Lakewood Trustee Gary Sexson Takes Campaign to the Internet

The following email just reached my inbox from incumbent Lakewood Village Trustee Gary Sexson:

Dear Residents,

Gary Sexson

Gary Sexson

I ask for your vote on Tuesday, April 7th for re-election to the Village Board. I have truly appreciated working for you, the residents over my term.  Many issues have tried to be muddied with misinformation by a write in candidate that seems to have some vitriol directed at me. I have found his tactics very “un-Lakewood-like”, as I feel we all enjoy our surroundings, neighbors, and quality of life in this great Village.  The bottom line is that the SportsPlex is a non-issue at this point in time due to several Board members being uncomfortable with the possible risk the Village would have to take on if it is passed. I believe many residents want to see some type of development on Routes 176 & 47 to help increase our tax base and bring money into Lakewood, but I believe the developers and groups that finance that development should bear the burden of risk. Secondly, in all likelihood, no development will occur at that intersection until improvements are done on that intersection (widening, implementation of turn lanes, etc.). Currently, the Governor has put a freeze on all IDOT projects, including that intersection. Lastly, my opponent has tried to pit my words against our Village President’s words. I don’t know if the message is all that different, albeit stated very differently, but interpretations can be twisted. Remember that the President’s commentary in the Lakewood Newsletter is just that, her commentary on the state of the Village. There are six Trustees on the Board that may or may not agree with everything that is said, but we are not offered a “Trustee Commentary” section to the Newsletter.

I have attached my campaign flyer for your review.  I hope you can “tune out” some of the static over the past few weeks and focus on educated, responsible, conscientious governing of our Village.  Please contact with any questions or concerns, and have a Happy Easter weekend.


Trustee Gary Sexson II

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A copy of his campaign piece was attached. You can find it here.

You can read Village President Erin Smith’s and Sexson’s emails to me when I inquired about the state of health of the SportsPlex here.

You can read write-in candidate Paul Serwatka’s take on Sexson’s campaign piece here.

You can read Serwatka’s criticism of incumbents Sexson and Carl Davis here.

You can read Ken Santowski’s and Paul Serwatka’s emails here.


Lakewood Trustee Gary Sexson Takes Campaign to the Internet — 5 Comments

  1. Dear Gary:

    I have discerned a pattern in the campaign against Paul Serwatka.

    First, accuse Paul of “misinformation”, but never say exactly what he has gotten wrong, never actually give any facts.

    Second, claim the SportsPlex is dead, so there’s no reason to vote for Paul — as if the SportsPlex were the only issue in this campaign, not how the TIF was created or your support for it and the SportsPlex.

    Third, claim you didn’t actually support the SportsPlex and the TIF.

    All of these assertions are false.

    Paul has run an issues based campaign.

    He opposes the TIF, he opposes the way the TIF was created, and he opposes the SportsPlex.

    He opposes raising our property taxes by the maximum amount permitted by law, year after year.

    Let’s start with the TIF.

    TIFs were created to help blighted areas where there is strong evidence no development will occur without a TIF.

    The reasons for what the legislature intended to be high statutory barriers are

    (1) to make sure taxes are not taken away from other local governments unnecessarily; and

    (2) to make sure favored businesses don’t get sweetheart subsidies.

    In the case of the TIF that YOU voted for, taxes that would otherwise go to the school district and to other local governments will be locked up for at least 23 years.

    If, in ten years, development would occur at 47 & 176 without a TIF, THAT IS 13 YEARS OF TAXES THE SCHOOLS WILL NOT GET.

    If, in five years, development would occur at 47 & 176 without a TIF, THAT IS 18 YEARS OF TAXES THE SCHOOLS WILL NOT GET.

    Can you really say, with a straight face, that you are CONFIDENT that no development will occur at that intersection without a $66 million subsidy ($130 million with interest) for 23 years?

    Of course not!

    Heck, your fellow trustee Gene Furey himself said publicly and in the presence of witnesses that you all know development is coming down 47 towards 176.

