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Proviso Probe

Saturday, September 30, 2006

POL, does Barack Obama fear Alan Keyes?

Proviso Insider claims Rep. Karen Yarbrough is trying to destroy Chris Welch. PI includes the claim:
Yarbrough has confided in many Springfield insiders that she fears Welch.

Yarbrough defeated Welch by a margin of 73.3%-26.7% in the 'burbs and 78.1%-21.9% in Chicago. See Cook County Clerk and Chicago Board of Elections.

Barack Obama defeated Alan Keyes 70%-27%. See Wikipedia.

How likely is it that Keyes will beat Obama in the next election? Yarbrough defeated Welch by a wider margin than Obama beat Keyes.

Welch is the kind of opponent Yarbrough probably hopes to run against, if she has to face an opponent. He makes her look like she should be running for higher office. And Welch brings his own enemies to the election so Yarbrough gets a whole bunch of motivated volunteers without having to twist arms.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

ED, another head rolls at PMSA [D209]

Melvin Berry, the director of Proviso Math and Science Academy, was relieved of his duties today. He has been charged with committing sexual harassment two or three years ago while he worked at Proviso East.

The woman alleged to be Berry’s accuser is a member of former Democratic Committeeman Eugene Moore’s political organization. In the past Berry was an also active in Moore’s organization and invited members of District 209 staff to join and become active.

On September 1, Rick Bryant (who was then co-director of PMSA with Berry) was relieved of his duties. The previous day finance director Nikita Johnson filed a police report over missing money. In the police report Bryant was one of two suspects making he said/she said allegations against each other.

Why is District 209 purging PMSA leadership?

One theory holds that board president Chris Welch is punishing PMSA leadership for two Forest Park parents who criticized District 209’s management of PMSA at the August board meeting. See Forest Park Review (Carl Nyberg).

Or perhaps it’s a management technique. If Welch and Fields sow enough fear and chaos they believe it will give them control.

[UPDATE1: From Proviso Insider:
Sources tell the Insider that several district 209 employees have launched serious allegations of impropriety toward Berry that must be investigated.

[Any comments on Proviso Insider's coverage?]

[UPDATE2: Forest Park Review (Josh Adams):
Though the school is without either of its top administrators and is roughly six weeks into the school year, Welch said parents should not be concerned....

Carl Williams, president of the PMSA Parent-Teacher-Student Association said Friday he was not aware of Berry's suspension. However, Williams too, expressed confidence in Fields' decision to suspend Berry despite having no knowledge of the reasons for doing so.

"I love the leadership and the energy that (Fields) brings," Williams said. "Mr. Bryant and Mr. Berry were good for PMSA but their time has come. It's time to move on."

[What's wrong with Williams statement? Nominally District 209 canned Rich Bryant and Melvin Berry for misconduct. Presumably District 209 only recently discovered the misconduct, right? But Williams statement makes it seem like terminating Bryant and Williams is part of the evolution of the school. Bryant and Berry had accomplished what they could and now it's time to get new leaders to meet PMSA's existing challenges.

[Williams statement let's you know what the real deal is. Bryant and Berry were fired because the people calling the shots in District 209 want to go in a new direction with PMSA. So the question that needs to be answered is: how are the policies and goals of PMSA going to change? Or are the firings the first step in invoking the "Bob Libka defense"? The Libka defense is roughly, "There have been so many 'unexpected' personnel moves I can't be held accountable for the problems under my cognizance."]

BLOG, D209 restricts access to Probe; Proviso Insider begins publishing [D209]

Yesterday at approximately 11 AM Proviso Township High Schools, District 209, began restricting access to Proviso Probe. Apparently Proviso Probe has been added to the list of banned websites, like pornography.

Today I contacted Superintendent Stan Fields to request an explanation.

In a development that may or may not be related a new blog named Proviso Insider began publishing yesterday. It's editorial perspective seems to be pro-Fields/Welch and anti-Flowers/Kelly.

[UPDATE: Somehow my letter to Fields found its way to the upstart blogger Proviso Insider before Fields responded to my request.]

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

ETHICS, torture: Durbin, Davis, Gutierrez, Emanuel & Lipinski good; Obama disappointing

All four Proviso Representatives voted against the Detainee Bill to allow Bush to behave badly. See Daily Kos (FleetAdmiralJ).

Senator Dick Durbin received positive reviews for his comments on the torture bill in the Senate. See Talk Left Fire Dog Lake (Christy Hardin Smith) and Atrios.

Senator Barack Obama got panned by Atrios and some others have joined him. See SoapBlox Chicago (EricV).

[UPDATE: Talking Points Memo (Josh Marshall):
As others have noted in more detail, this law allows the president to detain any US citizen in the United States and hold him or her without trial forever.

All the president needs to do is find that you are an 'enemy combatant'. And it's entirely his call....

Basically, getting arrested, prosecuted and thrown in the slammer the old-fashioned way becomes a privilege that can simply be revoked.

[Doesn't this make you proud to be an American? Do you feel more secure now?]

MEDIA, what's on your mind?

The links are the same as last week. What stories are important to you? What story that isn't covered is important to you?


* Forest Park Review
* Maywood Herald
* Melrose Park Herald
* Riverside/Brookfield Landmark
* Suburban Life
* West Proviso Herald
* West Suburban Journal (arrives Thursday)
* Westchester Herald

[The discussion about the Melrose Park PD is still simmering.

[The entry about a homicide in Stone Park also inspired posts about the mayor and relations between the Stone Park and Melrose Park police departments.

[The discussion about Monday's District 209 board meeting is also still active.

[And video guy calls for incarcerating a member of Forest Park's political opposition for "destroying the credibility of Forest Park and it's good elected leaders."]

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

PO-PO, another community crime prevention meeting [FP]

I'm about to turn into a pumpkin, so I'll post more later.

Did you attend the Tuesday night community crime meeting? What did you think?

[UPDATE: Stuff from the meeting:
1. If you want a speed bump in a Forest Park alley get 51% of the neighbors to sign a petition.
2. When you describe someone suspicious to the police Lt. Tom Aftanas recommends starting with the head and working down. Also, if the police are responding to a call it helps to know in what direction the suspect was traveling.
3. Many of the complaints by community members were about nuisance neighbors and rude children & teenagers.
4. The state facility that processes fingerprints is deluged with requests, so it sometimes takes awhile to process prints on a property crime. The example was given of Officer Young Lee getting a print in May, 2005, but not making an arrest until May, 2006 because of the delay in processing the print. The burglar has plead guilty and has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.
5. The idea of buying cameras for enforcement of red light violations had some support from the audience. Mayor Calderone favored a “go slowly” approach.
6. Sen. Kimberly Lightford recently obtained a $50,000 grant for Forest Park to work on bullying issues.
7. A crossing guard who volunteers with the neighborhood watch program suggested crossing guards be given some sort of communication device to report happenings to the police.
8. As I was leaving there were some questions asked about animals trapped by the village. The village representative said state law requires the animals be destroyed for most species.

[end update]

F08, should Obama run for Prez?

Oprah mentioned Sen. Barack Obama running for President in 2008. The newspapers covered the story.

What do you think of Obama running for Prez?

It seems like just a couple months ago he was at Molly Malone's flubbing his synopsis of Warren Buffett's point on taxation in his stump speech.

N06, Green Party candidate on corruption

Rich Whitney is running for governor of Illinois. The Green Party has a full slate of candidates who have qualified to run for statewide offices.

This is Whitney's press release on corruption.
Rich Whitney, the Green Party's candidate for Illinois Governor, unveiled a comprehensive ethics plan for clean government in Illinois, at the
State Capitol on Monday.

