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September [2012] open thread

1 September 2012 Elgin Illinois 107 Comments

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September 2012 open thread.

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107 Responses to “September [2012] open thread”

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  1. Cruex says:

    “When Mayor David Kaptain does economic development work and meets with foreign business owners thinking about setting up shop in Elgin, he mentions the local schools with pride.

    “We can offer them a high-quality education system from kindergarten all the way through the university level if they want to stay here,” Kaptain said. “That’s what the city of Elgin and U-46 should talk about.”

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120827/news/708279623/

    Does anyone know if the newspapers have ever done an approval poll on local politicians? May I suggest RS do one? This is insanity to make that kind of comment.

    • One Vote says:

      The Herald leans left just like Kaptain and the council. If we could tell each other the truth in Elgin we could work on our problems. But rose-colored glasses have prevailed in the council, aided by the newspapers. Chris Bailey used to stand up to them…and she got fired.

    • paul says:

      Consider the ethics (or lack of) involved of Gail Borden Public Library selling taxpayer assets for penny on the dollar at a NON-public event to a GBPL elected trustee for the purpose of the trustee financially profiting from!

      >>To participate in the sale that night, buyers had to purchase a Friends of the Gail Borden Foundation membership at $25 for an individual.<>Jean Bednar, a Gail Borden Library District trustee who helped organize the sale, said her husband, Paul, also started reselling books online and knew what those resellers were doing — finding titles that have a high market value.
      “We have 900 books at the house” that they intend to sell online, Bednar said. <<
      http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/15293113-418/booking-a-chance-to-resell-or-even-read.html

      Wow. So $25 buys special privileges at the PUBLIC library not available to the rest of us 99%!

      Any bets on Bednar’s political party persuasion?

  2. paul says:

    Courier had an interesting article today called “Beyond Sam’s Club: A Labor Day look at Elgin’s workforce”. Not much beyond meaningless statistics and even erroneous statistics the article pointed out.

    Here is a better look at Elgin’s workforce:

    Richard Dunne recently retired from EFD at age of 51 with a pension of $55,200.

    187 Elginites (mostly 30 years old or above from what I saw there) just took jobs (”Half of those are full-time positions”) at Sam’s Club ” a good many of them have a starting pay of $9 per hour” to pay their ‘fair share’ of Dunne’s retirement.

    Luckily for the 187 Elginite Sam Club employees Dunne IS NOT retiring from the Elgin City Council so they’ll still have an advocate for the working class!

    • One Vote says:

      I had to laugh at comments posted in the Courier by Clarence. You’d have thought he was a fan of Dunne. I guess the FEMA move is OK, but it won’t change his tight relationship with Bedard and the union.
      $55K, huh? The last time I worked for a company with a pension was in 1995. If I live long enough I might get $900 a month from them for my 10 years of service.
      Maybe they should pass a law that if a municipality goes bankrupt the retirees lose their pension, just like Enron. Oh wait, they have different rules for government.

      • RS says:

        They are incentivized to ‘retire’ early. It doesn’t make sense to keep working for the city when you can make more by retiring early from the city job, take your $55,000 pension and get another job, ideally another government (in this case federal) job that also provides a pension. It’s a common practice. It’s unethical, it’s wrong, but people will game the system if you allow them to.

        It’s the role of the law to limit that sort of abuse but there is no will to stop it among people who are themselves beneficiaries of the pension racket.

        There is so much unemployment in this country. Yet the guy that is nominally ‘retired’ at age 51 from his government job, collecting a $55,000 pension, takes another job away from someone that actually needs it.

        It’s disgusting actually.

        http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120831/news/708319668/

        Check this out:

        http://www.businessinsider.com/top-ten-new-york-state-pensions-2011-4?op=1

        All told, 130 former cops and firemen in Yonkers are earning six figure pensions.

        The New York Times profiled detective Hugo Tassone, who retired three years ago at 44 making $74,000 a year. Because of the overtime he was allowed to bring into his pension calculation, Tassone now earns $101,333 dollars every year. New York Police and Fire pensions are exempt from state, New York City, and Social Security tax.

        If Tassone lives to the 77 years now expected of most men in the U.S., he can plan on receiving about $3.5 million following his retirement.

        Police, fire, teachers, politicians, bureaucrats…they are all doing it. Look at this:

        http://www.buffalonews.com/city/special-reports/article75578.ece

        It’s not unusual for retired educators to return to work full time while also collecting their pensions.

        The state retiree who most benefits from this practice is James H. Hunderfund, 64, a Long Island superintendent who makes $200,000 a year from one school district on top of his $316,245 pension from a nearby district. And while no educator in Western New York can match Hunderfund’s $516,245 in payments, two dozen, including Kurzawa, have double dipped in the past three years alone…

        Double dipping is especially rampant on Long Island, where at least 40 retired administrators draw a salary as well as a pension, with some of them serving in their “interim” postretirement positions for years.

        • One Vote says:

          And of course, there’s the “boat money,” that big check public employees receive on their last day of work for accumulated sick time or some other perk the private sector isn’t stupid enough to offer.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Unless I missed it, let’s not forget Rich Dunne retired from the military about a year ago. So he has a pension from that too.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Note, in 2010, Rich Dunne’s EFD salary was $90,954 and on top of that he was paid $33,731 for over-time.

            As to the general topic of “double dipping” the classic is Texas Gov. Rick Perry……….. He is the sitting governor with an annual salary of $150,000. And through a loophole, he was able to retire from the state and start to draw a $92,000/year state pension on top of his salary.

            And we have the retired EPD officer who took a job in City Hall to monitor the ethics of the EPD, for a good salary. And a former City manager who got pushed out by the council, with a full pension, which he now collects while now working for the City of Aurora. This is so common, and we aren’t even aware of the tip of this iceberg.

            While I don’t advocate means testing, there those in the public arena that have suggested one way to reduce the statae and federal red ink, is to apply means testing. So people who have a steady job can’t collect a pension, and that people who are rich can’t collect social security, etc. Again, I don’t advocate this, but such a radical change would go a long way to re-writing the nation’s financial picture. Chuck

  3. Cruex says:

    How will this affect his job as a councilman? I do not think one bit because he will be just another Liberal Democrat working for another in Obama. A FEMA pension will come in a few years to go along with his military pension and now his firefighter pension. That’s America for you.

    • LFG says:

      What would be a good option? Pension Freezes VS Early Retirement? The City has already restructured the benefit rights of new hires and not stripped those currently employed of pension rights already earned.

      Municipalities and Companies have great latitude to change their pension plans. However, remember they cannot take away any benefit that employees have already earned up to the point of the freeze/change. Council Dunne EARNED his, like many others before him. It’s part of the job be it Union at Public Works, Teachers, Police Officers, Fire Fighters, etc, etc… Is it fair to try and take away something earned? What are suggestions the city should take moving forward besides pay-freezes and offers of early-retirement?

      • One Vote says:

        The system will ultimately collapse on its own.
        When a CEO dips into the pension fund, he goes to jail. When the state legislature does, no one suffers.
        It will go down just like Social Security, and for the same reason: Politicians saw a pile of money and took it, thus screwing up any legitimate investment strategy.
        People who can move from Elgin and Illinois will simply do so, and leave the rest of you holding the bag.
        “Too big to fail,” has been proven false. It’s only a matter of time.

      • Stuart says:

        Cities and villages don’t have any latitude in changing their pension plans. Pension plans for firefighters and police officers are set by the State of Illinois.

      • Terry Gavin says:

        My question to you all knowing Laurie is what is your answer to this problem? Or could it be like your mayor more taxes on those of us who still are trying to make it in the private sector who unlike you are not looking for a job in government?

        See it’s ok for you to ask the tough questions & provide no answers but many of us simply want the government to quit taking our money for promises made to public sector unions that aren’t reality in today’s America!

        Btw many companies like the old Elgin Watch factory DID take away pensions from those who had retired with so called guaranteed benefits along with the bond holders of GM who were cheated out of their retirement dollars by the government takeover. Of course government benefits are never taken away they just take more taxes from the little people who work in the private sector.

        America needs to wake up & say “enough is enough”
        We the People are not slaves & you are not our rulers/masters!

        • Todd Martin says:

          Terry, just a couple points:
          1) As a candidate for Elgin City Council, you are seeking a job in government.
          2) Calling someone “All knowing” is a bit of name calling; I didn’t see anything in Laurie’s post to call for it.

