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Proviso Probe

Thursday, May 31, 2007

R-B #2 in Illinois according to Newsweek

Riverside/Brookfield Landmark (Bob Skolnik) reports on Newsweek magazine ranking Riverside-Brookfield High School the second best in Illinois. The system used divides the number of students taking AP exams by the number of graduating seniors.

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Cook County stuff

County Board President Todd Stroger (D-8th Ward) is considering a property tax increase. See CBS2 (Dana Kozlov).

Commissioner Tony Peraica (R-Riverside) is using his website for video clips to make his critique of Stroger. (h/t Bill Baar's West Side by way of Illinoize.)

Also, Kevin Robinson (Chicagoist) has a county roundup that includes Cook County billing a correctional officer for being stabbed by an inmate, allegations of patronage hiring in the Recorder of Deeds office and discussion of Peraica's "no confidence" vote on Todd Stroger.

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Two Congressional candidates in news

Mark Pera has created a web site and filed FEC paperwork to run against Congressman Dan Lipinski in the Democratic Primary. (h/t scorekeeper Prairie State Blue.) The district includes most of southern Proviso Township, including southern Forest Park, southern Westchester, Brookfield and La Grange Park.

Huffington Post (Robert Naiman)
covers the race from the point of view of Democrats from Democrat districts who have been opposed to expeditiously withdrawing from Iraq.

Pera was president of the Lyons Township High School board for six years. And he ran for state representative in 1996.

Also, Alderman Ricardo Munoz is a candidate for the Fourth Congressional District, which includes Stone Park and part of Melrose Park. It's currently represented by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Chicago), who has announced he is retiring at the end of this term.

Yesterday (Wednesday) Munoz's father was charged with manufacturing documents for undocumented workers. See Sun-Times (Natasha Korecki & Fran Spielman). The exculpatory part of the story is that Munoz has been estranged from his father for 16 years.
Ald. Munoz said he has been estranged from his father since his parents divorced nearly 16 years ago.

"We talk maybe once or twice a year," he said. "I continue being his son. I'm going to do what I can to help him. . . . It's been difficult, but he's still my dad."

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Recipe for Frango Mint cheesecake

Joseph Comise of La Grange Park had his family recipe for Comise's Family Mint Cheesecake published. The recipe uses Frango Mints. See Times Leader (Donna Pierce, Chicago Tribune)

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

FPR coverage of D209 switching law firms

Forest Park Review (Josh Adams) wrote about Proviso Township High Schools (District 209) terminating Odelson & Sterk as the district's law firm and hiring Giglio & Del Galdo.

Odelson & Sterk is a politically connected law firm that is most closely associated with President of Cook County Board Todd Stroger, at this point. Odelson & Sterk also seems to have synergy with James J. Roche & Associates. Roche is (or was) the law firm of Emanuel "Chris" Welch.

Giglio & Del Galdo is a politically connected law frim tha tis most closely associated with Melrose Park Village President Ron Serpico, at this point. When Giglio & Del Galdo tried to get the District 209 business in the past, Burt Odelson made an issue of the firms questionable activities in Cicero.

The vote to hire Giglio & Del Galdo was... out of the ordinary. The vote initially failed three yeahs (Adams, Cox and Welch) to three nos (Flowers, Foreman and Kelly) and one abstention (Henry).
After moving on to other business and without holding any further public discussion on the issue, Welch announced that Henry and another board member had changed their vote, thus awarding the district's business to Giglio and Del Galdo.

I'm not a lawyer (IANAL), but that seems like it just ain't right. If board members can change their votes after the fact, couldn't public meetings go through the whole agenda without taking any votes and then have board members submit paper ballots with "yes" or "no" checked next to each motion?
Robert Cox, a newly elected board member from Forest Park, voted to bring in the new legal firm largely out of fiscal concerns, he said. Based on information provided by the superintendent, Cox said he understood that Odelson and Sterk was attempting to bilk the district out of money.

Bob Cox is a nice guy. I believe he means well, but... Just because Odelson & Sterk were billing more than the district wants to pay hardly proves that Giglio & Del Galdo will reduce the legal bills.

