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Proviso Probe

Monday, August 31, 2009

you are invited to Congressman Davis' b-day bash!

U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis has announced on Facebook he's having a birthday party and you're invited.
Danny K. Davis invites you to my Annual Birthday Party as I kick-off my campaign for President of the Cook County Board. Sunday September 6, 2009 from 4pm to 9pm ALL IS WELCOME everything is FREE!!!! 3333 w. Arthington Homan Square Garden SEE YOU THERE!!!


Bellwood has highest sales tax rate in Illinois

See Chicago Tribune.

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Prez of Cook County Board, candidate forum, part 2

Earlier I gave a summary of what happened at the WVON forum for Black Democrats running for President of the Cook County Board.

Incumbent Todd Stroger repeatedly made appeals based on ethnic solidarity, being a victim of the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times and some attempts to invoke liberal populism.

Clerk of the Court Dorothy Brown emphasized her credentials and accomplishments in her current job. She used a passionate, somewhat indignant style to make her case.

Congressman Danny K. Davis had a folksy style. He spoke in general terms and sold the idea that he could create consensus amoung the seventeen commissioners and generally bring “hope” to the people.

Alderman Toni Preckwinkle had the fewest supporters in the audience, had trouble connecting with the audience, but she made the case that the Fourth Ward has become more desirable for homeowners and businesses for her having been alderman. She was also the only candidate to speak in specifics about what she would do if elected.

There were issues I felt should be covered more to do justice to want the candidates said. So, I wrote this entry and expect to write at least one more.

Moderator Cliff Kelley asked candidates who are their core voters.

Preckwinkle began by explaining her base in the Fourth Ward and on the South Side and moving outward. She mentioned aldermen she had worked with, especially the Latino caucus. She then mentioned progressives and and independent Whites and ended by mentioning women. Someone from the audience heckled Preckwinkle for not mentioning the West Side, the location of the forum.

Brown quoted a poll which had her leading with 34%, Davis with 30%, Preckwinkle with 10% and Stroger with 8%. Brown said the people were “interested in dollars and cents, not Black and White”. This resulted in heckling. Brown and Stroger supporters seemed the most organized in the audience, so I assume the heckling was from Stroger supporters. Brown finished by saying the election of Barack Obama proved that people vote across ethnic lines if the candidate is “qualified and can get the job done.”

After saying he had a strong base in the Seventh Congressional District Davis cited his own polling. Davis said he had 65-6 favorable to unfavorable rating across Cook County. Among South Side voters his favorables were 71-8; among West Side voters 65-8; in the south 'burbs 61-10. Davis said that the only politicians more popular than him were President Barack Obama and Senator Dick Durbin. Davis noted Mayor Richard Daley's popularity exceeded Davis in the city, but Davis beat Daley in suburban Cook.

Stroger began by saying, “My core voters are people who care about universal health care.... people who care about health and public safety.” He went on to draw attention to the City of Chicago's deficit ($ ½ billion) and the State of Illinois' defict ($7 billion). He emphasized, “The county is solid!”

Cliff Kelly quoted former Cook County Commissioner (now U.S. Representative) Mike Quigley saying that he was disappointed because there had not been any serious discussion of reform in the race.

Preckwinkle disagreed and said Quigley was in Congress and “has not been attentive.... [Quigley is] not as informed as he should be.”

Brown stated Quigley was “out of touch” because her campaign was about reform. Brown touted her support of citizen review commissions and noted, “Quigley did not support that idea.”

Davis said, “Reform is like beauty; it's in the eye of the beholder.” Davis then spoke about campaign financing. He advocated for limits on both contributions and spending, finally calling for publicly financed elections.

While none of the candidates praised Quigley, Stroger spoke with the most hostility. He explained Quigley's philosophy of reform as telling Stroger, “Those people you hired should be fired.” Stroger then said, “We've made change.” Stroger then equated change and reform. Stroger finished by saying of Quigley (and perhaps Commissioners Forrest Claypool and Larry Suffredin), “The only change they want? I want your job.”

Kelley asked Davis circulating why he is circulating two sets of nominating petitions (one to run for re-election as U.S. Representative and one for President of the Cook County board) if he's committed to running for President.

