Wednesday, January 28, 2009

UPDATED-- Gurnee Mayor and Trustee race heats up!

UPDATE-- Mayor Kovarik took exception to the EYE and sent us an email so I added her comments to the blog in blue.

Politics is wild in Gurnee! When Don Rudny defeated Dick Welton who had been Mayor for 28 years in 2001 he set off quite the chain of events. Under Welton the village made some huge moves that paid off in the form of Gurnee Mills, and Great America, that gave the village unlimited funds or so it seemed. Today Gurnee is struggling to cope with the economic downturn more then most communities. Gurnee is not struggling. Our revenues have slowed the same as all communities across the U.S. but our base is diversified so we have not suffered as much as others. We are making the appropriate adjustments to spending daily. Our reserves/capital is well in excess of what is required by ordinance and we have no plans or need to touch them.

When Kristiana Kovarik (pictured) ran and won in 2005, one of her main campaign assistants was former Mayor Dick Welton who was involved to level scores with then Mayor Don Rudney, who was defeated by Kovarik, the EYE is unsure of Weltons current position with Kovarik. Mayor Dick Welton was not one of my main campaign assistants nor was he even in the inner circle. Mayor Welton did support me however because he continues to love this Village and wanted only the best for it. As for this election season, Mayor Welton did sign my nominating petition but I cannot speak for him on the level of his support. Mayor Welton will most likely support whoever he thinks will do the best job for the Village. He is not a vindictive person who would participate just to level scores.

The Gurnee board is a contentious one, refusing to seat the Mayors appointment to fill her seat she vacated when she won the Mayors chair for many many meetings. (I can't find any links that contain the full story to illustrate the issue or I would provide a link.) The Gurnee Board is not a contentious one. We are there to do the people’s business and that is what we do at each meeting. While it did take a few months to fill the open Trustee seat we have all moved on since then and have even had an election since those events took place.
For the Waukegan News Sun-- GURNEE --
Familiar names and a familiar issue -- the economy -- will color the ballot for the April 7 consolidated election in Gurnee. Petition packets for the election, which will decide the next mayor, three trustees and village clerk, have been taken by incumbent trustees Hank Schwarz and Jeanne Balmes, former trustees Tom Chamberlain and Mark Ratfelders and former trustee candidates Bob Kofler and Tony Maniscalco. Candidates must file their nominating petitions between Jan. 19 and 26.

Mayor Kristina Kovarik, who won election as the village's first female president in 2005, has not formally requested nominating petitions through Village Hall. But those mulling a run for office may take packets without signing for them -- or produce their own petition. Kovarik, 51, is expected to make an announcement on a possible second bid for office during a Saturday fund-raiser for two not-for-profits at Direct Buy of Gurnee.

Chamberlain said that despite pulling a petition, he is not planning to challenge Kovarik. Nonetheless, he blasted her, claiming she has failed to deal with a sharp dip in sales tax revenues. Chamberlain was elected to three terms as trustee before suddenly resigning two years ago over what he claimed was Kovarik's failure to keep board members apprised of vital information. "The village is in worse shape than it has been in the history of Gurnee because we have an incompetent mayor," Chamberlain said. Kovarik, long at odds with Chamberlain, said she's waiting to see "how Christmas turned out."

According to the latest figures available through the Illinois Department of Revenue, the village's sales tax share for September and October 2008 dropped $550,000, or 18.4 percent, from the same two months in 2007. Kovarik said her administration is scrutinizing expenses and putting a hold on budget-approved items, like new technology, vehicles and conference trips. The village has also put off hiring for nine municipal positions that were vacated by people who retired or otherwise left, Kovarik said. "Not a day goes by that we're not making adjustments for the drop in revenues," Kovarik said. "We may have to cut some programs. We're asking is it a 'have to have' or a 'nice to have.' Right now it's got to be a 'have to have.'"

Maniscalco, 50, a former Navy man and Gurnee restaurateur who made an unsuccessful bid for trustee four years ago, is expected to announce a run for mayor. He said he regrets having supported Kovarik over former Mayor Don Rudny in 2005 in the wake of a two-year court battle in which Maniscalco was ultimately cleared by a jury of DUI and disorderly conduct charges by Gurnee police. "This town needs help," Maniscalco said. "I've always cared about the community and the businesses and the people. We have to take our community back."

