Monday, June 29, 2009

Mark Kirk Burns the Midnight Oil

This one is too preposterous to ignore. 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk, presumably burning the midnight oil before the Cap & Trade Energy Bill, takes a break to tell us he is reading every page of the (900+ pages) Bill. To ensure that everyone knows, he makes a video and posts it on his YouTube Channel.

So, um, what's that about? Your LakeCountyEye ventures to guess that Kirk had already decided to vote for the Bill. (Which, the next day, he in fact did.) And anticipating a negative reaction from the Right, put out this hasty video. He tells us he read every page of the Stimulus Bill and voted against it. This supposedly is to establish his conservative credentials. Then he shows us how he is reading every page of the Energy Bill -- presumably to demonstrate his vote the next day would reflect the merits of the bill, and not some political calculation on his part. Your LakeCountyEye would expect nothing less from the Congressman who owns the copyright to the phrase thoughtful, independent leadership ©!

Kirk was right about one thing, his Aye-vote did not sit well with his Republican base (which even the Capitol Fax Blog noticed). Peering into the magic crystal ball, your LakeCountyEye sees quite clearly that Kirk will not be running for Illinois Senate. Nor will Kirk be running for Illinois Governor. One doesn't become a nominee to a statewide office by pee-oh-ing your base.

The magic crystal ball indicates, further, that while Kirk will be running for re-election in District 10, he is not worried about a primary challenge from the Right. Even though the Energy Bill is not popular with the Republican Base, it is popular in the left-of-center 10th Congressional District. So an Aye-vote on the Energy Bill should be expected to help Kirk with general election voters, not with primary voters.

The take-home of all this is, Kirk is playing already to win in the general election. Which means he is taking the threat of his Democratic opponent much more seriously than the threat of a primary challenge from an opponent on the Right.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It's Kirk for the Green

It all started with a paragraph with this lede ...
The schemers:
Reps. Charlie Melancon and Mark Kirk

The paragraph is from a Politico story posted last Thursday. The Energy Bill was scheduled for a vote the next day in the House of Representatives. Politico was speculating on how Mark Kirk would vote.
Kirk remains on the fence, saying he has concerns about the lack of funding for nuclear energy and coal interests in his state. "We don’t want to de-industrialize Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin," Kirk said after a meeting with Pelosi and Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the sponsors of the legislation. Opposing the bill could hurt him, however, in Chicago and other more liberal corners of the state. So voting for the bill, note political observers, could indicate some serious senatorial ambitious.
The Illinois Review took quick notice. The not surprising take-away over there was Kirk would be betraying the Republican Party if he vote for the Bill. Kirk had his defenders, but the conversation mostly revolved around whether Kirk is a true Republican or an opportunist.

But for Politico the issue was framed as less a matter of political loyalty and more a matter of political calculation. In a follow-up story posted the same day:
Kirk’s affluent suburban Chicago district has next-to-no industrial presence and is quite environmentally-conscious. If he was looking to win over his constituents back home, he'd probably be more inclined to support the legislation. But the southern part of the state is home to vast coal deposits – and the legislation is viewed skeptically by many downstate voters whose support he’ll need to defeat a Democrat in a 2010 Senate race. His concern about the state's industrial base certainly suggests he's leaning towards a Senate campaign.
The stakes are contrasted in black and white. If Kirk votes against the Energy Bill that means he is running for the Illinois Senate. If Kirk votes for the Energy Bill that means he is running for re-election in the 10th Congressional District.

On Friday, Kirk voted Yea.

Friday, June 26, 2009

What's in a Name?

We've heard the story before. Sometime during the Jurassic period, 8th District Congressman Phil Crane is battling alcoholism and losing. He is forced to publicly go into rehab. Then Crane is caught in bed with a 17-year-old congressional page. There is inevitable political fallout, Melissa Bean is the main beneficiary, and she defeats Crane in 2004.

True story? Nope. A Congressman named Crane was caught with a female page, but not Phil Crane. It was Dan Crane, the congressman representing the district in the Peoria area. It all happened in 1983, and Dan Crane was thrown out by the voters the following year.

So why does the story dog Phil Crane? One reason is Dan Crane is Phil Crane's brother. (The Crane boys had a sort on mini-political dynasty going, way back when.) And while part of the story is true (the part about alcohol rehab) the fact of the matter is that Phil Crane was never involved with a congressional page.

