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Ron Drake: Just Another Demagogic Politician Telling Voters What He Thinks They Want to Hear in Arlington Heights

Wed March 20 2013 9:20 am  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=60573
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March 16, 2013 League of Womens Voters Candidate Forum for Village President — April 9th Election (Video courtesy of Lorelle Communications).

On Saturday, March 16, 2013, I was looking forward to meeting Ron Drake, candidate for Village President of the Village of Arlington Heights at the League of Womens Voters Candidate Forum for Village President. As a high school student 37 years ago, I almost went to John Hersey High School, where Drake graduated the year before I graduated at Arlington High School (1976). I liked what I heard about him working to lower property taxes, and being business-friendly. I liked his style, even though he looks suspiciously like a generic stiff politician you might expect to be playing opposite Will Ferrell in some satirical movie about local politics. I thought we might bond a little over being Mid-Suburban League rivals, and since he attended the Arlington Heights citizen police academy and I have tremendous respect for Arlington Heights police officers via my experiences writing the crime blog for The Cardinal, I thought we would “hit it off”. Plus, I had a lot of friends that attended Hersey. I figured we’d have something to talk about.

Then the unexpected happened. I introduced myself, and he sort of recoiled. He bristled at my first comment that it was great that we have three very qualified candidates running for Mayor, or Village President. A look of anger and/or fear came across his face. He wasn’t the business-friendly, citizen-friendly candidate that he appears to be from afar. It immediately became apparent to me as my Faux pas alert went off that Ron Drake has his campaign so determined to hurt the reputation of Tom Hayes, the incumbent Trustee with 22-years experience — that he reacted toward me with disgust for saying such a “non-Ron-Drake-worshipping” comment. You know, like how dare I not bow down and fawn over him, and tell him he’s the greatest candidate to ever walk in the Taj Mahal — the derogatory term he uses to describe the Arlington Heights Village Hall, where he would serve if elected.

When I told him that I graduated from Arlington High School in 1976, he saw that as the perfect opportunity to escape from our discussion by passing me off to another Arlington grad, who happens to be one of his campaign workers, and who I respect and immediately recalled from high school days. As I turned to greet her, Drake darted for the elevator like a basketball player with a head fake and a drive for the baseline. No “nice to meet you!” from him. And no positive spin like, “I would like to earn your confidence that I am the best candidate of the three candidates.” So I did what a good reporter should do, I followed him into the elevator, while realizing this guy is probably not the most decorated politician for advocacy of government transparency. There was a little awkward silence, and fortunately there were about six other people in the elevator. It gave me time to think, “What is this guy’s problem? He’s so smooth on Facebook and at the front of an audience. What happened to him?”

He was so positive about small business at the Candidates’s Forum. The Cardinal is a small business — a small news business. Doesn’t he respect Democracy, the Freedom of the Press at all levels, and the modern methods of getting information to the public? The other two candidates, Tom Hayes and Mark Hellner, spoke with me for over 10 minutes in light conversation about how the campaign felt — nothing deep, nothing “gotcha” — just something like a debriefing after a big game. Hayes and Hellner were both engaging, personable, and knowledgeable on their feet.

Back to Drake: I decided to tell him something that motivated me to reach out to him and talk to him in the first place. In his intro bio on Arlingtoncardinal.com (See The Cardinal Hersey Grad, Former Avondale, Arizona Mayor Ron Drake Running for Arlington Heights Mayor), there was some information about crime statistics, which when compared to Arlington Heights, showed Avondale with significantly higher crime in all categories — murder, violent crime, thefts, auto thefts, burglaries, etc. I wanted to tell him that the stats (which represented 2009 — three years after he resigned as Mayor) weren’t included to make him look bad. They were just meant to provide a comparison of the communities, which have about the same population. He claimed he never read the article, which is hard to believe because I know he’s marketing savvy and would have to be Googling himself to see what is being said about his campaign. And even though he said he never read the article, he was very quick to point out that the crime statistics were out years after he served as mayor. He blurted that out before I even finished telling him the crime statistics dates were after his terms. He added, “that’s why crime was worse,” because “I wasn’t serving as mayor anymore.”

