Sunday, May 21, 2017

The $750K Gorilla in Lake Villa

"Owning a great golf course gives you great power."
Note to Ops: If you aim to burn some rubber down Route 120, watch out for pedestrians. That's because there seems to be gobs of walking-around money in Lake Villa Township.

The Daily Herald says ...
About half of Lake Villa Township's $1.4 million reserves would be spent in a plan to buy a failing golf course located mostly outside the township. Lake Villa Township Supervisor Dan Venturi said his plan to buy the nearly 100-acre Antioch Golf Club for around $750,000 would preserve the value of homes adjacent to the 18-hole, par-70 golf course. Most of the homeowners live in Lake Villa Township.
Why Lake Villa Township wants to buy a failing golf course
In situations like this, local government would normally pressure the Lake County Forest Preserve to obtain the worrisome parcel of land. But it appears that Lake Villa Township plans to cut out the middle-man, and will opt to directly buy the Antioch Golf Club, before the developers can. Perhaps they just couldn't wait?

One impacted homeowner told your LakeCountyEye that "if your voters live on Clout Street, then the Township better get off the dime". That's because there are outside buyers eyeing the failing golf course, all with plans of their own.

Ten of them, by your LakeCountyEye's count:
10 Blueprint-Ready Projects
Being Discussed
for the Antioch Golf Club
  1. Last Exit Ramp Off the Route 53 Extension

  2. CN Railway Spur to Caboose Park

  3. Trumpcare Pauper's Cemetery

  4. The Waukegan Casino

  5. The Midlothian Manor Homeless Facility

  6. The Grayslake Trucking Terminal

  7. The Lakemoor Woodman's Grocery

  8. The Cary Gravel Pit

  9. The Vernon Hills Menards

  10. What Part of Crony Capitalism Don't You Understand?
Look for your LakeCountyEye to putt for the dough near you.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chinese Diplomat on Future Relations with the US


Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy
Hong Lei, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Chicago, will discuss The Sino - United States Relationship in the New Era at a forum at the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy.
  • Sunday
    May 21, 2017
    2:00 pm
  • The Stevenson Center on Democracy
    25200 N St Mary's Rd
    Mettawa (Libertyville), IL 60048
    847-816-7433
  • $15
    (Students Free)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Q the Eye/05.15.17

Dear LakeCountyEye,

Property taxes are due next month. Help!

If my home is my shelter and if I am taxed on the value of my home then why isn't my home a tax shelter?
Dear $64,000 Question,Ὥρος Hōros

Simply save a penny every day. If you are like your LakeCountyEye then at the end of the year you will have the $3 needed to cover your property tax bill.

Haha, this illustrates an important point. Your property taxes are a zero sum game. Whenever your neighbor gets his assessment lowered, his property tax goes down and yours automatically goes up. Even if your assessment has not changed, your tax goes up because you have to cover the shortfall produced by your neighbor.

Luckily the assessment process in Illinois is a self regulating feedback loop that you can ride to your advantage.

Here's how: A sure sign that you are being over-assessed is when your neighbors cannot afford to pay their property taxes. When this happens it is only a matter of time before one of those neighbors is foreclosed on, and he loses his house to a tax sale.

That is your cue to spring into action. Since that home is likely to be sold significantly under market value, you can use the outcome of that sale to get your assessment lowered. These sales are not hard to find if you remember that Zillow is your friend. For example, this home in a nice Lake County neighborhood recently sold for $80,000 ...
Real Estate & Homes For Sale
... a steal by your LakeCountyEye's reckoning.

If you live in that neighborhood, print out the webpage, and remind your Township Assessor that assessments are based on comparative values, then demand to know why your assessment isn't $80K also. And watch your assessment shrink faster than the reserve funds at Lake Villa Township!

Take it from your LakeCountyEye: Don't look a gift house in the mouth.

If you are an elected official, or a previously elected official, or just a private citizen under indictment, send your political questions to Q the Eye c/o ... LakeCountyEye@gMail.com

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Dead to Health Care Rights

All Trumpcare physicians hold medical degrees from Trump U.
People are dying to get out of Lake County. They're been departing to Randy Hultgren's district office in Campton Hills, where a mass die-in has been reported.

Hultgren, Lake County's boreal congressman, voted to repeal Obamacare last week. According to the Northwest Herald:
The Campton Hills district office of U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, again was the center of protest Tuesday, but organizers called it a die-in, lying on the grass with cardboard tombstones and plastic skeletons to show their disdain for the American Health Care Act. Hultgren was among the seven Illinois House Republicans who voted May 4 to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren's office the scene of a die-in to protest American Health Care Act
In related news, people in Lake County are living longer:
People live longer in Lake County than in many of its counterparts across Illinois, and life expectancy in the county has increased since 1980 — but not as fast as the rate of improvement in other Chicago-area counties such as Cook and Kane, according to the results of a new national study.
Life expectancy increasing in Lake County, but health outcomes unequal
One spokesman spoke on conditions of anomalously: "If they repeal Obamacare, then people won't be living longer in Lake County. It will just seem that way."