          A great deal of the debate seems to be centered on people with pensions getting too much money while no one seems to be talking about all those jobs that pay too little. We need a discussion on how to raise the floor more than lowering the ceiling. Raising wages means changing work practices to increase productivity and improving products & services to increase demand. If your work is productive and in demand, you will probably be well paid.

          • RS says:

            http://unionwatch.org/public-sector-unions-spend-4-0-billion-per-year-in-u-s/

            The consequences of this level of influence are manifold. Government workers, despite having greater job security, greater access to health care, and far more generous paid vacation benefits than private sector taxpayers, now make as much or more than private sector workers; in fact, the average base pay for a government worker – not including benefits – now exceeds private sector averages by over 50%. For California, we have documented this in previous UnionWatch posts such as “Calculating Public Employee Total Compensation,” and similar disparities exist across the U.S. And probably the most obvious, and biggest, disparity between public sector and private sector compensation is with respect to pensions, where the average government worker retires 10-15 years earlier than the average private sector worker, and receives a pension that averages 2-3x more per year than what a private sector worker can expect from social security.

            There is nothing wrong with paying government workers well. But disparities of this magnitude carry a crippling economic cost, and can’t possibly be extended to all workers. For example, in California there are approximately 10 million people over the age of 55. If all of them received the average pension currently issued to state and local workers in California after 30 years of work, which is over $65,000 per year, that would cost $650 billion per year, nearly 40% of California’s entire gross domestic product.

            In short, their pay has nothing to do with their productivity or qualifications. It’s not determined by supply and demand or market forces. It’s a racket. One that’s controlled by the unions and the politicians they own.

            Last week I had a conversation with a manager at a Chicago hotel. Their union food servers earn $200,000 a year. Do you think that has anything to do with their skills and productivity?

          • Terry Gavin says:

            Todd, just a few responses:

            1) I for one do not consider running for city council a government job, instead I consider it a public servant job. As in the voters/citizens hire/elect you & they can fire you. While serving on the council before the citizens were my boss. It’s just like my insurance business, I work for my client’s not the insurance companies. If I don’t keep my hundreds of clients happy they’ll fire me & find a new broker.

            2) I don’t consider calling someone “All knowing” as name calling, instead I consider it descriptive of someone either positively or negatively. It may also be sarcastism
            meant to be humourous so you believe what you want too but unless you can read my mind you don’t really know. But she did say “Municipalities and Companies have great latitude to change their pension plans. However, remember they cannot take away any benefit that employees have already earned up to the point of the freeze/change”. This is an erroneous statement, private sector companies have over time cancelled benefits & pensions when bought out or going bankrupt. Public sector unions are more secure because they’re backed mostly by tax payers but as we see with both the state of Illinois & California those unions pension plans are bankrupting their state treasuries.

            Anyone who thinks public sector unions have been reigned in is dreaming. Plus add to the fact that government workers are now making more money in salary or wages then their private sector cohorts. Read RS’s links to UnionWatch. Clearly these union’s leaders are only interested in their own selfish motives.

            Btw I’m a self-employed contractor handling 10’s of millions of dollars for several hundred clients for 32 years with no guarantees for benefits, pensions, unemployment without providing them for myself. The main tradeoff for me is that I’m my own boss & I sink or swim on my own merits!

          • anonymous paul says:

            Who knew? So in the representative democracy we live in, being an elected representative is nothing more than a government job!!!
            The job of an elected Elgin city council job pays but I’m quite sure it is well below a living wage. I doubt seriously if anyone has EVER run for city council as a means of securing employment.

            Too, isn’t calling someone a name caller name calling???

        • LFG says:

          I believe that the city has already taken action since 2008 to cut back on employment, initiate early retirement and cut back benefits for any new employees. My post was to just ask what else can or should be done/explored?

          As for my ambitions, I own my own small business (with a license in Elgin) and have many clients from the Private Sector of Finance, Pharmaceuticals, Telecommunications to Government entities as Municipalities, Counties and States in my career since the mid-90’s.

          I pay my own taxes, health insurance, retirement savings, etc. 100% on my own… no other Corporation or Government offering me anything such as a benefit package. One day I’ll have to look at those offerings for those that work with me, currently in this economy I hire mostly experts and freelancers and do not have to worry about 401k plans or pensions for their benefit.

          My grandfather worked with Firestone for 40 years and retired with a great pension plan, that upon his death in 1998 transferred to my grandmother who lived to 93 and thankfully had more to survive on then savings and social security. I’m afraid those days are long gone for corporations, but what is the solution for Unions still fighting for those benefits? Be them in the Municipal or Private sector?

      • paul says:

        “What would be a good option?”

        Make public pensions payable ONLY upon reaching the age of 65, just like the other 99% of us!

        Make public workers pay into 401K’s, IRA,s just like the other 99% of us!

        Contract firefighting services out for half the cost.

        But pretending the problem is impossible, intractable, unsolvable,
        with the only solution being to keep on keeping on doing what we are doing bankrupting every City State and Federal government in the Western Hemisphere while the standard of living of the average taxpayer declines, is insane.

  4. Hubert says:

    For some time I and other property owners have been engaged with the city to prod them along in helping to keep our neighborhood from suffering further blight due to foreclosed and vacant homes. One thing that continues to stick out like a sore thumb is our city people still DO NOT have the necessary tools (codes) or man-power or “City Will” to help aggressively go after these negligent bank owners who stubbornly refuse to take care of their deteriorating properties. So we home owners continue to see our neighborhoods becoming more blighted and our property values continue to fall into the abyss. With my new Assessment my property value has fallen over $100K or down 36% off of its peak value of just 4 years ago and is now valued at just $4K over what I originally paid for it back in 1994 as new construction. So if you forgive me, I am not in the mood for continued in-action by this city to do all they can to assist our neighborhoods. Simply cataloging vacant homes and performing superficial inspections does nothing for us if the city will not take the next steps to force upkeep. Somehow this city finds cash for a new River Walk or Artist Center, but when it comes time to help we property owners they are falling far short!
    Should this not be a key topic for people running for Elgin City Council to answer us?

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Hello Hubert. Even if none of your neighbors had been forclosed on, and the banks hadn’t left uncared for properties close to you, your property valuation would have tanked. They have tanked everyone, even in well maintained neighborhoods.

      There are HUGE economic forces at work here, which even if the City hired an army of inspectors, you wouldn’t have been spared a penny of loss. And right now, the City has 6 inspectors out on the streets, so they are running lean yes. But to hire an army of inspectors would not only not help your property values, it would also drive up costs to the City, which would in turn drive up everyone’s taxes.

      I certainly do agree that the Riverside Drive and Artspace are totally wasted funds. But those projects are all part of “cronie capitalism”, where Cities look for plum construction jobs to reward their buddies. And you have State Senators looking to make their union backers happy, so they are out looking for these plum jobs to make work for the unions. So combine these two powerful forces, and of course you will get the City to focus their time on wasting MILLIONS of taxpayer’s dollars on things we don’t need like Artspace and the Riverside Drive, while continuing to ignore issues you see as important but have zero political value.

      So, unless you can prove to anyone that an army of code officals cracking down on slum lords will do any good, for the expense it will incur, and unless you can eliminate crony capitalism and politicians looking to bring the bacon back to their districts, you simply can not gain any traction with your desire to have City government come in and solve what you see as a problem.

      Hopefully you are spending more of your energy on doing what you can do to improve things yourself, instead of getting the government to do it for you. When my neighbor’s house was foreclosed and vacant, I mowed their yard, and kept the litter picked up. And it looked nicer than when the previous owners lived there. Now, two years later, the house is lived in again, and is even getting a new roof as we speak. This is simply doing what you can do, and letting other forces that you can not control, have time to work themselves out.

      Hopefully responsible City Council candidates will tell it to you like it is, and not simply promise you anything you want to hear in order to get your vote, and then get into office only to find they can’t help you……… Thanks, Chuck

      Chuck

    • Common Sense Clarence Haywarde says:

      Hubert,

      What is the address of your nearest eyesore and what are the conditions that you want the city to have fixed.

      Common Sense Clarence Hayward

      A conservative voice in the Elgin community.

      • paul says:

        Common sense indicates nearly every neighborhood in Elgin has such an address and that it is a community problem to be addressed on a community basis, as Hubert already spoke on.

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      Hubert,

      At this page on the city web site you can communicate excessive weeds and junk to the city that the bank owned homes might have next to yours.

      It is a very under used site. Both times I used it the weeds I was complaining about were cut very quickly.

      http://cityofelgin.org/requesttracker.aspx

      Common Sense Clarence Hayward

      A conservative voice in the Elgin community.