Davis said he had vowed not to be the candidate to split the Black vote as happened when Eugene Sawyer and Timothy Evans opposed each other for mayor. Davis said he believes he will be so far ahead in the polls the other Black candidates will drop from the contest and support him.

Stroger took the opportunity to praise Davis whom he called “a champion” of Cook County in Congress and “great counsel”. With Davis being on the Ways and Means Committee, “Now he can do even more.” This resulted in a standing ovation. “In conclusion,” Stroger said, “I support Congressman Danny Davis for the Seventh Congressional District.”

Brown drew attention to potential candidates for Congress being “disadvantaged” by Davis keeping the option of running for re-election. She also objected to Davis' polling, “I was not in his poll.” Brown said her name recognition was 80% in the city and 74% in the suburbs. She finished by saying, “A leader must be decisive.”

Davis reacted to the comment about other candidates by muttering something about how it shouldn't be a big deal for them to circulate nominating petitions for Congress if they are serious candidates.

In his concluding remarks, Davis made the following claim, “I ain't ever had a job that I didn't do better than the person before me.”

I'm going to write more on this forum later. There was a significant amount of racial politics, which I haven't wrote about yet. You can also read Laura Washington (Sun-Times) or Progress Illinois (Adam Doster).

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Danny K. Davis addressed Northside DFA in early August

[I apologize for not posting this earlier. I wrote the portion pertaining to U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis and was dragging my feet about writing the portion on Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin. Once Suffredin dropped from the race for President of the Cook County Board, it didn't seem as important what he had to say.]

Thursday, August 6, 2009, night U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis and Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin made presentations to Northside DFA (a local affiliate of Democracy for America) about their desires to replace Todd Stroger as President of the Cook County Board. Two months prior Alderman Toni Preckwinkle made her presentation.

Northside DFA rules require that the organization wait one month after hearing a candidate before endorsing. Northside DFA could have endorsed Preckwinkle last month, but some members wanted to hear from Davis and Suffredin. The vote to endorse Preckwinkle was 24-12, which failed to meet the 75% requirement for endorsement. There were some members who wanted to wait until next month when Davis and Suffredin would be ripe for endorsement.

One personal observation I will share is that the room was bristling with energy. People seemed genuinely enthusiastic to be there and to be participating. Davis, who presented after Suffredin, started by noting the enthusiasm in the room and ended with a genuine compliment (paraphrasing), even if he'd never run for office he would hope for meetings like this to happen because it was the essence of American democracy.

Davis started by saying county government was going in the “wrong direction”. He noted three areas of concern for him: health care, especially for the indigent, judicial/corrections and taxes.

Davis then boasted of his ability to pass bills, even when Bush was President and the Republicans controlled Congress. He noted that he has been pushing for single-payer health care on the Ways and Means Committee.

Davis' presentation was short leaving more time for questions.

Q1, Forest Preserve District. Davis discussed the Forest Preserve District as a place where the interests of labor and environmental activists conflict with each other.

Q2, health care. When asked about access to health care Davis extolled the virtues community health centers.

Q3, ethics. Davis had an evocative answer to the question of an ethical dilemma he faced. According to Davis, when he was alderman Davis was being courted by a developer who wanted a liquor license for a storefront just a little too close to a school. Eventually the developer brought a paper bag to a meeting. Davis said, “I thought is was a hot dog.” Davis said he made sure not an ounce of liquor was sold from that storefront.

Q4, advocating for single-payer health care in Congress. The next question asked who would replace Davis as an advocate of single-payer on the Ways and Means Committee. Davis said that's a decision the people will make. He then spoke of the 29th Ward People's Assembly, an organization that existed in the past. Davis did predict the state reps would not run for the IL-07 U.S. House seat. He did not mention them by name, but different places online claim that Rep. Karen Yarbrough, La Shawn Ford and Deborah Graham all have interest in running.

Q4. The next question lamented that Davis' expertise leaving DC. Davis responded, “I love being a member of Congress and I've been quite successful.” He spoke of “critical issues” and this being a “defining moment”.

Davis then went on to say that he would “get out the vote for Democrats... I'm afraid if some population groups aren't participating as effectively as they can we won't get Democrats elected governor and senator.”