Speaking to members of the media, Whitney indicated that Illinois has a poor reputation as being a haven for crooked politicians, and a Wild West for campaign spending, buying candidates and buying favors, and illegal job patronage.

Included in the plan is a ban on campaign contributions from state contractors, their owners and officers -- and barring the awarding of contracts to any company whose owners or officers had made such a contribution to an incumbent. Also included is a complete ban on corporate campaign contributions in Illinois.

"Our Party and our campaign have already been setting a good example by refusing corporate campaign contributions as a matter of principle," said Rich Whitney.

Other features of the plan include capping individual campaign contributions to $500 per candidate per campaign, and the establishment of an independent hiring and promotion bureau.

"I also promise to appoint an Inspector General from an opposition party, to prevent and root out illegal job patronage and help remove the cloud of corruption over our State," said Rich Whitney.

What do you think?

ED, Fields shows he can mix-it-up with board members [D209]

Last night the District 209 board of education held its first meeting under the guidance of the new superintendent Stan Fields.

Nikita Johnson briefed her list of ways she proposes to save money. Johnson said that without new revenue or massive cuts the district will be out of money at the end of the 07-08 academic year.

In the audience comments portion of the meeting a special education parent complained that her child’s classroom did not have the teacher’s aide required by state law.

Fields provided an agenda for the meeting with no specifics. The agenda was so vague it had no value for understanding what the district is doing. An omnibus consent agenda covered everything “as discussed in closed session.” I have filed an Open Meetings Act complaint with the State’s Attorney.

The fireworks occurred during the time set aside for the superintendent’s report, although board members Theresa Kelly and Charles Flowers complained that Fields was using the time to introduce issues without notifying them in advance.

The superintendent’s report started innocently with the board agreeing to allow Fields to work with one of his contacts to develop an RFP (request for proposal) to hire a consultant to assist D209 in creating a foundation to raise money for the district. Fields asked the board if the foundation should raise money for some specific area or have a general mandate. The consensus was that the mandate should be general.

Next Fields started asking about the fund associated with the Proviso East “Wall of Fame”. It was an opportunity for board president Chris Welch to make allegations against Kelly. Welch alleged she was refusing to account for the funds. He alleged the money was improperly spent. He alleged the project inappropriately intruded on students’ schedules. And Welch got Fields to say that what she was doing was illegal. According to Welch and Fields the law requires the fund be administered by the board of education because the organization has “Proviso East” in its name. Kelly accused Welch of lying. Welch attacked Kelly by loudly and repeatedly saying, “Mrs. Kelly, show us the money!”

Kelly got flustered and accused Fields of making a “public skeptical” when she meant “public spectacle” Fields mocked her by saying, “I’m not sure what a ‘public skeptical’ is.”

Next Fields went after Kelly and Flowers over mobile phones. Flowers responded by saying, “Who are you trying to front?”

Welch did much of the attacking on cell phones repeatedly telling the audience that Flowers had a Blackberry. Welch indicated he’d be happy to give up his D209 mobile phone to save money. Welch neglected to tell the audience he was the board member who originally pushed for the district to provide cell phones. Although the original way Welch implemented the policy was to only provide phones to the board majority.

Then Fields attacked Kelly over travel expenses. Kelly explained she goes to two board trainings per year.

The next issue Fields raised was that District 209 had 85 computers checked out to staff at their homes. Welch raised his voice when explaining one of the computers was at the home of “board member Charles Flowers”. Flowers denied it. After the meeting Flowers determined that the computer in question goes back to 1999 when he was on staff. According to Flowers the computer was returned and District 209 has a problem with its record keeping.

In my opinion Fields conduct was appallingly unprofessional. This is the guy who told both Josh Adams (Forest Park Review) and me (Forest Park Review) about his desire to get the board to work together by focusing on the big picture of the good of the students. Then in his first board meeting he acts as a political hatchet for Welch while evading the spirit and probably the letter of the Open Meetings Act.

Fields would have behaved differently if he were trying to work together and bring unity to the district.

For each of his attacks on Flowers and Kelly, Fields kept saying he was raising the issue to get clarification from the board. He didn’t get anything clarified because he wasn’t prepared to get anything clarified.

On the Proviso East Wall of Fame Fields should have called Kelly with his questions. As Kelly pointed out her name and Pam Marine’s are on the wall. (Pam Marine is the wife of board member Gary Marine and a Proviso East alumni.)

Fields claimed he wanted clarification on district cell phone policy. Why didn’t he provide a suggested policy to board members in advance? No motion was approved on cell phones. Chris Welch agreed not to use his. But Fields didn’t have a specific policy proposal that was advanced in the form of a motion.

On the board member travel issue Fields reminded the board that they must approve board member travel. No new policy was sought. What did Fields accomplish by attacking Kelly at the meeting that he wouldn’t have accomplished equally by merely sending an email to board members? He antagonized her and was clearly trying to do political damage. But he could have accomplished the same fiscal goals without the public spectacle.

And setting up Welch to attack Flowers over a computer that was missing since 1999? If District 209 signed out a computer from the ‘90s to an employee that has been gone seven years, what are the odds the computer is going to be recovered?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

ETHICS, torture is wrong even if John McCain thinks it's good politics

I've sent or will be sending the following letter to Proviso's Congressional delegation (Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama, Representatives Danny K. Davis, Rahm Emanuel, Luis Gutierrez and Dan Lipinski).
Dear Senator Obama,

Torture is wrong. Torture by any other name is still odious.

Trials by secret evidence do not meet any reasonable standard of justice.

I don’t trust the government with the power to hold people indefinitely without access to the courts. This mistrust of the government possessing totalitarian power is at the essence of who we are as Americans.

You should not be browbeat or bamboozled into the supporting Bush’s torture bill because Senator John McCain (R-AZ) is.

Here’s what two commentators, a Republican (Andy Martin) and a Dem-leaner (Digby), have to say about McCain’s support of the legislation.

[McCain’s] surrender to Bush Administration demands for broad power to torture prisoners disgraces him and makes him nothing more than just another blowhard and phony in Washington.

I'm not sure if a man can sink lower than to leverage his heroic status as a tortured POW to codify his own government's torture policy. You really don't need to know any more about the man's character than this.

It doesn’t matter if McCain thinks supporting Bush’s torture bill will help his presidential ambitions or the Republican effort to keep control of Congress after the November elections. Torture is wrong.

I request you provide a statement about the Bush torture legislation to be published on Proviso Probe.

I encourage you to contact your senators and your representative and tell them how you feel about Bush seeking to make torture OK under U.S. law.

PHOTO, red sun on cloud behind tree in Old Proviso

(photo by Carl Nyberg)

Did anyone get pictures of the nascent funnel cloud that formed over Maywood on Friday? If so, I'd like to post one or two. Contact me, RadioNyberg circled "a" Yahoo spot c0m or 43O-3538 in the 773.

KLEPT, shady hiring in county government

Sun-Times (Scott Fornek) has a catchy lead to an article with little new information.
It hasn't hit the mosquito abatement districts and library boards -- yet.

Consider Proviso Township. What cases will the feds prosecute? What fish are too small to bother?

Sun-Times (Abdon M. Pallasch) has an article that details some of the cronyism in Cook County government.

The department's $76,000-a-year director of financial control, Noreen Lanahan, helped arrange a $15,000-a-year contract for Maria Vnenkova, who cleans Lanahan's house every Friday. Lanahan said the contract pays Vnenkova to work three days a week at the county's Oak Forest Hospital preparing documents to be scanned by pulling out staples, etc.

The Sun-Times interviewed Vnenkova through a professional interpreter and she said she cleaned Lanahan's house every Friday and was paid by personal check with Lanahan's name on it.

"I don't work for any department," Vnenkova said. "I clean homes -- hers and others."