I can’t really remember having my regard for a person change so rapidly. His words suddenly ring different to me. When he says he wants to see an influx of visitors to Arlington Heights, I’m thinking, why? We have Arlington Park Racetrack, Frontier Days, Taste of Arlington, Art Fairs. I’m thinking … is the reason crime is much higher in Avondale, compared to Arlington Heights because of over-striding growth? Because maybe there was such a rapid growth in visitors and businesses in Avondale, that there wasn’t enough attention to human issues, and quality of living issues that correlate with lower crime rates?

PUBLIC APPEARANCE BY CITIZEN WITH REQUEST REGARDING RAPID GROWTH AND INCREASED CRIME AT CITY COUNCIL MEETING APRIL 15, 2002 WITH MAYOR RONALD DAKE PRESIDING …

Tom Knecht, 2105 N. 123rd Drive, Avondale, stated that he lived in Rancho Sante Fe. He stated that he and his wife had lived in the area since 1995 and had seen the Cities of Avondale and Goodyear experience a lot of growth. He stated that the growth seemed to have taken different paths in both of those cities. He stated that he was concerned in relation to the administration. He asked what was being done to offset some of the things that were already in place such as the large number of apartments either constructed or planned, the lack of large corporations, fine dining, shopping and upper end homes. He stated that he was concerned about the City of Avondale becoming the next Maryvale. He stated that a lot of things were in place prior to the current administration. He asked what was being done to offset some of those things being done. He stated that he traveled along Main Street to and from work each day and had seen strippers, hookers, children urinating on the street, and graffiti on the DessieLorenz Park signage. He stated that he was proud to live in Avondale. He stated that he wanted to see and hear from the Council what was being done so that he could be proud of the City currently and in the future.

Back to the Arlington Heights Candidate Forum for Village President
Drake says, “‘Next month’s opening of the new BP gas station and car wash at the corner of Arlington Heights and Algonquin Roads will be the beginning of the revival for the southern section of town,’ said John Melaniphy. We’re going to pin our hopes on the economic development of this community on a gas station and a car wash? That’s not going to happen.”

But in his old Avondale, the city council ended up putting a mini-storage facility at the gateway of their community. First the mini-storage business was approved by Zoning and Planning. Then the City Council rejected it. Then they approved it. Then it was opposed by many citizens, and Drake opposed it, too. But as mayor, Drake and the city council members naively tried to take the public’s appeal to a referendum. But the business owner, Tim Redelsperger, and his lawyer knew that the matter wasn’t eligible for a referendum in Maricopa County. Referendums are used to decide legislative issues, not administrative issues. An appeals court ruled to reverse and remand the matter to the trial court with instructions to grant declaratory and injunctive relief in favor of Redelsperger (See COURT OF APPEALS STATE OF ARIZONA DIVISION ONE TIMOTHY REDELSPERGER VS. CITY OF AVONDALE …).

A little harsh; a little unnecessary at the League of Womens Voters Candidate Forum …
“The other quote I’d like to bring up,” Drake directed at the audience and at Tom Hayes in a condescending tone — Drake quotes Hayes, “‘I’ve walked around town in the past couple of weeks and I’ve seen the small businesses and niche that does need to be addressed,’ Hayes said. Tom, 22 years and you just noticed that we’re having problems with small business? That’s why we need to change the culture in Village Hall. That’s why we need to change the processes.”

It seems these changes in processes that Drake talks about might have a tendency to get the Village of Arlington Heights in trouble in court, were it not for those pesky Village Attorneys and Trustees that happen to be lawyers. That sarcasm is referenced to a comment Drake made at the forum, “We certainly don’t need more lawyers and legal advice.” Too bad Drake didn’t have lawyers to advise hime before he and the council members foolishly tried to go to referendum with a petty administrative issue.

Addressing Arlington Heights voters, Drake said, “We need to become business friendly, and how are we going to do that? We will start by streamlining the business processes and applications, and change the culture in Village Hall. Arlington Heights will be open for business.” But that’s not the practice that was conducted in Avondale.

Drake says that Arlington Heights must become more business friendly, but The Cardinal found examples when Avondale Mayor Ron Drake and the city council gave businesses a very hard time with their startup. Here’s one of the major ones. Could you imagine Arlington Heights losing Best Buy or having it eventually closing out in Arlington Heights because of the following type of foolishness?

