Edwards committed to ‘honest growth’ in Brookfield
A friend of mine is fond of saying “there are two sides to every story, and then there’s the truth.” Currently there is a lot of disparate information in the hands of Brookfield voters as they (hopefully) try to determine which candidates are being the most truthful.

The Russ Administration has dismissed the criticism of the PEP Party in an interesting way?”without ever refuting it. The VIP Party will not engage in public debate, and they ascertain that their opponents are merely worrisome naysayers. Incidentally, it is not only the PEP Party that is levying serious criticism at Bill Russ. Unfortunately, ignoring the truth won’t make it go away.

I have known Cathy Colgrass Edwards for nearly 20 years, and she is one of the most truthful people that I have ever met. She has a realistic approach to problem-solving?”she sees the truth of the situation clearly, and is committed to the necessary and often times difficult choices.

There are real issues facing the continued development of Brookfield, a town in which I grew up and still hold dear. It is vital to have trust in leaders that will be the stewards of that development. On April 5 vote for the PEP Party and elect Colgrass Edwards as village trustee to ensure the honest growth of Brookfield.

Dakota Shultz

District 96 incumbents deserve reelection on April 5
Each of the four District 96 school board members whose seats are up for election this March are running for re-election, (Cheryl Berdelle, Nancy Jensen, Richard Volpe and Linda Bade), and we are writing to support them.

We are the other three members currently comprising the District 96 board; we were elected or reelected two years ago, and have had the last two years of collaborative work to judge each other’s effectiveness. The longest serving of us has worked with Linda, Richard and Nancy for a full four years, and with Cheryl for six.

Through the crucible of leadership in the public trust, investigating, deliberating and setting the direction for the education of our communities’ children, these candidates individually and as a group have become effective board members, and our community would be well served to retain each of these individuals.

No doubt the others running for the same seats are fine leaders too; we are supportive of all who would consider giving their free time to public service, and of the caucus process which has identified excellent candidates.

We simply feel you should know that your present board is unanimous in support of the group you now have serving your interests, and would chose to preserve this group in its present, effective format in order to successfully meet the challenges we face in the next four years.

Kevin Kemp, vice president

Jim Schraidt
Giles McCarthy
? Kevin Kemp, Jim Schraidt and Giles McCarthy are all District 96 board members.

Plenty of achievements over the past four years in Brookfield
It must be very confusing to voters in local elections. Each party makes statements that seem to be diametrically opposite. I have been a Village of Brookfield trustee for four years. I am proud of accomplishments that have been made in our village during that tenure. I am going to identify some of those accomplishments and unlike some others, I stand ready to prove them.

Brookfield has rebuilt almost 90 blocks of streets. If you doubt that, go to the Village Hall, in the Edward Barcal Board Room. There is a street map posted on the wall which rates the condition of all of Brookfield’s streets and identifies which streets have been replaced.

Virtually all of Brookfield’s tot lots and parks have been improved and made code compliant. There has been new playground equipment installed and an ice skating rink was installed this past winter in Kiwanis Park.

Brookfield’s Fire Department has nine more firefighter/paramedics now that it had four years ago. Six of these were hired to replace contract paramedics, giving our village a reliable dedicated emergency response and three additional firefighter/paramedics to make our fire department even better. The additional funds for these improvements were obtained by voter approval of a referendum.

Brookfield’s Police Department now has 32 personnel; we had 29 in 2001. This with the implementation of 12-hour shifts has enabled us to have more policemen on the street at any given time. This would explain the fact there are more arrests. We are catching more of the offenders. We have also assigned a police officer as a senior liaison. We have systematically replaced at least three police cars every year, insuring us against vehicle failure.

The business sections of Brookfield have been enhanced with banners, benches, trash receptacles and brick pavers. Village buildings have been upgraded and refurbished, the Prairie Avenue train station has been remodeled and numerous other improvements have been made.

The 2020 Master Plan, after much community input, has been implemented. This will provide our village with a roadmap for the future.

I thank the editors for their endorsement in the upcoming village election. However, I don’t agree with some of their critique. It is very easy to be a Monday morning quarterback and throw stones, after the fact.

I am also thankful that the Landmark does not control the village’s finances. They propose hiring an economic development director, a full-time village clerk, and a recreation director. I do agree that an economic development/code director is a necessity now that the village has approved the 2020 Master Plan, but a full-time village clerk is an unneeded luxury and the Recreation Department is running just fine with the personnel in place.

