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Proviso Probe

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Yarbrough excludes media from D209 candidate forum

On Tuesday, February 24, 2009, Proviso Township Democratic Organization (PTDO), the political organization of Karen Yarbrough, who is both a state representative and the Democratic Committeeman for Proviso Township, invited me by email to attend the Saturday meeting at 10:00 AM on February 28, 2009.

The invitation listed four candidates for the board of education, Proviso Township High Schools (District 209): E. Chris Welch, Reatha Sue Henry, Dan Adams and Brian Cross. These four are all incumbents and all part of one slate. (See more of the invite below.)

Welch ran against Yarbrough for state representative in 2006. The defining ideology of Yarbrough's political organization seemed to be opposition to former Proviso Democratic Committeeman Eugene Moore and hatred of Welch, who has a knack for making enemies.

Friday, February 27, at 9:59 PM Yarbrough sent me a text, "no endorsements for schools and no media tomorrow." I responded within 10 minutes, "What's that mean for me?" Yarbrough did not respond.

On Saturday, February 28, I arrived about 10 minutes early for the 10 AM meeting. I entered behind Rory Hoskins, a Forest Park commissioner and president of PTDO, and helped myself to a doughnut.

When Yarbrough arrived she didn't greet me, but referred to her text from the night before.

I asked, "Are you asking me to leave?"

Yarbrough responded, "I told you not to come."

Along the way she mentioned Josh Adams, editor of the Forest Park Review also requested to attend the meeting. Yarbrough allying with Welch shakes up the political factions in local politics.

Text of PTDO invitation sent to me:
from President Rory Hoskins

Proviso Township Democratic Organization's Saturday Meeting
DATE: Saturday, February 28th, 2009

TIME: 10:00 AM

LOCATION: 2301 W. Roosevelt Road

Broadview, IL 60155

Phone: 708-344-7062

Agenda Items:

* Meet District 209 Incumbent Candidates

E. Chris Welch

Reatha Sue Henry

Dan Adams

Brian Cross

PTDO Mission Statement
The Proviso Township Democratic Org., in coordination with the state and national Democratic Party, is committed to the principles of honest, open and progressive government and to increasing voter participation in the electoral process. PTDO is open to all persons, regardless of their race, age, gender, creed, religion, sexual orientation or economic status. [emphasis added]

Message from Karen:

It's been a busy time for all of us however we must do our due diligence in making selections for endorsement. The next few meetings will be spent hearing from candidates who's name will appear on the April 7th election. In the case of local elections, those who are members of the organization will be able to present their candidacy to the group.

Please note that all of these elections are
NON-PARTISAN. (meaning neither Democrat or Republican)

See you there!

PS: Only paid up dues members will be eligible to vote.

Karen A. Yarbrough

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  • If you want to post a comment, use a pseudonym.

    I don't allow people to post under "anonymous" because it gets confusing to have a discussion with multiple people posting as "anonymous".

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 1:35 PM, February 28, 2009  

  • "Real political leadership requires an ability to persuade, inspire and support forwarding-thinking people at all levels of government."

    - K. Yarbrough

    I find this quote to be highly suspect, dishonest and self-serving if she chooses to align herself with Welch and his followers.

    Welch's record as School Board President is poor...test scores, graduation rates and attendance has declined each and every year under Welch's mismanaged leadership. If this is what Karen endorses, then she too has drank the Welch's kool-aid and the community they claim to represent will continue to decline at a rapid pace.

    I would ask Karen, How forward thinking is a man who disgustingly defames citizens of her community, including herself and Henderson, and hides behind an anonymous blog to accomplish this task?

    Is this the type of persuasive leadership we want to lead our children?

    Our community is in crisis and our children are grossly mis and undereducated...but we use our hard earned tax dollars to support Welch's legal fees to help him cowardly hide behind his Proviso Insider Blog and defame members of our community.

    One would think Karen would be outraged...instead of supportive.

    "In the end...it takes pure courage to inspire...it takes cowards to divide...and it takes a fool not to recognize the difference".

