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 www.oakpark.com/Community.