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April [2013] open thread

9 April 2013 Elgin Illinois 49 Comments

Little league baseball, Elgin IL Little league baseball, Elgin IL (Photo by Elgin Town).

April open thread. Discuss what you want.

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49 Responses to “April [2013] open thread”

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  1. One Vote says:

    My ride home includes crossing the Kimball St bridge.
    What is that giant yellow call box they installed in the middle of the bridge?
    It looks like it belongs on a plastic molded play set. Did they buy it from Fisher-Price?
    I guess if that is a lovers’ leap point it’s nice to have, but it seems rather foolish to me right in the middle of downtown. It’s not exactly a lonely stretch of highway where you need a call box.
    Does anyone know anything about it?

    • paul says:

      Which of the new restaurants in downtown Elgin will be the first to go out of business?
      Cooches or Mr. Tequila?

      • elginkevin says:

        I like Chooches. They have great beer nuggets (though they don’t call them that).

        Mr. Tequila has a mild appeal to me as I have heard of enormous drinks but I haven’t made it in. They seem to be open random hours.

  2. Chuck Keysor says:

    Hello One Vote! I saw that today for the first time as I walked to the Library to get tax forms. It is a life preserver to throw into the river in the event someone in the river needs to be rescued.

    There is also one on Highland Avenue bridge (or maybe it was Chicago Street, as I walked back and forth to the downtown a couple of times today.)

    Yes, they do look rather unsightly! Hopefully they will never be needed. Chuck

  3. Chuck Keysor says:

    Sorry, I didn’t study the things. Maybe you’ll need to schedule a field trip for tomorrow. Chuck

    • One Vote says:

      I did my field trip as you suggested, Chuck. Where were you?
      The boxes have a “Break the Glass” cover over a release handle.
      It says call 911 on the box so someone still needs to call the fire department. CPR training suggests that you call first, then do what you can until help arrives. That’s pretty good advice for kitchen fires and “Man overboard,” too.
      I wonder how effective a life ring would be. Someone caught in the boil isn’t likely to be saved by it. In fact, you run the risk of creating a second victim if used incorrectly.
      It’s also a huge target of mischief by our area teens.
      I suppose it’s worth $100, but I don’t dare ask how much we really paid for these.

  4. Joshua says:

    Never mind “Stop the Rain Tax. “STOP THE LIES! There is no Boogieman! With intent, Elgin OCTAVE and the extremely biased Elginite, misrepresented Elgin’s City Council candidates prior to April’s election. This was a great disservice to the community.

    Instead of responsibly informing voters objectively with facts, they conjured up half-truths in a barrage of propaganda that was funded largely be Tea Party supporters. CITY COUNCIL RACES ARE MEANT TO BE NONPARTISAN, unless a group like OCTAVE hijacks them and deceptively turns them partisan, which they did. In an avalanche of communication the group repeatedly stated, “The best defense against this proposed Rain Tax is a good offense. The best way to fight is to elect those that are against the Rain Tax in the upcoming election on April 9th. Those opposed against the tax include: John Prigge, Terry Gavin Elgin, Rosemarie Kahn and Shaw.” They conveniently left out the names of the other candidates who were also opposed.

    Yet, the TRUTH is that the other candidates including Armstrong, Knight, Rauschenberger, McCue, Richard, Esterino, and Dresang have all been ON RECORD opposing the idea of a rain tax in the Daily Herald, in public forums and in other local media. I say “idea of” because it doesn’t actually exist. It’s a Boogieman. It hasn’t been raised, discussed, debated or voted on by City Council. However, it has been conjured up by extremists who are more interested in perceived power and self interests, than they are truth and responsible citizenship. People of Elgin need to wake up and go to legitimate sources of information like The Daily Herald, the Elgin Courier News, and forums hosted by the League of Women Voters and the neighborhood associations. These are all sources that had the other candidates on record as opposing this tax, yet OCTAVE purposely stated something different. What a profound injustice. Shame on Chuck K. and others who manipulated the truth for less than noble purposes. This is a statement about the character and integrity of some newly elected officials. It’s time for those of us who have been duped to stand up for accountability.

    • paul says:

      April 13, 2013 at 1:35 pm
      Never mind “Stop the Rain Tax. “STOP THE LIES! <<

      Then stop talking, Joshua.

