Sunday, July 20, 2014
The Orland Fire Prevention District is puzzled and surprised that Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin would criticize the Fire District for hosting a program to raise awareness among parents about drug and substance abuse in the suburban region.
The program was held on Tuesday night (July 15) and has been hosted annually for the past four years. It was widely publicized, showcasing student role models and parents whose children and families have experienced the tragedy of drugs and substance abuse.
McLaughlin issued a press release Friday that falsely accused the Fire District of disseminating “inaccurate information” about drug use. It implies there is no heroin or substance abuse problem in Orland Park or the immediate suburbs and contradicts public statements made only four weeks earlier by Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy.
“We are deeply disappointed McLaughlin would issue his criticism without even contacting us to discuss the issue, or even attending the event which was widely publicized in the media,” Orland Fire Protection District President Jim Hickey said.
“The mayor’s press release was filled with inaccurate and irresponsible statements. I am deeply disappointed when public officials show more concern for their public images rather than for the safety and well-being of our citizens.”
Hickey said the information disseminated at the Fire District’s public meeting was accurate and correctly defined the threat of heroin and substance abuse as serious concerns that must be addressed by an educated community.
“It would be shameful to believe public officials would bury their heads in the sand and pretend there is no drug abuse problem in our region. The data shows a frightening increase in heroin and opiate abuse in this region and it needs to be addressed,” Hickey said. “That’s the only conclusion I can make from the mayor’s actions.”
Hickey said McLaughlin overreacted to a newspaper article which may have unfairly characterized the school district as being unresponsive, but the fact is there hasn’t been a concerted effort to address the rising drug problems.
“Drug use isn’t a problem that plagues ‘bad neighborhoods’ or ‘poor communities.’ It’s a problem everywhere and responsible public officials should do everything they can to educate and inform the public. That’s what the Fire District has and will continue to do,” Hickey said.
The Fire District is more than willing to meet with Mayor McLaughlin, Police Supt. McCarthy and officials from the local schools, Hickey said, to work together and develop a unified stand against drug abuse in a more appropriate manner rather than through public criticism from officials who didn’t even attend the meeting.
The Fire District program was not funded by taxpayer dollars and was conducted by volunteers who included three current and former Sandburg students, Michael Schofield, who was drafted by the Denver Broncos, Olympic Ice Hockey Silver Medalist Kendall Coyne, and Patrick Brucki a current Sandburg student athlete. The three students reached out to the more than 100 parents and students who attended the two hour long seminar.
Their message was clear: “Drugs are not fun. They are dangerous. And students must resist the temptation to hang around other kinds who are using drugs.”
The meeting included the experiences of two parents whose children were involved in drugs and substance abuse, including the father of a high school senior who died of heroin use. They related how their children made the “wrong choices,” destroying their lives and their families. Tami O’Brien and Brian Kirk represented the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM) and The Hero Foundation.
The program, cohosted by In the Blink of an Eye Foundation headed by OFPD Battalion Chief Michael Schofield, was widely publicized for six weeks. It attracted many community leaders including Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman, and Village of Orland Park Trustee Dan Calandriello.
The information reflected firsthand data as experienced by emergency medical personnel and first responders from the Fire District.
“Firefighters are oftentimes the first people at the scene of a drug or substance abuse incident. We are called to save their lives,” said Fire Chief Ken Brucki.
“Helping parents understand what is involved and what can be done can help save more lives. That’s why we continue to host this program and will host it again next year.”
Data clearly shows an alarming increase in heroin use in Orland Park, in the Fire District, and in the suburban region.
During the presentation, Brucki said he spoke about drug use among elementary school children “throughout the region,” not specifically or just in School District 135 or with respect to the local schools.
“At no time did we criticize the Village, the Police or the school districts. We noted the drug problem is growing not just in Orland Park but in neighboring suburban communities,” Brucki said.
Brucki cited an article in the local media on Friday July 18th that highlighted the success of the HELPS program started in Will County which has created "a phenomenal downturn in heroin related deaths" and which works to combine efforts from various branches of community leadership.
