Palos Heights Alderman Jack Clifford argues with resident Dan Nicholson during Tuesday's meeting. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Heights Alderman Jack Clifford argues with resident Dan Nicholson during Tuesday's meeting. (Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Sparks fly during Palos Heights parking lot debate

By Jeff Vorva

The City of Palos Heights is one step away from voting on a controversial new parking lot and the issue drew some fireworks Tuesday night.

Nine people spoke on the topic during a 45-minute public comment session, but it was resident Dan Nicholson who pushed the buttons of Aldermen Jack Clifford and Jerry McGovern and there was a heated exchange.

After Nicholson was done speaking, he left City Hall and the two aldermen talked about Nicholson’s e-mails and Facebook posts and an angry McGovern referred to him as a “son of a b—-.”

The council voted 5-2, with Alderman Michael McGrogan absent, to authorize attorneys to draft an ordinance approving a zoning change from residential to business and granting a special-use permit for a municipal parking lot at 12303 S. 71st Court in the downtown area.

NICHOLSON

Palos Heights resident Dan Nicholson states his case against a parking deck before getting in a verbal confrontation with alderman Jack Clifford on Tuesday.

This issue has angered residents in the neighborhood who say that there will be too much noise, some danger and property values will plummet.

Because this issue was not approved by the planning and zoning committee, the board will need a super majority of 6-2 to approve the parking lot. Aldermen Don Bylut and Robert Basso voted “no” Tuesday night to even have the lawyers draw it up. The next city council meeting is slated for Oct. 4.

Three residents spoke in favor of the lot, which they said would be good for businesses and attracting new business and that the lack of parking is something that has been a problem in the city for decades.

Six spoke against it, including Nicholson, who has taken to e-mails and social media to publicize his cause. Some of the content of Nicholson’s e-mails came out in public Tuesday when Nicholson said that Clifford tried to have him fired over the e-mails.

“My alderman, Jack Clifford, tracked me down and reported me to my employer for my opposition to this idea to try to get me fired,” Nicholson said. “That should make everyone in this room shudder.”

Usually, aldermen refrain from comment when citizens address the council, but Clifford said, “That’s a lie.”

“I can send you the e-mail, sir,” Nicholson said.

“I can send you a lot of e-mails, too, Mr. Know-It-All,” said Clifford, who was starting to get hot under the collar. “You accused me and other people at the beginning of this of being on the take, taking bribes, insulting my integrity and my military service saying I’m no better than Ho Chi Minh and I find that insulting.

McGOVERN 1

A visibly angry Jerry McGovern reacts to being referred to as Ho Chi Minh.

“You’re a liar. You stretch the truth…”

At that point both argued at the same time and Clifford said, “You’re not doing your cause any good and don’t ever insult me that way.”

Nicholson said, “Then don’t treat me like a kid.”

Clifford said, “You started it” and McGovern added “You started it.”

Nicholson changed the direction of the argument to “There you go, trying to get me fired over the opposition to a parking lot. That’s what we’ve come to. Will anybody stand up for the citizens? For me? My alderman attacking me?”

After the meeting, Clifford said he never tried to get Nicholson fired. He admits to e-mailing Nicholson’s place of employment to find out if an employee should be using the company server to insult him and he never mentioned Nicholson by name.

“Maybe they saw I was a Palos Heights alderman and figured it out,” he said.

After the citizens had their say, McGovern read a Facebook post allegedly written by Nicholson, that referred to the mayor as “Sneaky Bob Straz” and that members of the council are “gross and inhumanely arrogant.”

When McGovern, a Vietnam veteran Marine who on Wednesday took part in an Honor Flight trip to Washington, read a passage that he was “acting like Ho Chi Minh” he got riled up.

“That jerk called me Ho Chi Minh…I took one guy who was shot to hell, and I had to put his intestines back in him,” McGovern shouted. “I have to live with this kind of stuff, and I have! I can do my job and I can do it damn well!

“He wants to call me a mocking name like that? Where are you, you son of a b—-?”

After the meeting, Clifford said he was exploring the possibility of suing Nicholson for slander over some of the content in the e-mails.

