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Proviso Probe

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Trottie column on Yarbrough and Nyberg

L. Nicole Trottie (West Suburban Journal) has a column taking Karen Yarbrough to task for accepting campaign contributions by Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, the Village of Maywood's law firm. Karen's husband Henderson Yarbrough is village president.

Maybe I should have explicitly praised West Suburban Journal for the news story, but I rarely praise other newspapers for doing their jobs. If I praised West Suburban Journal it would probably be in the context of pointing out how boring and useless most of the paper's journalism is. Or outright defamatory.

West Suburban Journal has migrated editorial perspectives from being allied with Bellwood Village President Frank Pasquale and District 209 board president Emanuel "Chris" Welch to being allied with Karen Yarbrough (and critical of Pasquale and Welch) to being aligned with Welch again.

But I may be oversimplifying. Trottie felt double-crossed by Pasquale on some advertising revenue. Trottie later accused Pasquale of cutting off the advertising money when she refused to have sex with Pasquale. And Trottie had been dating Welch, but turned against him with a vengeance.

So, Trottie was not so much a Yarbrough fan--she felt Yarbrough or Yarbrough's staff--leased some office space out from under Trottie, space Trottie wanted for the office of West Suburban Journal. This predated Trottie becoming anti-Pasquale and anti-Welch.

Later Trottie's relationship with Karen Yarbrough went sour. According to a comment posted to Proviso Probe by someone using Trottie's name, Yarbrough's father, Don Williams, failed to complete an advertising contract because he disagreed with some editorial decision made by Trottie.

So, Trottie ended-up in the anti-Yarbrough camp and the newspaper eventually settled on covering Maywood.

This is a decent situation from the point of view the media is supposed to be skeptical of the government. And the Yarbrough political camp dominates village politics.

However, Trottie seems to believe the enemey of her enemy is her friend. And perhaps she's pressured into this thinking because she has to chase after advertising revenue.

By focusing on political factions instead of principles, Trottie's column is weaker than it would be otherwise. It also contains statements that seem debatable. And the sniping at me (Carl Nyberg) is irrelevant to her larger point.

One good point made by the column is that Karen Yarbrough didn't respond to West Suburban Journal's request for comment. I share West Suburban Journal's frustration at elected officials not returning phone calls and emails because they don't want to deal with the issue at hand.

Trottie wrote:
A taxing body that accepts contributions from a no-bid vendor is a very big issue. In fact, it’s a federal hot topic.

I wish this was true, but it's not. Law firms are hired through no-bid processes because they fall under the exception for professional services. Law firms giving money to the politicians that hire them does not automatically trigger a federal investigation. If Trottie had a broader perspective on local issues, she'd know that Odelson & Sterk contributed to Welch's campaigns and Giglio & Del Galdo contributed to campaigns of Melrose Park village president Ron Serpico. Welch and Serpico are under federal investigation, but the investigation wasn't triggered by contributions by law firms they hired.
The interrelationship between the village counsel and Yarbrough’s political parties imply that something of value is given in return for something of value.

This statement goes too far. This statement would appear to damn all campaign contributions. And defenders of the status quo on campaign contributions would probably respond to Trottie by saying that it often appears there is a quid pro quo relationship between her editorial perspective and her advertising revenue.

If a politically-connected law firm, let’s say, Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, is hired by the Village of Maywood to defend the wolf’s actions in “Little Red Riding Hood,” it would not focus on the wolf’s unbridled desire to consume Little Red Ridding Hood; instead, it would argue that said wolf, disguised in drag as Grandma, should be offered protection under the state’s anti-discrimination laws. The attempted consumption of Little Red is of little worth.

Can someone explain this analogy to me. If a law firm is hired to defend the wolf then the law firm should defend the wolf to the best of its ability, right?

[The Yarbroughs] should give the money back and amend the Village Code ethics portion to prevent such messy contributions from happening in the future.

On this point Trottie and I agree.

Finally, I will defend my honor. Trottie called me the president of the Karen Yarbrough fan club. I like Karen, but she's not the only person I like locally. In 2007 I've spent far more time on the phone with Arnie Bryant, Charles Flowers, Theresa Kelly and probably Mike Manzo than I have with Yarbrough.

You don't especially have to take my word, look up what I've written on Karen Yarbrough on Proviso Probe. Since January 1, 2007 I have written 20 entries that mention Karen Yarbrough out of over 375 entries. Of those 20 entries a number have been less than complimentary.

* Yarbrough political committees hit up village's legal counsel
* A07, election analysis

Most of the entries are neutral, in many Yarbrough just gets mentioned and is not a central character in the entry.

