Category: Local politics
Posted on March 14, 2014 by Gary
Because nobody asked for it.... My candidate choices for the Democratic primary are here, with explanation of reasons below the fold. I should emphasize that I am speaking for myself only, not for York Township Democratic Organization nor anyone else. Also, since I'm friends with some of the people running here, let's be clear that these recommendations are based only on which persons I see as the better fit for the particular job for which they're contesting, and not on who I like or don't like on a personal level.

Governor: Pat Quinn
DuPage County Board District 4: M. Moon Khan
State Central Committee District 8: Rose Fitzpatrick and Bob Wagner
Precinct Committee York Township Precinct 55: Arthur Biladeau


Agree? Disagree? Feel free to rant or rave in comments. But click the "Read More" link first.

» Read More

Category: Local politics
Posted on July 30, 2013 by Gary
I don't know if this on craigslist is for real, but it's too good not to share.
Republican Illinois Attorney General (Springfield)
Candidate will be provided with a realistic plan to defeat incumbent.
Candidate must be willing and able to stand up to a multi-million dollar schmear campaign.

So don't bother replying if you happen to be allergic to very expensive cream cheese.
Candidate must meet the requirements for the office of Attorney General of Illinois.
Candidate must place the well being of the people of Illinois above that of their family's.

Above their family's what? And since candidate is singular, I must assume that "their" refers to the people of Illinois. So, okay, I guess they mean the candidate must support the right of deadbeat dads to desert their families for personal gain.
Please respond with and educational resume and three paragraph summary of platform and campaign plan.

Ah, so the plan won't be provided. Thanks for clarifying that.
This is a longshot, but my plan can win.

I'm guessing it was just some random chucklehead who posted this, since Jack Dorgan would at least be able to afford a decent copy editor. Still, it's an indication of the condition that the IL GOP is in, and deservedly so.
Category: Local politics
Posted on April 6, 2013 by Gary
Because absolutely nobody asked for it, and if past precedent is any guide the only people who will care are candidates who don't get chosen, my thoughts on the April 9 election:

First and foremost, support the Democratic slate for York Township offices.

Ahmed Sayyed for Supervisor
Joe Vosicky for Clerk
Mark Pitchford for Highway Commissioner
Cathy Sewell, Diane Blair Sherlock, and Carol Davis for Trustee

It should be obvious that the current York Township government is mostly useless. Most residents are barely aware that they exist. About three-quarters of their budget is spent on staff salaries, which keep going up despite the economy, and other administrative costs. They have little or no money for youth services, but do have money to send out full-color brochures touting themselves, which for some odd reason always seem to arrive around election time. They do provide services for seniors, some of them necessary and valuable ones, but when they do they'll be sure to use the opportunity to persuade those seniors to vote for them. The purpose of the township, according to the current incumbents, it seems, is to keep the current incumbents in office. We the taxpayers have different priorities. The only way we'll get a township government that is actually worth the money we put into it is to vote out Mr. Valle and as many of his cronies as possible.

If you live in Villa Park, please vote for Deborah Bullwinkel for village president. Bullwinkel has been an independent voice on the village board of trustees. She will bring energy and fresh ideas to the office of president. Her opponent is the former village police chief who has been the subject of investigative articles by the Chicago Tribune:
Long before an Internet sex picture overshadowed his candidacy, John Heidelmeier was the popular police chief of Villa Park — and was facing secret accusations of mismanagement.

The newspaper's review of hundreds of pages of records previously denied to the public found that, before the ink was dry on last year's gag order, village officials had quietly begun accusing the chief of assorted mismanagement, including:
•Keeping an evidence room that was in disarray, with $10,000 in cash and a bucket of guns left unlogged.
•Hiring an officer against the advice of a psychological assessment who then was later accused of roughing up a teenage girl who had done nothing wrong.
•Giving a convicted felon wide access to the department, including riding along with officers on patrol.