I thank the residents for the opportunity to have served the Village of Brookfield for the last four years and if they are satisfied, they will allow me to continue that commitment for another term.

Most importantly we should all exercise our right to vote. A famous American once said. “I may not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.” Everyone is entitled to their own opinion this is what makes the Democratic process work.

Wil Brennan

? Wil Brennan is a Brookfield village trustee.

District 95 had no right hosting PEP forum
District 95 had a forum for the PEP Party on March 19. Here is a school district that will have a referendum on the April 5 ballot asking for more money from the taxpayers, yet they will spend money for lights, heat and people to host a PEP forum.

This does not make any sense! As a taxpayer and resident in District 95, I resent this action. Neither the PEP nor the VIP has the right to be hosted by any public-funded school for political purposes.

This should be a board decision, and I don’t care who you support or don’t support, there is right and the wrong thing to do, and this is definitely the wrong way to go!

If this idea was a PEP move, it shows how fiscally irresponsible they are, or if it’s a district idea. What’s with the referendum? You got money to blow on politics, but not on our kids and their education.

I’m a taxpayer and resident in the district, and I don’t want to pay for any of this. Now I will have a hard decision on how to vote for your referendum. And PEP Party, you do not show very good fiscal responsibility. Shame on you for wasting the people’s money.

John M. Gallagher

VIP deserves credit for improving Brookfield
When I drive or walk down the streets of Brookfield, I am proud to see the vast number of homes that are being remodeled or improved. It is a testimony to the VIP Party’s commitment to make Brookfield a fine community to live in.

All of our home values are enhanced by this pride of ownership, and it’s apparent that residents want to stay in this fine village. Keep up the good work, Bill Russ and the VIP Party.

H. Jeane Eineman

? H. Jeane Eineman is the VIP Party candidate for village clerk.

Brookfield needs better; vote PEP
Democracy is perhaps best described as “advanced citizenship.” The electorate has the vital task of putting forth the issues that most affect a community, as well as bearing responsibility for the elected officials with whom they have entrusted their confidence in determining the course of that community’s development. However, the beauty of democracy is that voters may also correct past choices by choosing whether or not to reelect incumbent politicians.

Rarely are the choices so clear as they are in the upcoming Brookfield elections. The informed citizen knows that the village audit has yet to be submitted, greatly hamstringing future financial development.

The informed citizen is all too familiar with headlines of corruption in local government, such as Bill Russ’s loaning taxpayer dollars to personal friends. And the informed citizen is certainly suspicious of candidates who refuse to engage in debate, of government officials who make crucial public decisions behind closed doors, and of politicians who dismiss the necessary and reasoned criticism of themselves as smear tactics by their opponents.

The informed citizen knows better. And all citizens deserve better.

Engage in the issues and vote PEP on April 5.

Brigid Weber

Metz best choice for Lyons clerk
The purpose of my letter is to encourage every registered voter in Lyons to support the reelection of Edward Metz for village clerk and the ERA Party slate. I have attend continuing educational workshops with Clerk Edward Metz over the past four years to future our expertise in our elected office.

Edward has worked on projects that would improve the clerk’s office for the residents of Lyons and village board members. Lyons needs The New ERA Party to guide future development and restore honor and public trust to the village’s elected offices. Cast your ballot for good government and voice your right to vote on April 5 by electing the New ERA Party.

Dan J. Raddatz

? Dan Raddatz is the Brookfield village clerk.

PEP will bring ‘honest’ and ‘committed’ leadership
This April 5 will be an important day for Brookfield. Voters have the option to bring about responsible, honest and committed leadership to our village by electing the PEP Party candidates.

Michael J. Garvey, Dan J. Raddatz, Catherine Colgrass Edwards, Kit P. Ketchmark and Michael A. Towner have pledged to bring positive changes such as hiring a qualified economic development director, implementing a long-term street repair and maintenance plan and will insist on regular financial reports to ensure proper fiscal procedures.

For example, audit reports documenting the finances of the village have not been completed on time for the past three years. How can a trustee vote responsibly on a budget or expenditures if they don’t know what’s really in the village accounts?

Trustees Garvey and Ketchmark seem to be the only current elected officials concerned about this important matter.

We need to support the PEP Party candidates with our votes on April 5.

Barbra Bryk

Endorsements nearly induce heart attack
After reading your endorsement for the Village of Brookfield, I almost had a heart attack from laughing so hard. Trustee Garvey and Ketchmark have voted “no” on votes 90 to 95 percent of the time. This is not leadership, but a lack of leadership.

