Demopoulos, Bianco, Czajka in North Riverside 

If there was ever a village that could use a serious alternative to an entrenched local political establishment, it’s North Riverside.

The VIP Party has had a stranglehold on the village for so long that it’s hard to remember when they didn’t. Any North Riverside resident under the age of 50 likely never voted in the pre-VIP era.

And after a generation during which a serious political alternative was never cultivated, challenges to VIP have often come from the village’s political fringe, easily beaten back in most instances.

This year’s trustee election is a microcosm of this dilemma for North Riverside voters.

VIP really should have to answer for the financial predicament the village finds itself in. But we’re endorsing two of the three VIP candidates, because only one candidate on the opposing slate is ready to sit at the board table.

North Riverside needs H. Bob Demopoulos on the board if only to provide a different point of view from an otherwise monolithic board. We question his choice to create a one-issue party — Save Our Firefighters — when the real slogan should be “save our village.”

But Demopoulos is the one who, rightly, keeps demanding that the village practice simple good-government principles such as bidding out expensive contracts — like waste hauling and paramedic services — to achieve a savings. 

He also recognizes that the village’s lifetime health insurance perk for most of those currently employed by the village is simply unsustainable, as much of a burden as the pension obligations the village is trying to ease by privatizing the fire department.

The Landmark is also endorsing Jason Bianco and Deborah Czajka for trustee. At their endorsement interview with the paper earlier this month, the two appeared to break with the mayor on total privatization of the fire department, something we will keep an eye to see if there’s any follow through.

Bianco also said the lifetime insurance perk would be something the next village board would have to look at as it sorts out the village’s financial future. We’ll be looking forward to that discussion as well.

We think both can be strong trustees if they exhibit the independence they hinted at earlier this month.

North Riverside depends on it.

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