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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

OBIT, Charles Cotton Sr. [M]

Mr. Charles Cotton, Jr., was a valued member of the Maywood community. He owned Mid-West Business Machines and served as liquor commissioner.

The Funeral Service for Mr. Charles Cotton, Sr., will be held:

Viewing: Thursday, March 1, 2007

3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Corbin Colonial Funeral Chapel

1001 W. Madison Street, Maywood, IL 60153

Wake: Friday, March 2, 2007

10:00 am – 10:30 am

Funeral: 10:30 am12:00 Noon

Corbin Colonial Funeral Chapel

1001 W. Madison Street, Maywood, IL 60153

Burial: Oakridge Glen Oaks Cemetery

4301 W Roosevelt Road, Hillside, IL 60162-2029

Repast: Maywood Parks & Recreation Building

200 S. 5th Avenue, Maywood, IL 60153

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CRIME, did you lose a pipe bomb in Oak Park?

Wednesday Journal (Bill Dwyer):
A functional pipe bomb found lying on a snow bank in South Oak Park was defused by the Cook County Bomb squad Tuesday afternoon. Experts described the bomb as functional and "well made."

The bomb was spotted on a pile of snow in a parkway by a man walking in the 1150 block of Lyman Avenue around 3:30 Tuesday afternoon. He immediately called 911, and responding Oak Park police, after a cursory examination, called in the county's bomb and arson squad stationed at the Maybrook complex in Maywood.

How would a "well made" pipe bomb end up in an Oak Park snow bank?

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F08, Wes Clark builds opposition to attacking Iran

I didn't do much to oppose invading Iraq. I caught a bunch of grief from one of my activists friends who was busting her ass going to demonstrations and the like. I figured invading Iraq didn't make sense. Surely President George W. Bush was just saber rattling to get Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government to make concessions so Bush could claim he was tough enough to accomplish more than President Bill Clinton.

I was wrong.

Team Bush is crazy. Just because the world works a certain way, don't expect Bush to realize that he is constrained by reality. These people are dangerous.

Crooks & Liars (John Amato) has video of Bush being interviewed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer in September, 2006. Bush denies Iraq is in a civil war based on what his appointees and subordinates are telling him. So either he appoints people who give him the mushroom treatment or Bush cannot process information that contradicts the reality he has chosen to believe.

The video was blogged because it contains the Bush quote:
I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma because there is — my point is, there’s a strong will for democracy.

If you watch the video you will see that Bush starts to say "Iran" but then switches to Iraq. Bush and his advisers have been planning to attack Iran from a ways back.

Wes Clark is organizing to oppose the United States attacking Iran. See StopIranWar.com. He's probably planning to use the email list for his presidential campaign. Whatever....

Attacking Iran is completely batshit insane. Since Iraq is majority Shia and Iran is a Shia country one blogger--I can't remember who--asked the question, have we considered which side our Iraqi allies will be on?

I hope the Democrats will do the right thing and stop Bush from starting a war with Iran. However, I'm pessimistic.

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HEALTH, death by poverty; dental care

I used to like in Prince George's County, Maryland. In many ways it's like Proviso Township. It's Black and suburban. One can point to indicators that there is wealth, but there is also suburban poverty.

At Daily Kos nyceve wrote Near nation's capital, an uninsured child dies of a toothache based on For Want of a Dentist
Pr. George's Boy Dies After Bacteria From Tooth Spread to Brain
Washington Post (Mary Otto).
By the time [Deamonte Driver's] own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George's County boy died.

Deamonte's death and the ultimate cost of his care, which could total more than $250,000, underscore an often-overlooked concern in the debate over universal health coverage: dental care.

Aside from the moral issue of allowing human beings to die for being Black and poor there's a local angle to this story.

One of the things Cook County Board President Todd Stroger wanted to cut completely from the Cook County budget was dental care. Todd Stroger didn't kill Deamonte Driver, but it wasn't for lack of trying. The chief thing that saved Deamonte Driver from being killed by Stroger was that he lived in PG County, not Proviso Township.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

F07, Forest Park election results

Cook County Clerk has the results.

With five of twelve precincts reporting:
Theresa A. Steinbach 319 30.04%
Patrick J. Doolin 207 19.49%
Anthony T. Calderone 536 50.47%

[UPDATE: Final results:
Theresa A. Steinbach 738 29.66%
Patrick J. Doolin 456 18.33%
Anthony T. Calderone 1,294 52.01%

Vote total: 2,488. Forest Park Review (Josh Adams) says the 7,987 voters are registered in Forest Park. This would make voter turnout 31.1%, which I consider high for a local election primary.]

[UPDATE2: Rockford Register Star wrote about voter turnout. In the coverage area turnout ranged from 4.8% to 23%. So Forest Park voter turnout was exceptionally high considering the type of election.]

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F07, predict outcome of Forest Park mayor's race [FP]

Vote for one:
Theresa A. Steinbach 1
Patrick J. Doolin 2
Anthony T. Calderone 3

It's like American Idol. Bottom vote getter doesn't appear in the next round (April 17 election).

I want to use one of my lifelines and poll the audience. Who will get insufficient support to make it to the next round? And for the bold, predict the percentages.

Please make predictions by 8:00 AM on election day.

[UPDATE: If you see anyone working your polling place you suspect of being a government employee shanghaied into service take a picture and send me a copy RadioNyberg circled "a" Yahoo spot c0m. We'll put the Proviso Probe team on identifying who these people are.]

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Monday, February 26, 2007

GOV, zoning application for Westchester strip club [BV, W]

On Wednesday evening the Village of Broadview will hold hearings into a proposal to open a 24/7 adult entertainment venue (aka strip club) south of the Eisenhower and east of Gardener Road. h/t to Westchester Trustee Rick Fox and Westchester Progressive Party for helping to publicize this story.

Under the earlier entry on this story I drew attention to the fact that the owner, Chicago Joe's Tea Room LLC, is represented by James J. Roche & Associates. Roche is the boss of Emanuel "Chris" Welch, the president of the school board of Proviso Township High Schools.

Someone claiming to be James J. Roche denied that his firm represented strip clubs. Technically, I suppose he has a point. The corporation hasn't become an adult entertainment venue yet, it's just an Illinois corporation.

However, the application to the Village of Broadview seems to show James J. Roche as the attorney. The only contact information provided on the application for the owner is Roche's contact information. And Roche is listed as the agent on the Secretary of State's website for the corporation.

A Proviso Probe source informed me that Burt Odelson is the attorney for the Village of Broadview. Odelson is a partner at Odelson & Sterk. Odelson & Sterk and James J. Roche & Associates find ways to enrich each other. So this looks like a situation where the attorneys are smoothing things out behind the scenes. Everybody can make money.

It seems likely that Broadview Village President Henry Vicenik is nervous about losing control of the board in this election. The Broadview TEA Party is running an opposition slate. While granting permission for a strip club will probably lose Vicenik's candidates some votes it will probably score them some major campaign contributions.

Below are the forms filed with the Village of Broadview so you can evaluate Roche's denials.

BTW, Roche denied that he will be at Wednesday's hearings. But his firm has other lawyers: Welch, Leeann Marie Crow, and Kelly Kathleen Kachmarik. Technically, Roche's law firm could represent the corporation without Roche being present.

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GOV, should Cook County tax sulphur dioxide emissions?

