Airdo: Not so funny
As scandal piles atop scandal at Bartlett Village Hall, we now learn from our august leaders that they intend to raise our local taxes by nearly two million dollars through a sinisterly concealed tax upon our electric and gas bills. (See, “Village adds new tax on electric, gas” in last week’s Examiner.)
Judging from the flippant comments of our Acting Village President, Mike Airdo, we should be thanking him and his band of political cronies–Martin, Shipman, and Ryerson-Kelly–for the favor. Airdo said we should be “very happy” to be disburdened of the $15 vehicle sticker fee in favor of the new $85 utilities tax. From his high perch, he joked that we peasants should “run out of [our] houses and yell in the streets” in celebration of his wise and beneficent rule. After all, he noted in a sober turn: Vehicle stickers “caused tremendous grief.”
What? Is he serious?
Does he lack even a modicum of perspective and proportion? Has he any regard for the average residents, struggling to pay their property taxes and fill their gas tanks?
The more we see of him and the more we hear him talk, the more we believe the answer is: No.
From his wanton abuse of authority in degrading our police officers; to his smug, condescending demeanor; to his tandem efforts with Brian McGuire to destroy Mike Kelly; to his craven use of flunkies to burnish his public image; to the most recent evidence (see Page 1) of his willingness to compromise the integrity of Bartlett employees for his own gains, Airdo reveals himself.
Perhaps more frightening, of what character and judgment are these people who follow him so obediently? By now we know the story of that intemperate and hypocritical scofflaw, Trustee Greg Martin. We know too about Trustee Eric Shipman’s unseemly ties to McGuire, Hanover Township, the Bartlett Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD), and how taxpayer money flows around that circle. But what about this new trustee appointed by Airdo last week?
Patricia Ryerson Kelly.
Well, she seems to think a big tax increase is funny too. When Airdo cracked wise about the party we can throw to celebrate our “happy” liberation from the “tremendous grief” of vehicle stickers, Ryerson Kelly suggested further that we can have a “big cake.” Ah yes, Mademoiselle Antoinette, just minutes into your appointment as Airdo’s new pet trustee you have us peasants eating cake.
How typical of the hubris that so distinguishes this crowd. We shouldn’t be surprised, though. This is the same Ryerson Kelly, attorney at law, who threatened to silence The Examiner when we exposed Brian McGuire’s shenanigans at Hanover Township. Recall that this is the same Ryerson Kelly who stood upon the bones of Mike Kelly to publicly offer her support to Airdo. The same Ryerson Kelly who won the big award from the BVFD and serves as their general counsel. By our accounting, she paid several times for her unelected seat on the Village Board.
And the best part of this huge (but hilarious!) tax hike is that it will not only climb stealthily with our utility bills, the vehicle stickers are only gone for one year. If these politicians can’t find a way to cut spending, the stickers might come right back, on top of the utility tax. Jokester Airdo said so himself: “They could always come back, but for now they’re gone.” We think this is highly likely too, as the most often identified target for cuts during last week’s budget discussion was our police department. Airdo’s documented contempt for our police might look like the obvious explanation, but threatening to gut essential services and public safety spending is a very tried and tested strategy for dishonest, spendthrift taxing bodies.
The gambit runs like this: “Either we raise your taxes or criminals will run wild in the street and your houses will burn down.” Residents quite reasonably knuckle under in fear, taxes continue to rise, overspending persists across all departments, and government grows and grows beyond its legitimate bounds. For this con game, we are expected to thank these feckless leaders for preserving our hometown.
Very well. On behalf of all the lowly, cake-eating riff-raff who fund the village’s $50 million budget…Thank you Acting Village President Airdo for the knee-slapping tax increase. Thank you for installing another of your and McGuire’s cronies on our board. Thank you for corrupting Village Hall. And thank you for turning Bartlett into yet another disgusting example of how awfully wrong things are in Illinois government.