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Proviso Probe

Saturday, April 29, 2006

ENVIR, cadaver dogs trained in Forest Preserve

Jim Hodapp noticed Securitas vans with dogs in DAR Woods. He called Securitas and asked why they were using dogs in the Forest Preserve. Securitas responded by saying the dogs were being trained to locate cadavers. The spokesperson claimed to Securitas had permission from Metra to use its property and assume the Forest Preserve land belonged to Metra.

I think that's a pretty thin excuse. Securitas probably knew it wasn't Metra land, but figured nobody would call 'em on it.

Good job, Jim Hodapp.

HC & M, sign the online petition

The Northbrook Peace Committee has created an online petition in support of Rep. Karen Yarbrough's resolution to impeach President George W. Bush.

Sign it. Tell other people to sign it.

If you want to become more involved, join the Yahoo Group for people organizing in suppport of House Joint Resolution 125.

Friday, April 28, 2006

GOV, what perks make sense?

At least one person is grumbling about school board members--and other elected officials--getting perks like mobile phones.

Maybe I've become part of the establishment, but providing mobile phones to elected officials makes sense. Do you want elected officials to take phone calls from constituents?

As a member of the media, I call elected officials and ask them questions--and occasionally give 'em some grief.

Now, if it's true that a certain village gives trustees free gasoline for their cars that's pretty hard to justify. I would even argue that it's illegal unless authorized in a village board meeting.

I also have reservations about Maywood giving trustees a discretionary budget. See Proviso Probe. Somehow it doesn't seem right to give elected officials money to buy goodwill from constituents. If a village wants to do this, it should just increase the pay of the elected officials and then the constituents could see how generous their elected officials are.

I think it's time for Illinois to pay school board members and probably members of the library boards and park districts too. But elected officials who accept the pay should be held to a higher standard on conflict of interest issues. No more giving jobs and contracts to your brother, niece and best friend from gradeschool.

What do you think? Extra credit for people that can avoid attacking specific elected officials and focus on the substance of the issue.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

HC & M, why Yarbrough impeachment resolution matters

President George W. Bush has been able to assume powers not specifically authorized by the Constitution, the courts or Congress. His administration convinced the elites this was OK because the beliefs and ideology changed after the 9/11 attacks.

The impeachment resolution sponsored by Rep. Karen Yarbrough and the other patriots of the Illinois legislature has the potential to shift the country's belief system and ideology to a place where it's not only acceptable to demand accountability from the President of the United States, it's unreasonable for Congress not to demand accountability.

When you change what people believe, you change what's possible.

The Yarbrough resolution calls the scam for what it is. President Bush and his administration have engaged in various acts that are illegal. The resolution makes this clear and implies the question, "How did we as Americans allow such egregious abuses by the president?"

Asking this question is key to righting our country.

Want to get involved?

There is a Yahoo Group to organize in support of House Joint Resolution 125.


For local media coverage see Forest Park Review (Seth Stern), Pioneer Press (John Huston) or Chicago Sun-Times (Tracy Swartz).

Or you can do a Google news search using "Karen Yarbrough" or "Illinois impeachment".

You can also read what's being written on other blogs by using Technorati. You can search for "Karen Yarbrough" or "Illinois impeachment".

ANNOUNCE, "Guys and Dolls" Walther Luthern [MP]

See Maywood Herald:
Walther Lutheran High School's music and drama departments will come together this weekend to present the musical "Guys and Dolls."

Students will perform the show at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in the Multipurpose Room at Walther, 900 Chicago Ave., Melrose Park.

TRANS, should 25th Ave be widened? [MP]

Chicago Tribune (Steve Brosinski):
Owners of property on 25th Avenue between Lake Street and North Avenue will get a chance to review plans to widen that stretch of road in late May or June, officials said.

OBIT, Francisco J. Vizarra, 16, dies accidental shooting [MP]

A 16-year-old Melrose park boy was killed late Tuesday when another teen accidentally fired a gun he was showing off to his friends while they played video games in a Franklin Park apartment, police said.

ETHNICITY, Native American sports imagery [W]

Westchester Middle School is probably going to ditch the Native American profile from its team identity. See Westchester Herald (Chris Lafortune).

As I understand it, Native American activist objections are focused on racist terminology like "Redskin" and "Squaw" and demeaning performances, like the Chief Illiniwik dance.

If you don't understand the concern about dancing, read the lyrics of The Ballad of Ira Hayes by Pete LaFarge (scroll down).
Ira Hayes returned a hero -- celebrated through the land,
He was wined and speeched and honored -- everybody shook his hand;
But he was just a Pima Indian -- no water, no home, no chance;
At home nobody cared what Ira done -- and when do the Indians dance?

GOV, Monday's board meeting [D209]

Proviso Probe covered the meeting.

But you can get other perspectives from Pioneer Press (John Huston) and Forest Park Review (Seth Stern).

Pioneer Press:
The District 209 School Board was scheduled to vote on switching its attorney Monday night, but minutes into the meeting the item was yanked from the agenda.

It was a Melrose Park-centered issue.

Board member and Melrose Park resident Gary Marine admitted placing the item to replace the law firm of Odelson & Sterk, which has represented the District 209 Board since 2001, with Giglio & Del Galdo -- village attorneys for Melrose Park.

Marine is also employed by the village of Melrose Park.

Forest Park Review:
Out of the 66 items on the agenda at the Proviso High School District 209 school board meeting Monday night, the one that drew the most attention was the one that was not even voted upon.

That item was a proposal to remove the law firm Odelson and Sterk as the school district’s general counsel and replace them with the firm Giglio and Del Galdo, LLP.