  5. Cruex says:

    I think what RS is saying is that Dunne should not be taking another government job that will eventually pay him another government pension when there is such high unemployment. Maybe an unemployed person could have filled the FEMA job but now Dunne gets it while on TWO other government pensions. I don’t begrudge a military pension because he no longer is in the military. But leaving the firefighter job only to take another government job is greedy. It’s a true liberal move so I’m not too surprised.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Say, September is shaping up to be a much busier month on the Elginite!

      As to taking away pensions……… This has largely been over-looked, but Terry touched on it….. When a company, business, city or STATE goes bankrupt, the pension guarantees are lost. It all is up in the air to be negotiated in the bankruptcy proceedings.

      Because pension obligations are often a significant contributor to financial collapse, they can be wiped out, or reduced to pennies on the dollar. Looking locally, and recently, look at the airline industries. Just yesterday, I talked to someone who had his pensions effectively wiped out at TWO airlines! I forgot the carriers, but he worked at O’Hare.

      So, if Illinois continues to drive straight to the cliff of insolvency, it could use that as an opportunity to clear its massive pension obligations. Now, will that happen? Will the Fed’s jump in to bail out Illinois?

      The point is, municipal pensions are not as good as gold. Chuck

  6. Chuck Keysor says:

    Thanks TP, that was important to watch. It was interesting that the Mayor kept talking about the storm water utility, when he should have called it the storm water utility tax. And when he finally corrected this, he only called it a fee. The word tax should of course be a word he would want to avoid since the Council increased our taxes by about $10million in the 2012 budget. And the 2012 budget shows a roughly $7million surplus.

    It was interesting too that he could point out how hard it is to find money, that grants are no longer available, or are hard to get. Yet the City can happily have the approximately $14.5 million Artspace constructed,,, and of course that was not all “Elgin” money, the point is the Mayor say grants are hard to come by….. But we can get grant money plus our own and put $14.5 million into something we don’t need (there is already a ton of vacant housing space and retail downtown, but we are building more????) Or look at the Riverside Drive project. There is an approximately $10million project we didn’t need, of which about $9million came from State grants.

    Someone may say, well, Chuck, those projects were started long ago. Yes, maybe so, but as the Mayor pointed out, the storm water problems go back for decades, including the decades ago ordered separation of storm and sanitary sewers. So, our City leaders ignored what the Mayor says are huge problems, and focuses on what to me looks like frills and waste.

    And just last year, Elgin got a grant from the State of about $1.8million, and then tossed in maybe $800,000 (and that may get up to $1million before the project is done)into another boon-doggle known as the East Side Rec Center.

    We keep wasting money, when we should be cutting back to only focus on core services. But because the Council continues to waste so much money on so many extraneous projects, they have to get creative, and invent new ways to squeeze more money out of the financially oppressed taxpayers. Remember this as you get ready for next April’s city council elections.

    Chuck

    • Common Sense Clarence Haywarde says:

      Chuck,

      Do you think there will be enough challengers to need a primary in Feb?

      I believe if there are only four filing for the two year term we would have to have a primary but I think I read it would take sixteen before a primary would be needed for the four year term?

      Does anyone reading believe that is correct?

      Does anyone have the latest list of names of people who picked up nomination paper work at city hall and authorized release of their names?

      If so, please share any new names since Mike Robins made a post a while back.

      I picked up mine last week.

      Common Sense Clarence Hayward

      A conservative voice in the Elgin community.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Hello Clarence. Your understanding of the thresholds required to trigger a primary are the same as mine, four per position. As to who has filed, I have not checked. Chuck

      • shane nowak says:

        Clarence,

        “I picked up mine last week.” Does that mean you will be running for the council?

        • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

          Shane,

          I have to wait for official permission from my employer. Provided I get that, I will be giving the valued citizens of Elgin another choice to elect a conservative voice for Elgin on the Elgin City Council.

          Common Sense Clarence Hayward

          A conservative voice in the Elgin community.

  7. LFG says:

    Proud to state the correct information about 2013 Elections is now up on the Clerk’s Office page of the website.

    http://www.cityofelgin.org/index.aspx?nid=826

  8. LFG says:

    FYI, the 2013 Municipal Election information and Canidate Guide is now on the City of Elgin website. “City Services | City Clerk | Municipal Election”

  9. Todd Martin says:

    Heads Up regarding energy efficiency:

    Nicor Gas along with ComEd has a promotion going through the end of this month:
    $500 rebate for an energy star furnace
    $750 rebate for an energy star furnace & central air
    $300 rebate for an energy star water heater
    $20 rebate for a programmable thermostat
    And other deals.
    See http://www.nicorgas.com for details

  10. raingirl2 says:

    I have two burning questions that I hope someone in Elgin can answer.

    1. Why ex-cop Michael Sullivan’s felony crime of planting evidence on a citizen during the course of official police business was reduced to a misdomeanor,he allegedly served 20 days in jail and will be releaed without a criminal record? WHY he whould have been used as an example to how justice is really to be served since he was in the position of serving and orotecting the citizens of this community not commiting crimes.

    2. The car/train accident reportedly caused by citizen P.B. was handled in the manner inconsistent to what happens to the average citizen who drives without a license,insurance under the influence of alcohol, who causes an accident resulting in bodily harm to many others including himself goes to the hospital and is not monitored nor detain upon release from the hospital according to the newspaper account. He is allegedly “charged” If this is proper police work I would like to see ALL other incidents related, similar, in nature treated in the same manner no matter who commits the crime. ( I hope that this will not continue and is not the norm) It is clear there are far too many instances of unequal treatment in how the police department, state attorney of this county deal with the same or similar crimes based on who is involved. I would like to see a public explination of these two cases. As a citizen this brazen blatant treatment not afforded to all citizens raises a red flag that bears keeping an eye on.

    please respond to bennie _sowers@yahoo.com thanks

    • Terry Gavin says:

      Hi Bennie, been awhile since we’ve talked. I don’t have any answers to your questions but would like to speak with you again anyway. I tried to email you to the address on here & it failed to deliver. Please give me a call I’m in the phone book.

    • raingirl2 says:

      sorry about the broken link my email address is bennie_sowers@yahoo.com

  11. SIE says:

    Gotta love being stuck in Kimball bridge traffic (2 PM, forget about driving it at rush hour) only to see no one working on it as you finally drive by. A beautiful sunny day and not one worker in sight.

    Elgin is the worst for traffic. I really wonder if anyone in charge actually drives through town. Forgetting about all the construction, on a normal day just going south along Douglas or Spring from Kimball to get to the Grand Vic area (grocery shopping at Butera for me) you get stopped at every light. Take Dundee/Center/Villa and the same thng happens, stop at every light.

    Elgin is the city that does not work.

    • One Vote says:

      Traffic is awful. And they really don’t coordinate the construction. They had the Kimball St bridge, Route 31 and Wing Street all torn up at the same time.
      Then they opened Wing and closed McLean at Big Timber.
      Traffic is a mess because they aren’t planning. One of the constant problems is Summit/Dundee. They recently put in a new McDonalds…and still allow left turns out of the parking lot.
      It seems to me the Bear family got a break not given to Walgreens and Jewel just down the street. It pays to throw cash at the politicians I guess.

      • raingirl2 says:

        Nice sedgway traffic the daily herald today is crowing about the “bike path” Yes “The Bike Path” This is just another example of how backwards this city thinks. To those bike Lovers who got their way I hope it’s worth the lost revenue that we could have gotten if the leaders of this city had worked so hard with the state of IL toward putting a transit system of some sort leading in and out of Elgin to areas where people can find work. Once you are stuck in elgin without a car you are screwed as far as public transportation goes the most you can get is the train that takes you into the city and back out to connecting cities thus adding hours of wasted time riding the train you can take tyhe bus to Woodfield mall and take a bus from there to other towns but nothing directly from Elgin. How many bike riders will ride their bike to north chicago, Elk Grove or other points of interest where employment is greater than in Elgin.I doubt that any avid bike riders will do that. the $85.000 agreement with TransSystems would have been a nice start toward something much needed in this community. Unbelievably how the state of IL cries about being broke can spend this kind of $$ for a mere 2.7 miles of BIKE TRAILS tops $611.000 of which the city of Elgin is on the hook for 20% Reportedly the original estimates for the work was $457.600 but because of unfavorable conditions an alternative plan has to be considered.

