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Buffalo Grove debates recall ordinance, but vote will wait
By Steve Zalusky | Daily Herald Staff

Trustee Lisa Stone objects to the short notice of the recall ordinance being placed on the agenda at the Buffalo Grove Village Board meeting.

 

Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

Trustee Jeffrey Berman talks about the recall ordinance he drafted at the Buffalo Grove Village Board meeting.

 

Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

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Published: 9/22/2009 12:03 AM | Updated: 9/22/2009 8:25 AM

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Buffalo Grove trustees decided Monday to wait until their next meeting before voting on giving residents the ability to recall the village's elected officials.

Trustee Lisa Stone - who said she feels the ordinance is targeted at her - added she would like to co-sponsor such an ordinance, but with aspects of it changed, such as the number of signatures required on a recall petition.

The ordinance written by Trustee Jeffrey Berman proposed that such petitions require the number of signatures equal 25 percent of the votes cast in the previous village election.

But during the three-hour discussion, trustees decided, on a recommendation by Trustee Jeffrey Braiman, to change the draft to require the number to equal 33 percent of the ballots cast during an average of the last two municipal elections, with no fewer than 1,000 signatures.

Stone, who complained she was not given enough time to look at the ordinance, said she would rather see petitions require a percentage of registered voters, but that proposal was rejected.

Village President Elliott Hartstein said he was "distraught that we had gotten to the point where we felt a need for this," but was glad the board agreed trustees should be held accountable by voters. The residents who packed the village board chambers responded with applause.

During the discussion, Berman pointed out that other communities have recall ordinances, including Arlington Heights, Wheeling and Mount Prospect.

He also noted that such area state representatives as Sidney Mathias and Kathy Ryg have supported recall measures.

He said in bringing forward the ordinance he was not targeting any specific individual.

He said he was responding to a number of inquiries he received from the public at the train station and the grocery store and other local gathering places.

Trustee Beverly Sussman said she is in favor of a recall ordinance, but added that the final document should be the best one possible.

Most of the discussion focused on the fine points of the ordinance. Only at the end did the personality conflicts on the board erupt.

Stone accused the board of trying to ramrod the ordinance through to approval.

She said she was bothered by the swiftness with which the board seemed to be moving to passage, comparing it with the speed in passing off-track betting, and noting that the room was packed with supporters of the recall ordinance.

At the same time, she said was not afraid of the vote.

Trustees Jeffrey Braiman and DeAnn Glover took strong issue with Stone's comments.

Braiman said he was confused that Stone would say putting a dance club in eSkape was a no-brainer and should be rushed through, but felt the board was moving too quickly through the recall ordinance.

Glover said, "You disenfranchised a lot of people" when speaking of the members of the public who spoke in favor of recall, "just because they might not think like you do."

Glover noted that Stone rounded up people to pack the board room with opponents of off-track betting.

Stone insisted there was no hypocrisy, saying there were some issues on which the board did not move swiftly enough. She added that she and her family have been the victims of defamatory comments on blogs, saying some of those people were attending Monday's meeting.

Stone defended her short, embattled tenure. She said, "I know people are very glad to have my independent voice."

Earlier, one of the sponsors of the recall ordinance, Trustee Steven Trilling, bemoaned the recent loss of civility on the village board.

"Many residents are asking what has happened to the village board," he said.

Trilling added that the ordinance "will give our residents the final say they rightfully deserve," which was greeted with loud applause.