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March open thread

1 March 2014 Elgin Illinois 231 Comments

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March 2014 open thread. Say what you want.

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231 Responses to “March open thread”

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  1. still concerned says:

    Here we go again. The council yesterday gave preliminary approval (less Prigge) to pay out $676K to refurbish a building that would become an Elgin Charter School. While most would agree we have a near failed U-46 school district since when should our municipality get into the education business? I already pay nearly 3/4th of my property taxes to U-46, thank you very much! And why is this not a conflict on interest for some on the council? Because Cogley says it is not! He negotiated the deal. This after negotiating the TLC settlement…so now we are well over $1M with these follies! When is it ever going to stop?

    • RS says:

      Here are the articles about this:

      http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/25874766-418/elgin-city-council-to-consider-two-proposals-for-fox-river-country-day-school-campus.html

      http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140302/news/140309795/

      The city will have to pay for extensive repairs on the property, including $33,000 in damage caused by frozen pipes, $248,000 in dining hall repairs, $395,000 in repairs to the gym, plus yet-to-be determined expenses to repair the pool and paved surfaces, Cogley said.

      Also, the city would be responsible for utilities and maintenance costs to the tune of $225,000 per year.

      In a complicated deal, last April, the city council approved an intergovernmental agreement involving the Illinois Tollway Authority that divvied up the land holding the Fox River Country Day School on Elgin’s far northeastern side between the city, the Kane County Forest Preserve District and Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, which is adjacent to the school. The school closed in 2011.

      The Tollway Authority covered about $2.6 million of the purchase, with the McGraw kicking in $600,000 for about 7 of the 50 or so acres — called the lowlands — that are closest to its property and which are next to a unique fen. That fen and a total of about half the site is set to become forest preserve land. The remainder of the land, called the uplands, is the city’s and includes the school buildings.

      I guess the question I’m wondering about is who were the wise men at city hall that decided it would be a good idea to take over this property that will probably cost a million dollars to renovate, utilities and maintenance of nearly a quarter million a year for perpetuity, while taking in a small amount of rent that will just “help us defray our costs [Cogley].”

      Am I insane for thinking that this property needs to be unloaded immediately at any price to whoever will take it?

      • Karen Castile says:

        No, your not insane, the perpetrators of this elitists scheme are and it needs to stop now or they need to pony up a whole lot more $$$$!

        Who else in this town feels we’re getting the short end of this stick beside me?

        Who else is tired of subsidizing every Tom, Dick, John, Anna and Carol?

        Who else feels that the board members of this Charter School have stacked the deck with Council members who are in conflict of interest status?

        Who else wants to wait to see if another company/organization will bid on this property?

        Who else is tired of specific Council members pushing their personal agenda over the Elgin taxpayer’s needs in difficult economic times.

        Thank you Councilman Prigge! Looks to me like you were the only ones asking the important questions.

    • paul says:

      U-46 proposes hiring practices, as a matter of policy, on the basis of racial discrimination, blatantly unlawful. But hey, when the president of the U.S. ignores the law and the U.S. Constitution why shouldn’t everyone else! The law is what ever those in power say it is.

      http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140302/news/140309760/

      • paul says:

        “Tracy O’Neal Ellis, the board’s only black member, apologized for having verbally attacked a white audience member last week because he had quoted a saying from Martin Luther King.”

        Can’t make this stuff up! Elgin’s resident top racist. Attacking people based on race AND proposing to deny people equal opportunity based on race. Another socialist liberal in action. Evil.

      • RS says:

        It’s good if they are trying to recruit more qualified minority candidates. But the sad thing is that they’re talking about getting people from other countries, sponsoring work visas. Is there really such a shortage of qualified hispanic teachers in America that they have to go to Spain, Chile or Uruguay to fill these positions? I find it hard to believe that out of the many many millions of Mexican-Americans etc. living in this country they can’t find some willing and able to teach in U-46.

        If there’s a real shortage, they need to get the word out so young people can have a career in mind and know what to study in college instead of communications and underwater basket weaving.

        • paul says:

          “It’s good if they are trying to recruit more qualified minority candidates.”

          It is WRONG in every sense of the word to hire on the basis of race.

          It is wrong principally, morally, and ethically.

          It is the very definition of racism: to discriminate on the basis of race.

          It is wrong to yet make another class of victims. Hey, maybe the qualified white teachers can get landscaping jobs!

          It is OFFENSIVE to clearly imply white teachers CANNOT provide a quality education to non-white students.

          It is offensive to imply that non-white children are victimized because, in our equal opportunity society, not having someone of their own race as a teacher prevents them from aspiring higher.

          These black racists goal isn’t diversity. Their goal is racist segregation. Wouldn’t the white student be victimized by having non-white teachers?

          • RS says:

            Well that’s just the reality. Right or wrong, it looks awkward and unseemly when the student population is 50% hispanic and the teachers are mostly white. Same goes for the Elgin city hall, police department, fire department, etc. They need to adjust to the new population of Elgin and reflect the demographics.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            RS: But how do you adjust school staffs given the fact that vast numbers of teachers are in mid-career and were hired long before Elgin experienced its huge demographic shift?

            Do you fire all these older, tenured teachers? You could hire only purple teachers from here on out, and it may take 20 years before half of the teachers are purple. And in the mean time, who knows, Elgin’s demographics may have changed again, where we have had a massive influx of violet colored people.

            The same pretty much applies to City Hall.

            The only way to work should be to hire the best candidate to do the job, whatever their color is. About the only fair thing to do would be to make sure that there is a full range of applicants and interviews for any job opening. But the hiring should be merit based.

            Chuck

          • One Vote says:

            You would not believe the extent U46 goes to accommodate foreign teachers. They jaunt down to Mexico and over to Spain on recruiting trips, bring them over here, use a welcoming committee to find them an apartment and help them get settled (drivers license, car, schools for the kids, job search help for the spouse…).
            The teaching certificate that takes our own people four years to obtain is available to them if they only get a TB test.
            Then they have two years to establish their credentials, teaching our kids every day in the meantime.
            Some of these teachers don’t even know how to speak English. They couldn’t even buy groceries on their own unless the clerk spoke Spanish.
            How can they even pretend this is a BIlingual program?
            I asked Gilliam once if he recruited in the USA. He said they won’t even come to Elgin to look around. That ought to tell you something.
            Chuck is right; the problem will take care of itself. U46 can hasten the process by requiring teachers to live in the district.

          • paul says:

            “Well that’s just the reality. Right or wrong,”

            So ethics, morality, principle, decency and righteousness have nothing to do with it!!!

            What kind of code of ethics do you live by?

            Your liberalism is showing.

            “it looks awkward and unseemly”

            To who? To black racists.
            So it all just for show!!!

          • RS says:

            Paul you think anybody who disagrees with you lacks “ethics, morality, principle, decency and righteousness.”

            I’m not under any illusion that what I think is right is THE right. If it was all so obvious there would be no parties, no politics and no disagreements in society.

          • paul says:

            “I’m not under any illusion that what I think is right is THE right. ”

            The essence of my argument is: is your “right” predicated on ‘ethics, morality, principle, decency and righteousness’???

            When all you have is “it looks awkward and unseemly”, I don’t think your argument’s basis has anything to do with the above qualities.

            “Paul you think anybody who disagrees with you lacks “ethics, morality, principle, decency and righteousness.””

            I didn’t say that. You said that. That wasn’t a question; that was your statement. If you have a counter argument to my argument, please present it rather than attacking me personally.
            EVERYONE argues from a point that they believe right. The essence of argument is: is the ‘right’ defensible? I believe I made a strong case for my argument. “right or wrong,… looks ackward and unseemly” really ain’t cuttin it.

          • RS says:

            Paul, right and wrong is irrelevant in many or most things in life. It is not right or wrong for you to fill the gas tank in your car. it is not right or wrong for you to paint your white house blue.

            I’m going to take my own advice and not try to debate with you as I know where it inevitably goes. So I am done here. You are welcome to have the last word.

    • paul says:

      >>The city purchased the 311 software system…at a cost of about $600,000<>It operates out of a 2,100-square-foot space on the first floor of city hall from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday<>Its nine staff members are internal transfers from other departments.<<

      Wow! Can’t make this stuff up. It takes 9 people to answer a non-emergency city of Elgin information number 10 hours daily Monday through Friday only!!! 9 people!

      And to think, those 9 people could previously do other things within their respective departments WHEN the phone wasn’t ringing. NOW they can’t do other things given they are no longer in their respective departments!
      When they get a call at 7 a.m. and there is no one in the departments until 9 a.m, do they tell the 7 a.m. call to call back later?

      Think about that; the city spent $600,000 for ummm, errrr, uhhh… software that enables the city to take calls! $600,000 that doesn’t free up, eliminate or hire a single city government employee and deosn’t fix a single problem within the city of Elgin.
      Most probably, these nine departments that are now short 9 employees previously doing other things besides answering the phone will now have to hire 9 more people to do those other things now!

      There ain’t no stinkin surplus, Chuck. They’ll spend every last dime of that, guaranteed.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Ironically, when this came up for one of a series of votes, only Bob Gilliam questioned the need for this system. But in discussion, he was assured by the CM that the improved efficiencies and resulting savings would more than offset the added costs. I discussed this once with the CM, and he stands by this as his signature and only program initiative. He told me that to attack 311 was to attack him. This was made as a simple statement, as our discussion was mostly about other matters, we just strayed for a bit.

        Also, I MAY be mistaken on this, as I didn’t spend much time with this year’s budget compared to the previous year. But operations for all of these people is to my understanding, part of the budget. So even with this re-deployment of staff, and their part of the budgeted operations of the City, there will still conservatively be a $13,000,000 surplus. If it is like last year, based upon conservative budgeting, there may be a couple of million in income making the surplus even larger. And it is that surplus, ONTOP of the budgeted surplus that the council will debate what to do with………. Meanwhile keeping the biggest part of the surplus/overtaxation safely out of the taxpayer’s reach. Now, with all the snowfall we have had, and freezing pipes, maybe the surplus on top of the surplus will only be $1,000,000 or $2,000,000 at the end of this year. Yet those who love to take our money at City Hall will crow about how important it was that we had a surplus in order to deal with the extra snow expenses. Chuck

  2. James Madison says:

    RS,

    assuming the capital improvement costs are realistic (always to be challenged when produced by a government body) and that the pool and paved surface repairs come to $200,000. If the city spends $225,000 annually for utilities and maintenance for ten years, total costs to the city for a ten year lease to Elgin Science and Math academy would equal about $3.2 million. According to Cogley, the city will recoup about $1.1 million over the ten year proposed lease to the ESM group. Assuming no income from the Elgin Academy, the city has now agreed to subsidize a private business that competes directly with a public entity for about $2.2 million. WOW. If Prigge was the only no vote, did Shaw and Gavin abandon their “principles” to support this boondoogle? The City Manager has obviously promised to support one of their pet projects. Follow the money. Always follow the money.

    • RS says:

      I’m skeptical they will even recoup $1M over ten years. This is a startup enterprise we’re talking about and their ability to pay is all dependent on how successful they are at implementing their business plan. Presumably there is a minimum number of students (and their vouchers) required for everything to break even. Other variables are the costs of management, teachers, etc. This is a risky project. And yet we’re going to sink a million dollars into it in renovations and promise to sink a quarter million a year to subsidize this experiment?

      We already have the ESO to deal with and now we’re going to add a charter school that becomes the direct responsibility of the City of Elgin. This is going to end up a big mess.

      What I really don’t like is that promise to spend $225,000 a year in maintenance and utilities. People have been complaining for years about similar losses at the recreation centers and those serve many many more people. Now we’re going to subsidize schooling for the NENA crowd. It amounts to triple taxation. Taxed by U-46, taxed by U-46 again for the vouchers (since the district is not going to realize any savings from having one or two students less per class), and then taxed by the City of Elgin. It represents a huge subsidy, a transfer of wealth from innocent taxpayers like Chuck Keysor to NENA parents.

      • Karen Castile says:

        Some Social Justice. They feel justified to stick the taxpayer’s with the bill because they don’t want their children socializing with U46 or their students.

        Liberals, talking out of both sides of their mouths. U46 good for others, Charter for ours.

  3. Harmony says:

    No conflict of interest? Anna’s on the board of the charter school, Steffens wife also, Carol’s brother. I am going to ask the Kane County States attorney. I want to be a fly on Steffen’s wall when he comes home from the council meeting and tells his wife he voted against funding. We need to demand firing Steagal, Cogley and Mylott.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Yes, from what I read in the paper, this is an amazing, if not unbelievable situation! Why should the taxpayers of Elgin want this school/money pit? Moeller and Steffen have clearly been aiming at this property to fulfill their personal agendas.

      The only positive side of this story that I can see so far, is that we all owe our thanks to John Prigge for speaking out against this.

      Of course, Anna has been the most vocal in expressing her desire for this property, starting way back when she first proposed the Elgin Tree Ordinance. She wanted to save the trees on this property, so that it would still be wooded by the time that she and her fellow charter school cronies got their hands on this choice parcel.

      And thinking politically, I sure wish that Councilman Shaw would have voted against this issue. It would have been a great chance for him to differentiate himself from the likes of Moeller and Steffen who have been maneuvering for this property for well over a year. This is a case where I was mistakenly expecting a 6 to 3 vote….. I sure hope this vote changes at the final council vote………… At least Toby would be able to say he voted against it AFTER he had voted for it…….

      But the obvious and unavoidable conflicts of interest on this by Moeller, Steffen and Rauschenberger are so over-whelming, as already pointed out by others, is simply unbelievable! That seeming impropriety/apparent conflict of interest should have been enough to get the rest of the council to vote against this proposal.