But someone watching Hannity last Wednesday might think otherwise. And the source of the bogus meme this time is no less than Ann Coulter.
HANNITY: He (Mark Sanford) may not be governor by the end of a couple of weeks.

COULTER: That's right. And even if he is, Republicans vote these guys out, generally. I mean, we'll see what happens with both him and (John) Ensign. But I mean, one — one point that I think needs to be made is politicians, both Republican and Democrat, the Republicans are gone now, so it's harder to remember names like Phil Crane, unlike Barney Frank, Teddy Kennedy. John Edwards whom, as I say, everybody knew he was having affair, and they're still running his campaign for president.

Phil Crane's political career began in 1969 when he won a special election to fill the seat of a congressman named Donald Rumsfeld. Crane ran for president in 2000 1980 only to be outgunned by Ronald Reagan. For better or for worse, Phil Crane's unique stamp on Lake County politics is still visible today. But he is now remembered -- even on the Right -- for a scandal that was not his. As long as Phil Crane is remembered, Phil Crane will be remembered for Dan Crane's scandal. The ironic reason being that Dan Crane has long since been forgotten.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Eye Pieces

  • Michael Waller, Lake County State's Attorney, has been accused of having no convictions. Add to this a failure to convict Tom Hyde for forgery. When he was Mayor of Island Lake, Hyde changed a date on a liquor license. Hyde's defense argued he was within his legal right to change the license. The Jury agreed. In less than an hour.

  • Louis Bianchi, McHenry County State's Attorney, has been accused of running his 2008 re-election campaign out of his County office. A special prosecutor has been requested. SOP dictates if you're clean then go on record welcoming a special prosecutor. Bianchi on the other hand is trying to get a judge to rule an independent investigation is not worth the costs. You know a politician is in trouble if letters of endorsement appear in the papers and it's not an election year. Real trouble when the letter is signed by your sister.

  • Your LakeCountyEye quickly found Federal campaign committees for M.Kirk, M.Bond, D.Seals, E.Richardson. Still looking for S.Garrett's committee. The primary is early February, but who's counting?

  • TeamAmerica thinks Michael Bond has buyer's remorse and will drop out once Mark Kirk announces he is running for re-election in Congress/10. If so your LakeCountyEye will finally get to update its embarrassing Pwned by Bond misstep. Also Bond keeps his State Senate seat and an already bad year for Suzi Schmidt just got worse.

  • And by now everybody knows Kirk is running for re-election in Congress/10. Because everybody knows Lisa Madigan is running for IL Senate. By everyone your LakeCountyEye means Barack Obama, David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel. You don't need to be a naturally cautious politician to know those are mighty long odds. Regarding that Governor job, 2nd tier contenders like Matt Murphy, Dan Proft are tossing their hats in the ring. Which means Kirk has signalled privately that no way will he be commuting to Springfield. The commute to Capitol Hill is much easier, your LakeCountyEye hears.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stand By Your Man

As was reported here, and by the TeamAmerica blog, Keith Turner broke with the Lake County Democratic Party to endorse Republican Keith Gray over Terry Link in their 2008 contest for Senate District 30. Given the spate of news items about Turner and the Lake County Board lately, your LakeCounty Eye had assumed there was no more mileage to be had from this angle of the story.

So it came as a surprise yesterday to see a letter to the NewsSun penned by Keith Gray, and in support of Turner:
How disappointing that seated Democratic County Board officials won't support a Democrat to fill an empty seat for fear that they might not run for re-election as a Democrat! These people, like Blagojevich, Burris, Link, and countless others, can't even see the narrow-minded partisan perspective that has consumed them. What happened to looking at the person and what they've done, or what their position is on key issues affecting the county when deciding whether to endorse a nominee or not?
Gray diplomatically doesn't mention Keith Turner by name. But anyone following the soap opera over Bob Sabonjian's vacant County Board seat knows it is Turner.

Given the events of the past week, loyalty of this nature from a politician on either side of the aisle is rare and uplifting. Your LakeCountyEye salutes Keith Gray, the politician with the mettle to stand by his man.
What happened to looking at the person and what they've done, or what their position is on key issues affecting the county when deciding whether to endorse a nominee or not?
What happened indeed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Q the Eye/06.17.09

Dear LakeCountyEye,

How do you un-nominate someone that you just nominated to your legislative panel? The candidate came highly recommended but isn't working out. A prompt reply is appreciated, I have a big election scheduled in 2010.

