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April [2014] open thread

1 April 2014 Elgin Illinois 232 Comments

Architect Bertrand Goldberg's Medical Surgical Building in 2014, Elgin IL Architect Bertrand Goldberg's Medical Surgical Building in 2014, Elgin IL (Photo by The Elginite).

Monthly open thread for April 2014. Let’s keep the conversations flowing!

The picture of the month is that of Bertrand Goldberg’s Medical Surgical Building for Elgin State Hospital (renamed Elgin Mental Health Center in 1975). Goldberg designed the iconic Marina City in Chicago and numerous other buildings and hospitals across America. This building, completed in 1967, was the first of his typically-circular or curvaceous hospital designs to be built. It was converted to office use in 1987 and then abandoned in 2002. Along with the innovative laundry building, it is probably the most important piece of architecture in Elgin.

Read more about the building design here.

And view Goldberg’s spectacular portfolio here.

Possibly related posts:

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232 Responses to “April [2014] open thread”

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  1. RS says:


    Since 1998, three Elgin council members have resigned their posts, including Ruth Munson, who was appointed to the 43rd House District in 2002. John McKevitt resigned in 1998, and Mike Powers resigned in 2008.

    Councilwoman Marie Yearman died in office in 2003.

    In all four cases, their seats were left open until the next election, although in at least one instance the council tried to, but failed, to reach a consensus on an appointment.

    • paul says:

      “Councilman Toby Shaw said he also voted in favor of the settlement. He supports TLC, including financially, he said.”

      The sleaze just never ends. Councilman Toby Shaw, a financial supporter of TLC, votes as councilman to give TLC $280,000 in Elgin taxpayer’s money. Can hardly wait for bm to say that is not a conflict of interest.

      >>Prigge said that, while he supports anyone who provides free medical services, he also believes in the city’s right to set its own zoning regulations.<<

      EXACTLY. And TLC demonstrated that the city of Elgin DOES NOT have the right to set it’s own zoning laws if you have deep enough pockets to sue and unprincipled judges to agree.

      And in other DIRECTLY related news today, after the city of Elgin demonstrates it is an easy push over in regards to zoning issues and lawuits, GastHaus frivolously sues the city of Elgin.

    • RS says:


      The city of Elgin will be seeking applications from people interested in filing a vacant seat on the city council, officials said.

      The decision was made during the executive, or closed, session portion of Wednesday night’s council meeting, Councilman John Prigge said.

      • paul says:

        Best quote of the article: “This is 100 percent Chicago-style politics,” he said. “This is about how to make friends and influence people.”

        That’s exactly what we need in Elgin - 100% Chicago style politics.
        100% sleaze 100% of the time.

        John Prigge is very astute.

  2. Margaret Miller says:

    Hi James and bw!

    Thank you so much for posting James and commenting bw on the March thread. It allows me a another opportunity to state my opinion in a second location however, since it’s April, my clear response will forthcoming on the April thread once I get back home.

    Thanks to you too Betsy, you and your assistant writer gave me a lot to work with.

  3. bw says:

    I can’t wait….

  4. RS says:

    It’s always amazing to see how the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra can draw young musicians from all over Chicagoland.


    Current EYSO students are residents of these communities: Algonquin, Arlington Heights, Aurora, Barrington, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Batavia, Bloomingdale Burlington, Campton Hills, Carol Stream, Carpentersville, Cary, Chicago, Crystal Lake, Des Plaines, Downers Grove, East Dundee, Elburn, Elgin, Elmhurst, Geneva, Gilberts, Glen Ellyn, Gurnee, Hampshire, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Kingston, La Fox, Lake in the Hills, Lake Zurich, Lombard, Loves Park, Medinah, Montgomery, Naperville, North Aurora. Oswego, Palatine, Pingree Grove, Rolling Meadows, Roscoe, St. Charles, Schaumburg, Sleepy Hollow, South Barrington, South Elgin, Spring Grove, Streamwood, Sycamore, Wayne, West Chicago, West Dundee, Wheaton, Winfield, Woodstock and Yorkville.

  5. Cruex says:

    Mr. Madison’s reprint of Betsy Couture’s letter is a tribute to Liberalism in the highest spirit. It could have been edited down by saying “I WANT WHAT I LIKE AND EVERYONE MUST PAY FOR IT! AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT I LIKE THEN YOU MUST BE A CONSERVATIVE!

    Couture never did say how much more she is willing to pay for her trinkets in taxes did she?

    • bw says:

      The letter to the editor was only pointing out how Couture (I don’t know her)read those remarks posted by MM on this board. Now we all know Miller will come back with a snow job to save herself, but the cat is out of the bag. Anyone who believes what Miller will post is naive. The funny part is the whole city got to read Couture’s letter to the C-N. A dozen people will read Miller’s reply on this board. I think Couture has the upper hand on this one since she exposed Miller for what she is.

  6. Margaret Miller says:

    Dear Betsy:

    Thank you for your comments. To be sure, we both look at the role of local government differently. I feel that the less government is involved with my life the better off I am.

    I don’t demand spending cuts, I advocate for spending cuts and support those who feel the same way.

    I never said I wanted Elgin to be utterly void of anything pleasant, restorative, educational or enriching.

    You said I want to “stop all support for the Elgin Symphony Orchestra,” You are correct. After decades of support, discounted Hemmens rent along with free office space, the ESO cried broke to the City and to the already abused taxpayers, but in the same breathe claimed they didn’t need our support to continue. Certain Council members voted to give them the money and wiped out part of their debt. Why were they able to afford a new director and to pay other bills and received a gift of $800,000 and still claim they couldn’t pay the City of Elgin?

    You said “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”. I have no issue with paying for Wing Park pool repairs. My comparison of the Wing Park pool repairs to the Fox Valley Country Day School pool repairs was strictly rhetorical. How many pools are the Elgin taxpayer is supposed to repair in a year?

    You said “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.” I have to ask, how has that been working out? All property values are down. What jobs have been created lately when many Elgin businesses have closed, moved out of the city or the state? Elgin’s unemployment rate is higher than that of the State of Illinois.

    As far as “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.” No one has to believe as I do. Everyone has an opinion on these issues and I don’t see the ESO in the same light as you do.

    Concerning bike path/lanes: “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.” That’s nonsense, the bike paths/lanes have ramifications. They cost a lot of money to install and maintain for a limited amount of use. The maintenance costs from these grants fall on the taxpayer. It also brings additional liability to the city as Cogley pointed out .

    Now to the explosive fireworks issue. “We need fireworks as a place for Elginites, as a community, to celebrate the independence of our nation.” I would agree that fireworks are an enjoyable event. It does beg the question where were you the last two years when Elgin gave money to Hoffman Estates for their event? What form of protest did you lead or participate in opposing the last two years of subsidizing another town’s firework program or for that matter, where were you when the city told it’s citizens to go the Hoffman Estates for their firework entertainment? Elgin already has a wonderful parade. Other towns don’t offer that. They come here for the parade, you go there for the fireworks. Sounds even and fair to me.

    Education: “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.” I made my opinion regarding public schools alternatives quite clear at City Council. If people want to pay for your child to go to private or charter schools, I have no issue with that as long as they pay for it. If the Elgin Math & Science Charter School Initiative wants a Charter School for themselves, let them work for it and pay for it.

    More on the Charter School: “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.” We shouldn’t own it. Auction it off “as is” or even give it away.

    You said “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.” These conservative views are not in the minority as evidenced by:

    1) The 2013 Elgin City Council election where the top three vote getters pledged to cut spending and taxes

    2) The “Show You Care” campaign, which last month lost by better than two to one

    Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your opinions of me.

    According To The Liberal Wikipedia - An Elite In Political And Sociological Theory, Is A Small Group Of People Who Control A Disproportionate Amount Of Wealth And/Or Political Power.

    • Tim says:

      You want the charter school to “pay for it themselves”…..so tell me who pays for the failing schools it’s looking to provide an alternative to?

      • Margaret Miller says:


        We already pay for public schools, failing or successful as they may be, via property tax. 
        If I now have to start to kick in additional funds ($5.2 million in repairs plus annual maintenance & utilities) for the EMSI Charter School, could that be considered double taxing or a reason for citizens to find a more property tax friendly community?

        Why this location? Did the EMSI look anywhere else for their charter school location? One in better condition or one they could afford outright? After all, it’s for the children. It shouldn’t matter where the charter school is located as long as they can provide an alternative to the public schools people are running away from, right?

        If the public schools are failing, who is at fault for that? Disengaged parents or students, teachers and/or their unions, superintendents, the school board or the NEA?

        Look, I don’t have the answer to fixing the problems of a failing school district. I did receive an answer when I look at my pocketbook and it reflected NSF for any new or higher taxes. My earnings and tax dollars can only be stretched so far.

        As of the 2010-2011 school year, our country had a total of nearly 99,000 public schools; these elementary, middle, and high schools all operate with the help of tax dollars. Most of them are traditional schools with educational standards set by each state. Best of all, the education is free.
        Because public schools are reliant on federal, state, and local tax dollars, funding can be cut. Also, public schools have to follow state guidelines on what they can teach and how children are evaluated.

        Charter schools offer an institutional hybrid. Like traditional public schools, charter schools are free, and they can’t discriminate against students because of their race, gender, or disability. However, parents must usually submit a separate application to enroll a child in a charter school, and like private schools, spaces are often limited. Charter schools are independently run, and some are operated by for-profit private companies.

        However, charter schools are still funded by government coffers and accountable to the government body — be it state, county, or district — that provides the charter. (Many successful charters do substantial additional fundraising as well.) If a school is mismanaged or test scores are poor, a charter school can be shut down.


        • Tim says:

          It would be using the education tax money to fund another school. Cities do it all the time.

        • James Madison says:


          It is my understanding that $850 Billion (with a B) is spent on public education each year through public coffers…the Charter School movement, in my opinion, and those of others who follow this issue, is an attempt to privatize (and monitize) the public school system for the benefit of private corporations that invest in these schools, in testing protocol and systems and other ways to get public monies into investor pockets. It is not a healthy trend for any democracy. The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that there are basically few limits on how much can be spent by individuals for political purposes. It is not a far stretch to see how fewer and fewer voices will control the political conversation in this country. At the same time, as charter schools grow, the poor, the disabled, the disadvantaged, the non-urban population will be subjected to a two-tiered education system: separate and not equal, despite what proponents of charter schools claim.

          Free access to a quality education is fundamental and vital to a working, thriving, evolving democracy.

          MM, I totally support your views on the Charter School issue.

          • Tim says:

            Are you calling the current available elgin public schools a quality education?

          • James Madison says:

            Tim, I have never been accused of equating the words “quality education” with the current conditions in the local schools. My words were that quality education is a fundamental issue. Charter schools moves us further away, not closer to this ideal and necessary factor in a free and functioning democracy. Schools cannot fix society problems, they are one vehicle that gives students a “chance,” however slight, to rise about their own circumstances. I am living proof that the impossible sometimes is possible.

  7. RS says:


    A state trooper with 25 years on the job can retire at 50 and get 80 percent of his pay. Add overtime and yearly cost-of-living-adjustments, and some end up making more in retirement than they did while they worked.

    Take John Lofton, for example. He was making a salary of $80,801 a year when he retired in 2002. He also got a check for $65,482 for overtime, CBS 2 has learned.

    Overtime payments boosted Lofton’s monthly salary of $6,800 by $3,100 a month for the purpose of pension calculations, an Illinois State Retirement System official says.

    Lofton’s current pension, with COLAs, is now $134,026, compared to that $80,800 annual salary when he retired.

    Same thing in Elgin I’m sure. And you guys sit around complaining about a few thousand dollars for fireworks.

    I’m sure you haven’t noticed that every policeman, firefighter and city official retires at age 50 and gets another job? They “retire” in Elgin, start collecting their pension, and the next day they take a position in St. Charles, South Barrington, Florida, FEMA, etc. They are quite unembarassed about it. I overheard the spouse of one gloating to her friends about how her husband retired on a friday in Elgin, with a “very generous pension” and started work on Monday in a neighboring town.

    If Elgin is adding in overtime in the pension calculations, they must be doing well indeed. The last spreadsheet I saw had scores of fire and policemen making about $160,000 with their overtime included.

    The reason for your high taxes is not fireworks and it’s not the ESO, people. Wake up.

  8. bw says:

    To be sure, we both look at the role of local government differently. I feel that the less government is involved with my life the better off. Only remark needed in MM’s reply ro Betsy.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Tim, thanks for the link to the video. I watched it and found it interesting.

      Of course the top headline is the cessation of the fine without warning program that was instituted under the previous Mayor. I hated that change to the rules from the instant it was announced by Mayor Schock. That policy represented the total denial of a constitutional right, the right to due process.

      During the last council election, the Elgin OCTAVE’s candidate survey showed that most candidates were in fact opposed to the instant fine without warning policy. This was in fact an issue that then candidate Gavin also said represented a denial of due process. It is my understanding that Councilman Gavin brought this issue forward to the City Manager, and he is responsible for getting this significant change made to the way the Code department operates.

      People should be given an education and a warning as pointed out in the video, this is only fair. And, as the video points out, after someone has had warnings, and a negative history, then you can come down on the scofflaws.

      This is a major improvement in the way that our Code Department will operate. I think we need to thank Councilman Gavin for following through on his campaign position against the old instant fine without warning. Thank you Terry!


    • SIE says:

      There are properties in my neighborhood with code violations going back 10 years or longer. The pre 2006 method didn’t work. Neither did the current system. Am I to believe 2.0 and “educating” the violators will resolve it? These people don’t care that they are violating code. In fact some seem to flaunt it.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        SIE, my thanks to Councilman Gavin was for the dismantling of the $50 fine without warning policy. My contention was that not only did it deny due process, but it also just cracked down on innocent, unaware people.

        I think your comment indicates that adopting the $50 instant fine policy back under the previous mayor did not deter the chronic offenders. In which case I am doubly glad that this policy has been repealed.

        Now, what it takes to deal with the chronic problem properties, I don’t know. Again, I am simply thankful that the onerous and apparently ineffective fine without warning has been eliminated.


        PS: I never got a fine without warning (or even with a warning), but I have known people who did, and they are still mad about it.

      • RS says:

        Just out of curiosity, what kind of code violations are we talking about here?

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          RS: Not cutting grass, putting out trash on a non-trash day, putting up banner/flags for garage sales,,,,,

          For example, a friend of mine on South Street got new furniture for his and his wife’s den. They asked around if anyone wanted the old furniture, that was nice, but dated. No one, including me, wanted it. So my friend put out the nice easy chair on the tree bank with a sign that said “free”. And he figured someone would just come and pick it up to bring home and use it. (That has not been an unusual sight in the 27 years I have owned my house. I even did it once maybe 20 years ago to get rid of a chair that was nice that some gave me, but I just didn’t want it, so I put it on the curb with a free sign, and it was gone in 10 minutes.) Anyway, my friend got a $50 ticket. He went downtown and appealed, and his appeal was denied.


          • lurker says:

            Same exact thing happened to me. Cleaned out basement, put some stuff out on the curb (on a Saturday). All was gone in less than 15 min. Yet I wound up w/ a $50 ticket taped to my front door. Tried fighting it (had NO prior issues w/ City) & they still made me pay. Found out later a neighbor who had his property condemned by this very same City, called on me. Yet day after day I see violation after violation. Nothing is done unless somebody calls. If the City needs more money, all they have to do is tape $50 tickets on people’s doors. They’ll be FLUSH with cash.

          • still concerned says:

            Chuck and all. I tend to agree with some of what you all have said. 1) Having a no-warning policy before ticketing was too punitive; however, without a reliable database (as Mylott points out in his presentation)how would the code inspector know if putting furniture out was a one time thing for this address or a weekly occurrence? 2)As SIE points out there are properties with lengthy and chronic violations. Having a graduated fine policy may help, but all too often these cases must go to court, which is time consuming and costly and usually does not result in a solution. Having more code staff may help along with that database. Code staffing has been a low priority for years, for which we all have paid. 3) Some of the ordinances are too weak and need updating. Example: Foreclosed and abandoned properties. If the roof is peeling off code can do nothing until an actual hole opens up in the roof. This was an actual case where the Mayor and I discussed an offending property on a neighborhood walk. A priority should be given to improved and more aggressive ordinances specific to abandoned properties (which there are over 1000 today in Elgin)! Let the city go after these negligent bank owners and fine the crap out of them! Mylott’s presentation was interesting, but having fought the battle for some decades now on code enforcement or lack thereof pardon me if I remain quite skeptical of any direction the city proposes. Talk is cheap…let’s see the actions!

