Robert Martwick-a Norridge disgrace we can’t afford

Martwick always votes YES for higher taxes and more state spending

Robert Martwick wants to be your state Senator. Your elected senator that is, since he’s already been appointed to the position without our consent, by people we didn’t elect.

Martwick has been nicknamed “Silver Spoon Rob” by some, but maybe we should call him Pinocchio Rob, instead.

Martwick is hoping you’ll grant legitimacy to his appointment by assenting – or better yet, not bothering to vote, making him win by default, on the back of his Chicago 38th Ward Democratic machine.

Martwick is closely aligned with the runaway tax-and-spend policies of his political patrons – IL Democratic governor JB Pritzker, and longtime House speaker Mike Madigan.

Like Madigan, Martwick is a property tax appeals attorney, working for his father’s firm Finkel, Martwick & Colson PC.

This arrangement has allowed Martwick to profit off of the state’s high property taxes – while he continually votes for policies causing those very taxes to rise.

He also works as a political “consultant”… where he “forgot” to report the income on his conflict of interest campaign finance disclosure.

He has been a strong supporter of the “fair” tax championed by the multi-billionaire Pritzker, that would change Illinois’ flat property tax into a “progressive” income tax.

Far from making this a “far” tax, it will drive more small businesses out of the state – precisely what we don’t need. (Small businesses are more often than not filed under an a individual’s tax return, which would rise under the tax increase amendment).

At a recent District 80 board meeting, Martwick made empty promises of more money for education, touting the “achievements” of the “evidence-based” funding model.

Sam Palazzo allowed Martwick to campaign at a D-80 board meeting

But the additional funding model saw very little actual additional money making it to District 80, or any other Norridge school. Pinocchio’s already long nose gets even longer.

Martwick’s District 80 comments sounded like a campaign speech… which is supposed to be “not” allowed at a school board meeting.

The decision to allow Martwick to use District 80’s meeting for politicking was not surprising to me, given how close District 80 board president Sam Palazzo is to Martwick and the Chicago 38th Ward.

Getting Palazzo to provide cover for campaigning at a board meeting seems desperate. No doubt Martwick wanted to convey that he’s actually good for something other than raising taxes.

Higher taxes – his crowning achievement

Robert Martwick hasn’t met a new tax he didn’t like. Not only did he vote YES for the “progressive” income tax, he also voted YES to raise the income tax for everyone, and even voted to override then-governor Rauner’s veto of the bill.

He voted YES on doubling the gasoline tax, where the bill’s sponsor, Martin Sandoval, is under indictment for bribery and income tax fraud.

He voted YES for new taxes including internet sales taxes, car trade in taxes, and huge taxes on cannabis products.

He even voted to create a new Norridge Village property tax during his time as Norridge Village Trustee.

He voted YES for more unfunded mandates on schools, mandates that require schools to do certain things or offer certain programs – without any state funding.

These unfunded requirements increase the already-overburdened school system, as well as taxpayers… at the same time Martwick claims he is “helping” education.

He further burdened statewide taxpayers by voting YES for taxpayer-funded abortions.

Born with a silver spoon

Robert Martwick has been coddled from birth by his father, Robert Martwick Sr, and his privileged upbringing makes him out of step with the daily struggles of the people he claims to represent.

I haven’t voted in a Democratic primary for as long as I can remember, but I plan to vote for Martwick’s Democratic opponent – Danny O’Toole, in the March 17th 2020 primary.

Danny O’Toole is a fiscal conservative – precisely what we do need right now, and lots of it.

Martwick continues to get away with his behavior because people – other elected officials, and especially voters – allow it.

I encourage all Norridge registered voters to head to the polls and support Martwick’s opponent – whether it’s Danny O’Toole in the Democratic Primary, or Republican Anthony Beckman in the General, if Martwick makes it to November.

Otherwise, you’ll continue to pay higher and higher taxes for less and less useful government… while “Silver Spoon Rob” Martwick laughs – at you – all the way to the bank.

I am without exception an independent – not a Republican or Democrat – and I vote for those who most closely align with my views on taxes and government spending – the less of both of these the better.

The gap between Martwick and good, affordable government… couldn’t be greater.

Robert Martwick is a Norridge disgrace… that we simply cannot afford.

