"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."- Margaret Mead

Watch Membership

Consider becoming a member of the Downers Grove Watch.

Learn more

Acknowledgements

Achievements in enhancing the quality of life in Downers Grove

Learn more

Contact Form Ready

We would love to hear from you. Voice your concerns or comments

Learn more

Residents weigh in on $4.5M Downers Grove Park District land buy

DOWNERS GROVE – The Downers Grove Park District held a public hearing May 21 about potentially issuing $4.5 million in bonds to purchase 14.8 acres of land.

land

The district has agreed to pay $304,054 per acre for the property, located at the intersection of Ogden and Walnut avenues, directly north of the Walnut Avenue sports field.

It will close on the property this summer, and plans to pay for the land by issuing the bonds.

The land will remain undeveloped for now, but the district plans to convert it into sports fields.

The district published its notice of intent May 13 to issue $4.5 million in limited tax park bonds. Its Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the decision to buy the property April 16.

During its meeting May 21, board Vice President Bob Gelwicks said if the bonds are issued, the district would not raise taxes to repay them.

“In terms of a debt to the taxpayers of the community … in order to pay off this debt, we will use operating funds to do that,” he said.

Downers Grove resident Gordon Goodman said he is in favor of acquiring the land. He said using the operating funds to pay off the debt is an “excellent way in which to finance this acquisition.”

“We know that when money and land become available at the same time, it’s a very good thing for the community,” Goodman said.

Downers Grove resident Frank Falesch said he didn’t think the purchase was necessary.

“It looks like you’ve got plenty of land,” he said. “I just can’t see why you need more land.”

Bill Wrobel, of Downers Grove, asked if the district asked the Alter Group, which owns the property, if it would donate the land to the district.

Commissioner Damienne Souter said they asked for both full or partial donation, but the Alter Group did not want to donate.

Downers Grove resident Laurel Bowen asked for up-to-date documents related to discussion of the property, and said the appraisal used to set the price for the district deal dated back to 1997 and showed the land to have wetlands on it.

Read More

In Illinois Capitol, lobbying is a growing business

lobby

When it comes to his pledge to grow business in Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s presence in the Capitol has triggered an increase in at least one sector.

According to a review of state records, the number of lobbyists patrolling the marble-floored Statehouse is at its highest level in five years.

Some say the uptick is linked to having a Republican in the governor’s office for the first time in 12 years, but others think a push by utility companies for favorable changes in state law is playing a role.

“With the new administration, there are those who do business with the state who feel the need to have more direct contact with executive branch employees,” said state Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington.

In addition, the change in administration has left former members of Gov. Pat Quinn’s inner circle and former lawmakers ready to cash in their connections working as lobbyists.

Read More

 

Edwards House move clears crucial hurdle

 

DOWNERS GROVE – The next step toward saving the historic Edwards House has been made, as a space can be prepared where the house can be moved.

On Wednesday, the Downers Grove Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved a height variance that would allow John Tillotson to change his house at 743 Maple Ave. into an accessory structure.

Tillotson has previously said the variance would make it possible to move the Edwards House from its existing location at 942 Maple Ave. to his property.

The Edwards House is in jeopardy because a condominium developer has plans to build a structure at the historic home’s current site. Community members have come together in an effort to save the house, a process that has been ongoing several months.

Read More

Downers Grove Watch Calls For Loftus Resignation From Library Board

Meet Dan Loftus, Appointed Downers Grove Library Trustee and proclaimed President of the rogue organization Downers Grove Community Advocates.

loftus

Mr. Loftus was an integral part of an election campaign that sought to secure a power grab of the Downers Grove Village Council that had been in the works for years.  The final push to complete the process was to install Commissioner Geoff Neustadt at the helm as Mayor where they could rubber stamp projects and policies that included a $52 million dollar municipal building plan and the demolition of historic homes to make way for in-town condominiums. The act of indifference to Village residents and taxpayers was a clear indication of the political aspirations of a few, at the expense of the many, with absolute control.

