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Festival Park, Elgin IL (Photo by The Elginite).
Happy New Year! Enjoy this month’s open thread.
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So, what’s up with this coffee shop/bar/gambling house concept in downtown Elgin?
Throw in a pawn shop and you’ve got a perfect idea to revitalize downtown.
Why not? I thought we learned long ago that there’s nothing wrong with gambling. The casino has done a lot to help revitalize downtown. It could have done more if it was designed to be more integrated but nevertheless we would not be where we are now without it. I was at On the Side the other day for breakfast and overheard some longtime residents talking about how far the downtown has come since the 70s. Apparently it was bleak then. Now we have some very good restaurants, shops, bookstores, etc. But we still have room for a lot more and until we have gotten to the point where the storefronts are filled up, we can’t pick and choose which businesses we have. The number one priority is to fill the vacancies.
Java Jill sounds like a good idea. I can see how their business plan is completely tailored to derive revenue from gambling but there’s nothing wrong with that. If Elgin doesn’t let them open here they’ll open in a neighboring town and we’ll lose that revenue. The riverboats are all now being cannibalized by video gambling so we have no choice but to go along with it and diversify our gaming revenue a little bit.
As a gambling venue I think it’s superior to the casino because it’s going to be much more integrated with the downtown. People can easily step out of there and grab lunch or dinner at one of our restaurants, for example. Whereas once people enter a casino they don’t normally leave (by design of the casino). The extra foot traffic in that area will also enhance safety and give the appearance of a more lively downtown. The Chicago Street location is very suitable because that’s already where the bars and restaurants have started to come together.
I do think the appearance of the building should not be significantly changed. I don’t think hey should be allowed to black out the windows or anything like that. It should still look like a cafe with open windows.
Seriously? A gambling parlor for red hat ladies?
Whatever you say.
I have to agree that this would help the vitality of the downtown. Government has a terrible history of picking winners and losers. Let the market decide what succeeds.
“we learned long ago that there’s nothing wrong with gambling.”
LOL. Let’s do it online then.
” The casino has done a lot to help revitalize downtown.”
“we would not be where we are now without it. ”
Where are we now?
“how far the downtown has come since the 70s. ”
Pull your head out. There are more vacant storefronts NOW than anytime in Elgin’s history.
“Now we have some very good restaurants, shops, bookstores, etc. ”
Pull your head out. Can you say villa verone. How about ravenheart!
Hilarious. The only way Elgin can have a coffe shop is if they also offer video gambling too. Why not at Menards too?
“we have no choice but to go along with it”
Exactly. Everyone is doing crack and Heroin these days.
paul, I am truly sorry for whatever it is that you have gone through in your life that has hurt you so much. I hope that one day you will come to believe that you are good enough without having to compete or put anyone else down, because you are. I am sending you compassion and wishing you peace and healing.
So much for RS’s not posting under anonymous policy.
Apparently he doesn’t like comedy either.
Long time paul-ism: never ever trust anyone who is humorless.
Word of advice for Prigge and Gavin: Don’t vote against Christmas or the 4th of July!
Philosophically, principally, you may be right. But voting against the 4th of July doesn’t play in Peoria and won’t play in Elgin either.
I may not agree with Kaptain much. But when he said bringing back fireworks was the #1 desire of the community you might have wanted to consider those words very carefully.
Voters won’t remember 99% of your voting record. But voting against the 4th of July is something memorable.
For what it is worth, here is the text of my speech to the council last night. In this speech I offered a rebuttal to the accusations of “hatred” that were made at the 12/18/13 Council session about some of those who were opposed to the 120 S. State Street project.
While I posted this on the page dedicated to the 120 S. State project, I thought maybe people wouldn’t look there anymore. But my original document that contained the controversial term “hobo” in connection with Central Park is in the first post of that thread. Chuck
Good evening Mr. Mayor, Members of City Council and City Staff.
I am here to address the false accusation of “hatred” as brandished by Tracy Ellis, and which was re-affirmed by Councilwoman Powell at December 18th’s council meeting, in connection with the public discussion surrounding the 120 S. State Street project.
On October 8th, I sent an email to the Council about the Housing Authority’s project, highlighting its problems. I then offered several fresh alternatives, that would eliminate the problems I had described. One of my proposals was to simply re-locate the project 300 feet away to property already owned by the City, Central Park. I wrote: “Look at using Central Park for low density mixed income housing. That property is wasted, and is nothing more than a home for hobos. A nice low density housing development there would make more sense instead of adding high density housing onto 120 S. State.”
In her December 18th speech to the Elgin City Council, Traci Ellis said that when she first heard about the debate on expanding 120 S. State, she didn’t think this was an issue for her, because she did not live in that neighborhood. But she said that when she heard terms like “hobos”, it became “crystal clear” that parking, and crowding were simply pretexts for the real issue, which was “hate”. Tracy said that “Elgin is full of haters”… “You know who they are”. “Low income seniors are the targets of some people’s hate, under pretext of parking, congestion….”
During her subsequent comments to the council, Tish Powell re-affirmed Tracy’s speech with its clear comments on hatred in Elgin. Tish said that “to refer to the residents as “hobos” is very derogatory and very disrespectful. I don’t think anyone in our community deserves to be treated like that.” she said.
At the end of the council session, I immediately told Tish how upset I was by her comments that I felt were directed at me. She quickly said, “I didn’t name names. Maybe your concern is telling.” And I said, “Come on, who else have you heard even use the old term “hobo”? She then admitted, “Well, I’ll have to go back and re-read your email, but I was sure you said the residents of Central Park Towers were hobos”. I then asked, “How could someone even say “hobos” lived in a building, when by definition, “hobos” are homeless people?” I told Tish that all of the issues raised were legitimate, and that I had said nothing hateful, and further, I hadn’t heard anyone else say anything hateful in this discussion.
I am not so naïve as to say that ethnic, racial, and economic tensions do not exist in the City of Elgin. But it really disturbs me that Tish would use this legitimate and very restrained civic discussion about the expansion of public housing at 120 S. State, to stir up the “hate” issue where it didn’t even exist.
“Only a Hobo” is one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs. I don’t know if true hobos exist anymore and whether the ones near the railroad in Elgin are hobos or just regular homeless people, but the term itself should not be offensive. I guess the thought police want us to use the term “homeless” to cover all categories of people without permanent homes. But at least historically homeless themselves differentiated between hobos, tramps and bums.
“Tramps and hobos are commonly lumped together, but see themselves as sharply differentiated. A hobo or bo is simply a migratory laborer; he may take some longish holidays, but sooner or later he returns to work. A tramp never works if it can be avoided; he simply travels. Apart from either is the bum, who neither works nor travels, save when propelled to motion by the police” [HL Mencken}
Of those three terms, I think only “bum” might be offensive. But if you called a hobo a hobo or a tramp a tramp I don’t think they would be offended. In the 90s, Christopher McCandless was calling himself Alexander Supertramp. And the words “tramping” and “tramp” are still in common use today among long-term travelers, and not as a pejorative.
But yeah it’s interesting to see how the language is constantly being changed by the thought police. Certain words or terms become off-limits. When was the last time you saw “illegal alien?” Now it’s “undocumented immigrant.” Etc.
The case of “global warming” vs “climate change” is slightly different. In this case, they just wanted to be able to cover all possibilities. In case we enter another ice age, that’s also because of humans. There’s no way they can be wrong.
These people are very clever and they are winning the war. Winning the language war wins the thought war, and when the thought war is won then the whole war is won.
Good for you, Chuck.
That is exactly what needs to be done. Stand up to the haters of perceived hatreds masking their readily apparent racism. The arrogance of their hypocrisy is quite breathtaking. Similiar to Duck Dynasty - a Bridge To Far. The American people are getting real tired of the intolerance of tolerance.
As RS indicates from Wikipedia, calling them hobos would be a step up in status for those homeless derelicts in Central park. Bums is a much better accurate description.
Don’t hate the truth. The truth shall set you free.
Maverick Democratic State Representative Jack Franks joined us today on Left Right and You radio. We discussed Chris Christie’s Bridgegate. Isn’t ironic that the media covered this scandal, but ignored Benghazi, the IRS, and WWII Memorial closure??? http://www.allenskillicorn.com/2699/left-right-radio-bridgegate-chris-christie-finished/
This is a much bigger, better story than any of those.
Five shot on North Street (East side, just east of the Burger King on Dundee Ave) early this morning.
Chicago Tribune scoops it by reciting the EPD press release.
Daily Herald and Courier News still silent.
Sad news coverage in this town.
Hey One Vote, I agree all the way. No Saturday newspaper anymore and they still can’t put a decent paper together. They must give the Sun Times a sweet write-off every year. The Herald has no competition from the Courier.
“On the Side is the third downtown Elgin eatery to shut its doors since late September, when Italian restaurant Villa Verone closed, followed by Ravenheart Coffee in November.” (Daily Herald)
Tattoo Parlors +3
Significant downtown revitalization? You decide.
it’s a shame. They had really good food. Unfortunately it was too far for me to go regularly. If they re-open on Randall I would probably go every day.
The strip malls on Randall are helping to kill the downtown and just make it a complete ghetto.
A bad week for the Downtown apologists.
The Tower Building peed all over the DNA offices. (Free rent isn’t always free.)
But the mayor told us a couple of weeks ago that things are looking up. Maybe we just can’t see it, Madison.
