Another Blow to Dennis Hastert’s Highway

by , posted on Tuesday, May 12th, 2009 at 9:40 am

Last night, May 11, 2009, Alderman Bob Hausler was sworn in as the new Mayor of Plano.

It was an exciting night for progressives, union members and environmentalists — Bob Hausler is all of the above. The retired UAW Local 145 member

is well known for taking his retirement in stride by enjoying the outdoors at Silver Springs State Park with a fishing rod in his hands. He successfully ran for Alderman in 2007 and became the popular voice of the people almost instantaneously. A year into his first term as Alderman, Bob became the voice of opposition to a proposed waste transfer station in Plano and we all knew that Plano would soon have a new Mayor.

Bob fought off two strong opponents with a steady, consistent door-to-door campaign and became the Mayor-elect on April 7th. Much more could be written about the shy, grassroots Mayor of Plano and the many activists who helped get him into the winners circle, but I want to get to the good stuff.

Before former Mayor Bill Roberts could lay down the gavel, he spent an hour going on about the “state of the city.” OK, the guy has been Mayor for eight years and maybe he deserves an honorable goodbye, but the painful hour reliving the endless slew of sweetheart deals to developers was unnecessary.

After listing off about 30 development projects, most of which are empty commercial spaces, former Mayor Roberts said, “I sound like a real estate agent.” He and I agreed for the first time.

The highlight came when former Mayor Roberts started talking about the backroom deal-making that lead to Dennis Hastert’s Prairie Parkway. I turned on my recorder. “While many outside of the corridor planning group did not support it then, now come plans to make it a tollway,” continued Roberts. He went on to bemoan the fact that the proposed 5-mile stretch of highway is dead while continuing to sing its praises.

So, after 82% of the Republican Party rejected Hastert’s highway and 95% of the Democratic Party rejected the proposed highway, Bill Roberts is still advocating for a 5-mile stretch of asphalt in the middle of a Big Rock cornfield. Bob Hausler is not.

Bob Hausler supports a more comprehensive transportation improvement plan that includes fixing local roads first, widening Rt. 47 and building the Eldamain Bridge over the Fox River.

Hausler, endorsed by the Sierra Club and other area environmentalists has always opposed the Prairie Parkway and the garbage dumps that go with it. Goodbye Prairie Parkway! Hello Bob! Hello change we can trust!

Hausler, like many others, has proved that when a candidate stands with the people, they can win.


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