Yearly Archives: 2020


Norridge mayor: call police on opposition circulators

Daniel Tannhauser, in robocall, suggests calling 911 for petition circulators

It’s official – the Norridge Improvement Party has finished circulating their petitions.

That’s according to a robocall sent by appointee-Village President Daniel Tannhauser on September 21, who claimed the NIP circulators collected “thousands” of signatures.

But in the declaration of their joyous event embeds another, more ominous message: “Be cautious when opening your door to strangers… if you are ever in doubt and feel unsafe, please lock your door, and call 911”.

Translation: don’t you dare sign opposition candidate petitions.

Sounds as though Daniel Tannhauser feels his election effort’s success is in doubt.

Different rules

Daniel Tannhauser doesn’t like opposition circulators

The Norridge Improvement Party, as an established party, was allowed to start collecting signatures in late August. Independent candidates had to wait until September 22 to circulate – a full month later.

The timing of the robocall, just hours before independents can circulate their petitions for office, was not a coincidence.

Sounds like voter intimidation to me.

It’s unclear whether or not the robocall was sent using the Village of Norridge’s resources, or that of the Norridge Improvement Party.

However, Tannhauser did identify himself as the “Village President” in the robocall, which implies the robocall to be an “official” Village alert.

The call came from the same number as a similar robocall in August, where Tannhauser announced the start of the NIP’s petition circulation drive.

A few weeks back, the NIP sent out a mailing telling us about how they were responsible for (try not to laugh) “safe streets, spectacular services, and the low taxes”.

If the Norridge Improvement Party does in fact have all this support, with thousands of people signing their petitions… why is it they need to resort to intimidation tactics?

We can’t forget less than four years ago when the NIP went out of their way to intimidate homeowners with opposition signs on their lawns.

I’m told Daniel Tannhauser and Debbie Budnik were among those asking the signs be taken down in 2017.

I’m also hearing Village “code inspectors” have been harassing opponents of Tannhauser.

These actions betray a new sense of desperation I have not seen from in the past from the NIP and / or their Chicago 38th Ward and Democratic Organization backers.

It may be the result of voter feedback indicating the majority are looking for new leadership.

Regardless, I can tell you that we – that is, those of us running for office – aren’t exactly impressed with Tannhauser’s puerile attempts at intimidation.

For the purposes of full disclosure, I, too, am running as an independent candidate for the Norridge Village board, and am currently circulating Village Trustee petitions for myself and two other independent candidates.

Tom Benigno is also circulating petitions for his independent Village President run.

I think this sort of behavior from the current rulers shows just how much we need new leadership at 4000 N Olcott.

Adam Chudzik, Norridge


Benigno picks up support from Republicans, grassroots

Tom Benigno secures key support for his 2021 candidacy

Benigno, in his early campaign rallies, has focused on addressing day to day issues and concerns brought up by members of the community.

He has called for greater transparency in Norridge government, and a more inclusive, positive attitude from Village officials.

(By comparison, the Norridge “Improvement” Party administration, is about as “transparent” as a brick wall, and as “friendly” as a hostile porcupine.)

He has mentioned Norridge’s growing rat infestation, which has repeatedly been dismissed and swept under the rug by the NIP government – they just don’t want to deal with it.

Benigno talks about streamlining government, making it more efficient, and of not constantly running to taxpayers for more money – great concepts, that are not being employed by the current regime.

(Earlier this year, I called for a restructuring of Village government and its spending priorities.)

More support for our local schools, including from private sector and foundation donations… who can disagree with that? Especially the younger demographics who have been moving into Norridge.

(I have long called for the consolidation of local school districts).

Benigno has also discussed the need for better businesses coming to Norridge… fewer gas stations, tobacco shops, and Go Bananas-type stores.

These all sound like good government policies in general, which should appeal to the whole political spectrum and non-political types alike.

Republican support

But wait a minute, this can’t be happening – the Norridge Improvement Party kept telling us Benigno was “Mike Madigan’s man in Norridge” when he ran the previous two times, and how Madigan and Benigno would “annex Norridge into Chicago”.

Strange then, how Madigan’s Democratic Organization is supporting Tannhauser, not Benigno, for Village president?

Benigno has been able to pick up notable support from the right and centrist political action groups operating in Norridge.

In contrast to the NIP government’s defunding of the Norridge police, Benigno has indicated support for our cops, a position which is resonating with a local, grassroots Republican group.

Benigno has picked up bipartisan and grassroots backing

Matt Podgorski, chairman of the Northwest GOP Club, spoke in favor of Benigno’s candidacy at Benigno’s August 15 campaign rally.

Benigno, in turn, addressed members of the Northwest GOP at their meeting in late August, where Podgorski reiterated Republican support for Benigno.

