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Proviso Probe

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

M06, got predictions?

The Inside Dope covers Quad Cities. He has a prediction thread.

I challenge you to offer your predictions in this thread.

CRIME, Melrose Park PD moonlighting as security firm [MP]

From Melrose Park Herald (John Huston):
Several businesses in Melrose Park hired IFPC for security.

Big accounts like Cinemark movie theater, Navistar and Lincoln Technical Institute would pay IFPC with checks, the source said.

IFPC is the security company Melrose Park Chief of Police Vito Scavo and Deputy Chief of Police Gary Montino were running.

Is it standard for these type of businesses to hire extra security? What were the security companies providing that wasn't in the duties of the police department?

Doesn't this seem like an old-fashioned protection racket?

M06, Lightford and Pay Day Loans [4th Sen]

Sen. Kimberly Lightford trumpets her work on passing payday loan reform. It's the first item when you open her 2005 legislative update. Lightford supported the legislation advocated by Citizen Action, HB 1100.

However, Lightford did report that Check into Cash gave her campaign $1,500 on October 13, 2005. She raised about $26,500 during the half-year reporting period.

LEGAL, note taking in court

When covering the case of Jeremiah Norris, I ran into one of the judges that prohibits taking notes in court.

Loyola University professor Jona Goldschmidt has gone to federal court over the issue. U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo gave a preliminary ruling in favor of Goldschmidt and against the Cook County courts.

See Sun-Times (Abdon M. Pallasch).

CRIME, car shot up in Melrose Park [MP]

See Sun-Times.
Two men suffered minor injuries Monday in Melrose Park when the car they were riding in came under fire.

M06, Larry Andolino running for judge [11th Subcircuit]

Last week Proviso Probe featured Mary Colleen Roberts, a candidate for judge.

Larry Andolino is running for the same position in the Democratic Primary.

Andolino sent me the following messages.
My name is Lawrence Andolino, Im a Candidate for Judge in the 11th Sub-Circuit.
I would like to clarify a few things:
1) I have been found qualified by the Illinois Bar Assoication, recommended by the Womans Bar Assoication, Black Womans's Bar Assoication, Hispanic Lawyers Assoication, and the Puerto Rican Bar Assoication.
2) Last election I was found qualified or recommended by all of the above except the Hispanic and Puerto Rican Bar Assoication. This is because there is a general rule stating that unless you have 12 yeras practice, you are not generally qualified to be judge.
3) I received qualifications because although Im only 36, I have over 30 Jury Trials, Have argued before the Appellate Court three times and have practiced almost every phase of litigation.
4) Russ did not have all of his facts straight; there was no vote fraud; it was a general allegation that is made in every recount. I conceeded because I did not want to spend $40,000 in litigation in a recount; I decided to try again.
5) Community Service: I am the Executive Director of the Galewood-Montclare Community Organization, I placed the pots and banners on North and Harlem Avenue, I helpped attract the Starbucks on North Avenue. I was on the Sschool Board and helped make a Community First School. Last I have an Aldermanic Award for cataching a rapist and a letter of acknowledgement for detaining a fleeing drug dealer on the Lake Street L. I would make a good Judge, Im qualified and I have served my community.

And in a separate email...
I am running for Judge because I seek to serve the Public. I believe that I can best serve in the capactity of Judge because I can apply my knowledge of the law, experience in the court room, and sense of civic responsibility to the bench. I have been in practice over a decade in addition to that, I believe my youth and enthusiam would be an asset to the bench. There are some individuals that want to become Judge because they want to receive the pension or benefits assoicated with the position. Some individuals seek the bench in the twlight of their carreer. I seek the bench in the middle of my carreer becuase I want to serve; I am in private practice and such practice is generally more profitable then the bench.

I seek the position to continue to serve my community as I have done on the school board, in the capactity of Executive Director of my Community Organization and to further practice what I love which is the Law.

My volunteer service for my community included attracting new business to my community, a Farmers Market, free senior breakfast, free children holiday breakfast and a movie in the park as the Community Organization Director. I believe this shows my sense of care for my community.

I promise to be a fair minded Judge with common sense and the courage and ability to make the hard choices necessary in that position. I am endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party which includes, endorsements of all the local elected officials such as Sen Don Harmon, Recorder of the Deeds Eugene Moore, Leyden Township Committeeman Barrett Pederson, Alderman Carothers, and Alderman Banks to name a few.

Monday, February 27, 2006

BUSINESS, Broadview company may have unfairly lost state business [BV]

Would it surprise you that the company that did get the business was a Blagojevich campaign contributor?

Republicans and the Better Government Association are criticizing irregularities.

Dahlstrom Display bid the lowest, but 60% of the bid evaluation was based on other factors. See Sun-Times (Chris Fusco and Dave McKinney).

CRIME, car window smashed [FP]

The Smashed Window
Where Stuff Was Stolen From?

I assume something was stolen from the car.

I took these pictures this morning in the alley between Circle and Brown on the block south of Randolph.

POL, Sen. Emil Jones & Black History Month

I just heard a commercial on WNUA--with a corporate sponsor--praising Sen. Emil Jones for being the only African-American president of a state senate in the country. OK. That part seemed like a legit Black History month tidbit.

Then the commercial listed a bunch of vague claims of accomplishment like a low-grade political commercial. At that point the ad seemed to cross the line from justifiable to inappropriate.

Has anybody else heard the commercial? What do you think?

$$$, first day of fundraising drive

Email pledges to RadioNyberg circled "a" Yahoo spot com.

Send checks to "Proviso Probe", 139 Brown #1, Forest Park, IL 60130.

Online donations available soon.

M06, which candidates do you want to ask questions?

I am willing to make the phone calls to get individual primary candidates to answer questions on Proviso Probe.

Whom would you like to ask questions?

Judicial candidates? Sheriff candidates? State treasurer? Republicans?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

PHOTO, train, beaver and sunset on the trail

Looking West Into Proviso Along Metra Tracks

Low Sun on the Trail

CSX Train Enters Proviso

Beaver Gnawed Tree

Last week's photo blogging.

Friday, February 24, 2006

$$$, Proviso Probe wants your money

I am incorporating Proviso Probe as an educational non-profit corporation. This will allow Proviso Probe to continue to cover local issues and provide a forum for residents to discuss these issues.

Starting Monday, February 27, Proviso Probe will have a fundraising drive. For those of you that listen to public radio, you know the drill. Incorporated into the regular content will be requests that Proviso Probe readers contribute.

How many contributions is Proviso Probe seeking?

The fundraising drive has a goal of getting 150 local Proviso Probe readers to contribute $20 or more. I am going to work to find 150 of my personal contacts to contribute $20 or more. I’m also going to seek 150 contributions from the greater blogosphere.

Before the fundraising drive starts, I hope to identify people that are willing to remind, persuade or cajole one or more of their personal contacts to contribute. If you are willing to help the Proviso Probe fundraising drive, please contact me, RadioNyberg circled “a” Yahoo spot com, or 773-430-3538.

The ending date for the fundraising drive is the week of the primary. I’d like to finish by March 21st, but if there aren’t enough contributions the drive will last until March 26th.

ETHNICITY, Jesse Martinez involved in Elgin conflict [SP]

Jesse Martinez is a trustee for Stone Park and Proviso Township. The CEO of Sherman Hospital in Elgin is pissed at Martinez for doing successful community organizing. Sherman hospital is trying to move from Elgin's east side to the west side.

Chicago Tribune (Richard Wronski) has an article that makes accusations against Martinez that are not clearly explained.

Wronski quotes the CEO as saying Martinez is acting "suspiciously overzealous" but doesn't allege any self-serving motive. It implies the allegation is that he works for a rival hospital in another part of the article, but offers no evidence of this.

The article also quotes the CEO claiming Martinez is making "false allegations".

CRIME, apartment fire on 1000 block S. 4th Ave: arson [M]

See Sun-Times.

ED, Lightford carries bill for G-Rod

From Governor Rod Blagojevich press release:
SPRINGFIELD – Legislation initiated by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich to reduce administrative burdens on schools and teachers known as the “Less Red Tape” bill won approval today in the Senate Education Committee. By a vote of 8 to 1, Senate Bill 2829 moves on to the full Senate for consideration. Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-Westchester), the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, is the lead sponsor of the “Less Red Tape” legislation that eliminates duplicative and unnecessary bureaucratic processes.

It mostly seems like common sense stuff. Comments?

SPORT, Walther Lutheran girls hoops [MP]

Walther Lutheran (24-6) faces Carthage (25-7) in the girls hoops Class A quarterfinals at Illinois State University's Redbird Arena at 1:45 PM. See Peoria Journal Star (Ben Diggle) or The Southern (Todd Hefferman) for Downstate coverage. Sun-Times (Tina Akouris) has the local angle.

Anybody going to the game?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

MEDIA, Trib endorses La Shawn Ford [8th Rep]

Chicago Tribune decided to make the endorsement about Giles campaign fines.

