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July open thread

2 July 2014 Elgin Illinois 119 Comments

Open thread for July!

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119 Responses to “July open thread”

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  1. RS says:

    Sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun this July 4th weekend, starting July 3!

    According to Onesti, on Thursday, July 3, chart-topping classic rock hitmakers Three Dog Night will perform at Festival Park in an event solely promoted by Grand Victoria Casino and Onesti Entertainment. Hits like “Mama Told Me Not To Come” and “Joy To The World” will be offered under the stars along with a variety of food and drink specials and other attractions. Ticketing information for this event is forthcoming.

    On Friday, July 4, the planned celebration represents a partnership among GVC, Onesti, and the City of Elgin. Festivities will begin in the late afternoon with food, drinks, fun, and The Chicago 6 featuring Dan Hampton, Steve McMichael, and Otis Wilson. These members of the ’85 Chicago Bears, along with some friends, will perform a variety of classic hits from artists such as Smokey Robinson, Eddie Money, and ZZ Top.

    As darkness descends, American singer, songwriter and musician Dennis DeYoung and his band will perform the hits of DeYoung’s chart-topping former band Styx, as well as his own material.

    Finally, the night will reach its crescendo with the return of Creedence Clearwater Revisited to Festival Park and a spectacular fireworks display.

    “Creedence Clearwater Revisited was a highlight of the City of Elgin’s last Fox Fire Fest in
    2009 and the band is fondly remembered by many,” said Suzanne Phillips, Director of
    Marketing for Grand Victoria Casino. “In bringing the band back, we wanted to
    acknowledge the history of great arts and entertainment events in Festival Park and our
    intention to continue that tradition.”

    Ticketing information for 4th of July will be released in April. General admission seating
    will be available at a ticket price of $5.

    Looks like they even booked Styx for Commonsense Clarence!

    Three Dog Night’s big hit, “One” from 1969:

    • Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

      I was born in 1953 so my first concert I went to was Three Dog Night at the Amphitheater in Chicago. Since then I have been to many concerts and I would have to say that Paul McCartney at Wrigley Field was the best ever.

      I liked the music of Credence Clearwater Revival but I can’t understand why CC Revisited would be the band before the fireworks. I would have had Dennis Deyoung. He is one top performing performer.

      Just a reminder that if you went to Larkin High’s 1973 prom Dennis and the rest of Styx were there singing their two hits, Lady and Lorelei.

      I was there with my girl friend Brenda Barton and we are still together having gotten married in 1974. I thank the Lord for blessing us with two wonderful children and now two very special grandchildren.

      It is wonderful being Grandparents.

  2. James Madison says:

    Request an immediate audit when the City Manager and CFO bail within one month of each other…

    Elgin City Manager Sean Stegall is among four finalists for the job of city manager in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Stegall, 41, said he and his family will fly out Sunday for his in-person interview in Des Moines, a city he’s visited several times in the past. He was tapped for the job by a recruiting firm, he said.
    “Recruiters are constantly calling, pitching jobs,” he said. “Des Moines happened to be one that was kind of special.”

    Elgin Mayor David Kaptain said it’s OK for city employees to seek other opportunities.

    “That’s what city managers do,” Kaptain said. “I think people always go out and explore their options, and that’s what he’s doing.”
    Still, the timing for Elgin wouldn’t be ideal because Elgin CFO Colleen Lavery resigned last month, Kaptain said.

    Lavery left because of the city’s residency requirements, for which she had received a one-time, five-year exemption when she was hired in 2010.

    Elgin lost its city manager and CFO in a short period before Stegall became city manager in 2009, Kaptain said. Stegall was hired as assistant city manager in 2000.

    “We have to be careful there, if that is the case, but I think we’ve shown in the past that we have enough people in the pipeline to help us continue (running the city),” Kaptain said.

    The other three candidates in Des Moines are Jane Shang, deputy city manager of El Paso, Texas; Steve Arbo, city manager of Lee’s Summit, Mo.; and Stanley Earley, deputy city manager of Dayton, Ohio, according to The Des Moines Register. The finalists were announced Thursday, the paper said.

    Des Moines has about 208,000 residents, while Elgin’s population is about 110,000, according to U.S. Census Data.

    Earlier this year, Stegall said, he was a finalist for the city manager position in Bellevue, Washington, but withdrew his candidacy before the selection process was over. He currently is paid about $187,000.


    • RS says:

      So has the city hired a search firm to look for a replacement? It’s pretty clear that Stegall doesn’t intend on staying in Elgin.

  3. One Vote says:

    I guess I missed it when she left. Lavery dumped Elgin because she didn’t want to live here. That says something.
    As for Sean, I hope he gets the job, but does he have to pay back the fix-up grant he got if he moves?

    • still concerned says:

      According to “Statics and Data.Org: Municipal and county managers’ average tenure in their current jobs increased from 5.4 years in 1989 to 7.5 years in 2006). Average longevity in the profession increased from 10.1 years in 1989 to 19.3 years in 2006.
      So Mr. Stegall has certainly exceeded the average tenure having been here since 2000 1st as Assistant City Manager. However, I agree that with Lavery leaving and now potentially Stegall that would leave Kozal in charge at least for an interim period. Be afraid, be VERY afraid!

  4. James Madison says:

    “Recruiters are constantly calling, pitching jobs,” he said. “Des Moines happened to be one that was kind of special.”

    Earlier this year, Stegall said, he was a finalist for the city manager position in Bellevue, Washington, but withdrew his candidacy before the selection process was over. He currently is paid about $187,000.

    City Manager is actively looking for a new position. How important is Elgin and the myriad issues facing the future in this community?

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      James and all other concerned readers, I got a FOIA earlier this year showing the pay for all City employees. For 2013, it shows that Sean Stegall’s “Gross Amt” was $256,181 which is of course a LOT more than the cited $187 figure! The pension contribution is listed as $35,000.


      • Margaret Miller says:

        Elgin City Manager Sean Stegall headed off to Des Moines, Iowa Sunday for a job interview set for Tuesday evening.

        Stegall is one of four finalists for the city manager post in that city, the state’s capital and the largest town in Iowa with about 207,000 residents.

        “What attracted me to the job was the Des Moines is a progressive city,” Stegall said. “It’s quite impressive what the city has done in terms of economic development in recent years, with between $2 and $3 billion made in public and private investments.”

        Late last year, Rick Clark announced his resignation from the Des Moines city manager post after his wife took a job with a broadcast company in Cleveland, the Des Moines Register reported. Clark started with Des Moines in 1973 as a city planner and worked his way up to the top job, which he took in 2006.

        Stegall said he did not actively pursue the Iowa job, but that a recruiter contacted him about it, then sent off the required information in late May. He heard late last week he made the final four.

        Stegall’s competition includes Stephen Arbo, city manager of the Kansas City suburb of Lee’s Summit, Mo.; Stanley Earley, deputy city manager in Dayton, Ohio; and Jane Shang, deputy city manager in El Paso, Texas.

        At 41, Stegall is the youngest of the finalists. According to the Register, his $187,500 annual salary is the highest of the four. The Des Moines job pays about $200,000 a year.

        The Register reported that the four were culled from a pool of 30 which was narrowed to 10 by a recruiting firm, with the Des Moines city council picking the finalists.

        Stegall said the quartet is set to tour Des Moines Tuesday during the day, meet the public Tuesday evening, then finish out the day by having dinner with Des Moines city council members. Individual interviews before the city council are set for Wednesday, and Stegall said he hopes to have word one way or another by the end of the week on who gets the job.

        As such, Wednesday’s Elgin city council meeting will be overseen by Assistant City Manager Rick Kozal.

        According to the Greater Des Moines Metro Partnership website, the Des Moines metro area holds close to 689,000 residents. The area is 87.9 percent white, 7.3 percent Hispanic and 4.3 percent black.

        The city draws national media attention once every four years as the Iowa caucus is among the earliest parts of the process the Democrats and Republicans use for choosing their respective nominees for President of the United States. It’s also home to Drake University.

        “The area is an insurance hub with 81 insurance company headquarters and 16 percent of the region’s workforce involved in this industry. Greater Des Moines has the highest concentration of employment in insurance and financial services in the United States,” the website states.

