Another View: Sandack vs. Boyle

Ten years of covering local government lends a unique perspective to the District 81 House race.

One of the benefits of covering local government for nearly a decade is the rather unique perspective one gains as a result.  Lucky for me, that’s what I’ll take into the voting booth on March 20—not the dueling endorsements, frantic politicking and hundreds of partisan comments that have marked the campaign for the 81st District House seat.

I’m not a big believer in slogans, campaign promises or—God forbid—robocalls. I don’t identify closely with either political party.  What’s most important to me, especially in a local election, is not what a candidate says in the heat of battle, but how they perform their public duties day to day. Not how they treat their dedicated supporters, but how they respond to those with whom they disagree.

Both Ron Sandack, a former village commissioner and mayor who was appointed to the state senate in 2010, and Debbie Boyle, vice president of the Community High School District 99 school board, are hometown candidates. And I’ve observed each of them since the beginning of their public careers.

Both are naturals when it comes to the political arena—personable, attractive, extroverted. Sandack, in particular, is extremely gifted at articulating and defending a position, as befits a career litigator. However, his greatest strength is also his greatest weakness. The skills that make for a successful litigator don’t always equate to legislative success. A good litigator will never ask a question to which he doesn’t already know the answer, but an effective legislator must be open-minded and willing to consider different viewpoints from constituents and colleagues alike.

While he undoubtedly achieved some notable successes while serving on the Downers Grove Village Council, Sandack appeared to grow increasingly as his mayoral term wore on. In spite of having a dependable council majority, Sandack sometimes belittled commissioners who advocated other priorities, at one point prompting Commissioner Marilyn Schnell to call for a council retreat where differences could be ironed out in private. Commissioner William Waldack became a particular target, both on the dais and on social media.

Some residents who espoused a contrary viewpoint also heard from the mayor. I acquired a stack of emails from Sandack over the years in response to my posts on the DGreport. Every journalist expects to get feedback from the public, and you’re not doing your job if you don’t occasionally rattle cages. However, Sandack stands alone in my long experience not only for his voluminous and occasionally vitriolic correspondence, but for the extent to which he took his campaign against my newsblog.

Sandack often has said people of good faith can disagree—a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree—but his actions frequently contradict that. It’s as if his litigation background compels him to not just go for win, but to utterly crush the opposition. Unfortunately, turning colleagues, constituents and neutral parties into political enemies is at odds with effective governance, particularly on the local and state level.

Boyle, on the other hand, seems to have a knack for converting her opponents into allies. Her 2009 opponent Bill White, who ran on a slate with District 99 incumbents Julia Beckman, Terry Pavesich and Allyn Barnett, is supporting her House bid; he was a vocal Sandack supporter in 2007. And despite what Don Wade and Roma may have reported thanks to an anonymous local “whistle-blower,” it was Policy Committee members White and member Nancy Kupka to the board’s controversial nepotism and conflict-of-interest policies. I find it significant that by Boyle’s school board opponents.

In her three years on the District 99 board, Boyle has been a model of restraint, with far more provocation than I ever saw Sandack encounter. A registered nurse manager, she joined the school board in 2009 after a campaign notable for her opponents’ smears and misstatements. She didn’t respond in kind and subsequently took the board’s chilly reception in stride.

A week before she was seated, the board met in a controversial closed session to discuss its oft-reworked nepotism policy and three board members joined Barnett, whom Boyle had bested in a tight election, in his recount effort. Two weeks later, the board majority prevented her from voting on the district’s employee benefits package. 

And that was just the start. The board president, Julia Kennedy Beckman, waited months to assign her to a committee. The board paid $7,000 to draw up nepotism guidelines that many observers, including the Chicago Tribune, believed were aimed at marginalizing Boyle. During meetings, Boyle’s statements were often met with eye-rolling and dirty looks. Her election as board vice president in 2011 was greeted with from Pavesich, who later called her “a worthless bitch” within earshot of other board members, the administration and the press.

Through it all, Boyle has maintained a professional demeanor and displayed the ability to work collaboratively. She also has exercised leadership in board decisions to broadcast meetings and end pension-spiking raises.