      How can your ‘others’ be ALSO against your ‘non-existant’ rain tax!

  5. Chuck Keysor says:

    Joshua Kennedy-Smith…. thanks for posting. Sorry you have turned the efforts of a few concerned citizens into some right-wing conspiracy. And too bad you have turned your anger into bashing an open site that lets you, or anyone else who comes along, express their opinion in a fair and open forum.

    Read the old posts here. The Elgin OCTAVE statements of who opposed the Rain Tax had been based upon the surveys we got from the candidates. We simply provided the names of every candidate that told us they were opposed to the Rain Tax.

    A few days prior to the election, one candidate contacted us saying she opposed the rain tax. I looked on her website, and it didn’t say she opposed it, but was instead open to investigating it. Another candidate just days before the election told a citizen that he was opposed to the Rain Tax, yet I heard that candidate say at the LWV February forum that he supported the Rain Tax. He also said that Elginites were not over-taxed.

    If anyone was fooled, it may well have been you, fooled by the candidates who did not stand up against a new grab for money by the City. All those candidates seemed to adopt a strategy that they would simply say there is no rain tax, so how could I support something that doesn’t exist? So, I must be opposed to the rain tax. That was their basis for saying they didn’t support the “Rain Tax”.

    You are clearly not grounded in the facts when you say that the “Rain Tax” matter has not been discussed at council meetings. Prigge and Kaptain have openly argued about this. And Kaptain has openly opined on how the revenues might be spent, and if they should go into the general fund or into a dedicated fund. Based on your facebook bio, I can say I have never seen you at a City Council meeting, maybe you watched on-line. But in either event, you are flat out wrong.

    And you are also clearly not aware of the City’s 2012 and 2013 5 year financial plan, which shows the “Rain Tax” going into effect in 2014, and that those plans were voted on and approved by a majority of the City Council. So how is all of this talk of a “rain tax” some right-wing fabrication invented to torpedo the political rights of the liberal candidates?

    But you are perhaps accidentally right, there is no rain tax at this time. But that is how the political process works, the City proposes a new tax, then they commission a study (both of which are documented as already having been done. Then after the election, they get the study, and then enact the new tax. All done as far from the NEXT election as possible, to allow the voters a chance to forget the issue.

    History shows us that it is very hard to get rid of a tax after it is enacted, and that the best way to deal with it, is to try and get rid of it before it gets enacted. So, you are right, there is no rain tax, yet. We are fighting it at the best time, before it is enacted. That is how it works. That is not lying or twisting the truth. If you choose to look at this approach as lying, you are splitting hairs or simply venting your anger over being out maneuvered.

    You also claim to be upset that somehow or another we have turned the council election into a partisan race. I saw no donkeys or elephants on any signs and that was not a criteria for our promoting the candidates that opposed the rain tax. We never asked anyone’s party affiliation. And, if you really had a concern about this being a partisan race, I would suggest that you talk to Senator Mike Noland, who IS a democrat, and who did in fact send out an letter endorsing Dresang, Armstrong, Gilliam, Esterino and Dunne.

    The simple fact of the matter is, the Elgin OCTAVE is a tiny grass roots movement that doesn’t want our taxes to go up, when the City’s budget is at a record high level, and our taxes have gone up in the last two years, despite the claims that have been made by various candidates and members of City Staff.

    If you want to be mad at anyone, get mad at City Hall, and the council majority that raised taxes by $10million for FYI 2012 and then told the public over and over again that “We lowered your property taxes by $1million!” But they failed to mention the $10million in other increases. Those council members who raised our taxes, and approved the City spending money to send out literature that misrepresented the entire tax increase situation are: Anna Moeller, Tish Powell, Rich Dunne, Bob Gilliam, Dave Kaptain and John Steffen.

    Thanks, Chuck

  6. Well said Chuck. You know your facts. Thanks Ed

  7. Terry Gavin says:

    Here are my final thoughts from the Elgin City elections on 4/9/13:

    I’m eternally grateful for the strong support the voters gave to my campaign for the city council. We were out spent 2 or 3 times over by at least 3 of the candidates in the 4 year race and of those, 2 lost and the third finished in 4th place by only 50 votes.

