.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Proviso Probe

Thursday, November 30, 2006

MEDIA, Yarbrough alleges newspaper published manufactured quote [M]

West Suburban Journal published a letter to the editor by Proviso Insider. The letter alleges Rep. Karen Yarbrough received a "lukewarm" reception at Rock of Ages Baptist Church in Maywood.
When Rep. Yarbrough stepped to the podium, she shouted, "I am not the enemy." Insider sources say one person shouted, "No. You're a Greek bearing gifts."

I've been told by Yarbrough and one other source that Proviso Insider is mistaken or lying. I spoke to Nicole Trottie, the publisher, and she stands by the story.

While I've had at least cordial relations with Trottie, I'm more inclined to believe Yarbrough and people I know than Proviso Insider and unnamed sources.

At this point Proviso Insider has a track record of lying. Earlier Proviso Insider, aka Proviso Bullshitter, claimed I was about to be receive a subpoena as part of an investigation of Charles Flowers and Theresa Kelly by the Cook County State's Attorney.

If the claims by Proviso Insider are just plain untrue--no gray areas about sorta kinda being close to what was said--should Yarbrough sue West Suburban Journal and Proviso Insider for defamation?

BLOG, how do ideas spread from blog to blog?

Acephalous is conducting an experiment about how ideas spread from blog to blog.

See Measuring The Speed of Meme: An Experiment in which You Will Participate, Or Else....

If you keep a blog you are requested to participate by posting a link to the entry.

ADMIN, I haven't posted in ten days

I apologize for not writing more lately.

This morning a Proviso Probe reader relayed to me a couple of the speculations about why I have been posting less. While the speculation was interesting none of it was true.

I have been taking a time out. The false and malicious claims made by Proviso Insider did get under my skin somewhat. I had a good time over Thanksgiving and my stress level came down as I spent less time considering local issues.

And while my stress level came down, the issues didn’t go away.
Proviso Township High Schools are still 90th of 90 in academic performance. Melrose Park is still run with strong arm tactics. The Forest Park Police Department still thinks Taser “stun guns” are the neatest thing since the cat-o-nine-tails. Presumably Broadview is still a financial wreck. And there are plenty of people who are going to be convicted for corruption—based on known information—who are determining how money collected from taxpayers is to be spent.

So, I guess it’s time to start blogging again.

By the way, I am beginning to create a plan for a Cook County blog. There will be a niche for covering Cook County government and issues in the next couple years.

I hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving and the warm whether, including our neighbors being investigated for corruption. Remember, it’s never too late to repent.

Monday, November 20, 2006

GOV, tonight's board meeting [D209]

Proviso Township High Schools has a board meeting tonight. See agenda (pdf).

Of course the details are in the tabs and District 209 isn't posting those online.

GOV, tonight's board meeting [D209]

Proviso Township High Schools has a board meeting tonight. See agenda (pdf).

Of course the details are in the tabs and District 209 isn't posting those online.

KLEPT, Todd Stroger gives Gerald Nichols his old job back

According to at least one poll more voters thought Ald. Todd Stroger would reform Cook County government than Commissioner Tony Peraica, his Republican opponent.

After hemming for a few days Stroger disavowed Gerald Nichols during the campaign. Nichols was the $114,000 per year patronage boss for former President of the County Board John Stroger.

Apparently, Todd Stroger has decided to give Nichols his old job back now that the election is over. I'm shocked! It's gonna be in the Sun-Times.

BTW, did you catch that Burt Odelson, District 209 attorney and attorney for the Stroger campaign, claimed Todd Stroger is a reformer. See Capitol Fax Blog for a discussion or Daily Southtown (Phil Kadner).

Does anybody else get the impression that Todd Stroger and his people don't really care about the truth? They say and do whatever so that they can hold power.

IMPEACHMENT, should Yarbrough write Conyers to push for impeachment?

I wrote a letter to Rep. Karen Yarbrough requesting Illinois legislatures write Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), soon-to-be Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, urging him to investigate misconduct by the Bush administration. See AfterDowningStreet.org (Daniel Fearn).

