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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

MEDIA, Dwyer vs. Calderone [FP]

Bill Dwyer (Forest Park Review) wrote a column critical of Mayor Anthony Calderone.
The Tony Principle holds that "In an outmoded form of governance with an uncritical board majority headed by a clueless power monger, that clueless power monger tends to assume responsibilities for which he has no qualifications."...

Some would argue that over reaching by elected officials can be controlled with a few simple checks and balances. But the majority of our elected officials—i.e., Commissioners Tim Gillian and Mark Hosty— aren’t willing to provide those checks and balances. In fact, the majority of this board has already shown the willingness to allow Calderone unfettered say over who gets hired as part time cops in this village. So why should they question him taking the reigns when it comes to negotiating a settlement with a wrongly suspended police officer?

In today's FPR Mayor Calderone responds.
In that article, Bill goes on to attack my character directly by implying that I have reached the "Peter" principle, most likely because he was denied access to private and confidential employee information....

Calderone liberally plays the Oak Park vs. Forest Park card.


Friday, May 26, 2006

ADMIN, slowing posting, contributors & elevating the discourse

I have slowed posting to Proviso Probe lately. I'll probably get fired up again in a couple weeks, but for awhile coverage isn't going to be as comprehensive as normal.

I have invited a couple people to be guest contributors, but they haven't started writing yet. If you want to be a guest contributor, email me, RadioNyberg circled "a" Yahoo spot c0m.

Generally, I'm frustrated at the comments all going back to the interpersonal feuds in Proviso politics. I realize this is part of the discussion, but Proviso Probe would be a better blog if people spent more energy trying to engage the substance of the issues.

If Proviso is going to become a stable, desirable place to live we need to change the culture and the processes. Changing the players provides short-term relief at best.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

ED, special board meeting [D209]

The District 209 Board of Education is having a special meeting PMSA to discuss “business policies” and the summer school staff. The meeting will be held at Proviso Math and Science Academy Wednesday, May 24, at 7 PM.

EVENT, prostitution documentary at Maywood Library

Turning a Corner (pdf order form) is a one-hour documentary on prostitution in Chicago made by Beyondmedia.

It will be screened at the Maywood Public Library, Wednesday, May 24, at 6:30 PM.

For more info contact the office of Rep. Karen Yarbrough, (708) 615-1747.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

CRIME, local hate crime conviction

Chicago Tribune:
A Melrose Park [Thurman Graham, 40, of the 1000 block of 20th Avenue] man was sentenced to two years in prison for using racial slurs during an attack on [a Black] off-duty Rosemont public safety officer last year, authorities said Monday.


TRANS, PLCCA billboard

Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action (PLCCA) obtained billboard advertising in Forest Park visible from the Eisenhower and the Blue Line.

KLEPT, Blagojevich clout list: Jesse Martinez

Proviso Township Board Member and Stone Park Trustee Jesse Martinez is listed on Governor Rod Blagojevich's clout list as being sponsored by "Gutierrez" (presumably Congressman Luis Gutierrez) and Sal Diaz to get a job as an administrative assistant at the Illinos Department of Public Aid.

Martinez explains the situation this way.

Martinez was invited to participate in the Blagojevich transition team by Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldanado. Martinez participated on the team for municipal and local government.

While working on the team Martinez met Barry Maram, who went on to become the Director of the Dept of Public Aid (now: Healthcare and Family Services). Maram liked Martinez's work ethic and recruited him to work on child support issues at Department of Public Aid.

Later Martinez applied for the Chief of Latino Services position at Dept of Child and Family Services (DCFS). Martinez was hired by Brian Samuels. Martinez doubts Samuels received any political prompting to hire him.

Martinez further noted that Maram didn't want him to leave and lobbied him to stay.

Thoughts? Theories? Conclusions?

KLEPT, Blagojevich clout list

Capitol Fax Blog (Rich Miller) has an entry linking to Governor Blagojevich's clout list.

The only patrton I recognized as a player in Proviso was Alderman Ed Smith. [UPDATE: It appears there's a labor muckety muck named Ed Smith. A commentor says he's the patron behind this list.]

Smith sponsored the following people:

Jordan Smith, Admin Asst, Dept of Transportation (DOT)
Vickie Stout, Admin Asst, DOT
Michelle Barringer, Wildlife Heritage Region, Dept of Natural Resources
Valerie Carter, Rutan Coordinator for Bureau Chief of Personnel Management, DOT
Duane Demmin, Bureau Chief Administrative Services, DOT
Jill Eades*, Staff Asst to Bureau Chief of Personnel Management, DOT
Janice Fay Rash, Liaison between IDOT Deputy Chief of Staff and Office of Governor, DOT
Stacy Richardson, Rutan Coordinator for Bureau Chief of Personnel Management, DOT
Michael Stout, Deputy Director of Finance & Administrations, DOT
Timothy Walker, Legislative Liaison, Department of Employment Security
Thomas Whalen, Manager Capital Improvement Program, DOT

* Eades also listed "Madigan" as a patron.

Thoughts? Comments?

TRANS, SUV wielding mother kills toddler [BW]

Chicago Tribune (Jeremy Gorner):
A Bellwood toddler whose mother accidentally ran over him Saturday with her sport-utility vehicle died yesterday, police said this morning.

ETHNICITY, real-life Uncle Ruckus

In Latta, SC there's a court case challenging the dress code ban on Confederate Flag clothing. See Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (AP, Jim Davenport).

H.K. Edgerton, a Black man, marched with the group calling for the ban to be lifted.
"[The 15-year old plaintiff's] made a stand for her Southland," Edgerton said. A former local NAACP leader in North Carolina, he is known for dressing up in Confederate gear to emphasize what he describes as the role blacks played in voluntarily supporting the South in the Civil War.

Blacks "voluntarily" fighting for the Confederacy!? How does a slave volunteer for combat?

"Massuh, if you could get the othahs to pick mo cotton this season, Ah'd like to go fight for state's rights. I ken't read, but I'm sho it's a good cause cuz all the Christian White folk I know ah supportin it. If you approve, Massuh, Ah'd like to volunteer."

I used to think Aaron McGruder's character Uncle Ruckus was a little over-the-top, but he seems almost moderate next to Edgerton.

Monday, May 22, 2006

ED, two District 88 issues [D88]

I have received some documents pertaining to District 88, but don't have time to fully cover them. I'm going to see Frank Thomas' return to U.S. Cellular....

The Illinois Department of Labor has given District 88 30 days to address some infrastructure problems at McKinley Elementary School. The notice is dated May 17, 2006.