        I hope Mr. Armstrong the bike and pedestrian committee members supported by a small select group of ppl in this city are mandated to ride their bikes 24hours per day until the 20% the tax payers are on the hook for is paid in full. It’s stuff like this that turns off the average hardworking caring citizens who want this city to more forward in a positive way. This silly idea especially with the high volume of crazy reckless drivers inhabiting the streets of this city makes it more undesirable.
        Horse and buggy days are gone most of the ppl in Elgin have no knowledge of those days its the old fossils who are holding on to nostalgia Let it go turn this city into a twenty first century city. We have the bodies we just don’t have the modern minds to get the job done. The black hole between south Elgin and NOrth Carpentersville and all the silly red bricks and the destruction of woing park blvd. represent whats happening in Elgin Oh I forgot about the I-90 car mall LOL. C’mon Elgin get with the program move some of those fossils out of those leadership chairs and replace them with 21 century thinkers and turn this city around. I would like to see the city keep a tally of the bike riders using the expensive bike lanes in the city compare the usage to the cost and see how silly this ongoing project Really is. Don’t forget to report back to the tax payers the results of the study.

        • raingirl2 says:

          I forgot one thing the downtown area of the city is Gonee! it will Never be what it was in the 196o it’s over. Stop with the delusional thinking get over it Randall Rd is the latest mecca for shoppers in this area STOP Spending money downtown. I wonder if the leaders ever Really drive through the downtown or the city for that matter and really see what this city has become? I still have hope but only if some sensible changes are developed very soon.

          • Terry Gavin says:

            raingirl2 you’re absolutely right about spending anymore of our money downtown for so-called “improvements”. But for those businesses & residents who are still there we need to maintain what we’ve already done & provide security
            for them.

            While marching in the I-Fest Parade over the Labor Day weekend 2 things really caught my attention.

            1.) The sparse crowd along the parade route maybe we could’ve partnered with Hoffman Estates like we did with their 4th of July Fest & got some of our tax money dollars back.

            2.) The other thing that I noticed was the amount of empty buildings downtown which was more obvious marching down the street with the road closed to vehicles. Though I frequently drive thru downtown it was much more noticeable walking the center line. These are the results after spending millions of dollars over the last 25-30 years a da

          • Terry Gavin says:

            continued-from my previous post which was prematurely posted:

            darn shame.

            As Einstein so famously stated the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over & over & expecting a different result!”.

  12. SIE says:

    Day two of no workers on the Kimball bridge in the middle of the day. I’m sure someone will say they need to let this or that “set” before they can continue. Exceopt for some utility workers on Spring St north of Kimball there was nary a sole in sight.

    Got stuck at the light on westbound Division at Spring. No traffic on Spring coming from the north because it is closed for construction yet I waited three or four minutes for the light to change.

    Elgin is a joke from top to bottom.

  13. RS says:

    Some of the public comments from last night’s city council meeting:

    http://elgin.bocajump.com/Articles/elgin-homes-built-in-newly-annexed-areas-will-need-to-be-equipped-with-sprinkler-systems

    Richoz: Don’t look at the lagoons. Lagoons are full of muck. A breeding ground for mosquitos.

    Terry Gavin: For over 2 years, city of Elgin has been paying BocaJump for advertising. Total to date is $60,000. My understanding is that no contract exists. There’s been no discussion of this. Our city manager has been making this payment with no approval from council.

    Gavin: City manager cannot spend more than $20,000 without approval of council. Wants council to discuss this, find out if there is value to this.

    Stegall: Every payment has been voted on by the city council.

    Gavin: Part of the disbursement, like doughnuts for policemen, but not discussed.

    Sigi Psimenos, League of Women Voters: We expect the city of Elgin to follow its own special event planning guide. Permits were given for the Community Carnival on same day, spot as Downtown Neighborhood Association’s Harvest Market. DNA tried to extort LWV for use of the spot. City should have prevented this situation.

    Chuck Keysor: Re: upcoming budget cycle. I and friends tried to figure out what’s in budget last year. No way to get good handle on what was there. Found a copy of the Elgin budget in a bond rating agency report that’s very simple to understand. Wants city to make a similar simplified budget format available to the public.

    Anthony Nance: On Tuesday, Oct. 25, Elgin OCTAVE will hold a candidate’s forum.

  14. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    This morning there was an article in the Daily Herald in the Hoffman Estates community edition titled

    Sparks fly over Northwest Fourth Fest
    Hoffman Estates mayoral hopefuls spar over costs

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120914/news/709149940/comments/

    One of the candidates for local office was complaining that Elgin did not put in enough money for a Hoffman Estates fireworks show and festival. I posted the below comments.

    As a long time Elgin taxpayer I was not happy to see my tax dollars going to support your fire works show that even if Elgin contributed nothing I could have went and watched.

    I think you should be happy with the 15,000 you got and not be whining for more. That is better than the nothing that I would have been happy giving your event.

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward

    A conservative voice in the Elgin community.

    • paul says:

      Clarence, you couldn’t have gone to watch it for free if some entity didn’t pay to put it on!
      Hoffmann Estates spent $130K!!!

      ALOT of people complain because Elgin doesn’t have fireworks. An Elgin fireworks display would cost significantly more than $15K.

      Does each community really need to have their own fireworks display?

      What does it cost Elgin to put on the 4th of July parade?

      Should Elgin do anything for the 4th?

      Those are some of the question you should answer before you flippantly respond to Hoffmann Estates financial concerns.

  15. Todd Martin says:

    For Elginites looking for energy efficiency.

    There’s a 70% rebate ($1750 instant cash back) for insulation & air sealing your home from http://www.energyimpactillinois.org (funding for the rebates is from the Department of Energy, Utility Companies & local non-profits). Any Nicor Gas, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, or ComEd customer is eligible. There is no income limits. You must own a single family home or have a 2-4 unit building.

    This program lasts through May 2013. The initial assessment is $99 OR you can get a free assessment by hosting an energy efficiency house party. Call 1-855-9-impact for details.

    Loan options: 12 months at 0% interest available, 8% interest after 12 months.

    Average consumer spends $2500 ($1750 rebate and $750 out of pocket).

    If you complete the program, you get an “Energy Star” certificate for your home which can help when selling your home.

  16. RS says:

    Here’s an interesting little tidbit from Chuck’s September Newsletter:

    On the topic of City of Elgin spending, at Wednesday’s City Council session, the council voted to provide a floating dock for $26,000 so the kids can go fishing at the East Side Rec Center! This is part of the more than $900,000 that Elgin taxpayer are pumping into the East Side Rec Center. As an important note, last year, the East Side Rec Center lost about $720,000! (Councilman Gilliam said the Hemmens lost $600,000 last year, and the Centre lost $600,000.)

    So ERC is now losing more money than the Centre. Can somebody who was around during the time tell us why the city ever took over God’s Gym? I think I liked it better then. Certainly the name was more evocative.

    • Terry Gavin says:

      RS here’s a condensed history of “God’s Gym” aka Eastside Rec Ctr., along with a letter I wrote to the local papers in Feb. 2008 after FBI raided the facility in early 2008.

      Joel Perez founded & started a anti-gang program know as God’s Gym in the mid 90’s which was quickly embraced as the city’s answer to our gang problem. Mr. Perez portrayed himself as a “reformed” former gang member who’d found religion. He sold the idea that he could talk people out of the gang lifestyle with Christianity. Several powerful people(see my letter below) decided the city needed to fund this program. I was not convinced that he was for real so after my own research by talking to patrol officers & their supervisors which confirmed my opinion was accurate. I withheld my support as program was grown by city funding each & every year to where by 1997 Perez was hired to work for the city as a part of the Parks & Re. Dept. as a Gang Intervention Specialist. Again no amount of my warnings that we were making a huge mistake made any difference with the majority of “liberals” on the council.

      Fast forward from 2000-2008 when FBI busted a drug trafficking operation inside the facility with arrests made including at least one city employee. My letter to the media follows from February 2008:

      [Council ignores oversight role over God's Gym

      It's a very sad day for Elgin and its taxpayers when a major drug ring is busted involving a city employee from a city-funded facility by the FBI.

      While serving on the city council from 1995-1999, I voted against hiring Joel Perez, a self-admitted ex-gang member, and the funding of God's Gym with hundreds of thousands of city dollars. There were many reasons for my "no" vote: many police calls at this facility, including a shooting inside the building by a masked gunman firing several shots, which thankfully struck nobody; bad bookkeeping; and possible missing monies. During my personal investigations, police officers informed me that gang activities was taking place there.

