that we are entrusted to represent) and visa versa. So to suggest, for example, that we are holding the City hostage over the insurance issue is ludicrous. The simple fact is that PDRMA will no longer insure NW Park if it is turned into a water detention area. If the park is turned into water detention and the resulting fields and other amenities are damaged as a result of the water, the taxpayers (all 38,000 of them) are left holding the bag for replacement costs. That is a problem that the City and Park District need to address, hand in hand – because we were all elected to represent the same 38,000 folks in town.

Should the letter to the City have been drafted in such a way as to suggest compromise rather than appear as a list of demands a la Martin Luther – in my humble opinion, yes, certainly. But that is water under the bridge (so to speak) and we (the elected officials) need to figure out how to come together on this issue for the betterment of the entire City and its 38,000 resident taxpayers.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t necessarily disagree with many of your points, but you dismiss/ignore/disenfranchise hundreds of taxpayers when you claim that the PRPD Board and the City Council “represent the same 38,000 folks in town” – despite hundreds of people who either live in PR but not in the PRPD (e.g., Park Ridge Pointe and Mayfield Estates residents) or who live in the PRPD but not in PR (some Niles residents)

Two edits in one thread!!! Now I am blushing!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: You should be.

Dear Anon 11:14,

You are a piece of work. You have made so many assumptions in order to make your argument fit in perfectly in your world of outrage that I have to answer with something I like to call the facts. Facts are often inconvenient and bothersome to those of your kind.
First off, I do not live in Mayfield Estates but I still advocate for what is right and fair for that area. Call me crazy but I feel a certain sense of duty towards people I represent.

If essential infrastructure work meant to protect citizens against health and safety hazards is a subsidy according to you then you are missing the whole point of what a city is. All of us “subsidize” work that will benefit each other. I have “subsidized” the street in front of your house, the snowplowing you receive every winter and the lining of the sewers that serve your house. That’s the whole point of a city. If you truly believe your stated philosophy you violate it daily by staying in Park Ridge and accepting city services. I would direct you to your own compound somewhere in rural Montana where you can drill your own well for water, have your own outhouse for a bathroom instead of city sanitary systems. There you can chase away bothersome city folk with your shotgun while feeling perfectly safe that nobody else is benefiting from a single dime of YOUR money. That is the only way you will truly ensure that none of “YOUR tax money” is funding somebody else’s “special interests”.

By the way, no need to lay awake at night worrying you will pay for my flood control. I have spent $11,000 of my own money to ensure my house remains dry and powered regardless of the situation. You see, I was lucky enough to have a problem that was solvable by me spending my own money. Many of the residents in our City don’t have that option when the water is coming in from their front door or in through their garage. There simply isn’t a solution for overland flooding other than detention of water until the city’s system can catch up during the worst of storms. Even though I have solved my own problem I still suffer from this condition called caring. I also have this nagging persistence for what’s fair. The people of NW Park and Mayfield and of the so called Country Club area and a dozen other areas that have yet to be identified officially by the city which exist and suffer all over Park Ridge need to be extended the same protection other areas have received to date(maybe one of those benefited areas through a city funded flood remediation project is in your neighborhood?).

Finally, the park will not be ruined just like hundreds of other parks that have undergone the same process all over the country for decades now have lost none of their usability. Burke and dozens of other engineering firms around the country have successfully completed projects some of which exist and have existed in neighboring communities (Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows, Wheaton, Downers Grove etc.) for years without any issues, so that’s a false claim and a tactic meant to sow doubt with the commissioners of the Park District.

You’re right this isn’t utopia, it’s a community and a city where people, all people, pay the same taxes but in some cases do not receive the same services or protection you enjoy.

I will be the first to say that Rick Biagi is one of the finest elected officials our community is lucky enough to have representing us and I thank him for chiming in and providing his thoughts on this issue. I also feel the need to correct Rick on a couple of points he brought up in response to my previous post.

First off, I (Nicholas Milissis) have not “entrusted Burke Engineering with educating the city on what precisely needs to be done at NW Park in order to save the 2nd ward from further flooding”. Burke engineering was hired by two city councils before me to conduct a comprehensive study of the city and to complete flood remediation projects to address these many problem areas around the city. The projects currently proposed (Mayfield, NW Park and Country Club area) were all identified and studied by Burke before I even was on the council.

