Dang. That elephant in the room at the community center was ginormous!

The village-sponsored DIY seminar offered homeowners a multitude of solutions to their flooding problems. For two hours, vendors presented small, medium and large solutions: from incremental to no-guarantees complete, and from a few bucks to painfully/impossibly expensive investments. All are serious, useful products to evaluate if we intend to defend our properties against torrential rains the neglected sewer system cannot handle.

On the other hand, ahem, the mayor said our village’s combined sewer system cannot be dealt with “expeditiously” because $80 million is not sitting around the village’s coffers. This is getting boring, right? We all know about the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, we all know about Deep Tunnel and we all know we don’t have $80 million on hand. We all know this because we were told so after last year’s flooding. I doubt most homeowners have $3-$10K-plus sitting around, though.

We also know that neighboring towns have similar problems. True, but how many of them have no plan to address their flooding issues?

Muni’s all over Chicagoland are working expeditiously and publicly to craft short-, medium- and long-term solutions, and many started those discussions last year, or 30 years ago. Towns from Skokie to Elmhurst are exploring and implementing innovative measures that create incremental, but significant solutions that don’t cost a fortune – probably because they don’t have a fortune sitting around either.

Way back in July, I asked our elected officials (there are five of them) their thoughts on our flooding dilemma. The mayor didn’t respond but our four other board members agreed that, first, we need to have a serious public discussion about the failings of the sewer system, and likewise, the solutions to the problems, seeing as how there are many options to consider. Then, we need to craft a plan.

If it seems like I’m pointing my finger at the mayor, it’s because I am. And, here’s why: 1. Calderone is the only elected official (there are five) who is oddly stuck on an impossible Burkean solution, 2. Calderone controls who is allowed to speak publicly about flooding problems and solutions (See Mayor’s Office of Public Affairs), and 3. Calderone controls the village council agenda which has not addressed flooding in the three meetings since our latest flood. If one grabs all the power and uses up all the oxygen, then the buck stops … with that one.

“That’s what contractors are for” begs the question, “What is government for?” If not to maintain a working sewer system, I’d strongly suggest that their priorities and our tax dollars are pointed in the wrong direction. Homeowners characterized as moochers for expecting a properly working sewer system just won’t do.

Within days of our last flood we were tsk-tsk’d with “Blame won’t solve the problem!” and “No finger pointing!”¬† When preemptively scolded about blame, you can bet your sweet new generator that blame’s older and wiser counterparts, analysis and accountability, are getting tossed into the soggy dumpster.

The Small Print: Agreeing with any and all of the above does not make you a complainer or a community-destroyer; what’s more, you shouldn’t feel compelled to move to another town.