MEDIA, La Raza article on Welch [7th Rep]

I've wanted to incorporate some Spanish into Proviso Probe and now Emanuel Christoper Welch has given me the chance. Thanks, Chris.

La Raza (Blanca M. Carreño Vargas) included an article about Welch which I consider one-sided, if not grossly negligent, journalism.
- ¿Y para la comunidad hispana, cuáles han sido esos cambios?

- “Estoy muy orgulloso en decir que como Presidente del Consejo he participado en iniciativas interesantes durante este tiempo y continuaré lo que estoy haciendo. Abogué hace dos semanas por la aprobación de una coalición de México-Americanos para que vean lo que estoy haciendo, se ha incrementado la contratación de hispanos en todos los niveles de nuestro gobierno a un 40 por ciento, lo que no se tenía en años. Nuestro Director de instalaciones es ocupado por Tony Santiago de Puerto Rico, es una nueva posición. La persona encargada de nuestro presupuesto de 60 millones es ocupada por Antonio Sánchez, Director de Contabilidad, el es mexicano. Estos son algunos ejemplos y creo que con el apropiado fondo del Estado, podemos continuar con esto”.

Welch has given high-paying jobs to a couple Latinos--Tony Santiago and Antonio Sanchez. How does District 209 treat Latino families? Or doesn't it matter how District 209 treats Latinos if they don't buy advertising?
Necesitamos alguien en Springfield que estará luchando por nosotros para obtener fondos de educación....

No, we need stronger oversight to ensure the money isn't misspent by local school boards. If District 209 had an extra $5 million over Welch's term as President of the School Board, how much of that would have been spent on Ujamaa Construction Co. and Anthony Bruno's companies? Four million? More?

MEDIA, Trib endorses Lightford & Harmon [4th Sen, 39th Sen]

Congratulations to Senators Lightford and Harmon for their Chicago Tribune endorsements.

MEDIA, Trib endorses Welch [7th Rep]

Chicago Tribune endorsement:
[Welch] is endorsed in the hopes that he'll rise above all the local political squabbles.


M06, attacking yardsigns [7th Rep]

Pioneer Press (David Pollard) devoted an article to Democratic Committeeman Eugene Moore's accusations that Jason Ervin and the Yarbrough campaign are damaging Moore's yardsigns.

First, I suspect that if one conducted an honest inventory of sign vandalism and stealing, the Moore/Welch camp would have far more offenses than the Yarbrough camp.

Second, Pollard didn't even mention the numerous examples of Moore and Welch placing unauthorized signs. The placement of unauthorized signs by Moore & Welch is well documented. For examples, Pollard may want to read this entry or this entry.

HOUSING, suburbs becoming low income ghettoes

Pioneer Press (Angela Caputo) has an article based on a Brooking Institution report on population shifts from urban areas to suburbs focusing on low-income suburbanites.
"We're moving to a society where, like in the city neighborhoods, we're divided by rich and poor," he said. "Now the suburbs are becoming either entirely rich or entirely poor."

What do this mean for Proviso? Should individual communities try to achieve a balance of affluent and low-income households? Should each community try to become one of the rich suburbs? Can a suburb be both affluent and majority Black?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

PO-PO, firefighter sues Westchester [W]

Lt. Bob Finn is suing Westchester over not being promoted. The village's attorneys have asked the judge to dismiss the case. According to Suburban Life News,
The dispute rests on conflicting interpretations of a 2003 law that regulates fire department promotions.

Anybody have details on the case?

GOV, what's a paved alley worth? [BF]

Would you pay $100 per year for ten years to upgrade your alley from gravel to pavement? This is the question facing some Brookfield residents. See Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Uphues).

ENVIR, prairie advocates tangle with developers [W]

Greene Development Group, Inc. want to build. Save the Prairie Society opposes the development. (These two have litigated before.)

Mayor Gattuso says he's undecided. See Westchester Herald (David Pollard) for details.

GOV, trading land for access [BF, D208, ZOO]

Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Uphues):
A plan to increase parking for Riverside-Brookfield High School along Rockefeller Avenue has the blessing of Brookfield Zoo, which stands to gain a new, more secure entrance for its delivery trucks under a new plan floated to Brookfield village officials on Feb. 13.

One of the justifications for needing more parking is the anticipated overhaul to the high school.

For more details see Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Skolnik).

KLEPT, acknowledging those that made you rich

Pioneer Press (David Pollard):
Last week, PLCCA renamed its Fifth Avenue and Madison Street location the "John H. Stroger, Jr. Center for Excellence."...

Bishop Claude Porter, chairman and chief executive officer of PLCCA, said naming the center after Stroger is a way of saying "thanks" and giving credit where credit is due.

Usually the people blurring the lines between church, non-profits and government try to be subtle about it. But there's a bold new ideology sweeping the nation and the powerful are sick of apologizing for the perks of being connected.

GOV, Indian Head Park hires ex-Hillside police chief [H]

Suburban Life (Megan Brody):
Former Hillside Police Chief Frank Alonzo Jr. was appointed Feb. 9 as Indian Head Park's administrator.

N06, Republicans slam county gov't

Candidates Tony Peraica (R-Riverside) and Peter Garza (R-North Riverside) criticized the sheriff's department. See Suburban Life (Megan Brody).

CRIME, reducing violence in Maywood

Last night I attended the Maywood village board meeting. Many residents spoke about the recent spate of shootings in Mayhood. Everybody, especially the elected officials, seemed upset about the violence.

But I’m going to risk annoying some people by criticizing ideas that seemed to be popular at the village board meeting last night.

The ideas that concern me are:

1. Everyone is responsible for the problem.
2. Maywood needs to pull together.
3. Demanding better results from the Police Department constitutes a solution.

Maywood has a climate that makes violence more likely to happen. Maywood can’t fix the institutional racism in the United States, but there are specific policies that can be implemented locally.

However, it’s completely wrong to suggest everyone is equally responsible for the problem. Communities with high levels of street crime have police departments that are corrupt and turning a blind eye. Crooked cops and crooked politicians go hand-in-hand. For organized crime to buy-off the cops, a community needs politicians that are in on the game.

Proviso Township—especially Melrose Park, Maywood and Bellwood—has a history of political organizations that use criminal activity for power and enrichment. The police departments—including Memorial Park District—are seeded with political appointees that are there to look after the allies of their political patrons, including drug dealers, pimps and gambling houses.

Organized crime—mostly in the form of political organizations—bears most of the responsibility for the climate that has led to so many shootings. The responsibility of the average voter is that s/he doesn’t vote for change at election time.

Let’s be honest. The scam run by the political bosses isn’t a secret. It’s pretty open which political organizations are allied with drug dealers. If the political boss did legal work for drug dealers, that’s suspicious. If they politician was busted for drug dealing, that’s suspicious. If the politician has immediate family members that are known drug dealers, that’s suspicious.

The price of reducing violent crime in Maywood is for average voters to open their eyes and to vote out the politicians that use criminal tactics and are allied with organized crime. If Maywood voters don’t have the courage to oust the criminal politicians, don’t whine about crime in the community. If you vote for criminals, you will get crime.

So, Maywood doesn’t need to pull together. It needs to recognize that there is a line between people who are playing by the rules and people that are manipulating the system for personal power. Regular citizens need to get on the “by the rules” side and reject the scammers, con men, criminals and thugs on the other side.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Many regular citizens like to get the perks of being connected to political-criminal organizations. The connected don’t have to get village stickers for their cars. They get better government services. They get jobs from the government.

Regular citizens want the violence to stop, but are they willing to sacrifice the little perks of doing things the old-school way?

Finally, demanding more from the police department only works in the short-term. It’s not a policy that can be implemented over time. If Maywood wants to implement a new policing strategy, it needs to have a new policing strategy. Demanding more isn’t a strategy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

ED, girl kept from school over residency feud [D87]

As I've explained before, keeping a small number of children out of a school district costs the school district more money than it saves because the district forfeits per capita subsidies from the state.

I can accept that a school district decides disqualifying non-residents is worth losing money from the state. But I can't accept a media and a public discourse that ignores the real life consequences of booting individual students. It's not that complicated.

Chicago Tribune (Crystal Yednak) has the latest foolishness.
A 7-year-old girl has returned to her Bellwood school after a residency dispute with Berkeley Elementary School District 87 kept her out of classes for six weeks.

SPORT, Walther Lutheran girls hoopsters to Elite Eight [MP]

Congrats to Walther Lutheran. See Herald News.

GOV, Welch blocks investigation sexual predator allegations [D209]

In September, 2005, detailed anonymous allegations were made that a Proviso Township High Schools staff member has a history of being a serial sexual predator and has preyed on students under his supervision. This individual has direct contact with students at District 209.

When the board discussed these allegations in closed session, board president Emanuel Christopher Welch refused requests to investigate the individual. The individual is politically connected to Welch. As a result of the allegations another school district, where the misconduct is alleged to have occurred, did open an investigation based on the same anonymous allegations.

There were no allegations of misconduct toward District 209 students.