Trustee Jeanne Balmes, who owns Gurnee Flowers by Balmes and who was first elected in 2001, quashed rumors that she planned to run against Kovarik. "I'm not dissatisfied with Krysti," Balmes said. "We don't always agree on everything, but at least you can talk to her and reason with her. She's approachable."

Ratfelders, who served as trustee from 1991 to 1999 under former longtime Mayor Dick Welton, is also expected to run for a trustee seat. Kovarik's attempt to appoint him to the board in 2005 was blocked by trustees, including Chamberlain, who pointed to his vote to approve a controversial Jewel-Osco project at the northwest corner of O'Plaine Road and Route 120. After Wal-Mart announced plans for a nearby store in Waukegan, that Jewel was not built.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What's the Deal......Who is the real Pat Duby

Mr. Pat Duby is running for Avon Township Supervisor in the upcoming April Election. He will compete against the incumbent Shirley Christian and Candidate Sam Yingling of Avon Forward. As a voter, I took a gander at Mr Duby’s Linkedin (Networking) Webpage several times over the course of the last few weeks. I wanted to know who he was. Surprisingly, his list of qualifications changes as often as the weather in Chicago. At one point he states he was on the staff of Senator Michael Bond, but when that was questioned, his Linkedin Webpage changed to “Senior Campaign Staff under the direction of Senator Michael Bond”. How does someone who starts volunteering in June 2008 become a Senior Campaign Staff Member? As I read more of Mr. Duby’s qualifications, he states he was a Campaign Manager for several Lake County Board Candidates. When that qualification was verified, it turns out that Mr. Duby was not anybodies campaign manger. Now his Linkedin webpage changes to “Served as Campaign Manager for County Commissioner candidates running for Lake County IL Board during the Nov 2008 federal elections” Could it be that Mr. Duby was merely one of the many hundreds of dedicated volunteers who worked diligently to get Democrats elected in 2008? I do believe this is the real Pat Duby, a young man who along with many others helps to advance the democrats in Lake County.

As a prospective candidate, Mr Duby has begun working on his “walk-cards” addressing the platform issues that he would like to work on as Avon Township Supervisor. Whether intentional or not, a few of these platform cards made their way to the “Eye”. Several of the platform issues Mr. Duby addresses are not affected at the township level. Does Mr. Duby know what the position of Township Supervisor entails? Does he understand township government?

I applaud the effort of any individual who wants to get involved in Public Service, but in order to compete for the top slot; one should have a little experience in township business and well as involvement in township government.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hawthorn Woods Mayoral Seat Open

This one was a no brainer, Mayor Keith Hunt (picture) was roundly despised by his residents, and by all accounts toast. The Eye has no idea who Joe Mancino is and can offer no opinion about him. We do offer an comment on Hunt, after cost over runs and delays, Hawthorne Woods opened their new aquatic center a few years ago, and to inaugurate it Hunt made the first dive, and hit bottom and knocked himself silly!

Hunt calls it quits in Hawthorn Woods

Daily Herald-- Like him or not, Keith Hunt has been a big presence in the small town of Hawthorn Woods. But after eight years, the sometimes controversial mayor is giving up the public spotlight.

In a lengthy letter sent to all 2,500 homes, Hunt said he was honored to have served 10 years including two as village trustee. He outlined a list of accomplishments he said have made the village stronger and more vibrant.

But with two family members facing life-threatening illnesses and growing children, Hunt said he wants shift his focus.

"It's something I've been thinking about for awhile. It's not a decision I've come to quickly or lightly," he said Thursday. "I've given 10 years. We've accomplished a lot. It's time to spend more time with my family."

The announcement also notes Hunt's board allies, trustees Greg Gehrke and Jim Silvers, also have chosen not to seek re-election.

"It's very bittersweet. There's a big part of me that continues to want to serve," Hunt said.