The Northwest GOP group consists of Podgorski, and includes Norwood Park Township Republican Committeeman (and IL Senate candidate) Anthony Beckman, IL House District 19 candidate Jeff Muehlfelder, and Chicago 41st Ward Republican Committeewoman Ammie Kessem (who was the GOP IL House 19 candidate in 2018).

Tannhauser’s supporters have been (somewhat hilariously) trying to convince people of the NIP’s “Republican” support, despite Tannhauser and the other candidates’ obvious strong liberal Democratic credentials. I’m not buying it, and neither should you.

Grassroots support

Citizens in Action for Better Government, a grassroots group operating in Norridge and the surrounding area, is also backing Benigno in 2021.

Citizens in Action supported what I consider were center-right Democrats in the 2020 Democratic Party, including Chicago’s Danny O’Toole for 10th Senate district, and Norridge’s Heather Boyle for county water reclamation.

O’Toole performed well against the Madigan-supported Martwick, garnering over 45% of the vote to Martwick’s 54%.

Boyle earned over 216,000 votes in her county-wide election – VERY impressive by any measure, and something she (and Norridge) should be proud of.

On top of that, some Norridge-local grassroots groups, and influential individuals, both of which provided decisive support to the Norridge Improvement Party in 2017, will not be propping up the NIP in 2021.

These people are not really interested in partisan issues, but the every day challenges the people of Norridge face, like taxes, disintegrating infrastructure, schools, and safe neighborhoods.

It seems to me Tom Benigno may be much closer to where the average Norridge resident actually is on the important issues, than Daniel Tannhauser, Frank Avino, and the other Norridge Improvement Party candidates are.

There’s hope yet for good, representative local government coming to Norridge.

Adam Chudzik, Norridge


Norridge Improvement Party slate shows sharp turn to the left

NIP 2021 candidates have liberal Democrats leading the charge

The Norridge Improvement Party has been able portray itself as Republican or conservative for most of its existence, as a bulwark against a Chicago liberal Democratic takeover of Norridge government.

Longtime Norridge Village President Joe Sieb famously rejected attempts by Chicago’s Richard J Daley to annex Norridge into Chicago.

I am old enough to remember Joe Sieb. My grandparents, who moved here in 1965, loved Sieb and his determination to keep Norridge safe, with a low cost of living… and free of Chicago domination. Joe was the mayor for three generations of my family.

Democratic Organization’s Avino and Feller, with their already appointed candidate Tannhauser

Sieb started the “Norridge Improvement Party”, but today, it’s nothing like Joe Sieb’s party. Yet, the current leaders and members of that party have the audacity to claim themselves as “the legacy of Joe Sieb”.

Fast forward to 2020, and the Party itself has been taken over from the inside – by those very liberal Chicago-aligned Democrats they claimed to oppose. What happened?

In 2019, the first openly liberal Democrats Jack Bielak and Bill Larson landed on the Village board, after they had their opponents thrown off the ballot. I registered as a write-in candidate to give voters an independent, conservative option, much more in line with the views and values of Joe Sieb’s Norridge.

Larson and Bielak were supported by the liberal Robert Martwick. They were strongly supported by the Democratic Organization’s Chicago 38th Ward chapter, a liberal political action group.

They were in addition supported by the Norwood Park Democratic Organization, nominally headed by liberal Frank Avino, who is also the Norwood Park Township Democratic Committeeman.

Now for 2021, the Norridge Improvement Party has announced its candidates will include current Village President appointee Daniel Tannhauser at the top of the ticket, a liberal Democrat and strong Martwick supporter.

Tannhauser’s mansion was practically covered in Martwick signs during the 2020 Democratic Primary election against Danny O’Toole.

NPT Democratic Organization’s Frank Avino himself is running for Norridge village trustee.

From what I and others have observed, however, the reality is the Norwood Park Township chapter is all but run by Martwick and the 38th ward chapter’s president David Feller.

Madigan’s Democratic Organization is supporting the Norridge Improvement Party candidates

Avino looks and acts like a Martwick and Feller puppet. Martwick is closely aligned to Mike Madigan and tax-happy liberal Democrat IL governor JB Pritzker.

For those not aware: the Democratic Organization is Madigan’s political group. And Feller, by all accounts, is running the Norridge Improvement Party campaign.

That’s quite a transformation of the NIP in just two years, from a not-quite-conservative-but-not-quite-liberal party, to a Madigan/Marwick-aligned liberal political action group.

It will be interesting to see just how Tannhauser, Avino, and their political machines will attempt to convince less-informed voters with their “conservative” mask, in front of their liberal faces.

Will Norridge survive takeover by the left?

If Tannhauser and Avino are elected to the Village board in 2021, liberal Democrats will have complete control of the Village of Norridge government.

We’ll become a satellite of Chicago’s 38th ward in policy… if not name.

Will you be able afford to live in Norridge with a liberal left government firmly in place? Maybe it’s time to support some real conservatives for Norridge government.

