Next April’s Winnetka elections promise to be interesting as former trustee Chris Rintz said he will mount an independent campaign for Village President following Winnetka Caucus Council’s selection of Gene Greable for that post.
More political intrigue could also be forming in terms of the village board elections, where challenger Patrick Livney did not win enough votes to replace Joe Adams on the Caucus’ slate of candidates for Village Trustee.
In what was at times a raucous atmosphere Monday night at the Skokie School, Winnetka residents approved a slate of candidates for Village Trustee and President at the annual Town Meeting.
Greable Voted to Top of Caucus Backed Slate
Greable, who has been involved in village governments since 1980, was voted to the top of the Caucus backed slate.
The 39-year Winnetka resident told the standing room only crowd he believes storm water management, livening up the commercial district and dealing with pension reform, health care and property taxes are the major items facing the village.
“The need for my skills and experience are needed more than ever, I believe,” Greable said.
Rintz, who appeared before the Caucus Candidates Committee earlier in the process, failed to get the Caucus’ support. He said Tuesday he plans to challenge Greable.
“I think under the circumstances surrounding the selection process that this year the residents of Winnetka deserve a choice on the ballot,” Rintz said.
As for the emotional topic of affordable housing, Rintz does not believe it is going to happen following recent debate within the village.
“That is an issue that has had its time in the light and the community made it clear that they don’t want to discuss it,” he said. “If I were president the only way I could see affordable housing as an issue would be if there was a broad based mandate.”
Along similar lines, Greable gave an impassioned speech on why he is independent of the Winnetka Home Owners Association, a major player in the village.
“WHOA or no one else in this community controls Gene Greable,” he said. “Everything I do will be the best for this community. I’m Gene Greable, I’m honest, I do work, I put in my time and I speak from my heart.”
Any independent campaign will be a major task in terms of collecting signatures for petitions and gathering name recognition. But Rintz said he is willing to take on the challenge. “I’ll let the voters decide that,” he said.
Livney Fails to Replace Adams on Trustee Slate
It was a disappointing evening for Livney who came in fourth in a three-person race to be slated by the Caucus.
Livney, originally slated by the Village Candidates Committee earlier, was replaced by Adams during an October Caucus meeting. He failed again at Monday’s meeting to replace Adams on the Caucus’ village trustee slate.
During Monday’s meeting Livney answered questions regarding his involvement in an ongoing lawsuit in New Mexico. Livney says he believes he will eventually be cleared in that matter.
Residents also had concerns about his lack of involvement in village government and a speech he made at a Winnetka Public School District 39 board meeting regarding a slavery film shown to his daughter that he said contained adult topics. Watch the speech in the video section.
Livney says the reason he was so angry in the video was simply because he was speaking up for his family.
Many passionate Livney supporters spoke up about his intellect and his career as an engineer but it was not enough.
Livney now has the option to run an independent campaign for trustee, a path that current trustee Jennifer Spinney used two years ago to win another term on the board.
Livney chose not to comment Tuesday.
School, Library, Park District Board Selections
School Board President Dana Crumley will seek another stint joined with newcomers Betsy Owens and Kendra Nichols Wallace replacing Beth Moritz Filip and Susan Crowe Whitcomb, whose terms are expiring.