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Proviso Probe

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

SHERIFF, strip search lawsuit

Chicago Tribune:
Two people arrested last year in Cook County filed a federal lawsuit against jail officials on Monday, alleging that the jail's strip-search procedures violated their constitutional rights.

Ah, Cook County government....

TRANS, Bellwood uses traffic enforcement cameras [BW]

Beacon News (David Garbe):
So far, Bellwood is the only other town in Illinois that Groom knows to be using cameras for traffic enforcement.

POL, Tuesday night events

While we haven't officially become a chapter of Drinking Liberally, the Tuesday night group that hopes to affiliate will meet tonight at Goldy Burgers, 7316 Circle, Forest Park, at 8:45 PM.

For the more serious minded, Illinois Democratic Network is hosting an event called IllinoisDemNet State of the Union Bash at Frankie Z's, 435 N. Clark, Chicago at 7 PM.

I think James T. Smith, who is challenging Sen. Kimberly Lightford in the Dem Primary will be one of the speakers.

MEDIA, Gary Woll newsletter [M]

Maywood Village Trustee Gary Woll has a monthly newsletter. If you want to get on his mailing list send him an email at garywoll circled "a" comcast spot net (writing email addresses this way keeps spammers from collecting them automatically).

This issue has a long explanation about why to replace Eugene Moore with Karen Yarbrough for Democratic Committeeman.

Now to this race and the purpose of this office. While I know, with certainty, that Ms. Yarbrough will bring a cleaner and stronger operation to this office, when facing an incumbent (Moore) one MUST talk about the negatives more as an argument for replacement of the one with experience. So, here goes!! I honestly believe that Gene Moore has been a disaster at every aspect of the job. When he first won the race in 1997 it ended 50 plus years of township rule out of Melrose Park with Dannyboy Coglianese the longtime power behind the scenes. I backed Gene to end this not knowing he would practice exactly the same kind of politics. Once in his organization it was readily apparent that he did NOT KNOW how to organize or consult with his workers. I left in disgust as have many, many over the years and they have been replaced by Maywood and other town folks who practice the “old” form of politics. Let’s see how that works in relationship to the purpose of this office.

Endorsements: In local races Gene backs those who will give him patronage jobs and juicy, sometimes, unneeded contracts all of which have nothing to do with good government, especially good schools, and higher expenses, for YOU, the taxpayer. Case in point: recently a Maywood young man emailed me that he had gone to Proviso to apply for a custodian’s position (they pay well!) and he was told (this would be unbelievable if NOT TRUE), go over to 5th Avenue and see Gene Moore as he controls that!!! I believe that is against the law under the Shakeman decree or is that only Chicago? The 209 four person, Gene Moore majority voted a $160,000 (YES!!) to broker their insurance needs. Most districts this size do it for NO EXTRA COST, in-house. This was just after he made a large donation to Chris Welch’s STUDENTS LAST PARTY last year and took Sue Henry, one of the majority four, on a junket to Hawaii in his capacity as Cook County Recorder of Deeds and she as a $75,000 a year assistant. As an aside regarding how he operates his governmental office, Recorder of Deeds, it was reported when he ran for re-election that Cook County has twice the business of DuPage (in the Recorder of Deeds) but FOUR TIMES the number of employees!! It was also reported that this junket to Hawaii found 25% of the money spent coming for the Recorder of Deeds Office which has less than 1% of the County employees. YES, over and over, as much as I can say it, who runs the party does affect YOUR pocketbook. His elected 209 Board has prevented a referendum on the $60 million dollars in bonds that has all been spent on the new school, NOTHING for East or West and they are going broke for the operation of all the schools. The 209 majority continues to dole out jobs to relatives and finders fees to shady characters like the former attorney, Anthony Bruno who got huge bucks finding the apparently lost Loyola Administration building to serve as the new high school. Unfortunately, Gene’s organization has shown some successes, although not much in Maywood, his hometown, in electing these scalawags.

If the State's Attorney had any respect for the citizens of Proviso Township he'd initiate an investigation of illegal hiring and political practices at District 209. In addition to being in Woll's newsletter it's been reported in Forest Park Review (Seth Stern).
One custodian, who did not wish to be named, said that "65 to 70 percent" of the district’s maintenance staff is participating in the current campaign.

Typically, he said, workers are given the campaign literature that they’ll be distributing on Thursday and Fridays by Director of Facilities Jose Santiago, who was himself once investigated by former Superintendent Greg Jackson for campaigning on school grounds during Welch’s last school board race.

The custodians, as well as other campaign workers, then meet Saturday morning at Moore’s office at 9N 5th Ave. in Maywood to receive their marching orders.

"They’re told that if a promotion is coming up and you want it and you’re not helping, you’re not going to get it," said the custodian.

Monday, January 30, 2006

BLOG, That Colored Fella is three years old

TCF is not only a nationally recognized blogger, he's also a local guy. Chicago Blogmap lists him as being at the Harlem stop on the Green Line the same as me. But he's on the Oak Park side.

GOV, Nyberg solicits Dick Devine's assistance in dealing with Mayor Serpico [MP]

Last Wednesday I was invited by Maria Hernandez to a meeting of her neighbors with Mayor Ron Serpico. Serpico demanded I leave the meeting and threatened to arrest me. Hernandez has been leading her neighbors in opposing abuses and indignities perpetrated by the Melrose Park police department.

I have written State's Attorney Richard A. Devine to inform him of the threat and to explain to the good mayor of Melrose Park that he is a mayor not a warlord.

From my letter:
Hernandez invited me to be a witness to the meeting with Mayor Serpico. The meeting was held in the Village of Melrose Park board room at 7 PM. Mayor Serpico asked for the meeting to begin with introductions.

I introduced myself as, “Carl Nyberg from Forest Park.” Mayor Serpico interrupted the introduction process. He said, “If he stays, I leave. He doesn’t live in Melrose Park.”

I asked Hernandez if she wanted me to stay. She said, “It’s up to you.” Absent a definitive “yes” I decided to leave. I finished writing, “If he stays, I leave. He doesn’t live in Melrose Park,” and got up to leave.

At that point Mayor Serpico escalated the hostility of his remarks. He called me a “troublemaker” and told me I didn’t have a right to be in Melrose Park. I responded by telling Mayor Serpico, “The Constitution gives me the right to go anywhere in the country.” I also asked him, “Who are you?” a couple times.

Mayor Serpico then threatened to arrest me if I didn’t leave. He might have mentioned something about disorderly conduct. One witness said he threatened to arrest me in two minutes if I didn’t leave.

By no reasonable interpretation of the law was my conduct disorderly. I raised my voice and spoke to Mayor Serpico in a confrontational tone, but I wasn’t louder than the mayor and I wasn’t any more confrontational than he was. I didn’t swear at him. And I complied with his request to leave rather than contest the point.

I met with Deputy Chief of Police Gary Montino and that meeting was a success. The Melrose Park Herald (David Pollard) wrote about the initial problems, but the search function on the Pioneer Press website doesn't seem to be working.

ED, R-B hassles students on residency [D208]

See Suburban Life (Megan Brody).

This problem is far more complicated than Assistant Principal John Passarella makes it sound.

When R-B booted those two students, it didn't allow the district to reduce the number of classes (teachers). It may have created incremental savings of a few dollars here and there.

But running the students out reduced the compensation from the State of Illinois by thousands of dollars.

A good school district with crappy schools next door has to play defense on border jumpers. If a school gets a reputation for being easy to con then it will invite many students thereby incrasing taxes.

But for low numbers of border jumpers--and two definitely qualifies as a low number--the district is clearly losing money by investing in investigations.

Without making a value judgment on the policy decision, I will criticize the school officials for presenting a one-sided explanation of the problem to Megan Brody. If Passarella and other R-B officials were honest they'd admit that they are costing the district more than they are saving the district. However, there is a risk of not spending the money in that the district could conceivably be deluged with out-of-distict students if R-B acquired a reputation for being easy to scam.

GOV, tax increase forums [D95]

District 95 is the elementary school district serving Brookfield and La Grange Park. On the March 21 ballot voters will be asked to approve a 47% tax increase.

The district is hosting a number of community forums. See Suburban Life.
Forums are set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Brook Park School, 30th Street and Raymond Avenue, La Grange Park; Wednesday, Feb. 8, at S.E. Gross School, 3524 Maple Ave., Brookfield; Monday, Feb. 27, at Brook Park School; and Wednesday, March 8, S.E. Gross School.

REC, Brookfest officially nixed [BF]

First it was cancelled.

Then it was a maybe.

But now it's officially not happening in 2006. See Suburban Life (Megan Brody):
Despite a promoter's efforts to reinstate Brookfest, the summer carnival and music festival will not occur in Brookfield this summer. That was the consensus of Brookfield trustees at a Jan. 23 meeting.