At the outset of the meeting, after emerging from a closed session meeting that lasted nearly two hours, board President Chris Welch announced that the item had been pulled from the agenda at the request of board member Gary Marine.

Over Marine’s objections, Welch said that he would allow public comment regarding the issue during the portion of the meeting typically reserved for comment concerning items on the agenda. Burt Odelson of Odelson and Sterk then proceeded to blast Marine, who requested that the item be placed on the agenda in the first place.

ED, planning for improvement [D95]

Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Jessica Glowinski) reports on Brookfield-La Grange Park elementary schools' plan for improvement.
Many of the goals, all of which were developed with extensive teacher input, seek to standardize certain methods of teaching throughout the grade levels.

For example, one goal in the area of reading and writing is to include an extended writing response question in book quizzes at all levels. Teachers will also be developing a set of reading strategies that they will introduce at all grade levels.

For science, one goal is to introduce at least one experiment per month. A tentative social studies goal—although Superintendent Douglas Rudig said it is not clear if it can be accomplished in one year—is to better align the teaching of the American government system across different grade levels.

ZOO, Brookfield gains Siberian Tiger for breeding

He's coming from Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut. See Connecticut Post (Charles Walsh).

CRIME, Forest Park taggers [FP]

Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) has an article about how the Forest Park Park District plans to install security cameras to catch people putting up Latin King gang signs.

Doesn't it seem odd that the gang signs going up are the Latin Kings? If a sreet gang was encroaching on Forest Park, doesn't it seem like it would be a Black street gang?

MEDIA, Bill Dwyer gets newspaper award [FP]

Forest Park Review columnist Bill Dwyer received an award for three of his columns from the Chicago Headline Club. See Forest Park Review. Congrats, Bill.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

HC & M, 1/4 of Illinois House Dems onboard

In less than a week Rep. Karen Yarbrough (D-Proviso Township) has gotten sixteen likeminded patriots to co-sponsor the resolution to impeach Bush.
Sarah Fiegenholtz
Eddie Washington
Cynthia Soto
William Delgado
William Davis
Kenneth Dunkin
Wyvetter H. Younge
Arthur Turner
Esther Golar
Constance Howard
David Miller
Annazette Collins
Calvin Giles
Deborah Graham
Robin Kelly
Edward Acevedo

I'm impressed. I thought progress would be slower. Either Karen Yarbrough is one helluva legislator or George W. Bush is one helluva pariah.

I've been following this story somewhat. I liked this quote from The Simon (Matt Hutaff).
What would [Yarbrough and California Assemblyman Paul Koretz] impeach Bush for? All the right stuff, it appears:

* Violating provisions of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a felony;
* Violating provisions of the Geneva Convention by authorizing torture;
* Holding American citizens without due process;
* Initiating an illegal war against Iraq, resulting in loss of life and diminished security; and
* Leaking classified information and exposing a covert operative -- Valerie Plame -- as means of silencing his critics.

When you read that list how does your stomach not turn? It's not like the abovementioned talking points are still being disputed; Bush has defended his wiretapping, torture and war and recent allegations have all but proven that the authorization to leak Plame's identity came from the president himself.

The story is being tracked on Soapblox Chicago and on Daily Kos by ltsply2.

The effort needs support in the Illinois Senate. The resolution has to pass in both chambers to go to Congress.

Members of the Bush administration should be worried if they aren't.

When team Bush calls U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, I'm wondering.... Will Hastert bring his A-game to blocking this resolution in the Illinois legislature? If Bush and Cheney get removed from office Hastert becomes POTUS. Will this cause him to be less persuasive with Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Emil Jones?

Good job, Karen. I'm proud you're my state representative.

GOV, regular meeting of board of ed [D209]

On Monday, April 24, 2006, the board of education for Proviso Township High Schools (District 209) met. See Proviso Probe's earlier discussion about the meeting.

In the past the division on the board has been almost always a 4-3 split. Board president Emanuel “Chris” Welch leads the majority block which includes: Dan Adams, Reatha “Sue” Henry and Shirley Madlock. Dr. Charles Flowers, Theresa Kelly and Gary Marine comprise the minority. Monday’s meeting included conflicts at least slightly different from the 4-3 votes of the past.

Also, a few things happened which called into question the competence of various administrators.

Which law firm will be the conduit for putting property taxes into Welch/Moore aligned campaigns?

The agenda included a line item that would have terminated Odelson & Sterk as the District 209 attorneys and replaced the firm with Giglio and Del Galdo. Both firms are politically connected. Odelson & Sterk have had a close relationship with Board President Welch. Giglio & Del Galdo has a close relationship with Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico.

The motion was supposedly put on the agenda by Board Member Marine, but at the beginning of the open session it was announced Marine had pulled the motion. However, both Burt Odelson and Lula Greenhow were allowed time to speak against the motion.

Odelson quoted extensively from Chicago Tribune (Brett McNeil) about some of the shady things being done by Giglio and Del Galdo in Cicero. Odelson personally attacked Marine. Finally, Marine got upset and responded that Welch and Adams were the board members with the close relationship to Giglio and Del Galdo and they should answer Odelson’s questions. After the meeting Marine said he was “set up” but didn’t explain how.
If anyone has any insight about what was happening behind the scenes, please post it in the comments. I suspect this conflict had significance, but I’m not sure what it was.


A number of things happened that I would file under incompetence.

1. The last day of school. Mona Johnson, the president of the teacher’s union, complained that the administration was forcing teachers to come to work Tuesday, May 30, 2006 instead of making Friday, May 26, the last day. It seems like the administrators should have been able to work it out with the teachers union without bringing the conflict to the board.

