I was thinking about the empty state senate district, Number 33, which Illinois Democrats created in an attempt to shove as many current Republican state legislators into districts with another GOP legislator as possible.
Who might be a logical candidate.
Ideally it would be someone with both Kane and McHenry County connections.
Former Carpentersville Mayor Orville Brettman came to mind.
He moved to rural Grafton Township in order to pursue his star gazing hobby.
When I met Orville Brettman in the 1970’s he was fighting the Carpentersville sewer tax.
The village board had just raised the water and sewage fees and he led those opposed to what he and his followers called “the sewer tax.”
This was an “in your face,” picket sign waving campaign that culminated in Brettman’s election as Mayor of Carpentersville.
I don’t remember a lot about his service there, but one confrontation with the Federal government stands out.
Along the Fox River some entity that owned a lot that everyone knew would flood was in bankruptcy court. The bankruptcy judge order the village board to issue a building permit.
The village board could read flood plain maps and knew putting a home on the lot was a recipe for future disaster.
They told the bankruptcy judge they would not issue the permit.
The judge told the board he would hold them in contempt of court. He would put them in jail.
The board still refused to bow to the illogic of the the federal authority figure.
So, off to the Chicago’s Federal Metropolitan Correctional Center.
It was all over Chicago television.
After a couple of days, a majority of the board caved, but not Village President Brettman.
After the board did the judge’s bidding, Brettman was released.
This decade I asked what happened concerning the lot. He told me the Illinois Pollution Control Board prevented the building of a home there.
How did that happen?
Brettman filed pro se (without a lawyer) before the Illinois Pollution Control Board after leaving prison. The 44-page brief led to a ruling that stopped the sewer hookup.
So, what does this episode tell one about Brettman?
When he thinks he is right, he won’t back down.
I don’t know about you, but I find that refreshing.
Brettman also led the way for the formation of the intergovernmental agreement creating the Quad-Com communication system still employed by C’ville, Dundee East and West and Sleepy Hollow. Such intergovernmental cooperation was uncommon in the Fox Valley at the time.
He also served on the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission.
Brettman re-surfaced in my life in 1994. He was a strong supporter of Ross Perot for President. He and others put together a candidates’ night at Martinetti’s (restaurant history and other photos here).
In 1996 when McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Al Jourdan put up County Board member John Brehmer. Brettman was my campaign manager.
The next time I saw Brettman it was at a Tea Party demonstration on Route 14 in Crystal Lake.
When I asked him about his Tea Party involvement, he emailed me this:
“I’ve been with the Tea Party since it’s inception and was at the 9-12 event in Washington with 1.5 million other patriots and am currently a member of the McHenry Co. Tea Party as well as the District 16 Coordinator for Campaign for Liberty (one of the four major Tea Party Organizations).”
When I first met Brettman he was running the family metal finishing business. One of his major customers for that spray painting was IBM.
After he moved to McHenry County, he operated a real estate business on Route 47 in Huntley. (I will never have to buy a comb again. Not just because I have little hair, but because he gave me a box of combs with the firm’s name on it.)
Then Brettman got a job with the Federal Aviation Administration at the Elgin Terminal Radar Approach Control facility. There he became active in union affairs.
Brettman left College voluntarily in 1966 to join the U.S. Marines. He served in the Elite 5th Reconnaissance Battalion and later did a 13-month tour in Vietnam. He returned to Northern Illinois University upon conclusion of his service.
So, here’s a guy who has served in public office, has proved there is life after politics and who has contacts throughout the district.
Might he end up the State Senator of the new 33rd District?