Police Presence High at Oakwood Hills Village Board Meeting

OH 9-4 Security signNever have I seen more police at a local governmental meeting than at the Oakwood Village Board meeting at McHenry County College’s Conference Center Thursday night.

The room would accommodate 340 people, but about 150 showed up, most wearing red, the color of opposition to the gas-fired electric generating plant which the village is considering.

Public comment was buried at the end of the meeting and, although, rules for the meeting said that only comments relevant to agenda items could be raised, the audience ignored that instruction and Village President Melanie Funk did not press the point.

OH 9-4 Denise

Denise [please provide her last name]

Prior to that a woman named Denise (didn’t catch her last name) commented several times that she did not think the Trustees “competent to make any decisions.”

A member of the law firm that represented the village for over 40 years (from its inception), Regina Narusis got the floor twice to ask if there were properly promulgated rules for public comment.  I got the feeling that she believed there were not.

Narusis, Regina looking left mike

Attorney Regina Narusis

The second time around she got off a question that made both Channel 2 and Channel 7 News at 10 o’clock:

“Have you created a police state for us?”

She added that the village was “a joke because you don’t know how to run this [consideration of the power plant].”

“You discussed [the power plant] in secret meetings.  You violated the Open Meetings Act.

“You weren’t honest with them…I’m sorry ma’am, you violated out trust.”

There was one confrontation between an audience member and the police.

OH 9-4 Confrontatoin with Chief Goldman + Jessie Davis

Police admonished Jesse Davis, Jr., the African-American in the photo. (I did not figure out why.) The meeting was disrupted until Police Chief Peter Goldman defused the situation.

The man, Jesse L Davis, Jr., later spoke of having lived in Oakwood Hills for thirty years.

He said the power plant would be less than a thousand fee from a protected fen.

“If it smells like a rat, then it is a rat,” he declared.

There were multiple calls for Village President Funk to resign.

In face, all of the board members, including Funk’s husband, who was absent, were asked to step down.

Medical Doctor James Berg warned of the air pollutants so small that air conditioners and human lungs could not filter them out.

He estimated that twenty tons of particulate matter would “be dumped into out air and water” each year by the power plant.

Questions were asked by the audience, but few were answered.

Don Kalter asked when Funk had first met with power plant negotiator Conrad Anderson.

“”When I came into office at the end of the month,” she replied.

He was one of the ones who asked Funk to resign.

OH 9-4 audience applauds

Power plant opponents applaud a speaker.

“It’s ticking for you.  Resign and do it promptly,” he advised to applause from the audience.

Mike Riley, a 34-year resident, wanted to know why Funk hid “this since 2013.”

Fund, Melanie looking left 9-3-14

Melanie Fund

He said he had heard that it might go back to 2009.

“Why was information withheld from the majority of Village Trustees?

“Why were at least some Trustee misled?

“Why have you continued to use deceitful tactics…?”

He contended that people were “scared away” from the meeting.

To the complaint of the cost of renting the room, Riley said he had not received a reply to his email offering to pay “the $150 to extend the meeting for two hours.”

Pat Dunn wondered whether the Village Board had hired consultants to advise it on the complicated proposal.

No one on the Village Board answered in the affirmative.

Non-resident Brett Grapenthen quoted an article in Power Engineering by proposal presenter Conrad Anderson about the addition ice that could be expected on area roads.

“What are we going to do?

Previously, there was discussion on how the cost of salt had increased from $60 to $100 a ton.  [That is less than McHenry County will be paying.]

Christensen, Chris at mike OH 9-4-14Chris Christensen, who said he lived a football toss outside the village limits said he believed the Village Board had been “sold a bill of goods.”

He noted that the plant would tap into an already overtapped aquifer.

“Do you guys have any studies other than the power plants’?

“Now is the time for leaders and you’re clearly not one,” the Republican Precinct Committeeman and District 26 Grade School Board member said before asking Funk to “resign and let it heal.”

Cowlin, John 9-4-14 OHThere was one useful clarification by Village Attorney John Cowlin.

It concerned the nature of the “Host Agreement.”

“A Hosting Agreement is nothing more than the framework for procedure.

“It’s not acceptance.

