Save BG announces Political Action Committee and requests donations

Dear Friends of SBG,
We are pleased to announce that Save Buffalo Grove is now, officially, the Save Buffalo Grove Political Action Committee, SBC-PAC.
See the Press Release, below. Please show your support by sending in a donation–$5, $10, $25, $50–this will help us launch the SBC-PAC and jump-start our mission actively and aggressively.
Donations can be made in 2 ways:
Send a check to Save Buffalo Grove, 737 Bernard Drive, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
Use the PayPal Donate Button on the SBG Website: go to http://wordpress.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d2702e7a9da4d95ac63eba621&id=0e5b2d25d5&e=86fb52ca84

PRESS RELEASE
Save Buffalo Grove forms Political Action Committee
July 16, 2014. Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Save Buffalo Grove, has formed the Save Buffalo Grove Political Action Committee, to be abbreviated as SBG-PAC when permissible, under Illinois law.

The citizen’s group, Save Buffalo Grove, has grown from a small number of individuals to a large body voicing their concerns and opposition to the demolition of community buildings and sale of the land occupied by the Buffalo Grove Golf Course for the construction of a large commercial Downtown Buffalo Grove Development.

The group’s efforts, prior to forming the PAC, have included educational meetings, a petition drive for a community-wide referendum on the Downtown Development; a website; a mailing list, and the development of a steering committee.

The stated purpose of the SBG-PAC is to protect and preserve the quality of life for residents of Buffalo Grove through the preservation of existing open space and recreational areas; to solicit and receive voluntary contributions for political campaigns; and to involve the public in educational an advocacy efforts.

The SBG-PAC is registered with the Illinois State Board of Elections and is empowered to act as a political action committee in accordance with Illinois election laws governing campaign finance and other legislation.

“The PAC gives us new opportunities for fundraising, community advocacy, and education,” says Leon Gopon, SBG-PAC President.

“Ideally, the SBG-PAC will find, endorse, and back candidates who support our mission,” says Dave Weidenfeld, SBG-PAC Vice President.

“Now we can openly solicit funds, have fundraising events, and use our funds for PAC-related activities. These may include polling and targeted advertising. Our records will be transparent. We can do more to educate the entire community regarding the implications of the downtown development and how sad it will be to lose this land to another commercial development. I think that being a PAC will give us more clout,” says Marilyn Weisberg, SBG-PAC Communications Director.

About Donations

Donations to the SBG-PAC will be used to fund activities and services that further the SBG-PAC mission, including:
Supporting political candidates.
Conducting polls of BG residents on opinions regarding the Downtown Plan.
Conducting targeted advertising campaigns, using email, direct mail, robo calls, social media and print media; purchasing special lists.
Retaining engineering, legal, public relations, and other consultants.
Hosting community meetings and educational events.
Creating and distributing educational and promotional materials, such as lawn signs, t-shirts, and buttons.
The SBG-PAC goal is to implement a community-wide referendum of citizens before the Village sells and develops any land for commercial development.

 

Question as to how Open Meeting Act may apply to downtown project discussions

Recently, I heard that “land acquisition” is a topic that is an exception to the Open Meetings Act and that, generally, the sale of the Golf Course for downtown development could be discussed in non-Open meetings. So I looked at the OMA and found what I think are two OMA exceptions that may be applicable:

Sec 2, (c)(5) The purchase or lease of real property for the use of the public body, including meetings held for the purpose of discussing whether a particular parcel should be acquired.

(6) The setting of a price for sale or lease of property owned by the public body.

Leon Gopon

 

Leon Gopon/Mike Terson follow-up discussion from 4/23/2014 chat

Mike,

Thanks fro the reply. I know how things change and people change their mind
about things, so I can see how after some education and forethought you
could change your mind about the referendum. I can see how a referendum
could put the Board in a box depending on what the outcome is vs. what the
Board’s vote is.

I’m sure the referendum issue could be worded in such a manner as to allow
for certain things to have to happen for the referendum vote to be
justified. I’ve been in high-level positions of authority and had to make
tough decisions that were not in accordance with popular thinking. That
didn’t rest easy with me. My feeling is that tough decision-making comes
with the territory. We all have to make tough decisions. I’d rather see
leaders bite the bullet instead of avoiding having to face the issue. But
it seems to be a “politician thing” to tap dance around things.

Also, The reason we have the Golf Course was because of a referendum. I
think if we “bought it” via referendum we should have a referendum to sell
it. I haven’t figured out yet if the the group I’m aligned with is
partisan. I know some of the members are, but I wouldn’t tag the whole
group with that. As time goes by, for various reasons, we are getting more
and more members whom I would not call partisan.

We all have a long way to go on the downtown proposal, and I can see things
changing as more information is brought forward.

