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February open thread

13 February 2014 Elgin Illinois 74 Comments

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Open thread for February 2014 discussions!

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74 Responses to “February open thread”

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  1. RS says:

    So is it true that Gasthaus is suing the City of Elgin?

  2. One Vote says:

    I see where Gavin is begging the unemployment office to remain downtown. You have to give space away down there. You know, like the free rent for the Chamber and DNA.
    It must really be a ghost town if government offices want out.
    We had dinner at Al’s a week ago with some friends from Monterrey California. Aside from the cold they thought the setting was very nice. But they wondered why all the vacancies.
    The conversation got comical when we told them about the low-income Artspace project.
    It seems the more the government gets involved the worse it gets.
    No surprise that they are lousy at picking winners and then just throw good money after bad to save face.

    • RS says:

      If it’s not their first time out of Monterrey they would know that downtowns in America have been distressed for decades (since the rise of the automobile). Vacancies are the norm. Even in prosperous areas, it’s the exception for the downtown to be where the action is at. The problems that drove all businesses out of downtowns 50 years ago or whatever are still problems today. In fact it’s now worse than ever in some respects because brick and mortar retail itself is under attack by web merchants. Who wants to go into retail these days? So what you have left are restaurants and the few services (tattoo, hair, etc), and the market area cannot support more than a few such businesses. We don’t have an affluent demographic and to an extent it’s a zero sum game. So if another restaurant opens it will probably take business away from an existing one, possibly causing it (and eventually both) to fold. So let’s not worry about it. We have a few popular places we want to keep.

      • paul says:

        “downtowns in America have been distressed for decades… Vacancies are the norm.”

        You ought to get out more, RS. Visit St. Charles, Batavia, Geneva to see booming downtown districts. Even arm pit Aurora did a nice job with Paramount theater and its casino.
        ” So let’s not worry about it.”

        With Elgin continually pumping millions of taxpayers dollars into downtown and the only thing to show for it is 3 tattoo shops, sticking your head in the sand hardly seems the appropriate action.

  3. RS says:

    I was looking for something else but found this article I missed when it was published

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/14529550-418/old-debt-haunts-farnham.html

    Just thought it interesting since I distinctly recall Keith Farnham implying at a debate that he was a successful retired businessman or something like that while Ruth Munson was running because she just needed a job and pension. That was in 2010, well after his business failed owing $600-800K to his bank and nearly $100K to a business partner.

    Fascinating!

  4. Chuck Keysor says:

    RS, thanks for posting the link to the story about Keith Farnham’s debts. That was an important story which I had missed when it was published in 2012. I hope your readers take the time to look at the article. Chuck

  5. SIE says:

    No comments about Elgin spending $30,000 for the firworks that the Grand Vic will be purtting on?

    The city will be paying 50% more than they would have paid to be part of FourthFest.

    If I want to “enjoy” my part of the $30,000 I have to pay a $5 entrance fee or I can stand on one of the downtown streets and watch.

    Or I could go to the Sears Centre for free and see the fireworks (a much larger display I believe) Elgin refused to participate in, which would have cost the taxpayers less.

    Oh and to a cetain person here, I’m sure you’re glad to know that one Councilmember justified paying $30,000 since the city saved $40,000 by taking away leaf bags from tax paying citizens.

    Eliminate an essential city sevice so we can watch things go boom. Sounds like a great trade off.

    • SIE says:

      Uggh. My “r” key seems to be giving me trouble. Should be “fireworks”, “putting” and “certain”.

      Ever thought about having an edit function?

    • Margaret Miller says:

      SIE:

      If I am that “certain person here” you can review my post about this in the January blog. The February blog was created today.

      As for that Council member, what makes you think I’m happy with her comment or her spending? You would have to take your grievance up with Tish Powell. I wanted the money saved, she justified that saving by spending it for something that was not budgeted for.

  6. Margaret Miller says:

    In response to the Daily Herald articl from 02-17-14
    Meeting for small business owners Thursday in Elgin
    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140217/business/140218615/

    Let the politicking begin!

    In a fourteen month advance of both their election cycles and both with fund raisers under their belts, Ms. Moeller and Mr. Steffen’s attempt to fain concern for small businesses now is completely transparent.

    Don’t be fooled regarding this meeting. They are anti small business and pro taxing as proven with their continual “YES” votes to impose raising taxes on businesses, not to leave out the homeowner as well. (Natural gas, electric and their unending support of the Rain Tax) How did that help businesses? How does that help anyone?