Among the achievements listed were a comprehensive road improvement program, construction of a water treatment system, annexations to protect the village borders, planning for the Midlothian Road corridor and bringing millions of dollars into the community through developer donations, annexation fees and other fees.

"Heritage Oaks Park and the Aquatic Center are among the accomplishments I'm most proud of," he said.

A litigator by trade, Hunt brought that tenacity and personal involvement to the office. His sometime abrasive style didn't sit well with critics, however. The village under his leadership also has spent about $1 million the past two years defending itself in lawsuits.

"While every decision may not have been popular to every resident at the time, all decisions have been made in the best interest of the village as a whole," Hunt wrote to residents.

The departure of Hunt, Gehrke and Silvers virtually ensures a change on the board. The Hawthorn Woods Open Government Party has fielded a slate of candidates for mayor and the three open trustee seats. One trustee candidate, Neil Morgan, is an incumbent. A fourth candidate also has filed for the trustee spot.

As of Thursday, Joseph Mancino, a business owner who serves on the village's police and public safety and bike path committees, is the lone mayoral candidate. He has not previously run for public office.

As part of its platform, his slate promises "open and unencumbered" information to residents, to encourage public participation and be a "good neighbor" to surrounding communities.

Mancino said the scenario isn't as rosy as portrayed in Hunt's letter. While the budget is balanced and has a slight surplus, he contends that was done by shifting funds earmarked for roads into the general budget.

"While it shows a surplus, we will be clobbered next year. Absolutely clobbered," Mancino said.

Pending lawsuits, bond payments and a settlement with the police department have created "a real financial mess," he said.

"There's been a lot of mismanagement," he charged.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

State Rep to Run for Mayor of Waukegan

This ought to be quite entertaining, Mr Washington is a little bit crazy, and has been on the outs with the county democrats, when the party led by Terry Link ran Angelo Kyle against him in the primary a year ago. The outcome in the upcoming crowded mayoral primary here would be a Washington win equals State Rep Angelo Kyle quite soon. However our handicapping thinks current Mayor Dick Hyde wins the primary and the general easily in a crowded field. Hyde versus Washington straight up would be another kettle of fish.

From the WAUKEGAN News Sun -- State Rep. Eddie Washington is in and 6th Ward Ald. Larry TenPas is out as the 2009 race for mayor slowly takes shape.

"I just think people should have an array of choices, and I want to be one of them," said Washington, who plans to be on the April 7 ballot as an independent. "It wasn't any scripted plan, (but) I've been very much surprised with the number of people who support this decision."

Like County Board member Bob Sabonjian, who is also looking to run as an independent, Washington has until 5 p.m. Monday to file petitions with a minimum of 427 signatures and a maximum of 683. Washington added that he would resign his House seat if elected.

Meanwhile, TenPas said Friday that he pulled petitions to run earlier this month after Mayor Richard Hyde was hospitalized with a ruptured appendix, but decided not to file them as Hyde's health improved.

"No, I'm not running," TenPas said. "I was quite concerned about the mayor, but now I can see he's going to make a complete recovery ... I'm backing Dick Hyde 100 percent."

Among the people watching these developments closely are members of the Citizens for the Resurgence of Excellence in Waukegan (CREW), which was formed in October with a mission statement supporting "the establishment of a new mayoral administration."

Toward that end, the 53-member group has been conducting interviews with each mayoral hopeful, planning to issue an endorsement and campaign for a selected candidate.

"We're a group of people who are concerned about Waukegan. (We're) not looking to oust anyone," said CREW co-founder Steve Kolber. "The whole focus behind all of this is identifying the potential of each candidate (and) educate ourselves as to who is the most qualified person to lead the city."

To date, CREW has conducted interviews with Sabonjian, Republican Greg Flesher, and Democratic candidates Sam Cunningham and Jose Guzman, posting reports at Kolber said Hyde cancelled a scheduled session, and Washington will be added to the list if he files on Monday.

