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August open thread

1 August 2014 Elgin Illinois 114 Comments

Open thread for August. Enjoy.

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114 Responses to “August open thread”

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  1. Margaret Miller says:

    I remember attending the U46 board meeting a few weeks ago and magnet schools was brought up as a suggestion from Tracy Ellis. Perhaps she knew about Torres’ decision a while ago. I wonder if there are any private talks about creating this in Elgin.


    IMSA is a state-affiliated, college-prep magnet school in Aurora for grades 10-12, with dormitory facilities for its students. It draws students from all over the state.

    • One Vote says:

      One thing is for sure; Torres won’t need to push reading and library cards at IMSA. His problem will be getting their noses out of the books and into class.
      His U46 low water mark was creating the Department of Equity and Social Justice. That says it all.

    • RS says:

      You have to give him credit for choosing to live in Elgin! I hope he stays here. Aurora is not such a long commute. Thanks to Randall Rd, it’s just a straight shot down to IMSA.

    • SIE says:

      You do realize that IMSA is in no way affiliated with the Aurora public school district.

  2. SIE says:

    Since the discussion was supposed to be moved here I will again answer this post from Clarence.

    “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.”

    Seriously Clarence??? She starts her post with “FINALLY”.

    Since it seems he doesn’t get it I will spell it out. With the little one word editorial MM seems pretty clear she is happy that Torres is leaving. I don’t think it is a large assumption to think she didn’t like the job he did. If I am wrong she can set the record straight.

    • SIE says:

      And before any one (ahem) jumps to any conclusions I am not saying I supported or did not support Torres. I am answering Clarence’s question as to why I assumed what Margaret Miller thinks of the now former Superintendent.

    • Clarence Hayward says:

      Sorry SIE, Normally I am a good reader but I missed that word. Now I see why you thought that way.

      • SIE says:

        Its always good when one can offer solutions to problems they feel exist. Apparently not in this case as I have seen nothing offered.

        • Margaret Miller says:


          I hesitated to comment to you because you and I already danced to this U46 tune back on the Elginite January/February 2014 blog. My most recent post wasn’t meant to offer up any solutions, rather report my glee with Mr. Tores’ departure.

          Nothing more…Nothing less.

  3. Margaret Miller says:

    From today’s Courier News Speak Out…

    Enforce code laws in Elgin: The City of Elgin is going to the dogs by not enforcing our code laws as far as overcrowding and not having any parking restrictions. It’s mostly the east side that is going downhill. No matter how many signs Elgin puts up, such as “it’s a beautiful city” and “it’s a class one city,” everyone knows it’s a big lie and laughs.

    • SIE says:

      Everyone should take a look at the cities code to see how many people are actually allowed to live in a dwelling. I have a pdf of it but would rather not attach it. Just look it up online.

      They go by square foot of living space, etc. and the number of allowed residents is much higher than one would think would be acceptable. Apparently the code is similar to many other cities. Problem is most other cities don’t even come up against the limits where Elgin does, quite often.

      If you don’t like it and think it should be changed lobby your elected officials. But I doubt Elgin would ever amend the code so it seems we will be stuck with overcrowded houses that aren’t really overcrowded.

    • bw says:


    • One Vote says:

      Kaptain felt this as a campaign issue when he beat Schock, but he’s clearly not going to work at cleaning up the overcrowding issue now. The libs on the council are firmly in control. We thought Dunne was our friend because he saw the problem as a fireman. We were wrong. He dances to the SEIU tune.
      There is no political will to push quality of life issues in Elgin. It will take a tragedy to move the needle at this point. A basement fire. Children killed. Too many beds. Violations about cooking or points of egress.
      Or maybe a rape or a murder at the hands of an occupant of an overcrowded home.
      Ugly stuff.
      Even then our politicians are good a deflecting the blame. Remember Landmark? They were caught red-handed failing to screen their workers for work permits. We thought they’d be gone as a city contractor. That never happened. They continued working right along. They are doing work in town right now.
      There’s no penalty in this town.

  4. Cruex says:

    Traci O’Neal-Ellis was quoted in the Courier as saying

    “We need a superintendent who gets and embraces the concept of equity …and that is tough. There is opposition to that. We need a superintendent who will stand up for that,” she said.”

    All of that is racist code for “we are not going to hire a white male for this job”.

    • Jerry Garcia says:

      Educational equity, also referred to as equity in education, is a measure of achievement, fairness, and opportunity in education. The study of education equity is often linked with the study of excellence and equity.

      Educational equity is dependent on two main factors. The first is fairness, which implies that factors specific to one’s personal conditions should not interfere with the potential of academic success. The second important factor is inclusion, which refers to a comprehensive standard that applies to everyone in a certain education system. These two factors are closely related and are dependent on each other for true academic success of an educational system.

      The growing importance of education equity is based on the premise that now, more than ever before, an individual’s level of education is directly correlated to the quality of life he or she will live in the future. Therefore, an academic system that practices educational equity is a strong foundation of a society that is fair and thriving.

      • Margaret Miller says:


        Thanks for your academic insight. Sure sounds like a lot of social justice tripe to me.

        I think your post lives up to your post name reputation.

        • Jerry Garcia says:

          You are welcome. Agree or disagree, the definition is helpful.

          Jerry Garcia, the musician , was not a political guy. He was a musician with fans from all walks of life, just ask Ann Coulter.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            Did anyone get my inference to this Jerry Garcia post and Jerry Garcia’s reputation?

      • One Vote says:

        Jerry, do you mean fairness like affirmative action? That kind of equity?

        • Jerry Garcia says:

          That is a wiki definition, not mine.

          With that being said, the definition states “The first is fairness, which implies that factors specific to one’s personal conditions should not interfere with the potential of academic success.” That is a broad definition that I believe would cover many conditions such as mental and physical disabilities for example. Schools are filled with students with many different conditions that have an effect on learning.

          The definition also states “…inclusion, which refers to a comprehensive standard that applies to everyone in a certain education system.”

  5. One Vote says:

    Did they have a fudge-eating contest at the riverfront dedication…or was that something else on Mike Noland’s nose?
    I got a notice from the property tax assessor. My three year assessment.
    I’ve complained before that my home’s value dropped like a stone in 2007 but my assessed value remained artificially high. It never did drop to the street value. In fact, my highest years were 2008 and 2009, when the value was exactly the same on my tax bill.
    Now, according to the assessor, my house is worth 38% less than it was five years ago.
    I thought the home values were creeping back up?
    I wish Kaptain and Obama would stop improving things. I can’t take much more of this.

  6. SIE says:

    Driving on Spring St. south from Kimball to Chicago Ave. and beyond I was dismayed by the number of dead trees I saw. These are trees planted on the sidewalks, I assume by the City, in the last few years.

    Ironic that in the current Elgin Neighbor (the City’s newsletter) the centerspread touts “Growing Elgin’s Urban Forest - The Greening Of A Community” yet all these dead trees exist in the downtown area.

    At the very least they should be removed. I know the Forestry Dept. has been out and about a lot dealing with the Ash trees (all in our neighborhood are a lost cause despite them trying to save some with yearly) injections but these small dead trees should be removed.