Q5, environment. Next Davis was asked about environmental issues. He praised the technological innovations that went into making energy production and industry more environmentally friendly. This was one of the few times Davis has taken a question and sounded like he was clearly relying on BS.

Q6, why not accept the appointment to U.S. Senate? There was a question that asked why Davis was running for President of the Cook County Board if he declined appointment to the U.S. Senate because he was too busy working on expungement issues. Davis explained he declined appointment to the U.S. Senate by Gov. Rod Blagojevich because he thought that would be the end of his political career.

Q7, not a question. Then a particularly obnoxious Davis surrogate was recognized. Barbara started a speech about her credentials (being from the 1st Ward and being more conservative than liberal) and praising Davis. After awhile someone asked if she had a question. She said she did. But she never asked a question and finished her speech by saying, “This is the best man for the job.” Later Barbara interrupted others and said things like, “Toni Preckwinkle can't win; she doesn't have the experience.” Somewhere along the way Barbara expressed concerns there were too many Black candidates splitting the vote in the race for President of the Cook County Board.

Q8, county jail. Davis was asked about the Cook County jail. He made the point that the United States has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the people incarcerated around the world. He then said, “Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart already doing the things that need to be done. He would have been the toughest guy to beat [for President of the Cook County Board].” Davis went on to say that he is on the LSC for the school serving Cook County jail. He then went into listing all the professional licenses denied to convicted felons in Illinois, including barber, cosmetology, plumber, etc.

Q9, leadership. Next a question prompted Davis to address his leadership philosophy. He started generally by talking about the importance of inspiring and motivating to bring out the best in people. He then talked about his six years as a teacher in which he said he only missed two days, one for an Army physical and one to take a lady to the Lincoln Park Zoo. He also mentioned his leadership in medical clinics before he worked in politics. He also mentioned how Cook County government needs resources and he suggested applying for grants from state and federal government.

Q10, health care bill, public option. A person asked if Davis would commit to withholding his vote on the health care bill unless it contained a public option. Davis started his answer by mentioning some of the numerous caucuses to which he belongs in Congress, including the Asian Caucus and the Pan Hellenic Caucus. He then said that the Progressive Caucus discussed withholding their votes if the health care bill did not include a public option.

Davis said that he told the members of the Progressive Caucus that, “President Obama lives too close and is too popular [for Davis to vote against Obama's bill].” He then said he hopes the President “sticks to his guns.”

Davis then meandered into a story about taxes. He said that there was a proposal to pay for expanding health coverage by taxing pop (and similar sugary drinks) at ten cents per bottle. Davis explained that he is the co-chair of the Sugar Caucus. Davis along with his co-chair Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL10) and Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta; GA Coke is big there) fought to kill this proposal. Davis explained the point of the sugar caucus is to “keep the cost of sugar down”. This serves the interests of Chicago businesses that manufacture candy and other products that contain sugar.

Davis concluded by saying, “I would not support a plan without a public option.”

After the presentations Northside DFA endorsed Jeff Smith, a member, for the Illinois General Assembly. Smith is an attorney running for the seat being vacated by Rep. Julie Hamos, who is running for Congress.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

should Cubs protect Black players from racial taunting?

On Prairie State Blue I made the case that the Chicago Cubs do have an obligation to detect and eject fans engaged in racial taunting of Milton Bradley and other players.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

candidate forum, Black Dems running for Prez of Cook County Board

On Thursday, August 27, WVON hosted a forum for the four Black Democrats running for President of the Cook County Board at Malcolm X College (near West Side). Terry O'Brien, the non-Black Democratic candidate, was invited, but had a conflict. The crowd filled the seats and had people standing in the balcony. WVON's Cliff Kelley moderated.

Campaign message:

Dorothy Brown
Brown introduced herself and included the line, “We need new ideas, not new taxes.” She positioned herself as having relevant financial and management experience based on her education (JD, MBA and CPA) and her running the office of the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court (2,100 employees). Brown repeatedly mentioned that she has saved $187 million as clerk. Brown described the county as facing a crisis, financial and management.

