Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Governor Quinn doesn't think much about the Southwest Suburbs

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Gov. Pat Quinn talks the talk but he doesn't do much walking when it comes to the Southwest Suburbs. Quinn was the guest speaker Monday at the "Southland Chamber of Commerce," the organization that undermines the influence of the Southwest Suburbs and puts the emphasis on the southern-most communities, most of them racked by economic challenges.

It's no wonder then that one of Quinn's "big announcements" was to provide a grant to help create low-income housing in the "Southland" and to use the grant monies to purchase, rehab or raze abandoned homes. As if abandoned homes is the problem in the Southwest Suburbs which get no representation from the Southland Chamber and no interest from Gov. Quinn.

Click here to read the release about the Governor's plan to help eliminate those abandoned homes.

The "Southland" is a misnomer, an attempt by the communities in the South suburbs of Chicago, which are economically weak, to take control of the communities in the Southwest suburbs, which are economically stronger. Why? Because some near-sighted governments don't care about supporting the communities that pay the most taxes. These faulty governments only care about the communities that can't do anything. In the scale of government priorities, communities that are economically challenged get more news media coverage than those that do well. Look at Orland Park, Tinley Park, Palos Heights, Mokena, Frankfort and that region. Their interests are overshadowed by the interests of the far South suburbs, mainly because the chamber that supposedly represents us doesn't represent us at all. It's in their name "Southland." This isn't the southland. The Southwest Suburbs don't share the same concerns and challenges of the suburbs in the south.

This mentality to absorb the Southwest suburbs into the Southland has huge ramifications. First of all, it has resulted in the Southwest suburbs getting stuck with do-nothing Congressman Bobbie Rush. (I worked for Rush when he was first elected congressman and he never paid me for my time. Turns out that's his pattern of government, doing things only for himself and the interests around him and ignoring the rest of the suburbs that he represents.) Rush's district was shoved further southwest into Orland Park and beyond in part because that is the uncarring agenda of the Southland Chamber of Commerce. Their goal has been to undermine the voice of Orland Park and that's why they cheered so loudly when Quinn addressed their members Monday.

Click here to read Phil Kadner's column on how Quinn has done nothing for the suburbs on the "Southland."

Where's the casino? Where's the new economic revitalization? Where's the support for local government services? Quinn's government is cutting services that many southwest suburban communities rely on for support. Communities have been forced to hire lobbyists to get their message to the state.

Just this week, the Southwestern suburbs were slammed by hurricane-like storms that knocked out power. Yet it wasn't surprising that the cloutless Southwest suburbs were treated like the abandoned stepchild. ComEd slammed the region with directed power outages. Yes, ComEd actually shut down power in some areas of Orland Park long after the storm-related power outages, so that the power could be shared with other areas that have more clout, like in the "Southlands."

Where is IDOT and the state when traffic lights go down on state roads? LaGrange Road and 107th Avenue was a one-hour traffic jam, not during the storm. Not immediately after the storm. But seven hours after the storm. None of the traffic signals were restored causing huge hours-long traffic jams on LaGrange Road Monday night. There were no state police to direct traffic. No county police. No local police -- although the Palos area (Heights, Park and Hills) are do-nothing governments when it comes to their regional responsibilities. They don't care because no one else cares.

Why? Because Quinn does't care about the Southwest Suburbs. The Southland Chamber doesn't care about the Southwest suburbs. Congressman Rush clearly could care less about the Southwest Suburbs. And that means that when Governor Quinn delivers a useless, empty speech to the Southland Chamber, they are just happy that he accepted their invitation to speak.

Read the Tribune Local about how excited the Southland Chamber was just to have Quinn as their luncheon guest.

The squeaky wheel gets the oil. The silent, inactive, undemanding Southwest suburbs get diddly squat!

What's "diddly squat?" Higher taxes. No real substantive services. No state grants for major services like Fire, Police and more. Of course, maybe that's what the residents of the Southwest suburbs are satisfied with. Diddly squat. It's better than nothing. Or, is it?

--- Ray Hanania

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