When a Best Buy wanted to build in the newly proposed Gateway Crossing Shopping Center, Mayor Ron Drake and the city council nitpicked about the corporate signage of the proposed Best Buy. The City Council went back and forth on the height of the parapet behind the Best Buy main sign logo. Some city council members were concerned the bolder, taller sign wouldn’t be fair to the other retail tenants.

Council Member Earp pointed out the other shops in the center are not competing shops, stating he does not believe the Best Buy logo and checkmark would have a detrimental impact on the other tenants. There’s no record or documentation that any of the other proposing stores in the large shopping center complained about Best Buy’s proposed facade. In fact the bold store front would have probably been an extra draw for the whole shopping center. But some council members “had a feeling” the look of the store would draw attention away from the other stores, even though it wouldn’t take business away from the other stores. What does that even mean? Or why does that even matter if you’re business friendly. Talk about an anti-business culture! The store was eventually approved with a lower sign height — under the roof line.


View Larger Map
NOT BUSINESS FRIENDLY. Best Buy in Avondale, Arizona at Gateway Crossing at West McDowell Rd and North 99th Avenue was NOT allowed to build their corporate logo above the roof line.


View Larger Map
BUSINESS FRIENDLY. Best Buy in Arlington Heights, Illinois at Palatine Road and Rand Road was allowed to construct their trademark logo above the roof line.

Back to the Arlington Heights Candidate Forum for Village President
Drake went on to criticize the Village of Arlington Heights response to flooding, speaking as if the problem is very simple to solve — just tear down homes and build reservoirs in their place. That comment received a lot of eye-rolling in the audience. He also suggested building underground 14-foot high reservoirs under parks, and then putting artifical turf on top of the reservoirs. Later when asked how he would fund the underground reservoirs, he said he would lobby for federal funding. Good luck with that — see US DebtClock.org …

Serving as mayor, or city council member or trustee can be difficult and challenging. A single crisis can make any mayor look bad … snow storms (e.g., Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic), heavy rain and flooding. How about a raw sewage disaster?

PUBLIC APPEARANCE BY CITIZENS WITH REQUEST REGARDING MAJOR SEWER PROBLEM AT AVONDALE ARIZONA CITY COUNCIL MEETING APRIL 15, 2002 WITH MAYOR RONALD DRAKE PRESIDING …

Debbie Durham, 5219 S. Dysart Rd., Avondale, stated that on Saturday, April 13th, a raw sewage spill occurred from the City of Avondale Sewer Treatment Plant. She stated that the sewer treatment plant had a spillage on April 13th at approximately 4:30 p.m. She stated that she was mainly concerned with the health related issues involved with the raw sewage release. She stated that her husband had cancer and because of the chemotherapy treatments, his immune system was already low. She stated that she was worried about the long term affect it would have on him and their family. She stated that her dogs played in the raw sewage because she thought, at first, that it was a water main break. She stated that she did not find out that it was raw sewage until after she returned home with her children from the county fair. She stated that her husband informed her about the water in the street. She stated that the sewage spill soaked her side of the road and her driveway. She stated that it spilled into the ditch that she used to irrigate her yard. She stated that having to drive through the sewage cause it to contaminate her vehicles.

Ms. Durham stated that to her husband and she, it was a very serious issue. She stated that she called the State Health Department’s emergency number and was told they could not speak to the general public. She stated that she got in touch with Mike Malone, EPA, and he called the emergency number for her to alert state and county health officials. She stated that the City of Avondale sprinkled chlorine over the wet sewage but it did not cover the area completely. She stated that chlorine did not kill all bacteria and diseases. She stated that Hepatitis and Malaria were among those diseases. She stated that her husband and she think that the City of Avondale should be held responsible for their concerns. She stated that they would not let the matter go just by putting a little bit of chlorine on large amounts of raw sewage. She stated that only the visible areas were randomly treated and asked what would be done about the sewage that soaked into the dry ground. She stated that they would not settle for the government run around. She stated that the matter gravely concerned them and she expected the City of Avondale to make everything right with them. She stated that they would not stop until they, as a family, were satisfied. She stated that the City was currently enlarging the plant but could not currently keep the small plant safe from that type of malfunction. She stated that she and her husband had not received any advice or questions from the City of Avondale concerning the matter. She stated that no one had contacted them to see how they were doing or asked about their concerns. She stated that she did not know if the Mayor or City Council was aware that the sewage had spilled over.