Secondly Rick, although you are correct in saying that Burke engineering provided the Downers Grove project as an example you fail to mention that it was not the only project Burke provided. I don’t remember all of the other ones or where they are located but I do remember that your staff dismissed them and heavily pushed on the board the Downers Grove project which had many of the bells and whistles or add-ons that they (PD staff) seem to be championing. I am very happy to read that you are open to solutions that will not unnecessarily add costs on an already expensive project.

Finally Rick, I fully understand that as a commissioner you have a duty and responsibility to protect the interests of the Park District and to ensure that the park land will continue to be usable for sport and recreational activities. I only ask that you consider the fact that projects like this have been successfully constructed around the country for decades. So even though this is a new idea for Park Ridge it has been tried and tested by engineering firms and park districts for many years without any issues or loss.

I look forward to working with you and the rest of the Park Board for a solution that will be fiscally responsible and beneficial for all of our constituents.

Isn’t the 1900 block of birch street directly east of northwest park? And wasn’t Ald milissis photographed clearing a sewer drain in his neighborhood because of overland flooding last year?
Doesn’t the projects offered by Burke address the flooding in that area? Some realtors call that whole area mayfield.
Pubdog has often criticized the argument Ald milissis makes that we as a city agree when we live here and pay taxes here that we are all in this together (for instance our school funding or the condos that wish now to have their private streets be serviced by the city). Is pubdog endorsing Ald milissis argument?
Consistency would seem lacking as OPM argument and the “f” word (not that f word- but freeloaders) seem to equally apply to funding the mayfield northwest park area as to chrome books for our schools or city services for the streets of Bristol court.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ah, you’re back, no more lucid than before.

We ARE “all in this together,” but not in blind, boneheaded or wasteful fashion, or in ways that result in gross inequity – UNLESS the taxpayers vote it.

We realize those are concepts that elude you, but keep trying.

For those interested here is the link to the Burke report
I did not see a newer one but this has in it around page 9 the areas in northwest park effected by flooding including birch street west of parkside. Seems this is a situation where an alderman is going to (according to Burke) benefit directly from this project if funded by the city. Has the city attorney given an opinion on whether Ald milissis who lives on that street should recuse himself from a discussion or vote on the issue similar to how Ald Mazzuca had to for the vote on the condo association proposal?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Hey, a salient point! See, you can do it!

I have always found that the way to solve a complex problem is by breaking it down into more manageable parts. It sounds as if the PRPD did just the opposite: took manageable problems and needlessly combined them to create one big problem. As PubDog often says: “Brilliant!”

Also a homeowner spending 11,000 (as Ald milissis said he did) can fix the flooding problem for a house on birch (as Ald milissis above says it did) why does that area need to be included on the Burke report? Other individuals on birch and nearby streets should spend 11,000 too and fix the problem. If over land flooding is the problem Ald milissis should just be honest and admit his street will benefit (per the Burke report) from the city as a whole paying for the fix.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Perhaps you haven’t heard: certain areas of Park Ridge have overland flooding, with storm water moving over land (hence, “overland”) and entering homes through doors, window wells, etc.

We thought it was clear from Ald. Milissis’ comment that he does not have overland flooding problems – so he would not appear to be receiving direct or indirect benefit from overland flooding control.

Anon 10:32,

You need a new realtor. Mayfield Estates is a very well defined area and NW Park isn’t it, nor have I ever heard anyone confuse the two.

Anon 10:42,

Where does that argument end? Should aldermen of the south side of the city recuse themselves from voting or arguing anything to do with O’Hare noise because their homes are in what the FAA has defined as a noise contour? Should an alderman recuse himself from voting on street resurfacing because the street is in front of his house? The reality is that every single thing we contemplate and vote on in council should benefit all of us at some time or another. Under your twisted definition of direct benefit we would methodically lose representation and end up with a city council of aldermen who have never held an opinion on a matter that affects the city just so they can keep that pristine but unrealistic and erroneous sense of justice you are peddling here. By the way how do any of us know that you don’t live in an area that has already benefited by one of the 9 flood remediation projects that my and everyone else’s tax money has already paid for in the last four years? Oh that’s right, we can’t because you are anonymous. The difference between you and the editor of this blog is that everyone knows who he is, what he stands for and why. If you really want to have this argument step up to the podium and state your name and address as we like to say in City Council. Until then…Montana. Cabin. Septic Tank. Drinking Well. Go.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That just about covers it, alderman.