          • RS says:

            lurker, sounds like the neighbor thought you were the one who got his property condemned and he decided to pay you back.

            i don’t know if it’s true but i think it was said by somebody in a previous thread that almost any property in the city is in violation of some code. all it takes is an unhappy neighbor to call it in.

          • wombat says:

            That is what happened to us. We put a couch out on the curb - usually the pickers come by the day before garbage pick-up looking for salvage. Got a stupid $50 fine for that.

            Yet the code Nazis can’t be bothered going after single-family dwellings that obviously house more than one family, as evidenced by the numerous cars on the property (and most if not all the kids are under 16) as well as the multiple satellite dishes on the roof.

            So sick of the way this city is run ~

          • RS says:

            I don’t think it’s realistic to think that the city can do anything about “single-family dwellings that obviously house more than one family.” I can’t even imagine that it would be illegal for more than one “family” to reside under the same roof.

            Even if it was illegal, what would the city do? Send cops in and kick out half the occupants? It’s nearly impossible to evict a tenant even when he/she is the sole occupant of a building or apartment. It would have to go to the courts and then we’re talking many thousands of dollars and countless billable hours for each case that the city is going to try to prosecute.

            Everybody just needs to get used to the way that Elgin is (in these older neighborhoods). If you want a different kind of community you have options on the Far West Side and elsewhere where subdivision associations can keep things in check and where you are more likely to have like-minded neighbors.

            Elsewhere, I say live and let live. If you don’t report your neighbors, they probably won’t report you when you put a sofa out on the curb the day before trash pickup. Innit?

          • RS says:

            Regarding the multiple families in a single-family residence, read this sobering NYTimes story that appeared yesterday and the thousands of comments on it (with people’s personal stories):


            I think if families were not able to move in with each other in times of need, then our homeless problem would be a lot bigger than it is now.

            There are many other reasons of course for more than one “family” (which could be a single, a couple, a couple with children, a parent and child, etc) to share a house.

            If what you really have a problem with is “overcrowding,” we’ve been through that discussion before on this site. Bottom line is that it’s almost always legal.

          • wombat says:

            I do “live and let live,” never having reported my neighbors for anything (even though one of them was especially irritating, parking his junk car under my bedroom window in front of my house instead of his, and waking me up at 5 in the morning five days a week with letting the thing ROAR for at least ten minutes before leaving for work….).

            However, I fail to see why, if a house in a neighborhood is designed as a single family dwelling, the code enforcers should just look the other way and let God knows how many live together under one roof. We’re talking about houses, not apartment buildings. I understand times are hard, but that hardly justifies overcrowding, any more than saying “people need transportation and can’t afford a car” justifies packing ten people into a four-door coupe.

            If it is not “realistic” to do anything about multiple families living in a single-family residence, then let’s drop all pretense, do away with the distinction, and let people live like sardines. Bet the fire marshal could get on board with that.

          • RS says:

            Under the Elgin city code, you can have 12 people living in a house of 910 square feet total. I can’t imagine that there are many situations where more people are being squeezed into such a small space. In all likelihood the overcrowding situations you see are legal.

            Think of the positive side: It’s very “green.” A small amount of living space per person is easier on the environment than a few people living in spacious houses.

  9. Harmony says:

    This guy has worked for City two and half years and comes up with this? Hey, Lucker how about you and I make real you tube video on the state of our neighborhoods. This guy is joke, he is the one that stopped the cooperation between City departments with eliminating the call out of code enforcement officers. As far as giving credit to Gavin, My suggestion to him is to eliminate this incompetent department and start over, and send this idiot back to SC. Two and years and he cost us 250,000 judgement against the City with his zoning ordinance change with TLC. And gave us this you tube video.

    • lurker says:

      Maybe we can post photos of obvious violations on this site?

      • RS says:

        code vigilantism? nah, no thanks

        • lurker says:

          “almost any property in the city is in violation of some code. all it takes is an unhappy neighbor to call it in.”

          Very true. By no means is my home perfect. It needs work, like 99% of the homes around here. But in the meantime, I am not blocking my sidewalk with my car, I am not parking across my front lawn, nor am I storing upholstered furniture on my front porch year-round. THAT is what concerns me. These, to me, are quick fixes that make a world of difference.

          • Tim Palmer says:

            Hey, why don’t we keep our trash out of sight until garbage day no matter what it is? Quit complaining about a ticket you get for putting your junk out without a sticker. If you want to give away a chair, call Salvation Army!!

  10. Margaret Miller says:


    Moeller takes first week as Elgin’s, and Legislature’s newest, state rep in stride

    Shouldn’t her votes have been votes of “Present” or “Abstention” since she is not up to speed on these issues.

    Workplace discrimination of pregnant women. I didn’t know there was such a thing. Willing to help people who are pregnant but got in the way of women possibly being pregnant…TLC

    Working on a Task Force since January. Interesting, how much time was taken away from Elgin to do this?

    What a chameleon!

    • RS says:

      One of her first acts in Springfield was also not to act. She turned down the state’s offer of a pension. With Illinois facing a pension crisis, and since she has her own IRA account, it didn’t make sense, Moeller said.

      Give her some credit!

  11. Tim says:

    So everyone should just turn a blind eye to the city just spiraling into a complete slum?

    Hey, we can move if we don’t like it………. Well no actually, you can’t move when you’re neighborhood deteriorates and takes your property value down with it. So it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep their home, and their neighborhood in the best condition possible.

    Here’s a better option, the landlords and property occupants that want to let their homes fall into condemned conditions should be fined, or ultimately removed from the property. No where to go? Find an apartment. Not everyone is entitled to a stand alone home, or capable of maintaining one.

  12. Margaret Miller says:


    Elgin councilman pushes for remote attendance - Move would ensure Elgin business gets done, he says

    So would attendance.

    It didn’t take too much time for Mr. Dunne to make this suggestion after the swift departure of Anna Moeller. Just the excuse he needed to bring this forward.
    I don’t know about the rest of the Elgin citizens but I don’t want a virtual City Council.

    Seems clear to me that Mr. Dunne is faced with a personal conflict between his jobs and their responsibilities. He took the FEMA position as a Councilman nineteen months ago and ran for re-election (narrowly squeaking by) knowing the expectations and responsibilities of each position he accepted.

    Perhaps its time for Mr. Dunne to make a decision to determine which job is most important to him. (FEMA or Elgin City Council) It is not my job nor do I see it as any other Council members job to make concessions in procedure for his lack of decision making or his inability to work something out with FEMA.

    There is a clear difference between someone who offer a selfless act suggestion and someone who purposes a selfish one.

    • sill concerned says:

      Agreed MM. Sounded very much of a selfish proposal from Mr. Dunne. What we don’t need is another “Gilliam” on the Council that only showed up occasionally throughout the years.

    • One Vote says:

      Maybe Bedard could fill in for him on the weeks Dunne can’t make it.

    • RS says:

      If Dunne is absent or resigns, then there will be an odd number of councilmen which is exactly what’s needed (to avoid ties) since Anna Moeller resigned. So no, they should not accommodate him.

      Should Congress go virtual? Should the state legislature go virtual? Should city council go virtual? No, No, and No.

  13. Margaret Miller says:


    Elgin-based firm to layoff 60 in September

    ELGIN -An Elgin business has reported to the state that it will be laying off 60 people in September.

    Dentsply-Rinn Corp., 1212 Abbott Drive, specializes in the manufacture of products for dentists and their patients.

    Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Carol Gieske said, “The lead people right now on the layoffs are from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity , Kane County Department of Employment and River Valley Workforce Investment Board.”

    The first all- agency meeting with Dentsply-Rinn will be Thursday, Gieske said.

    “Ruben Cuevas from IDES and Renee Thompson from the WIB are on our Elgin Development Group’s Workforce Development Committee and will discuss how we can help those affected by the closing at the Workforce Committee meeting this coming Tuesday, but we may not have anything definite until after the Thursday meeting with the company,” she said.

    Gieske added, “We will be planning to meet with the company thereafter and provide information and assistance to the displaced workers regarding available positions in Elgin.”

    The company’s human resources director, Pat Evans, was on vacation Friday and could not be reached for comment.

    Maybe there are more artists that want to set up shop in Elgin that we can provide subsidized housing for.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Thanks Margaret for the news of the business closing. Well over a year ago, when the council was considering the renewal of the Chamber’s Purchase of Service Agreement, the Chamber gave a presentation on all the good things they had done. They talked about the businesses that they had brought to town as a key point.

      So, I addressed the council and said that the Chamber’s PSA states that they are to work to attract new businesses and to retain existing businesses. I said that we are considering rewarding the Chamber for attracting businesses, while we ignore the equally important, maybe more important, role in keeping businesses here. I had obtained information from INFO USA that showed Elgin had lost (as I recall now), more than 200 businesses since 2010.

      I asked how logical is it to reward the Chamber for attracting maybe 3 businesses, when at the same time hundreds more have left? I then expressed that the more likely situation is that businesses come and go largely without any regard to the Chamber. So why do we pay the Chamber with tax money in order to do things that simply just happen in the course of normal business cycles?

      Carol Gieske seems like a good person, and I have no gripes against her. But can anyone imagine that she (or the mayor, or anyone else) could walk into the DENTSPLY-Rinn office and persuade them to not close their Elgin operations? Yet we continue to pay big bucks to the Chamber every year, in part to attract AND retain businesses.


      PS: At the conclusion of my comments, the Mayor did NOT say, Those were interesting points Mr. Keysor. We appreciate your taking time to think about this situation and to bring your thoughts forward to the council. Instead, he tried to dismiss my points by heatedly asking if I had figures for any other cities to show how many businesses they had lost in the recession. I recommended that if he was interested, he could ask his highly paid staff for such statistics.

      • RS says:

        Interesting points, Chuck (I’ll say it if the mayor didn’t! haha). I don’t have an opinion on the chamber but I found this sentence fascinating:

        Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Carol Gieske said, “The lead people right now on the layoffs are from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity , Kane County Department of Employment and River Valley Workforce Investment Board.”

        It looks like in addition to the Elgin Chamber of Commerce there are 4 different government agencies working on this. Wonder if it gets a little crowded there in the kitchen…

  14. Margaret Miller says:


    Amid budget concerns, Illinois schools consider passing along ACT high-school test costs

  15. Margaret Miller says:


    Only 28% of Illinois Residents Trust State

    A new survey from Gallup finds residents of Illinois have the least trust in their state government, with just 28% of residents having even a fair amount of trust in the Illinois government to “handle” the state’s problems.

    Illinois, in fact, is almost in a league of its own on the question. In the next two states with the least amount of trust in government, Rhode Island and Maine, 40% of residents reported they had at least a “fair amount” of trust in their state government.

    This result is perhaps unsurprising, considering that the last two governors in the state have gone to jail. Illinois also has the worst bond rating of any state in the country and faces annual struggles to balance its budget. Three years ago, the state passed a very large, temporary income tax hike. This year, Governor Democrat Pat Quinn is campaigning to make the tax permanent.

    The distrust of state government in Illinois runs very deep. More than one-third of residents, 35%, report they have “no trust” in the ability of the government to manage its affairs. This rate is almost double the rate reported by residents of Rhode Island, the runner-up for the dubious title.

    The 50-state average of the number of residents who have a “great deal” or “fair” amount of trust in their state governments is 58%. Population seems to be a factor in whether residents “trust” their government:

    In general, trust is lower in more populous states than in less populous states. The 10 most populous states and 10 least populous states differ by 11 percentage points in state government trust, with the middle population states in between. Larger states have larger economies and more citizens needing services, and often more diverse populations, so they may be more challenging to govern than smaller states.

    This isn’t a hard rule, though. In Texas, the second most popular state, 72% of residents trust their state government. In California, just 49% of residents trust their state government.

    • James Madison says:

      And we know if it comes from Breitbart.com, it must be true.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Instead of insulting the source how about finding something that offers a different opinion and post it?

        • James Madison says:

          MM, really no difference. Any source I cite you will say is BS. Any of your sources (which are of one persuasion) will be disputed by me, so what’s the point? Let’s just agree that my opinions are correct and yours are incorrect and there will be no need for further research. (I am sure you will agree with that suggestion.) (And I do know that opinions are like a@@holes, everyone has at least one.)

          • Margaret Miller says:


            What a shame you didn’t want to find anything that counters the Breitbart source.

            Ask RS, when he posts something I question, I review his links and report back.

            You agreeing with my opinion on charter schools was worrisome to me. Either you’re getting the point or I’m starting to think like a liberal. I’m not sure which one frightens me more!

          • James Madison says:

            MM, I think you are finally coming over from the dark and brooding side of life into the sunshine. You are most welcome

          • Margaret Miller says:

            LOL James,

            My conservative stripes I wear proudly!

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            @ MM & JM: It is a pleasant relief to see your dialog taking on a more civil tone. These disagreements, though important, are not worth giving yourselves heartburn over. Chuck

        • James Madison says:

          MM, I agreed with you on Charter Schools. That must count for something.

    • RS says:

      Please keep discussions limited to what’s related to Elgin.

      • James Madison says:


        April 16, open house for the new 43rd District Illinois State Representative Anna Moeller. Everyone should come to congratulate her for this great career achievement.

        • Margaret Miller says:

          James do you want to meet me there?

          • James Madison says:

            Would be wonderful. Should we have dinner before or after? What do you like to drink? I like beer and whiskey. I will be a gentleman and pay for the lady’s drinks. Martini Room after we say hello to the new Rep? I am looking forward to time alone with you.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            That’s an interesting invitation, thank you. Dinner with an Elgin Liberal. Do you think the clouds will break into thunderous sound or we’ll be mentioned in the Courier?

          • One Vote says:

            Are you going to warn him that you carry?

          • James Madison says:

            One Vote, she promised she would reveal, not conceal, for me (only).

          • Margaret Miller says:

            I promised no such thing!

          • James Madison says:

            MM, I was speaking in the future tense, what you will do (after I ply you with some Jack Daniels).

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Gee, you know, I am not sure if I like this warm and fuzzy stuff after all,,,,,,,,,, Maybe you should go back to open warfare……….. Chuck

          • RS says:

            lol. maybe you guys should get a chat room. i know you’re all having fun–and it is funny, but i can’t help but see the comment number gratuitously ticking up, and after 200+ comments in last month’s thread, i think we should try to return to more substantial discussions.

            for example, we need a nuclear power plant. what can elgin do to attract a nuclear power plant? discuss.

          • James Madison says:

            RS, two words for future thoughts of adding nuclear power plants to the US inventory: FUKUSHIMA and CHERNOBYL.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            James: I think RS was asking about attracting a nuclear power facility to Elgin. I assume this would be to take the place of RS’s favorite project, the hydro-power station on the Fox River. Chuck

          • RS says:

            If we have our own nuclear power plant we can mine a vast number of bitcoin.


            KnCMiner, based in Stockholm, operates about 7,000 machines. While the mining company’s electric bill in March came to $450,000, the computers mined 21,000 bitcoins, according to co-founder Sam Cole.

  16. RS says:

    The Simply Kabobs space in South Elgin has been taken over by Pita BBQ. I tried it for the first time today and it was really good! A slice of Dearborn right here in (South) Elgin. Shawarmas, falafel, hummus, baba ghanoush, baklava, etc. Very reasonable prices. Check it out!


    • RS says:

      I stopped by again today for a different shawarma. Very yummmy! I’m so excited we can get shawarmas locally now. One of my favorite foods!

      Just wish they also offered lamb, but the chicken and steak are both great.

  17. Margaret Miller says:

    GE Financial Services invests in gas-fired Elgin Energy Center in Illinois

    By Editors of Electric Light & Power/ POWERGRID International

    GE Energy Financial Services is providing a loan to investment firm Rockland Capital, LLC to support its acquisition of the gas-fired Elgin Energy Center in Illinois.

