Niles Is No Longer A Monarchy
Niles has to become a representative democracy. It's time to bring village government into the 21st century. A Letter to the Editor from Niles Village Trustee Louella Preston.
The following Letter to the Editor states the opinions of the author. Patch is serving as a platform for writers to express their views.
Friends and supporters have asked me to make a response to the hopelessly weak and offensive claims about my civic commitments. What is so surprising to all is that some of the people who level these ludicrous protests are the same people who campaigned and voted for me in many past elections. What their motives for dissing me now are best known to them and to God.
These critics assert that I have been in office longer than most trustees in Illinois and pretend they are amazed that I am seeking office again while supporting term limits. They offer no similar criticism against Blase (47 years as mayor), Callero (18 years in elected office) or Andrew Przybylo (24 years as a trustee). Forget those facts, just GET PRESTON! I have served as a Niles Trustee for 28 years and I am proud of my service and contributions to our village.
The administration in the 1980s accepted my service not for my ideas and contributions but because I was to be the “token woman” on the board. I have been the only woman on the board for more than 20 of those 28 years. I bit my lip and served. I would not have been able to do so had I declined. To effect change a person has to be in a position to be there. Over the years I felt it was necessary to have that kind of presence on the Board so I sought reelection. The voters looked at my record and liked what they saw.
At no time was I ever a member of any “inner circle” that ruled the village. I was never involved in “secret negotiations” or “deals” which were rumored or known to have taken place. While others declined being the village’s representative to other quasi-governmental bodies, I gladly accepted the challenge to do so. Serving on two such groups before the Blase disgrace, my presence was increased to five after he was gone. We needed someone to be on these boards and I again accepted the challenge. Being an attorney helped me to understand and to sort out problems. My presence brought benefits to Niles. It was very satisfying, both personally and civically. I have no regrets.
The critics claim that my purse is overflowing with bundles and bundles of dollars taken from all these sources. Wrong. No off-shore bank accounts either! Just as in church groups, non-profit organizations and other public- spirited bodies, active officers and participants are granted stipends to cover expenditures like gasoline, out-of-town expenses and so forth. There is nothing that is either illegal or immoral in getting those stipends. The Blase/Callero/Przybylo Dynasty had never to my knowledge turned down the same. Again…GET PRESTON!
I chose to run for reelection with the Responsible Leadership for Niles Team because it would be the first time I could seek office in partnership with truly independent and focused individuals, including my friend Mary Marusek. Chris Hanusiak (for Mayor) and Jim Hynes (for Trustee) joined with me and other trustees to bring Niles governance into the twenty-first century, a place which could be known as a representative democracy, not as some archaic, languishing kingdom of one monarch after another, each anxiously awaiting “his turn.”
My support for term limits is unequivocal. It can’t be simpler than that. If it immediately affects me, so be it. I have never walked away from a fight or left a Village Board meeting like Przybylo did, when he stormed out of the meeting on September 20, 2011. I am not going to do so now. We expect that the Responsible Leadership for Niles Team will be elected in April and that we will be able to begin the long-needed turnaround of our village. I consider myself a very lucky person—I have a loving husband who encourages and supports me, fellow candidates who exemplify the best in honesty and integrity, a great place to get things done, and the vim and vigor to take on the challenges ahead.
Louella Blaine Preston
Trustee, Village of Niles