Four years ago, Oak Lawn Trustee Bob Streit’s opponent was thrown off the ballot for nominating petition irregularities.
The challenger, Dan Sodaro, a newcomer to village politics, subsequently conducted a write-in campaign and came within 11 votes of defeating Streit.
Today, Sodaro is a member of the Ridgeland School District 122 school board, the same position he held when challenged Streit in 2011.
Streit, meanwhile, is seeking re-election to his sixth term on the village board. This time he’s in a three-way race facing challengers Scott Hollis and J. John “J.J.” Zurek.
Certainly, a three-way race benefits the Streit, who likely wants to avoid a head-to-head matchup with Hollis.
The question is: who is J. John “J.J.” Zurek, and is his candidacy legitimate or did he enter the race to benefit Streit?
Hollis’ supporters would like nothing more than to end Streit’s 20-year tenure on the board. He too is a relative newcomer to Oak Lawn, having moved to the village a few years ago.
But he’s already released campaign literature critical of Streit that signals that a real battle is ahead in District 3.
Streit has positioned himself as a staunch opponent of Mayor Sandra Bury, and has used the village’s decision to outsource the 911 dispatching center as his rallying cry.
Steve Loulouis indicated a few weeks ago that he planned to run in District 3, but apparently changed his mind and did not submit petitions by Monday night’s deadline.
Loulouis ran unsuccessfully for 3rd District trustee several years ago, losing a four-way race to Streit.
Oak Lawn’s 1st District will see a rematch of the 2013 race, in which Trustee Tim Desmond defeated then-incumbent Cindy Trautsch.
Trautsch was appointed to the board when Jerry Hurckes stepped down. She ran with former Mayor Dave Heilmann’s support in 2013.
Trautsch has kept her hand in village politics since her defeat, filing a compliant that Desmond failed to file the required paperwork with the Illinois State Board of Elections before running for office.
In the 5th District, the battle to replace Trustee Carol Quinlan will feature Dan Johnson, president of the Oak Lawn VFW, and Bud Stalker, who is endorsed by Quinlan. Meanwhile, Paul Vail, who announced his candidacy several months ago, did not file petitions.
Currently, Mayor Sandra Bury enjoys a 4-2 majority on the board with Streit and Quinlan typically opposing her.
Victories by Streit, Stalker and Trautsch would be necessary to create an evenly divided board and force Bury to break 3-3 votes on some occasions.
The races in the other towns covered by the Reporter also are set.
In Evergreen Park, incumbents Mary Keane, Mark Marzullo and Jim McQuillan are running for re-election to the six-member village board. They will be joined on the ballot by challenger Christopher Trzeciak, president of the Evergreen Park High School District 231 school board.
In Chicago Ridge, incumbents both Jack Lind and Dan Badon have submitted nominating petitions.
Challengers Fran Coglianese, a long-time clerical employee at the Chicago Ridge Village Hall; Bill McFarland, a paid-on-call firefighter and a member of the Our Lady of the Ridge school board; and Don Pratl, a former trustee and member of the School District 218 board, also have filed petitions to run election. Three seats are up for election.
In Palos Hills, there are contested races for alderman in two of the city’s five wards.
Mike Lebarre and Sonia Khalil are running for the 3rd Ward seat vacated by Ald. Bill Hansen. Meanwhile, in the 5th Ward, Dawn Nowak is challenging incumbent Ald. Frank Williams. Additionally, incumbents Marty Keefisch (1st), Pauline Stratton (2nd) and Joseph Marrotta (4th) have turned in their petitions and appear to be running unopposed.
In Hickory Hills Mayor Mike Howley, City Clerk D’Lorah Catizone and Treasurer Dan Schramm are running unopposed.
Additionally, Joe Mancuso has filed to run for alderman in the 2nd Ward against Ald. John Szeszycki. In the 4th Ward, Colleen Kelly, a member of the Lyons Township Town Board, will challenge Ald. Scott Zimmerman.
Meanwhile, Ald. Mike McHugh (1st) and Ald. Tom McAvoy (3rd) will run unopposed for another term on the city council.
In Worth, trustees Mary Rhein, Pete Kats and Warren Soldan along with challengers Bruce LeBeau and Kevin Ryan have submitted petitions.