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South Holland Star Tribune Newspaper Archives Nov 21 1982, Page 4

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South Holland Star Tribune (Newspaper) - November 21, 1982, South Holland, Illinois Cook county suburban publishers association National new shaper association suburban set spatters of America Illinois press association Northern Illinois Meu paper association Star Tribune 1526 Otto Boulevard 154th g Broadway suite 201 Chicago Heights Illinois 60411 Harvey Illinois 60426 Telephone 755-6161 or 331-0440 w. E. Williams i. 1859-1922 w. E. Williams ii. 1899-1980 Charles w. Williams publisher Lester 0. Sons. Executive editor w. E. Williams Iii president Michael o Neal. Editor 4 sunday november 21. 1982___ editorials snafu solved through a confusing set of circumstances it seems the Harvey office of the Cook county Legal assistance foundation will remain open at least for the time being. That decision reverses an earlier plan to close the South suburban facility a step that would have been devastating to thousands of Low income residents of this area and would have flown directly in the face of common sense. The foundation an Agency whose budget is 90 per cent funded by the Federal government offers free Legal services to indigent persons at its three current locations a fourth in downtown Chicago was closed earlier this year. Even a Basic familiarity with the demographics of suburban Cook county leaves Little doubt that the South suburbs with its relatively High Low income population has a great need for these services. Yet because of budget cuts initiated by the Reagan administration the foundation has found itself with sharply declining revenues and its Board had planned to merge the Harvey office with another in River Forest an affluent Western suburb. Services would still have been provided South suburbanites at specific intervals by foundation attorneys who would ride a a circuit Quot but full time office operations would have eased. The foundation boards proposed solution might have solved some of its Money woes but would also have proven unsatisfactory to those in South Cook county in desperate need of the Agency a services. A full 43 per cent of the Agency a clients currently Are serviced in the Harvey office emphasizing that Point even More. Community leaders local state and Federal politicians have led a storm of protest. At a meeting wednesday the foundations Board found itself facing an extremely hostile audience. The session was a caucus one from Start to finish featuring a Good Deal of shouting regular exchanges of harsh words and two near fistfights. The result Board members agreed that the foundation should retain its full time Harvey facility albeit with some budget cutting. The formal details of their decision however was lost somewhere in the tumult surrounding the meeting. A troubling aspect remaining is Why Board members moved in the first place to close an office located in the poorest part of the county whose sole purpose is to serve the poor co operation by responsible local leaders in assisting the foundation to pare its budget should make that proposal Only a bad memory. But at the same time foundation officials should reassess the criteria on which they base decisions. Vetoes and taxes pick a guv to Clear up the current confusion about who will Rule the state of Illinois for the next 4 years 1. Clip out picture of 2-headed governor. 2. Lop off and discard undesired head. 3. Place mail to picture in envelope amp Pas p o. Box 1 Little York. In. 61453 a this is an official ballot. All ballots found in shopping bags car trunks or chewed up by the family dog will be void. The Winner will be declared governor by the cartoonist. R i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i a i i la �?T1982 copier it Ewa service i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i a off the beat Dixmoor so ask the mayor game violates Public a right to know by Ronald Ayers have you heard about the new game being played in Dixmoor the game is called a ask the ask the mayor is a game you have to play with Dixmoor Village clerk Frieda Wakefield and mayor Kenneth Fisher Ever time you want Access to Public information concerning the actions taken by the Dixmoor Village Board. Lets say you wanted a copy of an ordinance or a Resolution or even a document concerning How Dixmoor trustees spend tax Money. Rather than give you a copy of that document mrs. Wakefield will Tell you a Titi have to ask the mayor if i can give you a copy of that the catch to the a Titi have to ask the mayor games is that mrs. Wakefield never seems to get around to asking the mayor if you can have Access to Public information because the mayor never seems to be available for mrs. Wakefield to get the mayors permission to release information. What happens is that mrs. Wakefield becomes an obstructionist blocking the Public a right to know. Here san example. November 8, the Dixmoor Village Board during an open meeting agreed to make a $123,000 payment to Globetrotter engineers of Chicago. Globetrotter is Dixmoor a official Village Engineer. The firm is currently overseeing the construction of the Forest Manor sewer project. The Forest Manor sewer project is being funded with approximately $500,000 in Community development Block Grant a dog funds. A dog funds come from the the u. The Illinois general Assembly with a number of its members folding up their legislative careers has some important tax related issues to consider in the present Post veto session. Despite the overwhelming lame Duck nature of this session particularly