BTW, Cox was the treasurer for the Proviso First Party. I'm curious if Giglio & Del Galdo was a big contributor to Cox's election.

Also, you can read the Forest Park Review editorial.

I guess my comment on the editorial is that Forest Park Review probably should have spent more ink being concerned about the source of the Proviso First Party's campaign contributions before the election. Post-election hand wringing seems like closing the barn door after the cows have left.

In fairness to the Forest Park Review, the Citizens For Better Schools--the slate running against the Proviso First Party--didn't raise this issue very effectively as part of their campaign.
ADVERTISEMENT: Remember Tuesday thru Thursday The Laundry Room has 75 cent washes. And it has free wi-fi 24/7. Help John keep laundry cheap. The Laundry Room, 216 Des Plaines, Forest Park.

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Illinois Alarm awarded huge contract by District 89

Bill Dwyer filed a FOIA request and discovered the details of Illinois Alarm's contracts with District 89 (Maywood & Melrose Park elementary schools). Illinois Alarm is the business owned by Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone.

Bill Dwyer (Forest Park Review):
Then there are the contracts that Tony Calderone has inked with governmental bodies the past few years. He insists he has no political connections with Melrose Park, but the $824,000 contract his Illinois Alarm firm inked with the District 89 school district, headquartered in Melrose Park, suggests different. Signed by Calderone the day after Christmas, it pays his company nearly $660,000 for installing security equipment in 13 district buildings, as well as nearly $160,000 in monthly fees over the next three years.

I haven't received anything yet from a May 10 FOIA with Melrose Park regarding Illinois Alarm, but I'm patient. I won't even get grumpy if I have to contact the Illinois Attorney General's office for help.

I remain curious about the bid process. How many bids did District 89 get for this job?

I look forward to the Forest Park Review doing a full news story on Illinois Alarm's dealings with District 89.
ADVERTISEMENT: Need any experienced handyman that charges reasonable rates? Call Lester Rodgers, (708)514-0028.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

ADMIN, Proviso Probe blocked by Blogger

When I try to post I get:
This blog has been locked by Blogger's spam-prevention robots. You will not be able to publish your posts, but you will be able to save them as drafts.

Here's what Blogger (Google) has to say about Spam Blogs.
What Are Spam Blogs?

As with many powerful tools, blogging services can be both used and abused. The ease of creating and updating webpages with Blogger has made it particularly prone to a form of behavior known as link spamming. Blogs engaged in this behavior are called spam blogs, and can be recognized by their irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text, along with a large number of links, usually all pointing to a single site.

Spam blogs cause various problems, beyond simply wasting a few seconds of your time when you happen to come across one. They can clog up search engines, making it difficult to find real content on the subjects that interest you. They may scrape content from other sites on the web, using other people's writing to make it look as though they have useful information of their own. And if an automated system is creating spam posts at an extremely high rate, it can impact the speed and quality of the service for other, legitimate users.

What We're Doing About Spam

Needless to say, we do not approve of spamming here at Blogger. Below are some of the things we've implemented to remove and reduce spam on our service. We will update this list as we continue our efforts.

* Automated spam classifying algorithms keep spam blogs out of NextBlog and out of our "Recently Published" list on the dashboard.
* The same classifiers are used to require an extra word verification field on the posting form for potential spam blogs. This makes it harder for spammers to set up automated systems to do their posting, since a human needs to complete this step.
* The Flag as Objectionable button in the Navbar lets you notify us of problem blogs that you find, so we can review them and take appropriate action.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

BLOG, The Proviso Truth debuts

The author/publisher has chosen to remain anonymous. See The Proviso Truth.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Veterans Park District hosting replica Vietnam Vets Memorial [MP]

Friday through Monday (Memorial Day), Veterans Park District will be hosting a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Bulger Park.

Each days activities begin at 10:00 AM.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

GOV, District 209 changes law firms and insurance brokers [D209]

I missed tonight's District 209 (Proviso Township High Schools) board meeting.

