The excursion of the last six days has really shown to me that when the residents are upset they will engage. Many times we are too caught up in our daily lives to worry about or get involved with Riverside politics, but when over 1,000 people and still counting sign a petition to stop an injustice, let’s hope our elected RCA trustees take notice.

They all proclaimed to be on the side of the people and badgered the last board for not listing to the will of the people, and now it is time to see if that was only political speak or will they practice what they preach.

I spoke with Riverside President Michael Gorman the other day, and he stated that I did a wonderful job confusing the facts for our residents. Well, please, allow me to explain myself once again.

I would rather have the recreation board decide what is recreation than the village board, plain and simple. Our residents decided that in 1937, and it has worked well all these years.

One could say the only time it failed us is when the village board stepped in and negotiated the salary for our past director. That was obviously news to Trustee James Reynolds, who tried to state that that was done by the recreation board. Who is passing misinformation?

Mr. Gorman at the end of our conversation stated to me the simple statement that makes this whole situation very clear. “What to you want me to do lay off a policeman?”

My response to that statement was, “What does that have to do with recreation?”

This is the crux of our debate. The RCA majority on our village board wants to rob Peter to pay Paul, kicking the can down the road again. Mr. Gorman by that statement alone admitted to the reason we are trying to stop this power grab.

Recreation tax dollars should be used for recreation; that is what was voted on, and that is why there is a recreation board to protect those tax dollars. No other department needs to be protected like recreation, because one cannot do without police, fire or public works, but one could do without recreation. Would that be good for our village, good for our residents, good for our property values? I and over 1,000 residents said no, and the residents have been saying no since 1937.

In closing, I will remind the RCA that all touted many times the importance of the will of the people, and that they supposedly hold that in the highest regard. Well, now is the time to find out if they plan to govern the way they preached.

Joe Ballerine

Joe Ballerine is a member of the Riverside Parks and Recreation board.