  5. Margaret Miller says:

    Some interesting comments in Speak Out.
    Perhaps someone can grab a Speak Out Issue and bring it back to the forum.


    Housing, Code Enforcement, Chickens, Fire Department, Animal Control, 311 System, Promote Elgin

    • RS says:

      I was surprised at the negative and xenophobic/racist comments with respect to backyard hens:

      Foul proposal: I see the Elgin city council is going to let the immigrants of the city have chickens in their backyards. Elgin went through this years ago. It drew rats. How would you like to live next door to something like that?

      Concern about animal control: I cannot believe that the Elgin city council is going to let people raise chickens in their backyards. You know what they say about Elgin? They laugh at us for all the stupid things we do. We’ll do one good thing and then take ten steps backwards. People around here can’t even take care of their cats. We have a cat in the neighborhood. Everyone feeds it. We called animal control, but nothing was done about it. They say Elgin is going to the dogs. That is really the truth.

      Stewing about chickens: Have our city council members gone out of their minds by even considering allowing chickens in backyards? All these towns that they mentioned that allow chickens — Batavia, West Dundee, Bartlett, Naperville and Warrenville — do not have the ethnic groups that we have in Elgin. They can’t even keep track of how many people live in a house in Elgin. How are they going to keep track of what’s going on with chickens in the backyards? This is ridiculous.

      Not in my backyard: Here’s a question for Elgin city council members who are considering allowing chickens in backyards. What if you live in a house where chickens are in the backyards all around you, one on each side of you and one behind you? How is that going to work out as far as rats, noise and smell? What’s wrong with this city council?

      All these all from the same person? I can’t believe that there would be so many people in town off their rockers.

      Recent immigrants would be the last people to sign up for backyard hens. This is a trend among aging hippies, hipsters, foodies and environmentalists.

      • Clarence Hayward says:

        We have a cat in the neighborhood. Everyone feeds it. We called animal control, but nothing was done about it. They say Elgin is going to the dogs. That is really the truth.

        Maybe the person above should have said Elgin is going to the cats based on his or her statement above? lol

        • Margaret Miller says:


          The Speakout is annonomous. You may presume to know all the comments are from the same person but there’s no evidence of it.

          How would you know that a certain segment of the population would be the last to sign up? I wouldn’t mind a few chickens but I don’t have a back yard.

          I may be aging but I’m not a hippie, hipster, foodie or an environmentalist and unless a foodie is someone who wants to be self sustaining, I would chalk up my desire for them as prepping for the future.

          Hmmm, on second thought, I do say groovy once and a while, maybe I am an aging hippie! YICKS, where’s may face cream?

          • RS says:

            Well if we’re talking about low-income recent immigrants, their primary concern is getting protein cheaply. There is nothing that can produce eggs cheaper than the (inhumane) American factory farm system which shuttles zillions of eggs to the nation’s Walmarts and supermarkets on a daily basis. Backyard hens will not produce cheaper eggs. As such they are a luxury for those who are willing to pay the extra expense and put in the effort. People do it for humane reasons, for environmental reasons, for the freshness of the eggs, or as a hobby, but they don’t do it to save money.

            I do encourage everybody to pay a little more and buy cage-free eggs, and leave the inhumane eggs for those who have no choice but to pay the least for their protein.

          • Margaret Miller says:


            As I appreciate your thoughts and video on factory farming, people have been wringing the necks of chickens for centuries. As I also appreciate and agree that free range is healthier for the chicken and produces a cleaner meat, how do you know that the person raising free range doesn’t wring the necks of their chickens before slaughter?

            I would add and suggest that as good a free range is, no antibiotics or growth hormones should be added to their feed let alone injected.

            With that said, you need to look at the feed, which today in factory farms is mostly GMO corn with a higher percent carrying arsenic.

            Also, WE weren’t talking about low income immigrants, you were based on your interpretation of the Speakout comments. I’m surprised by your response comment. You are making some assumptions as to why.

            How does any of what you brought up answer the question of the Speakout anninimity or your premise that all the comments about chickens came from one person? Perhaps I misread your post but don’t think so.

            By the way, you can purchase free range, no antibiotics, no hormone eggs at WalMart. I’m pretty sure Jewel and Dominick carry them as well.

  6. Kate Greene says:

    Does anyone have the Elgin numbers? Are they anything like this?


    More than 100,000 attend Frontier Days

  7. Margaret Miller says:

    I just read a Letter to the Editor who pointed out an article from May 21, 2014 regarding U-46 considers digital devices for all students. http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20140521/news/140529536/

    Having just received my second half tax bill this past week, once again, topping the list of money suckers, was U46 topping out at 66% of my bill.

    As I understand the digital age, as the letter writer points out, why would taxpayer’s have to cover this possible expense and not the parents of a U46 student? Who was the Einstein who thought this was a good idea for U46? If they cannot learn from the textbook how is a digital devise going to improve the awful stats of U46?

    Thoughts anyone?


    • RS says:

      I suppose if they plan on eliminating textbooks entirely, tablets can be cheaper than printed books. But they should make sure the tablets run customized software that prevents games being loaded, etc.

      I still remember carrying textbooks as a youngster and it was kind of like torture, so if they disappear from the planet I would not be one to mourn them.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        As the letter says, who pays for the replacement insurance and repairs?

  8. RS says:


    CMC Graphx , with Black Art Wrk, presents the inaugural It Wuz Written Elgin Graffiti Battle near Alfaro & Sons Auto Center, 760 Villa St., Elgin, on Saturday, July 19, 2014.

    “It Wuz Written” is a hip-hop event that showcases the four elements of hip-hop: graffiti, b-boying, deejaying and emceeing.

    Founded by graffiti artist Michael Cole and David Picaso, with support from Rico RekSick Sepeda and Freddrick D. Wimms, the team’s mission is to help the local youth with positive social activities.

    With goals to promote the use aerosol art as a positive alternative for youth from troubled backgrounds, build a strong community among hip-hop enthusiasts, and help people understand the hip-hop culture as a way of life, the battle showcases the community’s local talent and supports artist interaction from surrounding areas.

    “We want our young generation to recognize that they can use their creativity for positive outlets rather than negative outcomes, such as drugs, gangs and violence,” said graffiti artist and event founder Michael Cole. “Our objective is to save the minds of our future and our older generation by using the four elements of hip-hop (B-boying, Graffiti, DeeJaying and Emceeing).”

    Vendors at the event will include The High & Mighty, Black Royalty Apparel, and Delicia Tropical Cafe. The event is also sponsored by Style, Art & Play, Alfaro & Sons, Dairy Queen and Gasthaus Bar & Grill.

    Sounds great! I’m looking forward to this event. Something different for a change.

  9. RS says:


    We need more Elgin merchants accepting bitcoin. It is the future.

    If anybody is interested, Chicago is hosting a big international bitcoin conference on July 19. It includes a number of major figures in the bitcoin world.


    Use my Coinbase link if you haven’t opened an account yet. I buy bitcoin on a daily basis, and you should too.

  10. 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. I replied but discovered it was the April thread. It looks like proper protocol is to post in the current month. If I’m mistaken, please let me know.

    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.

    • RS says:

      Hi! Thanks for checking in and joining the discussion. With respect to the name, my thought is that it would be more obvious what Elgin Technology Center is if it used the term co-working in its name. etc coworking, for example, would make it very obvious. I’m fairly knowledgeable about what goes in in Elgin and it took me years to figure out that this is actually a coworking operation. “Technology Center” just kind of sounds vague and seems quasi-governmental. It’s a little hard to pinpoint what it is just going by the name. Of course that could be just me.

      As for the hackerspace/makerspace, I’m glad you guys have considered it. I think it would be easiest for you to answer the question of whether there’s support if you go ahead and formalize it. If it doesn’t exist nobody can support it. And if someone who is really energetic decides that they want to do this they might look around, see nothing and decide to put all their efforts into building one in St. Charles or Schaumburg or whatever. But if they see that there’s at least something starting in Elgin, they would be more likely to join efforts with you here. And potential sponsors, donors of equipment or funds, etc. will have somebody to contact. It could just start with a monthly thing, with people bringing in their arduino boards or whatever and grow from there. Just a thought.