Leon
—–Original Message—–
From: Mike Terson
Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2014 12:34 PM
To: Leon Gopon
Subject: Re: Thanks

Hi Leon,

As for my 2011 comment… Like I said, at the time I was not knowledgeable
on what the criteria is for going to referendum. Since then I have been
more educated on that, as well as other variables. In the here and now,
2014, I’ll just say that my position has somewhat changed, and I don’t
necessarily support going to referendum. I am not completely opposed to the
concept of a non-binding referendum, but the more I discuss it with others,
the more I see why it is a bad idea.

The reasons I am not in favor of it are:

1. I believe that people elect their trustees to make decisions on behalf of
the community. We don’t poll the community on every issue. While this
would be a larger issue than your typical everyday warrant, ordinance or bid
approval, it is still something that I believe should be left in the hands
of the Board; and, I believe, based on what I have been told by legal minds
more knowledgeable than mine, that it does not meet the criteria for a
binding referendum. Also, I know that my colleagues and I are doing our due
diligence on this issue and are completely capable of making a decision that
is in the best interest of the community. I am not convinced that every
voting resident is doing the same. There is a reason that we have the form
of government that we do; one in which we elect people to make these types
of decisions, rather than polling every resident who is eligible to vote on
every issue. The law sets stipulations on what should and should not be
decided by referendum; I am not in favor of straying from those
stipulations.

2. Even in a non-binding referendum there are concerns. Although the
referendum might be non-binding, there would be public pressure to go with
whatever the outcome would be; and, there could be a negative impact in both
scenarios. Let’s say the vote shows that the community is in favor of a
downtown. What if we as a Board end up deciding that the financials don’t
indicate it is a good project, or we end up not coming to terms with the
developer? We could run the risk of people saying that they voted and said
they want this, so why aren’t we delivering on what the people said they
want. A non-binding referendum could very well put us as a community at a
significant disadvantage with any developer, because it would show that we
are not strong enough leaders to make decisions without first asking the
voters; and, if the voters said yes we want this, that developer would then
know that the community leaders would likely feel pressure to deliver on
what the voters said they want, thus putting that developer at a significant
advantage when it comes to negotiating. If we allow the Village Manager and
Board to do what they were hired and elected to do, we keep the upper hand.
As it sits, this process has moved so slowly, that I highly doubt Mr. Malk
or any developer gets the impression that this community team of Board and
staff are over-anxious to do something or would approve a project that
doesn’t favor the Village. A non-binding referendum could quickly change
that.

Again, thank you for the continued discussion. I sincerely hope that as you
become more knowledgable on this issue and the variables that go along with
the decision making process, that you will be in favor of us doing things
the right way, and not choose to support decisions that capitulate to a very
partisan group that has made it clear that their supporters will never be in
favor of this project under any circumstances. You have been a member of
this community for a long time, and I would encourage you, as someone who
has been a leader in the community for many years, to look at this project
objectively without prejudging or predetermining your position, and form
your opinions based on facts and what is in the best longterm interest of
our community. I am looking at how this will impact future generations of
our community, long after you and I are gone, and I would encourage you to
do the same. That doesn’t always result in being popular with everyone.

Kind regards,

Mike Terson

On Apr 24, 2014, at 3:30 PM, “Leon Gopon” <goponls@earthlink.net> wrote:

Thanks to you, too, for taking the time to talk. I think communicating
solves a lot of issues and keeps issues from occurring. While we do agree
to disagree on several issues I, too, think our commonality lies in dealing
with facts/data how much we both want to make BG the best there is.  I
reread the ‘building a downtown on the BG Golf Corse” referendum quote
attributed to you in the PATCH.com article of 3/15/2011. The wording is:
“…..residents say no to the idea through a referendum then it isn’t a good
idea”. What I took away from our conversation on this yesterday is that you
were referring to a non-binding referendum (or a polling of the residents).

As I said yesterday, one of my main goals regarding the group against he
downtown proposal is to have the group deal with true facts not rumors or
made-up little green monsters in the minds of the individuals in the group.
Left to their own devices, I am surprised at some of the made-up stories
people have about the downtown proposal that grow legs and run amuck.

I have no problem reaching out to you to talk should the need arise.

Leon

—–Original Message—– From: Mike Terson
Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:18 AM
To: Leon Gopon
Subject: Thanks

Hi Leon,

I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to meet yesterday and
discuss the issue. While I know we don’t necessarily see eye to eye on many
aspects of the issue, I do appreciate your willingness to discuss things and
the way in which you present your points. I think the fact that we are both
so passionate about our community and want what is best for our neighbors is
the most important thing; and, I think in that regard we probably have more
in common than what our differences are pertaining to a downtown where the
golf course is located.

Thank you again, and please feel free to reach out to me again if there is
anything you’d like to discuss.

