Opinion: Pekau’s fake concern for Orland Park taxpayers
Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau says he wants to help the taxpayers but his record in office has put more burdens on taxpayers contradicting his concerns and exposing them as purely politically motivated to boost his re-election chances in the Spring
By Ray Hanania
Last week, Orland Park’s inept Mayor Keith Pekau announced a political move to reduce property taxes on the village’s residents.
That type of announcement usually comes before a politician’s re-election and, sure enough, Mayor Pekau’s re-election is in fact set for the Spring.
Pekau needs voters to think that he cares about the burdens his administration has placed on taxpayers: Pekau has been, by far, the biggest burden on Orland Park taxpayers.
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Pekau ran for office attacking the pension and pay hike that the former mayor had proposed for himself. It was the reason my Mayor Dan McLaughlin lost. Pekau won not because he had any brilliant ideas – he had none – but because he happened to be the only other person on the ballot besides McLaughlin. No one voted “for” Pekau. They voted “against” McLaughlin.
And yet, here we are, nearly four years later, and it turns out Mayor Pekau has been taking that “obscene” pay hike. Yes, Pekau has been collecting $150,000 a year in salary for the past four years as Orland Park’s “part-time” mayor.
If Pekau cared about the taxpayers, or keeping his promises, he would have refused the pay hike. He has argued he is required to take the pay hike, but that’s not true. President Donald Trump donates his annual $400,000 salary and takes a salary of $1 a year. If Pekau’s statements had principles, he would do the same.
That’s $600,000 in taxpayer money Pekau could save Orland Park taxpayers.
Then there is the stupid Federal lawsuit that Pekau had the Village attorneys file on June 16 challenging Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 restrictions. The lawsuit, one of the most poorly conceived legal documents the legal profession has seen, asserts that the state-imposed restrictions “violate the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution” and that Pritzker “overstepped” his authority.
It’s estimated it cost the village $66,000 but that’s early as the legal wrangling continues. Pekau’s worthless political stunt to pander to the anti-face mask extremists could cost taxpayers as much as $300,000 when done.
That’s $300,000 that Pekau could save Orland Park taxpayers.
There are other lawsuits, like the one Pekau caused when he allegedly breached a departure contract signed with former Village Manager Joe LaMargo. LaMargo accuses Pekau of defamation and intentionally causing emotional distress.
Then there is Pekau’s “LaLa-ga-fooza-festival” that backfired because COVID-19 infections continue to rise in Orland Park – almost 50 percent just in July.
The “Lala-ga-fooza” festivals, according to Trustee Jim Dodge who opposed the spending, will end up costing taxpayers more than $100,000. Pekau’s assertion COVID-19 is more of a Constitutional rights issue than a health pandemic is costing taxpayers a fortune.
Two more have been cancelled since.
So, when you hear a guy like Pekau claim he cares for the interests of taxpayers and announces a property tax reduction plan, you know he is lying.
Pekau’s property tax reduction plan is a political stunt intended to improve his image which is damaged by wasteful tax spending. Pekau thinks that if he says he cares about the taxpayers, and calls to reduce property taxes, you, the taxpayers, will go all ditzy googly eyes and forget about his failed leadership and poor government management. Basically, Pekau thinks you, the people, are stupid.
The only way for taxpayers to really save money is to give Pekau what he wants, impose term limits on his political career and kick him out of office. No one is a better case for term limits than Pekau.
If Pekau were a politician of his word, he would reimburse taxpayers for the $150,000 salary that he denounced but has taken over four years ($600,000). He would stop using the village attorneys to pursue his own political agenda against Pritzker and LaMargo. And, he would apologize for wasting so much money on entertainment to disguise his failures and diminish the threat of the coronavirus.
But knowing Pekau, he won’t admit his failures. Instead, he will do what he always does, turn everything into a “conspiracy” or “coordinated political attack” by his “enemies” – which happens to be every political officeholder within 500 miles of Orland Park. He will viciously and personally attack people like me, Trustees Dodge and Dan Calandriello, Pritzker, members of the legislature, and others who dare challenge his failed policies.
If we had a nickel for every time Pekau made cheap personal attacks against his critics, we might be able to afford his failed leadership.
(Check out more of Ray Hanania’s columns and writings on his website at www.Hanania.com. Originally published in the Regional News Newspaper August 13, 2020.)
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