Election 2019: We Suck Once Again


Almost two weeks have passed since this year’s local elections, and here are a few observations about them.

1.  Turnout totally sucked. Despite 2 weeks (including weekends) of early voting and decent weather on Election Day itself, only 4,605 of the 34,626 registered voters (13.3%) in Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 bothered to show up to vote for all 4 contested races. That’s the worst D-64 election turnout since 2011, prompting our 04.06.2011 post which told all those MIA registered voters: “You suck!”

That goes double this year.

And as in 2011, the 1st and 3rd Wards couldn’t even produce a contested race (neither could the 7th, but that’s a slightly different story), although at least this time the 3rd Ward derelicts didn’t need a write-in candidate to avoid having to figure out what’s the procedure for filling a seat when nobody even runs. Mayoral appointment? Raffle?

Meanwhile, interest in Park Ridge Park District and Maine Twp. School District 207 boards was so poor there weren’t even any contested races – which was worse than in 2011, and makes us wonder why 4,312 voters out of the 32,044 registered Park District voters (13.46%), or 9,982 out of the 97,915 registered D-207 voters (10.24%), even bothered to vote for candidates who could not lose so long as they voted for themselves.

And the 5th Ward contested aldermanic race drew a meager 1,001 of the 7,313 registered voters (13.69%) in that ward.

For a community like ours, the April 2 turnout is nothing short of pathetic and embarrassing. Paraphrasing a line from T.S. Eliot: “This is the way democracy ends, not with a bang but a whimper.”

2.  The D-64 race featured, for what appears to be the first time in Park Ridge election history, an overtly single-gender ticket of Rebecca Little, Lisa Page, Denise Pearl and Carol Sales, running as the “MOMS for District 64 School Board!” All but Page won, and Page lost to incumbent Tom Sotos by a mere 77 votes despite running what could best be described as a “stealth” campaign that eschewed yard signs and all other trappings of a serious candidacy.

We suspect that, had there been slate of candidates campaigning as the “4 DADS,” the howling about sexism and gender politics would have been so high-pitched and loud that it would have agitated every dog between Park Ridge and Indianapolis.

We’ll be interested to see if this was just a one-off phenomenon orchestrated in response to the tone-deaf arrogance and incompetence of the Tony Borrelli/Laurie Heinz Administration – and perhaps to provide sympathetic ears to the teachers’ and teacher assistants’ unions going into contract negotiations – or an actual movement by “MOMS” to take control of local government while “dads” continue to drink beer, scratch themselves and watch sports on t.v.

We’ll also be interested to see whether D-64 will become a better school system producing better academic achievement 4 years from now than it has been on Borrelli’s/Heinz’s watch.

If the MOMS-dominated (since 2013) D-207 Board is any guide, however, the answer to that will be a resounding “No!” – as evidenced by those D-207 MOMS blindly rubber-stamping 5 years of mismanagement and abject neglect of the District’s facilities by the incompetent-yet-arrogant Supt. Ken Wallace that had Maine South’s U.S. News & World Reports ranking sliding from 29th in 2012 to 45th in 2016, before falling out of the rankings entirely in 2017 and 2018.

How did that MOMS-dominated Board react to those failures? They helped Wallace pass a $300 million-plus referendum last November, and then gave him a 5-year contract extension and raise.

When it comes to competence in public service, therefore, XY appears to be no more an indicator of it than XX. And if you want more proof of that, we give you Laurie Heinz and Tony Borrelli.

(Edited 04.14.2019)

To read or post comments, click on title.

22 comments so far

“MOMS for D-64 School Board.”

The pink hat moms. They were all league of women voters members. They were the crest of this past blue wave. One was a ‘journalist’, the other a teacher and the third a left wing lawyer. They had slick flyers on every door in the district which appealed to identity politics (we are moms! we are women!) rather than legitimate issues.

My goodness I wish I could upload my 2nd grader’s math homework for everyone to see (which she failed and got wrong btw):

“16. Smith Elementary has 299 students. Lakes Elementary has 536 students. How many students are in all? There are 835 students in all.”


