In 2010, John Fotopoulos said he was concerned about the direction Orland Park was headed – especially in regard to apartments.
About two years later, with the Ninety 7 Fifty apartment complex construction in full swing on 143rd Street and Ravinia Avenue, Fotopoulos has again chosen to campaign for the Orland Park Village Board in April 2013.
With three village board seats up for grabs, Fotopoulos is running as an independent Republican candidate. Incumbent trustees Jim Dodge, Kathy Fenton and Brad O’Halloran are running as the Orland Park United slate, along with Mayor Dan McLaughlin and village clerk candidate John Mehalek.
“I have a lot of the same concerns I had when running a couple of years ago,” Fotopoulos said. “The main thing is fiscal responsibility. The fact that (the administration) didn’t reveal plans for the (Ninety 7 Fifty) apartment complex until after the election troubles me. I don’t support public funds used for private development. If we are using bonds use it for parks, baseball and soccer fields.”
Fotopoulos questioned the need for the village to put up initial funding for the apartment complex, and said developers truly behind their projects can cover costs themselves.
“Give us Gibson’s and Hugo’s, something upscale we can enjoy,” he said. “It’s rental housing and we don’t even know if it’ll work. What happens when the economy turns around and rentals go down? This is Democrat spending, and that’s why I am running as a Republican.”
The 41-year-old defense attorney runs his own law practice on John Humphrey Drive, and has lived in Orland Park since 1995. He is father to four children, and attended John Marshall Law School. Fotopoulos also ran unsuccessfully for village board in 2001.
If elected, he would push for greater business and job diversity in Orland Park.
“We need to develop the I-80 corridor further,” Fotopoulos said. “We need to attract more white collar and blue jobs here.”
While he praised the property tax rebate now underway, Fotopoulos said the village should work to make the rebate larger.
“I don’t want to see around $150 from a rebate around election time,” Fotopoulos said. “I want to just see us giving more back. Let’s get business developed to the point where we aren’t dependent on residents footing the bill.”
Fotopoulos said the village should also get past stalled contract negotiations with police and staff.
“If we don’t have enough money to take care of our police and workers, we shouldn’t have enough to do a rebate,” he said. “We should be able to sit down with the unions and deal in good faith. If I’m elected I’ll sit down and ask them how do we get this thing done. It’s unacceptable for them to work over a year without a contract.”
He also would like to see parks updated to match other towns.
“We have a lot of children here and I think Orland Park can do better,” Fotopoulos said. “I think Tinley Park has done a much better job with parks than we have.”
A main reason Fotopoulos said he is running independently so the board will be more critical when making decisions.
“People will know where I stand, and it’s time to make a change,” Fotopoulos said. “I’m doing it so Orland gets back on the right track.”
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