A fellow blogger sent me this email the Sierra Club sent to its local members.
Dear Sierra Club member -

Last Wednesday, the Cook County Board voted 10-5 to tax harmful sulfur
dioxide air pollution, emitted primarily from older coal-fired power
plants in Chicago. (GOOD NEWS!!) Sierra Club has been pushing for the
clean up of these power plants for years and this tax will be another
incentive for the owners to reduce it's emissions, not to mention a
good source of funding for medical programs that treat the illnesses
caused by this pollutions.

However, Board President Todd Stroger has threatened to VETO the
pollution tax!! (BAD NEWS!!)

You can help - please call president Stroger TODAY at 312-603-6400
and tell him to NOT VETO the sulfur dioxide pollution tax!!

Sulfur dioxide is a dangerous air pollutant that forms deadly fine
particulate matter. Fine particles trigger asthma attacks and
increase respiratory hospitalizations, heart attacks, strokes, lung
cancer cases and premature deaths.

Vetoing this tax only protects polluters and continues to put the
public's health at risk! The Chicago area still does NOT meet minimal
federal air quality standards set 10 years ago.A tax of $400/ton on
major source of pollution could raise as much as $7m to support needed
county medical services for those who suffer health problems from the

Under State rules, sulfur dioxide from the coal power plants in
Chicago will not be fully addressed until 2019. A County tax on
pollution starting this year will provide a powerful market incentive
for dirty power plants and other polluting sources to reduce deadly
pollution much sooner.

Should Stroger forgo the revenue and veto this tax?

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GOV, Roos developer making presentation tonight [FP]

The Village of Forest Park has a short agenda for tonight's 7 PM meeting at Village Hall. See agenda (pdf).

The police will make a department report.

And the Roos Building developer will make a presentation.

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GOV, strip club in Broadview [BV]

I've heard bits and pieces from a couple different sources that Broadview is considering allowing a strip club. The hearing will be Wednesday, February 28.

Anybody have details about the meeting or the proposed strip club?

[UPDATE: Westchester Progressive Party has information on the proposal.
A strip club is seeking application to open on Gardner Road at the Eisenhower, within Broadview village limits, directly across the street from our village.

The applicant is requesting a 24 hour liquor license - 7 days a week for all Adult Uses allowed under Broadview Village Code.

[The meeting is scheduled for:
Wednesday, February 28
7 p.m.
Village of Broadview Municipal Building
2350 S. 25th Avenue

[end update]

[UPDATE2: Even I am shocked that James J. Roche and Associates, the law firm of Emanuel "Chris" Welch, president of the Proviso Township High Schools board of education, is representing Chicago Joe's Tea Room in applying for a permit from the village of Broadview.

[The individual listed on the permit is Joe Inovskis who worked for the Clyde Park District (Cicero) in September, 2003 when he gave $1,000 to the Cicero Good Government Group. The committee supported Ramiro Gonzalez, Frank Aguilar and Michelle Chavez.]

[The only name on the certificate of good standing from the Illinois Secretary of State is James J. Roche, agent.]

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SPORT, boys hoops playoffs [D209, St. Joe's]

ChicagoSports.com (Bob Sakamoto) has the rundown on Proviso East, Proviso West and St. Joseph's.

Proviso East plays tonight (Monday).

For more playoff see Sun-Times.

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GOV, process of approving Cook County budget

Daily Southtown (Jonathan Lipman) has a good summary of the process.

Republican Commissioners Elizabeth Gorman (Orland Park), Gregg Goslin (Glenview) and Peter Silvestri (Elmwood Park) broke from the opposition budget to support Stroger's budget.

Democrat Commissioner Joan Murphy (Crestwood) stayed with the opposition and voted against the Stroger budget.

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BLOG, Proviso Highlighter down

A couple people have noted that Proviso Highlighter is down.

I don't know the story, but feel free to discuss, speculate and pass along rumors.

PS Do not post under "anonymous". When you write your post select "other" and pick a pseudonym or incorporate a pseudonym into your post. If more than one person is posting as "anonymous" in a discussion it gets hard to follow.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

KLEPT, Daily Southtown gigs Hastings [D209]

Daily Southtown has been digging dirt on Kyle Hastings for awhile. Hastings is mayor of Orland Hills and director of auxiliary programs for Proviso Township High Schools. One of Hastings major responsibilities as director of auxiliary programs is summer school. He went on vacation during summer school last year. See Forest Park Review.

Daily Southtown's editorial describes how Hastings received consulting fees without being under a written contract. This should not be legal.

Eugene Moore used to play this game (1997) with Proviso Township. Moore would receive payments for "consulting" on senior services without providing any work product or being under a written contract.

If this practice is legal then there's no limit to what the politically connected can pay each other for "consulting". We need a legislative fix.

And BTW, if State's Attorney Dick Devine is really pissed at Cook County Board President Todd Stroger he could show he means business by prosecuting some Stroger pals for corruption and ghost pay rolling. Dick, if you're not willing to do anything about it, you're just performing for the cameras.

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F07, Calderone dominating the sign war [FP]

Yesterday I was out counting signs in Forest Park. At one point I had 85 houses (not businesses) with Anthony Calderone signs, twelve for Theresa Steinbach and four for Patrick Doolin.

Please remind your Forest Park family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to vote on Tuesday.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

IRAQ, Get Out of Iraq by Simple Fears & They Lied by Jay Mankita

A couple musical selections for the weekend.

And Jay Mankita performs They Lied.

h/t benfrank.net

As if Bush's excellent adventure in Iraq wasn't bad enough, it seems like Team Bush is manufacturing an excuse to go to war with Iran.

Wes Clark, retired general and probable presidential candidate, and VoteVets.org is using a website, StopIranWar.com, to organize opposition to going to war with Iran.

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MEDIA, Yanez gets interviewed on TV [MP]

Dr. Frank Yanez, a former District 209 board member, political activist and gossip--are the last two redundant?--has left Proviso Township to practice medicine in south Florida. Yanez is Cuban-American.

So, what's Yanez doing? It might be an exaggeration to say he's on track to become a minor celebrity, but he did appear on television.

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A07, NOMCO meeting [M]

North Maywood Community Organization (NOMCO) held its endorsement session last night.

The meeting was chaired by Maywood Trustee Gary Woll. Woll is a candidate for re-election, so some may consider it a conflict-of-interest for him to chair the meeting.

I didn't attend the meeting. People who did attend are encouraged to leave their observations in the comments.

My understanding is that the following candidates were endorsed for District 89:

  • Duane Black
  • Donna Miller
  • Regina Rivers
  • Della Patterson
  • Lenore Sanchez (two-year term)

And Ralph Harris and Kevin McDermott were endorsed for District 209.

Proviso Insider spins the NOMCO meeting against District 209 board member Theresa Kelly.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

GOV, new "welcome to Brookfield" signs [BF]

Brookfield will install at least ten "welcome to Brookfield" signs. See Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Uphues). Will the signs include the names of any politicians? How prominently will they be displayed?

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CRIME, Rocco Lombardo sentenced for tax fraud [MP]

Rocco Lombardo is the brother of Joey "The Clown" Lombardo. Rocco Lombardo recently pleaded guilty with fifteen others to a conspiracy to cheat on their taxes. They were low balling their revenue from Crazy Horse Too (photo from planet99.com). See Chicago Tribune (Ray Gibson).
In court filings, John Spilotro, the attorney for Rocco Lombardo, argued that a probation report linking him to his brother was unfair. He asked the court to delete a reference to Joey Lombardo as being the head of the Chicago Outfit and his arrest on the pending federal charges in Chicago.