“It has nothing to do with timing.

“It does not grant [permission to build the power plant].”


Police Presence High at Oakwood Hills Village Board Meeting — 15 Comments

  1. Again, Chris Christensen is leading from the front.

    We need to pull back the curtain and see what really happened in Oakwood Hills and how this got so far down the line before the citizens knew about this.

    The only reason this is happening is because citizens are taking their village back… good for them.

    It is truly refreshing for everyone to witness so many people becoming involved in the local government – we need a hell of a lot more of it in McHenry County… and Illinois.

  2. The television media reported village claim of threats but failed to look into the fact that there were no threats as now shown.

    This shows how inferior the so called mainstream media us to this blog.

  3. Anarchy is a good thing every now and again.

    Puts the arrogant Public Sector on notice, who’s really in charge.

    Those of us who actually pay taxes and the subsequent bills, not those with their snouts in the trough.

  4. I really hope some people step up to the plate and run for trustee positions up in the next election; that seems to be one issues that no one ever runs and want to put the time into it.

  5. The behavior of the police is very troubling.

    A police chief who once smiled and said he understood is now acting like a member of a SWAT team.

    He is a park ranger for god sake!

    Ms. Melanie is likely to throw her clerk under the bus over the meeting minutes etc… and the village attorney,(wtf) does he sleep through the meetings; or is he complacently in on this somehow?

    The taxpayers pay your salary Mr. Cowlin, do your job and properly advise the board to keep them out of jail already.

    If you can’t you need to also resign immediately.

  6. Ok people, where are your petitions to have these bozos removed from the Board?

    Melanie Funk you are a disgrace to our community, and you need to pack your bags and leave town…. Believe me, the community will follow the money very closely.

    Hey Jesse, you are right they are a bunch of rats.

  7. Great catch, Cindy!

    I missed it completely.

    Not only does it smell Funky but also Fundy.

    Ms funk really thinks she the Queen trying to power her agenda through letting people know she’s in charge……..NOT

  8. I am as much against this as all of the red shirts….that said..I have been in attendance in about 360 council meetings with Mr. Cowlin as the City of Crystal Lake’s legal representative.

    I will say that never have I thought that John was asleep or in any way unaware of the proceedings…

    He is not the elected official who decides this or any other issue….save the sally’s for the election booth….

  9. Jeff T.

    Mr. Cowlin may be a good guy, but if he sat in closed session and did not at least once say to the trustees “I need to advise you that you are no longer discussing an allowable topic for closed session”, AND we find out that these types of discussions happened multiple times over many months, (which we eventually will find out everything); THEN he was indeed either asleep or he has some skin in this thing happening.

    I know how attorneys operate, it is all about guaranteeing future billable hours, he might have just been working an angle for some job security, at the taxpayers expense mind you.

  10. Mr. Thorsen,

    AS an elected official, you seem naive to the FACT that lawyers are involved in all aspects of government and influence most decisions made by elected officials.

    I personally have no doubt that as the legal council for multiple villages in the area, there are strings that go even higher than the immediate Crystal Lake area and surrounding community.

    Circles are circles, dude.

  11. On the subject of Mr Cowlin and the host agreement, I would have to agree that he’s not working very hard on behalf of the village.

    Those dummies almost fainted at the mention of a million dollars without considering that the loss of EAV will result in a loss of property taxes far greater.

    This plant has the potential to make billions of dollars and these reprobates secretly negotiate and agree to a pittance and have planned how to spend it.

    This is the key for the opposition.

    How does the village pay its bills? Increase the tax base? Show them there is no net gain

  12. Got people wanting the board to resign but its funny no one wants to step up to replace them.

  13. Naive??

    Legal counsel to a city council is not as a shepherd is to sheep….a shepherd moves his sheep in to their pens, and they must go there because the shepherd wills it so…unlike a shepherd, the village attorney can only suggest the sheep (trustees) return to the pen…

    If you elect sheep on purpose or because you did not vote, that is one thing…

    But in these times in Oakwood Hills you should not misdirect the focus of your movement on advisers and administrators…sure they are influencing the elected ones but at the end of the day the buck stops with those of us who have been entrusted with the public interest..

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