D-80 chooses new board leadership

The five board members are sworn in

Sam Palazzo becomes Board President, Frank Tribuzio as Vice President and Renzo Berardi as Secretary

New board members Sam Palazzo, Frank Tribuzio, Renzo Berardi, Lou Mezzano and incumbent Mike Bellafiore are sworn in.

Board members debated the various scenarios for a new Superintendent carried over from the previous meeting: sharing a superintendent, an interim superintendent, and hiring a search firm for a full time superintendent.

 

 

Recording of the April 23 2019 D-80 Reorganization Special Meeting (full video, 1 hour 1 minute)

Recording of the April 16 2019 D-80 Board Meeting (full video, 40 minutes)


Residents outraged as gas station zoning approval moves forward

Furious residents pack the Village board meeting to oppose gas station, but the board and its mayor pay them no heed, approving it unanimously

Residents attended in big numbers

On April 24th, the Village board room had more people then chairs to seat them (a rare occurrence). Most were there to speak out against a new 12 pump gas station on Irving Park Road between Ozark and Overhill.

It was for naught. The Village government, under the control of the Norridge Improvement Party, didn’t even allow them to speak before they voted unanimously to ram through the zoning petition for a 24-hour gas station with convenience store, video gambling, and liquor.

Prior to the vote, some residents tried to speak out, but were silenced by Norridge Police Chief David Disselhorst.

It was an appalling, disrespectful and more importantly – undemocraticslap in the face to Village residents.

Strong residential opposition

After the vote, residents took turns raking mayor James Chmura over the coals, followed by loud applause.

A professional geologist for the state of Illinois, Renee Wawczak who has several years of cleaning up leaking gas station sites, expressed her concerns over the gas station proposal.

“As somebody who has cleaned up these sites” she said “They all leak”. Underground storage tanks can leak causing contamination of storm and sanitary sewers, and travel through these systems where they “can release vapors into homes and businesses”.

“The Zoning department has not done their environmental due diligence” Wawczak added.

Ann Chmura (no relation to mayor James Chmura), sent a letter to the Village trustees asking them to postpone the meeting and the decision, which James Chmura and the board confirm that they have received and read.

Ann Chmura and the residents affected only had two weeks to mobilize on this issue. “We were given the opportunity to voice our concerns way too late in the decision process”, Ann Chmura added.

Despite that, they were able to obtain 106 signatures for a petition opposing the development.

Ms Chmura also criticized the Village’s lack of communication on this issue, saying “I didn’t hear about this” until later, further objecting to “the lack of transparency” throughout the process.

Edelweiss’s attorney Sam Amirante echoed the comments of other residents, saying “We don’t want the Village to move too quickly … further studies need to be done”.

“Edelweiss has been there for over 50 years, it’s been a tremendous business in the community, people is Norridge love it, people from all over come to it.”

“If that gas station is allowed to be built without further study how a gas station does affect the environment, children, and a restaurant right across the street from it … those issues have to be addressed by this board … please act prudently and with concern for all our issues”, Amirante said.

Linda Cowski expressed dismay over the 24 hour gas station, and convenience store that sells liquor.

She also expressed concern about the video gaming, “it was never really said if there was going to be a separate room for gaming?”

Cowski said parking will be an issue, and the fact that the gas station property will be allowed up to two feet close to the alley.

She objected to the zoning board claiming the gas station would not decrease their property values.

James Chmura responded that the Village hasn’t agreed to the 24 hours. Video gaming stops at midnight, and liquor sales ends at 2AM.

“We also have to discuss the streets and the turnoffs [onto Irving Park Road and / or the side streets] with them”, Chmura said.

“Why do you need video gaming in a gas station?” Cowski asked. “It’s very lucrative”, Chmura responded.

Cowski also spoke of traffic issues, “The traffic is going to just be horrific. You don’t live here, you don’t understand.”

Danny Defelice said condos would be better than a 24-hour gas station.

“What kind of suburb do we want to be? Do we want to be a suburb that has slot machines at gas stations or do we want to be more of a Park Ridge where things are a little more restrictive?” Defelice said.

Edelweiss owner Walt Kosch expressed concern with the crime that comes with putting in a gas station, “We’re concerned as corporate citizens next door about that kind of situation.”

“We think it is going to bring in a different type of element into our business, we’re very concerned  about that, as well as how it is going to affect our neighbors” Kosch said.

