EDITOR'S NOTE: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author.
After watching another Oak Lawn Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, in which Trustee Bob Streit (Dist. 3) continues to show his new admiration for his former political enemy Mayor Heilmann, I have to ask: What is up with this new "bromance" between these once bitter political enemies/now best buddies at the board meetings??
I was a supporter and friend of Bob Streit for over 20 years. I worked on all his campaigns. I was there when he was the only vote against 5 others when the Old Coalition party ran the village before the 2005 elections. Bob never liked Mayor Heilmann in 2005 and we backed a different candidate. During the 2009 election we helped and supported the Unity Party slate.
Later that year when the party broke away from the mayor, Bob aligned himself with the former Unity Party board members Alex Oleniczak,Tom Duhig,and Tom Phelan. Bob was the driving force behind the investigation into Mayor Heilmann's former hand-picked legal team, Tressler. Bob was instrumental in catching the fraudulent petition drive that Mayor Heilmann supported to eliminate the village manager position, in fact he was a defendant in the legal case.
Bob also chastised the mayor about taking $100,000 dollars out of the special service fund to help offset supposed operating costs of the Children's Museum in 2009. I was at the meetings when the Mayor and Bob would really go at it. In 2011 Mayor Heilmann actively supported and gave $1,000 dollars to and wrote an endorsement letter for Bob's opponent for 3rd District trustee. That was a very hard fought and dirty campaign and Bob squeaked by 8 or 9 votes.
At the beginning of 2012, I started to hear rumors that Bob was working with the mayor. I could not believe it, that someone I knew and believed in for over 20 years would be working with someone who he distrusted and disliked as much as the mayor and his supporters distrusted and disliked Bob. Bob said he was working with the mayor to get his "agenda" through.
I asked whose agenda? The people's agenda, the mayor's agenda, or the third district residents' agenda? Or was it his personal agenda? Remember at that time Bob was already a part of a 4-member majority on the village board. He never answered my question. I told him I could not support the path he has now chosen and turn my back on all the people who helped Bob out through the years, who now were being thrown to the curb. so Bob could be buddies with the Mayor who was and is actively trying to remove the trustees and clerk who were Bob's supporters in the past.
I knew that Bob would be voting the way the mayor wanted him to, but when I saw Bob voting against his core principals just to appease the mayor, I could not stand silent anymore. Bob voted with the mayor to try and limit speech at board meetings under the term I coined, "Dave's Rules." This went against everything Bob had worked on the past 18 years to televise meetings to let residents speak. Now he is against this?? Say it ain't so Bob
Bob, with the help of the mayor, removed his former trustee friends from their positions on committees like special events and public works, so he could punish them for going against his new best buddy the mayor. Bob got the village to spend over $20,000 dollars on a bogus investigation into Fall On the Green just to make a former trustee friend look bad before a re-election that the trustee is not even running in. Bob now says he was fooled into the legal investigation against the mayor when he himself was right out front accusing the mayor of illegal activities and saying "I hope we get his head on a platter," and "this guy is going to jail." Funny how perspectives change when you sell out and switch sides.
Probably the most heinous position switch with Bob has been the switch from supporting impact fees from Advocate Christ Hospital to now saying the village doesn't need them. Coincidentally that is the same position the mayor has, especially being friends with Advocate Christ's president and given a "Man of the Year" award dinner downtown.
Bob told me at least 5 times last year that he was for impact fees, now all of a sudden he switches and at board meetings profusely compliments Advocate's executive board, saying we don't need fees. He even wants to build a senior wellness center on the Beatty Lumber property, with non-profit hospital money and village money, which would eliminate another property from sales tax and property tax.
The mayor actually 2 years ago thwarted a plan to remodeling the Beatty Lumber property with private money that wouldn't cost the village taxpayers a dime. The mayor's excuse was too much density in a residential area. Also, Bob and the village manager were involved. two people at the time who the Mayor disliked. What about that monster mountain of a development at Advocate Christ Medical Center? Oh yeah, another district where Dave and Bob are enemies with the trustee.
This last meeting, Bob has been trying to block a infrastructure left turn signal at 93rd and central, a very dangerous intersection. The county has agreed to split the costs 50/50 with the village, a project on which the village has already spent $200,000 on engineering studies. Yet low and behold at the last board meeting, Bob now says we don't have the money for it even though the project has been on going for 5 years.He even went so far as to say the county doesn't think it was important. Well, Bob got the shock of his life when our county commissioner, John Daley, came to our meeting and flatly said the county is behind this a 100 percent and has budgeted the money on their end.
He said Mr. Streit had misspoken. Mr. Streit then said we didn't have any money to help with this project but being the chairman of the public works committee, he somehow found a million dollars for an expansion of the village green for a ice skating rink because the Mayor wants one.
Even though Bob told me last year that he was against the Village Green expansion at that time because we didn't have the money. What a joke, I guess this stalling of the 93rd and central project would have nothing to do with this being Bob's new political enemy Alex Olejniczak's district? Two months before an election, that couldn't be the reason right? Bob once again seems to forget all the times when he was in the minority and the Coalition Party would actually say "no projects for you, Bob, until after your campaign," and then go to houses telling people if you vote for Bob's opponent you will get that sidewalk or curb replacement. How can this man forget the treatment he used to receive and now he does it to his former friends, now enemies. Shame on you, sir.
I always wondered what Bob was getting out of this new alliance with the Mayor and then I saw the alleged bid rigging of a public works building roof repair that surprisingly went to a company with the highest bid by the way, that employs Bob's brother. Bob never told the board about this conflict and arrogantly refused to recuse himself from the vote. Now Oak Lawn is being investigated by the FBI and all of these shenanigans make Oak Lawn look bad.
All of Oak Lawn should watch the board meetings now and see how Bob has become the mayor's greatest defender and supporter. They play golf together now maybe Bob even goes to the mayor's plays, something I know Bob actually loathes. I hope Bob will remember all his true friends and supporters that he sold out just so he could get a couple of goodies from the mayor. I know the Mayor and what he is capable of, Bob, but I actually thought you had morals and stood for something. It turns out your just like the rest. The sad part was it took me 20 years to find out. Just be careful, you may be finding yourself on the outside looking in again, Bob.
This time your former friends and myself won't be there to help you. It's pretty lonely out there on the island you created for yourself..