      But yes, I for one am really glad that this kind of thing exists in Elgin! Thank you for your efforts!

      • ETC brings in income from its members in order to pay rent and utilities. Board members, including the Executive Director, are volunteers.
        As executive director, there is so much I do that there’s is simply no time to add anything else as a volunteer. I’d love to put in a makerspace, but in order for us to grow in that direction we would need funding. That funding would need to come from sponsors or grants.

        Since our move to 73 S. Riverside Dr, 3rd floor, we have grown so much and so fast. We have attracted 14 companies to Elgin. Economic Development, right? We’ve done all of this with no help from the City, Chamber, or DNA.
        We want to attract more companies and freelancers. We want to help businesses start, grow, and evolve. It’s an exciting time since ETC is growing and evolving too.
        There’s an entrepreneurial energy in Elgin. I can feel it in downtown (simply because that’s where I am most). We’re on the verge of great things in this town.

  11. Margaret Miller says:

    What do they make? Salaries for elected officials


    Take a peak!

  12. Margaret Miller says:

    Weber breaks ground on Huntley distribution center


    HUNTLEY — Under azure skies and with the sound of earth-moving machines roaring in the distance, nearly 100 people gathered on Friday to witness the turning of the first shovels of dirt at the site where Weber-Stephen’s planned 757,000 square foot distribution center will be located.

    Weber-Stephen’s partner in the project, Duke Realty, purchased the 113-acre site and annexed it into the village earlier this year.

    The guest list for the invitation-only event read like a who’s-who of Illinois government that included Governor Pat Quinn, Representative Mike Tryon, Congressman Randy Hultgren, Senator Pamela Althoff, and Kristi Lafleur, executive director of the Illinois State Tollway Authority.

    Ryan O’Leary, Vice President of leasing and development for Duke, opened the ceremony by thanking the groups and governing bodies that helped make the project a reality in a short period of time. O’Leary also provided some perspective on how large this global distribution center will be.

    “This distribution center will be as large as 13½ football fields, and we can expand it by 400,000 square feet more. We will be able to house 4.5 million weber kettle grills, two million kettles will be shipped from this center every year to 72 countries around the world. We will move 450 tons of earth, use 2,282 tons of steel in the building and hire 130 personnel to construct the facility,” O’Leary said.

    Among the agencies involved in providing incentives to Weber-Stephen were the Quinn Administration that provided Weber with an incentive package worth $4 million over ten years as a credit against the company’s income tax liability and Community Unit School District 300 who offered a fifty percent tax abatement for five years.

    “The District helped partner with the village of Huntley to provide tax incentives to complete this project,” said Susan Harkin, School District 300 CFO. We agreed to a five-year tax abatement where the school district will receive 50 percent of the expected tax revenues for the district. Of course we are interested in working together to keep a company like Weber here in the village.”

    Village President Charles Sass presented Weber-Stephens with a certificate of recognition for the project that went from preliminary plan to final approval in just over 6 months.

    “We met with Weber’s development team for the first time in January of this year and were told they wanted to move dirt by May. It seemed like a monumental task because the property was not even annexed to the village yet,” Sass said.

    Weber’s new $26 million center will enable the company to consolidate the distribution locations that are in Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Nevada. Sass credited the $59 million tollway interchange project that was completed at Huntley’s I-90 last year for enabling the village to be selected over the other states being considered for this center.

    “Weber has a 20 year history in Huntley and we are excited to grow with them. This is what we expected to see when we worked for the I-90 Interchange project,” Sass said.

    Illinois Governor Pat Quinn spoke at the event as well commending Weber-Stephen for reaching out globally with their products.

    “Here we have a company that understands how important is to put together a product for the world,” Quinn said.

    James Stephen, Executive Chairman of Weber-Stephen, gave a little history on the company and on his father, George Stephen, who invented the now famous kettle grill in the 1950s and formed the barbecue division of Weber Brothers factory in Chicago. By the late ’50s, George bought out the company and later changed the name to Weber-Stephen. His son, James Stephen, worked in the family business and in 1976 began his career in sales and then manufacturing. He led the team that invented Weber’s Genesis gas grill in the 1980s. In 1992, Stephen became CEO of the company and in 2013, he became Executive Chairman.

    “Every type of Weber grill is manufactured in Illinois, except for one. This facility represents global growth. We are pleased to be in Huntley because this is our home. Our goal is to make Weber a household name in every language around the world,” Stephen said.

  13. RS says:


    State Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, on Wednesday called on the governor to sign House Bill 4266 - which would ensure that personally identifying information of victims, such as name and contact information, is not released to anyone other than the proper law enforcement officials - into law.

    I don’t think I agree with Moeller on this one. How do you distinguish between a victim and an alleged victim?

    There is no shame in being a victim (well, unless you were really stupid and bought into that 419 scam). If somebody wants to hide their identity as a victim it could well be that they are not actually a victim. They need to be ready to be vetted, because as a society we cannot tolerate wrongful convictions. That’s the role of the media, the public, the bloggers to point out when a story doesn’t make sense. And without the identity of the victim, that’s not going to be possible. Victim names should always be public as far as I’m concerned.

    • Margaret Miller says:


      Would I have a point when I ask you on the following?

      “How do you distinguish between a victim and an alleged victim?”

      And your position on Moeller’s proposed legislation to bar former lawmakers and elected state officials from receiving a taxpayer-funded pension if they are facing felony charges. 

      How do you tell the difference between an innocent person or a guilty? one until there is a trial. 

      Maybe I’m just tired.?

  14. Margaret Miller says:

    Does anyone know if Elgin participates in this program?


    CL Police Posting Crimes on Map
    Posted on 06/24/2014 by Cal Skinner
    A press release from the Crystal Lake Police Department:

    Crystal Lake Police Implement CrimeReports System to Connect with Community and Reduce Crime

    The Crystal Lake Police Department has joined over 1,000 agencies nationwide and launched public access to a powerful new online tool called CrimeReports, aimed at improving communications with the community and lowering crime.

    Citizens can now view local crime data, free of charge, in near real-time by visiting the department’s web site and clicking on the link to CrimeReports, or by visiting http://www.CrimeReports.com.

    A primary goal at the department is to keep our streets safe, by reducing crime and the integration of this system is another way to accomplish this.

    Utilizing the system, citizens will now be able to;
    View near real-time online reports of crime in the region
    Set-up daily, weekly, or monthly automated reports on a variety of crime types
    Send anonymous crime tips
    Access CrimeReports from their smart phones or other mobile devices

    Citizens now have the ability to see what types of criminal activity and calls for service are occurring in their neighborhood and across the City.

    Certain types of incidents will not be posted, to include matters of domestic violence, and most involving juveniles.

    Specific information, including exact addresses of incidents, and names of victims are also excluded to protect their privacy, while the incidents of public safety and concern are still made available.

    The Crystal Lake Police Department encourages public feedback and participation to enhance public safety, public trust, and understanding within our community.

  15. SIE says:

    Stegall is staying…for now. Seems like he would have gotten the offer. $200K vs. $187 he is making now. I haven’t researched it but Des Moines probably is a lower cost area. City manager of a state capital. IIWM I would have gone for it.


    • SIE says:

      $187K, of course. Not $187. LOL

    • RS says:

      He did the same thing in Bellevue. It kind of sounds like he’s trying to get Elgin to increase his pay…

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      SIE and RS: By FOIA, I got the complete payroll for the City. In 2013, Sean Stegall’s total compensation was $256,181. Chuck

      • RS says:

        Thanks, Chuck. Do you have the records for when he started, and what his pension deal is? It would be good to know when he qualifies for retirement.

        If I had to guess I would say he wants to improve his negotiating position before the next contract is negotiated, but I don’t think he has any real intention of leaving until whenever he can retire (is it coming soon?) and collect that sweet pension, and THEN he’ll get another job. That’s just the way the racket works.

        And no matter how good of a package they give him, as soon as that retirement date comes, he’ll be gone. As sure as the sun rises. That’s just how it is. For Stegall I don’t know when he started work with Elgin, but he’d just need to have put in 20 years from what I’ve read.