Adam Chudzik, Norridge

Village to consider limiting number of gas stations

Village politicians have been under fire for approving 24 hour gas station

The Norridge zoning board will be taking up the question whether or not the Village should limit the number of gas stations.

At the February 26 2020 Village board meeting, trustee Jack Bielak raised the issue with the board.

“There have been some questions raised regarding the number of gas stations within our Village”, Bielak read from a prepared statement.

Bielak asked whether the zoning board should “review the number of gas stations within our Village”.

Appointee-trustee Andrew Ronstadt agreed, but three term trustee Donald Gelsomino did not.

“I really don’t see a need for it”, Gelsomino said. “Where else would they put up a gas station?”

“This is only a review”, responded Bielak.

The Joe Sieb Center has been torn down for the gas station

Bielak’s comments reflect the heavy criticism Norridge Improvement Party politicians have received after approving the gas station at Irving and Overhill/Ozark.

The gas station will be right next to a residential area and was approved over the vocal concerns expressed by local residents.

The Village sold the property to Exron LLC, who will put a 24-hour, 12-pump gas station with liquor and video gambling.

The Joe Sieb Center, which was on the property, has already been torn down.

Ronstadt and Bielak were zoning board members at the time, and both voted YES to recommend approval of the gas station at the zoning hearing.

Other highlights

Tom Benigno suggested the Estelle Sieb Center be renamed to the Joe and Eselle Sieb Center in order to “keep that name alive”.

Appointee-mayor Daniel Tannhauser indicated he would “take it under consideration”.

Recording of the February 26 2020 Village of Norridge Board Meeting (full video – 10 minutes)

Norridge to consider allowing marijuana sales

Village zoning board to hold hearing on cannabis sales permitted use locations

The Village of Norridge will consider allowing recreational and medical sales within the Village of Norridge.

The measure was approved at the December 11 2019 Village board meeting, and directs the zoning board to consider the matter and hold a public hearing.

Once a recommendation is made, the Norridge Village board will have the final say on the matter.

Other highlights

Former Trustee Dominic Sulimowski asked for a status update on Village properties, including the show property, Irving Park property and the “new police station” property next to Diving Savior.

He also asked if Johnson and Colmar was involved in the settlement discussion with Mark Lymperopulos.

(Johnson & Colmar is the Village of Norridge’s attorney firm. Johnson & Colmar is a campaign contributor to the Norridge Improvement Party.

Lymperopulos’s attorney, represented by Holman and Stefanowicz, was paid over $100,000 in the settlement. Lymperopulos’s attorney, Dennis Stefanowicz Jr, is the son of former NIP Village Trustee Dennis Stefanowicz).

Recording of the December 11 2019 Village of Norridge Board Meeting (full video – 14 minutes)

Norridge politicians exploit “shop with a cop” for self promotion

Politicians use police-community non-profit charity event to puff themselves

Is it Shop with a Cop… or Shop with a NIP?

The concept of “shop with a cop” is a good one: an event that allows rank and file police officers and the community (especially children) to come together.

It helps to create a positive environment early that will help interaction with law enforcement later in life.

… and less of this

We need more like this…

It’s also a 501c3 non profit, as shown by its registration on the Illinois Secretary of state website.

Non profits are expressly prohibited from engaging in political activity, including political advertising.

Yet that didn’t stop Norridge politicians from perverting Shop with Cop it into a blatant display of self promotion.

Democratic politician Frank Avino, Norridge Improvement Party appointee-mayor Daniel Tannhauser, NIP appointee-trustee Andrew Ronstadt, NIP trustees Jack Bielak and Donald Gelsomino, as well as NIP members and Village patronage employees Joanna Skupien, Katherine Gaseor, and Melissa Poulos were among the not-cops seen photographing themselves at the event.

Is there any depths Norridge machine party politicians won’t stoop to in order to promote themselves?

“Shop with a cop” is great thing for the community. The Norridge PD shouldn’t allow politicians to leech off it, and lose its tax exempt status.

Let the cops, and the kids, shop together – without political interference.

Shame on the PD “leadership” of David Disselhorst and Wayne Schober for letting this happen.

We would say shame on politicians for exploiting it for their own purposes… but, as they have proven time and time again, the current crop of Norridge politicians have neither shame nor good ethics.