Apparently the board fired Odelson & Sterk as the district's law firm. Giglio & Del Galdo has been hired to replace Odelson & Sterk. [UPDATE2: See this entry for Burt Odelson's critique of Giglio & Del Galdo.]

Odelson & Sterk is closely connected to Cook County Board President Todd Stroger. Cook County Recorder of Deeds Eugene Moore is an ally of the Stroger family.

Giglio & Del Galdo are allied with Melrose Park Village President Ron Serpico.

So, Serpico has outfoxed or out-muscled Moore for the lucrative legal business of the district.

Also, Moore lost the insurance business for the district. Moore had been getting $18,000 per month through his business EMM & Associates for being the district's broker of record. See Forest Park Review (Josh Adams).

A rumor from a normally reliable source says board president Emanuel "Chris" Welch has been fired by his law firm James Roche & Associates. Roche & Associates and Odelson & Sterk share many of the same clients.

Anybody have any comments or insights about tonight's board meeting?

[UPDATE: I received information that says Odelson & Sterk was terminated, but Giglio & Del Galdo was not hired last night. I'm going to confirm what happened with Giglio & Del Galdo.]

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KLEPT, Alberto Gonzales You Tube tribute

I'm busy moving, but blogging on local happenings should resume in a couple days.

In the mean time I'm gonna borrow material I saw on Talking Points Memo.

Someone stuck Attorney General Alberto Gonzales with the nickname "Fredo" after the dimwitted brother in the Godfather movies. He's also known as AGAG and Abu Gonzales, for his role in writing the legal instructions facilitating mistreatment of prisoners.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

KLEPT, Stewart explains Bush admin efforts to illegally surveil Americans

The Bush administration wanted to engage in unconstitutional wire tapping of Americans in violation of U.S. law.

The establishment media hasn't done a good job explaining the recent revelations by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey very well. However, Jon Stewart does it pretty well.

h/t Think Progress

How did President George W. Bush respond to Comey's account?

h/t Talking Points Memo

If you want to see the abridged version of James Comey's testimony, see Talking Points Memo.

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ED, should state spend more on education?

Capitol Fax Blog (Rich Miller) pointed me to a Chicago Tribune (Monique Garcia and Ray Long) article explaining that Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) has drawn a line in the sand on school funding.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich and fellow Democrats must forge a budget solution that addresses the disparities in school funding that have allowed rich districts to spend thousands of dollars more on each student than poor areas of the state can afford, Lightford said.

Let's compare what local high school districts spend per student. On the school report cards the expenditures are divided into "Instructional Expenditure Per Pupil" and "Operational Expenditure Per Pupil". I've combined them into a single figure.

* Elmwood Park--$14,217
* Leyden--$14,465
* Morton--$16,532
* York--$17,144
* Lyons--$21,456
* Proviso--$21,665
* Riverside-Brookfield--$21,745
* Oak Park & River Forest--$22,967

We know Proviso is 90th of 90 high schools in the Chicago area when ranked by test scores. But spending is almost as high as the highest cost districts in the area. (New Trier spends $25,186 per student.)

The numbers simply do not support the traditional liberal position--the position Lightford is arguing--that schools that don't perform are constrained by money.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

LEGAL, is Chicago Joe's Tea Room suing Broadview?

The Westchester Progressive Party sent the following email.
While House Bill 1608 continues to move forward in Springfield, closer to home the applicant - Chicago Joe's Tea Room - has apparently filed suit against the Village of Broadview claiming his constitutional rights have been violated.

The Westchester Progressive Party warned of this scenario back in March after learning of a similar situation that occurred in south suburban Bedford Park (see below.) Even if HB 1608 passes and is signed into law, that is state law. If the applicant files suit in federal court, the state law doesn't apply - federal law does. The case doesn't have to have enough merit to actually win, simply enough to get Broadview's board to negotiate - and remember, those negotiations would be allowed to take place behind closed doors under the "Pending Litigation" exception to the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

Was Broadview Village Board vote really the end?
We are happy the Broadview Village Board voted to deny Chicago Joe’s Tea Room permission to locate a strip club on Gardner Road. At the same time, we worry that the board’s vote did not close the book on the subject.