Lanahan said she had no objection to releasing copies of Vnenkova's contract with the county and her time sheets to show she worked there every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. County officials later released time sheets which appear to show Vnenkova's supervisor, Barbara Lakomiak, signing off on her working eight hours a day, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Lakomiak seconded Lanahan's account of Vnenkova having a legitimate contract job with the county. That was on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Asked if Vnenkova was working that day, Lakomiak said she had called in sick.

What if Vnenkova is telling the truth about only getting the personal check from Lanahan? Who is cashing the county check?

N06, Greens get behind tax swap idea big time

The Illinois Green Party held a function in Chicago this weekend. I attended and talked to some of the candidates.

The Greens are making HB 750 central to the campaigns for governor and the legislature.

The concept of HB 750 is to increase income taxes while reducing property taxes to fund schools more equally. The liberal critique of schools is that they would perform better if they had more resources. And inequities in school funding further exacerbate inequities in society.

I'm not particularly persuaded the liberal critique of schools is the most meaningful model for understanding the problems facing schools.

However, as a matter of politics the Greens are probably smart to support HB 750. Since Speaker Michael Madigan supports the bill (see the Illinois General Assembly website) supporters of HB 750 see Governor Rod Blagojevich as the chief impediment.

(BTW, local supporters include Sen. Kimberly Lightford, Rep. Karen Yarbrough, Rep. Calvin Giles and Rep. Deborah Graham.)

Teachers unions and other constituencies that would benefit from increasing the total money available for schools support HB 750. So, it's probably more than a tax swap, it's a tax increase.

So, the Green candidate for governor, Rich Whitney, can target some Dem constituencies.

The Greens would love to win the governor's race, but the more realistic goal is for the party to get 5%. If the Greens get 5% of the vote in the governor's race this will qualify the party for "major party" status in Illinois. This will reduce the number of signatures the party needs to get on the ballot which will allow the party to field more candidates.

So targeting some big Dems constituencies is a solid strategy for breaking 5%.

The short version of my critique of HB 750 is that increasing money by itself won't improve education. Equality isn't what people want out of education. And I'm skeptical that Illinois voters want their taxes raised.

CRIME, juvenile detention supervisor convicted sexual assault [FP]

Chicago Tribune:
Barnett Gill, 54, of Forest Park was convicted in August of criminal sexual assault and custodial sexual misconduct following a two-day bench trial....

Gill was accused of kissing and inappropriately touching the teen during several months in 2004.

Gill had been a supervisor at the Warrenville juvenile detention center. He blamed the allegations on a dispute with supervisors.

I wonder if it was OK for him to hit on the detainees before the dispute with the supervisor.

SPORT, various articles cover multiple Proviso athletes

Brookfield native Emily Hajduk had a couple homers for Drake's softball team in a 5-1 win. See DrakeBulldogs.org.

Walther Luthern grad Jenna Richardson won in singles tennis (6-2, 6-2) for Augustana. See Augustana news release.

And Journal & Topics (Dwight Esau) had a look ahead article on the Pirates going to Leyden to play football. What happened at the game?

BLOG, Cynthia finishing her degree cuts into blogging

I'm a fan of Cynthia, who is a Westside blogger. She's been kept from blogging because she's re-writing a paper she needs to complete to graduate.

Vist Cynthia's Interests. Read a little. Leave her a message of encouragement.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

wasting America's promise one life at a time

(Photo taken from Daily Kos.)

If you need a face for the 2,600+ Americans who have died in Iraq, think of Emily Perez. See Daily Kos (8ackgr0und N015e) to learn about her. She's also got an obit on the Washington Post website.

[UPDATE1: Gulf News (AP):
Now the death toll is 9/11 times two. US military deaths from Iraq and Afghanistan have surpassed those of the most devastating terrorist attack in America's history.

The latest milestone came on Friday without commemoration nor the precision of knowing who was the 2,974th to die in conflict.

[UPDATE2: Seattle Times (Mark Mazzetti, New York Times):
A stark assessment of terrorism trends by U.S. intelligence agencies has found that the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials who were involved in preparing the assessment or have read the final document.

[To summarize we've killed a bunch of out people--good people--pursuing President Bush's policies and the policies have made the threat greater.]

ETHNICITY, Obesity and availability of grocery stores

Chicago Defender (Emily Withrow, AP)
A three-week Medill News Service investigation conducted in Austin and Lakeview revealed stark differences in food choices available to residents. Austin, Chicago's largest neighborhood, located on the West Side, has just one large grocery store and three smaller ones. Lakeview, a posh neighborhood on the North Side, has five stores that add up to roughly double the square footage when compared to those in Austin....

Supermarkets are scarce in low-income neighborhoods, where residents must shell out more cash than their richer counterparts - for less healthy food.

Unless the large grocery chains, carrying a full line of nutritious foods, locate more of their stores in the city's impoverished areas, already high rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in these communities will continue to rise.

I'm not sure Lakeview and Austin are comparable neighborhoods.

I'm also not sure that having healthier food available causes people who eat poorly to eat well.

For example, I have a friend who was diagnosed with diabetes. The doctor told him he had to improve his diet and exercise. It's tough for him to change his lifestyle.

Friday, September 22, 2006

EVENTS, what's happening this weekend...

that Proviso Probe readers should know about?

KLEPT, county raided: what's the significance?

The Capitol Fax Blog (Rich Miller) has an entry today and had one yesterday.

I hesitate to call political hiring in Cook County government an "open secret" because nobody really even pretended jobs were given based on anything but political connections.

After going after Chicago and the State of Illinois, Cook County appears to be in the crosshairs of the U.S. Attorney, Northern Illinois District, aka The Terminator.

Who are the big fish to be indicted and convicted in Cook County government? How will this investigation affect Cook County government? Will services get better or worse?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

ED, should clerical/support staff fear re-testing? [D209]

District 209 is requiring clerical/support staff be re-tested on skills. On behalf of District 209, director of communications Angela McDaniel assured employees there was nothing they had to fear.

Wasn't this a Dilbert cartoon? The organization requires employees to submit their resumes and job descriptions but assures them that it's not leading to people getting fired.

BTW, what union local represents these employees? What's the union have to say about management forcing union members to be re-tested?
Office of Communications

... the memo sent recently requesting that all current clerical/support staff be re-tested to assess the professional development needs in our district seemed [sic] to have generated various rumors and concerns these past few days....

I want to reassure each employee that these tests are simply a way for our district to effectively identify gaps, if they exist, so that employees can be trained and developed accordingly to stay current in their chosen field. This assessment also helps managers maximize the effectiveness of existing or proposed positions under their direction....

I hope this letter will serve to eliminate recent speculations, and encourage all clerical/support staff to set their appointments. Once again, these tests are not a tool to be used to remove individuals from their current positions, but to make District 209 a more effective and efficient school district.

As somebody asked, what's District 209's plan to provide remedial training to people who lack the required skills?

This year is going to involve lots of budget cutting, right? Is it cheaper to provide remedial training for a secretary or to replace her?

MEDIA, what articles are important to you

It's Wednesday, so the local papers arrive today. What articles seem important to you?

* Forest Park Review
* Maywood Herald
* Melrose Park Herald
* Riverside/Brookfield Landmark
* Suburban Life
* West Proviso Herald
* West Suburban Journal (arrives Thursday)
* Westchester Herald

Also, Proviso Probe has hosted some contentious discussions. Forest Parkers got into it in the zoning thread and the thread discussing coverage of the Tamil Tigers.

The retirement of the Melrose Park police chief inspired a long discussion that was continued in a more recent thread.

And I'm still waiting to hear from most of the state representatives if they will sponsor the legislation to continue the freeze on electrical rates until there is competition.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

N06, Sun-Times poll says Stroger is a lock

See Sun-Times (Scott Fornek).