BTW, is John Spilotro kin of Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro?

"Your honor, it's completely unfair to suggest my client's business had anything to do with organized crime. Just because his brother is in organized crime and I, his lawyer, is related to a notorious organized crime figure, holding this against my client smacks of guilt by association."

So, what's the Proviso angle?
Rocco Lombardo, 71, was known as a body builder and health-food advocate, according to lawyers. He once operated a restaurant in Melrose Park called "Rocky's" and served as a floor manager at the Las Vegas club.

BTW, strip clubs are mostly cash businesses, right? How many strip clubs cheat the tax man? And how do the feds pick which strip clubs to investigate?

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CRIME, Postulka indicted for DUI & wreckless homicide [NR]

Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Uphues):
A Cook County grand jury today indicted Brookfield resident Thomas J. Postulka, 45, charging him with reckless homicide and multiple counts of aggravated driving under the influence for the hit-and-run death of Helen Lilly.

Postulka has been in jail since his arrest.

In response to Proviso Probe's first entry on this story some people who knew Postulka posted comments.

The next entry referred to the Sun-Times story that reported Postulka was arrested for DUI two days before the incident that killed Helen Lilly.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A07, Tapia-Reyes quits race for Triton board [D504]

Dolores Tapia-Reyes has withdrawn her candidacy for the Triton College board of trustees.See Wednesday Journal (Bill Dwyer).
Tapia-Reyes wouldn't confirm other's contentions that she was pressured into withdrawing, or any motives for someone doing so. However she said that she felt her effort lacked adequate support, and realized she wasn't adequately prepared personally and politically for the undertaking.

One observer of the Triton scene, who asked to remain anonymous, insisted that Tapia-Reyes was pressured to back off her candidacy by people concerned that her presence on the ballot would hurt Oak Parker Thomas Gary's chances for election. State Senator and Oak Park Township Democratic Committeeman Don Harmon, the source added, wanted her off the ballot.

Harmon denied pressuring Tapia-Reyes off the ballot.

Harmon's district covers a large section of Leyden Township where Don Stephens is the Republican Committeeman. Stephens' committee raised over $250,000 in the second half of 2006 and gave most of it to things he didn't need to fund. One of the causes Stephens didn't fund was Harmon's Republican challenger, Jim Rowe.

Stephens' son, Mark, is the president of the Triton board.

Did Harmon and Stephens clan make a deal or come to some sort of understanding?

Mark Stephens did withdraw his support of current trustee Irene Moskal Del Giudice of Schiller Park.

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F07, Six days until mayor primary [FP]

The yard signs have been placed in Forest Park.

The mayor primary is next Tuesday, six days away. It's the usual polling places. Please remind your families, friends and neighbors to vote.

Forest Park Review
has letters from Steven Backman, Peter Nicholas Marafatsos, Patrick Tierney, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #24, Carl Nyberg, Terry Steinbach, Melissa Johnson and Barbara Plona.

[UPDATE: The Forest Park Review did profiles of all three candidates: Anthony Calderone (campaign website), Patrick Doolin (campaign website) and Theresa Steinbach (campaign website).]

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

KLEPT, Hastings logrolls for consultant fees [D209]

Daily Southtown (Isaac Wolf)
Orland Hills Mayor Kyle Hastings has received almost $50,000 in consulting fees from South Suburban College, where village administrator John Daly serves as vice chairman of the board of trustees.

From 2000 to 2003 Hastings earned $1,250 per month to review the college's safety procedures and collected another $2,304 for teaching two classes. In total he received $46,679 from South Suburban College, financial documents reveal. All the while, he held down a full-time job as a "business liaison" with the Illinois secretary of state's office.

Do you get the impression the Daily Southtown reporters and editors think Hastings is crooked? It probably antagonized Daily Southtown people and inspire them to dig more aggressive when the Orland Park attorney, Mark Sterk, accused the Southtown of not being credible.

Kyle Hastings is director of auxiliary programs at Proviso Township High Schools.

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ED, school board meeting website, vision & tutoring [D209]

Monday, February 19, Proviso Township High Schools (District 209) held its monthly meeting of the board of education at Proviso Math and Science Academy.

Scott of Technivista briefed the board and audience on the new website for District 209. When the contract is completed there will be six new websites. I’ll write more on the website later. Feel free to post comments in this discussion.

Scott did tell me that Technivista was not planning on contributing in the school board elections. He did add the caveat that his brother is the owner of the business.

The biggest news Superintendent Stan Fields buried among a bunch of other information. Fields proposed reducing the graduation requirements from 22 to 18.5 credits. He framed it as reducing the electives so students would focus more on the courses that prepared them for standardized tests. After the meeting board member Charles Flowers observed that this is a cost cutting move being packaged as an educational strategy. By having fewer period District 209 will be reducing the total number of classes which will allow the same number of students to be taught by fewer teachers.

Fields also offered a new vision statement for District 209. Fields vision is for the district to be the best in Illinois. For perspective the district currently ranks 90th of 90 districts in the Chicago area in four major categories.

How many ways is Fields vision inappropriate? Let’s start with the obvious. Fields doesn’t define “best”. Best at sports? Which sports? Highest test scores? Most graduates going directly to four-year colleges? High graduation rates? The most money diverted to political bosses? Maybe Proviso Township High Schools are already the best and we just didn’t know the yardstick Fields was using….

Four years ago I ran for school board in Oak Park and River Forest (District 200). Here’s what I listed as my goal for the school in my political literature.
Graduates should say, “My OPRF experience prepared me for adulthood.” We should prepare students to be citizens that take ownership of their communities and take advantage of opportunities to lead fulfilling lives.

Do you see how the goals I had for OPRF are specific enough that they can be used to craft policies? Do you see how Stan Fields’ vision is so vague as to be meaningless for making policies or setting priorities?

Some of Fields suggestions I thought had merit.

Fields wants to push extra-curricular, co-curricular and community service. He expressed a goal of getting all students involved in some activity. This goal seems worth investment of resources.

I also liked the idea of switching to proficiency promotion. However, it’s easy to agree that all students should be required to become proficient before getting promoted. It will be harder to implement the policy.

The teachers that implement the letter of the policy will look like failures compared to teachers who fudge and promote students who aren’t really proficient. If you accept the analysis that a major problem for District 209 is students entering who haven’t attained proficiency in eighth grade what do you want freshman teachers to do? Work intensively with the students who are behind? How much is District 209 willing to reduce class sizes?

Proviso East Principal Milton Patch briefed the board on the results of a test designed by ACT to measure if the eighth graders were on track to succeed on college entrance exams. In all feeder schools the average scores were unsatisfactory in math and science. Four schools were satisfactory in English (is Komarek a District 209 feeder school?) and only Forest Park had a satisfactory average reading score.

Patch listed a couple of plans for students in the lowest quartile. Mandatory summer school is obvious. District 209 also plans to do gender segregated education for students in the lowest quartile. I understand the logic, but I’m curious how it will play out. If segregating by gender improves academic performance why limit it to the lowest quartile?