2. Graduation location. The principals of Proviso East and Proviso West decided to hold graduation at the UIC Pavilion without notifying the board in advance. One of the graduations is scheduled to begin at 6 PM on a Sunday. And the cost of transportation wasn’t factored into the plan. The decision to use UIC seems reasonable, but it should have been detailed months ago.

3. Summer school tuition motion. The motion to set the summer school tuition was deferred from the previous board meeting because it didn’t allow failing students to attend for free. The motion presented to the board didn’t include the detail that students attending mandatory summer school would not pay tuition.

Awards ceremony

I think awards ceremonies should be for the students. The awards should be given at student assemblies. Making each board meeting into a photo-op for the politicians seems disrespectful to the students and kinda sleazy of the board majority.
If Board President Welch would quit using the district’s newsletter to promote himself, it would make the award ceremonies seem less self-serving.
Also, it’s kinda rude to make the awardees wait until after 9 PM to start the frickin ceremony.

[UPDATE: I turned off the comments in this thread. I started sorting through the acceptable and unacceptable (comments under "anonymous" and comments about other's sex lives) and I got sick of it. Please play by the rules. Thanks, Carl.]

Friday, April 21, 2006

EVENT, Veterans for Peace dinner

The Chicago Chapter of Veterans for Peace is having its first annual LeRoy Wolins Memorial Dinner on Saturday, April 22 at 6 PM.

The event will be at Szechuan-Beijing Restaurant, 1107 South Blvd, Oak Park.

The annual dinner was formerly called Spring/Elbe Day Dinner.

All veterans are invited to attend. Cost is about $10-15 per person without drinks.

ENVIR, two Earth Day events

Earlier Proviso Probe announced the Saturday morning workday in Thatcher Woods.

Volunteers are also needed for clean-up of the Illinois Prairie Path in Maywood.
The 125th Anniversary Committee of the Village of Maywood


The Illinois Prairie Path Corporation


Earth Day Annual Illinois Prairie Path & Great Western Trail Clean - Up

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

Starting at 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM- Rain or Shine!

Meet at the Parks and Recreation Building

1100 So. 11th Avenue (Between North Maywood and South Maywood Drive)

Free Refreshments, Food and Beverages,

Free Donated Used Bicycle Raffle


Marcius Scaggs 773.615.3925

Billy Fountain 708.681.2818

Lennel Grace 708.601.0483

Paul Aeschleman 708.848.6023

ED, District 209 rumors [D209]

I've been contacted about at least a couple rumors in connection with District 209 (Proviso Township High Schools) today.

Feel free to post any things you've seen or heard in this entry. I haven't confirmed any of the rumors with firsthand witnesses. But it seems like some Proviso Probe readers might want to post rumors so do it in this thread.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

HC & M, Yarbrough introduces impeachment resolution

Today, Thursday, April 20, 2006, Rep. Karen Yarbrough introduced into the Illinois General Assembly House Joint Resolution 125, which calls for the impeachment of President George W. Bush.
WHEREAS, Section 603 of Jefferson's Manual of the Rules of the United States House of Representatives allows federal impeachment proceedings to be initiated by joint resolution of a state legislature; and

WHEREAS, President Bush has publicly admitted to ordering the National Security Agency to violate provisions of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a felony, specifically authorizing the Agency to spy on American citizens without warrant; and

WHEREAS, Evidence suggests that President Bush authorized violation of the Torture Convention of the Geneva Conventions, a treaty regarded a supreme law by the United States Constitution; and

WHEREAS, The Bush Administration has held American citizens and citizens of other nations as prisoners of war without charge or trial; and

WHEREAS, Evidence suggests that the Bush Administration has manipulated intelligence for the purpose of initiating a war against the sovereign nation of Iraq, resulting in the deaths of large numbers of Iraqi civilians and causing the United States to incur loss of life, diminished security and billions of dollars in unnecessary expenses; and

WHEREAS, The Bush Administration leaked classified national secrets to further a political agenda, exposing an unknown number of covert U. S. intelligence agents to potential harm and retribution while simultaneously refusing to investigate the matter; and

WHEREAS, the Republican-controlled Congress has decline to fully investigate these charges to date; therefore be it

RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NINETY-FOURTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, THE SENATE CONCURRING HEREIN, that the General Assembly of the State of Illinois has good cause to submit charges to the U. S. House of Representatives under Section 603 that the President of the United States has willfully violated his Oath of Office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States; and be it further

RESOLVED, That George W. Bush, if found guilty of the charges contained herein, should be removed from office and disqualified to hold any other office in the United States.

On Friday, March 24, 2006--three days after Yarbrough's dominant victory in the Democratic primary--I sent her an email asking her to introduce an impeachment resolution.

I'd like to thank Kagro X of The Next Hurrah for giving me advice and support.

UPDATE: Sources that have written about the Yarbrough resolution include: The Nation, Daily Kos, Dusty Doggie, Suburban Guerrilla and Green Mountain Daily.

PO-PO, Forest Park PD soap opera [FP]

The Proviso Probe entry on Ed Reformado's lawsuit against the Village of Forest Park generated an unwieldly number of comments (almost 200). So I've started a new thread for discussing the soap opera that is the Forest Park police department.

Let the brawl begin!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

GOV, Brookfield budget to be announced [BF]

Suburban Life (Debrah Bonn):
Brookfield officials are set to approve major capital improvement plans in the proposed 2006-07 budget at the Monday, April 24, Village Board meeting.

"I'm very excited that we're presenting a balanced budget," Village Manager Riccardo Ginex said. "We're looking to accomplish a lot."