      When the funding of the program and the hiring of Perez first came up in 1996, its main supporters were Councilman Gilliam, former Police Chief Gruber and Mike Bailey of The Courier News.

      I, along with then-Mayor Kelly, voted against the plan, and every year that we re-voted on Perez's city employment contract and funding, I voted no. Never during this period were any solid statistics presented to us as to how effective the gang intervention program actually was.

      After leaving office in 1999, the city gave Perez a promotion, salary increase and hired his partner, Angel Vega, as a full-time employee with generous pay and medical benefits. I wonder now what pension benefits will continue to be paid by the taxpayers.

      Since 2000, not one member of the city council, staff or police department spoke up about the many problems at the facility until now. Mayor Schock along with Councilman Gilliam have voted for funding God's Gym -- a total lack of leadership and oversight that has cost the Elgin taxpaying citizens millions of dollars over all these years.

      After reading the stories, I feel vindicated for opposing the program, but I also feel sad that Elgin government didn't do its job of protecting our tax dollars and trust. How shameful is that?

      Terry L. Gavin]

      After the scandalous drug raid the city fired Joel Perez bought the entire building & took over the operations. Over all these many years we see how much money has been spent & continues to be spent for something that started as a small anti-gang program which was a failure. Now of course according to Mr. Gilliam & most of the rest of the council this facility is “too big to fail” & of course we don’t want those who use this site at our downtown Rec. Centre.

      • One Vote says:

        Terry,
        My issue with the drug bust is the calendar. Police chief Lisa Womack knew there was an active drug investigation going on and left the gym open for 18 months, putting already at-risk kids further at risk.
        You’ve got to admit that Femi worked fast to whitewash the place once the arrests went down.

  17. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    Terry,

    Thanks for that FYI and your being pro active way back when.

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward

    “A conservative voice in the Elgin community.”

  18. Gibster says:

    Information for the 2013 Elgin Municipal Election and how to run for city council can now be found on the city website under the City Clerk’s office. With two additional council seats being added to the dais and three members up for term, this creates 5-potential positions available for Reelection/Election. It would be nice to see some diversity to the council to represent ALL of Elgin, be it location such as ‘NEW ELGIN’, ethnicity’s, generational ideals and unique qualities to bring direction to our community.

    Be Informed: http://www.cityofelgin.org/index.aspx?nid=826

    About the City of Elgin’s “Council-Manager Government”

    Residents elect six at-large council members and a mayor, who serve on a part-time basis. The city manager, a full-time professional, serves at the direction of the mayor and city council. As a result of the 2010 census placing Elgin at 108,000 residents, two additional council seats will be elected in 2013, bringing the council to eight at-large members.

    The current council members are Richard Dunne, Robert Gilliam, Anna C. Moeller, Tish S. Powell, John Prigge and F. John Steffen. Elgin’s current mayor is David Kaptain, and Sean Stegall serves as the city manager.

    The city council meets every second and fourth Wednesday at 6:00 pm in the council chambers, located on the second floor of city hall. Agenda and minutes are available online. Residents may attend in person at city hall, watch the live video stream from our online newsroom, or view the replays on Channel 17.

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      I think Gibster is Laurie Faith Gibson. IF so, are you running for the council? If yes, do you know if you are running for two or four year term?

      • Gibster says:

        Yes, GIBSTER is my registered name with this website since 2006 or so. ;) I really have no interest in running for council as I have a business to run and a community to support in the efforts I find worth while, but find it amusing that the rumors have continued since 2010. Is someone trying to tempt me or bait me? ;))

        • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

          Laurie,

          Since you are so actively involved in the community I think you would be very electable if you chose to run.

          I am glad that my children are now both adults. The council position takes time away from your children and in retrospect I am glad I never in the past had to sacrifice that time.

          Cities will always have problems to work to fix. Until you fix their problems the half full part probably does not mean much to them.

          Now is a great time for me to add on to all great things Elgin has going for it and try to fix what needs fixing. The glass is more than half full but I don’t think a lot of people realize it.

          Common Sense Clarence Hayward

          “A conservative voice in the Elgin community.”

  19. Terry Gavin says:

    I’m planning on running again for the Elgin City Council primarily because I see our city facing economic crisis which has been made worse by the radical policies passed over the last 2 years. That policy includes the largest tax increase in city history & continued increased spending for non-core services.

    Make no mistake about it our state, school district & nation are also facing further economic problems which impacts our city’s own situation but the majority of this council has followed the same failed policies of those other government units which is growing the size of government rather then making the tough choices.

    I’m willing to commit the time & energy necessary to once again represent the citizens/tax payers who make Elgin work first & foremost not the special interests or the connected few.

    Without going into details now let me just say that repealing most of the city’s new taxes as well as correcting the garbage fee “swap” on to our water bills will be major parts of my platform.

    • Terry Gavin says:

      You can also add the repeal of the Elgin Business License as another plank in my platform! More to follow soon.

      • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

        Terry,

        If you are successful in repealing the Elgin Business License won’t the city need to get that money from another source like us citizen taxpayer’s?

        I can’t imagine the businesses lowering their prices for us if the license is repealed.

        Common Sense Clarence Hayward

        “A conservative voice in the Elgin community.”

        • Terry Gavin says:

          Clarence, the business owners who pay the EBL are already paying property taxes to the City of Elgin & so what you’re really saying is that these businesses should be taxed twice!
          Not a very conservative position Clarence. The city could simply stop wasting our money on frivolous projects like the “dog park”, etc.

          Plus the fact that had you bothered to participate in the budget hearings for FY 2012 as I did you’d know, 1) the city collects about $450,000 from the EBL which it gave to the Elgin Chamber of Commerce & the council raised taxes on all the citizens by $7.5M. So ending the EBL will not as you say fall back on the “citizen taxpayers” any more then what’s already been passed.

          My advice to you Clarence is to know what you’re talking about before you bother to attack me on something as simple as the EBL repeal. Maybe if you’d have joined all of us who fought the new massive tax increase’s last year included in this years city budget you’d understand what’s going on.

          • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

            Terry,

            I am not attacking you. Those are your words above. I asked you a simple question. I happen to think if the city is getting money from a source and that source stops producing they will drill another well and I don’t want that well to be the citizens of Elgin who don’t own businesses.

            It is as simple as that. Terry, as they say in Hawaii - “Hang loose”.

            Chuck,

            It is outrageous for the city to threaten to fine our churches if they don’t register for the license at no cost and face possible closure of their operation.

            Common Sense Clarence Hayward

            “A conservative voice in the Elgin community.”

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Clarence, FYI, the Elgin 2012 budget shows a budget surplus of over $7million. As I recall, in 2011 the Elgin Business License took in $270,000. So even with a simple evaluation, the loss of that revenue won’t hurt the City.

          But please don’t forget that the EBL was concocted as being a revenue neutral scheme of funding for the Chamber and the DNA. The City originally projected that the EBL would bring in $535,000 per year. So all that money was supposed to come in to City Hall, and then that “wealth was to be redistributed” to the Chamber and DNA at no cost to the City. So the City propped up the financially ailing Chamber with a promise for $400,000 and DNA to get $150,000 to be paid for completely by the EBL.

          However, this bungled program proved to be anything BUT revenue neutral. In 2010 the EBL took in about $265,000 and in 2011, about $270,000. But the Chamber still got their $400,000 and the DNA still got their $150,000. Every taxpayer in the City kicked in the shortfall. That was rather unfortunate, when the then president of the Chamber was pulling in a salary in excess of $100,000.

          The issues with the EBL are many, but again, raising income for the City is NOT one of them. One councilman told me repeatedly that he would be happy to have zero charge for the EBL. He contended that the City needs the EBL so “that it can know who is out there.” I contend is not the City’s business. If a business wants to be known, that is up to them to advertise. And if it is a matter of safety, the City already inspects every business building with the fire department, and it is my understanding that they do a great job.

          Other issues with the EBL are that it is intrusive, invasive, excessive, compromises the Chamber, is heavy handed and unfairly enforced.

          Despite the City’s crackdown, and belief that they have caught everybody out there, City Hall is still in the dark. They have missed many businesses. I know of one building with about 20 businesses, of which only a few have an Elgin Business License. And while those may be smaller operations, there is one whopper that the City still has totally over-looked. So based upon the records the City has provided, this is still not being fairly enforced.