Travis Aguilera said there are 11 children on the 4000 block of Overhill and is concerned about children’s safety.

He also thinks parking will be made worse with the new gas station as the 4000 block of Overhill is already getting overflow parking for Edelweiss.

Aguilera also objected to the Village moving forward so quickly.

“We got a petition … you guys just keep moving forward  … we don’t  appreciate it” Aguilera said.

Flo Wawczak asked if an environmental study was done on the land – there was none.

“Do you know the Village of Norridge Motto? Community, compassion, care and hope. That’s what all these people want, myself included”, she said.

Christine Wawrzynowicz said her block has problem now with speeding, no parking. “All we know is that we can’t park in front of our street now”.

She also objected to liquor and gambling sales.

“I have lived here 20-23 years, I love this place… to tell you the truth now, I can’t wait to get out. And a lot of people feel that way.”

“Because it seems like you don’t care about us, you care about the almighty buck, and it’s not right” Wawrzynowicz  added.

Daisy Aguilera objected to the zoning petition being approved. “The zoning was put in this Village to protect this Village, but in one false move the zoning was changed.”

“Every gas station in the world brings a bad element … motorcycles … hot rods”.

“This nice, quiet neighborhood … has become the City of Chicago” Aguilera said. “We are losing sight of the Village that once was”.

Anthony Kaldis said he didn’t feel a gas station is the right way to go.

Cindy Tullio has a child with severe lung dysfunction and is concerned the vapors from the gas station will further adversely affect her health.

Bob Mrozek, who used to work at a gas station his father owned, said a gas station “does bring an element that that is undesirable, especially as the nighttime comes”.

“Who lives near the gas station?” Mrozek asked. “Who wants the gas station?”

“Who doesn’t want it?” All hands in the audience went up, and he got a standing ovation.

Unfortunately, what the people want, isn’t something that interests the current crop of Norridge politicians.

The lady said it best: they are only interested in The Almighty Buck.

Recording of the April 24 2019 Village of Norridge Board Meeting (full video – 1 hour 4 minutes)

 


Opponents knock Irving Park Road gas station proposal

The unused Joe Sieb community center

Residents ask Village board to delay vote on 12-pump gas station with 24 hour convenience store due to environmental, noise, traffic concerns

Exron LLC is planning on putting a new gas station on the piece of Village-owned property on Irving Park Road between Ozark and Overhill, in a proposal unveiled at a zoning meeting held April 8th.

The property currently consists of the unused Joe Sieb community center and its parking lot, an undeveloped portion in the middle, and parking across from Edelweiss restaurant.

Exron wants to turn the entire property into a gas station with twelve pumps, and a convenience store open 24 hours. The store will have gambling and may even sell liquor.

The twelve-foot setbacks would be reduced to two and green space would be eliminated under the proposal, raising flooding concerns for a parcel that already has issues with standing water.

Part of the property is undeveloped

Despite the potential environmental impact underground gasoline storage tanks can have, no environmental study was done.

Local residents brought these issues to the zoning hearing on the 8th, but the zoning board failed to take any meaningful action on any of it.

The zoning chairman is required to ask several questions of the zoning board members prior to a vote, including if there is local opposition, or if it will affect local property values.

Incredibly, the zoning board answered “no” to both questions.

The message was clear: this zoning petition is to pass regardless of opposition.

Local residents opposed

In a letter sent to Village President Chmura and the Village trustees, residents asked the Village board to “delay the final vote on April 24” and to “instead hold public community meetings to inform us on the zoning request while also taking the time to listen to the community’s ideas of what to do with the vacant space”.

Edelweiss overflow parking

They are also concerned they will “not be able to complete a review of the information requested before the board meeting on April 24”.

This group of concerned citizens is correct. There is not enough time to do a thorough review of the proposal before the April 24 board meeting.

Even worse, because public comment at Village Board meetings is only allowed after votes are taken, the residents will not be able to speak to the Village board at all before the trustees vote.

Underground storage tank leaks

There have been incidents with gas stations and leaking underground fuel storage tanks in the area.

Harwood Heights has had three stations with leak issues:, the station at Nagle & Naragansett, the station at Foster & Harlem, and a repair shop that no longer sells gasoline at Lawrence & Olcott.