Also, the Illinois Attorney General responded to an email sent by Board Member John Wicks. The short version is the AG told him to seek help from the board attorney or the states attorney. The AG also provided Wicks with opinions and case law.

ED, Sen. Lightford passes Preschool for All

From a Governor Rod Blagojevich press release:
Preschool for All
Preschool for All makes Illinois the only state in the nation to begin providing access to high-quality preschool for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old child in Illinois. The program, which guarantees that in the end approximately 190,000 Illinois children will have the chance to attend preschool, will reach working families who are not able to afford the high cost of private preschool. Funding for preschool programs is increasing by $45 million this year, allowing 10,000 new children to get an early start on their education. Participation in the program for parents is voluntary.

Students who attend preschool are 20 percent more likely to graduate high school, 41 percent less likely to need special education and 42 percent less likely to be arrested for committing a violent crime. Studies also show that for every dollar spent on early childhood education, society saves at least $7 through decreased reliance on social services. The Preschool for All legislation, Senate Bill 1497, was sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Westchester) and Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago).

While Lightford's office is in Westchester she still lives in Maywood according to her candidate filing.

[UPDATE: More details in a new G-Rod press release:
The language for Preschool for All was contained in Senate Bill 1497, sponsored by Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) and Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Westchester). SB 1497 amends the school code to authorize the use of state funds for pre-kindergarten services for children who are not defined as “at-risk.” Under current law, pre-kindergarten funds are used exclusively to serve at-risk kids. At-risk kids have the greatest need of service, and numerous studies show that they benefit significantly from attending preschool.

However, there are many kids who do not meet the current definition of at-risk who could still benefit from preschool. For example, parents making $50,000 a year may not have enough money to provide their child with high-quality preschool, but if the child doesn’t have any other risk factors, they’re not going to qualify for state-funded pre-kindergarten. In Illinois, the average annual cost of private early learning programs for 3 and 4-year-olds is $5,200, and the cost for two children can exceed $10,400 annually – the salary of a minimum wage earner. The new Preschool for All program will continue to prioritize at-risk children, but expands it to also serve middle-income families.

N06, D209 attorneys work for Meeks

Sun-Times (Scott Fornek):
Meeks’ attorney, Burton Odelson, who attended today’s news conference, said they were confident they could have gathered 50,000 to 60,000 signatures, more than twice the 25,000 needed to get on the ballot.

Since there were some posts about how Emanuel "Chris" Welch would be part of the Meeks campaign, this nugget seemed interesting.

BTW, doesn't it seem odd that the attorney would speak on the number of sigs that would be gathered? Isn't this issue more in the purview of the campaign manager and field organizer?

N06, Topinka campaigning at Triton [D504]

On Saturday, Republican gubernatorial nominee Judy Baar Topinka spoke at the Triton College graduation. She was introduced by Mark Stephens, president of the board of trustees.

Stephens introduced Topinka as the next governor of Illinois. Stephens father, Don Stephens is the Republican Committeeman of Leyden Township. He's also the longtime mayor of Rosemont. Stephens is clearly a skilled public official with considerable clout. He strenuously objected to the FBI linking him with organized crime.

Topinka openly joked about the length of her graduation speech at the beginning by saying that the doors were locked and nobody would be leaving until she finished.

Topinka's speech had nine points. During subpoint eight the audience tried to applaud her off the stage.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

HC & M, Yarbrough to talk impeachment on Fox News

Rep. Karen Yarbrough will talk about HJR125, the resolution to impeach President George W. Bush on Fox News, Sunday, May 21, 2006 at 8:30 AM (Central).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

ED, Grant fifth graders to Wilson [D88]

To make room for all-day kindergarten Grant's fifth-graders may be sent to Wilson. Grant is in Melrose Park. Wilson is in Bellwood. See West Proviso Herald (Chris LaFortune).

I still say the top issue facing District 88 is the unhealthy conditions at McKinley School in Bellwood.

All D88 schools besides Grant already have all-day kindergarten. Isn't it odd to have different levels of service within the same school district?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

ECON, Kiddieland to close [MP]

Kiddieland will close in 2010 because of a family disagreement about the lease. See Sun-Times (Steve Patterson).

GOV, Forest Park TB District property [FP]

Do people have strong feelings about the fate of the TB Sanitarium at Jackson and Des Plaines?

See Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) for background.

GOV, Forest Park to lobby the DOD? [FP]

Forest Park is getting conflicting signals from the Department of Defense about the future of the reserve center on Roosevelt. The most up-to-date information seems to be that the final status of the reserve center is still pending based on a last minute request to keep it open by adding more Army Reserve units.

Forest Park would like to develop the land, but Mayor Tony Calderone doesn't feel right pushing the Army out the door.

I was heartened to read that Forest Park is going to try to be a more active player in the process in the future.

Forest Park Review (Seth Stern):
At Monday's budget hearing, Calderone mentioned that though the village does not currently employ a lobbyist, it is leaving space in the budget for one to be hired, in part to work on the reserve center issue if the need arises.

"We have a number of uncertainties in town, one of them being the closure of the navy base, and we may want to hire a lobbyist," he said. "Knowing the legislatures involved is one thing, but knowing the bureaucracies is another, and that's where a lobbyist can help," he said.

KLEPT, FBI approached about Serpico and D209 [D209]

I heard a rumor that [name redacted] has been in contact with the FBI about Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico using inappropriate influence on D209 Board Member Gary Marine.

At the April meeting of the District 209 board of education, Marine had requested a motion be put on the agenda to terminate the services of Odelson & Sterk and replace the firm with Giglio & Del Galdo.

Marine is a Village of Melrose Park employee which gives Serpico many ways to give him carrot or stick.

If Serpico used inappropriate influence the case would seem to resemble the firing of Generso "Gino" Trombetta.

Trombetta sued District 209 and Serpico and prevailed by demonstrating Serpico used his influence over Board Member Dan Adams to get Trombetta fired. Devine's office failed to take criminal action citing a statute of limitations problem. Trombetta's supporters claim the statute of limitations hadn't passed and that State's Attorny Dick Devine merely did Serpico a favor.

The Melrose Park Police Department is currently under investigation for questionable practices related to hiring Chief of Police Vito Scavo's private security firm to work on the village water main replacement project.

If Scavo is indicted it is assumed that the feds will pressure him to testify against people above him in the food chain.

Monday, May 15, 2006

ART, call for local artists

Kelley Frame Shop, 119 N. Marion, Oak Park is looking for locally produced art to sell on consignment. Call Gretchen Spittler, (708) 848-6606, to arrange an appointment.