          And it is important to realize that the Chamber is supposed to be an advocate for its constituent members. But how can the Chamber be able to complain on behalf of Elgin businesses, when the Chamber is on life support from the City? In my talks with well over 100 businesses last fall, as I went business to business handing out fliers and “jawboning” with business owners, the biggest common source of complaints Elgin businesses have, is with the City of Elgin. Naturally, these businesses would want to be able to run to the Chamber for support in dealing with the City. But they can’t do that, because they realize that the Chamber will not think twice when it comes to advocating for a business because it can not do so without biting the hand that feeds it.

          A LARGE fire alarm company in Aurora, but which does lots of work in Elgin, and which has been a member of the Elgin Chamber for MANY years, went to the Chamber early last year, to seek help in fighting the City’s cock-eyed revenue generating scheme which would have originally created a municipal monopoly of the local fire alarm monitoring business. The head of that company, when he met with the Elgin Chamber president, was told, sorry, we can’t help you, we get money from the City. I reported that exact situation to the Council over a year ago. I even reported the name of the fire alarm company, as proof how the City has compromised the Chamber. Nobody cared. They don’t care if they have destroyed the Chamber’s ability to advocate for its members. And it is my opinion that they may actually even just want it this way, because they don’t get any headaches from a muzzled Chamber. (I am told that there are chambers such as in Aurora, that don’t take lots of money from their City, to avoid being compromised.)

          Before the EBL, the City gave $127,000 per year to the Chamber. Then in 2010, with the EBL, the City GAVE the Chamber $400,000. Then in 2011 the City GAVE the Chamber $400,000 more. And then when we had our fabricated financial catastrophe, the City cut back what they gave to the Chamber to only $275,000! (That is still more than double what the Chamber got before the EBL started.) So just think of it, since the EBL started, the City has GIVEN over $1million to the Elgin Chamber of Commerce. Instead of the free market being allowed to work, and forcing the Chamber to either fail or re-invent itself, the City has come in and put the Chamber on life support, and in all likelihood kept it from re-inventing itself into something better. This inherent conflict of interest should be reason enough to END the Elgin Business License.

          Then let us not forget CHURCHES got letters telling them that if they did not register (at no cost) that they would face fines of up to $750/day, and possible closure of their operations. How wrong does this sound to you?

          Chuck

          • Terry Gavin says:

            Clarence,

            Only a liberal or someone uninformed would ask the question you did about the EBL. Liberals frequently ask real conservatives how they would pay for tax reductions ask a form of political attack. The answer is quite simple stop wasting the tax dollars you already collect & that’s my answer in short form. So call it whatever you want but someone who’s been in the political trenches for 20+ years sees your question as a form of attack.

            These are serious issues our city is facing as we move forward & we need serious people to battle these issues out in the public arena. S

    • SIE says:

      Without four more votes you won’t repeal or change anything the current council has done.

      How will you get those? I know we have to start somewhere to make changes in this City but unless you have other Council members that will support you, you will just be another Prigge. 7-2.

  20. Chuck Keysor says:

    Hello SIE. The topic of the Elgin Business License, from my perspective is important irrespective of the chances that it may or may not be repealed.

    The point is that the Elgin Business License is such a flawed program, on so many levels, that it should provide a crystal clear example of how badly our council and City government can run. Having such an issue will be of great use in evaluating the candidates who will be seeking council seats in April 2013.

    For example if someone is opposed to the Elgin Business License, that should speak volumes on their views and sense of fairness, due process, justice and respect for our battered and taken for granted business community. If someone supports the Elgin Business License, then they are on the side of oppressive government that seeks to brutalize the weak and disorganized, and they just want to milk the business community for all it is worth to suite their own warped vision of the role of government within our community. And if someone can’t figure out the issue and articulate a clear opinion, then it shows a lack of attention and inability to figure out why things go wrong and preventing such messes from occurring in the future.

    Garbage taxes, utility taxes, storm water run-off taxes, those are all TERRIBLE, but they are largely one dimensional issues of massive taxes foisted onto the uninformed public(kept in the dark by design and intention of City Hall) based upon a false premise of looming massive budget short-falls. Again, that is pretty terrible, but it just has the dimensions of greedy government, untruthful government, and/or incompetent government. The EBL embraces these and so many more dimensions of bad government that we can not loose site of the case.

    So PLEASE do not boil the EBL down to a simple reaction that, well, you won’t get rid of it, so why complain????? Anyone who takes that approach will miss out on a great way to try and identify who you should vote for, and who you should not vote for. Ask any candidate their view of the EBL, and you will learn A LOT about them, if you are yourself informed.

    It is primarily for this reason that I would like to keep the issue of the EBL in the minds of discerning voters. And who knows, some day it may actually get repealed……….. Chuck

    • paul says:

      It is my opinion, Chuck, that your continued failure to note that the City of Elgin outsourced their business development to the Chamber of Commerce thus probably/possibly saving City of Elgin money and thus justifying the City of Elgin’s increased funding level to the Chamber, is a form of dishonesty.
      Maybe I’m in the minority, but I want to hear all the facts and not just the facts you want to present so as to slant views your way. You lose credibility when you do that.
      Too, when you spend a great majority of your time as you did last year railing against a business license tax issue that directly effects few people that raises minor amounts of money ($250K) while at the very same time the City is foisting multi millions of dollars of new taxes on every citizen for which you spent very little time railing against, you lose relevancy.
      When you get angry and go off on a tangent against SIE of myself, as you do, you lose respect.
      Terry’s answer was good; I’d rather be on the losing end of a 7-2 vote of a Nazi vote to exterminate the Jews. Taking money out of the pockets of poor people to fund various dubious socialist programs is unethical, immoral, and indecent to my way of thinking.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Paul, 3 points:

        1) I remind you that you have made previous posts that were out of line, for example your post talking about lynching people was pulled. You are again over-the top and showing an unstable psyche when you choose to talk about Nazis and the final solution. I hope your post is pulled for that reason, you appear to be a sociopath.

        2) As to not protesting tax increases, I will say that I, along with the Elgin OCTAVE and Terry Gavin were the ONLY people to publicly protest increased taxes. There was NO ONE else, certainly no one who could be the wise “Paul”.

        3) And as to being relevant on the budget, did you expose the fact that the City was sitting on a surplus at the end of 2011? Did you expose to the public view the fact that the City’s 2012 budget shows a $7million surplus for 2012? So why would you choose to say I didn’t do enough on the tax increase protest, when you took NO public stand and provided NO new information on the tax situation?

        Chuck

        • paul says:

          A few points, Chuck.

          1) You running off on a tangent, refusing to address the issue, and desperately trying to spuriously assassinate character was completely expected; as I had already said you would in the very post you responded to.
          Regardless, knowing you would and the fact you did still disappoints me.

          2) The issue is your apparent dishonesty in your continued refusal to acknowledge the Chamber of Commerce taking over the responsibility of business development from the City of Elgin thus relieving the City of Elgin from the costs of so doing. Whether the costs saving to the City of ELgin justifies Elgins increased funding of the Chamber is a seperate issue for which I refuse to weigh in on until I know the FACTS. And you refuse to even acknowledge that KEY fact. Once might be a mistake. The third or fourth time is not.
          Think about this, Chuck; a simple “my mistake” would have ended it. Except maybe for you to acknowledge that ‘mistake’ might make your argument about the EBL and the connection to the Chamber moot, less outrageous, less poignant!!!
          That goes to the credibility issue, Chuck. You can’t wish that fact away. You can’t ignore the fact and hope everyone else doesn’t know the facts. My problem is I assume what people tell me is unvarnished whole truth.

          3)Chuck, do you realize your desire to have me banned and my posts deleted because you don’t like them and for you to try to assassinate my character based on FALSE implied linkages and BASELESS disparagement’s are CLASSICS Nazi tactics!
          That you clearly try to imply I’m a Nazi because I use an analogy of my preference to be on the losing end of a vote to exterminate Jews rather go along just to get along, is really quite stunning in what actually amounts to a display of your character. I’m very disappointed.

          • RS says:

            OK everybody will need to get along now or we will have to take a time out.

            In order to keep things going smoothly, my advice to all is to just ignore the comments you don’t like. You will find some comments provocative but responding to them is rarely to your advantage. So just let it go.

            A’ight?

  21. Terry Gavin says:

    Continued my post was cut off by word press: What’s up with that RS? The message that came up said it was a repeated comment or something like that.

    @ Clarence, So I do not intend to as you say “Hang Loose”, instead I plan to fight for the under represented taxpayers this current council has mostly forgotten about!