    • RS says:

      I wonder why they’re dead. Don’t they water them? It would be a waste of money to plant trees and not water them. Can’t expect the homeowners to do that.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        RS: While I was the NWNA president, I was involved with the City in the Federally sponsored tree project in Elgin. The City ONLY planted park-way trees where the home owner/residents had expressed a willingness to water the trees. I was asked to get people to go from house to house with a pamphlet explaining the program, and letting people know that they could pick the type of tree they wanted, and get it installed, at no cost, EXCEPT that they were expected to keep it watered. But this was all verbal, no contractual obligation to water.

        While I did not study this, by casual observation, it appeared to me that the trees I saw die were totally neglected by the home owners and not watered. (Dead grass around the base of the tree is a great indicator that watering is not taking place. And as I recall, the draught we had two summers ago hit while many of these trees were still in their not fully established state, and therefor highly susceptible to the ravages of the draught.

        So yes, the home owners were in fact expected to water the trees. The federal funding was for a tree inventory and planting new trees, not watering them for two years.


        • still concerned says:

          While it may be wishful thinking that people will water new trees on the parkways, it’s not realistic. And to only place trees where people “agree” to water limits where they may be placed with many areas void of any trees along the streets. Trees are an asset to the community; not only improving the aesthetics of the community, but also the property value of the houses. Hundreds of trees are now being removed (Valley Creek is a good example) due to disease, but in many areas people have chosen not to ask the city to replant and in other areas where planted these small trees have died. Let’s face it, most people are lazy with many not taking care of their own properties, let alone water a tree. It should be up to the city to uniformly replace these trees in public parkways and then WATER them until they are established; for the overall good of the community!

        • RS says:

          Yeah, the city should have watered them. They thought they were saving money? Now whose job is it to go around and yank out the dead trees?

          The other problem is that they are always planting foreign trees. These trees are not appropriate aesthetically and do not survive local conditions as well as native trees.

          Native trees take longer to grow, but they are hardier, more aesthetically pleasing and help maintain a sense of place.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            RS: While I agree, I wish the tree plantings should have more heavily emphasized native trees like bur oaks, hickory, walnut, etc, the tree plan given to the City emphasized diversity of tree stock, so that some new tree disease would not be able to wipe out a significant section of the tree stock.

            But I do agree, many of the trees that have been planted look really unbecoming. And the city plantings have reflected the above ground power lines. So one side of the street will have tall trees, and the other side with power lines, will have little ornamental trees. Totally personal opinion, but this looks really bad.

            For whatever reason, back until the early 60s, when I can just barely remember, Elgin had a tree canopy over the streets, and it was really very stately and created a great atmosphere for our city.

            But many of those trees were elms, and they were wiped out in the mid 60s in Elgin. My grandparents lived in LaGrange, and at least in my grandparent’s neighborhood, the elms were still standing strong until the mid 1970s, while I was old enough to really appreciate the effect of such a tree canopy.

            Again, that is the logic behind diversifying the tree stock, so a new Dutch Elm disease, or an emerald ash borer can’t wipe large portions of our tree population.


        • SIE says:

          Chuck I am speaking specifically of trees along Spring St. in the downtown area, essentially everyone being in front of a business. I view these as the cities trees, similar to the hanging baskets that I have seen Public Works water. So I assumed the tree would be watered by them. Apparently not.

          In a similar vein trees were planted along Congdon all the way to the Hoffman border. None of these are in front of houses so no one but the city could water them. Most of them also died, and most still remain there. Very unsightly especially considering it is an entry way to Elgin, a one time Tree City.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Sie, I feel your tree pain. I was only speaking of the tree bank plantings in front of houses, and have no idea of what the planning was for trees in these other areas.

            Maybe someone who knows how trees in these other areas were supposed to be watered will chime in. Or someone could call Brian Borkowicz from Davey Tree. If the trees you are asking about were planted as part of the Federal grant, he was the man at Davey running the Elgin part of that program.

            I looked in my records and found this info if you want to call or email Mr. Borkowicz. His title is: District Manager The Davey Tree Expert Company No 569 Rock Road Drive East Dundee IL 60118 847-426-8889 847-426-8556 brian.borkowicz@davey.com

            Let us know what you find out, Chuck

      • One Vote says:

        My city tree died in a couple of years. I thought it was the road salt that killed it.
        None are DUI-proof.
        Actually, they planted a Redbud tree in front of my house. I asked a guy at the nursery about them. He says they are nicknamed Deadbud trees because they are a bit fragile.

    • SIE says:

      On the same topic, today Forestry came down my street to remove more Ash trees. Conservatively one out of three trees on my street and throughout my neighborhood are Ash and all will be gone. None will be saved. It took 20 years for the Ash near me to grow to the point that it provides nice shade. That will soon be gone and my house will again bake in the summer sun causing me to use more AC, electricity, increasing my energy footprint, etc. So its more than just a tree being cut down.

      And due to the cities policy not to replant too near the cut down tree there will be many places that can’t support a new tree.

      Our once tree lined streets are soon to be as bare as when the neighborhood was first built. Very sad.

      • still concerned says:

        If enough people are concerned about the tree policy, as I am, then now would be a good time to collectively and persistently bring the issue up to Council Members and the Mayor. Remember, we have five seats up for grabs in early 2015 (including the Mayor). Politicians tend to listen and respond where their seat up near term.

  7. Margaret Miller says:

    Who knew! Cheerios


    This week, the impossible happened: A corporation aired a two-minute online ad which showed the Dad as awesome.

    The actor says: “My name is…”

    “D-A-D!!” screams one of his kids looking for him.

    “…and proud of it. And all Dads should be!”

    Almost always, fathers are shown as distant, indifferent, until they’re yelling in anger. But this commercial’s father is a regular member of the family who knows and loves his children.

    There’s a reason this ad, made for General Mills in Canada, has received over 300,000 views.

    Hey, maybe if we want men to be better fathers, we could replace a lot of the dad-bashing with portrayals like this one.

    Sorry RS, just had too!

  8. SIE says:

    Did anyone else see the little blurb in the Elgin Neighbor newsletter that the Electric Aggregation program has ended? I know I almost missed it.

    Apparently it was a two year contract and since the city hasn’t secured a new contract anyone who was getting the lower rates will revert to ComEd’s rates starting with the August bill. Perfect timing, just when electricity usage will be higher.

    Seems to me the city could have been a bit more proactive in getting new bids before the current contract ended. So now even if they get something decent it will be months before it is implemented.

    Disappointing considering all the staff they have on Dexter Ct. and apparently no one could figure this out.

  9. Chuck Keysor says:

    SIE, you may be interested to watch the most recent council session where they discussed the aggregation issue at length. And before the discussion, there was a presentation about the current environment for the aggregation business by an industry consultant.

    I am not one known to stick up for City Hall, but in this case, if the information presented by the industry consultant was correct (I assume that it was), City Staff didn’t mess anything up on this matter.

    The council was the much more amazing part of this equation. I would urge you to go and watch that part of the council discussion, and see if you can follow the bouncing ball. In the end, the council did the right thing, they rejected the mayor’s motion to take the expensive “green” energy aggregation option, and instead they approved Toby Shaw’s motion to accept the lowest cost aggregation option.


