Who do you trust to run River Forest?

Opinion: Columns

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Daniel Lauber

I'm not going to repeat the slew of good government reasons River Forest should declare its independence from Springfield by voting for home rule on November 6. They're explained online at http://www.rfhomerule.info.

Instead let's address the two elephants in the room that the home rule opponent raises: trust and a handful of fiscally-irresponsible governments.

Who do you trust to set the rules for River Forest government: the Illinois General Assembly or our own River Forest Village Board of Trustees?

Should we declare our independence from the General Assembly by voting to adopt home rule or should we let outsiders like House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, and all those downstate legislators control what our village can and cannot do?

Who do you think has our best interests at heart? The downstate legislators we can't vote for and who could care less about River Forest or the adverse impacts state legislation often has on us, or our own village trustees whom we alone elect, who are our neighbors, who have a personal interest in River Forest, and who live with the consequences of the laws they adopt?

That's a pretty easy choice. Why would we want to continue to be among the 20 percent of Illinois residents who live without home rule and are subject to the political whims of legislators who don't care about the quality of life in River Forest and often deride communities like ours?

Why wouldn't we want to place control of our village in the hands of our neighbors, people we can call and actually influence, people who care about River Forest because they live here too?

And why wouldn't we want to have the same control over our local government that 80 percent of Illinoisans have?

The most vocal opponent of home rule keeps bringing up the strawman of bankruptcy of three medium-sized charter cities in California, out of 109 charter cities — their equivalent of home rule. He can't resist reminding folks of the irresponsible behavior of the governing boards of five of Illinois' 209 home rule municipalities.

Just like businesses, some governments are well run and others are not. Go beyond the alarmist rhetoric and you realize that 98 percent of Illinois' home rule villages and cities — and 97 percent of California's charter cities — have not run into the sort of misconduct the opponent to River Forest home rule raises.

We've got everything to gain with home rule and nothing to lose. If we're unhappy with the decisions of our village board, we can replace at least half of it every two years. If we're unhappy with the decisions of the General Assembly, we are powerless.

Home rule places us in charge of our own destiny. I trust the people of River Forest and our village trustees who are accountable to us alone to govern us far better than the faceless politicians in Springfield who act as though they are accountable to no one.

Who do you really trust with River Forest's future? Springfield or our neighbors?


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Reader Comments

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Robyn from RF from River FOrest  

Posted: October 23rd, 2012 1:53 PM

I would like for Mr. Lauber to explain why any RF resident should abdicate their right to vote on issues directly affecting OUR community?! Is ther anything more insulting than a bureaucrat telling the citizens what is in their best interest? Don't just vote "no" on HR, vote out the entire RF board one by precious one.

Kay from River Forest  

Posted: October 21st, 2012 5:07 PM

Well said Greg. I want to be able to make decisions as necessary.

Greg from RF  

Posted: October 18th, 2012 8:58 AM

of property taxes that the HS sits on? You know the one that Riggas said we desperately needed but has now ballooned to $100M. It sits there like a piggie bank waiting to be doled out to the connected. Can Home Rule get rid of the unnecessary Township? No, Home Rule will allow the village to play developer and give Mr Laubner more work. Home Rule will allow more debt and can and may increase taxes. I like referendums in small communities. That's why no HR is good for RF.

Greg from RF  

Posted: October 18th, 2012 8:51 AM

Protection from the State? Those scary creators called Madigan and Cullerton. Never fear Home Rule can protect you!I wonder...can Home rule protect you from the "temporary" 67% tax increase becoming permanent? Can Home Rule protect you from the State putting pension costs back to the communities? Can Home Rule payoff the $8B in overdue bills at the State? Fact is Home Rule only has the potential to add to these problems not solve them. I also want to know can Home Rule get our overpayment


Posted: October 17th, 2012 4:34 PM

I noticed that Mr. Lauber failed to provide one specific reason for H.R. in River Forest. He wrote "We've got everything to gain with home rule....." but provides no example of what is to be gained. OP is a mess and one reason for this is that too many Boards believe that they can/should play Monopoly with our money. Lastly, what "problem" has the General Assembly/Madigan ever created for River Forest? Mr. Lauber didn't provide one example of that, either.

Concerned in RF  

Posted: October 17th, 2012 4:14 PM

Lauber's question is right on. Who do you trust - the Springfield Pols or your neighbors. I trust my neighbors. All of them collectively. Not just a select few sitting on the board. If the issue is so important then let ALL of the residents make the decision, even if it means a referendum. His position that half of the board can be replaced every two years is an insult. Talk about closing the door after the horse is gone....

Home Rule is Not the Answer  

Posted: October 17th, 2012 9:33 AM

Dan Lauber-shill for the "we need home rule" crew. What he fails to say is that a majority of the 80 percent of residents in Illinois who live in home rule communities do so because their community has more than 25,000 in population. Any community having more than 25,000 residents is automatically home rule. Please don't lie by omission Dan.

Rick from Oak Park  

Posted: October 17th, 2012 6:16 AM

Dan Lauber is well known community planner. Funny how people with similar views flock together. He has done some work in OP. He had been known as a guy who was anti waste and fraud. He used to go after things to protect the "little guy" I have seen from accross harlem how he has changed since he was appointed to the RF village committees. I am sure this has been good for his business, and now he seems Desperate to "pay" them back. If you live in OP you know HR is like a concealed weapon.

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