As Mayor Sandra Bury and her allies tried to recover from the news earlier in the week that her campaign had accepted a huge donation from a company linked to alleged mobsters, four endorsements for her opponent again highlight the problems she has had in uniting Oak Lawn during her tenure.
Mobster donations and pay to play allegations with a $10,000 donation and advertising amounting to over $24,000 to support Bury has galvanized the opposition according to the Streit campaign. That opposition became apparent in the last few days as the Oak Lawn Independent Newspaper strongly endorsed Robert Streit for Mayor and his running mates, Glenn Schlesser, John Koss, and Jozette Palermo, for their respective Trustee positions.
That endorsement was quickly followed by an endorsement from Carol Quinlan, who served Oak Lawn’s 5th District as a Trustee for eight years. Quinlan endorsed Streit over Bury noting she worked on the board with both of them during her tenure. Quinlan also endorsed three new candidates, who Streit has called “a new generation of leaders for Oak Lawn”. Glenn Schlesser is seeking the Trustee seat in District 2 against Alex Olejniczak who broke his term limits pledge and is seeking his fourth term. John Koss is challenging Terry Vorderer in District 4. Vorderer has come under fire for running as an Independent in 2013 but switching to support Bury and Village Manager Larry Deetjen, immediately after the election. The third candidate of the “new generation” is Jozette Palermo, a self employed business woman, with a young son, who has campaigned aggressively door to door in the sixth district against Tom Phelan who also broke a pledge on term limits. Quinlan made it clear that she is enthusiastically behind the challengers:
Bob and this new generation of leaders share a common vision for our great community. Their plan to increase patrols in the neighborhood will be an important first step in stopping this crime increase we are witnessing. Bob and his team have also promised to bring our firefighter/paramedic numbers up to a safe number and correct the problems caused by the privatization of our 911 dispatch center.
Quinlan asked voters to join her and her family in supporting Bob Streit for Mayor. She also noted that it was important for trustee candidates Jozette Palermo, John Koss and Glenn Schlesser “to be elected with ‘Bob’ to make Oak Lawn safe for all of our families.
Former police chief Frank Gilbert, who lives in Oak Lawn, has also endorsed Streit. Former Mayor Dave Heilmann, who served the Village Of Oak Lawn as Mayor for 8 years also issued a letter of endorsement to the campaign. Heilmann touched upon the mudslinging of Bury but concisely set forth the differences between Streit and Bury:
Sandra Bury and her allies supported millions in tax increases, firing 9-1-1 dispatchers, and ignoring serious safety concerns. Trustee Bob Streit opposed these and each time explained why. That was a better position for the future of Oak Lawn….In the past 4 years, mistakes have happened multiple times over, and it is hurting Oak Lawn. I would encourage you to vote for Bob Streit, Glenn Schlesser, John Koss, and Jozette Palermo. They are running to stop these enormous tax increases and make better decisions for our future.
Heilmann and Quinlan’s endorsement are particularly insightful according to the Streit campaign because both Heilmann and Quinlan served with the Phelan, Olejniczak and Vorderer. “They were on the same ticket as Olejniczak and Phelan and now realize that neither should be re-elected,” said Streit.
Streit said the endorsement of the Oak Lawn Independent was “gratifying” because it is an “independent” source of information looking at which candidates will best improve public safety measures and deciding it is an easy decision.
On the other side of the campaign, several Chicago backed politicians have either pumped money or endorsements into the Bury campaign. One such endorsement included a claim that the Bury slate supports term limits even though Trustee Alex Olejniczak and Tom Phelan are violating their own term limit pledge of three terms by running again.
One of the Chicago backed politicians connected to Bury was named in a Channel 5 Carol Marin investigation as someone that illegally registered voters including himself to an address in Chicago that belonged to a bar, “Bohica’s”. The Chicago politician, who backs Bury and the Trustees, did not fire the staffer even after the felonies were revealed on television. Now, those same individuals have come into the Oak Lawn campaign.
Two politicians from the south suburbs of Olympia Fields and Country Club Hills have also been tied to Bury through campaign donations. One is Country Club Hills Mayor James Ford and the other is Olympia Fields Trustee Howard Robinson. Both have connections to Chicago backed politicians and were named in an Oak Lawn Leaf story regarding contributions.
Streit said that he would rather have the endorsements of real Oak Lawn people and institutions, like Heilmann and the Independent Newspaper. He said that the Oak Lawn Independent is the oldest newspaper serving Oak Lawn and Bury is the only incumbent Mayor that the paper refused to endorse. “The message is clear when you have a newspaper endorse every singe suburban Mayor for re-election and then note that we need new leadership only in Oak Lawn,” said Streit.
Streit said that Quinlan’s endorsement means “the world” to him because she has worked with both Bury, her Trustees and him during the years. “She knows what we’ve done, she knows who you can count on and she knows who should lead us for the next four years,” stated Streit. He said that Chief Gilbert’s endorsement shows that independent law enforcement officers agree that we must do a better job on reducing the violent crime increase in our neighborhoods.