Saturday, March 29, 2014

Poor Second Mortgages

second city Lake County is number two. More specifically, a national survey ranks the price of homes in Lake County number two from the bottom, nationwide.

As readers of this blog are doubly aware ...
Down Homes in Lake County
the Lake County home market is in the toilet.

If you are like your LakeCountyEye, you wish you had a nickel for every time your township assessor said it is not the price of the house that matters, but its value compared to your neighbors. Well, haha, if you need to appeal that assessment this year, be sure to bring along the results of the aforementioned Trulia survey. And ask your assessor to take a look at some of these comps:

Top 10 Metros Where Home Prices Are Most Undervalued
Lake County home prices fare worse against markets like the Cleveland-Toledo I-90 corridor. The Memphis tri-state area (Tennessee & Mississippi & Arkansas) does better than Lake County. As well as Brevard County in Florida (Palm Bay & Melbourne & Titusville). Haha Titusville. The only town with more undervalued homes is Detroit. Of course this statistic comes with an asterisk because, legally speaking, Detroit is under bankruptcy protection.

What is the reason for Lake County's inability to do squat when it comes to selling its residential property? One high ranking official agreed to talk to your LakeCountyEye on condition that he kept a bag over his head: "It's not all doom and gloom. That survey lumps together Kenosha County with Lake County, which skews the results. What do they got up there in Kenosha besides outlet malls and ATV huntin' lodges? Adjust those numbers for Kenosha County, and Lake County comes out looking like a stinking rich San Francisco, and without the earthquakes."

Fair 'nuff! Look for your LakeCountyEye flipping homes near you.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Down Homes in Lake County

It's that time of the year -- after the snow melts and before the property tax bill arrives in the mail -- when your LakeCountyEye takes advantage of the narrow opportunity to clean house. Operatives are perennially advised to do likewise, and haul those old brokendown televisions and washing machines and barcaloungers out of the house -- and deposit them all on the front lawn. That way, after the tax assessor takes one look he will have to ding your house with the lowest assessment on the block.

So imagine your LakeCountyEye's chagrin when learning that all the heavy, backbreaking lifting this year was for naught. That's because a new national survey puts Lake County squarely in the Top 10 most undervalued real estate markets. In fact, Trulia rates Lake County the 2nd most undervalued market in the US, between Detroit and Cleveland:
Although national home prices rose significantly in the past two years, they're still 5% undervalued compared with long-term fundamentals.
Top 10 Metros Where Home Prices Are Most Undervalued

The message is obvious. The Lake County real estate market is colder than a Lake Michigan jumping carp in an ice shanty on Superbowl Sunday. This should come as welcome news to Lake County's township assessors. With home prices here ranking somewhere between Detroit and Cleveland, the assessors might as well stay in their township offices this year, and play solitaire on their computers. How hard will it be to score everyone with an assessment of zero?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cooked in Brine

May a bloated yak change the temperature of your jacuzzi. Haha, a brouhaha is brewing in Wadsworth, site of the 2014 Lake County Republican Central Committee Convention. According to the Daily Herald ...
Lake County Circuit Clerk Keith Brin on Monday announced his candidacy for chairman of the Lake County Republican Party. Brin, who also is a Republican committeeman, said the party needs new leadership as more Democrats are winning offices in areas that used to be Republican.
Brin to challenge for GOP chairman
Keith Brin presumably will be challenging Bob Cook, the current Chair of the Lake County Republican Party. Cook is best known for backing Bob Bednar in his unsuccessful attempt to oust State Rep Ed Sullivan Jr, in the Primary last week.

Of course, none of this comes as a shock to operatives who read all about it, back in the day, on this blog in November of last year:
Predictably, Keith Brin -- rumored next GOP Chair of Lake County -- is none too pleased.
The Monkeyshines in Mundelein
Sharpeyed operatives will observe that your LakeCountyEye also predicted, back in the day, Sullivan's victory and the subsequent political purge house cleaning ...
Do not sell your Sullivan stock short. And after the March 18 Primary expect a big broom to sweep through Fremont Township. And it won't be the Merry Maids.
Fremont Township GOP Committeemen are Revolting
Operatives eager to know which of the Sweet Sixteen will advance to the Elite Eight are reminded that your LakeCountyEye's For Eyes Only™ Newsletter Service is a steal at only $29.95 per month. All predictions 100% guaranteed or your money back.