With only a week until Election Day, my perspective may not change anyone’s mind, but perhaps it will serve to highlight the importance of looking beyond campaign rhetoric to the political temperament of the individuals vying to represent our community. And to hold whoever wins accountable for respectfully representing all of us—supporters and opponents alike.

George Anderson March 15, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Mr Cawthorne, you seem to care only that the end justifies the means.  Your association with Ron speaks volumes to me (pints and shots).  If I recall, Ron supported your for Liquor Commission.  As a Liquor Commission member, you lobbied to allow Stardust to stay open until 4 AM, without disclosing that you had an ownership interest in this nightclub, let alone recusing yourself.  Here’s a link to the 4/1/08 minutes of the Liquor Commission, when you lobbied – as a commissioner - to allow Stardust to stay open – and here’s a link to the 2/5/09 minutes in which you disclose your 10% ownership in Stardust, after you were booted.  Now, wouldn’t you consider this to be a conflict of interest? 
George Anderson March 15, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Here are the links: http://www.downers.us/public/docs/agendas/2008/04-01-2008/Board_Minutes.pdf http://www.downers.us/public/docs/agendas/2009/04-07-2009/Board_Minutes.pdf
PAUL C. March 15, 2012 at 01:45 PM
INTERESTING READING HERE FROM THE MARCH 3TH 2012 ILLINOIS OBSERVER IN THE ILLINOIS POLITICS SECTION: Saturday Odd Bits: New Illinois GOP Labor PAC Gets 1st Check; Ex-Mob Bookie’s Chicago Employment History Probed…and More Posted by David Ormsby ⋅ March 3, 2012 ⋅ 2 Comment Chicago, IL) – Illinois GOP Gets Labor Love, Cash – Formed on February 22 by beer distributor and GOP donor Kevin Burke, president of LaGrange-based Burke Beverage, Inc., to help Republican state legislative candidates friendly to organized labor, the Illinois Lunch Pail Republican PAC got its first check on Friday. Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC kicked in $2,500. Can you all open your eyes now?
PAUL C. March 15, 2012 at 01:50 PM
FRIENDLY TO ILLINOIS LABOR SO IT'S TIME TO ADMIT IT RON! YOU CAN'T BE AGAINST PENSIONS AND FRIENDLY TO UNIONS (ORGANIZED LABOR)? Please explain this contribution from the Illinois Lunch Pail Republican PAC. As a concerned citizen in favor of a right to work state like my neighbors in Indiana, please Ron tell us what the deal is here?
UoCDoc March 15, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Paul, I don't know how you can possibly call the Sandack-Lite mailer an attack piece? It was a simple comparison of the two candidate platforms. It's clear to most folks that her platform looks very similar to Ron's which was released months earlier. That's ok. We are flattered that she is attempting to emulate the Senator. Where things get ridiculous is when you, Jeff, Mark or Debbie found some 2007 endorsement letter from the Teamsters and decided that since she couldn't remember seeing it, that Ron must have attempted to hide it. Please listen to me very carefully here. There was no attempt to hide it. We will absolutely be seeking the Teamsters endorsement after the Primary. We even had Teamsters walking for Ron back in 2007. What's disturbing to me, and I suspect others, is that you think that by associating Ron with the Teamster group you somehow hurt or marginalize his campaign. Your stereotyping is inappropriate and disgusting! Would you try and damage Senator Sandack's reputation in the same manner if it was the firefighters union standing next to him? As an Italian American sir, you should be ashamed of yourself, participating in the stereotyping of others. This is the ugliness which is preventing America from growing. I hope that one day you can find peace in your heart.
Eileen Kenah March 15, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Hi Paul I am a Sandack supporter and I voted for neither Becky or Sean. I voted for Geoff Neustadt simply because he is not an attorney. I have my own mind and use it to make my choice. I vote for whoever I think the best candidate is. In my opinion Ron is the better candidate. I hate orange cool-aid so I definitely did not drink it. By the way, the Teamster Ron label may actually back fire on Debbie. I know a police officer who was going to vote for Debbie because he thought she was pro-union. I am sure the 3 mailers Debbie sent out will change his mind.
Eileen Kenah March 15, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Yes AC and Debbie may have just gave Ron the "Teamster" vote. I know a police officer that has a Debbie sign only because he thought Ron would be too tough against the unions. The mailers may have changed his mind.