in the House the legislators should concentrate on the seriousness of their votes to overturn these significant amendatory vetoes. One involves the property tax equalization Factor or multiplier and the other concerns the state inheritance tax. The multiplier which became an overblown election Issue last Spring is the Factor the state uses in an attempt to bring every county a assessed valuation for tax purposes up to the state mandated one third of Market value. Officials have in recent years complained that the multiplier has caused inordinately High tax Bills and should be scrapped. In reality it is the tax levies of the taxing bodies that make the Bills Rise not the multiplier. Nevertheless last Spring gov. James Thompson a mandatorily vetoed some legislation which reduces the taxing units tax rate in proportion to increases in the tax base caused by application of the multiplier. In effect this would nullify the Impact of the multiplier. If the legislature votes to uphold this veto it would leave a lot of non Home Rule taxing bodies Short of a lot of Money they Are now getting. Some May be forced into bankruptcy in Cook county unless the county assessors office adds about 50 per cent ,. To its assessed valuations. Heightening the pressure was the House judiciously speaking of representatives vote thursday upholding the veto. It was accomplished by the Barest possible margin. It is True that the multiplier is no longer needed a if certain things Are done to plug the income Gap and to Correct imbalances Between counties when taxing jurisdictions straddle county lines. Examples of the latter Are the villages of Park Forest and Steger which Are in two counties. Some authority will have to enforce the state Law that requires every county to value property for tax purposes at one third of Market value. Very few if any counties Are doing that. More preparation must go into the demise of the multiplier. It should not be killed or neutralized via endorsement of the amendatory veto. The veto should be overturned by the Senate and the matter Given More serious constructive thought in the next session. The second important veto involving taxation is one calling for a Date change for reduction of the state inheritance tax. The general Assembly passed a Bill sharply reducing the state inheritance tax effective last july i. The governor fearful that the state would run out of Money amended that Bill to change the Date to january i 1983. He thereby stalled a Revenue loss for the state until november 1983. That loss eventually could Range higher than $200 million a year. Although the state can use the Money an inheritance tax is a particularly painful Way to get it preying on the bereaved. The legislature was right in calling for its end. But the general Assembly now must Back up that action by approving the governors veto by a simple majority. If it does so the inheritance tax will be abolished for surviving spouses and on estates valued at less than $250,000. Wealthier estates will be taxed Only an amount equal to the Federal estate tax on which Dollar for Dollar credit is Given for state taxes paid. If the general Assembly does not concur with the amendatory veto the inheritance tax remains in effect. These two actions Are probably the most far reaching of those the legislature must consider this fall. Such actions also would set the stage for extensive tax Reform next session. S. Department of housing and Urban development Hud and Are funnelled through Cook county to local communities. A dog funds Are Federal tax dollars used by local governments to make improvements in a municipality a infrastructure such As streets gutters sidewalks and sewers. The Public has a right to know How their tax dollars Are being spent. Further the Illinois state statutes give the Public a including the press a the right to obtain copies of documents concerning the actions taken by government officials with certain specified exceptions. But when i asked mrs. Wakefield for a copy of the document detailing How much Money was being paid to Globetrotter for work on the Forest Manor sewer project she said a Titi have to ask the mayor that was on a monday night. When i returned to Dixmoor Village Hall the following thursday to obtain the document. Mrs. Wakefield said a i Haven to had a Chance to talk to the mayor or. Ayers. Besides in a not talking to a fall in masking for mrs. Wakefield is a copy of the document authorizing the payment to Globetrotter monday night. I done to see what the problem is. The Board acted on the measure in an open meeting. The document is Public a i done to care. In a not giving you anything unless the mayor says so a replied mrs. Wakefield. A a done to you know mrs. Wakefield that the Public and the press have a right to Public information Arentt you concerned that you re preventing Dixmoor citizens from being in formed about the actions of their government done to you realize mrs. Wakefield that you May be violating Illinois state statutes by not releasing documents that Are Public information a i said. My pleading fell on deaf ears. Mrs Wakefield a response to me was a Titi talk to you about the Bible but in a not going to talk to you about anything else or give you anything unless the mayor says a has mayor Fisher placed a gag order on you mrs. Wakefield?.�?