But you knew that already.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Your God-Given Right

... when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.Put away the BlackBerrys, it's time for another Op Quiz™:
Your name is on the Illinois ballot for a congressional race. But since you condemn abortion, condemn same-sex marriage, and assert that climate change is not caused by human activity, your Party wants you to withdraw your candidacy. Which Party do you represent?

Haha, trick question, the answer is the Republican Party.
GOP leaders are asking Susanne Atanus to withdraw from the 9th District congressional race. According to the Daily Herald:
"The Cook County Republican Organization believes that Atanus should drop out of the race," said Chairman Aaron Del Mar on Thursday. "Her behavior, comments and decisions do not reflect that of the Cook County Republican Party."
GOP asks — again — for Atanus to quit 9th Congressional race
Atanus is being black-balled for the same reasons mentioned: she is anti-abortion, anti-gay, denies global-warming. Was the Illinois Republican Party forcibly annexed, and is now the newest province of the Bizarro World? To help explain away teh crazy, your LakeCountyEye visited Dr. I.M. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, Professor of Political Correctness at the College of Lake County.

"There is no mystery why GOP honchos want to show Susanne Atanus the door." said Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "She is a heretic in their minds."

Your LakeCountyEye did not expect to hear a word like heretic.

"Ya." continued Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "You can be anti-abortion and anti-gay and a global-warming denier and still be a member in good standing of the Republican Party. In fact, in today's GOP, those are all litmus tests for getting in. But Atanus is saying that abortions and the gays are making God angry and He's been retaliating back by making extreme weather. That's why she's persona non grata among fellow Republicans."

Your LakeCountyEye was confused: wasn't the GOP the Party of God?

"No question." Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi replied. "These days only a God-fearing candidate has any chance of being elected -- I can't think of one atheist who holds a high office in Illinois. But the devil is in the details. It is one thing to pay lip service to your faith in the Almighty. It's another thing entirely if that God you believe in is predisposed to rain pestilence and disease down upon His enemies, not to mention the innocent bystanders. That's why GOP elders want to see Atanus excommunicated off the ballot."

A lightbulb went off above your LakeCountyEye. This is actually a theological dispute.

"Your read my mind." chuckled Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "There's a huge fault-line running through the Illinois GOP -- a schism divides the Easter Sunday church-goers and the Old Testament fundamentalists."

That sounded vaguely biblical to your LakeCountyEye.

"Ya." smiled Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "If Susanne Atanus is guilty of any sin, it's really believing in what she says."

Too crazy. Did Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi have any parting advice?

"Absolutely. Tell your operatives that if it ever starts raining locusts or frogs, head immediately for Wisconsin."

Saturday, March 22, 2014

How John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan Changed Our Conception of the Presidency

Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy
Drawing from his second book, Kennedy and Reagan: Why Their Legacies Endure, former journalist and United Press International bureau chief Scott Farris will speak on the presidencies of John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan (with a little help from Adlai Stevenson and Barry Goldwater). Scott has also served as a senior policy and communication advisor to U. S. Senator Malcolm Wallop, California Governor Gray Davis, and Portland, Oregon, Mayor Vera Katz. Scott ran for Congress himself in 1998 in Wyoming. He will sell and sign copies of Kennedy and Reagan as well as his first book, Almost President: The Men Who Lost the Race But Changed the Nation, which includes a chapter on Adlai II's historic 1952 and 1956 presidential campaigns.
  • Sunday
    March 30, 2014
    2 PM
  • The Stevenson Center on Democracy
    25200 N St Mary's Rd
    Mettawa (Libertyville), IL 60048
  • Coffee and conversation following
  • Cost $15

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The 2014 Primary Post-Mortem

When a pollster once asked Willie Sutton why he voted for Bruce Rauner, he said: "because that's where the money is."