Trustee Ketchmark states he never approved the CVS tax check, yet I have the article in my possession that proves he is a liar. Ms. Edwards has no political experience and quit as the Brookfield recreation director. We do not need people who are liars and vote no all the time and are quitters running our government.

If you vote for the PEP Party you will be going back to the 19th century. Vote straight VIP and have a government run like it should be in the 21st century.

Mark A. Roegner

? Ed. note: Kit Ketchmark did not vote to approve the village’s loan to pay private property taxes on property eventually purchased by CVS. The expense was recorded in the village warrant that was brought to the board on Nov. 11, 2002. The meeting minutes from that date show that both Ketchmark and then-Trustee Gail Cabala voted against approving the warrant presented to the board on that date.

VIP gambles away progress, hurts Brookfield
In the past five years, I have had many opportunities to talk to the current board members and the candidates vying for a position on the board at election time. I have attended many political functions with my husband and have had the opportunity to get to know pretty much everyone on a professional level, either through observation or just by talking to them.

So, when my husband came home one day and said that he had offers from BOTH the VIP and the PEP party on the table, he was not sure which party’s slate to run with. Should he stay with VIP that has more of a financial edge? Should he risk losing any “name recognition” by switching political parties?

Being both a PEP supporter and a supportive wife, I have always tried to give my husband an unbiased opinion on what path he should take his political career. I simply stated to him to run with the people you are most like and want to be with. That was all.

Trust me, that was probably one of the most difficult things to say, especially when every fiber in my being was screaming “PEP, PEP, PEP.”

It just seems that VIP lost sight of the true community effort and the village’s goals and turned everything into a more self-indulgent gamble, meaning they don’t count the losses, they only count the wins and they don’t care where the money comes from or who they hurt in the process.

The village president prides himself on a new CVS. Reality sets in, and we immediately lost three other businesses and traffic is now diverted down Ogden to go to the local drug store versus going down Grand Boulevard to downtown Brookfield. Have you even noticed all the vacant storefronts Brookfield now has? Is this lack of tax-generating business really helping our families?

Decisions should be put in front of the board, discussed and then voted on. Plans, drawings and contracts should be made on legal forms, not on a napkin. Whose idea was it to approve all these new liquor licenses? From a gambler’s point of view?”yahoo, more capabilities of generating tax money.

From a realist’s point of view, and judging by the huge and sudden increase of beer bottles found in the streets and on the lawns, we have a ton more underage drinking going on and more people driving drunk around our kids. Are we really helping the village and our families?

Friends of Bill Russ’s and VIP’s campaign funds are large?”Wahoo, they think, “We have everyone’s support”.

Realistically, local businesses, village employees and village residents are exhausted from being strong-armed into making frequent financial donations to the political party. Because of this, small businesses are running out of Brookfield, Employee morale is at an all-time low and the residents are feeling robbed. How is this helping Brookfield?

I have had enough with the games. We all know what other issues lie on the table at this time. We all can finger point just as well as another, PEP is not over-promising anything just to win votes. What PEP is promising is that the decisions will be brought back to the board. PEP is not promising more jobs to political friends, they are promising that a more structured employee qualification procedure takes place on any new hires. PEP will bring the “Families First” attitude back to the decision making process.

Vote for Dan Raddatz, village clerk and vote for PEP.

Sheila Raddatz

Towner, Rec Board wrong on baseball field decision
Recently Michael Towner, chairman of the Village of Brookfield Recreation Board and a candidate for trustee for the Village of Brookfield, invited the presidents of the three established Brookfield baseball leagues?”Brookfield National Little League (BNLL), Brookfield American Little League (BALL) and Brookfield Western Conference Babe Ruth Baseball (WCBB)?”to a Recreation Board meeting so we could get to know the Recreation Board members.

Shortly after the presidents’ arrival at the meeting, we found out the real reason for our invitation. Mr. Towner and his Recreation Board informed us that we would have to concede baseball field time to some exclusive “travel” baseball teams.

Shame on you Mr. Towner for trying to disrupt almost 150 years of boys and girls baseball tradition in our village, and hats off to Bill Russ, Will Brennan, Tom Nowicki and Dave Owen for stepping in and putting a stop to this.

A little bit of history on the established baseball leagues in the Village of Brookfield (BNLL, BALL & WCBB):

? BNLL has offered organized baseball for boys and girls in Brookfield for more than 53 years, BALL for more than 51 years and WCBB for more than 44 years.

