Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Gas Guzzler

Gas, Bloating, Heartburn The Route 53 Extension must be a lot like sex. Everyone wants it for free. Haha, the Route 53 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council is kicking around some new ideas to fund the brick-and-mortar superhighway. The most promising are being leaked to the public to gauge their reaction.

The Daily Herald reports that ...
Congestion pricing, increasing the toll at the Waukegan plaza and/or adding tolls at Route 132 and tolling at the Illinois border will remain in play, as will establishing a 4-cent per gallon gas tax in Lake County.
How the Route 53/120 extension could be funded
One arguable Council member told your LakeCountyEye that the feedback has been positive: "What's an extra 4 or 8 or 12 cents per gallon? It's not like you won't be able to take the Route 53 Extension to Cook County or McHenry County or even up to Wisconsin. Where the gas will be a lot cheaper."

Pull it out of park. That's all your LakeCountyEye has.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Right Wing Gecko Chamber

Your LakeCountyEye went to the Lake County Fair -- and got schooled. As readers of this blog are repeatedly aware ...
The Big O
The Lake County Republican Party has a booth at the County Fair, flush with yardsigns. Some signs carry a cryptic web address ...
While most operatives are familiar with the word SUCKS, it was not exactly clear what it is that sucks. Your LakeCountyEye had speculated that the word BIGOVERNMENT stood for BIG  OVERNMENT or even BI  GOVERNMENT.

In what may be breaking news, your LakeCountyEye has learned it stands for neither. BIGOVERNMENT is a portmanteau that is supposed to mean BIG  GOVERNMENT. Well duh, it's right there printed on the yardsign with the GEICO Gecko:
Your LakeCountyEye probably is not breaking to news to report that the GEICO Gecko is a Registered Trademark of GEICO Inc:
Trademarks are registered at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

It goes without saying, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is a BIG GOVERNMENT agency most likely located in some BIG GOVERNMENT building.

The GEICO Gecko could not be reached for comment.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Big O

It may not be a BIGLOVE.COM or even a BIGUNS.COM but the domain with the name ...
has operatives scratching their noggins. As readers of this blog are largely aware ...
Big Overnment
the Lake County Republican Party is promoting a website that they would like you to visit:
Your LakeCountyEye would be happy to oblige, except for two things:
  1. What is a Big Overnment?
  2. The Domain Name does not exist.
One highly strung party official accused your LakeCountyEye of deliberately misreading the Domain Name. In reality, the URL means ...
The BI in this case stands for bicameral -- which is a form of government with two legislative bodies. Not all governments are bicameral. A unicameral government has one legislative body. The difference is illustrated in this graph:
It goes without saying that bicameral governments are greatly disliked by the Libertarian wing of the Republican Party.

Of course the larger problem remains -- your LakeCountyEye cannot visit a website that does not exist:

Since BIGOVERNMENTSUCKS.NET is available, your LakeCountyEye would not be surprised if some enterprising entrepreneur snatches up the Domain Name and publishes a quick & dirty website. And why not? That Domain Name is already familiar to thousands of Libertarians, who statistically tend to be post-adolescent males with lots of time on their hands.

Operatives are advised to get humping right away!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Big Overnment

Is the county fair -- like the fax machine, the pay-phone and the non-driverless car -- a sad anachronism? Operatives are advised to think otherwise. To prove it, your LakeCountyEye loaded up the Instamatic with a fresh roll of Kodachrome and paid a visit to the Lake County Fair.

Resisting the temptation to attend the funnel cake auction, your LakeCountyEye made a beeline for the exhibition hall. It is safe to report that every major Lake County political party is represented at the fair with a booth.

The staff at the Republican Party booth signed up your LakeCountyEye to be a precinct committeeman, and parted with some surplus yardsigns that would look good on the front lawn:
Your LakeCountyEye noticed a recurring theme:
For those who are web-savvy, the message couldn't be more crystal clear: There is something that is known as
and that it sucks. Operatives who do not know exactly what a Big Overnment is (or why it sucks) are encouraged to visit the website:
Hopefully someone will have better luck than your LakeCountyEye:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pimp My Fair Ride

You Must Be This Tall to Ride Like Brigadoon, the Lake County Fair appears in Lake County only once a year. To compensate, the fair is extended over five days -- Wednesday thru Sunday of this week -- July 23 to July 27.

Some attend the Fair for the watery beer and the deep fried Hooter Wings. But anyone like your LakeCountyEye goes to experience the thrill of a carnival ride that was bolted down under the cover of darkness by an unlicensed carny.

