Saturday, March 7, 2015

2015 - Forest Park

Mayor of Forest Park:

Sharon Daly's Opinion column in the 2/18/15 issue of the Forest Park Review has almost made up my mind on the upcoming mayoral election.

This large-type synopsis summed it up:

"Calderone is a thin-skinned authoritarian with  no new ideas"

Which is probably true.  But you might notice that incompetency, corruption, stupidity, or laziness are not alleged.  Apparently the worst that he's done during his current term is fail to create an acceptable "comprehensive plan" -- though no specifics characterize that failure.

If this is the worst that he has done in the past four years,  perhaps he has learned from mistakes made in earlier terms of office.  So maybe I'll vote for him this time.


But then, I got the Team  Calderone mailer:

It looks like it's targeted at our village's largest demographic:  the subterranean  residents of  our major cemeteries.  And where does the money for  all these  mailers come from?

This, and Bill Dwyer's rants are  almost enough to get me voting for his opponent, Chris Harris.

But what has Chris Harris ever done for the village?  His discussion of village issues is weak on observations and new ideas.  And the Calderone-haters have not presented him as anything more than not-Calderone.

He appears inexperienced and not especially sharp.  I don't want to be responsible for his mistakes. 

So this time I'm voting for the incumbent.

 Chris Harris continues to present himself as empty headed

With the election less than a week away, a blizzard of campaign mailers has hit local mailboxes.

Isn't there a better way to debate local issues?   I can't attend public meetings because  my evenings are already booked.

Can't some clever person construct an internet debate site that allows candidates to present and cross-critique arguments  -- without the virulent anonymous slander of ForestParkForums ?

Regarding the mailings -- I can't help but ask:   who pays for them?  The deep pockets of an incumbent's campaign fund are prima facie evidence of special favors rendered and paid for.


Here's a Calderone ad -- which does get points for being candid about his aversion towards independent thinking.

But it's been my experience that group-think is  the number one cause of bad decisions in deliberative bodies.

Especially when so many proposals will come from a  group leader who has many political obligations to his contributors and allies.

Here's another Calderone broadside.  It badly abuses the word "FACT",  but  I'm afraid that I do tend to agree that Harris doesn't have much to offer.


If Harris had the opportunity to respond in detail,  we might learn something about these various issues.

Voting records are worthless without context. 

And the more expensive mailing pieces I get from Calderone -- the more conflicted I am about voting for him.

Maybe I'll just sit this one out.

Then, on the final weekend of the campaign, we get yet more mailers from Calderone.

This one, a last minute attack on  the arrest record of his opponent.

But there's no date given to these arrests. Was he a misbehaving college student.  And there's no mention of any convictions.

Rather scurrilous, I'd say -- revealing more about the character of the accuser than the accused.

Finally, there's actually a reasonable flier from a retiring commissioner, endorsing the mayor.

It would be more convincing if some detail or statistic were offered regarding the improvement of the Roosevelt Road business district.  "Poised to greatly improve" is a rather nebulous.

More serious is the claim that Chris Harris "to my knowledge .... does not accept as valid" the results of a 2013 referendum on video gaming in bars.

Harris's website seems to confirm that assertion:

Regarding video gambling, do you stand by the vote of the people to keep video gambling out of Forest Park?

To me this is a great example of where the current mayor and I disagree – public input. We never finished this discussion, it was a disservice to the community to cancel town hall meetings and never have an actual discussion. Our current mayor is not a fan of public input and you can’t make educated decision when you don’t allow for education.

Looks like Hoskins was right. Above, Harris is dodging the question - which troubles me much more than a direct position either for or against.

After all these last two mailings, I can't vote for either candidate.

But in the next election, I will carefully avoid reading ALL campaign fliers. I'm not really the target audience for election marketing.   They should be addressed "to the idiot who lives here"  -- and I should have a better opinion of myself.


Commissioner, Village of Forest Park
4 Year Term, Vote For 4

Joseph Byrnes
Daniel J. Novak
Tom Mannix
Rachell A. Entler
Mark S. Hosty

This is sad -- five openings and only four candidates.  The only one I'll vote for is Daniel Novak - in the hopes that he will be an independent mind and voice on a council dominated by supporters of the mayor.  Though he hasn't yet offered much to substantiate such a hope. Doesn't even have a website.

Board Member, Proviso Township High School District 209

Nathan 'Ned' Wagner
Theresa L. Kelly
Theodore Matthews
ShawnTe M. Raines-Welch
Claudia Medina
Francine E. Harrell 
Cheryl Anderson

Former Board president, Chris Welch, has made it easy for the voters this time around.  He's running his wife, ShawnTe, on a slate with two other, possibly na├»ve,  supporters, Matthews and Harrell.   That leaves us with four serious candidates.  Three of them are running as a reform movement -- while the fourth, Cheryl Anderson, has nothing to say for herself.  No website. No facebook page.  No Mailer. Nothing.

