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January 29, 2009


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The council is biased

The fact that the council has not endorsed the most passionate, fervent and best qualified individual in Tim Kelpsas speaks to its members' collective bias and puts their presidents' personal vendetta like agenda clearly on display. It also bespeaks the councils' inability to properly recommend to the citizens of LaGrange for whom they should vote. As such, the lack of necessity of this association of a random group of vindictive people is apparent.

Proud La Grange Resident

As a member of the Citizens Council I am deeply troubled by the comments posted above. It seems that, in today's society, whenever someone doesn't get their desired result, they look for someone to blame rather than themselves.

For the record:

1. The Citizens Council is a diverse group of residents representing a wide spectrum of La Grange, socially, economically and geographically. These fellow La Grange citizens volunteered their time & energy to work on behalf of the village's best interest. To call into question their individual or collective character is way out of line.

2. The members are not doing the bidding of Orlando Coryell. The meetings that dealt with candidate endorsements were well attended (not a small group of people). The discourse on each candidate was extremely spirited and the votes were taken very seriously by the membership. Orlando Coryell held no sway over the membership during these meetings and votes.

3. Orlando Coryell has his ongoing issues with the Park District, but these issues have never been a topic of any Council meeting. If Orlando has a "vendetta", it certainly doesn't translate into Council business/direction. The members offer their own views on all topics & business before the Council, including which candidates to endorse.

On to my opinions.....

In my opinion Tim Kelpsas did not do himself any favors during his presentation to the Council. He was viewed as arrogant & condescending by some Council members in attendance. Prior to his presentation, he was probably a shoo-in as an encumbent candidate. Post-presentation, he had alienated some in attendance. That certainly contributed to the fact that he wasn't endorsed. If he intends on running for office in the future, he may want to modify his presentation style.

In choosing to slate Jim Boo in favor of Tim Kelpsas, I believe the Council was looking for some fiscal responsibility and some dissenting opinion on the Park District Board. Jim Boo's presentation gave those on the Council an alternative that satisfied those criteria.

As far as your rant, interestingly when the Council slated Tim Kelpsas in 2005 and when it slated Park Board candidates in 2007, it wasn't viewed as "a random group of vindictive people". You now choose to complain, throw out accusations and disparage people because your candidate wasn't endorsed.

Based on that, who really is vindictive???

Struck a nerve eh Bill?

It should be acknowledged that the council is a diverse group of people, and it is a mistake to paint all members with a broad brush as was done above by “the council is biased”. However, it certainly does seem that the some of the members of the council did not endorse Mr. Kelpsas for very personal reasons. There are a number of council members that have documented personal differences with Mr. Kelpsas, as they were on the losing side of the almost laughable conflict that was a prelude to the successful referendum that passed this past November. Knowing that Mr. Kelpsas was an ardent supporter of the referendum, those members of the council that fought so hard against it almost assuredly could not have been impartial in their recommendations. People with the sting of defeat still bitter in their bellies over such things often confuse confidence and competency with conceit and condescension from an individual on an opposing side. So, the post above is understandable. Still, I submit that if the LaGrange Citizens Council were truly an impartial and fair caucus system as it is compels itself to be as stated in article 2 section 2 of its own bylaws:

“All members of the council shall act as representatives of the village as a whole and shall not in any narrow sense represent any organization, business, social group, or special interest”

…then several key council members should have recused themselves from the process of slating park board candidates. This includes, but is not limited to chairman Orlando Coryell. The statement that Mr. Coryell, holds no sway over the council is ridiculous, he’s the chairman for goodness sake! Mr. Coryell has sued the village and park district so much that he has cost the taxpayers from the village of LaGrange hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees! Just for that, the other council members should ask him to step down. Every time he sues our local governmental organizations for no justifiable reason other than because he has the extra time and cash on his hands, he is doing the villagers of LaGrange a disservice. As such, he shouldn’t be a part of a group that purports itself to be a proponent of the citizens of LaGrange.