The articles below that outline a very similar scenario in suburban Bedford Park shed some light on what could be happening here. Here is a summary of what occurred in Bedford Park.

Late 2004 - an applicant requested a special use permit to operate an adult use entertainment facility in Bedford Park. Said applicant originally requested to operate 24-hours with a liquor license The applicant said they would be operating “a high-quality restaurant not currently available in the village.” Applicant said they were attracted to the site because of its size and proximity to Midway Airport. Spring 2005 - Village of Bedford Park denies applicant’s request November 2006 - the Bedford Park Village Board approved an out-of-court agreement with the applicant Under the agreement, the company will pay the village $162,500 for a one-year adult license The owners will pay $150,000 annually to renew that license Mayor says he tried to stop this club from coming into Bedford Park but damages threatened in lawsuit were too risky Strip club expected to open later this year

February 28, 2007 - an applicant requested a special use permit to operate an adult use entertainment facility in Broadview. Said applicant originally requested to operate 24-hours with a liquor license The applicant said it would be operating “a high-quality restaurant not currently available in the village.” Applicant said they were attracted to the site because of its size and proximity to the expressway and downtown Chicago March 5, 2007 Village of Broadview denies applicant’s request

Are we heading down the same road? Will a cash-strapped Broadview reach an agreement good for them and bad for Westchester? The Westchester Progressive Party pledges to keep our eye on the ball and oppose this business with every means possible!

I have not confirmed or read the lawsuit.

The Village of Broadview rejected the application of Chicago Joe's Tea Room because village code prohibits combing adult entertainment with serving alcohol.

Discuss the possibility of Chicago Joe's Tea Room bring a lawsuit at All-Proviso Network.

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ADMIN, no comments on Proviso Township board meeting?

I did not allow comments on the entry about last night's meeting of the Proviso Township trustees. Instead I sent readers to All-Proviso Network.

I did this for a few reasons.

The leading reason is that I want to grow All-Proviso Network. There's a difference in how Proviso Probe and All-Proviso Network handle comments.

At Proviso Probe I moderate the comments which slows down the discussion. All-Proviso Network is unmoderated, but requires people posting comments to create accounts. There are also other administrators there to help keep the discussions from going "out of bounds".

Ultimately I want All-Proviso Network to grow so that it becomes a meaningful local media outlet. But for this to happen people need to write for All-Proviso Network. I hope some dedicated citizens will take responsibility for keeping an eye on some piece of Proviso Township.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

GOV, mental health commissioners with expired terms replaced

Tonight the Proviso Township board met and replaced members of the Proviso Township Mental Health Commission whose terms had expired. According to Trustee Tim Gillian four or five PTMHC trustees were replaced. One of the new PTMHC commissioners is Melrose Park trustee Arturo Mota.

Most (all?) PTMHC commissioners were serving past the expiration of their terms. The township supervisor, Kathy Ryan, has the responsibility of appointing commissioners. But the board was controlled by Ryan's opponents. In the past Ryan's candidates wouldn't be approved by the majority of the board and Ryan wouldn't nominate commissioner candidates the board would approve.

This is unconfirmed, but one source said Dan Coglianese, the Proviso Township treasurer of schools, is out as a PTMHC commissioner.

Comment at All-Proviso Network.

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M08, two local Republicans declare for U.S. Senate

Sen. Richard "Dick" Durbin is up for re-election in 2008.

On Monday, La Grange physician Steve Sauerberg declare his candidacy for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. See Topix.net search for media and blog coverage.

Politics1.com has a list of candidates who have expressed intent to run. (State Senator Bill Brady is listed as a potential candidate.) On the list of candidates is Jim Rowe, who challenged State Senator Don Harmon in 2006. Rowe lives in Franklin Park.

I last saw Rowe at a fund raiser for Tony Peraica's campaign for President of the County Board. Rowe engaged in dirty campaigning. He scared seniors and accused Harmon of supporting sex offenders. Rowe also made the inaccurate statement Harmon endorsed Topinka over Blagojevich. At the Peraica fund raiser Rowe really thought he was going to beat Harmon.