One of the action items on the agenda was for the board to approve money for tutoring. Board member Charles Flowers asked if the money had been spent and the board was approving expenditures after-the-fact. Fields deferred to a staff member who was in the audience. She assured Flowers that the money hadn’t been spent yet. Flowers explained that the students who were eligible for this tutoring under the No Child Left Behind Act had been eligible since the beginning of the school year. The staff member explained this wasn’t a problem because the amount of money only covered 30-45 hours of tutoring and it was in the district’s best interest to have the students get the tutoring before the standardized tests in the Spring.

The staff members attitude pretty much showed the district’s attitude toward the students. Students are like pack animals who have value based on their ability to score well on tests. If I was a student and had 36 hours of tutoring over an academic year I’d probably take twelve hours at the beginning of each semester and six hours at the end of each semester. But due to bureaucratic considerations Proviso East students get their tutoring in one lump in the middle of second semester.

This is the sort of thing that’s annoying about District 209 generally. Fields and others find subtle ways to say the students and parents aren’t pulling their weight, but the superintendent and administrators don’t have the respect for the students and parents to allow them to use the school district as they see fit. Students eligible to tutoring get help when the district administrators get around to processing the paperwork, not when they want or need it.

Thomas Sloan, who I assume is related to Westchester political operative Don Sloan, was hired to be a night custodian at Proviso East for $38,481.04.

There was a debate about firing Marshonna Chambers from the business office in executive session. Chambers got blamed when a student stole some money from the business office. Her supervisors felt Chambers was negligently inattentive. Board members Flowers and Theresa Kelly were skeptical that Chambers was primarily at fault and thought it was at least partially a training and supervision problem. Board member Shirley Madlock was the board member most aggressively pushing to terminate Chambers. But Madlock backed-off somewhat when another board member asked if Madlock’s sister, Tamara Robinson, who works in the business office also, would benefit if Chambers were fired. In open session no board member even made a motion to terminate Chambers.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

BLOG, Facebook as a networking tool

I belong to a group of bloggers who write about local issues. A few of them recommended joining Facebook for networking. I created an account.

I think it might have some real power for networking and community building.

Are any Proviso Probe readers on Facebook?

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

ED, Proviso Insider blames elemtary schools for high school's shortcomings [D88, D89, D209]

Proviso Insider regurgitates Proviso Township High Schools' all purpose excuse that its failures are really the failures of the elementary school districts.
The Insider has learned that the feeder schools to Proviso Township High Schools, District 209, are sending students to high school reading way below grade level. Out of a possible 1600 students preparing to enter the high school in August 2007, 1400 students are reading at 3rd, 4th or 5th grade level. The worst prepared students are coming out of school districts 88 and 89. Sources say a report detailing the inept performance of the feeder school districts will be released next week.

What do you notice about the districts that are the "worst prepared"?

District 88 and 89 are the ones that "the mayors" are complaining about Rep. Karen Yarbrough trying to "take over the world".

The usual suspects (Chuck Baxter, Anthony Bruno, Bennie Mazzulla, Eugene Moore, Emanuel "Chris" Welch, Frank Pasquale, Ron Serpico and perhaps Claude Porter) have a bunch of patronage, contracts, legal bills, land deals, etc. from two school districts, District 88 and District 89.

And these school districts, the most political school districts in Proviso Township are the weak sisters feeding into Proviso Township High Schools, District 209.

Proviso Insider--who many suspect is District 209 board president Chris Welch--blames two elementary school districts for the shortcomings at the district he has run for years. Proviso Insider neglects to mention that Welch's allies control Districts 88 and 89. And Proviso Insider neglects to mention that s/he's opposed to changing control of the weak school districts.

So Proviso Insider wants to blame District 88 and 89. But Proviso Insider doesn't want to change the status quo at either district.

Proviso Insider wants the elementary schools to keep failing so Welch can keep pointing his finger at the elementary schools and shirking responsibility while the politically connected continue to milk the system for jobs and contracts.

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GOV, Proviso Reps oppose troop escalation in Iraq

Proviso Township is represented by four members of the House of Representatives: Rep. Danny K. Davis, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Rep. Dan Lipinski. All are Democrats.

This week the House of Representatives debated a resolution expressing disagreement with President Bush's plan to escalate the level of troops in Iraq.
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That—
(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and
(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

Earlier Proviso Probe covered Davis' statement. All Proviso representatives voted for the resolution, thereby going on record as opposing the escalation.

Here's what the other representatives had to say:

Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlelady for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of this resolution and in support of a new policy in Iraq. Up until this point, the Bush administration's Iraq policy over the last 3 1/2 years appears to be one of America's worst foreign policy blunders. More than 3,100 of our brave men and women in uniform have been killed and more than 24,000 have been wounded, many very seriously, and hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent and in some cases wasted. This has resulted from the tactical mistakes, errors in judgment and other major missteps by the Bush administration.

It is painfully clear that a change in strategy in Iraq is needed now. We need a plan for bringing stability to Iraq and bringing our troops home. Unfortunately, the President's plan to add over 20,000 additional troops does not provide this, and, therefore, I must support this resolution.

I see three main flaws in the President's plan.

First, the administration has not provided convincing evidence that this surge will succeed after many similar plans have failed. After almost 4 years in Iraq, the American people are asking, why should we have faith in this plan and place more troops in harm's way?

Second, by failing to provide clear benchmarks for success or a time frame by which we can expect the surge to yield positive results, the President's plan appears to commit our country to a ``stay the course'' strategy with no clear end in sight. Aid should be tied to a deadline for progress by the Iraqi Government.

Third, and most importantly, the President continues to place too much emphasis on a military solution, when it is clear that force alone will not solve this crisis. Solutions must support broad international engagement to promote stability and reconstruction in Iraq and must address political, economic and religious issues.

Because of the need for such a plan, earlier this year I laid out a set of recommendations, and this week I introduced H.Res. 152 based on these. My proposal consists of three core recommendations.

First, encourage achievement of important goals and national reconciliation, security and governance by arranging a peace conference for Iraq's ethnic and religious factions, similar to the conference that led to the Dayton Accords. One venue for this would be El Salvador, which has shown a strong commitment to stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq and has gone through its own recent history of a bloody civil war and ensuing reconciliation.

But wherever and however it is done, the political, economic and religious issues must be addressed if peace and security are to be established in Iraq. And it is essential that more pressure be put on the Iraqi Government and all interested parties in Iraq to find and accept real solutions so the American forces can begin withdrawal.

The second recommendation is to seek international cooperation to develop solutions for Iraq. This should include calling an international conference that will work on putting together a peacekeeping force and setting up an international reconstruction program.

Iraq's strategic position in the volatile Middle East, its potential to become a terrorist safe haven, its large supply of oil and the great potential for a humanitarian catastrophe make security in Iraq a critical international issue. It is time for America to engage the nations of the world to encourage them to address this international crisis.

The final recommendation is to require the administration to give Congress detailed reports on the situation in Iraq so that we can make informed decisions regarding funding for reconstruction and deciding when American forces can be redeployed. This new Congress has been vigorously conducting oversight after 3 1/2 years of congressional neglect, but we must have the full cooperation of the administration.

If the recommendations laid out in my resolution are followed, I believe American troops can begin redeployment in 2007, leaving a secure, stable Iraq.

As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated, ``The search for genuine justice and peace in Iraq requires moral urgency, substantive dialogue and new direction.'' Unfortunately, the President does not give us this. That is why his plan is discouraging to many Americans who are weary of this war.

