Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said at the July 1 board meeting that those who have issues with the board should show up at meetings or identify themselves. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said at the July 1 board meeting that those who have issues with the board should show up at meetings or identify themselves. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park’s Pekau blasts anonymous critics

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By Jeff Vorva

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau used a little Independence Day history to hammer home a point about anonymous critics on social media who are hammering him and the board of trustees.

At the July 1 board meeting, Pekau said attacks were unproductive.

“We used to have anonymous robocalls and anonymous letters and now it’s Facebook with fake sites and you don’t know who is behind it or who is doing it,” he said.

“They attack everyone up here. They attack the village. Ask those people for a single positive thing about the village because no one could be that bad. Ask them for a single idea of how to improve the village. More importantly, ask who they are.”

Pekau challenges them to show their face or to put a name to their comments.

“If it’s such an important idea, come here to speak and stand right there,” he said motioning to a podium used for public comment. “We would have respect for you to have the courage to come speak or go to the planning commission to speak.

“But the anonymous stuff, quite frankly, I don’t really care. If you don’t put a name to it, I’m not interested in it.”

The mayor added that as the country is prepared to celebrate its 248th birthday and signing of the Declaration of Independence, the 56 men who signed it look risks by putting their names out there for all to see.

“They put it all on the line,” Pekau said. “They put their personal wealth on the line, their families and their own lives were on the line. I think five or six of them ended up tortured and killed. Many of them lost their family belongings. They signed their names to create this nation.

“So, to all of those who are cowardly…put your name to something or come here and speak your mind. Remember that when you think about 248 years ago, they put everything on the line to create what we have – the greatest country on Earth and the greatest country that has ever existed.”

1 Comment

  1. Larry Porter on July 7, 2024 at 8:01 pm

    It seems to me that there might be rational reasons why residents with beefs don’t present them to the mayor and trustees as the mayor prefers. So I asked ChatGPT to try to explain why this is so. Here is the answer I got, for your agreement, disagreement or other thoughts about the matter.

    “Residents might hesitate to present their ideas directly to the mayor and village trustees for several reasons:

    1. Power Imbalance: The physical setup places the mayor and trustees in an elevated position behind a long table, with the podium for public comments at a lower level. This arrangement can be intimidating, making citizens feel less empowered and more vulnerable when presenting their ideas.

    2. Confrontational Environment: The mayor’s argumentative nature and tendency to openly fight with those presenting opposing ideas can create a hostile atmosphere. Citizens may fear being publicly criticized or belittled, discouraging them from voicing their opinions.

    3. Lack of Constructive Dialogue: Given the mayor’s reputation for opposition, residents might feel that their ideas will not be given a fair hearing. They may perceive that the discussion will be one-sided and unproductive, with little chance for meaningful engagement or consideration of their viewpoints.

    4. Public Scrutiny: Speaking at a public meeting involves presenting ideas in front of the entire audience, which can be daunting for individuals uncomfortable with public speaking. The fear of negative reactions from both the officials and other attendees can further discourage participation.

    5. Preferable Alternatives: Social media offers a platform for sharing ideas and criticisms without the immediate pressure of face-to-face confrontation. Residents may prefer these channels, where they can express their views more freely and receive support from like-minded community members.

    These factors combined contribute to a reluctance among residents to present their ideas directly to the mayor and trustees, opting instead for alternative methods of communication.”

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