    Rockland Capital purchased the power generation facility, which sits on a 27-acre site 40 miles northwest of Chicago, as part of a larger acquisition earlier this year. GE Energy Financial Services is providing a $50 million senior secured term loan that will be used in part to finance the Elgin acquisition and pay related fees and expenses. Further details of the transaction were not disclosed.

    The 484 MW Elgin peaking power plant, which sells its capacity into the PJM market, began operating in 2002 with four simple-cycle natural gas-fired turbines. Its operations and maintenance are provided by ProEnergy Services with additional energy management services by Tenaska Power Services.

    GE Energy Financial Services holds equity and debt investments in power projects with a combined capacity of 30 GW, equivalent to the installed generating capacity of Norway. Recent power lead arranging transactions include the Saguaro Power Plant in Nevada and Nelson Energy Center in Illinois. The GE unit offers flexible financial structures ranging from common and preferred equity to debt and acquisition finance.

    The Elgin Energy Center is part of a 1,166 MW portfolio of three Illinois power plants that Rockland Capital acquired from Ameren Corp. in January. The transaction was the first acquisition for Rockland Power Partners II, a $425 million investment fund closed in December 2013.


    • RS says:

      Wow, I had no idea there was a 484 MW power plant in Elgin! I will add that to the list of everything that makes Elgin the best place on Earth.

      • JP says:

        Looks like it’s on Gifford Rd. by the old Ball plant. Pretty small operation. I’ve noticed it before but thought it was just a sub-station.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      RS, back when the council was discussing giving approval to the “peaker power plant”, it got a lot of local press, and was supposed to be something that just sat quietly in the background and would assure Elgin would never be hit by rolling power blackouts in the event of huge power demands created at the peak of the air conditioning season. That is another business in Elgin that flew under the Elgin Business License radar. Chuck

    • RS says:

      It’s amazing that we can generate such an amount of electric power at presumably very low cost and with such a small footprint. I follow hydropower developments in other parts of the world, which are tremendously costly and disruptive. One controversial dam now planned for the Mekong will have an installed capacity of only 240 MW, cost more than $300M and can kill off the Irawadday dolphin and fish species. Other dams on the Mekong and in the area will generate only about 1,000 MW each (2-3 times the size of the Elgin facility) but at a financial cost in the billions each–one at $4B, and of course tremendous environmental cost and social cost–village relocations, flooding of huge areas, disrupted fisheries etc.

      Hydropower just sucks. Even the Hoover dam has an installed capacity of just 2,000 MW. We could replace it with 4 or 5 natural gas plants in Elgin. How ridiculous is that?

      So let’s put in some more power plants in Elgin. I want electricity coming out of my ears. We really have it good here. The best place on Earth. Except for the taxes…

    • Margaret Miller says:


      GE Financial Services funds Rockland’s acquisition of Elgin Energy Center in Illinois

      GE Energy Financial Services will help investment firm Rockland Capital LLC acquire the gas-powered Elgin Energy Center in Illinois. GE will lend an undisclosed amount to Rockland for the transaction, according to Utility Products.

      Rockland Capital had acquired Elgin earlier this year as part of a bigger purchase. Under the terms of the debt transaction, GE will provide Rockland with a $50-million senior secured loan to partially finance the Elgin purchase. The cash will also be used for other fees and expenses related to the acquisition. Other details of the loan were not disclosed, the report detailed.

      The 484 MW power plant in Northern Chicago sells its products into the PJM market. ProEnergy Services provides the facility with energy management services from Tenaska Power Services. Elgin started operating in 2002, the report added.

      The Elgin power plant is only one of the three Illinois power generation facilities that Rockland purchased from Ameren Corp earlier this year. In December 2013, Rockland closed $425 million for its Rockland Power Partners II investment fund. Elgin is the latter’s first acquisition, Utility Products reported.

  18. still concerned says:

    Council Toby Shaw should immediately resign and here is why: Without taking sides on the Pro-Life debate: Mr. Shaw, by his own admission supported/supports TLC and its mission. Mr. Shaw now admits (see attached link to Daily Herald article)he voted in favor of the TLC settlement giving TLC $280K to pay “some legal fees” TLC may have incurred during its law suit against the City. That smacks of a conflict of interest and therefore Mr. Shaw has violated the public’s trust and should immediately resign! At the least Mr. Shaw should have abstained from voting for the settlement to avoid the conflict.
    There has always been a fine line for people in public office to avoid or attempt to avoid the appearance of potential conflicts that could ingratiate personal interests at the public’s expense. Mr. Shaw has crossed that line.


    • paul says:

      I agree, sc, that at the very least Shaw should have abstained.

      And exactly the same should have applied with Moeller and her charter school vote. Ethically challenged. The conflicts of interest in both cases is of such obviousness as to be egregious.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Councilman Terry Gavin posted this on his Facebook page, and I thought the readers of the Elginite would be interested to read his comments. Chuck

      A year in review on the Elgin City Council:

      Tomorrow (4/8/14) marks the one year anniversary of the last Elgin City Council election. This historic election added 2 new council people bringing the number on the council from 7 to 9 including the mayor. This change was required by the Illinois State Constitution that states that when a community’s population reaches 100,000 the local council must have a minimum of 9 members.

      Since a year has gone by already I thought it would be appropriate to capsulize some of the issues that have come before us & how this council has changed since that election.

      During the last year there have been several split votes & debates about the city’s spending habits as well as current tax policies that were passed in the 2012 Budget of the last council. The Elgin Budget vote for 2014 that passed in December 2013 by a 6 - 3 margin is a prime example of the major change that has occurred since last April. The three of us who voted against this years budget were Councilmen Prigge, Shaw & myself. The three of us were elected, with the top 3 vote totals last April, to reduce the taxes passed by the previous city council & to cut non-essential spending. While having lost that vote on the budget we made the point clear that it was no longer “business as usual at city hall”.

      More recently the city council debated the wisdom of allowing the new Elgin Math & Science Academy charter school the use of the old Fox Valley Country Day School property the city now owns. After 2 public meetings with discussion of the costs & what the charter school along with Elgin Academy would pay us for renting part of the facility a decision was made by an 8 - 1 margin to table the proposal with no date given to bring it back. It was quite apparent that this city council was different then the last council in how it views spending the public’s money. I was fairly certain that the majority of this council would vote to approve the proposal since the 1st vote taken 18 days earlier passed 8 - 1. My opinion on this proposal was at 1st to move the project forward but when the final numbers came in with the offer from Elgin Academy it was clear to me that this was too big a price to pay for the new charter school to locate at that property.

      Much has happened in the last year on our city council & I’ve enjoyed immensely the opportunity to serve again after 14 years away. I’m also eagerly looking forward to the next year working with the other council members to continue to change the culture of tax & spend that has been the norm at city hall since the year 2000. These are tough economic times for many of our residents & because of that we must learn to live within our means.

      Terry L. Gavin
      Elgin City Council

      • SIE says:

        That’s his review of the past year? Kind of weak.

        By “not business as usual” he means things pass 6-3 (or now 5-3) instead of 8-1. Right?

        • SIE says:

          I think I should have said 6-1 or whatever the heck the number was on the last council. Bottom line is the outcomes didn’t change.

    • One Vote says:

      Whoa Nelly!
      What do you mean Shaw “supports TLC and its mission.” Did he donate to them? Was he a board member? So what if he’s pro-life? What about the other members of the council? Did you poll them?
      This is a zoning issue, not a debate about abortion.
      Please give me details about Shaw’s “support” of TLC.

      • paul says:

        “Please give me details about Shaw’s “support” of TLC.”

        Read the attached linked article and then please respond.

        Intentional ignorance is not a virtue.

        • One Vote says:

          Don’t patronize me. What does “support” mean? He gave them $50? He supports pro-life in general?
          Hell, Gilliam was on the boards of Boys and Girls Club and the ESO. That didn’t stop him from voting to throw money at them. That didn’t stop him for winking and nodding at the ESO debt from year-to-year.
          Are they supposed to poll the council before such votes to see if they are pro-life or pro-abortion.
          Did anyone ask Moeller if she was pro-abortion before she voted? We know she had a bone to pick with TLC. Why did she get to vote about it?
          I repeat; the issue was about code and a lawsuit the city should have never provoked in the first place. When Cogley doubled down the council should have demanded that he be fired.
          It doesn’t matter that Shaw supported TLC, whatever that means.

  19. RS says:


    Elgin police are investigating the attempted abduction Friday night of a woman near Advocate Sherman Hospital.

    According to police, officers were called to the 1400 block of North Randall Road about 8 p.m. Friday for a report of an abduction attempt that had just occurred.

    A woman reported that a man approached her while she was sitting in her vehicle in a parking lot, opened the door to the vehicle and began striking her in the head. The victim was able to fight off the suspect and run for help, police said.

    Assuming this actually happened, is this the same guy that several years ago tried to abduct somebody from the ECC parking lot?

  20. RS says:


    Prigge said that, while he supports anyone who provides free medical services, he also believes in the city’s right to set its own zoning regulations.

    As part of the settlement, the city council unanimously approved allowing nonprofit agencies’ mobile units to operate once a week for up to 52 days a year.

    Councilman Rich Dunne said he agreed with city staff’s recommendation to settle, especially because neither party admitted fault. “That was important to me,” he said.

    Still, settlements can give people the wrong impression, Councilwoman Tish Powell said. She declined to say how she voted.

    “If you settle, people automatically think you’re admitting guilt,” she said. “The council made its decision in the best interest of anyone involved, including the Elgin taxpayers.”

    Councilman Terry Gavin and former councilwoman Anna Moeller said they, too, voted to settle.

  21. RS says:



    The city’s complaint — dated August 2013 — states that the Gasthaus operated beyond the scope of its liquor license by having a live band March 2013, and that it served alcohol to an underage patron in May 2013.

    Once again, the city is harassing downtown restaurant and bar owners. They will not be satisfied until they have shut down everything that does not cater to middle age, middle class, white people.

    • paul says:

      “They will not be satisfied until they have shut down everything that does not cater to middle age, middle class, white people.”

      I was waiting for the punchline, assuming that statement was a joke.

      But, no! Clearly implied, in keeping with RS’s liberal inanities, is that any City of Elgin law, rule, or regulation is racist IF it MAY negatively impact ANY minority. And that is the US Department of Justice’s view as well. The beauty is you don’t need to prove a single instance of racial discrimination; all you need to prove is a minority group is statistically negatively impacted to a greater degree than “white people” and thus liberal defined proven racism.

      The MERE FACT in this case that the infractions of the rules regulations and laws by the Gasthaus led DIRECTLY to a gunshot and a stabbing is apparently irrelevant to charges of disparate impact racism.
      That the Gasthaus owners, workers, stabber and victim are all white (as far as I know) is apparently irrelevent to RS’s charges of racism.

  22. Gibster says:

    Elgin City Council Vacancy

    The Elgin City Council is accepting applications for the office of City Councilman for a term to expire in April 2015.

    Applicants should submit a completed application, statement of economic interests, a resume and any other pertinent information they want the City Council to consider in making its decision to Kimberly Dewis, City Clerk, 150 Dexter Court, Elgin, Illinois 60120, before 5 p.m., April 21, 2014.

    Application forms and statement of economic interests forms are available in the City Clerk’s office or online on the city’s website.

    The following are qualifications to hold the office of City Councilman:

    1) Qualified elector/registered voter.

    2) Resident of the city of Elgin for at least one year prior to appointment.

    3) Not in arrears in the payment of any tax or other indebtedness due to the municipality.

    4) Not convicted in any court located in the United States of any infamous crime, bribery, perjury, or other felony.

    Download Application —


  23. Margaret Miller says:


    Direct Energy to suburbs: The spark is gone
    By Steve Daniels April 11, 2014

    An energy supplier that won contracts to provide electricity to homes and small businesses in a host of Chicago-area communities no longer wants much of the business.

    Houston-based Direct Energy, which says it’s the largest retail energy supplier to households in the U.S., has allowed or is allowing contracts with at least 10 suburbs to expire without bidding on them, says David Hoover, a consultant to the 10.

    Three of the communities Direct Energy discontinued — southwest suburban New Lenox, south suburban Crest Hill and northwest suburban Fox River Grove — couldn’t find cheap enough alternatives and sent their residents back to Commonwealth Edison Co.

    Four others — far west suburban Elburn and Sugar Grove, south suburban Glenwood and far northwest suburban Harvard — contracted with other suppliers.

    And Direct Energy has informed three suburbs it still serves — west suburban Riverside and Darien and far north suburban North Chicago — that it won’t seek to keep their contracts, said Mr. Hoover, executive director of Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Collaborative, one of the area’s most active energy consultants to municipalities.

    Another eight communities Direct Energy serves should find out soon whether their incumbent intends to retain them. These include Elgin, the eighth-largest city in Illinois, whose contract with Direct Energy expires in August.

    Elgin Public Works Superintendent Colby Basham said he hadn’t yet heard whether Direct Energy will bid. Elgin plans soon to seek proposals for a new contract.


    A Direct Energy spokeswoman declined to comment on the reasons behind the decisions. She also wouldn’t say whether the company would seek to retain any of the eight other suburbs it serves.

    In a statement, the company said, “Direct Energy fully participates in all aspects of the Illinois electricity market. We evaluate all opportunities and will continue to look at the Illinois aggregation market and will evaluate each opportunity individually.”

    Direct is one of a handful of companies with municipal contracts in the Chicago area. Its moves to reduce if not end that business in Illinois is the latest sign of trouble in what has become a huge market to supply electricity to homes and small businesses via contracts with municipalities ranging from tiny suburbs to the city of Chicago. A wave of such contracts initially meant double-digit savings from power prices charged by ComEd, but it’s become much more challenging for suppliers to beat the utility’s price.

    State law allows municipalities to contract with alternative suppliers to utilities on behalf of their constituents once voters have approved a referendum allowing it. About three years ago, suburbs started a wave of such deals, initially generating large savings because ComEd’s prices were well above market at the time. ComEd’s rates now are much closer to market prices.

    From the beginning, some suppliers have complained that profit margins on municipal deals were too thin.

    The city of Chicago, with the largest such municipal power contract in the U.S., recently re-upped with supplier Integrys Energy Services at a price that will boost residents’ electricity rates by 14 percent to 18 percent beginning in June. The city has predicted its new rates will be cheaper than ComEd’s, which also are expected to rise in June. But ComEd’s new price, which is subject in part to an upcoming power-generator auction, hasn’t yet been set.

    Under the city’s contract, Integrys can be forced to match the utility’s price if it’s lower or choose to send customers back to ComEd.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Thank you Margaret. How do you find all these important, yet seemingly obscure facts? I guess I am a passive consumer of news….. I have to read it in the paper, or watch a council session. Such passivity would never unearth the great information you uncover.

      We had City staff and some on the council justify creating Elgin’s electrical utility tax based on the fact that they were going to save so much because of electrical aggregation. That saving may soon go away, but if we keep the present majority of the council, our electrical tax (and gas, trash, etc.) will be here forever!

      To SIE: Yes, the council votes used to be 6 to 1, then 6 to 3 and you ask, what difference has it made? I say that the important thing is to look at the trend. Those voters who for example disapprove of the way the electrical, trash, gas, sales and liquor taxes were pushed on us under the false pretext of a looming budget crisis can see that we need the next round of council elections to tip the balance in favor of the taxpayers. So I look forward with hope to 2015.


  24. Margaret Miller says:


    Auburn man, alleged MS-13 gang member and sex offender absconder from Illinois, arrested after struggle with police

    April 10, 2014 10:39 am • The Citizen staff

    An Auburn man wanted by a police department in Illinois was arrested early Thursday following a struggle with two Auburn police officers.

    Alejandro Meza, 21, of 2 Schwartz Dr., Apt. 205, Auburn, was arrested and charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, resisting arrest, false personation and unlawful possession of marijuana.

    According to a news release, an officer on patrol located a vehicle parked behind Mustad, a business located at 241 Grant Ave., Auburn, at 1:26 a.m. Thursday. After calling for backup, two officers approached the vehicle and found a man and a woman inside.

    Police said the man — Meza — initially provided a false first name and date of birth. After police found Meza in possession of 2.9 grams of marijuana, authorities say the officers attempted to arrest him. But he pushed one of the officers and tried to flee on foot, police said.