In Norridge, the station at Foster & Cumberland, and in Chicago, the former gas station property at Cumberland & Irving Park Road currently owned by Giuseppe Zerillo.

Norridge currently has five gas stations, and the Norridge Village Board should carefully consider any new gas stations in light of issues with underground storage tanks.

Lack of transparency and democratic process

The zoning board is just an advisory board packed with political appointees. It is the Village Board who has actual say whether or not to concur with the zoning board’s recommendations.

By not allowing residents to speak at the board meeting before the vote is to take place, the Village of Norridge is making a mockery of a proper democratic process.

The Village of Norridge should table this vote until a future board meeting, to give the neighborhood most affected by this development, as well as the greater community as a whole, a chance to consider and weigh in.

Edelweiss restaurant is also a stakeholder as they use the gravel portion of the lot for extra overflow parking.

Not only will it impact the local community, but it will also impact traffic on Irving Park Road.

Even if you’re not opposed to putting this development here, consider the following: if they can put a 12-pump gas station with 24 hour convenience store in this neighborhood (as they put a 24 hour X-Sport in another neighborhood)… they could put anything in your neighborhood.


D-80 board president’s vendetta against candidate escalates

Srbo Radisavljevic is accused of harassment

Srbo Radisavljevic turns himself in to police and is charged with disorderly conduct after harassing District 80 candidate Lou Mezzano by mail

Outgoing District 80 Board Srbo Radisavljevic appears to have finally taken his unhealthy obsession with District 80 candidate Lou Mezzano a bit too far.

Mezzano has been a vocal critic of Radisavljevic’s handling of the D-80 Board of Education… as have many others (including the writers of this blog).

Radisavljevic, in response, appears to have decided to wage an asymmetric campaign against Mezzano.

It started by questioning the quality of Mezzano’s volunteer work for District 80.

Next, it moved into Radisavljevic contesting Mezzano and fellow candidate Molly Dec’s election petitions, resulting in both candidates being thrown off the ballot.

Undeterred, Mezzano and Dec returned as write-in candidates. But, it seems Radisavljevic’s ego demanded he continue grinding his axe against Mezzano.

The “anonymous” package

In February, Mezzano received a package in the mail from an unidentified sender, containing a t-shirt.

The shirt had an old mug shot of Mezzano (from a “reckless conduct” case that was not prosecuted/charges dropped), with the caption “vote for me”.

According to redacted police records, Mezzano filed a complaint with the Norridge Police Department, and a subsequent investigation produced US Postal Service surveillance video footage identifying Radisavljevic as the sender.

Radisavljevic was contacted about the incident by a Norridge detective, and while agreeing initially to meet with the detective, he referred subsequent requests to his attorney. Eventually, the parties agreed on a day and time for Radisavljevic to come to the police station.

At some point Radisavljevic contacted Norridge police chief David Disselhorst about the incident, who referred him back to the detective assigned to the case. It is not clear why Radisavljevic reached out to Disselhorst.

On April 3rd at 9AM, Radisavljevic and his attorney came to the station, where Radisavljevic was read his Miranda rights, and chose to invoke his CONUS 5th amendment right to remain silent.

He was then charged with disorderly conduct, with a court date scheduled for 4PM, May 2nd at the Village Hall.

District 80 board should take action

The next District 80 board meeting is this Tuesday, April 16th at 7PM. Although Radisavljevic is on his way out, the current board has the opportunity to send a message that such conduct is unbecoming an elected official.

Radisavljevic should be removed as Board President. He should have been toppled years ago, however attempts to remove him in 2016 and 2017 failed with only two voting in favor each time.

But now with this criminal incident hanging over him, we don’t see how Radisavljevic can cling to any shred of legitimacy by continuing.

The District 80 board could, at least, censure Radisavljevic for trying to intimidate one of his opponents.

Destruction of recordings

On the April 16th board meeting agenda is a motion to destroy recordings of closed sessions older than a year and a half.

Although the Open Meetings Act allows for such action, there is no valid reason why it needs to be done at this time.

Deleting the recordings now, right before a new board is seated, would give the distinct impression that the outgoing board leadership has something to hide.

The board should remove or censure Radisavljevic, and vote NO to destroy the recordings.

The current District 80 board, by and large, has rubber stamped just about anything Radisavljevic has put in front of them.

