Tinley Park challengers get booth at expo
BY STEVE METSCH firstname.lastname@example.org February 13, 2013 7:44PM
Updated: March 15, 2013 12:18PM
Tinley Park mayoral candidate Steve Eberhardt and his running mates will have a booth at the Discover Tinley Expo after all, but there will be some restrictions.
They won’t be allowed to distribute campaign material, and while Eberhardt can discuss his law firm, he won’t be able to talk about the campaign or his and his allies’ political positions.
However, if village politics come up in a conversation, they will be allowed to discuss them.
The arrangement results from a meeting Friday with village manager Scott Niehaus, Eberhardt said Monday.
In January, he and his running mates berated the village board after being told they would not be allowed to have a campaign booth at the March 23 expo at the Tinley Park Convention Center.
Political booths have not been allowed at the expo since the first one was held in 1977.
Eberhardt toyed with the idea of filing a federal lawsuit, charging village officials with infringing on the challengers’ First Amendment rights to freedom of speech. But that turned out to not be necessary, and Eberhardt said he’s happy.
“We can be outside (the convention center) with literature, but not inside. That’s fine with us,” he said. “It’s quite the victory.”
Eberhardt, who is running against longtime Mayor Ed Zabrocki in the April 9 election, said he respects Niehaus “for realizing it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money to defend something that is flat-out wrong.”
The rules for the event apply to all candidates for village office, Niehaus said, and incumbent candidates also won’t be allowed to distribute campaign material inside the building or otherwise promote their campaigns.
“As village manager, it’s my duty to uphold the policies of the village. Furthermore, I’m a non-biased, independent person when it comes to who is employed by the village. If there are rules, they are to be followed. The same rules apply to both,” Niehaus said.