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When Proviso High School District 209 candidate Della Patterson saw a man sliding fliers under windshields of vehicles parked outside Rock of Ages Baptist Church in Maywood, where she attends services, on Sunday she asked him to pause.
“I said, ‘What are you passing out there?’ and he showed me this flier, tangled with District 89 material, that had a picture of me as a rat,” Patterson said.
“I said, ‘Take a look at my face and take a look at that picture, and you take me to where you got this from!'”
She said the man told her he was given $50 by a man he didn’t know to put the fliers on windshields in the church’s two parking lots.
“I cleared every car of that nonsense with two ladies who happened to come out of church and started helping me,” Patterson said.
The flier depicts Patterson and Kevin McDermott, two candidates in the Proviso Township High School District 209 school board race, as rats.
According to the flier itself, the piece was paid for by “The Orkin Man.” Along with the picture of the rats, it reads, “Let’s exterminate them today.”
At the time of the incident, former D209 school board President Chris Welch was inside the church, giving a talk to the congregation and asking them to vote for the Your Choice for Proviso slate of candidates for D209 school board. The Your Choice for Proviso slate is running against Patterson and McDermott.
According to a recent campaign finance disclosure filing, a campaign committee associated with Welch paid for printing for the slate’s campaign lawn signs.
When asked about the flier, Welch texted Monday, “I heard about it from someone who received it.”
“I guess it was funny,” McDermott said, “But the ‘let’s exterminate them’ part is kind of emotional. Who knows how people are going to interpret that?
“I told Kevin, at least I’m the black rat and you’re the white rat,” Patterson said, laughing. The flier also alleges that Patterson does not live in Proviso Township, but in a luxury apartment in Chicago.
“I wish,” said Patterson, who lives in Maywood and whose family owns rental property in Chicago.
“I think [the opponents’] intention was that after Chris spoke, people would come out and the rats would be on top of the cars,” Patterson said.
Patterson said she and McDermott spoke at the church three times on Easter Sunday with past members of the D209 administration.
“We had 145 years of combined educational experience there on Easter to talk about the district,” Patterson said. “The point we were trying to show we had educators supporting us for school board.”
She also said her campaign’s signs were being stolen “as soon as I put them up.”
“It will be over tomorrow. I can’t wait,” she said.
Proviso flyer by wednesdayjournal