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Archive for the ‘Elections 2011’ Category

Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 2.45.14 PMOnce again, supporters of former Village President Bob Abboud have taken to the social media networks to begin creating a false controversy to stir the pot prior to the 2019 Village Board Elections.

Recently, some Facebook pages have started publishing information about the proposed Plum Farms Development in Hoffman Estates. One of these pages is purportedly run by the same individual who publicly cast aspersions upon the character of the Village President and members of the Board of Trustees in April of 2017 (but was unwilling and unable to provide any corroboration of her ridiculous accusations). See April 24th Board meeting recordings released.

Long-time readers of the Observer will recognize the same tired tactics of the Abboud-o-philes: create a false controversy, then stir up resident sentiment against current leadership and against those whom they may support in the upcoming elections. Save 5 Acres! Save Horse Boarding! Ban the Bikes! Save Open Space! Save Polo!

The Plum Farms Development in Hoffman Estates was used as a major 2017 campaign issue by Trustees Paula Jacobsen and Robert Zubak, but both have been eerily silent on the issue for well over a year. As candidates, Jacobsen and Zubak were so adamant about the Village having legal standing, authority and ability to impact this development, and they vowed to be the voices to vigorously “oppose harmful development”.

Today, as it was then, they chose to remain ignorant to the simple fact that this issue was over in 2004 when Bob Abboud and former administrator Bob Kosin botched the chance to work with the landowner to come to a development compromise that would have kept the property within the village, and would have protected our community from the dangers of deannexation of the parcel into an adjacent town with an insatiable hunger for more tax dollars.

But in fact, the current administration has been working in concert with South Barrington and District 220 to slow the progress of this development.  Strange that this hasn’t been reported by any of the social media outlets managed by those folks who enjoy stirring the pot.  Accusations of inaction and mismanagement by President McLaughlin and others on the Board will be aired, but nary a word of criticism of Jacobsen or Zubak.

And speaking of Jacobsen, the more vocal of the less-than-dynamic duo, what has she personally done with regard to Plum Farms as a Trustee? Nothing.  She bemoaned the Longmeadow Parkway project as a candidate, but did she volunteer to be on the IDOT advisory board for Route 62?  Nope.

Does anyone remember the laundry list of issues that she & Zubak used as their campaign platform? We do.

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The only issue they are truly interested in is commercial horse boarding, which wasn’t in their campaign platform at all.  Strange…

And back to that lengthy list of issues — what have they accomplished from that list? Nothing. And why?  Because none of those “problems” actually existed.

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Paula Jacobsen with former trustee Fritz Gohl

However, Jacobsen, who has been absent from more than 26% of the fifteen Board Meetings held since she was elected as trustee, has had the opportunity to advocate for some other interesting issues.  As stated in our previous articles, May and June 2017 Board meeting recordings released  and July Board Meeting recordings released , she has found time to question the meeting minutes which characterized her friend’s public comments at the April 24thboard meeting as slanderous.  She has questioned why the Village couldn’t have employed a warmer and fuzzier process to inform a property owner of their violation of a cease and desist order with regard to illegal demolition of a residence and violation of the tree ordinance. It should be noted that the property owner in that case was a prominent donor to her trustee campaign.

Jacobsen has pondered the complexity of the Exterior Lighting Ordinance and wondered if it shouldn’t be revisited and revised, oblivious to the divisive history of the ordinance.  Coincidentally, her interest in lighting ordinance enforcement occurred only when another friend of hers had filed a complaint against a neighbor.

Paula has also suggested giving landmark status to historical homes in the village.  When asked to explain who would be the arbiter of this distinction and the mechanics of implementation or enforcement, she had no suggestion.

She also has given detailed reports of Arbor Day plans by the Heritage & Environs Committee at no fewer than three meetings. Let’s hear it for the oak sapling giveaway!!

And there has been advocacy for costly live video-streaming of Village Board meetings, which are only attended by a handful of the same residents each month.

It is not surprising that NONE of these issues were in the Jacobsen/Zubak campaign platform and that NONE of the issues in the platform have been pursued by the duo in any meaningful way in the past fifteen months.

And why is that? Because a quiet village operating harmoniously is not something the Abboud-o-philes can tolerate.  They must have controversy and they will create controversy were none exists. And when faced with the reality that President McLaughlin & this Administration have delivered on each and every promise they have made to the community, they pivot back to the old worn-out talking points. The village is operating better than it ever has, spending has been slashed and services are more efficient.  And that makes some embittered people very unhappy.  Change is not easy for some. And they are desperate to regain control.

So the pot stirring will continue.  With a little eye of newt and toe of frog mixed in for good measure.  Here’s hoping that this bad spell will be broken soon.