Thursday, November 16, 2006

KLEPT, Andy Martin calls for investigation of Sen. Obama

Andy Martin is a Republican lawyer who investigates elected officials for corruption. He was an early critic of President Bush. He's now making allegations against Sen. Barack Obama.

The following is an excerpt from Martin's letter to Edward Nucci, Acting Chief, Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division, U. S. Department of Justice.
Corruption, of course, involves two different approaches: (i) extorting/taking money from people, and (ii) paying money or giving tangible benefits to public officials to obtain access or influence. Sometimes people buy influence for an immediate project or need, and sometimes they just buy influence to bank it or to project the aura of access and influence in their business dealings. My complaint against Senator Obama falls into the second category.

Before being elected to the U. S. Senate, Mr. Obama served in the Illinois state senate. The Illinois senate has been a cesspool of corruption for decades. Back in the 1960’s they censured a member, Senator Paul Simon (then serving as a state senator), for being too honest and exposing senate corruption. Matters have not changed much.

Mr. Obama was well aware of the culture and climate of corruption when he began his business dealings with Mr. Rezko.

Reduced to its essentials, Obama and Rezko engaged in a structured real estate transaction where they coordinated the purchases of adjacent parcels of real estate. Rezko claims he paid “full market price” and Obama apparently received a “discount” of several hundred thousand dollars for his parcel. Rezko then improved his parcel to benefit Obama.

Obama recently said these related and structured transactions were a “mistake.” With all due respect I believe they were a federal crime and constituted a conspiracy.

I believe a grand jury could find a pattern of criminal activity. Instead of handing cash to Obama, Rezko handed Obama a preferential price for property. This is the same form of “honest graft” and preferential treatment that sent former Illinois Governor Otto Kerner to jail over 30 years ago, see United States v. Isaacs, 493 F.2d 1124 (7th Cir. 1974).

Taken in isolation, the Obama episode might be explainable, but I doubt it. Why would Rezko be buying land next to Obama and coordinating his actions with Obama if not to confer a benefit on Obama? Why?

What do you think? Did Obama do anything unethical? Illegal?

N06, GOP low blow against Don Harmon [39th SEN]

Sen. Don Harmon represents a swath of northern Proviso Township, Melrose Park and Stone Park. He was challenged by a Republican Jim Rowe who made a number of over-the-top allegations against Harmon.

Rowe's late-in-the-campaign attack was a flyer targeting seniors. See Wednesday Journal.

"Dear resident, you may have to move out of your home before Christmas," the letter begins. Then, in bold type, it says, "Senator Don Harmon is trying to kick you out of your senior retirement home so that developers can turn it into condos for the rich."

Harmon, the flier claims, has received "thousands of dollars in kickbacks from developers."

"If Senator Don Harmon has his way, you could be homeless by Christmas," it reads in underlined type.

The GOP sure knows how to find the classy candidates.

POL, Karen Yarbrough fundraiser tomorrow

Pre-Holiday Fashion Show & Fundraiser
Friday, November 17, 2006, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
$25 Donation per Person
Spiritual Growth & Development Center
Rock Cafe
14th & Madison Street Maywood, IL
For more information, please call 708 344-7062

Monday, November 13, 2006

CRIME, stabbing at teen party [FP]

Negale T. Jackson previously announced his candidacy for mayor of Forest Park.

Forest Park Review (Josh Adams) has the following headline: "Mayoral candidate linked to stabbing; Police witness says Negale Jackson’s underage drinking party turned violent".

There was a social gathering held in the garden apartment of a building on Marengo. The building is owned by Michael Perry. The first floor apartment is leased to someone who isn't Jackson, but is friends with him. The garden apartment is not up to code so it is officially not leased, but the landlord is aware that it is being used.
According to the police report, the stabbing victim was working security at the door of the party, for which a $2 admission was charged. The alleged offender was denied entry and pulled out the knife when he was told to leave, according to the department report.

