Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pony Up for the Route 53 Extension

Every political campaign typically will have two kinds of volunteers: it will have its battle-tested political operatives and it will have a finance committee. Not uncoincidentally, the Route 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council plans to name a finance committee next month.

Haha, the Route 53 Advisory Council has the spectacular task of converting the Route 53 Extension pipe-dream into not just a boondoggle but a reality. The cost of the toll-road will be an estimated $2.5 billion.  One Council member told to the News-Sun ...
that even when the advisory council included options like tolls and federal funding for a project that was estimated between $2.3 billion and $2.7 billion, "there was a gap, so there's going to be a lot of effort put forth to make sure we find a way to finance this (project)."
Route 53/120 advisory council to create finance committee
This same Advisory Council member, in apparent candor, said ...
ultimately, these projects come down to 'how are you going to pay for them?'
Route 53/120 advisory council to create finance committee
Even by Lake County standards, two and a half billion ain't backyard chicken feed. Bearing in mind that early estimates like these lowball a boondoggle project's cost by a factor of five or ten, pretty soon you're talking real money.

One proposed solution would be to increase everyone's property tax bill by 50 cents whenever Lake County Chair Aaron Lawlor is heard uttering a sentence that contains a noun, a verb, and the Route 53 Extension. The bean counters estimate this will pay for the Route 53 Extension within six to nine months. It is also estimated this plan will send every Lake County taxpayer, within six to nine months, to the poorfarm.

In a day where big government is the solution to nothing, and private initiative is the solution to every problem, the only plausible solution would be to pass the hat. It may be too late for a Labor Day Telethon, but your LakeCountyEye doesn't mind asking for donations to help make the Route 53 Extension a reality. Just post your donation amount into the Route 53 Extension Donation Widget, click the DONATE button, and watch how high the donation thermometer climbs!
Route 53 Extension Donation Meter
Donations are not tax deducible. Please donate soon -- you can help make one young child's dream come true!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Requiem in Pacem

more than just a band-aidHaha, there is no truth to the rumor that Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran has decided to run, instead, in the next election, for County Coroner. However, the unmisinformed sources have told your LakeCountyEye that the Lake County Board is planning to dissolve the Coroner's Office, and transfer its operation into the Sheriff's Department. This can be wrangled -- all legally -- with a binding ballot referendum in 2014.

Whether or not the Lake County voter is in a mergermania kind of mood, is entirely another question. One operative told your LakeCountyEye that Lake County voters will be in the mood after they are sold on the idea. He then rattled off a whole slew of reasons in favor of rolling the Coroner's Office up and into the Sheriff's Department. Your LakeCountyEye wrote down 10:
Ten Unassailable Reasons
Why the Lake County Sheriff Needs to be in Charge of the Coroner's Office
  1. The Coroner can carry a gun and get in cool shootouts, like on CSI.
  2. The County Paddy Wagon can be dual-purposed as the County Hearse.
  3. The County Jail would be the perfect place for a Halloween Haunted House.
  4. Day-to-day operation of the Coroner's Office can be outsourced to Walmart.
  5. Two Words: Alien Autopsy
  6. It will be much easier to arrest ghost voters.
  7. The accidental deaths in the County Jail can be transferred to the morgue more quickly.
  8. Seriously, how long would a zombie be able to hold out, like, inside a Sheriff's Office?
  9. That sound you hear is not bones rattling. It's a union being busted.
  10. The Lake County Board can make some political hack the Coroner. Just like in the good old days.
Look for your LakeCountyEye, in search of brains.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Then They Came For ...

