Lemont prides itself on being a conservative Republican town, and election results would bear that out.  And we all know that means strict capitalist economics, private sector competition in the open market.  Yet barely a word is heard from those who profess to follow those lofty standards when it comes to our local government’s scheme to borrow $21Million to build a “for profit” rental sports complex.

Republicans always attack big government.  So how can you approve of a local government that takes a huge gamble on our village’s credit and wealth to build a facility that will go into competition with similar venues, and with the unfair advantage of paying no tax.  Instead, if it can’t carry its own weight, it will eat into tax money that you local businessmen earn for the town.  How crazy is that?

Republicans believe in participatory democracy, but you sit back as the mayor kills our right to vote on the issue, a right we fought hard to win for you in last February’s snow and cold and ice. In only 3 weeks during sub-freezing temperatures “Let Us Vote” collected over 1,700 petition signatures, more than double the number required by law to get the issue on the ballot.  But in Lemont it is apparent that the opinion of voters does not matter to our leaders, and our business community just doesn’t care.

Exactly what are you conservative Republican business people getting out of this?  Do you expect hordes of teenage athletes to crowd into your stores to shop after their competition?  Do our better restaurants imagine tables full of children ordering Cart Blanche from their gourmet selections and exquisite wine list?  I am curious to hear from the business community about why they support this plan and how it will revitalize our downtown and turn it into a hub of activity and profitability.

Our Republican officials should also be called to task.  You talk a good game, but I guess that only means at the county, state or national level.  When it comes to this village and township, your lips are sealed.  Our Republican Committeeman has not taken a stand regarding the borrowing scheme.  Nor has our local state representative .  To her credit, State Senator Christine Rodagno signed the petition but we have not heard from her recently regarding the mayor’s new creative borrowing arrangement.

To save you the trouble of doing the research, I will admit that I am and have always been a Democrat.  I am disappointed that Congressman Lipinski has also avoided a position.  And maybe it is unfair that I as a Democrat am calling out Republicans.  But even a Democrat like me has to begin to wonder how much socialism this town is willing to accept.  The library rents movies, in competition with our last video store.  The park district CORE health club stands in direct competition with a privately owned gym in Chipain’s plaza.  The township rents space and a kitchen for social functions, taking business away from private local halls.  All of these have the edge of operating tax free.  Shall we add a massively expensive sportsplex to the list, and go into immense debt while doing it?  When does it end?  And more importantly, when do you conservative Republican business owners take a stand?