    SIE,
    You’re correct about the #’s on the current council but with 2 maybe 3 open seats & good top tier candidates we could push the issue
    of repeal to where just one more change of vote could win the day. If nothing else it will then come up in the next city election as a central issue. I never worried what the #’s looked like in the 90’s I pushed forward & tried to win people over to my side by winning their hearts & minds by debating the issue. We must not give up just because
    the #’s are against us. If the people support us then we can & will win!

    Chuck,

    As always your comments are right on target & that’s why I’ve told you that you’d make a great council candidate. It looks like many are going to run who’ve lost before & never won so hopefully the voters can figure out who’s the strongest, best candidates to carry forward the issues important to them. My guess from experience is that the voters will turnout if they see solid people running to win.

    I will also remind you,as I know you know already, that back in the 90’s the Chamber of Commerce was self sufficient & didn’t need tax payer money to survive. Thus they were able to stay independent & be a true advocate for Elgin businesses. Of course under Ed Schock they became dependent on the city for their existence. Now they are a branch of government sort of like BocaJump has become with public dollars which I guess is their reward.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Thanks Terry. But as I have said before, I have no intention to run for council in 2012. Chuck

  22. Cruex says:

    SIE-

    I think you are right on this one. I hope every new candidate will be against the current majority and that’s a good thing. Who would say they are running for office to keep things the way they are? Nobody sincere that’s who. I am crazy mad at what has been done to my taxes and water bill.

  23. SIE says:

    Still waiting for the electrical aggregation we voted for in March to take effect…next month.

    Interesting article in TribLocal about aggregation with lots of comments from Public Works Superintendent Colby Basham. What really stood out is that Elgin is paying one of the highest rates of any city that did aggregation. Almost 10% more than some other cities. With Elgin’s size it seems we should have one of the lowest rates. Very disappointing.

    Mr. Basham and a Mr. Segal a memberof the Sustainability Commision claims it was because they wanted power from renewable resources. As was discussed previously the literature we received from Direct Energy wasn’t exaclty full of information about renewable resources.

    Even if the electricity really is from renewable sources, Elgin alone isn’t going to make enough of a difference. Other towns felt the lowest cost was what was important. Elgin did not. And in this economy they should have,

    So again Elgin officials screw something up. It just never seems to end.

    • TP says:

      This is one of the reasons I chose to STAY with Com-Ed. I can negotiate a better rate than what the city negotiated….

  24. One Vote says:

    Did you all see the local boys getting attention from the feds?
    A recent DEA drug bust included two Elgin residents peddling coke and heroin, linked to a Mexican drug cartel.
    Locations in the indictment included the 1300 block of Longford Circle, the Water Works Car Wash on Chicago Street and the intersection of Summit/Hiawatha.
    These weren’t nickle bag deals; they were trading kilos of the hard stuff.
    Of course, your city council will just show you reports about how low the crime rate is.
    Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

  25. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    The Daily Herald yesterday featured as their front page article an update on the cost of the class action lawsuit against U46 as now being 16.7 million dollars. I posted the below posts and for some reason they quickly buried this article and went to an even older Latino headline article as the lead after less than 24 hours with the 16.7 million dollar headline. Now there is a new headline. 16.7 million story can be found at address below.

    For those taxpayers who care about foolish wasting of their tax payer dollars this class action law suit is a classic example.

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120921/news/709219671/comments/

    Common Sense Clarence H :: Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:34 PM
    Thumbs Down0Thumbs Up

    When I read back in 2004 that U46 wanted to send more students to their local schools and not have to bus so many I thought that made common sense. Our Mayor Schock was opposed and had an informal majority vote lined up to hire the Futterman Law Firm at a cost of 44,000.

    The Mayor sent a letter to one of the local papers explaining why he had this position. My letter explaining why it was a bad idea was under his letter. Shortly after, the informal majority lost a member and so it did not go to a vote.

    The parents group took up with Futterman and the sparks of litigation are roaring like a California forest fire out of control with no water in sight to put it out.

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward

    A conservative voice in the Elgin community.
    Common Sense Clarence H :: Fri Sep 21, 2012 11:44 PM
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    In the future council elections as I watched millions of our tax payer dollars go up in smoke or drift into the lawyers pockets I made it my mission to post under council election articles a reminder of this once informal majority.

    Despite those four having a total of some 40 cumulative years between them serving on the council not one of them got reelected except Mayor Schock when he ran unopposed on the ballot.

    When he ran against Councilman Kaptain I reminded voters in the blogs of Mayor Schock’s idea in 2004 and with the help of myself and many, many others we had a new Mayor Kaptain.

    16 million dollars could educate a lot of kids of all races in U46.

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward

    A conservative voice in the Elgin community.
    Common Sense Clarence H :: Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:07 AM
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    Kerry Kelly is part of the Elgin Charter School Initiative that would like to get tax payer money from U46 for their charter school. It seems as if she just can’t get enough of it from my perspective.

    You can read in a July, 2004 Daily Herald article - Elgin Wont Sue U46

    http://www.isbe.net/news/2004/newsclips/040716.htm#el

    Read the quote by Kerry Kelly (Councilman Steffens wife) in the article.

    Her quote below -

    Its great if the city is on board, but were still here if theyre not on board, said Elgin resident and U-46 parent Kerry Kelly, who is not a potential litigant but supports the parents efforts.

    Common Sense research by googling Futterman law firm whould have shown parent Kerry Kelly that Futterman were Master Chessman representing the parents and the locals were merely pawns in their hands.

    Although she is not practicing the same kind of law as Futterman, the fact that she is a lawyer should have given her pause to consider just what she was supporting in the parents efforts based on what Futterman did to the Rockford school district years earlier.

    How does she think the school district can afford money for her charter school when 16 million plus has gone to lawyers?
    Common Sense Clarence H :: Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:14 AM
    Thumbs Down0Thumbs Up

    Others in the Elgin Charter School Group Initiative include Mayor Shocks wife.

    Too bad she didn’t let him know she would be coming to the U46 tax payer well in 2012 for charter school money when U46 already has incurred 16 million plus for a class action lawsuit that started in 2004 when he was Mayor.

    One of the craziest things a politician can ever do is to even think of possibly suing another tax payer body. Us tax payers will ALWAYS lose.

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward

    “A conservative voice in the Elgin community.”

    • Todd Martin says:

      Clarence, I’m curious to know how you would respond if Futterman wins the lawsuit? Certainly, there is a very high cost of litigation which is being borne by taxpayers. Would you feel critical toward the U46 Board and Superintendant? Would you support any solutions to the problems raised in the lawsuit?

      • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

        Todd,

        I will be very disappointed if Futterman wins. With what I know regarding the situation I would not feel critical toward the Board and Superintendent.I have no knowledge of solutions to support.

        Common Sense Clarence Hayward

        “A conservative voice in the Elgin community.”

        • One Vote says:

          Given Judge Gettleman’s habit of social engineering from the bench, I have advocated that U46 let him have his fun and save our money for the appeal.
          Patty Whitten has been U46 counsel for decades and is smart enough to do whatever the district wants as long as the checks don’t bounce.
          I wish I could vouch for Torres and his agenda. Given his burning desire for “equity and social justice” perhaps he would like to see U46 lose this one.

          • Terry Gavin says:

            Great points O V.

            To Clarence my question to you is this “lawsuit” that’s been going on for years is a U-46 issue not a city issue so why not try running for the School Board since this seems like an obsession with you?

  26. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    In a recent Courier News Speak Out column at the Courier News

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/opinions/15217498-474/speak-out-question-about-elgin-salaries.html

    someone wanted to know what the Elgin City Manager was paid and the Courier replied with a figure that I posted below. I was curious because our city manager gets paid such a high salary, if he was paid more than the Vice President of the United States, so I googled a sight and found out he does not according to that sight. However, according to the sight and the Courier if both numbers represent year 2011 he got paid about $2528 more than a Senator in 2011. I know that isn’t comparing apples to apples but I was curious.

    common sense clarence

    4:51 PM on September 20, 2012

    For some perspective, according to Infoplease at

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0875856.html

    in 2011 a U.S. Senator or Representative was paid $174,000 compared to City manager: $176,528 above which does not list what year

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward
    “A conservative voice in the Elgin community.”

  27. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    RS,

    I sent you an email but maybe it is to a real old email address that you don’t monitor a lot? Or maybe you have been real busy?

    • RS says:

      oh yes, clarence, i did get your message. i’m sorry i have not had a chance to reply but i need some time to digest the contents. i will reply as soon as i can. thanks for writing.

      • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

        RS,

        If after digesting, if you can please reply in email to me I would appreciate it as I am still digesting as well and wondering how others feel about it.