The Village Board agreed in October to discontinue Brookfest because the carnival portion of the event seemed to attract unruly patrons, especially after its entrance fee was eliminated. Officials and police agreed the festival was getting rowdier in recent years and it was taking a toll on village resources.

MEDIA, "Viewpoints from the Other Side" [WJJG]

On Saturday, I hosted "Viewpoints from the Other Side" with Maywood Trustee Audrey Jaycox. Arnie Bryant had an emergency--a watermain burst in an evidence locker or someting.

Jaycox and I took a few calls. One was from "Tommie" who explained that he had problems with his water bills until the water meter was replaced. It sounded like a big success for the Village of Maywood.

After the call Jaycox told me that "Tommie" was really Maywood director of finance Jason Ervin.

I talked to Ervin later that day and he denied calling the show as "Tommie". I explained that as someone working in media I can't be involved in duping the public.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

CRIME, crime might not just pay; it may come with dental benefits

Sun-Times (Natasha Korecki):
A Chicago dentist pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges he fixed prostitutes' teeth for free and otherwise aided a prostitution ring out of a Marina Towers condo downtown.

ENVIR, will agreement end landfill stink [H]

Chicago Tribune:
Hillside residents should soon get a breath of fresh air, now that Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan has secured an agreement with a landfill company to fix a smelly methane gas-release problem.

Is this the same dump Bellwood residents were complaining about in 1998.

CRIME, two homicides in Maywood [M]

Chicago Tribune:
On Wednesday Justin Jobgen, 23, and Joshua Serpliss, 21, were found in a parked car in front of an office building at 1st Avenue and the Eisenhower Expressway.

Doesn't 8-10 weeks seem like a long time to get the toxicology test results?

Does anybody have details on the case?

POL, how to deal with unsolicited yardsigns [M06]

Rep. Karen Yarbrough suggests that recipients of unwanted yardsigns label the yardsigns unwanted rather than just removing them.

The background of this picture shows how the whole block received yardsigns.

Keep in mind how the Moore/Welch team reacted when challenged on unauthorized yardsigns in Forest Park. Although at his trial last week Democratic Committeeman Eugene "Gene" Moore said he never placed a yardsign without the homeowner's permission.

Friday, January 27, 2006

ED, high school business manager hired away [D209]

Sarah Johnson-Millon, the business manager for Proviso Township High Schools, has been hired by Sauk Village Elementary School District. See The Times (of NW Indiana(Joan Carreon)).

DEFAM, The verdict: It’s a Mistake [Esparza]

The Esparza v. Moore trial ended in a mistrial. Earlier entry one and two.

Some unauthorized documents were mixed into the evidence the jury was given to examine. According to Bob Habib, Esparza’s attorney, the documents were his. He speculated that after the judge and attorneys agreed on the documents to give the jury the documents were set on the mantle while the attorneys waited for a page of the jury instructions to be delivered. When the pile was given to the deputy it included an extra folder that was probably next to the authorized documents on the mantle.

The indications are that the jury was much more sympathetic with Esparza than the defense. The jury foreman spoke to the junior defense attorney. He chastised her in a sharp tone of voice. He told her a few times that the defense attorneys would “parse words and insult the jury’s intelligence”.

Later Sue Esparza, a daughter of Paul, said the foreman told her that the jury was unanimous as to defendants Moore and Sharp. They were not in agreement on Abdullah. Abdullah who was only linked to the flyer by his post office box number and the fact he did communications work for Moore on the campaign in question.

I was tempted to speculate that Eugene Moore had once again avoided the consequences of his actions. But it seems likely that the trial will happen before the March 21 primary. If it does, Moore will have to take another two weeks out of his schedule to be in court.

State Farm, Moore’s insurer, would seem to be the big loser. I expect the attorney to bill for another 60 hours (at least). At $180 per hour (the Chris Welch rate) that’s another $10,800 on an effort that is probably going to lose.

Unfortunately for State Farm they are insuring a client who would rather lose and say the jury got it wrong than he would to admit to any wrongdoing.

POL, Yarbrough looking for volunteers [M06]

The Yarbrough campaign is looking for volunteers on Saturday.



The new literature piece is ready and the weather is forecasted to be a warm day so let's take advantage of a beautiful January day! We will gather at 10:00am for a briefing on what to do before we take off for the



CALL THE CAMPAIGN OFFICE (708) 344-7062 OR 708-450-0906

ADMIN, improving Proviso Probe

How would you improve Proviso Probe? What kind of posts would you like to see more of? Which kind of posts are unimportant to you?

How do you feel about business news? Athletes from Proviso or Proviso schools?

What kind of cases should investigative reporting focus on?

How would you like to see the elections covered?

I asked a judicial candidate, TJ Loftus, to take questions on Proviso Probe. There didn't seem to be much interest. What kind of candidates are you interested in?

ED, residency checks

Chicago Tribune (Crystal Yednak) has an article about checking residency for elementary school students. The examples are from Berkeley and Bellwood.

Remember, if you have trouble meeting the standards demanded to prove residency, you are probably really homeless. Once you declare your family homeless the district can't challenge your child on residency.

ECON, does company doing well affect workers? [MP]

Market Watch (Dan Burrows) has a story about Alberto-Culver sales being up. A-C is based in Melrose Park.

Is the story relevant to the people that go to work at Alberto-Culver in Melrose Park? Or is it merely news for the investors?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

GOV, paying for zoning variance [FP]

Monica Golant and Jim Angelo are complaining about being charged an excessive amount to get a zoning variance from the Village of Forest Park.

My husband, Jim Angelo, and I bought a house in Forest Park in May of 2005. We purchased the property "As Is", knowing that the garage and electrical had to be upgraded. This did not seem as such a daunting task at the time.

June of 2005, we went to the village and handed in all of the relevant paper work for the variance and building permits required to tear down and rebuild the garage. At that time we paid $150.

We did not make the July ZBA meeting and while waiting for the August ZBA meeting, Jim and I decided to go slightly larger. We met with Danley Garage Company and took some measurements and found that we could go slightly larger and remain with in our budget.

Danley drew up all the required paper work and we ran it over to Lin in the Building Permits Department. Unfortunately, we did not know that we needed a second building permit cover sheet stating that we had changed the measurements. We were approved for the original measurements by the ZBA board in August of 2005.

August 31st of 2005 we received our first bill from Forest Park concerning the garage. I called Jo Ellen Charlton and spoke to her about the bill. She told me that it was for running the notice in the paper, mailing all our neighbors information as to what we were doing, and other miscellaneous legal fees. We were not happy with this at the time, but Jo Ellen assured me that since all the paper work had already been done, the next bill we would receive would be for less.

September rolls around and we're back at the ZBA. The correct measurements are approved and we can start building. We receive the second bill from Jo Ellen around November 10 th, 2005. This bill is less than the first bill and we just pay it.

Jim and I have our garage built and we're happy. January 21st, 2006, we receive the third bill regarding the garage. This one is the most expensive and by far the latest.

I call Jo Ellen first thing on Monday, January 23rd. She tells me that she needs to speak with Michael Boyle about this bill. I looked up Michael Boyle's phone number from the Forest Park Web Site and call him as well.

Michael Boyle explains to me that the invoice was lost for the last three months in a file folder. That the invoice is for mailing my neighbors, running the notice in the paper, and other legal fees; the same thing the other two invoices were for. He goes on to tell me that he's working for lowering these costs and a better explanation of these cost.

My husband and I can not in good judgment pay this bill until we have an acceptable explanation of why we are being charged $906.25 for what should have been a very simple variance. We are asking for a detailed invoice with all of the costs broken down. Secondly, we have to put off the purchase of a much needed water heater and other home improvements because of this bill. This also puts doubt into our minds as to other home improvements that we would want to do, but with an addition $900 charge tacked on to the building permit and variance we would not be able to afford to start new projects. We are trying very hard to be good homeowners and good neighbors in our new community. (emphasis added)

Is $900 a reasonable amount? Is this just a case of bureaucracy and incompetence? Is there something sinister going on?

GOV, Melrose Park applies for alley grants [MP]

Chicago Tribune (Steve Brosinski):
The Village Board plans to vote Feb. 13 on whether to apply for $300,000 through the Cook County Capital Development Block Grant Program....

CRIME, Rachel Mellon memorial service [M, Bollingbrook]

Chicago Tribune (Tonya Maxwell)
On Saturday, Skemp and those who loved Rachel will gather at the church where he worships, First Baptist Church in Maywood. Unless her remains are found, Rachel's friends and family expect this to be the last memorial service and a way to take one final moment to grieve publicly.

Rachel Mellon disappeared in 1995 at age 13.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

GOV, Yarbrough & cover acts [Illinois]

Rep. Karen Yarbrough has led in advocating for legislation to protect music performers from having others pose as the "original". See State Journal-Register (Rebecca O'Halleron).

