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Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau reads part of a scathing email that wished bad things on him and his family on Tuesday night. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau reads part of a scathing email that wished bad things on him and his family on Tuesday night. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Mayor reads hate mail before diving into COVID and crime issues

By Jeff Vorva

Before Tuesday’s village board meeting, Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau said he received a disturbing email.

The mayor, who shoots from the hip when it comes to his beliefs is a controversial public figure and figures to get hate mail. This one was especially nasty.

“I figured that since I got this one tonight, I’ll share it with you,” he said. “It says, ‘I hope you get cancer.’ Then there is a bunch of other stuff and then it says ‘I truly hope you and your family face karma and see what it’s like to try to get treatment or services and you can’t. You are truly an evil person.’”

Despite receiving the illest of ill-will directed his way, he said he and the board will continue to lead in a way that benefits Orland Park.

“That’s the kind of stuff that we get,” the mayor said. “We are doing our jobs and providing facts and this board does a great job of following the Constitution and following the law. I don’t think we’ve done anything that’s ever violated that.

“We do it publicly, even if it comes to the point where we have to take heat for doing that. We don’t do it behind closed doors. We don’t just set some policy. We do this so everyone knows. These are the types of people that unfortunately we have to deal with.”

He added that he also receives his share of positive mail, with several praising the Orland Park Police Department.

That was a preamble to a speech in which he hit hard on COVID mandates and crime.

For those who have carefully monitored board meetings the past several months, this is not new territory. He and other board members have hammered on these subjects several times.

“These are issues that unfortunately seem to dominate our lives,” he said.

He said that Cook County changed the mandate requiring everyone over age 5 to have proof of vaccinations when using restaurants and gyms to 18 and over for park district and municipal programs.

“The question I have is why officials keep making children bear the brunt of this pandemic?” he said. “At the beginning of the pandemic, schools were shut down. Parks were closed. We were told not to let children take part in organized activities.

“Even worse – remember we were told how children were going to infect and kill their grandparents? Then there were no school sports or extracurricular activities. Proms and homecomings were cancelled. Now the Chicago Teachers Union and other are pushing to go back to remote learning. Enough! Stop targeting our children.”

Almost every meeting, Pekau brings up a police report from Orland involving someone who was let out of jail after being charged with, or found guilty of, a felony.

This time, he took his frustration out on the murder last week of Bradley Police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic during a shooting which also injured her partner, Tyler Bailey.

“The career criminal who was arrested for this heinous act in Bradley has been arrested 21 times since 2014,” he said. “He was out on a cash bond. This has got to stop.

“We need to protect our officers, our citizens and our children by prosecuting crimes and keeping violent criminals behind bars.”

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