The victim was treated at Loyola Hospital for a broken facial bone in addition to a puncture wound to the left nostril, according to police. Surgery was scheduled for later that afternoon to treat the victim's injuries, police said.

ART, Iraq War art at National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum

On Veterans Day I attended the opening of Aaron Hughes' exhibition at the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum (scroll down to "Shifting Memories").
Reconstructing an identity amidst the dust of false understandings, deceiving narratives, and "Iraq".

Aaron Hughes shares a series of projects that bring to the forefront the over-complex personal realities of the War in Iraq. The projects convey a series of metaphors, critiques, and ambiguous narratives in order to deconstruct the nostalgic war epic that informs much of how mass media interprets war. Veering away from ideologies, these projects point instead to the complexity of daily experiences, practices, and tactics. This shift suggests that personal expressions and independent alternative communications can deconstruct the social, cultural, and political walls that foster dehumanization.

On Display:
November 11, 2006 – May 2007
Tues - Fri 11am-6pm
Sat. 10am-5pm

Aaron Hughes is a native of suburban Chicago and went to Iraq in 2006 with the Illinois National Guard.

ART, Aaron Hughes

This is Aaron Hughes in front of pictures from his series Sublime Dust and the End: A selection of photographs along Main Supply Rout (MSR) Tampa between Camp Arifjan, Kuwait and Al Asad Air Base, Iraq.

ART, I remember standing there...

I remember standing there… Dust covered, dust in my teeth, the smell of heat
That Humvee was fucked
Pieces of its body hanging off like burnt cracking flesh
The P.O.C. said three of his guys died when it got hit
I was holding the little Mag-light that belonged to on of them. I thought about keeping that charred Mag-light with holes burnt right through the whole damn thing.
It could be cool to show people show fucking crazy this whole shit was
But I started thinking about the kid you know
Damn flashlight was probably in his pocket
Holes right through him too.
The P.O.C. was getting pissed
Said those were good soldiers in that Humvee and we shouldn’t fuck with the remains.
I guess it was remains in a way.
I guess it seemed like that Humvee was a corpse waiting to get buried.
Damn we would pose in front of the most fucked up shit
I remember standing there thinking this proves I was in the shit
I’m a hero you know
That’s what they told me, you know I’m a fucking hero for standing in front of that clump of death.
Three kids just like me, blown, burnt, smashed, shot bleed to death.
Fuck’m though.
They’re just a part of the whole damn spectacle.
They died heroes you know. I got the photo to prove it
They burnt to death for us you know.
Fuck, I wonder what its like to have a hole burning through your skin.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

VETERANS, Sun-Times publishes letter about homeless veterans issue

This was written by a Maywood resident. See Sun-Times.
On Nov. 11, Americans all over the country will honor the past and present sacrifices of our soldiers on our national Veterans Day. Yet, over half a million of our veterans will be homeless at some point during this year. One out of every three homeless men in our cities and towns has worn the uniform. As more and more soldiers return from Afghanistan and Iraq, this dire situation will only get worse. We must do better.

Hopefully, there will be a time when no American is homeless. There are 37 million Americans who call the State of Poverty home: 14.3 million women, 13 million children, and 3.5 million are homeless. They all need help regardless of the reasons and causes for their poverty. But surely we can all agree that those who have served in the military and defended our nation deserve a place to call home.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has introduced two pieces of legislation in the Senate that combat this crisis. The first is the Sheltering All Veterans Everywhere Act (S.1180), which expands federal homeless veteran programs that serve more than 100,000 homeless veterans annually. The second bill is the Homes for Heroes Act (S. 3475), which would give more homeless veterans access to long-term affordable housing. By allocating $225 million to the Homes for Heroes Act, more veterans would be able to purchase, build or rehabilitate homes and apartments.

But our efforts cannot end with housing. Employment must be addressed as well. Transitional job programs would be extremely useful in this regard. A large percentage of homeless veterans exhibit the sorts of employment-blocking problems that transitional jobs programming successfully addresses. Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana has introduced the Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2006 (S. 3607) that would set aside federal grants for states to create those programs. Our fervent hope is that Congress makes all three of these items a priority.