    They sure didn’t hesitate in their assistance to big business with the bailout the ESO. Mr. Steffen, who has had an office downtown for years, sat on his hands silently all while watching its decline firsthand as noted by the location of their gala.

    By the way, I thought all Elgin businesses and citizens had nine point persons, not just one and certainly not just Ms. Moeller or Mr. Steffen.

    Now that a staff member will be in attendance, its an open meeting. See you Thursday with my note pad.

    • James Madison says:

      Margaret, did you attend? The Daily Herald article was very vague and general. What was the meeting really like?

      • Margaret Miller says:

        My observations of this Committee of the Whole meeting was that Elgin businesses are looking for direction and the City doesn’t have a clue or direction to offer. Neither does the DNA, the Chamber nor Elgin Development Group regarding what action/s need to be taken to encourage, promote and attract small business to Elgin. If they did, they sure didn’t speak up with any thoughts in defense of themselves or their taxpayer funded organizations that are supposed to assist in Elgin’s business development. This truly was what Ms. Moeller said it wouldn’t be but turned into venting session.

        At the time this meeting was first announced, I posted in this paper, referring to this meeting as politicking and I was right. When has the public, who has attended any COW meetings, ever had to sign in with name, phone, email, business information? Then I found out that this was “an informal session partially called a listening session.” Ms. Moeller stated they would take notes on everything that’s discussed, compile all the comments, ideas, suggestions and feedback they get and make a report and present it to the city council and city staff based on those comments. They would then distribute it back to the attendees and follow up on issues that were presented. Now I understand, she and Mr. Steffen had no ideas of their own and apparently neither did any of their city funded associates.

        Why did they not offer any ideas, plans or suggestions for the future? They had the audience in front of them that would offer their expertise, input and feedback. I guess when you really don’t care or don’t want to know something, why bother asking?

        An Elgin Car Wash representative stated that years ago, businesses were not so dependent on the city that they we dependent upon each other and had small area business groups and they didn’t need Council members to call these meetings.

        At the end of the session, I suggested that the city give back the $12 million surplus so these businesses can invest and do what they need to do and be successful. Ms. Moeller stated “We don’t have a $12 million dollar surplus.” When asked if she knew what the surplus was by another attendee, Ms. Moeller did not respond but stated “I would be happy to sit down with both of your guys. Anyone who’s interested in talking about the budget, I would be happy to have another forum on that but right now we’re talking about small business.” EXCUSE ME? How does over taxation NOT affect small businesses? Someone will need to explain that to me. What was even more surprising was that no one asked a follow up question regarding getting their money returned or pursued her offer for another meeting, a claim she made in her Daily Herald interview.

        In reality, the City of Elgin has a $10-12 million surplus due to over taxation and the 2014 totals are projected to increase. Let’s start asking for it back!

        This meeting was clearly Ms. Moeller’s self promotion and hers alone. Other than John Steffen’s short greeting and departure to get chairs, I can’t remember never hearing another word from him, similar to his years’ worth of behavior at any Council meeting. Perhaps he didn’t know what to do since spending money was not on the agenda that he didn’t know what to do or how to handle a venting crowd of business persons.

        Moeller and Steffen’s recent concern over the small businesses in Elgin has me questioning their motives for this meeting. Where have they been for 3-7 years? How have they helped? What programs have they initiated to ease business tax burdens and make Elgin more business friendly? They both watched the rapid decline of downtown, Mr. Steffen firsthand since his office is a few doors away from this now vacant meeting location. Why are they now so concerned? They’re not concerned about small businesses; they are only concerned about being re-elected.

        It’s difficult to take either of them seriously as champions of small business all while from the dais they consistently enact policies and fees that hurt more than help.

        When is the next meeting? Will they allow questions regarding the budget, their votes on issues, NFP grants, taxpayer bailouts of businesses (The ESO, who was in attendance), support of non essential neighborhood programs and the sustainability committee which cost all businesses more money? Will they offer a presentation or offer any creative ideas the next time? No, they won’t. They consider that not in their job description.

        At one point it was noted that control of the meeting was lost and lacked focus and that’s understandable when the presenter hosts lacked focus and ideas themselves.