POL, yardsign thuggery in Forest Park [M06]

Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) covers an incident that occurred on January 15, 2006.

Vincent Jones, a relative of Cook County Board President John Stroger, was leading a crew in placing yardsigns for Eugene Moore and Emanuel Christopher Welch.

A resident objected. Police arrived. Jones threatened the police. Officers told the workers to remove the unauthorized signs. The police asked Jones for ID. Jones cursed at the cops. The confrontation became physical. Jones was arrested for battery and resisting arrest.

Moore paid Jones' bond. The court date is March 16, 2005.

Will Collin Simpson, the State's Attorney lead prosecutor in the Fourth District, go easy on Jones?

The story ends with...
Welch, Moore and Jones did not return calls seeking comment for this story.

In the comments you can speculate about what Welch, Moore or Jones might have said about the incident.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

ECON, Supervalu buys Jewel [MP]

Jewel headquarters are in Melrose Park. Supervalu, Inc. is based in Minnesota. See Chicago Tribune (John Schmeltzer).

JOBS, Ford cuts, but not in Chicago [MP]

Ford has a parts distribution center in Melrose Park.

Ford is cutting 20 percent or more of its workforce, but the Chicago area facilities won't be cut. See Sun-Times (Dee-Ann Durbin).

DEFAM, Esparza cross examined [Esparza]

I attended the trial of Paul Esparza v. Eugene Moore, Askia Abdullah and David Sharp. What can I say?

For background see Maywood Herald (Kevin Beese).

The suit alleges Moore, Sharp and Abdullah distributed literature that said Esparza was a felon and committed home repair fraud. The defense denies responsibility for the flyer.

I arrived and the trial went on break. I introduced myself to Paul Esparza. One of his daughters got all pissy with me about Proviso Probe. Esparza called me sleazy.

Moore's attorney, whom I believe is paid for by the insurance company, grilled Esparza about Christina Nowakowski. Esparza gave answers that were plainly incomplete if not outright dishonest.

When asked about Nowakowski's duties at the Recorder of Deeds office, he said stuff like, "I have no idea what she did."

Esparza said Nowakowski left because, "She blamed herself for everything that happened [including losing the Maywood house to foreclosure and losing her job]."

Esparza said, "I wouldn't waste five cents on Gene Moore."

Esparza acknowledged knowing Moore for over 30 years. I thought he was vague and evasive about their past political exploits.

Moore's attorney kept asking if Esparza knew of Moore doing an attack flyer like the one attacking Esparza. Esparza had a hard time saying "yes" because he said he and Nowakowski produced all Moore's stuff for a couple years. Esparza wouldn't get much sympathy from the jury if he admitted to doing the same thing.

But Esparza did claim that on the West Side Moore had done something similar that didn't involve Esparza.

The defense attorneys also challenged Esparza to explain how he was harmed. "My votes dropped quite a bit." (The results in the election were Moore 47%, Yarbrough 41% and Esparza 12%.)

Esparza said there was only one person he could name to corroborate that the flyer harmed him. Esparza explained the jury wouldn't hear from this person because, "Jimmy's too old."

Much of Esparza's grievance is based on, "I've never been found guilty of that."

The flyer portrays Esparza as a felon, but Esparza was never convicted.

There's also a gun charge in the flyer. Esparza says it's a different Paul Esparza. "It might say 'Paul Esparza' but it's not me.... I've never charged with a gun charge."

The flyer is pretty sleazy in that it mentions rape, pedophilia, fraud, elder abuse and moral terpitude as examples of things elected officials shouldn't have done. The flyer makes an effort to plant a seed against Esparza.

The last bit of questioning was about the charges Esparza committed fraud against Louis Bellamy. Esparza acknowledged that the charges were dropped when Bellamy was paid. Esparza claimed, "Moore gave me the money to pay off the attorney." I became a little confused about want attorney got paid and for what. Esparza acknowledged committing the underlying offense, but feels that he was wronged by the flyer saying he was found criminally culpable.

Monday, January 23, 2006

ED, school board meeting [D209]

The board disagreed over a number of personnel decisions, including transfering Shavonne Henry (daughter of board member Reatha "Sue" Henry) firing Angela Jackson a switchboard operator and hiring Maria Aliasi (nextdoor neighbor of board member Dan Adams), Anthony Donatille and Danielle Murray.

Board president Emanuel Christopher Welch offered to postpone votes on two contracts: a sign and sidewalk, both for PMSA.

The staff seemed unprepared to ask pretty obvious questions about the sign contract. The agenda had C Johnson Sign Company listed as the vendor for $55,300. The board members recalled the signs for East and West cost only $20,000. Board member Gary Marine even researched the prior signs in the newspaper.

Doesn't it seem like the sidewalk work and sign should have been included in the original contract for the school?

POL, Paul Esparza vs. Eugene Moore [M02]

The trial of Paul Esparza vs. Eugene Moore is in progress. Esparza has sued for defamation. I spoke briefly to Esparza’s attorney Bob Habib. The following testified today (Monday): Eugene Moore, Askia Abdullah and David Sharp.

Moore is the Proviso Democratic Committeeman and Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

Abdullah is a disbarred attorney who has various duties at the Recorder of Deeds office.

Sharp is the husband of Maywood Trustee Wanda Sharp.

Esparza is a former associate of Moore who ran against Moore for committeeman in 2002. Esparza is the husband of Christina Nowakowski, aka Christina Esparza, who has been missing since October, 2005.

The trial will resume tomorrow. I will attend and get more information.

KLEPT, splitting hairs to cover for a disbarred attorney [Recorder]

The Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission is responsible for disciplining unethical attorneys. The ARDC is under the Illinois Supreme Court.

In my opinion (IMO), the ARDC has been too lenient with attorneys.

The following is from an ARDC letter closing a complaint against attorneys at the Recorder of Deeds office. Eugene "Gene" Moore, the Proviso Township Democratic Committeeman, is Cook County Recorder of Deeds.
In August 2005, you wrote us, alleging that Askia Abdullah (who had been disbarred by the Illinois Supreme Court in 1996) may have engaged in the unauthorized practice of law while working at the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

[Askia Abdullah] said… that he does not interpret any laws, FMLA or otherwise, for the Recorder of Deeds’ office. He stated that, as the FMLA coordinator, he reviews personnel requests for leave under FMLA and assists in the determining whether applicants qualify for leave….

I have not been trained as an attorney, but I do know English passably. Is the term “interpret” a legal term of art with specific meaning separate from the way the word is used in laymen’s English?

If not, the ARDC isn’t even splitting hairs. There is no difference between interpreting the law and determining if the law applies.

So I decided to write a letter to Mary Robinson, the "administrator" of the ARDC.
I have noticed a pattern of the ARDC being inappropriately lenient in how it handles complaints against attorneys. I am collecting examples of this so I can make the case for the Illinois legislature to enact some system to audit the ARDC.

I request you explain a distinction made by Scott Kozlov, whom you have authorized to evaluate complaints against attorneys.

Kozlov wrote a response to four complaints that hinges on there being a distinction between “interpreting the law” and “determining whether the law applies”.

I’m not an attorney, so perhaps “interpret the law” is a term of art that has specific meaning separate from the way laymen use the words. But if not, it seems clear that Kozlov acted inappropriately when he closed the following complaints: No. 05 CI 3925-8.

I eagerly await your explanation of the difference between “interpreting the law” and “determining whether the law applies”. If there is no distinction, I request you explain what corrective action you have taken for the ARDC’s errors in these cases.

PO-PO, Melrose Park PD development [MP]

A source says to watch for a development this week in the investigation of the Melrose Park PD by the federales. Lots of cops will be talking or taking the Fifth.

BTW, I finally got an explanation that makes sense about why the Department of Labor is involved in the investigation. If the Melrose Park police officers were required to work for Vito Scavo’s security company this may run afoul of federal labor law. In any case, the Department of Labor has the expertise to analyze time cards, collective bargaining agreements and the like.

ED, high school board meeting tonight [D209]

Doesn't it seem like school board meetings should be on the calendar on the District 209 website? Tongight's board meeting will be at Proviso East.

It would be nice to have the proposed agenda published online too.

Chavonne Henry will be getting a $35,000/year job, which I believe is a promotion.

The board will blow $55,000 on a Chris Welch campaign sign.... I mean an illuminated sign outside PMSA.

And the board is going to spend $22,900 on a sidewalk required by Forest Park village code. Perhaps someone will explain how Loyola got away with shirking the village code.

M06, who was at LaShawn Ford fundraiser? [8th Rep]

I've been told by a couple sources that Congressman Danny K. Davis and state senate candidate James T. Smith both attended LaShawn Ford's fundraiser on Friday.