The majority has been complicit with some of the worse financial mismanagement of the district occurring in the past decade… and a few have even enabled some of the deeds against Mezzano.

As such, we don’t expect any meaningful action to be taken against the board president by the majority, or that the recordings will be spared… but it would be great to be pleasantly surprised for once.


D-80 board indecisive on new superintendent search direction

Board debates interim superintendent vs potential sharing with other Districts; charity criticizes outgoing superintendent for blocking fundraising

District 80 needs to have a Superintendent in place by July 1, the first day of the new school year, but the ad hoc committee charged with moving forward with the search of a new Superintendent has not yet made a decision on how to proceed.

The committee sent communications to the local districts asking if any of them were willing to share their Superintendents in an interim capacity. District 79 outright refused, and District 234 was willing to have a conversation after the election.

Other options is to ask search firms to look for a new Superintendent, however the lack of time may make it difficult to find a replacement before the deadline.

Norridge Schools Foundation (NSF) VP (and District 80 board candidate) Lou Mezzano, speaking at the board meeting, questioned outgoing Superintendent Paul O’Malley why he had not responded to communications regarding a fundraiser for the school, and why a NSF fundraiser request to be held at the school had been denied.

O’Malley responded that the District 80 board of education’s policy on this matter is fundraisers “should not disrupt the school day”.

NSF President Fiona Tanny and the board discussed the NSF possibly coordinating fundraiser activities with the PTA/PTO to take place during a “fun day”.

The teacher union has requested District 80 hire a dean of students for the 2019-2020 school year, claiming it as a necessity. O’Malley responded that “this board’s philosophy is, and has been very clear … we do not want to add to administrative staff”, asking the board what “it would be willing to give up especially from the student’s side, in order to have a dean”.

Board member Jennifer Paoletti wanted an explanation as why the school needs a dean. Board President Srbo Radisavljevic suggested hiring a dean would require an increase in class sizes (which are already high) due to the school’s financial situation.

Recording of the March 19 2019 D-80 Board Meeting (until closed session, 45 minutes)


District 80 candidate forum 3/20/19

Candidates Frank Tribuzio and Mike Bellafiore gave answers to prepared questions and took ad-hoc questions from the audience

Recording of the March 20 2010 District 80 candidate forum (full video – 55 minutes)


Village Trustee Write in – Adam Chudzik

My name is Adam Chudzik and I am a write in candidate for Norridge Trustee. The retirement of two trustees created vacancies for the Norridge Improvement Party in the April 2nd election, which the NIP quickly filled with two officials from the Norridge Park District. There were two challengers that filed to run for trustee offering the community a choice. That choice was taken away from us when Norridge employee Melissa Poulos objected.

Poulos was represented by the Norridge Improvement Party lawyer at the hearing. The hearing officers were made up of Norridge officials and the hearing was conducted at the Village Hall. Both challengers withdrew rather than to go through the costly expense of appeal. It was then that I decided to file the necessary paperwork with the Cook County Clerk’s office to be eligible to run as a write in candidate, offering the community a choice.

My ideas are simple

I support term limits, no pensions for elected officials, official recording of Open Meetings, and living within our means. I am against spending $15 million for a new police station and oppose bringing red light cameras to our village. I support repealing Norridge’s “Home Rule” authority which gives Norridge officials unlimited power to tax without voter approval.

I notified Norridge residents by mail and on Facebook of being a write in candidate for Norridge Trustee on Saturday, March 16.

A list of all the eligible write in candidates in suburban Cook County can be found on the County Clerk website.

Adam Chudzik


Only three sign up for D-80 candidate forum

District 80 candidate forum

4 of the 7 candidates refuse to attend D-80 PTA/PTO forum

The Leigh PTA and Giles PTO will be hosting a District 80 board of education candidate forum 6:30PM March 20 at Leigh School.

The candidates who have registered their intent to attend are Frank Tribuzio, Frank Stoffel and Mike Bellafiore.

Missing are the candidates making the most “noise” around town right now: Sam Palazzo, Renzo Berardi, Molly Dec and Lou Mezzano.

The four have only been attending their own events including a fundraiser in February, a decision which smacks of partisan politics and outside influence.

Appointee-candidate Frank Stoffel opened partisan hostilities when he accused the then-five candidates of being a Norridge Improvement Party puppet slate… an accusation the four remaining candidates have done little to dispel.

