Friday, March 27, 2015

Does Anyone in Ford Heights, Illinois, Give a Damn?

Phil Kadner, Chicago Tribune
This is just bizarre.  

It seems that in Cook County, Illinois, somewhere near Chicago, sits a poverty stricken little "village" called Ford Heights.  According to Chicago Tribune columnist Phil Kadner, "The village has only about 2,700 residents and is only a couple of miles long."

Here's the bizarre part.  Residents of Ford Heights pay property taxes to the county's library district (over $13,000 last year) but they cannot borrow books from a library.  Any library.  Neither is there one in their village, nor do they have borrowing privileges at any of the libraries in areas surrounding Ford Heights.  

Perhaps even more bizarrely, Ford Heights has a fully-staffed seven-person library board for which residents foot the bill, a board that might be in the process of working out an agreement with one of the other nearby libraries - or not.  The mayor, who sounds more than a bit cavalier about his responsibilities to the people who elected him, sure as heck doesn't know.  According to Kadner again, the mayor said this when questioned,"I don't know.  I don't talk to those people (library board members).  They are very dysfunctional.  I have no dialogue with them at all.  I have no idea what they are doing."

Kadner's column can (and should) be read here.  It is an eye-opening look into what I suspect is local government at its worst.  Kadner is certainly to be applauded for trying to get something done that will allow the residents of Ford Heights full access to a library system they are helping pay for.  Good luck to him on that one.  It won't be easy as long as no one with the authority to make it happen gives a damn.


  1. That sounds awful. I thought my town had it bad a few years ago, but at least we had a library, albeit a depressing one. The current library is housed in what I think used to be the old police station. It was going to be renovated, but all the money ended up being spent on a water park (which was originally only supposed to be a new city pool). Things have been better in recent years. Still no new building, but we have an actual librarian now, and they've been working wonders getting new books into the collection and setting up consortial agreements to lend e-books. I hope Ford Heights gets things straightened out soon.

    1. I don't know if you read the article or not, but it is strongly implied by Mr. Kadner (at least the way I read it) that some money is disappearing down a rat hole or two somewhere. That, combined with a mayor who doesn't care about anything much other than being called mayor, makes this a tough situation to correct. I've pretty much stopped expecting politicians and office-holders to do the right thing anymore. All of them are pretty much in it for themselves, especially locally.

  2. Wow, that's plain crazy! I hope the folks in Ford Heights get library access soon. What a travesty!

  3. Wow, that's plain crazy! I hope the folks in Ford Heights get library access soon. What a travesty!