Any one of these 10 will suffice:
Ten Most Popular Amusement Rides at the Lake County Fair
  1. County Court Building $16 Million Cost Overrun Drop Tower

  2. LCDOT Highway Construction Bumper Cars

  3. Goliath Bungee Jump
    100% Wood Bungee Cords!

  4. Lake County Roundabout Merry-Go-Round

  5. Medical Marijuana Roller Coaster

  6. Backyard Chicken Run

  7. Park City Casino Roulette Ferris Wheel

  8. Central Lake County Joint Action Water Agency Water Slide

  9. The Route 53 Extension Funding Shortfall

  10. Exploding Canadian National Train
Look for your LakeCountyEye, way up ahead in line.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Food Court?

The News-Sun -- aka the Gray Lady -- aka the Lake County newspaper of record -- is not amused. And the epicenter of their disamusement is Waukegan.

The new Lake County criminal court tower being built in Waukegan is $16 million over budget:
Sixteen million taxpayer dollars is not a "bleep happens" level of error.
Editorial: Lake County court campus blunder isn't a 'bleep happens' error
Then, while out of town on a business trip, Waukegan Mayor Wayne Motley ate at a Hooters restaurant. He expensed his tab to his city:
The Motley Hooters Episode was mostly a reminder that lunching at Hooters can be risky politically, even if you're there only to ogle the chicken wings.
Editorial: Why lunching at Hooters is always a political risk
One unbelievably high ranking County official told your LakeCountyEye: "If life gives you melons then make melon balls. Put a Hooters on the ground floor of the new Criminal Court Tower, and I guarantee that $16 million shortfall will disappear in no time."

Roll along. That's all your LakeCountyEye has.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Here Comes Your 19th Ballot Challenge

Lake County is breaking records this week, and your LakeCountyEye is not referring to the weather. As readers of this blog are exceptionally aware ...
The Stand-In Corrected
Louis Atsaves, the Moraine Township Republican Chair, has recently filed a number of ballot objections against some independent and third party candidates. And by some, your LakeCountyEye means an impressive nineteen candidates:

Illinois State Board of Elections
Latest Objections Filed
All told, these are ballot objections filed against a slate of Libertarian Party candidates, a slate of Constitution Party candidates, and Independent candidates for Governor/Lt Governor/US Senator.

To put that in perspective, if all nineteen candidates are thrown off the ballot, there will be enough players for a major league ballgame, including the home plate umpire.

Ballot objectors tend to be mercenaries who -- not unlike natural selection -- act to eliminate the young, the old, the infirm from the herd. Your election ballot is not messy and cluttered up with unnecessary candidates, thanks to the work of the hired ballot objector.

Back in the day, your LakeCountyEye was asking anywhere between $500 and $1000 to sign a ballot objection. The real objecting Parties could buy themselves some anonymity, that way -- and your LakeCountyEye would get to intone some cool sound bites like "that candidate could not even meet the minimum requirements specified by law -- it's everybody's civic duty to see he is not on the ballot!"

Of course, 19 challenges in one election cycle exceeds anything ever contemplated by your LakeCountyEye. With that kind of money, your LakeCountyEye would be blogging from a Key West houseboat now. Louis Atsaves, your LakeCountyEye is in awe.

Maybe there is money to be made in politics, after all.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Stand-In Corrected

A press release from the Illinois Libertarian Party was reproduced today on the Capitol Fax Blog:
On June 23, the Libertarian Party of Illinois filed 43,921 petition signatures to gain ballot access for their full slate of statewide candidates for the 2014 general election. On June 30, Lake Forest resident Lou Atsaves and Highland Park resident Gary Gale filed an objection to 23,791 of those signatures. Kelly McCloskey, Chief Hearing Officer for the Illinois State Board of Elections, held an initial hearing regarding the objection on July 7. The Objectors did not appear at the hearing; they were represented by John Fogarty, general counsel for the Illinois Republican Party. This raises an important question: who are these Objectors and who is financing the undertaking to deny the people of Illinois an additional choice in the voting booth this November?
Libertarians object to apparent GOP-backed petition challenge
there's a bathroom on the right Were anyone hip enough at the Libertarian Party, they would be asking instead: Who is John Fogarty? That's because, readers of this blog will instantly recognize name of LakeCountyEye frequent commenter, Louis Atsaves.

Atsaves, many ops will tell you, is the Moraine Township Republican Chair and has a history of filing ballot objections in Illinois:
Q the Eye/12.12.13
Now, even someone who has just fallen under the campaign bus knows why Atsaves was AWOL at that initial hearing. Who would be in any condition to attend a IL SBE hearing after inspecting 43,921 petition signatures and filing 23,791 objections? The paper cuts alone from looking at that many petition pages would be enough to require a trip to the ER for a blood transfusion. If not many!

A petition objector is only given about a week -- so it is unknown how many gallons of coffee and all-nighters went into looking at some 44,000 signatures. Simply lugging a box of that many petitions to the Starbucks and back has been known to incur hernia in the burliest of men!