But no one is wearier than our troops and their families. This past weekend I spoke to a soldier who spent 13 months in Iraq and will likely be returning. He told me that it is important to make sure that we let our troops know that they have our complete support. We cannot let anything in this debate be construed otherwise. If this surge occurs even after we pass this resolution, we must continue to support our troops and pray for them every day, so that by God's grace they can succeed in their mission.

Lipinski represents the southern portion of Proviso Township.

Mr. Speaker, we gather today to consider a question that is profoundly simple: Do we support the President's plan to further escalate America's involvement in Iraq, or not? After 4 long, painful years in which we have seen so many young lives lost, are we now willing to put even more of our brave heroes in harm's way, or will we acknowledge that the current course is failing, that doubling down on the status quo while hoping for a better result would be foolish.

There are those who oppose this resolution because they say it would hurt the troops' morale. Hurt morale? Our leaders promised them they would be greeted as liberators. Instead, we have put them smack in the middle of a shooing gallery, policing someone else's civil war, backing an Iraqi government that refuses to stand up for itself.

We have sent our soldiers back time and again. We have sent many of them without the life-saving equipment and armor they needed, and now they say this resolution would hurt troop morale? To suggest that more of the same just won't do.

They have done their duty with courage and discipline. Now it is time for Congress to do its duty. They deserve not to be sacrificed in the furtherance of a policy that failed for the last 4 years.

From the beginning, this war has been a saga of miscalculations, mistakes and misjudgments for which America will pay in many ways for years to come. Let us not compound those bad judgments by ratifying another.

The President assures us that this escalation of war is the most promising path to a more peaceful Iraq. For the past 5 years we have accepted the President's assurances on Iraq, only to learn that the facts on the ground belied his aggressive assertions and rosy rhetoric. We accepted his assurances about the presence of weapons of mass destruction and Saddam's links to al Qaeda. We authorized a war on that basis, only to learn that much of what we were told simply wasn't true.

Against stern warnings, we accepted his assurances and those of the Vice President that a post-Saddam Iraq would welcome our presence and overcome deeply engrained sectarian differences. It simply wasn't true. We accepted their assurances when they told us General Shinseki was mistaken when he said we needed far more troops to stabilize Iraq than the administration planned, and that the cost of this war would be minimal. It simply wasn't true. We accepted their assurances when they told us the insurgency was in its last throes. It simply wasn't true.

Each of the last three troop surges has been countered with a surge in violence. It is for that reason that a bipartisan group of House Members and the American public oppose the forth troop increase. More troops doing more of the same is not a policy, it is not a strategy, it is not a tactic, it is the status quo plus.

The time is past for accepting this administration's assurances at face value. The human cost of its repeated assurances is too great.

Mr. Speaker, 3 years ago I asked permission to establish a temporary memorial to the fallen in Iraq in Statuary Hall. The leadership at that time refused, so I began posting the pictures of the young soldiers we have lost outside my office. I have watched as that grim line of photos has grown past my doorway to fill the corridor. More than 3,000 dead, more than 20,000 wounded. When I walk by those photos, I see the purpose, I see the pride, and I see the promise in their young faces. They were sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers who will never see their kids grow up.

I ask you, how long must this grim line of photographs grow before we acknowledge that this policy is not working? How many corridors must these memorials fill before we we say, not on my watch? How many more lives must we lose? How many more hearts must be broken?

It is time for this Congress to tell President Bush that his assurances are not enough. This escalation does not mean stability in Iraq, it will mean more loss and more photographs in the corridor.

I urge you to vote ``yes'' on this resolution.

Emanuel represents most of Melrose Park.

Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of this resolution.

Four years ago, President Bush plunged our Nation into a misguided, pre-emptive war with Iraq. I voted against authorizing it then--and I have come to the floor today to affirm my strong opposition to this irresponsible war.

Unfortunately, after 4 years of failed strategies by this administration, the President is now poised to confound his tragic blunder, and ignore the will of the American people, by attempting to increase our presence in Iraq. And that is why this resolution is so important. Because it sends a strong statement. A statement that the vast majority of the country supports. And that is: escalating our presence in Iraq will not lead to success in the region, and more blank checks will not make America more secure.

Madam Speaker, our brave men and women in the military have done all that is asked of them over the course of the last 4 years. They are heroes who represent the finest our country has to offer--and they should be treated accordingly. But, from day one, this administration has spent more time planning its attacks on those who offered legitimate criticisms of the war and its tactics, than it has on planning for a stable and peaceful reconstruction of the region. And the results have been devastating and unworthy of our brave men and women serving in harm's way.

Enough is enough. Troop surges have not worked in the past, and there is no evidence that the same failed policies will work today. In fact, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said in December, ``I am not persuaded that another surge of troops into Baghdad for the purposes of suppressing this communitarian violence, this civil war, will work.''

Yet, this administration continues to ignore the guidance of military experts, the Iraq Study Group, diplomats, decorated war heroes and former senior White House officials of both parties.

And rather than being open to debate and discussion with these experts, this Administration has routinely attacked their character and questioned their patriotism. Many of these individuals have bled on the battlefield. But to this administration, and its swift boat strategists, they are treated merely as political pawns. It is truly shameful.

Because of this Administration's hubris, we have seen troops without proper equipment, without basic body armor, without vehicles equipped to deal with roadside bombs and without the appropriate veteran's services when they return home.

Because of their ignorance, we have seen giant banners saying, Mission Accomplished, when today Iraq has spiraled into a bloody, religious civil war.

Because of their arrogance, we were told that we were going to be treated as liberators, not as occupiers.

And because of their incompetence, we were told that future oil revenues would more than cover the cost of the reconstruction.

They could not have been more wrong. The cost of the war continues to grow at an outrageous rate. To date, we have spent approximately $379 billion on this war, with estimates from some experts saying that the total long-term cost could exceed $1 trillion.

Think about that for a minute: $379 billion spent, more than $8 billion a month. That is enough to fully fund Head Start--100 times over. To give virtually every student in America a computer. Pay for prescription drug coverage for virtually every senior in our Nation. Offer summer jobs to every teen in our country. Put hundreds of thousands of additional police officers on the streets. Provide millions of scholarships to public universities for deserving students. And pay the salaries of millions of public school teachers.

But what do we have to show for that $379 billion--a country plagued with hardened religious sectarian violence.

Madam Speaker, it is time to stop this charade. It is time for the truth. It is time for the administration to really level with the American people.

Resurrecting and rehashing failed policies of the past is not the answer.

Real action is needed. Leadership is needed. Courage is needed. And that is why we are engaged in this debate--to stand up to the deception and the dishonesty.

We are here today to begin to set our strategy back on the right course. To protect our soldiers. And to ensure that we can win the real war on terror.

Madam Speaker, we are here today as patriots because we love our country. We are here because we support our troops. And we are here because we want our troops to be able to come home to their families and loved ones.

Thank you, Madam Speaker, I urge a ``yes'' vote on this important resolution.

Gutierrez represents some of Melrose Park and Stone Park.

What arguments resonate with you? What arguments seem weak?

Davis and Gutierrez voted against the Iraq War Resolution in October, 2002. Emanuel's predecessor, Rod Blagojevich, was one of the 81 Democrats who voted for the resolution (126 Democrats voted "no"). Lipinski's father voted against the Iraq War Resolution.

In the past Emanuel and Dan Lipinski have been more supportive of Bush's Iraq policy than most Democrats.