    According to police, Meza was reaching for his lower right leg during the struggle. A 19-inch machete in a sheath fell from his pant leg, police said. Authorities say Meza reached for the machete, but one of the officers used his taser to get control of Meza.

    After identifying Meza, officers learned that he is a sex offender absconder from Illinois and wanted by the Elgin, Ill. Police Department. He is also a member of the MS-13 street gang, police said.

    The responding officers were uninjured in the struggle. Meza wss being held, pending arraignment, in the Auburn Police Department’s temporary holding facility.

    The woman who was found with Meza cooperated with police and was not charged.

  25. Margaret Miller says:


    Article updated: 4/11/2014 5:20 PM
    Kane County Board wants power to remove political appointees

    Kane County Board members want the authority to remove appointees to various local boards if the behavior or performance of those appointees proves to be substandard. But the board will need a little help from state lawmakers.

    Members of the county board’s legislative committee voted to support pending state legislation spawned by a questionable resignation in Lake County last year. Jeneen Smith-Underwood spent only four months as the executive director of the Lake County Housing Authority before voluntarily resigning. The questions arose when she received a $122,000 check that Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawler said didn’t “smell right.” The full circumstances surrounding the resignation never became public, but Lawler pushed forward a new code of conduct for such appointees.

    At least a handful of board members want the same policy in Kane County. Senate Bill 3552, which is co-sponsored by former Kane County chairman Karen McConnaughay, would provide a legal path for that policy. It allows the county chairman, with a two-thirds majority of the county board, to remove any appointees placed with their authority. The bill passed the Illinois Senate 55-0. It awaits movement in the House or new life in the next legislative session.

    “I saw this and thought it would be appropriate to support given our position of wanting accountability, fiscal responsibility and transparency,” said Maggie Auger, chairman of Kane County’s legislative committee. “This would give us a little bit more power over appointees appointed by the county chairman.”

    Kane County Supervisor of Assessments Mark Armstrong also spoke in support of the legislation. He said the bill provides two important accountability tools. For one, the county board must vote with a two-thirds margin in support of any appointee a county chairman wants to remove.

    “So if you had a county chairman who said to a member of the board of review, ‘I want to get all my buddies property tax breaks. You won’t go along with that; you’re gone,’ the county board has to agree there is a real cause for that action,” Armstrong said.

    Likewise, its just as important to actually have the authority to remove a member of the board of review, Armstrong said.

    “Let’s say you had someone who was appointed and then never showed up and just collected the check,” Armstrong said. “There’s nothing you could do. You’d have to wait two years to appoint someone new.”

    The bill could also prevent a repeat of the situation Kane County had in 2011 when McConnaughay asked Metra Director Caryl Van Overmeiren to resign, and she initially refused.

  26. SIE says:

    A city of 120,000 residents with only one outdoor pool. Pathetic. There are towns a quarter of the size of Elgin with multiple pools and aquatic facilities.

    Last year when we tried to go to Wing Park and found out it was closed we went to Lords Park. What a horrible experience. And I should go to the Centre on a 90 degree summer day? That pool is stifling hot on a winter day, forget about in the summer.

    So you know what we will do this year? We’ll go to Seascape in Hoffman Estates or Dolphin Cove in Dundee or to Schaumburg or wherever. Those are REAL aquatic facilities. I’ll gladly pay for any of them rather than go to one of Elgins pathetic offerings.

    Why doesn’t someone take up this issue that is clearly a quality of life issue for many Elgin families who would like to spend a day at a pool? With one of the highest tax rates in all of the Chicago suburbs we can’t even have decent outdoor aquatic options. Absolutely ubelievable.


  27. SIE says:

    What is this? An actual success story in downtown Elgin. I wonder how long it will be until he relocates to St. Charles or Geneva or wherever?


  28. Cruex says:

    Poor SIE. His all-time favorite councilperson left him for Springfield and now there is only one outdoor pool to swim in. What has this city come to! Why don’t you try cooling off at the pond at the east side rec center this summer? They have a fishing dock you can jump off of.

    • SIE says:

      Nice response. Howe old are you exactly? Because you sound like a three year old.

      I’m glad you think its ok for a city of 120,000 to have one decrepit outdoor pool. Good return on your tax dollar, huh? Go hug Prigge.

      • RS says:

        The Wing Park pool is being repaired. It’s not permanently shut down. You will still have two outdoor pools next year.

        • SIE says:

          You mean 2015? A lot of good that does me and my family this year. Like I said I will not go to Lord’s Park pool again.

          Assuming Wing Park even opens in 2015 (a big if with this cities tack record) it will have been closed part of one summer (2013) and all of another (2014). Absolutely pathetic for a city of 120,000. Like I said there are towns with 20,000 residents who have multiple quality aquatic facilities that are actually open during the summer.

          Have you seen Hoffman Estates or Schaumburg or Dundee’s facilities to name three? They put what Elgin has to shame.

          I pay one of the highest tax rates of any suburban city in the Chicago area and I can’t even get a decent aquatic facility. Please don’t say The Centre. Another pathetic excuse for a pool.

          But it really doesn’t matter what I think because its clear people on this board don’t want a decent quality of life in Elgin. They want the robo councilmembers to vote no on EVERYTHING.

          • James Madison says:

            SIE, remember those feeling in 2015. The only thing that will change the attitude of these naysayers is to replace their bullying style with councilmembers who believe in the citizens of Elgin and not merely their own desire for attention. Mr. JP obviously suffers from some form of ADD, he says NO to even the most benign issue just to get the spotlight to shine his way. Turnount is the key in 2015. A large turnout will keep these three cornered. A smaller turnout will bring more of their ilk and further ruination of the entire city fabric.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            James, actually if you look at the voting records, in the vast majority of cases, Councilman Prigge votes along with the majority. To read your post, you would think he votes against everything. Statistically that is simply not true.

            Gee, the people I talk to want a big turn out, because most people are opposed to paying higher and higher taxes. If only NENA turns out, well then your hopes for a rubber-stamp for 100% of all taxing and spending initiatives will come true!

            Oh, and I am reading a biography of Alexander Hamilton right now, and at least from his side of the story, you (James Madison) were a pretty devious man,,,,,, You even cheered and gleefully reported to Thomas Jefferson that Hamilton was booed by a mob and hit in the head with a stone. And that from the father of the US Constitution! I hope after all of these years that you have become more trustworthy………… Chuck


          • James Madison says:

            Chuck, thanks for the historical reference. Next time I talk to my mom I will ask her if she gave me this name, knowing the history of my namesake. The last thing the city needs is a rubber stamp for either side. Lacking leadership in the City and Council, as is true today, means that issues and opportunities are viewed through the narrowest of spectrums. I appreciate your comments.

    • SIE says:

      The more I think about it you and a few others on this board really are out of touch grinches.

      What exactly do you want out of the city you live in? Most people would put outdoor recreation near the top of the list.

      Instead you tell me to jump in a pond. Unbelievable.

      • SIE says:

        Moeller was the only one of the council members who actually cared about a real safety issues that effected hundreds of children every day.

        If the Grinch that you are thinks that makes her my favorite so be it. Prigge and Gavin didn’t even respond to an email form mamy Elgin residents (not just me). They were too busy voting no.

        With people like you living here who disparage anyone who actually wants to make this a decent place to live makes my desire to get the hell out that much more urgent.

  29. RS says:


    So is there a Coke Freestyle in Elgin yet? I don’t drink soft drinks normally but it seems worth checking out.

  30. Tim says:

    Grand Vic has the machines, also so do most noodles and company.

    • RS says:

      Oh, than these machines have been around for a while. I’ve noticed it at Noodles Co before (maybe I even used it) but I thought it was just a new version of the same machine. Didn’t know you could mix up a million difft flavors with it. Do you need a mobile app to do that or can you just do it directly on the machine?

  31. Margaret Miller says:


    GE Unit Provides $50 Million Loan for Illinois Power Plant

    LAS VEGAS & ELGIN, Ill., Apr 08, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Growing its power debt business, GE unit GE -0.48% GE Energy Financial Services is providing a loan to investment firm Rockland Capital, LLC to support its acquisition of the gas-fired Elgin Energy Center in Illinois. The deal was announced today at the 29th Annual Platt’s Global Power Markets Conference in Las Vegas where GE Energy Financial Services serves as an Executive Sponsor. Rockland Capital purchased the power generation facility, which sits on a 27-acre site 40 miles northwest of Chicago, as part of a larger acquisition earlier this year. GE Energy Financial Services is providing a $50 million senior secured term loan that will be used in part to finance the Elgin acquisition and pay related fees and expenses. Further details of the transaction were not disclosed.

    The 484-megawatt Elgin peaking power plant, which sells its capacity into the PJM market, began operating in 2002 with four simple-cycle natural gas-fired turbines. Its operations and maintenance are provided by ProEnergy Services with additional energy management services by Tenaska Power Services.

    Carl Peterson, Managing Director and Debt Origination leader at GE Energy Financial Services, said, “The Elgin investment marks our first opportunity to serve Rockland Capital as a lead lender, and underscores GE’s ability to lead both contracted and merchant power transactions.”

    Shane Litts, Partner at Rockland Capital, added, “We partner with key industry players like GE to free up capital for other projects and focus on asset optimization.”

    GE Energy Financial Services holds equity and debt investments in power projects with a combined capacity of 30 gigawatts, equivalent to the installed generating capacity of Norway. Recent power lead arranging transactions include the Saguaro Power Plant in Nevada and Nelson Energy Center in Illinois. The GE unit offers flexible financial structures ranging from common and preferred equity to debt and acquisition finance.

    The Elgin Energy Center is part of a 1,166 MW portfolio of three Illinois power plants that Rockland Capital acquired from Ameren Corporation in January. The transaction was the first acquisition for Rockland Power Partners II, a $425 million investment fund closed in December 2013.

    About GE Energy Financial Services

    GE Energy Financial Services—GE’s energy investing business—works as a builder, not just a banker, to help meet the world’s power and fuel needs. We offer more than money—expertise—for essential, long-lived and capital-intensive power, oil and gas infrastructure—GE’s core business. Drawing on GE’s energy technical know-how, financial strength and risk management, we see value where others don’t and take on our customers’ toughest challenges with flexible equity and debt transaction structures. Based in Stamford, Connecticut, GE Energy Financial Services holds approximately $16 billion in assets. More information: http://www.geenergyfinancialservices.com . Follow GE Energy Financial Services on Twitter: @GEEnergyFinServ

    About GE

    GE GE -0.48% works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company’s website at http://www.ge.com .

    About Rockland Capital

    Rockland Capital, a private equity firm founded in 2003, is focused on the acquisition, optimization and development of companies and projects in the North American power sector. The firm manages Rockland Power Partners II, Rockland Power Partners and Rockland Capital Energy Investments and has offices in Houston and New York. For further information visit http://www.rocklandcapital.com .

    SOURCE: GE Energy Financial Services

  32. Cruex says:

    I have some ruination news for you James. My thermostat has been set at 67 degrees the past 5 mos and I have paid $44.85 more on my gas bill in those 5 mos. just because of Elgin’s city tax. I have paid $27.49 more on my electric bill for the same reason in the same 5 mos. That’s $72.34 more! I can’t wait for my cooling costs this summer.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Cruex, I have a big spread sheet with all my expenses. Here is how much I spent for all of 2013 for the new Elgin taxes:
      Natural Gas: $33.63
      Electricity: $23.39
      Trash: $160.00
      Leaf rake-out: $24.00

      That adds up to $241.62 I don’t drink, so the liquor tax didn’t hit me, and I never broke out my sales tax bills, but I spend very little, so it wouldn’t be much.

      To some people $241.62 is chump change. But to someone such as myself who is not working/no income, that is significant! And Elgin is FULL of people who don’t have any money to spare, and for whom $241.62 is a lot of money, so this is not just “about me”, but quite possibly the majority of Elgin. However, the majority of the council is not comprised of people who have empathy for the struggling poor of Elgin.

  33. Margaret Miller says:


    21st Century Television’s Camera Crews Went On Location Recently to Elgin, IL to Discuss Innovations in Data Management

    Excellence in Business Programming!

    21st Century Television provides news direct from the source, the innovators and executives that drive progress. Recently our camera crew travelled to Elgin, IL to feature the latest innovations in information management, security and data migration solutions.

    IT and Business Executives are faced with many challenges when it comes to managing and governing larger amounts of electronic data that continue to grow at an extremely fast rate. Our 21st Century Television camera crews sit down to discuss these issues with one company who partners with top information governance, security and migration technology to provide leading edge solutions to their clients, empowering them to derive maximum value from their information assets.

    New episodes of 21st Century Television air weekly. Check your local TV listings for more details, its business news that you can’t afford to miss!

    About 21st Century Television

    21st Century Television is an award winning business and health program that is independently produced by MMP (USA), Inc. The show provides its viewers an in depth opportunity to find solutions to the industry problems from some of the top business leaders from across the world. With more than 5,000 companies participating on over 500 shows, 21st Century Television continues to be the premier and targeted outlet for the latest business and health stories. 21st Century Television airs on cable networks to over 100 million viewers.

    For specific market-by-market air dates and times, please e-mail Moniqueh@mmpusa.com. For more information, please visit http://www.tvbusinessnews.com.

    Distributed by 21st Century Television

    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1858998#ixzz2zGaQk0bm

  34. One Vote says:

    I read where the Elgin Auto Mall out on I-90 is a bust.
    It seems they’ve got a total of …drum roll, please…ONE dealership.
    And the developer is working through a foreclosure lawsuit.
    Didn’t I read a few months ago that a car dealer bought some land on the south side of I-90? Some hubbub about saving an old tree on the property?
    Ouch! Six lots available for immediate occupancy just a half mile away and these guys strike out on their own.
    The city fathers don’t want to talk about it.
    But back in the day they offered some serious tax incentives on the promise they’d get their money back someday. More of the same picking winners and losers and not doing a very good job of it.
    Now they’ve got property that cannot be used for anything else but car lots, not even a charter school.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Thanks for the interesting article OV! Isn’t it amazing, that this location is clearly a bust as an auto dealership, yet the City says it and its associated properties MUST remain an auto dealership, come Hades or high water. The wisdom of our City leaders shining through once again.

      This shows that the City isn’t good at just making bad decisions in the downtown, but can do so with equally bad results on Randall Road! Chuck

  35. DogWalker says:

    Does anyone know why the sidewalks around the Elgin Tower Building property have been closed off by the city the past week? It sure does make getting around the building a bit difficult, was it red-tagged or are the brick-pavers sinking in?

  36. RS says:

    Noticed that the old coin shop building that housed the River Park Place office is now gone. Is that going to stay a vacant lot for a while or are there plans afoot for that? I mean the entire thing with the Crocker site, etc. They should put in another ArtSpace if possible.

    You can now drive down Riverside Drive! Pretty amazing to see that opened up to traffic. I know it must have been a road at some point but I have no memory of that. We see the rear ends of the buildings on Grove, which is really nice. Because of the irregular setback, it provides a sense of variety and a series of sheltered spaces. This has the potential to be a nice street.

    The promenade itself is like the rest of the projects done in Elgin by the Hitchcock Design Group. Nothing special, a waste of money, not attractive to those who appreciate design and architecture, but it will not offend the proletarian public.

    As for the bike trail, it allows cyclists to go right through downtown Elgin without stopping. Who came up this idea? All of that potential foot traffic for downtown and they design a trail to bypass the whole thing. I don’t get it.

    • paul says:

      “They should put in another ArtSpace if possible.”

      Indeed. That is what downtown Elgin needs: more low income housing. We could AGAIN triple the number of tattoo/art shops. What we really need a pawn/art shop( or two) downtown. Maybe a more centralized liquor store - requiring the homeless/low-income to stumble all the way down to Nick’s liquor and all the way back is really a burden! Aside: where do the homeless get the money for their ever present booze and cigarettes?
      Anyone been in the new junk/art shop on Chicago st. where the old deli/newsstand was? The owner does indeed call it art so maybe he too is getting government funding!!!