Proviso Probe quoted a Pioneer Press (Angela Caputo) article about a Brookings Institute study on wealth in the suburbs.
"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."

Brookfield is probably going to be one of the affluent suburbs. What about the other Proviso municipalities? Will they become affluent or poor?
* Bellwood?
* Broadview?
* Forest Park?
* Hillside?
* La Grange Park?
* Maywood?
* Melrose Park?
* Northlake?
* Stone Park?
* Westchester?

GOV, is DARE worth tax money? [FP]

A Forest Park business owner is upset Forest Park canceled its DARE program. So she has started "Hugs Not Drugs". See Forest Park Review (Seth Stern).

Business people like to portray themselves as being more serious about decisions because they have to take into account real world results.

OK. What does the Goverment Accountability Office say about DARE?
In brief, the six long-term evaluations of the DARE elementary school curriculum that we reviewed found no significant differences in illicit drug use between students who received DARE in the fifth or sixth grade (the intervention group) and students who did not (the control group). Three of the evaluations reported that the control groups of students were provided other drug use prevention education. All of the evaluations suggested that DARE had no statistically significant long-term effect on preventing youth illicit drug use. Of the six evaluations we reviewed, five also reported on students� attitudes toward illicit drug use and resistance to peer pressure and found no significant differences between the intervention and control groups over the long term. Two of these evaluations found that the DARE students showed stronger negative attitudes about illicit drug use and improved social skills about illicit drug use about 1 year after receiving the program. These positive effects diminished over time. [Source: Open Minds Industry Resources Library. Open Minds is the research firm that conducted the GAO study.]

If the programs don't work, why should the Village of Forest Park divert resources from other stuff the police department is doing?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

ED, the charges against [temporarily redacted] [D88]

These charges resulted in [temporarily redacted] being removed from his duties as [temporarily redacted]. See [temporarily redacted].
Text temporarily removed

ENVIR, whachya doing for Earth Day?

Press release from Jean Guarino the volunteer steward of Thatcher Woods:


The Thatcher Woods Savanna Restoration Project will hold a series of Earth Day activities at the Thatcher Woods Pavilion on Saturday, April 22 beginning at 7:30 a.m. with a Woodland Bird Watch led by Jill Anderson, Chicago Audubon Society bird monitor for Thatcher Woods.

There will be a spring clean up in designated areas from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. (bring gloves, bags will be provided) followed by the Hody Coyote Puppet Show given by naturalists Jim Hodapp and Larry Godson, who have been teaching the popular Junior Naturalists classes and Eco-Observation camps at the Oak Park Conservatory for the past fifteen years.

Trailside naturalist Jeanette Lewis will also display the museum’s Red Tail Hawk, a permanent resident at Trailside for the past five years since it lost an eye and could not be released back into its native habitat. Earth Day activities will end at noon with a woodland wildflower walk led by Jeanette Lewis and Thatcher Woods steward Victor Guarino.

Entrance to Thatcher Woods Pavilion is on Chicago Avenue, immediately west of Thatcher Avenue. For more information call 708 848-7175.

TRANS, Melrose Park boy killed

He was hit by a train in western Illinois (Galena). See Chicago Tribune.

MEDIA, discussing corruption on Viewpoints

Arnie Bryant has asked me to host "Viewpoints From the Other Side" on Saturday, April 22, 2 PM, on WJJG 1530 AM.

I want to use the George Ryan conviction as the starting point for discussing public corruption and our expectations.

What questions would you like to see discussed? Who would you like me to invite as guests?

Monday, April 17, 2006

KLEPT, George Ryan guilty on ALL counts

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald got his man. To learn why Fitzgerald is considered the Terminator read Billmon.

If Dan K. Webb of Winston and Strawn couldn't save Ryan on a single charge, what are the odds people like Vito Scavo, Ron Serpico and Eugene Moore will be able to beat charges if indicted?

Ryan going down on all charges should make a number of people being investigated nervous.

The media and public are going to equate "so-and-so was indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald" to "so-and-so's ass is G-U-I-L-T-Y."

POL, Democrats building strength locally

On April 29, 2006, the Democratic Party is conducting a nationwide canvass to build the strength of the party.

Proviso Democratic Committeeman Karen Yarbrough is hosting the event. You can sign-up online.

The Oak Park Democratic Party is also hosting an event.

When asked about my party affiliation I answer, "I disagree with the Democrats on about half the issues and I disagree with the Republicans on just about everything."

However, building local networks of neighbors connecting with neighbors almost always works to the advantage of regular citizens and provides a check on the potential abuses of power by insiders.

I encourage people who ID with the Dem Party--even if they only weakly identify the the Dem Party--to participate in this effort.

UPDATE--I couldn't help myself. I created a Forest Park canvass. Please sign-up and join us.

Friday, April 14, 2006

KLEPT, maltreatment of employees in the Recorder of Deeds office

The Illinois Labor Relations Board has required the Cook County Recorder of Deeds to post the notice below.

One employee involved in a dispute with the Recorder's office has alleged Recorder of Deeds Eugene "Gene" Moore has inappropriately or illegally terminated large numbers of employees. The employee alleges that the purpose of these terminations is to make room for political patronage.

Is it too much to expect Democrats to follow labor law? The notice reads pretty harshly.
After a hearing in which all parties had the opportunity to present their evidence, the Illinois Labor Relations Board found that the Cook County Recorder of Deeds has violated the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act, and has order us to post this Notice. We hereby notify you that:

The Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Act) gives you, as an employee, these rights:

· To engage in self-organization
· To form, join, or assist unions
· To bargain collectively through a representative of your own choosing
· To act together with other employees to bargain collectively or for other mutual aid or protection
· To refrain from these activities.