Welch has refused to answer my questions about the allegations or the individual in question.

Monday, February 20, 2006

M06, Mary Colleen Roberts candidate for judge

Mary Colleen Roberts is hustling for support to be elected judge. She's running in the Democratic primary against Larry Adolino in the 11th sub-circuit.

I asked her to provide answers to two questions.

1. What are three things voters should know about Mary Colleen Roberts?
2. Why is she running for judge?

1. I have been endorsed by the Chicago Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO). The Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association have determined that I am “Qualified” to serve as Circuit Court Judge in Cook County. Additionally, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and the Decalogue Society of Lawyers have determined that I am “highly recommended” for election as Judge to the Circuit Court of Cook County. Also, other bar associations, such as the LAGBAC and the Puerto Rican Bar Association have rated me as “recommended” for judicial office.

2. In the sixteen years I have been practicing law, I have cultivated a diverse legal background with practical experience in criminal, civil, and administrative law forums. I have significant courtroom experience both as a trial attorney and as a hearing officer. As a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney and as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the City of Chicago’s Law Department, I have tried sixteen jury trials, hundreds of bench trials and hundreds of hearings on various motions. I have presided over evidentiary hearings on a daily basis in the two and a half years I served as a Hearing Officer for the Circuit Court of Cook County. In addition to a vast amount of courtroom experience, I also have management experience. I was a supervisor in the Municipal Division of the of the City of Chicago’s Law Department. Furthermore, prior to attending law school I was an assistant program manager and program manager of a residential program that provided services to emotionally and behaviorally disturbed children.

3. I am community leader. In 1996, I founded and directed a 5k race to raise money for a community food pantry and a high school health center. I continued in the position of race director until 2001. Since that time I have continued my involvement with the race as a volunteer. The race continues to be a growing success with plans to celebrate its tenth year this coming April. I stay active with the race, working to ensure the event generates more awareness to serving the needs of each of the communities it was designed to benefit. I am also active in community outreach programs sponsored by my church which focus on serving the homeless and less fortunate in the city of Chicago. I have been a member of my church’s governing board and have served two terms as co-president.

Got those three things?

I am a candidate for judge in the 11th Judicial sub-circuit because I am a qualified, experienced and dedicated individual whose entire professional life has been devoted to public service. Since graduating from law school in 1989, I have worked hard to develop a diverse legal background by actively pursuing a career path that allowed me to gain experience in civil, administrative and criminal law. I firmly believe the role of a judge is that of a public servant and it takes a dedicated individual who has experience to fulfill that role. I believe I am that individual and I believe I have the practical experiences that make me qualified to serve the people of Cook County as a fair, reasonable and just judge.

My campaign slogan is “From the Community, For the Community”. I chose this slogan because it sums up my dedication to public service and the experiences, both personally and professionally, I have had throughout my life. For instance, in 1996 I founded and directed the Ravenswood Run 5K race and continued in the position of race director until 2001. The mission of this event is to raise money to support the efforts of a local community food pantry and a Chicago public high school’s on campus health center. I am still involved as a volunteer working to ensure that the event generates more awareness to serving the needs of each of the communities it was designed to benefit. Additionally, I am active in the community outreach programs sponsored by my church which focus on serving the homeless and less fortunate in Chicago.

My professional experience is developed as well. In addition to practicing law in civil, criminal and administrative forums, I have served as a hearing officer in juvenile court. The two and a half years that I conducted evidentiary hearings I listened to evidence regarding the best interest of the child. In conducting these hearings, I found myself sitting in judgment of the parents and relatives of these children. This awesome experience provided me with a glimpse of the magnitude of responsibility that a judicial office holds. Through my time spent in evidentiary hearings, I realized I needed to return to the courtroom, specifically in the civil arena, to round out my legal experiences.

I moved on from that position to the City of Chicago’s Department of Law. There I was able to practice civil law and administrative law. In so doing, I further developed my trial skills and I honed my oral and written advocacy skills.

My involvement in the community, and my determination to cultivate a diverse legal background, has provided me with experiences that have developed my qualifications to be a circuit court judge. Each of these experiences have improved my ability to listen to people, to work with people and to make decisions that effect a common good. In the end, I believe the work of a circuit court judge is to do what I have been practicing all my life, listen to people, work with them and make good decisions based upon what is before me.

Finally, I am running for judge because I am a fair minded, dedicated and honest individual. I believe these qualities are essential to the administration of justice. I trust my election to the bench will bring these qualities to the people of Cook County.

Russ Stewart wrote about the race. Or at least he wrote about Roberts opponent, Larry Andolino.
Andolino's opponent in 2004 was Paula Daleo, a Chicago attorney backed by U.S. Representative Danny Davis' organization. Because Andolino had not been an attorney for at least 10 years, he was found "unqualified" by every bar association. Committeemen Bill Banks (36th) and P.J. Cullerton (38th) delivered 60-40 margins in their wards for Andolino, but he lost by more than 2-1 in Oak Park and the predominantly black wards, and he barely won Leyden Township. Overall, he triumphed by 36 votes, but Daleo filed a challenge, alleging fraud and intimidation by Andolino-supporting precinct captains in absentee ballot procurement. With subpoenas out for many of Banks' captains and with a trial looming, Andolino conceded, thereby avoiding the possibility of a finding of fraud.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

M06, NAACP Westside candidate forum photos

On Saturday I attended the NAACP Westside candidate forum.

Here are the pictures I took that looked reasonably decent.
Sylvester Baker is a Democratic candidate for Cook County Sheriff. Tom Dart (Democrat), Peter Garza (Republican) and Marshall P. Lewis (independent, write-in) also attended.

Emanuel “Chris” Welch is challenging Rep. Karen Yarbrough in the Democratic Primary.

Sen. Kimberly Lightford...
and her challenger James K. Smith.

Sen. Don Harmon is being challenged by Mike Nardello in the Democratic Primary and Jim Rowe (Republican) in the general election.

Commissioner Forrest Claypool is challenging County Board President John Stroger in the Democratic Primary. The winner will face Republican Tony Peraica in November. Stroger declined to attend the forum. Commissioner Earlean Collins spoke for him. Peraica came later and had the podium to himself.

PHOTO, how do I know it's cold?

When I can see the ice crystals on the storm window I know it's substantially below freezing.

ED, Proviso grief follows Johnson-Millon [D209]

Northwest Indiana Times (Joan Carreon):
Sauk Village Elementary District 168's new business manager said it was her own choice to leave her previous job with Proviso Township High School District 209 and come to District 168....

District 168's selection of Johnson-Millon was questioned by some members of the audience during the school board's Feb. 15 meeting....

Some audience members voiced concerns about a published report that cited speculation her position with District 209 may have been in jeopardy due to some administrative changes.

Wow. The stench of District 209 followed Johnson-Millon to Sauk Village.

BTW, how's that superintendent search coming?

PO-PO, Sgt. Harder termination: Chief Ryan lies again [FP]

I attended the Forest Park Fire and Police Commission hearing on the termination of Sgt. Dan Harder last Thursday.

Here’s the bottom line on the case against Harder: It’s thoroughly flawed and obviously so. He’s clearly being fired for something other that the offenses listed in the charges. Ryan has lied throughout his testimony and the only way someone could believe Ryan’s version of events is if s/he were emotionally invested in firing Harder from the beginning.

The charges against Harder:
1. He called another officer a “fucking idiot”.
2. He took too many sick days at the wrong time.
3. His account of a conflict with Sgt. Mike Murphy—an unreliable cop with suspect credibility—differed from Murphy’s.
4. Harder lied to Ryan as to his whereabouts on a sick day.

Previously, Stevens has shown that using the word “fuck” isn’t rare in the Forest Park PD. In fact, Harder was called a “fucking idiot” in writing--as a joke.

The bulk of Harder’s sick time was pre-approved under the Family Medical Leave Act. He also took off three Fridays in a five week period. Under the collective bargaining agreement Harder was entitled to 80 sick days per year. Harder received no written warning for excessive absenteeism.

On Thursday Police Chief Jim Ryan continued to be cross examined by Harder’s attorney Jeanine Stevens.

The hearing opened with Ryan’s attorney, Patrick Lucansky, presenting Stevens with a Village of Forest Park check to Harder for $1,200+. Lucansky expected Harder’s side to be happy about the check. Stevens made it clear from her body language she wasn’t impressed.

The check was reimbursement for Harder’s personal expenses in connection with an official program. When he submitted the claim to Ryan in the past, Ryan insisted Harder prove he hadn’t been reimbursed for the expenses already.

This was simply harassment. Ryan didn’t normally check claims this way. And he didn’t check Harder’s claim either. It was just a flimsy pretext for not processing Harder’s reimbursement. When called on it at the last hearing, Ryan couldn’t justify his behavior. The Forest Park PD’s hand was forced and Lucansky wanted Stevens and Harder to be thankful they paid Harder his money. Stevens was justified in treating Lucansky like an asshole.

Stevens cast doubt upon the excessive absenteeism charge by questioning Ryan about why he forced Harder to take two and a half months of involuntary comp time.