Friday, January 20, 2006

ED, institute day at Proviso Township High Schools [D209]

Debra Pickering of Concordia is training the teachers today. Unfortunately she came prepared to instruct on K-5 education, not high school education.

I wonder if the middle schools are to blame for the miscommunication.

M06, January 13 Rep. Calvin Giles fundraiser [4th Sen]

I attended the fundraiser at the invitation of James T. Smith. Smith is challenging Sen. Kimberly Lightford in the Dem Primary. Giles invited Smith.


1. Giles kicked Smith in the teeth by endorsing Lightford at the event. Smith said he would have appreciated a phone call instead of being dissed with his wife there.
2. Former Alderman Percy Giles got the biggest intro from Calvin. OK. I can accept that. But then Percy Giles said his proudest moment was appointing Calvin to the state legislature. Percy wasn't proud of doing something for the community, but for getting a job for his nephew.

CRIME, defining "rape" in prison

Sun-Times (Kim Curtis):
A bitterly disputed, government-sponsored study has concluded that rape and sexual assault behind bars may be rampant in movies and books but are rare in real life.

When inmates have sex, it is usually by choice, and often engaged in as a way to win protection or privileges, said Mark Fleisher, a cultural anthropologist who specializes in prisons and crime at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Trading sex for protection isn't exactly the hallmark of a consensual relationship.

If you accept that prostitution is not truly consensual in most cases, then it doesn't seem like prison sex meets the definition of consensual either.

ED, Starsiak missing from work already [D88]

District 88 (Bellwood and Stone Park elementary schools) Superintendent Drew Starsiak has missed the last two days of work for undisclosed reasons.

Starsiak was hired to replace former superintendent Dr. Willie Mack. Mack was placed on administrative leave pending a hearing the will fire him.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

GOV, why violate Open Meetings Act when firing?

When District 88 fired Dr. Willie Mack it didn't post the issue in advance as required by the Open Meetings Act.

Dr. Kelvin Gilchrist was also fired on no notice. Like Mack, the authorities sought to lock Gilchrist out of his office immediately.

James K. Graham, Sr. was also fired on short notice.

And Greg Jackson too.

If the Moore/Welch/Thurman gang have the votes, why not simply announce these firings in advance? District 88 has already been warned on Open Meetings Act violations. Are Moore and Welch so confident that State's Attorney Dick Devine will give 'em a pass?

But why bend or break the rules if they don't need to?

Are they pathologically dishonest?

Or maybe there is some method in their tactics...?

Here's a hypothesis: the Moore/Welch/Thurman gang are eager to get people locked out of the building as quickly as possible to keep certain records from being photocopied. These records would show an appearance of impropriety or illegal conduct on the part of members of the board majority.

ZOO, Loyola gives dolphin CT scan [BF, M]

See Chicago Tribune (William Mullen).

PO-PO, Maywood pays Brookfield man $750,000 [M, BF]

George Caithamer of Brookfield was severely beaten by another inmate while in the Maywood jail. Police neglected to respond for 20 minutes in spite of closed circuit monitoring. See Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Uphues).

HOSP, Westlake ER expands [MP]

Friday ceremony. See Maywood Herald.

SPORT, Bellwood's contribution to Blackjack [BW]

Casino City Times (John G. Brokopp):
A revolutionary new blackjack option called "Casino Surrender", which has been creating a stir in Las Vegas since its debut at the Stardust on The Strip last April, has the potential to become a standard feature of the game everywhere it's played before too long if the early returns are any indication....

Casino Surrender is the brain child of Frank Mugnolo, president and CEO of Casino Gaming LLC of Bellwood, Illinois. A former CPA, he founded the company when he realized the blackjack option he came up with and subsequently patented was something both casinos and players would embrace.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

ED, Libka comments on sacking Gilchrist [D209]

Robert Libka, Proviso Township High School's chief education officer, recently fired his deputy superintendent, Dr. Kelvin Gilchrist.

From Forest Park Review (Seth Stern):
Libka declined to comment on the reasons for the suspension, but said that the decision to suspend Gilchrist was made independent of any board of education members, and that all board members were notified at the same time.

Here’s how a competent chief executive would have handled firing a senior lieutenant with a divided board of directors.

The chief executive would have discussed the issue with the leaders of both factions. “I know we’ve had differences in the past, but my deputy isn’t working for reasons A, B & C.” Then the board members would have countered with their analysis. The chief executive would strive to build consensus on whether to fire the deputy and when. If no consensus could be achieved then the chief executive would act while acknowledging the dissenting point of view.

Of course, trying to achieve consensus is more productive when the underlying personnel move actually makes sense.

Libka is part clumsy and part dishonest. He shouldn’t have fired Gilchrist without first consulting the board. But Libka has trained himself to reflexively say, “No board members were involved in this personnel decision.” Apparently he doesn’t grasp that it’s inappropriate to have board members direct hiring and firing, but that there are times when he should be consulting the board.

But who thinks Libka sacked Gilchrist without consulting with board president Emanuel Christopher Welch first? Libka could attend every Sunday service, tithe 10% and wear a Jesus tie every day of the year and I still wouldn’t believe him.

Getting people to believe you is more likely when the story you’re peddling actually makes sense.

ADMIN, why do you read or post to Proviso Probe?

Proviso Probe is about to hold its first fundraising drive.

Why do you read or visit Proviso Probe?

Monday, January 16, 2006

POL, Black unity vs. divisiveness

What does it mean to be Black and in politics?

If you feel like you can’t respond to this issue without including barbs directed at someone locally, please wait until after Tuesday noon to respond.

On Political Animal Debra Dickerson included a short synopsis of the Newark mayor’s race.

I posted about James T. Smith—Smith is running for the State Senate in the Democratic Primary against Kimberly Lightford—recounting a conversation with Alderman Ed Smith (no relation).

Alderman Smith advocated young Blacks joining the political organizations of existing Black politicians and waiting their turn.

Unity vs. division? Theory vs. reality?

Under what circumstances does the Black community stay unified politically? What causes the Black community to divide politically?

Under what circumstances should the Black community stay unified politically? What should cause the Black community split into one or more factions?

What would Martin do?

In honor of the MLK Day holiday, I’d like to ask Proviso Probe readers no to be shitty to each other for one day. In the words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all get along?” Or at least, can’t we refrain from writing anything disrespectful about each other for a day?

I read on a blog onetime that conservatives are worshippers of safely dead radicals. Conservatives cherry pick what they want to hear from the message of Jesus, the “founding fathers” and, now, Martin Luther King.

If King remained alive today, he wouldn’t be hanging out at the church talking about “glory days”.
Picture an old King saying, “Hey, you whippersnappers, did I ever tell you about Selma? I gave a pretty good speech at the Lincoln Memorial, y’know?”

“Yes, sir, Dr. King. You’ve told us.”

King would push us to do more to make our society better.

I picked-up a copy of Neighbors and paged through it. It included an article to remember King’s accomplishments. If King were alive in Melrose Park, he’d thank Tina Valentino, the publisher of Neighbors, for her kind words, but call her to investigate the brutality, abuses and indignities perpetrated by the Melrose Park Police Department against the Latino community.

Recognizing that Jim Crow segregation was wrong is pretty safe in suburban Chicago in 2005. But what about the informal ways society is segregated and divided against itself? What about the way the politically powerful exploit these divisions?

ED, what should Proviso T. do about education?

I’m interested in having an education policy discussion. The idea that I have (subject to modification) is to invite people to submit writings about what should be done to improve education in Proviso Township.

I want to discuss policies, not personalities. Also, I’d like to discuss stuff that can be implemented in the future, not rehash bad decisions that have been made in the past.

SPORT, Khara Smith interview [H, D209]

Khara Smith is a Proviso West grad and a member of the DePaul women's hoops team. Nick Pietruszkiewicz of the Northwest Herald interviewed her.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

PO-PO, did Vito Scavo's daughter post on Proviso Probe? [MP]

I wrote an entry about a community meeting with Melrose Park Deputy Chief of Police Gary Montino.

watching & waiting posted a dig at Melrose Park Police Chief Vito Scavo.

Then "anonymous" posted the following:
This is in response specifically to the comments about Vito Scavo. I am his daughter and I suggest that your writers do more research before posting defamating comments about a man that has served as an officer for almost 30 years, faithfully and with pride.

Everything my family has, has been earned through years of hard work and determination. Maybe if your staff concerned themselves with being productive community citizens they too could invest in a well DESERVED, modest condo(not a million dollar home) after 30 YEARS of dedicated service. Maybe, you should try being a police officer for a couple of months and see the kind of mistreatment they are exposed to everyday while protecting you and your family from the ingrates within your community.

I don't know if this was posted by Scavo's daughter or merely someone claiming to be Scavo's daughter.

If Scavo or his family would like to contact me directly, email me, RadioNyberg Circled "a" Yahoo spot com. Of course, anyone is welcome to post under his/her real name.