    - My Name "Guess Who"

    By Anonymous Political Suicide, at 2:03 PM, February 28, 2009  

  • I am still baffled by Yarbrough’s welcoming invitation to Welch and cronies. Something is rotten in the state of Proviso Township. The political charades that occur are appalling. After the election of President Obama, I thought that the politicians of Proviso Township would get their acts together. How optimistic of me? Karen Yarbrough, state rep. and committeeman, has pulled a fast one on the people who supported her. In political circles she is Gene Moore with lipstick. I laughed at this metaphor and still kept faith in Yarbrough. However, as of lately, she is selling out her constituents to gain a piece of the pie. As I read her political rhetoric on her website, Shakespeare came to mind;"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose".

    The people of Proviso Township need to come out in record numbers to support school board candidates that support student achievement. Chris Welch and his “thieves in the temple” have not promoted education and specifically done NOTHING RIGHT by the students of Proviso Township. My hope is that the people of Proviso Township will vote for genuine, sincere, and forwarding thinking school board candidates. "The common curse of mankind, - folly and ignorance"

    By Blogger Gene_in_Drag, at 3:48 PM, March 01, 2009  

  • I agree totally with the comments from "Gene in Drag".
    Yarbrough has "sold out her supporters" for a piece of the pie, which is probably Insurance commissions at district 88,89 and 209. She thinks she is slick, but Karen is not. The support she was given in her State Rep. election and her committeeman race was not for her but against Welch and Moore! I beleive she became delusional and thought that she was the new leader that proviso yearned.
    Now Yarbrough has decided to do the ultimate double cross of her supporters and she is supporting the Republican committeeman of Proviso and his ticket of Republicans for Township goverment and also is supporting Welch and his group for 209!
    Yarbrough has made her bed and she'll lie in it alone.Her husband will lose the election, and she'll be lucky to stay in the house, but nobody will ever support her again, because once a double crosser, always a double crosser!
    Maybe Karen needs advice, such as Larry Shapiro.

    Karen Yarbrough your history!

    By Anonymous Yarbrough sold out, at 6:02 PM, March 02, 2009  

  • Karen's on her way OUT!

    By Anonymous WTF, at 8:14 PM, March 02, 2009  

  • Does anyone really care who Karen Yarbrough supports? Her and her husband Henderson run Maywood, the most crime ridden, socially, economically and morally depressed community in all of Proviso. Based on that alone, whomever she is supporting is obviously the wrong choice. To the voters of Proviso...find out who Karen Yarbrough supports and then vote for whoever is running against them.

    By Anonymous Do The Opposite, at 8:19 PM, March 02, 2009  

  • Word has that Yarbrough met with Welch and Serpico three weeks before the candidate forum,to pledge her support to Welch and his ticket as well as the Township ticket being led by the Republican committeeman Corrigan. Is this true?

    By Anonymous need to know, at 9:23 PM, March 03, 2009  

  • Chris Welch: The Record


    By Anonymous The worst 209 President Ever!, at 7:08 AM, March 05, 2009  


    • Test Scores

    FACT: Prior to Chris Welch joining the Proviso School Board, Proviso Schools had NEVER been placed on the “State Academic Watch List”. Current test score are among the worst in the State of Illinois, as well as, the worst in Proviso history. Only 13% of proviso students meet state average!!

    FACT: Since Chris Welch joined the school board, Proviso High School District has been placed on the “State Academic Watch List” each and every year.

    FACT: The years prior to Chris Welch, test scores were almost TRIPLE current levels.

    FACT: Recently, Proviso ranked dead last in test scores for Cook County High Schools.

    • School Finances

    FACT: Chris Welch inherited a $14.1 million dollar balance (surplus) in working cash.

    FACT: Prior to Chris Welch, the school district had a less than $40 million annual budget and received less than $9,000 per pupil from taxpayers.

    FACT: Currently, the district receives over $70 million per year and receives nearly $18,000 per student from taxpayers.

    See Illinois State Report Card
    FACT: Prior to Chris Welch (1995-2001), the school district did NOT sell any bonds (borrow money).