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ED, what should a quality education include?

WJBD 1350 AM has has a story that references Sen. Kimberly Lightford's (D-Maywood) ideas about education, jobs and poverty.

People without diplomas have inferior jobs and their children tend to live in poverty. There's a committee working to lower the drop-out rate. Lightford then jumps to schools need more money and Illinois needs a tax swap.

Why don't people who have diplomas get good jobs?
  • Is it because they know certain facts? Or can't process the information?
  • Do employers not offer jobs to people without diplomas?
  • Or is it that people who don't show up to class turn into employees that don't show up to work?

The follow-up questions are important. If people without diplomas basically can do the jobs but employers are discriminating then it would make sense to make it easy to get some piece of paper equivalent of a high school diploma.

If the issue is absenteeism, it doesn't seem like investing in teachers is an appropriate strategy. What's the point of having great teachers if the students aren't coming to class?

Here's a concern: what if the schools, teachers unions, administrators, et al are starting with the premise schools need more money and are fitting their arguments around the assumption that more money is the end and not the means to educating students?

Have we, as a society, defined what a good education is? Is it time to step back from the education issue and ask, what constitutes a quality education in this era?

Once we define a quality education then we can design a system to deliver a quality education to all.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

GOV, Stroger vetoes county budget

A few days ago county commissioners crafted a budget that minimized cuts in services by cutting waste, especially unnecessary management positions. Today County Board President Todd Stroger (D-Eighth Ward) decided to veto the budget.

One of the things that makes the veto galling is that Stroger and his mentor, Commissioner Bill "Hog With Big Nuts" Beavers claimed that the budget process was legit. Stroger and Beavers were willing to incorporate cuts and improvements suggested by the commissioners.

Team Stroger made it difficult for commissioners to get a handle on the budget, so finding the waste wasn't easy. The commissioners did their job, but apparently they did it too well. They cut too much of the patronage and waste for Stroger's taste.

At a League of Women Voters forum last fall I learned what happens when the president vetoes the budget. Unless the commissioners can override the veto the president gets to write his own budget. And it takes 4/5 of commissioners to override the veto (14 of 17).

Daily Southtown (Steve Patterson) has an article discussing how during the campaign Stroger promised to support reducing the threshold, but now is quietly opposing the change. And Stroger denies saying he supported the change and he's deleted the press release from his website. Classy guy, huh?

Daily Southtown (Jonathan Lipman) has an article on Stroger's veto announcement.
Commissioners proposed to restore $73 million in cut services, including all 26 community health clinics, through a combination of new revenue and administration cuts. But Stroger said the administrators proposed for cuts are vital to the county.

“Their amendment … will destroy what (interim health bureau chief Robert) Simon is trying to do at the hospital,” Stroger said. “The county wouldn’t even run if we let that go through.”

For all those people who bad-mouthed Stroger's Republican opponent Commissioner Anthony Peraica, it now looks like more clinics in the hood would have stayed open under Peraica.

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ETHICS, Stan Fields stoops to new levels of dishonesty in dealing with Theresa Kelly [D209]

Proviso Township High Schools Superintendent Stanley Fields, PhD, has been completely unprofessional and disrespectful toward board member Theresa Kelly.

Kelly emailed Fields requesting issues connected to the Proviso East "Wall of Fame" be addressed at the upcoming meeting of the board of education.

The text of Kelly's February 2, 2007 email to Fields included:
I am requesting a statement be made at the February 2007 board of education meeting to clarify the financial state of the Proviso East Alumni Wall of Fame...

Since Fields didn't respond to Kelly she emailed him again on February 7. Then she emailed him again on February 12. Since Fields didn't respond Kelly emailed again on February 14. She emailed again, today, February 16. Finally Fields responded.
BOE agenda is finalized 12pm Wednesday preceding the mtg

Apparently Fields doesn't want to deal with the issues raised by Kelly and is trying to bully her off the agenda.

Fields neglected to respond to Kelly's clear and repeated request to put something on the agenda. Fields ignored Kelly until after the deadline to have agenda items proposed and then tries to make it sound like Kelly didn't request the item be placed on the agenda by the deadline.

Is there anyone who wouldn't consider Fields' conduct disrespectful from Kelly's perspective?

Is Fields disrespectful to Kelly because she's not part of the board president's majority?

Fields is not as disrespectful toward board members Charles Flowers, EdD, and Gary Marine.

Let's cut to the essence of it: does Fields treat Kelly disrespectfully because she's a Black senior citizen without an advanced degree?

Fields may not want to deal with the Proviso East "Wall of Fame". It's ancillary to the district's mission. But let's review why the "Wall of Fame" is a big deal. Remember Fields' first board meeting.
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!”

The "Wall of Fame" is an issue because Fields and Welch used it to attack Kelly and accuse of doing something inappropriate and illegal with the money.

These allegations didn't hold water, but Fields and Welch made them.

So, if Fields thinks the board of education has time to use the "Wall of Fame" as a club for criticizing Kelly then it seems reasonable that Kelly should be able to get it on the agenda too. Of course as a board member Kelly should be able to put anything reasonable on the agenda. And Fields should have the decency to respond to her emails and act on her requests in a timely manner.

[UPDATE: Proviso Insider presents Stan Fields side of the story. The entry includes a portion of the text of Kelly's email to Fields. So whoever Proviso Insider is, s/he is close enough to Fields that s/he gets copies of Fields' emails.

[Proviso Insider's final sentence sums up Fields attitude toward Kelly, Why does a woman with a high school diploma think she can tell a person with a Ph.D. how to run a school? Maybe Kelly got the idea from Illinois law? Is she not a legally elected member of the school board? Is Kelly somehow exceeding her authority by asking for something to be put on the agenda? And what difference does the disparity in education level between a board member and superintendent matter? Is Proviso Insider being petty?

[Proviso Insider is pretty fond of a certain politician who failed to graduate from high school. But Proviso Insider never makes an issue of the politicians education level. Why is Kelly's education level relevant? If she did have a doctorate would it make her important enough for Fields to respond to her emails?]

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GOV, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) speaks against escalation

The House of Representatives is debating a resolution that expresses disapproval of President George W. Bush's plan to escalate the troop level in Iraq.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) gave the Republicans a piece of his mind. Ryan's so good at it some Republican tried to interrupt him a couple times. Ryan responded to the Republican request to derail his speech, "I don't yield."

Ryan has a history of smacking Republicans down on the Iraq issue. When Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) introduced a proposal to re-instate the draft Ryan used the opportunity to hammer Bush's Iraq policy.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

POL, Rev. Claude Porter is a Republican

Rev. Claude Porter has made a bunch of money running Proviso-Leyden Council for Community Action (PLCCA). PLCCA's mission:
To create, through comprehensive and coordinated program activities, a climate of awareness within which conscious, self-directed social change toward the elimination of poverty can take place on the part of individuals, families and community institutions.

Critics have said that Porter is primarily about making money for him and his family and influence peddling. His programs do little to lift people out of poverty. And he's resistant to accountability. In one case when a individual at a funding organization started asking questions and the individual found himself off the board in question.

On PLCCA's welcome page there's a picture of Rev. Claude Porter with a Republican Congressman at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) 2005 Tax Summit. What's eliminating poverty in Proviso Township got to do with Republican tax policy?