Do Palazzo, Berardi, Dec and Mezzano feel they are too good to attend the non-partisan candidate event on the 20th?

The PTO/PTA forum will go a long way to erasing the outside partisan nonsense that has infected the District 80 board race.

It will also allow the four candidates to make their case to the public about many of the good ideas they have only recently started publishing on their candidate Facebook page.

But if these four candidates aren’t willing to show up to a local candidate forum, as readily as they hang out with Chicago political operatives… then we have to ask: are these four too good to be the right people for District 80?


Chicago politics closing in on Norridge

Unprecedented level of Chicago money and manpower flooding into Norridge races, even non-partisan ones

The Chicago Improvement Party?

How many times have we seen stories in the Chicago media about why “Chicago should annex” Norridge and Harwood Heights, or the suburbs as a whole?

It seems we are now beginning to see a picture of the local foot soldiers who may be working to make that happen.

The star of the show has been David M Feller, Chicago’s 38th Ward Democratic Organization President, and a political operative of Chicago mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle.

Feller has been everywhere in Norridge the past few weeks, and appears to be personally directing the operations of Chicago backed candidates… snapping photos as he goes.

Norridge Village Trustee race

One candidate seemingly with deep roots to Chicago politics, is 25-year-old Norridge Village Trustee candidate Jack Bielak.

Like Feller, Bielak is a Cook County employee, and there are dozens of photos of him hanging around with both Avino and Feller.

It seems Bielak is unable to go anywhere in Norridge without Avino and / or Feller in tow… as if Bielak was their marionette.

Last year, Feller was seen at a Norridge Improvement Party fundraiser.

According to campaign disclosures, the Norridge Improvement Party is taking money from Avino, who in turn is being funded by… Robert F Martwick, the state rep who, as a property tax appeals attorney, profits off high property taxes.

Martwick and Avino seem to make part of the conduit through which Chicago money is surging into Norridge races.

In a Facebook post a few weeks ago, Feller posted what he said were the candidates he and Frank Avino are supporting for Village Trustee: Bielak and Bill Larsen.

Notably absent from the Avino/Feller endorsements is Donald Gelsomino. Last time we looked, Gelsomino is running on the same “Norridge Improvement Party” ticket as Larsen and Bielak.

Perhaps it means Gelsomino’s loyalties aren’t to Chicago, then? There is a reason he wasn’t endorsed.

Not only is the 38th ward eyeing Norridge, a Chicago Democratic operative from the Debra Mell campaign in Chicago’s 33rd ward was one of those who filed an objection against the two candidates opposing the Norridge Improvement Party in April.

Perhaps we need to start calling their political party… the Chicago Improvement Party.

Chicago moves in on fire, school races

Other races where Feller and Avino are involved in is the Norwood Park Fire Department trustee race (where Avino is also a trustee), and our favorite elementary school district: District 80.

Feller and Avino are openly supporting Gina Santoro for fire department trustee.

Santoro even had a fundraiser for her campaign… but if you look at the ballot, she’s running unopposed… which raises the question: who is she really raising money for?

Feller, Avino, and their pal Jack Bielak attended a fundraiser held for the four District 80 candidates Renzo Berardi, Sam Palazzo, Molly Dec and Lou Mezzano.

An image shows Palazzo in a photo with Feller, apparently taken at the Norridge Improvement Party golf fundraiser in 2018.

Somebody with an open mind would give Palazzo the benefit of the doubt that he may not have known who Feller was or what reasons Feller had attending a fundraiser for a “Norridge” political party.

But just yesterday, we had a photo of Avino going door to door with three of the four candidates, including Palazzo… and the 33rd ward Chicago Democratic operative.

The photo included Andrew Cichon, who had his own fundraiser, even though he too is running unopposed for fire trustee.

Cichon’s mother in law owns “the Tavern” talked about in Feller’s FB posts.

If you need to bring in all this Chicago muscle and money, how much local “support” do you actually have?

Local races need local people

Norridge and Harwood Heights both have low turnout due to low voter interest in local elections.

Some of the reasons for this as stated by voters, has been low opinions of candidates running.

No good candidates, or any candidates at all, makes Norridge and Harwood Heights look like it’s ripe for the taking.

It’s too late for 2019, but we strongly encourage you to consider running for one of your local races in 2021: fire trustee, school district, Village trustee.

