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Proviso Probe

Friday, March 31, 2006

CRIME, Maywood arrests [M]

Fourteen people were arrested Friday in a drug and prostitution sting in Maywood.

See Maywood Herald (John Huston) for the rest of the story.
Maywood Herald (John Huston) was also on the beat for firearm arrests.
A cache of weapons were recovered after the arrest of three men in Maywood.

The arrests came at the tail-end of a spate of violence, which included seven people being shot -- one fatally.

Police arrested Trevor Anderson, 21, of 633 S. 13th Ave., and Earnest Ashford, 23, of 311 S. 10th Ave., both of Maywood; and Darius Blackwell, 21, of 4309 St. Charles Road in Bellwood, at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 20.

Anybody have any insights on the Maywood shootings or the arrests of Anderson, Ashford or Blackwell?

ED, Less Red Tape bill goes to Governor

Sen. Kimberly Lightford is the lead Senate sponsor of the bill to reduce bureaucratic requirements on schools.

According to Governor Rod Blagojevich's press release the bill incluses:
School/District improvement plans: School districts across Illinois are struggling to comply with the federal mandates set out in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). SB 2829 eliminates several state-imposed planning burdens and allows ISBE to better support districts’ efforts to implement NCLB. It also eliminates duplicative requirements associated with the school and district improvement planning processes.

Reporting, Fiscal and Administrative Requirements. The state should not mandate reporting from school districts and teachers unless the benefits of receiving the information outweigh the burdens on districts to provide it. Some statutory reporting requirements fail this test. A number of other statutory requirements can be revised to reduce the administrative and financial burdens on school districts associated with publishing financial information in newspapers, administering building code requirements, and obtaining waivers and modifications of School Code mandates.

What do the educators think of this bill?

M06, Trib's referenda wrap up

Chicago Tribune (Joseph Ruzich and Victoria Pierce):
In Melrose Park, officials are happy that two non-home rule municipal sales tax increases of 1-percent were passed. Fifty-five percent of the 1,651 voters approved the increases.

The measures related to the retail sales and services of tangible personal property. Both taxes would be phased in over two years. Grocery sales, medicine and medical equipment would be exempt from the retail sales portion of the tax, said Mark Scarlato, Melrose Park's assistant village attorney. Both taxes could bring in up to $1 million for road improvements or tax relief, he said.

Is it strange that Melrose Park passed the referendum without knowing how the money would be used? Or could this be sloppy journalism by the newspaper that neglects Proviso?

It also struck me as odd and problematic that the Sun-Times got info from the County Clerk saying the referenda lost by six votes when the official results had it passing with 55% of the vote, a comfortable margin. See earlier entry. Either the clerk's office was fouled-up or the election results were adjusted.

Th Trib article also addresses Bellwood's library referenda losing.

In other suburban Cook County referendums, residents in Broadview overwhelmingly voted against the village becoming a home-rule government...

CRIME, Terry Warner of Bellwood strangled [BW]

The 41-year-old was found in his home Monday morning. See Chicago Tribune.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

PO-PO, when is police brutality right?

What is police brutality?

Why is it a bad thing?

Should officers be required to comply with the law?

If extra-legal violence serves a legitimate law enforcement purpose, whom should it be used against?

These questions were inspired by earlier discussions about Officer Ken Gross using non-authorized techniques (punching the head) to subdue a 19 year old: first discussion and second.

BTW, how much are you willing to pay in higher insurance premiums for the privilege of having thugs on the police force?

MEDIA, how the media covers Fred Hampton story

CBS2 (Rafael Romo) reports:
(CBS) CHICAGO Chicago police officers were on hand as a huge street fight spilled into City Hall Wednesday afternoon. Protesters filled the halls outside council chambers to demand a street be named after a former leader of the Black Panthers.

The Fraternal Order of Police opposes the proposal to name a section of West Monroe Street after Fred Hampton, citing Hampton’s threats to officers back in the 1960s. But those in support of the sign say Hampton fought for the rights of African Americans.

What's more significant? Hampton saying, "Off the pigs"? Or the fact that the police executed Fred Hampton?

"Off the pigs" is protected political speech. It's legal. Cops busting into a private residence and killing all in the middle of the night is... murder.

The assassintation of Fred Hampton should be a source of shame for Chicago law enforcement.

The media should be clear about how Hampton died in the stories about the conflict about naming a street after the man. His execution by law enforcement officers is far more important to the story than the FOP whining about Hampton's political speech.

CRIME, dancer accused of paying for murder [SP]

West Proviso Herald (John Huston):
[Gina L. Mendoza, 29, of Carol Stream], a dancer in a Stone Park bar has been arrested for allegedly trying to hire someone to kill her ex-husband for $200.

So many directions to go with this...

I'm thinking Mendoza should try to persuade the prosecutor and if necessary the judge and jury that $200 is such a low amount that she wasn't really serious. She merely wanted to tell her ex that she had paid someone to kill him to get him to stop bugging her.

GOV, homerule fails in Broadview [BV]

Most local tax referenda passed. Broadview's homerule referenda was thrashed, 70-30.

The voters don't have confidence in their current village leadership. This seems reasonable since Broadview lost its annual budget. Broadview didn't just ignore or neglect its budget. It lost the budget. See Proviso Probe (based on Suburban Life story).

Home rule isn't a panacea for poor fiscal management. The Village of Broadview has to fix the major budget problems before the voters are going to approve home rule. The big problems haven't been fixed yet.

See Pioneer Press (David Pollard) for quotes from village leadership.

VETS, challenges of military service and jobs

Pioneer Press has a few articles on veterans and jobs.

Chris LaFortune cover the story of Navy Reservist Joseph Kolek who claims he was jerked around by the CTA.

David Pollard tells how the VA helped a couple vets.

Cheri Bentrup covers the Vet Center in Oak Park.

M06, Lyons GOP committeeman race

Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Skolnik) has an article on the Republican Committeeman race in Lyons Township. Commissioner Anthony Peraica narrowly won.

I understand the old guard aligned with former commissioner Al Carr wanted to oust Peraica. But what the hell was State Sen. Christine Radogno thinking by supporting LaPidus against Peraica?

Radogno aspires to win a statewide election as a Republican in November. She knows Peraica is going to be the Republican nominee for President of the Cook County Board. Cook County is the biggest county in the state.

Even if Radogno hates Peraica she should make nice with him out of simple self-interest. But deliberately antagonizing Peraica it tells me Radogno is either a complete fool or a weak-willed tool of the old guard.

Does anybody see how back LaPidus against Peraica helps Radogno? If it's gonna work against her no matter what, why would she do it?

GOV, tax referenda [D208]

Darcy Lewis (Riverside/Brookfield Landmark) has a column about three tax referenda that passed.

Renovating Riverside-Brookfield High School is a legit bond for the local property owners to pay for.

But why don't more people ask, why do we need to raise taxes so often at the local level?

It seems like an obvious question.

Here's the answer:

1. The federal government has failed to control health care costs.
2. The Republican Party is pushing for taxes to be shifted from the federal income tax (hits high earners) to other taxes which fall disproportionately on the poor and middle class.

Why don't the Democrats make the case that this is unfair and lousy public policy?

SPORT, youth soccer registration [W]

Westchester children 4 to 13 are invited to register for youth soccer Friday, April 7, or Wednesday, April 12. See Suburban Life.

EVENT, Miss Saigon in Cicero

The Jedlicka Performing Arts Center in Cicero will show Miss Saigon until April 8. Hat tip to Suburban Life (Robert Carr).

PO-PO, pushing racist stereotypes

Are the police in this Suburban Life (Debrah Bonn) article behaving in a racist manner?
"We're in a controlled environment; it's easy to chuckle. ... But God forbid someone dressed like that parks next to you at the mall or you're at a fest near your home and there's a group of them and you start hugging your purse a little tighter," [Lyons police Cmdr. Brian Kuratko] told the crowd.

