Mayor, residents decry former Arlington Heights candidate's Facebook post

  • Arlington Heights residents showed up to the village board meeting Monday night -- many of them to voice their opposition to a social media post by former village board candidate Joe Favia.

    Arlington Heights residents showed up to the village board meeting Monday night -- many of them to voice their opposition to a social media post by former village board candidate Joe Favia. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Richard Baldino, front, and Mark Walker, write-in candidates for the village board, say their candidacies were triggered by Joe Favia's social media post. Favia withdrew from the race over the weekend.

    Richard Baldino, front, and Mark Walker, write-in candidates for the village board, say their candidacies were triggered by Joe Favia's social media post. Favia withdrew from the race over the weekend. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/7/2017 6:14 AM

The fallout from Arlington Heights dentist Joe Favia's decision to withdraw from the village board race came to the public square Monday night, with Mayor Tom Hayes and residents chiming in on the controversy at a village board meeting.

Favia, who was seeking a 4-year trustee term, decided Saturday to step down after a post of his on social media caused two write-in candidates to file to run in a race that had been uncontested.

 

He posted on his brother's Facebook page an internet meme picture from the Jan. 21 women's march in Washington, D.C., that included the message, "In one day, Trump got more fat women out walking, than Michelle Obama did in 8 years," with the message, "Hilarious!!!"

Favia told the Daily Herald last Wednesday that he respects women and the posting was meant to be humorous. Despite calls for him to step down, he initially said he wouldn't.

But Saturday he wrote on Facebook and in an email to the Daily Herald that he decided to withdraw after seeing his character "assassinated in public forum." He said he believes he became a target "because a few bullies on the playground are upset about the misunderstood events that allowed me to be on the ballot uncontested."

Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes on Monday night addressed the controversy surrounding one-time village board candidate Joe Favia.
Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes on Monday night addressed the controversy surrounding one-time village board candidate Joe Favia. - Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer
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During Monday's village board meeting, Hayes said he found Favia's social media post to be "offensive and inappropriate for anyone to make, let alone someone intending to serve and represent the residents of Arlington Heights." But Hayes also said, "We all make mistakes."

"Ultimately, the court of public opinion is the appropriate forum for this debate, and Dr. Favia has and should speak for himself in his defense," said Hayes, who met with Favia on Saturday.

Five residents who spoke at Monday's board meeting condemned Favia's comments, while one resident criticized others for overly harsh treatment of Favia on social media. Favia didn't attend the meeting.

Arlington Heights resident Janet Meinheit speaks during the village board meeting Monday to voice her opposition to a Facebook post of former village board candidate Joe Favia.
Arlington Heights resident Janet Meinheit speaks during the village board meeting Monday to voice her opposition to a Facebook post of former village board candidate Joe Favia. - Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Others taking the podium were Richard Baldino and Mark Walker, who filed just before last Thursday's deadline as write-ins. They say their candidacies were triggered by Favia's social media posting.

As to questions of how Favia got on the ballot uncontested, Hayes said he had no part in and does not approve of any political maneuvering that may have occurred. Hayes said it was his desire to keep the current board together -- including incumbents Bert Rosenberg, Tom Glasgow, Jim Tinaglia and Joe Farwell, whose terms are up this spring.

Several people had considered running but didn't, believing all four incumbents were seeking re-election to four available seats on the board. Tom Schwingbeck, who ran and lost in 2015, said Monday that he mulled a run again but didn't like his chances against the incumbents.

Farwell, a 16-year incumbent, decided last minute not to file his candidate petitions, leading to criticism from some in the community that his decision was timed to aid Favia. Both Farwell and Favia have denied that in interviews with the Daily Herald.

While Hayes said there was nothing preventing anyone else from running, "Let me be clear, however, that any effort to take the process out of the voter's hands and engineer a specific result is wrong and not in keeping with our reputation for open and honest government."

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