The lawyer supervising the hearing, Charles Hervas, has started to block Stevens from going into Murphy’s behavior because it’s a “collateral issue” and redundant at this point. Thursday’s hearing broke little new ground on Murphy.

Stevens bolstered her claim that Harder was punished differently than other officers by getting Ryan to testify that he didn’t make people complaining about Harder use the normal forms. And Ryan didn’t investigate some of the claims or even bother to get Harder’s side of the story, he just wrote Harder memos based on the assumption the complaints were accurate.

Beyond being untrustworthy, Ryan is an incompetent supervisor. He prioritizes loyalty to his half-assed ideas of policing over good order and discipline. And he can’t follow bureaucratic procedure on personnel issues.

Ryan didn’t issue Harder written warnings when he should have. He wrote inappropriate warnings without following procedure. And in one case he wrote-up Harder for the wrong offense.

Harder was suspended for pointing his firearm at a Forest Park resident “too long”. It was a hang-up 911 call with the back door open. Harder and Auxiliary Officer Moravec entered the home and loudly identified themselves as police officers. The 911 dispatcher was calling, but no one was answering the phone. There was a disassembled computer in the home. And when Harder did find a woman in the house, he kept his firearm raised after the woman identified herself as the homeowner.

Under Stevens’ questioning Ryan did identify one mistake by Harder. Harder should have entered the house with a more experienced officer than Moravec. But Ryan is so incompetent he had Harder disciplined for the firearm issue but not the issue of choosing Moravec as his back-up entering the home.

Commissioner Patrick Doolin told me the husband of the woman at the 911 call has some connection to Commissioner Tim Gillian.

The Gillian connection also builds a pattern. When Ryan said residents (plural) were complaining about Harder taking excessive breaks what he really meant was Commissioner Mark Hosty was complaining.

Most of the complaints against Harder seem to come from allies of Harder’s known enemies in the village or on the police force. They were people who didn’t like Harder speaking against sexual harassment or police brutality in the Forest Park Police Department.

Calderone wants the Fire and Police Commission hearings to continue without interference even though they are on track to cost $50-120,000. If the case for firing Harder had merit it might make sense. But the Harder firing is not based on police regulations, but on something else. Maybe Ryan is getting even with Harder for his role in the sexual harassment suit against the Forest Park PD. Maybe it’s because Harder complained about police brutality. Maybe Ryan and others just don’t like Harder.

It doesn’t matter. Firing Harder is not justified by the facts, regulations and standards applied in the Forest Park Police Department. Forest Park is going to lose this lawsuit in federal court--big time. It will cost Forest Park taxpayers plenty of money when the gavel drops.

Why not stop the waste and mendacity? Tony Calderone doesn’t want it to stop. See Forest Park Review (Bob Skolnik).

If Calderone wants this farce to continue he should sign a pledge that if the federal case results in punitive damages against Forest Park, he and his allies will resign from elective office. But what are the odds Calderone would take responsibility in this way?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

MEDIA, Tom Dart on "Viewpoints..." [WJJG]

Today on "Viewpoints from the Other Side" Arnie Bryant will be hosting Tom Dart, Democratic candidate for Cook County Sheriff. Dart is chief of staff for incumbent Michael Sheahan, who is not running for re-election.

Viewpoints is on WJJG, 1530 AM, Saturdays 2-3 PM. Arnie takes calls, (708) 493-1530.

ENVIR, Whole Foods not entirely responsible... maybe [FP]

On Monday, Proviso Probe reported on the sewage backup caused by Whole Foods in the River Forest Mall. I contacted Forest Park Village Administrator Mike Sturino and received the following response.
I am writing in response to your February 13, 2006 inquiry about a sewer backup at Harlem and Lake. I discussed the matter at length with the Village of River Forest and Whole Foods. I also discussed it with Village of Forest Park staff. I share you concern about this issue. I have determined that this area has not previously experienced a sewer backup, but we will work to take steps to ensure this does not happen again.

It does appear that Whole Foods has caused to [sic] the backup in some respects. In cleaning out the line, it also became clear that part of the problem was a towel that was somehow flushed down a drain, and was found to be contributing to the backup. Another contributing factor is the actual elevation of the vicinity, where there is a drop at the location that the backup occurred. That drop appears to have served as a type of relief in this case because the sewer structure was located at this low point. Unfortunately, the sewage that backed up then followed the elevation south, into Forest Park, from under the viaduct.

River Forest and Forest Park have been working together on engineering plans for the viaduct, with an eye to an ultimate improvement to that entire underpass, including an elimination of the concrete columns that run down the middle of Harlem. It is hoped that this will also lead to renovations to the Green Line Station. We will include this sewer issue in our engineering discussions.

In the meantime, Whole Foods has assured me that they are going to renew their commitment to more regular maintenance of their own lines so that it does not act as a contributor to this type of problem in the future.

I thank Mike Sturino for the effort he put into researching the sewer backup issue. I also thank him for responding promptly to my letter.

I still think a municipal ticket should be written for Whole Foods. The problem should be “memorialized” (as the lawyers like to say) so that in the future when Whole Foods asks its neighbors or municipal government for some favors, Whole Foods' plusses and minuses can be properly evaluated.

I don’t see the towel letting Whole Foods off the hook. It seems like Whole Foods is a good candidate for improperly dumping the towel too.

But the towel may not have played a significant role in causing the sewer backup. When I talked to the River Forest public works director, he made no mention of a towel. The towel only was listed as a cause after I called for a ticket to be written. It seems likely that when clearing out a block sewer line, one will find lots of stuff in the blockage. If River Forest didn’t want to write Whole Foods a ticket, it seems possible to claim something besides the grease (like, the towel) also contributed to the backup.

Further, the towel is a side issue. Whole Foods was illegally dumping grease. This offense deserves a ticket whether the towel contributed to the sewage backup or not.

The issue of re-engineering the viaduct is also a side issue. What fix should be implemented to allow businesses to illegally dump grease and towels in the sewer system? Should taxpayers be forced to pay for systems that allow businesses to break the law? Why not just use the existing systems that are adequate if businesses, like Whole Foods, follow the law?

M06, NAACP Westside candidate forum

Chicago Westside Branch NAACP is hosting a candidate forum on Saturday, February 18, 2006 at Columbus Park Reflectory, 5701 W. Jackson.

11 AM - noon
judicial candidates

1-2:30 PM
County Board President
County Commissioner (districts 1, 2 & 9)

State Treasurer
Congress (IL07)
State Senate (4 & 39)
State House (7 & 8)

For info call (773) 261-5890.

Friday, February 17, 2006

M06, Sullivan challenges Lipinski for Congress [IL03]

U.S. Representative Dan Lipinski is the son of former Congressman Bill Lipinski. Here's how Chicago Tribune (Brett McNeil) explained how the baton was handed from father to son.
Dan Lipinski was a University of Tennessee political science professor when his father decided to retire before the fall 2002 general election. The elder Lipinski, an 11-term congressman, opted to quit after winning the primary election.

The timing left an opening on the ballot, and Cook County Democratic leaders followed Bill Lipinski's suggestion, naming his son as a replacement candidate.

The IL03 Congressional District includes much of Proviso Township, including Forest Park (south of Madison), Brookfield, La Grange Park and Westchester.

Dan Lipinski has two challengers in the Democratic Primary. John P. Sullivan has a website. John T. Kelly is the other candidate; Carol Marin (Sun-Times) examines the evidence he's a ringer to split the Lipinski opposition vote.

ED, D95 looking for superintendent [D95]

Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Uphues):
Brookfield-LaGrange Park District 95 officially posted an opening for its superintendent position last Friday, but posted it only internally. The board voted unanimously to accept applications for the position until Feb. 24 "or until the position is filled."

The board also set the minimum salary level for the new superintendent at $125,000, after looking at salaries in neighboring and other Chicago area districts.

ED, Welch's legal bills [D88]

West Proviso Herald (John Huston) has an article that begins:
School District 88 spent $310,000 in legal expenses over an 18-month period -- more than twice that of neighboring districts of comparable size.

Are Emanuel Christopher Welch's legal bills reasonable?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

ED, Chicago Public Radio forum at Maywood Library [M]

WBEZ's Chicago Matters is examining public education. It is hosting four community forums. The first one will be at the Maywood Public Library, Thursday, February 16th at 7 PM.

Show producers are requesting input. Email them at ChicagoMatters@ChicagoPublicRadio.org or call (312) 948-4723.

Chicago Matters also has a blog.

What issues would you raise at the forum?

