Friday, July 15, 2011

"They had my back up against a wall..."

It's been a busy summer in Highland Park.  Between work and the week without electricity (spread between three outages in June and July), there has been precious little time to keep up with the blog.  Still, the community outreach continues.

Last week we wrote to the first series of residents coerced into paying for the unnecessary "repairs" to their lateral sanitary sewer line. This week we began to hear from them.  To a person, each one has said that they paid for these "repairs" because they were forced to do so by the City.  Some even used the word “threatened.” No one knew the reason for why the repairs were required - all had asked the City.  Some people specifically referred to poor treatment received from David Limardi's office and Mary Anderson, director of Public Works. Some highlights of what some said:

“Your note reminded me that I had explicitly asked for information on what was the nature of the defect, why the video results necessitated the work done, etc., etc. I was pretty much ignored and upon threats of greater charges I selected the payment option.”

“Hopefully the new Mayor will be more responsive.”

“What could I do?  They had my back up against the wall.  I was selling the house and they were demanding payment. I had to pay.”

“Ravinia wasn’t the only neighborhood that protested.  We protested in the Highlands.  We had meetings in our homes…we even had a lawyer who joined us.  And we met with the City. No matter what we said, they didn’t listen!”

“Over the past three years, I’ve called the City to find out the status of this program.  They tell me it is on vacation because the economy is bad.  Well, the economy was bad three years ago to, but they made me pay.  Why should I pay when no one else has to?”

Really.  Quite a sad story.  Welcome to Highland Park.  The place where City Manager David Limardi ignores your questions and complaints and, worse, yet, threatens you with liens and higher payments for the same service. 

And, one more thing.  We were quite shocked to learn that there was a group of residents in the Highlands who protested the Sewer Program before Ravinia did. Hadn't heard this before.  Also, as readers may recall, we requested documents from the City of Highland Park pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act demand concerning any correspondence from the residents about the Sewer Program.  Did the City improperly withhold information?  We’ll have to explore that question together.

No comments: