The law is pretty weak. Interpreting court decisions pretty much say that if the piece doesn’t say, “Vote Yes,” it’s OK to make homeowners pay for it.
That is nonsense, in my opinion, but I’m not an appellate court judge.
And, since we all know how valued locally elected officials are to state legislators, it is no wonder that the election interference law has not been made more sweeping.
The day before last week’s election, three of the insurgent Cary Village board candidates sent the following letter to McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi:
April 16, 2007
Office of the McHenry County State’s Attorney
Attn: Louis Bianchi
2200 N. Seminary Avenue
Woodstock, IL 60098
Dear Mr. Bianchi:
We are writing you this as a follow up to Raymond Chisholm’s Letter of March 26, 2007.
We believe the Village of Cary has prepared, produced, mailed out, and posted on their web page materials that are inconsistent with the Election code. We have enclosed documents for your review to assess whether or not our beliefs on these issues are valid.
First, enclosed please find a copy of the Annual Report. This document was delivered to Cary residents by mail the week of April 2nd. We agree that the information within the document should be of interest to Cary taxpayers; however we question the timing with which it was sent. The report covers fiscal information that ended April 30, 2006. It also includes a professional photo of current trustees, two of which were not on the board during the fiscal year represented in the report. We believe that since the information was almost a year old, it could have waited until after the April 17th election to be shared with Cary residents.
Secondly, the document refers residents to a Village created web site, launched on April 2, 2007, titled “Success Stories.” Again, this is great information to share with residents and should be on an ongoing basis. However, we believe that since this was the inaugural publication of “Success Stories,” it was blatant self promotion, immediately prior to an election, rather than an earnest effort to share information.
Next, during the week of April 9th, Cary residents received an eight page, four color booklet titled “Cary News”. We have enclosed both the most current issue as well as previous issues for you to consider. Cary News is a biannual publication sent to village residents. Previously, this document was sent to village residents in a two color format on recycled paper. The most current issue is a much more costly four color, glossy stocked, stapled booklet. Not only do we believe this too violates the Election Code, but we believe it to be an irresponsible use of tax payer monies since much of the information is a reiteration of the Annual Report. Again, we also question the timeliness of the mailing as it arrived less that a week before an election.
The total cost of printing and mailing for just the Annual Report was over $4,200.00. Based on the appearance and format of the “Cary News,” (it was likely more expensive). We four candidates feel that this is a misuse of public funds for political purposes and that tax payers of Cary should be reimbursed for all printing, postage, layout and production costs as well as the IT costs for putting it on the Village Web page.
It is our sincerest hope that you will thoughtfully consider our complaint and contact any of us, if you have any further questions regarding this matter.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Robert L Bragg, David C. Henry, Raymond G. Chisholm
It’s obviously just a routine annual report, right?
That’s why it emphasizes,
VILLAGE OF CARY IS IN ROCK SOLID FINANCIAL SHAPE
(More on that “rock solid financial shape” tomorrow.)
And, of course the pending election had nothing to do with the following being emphasized on the annual report’s front page:
Only 5.2% of your property tax bill goes to the Village of Cary.