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March open thread

1 March 2012 RS 40 Comments

Tree, St. Charles IL Tree, St. Charles IL (Photo by The Elginite).

March open thread. Discuss what you want.

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40 Responses to “March open thread”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone noticed a substantial increase in train noise/activity at night recently? I’m all the way by lords park and the last few nights it seems all I hear all night is train horns blaring.

  2. One Vote says:

    Not much buzz on the election.
    I just got a mailer from Kane County Coalition for Responsible Government, whoever they are. It was a Geneva PO Box and sported the GOP logo.
    It was hyping Cathy Hurlbut, the illegal alien advocate who can’t seem to pay her property taxes on time.
    And Rob Russell, the quitter from the ECC board race. Whatever happened to spending more time with his family? He’s another one of those candidates who won’t reply to e-mails if the questions are hard.
    Laura Waller was the third person on the mailer. I don’t know anything about her.
    For judge it seems to me that Walters is the least objectionable, though I am not a fan.
    Is it just me or does anyone else see a lack of talent on the ballot?

    • RS says:

      Another depressing race is the county chairman. It looks like nobody is remotely qualified in either primary. But I guess that’s what local elections are like. Maybe that’s why most people don’t bother voting.

      I will probably sit this one out myself.

  3. Terry Gavin says:

    RS I disagree with you about the Chairman’s race Sen. Chris Lauzen is a fine choice to lead the county. His record as a State Senator is exemplary he’s also a CPA who’s locked horns with the GOP leadership on consevative issues.

    Tom Hartwell is also a fine choice for Clerk & there are several district races where new highly qualified people are running in the GOP primaries. Many of the candidates I refer to are very familiar to me. There just are to many to list here.

  4. bennie says:

    I am wondering what happened with the prisoner who was shot by the Elgin police at route 53 why the silence?

  5. Gibster says:

    What are your thoughts of City of Elgin Partnering with communities to put on grand events or shows and share the cost (July 4th) - v.s. smaller and local start-up in the past 18-months to assist our city in raising funds, sponsors and restructuring the event to have Elgin Fireworks in Elgin’s own way?

    http://elginfireworks.com/fireworks-festival/elgin-fireworks-2012/

    People want and miss the fireworks (our last show in 2008 was dismal and cost $30k to the company). Other towns charge a vehicle entrance fee or link it to a larger festival to help offset these costs, the police and security, etc. What are you thoughts and ideas for how Elgin should move forward in it’s own unique way?

  6. Cruex says:

    Will someone please tell me what happened at the city council meeting last night when the dog park topic came up? Dunne suddenly changed his mind and Moeller abstained because she was absent??? Anyone know?

  7. Cruex says:

    Just watched the city council meeting last night about this dog park idea. I’m getting real worn out over the Dunne and Moeller act. They are too scared to even be there. Anna Moeller loves to abstain from issues doesn’t she. As far as Dunne goes? I think he votes calling heads or tails. Mayor Kaptain better straighten out Dunne and Moeller because it reflects poorly on him and positively on former mayor Schock.

  8. Terry Gavin says:

    I almost always agree with your posts here Cruex but not this time. At least on the part about anything reflecting positively on ex-Mayor Schock in this issue.

    Schock wouldn’t let council people stray from what he wanted or show any independent thought, to me that’s a huge negative on certain issues where there’s clearly grounds for debate. His style was like a iron fisted tyrant & you can as I did working with him see that he would become very upset if anyone had the nerve to divert from his wishes.

    Though Mayor Kaptain’s style is different for the most part he’s allowed for freedom of debate & open discussions which is a good thing for open government. In my world open debate & discussion is far more preferable then a “rubber stamp” council.

    As for the voting records of some council members on this or other issues now that’s a another story but I sure wish some of these people would show more courage! Maybe a discussion on that can be had another day as we get closer to the next city election.

  9. Cruex says:

    I have never heard of anyone abstaining from a vote because they were not present at a previous meeting. That is a lazy, don’t want to be here attitude. Did Ed Schock forgot to tell Moeller she MIGHT have to do a LITTLE work if she won the election?

    • RS says:

      http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/11483584-418/plans-for-dog-park-may-be-just-playing-dead.html

      Moeller said, “I had concerns regarding the cost of the user fee per year and the fact that there are maintenance needs in current parks that could be addressed with the $53,000 we would be allocating towards this new park. As I was not present at the previous meeting and not part of the conversation, and the fact that the vote was split, I felt that the responsible vote was to abstain.”

    • One Vote says:

      Unless an elected official has a conflict of interest he/she needs make up for a previous absence by studying the issue. Moeller had access to the tape of the previous meeting and should have watched it.
      I do hope Cruex misunderstood her abstention. Otherwise, Anna is guilty of cowardice here. If you’re going to represent us, then do it!