UoCDoc March 15, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Paul, We are not planning for the next 5 days. We are planning for the 7 months and 3 weeks. Do you honestly think that by hiding your candidate and putting up extra yard signs Debbie would win in the Primary? The Democrats will announce their candidate sometime in late March. The contributions and endorsements will be very valuable in the general race. I can't believe you don't understand how this process works. Then again, neither does Lawsuit Debbie!
PAUL C. March 15, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Wow....I am popular today! You think I was running against TEAMSTER RON...lol The 15th seed has the #1 seed worried. ha ha Check out who the IL Lunch Pail Republicans are! Do your research Doc, Don, Lee and Frank and get back to us. Flip and Flop RINO TEAMSTER RON. Out of one side of his mouth spurts " I am for pension elimination and reforms and out of the other side he welcomes contributions from Labor Friendly PAC's. Who is this guy? RON FOR RON should be his motto and website. What idiots he must think the voting public is! He is so beholden to all these PACs and plays both sides of the table. You talk about dual personalities. My GOD ...wake up everyone it's right in front on you as clear as day.
Eileen Kenah March 15, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Really Paul? Calling Debbie Sandack-lite is derogatory? I believe the point of the mailer is the her stance are very similar to his. If you take her "Where I Stand" on her website, (as Sandack did in his mailer and I was able to do long before the mailer came out), she mimics Ron's stands. I would say overall that is a compliment. All 5 of her items she says she is going to do either were done by Ron or he has the same stance. In previous discussion you or others have brought up the Dream Act, the Smart Grid and the "Amazon" tax. None of these issues are mentioned on her as issues. Not only are Debbie's mailers calling Ron a teamster- they are attributing quotes to him that were never said or even implied. Was there anything on Ron's mailer that was not true?
PAUL C. March 15, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Eileen, Ron needed that $10K yesterday from his latest PAC. That TEAMSTER RON label he wears well! We have a whole lot on him and IL Lunch Pail PAC confirms it even more. I suggest you research them also Eileen and then ask Ron how he could be against the overly-generous state pension and health benefits as he says in his latest "NICE AD" RON SANDACK-REFORMER. More like CONFORMER! I hope your eyes are open wide now. Why would Ron need $10k 5 days out from the election? These PACs, special interest groups, lobbyists etc ALL need Ron because Ron will serve them. He is exactly what they want. The "PLAYER" who gets it done and keeps the system rolling. He's exactly the kind who THEY want. He's the type who has been serving in Springfield for many years and that's why we as a state suck! 45th on the list of most desirable State of 50 to start a business....I posted that yesterday. We really need more of the same don't we? I know electing Ron guarntees it!
PAUL C. March 15, 2012 at 02:32 PM
One other thing Eileen! We fully expect an all-out blitz of attack on Debbie these next few days. We know how much this election means to Ron. His "CAREER" will be in shambles should he loses this. The buzz is buzzing on this $10k and we know why it arrived.
UoCDoc March 15, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Paul, We are not looking at the next five days. We are looking at the next 7 months. If you were supporting a candidate who wasn't in hiding all the time you would realize that the real work starts Wednesday. You want to talk about why Illinois is rated so low? It's because businesses can't afford to operate in this state. People like Debbie keep raising our taxes. She has never met a tax increase she doesn't like.
George Anderson March 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Lee - maybe you're not aware that for the very same academic year that Boyle's petition was denied, an identical petition was approved. How is that fair?  What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander.  Ultimately, the Boyles sued, which would be the only recourse to redress a wrong. By the way, isn’t that what Ron does for a living?  Sue people and institutions? Maybe she should have retained Ron.  LOL.    
