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Proviso Probe

Friday, October 26, 2007

FP cop indicted for brutality against homeless Black man

The U.S. Attorney Northern Illinois District has indicted Forest Park Police Sgt. Mike Murphy for misconduct in beating a Black homeless man, Sidney Hooks. See Forest Park Review (Josh Adams):
According to Hooks' civil complaint filed in February 2004, Murphy arrived at the tail end of a police response in which two officers were attempting to determine whether Hooks was panhandling. The two other officers responding to the call were satisfied that an arrest was not necessary and explained as much to Murphy, the suit contends.

After walking approximately half a block from the scene, Hooks was allegedly apprehended by Murphy, who was exiting his squad car with pepper spray in-hand. Hooks was allegedly sprayed in the face and then struck repeatedly with a baton, resulting in a broken wrist. After being kicked and handcuffed, Hooks was transported to the police station where Murphy "dragged Mr. Hooks approximately 20 feet," according to the suit.

Murphy acted like a criminal. What did Forest Park Police Chief Jim Ryan do? What did State's Attorney Dick Devine do?

BTW, at least one supporter of Mayor Anthony Calderone is characterizing the prosecution as a castration. See Forest Park Forums. From the perspective of this Calderone supporter, I guess it's removing the intrinsic masculinity of "White" cops to hold them accountable for using pepper spray and a police baton against a Black man.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

PTDO hosts State's Attorney forum for Dems

Last Thursday night, Proviso Township Democratic Organization hosted a forum for the seven Democrats running for State's Attorney. See video on Google.

The primary is February 5. Suffredin pointed out that this is the first election for Cook County State's Attorney since 1948 without an incumbent running.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

video details how Daley's organization uses clout

A Proviso Probe reader sent me a link to a video from the blog/video blog Chicago Clout. The video is titled, "Connecting the Dots Patrick McDonough" which isn't very self-explanatory.

McDonough is a whistleblower about corruption in City of Chicago contracting. If I followed the story correctly in the video, McDonough was the person who got the ball rolling in the Hired Truck Scandal.

The video portrays Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) as a politician who is being influenced by campaign contributions to vote against his constituent's interests.

The northwest portion of Harmon's Senate district included Bensenville. Bensenville is one of the communities that would be adversely affected if O'Hare Airport were expanded.

(The Harmon-O'Hare connection does provide a reason why Harmon was carrying Mayor Richard M. Daley's water on legislation affecting Midway Airport.)

The video explains how Daley or his allies used union members as political workers under the auspices of the unions having their own political operation.
Q: What did you have to do politically, Pat, to keep your job?

Pat McDonough: We were expected to work precincts. We mainly worked through Plumbers Local 130. We were sent to assigned targeted areas which is called the Political Action Task Force of Plumbers Local 130. So we were sent to any area throughout the city that was targeted by what the Mayor wanted.

Union members who did the political work were rewarded with promotions, overtime and benefits.

To me this sounds quite a bit like the unhealthy--illegal?--relationship between SEIU 73 and Eugene Moore and Emanuel "Chris" Welch. Moore is the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, former Proviso Township Democratic Committeeman and political boss with significant influence at Proviso Township High Schools (District 209). Welch is the president of the D209 board of education.

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Stroger tax increase proposal

President of the Cook County Board Todd Stroger says it's essential to raise taxes... big time... to prevent cuts in vital county services.

Chicago Tribune (Mickey Ciokajlo)
Cook County Board President Todd Stroger wants to triple the sales tax and double the gas and parking taxes to pay for 1,130 new county jobs and cover rising costs.

Stroger's critics are skeptical. They point out that in the past Stroger preferred to cut essential services for the poor, rather than jobs for his cronies.

A Sun-Times editorial expressed significant skepticism.
Ah, but look what happens in 2009, when the county gets a full calendar year of those new taxes. It collects a staggering $981 million in extra money -- which Stroger admits is way more than the county will need. But don't worry, he says. He'll simply find a way to put the extra money back in taxpayers' pockets. He says he'd cut the parking tax and the gas tax, maybe even the real estate tax, which amounts to $720 million a year. He's not sure.

"We'll repeal the other taxes and the 2 percent will keep us going," he told the Sun-Times editorial board.

In other words, Stroger wants us to trust him.

Mary Mitchell (Sun-Times) gives a defense of Stroger's tax increase proposal.

If you want to weigh-in on the Forest Preserve portion of the tax increase there will be a hearing at the Maybrook Courthouse on Thursday at 6 PM. See Sun-Times (Steve Patterson).

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legislature overrides Blagojevich veto, extend 7% property tax increase cap

Oak Park Journal:
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) announced that legislation extending the 7% property assessment cap for an additional three years will become law. Senator Harmon joined his colleagues in both the Senate and the House recently to override the Governor’s veto of House Bill 664....

With the Governor’s veto overridden by both the House and the Senate, the last hurdle remaining for the proposal is approval by the Cook County Board, which is expected to meet on the issue soon.

