Elk Grove Village board moves to block another referendum from opponents

  • Opponents of a term limits proposal in Elk Grove Village rallied in February against the measure. On Tuesday, village trustees added three new referendums to the November ballot in a move that effectively blocks another term limits question this fall.

    Opponents of a term limits proposal in Elk Grove Village rallied in February against the measure. On Tuesday, village trustees added three new referendums to the November ballot in a move that effectively blocks another term limits question this fall. Daily Herald File Photo, February 2020

  • The Elk Grove Village board includes, back row from left, Trustee Jeffrey C. Franke, Trustee Stephen F. Schmidt, Trustee Sam L. Lissner, Trustee Patton L. Feichter, and front row from left, Trustee Nancy J. Czarnik, Mayor Craig B. Johnson and Trustee Christine K. Prochno.

    The Elk Grove Village board includes, back row from left, Trustee Jeffrey C. Franke, Trustee Stephen F. Schmidt, Trustee Sam L. Lissner, Trustee Patton L. Feichter, and front row from left, Trustee Nancy J. Czarnik, Mayor Craig B. Johnson and Trustee Christine K. Prochno. Courtesy of Elk Grove Village

 
 
Updated 3/11/2020 4:33 PM

Less than two weeks after the state Supreme Court struck down an Elk Grove Village term limits referendum, the village board has placed three advisory questions on the November ballot to block a similar measure from political opponents this fall.

Mayor Craig Johnson denied that the three advisory questions were an attempt to prevent any citizen-led referendum petition drive. Under state law, a unit of government can place up to three questions on the ballot and not leave space for any other referendums.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But the mayor said he thinks his opponents -- including those behind the flurry of anonymous robocalls and mailers that hit the village since last summer -- may not be done.

That's because eight hours after the Feb. 26 Supreme Court decision was announced, the village received another Freedom of Information Act request from a group doing opposition research into Johnson. The next day, the village received a records request related to a 2010 vehicle crash in which the mayor's son left the scene.

The village received similar records requests from law firms and others that were used to fuel dozens of campaign calls and flyers in recent months, but those have stopped since the court tossed the term limits question from the ballot.

"To be (seeking those records) after the Supreme Court decision indicates they may want to continue with their political campaign," Johnson said. "My prayers are we don't hear from them, they do go away, and let Elk Grove be the little utopia we know we are."

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The latest advisory questions, which will be on the Nov. 3 general election ballot, will ask Elk Grove voters whether the village should limit the number of video gambling locations in town, whether recreational marijuana sales should be permitted, and if all residents should be charged an increased rate for unlimited yard waste collection in lieu of yard waste stickers.

Johnson opponent Tim Burns' original March 17 ballot question would have asked voters whether the mayor and trustees should be able to serve no more than two consecutive 4-year terms. If approved, it would have barred Johnson and three village trustees from running for reelection in 2021.

While that precise question wouldn't pass legal muster, it's not to say a different one challenging Johnson's power might have a different outcome.

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