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Voters Overturn Caucus Endorsement

Town meeting backs Farkas, Oppenheim and Struthers for Village Board slate. Rosenthal, unopposed, gets nod for mayor.

Voters at Deerfield’s 29th biennial Town Meeting voted to back two of the Deerfield Village Caucus’s choices for the Board of Trustees in the April 9 election and overturn a third selection Tuesday at Caruso Middle School.

Mayor Harriet Rosenthal was the only mayoral hopeful to submit to the caucus process. She got the necessary votes to earn the support of the Caucus. That choice was ratified by the voters Tuesday.

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, a member of the Planning Commission. Trustee Mary Oppenheim and Planning Commissioner Jim Moyer were not backed.

The Town meeting is the opportunity for any interested Deerfield voter to hear a three-minute statement from each candidate who was interviewed by the Caucus as well as get answers to questions asked from the floor. They then vote on the slate which will be the Caucus backed party in April.

After 163 registered Deerfield voters at the meeting heard from Moyer, Oppenheim, Farkas and Struthers as well as a statement from Nadler who was out of town on business, they picked Struthers, Oppenheim and Farkas.

“I did my best to present my ideas,” Oppenheim said after the meeting. “I did my best to say what my ideas are (for Deerfield) and it is meaningful to me the voters reaffirmed their faith in me.”

At one point, it appeared some incumbents were working together. When the candidates were all asked what they would do to work with neighboring communities, Farkas talked about joint buying efforts to reduce costs and then mentioned Oppenheim’s work with the Illinois Municipal League.

After Moyer responded it was Oppenheim’s turn. “I do participate in the Illinois Municipal League,” she said. “We lobby on state and national issue to get support for municipalities.”

Farkas said after the meeting he was not showing support but pointing out the value of the experience a person gains serving on the Board. “I was trying to make sure people understood the value of having served,” he said.

Though Rosenthal’s backing was all but assured, she still expressed relief when the results were announced. “I had to have one vote,” she said. “I’m glad to have the backing of the Caucus. I am a firm believer in the process.” After one term as mayor and six on the Board, she is no newcomer to the process.

Rosenthal along with Farkas, Oppenheim and Struthers will make up the party slate and must file nominating petitions along with anyone else wishing to run for mayor or trustee by 5 p.m. Dec. 26.