According to the poll Alderman Todd Stroger (Dem) leads Commissioner Tony Peraica (GOP) 52-19. And poll respondents considered Stroger more likely to reform county government than Peraica by a margin of 44-21.

If the numbers reflect the true sentiment of voters--instead of just name recognition--this race would appear to be over.

Visit other blogs to get other perspectives on the race: AMillionMonkeys, Backyard Conservative, been there. done that., Chicago Newspapers, the Blog, Highway 290 Revisited, IlliniPundit (Gordy Hulten), Public Affairs, Sensible Mom and Yellow Dog Democrat.

CRIME, police shoot gun out of bad guy's hand [M]

Chicago Tribune:
A Maywood police officer shot a man in the hand early Saturday after the suspect pointed a gun at the officer during a chase, authorities said.

Ronald Robinson, 19, of Maywood was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and was being treated at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, authorities said.

And I was just thinking to myself how in the old TV shows the good guys could shoot so well as to knock the gun out of the hands of the bad guys, but we don't see that anymore on TV or in movies.

CRIME, Chicagoan killed in Stone Park [SP]

Chicago Tribune:
In Stone Park, Jesus Gonzalez, 18, of the 1700 block of North Austin Avenue in Chicago, was fatally shot early Sunday as he drove a car with several passengers, police said. Police received a report of gunfire about 1 a.m. near Mannheim Road and Le Moyne Street, Stone Park police said. Officers found a car in the middle of the street, and Gonzalez dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the head, police said. He was pronounced dead about 8:20 a.m. at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.

Does Ceasefire organize for Stone Park killings?

SPORT, wanna be a pro soccer player? [MP]

The Chicago Storm is holding open tryouts. Northwest Indiana Times:
The Chicago Storm Major Indoor Soccer League team will hold open tryouts for all positions Oct. 14 and 15 at the Sports Zone, 1945 Cornell Ave., Melrose Park.

In order to try out, interested players should download an application and waiver form from the Storm's website at www.ChicagoStorm.net, fill them out and drop them off at the Storm's offices located in the Sports Zone. There is a $30 fee for applications received by Oct. 12. Afterwards, the fee is $50.

RELIGION, Bill Winston & his ministries [FP]

What do people know about Rev. Bill Winston?

Winston's bio reminded me of someone else. What other American figure had great TV presence, came from the South, went into the military as an officer and then became an IBM sales rep?

Winston ministries seem to place a whole lot of emphasis on getting rich.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."

Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"--Matthew 4:8-10

Doesn't Rev. Bill Winston's pitch sound more like the Devil's pitch than God's?

EVENT, Latino film at Triton on Saturday

Latinos Unidos Con Voz & Nuevos Horizontes present:

Buscando a Leti/In Search of Leti

This is the story of an immigrant family and a little girl who is left in Mexico to be raised by her grandparents. Leti eventually comes to Chicago to be reunited with her parents. Filmed in Zacatecs, Mexico and Chicago.

Saturday, September 23, 2006
Triton College at the Robert Collins Center
2000 5th Ave, River Grove

12:30 PM, $8.00
3:00 PM, $10.00
5:30 PM, $10.00

Tickets: (708) 681-2620

Los fondos recaudados seran designados para becas
All funds raised will be assigned for scholarships

If you can not attend, you can become a sponsor for the event or give a donation to Latinos Unidos con Voz N.F.P. by calling (708) 681-2620 - the proceeds will be used to provide scholarships for young Latinos attending college.

Monday, September 18, 2006

ED, was there a bomb scare at Proviso East? [D209]

A source told me that today there was a bomb scare at Proviso East, although the students were not evacuated.

I think it probably makes sense not to evacuate in cases of bomb threats against schools. How often is there a real bomb associated with the threat?

, ,

EVENTS, how loud is too loud? [MP]

Last night I heard fireworks in Forest Park. Today I was told it was the fireworks show in Melrose Park.

Were the fireworks too loud and too late?

, ,

MEDIA, article linking Congressman to terrorism misleading [7th CD]

What’s wrong with the Forest Park Review (Terry Dean) article “Terrorists’ money goes toward congressional junket”?

Linking Congressman Danny K. Davis is more sensational than accurate.

1. Davis did nothing wrong or negligent.
2. No one is alleging Davis did anything wrong or negligent.
3. No one is claiming Davis should implement any precautions to avoid doing the same thing in the future.

Davis went to see areas ravaged by the 2004 tsunami and how relief operations were making a difference. The stated purpose of the trip was what really happened.

The country Davis visited, Sri Lanka, has an on-and-off civil war. Partisans in war can have humanitarian impulses. Movements often provide services to bolster their credibility with potential followers.

The article begins,
Rep. Danny Davis (D-7th) said he did not know that a trip he took to the Asian country of Sri Lanka was paid for in-part with laundered money from a terrorist group.

The lead sentence is misleading because it implies Davis is denying an allegation that doesn’t exist. A more accurate story would start like,
The Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America received money from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (aka, the Tamil Tigers), which is a terrorist organization according to the U.S. Department of State. About $13,000 went to pay for Rep. Danny Davis to visit Sri Lanka to see the results of relief operations after the 2004 tsunami. Because of the money laundering Davis’ staff had no practical way to determine the origin of the money.

Of course this isn’t as sexy a story. But that’s because there isn’t much of a story here.

I don’t like the layout used by the Forest Park Review. It’s a thin story, so it probably doesn’t deserve to be on the front page. But even if it was a slow news week it seems unfair to link Davis to terrorism on the front page and in the headlines only to bury the information about how he didn’t do anything wrong on page 10. It’s not defamatory, but it’s misleading.

If you accept the criticisms in the article as legitimate then you favor a world where members of Congress will never get both sides of foreign policy issues. Members of Congress won’t accept invites from anyone who may receive funding from the same people who fund “terrorist” organizations.

Which brings up the point, how does the State Department distinguish between terrorism and legitimate insurgencies? The short answer is politics. If an organization is against the United States or U.S. allies they’re terrorists; if they use violence in support of U.S. goals they’re “freedom fighters”.

The Tamil Tigers tried to bribe their way off the State Department terrorism list and they got caught. I guess they didn’t hire the right Republican lobbyist to make their bribes stick.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

PHOTO, Schlitz can in alley

Is Schlitz making a comeback?

I remember Schlitz TV commercials from the '70s with the bull crashing into the bar. I do know at least one local public figure drinks Schlitz.

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PHOTO, looking through the Roos Building

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PHOTO, mushrooms from rail tie

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PHOTO, youth soccer under the watch of propaganda

Since President Bush is using the term "Islamic fascism" it might be a good time to review the definition of "fascism". See Wikipedia.
Fascism is a radical political ideology that combines elements of corporatism, authoritarianism, nationalism, militarism, anti-anarchism, anti-communism and anti-liberalism.

Although the broadest definitions of fascism may include every authoritarian state.... Fascism in many ways seems to have been clearly developed as a reaction against Communism and Marxism, both in a philosophic and political sense, although it opposed democratic capitalist economics along with socialism, Marxism, and liberal democracy. It viewed the state as an organic entity in a positive light rather than as an institution designed to protect collective and individual rights, or as one that should be held in check. It tended to reject the Marxist notion of social classes and universally dismissed the concept of class conflict, replacing it instead with the struggle between races, and the struggle of the youth versus their elders. This meant embracing nationalism and mysticism, and advancing ideals of strength and power as means of legitimacy, glorifying war as an end in itself and victory as the determinant of truth and worthiness.