        So what did any attendee actually gain from this? I wonder what the five members of Elgin’s paid city staff in attendance thought of this meeting? Did they appreciate being part of a political smoke screen? What did they take away from it and what are they going to do about anything other than perhaps making a call to repair 38 street lights? A simple call to 311 would have handled that!

        I walked away steadfast in the knowledge that Ms. Moeller was without shame, transparent in her campaigning and ineffective in the execution of anything helpful. The council members who looked best were the ones who did not attend.

        • James Madison says:

          Margaret, thank you for that report. Obviously the Daily Herald report was a very glossy reporting of the actual comments by attendees. Were there representatives from the Chamber and DNA in attendance? Did the rebut or defend or explain any of their initiatives, programs or ideas for revitalization? Thanks for this thorough reporting.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            Yes, the DNA, Chamber and Elgin Business group were in attendance and no, they did not defend their work, funding or offer ideas, plans or recap what they are currently working on.

            It could be said that they didn’t because it was a “listening session” but as I pointed out, why no ideas or presentation? They had the right audience to obtain expertise, input and feedback.

            I audio taped the session just in case the Courier would like a copy. They were not in attendance that I was aware of. Just Rich Dunne.

        • Jennifer says:

          Yes, thank you for your unbiased reporting on a meeting held by Anna Moeller and John Steffen. Shocking that you found so much to criticize! And to let your boyfriend John Prigge off the hook for not attending. What a surprise. I talked to folks who went to the meeting. They had a completely different take on it- and those people actually own businesses in Elgin, unlike Ms. Miller. Constructive criticism, some positives and yes a couple weirdos who tried to derail the discussion but didn’t. Maybe Ms. Miller was at a different meeting or maybe her animus towards anyone associated with the city besides Prigge and Gavin make her an uncredible witness. You decide.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            Jennifer,

            The criticisms were not hard to find. Others sitting around me thought the same thing.

            As for Councilman Prigge, you will have to ask him where he was. I don’t keep or maintain his schedule of activities.

            I’m sure others did have a different impression of the meeting but I wasn’t reporting on their thoughts, I was reporting on mine. I would guess that some thought that any attention the city gave to small business would be a positive whether they are supporters of Moeller and Steffen or not.

            What make you an expert in my business affairs Jennifer? You have no idea what I do or what I’m involved with.

            If you would like a copy of the recording of the meeting let me know or perhaps you will join us at the next one if they decide that this meeting was so successful they will do it again.

          • paul says:

            “You decide.”

            So very magnanimous, jennifer, and uncharacteristic of you to allow the great unwashed to actually decide for themselves!
            The decision is quite easy given your complete inability to evidence bias or counter alleged bias with evidenced “contructive criticism” or “some positives”. You are much too busy trying to disparage the other person. On a positive note, at least you didn’t resort to the implied charge of racism again.

            Yes, thank you, MM. I may not agree with everything you say but I did get a few chuckles from your descriptions of the proceedings. For comedy to be funny it must contain elements of truth. Elgin businesses “are looking for direction” from the City! Now that was a funny opening line. And Moeller and Steffan were there to help!

        • RS says:

          My suggestion for downtown would be to knock down one of the buildings on South Grove so that there’s a connection to the riverfront and parking space can be opened up. It will also provide a better atmosphere, allowing light and air to come into what currently feels like a dark, oppressive corridor.

          The restaurants in that stretch will do much better if there is convenient parking. The parallel street parking just does not work so well and that’s always been the problem with downtowns vs strip malls and such.

          Parking should be the #1 priority. That means get rid of the unnecessary plazas (Dupage Ct) and pocket parks. The pocket park is nice to look at but the priority should be parking space. Judging by the satellite view there’s probably space for ten cars in that pocket park. On the Side and Red Bar could have used those spaces for their customers. It’s too late now for those guys but it might be possible to save Tequila’s and Chooch’s. They could open up half of Dupage Ct to parking. Leave half to Al’s for their outdoor dining, but the other half would provide space for dozens of cars.

          • What were they thinking says:

            I agree parking is important as well as tying the riverfront in with the rest of the downtown.

            I am also tired of tax dollars going to developers to build things that I can’t use. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t walk in the front door of a place, then it isn’t a public building. So it shouldn’t get public dollars.

            And since we want retail and entertainment downtown, and the thing they have in common is they charge sales tax, a sales tax rebate/incentive program makes the most sense.