      • RS says:

        OK, OK you hate artists, so here’s another idea:

        Make a TechSpace. Make another nice building like ArtSpace but it doesn’t need to be as large and doesn’t need to have spacious apartments. Instead go for very inexpensive dorm-like micro-housing. This is a big trend that possibly started in Seattle but is going nationwide. To prevent our TechSpace from becoming a seedy flophouse, limit it to employees of technology startups with headquarters or offices in Elgin.

        OR maybe don’t impose the restriction of the company being in Elgin at all. It’s enough to get tech workers here all together in the same building. Inevitably some of them will get together and start their own businesses and they will start them in Elgin. This is a way to recruit tech workers from throughout Chicagoland. For now, they might work in the city, taking the train in or whatever to their startups or coworking spaces in Chicago, but eventually they will decide to just open offices here in Elgin once they see how wonderful life can be here in E-Town.

        We can call it the BitcoinPalace if you don’t like TechSpace. And yes, of course, everybody will pay their rent in bitcoin.

        • paul says:

          Ok ok so you love government, government subsidies, government regulation, welfare, high taxes and hate individual freedom and individual liberty! We get it.

      • RS says:

        I didn’t know what you were talking about, but I did find the store. Apparently it opened last month. It’s a thrift store, which is good. We ought to have thrift stores, antique shops and stuff like that. It’s nice to see these finally coming to the downtown.

        I also noticed that a photography studio of some sort is under construction on the corner. I’m looking forward to seeing that too. Hopefully they’ll have a cyclorama studio that you could rent out. They should also look into the photography equipment rental business now that Calumet has folded.

  37. Tim says:

    On a different note,the riverside project looks great downtown. I have no idea what it’s purpose is other than a hang out for vagrants but it looks nice.

    Also the property on dundee ave near st Charles rd that was demolished ( electrical factory?) and turned into a large grass area has signs calling it Indian tribal land and no trespassing allowed. Seems strange.

    (I mean this comment for this thread not the moeller topic)

    • RS says:

      I think ArtSpace has done more for the aesthetics of the downtown than any of the parks. It’s the nicest building built downtown since the 60’s (or 70’s?). What a breath of fresh air! Downtown looks so much better now. That’s the kind of project that we need.

      More please!

  38. Chuck Keysor says:

    Tim, early this afternoon, I walked from my house, down Chicago Street, to Riverside Drive, to Butera and then up National Street, to State Street and back home. Along Riverside drive, I met and talked to a street person named Sam, very friendly, but clearly with “issues”. As I was listening to his woes, two pan-handlers came up to me and asked me for money. Sam scolded them, and told them to get lost. As the panhandlers went away, they exchanged taunts with Sam. And as I resumed my walk, I did notice the new amenities installed along Riverside Drive. I also noticed a few cyclists, and two joggers along Riverside Drive.

    Now, I could be negative and recall the “marginalized, dispossessed” people who blotted the high-end image the City wants to create. Or, I could say, what a wonderfully diverse community we live in! Or, I could be glad that there are “troubled” individuals who will chase away the pan-handlers. But far lower on the options list would be to exclaim what a beautiful new Riverside Drive we have.

    I wonder how many people on such a walk would come away with any possible positive thoughts???? My expectation of this project from its first inception, was that it was a big make work project, that in the end would do nothing to alter the environment downtown.

    Oh, the electric factory you referenced was in its final life, was the site of Simpson Electric. Simpson Electric had been purchased many years ago by a Wisconsin Indian tribe. Their business fell behind the times, and what little remained, was moved to Wisconsin, gee, maybe 15 years ago, and the building stood vacant ever since.

    Economically, from my recollection of the press at the time, it was claimed that there was no financially viable use for the building. I suppose a massive government infusion of tax money could have been thrown at the building. But why do that when we can so much more beneficially spend $11million dollars (or there about)to create the new Riverside Drive, that will transform and uplift the entire downtown!


    • RS says:

      I wonder how much it would have cost them to just put in the street? I know they had a collapsing parking deck there, so that would have had to have been dealt with at some price, but I think all that was necessary as far as “amenities” was the street and sidewalks.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Rick, there already was a street there. It wasn’t there in the 60s when I was a little kid. That was the end of the interurban electric rail line (or some type of commuter railroad). And as I recall, there was no direct way to get down to the river level from up on Chicago Street.

        My notion is that the Riverside Drive was put in in the 1970s along with the creation of the two level parking deck.

        As to your other comments that you find the back sides of the buildings and their various set-backs to be interesting, well, I look and see dumpsters, decay and dark alley ways. If it is broad daylight, I will walk down Riverside Drive. But if it is getting at all dark, I walk down Grove Avenue as there aren’t many places for people to hide where you can’t see them. And that is an issue that I think will at least subconsciously degrade the Riverside Drive for many people.


        • RS says:

          Thanks for the background info, Chuck.

          I think once businesses start opening up facing Riverside Drive, you will feel more secure. Right now it’s still the back of the buildings, but that’s likely(?) to change. Some of those buildings are so deep that they can be divided into one half that faces Grove and one half that faces Riverside. Of course this all depends on market demand for retail space.

          I drove by there again today, and noticed that there is a lack of on-street parking, so that would not work in favor of those businesses. But for now at least, there is the large lot where the other half of the Fountain Square condo was supposed to be built. I would not be surprised if they turn that lot into multi-deck parking if the Tower Building does become residential.

          I agree with you on the ‘darkness’ issue in ONE spot. The covered corridor between two buildings–I think you know what I mean. Who thought that was a good idea to cover it?? To provide shelter from the occasional rain shower? I can’t make sense out of it. They turned it into a dark, nasty corridor day or night. If they’d just left it open, the sun would be pouring in. Who owns it anyway? They need to tear it out.

          But as for the rest of the facade or whatever I think you underestimate the power of a western exposure! Those buildings facing the river will get sunlight all afternoon and into the evening. It will be much brighter than Grove, which is in perpetual shadow. Which is why I still think they need to tear down one of the buildings to open it up to light, air, pocket parking, and create a walkable corridor between the river and Grove. While they’re at it, they also need to tear out Dupage Ct and convert it to parking.

          The promenade will be a popular place among homeless people, which is another reason that the homeless problem should be dealt with by putting them into homes!


  39. RS says:


    Bitcoin may or may not be the future of money. Many are skeptical, but in the Cleveland suburb of Cleveland Heights, some businesses are ready to accept Bitcoin payments. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that a group of merchants in the Cedar-Lee neighborhood have joined together to create the first “Bitcoin Boulevard” in the United States. Over a half-dozen businesses along Lee Boulevard will start accepting Bitcoin payments starting in May.

    Elgin should get in on this while the publicity is worth something. City of Elgin should be the first city in the world to accept bitcoin payments! For fines, taxes, etc. They may not know how to do it so I will be happy to provide them the bitcoin address to which the payments should be sent. That will allow them to get set up real quickly! :)

    Getting in the press for bitcoin will be a good PR move and will draw some attention to the ETC and the fact that there is a tech co-working space in Elgin. That’s something everyone in Chicagoland should know, and will make Elgin a more attractive place for people to live and do business.

    There’s no time to waste here. Somebody will beat us to it if we don’t act quickly.

    If they don’t want to use my bitcoin address then they can sign up with coinbase. Very simple:


    They better use my affiliate link too. I need that $5.

  40. Gibster says:

    And the “Hats are in the Ring” for the open City Council seat.


    • RS says:

      Is there any reason they should not choose Mo Iqbal? He seems to be well qualified.

      • paul says:

        “Is there any reason they should not choose Mo Iqbal? ”

        Waiting for the punchline, again!
        I choose Mo Beer! No to ickbals.

        Is his primary qualification being non-white?

        Did you take it hard this week on losing a US Supreme court ruling 6-2?
        >>”[W]e confront a frighteningly bizarre question: Does the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment forbid what its text plainly requires?”

        “It has come to this,” Justice Scalia wrote<<

        Frightening indeed.

        • paul says:

          >>Without naming names, on April 18, Councilman John Prigge wrote on his Facebook page that the last eight days he had been “solicited by four people with the same request: Make the race of the applicant the primary factor when deciding who to fill the resigned seat on the council.”

          “Two of the four said anyone from a specific race would be great. Another suggested anyone BUT someone from that specific race and one, via a bold e-mail, urged selecting not only a specific race but a specific gender, also,” Prigge wrote.

          Prigge said he reminded those who contacted him that he “will not play dirty politics by creating an indentured servant/friend for a position that does not need filling for one year. But if I did, I would not certainly not entertain racist suggestions.”

          Gavin said he had been contacted by one person whom he did not name who wanted him to consider replacing Moeller with an Hispanic woman — which he said didn’t deserve a response. If he would opt for a replacement, Gavin said race would have nothing to do with his choice, but job qualifications would matter most.

          Kaptain said he would like to see another woman fill Moeller’s spot. <<

          Thank the lord we have two council members with integrity decency, honor, respect for the US Constitution and the rule of law: Gavin and Prigge.

  41. Chuck Keysor says:

    Thanks LFG! Your timing is perfect, and you have made the Elginite worth every penny I pay for my subscription! Thanks, Chuck

  42. clueless says:

    That in a nut shell is the main problem with elgintes….perception, just because it dark out doesn’t equal danger

  43. clueless says:

    Elgintes…..need to put some hair on them peaches…..

    • paul says:

      “Elgintes…..need to put some hair on them peaches…..”

      Odd statement coming from someone with no peaches.
      Odd statement responding to someone who was hassled in broad daylight.
      Odd statement implying the City of Elgin is crime free.

      Speaking of crime; how-about that attempted armed robbery on Crystal or Jackson in your neck of the woods a few weeks ago, Chuck? Cabbie had some “peaches” driving off after getting hit in the head with a gun. The “alleged robber” lived in the 300 block of Washington. Hmmm, 2 public housing apartment buildings on 300 block of Washington.

      Please, RS, don’t say I hate black people because I dislike black armed robbers.

      • RS says:


        Wow, an attack in broad daylight.

        The driver was dropping off a passenger near Crystal and Mountain streets about 12:20 p.m. when the suspects approached him, Elgin police said in a release.

        One of the suspects demanded money, then hit the driver in the head with a handgun, police said. The cabdriver was able to drive off and call police before they took any money.

        At least they didn’t use a brick this time.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Paul, I honestly had no clue what clueless meant with “Elgintes…..need to put some hair on them peaches…..” I didn’t even know if I was an “Elgintes”. So I didn’t even reply.

        As to the cabbie being robbed on Crystal Street, it is odd that you would mention that. The way I have been walking to ReStore this winter had been largely along Crystal Street, since in the winter you can’t hope to walk along State Street. I chose to ignore the “perceptions” of the area I was walking along as being unsafe, even though I got reminded of those perceptions on almost every walk. But after the cabbie was robbed, I told myself I was being foolish to ignore the “perceptions” of the neighborhood. And even though there was still some snow on the sidewalks, I chose instead to walk along State Street instead.

        It is foolish for people to take needless risks, and perceptions are something that our internal self-preservation mechanisms rely upon heavily. People’s perception of downtown is what it is, and people are not going to set those aside. So I do agree with you on this. And maybe Clueless will blast me and claim that he walks all over…. but I expect that clueless doesn’t walk around downtown like I do.

        Thanks, Chuck

        • RS says:

          I think there’s a long term trend here at work with the redevelopment of Chicago’s housing projects under the Plan for Transformation in addition to the general gentrification of the city. The result of Chicago’s planning is the net loss of low-income housing in Chicago (14,000 units minimum lost), forcing inner city residents to flee to Elgin.

          Elgin leaders in the meanwhile refuse to address the problem of high-density, low-income rental developments in the downtown area. At the same time they are shutting down vital businesses like La Quebrada and now they are targeting Gasthaus. The effect they are creating is urban blight with shuttered storefronts. Instead of a “City in the Suburbs,” they’ve presided over an Elgin that is becoming the “Inner City in the Suburbs.”

          At least concealed carry is now legal in Illinois.

          • One Vote says:

            Shuttered storefronts are not entirely the fault of liquor violations. La Quebrada had three strikes and blew it. Gasthaus was serving minors. Don’t do the crime…
            That said, the city fathers are molding downtown just the way they want. Streetscaping, tattoo parlor approval, facade subsidies, filling some spots with a senior center, the riverwalk, Artspace, the techie project…
            With all the money and effort they put in I guess you can say downtown is just what Dexter Ct wants it to be.
            I’d say our tax money has been wasted, but that’s just me.

          • RS says:

            Who cares if they serve minors? We have bigger problems to deal with. We should not be wasting resources enforcing ridiculous federal laws that make no sense. So you’re an adult when they want to draft you, put a gun in your hand and send you off to die in their wars. But you’re just a child when it comes to having a beer. We’re one of only seven countries in the world (mostly muslim) with a 21 year drinking age. Everywhere else it’s lower.

            Stop enforcing drinking laws! Is that what you want your $160K police officers doing? I would rather they be patrolling the streets where people are getting mugged by brick-wielding attackers.

          • paul says:

            “Elgin leaders in the meanwhile refuse to address the problem of high-density, low-income rental developments in the downtown area.”

            Are there 2 RS’s posting here? No. Elgin is encouraging high-density low income rental developments. PROOF - millions of dollars of direct Elgin taxpayer subsidized Art Space residential high density low income rental units. What part of this this are you incapable of understanding, RS? To live in Art Space it is REQUIRED to have low income.
            Since Art Space opened, Elgin has tripled the tattoo shops downtown, closed downtown restaurants, and we have a new downtown junk shop on E. Chicago st.

          • RS says:

            It’s different Paul. Artists are a necessary part of the emerging downtown ecosystem. You’re right that ArtSpace has already started making a difference with numerous stores and galleries opening up. It would have been hard to imagine even five years ago that there would be this many galleries in downtown Elgin.

        • clueless says:

          Oops, my bad…I was typing on my phone elgintes is what was meant, didn’t mean to confuse so many.

          • clueless says:

            Elginites….it did it again….point being….This is our town, not the bad guys. If your afraid , they win. There is bad everywhere, don’t let perceived fear affect what you do or how you do it in your town. I am a chuck fan, no disrespect.

    • One Vote says:

      Judge Walters wants back in? Ego therapy perhaps?

      • My thoughts says:

        Word is he just wants to fill the term and walk away - maybe he’s doing it to make sure there aren’t any tie votes that strangle the council.

        If that’s the case, kudos to him. In my mind, that’s pretty altruistic when he could just sit back and not get involved at all. This way, he can help out, and nobody has to worry about giving someone a leg up in the next election.

        • RS says:

          He has to promise publicly to not run in order for it to have some credibility. But this whole process is not a public process. There have been many cases of “placeholder” appointees who change their mind about running–the sitting mayor of San Francisco for example.

          I would take any promises with a grain of salt.

  44. still concerned says:

    After witnessing last night’s Council Committee of the Whole meeting it seems quite clear the majority of the Council including the Mayor may be simply going through the motions of selecting a replacement for Moeller, but probably have had a person in mind from the beginning. If correct, this is not the type of leadership I would support. Integrity please!

  45. Chuck Keysor says:

    I can’t imagine that the council will find 5 votes for one person.

    Above all, I can not see why Tish Powell, John Steffen or Toby Shaw would want to elevate someone to the council level. Whoever gets put on the council will get a big boost in name recognition will be harder to beat in the April 2015 election. So that thinking, I hope, will contribute to no consensus on choosing a replacement for Anna Moeller. Chuck

    • Kevin Sherman says:

      Chuck, if that’s truly the case, I wonder why Powell and Steffen would support filling the vacancy instead of taking the (very reasonable) position of waiting until the end of the term. Maybe I’m just giving them all the benefit of the doubt, but I believe it is a good idea to keep the council fully staffed at all times if possible.

      - KS

    • still concerned says:

      Chuck… A very good point. I heard from reliable sources that Toby questioned at least one person who applied to fill the vacancy and the 1st question was (paraphrasing), “are you planning on running for re-election if appointed”. That tells me at least he is concerned about competition. I can see both sides. May be good to wait for the spring-2015 election, but on the other hand it may be good to have the full compliment of eight council members seated. Still not sure how much politics being applied and and how much we are not being told as to motivation. Human nature what is generally is…people want to survive (in office) and will usually do whatever they can for self-preservation. So none of us win?