Fascism is also typified by totalitarian attempts to impose state control over all aspects of life: political, social, cultural, and economic; in the examples given, by way of a strong, single-party government for enacting laws and a strong, sometimes brutal militia or police force for enforcing them. Fascism exalts the nation, state, or race as superior to the individuals, institutions, or groups composing it. Fascism uses explicit populist rhetoric; calls for a heroic mass effort to restore past greatness; and demands loyalty to a single leader, leading to a cult of personality and unquestioned obedience to orders (Führerprinzip).

Fascism attracted political support from diverse sectors of the population, including big business, farmers and landowners, nationalists, and reactionaries, disaffected World War I veterans, intellectuals..., conservatives and small businessmen, and the masses to whom they promised work and bread.

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PHOTO, Flowers, Madigan & Mack at Proviso Dem picnic

Dr. Charles Flowers, board member District 209, Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General, Dr. Willie Mack, former superintendent, District 88

Flowers (Dem) is running for Regional Superintendent of Schools Suburban Cook County. He distributed campaign literature titled, "Making a Difference for ALL Schools and Students".

Mack is writing a book on patronage in school districts and board-superintendent relations.

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PHOTO, Frank Thomas at bat

This photo was taken at Frank Thomas' first game in Chicago as a member of the Oakland A's. Thomas got a couple homeruns and the White Sox won in extra innings. Rob Mackowiak tied the score with a pinch-hit homerun in the ninth. It was an exciting game.

On Saturday, September 16, Thomas again hurt the Sox. He had four RBIs including the game winner when Mike MacDougal walked Thomas in seventh with the bases loaded to break a 4-4 tie. The Sox had led 4-1.

The Sox are now five games behind Detroit and three games behind Minnesota.

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

ED, Proviso not shut out National Merit Scholarship Program

Proviso has semi-finalists. The bad news is that a number of Proviso high schools were shut out. See Sun-Times.

Tomo Lazovich, Nazareth Academy

Patrick T. Farnham, Ashley A. Schneider and Ethan S. Turbek Riverside-Brookfield

The other high schools public and private had no students on the list.

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ETHNICITY, New study proves Pat Buchanan wrong about immigrant assimilation.

Maybe it was all those years he spent writing the lies that came out of Nixon's mouth, or perhaps he learned to vocalize out of an orifice other than his mouth while sugarcoating Reagan's policies for mass consumption, or maybe he just has what he would term a "genetic pre-disposition" to sling blarney. But no matter what the reason for his inability to tell the truth, a new study has unequivocally proven that Pat Buchanan is simply wrong when it comes to the "death of the west … third world invasion" philosophy in his new book, State of Emergency.

Buchanan has made a career recently out of telling the American people that their "White-European" nation is under attack from an invading horde of "Hispanics and Asians … from continents and countries whose peoples have never been assimilated fully into any Western country," that these new immigrants "are not interested in linguistic or cultural assimilation" and many are here only to engage in the re-conquest the Southwest. But a newly released report proves Mr. Buchanan wrong; today's new immigrants assimilate at the same rate as previous generations.

A new report published by the non-profit Population Council found that, just like all previous immigrant groups, today's new immigrants lose their ability to speak their mother tongue over the course of a few generations and their children end up fully assimilate into American culture.

The report, "Linguistic Life Expectancies: Immigrant Language Retention in Southern California" by Frank D. Bean and Rubén G. Rumbaut of University of California, Irvine and Douglas S. Massey of Princeton, looks at data from two recent surveys—the Immigration and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles survey, and the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study in San Diego, to determine the average number of generations an immigrants mother tongue can be expected to survive in the United States after arrival.

The report looked at not only Hispanic immigrants, but also those from Asia and those classified as "white European" using two different criteria; those who "speak a foreign language at home" and those "who speak it well" and found that for all immigrant groups studied, the ability to speak in the mother tongue generally disappears by the third generation (those with American-born parents, but with three or four foreign-born grandparents).
Although the life expectancy of Spanish is found to be greater among Mexicans in Southern California compared to other groups, its ultimate demise nonetheless seems assured by the third generation. English has never been seriously threatened as the dominant language of the United States, and it is not threatened today—not even in Southern California. What is endangered instead is the survivability of the non-English languages that immigrants bring with them to the United States.

PDR abstract

The report takes aim in particular at Buchanan's more erudite doppelganger, Samuel Huntington and his book, Who Are We: The Challenges to America's National Identity. The researchers vehemently attack Huntington's thesis that "the arrival of Latin American Immigrants in large numbers during the last three decades of the twentieth century threatens the core of American identity and culture… (that) Latin American immigrants are much less likely to speak English than earlier generations of European immigrants because they speak a common language; they are regionally concentrated and residentially segregated within Spanish-speaking enclaves; they are less interested in linguistic and cultural assimilation; and they are encouraged in this lack of interest by activists who foment identity politics."

The authors argue back that their study proves that "Spanish in no way constitutes a threat to the continued predominance of English within the United States." and that "those who worry about linguistic balkanization because of heavy immigration from Spanish-speaking countries have nothing to fear."

They point out that using data from the Southern California surveys allows them to analyze the most extreme case scenario in the nation, noting that no other area has been as greatly effected by immigration.
The surveys used were conducted in Southern California, a region adjacent to the Mexican border that was not only the country's largest net receiver of immigrants during the period 1970-2005, but one that also contained more Spanish-speakers and persons of Mexican origin than any other megalopolitan area…one in every five immigrants in the United States reside in the regions six contiguous counties (San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino), including the largest communities of Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Filipinos, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, Koreans, Iranians, and Cambodians outside the countries of origin.
Linguistic Life Expectancies: Immigrant Language Retention in Southern California(PDF)

Even under these extreme circumstances, their findings directly contradict Huntington's assertions. As is the case with the economic studies on immigration done by those like David Card, the United States has an uncanny ability to absorb large numbers of new immigrants and not only incorporate them economically but also culturally.

The United States has aptly been described as a "graveyard" for languages because of its historical ability to absorb immigrants by the millions and extinguish their mother tongues within a few generations, and Spanish appears to offer no threat to this reputation …Like taxes and biological death, linguistic death seems to be a sure thing in the United States even for Mexicans living in Los Angeles, a city with one of the largest Spanish-speaking urban populations in the world"

Link (PDF)

Certainly these findings differ greatly from the rhetoric spewed out regularly by Buchanan and his cohorts.
All across the U.S., hordes of immigrants – legal and illegal – are chattering away in their native language and have no intention of learning English, the all-but-official language of the United States where they now live.

Can you blame them? They are being enabled by all those diversity fanatics to defy the age-old custom of immigrants to our shores who made it one of their first priorities to learn to speak English and to teach their offspring to do likewise. It was a case of sink or swim. If you couldn’t speak English you couldn’t get by, go to school, get a job, or become a citizen and vote. Nowadays we kowtow to demands that everything from ballots to official documents be presented in many native languages as well as in English.

What holds the country together is the commonality of language. … are they learning our language, are they assimilating into our culture? … the answer is a resounding “NO.” Tragically, the answer to the question of English surviving the immigrant invasion is probably “no.” The English language is on its death bed, a victim of the enablers.

Michael Reagan writing on Buchanan.org

But what must always be kept in mind is that Buchanan has always had a problem with the truth. He had it when he worked for Nixon, he had it when he worked for Reagan, and he certainly has it now.

Buchanan has always been a master manipulator of facts and opinion…. if the facts don't back up his opinion …he just manipulates them. He's started doing it when he first worked for Nixon in 1965, and he'll continue to do it as long as he has an audience ready and willing to listen to his racist drivel or buy his books.

From: Migra Matters - Progressive Immigration Reform

Friday, September 15, 2006

N06, Stroger n Peraica

Since Proviso Probe covered the anti-Stroger website, it seems fair to include the anti-Peraica website.