Next Week: Where all the bodies are buried.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

Caption Contest!

No sooner had the GOP repealed Obamacare on Thursday, they all made a beeline for the White House and took a happy dance in the Rose Garden with President Trump. Operatives are challenged to find vestigial Lake County Congressman Peter Roskam in the photo, and then post this caption:
Rep. Peter Roskam casts the deciding vote to repeal Obamacare. So great!

Haha, trick question. Everyone knows Peter Roskam never poses in public for anything.

In fact, even though Roskam cast his vote in Washington around 2:00pm, he was seen back home at a Wheaton golf club -- before dinnertime:
According to the Daily Herald ...
Roskam was greeted by about three dozen protesters when he arrived early Thursday evening to a GOP fundraiser at Arrowhead Golf Club in Wheaton. Demonstrators carried Planned Parenthood posters and wore black veils because, they said, they were in mourning after the vote.
Hultgren, Roskam join majority in Obamacare repeal in U.S. House
The fundraiser became the locus of an impromptu townhall meeting. Wealthy donors were assured that under Trumpcare golfer's elbow would not be considered a pre-existing condition.

Your LakeCountyEye will keep you apprised when further developments warrant.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Haunted Highway

where the rubber check meets the road
If wishes were horses then beggars would ride. Provided, of course they were riding on the Route 53 Extension.

Haha, it's back. A new poll commissioned by a pro-highway construction special interest group reportedly breathes some life into the zombie Route 53 Extension. The Daily Herald has been keeping a close watch on the $3 billion tollway project:
Despite Lake County Chairman Aaron Lawlor's dropping support for the project in May, tollway leaders reaffirmed their commitment, indicating they'd hire consultants by last summer, but nothing's happened. That begs the question: Is the tollway all-in or getting cold feet? Proposals from consulting firms are still under review, a spokesman said. If officials needed ammunition to pull the trigger, they got it with the release of a report last week from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute
Is the tollway getting cold feet on Route 53 extension?
That begs the question, indeed.

Be that as it may, one obvious question remains to be asked: Will the Tollway Authority pull the trigger or get cold feet? A well-heeled spokesman said: "Let's build it in McHenry County, instead. That way no one will be surprised when they shoot themselves in the foot."
My Foot!
Your LakeCountyEye will keep you apprised when further developments warrant.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Fox Guarding the Chicken

Unlike Donald Trump, Peter Roskam has kept himself in the media spotlight by running away from the spotlight.

Haha, the Sun-Times went looking for Roskam, Lake County's vestigial Congressman, and they can tell you where he's hiding:
Last Friday, Rep. Peter Roskam was on Fox News. The congressman must like Fox News. Nobody gives him a hard time. What Roskam, a Republican from Naperville, does not like is meeting with actual voters, not unless he can hand-pick them.
Come out, come out, wherever you are, Peter Roskam
Here Peter Roskam demonstrates his technique for hand-picking the constituents that he will talk to:

"Nothing up my sleeve."

FOX News Dog Whistle
Hands down the most hilarious LakeCountyEye Double Vision™ ever!
NEXT WEEK: Small hands or merely sleight of hand?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Audrey Nixon


Audrey Nixon

From the Daily Herald:
Audrey Nixon, who some considered the matriarch of the Lake County Board because of her decades of dedicated public service, has died. Nixon, 81, was found dead in her North Chicago house Thursday morning, according to a news release from the county.
Veteran Lake County Board member Audrey Nixon dies
Our condolences.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

SB0909 TOWNSHIP ASSESSORS-LAKE COUNTY

Illinois State Senate Bill 909 will change how Lake County chooses its township assessors:

Provides that the county board of Lake County, by ordinance, or the voters of Lake County, by backdoor referendum, may vote to discontinue all offices of the township assessor in the county. Provides petition and referendum requirements. Provides that after the adoption of an ordinance, or after the approval of a backdoor referendum, to discontinue all offices of township assessor in Lake County, the office of township assessor is discontinued in each township at the end of each township assessor's term. Provides that at the end of each township assessor's term: (i) the Chief County Assessment Officer of Lake County assumes the duties of the township assessor; (ii) the county board members become the board of health for any public health district in the township; and (iii) the office of the township collector of the township ceases and the county treasurer assumes the duties of the township collector.

If passed, SB0909 would authorize the Lake County Board to abolish all township assessors and consolidate their responsibilities at the county level. An opportunity to place a binding referendum on the ballot would also be authorized if the Board declines to act.