I loved Prigge’s comment about hoping Artspace would revitalize downtown.
To live in Artspace you have to be below median income (translation from liberal-speak into English: low income housing). Clue for Prigge - low income housing doesn’t attract restaurants; it attracts tattoo parlors. And Pawn shops - we really could a use a pawn shop downtown. Same article says Viking Thrift will be moving downtown. I do enjoy a good junk-shop (cue Tim - derogatory personal attack commentary).
Shame on the U-46 board for renaming Sheridan School. They have angered many Sheridan graduates for what is pure politics and pandering. Can we start doing this to all of U-46 schools? Let’s change all schools named after people to other people! It’s bad enough U-46’s reputation has been in the tank with parents of English speaking children for years. But to do this desecrates all who attended Sheridan School and that’s quite a few thousand.
Next up (or down) on the slippery slope. Coleman will become Ed Schock Elementary School.
I recently received two mailers for the 8th District.
Manju Goel and Larry Kaifesh.
Does anyone know anything about them?
Regarding the Daily Herald article - 01-20-14
MKL Jr. was quoted saying “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” So, I’m going to say something about what matters and see if this can be a learning moment for many regarding the upcoming 2015 elections in Elgin.
Ms. Powell, you are a current city official who has imposed some of that burden on the taxpayer you seem to now be so compassionate about. You have voted for three budgets that hurt working families by imposing extra fees and taxes while shuffling money around in a diversification scheme.
You said in your last campaign that you felt you would bring a unique voice and perspective to the city council. How have you done that exactly? By voting for all spending? Your version of unique must be to play follow the leader.
If you were paying attention to the signs of the times, maybe you would not have frivolously spent the citizens tax dollars so quickly and thoughtlessly. Have you ever been unemployed for a long time? Do you remember how your local, State and Federal governments spent more of your money that you wanted them to or more than you could afford? You have lived up to nothing in my eyes and sold your neighbors and fellow citizens down the river of additional tax debt and future hardship.
Your votes have consistently taken money from the same families and businesses you point out are struggling. I have connected the dots and come to the logical conclusion that you are part of the problem.
You sound like a person who would play dot to dot? The three that you manage play the same games as you. I’m sick of all three already. They are the joke of the city.
Happy New Year,
I find it interesting that you didn’t dispute my post in any way regarding Ms. Powell.
Your personal attacks I’m use to and reflect poorly upon you.
As for managing the big three, I have already addressed that. Feel free to review on your own.
As for managing the big three, I have already addressed that. Feel free to review on your own. You may have addressed it but you were not truthful. Tell the truth when you post on this board. Maybe instead of manager I should call you their coach.Most of your post defend all three on whatever issue is being discussed. It is you right to do so, just admit it.
Please don’t point out my support of the three when you clearly support the six in the majority and everything they do and stand for. Its okay that you do, just admit it bw.
As for telling the truth, please offer just one issue or post where I did not tell the truth or offer my truthful opinion? Just because you don’t agree, doesn’t make what I post a lie. Unbelievable!
As for your reference from manager to coach, you call it whatever you want. I offered you my thoughts on this when you first accused me of being their manager and I corrected you. These men are not managed by women. They are strong and can rightfully make their own decisions on issues and do.
I will await your reply but not hold my breathe.
“…and see if this can be a learning moment for many regarding the upcoming 2015 elections in Elgin.”
2015? Upcoming? I’ll be sure to remember this post in 14 months.
And way to tie in MLK Jr. to local Elgin politics. Really?
Happy New Year.
The tie in was appropriate. The article was about the MLK celebration and the quote was more than appropriate based on Ms. Powell’s comments.
As for the upcoming elections, is this really the first time you noticed that campaigning starts earlier and earlier each election cycle.
Why Anna Moeller and John Steffen have already had fund raisers as far back as October 2013. You must not have received their invitations.
Nope no invitations. Although Moeller is the only member of city government that actually did something worthwhile for me and my neighbors so I might actually be receptive. But apparently you did.
I am aware of how early elections start. But like I said I’m supposed to remember your babble in 2015?
“And way to tie in MLK Jr. to local Elgin politics. Really?”
Really, SIE! How is it in anyway, shape, or form inappropriate to quote MLK on the very day of the MLK National holiday? Unless it’s your standard left wing politics of personal destruction! Are only blacks, minorities, and left wing socialists allowed to quote MLK? One could NOT turn a TV or open a newspaper Monday without hearing from blacks how oppressed they remain to this very day. The best was from one of the highest paid public employees in Illinois, a non native born non U.S citizen born ECC president Sams bloviate about his race’s remaining oppression. Much like the current President of the U.S., never waste an opportunity to denigrate the U.S.
The unwitting hilarity of your criticism of MM’s quoting MLK of not remaining silent is your rather transparent intent of silencing MM.
Thank you Paul, nice to have you back!
Yeah welcome back Paul. Were you banned for violating the TOS? If so you should be again based on this post.
Find out more about Kane County tax referendum on the ballot March 18th. http://www.kanecaresabouttaxpayers.org/
Allen’s group only cares about taxpayers who aren’t disabled.
Kudos to Gavin for responding to Steffoon’s personal attack in a letter to the editor in the Courier News. Note the difference in civility: Gavin never personally attacks the tax and spend liberals; that was the POINT of Steffoon’s letter - marginalize the conservatives by personal character assassination by any and all means.
Kudos for Gavin for even responding - conservatives are way to civil to the detriment of their own well-being. I would have called Steffoon out on his use of all of what Mark Twain called the 3 types of lies; lies, damn lies, and statistics.
But Gavin’s response was only published in the Courier where Steffoon’s politics of destruction was published in the Daily Herald as well!
Calling Councilman Steffen “Steffoon” isn’t a “politics of destruction, personal attack?”
Kudos to Gavin, again. His rebuttal finally shown up in the DH.
“Calling Councilman Steffen “Steffoon” isn’t a “politics of destruction, personal attack?””
Hmmm. You think my play-on-words humorous satirical calling Steffoon a Steffoon is on par with Steffoon publicly disparaging other Council members with lies! But you don’t object to my clear implication of Steffoon being a liar!
Please cite the “lies” in Councilman Steffen’s letter and back it up with verifiable facts.
“Please cite the “lies” in Councilman Steffen’s letter and back it up with verifiable facts.”
Already have. Steffon saying Gavin, Prigge and Shaw are calling for deficit spending is a LIE. Steffoon saying the budget is balanced is a LIE when the budget is continuously running a surplus.
It is my opinion, backed with evidence, that Steffoon is a LIAR. Feel free to refute my opinion. Your inability to, is telling.
You haven’t proven anything until you cite the data that proves your point. Saying “it’s not true that Gavin et al are deficit spending” doesn’t prove anything except that you don’t know what you are talking about and are too lazy to get the information.
Jennifer, Councilman Gavin wrote a letter to the editor of the Courier, dated 1/3/14. In that letter Councilman Gavin addressed errors in what John Steffen has written. Here is PART of what Councilman Gavin wrote:
“The truth on Elgin’s 2014 budget
Councilman John Steffen’s letter (Dec. 23) regarding the Elgin budget for 2014 contained several points that I take issue with.
Councilman Steffen stated: “The process included concerted-yet-ill-conceived efforts to send our community into deficit spending.” At no time did anyone of us who voted against the Elgin 2014 budget suggest creating deficits. We recommended taking only a part of the $12 million to $14 million surplus amassed over the last two years of over-taxation and returning it to the taxpayers. That is NOT deficit spending. In fact, if Mr. Steffen wants spending cuts, he should have listened to our discussion where we conservatives tried to eliminate Steffen’s new bike route, which will cost the Elgin taxpayers $400,000!”
Councilman Gavin’s entire letter can be read here: http://couriernews.suntimes.com/opinions/letters/24743504-474/the-truth-on-elgins-2014-budget.html
I have followed the budget closely, and totally agree with Councilman Gavin’s assessment. As Paul correctly pointed out, running MASSIVE deficits is NOT running a “balanced” budget. In 2012, the budgeted surplus was $7Million, in 2013 the budgeted surplus was $10million. This is massive OVER-TAXATION, which John Steffen supports, but he misleadingly calls this a balanced budget.
The City will maybe run $1million over budget this year for dealing with our massive snow falls and record cold (bursting pipes cost $$$$$$$). And without a doubt the City Manager and many on the council will proudly exclaim, “See, isn’t it great we have surplus???” But we don’t need $10million extra cash sitting around to pay $1million in unexpected expenses.
By cutting out $5million of this massive surplus, the “trash tax” could be completely eliminated, and we would still have $4million left out of which to pay the $1million excess in snow expenses.
Why I love arguing with liberals:
“You haven’t proven anything”
You haven’t proven that I haven’t proven anything!
“too lazy to get the information.”
This from the person who is too lazy to read the LTE pertaining this to this thread easily verifying exactly what I’m saying!!!
The TLC van lawsuit was settled.
May I suggest it is time to clean house at the legal department at city hall. Cogley and his lovely assistant (Fabio) need to be gone ASAP.
Please don’t point out my support of the three when you clearly support the six in the majority and everything they do and stand for. Its okay that you do, just admit it bw. I agree 100% in what you say. I support the six smart majority because they truly represent Elgin. That is what I want in my council members.
