Court’s in session for Palos Park mayoral candidates
By Jeff Vorva
Yes, they are lawyers. And they know how to give a closing argument.
Longtime Palos Park Commissioner Nicole Milovich-Walters and Ronette Leal McCarthy are a pair of lawyers seeking the job as mayor to take over for John Mahoney, also a lawyer, who is retiring and did not seek a fifth term. The election is April 4.
The two candidates engaged in a debate on March 14 at Stagg High School and when it came time for their last two minutes to summarize their credentials, both gave strong arguments with Milovich-Walters stressing her 16 years of experience as a commissioner while McCarthy hammered home a need for change.
Milovich-Walters had her final summary first.
“Experience matters,” she said. “Experience is vital for doing the job of mayor. And the ability to work as a team for the best interest of the residents is crucial.
“Only once in Palos Park history was there a mayor who had not been a commissioner first. That was in 1951 when we had approximately 850 residents. Now, with nearly 5,000 residents, the job has changed.”
She said that being a commissioner is imperative to doing the job of mayor.
“On Day 1, I am rolling without the need for training wheels,” she said. “I have more experience than anyone who has ever run for the position for mayor of Palos Park.”
Miliovich-Walters said that she has been endorsed by every living past mayor in the village.
“It takes a mayor to know a mayor, she said.
She wrapped up with: “My experience is relevant and abundant. My ability to work with a team is proven and effective. This is why I am qualified to be your next mayor of Palos Park.”
Riding the unicycle
McCarthy closed with a speech that had some improvisation in it as the “training wheels” line did not go unnoticed.
“First off, I want to thank my opponent for helping you see why change is needed,” McCarthy said. “I do not know why there is a thought that it has to be done a certain way. That is not democracy. That is not the democratic way. We do not tap people on shoulders to become a committee member or a commissioner or a mayor. Now, I’ve always liked being No. 1 but I will take that second mayor in the history of Palos Park position and gladly serve as mayor not having been a commissioner before.”
She said she does have experience working within the village and has worked with “countless” villages and municipalities in the area.
“That in itself has given me a wealth of information in regards to golf course redevelopment, writing ordinances, zoning laws, not cutting down trees,” McCarthy said. “I have access to all of those professionals throughout the Chicagoland area. I can pick up a telephone and reach out and get some advice.”
McCarthy said that there is currently 60 years of experience on the council and if she wins, there will still be 44 years of collective knowledge.
“The staff will be remaining the same,” she said. “That doesn’t change. I’m not going to need training wheels. I’m ready to get on a unicycle and ride my way around Palos Park – that would be a sight to see if I was on a unicycle now that I think about it – but it would allow the village residents to come out and talk more collaboratively by seeing that.”
McCarthy, 51, is an attorney with the Leal McCarthy law group LLC since January 2008, and she said one of the biggest challenges in Palos Park right now is to get the council to be a little more resident-friendly.
A recent controversy regarding a new parking expansion at Wu’s House restaurant has caused strife at committee meetings and some of that spilled over to a Feb. 27 council meeting.
“We are really blessed to live in such an amazing community known as the Village of Palos Park,” she said. “The challenges to some may not seem large to people in other communities.
“One of the largest challenges that has been exhibited to me over the last months is the lack of residents’ voices. The lack of being heard. The lack of feeling that you are actually a part of our governance.”
She said voices are not being heard.
“Democracy is pretty,” McCarthy said. “Democracy is the voice of our residents. And allowing our residents to feel a part of the local municipal government, to me, is one of the most significant challenges that we have. We have 11 committees in the Village of Palos Park. Everything from zoning, the library, recreation and historic preservation.
“Currently, five of those boards have vacancies. Five. Five boards should not have vacancies in the Village of Palos Park. Village of Palos Park residents should feel greeted and welcome when they come to a board meeting. They should not be told that they cannot have a voice and that they cannot talk as has been exhibited at the board meetings recently.”
She said her top priority is to listen to the residents’ concerns.
“In order to advance our village, in order to have it grow and see into the future, we do need to work together as a community and make sure that democracy is first and foremost,” she said.
Milovich-Walters, 54, is the president and CEO of the Walters Law Group Ltd., and owns a pre-employment screening company.
She said there are a group of challenges facing Palos Park that she wants to tackle.
“We need to advance our progress,” Milovich-Walters said. “Public safety is paramount in Palos Park. We spend half our budget to support mandated training, equipment and salaries. And we have a small budget to deal with.
“Our western annexation is very critical to growing our businesses and supporting our tax base. But we want to do all of that in keeping the character of the village.”
She is hitting hard on seniors in the village and expanding programs and organizations for seniors.
She also wants to welcome new residents with open arms.
“The biggest thing I would like to do is create a community-based organization that will greet new residents and will share with them the resources about our businesses, our school, our community events,” Milovich-Walters said.
“These volunteers would go to their homes, answer their questions and ensure that they feel a part of the community. Being inclusive is important. Keeping our gem of Palos Park the pride of the southwest suburbs of Chicago is paramount to our way of life.”