This is the absolute garbage they teach in D64 these days. Complete trash. Of course, everyone failed the question on this test, because it makes no sense. If you think it’s going to get any better with the progressive ‘Moms’ in charge, I have a bridge in AOC’s district I can sell you…

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since your 04.13 @ 10:48 a.m. comment to our 04.03.2019 post, somebody (you?) sent us a photo of Rebecca Little – with what appears to be the Lincoln Memorial in the background – wearing the aforementioned pink headgear. (Because of the angle of the photo, we can’t see if Abe was wearing one, too.)

Without seeing the test question and without knowing who you are, we’re reluctant to accept your representations at face value. On the other hand, we have seen nothing that could pass for admissible evidence that the quality of D-64 education is not continuing its decade-long slide.

We can only hope it gets better now that Borrelli and Heinz will be gone, but we will reserve judgment.

Perhaps their is a silver lining?!? No referendums that would have increased property taxes passed, correct? If this was how the turnout would have been with a referendum that would have been more upsetting / pathetic! I would think a referendum would have doubled the turnout, but lower turnout could be bad regarding passage of referendums.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Both as a winning candidate (Park Board in 1997 and 2001) and as commentator, this editor has always believed that the bigger the turnout, the better. On the other hand, “politicians” and special interests would prefer to keep turnout low because it gives the votes of their more manageable “bases” more weight.

Bigger turnout is also why we like referendum issues on November general election ballots rather than on lower-turnout April ballots.

Agree with your comment about “4 Dads”. The campaign was interesting. Blindauer and Page seemed not to campaign much at all, maybe they didn’t really want the “job”. It would have been interesting to see if Little could have won if she had been a stand alone candidate rather than hitching her wagon to Sales. No one else ran as a team, not sure why Sales & Little did other than maybe Little knew she couldn’t win without Sales? Now the hard work begins, will Little be another empty suit like the last female who served on the board or will she make a serious contribution? Sales and Pearl appear to have far stronger backgrounds than Little, so I do expect much from them. Hope springs eternal!

EDITOR’S NOTE: At least Blindauer had signs up: Page was virtually invisible.

The last three females who served on the D-64 Board – Vickie Lee, Sharon Lawson and Genie Taddeo – were all “empty suit” go-along-to-get-along rubber-stampers, so that’s an incredibly low bar to clear. The first concern we have is that they will be pawns of the PREA and PRTAA.

Right again, PW.

But you don’t have to wonder why people voted for uncontested candidates. They did so because they are idiots who took the words “Vote for 3” as a direction instead of an option.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You’re right, that would explain it.

“somebody (you?) sent us a photo of Rebecca Little – with what appears to be the Lincoln Memorial in the background – wearing the aforementioned pink headgear. ”

I used the ‘pink hats’ phrase merely to describe the predominance of ‘progressive’ upper middle class women who suddenly became interested into politics in 2016 because, essentially, Trump says mean things. Many of them went to the march in 2017 and showed up to the polls in this past midterms to vote out a millionaire, and replace him with a billionaire (JB the Hut), to spend $300,000,000 to raise all our taxes to make 207 schools luxury daycares, and to turn every elected office in every county in the chicago suburban area blue.

I did not send you the picture. I have no personal knowledge of any of the newly elected board members other than what I read in the newspapers and online about them, and the flyer on my door. However, it doesn’t surprise me that one of the candidates actually wore a pink hat at the march on Washington. like I said above I know the type. I actually voted for the other candidates. My wife and I lamented after the election that none of the candidates we voted for won (except Sotos).

EDITOR’S NOTE: Let’s face it: Trump says mean and stupid things.

$300 million may not make D-207 schools “luxury daycares,” if only because much/most of that money might be needed to make up for the 9 years of irresponsible neglect of the school facilities by an incompetent superintendent and, over the last 5 years, a D-207 Board majority of women that won’t even acknowledge that Maine South’s rankings keep on sliding.

But where we seriously part company is your support of Sotos. The new “progressives” might end up turning out to be disasters, but Sotos is a proven 4-year disaster whose desperate FB posts in the closing days of the race portrayed himself as a power-brokering “tiebreaker member” willing to cut deals between the “progressives” and the three remaining members of the Board.