I disagree with Trottie labeling me the "president of the Karen Yarbrough fan club". It's not accurate. And mentioning me is superfluous to the point of her column.

[UPDATE: The Proviso Insider responded to this post under the title, "Carl Nyberg Admits Relationship With Anti-Welch-Serpico-Moore Group!!!". How should I respond? My Naval Academy roommate would have used sarcasm.
"Insider, you're right. There is a group dedicated to ruining Welch, Serpico and Moore. It has weekly meetings. Not only are Nyberg and the others there, but Patrick Fitzgerald and the FBI attend the meetings too."

I could point at that it's hardly a revelation that I talk to most of these people. How often am I on Bryant's radio show? Who attends board D209 board meetings and hasn't seen me talking with Kelly or Flowers? What's sinister about me talking to the political opponents of Moore, Welch and Serpico anyway?

[If you care about the details of my relationship with any public figures, feel free to ask in the comments.]

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11 Comments:

  • Carl, I'm wondering where you come up with your conclusions? Are they fact based? I mean, did you actually interview Nicole or is this of your opinion.

    I think that the journal paper is doing a darn good job considering it publishes in an economically deprived community.

    Carl, correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't you excited, even posting on your blog, 'I'm now writing a weekly column for west suburban journal'?

    I think the Journal is fair and balanced. Each week I find coverage, investigate and human interest, on d209, the village, d89.

    I know Nicole, she doesn't have an issue or vendetta with Karen Yarbrough nor Don Williams.

    Your up to your tricks again, Carl. Still haven't taken the advice of Dan Haley. I guess it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

    By Anonymous fyi, at 2:49 PM, August 05, 2007  

  • BTW I think the mention of Carl as president of Yarbrough fan club is quite witty and entertaining.

    By Anonymous fyi, at 2:51 PM, August 05, 2007  

  • "Can someone explain this analogy to me. If a law firm is hired to defend the wolf then the law firm should defend the wolf to the best of its ability, right?"

    Are you really that dumb?

    By Anonymous duh, at 5:47 PM, August 05, 2007  

  • Nyberg is the perfect example of the steady drip of biased reporting.

    Nyberg wants all the status and credentials of a reputable reporter, yet he doesn't want the accountability, responsibility or to play by the same rules.

    Luckily, Nyberg is not smart enough to conceal that his sources are all Yarbrough conspirators -- At least now you can see right through him for the transparent political hack posing for a journalist.

    By Anonymous checks and balances, at 6:05 PM, August 05, 2007  

  • I posted this on the other site. I don't live in your area, and although I doubt you will believe me, I have no connection whatsoever to any of the bloggers or political players you write about. As a political junkie, however, I've visited this site and the Nyberg site on many occasions. Just my opinion, but this site seems to be the more biased of the two. Nyberg 's site also seems to be less venemous.

    In any event, I see an intense disdain for each other going back and forth, and I think you are wasting your time trying to convince anybody of the merits of your respective positions, as I would think and hope that people see through the propaganda of "my side is always right and their side is always wrong".

    Again, just my opinion. I have personally been involved in political hate-matches, and it's a dirty filthy business that I was glad to get away from.

    By Blogger Cook County Cretin, at 6:51 PM, August 06, 2007  

  • When you really look at this post, is paints a sad commentary of Proviso leaders. And explains alot about the culture of the day.

    Carl, I hope you are not blaming the victim, in this case Ms. Trottie, for the inappropriate and unethical conduct of Pasquali, Yarbrough and Williams.

    That would certainly be a discredit to your 'advocacy' claim.

    That is your claim isn't it?

    By Anonymous mrs r, at 8:17 PM, August 06, 2007  

  • Carl,
    Do we have to have a bridge collapse in order to express our disgust with the lack of leadership in this state? Between the CREATE project sitting idle, and the CTA crawling through its many slow zones, isn't it obvious that this states,county,state rep. and state senator,along with the township, and local municipalities and government is failing the citizens it is suppose to serve? Is anyone looking out for the long term financial interest in this state?

    I like Democrats, but you lose me as soon as you express any level of respect for Blago,Yarbrough,Lightford,Danny Davis or Stroger, or a long list of public servants(Kelly,Flowers,Welch,Manzo,Serpico,Ryan,Corrigan,Pasqaulle,Martinez and Mazzulla who do not merit any respect what so ever. How many people have to loose their homes before you and the rest of the legislators start insisting on sounder fiscal policy? And you can start with clarifying exactly what a ‘blighted’ area is to avoid every local government in the state of Illinois from abusing the TIF laws as has been done in Chicago. It defies the common sense of every citizen in Chicago to have LaSalle Street, our financial capitol in the Midwest, to even be considered blighted.