        It’s a pretty sad state we’re in. People who are alive now can probably expect to live to 100 based on the rate of increase in life expectancy. We’re going to be paying people for 50 years to do nothing before they finally die.

        I have nothing against Stegall. I think he’s a competent city manager, but I don’t like the pension system for public workers, and I don’t think it’s sustainable.

        • RS says:

          Something to check out:


          In Yonkers, more than 100 retired police officers and firefighters are collecting pensions greater than their pay when they were working. One of the youngest, Hugo Tassone, retired at 44 with a base pay of about $74,000 a year. His pension is now $101,333 a year…

          Some will receive the big pensions for decades. Thirteen New York City police officers recently retired at age 40 with pensions above $100,000 a year; nine did so in their 30s. The plan’s public information officer said that the very young retirees had qualified for special disability pensions, which are 50 percent larger than ordinary police pensions. He said several dozen of the highest-paid New York City police retirees had disabilities related to 9/11 and the rest of the disabilities resulted from injuries in the line of duty.

          Oh yes, those disability pensions:


          Aaron McFarlane, identified last week as the agent who shot Ibragim Todashev during an interrogation in Orlando, has collected the pension since he retired from the Oakland Police Department in 2004 at age 31, say California officials. He apparently received the pension for medical reasons, court records say, though he passed the FBI’s stringent physical requirements when he joined the bureau four years later.

          It would be great to get the pension figures for the City of Elgin. I don’t think anybody has ever reported on Elgin’s pension system.

        • SIE says:

          I agree 100%. If you find out when he qualifies for his pension make a note and I’m sure you will be right that he will be gone soon after.

          Man I wish I had gotten a government job (local or state seems likea ticket for long term prosperity).

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            RS and SIE: I haven’t FOIA’d Sean’s contract, and have no idea of when he might be able to retire. I am only guessing it would be at age 50 to 55, unless he were to claim disability (for straining his back hauling all that money to the bank????).

            I had a 75 minute long meeting with Sean in his office on the evening of January 2012, the night before the City council voted to KEEP the Elgin Business License. After discussing the EBL, among other things, I expressed my frustration to him that certain classes of municipal employees have high salaries and gold plated pensions. I said that when I was getting out of college (late 1970’s) everyone knew that municipal workers didn’t get paid much, but as compensation, they got good pensions compared to the private sector. But now everything has changed, for in the private sector, almost nobody gets a pension, and in the public sector, pay scales have come up to meet or exceed those in the private sector. Sean told me pointedly that he agreed with my assessment, but that there wasn’t a thing that I, or anybody else could do to change it, unless Illinois was willing to do what Wisconsin had just done.

            I wish the voters were as mad about this as they should be, as if ever there were a case to punish our ruling political system, it would be now. Clearly we should all vote the bums out…. But where are all the candidates who are clamoring to break the present system?

          • RS says:

            Well, Anna Moeller has done some positive things with respect to pensions. First, she declined one, and then she is trying to deprive Farnham of his, or something like that…

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            RS: On the other side, didn’t Anna vote for her own pay-raise? If she declines her pension and votes to cut her own pay, and votes to cut everyone’s pension and to cut everyone’s pay, then I’ll raise my eyebrows.

            And seriously, don’t you feel like you are being suckered by letting her declining her pension this year (she can change next year I believe)as a simple campaign ploy? You can’t think she can make any vote against the wishes of the machine do you? Yes, if something is going to pass by a safe margin, Madigan’s machine can allow her to vote as will benefit her election opportunities. But in any close vote, she MUST vote the machine’s way. Do not give her any credit for her votes, unless you support the Springfield/Chicago combine, because that is all that she can serve. They are her bosses, they provide her money. It is as simple as that. Wash those scales from your eyes, unless you don’t care how she votes, and only want to vote for her because she is a nice lady. Chuck

          • RS says:

            Oh no, I would never vote for anybody just because they’re nice. I would not vote for my brother if I did not agree with him politically.

            All I was saying was that one should give credit where it’s due. Moeller has taken positive steps with respect to pensions, but conservatives have not acknowledged it. It could be that she’s doing it to benefit her election prospects, but it’s still very unlikely that she will reverse course and take the big hit in a subsequent election.

  16. bw says:

    If you know you are not to get the job you withdraw. That way you save face,

  17. RS says:

    Hey you tea drinkers out there, do you know about Tazo Focus?


    It’s so delicious! It’s the best tea ever and fortunately it’s currently stocked at Meijer. But the way things go at Meijer, they can just make it disappear overnight. That’s what happened with the Scharffenberger chocolate. I was so happy and then one day it was just gone and never to be seen again.

    So please please please buy lots of this tea so they will keep reordering it! Focus is the best Tazo flavor. It’s a combination of black tea, yerba mate, orange and cocoa..mmm… Because of the yerba mate, stronger than tea but not as strong as coffee. Feels much better.

  18. RS says:

    I wish the voters were as mad about this as they should be, as if ever there were a case to punish our ruling political system, it would be now. Clearly we should all vote the bums out…. But where are all the candidates who are clamoring to break the present system?

    You might be interested in these articles about a more direct form of democracy being enabled by bitcoin and related technologies.



    One of the most useful parts of Bitcoin is its blockchain, which is essentially a public ledger of all transactions. It’s transparent, irreversible, decentralized and very difficult (but not impossible) for one party to gain control over. This means that if you base a direct voting system on a blockchain, anyone with a computer and a little know-how could verify the results. It would be possible to see how many votes were cast, voters could verify that their own votes were counted, and the decentralized network would be the best answer so far to hacking attempts.

    Imagine that instead of a bitcoin, there’s a set of “coins” with a unique marker inside the current bitcoin blockchain that indicates a specific vote. This can be achieved today with the “colored coins” technology. Let’s call these “Votecoins.”

    Each registered voter gets a Votecoin through the election organizer—say, the US government. The government also sets up what’s effectively “yes” and “no,” or maybe it’s “candidate A” and “candidate B” wallets. When it comes time to vote, you send your Votecoin to the wallet of your choice, just like a bitcoin transaction. ..

    Also like a bitcoin transaction, the entire process is recorded in the blockchain public ledger, repurposed to verify votes and avoid voter fraud. So instead of placing your trust in a central authority like, say, the ballot counters tallying up hanging chads in Florida, the network is anonymous but transparent, and audited by the crowd.

    I favor a hybrid system and I think we should start it at the local level. We should do it right here in Elgin. What I would propose–just based on some quick thoughts here–is that we maintain a city council but we also support public voting on all ordinances. The council’s votes will get a certain weight and the public will get a certain weight. Let’s say 60/40 or even 50/50. So if the council approves something but the public doesn’t, based on the weighted voting system, it will not pass.

    Implementing this in Elgin would make national news. We should seize the opportunity to portray Elgin on the national or global stage as a modern, innovative city that is a major center for bitcoin and hip-hop.

  19. RS says:


    The move, as suggested by Let’s Talk Bitcoin, would have made the 300,000-person city “the first municipality to accept bitcoin”, a decision that could have had a potentially wide-ranging impact on other local governments in the US.

    Elgin needs to be the first municipality to accept bitcoin. Why is city hall so lazy? Can’t we ever be the first at something???

  20. One Vote says:

    Police call - loud music.
    About 10 days ago my next door neighbor decided to sit in his truck and play Mexican rap music…at midnight. I think he was banished from the house because all the other cars were in the driveway and the lights were out.
    I called the non-emergency number and she told me they would be there to check it out…but that it was a busy night. About 10 minutes later the noise was gone.
    Then last night one of the occupants must have been testing DJ equipment in the garage, with the door open. He started at 10 pm and it was loud. I called the EPD again and they were there within 5 minutes. The officer must have had a citizen ride-along because there was a senior citizen in a polo shirt and a uniformed officer. As soon as he pulled in the driveway the music stopped. A woman and a 10-yr-old girl came out of the house.
    The officer didn’t even talk to the guy. He was out of the car for 30 seconds. The guy shut off the music but there was NO CONVERSATION AT ALL with the man, the woman or the girl.
    That’s it?
    I figure EPD is going to do as little as possible about these noise complaints. I’m afraid that isn’t going to get the message across. It’s about as effective as the kinder, gentler code enforcement.
    By the way, I think RS might like to live next to this house. He likes that edgy life with zombies, taggers and pub crawls…and Bitcoin.