    We did it the “old fashioned” way, by the grass roots, person to person, word of mouth and the facts. No negative attacks from us or our supporters, just the issues & hard work.

    So now that this election is in the history books we can look ahead to the challenges facing our great city during these very tough times. To those who supported me I say thank you and to those who didn’t I say lets work together to help make Elgin the “best it can be”!

    I’m excited and eager to get to work starting on May 8.

    Terry Gavin
    Elgin City Councilman-elect

  8. ElginSpirit says:

    We posted 36 photos in the album “Fox River Flooding 4-18-2013″ http://fb.me/1z5×9CNNl

    The National Weather Service predicts the Fox River will crest on Saturday morning about 2 feet above what it is now. It was 11.9 feet above flood stage around noon today.

  9. Ernie says:

    Wow, either Mr. Prigge is lying about his association with the Realtors group or he is the dumbest politician I’ve seen yet. He allows an outside organization to send out information about him without checking on what they are going to say first? He is going to allow an organization to spend over $8,000 on his behalf without his knowledge of how they are going to spend it?? Give me a break. When does that ever happen in reality? Again, either lying or stupid.

    • One Vote says:

      Actually, it happens all the time. As long as they don’t say it is coming from the candidate himself, they can publish what they want.
      The big PACs support candidates all the time. Sometimes the candidate has to refute their support, but he can’t stop them.

    • paul says:

      “Mr. Prigge is lying…or he is the dumbest politician ”
      “Again, either lying or stupid.”

      Works for me.
      Civility is ALWAYS in the eye of the beholder!

      Speaking of which, RS. Is the rain tax a ‘done deal’ as SEI repeatedly claimed, rendering any and all debate in denial of the rain tax as a ‘done deal’ subject to disparagement and vilification by you?

  10. One Vote says:

    About the new license plate renewal stickers:
    They are terrible. The numbers rub off…easily.
    I’ve been putting the stickers on my IL plates for 30 years. Clean off the area, put on the new sticker, rub it so it sticks well.
    But on these new ones, the silver background, when you rub on it you take off the numbers. The ink is lousy and there is no sealant over the top.
    They won’t survive the car wash.
    So…I wrote to Jesse White’s SOS. The response was to take it back and get a new sticker. I took it in to the Elgin facility and a snarly DMV clerk told me, “Well, you can still see the numbers.” I insisted and she gave me a new one.
    The State is going to have to fix this mess of their own creation. Let’s see what they do.

  11. Margaret Miller says:

    Hmmm, I wonder if Illinois schools use this?

    ‘Vet’ out the vote

    Dozens of LI school districts use software to ‘rig’ elections
    Last Updated: 3:57 AM, April 21, 2013

    Taxpayers in dozens of Long Island school districts have been footing the bill for a computer system that can help rig elections to pass school budgets.

    Bold Systems LLC, based in Bellport, LI, sells software that lets school districts track votes in real time on Election Day and identify which parents, district employees and 18-year-old students have not yet voted. The districts, it says, can then generate “call lists” to urge those voters — who are most likely to support a budget increase — to get to the polls.

    But under state law, this is illegal “electioneering.”

    ‘FIXED’: Bold Systems LLC touts its software’s ability to swing an election, which dozens of Long Island school districts have bought into.

    School districts can’t spend money to steer an election. They can urge citizens to vote, but are forbidden to call “a selective list” of cherry-picked voters.

    School districts upstate and in Long Island hold yearly elections — the next set for May 21 — in which voters approve or reject proposed budgets.

    Districts need more than 50 percent yes votes to pass a budget, or 60 percent if the budget exceeds a state tax-levy cap.

    In most districts, elections can be close, with retirees on fixed incomes and homeowners without kids in school more likely to vote down big budget hikes.

    Yet many of those budgets have passed in the past few years — including increases of about 7 percent in Sayville and West Islip.

    “Nothing empowers you to get out the YES votes you need like the EMS Election Management System from Bold Systems,” the company claims on its Web site.

    “If your budget votes are too close to call, EMS can provide the edge you need.”

    The company says 110 New York school districts use its software.

    The basic system simply computerizes the voter rolls. But the upgrades Bold has sold since 2006 “enable you to compile lists of parents, in-district staff and eligible students.”