If old ladies clutch their purses tighter in the presence of Black males who dress hip hop, who has the problem? Is it the Black males for dressing in a threatening manner? Or the old lady who has the stereotype? Or the media that sells the stereotype?
Gang culture is being marketed to children of all backgrounds.

What is being marketed? A fashion style? Or criminality?

Is Kuratko making a distinction between fashion and criminal activity? Does Kuratko see part of his job as pressuring youth who rebel to conform? What are we paying taxes for? Preventing and solving crimes? Policing youth fashion?

ADMIN, slow posting

I've been slow posting for a few days. Now I'm going to hit a bunch of stuff.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

N06, Meeks for governor?

Here's a few angles that come to mind:

1. Meeks wants to be bought off with President of the County Board.

2. Madigan and Daley have heard Blagojevich or members of his inner circle will be indicted befor the November election. Conceivably, Meeks could be the de facto substitute candidate.

3. Madigan thinks that Meeks will boost turnout among Blacks and Lefties that wouldn't come to the polls for Blagojevich. This extra turnout will put Dems over the top in tight legislative races. If JBT wins, it's not that bad. If she gets less than 45% of the vote then the Speaker can probably dictate terms to her. And Lisa Madigan will have a better chance at winning Guv in 2010 if JBT wins in 2006.

Monday, March 27, 2006

ETHNICITY, Black ownership of wealth

Cynthia has a quote that says, of the entire pie of U.S. wealth, Blacks own 0.5%. This is the same percentage as in 1865.

M06, Greens get bad info from County Clerk

In the 2004 elections Julie Samuels (Green-Oak Park) ran against Rep. Calvin Giles (D-8th).

Since Samuels obtained over 5% of the vote the Green Party was entitled to elect township committeemen in the district. So the Greens fielded candidates in Berwyn, Oak Park and Proviso. Art Kazar was the Green candidate for committeeman in Proviso Township.

I assumed Kazar only needed one vote from one person in Proviso Township to be elected. It wasn't this simple.

I spoke to Bruce Samuels, Green activist and husband of Julie Samuels. It turns out the only Proviso residents allowed to vote for the Green Committeeman were the people of Precinct 77, the one precinct in the 8th Legislative District.

This rule wasn't explained to the Green Party in advance, so the party didn't recruit anyone to vote for Kazar there.

Also, the County Clerk didn't print Green ballots. Instead the Greens had to rely on the touch screen ballots. However, if the touchscreens weren't working at the precinct Greens were disenfranchised.

Samuels is the Green candidate for Lt. Governor in 2006. Rich Whitney is the nominee for governor running against Rod Blagojevich and Judy Baar Topinka.

Friday, March 24, 2006

OPEN, what's on your mind?

I've got a few things on my mind, but the muse has not been there.

What's on your mind? What subjects do you want to read about on Proviso Probe?

BTW, what do you see as the lessons of Tuesday's election?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

ADMIN, fundraising

I'm modifying the fundraising plan somewhat. Instead of fundraising with all constituencies at one, Proviso Probe will fundraise from the audience first.

If you want to support Proviso Probe, please email me, RadioNyberg circled "a" Yahoo spot com with your fundraising pledge.

If you can't pledge, but would like to say something positive about Proviso Probe, endorsements are welcome too.

POL, replacing Stroger

Who will replace John Stroger if he steps down as County Board President?

Stroger supposedly wants Todd Stroger, his son to have the job.

One plan has Dorothy Brown taking the County Board President position and Todd Stroger becoming Clerk of the Circuit Court.

The 19th Ward is pushing Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan to replace Stroger.

The Democratic Machine wants to keep the status quo as much as possible. The formula of combining a Black candidate with the old school organizations seems to be the most viable for keeping the patronage system in county government.

BTW, could Alderman Ed Smith be in the mix? Brown replacing Stroger and Smith replacing Brown would seem to be an easy sell to many of the players. However, Stroger sees that Lipinski, Hynes, Madigan, Mell, etc. were able to deliver for their children. Stroger wants the same for his son.

PO-PO, Harder sues FP PD; brutality discussion [FP]

The Forest Park Police Department has been holding hearings on the termination of Sgt. Dan Harder for... how long has it been now? Half a year?

Harder has filed a federal lawsuit against the Village of Forest Park, Mayor Anthony Calderone, Police Chief James Ryan, Deputy Village Clerk Sally Cody and Lt. Michael Cody. See Forest Park Review (Seth Stern).
The suit, filed in the US District Court on March 9, asks that Harder be compensated for damages including economic loss from both his current suspension and alleged denials of career opportunities as well as pain and suffering and attorney’s fees.

"Forest Park had a general, widespread, ongoing, permanent, well settled and accepted pattern of retaliating against employees who exercise federally protected political speech and who report allegations of criminal activity committed by fellow officers," states the lawsuit.

Chief Ryan claims to be firing Harder for swearing at a subordinate, excessive sick days and lying about his whereabouts on a sick day. The case against Harder seems pretty flimsy in the hearings to date.

Recently, Forest Park police officer Ken Gross was alleged to have used excessive force against a 19 year old Latino outside a bar. See Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) or Proviso Probe. One thing I did not make clear in the Proviso Probe coverage is that Edison Reformado claims he did not know Gross was a police officer when he him. Reformado claims all Gross' identifying markings were covered or obscured by a brown jacket (hoody-like) worn over his police uniform.

Until I read some of the comments on Proviso Probe, I thought it was obvious police brutality is wrong. But since it seems to be open to debate I wrote a column explaining why police brutality is wrong and how regular folk need to make their opposition to police brutalit clear. See Forest Park Review.

ECON, ooo ahh, Forest Park's new logo [FP]

What do you think of Forest Park's new logo? For the backstory see Forest Park Review (Tom Holmes).

M06, election results

Congratulations to Proviso Township's new Democratic Committeeman, Karen Yarbrough, and the other primary winners: Congressman Dan Lipinski, Senator Kimberly Lightford, Senator Don Harmon, Rep. Karen Yarbrough and La Shawn Ford.

In Lyons Township Michael J. LaPidus challenged Commissioner Anthony Peraica for Republican Committeeman. With 102 of 117 precincts counted Peraica leads by about 150 votes. LaPidus needs 60% of the outstanding vote to beat Peraica.


District 95 (Brookfield & La Grange Park elementary schools) voted to raise taxes.

District 208 (Riverside-Brookfield HS) voted to raise taxes.

Bellwood voted to issue bonds for a new library.

Broadview resoundingly defeated home rule.

Brookfield increased sales tax by one percent.

Cicero defeated a referendum to end block parties.

Melrose Park defeated a one percent sales tax increase.

North Riverside overwhelmingly approved a one percent sales tax increase.

For results see Sun-Times.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

M06, where are the E Day parties?

Illinois Democratic Network has a list of some election night parties.

John Sullivan is having a "Victory Celebration", 7pm ("115 Bourbon Street", 3359 W 115th St., Merrionette Park). Sullivan is running for Congress in the southern half of Proviso Township.

Where are the other parties?

M06, fraud and irregularities

During the election I expect there will be allegations of fraud, irregularities, violations of election law and general dirty pool.

If you suspect something, report it here.

In my experience, many things that look wrong at first have reasonable explanations. Make it clear what you witnessed, what you heard and what you suspect.

If you see laws being violated, take digital pictures. If you email them to me, I will consider posting them. Please provide a caption for each picture.

M06, open thread

Use this entry to discussion general topics, including today's election.

Except don't use this to report allegations of fraud and irregularities.

