Crowley has contributed much to the community
The area newspapers deserve credit for publishing a profile of each candidate running for a position on the District 208 school board. Usually this format is an excellent source of accurate information that can help voters get to know the candidates.

The profile of Marty Crowley is obviously incomplete! Anyone who knows him is aware of the many contributions he has made to our community and school district.

To benefit those who have never had the opportunity to work with Marty, I have listed just a few of the organizations he has been involved with: North Riverside youth basketball coach, S.E. Gross PTO member, Lyons Swim Club board member, Brookfield National Little League Baseball coach, American Youth Soccer Organization, Riverside-Brookfield Otters Swim Team.

To those voters that already know Marty, say hello the next time you see him. To area residents who don’t know him, look around. He attends just about every Riverside-Brookfield High School event on the calendar. If he is not serving in a highly visible position, you can find him behind the scenes quietly working and getting the job done.

The District 208 community is fortunate to have several highly qualified individuals interested in running for a position on the school board. The local papers have an obligation to provide a fair profile of each candidate and give credit where credit is due.
Deborah Pike

? The Landmark has not yet published its election guide, but will do so on March 30.

Why are debates such a big issue now?
Much to-do has been made about the VIP Party of Brookfield and their reluctance to debate the issues prior to the consolidated election April 5.

Newspapers have reported this and editorials have been written, but how short memories are! The VIP Party wanted to debate the PEP Party in 2001 and 2003, and PEP side-stepped the challenge both times. Why is it now a big issue?

Furthermore, a recent flier mailed out by the PEP Party lists their areas of concern. Upon review of this flier, it is interesting to note that virtually all of their concerns have already been accomplished or implemented by the VIP Party. What’s to debate?
Thomas Nowicki

? Thomas Nowicki is a VIP candidate for Brookfield village trustee.

Brookfield’s VIP leaves lots of questions unanswered
It is both sad and amusing that Bill Russ and his VIP cronies refuse to participate in a debate hosted by the newspapers, but they continue to send anonymous letters attacking his opponents. To top it off, this weekend we get a piece telling us that someone is lying. I’d like to see some concrete answers to the alleged “lies” in the last piece.

Financial condition: Ketchmark and Garvey have shown the actual Brookfield budget pages that tell how bad the finances are. My alley hasn’t been graded in over a year, and the alleys in the business districts are deplorable. Why aren’t we spending the money to get our grader repaired if we are so flush with money? Why aren’t we getting the new ambulance and fire equipment promised in other campaigns and scheduled by previous administrations?

Crime Rate: It’s a funny coincidence that the crime figures for last year are suddenly adjusted downward right before the election, even though arrests are up. Are people being arrested for no reason?

Brookfield’s Taxes: Brookfield voters approved the largest tax increase in Brookfield history to fund the police and fire departments, but there have been no police cars or fire trucks purchased. What is the net gain in personnel in both the police and fire department?

Russ tells us how many police officers and firemen were hired, but how many of them are replacing people through attrition, and how many firemen were hired to replace the contractor paramedics?

Street program: It seems the figures for street replacement are grossly inflated. Can we see a map of roads that were actually replaced? Parkview Avenue was replaced early on, but it’s crumbled to the point of being worse than its original condition. Is that road included in the total?

Brookfield Development: The CVS is always brought up, but how many new vacant storefronts do we have now? We hear about property values increasing, but property values all over the Chicagoland area have increased. Experts say this is due to the low interest rates. Can Russ and VIP lay claim to that too?

I know Russ would say to come to his office on Saturday morning, but that’s not how things should be done. Many people are asking these same questions, and no answers are forthcoming other than campaign rhetoric on literature. Sadly, we have two more weeks of this to look forward to. It’s more important than ever for all Brookfield voters to go to the polls on April 5 and return honesty and integrity to the Village of Brookfield.
Tricia Dennis

Clearing up misconceptions about VFW Auxiliary
It has come to the attention of the Brookfield VFW board members that a misconception or our newly formed Men’s Auxiliary is in the rumor mill, especially in regards to the contested upcoming elections.

The Brookfield men’s Auxiliary was formed on Dec. 8, 2004, according to the VFW Illinois Department guidelines, which state: “Eligibility in the Men’s Auxiliary to the veterans of Foreign Wars shall be limited to husbands, widowers, fathers, grandfathers, sons, grandsons, brothers and half brothers of persons who were or are eligible for membership in the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Men eligible for membership in the VFW shall not be eligible for membership in the Men’s Auxiliary.”

There is some misunderstanding in the above, where certain members of the Brookfield community believe that village board members who are not veterans are members of the VFW. This is not true. They have been duly scrutinized and are members of the Men’s Auxiliary as outlined above.