I also discovered Anthony "Andy" Martin is more of a kook than I thought. Apparent the Illinois Supreme Court has denied Martin admittance to the bar because of filing a hundred law suits with little or no merit in federal court. See Chicago Tribune (John Chase and Rick Pearson).

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Monday, May 14, 2007

GOV, Congressional delegation jerks Stroger's chain

Crain's (Mike Colias):
Illinois' congressional delegation is pressing Cook County Board President Todd Stroger to clean up problems at the county's cash-strapped hospital system if he expects lawmakers to fight for more dollars from Washington....

Critics say the financial problems are rooted in an outdated governance structure that leaves oversight of the three-hospital system to the county commissioners and board president.

That presents "a clear opportunity to use the system for political hiring at the expense of best-qualified health management leadership," says a study last year by a health policy group affiliated with Northwestern University's medical school.

Is Stroger part of the problem because he wants to keep the perks of political power?

Is Stroger the victim, thrust into a situation where he has to commit "murder by spreadsheet" to deal with financial constraints he can't control?

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

HISTORY, Mother's Day originally a call for peace

You learn the darnedest things on blogs...

Hullaballo (Digby):
It's unfashionable and vaguely unpatriotic these days to talk about "peace" but back in 1870, it was a pretty compelling concept. As the country was still reeling from the effects of the civil war and still dealt daily with its consequent illness, poverty, injury and death, feminist Julia Ward Howe wrote the following proclamation creating a Mother's Day convention and a demand for "the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace." How quaint.

Digby includes this video from Brave New Foundation which created Mother's Day for Peace.

For more information on Mother's Day and Julia Ward Howe, see Wikipedia. Shit, she was an abolitionist who wrote the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" too.

I like the end of Julia Ward Howe's poem:
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

It is my belief that if we are to end the use of war and other forms of organized violence as tools for arbitrating disputes we need to replace war with other methods for handling these disputes. Specifically, we should improve international political and legal institutions for arbitrating conflict.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

IRAQ, is it time to get out of Iraq?

President Bush has vetoed supplemental funding bill of the Iraq occupation because it contained a time line for withdrawing from Iraq. The time line was not mandatory. Bush has further threatened to veto a bill without a time line, but with benchmarks.

The most ardent critics of Bush's Iraq policy point to Bush's behavior that negotiations with the President are a sham. He intends to veto each bill until he gets the money he wants with no strings attached.

Remember, Bush could have fully funded the occupation through the normal legislative process when the Republicans controlled Congress. However, he waited to do an "emergency" supplemental bill.

And remember also, that Bush increased the number of troops in Iraq without putting the issue before Congress because he realized he would lose the vote.

So Bush has been gaming Congress for awhile.

Now the most ardent opponents of continuing the occupation of Iraq have won a concession from Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Tonight the House will vote on a bill to withdraw all troops from Iraq. See Daily Kos (Kagro X) or Talking Points Memo (Greg Sargent).

You are invited to call your representative to give your opinion.

[UPDATE: Lipinski voted against McGovern's bill to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq. Gutierrez, Emanuel & Davis voted for withdrawal. See the roll call. The rest of the Illinois delegation voted along party lines (Democrats for withdrawal, Republicans against) with the exception of Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL08), who voted against withdrawal.]

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

BUSINESS, local laundromat with cheap prices

The Laundry Room at 206 Des Plaines, Forest Park, has $0.75 wash days Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Other days is $1.25.

There's also free wi-fi. So bring your laptop and your laundry and take care of business.

The owner is trying to keep the prices down, but he having a few more customers would help.


GOV, Gov. Blagojevich wants to pitch you on a new tax [D209]

Gov. Rod Blagojevich invites you to attend a community hearing on his Investing in Families Plan.

When? Thursday, May 10 4-6 PM
Where? PMSA, 8601 W. Roosevelt

Click here to RSVP.

Blagojevich has a proposal to significantly increase taxes on multi-million dollar businesses and using the money for schools, health care, property tax relief, funding pensions, etc. The new tax is called the "Gross Receipts Tax" (GRT). According to Wikipedia a GRT is used in the following states: Arizona, Delaware, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas and Washington.