      UNBELIEVABLE! Chuck

      • bw says:

        CK:

        One more time: There is no COI in this matter. You’re the only one who thinks that there is. It is not even a civil COI. You get onto one of your kicks and have a hard time accepting the real truth on these issues. I’m sorry CK, your agenda is going nowhere on your COI issue.

        • Margaret Miller says:

          There is a conflict of interest and impropriety.
          Let’s try opening the eyes and taking a closer look.

          • bw says:

            MM:

            You ask me to remind you of an untruth. This statement is as far from the truth as God allows. You’re smarter that that. You now there is no COI in this issue. We all can dream. You been drinking to much kool aid when you post such BS.

          • bw says:

            MM:

            I think you have been paying to much attention to Prigge on this one. His knowledge on these issues is limited as it is on most matters dealing with city business. The voters went to the bottom of the barrel to find this guy. It is too bad he is not running in 2015. The guy just don’t get it.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            Well I guess truth is in the eye of the beholder. If you cannot see the impropriety I cannot help you. You have closed your mind and eyes to the truth because you have sided with your friends who have just sold you down the river of more taxing to pay for their dream, not the betterment of Elgin taxpayers.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            Why don’t you contact Councilman Prigge directly and educate him on what you think he doesn’t know about this issue.

            That may open your eyes!

    • bw says:

      We need to demand firing Steagal, Cogley and Mylott. What would be accomplished by firing three jerks. They would be replaced by three more jerks. Now Prigge is against education. If you’re not educated yourself you would have no idea what the word means. He is a real stupid member on the council. He needs to be replaced. He just takes up space at the council table. A real worthless member who sends the wrong message to the community.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        bw,

        Just a minute please.

        I hope you took the time to read all the information and versed yourself with all the details before you call Councilman Prigge derogatory names, bear false witness against him, make inaccurate statements and accuse him of something others on this Council should have joined with him on without hesitation, Even though those few were still in the minority compared to the ones who clearly have a personal agenda and immediate affiliation with this charter school board. (Moeller, Steffen and Rauschenberger)

        Councilman Prigge is most certainly looking out for not only the City of Elgin but the taxpayer’s who will be footing the bill for this. He’s the one asking the questions about how taxpayer money is to be spent on this project and why.

        I thought you wanted to save money on your property tax bill? I thought you didn’t approve of double and triple taxation. What is it that you don’t understand or are conflicted with? I’m sure there are many people on this site that will assist me in explaining this issue to you further.

        Let us know if you need our assistance.

        • bw says:

          MM:

          All I know is the USA is far behind other countries in technology, science and math. We need to do something about it and the time is now. Your friend Prigge has no idea about the need for a Charter School. I’m not for higher taxes but certain issues must be addressed whatever the cost. My grandchildren want a STEM education and they do not want dummies holding them back. You’re letting the so called “Conflict of Interest” get into your way. There is no COI in this case per legal counsel.

          • RS says:

            USA educational performance is not nearly as bad as you think:

            http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/03/academic_excellence_and_the_mi.html

          • Harmony says:

            Bw

            You seam to be a reasonable person so let’s see if we can debate this. You state there is no COI? You state because the corporate council says so.

            Anna Moeller is on the board for this charter school she is also on I believe the planning committee. Not a COI, please explain why not,looking forward to you response.

            Prigge states this seams to be COI, Steffens states that was a cheap shot. Cogley agrees on that here is why. John Steffens is not directly by name associated with the charted board. But here is it gets interesting. He stated he and his wife “have had many arguments and discussions on this subject” His wife is on the board. May not be COI but does’t seam not ethical. What do you think?

            Same with Rauchenberger?

            Please be reminded that Cogley just cost the city $500.000 with TLC lawsuit when the judge told him Elgin ordinance was illegal and then he appealed. Would you want him to represent you in a civil suit?

      • Tim says:

        There is also several property’s near mine that are literally being consumed by the earth. Somehow they are still considered inhabitable by the city.

        At some point I hope it becomes more logical to start demolishing these dilapidated dumps and planting grass.

  4. Harmony says:

    Wasn’t Mylott’s code 2,0 interesting? Basically I’ve been here 3 years and I think my inspectors can make judgement calls in the field. but guys I want to outsource the rental license program. By the way I approve let’s go one step farther and out source the whole department and send Mylott back to SC, they miss this idiot.

  5. ADV says:

    That parcel and several of the buildings on it are very, very beautiful and historic. It would truly be a crime for it to be flattened and turned into a Wal-Mart, parking lot, or other “modern” structure. I went to school there for a couple of years as a kid in the ’70s and I can say without a doubt that the grounds themselves had a gigantic positive impact on me. (The education, not so much, but that’s a different story.) Most kids these days just don’t get to see and run around in those types of woods, hills, grasses and fields, or to go to school in beautiful Prairie style buildings that look out on giant oak trees.

    That property should be used to benefit Elgin and its residents somehow. Given the pathetic quality of U46 education, a charter school may be as good a use as any. I hear that the D300 charter school at Cambridge Lakes is considered to be head and shoulders above the rest of the district.

    • RS says:

      Cambridge Lakes was built by the developer of a new subdivision for the residents of the subdivision, the vast majority of whom do not fall into the low income category.

      What makes U-46 education so pathetic? I went to U-46 for the most part. I never had a bad teacher, not really. And now I hear that U-46 is pathetic, so I don’t get it. Where did all the good teachers go? Why are the U-46 schools in Bartlett doing fine? Are all the horrible teachers being assigned to Elgin? Do you really think that?

      I think it’s unfair for people to keep disparaging U-46. I did find it disconcerting to read Councilman Steffen’s comment that the quality of schools in Elgin is a lingering problem. What does he mean by that?

      • Karen Castile says:

        The changing demographics in Elgin over the last fifteen years.

      • RS says:

        I would like to hear from the organizers of this charter school why Elgin schools are not good enough for their children. Please be specific. Is it the teachers? The principals? What is it exactly?

        They have not made a case for why this is necessary. Vague allusions to “lingering problems” is not enough justification for expending millions of taxpayer dollars.

        This stuff don’t come free you know.

        • bw says:

          RS:

          It comes down to the teachers. No one wants to take STEM courses in college anymore. They are interested in English, Art, Psychology etc. Math, Science, Technology(IT),Physics(Eng)have little interest these days. No college student wants to work that hard. I’m 77 years old and take graduate classes every year. I’m not going to use them for a career. I want my grand kids to see their grandpa with his nose in the books and computer when they come to visit. The 5 in grade and high school are doing well. My 8th grade granddaughter has been an A student every year. She wants to attend Harvard. She is bored with school. I say she needs to be advanced to harder work. I’m not her teacher. She attends school in Crystal Lake. She will take STEM courses in college, She loves technology and math. We need more students like her. But were lacking quality teachers. My courses are taught by PhD’s. I don’t find them exceptional teachers. I think a lot of them are lazy. Do as little as possible.

    • Karen Castile says:

      I agree that it should not be destroyed. Moving forward on this project is certainly to the detriment of the Elgin taxpayer’s bottom line.

      A U46 field trip to any Elgin park or nearby nature center will allow children the same nature experience you had and would only require a permission slip and a bus not my tax dollars for some people’s dream mission or resume enhancer. A two month summer vacation will allow for many nature trips as well.

      What about a recall petition for John Steffen, Anna Moeller and Carol Rauschenberger? Let’s through Dave Kaptain into that recall as well. The needs of the few, and not the many, has been this group’s mantra for far too many years. 2015 can’t come soon enough.

      Never let it be said that Elgin would be out done by Carpentersville. Gosh forbid. How about busing these council members children to Cambridge Lakes? Problem solved as far as I can see and Elgin can takes its time to figure out what’s best for all citizens and not just the northwest side elitists children.

  6. One Vote says:

    You’ve got Schock, Moeller and Steffan/Kelly in the middle of this.
    After turning McKinley into an armpit they now need somewhere to send THEIR kids living in NENA.
    The solution? A private school funded by US for their little darlings.
    FYI, McKinley is now 9% White and 83% free lunch.
    And to think I helped build that playground years ago.

    • RS says:

      I’ve always supported charter schools. The norm is for these to be established in areas where there are problem schools and school districts, namely inner city areas. The most successful charter schools are predominantly minority and they take in students from predominantly minority schools. With this charter school in Elgin, what they’re going to do is suck out all the white kids from schools like McKinley, leaving our public elementary schools nearly completely minority. If McKinley is 9% white now it’s going to drop to 5, 4, 3 or 2%. I don’t see how this is going to improve the quality of education for the remaining students. Now they’re going to have nobody to speak to in English.

      This is a backwards charter school. Instead of improving education for minority students (the normal goal for charter schools), this is aimed at providing what is essentially a private school education for white NENA children at public expense.

  7. bw says:

    Harmony:

    You need to find out the meaning of COI. You can not debate something you know nothing about. I learned 60 years ago what COI was and how it is used in the current issue. If I recall the cost for the lawsuit was $280k not $500k. I suggest you get your facts right before making a fool of yourself in your post.

    • Harmony says:

      BW

      You need to get more information before you start making accusations. Direct judgement toTLC. Was $280k assist Cm Kozel stated the City paid an additional to a outsource legal firm do the math add some of Cogley and company time and you are well over $500,000.

      I find it interesting that you didn’t respond with direct answers to my other issues I challenged you to do?

      Please explain your current us of conflict of interest.

  8. Cruex says:

    Since when did this become a referendum about charter schools and less about getting fair rent for a beautiful piece of land? There may not be a LEGAL conflict of interest but thankfully the legal system does not vote.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Good comments Cruex on the importance of what the voters think about this matter.

      There are two big problems that the voters may perceive with this deal. Maybe these are right or maybe they are wrong, but appearances would easily come to mind to the average voter, so they are very important:
      1) The strong possibility that we will be entering yet another money draining tar pit from which there is no escape.
      2) The appearance by Steffen, Moeller and Rauschenberger of putting their personal interests and those of their families before the interests of the taxpayers.

      Why should the taxpayers of Elgin want this school/(probable money pit)? Moeller and Steffen have clearly been aiming at this property to fulfill their personal agendas which has been to get a charter school in Elgin. From what I am told, City staff says no one wanted to buy the property while the bank owned it, and then after the City took possession of the smaller parcel with all the buildings, they say they couldn’t find anyone who wants it. So Staff is painting the picture that there is no other option for this property than to rent it out, as even tearing it down would cost a fortune. Renting it at a probable loss is presented as the only option! It makes it look as though Moeller and Steffen have created the perfect trap from which the City can not escape. IE, they maneuvered the City into acquiring property that because of covenants and various economic considerations, can likely only be used for school purposes, with no way out for the City. And they have managed to have the City foot the bill so that they can get their long dreamt of charter school.

      Corporate Council Cogley has advised that there is no conflict of interest, because Moeller, Steffen and Rauschenberger have nothing to gain financially. Certainly that is a very narrow definition, perhaps what would be required to get someone in jail. But to an average person, (who as Cruex pointed out, will weigh in on this at the next election), it seems really wrong for some Council members to manipulate the City into acquiring this property at a probably great long-term expense to the City, when the primary clear beneficiary is the group that wants to form a charter school, and that group has direct connections to Steffen, Moeller and Rauschenberger? Or is it hoped that to the average voter, this is just politics, and we are to expect that some selfish politicians can manipulate situations to suit their personal agendas?????

      These are the things that I think will cross the minds of the average voters in the next election. Luckily for Steffen and Moeller, Shaw voted for this, thus neutralizing any advantage Shaw could have gained over the appearances of this deal.

      Chuck

      • Margaret Miller says:

        bw:

        I would agree that the USA is far behind other countries and yes, we need to do something about it however, it is NOT the job of the Elgin City Council members to do it. That job belongs solely to the school boards, teachers, administrators and superintendents. If its STEM you want, then work within the education system to demand it or you will all end up with Common Core. As the school districts do not meddle in Council affairs, the Council should not meddle in educational affairs. Putting that aside…

        Councilman Prigge has convinced me he knows what his role is as a councilman. The education system is not one of his duties. I believe that if this charter school board offered a fair price to the city for all the property, he may be so inclined to offer a yes vote.

        From the Courier…”Stegall stressed that the decision involving the charter school would not mean the council would be approving the charter school. “We are not part of that process,” Stegall said.” THE PROCESS IS THE CITY NEEDS TO FIND THE BEST USE OF ALL THE PROPERTY NOT JUST A PORTION OF IT.

        This is NOT a proposal to the city, its a premeditated stealth take over of prime Elgin taxpayer property, lest we forget. This board wants to take the best buildings of this property, leaving the city with the crumbs. Now, how does the city market a portion of that property to anyone for future use? This board also wants the city to do everything including pay the utilities!

        From the Daily Herald…”Cogley said he expects to negotiate the lease with the Elgin Academy in the coming weeks. The city will have to pay for extensive repairs on the property, including $33,000 in damage caused by frozen pipes, $248,000 in dining hall repairs, $395,000 in repairs to the gym, plus yet-to-be determined expenses to repair the pool and paved surfaces, Cogley said.”

        Who figured the lease amount and is that a fair value for the prime property or was it the top amount this board could pay? How does anyone know? There was no information on this offered. Was there any alternative location looked at by this board or did they set their cap on this property since it was the closest to where most of this board lives? When did the city become a landlord and how many pools this year are taxpayer’s willing to pay for? The Council, just weeks ago approved over $800,000 for repairs at Wing Park. This is where all citizens and guests are welcome, this hypothetical charter school pool would only be available to registered students, their family and friends. In reality, segregation of the classes and the Elgin taxpayer’s become indentured servants with our tax dollars.

