Not sure how I feel about village tattletales

Opinion: Columns

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By John Hubbuch

When I was a kid it was not cool to be a tattletale. Sure the teachers endured the little snitches that told them that Johnny was copying off Mary, or Jimmy had cut in the lunch line, but almost everyone else could not abide a tattletale, hence the school yard chant: "Tell, tell, tattletale, stick your head in a dinner bell." I would rather have sat next to a girl on the bus than be a tattletale.

I always wondered what happened to tattletales when they grew up. Now I know. They grow up, move to Oak Park and file complaints with the Illinois Attorney's General Office over an alleged violation by village trustees of Illinois Open Meetings Act, or threaten to file a lawsuit against District 97 over the wording of the recently passed referendum.

Tattletale #1 is Mr. Barsotti, who is against the building of a hotel in downtown Oak Park. The village held a closed meeting to discuss granting an extension to the developer to raise the money in these tough economic times. Mr. Barsotti claims that meeting was a violation of the law, and the attorney general agreed with him. So now the village fires back that the AG is wrong.

Tattletale #2 is Mr. Kuriakos, who opposed the referendum. His side lost. So he said he is going to file a lawsuit alleging that the language of the referendum ballot was flawed. District 97 says some Armani-clad lawyers said the language was fine because they drafted it.

Now I'm in a bit of a quandary here. I did not like tattletales when I was a kid, but when tattletales grow up, some of them become whistleblowers, and society encourages them. John Dean, Daniel Ellsberg, the Enron lady accountant, the cigarette chemist — the list goes on and on of heroic whistleblowers who endured great risk to make the world a better, safer place. Now I kind of like these folks.

Now I guess I will have to decide if Messrs. Barsotti and Kuriakos are men of courage standing alone against powerful governmental bodies, or just tattletales who didn't get their way and/or just crave attention. We shall see.

John Hubbuch, an Indiana native who moved to Oak Park in 1976, is a retired lawyer. Hubbuch served on the District 97 school board and coached youth sports. He is the father of three and grandfather of one. Read his blog at

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Posted: April 29th, 2011 3:41 PM

JM meet LG. LG meet JM

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 3:33 PM

I did a search on my name only and did not appear until Google Page 6. I then tried it with John Murtagh from Oak Park (My name and The WJ suffix add) and found lots of posts but in no particular date order. I wish it had since it would be an easy way to track my posts and others. The hits just had the statements that were made on the blog so I, personally, am not going to worry about what it reveals. As far as pseudonym use goes, I find I pay more attention to posts with names than pseudos.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 2:49 PM

Many people use pseudonyms, or do not enjoin online discussions, that are not well-moderated, as their names will appear in a Google search. Online searches on individuals are now a common practice, retrieving info regardless of content. Even a well-reasoned online comment will invoke mud-slinging and disparaging responses in, sometimes by WJ columnists themselves, such as Mr. Hubbuch. Not a good idea to have your name bandied about online while trying to maintain professional creds.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 11:13 AM

It really doesn't what choice you make on whether the two identified targets are heroes or tattletales. The thought has been planted so the public will be the deciders. Fairly? Who knows? The identification of the targets raise a problem. Many revelations about political goings-on appear in the WJ Comments. If a person uses a pseudonym or someone else's name, can they be categorized a a hero or a tattletail? Seems to me if you don't want to be called a tattletail, a pseudonym is a cover.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 10:43 AM

After describing your lifelong dislike of "tattletalers", you then labeled Barsotti and Kuriakos as "Tattletalers 1 & 2", despite claiming your quandary of whether they may be "men of courage standing alone against powerful governmental bodies". Since when do journalists pass judgment while awaiting all the facts? And BTW, the IAG validated Barsotti's claim, and the IL House just passed a bill re. referenda language. Your only quandary is discerning your biased opinions with journalism.

John Hubbuch from Oak Park  

Posted: April 29th, 2011 10:07 AM

As always, I'm grateful for all who take time to read and comment. There ain't no show without an audience. The last line of my piece was to note my ambivalence about public gadflys like the two gentlemen noted. Some of you seem to have already decided. Good for you. I haven't. As to the charges that I am a "lazy,old,white guy", I plead guilty to all four counts, but request that my sentence be limited to time served.

OP Resident  

Posted: April 28th, 2011 12:42 PM

I'm not sure I get it. Do you have concerns about the pols & their cronies who hide behind closed doors? Wouldn't you like to read the minutes of the secret meetings Cheney conducted with oil companies? Iraq? The prank phone call to Scott Walker revealed his true intentions. Illinois had the opportunity for real openness in government but Don Harmon gutted reform of FOI act. We've lost the idea of checks & balances in our government & allow corporate influences to dictate policy. 3rd world stuff

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 28th, 2011 11:32 AM

Oak Park prides itself on having active residents who are stay abreast of village issues and state their viewpoints. I don't see that as being a hero or a tattletale. I think the WJ has gone much too far in categorizing anyone that does not fit its 20th Century model of how government should work as disruptive. It is ironic that the WJ blogs are enraged over name calling and character assassination when it is the very style the WJ accepts in its editorials, columns, and new coverage.

Enuf is Enuf from Oak Park  

Posted: April 28th, 2011 10:25 AM

Amazing that a local newspaper would be critical of a local citizen who pursued a claim against the village for more openness and transparency, central tenets to journalism. Even when Mr. Barsotti's claim was validated by the Illinois Attorney General, Mr. Hubbuch still refers to the village violation as "alleged". Once again, the WJ failed to pursue investigate journalism, exposing themselves as a stable of unsubstantiated opinions from lazy, old, white guys; Haley, Trainor and Hubbuch.


Posted: April 28th, 2011 9:37 AM

I like you Mr. Hubbuch. I like your off the cuff writing style. Last week I agreed with you on the much ado about nothing on the post win drinking. I have to agree with Jon Donohue here though. (I voted for the referendum). You're just feeding the OP Culture of beating down anyone who has a different opinion with this piece.

Jon Donohue  

Posted: April 28th, 2011 8:50 AM

It is now evident that the bullies in grade school also moved to Oak Park with all their insecurities and fears to became lawyers and editorial writers at the local paper. The bullies still call people they don't agree with childish names, but now they do it in a more public forum that helps them boost their fragile egos. Though, the only thing they are boosting is their arrogance and stupidity.


Posted: April 28th, 2011 12:56 AM

Be careful, your sounding like a VMA supporter.

Enough already!  

Posted: April 27th, 2011 10:54 PM

We need to stop giving Mr.Kuriakos any face time in your papers. He is thriving on this attention and until we stop reporting on his questionable actions he will continue. On another post he proudly states that he is mentioned 4 times this week! Let's stop the ego building for this tattletale PLEASE!

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