Danny K. Davis
Davis started by saying he believed the county and state were in need and could be in crisis. He said he wants honest and open government. He acknowledged that people want to pay lower taxes. He explained the two “essential” functions of Cook County government as being health care and criminal justice. Davis offered himself as qualified to run the health care system because he ran a health care clinic before he was an elected official and because he was a leader in the National Association of Community Health Centers. On criminal justice, Davis expressed the goal of reducing crime and recidivism and to generally give hope. Davis emphasized the role the seventeen members of the county board play and said that he would be most able to bring the board together.

Toni Preckwinkle
Preckwinkle said government has two obligations: 1) to deliver quality service, and 2) to deliver services efficiently and effectively. Preckwinkle touted her experience as alderman improving the quality of life in the Fourth Ward as proof she has the energy and vision to be President of the Cook County Board. Preckwinkle said she'd do three things as President: 1) eliminate the 1% sales tax increase over four years which would make Cook County more competitive which would increase jobs; 2) continue the independent governing board for the Cook County health care system; and 3) reduce the jail population through increased substance abuse treatment.

Todd Stroger
Stroger emphasized having three balanced budgets multiple times during the presentation. He drew contrasts with city and state budgets that have large deficits. He complained the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times unfairly attacked him. Stroger said he was on the side of the people and the people were on his side. During the evening he injected positive information about Cook County government. Stroger's supporters were quite vocal, gave him standing ovations and frequently broke into chants of, “Four more years!”
In his concluding remarks Stroger said, “We let the major papers tear our leaders down.” He then told of shaking the hand of a Black boy at the Bud Billiken Day parade. Stroger said the boy could see, “This Black man is doing something powerful!... This is about Black people and how we are perceived.”


Dorothy Brown came across as passionate and energized. There was something not quite right about the modulation for me. Maybe it was too much, too much of the time. Her supporters were about as numerous and loud as Stroger's.

Davis appeared to be the elder statesman. The moderator, Kelley, helped by being most deferential to Davis. He could connect with the audience without theatrics. Davis was often smiling knowingly as other candidates spoke in a way that made Davis seem like he was watching little leaguers learn the game of politics.

While having her ideas organized and giving details was her strength, the style of her presentation was her weakness. Toward the end Preckwinkle's forehead was furrowed. It might have been the light pointing too directly at her face. But it was easy to get the impression she was scowling because she was frustrated. Was she frustrated with Kelly, who treated the male candidates better? Was she frustrated with the audience that seemed to be more interested in style than substance? Was she frustrated that her campaign didn't muster more people for the audience? Maybe it was just the light.

Stroger has gotten more effective on the campaign trail than he was four years ago. Four years ago he appeared amiable, if a bit hapless. At the Malcolm X forum he was indignant at be treated disrespectfully by the major media outlets. Stroger used emotion and used details to make his case. Stroger failed to state a vision for the future, but when he said he was on the side of the people he said it with conviction.

Points about county government:

Cook County government spends about $3 billion per year, of which about $882 million go to the hospital, according to Preckwinkle.
Between 2005-07 Cook County forfeited $139 million of Medicaid payments for failing to apply in accordance with federal procedure according to Preckwinkle.
Dorothy Brown was the only candidate that drew attention to the patient intake system. Patients are expected to arrive at 5 AM; the hospital stops allowing patients to get in line at 7 AM. As Brown noted, this kinda sucks if you're sick and there is inclement weather.
Preckwinkle noted Cook County is “in trouble with the federal government for overcrowding” at the jail.

Criticisms of Stroger:

In response to complaining about media coverage, Preckwinkle noted that part of the president's job is to manage relations with the media.

Brown chided Stroger about the forums organized by Cook County government to advise homeowners about mortgage and foreclosure issues. Stroger said the program was an example of Cook County government serving its citizens. Brown countered that the county spent money on something that a foundation (she mentioned the name) would have done for free.
At this point, Kelley made it the clearest that some candidates were more equal than others. Kelley modified the format to allow Stroger to respond. Stroger denied spending money. Brown said he did. Stroger said it was federal money to deal with mortgage issues. Brown countered that the money could have been spent helping people if the forums would have been done for free.
I liked how Brown handled Kelley modifying the rules to help Stroger. Brown simply said her piece and kept talking when Kelly tried to give Stroger the last word. Brown didn't complain Kelly was putting his thumb on the scale, she just took control of the situation.

Other coverage:

Progress Illinois (Adam Doster)

I didn't see coverage in the Trib, Defender or Sun-Times.