Sun-Times (Steve Patterson) covered the incident where Stroger Hospital employees beat an elderly immigrant. The "we can do what we want" attitude reminds me of the way Stroger's team plays politics.

A clever political move was made by Commissioner Roberto Maldanado. See Chicago Tribune (Oscar Avila). Maldanado is pushing legislation to make Cook County a sanctuary for immigrants. County employees would be prohibited from asking about immigration status. Maldanado is trying to force Peraica to offend either his Republican base or liberals who are pro-immigration.

Peraica wasn't biting.
Commissioner Tony Peraica (R-Riverside), himself an immigrant from the former Yugoslavia, said he has spoken out against the recent alleged abuses of immigrants and a House bill that would toughen immigration enforcement.

While sympathetic, Peraica questioned whether Maldonado's plan was merely a "feel-good" measure.

"This is an issue I hope Congress will tackle," said Peraica, the Republican nominee for County Board president.

The next story is kinda a no-win story for Stroger. Mayor Daley seeks to overturn the ban on foie gras. Reporters called aldermen to see if they'd reconsidered. See Chicago Tribune (Gary Washburn and Mickey Ciokajlo).
Todd Stroger (8th) and Rey Colon (35th) are among aldermen contacted by the Tribune who said they would stand by the ban. Others who originally voted in favor, said they now were on the fence. And still others, including Richard Mell (33rd), Carrie Austin (34th), Isaac Carothers (29th) and Howard Brookins Jr. (21st) said they were open to the repeal proposal.

CRIME, you probably live within a mile of a dozen sex offenders

Sun-Times (Steve Patterson):
A County Board committee on Thursday approved a measure that would establish an e-mail notification system for anyone who wants it. "Anyone will be able to receive notification if a sex offender moves within a one-mile radius of their residence," said county Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno. "This will be a great thing for Cook County."

Sheriff Michael Sheahan is backing the plan, sponsored by all 17 County Board members, and it should be implemented by early next year.

When everybody supports something, I start to get suspicious.

Let's apply some high school mathematics to this new law.

From the Illinois State Police website on sex offender information I determined the number of sex offenders in the Proviso Township communities.

Melrose Park-21
Forest Park-15
Stone Park-9
North Riverside-1
LaGrange Park-1

Realizing that many of these communities straddle township lines, it's reasonable to estimate 130 sex offenders live in Proviso Township.

Proviso Township is 29.7 square miles. A one mile radius covers 3.14 square miles. Assuming random distribution the average person already has 13+ sex offenders living within one mile.

Does it matter if a fourteenth sex offender moves in?

My preference is that the notification system focus on sexual predators which is a smaller list of people. Also, rather than telling people when the sex offenders move in, it seems to make more sense to tell people when the offenders become non-compliant with the requirements imposed on sex offenders.

ECON, ComEd rate increases

Proviso Probe covered the issue already, but today's Chicago Tribune (Robert Manor) is the two by four in the face.

While the Tribune makes the rate hike seem reasonable and inevitable, Citizen Utility Board disagrees.
Report: ComEd Customers To Get Slammed With 25% Increase
ComEd electric bills will shoot up 25 percent next year, thanks to Illinois' first-ever power auction, reports the Chicago Tribune, quoting anonymous sources. "This is outrageous," CUB Executive Director David Kolata tells the Tribune, but he warns the actual price could be even higher. When the auction prices are officially released today, CUB will have a full analysis of how those prices will affect ComEd and Ameren customers. Remember, it's not too late to stop the rate hikes! Go to CUB's "Don't Get Shocked" Action Center and find out what you can do. And don't forget to rant and rave on CUB's blog.

Another place to keep an eye on ComEd is ComEdReporter.

[UPDATE: CUB is calling for the Illinois legislature to pass an extension of the rate freeze, HB 5766. The freeze was put in place to protect Illinois consumers until there was adequate competition for deregulation to work. ComEd wants to have deregulation without effective competition. CUB says the existence of competition must proceed deregulation. CUB's five-point case:
1. You can’t choose a different power company.
Illinois legislators last extended the rate freeze in 2002 because competition hadn’t yet developed in the electric industry. There’s still NO competition.

2. The current regulatory system benefits consumers AND utilities.
We are protected from unjust rate hikes while Ameren ($628 million) and Exelon/ComEd ($2.1 billion) make record profits.

3. Look at New Jersey.
The only other state with an “auction” system just saw a 55 percent increase in energy prices.

4. Exelon is cutting rates elsewhere.
ComEd’s parent company says it needs big rate hikes here, but in Pennsylvania and New Jersey it has offered to cut rates by $120 million or more and freeze those rates.

5. No competition + Auction = Deregulated monopolies.
[An auction system that erases state oversight positions ComEd and Ameren to become deregulated monopolies.

HB 5766 has fourteen sponsors in the House. There are 118 members of the Illinois House.

The following House members represent parts of Proviso Township. None are sponsors.
Rep. Karen Yarbrough ($4900)--(708) 615-1747
Rep. Calvin Giles ($8,300)--(773) 287-6700
Rep. Robert Molaro ($700)--(773) 838-1212
Rep. Bob Biggins ($1,500)--(630) 941-1278
Rep. Deborah Graham ($6,300)--(708) 445-9520

[The number in parantheses is the amount the representative has taken from Exelon, ComEd's parent company.]

[UPDATE2: LiberIL View (Kankakee Voice) is asking Rep. Lisa Dugan's position on the bill.]

Thursday, September 14, 2006

PO-PO, Melrose Park police chief Vito Scavo retires [MP]

According to a Melrose Park police officer chief of police Vito Scavo announced his retirement today.

The officer did not know the effective date of the retirement.

Scavo is under investigation by the feds in connection with his private security business.

[UPDATE: Sun-Times (Steve Warmbir):
The police chief of Melrose Park has retired from the force amid a federal probe of allegations he shook down businesses in town to hire his private security firm....

When asked about his retirement, Scavo said Thursday he would have no time to talk about it.

[I heard he said, "Nobody wants me here."]

[UPDATE2: Chicago Tribune (Sara Olkon):
When Melrose Park streets and sanitation worker Mario Dal Cerro was charged with obstructing justice, Scavo's name surfaced in an affidavit in which Dal Cerro was alleged to have urged a restaurant owner to lie to authorities about payments he made for work done by Scavo's business. Dal Cerro also suggested to the owner that he not tell federal officials that Dal Cerro was giving Scavo part of the payment, according to the FBI affidavit, unsealed in June.

Dal Cerro's case is scheduled for a status conference Sept. 22, said Randall Samborn, a spokesman for U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald.

[Will the length of Dal Cerro's sentence reveal to what extent he's being useful to the feds?]

CRIME, did media entrepeneur rape wannabe softcore performer? [MP]

(Photo from LA Times, more photos here)

Joe Francis (depicted on the left), the creator of Girls Gone Wild, was fined $2.1 million for violating federal law protecting minors from being used in pornography. See LA Times (Claire Hoffman).

Hoffman claims to have been attacked by Francis, but the LA Times left her on the case.

Back to the LA Times story.

[In Melrose Park, Ill., after a nightclub event sponsored by "Girls Gone Wild"] Jannel Szyszka alleged that on June 1 Francis gave her alcohol and brought her onboard a bus to be filmed — with her consent. She alleged that Francis then forced himself on her even though, she said, that she him to stop. Francis denied any wrongdoing, but said through a representative that he had had consensual sex with Szyszka.

In August, Szyszka reported the incident to the police. Lt. Michael Castellan, head of investigations for the Melrose Park Police Department, said the investigation was ongoing.

Anybody know what's up with the investigation?