        From the Courier…”Buildings used would include dormitories, the gym, pool, dining hall and administration. The proposal would have Elgin Academy paying the city a portion of its profits.” TAKING THE BEST PIECE OF THE PIE. WHAT DOES ELGIN DO WITH THE REST OF IT? WHAT PORTION OF THE PROFITS DOES ELGIN RECEIVE? WHEN WILL THE PAYOUTS START AND FOR HOW LONG? WILL THE PROFIT PERCENTAGE INCREASE AS PROFITS DO OR IS THERE A SET AMOUNT AD INFINITUM?

        What happens if the school doesn’t pay the rent, just like the ESO, do the taxpayer’s continue to float this charter school, do we throw them off the premises as the landlords have a right to do or do we cut them a fifteen year low interest rate deal digging ourselves deeper into another Elgin money pit? When does the buyer of a property dictate the terms of the deal with the seller? I have never heard of such a thing!

        What I do know is that this issue does not pass the smell test.

        The current proposal, as the Courier article…”The rent would be $50,000 for the first year and increase each year to $115,000 for the fifth year. If the school renews, the rent would be $130,000 for year six and $150,000 for years seven through 10.” WHAT HAPPENS IN YEAR 11? WITH THE INITIAL TAXPAYER OUTLAY FOR MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS, IT WOULD TAKE THE ELGIN TAXPAYERS 8 YEARS TO SEE ANY PROFIT BASED ON THE ABOVE NUMBERS. THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE ANNUAL THE CITY’S RESPONSIBILITY FOR UTILITIES AND MAINTENANCE COSTS TO THE TUNE OF $225,000 PER YEAR. THAT’S AN ESO BAILOUT EVERY YEAR AND THEN SOME!

        From the Courier…”Stegall said the city would not be making money — at least initially — with the agreements. That’s due in part to roofs on all but the Neil Building needing repairs and water main breaks on campus this winter, Stegall said.” WHY NOT MAKE MONEY INITIALLY? HAS ANYONE EVER HEARD OF “AS IS” REAL ESTATE?

        Now, let’s be fair, if the proposal came from a right leaning group with the Council stacked with right leaning people connected to this project with an initial outlay of taxpayer dollars, you and the other liberals would be crying FOUL.

        If the people who are connected to this project want to investigate and promote this as private citizens, I have no issue with that HOWEVER, they are elected officials who are supposed to be looking out for the betterment of ALL Elgin citizens not just the lucky few, themselves included by self serving means.

        “Initiative group members Karen Schock and Kerry Kelly said they hope to have the necessary paperwork filed with School District U46 soon. The district then has up to 75 days to act on the application. If the district denies the application, then the group can appeal to the Illinois Charter School Commission. SO, IF U46 DOES NOT APPROVE IT, WHAT DOES ELGIN DO IN THE INTERIM? SIT ON ITS THUMBS UNTIL THEY CAN FIGURE IT OUT ALL WHILE POSSIBLY PASSING UP A BETTER OFFER?

        Schock is the wife of former Elgin Mayor Ed Schock and Kelly is married to Elgin City Councilman John Steffen. Councilwoman Carol Rauschenberger works for Elgin Area School District U-46 and her brother, Keith Rauschenberger, is on the board of the Elgin Charter School Initiative. Councilwoman Anna Moeller and Councilman John Steffen’s wife, Kerry Kelly, are members of the design committee for the charter school and Kelly is also a charter school board member. HOW IS THAT FOR A STACKED DECK AT TAXPAYER’S EXPENSE?

        This reeks of impropriety!

        Mayor Kaptain, how in the world does the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq even know about this hypothetical school anyway? Once again, doing a bit of marketing on something that is NOT a sure thing and certainly does not have taxpayer approval. (Hoffman Estates’ Northwest FourthFest 2013)

        http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140302/news/140309795/
        http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/25874766-418/elgin-council-to-consider-day-school-plans.html

        I have done the research. In 2011 the USA spent $809.6 Billion, the USA spends the most on annual per school age child, school life expectancy 16 years, Math score 474 out of 600, Science Score 489 out of 600,
        http://rossieronline.usc.edu/u-s-education-versus-the-world-infographic/

    • paul says:

      “getting fair rent for a beautiful piece of land?”

      Back to the middle ages. The King owns all the land and the King decides what is fair! We are just serfs in the Kings employ.

      The City of Elgin enacted it’s it present tree ordinance a few years back specifically for the purpose of acquiring this property. A de facto government taking of the property via rules and regulations severely resticting usage.

      Creeping crony socialism.

  9. One Vote says:

    Also at issue here is the City’s purchase of that property. Knowing that it needs work and that there are covenants restricting its future use (does anyone have details about that?) they have once again been snookered into another white elephant.
    How did that happen? Shouldn’t alarms have gone off due to the very fact that it was months on the market with no takers?
    Again, government picking winners and losers…and doing it badly.
    Unless…they are dumb like a fox. Did someone know all along that they were headed toward a charter school? Did they already have their Steffen/Kelly/Moeller/Rauschenberger/Schock connection going?
    Sure, have the city subsidize the repairs and infrastructure.
    Hey, if this charter school wants to buy it from the city, go right ahead. Otherwise, the city should put it back on the market. It turns out to be another foolish purchase.

    • RS says:

      The city should just give it to the charter school and/or Elgin Academy and be done with it.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        RS: I agree with you, and have told two councilmen that we would be better off giving the property away IF we can’t find someone to buy it. But one councilman told me he felt we couldn’t even give it away. I think that assessment needs to be re-checked independently. Chuck

    • paul says:

      Google it, one vote.
      City of Elgin was talking about the property being used for a charter school even before Elgin took possession of the property.

      Conflict of interest if there ever was a conflict of interest. The very same people leading the charter school charge are now sitting on the council spending public monies to subsidize their charter school dream.

  10. Margaret Miller says:

    Have something to say about the Charter School issue, submit your Letter to the Editor, Speakout at the Courier or write to City Hall.

    Courier Speakout - 630-978-8345

    The Courier News
    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/opinions/letters/5147615-474/submit-your-letter-to-the-editor.html

    Letters are subject to editing and may only be signed by one individual. They must contain an address and phone number for verification. Letters must be entirely written for this paper and may not include previously published material, nor do we accept form letters from campaigns or special interest groups or those also sent to other media. All letters submitted are subject to our Submission Guidelines.

    The Daily Herald
    fencepost@dailyherald.com

    Have something to say? Send your comments to Fence Post. Please limit your letter to a maximum of 300 words. We also invite you to attach a digital photograph of yourself, at least 300 dpi, for publication. All submissions must include your name, town, and day and evening phone numbers. All submissions are considered for publication in print and online. No letter will be published anonymously. All Letters are subject to editing. We do not guarantee that every letter will be published.

    kaptain_d@cityofelgin.org, rdunne@cityofelgin.org, prigge_j@cityofelgin.org, powell_t@cityofelgin.org, moeller_a@cityofelgin.org, steffen_j@cityofelgin.org, shaw_t@cityofelgin.org, rauschenberger_c@cityofelgin.org, gavin_t@cityofelgin.org, stegall_s@cityofelgin.org, cogley_w@cityofelgin.org

  11. bw says:

    MM:

    Yes, I will say it right here. Get on with the project. All talk and no action is a waste of every ones time. Nothing is going to stop the council from doing as they wish. They got the Hemmens and Tower Building to worry about. Our roads are a mess from the bad winter. Let the elected members of the council do their job and get Elgin back on the right track.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      bw,

      That’s a very telling way to put it and it sure would be an interesting concept if certain Council members felt the way you did but alas they do not.

      You said…”Nothing is going to stop the council from doing as they wish.” We’ll the citizen outcry and a 2015 election cycle might. I sure have high hopes.

      They sure do as they wish rarely if ever thinking about the ones footing their bills at every turn. So who do they actually represent except themselves?

      They are too busy with their personal dreams of a Charter School and Food Co-Op to care about pot holed streets and the lowly Elgin tax paying citizen. Come on, I thought at the very least you recognized that already.

      You said…”Let the elected members of the council do their job and get Elgin back on the right track.”

      Hmmm, is that the same Council that drove us off the track?

      • paul says:

        MM, as you are probably aware, the city of elgin is looking for people to serve on a Hemmens committee to discuss Hemmens building future. Why don’t you apply? Clearly the city is looking to stack the deck in favor of the Hemmens as is as indicated by the background of the people they are looking for, but to give the committee some credibility maybe they should include someone with a different outlook!
        But different viewpoints ain’t the point of the committee, is it?

      • bw says:

        MM:

        It looks to me that it is a done deal.

    • paul says:

      Classic standard liberal response:

      “Nothing is going to stop the council from doing as they wish.”
      Implied: ’so shut up!’

      “Get on with the project.”
      Implied: ‘I’m in agreement with the project so shut up!’

      “All talk and no action is a waste of every ones time. ”
      Implied: ‘I’m in agreement with the project AND don’t want to hear your disagreement. So shut up.’

      “Let the elected members of the council do their job and get Elgin back on the right track.”
      Implied: ‘ignorant citizens like you prevent (unexplained) the council from doing their job AND ignorant citizens like you got the council off the correct track (unexplained). So shut up.’

      Standard socialist argument. And also explains why liberal left wing socialist talk radio doesn’t exist.

  12. Tim says:

    Can someone explain to me how an attempt at bettering the city’s laughable school system is a bad idea? As it stands native English speaking students are already the minority in many of these grade schools. Is that not a problem in and of itself for the city?

    • RS says:

      It’s bad because the remaining public schools will become even less diverse (fewer white students). It’s also expensive (triple taxation) and the City of Elgin has no business in the education arena.

      Also there’s nothing wrong with U-46. High minority enrollment does not make it “laughable,” “pathetic” or whatever other words have been used to describe it. Find me another district anywhere in the country that is 50% hispanic and doing better than U-46.

  13. Chuck Keysor says:

    Hello Tim. The debate on this issue is NOT about charter schools. Maybe charter schools are good, maybe not, I don’t know. But the controversy in this case is two fold:

    1) Apparent Conflict of Interest: To the average person, it looks like Councilwomen Moeller and Rauschenberger, and Councilman Steffen have placed their personal/family agendas of getting a charter school in Elgin, ahead of their consideration of the Elgin taxpayers.

    2)Wasting taxpayer’s money/driving up taxes: We are poised to take on a new drag on the City budget, as this property is virtually certain to cost the taxpayers much more than it will bring in in rent. Even the preliminary numbers presented in the papers look to show a loss. The taxpayers face an excessive burden in paying our taxes, and our council should be working to lighten the burden it places upon the Citizens of Elgin. So this possible/probable property acquisition simply is moving in the wrong direction and this move will only drive up our taxes.

    Moeller, Steffen and Rauschenberger all have obvious conflicts of interest in this matter as pointed out in the Daily Herald. City Attorney Cogley says there is no conflict of interest, because those three named do not stand to get any money. That is a legal definition required to avoid going to jail. But to the average person, there is a conflict of interest if a councilmember can put their personal/family interests above the best interests of the taxpayers.

    Those are the big issues, and not the matter of charter schools. Thanks, Chuck

    • bw says:

      CK:

      There is no COI in this case. Maybe in you little mind you can make an issue of these three council members. However, no matter how you look at it COI is not the issue. It is people like you who want to cause a problem by posting material that is wrong, misleading and in error. If you’re going to post here, tell the truth and stop making an issue out of something you see as COI in your little world. Moeller, Steffen and Rauschenberger are clear on this issue. Steffen is an atorney. He knows what COI entails. Get your facts right Chuck.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Sorry bw, there is legal conflict of interest as is so egregious as to send someone to jail, and there is a non-criminal conflict of interest. If you can’t see, or accept such a spectrum of behavior as being real, you are simply being obstinate.

        Look at it this way, since you say you are into legal matters. The level of proof to prove guilt in a criminal trial is HUGE! The level of proof to prove guilt in a civil trial is far lower. And in the case of proving guilt to the voters is even lower still. The mere suggestion of impropriety has sunken many a political career when there was NO hint of criminal activities.

        As Cruex pointed out a few days ago, what is important is what the voters think………. Chuck

        • bw says:

          CK:

          It is also important that the voters get the right information. If you took this matter to court, which you will not do, a Judge would dismiss it before you presented your argument. I have no idea what your argument would entail.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Sheesh,,,,,,,,BW, did you even read what a wrote? Oh well, I should not have been surprised.

            Hopefully someone else read my post that could connect with the simple and correct concept that there is a broad difference between what is required to send someone to prison, versus what is required to get the voters mad and toss someone out of office.

            As a matter of fact, someone can get tossed out of office by simply making the voters mad, without ANY suggestion of illegal activities. Certainly you must get that… don’t you???

            So my most fundamental contention is that this issue of Steffen and Moeller’s connection to the City becoming a landlord for the former country day school, will make the voters mad, and that Steffen and Moeller will have to pay a price for this. They will have to hold a lot more fundraisers to compensate for this!

            Sheesh,,,,,,,, Chuck

    • RS says:

      Chuck, the councilmen you mentioned are not the only ones with school-age children. Perhaps that explains how this proposal received only one NO vote. And perhaps even the only reason Prigge voted against it is because his kids will be too old to attend the school? I don’t know.

      But I don’t agree that there’s a real conflict of interest in this case because the proposed benefits are more or less public benefits.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        RS: Our disagreement here is based on my belief that three cited council members have set aside their objectivity because of their personal crusade, which has driven them to take on this new money pit that the City should have treated as though it were radioactive.

        The most fundamental harm here, is the long-term negative financial impact of the proposal to become landlords for this property. And it is the conflict of interest that set us up for this financial liability.

