Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Orland Park once had a great mayor

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How do you assess the failures of Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau? Compare him to his predecessor when it comes to helping people.

In July 1996, when Dan McLaughlin was mayor, a dozen areas of Orland Park had been slammed by heavy rainstorms and extensive flooding that caused massive property damage.

The Village of Orland Park wasn’t responsible for the record-setting rainfalls that slammed the village and destroyed homes, but McLaughlin and his board were immediately out on the street inspecting every damaged home and speaking with homeowners whose properties were damaged by the unprecedented floods, showing compassion and concern.

Under McLaughlin, the village provided expensive Dumpsters to help homeowners remove damaged property and picked them up after. McLaughlin provided cases of bleach. Flooding causes mold to grow and the bleach can destroy the mold.

Importantly, McLaughlin waived all the permit fees required to rebuild and replace parts of the homes, saving hundreds of dollars for suffering homeowners.

Many homeowners did not have flood insurance, so Mayor McLaughlin declared an emergency, permitting FEMA to provide low interest loans to help homeowners repair home damage.

The following year, McLaughlin invested several million in new drainage pipes where the flooding took place.

McLaughlin and village trustees also visited each and every damaged property after the floods that July day in 1996.

It was an amazing demonstration of putting “people over politics” without saying you do that.

For his only mistakes in his final year on the pension and salary controversies, McLaughlin, who served 32 years in office and 24 years as mayor, cared about the “people” of Orland Park, not the “politics.”

You can’t say that about Pekau. Pekau doesn’t really care about the “people” of Orland Park at all. He only cares about the “politics,” which is why he uses that fake party label, People Over Politics.

Last month, on May 7, 2024, hundreds of Orland Park homes suffered extensive damage from a heavy rain and record hailstorm.

Hail the size of quarters, golf balls and, in some cases, baseballs, destroyed roofs, gutters, windows and siding on the homes requiring roofs to be replaced.

In most cases, the roof, siding and gutter damage was covered by insurance, although the deductibles that homeowners had to pay ranged from $500 to $5,000, depending on their policy.

For most homes, the average damage ranged between $25,000, the cost to replace a typical roof, and up to $50,000 for the other miscellaneous gutter, siding repairs.

Where was Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau? Overseeing plans to spend $12.7 million in taxpayer money (from homeowners) to build a rock concert venue he could enjoy for himself. (At the first concert, where Pekau gave away some 500 tickets, Pekau set up empty chairs with the names of McLaughlin and his other rivals, a blatant act of politics exposing his true purpose.)

Pekau brushed aside homeowner suffering, issuing a press release warning them to beware of “roof scammers.” Pekau never visited homeowners to assess the damage, although I’m sure he checked on homes of his cronies.

Pekau could have waived the building permit fees to show empathy to the homeowners he ignored whose properties were damaged, but he did not. Every home is required to pay the hefty fees for new roofs, siding replacement, gutter replacement and for anything else that had to be reworked.

Here is what Pekau wrote in his June 24, 2024 “Political” Newsletter:

“Due to the May 7th hail-storm there were several roofs damaged. The village has received well over 10 times the normal roof permit requests. We have worked through almost 1,000 of them and have less than 500 left. Please be patient, we are working through them as fast as we can. We have shifted resources around to accommodate this and have tried to keep other permits moving normally though those have been slowed slightly as well.”

If Pekau cared about “people,” he would have waived the permit fees for the hail damage repairs.

Those two crisis moments in Orland Park history demonstrate who really cares about the “people” in Orland Park and who really cares about the “politics.”

Read more on this topic at www.Hanania.com.

4 Comments

  1. William Bell on July 6, 2024 at 9:39 am

    I am not sure where you get your information but I want to fact check you now. First, I have been a home owner in Orland Park since 1985. The storm you referred to in July 1996 was horrific but, McLaughlin. Er once came out to our neighborhood which had more damage because the lake overflowed and ran down the streets flooding basements and damaging landscapes and other structures. We had that problem until Pekau became mayor and had our tiny storm sewer system replaced with a much larger one. Since then we never had water in our basement. Yes Mayor Pekau is no angel but, McLaughlin is a crook and a criminal. All he did in those years was to enrich himself and his Democratic cronies. He put this village into a massive debt and hid it from the citizens of this great village. McLaughlin’s tenure was a black spot on Orland Park.

  2. Chuck on July 6, 2024 at 10:39 am

    PEOPLE ONLY READ WHAT THEY WANT TO!!
    McLaughlin was always my choice Pikachu is the worse choice for any position 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

  3. Randy on July 6, 2024 at 11:18 am

    Pekau is a P.O.S. I’m so thankful that I don’t live in Orland Park. His political agenda is a mirror image of another egotistical fool who only cares about his own self image. Things will tragically stay the same with this fool’s idealogy of following his idols master plan. Orland Park, you did this to yourselves. That’s why I’m happy I don’t live in that geopolitical Hellscape. ROTFLMAO.

  4. Jay Swanson on July 7, 2024 at 8:38 am

    Requiring permits for roof, gutter, and siding replacement after the hail damage protected home owners from hiring banned contractors, unscrupulous contractors, and unapproved materials and procedures.

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