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Proviso Probe

Saturday, June 28, 2008

baby birds squeak for money in Maywood

On Thursday, June 26, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger and Maywood Village President Henderson Yarbrough led a meeting that had the nominal subject of community violence. The cynical perspective of the meeting would be to say that county employees were preening to justify their jobs and a number of community members were asking for money for their own ideas about how to reduce violence.

Almost all the discussions about violence concentrated on youth violence. Proviso Township, which includes Maywood, already spends vast money on its children. We have this program called the public schools.

The public schools serving Maywood are horribly mismanaged. No amount of putting church ministers, deacons and local busybodies on payroll to implement “violence reduction programs” is going to change that the schools suck.

The Maywood community has consistently voted to put corrupt people in charge of the schools. And these elected officials have provided jobs and contracts for their cronies while neglecting education for students.

What sort of message does this send to the community? If the community respected their own children they'd spend the money for educating the children on the children, not launder the money through contractors, including lawyers, to make the politically connected rich.

Many of the speakers thanked Stroger for getting their project money. And others kissed his ass just to suck up. Reverend Sampson said "God bless" and bowed to Stroger.

I think it's weird--and un-American--to treat public officials as royalty. The term I like is "public servants". The elected officials and the people they hire work for us. We don't have to prostrate ourselves for basic services. We, the citizens, elect them and pay the bills.

Along these lines, a woman called out that the county employees all got to speak before the citizens and wannabe county employees. (This is a feature of county meetings that is standard. The meetings are to present the perspective of county employees to the chumps who attend these meetings. The ordinary taxpayers are the last to speak.) As the woman observed, a large number of the county employees left before the actual citizens got to comment.

Feel free to discuss, comment or ask questions.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

details of Welch suit against Odelson and Sterk

Proviso Insider (Chris Welch*) has posted the details of Welch's suit against Burt Odelson and Mark Sterk.

* I'm going to assume that Proviso Insider is Emanuel "Chris" Welch on matters pertaining directly to Welch. Emily Robinson and perhaps others post as Proviso Insider, but I think they are mostly working on behalf of Welch.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

cynicism, it's hard to keep up

The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.--George Bernard Shaw

There are a couple items that make good examples from the Forest Park Review.
When my children and I woke up Saturday morning, my 8-year-old daughter was very sad to see that her bicycle had been stolen during the night from our back yard. We then went to the police station to fill out a report. Officer Mike O'Connor was working that day and he listened patiently as another officer took our report. He told my daughter that he was sorry that her bike had been stolen and mentioned that he had recently bought his daughter a new bike, so he offered to give us her old one. We told him what a kind gesture that was but that it wouldn't be necessary.

Imagine our surprise to see that when we returned home, officer O'Connor had already dropped off his daughter's old bike on our front porch. Because of his kind and selfless gesture my daughter did not have to miss one day of bike riding with her friends.

With so many negative stories emanating from the Forest Park Police Department it's comforting to know that people with the good heart and character of officer O'Connor can be found with ease. It's very easy to write a letter or make a phone call to complain, I just thought that equal time should be given to highlight those things that are best as well.

Melissa, Anthony and Zianna Turek
Forest Park

I'm glad O'Connor showed generosity. And unlike many of the cops in the Forest Park PD, I've never anyone say anything bad about O'Connor.

But just because O'Connor is kind and generous in one situation involving children, it does nothing to disprove the thesis that the Forest Park PD is led by two corrupt, dishonest people (Mayor Anthony Calderone and Chief Jim Ryan) whose subordinates commit many incidents of misconduct.

The Forest Park Review (Michelle Keefe) includes a pro-war propaganda piece about children assembling care packages for servicemembers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Invading Iraq was an awful idea. The project was foisted on the nation by hysteria, lies and conflating the 9/11 attackers with Saddam Hussein. Now the elites who bought the lies and hype say the U.S. military can't leave because it would lead to an even worse situation. Meanwhile, the war profiteers, like Dick Cheney's former company, stuff money in their pockets.

But hey! Forest Park children are learning to be good patriots. So it's OK their older brothers and sisters are getting PTSD, getting maimed and dying in Iraq because people in Forest Park get to feel good about reading about care packages in the local paper.

And the situation in Afghanistan is only slightly better. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The Allies defeated Nazi Germany on May 8, 1945. The Japanese surrendered on August 15, 1945. In less than four years the U.S. military and its allies defeated the Wermacht and the military of Imperial Japan.

We're coming up on seven years since the 9/11 attacks and the U.S. military has failed to neutralize the Taliban, defeat a few thousand guys fighting from caves or capture a 6'4" Arab with four wives and a kidney dialysis machine.

But the U.S. military has become a goon squad for a dubiously popular central government. Said goon squad kills a bunch of innocents while doing whatever goon squads have to do to keep the central government in power.

By what measure has invading Afghanistan has worked?
  • Made Americans feel tough or like they were doing something about 9/11 or something
  • Allowed Bush's cronies to begin war profiteering in the bonus round
  • Helped get some pipelines built
  • Created "war spending" that could be diverted to prepping for the Iraq War
  • Increased opium production

But, it's also allowed Forest Parkers to read about their children being inculcated with patriotism in the local paper.