While you may not have a conflict of interest, Councils (and park boards and school boards) have historically been way too cavalier in ignoring potential conflicts of their members. So such conflict scrutiny may be a bit annoying for those of you in elective office, but it beats the alternative of decisions by unenlightened (and undisclosed) self-interest.

First off, I really appreciate Ald. Millissis and Commissioner Biagi addressing voters. You both and the Mayor seem to be the only ones that would like to engage voters and clarify their positions.

That being said, Ald Millissis kumbaya “caring” speech is as old and played as politicians spending taxpayer money to help themselves.
Your comments are not “facts”. Please answer these questions:

* Where in the city are we given 100-year flood protection, since that is what you are seeking for your ward.

* Please give me ANY example where $100,000 PER HOME has been spent by the city to ensure flood control

Please don’t talk down to us and compare paving the street in front of my house to installing sewers in an area where the homeowners SIGNED contracts knowing what existed and didn’t. Streets did exist when I purchased my home. In fact, the PROPERTY VALUE is reflected both of our home equations.

Same goes for the condos. Your unholy alliance with Mazzuca for increasing both of your own property values is disturbing.

I’ll circle back this conversation back to the parks. You are asking for an asset by the parks to be possibly ruined or relocated. You say “it’s been done”…but not in this case, so you have no idea what effect it will have on the park. Park District taxpayers should be protected.

Alderman- You say I should live in Montana, well, you are exactly where you should be. Illinois is the place for special deals that only benefit the few.

Commissioner Biagi- I’m sure you will come up with correct compensation to make the deal work, but by no means should you roll over for the city.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We doubt that the Park Board members, even those of Pooh Bear-ish little brain, would approve a Northwest Park stormwater detention plan that carried a significant risk of substantial damage to that park. And if the engineering is a known quantity rather than ground-breaking, then the fact that it has never been done here before is a silly position to take. Additionally, it would be the City that would be indemnifying the Park District for any damage to the park.

As the title and substance of this post states, a Northwest Park detention area should be judged on its own merit, with the only quid pro quo being the City’s agreement to pay for it and indemnify the Park District for harm. Mountcastle’s attempt to turn that deal into a Chinese menu of “one from corumn A, one from corumn B,” therefore, is just another example of career bureaucrats gone wild.

The point is why is Burke including birch street in its report saying the nw park detention is an option for solving birch street flooding problem if a private fix like Ald milissis can do the job? Freeloading?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Who said that “a private fix like Ald. Milissis [has employed” can solve the Birch Street flooding addressed in the Burke report?

Dear Rick (Biagi) and Nick (Milissis):

Glad to know you two are talking and will try to work out something. My only concern, based on the past couple of years of automatic budget increases for the Park District, the new swimming pool, youth campus, etc., is that “work out something” is likely to mean “more public spending”. While you’re solving this problem, can you find a way to cut some other expenses so we the taxpayers don’t wind up paying more?

Also, related: what I described in my previous comment yesterday at 9:36 a.m. was beautifully illustrated by Anon yesterday at 6:50 a.m., especially the description of a local elected official “seen accepting congrats like a proud papa while taking a dip”. It’s easy to look like a hero when you’re spending other people’s money.

Rick and Nick, don’t make the same mistake. Be fiscally prudent, please — for once.

Ald milissis who lives on birch said above:

By the way, no need to lay awake at night worrying you will pay for my flood control. I have spent $11,000 of my own money to ensure my house remains dry and powered regardless of the situation. You see, I was lucky enough to have a problem that was solvable by me spending my own money.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You really CAN’T be this stupid, can you? If Milissis HAD overland flooding, his $11,000 fix wouldn’t have solved it, would it?