M06, Yarbrough/Davis campaign office [7/7]

Rep. Karen Yarbrough and Congressman Danny K. Davis will share a campaign office at 134 S. Fifth Ave. in Maywood. The grand opening is Saturday, January 21, 2006, noon to 3 PM.

The event is open to the public.

Friday, January 13, 2006

DEFAM, sanction motion presented to judge

My attorney and Welch’s attorney appeared before Judge Diane Joan Larsen Friday, January 13, 2006. Earlier my attorney had filed a motion requesting attorney fees and sanctions against the plaintiffs in the cases of E.C. Welch v. Nyberg & B. Welch v. Nyberg.

Larsen granted my request to depose witnesses on the plaintiff’s side. Emanuel Christopher Welch, Billy Welch and James J. Roche are the obvious witnesses. Larsen also granted the plaintiffs request to depose my attorney and me.

The next court date is March 23, 2005, two days after the Democratic Primary in which Welch is a candidate for state representative.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

M06, Thomas "TJ" Loftus, countywide judicial candidate [COOK]

I invited Thomas "TJ" Loftus, a candidate for judge to take questions from Friday noon until Monday noon.

He's not going to be online the whole time, but he has offered to answer questions asked before Monday noon.

Here's the short version of his bio:
Thomas “TJ” Loftus is the son of a police officer and a school teacher. TJ learned from his parents the values of hard work and fair play and to never give up fighting for what is right. As an Assistant State’s Attorney, TJ has fought to protect children, parents and those abandoned by the system when no else would help.

TJ, who is legally blind, mentors visually impaired children. He inspires them to overcome the obstacles they face and work hard toward a better future.

TJ knows how to get things done in the complex County Courts and never forgets the importance fairness should play in the justice system. As a Circuit Court Judge, TJ will use his experience and expertise to ensure that everyone who comes before the court will receive a fair and just hearing. We all need someone like Thomas Loftus fighting for us, because true justice is always blind.

CRIME, stealing newspapers

West Suburban Journal comes out on Thursdays. I had a column in today's paper about nominating petition challenges, both generally and specifically against Sen. Kimberly Lightford's petitions.

The short version of the column is that the nominating petition challenge system is biased in favor of incumbents and the party establishment. And Lightford's petitions have a number of irregularities that suggest further investigation may be warranted.

Nicole Trottie, the publisher of West Suburban Journal, told me that the papers were being stolen from distribution points. The paper is free. The issue also included a couple of reprints of articles from Forest Park Review about District 209. One was about terminating Dr. Gilchrist; the other about the possibility tapes of a closed session meeting were tampered with.

Who would want to keep these stories from reaching the public?

ED, Dr. Willie Mack placed on administrative leave [D88]

District 88's board of education voted 4-2 to place Dr. Willie Mack on administrative leave pending a hearing to terminate his employment. The majority included Ron Anderson, Maria Castrejon, Tommie Miller and Marilyn Thurman. Antonette "Toni" Dorris and John Wicks voted against the motion. Board president Althea Busby excused herself after the closed session and relinquished the gavel to Castrjon.

Parents were outraged to the point of disrupting the proceedings. Professional educators were crying.

Former District 89 superintendent Drew Starsiak will replace Mack at the same rate of pay. Maywood Herald (John Huston) covered the firing of Starsiak.

The meeting started at 5:34 PM without board member Miller present. The board promptly went into closed session. After returning from close session all board members were present. Busby announced that she would have to "take leave" and appointed Castrejon the acting chair. Castrejon invited board attorney Emanuel Christopher Welch to sit next to her so she would conduct the meeting properly.

Welch is the president of the District 209 (Proviso Township High Schools) board of education. Busby works at District 209. Until recently she was the administrative assistant to Dr. Kelvin Gilchrist, who was recently fired. See Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) for more details.

The audience was invited to comment before the board considered motions.

Danielle Smith said, "If there is a problem with our superintendent our community deserves to know it in an open forum."

Sharon Hill added, "We're crucifying him before we know what he can do."

Ms. Wilborn added, "If you didn't come to the parent involvement committee... you weren't trying to hear the parents."

Yesterday there was a parent involvement committee attended by board members Busby, Castrejon, Dorris and Wicks. The parents complained about having to buy paper because the limits placed on photocopying by the school administrators. Also, a student named Chaniqua told about severe bullying problems she was experiencing.

Thurman became defensive and characterized the meeting as a meeting to bash the board. She also claimed she didn't get either the notice sent home with her daughter or the one put into her board package. Of course the board packages were tampered with, most likely by Sam Gardner, who was acting at the behest of the person or persons that sought to fire Mack. Thurman insisted she had a conflict too.

Anderson was somewhat haughty when he talked about his own academic commitments and the number of semester hours he takes toward getting his MBA. One definitely got the impression that Anderson's first priority is bettering himself and that his school board duties need to be fit around his personal priorities.

Miller cited a "prior engagement".

One of the audience members, Ms. Hobbs explained to the board how she missed her own college graduation to participate in her child's education.

The exchange about the parential involvement committee led to the first getting nasty in open session. Dorris stood and said in a lound voice, "We did educate the parents about the garbage going on [in District 88]."

After the verbal exchanges over the parent involvement committee, Wicks declared in a loud voice, "I believe this is an illegal meeting." He explained that the meeting was reconvened from the Monday board meeting that started but was postponed for lack of an agenda. "A reconvened meeting does not have a new agenda." Wicks offered a motion to table the meeting. Only he and Dorris voted for it.

Voting on the minutes of past meetings was contentious because Wicks has been trying to gain access to the tapes of the October 17 special meeting. Anderson, the board secretary and childhood friend of Welch, has the tapes at home.

Anderson's excuse for not providing the tapes is that he had them available for Wicks on one Thursday. Anderson seemed to be implying that Wicks missed his opportunity to ever get access to the tapes.

Wicks wants the tapes because he has concerns about whether Welch acted ethically in a closed session of a meeting.

The votes were largely unanimous or 4-2 with Dorris and Wicks dissenting. The vote on payment of bills was 5-1 with Thurman dissenting, although she did not provide a reason.

BLOG, don't be annoying unless you use your name

News.com (Declan McCullagh):
Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.

It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.

What are the odds Emanuel Christopher Welch tries to use this law to sue his critics?

I expect the law will be shot down on First Amendment grounds. Remember, a number of the "founding fathers" produced annoying pamphlets anonymously.

PO-PO, Forest Park makes mayor warlord [FP]

Should a village mayor have the power to deputize six of his posse to hassle political opponents or intimidate critics?

Forest Park has passed an ordinance that gives the mayor this power. See Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) and the editorial (scroll down to "checks and balances") for background. It’s tempting to debate this in the context of the current mayor, Tony Calderone. People who like and trust Calderone will probably be more comfortable with the ordinance; people who mostly disagree with Calderone will probably be suspicious.

I’d like to ask Proviso Probe readers to subtract Calderone from the equation. In the future when somebody else is mayor, does this ordinance make sense?

Here’s a scenario that’s unlikely, but not impossible. Some individual builds a criminal organization. He decides to look for a community to use as his base. He decides Forest Park is attractive for three reasons:

1. It’s small enough that he can elect himself mayor.
2. The fourth district of the state’s attorney office has been very deferential to the community political powers when handling criminal prosecutions.
3. Existing Forest Park ordinance makes it easy to make the gang's enforcers cops.

Does this scenario seem unlikely? Maybe. But how likely is it that the mayor of Forest Park is going to need to be able to raise an auxiliary police force before he can meet with the rest of the commissioners?

These part time police officers have other problems. If the mayor decides who to hire and fire, the chief of police gets cut “out of the loop”. The loyalties of the part time officers are going to be completely different than those of the Forest Park police force. Over time this will undermine good order and discipline.

The incentive structure is completely different too. Traditional police officers get paid for their time, but are also working toward a pension. A cop knows that if he breaks the law he puts his pension at risk. These part time officers won’t be working toward a pension. So if the mayor were to ask them to do something illegal, they would be more likely to do it.

Forest Park is vesting huge amounts of power with the office of the mayor. No compelling case has been made why this is necessary.

I’m skeptical of the part time officer program, but if Forest Park is going to do it, the program should be run by the chief of police—not the mayor—with all deployments pre-approved by the village council.

BTW, what’s the insurance company say about this program? Are there any checks against abuses the Forest Park’s insurer would like to see implemented?

GOV, violation of Open Meetings Act? [D88]

Today at 5:30, the District 88 school board will meet. This is the delayed meeting separate from the regular meeting that was scheduled for Monday. Various people suspect Dr. Willie Mack will be fired at today's meeting.

According to the Open Meetings Act, the agenda is supposed to be available 48 hours in advance of the meeting. Here's what the executive session agenda says:
Consider... Superintendent benefits

I'm not a lawyer, but if the intent is to have a debate about terminating the chief executive the language "superintendent benefits" is too vague to fulfill the requirements of the Open Meetings Act.

