The first jabs have been thrown in what could shape up to be an interesting
A new challenger has stepped forward to take on Trustee Bob Streit, and he’s wasting little time attacking the veteran board member.
Scott Hollis, a former Chicago city worker, recently threw his hat in the political ring, replacing Pat McGowan, who announced his intentions to run for trustee several months ago.
“Pat had some work and family issues come up that made running difficult for him, and after we spoke, he suggested I run instead. I gave it a lot of thought, talked to a lot of people, and decided I would do it,” Hollis said.
Those “people” did not include Mayor Sandra Bury or her supporters on the board, said Hollis, 58, who describes himself as an independent candidate.
“I plan on sitting down with anyone who wants to” he said, adding that he expect to hold a fundraiser in November.
Streit has not officially announced his intentions to run for re-election, but he has nearly $15,000 in campaign funds, according to disclosure statements filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
And, Streit sounds like a politician about to enter campaign mode, as he continues his criticism of Mayor Sandra Bury and rebukes Hollis’ remarks.
“He’s Sandra Bury’s candidate, and Tom Phelan wrote the (campaign) piece,” Streit said. “They had to go all the way to Chicago to come up with a yes man.”
Phelan, a former Oak Lawn trustee and political opponent of Streit’s, managed Bury’s mayoral campaign.
Streit narrowly won re-election in 2011, defeating Dan Sordaro by 11 votes, after the challenger was knocked off the ballot and ran a write-in campaign.
But Streit does not believe his razor-thin margin of victory four years ago is the central motivation for his opponents. Rather, he said, they want to remove an independent voice from the board.
“I’m not a rubberstamp. I won’t be a rubberstamp,” he said.
Hollis has lived in Oak Lawn for two years but has gotten to know the community, he said.
“I have lived in Oak Lawn for a couple of years but spent a lot of time in the village prior to then. My brother owns the Culver’s in Oak Lawn, and I spend about 10-20 hours a week helping him there, including organizing his operation at Fall on the Green,” Hollis said.
Hollis lived in Chicago’s 15th Ward before moving to Oak Lawn. He said he hasn’t done any campaign work in the 15th Ward since 1991 and will not have campaign help from Chicago.
Hollis said the village would be better off without Streit on the village board.
“Bob Streit’s endless attacks are undermining the village board and management and are bad for Oak Lawn and bad for the residents of the 3rd District,” he said in a prepared statement.
Hollis said he would work to keep taxes down via “aggressive economic development, modernizing operations and eliminating waste and duplication across all levels of village government.”
Additionally, he said, “I am concerned about the amount of debtOak Lawn has, which, combined with our underfunded pension obligations, will overwhelm our ability to provide basic services to residents.”
Hollis promised to start a 3rd District neighborhood watch program and chided Streit for a lack of commitment to public safety.
“Bob Striet talks a lot about his commitment to public safety, but the only suggestions he makes are attacks and criticisms of other board members and village management,” Hollis said.
Streit responded saying that his call a public hearing regarding potential problems involving the 911 dispatch center is an example of his concern for public safety.
“That’s a real issue. Where does he stand on a public hearing?” Streit said.
Hollis also said he would establish a quarterly district electronic newsletter and host district meetings.
“Bob Streit’s idea of communication with residents and businesses is to send unsolicited emails via the Oak Lawn Leaf that attack other board members and village management,” Hollis said.
Streit’s opponents believe that the senior trustee, his business partner Dennis Brennan and former mayor Dave Heilmann are the creators of the Oak Lawn Leaf, a website that is routinely critical of Bury and the village administration.
Streit responded saying that he’s “the only trustee who has a district office that serve residents every day.”
Hollis said he would “aggressively lobby the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to fix the chronic flooding problems affecting the village.” He also supports more development on Southwest Highway.
Streit said flooding is a problem that requires immediate attention and Hollis should demand answers from current elected officials regarding the problem.
Hollis was a foreman in the city’s bureau of wiring and communication. He also served as a Cook County Forest Preserve Policeman and worked for the Chicago Park District.
He attended St. Rita High School and DePaul University. He’s a long-time member of Teamsters Local 700, a widower and does not have children.