    • SIE says:

      I’ll try to watch but I assume when you say “lowest cost aggregation option” that means when or if multiple options are received. Which is a big if.

      I understand the environment and that prices have gone up but I still would have thought they could have something ready to go when the current conract expired. Certainly it wouldn’t be at 2012 rates but it still would be better than what ComEd is charging, which what we all will pay until further notice.

    • SIE says:

      Apparently other towns were able to get contracts with rates below ComEd. I’m usre there are others.

      “A new contract with Homefield Energy negotiated by the league on behalf of towns that are part of the aggregation group, including Plainfield, Shorewood, Romeoville, Bolingbrook, Lockport and Homer Glen, will pin the per-kilowatt price down at a 6.93 cents for the first two years and 6.85 for the third year, Hugh O’Hara said.

      ComEd is charging 7.596 cents per kilowatt right now, and that price is expected to escalate, said O’Hara, the league’s director of planning and programs.”


      Our rates will almost double when we revert to ComEd pricing. The city could have gotten something in place to do better than that, but they didn’t.

    • SIE says:

      Chuck, was this the 7/23 meeting? If so was it the regular Council or the Committee of the Whole? Maybe you can point me to where on the agenda it was as I can’t seem to find it and don’t really want to watch the whole meeting at this point. Thanks.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        SIE, the aggregation (maybe it should have been called “aggravation” based upon the contentiousness of the discussion) was on the regular council session of 7/23/14, under “Other Business”, item 8. Happy viewing! Chuck

        • SIE says:


          Got the letter today about the new aggregation agreement.

          They went with Constellation which is an Exelon company (same as owns ComEd). The 7.71 cent rate for only 12 months seems high. It is more than ComEd’s current rate of 7.59. And it is certainly higher than the towns I listed above negotiated.

          Apparently Elgin, a city of 120,000, doesn’t have the bargaining power of a city like Homer Glen or Bolingbrook. Leave it to Elgin.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            Councilman Gavin sited that he did his own aggregation and got a better rate the last time around. Perhaps you should make a call.

  10. Margaret Miller says:

    Since the Courier is still closed for comments!

    It sounds like this project is a done deal and already in place awaiting Council approval. Does anyone know if there is a reason that this work cannot wait until next year? Did I miss the part in the article where it states what pocket this money will be taken from?

    Elgin council set to approve $644,464 in improvements to Sports Complex


  11. bw says:

    Good move by the council. Waiting adds to more cost.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Contractually, you don’t know that to be a fact.

      Contracts are made everyday for work to be done months after the bid has been awarded.

      Why not wait until the early part of 2015 to start? Let another winter take its toll on what’s there now and repair it all for a full season ahead?

      All I wanted to know was from which pocket the money was going to come from. I made my inquiry and got the answer.

  12. bw says:

    Most people could care less. There are more important issues that need to be addressed.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      What are the more important issues needing to be addressed?

      Let’s list them and turn the list over to our Council members and see if anything can be done. I’m sure they would welcome any suggestions.

      If they don’t perhaps the 2015 candidate will.

  13. SIE says:

    @Margaret (for some reason I can’t respond direct to your comment about aggragation)

    That wasn’t my point. Apparently the city only received two proposals for electricity aggregation. The one ultimately approved is actually higher than ComEd is currently charging. Other municipalities were able to secure much better rates.

    During the long debate not one council member (even Gavin, he alluded to his own better rate) questioned whether the rate was too high or if a better one could have been secured.

    Like I posted above a quick search found many communities that were able to do better than Elgin (here is another)


    Apparently ther council members couldn’t do their own research or they would havce seen that the rate presented and ultimately approved was too high.

    • still concerned says:

      Here is a link that shows aggregated rates in many Illinois communities. Many of these show contracts entered into much earlier, when rates overall were substantially lower, but some show newer contracts…many of which showing lower rates than the 7.71 cents/KWH that Elgin recently entered into for one year with Constellation. That begs the question: Was Elgin asleep at the wheel and waited too long to move on a new contract? I suspect yes! I would encourage people to ask our Council members and Mayor to see what they have to say!


      • SIE says:

        I don’t buy it. See my link above with south/southwest communities getting a much better rate in July.

        Elgin knew their contract was ending in August. Apparently the current supplier got out of the business (debatable as I see them listed for other suburbs going forward). Knowing this Elgin should have negotiated sooner to secure a better deal.

        The city put their eggs in the advocate/advisor/lobbyist’s (whatever he is called) basket. He did a lousy job considering the rate he got is higher than ComEds current rate.

        And for those who say just get your own better rate, problem is because we were on the cities plan we don’t qualify to renew a contract at a decent rate like anyone who was on their own plan (read a certain city council member). There are a few aggregators with lower rates than the new city rate (not a lot lower, but still lower) and you bet I will go with them.

        Problem is people think like you and don’t give it a second thought thinking the city did they best they could. They didn’t. Oh and lets not forget that Constellation is an Exelon company. The same company that owns ComEd.

      • SIE says:

        Oops. I didn’t quite read your post correct. You are correct. Elgin was asleep at the wheel. They hired the advocate/advisor/lobbyist and trusted what he brought them. I was able to find my info in two minutes of searching the internet. They couldn’t be bothered to do that.

        I already contacted the council about it. They don’t give a hoot. Only two wrote back and one (ahem) doesn’t care because he has a lower rate. The other apparently doesn’t even understand what he approved.

    • Margaret Miller says:


      You said (I cut and pasted) “Apparently ther council members couldn’t do their own research or they would havce seen that the rate presented and ultimately approved was too high.”

      First, one Councilman (Gavin) did the research and he was very clear in his advise and voted no on aggregation. Paraphrasing he said…Call and make your own deal.

      Second, maybe your expectations are too high for part time, low salaried Council members that are expected, by the citizenry, to be knowledgeable of all things local, State as well as Federal and the effects of others legislative decisions that they have to abide by. If they had the time to do all that you may require of them, they may need to be promoted to full time staff employees, make a salary with benefits of $254,000 and be called City Manager with voting rights.

      I don’t know if anyone, including me, understands how much is thrown at them along with the intricacies of any issue. What I do know, and have never accepted is the adage that government/s watch out after my best interests. That’s my job.

      I’m glad you looked into this for yourself and reported your finding.

      • SIE says:

        Oh please. They need to be informed. It is their job. By your reasoning they should just take a shot in the dark for all the things they are responsible for approving?

        Regarding aggregation Gavin threw the rest of the city under the bus. He got a good deal only because he was already on a contract and can renew at a lower price than anyone who has been on the cities previous program could.

        If he really had the best interests of the citizens in mind he should have been prepared with numbers to show the deal approved was bad. Which myself and others here have easily found.

        • Margaret Miller says:


          I never implied that any Council member should take a shot in the dark but you seem to think these Council members are either the deity or the Great, Powerful and all knowing Wizard of OZ.

          Councilman Gavin threw no one under any bus!

          How about picking up the phone, cutting your own deal and stop the blame game and finger pointing at the only Council member who offered you good advise and voted no?