"We just want to create an awareness among the electorate. The voter turnout has been terrible, and such slim margins have decided elections," Kolber said, adding that his group hopes to connect with "the thousands of registered voters who don't even bother to go out and vote."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Greg Garner to run for Gurnee Mayor

Here is a classic political move, elected official A gives individual B a start in politics, individual B demonstrates loyalty and appreciation by running against official A at first opportunity.

WAUKEGAN NEWS SUN-- GURNEE -- The village's first black trustee chose inauguration day to informally announce his candidacy for mayor of Gurnee.

During a Black Chamber of Commerce inaugural celebration in Waukegan on Tuesday, Greg Garner, 51, said he plans to challenge incumbent Mayor Kristina Kovarik in the April 7 consolidated election.

"I'm running to open the door of village government to the citizens of Gurnee," Garner said. "I'd like to bring about a more inclusive process where the ideas and opinions of our citizens are welcomed for a change."

Kovarik, also 51, appointed Garner to fill her unexpired term after she was elected mayor in 2005. She announced her bid for re-election during a charitable fund-raiser earlier this month. Neither candidate has filed nominating petitions, which are due by Jan. 26.

Garner, who won election in 2007, works as a pharmaceutical salesman. He said he's concerned with a lack of retail development in the village and cites a 22 percent drop in sales tax revenues from December 2007 to December 2008.

"Key Lime Cove is failing," said Garner, referring to the indoor water park and resort that opened a year ago. "Gurnee Mills is an outdated dinosaur. It's in decline and disrepair, even though they receive rebates for updating. The village doesn't pressure businesses to do what they are contracted to do."

Other issues Garner hopes to take up during a campaign include the lack of progress in the redevelopment of the village's east side -- Gurnee Grade School District 56 needs the revenue -- and the need for more communication between the mayor and trustees.

Garner said he liked President Barack Obama's message of inclusion and call to responsibility for all Americans.

"While it's great to be African American and elected to leadership, this (election) is about serving the people of our town," Garner said. "We need to listen to what the people want and serve their needs. That's what we're elected to do."

Besides mayor, the election will also decide three trustee seats and village clerk.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Muncipal Filing Update from the Daily Herald

Wauconda Mayor Salvatore Saccomanno is seeking a second term - but two opponents stepped into his path.

Challengers Thomas Larkin and Roger Wojcicki are set to run against Saccomanno, who was elected to the town's highest office in 2005. All three men filed candidate petitions at village hall Monday, the first day to submit such paperwork for the April 7 consolidated election.

The Wauconda race won't be the only mayoral contest in Lake County. Multiple candidates also filed for the post in Fox Lake, Hainesville, Round Lake and other towns.

Races for village boards, school boards, library boards and township boards are among those that also will be decided.

Many government offices - especially schools - were closed Monday because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so many candidates won't be able to file until today.

In Wauconda, Saccomanno said he's seeking re-election because he has more to accomplish as mayor.

"I had a great start in my first four years ... and I want to be a part of seeing it through," he said.

Wojcicki narrowly lost a bid for the Wauconda village board in 2007. He's now running for mayor because he believes Wauconda needs new leadership.

Larkin served on the Wauconda Unit District 118 school board in the 1980s, but has never run for village office.

"I never thought I had to until now," said Larkin, who cited the need for the village to be more fiscally responsible as his chief issue.

Late last year, Wauconda Trustee Mark Knigge said he planned to challenge Saccomanno for mayor, but Knigge did not file paperwork Monday.

The deadline for candidate petitions in any of the races to be decided in April is Monday, Jan. 26.

Elsewhere in Lake County, incumbent Hainesville Mayor Ted Mueller and former mayor Linda Soto filed Monday for that post. Mueller is seeking a third term; Soto preceded Mueller as mayor.

In Fox Lake, incumbent Mayor Cindy Irwin is facing a challenge from trustee and longtime political opponent Ed Bender. Irwin and Bender are leading full slates of candidates for the clerk's post and three trustee slots.

Full slates also filed paperwork in Round Lake. Mayor Bill Gentes, who recently lost a bid for the state Senate, will lead a team against mayoral challenger James Dietz and his slate.

Mayoral challengers also are surfacing in other communities for the first time in decades.