            The comprehensive plan meeting I attended at the Centre the previous week also had no clue on which way to go. They want to listen to our ideas and come up with another study. I should have brought a copy of one of the many previous studies and saved everybody a whole lot of time.

            When the politicians have no ideas of there own, they call for a task force, or consultants or a new study. I thought that is why we elected these people. Where are our leaders?

          • Margaret Miller says:

            If you think parking is bad now, let’s see if there are any reports from citizens if the fireworks with the Grand Victoria go through. After all, Ms. Moeller suggested they can park on the neighborhood streets.

            Good luck with your idea RS.

          • RS says:

            I’m all for a sales tax rebate for downtown restaurants and bars.

          • paul says:

            “…knock down one of the buildings on South Grove … allowing light and air to come into what currently feels like a dark, oppressive corridor.”

            Vacant land (parking lots) already exists extending from Chicago St. nearly to Dupage Ct on the river side of Grove Ave.
            Vacant land (parking lots) already exists extending from Prairie St to where the Crocker theater once proudly stood on the river side of Grove Ave..
            The tallest building on Grove Ave. is the newest building on Grove Ave. built on top of where the Spiess department store stood.
            The newest building in downtown Elgin was built on a former parking lot; is a 50 unit low income housing project built with Elgin taxpayer funding ignoring city rules and regulations governing parking i.e., no parking, NONE, zero, for 50 residential units!

        • One Vote says:

          Margaret,
          I agree with your observation. Moeller is a politician from her day job to her spot on the council. She’s been a city administrator.
          And she’s a opportunist. They took away the biz license fee and now it is safe to have a listening session.
          But it wasn’t. The meeting got out of hand because there were too many people wanting to complain about code enforcement and a Chamber that works for the city bureaucracy, NOT the business owners. DNA is little more than a series of grant applications. The fact that they even need a meeting such as this shows that business owners aren’t represented by the current structure.
          The problems aren’t that the city isn’t doing enough; they are doing TOO much. The welcome wagon consists of code and fire inspectors.
          “Welcome to the city; here’s list of things you need to change. We’ll be back in 30 days. And by the way, you need to take your sign down and apply for a permit. Maybe you can keep it. And your trailer with your company logo on it can’t be parked in the lot.”

          • Margaret Miller says:

            One Vote,

            I will agree with you regarding Ms. Moeller, the Chamber and DNA. How about a motion to stop funding them along with the Sustainability Committee?

            Where I will take issue is on the EBL. As it was great for the businesses to no longer pay the fee the businesses are still subject to the registration process and fines for not registering.

            Did you see the article in the Courier regarding Envision Elgin? That open meeting ought to be interesting to attend as well.

  7. One Vote says:

    I read in BOTH papers that Mike Robins complained to the city that the east loop of Lord’s Park has not been plowed, making it hard for him to walk his dog.
    I can’t get too excited about that complaint, but I don’t own a dog.
    I walk that loop just about every night in better weather, but there’s no way I’m going out there in the below freezing temps, snow or not.

  8. Chuck Keysor says:

    Ah, that is the key point, you don’t have a dog! My sister lives in St. Paul, MN and has a dog. That dog gets walked two times a day in their neighborhood park, even when it is 15 below! Chuck

  9. Harmony says:

    There is no reason this road is not plowed. Every road in Wing park is plowed. I guess is Dan Rich needs to be reminded that this is public space and needs to be maintain.

    • paul says:

      “There is no reason this road is not plowed. ”

      No. There are multiple excellent reasons why it isn’t plowed.

      And with the ONLY reason you and Robins can come up with to expend taxpayer resources to plow thew road is so Robins can walk his dog on THAT road is another good reason NOT to plow it. Robins walks his dog on that road specifically because there is no traffic on it. Robins does NOT walk his dog on the hundreds of miles of roads Elgin plows specifically because there is traffic on them.
      You can NOT cross country ski across a plowed road.
      Trash dumping.
      On the plus side this non-story (slow news day!!!) reaffirms the wisdom of the voters NOT electing Robins to the city council!

      • RS says:

        I hope people do not walk on the road. It is very dangerous, especially with a dog, especially in winter!