Pamela Allen, 13038 W. Southern, Avondale, stated that on Saturday at approximately 5:30 p.m. she and her grandchildren, one 13 year old and one 8 year old were traveling north bound on Dysart Road and crossed raw sewage. She stated that it appeared to be water but it was raw sewage. She stated that she did not slow down and the water splashed up everywhere. She stated that the stench was awful. She stated that she went to pick up her other 13-year old granddaughter and thought the treatment plant was supposed to be safe and any water escaping had to be safe. She stated that she returned one half hour later at 6 p.m. and raw sewage was still crossing the road. She stated that she turned off her air conditioner and creeped across it. She stated that she did not realize the danger until speaking to her fiancé who worked in a treatment plant in Oregon. She stated that he told her it could cause all kinds of health problems. She stated that she currently had cancer. She stated that her two granddaughters, one grandson, and herself were exposed to raw sewage. She stated that when her 8 year-old grandson was sick the next day with a sore throat, stomach ache and a fever, she was concerned. She stated that her 13 year-old granddaughter was also complaining of a stomach ache. She stated that at 8 p.m.that Saturday, she went by the area again. She stated that there was a large truck and the stench of chlorine everywhere. She stated that she was concerned for every one of her grandchildren and her health. She stated that she took photographs that day which showed how someone had taken a road grader and gone down the road to try to shove the dirt to the side. She stated that she reported that to Robert Casey, Complaint Division, Water Treatment.

Mayor Drake stated that something needed to be done to talk to the community.

According to a West Valley View newspaper article Sewage issues noted at apartment complex … There are still raw sewage issues in Avondale, Arizona. One apartment tenant, James B. Green, a retired police officer, said the awful stench was the result of raw sewage flowing along the ground just outside of his ground-floor bedroom window at the Rio Santa Fe Apartments, 13015 W. Rancho Santa Fe Blvd., a sprawling development northeast of Interstate 10 and Dysart Road. Another tenant, Rob Thomas, 38, a welder, said that sewage backups at the apartments have been a recurring issue, not just a one-time problem. Apparently tenants have gotten the run around from the City of Avondale, Maricopa County and the apartment complex property management.

Of course, Ron Drake resigned from his term as mayor to run for Congress in a race he had no chance of winning, while sewer problems in Avondale were apparently ongoing.

Ron Drake says, “Arlington heights needs a fresh approach. What this town needs is advertising and marketing experience to draw and keep businesses here. We’re in competition with places like Mount Prospect, Schaumburg, Deer Park, and we need to come up with a strategy that is uniquely different from the competition, and we need to secure Arlington Heights future as a lively fun and enriching place to live, work and shop. We certainly don’t need more lawyers and legal advice. And further we don’t need more policy making.The fundamentals of Arlington Heights are working just fine we have a safe community, good schools, great park systems, and good infrastructure.”

Drake has painted a picture that he is a mayor that can do it all with ease — a Knight in Shining Armor from Avondale. Certainly he has probably done some good things as mayor of Avondale. But as seen from some of his failures or the failures that occurred on his watch in Avondale, it’s clear that he’s not the master that he presents himself to be. He’s overly contentious in this Arlington Heights campaign, painting himself as the only one for the job, while using his “passion” to claim or imply that trustees have squandered their terms. His derogatory style would not benefit Village Board meetings, and would not benefit Arlington Heights.

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33 Responses to “Ron Drake: Just Another Demagogic Politician Telling Voters What He Thinks They Want to Hear in Arlington Heights”

  1. Susan says:

    Good heavens, he made a face at you and this is your response? If Ron Drake turns up missing this manifesto might implicate you as a prime suspect. Just go vote for Hayes.

  2. Richard Walsh says:

    So he didn’t become your “Buddy” and bond with you, rip him a new one? You need to find another job if you are so thin skinned. I find it very disingenuous of you to write an article solely directed at discrediting a candidate because he didn’t take a liking to you.

  3. @Susan I didn’t say he made a face at me. I said he looked angered and/or afraid — very unprofessional in person compared to his on stage appearance. Instinctively, that makes any investigator want to investigate. The “missing” and “prime suspect” comments are a little over-dramatic don’t you think? Where is your mind?