As for telling the truth, please offer just one issue or post where I did not tell the truth or offer my truthful opinion? Just because you don’t agree, doesn’t make what I post a lie. Unbelievable! You post so much BS that I would have to spent a week of my time going through all of your post. I do not have that kind of time to read all of your nonsense post that are not truthful. The problem, as I see it, is you have no idea between knowing what is the truth and what is not. I will let the rest of the people decide for themselves as they read each of your future post.
That’s a cop-out! Your a retired person and it will be sub-zero for about the next five days. Take your time, extra time if need be, I can wait.
I think the rest of the people have decided. They may not like what I write but they don’t question its the truth or that its my truthful opinion on an issue. If they do, I offer supportive sources. I welcome the challange.
Have a nice evening and stay warm.
Not a good day for Elgin taxpayers. TLC lawsuit settled for $280,000.
$280,000 who is held accountable for this blunder or miscalculation. We need to change the current form of government to have the top city officials be elected officials not appointed bureaucrats that have no accountability other than to appease the majority on the council and stay employed. The Mayor should be able to hold those that work for the city accountable to him/her and the city. Who made the decision to go after TLC in the first place? Who went along with the idea, Who is taking responsibility for it? The city needs to have a STRONG MAYOR form of government, we need full time accountability for a city of over 100,000 people and growing.
One Vote and Anthony, I couldn’t agree more with both of you. What we also need is to bring this story to full coverage. How much did we spend as taxpayer to out source this case to outside lawyers? That is what the City does on any lawsuit. I challenge the news media to cover the full story. Everyone would like to have 4th of July fireworks the council says we can’t afford it.They were saying a 20 minute show costs about $70,000. But they just got a $280,000 legal judgement against them. We could of had an hour and 20 minutes of non stop fireworks!!
One Vote, We also need to fire the director of community development also, he is the one that changed the zoning ordinance to cause this law suit.
It is time this council gets serious to eliminate this city manager/council type government. We don’t need a Mayor and council pretending to run this city.You get what you pay for, but I didn’t vote for a high priced incompetent city manager and his gang of clowns.
Anthony and Harmony:
On the point of eliminating the council-manager form of government I agree with you 100%. Maybe 5 years ago I heard some talk of this, and Bob Gilliam and Sean Stegall (at different times and in different venues) said this had been proposed before and been soundly rejected by the voters. Well that got me to do a little investigation, as back in the 1990s, when this subject last got really pushed, Elgin was much smaller than it is today.
In my research, I found in the Gail Borden Public Library’s reference section, something called the International City Managers Association yearbooks. It was very easy to find charts that indicate that most cities change from a council-manager form of government to a “strong” mayor form of government after reaching a population of 100,000 and before reaching 200,000.
Of course the City Staff will be entirely opposed to such a proposition, and those on the council who love the city staff will do all that they can to kill the idea of allowing the voters to get DIRECT control of city hall. They will ridicule the idea as absurd and irresponsible, and will no doubt tell us that this idea has been rejected before.
Well as Anthony and Harmony know, we need to allow the people to shake up City Hall, IF that is what the voters want to have happen. With a “strong mayor” form of government, if we elect a new mayor to change things at City Hall, he can go in and replace department heads at will, and truly redirect the policies of the city. And if the voters like the way the city is running, they can choose the mayoral candidate who will promise to do that by leaving the staff alone. This is much more clearly putting the direct control of our city back into the hands of the citizens of Elgin.
And, with a “strong mayor” form of government, the pay for mayor goes up, allowing skilled professionals to run for the office of mayor. With the present $15,000/year, pretty much the only people who can take such a job are either retired pensioners, or really rich people who can comfortably afford to live without a salary. In any event, the pay matter chops the pool of possible candidates down to almost nothing, of course limiting the choices offered to the voters at election time.
So giving the voters greater power over City Hall, (and thus the direction taken by our city), AND being able to find a broader offering of qualified candidates are KEY aspects of moving away from our present “council-manager” form of government, and towards a “strong mayor” form of government here in Elgin. And with the population of about 110,000, we are in the right population range where cities seem to make this change.
I’m not sure how relevant city size is to the suitability of strong mayor vs council-manager government. There are certainly many massive (compared to Elgin) cities using council-manager: Phoenix, Dallas, Las Vegas, etc.
I think council-manager works better for Elgin than the alternative. My fear is that a strong mayor government would lead to what are essentially partisan elections and inevitable corruption. An elected “strong” mayor will fill city hall positions with his (or his party’s) friends and supporters. Take a look around at your local Democrats. Do you trust them?
A “strong” mayor can be vindictive. Some of you here have described previous “weak” mayors with this very term. Imagine if they actually had the power to hire and fire people. Right now everything still has to go through the city manager, who is much much less likely to be corrupted than somebody running in an election, especially one where, as Chuck proposed, the salary provides a living. I don’t want people making bad choices and doing whatever they have to do to get elected because they need the money.
The mayor is not paid much because this is supposed to be a part-time thing. Of course many mayors decide to make it full time but that’s their option. Many of the things they do are more like perks than responsibilities. They are not obligated to put in face at every event but probably they like to do that. That’s part of the fun of being mayor for them. We don’t need to pay them for that.
The actual running of the city is handled by the manager and I’m much more comfortable with a professional manager running the city than somebody elected, who may have no executive/management experience at all, or perhaps not even an education. What might happen (if they don’t run the whole thing into the ground) is they would end up hiring a de-facto manager at a similar salary as an official city manager and we would end up paying two large salaries instead of one. Also keep in mind that if you go strong mayor and pay the mayor a living salary, everybody else on the council is going to demand a living salary. Everybody will be going “full-time.”
Also, if the manager does a a bad job or is found to be corrupt, he can be fired. You can’t fire a mayor. Do you want to wait four years to kick him out? Look at the problems they’re having with Rob Ford in Toronto. There’s no way to get rid of the guy.
Bottom line, I think you need to be very very careful about going in this direction.
RS: Leaving the Mayor as a “part-time-thing” means leaving the City Manager and HIS cronies to make most of the decisions which often simply get approved by the council, because they too are part time, and can not be expected to go through the piles of documents they get for every council session.
And frankly, I think it is a mistake to want the mayor to be a “part-time-thing”. I would rather have the mayor, as a person, fully and directly accountable to the voters to be living at City Hall and knowing everything that is going on. (This is what Mayor Kelly did in the 1990s, but he did it as a “weak” mayor, and had to support himself off of personal savings to even try this.) Why would I want a dabbler for a mayor, who has to put all of his faith in a City Manager who is skilled at doing what he wants with the 90% hidden part of the city hall iceberg the way he sees fit while keeping the mayor happy with the 10% tip of the iceberg that he is aware of?
Let’s look at the recent case of 120 S. State, and the expansion of public housing. The HAE brought their plans to the City, and city staff with full support of the City Manager told them, you do what we tell you to do, and we will assure you that your project will get approved. I was told that is the case at an HAE board meeting in August by the project’s chief architect. And I was told the same thing by a top official in the HAE in November.
Well an unelected official, the City Manager, and his staff messed with the plans submitted by the HAE for maybe 9 months, or more. The council and the public didn’t see this project until the HAE has already changed everything around to make City Staff happy, and in reality, they had messed it up, using their personal opinions for which they are not accountable to the public (such as believing that 10 story buildings as built in the 1960s was a mistake, and as a result, they told the HAE to take their original 8 story design and squash it down, making it have a BIG foot-print, eliminating green space and parking space: and saying Elgin needs a cutting edge, contemporary design, which brought us the ugly design we all saw last August).
Anyway, staff being directed by the City Manager is making these bad decisions, and they aren’t held accountable for them. A strong mayor by contrast, who has a full-time job at City Hall, along with his appointed professional chief of staff, would have been responsible for this mess and would have hopefully made it a public issue before it was too late, as in this case. Instead the council is applauded for simply partly unscrambling the mess created by city staff (changing the “skin” of the building). (The original design brought to the City looked nice, and was much taller, allowing more green space and parking space.)
City staff runs things, and then it is up to the council to catch things, and fix them, and then it is too late, and no one is really held to task for this.
The matter of firing a corrupt mayor is independent of their being a strong mayor or a weak mayor. Corruption and cronyism will take place in either format. I don’t know if Mayor Ford is a “strong mayor” or not, but that situation would be the same whether or not he was strong or weak. He is an embarrassment and can’t be gotten rid of until the next election.
And I think you are not considering the matter that in the most recent mayoral election, people were voting for a shake up at City Hall, and in reality, what they got was marginal tweaking around the edges. That is because Sean Stegall was effectively Ed Schock’s personal selection to be City Manager. They worked as a tightly functional team, and Sean came into professional adult-hood under Ed’s tutelage. There is nothing wrong with that, as Ed and Sean are both hard working men of integrity. But now, when the voters want Ed Schock to move on, well, he does, but guess what, his man, groomed and christened by Ed Schock, remains, and continues to run things in ways that would more likely than not, have been in accordance with the wishes of Ed Schock. Is that bad? Well, no on one level, but yes, if people were voting Ed Schock out because they really wanted a change at City Hall……. This very real situation, that occurred here in Elgin would NOT take place with a “strong” mayor form of government. If the “strong” mayor goes, because the people are unhappy, someone new comes in who remolds City Hall in his own image, an image which if accurately portrayed, will be what the people want for City Hall.
Sorry, I have to get on to other things, and so I don’t have my usual time to carefully re-read and edit my thoughts.
Looks like I’m getting sucked into a debate!