Village board votes to hike municipal tax levy by 32%

Village trustees rubber-stamp 32% year-over-year increase in Norridge’s Village tax levy

Nobody expected the Village board to listen to the howls of protest as the Village’s tax levy continues to rise by double digits every year.

Police pension – required vs recommended

In this regard they did not disappoint, as they voted in unison to raise the property tax levy another 32% at the November 13 2019 board meeting, after a 35% hike last year.

Village officials used their usual explanation about how this money was going toward the “police pension”, and money to fund the pensions was unavailable from other sources.

But we know better: Village politicians are spending boatloads on unneeded payroll, and other wasteful spending like $4.2 million dollars to Norridge Marketplace, leaving little to no general revenue money available to put toward the police pension.

Village officials, and their actuary, Lauterback & Amen, were very precise in their language to use the term “recommended”, in their attempted justification of the $2.1 million price tag.

Appointee-mayor Daniel Tannhauser said it was “mandated by the state” to make these payments.

However, this was misleading – while the recommended amount was $2.1 million, the required amount was actually $1.57 million.

The $1.57 million figure comes from a document sent by the police pension fund’s attorney to then mayor James Chmura back in March.

No Village officials, not Daniel Tannhauser, nor the actuary, discussed the $1.57 million number at the meeting, although they did make references toward paying more toward the unfunded liabilities of the pension fund.

Therefore, the $2.1 million seems more the actuary’s opinion of what they believe “should” be funded, rather than what needs to be funded, per state law.

Since the Village was already levying $1.6 million… there was no requirement to raise the tax levy at all.

Gus Rapatas questioned why taxes continue to rise and when it is going to end. Tannhauser responded that the dollar amount of the increases was very small.

Rapatas responded “We have other problems in the Village as far as getting infrastructure going”, he said.

“We bought the property by Divine Saviour… I just foresee $75 dollars here, $75 dollars there, $100 dollars here… while we’re buying properties that we can’t use, and plowing the church with our public service”, Rapatas added.

Other highlights

Wally Biszczuk questioned why the Divine Saviour church parking lot is being plowed for free by the Village of Norridge’s snow plows. Tannhauser responded they do so to maintain a good relationship with the archdiocese.

Biszczuk further questioned why the Village prioritized charity plowing before Village alleys and streets. Tannhauser indicated he would call him about his concerns.

Mary Willard echoed similar comments “we pay taxes, they [the church] don’t… and they don’t allow us to park there”.

Tannhauser promised to talk to the church about the issue. (Willard has brought this issue up at prior meetings, but no action by the Village was taken.)

Kathleen Smith, the renter of the property in which Jonathan Reyes was found hiding, pleaded with the Norridge Village Board to reimburse her for the $1,300 in damage police officers did when they apprehended Reyes.

Smith’s son is currently battling heart transplant rejection, and was forcibly used as a “human shield” by the SWAT team to extract Reyes from the basement of the home, and police broke windows in an upstairs bedroom five hours later, Smith said.

“Village Administrator” Joanna Skupien says the Village does not feel the officers caused excessive damage.

She also said it would set a precedent. “If we reimburse you, we are going to have somebody else come and seek reimbursement for something else”.

“What you guys did was out of line … damages that were unnecessary” Smith replied.

Smith says E-mails from the Village stated they were “trying to help you with the situation”.

“You guys didn’t help me at all … you guys contacted my landlord and tried to get me in trouble” Smith continued. “We have made life changes based on this”.

Tannhauser stated he would “take it under advisement” and would “meet with the trustees and get back to you”.

Maria Lala discussed the traffic situation on the 4300 block of Oketo Ave ever since the X-Sport opened.

“You have is people flying down the streets, nobody stops, we have kids on that street, I have complained to Chmura I don’t know how many times … you guys haven’t done anything on the streets”

“I spoke to the Chief of police, he said he was going to get a cop out there” she said. “I’ve never seen a cop. I even see cops going through that stop sign.”

“Nobody does anything” Lala said.

Other residents expressed concerns about the parking and traffic situation at Leigh school.

Recording of the November 13 2019 Village of Norridge Tax Levy Hearing and Board Meetings (full videos, 6 minutes, and 45 minutes)