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Jon Hall December 05, 2012 at 01:24 PM
My question to the candidates didn't make the cut. It was to the effect: How can tacky looking yard signs advertising "Singles? Deerfielddates.com" be allowed to stand for days on the SE corner of Robert York and Jewett Park in light of our village's ARC gestapo and the recent embarrassment the board just heaped on itself and Carson's. The signs are trashy, and village officials and police have driven past them for days. What gives? As long as only 150 or so special interest residents show for the caucus farce, the village will be saddled with backwards day forever.
barry December 05, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Was amazed at the way everyone touted "real estate experience, both commercial and residential and all the progress" that has been experienced with their tenure. Struthers was candid and realistic about her accomplishments. She did not make it sound like her tenure has come close to ending the retail diaspora here in Deer field. Instead she focused on the very real impact she has made regarding water, trashed, recycling and other issues. I was amazed that with so many on the board with a professional background in commercial real estate, we are not drawing quality retail for tax relief. Moran was the only one that had a plan. To a actually hire someone to lead the effort to get quality retailers to look at Deer field and form a committee from within the community to assist. The incumbant "secret plan that cannot be revealed" ....? Hello? Hey People!!!! If its a Portillo's, and ONLY a Portillo's I'm not impressed. I guess after 6 years since the crash something finally is better than nothing. And that's 20 pounds I'll never lose!!!
Bringin' Down Briarwood December 05, 2012 at 04:46 PM
With aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the retail issues in the village, the guy with 27 years in the shopping center/mall industry doesn't get the caucus vote? What's wrong with these people? Can any impartial readers give me an overview of the demographic of the attendees?
DeerfieldResident December 05, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Why are we even discussing hiring someone to grow retail business in Deerfield? That should have been done by now! Not some overpriced consultant, but a qualified Village employee. And, of course, let's use the expertise of our residents. Let's form a committee. Let's examine best practices in this area and get moving. Drove by Deerbrook yesterday...what a sad wasteland.
Walter White December 05, 2012 at 05:09 PM
I know. It seems nuts doesn't it?
barry December 05, 2012 at 05:56 PM
....I meant JOHN MOYER in my comment above. ...APOLOGIES TO ALL.
barry December 05, 2012 at 06:11 PM
To DeerfieldResident: You are correct, I was not clear. MOYER [glad I corrected it] did not go so far and say it, but 9 out of 10 people in the room were thinking the same thing. Whey are we talking about doing something NOW after so many years? MOYER was the only one with a plan. He is a challenger, not incumbant. I did not get the impression he was talking about a "high priced consultant", but instead someone within the community that could "think, organize and implement" a plan to get top tier anchors to LOOK at Deerfield leading a committee of volunteers. At least that was the impression I was left with. One incumbant I spoke to afterwards had no interest in discussion on the mere subject of vacancies....and he was one of the several who touted a background in real estate. Demographic? Over half came over from Patti Turner, 20% over with high school kids and the balance family of incumbents and concerned residents under with grammar school to middle school kids. How's that for tact and diplomacy?.
Jon Hall December 05, 2012 at 07:50 PM
165 people is all they require to muster into this "democratic" process. That's including caucus party members, a smattering of village and other local board and board-appointed commission members, plus some of Mary's best friends. The caucus system is not exactly inclusive or innovative. The numbers attest, it's a small semi-public special interest group established to protect incumbents.
Walter White December 05, 2012 at 08:01 PM
I don't really know what the caucuses represent but I do know that there is no guarantee that they are a representative cross-section of the community. That's why, in the era of 24/7 media, we need more candidate forums. The Patch should request questions from the community and pose them to the candidates. Publish the answers. Any serious candidate should welcome the chance to get their message out.
Jon Hall December 05, 2012 at 08:06 PM
The answer to my question is .... those offensive "Singles" signs were removed by 10 AM today. Can we attribute this embarrassment to the existence of Patch comments? OK then, let's go one step further with the Appearance Review gestapo, and see we can finally have the rather large "Chris Kennedy" campaign signs removed from the yard fence on the SW corner of the Deerfield and Wilmot intersection. What good are standards and ordinances when the enforcing body is not up to the task of meeting its own standards in a responsible way. Can we look forward to having the offenders hauled before the high commission as were Carsons...for public flogging and some insincere "good luck in the future" comments as a send-off.
Jon Hall December 05, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Patch is really part of the problem if you stop to think about it. The turnout was pathetic, only what was necessary to perpetuate the incumbents. The caucus process is not broad-based or transparent. King Bernie manipulated it for years and established a legacy of low-turnout as a means to protect his dynasty from outsiders.
Walter White December 05, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Maybe but caucus endorsement doesn't mean you win the election. I urge Mr. Nadler to continue to push his agenda of bringing retail and business back to Deerfield. People will listen.
Jon Hall December 05, 2012 at 08:41 PM
The voting public at large is not aware that most of the names that they see on the ballot in April were decided by 165 local insiders and friends at a private club meeting in December (Didn't it used to be in January?) The voters show up and vote for what's in the ballot in front of them in April. Let's request the Patch editor to inquire; was the petition signature count of 165 (or less) enough to meet election regulation and ballot requirements for the mayor and trustees?
Ironic Reader December 05, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Vote totals just got put up on the caucus website. Nadler only missed by 3 votes. Demographics: mostly older, but a surprising (to me, at least) number of middle-aged types. No one's ever going to call this a youth movement, but it was less skewed age-wise than I expected.
Ironic Reader December 05, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Dude, I don't recall anyone turning me away last night for not knowing the secret password. Looked pretty open to me. Maybe you ought to be asking why people aren't showing up in the first place.
Bringin' Down Briarwood December 05, 2012 at 10:23 PM
I drove by Deerbrook today. Interesting little sign about a public meeting about "this property." Anybody with any knowledge?
Bringin' Down Briarwood December 05, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Thanks for the demo info, Barry. You too, Ironic. Leaves me a little more hopeful that there was some inkling of a representative group. Please also name names of the incumbant who didn;t want to talk about the vacancies. Maybe you might want to put a little more detail around the conversation also because my first thought is I don;t want to vote for anyone who doesn;t want to talk about the number one issue of the village with constituents.