First, the Rob Ford thing. If you have a “weak” mayor who is smoking crack, yes you have to wait four years to vote him out. But he’s a weak mayor. He has very limited powers. It’s not such a big deal. He’s an embarassment but he’s not running the show. A “strong” mayor on the other hand wields power and retains power until he’s out of office. So I think that’s a big difference. A “weak” mayor is a much safer option from this perspective.
As for getting a clean slate when you vote a mayor in or out of office, I think that discounts too much the role of the city council. That’s kind of like saying just vote for president and forget about the congress. Voters also have to choose councilmen and if the majority of councilmen are of one persuasion then voting a mayor in or out may be of little consequence. I think that would be the reason that you see a “tweaking” rather than a “shake up.” And “city hall” during election time I think really means the city council and political decisions of the council. I don’t think voters are generally voting on the competence of the hired hands.
And I honestly do not think that the city manager is beholden to a past mayor. That’s the great thing about the council-manager form of government. His job depends on him pleasing the current council, not a past one. He’s not going to get very far, get a raise or hold onto his job if he’s doing the bidding of somebody who does not have the power to fire him. If the city manager defied this council, do you think he would be around very long? He is continually accountable and can be terminated at any time. A “strong” mayor on the other hand: accountable once every four years. Which also means that he can be confident that voters will forget about any of his shenanigans by the time an election rolls around years later.
The deal with the housing project does not sound to me like it could have been done better under a “strong” mayor. You would just be trading one powerful person for another. Substitute “mayor” for “city manager” in the paragraph you wrote and it would be the same deal.
If people are not watching the city manager now, who’s going to watch a “strong” mayor? It still basically comes down to the public, bloggers and activists like yourself and the media, which is not an entirely interested or dependable watchdog. I see no increase in transparency under a “strong” mayor. I just see a more powerful individual, more prone to corruption and abuse of power than a city manager.
Another thing is that a “strong” mayor will inevitably push his own agenda, whereas a city manager knows that whatever project he’s doing needs to be approved by a voting majority of the city council over whom he has essentially no influence. A manager does not have the power to play politics with councilmen, offering quid pro quos and so on. Under a “strong” mayor there would be a lot of that, and there will be a lot more conflicts, corruption and general nastiness.
I don’t think that any system is perfect. There are always going to be problems. Each system will have its strengths and weaknesses but I do think council-manager offers a very nice division of power that minimizes the risks of corruption and abuse of power.
It’s also cheaper. If the mayor goes full-time we’re talking about another salaried employee with an expensive pension to go with that. And multiply that by a full-time council as well. We have enough career politicians to deal with as it is. I don’t want to see anymore in this community.
Chuck, I agree with your comments 100%. The fear of what a strong Mayor could or might do is? I want the top person to be elected by he people and for the people, and if he or she is not competent then the people will decide who takes over.
First, I am making a guess that you have not been considering the matter of a strong mayor for a long period of time, and what looks like your snap rush to defend the status quo seems more reflexive than reasoned.
a) Your comments about the devastation caused by having a bad strong mayor seem rather exaggerated. Even the US with R M Nixon leaving the Whitehouse in disgrace was not as bad as you are making it sound if we had a bad strong mayor needing to be kicked out. And the mayor of Elgin doesn’t have his finger on “the button” that could destroy the world…………..
b) I haven’t looked, as I just got back to my PC, but can you cite facts that Mayor Ford is a strong mayor or a weak mayor? Being in Canada, he may be neither.
c) I do not discount the council, nor did my comments even imply that. The mayor is a unique position, and the issue is to bring direct accountability into the walls of City Hall, instead of indirect management. And as you yourself said, you are talking about ignoring congress and just voting for a president, when I said or implied no such thing.
d) You said you don’t think the voters are voting on the competence of the hired hands. It is my belief that the average voter in Elgin has NO clue whatsoever as to what form of government we have in Elgin. They know enough to grasp the most obvious levels of abuse or waste by City Hall, such as to be mad at the Rec Center loosing money when the ex-mayor promised it would make money, and they were sick of taxes going up to pay for trash removal, and sick at the prospect of a rain tax. For 90% of the 10% who turn out to vote for council elections, they don’t know any more than how they have been abused. So of course the vote was not about the competence of the hired hands,,,,,,,
e) I also did NOT say that the present city manager is beholding to the past mayor, nor did I imply that. What I said was that people did vote for a change, that was the fundamental gut motivation for why Schock lost. He was not kicked out for being mean, bad, stupid, lazy, corrupt, or any such thing, as he is a well respected man. But people were tired of how things were running at City Hall, to the extent that we even had a councilman get elected in 2009 saying he was going to shake up city hall, and “cut off the head of the snake”. But if people didn’t like how city hall was running, should they be surprised when things run pretty much the same, because even though Schock was voted out, that his hand picked manager remained? That is what I said.
e) You missed my point entirely, I assume because you were being hasty to defend the status quo,,,, The CM has huge latitude to exercise his judgment/authority as long as he is skillful enough to juggle the competing personalities on the council, and usually he can do this. He keeps the council happy on many levels, and each think he is their best friend. That is a personal skill that the CM has, I know this, and I have experienced this, everyone who leaves the room from meeting with him thinks he is their greatest buddy. But what does he say when you are not around is the question, and I know what is said to me by the CM, and what is said about me by the CM, and they are totally different. I believe that he operates with everyone this way, to varying degrees, but he holds himself in check so as not to damage his own power.
f) Backing up, you know, Ed Schock was a strong mayor in all ways except by legal authority. As noted, he brought up Sean, but Ed remained the real power. But without Ed Schock telling the CM what to do, and Dave Kaptain not telling the CM what to do, that leaves the CM to navigate as he sees fit, (as long as he doesn’t run afoul of the council). This minimized the amount of change that getting rid of Schock created, which is thwarting the intention of the voters.
g) The matter of the strong mayor not doing any better than a City Manager on the 120 S. State project…….. Maybe you are right, maybe you are wrong,,,, while I believe the right person running City Hall would have re-directed that to have a better outcome for Elgin’s posterity, the fact of the matter remains accountability. IF the strong mayor would have bungled this so badly, he would have been accountable! But as noted, with this arrangement, the council majority and mayor can look good, for coming in at the last minute, and looking like they improved the project, instead of simply making it less bad, but still worse than what the HAE originally presented to City Staff.
h) AS to holding the mayor accountable, you have again missed the point………. the City Manager is not legally directly accountable to the public, and almost no one knows who he is, which makes him doubly unaccountable. Everyone who casts a vote at least knows who the mayor is, and he is the natural head of the government, that will be held accountable, even for things he may not be, such is the nature of his higher profile.
i) And the CM does not push his own agenda? Of course 311 was the CM’s personal agenda, and he will say so. But his unspoken agenda is self-aggrandizement, and the preservation of “the kingdom”. The entire revenue diversification scheme was to leave his kingdom intact in the event of a future economic downturn. He has placed City Hall’s need for self preservation above the needs of the citizens to be able to get tax relief when they need it most, ie when the economy tanks and people loose their jobs, and can’t pay their taxes, it is only fair that their taxes go down, which creates layoffs at city hall, which keeps taxes down until the economy picks up again. But the CM has engineered these massive tax hikes of December 2011 in a way that they are disguised and not easily tracked, AND he stabilized his kingdom, and the power of government against any future downturn. And you say he doesn’t have an agenda?
I am sure this will continue, for now, it is time to go to bed! Thanks, Chuck
PS: And with comments that have been posted here about City Staff and the TLC caper,,,,,,,,, do you think any heads will roll in City Hall? With a City Manager, it is his agenda to preserve his staff. They cover his back, he covers theirs. So no way will heads roll. Now, if we had a strong mayor, who had to fear backlash over this situation, don’t you think he would protect himself by booting out the staff that lead him to believe he could win an appeal against TLC? Think about it………. Chuck
PS: And with comments that have been posted here about City Staff and the TLC caper,,,,,,,,, do you think any heads will roll in City Hall? With a City Manager, it is his agenda to preserve his staff. They cover his back, he covers theirs. So no way will heads roll. Now, if we had a strong mayor, who had to fear backlash over this situation, don’t you think he would protect himself by booting out the staff that lead him to believe he could win an appeal against TLC?
Is there any difference between that and this:
PS: And with comments that have been posted here about City Staff and the TLC caper,,,,,,,,, do you think any heads will roll in City Hall? With a “strong mayor”, it is his agenda to preserve his staff. They cover his back, he covers theirs. So no way will heads roll. Now, if we had a city manager, who had to fear backlash over this situation, don’t you think he would protect himself by booting out the staff that lead him to believe he could win an appeal against TLC?
I don’t think we’re going to reach agreement on this issue because you guys are imagining a best-case scenario, and I’m imagining a worst-case scenario. What if the Anti-Chuck is elected?
I don’t think systems of government should be designed around best-case scenarios and neither did the founding fathers.
I’m not sure the idea of being able to vote a mayor in or out is realistic. Under a strong mayor government, the city will become run by a machine and that will be a Democratic machine based on obvious trends. It may even be run out of Chicago. The main beneficiaries are the local Democratic bigwigs that will be able to use their organizations to install a mayor and then the whole city hall becomes a patronage operation. If you were annoyed that they created a judgeship (which I think is a $180K position) for, uh, let’s say dubious reasons, what do you think is going to happen when they control city hall?