    • RS says:

      Yes, Elgin needs to move fast to be the first municipality to accept bitcoin!


      With annual revenue approaching $57bn, Dell is roughly four times the size of DISH Network – the previous biggest bitcoin-accepting business.

      Following today’s announcement, consumers and small business owners are able to purchase all items on Dell.com using bitcoin. To promote the news, the company is offering a 10% discount on all Alienware-brand products to bitcoin buyers. Dell also sells personal computers, servers, data storage devices, cameras and printers.

      As for the noise, I’m sorry. I will try to keep the volume lower next time.

      • RS says:


        They’re so much smarter than us…

        • One Vote says:

          You don’t really think our government is going to allow Bitcoin to continue untaxed and unregulated, do you?

          • RS says:

            Sure, it will be taxed (it is actually already taxable) and regulated. I don’t like either taxation or regulation, but it helps remove uncertainty for business and will speed adoption. Once other countries see that the US has embraced bitcoin, it will be hard for them to to ban it in their countries and that’s going to be good for the whole world.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            The people in charge don’t want what’s best for everyone, just whats best for them.

            They are awaiting a one world currency and the buy and sell from a microchip.

  21. blktrk458 says:

    One Vote do you live in South St? Sounds like what happens every other night. Neighborhood sure has changed.

    • One Vote says:

      Far from it. I’m on the northeast side, near Liberty and Summit.
      The property is so obviously overcrowded. There are five cars in the driveway, six adults and five children.
      The house is a two-bedroom with a living room and an eat-in kitchen.
      The basement does NOT qualify as living space. The ceiling is too low and the windows are too small.
      Code does not allow cooking in the basement.
      So, where do they put all these people.
      But code enforcement will do nothing. They will shoo them off the grass and the patio as parking areas, but that’s it.

  22. Cruex says:

    Anything Moeller does “positive” as you say RS is only for herself. Declining a pension and then trying to take Farnham’s is good selfish campaigning and does nothing for the people of Illinois. Let’s see where she will show up on pension reform votes. I trust wherever Madigan wants her to be.

  23. bw says:

    Anna Moeller cannot be trusted as she is guilty of pandering. She has too much negative baggage and will do nothing for Illinois.

  24. RS says:

    Elgin needs more tip-free zones. Places like Panera and Noodles Co are doing the right thing.


    After a qualitative study of more than 2,600 dining parties at 21 different restaurants, Lynn concluded that “tips are only weakly related to service.” As Margialoth notes, the most important factor to patrons deciding upon tip amounts is the amount of the check, not the efficiency, or inefficiency, of the server; the quantity of the food they order, not the quality with which it’s served to them. This finding, Lynn argues, “raises serious questions about the use of tips as a measure of server performance or customer satisfaction as well as the use of tips as incentives to deliver good service.” It also emphasizes the fact that tipping is really, painfully unfair: how in the world is bringing a customer a $1,000 bottle of wine any more work than bringing her a $60 bottle? If Lynn is right, and customers generally tip on amount alone, the difference between the hypothetical 20 percent gratuities would be $188 — a $200 tip versus a $12 tip…

    Racism isn’t the only kind of discrimination baked into the American tipping system. Female servers, too, face routine discrimination. As Lynn told Dubner: blonde, slender, larger-breasted women in their 30s earn some of the highest tips.

    • Zreebs says:

      I totally agree. For that reason, I typically give a larger percentage tip when I go to inexpensive reastaurants than when I go to expensive restaurants. But the tip should instead be reflected in the price by the restaurant.

  25. RS says:

    Some interesting data here:


    More surprising was the finding that forcible rape offenses fell by 31 percent in Rhode Island from 2004 to 2009, as decriminalized indoor sex work scaled up in the state. This translates to 824 fewer reported rapes. The majority of the reduction in rapes came from Providence, where the state’s sex work is concentrated.

    By itself I don’t find the data convincing, but in general we should be working towards making more things legal and imposing fewer demands on our expensive police force.

  26. One Vote says:

    Attention Everyone!
    I hereby announce that city hall will be named after…drum roll please…Bob Gilliam.
    What a joke.

    • RS says:


      “Given the amount of time that the councilman was on the council, there was just a recognition from all his colleagues that it seemed fitting to recognize him in this fashion,” Assistant City Manager Rick Kozal said.

      The city’s expense for the renaming would not exceed $25,000, including $20,000 for signage and $5,000 for a reception to be held sometime in September.

      How about the amount of time that the councilman was living in Arizona? You would think the city lawyer might find that information interesting, but nobody ever cared. I’m sure it must have been illegal under Illinois law and here we are naming city hall after him?

      Furthermore, there’s only one city hall so it’s silly to name if after anybody. Names are useful when you have multiple buildings and you need to tell them apart. That’s why elementary schools have names, but if a town or city has only one high school it bears the name of the city.

      If they want to name something after him, name the parking deck by the old Prairie Rock. That could use a name to quickly differentiate it from the one on Chicago Street.

      But $20,000 for a sign, my god…

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        RS: My expectation is that everyone will simply call it City Hall anyway. So in that regard, this is a tame choice.

        Naming the East Side Rec Center after Gilliam would have made more sense if anything should have even been named after him.

        Again I ask, “Who says they don’t care about politics?” Chuck

        • RS says:

          Yeah, but $20,000 for a sign. $5,000 for a party, and who knows how much else more for new stationary and the like. Personally I think there should be a general rule that you don’t spend taxpayer dollars on something that doesn’t benefit the taxpayer. I don’t see how this $25K benefits taxpayers.

          I’m also opposed in general to naming things after politicians as it confers an unfair advantage in terms of name recognition for their family members. I recall a city council meeting where Mr. Gilliam pulled up his grandson or something and basically said remember this guy he’s going to inherit my seat one day. Is this what we want in a democracy? Dynasties?

          Don’t they realize that by naming Cook County Hospital as Stroger Hospital for example, that it’s going to benefit any Strogers running for office in the future? That’s not fair for other candidates. It would not be fair in Elgin either for buildings or places to be named after politicians intent on creating dynasties.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            RS: I agree with all of your points. Let me know when you want to help out………… Thanks, Chuck

          • One Vote says:

            “I would rather men should ask why no statue has been erected in my honor, than why one has.”
            –Marcus Cato

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Well the council voted to name City Hall in honor of Bob Gilliam. There was no discussion, beyond heaping praise upon Bob Gilliam. The decision seemed to have been set in advance.

            I still think the best idea that I had heard was to rename Riverside Drive after Bob Gilliam. It could have been called Gilliam Drive, or Gilliam Way. Or, maybe they could rename City Hall, The Gilliam Way…………….. Chuck

          • Clarence Hayward says:

            I wonder why no else posts under the article in the Daily Herald like I do?

            I like Bob Gilliam but I think it would be more practical to name something new that does not have a name already after him. $25000 is a lot of tax payer money to spend on something that already has a name.

            Anytime you want to recognize someone by naming something after them I think it should be something that needs a name.

            Some progressive people sell the naming rights to various buildings. I wonder how much tax payer money we could get for selling the renaming rights to this city hall?

            Bob Gilliam’s name is well respected in Elgin and does not need to be on an already named building to show how much the tax payer’s think of him.

            Spending that $25000 on a new name for city hall would be a luxury. Elgin has too many real needs for that $25000.

            Just my common sense thoughts.

            Clarence Hayward

          • Clarence Hayward says:

            One more thought. I’ll bet they are saving the Riverside Deck for former Mayor Schock.

          • RS says:

            Well the council voted to name City Hall in honor of Bob Gilliam. There was no discussion, beyond heaping praise upon Bob Gilliam. The decision seemed to have been set in advance.

            I guess I’m not surprised. They all want to be able to go to the big party (you know we have some party animals on the council LOL) and it would be very awkward to show up if you didn’t vote for it. And $5K buys a lot more than just cake and fruit punch. Go ahead guys, have the time of your lives. It’s on us.