Accordingly, we assure you that:

WE WILL cease and desist from treating or continuing to treat as ineligible for Family Medical Leave those employees represented by the Service Employees International Union, Local 73, who at the time of applying for Family Medical Leave, have at least 1,250 hours of actual work time and paid time of any kind, in the previous 12 month period.

WE WILL cease and desist from unilaterally changing the terms and conditions of employment of employees within the bargaining unit represented by the Service Employee International Union, Local 73, in particular those terms and conditions of employment regarding Family Medical Leave, except as allowed by law upon reaching impasse or settlement without repudiation of agreements previously reached.

WE WILL cease and desist from failing to bargain in good faith with the Service Employees International Union, Local 73, over any decision to change the eligibility requirements for Family Medical Leave from those in effect prior to November 2003.

WE WILL cease and desist from failing and refusing to bargain with the Service Employees International Union, Local 73, as to decisions that affect wages, hours or terms and conditions of employment for those employees represented by that organization for purposes of collective bargaining, as may by required by the Act.

WE WILL cease and desist from in any like or related manner, interfering with, restraining or coercing public employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed them under the act.

WE WILL Rescind the decision not to include hours paid along with hours worked in determining whether employees within the bargaining unit represented by the Service Employees International Union, Local 73, are eligible for Family Medical Leave based upon service in the previous 12 month period.

WE WILL, following rescinding the decision not to include hours paid in determining eligibility for Family Medical Leave, and making whole those employees represented by the Service Employees International Union, Local 73, affected by that decision, thereafter, if we form an intent not to include hours paid with hours worked in such determinations, inform the Service Employees International Union, Local 73, of such intent and afford to it an opportunity to bargain about such a decision;

WE WILL make whole those employees represented by the Service Employees International Union, Local 73, who were denied Family Medical Leave, by reason of not previously including their hours paid with hours worked in determining their eligibility status for Family Medical Leave, by treating them as having been eligible for Family Medical Leave (and as successfully applying for said Family Medical Leave if they were absent for such times and periods as set out in the leave request so denied), including making them whole for any losses incurred as a result of their previous status of being ineligible for such leave, including back pay, if any, with interest computed at the rate of seven percent per annum as allowed by the Act.

DATE: November 7, 2005

//signed// Darlena Williams Burnett
Cook County Recorder of Deeds

//signed//Askia Abdullah
FMLA Coordinator

EVENT, Markos "Daily Kos" Moulitas visits Chicago

I was inspired to blog by Markos Moulitsas, creator of Daily Kos.

If you are mostly familiar with blogging through Proviso Probe, you'll notice some differences at Daily Kos. You need to create an account to post there. The website is explicitly loyal to the Democratic Party. And users can start their own discussions called "diaries".

kos came to Chicago on his tour to promote Crashing the Gate which he wrote with Jerome Armstrong, creator of MyDD.com. Jerome also had a political gig doing some Internet work with Howard Dean.

Ellen of the Tenth took notes on kos' presentation. Crashing the Gate calls for a number of reforms to the Democratic Party, including in the areas of media strategy and consultant reform.

kos also pitched the idea of the Dem Party having three core values:
1. fairness
2. opportunity
3. Investment in our future and in people

See Ellen's blog for the full discussion. And thank her for taking notes.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

KLEPT, elected official breaking word to get name recognition [W]

Westchester Trustee Rick Fox admonishes Village President Paul Gattuso for implying he wouldn't put his name on lightpole banners and then putting his name on lightpole banners. See Westchester Public Affairs.

Does Gattuso's behavior fall into the category "lack of integrity"? Is it opportunstic? Or is it merely tacky?

KLEPT, Board Member Maria Castrejon hires live-in boyfriend [D88]

Earlier, Proviso Probe covered how Board Member Marilyn Thurman hired a member of her household (Laron Murphy) at District 88. According to Board Member John Wicks the position was advertised as being without benefits, but after the candidates were selected the positions had benefits.

In the same line item in the minutes the board hired Juan Lean. Proviso Probe has confirmed Lean is the live-in boyfriend of Board Member Maria Castrejon.

I assume Illinois' conflict of interest law applies. But if State's Attorney Dick Devine, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald don't enforce the law, it's like the law doesn't exist.

M06, Dem Committeeman results

State Representative Karen Yarbrough defeated incumbent Recorder of Deeds Eugene "Gene" Moore in the race for Proviso Democratic Committeeman, 9813-7090 or 58.1%-41.9%.

I received a detailed spreadsheet. What stands out?

Maywood (19%), Bellwood (14.7%) and Westchester (13.4%) are the big three for registered voters.

Township wide the turnout was 27.1%. The outliers were Brookfield (46.3%), North Riverside (40.2%), Broadview (35.3%) and La Grange Park (34%) on the high end. Stone Park (13.4%) and Northlake (17.4%) were on the low end.

Maywood (21.7%) and Bellwood (17.6%) are the big two for casting Dem ballots. Broadview (9.2%), Forest Park (9%), La Grange Park (8.5%), Melrose Park (8.9%) and Westchester (8.1%) are the next five.

Brookfield (77.5%), La Grange Park (70.6%) and Western Springs (76%) had the lowest percent of Dems vote in the committeeman race. Voters skipping a line on the ballot is called "undervote". Overall 89.1% voters that took a Dem ballot expressed a preference in the committeeman race. Ten point nine percent undervoted the race.