  Looks like I'll be voting for Wagner, Kelly, and Medina -- though in a large metropolitan area, there is something to be said for a corrupt local school district so bad that only childless couples like us want to live here -- and pay lower taxes for underfunded schools.


BTW - This is the first local election where I've followed Bill Dwyer's blog to learn more about local candidates.  For example, I learned of the connection between State Representative Chris Welch and an $800,000 contract that Tony Calderone's alarm company received from a nearby school district.

Dwyer rises above Forest Park Forums  because he does not hide  invective and rumor-mongering  behind the mask of anonymity.  But still, most every post is dripping with tough-guy mockery and bitterness.

Perhaps such a pose is appropriate in the rough and tumble world of big city politics.   But does it really uplift the public life  of a tiny village like Forest Park ?


One of the benefits of voting in District 209 elections is the entertainment provided by the former school board President, Chris  Welch. 

As with his internet slander (for which he has been successfully sued), he likes to act anonymously.  Above he has created a fictitious organization that he calls "Citizens for a better Forest Park".

Then he lumps together his slate for the school board (including his wife) along with the independents running for offices in Forest Park.

Here, he again attacks his old nemesis on the school board, Theresa Kelly.

It's the same accusations he has raised in every past election .  We've never been told exactly when Ms. Kelly supposedly took these trips.  She has been on the board for at least a decade.  Perhaps she has taken one trip  per year.

And as in previous elections, Welch accuses his opponents of ruining the lives of Proviso students -- while he himself  controlled the majority voting block on the school board for nearly a decade.

There's a certain cynicism here which, unfortunately, the voters of District 209 well deserve -- for having continued to vote him into office.

According to this new website   the integrity of many suburban school boards has been compromised by professional politicians.  School districts spend a lot of money -- and  politicians want it going to their supporters.

Four years ago,  Mayor Anthony Calderone of Forest Park made this shameful list.   But in this election, he has joined the other side.

Doesn't he deserve at least a teensy bit of credit ?



The results of local elections have been so depressing for so many years,  I usually can't summon up enough courage to contemplate them

But this year is different!

In Forest Park, Calderone was re-elected mayor -- which is good, because, by now, he knows more about the job than  any living person. But he only won by 70 votes, and  he lost his pal, Hosty, as Commissioner,.  So he'll  have to work a bit harder now  to build consensus.

In Proviso District 209, the reformers won control of the school board, so insider contracts and hiring are a thing of the past. Maybe.

They now must bear full responsibility for our under-performing school district. And with all the money involved, you can expect the professional pols to soon make a strong comeback  unless the schools make noticeable improvements.  Only 500 votes separated the weakest reform candidate from the strongest machine surrogate.

God speed them!  There is little compensation or gratitude for honest service on a school board.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Nov 2014

Senator, U.S.

6 Year Term, Vote For 1

Richard J. Durbin

Governor and Lieutenant Governor, State of Illinois

4 Year Term, Vote For 1

Pat Quinn

Small business owner that I am, I do believe that most social functions should  be run by fellow business people or do-gooders .  But I also know that business people  are fundamentally self centered-- and elected government is the only platform where public interest can possibly (though not necessarily)  be prioritized. 

So it makes no more sense to elect professional businessmen to high public office - than it does to have politicians run factories, hospitals,  shopping centers, or schools.

And Bruce Rauner's career in finance has been egregiously self centered - milking businesses for their profits with no notable concern for anything or anyone else.  I'm not saying that he should be hung from a lamp post - but it's crazy to believe that he will suddenly become public minded after a lifetime of  predatory financial practice.

Quinn seems to be far more notable for his decency and honesty than for creative imagination or charismatic presence-- but then he has been stuck with the role of downsizing state government to fit within a diminished budget.  And his opponents have yet to propose how they would  do  things differently.


Representative, 7th District

2 Year Term, Vote For 1

Danny K Davis

Not that I would necessarily vote for him -- but couldn't the Republican party field a candidate serious enough to have a website and accept an interview with the Chicago Tribune, a Republican newspaper ?

I guess it's all about winning for them -- so if chances are slim, they will do absolutely nothing.

Is Robert L. Bumpers really an adult human ?  Perhaps he's a rabbit in the Lincoln Park Petting Zoo.

Attorney General, State of Illinois

4 Year Term, Vote For 1

I'm going to sit one out -- since it continues to make zero sense to have an Attorney General who is the child of the state's most powerful politician.

And I will not vote for a lock-step,  red-state Republican or a Libertarian -- two varieties of the same  delusional ideology.

Illinois Secretary of State

Jesse White Democratic

Apparently White has done nothing wrong in his long public career -- or, at least his opponent has nothing to complain about other than his longevity and party affiliation.

Which would also suggest that his opponent is a cipher.


Comptroller, State of Illinois

4 Year Term, Vote For 1

Sheila Simon, Democrat

The Republican party badly needs more moderates like Topinka - but the arc of her career has long passed.