          If you do decide to contact the other Council members who voted in favor of aggregation, please ask them WHY they just approved the breaking of a ten year remaining rent lease contact with the GVC placing Elgin in an ANNUAL net loss position of $300-400,000.

          By the way, Councilmen Gavin & Shaw voted NO on GVC lease rent agreement renegotiation.

          • SIE says:

            Blame game? Do you not understand that cities everywhere got in to electicity aggregation? They negotiated contracts that would be beneficial to their residents. Look at the links provided.

            Why shouldn’t I expect my city to do the same? Elgin waited too long to replace an ending contract. Then they placed restrictions so severe that only two companies responded, including ComEd in disguise.

            And again I will explain it to you. Gavin didn’t give me or anyone else advice. Since he was not on the cities plan he was able to renew his own contract at a lower rate than anyone else who was on the cities former plan could. Those of us on the previous city plan are stuck with finding are own deals which while they will be slightly better than what the city is offering are no where near as good as what the city SHOULD have gotten. Again look at the links. Bolinbrook?? and other piddly south suburban communities were able to get a better deal in July. Elgin blew this plain and simple.

            To tell someone to stop blaming a government elected to serve the people for an irresponsible decision is akin to not caring. I care.

          • Margaret Miller says:


            No one ever said you HAD to participate in the aggregation. You had and have a choice. I just opted out just like I did the last time.

            If the city delayed their negotiations, okay, work with what you have in front of you.

            I didn’t trust local government to watch out for my best interests. I did it myself.

            Please make sure you mark your calendar for ten months from now so you can remind the city to investigate aggregation.

            Please bring your grievances to the City Manager. I’m done with you on this.

  14. Tim says:

    Anyone visited the new ” north elgin” shantytown on what used to be the milk pail restaurant and antique mall property?

    • SIE says:

      That property is in unincorporated Dundee Township. Elgin has enough of their own issues. We don’t need to lump in property/people that aren’t in the city.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        I agree, that property is well outside of Elgin and we have enough of our own problems to look at. I for one am glad to see the renewed, genuine discussion of real issues here in the last few days. Chuck

  15. bw says:


    The agenda of this Council is outrageous, a list of suggestions by me would be a wasted issue. Project after project need attention. Just take a tour of the whole city. The city lacks progress according to this taxpayer. Elgin lacks leadership in every area of government.

    • Margaret Miller says:


      I would agree with you that “The agenda of this Council is outrageous”.

      Please keep in mind what political party has had the majority for many years.

      I believe it’s the one you support and advocate for.

  16. Cruex says:

    BW is correct. The most important issue is how her mayor-elect Carol Rauschenberger is going to defeat Kaptain. We know how strong she is intellectually but will she be good enough to defeat Kaptain? What advice would you give her?

  17. bw says:

    To name you as her campaign manager.

  18. Margaret Miller says:

    Look what I received from the Elgin Township Republicans Facebook page! More at the site.

    Below this commentary is the actual transcript of my comments made before the City Council vote to renegotiate the land lease agreement with the Grand Victoria Casino. Understanding that at no time have I ever taken a hostile position against the casino but in fact, while serving my first term on the city council, worked to build a mutually beneficial relationship between us.

    The amended lease agreement that passed at last Wednesday’s Council session was a one sided deal that benefited the Grand Victoria, not the City of Elgin. The new agreement, which broke the ten year remaining lease contract, reduced the casino’s payments for the land they rent from Elgin by $300,000 - $400,000 annually.

    This rent revenue loss to the Elgin, over the next 10 years equates to $3 to $4 million. In return for this “sweetheart” deal the city received absolutely nothing in writing, no guarantees and no follow through of the expansion plans the GVC sited. We can surmise that no hotel will be built because the study completed fifteen years ago deemed it a bad investment. Even a promise of a possible band shell at Festival Park is nothing but chatter however, if they had guaranteed it through an outlined plan, maybe my vote would have been different on Wednesday.

    At the end of the day, this multi-million dollar gift to the Grand Victoria will require the city to cut back on major construction projects, Council members pet project spending or heaven forbid be forced, in order to close the lost revenue gap, to pass another huge tax increase like the one passed in 2012.

    On Wednesday, my vote was cast to support and protect the taxpaying citizens and businesses of Elgin and not to benefit the stock holders of the Grand Victoria. In return for my favorable citizen/business stance, I received hostile comments from an obscure blog site that were even posted, for a short time, on my own Councilman page. Once discovered and responded too with truth & facts not cuss words or name calling, they removed their post from my site.

    I want to thank you, the citizens of Elgin for your ongoing support. I promised to look after the best interests of the taxpayer’s and my vote reflected your best interests.

    Resolution authorizing execution of a third amendment to the amended and restated ground lease with Elgin riverboat resort - riverboat casino for alternative rent calculation and to add term options to the lease agreement.

    • bw says:

      Maybe the GVC should move leaving Elgin with no revenue at all? That would please MM and her supporters including Gavin and Shaw. Every city in Illinois would like to have a slice of that pie.

      • Margaret Miller says:


        Please do not presume my thoughts regarding anything.

        Get with the program. The funds were just cut back coming into the city. Now we are running a deficit when we had a remaining 10 contract with them.

        That means less money do the things needed to get done and now we need to cut back to fill the gap or raid the surplus.

        • ADV says:

          The casino has had a 40% revenue decline since 2007 and faces many threats to its future. If it doesn’t prosper, it doesn’t pay out to either the City or the state. Granted it certainly has its internal challenges, but when the initial lease deal was done it was one of the only gambling facilities in the state. The competitive landscape has changed, and Elgin is better off with the boat than without it. We take that boat for granted here, but its continued existence is by no means guaranteed.

          • RS says:

            I beg to differ. I think the existence of the Grand Victoria is guaranteed. There are only a few licenses in the state–and yes they are stuck to cities–you can’t move them. And if Hyatt/MGM doesn’t want to be in Elgin anymore, somebody will buy them out. But I don’t see MGM/Hyatt leaving.

            It would take gross mismanagement to not be able to turn a profit in a protected market. Casinos do (occasionally) go out of business in places where there is intense competition, but Illinois by law has just a few casinos. The Grand Victoria has adjusted to the Rivers Casino and the traffic numbers should be stabilized now. It’s not going to drop forever.

            I find it hard to believe that the casino could be in dire straits. It’s a casino. Their margins are huge. Their revenue was still about $200M last year and on that they netted more than $40M.

          • ADV says:

            They have laid off hundreds of people in recent years and the little gambling cafés are a huge threat to them. They get very few new customers, most of the customers are much older and won’t be around forever. they are by no means too big to fail.

          • RS says:

            The bottom line is that they pull in huge amounts of money, are immensely profitable and will remain that way. How many businesses do you know of pull in $200M in a year in one location? It could drop to $100M and it’s still a lot of money. They netted more than $40M last year pre-tax.

            The video games in bars and stuff is a new thing and yes traffic will adjust, but it doesn’t adjust forever. It’s like the Rivers Casino. Whoever decides they want to go there instead will go there. The slots in the bars will all be rolled out within a few years at most (there is a limit to how many of these any individual city will allow, so the saturation point will be reached very quickly).

