Oak Lawn Village Trustee Alex Olejniczak argued at a recent Planning and Development Commission meeting that the members should respect what the people of the area were asking. As it turns out, the people of the area are district 2 residents, the area that Olejniczak represents.
The attitude exhibited by Olejniczak in his decision to go before the “independent” Planning and Development Commission is that this time the opinions of the residents matter. His argument was that this issue was important because his residents were against the demolition of an old house and the construction of two new homes on the lot because the lot sizes would be six inches shorter than other lots. That’s right, six inches.
Olejniczak hasn’t always had that attitude regarding the will of the people. In fact, he voted to outsource the 911 Emergency Communications operation and fire 20 unionized village employees despite the overwhelming opposition from residents throughout the village.
He also has not been very accommodating to his fellow Trustees’ wishes or the opinions of residents in other districts. His feud with longtime Trustee Robert Streit was obviously controlling his thoughts when he made the motion to approve a medical office building’s 62% parking variation on 95th Street even though the residents opposed the variance. The building now blocks the views of drivers and creates a safety hazard for those residents. He voted to give Larry Deetjen’s lifelong friend a yes vote on a project that the neighborhood opposed.
When former Trustee Carol Quinlan complained that residents in her area thought the district was being shortchanged on repaving streets, Olejniczak dismissed the claims. Again, Olejniczak stood with behind Deetjen and not the people of the fifth district.
When his own party member, Michael Carberry, argued against a liquor license for a fast food spot, Olejniczak voted to award the license. It didn’t matter if the residents were against the idea. Larry Deetjen was in favor of the license.
Trustee Terry Vorderer recently was the only Trustee to vote against a bar in his district claiming that residents didn’t want the establishment. Olejniczak agreed to delay the vote but then turned around and supported the Village Manager’s recommendation for a license.
In all of those instances, the residents voiced opposition to plans and Olejniczak ignored their voices.
The administration supports the subdivision of the two homes now in Olejniczak’s own district. Usually, Olejniczak blindly supports the wishes of the Village Manager. When residents throughout the village came forward asking the board to investigate the problems with the 911 Emergency Communications, he blindly followed Deetjen’s recommendation to do nothing.
In fact, he claimed that there weren’t any problems. He called complaints from firefighters and police officers “concerns” and not problems. In trying to minimize the complaints he was dismissing the problems and placing residents and first responders in danger. It didn’t seem to matter to him in the least that the residents were speaking loudly against the outsourcing.
Now, he’s asking his fellow Trustees to vote no because some District 2 residents are against allowing a builder to construct two homes with frontages of 44.6 feet rather than 45 feet. He’s hiding behind the idea that some residents are against the plans.
The question is why does Alex Olejniczak think the opinions of residents in other districts matter less than the residents of District Two?