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Colleen Konicek-Hannigan

 The Barrington Hills village board race remained too close to call Wednesday, according to the unofficial vote count.

Even after a handful of additional ballots were counted in Cook County, just four votes separate challengers Paula Jacobsen, Robert M. Zubak and Matthew Vondra for second through fourth place.

Six candidates vied for three open seats on the board, and so far the only clear winner is incumbent Colleen Konicek Hannigan, who received 537 votes.

Rounding out the race were challenger Ralph Sesso, with 403 votes, and incumbent Elaine M. Ramesh, with 398.

All of the precincts in Lake, Cook, Kane and McHenry counties are accounted for but there still could be votes left from early voting, mail-in ballots and provisional ballots.

To read the story in the Daily Herald, click here.

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Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 7.44.14 PM Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin defeated challenger Louis Iacovelli Tuesday and earned a second term in office by a margin of 68 votes, according to unofficial totals.

The results in the race to fill three spots on the village board were even tighter. Incumbent Colleen Konicek Hannigan, who got 537 votes, is the only sure winner. Just four votes separate challengers Robert M. Zubak, Paula Jacobsen and Matthew Vondra for second through fourth place. Zubak has 488 votes, Jacobsen 487 and Vondra 484.

Rounding out the board race were challenger Ralph Sesso with 401 votes and incumbent Elaine M. Ramesh with 397.

McLaughlin got 556 votes, 53.2 percent of the total, and Iacovelli got 488, around 46.8 percent.

All of the precincts in Lake, Cook, Kane and McHenry counties are accounted for but there still could be votes left to count from early voting, mail-in ballots.

To read the entire Daily Herald article, click here.

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Less than a week remains until the election, and predictably, a flurry of 11th hour campaign mailings are landing in mailboxes, proclaiming breaking news and urgent bulletins, all carefully timed to prevent rebuttal by their targets, Martin McLaughlin and Colleen Konicek Hannigan.

This time, the mailings, which are highly critical of Marty and Colleen, are coming from a private citizen, rather than a candidate’s campaign committee, so we will not name the person in question.  But the individual is well known as a key member of the polo club,  as one of the most extreme equestrians in the village and as a bosom buddy of the former village president. Readers should be familiar with his notorious 2005 White Paper.

In his first mailing, he basically repeated many of the fabricated claims that have been raised by the Your Barrington Hills candidates Iacovelli, Jacobsen and Zubak, whom he supports, along with Equestrienne Ramesh.  Our feature Meet the Candidates Part Two: YBH — the Trojan Horsemen, published yesterday, set the record straight on many of those issues.

The second letter received today alleges a lawsuit recently filed against the village concerning commercial horse boarding is being hidden from residents.  The writer attempts rile up the electorate with false outrage and cries of lack of transparency.  Funny thing is, he fails to mention that one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is the very same owner/operator of the commercial boarding operation on Bateman Road that has already cost our village taxpayers hundreds of thousands in legal fees in numerous lawsuits over the last decade.  Oh, and the letter writer’s polo club has an arrangement with that plaintiff to use the polo field at that very boarding facility.

So what about the assertion that the trustees and the public have not been made aware of the lawsuit?  Untrue. We direct you to the recently released recording of the Village Board meeting held on March 21st, 2017 when the lawsuit was IN FACT discussed in open session in the first board meeting held after the case was filed.  Click here to hear Village Attorney Patrick Bond’s statement that the Board was emailed a litigation update regarding the amended complaint in connection with that case.  It is apparent that both the Board and the public have been made aware of the filings.

[We wonder where the letter writer’s outrage was when the Sears litigation went on for 13 YEARS without mention to the public until President McLaughlin took it upon himself to work with South Barrington to settle that suit, which could have meant a $20 million dollar judgment against the two villages if Sears had prevailed.]

The March 21st recordings also include the Chief of Police Rich Semelsberger describing the village’s continuing use of the CTY Community Alert System.  His discussion not only makes it clear that the alert system has not been abandoned, but actually has been used, in his words, ” very liberally” for announcements of road closures, chemical spills, missing persons, etc.  He further clarified that the Police Department makes the decision to issue an alert, not the president or the board, and that the Department balances the public’s need to know with the timeliness of the message.  Semelsberger’s comments about the CTY alerts, including a mention of a FOIA request having been filed and fulfilled on the topic, can be heard here.

The Chief also responded to a Board question about police staffing here, and explained that in the 28 years that he has been with the department, there have always been a minimum of two officers on patrol at any given time.  Currently there are two officers out on extended injury, and as a result, other personnel have been reassigned to ensure adequate coverage.  Additionally, there are two new officers scheduled to begin training at the Illinois State Police Academy on April 9th, as a result of a screening process that began last year.