Dogs had their day at alderman’s office
Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 517-7796 . Who let the dogs out? Who, who, who let the dogs out? Twenty-third Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares let the dogs in, at her office on 63rd Street. Our Oliver was one of the…
Yule decorations light the way to Christmas
Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 . Today (Dec. 1) is National Eat a Red Apple Day. Apples are a superfood. Eating them will reduce your chance of developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer. They are good for digestion and even improve brain health. Organic apples are…
Catholic schools dilemma
Spread the love. After loss in Springfield, advocates search for a Plan B . By Tim Hadac After a clear defeat in Springfield earlier this month, supporters of the state’s Invest in Kids scholarship program—which includes a number of Catholic school parents on the Southwest Side—are searching for a Plan B. “What we do at…
Tommy Fitz, truly a good man
Spread the love. By Tim Hadac Editor Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound . The obituary said Thomas M. Fitzgerald. But to me, it was almost like it was referring to someone else, if only because I—like so many others in Clearing and Garfield Ridge–knew him as Tommy Fitz. He died suddenly, unexpectedly, on Nov. 15 at…
Mount Carmel beats Downers Grove North for 15th state title
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Mount Carmel’s plan was to open and close the season in Normal. They wanted to open the 2023 campaign by beating then-nationally ranked East St. Louis in a neutral-site game at Hancock Stadium at Illinois State University, then return 13 weeks later and a win a state championship.…
Cold Turkey Trotting | Young runners heat up Orland Park race held in freezing temps
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The temperature may have been freezing, but the winners were not complaining. The 35th Orland Park Turkey Trot, held per tradition on Thanksgiving, started in 30-degree weather. And the young champs embraced it. Jack Krusinski, 16, of Palos Heights, won the 2.5 mile event with a time of…
Area Sports Roundup | Cougars get revenge on Marian, earn date with top seed
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The Saint Xavier defense made sure to get some revenge for a couple of losses in recent years to Marian University. The Cougars racked up 10 sacks, 15 tackles for losses, three forced fumbles and two interceptions in a 31-21 victory over Marian in the second round of…
Girls Hoops | St. Laurence stages huge comeback to win Beecher Tourney
Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff Writer This is not the way to start a championship game. But it’s a pretty good way to finish it. St. Laurence fell behind Rich Township, 19-0, in the Beecher Fall Classic final on Nov. 22. While it could have been easy for rookie coach Claire Austin and her…
Bedford Park officer shot Sunday morning
Spread the loveBy Bob Bong A Bedford Park police officer was in stable condition Sunday after he was shot while investigating a stolen car near the Speedway station at 6800 S. Archer Avenue. Police were responding to reports of a nearby car crash about 3:40 a.m. Police said a car reported stolen in a carjacking…
Property assessments released for Worth Township
Spread the loveCook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi last week released the initial assessments of residential and commercial properties in Worth Township. “I strongly encourage property owners to review their reassessment notice to ensure their property characteristics and market value reflect their home,” said Kaegi. “It is important to understand that assessments in Cook County reflect…
Temporary staffing agencies seek to block new state labor law
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois email@example.com SPRINGFIELD – A group of temporary staffing agencies and their trade associations are asking a federal court to block enforcement of a new state law that governs how day laborers and temp workers are managed and paid. The lawsuit, filed earlier this month in Chicago, challenges several changes…
Former GOP senator, third-party governor candidate to represent himself in corruption trial
By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org SPRINGFIELD – Monday was supposed to have been the first day in the weeklong federal corruption trial of former Republican state Sen. Sam McCann, who allegedly misused more than $200,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses. A pull-down projector screen in the Springfield courtroom of U.S. District Judge…
Candidates for 2024 primary brave cold for potential ballot advantage
By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois email@example.com SPRINGFIELD – Monday marked the kickoff for the 2024 election cycle, with hundreds of candidates filing their petitions at the Illinois State Board of Elections. Those in line by 8 a.m. Monday at the ISBE building in Springfield will be entered into a lottery to be the first…
State high court to hear case against staffing agencies accused of suppressing wages
By HANNAH MEISEL & DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org The Illinois Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear arguments from three staffing agencies that say their industry is exempt from state antitrust laws in a case claiming the firms conspired to hold down wages for their workers. The Chicagoland-based companies have already lost twice in…
State high court skeptical municipal police and fire pension consolidation hurt retirees’ voting rights
By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois email@example.com The Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments in a case alleging the state’s 2019 law that consolidated nearly 650 individual police and firefighter pension funds actually hurt retirees by diluting their voting power. The nearly three-dozen pensioners and 17 individual pension funds that sued over the law…
Pritzker designates additional $160M for migrant response as winter approaches
By HANNAH MEISEL & JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org CHICAGO – As winter quickly approaches, Gov. JB Pritzker on Thursday announced plans for the state to spend an additional $160 million to aid and house a sustained influx of migrants sent to Chicago from the nation’s southern border. The administration sold the plan as…
Candidate filing begins Monday, signaling official start of 2024 election cycle
By DILPREET RAJU Capitol News Illinois email@example.com Monday morning marks the official beginning of the 2024 election cycle in Illinois, opening up the week-long period when candidates for local, state, congressional and judicial races are required to turn in the signatures they’ve spent the last two months collecting to get on the ballot. The…
State high court skeptical municipal police and fire pension consolidation hurt retirees’ voting rights
By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org The Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments in a case alleging the state’s 2019 law that consolidated nearly 650 individual police and firefighter pension funds actually hurt retirees by diluting their voting power. The nearly three-dozen pensioners and 17 individual pension funds that sued over the…
Iowa-Illinois carbon dioxide pipeline application withdrawn
By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois email@example.com Plans for a pipeline that would have transported carbon dioxide from Iowa for eventual storage in central Illinois are off the table – for now. Wolf Carbon Solutions, the company behind the proposed project, filed a motion with state regulators on Monday to withdraw its application, although…
State school board weighs increased funding requests ahead of budget season
By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois firstname.lastname@example.org SPRINGFIELD – Officials at the Illinois State Board of Education say they’re receiving more requests for increased funding for next year than the state could possibly afford, and they’re bracing for the possibility that budgets will start to tighten in the near future. “It does appear that…