To truly support our troops, we must not only support them when they are abroad, but also when they come home. After all, we as Americans have a solemn obligation, as Abraham Lincoln put it, ''to care for him who shall have borne the battle.'' We must provide homes and hope for the hundreds of thousands of our veterans who seek shelter and employment every day in America.

John Bouman,

director of advocacy, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Loop

Thursday, November 09, 2006

OPEN, Proviso Township High Schools stuff [D209]

Since some people were posting comments on District 209 stuff, here's an open thread to discuss anything pertaining to District 209.

N06, tax caps, TIFs and burning bridges

Todd Stroger's campaign paid for a mailing that included a letter from Mayor Richard M. Daley. The letter sang the praises of extending the 7% cap on the annual property tax assessment increase.

The letter is fairly unexceptional. Of course, it doesn't discuss how Daley has used TIF districts to generate money for Chicago and subtly raise property taxes across Chicago. See Chicago Reader (Ben Joravsky) TIF archive.
Public school officials say they're dismayed that a $20 million budget deficit is forcing them to lay off teachers and teacher's aides. But they might have an alternative if they'd just stand up to Mayor Daley and demand that he stop siphoning millions of dollars in property taxes away from the public schools every year....

The tax dollars they're referring to are going to TIFs, or Tax Increment Financing districts, which are astoundingly unregulated. TIFs were originally set up to help "poor and blighted" communities that weren't likely to attract much private investment without them. By law the amount of property taxes the city gets from such a district--to spend on schools, parks, libraries, and other services--is frozen at whatever everyone within its boundaries is paying when it's set up. The city then borrows money and spends it on infrastructure that might make the area more attractive, such as sidewalks and streetlights, or lends it to developers to build shopping centers or rehab run-down apartments. Any new property taxes generated by these improvements--the "increment"--goes into a TIF fund, which is used to build more infrastructure or seed more development, generating even more property taxes.

Anyways, back to the Stroger campaign mailer. It includes the following text above the address:
Remember... only one County Board President candidate supports a property tax cap.

Commissioner Tony Peraica did support putting the issue on the ballot for voters. In Illinois referenda are non-binding so they are only as important as the media and voters make them.

However, Peraica filed the paperwork with five other commissioners to put the following question on the ballot.
Shall the State of Illinois extend the recently expired 7% real estate tax assessment cap for Cook County until 2010 in order to prevent excessive property tax increases?

The five other commissioners who supported the special meeting to put the question on the ballot were: Mike Quigley, Gregg Goslin, Jerry Butler, Elizabeth Gorman and Earlean Collins.

The representative who signed for Quigley was his chief of staff Jennifer Koehler. Koehler was the deputy campaign manager for the Stroger campaign. See Sun-Times (Carol Marin).

I suppose if Quigley wants a favor from Peraica in the next year, he should make the ask himself and not delegate it to Koehler.

N06, Serpico & Pasquale palm cards [MP, BW]

Ron Serpico's palm card endorsed the Dem ticket for Illinois' constitutional officers. Serpico's allies got Christine Radogno to back Michael LaPidus over Peraica for Republican Committeeman of Lyons Township. But Serpico backed Alexi Giannoulias over Radogno for state treasurer.

Serpico backed Rahm Emanuel for Congress and Don Harmon, but not Deborah Graham for the state legislature.

Serpico backed the full Dem ticket for county government, including Gomolinski.

The one Republican Serpico supported was Robert Ingraffia for Regional Superintendent of Schools.

Serpico also made a point of backing the following judges: Joseph J. Urso, Thomas R. Chiola, Thomas Paul Panichi, Lawrence "Larry" Terrell, Paul A. Karkula, Anthony A. Iosco and Thomas David Roti.

Frank Pasquale's palm card was a little different.

He endorsed Blagojevich and Jesse White, but not Lisa Madigan or Dan Hynes. Pasquale preferred Radogno, the Republican, over Giannoulias.