On the other hand, the Democratic party badly needs less crooks - and I would like to see Simon go further in politics. 



Treasurer, State of Illinois

Michael Frerichs , Democratic

I wasn't intending to necessarily vote straight Democratic - but his website had lots about things he would do different -- while all that his opponent listed were endorsements.



State Representative, 7th District

2 Year Term, Vote For 1

And indeed, here is a case where I would vote for anyone other than the Democratic incumbent.

Chris Welch represents the very worst in political self service - and now appears to have lifetime job security as an Illinois state representative.

Is he still up to same old mischief of misusing his office to reward allies and contributors  ?

It's impossible to tell without opponents to raise such issues.

Are there any more rabbits in the petting zoo who might run as a Republican opponent ?

I would vote for any one of them.

President Cook County Board

Toni Preckwinkle   Democratic

Here's an unopposed incumbent who would probably get my vote regardless of who ran against her.

Cook County Clerk

David Orr

Same thing with David Orr, who pioneered the election website from which this information was drawn




Sheriff, Cook County etc etc etc

4 Year Term, Vote For 1

All of these unopposed races are getting a bit depressing.

Shouldn't the two political parties  believe in the two-party system ?   And if they do --  shouldn't they always try to field a candidate -- at the very least to air some of the issues ?



Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, MWRD

6 Year Term, Vote For 3

As usual, I'm voting a straight Green Party ticket on this one,
though I wish all three were as articulate as Milkowski in addressing various issues

George Milkowski
Karen Roothaan
Michael Smith


All of the contestable positions offer only one candidate.

No one dares challenge whoever is slated by the Democratic party.



Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Retention)

Various lawyer associations tell us to vote "NO" on these:

Laura Marie Sullivan
Annie O’Donnell
James L. Rhodes



As noted in the primary - the first two referenda seem pointless to me - and worthy of being ignored.

The next five referenda are a non-binding opinion poll - with a rather liberal and populist bent.

They are also worthy of being ignored -- but what the heck -- I'm a liberal populist so why not enjoy a brief  fling of fantasy while Republicans are poised to take both houses of  the U.S. Congress:

Statewide, Minimum Wage Shall the minimum wage in Illinois for adults over the age of 18 be raised to $10 per hour by January 1, 2015?


Statewide, Women's Health Shall any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides prescription drug coverage be required to include prescription birth control coverage as part of that coverage?


Statewide, Millionaire's Tax Should the Illinois Constitution be amended to require that each school district receive additional revenue, based on their number of students, from an additional 3% tax on income greater than one million dollars?

yes - though I'm sure that anyone making that much money will be able to avoid it.

Countywide, Mental Health Services Shall the General Assembly of the State of Illinois appropriate additional funds to provide necessary mental health services for the people of the State of Illinois?

no --  because I'm just not sure that it would help anyone other than the service providers.

Countywide, Universal Background Checks Shall the Illinois General Assembly enact the Illinois Public Safety Act (Senate Bill 3659) which would require universal background checks for firearm transfers and prohibit the sale and transfer of assault weapons, assault weapon attachments and high capacity ammunition magazines?

yes - but it's sad that is the only kind of gun control left to us. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

2014 - March 18


Thomas J. Dart
Tadeusz 'Ted' Palka
Sylvester E. Baker, Jr.
William 'Bill' Evans

This appears to be a contest between an attorney/politician (Dart - the incumbent) versus three law enforcement professionals - none of whom seem to be all that bright.

No one has questioned Dart's integrity or effectiveness -- so I'll stick with him.

Governor and Lieutenant Governor, State of Illinois

Tio Hardiman ; Brunell Donald
Pat Quinn & Paul Vallas

Hardiman appears to be a joke candidate - and I've always liked Quinn as an honest advocate of the public interest

Commissioner, Cook County Board, 1st District

Brenda Smith Democratic
Blake Sercye Democratic
Isaac 'Ike' Carothers
Richard R. Boykin
Ronald Lawless

Sercye is the Preckwinkle's pick -- so I'm voting for him -- and hoping he will grow into the job. Boykin is the pick of party regulars,  presumably because he will cooperate with them.
Note: a bit of humor was introduced into the race by Carothers -- who stands on his "proven track record".  Which includes a proven criminal record. As a Chicago alderman, he was convicted of taking cash from a real estate developer seeking zoning changes.  In most traditional civilizations, he would have suffered a painful death or mutilation -- but in Cook County, he gets to run again!

Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, MWRD

6 Year Term, Vote For 3

Cynthia M. Santos
Frank Avila
Timothy 'Tim' Bradford
Josina Morita Democratic
Tom Courtney Democratic
Adam Miguest Democratic
John S. Xydakis Democratic
Frank Edward Gardner
Kathleen Mary O'Reilley
Brendan Francis Houlihan

I'll let the Tribune pick these:  AVILA, MORITA,BRADFORD

Democratic Township Committeeman, Proviso Township

Karen A. Yarbrough
James 'Papa' Brewer

Non politicians should be elected to this position -- so a new face ought to be there every election cycle.   Which makes Brewer my candidate.

