Facebook, Rob Sherman now part of recall debate in Buffalo Grove

Published: 10/7/2009 12:03 AM

What was remarkable about the Buffalo Grove village board meeting Monday on adopting a recall ordinance was not what was happening on the dais, but in the crowd watching the debate.

New Trustee Lisa Stone, who has said she supports a recall ordinance but sees it aimed at her, encouraged a high turnout on her Facebook page.

On Sunday, she urged friends to attend Monday's meeting, "to support, not just me, but Democracy. This is dangerous in gov't, to allow for recall without cause/criteria. I've been told that this will backfire on them. They tried to stop me from - winning the election, and now that I've won, they've come up with recall! Incredulous."

Following Monday's meeting, where a vote on the ordinance again was delayed, Stone was exhilarated on Facebook. "You voted for me and will not sit silent & allow my recall." She later added that the people "stood ready to recall the other board members if they went forward with this ordinance as written."

At the meeting, Stone's supporters and those who had been spurned by the board in the past subjected the trustees to blistering verbal attacks during the public comment period.

Buffalo Grove resident Barnet Fagel earned raucous applause from the large crowd when he said, "It is very disappointing for Buffalo Grove residents to witness their more experienced politicians displaying intolerance toward newer elected officials."

Stone herself was quieter than usual through much of the proceedings.

Taking credit for some of that was controversial local activist Rob Sherman, who passed notes to trustees, including Stone, during the meeting. Sherman said he has been working with Stone and that recent problems with civility on the board may become a nonissue.

He had suggested in his blog that it was illegal for the board to pass a recall ordinance.

But Village Attorney William Raysa said it is legal Illinois case law shows that recall serves as an effective and speedy remedy for dissatisfied voters to remove an official.

The village board did tinker with the ordinance slightly, eliminating a provision for a four-year ban on recalled officials running for office and adding an amendment requiring a reason for recall. There likely will be other changes, including making the ordinance effective at the start of next year. Overall, though, the strong opinions expressed didn't seem likely to prevent its ultimate passage.

Jeffrey Berman, who wrote the recall ordinance, acknowledged the possibility that retribution may be taken against him at the ballot box.

He noted that it will be hard to recall an official, given that the number of signatures on a petition would have to equal 33 percent of the average number of ballots cast in the two most recent elections, with no fewer than 1,000 signatures.

"I am placing my trust and faith in the public, the very same electorate that has elected and re-elected me to three terms on this board," Berman said. "If it is their will, ultimately, to see me depart from the village board, I can assure you that I will not be one of the so-called leaders who have clung tenaciously to their office by thwarting the very public they have sworn an oath to represent."