        You have stated that the beneficiaries of the charter school will be a select/elite group of insiders from as I think you put it, the NENA neighborhood. So how does it make sense to add any further burden to all of Elgin’s taxpayers, to benefit tiny group of Elgin’s elite??????

        Chuck

  14. Tim says:

    Creating a new charter school isn’t what’s dragging the budget down. It’s the complete lack of tax base and constant catering to the bottom demographic in this city. Until that changes this city stays a dump. Something like an available charter school may draw residents that have employment and income and the interest in sending their children to such a school. The current schools we have are the reason those people are moving out.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Tim, as another odd twist on this, the backers of the charter school in Elgin say we need this to attract more of the right people (whoever they are, I don’t know). Yet in the next breath, these same people will say entrance will be by lottery. OK, so why would someone move to Elgin because MAYBE their kid could get into this nice charter school on the fancy campus of the former country day school?

      I believe that their argument that a lottery will be used to gain admission, is strictly a thin charade to give the appearance that those people pushing this program don’t have anything to gain, because maybe their kids won’t even get in the charter school. Yet, such a lottery would as noted, make anybody dismiss this as a reason to move to Elgin since they might loose the lottery. Maybe someone can bring some “pay to play” action here to help level out the playing field for the rich and connected people……..

      Chuck

      • RS says:

        I doubt it will ever go to lottery. Lottery is only if demand exceeds supply. The people in the know will not promote the school beyond what is necessary. If there are extra slots they will tell a few of their non-white friends and when it reaches capacity, they won’t promote it any further. It’s not like the recent immigrants are going to know anything about a charter school vs their local elementary school. The demographics of this institution is going to be nothing like the demographics of Elgin, but the organizers will pay lip service to the idea of diversity and a student body representative of the Elgin population (it won’t be).

        The U-46/Futterman lawsuit was just settled this year. If you recall, that was the Plan A of the Schock/NENA gang. They recoiled at the idea of minorities being a majority in their neighborhood schools. They lost that lawsuit and it cost the school district/taxpayers millions of dollars. And now they are on to Plan B: a charter school. But the objective is still the same: to ensure that their white kids do not have to be educated with minority children.

        I never thought the NENA people who are typically such staunch supporters of illegal immigration would be so racist but apparently they are. I guess they view their “undocumented” neighbors as cheap labor for mowing their lawns, not playmates for their kids.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          OK RS, I guess I foolishly took the repeated statements of a lottery to enter the charter school at face value, and you are no doubt correct.

          Maybe Dr. Torres can deal a blow to this entire affair by demanding that any charter school in Elgin must reflect within reason, the make up of the community. After all, that IS exactly what they are working on for all the teachers in U46…… That would be pitting liberals against liberals! How cool is that?

          Chuck

        • Margaret Miller says:

          Does anyone know who started that lawsuit?

          • RS says:

            Common Sense (where has he been?) is the expert on this so you might want to ask him. But he posted this quote numerous times on this site:

            “It’s great if the city is on board, but we’re still here if they’re not on board,” said Elgin resident and U-46 parent Kerry Kelly, who is not a potential litigant but supports the parents’ efforts.

            And of course they had Ed Schock, et al (now it’s Mrs. Schock). I don’t think the lawsuit arose spontaneously from the minorities that supposedly were being harmed by neighborhood schools (non-busing). But of course the NENA people themselves, being white could not sue U-46 so they or Futterman, the law firm Ed Schock brought in, recruited some minority families that were willing to get sucked into a decade-long lawsuit that would end up costing U-46 taxpayers over $20M in legal fees.

            I think that’s how it went down. Correct me if wrong.

  15. bw says:

    CK:

    I hate it when you continue you style of trying to sell the readers on this board something that is wrong. I do give them credit to know where you are coming from and what your agenda is. You people insist that Elgin has $14 million in surplus funds. We use to get $200 each year and free lawn bags that has been taken away. Let the city get into those funds and send us seniors the $200 and free lawn bags. The $14 million can also be used for repairs to this property. I suppose you and Margaret Miller would like a portion of the $14 million? It will never happen. I have lived in this city for almost 78 years, it is a city in the suburbs. That and .25 cents is worthless. Also let them take the weekly pick-up off my water bill. Cut down their levy and budget more things for us seniors.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Bw,

      Don’t be upset with Chuck’s reasoning when you’re being unreasonable by not admitting there is impropriety with this issue.

      “You people” Hmmmm, referring to the informed ones as opposed to the ones who believe, hook line and sinker, the liberal members who say we dont.

      $200 for leaf bags? I don’t think you’re correct on that. You may want to ask you friend Tish Powell where that savings went because she just pledged it to the 2014 fireworks. So which would you rather have, leaf bags or fireworks because neither are in the budget.

      The senior dollars were offered as a gift because the boat money coming into the city was double what it is now. It was a perk, not a lifetime guarantee. Get it?

      You bet I want it back and so should you! You complain about not wanting your property tax bill to go up $55.00 why not demand the over taxation back?

  16. Tim says:

    How is a charter school racist?

  17. Tim says:

    Furthermore, when the Caucasian demographic is the minority in the elgin public schools and the classes are taught in Spanish is that not racist?

  18. Kane Cares About Taxpayers says:

    400 New Bureaucrats for Kane County!

    How many times are we told, ‘this is for the children or the needy’, and yet the only outcome that improves is the wealth of the government bureaucrats who continually ask us to take a pay cut so they can get a pay increase? According to Show You Care Kane, the $13 million property tax hike will create 400 new jobs for bureaucrats.

    Illinois’ property taxes are the second highest in the nation. It is unconscionable that Kane County homeowners are being asked to pay more every year in additional property taxes.

    Show You Care Kane is the political wing of the private corporation Association of Individual Development. According to AID’s IRS 990 reports, 76% of their spending is for bloated salaries and gold-plated benefits. If this referendum is passed another taxing body will be formed. $13 million of your tax money will go to that board and then to 400 new bureaucrats. This referendum is about adding layers of bureaucracy, not helping the needy.

    The State of Illinois already funds these services here in Kane County with the 67% income tax increase. In 2013 this funding was increased 20% to $16.8 million. This referendum is a tax grab for bureaucrats and nothing more!

    Please vote NO to the Show You Care Kane Public Question on the bottom of your ballot.
     
    Early voting has already begun and Election Day voting is March 18. Referendums are always last on the ballot, so double check that your vote is a NO before you finish.
    Like our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/kanecaresabouttaxes

  19. One Vote says:

    Hopefully this topic qualifies as a local issue, at least for the Elgin East Siders.
    The 8th District. It’s a dirty campaign.
    Manju Goel. Lives in Aurora, not the 8th district. Voted Democrat in 2008 and 2012. Endorsed by Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain.
    I have a problem with her non-answers about her campaign. She has her campaign office in the same small office building as IAF, the group that puts out all her mailers and is running a smear campaign against her opponent. And yet she tells reporters that she doesn’t know anything about them.
    Clearly the GOP wants to stake out the Indian American voters , sort of like they once did the Cuban Americans. And there is some serious money from IAF floating around.
    Now, just because I won’t vote for Goel doesn’t mean I like Kaifesh. He can’t put out a flier without several references to his military career and several photos of him in uniform. And he can’t talk for ten minutes without telling us he’s done five tours of duty. It’s just too much. He’s pretty good at non-answers himself. And he hasn’t really lived in Illinois for many years.
    Jack Roeser endorsed Goel early but has since pulled back his endorsement.
    Does anybody have any good information on these two candidates?

    • RS says:

      Well I just read the ‘about’ page on each of their websites. I don’t think either of these people have even the remotest possibility of unseating Tammy Duckworth.

      Save yourself some time and move on to another race.

      • One Vote says:

        I hope against hope that there is some substance to these challengers.
        I reached out here hoping someone would chime in, “I know this candidate. Great patriot. Worked with him/er on a committee. Very smart.”
        Instead I get nothing. A couple of ciphers.
        I’m tired of skipping both candidates, especially on a GOP ballot.
        The political nose-dive continues.
        (sigh)

    • paul says:

      Kaifesh supports amnesty. That’s all I need to know to NEVER vote for him.

  20. Tim Palmer says:

    Forget this stuff about legal conflict of interest for right now. Who thinks what Steffen, Moeller, Rauschenberger are doing is straight up and honest? I don’t. It stinks.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Just like I said, it doesn’t pass the smell test one bit!

    • paul says:

      Good news: free lawn bags at Menards with $1.88 rebate. Limit 5 packs of 5. For those educated in U-46, 5 packs of 5 equals 25 bags.
      Now we can stop blaming Prigge and Gavin for costing us $1.88 despite us saying cost wasn’t the issue about a leaf pick-up program that existed long before Prigge and Gavin’s current time on the city council!
      Cost not being the issue I still sympathize with Chuck who has to pay $24 a year for a program he doesn’t use. Rebate me my $24 and I’d buy a mulcher mower! But then who’d pay for the leaf pick-up program? Life just isn’t fair.

  21. Margaret Miller says:

    Sometime people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that goes against that core belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted.

    It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance.

    And because it’s so important to protect that core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit into that core belief.

    This explains a lot.

    • bw says:

      MM:

      Margaret you have two friends Prigge and Gavin who are good friends. Gavin likes Moeller but Prigge can not stand her. Gavin either has to talk Prigge into liking Moeller or Gavin is going to be extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. He has to decide if he likes Prigge or Moeller. Right from the research on organizational behavior. Poor Gavin he is going to be all stressed out.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Wow bw! Your ability to read people is AMAZING! You were better at predicting Carol will be our next mayor! Chuck

  22. Cruex says:

    There is no legal conflict of interest. There is no legal conflict of interest. There is no legal conflict of interest. Steffen and Moeller need to repeat that to themselves loudly and often. Mayor-elect Rauschenberger will not be able to remember that phrase.

    bw reminds of a certain member of the U-46 school board who yells at white people for daring to mention a civil rights leader in a place of learning and makes racist accusations at city council meetings.

  23. tp says:

    Is this a quorum of City Council Members? Where Robert’s Rules or the Open Meetings act rules followed?

    http://postimg.org/image/5h5gn0w3f/

    This image was posted to Facebook last night.

  24. Chuck Keysor says:

    FYI: The Image Awards will NOT be held in the Heritage Ballroom on March 20th. There was a scheduling error. Here is a link to the Courier article: http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/26108452-418/mixup-means-march-20-elgin-image-awards-looking-for-a-venue.html

    Chuck

  25. lurker says:

    Longtime lurker, first time poster. What’s the latest about Elgin’s Ballistic Armored Tactical Transport vehicle that cost $196,000? Where is it now? How often is it used? What’s the yearly maintenance cost?
    When searching online, I found this

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/8761263-418/more-like-brinks-truck-than-a-tank.html

    The city council voted to buy the BATT from The Armored Group of Phoenix for $196,000. The money came from a $605,000 fund the city has accumulated by seizing drug suspects’ assets.

    Multiple uses

    Swoboda said the BATT will be most useful if a gunman has holed up with hostages, as has happened several times in the Elgin area, or if there is a mass shooting with a gunman at large.

    • One Vote says:

      I actually saw the BATT a few weeks ago up on Davis Rd (roughly across the street from Einstein Academy). I think they must have been doing some training in a vacant warehouse because there were several civilian cars in the parking lot, a few police cars and the BATT.
      It was much smaller than I imagined, smaller than a Hummer H2. It made me think that the bread truck it replaced would provide more cover for evacuating a place (like JBs a few years back with that wacko and his gun). I was thinking $196K vs. $5K for some armor plate for the bread truck.
      You aren’t likely to see the BATT tooling around Elgin. Wrong optics. Maybe at a display event. Maybe even a parade a few years from now. Until then, it’s locked up in the garage.
      Nothing about BATT adds up when you hear them tell us crime is at a 40 year low.

  26. bw says:

    The State of Illinois already funds these services here in Kane County with the 67% income tax increase. In 2013 this funding was increased 20% to $16.8 million. This referendum is a tax grab for bureaucrats and nothing more! Amen.

    Please vote NO to the Show You Care Kane Public Question on the bottom of your ballot.

    VOTE NO……….

    • One Vote says:

      I agree. I was thinking, don’t we already pay disability money to these people?
      A friend has an autistic child. His case is quite severe. The Feds give the family about $1,300 a month PLUS some other perks. For example, the government pays $40 an hour for a sitter when the family wants to take a break.
      I acknowledge that as the parents age and pass away someone will have to step up and care for this person as an adult. AID is not the answer. Group homes are not the answer. We will need either family care or institutions.
      Throwing more money at it is not the answer, but it will create more overpaid government jobs.

  27. Margaret Miller says:

    Here’s an interesting interactive map you may want to look at.

    http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Elgin-Illinois/schools/

  28. Chuck Keysor says:

    Wow Margaret!!! That map is a real eye-opener! Thanks for posting, Chuck

  29. Tim says:

    I’m actually more excited with the 1355 active foreclosures in the city.

    • still concerned says:

      I’m glad you brought up the topic Tim. So am I! Me and some of my neighbors have been trying to keep our city aware of immediate area foreclosures — particularly when the properties are neglected if not abandoned. Over the past few years there have been many. Trying to get the city to do anything more than mow the lawn has been a battle, if not a joke. One house near me had a roof literally pealing off, but the city could not do anything under current codes, unless a hole opened up in the roof, etc. When confronted on this and other property issues our Mayor said nothing more they could do…nope nope nope. Too hard to track down the bank owners, get them to be accountable for the property, too hard…nope nope nope. When we ask our code enforcement to do more…nothing they will do under current codes….too hard…nope nope nope. Meanwhile other cities take aggressive actions against these banks…pass strict ordinences to protect we properties owners and the values of our housing stock. But not Elgin, too hard, nope nope nope. Apparently once the mayor got in office he, too, drank the cool-aide served up by lazy city staff who are more interested in protecting their jobs then helping we hard working property owners in this city.