Schmidt Outta Luck
Dear SOL,

Your LakeCountyEye knows how election day has a way of sneaking up before you know it. In order to fast-track the answer, your LakeCountyEye will assume that you have properly dispatched the unacceptable candidate and are now scrambling to contain the damage.

Damage control is a matter of managing public perception. And it doesn't matter if one is engaged in price-fixing or a cover-up or any sort of conspiracy, the basic rule of damage control is everyone involved needs to agree on a story. Preferably a plausible story -- and then stick to your story.

Their actual names aren't being used, but don't make the mistake Suzi S, Bob S & Keith T recently made. Suzi had a deadline and needed to nominate someone to sit on her board. Bob recommended Keith, who Suzi accepted sight unseen.

After the nomination, however, Suzi had second thoughts -- let's call it buyer's remorse, and Suzi prevailed upon Keith to withdraw. No problem, this sort of stuff happens every day. But what followed revealed a level of incompetence that would make even an entrenched functionary in local government blush.

The same day he withdrew, Keith sent out a press release (noticed by the NewsSun) stating his decision was based on a desire to spend more time with his family. This explanation already morphed by the following day -- now Keith lacked broad bi-partisan support from board members. Which Suzi related to the Daily Herald. This held for a weekend. On Monday Keith sent out another press release (also cited by the NewsSun) saying the absence of bi-partisan support had nothing to do with it. Instead he withdrew for health reasons.

Your LakeCountyEye cannot make this stuff up.

The only player to escape relatively unscathed was Bob S, who managed to do so by keeping a low profile throughout the whole affair. Perhaps your best option, SOL, would be to emulate Bob and make sure there is always someone else standing out front, to deflect the heat away from you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Andy Depressant

Why should a bunch of Washington-based pasty-faced 'weenies' try to come into Illinois to play favorites in the Republican senate primary?
Andy Martin for US Senate
Press Release, 06/10/2009

Actual Photo of
Andy Martin

Editors Note: This has been the first installment of your LakeCountyEye's newest feature -- tracking but not limited to the 2010 Illinois campaign of Republican US Senate candidate and Internet Powerhouse ®, Andy Martin. Martin's campaign is a reliable source of yuks, lawlz, chortles, and cheap-laffs. Your LakeCountyEye has deemed it crazy not to pass up an opportunity like this, and will periodically share the best of these for your merriment.

The new feature is called Andy Depressant

Monday, June 15, 2009

As the World Turns

It was incorrectly reported on this blog here and here that Bill Durkin is a previous Mayor of Waukegan. Durkin is Waukegan Park Commissioner. It is Durkin's father who had been the mayor of Waukegan in the 1990s. The two have the same name. Your LakeCountyEye's sharp-eyed fact checker has been on assignment running criminal background checks on some new volunteer bloggers (they come highly recommended) and flubbed the mistake. Your LakeCountyEye regrets the error. Your LakeCountyEye regrets even more having missed an opportunity to insert another nepotism joke here.

In a related matter, and as predicted by your LakeCountyEye here, Lake County Board Chair Suzi Schmidt has been backpedaling furiously over the Keith Turner embarrassment. Turner had helped Bob Sabonjian get elected Waukegan Mayor. Returning a favor, Sabonjian recommended Turner to replace him on the County Board. Suzi Schmidt has the final sayso on who gets nominated, and over the objections of many, fast-tracked Turner's nomination last week. Turner then withdrew his nomination a short time after accepting the nomination and under what can be best described as murky circumstances.

Schmidt is now telling the Daily Herald that Turner withdrew because he did not have the support of the Democratic Board members. Your LakeCountyEye is naturally skeptical. Schmidt knew that Lake County Democratic boss Terry Link, along with some Democratic Board members, were on record as opposed to Turner's nomination. And if Schmidt in fact was unaware of this opposition, then how is it that someone that disengaged could become County Board Chair in the first place?

Now the goal of political backpedaling is to cya. Anything beyond that is political backfilling, which is cover your tracks. Schmidt tells the Daily Herald how the decision was made:
During a meeting in her office Friday, however, Schmidt said she and Turner agreed he wasn't right for the job. The expected lack of support from some of the board's Democrats contributed to the decision.
Your LakeCountyEye has heard that anyone who knows Keith Turner knows that more likely Turner withdrew because he was shown the door. And if Schmidt did indeed drop the hammer in that meeting, it wasn't because all the players conceded that it was not likely an Obama-style consensus with the Democrats could be built.