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President McLaughlin

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Trustee Konicek Hannigan

On Tuesday night, Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin and Trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan were sworn in for their second terms, and the “Your Barrington Hills” (YBH) slate candidates Paula Jacobsen and Robert Zubak were sworn in for the first time.

In his opening remarks, President McLaughlin expressed his desire that board members, both old and new, would be working together in solving issues in a collaborative way and welcomed new ideas and initiatives. As hopeful and inclusive as his words were, we are not as optimistic that the new trustees will be anything more than a retread of the ideologies and failed policies espoused in past campaigns by former Village President Bob Abboud in 2009, the “Save Five Acres” slate in 2011 or the “Save Open Space” slate in 2015. In fact, most of the strategies employed by YBH in 2017 are directly out of the old regime’s playbook.

They employed the same strategy that Abboud did in his initial run for Village Presidency in 2005; create an issue (Save Five Acres), scare the residents with false allegations via a “ghost writer” (John Rosene), and impugn the character of those running against you. That technique was right out of the pages of “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky, the patron saint of morally bankrupt liberal politicians, who believe that the end justifies the means!

Recently joining in this assault on the unwary residents of the Village was Kristina Anderson with her inflammatory and inaccurate comments to the Board of Trustees at their April meeting, as chronicled in our article April 24th Board Meeting Recordings Released

In response to the proposed Plum Farm development in Hoffman Estates on land disconnected from the Village in 2004, Anderson created a Facebook group to oppose the development primarily due to its projected tax and student impacts to School District 220 & 300 taxpayers. We applaud her and other participating residents for speaking up at Hoffman Estates public meetings on this crucial issue – it’s often these types of grass-roots movements that can have great influence.

However, in addressing the Village Board, Anderson crossed the line between innuendo and untruthfulness a number of times. She presented herself as the beacon of truth, but she provided zero evidence for her wide-ranging allegations. Here are just a few examples:

  • Allegation? Discontinuation of non-emergency police coverage.  REALITY: Untrue. Residents’ access to a non-emergency number still exists today, seven days a week. It has never gone away.  Chief Semelsberger described non-emergency call coverage during the April Board of Trustees meeting in detail. (see link. The only change is that after-hours non-emergency calls are now answered by Quad-com dispatchers, just as all village emergency 911 calls are. According to the Chief, these calls are answered by the same dispatch and our Barrington Hills officers respond as they always have if not engaged in true emergency situations.
  • Allegation? Hills and Dales Farm [sic] and Cressey’s property are already zoned by McHenry County for less than five acre lots. REALITY: Untrue. The Duchossois’ Hill ‘N Dale Farm and the Cressey’s Cresswood Farm, both located in unincorporated McHenry County, are NOT zoned for less than five acre lots. They are not zoned for lots of any size at all! Both are zoned A-1 for agriculture. This is a fact that is easily looked up and disproven.
  • Allegation? Board members haven’t declared their support for 5 acres. REALITY: Untrue. Every piece of literature from Colleen Konicek Hannigan and, Martin McLaughlin in 2013 and in 2017, and every piece of literature from Brian Croll, Michelle Maison and Brian Cecola in 2015 included a commitment to 5 acre zoning minimums. Over 5 years and in at least 12 mailers, each have each stated their support for five acre zoning. And every action by these five as members of the Board of Trustees has been consistent with maintaining this current zoning. There is not an ounce of truth to Ms. Anderson’s claims in this regard.
  • Allegation? Board members have undisclosed interests with the Hoffman Estates Plum Tree Farms developers. REALITY: Untrue. This is such a blatantly false allegation it’s hard to even take this breathless advocate of the people seriously here.  Anthony Iatarola does not have investors linked in ANY way to any members of the Board of Trustees. This claim is completely ridiculous, and, quite frankly, irresponsible.
  • Allegation? President McLaughlin and the Board of Trustees have not been using all legal means at their disposal to object to the Plum Farms development. REALITY: Untrue. As described in the aforementioned Observer summary of the April 24th Board of Trustee Meeting synopsis, many discussions, both public and behind the scenes, have taken place with participation by McLaughlin, Village Attorneys, Village Administration, Trustee Michelle Maison and others. With regard to the oft-mentioned 1.5-mile planning jurisdiction, the village’s lawyers have explained that this does not apply in this instance because Barrington Hills and Hoffman Estates do not have a border agreement (despite several overtures by Barrington Hills in recent years). South Barrington has a legal right to object because it DOES have a border agreement with its neighbor. And due to McLaughlin’s excellent relationship with South Barrington President Paula McCombie, Barrington Hills has been able to sit in on meetings with South Barrington and offer input on strategy.

