"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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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A Question of Ethics – Neustadt

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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.

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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.

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Downers Grove Watch Treasurer Speaks to Downers Grove Lions Club

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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.

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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.

Voter Registration for April Election

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015, is the last day to register or transfer registration for the April 7, 2015, Consolidated Election. Voter registration will reopen on Thursday, April 9, 2015.

To register, you must be 18 years of age on or before the election, be a citizen of the United States and a legal resident of DuPage County. Two forms of identification with current address are needed. Applicants may register at the following locations:

  • Downers Grove Public Library, 1050 Curtiss
  • Downers Grove Village Hall, 801 Burlington
  • Downers Grove Township offices, 4340 Prince St.
  • Lisle Township offices, 4721 Indiana Ave, Lisle
  • York Township offices, 1502 Meyers Road, Lombard
  • DuPage Election Commission, 421 County Farm Road, Wheaton
  • Downers Grove Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 2001 Butterfield Road, Suite 105 (Call first: 630-968-4050)

Grace Period Voting

The DuPage County Election Commission will offer “Grace Period Voting” beginning March 11, 2015 and ending April 4, 2015 at the Election Commission Office at 421 N. County Farm Road, Wheaton, IL. During this period, an individual may register to vote or transfer their registration and vote at the same time.

Tuesday, March 10 is the last day to register to vote in the April 7 Consolidated Election.

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In February, Governor Rauner delivered an address on the proposed State of Illinois FY2015-16 budget, which includes several proposals that could impact local government. The most significant potential impact includes a reduction of the Income Tax distribution to local government by 50%. Under this proposal, the Village would receive approximately $2.4 million less in revenue annually. The State’s fiscal year begins on July 1 and budget appropriations must be approved by the General Assembly before being implemented. The Village has taken steps to prepare for potential loss of state shared revenue, as described in the Village’s Long Range Plan for 2013-2015, which identified this potential issue. In addition, the Village is responding in the following manner:

Implementing expense reductions that can be made with minimal impact on service levels in order to ensure that the Village’s operating expenses do not exceed revenues by the end of the current fiscal year. Examples of these expense reductions include delay filling certain vacant positions, defer vehicle replacement purchases, and review training policies/procedures and related expenses.

Developing a process to engage the Village Council during the Village’s Long-Range Planning (June-August) regarding service prioritization and potential reductions that might be required once the impacts of the approved State budget are known.

Working closely with other municipalities through the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference and Illinois Municipal League to describe the likely impact of these reductions in revenue to the Governor’s Office and General Assembly.