little dickensIn western Lake County -- the land that time forgot -- news travels slow. Operatives would not be expected to know the Northwest Herald reported that ...
More than 105,000 residents in Lake and McHenry counties – including more than 50,000 children – are facing food insecurity, according to the Map the Meal Gap 2012 study by Feeding America.
A steady diet of need
While according to the News-Sun, the Northern Illinois Food Bank says ...
Nearly one in five Lake County children is hungry, according to Pete Schaefer, NIFB president and CEO.
New program feeds needy children during summer
Western Lake County is represented, appropriately, by Congressmen Randy Hultgren & Peter Roskam -- who, according to the Daily Herald, voted this week to cut the Federal Food Stamp program by $40 billion.
Suburban lawmakers split along party lines with Republican U.S. Reps. Peter Roskam of Wheaton and Randy Hultgren of Winfield supporting the proposal to cut food stamp funding.
House votes to cut $4B a year from food stamps
Also according to the Daily Herald, more than 11% of Lake County does not have health insurance:
In the metropolitan region, the portion of uninsured varies widely from 9 percent in McHenry and Will counties to 16.3 percent in Cook County including Chicago, according to the 2012 census numbers released today. DuPage County had 9.8 percent uninsured, Kane County had 14.3 percent, and Lake County had 11.3 percent.
How many have no health insurance in suburbs
Operatives should not be surprised that Roskam & Hultgren both voted this week to kill ObamaCare. Without that appropriation bill, according to the Sun-Times, the Federal government would shut down:
All Illinois House Republicans voted for the resolution: Peter Roskam, Rodney Davis, Randy Hultgren, John Shimkus, Adam Kinzinger and Aaron Schock.
Shutdown showdown over ObamaCare
In more upbeat news, your LakeCountyEye is sponsoring a poetry contest. Operatives are asked to fill in the blanks:

First they came for the food.
And I didn't speak out because I wasn't hungry.

Then they came for health care.
And I didn't speak out because I wasn't sick.
Then they came for

And I didn't speak out because I wasn't
Then they came for me.
It was November 4 2014, Election Day, and they were counting on my vote.
Haha, the winning entry will receive a free ticket back in time to the Dickensian workhouse. Act now, everyone will be a winner!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Moving the Goal Posts

Jubilation T Cornpone Operatives hoping for a re-match between crowd pleaser ex-Congressman Joe Walsh and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth will be disappointed. Manju Goel, an Aurora businesswoman and native of India, may already be the Republican to bet on as to who will challenge Duckworth in the Eighth Congressional District. The Daily Herald reports that Goel, who attended the Northwest Suburban Republican Family Picnic ...
is backed by a national group of Republicans, including Texas congressman Pete Sessions, who accompanied Goel to Sunday's event. This will be Goel's first run for public office, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections website. Sunday's picnic also brought attention to the 8th district's growing Indian-American presence in local Republican circles. Goel was given a traditional Indian welcome by being showered with flower petals.
Goel announces 8th congressional candidacy
Sensing a trend, your LakeCountyEye contacted Dr. I.M. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, Professor of Surprising Political Trends at the College of Lake County. Your LakeCountyEye caught up with Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi in Chicago, at the campaign headquarters of Bill Daley for Governor.

"What you are seeing" said Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi "is part of a broader national trend. Whether deserved or not, the GOP has a reputation of being the party of angry white males. They want to counter that perception by promoting candidates in 2014 who are non-angry non-white and/or non-male."

Your LakeCountyEye was having none of that. The GOP gubernatorial candidates all have names like Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, Bruce Rauner, Dan Rutherford.

"Absolutely, those names read like the B-Card at a WWE tournament." chuckled Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "But who did they pick for their Lieutenant Governors? Candidates with names like Maria Rodriguez, Jil Tracy, Steve Kim."

Well, your LakeCountyEye thought out loud, Lieutenant Governor ain't worth a bucket of warm fizz.

"That's precisely the point." rejoined Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "Nobody believes Tammy Duckworth is beatable in 2014.  So the GOP recruits a Manju Goel to get that name on the ballot.  You can tell if a Democratic Congressperson is vulnerable by whether of not their GOP opponent is an angry white male."

Your LakeCountyEye was sure Robert Dold appreciated the words of encouragement.

"The real negative outlier" continued Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi "is Joe Walsh, the macdaddy of angry white males. The dance card doesn't look good for poor Mr Walsh. He can run for Senate against Dick Durbin, where he will get clobbered. Or he can find another Republican Congressman to challenge in the Primary. It's rumored that Walsh is eyeing Adam Kinzinger's seat."

Your LakeCountyEye was now confused. Isn't Adam Kinzinger an angry white male?

"I don't think so." replied Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "People tell me that Kinzinger is a jaunty white male."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

iFramed: Postscript

I've been posting stories here about Vince Testa, who believes he was wrongly convicted in Lake County of resisting arrest; and his efforts to see the misdemeanor conviction reversed. A Sun-Times newspaper, the Lake County News-Sun, has just published a story about Testa called, Man calls Case Review Panel a 'sham,' files lawsuit.

