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Our Endorsements

Area voters will next Tuesday decide who they want as their mayors, trustees, aldermen, school board members, etc

It is disheartening there are so many uncontested elections here in the southwest suburbs — there are no races in Palos Hills for mayor or aldermen, nor has anyone challenged any of the incumbent trustees in Evergreen Park. There are also several school boards, library boards and park districts with uncontested races. This could be interpreted as residents being completely satisfied with their existing leadership, but we hardly think that’s the case. We chalk it up more to people not wanting to waste their time and effort running against incumbents when the chance is greater they will be hassled, intimidated or have their character questioned than it is they will be elected.

There are certainly other factors at play in this trend, but whatever the case may be, we still have several hotly contested elections in this area. In Oak Lawn, opposing political factions headed by the incumbent mayor and the challenger to his seat have full slates of candidates vying for six spots on the Village Board. In Worth Township, an upstart group of primarily Oak Lawn residents is attempting to oust the old school administration that has ruled the township for more than a decade.

So, without further ado, our endorsements.

Worth Village Board
Mayor
In a typically heated race, village Trustee Mary Werner is running against incumbent Mayor Randy Keller. We have questions about both candidates: Werner has limited experience in government, having served just two years as a trustee; while Keller’s representation of the village’s financial figures in an attempt to boast about his record as mayor is questionable at best. Keller likes to talk about a supposed $1.7 million shortfall he claims to have closed after being elected in 2009; however, what he doesn’t like to acknowledge is that the money was for one-time expenses toward street reconstruction and the firefighters who were absorbed into the North Palos Fire Protection District.

We can’t deny Keller has helped reduce spending — he has helped trim the fat from the village’s budget with a conservative approach to village management, and the 1-percent sales tax increase implemented after voters approved a referendum in 2011 has contributed more than $200,000 to the village coffers — so we have to give credit where credit is due.

However, we have a hard time supporting a mayor who has in our opinion attempted to misconstrue facts, has waged petty battles against political opponents or merely those he perceives to be opponents, and whose administration lacks transparency (at least in the three years and several months before this week, when Keller was more than forthcoming with financial figures that could help him be re-elected). Getting even basic information from Keller or village finance director Dwayne Fox can at times be like pulling teeth, and asking questions pertaining to the information they provide has at times been met with either non-answers or defensiveness. It can also not be overlooked that two trustees we consider to be excellent public servants with no axes to grind have left Keller’s party.

Is Keller a bad mayor? No. Is he the best Worth has to offer? Maybe not. This is admittedly a tough call, but we think voters should choose Mary Werner as the next mayor of Worth.

Trustee
Incumbents Colleen McElroy, Rich Dziedzic and Jim Serpico, and political newcomer Tedd Muersch Jr. are up for the three available trustee seats.

McElroy is a tireless worker who is engaged in the community and may have her finger on the pulse of Worth to a greater degree than anyone on the Village Board, maybe even in the village. We would advise her to get her ducks in a row before pursuing some endeavors — bar crawl, anyone? — but all razzing aside, McElroy has served Worth well and we recommend voters re-elect her.

We cannot help but be impressed with Muersch, who grew up in the family that owns Krapil’s the Great Steak and has a business acumen that is off the charts. The fact he is “only” 29 shouldn’t deter voters, the Worth Village Board would be well-served with some young blood and different perspectives, and Muersch’s understanding of business and finance may transcend that of all but a select few people who have served on the board in the past 20 years. We think voters should elect Muersch to his first term in office.

We don’t know much about Rich Dziedzic, to tell you the truth, but he seems like a nice guy and he is an experienced business manager. He has been part of a Village Board that has reduced spending and put the village on more financially stable footing. We think voters should re-elect Dziedzic to a second term.

Evergreen Park
Mayor

We recommend voters re-elect Jim Sexton, under who the village has seen unprecedented development and progress in the midst of a prolonged recession. Sexton’s hardline tactics can be questionable and he is not beyond reproach, but tell us what other southwest suburb of comparable size has done as well as Evergreen over the past eight years and we’ll say you are either lying or terribly misinformed. Property taxes in Evergreen have remained low compared to other area suburbs, and to drive though Evergreen gives one the impression the country is undergoing an economic boom. Meijer, Menards, Walgreens, Culver’s, etc., not to mention the possible redevelopment of the Evergreen Plaza, which if it happens could be the greatest commercial progress of all.