Factor in the myopia caused by examining 43,921 signatures thru a magnifying glass, and the repetitive stresses suffered from filling out 23,791 objection forms, and you are looking at one operative who is lucky to be standing on both feet!

Rather than small-minded Libertarian imprecations, Louis Atsaves deserves a hearty attaboy from every op in Illinois. How many among you would be so willing to take one 43,921 for the team?!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Go Abeshit

Watch where you step, MiniAbe is in Lake County!

Haha, MiniAbe is the President Abraham Lincoln action figure that the State of Illinois is selling for $29.99 over the cable stations:

Enjoy Illinois
And, your LakeCountyEye was told, MiniAbe has been spotted on and about Lake County:
Mini Abe is in the midst of a jam-packed week visiting the many attractions of Lake County, Illinois.
Lake County, Illinois Convention & Visitors Bureau
Operatives are encouraged to get in on the fun and tour Lake County with a MiniAbe of their own. At only $29.95, this is an exceptional opportunity to spend some quality time with a plastic figurine and at the same time help reduce the State deficit.

For those unsure about a suitable spot to take the MiniAbe out on a first date, here are 10 sure-fire destination suggestions:
Ten Fun Lake County Activities to Enjoy with MiniAbe
  1. Scoop the Loop in a Mini Coop

  2. Bungee Jump the Shortfall Over the Lake County Court Tower

  3. Miniature Golf at the Fort Sheridan Golf Course

  4. Run a Short Circuit Around the Zion Nuclear Plant

  5. Tend Mini Bar at the Lincolnshire Marriott Resort

  6. Have a Mini-Stroke Riding the Goliath

  7. Nude Sunbathe Petite Lake

  8. Ride a Waukegan Mini Bus to the Potawatomi Bingo Casino

  9. Float a Small Water Craft on the Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital Retention Pond

  10. Go Lowriding Down the Route 53 Extension
Look for your LakeCountyEye, shortly.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Give Him a Hand

It is widely believed that the Tribune Creepy Political Cartoonist draws his pictures by hand. His newest hand job is a cartoon about Chicago Tribune bĂȘte noire, Michael Madigan. In the picture, Madigan is looking at his secret stash of Psilocybe Cubensis. It is widely believed that Madigan controls the Illinois Statehouse by spiking the Springfield water supply with the intoxicating mushrooms.

Chicago Tribune
One mushroom, circled in the picture, is a genus that your LakeCountyEye does not recognize. The inset is enlarged here:
This is the same mushroom viewed from a reverse angle:
Your LakeCountyEye would be hard pressed to say if that is a mushroom or a toadstool or some other species of fungus. Note to ops: If you are a mushroom wonk, please ping your LakeCountyEye.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Low Ball

Lowball II Note to ops: when the game is Low Ball, don't play unless you have a crappy hand. Low Ball is a poker game where the lowest hand wins. This is information your LakeCountyEye could have used before betting the smartphone on four queens and a jack. In the meantime, look for your LakeCountyEye blogging from the Carnegie Library.

The Carnegie Library provides a nice view of the new Lake County criminal courts tower in Waukegan. Under construction, the tower is a year behind schedule and $16 million over budget. The News-Sun said ...
The overrun, blamed on such things as faulty estimates on foundation work and the inflation of costs since the package was approved in November 2012, has members of the County Board's Law and Judicial Committee reviewing options for scaling back the project to bring it back to the initial estimate. "If the original budget had been this high, we wouldn't have voted for it," District 7 board member Steve Carlson said. "I want to know why this happened and that it won't happen again."
New criminal courts tower coming in $16M over $100M budget
A spokesperson for the Route 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council said that environmental protection ought to remain a top concern. And that the County Board should rely on local contributions to make up for the $16 million overrun.

That's all your LakeCountyEye has. Move along.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Blacktop & Blue Ribbons

Mona Lisa musta had the highway blues ... A 287-billion-volt third rail runs through the heart of Lake County and it's called the Route 53 Extension. As readers of this blog are shockingly aware ...
Cutting Corners Around the Route 53 Extension
It seems the only way to fund an environmentally sensitive Route 53 Extension would be to build an environmentally offensive Route 53 Extension. No one from the Route 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee was willing to talk -- so your LakeCountyEye did the next best thing and looked up Dr. I.M. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, Professor of Creative Finance at the College of Lake County.

"If this project isn't already tied up in red tape" said Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, "it's tied up in blue ribbons. What's up with a name like Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee anyways? Do they convene at the County Fair and judge livestock or something? Blue Ribbon is an adjective that's used to describe these ad-hoc rubber-stamp panels. Are we supposed to call them the blue ribbon Route 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee?"

A nice rant, but your LakeCountyEye wanted to know how the so-called Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee was going to fund the Route 53 Extension. They are now talking about raising local contributions.

