With all due respect to Mr. Sullivan and in appreciation of his service to River Forest, I nonetheless have to admit that reading his comment in today’s paper [Hoke and Dudek should make peace, not war, Viewpoints, Feb. 27] was like a trip through the looking glass.
Central to Mr. Sullivan’s argument was the premise that transparent government is a bad thing. I prefer the wisdom of Justice Brandeis, who, when speaking about the benefits of transparent government, noted that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
Mr. Sullivan argues that the recent transparency in RiverForest will end up costing the taxpayers more money, but I think the opposite is true. It is the backrooms deals, the no-bid contracts and the confidential use of TIF funds that prevent the citizens from getting the best bang for their collective buck. I can’t think of an instance where taxpayers got a bad deal because they knew too much about what their elected officials were doing.
But fundamentally more troubling was Mr. Sullivan’s assertion that the citizens of RiverForest should just elect their village board members and leave them to run the village without any interference from, or consultation with, the taxpayers, sort of like a Popeil Rotisserie Grill of government (“set it and forget it!”).
RiverForest is not an aristocracy or an oligarchy. Our elected officials must always recognize that they are continually accountable to those who elect them. Our form of government requires not only the vigilance of its citizens but transparency with regard to how its elected official conduct the people’s business.
In point of fact, it appears to me that what Mr. Sullivan really wants is another form of government entirely-one where the village board members simply acquiesce to the president and rubber-stamp his decisions. Based on some recent statements concerning inappropriate conduct with parrots and unsubstantiated insinuations that try to tie a fellow villager to an alleged torturer, however, it doesn’t strike me that our current president fits the Platonic ideal of the philosopher king.
I, for one, applaud the efforts that Steve Hoke and Steve Dudek (and Russ Nummer, who was not specifically mentioned in Mr. Sullivan’s letter, but who has also worked to instill transparency) have made for the citizens of RiverForest, and I ask them to keep up the good work.