Bringin' Down Briarwood December 05, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Ironic, I somewhat agree with Jon's assessment. Eric Hogberg, chair of Caucus Advisory, has rightfully slapped me down a couple times for calling this a backroom process. In some cases, he was right to smack me. However in the end, I think these guys do the bare minimum to make this a public process that is widely-known and understood. I see one - and only one - reference to the town meeting date on their web site, and that was first posted two weeks before the meeting. If I'm correct, the date is known far in advance because of the state board of election mandate. And as for attempts to make this meeting widely known - let's put it this way: do you see more signs for the caucus of for little league baseball registration? Eric, I think you should make it a goal to have most of the businesses in this town have a small campaign-style sign about the next caucus. And if the cost is an issue, I'm sure a $100 donation from all candidates can easily cover the cost.
Bringin' Down Briarwood December 05, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Here's the second nomination for the Patch to act as the community advocate in some type of online chat/ or messgae board town meeting. Could be easily moderated.
Jon Hall December 05, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Hey Mr. Bringin Down Briarwood Where were you last night. My memory has not become so atrophied that I didn't recall your fiery words here on Patch just a few weeks ago.... "REALLY??!?! And I wonder why the group has so much trouble attracting business. I'm with Walter. The next location election will be my first as a resident for any length of time, and I'm going to be looking at alternatives VERY closely." Put up and show up.
Tyler Durden December 06, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Barry - I assume you are referring to your conversation with Trustee Farkas, soon after he came off the stage because he's the only real estate broker other than Nadler. I was standing right next to you. He didn't lack interest in the vacancies - he was exhausted and you were talking 100 m.p.h. about yourself. JIM Moyer is a good guy, but he'll tell you straight up he doesn't have much of a plan other than "lets get some help." Farkas said that and more - he touted a comprehensive marketing plan. You're entitled to your opinion, but please be clear about what took place for those that weren't there.
Tyler Durden December 06, 2012 at 01:03 AM
PEOPLE - few things to keep in mind: 1) The board and the town put a lot of time and faith into Wonder. Had that worked out, it would have driven other business and retail to Deerbrook. 2) Not too much time passed subsequent to the Wonder implosion before the Board began working with Deerbrook on a redevelopment plan. Whatever came out of that would likely be underway now if it weren't for the Supervalu bk. 3) The caucus town hall was the subject of articles and comments here in patch, an article in the Deerfield Review, and a prominent posting on the caucus website. Those of us that have lived here for at least 2 years know that's part of the process. The people that are on the caucus and the people that are writing these pieces are not the ones to blame for low voter turn-out - look in the mirror and look around your neighborhood. People aren't staying home because they lack information. 4) How about some appreciation for the people that volunteer their time to keep our town running. Not one of them is motivated by anything other than their concern for our town as far as I can tell. 5) Clucking to each other on patch accomplishes NOTHING. All of the trustees' email addresses and phone numbers are available to you. All of the board meetings are open to the public. If you have something productive to share, what is stopping you? How about lending YOUR TIME to actually DO SOMETHING?! I have yet to encounter any trustee that wasn't open to honest, well intentioned input.
Jon Hall December 06, 2012 at 04:12 AM
As for point number one, who in their right mind would look at the size of that space and believe that a retail startup facing overhead of that magnitude during a quantum shift to eCommerce (during a recession) had any chance at all to succeed on the heals of Sears failing with the same space and a gad zillion more in resources. Pretty lame for them to have deluded themselves into thinking anything else would be the outcome.
Bringin' Down Briarwood December 06, 2012 at 07:18 AM
2) Thank goodness that plan is not on its way. I want an investment more than most, but the developer needs to take most of the risk - not the village. And the trustees looked completely outclassed in those one or two meetings. 3) Do you really expect people to be informed based on two articles in poorly-read publications (Sorry, Steve)? I've seen business meetings involving 20 people that have FARRRRRRR more reminders. Listen, I appreciate that there's some time involved with this. But this is a marketing campaign like anything else. You need to inform and convince if you want to do it right within the confines of modern crowded schedules and all the information going back and forth across our various screens. I like your line about looking in the mirror. All of us need to do it including me as the resident big mouth. I hope the caucus will also because there has to be some realization that drawing something in the ballpark of 2-5 percent of voters does not make for the most democratic process - that's what we're about, right? If the caucus went all out and drew the same numbers, then I'd be the first to applaud. But to place three notifications two weeks before, then justify poor participation with "its open to the public" doesn't seem very kosher when the purpose is to influence voters.
Bringin' Down Briarwood December 06, 2012 at 07:27 AM
One more question/statement for the more experienced residents. Please don't tell me this generally means Rosenthal will run unopposed. Historically, have any quality mayoral candidates not been involved in the caucus?
Jon Hall December 06, 2012 at 01:23 PM
I seem to vaguely recall a nice intelligent fellow, the late Jesse Rotman, but not the details. Here's the way it's pretty consistently turned out during the 30 + years I've lived here. The caucus party controls the candidate selection. The mayor and trustees appoint citizens to commissions and committees which serve the board. Appointees are carefully screened prior to being chosen. The commissions are a vote patronage system, most caucus nominees graduated from a committee, frequently the planning commission. Guess how the caucus members are recruited? Harriett will run unopposed until she stays one term too long, Then be on the lookout for the Farkas dynasty. They do a good job. The trash gets picked up. The streets get plowed. They're just historically insensitive and stupid when it comes to creating a warm business climate.
barry December 06, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Tyler Durden....you are completly off base and wrong. And instead of skulking around reporting what you think you are hearing at least get it right. Mr. Farkas was NOT whom I was referring to as we spoke to several of the candidates.
Jon Hall December 06, 2012 at 01:50 PM
The spirit of the Carson's sign puts the village staff in the line of fire from the local businesses who - for a fee - depend on village vital serves It's a bad buzz and makes no business sense. Vacant buildings with no signs (or broken signs like Wildfire) are a blight subsidized by residential property tax.
Tyler Durden December 06, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Sorry, Barry. Maybe I'm missing something - who has real estate experience other than Nadler and Farkas?

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