PAUL C. March 15, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Interesting point for Lee to ponder George! Lee- did you sleep last night? lol Aren't worried are we? Are you planning a 24 hour Blog-a-thon for Ron event to ward off the evil Boyle Camp? Spin the Teamster Endorsement letter, Spin the Council Power Play, Spin the contributions from all the PACS, FLIP AND FLOP...I'm for pension reform but I'll take dough from the IL Lunch Pail Pac. After saying all this, a 24 hour BLOG-A-THON FOR RON might not be a bad idea. You do have that late arriving $10k. Perhaps you can run it all through dual simulcasting FB and The Patch. THE HEAT IS ON and you all know it.
PAUL C. March 15, 2012 at 03:05 PM
George, Nice research on Mr. Cawthorne! It's amazing that Thomas still follows Ron after this. He must have a contract to supply the Orange Kool-Aid.
UoCDoc March 15, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Paul, Again, no spin here. We never tried to hide the Teamster endorsement and I don't know what you are calling the Council Power Play but it has a nice ring to it. Also, not spin needed on the contributions. We are proud of each and every one of them. Just like two of the most recent: The Illinois Medical Society and The Illinois Society of Advanced Practice Nursing Association Isn't Debbie a nurse? Wow! That's got to sting!
Dan F. March 15, 2012 at 03:37 PM
A bought guy can be useful. If ya know what I mean... Term limits? It is not a term limits bill. It is a term limits resolution that has no force because it requires a change to the Constitution. So Ron is ignorant of basic civics facts taught by High School District 99. Did he not explain this to you? No? Check. Surely Madigan will find him useful. that's why he arranged the $5K and endorsement from Stand for Children. Votes like a Democrat, should be running as a Democrat. Some folks here just are too wrapped up in the Cult of Ron. Next.
UoCDoc March 15, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Dan - It is a BALD FACED LIE to suggest that Michael Madigan had anything to do with ANY of the endorsements Senator Sandack had proudly received! How do you face your children, look them in the eye and tell them you are a good person? Have you no shame sir, no dignity?
Frank N. Claro March 15, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Judging how Boyle only worked to get her name on the ballot, refusing to actually run a campaign, I can't help but to think how, on this last day of early voting, she can't even muster enough courage to go vote for herself. I'm envisioning Krawjewski, Thoman and Johnson - all motivated by their ill will toward Sandack - having to physically drag her into the voting booth just to vote for herself. To her credit, she quickly learned she was not qualified. To her demise, she allowed herself to be used by political goons with malicious intent. District 81 needs GOP Senator Ron Sandack representing us in Springfield. She knows it. The voters know it.
AC March 15, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Frank We will see on Mar 20th. Teamster Ron isn't going to walk into this office. Many Boyle supporters with remain in the dark in fear of never being considered for any future volunteer positions in the village because of his back door dealings. To bad Mark had to experience those behind the scene deals. Good Luck following Ron. Vote Debbie Boyle on March 20th Let's put an end to all these back door deals.
Frank N. Claro March 15, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Yes, vote for a quitter - Lawsuit Boil - on March 20th. If that's who you are & what you're comfortable with, then more power to you. Bottom line is you & your other goons wouldn't know a back door deal if it slammed up your back door. This is evident by all of your uninformed accusations & inexperienced assumptions. Senator Sandack has integrity & has stood before District 81 voters to be tested for this race. He is the only candidate who has done that & is the only one who deserves the vote.
PAUL C. March 16, 2012 at 01:31 PM
am on Friday, March 16, 2012 IL Lunch Pail Republicans PAC PO Box 192 Hinsdale, IL 60522 $10,000.00 3/14/2012 Transfer In Citizens to Elect Ron Sandack From the Illinois Observer, March 3rd , 2012 (Chicago, IL) – Illinois GOP Gets Labor Love, Cash – Formed on February 22 by beer distributor and GOP donor Kevin Burke, president of LaGrange-based Burke Beverage, Inc., to help Republican state legislative candidates friendly to organized labor, the Illinois Lunch Pail Republican PAC got its first check on Friday. Chicagoland Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC kicked in $2,500. *Not from Chris Robling, insider at the Illinois Review...should be called the "Illinois Cesspool Review"! That's why Chris wants Ron in down there. He'll fit right in to keep the game and the cesspool intact. 45th WORST STATE to start a BUSINESS! HOW WILL RON KEEP BUSINESSES FROM MOVING TO TEXAS AND OTHER STATES IN THE TOP TEN? SAME OLD SAME OLD APPROACH! SIgroups, lobbyists and PAC's all TEAMSTER RON's buddies. ha ha pathetic state we are Chris Robling, who cares about the ILLINOIS CESSPOOL REVIEW. STOP REVIEWING AND BACK CANDIDATES WITH A BACKBONE!
