Do you really want your future in the hands of the state?

Do you really want your future in the hands of the state?

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Home Rule takes the power of deciding the policies of small communities out of the hands of uncaring statewide officials and putting them int he hands of local residents. Several small communities like Summit Illinois have referenda on the ballot urging voters to approve Home Rule to give their communities stronger voices on issues from taxes to housing

By Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

At no other time has it been more important for Illinois residents to distance themselves from the state than it is today.

Taxpayers have to give up on the notion of electing a good governor to run Illinois. We’ve tried, but our choices rarely work out.

When you look back, the list of governors is pretty pathetic. Of the dozen governors dating back to Adlai E. Stevenson II, four of them went to jail. Of the remaining, only two were really decent, Stevenson and Jim Edgar.

The four governors who went to prison were Otto Kenner Jr., Dan Walker, George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich. Our current governor, Bruce Rauner, is a slightly better governor than our last governor, Pat Quinn, “but that ain’t saying much.” Rauner is a terrible governor.

So, do you really want to put your fortunes in the hands of the state?

Seal of Illinois. Center image extracted from ...

Seal of Illinois. Center image extracted from Illinois flag. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The problem with the state is that too many PACs and powerful lobbies have undue influence over the governor and the legislature and the ability to make decisions. When you have a “bad” governor, it becomes even worse.

Illinois offers its residents an escape clause from “bad governors” and bad government.

It’s called “home rule.”

Basically home rule means that residents pretty much are insulated from the ridiculous decisions of the state, especially from things like “state mandates” and legislation designed to decide how to manage property. In home-rule communities, residents make their own decisions.

Elected officials in home-rule communities answer directly to the voters.

In 1970, the state approved Article VII, Section 6, of the Illinois Constitution giving local communities with populations of 25,000 or more the power to make their own decisions. Communities under 25,000 must vote to become home rule, but residents have to battle the real estate lobby and PACs.

The real estate industry is next only to the mainstream news media when it comes to public scorn, and rightly so. The Realtors (and big media), for example, want the state to force small communities to build low-income housing units against the will of local communities because it creates social and economic changes. And nothing benefits Realtors, and the big media, more than change.

Realtors generally are nice people, but their best interests are not our best interests.

VoteYesButtonA good example of how home rule works is in Orland Park, where the village board imposed a .75 percent sales tax in 2002, and also approved a “tax rebate” for its residents.

Why? The sales tax hits outsiders who shop in the community and that helps reduce the cost of government to Orland Park’s residents. Every year I get a check in March rebating my taxes, something the state would never do but home-rule communities can do.

Nearly every community in Illinois has home rule, except for the smaller ones. And that’s why every community needs it, to protect itself from bad state government and the real estate lobby.

If the big communities have home rule, why should the smaller ones have it, too? If the option to impose home rule is on your ballot March 15 in your community, you should approve it, or spend the rest of your life kicking yourself in your state-controlled and real estate pocketbooks.

You have the power to elect your community officials. You should also have the power to decide your own fate.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. Email him at

This post has already been read 129 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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