I know someone who works for the City of Chicago. He says they have dozens of department heads, about half of them sinecures, patronage positions. That’s what it means to have a city run by a political machine. And no, it’s not easy to dump a machine mayor.
You guys don’t have anything here in Elgin to counter a Democratic machine. The Republican Party is in retreat. The only defense you have is council-manager government.
I mean I guess it would be interesting to see what happens, but why should anybody stay around to watch? Did you guys know that property taxes in Nevada are like half of what they are here? Yeah you might want to look into that. Also…
It’s freaking cold here, Mr. Bigglesworth.
A high priced incompetent city manager and his gang of clowns. A legal sum of $280k. That was money pi____ed. down the river. They should take it out of his salary. He should have known that when he got involved in this lawsuit. I wonder where he went to law school. They most likely gave him his law degree to get rid of him. Now, the city council should give him the boot.
I thought the city was the one that wanted to appeal, so why are they settling and paying lawyer fees for TLC? Maybe I don’t know anything about the law but it sounds strange to me. Couldn’t they have just dropped the appeal without paying the other side’s fees? City council had already said they would rewrite the ordinance to conform with the original judgment…
I think the timeline goes like this. Judge Sam hit the city pretty hard with the first hearing back in the summer. He told them they were way out of line. Cogley should have cut his losses and cleaned up the ordinance. But he doubled down.
On December 16th a 3 judge appeals panel supported TLC and told Elgin they’d better settle up. The announcement this week was that Elgin paid some of the legal bills for TLC and everybody signed on the line to agree to the settlement.
Maybe Anna Claire can write about the case now, eh?
The city wove into their press release that Moeller and Swoboda were innocent of any wrong-doing, which just tells me it was a witch hunt against TLC from the start.
By the way, why doesn’t the city post these press releases on the website? If you go to their newsroom section all you see is happy-talk press releases.
The other side has something to say about their position and the fees the were forced to pay out-of-pocket. When you want to get out of a lawsuit it is up to both parties to agree. TLC position was that the would agree only if their legal fees were paid. When you get involved in a legal dispute, as in this case, you better understand that you may end up paying the other parties fees, and in many cases an amount that the other party wants for the troubles it cost them. If TLC did not want to settle they could have asked the court to continue the proceedings even if the judge told them to reach a settlement. That is why legal cases can go on for months or even years. TLC could have made the city answer more pleadings in this case. They were not interested in a going on with the proceedings. They just wanted to provide their service to the women of the community. The city should kiss TLC for agreeing to settle without additional cost.
The City must NOT be done with the TLC van fiasco.
Anna Moeller is said to have called in an “eyesore.” Is that true?
Chief Swoboda personally investigated the van. Is that true?
We need to get to the bottom of this heavy-handed tactic by an elected official.
We also need to find out why the police chief was involved in a code enforcement issue. It smacks of intimidation. Why not just throw it on the pile of code enforcement cases and have someone investigate?
We also need to investigate why Cogley put this statement in the press release:
“The city has also maintained throughout this matter that no member of the city council or city staff targeted TLC’s mobile facility or attempted to shut down their services. The facts and evidence support this assertion.”
We also ought to be told the total cost of this blunder.
Any city council member got what it takes to demand the answers?
Remember folks, we’re paying for this.
I think and would expect that it’s normal for a case to be escalated if it’s brought to their attention by a councilman. I think voters expect that if they take an issue to their councilman/congressman/whatever, it will have a higher priority and be done faster. So I don’t think it’s surprising that the police chief himself probably as a courtesy to the councilman investigated the issue.
But I agree that it would be nice to know the full cost of this lawsuit if the city hired outside counsel, etc.
In my days as an elected official it was made clear that council members were not individuals, but members of a corporate body. The law was to be applied equally.
If a citizen brought a complaint to me I was to either:
1) Refer them to the proper department, or
2) Pass the complaint on to the assistant city manager for handling.
It was entirely appropriate for me to follow up on the complaint, but I was not to micromanage.
This understanding was made among the departments to prevent a council person from doing his own dirty work. The staffer would simply reply, “I’ll pass it on to Rick to log it in and get working on it.”
Without a framework for handling complaints I have found that politicians blur the line quickly. You end up with the police chief personally investigating matters that aren’t his to check in the first place.
One Vote’s idea is a good one. We need some answers beyond the usual press releases from attprneys who cannot be held accountable to voters.
Well I would like to thank all for their comments and idea this indeed has been a very interesting debate. Chuck you brought up many reasons we need to eliminate the manager council form of government and I whole heartily agree. We need to start getting more information on the cost of this lawsuit, it is beyond what the CM has released to the press.We need to have staff answer to why they continued and though they knew more than the judges(which by the way we voted for). Now the challenge to the council people I voted for(Prigge x2, Galvin, Dunne x1 and Powell and Shaw)to terminate this CM and his cast of good old boys. Any body remember Cogly getting that nice raise as the City was eliminating positions? How about why the CM hired Mylott(As community development director)When the chamber was out sourced to do that at $250,000? Why do I keep hearing 2 names as public works director(Rich and Balsar)Why hasn’t that inspector general guy Barnes(Retired police office double dipping CM investor)given a report?He gave over a 400 page report on the affair for the deputy chief. We the taxpayers demand answers and actions.
Thanks Harmony. RE Cogley’s pay raise: Yes, I remember that well. The council voted to allow the CM to grant increased pay to 13 or 14 city employees, and they did so at the special session held in the Heritage Ball room that was held to vote on the PIT BULL issue. After the drama of the pit bull vote, the room was abuzz, and you couldn’t hear a thing! And oddly, Schock did nothing at that point to quiet the crowd, and that is when they voted to allow the CM to approve the raises! I also know that before the vote was cast, I talked to three councilmembers, AND the CM. They ALL insisted that this was NOT a pay raise! And that it was totally wrong of me to call it that. NO, these top insiders were being granted more money as compensation for the added work that they had to take on as a result of so many people being laid off at City Hall! I told all of them, that where I worked for 27 years, Dukane, that every 18 months, there would be another round of layoffs, and afterwards, everyone would be called together to say, be glad you were spared, and you will all have to work harder. And we were glad to be treated this way, because we still had our jobs! And that is how it should be at City Hall. Also,I am too lazy at the moment to go back and dig through my files, but those pay raises that were granted, were on the order of 12% and 15%. Just like I said, the CM watches out for his inner circle, and they watch out for him.
Also, good point about Barnes! Does anyone know if he is still even on the payroll? What has he done?
Oh Boy sorry guys. The CM, Cogly and Mylott think that the zoning ordinance requiring selling medical marijuana be located in an industrial park? How about making all the Walgreens and CVS drug stores do the same.We got 3 tattoo parlors downtown why not medical marijuana? These guys are out of control.
The Mayor of Elgin has announced he is running for re-election and not a peep from this board. Shocking. MM will be stunned that JP cannot run for Mayor for fear of losing his pulpit from which he enlightens the masses.
Happy New Year!
What makes you think John or Terry are not running? Its too early for announcements but not too early for liberal fund raising. Usually, early declarations mean the candidate is insecure and each vote cast will be scrutinized as campaigning from now to election day.
Kaptain was a weak Councilman who compromised his feelings on many votes. He became Mayor and remained weak in his leadership of the city and Council and to my expectation, will continue to remain weak if given more time.
Happy New Year MM, I hope the New Year has been kind to you and that you are keeping warm. You’re right, too soon for the entire candidacies to emerge. JP and TG are incumbents as City Council members so theoretically can run for Mayor and retain their seats if they (and would obviously) lose. But it will be a fun fifteen months since every utterance (as few as they are) from DK will be cast as an election gambit and not a leadership exercise. Ah, sweet, sweet politics.
A couple items for discussion in this article: Fireworks downtown (yay) and EV charging stations
The issue with forcing people to pay to use the charging stations is that it’s unlikely that people will use it if they have to pay and so the cost of the stations (which cost a lot more if they support payment processing) will never be recovered before they are obsolete and scrapped. Make it free (with sponsorships from Fox Valley Electric Auto Association, etc) at a lower investment cost or don’t put it in at all is my opinion.
FVEA pulled their sponsorship for the charging stations off the table because of the possibility the city would charge people (them) the costs of each charge after the sponsorship ran out. In other words, they would only sponsor if they could use the stations for free, apparently forever.
They didn’t want to even pay for their own energy! How about them apples?
They pushed their agenda upon the city taxpayer’s and don’t have the backbone, dedication to their choice or fortitude to support their lifestyle choices. They want the taxpayer too. Typical!
Todd Martin wasn’t even at the council meeting. Just like others who don’t get their way, he took his toys and departed the sandbox and left the taxpayer’s with the mess.
Gavin or Prigge would beat Kaptain for mayor. Ed Schock would beat them all. Kaptain has committed too many sins against the people of Elgin and has a weak resume after 4 yrs. I agree Kaptain’s very early announcement is a sign of fear but at least he has company since Steffen and Moeller have held fundraisers already. More folks are interested in potential challengers than whether these 3 and Powell are going to run again.
Gavin or Prigge could not beat their way out of a wet paper bag. The citizens deserve more than a couple of men who can only vote “NO”. We want people who are strong and intelligent, not weak and stupid. Gavin and Prigge fall with the last group. I can’t think of one reason anyone would give these two guys and more time on the council after this term.
Enough is enough. They don’t represent me or my family on the council. A couple of real nonsense members with little going for them. The best thing that could happen to Elgin is these two guys would move to another city.