Critics say the tax will have a variety of negative consequences. Businesses that have high volumes and low margins will leave Illinois. Businesses that can't leave Illinois will pass along costs to consumers.

Supporters of the GRT argue that some form of revenue enhancement is needed and the GRT hits the poor and middle class less than increasing other taxes, e.g. income tax, property tax and sales tax. (The Illinois Constitution prohibits charging wealthier citizens a higher income tax rate.)

Rich Miller (Capitol Fax Blog) wrote:
Eric Zorn hits it right on the head today with a column about the governor’s gross receipts tax and business opposition. It all boils down to who you trust, Zorn writes. Do you trust that Blagojevich has come up with a reasonable, fair plan, or do you trust big business to take care of the uninsured and assume that their arguments against this “job killing” proposal are valid?

I think I like the GRT from the perspective of tax fairness. The United States has been shifting the cost of government onto the middle class and working poor. This trend should be reversed.

However, I'm not wild about Blagojevich's spending priorities.

As part of increasing the money for school districts we need to increase accountability for misspending money and we should really reflect on what constitutes a quality education in the modern era.

I am also skeptical of spending more money on health care at the state level. I think health care is too expensive a problem to be fixed at the state level. It really needs to be addressed at the national level.

What questions should defenders of Blagojevich's plan be asked?

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

ED, Proviso Township High Schools has a new board of education [D209]

Proviso Township High Schools has reconstituted board of education. Board members Gary Marine and Shirley Madlock finished their terms and were replaced by Robert “Bob” Cox and Robin Foreman.

Incumbent board member Theresa Kelly was re-elected on April 17, 2007. By a 5-2 Emanuel “Chris” Welch was re-elected president of the board of education. Charles Flowers and Kelly voted against Welch. Dan Adams was re-elected vice president of the board with Flowers and Kelly abstaining. Reatha “Sue” Henry was re-elected as board secretary 7-0.

Madlock gave a prepared speech and was, at times, so choked with emotion she had trouble delivering it. After thanking people she said her number one goal on the board of education was to improve education. Madlock took a swipe at unnamed parties by saying, “Not everyone is open to change.” When I asked her after the meeting adjourned if there was someone specific who she thought was not open to change she shook her head no.

Madlock speech included cliches about finger pointing. Madlock said, “If we want Proviso to be a better place we have to look at ourselves.”

To me this all sounded self-serving. Madlock said virtually nothing in open session for four years. When she did take a stand in closed session it was largely to look after her sister's interests as an employee of the district. Now that Madlock's off the board she wants other people to consider how they are responsible for Proviso's problems.

In the same speech Madlock had the audacity to say improving education was her number one goal. Proviso Township High Schools is 90th of 90 in the Chicago area. What did Shirley Madlock accomplish to improve education during her term? What did she even try to accomplish?

The woman has some chutzpah to give a long speech about how the rest of us should be looking in the mirror and asking ourselves to take responsibility. She quoted the popular Dale Wimbro poem, “The Man In the Mirror”. Madlock's been on the board of education. She's the one legally responsible for the situation. And what did she try to do to make it better?

Gary Marine gave a simple statement thanking everyone and wishing the best to his colleagues continuing on the board.

Kelly's statement was also simple thanking her supporters and saying, “We will move the board forward.”

Cox gave a somwhat confusing speech. He asked people to envision someone in 30 years talking about his high school experience at Proviso. Cox referred to the graduate reading 48 books, which seems almost realistic. But then he talked about learning Arabic and Chinese—which aren't even offered. And Cox referred to his fictional alumni being offered six scholarships.

Foreman gave an enthusiastic speech. She thanked the community. She promised not to take the position lightly. She promised to be accessible, “You can reach Robin,” she promised. Then she said she'd place Proviso first. And then students first. And then teachers first. And then she promised to put a bunch of other stakeholders first.