Testa had submitted his case to Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim, who was elected on the promise that he would create an independent Case Review Panel to investigate past convictions. Nerheim accepted Testa's case but declined to overturn his conviction, without explanation.

In one story posted here called iFramed: Epilogue, I noted that the existence of a Case Review Panel in the State's Attorney's office actually raises more questions than it answers.  The recent News-Sun story about Testa does answer some of the questions I raised.

Regarding his Case Review Panel, Michael Nerheim told the News-Sun that ...
the eight-member panel does not hold public sessions or hearings on the cases. Rather he meets with the panel in roundtable discussions once evidence in the cases is reviewed.
He also told the News-Sun that ...
the panel was not intended to take the place of the appeals process, and that its review of cases is a "bonus" for those seeking to have their convictions reversed.
The News-Sun story did not elaborate on what Michael Nerheim meant by the word BONUS.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Q the Eye/09.15.13

Dear LakeCountyEye,

My new husband spends more time with the video poker machine than with me. Do you know any good divorce lawyers?

Empty House
Dear No Pair, Ὥρος Hōros

Anyone thinking about tying the knot in Lake County ought to consider a prenuptial agreement. You can download one free of charge from the Lake County Board website ...
Proposed Standard of Conduct for Appointed Boards and Commissions
But those who are contemplating a breakup should bear in mind how divorces get tried in Lake County. One unlucky soul caught in a divorce lost her home and was living in Wisconsin temporary accommodations when she asked the Lake County State's Attorney to investigate her husband for embezzlement. So, the State's Attorney did what would be expected of any Lake County State's Attorney. They found out she was displaced when she mailed in her 2012 absentee election ballot -- not unlike many snowbirds -- and, haha, charged her with illegal voting.

According to the News-Sun, this waylaid divorcee's ...
former in-laws are generous campaign contributors, having given nearly $35,000 over the past decade to the Lake County Republican Central Committee and various Republican candidates, according to the State Board of Elections Contributions List.
Woman charged with illegal voting in 2012 election
Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim -- a Republican -- told the News-Sun ...
"I can assure you, it's not political."
Woman charged with illegal voting in 2012 election
Or, as they say in Lake County, marriage is not for the faint of heart.

So, before filing those divorce papers, you may want to shop around for a jurisdiction other than Lake County -- one where the judicial system is more sympathetic to a woman's rights. Like Yemen or Ethiopia or North Korea or something.

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 ...

Friday, September 13, 2013

Error of Commissions

Only Batman can save us now.Bird watchers up and down Lake County are asking if the bloggers at the McHenryCountyBlog will do hard time for filing a frivolous complaint before the McHenry County Ethics Commission. Haha, as readers of this blog are ornithologically aware ...
A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush
The alleged frivolous complaint was filed against a McHenry County Undersheriff, Andrew Zinke.  The bloggers at the McHenryCountyBlog say Zinke -- a candidate for McHenry County Sheriff -- used his official email account to send an email to County Board members -- one that promoted his candidacy. In the email, Zinke attempted to explain a photo of his middle finger -- one that appeared on the McHenryCountyBlog:
McHenry County Undersheriff Andy Zinke's Giving the Finger in Crystal Lake Parade Brings Comments
How will the McHenry County Ethics Commission pass judgment on these serious charges? The more pressing question is: Just what the heck is a McHenry County Ethics Commission, anyways? No one is quite sure, including members of the McHenry County Ethics Commission. The Northwest Herald reports, at one hearing ...
the commission often appeared to be struggling with how to proceed
Filings draw lines in Ethics Commission complaint
The Commission's lack of discernment did not go unnoticed. According to the Northwest Herald ...
The fact that commission members appeared to struggle with how to proceed, along with the closed-session deliberations, raised concerns with several County Board members.
Ethics Commission reviews rules in wake of criticism
So, was the Zinke email an instance of campaigning while on the taxpayer's time? Or were the charges filed against him a frivolous complaint? Haha, tough questions for the McHenry County Ethics Commission.