As president of the “Advocates”, an organization claiming impartiality, he preemptively placed signs in his yard for his chosen candidate, as did other advocate members, long before their “endorsement” interview process began and then criticized the incumbent Mayor for not participating. This disregard for honest process was purposeful with the intention of promoting a chosen slate, one that was thankfully voted down unanimously by Downers Grove residents.

In his final plea to voters, Mr. Loftus formed a letter denouncing the opposition as “political, divisive, condescending and exclusionary”, yet, the Advocates endorsement process, led by Mr. Loftus as President,  is depicted by those adjectives discernibly in his letter.

To that end we question Mr. Loftus’ role in representing Village residents as a Library Trustee, in public service, and the conflict of interest it portends with his direct involvement and offensive activity within the Advocates organization.

Dan Loftus should resign from the library board.

Downers Grove Voters Transform Village Council

crew

The Downers Grove Watch would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Martin Tully on his successful reelection bid for Mayor and welcome three new commissioners Bill White, Gina Vattimo, and William Waldack to the Village Council.

We look forward to your cooperation and collaboration on the many issues that face the Village going forward and are quite confident that this cohesive group is up to the task.

Downers Grove Watch Places Ad in Suburban Life Newspaper

The Downers Grove Watch placed an advertisement in the West Suburban Life newspaper to draw awareness to the group.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

A Question of Ethics – Neustadt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the recent LWV Forum, Geoff Neustadt, candidate for Mayor of Downers Grove, made a talking point about the Village’s ethics ordinance, saying that he was proud to have been one of those who voted to adopt it.

Paragraph 6 of Exhibit 2 to the Official Village Policy Regarding Ethical Standards, adopted in October 2007, clearly states that: “Elected officials or their agents may not knowingly approach any Village employee to seek their signature on a nominating petition.”

LGM_Ethical_Standards Paragraph 6

In filing his nominating papers to run for Mayor, Mr. Neustadt appears to have violated that ordinance.

One of the nominating petitions that he filed to get himself on the ballot was not only signed by one of Downers Grove’s current police officers but was circulated by that same police officer for others to sign before he himself signed it, and then had his signature notarized (by Commissioner Becky Rheintgen) as a petition circulator. A copy of the petition, signed and circulated by Andrew Blaylock, appears below. Officer Blaylock is someone unquestionably known to Mr. Neustadt as an employee of the Village.

LGM_Ethical_Standards

One could argue whether Mr. Neustadt “knowingly” knew of the nominating petition, but considering the notary, we suspect the candidate would have been privy when the petitions are scrutinized before submission.

The Downers Grove Watch expects strict adherence to Village ordinances as they relate to the campaigns of those running for office.

League of Women Voters Candidates Forum 03-11-2015

Mayoral and Commissioner Candidates For Council 2015 Question and Answer Forum

Time and contradiction besets Neustadt campaign by turning down public debate opportunity

Public debates are an important part of the process in electing officials and getting perspective on candidates running for office.  Candidates are encouraged to participate and devote the time to engage the public.  The Downers Grove Watch is disappointed that the Neustadt campaign turned down the opportunity.

We hope Mr. Neustadt reconsiders.

denied

Downers Grove Watch Treasurer Speaks to Downers Grove Lions Club

billw1

Bill Wrobel spoke to the Noon Lions Club at their Luncheon Meeting at Oak Trace Retirement Village in Downers Grove on March 10th, 2015 explaining the Activities and History of the WATCH as a “Watch DOG GROUP”.

His speech outlined the activities of the WATCH, such as placing the Home Rule Referendum on the Ballot for the Voters in 2006, hosting Teardowns and Taxes Forum, Meet the Candidate Election Forms, held at the Downers Grove Library and at Lincoln Center.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The WATCH appreciates the opportunity to interact and inform groups like the Downers Grove Lions about its activities and its newly formed Speakers Bureau is available to Church, Retirement, Homeowners and Civic Groups to make a 25 Minute presentation on request.

Contact Bill at 630 964 5542.