In Libertyville, attorney and former village trustee Terry Weppler is challenging incumbent Jeff Harger, who is seeking a second four-year term. The post hasn't been contested in 20 years.

And in nearby Mettawa, fights for the mayor's office and village board may be among the first in the tiny village's roughly 50-year history. At the top, longtime Mayor Barry MacLean is facing a challenge from resident Jess Ray.

The driving issues for Ray and his slate of challengers are village board actions involving the land sale and approval of a Costco store near the Tri-State Tollway.

Mayoral battles didn't erupt in every Lake County village, however. For example, Mundelein Mayor Kenneth H. Kessler was the only person to file for that post Monday. Likewise, Rhett Taylor was the only person who submitted mayoral paperwork on the first day in Grayslake. He's a trustee now.

Incumbent Grayslake Mayor Tim Perry is not seeking re-election. Trustee Ron Jarvis had declared his candidacy last year but has not made it official.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Extending Route 53

The Lake County Board Public Works and Transportation committee meeting on January 14 decided unanimously to send to the full County Board the question of putting a non-binding referendum question on the April 7th ballot “an advisory vote should be held to gauge public sentiment on the idea of extending Route 53.” The full Board is expected to take up the matter on January 20.

Word has it that a number of previous opponents to extending route 53 are in favor of this question being put before the voters. This is an issue that has been studied and debated to ad nausea. It has been held up by a former State Senator whose backyard, rumor has it, would abut to the new highway, a current long time State Rep who wouldn’t comment on the issue, nor any other issue during the last election, and the Village of Long Grove. Meanwhile many Lake County commuters sit in traffic jams due to poorly designed roads and poor land use planning throughout the County.

What do you think? Let "Keeping an eye on Lake County" know if you think route 53 should be extended to Route 12 at the Wisconsin border or if you think it shouldn’t be extended, or if you other ideas on the subject.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bill Gentes running for third term.

Got a press release from Mayor Bill Gentes today announcing his run for his third term. Gentes ran for State Senator Bill Peterson's open senate seat last fall and got beat quite handily by republican newcomer and now State Senator Dan Duffy.

Scuttlebutt has it that Gentes is toast in this election, but looking at the County Clerks website from the November election you can see Gentes won the Round Lake precincts pretty consistently (looks like he lost 1 of 10). There is a slate already announced (posted here on December 27) so its a two way race for the Round Lake Mayor's seat (for now). My guess is that Gentes wins. Plus I have been hearing from Republican sources that there is a third slate gearing up to run as well.

Two term Round Lake Mayor Bill Gentes announced his intention today to seek a third term as Mayor of Round Lake. Mayor Gentes is running on his record of improving management of the village, professionalizing the police department, and building a surplus in reserves from $5 million dollars to well over $16 million today. In addition Mayor Gentes serves on numerous boards and committee’s including Chairman of the 120 Corridor Planning Council, which hopes to build the 11 mile road across the county to solve many of our transportation problems.

Running with Bill on the United Round Lake Party is current Village Clerk Jeanne Kristan, Village Trustee Brian Brubaker, current Round Lake Police Commissioner Al Villasenor and Cynthia Purim Haran. “I am pleased to say this slate balances and represent all the areas of the village from the older sections of towns, to some of our larger less represented developments. I am very excited to be running with this fine group,” says Bill. “The village has become a much more complex entity in the last years, as the vast amount of development approved by my predecessor was built during my first term. We had to manage explosive growth and increased service demands with little in the way of management structure in place. I am proud to say that we have done quite a bit of this, but more needs to be done, which is why I am seeking a third term as Mayor,” says Gentes.

“My running mates are professionals who have either helped the village progress over the last 8 years, or will help going forward. The two newcomers to elected office are Al Villasenor a small business owner who runs a Financial Services Company and Cynthia Purim-Haran an Attorney with senior management experience as well. I think the village will be well served by this slate of candidates,” says Gentes.

Round Lake has grown from 5,400 people in the 2000 census to just fewer than 17,000 according to recent projections.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

$700 Billion???

If I'm wrong please correct me, and I'm sure someone will, but wasn't the $700 Billion Wall Street bailout supposed to get the economy moving? According to the newspapers it doesn't seem to be working...