The VFW and its Men’s Auxiliary is a veterans, youth and community service organization based on volunteerism and patriotism.

We hope that this letter answers any questions about the Men’s Auxiliary. If any village board member or any Brookfield villager thinks that they are eligible to join either the VFW or the Men’s Auxiliary, please stop by and ask us. If you are a member of the VFW and have questions or concerns about this or any other veteran issue, please attend your monthly meeting on the first Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m.
Patrick McGuire, commander
Marvin “Bud” Payne, quartermaster
Brookfield VFW Post 2868

United Party slate a great choice for Riverside
UP, the United Party for Riverside, is excited to present the slate of Jack Wiaduck for president and Candice Grace, Tom Shields and Kevin Smith for trustees. This team represents experience, objectivity, intelligence and a love for our town. Jenny White, chair of Riverside Community Caucus, said it best:

“We believe that this Riverside Community Caucus slate of candidates will work within our village’s limited budget and attract new resources, provide for our superior Village services and staff, avoid unwarranted excesses, make the right decisions for our future, and continue to plan wisely for and execute long term spending projects for complex infrastructure needs.”

The candidates have been hard at work canvassing neighborhoods and speaking and listening to Riverside residents on a variety of topics. The next few years will be full of challenges. This United Party is willing, ready and focused to meet these challenges and insure success for Riverside.

On April 5, please get out the vote for UP for Riverside. For those citizens needing transportation to the polls, please contact Nancy Peters at 447-5691.

Also, the Riverside Community Caucus is always looking for new members. Riverside has used the caucus process for decades to find non-partisan, qualified and representative individuals to govern our Village. It is the dedication of our citizens to civic leadership which nurtures and protects our home, Riverside. The time commitment is modest, so please consider joining the Caucus. For further information, contact Jay Van Cura at or 447-1812.
Mary Cerrone
? Mary Cerrone is a member of the Riverside Community Caucus.

Dog owners should be more considerate
As the weather begins to slowly warm up, I’ve noticed a potential problem in the village?”one with messy consequences.

People of Brookfield, please pick up after your dogs! Taking a walk through Brookfield is like going through an obstacle course. Instead of looking where I’m going, I have to look down at my feet to make sure I don’t step in any doggie surprise.

Can we all just be more considerate if we are walking dogs, and pick up after them, so that we can take some pride in our village?
Tina Corradino

Grace an ‘exemplary’ choice for Riverside trustee
I am writing to encourage my fellow citizens to vote for Candi Grace for Village of Riverside trustee.

I had the good fortune to work with Candi when she served as co-chair for Neighbors United for Continuing Excellence, the community organization formed to support the last funding referendum for District 96. Her leadership was exemplary.

Not only did she bring her considerable experience to bear (past school board president for District 96, past president of Riverside Juniors, Central PTA board member, officer of RB Patrons’ Council, Riverside Chapter of Infant Welfare Board Member … space prohibits listing all of her other service to our community), but her good spirit and willingness to do whatever needed doing was an inspiration to everyone involved.

If there was an election for role models for civic service, I would put Candi at the top of the list. I love my hometown, and I can’t think of better hands in which to place its future.
Ben Sells

Elect Sells to D96 school board
We are writing to endorse Ben Sells for the District 96 School Board. As co-chairs of Neighbors United for Continuing Excellence, a community organization formed to support the last school funding referendum, we worked closely with Ben, who served as treasurer for the group. His dedication and hard work was instrumental in the success of the referendum and we feel that he would make an excellent school board member.

Ben has a background as a lawyer, writer, and small business owner. We were especially impressed by the depth of his experience and his clear-minded ability to relate the work of our organization to the educational needs of the students. He is unwavering on two points: that we provide the best possible education for our students, and that we do so in a fiscally responsible manner. His ideas for our schools are at once idealistic and realistic, blending a vision of educational excellence with a deep sense of responsibility to the public that pays the bills.

For our schools to be the best we need the best at every level, from teachers and staff to administration to the school board itself. It is a big thing to entrust the education of your children to others, but in voting for Ben Sells you can rest assured that your trust will be rewarded by an active school board dedicated to providing the best for our students.
Candi Grace
Luann Stirek

Brookfield’s subpoena of press is ‘nonsense’
What is happening in Brookfield?

We have seen the VIP village leadership secretly paying a private individual’s back taxes, paying hush money to a former village employee, filing state-required financial audits months past the deadlines, refusing to debate the issues and engaging in unfair and negative campaigning, including personal attacks on their opponents.

Most troubling of all, now we see the press being subpoenaed for reporting the truth.

I applaud the Landmark’s decision to stand firm against this nonsense. And I sincerely hope that VIP’s actions will not have a chilling effect on the paper and its fair and complete coverage of local events.