After the meeting I overheard Kelly talking about Foreman. Foreman was trying to be friendly, including a bunch of touching. Kelly resented the presumption that such intimacies were appropriate. Kelly believes the rumor that Foreman posed for the pictures used in the mailing attacking Kelly for wasting district money on excessive travel.

Carla Johnson and Kevin McDermott, two of the candidates who ran but didn't place in the top three, attended the board meeting. Johnson ran with Cox and Foreman. McDermott ran with Kelly and Ralph Harris.

If you want to comment on some of the other changes to local government why not start a discussion on All-Proviso Network?

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

ED, Fields appears on Viewpoints [D209]

Arnie Bryant had the superintendent of Proviso Township High Schools (District 209), Stan Fields, PhD, on "Viewpoints From the Other Side" today.

Fields gave his usual performance. Test scores suck. The district has been deficit spending for the last decade. He's cut the projected deficit $9 million. Proviso citizens shouldn't be satisfied. Fields implied he's a force for change.

I called the show and asked Fields what specifically he's cut to achieve the $9 million dollars in savings. He kept trying to get away with the answer, "If you read the budget on the web..."

Finally, I pinned him down. Fields claims he's achieved savings by cutting improperly let contracts. When I asked for examples he said he could recall any specifics names.

Here's what I suspect is happening. Fields $9 million savings exists because of accounting sleight of hand. The original budget overestimated expenses and underestimated revenue. By merely correcting the numbers Fields (and business manager Nikita Johnson) created the illusion of large savings when they really have achieved more modest savings.

I also asked about Fields letting the big contract with Technivista for the new website. Earlier Fields had extolled the benefits of requiring a bidding process for contracts. I asked Fields about the website contract. IIRC Fields claimed there was a bid process, but he quickly used the evasive answer of saying the process fully complied with the law.

If Fields did cut corners or outright break the law, do you think he'd say?
"Yeah, I broke the law on that one. My buddies the Schoeder brothers made a mint and they agreed to kickback part of the money to Welch's school board candidates."

Fields answers about the website increased my suspicion that the process wasn't on the up-and-up. One piece of speculation I've heard is that the district justified not bidding out the website work because it fell under the exception for "professional services". Lawyers and accountants can be hired without a bidding process.

Also, Fields question on the district hiring process was pretty much an admission that he engages in patronage hiring. He said he's inclined to hire people who are recommend to him by people he trusts. It might be a good follow-up question to ask who Fields trusts to recommend candidates for hiring.

I'm hoping to get a copy of the tape, so I can quote Fields verbatim.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

ADMIN, take the Blogads survey

Please take my blog reader survey!

The survey is a little long, but you can exit. The information will help make Proviso Probe profitable, or something.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

MEDIA, American Idol: Blake Lewis, beatbox & Bon Jovi

I'm not proud of it, but if I'm home there's at least a 50/50 chance I watch American Idol.

I do think it the show is pop culture multiculturalism. It may not be as good as Americans building personal connections across cultural, ethnic and geographic divisions, but it does allow the audience to connect to basically appealing people of diverse backgrounds.

Blake Lewis, from the video clip, hadn't made much of an impression on me until last night. Last night I was impressed with Blake using beat box to re-interpret Bon Jovi's You Give Love a Bad Name.

Jordin Sparks had an awful night, but if she survives will probably make it to the final three. Melinda Doolittle is a career back-up singer who is doing well. She sings great, has cuteness--although 17-year old Sparks is ubercute--and Melinda has cut weight like a football player shifting to wrestling season.

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MEDIA, All-Proviso Network

Forest Park has Forest Park Forums for discussing local issues.

Forest Park Forums requires users create accounts, but anyone with an account can start a discussion.

Now Proviso Township has All-Proviso Network.

I hope All-Proviso Network will facilitate getting information to citizens and make it easier for them to participate in the local community.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

IRAQ, four years ago today "mission accomplished"

Steven Connell is a Poetry Slam, Inc. champion.

Tell Us the Mission is a project of Brave New Foundation.

h/t Daily Kos

Four years ago President George W. Bush stood on the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) and declared major combat operations were over under a banner than said "mission accomplished".

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