"According to the latest statistics available from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, McHenry County was saddled with an unemployment rate of 6 percent in November – up from 3.9 percent from the same time last year. Kane County’s unemployment rate climbed from 4.5 percent to 6.3 percent during that same period, and Lake County’s rate jumped from 4.8 percent to 7.7 percent." (NWH 1/9/09 Report says 
4.6 million out of work).

That is a lot of people out of work.

Robert Reich, from his blog, put it pretty succinctly...

"Wall Street is a different story entirely. There's no good reason for taxpayers to continue bailing out the Street. TARP hasn't worked. Some $350 billion later, credit markets are still quite frozen. The only obvious beneficiaries of TARP have been the executives, creditors, and shareholders of the big Wall Street banks, who have come out better than they would have had there been no Wall Street bailout."

What has happened is that the creators of this mess have been rewarded. George W. Bush & Cos. started out with a goal, in my personal opinion, to redistribute wealth from the middle class to the wealthy. They started out just simply wanting to cut taxes for the wealthy while also cutting programs that favored the poor. Pretty traditional strategy one would think. But 911 allowed them to start a war. And we all know there is money to be made in a war. Haliburton is sitting fat and sassy these days as a result of the largess bestowed upon them by Bush.

Next, you quicken the pace and deepen the reach of deregulation to as many industries as you can. While deregulating you put the former heads of those same industries in charge of the agencies that oversee those industries. Put the fox in the hen house if you will.

Next, you prepare for the possible chance of not being totally in power forever by packing the Courts with like minded individuals so that you can maintain the change in the rules (aka: laws) you have pushed through Congress these past 8 years.

Tack onto these all the lies you need and you have the makings of a disaster.

The ultimate goal here was to redistribute wealth, make it so wealth is concentrated in the few so that you ultimately return the country and the economy to the good old days before the middle class even existed. It allows industry to control the jobs and control the money. You make it so that we little people know our place in the scheme of things. The golden rule to them is those who have the gold make the rules.

So, now we return to power and we are left with a disaster that will prove plenty troublesome to fix. Try bringing back many of the regulations Bush removed, and you get a lawsuit. That suit eventually ends up in the Supreme Court who says you can't change the law (keep in mind this is the same Court that involved itself in the 2K election where it had no jurisdiction). One saving grace here could be that some Justices are getting old giving Obama an opportunity to push the Court to the left. But these lawsuits against changing the regulations will be fought through a Court fraught with Bush appointees. These lawsuits are brought by those well financed FOB's (Friends of Bush). Since the lower courts are packed with right-wing jurists for life it will require similarly well financed friends of the people who are willing to fight the FOB's to a hopefully future friendly Supreme Court.

The bailout isn't working. We put a package together to bail out the banks only to have a small company like Republic Glass close its doors because the bank, Bank of America, who got Federal bailout dollars, won't lend them day-to-day operating funds. As noted in Epoch Times:

Paulson Bailout Fails to Deliver, Except for Big Banks How a program to save the economy ended up enriching a few

So, I ask again...wasn't that $700 Billion Wall Street bailout supposed to get the economy moving again?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What To Do On Inauguration Day

LakeCountyEye is still waiting for its invitation to President-Elect Obama's Inauguration to arrive in the mail.

If you are like us and frustrated by your snail-mail service, don't fret, there are some less-expensive and closer-to-home inauguration events to attend.

Most events are scheduled for Jan 20 and all are open to the public. Some events are free, and some are priced reasonably, and some aren't.

Chicago Inaugural Ball
Volunteers and supporters of President Barack Obama will celebrate the Inauguration on January 20th at the Skyline Ballroom in McCormick Place. Festivities begin at 7pm. The Chicago Inaugural Ball will share the theme of the ceremonies in Washington: Renewing American's Promise. The night's program will include dancing, a champagne toast to the new President, and several multimedia presentations celebrating this historic evening. The Skyline Ballroom is in the West Building of McCormick Place, between Martin Luther King Dr and S. Prairie Avenue. Tickets are $175 and include Valet Parking, 2 glasses of Champagne, hors d'oeuvres.

