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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

M06, Lightford seeks meeting with James T. Smith [4th Sen]

I met for lunch with James T. Smith and Grady Norwood to talk about nominating petition challenges.

During the meeting, Rep. Calvin Giles called. Giles was calling on the behalf of Sen. Kimberly Lightford, whom Smith is challenging in the Dem Primary.

Giles brokered a meeting between Lightford and Smith for Friday afternoon. Hopefully, next week's papers will tell us what the meeting was about.

I did a spot check of sorts on Lightford's challenge of Smith's nominating petitions. (Officially, the objections were made by three citizens, but it's on Lightford's behalf. Lightford's family was at the Clerk's office checking Smith's nominating petitions.)

I figured the most objective category to object to a sig is whether the address was inside the district. I wrote down the first four addresses that were being challenged as "not in the district".

* 5315 W. Jackson
* 5417 W. Jackson
* 5300 W. Gladys
* 5326 W. Van Buren

All four are in the district. Smith also pointed out that Lightford's lackeys objected to the veracity of the signatures of the people in Smith's household and his wife's relatives.

It sure looks like Lightford's objection is merely to harass Smith and his campaign. Do you figure the judge will find Lightford's attorney in violation of Rule 137? Somehow I don't think election lawyers for the Dem Party are in much danger of being held accountable for abusing the process.

Pioneer Press (Chris LaFortune) has an article about the nominating petition challenges.

The following struck me as strange:
Al McKinnor, at first, denied notarizing any of Lightford's petitions, but when it was pointed out his notary seal was, in fact, on some of them, he said he had not remembered doing that.

"I didn't remember, OK?" he said. "So what's wrong with that?"

Smith pointed out that one of Lightford's circulators misspelled her name.

How do you misspell your own name?

It's enough to make one suspicious that someone else signed that circulator's name. I wonder if McKinnor was the one that notarized the fishy petitions? Is it possible someone else used McKinnor's notary stamp?

Imagine being a notary. Would you completely forget notarizing the nominating petitions of a political ally? If you forgot would you deny it? Or would you say something like, "I notarized a bunch of petitions last month. I can't remember who I did and didn't notarize for, but I could have notarized Lightford's petitions."

Maybe McKinnor knows there was fraud and he doesn't want to get caught up in it.

Remember, Wanda Sharp was prosecuted for nominating petition shennanigans in 2000. See Maywood Herald (Liza Roche) for details. Maywood Herald also carried the objection of Ald. Carrie Austin.

Sharp's supporters contend the entire prosecution was politically motivated. Joe Ponsetto of the Illinois Attorney General's office pushed the prosecution as a favor to Karen Yarbrough who was running against Sharp for State Rep.

The AG's office thinks the judge made a bad ruling.

Josh Marshall has a thought provoking post on the issue of prosecutors influencing politics.

The author says that prosecutors stopped the ABSCAM prosecutions because....
It was terminated precisely because of its success. The DOJ determined that they might be able to unseat as much as a third of the sitting Congress if they continued. DOJ determined that if they did continue then what began as a law enforcement project could alter the political balance within the Legislative branch. The DOJ decided, rightly I believe, that it was not their place to fundamentally alter that political balance.

S/he goes on to write that society has to wrestle with the ethical and political implications. If we choose to ignore unethical activity when confronted with it, it's not the job of the legal system to enforce an ethical standard that is separate or better from the ethical standard embraced by mainstream society.

If you want public officials to behave ethically, you have to be willing to hold them accountable.


  • I find it unsatisfactory that the Chicago Board of Elections website doesn't have the ability to look-up elected officials based on the voter's address.

    Project Vote Smart has had a clunky version of this feature for years. The Cook County Clerk has had it for suburban Cook for quite awhile too. Why is the Chicago Board of Elections so poor at customer service?

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 3:57 PM, January 04, 2006  

  • After reflecting upon the Sharp prosecution I think the judge might have been grasping for a way to drop the charges against Sharp b/c s/he suspected the prosecutors injected themselves into the political process in an inappropriate way.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 9:28 PM, January 04, 2006  

  • Why does Lighford want to meet with Smith? Why does she need Giles to broker? He's got enough problems doesn't he? Like LaShawn Ford? Like 140,000 + in fees, like he may not be on the ballot anyway???

    This whole thing sounds like bs to me. Let's see if I have it right...
    Giles is working with Smith, Smith is working for Giles, Giles is brokering a meeting Smith with Lightford, Smith ran against Giles last election and Lightford is working with Ford against Giles.

    SO either Giles doesn't get it or what?

    I live in Giles district and I ain't voting for him or Ford. Can't we get somebody decent in 8? Why didn't Smith run in 8? He educated, articulate, polished and a family man. hE CAN WIN.

    I say Smith don't take the deal--- we need you. You got her on the ropes so SMITH DON'T TAKE THE DEAL AND SELL YOU SOUL TO THE DEVILS!

    By Anonymous Billy Joe in 8, at 12:41 AM, January 05, 2006  

  • The meeting was cancelled or never materialized.

    The review of Smith's petitions is scheduled for 8:45 AM Saturday morning (tomorrow).

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 5:15 PM, January 06, 2006  

  • Yeah! for Smith not meeting with Lightford. U go Guy.

    Did Giles get his business straight yet? I might been kinda hard on the brother but I wish he'd let us know if he's going to be on the ballot or not. I am really NOT feeling Ford at all. But tell me, whats with Danny Davis? Is he supporting Ford? His staff person Tmeria is all over the west side touting her support on Ferderal time. I find it interesting that she talks about all this prison stuff and now Ford's talking the same stuff in his campaign and they got a petition going about xoffendors That's nothing but a Danny Davis Knock off!
    Can somebody ask Danny Is he or isn't he?

    By Anonymous billy joe in 8, at 10:38 PM, January 07, 2006  

  • James Smith told me that the County Clerk's office is supporting the signatures challenged by Lightford almost 3:1. Smith submitted about 1,900 sigs and needs 1,000 to be good. About 550 weren't challenged. It seems like Smith will make the ballot.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 3:01 PM, January 08, 2006  

  • That's Tumia Romero. Her name is pronounced Tee-ama.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 3:02 PM, January 08, 2006  

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