Haha. All that's left of the 2014 Primary is what people read about in the history books. And the lesson is clear -- it pays to have money. And lots of it.

Was that candidate of yours a hopeless loser who couldn't get elected to lead a one-man-band? Operatives who listened to your LakeCountyEye knew what to do: Spend a couple million bucks -- and problem solved!

This same sure-fire campaign strategy paid off handsomely for the down-ballot contests as well. Virtually every contested race in Lake County came down to money. The more money a campaign had, the bigger their margin of victory. Who ever said money can't buy votes never read Illinois election law.

Of course it seldom hurts to be a prior County Board Chair & a sitting Lake County Forest Preserve Commissioner -- and to have passed a law making it illegal for the commoners to post their signs on Forest Preserve property:
Nudge nudge wink wink. Say no more!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A No-Win Situation

Demand a recount. It's been brought to your LakeCountyEye's attention that there is a Primary election on Tuesday. Who knew?

The Daily Herald did, and they say ...
As people around the suburbs head to the polls Tuesday for a primary with big consequences for how Illinois is governed, here are a few things to know:
Primary Election Day: What to know
The Herald goes on to enumerate bunch of stupid stuff -- like where to vote -- but there is really only one thing you want to know: Who is going to win & lose?

Operatives who subscribe to your LakeCountyEye's For Eyes Only Newsletter Service™ -- a steal at $39.95 per month -- know who will win and who will lose, and have already placed their Intrade bets. Everyone else, your LakeCountyEye has the sad duty to report, will have to wait until after the polls close.

Your LakeCountyEye will share one secret. And that it is no secret who will win or lose, if you know how to read any of the signs. Of which there are 10:
Ten Sure Indicators that
You are Going to Lose the Election
  1. You are Going to Prove the Pundits & Pollsters Wrong

  2. They are Stealing Your Opponent's Signs

  3. They are Not Stealing Your Signs

  4. You Did Not Quit Your Day Job

  5. Your 4-Color Mailers are Delivered the Day After the Election

  6. Two Words: Eleventh-Hour Robo-Calls

  7. You Are the Write-In Candidate

  8. The Campaign Staff are All Suing

  9. Your Opponent Refuses to Debate

  10. Your Opponent Lives in Florida
Look for your LakeCountyEye at a victory party near you.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Low Voters Information

The soft bigotry of low expectations. With the sudden and premature demise of the Lake County Voting Commission, it has devolved upon the Lake County Clerk to count up the March 18 Primary vote. The News-Sun observed that ...
Early voting in Lake County has been "very, very low" and points to a potentially "dismal" voter turnout for the March 18 Primary Election, according to County Clerk Willard Helander.
Low early-voting totals could mean 'dismal' primary
How dismal will voter turnout in the March 18 Primary be? Your LakeCountyEye contacted the Clerk's office to find out. One source there spoke on condition that they communicate over telepathic channels: "Dismal is a term of art used by County Clerks in Illinois. We measure voter turnout on the Dismal Scale. It's sort of like the Richter Scale."
Ten Metric Benchmarks to Gauge the Projected
Dismal Voter Turnout in Lake County
  1. Abysmal
  2. Miasmal
  3. Cataclysmal
  4. Paroxysmal
  5. XXX-Small
  6. Aneurysmal
  7. What's that Smell?
  8. Call Me Ismael
  9. Schlemiel Schlimazel
  10. Pass the Pepto-Bismol®
Note to ops: this cycle, GOTV will stand for Get Out Triple the Vote. The dismal turnout on March 18 may be as low as one third of ballots cast in an average Primary. That means every vote you deliver to the polls on Tuesday has the electoral clout of 3 votes cast during a typical Presidential election year. Be sure to adjust your hourly billing rates accordingly.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sign of Privilege

The thermometer is no longer frozen solid in Lake County. And, as the snow recedes, those first colorful harbingers of springtime are beginning to emerge from the frigid earth: the March 18 Primary Election Yardsigns.