Porter was there because he's a Republican contributor. A month before Porter got his award from the National Republican Congressional Committee he gave $5,000. But that's not all.

Other Porter contributions include:
  • $300 NRCC, June, 2001
  • $200 Friends of Blagojevich, August, 2002
  • $500 Citizens for Lightford, March, 2003
  • $250 NRCC, November, 2004
  • $200 Citizens for Lightford, November, 2004
  • $250 NRCC, December, 2004
  • $200 NRCC, June, 2005
  • $5,000 National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), September, 2005
Does something seem wrong with someone nominally devoted to Proviso's impoverished being a big-time Republican campaign contributor?

Is Porter the classic poverty pimp? He raises money. He spends it with minimal accountability. And gets very little done for the money spent.

[UPDATE: The local ministers are posing with Congressman Ray
LaHood (R-Peoria). LaHood's signficant because he's a member of the House Appropriations Committee, the final gate keepers before Congress decides how to spend money.

[President George W. Bush pushed his Faith-Based Initiatives.
The idea was to give federal money to churches for social service
programs. Many people thought that it was more about buying off
churches and ministers and less about delivering social services.

[One obvious question for Porter is, were his contributions to the Republican Party about the same time PLCCA either received federal grants or was seeking federal grants?]

[UPDATE2: TPMmuckraker (Paul Kiel) has some 411 on NRCC's Business Advisory Council and "Businessman of the Year" program.
Building on my last post on the NRCC's bogus Business Advisory Council and "Businessman of the Year" program, it turns out that Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari isn't the first member of the council to be indicted on charges of supporting terrorism.

[End update2.]

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GOV, Congressman Davis speaks in favor of anti-escalation resolution

The House of Representatives is deliberating on a resolution expressing disapproval of President George W. Bush's proposal to escalate troops levels in Iraq. I first read about it on Fire Dog Lake (Peterr).
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That—
(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and
(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

Each House member gets five minutes to say his or her piece.

Congressman Danny K. Davis
Madam Speaker, first of all, I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for providing what we never had in the last session, and that is ample opportunity to fully discuss Iraq , where we are and what we ought to be doing about it.

I have always been told that when you start with a faulty premise, you will inevitably reach a faulty conclusion. And the rationale given for entering the war was faulty. There were no weapons of mass destruction, no connection to 9/11. Therefore, we never should have invaded Iraq in the first place.

But then after the invasion, the occupation of Iraq has been tragically mismanaged. Civilian military leadership ignored the advice of senior commanders on requirements for preventing chaos in the aftermath of the invasion. As a result, our extended presence in Iraq continues to worsen the situation, not only in Iraq , but in the entire region.

Terrorist incidents continue to flare up around the world, from England to Spain , from Indonesia to Jordan . Chaos and intolerance in the form of civil war now has secured a deadly grip on Iraq . The policy of escalation has failed, and failed again, to loosen that horrendous grip. The Iraqi people want us to leave, and so do the American people, especially those in my congressional district, and especially those that I encounter at churches, schools, synagogues, town hall meetings and on the street.

Madam Speaker, democracy and self-government cannot be imposed on Iraq by any foreign power, including us, the United States of America . Our troops have done everything we have asked of them, even when we have failed to equip and protect them. The problem does not lie with our troops, but with the distorted world view of this administration and the military and diplomatic doctrine of preemptive war as a solution to global political problems.

We must do everything possible to protect our troops and we must do everything in our power to take care of them when they return home.

It is impossible, Madam Speaker, to build a coalition against terrorism by attempting to unilaterally impose these doctrines on the international community. We cannot undo the many mistakes which have been made in Iraq . And when our national interests have been so distorted, when we have so lost our direction, it is the historical, moral, and constitutional responsibility of this Congress to set us back on course and on the right track.

It is time to recognize that we are enmeshed in an unending, vicious circle of escalating violence, rather than a force for peace, and that is why I am a cosponsor of H.R. 508, which would bring the force of law to end this war.

Today we have before us a nonbinding resolution, most likely insufficient to end the occupation. But it can help to move us in the right direction and set us on the right path. Therefore, I support this resolution, because it reflects the will and interests of the American people, and I trust that this administration will abandon demagogic calls for constantly changing notions of success and victory and awaken to the world of reality.

Madam Speaker, it is time, it is past time, to bring our troops home. I am told that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results. This resolution sets us on the right course, gives us the right direction. I urge its passage.

Thanks to Robin at Code Pink for forwarding Davis' remarks.

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KLEPT, Mario Dal Cerro pleads guilty, agrees to help feds [MP]

Mario Dal Cerro, a former streets and sanitation employee in Melrose Park, plead guilty in federal court Monday. See Chicago Tribune:
Dal Cerro admitted he urged a restaurant owner to lie about payments made for security services from the business owned by someone who was a village official at the time.

Dal Cerro promised to cooperate in the fed's ongoing investigation of the village, the police department and former police chief Vito Scavo's security business.

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KLEPT, did Serpico campaign give candidate $10,000?

In September, 2006 Citizens to Elect Ron Serpico, Sr. Inc wrote two checks to Ronald M. Serpico, Sr. totaling $10,000 for "loan repayments". The first check was for $2,500 on September 15, 2006 and the second check was for $7,500 on September 26, 2006.

Candidates sometimes loan their campaigns money.

But according to Serpico's disclosure forms none of the campaigns $32,018.54 debt was held by Serpico.

Serpico's campaign owes:
  • $9,500+ Anthony Bruno and Illinois Development Services Corp.
  • $4,500 Josesp Giglio
  • $4,500 Alfred Ronan
  • $4,500 Swinford Partnership, Ltd
  • $4,500 Louis P. Vitullo
  • $4,500 ziolkowski porter damato + associates llc
Serpico's campaign had the same debt before and after the reporting period.

Did Serpico just give himself $10,000 from his campaign committee?

The Illinois State Board of Elections does little to enforce election law, except hassling campaigns about submitting their forms on-time. So if a candidate skimmed money from a campaign the board probably wouldn't look into it unless someone filed a complaint.

[UPDATE: Serpico also gave his campaign money during the same reporting period, but did not report it as a loan.

[On July 30, 2006 Serpico gave the campaign $10,000. On August 30, 2006 Serpico gave the campaign $7,500. So Serpico gave $17,500 before taking $10,000 as a loan repayment.

[But later Serpico gave to the campaign claiming he was repaying a loan from the campaign to the candidate. On October 19, 2006 the candidate paid back a $7,500 loan. And on December 1, 2006 Serpico paid $2,500 back to the campaign that had been loaned to him.

[Serpico also made a $7,500 contribution to the campaign on October 8, 2006.]

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A07, list of candidates running in April

Proviso Herald has a list of candidates running in...
  • Bellwood, village (uncontested) and library (contested)
  • Berkeley, village (uncontested), park district (contested), school board (insufficient candidates)
  • Broadview, village (contested)
  • Hillside, library (insufficient candidates)
  • Maywood, village (contested)
  • Melrose Park, village (contested)
  • Stone Park, village (uncontested)
  • Westchester, village (contested), library (uncontested)
  • District 209 (contested)
  • Veterans Park (uncontested)

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SPORT, two significant local hoops games tonight and tomorrow [D208, D209]

In regional girls hoops playoff action Proviso East will be at Riverside-Brookfield tonight at 7:30 PM. See Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Brad Spencer).