            But really, should we be required to forecast the future? WHEN they are in trouble and operating at a loss is when they can come to the city and renegotiate their lease. But as long as they are profitable, it should never have been brought up for discussion and certainly not placed on the agenda. I don’t know why the city council thinks the the Pritzker family needs that money more than the people of Elgin. I would have told them to talk to the hand.

  19. still concerned says:

    More on why (still a mystery) Elgin selected Constellation over other electricity providers. Per this recent publication from the Citizen’s Utility Board….even Direct Energy who we are moving away from would have been cheaper!


  20. SIE says:

    I started making some calls today, the first being to Direct Energy.

    If I understood correct the first step would be to opt out of Constellation by Sept. 3. Direct Energy said they can’t take a new sign up from Elgin until after Sept. 30 and then there is a one or two billing cycle wait so we will be stuck with ComEds rate for a couple of bills. They did seem a bit unsure so if anyone gets different info pass it along.

  21. SIE says:

    @Margaret It’s convenient how you can go on about an issue for days, weeks or months but to this you say “I’m done with you on this”. Everyone else please keep this in mind when she goes on her long diatribes.

    You are done but I will continue. Yes I know I can opt out of the new agreement, and I will. But why did my city not negotiate a better contract? They could have and should have. Other cities did. Because I was on their previous contract (a pretty good one BTW so two years ago someone understood what to do)I am now stuck with dealing with current rates which while better than what the city is offering are not as good as I should have been able to get had Elgin done a better job.

    You opted out two years ago (that deal was pretty good so hopefully you did better) so are you able to get a better deal now because of that? Gavin could. But myself and thousands of others in the city can’t. Why don’t you share what kind of deals you have found?

    Complain to the City Manager? Have you ever tried to contact him? You only can speak to the pit bull of an admin assistant. He does not return calls or emails. At least in my experience. I said that I contacted all the councilmembers and Mayor about this. Three wrote back. Three out of nine. 33%. Even negative Nelly (guess who?) didn’t respond. That’s some responsiveness by my elected officials to a citizen’s concerns, huh? It’s pathetic, but typical.

  22. Cruex says:

    Attention ADV, the river boat casino is not going anywhere until there are many more casino licenses available in Illinois. The owners of the license can give it back to the state if they do not like the conditions of having it and the money it makes for them but someone else will gladly apply for it tenfold. If the Pritzkers don’t like it in Elgin, give the license back! Another millionaire will take it and the millions that goes with it.

    • ADV says:

      The revenue is way down and there’s talk of a mega casino opening in Chicago. The casino could fall a lot further

  23. Cruex says:


    I was going to go to the downtown library today with my nephew. But I won’t now. Thank you very much.
    Now I have to drive to the Rakow branch. International Fest? I don’t think so either.

  24. SIE says:

    Received my letter from ComEd today regarding aggregation. A bit confusing since it says that my electric supplier is being changed to ComEd. As I understand it if I do nothing I will be changed to the cities new aggregation supplier, Constellation. Not ComEd.

    ComEd goes on to say that I can’t return to my previous supplier, meaning Direct Energy.

    Considering that ComEd’s rate from Oct-May will be 7.42 cents per kWh I seen no reason to utilize the cities aggregation plan, which has a cost of 7.71 cents.

    According to the letter received from Constellation one must call 800-718-1493 before Sept. 3 to opt out. I would advise everyone to do this now. Then you can choose an alternate supplier of your own or stay with ComEd. Both options will be cheaper than what the city has negotiated.

    • still concerned says:

      Not sure why we are forbidden to self select Direct Energy, perhaps something in the rules of the game? However, individuals can do better be self selecting…(see link)but you need to be careful about variable rates, terms and exit fees. Still think Elgin was asleep at the wheel when they made the deal with Constellation.


      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Still Concerned: As I recall the council discussion and presentations at the time, it was supposed that the City, representing such a huge block of consumers, would ultimately be able to swing a better deal than individuals could negotiate on their own. Well, it doesn’t look like that happened this time around……… Chuck

        • SIE says:

          They blew it, plain and simple. They used the advisor/advocate/lobbyist or whoever he was and he brought a lousy deal. Despite the long discussion they approved it without really knowing what they were doing. The fact that 6 out of 9 refused to even respond to my questions about it speaks volumes.

          When podunk towns can do better than one of the largest suburbs, something is wrong…with Elgin and its leaders.

  25. Margaret Miller says:

    Anyone have thoughts on this?

    License plate scanners allow Elgin police officers to fight crime from their cars

    ELGIN — There used to be a time when, if an officer needed to run the plates on a traffic stop, he had to radio dispatch, read the plate number, and wait for a response.

    With advances in cameras and technology, however, now officers can let their squad cars run plates.

    Three Elgin Police Department vehicles are fitting with a License Plate Recognition System. The system scans the license plates around it as the officer is driving, looking for stolen vehicles, suspended plates, or other infractions tied to a vehicles tags.

    The Elgin Police Department purchased, with city council approval, it’s first LPR — license plate recognition — system about a year ago, said Deputy Chief Bill Wolf. The units run $18,000 each. The third unit was purchased recently and should be on the street soon.

    The units include four cameras mounted on the police SUVs roof. Those cameras relay the license plate information to a laptop screen in the car and to the state computers that provide license plate data. The LPR can alert the officer immediately if the plates are connected to a crime, or store the plate information for a later date.

    Officer Jim Phillos, an officer on the afternoon patrol shift, has been driving one of the EPD’s SUVs with the equipment attached for nearly a year.

    While everyone on patrol has been trained to use the equipment, his seniority allowed him to chose the vehicle, Phillos said.

    Each shift has at least one of the specially equipped cars, he said.

    The license plate recognition scanner is not new technology, said Wolf. O’Hare Airport has the technology, and it is not that different from the technology that reads license plates at tollbooths.

    There are also private companies with similar devices, he said.

    “There are tons of private companies with vehicles with LPR that drive around communities around the country. They are separate from police. They contract with banks for repos on vehicles, or are used by data collection agencies,” Wolf said.

    It isn’t that different from walking into a store and being on video. Instead, the car license plate is on video.

    For Elgin police, the plate readers serve two purposes.

    “The street level, front end purpose, is that as the officer is driving around, the four cameras are looking in all directions. It looks at license plate and digitizes the number, runs through the system, and looks to see if there is any negative information about it,” Wolf said.

    That can include whether or not a car is stolen, if the plates have been reported stolen, or if the plates are suspended or revoked for any reason.

    Recently, the plate reader caught a vehicle as reported stolen. After investigation, however, officers determined that the car had been reported stolen but that after it was returned, the owner didn’t notify his local police department that he’d gotten it back.

    The plate readers also allow officers to quickly scan a parking area if they are looking for suspects.

    “It could take an officer a half-hour to run every plate in a [parking] complex. The reader runs every single plate in the lot in a matter of minutes,” he said.

    The scanner has been used extensively at a hotel where many police calls were being generated to, Wolf said. Since Elgin police officers began scanning that lot for problem plates, the calls there have dropped, Wolf said.