LOT 1

A rendering provided by the City of Palos Heights shows what a proposed downtown parking lot would look like.

Local News

Among local candidates filing petitions on the first day of filing was 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn, expected to run on a record of economic development, support for public safety and delivery of services to constituents. --File photo

Political sands shifting

Lopez mayoral exit leaves question marks By Tim Hadac The political sands of mayoral politics shifted last week, leaving many in Clearing and Garfield Ridge asking “What next?” questions. Garfield Ridge native Lopez worked the neighborhoods hard since he announced his mayoral candidacy back in April. His law-and-order stance and sharp criticism of Mayor Lori…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Boys Basketball: Marist, Brother Rice stay unbeaten through two weeks

By Steve Millar Correspondent Marist came into the season with some question marks after losing a pair of key players to transfers and elevating several newcomers, including three freshmen, to the varsity roster. The young RedHawks are, however, off to a blazing 6-0 start. They held on for a 57-55 win on the road Nov.…

Jaeden King of St. Xavier gets ready to score one of his 39 points against Trinity Christian College on Nov. 30. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Local Hoops Wrap: Transfers shining for Saint Xavier in early going

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The transfer portal is turning college athletics upside down, and Saint Xavier men’s basketball coach Robert Ford is enjoying it. And taking advantage of it. Jaeden King came to SXU in 2021 after transferring from NCAA Division II Tiffin University. Prior to that he played at Western Illinois. He is…

SXU sophomore Kaleigh Ritter, shown in a match earlier this year, had 63 assists in a five-set loss to Cornerstone in the NAIA national tournament. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: College of DuPage repeats as national football champ

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The College of DuPage, the only junior college in Illinois with a football program, won its second straight National Junior College Athletic Association national championship with a 14-12 victory over North Dakota State College of Science in Glen Ellyn. Former Richards’ standout Marquel Porter caught a 25-yard pass for the…

Rich Miller

Dems, GOP need to have more respect

By Rich Miller The state legislative debate last week over amending the Pre-Trial Fairness Act provisions within the controversial SAFE-T Act featured many of the same obfuscations and outright misinformation that characterized the fall campaign by Republicans and many of the same insufficient answers by Democrats. One of the problems that the super-majority Democrats have…

Officers Verta and Harrison

Godspeed, Officers Verta and Harrison

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] It’s always good to know that even in these challenging times, there are men and women are willing to step forward to brave those challenges. And leave it to Garfield Ridge and Clearing to lead the way. I say that as I…

Virginia Wrobel (from left) and Dorothy Novotney, of the Evergreen Park Senior Citizens Council, present checks to Mayor Kelly Burke from proceeds from the annual "Memories to Go" village-wide garage sale. (Photos by Joe Boyle)

Evergreen Park honors longtime employee

By Joe Boyle The Evergreen Park Village Board took care of some local business before Thanksgiving Day meals will be served. James Bender, a 27-year employee of the Evergreen Park Public Works Department, was selected as the “Employee of the Quarter” and honored at the village board meeting on Monday night. Mayor Kelly Burke recognized Bender…

Police Chief Dan Vittorio holds up the badge as officer Robert Carroll has Thor, the department's new canine officer, on a leash during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting on November 22. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn officials say pension relief will not hinder homeowners

By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn Village Manager Tom Phelan said the finances of homeowners need to be addressed while paying off pension deficits. Phelan said during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting on November 22 that making budget adjustments for next year has to keep residents in mind due to rising inflation. “We may be…

lyons police logo

2 men arrested for Lyons carjacking were out on bond

By Bob Bong Lyons police on Thursday arrested two men suspected of being involved in an attempted carjacking in the 7700 block of 45th Place around 2 p.m. on November 29. Justin Lebron, 20, of Cicero, and Cesar Lopez, 18, of Waukegan, were captured after a foot case, police said. Police Chief Tom Herion said…

Ryan Plowman’s parents, Dan and Jen, receive hugs from the players before Monday night's game. Many knew Ryan from grade school. (Photos by Steve Neuhaus)

Shepard, Stagg teams honor Ryan Plowman

Varsity girl basketball teams from Stagg and Shepard took time out before Monday night’s contest to pay tribute to Shepard student Ryan Plowman, who died earlier this year of complications from mononucleosis. Proceeds from the concession stand were donated to a gofundme campaign in Ryan’s name.  

