Vole 'happy to have life back' after Helmer upset
After an acrimonious campaign it looks like mayor-elect Nicholas "Nick" Helmer will have solid support on the Prospect Heights City Council.
But one thing the city will be short of is money, pointed out his defeated opponent, Mayor Dolores "Dolly" Vole.
Economic development, police protection and fixing city streets are mayor-elect Helmer's priorities for Prospect Heights, he said Monday night.
With all 13 precincts reporting, Helmer has 1,659 votes to 708 for Vole, who beat Helmer two years ago. All results are considered unofficial until they are canvassed. As well, the write-in votes for a third candidate, Kurt U. Giehler, will not be known for about two weeks.
Helmer said he will work with landlords to fill vacant commercial buildings so the city can get more sales tax income.
"We need an economic incentive plan, not waiting for someone to walk in but going out and getting deals. We've got to make something happen," he said.
While Helmer said he has a plan for the police department, which laid off six officers last fall, he will work with the police commission and the new chief.
Vole said she wishes Helmer good luck running the city, but added she's skeptical he can make good on his promises.
"Prospect Heights is a wonderful city but it's without any funds," she said.
City voters also rejected two referendums that would have provided more money.
Helmer said the sales tax increase of one-half cent would have helped the city's bottom line. While he supported the $5.5 million in bonds to pay the deficit in the city's police pension fund, he thinks it is fine that the city budgets $400,000 annually toward that deficit, a move he credits Vole for.
Helmer's allies on the five-member city council will include John Styler, unopposed for re-election in Ward 2, an outspoken supporter, as is Patrick J. Ludvigsen, the only name on the ballot in Ward 4. Robert "Scott" Williamson, unopposed in Ward 3, and Luis Mendez, who defeated incumbent Richard Hamen 119 to 45 in Ward 1, were also included when Helmer held meet-the-candidate sessions.
In the other contested race, Patrick Ludvigsen garnered 627 votes for Ward 4. The incumbent, Alderman Gerald T. Anderson, ran as a write-in candidate and write-in votes will not be known for about two weeks.
Vole is angry that three mass mailings that supported her apparently vanished at the eleventh hour from the post office and were never delivered. She refers to those mailings as "stolen," and complained that her campaign signs were defaced.
"People think a person is not making an effort," she said, adding she put a lot of effort into this campaign and especially into running the city over the past two years.
She says Helmer's supporters lied about her, claiming she "fired" police officers (the six who were laid off) for personal reasons. She says her plan to have employees take unpaid furlough time was designed to save jobs.
A charge that she lost funds was wrong, too, and her position on lake water for the city was presented both ways, said Vole.
"If that's the type of leader people want, they have it," she said.
Helmer disputed Vole's contention that his campaign lied about her.
"Walk on the streets, talk to our police department and see our economic development is nonexistent," he said.
"I've got my life back," said Vole. "I'm going to put my time into my business and my family that I've neglected for two years serving the citizens of Prospect Heights."
Cook County Clerk officials said they will not know individual vote totals for write-in candidates Wednesday, but said the total number of write-in ballots cast will be posted by noon.