So, the claims about the “hidden lawsuit” are false. Claims about the abandonment of the CTY Alert System are false. Claims about insufficient police staffing are false. Claims about FOIA expenses are false. Claims about rebranding are false. Claims about 911 dispatch outsourcing are false. And on, and on, and on.

Four days remain until the election, and we see the same pitiful pattern of deception that we’ve seen in previous campaigns. Outrageous claims are made, lawsuits and FOIA requests filed, and last minute grenades are launched — all by the same bad actors.  It’s the same small vocal group, inextricably tied to the former president, that spews misinformation and attempts to bully and intimidate the regular folks in the village.  In 2013, voters said “Enough!” In 2015, they shouted “ENOUGH!”  In 2017, let’s get the big hook out and finally drag those bad actors off of the village stage once and for all.

We encourage our readers to stay informed and to share our posts with their friends and neighbors as this critical campaign draws to a conclusion on Tuesday.

[NOTE: The Observer itself is mentioned in both of the aforementioned mailings, and we have to say that free advertising is always appreciated, although not needed, as our readership is booming.]

 

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TruthWC

Three candidates running on the “Your Barrington Hills” (YBH) slate are seeking public office for the first time in Barrington Hills. Their names (Louis Iacovelli for president, Paula Jacobsen and Robert Zubak for trustee) are not familiar to most residents, as none of them have had any prior experience or position in our village government. However, their names are definitely well-known in the equestrian community, as they and their spouses have been intimately involved in the Riding Club of Barrington Hills (RCBH). As we’ve published previously, all three of these candidates and Elaine Ramesh, running separately from the slate, have all meticulously avoided nearly any reference to their penchant for all things equestrian during their campaigns.

The question being asked is, did these three choose to run because of their genuine interest in the welfare of all village residents, or did they run at the behest of others who share a hidden agenda?

The YBH candidates, can find no real fault with the record of the current administration, and have had to manufacture issues, frequently grossly misrepresenting facts in their mailers, social media platforms and their newspaper interviews, a technique taken out of the playbook of the former village president, and the Save 5 Acres and SOS campaigns in recent election cycles. Not only are their allegations not based in fact,  their responses to the candidate questionnaires published in two suburban newspapers, are nearly identical, as if penned by the same hand. They all present the same, disingenuous information, either by design to discredit and malign the current administration, or by laziness in researching village documents. Whatever the reason for the deception, none are worthy of candidacy for Village office.

Let’s examine some of the spin coming out of the Riding Club camp:

  • YBH Spin: The new 911 dispatch service is not working as well as the former in-house system?  REALITY: This is not supported by fact. According to the Chief of Police, the outsourced system actually provides better coverage and faster response times.
  • YBH Spin: Police coverage has diminished, thereby endangering residents’ safety. REALITY: This is not supported by fact, as the Village, with a static population, has had the same number of officers in the field for twenty years.
  • YBH Spin: There are no commercial businesses in Barrington Hills, and the village does not collect sales tax? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. There are a few businesses in the village, and annually $120,000 – $130,000 in sales taxes revenue is collected from them, according to Village records.
  • YBH Spin: The Village is being re-branded as embracing small lots? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. As best as we can figure, YBH is claiming this because the village website states “Large properties ranging from one to 10+ acres give residents more freedom to live how they want…” This is nothing more than a statement of fact. And, if Louis, Paula or Bob were actually familiar with the village’s official zoning map, they would know that 1-acre, 2-acre and 3-acre properties currently exist within Barrington Hills and have existed for decades (Burning Oak Trail, Barrington Bourne and Ashbury Lane to name just a few neighborhoods that have lots under 5 acres). These R-2, R-3 and R-4 districts are also referenced in the Village’s Comprehensive Plan.
  • YBH Spin: Open spaces are at risk and must be saved? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. Since the 2013 elections, to date, only 14 permits for single-family home construction have been issued for properties, all on 5 or more acres, with NO applications for subdivisions.
  • YBH Spin: FOIA expenses are out of control? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) expenses are documented to be less than they were prior to 2013, and majority of the current expense can be attributed to three individuals, all of whom support this three-person slate.
  • YBH Spin: The current Administration is not protecting residents from intrusion by development in neighboring communities? REALITY: This is not supported by fact. The main issues raised by the Riding Club slate are Longmeadow Parkway (LMP) and the pending Plum Farm Development in Hoffman Estates, both of which could have been mitigated by the previous administration with proper proactive negotiation. The current administration has acted to the limits of the law in its attempts to discourage these plans. In addition to its resolution against LMP, the McLaughlin administration has opposed and spoken out against the IAA Auto Yard in East Dundee, the Speedway development in Lake Barrington in 2015, and voted against the widening of Route 62 2014-2017. And within the last month, Barrington Hills passed a 20-year border agreement with South Barrington.
  • YBH Spin: The Village Levy has not increased in twelve years? REALITY: This misrepresents the facts. According to published village financial records, the levy under the previous regime was set at $6,565,273 as set by previous administration in each of years 2011-2012-2013. The Village Board, lead by McLaughlin and trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan LOWERED the levy in each successive year from 2014 through 2016, down to $$5,319,862. This represents a cumulative reduction in the Levy of $1,736,467.

