Chicago Ridge incumbant trustee candidate Don Badon sticks his hand in a jar to draw the order of speakers at the Chicago Ridge candidate's forum last Wednesday while candidate Don Pratl and moderator Peter Granvill laugh it up. Stories on candidates for Chicago Ridge, Worth and District 218 can be found on page xxxxxxx.
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HEADLINE -- Delivering a mess-age
SUBHEAD -- CR candidates paint different pictures of the village with one calling it a 'mess'
By Bob Rakow
Chicago Ridge trustees Dan Badon and Jack Lind took their customary seats behind the dais at village hall last Wednesday, joined by four challengers who would like a permanent seat at the table.
Village Hall was the setting for a candidate’s forum, and the attendance—about 100 people—far exceeded the number of residents who attend a typical village board meeting.
Lind and Badon are joined on the April 7 ballot by Bill McFarland, a paid-on-call firefighter and a member of the Our Lady of the Ridge school board; Don Pratl, a former village trustee and member of the School District 218 board; Fran Coglianese, a former village employee; and Dave Conrad, a member of the Chicago Ridge Park Board.
Voters will select three of the six candidates for four-year terms. Incumbent Mike Davies is not seeking re-election.
The forum was sponsored by the Chicago Ridge Worth Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored a similar event for Worth trustee candidates on Thursday night.
At times, the candidates painted very different pictures of Chicago Ridge.
Pratl said a recent walk on 111th Street and Ridgeland Avenue opened his eyes to a troubled business district.
“I was appalled. It’s just a mess. How will we ever attract new business when our business district is in decay, and how will we keep the few that are making money,” Pratl said.
He added that he opposes the current administration’s decision to share a fire chief with Oak Lawn because it makes the community appear second rate.
Pratl said he supports a transparency ordinance that would make important village documents easily accessible to residents. He added that he would summarize meetings on his blog and make sure plans to televise board meetings are ultimately realized.
McFarland, a longtime Chicago Ridge resident, stressed that he would bring his business and finance background to the village board.
He added that village must do a better job communicating with residents, some who believe village board meetings are closed to the public, he said.
He also criticized the appearance of the village and said action must be taken to drive more traffic through the business district.
“Who do you trust with your tax dollars?” McFarland said during his closing remarks, adding that he’s running as an independent and not accepting donations for his campaign.
“I’m an individual. I don’t want to owe a single person,” he said.
Conrad, a 30-year resident of the village, stressed the need to maintain village services.