Remember, District 88 has already been warned about violating the Open Meetings Act.

If the ARDC, the professional body for disciplining attorneys, had any teeth, Emanuel Christopher Welch, the board attorney, would be more worried about being disciplined for non-compliance with the Open Meetings Act. But I guess it's like pro wrestling. You're only breaking the law if the people enforcing the law do their part.

PEOPLE, famous wood carver from Bellwood [BW]

Gary Cichy grew-up in Bellwood. Cichy does wood carvings of fish. See Sun-Times (Dale Bowman).

SPORT, strike over; harness racing begins [MP]

Harnesslink.com (from New Zealand):
Maywood Park, the only Chicagoland racetrack devoted exclusively to live harness racing, begins its 60 consecutive season on Thursday (January 12).

Since 1946 Maywood Park has conducted a live racing meet, the longest in the State of Illinois standardbred history.

After a one-week delay because of horsemen’s strike Maywood Park hosts the first its 2006 programs on January 12 which will be held every Thursday through April and picked up again from June 22 through the end of the year. The Chicago circuit’s half-miler will also be the site of live standardbred racing every Friday through the same time period.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

ANNOUNCE, the blogfather cometh

I was inspired to blog by a Cubs fan who grew-up in El Salvador, Markos Moulitsas, the creator of DailyKos.com.

I recommend people take advantage of the opportunity to meet Kos (rhymes with "rose") when he comes to Naperville on January 22, 2006. See WurfWhile.

REL, will St. Eulalia stay open? [M]

St. Eulalia in Maywood is running a deficit and may be closed by the Archdiocese.

Maywood Herald (David Pollard):
[Bishop Thomas] Paprocki said he has discussed the future of the church [St. Eulalia] with Cardinal Francis George and there are three options he posed to the church. The church members could join St. James Catholic Church, which is predominantly Hispanic, or St. James could become a part of St. Eulalia.

They also could tear down St. Eulalia's school building and convent and become a mission under another parish; or open the door to another Catholic congregation, with somewhat different practices.

Paprocki said the cardinal has been talking with members of Khanaya Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission in Bellwood about using St. Eulalia for Mass. The mission is made up predominately of Indian-Americans.

The bishop said in exchange for using the church, the mission would help pay for the needed repairs. He noted the mission's parishioners are Catholic and their services are similar to Roman Catholics, but that they have their own bishop and would have services at a different time than St. Eulalia's regular service. He said no decision has been made yet whether the mission will agree to the move.

Please share your thoughts about the underlying politics and economics of the decision or your fondest memories of St. Eulalia.

GOV, reducing police brutality

I had a column published in the Forest Park Review in which I offered a way to reduce police brutality.

Every person taken into custody would be surveyed about how he or she was treated.

An independent company would compile the complaints of mistreatment and then anonymously survey the police officers. The officers would be able to anonymously report which allegations of abuse were credible.

The company would evaluate the feedback from the officers and make a recommendation to the police department as to which allegations of abuse should be investigated.

It would cost a little money, but it would save money on insurance premiums, legal bills and settlements down the road.

ANNOUNCE, Luther Bedford funeral

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at the Rock of Ages Baptist Church, 1309 Madison St., Maywood. A visitation is scheduled for 10 to 11 a.m. at the church.

h/t Rockford Register Star (Mike Dedoncker).

Luther Bedford obit.

M06, Giles settles fines [8th Rep]

Sun-Times (Tracy Swartz):
SPRINGFIELD -- Paying less than a quarter on the dollar, state Rep. Calvin Giles agreed Monday to give state election authorities more than $25,000 to settle $144,000 in campaign fines so he can stay on the March primary ballot.

The deal was approved unanimously by the State Board of Elections and praised by a government watchdog, allowing the West Side Democrat to set aside the title of Illinois' most notorious election scofflaw.

Does Rep. Calvin Giles deserve congratulations?

One of the things that's always bothered me about the Illinois State Board of Elections is how passive it is about dealing with alleged violations of election law. The personnel won't lift a finger on most stuff, but they can tell when a document is filed late.

For example, Paul Esparza not filing any campaign disclosure when he ran for Dem Committeeman of Proviso Township in 2002 would seem to be a more serious violation of the law than Giles filing paperwork late. But Esparza wasn't held accountable and Giles was.

Sen. Kimberly Lightford failed to file campaign disclosure forms when she ran for Maywood trustee in 1997 (or was it '99). As far as I know she never had her knuckles wrapped.

Eugene Moore contributing to Welch's school board race under the name EMM would seem to violate the laws against secret donations. I personally reported this to the Board of Elections. As far as I know nothing was done about it.

But those bureaucrats can tell when a form is filed late.

It seems like Giles is being punished for the failing to dot his "i"s and cross his "t"s to create the appearance that the State Board of Elections is enforcing rules when the important rules aren't being effectively enforced.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

MEDIA, why missing pretty girls are news

After a spat of news coverage about missing white girls, there was some backlash against the media.

The most absurd case was the woman in Duluth, Georgia who got cold feet before her wedding. Absent any direct evidence of a crime the story became national news.

The media engaged in a little bit of handwringing. USA Today admitted in didn't cover a more newsworthy case where the woman was Black. See Political Animal (Kevin Drum).

In the case of Olamida Adeyooye, the media picked-up the story. It probably would have happened a day or two earlier if Adeyooye were "White", but the story did get widespread coverage.

The original archtype is the "Damsel in Distress". As the Wikipedia entry notes, there's an element of BDSM in the storyline.

Here's my insight.

The media is selling implied pornography with the missing pretty girl sydrome. It's asking viewers to imagine their personal fantasies, especially rape and murder fantasies. The missing pretty girl stories are middle brow snuff porn--snuff porn for people who are too inhibited to obtain and watch regular porn.

The implied porn phenomenon also explains what the media loved about the Clinton/Lewinsky/blue dress story. The imagery was riveting. They got to purvey porn without the negative stigma that gets attached to people that work in porn full-time.

ED, is cancelled meeting an omen in Bellwood? [D88]

The District 88 (Bellwood Elementary Schools) board of education was scheduled to hold a meeting on Monday night. The meeting has been postponed until Thursday at 4:30 PM. Board members Antonette “Toni” Dorris and John Wicks suspect that the majority have planned--along with board attorney Emanuel Christopher Welch--to fire the superintendent, Dr. Willie Mack, outright. (The board voted to not renew Mack’s contract at an earlier contentious meeting.)

The basis for rescheduling the meeting was that the packages sent to board members did not have an agenda. Dorris picked-up an agenda at the Ed Center on Friday, in person.

Both Dorris and Wicks believe the board member packages included agendas when they were created. When the envelopes with the board member packages arrived they had been opened and resealed with tape. Dorris described the envelopes as being “taped like a three-year old did it”. Sam Gardner was the person that delivered the agendas, according to Dorris and Wicks.

In addition to being a District 88 employee, Sam Gardner is the father of Terrence Gardner, a District 209 employee.

Dorris noted that board member Ron Anderson, a Welch ally and brother of Jeremiah Norris (Norris is being prosecuted for drug dealing), was participating in the committee meetings prior to the board meeting without raising the issue of the lack of an agenda. Marilyn Thurman, a member of the board majority and political disciple of Chuck Baxter, raised the issue of the packages not including an agenda when she arrived.

Dorris described Maria Castrejon as looking nervous. Castrejon is the shakiest member of the board majority. She had a difficult time casting the vote to “not renew” Mack’s contract on November 7, 2005.

When District 209 fired Greg Jackson as superintendent, the board majority cancelled the Monday meeting and scheduled another meeting a few days later. Welch is the president of the D209 board.

Monday, January 09, 2006

ANNOUNCE, come out drinking?

You are invited to the nascent west Cook Drinking Liberally group that meets at Goldyburgers, 7316 Circle, Forest Park, 7:30-10:30.

M06, Lightford challenge to Smith nominating petitions [4th Sen]

I received an update on the numbers from James T. Smith who is challenging State Senator Kimberly Lightford in the Democratic Primary.

Smith submitted 1,898 signatures. He needs 1,000 valid sigs to qualify for the ballot.

Lightford's camp challenged 1,286; 612 were not challenged.

385 of the challenged signatures were by voters in suburban Cook County. After review, 226 of these signatures were found to be valid (159 of the challenges were upheld). This means 58.7% of Smith's suburban Cook sigs were good.

The next step is to evaluate the 901 challenged signatures from Chicago. Only 162 of these signatures need to be valid (18%), so Smith would seem to have earned a spot on the ballot.

See the earlier entry for comments.