If you see government employees working the polls, post their names and employers here. It's legal for government employees to electioneer, but they shouldn't be electioneering while on the clock.

Monday, March 20, 2006

SPORT, DePaul women advance

Tonight DePaul defeated Tulsa 71-67 in the women's basketball NCAA tournament. DePaul goes to the sweet sixteen round as a number four seed to face LSU, a number one seed.

See this entry to get the Proviso connection.

REL, St. Eulalia & St. James [M]

This is Father Frank of St. Eulalia at the Friday, St. Patrick's Day event at Legal Grounds.

Friday, Father Frank told me there would be an official announcement about St. Eulalia and St. James today. Was there? What was it?

See the earlier discussion for background.

M06, judicial recommendations

If you want to see the recommendations for judicial candidates, see VoteForJudges.org.

For a discussion by people who have met some of the candidates, see Soap Blox Chicago.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

PHOTO, St. Patrick's Day and the river

A possum inspects trash in my yard.

Tree in ephemeral pond

At the Friday St. Patrick's Day ceremony, some green dye was dumped in the Des Plaines River.

And there was a bagpiper....

High water on the Des Plaines

See last week's photos...

M06, Welch/Moore cheap shots

In an earlier Proviso Probe discussion a supporter of Emanuel "Chris" Welch who reads campaign documents posted the letter about Fair Campaign Practices candidates are required to sign. This Welch suppporter was attempting to scold Rep. Karen Yarbrough by posting,
(1) I will conduct my campaign openly and publicly, and limit attacks on my opponent to legitimate challenges to his record.
(2) I will not use or permit the use of character defamation, whispering campaigns, libel, slander, or scurrilous attacks on any candidate or his personal or family life.
(7) I will immediately and publicly repudiate methods and tactics that may come from others that I have pledged not to use or condone. I shall take firm action against any subordinate who violates any provision of this Code or the laws governing elections.

But over at the blog set up to support Welch and attack his critics, this is what one Welch supporter wrote,
[State Representative Marlow Colvin is] Karen Yarbrough's lover according to sources. There are pictures to prove this, I am sure Henderson knows...

Can Welch explain how this rumor is a legitimate attack on Yarbrough's record?

Does Welch agree that spreading a rumor on a blog anonymously constitutes using a whisper campaign?

Does spreading unsourced allegations about infidelity count as a scurrilous attack?

Has Welch repudiated these attacks on Yarbrough?

Does Welch know who posted these attacks?

Email Emanuel "Chris" Welch, info@chriswelch2006.com, and ask him.

SPORT, DePaul women advance to next round NCAA tourney

Here's the background.
[DePaul's} star is Kyra Smith who starred at Proviso West and is from Bellwood. She is the daughter of former Illinois and NBA star Ken Norman.

Claudette Towers starred at Fenwick and is from Maywood. Ciara Johnson starred at Trinity and is from Maywood. Caprice Smith is also from Maywood and also starred at Trinity.

DePaul beat Liberty 68-43. See Scout.com.

The death of former DePaul coach Ray Meyer has figured prominently in the coverage.

Friday, March 17, 2006

M06, Yarbrough pre-election rally [7th Rep]

I will post party announcements for any campaign that sends one to me.


Is Blogger working? At least sorta?

EVENT, Maywood St. Pat's Day [M]

Hopefully, Blogger will be up so people can see this before the shindig happens.

M06, Danny K. Davis repudiates Moore claim of endorsement

This is the letter being sent out by the Yarbrough campaign in response to Eugene "Gene" Moore claiming to have Davis' endorsement.

ADMIN, sample ballots?

Should Proviso Probe post sample ballots?

I have seen the Regular Democratic Party sample ballot and Gary Woll's "Gold Ballot". I assume there is or will be a Yarbrough sample ballot. IVI-IPO has a sample ballot. Any others?

ADMIN, what's wrong with Proviso Probe?

This Sitemeter graph shows that a small amount of traffic is able to visit Proviso Probe even during Blogger's technical difficulties.

From the status portion of the Blogger website:
Thursday, March 16, 2006

The filer that we have been having trouble with in the last few days failed again. Those blogs that are stored on the bad filer are temporarily not available for publishing and viewing. We are working on replacing the filer and restoring access to the blogs affected.

Update (7 am, March 17): we are still in the process migrating data off of the bad filer. We sincerely apologize for the continuing problems.

Proviso Probe is not being singled out. Proviso Probe's unavailability is not do to an attack by hostile parties.

Thank you for the calls and emails asking about Proviso Probe. If you haven't already, please make a pledge so Proviso Probe can keep covering the community. No matter the outcome of Tuesday's election, there will still be tough issues to tackle.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

M06, Sullivan campaign seeks 300 volunteers [IL-03]

John Sullivan is running again U.S. Rep Dan Lipinski and John Kelly in the Democratic primary.

The Sullivan campaign is seeking 300 volunteers for its final push. See patachon's post on Soapblox Chicago.

ACTIVISM, Vets for Peace meeting in Oak Park

Veterans for Peace, Chicago Chapter, is having a meeting at 7:00 PM at the home of Ron and Karla Chew, 512 N. Ridgeland, Oak Park. All pro-peace veterans are invited to attend. See here for contact info.

M06, Moore campaign literature

"My Mommy told me not to talk to creepy old men."

The picture is from Eugene "Gene" Moore's campaign literature.

It also includes a picture of Moore in front of the sign where he obscured Wanda Sharp's name.

ETHNICITY, Bonnie Libka calling a student "Negroid" [D209]


To: Ms. Weir
CC: Mrs. Libka, Mr. Patch, Board of Education Proviso Township High Schools
From: Keisha Coleman
Date: 3/14/2006
Re: Racial comment never investigated

In November 2005, I reported to Ms. Weir that Mrs. Libka made inappropriate comments to me. Mrs. Libka and I were discussing students that frequently visit the Career Center. Mrs. Libka proceeded to describe the student (name redacted) to me. Mrs. Libka described him as being short and having “Negroid features”. I questioned her about her comments and expressed my concern with her use of racist comments. I reported the incident to Ms. Weir and forwarded documentation to Human Resources. Mrs. Libka admitted to making the comments but did not apologize to me for her racist comments. I was very offended by her choice of words. It is clear that Mrs. Libka lives in a segregated time period. I have repeatedly reported incidents to administration that have been ignored. Mrs. Libka’s behavior is unprofessional and has been ignored by administration because of her relationship to Robert Libka, CEO of Proviso Township High School. Is this type of behavior tolerated at Proviso Township High Schools District #209? [emphasis added]

I've heard a variety of ethnic labels, slurs and adjectives, but I can't recall anyone ever using the word "Negroid".

For background, Keisha Coleman was recently suspended without pay for two days. She is appealing the discipline. It is clear from the documentation Coleman provided me that she has a poor relationship with her supervisor, Bonnie Libka, the wife of District 209 CEO Robert Libka.

Coleman's appeal was recently reviewed by Superintendent Phyllistine Murphy. Coleman's union representative is Tom Smith. Smith and Coleman were told that the next step for the grievance was to be considered at Monday's board meeting. Then Smith left town (for vacation?). After Smith became unavailable Coleman was told that her grievance had to be reviewed by Robert Libka before going to the board of education.

The collective bargaining agreement provides for a superintendent review. Coleman feels that adding a post superintendent review before going to the board is a violation of the contract.

IMO, it's kinda goofy to have Robert Libka review a grievance against his wife. I would think he'd ask to be out of the loop on Coleman's grievance because of the appearance of impropriety. Plus, it isn't exactly a huge issue.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

GOV, wanna be a school board member? [D92]

Lindop School District 92 (Broadview) seeks an individual to fill a vacancy on the school board. The deadline for applying is Monday, March 20, 2006. See Suburban Life.