            But if I was Bob Gilliam and this “honor”–given by some people and paid for by other people–was offered to me I would decline it. It is a rather unsavory, unwholesome affair.

            Or how about this, maybe Mr. Gilliam can pay for it all himself?

            He obviously can afford it. He was regularly flying in to Elgin for council meetings while living in Arizona. His jet-set lifestyle is possible because he receives a pension of about $140,000 and perhaps his wife receives something similar. Is he not in a better position to pay for these honors than the Elgin taxpayer?

            One more thought. I’ll bet they are saving the Riverside Deck for former Mayor Schock.

            I’m not sure. I think Schock made a lot more enemies than Gilliam did, so it may take a while before they ever decide to name something for him.

          • One Vote says:

            You asked why I don’t post on the Daily Herald website. It used to be very active before they made all the changes and added new requirements.
            I find myself going to their website less and less. They added those goofy survey questions and I used them to gain access, but even they don’t work. They promise you three days of access or a week if you answer the survey, then they block you again five minutes later.
            I don’t need the games and their reporting is scarcely worth much effort.
            If I have a choice between going through a paywall for marginal info or getting it for free, guess which one I choose?

  27. Cruex says:

    Charter school loses. When do the protests from all of the illegal immigrant parents begin because their children have been robbed of the charter school experience? LOL. As if they cared about anything past the minimum required for a free public education.

    • Tim says:

      Hopefully the charter school presses on. Would be nice to have an alternative to paying 400$+ dollars a month to send my son out of district to a private school.

    • RS says:


      But when it came time for the school board to vote, only one member — Veronica Noland — voted in favor of the project. The other board members pointed to objections raised by a committee of U46 administrators that the project emphasizes Elgin at the expense of U46’s other 10 towns, that its finances would be iffy, that emphasis should be placed on at-risk children at the high-school level rather than the grade-school level, and that money spent on the math-science academy would come at the expense of the district’s regular schools.

      “I represent 40,000 students. I can’t support a program that would benefit so few,” said board member Maria Bidelman. She said her research shows that few charter schools outperform their districts’ regular schools in their area.

      But Noland said that “this is a chance to try something, to move forward and see how this will go.” She said that she herself has endured the agony of having a child who didn’t fit in with his school and teacher and they had no other option to take.

      As for a charter school stealing money from existing U46 schools and programs, Noland said she “didn’t hear that” when the district’s administration wanted to start some new programs of its own in one or just a handful of its schools.

  28. Chuck Keysor says:

    Tim, while I feel your financial pain, are you aware that enrollment in the charter school is by lottery? Each grade level will have two classes of 20 students as I recall. The chances of your son winning the lottery may be rather small.

    I did see an interesting report on the PBS News Hour tonight, in which they profiled a Texas school district, which embraced a charter school experiment. They converted 1/3rd of a regular school building into a charter school. This superintendent wants to make a careful test, and is willing to expand their charter school if the test goes well. In this way, if successful, a much larger number of students could be allowed the realistic possibility of attending a charter school if that is what the family wanted.

    The beginning of the article pointed out that in most school districts, the Unions are so strong, that they can crush charter schools. And they routinely do crush charter schools. But they pointed out in Texas, the unions are much weaker, thus allowing a more open view of charter schools.

    Here is another possible lesson pointing out why the State of Illinois is such a wreck. It is wrapped in Union chains and weights, and has been tossed into the abyss. Without the destruction of Illinois’ political machine, the taxpayers of Illinois will be pulled under after they can no longer afford to pay the bills. And in the mean time, you won’t be able to send your child to a charter school. (Who says they don’t care about politics?)


  29. Tim says:

    I knew the charter school would bring no promises for enrollment. I just feel like this cities homeowners deserve an option. I’d honestly prefer a school voucher system so HOMEOWNERS with school aged children can choose to spend their tax dollars on the learning institution they best see fit.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Tim, vouchers also sound like an appealing option. But it will never happen as long as the machine rules in Illinois………..

      Bust the Illinois Machine, vote against every cog and gear this November! Chuck

      • Margaret Miller says:


        The one thing that I don’t see many addressing is the lease agreement and the immediate repairs needed at the FVCDS property.

        The last figures I know of was over $4 million in repairs and as the landlords, Elgin taxpayers will be paying for all maintenance and utilities.

        • RS says:


          The group proposes opening the Elgin Math and Science Academy on the site of the Fox River Country Day School, 1600 Dundee Ave., owned by the city of Elgin. Though the site falls within the boundaries of Community Unit District 300, the charter school’s students must come from within the boundaries of the school district approving the application, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

          This site should be out of the question already. Why are they still talking about it?

      • One Vote says:

        Generally speaking I think charter schools are a way to stand up to Education Inc.
        But I can’t bring myself to support Karen Schock, Mrs. Steffen and Anna Moeller. NENA liberals are cooking up something that is certainly not getting back to basics in public education. This experiential learning hype is taking us in the wrong direction.
        Besides, Chuck is right. The machine is not going to allow things to get out of hand when it comes to the IEA.

        • RS says:

          Yeah I think a lot of us, maybe most, support charter schools but this specific one is problematic in large part because it’s in the wrong place.

          If they move it to the Larkin Center Rakow Campus, that would make a lot more sense. And for security reasons, the city should be able to push the fence all the way back to the other side of the Bertrand Goldberg laundry building.

          And I would support almost anything that will provide use and access to the laundry building. We should turn it into an indoor skate park or something.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            RS: As a note, the Elgin Charter School plans to eventually have 400 students. The Rakow Building will only accommodate 100 to 125 students max. For that reason I was told two times by one of the charter school board members that the Rakow Building was not an acceptable location. Chuck

          • RS says:

            ‘Eventually” means years from now. It’s like an Internet startup demanding to move into a Class A highrise because eventually they’re going to be a Fortune 500. How silly.

  30. Margaret Miller says:

    What a great day for the citizens of Elgin and two of our core service departments.

    Who better to have a strong voice in the selection process for future police and fire personnel then the Top Guns themselves?

    Congratulations Chief Swoboda and Chief Fahy, you now has the input you should have always had!

  31. RS says:


    During the course of the discussion Powell said staff informed her that 46 percent of all Elgin city employees live in Elgin. On the police department, 36 percent of the officers live in Elgin, and 20 percent of firefighters live in town.

    Wow, if it was up to me, 100% of employees would have to live in Elgin. 20% of firefighters? What a joke.

    • Margaret Miller says:


      Even though you changed topics from my last post of congratulations to the Chiefs, I’m sure you already know
      there are many people that do not live in the town/city in which they work.

      The pool of employees meeting an employer’s demands, expectations and industry level knowledge and experience can never be met from the local pool.

      As Councilman Shaw said, his company is looking internationally for the right person for that position.

      If Elgin’s goal is to obtain and retain the very best, I have absolutely no issue widening the field if good candidates.

      Living in town is irrelevant, a winning team is for the success of the company or core service department.

      • RS says:

        When the construction bids come in you guys are always like, pick the local company even if their bids are higher, etc., because we want to keep the money here, jobs for locals and so on.

        So now with the City of Elgin being a significant employer, why would it be any different? Why would you employ people who live in St. Charles or Naperville or whatever? People have a choice too. If you want the job, move here.

        In case you haven’t noticed Elgin has a shortage of middle class families. And the CIty of Elgin is making sure that middle class people (their employees) live for the most part in other cities. While they do all they can to attract the lowest-income people as residents.

        Makes a lot of sense to some of you I guess, but not to me.

        • Margaret Miller says:


          I’m not sure who you mean when you say “you guys” but I am not on the Elgin City Council.

          Regarding construction bids, I think you would need to speak directly to the unions. Please look into the Federal laws under “prevailing wage”. This is another unfunded mandate from the State which cannot be avoided without the threat of lawsuits.

          To your statement “Elgin has a shortage of middle class families.” If Elgin has a shortage of middle class families as you state, what should we look at that could pin point the cause?

          Let’s try this….Setting aside the argument of how this State and Federal have been going out of their way to destroyed the USA middle class, Elgin has a large amount of “Affordable Housing”. Could that be a part of the perceived problem? Could that be the magnet? How about the school district, regulations or lack of (code enforcement) reputation, non-aggressive economic development.