Neighbors

Northwestern Home Team 250x250 1
State elections board certifies 2022 results

State elections board certifies 2022 results

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Elections certified its election results Monday, putting the final stamp on another Democratic sweep of statewide offices. The board reported that 4,142,642 out of 8,115,751 registered voters cast ballots in the election, a turnout of roughly 51 percent. That’s down from…

Tax credits, prison reform pass in veto session

Tax credits, prison reform pass in veto session

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Illinois lawmakers last week passed significant legislation dealing with electric vehicle manufacturing incentives and the availability of hygiene products for prisoners in the state’s correctional system. But some weightier issues, including a possible assault weapons ban, will wait until a lame duck session scheduled for early…

CAPITOL RECAP: SAFE-T Act changes head to Pritzker; unemployment debt deal advances

CAPITOL RECAP: SAFE-T Act changes head to Pritzker; unemployment debt deal advances

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers on Thursday passed a long-awaited amendment to the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform’s provisions that will eliminate cash bail when the calendar hits 2023. The measure expands the list of crimes for which a judge can order pretrial detention, adds to what a judge can consider when determining…

Lawmakers advance $1.8 billion unemployment fund bailout

Lawmakers advance $1.8 billion unemployment fund bailout

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – On the final day of their fall veto session, Illinois lawmakers on Thursday advanced a pair of bills that would infuse $1.8 billion into the state’s unemployment trust fund, which was depleted during the economic shutdown brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bipartisan agreement came…

Pretrial detention changes to SAFE-T Act will head to governor

Pretrial detention changes to SAFE-T Act will head to governor

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers on Thursday passed a long-awaited amendment to the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform’s provisions that will eliminate cash bail when the calendar hits 2023. The measure expands the list of crimes for which a judge can order pretrial detention, adds to what a judge can…

Contempt citations against DCFS director reversed by appellate court

Contempt citations against DCFS director reversed by appellate court

By BETH HUNDSDORFER Capitol News Illinois [email protected] An appellate court on Wednesday reversed several contempt of court citations that were filed in recent months against Department of Children and Family Services Director Marc Smith for failing to comply with court orders to place state wards in appropriate settings. The court found that Smith did not…

State lawmakers pass measure limiting state investment in Russian assets

State lawmakers pass measure limiting state investment in Russian assets

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois House gave final passage Wednesday to a bill aimed at prohibiting state investment in assets tied to Russia and Belarus in retaliation for their participation in the war in Ukraine. House Bill 1293, by Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, D-Chicago, urges the state’s five retirement systems…

Changes to cash bail statute surface before Thursday’s planned adjournment

Changes to cash bail statute surface before Thursday’s planned adjournment

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Two days before lawmakers were scheduled to adjourn for the year, one of the lead negotiators of the SAFE-T Act criminal justice reform filed a long-awaited amendment detailing several changes to the landmark cash bail overhaul. Sen. Robert Peters, D-Chicago, filed a 308-page amendment to House…

CAPITOL RECAP: State announces deal to pay down remaining unemployment debt

CAPITOL RECAP: State announces deal to pay down remaining unemployment debt

By CAPITOL NEWS ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers on Tuesday announced a bipartisan plan to use state revenues to pay down the remaining $1.4 billion in debt taken on by the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment trust fund is generally funded by the state’s businesses through insurance premiums collected via…

Lawmakers announce bipartisan plan to pay down remaining unemployment debt

Lawmakers announce bipartisan plan to pay down remaining unemployment debt

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois [email protected] SPRINGFIELD – Lawmakers on Tuesday announced a bipartisan plan to use state revenues to pay down the remaining $1.4 billion in debt taken on by the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the agreement is expected to move through the General Assembly this…

CRR NH Father Sons Home Improvement House Ad
Regional Aurelios Pizza House Ad