So we ask again: are these poor hapless candidates just dazed and confused, or have these hard-core equestrians been  coached by three village residents who have strong personal reasons to support this slate of Iacovelli, Jacobsen and Zubak, (as well as Elaine Ramesh whose candidacy was the subject of our previous feature)? Their close associates include 1) the vocal large-scale commercial boarding operator who has been involved in on-going litigation with the village for eight years, 2) the chairman of a large undeveloped property located in unincorporated McHenry County, who has been fanning the flames of controversy over repeal of the flawed Anderson II horse boarding ordinance, and 3) of course, the former village president who apparently is desirous of once again imposing his failed agendas upon our village.

We believe that the ultimate goal of all four of these candidates is to reinstate ordinances to permit unbridled, large-scale commercial boarding and unimpeded related commercial equestrian activities to the Village, at the expense of the rights of the rest of us to the peaceful enjoyment of our homes.

Unbridled commercial equestrian activities may be THEIR Barrington Hills, but it’s not OUR Barrington Hills.

 

 

 

 

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vote A 16-year resident of Barrington Hills is running in a crowded race for village trustee, although her name won’t appear directly on the ballot during the April 4 election.

Write-in candidate Linda H. Cools, who works as a freelance public relations writer, said she would focus on financial issues affecting Barrington Hills, if elected to the village board. As part of a contested race, Cools and six other residents are campaigning to secure three trustee seats on the Barrington Hills board.

To read the full text of the Barrington Courier Review article, click here.

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vote Both major regional newspapers recently released the responses to their Candidate Questionnaires.

Here are the trustee candidate questionnaires published in the Northwest Herald.

To read village president candidates’ answers to the Northwest Herald’s questions, click here.

The link to the Daily Herald’s village president profiles is here, and the trustee candidate profile link is here.

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(Several readers provided us with their observations after attending Wednesday night’s Hoffman Estates Village Meeting, and a later gathering of neighbors who heard from Martin McLaughlin.)

Last night, a group of concerned D220 & D300 taxpayers, led by elected officials Barrington Hills Village President Martin McLaughlin, District 220 School Board President Brian Battle and D220 Board Member Angela Wilcox, assembled at the Hoffman Estates Village Hall to attend the Planning & Zoning Commission Hearing on the proposed Plum Farms development and to speak on behalf of their constituents. However, shortly after they arrived, they learned that the Plum Farms hearing had been removed from the Agenda and deferred until April 5th.

Before the meeting start, we understand that McLaughlin, Battle and Wilcox assembled with the residents in attendance to strategize opposition to the mixed-use project that could introduce upwards of 500-800 new students to the two school districts. When notified that the Hoffman Estates commission would not be discussing the Plum Farms development at all, and would not be accepting any public comments before or after their regular agenda items, President McLaughlin entered his prepared comments on behalf of the residents of Barrington Hills to the Clerk. Those remarks have also been obtained by the Observer and you can read his comments here.   We will be interested to see if his comments in fact do make it into the Official Record.

(When it was apparent that there would be no opportunity for public input, McLaughlin departed to discuss updates from Springfield on the status of LMP, and also to discuss the Plum Farms (Iatarola) development with dozens of concerned constituents at a private village residence.)

After the Planning Meeting started, a number of Barrington Hills residents gathered outside the room. Current candidate for D220 School Board Mike Shackleton was in attendance, as were Louis Iacovelli and Paula Jacobsen, representing the Riding Club slate from “Your Barrington Hills” (YBH). D220 Board President Battle proceeded to describe in detail the scope of the proposed development and its projected negative impact on both D300 & D220 taxpayers. Meanwhile, the YBH candidates tried to insist that VBH won’t defend its residents, but offered no solutions of their own.

Another reader who attended the subsequent McLaughlin meeting tells us that some progress is being made on slowing down construction of  Longmeadow Parkway. State Senator Pamela Althoff, who is the sponsor of SB1518, is not accepting amendments to that “quick take” legislation, which means that the Autumn Trail properties cannot be added to the current bill. However, there is a “shell bill”’ (which is currently empty) which can be filled in later to include Autumn Trail for “quick-take”. McLaughlin, working in coordination with several trustees, affected Autumn Trail residents and other concerned property-owners have already filed over 150 witness slips in opposition to the shell bill, known as SB1066.

We thank our readers for their contributions to this segment, and we will continue keep you informed of any new developments.

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