Because if you don’t, Chicago will surely find a few more local Quislings to put in your place… and their loyalty to the independent Villages currently called “Norridge” and “Harwood Heights”… will be suspect.

Can you say 51st Ward of Chicago?


District 80 Superintendent leaving for “greener” pastures

Paul O’Malley has tendered his resignation from District 80

Departing Paul O’Malley to get nearly $50,000 bump in base salary; ad-hoc committee formed to look for new superintendent

Superintendent Paul O’Malley is leaving District 80 for greener pastures… the kind of green that goes in your wallet, that is.

O’Malley’s new contract shows his $171,000 base salary increasing to $220,000, further rising to nearly $240,000 when you include District 53 paying his portion of the Teacher’s Retirement System contribution.

O’Malley’s is replacing a retiring Superintendent who gave her notice in September of last year. O’Malley, however, has only given District 80 a few months to find a replacement.

Rumors are swirling that current District 80 Assistant Superintendent Stephanie Palmer may be offered the Superintendent position at District 80.

The District appointed an ad-hoc committee consisting of current board members Tim Ludston and Pasquale Biondo plus candidate Sam Palazzo that will head the initial search for a new Superintendent.

Outgoing Board President Srbo Radisavljevic recommended the District think about sharing a superintendent with other school districts such as Ridgewood, Union Ridge, Pennoyer, or Schiller Park District 81.

Last year, a bill to allow Superintendent sharing died in the Illinois Senate.

A parent, Nicole Rusak, asked the board to look into some greater challenges for “overachieving” students, by providing an accelerated program; these statements were also echoed by Fiona Tanny.

Tanny asked the board to take seriously her petition, signed by hundreds of people including the D-80 teacher’s union, that has urged the board not to hire a new superintendent until after the election.

Recording of the February 19 2019 D-80 Board Meeting (until closed session, 32 minutes)


Mezzano, Dec re-emerge as write-in District 80 candidates

Having been thrown off the ballot due to flaws in their petition papers, Molly Dec and Lou Mezzano announce a write-in campaign for District 80 school board

Apologizing for the issues which caused their petitions to be thrown out, a statement on their campaign page read, “Molly Dec and I will not be deterred and will continue our efforts to be your voice at Norridge District 80″.

Candidate Sam Palazzo was not challenged and remains on the ballot for a 4 year term. Kevin Moore withdrew according to withdrawal paperwork posted by Norridge News.

Palazzo, Dec and Mezzano face opponents Frank Tribuzio and Mike Bellafiore who are on the ballot.

For the 2-year unexpired term, Renzo Berardi faces incumbent Frank Stoffel, who despite pulling his Facebook pages down, has not withdrawn as of this writing according to the Cook County candidate filing page.

With four seats open for 4-year terms, because of the removal/withdrawal of the three candidates, at least one of the write-ins will win by default.

Other candidates have expressed interest as write-ins, and the deadline to submit a Declaration of Intent to be a Write-in form is tomorrow, January 31st by 5PM.


Local residents criticize Village church property purchase

Church property purchase agreement signed; Village warns of coming increase in nighttime jet noise

The Village moved forward on a 3-1 vote to formally purchase the Divine Savior property for nearly $1.5 million. Two trustees were absent.

Local resident Mary Willard expressed dismay about the lack of transparency or discussion about the property purchase.

Willard asked Chmura “I want to know what you are going to put there”.

So do we, Mary. But we’re not going to get many answers out of a mayor who is not in the least bit interested in transparency.

Trustee Daniel Tannhauser stated that there would be public meetings held in his committee for the build out.

Willard however, brought up the fact that there were no public meetings held to purchase the property. Tannhauser agreed. She doubted any of their concerns would be heard.

Chmura answered: “We’ll listen. We always listen”.

James Chmura listens… to his campaign contributors and supporters. Everybody else? Not so much.

Chmura argued it was a low risk investment for the Village to purchase this piece of property, as they could turn around and sell it for twice the selling price.

In theory he’s correct, but that strategy so far is not working out for the show property they’re trying to sell.

Chmura went on to say that he forsaw the “need” for a senior center and preschool that he wanted to see built on this property.

The Village already has a senior center – the Sieb center. A preschool? Norridge already has one of those too. Who’s going to pay for a new one?