    I am so sick of the PR campaign driven BS that substitutes for public policy throughout this state. Pensions under funded, hundreds of millions of dollar short falls in local governmental budgets designed only to hide the fiscal crises we are in during election years. This state has a "Veteran's Health Care Coverage Plan" that less than 60 Veterans have signed up for, and now this Gov wants to pass another one over on the citizens of IL to satisfy his moral obligation, (he should have thought about ‘morals’ before he gave legitimacy to that Butcher in Belgrade with his PR stunt during the Clinton administration). And when Yarbrough got elected as Democratic Committeewoman, I hoped that the incompetent Todd Stroger would not have been endorsed.

    The regular Democratic party of Cook County is loosing me if they can not insist on better than these utterly disrespectful so called leaders.

    By Anonymous Dissatisfied Democrat, at 8:42 PM, August 06, 2007  

  • Carl, I forgot one more thing,
    In each area the problem boils down to the satisfaction of the existing employees and management as opposed to users of the system. The political structure (and I don't exclude Republicans) has leaned that the temporary satisfaction of the needs of their constituencies is the way to re-election.

    Until we reorganize the transportation fundtion and the education function to assure both effectiveness and efficiency we will be forever going to the well for more money to scant effect.

    The question is, who has the testicular virility to point out that the emperor lacks clothes?

    You note that I said the Transportation function and the Education function and not mass transit and public education. Each of the latter are smaller subsets of the former.

    We must, finally, be concerned with output rather than production because in the end each are simply elements contributing to an economy which should be thriving but which is choking.

    Take transportation. Chicago used to be the sole hub of the wntire region, when the Cook suburbs and the collar counties were basically bedrooms and farmlands. It is now a major hub to be sure. But the Naperville Aurora are has become a hub as well, and the suburbs Elk Grove and Schaumburg have been almost fully developed, the former home to to huge warehouse complexes, the latter tucked around a major shopping center.

    As we build and widen the major interstates they fill with cars and trucks going both directions. There is not now a one way rush hour, into Chicago in the morning, out of Chicago in the evening

    CTA,RTA, and PACE; private commercial vehicles (taxis and the unrecognized jitney cabs, underutilized van pools); and the ever present automobiles plus the parking necessary to support them remain in terms of scheduling and support independent actors. All receive some measure of public tax funding. Let's examine ways to make the transportation system carry the maximum number of passengers at the minimum direct and indirect cost.

    A most radical approach might consider the effect of making all public surface road mass transportation free with a certain potion of the costs paid by a destination tax. Slightly less radical would be an approach whereby drivers would bid to 'lease' their buses to run on a certain route to a certain immutable schedule. They would retain farebox moneys. Unprofitable routes and schedules would receive negative bids (a subsidy). Details to be worked out. The point is that new thinking is needed across the board.

    Then there is the Education function, which includes all primary and secondary schooling. The present system does not deliver the output necessary to make America competitive in a twenty fist century world economy.

    Any mind is a terrible thing to waste. The present system does not work, yet we think that more money will solve the structural problems. John, we are painting over rust. Worse, we are 'graduating underqualified young men and women, who have passed through a system which ahs a random number of underqualified teachers who lack subject matter mastery and/or a communicable love of the subject.

    These 'graduates' then meet the real world. To many of them develop the belief that education is neither an economic or a social good...and communicate that belief to their children.

    This has got to be fixed. The State solution is to have the ISBE lateral the problem to the EFAB who then outsources it to a firm which does regression analyses and comes up with a dollar amount which will solve all problems. It is a closed loop.

    What is needed is competition and choice, but the legislature, well supported by the teacher unions will not grant this. So the march to emdiocracy continues.

    Independ thinking is required.

    By Anonymous Disatisfied Democrat, at 8:44 PM, August 06, 2007  

  • ...and Nyberg has the guts to allow dissenting opinion on his blog, which I have not seen from the "other" proviso site. kudos.

    By Blogger Cook County Cretin, at 10:16 PM, August 06, 2007  

  • Your Naval acadamy roommate probably has a honorable discharge. Are you supporting yourself yet Carl? Or are you still leeching off of those too stupid to see through your hypocrisy and lies?

    By Anonymous quack, at 5:20 PM, August 07, 2007  

  • CDR Donald Steve Brown is still on active duty as far as I know.

    By coincidence he was commanding officer of the Naval Reserve Center in Forest Park (2002-03).

    You must have missed my first column in the Forest Park Review.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 10:06 PM, August 07, 2007  

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