The simple facts are that open space and 5 acre zoning in Barrington Hills are not threatened by the incumbent Village President and Trustees. We are extremely disappointed that a resident, and an attorney no less, would stand up at a Board Meeting and make such unfounded allegations and insinuations. And, sadly, many of those allegations also came out of Jacobsen and Zubak’s YBH campaign and were eerily reminiscent of the Abboud-backed Save 5 Acres and Save Open Space campaigns. And we are left to wonder if Ms. Anderson was making her opening statement for a 2019 trustee run. We sincerely hope not.

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Trustee Jacobsen

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Trustee Zubak

So here we are, just one month after the village election, seeing the inflammatory campaign rhetoric continue. If Jacobsen and Zubak decide to adhere to the failed strategies and policies of the deposed Abboud regime, they will only continue to divide the community, and will sadly bring more harm to the equestrian community which they profess to support.

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2017VBHBallotTuesday, April 4th marks yet another turning point in the history of the village of Barrington Hills. Residents will go to the polls again faced with a choice of continuing to advance the positive trends of the last four years, or backsliding into the mired legacy of the last administration. Three trustee positions and the office of village president are being contested.

The achievements of President Martin McLaughlin and Trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan over their first term have been nothing short of amazing, even more so, when you consider that for their first two years they had to work with a five person opposition bloc on the Board who were blindly loyal to the old regime, and who fought against change on nearly every front. We won’t waste space here again repeating all of Marty and Colleen’s fulfilled campaign promises here, but instead refer you to the words of the Daily Herald Editorial Board when it said, “Barrington Hills has recorded some notable accomplishments and is on a constructive course for maintaining the town’s prosperity and rural charm, led by a village board whose members are dedicated and independent”, in endorsing both McLaughlin and Hannigan. We concur with their very enthusiastic endorsement.

Six candidates are vying for the two other open trustee positions. The two individuals running under the “Your Barrington Hills” (YBH) banner, along with former trustee Elaine Ramesh, despite rather desperate attempts to minimize and criticize the notable achievements of the last four years, are nothing more than “Save 5 Acres” version 3.0.

The YBH campaign has been marked by negative mailings flooding our mailboxes, attempting to create crises where none exist. Not only do they fail to acknowledge the positive accomplishments of the McLaughlin administration, they ridiculously try to imply that the village has not been prudently managed and that services have suffered. Even the specter of the phantom developer has been raised again.

As detailed in Meet the Candidates Part One and Part Two, Jacobsen, Zubak and Ramesh are distancing themselves from their extremist equestrian bias, in what we see as a deliberate attempt to mislead voters from their true agenda.  We believe that the ultimate goal of these Trojan Horsemen candidates is to reinstate ordinances permitting unbridled, large-scale commercial boarding and unimpeded related commercial equestrian activities in the Village to the benefit of their friends, at the expense of the rights of the rest of us to the peaceful enjoyment of our homes.  Electing any of these individuals will be a setback to the reforms of the past four years and will be a danger to all of our residential rights.  They have shown themselves to be completely uninformed on the true state of village affairs, and will be little more than puppets for the former regime.

That is why we are endorsing the two other independent candidates on the ballot – Matt Vondra and Ralph Sesso.

Matt Vondra, a resident since 2012, is a consultant in logistics and business development, who works for contractors in heavy and highway construction. Matt volunteers on the Executive Committee of the Barrington Area Conservation Trust and recently won the Audubon Society’s Grassroots Conservation Leadership Award for his work on the restoration plan of the Bluff Spring Fen in Elgin, Illinois.

Ralph Sesso has lived in Barrington Hills for 23 years and is an investment fund manager and a certified financial planner. He and his wife raised their four children in the village. He is running to help preserve the long standing tradition of open space and the rural nature of our community. He is also personally interested in residents finding ways to live peaceably with each other, despite differences on political issues.

Vondra and Sesso possess unique professional skills, and both are supportive of the reforms and results that Marty and Colleen have instituted over the last four years. The Observer feels strongly that these two independent candidates would work well with the current board in continuing the positive trends of fiscal responsibility and creative approaches that have become hallmarks of our village government today.

We urge you to make your voices heard again as you go to the polls on Tuesday April 4th to support McLaughlin for President, and Hannigan, Vondra and Sesso for Trustees.

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voteThe “Your Barrington Hills” (YBH) Riding Club slate of candidates — Louis Iacovelli, Paula Jacobsen and Robert Zubak — recently rolled out their campaign website.  Surprisingly, the site is a departure from the designs we’ve seen from the likes of the “Save 5 Acres” and “Save Open Space” slates — both visually and content-wise.

Their site design is rather bare bones, lacking pretty photography, and open space and equestrian themes that we’ve come to expect.  Although, they do utilize a nifty leaf logo. ybh__logo

And the website features very brief biographical sketches of the three candidates, while strangely and completely omitting the equestrian ties of Jacobsen and Zubak. Both are very active members of the Riding Club of Barrington Hills, and both of their spouses currently serve as Directors of the organization,  along with Iacovelli who is also a club Director (and at least lists himself as an RCBH member).