    Lists can even be segmented into key groups (such as PTA members, families with kids in athletics, or by school) to help get out the votes or conduct registration drives.

    Robert Vomastek, Bold Systems’ inventor and former owner, explained: “As each voter signs in, their name is automatically removed from the call list. They can run the call list four or five times during an election.”

    Asked why districts would target parents and staff, Vomastek said, “They want a higher turnout from that demographic, obviously.”

    A parent who blew the whistle on the system is appalled.

    “You don’t need a Ph.D. in political science to understand that this service is an unethical manipulation of the electoral process,” said Noel Feustel, a dad in the Bayport-Blue Point school district.

    Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Feustel learned that 35 school districts in eastern Suffolk County have each paid up to $22,700 a year, depending on the number of registered voters, for Bold Systems — and 12 pay $2,600 extra for an upgraded version and add-on features that include categorizing voters.

    The districts buy Bold at prices negotiated by Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). Goods and services bought through BOCES are partly reimbursed with state taxpayer funds.

    A day after The Post called Gary Bixhorn, chief operating officer of Eastern Suffolk BOCES, he ordered Bold to yank its Web site.

    Bixhorn also said he would “disable” Bold features that track selected voters because they can be used “in a manner that violates the spirit and letter of the law.”

    Several Suffolk district superintendents said they never used the software for prohibited purposes, just to tally votes.

    Yet Nassau BOCES, which covers 56 school districts, touts Bold on its Web site, saying “a variety of useful reports can be generated on Election Day, such as up-to-the-minute reporting of who has voted, call lists of parents and staff who have not yet turned out to vote . . . and poll lists on the spot for poll watchers.”

    Thomas Rogers, district superintendent of Nassau BOCES, told The Post he will also disable such features.

    “These actions are long overdue,” said Bill Milligan, a Bayport-Blue Point school-board trustee. “I was stunned by the vendor’s marketing tactics and by BOCES’ failure to fully vet the product.”

  12. Sally Foster says:

    Sally Foster says - Don’t debate with bw!

    Its not worth your time. Even when you try to teach by example, the message is immediately blocked and rejected. No opinion other then bw’s. No open debate or answered questions will ever come from bw or apparently the candidates bw backs.

  13. SIE says:

    We are constantly told The Centre is losing money, blah blah blah.

    I’d like to know the real numbers behing it. I take my son to swim class, which aren’t cheap and every class is full.

    So there’s the Park District aspect but more puzzling, every weekend we go there is a basketball tournament. EVERY weekend going through mid May at least. So do they charge these people to use The Centre? Since I can’t understand the draw of Elgin to these mostly out of town tournaments they must be giving the space away.

    I go to a swim class, can’t find a parking space and then have to put up with a crowded in many cases out of control facility (rarely see any Centre personnel on a Sunday) for which I pay taxes.

    Just another example of the mess that Elgin is.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      SIE, you asked for some figures on the “Centre”. Chuck

      The Centre opened in 2003.
      Total DIRECT costs to build: $38,422,460
      Then Mayor Schock, Council and Staff all towed the line that this would be a “Money Maker” for the City of Elgin.
      2003: Lost $475,874
      2004: Lost $272,543
      2005: Lost $933,288
      2006: Lost $543,697
      2007: Lost $523,538
      2008: Lost $911,249
      2009: Lost $597,676
      2010: Lost $885,773
      2011: Lost $782,204

      That adds up to a total of $1,684,140 in annual operating losses. None of these figures include the cost of servicing the bonds.


      • Chuck Keysor says:

        So much for adding and not double checking,,,, it gets me every time. The total loss for the years shown adds up to $5,925,842. Chuck

        • SIE says:

          Thanks Chuck. I really don’t understand what goes on at that place. This past Sunday (April 28) there was no basketball tournament but the parking garage was completely filled when I needed to park for a swim class at 10:30 am. Why were there so many cars? I know people who live in the area can park long term but there can’t be that many people using the garage for that purpose. If so it’s just another example of Elgin’s idiocy. Let people park for three days but when I need to attend a class at The Centre on a Sunday morning I can’t find a space.

          It really makes me want to not go there for programs. But it is my Prk District so what choice do I have if I want my child to have activities?