We applaud Shawn Good for presenting a challenge in this race — even after she was booted from the ballot by an electoral board composed of Sexton’s political allies she persevered and waged a write-in campaign — but Sexton is clearly the best choice for Evergreen Park.
 

Opinion: Gay marriage

Another Perspective

By Matt Barber

  “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is,” said the smooth-talking, skirt-chasing, totally busted philanderer.
  “Well, no, Bill,” replied Congress. “Actually, things just ‘is’ what they is.”
  Here’s what marriage is: The God-ordained, lifelong, covenantal union between man and wife, designed to provide men, women and children optimal stability and overall well-being. Marriage is that biologically, spiritually and morally centered institution calculated to ensure responsible procreation and perpetuate the human race. Marriage — real marriage — represents the fundamental cornerstone of any healthy society (any society that hopes to survive, at least).
  Here’s what marriage is not: Anything else.
  In short, marriage is what it is.
  That our nation has fallen so far, so fast in its embrace of empty relativism makes the head swim. It’s at once perplexing and heartbreaking that we have a U.S. Supreme Court seriously considering inventing a newfangled “right” to that chicane aberration tagged “same-sex marriage.” This is true particularly when one considers that the defining behaviors central to “gay marriage” were, for hundreds of years and for obvious reasons, legally and properly classified as “crimes against nature.” Though our postmodern zeitgeist may have changed, objective reality has not.
  Indeed, American culture, while casting aside that which is just, moral and true, has, instead, taken-up that which is unjust, immoral and false. This abject rejection of absolute truth provides compelling evidence that the good ‘ol USA — the greatest nation on earth — is on the fast track to becoming “the late, great USA.”
  So-called “gay marriage” is a counterfeit — a mockery of legitimate marriage. It’s like taking a rotten apple, spray-painting it orange, and then calling it an orange. “Same-sex marriage” is no more real marriage then a rotten apple is an orange. It’s mock marriage.
  One of the best appraisals I’ve read on marriage was presented in 2003 to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI). Among other things, the future pontiff explicitly recognized the empirical fact that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” Following are excerpts from his treatise titled “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons”:
  The Church’s teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman … in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new human lives. …
  In the first place, man, the image of God, was created “male and female” (Gen 1:27). Men and women are equal as persons and complementary as male and female. Sexuality is something that pertains to the physical-biological realm and has also been raised to a new level — the personal level — where nature and spirit are united. …
  There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts “close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
  To be sure, “marriage equality” already exists. It is, quite simply, the self-evident truth that both husband and wife are co-equal, indispensable partners essential to the formulation of a marriage covenant. While moral relativists clamor for their propagandist version of “marriage equality,” the rest of us live in marriage reality.
  Every single mentally competent adult enjoys the right to marry within exactly the same parameters required by natural law. Thus, “equal protection under the law” is afforded to all. As long as your spouse-to-be is 1) not too closely related, 2) of legal age, 3) only one person, 4) of the opposite sex and 5) a biped of the genus homo-sapien — then you’re golden. Marry away.
  If you remove one requirement — in this case, the binary male-female prerequisite — then there is no justification, logical or legal, for not removing all requirements. If we yank one foundational brick from the marriage wall, then, as in the days of Jericho, the whole danged thing comes a-tumblin’. That is to say, if the Supreme Court rolls out “gay marriage,” then legalized polygamy, incestuous marriage and heaven-knows-what-else must inevitably follow.
  Even still, the willy-nilly left loves to suggest that “gay marriage” supporters are “on the right side of history.” This is utter nonsense. Natural marriage has, for all of history, been on the “right side of history;” and so it shall remain.
  Another rotten apples-to-oranges false equivalency is to claim that precluding “gay marriage” is akin to banning interracial marriage. Again, this is nonsense. Liberals, in making their case for the former, are quick to cite Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court case that invalidated anti-miscegenation laws.
  By comparing “gay marriage” to interracial marriage, leftists endeavor to draw a parallel where none exists. The Loving Court both recognized and affirmed the fundamental man-woman nature of marriage while simply — and rightly so — removing arbitrary and truly discriminatory racial barriers. While Loving left the institution of natural marriage fully intact, a pro-”gay marriage” ruling by the High Court would thoroughly deconstruct it.
  In sum, proponents of counterfeit “gay marriage” pretend that normalcy, biology, history, morality and sanity are all irrelevant to the debate. They are not. As counterfeit money devalues the dollar, counterfeit “gay marriage” devalues the institution of legitimate marriage.
  Scripture reminds us that, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Ultimately, the oxymoronic notion of “same-sex marriage” is nothing new. It’s both rooted in man’s age-old rebellion against God and ancient pagan sexual morality.
  So, I’ll leave you with this fundamental question: Since God undeniably designed marriage to be the exclusive union of man and wife — who, or what, then, do you suppose manufactured the absurd notion of “same-sex marriage?”
  I think the answer is pretty clear.