Ah! You are finally catching up. 11,000 cannot fix overland flooding so either Ald milissis is misrepresenting the type of flooding on his street or lying about paying for private flood control. I will find you the picture of milissis standing in wading boots with a stick on his street and the various birch street residents from council meeting complaining of flooding.
But the point is (look at page 9 of the Burke report) milissis block is mentioned as a street that will benefit from the various expensive fixes proposed regardless of type of flooding Burke says it will help his block. Pubdog you always say if there is a private fix to the problem (apparently the type of flooding on birch street according to milissis can be fixed by paying 11000 to a contractor ) why should we spend OPM to fix the problem?

EDITOR’S NOTE: You really haven’t gotten any smarter in the past week or so you, have you? Sorry, we don’t have any more time to waste on your stupidity. Try to formulate a comment that’s lucid.

I agree with milissis about the conflict argument being twisted and wrong. I made it here to point out to pubdog (who has made these arguments regarding condo associations and chromebooks) just pointing out sarcastically that pubdog is wrong. Thank you for agreeing.
See below from previous topic of codo associations being freeloaders.
As stupid as your contrived and moronic conflict. If your kids use the library and you are on the library board is voting in favor of free computer use a conflict?

The reason you think these examples are stupid is because they are stupid/ and the same as your chromebook or other school board “conflict” analysis. Just plain stupid. You need to stick to making sense. You have a point with the association thing but your school board argument is pretty close to tin foil hat territory

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ll never know about that Library conflict of interest, Get Fake, because this editor opposes free computer use. Period.

The City Attorney wrote a legal opinion letter available to the public which states why Mazzuca has a conflict of interest. That same reasoning applies even more directly to the D-64 Board members – are YOU one of them, Get Fake? – who rewarded themselves here and now with free Chromebooks for their kids, at taxpayers’ expense.

Unfortunately, those D-64 Board members – you ARE one of them, aren’t you, Get Fake? – seem to be so ethically vacant that they didn’t have the integrity to even seek such an opinion before voting to give themselves these gifts.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Spoken like a D-64 Board member getting free Chromebooks.

I too have the utmost respect for Alderman Milissis and am comforted to know that he is sitting in the horseshoe at City Hall fighting for all of the taxpayers of PR. He is a good man and I am honored to be able to call him a friend. (I know, I know – enough huggin and kissin and get to my point.)

The only additional comment I would like to make is in connection with Burke’s recommendations to the Park District. Ald. Milissis is correct that there were other proposals from Burke that the PD rejected. However, the other projects that Burke presented to the PD involved parks that did not have competitive ball fields. Instead, the other (Burke) projects involved parks with either rubber-type hard surfaces or asphalt surfaces for the playing surfaces. Those would/may be adequate for practice fields but not for competitive fields – thus, the reason why the staff favored the Downers Grove scheme rather than the others that were presented by Burke.

That being said, Ald. Milissis and Com. O’Brien are exactly right in suggesting that we need to look at this from a fresh perspective – maybe we don’t need to put the competitive fields back at NW Park – maybe they can go somewhere else and NW Park can be re-purposed.

If it is decided that the only option is to put back NW Park as-is, then it looks like the Downers Grove concept may be the way to go. If, however, we can shift things around, then we may be able to get away with a less expensive option that provides the best value for the taxpayer while maintaining the amenities that many of those same taxpayers expect and demand from the PD.

I think this entire string of posts makes the point I have been advocating (publicly) for, over the past few months. Rather than continue to have information filtered through the staff’s centrifuge and then relayed to the elected officials, we need to put together a committee of staff AND elected officials to sit down and work this out once and for all.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You guys can 86 the bro-mance and stick to the issues – we know you know how to do that.

What you folks (especially at the school districts) need is better senior staff that actually earns the boxcar comp. you’re paying them and who know how to take raw information and distill it down into something usable by the elected officials rather than into something half-baked or outright misleading. But failing that, you’re probably right about a committee – hopefully meeting in OPEN session instead of in Star Chamber proceedings?

YEEAAAAHHHHH!!!!! Another freakin’ committee!

OK Rick, how many more months will that add to the process??