Mike

Leon Gopon chat with Mike Terson on 4/23/2014

I had a 1.75 hour chat with Mike Terson yesterday (4/23/2014). The overall outcome was we both decided to agree to disagree.

Mike was proud to say that he was solidly in favor of building a downtown on the BG Golf Course and mainly had all good thoughts about the proposal. He did say it had to be a good plan and not be a strip mall. He wants it to be a “destination” for folks. They could come to downtown to walk around the streets/sidewalks, go to a movie, stop for ice cream and sit and take in the ambiance. It’s possible that the land left over from the downtown project could be used to hold some things like a driving range or other family activities. To save any part of the course (9 holes) would mean rebuilding the course from scratch and that’s very expensive. The current two courses are competing with each and both are losing money. The BG Golf Course has to have millions of dollars in repairs and upgrades (e.g., the watering system has to be completely replaced). Also Mike feels there are too many golf courses in the area and fewer golfers, which leads to a non-profit picture.

Mike bases some of his downtown support on the comments he gets from the “younger” families in BG. He says 17 of 20 tell him they want a downtown. He also says he is looking at improving the future of BG when he supports a downtown. Mike thinks SAVE BG is made up mainly of “Older” residents and our support lies in the immediate area of the Golf Course. I told when we looked at the locations of the online referendum petition signers we found hat there were noticeable locations well to the North and South in BG of people who signed the petition. I think he had us pegged as a group with limited expanse and age. He’s banking on the fact the the younger generation doesn’t remember any of the “old BG baggage”. We should be looking toward the future and not hanging on to the past.

When I presented an idea to Mike on not building on the Golf Course or I gave him some contrary viewpoints to his ideas on building the downtown on the Golf course, he said we can’t “not do” a project based on “what ifs’. He said the downtown plan had better be a good idea and plan or he wouldn’t approve it. When I mentioned that other developers may want to provide their proposals on a downtown, Mike said, the idea has been out there for almost two years and no other developers have come forward. I then asked if the Village would issue a call for proposals and he said probably not since the Village could wind up with a bunch of proposals that are widely different and too hard to evaluate.

Mike mentioned our idea of a referendum. He was quick to modify his stand on the referendum that was reported in the 3/15/2011 Patch.com article. In the applicable part of the quote in the Patch he said: “…residents say no to the idea through a referendum, then it isn’t a good idea.” He qualified that yesterday to mean a non-binding referendum (or just a polling of the residents). Mike also said that there could be many discussions and decisions on the downtown proposal done and made outside of an open meeting because land acquisition is one of three topics that are allowed to be worked outside of an open meeting. When I asked why we can’t get simple updates on what is happening he said when the time comes for the Village to make a decision on anything it’ll be done in an open meeting. Sort of when you need to know something, we’ll tell you then and you’ll have a chance to say something.

Mike made some strong comments about SAVE BG. He has hard feelings based on the name and how the organization was formed. SAVE BG to him is name that means BG is going down the drain and needs to be rescued. He also noted that holding a SAVE BG sign up during BG Days bothered him. His feeling is SAVE BG is a group on the outside and the Village leaders won’t accommodate it. If we want to help on the economic development committee we have to not be a member of SAVE BG. Mike is the Trustee liaison with the Village’s economic development activity. I mentioned to him that we expected to see some economic development activity by now and we wanted to provide at least one volunteer to help.

Mike said he was just an ordinary guy and when he wanted to be involved in an issue, he got the”experts” to provide information to him. He quoted several stats to me regarding BG’s lack in providing retail and other services to residents and how much sales tax we were losing each year (several millions) when residents go outside of BG to shop. He also said that even with a TIF the Village would make money because of all the sales tax. Since the BG Golf Course is tax exempt, the TIF will be a wash. When I mentioned we could wind up running candidates for the Board to unseat pro downtown members, he said he had no problem with losing his seat. He would just go back to being an “ordinary guy”.

With all of this, Mike still kept the door open for future meetings if I wanted any.

Leon

Save BG member response to Village replies to 7 reasons not to develop BG Golf Course

I find it curious that the village board and village manager keep citing the “privately owned” as a reason why this development will be better than other developments the village don’t own. But the proposal is to SELL the PUBLIC property to a PRIVATE owner. The village will be in the exact same situation as they are now with the car dealerships. If Mr. Malk changes his mind on what he wants to do, goes bankrupt, or even dies we could be in the same situation as with the Bob Rohrman property.
Secondly, he cites property and sales tax revenue as his primary reason for supporting this development. He states “we must find ways to increase revenue; that is a fact.” No that is an opinion. There are plenty of ways to cut costs without sacrificing core government services. The Village of Buffalo Grove has recorded an all-time record high amount of revenue in the most recent fiscal year (2012). They are significantly raising water & sewer rates over the next few years that should net them an additional $3M per year when the rate hikes are completely phased in. They are raising fees left and right too. Meanwhile, while they are raising rates on all of us they are proposing a massive special property tax cut for Mr. Malk in the form of a TIF district. Also, if they form a TIF district in this area because the current EAV is $0, up to 100% of the property tax revenue will stay in the TIF district for 23 years. It can’t be used by the village for other things such as police, fire and public works outside of the TIF district.