And tomorrow Proviso West goes to Oak Park and River Forest (boys hoops). Both the Pirates and the Huskies have one conference loss. The Huskies won the first encounter at Proviso West. See Wednesday Journal (Marty Farmer).

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SPORT, Ralph "Babe" Serpico Memorial Field to be resurfaced [MP]

Chicago Tribune (Steve Brosinski):
Synthetic turf will be installed at Ralph "Babe" Serpico Memorial Field after the Village Board on Monday approved a $363,000 contract with FieldTurf USA Inc.

The ballfield, at 1000 N. 25th Ave., should be resurfaced in time for the Taste of Melrose Park celebration over the Labor Day weekend, Mayor Ronald Serpico said.

According to the Illinois State Board of Elections neither FieldTurf nor its employees have contributed to elections in the last six years.

Maybe when the field is resurfaced it can be renamed after someone who wasn't, y'know, a career criminal.

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GOV, Claypool and Peraica propose cutting management to preserve services

CBS2 (Derrick Blakley):
Opponents of Cook County Board President Todd Stroger are using a new strategy in the fight over the budget....

Tony Peraica and Forest Claypool [sic] hailed as conquering heroes by unionized nurses after they and 10 other County Commissioners proposed a budget that saves hundreds of union jobs.
CBS2 has video.

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BLOG, blogger trying to cash in on Commissioner Bill Beavers' wit

Want Todd Stroger's mug on your skivvies, panties, drawers, undies?

I don't, but Rogers Park Bench (Tom Mannis) thinks there's a market.

h/t Phil Kadner (Daily Southtown)

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

KLEPT, Stan Fields giving away taxpayer money to Welch political ally [D209]

Superintendent Stan Fields decided to buy ten tickets to the PLCCA Masquerade Ball held last Saturday for $2,500. PLCCA is the non-profit organization run by Rev. Claude Porter. Porter is a political ally of Eugene Moore, District 209 school board president Chris Welch and the Stroger family.

District 209 provided information about the ball in the packages provided to board members before the December meeting. Fields did not suggest District 209 buying tickets at the November meeting, the December meeting or the January meeting.

Since the January meeting Fields decided to contribute $2,500 to PLCCA and polled the board members individually. Apparently four of them said "yes" to the expenditures.

The day after PLCCA's Masquerade Ball Fields reportedly attended Porter's church. Fields invited Porter and members of Porter's church to attend the February meeting of the board of education. Fields promised to unveil his education plan. At least one member of the board minority is rankled that Fields is shopping his education plan with Porter before telling board members of its existence.

Further, minority board members have complained that Fields portrays himself as being a disciplined steward of taxpayers' money by portraying board members as wasting money for going to education conferences while Fields is just giving away money to political allies of board president Chris Welch.

[UPDATE: A board member now says that the board voted to approve the expenditure, but that Fields hid it within another expenditure. Is this legal?]

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CRIME, Jeffrey Lowenthal of Bahcall's was murdered Monday [M]

Chicago Tribune (Joseph Sjostrom):
Jeffrey Lowenthal, 53, Bahcall's longtime store manager, was fatally shot in an apparent armed robbery attempt about 5:30 p.m. Monday, Maywood police said. No suspects were in custody as of late Tuesday.

The Trib has a nice article explaining the Lowenthal family's connection to the Village of Maywood.

Proviso Herald gave the story 58 words an misspelled Lowenthal's name.

[UPDATE: This is a police sketch of the suspect from ABC7.]

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MEDIA, don't fall for the lies about Iran

Yahoo (AP) headline: Bush: Iran supplying weapons in Iraq

Proviso Probe headline: Nyberg: Bush supplying lies to gullible media

Atrios put it like this:
Did the last 4 years not happen? Did these reporters not live through it? Did we not have a big discussion about how journalists should stop relying on the statements of administration officials and start asking for a little actual evidence?

The media deserves contempt for how it enabled the Iraq War. Partially they used 9/11 and the national mood as an excuse for their gullibility. "It just didn't seem right to question the President at that time," seemed to be the mood of journalists, editors, producers, publishers, CEOs and owners.

What's the #%&$ing excuse this time? Bush isn't popular. Americans are clearly sour about occupying Iraq indefinitely.

Yet the sheep in the national media are getting played the exact same way as with Iraq.

Here's what you need to know about Iran: it isn't a threat to U.S. national interests. And going to war against Iran whether by bombing or invasion will result in large numbers of Americans being killed.

Attacking Iran will hurt U.S. national interests. The Democratic Party has the votes to keep Bush from attacking Iran.

[UPDATE2: See TPMmuckraker.com (Spencer Ackerman) for details on how CNN's Barbara Starr got the story about Bush's claims about Iran wrong.]

[UPDATE: This Saturday there will be an anti-war meeting at the Maywood Public Library.]
The people voted against the war…
Tell the new Congress…
“Not One Penny More for the War!”
We don’t need Congress to spend another $100 billion for the Iraq War!
We need money to pay our heating and electric bills!
We need money to stop foreclosures!
We need money to stop water shutoffs!
We need money to feed our children!
We need money to pay for medical care!
We need money for jobs and education!
FEBRUARY 17TH has been declared NO MORE $$$$ FOR WAR DAY
It is a national day of coordinated protests across the country to demand that Congress VOTE NO!to any future funding of the war in Iraq

Come and Testify
(Congressman Danny Davis has been invited to come and listen. He is a cosponsor of Bill H.R. 508: To Require United States Military disengagement from Iraq)
Saturday – February 17, 2007 – 3:30 PM
Maywood Public Library (Room 202)
121 S. 5th Ave, Maywood Illinois

Bring the bills you can’t pay!
Bring your family!
Bring your determination to stop the endless war spending!

Sponsored by: International Action Center
Chicago Chapter (773) 381-5839

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F07, Patrick Doolin money questions

On February 9, 2007, Commissioner Patrick Doolin received $1,000 for his campaign committee from Grand Interior Group Inc., 2121 N 15th Ave., Melrose Park. Grand Interior Group has also given to Eugene Moore (most recent $500 on March 20, 2006) and to the Eighth Ward Democrats (Stroger's ward organization, most recent $200 on October 24, 2006).

Grand Interior Group, Inc. is owned by Eugene Palermo. Eugene Palermo's son, Jason Palermo, owns Doolin's real estate business. Neither Eugene or Jason Palermo have a recent history of contributing to political campaigns as individuals.

Doolin also received $2,500 from Delaney Contractors in Oak Park. Doolin signed a modified version of the CUFP campaign pledge and is not limiting himself to contributions no more than $100 from outside Forest Park.

Today the Forest Park Review endorsed Patrick Doolin for mayor. On the web site formerly known as ForestPark.com justaparker wrote, "Talk about pay to play dosen't Doolin pay the review every week for his adds?" And Dr. Barbie added:
Interesting Justaparker, I was thinking the same thing. Anytime you read the Review online Doolin is sitting at the top of the page watching you.

I would imagine Mr. Haley would lose quite a bit of advertising revenue if he alienated Mr. Doolin.

According to Doolin his real estate business hasn't advertised in the newspaper in ten months and his online advertisements cost about $60 per month. He estimates that he's spent less than $1,000 in advertising with the Forest Park Review in the last year. Forest Park Review's total advertising revenue is unknown.

[UPDATE: In an email Patrick Doolin wrote, "I just checked my records and the last time I placed a real estate print ad in the FPR was 08/06."]

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