ED, community forum for new superintendent [D209]

What: Proviso Township High Schools District 209 Board of Education will host a Community Forum. This forum is an information exchange to assist with the nationwide search for a highly qualified Superintendent of Schools. District 209 invites you to come and meet with school officials to share your ideas and concerns, too. Light refreshments will be served.

Who: District 209 officials along with the consulting firm the Bickert Group will be on hand to answer questions.

When: Thursday, May 18, 2006 at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Proviso Mathematics and Science Academy –Faculty Cafeteria, 8601 W. Roosevelt Road, Forest Park, IL. 60130

* For more information please contact Susie Crain at (708) 338-5913.

ETHNICITY, media attention for missing persons

Last Thursday, Without a Trace tackled the issue of how the media handles missing Blacks and "Whites" differently.

The family of Tamika Huston finally got the media to acknowledge the double standard. See Political Animal (Kevin Drum).

Blogs also played a key role in providing backlash against Missing White Girl Syndrome. Although, as the case of Christina Esparza, aka Christina Nowakowski, showed, "White" women past their window of visual sex appeal don't get much coverage either.

Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter by Steve Johnson argues that today's pop culture is really smarter and more sophisticated. Or it makes society smarter and more sophisticated. See kottke.org for review/discussion.

Anybody see Without a Trace? Got comments on the Johnson thesis about pop culture?

ETHNICITY, who is Bush trying to reach with his immigration speech?

Tonight President George W. Bush will address the TV audience on immigration.

Immigration is not one of the top issues facing our country. The debt/deficit, Iraq War, eviscerating the Bill of Rights, global warming and a bunch of other stuff are higher priorities.

But Karl Rove (aka "Bush's Brain") doesn't care what policy is important, he cares about message and politics.

And Rove is hoping to shift the national dialogue to immigration so Bush can fire-up the Right Wing base with tough talk about border security.

So what do the get-tough-on-border-security types really think about immigration?
Not only will it work, but one can easily estimate how long it would take. If it took the Germans less than four years to rid themselves of 6 million Jews, many of whom spoke German and were fully integrated into German society, it couldn't possibly take more than eight years to deport 12 million illegal aliens, many of whom don't speak English and are not integrated into American society.

See Crooks & Liars.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

N06, Flowers to run for Regional Sup't of Education

On Saturday, the Democratic Committeemen voted 17-0 to put Dr. Charles Flowers on the ballot to run for Regional Superintendent of Education (suburban Cook County). Republican Robert Ingraffia is the incumbent.

No candidate ran in the primary. When a ballot line is vacant in the primary, the committeemen can place a candidate on the ballot.

ECON, Northlake to develop North Ave. [NL]

Northlake Herald-Journal (Chuck Fieldman):
Northlake is slated to get a handful of new businesses on North Avenue after the City Council at its May 1 meeting approved the recommendations of Zoning Board for changes and variances that will allow the development.

The plan calls for openings of a Chase Bank with a drive-through, Potbelly Sandwich Works, The Hair Cuttery, Cingular Wireless and Panda Express.

POL, Ald. "Ike" Carothers vs. Ald. Ed Smith [IL-07]

With the understanding that the question is moot if Congressman Danny K. Davis is not selected to replace County Board President John Stroger in the November general election....

What I've heard is that the two heavyweights competing to replace Davis are Alderman Isaac "Ike" Carothers and Alderman Ed Smith.

Who else is a serious candidate? Who wins among the township and ward committeemen if they are forced to choose between Carothers and Smith?

And does a Carothers vs. Smith contest put Sen. Don Harmon, the Oak Park Democratic Committeeman, in a tough spot? Harmon owes Carothers for watching his back in the 29th Ward, but Carothers has some baggage in Oak Park.

P.S. What should be added to the Wikipedia article on Congressman Davis?

ZOO, Mexican gray wolves unwelcome

Brookfield Zoo attempted to integrate three new Mexican grey wolves into an existing pack. After a half year Brookfield Zoo has given up. See KTVO (Kirksville, MO (AP)).

Friday, May 12, 2006

CRIME, another Cease Fire rally [M]

Email from Jan Bolling:
Maywood CeaseFire is reaching out to residents as well as those who work or have ties to the community to come together for a brief prayer and community walk on Friday 5/12/06-6:00 PM meeting at the northwest corner of 21st & Oak.

This is in response to the shooting of a 51 year old male on 5/9 at approximately 1:40 PM in front of 145 S. Oak.

As CeaseFire continues to work with individuals involved in high risk street activity, the citizens of Maywood can play at part by encouraging those who witness acts of violence to step forward. All citizens should speak out against violence regardless to the victim.

If you need additional information, contact CeaseFire-Jan Bolling 708-256-2766 or Keenan Ellis 630-670-8485.

N06, President Danny Davis?

Congressman Danny K. Davis, who represents Maywood, Bellwood, Hillside, Broadview and other parts of Proviso Township, has declared he's willing to replace County Board President John Stroger on the ballot. See Sun-Times (Fran Spielman) or Defender (Kathy Chaney).

Under what circumstances would the Democratic Committeemen pick Davis to replace Stroger on the ballot?

I assume the committeemen don't want a reformer. In the past Davis mostly allied himself with the progressives, independents and reformers.

If Davis promised to not aggressively fight for reform he makes sense as a candidate. Davis has enough credibility with "White" liberals that he won't have the trouble with goo-goos defecting to Peraica that Todd Stroger will have.

Speaking of Todd Stroger...

I was struck by this line in Sun-Times (Fran Spielman) on May 6.
Todd Stroger stressed that he and his father have not discussed the succession issue.

Under what circumstances would Todd Stroger avoid talking to John Stroger about the succession issue?

Here's the one that comes to mind: functionally John Stroger is in a coma.

The Stroger campaign, his family and his doctors duped the public into thinking there was some possibility he'd recover. I suspect when the facts are all known, it will become clear Stroger never had a chance of returning to his duties as county board president.

The media also enabled the bamboozling by continuing to show archival footage of Stroger in stories and not indicate it was archival footage.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

MEDIA, Trib writes about Melrose Park condos [MP]

Chicago Tribune (Steve Brosinski):
MELROSE PARK -- In anticipation of the village's first condominium conversion, the Village Board on Monday approved new regulations on owner-occupied apartments.

A 29-unit building in the 1400 block of 1st Avenue is being converted to condos, a first in Melrose Park, said Public Works Director Peter Urso.

