Arlington Heights trustee candidates spar over resident's letter

Published: 3/15/2009 12:01 AM

A debate over a letter about handicapped curbs broke out between Arlington Heights trustee candidates at a forum on Saturday.

Michael Sidor, a political newcomer, said Arlington Heights Village President Arlene Mulder and the entire village board received a letter more than a year ago from a physically handicapped resident concerned because some curbs weren't getting fixed with a wheelchair friendly slope.

The resident's issue has been pretty much ignored, Sidor said.

"It's a four or five page passionate letter about where in the village this is taking place," said Sidor. "There has been a letter-writing campaign going on trying to fix this for a year and a half."

Trustee incumbents Norm Breyer, Bert Rosenberg and Joe Farwell attended the forum at the Arlington Heights village hall along with political newcomers Sidor, Tom Glasgow, Keith Moens and Tabitha Long. Barbara Browne was not at the debate. The group will compete for four 4-year terms on the village board on April 7.

Rosenberg said he hadn't seen the letter Sidor was talking about. Glasgow said a copy of the letter was dropped off at his house yesterday. Farwell said he just received a copy on Friday night in his village board packet of information.

"I have already left a message for the village manager about this," Farwell said. "This is something that should be discussed at a committee of the whole meeting. But the first I heard about it was 12 hours ago. I feel like we've been ambushed on this issue."

Farwell said if the issue was a serious concern of the resident, he should've heard about it.

"If he wasn't satisfied then we (village board) would hear about it through e-mail or during the citizens to be heard part of the board meetings," said Farwell after the meeting. "I haven't heard anything."

Long said the incumbents did receive the letter in February 2008.

"From what I understand, once the village president gets the letter, it is copied and sent to the trustees," Long said.

The issue came up a few weeks ago when Sidor received an e-mail from the resident who wrote the letter. He said the resident was frustrated and "just wanted to talk to a non-incumbent," Sidor said. Later, he met with the resident along with Long and Phillip Walter, a candidate for Arlington Heights village president.

Walter and current Village President Arlene Mulder also participated in the forum Saturday, along with candidates for Northwest Suburban High School District 214, including Lenore Bragaw, Miriam "Mimi" Cooper Spickard, Leslie Pinney and Jim Perkins. District 214 candidate Mark Hineman was not at Saturday's forum. Each candidate for Arlington Heights Park District, Arlington Heights Library Board and Wheeling Township trustee also gave a short statement at the forum.

There will be a debate for Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 candidates at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, at Thomas Middle School, 1430 N. Belmont Ave.