    See article “D209 bond sale chugs along”
    FACT: Since Chris Welch joined the school board, the school district has borrowed over $60,000,000 which has caused our taxes to go up in Proviso Township.

    See article “High Schools look to borrow 18 million”
    See article “Proviso OKs bond for Magnet school; $40 million to buy, renovate
    FACT: Prior to Chris Welch, the school district was NEVER placed on the “State Financial Watch List”

    FACT: Since Chris Welch joined the school board, the school district has been placed on the “State Financial Watch List” nearly every year.

    • Pay to Play Politics

    FACT: Chris Welch has received over $100,000 in campaign contributions, mostly from school vendors and employees.

    See article “D209 contract raises eyebrows”
    See article “Moore Money”
    See article “Money Matters”
    FACT: Chris Welch has received numerous donations of $5,000 or more from school attorneys, the school insurance broker, the school’s public relations firm and a school architectural firm.

    See article “Money Matters”

    • Melrose Park Influence

    FACT: Chris Welch and Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico were sued by a former school employee in U.S. Federal District Court for a political firing. (The jury found Serpico guilty and ordered Serpico to pay the plaintiff $1 million).

    See article “Jury awards 1.4 million in damages in D209, Serpico conspiracy”
    See article “Serpico ordered to pay $1 million”

    FACT: Chris Welch voted to use school tax dollars and resources to pay Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico’s $1 million obligation.

    See article “Insurance firms, Dist. 209 picking up lawsuit costs”
    FACT: Chris Welch hired the recently indicted former Melrose Park Police Chief Vito Scavo’s Security Firm as “consultants” for School District 209.

    See report IFPC Worldwide Security Services did for Proviso High Schools
    FACT: Chris Welch hired recently indicted disbarred Melrose Park attorney Anthony Bruno at School District 209.

    See article “Disbarred attorney Bruno charged with tax fraud”
    See article “Magnet-school fee blasted”
    See article “Magnet contract given”
    See article “Developer charged with tax fraud”

    • Character Issues

    FACT: Chris Welch submitted his personal attorney bills to the school district for payment.

    See article “Proviso’s Welch sticks taxpayers with legal expenses”
    See article “$57,883 and counting”
    See article “The shame of Proviso’s High schools”
    FACT: Chris Welch has been school board president since 2002, even though district policy limits the tenure of a school board president to two years.

    FACT: Chris Welch and his board puppets (Adams, Henry, Cross) spend our school tax dollars hiring family and handing out political favors.

    See article “Members defend voting giving jobs to relatives”
    See article “Hacks fearless: Proviso is simply a stomping ground”
    See article “Right-hand man gets school board seat”
    FACT: Chris Welch was hired as the attorney for another school district. (District 88 School Board) The vote to hire Welch was 4-3. Two of the votes came from individuals who are employees of School District 209! Since his retention, Welch has been criticized for his excessive legal bills to the district.

    See article “Welch criticized for high legal fees in Bellwood”

    • Magnet School

    FACT: The original cost of magnet school was 15 million dollars and no bonds (borrowing) were being sold for the construction.

    FACT: Chris Welch changed the project cost and spent over $40,000,000 on the magnet school.

    See article “Proviso OKs bonds for magnet school; $40 million to buy, renovate
    FACT: The original Magnet school was to be constructed brand new and adjacent to a college campus.

    FACT: Chris Welch changed the location of the Magnet to one of the busiest intersections in Proviso without any athletic fields.

    FACT: The Magnet school was to house over 1,700 students.

    FACT: Currently, the Magnet school houses less than 400 students.

    See article “Short of expectations”
    FACT: Test scores for the Magnet school shows only 7% of the students exceed state average and 30% actually fall below state average.