Brian Costin

Trustee Terson response to 7 reasons for not developing BG Golf Course

Dear Mrs. Hesse,

I see that Mr. Bragg sent you a response, so I won’t repeat what he said, but rather, I’ll only comment on my own personal opinions on some points you raised.

I respectfully disagree with your opinion that “A primary MUNICIPAL FUNCTION is to provide for PARKS and RECREATION – just like streets, utilities, water, sewer lines, fire, police, and emergency medical services.” In my opinion, that is the role of the Park District, not the Village. However, in this instance, I believe that the golf course on Lake-Cook Road was built before the Park District was formed. That being said, we have since built a second golf course; and, the region has many golf courses – arguably too many, which is why it is difficult for them to be profitable. I also feel that putting a golf course, parks and office buildings (that don’t generate sales tax) along the busiest road in our town was poor planning. Had this town’s leaders back then gotten it right the first time, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

As for the car dealerships and other properties… The problem is that those properties are privately owned. Mr. Rohrman has had numerous offers on his properties and has refused to sell them. I would love to see those properties turned into something; however, the Village does not own them, therefore, we cannot make that happen. As for Plaza Verde and other strip centers, I hope their owners decide to update their properties and make them more appealing to retailers. However, the Village doesn’t control that either. That being said, even if all of the strip centers filled, it doesn’t solve our revenue problem. A modern downtown will not only bring in property tax that was never collected (as Mr. Bragg said, that land is currently tax exempt); but, it will also bring in a significant amount of sales tax revenue.

Contrary to your concern about increased crime associated with people and malls, as I have told you previously, I am of the opinion that a modern downtown will be a significant quality of life improvement for our Village and its residents. With the exception of our beautiful parks and the special events that the Park District hosts in the warm weather months, our community lacks a natural gathering place where people can shop, dine, walk around and enjoy each other’s company. A new downtown will provide outdoor dining, concerts in the park, and other amenities that we currently lack in all of our retail districts.

It takes revenue to make a town run. Unless the taxpayers in Buffalo Grove want higher property taxes (of which I have not heard of one person in favor of that), we must find ways to increase revenue; that is a fact. Aside from the revenue issue, I am of the opinion that a downtown Buffalo Grove will not only make our community better and more desirable for people to move here; it will bring in revenue from people who don’t live here (people who come here to shop), and it will increase property values, especially in the neighborhood in which you and I both live.

As always, thank you for sharing your comments and concerns. I hope that as facts pertaining to flood mitigation and the overall build-ability of the land come in, and this project hopefully progresses, you will see the benefits of it.

Kind regards,
Mike Terson

Village Manager reply to 7 reasons to not develop the BG Golf Course

Good Morning Mrs. Hesse –

Thank you for your email. While I will refrain from answering any of your inquiries that involve policy-level decisions of the Village Board, I would like to offer some background on certain items mentioned in your correspondence.

In terms of disposal of the property, the Village has acquired the property under its home rule authority and could potentially sell or lease the property in the same manner. That is not to say that a referendum is precluded, however, it would have no binding effect.

In terms of floodplain modifications, the water retention requirements are unknown at this time, should modifications be made to the existing floodplain. Further study by Christoper B. Burke & Associates will provide more guidance to the Village on this aspect of any future development potential.

Any floodplain modification requires a capacity enhancement for existing floodplain storage. Thus, a modification has the potential to improve downstream flooding concerns, rather than create additional problems.

The funds for the study were allocated within the 2014 budget. The Village Board approved the contract and appropriation for the study, in addition to the budget. No employees were furloughed to pay for this study.

As for future phases, the outcome of this phase must be known before additional studies or plans are developed.

The existing property is all tax-exempt. If the Village moves forward with any development, there is only a net increase in revenue to be gained. There is no way to lose revenue that isn’t currently generated. A TIF district’s life span is 23 years under state law, but may be retired sooner than that.

As to your comment pertaining to the Village and bankruptcy, is it your belief that the Village of Buffalo Grove should continue to subsidize the operation of the course regardless of the cost? Are you willing to pay increased property taxes to not only operate the course but also underwrite the improvements that are needed in the next 5-10 years?

Thanks –
Dane
Dane C. Bragg, Village Manager
Village of Buffalo Grove

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