Mr. Bill Dobias and Mr. Kevin Shields should have also stepped away from the process. They were individuals that took lead roles in the fight against the successful referendum. The very intelligent and ever articulate and notable wordsmith Mr. Dobias can always make himself sound rational, how could he not have swayed others on the council? And the irascible screamer Mr. Shields who yelled at and scared voters outside the polls this past fall, well what more should I say?

I am not alone in opining on this topic. The web address at the bottom of this post is a link to a published editorial that really struck me. Here’s the point, if members of the council continue to only recommend candidates that act in concordance with their own personal special interests, their endorsements end up losing my vote, not getting it. I’ll take the recommendation of the 55% of the voters this past fall, not the council’s. I hope the council’s endorsement process will be more legitimate in the future.,lg-editcoryell-011509-s1.article

Proud La Grange Resident

At least get your facts straight:

1. Bill Dobias wasn't a member of the Council during the slating meetings. He resigned prior to those meetings and his last attended meeting was in September 2008.

Nice of you to dedicate a couple of paragraphs to Bill's influence when he wasn't in the room or participatory in any way. Changing the fact's to fit your agenda is an overused strategy.

2. You want to take the "recommendation of 55% of the voters". That's great, but for the record they recommended the sale of the park land, they didn't recommend Tim Kelpsas for the board seat. The citizens of LG voted for the referendum. They didn't vote for a commissioner.

My guess is that if Tim Kelpsas had given the presentation he gave to the Council to all the citizens of LG, they would have been equally as turned off & would not have voted positively for his candidacy.

3. Since you stated that you intend on voting against the recommendations of the Council, where do you stand on the Council-endorsed candidates, Walsh & Ashby?

If the Council had a vindictive agenda, wouldn't it stand to reason that the Council would have refused to recommend those two incumbents as well as Mr. Kelpsas? That would have maximized the "vindictiveness" that you love to hang your argument on.

The truth is the Council endorsed the two incumbent commissioners because they gave good presentations and reasoned answers to questions from the Council.

The Council didn't as you state "only recommend candidates that act in concordance with their own personal special interests". This is clearly seen by the fact that the Council endorsed two incumbents and one non-incumbent. The Council instead listened to presentations and answers from all candidates and endorsed candidates based on those presentations and answers.

This whole "vindictive" argument of yours falls totally apart based on the fact that the Council did endorse these two incumbent candidates.

As I stated in my earlier post, Mr. Kelpsas may want to evaluate his presentation style for future campaigns. In your attempt to make this about the Council and not about Mr. Kelpsas, you are doing him and the Council a disservice.

Finally, if you don't agree with the Council's endorsements/direction, I would suggest you do as many of your fellow citizens have and join the Council. What better way to be participatory in your village governance than to join this all-volunteer organization. It's easy to stand on the sidelines and criticize, but it does nothing to help the village. Information on the Council and Council membership can be found on the website listed below.

Struck a nerve...

I thought I had the facts right...the link at the bottom of this post from the council's own website lists Mr. Dobias as an active member.

Acknowledged that the point about Mr. Dobias needing to step down from the process misses the mark if he wasn't, in fact part of the process as the LCC's website would seem to indicate.

Not sure how I'll vote on Ashby and Walsh...they weren't the outspoken supporters of the referendum that Mr. Kelpsas was. This was likely a key difference that allowed Ashby and Walsh to get the council's nod. Now, do I know this for sure? No. That's why I keep typing things like "seems as if" and "it is likely that..." based on what I can tell from the sidelines.

I would consider joining the council, but I think I need to be at least a year-long resident of LaGrange, and then apply right? Do you get in automatically if you just apply, or do you also need to be interviewed about your feelings on certain hot button issues like a parking structure or land sale referendum, and then only accepted if your thoughts align with those in power on the council? Further, I just have a problem thinking that I and about forty or so other people can truly represent the positions of the 9,000 or so voters from the village. The council's existence seems strange to me as part of this whole process. I get the group was set up as a service to inform the citizen's of our village. But on the other hand, I just don't understand why a small and select group of people should be able to exert control over the process of electing our local government officials. It just seems that the whole system could very easily be abused by a small group of people to forward some personal agendas. With the state of county and state politics, I just worry that our local politics are also suceptible to nepotism if the council continues to have so much power.

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