          • RS says:

            The parking lot is also used for the Hemmens so probably something was happening there.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          You are welcome SIE. As to other options, I know one family that prefers to use the Taylor Y on McLean Blvd. I know another family that lives in Cobblers Crossing, and they use the rec center in Hoffman Estates. I don’t know how those prices compare, but there are other options. Chuck

  14. Terry Gavin says:

    April 25 is Tax Freedom Day in Illinois — 5th latest nationally. Tax Freedom Day commemorates the day when Illinoisans have earned enough money to pay their total tax bill for the year.

    April 25 is Tax Freedom Day in Illinois.

    This day commemorates the point in 2013 when Illinoisans have earned enough money to pay their total tax bill for the year.

    In 2013, you worked 115 days to cover the rising cost of federal, state and local government.

    Just for state and local taxes, Illinoisans had to work:
    •32 days to pay property, sales and excise taxes
    •12 days to pay personal income taxes
    •3 days to pay corporate taxes
    •2 days to pay social insurance taxes
    •2 days to pay estate taxes

    Illinois’ high-tax environment pushed the state’s Tax Freedom Day far past the rest of the nation. This year, Illinois’ Tax Freedom Day was 5th latest in the nation.

    If Illinois kept up with its neighbors, such as Missouri or Kentucky, Illinoisans would have nearly three weeks’ worth of extra income in their pockets.

    More income going to the growing price tag of government means less money left in the family budget.

    With the nation’s 2nd-highest unemployment rate, Illinoisans are already struggling to pay for the basics, such as food and housing, and have little leftover at the end of the month to save for the future.

    Illinois’ businesses face the 4th-highest corporate income tax in the industrialized world, which means less money to invest, compete and create the jobs.

    The state’s anti-business environment creates incentives for both businesses and entrepreneurs to live and work in states where fewer working days are needed to cover taxes, such as Texas, Indiana and Florida.

    Illinois can lead the nation in economic output and job creation, but we must get our fiscal house in order and unleash our entrepreneurial spirit by removing obstacles to growth.

    Our alternative budget fixes Illinois’ pension crisis, balances the state budget, pays down the more than $9 billion backlog of bills and returns $7 billion to taxpayers by repealing the 2011 state income tax increase.

    Ben VanMetre
    Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst

    May I ask the obvious question is this what “big government” liberal/progressives call vision? If it is it sures looks like a nightmare too me! Just saying…

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      Thanks for reminding us of the nightmare Terry. I hope someday living in Illinois can be more of a dream.

  15. Toby Shaw says:

    A couple of quick things for Elginites:

    Love Elgin Day - If you know of anyone out of work, in need, homeless, or someone who just needs a helping hand invite them out. What: Free food, clothing, haircuts, and many more services.
    Date/Time: April 27th 9am - 3pm
    Location: Vineyard Church, 220 Division St
    Cost: free no strings attached
    More Information: http://www.loveelginday.org

    I would like to publicly thank Councilman Gilliam for his many years of service. I’m not sure if he is still in the hospital or not but I ask that you extend a prayer for his quick recovery. As the recent heavy rains came down I quickly came to appreciate what he has gone through for the last 40 year. Prior to April 9th if it would have rained that hard I would not have thought anything about it. But now my perspective has completely changed. I think about the families and businesses impacted by the rain and how they are managing. I then reflect back to Councilman Gilliam, he has been caring about our community for four decades. Whether you agree with his policy or not, you have to step back and appreciate what he has done for Elgin. Thank you Councilman Gilliam.


    • paul says:

      “appreciate what he has done for Elgin.” “the last 40 year.”

      Detail it for us, what has he done!

      Presided over the destruction of city of Elgin tax base.

      Presided over turning a thriving downtown Elgin retail center into a empty store front ghost town.

      Presided over thousands of homeowners being foreclosed on in Elgin.

      Presided over the destruction of Elgin’s manufacturing base.

      Presided over turning inner city Elgin into a hotbed of Illegal immigration.

      Presided over creating a singular Elgin retail void on retail mecca Randall Rd. stretching from Aurora to Crystal Lake.

      I CAN go on with this list. I appreciate the irony of your post following immediately TG’s tax freedom day.