Judge, Illinois Appellate Court, 1st District (Vacancy of Gordon) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Shelly A. Harris Democratic 131 Susan Kennedy Sullivan Democratic 132 Freddrenna M. Lyle Democratic 133


Judge, Illinois Appellate Court, 1st District (Vacancy of Murphy) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # David Ellis Democratic 134

 Judge, Illinois Appellate Court, 1st District (Vacancy of Steele) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Sharon Oden Johnson Democratic 135 John B. Simon Democratic 136


Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Arnold) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Bridget Anne Mitchell Democratic 141 Alfred M. Swanson, Jr. Democratic 142

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Burke) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Maritza Martinez Democratic 143

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Connors) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Kristal Rivers Democratic 145 Peter J. Vilkelis Democratic 146


 Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Egan) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Daniel J. Kubasiak Democratic 147

 Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Phelps Felton) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Patricia O'Brien Sheahan Democratic 148

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Howse, Jr.) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Caroline Kate Moreland Democratic 149

 Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Lowrance) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Thomas J. Carroll Democratic 150

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of McDonald) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Cynthia Y. Cobbs Democratic 151 Linda L. Mastandrea Democratic 152


Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Neville, Jr.) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Carolyn Joan Gallagher Democratic 153 William B. Raines Democratic 154 Patricia S. Spratt Democratic 155 Mary Alice Melchor Democratic 156


Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Reyes) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Stephen J. Feldman Democratic 157 Diana Rosario Democratic 158


Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Hill Veal) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Andrea Michele Buford Democratic 160 James Patrick Crawley Democratic 161 Kelly Maloney Kachmarik Democratic 162


Judge, 7th Subcircuit (Vacancy of Hardy-Campbell) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Robert D. Kuzas Democratic 171

Judge, 7th Subcircuit (Vacancy of Taylor) 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot # Judy Rice Democratic 173 Owens J. Shelby Democratic 174 Marianne Jackson Democratic 175


Thursday, March 21, 2013

2013 - April 9

Supervisor, Proviso Township

4 Year Term, Vote For 1

This is the first time I've paid any attention to this governmental entity according to an article in the Forest Park Review from 2005:

"In terms of our tax bill, it is really 2.5 percent of our property bill,"... around $10 - $15 million."...Of this money, he said, 60 percent goes to the Proviso Mental Health Commission .... The 40 percent of your taxes that is going to Proviso Township, that is being spent on services for seniors."

It's a bit disturbing that all of the candidates involved are running unopposed this time out. In the article cited above, it was mentioned that the township was renting office space in Broadview at "$4,000 a month for 1,800 feet". I wonder who owned that property -- and whether we're still paying that much.

There's no incentive to participate in this micro-level of government other than self-service. Even if a do-gooder were elected, he or she would be an ineffective minority.

Michael A. Corrigan Township Alliance Party 71

Clerk, Proviso Township

4 Year Term, Vote For 1

Anthony "Tony" Williams Township Alliance Party 72

Assessor, Proviso Township

Steven J Zawaski Township Alliance Party 73

Trustee, Proviso Township

4 Year Term, Vote For 4

Mari Herrell Township Alliance Party 74

Clarence E Thomas Township Alliance Party 75

Joseph Christopher Township Alliance Party 76

Evelyn Chavez Township Alliance Party 77

Commissioner, Forest Park Park District

6 Year Term, Vote For 2

John Doss NonPartisan 91

Samuel Alonzo NonPartisan 92

Matthew Walsh NonPartisan 93

There are two older incumbents and one 20-year old kid running for the two seats on the board -- and I have no idea who to vote for -- so I won't.

Board Member, Forest Park School District 91

4 Year Term, Vote For 4

Mary Win Connor NonPartisan 141

Rafael Rosa NonPartisan 142

Thomas Bradley Keefner NonPartisan 143

Brian Moritz NonPartisan 144

Michael J. O'Connor NonPartisan 145

Eric Connor NonPartisan 146

I'll trust the Forest Park Review on this one -- and they wrote:

Brad Keefner and Brian Moritz are the two other candidates associated with Mannix. We question their reasons for running. Neither has children in the district, neither has ever shown the slightest interest in public education in Forest Park. While Moritz has been invisible in this race, Keefner seems to have his heart in the right place. But as a newcomer, his community connections are thin. We'd like to see him show up on more citizen commissions and volunteer groups in town before he runs for office. The long and short of it: We urge voters to avoid these candidacies as a signal that our public schools are not to be politicized.