    When Phillos got into his car for a recent afternoon shift, he could pull up the previous day’s license plates and see if any hits were made. One plate came back as being reported stolen, he said.

    The data is saved for six months, Wolf said. That was at the police department’s request. The default is the data can be saved forever.

    Overall, the plate reader has seemed to help lower crime in some high-crime areas as police are more aware who is parked there, Wolf said.

    “It may have accounted for a couple of arrests. Is a part of a combination of efforts, like everything that we do for a reduction in crime,” he said.


    • SIE says:

      Perfectly fine in my opinion. Cops “run” plates. That’s what they do. This gets it done faster.

      The cost is high but at least it isn’t a $50K floor or some of the other useless things this city has spent money on.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        SIE, I agree with you. I have gone along with the EPD on night patrols over the years, and “running plates” seems to be a pretty common activity. Well, if texting and driving is not safe, I’d certainly rather have the officer’s attention focused on his driving and surveillance instead of “running plates”. Chuck

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          PS: My supporting comments seem ambiguous upon re-reading…. I support the automated plate reading system, with the belief that automating this standard procedure will allow the patrol officers to provide a better focus on their driving. Chuck

  26. James Madison says:

    @Margaret Miller…many concerns about privacy…why do Republicons applaud the use of police technology and then promptly decry the collection of information as privacy intrusion…(no big goven’ment, but okay if you want to have four cameras scanning from cruisers?)

    • paul says:

      What Republicans applaud? What Police technology? What republicans decry? Other than that you might possibly have got something else right. Spoken like a true dumorat, Jimmy.

  27. Margaret Miller says:


    First, if you think I’m a Republican nor a Libertarian, I will correct you as I consider myself a Conservative and a Constitutionalist.

    With that said, I have great concerns about this and privacy issues, which I voiced last year at a Task Force meeting on Gang Tagging. When I asked about RFID plates, one of the officers in attendance did not comment. My thoughts at the time were this officer knew what I was referring too and did not want to open up that discussion. This can be corroborated, as I was there with a friend.

    I also have a problem with black boxes on cars, red light cameras, cell phone, land line phone, email data collection and high technology public surveillance under the guise of safety. I would rather take my chances, the odds are much better. The TSA scanners, even the improved ones have recently been reported and usless due to all kinds of weaponry getting pas, yet they search a two year old, a Veteran and a ninety year old grandmonther. We take off our shoes, subject ourselves to a rectal exam for opting out of radiation blasts and NOT ONE attack has been thwarted due to the measures.

    The idea is to keep the population in fear and chaos. Seems to be working because anything goes now a days for the sake of security.

    • paul says:

      “The idea is to keep the population in fear and chaos. ”

      Very weird. The same people keeping you in “fear and chaos” (apparently it is working) are the very same people you were calling heroes in a discussion with me a few months ago, while I was calling them grossly overpaid unionized government workers leading the State and local municipalities toward bankruptcy. It isn’t their security tactics keeping me in fear and chaos. See Detroit if you really want to see actual fear and chaos resulting from actual municipal bankruptcy stemming from actual over-paid government employees including police and fire personnel.

      • Margaret Miller says:


        I don’t know if I ever defended high paid pensioned core services but I will check back a few months. I did defend their choice of job, said I’m happy they’re here and congratulated them, at least at the time, for becoming leaders on the commission. This has recently been taken away if I recall correctly.

        As far as fear + chaos, this comment was meant towards the controlling powers much higher ranking than local departments. I believe the TSA was one of the examples provided. Its not difficult to see what other departments are involved at a higher level.

        As far as Detroit goes, yes pensions had a hand in that city’s demise however, it could be their elected officials, Democrat, have been running that entire state for many years. The Mayor, I believe was recently sent to prison but many others have to be sent there before they catch up to Illinois’ number of elected officials in prison. They also have/had an overwhelming population on entitlement programs that could be considered a part of their disintegration.

        Police and Fire can be and are hero’s. Over paid and pensioned.

        Active service personnel, hero’s too. Underpaid, VA abused and forgotten.

        The difference, one government run the other union run.

        Taxpayer’s pay for both.

        Could the answer be to privatize these local core services? This way we have input on how is hired, fired and salaries. Non-pensioned, equal salary for equal risk.

        We could do this with Police, Fire and Public Works. Many communities around the country do but in Illinois, not sure if it’s possible at this point. The unions have gone too far with our permission. I would also include teachers in this taxpayer abuse, remembering it’s always, for the children.

        Let’s just not allow our security be Blackwater!

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Are members of Congress overpaid? You decide

        Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com) Thursday, August 28, 2014

        The current salary for members of Congress is more than three times the median family income – and that doesn’t include another $80K tossed in each year toward a pension.

        According to a 2008 Congressional Resource Service report [PDF], members of Congress in 1789 were paid a per diem rate of $6. The first major increase (to $3,000/year) came about 65 years later. By 1925 those salaries had climbed to $10,000 per year – and by 1990, to almost $100,000 annually. Today, according to David Williams of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), the base salary for Congress is $174,000 a year.

        “The median family income is $55,000 a year,” he notes. “So you can see the huge disparity between members of Congress, who get nothing done, and the real working men and women of this country, who get everything done.”

        Taking into account benefits such as pension, healthcare, and vacation time, Williams says members of Congress make about $286,000 a year.

        “You only have to serve a few terms before you get your pension. What happens is on top of the $174,000, $82,000 is put in towards your pension,” he explains. “So this is money that taxpayers are paying for – and that’s why the $286,000 number is so big, because the pension is a huge chunk of that.”

        Earlier this year, retiring Congressman Jim Moran (D-Virginia) told CQ Roll Call that members of Congress are underpaid, saying they have to pay for housing in Washington plus their home districts. Moran went on to say that he understands “that it is widely felt they underperform, but the fact is that this is the board of directors for the largest economic entity in the world.”

        Williams says that’s easy for Moran to say, given that he’s retiring and doesn’t have to worry about the political blowback.

        - See more at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/politics-govt/2014/08/28/are-members-of-congress-overpaid-you-decide#.VAUgjs_cxX4

  28. James Madison says:

    @MM, I completely agree with your sentiments re: use of terror threat to reduce personal liberties.

    • Margaret Miller says:


      Will you also take me out of your thinking that I and a Republicon?

      We agree on this and Charter School, scarry!

      • James Madison says:

        @MM, I was just asking an obvious question concerning Republicons. I apologize if I hurt your delicate sensibilities. Repudiating that group of politicians is salve for your soul. Congrats for not aligning yourself with a party whose only aim is the destruction of democracy for the benefit of capitalism and capitalist. Congratulations that we have found two areas of agreement. I bet there are many more. Cubs or Sox? Soda? Pop? Potaato? Potahto?

        • Margaret Miller says:


          Perhaps more insight is required. As I do not claim to be a Republican, I do not agree with you that it’s the Republican party that’s killing democracy, just the opposite.

