Longmeadow foes might take heart from Tuesday election results in Kane County
It's not close to November, but Tuesday's elections already ensured major changes in the dynamic of the Kane County Board.
The defeat of board member Joe Haimann in District 24 leaves two Longmeadow Parkway opponents vying for the seat in November. Democrat Jarett Sanchez and Republican Roben Hall both have promised to be the first "no" votes on any issues that move forward the $135 million road extension and Fox River toll bridge.
With construction breaking ground this spring, some of that momentum will begin before Sanchez or Hall get a chance to sway the remaining 23 county board members. Also, 8,641 Dundee Township voters cast ballots Tuesday opposing the project, while 3,337 supported it. That alone is fueling opponents to say they have more standing on the issue.
"That's a little more than the 100 (people) Algonquin (Village) President John Schmitt claimed opposed it," parkway opponent Leah Ciffone Cosentino posted on Facebook. "Hopefully now residents will be listened to and respected."
In defeat, Haimann said he listened, but he just didn't agree that the parkway will be a bad project. He compared it to Red Gate Bridge in St. Charles, which at one time received a fair amount of criticism from city residents living near the bridge site.
"The Longmeadow Parkway is going to be better than the Red Gate Bridge," Haimann said. "People were against that, and now they love it. Right now, we have one stinking bridge in Carpentersville that is two lanes and is backed up every night. I think a lot of people who voted in that referendum don't understand what they voted for. I already asked Chairman (Chris) Lauzen if I can still be invited to the ribbon cutting. I want to be the first person who crosses that bridge."
Lauzen said Haimann's defeat is a big blow to the cordial working relationship among board members.
"You don't often find people that are that especially effective in working with others," Lauzen said. "His loss just breaks my heart. I'm not sure what people were trying to accomplish with that vote last night. I guess whatever it was, it got done."
On a similar note, Lauzen bemoaned the loss of Democrat Brian Pollock in the District 4 race. Pollock represents Lauzen's home district. He credited Pollock with saving the county as much as $3 million through his personal lobbying efforts with state lawmakers as chairman of the board's legislative committee.
"People don't do a better job than Brian Pollock has done," Lauzen said. "But I guess I shouldn't wax too enthusiastically about him because people use it as something bad against him."
Pollock said he didn't believe Lauzen's supportive comments during the race hurt him, or at least he didn't want to believe that was true.
"I thought people would look at accomplishments, and we're supposed to focus on those things," Pollock said. "Obviously, the voters thought different."
Pollock said with only 10 Democrats on the board compared to 14 Republicans and a GOP chairman, there's no way a Democrat can accomplish anything on the board without working across the aisle.