Yarbrought's best and worst villages were:
Forest Park......78.4%
La Grange Park...69.8%
N. Riverside.....67.7%

And the worst
Western Springs..47.4%
Melrose Park.....36.5%
Stone Park.......31.4%

And the big vote margins

Forest Park +879 Yarbrough
Bellwood +556 Yarbrough
La Grange Park +452 Yarbrough
Brookfield +411 Yarbrough
Melrose Park +408 Moore
Westchester +400 Yarbrough
Broadview +246 Yarbrough

SPORT, Jonathan Peoples signs with Notre Dame [BW, W]

Senior St. Joseph's basketball player has signed a letter of intent to attend Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. See WANE-TV.

M06, selective recounts available in close races

Sun-Times (Steve Patterson) has an article that's mostly about Joy Cunningham narrowly prevailing over David Erickson in the Dem primary for appellate court.

Erickson was appointed to the Hartigan vacancy. Cunningham appeared in advertisements with Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.

The article mentions other races eligible for sampling recounts based on the narrow victory margin.

Michael LaPidus can appeal his loss to Commissioner Anthony Peraica for Lyons Township Republican Committeeman.

And the Melrose Park sales tax referedum can be appealed. Does anyone want to contest the result of the Melrose Park referendum?

MEDIA, Scott Dirks got his start in radio at Triton

Elm Leaves (Chuck Fieldman) profiles Scott Dirks, a Proviso East graduate, who got his start in radio at Triton's radio station, WRRG.

HEALTH, Loyola develops procedure for female incontinence [M]

Surgery for a common problem often leads to minor incontinence.

See Forbes (HealthDay News):
However, researchers at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill., say a procedure called Burch colposuspension after prolapse surgery greatly lessens the likelihood of urinary stress incontinence.

KLEPT, Marilyn Thurman hires member of her household [D88]

At the last board meeting there was conflict over the minutes from an earlier meeting.

Three individuals were hired, including Laron Murphy. Board Member John Wicks objected to the minutes on a couple grounds. First, the conditions of employment were changed after the individuals were identified. The jobs were posted as being without benefits. After the three were hired, the jobs had benefits.

Murphy is registered to vote at the same address as Board Member Marilyn Thurman.

The minutes reflected that Murphy was hired in a 4-3 vote. Without Thurman's vote he wouldn't have been hired.

At District 209 complaints were raised about Board Members Emanuel "Chris" Welch and Reatha "Sue" Henry voting to hire Billy Welch, brother of Chris, and Chavonne Henry, daughter of Sue.

In that case attorney Mark Sterk ruled there was no conflict of interest that violated Illinois law. The Attorney Discipline and Registration Committee (ARDC) agreed with Sterk's analysis.

If a board member can vote to hire a member of her household Illinois law is about meaningless.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

POL, Sen. Obama townhall meeting in Westchester [W]

Wednesday, April 12 at 12:45 PM, Proviso Township town hall meeting with Sen. Barack Obama at Westchester Middle School.

See Westchester Public Affairs for details.

What would you ask Illinois' junior senator?

Monday, April 10, 2006

PO-PO, Reformado to take legal action against Forest Park [FP]

Forest Park officer Ken Gross used an unauthorized strike technique--multiple punches to the head--against Edison Reformado. See picture and further background and discussion.

Reformado has retained Jeanine Stevens to represent him in legal action against the Village of Forest Park. Stevens represented Officer Andrea Caines and Sgts. Maureen Frawley and Dan Harder in their sexual harassment suit against Forest Park. Later Stevens represented Harder when Chief of Police James Ryan sought to terminate Harder for swearing and excessive absenteeism. The case is still being heard before the Fire and Police Commission. So far it has taken over one percent of Dan Harder's life.

Later Ryan sought to fire Lt. Steve Johnsen, who testified on Harder's behalf, for misconduct in arresting Jim Shaw, the owner of Doc Ryan's. See Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) for background. Stevens is also representing Johnsen. Although there have been few developments in the Johnsen case. He's suspended with pay and no hearing dates have been announced as far as I know.

Friday, April 07, 2006

ECON, what should be done with Wal-Mart land? [FP]

When Wal-Mart opens a Super Wal-Mart it closes the nearby Wal-Marts.

If the Forest Park Wal-Mart were closed, how should the land be used?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

ED, scholarship to remember Olamide Adeyooye [B]

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

The ISU Student Foundation has started a scholarship to commemorate the legacy of Olamide Adeyooye.
Olamide E. Adeyooye was a beloved Illinois State University student whose untimely death in October, 2005 has shocked the whole campus. Born and raised in Nigeria, Olamide came to the United States when she was eight with her mother. She was a senior in laboratory science slated to graduate in December and has surely left her mark on this campus.

The Illinois State University Student Foundation is intent on setting up a scholarship in Olamide E. Adeyooye’s name to commemorate her legacy and influence at Illinois State. To endow the scholarship in Olamide’s name, the student foundation is challenging the students of the University to help raise $20,000 to endow the scholarship, which we hope to award at the Sesquicentennial celebration next year. With support from faculty, students, and staff, the student foundation will be able to memorialize Olamide E. Adeyooye through her scholarship endowment.

Contact info for the foundation.

h/t Peoria Journal Star (Andrea Frampton)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

ENVIR, Hillside dump [H]

Who knows the history of the Hillside dump?

Karie of LiberIL View is trying to get some background.

TRANS, expanding use of traffic light cameras

Pioneer Press (John Huston)
State lawmakers are considering a measure that would help law enforcement catch motorists who run red lights.

A bill being discussed in the Illinois House would give communities the authority to install cameras, controlled by sensors under the pavement, at intersections to catch red-light scofflaws.

This quote grabbed me:
He eschewed any objections to privacy invasion by the use of cameras.

"If you don't run red lights, you won't have your picture taken," [State Senator John J.] Cullerton said.