Smith also informed me that Lightford's paperwork caused confusion among her people. In the cases they said they were objecting to voters living outside the district the objectors meant that the voters in questioned weren't registered. I had used this mistake to argue that Lightford's objection wasn't in good faith and that her attorneys should be disciplined. I still think this is true, but would focus on the almost 60% rate that Lightford's objections were flawed.

CRIME, Brookfield man executed in Cicero

Suburban Life (Megan Brody)
A 35-year-old ex-Marine was shot by a masked gunman in an execution-style murder in a Cicero tavern at about 6:30 p.m. New Year's Day. The assailant fled after firing five shots at Brookfield resident David Sauseda Jr., said Dan Proft, Cicero spokesman. Sauseda was hit in the back and head as he relaxed at It's About Time, 3147 S. 53rd Court. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"It was someone he knew. It was too personal," said Melissa Sauseda, the victim's 29-year-old sister. "He wasn't perfect. We know it was meant for him, but we don't know why or who exactly."

I see.
"It is hard to say if the individual was acting alone or part of an effort including other people," Proft said, adding police have no reason to believe the murder is related to street gangs or organized crime.

No reason other than it was an execution? In Cicero?
David Sauseda Jr. joined the Marines after graduating from Cicero's J. Sterling Morton East High School in 1989, where he played football for four years. A large group of friends enlisted together, many returning to work in Cicero's Police Department, his sister said.

Friends in the Cicero Police Department?

If the Mafia did have someone hit in Cicero, would the Cicero Police say the Mafia was suspected?

GOV, Westchester considers TIF [W]

Suburban Life (Erick Bieritz):
The Westchester Village Board... could bring [the proposed TIF district] up again at its 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, meeting in Village Hall, 10300 Roosevelt Road.

Here's an explanation of TIF.

The chief thing to worry about is that the TIF fund won't be spent in a productive manner either through incompetence, bad choices or dishonesty.

GOV, Westchester and La Grange Park hiring village managers [W, LP]

Suburban Life (Erick Bieritz):
Westchester has received about 20 applications for its vacant manager job, and the predominance of hopefuls from outside the village may put to rest political rumors that concerned some trustees.

Suburban Life (Tara Alexander):
La Grange Park will have to wait awhile longer to name a new village manager after contract negotiations fell through with a candidate who was offered the position in the last weeks of 2005, Village President James L. Discipio said.

Discipio would not speculate on when the village manager search might conclude, but he said the village could again advertise the position if one of the four [other] candidates is not selected.

REC, Brookfest may get reprieve [BF]

Suburban Life (Megan Brody):
Just when residents thought Brookfest's 2006 cancellation was a done deal, the Brookfield Village Board is considering reinstating the popular summer event as a music and food festival, while eliminating the carnival element.

SPORT, party at the YMCA [BF, LP]

Cue the Village People...

The Brookfield-La Grange Park School District (District 95) is organizing a community event at the YMCA on Friday the 13th. See Suburban Life.

GOV, North Riverside hires new law firm [NR]

Suburban Life (Gina Kenny):
The North Riverside Village Board has appointed the law firm of Mahoney, Silverman & Cross Ltd. as the new village attorney.

Mahoney, Silverman & Cross has a variety of company and governmental clients including the villages of Channahon, Frankfort and Shorewood; the city of Aurora; Founders Bank and Waste Management Inc., according to law firm founding member David Silverman.

Members of the firm have only given $2,400 to Illinois pols since 1999. (Good) But four of the six contributions were to Darrell Sanders of Frankfort. (Bad)

This sort of logrolling from elected officials to law firms to campaign funds looks like money laundering from the outside--money laundering protected by attorney-client privilege.

CRIME, Maurice Wallace spits in court [B]

He also dismissed his public defender and requested a bench trial. Wallace is accused of killing Olamide Adeyooye. See Peoria Journal-Star (Carrie Kepple).

ANNOUNCE, outdoors woman? fearless?

This was too quirky to pass up.

Indianapolis Star:
If you're female and you can saw a log, catch a fish with your bare hands, pitch a tent, suit up in mountaineering gear and use snow shoes, you could win the Search for Chicago's Fearless Female at 11 a.m. Jan. 21.

That would get you a diamond ring, a four-day wilderness escape for four to Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Mo., and, presumably, that fish you bare-handed if you want to take it home.

The search is part of the 27th annual Chicagoland Outdoors Show Jan. 18-22 at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill.

Three competitors for the fearless women search will be selected based on 150-word essays explaining why they are Chicago's most fearless female. The essay deadline is Friday, with the winners picked Jan. 16. Essays should be e-mailed to www.chicagolandsportshow.com. Contestants don't have to live in Chicago. Information: (800) 511-8376.

OBIT, Luther Bedford ''Godfather'' of Public League basketball [BW]

Sun-Times (Clyde Travis):
Luther Bedford, a former coach and athletic director at Marshall affectionately known as the ''Godfather'' of Public League basketball, died Saturday night at Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park. He was 69.

Mr. Bedford, who coached Marshall to three Public League championships, was taken by ambulance earlier Saturday after collapsing in his Bellwood home. He was revived and coherent but listed in critical but stable condition. He was able to joke with family and friends, but later complained of back pain as the night progressed.

Friday, January 06, 2006

M06, judicial candidate guest on Proviso Probe [COOK]

Next weekend (Friday through Monday) Proviso Probe readers are invited to leave questions for Thomas "TJ" Loftus, a candidate for circuit court judge.

Loftus lives in Oak Park and is running countywide. He's an assistant state's attorney. He's legally blind, hence the website name, "BlindJustice.org".

ED, Graham fired for blogging? [D88]

On October 17, 2005 the District 88 (Bellwood elementary schools) board of education voted to fire James K. Graham as director of facilities. The board is controlled by allies of Emanuel Christopher Welch. Welch is the board’s attorney.

Graham is a political supporter of Rep. Karen Yarbrough. On October 4, 2005 Graham started the blog beat-him-at-da-pole. The name of the blog referred to beating Welch.

Graham believes Welch knew Graham was the author of the blog and that it caused Welch to get his allies to fire Graham.

SPORT, Shatone Powers added to NIU hoops roster [BV]

Paige Paulsen's injury is Powers opportunity. Powers is a wide receiver on the football team. See NIUHuskies.com.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

PO-PO, FPR covers Harder hearing [FP]

I posted about last week's hearing on Forest Park Police Department firing of Sgt. Dan Harder, but I arrived late. Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) has more details.
Since brutality allegations began to arise in the hearings, village officials have repeatedly stated that all allegations of misconduct by police officers are investigated, but have declined to discuss the specifics of past investigations.

[Police Chief James] Ryan was also questioned regarding the earlier testimony from officers who admitted to being scared of Murphy, specifically Michael Harrison, who said he carried a gun while off duty in part due to his fear of Murphy.

"I’ve talked to him at length several times, and I don’t believe he was truly afraid of physical harm by Murphy," said Ryan.

I thought it was precious when Ryan described Harrison as "confused" about what he said or meant.

But Forest Park Review really tees-off in the editorial.
[FPPD attorney Patrick Lucansky's opening argument]seemed a strange way to introduce his case—basically an admission that the board would not have much in the way of evidence to work with, and was instead being asked to make a ruling based on who it felt was more trustworthy.

With each charge against Harder being shredded, one by one, the board has nothing left upon which to base a ruling other than a guess as to who is telling the truth.

So with these charges out the window, all that’s really left is the question of whether Harder lied to Ryan during a conversation regarding his whereabouts while out sick.

Nobody was there to hear what Harder actually said, the conversation was not recorded, and Ryan, who says he is positive that his recollection of the conversation the following morning was verbatim, has not produced any notes. Essentially, as Lucansky predicted, after all the time and money spent, it’s just Ryan’s word against Harder’s.

But even if Harder did lie, is this really a fireable offense? Maybe in a squeaky-clean police department, but with officers testifying that they carry guns while off duty in part due fear of physical harm by their co-workers, it’s safe to say the department has bigger issues to take care of. And if a single lie is really worth firing someone over, the department is sure going to have a lot of firing to do considering the hours of contradictory testimony heard during the hearing. Everyone can’t be telling the truth.

BTW, today's hearing on the termination of Dan Harder was cancelled because... he was sick.

TRANS, Blue Line service changes? CATS

The CTA is considering changes to the Blue Line that would diminish service on the Cermak branch and increase service on the Forest Park branch. See Forest Park Review (Seth Stern).

I’d like to revisit a column I wrote for the August 18, 2004 Forest Park Review (not available online). I explained a little about the Chicago Area Transportation Study (CATS). CATS coordinates regional transportation issues. It includes a variety of stakeholders, but it excludes the regular Joes, aka the public, that use the transportation system.