Which leaves your LakeCountyEye wondering. If Turner is radioactive, why didn't Sabonjian know -- and, even worse, go as far as hand-pick him as his replacement? And what really came down at that Friday afternoon meeting?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Turned Out

This is probably a Lake County Board revolving-door record of some sort. Friday morning, Keith Turner was nominated by County Board Chair Suzi Schmidt to replace outgoing Board Commissioner Bob Sabonjian. Turner accepted the nomination. And Turner withdrew his name from nomination. All within the span of an 8 hour work day.

Schmidt had fast-tracked the appointment of the newest County Board Commissioner, with Turner issuing a statement reported by the NewsSun:
It is very humbling to have been selected for appointment to fill Bob's seat to represent and (serve) the residents of the 8th County Board District.
Turner had been reported saying he was "overwhelmed" to have Sabonjian's endorsement. According to the Daily Herald story, Sabonjian praised Turner as "the kind of guy who thinks for himself". Reportedly a party was scheduled the same weekend to celebrate the nomination.

Now, less than a day later, Turner is no longer the nominee, telling the NewsSun, "At this time, it's not something that I can take on." Elaborating on this sudden one-eighty Turner said:
I decided to withdraw my name for personal reasons. It's time for me to focus on my family and my health ... There's been some recent developments of a personal nature and a family nature, and I don't see myself being able to devote the time or attention that the office deserves.
Need to focus on family and health? No time to devote to the office? Hmm. These are familiar sounding cliches, at least within the tightly scripted sphere of political discourse -- and a sure-fire indicator that there is more to this story than meets the eye.

Turner has been a long standing fixture in (Democrato-centric) Waukegan politics. But as reported by the TeamAmerica's blog, Turner broke with the Democratic Party last year to endorse Republican Keith Gray's unsuccessful 2008 State Senate challenge against Terry Link.

Turner had also helped State Representative Eddie Washington fend off party-backed challenger Angelo Kyle in the 2008 Democratic primary. And Turner, as self-proclaimed campaign manager, helped Bob Sabonjian defeat Dick Hyde for Waukegan Mayor this past April. It was this role that landed Turner his nomination to the County Board.

Sabonjian's promotion to Waukegan Mayor necessitated his resignation from the County Board. Suzi Schmidt, as County Board Chair, has the responsibility to nominate a replacement. Terry Link, as Lake County Party boss, was on record saying he wanted to see Waukegan ex-mayor Bill Durkin in the job. Sabonjian meanwhile had other ideas. This comes as no surprise because, as reported in this blog, it was Link's political ally Dick Hyde that Sabonjian successfully drove out of office. It is not known whether Sabonjian was motivated out of a desire to see good government flourish, or out of an instinct to stick it to Terry Link -- but in any event, Suzi Schmidt ended up nominating Turner on Sabonjian's sayso.

According to your LakeCountyEye's magic crystal ball, the fact that the nomination fell apart as abruptly as it did is a strong indication that information had surfaced in the interim serious enough to kill the deal. What that information might be and who might've leaked it, the crystal ball does not say. However what you hear coming from the direction of Waukegan is not the sound of cars being impounded. It is the sound of Suzi Schmidt & Bob Sabonjian backpedaling to beat the band.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Favorite Martin

Stassen was later best known for being a perennial candidate for the Republican Party nomination for President, seeking it ten times between 1944 and 1992.
Your LakeCountyEye assumes everyone knows that Andy Martin is the Harold Stassen of Illinois politics. Martin has probably run for US Senate as many times, and is running again in the Republican primary for Obama's seat, the one being kept warm by Roland Burris. Given his past, Martin no-doubt is engaged in promoting Andy Martin and whatever products and services he has for sale, and overall might charitably be described as a missing link in the political food chain.

So your LakeCountyEye considered it a dubious honor to discover that Martin is a fan of the Eye. Well, more precisely, Martin's Senate campaign has been spamming your LakeCountyEye with what seems like daily press releases. OK, that doesn't necessarily mean Martin reads the blog. But wait, take a looksee at the call-out on his latest presser:
Has Mark Kirk become the "Hamlet" of Illinois politics?
Well could there be more convincing proof? Your LakeCountyEye thinks not. Not only does Martin read the blog, but he steals our ideas. LOL

All of this is a roundabout way of explaining how your LakeCountyEye came to be reading Martin's press release this morning. And a remarkable presser it is. So jam-packed it is with LOLZ (intended & unintended) that your LakeCountyEye is a new convert.