Luncheon and black-tie ball
The Black Chamber of Commerce of Lake County will hold a luncheon to watch the swearing-in ceremony live on a large-screen TV on Jan 20 between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., followed by a black-tie inauguration reception and ball that evening between 6 and 9:30 p.m. at Midlane Resort and Country Club, 4555 W. York House Road, Waukegan. Tickets are $25 for the inaugural luncheon only; $75 for the black-tie inauguration reception and ball only; or $95 for the combination ticket for the luncheon and ball.
RSVP 847-244-5548

Family-friendly celebration
The 10th Congressional District Democrats are planning a family-friendly inaugural celebration starting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Hyatt Deerfield, 1750 Lake-Cook Road. Tickets are $44 for adults, $20 for children 13 to 18 and free for children 12 and under.
RSVP 847-266-8683

Buffet and Celebration
The Eighth District Democrats and Independents are planning a pot-luck dinner to watch the balls and replays of the inauguration ceremony at Byron Colby Barn, Route 45 and Jones Point Road, Prairie Crossing in Grayslake starting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 20. Bring a dish to pass or a nonperishable donation for the local food pantry. $10 donation requested.
RSVP 847-550-8631

Township Inaugural Ball
Celebrate the inauguration with the Wheeling and Palatine Township Democrats on Jan 20 at 7pm. We'll watch the festivities on big screen TVs at the Village Bar & Grill, 48 Raupp Rd in Buffalo Grove. $10 for hot appetizers (pizza, chicken fingers, potato skins). Cash Bar, Poetry Slam.

Presidential Inauguration Ball
The Democratic Party of Evanston invites you to join Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, State Senator Jeff Schoenberg, State Representative Julie Hamos and Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffreiden for a wonderful evening of entertainment and dancing to rock and swing standards with the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band. Raffle prices to commemorate this historic day. Sweets & savories. Cash bar. Black Tie Optional. $44 per person, $80 per couple. On Saturday, January 10, 8-11:30pm -- and at Hilton Gardens, 1818 Maple Ave in Evanston.

See the NewsSun for more information about these events

Monday, January 5, 2009

LOL Libby Collins

Well this item is already old news -- everyone by now knows that Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran changed his party affiliation.

But WKRS host Libby Collins had Curran on her Dec 18 show ...

For a chance to talk all about it ...

To share in some feelings ...

And that's about when Terry Link called ...

Runtime easily exceeds 30 minutes -- but this podcast is hilarious. Seriously.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Don't ask the County to keep an eye on keeping us healthy

The hubbub concerning a possible cancer cluster in McHenry County's Ringwood community just keeps getting more and more interesting. As is usual in these case the local government health department and the owners, past and present, have a tendency to deny a cluster exists. In the face of growing evidence that there actually may be an unnatural cause and that a cluster actually exists one would expect the county Health Department, maybe even the State, to conduct testing in order to determine if a problem does exist. Makes sense, right?

Not to the fine folks in McHenry County's Health Department. For the past year they have been telling the folks in Ringwood that everything was just ducky...

From the 12/21/08 Northwest Herald article Health officials knew about McCullom memos

"The McHenry County Department of Health has assured the public during the past year that its analysis of brain cancer cases in McCullom Lake is legitimate.Health officials determined in 2006 that local brain cancer rates were not above normal, and that groundwater pollution from Ringwood manufacturers Rohm and Haas and Modine Manufacturing Co. was not responsible for illnesses, contrary to allegations made in a number of lawsuits.

They decided that they would depend upon testing done by a company hired by the owners of the property in question."

Even more interesting is that the NWH had questioned the research back in 2007. And the Health Department kept defending it's work;

"Since then, Public Health Administrator Patrick McNulty has stated that the department had consulted with four government agencies during its work, and he defended relying on a pollution report paid for by the company because it was created by an independent outside firm.Health department records, however, show that officials did not contact two of these agencies until a month after they publicly presented their conclusions. Officials also have never addressed private e-mails from the outside firm's researchers revealed in the newspaper's series in which they raised concerns about their own data.Department records show that the department received the e-mails and other information challenging the integrity of the Rohm and Haas data a year before the newspaper's series ran."

