Monthly Archives: March 2019

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?