Your post is spot on. Our republic is being over seen by a too small minority of voters. And those of us who voted probably didn’t know enough to cast “actual informed votes”. Personally, I cast a ballot. But, I only cast a vote for one candidate. I simply didn’t know anything about any of the other candidates. I didn’t know why they were running. And I didn’t know whether I should care about why they are running. This is bad commentary on my own citizenship. But, it is also bad commentary on the local newspapers which provide no usable information.

Prior to the election (and I did not vote early), I publicly asked PW for suggestions on how citizens should vote. PW has certainly cared enough about the school boards to repeatedly comment on the shortcomings of the incumbent board members. But, PW didn’t care enough about the school board to provide usable information on how District 64 citizens should vote in order to effect the remedies PW desires. From this perspective, PublicWatchdog was asleep at the switch. The newspapers didn’t provide news.

This left the citizens of Park Ridge and District 64 at the mercy of other voters who actually cared enough to vote. One of the benefits of living in Park Ridge is that local government (including the schools) will probably continue to provide acceptable services just because the citizens have no motivation to vote. In a strange twist of citizenship, that’s a good thing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. Godfrey:

As we said in our 04.01.2019 post, we “read, analyzed and cross-referenced [the candidates’] answers to the SPED-parents’ and Go Green questionnaires. And we listened to the 1 hour, 41 minute audio recording of the Action Ridge candidates’ forum…twice, as well as those portions of the SPED-parents’ forum.” Unfortunately, “[m]ost of the candidates’ spiels were virtually indistinguishable.”

Which might explain why 3 of the 4 winning D-64 candidates distinguished themselves primarily by being “MOMS.”

Spot on PWD! The lack of voter turnout is embarrassing and we should all be ashamed of those stats. Registered voters should be charged $100 for each election they do not vote in. What’s worse, we allowed another tax and spend interest group to take over our Elementary School Board, just like that! Yes, takeover, because there is little doubt either Ryles or Sotos will roleover and solidify the takeover when officers are appointed later this month. First D207, now D64 and the city council in 2021 (Melidosian and Moran have already sold their souls and Maloney is showing signs of weakness).

EDITOR’S NOTE: How exactly have “Melidosian and Moran…already sold their souls”; and how is “Maloney…showing signs of weakness”?

5:42, are you talking about the Moran for Mayor 2021 campaign?

Sales, Little and Pearl are on that board for one reason, and it is not to improve special education or promote “green” schools. THey ran to be a solid three votes for sweetheart contracts for the PREA and the PRTAA. The only question is the one presented by 5:42 pm yesterday, whether it will be Ryles or Sotos (or both) who will join the progressive women to be the deciding vote to give the unions what they want.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sotos was in the PREA’s pocket 4 years ago, so you can count on him rolling…UNLESS Ryles or Sanchez rolls, in which case Sotos can stick with the minority so that he can claim down the road that he didn’t cave to the unions.

That’s a chapter right out of the Mike Madigan/Marty Moylan playbook; i.e., when Madigan persuaded 10 RINO representatives to vote to override Rauner’s budget veto in July 2017, which gave Madigan stooge Marty Moylan permission to vote to uphold Rauner’s veto so that he could tout his not-under-Madigan’s-thumb “independence” when he ran for re-election in 2018.

I disagree with Mr. Godfrey’s critique of this blog for not telling him who deserved election to the D-64 Board.

Although the voters would have been better served had your posts of Mar. 29 and April 1 been published a week or two earlier, for those of us who voted on Election Day they were timely enough and informed my vote for only Gareth Kennedy.

I also think the linkage of Kennedy to Sotos by high-profile Republicans like Charlene Foss-Eggemann and Mel Thillens hurt Kennedy without commensurately hurting Sotos, who was able to leverage his lifelong Park Ridge residency and undoubtedly heavy support by both D-64 unions and the Greek community into a super-slim victory over the out-of-sight Lisa Page.