“We have most recently had a great relationship with the leadership of local school districts, including District 135, on education and prevention and we want that to continue,” Brucki said.
Hickey said that last month, Police Supt. McCarthy told local media that heroin use was a problem. He announced police will carry Narcan (Naxalon) in their vehicles to respond to drug abuse issues. Narcan can reverse the effects of opiate and heroin overdoses.
McCarthy’ was quoted as saying he “first noticed” an increase in heroin use in 2009, noting last year “Orland Park had 13 drug overdoses and six deaths, including five that involved heroin.” This year, McCarthy said, the department has seen eight overdoses and one death.
Hickey said McCarthy’s observations only reinforce the need to bring government officials together to address this growing problem.
Orland Park is only one community in the Orland Fire Protection District, which serves 75,000 residents in 33 square miles, including in Orland Hills and areas of unincorporated Orland Township.
The Fire District released the following incident report which shows a steady increase in heroin and opiate use since 2009. The figures do not include substance abuse incidents where Narcan was not administered.
“The incidents involved patients who displayed extreme drug seizures, were visibly unconscious, or were facing an extreme danger to life, such as experiencing a Heroin or opiate-like overdose,” Hickey said.
2009: administered Narcan 47 times, with 22 positive results.
2010: administered Narcan 49 times, with 23 positive results.
2011: administered Narcan 49 times, with 33 positive results.
2012: administered Narcan 63 times, with 32 positive results.
2013: administered Narcan 59 times, with 30 positive results.
(Photos courtesy of the Orland Fire Protection District.)
Thursday, March 20, 2014
Rauner beat rivals with smart politics, and backing of Cook County's most influential Republican
By Ray Hanania
Bruce Rauner won the Republican Party Primary despite a strong effort by Democrats to sidetrack him and the persistent personal attacks made against him by his Republican Party rivals.
Everyone wanted to stop Rauner, except the voters of Illinois who elected him with a whopping plurality in a field of four candidates. Rauner received 40 percent of the Republican votes cast, leading his nearest rival, Sen. Kirk Dillard by more than 23,000 votes. Rauner received 327,289 votes, Dillard received 304,094 (37 percent), Bill Brady received 123,109 votes (15 percent), and Dan Rutherford the only one of the four candidates to actually have won a statewide election as Illinois Treasurer, received only 61,609 votes (8 percent).
In the Democratic primary, incumbent Pat Quinn won with a healthy 72 percent margin. But it says something about Quinn’s weaknesses that more than 28 percent of Democrats chose Tio Hardiman, a man accused of domestic violence against his wife, as their candidate choice over Quinn. (Despite the May 2013 domestic violence complaint by his wife, his wife set aside the rancor to support him when he announced for Governor. Read more.) Quinn received 316,746 votes while Hardiman received 123,918 votes. That is not just an unhappy 123,918 Democratic voters. That is a solid core of voters who will clearly vote for the Republican candidate over Quinn in November.
Quinn only beat Brady, the least popular behind Dillard and Rauner in this race, by only 32,000 votes in 2010. You do the math.
Why did Rauner beat three well-established Republicans? Some argue that Rauner only received 40 percent of the vote and if it were a contest between two candidates, he might have lost. That’s a stretch, however. Even if Dillard received the majority of the votes of the other two candidates, Rauner would have only had to take 40 percent of the 184,718 votes that went to Brady and Rutherford to win.
The key component in Rauner’s victory was the endorsement he received from the Suburban Chicagoland Republican organizations rallied behind Rauner by Commissioner Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman. Gorman is the Orland Township Republican Committeeman and previously served as the Chairman of the Cook County Republican organization. She has the experience and the respect of mainstream, moderate Republicans. Rauner had the backing of Sean Morrison, the Republican committeeman from Palos Township, and other key leaders of the Suburban Republicans who helped him deliver his message to voters in the region of the state that counted most.
Gorman won her own race with a whopping margin over her challenger, Barbara Bellar, a darling of the Tea Party extremists and took, for the first time in four elections, every Township including beating Bellar in her own community.