          People always have a choice however their circumstances may prohibit them to make a move and perhaps if they had a job in Elgin, their circumstances may improve and then decide to move here.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            I would also like to add that you cannot force Police, Fire and Public Works to live in the city. That decision was decided for us through federal arbitration of union contracts.

            That is about 90% of city employees. Enough said.

          • RS says:

            Are we supposed to support it just because that’s what they negotiated last time?

            Chicago requires residency. Why shouldn’t Elgin?


            For 92 years, the city has required teachers, firefighters, cops and city workers to live in Chicago. Mayor Daley has long defended the policy, saying without the rule Chicago could lose its middle class. Firefighter and police unions, however, have been vocal opponents of the policy, and many of them endorsed Gery Chico in the mayor’s race because he seemed willing to scrap the rule.

            Rahm Emanuel never defended the rule during debates, and said he would be open to discussing its merits. But, even before being sworn in as mayor, it looks like he changed his mind.

            “They are more than police and fire. They are anchors in a neighborhood,” Emanuel said Tuesday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “They’re the Little League coaches, the hockey coaches, the volunteers at the place of worship. They are anchors — not just in their block, but in their community. That’s an investment I’m not ready to turn my back on.”

            Are we just going to roll over each time they demand something? Get some backbone, people.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      If this is the team our Police Chief put together, we should be very proud as a city, not complaining about a residency.

      There are many things to complain about in Elgin, this is not one of them.


      Elgin Police Department Finalists for international award

      ?ELGIN — The Elgin Police Department has been named a finalist for the International Chiefs of Police/Thomson Reuters Award for Excellence in Criminal Investigation.
      The application was based on the department’s techniques and programs used in the reduction of motor vehicle burglaries in Elgin. Police say those strategies, along with community partnerships, led to a 20 percent reduction in vehicle burglaries in 2013 to a 22-year low for the city.

      According to a release from the Elgin Police Department, more than 100 agencies from around the globe submitted applications for the honor. The other finalists include the California Highway Patrol Orange County Auto Theft Task Force; Halton Regional Police Service; Maryland Transit Administration Police; Missouri State Highway Patrol; Pasadena Independent School District Police Department; Queensland Police Service; and the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigations.

      The winners and two runners-up will be announced at the IACP annual conference in October in Orlando, Fla.

      Elgin Police Chief Jeff Swoboda said, “To be one of eight departments in the world to be recognized for our innovation is a source of great pride to our department. This confirms that what the community and police department are doing here in Elgin is truly special and one that others see as a model.”

      In August, 2013 police put out a release touting the “If you like it, lock it” program, reminding people to lock their cars, as an estimated 70 percent of motor vehicle burglaries are to unlocked vehicles.

      Residents also were encouraged to call the police non-emergency number to report suspicious persons, particularly if a homeowner noticed someone looking into parked cars or appeared not to belong near a car or property. Residents also were urged to join neighborhood groups and become involved in the activities happening on their respective blocks.

      An effort was launched where residents could text a message and/or tip information; in addition to calling the anonymous crime line. In 2013, Elgin police also began using a new software program named Predpol, for “Predictive Policing,” that is supposed to be able to predict where future crimes will occur based on various data inputs. The department worked to increase police presence in such areas.?



      • RS says:

        Give me a break. The EPD should be fighting crime not wasting taxpayer resources submitting applications for every award that comes up.

        • Margaret Miller says:

          No, please give me one.

          The EPD and EFD are the top two things we should be proud of. I am!

          • Anonymous says:

            “The EPD and EFD are the top two things we should be proud of. I am!”

            Who knew MM was a tax and spend liberal! The ridiculously generous pay and pension costs of EPD and EFD are a significant part of the problem leading to the bankrupting of the taxpayers of Elgin and Illinois.

            And then comes along some bogus completely self-serving “International Award” for…. er…uh… reducing car theft!!!

            I don’t EVER recall car theft being a major problem in Elgin.

            Contract the EFD to the private sector for half the cost.

            Last time EPD had a job opening 300 people showed up all meeting the requirements. NOW EPD decides they need to LOWER the requirements!!! Insane.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            Hello ANONYMOUS:

            Oh gosh, give me a break about me being a tax and spend liberal. You must not know me at all.

            I have no issue with privatizing anything for lower cost and better service and have spoken with two Council members and one prominent citizen about that very thing. In fact, I spoke with a developer in New York in April 2014 regarding privatizing the former FVCDS property. Have you spoken with anyone regarding this issue?

            How about we start with Park & Recs, Library, Waste Management?

            Let’s see where that will get us before trying to go after Police and Fire. I’m sure you will get the same answers I did when you take the time to inquire. Good Luck and please, report back your findings.

            As for reducing car theft, how about locking the car doors and not leaving items of worth in plain sight. How do you blame the Police for citizen ignorance?

          • paul says:

            Much like a tax and spend liberal, MM, you completely and utterly failed to address the issue while mightily blowing smoke to obscure rationality and reason.

            To refresh: the issue is your hero worship of the EPD and EFD while their taxpayer supplied salaries and pensions careen the taxpayer toward fiscal insolvency. That you take the conversation to everything but that issue is comical. [I need to talk to a New York developer about the FVDSC???]

            “How do you blame the Police for citizen ignorance?”

            What does that have to do with ANYTHING??? And what does that have to do with me??? Are you saying you are proud of the EPD because they taught the citizenry how to lock their car doors rendering a very minor problem in to even a less minor problem and thus deserving of an ‘international award’! Public pay raises all around for that one!

          • Margaret Miller says:

            Funny, I was speaking with someone yesterday about Elginite and they mentioned you specifically and here you are! Coincidence or just good timing?

            I did address the question of privatization by stating…”I have no issue with privatizing anything for lower cost and better service and have spoken with two Council members and one prominent citizen about that very thing.”

            If you are upset that I specifically didn’t comment about how salaries and pensions are breaking our backs, too bad! That’s a given! Its presumed that’s what is implied with the word privatization and since I clearly agree with it. There was nothing further to address.

            You may have an issue with my mentioning I took my inquiry of privatizing the FVCDS property further than the boundaries of Elgin but honestly I don’t care. As a private citizen I made inquiries on how to get rid of a money pit piece of Elgin property. It was used as an example of what I did supporting privatization and identifying I knew something about the issue.

            Basically I said, good luck with trying to privatize core departments. I offered suggestions on what department could be consider before Police and Fire but I fear any attempts at that would not go very far.

            Unfortunately, I think Anonymous just wanted to complain by stating the obvious about salaries and pensions knowing there really isn’t anything to do about it except try to find a community where these unions don’t have a stronghold. Good Luck with that! Police, Fire, Teachers and Public Works all have taxpayer’s over union contract barrels with salaries and pensions.

            Regarding car theft: I thought Anonymous’ comment had to do with the recent article about the car that was robbed of several items including a medical prescription (Police Blotter). So that explains my last comment.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        RS: Concerning awards and certifications for the EPD, please consider the generally held view that Elgin’s crime perception is wildly out of alignment with the reality of our crime statistics. IE, our town is much safer than people perceive it to be. And consider that this bad reputation harms our ability to attract upscale residents and therefor upscale businesses.

        These two above points should imply that taking measures to improve our image, by making our TRUE low crime situation known should be beneficial to making Elgin a more desirable City for the demographics we all year to attract. So how do we correct this erroneous crime reputation?

        Well getting awards for the Elgin Police Department should be one significant avenue to correcting our image, on a national level. So in that light alone, I would not so blithely disregard the value of the EPD seeking positive recognition. I think that may be a very useful activity, with the assumption that it does not cost millions of dollars to win an award!

        Thanks, Chuck

        • clarence hayward says:

          It’s too bad during the fire works a bullet pierced a blanket a guy was sitting on. Police think it may have been shot off from some other location into the sky.

  32. Margaret Miller says:

    What has not been addressed on this site was the Wednesday Council consideration regarding the GVC and the disrespect I thought Mr. Thomason displayed towards Councilman Gavin and Shaw. Do you think he would have been that disrespectful to Bob Gilliam?