What bothers me most about this election, however, is that the “cult of personality” that Mayor Schmidt tamed in defeating Howard Frimark in 2009 and then vanquished in 2013 through his policy-focused campaigns seems to be rearing its ugly head with Melidosian running a Kumbaya “Mr. Congeniality” campaign and the 4 “MOMS” running on their gender.

To your point, the almost 87% non-voters really do “suck.” How soon before we return to the old Homeowners Party days when everybody ran unopposed and the turnout was regularly less than 20%?

EDITOR’S NOTE: The cliquish and clubby Homeowners Party (the “HOs”) circa 1990-2003 – under the “leadership” of then-mayor Ron Wietecha, who resigned less than 5 months after the April 2003 election of 4 “independent” aldermen (out of a then-14 member Council) before exiling himself to Barrington – fiddled while Park Ridge steadily declined economically. Back then, a handful of 1st Ward HOs regularly chose their aldermanic candidates from the casts of the Field School V-Show, while the HOs in other wards ran similarly-superficial candidate anointings.

“I also think the linkage of Kennedy to Sotos by high-profile Republicans like Charlene Foss-Eggemann and Mel Thillens hurt Kennedy without commensurately hurting Soto”.

That may be true but you are missing the linking of Kennedy to Eggemann and Thillens. There are some people in PR who are sick of this game of claiming non-partisan elections while Char plays around in the background. Then of course you had Mel and the left wing extremists, weaponizing social media letter that he sent out.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Bnonymous can speak for him/herself.

As we’ve said before, the Illinois Republican Party is really the Illinois Stupid Party – with the Crook County branch hovering somewhere between “Idiot” and “Imbecile” (and well below “Moron”) on the mental impairment scale, as regularly demonstrated by those political cross-dressers over at Maine Township who profess to be “Republicans” but openly support Madiganocrats like Marty Moylan.

This is a follow up to an earlier post and the editor’s comment.

There is no doubt that the editor of this blog has undertaken a lot of activity in pursuit of understanding the members of the School Board. But, your frequent quoting of Johnny Wooden is apt here: “Activity is not the same thing as advancement”. The citizens of Park Ridge should at least have an informed idea of how we vote and why we vote. Personally, I look to this blog for guidance. I found none…at least none that was useful in guiding my vote.

Ultimately, informing myself is MY responsibility and not the Watchdog. But, PublicWatchdog cared enough to publish several posts on the issue of District 64. But, no matter how much activity was exerted by the staff, only limited information was published that would help a concerned voter exercise his vote. If voters aren’t informed about District 64, there is no known reason why we should care how (or whether) to vote.

PW is correct: The voting public deserves blame. But, I assert that neither the newspapers nor Public Watchdog performed their public duties well.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. Godfrey:

Our 03.29.2019 post (“It’s Time To De-Select Sotos Off The D-64 Board”) warned voters in no uncertain terms – with embedded-link references to 5 previous PW posts, 3 D-64 Board meeting videos, and 3 Facebook comments – just how bad incumbent Tom Sotos was. Similarly, our 04.01.2019 post (“Our Only Endorsement For D-64 Board: Gareth Kennedy”) – with embedded-link references to 4 PW posts, 1 Action Ridge forum audio, and 2 references to a candidate’s FB page – was equally clear and unequivocal. Heck, we even took the time to spoon-feed readers the exact time signatures for the relevant meeting videos and forum audio.

So while we understand that those posts may have come too late in the game for the fraction of people (it couldn’t have been all that many) who voted earlier than that, we are proud of the fact that we did exponentially more work, and provided exponentially more relevant information, than the mainstream, for-profit local media.

We also can’t help but wonder what kind of additional information (candidate’s blood type, favorite color, preferred pizza toppings) you or any other “concerned voter” would have wanted or needed to exercise his/her vote?

Anon 04.15.19 @ 12:37 p.m.: Ms. Foss-Eggemann has the right to support whatever candidates she wants. I don’t think her office of Maine Township Republican Committeeman (or -woman) prohibits her from campaigning for or contributing to non-partisan candidates, just like Dave Clarkin’s job as State Treasure Mike Frerichs’ Deputy Chief of Staff for Public Affairs (since Jan. 2015) doesn’t render his support of the MOMS a partisan activity.

