Thursday, July 30, 2009

Matteson Mayor still generates skepticism

Once viewed as an up-and-coming progressive leader, Matteson Mayor Andre Ashmore continues to make decisions that raise questions about his commitment to open and responsible government. Today's Southtown Star raises new concerns:

The owner of the new car dealership that's getting a tax break from Matteson to open in the Matteson Auto Mall let current Mayor Andre Ashmore use his billboard for a campaign spot during Ashmore's successful mayoral run in the spring.


Ashmore said his ties to Miller and auto dealer Bob Hawkinson had nothing to do with the Matteson Village Board's July 20 vote to give a tax break to Hawkinson to open a new Kia dealership in the auto mall.

"I can assure you that one has nothing to do with the other," Ashmore said. "They've always supported not only my campaign but other campaigns I've worked on. They've been supportive."

Hawkinson is a longtime Matteson businessman. He owns Hawkinson Nissan in the auto mall as well as the billboard located off Lincoln Highway and Ridgeland Avenue that Ashmore used during his campaign.
On its own, this tax break might not seen indicative of Ashmore's rejection of Obama-style politics and exploitation of Chicago-style politics. But when added with other actions, like the inherent conflict of interest in promoting his wife, the pattern is becoming increasingly clear.

The South Suburbs will never advance politically if it continues to adopt Chicago-style politics. By pitting neighbor against neighbor, village against village and township against township, the kind of politics that Andre Ashmore seems to be employing only condemns the South Suburbs to economic and political stagnation, perhaps even to political and economic poverty. Mayor Ashmore may lead us into a race to the bottom, but there's no victory there...

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