? The baseball fields that the kids play on have been built and maintained over the years by the individual leagues, not by a park district or the Village of Brookfield. We’re talking about the fences, dug outs, concession stands, score boards and lights.

? The money to build and maintain these fields comes from fundraisers, the registration fees of our players and local businesses that support and sponsor these baseball leagues. The labor for the building and maintenance of these fields is all volunteer work done by the league board members, managers, coaches, players, players’ parents and residents of the Village of Brookfield.

? In just the past two years the three leagues have spent well over $45,000 to maintain and improve the fields.

? BNLL, BALL and WCBB have always offered an open registration policy for all Brookfield boys and girls from the age of 5 to 19 to participate and play baseball in an organized league. The three leagues have almost 1,100 players registered for the 2005 season.

We don’t have the field capacity for these travel teams. We already have games and practices scheduled and rain-outs that will need to be made up, as well as the necessary on-going field maintenance, not to mention play-off games, tournaments and all-star games. BNLL hosts the Annual Roy Overholt Tournament, and WCBB is hosting the Illinois Babe Ruth League State Championship for the 17- to 19-year-old boys this year. Both events will be big draws for Brookfield.

? The travel teams that are requesting the use of the baseball fields are a very exclusive, hand picked group of boys. Their registration is not open to everyone in the village. The village has been kind enough to clean up the south field at Ehlert Park for them to practice and play on.

? BNLL, BALL and WCBB have almost 150 years of baseball tradition in the Village of Brookfield. BNLL, BALL and WCBB have built, continually upgrade and maintain the baseball fields in Brookfield. These fields are the envy of many surrounding suburbs and park districts. They are some of the “jewels” in our village that we can all be proud of. I don’t understand how a few “exclusive” travel teams can walk in and demand field time from the village and expect to get it, when the boys have the opportunity to join the existing baseball leagues in our village.

Michael Towner and the Brookfield Recreation Board should have done more research on the existing baseball leagues in Brookfield before trying to dictate a change that would effect baseball on our boys and girls. You would also think that these travel teams would have given some thought about field time before organizing their “exclusive” teams and trying to demand field time.

I certainly wouldn’t organize a golf outing before having a golf course lined up, would you?

Jim Tischler

? Jim Tischler is president of Brookfield Western Conference Babe Ruth Baseball.

Arguing SSAs aren’t fair is just ‘dumb’
As a resident of Brookfield for more than 50 years, I was old enough at the time the south side of Brookfield was developed to be aware of why the SSA districts came into being. Many of the residents of Brookfield weren’t here then and would be misled by those arguing that those taxes are not “fair” since other residents are not taxed similarly.

The fact is that the south side of Brookfield where these SSA districts are located would have never been developed at all because of the cost of cutting through the bedrock that lies just a few feet under ground to lay in the infrastructure for sewer and water.

Subdividers are normally required to put these improvements in at their own expense, which they pass along to the purchasers of the properties they build. In the case of the south side of Brookfield, the carrot to make this land more attractive to develop was financing the improvements over the long term through bond financing issued by the SSA districts.

The developer, rather than paying for the improvements upfront and then recouping on the sale of the property, was able get the SSA districts to pay for the improvements with bond financing that would be paid off by the future owners of the property through payment of their SSA taxes.

In both the north side and the south sides, home/apartment building owners ultimately pay the cost of the infrastructure that was required to be put in by the developer of their subdivision.

The difference here is that in the SSA districts home/apartment building owners didn’t pay “at closing,” they pay in the future through these tax assessments. The argument that these taxes some how aren’t “fair” is just plain dumb.

It’s just one more way to enrich the real estate development and investor interests aligned with Bill Russ and do so at the expense of all the residents of Brookfield. Bill Russ calls on each of us to pay for someone else’s cost of real estate ownership while our own streets, alleys, sewers, water mains and water meters fail, crumble and fall apart from lack of attention.

We don’t need more condos or apartment buildings in Brookfield. We don’t need to double our population and traffic burden because its beneficial to some real estate developer. We don’t need Bill Russ.

It’s time for a change in Brookfield. I trust my fellow residents will wake up to what’s really been happening under Bill Russ’s administration and vote for Mike Garvey, Dan Raddatz, Catherine Colgrass Edwards and Kit Ketchmark on April 5. Remember their names, Brookfield, because you won’t see PEP next to their names in the voting booth.

Warren Souders

Young residents need to get out and vote
I’m 19 years old. As a young “new” voter, I plan to vote in this upcoming election. I would like to encourage all other young voters to get out there and vote.