CRIME, Ceasefire rally

Neighborhood United Methodist Church and Maywood CeaseFire invites clergy, residents, elected officials, law enforcement and those who have business in
the Village of Maywood, to attend a community response on Friday 2/17/06 at
8:PM at Neighborhood United, 19th Ave and Washington. It is important that
we come together to voice concern, comfort the families and victims of violence and pray for peace. This is in response to the six (6) shootings that have occurred this week resulting in one death and leaving another in critical condition:

2/11/06-34 year old male shot in the face while in his vehicle on 9th & Oak (6:40P)
2/12/06-20 year old male shot in the mouth at in 800 block of 16th (12:38A)
2/13/06-15 year old male shot exiting gas station convenience store on 17th Ave & Harrison (8:40P)remains in critical condition
2/14/06-3 young people shot in drive by on 100 block of 14th Ave. resulting
in death of 18 year old female and injury to 22 and 20 year old males. (10:50P)

Please come out, pass the word, speak up and speak out. Talk to your neighbors, your family, and to law enforcement. Violence is conquered when a Community acknowledges the issue and works together to get it resolved.

For information, contact
Janice Mitchell-Bolling
Maywood CeaseFire

M06, Lula Greenhow letter on Welch-Yarbrough race [7th Rep]

Lula Greenhow had a letter published in Pioneer Press. What are her strongest points? What are her weakest points?

ED, why can't Libka or Murphy return phone calls? [D209]

Partially due to my influence, Northwest Indiana Times (Phil Rockrohr) did a story about District 209 starting the School Based Health Center at Proviso East and then losing the federal subsidy. Thornton Fractional North is considering a similar health center.

Rochrohr interviewed Mike Manzo and attempted to interview both CEO Robert Libka and Supertintendent Phylistine Murphy.
Evans and District 209 officials, including Superintendent Phylistine Murphy and Chief Education Officer Robert Libka, could not be reached for comment this week or last week.

Why could Libka or Murphy return phone calls and answer this reporters questions?

Is it because they don't know what they have permission to say?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

SPORT, Pirates unbeaten in conference in girls hoops [D209]

See Pioneer Press (Tim Stablein).

CRIME, three shot, 18 y/o woman dead [M]

Along with Amanda Gallon, 18, Maywood, were Christopher King, 22, Chicago, and Theodore Donley, 20 . See Sun-Times. Picture taken from ABC7Chicago.

ANNOUNCE, Maywood 125th b-day bash [M]

I received the following email from the Village of Maywood.
It’s Maywood’s 125th birthday and we’re too excited to keep it a secret. It started on October 22, 1881 when the State Legislature incorporated Maywood as a village and we’ve been on the move ever since. In honor of this momentous occasion, we’re planning a great celebration but it just won’t be great without you! This occasion presents Maywood an awesome opportunity to rediscover our past, savor our present and embrace our future! Please join us to find out how you and your organization can sign-up and participate.
Date: Friday, February 24th
Time: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Place: 200 S. 5th Avenue
Maywood Park & Recreations Department
2nd Floor Learning Center

Committees have been formed to plan and coordinate events throughout the village and throughout the year. Your participation is vital. In addition to developing committee initiatives, we want to promote your occasions and events in our community during our quasquicentennial (125th) year.

To get involved email Johnny Diggs, jdiggs circled "a" maywood-il.org.

N06, Rowe makes allegations against Harmon [39th Sen]

Jim Rowe of Franklin Park has filed to run for State Senate as a Republican against Senator Don Harmon.

Wednesday Journal reports Rowe is claiming two incidents of vandalism and intimidation by Harmon supporters.

In one incident Rowe's tires were slashed and Harmon lit was left on his car. In another incident a bottle with a note was tossed through his home window. The bottle contained a note telling Rowe to get out of the race.

How reliable is Rowe? The Wednesday Journal is clearly poking fun at Rowe's allegations.

In the past Rowe has claimed Harmon endorsed Topinka and he's called Harmon part of an "Axis of Evil". Should I bother with locating Rowe's fellow school board members and asking them if he's a reliable source of information?

GOV, if Westchester & FP have to follow the law, why not D209? [D209]

Suburban Life (Erick Bieritz) has an article about how the political discussion about leaving District 209 (Proviso Township High Schools) stalled in Westchester.

Maybe it’s time for Westchester and Forest Park to revive the discussion.

I’ve heard that Forest Park sends $5 million per year to District 209, but only 100 students. Forest Park is paying $50,000 per Forest Park student. The average cost per student for the whole district is $14,093.

Forest Park and presumably Westchester are subsidizing other District 209 communities.

Illinois law won’t let Forest Park or Westchester leave the district unless the seceding communities can prove there will be no adverse financial consequences on the district.

OK. But if Forest Park and Westchester are going to be held to the law, why isn’t District 209 held to the law? The Illinois State Board of Education, Cook County State’s Attorney and Regional Superintendent of Schools have all let District 209 break the rules and the law in ways that have cost the taxpayers money.

So, if Westchester and Forest Park don’t get to leave District 209 we at least should have our financial contribution to the district protected from extra-legal and inappropriate uses.

Westchester and Forest Park should create a bill of particulars about how tax money has been improperly used by District 209 and how the relevant authorities knew about the money being misused, but failed to take corrective or punitive action.

It’s absurdly unfair to Forest Park and Westchester taxpayers to say the law obligates us to pay into District 209, but that the relevant authorities are too lazy or cowardly to enforce the laws to keep our taxes from being pilfered.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

SPORT, Joe Ponsetto's HS career recapped [D209]

Joe Ponsetto is Bureau Chief of Special Prosecutions for the Illinois Attorney General. But as Chicago Sports Review (Tony Brooks) reminds us, he got his start as a public person as a Proviso East hoops player.

M06, guard allows escapes to influence elections? [SHERIFF]

Sun-Times (Frank Main, Stefano Esposit and Natasha Korecki) reports the recent jailbreak from Cook County was facilitated by a political partisan supporting Richard Remus for Sheriff over Tom Dart, the Democratic Party's official candidate.

The Sheriff's Department has problems. And if deputies are springing criminals to score political points, the office is even more fouled-up than I thought.

If you don't like the idea of either Dart or Remus getting the Dem nomination, consider Sylvester Baker, the third candidate in the race.

Monday, February 13, 2006

ENVIR, Whole Foods causes sewage back-up [FP]

The sewage under the Harlem viaduct and at the bus stop was from River Forest. Whole Foods had not been properly maintaining its grease traps and the grease clogged the sewage system.

I sent the following letter to Forest Park Village Administrator Michael Sturino:
From at least last night until this morning raw sewage was backing up from the River Forest sewage system and following downhill under the Harlem viaduct to Forest Park. This morning there was enough raw sewage that pedestrians were being splashed by passing cars. The bus stop reeked oppressively.

From talking to Greg Kramer, the River Forest director of public works, I learned the proximate cause of the sewage backing up was Whole Foods failing to properly maintain its grease traps.

Kramer said that Whole Foods would not be fined or cited for this negligence. In fairness to Kramer, he did not seem to appreciate how much sewage was discharged into the street and how far it traveled.

However, Kramer’s statement that, “We’re satisfied that situation has resolved itself,” is unacceptable.

I happened to be walking by when the River Forest public works employees lifted one of the manhole covers. It takes an impressive amount of grease to foul a municipal sewage system.

I don’t know for certain, but my guess is that it would take months and months of negligence to accumulate that much grease.

I request the Village of Forest Park contact River Forest and politely ask our neighbors to the north to evaluate how much sewage was discharged and how it affected pedestrians and people waiting for the bus. I suspect that when River Forest understands how nasty the situation was, it will cite Whole Foods for the nuisance caused.

However, if River Forest fails to cite Whole Foods, I request Forest Park write a citation against Whole Foods. If an RV dumped its sewage into Forest Park streets the Village of Forest Park would cite the RV operator for creating a threat to public health. I don’t see a distinction between a negligent RV operator and a negligent grocery store, except that when the grocery store is negligent it’s a bigger problem.

Not to break into knee-jerk class warfare, but if that sewage was being splashed on River Forest single-family homeowners and their children something tells me Kramer would have driven the four blocks from his office to observe the actual conditions.

KLEPT, ending ghost payrolling

I have a simple way to end ghost payrolling.

Illinois should pass a law that if you turn-in the ghost payroller you get a bounty, say 30% of the money the ghost payroller pilfered.

Then the government gets to sue the ghost payroller, the supervisor and the political patron to recover the money, the bounty and court costs.

POL, Rep. Danny K. Davis wearing thin?

Austin Weekly News (James Hammond):
Isn’t it time to tell Austin’s elected officials that we are sick of stories about Arkansas, and the handshake and smile will not cut it anymore?

If I could add my own it's-old-already criticism of Congressman Davis:

I used to be impressed with Davis rattling off the list of manufacturers that used to be on the West Side and in the west 'burbs back in the '50s and '60s. Now it just seems pathetic.

Whatever the future holds for us, bringing back all those manufacturers ain't it.

M06, joining with Republicans

The barber shop at Des Plaines and Madison had Moore & Welch signs for a few weeks. Today was the first day I noticed the Topinka sign.

ETHNICITY, Lightford speaks at NAACP chapter

State Journal-Register (Amanda Reavy):
Members of the black community must get their lives in order to not only improve their morality but their ability to bring about social change and equality, said State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood.