      • One Vote says:

        The city fixed the foreclosure problem, so be a good citizen and mind your own business.
        The way they did it was to take $2 mil of fed money, buy ten houses, dump a boatload of money into them to fix them up, then sell them at a loss.
        The rest of the neighborhood was so impressed that they are supposed to fix up their houses and pay their mortgages.
        Problem solved. That was easy.
        I love it when government fixes our problems; don’t you?

        • RS says:

          It’s an interesting point because we’ve always had the idea that home ownership would mean better properties. The theory was that people would have pride of ownership and take care of their houses. The problem is that people can’t afford their houses. It goes into foreclosure and goes to seed.

          So maybe having a large number of rentals with stable landlords is better than home ownership? I don’t know the answer to that question. Just something to think about.

          • One Vote says:

            Old homes in old neighborhoods aren’t a draw for young couples. They want new, even though the older homes are cheaper and generally closer in for commuters.
            Ethnic enclaves are a draw for the group itself because of shopping, churches and neighbors of your same group.
            If you aren’t part of the group, you probably see it as a negative.
            Factor in the government involvement in the loan process which resulted in an economic mess and you have foreclosures.
            Landlords are in it for the investment/income. People who were getting home loans in 2007 are now renters again. Housing stock is cheaper now. That should be a marriage made in heaven, but it isn’t working out that way.

          • One Vote says:

            Just another thought. Older homes are a tough sell these days with inspections and codes.
            Just a few of the hazards of old homes, according to some:
            Lead pipes, old electrical wiring and panels, asbestos, radon, lead paint, mold, basements that don’t meet occupancy requirements…
            These problems quickly turn some of the old stock into money pits.

          • still concerned says:

            The problem of foreclosed and abandoned homes is certainly not limited to older neighborhoods. Nor is the fact that many people choose not to keep up their properties. All it takes is ONE negligent house owner and the cascading effect begins throughout the neighborhood. I’ve seen that happen time and time again throughout Elgin. That’s why strict and consistent code enforcement (and the proper codes) is so critical to maintain a good city. I’m not talking about punitive here…just common sense enforcement to motivate some property owners to maintain!

          • RS says:

            Good points. It is sobering. The old homes in the old neighborhoods are falling apart as they age. As they are potential money pits nobody will buy them unless they are extremely cheap. But when they are cheap they attract buyers who–even if they can afford the mortgage–really don’t have the money to pay for the ‘money pit’ issues anyway and they continue to fall apart.

            Old homes are invested in only when they are in desirable neighborhoods which Elgin doesn’t have. I’m sure the old houses in St. Charles, Geneva and so on get maintained but in Elgin, well, people are going to wonder if it’s worthwhile. The result will be a downward spiral.

            You have to get used to it–love it, or you have to move on.

  30. Chuck Keysor says:

    Tim, post a map showing the foreclosures for Elgin, and which can be expanded to show the foreclosures for neighboring communities, and I will also go WOW! to that. Chuck

  31. One Vote says:

    So, what’s the deal with Keith Farnham?
    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140314/news/140318947/
    Why is ICE searching his office and house?
    I know he’s had a great deal of trouble with his business deals but why ICE?
    ICE isn’t enforcing immigration laws these days. Mostly they are tracking down counterfeit handbags and exotic cars. And the pet project lately, human trafficking.
    What could they possibly want with Farnham?

    • Margaret Miller says:

      http://www.iltruthteam.com/2014/03/dem-watch-state-representative-keith.html

      Dem Watch: State Representative Keith Farnham’s State of Illinois Office Searched by Feds
      This is Illinois, Baby! We’re used to this kind of stuff by now, right?

      Well…the *truth* of the matter is: we shouldn’t be. Voters should demand better.

      This morning, the Daily Herald reported that another elected official - Democrat State Representative Keith Farnham - is in potentially hot water.

      From the story:

      Federal officials searched state Rep. Keith Farnham’s Elgin legislative office and home Thursday, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorneys office in Chicago said.
      Spokesman Randall Samborn said a search warrant was executed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations officials as part of an “ongoing investigation.”

      Some of the chatter going on around the web, it seems that the investigation might (that’s a big might!) center on the ownership of some material on his computers.

    • RS says:

      Farnham will have to release the details now or he can wait until November, but there’s no way he can be reelected while saying “no comment” on why he’s under investigation.

      Whoever the GOP slates in November this year is going to have a really good chance.

      Let’s name some good candidates!

      • RS says:

        Of course there’s also the possibility he goes to jail before the election…

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          And there is the possibility that he hasn’t done anything wrong. I am not a democratic lackey by any means. But we do have the basic assumption of innocent until proven guilty, at least the last time I checked! Chuck

          • RS says:

            Yes, that’s true. I think it’s also true that the feds don’t sweep in in a very public way on a public figure if they didn’t have more than a hunch to go on. I guess we will know within a few days, because it shouldn’t take them that long to find what they’re looking for. If there’s anything on those computers he will arrested.

            It will be wonderful if he turns out to be Satoshi Nakamoto.

          • One Vote says:

            Or maybe he’s hiding a 777.

          • RS says:

            OMG, did he smuggle in a jet full of primary voters?

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            “LOL” Of course back to the serious side of the Farnham matter. Evaluating a possible scenario where Farnham is taken off the scene politically for whatever reason, it has long been rumored that Anna Moeller was angling for Farnham’s seat.

            A couple of times in the last two years, I have asked Keith about Anna’s interest in his office. Both times he firmly declared that he is in firm control of his job, and that Anna was not going to interfere with his elected position. He did nothing to refute the premise of my question, which was that Anna was interested in his elected position.

            So, while I hope that everything works out OK for Keith Farnham, if that doesn’t end up being the case, will Anna suddenly find herself immersed in a consuming campaign for the IL. House? What juicy rewards can she bring back to her favorite charter school initiative if she moves from the council to the State level?

            Chuck

          • One Vote says:

            Anna does a Ruth Munson on us. That should be interesting. Will she run as a democrat or a RINO?
            At this point she could win as a democrat IMO.

    • RS says:

      I didn’t know either until I googled it but apparently ICE/HSI investigates a lot of stuff:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Immigration_and_Customs_Enforcement#Homeland_Security_Investigations_.28HSI.29

      HSI Special Agents use their broad legal authority to investigate a range of issues that threaten the national security of the United States such as human rights violations, human smuggling, art theft, human trafficking, drug smuggling, arms trafficking, transnational gang investigations, financial crimes including money laundering and bulk cash smuggling, trade-based money laundering (including trade finance and Kimberley Process investigations), compute crimes, including the transportation and receipt of child pornography via the Internet, and import/export enforcement issues.

      But if it were the worst possible thing on this list, you would think they would have gone ahead and arrested him. Don’t they usually do that at the same time they seize computers?

  32. One Vote says:

    Two press items regarding the school property.
    1) Anna Moeller letter to the editor pitching the charter school in the 3/16 Courier. She signs herself city council but says nothing about her connection to the charter school. Is she hiding her COI or has already taken the opinion of Cogley seriously?
    2) Mike Danahey (Courier) reports on the fen portion of the land as some conservation scheme. Oddly enough, he doesn’t mention anyone pitching in cash for this parcel, like the tollway and Max McGraw’s cash. Shall we assume that this will just be a donation by the city and Kaptain gets green points at home?

  33. Chuck Keysor says:

    Here is a laugh! In this May 23rd, 2012 Courier News article,
    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/12699875-418/group-takes-initiative-to-bring-charter-school-to-elgin.html
    Anna Moeller says: “And Moeller was clear: “This is kind of a private effort amongst a handful of us. It’s not related to the city. It didn’t get any city funding. It’s an independent effort at this point, and it probably will be always.”

    Hmm, no City funding, an independent effort, probably will be always…. Talk about being totally wrong. This is a huge financial liability for the taxpayers of Elgin. When you get these sorts of promotional statements out of Anna Moeller, and then turn around and find out this venture will cost the taxpayers of Elgin $millions, you can’t believe a word of what you are told.

    The third letter to the editor in the above link says how this charter school is going to save the students of Elgin and raise our terrible test scores……. According to Wikipedia, there are 40,000 students in U46. And I have been told at maximum, there will be 400 students in the Charter school. It is statistically impossible for the 1% of the students in the charter school to bump up the standardized test scores for U46.

    Sparing the details, if there are 40,000 students and their average test score is a C, worth 2 points, that having 40,400 students where the 400 new (for simplicity sake) charter students all score perfectly, giving each an A worth 4 points per student, that the average test score for U46 would move up from 2.00 to 2.019 which is an irrelevant improvement. So as a minor point, there is no room for anyone to sell the benefits of raising the test scores in the City of Elgin.

    And, while the following point is unprovable, it is not illogical that the people who do apply to put there kids in this school, will be the parents who are the most obsessed with their getting good grades. And, those are the kids are the ones that are going to get the good grades, no matter where they go. So if the good kids with their good grades just get sucked out of the brain pool of U46, test scores are going to change even the blip noted above, you’ll just be pulling smart students out of the underperforming schools, and putting them in a different school. And if for whatever reason, the kids in the charter school don’t get their scores lumped in with U46, the U46 scores will actually get worse by a tiny bit.

    But all of this is immaterial, the bottom line is that the taxpayers of Elgin are being taken for a ride to fund this charter school. Let them pay their own way, by hook or by crook. If they can’t pay their own way, then they have a financially untenable proposition that should be considered DOA.

    Chuck

    • Tim says:

      I gladly pay my sons way to attend private school outside of the city rather than be forced to attend one of the local public dumps. If elgin shouldn’t be allowed to pursue options outside of the one that’s not working for it’s residents that care, I’d hope everyone would be in favor of vouchers to pay for schools outside of the ones we’re left with.

  34. lurker says:

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/26203949-417/how-elgin-spent-216-million-in-hud-funding-on-11-homes.html

    Any thoughts on this article? I’m an East-side homeowner. One home on my block was supposedly de-converted to single-family but I’ve seen it returned to a multi-unit rental with transient renters who were very disruptive.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Who was the Einstein who thought this was a good idea? 

      Is there ANYONE at City Hall doing the Math and keeping accurate ledgers? 

      What the heck! Who’s running this city? I am so tired of the waste in absolutely every corner of this local government.

      When will the spending stop? When will the city stop grabbing at and signing on too every grant program THEY think is worthy leaving the taxpayer’s to foot the maintenance in perpetuity? 

      STOP THE MADNESS before it too late! 
      2015 is just around the corner. I can’t wait.

      Hope to see you at City Council meeting tomorrow at 6:00.Let’s see if we can make our voices heard at the recognized persons present portion of the meeting. Don’t forget to sign up outside the chamber door if you have a desire to speak you mind on this excess spending of our precious money!

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Margaret, at the time the NSP activity was starting to show its loss potential (when the bids to repair the first house came in), I complained to two City Staffers running the program, and I was told that I didn’t understand,,,,,,, this is a make work program, we are trying to make work for carpenters.

      I also complained to a couple of councilmen. Prigge agreed with me. But when I talked to John Steffen, briefly during a break at the council session, he told me that I was being too negative in my assessment that 318 South Street would not be worth more than $150,000 when it was all done. (The purchase price, plus the INITIAL fix up bid was around $280,000 as I recall, and near the end of the project, the contractor came back claiming he needed more$$$). So he was not concerned about huge losses in the program, because he had a rosy image of how much money these houses would sell for when they were done.

      So these two reasons would account for a lot of why this program was embraced: a) Make work b) False expectations of what the houses would sell for compared to their rehab costs. c)And though I can’t recall this as clearly as the first two points, there was the belief that this was more “free” money.

      Chuck

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Chuck,

        As usual, Councilman Prigge watching out for the taxpayer and Steffen supporting the speanding at every opportunity.

        We need more Prigge’s and one less Steffen.
        2015!

    • ADV says:

      Back when the City was buying these homes up, Schock promised me to my face that they were buying the dump next door to us. They didn’t; another slumlord out bid them by $2k and it’s still a dump today.

      • lurker says:

        East-side Elgin is clearly a renter’s paradise. I’m surrounded by multi-units, but its not very obvious to someone driving by. Elgin could really turn around if they enforced an overnight parking ban on all city streets. Big game changer.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          The council had a very interesting discussion tonight about the lease for the former Fox River Country Day School property. Ultimately they voted to “table” the discussion until further information can be gathered, and various options can be explored.

          There were 4 speeches against the lease, all quite different, making the points of conflict of interest, City Staff not even appearing to have seriously explored options for the property. Jason Dusenberry, Margaret Miller, Holly Mack and I were the ones to speak against this proposal.

          Here is my not very exceptional speech, but since it is in my computer, it is easy to just paste it in with the hope that someone may find it to be of interest. Thanks, Chuck

          Good evening Mr. Mayor, Members of the Council and City Staff. I am here this evening to express my extreme displeasure at the prospect of the City Council choosing to lease the former Country Day School at a huge loss. Voting to approve this lease is voting to burden the taxpayers of Elgin with a NEW money pit. Signing five year leases that lock us into spending millions in repairs, and charging rent that doesn’t even cover the utility bills is unconscionable.

          In August of 2011, during the budget task force bus tour, City Manager Stegall gave a foundational lecture on Elgin’s financial woes. He said the City has been blessed by many benefactors over the years who have given us buildings and properties. But when the city is given a “free” building or “free” property, we aren’t given any money for maintenance or repairs. Over time, he explained, these “free” gifts have saddled us with an enormous financial burden, and this is a key problem that we must address in attempting to fix our financial mess.”