The answer to one, apparently, depends on what your definition of frivolous is.  According to the Northwest Herald, the Commission needs ...
to see whether language could be added to the ethics ordinance to define a frivolous complaint.
Ethics Commission reviews rules in wake of criticism
The Commission did rule the complaint against Zinke was insufficient to warrant prosecution. Understandably, the bloggers at the McHenryCountyBlog were none too pleased: they told the Northwest Herald ...
"If this email is not prohibited political activity, using his county email address and referencing his campaign seven, eight times, what on earth would be a violation of the ethics ordinance?"
Ethics Commission reviews rules in wake of criticism
Now, your LakeCountyEye may be just a simple country blogger, but isn't the point of these unelected government panels, boards & commissions just to help elected government officials get, well, elected? Suppose the public perceives some problem and they point their finger at you, the elected official. What to do? Promise to appoint an independent commission after you're elected. Then either pack that rubberstamp commission with your cronies -- or recruit a bunch of lightweights to run it who have no idea what they are doing. And good luck to anyone who puts faith in that commission to redress a grievance.

Problem solved!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

Keep your LakeCountyEye on the ball.Greetings from Lake Forest where your LakeCountyEye is at the BMW Championship. Did you know that a blogger's lavish lifestyle can be supplemented by selling Titleists on eBay?

Speaking of well-to-do bloggers, it's been a while since your LakeCountyEye heaped any abuse on the McHenryCountyBlog. Mostly from a herculean lack of trying. While your LakeCountyEye's been asleep at the switch, the litigious bloggers at McHenryCountyBlog and McHenry County Undersheriff Andrew Zinke have filed reciprocal ethics complaints against each other. According to last month's Northwest Herald, the ...
McHenry County Ethics Commission will convene Thursday to determine whether Lakewood blogger Cal Skinner's complaint – that an email Zinke wrote to County Board members constituted campaigning on taxpayer time and resources – was frivolous. Zinke's email, sent from his county account during work hours, rebuts statements and pictures posted on Skinner's blog at that he gave Skinner the middle finger during the Crystal Lake Independence Day Parade.
Filings draw lines in Ethics Commission complaint
This answers a long-standing puzzling question ...
Q: What do the bloggers at the McHenryCountyBlog say when they snap your photo?

A: Watch the Birdie
Now watch this drive.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

iFramed: Epilogue

I've posted a series of articles here about Vince Testa, the most recent was called iFramed: Case Closed.Testa's story may be a parable of how justice gets dispensed out of the office of the Lake County State's Attorney.

Mismanagement in that office made it the target of some recent nationwide negative publicity. Michael Nerheim became Lake County's new State's Attorney in 2012. A former prosecutor in the same office, Nerheim was elected on  promises that he would reform that same office. One promise was to create an independent Case Review Panel that would review past cases and could be instrumental in overriding convictions.

Vince Testa, who maintains he was falsely convicted in Lake County of resisting arrest, hoped to obtain exoneration from Nerheim's new Case Review Panel. Testa worked with the system, and his conviction was recommended to the Case Review Panel. But after that, Testa would discover that what had been advertised to be an independent and transparent process turned out to be instead guarded and secretive.

If you or I or anyone needed information about the Case Review Panel, we would first turn to the Lake County State's Attorney's website. But the only substantive information to be found there is a short blurb on a page named, Review and Advisory Board.
Case Review Board and Citizens Advisory Board were sworn in Feburary [sic] 21st, 2013 by Chief Judge Fred Foreman. The Case Review Board were sworn in as special Assitant [sic] State's Attorneys, and will be independent of the Lake County State's Attorney's Office. The Citizens Advisory Board is comprised of diverse community leaders in Lake County to bring a community perspective. All recommendations will be made to State's Attorney Mike Nerheim.
While this explanation may not seem very forthcoming, the Lake County State's Attorney office was even less forthcoming to Testa's inquiries. In his pursuit of justice Testa literally had to make things up as he went along. As things turned out, Testa was not permitted to contact the Case Review Panel. And when his appeal was eventually rejected by Nerheim, Testa was given nothing in the way of an explanation or a record of the deliberative process or even any indication that there had been a deliberative process.

Testa's case leaves more questions unanswered than answered.
Just what is the Case Review Panel?

Who is on the Case Review Panel?

When and where do they meet?

Have they ever met?

Are there minutes or records of meetings?

What is the process of getting a case in front of the Case Review Panel?