I suppose implementing a highly aggressive program to detect corruption by public officials would only catch legislators doing bad stuff too.

EVENT, RB student charity [D208]

Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Jessica Glowinski):
With prom season quickly approaching, students at Riverside-Brookfield High School recently got the chance to play fairy godmother for Chicago Public School students.

Thoughts? Comments?

GOV, to create a park district or not [BF]

Brookfield is considering creating an independent park district. The current Recreation Commission is a committee of the village with one full-time and one part-time employee. See Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Uphues).

What do you think?

Do we have too many elected bodies? Do we have the right elected bodies?

ETHNICITY, Capitol Police mistreat Black Congresswoman; Republicans cheer

A member of the U.S. Capitol Police (Congress's security force) failed to correctly identify Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Rather than identify her and continue about business, the police officer lost control of the situation and either caused or allowed it to escalate to a hostile confrontation. See Cynthia's Interests coverage of the initial incident.

The cop screwed up. Absent the member of Congress being on drugs or doing something flagrantly illegal the Capitol Police are there to serve and protect members of Congress.

But the Republicans couldn't help themselves. They voted to support the Capitol Police officer. Again see Cynthia's Interests.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

GOV, District 88 board meeting [D88]

Yesterday evening the District 88 board met.

The board majority replaced Althea Busby as president of the board with Marilyn Thurman. Busby had been elected president when Busby-Castrejon-Dorris-Wicks formed the majority. Castrejon, who is also the elected Stone Park Clerk, switched to the Anderson-Miller-Thurman block about the time the wife of Stone Park Mayor Beniamino Mezzulla got a job at District 209. Emanuel "Chris" Welch, the District 88 attorney, is president of the District 209 board. The Anderson-Castrejon-Miller-Thurman block had been able to pass its motions with Busby as president for months, but decided to replace her at yesterday's meeting.

District 88 voted to leave PAEC (Proviso Aread Exception Children), a special education consotium, after the 2006-07 school year. Interim Superintendent Dr. Drew Starsiak said the move would save District 88 over $200,000 per year.

As expected Ed Brownlie's position was eliminated. His contract will not be renewed at the end of this school year. Interim Superintendent Dr. Drew Starsiak states it was an "economically feasible" way to save about $100,000. Board member John Wicks said it was "politically motivated".

John Wicks and Althea Busby questioned spending on plumbers and cleaning supplies. It has often been alleged that District 88 spends much more for cleaning supplies than is necessary.

Emanuel "Chris" Welch is the board attorney, but did not attend the meeting. James J. Roche the principal at the firm filled in.

There was a protracted discussion over approving the minutes of the March 13, 2006 meeting.

The minutes read, "A motion was made by Mr. Anderson and seconded by Ms. Thurman that the posting for Part-Time Custodial Positions be approved, as discussed in closed session."

Wicks claims that these minutes do not accurately reflect what happened at the meeting. Wicks alleges the positions were posted as being temporary, part-time and without benefits. After the right people were hired, the positions were upgraded to included benefits.

The three people hired were:
* Stanley Hallom
* Laron Murphy
* Juan Lean

Wicks further alleges all three have close personal connections to members of the Anderson-Castrejon-Miller-Thurman block.

ADMIN, Blogger is getting squirrelly on me

I'm having some display problems with Blogger.

I don't know if this will effect what I post or how it's displayed for you.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

PO-PO, fire in Maywood [M]

A space heater used in a bedroom caused a Maywood home to go up in flames, hospitalizing a family of four Sunday morning.

GOV, Ed Brownlie's position to be eliminated [D88]

Ed Brownlie has been a longtime activist in the Proviso community. A while back he filed an EEOC complaint against District 88 alleging that female staff with commensurate qualfications and responsibilities were paid significantly more.

Brownlie had been the director of transportation and special projects. When James Graham, Sr. was fired as director of facilities, Joe Burdi, a Stone Park trustee, was hired as director of transporation.

A source with a copy of the agenda says that tomorrow's board meeting (Monday, April 3) will eliminate Brownlie's position as director of special projects. Brownlie spoke forcefully against the board's decision to place Dr. Willie Mack on administrative leave. Brownlie called it an example of "castrating" a Black man. District 88 has failed to post the agenda online.

The meeting to eliminate Brownlie's position will be held Monday, April 3, 6 PM at the Administrative Center, 640 Eastern Avenue Bellwood, Illinois.

SPORT, White Sox open against Cleveland

The entry that seemed to get the biggest cheer at the South Side St. Patrick's Day parade was the White Sox World Series trophy.

Sunday at 7:05 PM the White Sox begin regular season play against the Cleveland Indians.

Mark Buerhle will start the opener for the fifth straight season.

Who is your pick to click for the seaon?

Who is your pick to have an off year?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

RESERVES, Forest Park reserve center may or may not close [FP]

There’s a rumor that the Army will move all five of its reserve units from the Forest Park Reserve Center which may lead to the land being transferred to the Village of Forest Park and ultimately developed and put on the tax rolls. (The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would get a chance to claim the land. If HUD deferred then the Village would assume ownership.)

After speaking to Commander Barbara Franklin, Commanding Officer of Naval Reserve Center Forest Park (the Navy currently runs the reserve center) and other sources, the fate of the reserve center is still undetermined.

The fifteen Navy units will be relocated to Naval Training Center Great Lakes. The five remaining Army reserve units may be relocated. One plan calls for moving the units to a reserve center in Arlington Heights. But for there to be space, an existing unit has to be deactivated. The decision whether to deactivate the unit has not been made.

Another possibility is for more Army Reserve units to move to Forest Park.