Otherwise, if you think your taxes are high now, with crime on the rise, just wait until Martwick, through Tannhauser, Avino, and their liberal friends Bielak and Larson (already on the board), consolidate their takeover.

Adam Chudzik, Norridge

 


Village Board passes Norridge face covering requirement

Individual violators face fines between $25 to $750, business owners criminal penalties

The Village of Norridge board of trustees, at the August 26th board meeting, unanimously passed an ordinance requiring all persons inside Norridge to wear a face covering, with some exceptions.

Norridge now requires face coverings

Residents must wear a mask when:

  • Visiting a store or health care provider
  • Picking up food at a drive-through
  • Using public transportation, such as a bus, taxi, or ride-sharing services
  • Public-facing employees of businesses and churches when interacting with customers and coworkers

Residents must also wear a covering outside “while other people are present”.

Exceptions include:

  • Children under 2, and adults with qualifying medical conditions
  • Walking or running while maintaining at least 6 feet of distance
  • When eating or drinking, inside or outside
  • Alone or with members of the same household

Violators may be fined from $25 to $750. Businesses face a Class A misdemeanor criminal penalty and up to $2,500 fine.


Norridge village president hopeful slams cuts to police budget

Tom Benigno wants to restore police cuts made by Tannhauser, improve crumbling Village infrastructure

Benigno points to pictures of Norridge’s crumbling infrastructure

Norridge Village President hopeful Tom Benigno held his first campaign rally at his Irving Park Road office.

Due to COVID-19, the Benigno campaign limited the number of people inside the office at one time, and live streamed the event on its Facebook page.

Benigno came out swinging against Norridge’s appointed Village President Daniel Tannhauser, criticizing Tannhauser’s 2020-2021 budget, which significantly cut the Norridge police budget.

“Did you know that the new Norridge budget for 2021 cut $600,000 off the Norridge police department? $600,000.” Benigno said.

“All 20 of the auxiliary police have been cut.”

Benigno stated Norridge had more police on the street in 2013 than currently.

“Does that make you feel safe at night? No. That’s insane! Especially in these troubled times we live in”.

“Norridge is not in a bubble”, Benigno continued. He cited examples of increasing crime, including the robbery of a Walgreens, a Citgo gas station, numerous home break ins, and a fatal stabbing on Lawrence.

“Last Sunday, a 9 year old boy was attacked 2 blocks from the police station. That could have been your child, that could have been my child, in that situation”.

“Cut the police department? Does that make the neighborhood safer? I don’t think so”.

Benigno also broached the subject of consolidating police departments with other area departments, a discussion long sought by fiscal conservatives in Norridge.

“We should [look at] combining our resources with neighboring Villages, to have more police on the street”.

Land purchases, local schools, infrastructure, and government attitudes

Benigno made mention of the multiple land purchases the Village has made the past few years, including some being sold at a loss, such as the Village-owned piece of the show property, now known as the “Norridge Marketplace“.

Benigno also took issue with the current administration’s hands-off approach to the issues faced by local schools.

He said the same issues exist today at the schools as when he first ran for office eight years ago, including money shortages, and maintenance problems.

“I know there are school boards in place, and the school boards are doing the best they can with the limited resources they have”, Benigno said.

“[The Norridge Improvement Party] administration … washed their hands of the school boards, telling them ‘you have a school board, the schools are your problem'”.

“But the last time I looked, the schools are in Norridge!”

Benigno suggested putting together a working group with Village residents and the school boards to raise funds for local schools from education grants, and private sector foundation money.

“You can’t always run to taxpayers to foot the bill. It’s not right”.

On Norridge’s infrastructure, he showed several photos of broken curbs and sidewalks, including a big hole in front of Leigh school.

“You see that hole? That was there all summer, and kids play around there.”

Benigno said infrastructure in general within Norridge has not been maintained.

“Go anywhere you want in the Village and you will see curbs and sidewalks that need work”, Benigno said.

“Some of the alleys don’t even have sewers in them.  And they flood”.

Finally, Benigno addressed the current atmosphere at the Norridge Village hall, and the “outsider” attitude from Village officials to community involvement from those who are not supporters of the Norridge Improvement Party.

“That’s the way they want you to feel… if you’re not part of that chosen few, they don’t want to know you.”

“Neighbors, this is our neighborhood … We should be here working together to benefit Norridge. Not to benefit the ‘chosen few’.”

Bengino emphasized positive changes coming if he is elected Village President, including community meetings “for all of Norridge”.

“I will have an open and transparent administration. And I won’t forget that I work for you, and not the other way around”.

Benigno said when he moved to Norridge 25 years ago, his “dream came true”. Norridge had “great community spirit” that no longer exists.

“When you elect me Village President, I will make that dream I had a reality again for all of us”.