If you, as a commissioner, feel that the information you get from staff is “filtered through the staff’s centrifuge and then relayed to the elected officials”, maybe you should form a second committee to do something about that?!?!?!?!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gayle Mountcastle makes $150K to serve as CEO of a public body with a budget of approx. 1/3 that of the City, whose CEO, Shawn Hamilton, makes about the same. Since Hamilton is definitely not underpaid, it’s pretty clear that you don’t get what you pay for – other than, perhaps, in a sick and twisted way.

Highly-compensated Mountcastle and Hamilton should have figured this out between themselves already. And it shouldn’t have been Mountie’s 95 Theses, which seem to have bamboozled Hammie.

I wouldn’t have it any other way (open session that is). The public deserves and is entitled to see the sausage being made.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As they should.

Is there any discussion about spending millions on flood control that includes changing the building codes so some of the man made issues that contribute to flooding are eliminated?

How many lots near NW park or in Mayfield Estates now have McMansions taking up every allowable portion of green space where a modest home once stood? How many homeowners in Mayfield Estates filled in the gullies/drainage areas near the street meant to hold excess rainwater because they wanted a better looking front yard?

Unless building codes are changed to address the manmade part of the flooding concerns millions of dollars will be spent without eliminating some of the causes of the flooding.

And though Mr. Biagi has come on here to clarify and inform us of some of the background regarding the attempted extortion of the city of PR by Gayle Mountcastle regarding the NW Park flood control proposal, he and the rest of the PD board should publicly retract the letter she sent to the city on behalf of the PD demanding all sorts of expensive taxpayer paid for upgrades to NW Park and the PD.

Ms. Mountcastle a Chicago resident who could care less about the taxpayers of PR or the PD seems to have a strange spell over this park board. She should be reprimanded for the heavy handed manner she has used to deal with this matter that has served only to delay and complicate moving forward.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s post criticizes our inadequate Zoning Code. And we wrote several posts (10.09.09, 05.03.12 and 05.23.12) about the less-than-solid code enforcement at 322 Vine.

I do not disagree about our well compensated senior staff people in both the city and PD……BUT….it is our elected officials, 2 of who have posted on this thread, who have the authority to give direction and ultimately get rid of these people. That is a part of what we elect them for.

One of them has indicated in a post that they are dissatisfied with the information they receive from staff so, it seems to me, one question is what exactly have they done to fix that situation?? That seems like a big freakin’ (there I go again) problem not just for this issue but for all those issues down the road unless it is rectified.

Should Hammie and Mountie have handled this better? If our elected officials think so than fix it so it does not happen the next time. No wait, I have a better idea!! Let’s form a committee!!!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Elected officials don’t demand enough from the top officials and, consequently, they get more dross than diamonds. Some are better than others, but let’s put it this way:

If you owned a $12, $25, $50 or $75 million business, would you hire Mountcastle, Hamilton, Heinz or Wallace as your CEO?


I think we should sit back and celebrate for a moment. This appears to be one of those occasions where we completely agree.

Your point about CEO’s only reinforces what I am trying to say. I appreciate Mr. Biagi posting (along with Mr. Milissis) but when he feels the information has been run through a centrifuge. Was it run through a centrifuge on the aquatic center as well? What about future projects?

Did a google search and found this topic being discussed at a PD meeting in September of, get this, 2010!!!

So here we are 4 years later and we want to form a committee. God help us!

I thank the Hon. Biagi and Milissis for their cogent and caring observations. But I wish you, PubDog, would play fair and:

1) When you decide not to publish off-topic comments, also resist the temptation to publish your own screeds rebutting those mystery comments. Your retorts don’t need the unfair advantage of publishing only your side, not the commenting person’s side. That’s punching someone who is handcuffed, don’t you think? Or maybe you think that’s ok because, after all, you are the superior person because you were able to handcuff him/her in the first place, so now anything goes?

2) Get off the tired old hobbyhorse about the damn pool. The vast majority of residents can’t stop praising it to the skies (and to the commissioners), and if the Unnamed One Of Course wants to act the proud papa, that’s what happens when you do something the public likes.

3) Recognize, if only in your secret heart, that the Park Board did not act illegally, immorally or fatteningly when they approved the pool. It was within their official, legal responsibility.