Details of SB0909 TOWNSHIP ASSESSORS-LAKE COUNTY are available on the State of Illinois General Assembly website. I have links to both the webpage and PDF below.


SB0909

SB0909

SB0909 is currently in its Second Reading at the Illinois Senate. Before it can be sent to the Governor's desk, the bill must pass both in the Illinois Senate and House. Your representatives do want to know what you think.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Statement from 5 Lake County Assessors

We obtained a statement from the Lake County Township Assessors who filed a suit in Federal Court against Lake County, County Assessor Martin Paulson, County Treasurer David Stolman, and other county officials.

The statement is intended as a "response to comments made by a Lake County representative pertaining to township equalization and the federal lawsuit."

Annual township assessor equalization is not against the law as recently stated by a Lake County representative. In fact, it is encouraged by the Illinois Department of Revenue to establish an equitable and uniform spread of the real estate tax burden within a township and done by the majority of townships in the state without interference from their County Assessor. This was also the case in Lake County until 2016. When the County Assessor decided to prohibit changes, the assessors took their issues with him to the Lake County Board, who appoints the County Assessor, and to the Lake County States Attorney office, submitted supporting documentation for months to help them understand our position and did not file a lawsuit until nearly a year had passed. The Lake County State’s attorney confirmed that township assessors can equalize per the law and when they did and turned their books in to the County assessor he arbitrarily removed all of our work and applied across-the-board factors to all townships. After this was done, a lawsuit was filed in federal court.

The township assessors contend that by reversing all equalization they did, the county assessor is creating an inequitable spread of the real estate tax burden. Based on sales studies done on all areas of their townships, the assessors see that not all areas in a township increase or decrease in value equally from one year to the next and therefore should not be lumped together with an across-the-board factor established without input from the township assessors who actually value the properties. This method of “county assessor only” equalization does not establish uniformity – it has the opposite effect.

Lake County township assessors who equalize assessments annually do have the statutory authority to do so. Per Illinois statutes, the township assessor, county supervisor of assessments and the Illinois Dept. of Revenue may all equalize assessments annually. Illinois property tax law states that all assessments must be reviewed every four years (quadrennial assessment year) by township assessors. However, this is the minimum for which property assessments must be reviewed, not the maximum.

The federal judge who dismissed the lawsuit stated in his opinion “the assessors plaintiffs have not alleged that they are personally injured by any of the defendants’ actions.” The judge furthered stated “thus, if defendants’ actions have harmed anyone, it would be the taxpayers, who might end up paying an increased tax”. The judge also opined that the “taxpayer plaintiffs must bring their claims in state court” (rather than federal court.)

Equity of assessments is a major concern of township assessors because it creates a more fair spread of the real estate tax burden among property owners.

Gary Raupp, Vernon Township Assessor
Jeri Barr, Grant Township Assessor
Becci Tonigan, Cuba Township Assessor
Peggy Freese, Libertyville Township Assessor
John Barrington, Ela Township Assessor
# # # #

Monday, April 24, 2017

All Over Like a Cheap Suit

So sue me.
If Chicago was an island in the Pacific Ocean, then a Federal judge sitting on an island in the Pacific has dismissed a lawsuit to lower property taxes in Lake County.

Earlier this year, several Township assessors filed a Federal lawsuit against Lake County and County Assessor Marty Paulson. They argued that their civil rights were violated when the County raised thousands of their assessments. U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Gettleman, however, was not buying it. According to the Daily Herald ...
Assessors have no legal right to have the values they set upheld, Gettleman said, and they have no personal interest at risk if their valuations are changed. Gettleman also said Paulson's reversals properly followed the assessment process. Additionally, Gettleman ruled the property owners' complaint against Paulson and the other defendants belongs in state court, not federal.
Federal lawsuit against Lake County officials over land values dismissed
One township-level spokesman said: "We didn't want to risk filing our suit in County Court, because Lake County is notorious for issuing wrongful convictions."

It is unclear who paid the legal expenses. Your LakeCountyEye suspects it did not come out of the pockets of the township assessor plaintiffs.

Friday, April 21, 2017

From Townhall to the Halls of Montezuma?

P.R. has a P.R. problem.