Chmura again reiterated that he will listen: “You’ll have your say so. I guarantee it.” Chmura said.

Sounds like a whole bunch of of pretexts are coming for more tax increases, folks. But at least Chmura will “listen” to you before he brings the gavel down on your wallet.

The Chicago Tribune wrote an article about this portion of the Village meeting.

Other highlights

O’Hare will be changing the nighttime flight rotation due to construction taking place at the airport, and we should expect more noise as a result.

Village Engineer Brian Gaseor stated the FAA requires the airport to conduct an environmental impact study and the Village has received a copy of the executive summary report of it.

“I am interpreting [the FAA report showing] the Village may get some more noise over here”, Gaseor said.

The FAA will have four public hearings starting in February. “It will explain the new nightime [runway] rotation and how it will affect the environment, noise, and air pollution”, said Gaseor.

Chmura encouraged residents to attend these meetings to object to the new configuration. “It’s important that you go [to the meetings] … after the meetings, and the planes are coming over your roof, it’s too late. They’ve got to hear your voice”, Chmura said.

“Brian and I go to a lot of the meetings, we bitch, we argue… we don’t get anywhere”.

“We agreed to share the noise [with other communities] … now with what they’re doing to us, we’re going to get more of it, we think”.

Chmura added: “My point is, speak [at the meetings]… if you don’t speak, I don’t want to hear it later”.

Recording of the January 23 2019 Village of Norridge Board Meeting (full video – 32 minutes)


District 80 hopeful condemns contract renewals

District 80 board candidate Sam Palazzo asks for no long term contracts be signed; Board renews them anyway

On the agenda for the January 15 2018 board of education meeting was a 3-year contract renewal for District 80’s two expensive principals: Michelle Guzik and Stephanie Palmer.

As of the current fiscal year, Guzik was making nearly $120,000 and Palmer $142,000, both in base salaries not including benefits.

In comparison, the principals of Union Ridge and Pennoyer schools received nearly $109,000, and $100,000 in base salary, respectively.

Prior to the vote, D-80 board candidate Sam Palazzo addressed both the board and the audience in a statement, saying “there should be no multi year contracts negotiated or agreed upon” including “administrative, teacher, consultant, and vendors” until after the election, where as many as five seats could change.

The new board should not be placed in situations where it can be controlled by its current board, with regards to the multi-year contracts, and should delay any such contract renewals until after election, Palazzo argued.

Of course, the majority on the board didn’t see things that way. They plowed ahead and passed both renewals on a majority vote, with Jennifer Paoletti the only dissenter .

Paoletti, who is not running for re-election, echoed Palazzo’s arguments that the contracts not be approved now.

Tim Ludston stated that the contract renewals can’t wait and that multi-year renewals are “normal business”.

Paoletti said “with five seats up [for election], and the fact that neither one of these contracts are going to expire before the new board is seated and has the opportunity to review them and then they get to vote on it, they meaning the people this community is electing … I think we’re tying their hands”.

Board member Warner DeJulio, who is also not running again, mused “Does anybody on the board think the motive for the contract is to lock the two principals and to block out the next board?”

Well, obviously you don’t Mr DeJulio, but for the people outside of your small bubble, the answer to that question, is yes.

Should we expect another renewal for Superintendent Paul O’Malley before the election? What “explanations” will DeJulio and Ludston come up for that one?

Other highlights

An elevator lift at Leigh is not functioning and its stated repair will cost $25,000. However, the board does not seem willing to bid out the repairs as it is claimed the lift is proprietary.

A recent elevator inspection concluded that the elevator issue had to be addressed because the upper floor is used by the day care, although Superintendent O’Malley stated that he had only seen the lift used to move furniture and not people.

The District also has other lifts that will need maintenance at some point in the future.

Notable board members absent from the meeting are incumbents running for re-election Mike Bellafiore and Frank Stoffel.

Stoffel has seen much controversy, including the surfacing of his indecent behavior on social media.

Last week, Stoffel’s personal and campaign Facebook pages appeared to have been taken down, and it is unclear whether or not he remains a candidate in the race.

Recording of the January 15 2019 D-80 Board Meeting (until closed session, 26  minutes)


D-80 board president files to get opponents thrown off ballot

Spiteful Srbo Radisavljevic wants to take out candidates Lou Mezzano and Molly Dec before campaigning even begins

Even though Board President Srbo Radisavljevic is not on the ballot, he’s doing his best to give his preferred candidates a leg up to oppose the assent of reform candidates… after all, his “legacy” is at stake.