I have an inkling that this issue is more complicated than extending cap good and not extending cap bad.

But I need to get more info to explain it.

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RIP Agustin Gomez, 48, Melrose Park

Wednesday Journal (Bill Dwyer):
A high-speed single car crash in the 1150 block of South Cuyler Avenue claimed the life of a Melrose Park man Saturday night. Agustin Gomez, 48, was killed after the vehicle 17 year old Eric Gomez was driving left the roadway around 9:15 p.m., struck a street light pole, two houses and a tree before flipping over on the parkway at Cuyler and Fillmore.

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Nazareth in playoffs

La Steven McKinney and his Nazareth teammates roared into the state playoffs by cruising past St. Viator 43-0 Saturday in La Grange Park.

It's the first appearance in the playoffs for the Roadrunners (5-3, 4-3) since 2001 and their first as a member of the East Suburban Catholic. They previously qualified as members of the Private School League.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

D209 union members given bait and switch

This morning a source at Proviso Township High Schools (District 209) called to say that yesterday the support staff union voted to accept the furlough plan to cut district expenses.

To get people to vote "yes" the union members were told voting "no" would result in job cuts.

This morning Superintendent Robert Libka sent an email telling support staff that the district would cut jobs even though the union voted to accept the furlough plan.

What's the harm in being honest and up front with employees?

Let me speculate: when you have a management team that's used to lying all the time then they get in the habit of lying even when there's no particular advantage.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

District 89 discusses issuing bond for working cash

On Monday, October 1, at 5:00 PM, the District 89 (Maywood and Melrose Park elementary schools) board of education held a special meeting to discuss district finances.

After a presentation by a representative from UBS, the board informally agreed to move ahead with issuing a working cash bond. The UBS woman portrayed the money as not quite essential, but helpful to keep the district's cash reserves sufficient that an emergency wouldn't cause checks to bounce. UBS is a financial services company that will be paid for processing the district's bond.

Because financial services fall under the exception of “professional services” the district will not be required to seek bids for the work on letting the bond. UBS employees have given generously to Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Also, the district is on course toward needing to go to the taxpayers for a referendum for either academic year 08-09 or 09-10. The speaking board members expressed frustration that the district overspends various sub-district budgets before the board of education becomes aware.

There were only three people in the audience: Arbdella Patterson, a former school board candidate, Willie Mack, of the regional superintendent's office, and me.

After the meeing I spoke to Grady Rivers, president of the board of education, about Sandra Berryhill, who has been nominated to the board. The district contends that Regional Superintendent of Education Charles Flowers missed the deadline for nominating a candidate. See Proviso Insider.

As I understand it Flowers made two claims about District 89's handling of the vacancy. One, the district failed to meet it's obligation of notifying the regional superintendent of the vacancy withing the five days required by law. Also, the notificaation was misleading or ambiguous as to the effective date of the vacancy.

I asked Rivers how he justified spending money on legal bills contesting the nomination of Berryhill when the district is nominally trying to cut unnecessary expenses. Rivers responded that it was Flowers who was forcing litigation and legal wrangling on the matter.

The curious thing about Rivers' behavior is that after I thought we were finished discussing the matter Rivers came back to re-open the discussion, twice. Largely, he restated his position. In the third encounter, I asked Rivers if Flowers was right and District 89 missed its deadline for notifying the Regional Superintendent of Education about the vacancy within five days, would he allow Berryhill to be seated. Rivers stated that if this determination was made legally then he would accept it. I think Rivers answer makes it clear he intends to fight Berryhill joining the board of education by all legal means at his disposal. No amount of tranfering money from eduction to legal bills is too much to keep Flowers' nominee off the board.

Presumably, either the board's attorney, Emanuel “Chris” Welch (of Sanchez, Daniels & Hoffman), or a firm designated by him will make money fighting to keep the seventh seat on the board of education vacant.

Also, board member Ric Cervone has been indicted for corruption. There is currently a 3-3 split on the board on some matters. Cervone is due to be tried in February, 2008. Rivers may figure that once Cervone is convicted, the Rivers-Neely-Cooper block will have a 3-2 advantage and be able to control the appointment of the new board member. With Berryhill on the board there could be a 3-3 deadlock creating a situation where Flowers would appoint Cervone's replacement too.

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Todd Stroger wants you to pay more sales tax

Raising Cook County sales taxes by two percent seems like a big deal.

Yesterday Cook County Board President Todd Stroger wanted to increase sales taxes in Cook County by two percent, but narrowly failed to get the votes to act. See Sun-Times (Steve Patterson).

The proposal is not dead and will likely be voted upon October 16.

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contract expires, but Navistar employees keep working

Navistar International Corporation is negotiating with the United Auto Workers. One of the facilities affected is in Melrose Park. Currently Navistar employees are continuing to work. See Chicago Tribune (James P. Miller).

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