Politics in Brookfield are just discouraging. The departure of Village Planner Meena Beyers, for the second time in two years, suggests that bullying tactics work in Brookfield. When the hecklers in a town can quiet the voices and gain acquiescence of officials, it makes for a dangerous position from which to govern. Village board members who let Beyers’ chair grow so hot that even they backed away from her position may come to regret their weak response. Bullies get emboldened by perceived successes.

Certainly, like many communities, Brookfield is hurting financially. That is forcing tough choices, as evidenced by hardball union negotiations with police and fire personnel. But pay freezes for a year or two are not going to unmake the police or fire departments. Brookfield and most other towns across the nation have been overly generous with pay and benefits for public employees over the decades. Hard times ought to restore some balance between public workers and those in far more pain in the private sector.

Critics who perpetually charge that the current administration – elected and appointed – has overspent are so inside they can’t recognize that previous management of this town was laughable or non-existent. So, by comparison, the reasonable costs of management these days, including a qualified planner, only seem high.

We are not apologists for Mike Garvey and the management staff. Mistakes have been made. This page has laid them out for those errors.

But the personal nature of the attacks is unwarranted and unhealthy. It is bad enough when we see such miserable political backstabbing on the federal level. In a small town, it is just sad and pathetic.

Lipinski’s failed vote

Abortion, depending on your beliefs, may be a sin. But, in this country, it is not a crime. Now voting against health care reform, against expanded coverage for millions of children and families, is, in our book both a sin and a crime.

That would make Congressman Dan Lipinski guilty.

Lipinski, who didn’t impress us with his back-door entrance into politics a few years ago, continues to disappoint. His vote against health care reform is unconscionable for a Democrat in a district teeming with working class people. Not having access to health care is a real issue. Not being able to get coverage with a pre-existing condition is a real issue. Voting against this package over concerns on federal involvement in abortions, as Lipinski did, was either obtuse or disingenuous. If Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, an ardent pro-life congressman, could be persuaded to support the measure, then surely Lipinski ought to have signed on.

Lipinski claimed that provisions in the package to increase funding of community health centers would expand the availability of abortions. Both the Obama administration and independent media outlets knocked that notion down.

We admire a politician who can, on occasion, vote against his party. In this case, though, we don’t see courage. We see abandonment of principle.

More fudge for us

So Aunt Diana’s has been unceremoniously booted from the Taste of Chicago after decades of participation. The Riverside institution was actually one of four charter eateries at the Taste since its founding in 1980.

We are unconvinced by a policy change requiring that vendors have Chicago locations to participate. There is such a thing as respecting the vendors who got this event to its iconic position.