Oh, and please tell the Mayor, much as we love him, that running against the Velveteen Rabbit was hardly a heated match-up. What’s more stop ragging on Mountcastle — she was given her marching orders by her bosses, the board, to stop rolling over for whatever the City wanted from the Park District. Seems to me a run-down, virtually unused building on the tracks instead of cash owed to the Parks is a very, very generous trade offer to the City.And if you think for a minute the Mayor wouldn’t have insisted the Park Dist and School Dists sell their kids into slavery to pay if they owed the City what the City owes them, you’re delusional. Everybody cries blackmail and demands consideration when they’re the debtor — not so much when they’re the creditor. A little less hipocracy and misplaced moral indignation would render his and your position more credible.

EDITOR’S NOTE: When somebody chooses to submit an off-topic comment, especially anonymously, they also choose to “hand-cuff” themselves and submit to whatever treatment we wish to subject them to. If they don’t like it, they can: (a) comment in their own name; (b) stay on-topic; or (c) comment on Park Ridge Underground.

As best as we can tell, not even 20% of unique Park Ridge residents visited the water park even once this season, and not even all of that 20% “can’t stop praising it to the skies.” So your “vast majority” is, at best, a figment of your – and Mountcastle’s, and the Unnamed One’s – imagination; or just an outright lie.

The Park Board acted “legally” but irresponsibly, cowardly and arrogantly in not going to referendum on the water park. And the reason they didn’t go was because they KNEW that the answer would be a resounding “no,” just like it was on previous referendums to build a new outdoor aquatic facility. So they avoided asking for permission and are praying that the water park will be financially successful enough that they won’t have to beg for forgiveness.

Neither the mayor nor this blog has criticized trading the old public works garage for the City’s unpaid TIF debt to the Park District. So your point is irrelevant and false.

As for “credibility,” whenever you decide to come out of the closet and reveal yourself, we’ll match our “credibility” against yours. And depending who you are, we might even give you odds just to be sporting.

Excuse me? Did I make up all the comments I heard about Mountcastle blackmailing/extorting/lumping together the things the Park District would consider as a set-off against the monies owed it by the City? My point is neither irrelevant nor false, thank you very much.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The issue isn’t the individual deals but their LINKAGE.

If Mountcastle and her Munchkins want to trade the TIF payments the Park District is owed for the City Garage property, that deal should stand on its own individual merit instead of being lumped in with several other deals and wrapped around the Northwest Park storm water detention plan.

10-6-14-who will use the old garage if the PD gets it for the city? The travel baseball teams that are sponsored by the separate legal entity PR baseball? The PRPD should not be providing space at little to no charge for PRBS. Let those who use-PR baseball-pay for it.

The PD depleted it’s reserves to pay for an aquatics facility that is used for a quarter of the year by a small percentage of PRPD taxpayers. Meanwhile other assets of the PRPD are in need of basic maintenance or repair but the PD’s financial hands are tied by the $21,000,000 of bonds they have issued. The $1,000,000 the city may owe the PD should be put back in reserve or used to fix assets the PRPD already own.

And G. Mountcastle’s actions are not at the bidding of the board or her bosses. Her actions are meant to make herself look good on a resume at the expense of the taxpayers of the PD.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If the Park Board thinks sinking $1 million or so that the City owes it into the old City garage property, that’s their call.

Mountcastle already got two big-ticket resume builders within the last 12 months and buried the PRPD in big-time debt, so why shouldn’t she go for a third – even if it’s used rather than new? At least she’s just foregoing a receivable instead of digging a deeper debt hole.

So what would the PD use an old garage for? PR baseball is not part of the PD neither is soccer or football. If that is he intended use of the facility the only ones who should pay for the old garage is baseball soccer and football.

As a taxpayer of the PD it is the duty if this board to replenish the reserves or fix the assets already owned! This is another way that Mountcastle is expanding the PD kingdom without taxpayer approval. More unethical actions by Mountcastle-what a shock.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We don’t believe Mountcastle’s conduct rises to the “unethical” level, but it certainly is fiscally-irresponsible empire-building – and resume-building – at the taxpayers’ expense.

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)