  10. Cruex says:

    RS-

    Did you watch the meeting? Moeller said nothing during the part where the council reps could speak. Prigge was the only one who did and he voted against it! She said her peace at the time her vote was called for so she would not have to defend her words. What did she do with her “concerns” to get them addressed before the vote? And since when is it ok to abstain when it looks like the vote will be a split vote? Cowardice seems very appropriate. I can’t wait to see how she votes if there is a next time for this park. What do you want to wager that she will vote no since it may pass anyway? I agree with One Vote but she does not look like someone who could lead anything. What a screwed up council we have.

  11. RS says:

    I don’t have any problem with people abstaining from voting. There’s no reason to expect somebody to have a strong opinion on everything. If it’s not obvious to you that something is good or bad, then abstain. Let the others decide.

    I am concerned about members not showing up to the meeting at all. I think that’s a bigger issue.

    • One Vote says:

      I’ve never thought it worked that way. As an elected official you can’t sit on the fence. Sure you’ll feel strongly about some issues and not-so-much on others, but you are up there to vote.
      I’m not sure where I got that notion.
      “Meh” is not a reason to abstain in my opinion.

      • RS says:

        And that is where we are going to have to disagree. I would rather have them not vote then vote based on a flip of the coin. But unfortunately in practice a “present” vote or abstention is the same as a “no” vote.

        • One Vote says:

          I suppose my expectation is that they would study an issue until they figured out what was best for the city.
          Then again, the frivolous things government gets involved in these days might lead a rational person to simply say, “This is none of our business,” and then abstain.
          Terry Gavin might have something to say about this issue since he sat on the council.

          • Terry Gavin says:

            Good points as always O V. A council person should study a issue till they reach a decision.

            Plus our city government has been involved in many non-core issues for the longest time, the question I had when sitting on the council is where to start the battle to end those things. If I truly felt something was not important or a core city service I’d vote NO. In fact there were many issues that not only weren’t core services but down right wrong but were considered “scared cows” by long time council members & I was targeted for attack for challenging them.

            Yes there seems to be a shortage of intestinal fortitude on this council!

  12. Cruex says:

    RS-

    You are kidding right? Let the others decide???? LET THE OTHERS DECIDE??? Do you mean the others who also were elected and get city council pay? You must have attended the same school Moeller did. I want my elected officials to know enough about what they’re voting on and not run and hide behind an abstain. Holy Chicken S**t, Batman! Maybe our elected officials should just stay home and only come to the “important” council meetings???
    I am concerned about members not showing up to meetings too. So then where was Moeller for the March 7th meeting?

    • RS says:

      There are a lot of issues that you could study exhaustively and not come to a conclusion that A is better than B. In particular this relates to value decisions based on preferences, where one is not inherently better than another. If you were forced to pick one it would just be a coin toss. You may like vanilla ice cream, somebody else likes strawberry. One is not better than the other.

  13. Terry Gavin says:

    Actually the big story from last Wednesday’s council meeting should of been Chuck Keysor’s presentation during persons present.

    During his statement he mentioned that according to documents he received under FOIA from the city of financials used during the bond rating review for 2012, Elgin actually ended 2011 with a $1.2M surplus
    not the budgeted projection of a $1.7M deficit!

    As all of us who followed this matter know we were told in August 2011 it would be $4.5M deficit then it was $8M soon after followed by “claims” it was over $12M. So with estimates all over the board what did the council do? Well of course they raised everyones taxes by some $8M starting this year! Well after reviewing the financials myself it clearly shows that the Mayor with council & staff support were determined to raise our taxes no matter what the final numbers were. Leadership calls for people not to panic & do something rash but in this case I think we know exactly what they did to us. The only one who keep his wits about him was Councilman Prigge. Even though several citizens & groups said to wait for the final numbers.

    The dog park was good circus but this issue was by far & away the most important issue of that night.

    • One Vote says:

      Thanks to Terry and Chuck I have some info about finances.
      Kaptain sent out his slick brochure explaining the new fees but no one knew about the surplus.
      By the numbers, they should rescind the fees and taxes, right? I mean, if the calamity the budget was based on didn’t happen, why do we need the new revenues?
      They are in real trouble if our property taxes don’t go down.

      • Terry Gavin says:

        Yes O V they should repeal the new taxes but they (staff & current council) won’t unless we win the next election! Oh btw our property taxes will maybe go down a bit but not enough to off set the tax increases…

        My thoughts exactly the slick brochure was pure spin!

      • RS says:

        I just hope they don’t use the money to build a hydro dam!

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Sorry I have not been watching this thread. I have sent the financial report submitted to the bond rating agencies to our Web Master, but he is very busy. Hopefully soon, that information will all be on the Elgin OCTAVE website for everyone to see.

        As to property taxes going down, that should happen. By the 2012 budget submitted to the bond rating agencies, the City’s take from the property tax should go down from $33.2 million, to $32.2 million. That is of course a drop of $1million.

        But get this, if you add up all the new taxes created by the council vote of December 2011, there are $9,887,000 in NEW taxes for the year 2012. And, because many of the new taxes do not kick in until July 1st, 2012, the total tax bill for 2013 will be even higher. In 2013, with all the new taxes in place, there will be $13,387,000 in new taxes.