    But YOU voted to lock that money away from the schools anyway.

    You voted for a lie.

    That is terrible public policy.

    But YOU don’t care, because you think the TIF might create a little extra revenue for the Village government.

    Screw the schools out of as much as $100 million in property taxes because it might — MIGHT — result in a couple million more dollars in sales taxes for the Village government?

    YOU voted for THAT.

    Then there is the method by which the TIF was created.

    As noted above, TIFs are for blighted areas.

    So what did YOU vote to do?

    YOU voted to declare virgin, undeveloped land AND a beautiful golf course “blighted”.

    Is it blighted?

    Absolutely not!

    But YOU don’t care — as long as you can find a lawyer willing to go along with YOUR declaration.

    And, as noted above, TIFs are supposed to be used only where it can be proven development will not occur without a TIF.

    So YOU voted to hire a firm to give the opinion YOU wanted.

    When I asked how may TIFs the firm had reviewed, the answer from the Village was,

    “We don’t know.”

    When I asked what percentage of TIFs the firm had reviewed they approved, the answer from the Village was,

    “We don’t know.”

    When I asked if the firm had any proof to support any positive opinion they had ever given, the answer from the Village was,

    “We don’t know”.

    Don’t know?

    You didn’t WANT to know.

    And the answers were: 50, 50, and “No”.

    The firm reviewed 50 TIF districts, it approved every single district it was paid to approve, and it has NEVER done a study to prove the TIFs resulted in growth that would not have occurred anyway.

    But YOU didn’t care.

    As long as you had a bought and paid for opinion that would satisfy an attorney, that was good enough for you.

    When I presented the board with THREE DIFFERENT INDEPENDENT STUDIES showing that Illinois TIFs do NOT create growth beyond what would have occurred anyway, the board did nothing to respond.

    They didn’t dispute studies – they ignored them.

    YOU ignored them.

    So did the preponderance of the evidence show that a TIF was necessary and that the TIF area was blighted?

    Absolutely not!

    But YOU voted for it anyway.

    The process for creating the TIF district smells.

    Those are FACTS.

    That is NOT “negative campaigning”.

    That is NOT “misinformation”.

    It is telling people facts about the issues and decisions YOU made.

    And, as for the SportsPlex, you supported it publicly at every meeting of the Board.



    YOU and your colleagues were all in favor of it at every meeting the Village had, including the two “informational” meetings.

    Even now you won’t actually say that YOU are against the SportsPlex, just that “several members” of the Board are now “uncomfortable.”

    TIFs are bad public policy, the way this TIF was created was a horrendous abuse of the law, the worst kind of Cook County-style politics, and the SportsPlex was a highly risky project from the beginning, unworthy of ANY tax subsidy.

    Gary, there is a difference between the community that is Lakewood and the government of Lakewood.

    You are committed to making the government as big as possible, to raising our property taxes by the maximum each year, to grabbing taxes from our schools, while at the same time giving tax subsidies to any weak business that comes along — anything that will increase the Village government’s revenue.

    And that is why I will NOT be wasting my vote on you.

    I will write in Paul Serwatka, who has conducted an issues-oriented campaign.

    * Paul does not confuse a bigger village of Lakewood government with a better community of Lakewood.

    * Paul is committed to a clean process for passing legislation in this Village.

    * Paul recognizes that something that is bad for our schools is NOT good for the COMMUNITY of Lakewood, even if it puts money in the Village government’s coffers.

  2. Be a grown-up, Gary and accept your failure.

    You fell victim to hubris.

    You didn’t think anyone was watching and thought you could say whatever you wanted without anyone challenging you.

    Paul is all about challenging just that sort of politics.

    I look forward to Paul joining Erin and the others in leading our village.

    On the positive side, think all the free time you will have after the election.

  3. Gary –

    You’re hyperbole and non sequitur answers reveal that you don’t represent the people of Lakewood in good faith.

    I just got back from voting for Paul Serwatka

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