      Let’s give credit to where it is due - to the hard scrabble working taxpayers.
      And let’s give blame to where it is due - to politicians who preside over the rot in the kingdom.

      Good riddance to Gilliam.

      • bw says:

        bw: Don’t debate Paul.

        • RS says:

          If you don’t want to debate Paul, just ignore him. Leaving a reply to his comments in this or similar manner constitutes taunting behavior, which is uncivil and therefore a violation of the comment policy.

          • Danise Habun says:

            I have a question, RS. Why aren’t Paul’s comments considered to be uncivil? I’m just asking, not baiting.

          • RS says:

            Hi Danise, I think most of Paul’s comments are just strongly stated opinions. Criticism of public figures is a part of political discourse and cannot be censored. The civility mentioned in the comment policy is with respect to how people treat each other on this forum.

            No, Paul does not always treat everybody here with civility, but he is at his worst only when people fall into the trap of debating him. He’s been here a while. He has a unique personality but he’s a part of the community. What can you do?

            I learned a long time ago that I don’t have to have the last word on anything. So I’m more than happy to let Paul say what he wants without responding to him. I think other people here have learned that too.

        • paul says:

          What is it you don’t deem civil, Danise?
          just askin.

          Especially in light of the thread you are commenting on - do you seriously believe politicians/councilmen are above criticism?
          Did I say something untrue?
          Is this literally the basis of your argument - you have no argument so terminate the opposition?
          Just askin - where is your basis?
          WHERE is your debate?

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:


      I second your thoughts.

  16. Cruex says:

    I think Toby Shaw is being courteous to Gilliam and that’s a nice gesture. But Paul’s points are well made and factual. In all of his of 40 years Gilliam was never a friend of the taxpayer. Instead he preferred to spend money. Those who received his goodwill voted for him. Schock losing the mayor’s race in 2011 and Prigge calling him and the rest of the council out for poor spending habits made Gilliam weak. Living in Arizona was the final straw.

    • paul says:

      I’m still waiting for list of councilman Gilliam’s successes - beyond sucking at the taxpayers teat ALL of his life.

      Politics is not a sport. Politics isn’t a baseball game, a basketball game, a soccer game! Politics is war. And when politicians reach into your pocket and take your money they are thieves.

      I’m waiting, Danise. Don’t pop up, toss your fire bomb and run away.
      THAT would be the very essence of incivility.

      • Danise Habun says:

        I’ve been busy doing other things so did not get back here until today. My question to RS was in reference to a statement that he’s written several times…”Don’t get into a debate with Paul.” As well as his admonishment to BW that her post indicated “taunting behavior”.

        My point was (is) there appears to be a double standard here. Rather than holding you to the standard of uncivil behavior, those who disagree with you are told not to engage with you. Kind of like being told to ignore a bully in the hopes that one won’t get a beating.

        I asked the question with all sincerity. My question had to do with what RS has written rather than what you’ve written.

        • RS says:

          As I’m not in the habit of repeating myself, I only wrote once that it’s better for people not to debate with Paul. BW is the one who clung onto that and restated it several times, which is why I had to jump in and tell him (or her) to stop, which to his credit he did.

        • RS says:

          As for your perceived double standard and what you are comparing to bullying with respect to Paul, I don’t think either of those observations are accurate.

          But maybe I am too close to the action to see it clearly so let’s leave this thread open and see if other people here have anything they want to say.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Danise, it must also be remembered/understood, that the Elginite is not operated by a professional staff. As I understand it, RS does this as best as he can, mostly as a public service.

            I have encouraged him to accept ads on his site. And since he didn’t take me up on those, I think it is quite clear that this is not a financially inspired operation.

            And RS has been doing this for a good number of years. Most people would have burned out on something like this long ago. So please consider these points if you seem to not find things being done rigorously.


          • Danise Habun says:

            Hi RS,
            I appreciated your quick response. From my perspective, it’s been asked and answered and done.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Paul, out of curiosity, you clearly know a lot about what is going on in Elgin. Would you mind listing in priority order what you think are the best sources for keeping track of what is going on in Elgin, concerning the activities of the City, City Council, and related matters? I am able to ask others here one on one, as they post under their real names, or I know who they are. Thanks, Chuck