The Trib does a technically accurate job of reporting this story.

But, if you're involved with local issues in Melrose Park this isn't one that people are talking about.

I wrote an entry about blogs vs. traditional media.

In the comments Roy criticized me for not recognizing that the Tribune does use blogs.

Yes, various Trib figures, like Eric Zorn, have blogs. But Trib blogs aren't two-way communications on local issues. The news on Proviso Probe gets influenced by the audience. Blogs create accountability.

Trib columnists have blogs, but the Trib has contempt for the idea that the hoi polloi should have any input into what should be covered.

Brosinski wrote an article about Melrose Park. Maybe someone keeps a checklist and requires two Melrose Park articles per year. But Brosinski's article is easy to write. It can be written from a village press release.

But what people are really concerned about in Melrose Park is totally different. If the Trib blogged the news, they'd have a better sense of what people are concerned about.

CRIME, cleaning up Maywood by cleaning up Maywood [M]

The "Broken Windows" theory of policing holds that if a community keeps itself neat and clean it will substantially reduce crime.

Maywood seems to be taking this approach.

Maywood Herald (David Pollard):
Maywood officials are looking to do some spring cleaning. But it comes with a price.

The village has begun checking up on some of the village's homeowners, landlords and automobile owners to try to motivate them to get in step with the village's move to clean up the village's image.

Maywood Village Manager Rob Nelis said he was prompted to initiate this "sweep program" due to complaints from residents about abandoned cars on village streets and people not keeping up their property.

I see this as a positive development and much more useful in the long-term than some of the other strategies Maywood has tried or talked about.

SPORT, Proviso West girls track [D209]

Pioneer Press (Tim Stablein):
The Proviso West girls rack team finished sixth at the WSC Silver Division meet on Friday night, scoring 55 points.

WSC Silver includes seven schools, right?

Nefeteri Williams and Michelle Teague had stronger performances.

ECON, mixed use development for Hillside [H]

Market Wire press release:
HILLSIDE, IL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 05/11/2006 -- Par Development, Inc. and Landmark Properties are proud to announce the development of the Metro Commons located at the intersection of Interstate 290 and Mannheim Road in Hillside, Illinois.

The development will be a combination of retail, residential and office space creating a 575,000 square feet mixed use project. The development will create an environment that will redefine the region and provide services and retailers that are not offered in the area today.

"Metro Commons will bring economic growth and prosperity to the Hillside community," said Mayor Joseph T. Tamburino. "We're excited about the retail, office and residential boost that this development will bring to our thriving community."

HC & M, People's Weekly World covers HJR 125

For those joining the story in progress, Rep. Karen Yarbrough introduced a resolution in Illinois General Assembly calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush.

People's Weekly World (Pepe Lozano) covered the story.

It's kinda weird to think of small businees owner Karen Yarbrough being a darling of a Communist newspaper. Yarbrough being a darling of the Communists would be like James Webb (former Secretary of the Navy under Reagan) running for U.S. Senate [UPDATE: "as a Democrat"].

George W. Bush told us he was a uniter.

HEALTH, is he a quack?

The Illinois Attorney General (Proviso's own Joe Ponsetto) is prosecuting Michael "Doc Mike" Witort of Westchester for practicing medicine without a license. See Chicago Tribune (Victoria Pierce).

Witort's attorney quit because he wouldn't follow instructions in court.

Witort sounds like a colorful character. Anybody know him?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

GOV, look out for tax reassessments

Pioneer Press (Karen Berkowitz):
Suburban homeowners with spiraling home values might want to brace themselves for some property tax whiplash with the defeat last week of a bill to extend the 7 percent assessment cap in Cook County for another three-year cycle.

In a 37-69 vote, the Illinois House of Representatives May 3 rejected Senate Bill 2350, the latest 7 percent cap measure, when it was called for a vote the day before the legislature's adjournment.

If the assessment cap is not renewed, tax bills that homeowners in the north and northwest suburbs receive in the fall of 2008 will be computed on the full amount of the 2007 reassessment.

This analysis is misleading.

County taxes are a relatively small portion of the tax bill, about 7-10%. When a whole community has the property values rise, higher assessments don't cause taxes to rise by much.

The tax burden is spread over the whole community in proportion to the assessment values. So, a rich northwest suburb will experience a slight tax increase if the whole community has values that rise together. The members of this community will experience a slight tax increase as they pick up more of the county tax burden.

The communities that get hammered by reassessment are places like Westchester and Forest Park. When assessments rise in Westchester and Forest Park the property owners not only have to pay a larger amount for Cook County they have to pay a larger amount for District 209, Proviso Township, Proviso Township Mental Health Commission, etc.

The entire tax burden is spread over all the communities of Proviso. But if property values are going up in Forest Park and Westchester and stagnating in the rest of Proviso Township the tax burden shifts to Forest Park and Westchester and away from Maywood, Melrose Park and Bellwood.

Later in the article BOMA weighs in:
"Manipulating assessments to keep taxes artificially low for a select subset of property-rich homeowners ... is misguided and unfair," said Ron Vukas, executive vice president of the Building Owners' and Managers Association.

BOMA's position would be easier for me to stomach if commercial properties didn't get favorable treatment compared to single-family homes (and small multi-unit buildings).

See the General Assembly website (pdf) for the final vote.

KLEPT, Gattuso name on signs becomes an issue [W]

Part of winning elections is to increase the candidate's name recognition.

The Village of Westchester voted to put some signs up, but Village President Paul Gattuso decided to add his name to the signs after the resolution was passed. See Westchester Public Affairs (Rick Fox).

Westchester Herald (David Pollard):
Westchester Village President Paul Gattuso said he doesn't see anything wrong with the way the banners would look. "I thought it would be nice to put my name on one sign and the board of trustees on the other," he said. "I didn't think it would be a big deal. Every banner usually has the president or mayor's name on it. I thought it would look cool and show some unity."

Elected officials wanting to look cool? Wanting unity?

From www.kwhitaker.com

From The Left End of the Dial

Looking cool and dishonestly pushing unity on the taxpayers' dime are not "in" anymore. Sorry, Mr. Gattuso.

GOV, Westchester utility tax increase postponed [W]

Tuesday (yesterday) the board deferred the decision to implement a utility tax increase (3% to 5%) until next board meeting. See Westchester Public Affairs (Rick Fox).

Doesn't it seem like taxing utilities is more regressive than even property taxes?

Of course, since the assessment process is so generous to commercial properties, landlords do mostly duck property tax increases. So a utility tax does sorta catch renters and landlords that pay less than their share of property taxes.