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Still Concerned…….. Yes, human nature should not be ignored, which is why I said that Powell, Steffen and Shaw should naturally seek to appoint potential competitors. Even a totally weak candidate, if elevated, will get a huge boost and become a credible threat. So knowing that Powell and Steffen are human, and smart, why would they have voted to pursue replacing Anna? I can’t see any logical motive, as the risk of extra competition is greater than any possible future payback.

        I could guess that Steffen may feel so safe as to not have to worry, BUT I know that great success in one election cycle, like Steffen coming in first last time he ran, is no assurance of a coast to victory this time. We know that Dunne went from #1 in 2009, to almost out the door in 2013. And Walters went from #1 to out the door in the next cycle.

        And Tish must feel far less secure than Steffen. Especially since she was helped into office by key GOP supporters who now feel that they were hoodwinked by Tish into believing that she was a good GOP candidate. Those key supporters will NOT ever vote for her this time around. So she should really be opposed to elevating anybody into the spot light by selecting a replacement for Anna.

        Lastly, when I chatted to the mayor about this a week or so after Anna resigned, he expressed concern over having tied votes, especially for the budget vote. He said we would have chaos if a budget agreement could not be reached. I assured him that that should be the least of his worries, because any key votes will still be 5 to 3 instead of the 6 to 3 that we have gotten used to. That just sounded like a scare tactic, alarmist hyperbole to me.


        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Duh! In the light of day, I looked at what I wrote at 1am, and saw with dismay that I had written: ” Yes, human nature should not be ignored, which is why I said that Powell, Steffen and Shaw should naturally seek to appoint potential competitors.”

          I MEANT to write that the three candidates up for re-election should naturally be expected to NOT appoint anyone to the council that would run against them in April 2015.

          Duh,,, Chuck

    • RS says:

      Chuck if your’e correct that some members have other motivations, then this means anybody can be appointed and Prigge (and anybody else who voted No on the council naming a replacement) needs to participate in the process instead of saying they’ll vote No on any candidate.

      The council can’t afford to not reach a “consensus” as individual members will appear to be obstructionists, so they will get to 5 votes on a candidate but this person is unlikely to be anybody’s first choice. And could very well be somebody who’s not a screaming liberal…

      • still concerned says:

        RS — A true conundrum. You have three council members up for re-election in April 2015. Two have expressed their desire to appoint a replacement…the other (Shaw) did not. However, all three certainly do not want competition that could displace them. So the five who will vote will most likely appointment someone that will conform to their philosophies, but will be weak enough not to be major competition…but likely with the backing of the folks who put he/she in place. Hmmmmm…
        Also, the council should take the time to interview ALL 21 applicants, not winnow it down to a few “select”…to maintain at least the appearance of fairness……

  46. One Vote says:

    Does anyone care to opine about the biz development hired guns and their reports to the council? I mean DNA and the Chamber.
    I was surprised by the endorsement from Gavin.
    I see it as liberal pals getting tax money but failing at the task. It’s easy to give money away but we need to fix the vacancy problem and the heavy-handed code police who are so good at telling business owners NO.
    And these groups were no help at all when it came to undoing the biz tax.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      The job of the Chamber and DNA, as I see it, is to promote the City of Elgin. They should be out cold calling in surrounding areas asking any and all businesses if they are looking for a larger, smaller or additional location for expansion. If they are, book the meeting with the city staff, let the city handle everything else and move on to the next business, asking them the same questions. Fill the pipeline for goodness sake. How about a goal of one lead/meeting per day.

      This is not the “Field of Dreams…If you build it they will come.” Let’s get aggressive and get them to come to Elgin.

      Regarding the Chamber:
      Councilman Prigge’s question…”What I’m hearing is that we’re paying too much and not getting a ROI… What can I hang my hat on to look at everybody associated with the Chamber that says “If it wasn’t for the work the Chamber did, this building, this company would not be in Elgin?”

      The answer offered by Carol (President of the Chamber) said the Chamber’s role could be as simple as answering a telephone call or talking with the city’s professional staff, (Kozal and Mylott) who are always available to them and responsible for them. SO, WHO IS ACTUALLY FAILING HERE? THE CITY STAFF OR THE CHAMBER UNDER THE CITY’S STAFF DIRECTION OR LACK THERE OF?

      She continued, “The Chamber is very often in the background of a project. Sometimes they have a very large role. We had a very big role in relocating Fabric Images from Elk Grove to Elgin ten years ago and they answered the telephone call from Sieman’s many years ago….


      From the DNA:
      “The DNA shall develop programs and services with the purpose of enhancing the economic vitality of the downtown area such as…Providing assistance to businesses located in or seeking to locate downtown.” HMMM, A PRETTY UNSUCCESSFULLY TRACK RECORD FROM MY VIEWPOINT AND SIMILIAR TO THE cHAMBER’S RESULTS.

      “The DNA shall provide statistical information to the city such as downtown property and business inventory database and new business inquiries and recruitment visits.” REALLY, THEY HAVEN’T THEY BEEN DOING THAT ALL ALONG?

      “Interesting downtown Elgin Facts for 2013″
      Number of New Businesses Opened/Relocated: 8
      Approximate number of Full Time Jobs added: 9
      Approximate number of Part Time Jobs added: 8

      As Councilman Prigge pointed out, in addition to the business owner being counted as an employee, there was only one full time employee hired in all of 2013. Eight out of the nine new full time jobs were the business owner themselves.

      Looks like someone is not doing a very good job. Eight new full time jobs in all of 2013. This is an embarrassment. What the heck are we paying these people for and in a true business environment, the DNA would be bankrupt because they are not even generating enough business tax revenue to justify their salaries.

      I did think that the comment made by DNA Director was interesting. “The DNA should be the first point of contact that a new business who wants to come to downtown Elgin area and open their business or an existing business that wants to expand.” WHY, BECAUSE THEY ARE ALREADY THE SUCCESSFUL TIP OF THE SWORD AS THE BEST REPRESENTATION OF THE CITY? NOT!

      The DNA is looking for become independent and self sufficient from city grants, that are not guaranteed, and they want to continue their work. If the majority of businesses and building owners wish to fund the SSA, the DNA will survey them and it will become a part of that businesses property tax. DID I MISS SOMETHING HERE? SO, HOW MANY, ALREADY ESTABLISHED BUSINESSES IN DOWNTOWN, ARE GOING TO BE WILLING TO FUND THE DNA AT AN APPROXIMATE COST OF $1,100 PER YEAR TO PROMOTE A DOWNTOWN AREA THAT THEY ARE ALREADY A PART OF? (No mention is it would be tax deductible)

      These organizations are at best Social Clubs, directionless and being run very poorly with taxpayer dollars.

      Can someone answer the question as to why the City is paying 50% of a businesses grease traps?

      This is one gals opinion.

      • Margaret Miller says:


        Casting aside long commutes, higher home prices and often mind-boggling property taxes, some Illinois residents are branding themselves as Hoosiers, and more Chicago-area builders are thinking of expanding into Lake County, Ind., to capture that business. Their arrival will change a housing market dominated by local companies for generations and prompt municipalities to act to make sure the growth comes on their own terms.

        Three years ago, the region caught the attention of D.R. Horton, the nation’s largest homebuilder by revenue, and it began buying lots in established subdivisions and building homes. Finding success, the Fort Worth, Texas-based company this spring is seeking the zoning necessary for it to move forward with a deal to acquire about 90 acres of former farmland on the east side of Interstate 65 in Crown Point for a 200-home subdivision.

        About 20 to 30 percent of its buyers to date have been from Illinois, said Chris Naatz, D.R. Horton’s vice president of sales and marketing for Chicago.

        Though builders also are flocking to Elgin, Naperville, Oswego and New Lenox in Illinois, they’ve realized that for some consumers, shopping for houses with an Illinois address is no longer on the list of must-haves.

        They looked at Western Springs, Naperville and Lombard in Chicago’s western suburbs and considered Cary and Elgin in the northwest. But they found the prices and property taxes hard to stomach. Then a few co-workers who either live or grew up in northwest Indiana suggested looking across the state line.

  47. RS says:

    I was driving downtown today when I noticed that the Haight building has been taken over by Town & Country Gardens. So I stopped in for the tour. It’s pretty amazing. They’ve definitely moved in permanently. It looks like they’ve transitioned away from being a garden center to a full-service florist. They do a lot of weddings, events, etc. It’s impressive. They’ve got two huge coolers, an artificial greenhouse with grow lights for indoor plants, and extensive amounts of space for making floral arrangements. The old location is closed. No more hot pepper plants, sorry. They have a couple of renderings inside the store showing what they plan on doing with the facade. I like it fine the way it is–more of a gritty industrial look, but I guess it’s not a big deal if they want to spruce it up a bit.

    The BAD news: Next Wave Art Salon no longer has a venue, and will not happen this year. Next Wave was a great event and I hope they find a new space for it. Maybe the Bertrand Goldberg laundry building??? Make it happen, guys.

  48. ositob says:


    The real reason they don’t want a new Elgin councilman

    Not being quite as slow as some of you think I am, I’ve noticed that every single vote regarding Anna Moeller’s aldermanic replacement has fallen along the same 5 to 3 lines. And I’ve also noted that the three dissenting councilmen are always the same; Toby Shaw, John Prigge and, you guessed it, Terry Gavin – a group better known as the “conservative faction.”

    Now, to to be fair, applying the term “faction” isn’t exactly accurate. It may be true that those three ran on the same ticket, but Prigge and Gavin don’t really get along and lumping Shaw, a real conservative, in with that faux conservative duo would do him a great disservice.

    Toby makes independent decisions with a fiscally conservative filter based on what he thinks is best for Elgin. Prigge and Gavin make their decisions based on pandering to a specific constituency they believe will further their political aims.

    So with those facts in consideration, I did some digging, and it didn’t take long to prove my theory correct. Though they’d really like to make you to think it’s the case, the real reason Prigge and Gavin, are so vehemently opposed to filling that vacant seat has nothing to do with any kind of lofty principle or altruistic tendency.

    It has everything to do with the fact they only want to see a conservative face in Moeller’s place.

    And the mere thought of an Hispanic appointee sends them into complete conniptions, not because they’re paragons of racial equality and they want the “best person for the job,” it’s because they firmly believe someone with the surname of Lopez or Martinez will be a guaranteed liberal voice.

    To make matters worse, since Elgin’s at-large tendencies tend to favor incumbents, those two feel an appointment would give that candidate a huge 2015 leg up. Ah! But if they can stave off this devilish leftist scheme, they believe they can slate a conservative who will prevail in the upcoming election.

    Who’s gonna be the one to tell them that their endorsement won’t be nearly as positive as they might think?

    So when Prigge told reporters, “The picture’s been painted. Watch what happens,” what he really meant is, “Our plan to take home field advantage away from the dastardly “liberal forces” is being foiled by that pesky rule of law.”

    And when Gavin said, “It’s hubris for five to think they know what’s best,” what he really meant is, “But it’s not hubris for one alderman to try and subvert the process with angry platitudes because he really knows what’s best. “

    By the way, I would hardly call councilmen Steffen, Dunne, Kaptain, Powell and Rauschenberger liberal, but when you insist upon always carrying a conservative hammer, then everything becomes a leftist nail.

    But back to our main point. Ya know what! The truth really does set you free!

    Interesting read.

    • James Madison says:

      Ositob, you beat me to the posting. I will take mine down (if I can figure out how that is done.)

    • Margaret Miller says:

      This sounds amazingly like something Jeff Ward would say, and now for the corrections!
      Gosh I hate it when false information is put out.
      1) There has been only ONE vote regarding Moeller’s Council (not Aldermanic) replacement. Not “every single vote” as you claim.
      2) The three dissenting Councilman “are always the same.” This poster is incorrect. The other five vote more along the same liberal line but why let even the last few months of votes get in the way?
      3) You cannot be serious about their wanting to keep the seat vacant because they want only a Conservative in place. Why, to have the votes go from 6-3 to 5-4? Even the Courier News reported the vote was 5-3 against filling the seat before any applications were submitted. 

      4) Always keeping my ear to the ground, my Intel is that there will be more than a few Conservatives running in the next election and I welcome that.
      5) That “pesky rule of law”! That rule of law states clearly the post is NOT REQUIRED TO BE FILLED. You make it sound like filling the position is the only option available but let’s not allow the correct facts get in the way.
      6) Are you accusing Prigge and Gavin of trying to subvert the process or are you again placing your thoughts into their mouths? What do you think would have happened if they endorsed the idea of a Special Election to fill the vacant seat? Do you think the majority would have said yes or do you think they would have said that it would cost too much money and forget it, leaving the seat vacant?
      7) If the truth really sets you free I must be in Freedom heaven. Paying attention and blogging on the facts makes a person credible to the reading public.
      The difference between an employed newspaper columnist and an employed newspaper reporter is the employed columnist offers his opinion. An employed reporter offers facts. If you’re neither, you’re just a poster, like me.
      Gavin & Prigge always put themselves out there, as men, to the public. There is never any guessing about which side of an issue they are on. They also know how to do something very well that this poster cannot and that’s ask questions and post the truth. As for Shaw, his Conservative supporters are questioning many things he’s voting on.

      If this poster, hiding behind a fake name, is trying to get some sort of journalistic dignity and credibility back he may want to start by getting the facts correct and posting under his real name.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Does anyone know if this Jeff Ward is the same Jeff Ward of http://thefirstward.net?


      Suspended Kane County deputy clerk resigns; severance package includes $11,000, other perks

      By Gloria Casas For Sun-Times Media May 10, 2014 7:16PM

      Updated: May 10, 2014 8:54PM

      A deputy Kane County Clerk suspended in March for using his work computer for campaign business was allowed to resign and will receive a $11,000 severance package, according to a separation agreement with the county.
      Jeff Ward, a blogger and former freelance newspaper columnist, resigned effective April 1 per the agreement which also states Kane County will not fight any unemployment claims. Ward will also be allowed to purchase COBRA or any health insurance offered through the county.

      Ward’s severance package represents 12 weeks of Ward’s salary, which was listed at $47,999.90 in county records, along with unused time. He worked as an Applications Analyst since December 2012.

      The Kane County State’s Attorney’s office negotiated the separation agreement, Kane County Clerk John “Jack” Cunningham said. Cunningham hired Ward for the position, which has since been eliminated. Cunningham’s office released the agreement after news media outlets filed Freedom of Information Act requests.

      “I have nothing to do with it,” Cunningham said of the negotiated agreement. “They [the State’s Attorney’s Office] gave it to me to sign.”

      He could not comment further on the issue, he said.

      Kane County State’s Attorney Joseph McMahon would not comment on the agreement. However, he said each elected official has internal control of his or her department. The State’s Attorney’s office acts as each official’s lawyer so the office is responsible for drafting any legal agreements.

      “The decision to enter into an agreement, the amount, the duration… is the exclusive authority of the office holder,” McMahon said.

      “We do not make decisions” for those elected officials, he said. Neither he nor anyone in his office signs off on the terms of a settlement, he added.

      The agreement

      According to the separation agreement, Ward agreed to resign from his post effective April 1. His resignation letter addressed to Cunningham begins with “from the bottom of my heart I want to thank you for giving this former columnist a soft place to land when he needed it most. I will never forget that and sincerely appreciate the opportunity you provided.

      “But now it’s time for me to move on to new challenges and as I look back over the last year and a half I’m pleased to say we accomplished quite a bit,” the letter states.

      Cunningham provided Ward a letter of recommendation, per the agreement, stating he was responsible for “implementing and supporting internal and county-wide software systems, designing and programming a voter database, documenting and improving internal and interoffice workflow, upgrading and maintaining the county codebook…” He also handled press releases and assisted Cunningham in a “number of special projects.”

      “Jeff did a great job on these projects and his work is greatly appreciated,” the letter states. “Jeff works independently, and consistently follow through to be sure the job gets done.”

      A special project Ward worked on was creating a voter database, according to the letter.

      He also worked on Cunningham’s re-election bid in the March 2014 primary. Ward used his work computer to send correspondence to the Illinois State Board of Elections, according to the letter.

      Ethics rules

      County employees are not allowed to work on election campaigns during work hours or use work equipment for campaign business under the county’s ethics rules.

