While Oak Lawn residents were busy voting for president and other offices on Election Day, Mayor Dave Heilmann declared his independence from the old Unity Party.
Like many local candidates last week, Heilmann, who is up for re-election next April, stood in the rain outside of village polling places greeting voters and gathering signatures for his nominating petitions.
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Those who did sign were gifted with a palm card announcing the Mayor’s Independence Party, along with a new campaign slogan, “Moving Oak Lawn Forward.” Unlike President Obama's 2012 campaign theme, there is no exclamation point after "forward."
Perhaps to counter the testosterone-rich Oak Lawn village board, Heilmann has slated four women, including current Dist. 1 Trustee Cindy Trautsch. Trautsch was appointed to fill Jerry Hurckes’ seat after he resigned as trustee in August 2011 before returning to his old job as Congressman Dan Lipinski’s chief of staff.
Because more than two years remained of Hurckes’ four-year term, who had been re-elected in April 2011, Trautsch is running in a special election for a two-year term. In 2015, the Dist. 1 trustee seat will return to a four-year election cycle.
In addition to Trautsch and the MIP slate includes:
- Julie Misner, an Oak Lawn-Hometown Dist. 123 school board member, who is battling Alex Olejniczak for Dist. 2 trustee;
- Oak Lawn Planning and Development Commissioner Tim Reilly, one of two dissenting votes against continuing a public hearing to secure further impact studies for Advocate Christ Medical Center’s latest medical campus expansion last summer, which has the staunch support of the mayor. Reilly is taking on incumbent Tom Duhig for the Dist. 4 trustee seat.
- Life-long Oak Lawn resident and Richards High School graduate Carol Sheahan, a young mom of three who is running for Dist. 6 trustee.
Heilmann described the MIPs as a group of extremely independent candidates who just happen to be running together.
“We’ve had very candid conversations with individuals who would like to see us govern and stop all the fighting,” the mayor said last month when we called to talk to him about alleys. “Under no circumstances will they be beholden to the mayor. People vote their conscience.”
On the flip side of the Mayor’s Independence Party palm card, Heilmann took the opportunity to slam his opponent, local business owner and community activist Sandra Bury.
“Bury has chosen to launch her campaign with a personal attack on me. My preference is to ignore these attacks but when I start hearing outrageous claims that village residents lost $10 million, then I need to respond,” the mayor’s literature said, referencing Bury’s 10-page political mailer that portends to expose “the REAL Dave Heilmann.”
Heilmann argued that too much of this past term has been spent on the past arguing about the former village attorneys who were fired in by the village board in 2009 because of alleged overbillingss and slipshod legal counsel.
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This episode has recently spawned a new conspiracy theory that some village board members had been brainwashed by Trustee Tom Phelan (Dist. 6), a known mind-control expert, into believing that the former village attorneys had cost taxpayers $10 million.
“[The] village paid down $10 million in debt and increased our reserves by $2 million … how do my critics explain the fact that the attorneys hired since 2009, that they have recommended, have cost us more. The legal fees since September 2009 are over $3.2 million,” the mayor explained on last Tuesday’s campaign piece.
The mayor went on to explain that the village is “audited every year under state law. The finances of the village are public records at Village Hall, not emails and colored spreadsheets put out by a trustee,” Heilmann said in reference to Phelan’s colorful pdfs.
Heilmann, who prevailed in a lawsuit by his former slate mates alledging that he had stolen the rest of the Unity Party campaign funds, describes the fallout originating from his warnings that some of them might be engaging in criminal activity.
“Two years later, in came the FBI and US Attorney and placed the village under criminal investigation … I am sorry to see that their campaign strategy relies on presenting false allegations to the residents with the hope that nobody will bother to educate themselves on the truth. I feel it is an insult to the residents to think they would fall for this.”
The mayor ends his message by wishing residents a safe, peaceful holiday season with family and friends.
In addition to the MIPs, incumbent trustees Olejniczak and Duhig say they are running in 2013. Phelan has not yet announced whether he will seek reelection as the Dist. 6 trustee.
Other possible names being bandied about include:
- Terry Vorderer is said to be mulling a run for 4th District trustee against the incumbent Duhig and Reilly, the MIP candidate, making it a three-way race.
- Michael Carberry, the former 36th District State Representative who filled in on the Illinois General Assembly for about six months when he replaced retiring State Representative Jim Brosnahan in March 2010. Carberry is expected to be the anti-MIP, Dist. 6 trustee candidate should Phelan choose not to run.
For comparison’s sake, we’ve included Bury’s 10-page campaign mailer exposing “the REAL Dave Heilmann” as well as the MIPs’ first campaign piece.
Meanwhile, expect the mayor to run a real race against Sandra Bury, who recently took out a full-page ad in the St. Linus Men's Club's Smoker ad book. It almost makes us want to get a LAN line so we can hear all the robo calls.