There's more. Read the whole article. See also comments posted by a local resident on the Daily Herald's endorsement of Bullwinkel:
I have personally dealt with this bumbling police department. About 2 and a half years ago I was less than a block from my house minding my own business when all of a sudden I was surrounded by 5 police cars. Guns drawn they yelled at me to put my hands in the air. They then proceeded to force me to the ground even though I had clearly given up. My neighbors had all tried to tell them who I was and that I had just come out of my house. I had asked my neighbor to please go tell my mom what was going on so that someone could find me at the police station. I was put into the squad car and driven away, everytime I asked the officer what was going on he told me to "shut the hell up" I was taken to an area aproximately a quarter mile from my house taken out of the squad to be identified. I will never forget the woman identifying me when they had asked her "is that him?" she replied "not even close" I was then put back into the squad car still handcuffed even though I had done nothing wrong. I was then driven home and dropped off in front of my house while the officer turned his lights on uncuffed me outside of the car for all my neighbors to see and then didn't even apologize. Too this day it makes my blood boil to think about this incident. To make matters worse when my mom who had just had heart surgery a few months prior to this incident, went to the police department to find out what had happened to me the woman at the front desk threatened to have her arrested. Real Classy VPPD. Don't believe me? you can ask multiple neighbors who saw what happened. If Heidelmeier can't run his police department competently how can we trust him to run Villa Park?

(I don't know this person and can't vouch for the truth of these accusations. One should always be careful about what one reads, especially on the Internet.)

I've had personal experience with Heidelmeier's core supporters. Recently the York Township Democratic Organization voted to endorse Bullwinkel. I am chair of YTDO but did not vote for or against this endorsement. State Senator Cullerton, a strong Heidelmeier supporter recently elected as a Democrat with support from the party, responded by pulling his support from a YTDO fundraiser. Another Heidelmeier supporter posted under an assumed name on YTDO's Facebook page harping on Bullwinkel's past support for selected Republican candidates, ignoring Heidelmeier's own record of voting Republican. Many more Heidelmeier supporters frequent this forum. For a candidate whose selling points are leadership ability and that he'll listen to your ideas and opinions, it's interesting how many of his supporters apparently have zero tolerance for ideas that they don't agree with. They are more like Groucho Marx: "If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you."

Robert J. "Bob" Wagner for Villa Park Trustee is an obvious choice, especially for Democrats. Bob ran as one back when nobody thought Democrats could win in this area. As party township chair, party state central committeeman, library trustee, and everything else he's done, he's always displayed strict honesty and thoughtfulness. John Davis is an incumbent village trustee who has served with integrity and deserves to be re-elected. A third candidate, Robert Taglia, is also an incumbent and is aligned with Bullwinkel, Wagner, and Davis; he's been a responsible trustee but his conservative Republican views make me reluctant to recommend him. For local office his ideological views aren't that big of an issue but village elected officials can grow up to seek higher office. Other candidates include Greg Hassler who is not aligned with either camp; he seems to have a pretty good grasp of the issues but I don't know a lot about him. Rodney Pate seems to have some smarts and good sense except for his decision to align with the Heidelmeier camp.

For College of DuPage Trustees, please vote for Ed Agustin and Frank Flores Jr.. College of DuPage has been plagued by mismanagement. Tuition keeps rising and the current administration seems more interested in putting up new buildings than it does in actually working to help the students. Agustin and Flores will hold them accountable. Accusations of harrassment against the latter seem to be unverified.
Category: Local politics
Posted on May 16, 2012 by Gary
Daily Herald:
DuPage Forest Preserve commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to reduce their own salaries from nearly $57,000 to $53,500, but they disagreed on whether the cuts were deep enough.

Commissioner Joe Cantore suggested reducing salaries in October and on Tuesday fought to keep the issue from being tabled to next week’s commission meeting.

He urged fellow commissioners to cut their salaries to $50,000, roughly equal to the annual compensation DuPage County Board members receive.

“It was just time for some action,” Cantore said. “We needed to get it done. But I don’t think we reduced it enough and I guess you could call it a compromise.”


Oh Joe, you great crusading action hero you.

Reality check, please. The median income per household in the USA as of the last census was a little over fifty thousand. In DuPage it's just over $75,000. Assuming an average of 1.5 wage-earners per household, that means that even if this proposal had passed, Joe and his buddies would still each have been getting the same money the rest of us get, plus very generous benefits like health care and pensions. But the rest of us have to work full time for our money; not so Joe. DuPage Forest Preserve Commissioners claim (in the Herald article linked above) to work 1000 hours a year; that's only half a full-time job, if true; the real amount of time they spend is probably quite a bit less. Most if not all of them have day jobs—Cantore is an industrial building remodeling contractor.

Then there's this:
[Outgoing commissioner Carl] Schultz said one forest commissioner represents the same number of people as three county board members per district. He added that county board members also have offices, while forest commissioners keep offices in their homes.