Ron Boehm December 30, 2013 at 04:06 PM
I will be very disappointed if the Sports Complex becomes a reality with out us tax payers being able to participate in a democratic process. Just like Obama Care, pass it and you can read about it later. We get the honor of being the cosigner without any input. This reminds me of Chicago style politics at it's best. I would think that our elected officials should want to be above board and transparent to avoid any suspicion about their motives. A project of this magnitude demands both the citizens and elected officials on the same page. It would be an abuse of power by our officials If this project goes forward without being voted on by Lemont Citizens.
Kevin Cliff December 31, 2013 at 09:33 AM
Let me preface my comments with the fact that I am not against a sports complex being built. However, I do assert that the project should be undertaken by private enterprise only and not by any governmental body. Government should not be in the business of being in business ! Is government going to operate a sports complex better than profit- incentivized individuals? Even if it could ,I would not want it built by public backing. What would be next- a grocery store run by the Village-or maybe they can run a profitable gas station in town. I understand that the mayor and public officials believe that they are going to create a money-making concern to benefit the Village and I have no reason to believe any nefarious motives are in play. I just find this outside the purview of what government should endeavor and do not like the associated risk. Let the Village stick to all the good things that is does. "The mayor retorted that he and the board had run unopposed and were elected to make decisions for the village. Those who disagree were invited to run for office." I doubt if any candidate would tout this when running for office. I mean no disrespect, but the quote from this article immediately elicited one idea – hubris. I believe that public servants are with charged with the duty to serve the will of the public- not their own—no matter how badly they think they have the right ideas. They do not know what’s best for us or need to educate us a little more so that we see the light. From the Patch March 12, 2013 quoting the mayor-http://lemont.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/lemont-sports-complex-mayor-apologizes-village-to-pur152d6bfe68 “Moving forward, he said, the village will consider private funding options that take 100 percent of the burden off taxpayers.” I wish this quote were still true. The taxpayers should not incur any liability. As a final admonition, one should take heed when great opposition presents itself-especially if one is supposed to be acting on behalf of the public . Kevin Cliff
B.S. Buster December 31, 2013 at 10:29 AM
Maybe the "conservative" business owner is on The verge of bankruptcy due to the past 50 or so years of the local government waiting for private investment that never appeared in Lemont, but did in most surrounding towns and villages.... I have to ask you Mr. Ladas why you insist that everyone in the town is against this project. Now you complain not enough people in town are against this project. You keep talking about your petition, but it was not against the project, it was against a financing package that is no longer in play. How do you and LUV expect to turn around the 50 year moribund business climate that exists only due to "waiting for private investment". It hasn't come.
Jim Ladas December 31, 2013 at 12:20 PM
BUILD the ‘PLEX. I’m all for it, if …..and this is a BIG IF, Mayor Brian Reaves, Trustees Debby Blatzer, Paul Chialdikas, Clifford Miklos, Rick Sniegowski, Ronald Stapleton, Jeanette Virgilio, former Mayor John Piazza and their cohorts like Buster and Todd want to borrow the money, using their property and assets as collateral; their homes, businesses, summer cottages, autos, 401K plans, college funds, inheritances, stocks, bonds, jewelry and savings, and then lend it to the village to pay for this deal, no strings attached, I will be happy to celebrate them as local heros, men and women worthy of our gratitude and admiration. That would be an exhibition of real courage and confidence, an example that might fill me with a new found sense of support for the idea and encourage myself and others to participate financially as well. But instead, under the cover of apathy and ignorance, these village leaders hatched a scheme to borrow TWENTY ONE MILLION DOLLARS (+INTEREST) to build the ‘Plex, betting my money, my neighbors money, this whole towns money without asking our permission, on a risky venture into the competitive public realm of facilities rental. And they never believed the people would respond with the only weapon left in our arsenal, but we did, BIG TIME. More than 1,700 voters signed the petition to secure a referendum. And the mayor has now pulled another rabbit out of his hat, a dead rabbit. He will kill our chance to vote on it by getting the village to sign on to a private loan, no bonds being sold, no need to vote. And even while the mayor promised no risk to the tax payer as Mr Cliff’s comment points out, he left our local tax money on the table in his new deal, like so many poker chips waiting to be swept into the hands of the winning investor. Build it Buster, but if you build it, pay for it with your own money. Plenty of people are unhappy about the way they’ve been treated in this matter, but I’m actually more concerned about the thousands of villagers who aren’t even aware of what is about to happen to them.
B.S. Buster December 31, 2013 at 02:03 PM
Hey Jim, why don't YOU build something if that's how it's done?? You don't talk about anything but killing the only project to come through here in years. Where have these projects gone bad? How much cost per resident? What alternate growth plan do you have? Besides doing the same thing over and over again hoping for different results?
John Piazza December 31, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Jim, You lose a lot of credibility when you cast dispersions on numerous individuals with no basis and lump everyone together. You know nothing about me nor my position on this issue. I already stated that I believe that there are questions that need to be answered and discussions that need to be had. Personal attacks only diminish the point that you are trying to make.
John Piazza December 31, 2013 at 03:18 PM
And by the way, I have no idea who Buster and Todd are. And the people you speak of on the Board are my friends and neighbors, not cohorts. They are all intelligent, independent thinkers. We don't always agree with each other but we do respect each other. And that's one thing that is certainly lacking on this message board.
B.S. Buster December 31, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Thank you for your service Mr. Piazza! You are gooder with words than me, but I'm tired of hearing these absolutely unfounded allegations lodged against people that actually do something to make Lemont a better place.
Rose Baker December 31, 2013 at 07:02 PM
After 50 years of waiting, the best our village board can come up with is a sportsplex built on land that the village does not and will not own, has very little chance of succeeding, and defies the will of the community? Is there a way to recall these people?


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