To The Editor,
Recently, a plain white envelope was left on my doorstep. It contained a number of articles and the following unsigned note:
“If you think it’s bad what was done to Pat Livney, wait til you see what is said about you. We hope you appreciate the enclosed materials and good luck.”
The articles detail a devastating event that occurred 12 years ago when a child lost his life while playing in the sand on a piece of property my construction company owned. The pain suffered by the parents of this child is unimaginable. The sorrow shared by myself and my family, while paling in comparison, still remains. As anyone would expect, my company was sued. While litigation is common in the building and selling of real estate, especially given the volume of contractual agreements involved, only the most callous and venal among us would attempt to use a matter like this to gain points in a small-town village election for a volunteer position.
I do not know who did this, but I condemn this anonymous threat presumably intended to keep me from running for Winnetka Village President as an independent candidate. In fact, this kind of tripe makes me all the more resolved to run. Winnetka needs a return to thoughtful and intelligent discourse, with honest disagreements openly aired, and solving our challenges with a focus on the future. Public displays of anger and divisiveness need not be the standard by which all issues of debate are resolved (or unresolved).
I’m going to start by promising that I will not only listen respectfully to and act on behalf of everyone in this community – both during the campaign and after – but I will not be bullied or intimidated by people who disagree with me.
I respect my opponent Gene Greable, with whom I served as a Village Trustee for 4 years, and know he had nothing to do with this. I am sure he will condemn such acts, and those responsible. I am running because I believe a balance of opinion needs to be restored to the Council, and I believe I bring a particularly unique skill set to craft solutions to some of our most pressing challenges.
For the record, I respect the Caucus process, which has always made room for independent candidates who collect enough ballot signatures. I respect Joe Adams, Arthur Braun and Richard Kates, the slated candidates for Trustee. While I did not agree with Pat Livney on the issues, I respected his right to challenge the Caucus slate and had no part in any personal attacks on his character. In fact, I found them reprehensible. Most of all, I respect my fellow residents, and believe we deserve better than the divisiveness and innuendo that has recently characterized our public discourse.
I look forward to a clean, fair and honest discussion about issues facing us in the future: storm water management, downtown revitalization, power distribution and pension reform. I have no interest in rehashing old debates that will only serve to open old wounds, create a platform for continued mean spirited dialogue, and divert our focus from the important matters that will shape the future of our Village.
And lastly, I ask anyone who cares to question me to do so in a public forum, where the issues can be more clearly defined, and the responses unfiltered. Faceless attacks, be they on my doorstep or in our inboxes, can no longer define the manner that Winnetkans communicate. We all deserve much better than that.
You can read more about the incident here.