BLOG, added a few links

I added three links to the sidebar to the right: Angry Black Bitch, Building a Better Community and Westchester Public Affairs.

Angry Black Bitch is technically in St. Louis, but that's like the western part of East St. Louis, right?

Building a Better Community is the blog that bought ProvisoProbe.com. Some people whine about that sort of trick. See Forest Park Review (Seth Stern). (BTW, the FPR article has a correction. Backman denies ever telling Commissioner Mark Hosty, "Sue me".)

Westchester Public Affairs is quite a serious enterprise by Westchester Commissioner Rick Fox. He writes his version of what happens at village meetings. This March 9 entry deals with Fox not getting a satisfactory explanation about a certain water department employee adding $25,000 in overtime to a $47,000 salary.

ENVIR, Woodcocks at Wolf Road Prairie [W]

(Photo of Woodcock from Des Moines County Conservation Board)

I received the following from Jim Hodapp, a local environmental activist and former teacher at Proviso East.
Good News!

The Woodcocks have returned to Wolf Road Prairie...March 11, 2006 at around 5:50pm the male woodcocks started to do their thing. I'm sure they have been back for a while; but this is the first evening this season I've seen them and heard them mystically sing with both their beaks and fluttering wings. At 62, it makes me feel good that I at least I made it to one more spring; And spring (for me) starts when the spiraling woodcocks begin their aerial mating display at the prairie. Peace Hodapp

ED, responding to bad taste in bad taste [D209]

(Click the cartoon to enlarge it.)

This cartoon was posted in the teacher lounge at Proviso West High School. Principal Alexis Wallace then added her commentary.

I can accept that the principal of Proviso West had an issue with someone posting the original cartoon in the teacher lounge. She should be upset about it.

But her response reinforces the negative message of the cartoon.

And she comes off as kinda childish.

HEALTH, McKinley School mold health hazard [D88]

Why is it acceptable to send Bellwood children to a building that is harming their health?
Cook County Department of Public Health
(708) 492-2000

February 6, 2006

Mr. Paul Glover
McKinley Elementary School
3317 Butterfield Road
Bellwood, IL 60104

Dear Mr. Glover:

At your request, our Department conducted an environmental assessment at McKinley Elementary School in Bellwood on Wednesday February 1, 2006. The assessment was requested as a result of moisture problems observed throughout the school. Assisting me on the assessment was Mr. Peter Gianakas, Environmental Health Specialist.

During our assessment, we visited classrooms, the gymnasium and the library, as well as, staff offices. At the time of our visit, we observed roofing problems and plumbing leaks that have resulted in significant water damage and visible mold growth on ceiling tiles and walls throughout the building. Buckets were being used to capture water leaking from the ceiling; some of which were located next to students and staff desks. Enclosed are pictures of some of the areas observed during our visit. These pictures were taken in classroom 311, the library, the gymnasium, the hallway and the conference room in the main office.

Because the rooms are carpeted, an odor was also observed in several of the classrooms. To address the odor, teachers open the windows, although in our variable climate, this is not always an option.

Exposure to mold can cause a variety of symptoms. Sensitive people who have touched or inhaled mold or mold spores may have allergic reactions such as a runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, skin rash and itching (dermatitis). Molds can trigger asthma attacks in people who are allergic to molds, causing wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Healthy individuals, exposed to high levels of mold over a period of time can also become sensitized.

As a result of our visit, the following recommendations are offered:

• A licensed plumber should be consulted to address the plumbing leaks throughout the building.
• A roofing contractor should be consulted to address the standing water on the roof and water leaking from the roof.
• All wet and water damaged building materials, including but not limited to, ceiling tiles, drywall and carpeting, should be removed and replaced.

To ensure the health and safety of the children at McKinley Elementary, our office is available to assist you in addressing the environmental health, as well as, the safety issues, discussed during our visit. Should you require another opinion; the services of an environmental consulting firm can be sought. One can be found listed in the yellow pages under “Environmental”. I also provided Ms. Phyllis Pelt a copy of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) document entitled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. This is a guidance document that contains helpful information on mold remediation. It can also be downloaded from the USEPA’s website.


LaTrice Porter-Thomas
Environmental Quality Manager

Why is it acceptable to have a board of education that allows these children to be sent into this environment?

Cook County gets all in a tizzy over secondhand smoke, but accepts sending Bellwood children into an environment that appears more unhealthy than a smoke filled bar. What gives?

SPORTS, Simeon ousts Pirates hoops tourney

Simeon beat Proviso East 67-57. See Sun-Times (Michael O'Brien).

M06, Stroger stroke

Capitol Fax Blog has the roundup from multiple newspapers.

Is a vote for Stroger merely a vote for the Democratic Party of Cook County to annoint Stroger's successor? Will Jon Daley's legal troubles preclude him from being Stroger's replacement?

Also, Archpundit covers Claypool's concerns about the methodology of the Tribune poll that showed Stroger weigh in front.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

M06, covering election night

Rich Miller has a great idea about how Illinois bloggers should play a supporting role to his political commentary on Fox.

I'm sorta inclined to go to a party or two and enjoy the evening. I encourage people who care about local elections to get involved in the last push.

And if you do some volunteer work for a candidate, you deserve to get invited to the election night party.

So, I'm having a hard time figuring who I'd be blogging for besides Rich and Fox-TV.

Unless someone persuades me otherwise, Proviso Probe's election night coverage is going to be to provide a link to the election results and an open thread for people to leave their comments.

OK. Maybe there will be one open thread and one for reporting election irregularities.

Monday, March 13, 2006

EVENT, Lipinski float catches fire [IL-03]

Rep. Dan Lipinski's float caught fire in the Southside St. Patrick's Day parade. According to Rich Miller the crowd cheered.

I attended the parade, but didn't see Lipinski's float. Lipinski is being challenged by John P. Sullivan and John Kelly in the Democratic Primary.

In the past Proviso Probe covered Carol Marin speculating Kelly was a plant by the Lipinski organization to split the opposition vote.

While Kelly flirted with running as a Republican in the past and doesn't have a website, he seems to have enough of a campaign to be in the yardsign game in Beverly (the area of the parade).

CRIME, Congressional candidate misuses non-profit funds

Phillip Jackson is running for Congress against Rep. Bobby Rush.

Jackson is the executive director of Black Star Project, a non-profit corporation. On August 29, 2005, Black Star Project gave $600 to Sen. Kimberly Lightford.

Tax exempt non-profit organizations aren't supposed to give money to political campaigns. However, it is legal to pay salaries and have the staff contribute to campaigns. This allows the government to get a bite of the action through the income tax. Skipping this step is sorta like cheating the taxman.

Jackson non only is the executive director of Black Star Project, he's the former CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority and has held other executive positions in government and the non-profit sector. He's a sophisticated guy, so I'm surprised he did something that's pretty dumb.

The Attorney General's office says Lightford's campaign did nothing wrong by accepting the money. The non-profit is the only party running afoul of the law.

That's good news for Lightford, because Black Star Project isn't the only non-profit that gave to her campaign. Lightford also took $300 from the Austin Childcare Provider Network in August, 2005. The Austin Childcare Provider Network gets $100,000 per year from the State Board of Education (out of a total budget of $400,000). As chair of the education committee, Lightford oversees the budget that included this grant.

Does Black Star Project get grants from the State Board of Education?

If there was an explicit quid pro quo, Lightford's conduct would be illegal, if difficult to prove.

