Oak Brook Man Hates Libraries, Children, Puppies
By Prescott Carlson in News on Oct 2, 2009 8:20PM
We've hung out with a lot of crankypants people in our time, but if we ever have the misfortune to meet 69-year-old Constantine "Connie" Xinos of Oak Brook, we think he might take first prize.
Oak Brook, home of shopping malls, gated communities, and the suburbs' tallest office tower, didn't have a proper library building until one was built in 2002 (Xinos sued to stop construction and lost). Unfortunately for the library, Oak Brook relies heavily on sales taxes for revenue, and as local shopping has been down the town had to make cuts. A big one was eliminating 5 positions from the library staff, including the head librarian and the children's librarian. Residents spoke out against the layoffs, including 11-year-old Sydney Sabbagha who told the village board at a recent meeting that, "[the library] will never be the same without the people you fired."
Then it was Xinos' turn to talk, and he called Sydney and anyone like her "whiners" and that she should come up with the money to pay library salaries herself. Xinos went on to say that he thinks public libraries are "little, personal, private wants" that "[indulges] people in their hobbies." He might have gone on rambling about Sydney frittering her life away playing nursemaid to a lot of garlic-eaters, but we're not sure.
When the Daily Herald spoke to Xinos about the incident and informed him that his harsh words left Sydney in tears, Xinos grinned and said, "I wanted that kid to lose sleep that night." Xinos -- who apparently uses language that would make Blago blush -- has helped to get people elected to the village board that share his views about the library, and when told of a recent library event where patrons brought their dogs, he said, "[blank] that [blank]." Xinos previously managed to keep subsidized senior housing out of Oak Brook, saying, "I don't want to live next to poor people. I don't want poor people in my town."
It's become bad enough that the library staff has turned to -- get this -- the Teamsters Joint Council 25 for help, and they're currently in the process of trying to become certified. Not surprisingly, Xinos had unkind words regarding the Teamsters, saying, "Nobody here likes those kinds of people."