EVENT, Brookfest nein! Oktoberfest ja! [BF]

Even though Brookfield cancelled Brookfest, the village will sponsor an Oktoberfest. See Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Jessica Glowinski).

The article ends by saying,
In addition to Oktoberfest, the Special Events Commission is planning its own one-day Art and Jazz Fest in Kiwanis Park in mid-September. The idea for that festival was hatched in the aftermath of the village's decision to discontinue its annual summer music festival, Brookfest, earlier this year.

Brookfest attracted the wrong people because the music was too popular.

Does anybody remember the quote where Bart Simpson claims that cartooning is the one art form created in America? Someone (Lisa?) responds by saying, "What about jazz?" Bart declares, "Jazz doesn't count; nobody listens to it."

HEALTH, "it's the most intense pain of my life" Michael Garvey [BF]

Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Uphues)
Brookfield Village President Michael Garvey will undergo a second round of surgery today, as part of the treatment to eradicate a cancerous tumor from behind his left eye. Dr. Jack Cohen, an ocular oncologist at Rush University Hospital in Chicago, will remove a metal disk that was implanted next to the tumor during surgery on May 4.

Good luck on the recovery, Mr. Garvey.

ENVIR, Lyme Disease in Forest Preserve

For humans to get Lyme Disease an infected deer tick needs to attach itself.

The only ticks I've seen around here are wood ticks which are much bigger and easy to see. I can usually feel them crawl on me before they attach.

In the last 15 years deer ticks have come to Cook County, presumably on birds and deer. (The one letter to the editor in the current Forest Park Post is a pro deer culling letter.)

Now the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease is also in some parts of Cook County. See Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Amanda Trust, Medill News Service).

Deer ticks are small as the head of a pin. Lyme Disease shows as a bullseye pattern around the point where the tick attached. When treated rapidly it's not serious. Left untreated it can be fatal.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

ED, principal out at Garfield [D89]

Maywood Herald (Chris LaFortune):
[Superintendent Cynthia] Broughton would not discuss [Stefan] Fisher's removal, saying it was a personnel matter. School Board President Grady Rivers said Garfield is one of the district's poor performing schools and the board believe it was time for a change.

Board members are too involved in personnel issues across Proviso Township.

The community is entitled to an explanation when a principal is fired. But it should be the superintendent giving the explanation primarily. The superintendent works for the board. The principals work for the superintendent.

Grady Rivers is amiable, but... how to put this nicely?... he's not the... he ain't the "go to guy" on complex problems. He's a political place holder who does as he's told. He's a foot soldier in a crooked political organization.

So, if Cynthia Broughton says it was time for Fisher to go because of test scores, I'd tend to believe it. If Grady Rivers says the same thing, I tend to think Rivers' political bosses have someone else they'd prefer in the position.

PO-PO, Reformado v. Forest Park

Forest Park Review (Seth Stern) covers the story.

Which of Edison Reformado's allegations need to be proven true for Forest Park to be held liable?

What are the inconsistencies in Reformado's version of events? What are the inconsistencies in Officer Ken Gross' version?

A07, what will be the hot local elections in a year?

1. District 209: will the opposition organize and run the table?
2. District 88
3. Forest Park Mayor
4. District 89

What others?

BLOG, blogs vs. traditional media

Sun-Times (Doug Elfman) gets credit for being the catalyst to this post.

If you read Proviso Probe, you are undermining the rightful order of the country. You get your news through blogs and that's a threat to the people who feel it is their prerogative to provide your news.

You think I'm joking?

Please! I may try to be sarcastic, but have I made any serious attempts at humor on Proviso Probe?

Here's what I understand of the conflict at the national level.

What blogs (Left of the mushy middle) say about traditional media:

1. The traditional media is too cozy with people in power. The media people who control the big newspapers and broadcast outlets go to the same cocktail parties as the people with government power. The media people are in a cocoon.
2. The traditional media does inadequate investigative reporting.
3. The media has not held itself accountable for being wrong about the Iraq War and generally allowing the Bush administration to bamboozle its policies through.

What traditional media says about blogs:

1. There's no quality control.
2. Blogs undermine journalism by reducing revenue for newspapers when readers cancel subscriptions.
3. Blogs don't produce original content.
4. Bloggers are rude.

Rather than reproduce a national debate that other people have had more articulately, perhaps it would be good to delve into the local affects of blogging.

I am proud of the reporting and analysis I've done on Proviso Probe. I think the interactive nature of blogging has provided something people wanted. I don't think I have an antagonistic relationship with any of the newspapers.

To exist in its current form Proviso Probe needs Pioneer Press and Forest Park Review.

I should ask around, but I don't think Proviso Probe hurts circulation of any of the local newspapers.

Why do the big blogs hurt traditional media outlets, like Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post, but little blogs don't hurt Pioneer Press or Forest Park Review?

Here's my theory: Forest Parkers think the Forest Park Review is a quality product that covers the news the audience expects to have covered. Pioneer Press is the same way. If the Chicago Tribune Company or the Washington Post bothered to ask their readers if they were doing a good job, much of the audience would express the sentiment they are (or were) waiting to defect to something better.

So the big media outlets can whine-and-whine. With the caveat that I reject a certain amount of free market ideology, big media is suffering from the consequences of competition. Media outlets that continue to do a good job will thrive in a more competitive environment.

When the Pioneer Press or Forest Park Review break a story, it doesn't hurt Proviso Probe. Conversely, when Proviso Probe breaks a story, it doesn't hurt FPR or Pioneer Press. It's all good for the community. It wouldn't hurt any of the local outlets for Chicago Tribune, Sun-Times or Defender to break or cover stories in Proviso Township.

But the market for what Chicago Tribune provides is decreasing as consumers find they have options. Chicago Tribune has always cheered liberalization of international trade. Chicagoans losing jobs as manufacturing moved elsewhere served the greater good because consumers were getting what they wanted.

Surely, owners, executives and editorial leaders that cheered as "efficiency" put others out of work would face losing market share with a stiff upper lip, right?

For some of the more articulate discussions of the national issues see Billmon and Josh Marshall (Talking Points Memo). Austin Mayor had an entry I thought was worthwhile.

Monday, May 08, 2006

N06, anti-gay referendum petition challenge

I have been for full equality for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters since before it was cool. I was writing in favor of lifting the ban on gays and lesbians before President Clinton enacted the flawed "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Since I first spoke publicly for equality, the national mood has moved away from bigotry and toward my position.

