Yearly Archives: 2015

Dec 9 2015 Norridge Village Board meetings (VIDEO)

Recording of the Village of Norridge Village Board Committee and Regular Board meetings on Dec 9 2015.
Documents – Agenda
Author’s comments:

A spokesman for the 4800 N Crescent formally asked the Village board to reverse its passage earlier in the year of an ordinance banning parking on Crescent during the winter months. Crescent residents had previously objected to the changes at the October board meeting. They asked instead for lesser restrictions such as no parking when 3 inches or more of snow, and to move no parking any time further down the block.

The Village of Norridge passed a 2016 tax levy of $1,075,000, or $31,000 higher than this year’s $1,044,00.

Riccardo Mora spoke about Norridge School District 80 raising its tax levy, and how District 80’s reserve fund of nearly $10 million in 2011 is now less than $5 million in 2015, indicating they are spending far beyond their means. He produced a flyer with the figures. He says he understood the Village of Norridge isn’t responsible for District 80, but they should speak out against unbalanced spending.

Mora also expressed disapproval of the Village of Norridge raising its tax levy in 2016. Chmura responded that the increase was “only” $30,000, Mora said it should have gone down at least that much, for reasons he previously stated. He would rather have an increase in the gasoline tax, as it seems gas stations in Norridge are price gouging.

(Norridge had a revenue surplus this year, and the police pension fund has been doing very well recently, so we also have to ask why has the leyy gone up and not down?)

Norridge police playing politics, poor enforcement

"Look at the salary boosts I am going to give you, if you endorse me!"

“Look at the salary boosts I am going to give you, if you endorse me!”

Why has the Norridge police department been involving itself in Norridge’s politics?

We have heard for years how Norridge police officers have been quietly campaigning for candidates of James Chmura’s Norridge Improvement Party politicians.

Some of this political activity is in plain sight – Norridge PD top officers have publicly endorsed candidates of Chmura’s party (see pictures on the right), and are even making campaign contributions to Chmura’s NIP itself.

During the 2013 local elections, outgoing Police Chief James Jobe (who doesn’t even live in Norridge) and Deputy Chief David Disselhorst, appeared in a campaign ad for now-mayor James Chmura, a blatant endorsement of Chmura by the Norridge Police Department.

Jobe appeared in another campaign ad with the entire Norridge Improvement Party slate, including Chmura, incumbent trustees Kucharski and Gregorio, and newcomer Daniel Tannhauser.

In 2015, Jobe did the same thing, appearing in campaign literature for the Norridge Improvement Party candidates running for re-election.

Chief Jobe doesn't hesitate to involve the Norridge PD in politics

Chief Jobe doesn’t hesitate to involve the Norridge PD in politics

Jobe made a contribution to Chmura’s Norridge Improvement Party (NIP) campaign fund. This year, Deputy Police Chief David Disselhorst made a contribution. And of course, with Jobe’s retirement, he’s now acting Police Chief. Money well spent, eh?

Both are clearly a conflict of interest – the Norridge Police Department shouldn’t be endorsing candidates. Nor should they be giving campaign money to people who vote on their salaries!

Lack of traffic enforcement

A car blows a stop sign, barely slowing down when making a right turn on a four way stop intersection.

A few seconds later, a Norridge Police car speeds up behind the driver and pulls him over. Shortly after, a second Norridge Police car arrives behind the first.

A conversation takes place between the driver and the first officer. The following is overheard:

“You blew two stop signs”, the first officer says.

“I was going to the X-Sport. Sorry.”, the driver replies.

The conversation above took place on Cullom Ave near the X-Sport entrance, between a Norridge police officer, and a Chicago driver pulled over for disobeying stop signs.

The officers let the driver go without a citation, even after clearly reprimanding the driver for blowing two stop signs, because the driver said the magic word – X-Sport. As in Harlem Irving Plaza. $$$ for Mayor James Chmura to feed his wasteful spending, as well as the officer’s huge pension.

The above is a regular occurrence to residents around the Harlem Irving Plaza with regards to traffic enforcement, or rather, a lack of traffic enforcement by the Norridge PD.

Going to the HIP seems to be a “get out of tickets free” card.

Even the HIP security’s own vehicles regularly blow stop signs, speed far in excess of the 20MPH residential speed limit, drive the wrong way down a one-way street, and park illegally in restricted parking areas.

During the Christmas shopping season for the past 2 years, Norridge police officers have been observed on Cullom near the X-Sport. However, their presence appeared merely to be to more quickly catch shoplifters than any benefit to the residents.

Norridge cops have been observed going out of their way to give breaks to mall shoppers parking illegally, telling them how to get out of their tickets. This contradictory behavior seems to be an attempt to appear to the residents that the NPD is “doing something”, while not, well, actually doing something.

The Village spends thousands directing traffic for HIP shoppers, at taxpayer expense. This cost taxpayers over $58,000 through 2013.

Although the Norridge PD does traffic services for other companies (such as Cumberland Chapels), these businesses reimburse the Village for costs. Not so with the HIP.

As Chmura’s NIP has received thousands of dollars from the Harlem Irving Plaza, it’s not hard to connect the dots here.

Confidential sources within the Village have confirmed that, in fact, the HIP’s money has played a role in the lack of enforcement around the mall.

Any now they want a new $12 million dollar state of the art police building?

Cops should enforce laws, not politics

The Norridge PD should be enforcing the law, and stay the hell out of Norridge politics.