Board Member, Proviso Township High School District 209

4 Year Term, Vote For 4

Kevin R. McDermott NonPartisan 161

Teresa D. McKelvy NonPartisan 162

Brian Cross NonPartisan 163

Daniel J. Adams NonPartisan 164

Jorie Wright NonPartisan 165

Arbdella "Della" Patterson NonPartisan 166

Hurray for Kevin McDermott! He's volunteered to once again suffer through another term as the minority voice on a school board that's been run for the benefit of local politicians. Other than Brian Cross, he's the only candidate to have a 4-year college degree. While unlike Brian Cross, who works for the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, he's not a government employee.

As McDermott points out on his website the students at our district high schools perform 50-70% under the state average on their test scores - and this situation has not been improving over the past 5 years.

Perhaps the best solution is to make more special schools for the bright and motivated kids - like the Math and Science Academy in Forest Park. Or -- perhaps invite private charter schools to operate in this district.

But at the very least we can have a qualified school board that 's trying to make positive changes instead of merely advancing their personal political careers in county government.

Trustee, Triton Community College District 504

6 Year Term, Vote For 3

Vanessa Moritz NonPartisan 201

Thomas Gary NonPartisan 202

Diane M. Viverito NonPartisan 203

Irene Moskal Del Giudice NonPartisan 204

Charles Fredrickson NonPartisan 205

Colin Brady NonPartisan 206

Though none of the candidates has a website - it's been reported here that Thomas Gary ,Diane M. Viverito, and Vanessa Moritz are a slate that's opposed by three candidates supported by a local Republican politician, Tony Peraica.

It's good to see someone interested enough in these positions to recruit candidates for them -- but if Peraica has some serious public purpose, why doesn't he tell us about it? Googling his candidate names brings up absolutely nothing - so it appears it's just a political game for him.

So I'm inclined to vote for Gary, Viverito, and Moritz.

Trustee, Proviso Township Trustees of Schools, Township 39N, Range 12E

6 Year Term, Vote For 1

Mark Walsh NonPartisan 231

Question Yes No

Should video gaming continue to be prohibited in the Village of Forest Park?

I can't make up my mind on this one so I won't vote it.

I don't think gambling is positive behavior - but then neither is drinking alcohol -- and I'm doubting that prohibiting either one accomplishes anything more than a nice warm feeling of moral superiority.

Monday, October 29, 2012

2012 - General Election

President of the United States:

Barack Obama & Joe Biden
Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan

I don't ever remember such a contentious election, cranked up by the deep pockets of conservative causes and new laws that allow unlimited spending. And having an African American as the target for their no-compromise fury has probably cranked it up even more -- just as it did in Chicago politics when Harold Washington became mayor.

This has become a referendum on the  role of American central government, driven by powerful economic players who don't want to be controlled by it and riding on the compelling ideology of Freedom, the one ideal that Americans share the most.

This is also the first election to which I have ever made a contribution, figuring that's an inescapable responsibility to even the playing field for candidates who represent public rather than private interests.

So now I get an email, or two, every day soliciting me for additional contributions, driving me to finally just mark all communications from the Obama campaign as spam

Yes, winning is important, and money is important to winning.

But winning isn't everything -- and it's a shame that the campaign does not realize its potential to be a source of information as well as sales pitches.


But even if his campaign emails are annoying, Barack Obama has got to be the best President for whom I have ever voted.  He had lots of help from Dubya whose unpopularity gave him both the Presidency and both houses of Congress, so we could finally have something like  national healthcare and begin to re-regulate the financial industry.  Unlike Clinton, he hasn't done a pratfall  with personal misbehavior. He's a smart, serious, and  competent guy.  And I don't think it's coincidental that Bin Laden was finally hunted down and killed during his tenure as commander in chief.

By the way, I do support both Dubya's invasion of Afghanistan and Obama's war on the Taliban, as an appropriate response to that regime's  support of international terrorism.  Even if it appears that they will return to power the moment our troops leave the country. 


Representative, 7th District
2 Year Term, Vote For 1

Danny K. Davis
Rita Zak
John H. Monaghan

Rita Zak's website offers absolutely nothing besides a purely ideological "freedom" rant.
But at least that's more than John H. Monaghan offers. He's got no website and didn't even care to fill the Chicago Tribune's questionnaire. What a cipher!

Once again, Danny K.Davis has no serious opposition. He doesn't appear to offer an independent mind concerning anything, and if you look at his campaign website, it appears that he is not running. He's just sitting -- waiting for an automatic return to office. But after his endorsement of Rory Hoskins in our local state primary, I'm inclined to give him some respect. He's not completely asleep at the wheel.


State Senator, 4th District
Vote For 1
Kimberly A. Lightford Democratic
State Representative, 7th District
2 Year Term, Vote For 1

And shamefully enough, Lightford and all the other non-judicial candidates on our ballot are running unopposed.

This is NOT democracy at work.

This is the consequence of a failed local Republican party.

Emanuel "Chris" Welch Democratic
Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, MWRD

And nowhere is that failure more painful than in the unopposed candidacy of this self-serving charlatan who has been abusing our local school district for the past decade.