        Keep in mind from a long range perspective with the baby boomers each year having more extra time on their hands because of retirement, that might on a long range perspective play into the answer as well. Just thinking…..

        Common Sense Clarence Hayward

        “A conservative voice in the Elgin community.”

  28. Terry Gavin says:

    Anyone who attended or watched online the last city council meeting on 9/12 this disclaimer below is what I was referring to on the funding of Boca Jump or really the legal authority of the city manager to spend more then $20,000 without formal discussion by the council.

    **All matters listed under Consent Agenda are considered to be routine and non-controversial by the City Council and will be enacted by one motion and one roll call vote. There will be no separate discussion of these items. If discussion is desired by a Council member or citizen, that item will be removed from the Consent Agenda and will be considered separately immediately after approval of the Consent Agenda. Citizens desiring discussion on any item listed under the Consent Agenda should contact a Council member prior to the meeting and request that the item be removed for discussion.

    When I finished my statement Sean tried to tell me & the public that the council does vote every month for disbursement of these funds, because it’s on the Consent Agenda thus giving their approval. My point to his comment was that according to city ordinance he had violated the $20,000 limit by sending out monthly payments of between $2,500 - $5,000 for over two years now, totaling more then $60,000 so far & counting. If a city manager is allowed to do this then any future city could spend less then $20,000 a month for years & years. This is not what we envisioned when the council I served on in the 90’s first passed this ordinance. The purpose of the ordinance was meant to be emergency purchasing authority granted to the city manager of not more then the limit!

    It’s obvious to those of us paying attention to this matter that if there’s a loophole in the ordinance then the council must fix it. That
    was my point to begin with & now that I & other members of the public have objected to this practice the entire council or at least one member follow the disclaimer & have this item, BocaJump, removed from the Consent Agenda before they spend another dollar on this. Otherwise a future city manager could spend our tax dollars without formal council discussion without any limit in monthly installments as long as it’s below $20,000 a month. This is not appropriate or in my opinion legal.

  29. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    Terry,

    If I understand what you are saying above good job getting this pulled out of the consent agenda going forward so it can be talked about.

    I have not seen Mike Bailey writing for bocajump for awhile. Do you know if he is still affiliated with them?

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward

    “A conservative voice in the Elgin community.”

  30. Terry Gavin says:

    Clarence,

    It appears that finally the issue of the city manager’s authority in spending more then the stated limit of $20,000 will be coming up soon for full council discussion. It’s been promised to be brought up in a
    near future meeting, that’s all I can say for now. While a bit late as the old saying goes “better late then never”. Obviously the fact that I brought up the disclaimer & the ordinance itself has forced action on this issue.

    As for Mike Bailey or BocaJump I’ve got no answers 1) because I rarely go there & 2) I’ve been blocked or should I say my email address has been blocked from posting any comments on there much like you but I wasn’t given any notification of such action being taken. Frankly I don’t care because I can go there whenever I want to & see
    whatever it is they are posting. My opinion of their website is not very good, let’s just say I not impressed with their work, though sometimes Bailey does make a few good points!

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      Terry,

      Way to motivate the council to start talking if they follow through!

      Today I received confirmation from another writer at bocajump that Mike Bailey is still there.

      Alex Keown wrote an article at boca regarding the OCTAVE sponsored debates last night. I passed along a compliment to Alex through the other writer at boca regarding his article. I was at the debate and I told him I felt he gave a very good reporting.

      Common Sense Clarence Hayward

      “A conservative voice in the Elgin community.”

  31. RS says:

    RM where art thou?

    • rm says:

      But soft, RS, what light through yonder window breaks?

      And do not deny thy father and refuse thy name…

      Or no longer be a Capulet. :)

      • RS says:

        haha. it’s good to see you alive and well enough to reach the keyboard! we haven’t seen you in these parts for so long i thought you might have finally thrown in the towel and moved to a sunnier locale, far from this fair verona.

        do stick around.

  32. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    Terry,

    Above you posted - To Clarence my question to you is this “lawsuit” that’s been going on for years is a U-46 issue not a city issue so why not try running for the School Board since this seems like an obsession with you?

    You are right, the school board lawsuit is an obsession because in 2004 Mayor Schock proposed hiring Futterman for $44,000 and with the parents taking up with Futterman the price tag is $16.7 million dollars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!As a city and school taxpayer that is something to be obsessed about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Many of the same city taxpayers are paying taxes to U46 and not getting their money’s worth because of this lawsuit.

    Many of the city’s taxpayer’s property values are impacted as well as their ability to sell to an extent because of this law suit.

    I feel if I had been on the council when Mayor Schock wanted to bring in Futterman I could have persuaded him to not do it. My letter was under his in the newspaper opposing his position and shortly after, Mayor Schock lost his informal majority when one member of it pulled out.

    I feel I could have worked with both parties including the parents group and showed them the foolishness of litigation based on what Futterman did to Rockford 10 years prior. About $200 million price tag.

    If I had been on the council when Councilman Powers and Mayor Schock along with the council majority wanted to build Judson University a $700,000 soft ball field for the Bandits I could have been a voice for common sense and tried to prevent us from having the Bandits make fools out of the city council by leaving Elgin after all we did for them. They truly robbed Elgin of what the council thought they were going to get for their contribution.

    I have a passion with my kids now grown adults to try and bring some common sense and reason to the big issues on the Elgin City Council.

    I can’t do it alone. I think we might be on the same side of many a vote and if so we both will need to be elected to possibly have a different majority vote going forward.

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward

    “A conservative voice in the Elgin community.”

  33. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    For those new to Elgin, welcome! I have loved living in Elgin since 1971.

    Here is a link to a Daily Herald 2004 story Elgin Won’t Sue U46 to give you some perspective on what was just posted by me.

    I raised my kids in this town and by May after attending U46 schools and private schools for the elementary grades they will both be college grads. We had great teachers in all their schools.

    http://www.isbe.net/news/2004/newsclips/040716.htm#el

    I have a passion now to go forward and serve the citizens in the future by running for Elgin City Council. My employer requires a few documents before I can get permission to run and it is just a matter of time for that permission.

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward

    “A conservative voice in the Elgin community.”

  34. One Vote says:

    Did you see the facelift over by the library? That trashy lot with the pylon sign about remittances to Mexico…now has a fresh coat of paint on the building. I’m not sure if they are going with the cut-rate car insurance motif or the currency exchange. Or maybe they were finally cited by the city. Either way, it blends in with the vacant lot and the boarded up tavern.

  35. Sally says:

    isn’t anyone concerned about the corruption that seems to be going on in the Elgin Police Station? I have been following the stories and recently read an editorial in the DH that leaves me to believe that something is really wrong starting with one of their top guys, William Cogley! I have lived in Elgin all my life and am really concerned with this numbskulls comments and his ties to some sort of corruption that went on. I think it is very concerning and eveyone of us Elginite’s should be up in arms!

  36. SIE says:

    I just got the cities Newsletter. It includes a coupon for 5 free yard waste bags.

    Last year I used more than 20 bags. So now I have to buy the balance. I probably have more leaves than many in the On-Street Program.

    I don’t recall the Council officially changing the amounht of bags we would get.

    Just another bogus move by this inept council.

  37. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    For those readers with young children who have always wondered what the bison feeding experience is that you can participate in at Lord’s Park Zoo, if you go to bocajump.com they have a bison feeding video.

    I always wondered what it would be like but I work Saturdays so I could never go. If I had children of the right age for this I would definitely take them to do this.

    It looks like it would be a very fun family event.

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward

    “A conservative voice in the Elgin community.”

  38. DJ says:

    “Sally”

    Do you think you could be a little more vague and obtuse about what you perceive are the problems at EPD?? I’m all ready to get “up in arms” as soon as you attach a link to the comments that have you so “concerned”

    Dick and Jane

  39. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    One more thought on bison feeding.

    I am thinking the next feeding at the end of October if the weather is Indian Summer weather with the leaves in their full glory would be the best month of the year to do this.

    I believe you need to sign up so you might want to sign up early if you agree with me that end of October might be the best time.

    It looks like it would be a very fun family event.

    bocajumb.com has the video on the bison feeding with all the contact information and details.

    Common Sense Clarence Hayward

    “A conservative voice in the Elgin community.”

  40. Cruex says:

    I went thru downtown yesterday and really thought it was Hispanic Heritage Day. There were many many signs in Spanish and many many Spanish people. Later I found out it was Love Elgin day? This is why many people stay way away from downtown. They are afraid no one will speak English!