TRANS, ground breaking on ped bridge [M, FP]

Site where pedestrian bridge will cross Des Plaines River to connect Forest Park Blue Line and Cook County facility at Maybrook. (Photo by Johnny Diggs)

Muckity mucks at groundbreaking for pedestrian bridge. (Photo by Johnny Diggs)

This bridge will be a big convenience in my life. When I bike to Maybrook, the First Avenue portion is pretty unpleasant. I will be nice to ride on Des Plaines and use the pedestrian bridge instead.

It will also allow me easier access to the Illinois Prairie Path, a bicycle trail.

PHOTO, this week's photos

Footprints in snow

Blue chair in woods behind Proviso East

Last week's photo blogging starts here (other photos linked under "Previous" on righthand sidebar).

KLEPT, why doesn't Welch's car have a current vehicle sticker? [H]

[UPDATE: I was wrong on this one. The Village of Hillside stopped requiring vehicle stickers on January 1, 2003. Therefore the evidence shows that Emanuel "Chris" Welch was in full compliance with the law.]
I took these pictures of a Mercedes I assume to belong to Emanuel "Chris" Welch. Inside the car Welch's District 209 photo ID was hanging from the rear view mirror.

I noticed that the most recent village sticker on the vehicle was from 2002.

Part of Welch's campaign for state representative has been attacking incumbent Karen Yarbrough for not doing enough to get more resources for schools. Welch's critics tend to respond by saying that Welch's words are meaningless and that he's in politics to help himself.

Welch is still a resident of Hillside according to his campaign filings. So I assume his car is registered at his Hillside address which means he probably didn't get a sticker for the last four years. Hillside gives a new sticker every year, right?

How strick is Hillside in enforcing vehicle sticker requirements? Is this something anyone can neglect? Or is it something where one has to get special treatment? Would a connected scofflaw have to ask for the favor? Or is it understood that Mayor Tamburino's cronies aren't to be charged normal taxes and fees?

SPORTS, Pirates oust St. Joe's in boys hoops [D209]

Getabenchstjoe already mentioned it in the comments, but Proviso East beat St. Joe's 75-72 on Friday. See Sun-Times (Steve Tucker).

M06, removing/destroying yardsigns [7th Rep]

Cynthia is portraying Welch as the victim of yardsign thuggery.

My father suggested municipalities should pass laws requiring property owners to give written permission for political signs.

I suspect the yardsign wars would be less vicious if campaigns couldn't put up signs without permission.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

ETHNICITY, Latinos in the news

Crain's (Daniel Rome Levine) has an article about how Latinos now outnumber African-Americans in the Chicago area.

Sun-Times (Dave Newbart) has an article on the big demonstration against the Sensenbrenner immigration bill on Friday. The crowd may have been over 100,000.

This paragraph jumped out at me.
Organizers say they hired as many as 200 buses to bring immigrants in from the suburbs, other parts of the state and even bordering states. Those included 40 buses from Aurora, 33 from Melrose Park and two each from DeKalb and Rock Falls.

SPORTS, Proviso W. girls tracksters place 3rd [D209]

East St. Louis dominated and Fremd took second. See Maywood Herald.

Panther Michelle Teague set a track record in the 800 meter.

CRIME, Maurice Wallace accused of killing Olamide Adeyooye [B]

Olamide Adeyooye of Berkeley as pictured on the program of her memorial service.

Maurice Wallace has been charged with killing Olamide Adeyooye. Belleville News Democrat (Jan Davis of AP) reports that Wallace is going to be evaluated for competency based on jail and prison records.

PO-PO, to chase or not to chase?

ABC7 reports on a high-speed chase that ended in a car crash in Melrose Park on Friday.

Would you want the police shooting at a stolen vehicle?

I heard a criminal justice professor advocate that high speed chases should only be authorized in situations when deadly force (shooting) would be authorized. The logic is that a chase has a significant probability of resulting in a bystander being killed by either the police or the vehicle being chased.

Friday, March 10, 2006

BUSINESS, Circle Video to close [FP]

Circle Video will close March 19. VHS tapes are selling for $1 each. See Forest Park Review.

PO-PO, big to do in Maywood yesterday

I noticed something big happening in Maywood yesterday a little after 5 PM and south of Washington.

Anybody know what caused some many squad cars to be at that location?

PO-PO, individual beaten by Forest Park police [FP]

On Wednesday, March 1, Edison Reformado was beaten and Tasered multiple times while being apprehended by Officer Gross. Reformado contends he is the victim of inappropriate police brutality. The felony charge of assaulting a police officer was dropped and Reformado received a $290 fine, community service and court supervision.

For more pictures of Reformado's injuries see Shutterfly.com.

I have excerpted text from the Forest Park Police Department's official documents.

Officer Weiler's report of the injuries provides the shortest summary.
Offense/incident report Forest Park Police 1. Case # 0803-00879
2. Unusual Jail Occurrence 3. Injured Prisoner

Reformado was involved in a fight on the sidewalk in front of Duffy’s Tavern (CR#0603-00677). Reformado punched Ofc. Gross in the head as Gross intervened. As Ofc. Gross attempted to arrest Reformado, Reformado actively resisted Gross’ efforts to handcuff him and several unknown persons assisted Gross in bringing Reformado to the ground. While on the ground, Reformado continued to aggressively struggle to prevent the arrest. At some point in the fight and during his struggle with Ofc. Gross, Reformado suffered several cuts, abrasions, and swelling to his face and head.

At 517 Desplaines, FP #408 arrived at 0146hrs to treat Reformado for his injuries. Reformado refused all medical treatment. ET Ofc. Grimes took photos of Reformado’s injuries.

36. Reporting officer’s name: S. Weiler

Officer Gross' report provides the most detail.
Offense/incident report Forest Park Police 1. 0803-00677
2. Disturbance 3. Battery to Police Officer

8. Duffy’s – Sidewalk – Street 9. 01Mar06 0127 HRS

11. Victim’s name Ofc. K. Gross #234

31. Offenders name Reformado, Edison R., Male, “White”, Age 19, Complexion “Olive”, 6’00”, 170#, Brown/Brown

72. Charge: Battery to a PO; Resisting Arrest; Unlawful Use of License; Underage Consumption of Alcohol by a Minor

“The following is in summary and not verbatim: While on patrol in an unmarked squad car and in plain clothes I observed a small crowd in front of the above location and two male subjects involved in a physical fight. I stopped my car and observed two more subjects exit the bar and begin to fight, one now known as Reformado. I called in the disturbance via radio and exited my squad car. I was wearing a full duty belt and an exterior, body armor carrier with a star and “Forest Park Police” embroidered upon the left chest and my last name, “Gross,” embroidered upon the right chest. The star, Forest Park Police and Gross were visible as I exited the auto. As I approached the disturbance, Reformado walked backwards towards me as the subject he was fighting ran in an easterly direction. I grabbed Reformado by his right shoulder and verbally identified myself as a police officer telling Reformado to “relax.” Reformado looked at me themtowards my badge and with a closed fist struck me in the left side of the head in the area of my jaw and temple, causing me to drop back a few steps. I grabbed Reformado to place him in custody and Reformado fought my attempts to cuff him. I deployed my Taser X28 with the probes from the device landing in Reformado’s jacket, though I do not believe Reformado felt the effects of the Taser. As I was deploying the Taser, patrons of the bar came to my aid, tackling Reformado to the ground. One of the patrons, Vigneri, who is an off duty security guard, had a pair of handcuffs and began attempting to cuff Reformado. I was assisting Vigneri and others who were attempting to place Reformado in custody with Reformado fighting and pulling his arms away from all trying to control him. With the Taser I “drive stunned” Reformado an unknown number of times in an attempt to get him to comply as I continued to yell for him to stop fighting and put his hands behind his back. The Taser did not seem to affect Reformado’s behavior. Ofc. M. Scislowicz #243 arrived and assisted in trying to handcuff Reformado. During the melee, Reformado kicked Ofc. Scislowicz in the leg, ripping Ofc. Scislowicz’s pants. Reformado kept resisting attempts to be handcuffed and I struck him several times in the right side of the face with a closed right fist. Reformado still fought attempts to be handcuffed. Reformado was eventually forced into handcuffs and placed into a squad car.