          Well as straight forward as Sean’s lesson was, it looks like most of the council never learned that lesson. And so here we are, ready to lock in our commitment to another great “free” present that will cost us millions up front, and millions more down the road.

          We are better off getting rid of this property. Sell it, give it away, swap it for something else, even abandon it, but don’t waste any more money on this property.

          And IF we lease this property, the renters have to be charged at least enough to cover the City’s expenses. If there aren’t renters that can’t cover our costs, then that simply confirms that we must divest ourselves of this property.

          I have nagged the council for a number of years now about not wasting the taxpayer’s money. While that is my personal view, I feel that my view reflects the majority view of Elgin’s taxpayers. Last year’s city council elections validated my assertion that the average taxpayer is opposed to higher taxes, because the top 3 vote getters were all opposed to increased taxes and spending. And lest anyone think that election was a fluke, I would like to point out, that in yesterday’s election, the heavily promoted, well intentioned “Kane County Cares” proposition lost by a 2 to 1 margin, because the taxpayers are simply fed up.

          I have no opposition to charter schools. But this argument is NOT about charter schools. The anger is about the taxpayers being forced to bear yet another unnecessary burden.

          Votes like this will be of key interest in the next City Council election. And you can be sure that the voters will be reminded in a timely fashion who gave the final approval to this multi-million dollar money pit.

          • KR says:

            Chuck, Based on your post, it seems you should be pretty mad at Mr Prigge. He voted to accept the property. I thought Terry Gavin said it best… nothing is free. The City owns the property so it will be interesting to see what it costs over time, and ask him if he really save or cost the tax payers money.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            KR, I am not mad at Prigge. Sure, I wish he would have voted no on the original acquisition but my not liking the purchase is a case of 20/20 hindsight.

            When I feel that I too may have stumbled into the same trap of seeing a “free” present and not imagining the consequences, I am harder pressed to complain.

            But the reality is, that even IF Prigge would have voted NO on accepting the property last year, the majority of the council would have voted for it anyway, so the end result would have been no different. It is just that had he voted no, he would have had a higher point to stand on in the present debate. But that wouldn’t have changed anything either.

            And it is interesting that some have criticized Prigge for being rigid, but look, HE changed his mind over time. He did originally vote to accept the property. But now because of information, he changed his position.

            Chuck

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Here is the newest article about the charter school affair. I think this is important reading. Chuck http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140320/news/140329785/

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Concerning the Daily Herald article where it was stated by Karen Schock, that we shouldn’t look for the City to make a profit in the short term, it will take time. I posted: “There is a really scary echo of days gone by in hearing Mrs. Schock insist that in the long term this school property will make money. Remember how her husband insisted that the Rec Centre would make money????? That experience is a significant factor that allowed me to object to this new use of the former Country Day School property by the Charter School when I first learned of it in early March. Haven’t we learned that the City NEVER makes money, on anything? That should be the basic operating assumption. Chuck”

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            KR: As I noted in my speech to the council yesterday, I was totally serious about giving the property away. To give it to the charter school would be the best thing that could be done.

            While I have been told by knowledgeable people that is not financially possible, my response is that that is the best offer that the City can make. With that, it then becomes the Charter School board’s goal to figure out how to finance this deal. If they are in earnest, they will leave no rock unturned to raise funds, sell shares, pledge their homes as security, find tenants for whatever empty places they can. If they are footing the bills, maybe they can get by with cracks in the pavement.

            If the Charter School Board doesn’t want it badly enough, they will shrug their shoulders and say it is someone else’s job to pay for their dream, then walk away if we are lucky. And if we are unlucky, they will continue to look for a taxpayer bailout of their dreams.

            If the Charter School board members aren’t willing to put their own skin into the game, that will blow away the smoke that has distorted this picture from day one. Then the City can strike whatever other deals they can, to divest themselves of this property, knowing they did the best thing that they could to help the Charter School, while also not harming the taxpayer.

            If I were the king of the forest, that would be my only and final offer to take the hot shoe off of the taxpayers, and put it onto the people who want the charter school and who say it will be great for the City. Chuck

          • RS says:

            I’m sure that if they zone the property residential, somebody will take it. Each of the buildings can become a house. Most of them already look like houses. The location is good for residential. There’s a significant buffer between the buildings and the roads. The location is adjacent to protected natural areas, and it’s as convenient to I-90 as you can get.

            That’s the solution I would suggest. It’s not necessary to abandon it, because I’m sure sombody will want to live there. Sell it (or auction), let them divide it and put those properties on the tax roll. Instead of losing millions up front and possibly hundreds of thousands a year thereafter, the city can actually make money.

            Sadly I think they already made up their minds long ago and making or losing money is not of concern to them.

        • SIE says:

          When you refer to “East side-Elgin” you probably mean closer to downtown.

          I live on the far east side and Elgin really blew it in this area. They let Hoffman Estates annex all the land east of the city limits because as I was told almost 20 years ago elgin didn’t want to extend their sewer lines.

          So Hoffman built nice homes that before the bubble averaged $400K. These house are in U-46 mind you so people didn’t mind paying those prices as long as their address was Hoffman Estates. If those houses had been Elgin the prices would not have been as high.

          And what did Elgin do on their far east side? They built Townhomes. Hundreds of them, north of Congdon along toastmaster and the Countryfield development as you enter the city along Rt. 58. Such shortsightedness by this city.

        • still concerned says:

          I’ve tried to get some action for years for an over-night parking ban, but am consistently told not enough votes to pass. Also, in the past, City Staff, including Stegall have been against it…probably because it would be difficult? Who knows, but it is still sorely needed!

  35. Chuck Keysor says:

    Wow! Thanks Mr. Madison! Now, how will the vacuum be filled? Chuck

    • James Madison says:

      Not sure what the rules are for filling an open seat. Since the primary has passed and no Republicons were on the ballot, I assume that the Governor will just appoint one of the ambitious Councilpersons: Moeller, Powell, Prigge, or Dunne? Would be a great way to get rid of Comrade Prigge, send him to the Madhouse in Springfield.

    • RS says:

      It’s an election year so I don’t think they will waste time appointing anybody to fill the seat. The Dems will slate a new candidate and the GOP will slate a candidate in November. It’s a good chance for the Republicans to pick up a seat. Maybe Ruth Munson will come back. Who knows…

      • James Madison says:

        RS, thank, was not sure how the process works in Illinois.

      • SIE says:

        I know there is another thread but this one gets read.

        According to the article Kane County Democrats will find a replacement and Kane County Republicans will field a candidate for November. After not having anyone run in the primary.

        Glad to know that as a resident of the 43rd district who lives in Cook County our part of the district will be ignored by both parties.

  36. RS says:

    Farnham has now resigned. As we are near 150 comments already on this month’s open thread. Please make all Farnham-related posts under this thread:

    http://elginite.org/blog/2014/03/19/farnham-resigns-under-federal-investigation/

  37. RS says:

    Does anybody know why they’ve cut down half the trees at Bluff City Cemetery? The place looks like a wasteland now. It’s horrible. And this couldn’t have been about emerald ash borers because many of these trees were obviously oaks, big giant ones. And what happened to the timber?

  38. Chuck Keysor says:

    RS, call 311! (ha ha?) Chuck

    • SIE says:

      And get the surly hipster I have talked to more than once.

      I can’t believe they think this service is a positive. Another great waste of money by the City of Elgin.

      • One Vote says:

        I’ve said all along the 311 system is a waste of money.
        The phone traffic could easily be handled by one receptionist…and departments that will pick up the phone when it rings!
        The only acceptable department I ever encountered at city hall was the meter shop.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          I may be mistaken, and am too lazy to go back and look at old newspaper reports, but to my recollection, Bob Gilliam is the only one who in the later stages of the 311 deployment questioned the need for such a system.

          I spoke against this one time at the council, saying that I found the present system to be perfectly acceptable. I pointed out that I have had great success over the years simply calling 847-931-5615 and telling the receptionist what I was looking for, and she would connect me to the right person. And this was handled by a single receptionist who was also greeting people in the City Hall lobby, and sorting papers. Over the last 12 or so years, I have done a lot of connecting with City Hall with this mechanism and was very satisfied. (Though others have said that is not their experience, I have no complaints.)

          Sean said to me in his office once that the 311 system is the only program in Elgin that is his personal initiative. IE, it was his idea to bring this to the City and to push to make it happen.

          As I recall, he went so far as to say that because of his intense attachment to this program, that to attack 311 is to attack him.

          He also explained that 311 allows tracking and follow-up, and statistical analysis of response times. I didn’t bother to debate those points, but can you imagine, gee, we need to hire someone to analyze our response time data reports????

          Chuck

  39. bw says:

    What no, no did Farnham pull this time? We don’t need Ruth Munson in the Il. GA again. A strong Hispanic would make a good member of the GA as they have the largest population in the district. They should get a chance to represent the 43rd district. The Illinois GA will continue to be in the pockets of the Dems until MM retires.

    • SIE says:

      Check the other topic to hear what Farnham may have done.

      Farnham did absolutely nothing worthwhile in his tenure in the GA. Apparently he was occupied with other activities.

    • paul says:

      “A strong Hispanic would make a good member of the GA”

      Does the overt blatant racism of liberals ever end? To bm, clearly, the most important factor in selecting Farnham’s replacement is RACE. Qualifications come further down the list somewhere!

      “they have the largest population in the district. ”

      Extremely unlikely they have the largest voting population due to their large number illegally occupying the United States.

      “The Illinois GA will continue to be in the pockets of the Dems until MM retires.”

      The GA is in the pocket of the Dems because people like you are in the pocket of the Dems. And you and voters just like you ain’t gonna change.
      No point in electing Rauner. As someone said on TV the night of the primary Rauner won’t be able to do anything as Governor with the Dems controlling the GA. He is right, with one exception. Rauner will get the blame for the GA’s continued incompetency running the State into defacto bankruptcy (States can’t declare bankruptcy). Might as well keep Quinn right where he’s at.
      How long did it take the USSR, China, and Detroit to throw in the socialist towel! To bad we can’t speed up the time line of economic decline by socialist governance. No, we have to wait 20-30 years and then hand over the reins to the next up and coming totalitarian generation currently in brainwash training by the overtly blatant racist U46 school board and admin..

  40. Margaret Miller says:

    5 Worst States to be a Taxpayer
    By Kate Rogers
    Published March 21, 2014FOXBusiness

    Those living in the Land of Lincoln face state and local tax bills of $9,006 a year on average. This is 29% higher than the national median.

    http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2014/03/21/5-worst-states-to-be-taxpayer/

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Oh, but our lives are at least 29% better than the rest of the country as a result of all our taxes! I think to make more wealth, and greater prosperity, that Illinois should raise taxes even more!!! So that is why I support the progressive income tax NOT!!!!!! Chuck

    • RS says:

      Seriously, it makes no sense to live here. Everybody should move. Why delay it? The longer you wait, the more taxes you’re going to pay. And yes, taxes are going to go up. How else are they going to dig themselves out of their pension hole ($100-250 billion estimated debt)?

      And it’s cold here!

      There are definitely better places to live. Nevada/Vegas for example: Very low property tax, near zero corporate tax (small tax on payroll), no income tax. It’s a no-brainer.

  41. Denise says:

    Have heard rumblings about changes to our garbage services and price increases but nothing formal.does anyone know if the info if out yet?

    • SIE says:

      Only Dan Ault knows for sure. He’s in charge of negotiating a new collection contract.

      If you haven’t seen it watch the March edition of Elgin Today where the Mayor and Mr. Ault discuss the new contract.

      The Mayor says several times that Elgin currently pays one of the lowest rates in the entire NW suburbs so expect an increase no matter what. Then he says we’ve been out of contract with Waste Management for two years. If we are paying such a low rate why would they let us continue at the same rate for two years after the contract expired?

      My take was that Waste Management will not get the next contract. The Mayor seemed angry at them. There must be a reason behind this.

  42. Tim Palmer says:

    Hey, is the charter school thing dead now ? Can we please start looking for some decent people to run against the dopes next year ?

    • RS says:

      http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/26324966-418/elgin-city-council-tables-leasing-agreement-for-charter-school.html

      http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140320/news/140329942/

      A consultant’s estimate showed repairs needed on the entire 19-acre property would cost about $5.2 million, including labor and a 10 percent contingency, Lavery said.

      City staff has had a lot of experience with demolitions and know the cost of holding onto derelict or abandoned property. So it doesn’t reflect well on them that they didn’t foresee this being an issue when they decided to accept the property.

      In any case, I don’t think the campus is worth preserving. Whether it’s nice or not, it’s hidden in a spot that nobody’s going to see it anyway. And it’s going to be very expensive to keep it going, and if there’s no buyer (though I’m skeptical that any real attempt was made to sell it), then there’s no market for this property. The demolition cost will definitely be under $5.2 million. I think it cost them less than $200K to demolish the Crocker.

      The land can just be turned over to the KC Forest Preserves as part of the fen.

      The charter school folks should take a look at the DC Cook building. It’s in their neighborhood and will be easier to access anyway.

      Or just build a new building across from the library. With $5.2M you can put up a quite decent building…

  43. Chuck Keysor says:

    According to a Daily Herald article by Madhu Krishnamurthy (I don’t have a link, I saved the article as a Word Doc), the charter school people are “not discouraged” by what they see as “a delay”! So they don’t see this as dead.

    Karen Schock’s line of reasoning is that the improvements to this property aren’t just for the Charter School, as others will use the property as well. So she is trying to make it look like the Charter School people aren’t asking for all this money to be spent for their benefit………. (Who’s going to believe that?)

