Vote “No” On Districting – Protect Our Right To Vote for All Trustees!

by Jed Skillman

On January 19th Trustee Tim Allen succeeded in legally preventing the Village of Winfield from publishing vital information concerning his upcoming referendum.  Appearing on the March 20th ballot is Tim Allen’s proposal to divide voters into six separate districts.

With his official information black-out firmly in place, Trustee Allen is asking residents to go ahead and take his word for it and vote in favor of something about which he has prevented them from learning basic facts.  Would any reasonable citizen buy a house, an insurance policy, a used car under these circumstances?

But, instead of facts Trustee Tim Allen has given voters a big dose of ranting – which can be seen here and here – against the civic group Winfield United for a Better Community, and against the Winfield Register newspaper and its publisher.  Trustee Allen is working hard to chase anyone who disagrees with him from the public arena.  He regularly trashes individual residents or Winfield United members on his blog site. Recently he tried to get the State Board of Elections to shut down the Winfield Register, an attempt which did nothing but make him look foolish and put his name on their radar.  Then he instigated what amounts to a “boycott” of businesses that advertise with the Register.  Mind you, a sitting Trustee did this.  Next on Allen’s agenda is a game of “divide and conquer” with the voters.

What is his goal?  Tim Allen wants a Winfield in which the interests of the residents can be over ridden by commercial interests.  In his vast writings he continually promises rivers of gold, retail tax revenue flowing into Village coffers; sustainable revenue to boot.  In order to accomplish this, neighborhoods will have to be sacrificed to make way for malls and commercial space.  This is where “divide and conquer” comes in.  If voters are divided into six districts and allowed to vote only for one Trustee they will be much less able to express their displeasure at the ballot box.

The problem with all of this, aside from ethical issues, is not Winfield’s twice-monthly newspaper or a local citizen’s group, or even the fact that commercialization is out of character with Winfield’s residential nature.

The problem is this: Commercialization is an economic pipe-dream that is ten years out of date.  The era of strip malls and box-stores is gone.

Look around.  They aren’t building retail anymore.  Commercial vacancies across the nation are at an all-time high and growing.  Not only is the bad economy working against commercial construction, so is technology.  E-commerce and internet sales are killing brick-and-mortar sales.  Last year alone, while retail sales continued to drop internet sales rose by16%.  We are now in the second decade of the 21st century; these days people search the web and make purchases from their iPhones.  Tim Allen is selling a vision of “sustainable” revenue that became obsolete about the time the home video cassette disappeared.

But facts don’t get in Tim Allen’s way.  He’s got big ideas and he needs your help.  All he’s asking you to do is give up your right to vote for all six Village Trustees.  That’s all.  Just sacrifice your own right to vote for all Village Board members and go quietly into your own little District where you’ll only be allowed to vote for one.

Give up six votes in exchange for one?  That’s a lot to ask, especially when the declared object is to get rid of his political opposition and put a twice-a-month newspaper out of business.  That’s asking a lot just to facilitate some land deals in town.

For us, the residents and taxpayers, what will likely be the result if districting becomes law?  Will we get more accountability from our elected Trustees, or less?  Consider the plight of the residents down along Beecher Avenue.  Recently Trustee Allen publicly urged Village officials to “pull the trigger”, his words, on Beecher residents and rezone their neighborhood to commercial.  That is exactly what happened; their neighborhood was zoned right out from under them.  And here’s the catch: Once corralled into a voting district, those people will not be able to express their outrage against Trustee Allen at the ballot box.  Allen lives in a different district.  The same sad fate awaits residents in other parts of the Village, too.

Don’t expect Tim Allen’s promises of “lower taxes” to materialize any time soon.  In fact, he’s headed in the other direction.  Trustee Allen worked hard to defeat the road repair referendum two years ago then ran for office on a “No New Taxes” pledge in the spring of 2011, yet he recently endorsed a $1.8 million back-door tax hike.  He also suggested an additional 1% surcharge be added on top of the water rate increases forced on DuPage County residents by the City of Chicago.  Both these flip-flops are a matter of public record.  If “districting” becomes law there will be no way for most voters to unseat Tim Allen.  He’ll be Trustee-for-life.

So when you see Allen’s anti-Winfield United mailing look closely at the bad little boy with the slingshot having a temper-tantrum.  That’s what Tim Allen sees when he looks into a mirror.

Do not reward his tantrum.  Do not surrender your right to vote for all Trustees.

On March 20th, go to the polls and …

Vote NO on Districting.

About Positive on Winfield

Positive on Winfield is a blog with articles on local issues, local events, and local interests in Winfield, IL. Positive on Winfield is the blog website of the local civic action group, Winfield United for a Better Community.

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