"Absolutely" laughed Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, "and if you believe that I got a bridge to sell you in Lake County. Haha, the Advisory Committee knows quite well that nobody's mayor is going to raise their taxes to pay for a freeway in their backyard."

The Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee did a head fake?

"Well" replied Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, "when their own finance committee is saying that environmental protection is their top concern, and when Aaron Lawlor says the environmental stewardship fund is not up for discussion, then dollars to donuts they plan to slash costs at the expense of ..."

The environment? Your LakeCountyEye interjected.

"No flies on you today" chuckled Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi.

(That may be because your LakeCountyEye had earlier walked in front of a Southlake Mosquito Abatement District truck.)

Your LakeCountyEye produced a News-Sun clipping, showing what County Board Chair Aaron Lawlor actually said:
"The environmental stewardship fund is a third rail — if you touch it, the project goes away," he said. "I just want to be clear as we continue this conversation that we all know the things that make this consensus work."
Fate of Route 53 expansion hinges on local contributions, officials say
"He just challenged us to a game of chicken" explained Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, "right down the middle of the Route 53 Extension."

That's severe. Was there any parting advice for the ops?

"You know, I don't teach physics" smiled Dr. Bhatschidtkhrazzi, "but I don't think it is the project that goes away when you touch the third rail."

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Freedom Train

a total trainwreckIn Lake County the Fourth of July comes around but once a year. Were it not for the foresight of the Founding Fathers, the Fourth of July might never occur at all. In 1776, John Adams wrote ...
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.
Independence Day (United States)
While he was off by only 2 days, Adams was spot-on in the part about guns!

Your LakeCountyEye wants to pass along a public service announcement and also to wish everyone a safe and happy long Independence Day weekend:
  • Safety should be everyone's first concern. After sundown, when celebrating the Fourth, be sure you are at least 500 feet away from an exploding Canadian National Railroad train. No one wants to sustain a life-threatening injury during the holiday.

  • If you plan to be close to the fireworks, don't forget to bring ear plugs. You can sustain permanent hearing loss from the blasts of an exploding CN train.

  • Who doesn't love a parade? If you are marching in a July Fourth parade (or just a spectator) and a slow moving CN train is crossing your route, do not try to outrun the locomotive. That locomotive will win every time.

  • The sun is at its peak in early July. Be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen while you are waiting at a railroad crossing. You don't want to burn up while waiting for that slow moving CN train to lumber across.

  • Alcohol and holiday celebrations do not mix. Never throw empties at a lumbering CN train. One could explode.

  • Fireworks are illegal in Illinois and easily misused. If you see an exploding CN train explode, do not refrain from notifying the proper authorities.
Follow these commonsense safety tips and everyone will enjoy many safe and festive Fourth of July holidays to come.

Historical note: Had the Founding Fathers won the War of 1812, Canada today would be the 51st state. Just sayin!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cutting Corners Around the Route 53 Extension

Historic site of the Checkers Speech. Like a bad penny, the Route 53 Extension keeps coming back. More precisely, like 287 billion bad pennies. The Daily Herald is now reporting that ...
The costs of innovations associated with the proposed Route 53 extension north into Lake County will be examined for possible savings, but environmental protection will remain a top concern, officials said Monday during a recap of the $2.87 billion project. Leaders of a finance committee advising state tollway officials on ways to fund the Illinois Route 53/120 project said the agreement among varied interests to proceed hinges on that being the case.
Panel to study potential Route 53 cost savings
Translation: it's going to take some creative accounting to do a Route 53 Extension. Haha, the highway that everyone wants but no one wants to pay for will have to be built on the cheap.

Most of its prohibitive expenses were added to the highway's budget to mollify environmental concerns -- noise, pollution, habitat, open space, etc. So despite the assurances of Lake County Board Chair Aaron Lawlor and others, it is unclear where budgetary fat can be trimmed without harming the environment.  One undistinguished member of the Illinois Route 53/120 Blue Ribbon Advisory Council told your LakeCountyEye: "I'll be in my Florida houseboat, sitting on my big Blue Ribbon Advisory Council pension, before we scrape together enough money to build this asphalt albatross."

Until then, your LakeCountyEye has learned, expect the Route 53 Extension to see more cutbacks than Lombard Street does in San Francisco. At least 10 of them:
Ten Route 53 Extension
Cost Cutting Measures Under Consideration
  1. End Construction at Checker Rd

  2. Staff the Tollbooths with Non-Union Cyborgs

  3. Kickstarter

  4. Pay-Toilets in All the Oases

  5. Two Words: Mob Cement

  6. Dip into the Lake County Election Commission Trust Fund

  7. This Worked for Six Flags: Build it with Wood

  8. Lease Out the Fracking Rights on the Right-of-Way

  9. Get Bruce Rauner to Pay for It

  10. Seriously, Who Needs Northbound Lanes?
Look for your LakeCountyEye on a Route 53 Extension billboard near you.