        • paul says:

          “It is very dangerous” says the non-walker!
          I walk all over this town. And I walk specifically on the road in winter. Sidewalks are dangerous. And the shoveled sidewalks can be the most dangerous as melting snow runs over the clean surface and freezes into slippery glass; covered by a dusting of snow and you’ll never see it. And then even if the sidewalk is dry and clean you’ll still have to climb over a snowbank to cross the street - assuming you actually go further than a block! Actually quite amazing how you can walk all over town just sticking to low traffic side-streets.
          Don’t walk your dog on Liberty St., Mike, and you’ll be fine.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            I agree with Paul concerning walking around town. Shoveled sidewalks can be deceivingly treacherous.

            Since the end of last year, I have taken to walking to ReStore, which from my house, would seem like walking along State Street would be logical. But that route is very hazardous, especially in the winter. So I walk north down small side streets, then onto McClure, into the back entrance of Wing Park, across the railroad tracks, and then I am at ReStore’s parking lot, with almost all walking done in the streets.

            With being able to walk to ReStore, Butera and Wesley Church, I get where I need to go. And I get in some exercise. I have not even put 80 miles on my pick-up truck since late December.

            Walking along, singing a song, Chuck

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Oh, and how could I forget, I can easily walk to City Hall to attend City Council sessions.

            Last night’s session was pretty quiet. Dr. Juergensmeyer spoke on behalf of TLC and said they were ready to let bygones be bygones and move on now that they have settled with the City. Now, what will the voters recall of this affair by the April 2015 council elections?

            Chuck

          • RS says:

            I knew somebody who was killed while walking on a road so it’s not a place I would want to walk on on a regular basis. There are cars out there and you are never as visible to them as you think you are.

  10. One Vote says:

    Sad to see JB’s is being driven out after their parking lot was taken over to widen McLean.

  11. bw says:

    You can’t stop progress for the sake of a business.

  12. Cruex says:

    I do not need an analysis on this “meeting” whatsoever. Just look at the players involved and examine their voting records. Smart business owners already know not to take these two seriously. Maybe they were there to take a few swings at politicians? The other business owners there who don’t realize this was a political show at taxpayer expense probably have issues with their business anyway and want the government to help them.

  13. still concerned says:

    Everyone read this posting of the City’s website?

    Home
    “Posted on: January 16, 2014
    Pothole damage information

    The City of Elgin does not have insurance coverage available if your vehicle is damaged as the result of a pothole due to the changing weather conditions throughout the winter season. Therefore, you should contact your automobile insurance company as soon as possible if the damage exceeds the policy deductible.

    Please contact the city’s Risk Management Office at 847-931-5917 with any questions or concerns.”

    In a city that has a long and pathetic history of street maintenance it’s sad to say we are now experiencing even more street deterioration due to a bad winter season. Where may I ask are the at least temporary pot hole fixes? How about using some of that surplus from excess fees collected to FIX OUR STREETS! Or do we need more decorative railings and the like downtown?

    • One Vote says:

      Interesting.
      So why does the city think it can skirt its responsibility to pay for damage? Surely not on the basis that it doesn’t have insurance.
      Even the crook at Chicago city hall pay for damage…eventually.
      After the TLC fiasco does Elgin legal want another loss?
      Or maybe some bad press when a TV station investigates?

  14. still concerned says:

    More nickel and diming by our city.

    Water Availability fees increased January 85-cents. Trash fees increased by 30-cents.
    Water Availability: This charge represents the cost associated with providing enough water storage capacity to meet the customer peak demands and maintaining the water system.

    Granted, not much, but it all adds up! Time to to hold the line!

  15. Tim Palmer says:

    Hey One Vote : Do you think Elgin would pay for damage done to the TLC RV caused by a pothole?

  16. Kane Cares About Taxpayers says:

    Vote NO Against Double Taxation!

    Apparently, the government bureaucrats of Kane County think that raising your property taxes to benefit one ‘not for profit’ company is a better option than having them do their own fundraising through private donations.

    Not only will this referendum, if passed, raise your property taxes, but it will also create a new taxing authority with more government jobs whose only responsibility is to move the property tax dollars from your wallet to the bank account of a private, ‘not for profit’ organization and to continue to raise property taxes year after year.

    If that isn’t bad enough, the State of Illinois is already giving $16.8 million of our tax dollars to this single ‘not for profit’ organization for the same services!

    While home values have decreased, meaning you lost a big chunk of your own money, your state income taxes have increased 67%, and your Social Security tax has increased 44%. Government bureaucrats insist that you should give them even more money and force you to give money to a private organization.