Also interesting is the list of “issues” that the “team” vows to focus upon.

  • Property rights
  • Fiscal responsibility
  • Public safety
  • Transparency

If memory serves, these are nearly the identical issues that incumbent Village President Martin McLaughlin and Trustee Colleen Konicek ran on four years ago. And they are the areas in which Marty and Colleen have successfully achieved nearly every one of those 2013 campaign goals.  The YBH team fails to elaborate on specific problems with the way the village is currently being run, although they do refer to protecting the village’s “character and value” and there is mention of “harmful development” nearby. So we might assume that the “phantom developer” might rear its head again in this election cycle.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for any new website content that may arise in the weeks before the April 4th election and we will keep our readers informed.

 

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On October 31st, the Board of Trustees held a special meeting to discuss a zoning enforcement matter.  The menu of recordings by agenda topic can be viewed here.

The sole agenda item for this board meeting was to discuss, and vote on, “Authorizing the Execution of a Settlement Agreement of a Zoning Enforcement Action Against Operation of a Business at 3 Saville Road.”

Records dating back as far as 2012 refer to resident complaints over a homeowner operating an HVAC business from the subject residence, ostensibly under the Home Occupation Ordinance (HOO).  The Code Enforcement Officer eventually issued a cease operation letter.  The homeowner filed an appeal with the Zoning Board of Appeals, which was denied, and eventually the Village had to file suit in court since the homeowner apparently refused to comply.

Despite the fact the business operations were eventually ceased or scaled back sufficiently to comply with Village code, a judge recommended the Village fine the resident for the period of time they were not in compliance of Village ordinances recommending a settlement fine of $25,000.

Prior to voting on this settlement, trustees bought up parallels to a similar situation that occurred with Oakwood Farms where no fines were assessed, even for the period of time Oakwood was not in compliance with Village Code.

The Village issued a cease and desist letter to Oakwood Farm after neighbor complaints, which the owner ignored, and a lawsuit was filed and won costing Barrington Hills taxpayers a purported $180,000. The law firm representing the Village at that time continues to provide their summary of the matter in a February 1, 2010 press release on their website, which can be viewed here.

Politics at that time seemed to supersede, however, and the home business operator made modifications to their operations, resulting in the issuance of a letter from the then Building Enforcement Officer, Don Shuman, on March 15th of 2011, declaring the Oakwood operation compliant with HOO (for more background, click here).

Back to the present, the five board members in attendance at the October 31st meeting voted 4-1 (Trustee Gohl voted no) to settle with the Saville Row homeowner for the amount of $25,000, which at least covered the legal expenses incurred to taxpayers.  It should be noted this appears to be the highest amount ever assessed to a homeowner in violation for a period of time of the HOO.

The question is, shall or should the owners of Oakwood Farm have been assessed fines for the period of time they were not in compliance with Village codes?  We think so.

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detective-with-magnifying-glass-1The Village has added one hundred and fifty-three pages of testimony documents to the public information package being considered by the Zoning Board of Appeals since their hearing last Monday regarding a proposed amendment to horse boarding codes in Barrington Hills.

These documents are in the forms of court documents, resident and Village official emails, affidavits, Village engineering and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency reports and some form letters from residents who either don’t have the time or the independent thinking to express their opinions.  A copy of the entire two hundred and ninety-one page document package including newly released information can be viewed and downloaded here.

Among the new information included for public examination is information leading up to and following the issuance of the all too often mentioned “Schuman Letter.”  The documentation is included in pages 239-258 of the new package, and for ease of access for readers, we’ve extracted the pages and placed them into a file that can be read here.

A significant amount of documentation regarding detrimental rainwater and pond runoff from a boarding facility on Ridge Road resulting in flooding and apparent pollution of a neighboring property has been submitted to the board, and that documentation can be viewed here.

And, a recently written addition to the documents to be considered by the board and the public has been submitted by a resident who has provided some perspectives on the history of horse boarding debates in Barrington Hills and the most recently enacted codes can be viewed here.

The next Zoning Board hearing on this matter is scheduled for August 30th at 6:30 PM at Countryside Elementary School.  We’ll keep readers updated as more, if any, documents are added to these to be considered by the board.

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Kelly Mazeski

Kelly Mazeski

The same day lawmakers in Springfield blew a key budget deadline for the second year in a row, a handful of suburban candidates signed up to mount challenges in previously uncontested legislative races.

For the Senate, Democrat Melissa Coyne of Fox Lake has emerged as an opponent for longtime Republican state Sen. Pamela Althoff of McHenry, while former North Barrington Trustee Kelly Mazeski of Barrington Hills will run against the Senate’s newest member, Republican Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods.

Read more here.

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