Your LakeCountyEye has totally given up on trying to sow any yardsigns this year. The ground is frozen so deep, a tungsten carbide drill is needed to plant a sign. It's much easier to just jam that sign down into a mound of snow -- but that trick needs to be repeated every time the snowplow comes by.

The situation is so bad the Chicago Tribune wrote a story about it:
The adage in politics is that yard signs don't vote. And turnout in a primary election tends to be low — about 24 percent of registered voters cast ballots four years ago.
Few signs of primary election approaching
Is it true that yardsigns don't vote? Your LakeCountyEye decided to make some calls to find out:
Unfortunately this STOLMAN yardsign was not returning your LakeCountyEye's calls. It must have your LakeCountyEye's phone number blocked or something.

Haha, j/k.

The yardsign is on Lake County Forest Preserve property. Which every operative knows is illegal:

Lake County Forest Preserve District
Ordinance Governing the General Use of District Property
Now, David Stolman is a previous Lake County Board Chairman, and a current Lake County Forest Preserve Commissioner. And it may just be that some entitlement of noblesse oblige cedes to Stolman special access to Forest Preserve property that is denied the rest of the commoners. Your LakeCountyEye prefers only to harbor charitable thoughts, however, and suspects that Stolman is simply unaware of the Forest Preserve District sign ordinance. Of course, Stolman did approve the same ordinance when he voted to approve the Forest Preserve's Revised General Use Ordinance in 2011. But 2011 was such a long time ago.  And when you've sat on the County Board most of your adult life -- who can keep up?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Q the Eye/03.13.14

Dear LakeCountyEye,

I'm just a simple minded Illinois voter who doesn't know anything about politics, but I'm as mad as hell. I want to find my representatives in Springfield but I can't locate them anywhere on the map. The Illinois map of Legislative (Senatorial) and Representative Districts looks like it was drawn by a cigar smoking manatee, buzzed on ibogaine. What can us simple Illinois voters do?

Eager Beaver
Dear Gerrymathers, Ὥρος Hōros

Is there a feeling more awful than knowing that, were it not for gerrymandering, your State Senator or Representative would probably be driving a school bus today? Well, don't get mad -- jump on the fair map bandwagon instead. Demand that Illinois's legislative maps get drawn up by some independent governing body, TBD.

The devil, of course, is in the details. The first thing you need to do is shoot a smarmy but humorous video that mocks the redistricting process. This video shows a condescending cool guy making fun of some clueless computer nerd with Asperger's Syndrome. Here, the Asperger's guy has been tasked with carving up the minority vote:

"I'm using C++ and a proprietary algorithm to carve up this Hispanic neighborhood in four different districts where they will have no electoral say."
The message is undeniable. Don't be like the Asperger's guy. Be like the cool guy instead. Which means be like your LakeCountyEye and start demanding that Illinois's legislative maps get carved up by some independent governing body -- like a commission with a redistricting app written in C++ -- or maybe a drugged manatee.

Also, be aware that the Illinois legislative map is a statewide map. Do not be tempted to demand fair County Board maps. County board maps are totally different -- the County Board redistricting process does not want to be reformed. County Board maps are always drawn up fairly and squarely:
... like in Lake County, where the Hispanic vote was totally not carved up four ways to deny them any electoral say. Totally not.

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 ...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Totally Awesome

Most excellent news, operative dudes. The County Board voted-in some laws that will finally get the medical marijuana growing in Lake County. The Sun-Times Media says the Lake County Board approved a ...
model ordinance drawn up in recent months by the county's Planning, Building and Development Department to establish "reasonable regulations" as called for by the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. "I just want to thank our staff," said Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor of Long Grove.
Lake County OK’s rules for medical marijuana facilities
The Sun-Times story is illustrated with a photo of Lake County Board Chair Aaron Lawlor, amid other images of medicinal marijuana:
Note to ops: Perception is everything in politics. If you are young and are blessed with a surfer's good looks, and you desire to rise to the top of the political food-chain, you may want to think twice about being associated with anything to do with Cannabis Sativa.