Democrats feared Rauner. Some Democracts dislike Quinn. Those two factors prompted at least 40,000 Democratic voters, analysts predict, to have crossed over to take Republican Ballots on March 18.
Democrats believe that if Dillard had won the 2010 Republican nomination rather than Brady, Dillard would have defeated Quinn feeding the myth in 2014 that Dillard might be the stronger candidate to defeat Quinn in the Nov. 4 General elections.
Rauner’s strategy was strategic. He concentrated his wealthy campaign fund on northern Illinois, knowing that the fight is in the six county region, not downstate where Brady pulled most of his votes.
That made the suburban Chicagoland Republicans and Gorman critical to Rauner’s victory.
In November, despite the rancor of the Republican Primary, the Republicans who voted for Brady, Dillard and Rutherford will vote for Rauner rather than for Quinn.
Gorman supported Rauner because of his centrist views, but also because Rauner was smart enough to reach out to her and show her the respect she has earned as being one of the most popular Republicans in Northern Illinois, built on her successful campaign to eliminate the 1 cent sales tax imposed by Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.
It is a fact that had Dillard received Gorman’s support, he might have won the Republican Primary.
But Dillard instead turned to a few Republican freaks in the north suburbs, and snubbed mainstream Suburban Republican leaders like Gorman and Morrison. Dillard played to his personal allegiances rather than to strategic political thinking.
And that is the amazing story of Rauner. Her are three seasoned Republican Professionals, two state senators, Dillard and Brady, and one of only two Republicans to hold statewide office, Rutherford. And none of these seasoned politicians thought it smart to reach out to the traditional Suburban Republican leadership or Republicans like Gorman whose record of election victories is sweeping.
Rauner also won because he distinguished himself from Dillard, Brady and Rutherford.
Dillard had hired several former newspaper reporters who advised him, wrongly, to launch a vicious personal campaign of attacks against Rauner. Dillard also launched attacks against Rutherford. The accusations of sexual misconduct came across as a Dillard assault against Gay Rights and the ugliness of the attacks against Rutherford turned off many voters.
Rutherford is one of the nicest, most courteous politicians in the state and what they did to him was disturbing and below the belt.
But while Dillard tried to turn Rauner into a punching bag, his attacks seemed to over-reach logic. Accusing Rauner of owning senior care centers where seniors have allegedly died of abuse was so out on the limb that it was just too mean and too hard to believe.
To further make the point, Rauner followed Gorman’s strategy to focus on positive messages and to ignore the mudslinging from their critics. That strategy helped voters see a clear message of what Rauner would do if he is elected Governor, as many expect to happen in November.
Instead of making a case as to why he should be elected governor, Dillard reminded voters about how vicious and dirty Illinois politics really is. And his attacks reinforced Rauner’s message that his critics were insiders who were responsible for the tragic economic crisis that has handicapped Illinois and put many taxpayers into debt.
Quinn’s increase of the income tax is also not forgotten, and Rauner was the only candidate with a clear message tapping into that solid base of voter unhappiness with Quinn’s administration.
While it is admirable that Quinn has so closely associated himself with veterans, including on election night when he was falling all over war veteran Tammy Duckworth, the fact is that every politician loves the military and its veterans. They are not the deciding factor in an election.
Increasing taxes is a killer issue. Quinn never defended what he did. The increase has not eased the economic burden on Illinois taxpayers and many believe the state continues to be in decline. Rauner’s message targeted that dissatisfied voter majority and it resonated with their sense of the state failing to improve economically. They want someone to run Illinois like a businessman and Rauner played that card well.
The concern that Rauner will defeat him was reflected so strikingly on election night when it was announced that Quinn was not taking a break in the election but would start launching more attack ads against Rauner even before Rauner was declared the victor of the Republican Primary. It’s unheard of and it sent a chilling message that Quinn is afraid of Rauner, a message that voters heard loud and clear.