I'm going to write-in Rory Hoskins, his opponent who narrowly lost the primary, but who would have won if Republicans had voted in it.


Metropolitan Water Reclamation 6 Year Term, Vote For 3

A good job for environmental activists - so mostly I'm picking the Green Party

Debra Shore Democratic 41 --- yes

Kari K. Steele Democratic 42

Patrick Daley Thompson Democratic 43

Harold "Noonie" Ward Republican 44

Carl Segvich Republican 45

Dave Ehrlich Green Party 46------------yes

 Karen Roothaan Green Party 47

Nasrin R. Khalili Green Party 48........yes


State's Attorney, Cook County 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot #

 Anita Alvarez Democratic 51

Lori S. Yokoyama Republican 52........ yes

Much as it pains me to vote for a partisan Republican, it makes no sense to forever have a Democratic State's attorney in a such a solid Democratic county.


Clerk of the Circuit Court, Cook County 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot #

 Dorothy A. Brown Democratic 53 ..... yes

Diane S. Shapiro Republican 54

It does appear that Brown badly needs to be replaced by someone less like a party hack -- but I cannot bring myself to vote for the shrewish right wing ideologue who is running against her.


Recorder, Cook County 4 Year Term, Vote For 1 Candidate Name Party Ballot

# Karen A. Yarbrough Democratic 55

Sherri Griffith Republican 56................. yes

This job is a patronage rat's nest for career politicians - and I don't see why it should be a fiefdom of the democratic party.  Here's another opportunity to encourage no encourage non-radical Republicans to participate in local government


Here's the judicial candidates  that have gotten the most negative evaluations:

Cynthia Brim
Christophoer Donnelly
James Egan
Pamela Hill-Veal
Gloria Chevere

State Supreme Court: Theis .... yes

4th subcircuit:
Gallagher, Maloney


Referendum:..... Yes

The new section would require a three-fifths majority vote of each chamber of the General Assembly, or the governing body of a unit of local government, school district, or pension or retirement system, in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system

Two groups oppose this measure:

the unions for public employees -- because it affects their opportunities for better pensions
right wing nut cases --- because they oppose anything proposed by Democratic leadership

So it looks like a good idea to me.  The problem with pension benefits is that they are easier to give than salary raises because they affect budgets of the future, not the present.

Which is exactly why it should be made more difficult to give them.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

2012 - Interview with a billionaire

Already having enough ways to waste time, I try to limit my political interests to specific electoral contests.

But since an election is now pending -- and since our local newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, has offered this fine interview with local billionaire, Kenneth Griffith, I thought I might waste a few minutes responding to his ideas.

The first interesting topic to be raised were the recent tax breaks that the State of Illinois gave Sears and the Chicago Board of Trade to keep their central offices in Illinios.

Griffith said that"as morally corrupt as it is for me to imagine asking for that check, it is profoundly more corrupt for the state to pay it."

So then, the journalist, Melissa Harris, asked him whether he would speak about that moral corruption with his colleague, Eddie Lampert, the Chairman of Sears Holdings.

To which Griffith replied: That's not fair; given CEOs have duties to their shareholders. If the state's willing to hand out gifts, there are many who feel compelled to go get them.

But a payment that has been extorted could hardly be called a "gift", could it? Sears was threatening to move to another state in order to get the tax breaks that the Governor of Illinois eventually gave to them.

Currently, American law allows the states to pay companies to locate within them, but does not allow them to demand payment from companies when they pick up and leave. Perhaps that unbalance ought to be changed, but it does not appear that Griffith has expressed any interest in that larger issue.

It's also interesting to note that Griffith does not mention the duties that a CEO might have to anyone other than the shareholders.

The next issue to surface was gambling.

Griffith has made many contributions to local politicians and the one issue that he has raised with them is casinos.

He doesn't want any in the city of Chicago.

Melissa Harris then asked him how speculation in the stock market was any different from gambling in a casino, to which Griffth replied:

I think there's a huge difference. Gambling is entertainment. We have great destinations for that, like Las Vegas. Just not in Chicago. Financial markets, what one often refers to as speculation, is really the force by which we move capital to the best and highest use. Investors who find the best businesses to put their money behind are rewarded for their research. It's not the prettiest way you can ever imagine to allocate capital. But if you look across the entire world, it's the best way we know to allocate capital.

Ok - so if gambling is entertainment, one still might ask why it does not belong in the city of Chicago where entertainment is a major industry.

And businesses that own casinos can be traded on the stock exchanges just like any other, can't they? So wouldn't they qualify as "the best and highest use" as they attract investment?

Just how did that notion of "best and highest" get attached to financial investments anyway? That makes the financial markets part of an ideology, a belief system, rather than just the practical matter of either raising cash or looking for high returns on investment.

Griffith is more than a little sensitive about the morality of gambling, possibly because he recognizes that his own career was built upon taking risks for the benefit of nobody but oneself.