    Before you consider their rhetoric about responsible society providing services to those in need, consider some of the property owners who won’t be able to afford to stay in their homes if property taxes are increased….again. Consider the dangerous precedent of creating a new tax stealing bureaucracy that will benefit a single, private, ‘not for profit’ organization.

    We need your ‘NO’ vote on this property tax increase referendum but we also need your help to get the word out. The private organization that will gain millions on top of the $16.8 million they got last year from taxpayers is spending at least $150,000 to get this referendum passed. Please tell your friends and family to vote against double taxation in Kane County.

    Vote NO on March 18

    • bw says:

      A 708 referendum was voted down two times in the past. These organizations have good intentions but they need to get money to operate from private sources. Vote NO on this referendum. I do not need a $55.00 increase on my tax bill every year. Mental Health will be next if this referendum passes.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        bw,

        Your starting to sound like me!
        Did I hear your message correctly?

        “These organizations have good intentions but they need to get money to operate from private sources.”

        I especially loved it when you said…
        I do not need a $55.00 increase on my tax bill every year.”

        Would you now be willing to tell your favorite Council members to start voting “NO” on spending even for the organizations that receive money from Federal, State and County’s?

        How about “NO” to the ones that have a budget over $200,000?

        I like your message on private sources, kind of like fund raisers in the town that feeds them the dollars.

        We’ll get you thinking right again!

  17. Chuck Keysor says:

    Thank you KCAT for providing this vital post! This is important news, and I will share it with as best I can. Thanks, Chuck

  18. Harmony says:

    Who or what is this private not for profit company?

    • bw says:

      It is the same group that has been around seeking funds for years. They don’t seem to ever get the message. The city and township give them funds every year. As new people are added to their boards they try again over and over. It is the same old story. We need more money or we will have to cut services. If they would cut the pay of those at the top, maybe they could make it without going after the poor taxpayer.

  19. Chuck Keysor says:

    Harmony, I think Allen Skillicorn can provide details. Chuck

  20. One Vote says:

    I see where U46 is settling the discrimination lawsuit by writing at $2.5 million check to pay the plaintiff’s legal fees.
    That surely puts the entire tab well over $10 million.
    Grrr!

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Sure sounds familiar regarding a specific case recently in Elgin.

    • RS says:

      According to Futterman Howard & Ashley website, Robert Howard died last year, Ronald Futterman is retired and they’ve apparently got one partner left: Carol Ashely. It kind of sounds like a law firm on its last legs. I’m surprised U-46 was not able to negotiate the settlement down further, because I doubt the remaining partner would have had the will or resources to continue this fight on her own.

    • RS says:

      The other thing about this settlement is that we (U-46) are paying for their (Futterman et al) legal fees (at the rate they bill themselves) on the claim about the gifted program that they added later, and the only part of the lawsuit that they kind of “won.” (Which is a kind of dubious victory since the program has been rectified for years.) But what about the parts of the lawsuit (most of it) that they lost?? Where are our legal fees? Aren’t they supposed to pay our millions of dollars in legal fees for the part that we won?

      It doesn’t sound fair. If they want legal fees for the part they won. They should give us legal fees for the part that we won. Innit?

  21. harmony says:

    Well I see the City has finally admitted it’s cost for legal services is $250,000. I assume that doesn’t cover paying Cogley and associates for their time. So now we are at about a half million. Then the council voted to let Mylott and Cogley write another ordinance. What a joke and then they can’t buy fireworks!! Elgin needs new management instead of this group of idiots.

    • still concerned says:

      Not happy at all with the city paying well over a half million in the TLC settlement. Looking at the city minutes did not see where approval of these payouts was voted on. Did I miss it or if not, what is the process for approval of these types of payouts? If the council did vote for it, without taking sides on the pro-life issue, if councilman Shaw voted for the settlement and also (by self admission) his contributes to TLC for their programs…is that not a blatant conflict of interest violation? Who knows?

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Still Concerned:

        All the official discussions and votes on the TLC law suit took place in “Executive Session”, so that is why you didn’t see this during the regular council sessions, or learn who voted on what in the papers. And because this was all discussed in “Executive Session”, you can’t even FOIA the information, until some later point in time.

        Even the person who asked Chief Swoboda to serve papers on the TLC ultrasound van has been obscured by lots of smoke and double talk. This obfuscation of the events that precipitated the law suit has taken place because of the inevitable back lash that will be created during the next council election (April, 2015) against the individual who is believed by the voters to have triggered this expensive action against TLC.