However, the Republican Party is scared. All indicators point to the party receiving a crushing defeat in November. See Daily Kos or Capitol Fax Blog. Both link to the Hotline Blog.

In Illinois the GOP strategy is to have an anti-gay marriage referendum on the ballot to energize the bigoted voters to turn out in large numbers. At Illinoize Yellow Dog Democrat covers the status of the referendum. YDD seems to think the referendum was submitted with few enough signatures it can be knocked off the ballot. It only has 25% over the minimum required.

If you would like to help knock the referendum off the ballot email Volunteer@EQIL.org. If you would like to help the bigots, you can volunteer or donate to Illinois Family Institute.

CRIME, 69 y/o Westchester man beaten to death [W]

Suburban Life (Debrah Bonn):
Westchester police are investigating a local man's death after he was found in his bathroom May 1, the apparent victim of a beating.

John Gosnell, 69, of 1928 Gardner Road, Westchester, died in a homicide....

TRANS, Madison Street parking forum [FP]

Citizens United in Forest Park sent the following email:
The Village is having two public openhouses about Madison St. parking problems. Residents will have the opportunity to learn, ask questions and make comments about Forest Park’s downtown parking plans. All are invited to attend one or both of these sessions.

Thursday, May 11 at 10:00 AM

Tuesday, May 16 at 7:00 PM

Village Hall
517 Des Plaines Avenue
(Lower Level)

Please come and share your experiences regarding parking in downtown Forest Park. Your voice will make a difference.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

ADMIN, CGN picture

I recently had this caricature done by Paul Merklein of Great Big Faces. It was part of a charity thing at Kelley Frame Company on the Oak Park Mall (115 N. Marion). If you have framing to be done, go see Owen, Joe, Gretchen and Kelly. If you drop my name, I expect you'll get a discount.

And if you're like District 209 and you didn't fully plan your graduation party until the last minute, it would probably be fun to hire Merklein (the Great Big Faces guy) to entertain at a party.

Friday, May 05, 2006

MEDIA, Nyberg to guest host "Viewpoints..." [BW]

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

I'm going to start by discussing the Bellwood TIFs and the plan to use the money from these TIF districts to build three new schools for District 88.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

MIL, Forest Park Reserve Center will close [FP]

Mayor Anthony Calderone wrote in the Forest Park Post (available around the village now):
I was visited by a representative from the Department of Defense who informed me of the closing of our Navy Reserve Center. Contrary to information previously circulated, it is my understanding that the base is closing and the Army will not be taking ove the site. I do not have much more to add at this writing but please stay tuned. I hope to know more in the near futue.

I have taken the position closing the reserve center completely is good for Forest Park because the property would go on the tax rolls (hopefully). See Forest Park Review (Carl Nyberg).

Seth Stern and I did some legwork to try to determine if the Reserve Center would be closing. See Forest Park Review and Proviso Probe.

I got the impression the people at the Reserve Center really don't know the fate of the Army Reserve units that currently drill there. Further, I got the impression that the reserve maze-of-command is too byzantine for most people to even try to comprehend.

I hope Mayor Calderone got good info and the Reserve Center is closing. However, it wouldn't surprise me if the plan changes.

MEDIA, Village of Forest Park newsletter [FP]

Forest Park is smaller than Melrose Park, Maywood, Bellwood and Westchester.

Forest Park is blessed with diverse media outlets, including Forest Park Review, Forest Park Post and ForestPark.com. I'd like to think Proviso Probe adds some richness too.

However, Forest Park is getting another outlet. The Village of Forest Park is going into the quarterly newsletter business. Both Mayor Anthony Calderone and Village Administrator Sturino mentioned it in their columns in the Forest Park Post.

Here's my question: if the mayor and the village administrator both get to say whatever they want in their columns in the Forest Park Post--and the Post comes out six times per year--why do Forest Park taxpayers need to pay for a newsletter? Seriously.

GOV, Bellwood approves approves three TIFs [BW]

TIF is an abbreviation of "Tax Increment Financing".

On April 26, 2006 the Village of Bellwood pass three new TIF districts.

I don't have a strong handle on TIF, but effectively it diverts money from other taxing bodies (primarily schools because they consume 60-70% of property taxes) to municipal government for 23 years. Municipal government is supposed to use this money to upgrade the property in the TIF district. In the long-term TIFs are supposed to help all taxing bodies because they increase the value of the property allowing the government to collect more property tax revenue.

See West Proviso Herald (Chris Lafortune) for more information.

TIFs can be good or bad.

I have two concerns about the Bellwood TIF districts.

First, the plan on the table is more complicated than normal TIFs because the money is going to be used to build new schools. Bellwood approved the TIFs before explaining the plan to the full District 88 board. IMO the Village and District 88 should have agreed on the plan before the TIFs were approved. By approving the TIFs first the Village isn't giving District 88 much room to say, "no". The TIFs will cut into District 88's revenue stream making it even more difficult for the district to deal with its infrastructure issues, like replacing McKinley Elementary. See Proviso Probe.

Second, I have serious concerns about how much of Bellwood is being included in the three TIFs. It will cut into District 88's revenue forcing the school district to go to the voters for tax increases more frequently and it will shift the tax burden for District 88 from Bellwood to Stone Park.

McKinley needs to be replaced. District 88 probably can only borrow the money to replace one school. And it will be awhile before the voters can approve a bond. And it will be longer still before the District has the money.

And moving the schools may make sense. There are a bunch of reasons Bellwood's plan may be good. But I sure would have liked to see more discussion out in the open before the plan was approved.

EVENT, "Dress for Less" fashion show

Rep. Karen Yarbrough’s
7th State District Women’s Committee Presents:
“Dress for Less” Fashion Show

The purpose of this event is to showcase elegant and trendy fashion within the reach of every budget.
When: Friday, May 19th at 7:00pm
Where: West Town Museum of Cultural History
104 S. 5th Ave. Maywood Illinois (entrance off side of parking lot)
Contact: Stacey Flint 708-615-1747 or sflint30@yahoo.com / Cost: $15 at door (light refreshments)
Casual /Business / Evening / Formal : Also Features Petite and Full Figures
St. John / Chanel / Burberry / Linda Allen Ellen Tracy /...and others

Clothes Compliments of: Fashions Anew Consignment- 183 S. Oak Park Ave., Economy Shop 103 S. Grove Oak Park, The Attic 1909 W Roosevelt Rd Broadview, Brown Elephant Resale Shop 217 Harrison St
Oak Park

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

GOV, Western Springs pledge fealty to Dear Leader [WS]

Western Springs only has one precinct in Proviso Township. So I tend to not cover Western Springs.