Yikes bw! I know at times I can become irascible, and last December I even made a general apology for at times getting hot under the collar. But I do at least TRY to focus on ideas and positions, and not just fire shot-gun blasts of hurtful personal insults.
I normally read your posts and look for any grains of actual content, and ignore the rest. But your name calling on this new post simply deserves a response.
I would like to suggest that your posts would have higher value if you could articulate what your issues were with individuals, and offer some substance. And they would show you in a better light if you were to show some basic consideration that everyone is a human with the right to be treated with some decency.
I personally like John Prigge and Terry Gavin. But I also personally like Mayor Kaptain and the rest of the council. They are all good and decent people who are doing the best that they can, as best they see fit to direct the City of Elgin. What separates these individuals from one another are their policies. Those policies are what I believe we should be focusing on, and we should not be simply trying to insult people and to hurt their feelings.
I support John and Terry because of their policies and political beliefs. Through their comments and votes, they express the desire for less taxation, and less government. They believe that the rights of the individual are more important than the desires of City Hall. That is why I support them.
So if you are to undermine my support for an individual councilman, or to boost my support for some other councilman, you need to do it by exposing their positions on issues, and explain why those are right or wrong, and how you think things should be done. But just blasting someone with insults will not change the minds of any thoughtful reader.
I would also ask that you consider that everyone on the council, including John Prigge and Terry Gavin, are thinking, feeling human beings. They, like everyone on the council, get totally wrapped up in their work, consumed by their passions, and yet are still working some other job. So they are under lots of stress and heavy pressure. To simply blast at them so personally shows a total lack of basic decency on your part, by wantonly ratcheting up their stress levels to even greater heights.
I guess most fundamentally, it comes down to the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Before you pull that trigger next time and send a really mean “post”, ask yourself if you are in fact applying the Golden Rule. And ask if you have attacked a person, or an idea.
PS: RS, where are those promised changes that you were going to make to the Elginite? Putting the thumbs up, thumbs down feature would be really cool. Maybe a Golden Rule rating could also be added.
You are entitled to your bias opinion. I disagree with all of it. If you had some guts you would throw your name into the political game. I doubt if we will ever see the day that will happen. It takes guts to run for office. I don’t think you are man enough to join your two friends. You know what I say is the truth. These two guys vote against everything without offering a concrete solution that will make Elgin a better community. I’m still waiting for either of them to provide Elgin with some honest leadership. If having fireworks at Hoffman Estates is the best Prigge can do, Elgin has real problems from this Tea Party council member. “If they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen.”
bw, I’m sorry that you disagree with the Golden Rule. Perhaps that says a lot about why you act the way that you do.
As to my not running for office, I don’t know that it is a matter of being “man enough” (as we even have two women on the council you know…..). It has to be a calling, not just a personal desire. People who run strictly out of personal desire usually loose. If I wake up some day with a calling, I’ll let you know!
Again, back to your two target councilmen:
As to “These two guys vote against everything”, well, that has been covered, and they vote along with the majority of the council, probably over 90% of the time, so you simply don’t help the plausibility of anything you say with statements such as these that are so factually wrong.
Then you say they don’t offer concrete solutions to anything,,, but then you contradict yourself by scolding Councilman Prigge for wanting to have Elginites go to Hoffman Estates to watch their fireworks. Since he says Elgin wastes too much money, his proposal to watch fireworks for free in Hoffman Estates is in fact a clear and decisive alternative. I agree with that solution myself. It was way easier for me to go to watch the Hoffman Estates fireworks display than it was to fight my way into the Elgin Sports Complex displays. And not only was it easier to get to the HE display, it costs us nothing, and that is a pretty great solution in my opinion.
Lastly, you seem to keep calling Councilman Prigge a Tea Party man, and I don’t know where you get that. He does not fly a “Don’t tread on me” flag, and I have never sensed that he is so politically inclined. I may be wrong, but unless you are his mother, I would guess I have spent a lot more time talking with John than you have…..
Oh, and what is this “If they can’t stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen”?????? When I was asking you to show some basic civil consideration, that doesn’t mean they can’t deal with your antagonistic remarks. But why should they, or anyone have to?
Well, think about that Golden Rule some more,,,,, Chuck
You just go on and on. If you guys are not members of yhe Tea Party,you’re as close to it as you can get. You think and act just like Sen, Cruz. He looks like he is mad at the world most of the time. Prigge and Gavin have the same characteristics. They look and act like and vote against things just because they have an ego problem. We all know that they are your guys. We feel sorry for you. You’re old enough to know better. Some people never learn. We all know what your agenda is, and it is not in the best interest of the community. Keep posting your worthless material. We take pleasure in reading your crap. Now go and have your coffee with you two friends. Cut back on the sugar for the good of your health. Enjoy the Super Bowl.
Great post, bm.
A perfect prime example of absolute intolerance from the left. Not only are Gavin and Prigge “weak and stupid” (unevidenced and undocumented), but they must leave town less than a year after winning a democratic election by wide margins because they don’t represent one voter named bm!
One thing about Gavin and Prigge? They are no mayor-elect Rauschenberger, that’s for sure. When she is elected mayor next year we will all know exactly how many ceiling tiles are in the council room.
What does everyone want in a downtown? Retail and Entertainment seem to be at the top of everyone’s list. And what do those type of businesses have in common - they charge sales tax.
So here’s my idea to revitalize the downtown. Any business located in the designated Center City area will have 100% of the local portion (1.25%)of their sales tax rebated to them for one year. The next year it goes to 75%, then 50%, 25% til after four years the rebate program ends.
We would need to stop micro-managing what types of businesses are allowed (that’s why we have zoning) and help (rather than hinder)new businesses get through all the red tape.
This would be a significant incentive to locate downtown.
For those who wonder how the city would make up for lost revenue I would say you’re not collecting any sales tax from the empty storefronts now. And if the city needs to cut their financial support for the Chamber and DNA, I say no loss. They don’t do much for the present downtown businesses, either in retention or recruitment.
If the program works, in a few years the sales tax revenue will never be higher. If it doesn’t work, then at least we can say we tried.
The bricks are in place, now it’s time to bring the people back!
Guess who is the new chairman of the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce?
None other than Jose Torres of U46.
The group is more about social justice than commerce. Then again U46 is the big employer in town.
When you look at business in Elgin there aren’t many revenue producers. Where does all the tax money come from? Well, not from local sources.
Other big employers are ECC, the city and the mental hospital. That’s not sustainable, you know.
You don’t have to be the largest employer to produce the most revenue in town. Most towns and counties have public institutions as their biggest employers because they are service / education oriented organizations that need a large number of employees to carry out their mission. Seems to me Elgin has a good mix of industrial and service based companies. Education is important to economic development and having a highly skilled workforce attracts new businesses so having Torres as the new President of the Elgin Chamber doesn’t seem that odd to me.
Seems odd to me Jennifer!
The leader of the worse school district in Illinois, maybe the country, is now being sought after.
Sought after for what contribution? He doesn’t even has his own house (U46) in order.
Perhaps the Chamber is looking for a high profile name to place on their letterhead instead of doing a better job for what we pay them to do.
“The leader of the worse school district in Illinois…” Worse?? I think you mean worst? LOL. What school district did you attend? Maybe they were the “worse”.
How about some data to back up your statement about U-46?
I know I’ve had enough with your hyperbole and plain out untruths.
Don’t bother playing “got her” with me because you didn’t win your argument over your 5 free leaf bags!
If everyone played tag regarding fast typing errors or defending free stuff from the city, we could beat up on you and bw until the cows come home.
How about focusing on the message and not the way its presented?
As far as truthfulness, I still await bw comments on where I have ever posted something false or something that wasn’t my truthful opinion.
You don’t like my opinions or my opinion of you whinning therefore you attack. Don’t worry, I can take your heat.
Do tell. How many schools in U46 are not making AYP?
When you strip away District 299 (Chicago) how does u46 stack up in the state?
Torres has brought us a district administrator for Equity and Social Justice, but has be improved learning?
And what about his personal life? Is he married?
And how did things work out for him in San Diego?
Oh, he plays a good game, but taking the AP tests and passing them are two different things. When it comes to results, Jose has not delivered.
The Chamber was looking for a man of color who would further their agenda…and they found him in Jose Torres.
We aren’t fooled.
I didn’t know Torres got fired in San Diego/ San Ysidro. What’s troubling is that his official bio on the U-46 website completely leaves out his time in San Diego:
“Prior to joining U-46, Dr. Torres served as a Regional Superintendent in the Chicago Public Schools. Before coming to Illinois, he had served in school districts in San Jose, CA; Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Rockville, MD; Washington, D.C. and at U.S. Department of Defense schools. ”
As the chief of a school system, does that raise questions about honesty/integrity? We hear about academic dishonesty all the time. I would hope that somebody who is supposed to be a role model for students would not be fudging their resume.
It must be fun to live in a dreamworld. You won nothing in any of our discussions.
My challenge remains Show proof to back up your statement regarding U-46. Or was it really your “opinion”?
The only dream world (two words not one) I ever step into is the one when addressing you.
I did win the argument on the leaf bags because I exposed you for a whiner who complained about loosing 5 leaf bags supplied by the city. Your cost of $2.98.
You must have missed my post from February 1, 2014 at 3:03 pm.
