In an election that seemed to prove that people were thinking, that citizens could be motivated by positive emotions rather than the fear that ruled the roost for the Millennium So Far, there were some sour notes. One of the sourest was in Kenilworth, where someone spent a million dollars stoking fear of the National Register of Historic Places and got voters to reject the idea of a National Register district by a good margin in a non-binding referendum.

This is a victory for ignorance, and not an innocent excusable ignorance but a willful ignorance. They ignored the fact that when you are on the National Register of Historic Places you have the right to tear down your house any day of the week. They ignored the precedent of neighboring Winnetka, which has a couple districts and even foreswore – by law – the idea of local binding designation. You can still tear down your house any day of the week in Winnetka. But at least those people can get the tax freeze if they want it.

Especially galling was the fact that the willfully ignorant used ME in their well-funded campaigns of misinformation, an egregious example of country manners and arrested development; grade school bullying unchecked.

You can find the quote and the context in earlier editions of this blog that dealt with the peculiar delusions of a cohort of Kenilworthians more kennel than worthy. I noted “in fairness’ (a phrase untranslatable to this cohort) that National Register designation has been used by some suburbs as a prelude to local landmark designation, but that there was NOTHING about National Register designation that led to local designation.

Just because you don’t want to go to college doesn’t mean you shouldn’t finish high school. Yes, a lot of people use high school as a stepping stone to college but that is a separate, distinct action that is not presumed by the former action.

They eliminated this context, twisting my point INTO ITS OPPOSITE: National Register designation leads to local landmark designation. In my original blog, I compared this “whack logic” to NRA types who feel laws prohibiting machine guns for 6th graders provide a “slippery slope” to elimination of all guns. It is a bald and bold LIE, but it can get people scared, and as previous elections and grade school bullying prove, negative motivations work well.

Having stood for hours with my family in the calm, collected joy of Hutchinson Field with tens of thousands proud to be for something rather than against something, I think that attitude is a damn shame and a waste of money.


One Response to “Unworthy”

  1. kenilworthian Says:


    For the record, no one spent a million dollars on anything in Kenilworth last fall. A small number of hard working residents collected small donations from friends and made a lot of xerox’s in a friend’s office. I doubt more than $1,000 was spent altogether. Our mailings, which were always signed, were matched (and in a much fancier, more expensive manner) by anonymous mailings from the opposition. Each side presented its case, we won the vote. It was a free and fair election. End of story. There is nothing sour or negative about it. It was an affirmation of the democratic process, every bit as much as President Obama’s victory. And just so you know, most of my fellow property rights activists were in his corner (yes, Democrats in Kenilworth, go figure?).

    I wish you well.

    Kelli Kobor

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