Today was Jobe’s last day as Police Chief. Disselhorst becomes Acting Chief tomorrow. Sadly, with Disselhorst’s hands already in the cookie jar, the changing of the guard won’t amount to much at the present time.

Disselhorst and the Norridge Police Department would do well to remember that their credibility is at stake here – if they even have any credibility remaining.

Nov 11 2015 Norridge Village Board meetings (VIDEO)

Recording of the Village of Norridge Village Board Committee and Regular Board meetings on Nov 11 2015.
Documents – Agenda and Packet
Author’s comments:

The Village honored Police Chief James Jobe for 34 years of service, who is retiring at the end of the month.
(He is moving to Florida with his six figure pension-for-life, paid for by Norridge taxpayers).

Deputy Chief Disselhorst was made Acting Police Chief effective December 1st.

The Village urged the State to release motor fuel taxes which have not been paid as a result of the budget impasse.

Norridge police to hire four more full time union cops

The Norridge police department will be hiring four more full time union cops, according to the latest police union contract.

Of course, the James Chmura regime refused to inform the public of this information. They withheld publishing any documents like the union contract linked above.

In neighboring Park Ridge, they actually discuss police contract details in an open meeting. Imagine that, discussing something during an “Open Meeting”. You know, things like how much the latest union demands are going to cost the people of Norridge.

Norridge police costs surging

Let’s talk about how much money four full time union police officers are going to cost us, by breaking down the cost of a single Norridge union cop.

We have 25 full-time rank-and-file union police officers, not including the leaders (Corporals, Sergeants, Commanders) or detectives.
8 of those 25 police officers take home $100,000 or more.
The average police officer in Norridge takes home $97,500 per year in cash from base salary, buybacks and overtime.
When you include all the costs such as taxes, medical premiums on high end family health care plans as high as $27,000, etc, the average cost to employ one police officer in Norridge is $117,500.

Just in wages and benefits for these 4 new union cops, that’s $470,000 more every year.

More union cops mean more pension costs

And that nearly half million for 4 new union cops doesn’t include the $1.2 million dollars taxpayers are directly paying into the police union pension fund, via property taxes. This pension, which is only 61% funded, is going to result in even higher property taxes if you add more people to it.

On top of that, in 2016 a state law kicks in which will force villages to fund the pensions to 90% by 2040, or the money will be deducted from the State’s reimbursements. How much will our property taxes be increasing next year for police pensions alone?

Where is the money going to come from?

Just where is Chmura going to get the money to pay for these new cops? Sales tax revenue is flat. Money from the State is down due to the budget crisis. Borrowing money through municipal bonds cost much more in Illinois now.

Let’s not forget Chmura had the arrogance to announce he wants to build a brand new, state-of-the-art, $12 million dollar police station. Where is he going to get the money for that? His fantasy of a State grant, is dead on arrival.

More importantly, why do we need four more cops?

We know the expanding cancer known as the Harlem Irving Plaza is bringing more riffraff to Norridge. But why should we pay for this?

We need a pay freeze NOW

We don’t need more cops. We don’t need more big raises. We need a pay freeze, for ALL Village employees – right now. Yes, that means you too union employees, you’re not special. Norridge public employee salaries have significantly outpaced inflation, and they should stay frozen until inflation catches up.

The police union sure has taken Norridge’s taxpayer to the cleaners for years. During the heart of the recession in 2008-2009, they demanded (and received) 4.0% to 4.5% raises yearly. While everybody else was struggling with no raises, or reduced hours, or even losing their jobs, our rubber-stamp Village Board capitulated to the unreasonable demands of this greedy union.

Illinois’ budget crisis, as mentioned above, means less money going into Norridge’s coffers. We need to tighten budgets and drive out wasteful and / or unnecessary spending.

Hiring four more uber-expensive union cops, and building a $12 million dollar police station, are expenses the people of Norridge don’t need, and cannot afford.

Oct 14 2015 Norridge Village Board meetings (VIDEO)

Recording of the Village of Norridge Village Board Committee and Regular Board meetings on Oct 14 2015.
Documents – Agenda and Packet
Author’s comments:

Trustee Dominic Sulimowski was again absent, having also missed the September 23rd meeting. (Will he be paying back taxpayers for his non attendance? Of course not…)

Apartment tenants on Lawrence are parking on Crescent

Apartment tenants on Lawrence are parking on Crescent

(The first part of the meeting was spent “honoring” Norridge Improvement Party Village employees as “survivors of breast cancer”. Most Village employees and their families clogged the seats. This continuing abuse of Village resources to promote Party members must be noted, not the first time this year. It also got in the way of more important business from the residents of Norridge – see below – and unnecessarily extended the meeting.)

On the Agenda was an item to hire a new full time union cop, but Trustee Kurcharski decided to “send it to committee” at the last minute, which was approved by the usual rubber stamp quorum. (Money crunches perhaps?)

Residents of the 4800 block of Crescent objected to the recent changes making this block no parking during winter months on one side of the street. One of the issues with this, residents said, was tenants of the apartment/condo complex on the south side of Lawrence, walking across Lawrence to park in front of their houses (see illustration on the right). These tenants are not residents of the 4800 block of Crescent and it will be very difficult for residents and their guests who actually live there to park during the winter months. They requested parking by permit only restrictions on their block and may petition for said restrictions.

A woman on the 7600 block of Montrose asked that a snow fence be installed to prevent snow drifting in her property from an adjacent lot. She produced photographs showing huge mounds of snow 2-3 feet high. Chmura asked Village Engineer/Building Commissioner Brian Gaseor to investigate the matter.