And in a telling moment on election night during the 10 pm news, WLS Channel 7 news is the highest rated program on television. Few people were watching the mumblings of analyst Chris Robling on WGN TV, for example, or the biased reporting of Carol Marin on WMAQ TV which trails WLS by a wide margin.
Viewers were watching two of the most respected journalists on television, Ron Magers and Cheryl Burton on WLS TV News, one of the most authoritative and accurate news organizations in Illinois. WLS was covering Quinn live when he came out to announce his victory over Hardiman. But as soon as word got out that Rauner was coming out, WLS dropped Quinn and turned to the news, covering Rauner who gave an emotion charged speech that was not his best but that clearly was more newsworthy than Quinn’s practiced, and recited talking points.
Rauner came across as interesting. Human. Like a regular person. Quinn sounded like he was reading cue cards, reciting statistics and boring facts that honestly didn’t speak to the economic pain many Illinois residents continue to face.
Gorman and Rauner both won because they ignored the attacks, and focused on their message, something not every politician knows how to do.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist and editor of the Illinois News Network news website at www.IllinoisNewsNetwork.com.)
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Liz Gorman sails to 4th term victory
By Ray Hanania
Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman sailed to a 4th term election victory representing the 17th Cook County district over rightwing Tea Party challenger Barbara Bellar.
Gorman, who has played an instrumental role in building the candidacy of Bruce Rauner as the Republican Party's choice for governor, was projected to win with a heavy landslide margin of 60 percent, based on early voter returns. The Rauner race was still close, as early numbers showed him leading State Sen. Kirk Dillard by about 3 to 5 percent, although the numbers were still early for the governor's race when Gorman claimed victory.
A champion of taxpayer rights, Gorman attributed a part of her victory to the "sloppy, garbled robocall" that former Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica made on Bellar's behalf Sunday night. Some voters said that hearing Peraica's voice reminded them of everything that is wrong with politics, and pushed them to vote for Gorman, giving her the extra voter boost.
Voter turnout was projected as being extremely low statewide, but Gorman said that she appreciated all the support she received from voters.
Gorman made a name for herself as a champion of taxpayers when she singlehandedly led the fight to repeal the repressive Todd Stroger 1 Cent Cook County Sales Tax increase. Stroger won the tax hike with a large majority of support from the county board, despite Gorman's opposition. But Gorman continued to push for a repeal of the tax introducing several resolutions to demand it be withdrawn.
While most commissioner simply fell in line with Stroger, Gorman showed voters that it was possible to repeal the tax which cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands in added sales taxes each year. And as public opposition to the sales tax hike grew as a result of Gorman's efforts, other commissioners joined in untilt he sales tax was removed in two steps.
"I want to thank all of the voters for the mandate they have given me," Gorman said early Tuesday night. "I promise to continue to fight to represent the rights of the taxpayers."
Gorman also credited her victory over Bellar and Tea Party extremists to her refusal to respond to Peraica's and Bellar's campaign mud-slinging.
"Their robocall showed how desperate they really were. Voters don't want to listen to candidates who throw mud. They want their candidates to talk about the programs they plan to implemented when elected and that's what I focused on," Gorman said.
Gorman had received endorsements from every major newspaper, including one from the Chicago Tribune that acknowledged her role in repealing Stroger's hated sales tax increase. Click to read that story.
The night before on Monday, Gorman organized a huge rally at the Lexington House on 95th Street for Rauner that drew more than 500 attendees. Click her to view that story and video.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter an columnist. He is the editor of the Illinois News Network www.IllinoisNewsNetwork.com.)
Monday, March 17, 2014
Rauner ignites crowd at Gorman organized rally
By Ray Hanania
More than 500 supporters attended a rally at the Lexington House banquet Hall on 95th Street Monday night, St. Patrick's Day, organized by Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.
Supporters packed the room as Gorman introduced leading members of the Cook County Republican Organizations including Cook County GOP Chairman Aaron Del Mar, Palos Republican Committeeman Sean Morrison, and other Republican officials from the region. Rauner had the crowd on their feet as he walked in like a rock star at a Rolling Stone's concert to music, lights, and a crowd of television news media reporters.