UoCDoc March 16, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Paul - I noticed you missed an opportunity to call Ron a "Teamster" again. Did the independent and highly respected Illinois Review article below have anything to do with it? Just wondering. http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2012/03/deb-boyle-moon-made-of-green-cheese-sandack-a-teamster.html Here are a few quotes from the link below: "Ron Sandack is an attorney. Deb: That's a-t-t-o-r-n-e-y. As an -- all together now -- attorney, Ron represents clients. That's c-l-i-e-n-t-s." "It is important that you got this wrong, because it shows a significant understanding deficit. Not only is Ron not a Teamster, he is on such a panel specifically for his non-Teamster view. Deb, this means you kind of got this 180 degrees wrong. " "So, Deb Boyle, on this St Patrick's day eve I have the sad duty to report that, in nursing terms, your assessment skills need a refresher. The patient walked in, you took one look, and you called him a Teamster, when in fact he is an attorney representing job creators."
PAUL C. March 16, 2012 at 01:44 PM
PAUL C. March 16, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Uocdoc, Who in the hell cares about Chris Robling? You guys think everyone loves Ron because he is getting all the dough and endorsements from Springfield and Chicago. You know doc everyone isn't stupid like you think. Your pompous attitude along with with Don's think everyone will just lineup and love Ron because he is so supported, endorsed and capitalized (like that big word U-Doc?). You see many people see and now are saying "This guy is on the take, this guy is in for himself and all these groups giving him money! I am hearing Doc! Maybe you need to leave Prince, Saratoga, Middaugh or wherever you annoumously live and talk to people. It's a big district and believe it or not some people throw mailers right into the recyle bin immediately! Some people are very interested in what www.elections.il.gov tells them. One look at Teamster Rino Ron contributions and there are many and even an idiot will know who he'll serve and have to answer to. Doc only an idiot would think these Springfield and Chicago groups are giving all this dough to TRR because they love and adore him. THEY WILL WANT AND WILL GET FAVORS- DEALS, VOTES ETC. That's the game and Ron is right there in the middle of it! You know it and Chris Robling knows it and many voters now know it!
PAUL C. March 16, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Dan F. March 19, 2012 at 01:08 AM
"Please listen to me very carefully here. There was no attempt to hide it. We will absolutely be seeking the Teamsters endorsement after the Primary. We even had Teamsters walking for Ron back in 2007. What’s disturbing to me, and I suspect others, is that you think that by associating Ron with the Teamster group you somehow hurt or marginalize his campaign." Okay, so why was ROn so hidey holey about his Teamster connection, then, through UofCcroc, so determined to disprove his Teamster connection, and now he so obviously embraces it? There is a bit of discrepancy there? Oh, and nice extra hate to go around. Some people have issues.
PAUL C. March 19, 2012 at 02:43 PM
http://www.dggab.com/images/forumo/teamsters.pdf Here's a fact that Ronnie boy "forgot" to tell the voters about back in March of 2007. It was real TRANSPARENT", He didn't want us all to know the Teamsters were supporting him. It wouldn't have been the way to start the Era of Time for Change.
UoCDoc March 19, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Paul, again lying is wrong. Just because you didn't see the endorsement letter doesn't mean there was a grand "conspiracy". But since you brought up endorsements, here are just a few of Ron Sandacks: Illinois Medical Society Illinois Society of Advanced Practice Nursing Association National Association of Social Workers of Illinois Chicago Tribune Daily Herald National Rifle Association Illinois State Rifle Association Naperville Chamber of Commerce All of the Mayors from the 81st District (except one who refused to endorse anyone) Senator Christine Radogno Senator Kirk Dillard Rep. Michael Connelly Hundreds more at: http://www.ron4illinois.com/support.html


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