This is a bloody silly argument for a number of reasons. Besides the obvious, that running the forest preserves might not be quite as much work as running the entire rest of the county, the fact of the matter is that DuPage County Board members are also grossly overpaid, getting full-time salary and benefits for work they do as a sideline to their regular jobs.

Joe and others, if you're really out to save the taxpayers some money, cut your salary and benefits to what a typical ten-hour-per-week position would offer. Give up your guaranteed government-provided health care and retirement income until such time as the rest of us are entitled to such things, which might happen if we get the Republicans out of state and federal government.

Alternately, keep the salary and benefits, but make the Commission work for them. Make it illegal for Forest Preserve Commissioners (and County Board members) to accept any outside paid position or own a significant interest in any business during their terms. Transfer to them some of the work currently being done by salaried managers and make them spend enough time on it to earn that money we're giving them.
Category: Local politics
Posted on February 26, 2012 by Gary
If Santorum is defined to refer to that certain mixture of bodily fluids, then Roskam really ought to refer to a falsehood so blatant that nobody with the remotest shred of decency would want to touch it. Sadly this class of human being includes few if any modern-day Republican politicians, and certainly not Mr. Roskam himself. Case in point, his latest tax-payer-funded campaign emailconstituent franking email:
You and your families are surely affected by high and rising gas prices. The average price is already over $3.50 a gallon! Unfortunately, some experts say they could rise as high a $5-per-gallon.

This is a disappointing but unfortunately not surprising reality. High gas prices and rising electricity costs are just some of the results of the Administration's energy policy designed to benefit political allies at the expense of lower American energy costs.

But House Republicans are fighting back. Find out how in my interview with Martha MacCallum here.

High gas prices are the result of Obama administration policy in the world according to Pete. Here's a graph of those prices over the past thirty-plus years:

As you can see, gas prices were more or less stable until they took a major spike upwards around 2005 and another one in 2008. Gosh. Petey, who was President in 2005?

If you watch the video, you'll find the "solution" Petey is pushing is to build the Keystone XL pipeline. This pipeline is actually designed to allow Canadian oil producers to export oil overseas by providing a route to oil tankers in the Gulf of Mexico. Not only would this pipeline be disastrous for the health and well-being of those of us who drink water, but It might actually increase gas prices in the USA, and according to Cornell researchers might actually cost jobs in the USA.

But on the plus side, it would mean fat profits for Canadian oil companies, some of which would no doubt fall into Mr. Roskam's campaign coffers. Also, more work for doctors and other health professionals who will have to treat the resulting chronic health problems. This is good news for people like Pete and his staff whose health care is paid for by public money, a benefit he's worked hard to deny to the rest of us.
Category: Local politics
Posted on February 14, 2012 by Gary
The Daily Herald reports:
Tammy Duckworth, one of two Democratic Congressional candidates making a bid in the 8th District, challenged her opponent Monday to reject any contribution from Super PACs — political action committees that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money.

Opponent Raja Krishnamoorthi said he’ll agree — but only if Duckworth also agrees not to accept contributions from international unions, lobbyists or other corporations.... He also proposed that the candidates get rid of “paid media (ads)” by holding one debate a week until the election.


For Krishnamoorthi's specific proposal, look here.

This morning, the Duckworth campaign sent out this:
Yesterday, I asked my opponents to join me in a pledge to keep Super PAC spending out of this race. An overwhelming number of you signed on to agree that unlimited, anonymous funding should have no role in our democracy. But unfortunately, my primary opponent refused to sign on to the same kind of pledge Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown agreed to.

As I said yesterday, this will only work if my opponent agrees. Over 7,000 of you have contributed to my campaign--often in spite of tough financial circumstances--and I'm not willing to let your contributions be overwhelmed by millions of dollars in negative attack ads.

We've already seen the corrosive effect of Super PAC support in the Republican presidential primary. And frankly, I'm not surprised to see Republicans embrace unlimited, anonymous corporate funds. But using a Super PAC in a Democratic primary would be unprecedented. It's just not who we are as a party and it's not what we should aspire to be.


Hey, Duckworth campaign: Your primary opponent has a name, you know. And unless I'm missing something, the above is just dishonest.

