While pressing the flesh in election season is pretty routine for candidates, hugging their opponents is not. But that is what the Rev. Claude Porter required at the close of candidate pitches Saturday before the Proviso Township Ministers Alliance Network. Closing the morning of stumping by Maywood and Broadview mayoral, trustee, school and park district, and library candidates at his Proviso Baptist Church in Maywood, Porter called for candidates to go around the room and hug each other.
“Some of you are still thinking about self,” Porter said. “You need to change that mentality. People have to run as a team to get things through. It shouldn’t be like that, but it is. You should work with everyone to make things better. We need to roll up our sleeves and work together.” The founder of Proviso Baptist, Porter said individuals need to put their political bickering, hatred and jealousy aside for the good of the region.” He added, “You’re all too busy working to build your own empire and not working for the greater empire,” Porter said. “Let’s use our resources to improve things here.”
All four Maywood mayoral candidates – Antonette “Toni” Dorris, Mary “May” Larry, Edwenna Perkins and Henderson Yarbrough – and two of the five Broadview mayoral candidates – Princess Dempsey and Katrina Thompson – made their pitches on why they should lead their community. Broadview mayoral candidates Judy Brown-Marino, Maxine Johnson and Vernon Terry were not present.
The Maywood candidates addressed the issue of nearly half of the water Maywood purchases being unaccounted for – through system leaks and residents accessing the system without their water use being metered.
Dorris, currently a trustee, said leaks have already been identified. It is now time to find money to solve the problem, she said.
“We need to become progressive, proactive in doing something about it,” Dorris said. “We can’t hope that money comes to Maywood to fix our problems and lower our taxes. We have to go get it. We need to figure out resources that have not been touched. I and my team have already identified some things that have never been touched by this village. We have to become creative. There’s no more time for excuses. We have to make it happen. So we find money at the state, county and federal levels.”
Larry said an audit has to be done to determine just where the water not going to residences and businesses is. “Before you can build any house, you’ve got to examine the foundation,” Larry said, “and make sure it is solid. So we must engage an audit to see where is the money and where the water is coming from. In terms of funding and resources, I’ve been a grant writer on the federal and state level for over 20 years. I would submit that we begin to train lobbyists, to lobby Springfield, lobby Washington for funding for our community. Our community is in crisis on multiple levels.”
Perkins, the incumbent mayor, said that the village is having water leaks and when they are identified, public works crews or outside contractors are hired to fix them. “Our problem is accountability,” Perkins said. “That is our problem. That is a fact. We need accountability and we need all of the people working on the same problem and not working on different problems. That’s part of our problem. So we have, number one, identified all of the leaks. Number two, we’re fixing all leaks as the leaks come up.”
Yarbrough, currently a trustee, said the village has been targeting water leaks through trained contractors and its own equipment. “We start paying for the water the minute it comes through Melrose Park … so any water that comes through that meter we start paying for it,” Yarbrough said. “If there is a leak, that’s just a loss that we all have to absorb the cost for. So the big thing is to repair the leaks to the best of our ability based on our budgetary means and that’s all we can continue to do, continue to work on that.” He said finding the money to chase the leaks has to be found in the general budget.