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Letter to the Editor: Support Joe Adams for Village Trustee

Winnetka resident Lee Ann Rechtin urges residents to attend the Annual Town Meeting, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Skokie School auditorium.

I am one opinionated gal, and although I typically share my ranting’s and musings with my closest friends, today I feel compelled to reach my fellow Winnetkans because I sense we have a divisive undercurrent coursing through our town and the latest neighbors with battle scars are Village Trustee nominee Joe Adams and challenger Patrick Livney. 

Somehow, the position of Village Trustee has been twisted to become a vote for or against affordable housing. That issue was asked and answered by our community last April; this election is about determining who is going to represent each one of us, acting as Trustee and setting Village policy through the adoption of ordinances, resolutions, motions and budgets. A Trustee is not a volunteer position to be decided lightly, it’s the pinnacle of responsibility to serve your village. Therefore, the higher the post, the more scrutinized screening process the candidate should have to pass.

The Caucus Council is not a rubber stamp to the nominating committee. The Council operates as the check and balance system and sometimes the broader population will respectfully disagree with a decision. In this situation, the Council functioned exactly as it should and it was the right choice to remove Livney from the slate of candidates and insert Joe Adams instead. Here’s why:

Although I don’t know exact numbers, it’s been commented that there were as many as 100 residents volunteering for the three Trustee positions. I would expect there to be a multi-level screening process before the final round of applicants filtered down to the nominating committee for an extensive interview process. 

Somewhere along this multi-level screening process two questions should have been asked:

1. What is your past community service experience/positions held in Winnetka?

2. Are you named as a defendant in any pending lawsuits-yes or no?

These are reasonable, unbiased, neutral questions to ask anyone. I would like to see every candidate nominated as a Village Trustee to have a documented progressive path of community service.

Patrick Livney wants to jump with both feet to the top position of Trustee; in contrast, Joe Adams began his community service with the Zoning Board of Appeals in 2005. Over seven years, his hard work and dedication led him to the President position. Adams has diligently served this community; his past performance has gained our respect, and he has absolutely earned this nomination to the slate of candidates. I’m confident that in the Trustee position, Adams will continue to research community needs and respond within the best interests of our Village.

Although Livney is named as a defendant in a few civil lawsuits, it’s only fair to assume that he’s innocent until proven guilty. That being said, I simply cannot support any proposed Village Trustee candidate entering the position with pending lawsuits, it’s just bad policy and completely unnecessary to choose a candidate with a serious unknown variable when you consider the vast, equally-qualified applicant pool that Winnetka can draw from. I would feel more comfortable considering Livney for a future Trustee position when his name as defendant is eliminated from all remaining lawsuits or there has been a judgment by the court whether he is liable or not liable. 

It’s unfortunate that these two men have been unwittingly pitted against each other. Livney may be a good candidate, but he’s not the best man to be supported for the job today-Joe Adams is. 

It’s up to the Winnetka residents to make their own informed decision and take the time to cast their vote at the Town Meeting on Monday, November 12th, 7:30 p.m. in the Skokie School auditorium.

Lee Ann Rechtin of Winnetka

Winnetka November 12, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Q: 1. What is your past community service experience/positions held in Winnetka? A: As a Winnetkan I have vast experience paying some of the highest property taxes in the nation for my community-that amply qualifies me & every other resident to run for office.(With the way Pat Livney was slandered at the Oct. 18th Caucus mtg why would anyone want to run for office here?)Q: 2. Are you named as a defendant in any pending lawsuits? A: Me personally?-No. But a certainTrustee was a defendent in a wrongful death lawsuit involving a little boy in Glenview-Evan Rohrer.That "suit" was settled for $2 Million in 2005-Five years after the boy drowned in a sand pile at a work site.That's just one case...there are many others. It would have been great if Ms. Rechtin & friends had asked these questions of that person when he was slated 4 yrs ago. Now that person is hinting at running for Village President.(Hint: it's not Gene) I'm heartened to know that YOU Ms. Rechtin will be "on the case" to make sure someone with chronic, multiple active legal entanglements that are documented, including one in which a CHILD DIED, won't make the cut for any village position.As for Pat Livney-he's that great guy-a family man, who stood up for the rights of parents;exposing lax oversight by overpaid administrators w/in District 36 schools. His efforts ensured that our kids are safe and protected from further harm.He's a hero. Winnetka needs him! Go to the meeting to ensure he's returned to the slate.
TTents November 13, 2012 at 07:24 PM
I was at the meeting last night. What a circus act. Joe Adams was polished and professional and clearly has the education, local experience and personality to weather Winnetka's storms (rainy or political). Pat Livney is not an engineer, said "coaching" and "listening" is how he volunteers locally and admitted to losing $90 million in pension funds and seemed to just shrug that off as "oh well." The thing that pushed me furthest away from considering him as a challenger were the people that shouted over speakers and were completely disrespectful to the caucus chair and committee chair. The quiet ones (that were probably too afraid to speak up) seemed to be the ones that were listening most closely and thoughtfully to the responses. And the vote at the end of the night shows that the majority of them did not like or believe what Pat Livney had to say about himself -- not what others may have said about him. He just wasn't convincing and simply doesn't have the experience to back up an attempt to run for Village Trustee.

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