[UPDATE: I asked the National Association of Community Health Centers about Davis' experience. This is the email response I received:
Rep. Davis was instrumental in helping to start the National Association of Community Health Centers and served as President before getting elected to Congress. He is also a former employee, board member and patient of two health centers and a long time friend of the Community Health Center Movement. Health centers were started as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty and today they serve 20 million people, nearly 40 percent of whom are uninsured. Congressman Davis has championed for their support and expansion as a Member of Congress, which is why he is a repeat winner of NACHC’s Health Center Champion Award.

[end UPDATE]

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pirate Pride: documentary on Provis East boys hoops program

Yesterday I attended a screening of Pirate Pride at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The one-hour film Pirate Pride is about the glory years of the Proviso East basketball program and how Maywoodians have both made the program successful and gone on to success in the NBA.

The film was produced by David D. Grace and directed by Derek Grace. During the discussion of the film, the Grace's indicated they intend to incorporate more footage about Shannon Brown who was a point guard on the Los Angeles Lakers team that won the NBA championship in 2009.

Since the film is still a work in progress, I hope some of my criticisms will cause the filmmakers to reflect and improve the film.

One person who watched Pirate Pride described it as being like a Chamber of Commerce film. It is also repetitive without offering significant insights. To be successful in sports one needs pride, drive, talent, practice and a supporting school and community. OK. So what?

When speaking to the audience the filmmakers expressed their motivation as being to present a positive image of Maywood to counter the negative information about Maywood. Presenting all positive for an hour makes the film tedious.

The 1969 team won the state championship during a very tumultuous time. The story for this part of the film should probably look something like a documentary version of Remember the Titans. Instead one of the people interviewed characterizes Proviso as going through the same issues as every other school in the country during that period.

Really? I'm not an expert on that era, but it seems like Proviso was facing more issues than the typical suburban school or typical majority Black school.

This also ties into a another weakness of the film. The film seems to be made by Maywoodians and for Maywoodians. It's assumed that the audience knows who Fred Hampton was when he's mentioned (once). One person gives the boundaries on where Blacks were allowed to live in Maywood, but this isn't explained. When this information is given, the film should show a map of Maywood and area Blacks were constrained to.

During the discussion a bunch of time went into praising the movie and people saying how important it would be to show this film to elementary school students.

As a morality tale, a Spiderman cartoon would be better. None of the people being interviewed tell about an obstacle they've overcome. They don't discuss key decisions in their lives. They are presented as people who decided to be really good at basketball and they worked long hours and became really good at basketball.

Having spent some time with athletes, chess players and competing in math competitions myself, there's a disconnect with reality. To become the best, one has to work really hard. But for 99+% of people becoming a great basketball player is not an option. Far less than one in a thousand has the potential to become a grand master chess player no matter how much drive and practice.

The movie also has the Maywood problem of obsessively looking backward. Attendance at Proviso East hoops games is down, a detail that the movie mentions but doesn't discuss.

Question: Proviso East graduates have been on the team that won the NBA championship for three straight years (Michael Finley, 2007, San Antonio; Glenn “Doc” Rivers, 2008, Boston; Brown, 2009, LA), if Proviso East is so imbued with pride, why is attendance down at hoops games?

The movie would be more effective if it tackled Maywood's problems and Proviso East's problems directly. The community has a crime problem. Students at Proviso East do poorly on standardized tests.

Without explaining the problems the community and the school face, the movie treats its audience as children that need to be shielded from the truth. No amount of extolling the Golden Age of Maywood will bring those circumstances back. Communities who have a positive future take stock of their situation and make a decision to make the best decisions going forward. Maywood obsessively looks backward and tries to reclaim the past. This has caused the community to slip backward consistently since about the time the Pirates won their first state hoops championship (1969).

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Davis circulating petitions for two offices?

I received a phone call tonight from someone who had previously said Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL07) was only circulating nominating petitions for Cook County Board President. S/he said that a minor paper (unknown which one) reported Davis is circulating nominating petitions for both President and U.S. Representative (Congress).

S/he followed the information with a question about whether I would still blog through February. I responded that I would. Besides the IL-07 race, I am interested in the race for the Cook County Board's First District, currently represented by Earlean Collins. I am also interested in the race for President of the Cook County Board and potentially Proviso Township Committeeman.