    And Karen Schock says there may be other sources of revenue such as the Illinois landmarks preservation council and energy grants,,,,,,,,, But significantly, she is NOT looking to the charter people to pay for this. As always, people want a government bailout, someone else to pay for their dreams.

    Chuck

  44. Tim says:

    Why the outrage at the attempts to improve the education options in our city?

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Tim, HONEST, this debate and the outrage is NOTHING against the Charter Schools or improving the educational options within the City. The heat is over the matter of the City of Elgin/taxpayers having to pick up a $4million to $5million tab to fund this. Those are big bucks.

      As I have noted in earlier posts, giving the property to the Charter School, as it is, without fixing it, and then having the Charter School people figure out how to fund it would be best for everyone. Educational opportunities would be increased, and the taxpayers wouldn’t be put on the hook for this project.

      Chuck

  45. Tim says:

    Who funds the other city schools?

  46. Chuck Keysor says:

    That would of course be U-46, which is funded by the taxpayers. Even though the money still comes out of the taxpayer’s pockets either way, it is simply not the City of Elgin’s role to finance educational operations.

    Someone may well point out that U46 does NOT want a charter school, so they will not pay for one, so the charter school people can’t ask U46 to pay for this. But that situation does not mean the City of Elgin should finance this charter school. The Charter School people have simply targeted the City of Elgin as their Daddy Warbucks, and having three people on the council with direct ties to the Charter School board makes their approach to the City understandable. But it does not make it right.

    Again, if the City gave the property to the Charter School, and then the Charter School put their own skin into the game to finance this by hook or by crook, that is the best way to have this story proceed.

    And yet, one must wonder if the Charter School people became overly fixated on the former Country Day School property, at the expense of not looking at other logical properties. The former DC Cook property seems like it could make a great school, to which lots of kids could walk. And it would help to shore up a real land mark in Elgin.

    Chuck

    • RS says:

      I agree that if there’s going to be a charter school, they should try to kill two birds with one stone. If the city is prepared to spend millions of dollars (which I don’t think is a good idea), then it should also serve another purpose such as revitalizing the downtown. Find a building worth rehabbing which will also make the downtown more attractive. The Kresmery warehouse for example on State Street, could work.

      But here they want to pour millions into a property completely hidden behind trees in a corner of the city nobody goes to, and if the charter school goes bust, what happens to the millions expended? It just goes to waste. The buildings will still need to be demolished. They close charter schools down all the time. You read about it in the news. In Ohio, it’s 29% that get shut down. The national average seems to be about 10-15%.

      At least if they rehab a downtown building, it’s going to be able to find a second use if the charter school doesn’t work out. And the other benefit of doing it downtown is that they can use the TIF money instead of using it for brick pavers and other nonsense.

    • still concerned says:

      I agree with Chuck. Not against the Charter School concept, but totally agree the City should not be in the education business, nor fund this boondoggle. Heck, the City can’t afford to patch or resurface the streets in critical need — and they want to spend $4-$5M on repair of these buildings? Ridiculous!

    • RS says:

      Another point against this proposed location next to Max McGraw is that it is geographically located practically outside of the U-46 school district. It may even be outside of the district. Under state law, a charter school is supposed to serve all students in the district. So it would make more sense to put it in a more central location.

  47. One Vote says:

    A white elephant is an idiom for a valuable but burdensome possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost (particularly cost of upkeep) is out of proportion to its usefulness or worth.

    I’m with Chuck. Give the property away rather than sign up for MILLIONS in upkeep costs.

    Now we know why Moeller and Friends were so hopped up about saving the greenspace when they took possession of the land. They sold their pals on the tree-hugging angle to pave the way for their charter school.

    Of course, Karen Shock is now telling people that the facility is for everyone to use. They’d better pitch the specifics of such a plan if it’s going to sell. And if the city is going to rent the pool to our family reunion, we’d better get the same deal as the school.

    I don’t care if the city divvies it up to Kane County, Max McGraw, Elgin Academy and Moeller’s Charter School. Just unload the white elephant while they can.

  48. RS says:

    Illinois is the second worst place to retire, says Marketwatch:

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-of-the-worst-states-to-retire-in-2014-03-25?dist=afterbell

    Illinois

    Negatives: Second highest property taxes. Has an estate tax and the fifth highest gas tax.

    Pluses: Pensions and Social Security income are exempt from taxation. Cost of living is about average.

    Illinois is a fabulous state for the public sector retiree with the golden pension (or two or three, for those who are double or triple dipping).

    Meanwhile the pension hole that Illinois taxpayers need to come up with can be as high as $250 billion:

    http://businesspublicpolicy.com/?p=2541

    We have a pension funding hole that is officially about $100 billion. But these official statistics drastically understate the problem. It is only a $100 billion hole if you think we can generate 7.5% to 8% returns on the pension assets every single year without any risk. No economist believes that. When valued the way any financial economist would value the liabilities, the funding shortfall is more on the order of $250 billion.

  49. One Vote says:

    I was recently given a promotional card about the Elgin charter school.
    As expected, it is filled with the latest and greatest educational hype.
    First of all, it is based on “Expeditionary Learning,” a national charter school franchise.
    http://www.elschools.org
    The EL model is that the kids do regular classroom subjects in the morning and their “expeditions” in the afternoon. Expeditions, like saving the polar bears for instance, could last the entire school year.
    It sounds like perfect training for people who aspire to work for a non-profit someday.
    And no school initiative would even dare get by without a strong STEM component. Not to disappoint, the Elgin charter school threw it into their name. Here’s Schock’s website:
    http://www.elginmathandscience.org

    • RS says:

      I think it’s way too premature for the city to be discussing anything with a theoretical charter school. Why are city resources (staff) being spent on this?

      The school should have a charter and be operating for at least a few years before it can be considered stable enough to warrant any kind of investment from the city. Throwing $5+ million at a seed-stage charter startup is the definition of insanity.

      Their real estate requirements as a startup should be minimal. They are only starting with a few classes. They can rent any number of available office spaces in Elgin that certainly will not cost them $5M to refurb.

      • One Vote says:

        Looking at the map the geographic center of U46 is somewhere on the east side of Elgin, a bit south of Chicago Street, probably somewhere along Villa.

        And a charter school isn’t supposed to charge tuition.
        So this idea isn’t even close to being ready. If Elgin decided to subsidize this venture it is years from becoming a reality.

        It still boggles my mind that Cogley can’t see the COI here, especially with Moeller. How can you be on the founding board of directors and not have a conflict when voting as a council member?

  50. Cruex says:

    It’s not Cogley’s job to look out for what the public thinks is a COI. His job is to look out for the legal definition of COI. The voters have to decide what version makes them feel best.

  51. Chuck Keysor says:

    Cruex, I would take it back a step or two in helping the voter to decide how they should look at this Charter school affair.

    View 1: If spending $4million to $5million to enable the Charter School will make the voter happy to pay higher taxes, then the voter can be happy with Cogley’s legal definition of conflict of interest.

    View 2: If the voter wants a charter school and is working hard to get one for Elgin, then that voter can be happy with Cogley’s legal definition of conflict of interest.

    View 3: If spending $4million to $5million gives the voter a pain in the stomach and fear that their wallet will be sucked clean, then they don’t even need to worry about legal definitions of anything. They can simply be MAD that Moeller, Steffen and Rauschenberger want to cost the taxpayers big bucks.

    View 4: If the voter doesn’t care at all about the money, but is worried that it looks bad for a council member to vote on something where personal/family interests could unfairly sway their vote on a significant and controversial vote, they should be upset with Moeller, Steffen and Rauschenberger.

    Does that help? Chuck

  52. James Madison says:

    There may be a COI, there may not be a COI. To Chuck’s point, public perception is the arbiter of these issues, in the final analysis. The fact that this issue has gotten this far without deep study by the City of the real costs that will be borne by the taxpayers is shocking. The blame is not with the advocates for the Charter school. The lack of conducting due diligence and protecting citizen’s interests is clearly at the feet of the City Manager. He controls every agenda item. He controls the staff. He decides priorities. He ultimately defines COI and has his counsel find appropriate case law to justify HIS definition of COI. You can have eight new council members and a new mayor. That will not change the government system of a strong city manager. At the end of the day, one person is at fault for this horribly flawed process of citizen interest protection: the Elgin City Manager. He must be accountable to all the citizens, not just the nine people he “reports” to.

    • still concerned says:

      James, agreed. Ultimately it is the city manager who is responsible. I have always had the overwhelming perception that the city manager and his staff only focus on pleasing the council and mayor and NOT the citizens of Elgin, to keep their jobs. He’s yet another example. Time for a change.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Dear James Madison:

      I agree with all of your points and thank you for your post. But I want to add a few thoughts, building to the point of the problem not being our particular City Manager, but the very position of City Manager itself is a key component in the less than desirable situation at City Hall.

      The City Manager, for those who may not be aware, serves at the pleasure of the council, and only the CM can fire City employees. If a majority of the council like the CM, he keeps his job and sky high salary.

      So who does the CM have to please, the council of course. Now, with this particular CM, he would I believe, drive the City over a cliff if that is what the council told him to do, or if he believed that is what the majority of the council wanted him to do, to be more correct.

      At the most recent council session, Councilman Prigge pointed out early in the discussion, that he felt the vote on leasing the former FRCD School should not be rushed. And more importantly, he pointed out that the vote was being rushed, (I think he phrased it, they have put the pedal to the metal to ram this through as quickly as possible), “Because there are enough votes to pass this.” (Thankfully that proved to be wrong, but based on the first council vote of 8 to 1, everyone I talked to thought the deal to lease the FRCD School property to the Charter School was in fact a done deal.)

      So, would the City Manager drive the City over a cliff if the majority of the council wanted that? Of course, and that is why you did not see any due diligence or desire to protect the Citizen’s interests, or any serious effort to market this property. It isn’t the CM’s job to do anything more than to keep the council majority happy so he can keep his job.

      This points out a key flaw with having the City Manager form of government. You get a goofy majority on the council that wants to spend like mad and doesn’t care about the taxpayer’s you won’t get any check or balance out of the CM, because he is not directly accountable to the people.

      And knowing that the top management circle at City Hall is a tight buddy buddy system, where they cover each other’s behinds, and make sure they keep getting their big raises, you have no accountability out of those folks. The council and the mayor highly admire the CM, because he is a nice man, that makes everyone feel like they are his best friend. So, if you get City Attorney/Corporate Council Cogley messing up big time on the TLC issue for example, who do the council people complain to? Well, to the CM, because only the CM can fire the City Attorney. But how much trouble will Bill Cogley get into when he has covered for Sean who knows how many times, and probably helped to make sure Sean got his job as CM in the first place? None. And now Cogley owes more favors to the CM, so they will just keep scratching each other’s backs, and covering each other’s behinds. And they are safe from the voters.

      As I have noted before, IF we had a strong mayor in office, and his top attorney steered the City into a double round of loosing on the TLC affair, at least one head would have rolled, because the Mayor would need to save face to avoid loosing his own head in the next election. And with a strong mayor, he can fire the City Attorney if he wants to.

      So Mr. Madison, I agree with you, the City Manager should be held accountable, but he isn’t legally accountable to the voters. And his actions are actually understandable, because of the structure of his job and accountability. The lack of accountability within the core of City government is why having a City Manager form of government is something that we probably don’t need here in Elgin any more.

      Chuck

  53. Harmony says:

    It is time to change to a strong mayor form of government. I am tired of this city manager and his band of fools. What is the point of voting for a mayor and council with present city manager council form of government?

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Hello Harmony. Too bad you have gotten mad at me in the past, because we agree on too many things. The “strong” mayor form of government is another such issue where we are in total agreement.

      This is an issue the Elgin OCTAVE has been discussing for a while as we are interested in this issue. But we have to figure the best way, and right time to move forward.

      I may have mentioned this in the past, but in the reserve section of the Gail Borden Public Library, is a set of publications called the ICMA Annual reports. (International City Manager’s Association) They provide lots of informational graphs, which show that cities appear to switch over to strong mayor forms of government between populations of 100,000 and 200,000.

      When this issue was debated last time, maybe our population was only 85,000. And we all know that the City Manager and everyone connected to him, and everyone who does not want to upset their personal comfort will join in the chorus of, “Oh, we have talked about this before, and the voters soundly rejected it!”

      So Harmony, go down to the GBPL and do some browsing in the ICMA annual reports.

      Chuck

      • Harmony says:

        Chuck, my wife and I will, as long as my identity remains secret. I believe we need a grass root movement together to change our City form of government. We have golden opportunity to do that next election. Steffens, Moeller have shot themselves in the foot with the charter school. Powell has pulled the race card with the 120 S South State addition. We need only 3 dedicated candidates that believe Elgin needs a change to add to Prigge, Gavin and Shaw dedications. We need to be able to elect people to change Elgin not appoint them. Let’s Roll!!

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          And speaking of people having shot themselves in the foot, lets not forget Anna and TLC. She is politically limping around because she has wounded herself in both feet.

          Maybe these wounds will keep her from being picked to take Keith Farnham’s place in the House. Chuck

        • James Madison says:

          Harmony, we will agree to agree on changes needed at Dexter Court. We will disagree on your idea that somehow the solution to all of these issues is to elect three more clones of Prigge, Gavin and Shaw. These are the antithesis of what is needed. Their solution to every problem is “just say no.”

          What this community lacks and needs is LEADERSHIP. Not the kind of leadership we find in Washington with the clown college of Demos and Republicons. If we were to elect three more of these “no-boys,” the CM would have a perfect hand. He would have to merely do their biding and he would be safe from criticism or danger of replacement.