  4. Lisa says:

    Drake should be respectful to everyone, not only to those who think he is a god! Don’t trust this guy! I will definitely vote for HAYES!!! Thanks for revealing who the guy behind the mask is!!

  5. @Richard — Nobody said they were disappointed they were no buddy of Mr. Drake. I was not insulted or criticized by Ron Drake, so if I were thin-skinned, there is nothing to respond to that would show that I am thin-skinned. In the spirit of discourse, I was able to pick up a lot of intel on the candidate by what he did not say, what little he did say, and how he behaved with his body language. His recoil and body language was not insulting to me. If anything, it validated me. The man was afraid to talk to me.

    You use the word “disingenuous” but I really don’t think you know what the word’s definition means. “Disingenuous” means lacking candor or giving false appearance of simple frankness. My frankness is the truth. I have candidly explained to readers exactly how I perceived the situation at the candidate’s forum. Then with research I have sourced and copied excerpts from the official City of Avondale website, and the Maricopa County Court of Appeals — all verifiable truths — and made a comparison. Drake attacked Hayes and the culture of Village of Arlington Heights — presumably including all or most of the Board of Trustees, and some or all of the employees that work for the Village of Arlington Heights. I demonstrated that Drake presented himself as a Mayor who doesn’t make the “mistakes” that he discovered with Arlington Heights — and communicated with arrogance I might add. Then I pointed out the lack of business friendliness that the Avondale Best Buy experienced as they sought approval on a sign and front facade. I compared Drake’s criticism of the Arlington Heights flooding issues to his lack of candor in relating how he experienced a serious raw sewage problem that affected residents of Avondale. And can I be frank? In most cases, I would bet being exposed to raw sewage is worse than being exposed to flooded storm water. I also pondered the rapid growth and crime correlation, but I was candid that my thoughts were not brought to a conclusion by asking a question, and using the word “maybe” to be clear.

    If anyone was disingenuous, it was candidate Ron Drake, for arrogantly criticizing Village President Pro Tem Tom Hayes and the culture of the Village of Arlington Heights, while failing to be candid about his own negative experiences as Mayor of Avondale.

    Perhaps Drake could tone it down a little bit, and maybe even apologize to Arlington Heights for insulting our culture and trying to stir up resentment. And maybe he could come clean on what happened with the raw sewage in Avondale, and respond to same sort of scrutiny he attempted to play on our village leaders. Maybe he can explain with candor how he is the “business friendly” candidate after he was presiding over a city council that hassled Best Buy. Can I be frank again? I love Best Buy. And I love the way their front facade looks like it’s busting out a new, shiny giant package. And I am tired of shopping centers that look exactly the same all over suburbia.

    You attack me for beginning a discourse and drawing a conclusion that differs from yours? That only makes you the thin-skinned one. The stakes are high in these economic hard times faced by the Village of Arlington Heights along with communities across the rest of the country. We need to have clear heads on how to solve these economic problems and other problems. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Reading makes a full man, meditation a profound man, discourse a clear man.” Welcome to discourse.

    – Mark Bostrom

  6. Frank says:

    A bit harsh on your part. Overall Drake’s record in Avondale is very good. Yet we have a lot of empty storefronts in Arlington Hts while our residential property tax bills keep going up. Some of that is just general economic malaise, but some of it has to do with the bureaucratic permit process we have. We need to be more pro-business.

    I think Tom Hayes is a very good conservative in many ways – pro life, pro second Amendment, anti-gambling. He is a nice man and I like him. But at the same time, I think we may need a different approach at the top. We need new ideas and a new personality in town. And we can’t keep subsidizing Metropolis forever (and I am a supporter of the arts).

    If Drake is elected Village President he is only 1 of 9 votes. He would have some administrative powers but the other 8 trustees could keep him in check. And, if you haven’t noticed, at least 3 of the current 4 trustees up this cycle will be re-elected. Hayes, if he loses, would still be there as a trustee. Having someone from outside the clubhouse might benefit our village.

    I am supporting Ron Drake this April 9.

  7. Daniel says:

    For the record, I live in Avondale, Arizona and the issues facing Arlington Heights residents do not pertain to me. However, after reading this article any good journalist would see that the article you refer to about sewage problems dates late October of 2012, almost 7 YEARS after Drake left office here. Do you, seriously, still hold him accountable after almost a decade for a sewage leak in a few apartments and compare that to the hundreds, if not thousands of residents affected by flooding in Arlington Heights?