"I think our conscience is misplaced. Our own conduct needs to be severely examined, and as a result, in many ways, we as a people are still dealing with the same issues that colored people dealt with in the '50s and the '60s," including educational disparities, teen pregnancy and lack of minority representation in public safety, she told an audience of about 400 people.

TRANS, smell of sewage at Harlem Green Line [FP]

Last night I walked by the Harlem Green Line stop and smelled sewage. This morning the smell was stronger and there was a gray slushy substance in the gutter in front of the station and under the viaduct.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

SPORT, Bob Nardella will play hockey for Italy in Olympics [MP]

See FoxSports.com (Shawn P. Roarke).

SPORT, Pirates (#14) beat Warren (#3) [D209]

Pirates won 71-70 at the McDonald's 11th annual City-Suburban Showdown at Northwestern's Welsh-Ryan Arena. See Sun-Times (Mark Potash).

CRIME, past Maywood priest sexual predator [M]

Sun-Times (Monifa Thomas):
A Florida woman who said she was sexually abused by three Catholic priests more than 35 years ago came forward Saturday with the details of a $125,000 settlement she reached with the Chicago Roman Catholic Archdiocese in 2004.

Now 56, Linda Burke said she was molested by a priest from a Maywood church when she was 16, and the sexual contact continued at the hands of two other priests until she was 19.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

REL, commentary of St. Eulalia [M]

Maywood Herald has a guest essay by Wayne Bancroft.

Bancroft slams the archdiocese hard.
The duplicity of the archdiocese ... is not only unconscionable, but self-serving to the bureaucracy. For the archdiocese to have entered into negotiations with the Syro-Malabars prior to the disclosure of intentions to the people of God in St. Eulalia Parish only proves the evil machinations of a system out of control and out of touch with those they are called and mandated to serve.

There was an earlier discussion on Proviso Probe.

What are the options for the members of St. Eulalia?

ED, mold poses health risk at McKinley [D88]

West Proviso Herald (John Huston):
Mold infestation at a Bellwood elementary school may some day force the school to be demolished, but it is already affecting the health of students and teachers.

The problem was found by a group of University of Illinois at Chicago nursing students who were using McKinley School, 3317 Butterfield Road, as a field project.

What was James K. Graham, Sr. saying about District 88 neglecting asbestos removal?

I wonder if the situation at McKinley would be better with professionals selected for competence instead of an organization mostly comprised of political cronies?

OBIT, Christopher Volpentesta crashes truck & dies [MP]

Gary Post-Tribune:
HAMMOND — A truck driver died Friday morning when his tractor-trailer ran into a building along Indianapolis Boulevard.

Christopher Volpentesta, 48, of Melrose Park, Ill., was pronounced dead at the scene of the 5:01 a.m. crash.

POL, candidate forum [M06]

What would you ask the candidates?
A reminder that the Oak Park Democracy for America (DFA) group will be hosting a State Legislative Candidates Forum THIS SATURDAY MORNING!!

Interest in our upcoming event is bubbling over:

* Other candidates (including Eisendrath, Claypool and Dart) are asking to attend and meet the voters even knowing that remarks to the whole group will be limited to the State Rep/Sen candidates who have been invited
* The Forum will be videotaped and cablecast by Comcast across their Oak Park/Elmhurst service area

BASIC DETAILS – to tell your friends. There will be short remarks by each candidate and then the main event, a meet-and-greet where people can ask questions 1-on-1:

The event will be on
* Saturday, February 11th
* 10 AM – Noon
* Oak Park Public Library, Veterans Room (second floor)

All Democratic primary State Rep and Senate candidates whose district would include part of Oak Park have accepted our invitation:
* Don Harmon
* Mike Nardello
* Kimberly Lightford
* James T. Smith
* Calvin Giles
* LaShawn Ford
* Karen Yarborough
* Chris Welch

Rep. Deborah Graham, who is unopposed in her district’s primary, has also accepted our invitation.

The format will be as follows:
* 10:00 - 10:10 Assemble/Welcome
* 10:10 - 10:40 Candidate Statements and DFA Question (2 min. statement each + 1 min. response to DFA question)
* 10:40 - 12:00 “Meet and greet” with citizens able to address questions 1-on-1

Candidates will be offered the chance to speak briefly to the group in a random order to be determined by lot. The event is free and open to the public and the media and the facility is accessible to the disabled with parking in the library, which opens at 9 AM on Saturdays.

Friday, February 10, 2006

SHERIFF, Forest Parker breaks out

I saw on ABC7 that the Forest Parker that broke out of the maximum security wing of the Cook County jail is the first to achieve the feat. See Chicago Sun-Times (Lisa Donovan).

BTW, I'm a fan of the book I Love You Phillip Morris by Steve McVicker. The book tells the story of Steve Russell who escaped the Texas penal system four times in fives years. Each time he escaped on Friday the 13th.

What's more American than escaping from prison/jail?

BTW, the last escape is brilliant, but it works better if you're gay.

PO-PO, part-time cop abuses power [NL]

A woman received mysterious parking ticket. Her husband recalled a woman threatening him in the Northlake Sam's Club parking lot by saying, "I got a good parking place anyway. You just watch what happens when you [expletive] with the law."

Joseph Misuraca, the part-time police officer who wrote that ticket, was fired Tuesday night by the department after a quick investigation, Chief Charles Forsyth said Wednesday.

See Chicago Tribune (Tom Rybarczyk).

Here's my question for defenders of the Calderone part-time cop program in Forest Park.

Would a normal police officer risk his pension to get back at someone who took his wife's parking spot?

Do you see how part-time cops have much less to lose when they abuse their police powers?

M06, Bellwood library referendum [BW]

Bellwood voters will be asked to approve a $14 million new library in the March 21 primary.

Supporters of the referendum plan a modest campaign to make the case to the voters. The architects working with supporters of the library guessed that about 50% of library referendums pass on the first try. This is a higher rate than school referendums.

The Village of Bellwood paid for polling on the library issue. If supporters make the case about meeting the needs of the future, they win. If opponents make the case about cost, they win.

But libraries don’t inspire the opposition school districts do. If nobody organizes a campaign opposing the referendum—the most likely scenario—then the referendum should win by default. Libraries consume less than 3.5% of property taxes generally. Schools consume close to 60%, sometimes more. That is, a small school bond costs taxpayers more than a large library bond.

Public schools have natural enemies: parochial schools, Republicans, taxpayers without children, people who hated school, people who have children who hated school, etc.

Libraries don’t have any natural enemy constituencies.

Bellwood will be a battleground between team Yarbrough and team Moore/Welch in the March 21 elections, but there’s no obvious reason why either side will take up the cause of opposing the library referendum.

Middle class voters are the most supportive of the library, although the rich grumble about the tax increase the least. Bellwood households making over $50,000 are natural Yarbrough constituencies, if they don’t owe their jobs to Moore, Welch or their allies. It seems unlikely Yarbrough would come out against the library referendum. I suppose if Mayor Pasquale asked her to oppose it, she would consider it. But if Pasquale is opposed to the referendum, why not kill it at the library board?

Households making under $50,000 are the least supportive of the library. This may be Moore’s natural constituency. There are two basic ways to attack the library referendum. It’s a bourgeoisie extravagance or that the money will be misspent. Saying that a nice library is too good for Bellwood will alienate some voters. Why own a house in the suburbs if not to be bourgeoisie? And Moore arguing the money is going to be misspent would be noteworthy example of “those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Library supporters are an important interest group. They are passionate. They know each other. And they know how to get and use information. Library supporters are a constituency a politician upsets at his/her own risk. They aren’t leaving the community and they can bite back.

Finally, the nearby communities that have invested in new libraries have been mostly satisfied with the results (Maywood, Oak Park, Elmhurst, La Grange Park, etc.).

Prediction: if supporters of the new library do a conscientious job of organizing the referendum passes.

(BTW, the key question the village should have polled was, “To what extent are property taxes too high already?” By getting an answer to this question and cross referencing it with other communities that have voted on library referenda, one could surmise how much effort referendum supporters will need to expend.)

MEDIA, rudeness serves a function [WSJ]

I usually avoid disagreeing with my fellow columnists. I get my say, so they ought to get their say. But I’m going to make an exception for the banal drivel turned-out by Roland Martin in West Suburban Journal (on newsstands now).

Martin is the executive editor of Chicago Defender and the founder of BlackAmericaToday.com.

Martin wrote a column about the lack of manners in society. Ostensibly it’s about the year 2006, but with discussions about men holding the door for women and using the term “women’s lib”—seriously, when was the last time you heard someone use “women’s lib” in regular conversation?—the piece could have been a reprint from 30 years ago.

I could say that Martin is wasting valuable newspaper space writing about something trivial. But he deserves a stronger rebuke.

The problem with society isn’t that there’s too much rudeness, but that there is too little rudeness directed at society’s powerful. While being Chicago Defender’s executive editor isn’t exactly the kind of power wielded by Bill Gates or George Bush, Martin is misusing the power he does have.