          What you do not have today is a strong set of Council members who have their ideas of how to improve the local community and local economy. They rely on shoddy staff work (re; Charter School or TLC) or the tit-for-tat trades with the CM to get their pet projects on an approval track. Democracy can only work in an atmosphere of accountability. This next election should not be Tea Party - Act Two. The next election should be a direct referendum ( a “no confidence”) vote on the LEADERSHIP of this city, i.e., the Mayor and by implication, the CM.

          If someone will take up the mantle that there needs to be new leadership in the CM office, they stand an excellent chance of succeeding Mayor Go Along.

          Council members do not have to agree on topics. That is why we have a representative government, one that reflects the diversity and range of views in the community. Nine Democrats or Nine Republicons are not the answer. The answer is a group of representatives that are smart, aggressive, forward-thinking, with an interest in improving the lot of all the citizens of Elgin.

          This is an old manufacturing town. Without the riverboat funds, this town would have vanished years ago. There has to be a new vision of what a community represents or this slow decomposition will only accelerate. There is a great Community College in this town. There is a great four year university. There is a professional symphony orchestra. There is an award winning library system. There is the Hemmens Center. There is a casino that throws off at least $10 million dollars per year. Those are all great attributes. What other town up and down the Fox River has these features? None that I am aware of.

          And despite these great attractions, the LEADERSHIP on Dexter Court does not have a vision or idea of packaging all of these into single mission and vision statement that will attract new businesses, new residents, new home buyer, new home builders.

          The ‘No Boys’ (Prigge/Shaw/Gavin) think the solution is to just reject all spending. No organization, no company, no city, no country, ever cost reduced themselves to prosperity. Growth is the only tangible path that is left to this city. Without growth, death is inevitable. Every organism is either growing or dying. That is the issue for the next election.

          “Whose side are you on, boys, whose side are you on?”

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            James Madison, without wading into your many points, as I have to deal with some other things,,,, your new post does not seem to indicate any dissatisfaction with the actual position of the City Manager, but instead just with the City Manager named Sean Stegall. Is that a correct reading?

            My interest is in eliminating the CM position entirely, by moving to a Strong Mayor form of government, so your clarification/confirmation would be appreciated. Thank you, Chuck

          • James Madison says:

            Chuck, both actually…the position elimination has many other implications, not the least of which is that the CM form is intended to create a “professional” managerial team that is more cost effective than having a full time Council staff with the need for attendant aides to assist each of them in their knowledge of the myriad of subjects that any city must deal with. I think in the case of the current CM, there is a definite case of ‘diminishing returns’ on his work. A new face in this kind of “Chief of Staff” position usually yields immediate benefits. Not only do you have a ‘forest’ versus ‘trees’ perspective, but there is also an immediate review of all staff members so that the “good old boy” network gets turn over. That will eventually lead to another network. That means that the CM should be absolutely limited (contractually) to no more than eight years (two council terms) and a rigorous audit should be conducted upon the new CM’s installation. I do not think the current CM is a bad manager. I think the system he works in creates incentives for him to be more concerned with his own and his staff’s preservation than the overall good of the community he (she) serves.

  54. One Vote says:

    I was thinking today that the culture of conflict of interest at Dexter Ct goes way back. You know that when you go to work for a company, you also work within a certain culture. Over time that culture can be so strong that people lose their ethics.
    (Think Blagojevich, Monk, Kelly, Rezko…)
    So, Elgin’s city hall never saw a conflict all those years between Gilliam and the ESO or Boys and Girls Club. You had you favorite organizations (where you happened to be a board member) and the city handed out special favors to your pals. Kaptain has strong ties with green groups (though not board membership.
    The Moeller-charter school connection doesn’t look any different to Cogley.
    If they don’t see the problem the voters have to get rid of it on their own.

  55. Denise says:

    Wher’s Mayor Kevin Kellywhen you need him?

  56. Margaret Miller says:

    Elgin councilwoman among 8 candidates for Farnham’s seat

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140327/news/140328575/

    • RS says:

      Interesting. I bet it’s going to be really hard for them to decide who to pick, a lot of people will be angry and the Democrats may end up very divided in November. Could be a good year for the GOP.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        As she admits higher office has always been a possibility, this article never confirms she’s interested in this position and reports no commitment to anything. Rather the opposite. Hmmmmm

        Note Moeller’s quote.
        “Somewhere down the road potentially, but certainly not under these circumstances or at this time,” she said.

        So, either it’s not her time to make a move, or if the circumstances were different she would, or she just told the Democrats she’s not interested now, or this could be just the political public none answer in case she’s not selected.

        She may feel by committing to her higher aspirations now and isn’t selected, she may suffer in the next Council election in 2015 for not being fully committed to Elgin.

        Perhaps her thinking is to never let them know what your thinking and never commit until the offer’s on the table.

        Time will tell because Moeller and this article aren’t.

        • RS says:

          I think she was saying she did not foresee entering state politics under the current circumstances, but she would take the job if selected:

          If chosen, she’ll resign her council seat, to which she was elected in April 2011, she said.

          “The demands of the position would require that,” she said.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            Yes, another non-answer from Ms. Moeller.

            She didn’t say she was flattered when caller or asked.
            The article didn’t point out any accomplishments.(Fill in the blanks if you can.)

            The article didn’t offer any resume of her work/s history. (Fill in the blanks if you can.)

            All this article did was tell many of us what we already knew, thought or suspected when we learned about Keith Farnham.

            To be honest, I thought she wouldn’t have wasted a moment by calling them taking the opportunity to throw her name into the ring. Remember, this is the party that doesn’t let a good crisis go to waste.

  57. One Vote says:

    I suppose Prigge, Shaw and Gavin could be perceived as the “No” boys. But that really depends on what you are looking for regarding the size and scope of government.
    If you are looking for city leaders to provide the “vision” of what our city should be, then the “No” boys are obstructionists.
    But it doesn’t take long to realize that the city council does a lousy job of backing the right horses. And then you have the high probability of scandal when you let them pick the winners and losers.
    If you want the government to take care of the core services and otherwise stay out of the way, then the “No” boys sound pretty good.
    To each his own.

  58. Tim says:

    This city needs attention for more than core services, sorry to say.

    The place is rotting into a legitimate dump. From the zoning ( commercial and residential located within 15′?) seemingly everywhere. Litter, abandoned properties, horrible lack of code enforcement.

    The city has almost no features to attract the type of resident that would be upset with the current status.

    • still concerned says:

      You are dean on Tim. Core services are key to any city’s desirability. Just look at our over 1,000 abandoned houses..and the weak response from the city to get bank owners to upkeep them. Also, look at our streets. The city does nothing as to preventative maintenance so they deteriorate more quickly and then they defer resurfacing for years beyond reason. Makes the city look like a dump is correct. Yet money seems to be available for pet project that only benefit the few. Sad.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Tim and SC: While I don’t disagree with many of your comments, weren’t we proudly informed by City Staff just a few weeks ago that Elgin lead in housing starts for the area? It seems likely that the condition of the core of the city is irrelevant to the ability of the City to attract new housing and residents when the new development areas are so far away from the City’s core. Chuck

      • lurker says:

        Agree, agree, agree. I moved here way back, things started to look bright & shiny new. Had a lot of pride & didn’t think twice about putting $$$ into my home. Then something happened. Boom bust. Its a shame because Elgin HAD so much to offer. I try to support local business downtown, but one can only get so many tattoos…. Why are all the little antique shops leaving Chicago St.? It all seemed so promising & made the downtown cute. City should really look into attracting “Pop-up” shops to fill the empty spaces. It would give some of us the option to sell our wares locally. Must attract more foot traffic. Plus, major parking improvements are needed STAT. I’d go downtown more if I could find decent parking (& not in a dark garage).

        • RS says:

          I don’t know if there’s a future for cute shops. I’ve even started doing my grocery shopping online. Brick and mortar in the future will be largely limited to services/studios, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, etc. And we don’t have the demographics in the downtown area to support much of that.

          But yes, we need convenient parking spaces downtown.

    • RS says:

      Thanks OV. Everybody who wants to comment on the Moeller state rep news please use this thread:

      http://elginite.org/blog/2014/03/29/anna-moeller-43rd-district-state-rep/

      • bw says:

        RS:

        What everyone is suggesting here is that Anne Moeller don’t possess high cognition. If that is true I find it hard to believe she got the appointment.

        • Margaret Miller says:

          bw,

          You don’t need cognitive skills to go along with the progressive program and be a “yes” vote.

          • bw says:

            MM:

            There are those who believe she had high cognitive skills. They believe she will save the state with her high cognitive skills. I think you are one of those people.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            What?

            bw, you’re making me laugh again.
            Please reread your post because you just posted Ms. Moeller HAD (past tense) cognitive skills.

            So if she HAD them, you’re implying she doesn’t now but post that some feel she will save the state with those, be it absent according to you, high cognitive skills. Besides you, who are those people? Any names come to mind?

            As for your post thinking I’m one of those people that thinks she will save the state, you have never been so wrong in your assessment! If I thought in any way, shape or form that she could save the state, I would have said that all on my own.

            Perhaps we should take a break from Ms. Moeller for now. After all she’s yesterday’s news. Let’s see how her first vote goes and them we can critique some more.

  59. RS says:

    Nice to see Karen McConnaughay on this list of legislators who declined their pensions:

    http://www.allenskillicorn.com/3098/177-il-legislators-24-turned-pensions/

  60. RS says:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140328/news/140328315/

    The department’s diversity of gender and ethnicity slightly increased compared to last year.

    Among Elgin’s 180 officers, 19 are women, including Cmdr. Ana Lalley, compared to 18 last year, according to data provided by the department.

    There are 12 black officers — one more than last year — along with 144 white officers, 20 Hispanic officers, three Asian officers and one identified as “other.”

    Several Elgin City Council members have said that diversity, including within the fire and police departments, are among their priorities.

    New hires go through a monthlong in-house training, followed by 12 weeks at the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and field training in Elgin, Swoboda said.

    Retirements tend to come in waves, often because people are hired at the same time, he said. Officers can retire after 20 years, but can’t collect a pension until they are at least 50 years old, he said.

  61. lurker says:

    Cars parked over sidewalks. Cars parked on the grass, across front lawns. Enough garbage blanketing some lawns that it looks like a landfill. Upholstered furniture & bedroom dressers on front porches. 6-8 cars on one driveway of a “single-family” home (block after block after block of this). These are just a few of the things I noticed while driving out this AM. And let me get this straight…the City will do NOTHING unless someone calls & reports this? And we wonder why this City looks the way that it does. I used to call every time I noticed gang graffiti on a building. That is, until the last time when the lady on the line said “Didn’t you call us about this yesterday?” Annoyance? You’re annoyed that I reported graffiti? & NO, that wasn’t me that called the other day, thank you very much.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Well, I hope you called.

    • Tim says:

      Just call the city every single time you see it. If enough people do it enough times you’d think they would have to do something.

      • RS says:

        I used to call every time I noticed gang graffiti on a building.

        A building or a city-owned building? I think the city response will be different depending on which…

  62. James Madison says:

    A very eloquent statement from an Elginite:

    Elgin must protect, not cut, what makes the city great

    I feel the need to respond to Margaret Miller’s letter of March 17. She throws around words like “elite” and “liberal” as if they were curse words. According to dictionary.com, elite means “the choice or best of anything considered collectively.” Liberal means “favorable to progress or reform.” I would think everyone would like to be described in such glowing terms.

    Miller’s prescription for Elgin is demand “spending cuts.” She wants an Elgin that is utterly void of anything pleasant, restorative, educational or enriching. She wants to refuse state and federal grants to fund improvements, and to stop all support for the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Wing Park Pool, bike paths/lanes, a charter school or fireworks. She wants to strangle anything in this great city that is vibrant, creative, healthy, brings us together as a community or has the potential to catalyze further improvement.

    We need amenities in Elgin. Elgin is a city with a long and proud history and many fine institutions. They need and deserve our support. These “liberal” and “elitist” things Miller wants to drive out of Elgin are the very things that drive the local economy, create jobs, improve our property values and that people looking to relocate to our community want.

    We need, and deserve, things such as the ESO; the ESO is one of the crown jewels of our community. Just because Miller doesn’t appreciate and value art — or recognize that the ESO is an economic engine critical to the success of downtown redevelopment and the city’s strategy to become a regional arts center — doesn’t mean we should all pretend to believe as she does.

    We need bike paths; they not only showcase the beauty of the Fox River Valley, they also provide opportunities for healthful exercise and they give Elgin residents an alternative, low-cost, affordable and sustainable transportation choice.

    We need Wing Park pool to be repaired to preserve our investment in the facility and to allow families to learn to swim, exercise, cool off and enjoy the summer in one of our beautiful historical parks.

    We need fireworks as a place for Elginites, as a community, to celebrate the independence of our nation.

    We need choices in the education of our youth, whether it be public school, private school or maybe even a charter school. Quality education is one of the strongest factors affecting property values, and it attracts new residents and keeps people wanting to stay here.

    Of course, we have to maintain the Country Day School property we acquired. We already own the property, and it’s up to the city to take care of the properties it owns, as it would expect every other property owner in Elgin to do.

    I certainly expect the persons elected to represent us will ignore one woman who merely represents a distinct but vocal minority of our community with a counter-productive agenda of withdrawal, retrenchment, draconian cuts and the systematic elimination of everything that I love about Elgin.

    Betsy Couture
    April 2, 2014
    Elgin Courier News
    Letter to the Editor

  63. bw says:

    The problem is that MM is a woman with little vision for anything positive. She has her head buried in the sand. Her post make for good entertainment. Good job Betsy.