But some things are so richly deserving of ridicule that I've got to give them some coverage.

Suburban Life (Tara Alexander):
Western Springs village officials have proclaimed May 1 as Loyalty Day, a holiday intended to promote patriotism. But where some see this as an opportunity to celebrate national pride, others disagree with a governing body advocating patriotism, and believe the holiday encourages blind loyalty to U.S. policy.

Loyalty Day? To whom are we pledging loyalty? Why not cut out the middleman of "patriotism" and pledge loyalty directly to Dear Leader George W. Bush?

Bush wraps himself in the flag to justify and otherwise unjustifiable war. Now Bush's popularity is in the tank. And Western Springs declares May 1 "Loyalty Day".

Does this mean it's OK to be unpatriotic or disloyal the rest of the year?

If Western Springs wants to show some loyalty to the principles of the nation, it should take some time to ennumerate all the ways President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and their administration have undermined the Constitution.

But ennumerating Bush's violations of the Constitution would be "disloyal", wouldn't it?

OBIT, FPPD says Brandon Washington died by accident [FP]

Forest Park Review (Seth Stern):
Investigators have ruled out foul play in the death of Brandon Washington, a 16-year-old Chicago resident who was found dead on the CTA tracks at the Forest Park Blue Line station earlier this year, declaring the cause of death an accident.

Does anyone know what the family says?

A little Google research shows that a large percentage of homicides go unsolved. The FBI says that in 2004 62.6% of homicides were solved. Other sources for other years tend to claim lower rates of solving crimes.

One source pointed out that homicides where no arrest is made in the first 48 hours get solved at a very low rate.

Washington may have died by accident. But I can definitely see a police department wanting to close the books on a case with no leads.

GOV, Broadview cuts staff to balance the budget [BV]

Suburban Life (Debrah Bonn):
Broadview residents are mobilizing against the termination of 36 village employees -- including 22 policemen and firefighters -- even warning of potential legal action if the village follows through with what they are calling a drastic reduction in work force.

The village faces a deficit of about $1.7 million and handed notice to 36 employees last week that they would be laid off effective Thursday, June 1. The bulk of terminated employees are police officers, firefighters and public works personnel.

Westchester Herald (David Pollard):
Letters informing Broadview employees they were going to be laid off were issued April 26.

Receiving layoff notices were 10 police officers and one records clerk, 12 firefighters and one clerk, 10 employees in public works, two in the village's building department and two in village administration. The layoffs go into effect June 1.

I remain unsatisfied with Village Board President Henry Vicenik blaming the cuts on the failure of Broadview's home rule referenda. See Proviso Probe.

Vicenik and the rest of the Broadview leadership had a responsibility to manage the village competently given the parameters they had. Broadview wasn't a homerule community, yet Vicenik and others created this crisis.

Vicenik and others were hoping the voters would bail them out of the mess they created. The taxpayers rejected the homerule referenda soundly.

Remember, when Broadview was audited it couldn't find the budget to see if the actual spending matched the plan. See Proviso Probe.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

CRIME, father kills three-month old son [M]

ABC7 (Leah Hope):
"The child was in a baby seat. He stomps the child, picks the child up, shakes the child violently back and forth," said [Assistant Stat's Attorny Colin] Simpson.

HC & M, Katrina victim contacts Yarbrough on impeachment

Rep. Karen Yarbrough has received email, letters and phone calls from around the country (and some from overseas). Overwhelmingly these people support her call to impeach President George W. Bush. See Proviso Probe for the resolution.

Yarbrough received the following email from Monique Champagne. It is published with her permission.
Dear Karen Yarbrough,

I just wanted to say thank you so much for being brave and just in your quest to impeach George Bush. If there is anything I can do from Austin Texas please let me know. I am from New Orleans, Louisiana and have had to relocate here since Katrina. As I try to rebuild my life, I have found myself more involved in the news and in researching our president. I found myself reading about you numerous times during that effort. Your strength to stand up AND FIGHT for what you know is right is an inspiration to me.

I wish you the best of luck and again, it would be an honor to help you in any way I can. I am not the only one who feels like you have taken a step that proves your dedication to this country.

I am 30 yrs old, have a work history in the film industry working in the art department as a set dresser. I have web design skills, graphic design skills, and know a network of active people in my community in New Orleans and Austin. Please do not hesitate to let me know if there are opportunities for me to assist your efforts in any way. Currently I am proposing an evacuation plan to congress in hopes of getting funding since still TO THIS DAY my community of mostly African American citizen- the very people who bring the essence of New Orleans to rise, are being underappreciated and let down. I will fight to see that something is done.

Thank you for your inspiration. You are a soldier. And I'd follow you into battle :)

-Monique Champagne

IMMIGRATION, what businesses affected by yesterday's demonstration? [FP]

Picture 1 is Scoreboard Sports Bar on Madison. I have never been upstairs, but I have ordered food downstairs. Anyone know if upstairs is a bar only?

Picture 2 is Francesca's on Madison. May 1 seemed like a good day to do some remodeling.

Picture 3 is Goldyburgers on Circle.

Picture 4 is Healy's on Madison & Circle.

Monday, May 01, 2006

ED, pictures of McKinley elementary school [D88]

This entry contains pictures taken this morning at McKinley Elementary School. For the backstory and analysis see the Proviso Probe entry below.

Picture 1 is the McKinley sign on Eastern.

Picture 2 is the plaque in the addition where most of the leakage problems exist.

Picture 3 is three tubs that were collecting dripping water this morning.

Picture 4 is the same three tubs with Board Member John Wicks to give a better idea of the scale.

Picture 5 is a picture of a bucket to collect ceiling leaks in a classroom. The bucket was dry but the carpet was wet. It wasn’t merely damp or cool to the touch. It wasn’t soaked, but it was wet.

Additionally, the two of the classrooms I entered had a noticeable funk to the air.

Picture 6 is a picture of the corner of a closet attached to a ground floor classroom. The water damage and mold has been painted over, but returned.

Picture 7 shows how the water damage has gotten underneath the tiles and baseboards.

HC & M, The Coalition for HJR 125 contacts Speaker Madigan

Today I faxed the following letter to Michael J. Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.
The Coalition for HJR 125

Dear Speaker Madigan,

The Coalition for HJR 125 has formed to promote and pass HJR 125, Rep. Karen Yarbrough’s resolution calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush based on Jefferson’s Manual of the House of Representatives.