As my reply to RS stated, we’re in Elgin and he’s (Torres) failing in Elgin at the elementary level as you can see. (from the post)
This post was in response to Jennifer stating “Education is important to economic development and having a highly skilled workforce attracts new businesses so having Torres as the new President of the Elgin Chamber doesn’t seem that odd to me.”
However, since you cannot seem to follow the thread and have strayed from point, here is your additional proof.
Now, if you want any further information you will have to either ask you neighbors their opinion of U46 and Torres or start to do your own research to answer your questions.
“School District U-46 is located in north Illinois. School District U-46 has 82.27 square miles of land area and 1.64 square miles of water area. As of 2010, the total School District U-46 population is 231,224. School District U-46 median household income is $69,154 in 2008-2012. School District U-46 median house value is $218,100 in 2008-2012.
On average, School District U-46 is worse than the state average in quality.
Like below my reply seems to be in limbo.
Again you are wrong.
You made a pretty damning statement about U-46. I asked for proof. Posting individual school report cards did not validate your statement.
Now you seem to be passing your U-46 statement off as your “opinion”. You state a lot things in your posts that anyone would assume you are saying are facts. Perhaps you should clarify that what your posting is an opinion.
2013 Illinois school report cards
School Students % Low ISAT rank%
Elgin 568 79.9 16th
Elgin 657 87.7 18th
Elgin 583 87.8 18th
Elgin 588 64.6 36th
Elgin 410 96.3 13th
Elgin 561 87.9 27th
Elgin 547 87.2 17th
Elgin 651 89.2 22nd
Elgin 739 47.4 67th
Elgin 174 74.7
Elgin 713 86.8 15th
Elgin 410 89.8 18th
Elgin 451 90.2 28th
Elgin 581 53.9 42nd
Elgin 522 95.4 16th
Elgin 473 89.2 15th
To be fair you really should compare schools only when the demographics are comparable.
It’s no surprise at all that a majority minority, low-income population school district is going to underperform.
The subject was Mr. Torres, his failures and a work force for business to be attracted to Elgin.
I made no comparisons deliberately. We’re in Elgin and he’s failing in Elgin at the elementary level as you can see.
Where do you think this substandard educated work force is going to compete when they get older? In a higher educated community?
Thanks for the school report cards but you said “worse(sic) schoool district in Illinois, or maybe the country. Show proof.
I posted from a different computer and the posts seem to be stuck in limbo. So I’ll repeat. I combined some replies.
Nope, wrong again Margaret Miller. Dreamworld as written is perfectly acceptable. Its obvious grammar is not your strong suit. Kind of ironic as you criticize a school district.
Sorry to burst your bubble but you didn’t win anything.
Just because you feel I was whining doesn’t mean the issue I was addressing wasn’t valid.
It’s clear you don’t understand anything about the leaf bag/collection issue. Never did, never will.
SIE, out of curiosity where did you make the original posts that didn’t appear? Was it the library or something? That IP address has had some problems so I had it flagged for moderation.
“How about some data to back up your statement about U-46?”
Do you have any data to refute the statement? Or, hilariously, is it your contention that U46 is a top tier district for quality education?
How about medium tier?
Can you refute the relative recent (3 months!) front page article in the DH showing EHS and LHS being right at the very bottom for meeting educational standards among suburban schools?
U46 may not be the worst but they certainly are in contention for the worst. Not worst is good enough for SIE?
Or will your argument again consist entirely of pointing out a spelling error. Or in my case you calling for my extermination as you are utterly devoid of reasoned rational argument?
Good Morning Paul:
RS made the most logical argument in this thread- you can’t judge the district against those who are more affluent and with fewer non-ESL students. That is the failure of No Child Left Behind. Kids who don’t speak English are forced to take a test in English and the district is rated based on those test results. Doesn’t mean the child is less intelligent in other ways, just that he / she is not proficient in the English language. And even many suburban schools that have higher income demographics have been deemed “failing” under because schools are required to demonstrate improvement each year even when the vast majority of kids are already exceeding standards. Highland Park High School for example “failed to meet standards” last year because the NCLB test requirement. But go ahead and keep ripping the district if it makes you feel better.
Jennifer, let’s hold up a minute and recap.
You said in your post a week ago…”Education is important to economic development and having a highly skilled workforce attracts new businesses so having Torres as the new President of the Elgin Chamber doesn’t seem that odd to me.”
I told you it was odd to me and stated he was the leader of the worst school district in the country.
Then SIE chimed in and wanted proof of that. I offered two posts with proof about Illinois but that wasn’t good enough or embarrassing enough for SIE, he wanted proof they were the worst in the county. Ignored for good reason.
Then RS chimed in and and informed us that Torres’ resumes was absent of his position in San Diego, stating…”As the chief of a school system, does that raise questions about honesty/integrity? We hear about academic dishonesty all the time. I would hope that somebody who is supposed to be a role model for students would not be fudging their resume.”
RS chimes in again and tells me …”To be fair you really should compare schools only when the demographics are comparable. It’s no surprise at all that a majority minority, low-income population school district is going to underperform.”
I restrained myself on my next response to RS as he proclaimed…”It’s no surprise at all that a majority minority, low-income population school district is going to underperform.” I thought, really? Was he perhaps implying low income children had less aptitude to learn that middle or higher income with the same curriculum and standards.
I responded…”I made no comparisons deliberately. We’re in Elgin and he’s failing in Elgin at the elementary level as you can see. Where do you think this substandard educated work force is going to compete when they get older? In a higher educated community?”
Now, you come back and agree, to a point with RS, taking the train off the track even further with fact excuses by invoking non English speaking students, test scores and guess what? I never made any comparisons purposefully as I posted.
You directed your response to me however I never said it meant “the child is less intelligent” perhaps RS implied that in his post so you may want to speak with him about that.
Now, let’s jump back on the tracks.
U46 is a badly rated school district and worse in Elgin, proof already provided. I stated I believed Torres is a failure as an leader and administrator and with RS’s help he points out…”As the chief of a school system, does that raise questions about honesty/integrity? We hear about academic dishonesty all the time. I would hope that somebody who is supposed to be a role model for students would not be fudging their resume.”
What I did was make a statement, backed it up with proof and I received back, that I wasn’t fair by only exposing ratings for Elgin schools, not making a comparison to equal income level households, tests in English when Spanish was the students language, I was full of hyperbole and untruths and you told me to “continue ripping U46 if it made me feel better.”
Sounds to me that some didn’t like the message and attacked the messenger. I offered no excuses, no reasons why its ratings are in the dumps and made no economic or language comparisons. So with all this information I’m the bad gal for making a truthful backed up statement about the ELGIN schools under the leadership of Torres.
You stated …”As you have in every other argument you make on this blog, you completely avoid the question / argument at hand by citing irrelevant information. Connie Neal’s retirement package has nothing to do with Torres or the Chamber of Commerce.”
Firstly, I didn’t know my posts were being stalked by you. Second, Connie Neal is very relevant to U46 and taxpayers. She received the sweetheart deal of the century on the backs of the taxpayer and since the majority of property tax is earmarked for U46, her sweetheart deal just took money out of the district and the Illinois economy.
Looks like you agreed with me on my early post from February 1, “NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND…RIGHT!”
So, I’ll ask again knowing what you know now, embarrassing as it is.
1) What contribution would Torres bring to the Chamber?
2) With the education the Elgin student are receiving, what businesses will be attracted to Elgin for our work force?
3) Where do you think this substandard educated work force is going to compete when they get older?
You stated I and Councilman Prigge have “no ideas, no solutions to any problem facing this town and therefore you resort to criticizing others. Steffen, Moeller, Kaptain, Powell, Dunne, Torres, the entire U46 School District, the Chamber of Commerce, ESO, DNA and on and on.”
I will point out favoritism and taxpayer injustice when I see it, too and about the people who are more interested in bike paths, fireworks, international trade with Chile and not a better educated community. Just because you may not see a dark cloud over you house, doesn’t mean there isn’t one over U46.
4) You sure were quick to critique me. What are your ideas and solutions on these issues? We’d love to hear them and respond back!
I certainly don’t think any group is less intelligent than another. But this country has long had an achievement gap that hasn’t been solved anywhere.
To think that Jose Torres or U-46 can do it is just not realistic.
I am going to go out on a limb and assume you haven’t set foot in a U46 school in the past five decades or ever been involved with the Chamber so your ability to cast judgement on either is questionable to me. Easy to cast judgment on things you have no clue about beyond gossip and presumed knowledge based on what, I have no idea. Easy to tear others down than do the hard work of trying to make things better. That’s what I see in most if your comments here.
Hell hath no fury like an angry b. w.
I don’t have to step foot in U46 to see a failure in leadership and the adulteration of grades and standards. I’m surrounded by it.
You mentioned in your last post…” Education is important to economic development and having a highly skilled workforce attracts new businesses…”
If the students of U46 were receiving an education that would carry them into a work force with skills in math, science and reading, I would agree with your statement.
The point is these students are receiving a substandard education that is ranked at the bottom of the barrel under Torres and Connie Neale’s leadership. We all know what she did…took the money are ran as fast as possible out of Illinois.
NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND…RIGHT!
Elgin’s struggling District U-46 is still paying Connie Neale, who took a leave of absence as superintendent and then retired in 2008. Her retirement agreement included about $127,000 for unused vacation and $44,000 a year for a tax-deferred retirement plan until 2012. She also collects a public pension from Illinois. Also, the district pays Neale’s health care insurance — with a price tag of $16,000 this year. Districts often stop paying when a retired superintendent reaches Medicare age. But Neale, who is 65, gets a better deal. U-46 taxpayers will pay her health care premiums for the rest of her life.