    Q: Is there any decision you regret?
    A: Voting against the Grand Victoria Casino coming to Elgin.

    Q: Was there ever a difficult time on the council?
    A: Sixteen or 20 years ago, everything was a 4-3 vote. It was very difficult, very contentious. Everybody was angry, and there were a lot of personal attacks. I learned to be hard on the issues, not on the individuals. Terry Gavin (a current councilman who also served 1995-1999) and I used to fight over the time of day, but we had a lot of respect for each other. I view him as a leader on the council now.


    • RS says:

      This article has a nice summary of the economic impact of the casino. Worth bookmarking for reference.


      Phillips told the council that since opening, the casino has paid out $818.94 million to the community, including $54.99 million in admission tax and $317.5 million going to Elgin, $12.1 million paid to Kane County in property tax, the county receiving $137.35 million as a donation, the forest preserve district getting $6 million, and another $228.92 million going to the Grand Victoria Foundation, an independent philanthropic organization which assists all sorts of projects across Illinois — and for which the casino gets no tax break.

      The presentation also noted Elgin projects casino money has been used to fund include The Centre, redevelopment of the National Street Metra Station, grant programs set up for neighborhood improvements and funding the city has given to support Elgin nonprofits.

      In the past five years, the casino has used about six dozen local businesses, paying out $13.27 million to them for the products and services. In the past six years, in various ways it has lent support to 648 organizations, the presentation noted.

      Phillips and Thomason also pointed out that the casino invested $1 million in its concerts this year and last at the adjacent Festival Park, which they claimed has had a halo effect on local hotels and businesses.

      A next step could be food festivals and car shows along with more concerts in the park. In the concept stages are plans to have an outdoor bandstand with some covered seating built in the park that the casino would pay for and use for further entertainment and have readily available for city events.

    • ADV says:

      I’m curious — what did Mr. Thomason say that you found disrespectful?

  33. RS says:


    For the second time in exactly a month, a boater has been saved from drowning at the dam just south of the Route 62 bridge in downtown Algonquin.

    All these dams, including the one on Kimball Street need to go.

    • Claence Hayward says:


      It would not be fair to the waterfront homeowners to lose their waterfront just because of a few boaters who are cautious enough to avoid the risks of getting to close to a dam.

      Port Edward has a wonderful Friday night buffet and Sunday brunch so I can understand why he got close.

      • RS says:

        It’s a lot more than the safety issues, Clarence. The biggest problem is that dams on the Fox are an environmental catastrophe. Who wants a waterfront of disgusting, stinky, stagnant green water? That river used to run clear, believe it or not. It was a clear, gravel-bottomed river when the Gifford brothers first arrived.

  34. RS says:


    Remittances from the U.S. to Spanish-speaking Latin American countries are concentrated in countries closest to the U.S. border. Mexico alone receives more than half—$23 billion in 2012. The share rises to four-fifths when three adjacent countries are added in: Guatemala ($4.4 billion), El Salvador ($3.6 billion) and Honduras ($2.6 billion).

    U.S. residents are the source of nearly all remittance money received in Mexico (98% in 2012) and of the majority of remittance money received in six other Spanish-speaking Latin American nations: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama. Remittance amounts from the U.S. are higher than any other nation to three more countries, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela…

    As is true of Latin America, the U.S. also is the largest source of remittances worldwide, sending a total of $123.3 billion in 2012, according to World Bank data….

    Most immigrants do send remittances home, and so do some people born in the U.S.; a Pew Research Center survey in 2008 found that 54% of foreign-born Hispanics and 17% of U.S.-born Hispanics say they send money to their home country (Lopez, Livingston and Kochhar, 2009).

    Given our diverse population mix, you can imagine how much money leaves the Elgin economy each year and heads for the equator.

    And on TOP of that, we have 80% of our firefighters, 64% of our police and more than half of all city employees (according to Tish Powell’s figures) sucking money out of the Elgin economy and spending it and paying taxes in the other towns where they live. Yes, they don’t live here.

    Now that is an unfortunate situation!

    Especially for the remaining homeowners who have to pick up the slack!

    Also folks keep in mind that when our cops and firefighters retire at age 50 or whatever with their large pensions (and of course getting another job immediately in another city), they will ‘retire’ to wherever it is that they live. They don’t suddenly fall in love with Elgin and move into this city that they avoided all their lives. So all that pension money you’re paying them for another 30, 40 or 50 years is going straight from the struggling Elgin taxpayer to whatever luxurious locales our police and firemen have selected for themselves.

    Just keep that in mind the next time you whip out the pom poms.

  35. Margaret Miller says:

    I caught this article.

    “Get tickets for U.S. debut of Iraqi youth orchestra with EYSO”

    Does anyone have an update on this? The last I remember it was announced at Council session this Iraqi visit was canceled due to Visa issues?

    Is this costing taxpayers any money?


  36. RS says:

    Interesting idea. Maybe we need this in Downtown Elgin!


    Stack.Space is a free community center for aspiring developers and designers. Join our small community and use our space to work on projects, learn code and design skills, and gather with fellow learners.

    Free workshops, free space, free resources. That about sums it up. We want to do everything we can to encourage and support the code-learning community here in Pittsburgh…

    Feel free to start using Stack.Space as your office. It’s a minimalist, clean, quiet space to get work done and improve your skills. We already have a number of community members who work here on a daily basis…

    We have standing desks with gel mats, sitting desks, a group table, projector and sound system, FIOS internet, and a library. Ongoing workshops and educational opportunities are posted on our schedule. Stay tuned for more announcements and consider joining us for our Month of Code this August!

  37. Margaret Miller says:

    FINALLY! Now let’s see what the successor will do with the many and enormous challenges within U46.


    ELGIN — Dr. Jose Torres is expected to announce Friday that he is resigning as superintendent of Elgin School District U46 to take another high-ranking education job in the Fox Valley.

    Several sources, who asked that their names not be used, said Torres was notifying prominent Elgin leaders on Thursday that he will be leaving and that he plans to announce that publicly on Friday morning.

    Torres was named superintendent of the state’s second-largest school district in 2008 after serving as a regional superintendent in the only bigger Illinois district, the Chicago Public Schools. Before coming to Illinois, he had worked in school districts in San Jose, Calif.; Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Rockville, Md.; Washington, D.C.; and at U.S. Department of Defense schools.

    He also is this year’s chairman of the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce Board.

    Torres presided over six years of challenges. The district faced a budget crisis, defended against a lawsuit over alleged racial discrimination (a suit that the district finally won on most counts, but only after long months of litigation and monumental lawyers’ bills), and saw one-fourth of its elementary schools forced to reorganize under the No Child Left Behind Act because of chronically low test scores.

    But in partnership with the Board of Education and U46 staff, he also developed Destination 2015, the district’s five-year accountability plan that includes benchmarks and targets to help U46’s more than 40,000 students achieve academic success. During those six years the district also increased student participation in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, established an AVID program in its middle and high schools to help at-risk students become prepared for college, worked with the chamber of commerce and business leaders to increase the number of high school students earning the National Career Readiness Certificate, expanded the Dual Language program for elementary school students, created new parent leadership programs for minority parents, and focused the district on dropout prevention and eliminating the achievement gap between ethnic groups.

    From February 2011 through 2013, Torres served as the only superintendent on the federal Equity and Excellence Commission of the U.S. Department of Education.

    Torres was just one of three educators from across the country to receive the 2014 Dr. Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award by AASA, the school superintendents’ association. That award honors leadership in educational equity and excellence.

    • SIE says:

      Obviously you think Torres did not do a good job. Given the challenges the district faces I’m not sure anyone could have done different…or better.

      Now we’ll get months of contention as a new Supervisor is vetted. I’m sure Torres’ compensation (severance, exit package etc.) will be news just like it was for his predecessor. Again taking away the focus from the students and schools.

      • Clarence Hayward says:

        RS, We need an August thread.

        SIE, I see nothing in Margaret Miller’s post above that indicates what she thinks of the superintendent. I don’t know how you can assume what she thinks when all she lists is facts.

  38. RS says:

    August open thread is now up. Please move all discussions there!