The Coalition for HJR 125 sees our duty as citizens to stop the illegal and immoral
Bush administration, before it starts a nuclear war on Iran for domestic political advantage.

As speaker of the Illinois House, you have a role to play in the complex system of checks and balance that our Founding Fathers left to us. President Bush’s egregious misconduct and the abdication of oversight by this Congress must be addressed.

Speaker Madigan, in the next week the Coalition for HJR 125 would like two things to happen:

1) The Rules Committee to assign HJR125 to a substantive committee; and
2) The House leadership to commit to holding hearings on the resolution

Hearings in Illinois on this resolution will serve a purpose in and of themselves, airing the many illegal acts of this administration, and reminding citizens and legislators across the country of both the powers that are available to them to stop this madness, and their duty to do so.

Speaker Madigan, please allow HJR125 to advance in the General Assembly.


Carl Nyberg
Spokesperson, The Coalition for HJR 125

CRIME, statute of limitations

I read the Sun-Times (Abdon M. Pallasch and Frank Main) on Jon Burge, the Chicago Police Depart Commander accused of torture and I was reminded of Trombetta vs. Serpico.
Those who opposed the appointment of a special prosecutor [to prosecute the allegations Burge led in torture] argued that the statute of limitations would prevent charges from being filed against Burge and his fellow officers even if evidence were uncovered.

Generoso Trombetta sued Ron Serpico and District 209 (Proviso Township High Schools) for illegally firing him. See Proviso Probe. Trombetta prevailed in federal court.

Trombetta's attorney asked State's Attorney Dick Devine to prosecute Serpico for violating the law. The State's Attorney's office claimed the statute of limitations had expired, a fact disputed by Trombetta's supporters.

It seems to me there should be an extension to the statute of limitations in cases where public officials are involved because they are in a position to lobby the government from within to run out the clock.

If the Cook County State's Attorny didn't prosecute Burge because he was an allie, it seems justice denied for the torture victims to say the statute of limitations has expired.

If the Cook County State's Attorny didn't prosecute Serpico because he was an allie, it seems justice denied for Trombetta to say the statute of limitations has expired.

ADMIN, Plagiarism teachable moment

It's rude (and illegal) to take something written by someone else without giving credit.

"telling the truth" took full articles from Russ Stewart.

Here's how quoting other people works.

1. You take less than 10% of the original or no more than four paragraphs--preferably two paragraphs.
2. You tell where you got it. Online this means including the URL or a link.

Please ask any questions you have about the law or blogging etiquette.

[UPDATE: "telling the truth" was worse than stealing Russ Stewart's material. Triple "t" stole the article and then modified it. Dishonest and uncool. I thought Proviso Probe participants had more class.]

EVENT, immigrant rally

Did anyone attend the rally organized by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights?

How was it?

HEALTH, demonstration a McKinley Elementary School [D88]

This morning I was able to observe the conditions at McKinley Elementary School in Bellwood. Everyone agrees that the physical condition at McKinley Elementary School is unsatisfactory.

The District 88 Board of Education is divided into a majority block (four votes) and an opposition block (three votes). The majority includes: Marilyn Thurman (president), Ton Anderson, Maria Castrejon and Tommie Miller. (See Proviso Probe for the meeting that made Thurman president of the board.) The opposition is comprised of Althea Busby, Antonette “Toni” Dorris and John Wicks. Before Castrejon switched factions the current opposition block was in the majority.

The majority block sees the problem at McKinley as primarily being about the water leaking into the school. The majority has voted to put a new roof on McKinley for $300,000 and the school will be replaced at some point in the future.

The minority block disagrees with spending $300,000 to fix the roof. James Graham, Sr., the former director of facilities, has advised the minority that a product exists that will seal the leaks for a few years for $20-30,000. But the leaking roof isn’t the primary problem at this point.

The minority points to a health survey done by University of Illinois at Chicago, an evaluation by the Cook County Department of Health (see Proviso Probe for text) and numerous ailments of students and staff as evidence that the air quality of the building is unhealthy. Mold growth and asbestos make McKinley an unhealthy place to work and attend school. Replacing the roof isn’t going to fix either of these problems.

Further, the minority points out spending $300,000 fixing a building that everyone agrees should be replaced as soon as possible is wasteful. The minority accuses the majority of wanting to put money in the pocket of a politically connected contractor. Presumably the contractor will engage in some form of kickback—campaign contributions, hiring cronies, etc.

This morning Board Members Dorris and Wicks were at the school distributing a flyer that stated, “MOLD and ASBESTOS KILLS!” [sic]. Along with seven parents and community activists they were inviting parents to attend this evenings District 88 board meeting at the Administrative Center on Eastern.

Board Member Dorris made the case that the district has money to relieve overcrowding at Grant Elementary School (which serves the mostly Latino population of Stone Park), but considers the health threat at McKinley (which serves the mostly African-American population of Bellwood) a lower priority.

Dorris claimed that the Village of Bellwood may contribute funds to rebuilding McKinley out of the newly proposed TIF district money.

Board Member Wicks made the case that District 88 has failed to get reasonable return on investment from past construction. He compared District 88 to District 92.

Last week when I spoke to Board Member Castrejon she said that it was unrealistic to expect the students to be removed from McKinley as soon as September, 2006. To build a new school requires a bond to be issued. Issuing a bond requires a referendum. The board is doing the best it can with the options the staff has presented.

In my opinion (IMO) the health threat at McKinley should be a priority. If District 88 can’t obtain the money through normal channels it should go outside normal channels to do what’s necessary to educate McKinley students in an environment that does not pose an active health risk. District 88 should get help from the Village of Bellwood, Cook County, the State of Illinois and the federal government to address the immediate health threat.

Sending affluent “White” children to a mold infested school would be unthinkable. The government would do what was necessary to keep those children safe. District 88 parents have got to demand their children get treated with dignity too.

To get the money to replace McKinley the District 88 board needs to work together. Unfortunately there are interpersonal conflicts that will prevent working together. Part of the conflict may be theories of governance, but much of it is these people just don’t like each other. As Arnie Bryant says, “The District 88 board is dysfunctional.”

If Board Members Anderson and Miller could be untethered from their political boss, board attorney Emanuel “Chris” Welch… And if Board Members Busby and Castrejon could form a strong working relationship… And if the board seated Board Member Thurman far away from Board Members Dorris and Wicks, just maybe, District 88 could put the welfare of staff and students first for long enough to enact a plan that would allow McKinley students to go to school in a safe environment—meaning not the current building—in the fall.