As for the Chamber, actions speak louder than words. I don’t see any evidence of their work. They can’t even keep a single list of all Elgin business owners on file, whether they’re a member or not.
As you have in every other argument you make on this blog, you completely avoid the question / argument at hand by citing irrelevant information. Connie Neal’s retirement package has nothing to do with Torres or the Chamber of Commerce. You and your beloved Prigge have no ideas, no solutions to any problem facing this town and therefore you resort to criticizing others. Steffen, Moeller, Kaptain, Powell, Dunne, Torres, the entire U46 School District, the Chamber of Commerce, ESO, DNA and on and on.
Good morning Jennifer,
If I were to guess, I would say you bw incognito!
Have a great day!
I would say you full of bs Margaret. I don’t pay any attention to he C of C or the School District. I target Prigge and Gavin because they don’t know a thing about Elgin or government.
How about some civility?
Bw, you just don’t learn do you?
You start the trouble and next cry to RS for civility. You better take a good look at yourself in the mirror. What am I suppose to learn from a person who talks out of both sides of her mouth all of the time. You’re a big cry baby. You Prigge and Gavin have the characteristics of a bully in your daily actions, looks and comments.
In all the while we have disagreed, I don’t believe that I have ever said of you that you were full of bs. I have thought that you were delussional on many occasions but have show much restraint and civility when addressing you.
We can continue to speak with each other but after seventy seven years, I would have thought you had gained a more extensive and selective vocabulary on a public forum. I must have been wrong and will revaluate my future posts to you.
So I will ask you again, not withstanding a difference of opinions on issues and people, to review my posts and if you find something that I reported on that was untrue or something other an a difference of opinion, please bring it forward. You may not like my thoughts but they are mine as you have yours.
If I were to guess, I would say you bw incognito! This is a lie because you’re wrong.
“review my posts and if you find something that I reported on that was untrue or something other….” The above is untrue MM.
I didn’t report that as a fact I guessed and it was an opinion! Can you tell the difference?
Not the way it was constructed. Terrible grammar.
You’re one to talk!
Have a good day bw.
When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.
“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.
That and grammatical errors:
February 5, 2014 at 3:53 pm
Chief Womack adds another end date to her resume.
Lakeland Florida gave her the axe over unethical behavior (something about trying to get her nephew hired).
I don’t know about being the worst district in the state, but I cannot imagine any self respecting, English speaking parent wanting to send their children to an Elgin public school. Torres is not responsible for all the illegals and their children who were here before he came here but he for sure is not going to be confused with a member of AFLA. Are they still around?
Self- respecting? Really? You don’t even have the cajones to put your name on your comments and posts and yet you can judge others for their choices when it comes to education? And pray tell, how many of the children in U46 are “illegals?” Or is that your racist code word for Hispanic?
I noticed you don’t have a last name. Do you know who bw, SIE, One Vote, RS, James Madison and Harmoney are?
Asked and answered.
Oh come on. Your paranoia is showing. I only post as this name.
“Then SIE chimed in and wanted proof of that. I offered two posts with proof about Illinois but that wasn’t good enough or embarrassing enough for SIE, he wanted proof they were the worst in the county. Ignored for good reason.”
You made the following statement “The leader of the worse school district in Illinois, maybe the country, is now being sought after.”
It’s there in your post. You can’t deny it. But you refuse to show proof to back up your statement. And now you say you purposely “ignored” the request. That’s convenient. Make a statement and then refuse to either prove it or retract it.
I certainly won’t argue with the school report cards or the fact that the high schools were ranked low or whatever other data you or anyone else wants to post about U-46. But the fact remains, unless you can show me that U-46 is the worse (sic) in the state and “maybe” the country your statement was just another bunch of hyperbole.
I’ll even go you one better. I can guarantee U-46 is the not the worst (spelled right) school district in this state. And it certainly is not the worst in the country.
Your statement was wrong. Of course you don’t like being called out on it. You think everything you post is the the truth and everyone else better move out of your way. Sorry but it isn’t going to happen with me.
I wish people would use the “Reply” feature to help the rest of us understand what you are responding to.
There was no reply link to Margaret Millers post that I quoted. I still don’t see one.
The other I may have messed up but I have noticed sometimes the reply posts don’t end up where they should. I clicked reply to yours, hopefully this is in the right place.
At times the reply feature don’t become a part of a post. RS can tell why this happens.
The nested comments go 4 levels deep. Beyond that you will not see a ‘reply’ link at the bottom of the comment, but you can use the ‘reply’ link in the next higher level.
Well, they sure got their way on the fireworks boondoggle didn’t they? How disrespectful can the seven members of this Council, who voted for Elgin fireworks, be to the Grand Vic? Rich Dunne openly informing the citizens where they can go to see the fireworks for free! How about back to Hoffman Estates?
Why wasn’t it made clear that the fee to see the Elgin fireworks would be $5.00 per person, not per family, children under twelve free?
Why did Councilman Shaw, again, change his mind from his Fireworks Committee Chair position in 2013 when he stated no place for fireworks in Elgin and find another location?
Why did Anna Moeller assume that the city street parking would be open on one of the largest family gathering holidays?
No confirmation that the boat parking lot will be available and no confirmation that Metra will provide permission.
Still awaiting the cost of staff for police & fire.
Tish Powell had the nerve to openly stated that since the city saved money by cutting the leaf bag program it would assist in offsetting fireworks cost. Robbing Peter to pay for fun and pay you will. Just because money is back in the kitty doesn’t mean its available to spend when its not budgeted for.
You will pay for the fireworks through your taxes, you will pay for admission, and I bet there will be several smart entrepreneurs who will offer to watch your car in their driveway for $10.00.
The city saved NOTHING, the citizens saved nothing.
In fact it will cost everyone more than if they just had casually driven over to Hoffman Estates. How’s that for Economics 101?
Good luck with crowd control, sweet dreams on parking and I sure hope it doesn’t rain.
Proof higher education always costs more money.
Did anyone see Sleepy or Doc last night? I know where Goofy was.
It sounds like if it were up to you and Gavin and Prigge, the city should stop putting on any and all special events. I’m sure it costs the city to do Christmas celebrations downtown, Memorial Day events, Veterans Day events etc. how about the city stops funding all the ball fields and soccer fields that it owns? And lets just get rid of the rec center and the pools- those cost money too. So much hand wringing over something that looks like a fun event- finally happening in Elgin. I’m tired of your constant bashing of this city. Just because you have a sad and angry life doesn’t mean the rest of us should suffer. I want our town to prosper. All you care about is saving a couple dollars a year on your taxes.
There you go again, speeding off the track topic. I never brought up any other event then fireworks and its financial impact on the city, citizens and the hypocrisy of Council members. Specifically the ones who voted “NO” to fireworks since 2008.
The Park & Recs department handles many of the items you conveniently lump into one subject. It doesn’t work that way and that’s not an apples to apples comparison. (Sidebar, I have no problem placing any rec center or pool into private hands, perhaps then it would run at a profit instead of a $500,000 plus taxpayer money pit and we could save $1M on pool repairs this year.)
You said…”So much hand wringing”. Don’t be so absurd! I know the roll of government. It’s too have less of it and get people motivated to do it themselves for themselves and others with their own money. Why is it so difficult to wean people off the teat of government? If you continue to look at government as a parent of the citizens, then as a good parent, say “NO” to the child or that child grows up spoiled, bratty and ungrateful.
Fireworks is a luxury and one we cannot afford nor was it budgeted for at this time however, like children, people stomp their feet and cried in unison “I want it, I deserve it, it will be fun, give it to me no matter the cost!” Coincidently, like the liberal mantra, throw a party while the city burns around us.
As far as any other city celebrations, in town fund raisers may just be the ticket for all of that.
Perhaps what bothers you and that its something you cannot or won’t acknowledge, is that you know this makes no economic sense, for the city or citizen, when FREE is being offered in the next town over but would rather defend the party.
So Jennifer, will you be one of the citizens who pays the $5.00 per head, watch for free or will you be heading over to Hoffman Estates?
How about becoming responsible adults?
This may help, enjoy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM1DgihKHVI
By the way, no one is forcing you to read my posts. In fact, stop, it may be less stressing to you if you didn’t read the truth. I would also suggest that you not presume what I care about, you don’t have a clue.
I will absolutely pay $5 to watch the fireworks and so will thousands of other people who concern themselves with bigger issues and have more going on in their life than you seem to. And as for private participation and fundraising for events, isn’t the Grand Victoria picking up most of the cost of the show? So what the heck are you talking about?
In turn, the casino has asked Elgin to provide and pick up the tab for fire, police, public works and land management crews needed for the event. Staffing costs are estimated at $31,000. Sources said the casino would spend about $200,000 to put on the event.
Sounds like it’s going to be a great show. $200K is probably more than has ever been spent on any event in Elgin. I hope they don’t let us down!
Hard to imagine $5 for the Doobie Bros. Hard to imagine the Doobie Bros haven’t been lined up for 4 July already. They would sell out, easily.
CCR was only $5 about 5 years ago at Festival Park. Best $5 value I ever got.
Everybody please continue the discussions in the February open thread which is finally up!