It is time to stay true to the cause. Riverside deserves an open and transparent government, where its elected officials listen and learn as they lead. We all want to believe that our elected officials want to do the best for our village, but when they refuse to listen and learn, we begin to take pause.

Pause if you will, but take time to watch the village board meetings from June through September. It becomes obvious that it was a charade put on for the cameras, because this decision was made long ago.

This decision preceded the Gang of Four. It was decided 10 years ago when Lonnie Sacchi stated many times his disdain for the recreation board. He does not understand checks and balances in government, only proven when he stated that this referendum was “stupid,” implying that he and the Gang of Four knows better than the residents of the past 75 years. Even more recently, he stated that this decision was not “important” enough to listen to the residents.

Our elected officials need and should look for resident input on a wide variety of issues. If it is “important” to 1,000 residents, it should be important to the Gang of Four. But this is only the most recent example of when they have ignored our residents.

Remember the parking lot that everyone said we needed for more parking, except Mark Shevitz? We have a congested downtown, a construction dump where we could have a parking lot, and no deal with the Masons for extra parking, which Shevitz portrayed as a “done deal” over a year ago.

I remember Mr. Shevitz stating, back when he was running for office, “that before important projects are undertaken a referendum would be the way to gauge resident support.” How times change.

We have a referendum question on the ballot this November that has become a clarion call for democracy in Riverside. It no longer matters what the Gang of Four says. Riverside still belongs to us, the residents.

Now more than ever it is important that we speak loudly. Please go to and read and watch what has happened in Riverside over the last four months. Riverside desperately needs your support.

I ask you as a neighbor and fellow citizen to speak loudly and to encourage other voices to chime in.

Joe Ballerine

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