I urge all Brookfield residents to support the PEP party in the upcoming elections. Help them to return Brookfield to open and honest government that we can all be proud of.
Patricia Cole

District 95 referendum will help enhance education in Brookfield
We are writing in reference to the District 95 referendum vote. Our son attends Brook-Park School, and we have been extremely impressed with the level of education and dedication shown by the teachers. It has been a joy to be a part of this school in so many ways.

Brook-Park offers a warm and welcoming feeling for new families in the community. We believe that the referendum could offer so much more to the families in the distric?”allowing teachers the tools necessary to do their best for our children and their educational futures. Obviously, our teachers, who we hold in such high regard, deserve more competitive salaries.
Holly Malone

District 95 has invested to create better schools
In response to Kathleen Howe-Hrach’s letter to the editor “No blank check for District 95” (March 16), I feel compelled to provide a different perspective from a parent who currently has children attending District 95 schools.

We have lived in the district for 12 years and have a fifth-grader attending S.E. Gross Middle School and a first grader attending Brook-Park Elementary School. My husband and I are both very involved in the district. My husband is currently a member of the Board of Education, and I have served on the district’s Strategic Planning Committee, as well as volunteering in both schools.

Over the last three to six years, I have seen a remarkable improvement in the quality of our schools. In my opinion, it is due to spending the money needed to provide decent salaries to our teachers, stipends for extracurricular programs, and funds to provide much needed facility improvements.

As a matter of fact, it was a parents/grassroots initiative a few years ago to let the Board of Education know that we needed to increase our teachers’ salaries because we were in jeopardy of losing some really good teachers because our salary levels were so far behind area districts.

I disagree wholeheartedly with Ms. Howe-Hrach’s assumption that we are providing the Board of Education and administration “a blank check with no accountability or fiscal prudence as to how or how much is spent.”

As I mentioned, I served on the district’s Strategic Planning Committee for two years. This committee is comprised of parents, teachers, and staff. We surveyed the schools to find out the needs and direction the parents would like the district to address in regard to curriculum, services, facility needs, etc. A plan has been developed to address these needs with the requisite funding included.

This administration and Board of Education is showing vision and progress. We’re not letting our schools disintegrate through stagnation and status quo. District 95 has been prudent and has been able to improve the quality of education and facilities while earning the state’s highest financial rating.

As a matter of fact, the district has less outstanding debt (bonds) than during the time Ms. Howe-Hrach served on the board. When Ms. Howe-Hrach was on the board, the board did not see the importance of funding the programs we have now. For instance, we didn’t even have an art teacher. Now, we have art and music and band in both schools. We have a much more enriched and coordinated curriculum because we’re investing in our children.

Previous administrations and boards did not have the vision or the fortitude to go to the community and ask if they were willing to invest in the future of their children and their community.

When we moved from the city, we chose to live and raise our children in Brookfield because it was a family-oriented community?”a community with strong family values that understood the importance of our education system in developing and nurturing the character of our children.

Many young families are moving into this area, and the first thing they are looking for is the quality of our schools. The foundation of our community is our school system, and we cannot afford to let that foundation deteriorate.

We are willing to invest in our children. For less than a monthly cable bill, we can assure that our children continue to receive the quality of education that we have come to expect. The district cannot forgo improvements to education for our children and let the facilities deteriorate in the name of saving money.

When you make financial decisions, it has to be a balance between dollars and sense. I urge Ms. Howe-Hrach to reacquaint herself with District 95. Perhaps she will begin to understand what the parents of current students know–that we are on the verge of creating the best schools in the state. We’re doing it in a fiscally responsible manner and we should do all we can to continue in the forward direction that the district is now moving.
Pam Powers

Where will all the money come from?
As a Special Service Area resident, I received tax relief last year on my 10-year-old street. Bill Russ and the VIP board promised to abate the SSA taxes for as long as they sit in charge of the village.

I do not agree with the tax abatement, but I am selling my home, and hope to pass on the savings to the next resident. The amount of money being abated, should Bill Russ and his VIP party win the election, comes close to $3 million, if they follow through on their election promise.

Even more funny is in the March 9 issue of the Landmark, Bill Russ commented he would like to bond out another $5 or $6 million dollars to continue the street program (“Russ sounds off on loan, streets, style and more,” NEWS). Fiscal responsibility? Or robbing Peter to pay Paul?

Commenting on the Village Inn idea presented recently (“Hotel campus concept floated for Brookfield,” NEWS, March 2), I found it strange there was no mention of a referendum to approve this idea. Has Bill Russ and the VIP Party come up with a way around this referendum, as the March 2004 referendum question asking $3.8 million bond issuance to assume SSA debt disappeared? On April 5, residents go out and vote! Take part in your village’s future!

Jim Taylor