Society has major problems and is facing a grim future if we don’t take action. Martin is a fool. He either lacks the sophistication to grasp the real problems faced by society. Or he’s a bootlicker for the powerful. He figures if he’s dutiful Negro telling Blacks to behave he’ll be taken care of.

What are the major problems facing society?
1. We have an international resurgence in religious fanaticism that embraces holy war. It’s not just Muslims; it’s Christians, Jews and Hindus too.
2. Our international economic system isn’t a rising tide that lifts all boats. Some get rich while the majority loses ground.
3. The United States is spending way more money than it has. This is untenable.
4. The media lies about and distorts the big issues.
5. The Iraq War is a no-win situation and speaking this truth has been forbidden by the elites.
6. Real wages for average households are going down steeply while upper income households are seeing their salaries increase. Compounding this bifurcation federal income tax is going down on the rich while middleclass homeowners are getting jammed on property taxes.
7. Our government is corrupt and inefficient. Our schools deliver a disgraceful baseline education if you are poor and Black. But at the end of the year, all those government bureaucrats who delivered crappy service get pay increases.

But Martin spends his energy scolding people for not saying “thank you” and “excuse me”.

Here’s another problem with our society. To get promoted in life you have to pretend the bullshit isn’t bullshit. We’re a society of bureaucrats who fantasize about being frontiersmen in our car commercials. Martin is just one more example of another bureaucrat who got ahead by not rocking the boat.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

OPEN, what's on your mind?

Use this entry to post about general topics that don't categorize neatly under some other entry.

PO-PO, Maywood police reports are available online [M]

That's the good news. The bad news is that the reports cost $7.50. See Maywood Herald.

PO-PO, Northlake cop disciplined [NL]

Northlake Herald Journal (Chuck Fieldman) reports on disciplining officer Sandra Neuberg for swearing. She said she was "not going to do any (obscenity) paperwork." And that she considered the incident unfounded.

The incident caught my attention in part because of the Forest Park brouhaha about Sgt. Dan Harder swearing. It also seemed similar to the conflict Maria Hernandez and her neighbors are having with the Melrose Park police department. The police say the youths in question are gang members and the families deny it.

Part of the debate about the Northlake incident focuses on whether the individual in custody was a gang member.

GOV, Village of Westchester budget [W]

Suburban Life (Erick Bieritz):
Westchester may try to settle on a budget on schedule this year as it raises taxes and anticipates improved sales taxes.

Trustee Angelo Luciano said he would like to see the village budget prepared by the end of March, in accordance with the fiscal year. In the last several years, the budget has not been approved until most of the fiscal year had already passed, as union negotiations and tightened belts made settling the numbers more difficult.

The rest of the article explains the vagueries of Westchester's property and sales tax revenue.

ED, R-B having intra-student violence issues [D208]

See Suburban Life (Gina Kenny).

Some of the incidents have a racial component.

GOV, finance director place on administrative leave [BF]

Suburban Life:
Brookfield finance director John Dolasinski was placed on administrative leave by Village Manager Riccardo Ginex Jan. 27.

No reason given.

Anybody know the story?

GOV, former Hinsdale village manager to La Grange Park [LP]

Suburban Life (Tara Alexander):
The La Grange Park Village Board unanimously voted Feb. 2 to approve Bohdan Proczko, the former village manager of Hinsdale, as La Grange Park's new village manager....

Hinsdale village trustees decided to dismiss Proczko on Nov. 28 without disclosing a reason for the termination, according to earlier reports in the Suburban Life's DuPage County editions. Hinsdale Village Board President Michael Woerner denied claims that the termination resulted from Proczko's handling of a controversial construction project in downtown Hinsdale, according to earlier reports.

TAXES,appealing assessments

Pioneer Press has a confusing announcement. At least I was confused. (Apologies on the Fair Use issue. The piece is short and to make the point I have to excerpt more than 10%.)
For individuals looking to appeal their property-tax assessments, representatives from the Cook County Board of Review will give Proviso Township residents the opportunity to do so.

On Saturday, residents made property-tax-assessment appeals at Rock of Ages Baptist Church's Spiritual Growth and Development Center. Residents must have their tax bill with them when making an appeal.

For information on making an appeal, contact the office of Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Larry R. Rogers at (312) 603-5540.

Note that the first paragraph clearly uses the future tense "will give". The second paragraph then uses the past tense to refer to the same event.

When I called Rogers' office the woman was concerned that they were going back to Rock of Ages again. On the phone with her I noticed the tense change in the second paragraph.

To appeal your property tax assessment the best person to approach for help is probably the Proviso Township Assessor Michael A. Corrigan, (708)343-1313. Rogers' office probably doesn't have time to do more than send you the forms. Corrigan should have the time to answer your questions.

DEFAM, Esparza v. Moore, et al set for March 28

Pioneer Press (David Pollard) doesn't break much new ground if you read Proviso Probe's coverage of Esparza vs. Moore. The re-trial is set for March 28.

Pollard's article only addresses the aggravated home repair fraud issue. The newsletter included calling Esparza a "felon". He's never been convicted. It included an arrest report for a firearms violation on another Paul Esparza. It referred to "aggravated home fraud issue" as "elder abuse" (technically correct), but then lumped "elder abuse" with a number of heinous crimes, including pedophilia, in a way that was designed to be misleading.

If the newsletter wasn't so scurrilous, the defendents might be able to plead "honest mistake" on the firearms violation and misuse of the term felon. But with the pedophilia bomb included, it makes it unlikely a jury will have much sympathy.

So Moore and his co-defendents are claiming someone else produced the newsletter. This defense has problems.

1. Moore and Sharp were seen distributing the newsletter.
2. The newsletter includes Moore's endorsed slate of candidates. The candidates are in punch number order except for Moore who vaulted himself to near the top of the list (after the statewide candidates and Lightford).
3. The flyer includes a picture of Esparza taken at a Eugene Moore fundraiser. Esparza claims the photo was displayed in Moore's home before they parted ways.

GOV, 911 money [FP]

In 1999-2000 I served on the Village of Oak Park Citizen Involvement Committee. I was the liaison to the Emergency Telephone Service Board.

One of the things I learned attending these meetings was that 911 funds were flush because the tax on phone lines was enacted when each household had one line. As people installed data lines and acquired mobile phones the revenue for 911 increased. Oak Park bought laptops for their police cars or spend the money on other extravagences.

Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) has an article with the headline Yarbough secures grant for dispatch improvements. The article ends with the following sentence.
Village Administrator Michael Sturino said that the village had not yet determined precisely how the extra funds would be used.

The Village of Forest Park is blowing tens of thousands of dollars to fire Sgt. Dan Harder. It has started the process of doing the same thing with Lt. Steve Johnsen. The Harder case will almost assuredly result in a large court verdict against Forest Park. Forest Park's insurance rates will probably climb another $70-150,000 per year.

Yarbrough could save Forest Park more money by helping to enact a system of better detecting and resolving police brutality issues. (Have you read my proposal?)

But fixing problems around police brutality would require Yarbrough to take a somewhat adversarial position to those that support the status quo, like Mayor Tony Calderone and Chief James Ryan.

So Yarbrough gets a grant for 911 and gets a nice write-up in the newspaper. Does Forest Park need the money? It does seem like the village has money to burn when it wants to fire people that have crossed Calderone and Ryan.

How do we want our government optimized? Do we want it optimized around powerful public officials? Or optimized to provide the highest quality services at the lowest possible cost?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

PO-PO, Harder hearing part... whatever... [FP]

I was at the Dan Harder hearing last Thursday. What was said that constituted “news”? Not much in some respects.

Harder’s attorney Jeanine Stevens asked Chief James Ryan, “Is [Harder’s lie about his whereabouts] sufficient to terminate?” Ryan responded, “No.”

This exchange is significant because the rest of the case against Harder is flimsy.

Ryan said, “Most of the officers started fresh.” Ryan was speaking of the reputations of individual officers when he became police chief. Stevens asked, who didn’t start fresh, but didn’t give Ryan time to answer. Stevens was admonished by Charles Hervas, the attorney supervising the hearings, for being rude to Ryan at another time during the hearing.

Stevens asked Ryan about his statements that officer Mike Murphy was more credible than Sgt. Dan Harder because Murphy didn’t read ForestPark.com. This line of reasoning struck me as strange in two ways.

One, the idea ignorance leads to credibility bothers me. Why don’t we just put the most ignorant person we can find as commander-in-chief? I mean, if being ignorant makes one trustworthy, why not? Wait…

Two, how does Ryan know Murphy is ignorant? Murphy’s wife, Ryan’s assistant, told Ryan that he doesn’t know about what’s written about him on ForestPark.com. Hmmm… Count me as skeptical. If a wife knows about stuff being written publicly about her husband, wouldn’t she tell him? I mean the only reason to keep him in the dark would be if the guy had an anger management problem. Wait…

Stevens dug into Ryan about not reimbursing Harder for expenses. Harder submitted a request and Ryan turned it back as asked Harder to prove he hadn’t already been reimbursed.