“Other Forest Park, Oak Park and River Forest Units arrived to assist as we were struggling with Reformado. Officers on scene learned from witnesses that Fiorito was at the above business with Reformado consuming alcoholic beverages. Fiorito is alleged to have jumped on others and me as we were struggling with Reformado, though I did not witness this nor did other officers on scene. Fiorito smelled of alcoholic beverages. It was learned that Fiorito was under 21 years of age. Fiorito was placed in custody for underage consumption by a minor. Three pieces of identification were recovered from Fiorito’s left, rear pants pocket by Ofc. D. Preiwisch #222….

“I spoke with Mungula who was the DJ at the above business this evening. Mungula advised that Reformado was leaning against Mungula’s DJ equipment. Mungula asked Reformado to step away from the equipment. Reformado became confrontational with Mungula asking, ‘What’s your problem?’ and then telling him to ‘Fuck off.’ Reformado told Fiorito and Offender #3 that they were being kicked out. As they were being escorted from the business Officer #3 swung at Mungula two times missing Mungula both times. Mungula pushed Offender #3 away. Offender #3 fled in an unknown direction. Mungula wished to sign a complaint against offender #3.”

According to Gross he came upon a fight that had passed the point that physical violence was immediately about to occur. Reformado's combatant was fleeing the scene.

Gross took a situation where there was not an immediate risk of physical confrontation and contributed--presumably by accident--to the situation developing into a melee involving multiple people that resulted in injuries to Gross and the suspect.

What would have happened if Gross have verbally identified himself as a Forest Park police officer to the entire group before approaching any individual? Would things have gotten out of control?

My understanding is that individual Tasers record each use in memory. Gross' report looks like he's hiding this detail since it would have been readily available from his Taser.

What else seems unusual about Gross' account?

ED, Bellwood Elementary schools holds special meeting on Dr. Mack [D88]

Yesterday at 4 PM, the District 88 board of education (Bellwood and Stone Park elementary schools) held a special meeting to resolve the status of Dr. Willie Mack. In closed session the complete board of education, interim superintendent Drew Starsiak and board attorney Emanuel "Chris" Welch received a verbal report from attorney Anthony Scariano on charges against Dr. Willie Mack.

The board voted 4-3 to accept Mack's resignation and pay Mack $1,500 severance. Board member John Wicks thought it was unusual that no document signed by Mack or his attorney supported the claim Mack had agreed to the conditions. Since the meeting Mack has denied any knowledge of such a deal.

ETHNICITY, is the attack on Harold Ford, Jr. racist?

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has attacked Harold Ford, Jr., the presumed Democratic nominee in Tennessee, as liking to live the good life on a website called, "Fancy Ford".

What is the purpose of this advertisement? Who is the target audience? What is the message the GOP is hoping to sell? Is the attack racist? How so?

M06, Maywood sued over early voting

See Pioneer Press (Patrick Corcoran). It seems the likely result will be expanding the hours one can vote at village hall.

SPORT, Shannon Brown

Shannon Brown's dad is a Maywood cop. Brown plays hoops for Michigan State. Detriot Free Press (Shannon Shelton) has an article on Brown including discussion of the possibility he might leave the Spartans for the NBA.

M06, should Melrose Park increase the sales tax? [MP]

On March 21, Melrose Park residents will vote on whether to increase the sales tax by one percent to 8.75%. Mayor Ron Serpico supports the tax increase and so does his allie running the Chamber of Commerce. Melrose Park Herald (John Huston) wrote about it, but seemed to have a hard time finding anyone to speak against the tax increase.

What's it mean when it's hard to find a source to speak against a tax increase proposal? Maybe Melrose Park residents love their government so much no one wants to speak against it. Maybe not, too.

M06, Lightford-Smith race profiled [4th Sen]

Pioneer Press (David Pollard) covers the race between Sen. Kimberly Lightford and challenger James T. Smith. The article devotes the most attention to education and crime.

TRANS, vehicle death in Maywood Tuesday [M]

From CBS2:
(STNG) MAYWOOD, Ill. A 54-year-old Lisle man was killed in a three-vehicle accident Tuesday afternoon in west suburban Maywood.

M06, Leyden Dem Committeeman race

Paul Collurafici is challenging Barrett F. Pedersen. Franklin Park Herald-Journal (Chuck Fieldman) covers the race.

Don Stephes is running unopposed as the GOP committeeman.

SPORT, Triton grapplers 3rd at nationals [D504]

Triton is a Division III school. See Pioneer Press.

Three former Proviso East wrestlers placed individually.

At 133# Dionte Lacy placed seventh.

At 141# Jeremy Powell placed fourth.

At 197 Jason James placed seventh.

A fourth Triton wrestler, Neal Kemp placed seventh at 184#.

Congratulations to all.

M06, Congressional candidate debate [IL03]

There are three candidates in the Democratic Primary.
John Kelly
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski
John Sullivan
Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Skolnik) covered a recent candidate debate.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

M06, Dan Johnson-Weinberger slate

At DJWinfo Dan Johnson-Weinberger endorses:
* Claypool for County Board President
* Dart for Sheriff
* Horton, O'Brien & Shore for MWRD
* Mangieri for Treasurer
* Eisendrath for Governor

BTW, That Colored Fella came out swinging for Claypool on SoapBlox/Chicago.

Who do you endorse and why?

What do you think of Dan's reasoning?

M06, Rep. Calvin Giles & OP libraries [8th Rep]

I've been told verbally that Rep. Giles makes some claims about obtaining money for the Oak Park libraries (or planning to obtain money for the Oak Park libraries) in his recent campaign literature.

If anyone has the text of Giles' claims, please email them to me or post them in this thread.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

ADMIN, vote for Proviso Probe

One of the most prestigious award for Lefty political blogging is the Koufax Award given by Wampum.

This year there is a new category: best state or local blog.

I hope you will go to the voting discussion and plug Proviso Probe.

Monday, March 06, 2006

M06, Yarbrough campaign complains about Welch mailer [7th Rep]

Rep. Karen Yarbrough letter to Cook County Clerk David Orr:
I am a big supporter of early voting. That is why I am concerned with early voting information contained within my opponent Chris Welch’s latest direct mail piece.

I am faxing with this letter the full back page of that piece, which provides information to 7th Representative District Voters about early voting. The information is misleading and, in my view, calculative. The following are inaccuracies:

*It states any suburban voter can vote at the Proviso Township Office
*It implies that suburban voters can vote at any village hall
*It lists the wrong village hall hours for Maywood
* It incorrectly states that Westchester and River Forest voters can vote early at any location
* Not surprisingly, Cook County Clerk David Orr’s downtown and Maybrook locations are omitted entirely

I absolutely believe that this mail piece is a disincentive to the spirit of early voting. Misleading voters is my opponent’s cynical attempt to depress turnout in certain communities by frustrating and confusing potential early voters. Therefore your intent to enfranchise and empower is subverted by this misinformation.

Does Yarbrough have a point? Should campaigns be required to provide accurate and complete early voting information if they provide any early voting information?

BLOG, Cynthia's Interests

I've added Cynthia's Interests to the Proviso Probe blogroll. She describes herself as a "close relative of Chris Welch" in the entry about the Trib endorsement.

Cynthia and I are probably gonna disagree on Emanuel "Chris" Welch, but she has an attractive, organized, well written blog that isn't afraid to write something controversial. See Jewish-Black Conflict in Illinois Government.