      However, the separation agreement does not mention the incident nor Ward’s subsequent suspension. There is a non-admission clause in the agreement releasing the County Clerk from any liability. Ward denies any violation of federal, state or local law in the separation agreement. Additionally, there are non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses preventing Ward and Cunningham from discussing the agreement publicly.

      Unfavorable terms for taxpayers?

      Ward was suspended from his position after the March 12 letter was released. He addressed an email to the Illinois State Board of Elections where he was correcting an error on some election documents. The email was turned over to Kane County Board member Mark Davoust, who was running against Cunningham in the primary in March.

      The ethics ordinance regarding working on political campaigns during work hours or using county office equipment is very clear, said Davoust, who worked on a committee that revamped the ethics ordinances. He encouraged employees to report anything that seems unethical and felt he had to do the same, he said.

      Davoust turned the email over to Kane County’s ethics board. Sixteenth Circuit Judge Grant Wegner is the interim ethics advisor. “I understand Judge Wegner determined there was sufficient evidence to have an investigation and turned it over to the State’s Attorney’s office,” Davoust said. “I’ve not heard of a final decision [on the investigation] by the State’s Attorney’s Office. I do not know where it stands.”

      McMahon could not confirm if there is an investigation.

      Davoust, who runs a family business, finds the separation agreement disappointing.

      “I don’t like to hear someone who is not eligible perhaps is going to be allowed to make use of the benefits because it costs everybody,” he said. “As a citizen and a taxpayer, seeing someone who was released for cause get paid on the way out doesn’t appeal to me. I am not pleased with that direction. When I see payouts for people who have left or been released, it really raises red flags for me.”

      Ward did not respond to an email requesting comment.

      • paul says:

        Not the same Jeff Ward. Suggest Jeff Ward the candidate change his name. No way any decent person would vote for Jeff Ward the candidate after reading Jeff Ward the blogger liberal fascist hate mongering racist diatribes against responsible conservative government.

      • RS says:

        The real scandal there is with Jack Cunningham hiring Ward in the first place.

        “from the bottom of my heart I want to thank you for giving this former columnist a soft place to land when he needed it most. I will never forget that and sincerely appreciate the opportunity you provided.”

        That does not sound like a normal hiring process at all. How many people applied for this job, which Cunningham has now eliminated? And no, it did not sound like a normal job at all: an “applications analyst” who also wrote press releases and worked on “special projects” for Cunningham? Seriously?

        Jack Cunningham has a long history of (ab)using his office to employ his friends and cronies. He hired his buddy, a convicted felon, to be Kane County’s Director of Elections.

  49. James Madison says:

    The real reason they don’t want a new Elgin councilman

    Not being quite as slow as some of you think I am, I’ve noticed that every single vote regarding Anna Moeller’s aldermanic replacement has fallen along the same 5 to 3 lines. And I’ve also noted that the three dissenting councilmen are always the same; Toby Shaw, John Prigge and, you guessed it, Terry Gavin – a group better known as the “conservative faction.”

    Now, to to be fair, applying the term “faction” isn’t exactly accurate. It may be true that those three ran on the same ticket, but Prigge and Gavin don’t really get along and lumping Shaw, a real conservative, in with that faux conservative duo would do him a great disservice.

    Toby makes independent decisions with a fiscally conservative filter based on what he thinks is best for Elgin. Prigge and Gavin make their decisions based on pandering to a specific constituency they believe will further their political aims.

    So with those facts in consideration, I did some digging, and it didn’t take long to prove my theory correct. Though they’d really like to make you to think it’s the case, the real reason Prigge and Gavin, are so vehemently opposed to filling that vacant seat has nothing to do with any kind of lofty principle or altruistic tendency.
    It has everything to do with the fact they only want to see a conservative face in Moeller’s place.

    And the mere thought of an Hispanic appointee sends them into complete conniptions, not because they’re paragons of racial equality and they want the “best person for the job,” it’s because they firmly believe someone with the surname of Lopez or Martinez will be a guaranteed liberal voice.

    To make matters worse, since Elgin’s at-large tendencies tend to favor incumbents, those two feel an appointment would give that candidate a huge 2015 leg up. Ah! But if they can stave off this devilish leftist scheme, they believe they can slate a conservative who will prevail in the upcoming election.

    Who’s gonna be the one to tell them that their endorsement won’t be nearly as positive as they might think?

    So when Prigge told reporters, “The picture’s been painted. Watch what happens,” what he really meant is, “Our plan to take home field advantage away from the dastardly “liberal forces” is being foiled by that pesky rule of law.”

    And when Gavin said, “It’s hubris for five to think they know what’s best,” what he really meant is, “But it’s not hubris for one alderman to try and subvert the process with angry platitudes because he really knows what’s best. “

    By the way, I would hardly call councilmen Steffen, Dunne, Kaptain, Powell and Rauschenberger liberal, but when you insist upon always carrying a conservative hammer, then everything becomes a leftist nail.

    But back to our main point. Ya know what! The truth really does set you free!

    -Jeff Ward


    • Chuck Keysor says:

      I have not read any of Jeff Ward’s blogs before. This one was long in word count, but short in content. In varying combinations, his analysis was shallow, obvious and in key points, incorrect.

      James Madison, I hope you don’t form your opinions based on such analysis. You could have written something better yourself. At least you would know what you were making up, and you don’t know what Jeff Ward is inventing.


      • James Madison says:

        Chuck, this was my first read as well. I think the essence of his message is spot on. I agree with his sentiment. You disagree. I think we both know that the “Three Blind Mice” current residing on the council more often than not vote as a block as a method of CYA. If you are constantly voting against ANY advancement for the city, you are OBVIOUSLY catering to a narrow constituency that are anti-government, in any form (expect those programs that directly benefit them: i.e, SSecurity, Medicare/Cade, Vet’s Benefits, etc.). Those three know that as long as they create a consistent record of voting AGAINST spending, their seat, even if it is a permanent minority is always safe. Better to be re-elected than to work to find better solutions to problems that are cost effective, cost efficient, measurable, and that someone is held accountable (SS) for the results. Instead you have Moe, Larry and Curly.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          James, while of course we don’t agree on these matters, I prefer reading your views (over Mr. Ward’s), because they are your own words, and you are not making a curious twisting of the obvious facts with opinions that you are trying to pass off as facts. Chuck

  50. Tim says:

    I discovered in my travels what may serve as a perfect example of what is absolutely wrong with this cities code department. There a home across from walgreens on villa street with chain link fence that appears to be freshly installed and absolutely dreadful looking. It even goes over the driveway! How on earth did that get approved and how does it continue to be allowed to go on. Things like that make the homes in the city look terrible.

    • RS says:

      I am curious as to how Villa Street in downtown (north of National Street) became such a dump. That’s probably the ugliest block in town and also one of the most visible. It looks like Detroit or something. Are those buildings even occupied?

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        RS, can you post some pictures? I know the area generally, but don’t recall it looking worse than other parts of Villa.

  51. RS says:

    So they demolished the old auto shop building across from the funeral home at Dundee & Park St. Is that a city-owned lot? Is something going in there or did they just decide to clear the canvas?

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      RS: It is my understanding that the recently demolished property on Dundee and Park is owned by Ace Hardware. The reason I was told that the City paid to have it torn down didn’t make any sense to me, so I don’t want to pass that on without checking further. Chuck

  52. One Vote says:

    How about that grand plan to open up new revenue streams and lower property taxes?
    Here’s what MY tax bill looks like. I live in Elgin/Kane County.
    Last year the rate for Elgin City was 1.508259
    This year it is 1.602213.
    Last year the Elgin City Pension rate was 0.426152.
    This year it is 0.564586.
    By my math the city cost me 0.23 MORE than last year.
    And I paid for my own trash pick-up and utility tax.
    Thanks for NOTHING, city fathers.
    As for property values, mine have gone DOWN every year since 2009. My latest bill shows a more than 7% hit. When is the recovery going to come to Elgin?

  53. RS says:

    Interesting article in today’s paper:

    “‘Post-college towns’ brim with youth, jobs”


    Fast-forward more than a decade and you’d hardly recognize the place. A booming tech start-up economy and a thriving arts and restaurant scene have helped this old Civil War tourist magnet do something that places across the USA have been trying to do for decades: attract young, college-educated workers and keep them there as they start families. The mild weather and easy access to nearly 200 miles of beaches don’t exactly hurt.

    “I always knew I wanted to end up here,” says Duggan, 23. “It becoming cooler is a plus.”

    Charleston now teems with college-educated young people, 20- and 30-somethings who have come for the jobs and stayed for the lifestyle. New bars and restaurants seem to open weekly. Average commute times hover around 10 minutes. At the gas station on the way home, you can fill your growler with craft-brewed beer.

    This is a new kind of city, born of deep demographic shifts and the power of technology. Where traditional college towns have long attracted young people who get an education and then leave, another kind of town is emerging: the post-college town.

    This is why it’s important to move forward with the Crocker parcel as micro-housing/”apodments” for tech workers: employees of technology startups and recent college graduates with computer science or related degrees.

    The city should hand the land (gratis) back over to Kurt Kresmery and tell him they want tech micro-housing. Agree to provide circa $1M in TIF funds, and the rest is up to him to finance. Architect should be the same as for ArtSpace across the street. So the whole thing can be publicized/marketed as Elgin Art/Tech Spaces.

    • RS says:

      Or they should tell Gorman to do it. Instead of the Tower building project, into which the city is considering putting $3.5M. Problem with the Tower project is there’s nothing there to stop it from becoming another low-income high rise. I also don’t like how Stickling Foundation is going to walk away with a million dollars while the city is going to put in $3.5M in TIF money. It may be better to board up the Tower and invite Banksy to paint the whole thing.

  54. James Madison says:

    Wow, how totally disgusting. Anna Moeller is the truest antiseptic this region can have for this kind of (alleged)scum.

    Ex-state legislator Farnham faces child porn charges
    MON, 04/28/2014 - 4:37PM

    Former state Rep. Keith Farnham traded child pornography online — and even boasted that he’d molested a 6-year-old girl — according to federal prosecutors.

    The Elgin Democrat, 66, emailed to what he believed was a fellow pedophile videos of children who appeared to be as young as six months old being molested, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.
    But the man he allegedly sent the videos to was in fact an undercover Homeland Security investigator.

    Farnham, who resigned last month citing undisclosed “health issues,” has not been arrested but is due in court to answer the charges on Wednesday.

    He quit shortly after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided his home and state office in Elgin and seized a computer on March 13.
    The federal complaint alleges he used a phony name in online chatrooms to trade child porn while at his office and at his home. In one disturbing webchat with the undercover agent in November, he boasted that he’d sexually abused a six-year-old girl, the complaint alleges.
    Though he has not been charged with molesting the girl, he faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of possessing child pornography.
    If the allegations against Farnham are true, they are at odds with two pieces of legislation he co-sponsored that aimed to tough penalties against those who possess child pornography.

    Last year, he joined as a co-sponsor to House Bill 2647, which provided that possession of each piece of child pornography constituted a separate crime and gave judges new authority to impose consecutive sentences for child pornography crimes.
    The legislation, which passed the House and Senate unanimously, was signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn last August.
    The other bill of which Farnham was a co-sponsor
    increased penalties for the production and possession of child pornography if the victims are under 13.

    The 2012 legislation also passed the House and Senate unanimously and was signed into law by Quinn in August of that year.

    The lead House sponsor of both bills, state Rep. Emily McAsey, D-Lockport, did not return a message left Monday by the Chicago Sun-Times at her district office.

    Farnham also did not return calls seeking comment.

    But in resigning last month, he said, “I have been battling serious health issues for a number of years, and the coming months will require my full attention.

    “The right thing to do for the people of the 43rd District is to make sure they have a dedicated, qualified and full-time advocate in our communities and in the State Capitol to represent their needs and concerns every day without distraction or interruption.”


    • RS says:


      In one online conversation in November, Farnham, using the screen name “kimdavid5582,” described his insatiable appetite for child pornography, according to the complaint.

      “i wish i had access to all the vids and pics ever made,” Farnham allegedly wrote to another user.

      Capitol Fax posted the complaint:

      Page 3 is where you start throwing up, and it quickly gets worse. I just hope he didn’t really molest that child like he claimed.

      What a creep!

      I hope the majority of politicians are not like this, but maybe that’s where the tradition of kissing babies came from. Don’t let them near your children!

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      James, now why would you assert that “Anna Moeller is the truest antiseptic” to Keith Farnham’s stain of immorality? Is this simply partisan rhetoric because you want a Democrat to hold this spot and maintain its devastating stranglehold on Illinois State politics?

      I would contend that any person of morality serving as the new 43rd District Representative would sufficiently distance themselves from the moral lapses of Keith Farnham. Anna Moeller holds no unique advantage in this area.

      I would further contend that the matter of Keith Farnham’s failings is of zero value in the upcoming November election for the 43rd district rep. race, as any candidates will state the same, non-differentiated views of disgust on the Farnham affair. The next election needs to be about how to crack the back of the political monster that is destroying the State of Illinois.

      By any objective measure, the State of Illinois is an absolute wreck, beyond any reasonable defense. Why anyone would vote for Anna Moeller, who will obediently serve as a little cog in the massive Democratic machine, thus insuring its continued smooth operation is beyond me.

      You may point to some of Anna’s recent legislation about pensions, and I would ask you so what? Didn’t you read your own article, that Keith Farnham was pretty tough in his legislative efforts to crack down on Kiddie Porn………… The biggest issue we face in this election, is not Keith Farnahm, but cracking the Democratic machine.

      I hope all voters think this fall, and ask themselves, why is Illinois such a failed state? Why is our tax freedom day April 28th, when the national average, is April 21st? It is because the politically corrupt Democratic machine has our state in a strangle hold.

      Wake up Elginites, voting for Anna Moeller, Mike Noland and Pat Quinn is the surest way to keep our state in shambles!


      • RS says:

        Republicans don’t have a candidate yet do they? The longer they do not have a candidate, the more Moeller looks like an unchallenged incumbent than a candidate.

      • James Madison says:


        This Farnham-affair is beyond politics. You are right. Anyone would be an upgrade. Since 1969, 45 years, the Republicons have been Governor of Illinois for 30 of these years. So can we agree that 67% of the blame for the state’s condition is attributable to the Republicons and 33% to the Dems? That math works for me. Either way you cut the math, you and me, the voters and taxpayers get the final bill. (Same is true from this sad lot in the Elgin City Council.)

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Hello James. I agree, that the GOP has had their share of crooks and swindlers in Illinois government. I am not a GOP die-hard, however, with my perspectives, I fall into that column more often than not because I see the GOP as the lesser of two evils. (Small government, low tax is my objective, I’ll support anyone of any party that shares that desire.)

          I also have to give a higher weighting to the State’s current situation (mess), as opposed to the arc of the last 30 years, because the Democrats have been in control for the most recent half of that timeframe. In that time frame, the Democrats have failed to fix the fiscal mess of our State and the reality is that the deterioration of our state has accelerated in recent years. And, just as they say possession is 9/10ths of the law, the Democrats OWN the State of Illinois so they bear the greatest responsibility for the mess.

          I look at Governor Quinn and the State legislature passing the “temporary” income tax as the highest level of distain for the taxpayers, treating us like idiots and fools. Who but a fool could imagine that they would create a temporary income tax increase? It reeked of lies and deception from its first mention. That huge tax increase could have wiped out our state’s debt, and all it did was to fuel more spending. And now those same scoundrels are talking about a “Fair tax”, trying to fool the foolish again, that they will only be making the rich pay more, when it will hit everybody, and further enable the wild excesses of Illinois government.

          Spending about $10,000,000 for Elgin’s Riverside Drive is typical lunacy, and we like crooks, stuck our hands in the till and grabbed our piece of the pie. (The way the racket works, Noland and Farnham had to bring back jobs/bacon to the district, or risk getting dumped by the Unions.) As the worst symbolic excess, our Springfield robbers are now talking about spending $100,000,000 for an Obama Presidential Library! Let Obama pay for his own library, like Clinton and Bush! We are broke!

