The gloves are off.
Until now, Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury has not said much publicly about the anonymous website that I affectionately call the Cowardly Blog.
The blog was started by former mayor Dave Heilmann last year but he said he no longer has time for it. For a long time, people had suspicions and educated guesses as to who was still running it but the bloggers insisted on keeping it a secret. They thought that taking shots at people behind the mask of anonymity is noble and a new style of journalism that makes their stories more important than the byline.
That is warped logic but if that’s what you are going to hang your hat on...
The Cowardly Blog does come up with some solid journalistic work because it has some great inside information. But it also takes a few too many liberties with its own ethics and Bury, who has become the largest target, said it no longer bothers her.
But I think it still bothers her.
When Bury and Worth Mayor Mary Werner were guests at the League of Women Voters of the Palos-Orland area Saturday morning at the Palos Heights Library, the two mayors were asked about how tough it was to deal with negative campaigning against them.
That’s when Bury took off the gloves. She said that she is still getting attacked through this blog and named names.
“The content is written by seated trustee Bob Streit and his business partner Dennis Brennan,’’ she said. “They have developed this website. They will take any angle — as long as it’s negative – and throw it out there. You could say nothing — you could show up and smile and they will be like ‘look, she’s doing nothing.’ You do anything and it’s ‘look what she did.’ It’s really disheartening and small-minded.
“These are people who are really motivated by hate and that’s wrong. I think people are tired of that.’’
She wasn’t done.
“I’m a single woman and they’ve called me a lesbian,’’ Bury said. “It’s unbelievable. There is no bottom to the depths they want to drag this. I’m not looking down there. I’m looking ahead. I’m looking forward. We want to nurture and grow and collaborate and develop. It’s not in my playbook to just wallow in this stuff. At first it was hurtful. It’s kind of like the schoolyard bully tactics. It’s pretty aggressive to this day in Oak Lawn. But it’s fine. I’m here to do a job.’’
Since the Cowardly Blog frequently canonizes Streit, it’s no surprise his name surfaced. Streit would not return calls to find out his association with the blog.
Bury said that fighting with the blog is in the past.
“At first I wanted to say ‘they are lying [and] I’m going to do what you did. I’m going to respond to everything.’’’ she said. “I would be up until 2 a.m. typing a response and I wasn’t going to put up with it. Then I realized that if I do this, I’m going to get nothing done and then they win. So they don’t win by being negative. I think they lost. But they would really be victorious if I got nothing accomplished.
“I’m just going to be aware of them but I’m not going to let them drag me into the mud. I don’t really have an interest in answering every single lie out there. But they are getting really good at it in respect to social media.’’
Werner chimed in with her displeasure of having Oak Lawn’s soap opera foisted on her via the Cowardly Blog’s e-mails to the world.
“Every mayor in the Southwest conference gets those silly messages from that organization,” Werner said. “It’s almost as if we signed up for it.’
This drama could go on for a while. It’s sometimes difficult to tell which side is right and which side is wrong.
But we do know that one side is more than willing to put their name on what they say and the others are willing to be noble cowards.
New deadlines are here
I hate to be the bad guy here, but some behind-the-scenes decisions have been made regarding the deadlines of some of our early pages and that affects those of you who want to get us information about your garden clubs, church news, fundraisers and any other worthwhile events you have.
The Reporter deadlines are at noon on the Friday before the next issue. Some weeks we might be able to go to 3 p.m. Some weeks we won’t. But we have to have it in by Friday.
For a while we were able to give you better than half a chance on Mondays but that wiggle room is gone.
So, please, we really want your information. But we really, really want it by noon on Fridays.