        Now mind you, these increases were supposed to off-set the crash in property tax revenues. In 2011, the City took in $33.75 Million from the property tax. With all the new taxes, in 2013 we could have our property tax revenues fall from $33.75 million down to $20.4 million and still not put our budget into the red.

        Probably the property tax revenues will go down. But will they by $13.8 million though? Thankfully, we will see how 2012 turned out before the 2013 council elections.

        There are two incumbants up for re-election then who will loose for sure if the City ends up the year 2012 with a significant surplus.

  14. Cruex says:

    RS-

    Good example but flawed because I am paying the city council to make the big and small decisions. Vanilla or strawberry, make up your mind and be prepared to explain why. Is that so much to ask? I do not pay council folks to run and hide with an abstain vote because they missed an earlier meeting. Since you brought up the attendance point, do you know why Moeller was absent at the March 7th meeting?

  15. paul says:

    I’ll go out on a limb and say Cruex doesn’t like Moeller; which seems to be the crux here!
    Moeller did vote. She voted to abstain. Which effectively made it a vote of NO. Moeller does have a conflict of interest in that she was recently a dog owner. Voting to spend $53K of my money so she can let her dog roam without leash wouldn’t be right.
    Kane County is spending millions buying up tax producing land and yet nary an acre available to let dogs run loose dropping dog logs everywhere???
    But then don’t many people allow their dogs to run loose anyway? I recently has an encounter with a loose ankle biter downtown on the bike path. The owners were not happy at all when I objected to their mutt nipping at my heels. My bet is they never do that again.

    $53K and a fee!!!

  16. Cruex says:

    Paul-

    It’s not about Moeller it’s more about cowardice in office and she just happens to fall into it. We have enough of that in Kane county. Being a former owner of a dog is not a conflict of interest by any moral or legal standard. I hope you were kidding by that. Kaptain and Steffen do own dogs so they would be guilty of conflict of interest? Hopefully RS will be able to find out exactly why Moeller was absent at the March 7 meeting and that may explain some things. RS seems to be concerned about council folks attendance records and rightfully so.

    Moeller did vote. She voted to abstain. Which effectively made it a vote of NO. Moeller does have a conflict of interest in that she was recently a dog owner. Voting to spend $53K of my money so she can let her dog roam without leash wouldn’t be right.
    Kane County is spending millions buying up tax producing land and yet nary an acre available to let dogs run loose dropping dog logs everywhere???
    But then don’t many people allow their dogs to run loose anyway? I recently has an encounter with a loose ankle biter downtown on the bike path. The owners were not happy at all when I objected to their mutt nipping at my heels. My bet is they never do that again.

  17. Cruex says:

    RS-

    I was just wondering if you found out why Anna Moeller was absent from the March 7 city council meeting. I appreciate your desire to learn about the attendance records of council people.

    • RS says:

      As with most things I’m concerned about patterns not individual instances. As far as I know the only member who has shown a pattern of absences is Robert Gilliam. Whatever his reasons may be, if he is unable to make it to the meetings he should step down.

  18. Cruex says:

    RS-

    I see now. You want to suggest councilman Gilliam should resign for his bad attendance, despite what I hear is a very legitimate reason, yet you have no interest in asking Moeller why she was absent from a meeting that lead her to abstain from a $53,000 vote two weeks later. Your bias towards Moeller is showing. But that is ok, because you think it’s ok for a paid elected official to abstain on votes for issues they personally do not care about despite what their constituents care about. I see now.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      I shouldn’t say that Moeller was in Springfield working on something for Mike Noland on the day she missed the council vote in question, because this is second hand information. But my source is reliable, and no one else is saying, so take it for what it is worth. Chuck

  19. Cruex says:

    Chuck-

    I will reserve judgment until a fact is presented. If that is true, Moeller has no excuse whatsoever for not being prepared for the final vote two weeks later. I do not think she takes her city council position very seriously anyway.

  20. Grimm says:

    We had a council candidate who had fortitude and the background and guts to move these issues forward without all the rhetoric during the meetings of the whole. To silence and motivate without intimidation. Next election, don’t buy into the norm, the prepared speeches. And yes, there is a increase in the night train noise this month.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Concerning night-time train noises……… I live close to the Union Pacific tracks that run along Crystal Street. That track primarily serves the Chrysler plant in Belvidere. When the economy was at its lowest, 2 and 3 years ago, we had almost no trains on our tracks. But last year, Chrysler made a huge addition to their Belvedere operation, and added something like 800 new employees. So if the trains you are hearing are on the UP line, that is the story.

      Also, I once asked a UP track inspector why they usually run the trains at night. I was told that the problems with vandalism were decreased by running at night. Chuck

    • paul says:

      You’ll be lucky to keep Prigge on council knowing the way voters vote. He’s lost the country club vote, the dog owner vote, and any other voter who he voted against subsidizing (all the public employees). Voters don’t care about millions spent for bringing subsidized low-income housing to city center. They care about not spending $50K for a park for dogs.
      Did every enjoy paying 67% more income tax to the State of Illinois yesterday!!! Thank Noland and Farnham and Quinn.