Matt Barber (Twitter @jmattbarber) is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as vice president of Liberty Counsel Action.
 

Frackin' freedom


Jim Hightower

In Other Words

 

By Jim Hightower

  It’s one thing for Big Oil to bust into our communities, groundwater, and economic well-being with the hydraulic fracturing natural gas boom.
  Now, in addition to poisoning the environment, this fracking fad is busting the free speech rights of locals who dare to speak out against it.
  Welcome to Sanford, N.Y. It’s a pleasant place of 2,800 citizens on the New York-Pennsylvania border. Unfortunately, the pleasantness has been interrupted by a major squabble over whether or not to allow big companies to extract natural gas by fracturing the huge Marcellus Shale formation that underlies the region.
  Fracking is already rampant in Pennsylvania, but New York imposed a moratorium on the dangerous practice to assess the health and safety issues involved.
  However, as OnEarth magazine reports, Sanford’s town board is eager to allow oil and gas outfits to frack away. The board even leased land to one corporation that wants to drill inside the town. Last fall, Sanford officials went further, imperiously imposing a gag order on their own citizens. It seems that opponents of the profiteering frack rush were using the board’s public comment session to…well, to comment publicly.
  Irritated, the board decreed that any topic could be discussed at its meetings — except fracking.
  The town leveled this autocratic restriction on people’s democratic rights by saying that the ongoing discussion on fracking got in the way of other board business. But, gosh, that’s the way it is in a democracy. The people themselves can dare to set the agenda by insisting that our local leaders discuss the big issues that matter most to our families and communities.
  The gagged townspeople have now sued the Sanford board for fracking their free speech rights and making a mockery of democracy. For more information, contact Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy: www.catskillcitizens.org.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. OtherWords.org

Well done, Margaret Thatcher ... the passing of the Iron Lady

Another Perspective

 

By Paul Kengor

  Margaret Thatcher, one of the greatest leaders of the Cold War, of the 20th century, and of British history, has died at the age of 87.
  I’ve referred to her as one of my Cold War seven: Ronald Reagan, John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, Boris Yeltsin, and Margaret Thatcher. They were the seven figures who dissolved an Evil Empire, and only Walesa and Gorbachev still remain with us.
  The world dubbed her the Iron Lady, a title that duly fits. Many, however, mistake the Iron Lady moniker as referring solely to her strength in the Cold War. There was much more to it. Consider:
  Margaret Thatcher is arguably the most complete British leader of the last 100 years, surpassing even Winston Churchill. Like Churchill, she was tough and successful in foreign policy, taking on and vanquishing totalitarian evil. Churchill warned the world as the Iron Curtain descended across Europe. Decades later, the world celebrated as the Iron Lady helped break the Iron Curtain.
  But unlike Churchill, Margaret Thatcher had enormous domestic successes that Churchill couldn’t touch, and didn’t dare try to touch. When World War II closed, the British people booted Churchill from the prime ministership in preference of Labour leader Clement Attlee, who gave the British populace Keynesian socialism. The masses wanted their welfare state, and Attlee, equipped with promises of “change” and “forward,” gave them a fundamental transformation. In no time, Attlee’s party was spending money unlike anything Britain had ever seen, nationalizing everything under the sun, including with the progressive left’s coup de grace: government healthcare. It was a giant government binge that would bury Britain for decades.
  This fundamental transformation to welfare-statism was so thorough, and so imbibed by the electorate, that when Churchill later returned to office for another term (1951-55) the World War II hero couldn’t stand up to the sacred cows of Britain’s new nanny state. By the late 1970s, the United Kingdom was smothered not only by massive government expenditures and debt but by the enormous and disastrous government unions that the Labour Party had built and nurtured.
  All of this came to a crashing head in the late 1970s, and fittingly under the Labour Party, this time led by Prime Minister James Callaghan. The signature event was the Winter of Discontent (1978-79). The economy was an utter train wreck, debt-ridden and hampered by a prolonged un-recovering “recovery.” Things were made far worse by continual work stoppages by striking public-sector unions. Given that the government ran just about everything, thanks to decades of the British left nationalizing everything, there was garbage literally rotting in the streets and dead people not being buried because of striking government refuse workers and gravediggers.
  Things got so bad that the British electorate was willing to elect a bona fide conservative to run their government: Margaret Thatcher. This was not some squishy moderate that we in the United States would have called a Rockefeller Republican or (today) a RINO. This was the real McCoy; the genuine article. Here was a new leader who actually understood and could articulate what was wrong with Britain — and had the courage to do something about it.
  And so, Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first-ever female prime minister, embarked upon an extraordinary run from 1979-90 that featured three consecutive electoral victories, including the landslide that brought her to power. She then proceeded to take on not just the Soviets abroad, but, at home, the powerful government unions, the Keynesian spending, the bloated cradle-to-grave welfare state, the punitive taxes, the burdensome regulations, and decades of government nationalizations/seizures. As to the latter, Thatcher began a comprehensive campaign of privatization that returned freedom, solvency, and sanity to Britain.
  It was an amazing performance. You can now expect a remarkable outpouring of emotion and appreciation in Britain, much like what America saw with the death of Ronald Reagan and what the world witnessed with the passing of John Paul II, her two Cold War partners and kindred souls. And like her two great Cold War allies, she fortunately lived to see the collapse of the Soviet empire.
  Lady Thatcher outlived both Reagan and John Paul II. Her health, unfortunately, had been in decline for a long time. I recall that she recorded a video eulogy for Reagan’s funeral rather than address the audience live and directly. That was 2004, almost 10 years ago.
  I also recall her parting words to Ronald Reagan: “Well done, thy faithful servant.”
  And now, we can second that tribute. Well done, Lady Thatcher.

— Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and author of the book, “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.”

Fight for the love of freedom

Guest Column

By Bryan Golden

  The yearning to be free from oppression is engrained in the human spirit. Your freedom is a fundamental, unalienable right, not something granted to you by others.
  Your freedom is priceless. Your freedom is the foundation of happiness. Freedom motivates people to discover, invent, create and build. Every comfort and convenience you enjoy today was possible because of freedom. Your quality of life is dependent on how much freedom you have. Throughout history, free people flourish while the oppressed suffer in relentless misery.
  The human spirit craves freedom. People give up everything they own and risk their lives fleeing tyrannical societies. Countries where freedom is abundant and recognized as a basic human right are a magnet for people from every walk of life.
  Yet those who grow up with freedom often take it for granted. When freedom is all they have known, they don’t truly appreciate its irreplaceable nature. They have so much freedom that they are not alarmed when their freedom is incrementally suppressed. Then, by the time they realize their freedom has vanished, it’s too late. Once freedom is lost, and those seizing it are firmly entrenched, it is extremely difficult to recover.
  From the beginning of time, power hungry people have existed who seek to dominate others. Human history is characterized by oppression and subjugation. Since the dawn of mankind, tyrants, monarchs, dictators, and despots have been the norm. The misery endured by those living under their control is well documented. It is from these totalitarian societies that people risk everything to escape.
  The loss of your freedom rarely occurs all at once. No person, group, or government ever admits their intention to seize you freedom. Instead, your freedom is deceitfully taken in small increments under the guise of safety, health, personal welfare, fairness, or national security.
  The process of confiscating your freedom involves deceptive scare tactics. The power hungry claim to know what’s best for you. The erosion of your freedom is expedited by polarizing the population, splitting them into groups which are pitted against each other. Then freedom can be taken from each group under the pretext of protection from the other groups.
  This strategy works when people are complacent because they believe the freedoms being taken are not theirs and don’t affect them. However, freedom lost by anyone affects everyone. When freedom isn’t insisted on for all, then freedom will exist for none. All freedoms are essential, not just the ones you benefit from or believe in.
  You must stand up and say ‘no’ to those who would take your freedom or your neighbor’s freedom. Once one freedom starts to fall, a chain reaction begins that will consume all freedoms. Your freedom is hard to get and easy to lose. Although it takes vigilance to protect it, it takes so much more effort to get it back once it’s gone.
  Love and cherish your freedom. Stand up in support of your freedom. Speak out against those who want to suppress any freedoms. Freedom not protected is freedom lost. You have a right to be free.

Bryan is the author of “Dare to Live Without Limits.” Visit www.DareToLiveWithoutLimits.com. @ 2013 Bryan Golden