    By Anonymous President Welch Leads 209 to record lows!, at 11:23 AM, March 05, 2009  

  • Hammerhead says;
    It;s a shame no one knows where Paul Esparza is at, because when he had his West Suburban Democratic Organization with Willie Sutton, he kept everyone in check. The problem with everyone was that no one could buy Paul Esparza or Willie Sutton. History will teach us the apple doesn't fall from the tree when it comes to Karen Yarbrough. DO you remember Don Williams? Republican, strong supporter of the Republicans and Karen's father. When Karen lived in Oak Park, she worked hard for the Republican Party, so what else is new. Nothing! When President Obama ran for US Senator, Karen did not support him, Gene Moore did not support him, and many politians in Proviso Township felt a Black Man didn't have a chance. The only organization that supported Obama was the West Suburban Democratic Organization led by Paul Esparza. I know I was one of his workers in Melrose Park. Esparza left Provisi Township because there is NO HOPE with the elements of politicians in Proviso who don't talk the talk or walk the walk. I owe everything I have to Mr. Esparza, who was very honorable and a man of his word for many, many years. He helped so many people like me, and many others like me to get a job, help our families and never had his hand out. His work was for the betterment of the community he crossed all boundries. He always looked for what he could give back to the community not what he could get from the community. Thats a man of intergrity. Hope to see you again Paul, and thank you again for what you did for me & my family.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:37 AM, March 05, 2009  

  • Let's talk MP politics...

    Carl Nyberg (not verified) on Tue, 03/03/2009 - 17:39

    If the village employees are on the clock, that's illegal.

    If the village employees are off the clock and using village vehicles, that's illegal.

    And if the individuals are not village employees and using village vehicles, that's illegal too.

    If the poll workers are using village vehicles there's a violation of Illinois law. The details are only essential to establish what part of Illinois law is being violated.

    By Anonymous Arturo Mota, at 8:37 PM, March 05, 2009  

  • This is a sad turn of affairs. Thanks, Carl, for keeping on top of it.

    By Blogger chris miller, at 8:13 AM, March 16, 2009  

  • BTW - is there any place on the internet where one can verify any or all of the "facts" anonymously presented under the title of "President Welch Leads 209 to record lows!" ?

    By Blogger chris miller, at 8:32 AM, March 17, 2009  

  • Oops - I just found the original page from which that list of "facts" was taken -- and yes, it does provide links to articles printed by local journalists.

    There's plenty of evidence that Welch and Co. (which now includes Yarbrough) are our very own shameful Blago-ites.

    BTW -- I just got the mailing from the "Students Party 1st" (the Welch team) -- and it's interesting to note that there is NOT ONE favorable statistic or favorable journalist quoted.

    Not one.

    And there's also no web site - but then, I doubt they expect their voting base to be computer literate - or literate in any way, for that matter.

    By Blogger chris miller, at 9:33 AM, March 21, 2009  

  • Chris, I invite you to our website (As annotated on the back side of the mailer, if you recheck it) at www.newstudentsfirstparty.com

    Thank You very much for your input.

    Brian M. Cross

    By Blogger Brian, at 8:27 PM, March 22, 2009  

  • Thankyou, Brian.

    I've found the site, but notice that it completely ignores all of the issues (and statistics) raised by local journalists.

    Perhaps, as an incumbent, you can address some of them here ?

    Do you really think that the creation of the Math & Science Academy ameliorates the failure of the rest of the system ?

    Can you say anything critical at all ?

    Or would that jeopardize your current employment in Cook County government?

    By Blogger chris miller, at 10:58 AM, March 27, 2009  

  • While waiting for Brian to reply, I would like to congratulate him for participating in this discussion and for identifying himself by name.

    Apparently, that takes real courage in our vicinity.

    By Blogger chris miller, at 12:33 PM, March 28, 2009  

  • Yikes! what a defeat! The only good news is that Kevin McDermott beat out yet another party regular (Sue Henry - employed by the Cook County Recorder of Deeds) for the fourth seat on the board.

    Kevin seems to be a smart, honest, dedicated citizen -- I hope he can make a difference.

    BTW - I notice that Brian never did reply -- and I notice that his "Students First Party" first mailing did not mention a website.
    (although they did mention it in the second)

    I hope he will take his job on the board seriously.

    By Blogger chris miller, at 9:20 AM, April 08, 2009  

  • Carl, what's the story behind district 209 asking the state to oversee its budget ? (reported in the Tribune yesterday)

    By Blogger chris miller, at 9:03 AM, April 23, 2009  

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