Visit Cynthia's Interests and say hello.

Also, I created an entry on Soap Blox Chicago covering the local bloggers nominated for Koufax Awards.

HEALTH, where did clinic money come from? [D209]

Northwest Indiana Times (Phil Rockrohr) has an article about District 215 (Thornton Fractional Township High Schools) inquiring with District 209 (Proviso Township High Schools) about how the federal funding was replaced for the school-based health center at Proviso East.

As far as I know, the funding hasn't been replaced. I've been to every board meeting since the request was made. And no motion has been passed authorizing $250,000 of property taxes to be spent on the health center.

Anybody from D209 know what's up?

SPORT, Proviso East boys hoops [D209]

Sun-Times (Michael O'Brien) has the post season preview. In addition to the Pirates, St. Joe's and Fenwick are in the mix.
AT FARRAGUT: Everything points toward a St. Joseph vs. Proviso East rematch in the sectional final. The Pirates (23-5) handed St. Joseph (27-1) its only loss in November. Since then, Proviso East has battled some of the best teams in the state (Glenbrook North) and the country (Lawrence North of Indianapolis) with mixed results. Don't overlook Fenwick (18-8). The Friars are capable of pulling the upset and could find the Chargers looking past them.

Curie (21-8) will have its hands full with Proviso East's Brian Carlwell in the semifinals. The Condors are a guard-oriented team and will have to find a way to deal with the 6-10 center.

POL, rate your legislator

Rich Miller's question of the day is to articulate the pros and cons of your state senator and state rep.

There are comments about Senator Don Harmon and Reps. Deborah Graham and Calvin Giles.

And your comments about your legislators on Rich's blog or comment on the comments here.

LIBRARY, public presentation of new library design [BW]

If you want to see the design of Bellwood's new library it will be on display from 6:30-8:30 PM tonight at the Bellwood Public Library.

HOUSING, Maywood Housing Authority makes Trib [M]

Chicago Tribune (Jon Yates) describes how the Maywood Housing Authority made life difficult for Doretha McCullough, a mentally disabled 37-year-old.

CRIME, bond set for two in James L. Williams killing [BW]

James L. Williams, 24, of Bellwood was shot and killed last Tuesday.

Brandon Moore, 20, and Germaine M. Johnson, 21, both of Bellwood have been arrested and charged. Bond is one million dollars each. See Sun-Times.

EVENT, Depression era collectible glass [NL]

The annual show is in Northlake, March 11 & 12. See News-Antique.com.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

PHOTO, Sunday snow

Snow on Maple branches

Nail heads visible through snow

Spruce across the alley

Evergreens catch snow

PHOTO, Mobil station closes

Recently closed Mobil station gets plastered with political signs before St. Pat's Day parade

The closing of the Mobil station will be covered in Wednesday's Forest Park Review. It's also a topic on ForestPark.com.

I notice that the plywood got plastered with political signs for Jim Ascot, candidate for Congress, and Frank Avila, candidate for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

PHOTO, recent beaver gnawing, sap flow

Recently gnawed tree with sap flowing

Close-up of mud and sap

In the spring sap flows in trees. At night the sap is in the roots and flows to the branches during the warmer daylight hours. This is the reason maple sap is collected in the spring.

This tree was interesting for a couple reasons. You can see where the tree has lost sap due to the insult of the beaver gnawing. Also, there's some mud on the tree. I think the mud is from the front paws of a beaver leaning against the tree as it gnaws at the bark higher up the tree.

PHOTO, Proviso East back gate [D209]

Back Gate of Proviso East

This area had been a dumping ground for yard waste and school trash. I complained at a District 209 meeting. It was addressed before the next meeting.

When I thanked District 209 CEO Robert Libka, he seemed surprised or confused. I assume Board President Emanuel "Chris" Welch called the building and grounds department and had the waste removed.

PHOTO, pouring Mohr concrete [FP]

The Truck

The House

Henry Mohr was the mayor of Forest Park and the owner of Mohr Concrete. I chose these images because it connects Forest Park's past and future.

Last week's photo blogging.

MEDIA, Sturino takes shot at the Forest Park Review [FP]

Forest Park Post had Mike Sturino write a column. Sturino used his column to blast... columnists.
A Year in Review
By Michael J. Sturino, Village Administrator

Media. Local press can be an invaluable partner in getting out the news. But of course, their job is to sell newspapers—as the saying goes, “if it bleeds, it leads.” And when controversy erupts after incessant coverage that looks like it’s been ghost-written by a lawyer who want to bleed money out of the Village, the newspaper is shocked, shocked that politicians are discussing such “unimportant” issues. Some political writers think they can also be objective reporters—and that’s just not an honest or ethical position to take. I was praised when first appointed because I am apolitical. I still am. Fact is, I’m so apolitical, I won’t even talk to political columnists (even when they’re masquerading as reporters). But I remain committed to working effectively with media to ensure that the story, and not the spin, gets out.

Earlier in the column Sturino wrote:
Residents. In the Village’s new organization chart that I have prepared, residents are placed above the elected officials, above the Village Administrator, above it all…. I very much enjoy having direct contact with residents….

Form of Government. The Forest Park Review has often lamented the Commission-form of government under which we operate…. Staff cannot usurp authority merely because a disgruntled opinion writer at the Review wants it that way….


TRANS, Harmon sponsors bill to privatize Midway

I don't know how I feel about the underlying policy of leasing infrastructure now while foregoing future revenue. However....

Senator Don Harmon has been tapped to sponsor the legislation. See Chicago Tribune (Gary Washburn and Ray Long with Laurie Cohen).

Daley's people could have tapped any number of legislators to sheperd the bill. Daley or his team picked Harmon. To me this says they big fish see Harmon as a highly capable legislator.

HEALTH, how much Mercury is too much?

The Epoch Times (Rita Sand):
Despite the new Illinois law that limits mercury levels in vaccines, the Illinois Department of Public Health has declared 4 vaccines with high levels of mercury exempt from the law.

Some vaccines contain small amounts of Mercury, which is very toxic stuff. One of the leading activists on the issue is Barbara Mullarkey of Oak Park.
Senator Don Harmon of Oak Park, a key sponsor of the law, admits that it allows the IDPH to declare exemptions but said he was disappointed to see the department had granted an exemption so quickly. "We put the provision in there purposefully to avoid a situation where there was a risk of an epidemic or a shortage of available vaccines but it's not clear to me that there was a shortage of thimerosal-free vaccine this year."

Friday, March 03, 2006

MEDIA, Tom Dart on Arnie Bryant's show tomorrow

Arnie Bryant will interview Tom Dart on "Viewpoints from the Other Side", 2-3 PM on WJJG, 1530 AM.

Dart is running for Sheriff. In the Democratic primary his opponents are Sylvester Baker and Richard Remus. Peter Garza will be the Republican nominee.

Call the show (708) 493-1530 and ask Dart the hard questions, if you aren't attending the Forest Park St. Patrick's Day Parade at 1 PM along Madison.

INTERNATIONAL, Palestinian Refugees: Rights vs. Realities

Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine is hosting a forum at the Oak Park Public Library on Sunday.

From the announcing email:
Sunday, March 5, 2006
Oak Park Public Library
Veterans Room
834 Lake Street
Oak Park
Sponsored by Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine
Information: 312/427-2533x18 or www.cjpip.org

With the election of Hamas to the Palestinian Parliament bringing the issue of Right of Return into sharp focus, Nadia Hijab will provide a timely overview of the history and legal framework relating to the situation of Palestinian refugees today. She’ll address key questions—What are the financial as well the political implications of the Right of Return for the state of Israel? How does the Right of Return relate to the nature of the state and the Israeli Law of Return? Hijab will also discuss positions of Palestinian and Israeli political negotiators and contrast this with the evolution of movements among Palestinian refugees and exiles to press for their
rights, as well as the positions of Israeli human rights advocates. Hijab will conclude by focusing on strategies for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that fulfil human rights.