Just one example. The presser is pretty much a 500 word attack on Mark Kirk. More to the point, an attack on Kirk's presumed US Senate candidacy.

Here's the set up from Martin's press release:
Martin is launching "Kirk Week" to attack Representative Mark Kirk on Kirk's political record. "There will be no personal or family smears against Kirk from me," says Martin.
Hmm, no personal attacks? A refreshing change in tactics for Martin? Well ... keep reading:
Kirk may have been distracted by his recent divorce, but if a simple family matter throws him off track, how can he stand the stress and struggle of a statewide campaign?
And then read some more:
Obama smeared his Democratic primary opponent in 2004 with marital woes. He smeared Jack Ryan, his original 2004 opponent with Ryan's 'sexless' sex scandal. More marital muck. He was gearing up in 2008 to smear Senator John McCain with McCain's marital history. Can Kirk expect his divorce to become an issue? Obama is addicted to smearing opponents with marital dirt. Hello?
Hello Kitty -- meow.

And that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg -- this presser is the funniest thing to hit Illinois politics since Alan Keyes. One cannot buy comedy of this quality. Take it from your LakeCountyEye who knows firsthand how difficult it is to put together some semblance of decent political satire (especially when one's beat is limited to Lake County).

All of which is a roundabout way of explaining why your LakeCountyEye is breaking with standing tradition of political neutrality and will endorse a candidate for US Senate. That's right, Andy Martin, you got the LakeCountyEye's first (and maybe only) endorsement for an Illinois Republican US Senate candidate. Keep the jokes coming, Mr Martin, and you can count on the Eye's support thru Nov 2010. We'll even take a yardsign.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Help Wanted, No Experience Necessary

Despite what the Lake County Republicans & Democrats are saying about their prospects, one thing is certain about the Lake County Board of Commissioners: the Board in 2010 will not look like the Board today.

That's because, within the last two months, 3 Commissioners have resigned from the Board. Another has announced a bid for a State Senate seat.

As reported in the Daily Herald and the NewsSun (and in chronological order):
  1. Robert Sabonjian (District 8) resigned in April when he was elected Waukegan Mayor.

  2. Suzi Schmidt (District 3) announced early May that she will be a candidate for State Senate District 31.

  3. Pamela Newton (District 18) announced in mid-May her forthcoming resignation, to take an administrative job with the Village of Hawthorn Woods.

  4. Michael Talbett (District 19) accepted an administrative job with the Village of Kildeer and is expected to resign shortly.

This means, at minimum, there will be three new Commissioners seated in 2010. Schmidt is not up for re-election in 2010. But if she wins in Senate 31 that will necessitate a fourth turnover. Plotting Schmidt's senatorial chances against a normal distribution, your LakeCountyEye calculates there will be at least 3½ new Lake County Board Commissioners in 2010.

An abrupt exodus of this sort no doubt is a measure of the political malaise that pervades the County Board. But it is not your LakeCountyEye's job to offer psychoanalytical advice. Instead it is the job of your LakeCountyEye is to peer into the magic crystal ball and handicap County Board winners & losers going into 2010.

Suzi Schmidt, as Chair, is responsible for nominating replacements. The full board votes on the nominees. Given circumstances like these, it is difficult to predict the future, but not impossible. Again, in chronological order:

  1. Democratic party boss Terry Link wants Waukegan ex-Mayor Bill Durkin. Robert Sabonjian has endorsed a campaign worker, Keith Turner. This puts Schmidt in a bind because Link & Schmidt have long-standing social ties. Expect a compromise nominee. Who not to expect:

    • Pat Jones, Waukegan Township Supervisor ...
      A seat on the County board would mean a pay cut.

    • Sam Cunningham, Waukegan Alderman ...
      Cunningham's mother, Mary Ross Cunningham, is already on the Board.

    • Dan Drew, Waukegan ex-Mayor ...

    • Pete Couvall, ex-Lake County Democrats Vice-Chair ...
      Dan Drew has a better chance.

    By process of elimination alone, your LakeCountyEye intuits sentimental favorite, and Waukegan ex-Mayor, Dick Hyde. Hyde is in his 80s, will probably miss a lot of meetings, and would not be expected to run for re-election in 2012. Problem solved!