6:09a – Yes.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For reader convenience, the foregoing comment relates to an anonymous comment from 5:42 pm yesterday (04.14) that Ald. Moran and others had “already sold their souls,” which provoked today’s 6:09 am inquiry about whether that “sold their souls” accusation related to “the Moran for Mayor 2021 campaign.”


I never questioned Ms. Foss-Eggemann’s right to support Kennedy. Of course she has that right as does Thillens.

You suggested that the linkage of Kennedy to Sotos hurt Kennedy. All I did was suggest that the linkage to Char and Mel hurt Kennedy with some voters as well. By the way, I am sure that Clarkin supporting the MOMS was a negative with some voters as well.

This is in response to Lloyd Godfrey’s comments.

The PW posts endorsing Kennedy and anti-endorsing Sotos contained more than enough information for any legitimately undecided voter to justify his or her vote against Sotos and for Kennedy, and probably enough to justify votes against the candidates endorsed by the PRTAA.

I wish PW had released these posts earlier, but I agree with the Editor that PW did far more than the local rags (HA and Journal) in analyzing the candidates and providing well-researched, verifiable information to support PW’s opinions of the candidates.

And if the Daily Herald’s D-64 endorsements are any indication of how much investigation and insight it intends to bring to its upcoming coverage of Park Ridge (which I think is bunk, as its endorsement of the the D-64 candidates sounded more like a one-off, gender-based puff-piece published as a favor to one or more of those candidates than as a “we’re here” introduction to the Park Ridge community), there will be no need for a Daily Herald subscription.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thank you. We tried our best, given real-world work commitments and almost one full week of the site being down for trouble-shooting, repair and updating.

We agree with your characterization of the Daily Herald’s endorsement of the 4 MOMS, if for no other reason than the Rebecca Little portion praising her “attention to District 64 has been exhaustive for almost two years” appears belied just by reviewing the minutes of all the D-64 Board meetings for 2018 – something that took us about 30 minutes of research – which produced our conclusion that:

“We could find not one mention of her name or one shred of evidence of her attendance at even one such meeting. So if she actually was in attendance, she apparently contributed nothing worthy of inclusion in the meeting minutes.”

But 3 of the MOMS won, apparently fair and square. So let’s see what they can do.

This is all insane. I understand if you would like to rip on the new school board in a year or two down the line, but going after 4 MOMS right off the bat? I’m assuming that the ones who are so against them never stopped to listen, and never thought that maybe it’s because THEY’RE the ones AT the school every day, dealing with the PTO and the teachers and the issues at hand. Not that the dads are not, but I challenge you to go to ONE of these schools and watch for a day- it could open your eyes a bit.

As for the “pink hat lady,” I’m certain many of your readers have marched for something they’ve believed in (Vietnam, perhaps?). What does that have to do with our school board? Wow, way to “watch away” on this. If I were you and your readers, I would try sodoku instead…

ps. feel free to attack as you please. I’ve seen comments on this thing before and it sounds like you all LOVE to be on the attack instead of being open minded. Glad you didn’t run in my elementary school…

EDITOR’S NOTE: If these MOMS are so sharp, so competent and so caring – because, after all, they were “the ones AT the school every day, dealing with the PTO and the teachers and the issues at hand” – why did it take them almost TWO YEARS of special ed. dysfunction and declining SPED student performance to show up and actually accomplish anything?

Also, please explain how the wearing of a certain kind of pink hat by the “pink hat lady” truly doesn’t “have [anything] to do with our school board,” while a certain board member’s referring to other pink hat ladies – in his personal, non-school blog – as “vagina screechers” had so very, very much to do with our school board?

Feel free to parse and/or dissemble as needed.

FYI, if you had the nerve to come out of the closet and identify yourself, we would have been happy to send you a sudoku book free of charge. But since you didn’t, we can’t.

But as for this blog’s allowing you and yours to attack anonymously (while Kathy Meade bars this editor from even commenting on her Concerned Homeowners FB page): “You’re welcome! Come back and anonymously attack again anytime.”