    You say Drake “attacks” your way of life in AH? What is this article but a simple attack on a man based on misguided journalism? Funny how instead of writing an actual positive article about one of the other candidates you attack the one who promises to do good. Did he not kiss your ring when you met?

    Ron Drake was and is a good man and was an excellent politician and leader in our community.

  8. Amanda says:

    I’m voting for Hellner. Your article about Mr. Drake is off the wall. I talked to him after the meeting for several minutes and he was very friendly. I also tried talking to Mr. Hayes and he just looked above my head and said nothing but he had to leave.

  9. Erica says:

    That’s true Frank, Hayes is on the board whether we like it or not. Why not include Drake and get the benefit of both of their respective experience? My neighbors and I are voting for Drake.

  10. @Daniel Too bad you spend energy and words criticizing our journalism, instead of citing an example of what Drake did that made him a good politician and an excellent leader. Certainly all voters in Arlington Heights would like to know what makes him such a superstar.

    The man left office by resigning, so that leaves the topic open to discussion. No he’s not held directly accountable, but you would think after experiencing raw sewage disaster in 2002, that “the culture” of the City of Avondale would be highly responsive to any type of raw sewage problem today. Did he do anything when he left office to ensure that solutions to sewer-related problems would be set in motion.

    Tom Hayes is not directly responsible for a drainage system that was built long before he was trustee. Drake is using the issue to place blame on our leaders, who are working on a solution. Most people seriously don’t think Drake has a better solution. If he truly does have a solution, it would make an interesting news story though: “Mayor from desert teaches Chicago suburban leaders how to handle floodwaters.” It was amusing to hear him explain that he would put artificial turf on top of underground reservoirs in parks. He clearly doesn’t understand the runoff problem that would be created, the problems created by lack of natural drainage in soil and turf, and the problems caused by the lack of natural transpiration and evaporation of moisture from grass, plants, plant leaves, trees, etc. He’s an advertiser and a business developer, not a soil engineer.

  11. Phil says:

    HAHA!! I looked up the minutes from the meeting that this sewage stuff came up, it was from 11 years ago! AND it was handled by city staff almost immediately. Drake even offered to meet with those affected personally at their homes! Come on, that’s all you got!?

  12. Rick says:

    BEST ARTICLE EVER!!!!!

  13. @Frank We’re in strong agreement about your comment on improving the bureaucratic permit process, but did you not read the two examples where Avondale was overly bureaucratic with the owner of a mini-storage locker business and with Best Buy?

    Also, you just take this politician’s word for it … that he is going to streamline the permit process in Arlington Heights … even after I demonstrated two examples where the city council was cumbersome with businesses in Avondale?

    In addition, with the mini-storage business and the referendum stunt, the City Council led by Drake drew the City of Avondale into court … sorry but they were ignorant about the difference between and administrative issues and a legislative issues. But that’s probably what happens when you have a business developer and advertiser running the show instead of an attorney.

    If you’re supporting Drake, you’re supporting a potentially contentious situation, and possibly an embarrassment for Arlington Heights.

    Both Hellner and Hayes are more qualified. I’m aware that Hayes (http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=55836) will still be on the board as a trustee if he loses as Village President. In that case, I would much prefer Hellner as Village President instead of Drake. I think Hellner is highly qualified, and has excellent experience with the State of Illinois … See The Cardinal … http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=57039

  14. @Amanda — Congratulations. Did you ask him any detailed questions, or did you just stand there and compliment him? Could you maybe spend a little thought and energy and explain why the article is off the wall?

    Add to the discourse. Please prove why the article is off the wall?

  15. jeepguy says:

    I think this says it all> “If you’re supporting Drake, you’re supporting a potentially contentious situation, and possibly an embarrassment for Arlington Heights.”

  16. jeepguy says:

    I think this says it all> “If you’re supporting Drake, you’re supporting a potentially contentious situation, and possibly an embarrassment for Arlington Heights.”

  17. Frank says:

    @Cardinal News.