KLEPT, applying Taddeo precedent to George Ryan

State Journal-Register (Doug Finke):
August Taddeo was convicted of federal extortion and tax charges related to his tenure as mayor of Melrose Park. He worked concurrently as a local township supervisor. Both jobs are covered by the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

Taddeo argued that he should be allowed to keep the IMRF pension benefits earned as a township supervisor because the job was separate from mayor of Melrose Park. The Supreme Court agreed that Taddeo's misconduct was not related to his township job and, thus, he could keep that pension.

Taddeo's situation came up because Lisa Madigan has determined that George Ryan's service in both the legislature and the executive branch were both working for the State of Illinois. So his conviction for misconduct as Secretary of State cancels his pension for both his time in the legislature and his time as a constitutional officer.

POL, Northlake student appointed to state board [NL]

Governor Rod Blagojevich press release:
Governor Blagojevich and State Supt. Randy Dunn name fifteen outstanding students to State Board’s Student Advisory Council
Illinois students offer front-line view of education policies and programs

SPRINGFIELD – As more than 2.1 million students statewide get back into the swing of things for the 2006-07 school year, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and State Superintendent Randy Dunn today announced that 15 outstanding sophomores, juniors and seniors from across Illinois have been selected to represent their peers on the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) Student Advisory Council.

“These students were selected because of their service to their schools and communities, and because of their interest in Illinois education,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “They have the unique opportunity to provide input to the State Board of Education and shape programs and policies based on their perspectives. It’s an important responsibility and one that I think these young leaders are ready for.”

And here's the part about Nicholas J. Diaz, junior, West Leyden High School:
Nick Diaz, son of Jose and Rita Diaz of Northlake, is a student at West Leyden High School. Nick is involved in many activities at school including the Principal’s Advisory Board, Math Team, Model United Nations, the Honors Plus Program, the Class of 2008 Advisory Board, and the Barbecue Club. Music is Nick’s passion, and he participated in Marching Band and is a member of the cello section of Chicago’s Protégé Philharmonic. Nick hopes to attend a prestigious music school or university and pursue a career in music and business.

My take on Blagojevich is that he's mostly indifferent to public policy issues, but he's got a keen sense of how to get positive media coverage. His sense doesn't seem to extend to avoiding negative media coverage.

Congrats to Nick Diaz. I hope he gets something from the experience. But I'm skeptical whether this advisory council exists for any purpose other than to make Blagojevich look like he cares about education.

And a politician looking like he cares about education is different from him actually caring about education. And caring about education is one step removed from doing something about education. And a governor can do something about education without doing anything constructive about education.

Don't forget that in addition to being able to vote for Rod Blagojevich and Judy Baar Topinka there will be another candidate for governor: Rich Whitney (Green Party).

N07, Stroger camp cries "racism"

Todd Stroger's surrogates complained of the images on VoteStroger.com. See Sun-Times (Steve Patterson).

You make the call. Are the images unethical for political campaigns?

BTW, I have it on reasonably good authority VoteStroger.com is run by a Democrat with close ties to the mainstream Dem Party. In fact her ties are close enough that she feels she has to remain anonymous.

To what extent does Stroger's campaign strategy rely on Stroger getting Black votes merely because he's Black? Wasn't it fairly common during the primary for Westside Black pols to make the case to support John Stroger by saying that it was important to keep the office Black?

[UPDATE: Chicagoist (Scott Smith) compares Peraica's picture with another TV character.]

EVENTS, food, music, politics, education


7:00 PM Proviso Math and Science Academy back-to-school parent meeting.


7:00 PM Congressman Danny K. Davis State of the District Townhall Meeting at Malcolm X College.


Brookfield Chamber of Commerce picnic.

8:00 AM Congressman Danny K. Davis State of the District Townhall Meeting at Malcolm X College.

1:00 PM Proviso Democrats picnic at Maywood Park (not the racetrack).

1:30 PM Forest Park community center amateur "Rib Off" at the Grove at Altenheim. See Forest Park First.

2:00 PM "Viewpoints From the Other Side" on WJJG, 1530 AM.


1:00 PM Jazz in the Park, Kiwanis Park, Brookfield. See Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Uphues).

2:00 PM Westside Greens meet at at Park National Bank (North & Austin). See Nathan for the 8th!

[UPDATE: 4:00 PM Congressman Danny K. Davis 65th birthday party at Homan Square, outside the building]

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

GOV, dubious call on early retirements [FP]

Forest Park Review (Josh Adams) covered the zoning aspects of Monday's meeting.

I've got some opinions on the early retirement issue. Over the objections of Commissioners Patrick Doolin and Terri Steinbach the Calderone-Gilliam-Hosty block voted to offer an early retirement plan.

Steinbach and Doolin expressed skepticism that the village could allow employees to retire without replacing them. And if any of the early retirees are replaced the village loses money. Nominally the point of the early retirement plan is to save the village money.

Here's some possibilities why the majority wanted to allow early retirements.

1. It's a sweetheart deal for some village employee(s).
2. It's a way of creating positions that will need to be filled after the spring election.
3. The village has senior employees who aren't pulling their weight, but the supervisors (remember, in the commissioner form of government the commissioners and the mayor are the department heads) don't have the fortitude to fire them.
4. The majority likes to stick it to the minority just because.

If the village replaces any of the employees in question Calderone, Gilliam and Hosty voted to raise taxes on Monday night. I'd like to know why.

I sure hope it's not because Village Administrator Mike Sturino and the elected officials lack the resolve to kick old-timer slackers in the ass. If someone isn't pulling his/her weight, you write a memo explaining the deficiency and the expectations. If the employee resists doing his/her job then you initiate the procedure to terminate him/her.

I found Gilliam argument particularly troubling. Gilliam suggested the village should "try" to maintain services with fewer employees.

This is stupid. If Gilliam, Hosty and Calderone believe the village can deliver the same services with fewer employees then they should furlough the extra employees and see what happens.

Of course, furloughing employees probably isn't as good a way to motivate campaign workers for next spring's elections as having some unfilled positions at the village.

MEDIA, what article is important to you?

Proviso Township has a number of weekly newspapers that arrive on Wednesday. What articles struck you as important? Why?

* Forest Park Review
* Maywood Herald
* Melrose Park Herald
* Riverside/Brookfield Landmark
* Suburban Life
* West Proviso Herald
* West Suburban Journal (arrives Thursday)
* Westchester Herald

Also, this last weekend the Forest Park Post arrived. It's not available online, but did anything in the Post catch your attention?

N06, where do Proviso candidates stand on election law?

h/t Capitol Fax Blog

Illinois Campaign for Political Reform surveyed legislative candidates on campaign law issues.

Some of the candidates responded; some did not.

Proviso non-responders
* Senator Kimberly Lightford (Dem-4th)
* Antoinette Ruback (GOP-4th Senate)
* Senator Dan Cronin (GOP-21st)
* Jim Rowe (GOP-39th Senate)
* LaShawn Ford (Dem-8th Legislative)
* Bob Biggins (GOP-21st Leg)
* Deborah Graham (Dem-78th Leg)

Proviso responders
* Senator Don Harmon (Dem-39th)
* Rep. Karen Yarbrough (Dem-7th Leg)
* Nathan Paul Helsabeck (Green-8th Leg)
* Rep. Robert Molaro (Dem-21st Leg)
* Charles Johnson (GOP-21st Leg)

Here are the issues covered on the questionnaire.

1. Contributions by unions and corporations
2. Contribution limits
3. Transfers between political committees
4. Kickbacks from state contractors
5. Contributions by heavily regulated, e.g. utilities and casinos
6. Public funding for Illinois Supreme Court candidates
7. Transparency in investigations
8. Increased frequency of disclosure
9. Increase audits and enforcement
10. Extend lobbying laws to retirement fund boards
11. Politically neutral legislative districts

Which of these issues do you feel strongly about?