          Last year, my total income was something like $5,000 due to capital gains distributions for mutual funds, money I never saw. Guess what, with that little income, I owed the Feds NOTHING, and guess how much I owed the State of Illinois????? I had to pay them $190!!!!!!!! They have scraped the bottom of the barrel by hitting me with so much tax. (And I don’t get any food stamps or any other assistance from the State or Feds, so I am not a blood sucker that gets more than I put in.) Yet these politicians get big pensions, get jobs for their friends and cronies, all while gleefully continuing to lie to us stoop to class warfare in the “Fair tax” propaganda campaign…………..

          And bringing this back locally, we had our council LIE to us in 2011 with their new budget, telling us with revenue diversification that they would keep our net taxes the same, just make it more stable. But as proof of yet another lie, my taxes in 2012 to the City of Elgin increased by about 11%! I am just now looking at a spread sheet I FOIA’d from the City of Elgin. I see that City Manager Stegall’s TOTAL compensation package for 2013 was $256,000!!!!!!!!! That was for one year! Can you imagine that I resent paying my newly increased property tax to Elgin, to pay for Stegall, and all of the highly paid bigwigs on City Staff? Well, I just shifted gears thematically, but it ties in because it makes my blood boil as much as the mess at the State level!


          • RS says:

            Stegall’s pay is not the problem. There’s only one city manager, but there are dozens and dozens of firemen and policemen, with nothing better to do than sending willing teenagers into downtown restaurants and bars to order drinks and drive up the vacancy rate and drive down tax collection. And they have the blessing of the city council.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            RS: I did not say that Sean Stegall is the problem with his high pay. His high pay is emblematic of the crazy system gone out of control.

            If you want to make equations, compare the mess I tried to suggest at the state level with what you mentioned about cops and firemen and a few teenagers, and that is NOTHING.

            Have I out discounted your discounting of my ramble, (dare I say tirade?)? Chuck

          • UTBOOT says:

            Chuck, let me get this right, just because you had only $5,000 of income, you shouldn’t have to pay any taxes. Is that your position? So just because you choose to be unemployed and live on a small income, the the rest of us should pay for your share of services provided by the state. Wonder if you too the real estate tax credit on your return to lower your tax to the 3.8% of taxable income rather than the 5% tax rate. Nice to know the rest of us subsidize your lifestyle.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            UTB, the point of my post was not about my paying taxes. The point was that Illinois taxes are excessive, because we are feeding the pork hungry, salary rich, pension busting needs of the broken political machine that is called the State of Illinois.

            I offered that our tax freedom day is one full week later than the national average. And then as my personal example, (which for sharing on this local forum, I believe personal first hand information is of the highest value) I shared that even when the Feds charge me nothing because I earn effectively nothing, that the State of Illinois can extract its ounce of blood from this taxpayer to help run the machine.

            You, the Feds and the State are not financing my lifestyle. I am financing my lifestyle by having worked for 27 years as an electrical engineer and having saved my money. Chuck

          • UTBOOT says:

            Illinois ranks 13th in the US in per capita taxation,and although I agree there is much to be done to change the structure and methodology of taxes to lower rates and expand the tax base, your diatribe is just another tea-party rant without a solution. What is your solution to the problem? How would you change the system, and if you have the answers, why not let us avail ourselves of your wisdom by seeking election to office. You apparently have the time and the interest, but not the intestinal fortitude to let the public decide if you are qualified to lead.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            And who is UTBOOT? You don’t even have the courage to put your own name on your post, so if you want to be such a coward, don’t lecture me about intestinal fortitude.

            I have identified that our problems are the corrupt politicians who have set themselves above the people. Why and how could you identify that as crackpot Tea Party ideology? Are you familiar with Pat Cadell? He is a super democratic strategist, the last person that could be called a Tea Party hack. Watch this video that I just saw 30 minutes ago. His views of the political mess we are in, its origins and our ultimate change align with mine. Watch this, and you will understand where I am coming from.

            And would you dismiss Pat Cadell as lacking intestinal fortitude because he is not running for office? Your attempt to dismiss and marginalize my views because I am not running for office is ludicrous. There are many ways to be involved and to work to affect change without running for office.


          • RS says:

            You should go with index funds and ETFs. Or put it all into bitcoin!

          • UTBOOT says:

            Chuck: Seems like I hit a nerve, the truth often does that. Interesting that you don’t whine about the identity of those using screen names who agree with you. Maybe in addition to a lack of intestinal fortitude, you also do not have the courage of your convictions sufficient enough to put your self in a position where your actions and opinions can be scrutinized and denigrated like you have done to politicians, administrators, unions and others over the past 20 years. Maybe you find it easier to hide behind organizations like Octave. It pains me to think that your epitaph could well be “He spoke a lot, but accomplished nothing”.

          • RS says:

            You’ve got to be kidding if you think that anybody who opens his mouth to voice an opinion is obligated to run for office. That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard actually.

          • RS says:

            Oops, I hope that did not violate the comment policy.

          • UTBOOT says:

            RS: I do agree it is stupid to think that anyone who has an opinion is obligated to run for office. However, with Chucks long history of questioning the abilities, motives and competency of individuals in government and his behind the scenes attempts to further his agenda, it would be refreshing if he would it himself in a similar position. I’m sure your comment does not violate any rule on this site, since you set the rules, and I am not offended in that I have been called stupid and far worse by individual far more significant.

          • Chuck Keysor says:


            a) Don’t you understand? I don’t question anybody about their false ID unless they start to get mean, or make big claims. (Paul has said I try to discredit other’s opinions because I post with my name, and they don’t. Maybe there is some truth to that, but mostly I am triggered on the no-name issue when people are attacking.)

            It is cowardly to attack without showing your name because someone posting without a name has no fear of retribution, or being held up to public ridicule for their views, or scorn for their rudeness.

            Long ago, I used to post on the Daily Herald blogs, before I started posting on the Elginite, and I had a pseudonym. At times I got mean, and it bothered me that I was being mean, because I am not a mean man. I determined that I was being a coward by posting mean comments without using my name. So when I started posting here, I vowed I would only use my own name. It makes me be civilized, and to think before I post.

            So you are acting tough, but are only a coward because you are afraid to say who you are. That is cowardice without excuse.

            b) What I really enjoy though, is catching people who contradict themselves. First you said that I am all talk and no action. Yet in your most recent post, you said that I am always working behind the scene to further my agenda. OK, so am I sitting, only talking, or working behind the scenes to further my agenda? Clearly it is the former, I am working to further my agenda. Should I be working to further yours?

            c) I hope you bothered to watch the Pat Cadell video. That would be of value to you.


          • UTBOOT says:

            Chuck, I’m very sorry I hurt you delicate feelings,I know you are for more sensitive to receiving criticism than you are to giving it. I did err in referring to your long history of talk as “work”, just trying to give you benefit of the doubt. Too bad you haven’t used whatever talents you might have to better the community, you might have made a difference.Since your only response is to watch a video, I will end our little conversation as you now bore me.

          • RS says:

            I’m sure a lot of people in Elgin think Chuck has done more than his share to better the community. I’ll say it’s an interesting idea that you need to be a politician in order to contribute. And leave it at that.

          • James Madison says:


            despite our obvious political differences, you are a man of sincere beliefs and common sense. Believe it or not, I agree with about 75% of your message. We only differ in tactics, we both want the same results. You sincerely believe that less government is better government. I sincerely believe that less government leads to the BP spill in the Gulf, the meltdown of the financial system, the off-shoring of millions of jobs and trillions of profits. I think government must play an important role in creating a level playing field. The concept of “the market” is for suckers. The deck is always stacked toward monied interests. The only bulwark we have as protection is not the free market, it is government and the ballot. The only thing the Koch Brothers and their ilk fear is the right of assembly and the free exercise of our franchise. Rock on Brother Chuck, rock on.

          • paul says:

            “because you had only $5,000 of income, you shouldn’t have to pay any taxes.”

            Chuck pays plenty of taxes. He owes $3418 in current property taxes (up nearly $400 from last year). Chuck pays sales tax on every single purchase in the State of Illinois including groceries. Chuck pays utility taxes, gasoline taxes, water and sewer taxes, leaf rake out taxes (he has no trees), and no doubt many other taxes. All on $5000 of income

            “Nice to know the rest of us subsidize your lifestyle.”

            Classic socialist response. Absolutely classic. Any income a taxpayer is allowed to keep in UTBOOT’s fascist state is a direct subsidy. ALL income belongs to the state.

  55. RS says:

    Elgin has a co-working space (ETC) which is great. I hope to see a hackerspace come next.


    Hackerspaces can be viewed as open community labs incorporating elements of machine shops, workshops and/or studios where hackers can come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make things…

    The building or facility the hackerspace occupies is important, because it provides physical infrastructure that members need to complete their projects. In addition to space, most hackerspaces provide electrical power, computer servers and networking with Internet connectivity. Well-equipped hackerspaces may provide machine tools, audio equipment, video projectors, game consoles, electronic instrumentation (such as oscilloscopes and signal generators), electronic components and raw materials for hacking, and various other tools for electronics fabrication and building things.[5] Some hackerspaces provide food storage and food preparation equipment, and may teach courses in basic or advanced cooking. Tools and material for sewing, craft, and art are also important at many hackerspaces.

    Such a space can facilitate invention of new products and services and lead to the birth of new businesses. We should try to get a hackerspace in downtown Elgin.

    It’s not just a nice-to-have amenity but actually essential if Elgin is to have a future. They are popping up in many places and Elgin will be left behind if don’t start our own.


    At makerspaces, also called hackerspaces, do-it-yourselfers can access advanced equipment. Libraries may have rows of computers, but Sector67 also has a batch of 3-D printers, eight welders, and a squadron of machine tools, injection molders, oscilloscopes — even an industrial sewing machine. Those tools, combined with boxes and crates filled with parts, and assorted jacks and hoists, mean that Sector67 pretty well has it covered — whatever “it” might turn out to be.


    Alternately described as a tremendous asset for West Michigan or the “great Satan,” the arrival of TechShop Inc. in Grand Rapids no doubt would bolster the ability of entrepreneurs to build prototypes cheaply through “makerspaces” — community-operated workshops that offer members the use of sophisticated machine tools.

    Initially slow to embrace the idea, the Grand Rapids area in the past few months has seen a spike in activity in the somewhat quirky world of homegrown makerspaces, where members can experience everything from how 3-D printers operate to an awesome display of 30-foot-long bolts of electricity crackling from a Tesla coil.


    “Hackerspaces” are popping up all over the Northwest. But these aren’t dens of computer infiltrators.

    What we’re talking about are community workshops for tinkering, machine tooling, 3-D printing and any other hands-on creativity you can think of. Some market themselves under the more benign-sounding label of “maker space.” These workshops are now drawing attention as private incubators for entrepreneurship.

    Here’s an example of what can sprout: A medical device company in Seattle called Shift Labs can trace its roots to a serendipitous meeting in a place called Hackerbot Labs and the discarded parts bin there. Three years later, the start-up company is close to marketing a cheaper alternative to an IV infusion pump, they’ve dubbed the Drip Clip.

    “The very first one was literally thrown together in an evening,” says Shift Labs co-founder Phil Rutschman.

    Marketing director Chris Coward adds the hackerspace was crucial to the company’s genesis. “There is this thing I would call the ‘lone thinker myth,’ that people have these ‘Eureka’ moments on their own, kind of like the Rodin statue. That’s largely a myth. What the research says is that most good ideas, creativity and invention comes out of the collision of ideas when people are able to interact - mostly in physical environments.”

    Elgin Chamber & DNA can prove their worth by getting this established ASAP. It should be in proximity to ETC.

    • One Vote says:

      Wow! What a fantastic concept. It sort of sound like…well…ECC.
      Let’s not set up another bureaucracy here. Maybe we need to change access rules to community colleges, but we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

      • RS says:

        ECC really is a jewel and probably the best community college in the nation (who else has a color darkroom???), but access is severely restricted. And I don’t think there’s much you can do about that because they have to prioritize for students. They have a mission and a scope.

        I’m not saying the hackerspace should be run by a bureaucracy. It shouldn’t. All the hackerspaces/makerspaces that I’ve read about are private (typically non-profit) initiatives, but it would not hurt to have some public support and funding to start it up if necessary.

        The more important thing they can do, besides startup funding, is to get the people together who can do this, help them find companies that might donate a CNC mill for example, 3D printer or various equipment, help find a suitable space, etc. Drum up public interest and interest within the business community, and so on.

        They need to get the ball rolling!

        People are looking for concrete examples of what they’ve done to deserve funding, so they really should be jumping on this.

        We need a hackerspace in Elgin, or this city is good as dead. Dead, I tell you!

        • One Vote says:

          How about the ECC Fountain Square Campus?
          Oh wait…no, that’s taken.
          The old Sunbeam factory on Roosevelt Rd was converted to small manufacturing condos. I’m pretty sure the concept didn’t save the neighborhood.
          Some guy who made a boatload of money in mining created an entrepreneur institute at the University of Utah.
          As mentioned before, ideas like you suggest need some organization and structure. And that means politicians and bureaucracy.
          I was just reading about a guy who took over the laundry business at his college in Virginia in the early 60s. The system couldn’t take the competition and they shut him down.
          He made the best of it and eventually let it go…and went on to success.
          Sure, I’d like to see success in Elgin, but we’re already loaded with non-profits. We need businesses that produce wealth, not beg for grants.

          • RS says:

            Does ETC receive funding? I can’t say for sure but I think that was all pretty much a private initiative. And I guess they would be the most logical organization to create a hackerspace as an extension of what they are already doing.

            I hope they change their name though because ETC sucks. It’s been around for years and I only figured out now that it’s a co-working space. Why didn’t they say that from the beginning??

  56. Cruex says:

    I don’t think this Jeff Ward character has any friends on the city council now. Shaw, Prigge and Gavin can’t think much of him and the others are now forced to not select a Hispanic. If they do it will be because someone else told them to do it. I hope Mr. Ward sticks around for the mayoral election.

  57. ORO says:

    Didn’t anyone else read the Farnham criminal complaint? I wish I hadn’t but now we know that his acts were not only deeply depraved, but furthermore he was connected to an online ring of monsters. I want to know if the investigation that uncovered him will lead to more arrests? And what more can be done, must be done, to protect children around the world?

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      ORO, around the time Farnham resigned, there was news in the press that there was a big national sting on kiddie porn people. At that time, a politician (speaker of the house in a New England state) was also busted for kiddie porn. Chuck

  58. Margaret Miller says:

    Good Evening:

    It’s my opinion that you don’t need to be an elected official to be a decent public servant.

    Chuck has worked very hard and brought many issues to the forefront of the average citizen.

    I wish more people were engaged in the issues and processes as he is and I hope he continues to be as determined and outspoken for a very long time.

    Thanks Chuck

  59. Cruex says:

    I have never heard of Jeff Ward before he committed this act and I guess I will never remember him after tomorrow.

  60. ETC = Elgin Technology Center

    Hello all,

    first time here. Someone said there was a discussion about the Elgin Technology Center here so I thought I’d pop on. We use the term ETC for short but the actual name is, Elgin Technology Center.

    We really want to eventually be the center of technology for the area. We are the premier coworking space in the suburbs. We’ve been around the longest, since 2010. Where else can you get a mailing address, 24/7 access, meeting space, collaboration, free educational opportunities, and free coffee and water, for $100?

    This is a private venture. We’re not-for-profit. We’ve never had any grants from the City of Elgin, County, State, or US government. We did win an educational grant from Motorola in 2011 which allowed us to build out a training room.

    We’re here to help entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and evolve. You get to connect with like minded people. Create a business, products, and/or services. Collaborate with others to take your business to the next level.

    The Elgin Technology Center is growing into an entrepreneurial center. Technology is used in almost every business in one form or another.

    Someone talked about a hacker space or maker space. We’ve thought about this too. Personally, I’d love to build a maker space. The problem is, the community needs to be able to support the business. Space costs money, parts cost money, utilities cost money, and more. Are people willing to become members of and/or support a maker space?

    Hackerspace, we pretty much have that now. We’ve been holding hackathons for hack nights for a couple years. Hacking does have a negative connotation, but when you’re hacking away at something and need help - come to a hack night and someone will help you.

    I think I’ve rambled on. Please feel free to ask questions.