� mrs. Wakefield asked me to leave her office. I sat Down and continued to ask the clerk for the information i had come for. Mrs. Wakefield a solution to my request for information As to Call the police that a right she called Dixmoor det. Anton Gaff and asked Gaff to put me out of her office. Of course when det. Gaff said i would have to leave the clerks office i complied with his request. After All i done to want to break the Law. But i wonder if mrs. Wakefield or for that matter mayor Kenneth Fisher realize they May be breaking the Law by not allowing the press and therefore the Public Access to Public information chapter 116 of the Illinois municipal code is in effect a Freedom of information act relative to units of local government. Chapter 116 outlines the rights of the Public and the press to the Access and reproduction of government documents. Specifically Section 43.7 of the chapter states a any person has the right of Access to any Public records of the expenditure or receipt of Public funds for the purpose of making All parts of the system must work to keep bad Drivers off the Road copies or photographs. Section 43.103a states a reports and records of the obligation receipt and use of Public funds of the units of local government and school districts Are Public records available for inspection by the the one thing these two sections of chapter 116 do not say is that the release of Public information in Dixmoor is subject to mayor Kenneth Fishers approval. It would appear that mrs Wakefield so ask the mayor game is in violation of the Law. I done to mean to be didactic. But i take Issue with mrs. Wakefield because her recent actions Are not new and her insistence on blocking my Access and therefore the Public a Access to government documents is becoming chronic. She has in the past refused to provide copies of ordinances and resolutions that the Village Board has acted on. Her reasons have always been the same. A Titi have to ask the mayor if you can have this my not having Access to Public information prevents me from keeping the citizens of Dixmoor accurately informed about the actions of their elected officials. Mrs. Wakefield and mayor Fisher Are playing a dangerous game. It is a game that in effect negates the Public a right to know. It is a game that stabs at the heart of democracy. It is a game that concerned citizens of Dixmoor should not allow mrs. Wakefield and or. Fisher to play. By judge Henry x. Dietch lately there has been a misconception presented to the Public concerning traffic enforcement and the relationship Between judges and the police. Good traffic enforcement requires that the unsafe the bad Driver and the drunk Driver be taken off the roads. Everyone agrees in principle on that goal and each component of the system ought to work in that direction albeit each part of the system has its own responsibilities and duties. When a Community looks upon certain types of tickets of a minor nature issued in great volume As a Revenue producer a judge is Loath to give a record to a Driver under those circumstances. If a Community does not follow state Law by having an engineering study appropriate to the conditions which exist an arbitrary reduction from 30 Miles per hour to 20 Miles per hour is invalid except for school zones. When an officer mis describes the make of vehicle or the time of occurrence such As . For f a.m., the defendant has a right to ask if the officer also made other mistakes. These can be embarrassing questions to both the court and the officer. When the Village or City does not take the time or Effort to have a coordinating court officer present or has officers who do not appear at the hearing or the prosecutor for the Community for one reason or another does not wish to prosecute the judge has no other alternative except to dismiss the Case. When an Accident occurs and the officer who was not a witness to the Accident issues a ticket to one of the parties and the name of the complaining party is not even shown on the ticket or stated in open court by the officer or the witness does not appear the judges hands Are tied. Under our system of Law without testimony against the defendant the defendant is discharged. No evidence a no conviction. Fortunately most police officers Are conscientious officers on the other hand it is discouraging to have officers who Are not. Some officers rarely appear in court while others b Are aggressive and diligent in the performance of their duties. After All is said and done each Case must stand on its own facts its own testimony and its own mitigating and aggravating factors. Also the previous driving record of the individual is and should be taken into account. It would be intolerable to impose a conviction As against a sentence of supervision or Drivers training school on a first offender or a person who has not had a ticket for to years. Drivers training school is letters not a joke. The individual attends two evening classes must pass two written examinations and then returns to court in three months at which time if he has no violations and has passed both examinations is then and then Only considered discharged. As to the matter of previous driving record or convictions it is unfortunate that so few police departments come into court with the Secretary of states abstract As to each defendant. Those that do have an enviable record of convictions. Praise neighbourhood residents efforts to the editor As president of neighbors for a better Community i would like to commend the people of our neighbourhood on their Gallant efforts to lend a helping hand to the family of the late Eugene Bury jr., in their time of sorrow. I cannot remember the last time i have seen people care about each other. In my opinion the 162nd Street Block of Woodbridge in Harvey is one of the nicest places to live. Neighbors for a better Community Marge Balkis president

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