Admittedly it helped Sean Penn's career. But it may not help yours:

Aaron Lawlor

Jeff Spicoli
Am I hallucinating here? Nope ... this is another giggle inducing LakeCountyEye Double Vision™!
Just sayin, dudes.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Left Waiting at the Altar

The Love Boat promises something for everyone.The Lake County Clerk's office announced last week that same-sex marriage licenses will not be issued before June 1. According to the Suburban Life ...
Same-sex couples wanting a marriage license in Lake County have been calling the county clerk's office since a U.S. District Court judge ruled Feb. 21 that Cook County must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples before the state law goes into effect this summer. But couples in Lake County will have to wait until June 1, the effective date of the state law legalizing the practice
Lake County County Clerk will not issue same-sex marriage licenses early
To review the legal alternatives, your LakeCountyEye consulted Dr. I.M. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, Professor of Alternative Studies at the College of Lake County.

"Ya ..." sighed Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "Gay couples who have been living in sin just got some bad news. Those hoping to make an honest woman or man out of their same-sex partner will have to wait if they want to get married in Lake County."

Your LakeCountyEye wondered if it was too early to point any fingers.

"I blame the March 18 primary election." replied Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "With early voting, mail voting, grace period registration, the Clerk's office frankly does not have the bandwidth to conduct an election and issue marriage licenses at the same time. If the courts had approved a Lake County Election Commission, the County Clerk would have no excuse now for sitting on those same-sex licenses. But Noooo."

Your LakeCountyEye wanted to know if any recourses were available.

"They are currently issuing same sex licenses down in Macon County." observed Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "Business leaders here were hoping to make over Lake County into Illinois's premiere gay vacation destination. Not any more -- we can kiss that billion dollars in tourist revenue goodbye. If your operatives want to get married right away, they should head south to Buttfarm Illinois."

Who are the winners coming out of the Clerk's decision? Your LakeCountyEye had to ask.

"This is a win for State Representative Ed Sullivan Jr." opined Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi. "Sullivan faces a Primary challenge from an opponent who opposes gay marriage. Sullivan was one of three Republican legislators who voted to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. His re-election chances would have been hurt if the March 18 Primary election coincided with news headlines about gay marriage ceremonies in Lake County. Rumor has it that Sullivan's opponent is now going to charter a cruise ship for gay couples on Saint Marys Lake -- where, under maritime law, the ship's captain is authorized to perform marriages. Unbelievable!"

Unbelievable indeed. Did Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi have any final advice? Speak now or forever hold your peace.

"Tell your operatives to take it from Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi: If they want to get married, go ahead and try it once. But don't make a habit out of it."

Monday, March 3, 2014

Kickback and Relax

Toonces If February had 31 days then opponents of Red Light Cameras would still be having a red letter day this month. On Feb 21 the Chicago Tribune exposed a secret kickback deal behind the City of Chicago's red light camera concession:
Ex-Redflex manager tells of secret meeting before firm got city business
And on Feb 17 a red-light camera vendor spoke at a Waukegan City Council committee meeting, where K-bombs -- kickback -- were dropped into the public record. The vendor was stressing the safety benefits of the cameras, when, according to the News-Sun ...
Mike Lebert from RedSpeed Illinois — the Lombard-based operator of Waukegan's four camera-equipped intersections — said he believes local drivers have adapted into a safer driving mode with the equipment in place. "It's very similar, in my opinion, to when we decided that we were going to make seat belts mandatory in Illinois," Lebert said. "We had significant kickback on that, (but) it did change driver behavior. We went from 50 percent of people wearing their seat belts to 98 percent. I liken the two in much the same way, in the kickback from the tickets being better enforced," he added.
Deadline for city to renew red-light camera contract nears
Your LakeCountyEye observes that committee members declined to probe further into the nature of the aforementioned kickbacks.  Nuff said!