Has anyone ever been exonerated?

Can or has Michael Nerheim overridden a Case Review Panel recommendation?

If so, is there a public record of the act?

In what way is the Case Review Panel independent of Michael Nerheim's office?
To put it bluntly, Testa's journey through the Lake County justice system was the sort of bureaucratic nightmare that Kafka satirized. Michael Nerheim was elected on a promise that his Case Review Panel would introduce independence and restore transparency to his office. I haven't seen evidence of either.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Conservation and Community Integration in Developing Countries

The Stevenson Center will host a program on Conservation and Community Integration in Developing Countries:

Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy
The Stevenson Center is pleased to welcome Alex Ty Kovach, the new Executive Director of the Lake County Forest Preserve District. Mr. Kovach has a diverse background of international leadership in conservation and economic development. Most recently he was the Chief Executive Officer for Cabo Delgado Investment in Mozambique where he worked on conservation and community integration for long term returns on investments. He has taken an environmental management approach in developing countries that recognizes the full array of interactions within an ecosystem including humans and worked with the local communities for long term sustainability.
  • Sunday
    September 15, 2013
    2 PM
  • The Stevenson Center on Democracy
    25200 N St Mary's Rd
    Mettawa (Libertyville), IL 60048
  • No Admission Charge
  • Coffee and conversation following

Sunday, September 8, 2013

iFramed: Case Closed

Four years ago, Vince Testa was charged and convicted in Lake County of resisting arrest. Both the arrest and conviction occurred under questionable circumstances.  Testa adamantly maintains his innocence, and there is video that supports his claim.

This year, Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim made good on an election promise, and created a Case Review Panel.  The panel was to operate independently of Nerheim; and would recommend, back to the State's Attorneys Office, convictions that should be overturned.

Testa had sent his case to Nerheim after the election and requested a review. In March of this year, Testa learned from a Chicago Tribune article that Nerheim was sending his conviction to the Case Review Panel.

Nerheim offered Testa no guidance on how to proceed. He told Testa's attorney that lawyers would not be allowed to present evidence or argument before the Case Review Panel. Testa subsequently sent a letter and his evidence directly to each panel member. It was then that Nerheim contacted Testa, asking him not to contact panel members directly but to go through his office instead.

So, Testa backed off and hoped that Nerheim's panel would at least hear from Mr. Nerheim about his case. No such luck, apparently. On July 19 of this year Michael Nerheim sent Vince Testa a letter.
Nerheim told Testa that he was not going to override Testa's case. Nerheim offered nothing in the way of an explanation other than his decision was reached after careful consideration of the facts and the law.

On July 26, Testa contacted Nerheim and asked him to reconsider.
The citizens of Lake County elected you as States Attorney for the reform you pledged to put in place with your Review Panel. Your theme was that you would restore the public's confidence in the State's Attorney's office. "A prosecutor's job should not be to merely obtain a conviction -- a prosecutor's job is to seek justice," was your campaign slogan. In my case the record of the trial and the video clearly conflict with this theme. Even the newspaper articles about your Case Review Panel raise serious questions about my case. Based on the newspaper articles and editorials, even the reporters don't see these crimes that I was convicted of, to the point where one reporter was willing to state that the police lied in my trial. With that said, and with a proof positive video that there was no crime committed by me, this conviction should be vacated.
Six weeks later, and as of this posting, Vince Testa has heard nothing further from the Lake County State's Attorneys office.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Stand Your Playground

Big changes are on tap for Lake County.  According to the Daily Herald ...
People wouldn't be allowed to smoke at any of the Lake County Forest Preserve District's nine playgrounds under a proposal before the forest board. The new rule would be enacted immediately if it is approved by commissioners when they meet Tuesday morning in Waukegan. Smoking at other forest district sites still would be allowed.
Lake County proposal would ban smoking at forest playgrounds
Your LakeCountyEye presumes the smoking ban is intended to target not only the children but their parents as well. That seems only fair.

Operatives unsure how to comport themselves while on Forest Preserve property may consult the
Lake County Forest Preserve District
Ordinance Governing the General Use of District Property
for guidance. Did you know that yardsigns are not permitted on Forest Preserve land?  Your LakeCountyEye did not know that!