    Yes I read the article. And there were some issues with those businesses. But one can look at any politician’s tenure in office and nit pick. The underlying theme however of Drake’s time as mayor of Avondale is that business and population growth went way up. I believe they went from 5 dealerships to 17 and he brought a NASCAR event to the track. He also streamlined the permit process cutting down the number of days for approval/denial. Time is money in a business. You don’t need some hack pushing paper for a year delay the opening of a Subway store or a dry cleaner. The previous administration in Avondale was quite sclerotic in this regard like our current AH administration is. So we need a change.

    And why do you think he won there in Avondale? Why do you think he won re-election so handily? Were the people just duped? Doubtful.

    I do think his water vault idea is a bit off. But, once again, I believe in checks and balances. The Board will curtail anything out of line. Yet, he will bring a different persona to the top office. We need an injection of fresh ideas in this town. The same clique has been running this town for too long. Their minds have become fossilized and boy are they in love with themselves.

    I agree that Mr. Hellner is qualified as well. He has had a lot of experience at the IL Dept of Rev and as a tax professional. I also like his personality and feel he would be a lot more approachable than Mulder ever was. If Drake is not elected, I hope Hellner wins.

    And I say this as a solid conservative. I agree with Hayes on the social issues but with the economy the way it is, we need someone who is committed to reducing the tax burden on the residents by aggressively expanding the business tax base. We need someone with experience doing this. We also need someone who knows how to manage a project and not allow a multi-million dollar cost overrun on a new police station. If Hayes is elected you can bet that the new station will be approved and will cost over $40 million.

    So I believe you should look at the overall situation and re-evaluate your viewpoint and criticism.

  18. Gina says:

    I’m rooting for Hayes! My friends and neighbors and people I know are all Hayes supporters.. We know him, we can trust him, and we will do everything so Hayes wins on this election!!

  19. Rick says:

    Anything But Drake! HELLNER YES HAYES YES DRAKE NO!!!

  20. @Frank

    We’re not going to agree on Drake. He was lucky to be in the right place at the right time within a time period while the population was growing from about 35,000 in 2000 to 75000 in 2010. Because of this and successful negotiation of a second race car event at the NASCAR track in Avondale, he is able to put some successful figures on his resume. Yes, business expanded, but so did crime. And now Avondale has a significantly higher crime rate than Arlington Heights.

    According to NeighborhoodScout.com, which uses FBI statistics and U.S. Justice Department crime statistics, a person has a 1 in 315 chance of being a crime victim of violent crime in Avondale, Arizona. Arlington Heights the figure is 1 in 1571. In the City of Chicago a person has a 1 in 97 chance of being a victim of a violent crime.

    In Avondale a person has a 1 in 20 chance of being a victim of a property crime.

    In Arlington Heights a person has a 1 in 69 chance of being a victim of a property crime.

    In Chicago a person has a 1 in 23 chance of being a victim of a property crime.

    Drake supporters are not looking at the big picture. Drake resigned before the financial crisis of 2007–2008, or global financial crisis. The economy was booming, except for the Dot-com Bubble. Avondale citizens are much younger than Arlington Heights citizens. I have already vetted him out of my voting decision, but those of you who are still faithful in his ability need to ask, “Why did he really resign?” Would he resign here again? … to try for Congress again? Just in the one candidate forum he spoke of tearing houses down and placing underground reservoirs under artificial turf. Is that a genius that thinks out of the box, or that someone with grandiose ideas that have no practical appeal? He also spoke of an indoor tournament facility that would attract visitors to Arlington Heights. Not possible in this economy, right now. Some professional teams can’t even make money. How would the sports facility be built without tax subsidy?

    My instincts tell me that winning votes for Drake bring the worst outcome for Arlington Heights …
    I don’t believe Drake has any skills that he can transfer from Avondale to Arlington Heights that are more effective than the other two candidates
    I don’t trust that Drake will lower property taxes

    I DO believe Drake is more of a politician than we are accustomed to in Arlington Heights
    I DO believe that Drake’s political skills and advertising skills would have more risks than benefits
    I DO believe that Drake’s style would cause more contentious situations on the board
    I DO believe that things Drake would try to do would actually lower the quality of life in Arlington Heights

    I DO believe that greater citizen participation at meetings and pressure from citizens can drive trustees to be more flexible and open-minded
    I DO believe we can work for a more transparent government without Drake (Hellner has the best ideas on this topic)
    I DO believe citizens can demand a more streamlined business approval track without Drake