  2. This one's been wired from the git-go. Republican party boss Dan Venturi agrees not to be a candidate for Senate 31. In return, Venturi is nominated to fill out Suzi Schmidt's term after she reclaims 31 for the GOP in a cake-walk.

  3. The crystal ball is cloudy. Who does Pamela Newton represent? (District 18) Where is District 18? (some or all of Hawthorn Woods, Mundelein, Indian Creek, Buffalo Grove, Vernon Hills) Who lives in Mundelein? (pop. 32,774) Your LakeCountyEye had to look these up. The sad fact of the matter is there's no one to be found in District 18 to replace Newton. That means the nod will go to everyone's choice of last resort, Ed Sullivan Jr. Sullivan already holds down two elected positions, State Representative for District 51 and Fremont Township Assessor. So Sullivan is no stranger to the demands of multi-tasking. Another part-time government gig is not likely to add any additional burden to Sullivan's responsibilities.

  4. Michael Talbett is hired to be Kildeer administrator by Village President, Nandia Black. Talbett and Black work at the same law firm. Talbett's wife, Mimi Black, sits on the Ela Area Public Library board -- and is Nandia Black's sister. Well here's a no-brainer. Mimi Black will be nominated to replace her husband. Nuff said.

Like it or not, come 2010 this is what our County Board will look like. Take it on the full faith and credit of the magic crystal ball c/o your LakeCountyEye. At least until the next Commissioner jumps ship.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Q the Eye

Editor's Note: Your LakeCountyEye, keeper of the infallible magic crystal ball, understands that inexhaustible knowledge comes only at a price of great responsibility. It is in this spirit that your LakeCountyEye inaugurates a new feature called Q the Eye. The floor is open to your questions, pragmatic or profound, about Lake County politics.

Dear LakeCountyEye,

Despite expecting re-election to another 4-year term, I was recently defeated at the polls. Since this has never happened to me before, what is the protocol for transitioning my office over to my opponent?

Aint Misbehavin' in Avon
Dear Aint,

Your LakeCountyEye has gotten a lot of questions like this one, especially since the April election.

First impressions are important and a defeated official needs to leave a sanitized office when handing over the keys to a political opponent. Nothing says amateur-hour like an office littered with expense receipts from nearby casinos and official contracts signed on the back of cocktail napkins.

To that end, your LakeCountyEye recommends a good paper shredder. Beware of cheap home-use units. It is possible to reassemble shredded documents, particularly when an ambitious assistant AG is on the case. Your LakeCountyEye recommends a DIN/Level 6 industrial shredder for this purpose.

Of course even when the incriminating documents have been reduced to hanging-chads, you'll still need to dispose of the evidence. Don't do what the Daily Herald reports that one official did and deposit the remains in the recycle bin behind your own office. That may be the environmentally sensitive thing to do, but it's an open invitation for your opponent to make that call to the State's Attorney. Your LakeCountyEye recommends, at a minimum, burying the confetti in a 7-Eleven dumpster, ideally one located in a different state.

Or if you have a creative flair, boil the paper into paste -- papier-mâché is an excellent construction material. That re-election campaign float will be the talk of next year's 4th of July parade.

Now that the office is scrubbed clean, don't think you can say goodbye to all those fond late-night memories quite yet. What about those computers you're leaving behind? No one who boots up a new computer expects find a hard-drive maxed-out with e-mail messages from your political donors. Your computer is like the fossil record of all those (now long forgotten) years in office. Be sure to delete all of those space-consuming budget expense spreadsheets before you leave.

But be careful, even deleted files can be recovered with the help of any 10-year-old kid with an mp3 player. You may want to do what one official, according to the Daily Herald, did -- reformat all the hard drives before vacating the premises.

Of course, erased files can even be recovered from reformatted drives. Sure, there are commercial products like Norton Wipe that claim to remove all those files forever, but for your LakeCountyEye's money nothing does the job better than the F150. What you need to do is wheel all those overloaded PCs out to the office parking lot. (Leave the monitors and keyboards inside.) Borrow your neighbor's Ford F150 4x4 -- tough, dependable and American made -- and pop the clutch over those computers 3 or 4 times. For best results, perform after midnight. If your opponent questions the condition of the office equipment, say they fell off a truck.

Well, there you have it, your office is now prepped & ready for the new regime. You can breathe easy for the next 4 years that you did the right thing by your opponent. While masterminding your re-election.

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 ...