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?