The next issue was his relationship with, and his admiration for, the Koch brothers "primarily because I share their fundamental belief that economic freedom is core to the ethos of our country. It's the idea that any person can pursue their dreams, whether it's starting a business or who they choose to work for. It's made America America. Our founding fathers came to the country for freedom and the Kochs embrace this idea of economic freedom in a way I rarely see put forth today

It would be more accurate to say that the founding fathers embraced the idea of freedom for some and slavery for others, and that the change to the idea of freedom for all required a civil war and then a hundred years of patience and determination.

But it's more important to realize that nobody is currently challenging anyone's freedom to "pursue their dreams, whether it's starting a business or who they choose to work for." -- unless those pursuits are deemed harmful to others.

Once upon a time, it was reasonable to be concerned about the USSR and Communism, but that disappeared in 1990, and actually was in decline for the 40 years previous.

Then Melissa Harris asks a good question:
Don't you also see how some of their (the Koch brothers) ideas are economically reckless, in that they involve pretty much a destruction of our regulatory system?

In response, Griffith totally avoided the issue of regulation, but raises, instead, the issue of government subsidizing green industry, like the support that was given to the now-defunct Solyndra company - reminding us how the principles of that company contributed to the Obama campaign and exemplified the Koch brothers' belief that
" it's a matter of principle first and foremost that where government finds itself involved, corruption finds itself at the table."

But happily, Harris holds him to her question and asks whether government has a right to regulate a company (like Midwest Generation) to keep it from polluting the Chicago neighborhoods near its facility - and Griffith must concede that :
"no company is entitled to engage in acts that hurt innocent third parties."
(regardless, one presumes, of how the revocation of that entitlement infringes on their right to pursue their American dream)

At this point, Harris returns to an issue raised earlier, the access and influence that wealthy contributor have upon the political candidates whom they sponsor.

Is it too much?

Those who have enjoyed the benefits of our system more than ever now owe a duty to protect the system that has created the greatest nation on this planet. And so I hope that other individuals who have really enjoyed growing up in a country that believes in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness "

As you can see, Griffith is quite idealistic in his response, and I do feel that his idealism is genuine, if self serving. But he has, indeed, avoided the question which asked whether super-wealthy people had too much influence on the American political process, rather than whether each one had the responsibility to contribute as much as he could.

There are many highly responsible career paths, in education, the military, scientific research, medicine etc that will never make a person super-wealthy. So one might ask whether our political process is best served by skewing it towards the interests of those professions that specialize in building wealth.

At this moment in time, these values are under attack. This belief that a larger government is what creates prosperity, that a larger government is what creates good (is wrong). We've seen that experiment. The Soviet Union collapsed. China has run away from its state-controlled system over the last 20 years and has pulled more people up from poverty by doing so than we've ever seen in the history of humanity

Has Chinese capitalism run away from the state -- or has it been sponsored by a one-party system that controls and has been enriched by it? (sort of like the local politics of Chicago) And will it be sustainable without an endless pool of peasant workers willing to work for negligible wages?

Griffith's capitalist idealism is sustained by a rather narrow and distorted view of both American and world history.

Finally, Harris takes us to Griffith's primarily concern with politics: the regulation of the financial industry.

Is the crash of 2008 analgous to the pollution caused by unregulated factories?

Griffith pins it mostly on a corrupt and inept government programs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but allows that there was a "lack of discipline" on Wall Street that contributed to the disaster.

Here's the concluding exchange:

Q. How would you try to convey to someone on the street, that you and your ilk are not evil? How would try to explain to them that you're not just acting out of self-interest? What would you say to them to make them trust you?

A. (45 second pause.) I think if you look at the realm we're discussing, which is the political realm, I think it would be impossible to find an action by any politician intended to specifically favor either my firm or myself. That's not the driver of my involvement. And with respect to the role my firm plays, I'm proud that we've created well over 1,000 high-paying jobs in Chicago, and I'm very proud of the involvement of my leadership team in the city.

Since Griffith equates economic self interest with public interest, I'm one person on the street who is not inclined to trust him to act for anyone's benefit other than his own.

And if he has never sought a specific favor from a politican, I would guess that it's only because the opportunity has not yet arisen.

After all, in his mind, he would only be asking for "a gift"

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2012 - March Primary (Democratic)

One last mailer, on the weekend of the election, has helped me make some choices in several contests.

It's a cooperative effort among many candidates, including Chris Welch.

Since his mis-behavior as a public official is a matter of public record (as explained below), his endorsement by all the other candidates listed on the flyer is serious mark against their sincere interest in public service.

So they have made my job a lot easier.


U.S. Representative: 7th District

Jacques A. Conway
Danny K. Davis

I might just sit this one out.

Davis is so complacent, he hasn't yet changed his campaign website from the February 2010 primary.

While Conway seems to be in over his head. He recently resigned his elected position on the Oak Park school board because he was too busy with personal matters -- but now he wants to run for Congress?