Nadia Hijab is an author and expert on the Middle East and Senior Fellow at the DC-based Institute for Palestine Studies. She also serves as co-chair of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. She co-authored Citizens Apart: A Portrait of Palestinians in Israel. Hijab worked with the United Nations from 1989 to 1999.

M06, SEIU diverts resources from Stroger

Archpundit reports SEIU is pulling troops previously allocated to supporting Stroger.

I don't know why this is happening. But I have heard a rumor that some of these field workers are coming to Proviso to work for some of the hotly contested campaigns.

GOV, Lightford secures library funds [OP]

Oak Park Journal:
State Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-4th) has announced that she has allocated funds to be distributed to the Oak Park Public Library in the amount of $100,000 for capital expenses related to renovation of the Maze Branch Library.

Where does this money come from? Do members get a fixed pot of money that they get to distribute as they see fit? Or did Lightford divert this money from general funds that could have gone anywhere in the state?

CRIME, video of alleged rape shot by local [BF]

Most have heard about the controversy over Judge Kerry Kennedy changing his mind about forcing the accuser to watch the video of the incident prosecutors characterize as rape.

Chicago Tribune (Art Barnum):
Sonny Smith of Brookfield, who operated the video camera, was convicted of child pornography and sentenced to the Illinois Department of Corrections boot camp.

KLEPT, Does Bill Lipinski need his son's money? [IL-03]

Sun-Times (Lynn Sweet) draws attention to Rep. Dan Lipinski paying a couple of his dad's firms for consulting. His dad is former Rep. Bill Lipinski.

Why do powerful people do dumb stuff over small amounts of money?

GOV, Nikita Johnson goodbye kiss [D209]

Mundelein Review says all sorts of nice stuff about Nikita Johnson, District 209's new business manager.

When Johnson leaves District 209 how do you think the Pioneer Press article will read?

Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) covered her hiring.
The school board voted unanimously to hire Nakita R. Johnson [sic] as business manager, replacing Sarah Millon, who resigned.

Johnson previously worked as assistant business manager at J. Sterling Morton High School from and then as Business Manager at Mundelein High School District 120.

She will be paid $110,000 per year.

ECON, Athenian Foods to Melrose Park, maybe [MP]

Chicago Tribune (Steve Brosinski):
A Chicago-based food manufacturer this week edged closer to relocating to Melrose Park.

The Melrose Park Village Board on Monday approved Athenian Foods' request to seek a tax break on a former water bottling plant at 1815 15th Ave. Cook County officials will decide on whether to grant Class B tax relief to the company, Assistant Village Atty. Mark Scarlato said....

Getting a reduced tax assessment is a condition to buying the property, he said.

BTW, is Mark Scarlato related to Ron Scarlato, benefactor of Frank Pasquale?

How do you feel about using tax breaks to lure businesses?

OPEN, que pasa?

I've been behind on the blogging. I'll get some fresh material up this weekend.

What's on your mind?

BTW, this is the first week of the Proviso Probe fundraiser. Thank you to those that have pledged or donated.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

CRIME, Fred Hampton controversy

Should Hampton get an honorary street named after him?

GOV, Yarbrough gets reform bill passed

From a Yarbrough press release:
SPRINGFIELD – State Rep. Karen Yarbrough (D-Maywood) passed legislation out of the House reducing potential conflicts of interest for school board members voting on referendum and petition questions by shifting responsibility for hearing challenges on these issues from education officers electoral boards to county electoral boards.

"The public has a right to expect that the process used to decide important educational issues is fair," said Yarbrough. "This legislation reduces the potential for conflicts of interest that could negatively impact votes on questions that determine the future of our schools."

Under current law, education officers electoral boards are formed to hear objections to placing school board candidates or referendum questions on ballots. The boards are made up of the presiding officer of the school board, the secretary of the school board and the school board member with the longest term of continuous service.

Under this system, the same school officers who initially vote on a question also review challenges to the same question. Petitions with an insufficient number of signatures or with invalid signatures may be challenged. Successful challenges prevent candidates and referendums from appearing on ballots.

House Bill 5001 improves the review process by eliminating education officers electoral boards and requiring county officers electoral boards to hear challenges on referendum and petition questions for school districts and community colleges.

Yarbrough cited an incident in Proviso Township as one of many examples demonstrating the need for a less biased review process. After the District 209 Board voted in favor of issuing $40 million in bonds, residents petitioned for a referendum. The educational officers electoral board, comprised of three members who had voted on the bond issue, determined the petitions did not contain the required number of valid signatures for the issue to appear on the ballot.

"Most school officials make fair, informed decisions," said Yarbrough. "However, we need to make the review process more evenhanded and eliminate any appearance of impropriety."

House Bill 5001 now advances to the Senate for further consideration. For more information, please call Rep. Yarbrough at (708) 615-1747.


GOV, high school board violates Open Meetings Act [D209]

I decided to contact the Cook County State's Attorney, Dick Devine.
Dear State’s Attorney Richard A. Devine,

On Monday, February 20, 2006, the District 209 school board violated the Open Meetings Act by hiring a firm to conduct a superintendent search in closed session.

I attended the meeting and was denied my rights to observe the process under Illinois law.

Seth Stern wrote in Forest Park Review:

The decision to hire Bickert Group was made during a closed session meting, from which the board emerged to vote on the hiring without naming the firm or stating the amount it would be paid. The board heard presentations from Bickert Group and another similar firm during a closed session at its January meeting.

According to the Illinois Attorney General’s office, these meetings may have violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

Please investigate these apparent violations of the law and take appropriate corrective action. I further request to be informed of the corrective action you take.

CRIME, Melrose Park has felon as aux cop [MP]

Technically felons aren't supposed to be working as cops. But if the chief of police is your buddy (and former partner in crime), felons can get job offers. And if the State's Attorney isn't going to enforce the law... It's like pro wrestling. Conduct is only against the rules if one is caught and the rules are enforced.

See Melrose Park Herald (John Huston).
A village spokesman said the matter was investigated six years ago by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and nothing was ever done.

One more bullet in the argument that Proviso Township gets a separate and unequal level of protection from the State's Attorney.

ED, shake-up in District 89 management [D89]

Pioneer Press (John Huston):
Katrina Fey, assistant superintendent of operations, and Melvin BoBo, director of public relations and grants, resigned their positions after increased scrutiny by the Board of Education.

BoBo and Fey were both hired in August at the recommendation of Superintendent Cynthia Broughton who worked with the two at North Chicago School District 187.

What's going on?

GOV, Broadview overspending [BV]

Broadview is overspending. Nine months into the fiscal year, the village is in the red $1.7 million. See Suburban Life (Debrah Bonn).

Finance Director Les Swintek and Village President Henry Vicenik are using the deficit to push home rule.
"If we don't get home rule, these budgets are meaningless. They all have to be redone because the staffing levels have to be altered," he said....

Mayor Henry Vicenik said without home rule to increase revenues, layoffs would be likely.

"The residents are starting to accuse me that I am threatening them with layoffs if we do not get home rule, and it's not a threat. It's a reality," Vicenik said.

Remember, Broadview had trouble being audited because it lost its budget. It wasn't just ignoring the budget as a management tool, it couldn't find the budget to present to an outside auditor.

If Broadview has to cut stuff it should start cutting. It's not responsible to create a huge deficit and then say home rule is the only option.

ZOO, art by a pig [BF]

It's National Pig Day. Brookfield Zoo has a pig that does art. You can bid for the art on Ebay. See Suburban Life.