Growing up, my father, Alan Dorobiala, a member of the VIP Party, was always involved in the political scene. Therefore, I grew up knowing the importance of voting.

As a citizen of Brookfield, and knowing the political groups within Brookfield, I know that I will be voting for President Bill Russ and the VIP Party. I have seen them do many great things for Brookfield and would like to see our town continue to flourish with them guiding the way.

I think the VIP Party outweighs the rival group (the PEP Party) in many different ways. This is because I seen for myself the “true character” of those involved with the PEP Party. Yet, there are a few original members of the PEP Party that are truly good people.

However, I’m not writing to tell you who to vote for, just that you should vote. I strongly encourage young people like myself to vote, because your opinions and your vote do count. I truly believe that if anyone wants to make a difference in the world and would like to help make it a better place, one way to do so is by taking part in the voting process. Vote, and let your voice be heard.

Alexandra Dorobiala

Vote PEP for better quality of life
I have lived in the western suburbs my entire life. I lived in LaGrange for 15 years, and have raised a family in Brookfield for nearly 30 years. However, there is a marked difference of community development between these neighboring suburbs, particularly in the last few years. Why? Or more importantly, what are we going to do about it? What is the long-term development plan for Brookfield?

Unfortunately, the Russ administration is not offering any answers. The last three years of deficit spending have dangerously depleted the village funds with nothing to show for it. In fact, the village borrowed $6 million to pay for street improvements over five years and now the money is gone with a fraction of the work completed.

Furthermore, only seven blocks are slated for 2005. Not seven streets, seven blocks. Additionally, three years ago we experienced the largest tax increase in village history with the aim of paying for expansion of our police and fire departments. Instead there have been no additional hires and department vehicles are in dire need of replacement.

While the rhetoric of the campaign season is enough to spin my head, I need only look at the vacant storefronts and pot-holed streets to know that the quality of life in Brookfield is on the decline, and it is no coincidence that we are without an economic plan, or responsible leadership to improve our community.

On April 5, if you are concerned, as I am, for the future development of Brookfield, vote for the party with sound and responsible goals for village finances. Vote for the PEP Party and vote for an improved quality of life for Brookfield.

Willa Shultz

Going boldly where no man has gone before
Like you, I received the mailing with the drawing of the strange creature from outer space that had captured two humans on the front. What does science fiction have to do with Brookfield elections? Why are Garvey and Ketchmark wearing pink space suits with no helmets? Just as suddenly, epiphany, it all falls into place. I understand, I get it.

We are all participants in President Russ’s science fiction television fantasy. We are all a part of his version of “Star Trek.” Brookfield is the starship U.S.S. Enterprise and Bill Russ is the star, Capt. James T. Kirk. Suddenly, both the hair and the “costuming” at public meetings make more sense, don’t they?

In this fantasy, Dave Owen plays the role of Engineer Scott. Can’t you just hear him say?

“Aye Captain, the fuel is near exhausted but I’ll keep her moving ’til April 6 if I have to sit on the engines all the way to South Chicago.”

John Gallagher is Dr. McCoy. He has just a line or two every week, whether anyone is sick or not.

In this fantasy, village employees are expendable bit players. They are the “colonists” of Rigel 12 who are tending the fields when the aliens zap them–the “security detail” that beams down with the “away team” only to be electrocuted by “the cloud creature” before the first commercial break. This brings us to Tony Peraica.

Tony was supposed to play a guest villain in Bill’s TV fantasy, but noooo! Tony wants to be Luke Skywalker who frees the people of the planet Cook from that intergalactic gangster, Jabba the Hut. This is not Bill’s fantasy. It is not even TV science fiction. It isn’t even Gene Roddenberry, it’s George Lucas for The Force’s sake. Peraica must be disfigured, sent back to the motion picture screen where he belongs, and he can take Garvey and Ketchmark with him.

The final bit of casting in Bill’s fantasy is the role of the people of Brookfield. We are “Tribbles.” Our role is less than supporting. We are supposed to eat, coo like doves, be sheared like sheep and vote for Captain Bill, I mean Captain Kirk.” Wait, captains aren’t elected, he must be running for president of the Federation?

I am sorry. This science fantasy show is rotten TV. It has had a four-year run; it has been over budget every year. The production quality stinks, the sets are shabby and the characters are neither heroic nor funny.

If we Tribbles cancel this show on April 5, the only remaining question will be: Will Scotty beam the Captain back to South Chicago? Or will McCoy take him back to Berwyn on the shuttle?

C.P. Hall III