    Additionally, the underground vaults are not Drake’s idea. Working to prevent flooding, the Village of Arlington Heights already had an underground reservoir installed at the northwest corner of Kensington Road and Dryden within the last few months. The reservoir is under a paved area. As mentioned in another comment, more problems are created by lack of natural drainage in soil and turf, and the lack of natural transpiration and evaporation of moisture from grass, plants, plant leaves, trees, etc. Putting artificial turf over a reservoir on an otherwise grassy park area is not a wise choice compared to putting an underground reservoir under a parking lot.

  21. Amanda says:

    Hayes is from that good old boys club. Chicago style politics at it’s best. A lot of residents, both Republican and Democrat feel he has a ethics issue. The business community and residents can no longer survive and afford to live in Arlington Heights. The damage is done, but Hellner can start fixing the issues and make local government free of nepotism and unfriendliness. Say no way to Hayes.

  22. Rick says:

    Anything But Drake! HELLNER YES HAYES YES DRAKE NO!!!

  23. Joan says:

    Ditto … Rick, Gina, Jeepguy

    PRO HAYES OR HELLNER
    No thanks on Drake.

  24. Peg says:

    I also approached Mr. Drake at the AH forum…he was arrogant, cold, and boarder line rude….smiling for the cameras very much the marketing man who wants to use AH for a stepping stone to run for a more public office…ask yourself do you want your neighbors foreclosed house to become a retention pond? Hayes is same old, same old…very impressed with the smarts, articulation and ideas presented by Hellner….Heller is what AH needs! Vote April 9th – HELLNER new ideas, new leadership for Arlington Hts.

  25. Karen says:

    I was still undecided who to vote for, but after reading this article I definitely WON’T vote for Drake. I shared the article with my husband! My husband pulled DRAKE THE FAKE’s sign out of the ground this morning!

  26. Kandi says:

    DRAKE GO BACK TO ARIZONA SO U CAN KEEP UP WITH YOUR TAN!!

  27. Richard Walsh says:

    Trust me I do know the definition of disingenuous, and discourse. Can you say AGENDA, Cardinal?

  28. Richard Walsh says:

    Wow, fifteen or twenty paragraphs and a few research papers thrown in to discredit a guy who looked at you funny. Five paragraphs to rebut my comment.

    “You attack me for beginning a discourse and drawing a conclusion that differs from yours?” You have no idea what my conclusion is because I didn’t state one. You have no idea whether I like Drake or dislike him, or any other candidate.

    You and your organizations response says it all.

  29. Bruce says:

    Hayes will bring nothing new to this town if he gets elected. This town is slowly dying. He does not care about the average Joe and his voting record shows it. I will vote for Hellner it sounds like.

  30. @Richard — So you are either a “troll for Drake” intending to marginalize The Cardinal’s journalism, or a self-appointed troll policing journalism across the world — I guess.

    To someone that doesn’t know what “disingenuous” means, all that rebuttal writing for all those paragraphs must seem like really hard, time-consuming work.

    That second paragraph of yours just might earn you an award for most words with the least information. Your sentence about whether I know you like Drake or not shows that you have a dizzying intellect (that’s not necessarily a compliment). You must really feel like you got me on that one, but I don’t make any conclusions about anyone sitting on the other side of a comment board. Why would you waste so much time commenting and marginalizing The Cardinal? You very well could be a tool and a troll for Drake. Except for amusement, I don’t really care. You’re definitely a tool for The Cardinal. You remind me of Vizzini from the movie Princess Bride …


    Where was I … then we’re at an impasse.

  31. BL says:

    Thanks for reporting on Drake. I was considering him as Hayes is definitely more of the same and even after talking one-to-one with Hellner for some time, I had doubts. I wish the Herald would do such a good job reporting.

  32. Richard Walsh says:

    Why are your comments so vitriolic. I said you were thin skinned and you reply with all this anger and call me a “tool” and a “troll”. I have a “Dizzying Intellect”, then I’m referred to as a “Princess Bride” character? (I actually think that guy is hilarious).

  33. Richard Walsh says:

    What happened to the last comment(#33)? Didn’t like it Mr. Moderator?

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