This seemed particularly petty of Ryan. The finance department evaluates claims. I’m sure they have some mechanism to avoid paying the same claim twice. When Stevens pressed Ryan about the reimbursements Ryan said he’d pass it along to the finance department. Excuse me, Chief, but isn’t that what you should have done in the first place?

This is typical of the problems facing the Forest Park Police Department in firing Harder. The case against Harder is based on exceedingly weak charges. Every anecdote of Ryan jerking around Harder gives more weight to Harder’s explanation of events: the firing is retaliation for other stuff (the sexual harassment suit and police brutality complaints).

Stevens openly derided the Fire and Police Commission. She said they will vote to fire Harder like it was already a done deal. Is Stevens fighting for Harder to keep his job—not very practical at this point—or to score a big settlement in federal court?

SCENARIO, thought experiment

Picture a meeting of the following people:
1. Anthony Bruno--disbarred attorney and contractor under investigation
2. Dan Coglianese--township trustee of schools and political power broker
3. Claude Porter--social services "entrepeneur"
4. Ron Serpico--Mayor of Melrose Park
5. August Taddeo--convicted felon and former political boss

Who is the alpha-male who would run the meeting? When the guy running the meeting decided they needed coffee, who would be sent to get the coffee?

CRIME, teenager found dead on tracks [FP]

The police say the train hit Brandon Washington. The medical examiner's initial findings say he was killed by a head blow, not caused by a train. See Forest Park Review (Seth Stern).
Keating said there is no conclusive evidence regarding how Washington got onto the tracks, but that police do not suspect foul play at this point.

"Investigators spoke to the family to see if he had any problems, and as far as we can tell he was just trying to get home," he said.

What does "do not suspect foul play" mean?

KLEPT, Danielle Ashley and District 209 [D209]

Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) had an article on Proviso Township High Schools (District 209) blowing almost $150,000 on a public relation consultant in 2005. The district also has a full-time staff member handling PR.

The PR firm in question did in-kind work for Emanuel Christopher Welch's school board campaign, and his literature for his state representative campaign looks to be D-A's work too.

Is there a "clear and bright" line that describes when this kind of relationship crosses from legal and appropriate to an illegal kickback?

POL, Hendon endorses LaShawn Ford [M06]

La Shawn Ford’s campaign is reporting that Sen. Rickey Hendon has endorsed Ford over Calvin Giles for State Representative.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

ED-HEALTH, Dwayne Evans pitches health clinics

Dwayne Evans, formerly of Proviso East, is now the principal at Thornton Fractional North High School in District 215. Evans is pushing to create a school-based health clinic there. See Northwest Indiana Times (Phil Rockrohr).

I've explained my concerns about the school-based clinics in Forest Park Review.

I also wrote a letter to the editor of Northwest Indiana Times.
District 215 should be cautious about applying for a federal grant to create a health clinic at Thornton Fractional North High School.

Principal Dwayne Evans cites his experience doing the same thing at Proviso East. Does Evans know how the funding worked after he left?

The federal government stopped funding the grants in question and the school district was asked to fund the clinic instead.

Providing health care to those with low incomes traditionally has been done by Medicaid. Medicaid is funded by the state and federal governments, which
means sales taxes and income taxes. By withdrawing federal support for the clinic, the tax burden was shifted from income taxes to property taxes.

If District 215 invites the clinic into the high school, taxpayers will likely be played with the same bait-and-switch that happened at Proviso East.

Once the clinic establishes a track record, the local taxpayers will be asked to replace the initial federal funding with higher property taxes.

I would recommend District 215 reject the clinic offer unless the federal government commits in writing to provide the necessary grants for at least 15 years.

GOV, ARDC ducks the question

After reading the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) response to a complaint against Askia Abdullah, I wrote to the ARDC Administrator Mary Robinson.

(Abdullah is a disbarred attorney that may be illegally doing legal work for Cook County Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore. Along with David Sharp, husband of Maywood Trustee Wanda Sharp, Abdullah and Moore are defendants in a defamation suit brought by Paul Esparza.)

The ARDC response to the complaint brought by John H. Monaghan, Jr. of Chicago was that Abdullah was not interpreting the law—which would be illegal—but merely determining when the Family Medical Leave Act applies.

I’ve long had a low opinion of how the ARDC handles complaints against the politically connected. The Abdullah response struck me as absurd. So I wrote to Robinson to ask her to explain the difference between interpreting the law and determining when the law applies.

Robinson applied her legal training to duck the question. Below is the entire text of her letter.
Dear Mr. Nyberg:

A copy of Supreme Court Rule 766 identifying what ARDC matters are public and which are confidential is enclosed. Since thre are no public ARDC matters to which your inquiry relates, I can make no response.
Very truly yours,
/sig/ Mary Robinson

Basically the rules say everything they do is confidential.

But it doesn’t really matter what the rules say. According to the rules the ARDC probably should have found Abdullah in violation of his disbarment. So it looks like the ARDC fits the rules to its conclusions, not its conclusions to the rules.

The ARDC can do this because it is accountable only to the Illinois Supreme Court. And the Court seems indifferent to whether the ARDC is doing its job. The ARDC exists to serve lawyers; not to protect non-lawyers from crooked lawyers. There is no formal appeal process listed on either the ARDC website or the Supreme Court website. It’s a straightforward “who is watching the watcher?” problem.

The ARDC has the ingredients for a corrupt organization. It has minimal transparency and the ARDC evaluates appeals of its own decisions.

GOV, Nyberg corruption postulate

The Nyberg corruption postulate: To reduce corruption one can either increase transparency or decrease conflict-of-interest.


1. Corruption grows naturally in systems without minimum levels of transparency and where conflict-of-interest exists.

2. Increasing penalties for corruption does not reduce corruption.

Friday, February 03, 2006

ECON, Belden makes minature joints [BV]

Belden was founded in 1939 and makes precision miniature joing. See ManufacturingTalk.

SHERIFF, political litmus test for promotions?

I'm shocked! Shocked!

See Chicago Tribune (Michael Higgins).

SHERIFF, firearm smuggled in county jail

Sun-Times (Stefano Esposito and Annie Sweeney):
Investigators looking into a bizarre shooting that slightly injured three Cook County Jail inmates are considering whether the inmates wounded themselves -- after somehow smuggling in the gun -- so they could be hospitalized and then escape, sources said Thursday.

That's one of the theories being explored as investigators try to piece together not only how Wednesday night's shooting took place, but why, a law enforcement source said.

If I wanted to get transfered to the infirmary I can think of many schemes less elaborate than smuggling a firearm into the county jail.

Does anybody else get the impression the sheriff's department is kinda... learning disabled?

SPORT, three teams added to Proviso West tourney

See ChicagoSports.com. The teams added are St. Pat's, Thornton Fractional North and Morgan Park.

I'm impressed with the information on the tournament website, but the color scheme and graphic design could be better.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

POL, Debra Shore candidate for MWRD

Debra Shore is a candidate to be a board member of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

I attended her fundraiser at the Hot House on Monday.

She seems like an earnest good government candidate with longstanding concern for environmental issues. She is a founding editor of Chicago Wilderness Magazine.

We did talk briefly and she said she reads Proviso Probe.

PO-PO, police protecting jeweler [BW]

Maywood Herald (John Huston) has a story that sounds fishy.
Two Bellwood Police officers were hired to perform a "favor" for a local businessman with strong ties to Mayor Frank Pasquale.

The officers were hired by a Florida jewelry firm to pick up a company representative at O'Hare International Airport on Jan. 5.

Later in the article Ron Scarloto gets mentioned.
Ron Scarlato denied ever making a purchase from a Florida jewelry company and that Bellwood police officers escorted a courier to his office.

"Not that I know of," he responded.

Since 2000, he has donated nearly $65,000 to Bellwood Mayor Frank Pasquale's campaign fund, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Feel free to speculate what's really going on here.

ECON, if you assume they are lying...

Pioneer Press (Karen Shoffer) wrote an article on how being acquired by Supervalu will affect Jewel.

This quote made me think, "If they are denying it, it's probably true."
"There are no plans at this point to close facilities. It's very early in the game to address this. We are just beginning to assess staffing and operations needs."

Heinsch added that Supervalu will know more once the transaction is completed in the summer.

PO-PO, conflict or interest lawyering? [MP]

Melrose Park Herald (John Huston) has an article discussing whether the Village of Melrose Park hiring an attorney for its police officers constitutes a conflict of interest.

If the supervisors at the village are paying for the lawyer, is he going to be representing the interests of the individual officers, the group of officers or the village?

The short answer is probably, if nobody did anything wrong there won't be a conflict of interest. However, if crimes were committed and some players will be cutting deals to testify against others then it seems likely conflicts of interest will occur.

The article does say:
"At this point, it does not appear that any police officers I represent are targets or suspects," Onesto said. "At this point I can tell you that. If it arises that they become suspects, then we will have to discuss the possibility of conflicts."

He also said the officers who were issued subpoenas were not directed to take his counsel.