        People who are against the City spending so much money on a failed (some say misguided) legal move by the City are mad. People who are pro-life and support the TLC mission are really mad. All these upset people will be devastating to the perceived responsible party in the next election. So of course that person, and her allies will do all that they can to keep this matter confusing, and to deny responsibility.

        This link will bring you to the Courier’s story on this from almost a year ago. Make of it what you will.
        http://couriernews.suntimes.com/business/18699423-420/mobile-pregnancy-care-provider-sues-elgin-over-shutdown.html

        Chuck

        • Margaret Miller says:

          Chuck,

          Let’s just say her name and get it out there. No point in trying to protect her reputation, she shamed herself if she has any shame.

          The catalyst to this entire mess was Anna Moeller, the princess of the Council.

          Her actions sure cost the taxpayer’s a lot of money and public embarrassment.

          2015, I can’t wait!

          • still concerned says:

            Perhaps we should all throw in $10 each and sue to find out what happended in this executive session. It was our money that was paid out.

  22. Kane Cares About Taxpayers says:

    The non-profit funding this is Association for Individual Development. They’ve already dropped about $200k in consulting and legal fees.

    Btw .1% of EAV is more than $55 for all but the smallest homes/condo’s. My humble 1800 Sq ft condo will see a $70 increase the first year and it will go up every year after that.

    2nd Btw the city of Elgin already gives AID $100k per year. It’s triple taxation for Elgin residents.

    If in doubt, vote NO!

  23. bw says:

    There is no doubt. NO is the proper vote on this issue. The taxpayer can not help every cause that comes along. There are a ton of good intentions out there. This cause is just another one to add to the list.The Crisis Center has the right idea. They are having a fund raising event soon. That is the way DD should get any needed funds.
    VOTE NO!

  24. harmony says:

    I read this morning that the City Manager is going to really shape up code enforcement, states he can only hire 1 new inspector but would like to hire more. States that way he can hire the brightest for his new “code 2.00″ hire the one and it will raise the IQ of the whole department. Better yet city manager play “big league baseball” and do what they do when the team is bad fire the managers and players and replace them with people that know how to to get things done.

    • still concerned says:

      Code enforcement of the lack thereof has been a contentious issue for decades. If you read the Courier News article from today, it does make sense to review some of the ordinances that seem to be punitive; however, when it comes to maintaining the integrity and asthetics of a neighborhood certain codes are weak and/or non-existent. Code enforcement headcount has always been a non-priority and having additional staff is welcome. However, not having intelligent and agressively enforced codes has been and remains a concern. I would hope city staff and elected officials listen to people who own homes and take care of their properties and neighborhood rather than only business owners and other well connected people.

    • RS says:

      Isn’t code enforcement what got us into the TLC mess?

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        RS, one might more correctly ask: “Is it the personal use of city resources to exert negative pressure on an organization that an elected official disapproves of, that got us into the TLC mess?”

        Code was not the source of the problem. They were the tool that was used to apply pressure on TLC.

        Chuck

  25. Harmony says:

    It sure was RS, because Mylott changes a zoning ordinance to stop this temporary use on private property. Now he thinks he needs to draw attention away from the lawsuit and save his job. Why didn’t he and the manager of code enforcement send a code officer to cite TLC? City Manager you have the guts to answer that question? Could it be you couldn’t find a code officer who would follow up?Total incompence!

  26. bw says:

    MM:

    Your welcome.

  27. One Vote says:

    I really can’t say today, but the biggest problem at code enforcement four years ago was Cogley’s In Basket.
    Properties were written up and cases prepared but 2/3 of them would never be signed off by Bill Cogley. They just sat on his desk. He wouldn’t sign them so they could move forward.
    Bill spent his time appeasing people with all the quality of life ordinances on the books but never went after them.
    Truth be told, code enforcement was never the same since the HUD injunction.
    With Lisa Madigan and Eric Holder up the food chain there will be no substantive code enforcement. They will go after peeling paint, long grass and business signage to keep busy, but cooking and living in basements and garages will be regulated by house fires.

  28. Harmony says:

    If what you say about Cogley is true which it is, ,just think about the amount of fines Elgin lost. But he still got that raise didn’t he?Another example of why this council needs to fire Steagal and his friends. If they don’t their days or numbered on this council. How can they justify losing a half of million dollars.

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