What makes it interesting is the the NWH is not known for digging up the heavy news and that it usually supports the Republican controlled local governments.

The company that conducted the testing, URS, even questioned the results saying that they were skewed because of limitations of the testing itself;

"When it came to the location and flow of contaminated groundwater from the manufacturers, the health department relied on a December 2005 study prepared for Rohm and Haas by outside firm URS Corp. But two senior URS consultants expressed misgivings during their work.Both consultants, in May and September 2005 e-mails, said the maps of the contamination were constrained by the limited extent of monitoring wells drilled since the 1980s. The consultant who wrote the September e-mail, two weeks before URS collected the samples for the report, called the plume picture "very arbitrary," while the other wrote that results were interpreted "... to favor Rohm and Haas."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Senator already has a tomb?

Roland Burris is already planning ahead? I thought this was photo shopped at first but apparerntly not! Amazing! I wonder how much it will cost him to add United States Senator to the wall.

UPDATED--Yvonne Senter-Evans seeks Shields supervisor post

For those of you keeping score Senter-Evans is a Democrat and Stenger Wayne is a Republican, even though township government is non partisan.

"The experiences I have gained over the past 16 years as an elected official -- eight years on the North Chicago School Board of Education and over seven years as a Shields Township trustee -- have given me the much-needed skills and knowledge to do the job as township supervisor." Senter-Evans said.

"When I was appointed to the Shields Township Board of Trustees there was one thing that was very important to me and that was to bridge the gap between the North Chicago community and the rest of the communities within Shields," she said. "I can attest that I have witnessed a lot of growth especially in the areas of building partnerships, cooperation and understanding. The diversity in demographics, culture and socio-economics in Shields Township makes it a very unique area to serve in."

Senter-Evans and Gale Strenger Wayne of Lake Bluff have both announced for the supervisor post. Supervisor Charles Fitzgerald IV has announced he will not seek re-election after serving for 13 years.

Fitzgerald has endorsed Senter-Evans, while Wayne, who is leading the First Slate, has picked up the endorsements of state Sens. Susan Garrett, D-Lake Forest, and state Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan; state Reps. Kathy Ryg, D-Vernon Hills, and Karen May, D-Highland Park; Lake County Board District 13 Rep. Susan Loving Gravenhorst of Lake Forest; Mona Strenger of Lake Forest, former Lake County Board member and current Shields Township trustee; North Shore Sanitary District President James Swarthout, a former Lake Forest mayor; Fred Wacker, former Lake Bluff mayor; John Dixon, former Lake Bluff trustee; and Fred Day, retired Lake Bluff police chief.

A Shields Township resident pointed out the ticket is "multi-party" consisting of Democrats and Independents as well as Republicans. Also the party has a website and a blog! The. website is and their blog is

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Brouhaha in Mettawa

For the first time in recent memory, there will be a contested election over who gets to run the Village of Mettawa. The Village Board there gave the green light to a new Costco on Route 60 ... and it looks like they got more than they bargained for.

"Mettawa residents who tried to stop the Village Board from approving a Costco store vowed they would try to unseat the Board after Costco was approved 5-2 on Nov. 18. They have organized a slate to run against five current Village Board members in the April 7 election.",vh-mettawa-122508-s1.article,lf-costcorxn-112008-s1.article

The opposition is running under a slate called the Mettawa Transparency Party.

Defending their turf are the Open Space Fiscal Responsibility Party. The incumbent slate includes Mayor Barry MacLean and four current trustees, including Larry Falbe.

Falbe is notable because he is Communications Vice Chair for the Lake County Republican Party.

Falbe also blogs under the nom de guerre TeamAmerica.

The exact name of the blog is TeamAmerica10th. Presumably not because Falbe considers himself to be (by comparison) one-tenth of a Team America. Rather, his is a pro Mark Kirk blog -- and Kirk's is the 10th Congressional District. Falbe's blog is also hosted by Blogspot.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


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