The informed sources have misinformed your LakeCountyEye that the Lake County Board (or certain members thereof) would prefer to run their County the same way that Mayor Michael Bloomberg runs his New York City.  Bloomberg, operatives will recall, is notorious for banning cigarettes, trans-fats, styrofoam cups, 32-ounce sodas, etc., within New York city limits.

Your LakeCountyEye has learned that cigarettes are only at the top of a long list of activities and substances that the Lake County Board wants to eliminate from its Forest Preserves. Here are 10 more:
More Stuff that May be Banned in the Lake County Forest Preserves
A List of Ten
  1. Video Poker Machines
  2. Medicinal Marijuana Gardening
  3. Twerking
  4. Freerange Billy Goats
  5. Cheap Beer
  6. AR-15 Assault Weapon Trap & Skeet Shooting
  7. Route 53 Extension High-Speed Exit Ramps
  8. Red Light Cameras
  9. Mopery with Intent to Gawk
  10. The Lake County Election Commission*
*Countywide Ban
Look for your LakeCountyEye, poundin' a coffin nail near you.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Fickle Finger of the FEC

I've got this card and it's effing golden.With Lake County favorite son Rod Blagojevich now into the second year of a 14 year prison sentence, the question eating at every mind is: "Howcome Lake County favorite son Jesse Jackson Jr only got 30 months?" The former Congressman, according to NBC Chicago ...
pleaded guilty to charges he used $750,000 in campaign funds on spa treatments, vacations, household supplies and celebrity memorabilia.
Blago Brother Rips Jackson Sentence
The workings of the criminal justice system difficult to decipher, your LakeCountyEye went to an expert for some answers -- Dr. I.M. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, Professor of Criminality at the College of Lake County.

Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, who agreed to meet with your LakeCountyEye on condition that the time spent could be used against a community service obligation, said "if you think Jesse Jackson Jr got a sweetheart deal, then Randy Hultgren just won the lottery."

"Randy Hultgren?" asked your LakeCountyEye.

"Fourteenth District Congressman." said Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "He lives in Winfield.  But he represents 15% of Lake County."

Your LakeCountyEye knew that.

"I'll grant you it's the 15% that no one has ever seen." continued Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "But did you know Hultgren was caught under-reporting $83,000 in campaign contributions? And all he gets is a slap on the wrist."

The Dr. produced a Northwest Herald news-clipping:
The Federal Elections Commission slapped U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren's campaign with a $2,500 fine for failing to report more than $83,000 from his first election in 2010. Under a negotiated agreement hashed out with the FEC, Hultgren for Congress must also strengthen its internal controls to prevent a repeat occurrence, and send a staffer to an FEC seminar.
Hultgren campaign fined by FEC for underreporting 2010 income
"Hultgren is fined $2,500, while some staffer who falls on his sword is sent to a FEC seminar." marveled Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "I'll bet the FEC bills campaign operatives at least $2,500 to attend the same seminar!"

The penalty did seem like small potatoes to your LakeCountyEye.

"$83,000 goes into $750,000 about 9 times." continued Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "If Jesse Jackson Jr had gotten an equivalent sentence, he would have been fined 9 times $2,500 -- which is $22,500."

For the average Congressman, about a week's worth of call-time, observed your LakeCountyEye.

Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi was not through, though. "Look at it this way. If Hultgren received a sentence proportional to Jackson's, Hultgren would be facing 100 days in a federal lockup."

Enough to harsh anyone's buzz, your LakeCountyEye thought out loud. "Do you have any parting advice?"

"Absolutely." said Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "Tell your operatives, never run for Governor. Run for Congress instead. In the western burbs."

Monday, September 2, 2013

iFramed: Declarations of Independence

When the Chicago Tribune endorsed Michael Nerheim in 2012 they said,
Nerheim tells us he has recruited a panel of volunteer former prosecutors, judges and attorneys to review high-profile cases to prevent wrongful convictions. [Nerheim's opponent, Chris] Kennedy, who served as an assistant state's attorney for four years, wants to form an in-house conviction integrity unit to prevent wrongful convictions. We think an independent outside board of volunteers would be more effective. Nerheim is endorsed.
Soon after Nerheim was elected Lake County State's Attorney, he was contacted by Vince Testa. As I reported last week on this blog, in iFramed: The Case Review Panel, Testa maintains he was wrongly convicted of misdemeanor resisting arrest in Lake County. Furthermore there is convincing video evidence supporting Testa's declaration of innocence.