To that end Radisavljevic has filed objection papers against Mezzano and Dec on three points.

The two cases, SD08 and SD09, have appeared on the docket of the Cook County Electoral Board Case list website. No scheduled hearings have been posted as of this writing.

This is a developing story.


D-80 board member’s bigoted views resurface after tirade against rivals

Frank Stoffel’s prejudicial comments comes back to haunt him after his drive-by attack on rivals

Frank Stoffel has revealed his prejudicial views on social media

Last weekend, current District 80 board of education member Frank Stoffel (and now candidate) unleashed an attack on the five members opposing him and fellow board member Michael Bellafiore.

In the post, Stoffel accused Mayor James Chmura and his Norridge Improvement Party of funding and aiding candidates Lou Mezzano, Sam Palazzo, Molly Dec, Renzo Berardi, and Kevin Moore.

Stoffel further stated that it was an attempted takeover of the board by Chmura to “gain control over more jobs and contracts” for repairs required at District 80’s two buildings.

Of course Stoffel didn’t provide any evidence to support his rant. Not surprising.

The authors of this blog are vocal Chmura and Norridge Improvement Party critics. But that does not make us partisan or loyal to another political party. Our only loyalty, now and the future, is to the truth.

Of “the Five” running for District 80’s school board, the only one with Norridge Improvement Party ties is Molly Dec.

However, school boards are nonpartisan, and she is not running as NIP, or any other party. It certainly isn’t in of itself a legitimate reason to oppose Dec’s candidacy.

Maybe Stoffel was trying to link the two from a photo Lou Mezzano posted that day, after he modified the drinking fountains at District 80 for America for Disabilities Act compliance.

It seems a puerile attempt by Stoffel to inject politics into a board of education. It’s also a tactic repeatedly employed by Board President Srbo Radisavljevic – perhaps not coincidentally.

But then again, if you have no real support in the community, and are only being backed by the status quo, dismal failure elements of the board, then you may have to fabricate a scenario that makes you look like a player.

Nothing screams desperation more than this long winded rant.

Stoffel’s prejudicial views

Unfortunately for Stoffel though, some of his past controversial comments on social media have made a timely reappearance.

They seem to reflect his deeply held prejudicial views, which we’re calling Frank “Big-IT” Stoffel’s Greatest Hits.

Frank Stoffel was appointed by the Radisavljevic-led board in December 2017 to replace Adam McGready.

In a short time however, Stoffel has made his prejudicial views on several subjects known on social media. Here’s but a few.

On one occasion, he got into a long winded conversation with a local teacher, calling him a “liberal cunt who lives in a bubble” and telling the same teacher “if everything could be learned from YouTube we wouldn’t need to hire losers like you to teach”.

On another occasion, he accused a gay teacher of “pushing a personal or political agenda on our youth”.

Stoffel suggested seniors were responsible for the condition of the school buildings.

During a conversation about Village water rates, he said those unhappy with water rates should “collect rain water, pump from the well in the Schiller Woods, and use an outhouse”.

A subsequent query to Frank Stoffel’s employer, the Schiller Park Police Department, claimed no discipline was imposed against Stoffel for these comments. However, if he received a verbal reprimand, it may not be an official record.

We do not presume to think we can understand what police officers have to deal with on a daily basis. There is no doubt they take more abuse, both physical and verbal, every day than any of us.

But in no way does this give Mr Stoffel cart blanche to treat folks with such disrespect.

Better choices

This appointee wants us to elect him in his own right to the school board? Could any of us meet his exacting “standards”?

Frank Stoffel does not impress as a board member. His record is pretty typical for District 80, rubber stamping the major decisions without any real dissent.

And based on his disturbing and ridiculous comments on social media, Stoffel does not have the temperament to be a District 80 board member. There are certainly better choices than him.

It will be interesting to see what further insights this foul-mouthed buffoon comes up with to justify his continued presence on the District 80 board. We’ll certainly be watching.

Frank Stoffel may have thought his drive-by attack on the five was a smart move to try and hurt his opponents early.

But Stoffel may want to pause for a moment and check his fire, because ricochets can be a problem, and may just come back to hurt him, instead.