Elk Grove Village term limits opponents mobilize, backers get national endorsement

  • Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson, rear in plaid shirt, shakes hands with a supporter as he and his allies hosted a gathering at Real Time Sports Bar and Grill for a committee against a March 17 ballot question seeking term limits for the town's elected officials.

      Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson, rear in plaid shirt, shakes hands with a supporter as he and his allies hosted a gathering at Real Time Sports Bar and Grill for a committee against a March 17 ballot question seeking term limits for the town's elected officials. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

  • This is a digital billboard truck parked Saturday afternoon off Nerge Road promoting a "yes" vote on March 17 for term limits for Elk Grove Village's elected officials. Mayor Craig Johnson and his allies hosted a gathering at nearby Real Time Sports Bar and Grill for a committee against term limits.

      This is a digital billboard truck parked Saturday afternoon off Nerge Road promoting a "yes" vote on March 17 for term limits for Elk Grove Village's elected officials. Mayor Craig Johnson and his allies hosted a gathering at nearby Real Time Sports Bar and Grill for a committee against term limits. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/1/2020 9:29 PM

Real Time Sports Bar and Grill in Elk Grove Village wasn't just about beer, pub grub and college basketball games on television Saturday afternoon.

Mayor Craig Johnson and his allies hosted a gathering there for a committee mounting a campaign against a March 17 ballot question seeking term limits for Elk Grove Village's elected officials.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

At least 60 early-arriving residents noshed on pizza and collected yard signs and other materials from the Committee to Oppose the Retroactive Term Limits Referendum bankrolled by Johnson. The mayor expressed his appreciation soon after the three-hour event began in a private area of the sports bar.

"This is overwhelming," Johnson said. "I cannot thank you enough. You all care about the village like we do and a turnout like this to offer to help on a grass-roots effort -- we're truly running a grass-roots campaign here."

Voters will decide whether the mayor and village trustees should serve no more than two consecutive 4-year terms. If approved, the measure would be retroactive to 2017 and prevent four longtime village board incumbents -- including Johnson -- from running again in April 2021.

Robocalls, mailings and a digital billboard truck have been part of the effort urging Elk Grove Village voters to back the municipal term limits in the March 17 presidential primary election. The initiative was spurred by Concerned Citizens of Elk Grove Village.

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Along with touting a "yes" vote on term limits, the billboard truck parked Saturday off Nerge Road near Real Time Sports featured images of Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Text between the former and current president states: "They Both Agree. Vote For Term Limits."

Concerned Citizens Chairman Tim Burns said his group is excited to have just received an endorsement from U.S. Term Limits. He said Nick Tomboulides, executive director of the national organization, will assist in what he called a grass-roots push for term limits in Elk Grove Village.

"Nick has pledged his personal endorsement along with the full support of his powerful and nationally recognized organization," Burns said.

As part of a legal tussle, a Cook County judge last week ordered Elk Grove Village's clerk to certify the local term limits question, ensuring it will appear on the March 17 ballot. However, there is a forthcoming appeals process with two separate objections to the referendum potentially reaching the state Supreme Court.

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