He continued his pummeling of Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who many are saying is losing momentum and will have a tough fight on his hands to hold his office in November. Rauner has surfaced above a crowded field of qualified Republican rivals including State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, State Sen.Kirk Dillard and State Senator Bill Brady.
Gorman was duking it out with rival Barbara Bellar during the past few days as Bellar turned to controversial former Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica, who did a robocall blasting Gorman in a mumbled voice that many described as laughable. And Bellar, the darling of the Tea Party extremists, claimed in her own robocall that she was the "Republican" endorsed candidate for the Cook County Board seat which Gorman has held form 12 years. Gorman pounded Peraica in her own robocall and brushed off Bellar as "nothing more than nun-sense," alluding to Bellar's false claims that she was a former nun.
But while Brady, Dillard and Rutherford concentrated their punches against Rauner, Rauner focused his powerful right hooks at Quinn, even though the General Election is seven months away. Here's the video. Ray Hanania, http://www.OrlandParker.com, http://www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, http://www.IllinoisNewsNetwork.com
Here's the video:
(Ray Hanania is an award winning for Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. He is the managing editor of the Illinois News Network at www.IllinoisNewsNetwork.com.)
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Bellar throws mud with her “nun-sense” and phony sainthood
By Ray Hanania
Barbara Bellar sent a letter to my home the other day, but I didn’t know if she was asking for prayers as a former Nun (as we all know, she never was a nun), or just making a pitch for Obamacare as a Medical Doctor.
Turned out the letter was just a huge mud ball Bellar is throwing at taxpayer champion Liz Gorman, the Orland Township Republican Committeewoman and the Republican Cook County Commissioner who almost singlehandedly overturned the oppressive 1 percent sales tax imposed by ousted Democratic County Board President Todd Stroger.
It was a single page with text on both sides of the page, like one of those legal pitch letters from a credit card company filled with empty promises and exaggerated service claims.
All Bellar did in the letter was attack Liz Gorman and claim that she is too cozy with the Democrats. Are you kidding me?
The truth is that if anyone was sucking up to the extremists in the Democratic Party, it is Bellar.
|RuthBaderGinsburg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
In a letter to the Chicago tribune, Bellar praised Obama. And when she met with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the left wing Democratic liberal and former president of the ACLU, Bellar praised Ginsburg saying she admired her. Maybe that’s when she was hoping the Democrats would give her a job.
Bellar is attacking Gorman for hanging around Democrats? Are you kidding me. It’s all more “nun-sense.”
By bashing Gorman, Bellar wants you to believe she is a Republican Messiah of sorts, although honestly like most of you, I’ve never heard of her before. And that is a testament unto itself, considering I have been covering Chicagoland politics for more than 35 years. Where was she and what did she ever do for the taxpayers?
She’s done nothing for the Republican Party or for Cook County taxpayers. But she sure wants that public government job. The letter she sent reflects the kind of disrespect false Messiahs show when they don’t know anything about what it means to be a struggling taxpayer. It’s just a desperate attempt hoping you’ll put her on the public payroll for doing nothing.
Bellar says she cares about you because you are overtaxed. Well, at least she knows what the problem is for most residents in Chicagoland. But when she assaults Liz Gorman she reveals her true lack of knowledge and exposes herself as another self-righteous false prophet.
In a prior failed race for the 18th Senate District (she is working overtime trying to put herself at the banks of the public trough) in 2012, she claimed in her literature that she was a Catholic Nun. But many columnists and journalists who covered that race point out that in fact, that’s not true. Which is quite a quagmire since Nuns are supposed to not lie. But then, she isn’t a nun so maybe a lie is in character?
Her campaign slogan was “there is ‘nun’ better.” Well, at least the first part of that sentence was true. There is none! It was all “nun-sense.” Turns out Bellar, the wealthy medical doctor, was never a nun. Just a wannabe nun like the wannabe elected government official she desperately wants to be.
