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Observation: the 3rd Responsibility of Citizenship – Part Four

Viewed 1500 times 2017-3-27 01:19 |System category:Life| Local, Elections, Observation, Responsibility, Citizenship

Over the last few months, I have been regaling my readers about my activities getting four candidates to run for the Hinsdale Library Board – an organization that is responsible for running the Hinsdale Library – which is open as close as it can for 365 days a year with a full time/part time staff of about 40 to 50 people (depending on time of the year).  This entity operates with a budget (raised from yearly municipal property taxes) of about 3 to 4 million dollars a year.  The members of the board serve for four years, unpaid, spending upwards from 15 to 20 hours a month, interacting with the Hinsdale community and Library Staff.  For the discussions that need to be made, it is crucial that the board has all seven members available to serve.


For this year’s election of 2017, there will be four open positions on the library board, as four of the existing members want to step down.  That was made very clear to the Hinsdale Caucus Library Board (i.e. the folks I worked with for months to get four candidates picked).  However, given the events that I described in my past article ( we were left short a candidate and the committee had to scramble to get a fourth.  As you can see from the attached report from the DuPage County Election Commission, there will only be 3 Candidates running for 4 open positions on the April 7, 2017 election.  Looks like the other candidates that were ‘held as alternatives’ balked once they were told the extent they would have to scramble within a week’s time (getting 50 signatures notarized, getting all state forms filled out for disclosing how much money was to be spent ‘running a campaign’, getting to the Village Hall early one morning midweek, etc.).


To most this is not biggest issue, given that the Village of Hinsdale is actually having a contested election for Village President (i.e. the Mayor of the City).  The current President, Tom Cauley, was to ‘follow village tradition’ and step down after two terms in office.  That was going to let the Hinsdale Caucus Candidate, Laura LaPlaca, to run ‘uncontested’ in the open election.  However, Mr. Cauley decided in late November last year that he was still the ‘better option’ to deal with the looming crisis for the village – the soon to be closer and demolition of the Hinsdale Oasis on Illinois Tollway I-294 (which is part of the U.S. Federal Highway System), along with a lane expansion that will involve a good deal of eminent domain buyouts of local homeowners adjacent to the Tollway. 


Now both candidates are spending a good deal of money printing campaign lawn signs and election mailers (which I may say are not sponsored by either of the major political parties in the U.S., or the minor parties for that matter).  Both are promising a good of things to attempt to starve off state and federal officials to reduce the village’s tax revenue base by about 25% with the lost of the Oasis, and further tax shrinkage by the lost of housing by the Tollway.  It is easy to promise a good deal, with the expected turnout is going to be 2,000 people on April, 7th.  However, given the task of dealing with the two major political parties in Springfield, Illinois and Washington D.C. – these promise will look very quaint (and foolish) to all ‘outsiders’.


So where does that leave services like village police force, fire department, schools, and my involvement that was the library?  The pragmatist in me thinks that the all of these groups better start thinking of operating with smaller budgets going into the future.  That should also be the same thinking the Hinsdale Caucus should be taking – given that for all the supposed power they yield at a small scale (a village of 17,000 people as of the 2010 U.S. Census), they are merely a ‘bedroom community’ within a suburban tract of a major metropolitan area (Chicago) and state (Illinois) that grappling with much larger issues.  Moreover it is imperative that the Hinsdale Caucus is more than willing to get a pool of candidates together every election to avoid having situations which the Library will now face – an incomplete board that will be tasked with making some very costly decisions.


For those in my readership that are in China, and have had to deal with the local politics in their areas, I do believe a good deal of what I am saying sounds very familiar.  Regardless of country, regardless of political system, there is still the ‘daily grind’ of local and provincial functions that get little to no attention from the national government, let alone the local population, until something happens that leaves a local village with a shortfall that they cannot seem to recover from.  However, if there is village with a populace that will serve in the local political party(ies), participate in civil functions, and most of all observe the activities that the will affect them – that village is sure to continue to exist, if not prosper, when other larger, more ‘magnificent’ cities crumble to dust and are lost to the ravages of time and events.

Needed four people to serve, only were able to get three on the ballot

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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China's Eccentric 'Uncle Laowai' from Chicago, IL


Recent comments

  • The Question of Term Limits 2018-1-3 01:28

    Voice CD - any particular reason there was a pass on the graphic I created for this article - PM me if you cannot state in public.

  • The Question of Term Limits 2018-1-3 01:27

    Liononthehunt: The political scene in the US is more worrisome.
    Oh?  How do you perceive it to be so?

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