Pasquale supported re-election of both Lightford and Yarbrough.

He listed Stroger and Dart, but skipped the other countywide races, probably because they were functionally uncontested. Pasquale did endorse Earlean Collins.

Pasquale only listed two judges: Joseph Urso and Lawrence "Larry" Terrell.

Pasquale didn't make an endorsement in the Regional Superintendent of Schools race.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

N06, election results

Peraica leads Gomolinski 32,029-31,024 with 281 of 302 precincts reporting
Village of Forest Park library referenda leading 53.5-46.5 with 75% of precincts reporting
Maywood Park District Annexation leads 77.3-22.7 with 87% of precincts reporting
Maywood Village Annex leads 76.7-23.3 with 92% of precincts reporting

All Broadview tax referenda failed by wide margins.

Broadview Increase Limiting Rate failed 73.3-26.7
Broadview Increase Municipal Occupation Tax failed 64.8-35.2
Broadview Impose Municipal Use Tax failed 66.1-33.9

Eighth Legislative District (94 of 106 precincts reporting)

LaShawn Ford (Dem) 18,114
Glenn Harris (deceased, Republican) 2,579
Nathan Helsabeck (Green) 1,029

I helped Tammy Duckworth (Dem) run for Congress to succeed Rep. Henry Hyde. One observation that a friend thought was noteworthy was that Senators Dick Durbin and Barack Obama were happy to be up on the stage with Tammy when they were rallying the troops and appearing on TV on Monday. But on Tuesday when she was conceeding, it was just Tammy Duckworth and her husband on the stage.

What did you think of the elections?

[UPDATE1: Charles Flowers leads Bob Ingraffia 61.9-38.1 with 90.7% of the precincts reporting.]

[UPDATE2: The referenda question, "Shall the United States Government immediately begin an orderly and rapid withdrawal of all its military personnel from Iraq, beginning with the National Guard and Reserves?" is leading in suburban Cook County 65.8-34.2.]

[UPDATE3: The Forest Park library referendum has increased its lead to 53.7-46.3 with 83% of precincts reporting.]

Sunday, November 05, 2006

PO-PO, driving while Black in Forest Park [FP]

Thursday I watched a Forest Park police officer arrest Clarence Davis, a Black motorists at approximately 12:45 PM. The arrest happened on Randolph ½ block east of Des Plaines, 50 feet from Davis’ destination, the bridal gown consignment shop. He was going there to pick-up a print order.

At the time a police officer told me that Davis was initially stopped for a bad brake light. The incident report says Davis was initially stopped for not wearing a seatbelt. Davis was arrested because his both the vehicle’s license and his driver’s license were suspended. The vehicle belonged to Davis’ employer; Davis says he was unaware of the vehicle’s registration being suspended.

During the arrest the officer used a taser on Davis multiple times. While pressed against his car Davis told me that the officer had made Davis "shit" himself. Davis requested I tell the owner of the consignment shop he was being arrested.

The Forest Park Police Department held Davis until approximately 5 PM. He was not allowed to wash himself and sat in his own feces for hours. His pants and shoes were removed and he was given paper pants to wear.

When Davis was released he did not receive his pants or shoes back. He had to walk barefoot across Forest Park to get assistance. When Davis asked to file a complaint the officer refused to explain the complaint procedure to Davis.

The officers who wrote the incident report fabricated at least part the report. They claim that Davis deliberately defecated to make managing him more difficult.

Based on the police providing two different reasons for initially stopping Davis—both rather flimsy reasons to stop a vehicle anyway—I suspect the incident is a textbook case of racial profiling.

The fact that a simple traffic arrest escalated into a violent situation reflects poorly on the training of the officer involved.

Forcing an offender to sit for hours in his own feces is simply a human rights violation. Davis wasn’t intoxicated and seemed pretty calm for a guy who was getting shocked with a taser. Destroying his clothing and forcing him to walk barefoot is reprehensible.