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Todd Stroger coming to Maywood

Cook County Board President Todd Stroger is coming to Maywood to talk about violent crime in the west suburbs. See Proviso Herald.

When? 6:30 PM, Thursday, June 26, 2008
Where? Maywood Village Hall, 125 S. Fifth Ave, Maywood

What would you ask Stroger?

I'm thinking of questions like....

Let's assume you wanted to reduce crime in the western suburbs, what power or authority do you have to affect things?

If you aren't doing particularly well at delivering services and restraining spending in the areas of county government you are responsible for, why should we hold out hope you will do something constructive outside your areas of responsibility?

Are you going to be calling-out corrupt local politicians who enable corrupt police officers who in turn enable street crime?

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Trib covers Welch legal bills story

Chicago Tribune (Jo Napolitano) published an article about Chris Welch, the president of the Proviso Township High Schools board of ed, having the school district pay his legal bills.

What's new in the Trib story?

Welch--I believe for the first time--publicly acknowledged he is one of the writers for Proviso Insider. He denies writing the allegations that are the basis for Mark Sterk's defamation suit.

Board member Theresa Kelly filed a complaint with the regional superintendent of schools, Charles Flowers. Flowers was formerly a board member with Kelly and Welch. Flowers is a politically enemy of Welch.

There's some discussion of the possibility Welch was acting in the scope of his duties as a member of the board of education.

I don't like the way the article handled this. One, it omits that Welch denied being involved in Proviso Insider. It seems impossible to reconcile the claim Welch's writings on Proviso Insider were part of his duties as a member of the board of education and the fact that he was doing the writing anonymously.

Two, Welch is never required to give a cogent explanation how his writings were in the scope of his duties.

If a claim isn't reasonable, I have a problem will journalists printing it. People who are doing things that are illegal shouldn't be able to offer untrue justifications without a clear explanation the claim is untrue.
Welch called his service as board president "a 24-hour-a-day job." He said that he has been sued three times before and that his legal fees were covered by the district on each occasion.

This is a logical fallacy. Welch has been sued for his actions as a board member. But that doesn't mean that everything he could get sued for is somehow related to his position as a board member.

In fact, Welch has filed a suit of his own against the firm, alleging the attorneys put pressure on his former employer to try to convince Welch that the board shouldn't dismiss Odelson & Sterk.

This is an interesting wrinkle in the story. For more info, see Proviso Insider.

Board members Bob Cox and Dan Adams are quoted defending their votes to pay the legal bills in question.

There's also a discussion on Forest Park Forums.

[UPDATE, June 25, 2008: Forest Park Review (Josh Adams) has more details and there's a tough Forest Park Review editorial.]

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Monday, June 23, 2008

regular blogging to resume soon

I'm working two jobs right now.

The part-time job ends tomorrow. I will start blogging regularly after this.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Welch gets D209 to pay his legal bills

On Monday the Proviso Township High Schools (District 209) board of education approved paying over $22,000 in legal bills to the law firm representing board president Emanuel "Chris" Welch. Forest Park Review (Josh Adams) has the details.

There are seven members of the board of education. There are six votes in the block controlled by Welch and Eugene Moore. There is one member of the opposition: Theresa Kelly.

I know that a number of "Whites" who follow D209 matters are suspicious of Kelly. They argue that she's just like the political hacks running the district; the difference is that she's not on their team.

Kelly deserves credit for being on the board of education and raising issues. If Kelly didn't get elected in 2007, the Welch-Moore block could conceivably have a 7-0 majority.

Being in a 6-1 minority is a lonely place. And Kelly could have just given up. Instead she keeps reading the information presented to board members and she keeps asking questions.

Illinois law prohibits school board members from being compensated for their service. Also, they are supposed to spend the taxpayer's money educating students, not paying their personal legal bills.

While Welch's behavior was almost assuredly illegal, let's not overlook the board members who voted with Welch. Are they clueless?

Also, the Forest Park Review article shows what a toady Libka is.
Superintendent Robert Libka said he did not question Welch's attempt to pass the expense on to taxpayers, but said after the meeting that Kelly's argument against paying the bill merits a second look. According to Libka and Kelly, Welch informed board members several weeks prior that he intended to seek reimbursement. With Kelly offering the only objections, Libka said he did not see a reason to disturb the apparent harmony on the matter.

"It seemed appropriate at the time," Libka said of reimbursing Welch's legal bills. "I probably have more questions now, but I still feel the same."

Go read the FPR article for further details.

Libka simultaneously claims paying Welch's legal bills seems appropriate because it was somehow related to his duties as a board member and that Libka didn't know the details of the case.

Here's a quick recap.

Welch was blogging anonymously as Proviso Insider.

Proviso Insider accused attorney Mark Sterk, of Odelson and Sterk, a firm that had respresented D209 in the past, of counseling Melrose Park police officers to obstruct justice.

Sterk filed a defamation suit against Proviso Insider. See this Proviso Probe entry for a starting point.

Libka's explanation for paying the personal legal bills of a school board member shows that the man is ignorant of the law and just a go-between. When Libka is speaking on issues of import he's a wind-up toy given words by the board president.

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