          I’m a free market capitalist gal but need to remind you that the current administration, this State and our local government, are run by liberal/progressives that are, but not exclusively, propping up Wall Street, offering bail outs, investing trillions in unproven alternative energy schemes, cash for clunkers, pushing wars, telling us what foods we can eat and how much, destroying entire industries (steel, auto, coal and manufacturing) and who actually think a bigger government is the answer to all life’s problems.

          The role of government, in my opinion, should not act as a person’s parent, especially when that person is an adult. They should take care of security (borders + ports, military) independent persons running the FDA or CDC who don’t cover up public safety data and are not former employees of major food industry companies or big pharma. No, I have not forgotten about the over reaching, control from the USDA, OSHA and EPA that cause more problems to businesses with so much regulation that businesses drown in paperwork. They should taking care of our infrastructure, lower the tax rate to all and encourage businesses to come back to their American roots. I don’t want or appreciate large companies (GE) going off shore and paying no tax because of their size, contribution or who they know in this term or any term.

          I want them to stop foreign aid to hostile countries and I want a stronger relationship with our allies. Most importantly, they should be the stewards of maintaining the Constitution instead of bending it, breaking it or ignoring it altogether through Executive Orders.

          By no means do I think either party has a monopoly on how to best handle any issue, program or department. I’m just pointing out who has been running the country, this State and this local government for years and look what has become of us in all three.

          Tax and spend, chasing grant money that has legacy costs, build this bike path, pay for that charter school, bail out the ESO, special interest, corporate welfare, patronage, unfunded pensions, prevailing wages, not business friendly.

          I don’t have all the answers. I do know that what we’re doing is not working and has not worked for over twenty years and frankly, I blame both sides.

          Thanks for letting me rant. I had dinner downtown tonight and guess what, The Reverend Jackson showed up. Maybe that’s what got me riled up for this post. Thanks for listening and perhaps more later. Its getting late.

    • paul says:

      “use of terror threat to reduce personal liberties.”

      Please, tell us, Jimmy. What personal liberties has Jimmy lost?

      On the plus side you are consistent, Jimmy. Consistently wrong, like a true dumorat.

      • James Madison says:

        @Paulie, dummy up bubba:

        (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday grilled an Obama administration lawyer about the legality of the continuing collection of millions of Americans’ phone records, adding fuel to a debate that has raged since the spy program was revealed more than a year ago.

        The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York was the first appellate court to hear arguments on whether the National Security Agency (NSA) program is lawful, in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenging the gathering of so-called metadata.

        Judge Gerard Lynch, one of three judges who heard the arguments, said it was “hard for me to imagine” Congress had envisioned such a sweeping effort when it passed an expansion of anti-terrorism powers known as the Patriot Act after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

        Stuart Delery, a lawyer for the Justice Department, told Lynch in response that Congress was fully informed when it voted to reauthorize the Patriot Act twice.

        The two other judges, Robert Sack and Vernon Broderick, also expressed skepticism about the program’s legality, although it can be difficult to infer judges’ eventual rulings from questions at oral argument. The panel could take several months to issue a decision.

        In December, U.S. District Judge William Pauley of New York ruled against the ACLU, saying the program could prevent future attacks.

        Pauley’s ruling departed from an earlier decision by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, who said the “Orwellian” program likely violated the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment prohibition against warrantless searches.

        An appeals court in Washington is scheduled to take up that case on Nov. 4, raising the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually be asked to resolve the issue.

        The spy program, which the government says is permitted under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, records phone numbers dialed as well as the time and duration of calls. Intelligence agents use the data to track a suspect’s contacts, according to the government.

        Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks revealed the program in June 2013, prompting an outcry from privacy advocates. In response, President Barack Obama has called on Congress to impose limits. Proposed legislation has not yet gone to a vote.

        Alex Abdo, an ACLU lawyer, told the court the government’s position represented a “road map to a world in which the government routinely collects vast quantities of information about Americans who have done absolutely nothing wrong.”

        “I don’t think that’s the world that Congress envisioned when it enacted Section 215, and it’s certainly not the world that the framers envisioned when they crafted the Fourth Amendment,” he said.

        Lynch appeared sympathetic to that argument, saying the government’s logic would likely allow the collection of bulk financial data and email records as well.

        Delery emphasized the program had been vetted by all three branches of the government: Congress, the Obama administration and the specialized court in Washington that handles intelligence requests.

  29. wombat says:

    The city must be looking for more money - for the third time this summer that I know of (twice within the past week alone), the cops have been playing around with traffic lights and forcing everyone to stop just so they can catch people who aren’t wearing seat belts.

    So nice to know that all other crimes are a non-issue (which can be verified with the real-time crime map that One Vote posted in the July thread), freeing the cops to address the dangerous threat that non-wearers of seat belts pose to the citizenry.

    Sheesh. Can’t wait to move out of this town.

    • Margaret Miller says:


      They may be saying they’re checking for seat belts but they could be gather license plate data already via the plate RFID and their cameras.

      Think about it.

    • SIE says:

      Many towns do safety checks. Maybe you should check with the police for wherever you plan to move.

      As for the crimereports site. What you see are calls/reports. It doesn’t necessarily mean something actually occurred. Although most do have some validity.

      • wombat says:

        “Safety check” sounds so nice and benign. Stopping and frisking all people who can’t produce a concealed carry permit would also fall under the heading “safety check,” but that doesn’t legitimize it.

        I realize the crime report site includes calls. That’s all right - there are plenty of registered perverts and actual incidents such as thefts and the like, which are disturbing enough. Elgin seems to have a lot more of these than her neighbors.

  30. Cruex says:

    Chickens now allowed in Elgin. Viva la Mexico!
    Thank you liberals. Here come the coyotes. When it gets cold will chicken lovers provide heated coops? No they wont. They will be brought inside homes. Viva la Mexico.

  31. One Vote says:

    About the tag scanners…
    There was a time when I would have supported the idea of automated enforcement, scanning your tags and storing the data. I thought, I’ve got nothing to hide. Go get the bad guys.
    But I’ve seen far too many unintended consequences of government programs.
    For example, mandatory social security cards for babies. Then they require them for school registration. I suppose it was to help us detect illegal aliens and deport them. But we now know that OUR kids must supply the SSN but illegal aliens don’t. So, what’s the point? All it does is expose our own kids to ID theft.
    So, I’m with Margaret. If the government is going to screw things up and create loopholes for the crook, I’d prefer they NOT scan my plates.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      One Vote:

      Thanks for your support however, you may have missed my point/s.

      Back in the 60’s when child SSN were mandatory, I don’t believe it was to show citizenship or non-citizenship. It was for taxing purposes and to get everyone on the grid. That was my understanding.

      As I agree the equal application of the regulation to show SSN to register at school have not been administered fairly or properly, in my opinion, I believe it pales as a comparison to what I consider my larger points and issues.

      As a parent of a school aged child, I would be more concerned about the regulation of vaccination and the possible/proven damaging effects they have. (MMR, keep your ears open for the latest cover up from the CDC on this and the fact that the CDC hold the patent on the ebola virus. What that shows, at least to me is that this virus was laboratory made and perhaps remedied by another vaccine as a possible cure.)