I have editorialized in the past that the best outcome for Forest Park is to have all units leave and have the land developed. I hope village leadership is deciphering the federal bureaucracy to make this happen. If Mayor Tony Calderone and Village Administrator Mike Sturino make this happen they deserve credit. It will greatly benefit Forest Park. And the reserves have a truly Byzantine chain of command.

GOV, to what extent should smoking be banned?

The consensus is that Prohibition was a bad idea.

Then why are we creeping toward prohibition of tobacco products?

I am firmly against blanket bans on smoking. Among other things they don’t work particularly well.

For example the prohibition against smoking on CTA property is almost never enforced. I’d rather have one car designated smoking after 9 PM than have to police smoking restrictions myself. I’d rather have part of the platform designated for smoking than to have someone light-up next to me.

I perceive that many people in modern society are angry. Citizens on the Right and the Left are using government to coerce and punish people who aren’t living life in a way that the activists approve of.

If you don’t approve of people’s sex lives make it difficult for them to obtain contraception.

If you don’t approve of people’s chemical vices make it difficult for them to partake.

Enough already!

Society has an interest in reducing smoking, but stigmatizing and punishing smokers is mean and gratuitous.

Why is it that we think we need one set of standards for everybody? Why not craft public policy that creates a mix of smoking and non-smoking bars?

Pro-smoking establishments claim it will hurt their bottom line to ban smoking. Why not grant a number of smoking licenses and let establishments bid for them? Over time the number of licenses could be reduced, especially if the bids decrease in value.

POL, what's the alternative to patronage?


Recently the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform made a presentation in Forest Park. See Forest Park Review (Bob Skolnik).

I have a number of criticisms of the ICPR.

1. I don’t think they (the campaign finance reform (CFR) goo-goos) understand corruption. To decrease corruption increase transparency and decrease conflict of interest.
2. I don’t think they have a vision of what they want as an affirmative alternative to the current system. They talk about publicly financed elections without explaining how public financing would work.
3. They have a partisan bias in the problems they are trying to fix. The ICPR gets in a tizzy over large contributions (traditionally these have been to the advantage of Republicans) and spends comparatively little effort on patronage hiring and using government employees for political work (traditionally patronage has worked to the advantage of Democrats).

But if the good government (“goo-goo”) reformers have trouble articulating what CFR they advocate they find it almost impossible to explain how patronage should be addressed.

In government jobs with few pre-requisites, who should be hired? One could try to reduce patronage abuses by creating a rigid civil service or qualification tests. I like the idea of tests, but I’m pretty good at standardized tests.

My preference would be to reduce the number of positions determined by elections. If it’s going to cost candidates thousands of dollars (or tens of thousands of dollars) and the elected body is going to manage millions of dollars, it seems awfully tempting to pay for campaigns with kickbacks—direct or indirect.

What role should political patronage play in government hiring?

Are you satisfied that the federal government mostly hires based on ability? What could state, county and municipal government borrow from the federal government?

M06, Yarbrough, Welch, Moore analysis

An elected official from outside Proviso Township emailed me to ask for my take on Karen Yarbrough's victories. Here's what I wrote back.
With the caveat that my insights into the recent elections are speculation and conjecture, not based on polling, systematic interviews or analysis of precinct returns....

I see a trend of throwing out the establishment and trying something new. The people that are positioned to take advantage of this desire for "something new" tend to be reformers (everyone on the outside wants "reform"), but the issues vary some from community to community.

I see Yarbrough's victories as part of the same trend that had Oak Park voters completely toss the Village Managers Association in the 2005 elections. I see many
suburban communities dumping incumbent pols and political parties in the next few elections.

In the specific races, Yarbrough beating Welch 3:1 has to be attributed to the intense anti-Welch feelings among the voters. Many homeowners still resent the way
he raised taxes--bypassing a referenda--for the magnet school. Many staff members at the schools feel jerked around by Welch's cronies. And there is significant
suspicion that admissions to the magnet school are being rigged based on personal connections.

Yarbrough defeated Moore by such a large margin due to a few reasons.

1. The winds of change were going to blow him out the door anyway.
2. While Moore may of had Serpico behind him, I heard Serpico's precinct organizers don't like Moore b/c they felt he double-crossed them on something in the
3. Moore didn't do a good job of giving county jobs to capable people spread around the township. He got jobs for a few people who mostly resided or had roots in
Maywood. Plus he didn't give the jobs to particularly capable people.
4. Welch's negatives hurt Moore.

Also, both Welch and Moore ran weak campaigns. When they went door-to-door they merely asked permission to place signs. They didn't especially try to make the
case to voters. Welch's message was not focused.

They assumed Welch could win a two-way Dem primary the same way he won a crowded school board race: push name recognition. Name recognition is only a positive thing
if people don't associate negative info with the name.

For example, I went door-to-door in Forest Park the weekend before the election. I asked a 35-45 year old woman in a single family home to vote for Yarbrough.
She responded, "Is she running against Welch?" I said, "Yes." The voter said, "She's got my vote."

Welch may have achieved higher name recognition than Yarbrough, but I suspect some voters simply made the inference that a campaign with 9-11 mailings and obnoxious signage was backed by money that didn't have the interests of the voters at heart.

To fix Welch's campaign:

1. He needed to stay focused on a simple message.
2. He needed to have independent community leadersproviding him with decent buzz.
3. He needed to not piss-off so many people who were energized to not just beat him, but make him suffer.

HEALTH, why replace roof at McKinley? [D88]

In addition to having an egregious mold problem, I understand the building also has a significant amount of asbestos.

Does it make sense to spend $300,000 on a new roof for a school in such poor condition?