And apparently he's still too busy to make his own campaign website.

State Representative : 7th District

Emanuel "Chris" Welch
Princess C. Dempsey
Beyonca Johnson
Rory Hoskins

Some relevant journalism:

Here's the report of Welch using the Proviso 90 School District funds (he's been chairman of the board) to defend himself from a lawsuit for libelous statements published on an anonymous blog that was proven to be his.

And here's the report regarding the aftermath of a relationship he had with a school district employee, Beyonca Johnson, whom he fired after they broke up and who is now running against him in this election.

Sounds like Welch and Johnson should be in the Jerry Springer show, not the Illinois state house.

Princess Dempsey still seems to be all about herself.

Hoskins served admirably on the Forest Park city council, providing an alternative to the voice of the majority. I'm voting for him.

This campaign has featured many mailings, and I don't want to know where all the cash came from to pay for them.

But the above is the most pathetic - as Welch compares himself to Barack Obama, suggesting that an endorsement might run in both directions.

Here's the flip side of the above mailing, with the list of who actually has endorsed Chris Welch.

The various suburban mayors and teachers unions like to trade favors, but why is the Sierra Club endorsing a candidate who has a negligable record on the environment and a damning record otherwise ?

And it's interesting to find two Cook County Commissioners, Earlean Collins and Jeff Tobolski on the list.

I won't be voting for them anytime soon.

Commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
Vote For 3

Stella B. Black
Debra Shore Democratic -- NO
Kari K. Steele Democratic --- NO
Patrick Daley Thompson Democratic
Patricia Young Democratic
Patricia Horton


Clerk of the Circuit Court, Cook County
Dorothy A. Brown Democratic
Ricardo Munoz


Judge, Illinois Appellate Court, 1st District (Vacancy of Cahill)

Pamela E. Hill-Veal Democratic 111
Mathias William Delort Democratic 112 --- NO
Kay Marie Hanlon Democratic 113
Mary Brigid Hayes Democratic 114 -- YES
James Michael McGing Democratic 115
Laura Marie Sullivan Democratic 116

Judge, Illinois Appellate Court, 1st District (Vacancy of Johnson Coleman)

Nathaniel Roosevelt Howse, Jr. Democratic 117 -- YES
Kathleen G. Kennedy Democratic 118

Judge, Illinois Appellate Court, 1st District (Vacancy of Gallagher)

Patrick J. Sherlock Democratic 119
P. Scott Neville, Jr. Democratic 120 --- NO
Marguerite Anne Quinn Democratic 121

Judge, Illinois Appellate Court, 1st District (Vacancy of O'Brien)

Jesse G. Reyes Democratic 122 --- NO
Rodolfo (Rudy) Garcia Democratic 123
William Stewart Boyd Democratic 124 --- yes
Ellen L. Flannigan Democratic 125 ---- no
Don R. Sampen Democratic 126

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Conlon)

Karen Lynn O'Malley Democratic 141 -- YES
Jo Anne Hopson Guillemette Democratic 142 --- no
Stanley L. Hill, Sr. Democratic 143 -- NO

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Kirie Kinnaird)

Kevin Cunningham Democratic 145 -- YES
Erica L. Reddick Democratic 146 -- NO

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Moran)
Vote For 1

Russell W. Hartigan Democratic 147

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of O'Brien, Jr.)
Vote For 1

Cynthia Ramirez Democratic 149
Gerald V. Cleary Democratic 150 --- yes

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of O'Mara Frossard)

Nichole C. Patton Democratic 151
Kevin W. Horan Democratic 152 ---- yes
Diann Karen Marsalek Democratic 153
Rodrick F. Wimberly Democratic 154

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Pucinski)

Edward J. Maloney Democratic 156 --- yes
Lorna Ellen Propes Democratic 157 -- NO

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Simmons, Jr.)

Michael A. Forti Democratic 158
Jessica A. O'Brien Democratic 159 -- yes
James A. Wright Democratic 160

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Stewart)

Pamela M. Leeming Democratic 161 --- yes
Terrence M Jordan Democratic 162
Deidre Baumann Democratic 163
Mary Margaret Burke Democratic 164
Sammy W. Lacey Jr. Democratic 165
Rhonda Sallee Democratic 166
Steve Demitro Democratic 167

Judge, Cook County Judicial Circuit (Vacancy of Ward)

Alfred M. Swanson, Jr. Democratic 169
Denise Marie Nalley Democratic 170 --- no
Elizabeth Mary Hayes Democratic 171 --- no
Joan Marie Kubalanza Democratic 172
Peter J. Vilkelis Democratic 173 -- yes
Brian J. Stephenson

Judge, 7th Subcircuit (Vacancy of Toney)

Arthur P. Wheatley Democratic 187 --- yes
Mable Taylor Democratic 188
Kimberly D. Lewis Democratic 189
Mark Battaglia Democratic 190