      Some of the other entanglements in the push for control is the smart meter grid and electronic appliances that have a similar chip as all other tracking or ID devices, that can be controlled, not by you but by others who want to control citizen activity.

      So, with all there is to be outraged about, the three biggest thing happening in Elgin is chickens, medical marijuana and aggregation.

      Perhaps socially engaged in the trivial and blind, deaf and complacent to the treats of our rights and freedoms.

      Again, one gal’s opinion.

      • One Vote says:

        Actually, the SSN used to be issued when you applied for your first job. Then in the mid80s they required it as ID when a child started school. A couple of years later they started issuing them at birth. The hospital helped with the application.
        Not coincidentally, that was the same time workers were required to trot down to the personnel office to show ID and fill out an I-9 form. It was a joke because people who had been on the job 25 years at the same company still had to fill out the paperwork.
        It was all part of the control associated with the Reagan amnesty. See how that worked out for us?
        And that’s my point; we comply and get trampled on by our government anyway while the bad guys work the loopholes.
        A law-abiding citizen’s privacy means nothing to these people.

        • Margaret Miller says:

          This will help you as source material in the future.

          Changes in Social Security card evidence requirements, 1936–2008
          Date Evidence requirements

          November 1936 SSNs are assigned based on the applicant’s allegations.

          November 1971 Evidence of identity required of applicants aged 55 or older for original SSNs.

          October 1972 Evidence required establishing age, true identity, and citizenship or alien status of SSN applicants.
          April 1974 Evidence required establishing age, identity, and citizenship or alien status of U.S.-born applicants aged 18 or older for original SSNs and all foreign-born applicants for original SSNs.

          May 1978 All applicants are required to provide evidence of:
          Age, identity, and U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status for original SSNs; and
          Identity for replacement cards.
          In-person interviews are required for individuals aged 18 or older applying for original or new SSNs.
          An individual signing the SS-5 on behalf of another (for example, a parent for his or her child) must establish his or her own identity.

          May 1987–May 1988 Aliens living in the United States since before 1982 are offered lawful temporary resident status. Because many aliens were unable to submit the proper identity documents, SSA accepted Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) documents as proof of identity.

          January 1996 A “valid nonwork reason” for an alien to have an SSN is defined as a federal, state, or local statute or regulation requiring an individual to have an SSN in order to obtain a benefit or service.

          June 2002 SSA begins verifying birth records for all U.S.-born individuals aged 1 or older when requesting an original SSN or when changing the date of birth on the Numident record.

          September 2002 SSA begins verifying all immigration documents for all aliens requesting original or new SSNs, or replacement cards.

          October 2003 In-person interviews are required of all applicants aged 12 or older applying for original SSNs.
          Evidence of identity is required of all applicants regardless of age.
          A valid nonwork reason is defined as a federal statute requiring an SSN to receive a benefit or a state/local statute requiring an SSN to receive a public assistance benefit. (SSNs are no longer assigned for the sole purpose of obtaining a driver’s license.)

          October 2004 Foreign students who do not have an employment authorization document from the DHS and are not authorized for curricular practical training (CPT) as shown on the student’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status, will no longer be presumed to have authority to work without additional evidence. Before SSA will assign an SSN that is valid for work in such cases, the F-1 student must provide evidence that he or she has been authorized by the school to work and has secured employment.

          December 2005 IRTPA of 2004 changes evidence requirements for SSN applications and sets limits on the number of replacement cards an individual may receive:
          SSA verifies birth records for all U.S.-born individuals requesting an original SSN (except for those who obtain an original SSN through the EAB process). Additionally, SSA verifies birth records for U.S.-born applicants (nonclaimants) who want to change the date of birth on the Numident.
          Applicants for replacement cards beyond the 3-card yearly or 10-card lifetime limits need to provide evidence to establish that a valid exception to the limits applies.
          Acceptable evidence of identity is revised; there are new guidelines for evaluating these documents and their acceptability for SSA purposes. In addition, the evidence of identity must show the applicant’s legal name. In name change situations, the applicant must submit the document that shows the name change event.

          February 2008 Domestic birth records are no longer verified with the custodian of the record unless the document appears to have been modified or is questionable. (Change is based on study results). For foreign-born individuals requesting a change to the Numident date of birth, SSA continues to verify with DHS any immigration document presented as evidence.

      • wombat says:

        Good points, except the mandatory SSN was not in the 60s, but years later. I didn’t register for mine until I got my first “real” job after I graduated high school. But the pretext for imposing SSNs on kids (in the 80s or 90s, I believe) was to cut down on tax fraud and claiming kids that weren’t one’s own (ostensibly this was going on with divorced couples double dipping on claiming the dependents, iIrc).

        Interestingly enough, the SSN was not supposed to be used as a general ID, and my first card even had words to that effect. Ha - that didn’t last long.

        • Margaret Miller says:


          I remember getting mine in my family’s mail and it was the 60″s. How I know this is that my parents were still married and I just learned to write cursive. I still have the original.

          • wombat says:

            I don’t doubt you received yours in the 60s, but at that time it was voluntary for minors. The compulsion for minors did not occur until years later.

            I never bothered to get one until I started working - my first summer job after graduating high school. What would have been the point of getting it earlier? So I didn’t get it until it was necessary.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      The Social Security number (SSN) was created in 1936 for the sole purpose of tracking the earnings histories of U.S. workers, for use in determining Social Security benefit entitlement and computing benefit levels. Since then, use of the SSN has expanded substantially. Today the SSN may be the most commonly used numbering system in the United States. As of December 2008, the Social Security Administration (SSA) had issued over 450 million original SSNs, and nearly every legal resident of the United States had one. The SSN’s very universality has led to its adoption throughout government and the private sector as a chief means of identifying and gathering information about an individual.

      How did the SSN come to be, and why has it become an unofficial national identifier? This article explores the history and meaning of the SSN and the Social Security card, along with SSA’s SSN master data file, generally known as the Numident. The article also traces how use of the SSN has expanded since its introduction and the steps SSA has taken to enhance the integrity of the SSN process.


      • One Vote says:

        Nice source, our own government.
        Could it be the SSN is a step in the direction of a national ID card? Naw. Our government says it ain’t so.

        • wombat says:

          Watch not what they say, but what they do.

          That, and be suspicious. You’ll live longer that way ~

        • wombat says:

          From an old (my grandmother’s - probably sometime after 1946, I suspect) Social Security card. I’ve edited only the personal info, for obvious reasons:

          Social Security Act
          Account Number
          has been established for
          XXX XXX XXX
          Worker’s signature____________________
          For Social Security Purposes * Not For Identification

          (note in particular that last bit)

          Creating a numbering scheme and applying it first to all workers and then to all citizens / residents in general and not expecting it to play the role of a national ID at some point is like plopping a kid in front of an ice cream store and instructing him not to think about ice cream. Uh-huh, right.

  32. Cruex says:

    In the courier news is a story about Mr. Torres and his going away reception. There are more kids in the u46 mariachi band than those who came to see him off. Goodbye Senor Torres, go destroy another school with your ESL and your social justice prejudices.

  33. RS says:

    OK, folks, let’s move the discussion to the September open thread. And try to keep to the Elgin theme.