As I read through the blah, blah, blah of her letter, and all the mudslinging she is throwing at Gorman, it reminded me about how much Liz Gorman has actually done for the taxpayers.
I won’t lie. I like Liz Gorman. It’s pretty hard to top what Gorman did, almost singlehandedly repealing the Stroger 1 Cent Sales Tax increase that was a true burden on the taxpayers that Sister Bellar doesn’t seem to think is important. In fact, this past week, the Chicago Tribune endorsed Gorman spotlighting how Gorman led that battle almost by herself to succeed in repealing the Stroger Sales Tax.
Wealthy doctors don’t know much about how the average person has to deal with taxes. But they love to talk about how much they would do if you would just give her your vote.
Well, Liz Gorman doesn’t have to tell us what she “plans” to do if elected because what she has done is more than most others have done.
The Stroger Sales Tax was the most repressive tax ever imposed on Cook County residents. Instead of fighting it, other county commissioners shockingly tried to increase the tax to 2 cents. When Stroger was finally tossed out of office by angry taxpayers, a lot of the commissioners who supported the tax increase reversed and jumped on the Gorman bandwagon to reluctantly repeal the Stroger Sales Tax.
Gorman wasn’t reluctant. She was persistent. She introduced the resolution three times to repeal the Stroger Sales Tax. Most other commissioners would have given up when the first effort failed. But not Gorman. She just kept on going.
And that makes Bellar’s letter look even more stupid, especially when Bellar writes, “Liz Gorman was close with the Todd Stroger team.”
You’re no Nun, Doctor Bellar. Instead wasting the time trying to win public office, you should go back to Church and ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness for lying. Forgiveness for never lifting a finger to help the over-taxed homeowners of Cook County. And, forgiveness for mailing out a sleazy campaign letter that spends every drop of ink slandering a good person like Liz Gorman but never once offering a single fresh idea on what you would if you ever happen to stumble into public office.
Someone needs to rap your knuckles with a ruler, Sister Bellar. But I think that slam is coming in the Republican Primary Tuesday, March 18.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Tribune endorses Liz Gorman in 17th Cook County District Race
The Chicago Tribune has given Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman an enthusiastic endorsement in the March 18 Republican Primary election.
Gorman, who was first elected to the Cook County Board in 2002 and has been re-elected with overwhelming district support two more times in 2006 and 2010, seeks her 4th term in office in the General Elections, to be held November 4, 2014.
Gorman has received widespread support for standing up the extremists not just in the Republican Party, but the extremists it he Democratic Party, too, embracing a "centrist" approach to regional government that focuses on defending the rights of taxpayers, homeowners, senior citizens and fighting unnecessary tax increases.
Gorman led the fight in 2008 to repeal the 1 cent sales tax increase imposed by then Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. Although today many commissioner claims that the "led" the repeal fight, Gorman was the only commission to support the repeal each of the three times it was introduced. It was the final, third repeal motion that received majority support from the county board. But Gorman refused to drop the issue when initial efforts failed to win board majority votes. That persistence is recognized by the Chicago Tribune in their editorial March 12, 2014, in which the editors wrote:
17th District (Southwest, west and northwest suburbs): The lone GOP board race pits Barbara Bellar, a physician and attorney, against incumbent Elizabeth Doody Gorman. The Tribune has endorsed Gorman often and does so again here. Unlike board members who see taxpayers as the handy solution to Cook County's problems, Gorman has focused on keeping metropolitan Chicago attractive to employers. Proof: She worked tirelessly to exterminate Stroger's sales tax increase.
Although extremists in both parties have targeted Gorman over the years, her signled-minded focus on fighting for taxpayers' rights have earned her enormous support and election victories.
Recently, Gorman was instrumental in leading a group of centrist Republicans in Illinois to endorse the candidacy of Bruce Rauner in his battle for governor against challengers Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard and Dan Rutherford. The winner of the March 18 Gubernatorial Republican Primary is expected to face Democratic governor Pat Quinn.