I suggested we should elect the board that oversees CATS or its successor organization.
Elections, media, policy and the public interact with each other. The media needs for a story to be interesting—at least interesting enough to sell the advertising packaged around it. Media decision makers have largely concluded that nuts-and-bolts discussions of public policy don’t sell advertising. So they cover stuff that does sell advertising. The most extreme example is TV anchors hawking crime stories as news while telling nothing about crimes as a policy issue.

What if the Chicago area had contested elections for a transportation board? Candidates would discuss improving public transportation, airport policies, gasoline taxes and a whole bunch of issues that matter. This would provide a hook for the media to provide coverage. Media coverage would increase public awareness and public involvement. Maybe contested elections would even result a new idea and better transportation policies.

Under the current system, politicians have us voting on what’s important to them. We, the voters, elect people to control jobs (patronage) and contracts. Why should the public care about who is Recorder of Deeds, Clerk of the Circuit Court or on the board of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District? Wouldn’t you rather have a chance to vote on issues that directly affect Forest Park, such as widening the Eisenhower, the gas tax, how to expand Chicago’s air transportation capacity, the hours of service on the Blue and Green Lines and your bus fare?

Getting back the current issue, the CTA will be taking citizen input.

January 12, 6-8 PM, Forest Park Community Center, 7640 Jackson
January 10, 6-8 PM, UIC Student Center, 828 S. Wolcott
January 11, 6-8 PM, 10th District Police Station, 3315 W. Ogden, Chicago

GOV, taking "free" out of "Freedom of Information Act" [MP, BF]

Melrose Park Herald (John Huston) raps the knuckles of Melrose Park for gouging the press and citizens for Freedom of Information Act requests.

The purpose of the Freedom of Information Act is to allow citizens access to government records. Citizens are supposed to only be charged a nominal fee to cover copying. At the federal level the nominal fee is truly nominal.

At the state, county and municipal level the nominal fees have often been set high enough to discourage requests. I oppose the $5 fees many police departments charge. But the $20 and $50 fees charged by Melrose Park are way out-of-line with any reasonable interpretation of the FOIA.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan should provide explicit guidelines about FOIA fees.

The Village of Brookfield recently had a flap about the issue when two VIP party activists accused Clerk Dan Raddatz of overcharging. See Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Uphues).

CRIME, Jonathan Carter's sentence sticks [M]

Chicago Tribune:
A Cook County judge denied a Maywood man's [Jonathan Carter, 23] request to reconsider his 42-year sentence for the murder of a former police officer [Maywood Deputy Police Chief Willard Jackson].

ZOO, polar bears to Memphis for booty call [BF]

See WREG (AP):
Two polar bears from Brookfield Zoo in suburban Chicago are headed to the Memphis Zoo.

It's for a breeding program.

GOV, Northlake to replace water mains [NL]

Franklin Park Herald-Journal (Chuck Fieldman):
The city of Northlake may seek a low-interest loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency so that additional water main work can be completed in a more timely and more economical manner.

Is it a requirement that Anthony Bruno be involved in any local projects to replace water mains?

SPORT, Proviso West girls win at Morton [D209]

See Maywood Herald:
For the second straight season, the Proviso West girls basketball team came out on top at the Morton College Minuteman Classic last week.

In the championship contest against Riverside-Brookfield, the Panthers withstood an onslaught from the McCloskey sisters, Maggie (21 points) and Katelyn (18 points), to post a 58-54 victory. Lauren Robertson, daughter of coach Beverly Robertson, led the way for West with 19 points - including 14 in the second half - and tournament Most Valuable Player Tonesha Members chipped in 14 with seven rebounds as the Panthers topped the Bulldogs in the title contest for the second straight season.

OBIT, LaGrange Park Junior High haunted [LP]

juiceenewsdaily (Landon Howell):
La Grange Park - Park Jr. High - The school used to be a nunnery in the 1950’s. It was rumored that a nun killed herself in one of the upper floors in the building. Now she haunts the room (room number cannot be found). Students found erasers missing, felt chills around the room, and heard voices in the absence of the teacher.

The same website discusses Queen of Heaven Cemetary in Hillside.
Hillside - Queen of Heaven Cemetery - Our Lady of Angels School in Chicago. It caught on fire 12/1/1958 and claimed 87 children and 3 Nuns in one day. By the way they did rebuild a new school over the burned out school - but no activity has been reported there. However the cemetery they are buried in, Queen of Heaven Cemetery has had some interesting reports. About 6 years ago a man started having visions at Queen of Heaven every day except Tuesdays. Said the Blessed Mother was talking to him. (His quote) Also a tree there started to take shape of either Jesus or Mary’s face. Grew a huge crowd. The man died a year or so ago and so did the tree. People claim to see bright lights during the day at Queen of Heaven and have visions. - March 2005 Update: PLEASE, anyone visiting Queen of Heaven Cemetery, to do so quietly & with the highest amount of respect. If you are interested in the alleged hauntings, please do not advertise it, especially if there are other cemetery visitors present. Consider that their family or friends may have been among the victims. Please respect their feelings and personal space, and avoid prying questions/comments about hauntings or the fire.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

M06, Stroger & Claypool event [Evanston]

Democracy for America-Evanston/North Shore organized an event where both Board President John Stroger and challenger Commissioner Forrest Claypool will take questions.

Monday, January 9, 2005 at 7:30 PM

Celtic Knot Restaurant, 626 Church St. (across the street from Evanston Public Library)

ENVIR, volunteer in Forest Preserve?

From Victor and Jean Guarino:


SATURDAY. JANUARY 7, 2005 @ 9:00AM TO 12:00



victor.guarino circled "a" spcglobal spot net

jean.guarino circled "a" spcglobal spot net

BTW, President Bush likes clearing brush.

ED, Dr. Kelvin Gilchrist fired [D209]

According to a reliable source Dr. Kelvin Gilchrist has been put on "administrative leave" by District 209--presumbably this is a preliminary step to the board firing him. Gilchrist was the deputy superintendent responsible for being Emanuel Christopher Welch's public whipping boy on the issue of low test scores.

Any information or speculation on why Welch would want Gilchrist fired now?

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.

DL, first meeting of Forest Park Drinking Liberally

Last night was the inaugural meeting of the group that aspires to form a Drinking Liberally chapter in Forest Park. It was attended by seven, including a couple that just happened to be at Goldyburgers.

By the way, Goldyburgers is competing for best burger in an online poll. If you feel like you need to sample a burger before voting Goldyburgers is at 7316 Circle in Forest Park.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

CRIME, the Sharp/Nowakowski connection

I emailed the Attorney General's office to ask about the role Christina Nowakowski played in the trial of Wanda Sharp for fraudulently completing her nominating petitions.

I received the following from Edward C. Carter:
[Christina] Nowakowski was a witness at Wanda Sharp’s trial. She was the notary who notarized the nominating petitions that were the subject of Sharp’s indictment. The judge’s ruling was that despite the fact that Wanda Sharp appeared before Nowakowski and signed the petitions in Nowakowski’s presence, that Sharp was not under oath because Nowakowski had not formally sworn her. That ruling was directly contrary to an Illinois appellate court decision that had held that appearing before a notary and executing a document in the notary’s presence was legally sufficient to place her under oath.

Monday, January 02, 2006

CRIME, Bush, the Constition, media elites & doing the right thing

In the past I’ve stayed focused on local issues on Proviso Probe. I intend to stay focused on things Proviso in the future. However, in this entry I will invoke personal privilege.

President George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, has admitted to breaking the law and violating the Constitution. He knew the wiretapping scheme he approved needed to be approved by the FISA court or Congress to be legal. His advisors reckoned he couldn’t get approval, but he did it anyway.

If the President has the power to secretly overrule the Constitution based on his own authority, what makes the United States of America different from a banana republic dictatorship? Higher per capita GDP?

Bush kicked-off his perpetual war by saying they “hate us because they hate our freedom.” If the government can ignore the Bill of Rights based on the personal authority of the President, we don’t have freedom to hate. “Freedom” that originates from the noblesse oblige of the monarch isn’t freedom.

I agree with Atrios that our media elites have behaved disgracefully on this issue. They are treating this as a policy debate where people of good faith can see it both ways. The media elites—far too cozy with the business and political elites—lack the patriotism and integrity to risk the perks of being elite to make a stand for the essence of what it means to be American.

For those of you that support Bush, I ask you to step back from the situation and examine it anew.

If a president you didn’t support asserted that he had Bush’s power—power to ignore the courts and Congress—and could be using this power against his political opposition, would you consider this situation acceptable? Consistent with your understanding of the compact of the Constitution?

The President has to follow the Constitution. If he doesn’t follow the Constitution he needs to be held accountable. It’s the American way.

KLEPT, U.S. Attorney overwhelmed?

Sun-Times (Nataha Korecki) reports that the U.S. Attorney's office has too much to investigate for the manpower available.

I am concerned with the emphasis on City Hall, Proviso Township and the State's Attorney's Office will get a pass.