BTW, I was discussing various candidates for President of the Cook County Board.


Brown ran against Mayor Richard M. Daley and she's still in politics. If Brown doesn't get on board with supporting Stroger, what further punishment is she going to incur? Brown is probably annoyed at various Black ministers who are aligned with the Democratic Machine. She figures if they backed Daley against her; she can mess-up their situation by splitting the Black vote against Stroger.

Brown also has a winning move in that she can wait until it becomes clear who is the strongest candidate and throw her support behind him/her.

I expect Davis to either file for re-election to Congress or to fold his tent completely and retire from elected politics. According to people in the meeting of the Cook County Democrats in 2006 (when the party needed a candidate to replace John Stroger on the ballot) Davis made a pitch that he was tired of commuting to Washington, DC.

I don't think "I'm tired of commuting to DC" is the pitch that inspires people to stick out their necks for you. "Don't make no waves; don't back no losers," still applies in Chicago. I don't see committeemen taking a risk with someone who doesn't want to work hard. Politics may not reward virtue, but the game doesn't reward sloth and resting on yesteryear's accomplishments.

Davis is running to reconnect with people he met during his 1991 campaign for Mayor of Chicago. He gets to be in the media. And he gets to be important when he endorses Preckwinkle.

O'Brien is hoping that multiple Black candidates stay in the race and he wins based on consolidating the "White" vote. The Democratic Party presumably doesn't want an overly Irish ticket. So there are big picture factors that work against O'Brien.

Preckwinkle has made the greatest inroads into the activist community and has impressive fundraising. Being from Hyde Park is sexier than it was before Obama.

Stroger will have the support of some of the Machine and some Black voters. But the Machine values some level of competency. Stroger may reliably defend the perks and privileges of the Machine, he brings more trouble than he's worth. County government will get more scrutiny with Stroger at the helm.

Suffredin will switch to either running for re-election to the County Board or running for Cook County Assessor against Joe Berrios. Suffredin may know more about county government than the other candidates. But he doesn't connect with voters well on the campaign trail compared to more formidable politicians.

[UPDATE: A reader sent a link to the Pioneer Press (Patrick Butler) article on Davis.

"He is definitely running" for Todd Stroger's spot and will also be getting petition signatures for a race for a seventh Congressional term.

"While he can't run for both jobs at the same time, he has until Oct. 26 -- the last day for filing petitions -- to decide" which office he'll go for, [campaign spokesperson Tumia] Romero said.

[This is typical of Danny Davis. He's obviously slinging bullshit and he thinks that because he's a member of Congress we're supposed to ignore it's bullshit.

[The one angle that sorta makes sense is if Davis is trying to bluff candidates out of the IL-07 race. By circulating petitions Davis is making it difficult for most candidates to organize and raise money. Jim Ascot is the one candidate that will plow ahead whether Davis is running or not.]

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Forest Park poised to politicize village administrator position

The Village of Forest Park has been without a village administrator since Mike Sturino departed in January, 2009.

Proviso Township Trustee (and former Forest Park Commissioner) Tim Gillian has emerged as one of the finalists for the position. See Forest Park Review (Josh Adams).

Steve Bachman of Citizens United in Forest Park created the following video to show how the four commissioners were united on getting a village administrator hired. Commissioner Mark Hosty called for someone "non-political". Commissioner Rory Hoskins agreed with Hosty and called for it to be done expeditiously. Commissioner Mike Curry also agreed and emphasized the village would work better with the position filled. Commissioner Marty Tellalian called for filling the position to have significant expertise.

In a later meeting Mayor Anthony Calderone said the candidate should, "The individual selected would not be an expert in any one capacity and has a heeping amount of good old common sense and diplomacy." [emphasis added]

Here's a anecdote about Gillian that shows his version of common sense.

I covered a Village of Forest Park meeting shortly after the April, 2003 elections which seated Patrick Doolin, Gillian, Hosty and Theresa Steinbach and Anthony Calderone as Mayor.

Hosty relayed a complaint from a constituent about the intake of overnight parking requests. The constituent complained that when she called the number to request overnight parking for her mother the message said if it was before 8 PM to call the police department instead. The police department told her to call after 8 PM.