If you are disatisfied with the non-responders, please contact them. If democracy is going to work, candidates should make their positions clear before elections. Otherwise it devolves into a popularity contest.

F07, Dr. Jackson announces candidacy for mayor [FP]

Excerpts from Dr. Negale T. Jackson's letter in the Forest Park Review:
I have been alarmed at the proclivity of the present administration that is functioning under both overt and covert institutional public policies of resistance to be inclusive, equitable and fair to all Forest Park residents in the make up of this administration....

In fact, as mayor of Forest Park my administration will be one that advocates and practices values of fairness, an all-inclusive administration, equity for people who have been left out, establishing a policy framework that emphasizes the role of neighborhoods and their organization (establish legal architect to halt all rezoning and misplacement of homeowners), sensibility to racial tension, focus on working on developing community outreach programs to curtail gangs and the perpetuation of crime, the Roos building will be Forest Park Community High School which is critically needed, develop an expansive library facility and community center to address the increase in Forest Parkers through grant writing, legislative bills and writing grant proposals for philanthropists to alleviate the taxpayers burden on the village of Forest Park for the 21st century.

In addition, my administration will establish a legal advisory board that directly monitors the administrative law judge hearing held monthly at the village of Forest Park City Hall in order to ensure every citizen constitutional rights under the equal protection clause has been affronted.

ETHNICITY, Maywood manager in N-word controversy [M]

Maywood Herald (David Pollard) describes the origin of the controversy over Maywood Village Manager Robert Nelis using the word "N-word".
At an Aug. 30 Maywood staff meeting about the upcoming Maywood Fest, held the weekend of Sept. 1, Maywood Village Manager Robert Nelis, who is white, confirmed he used the word to quote a performer, as well as recorded music using the word at Aztec Fest the weekend of Aug. 25. "I was quoting what a musician said, and I said this is wrong and I asked the staff: What can we do to stop this?" he said. "We shouldn't allow this. How can we stop this in the future?"

He said he did not want this kind of language during music performances at Maywood Fest or any other family event. He said there were some references to sex and violence during performances at Maywood Fest, which were quickly stopped. But Gloria Clay, a former village trustee, said she wondered why Nelis felt it necessary to use the word.

I'm not sure I understand the situation.

Nelis used the word to object to using the word and now he's being attacked for using the word.

Is this an accurate summary?

What are Nelis' critics hoping to achieve? Do they agree with Nelis that the word shouldn't have been used by the musician?

[UPDATE: Chicago Tribune (Joseph Ruzich) has an article title, "Mayor orders sensitivity class". What does Nelis need to learn from this incident?]

PO-PO, Hines switches fire protection from Broadview to Forest Park [BV, FP]

Broadview has been in a budget crunch for awhile. The “hail Mary” play—home rule—was defeated by the voters.

So Broadview cut staff, including the fire department.

Hines VA Hospital paid Broadview $190,000 per year for fire protection. See Maywood Herald (David Pollard).

Broadview cut the number of firefighters serving Hines from eight to four and gave assurances mutual aid with other local communities would protect Hines in an emergency.

Hines rejected this back-up plan and obtained the services from Forest Park.

Geographically, Maywood would seem to be the logical choice. I wonder how Hines decided on using the Forest Park Fire Department.

CRIME, Berwyn band teacher convicted of sexually abusing students [NR]

Robert Sperlik Jr. of North Riverside was sentenced to 20 years in exchange for pleading guilty to sexually abusing students in the Berwyen elementary schools (District 100). Sperlik taught band. See Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Uphues).

Sperlik also had a collection of bondage video porn.

A former principal was charged, but acquitted of failing to report misconduct by Sperlik.

The former principal and other District 100 officials have been named in a civil lawsuit.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

BUSINESS, Daley vetoes Big Box

See Sun-Times (Fran Spielman).
Wal-Marts a hit in suburbs

Leaders in Chicago's suburbs say Wal-Mart and the sales and property tax revenues its stores generate have helped pay for vital projects and invigorate once-moribund shopping centers....

And west suburban Forest Park has leveraged its Wal-Mart store to improve its aging infrastructure.

The village has rebuilt and resurfaced streets and alleys and made water improvements.


KLEPT, Obama on verge of major anti-corruption accomplishment

Senator Barack Obama introduced a bill (along with Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK)) to increase transparency of federal spending. From Obama's press release (April 7, 2006):
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) today announced the introduction of legislation that would publicly disclose all recipients of federal funding and financial assistance. The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 2590) will allow taxpayers to see how their money is being spent, the Senators said.

The federal government awards roughly $300 billion in grants annually to 30,000 different organizations across the United States, according to the General Services Administration. This bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to establish and maintain a single public Web site that lists all entities receiving federal funds, including the name of each entity, the amount of federal funds the entity has received annually by program, and the location of the entity. All federal assistance must be posted within 30 days of such funding being awarded to an organization.

The legislation has passed the Senate (see TPMmuckraker (Justin Rood)) and will be voted in the House tomorrow. See TPMmuckraker (Paul Kiel).

When Obama gave his corruption speech in Kenya, I had a criticism. Toward the end of the speech Obama spoke about how his father risked and ultimately lost his cushy government job for criticizing Kenya's corrupt president.

The speech clearly called for ordinary Kenyans to take personal risks and stand against corruption.

The obvious question was, what is Barack Obama willing to risk to resist corruption in the United States?

To achieve change one needs an insider game and an outsider game. In Kenya Obama can play the outsider. In Chicago, Illinois and the United States Obama has to play the insider at this point in his life.

Passing the Obama-Coburn bill is impressive for a freshman Senator in the minority party, but it's also important. In the Nyberg Corruption Postulate I wrote:
To reduce corruption one can either increase transparency or decrease conflict-of-interest.

So Obama-Coburn attacks the root issue of corruption.

[UPDATE: The legislation passed the House. Next step: President Bush. See TPMmuckraker (Paul Kiel).]

Monday, September 11, 2006

GOV, zoning concerns in Forest Park [FP]

Email from CUinFP:
There is an active group of citizens from the 400-500 blocks of Elgin concerned about zoning and the development of 8 townhomes to replace 2 single family homes on the 500 block of Elgin. These issues are on the Village Council Agenda for this evening (9/11/06).

The citizens of this group have planned some informational picketing this evening (6:15 pm), at Village Hall, before the Council meeting. If you are concerned about these issues and would like to join them, please do so.

While CUinFP does not take positions on such issues, our mission is to disseminate information to citizens as it comes to us.

POL, Billmon reflects on 9/11

Billmon reviews the state of the country on 9/11.
The old feedback mechanisms are broken or in deep disrepair, leaving America with an opposition party that doesn't know how (or what) to oppose, a military run by uniformed yes men, intelligence czars who couldn't find their way through a garden gate with a GPS locator, TV networks that don't even pretend to cover the news unless there's a missing white woman or a suspected child rapist involved, and talk radio hosts who think nuking Mecca is the solution to all our problems in the Middle East. We've got think tanks that can't think, security agencies that can't secure and accounting firms that can't count (except when their clients ask them to make 2+2=5). Our churches are either annexes to shopping malls, halfway homes for pederasts, or GOP precinct headquarters in disguise. Our economy is based on asset bubbles, defense contracts and an open-ended line of credit from the People's Bank of China, and we still can't push the poverty rate down or the median wage up.

I could happily go on, but I imagine you get my point. It's hard to think of a major American institution, tradition or cultural value that has not, at some point over the past five years, been shown to be a.) totally out of touch, b.) criminally negligent, c.) hopelessly corrupt, d.) insanely hypocritical or e.) all of the above.