Yes, is it so hard for you to deal with the MOMS winning? Just wait until you see the elected new school board President and Vice President. It is true moms get it done. We got Hanba out of the park board race for supporting Kennedy. LaDuke knew better and fell in alignment. No longer does Moran, Char or Mel control Park Ridge Can we say Sales for Board President? Ryles has already struck a deal for VP. Just wait and see….PW, how are you going to deal with a mom for Board President? Efficiency awaits …. we need to keep our talented teachers in district. Our schools need build outs and renovations. This is what is best for our kids. Wait for the pink hats to fly!

EDITOR’S NOTE: We have no problem dealing with anybody “winning.” Heck, this editor signed Carol Sales’ candidacy petition, just like he signed Kennedy’s. But “winning” isn’t governing. And as we’ve seen at D-64 and D-207 for the past decade or so, most of the “winners” – including a number of lower-case “moms” – have sucked as The People’s representatives.

You “[c]an say Sales for Board President” all you want, but excuse us if we wait until it actually happens before we take your League of Shadows’ claim to control of all aspects of local government seriously. BTW, would you like to be called Ra’s al Ghul?

If the last 10 years’ decline in the educational achievement of both D-64 and Maine South students is any indication, truly “talented teachers” appear to be more myth than reality, or are in short supply – which is why we published our 08.02.2016 post: “Is Teaching In D-64 Schools The Best Job In Park Ridge?” that demonstrated how the answer to that question was an unqualified “yes.”

And just in case you’re curious, this editor has never feared the pink…hats or otherwise.

Anonymous on 4.16 @ 3:35 pm – Well, I had heard the rumor that the Pinkies had forced Hanba out, and you’ve confirmed that. But boy, you make LaDuke sound like a real pawn and not very bright. If I were her, I’d not be real happy with you about now.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Let’s not jump the gun here: The League of Shadows’ comment could be total b.s., or even a “false flag” operation.

“Wait for the pink hats to fly!”

The pink hats are offensive and indefensible. Enjoy your short tenure on the board before park ridge wises up and votes your progressive kind back to Oak Park and Evanston.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Why are the pink hats “offensive and indefensible”?

BAAAAAAHHHHH!!!! : Let’s not jump the gun here: The League of Shadows’ comment could be total b.s., or even a “false flag” operation. It is possible that the post could have been written by PD……..he will of course deny it but it is possible, right? I mean he loves to use people posting anonymously to hit back at them if they take issue with him but let’s be honest. 95+% of the posts on this site are anonymous…..mine included. I gotta say, to have an anonymous poster claiming that a post by another anonymous poster is confirmation of a rumor is hysterical. It’s also a little sad. This is the world we now live in.

By the way, maybe you all should pay attention to what the current board is doing instead of bitching about newly elected officials who are not even in office yet. There are some very big (and expensive) decisions being considered right now.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Anything is “possible” – including that the comment to which you refer was written by you.

As we see it, you’ve got two choices: (1) you can go back to Kathy Meade’s Concerned HOs FB page, where people can comment under fake FB profiles (so long as she likes what they post), where certain people (such as this editor) are censored/barred at the admin’s whim, and where whole posts and comment strings can disappear without warning, also at the admin’s whim; or (2) you can come here and make anonymous comments attacking other anonymous comments (and commentators) knowing that posts and comments will not disappear at this editor’s whim. And in case you’re wondering: We don’t care either way.

Yes, there are “some very big (and expensive) decisions being considered right now,” but guess what: We didn’t see even one of the three successful “MOMS” candidates among the number of people who stepped to the podium and spoke to the issues at the April 8 Board meeting. Sure would be nice for them to weigh in on those issues – assuming they have any views worth sharing.

That only 13.3% of the registered voters bothered to vote in the contested D-64 races (and all of the uncontested races in D-207, Park District and City Council) proves that we are failing as a self-governing community.

I remember the social club the old Homeowners Party used to be. Rarely any contested offices, aldermen showing up at meetings totally unprepared because all they needed to do was rubber stamp whatever mayor Wietecha and city mgr. Schuenke told them to. And that bled over to the Park District and the school districts, even though the Homeowners did not formally run candidates under their banner in those races.

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)