Caucus slate approved in Winnetka
Updated: March 29, 2012 3:39PM
Winnetka’s election for Village Council was uncontested. Three candidates backed by the Winnetka Caucus ran for the three seats on the council that are up for election.
In unofficial results, with all 10 precincts reporting, Patrick J. Corrigan received 1,924 votes; John A. “Jack” Buck received 1,880; and Stuart McCrary received 1,823.
In other votes that were similarly symbolic, as opposed to decision-making, 74.6 percent of 2,722 Winnetka voters said the village should not expand its affordable housing plan. A second advisory referendum asked voters, “Should development of the Post Office Site include affordable housing paid for by taxpayers?” Of the 2,771 voters who answered the question, 82.7 percent voted “no.”
The community activist group, Winnetka Home Owners Association, circulated petitions at the end of the summer to get the two advisory refererenda put on the ballot. The group wanted to convey public sentiment on affordable housing in Winnetka before the Village Council voted on measures recommended in an affordable housing report by the Winnetka Plan Commission.
After the petitions were signed, the Winnetka Caucus released the results of its annual survey, which showed 67 percent of respondents opposed expanding affordable housing measures in the village. Those results in large part convinced the Village Council to end its consideration of the issue.
Gail Schechter, executive director of the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs, offered her take on the referendum results: “Yesterday, 2,030 Winnetka voters voted ‘No’ and 692 voted ‘Yes’ on a referendum worded by the Winnetka Home Owners Assocation: “Should the Village of Winnetka expand our existing Affordable Housing Plan?”
“What direction does this provide the Village of Winnetka with regard to affordable housing?” Schechter posed in an e-mail. “The answer is none at all. Winnetka voters received not one iota of information in advance of the election about the nature of the “existing affordable housing plan,” the definition of affordable housing or proposals for expansion. Moreover, the referendum, as a policy issue, is non-binding by state law. Winnetka continues to have an affordable housing plan on file with the state of Illinois. Nothing has changed.
“Objectively speaking, a relative handful of Winnetka voters took part in a primary election that mattered mainly to one party, and hence was innately skewed,” Schechter stated. “In the voting booth, this unrepresentative sampling of village residents encountered a vaguely written referendum issue, presented without history or context. The results prove nothing about the state of opinion in Winnetka as a whole regarding the desirability of affordable housing. We are confident that in a general election – involving wide village turnout, in-depth prior debate, and a fairly and substantively worded proposal – the results would be dramatically different.”