The message made more work for the person requesting the overnight parking and the police department with no value added.

Calderone called the overnight parking number to test this (it was still before 8 PM). And the message did say what Hosty reported.

Calderone and all the commissioners were fine with changing the message, except Gillian. Gillian argued that if the message was changed constituents would just find something else to complain about.

I was a new reporter and didn't know any of these people (except for meeting Calderone briefly at a party once). So I approached Gillian during a break in the meeting to see if he'd softened his position. Sometimes people say stupid stuff and then rethink it. But Gillian stuck to his guns. He was opposed to changing the message because he was opposed to giving complainers what they wanted.

I talked with Hosty after the meeting. Hosty agreed that Gillian's statements on the issue were odd and he said of Gillian, "I don't know who peed in his Wheaties this morning."

"Common sense" is of course a bogus quality in this situation. What Calderone means when he talks about "common sense" is people doing what Calderone wants done. What Calderone wants is "common sense" and people who have concerns and objections are interlopers and the over educated.

And Gillian will do what Calderone wants, partly because they are friends and political allies. Also because Calderone is giving Gillian an exceedingly generous paycheck for a job that Gillian isn't qualified for (per the job posting). And a big part of the reason Gillian will allow Calderone to call the shots at the village is that Gillian is just lazy. He didn't prepare for meetings by reading materials when he was a village trustee. Calderone wants to be able to call department heads to tell them what to do and then hide behind the village administrator when stuff goes badly. Gillian won't mind taking the fall because he's not a professional municipal official looking to get another job someplace else.

Mike Sturino did the job with sufficient professionalism he could credibly apply for a job in some other unit of government. Gillian won't feel constrained this way.

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Ron Lawless to run for Cook County Board?

Is Ron Lawless running for the Cook County Board? There's a Facebook group, a website and a fundraising page on Act Blue.

At a party yesterday that include Green Party members, members of NWCPJ and maybe some people from OPCTJ, at least one person expects Lawless to run as a Green Party candidate.

Since the Act Blue site mentions outreach to the West Side, I assume this means Lawless is considering a run for the seat now held by Earlean Collins. Ade Onayemi has already announced his intent to run in the Democratic primary.

Lawless ran in 1998 in the 4th Senate District (Dem primary) when Collins vacated that position unexpectedly. Kimberly Lightford, who was then a Maywood trustee, won the multi-candidate race.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Forest Park village email case Calderone gets off

Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone has succeeded in getting himself removed as a defendant in former-commissioner Theresa Steinbach's lawsuit about pilfered emails. See Forest Park Review (Josh Adams).
"It's hard to feel vindicated in any sense because I've always felt from day one that this was some kind of ridiculous lawsuit," Calderone said of the ruling.

Doesn't everyone think the mayor should have access to the emails of his political opposition?

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Oak Park school board vet to run for Cook County board

Wednesday Journal (Terry Dean):
Former District 97 school board member Ade Onayemi is looking to replace incumbent Commissioner Earlean Collins on the Cook County board next year.

Are there other potential candidates?

This is a race I want to give some extra attention.

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Ali ElSaffar, Oak Park Township Assessor, probable candidate for Cook County Assessor

Yesterday, Jim Houlihan announced he will not run for Cook County Assessor.

Ali ElSaffar, the president of the association of township assessors in suburban Cook County, has expressed interest in running. See Prairie State Blue.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

nominating petitions open thread

Monday, August 4, was the first day to gather nominating petitions for the February, 2010 primary.

A number of candidates are sending out emails and holding meetings about when they are mustering their signature gathering crews. Some of these campaigns pay money.

If you want to leave info about your campaign or a candidate you support, use the comments in this thread.


Proviso Probe will operate until February, 2010 primaries

Tonight I'm going to a committee meeting of IVI-IPO to discuss how to improve the candidate endorsement process. Two nights ago I attended a meeting with a political organization (Tenth Dems) about how to improve the organization's use of social networking.

I did get sick of blogging on stuff Proviso for awhile, but I care about some of this stuff. I would like to see Proviso elect good representatives in the February, 2010 election. After that, this blog will go away away unless some way to make it substantially more lucrative than it has been emerges.

What stories interest you? What's on your mind?

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