How is it dishonest? For one thing, it's true that using a Super PAC in a Democratic primary would be unprecedented. That's why it's probably not going to happen. Joe Walsh will almost surely benefit from SuperPACs in the general election against whichever Democrat wins in March (and the chance of him signing onto any agreement of this sort are basically nil). But talking about a SuperPAC attack in the primary as if it were a clear and present danger is disingenuous at best, and is an indication of a campaign that is less interested in taking the influence of money out of the election and more interested in using it as a publicity stunt.

But more importantly, Krishnamoorthi didn't fold, he raised the bet. He didn't refuse to sign on, he asked for a broader agreement that would have taken other kinds of money out as well, plus public debates that would've lessened the impact of paid media. Maybe the Duckworth campaign views these extra conditions as unacceptable. It would be reasonable to say that Krishnamoorthi didn't refuse an agreement but attached conditions to it that they viewed as unacceptable. Then maybe they could tell us why they feel that one kind of outside money is bad but other kinds (which are far more likely to actually show up in this particular race) are absolutely necessary. But just portraying Krishnamoorthi's response as a flat-out "no" is flat-out dishonest.
Category: Local politics
Posted on December 6, 2011 by Gary

This race is already shaping up as one of the more active state ones in the area, with three Democratic candidates and two on the other side. For what it's worth, I endorse Greg Brownfield over Kevin Allen and Thomas Cullerton.

Having worked as a legal aid attorney giving free advice to people who can't afford a lawyer, Greg Brownfield knows first-hand how the wrecked economy is affecting people. He talks about a compassion deficit, the obligation of government to the needy which is as important as its other debts; we must not balance the state's books on the backs of the most vulnerable. Brownfield is also highly skilled at bringing together large crowds of motivated volunteers, a skill that our nominee will surely need in order to take on someone with the resources of a Pankau or Ramey.

Each of the candidates in this primary has something valuable to offer. Kevin Allen is a friend, a smart guy who's been active for years in local politics against the Republican machine. Tom Cullerton is the best village president that Villa Park has seen for quite some time. Either of them would make a fine State Senator, and I'd be happy to support either of them after the primary. But until then, Brownfield is endorsed.
Category: Local politics
Posted on July 7, 2011 by Gary
The Chicago Tribune reports on activities of DuPage County Sheriff John Zaruba that would be considered endemic of rampant corruption if Cook County Democrats did them:
  • The Zaruba campaign has regularly sent letters to employees seeking donations—helping him raise a much larger portion of his campaign cash from deputies than other current sheriffs. Scores of his employees also have done campaign work.
  • Political supporters were more likely to receive promotions—at times over peers who scored higher on tests and job reviews. He promoted one supporter over more than 20 higher-ranking deputies.
  • Political supporters also have been more likely to receive lighter discipline in recent years than nonsupporters. One federal suit alleging favoritism led to a $65,000 settlement, while other suits are pending.

Sadly, there will probably be no consequences for Mr. Zaruba, since the first law of DuPage government is that there are never any consequences for anything.
Category: Local politics
Posted on June 7, 2011 by Gary
An actual screen shot from my email this morning (with a me-specific link blocked out):

My "nohtml" address filters out HTML formatting and only leaves the text part of the message. It's possible that Roskam's people only filled in the HTML part of the message and left the text one empty. Or they might have sent a blank message by accident. It happens. Can't really blame them for that.

But symbolically, this is too perfect to pass up. There's only one job that Mr. Roskam really cares about: his own. In order to keep his job, he serves the big-money interests that bankroll his campaign. These interests have no desire to see jobs created; they like a high level of unemployment, because it keeps working people too hungry and desperate to effectively fight for their rights.

No doubt if the text of this message had come through, it would have talked about big, scary debt; how we need to destroy Medicare in order to save it; how we need more tax cuts for the rich and austerity for everybody else. These policies won't do anything to create jobs or reduce the debt, as we should know by now from experience. But they're what will benefit Mr. Roskam's sugar daddies, so he tries to con us into thinking they're for our own good.

Thankfully, I'm being redistricted out of Mr. Roskam's neighborhood, and come November might be represented in Congress by somebody with some basic decency.
Category: Local politics
Posted on January 22, 2011 by Gary
No, really.

I work but don't live in Chicago, so maybe this race is none of my business, but... when one candidate is getting gargantuan amounts of money and media attention, do not under any circumstances vote for that candidate. Mr. Emanuel claims, in typical fashion, that if he's elected his donors will work to better the city. Rubbish. If he is elected, the city government will be working to better his donors.
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