Testa's case was among the first chosen, in early March, to be presented to the new Case Review Panel.  But despite assurances that theirs would be an open and transparent process, Testa received nothing in the way of guidance from the States Attorney's office on how to proceed.  By late March, Testa was asking his attorney to intercede on his behalf.
In my initial email to Mike Nerheim, and in two subsequent emails, I inquired as to the protocol of bringing my evidence to the review panel. I have not received a direct response as to what procedures should be followed, how to submit evidence, and whether or not this procedure requires an attorney. Understanding that protocol is paramount, and given that I have received no response from Mr. Nerheim in that regard, I would like you to inquire on my behalf as to how to proceed.
Eventually, Testa contacted the Case Review Panel directly, on April 10. He had to obtain the names of the panel members and their contact information from public sources.
My name is Vincent Testa. In July of 2010 I was convicted of battery to a police officer and resisting arrest from an incident that took place on Jan 19 of that year. I contacted Mike Nerheim in the first days of his term as Lake County State's Attorney asking for an opportunity to have my case reviewed (letter attached). I explained to Mr. Nerheim why I felt that my case deserved review, and I appreciate this opportunity to have the panel examine the record of my conviction.
Testa received a letter from Nerheim, seven days later on April 17, asking him not to contact the Case Review Panel Members directly.
In 2012, Michael Nerheim told the Lake Forest Patch,
I am the only candidate to call for a fully independent Case Review Panel to review old cases and convictions, and to develop protocols for the prosecution of cases with forensic evidence, including DNA, going forward.
While the Lake County State's Attorney's Office already has a conviction integrity unit to look at past cases and actively seek DNA testing to ensure the validity of convictions (which is similar to the proposal by my opponent), one of the key differences of my proposal is that the Case Review Panel that I propose will be independent of the State's Attorney's Office and will bring a fresh perspective and different set of eyes.
This raises an obvious question, at least in my mind. If ordinary people like you and I are forbidden from contacting Nerheim's independent Case Review Panel, then how independent is it in reality?

Michael Nerheim was elected Lake County State's Attorney on the promise that (unlike his opponent) his Case Review Panel would be independent of his office.  Vince Testa believed Nerheim in this regard, when he sought to obtain an exoneration via the Case Review Process.  Testa subsequently found out, though, that independence may depend on what your definition of independence is.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Restricted Circulation

Put your John Henry here.Labor Day, any home-schooled Lake County child will tell you, is a Federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that commemorates the Octomom. Labor Day has traditionally marked the beginning of the fall election campaign -- in this case the 2016 fall Presidential election. In Lake County it marks the beginning of the petition circulation period for the 2014 Primary.

Like candidates, their petitions come in all shapes and sizes. Poorly paid petition passers typically do not know Illinois law (beyond those laws applicable to their arrest records).  So it advisable that your campaign volunteers understand the rules that need to be observed when gathering petition signatures.

As readers of this blog are inadvertently aware:
You Say Petition, I Say Apparition
One campaign has already instructed its volunteers not to use invisible ink:

13. Signatures need to be in ink.
No pencil, crayon, marker, or invisible ink allowed.
It's no secret the average Lake County petition passer would have a difficult time if asked to twerk and chew gum at the same time.  Accordingly, many local campaigns spell out in detail what their volunteers should and should not do when asking for signatures.  Here are the ten most common campaign petitioner's faux pas to watch out for:
Ten Rules to Observe
When Circulating Your Candidate's Nominating Petition
13a.It is a violation of Illinois statutes to text while petitioning.
13b.Photocopies of a tattooed petition will not be accepted.
13c.Your concealed weapon is not a sales tool.
13d.No Shirt. No Shoes. No Petition.
13e.No Pants. No Petition.
13f.Petition passers are not automatically licensed to prescribe medical marijuana.
13g.Do not stand between your mark and his video poker machine.
13h.Do not ask for a DNA sample.
13i.Do not say "Put your John Hancock here."
(Unless their name actually is John Hancock.)
13j.Photoshop is not your friend.
Do not look for your LakeCountyEye in pencil, crayon, marker, or invisible ink on a petition near you.