P.R. -- aka Peter Roskam -- aka Lake County's vestigial congressman -- is allergic to townhall meetings. Despite pressure from both the voters and the media, Roskam is afraid his constituents will be too uncouth to participate in a proper townhall. According to the Chicago Tribune ...
Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton says he's no fan of "circus" town hall meetings and prefers a more controlled setting for town-hall-style meetings by telephone
Roskam says he prefers doing town hall meetings over the phone
On the other hand, Randy Hultgren, Lake County's boreal congressman, held a civil townhall meeting this week. According to the Daily Herald ...
"Participating in big circuses is not productive," Republican Peter Roskam of Wheaton said earlier this year. We disagree -- and give kudos to Hultgren and the League of Women Voters for proving it can be done.
Editorial: Hultgren, league prove town halls can be effective
Civility prevailed even though Hultgren represents Lake County's Wisconsin border towns, as well as the unexplored areas of McHenry County. A constituency where the standard of living is based on fishing, hunting and subsistence farming, these are not the voters you would expect to meet in the bedroom communities that Peter Roskam represents.

How did Randy Hultgren do it? An authoritative sounding spokesman divulged the secret to enforcing decorum at a townhall meeting: "Pack the room with Federal ICE agents. If some chumbolone crosses the line, send him back to where he belongs. Mexico, no questions asked."

Here is an actual unretouched Daily Herald photo of townhall participants holding up their green cards:

Hultgren draws jeers, cheers
The spokesman elaborated: "Not only do you guarantee yourself a neighborly townhall, but you make America great again!"

A win-win by your LakeCountyEye's reckoning.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

From Townhall to Monty Hall?

There's an old saying in show business ...
Give the People What They Want
And there's another old saying ...
Politics is show business for ugly people.
So it should not come as a surprise that Randy Hultgren, this week, gave the people what they want. As readers of this blog are aware ...
Proxy Representative
Randy Hultgren, Lake County's boreal Congressman, was persuaded to hold a townhall meeting. According to the Daily Herald, Hultgren's district offices had been picketed and ...
The focus of many of those protests has been the call for a town-hall meeting with Hultgren. After working with multiple League of Women Voters chapters on the logistics, Hultgren, of Plano, provided that town hall at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.
Hultgren draws jeers, cheers
Of course just as an attorney should never ask a question unless he knows the answer, a politician should never hold a townhall unless he knows who will be in the seats. One credible spokesman explained how it's done: "Don't bother filling the room with friends and relatives. Pack that room with all your lobbyists instead!"

Here is an actual unretouched Daily Herald photo of K Street lobbyists holding up their bid cards:

Hultgren draws jeers, cheers
The spokesman elaborated: "When access to your Congressman is on the table, you not only guarantee a civil townhall meeting, but the event pays for itself!"

A win-win by your LakeCountyEye's reckoning.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Proxy Representative

The two words most feared by the US Congress are town hall and town hall. So your LakeCountyEye was surprised to see this item in the Patch about Randy Hultgren:
After not meeting openly with constituents for far too long, Rep. Hultgren is having a question and answer session this Tuesday, the 18th of April, from 7p to 8:30p at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.
Congressman Hultgren, IL 14th District, Holding Open Q&A Tuesday, April 18th
Those wishing to attend may want to book a room at Airbnb. While Hultgren is Lake County's boreal Congressman, St. Charles is nowhere near northern Lake County. Your LakeCountyEye looked it up: St. Charles is located between Virginia Ave and States Ave  ...
Not to be outdone, Peter Roskam has scheduled a townhall event as well. The time and place of the meeting cannot be disclosed, however. Roskam, Lake County's vestigial Congressman, was forcibly dragged out of an IranAir Airbus, last week, by Iranian Revolutionary Guards. And as a consequence, Roskam has been voluntarily admitted into the Federal witness protection program.

A spokesman however, would reveal that Peter Roskam has a new identity -- henceforth his legal name will be Randall Mark Hultgren. And that Roskam is holding his townhall meeting on April 18, from 7 to 8:30pm, at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.

Your LakeCountyEye will keep you apprised when further developments warrant.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

All Over the Map

Operatives of a certain age will recall when GOTV meant: go to your vehicle, drive to your poll, and vote for your man. Then drive to your poll in the next neighborhood, and vote for your man. Then drive to your poll in the next town, and vote for your man. And then, etc. etc.

Well, haha, you can throw away that gas-card. Thanks to the miracle of local government consolidation, serial voting is as easy in Illinois as one-stop-shopping. For example, you can vote in all of these municipalities ...
  • Oakbrook Terrace
  • Mount Prospect
  • Burlington
  • Streamwood
  • Lake Barrington
  • Hampshire
  • Sleepy Hollow
  • Bartlet
... with the convenience of a single ballot!

The Daily Herald has the eye-opening photographic proof:

Editorial: Some things we can do to make local leadership more attractive
Of course some will look at a ballot like that and see nothing but partisan gerrymandering. The Independent Maps coalition issued a strongly-worded statement: "Should the career politicians be drawing the electoral maps, even while there are no candidates on the ballot? Or should Independent Maps be drawing the electoral maps, even while there are no candidates on the ballot? We think the choice is clear."