A note arrived mid-week with thoughts about Wonder Lake, which the writer seems to be comparing in some way to Kentucky. Even though my in-laws live in Wonder Lake, these are some thoughts that never crossed the table. The title I’ve used is the author’s:
Cal, I’ve been thinking about your recent discovery that the people behind Thatcher Meadows apparently put up all $12,000 for the Village Board campaign fronted by Citizens For A Better Wonder Lake, (CFABWL).
The McHenry County Blog story notes that the CFABWL committee were not obliged to feature the name of Thatcher Meadows (or the associated Teegen family) in the committee name because the contributions had been equally given by 4 separate entities, avoiding the 33% rule. No matter that two of these entities were owned by the same person (Howard R Teegen).
Voters had a right to know that the two (losing) candidates were apparently entirely sponsored by the management company (NRB) seeking to build that huge development (Thatcher Meadows) south east of Wonder Lake.
There has been much national debate about campaign finance reform. Some assert that limiting contributions is unconstitutional and makes elected office less accessible to those without great personal wealth. However, the issue almost all agree on is that truthful disclosure is always good for democracy.
This lack of disclosure in the CFABWL campaign has undermined the credibility of the candidates and their committee members- what were they thinking? So much for this writer’s earlier assessment of William Arnos as a credible candidate. Not that he can’t recover.
But people need will need real information and explanation.
Everyone makes mistakes. A great way to gain respect is to admit to mistakes.
Silence doesn’t make mistakes go away. It makes people think there are more under the surface. We don’t know if everyone knew where the money came from, but wouldn’t they think to ask? What were they told?
Ed Peters, a reelected incumbent candidate, must be relieved that he had so publicly and clearly distanced himself from the campaign. A Northwest Herald news piece on April 13 tells how a letter was sent to Wonder Lake residents by CFABWL, claiming to come “from the desk of Ed Peters”.
Ed Peters had neither written nor authorized the letter. CFABWL said this misleading letter was the result of “a little mix up”. But, as far as this writer can tell, they did not spend any time or money advising voters of the mix up.
CFABWL were trying to unseat Mike Heger and Larry Reinhard, two incumbents who had pushed for modifications to the proposed Thatcher Meadows development, but who were not trying to block the development completely. This begs the question: what
were NRB hoping that their two guys, Stygar and Arnos, would wave through?
It seem like someone’s judgment needs to take a well-earned vacation.
Had their eye become so firmly fixed on the prize that they had lost track of their other senses and become ethically tone deaf? Voters deserve to know the truth. They can make up their own minds. Did CFABWL fear that the folk of Wonder Lake would not be able to appreciate their supreme objectivity?
That’s no excuse.
Most people know Wonder Lake suffers the unfortunate nickname of Wondertucky. The pro-growth boosters and most residents would love to leave that name behind.
They hope to do this by improving the Village’s rickety infrastructure and getting 24-hour local police service. Sounds like a great idea. Cleaning up the lake sounds good too. It would be nice if my grandkids could swim in it without wearing HazMat suits.
But Citizens For A Better Wonder Lake don’t seem to realize that their campaign, covertly financed by the one developer, is the electoral equivalent of having 6 dead cars parked on your lawn.
Electoral funny business is just so WONDERTUCKY.
People don’t want to move to a place run without regard for open process. Word gets around. And just because a campaign cost thousands doesn’t mean it’s credible. It speaks to the same misapprehension that holds that raising taxes/prices is going to cause the “undesirables” to leave.
They won’t leave. They feel comfortable around funny business. We’ll just lose the people who are key parts of the social fabric–working families, single parents, and seniors surviving on social security and little else.
What a great opportunity for the Village, for Village President Tony Topf, to ask everyone involved in Village government to voluntarily step up their game and start giving out a little more good faith information. Demand fairness and accountability from all involved.
This Wonder Lake government also includes the Master Property Owners Association (MPOA) and the homeowners’ associations that comprise the “ shadow government” of Wonder Lake and on which many of the CFABWL serve.
I know, I know, you’re rolling your eyes like you’re listening to Miss Kansas 1983 wishing for world peace. This is Illinois where anything goes. But, hear this. Had this happened in the city of Chicago, recent changes to that city’s law would have rendered such contributions illegal.
Times are changing. That’s real progress you can hear.
Anyone hoping to clean up 100% would be disappointed.
All towns and governments are going to be indirectly subject to someone’s’ backroom country club deals, but there are some things within a small town’s control.
It seems the developers at Thatcher Meadows came very close to buying two seats on our Village Board.
Now it’s time for Tony Topf to tell the crew to get the ‘Tucky out and for everyone to start acting like progress is already here.
Open House: The MPOA is holding an open house on May 5 and May 19.
It will be held at their new and bigger premises, the former Wright’s hardware store on the south east side of Wonder Lake. Residents can visit to find “accurate and current information about dredging Wonder Lake.”
It is to be expected that the Thatcher Meadows people may have offered some support. One wonders if there is just the one plan or if alternatives will be offered.
Finally, here’s a link of interest.
It leads to the minutes for a Village of Island Lake board meeting at which NRB’s Andrew Teegen made a presentation for a proposed new development in Island Lake. The discussion and exchanges have some interesting detail.