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November open thread

1 November 2014 Elgin Illinois 247 Comments

First United Methodist Church First United Methodist Church (Photo by The Elginite).

Elections are here! What a great month for an open thread!

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247 Responses to “November open thread”

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  1. RS says:

    Chuck made another cartoon!

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      New Topic:

      At Wednesday’s Committee of the Whole (11/5/14), item F, Councilman Gavin made a motion requesting information on the “Bidder’s Employee Utilization Form”. I think was related to the previous council session’s discussion on the Affirmative Action Form that was connected to the Waste Management contract.

      In any event, it looked like Councilman Gavin was simply asking for information, and the council voted 6 to 3 to table a request for information. Councilman Dunne said that he wouldn’t vote for anything that had no materials provided in advance of the session. But what information needs to be supplied in advance to simply vote to supply information? Why would councilmembers who all publicly say they are for transparency, vote to table a request for information?

      I was, and am confused. Was this request for information by Councilman Gavin the tip of a hidden iceberg that the liberal majority wanted to keep hidden?

      Does anybody have any clues as to what this was all about? Please let us know. Thanks, Chuck

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Thanks for your post Chuck.?
        ?
        Finally someone mentioned this disgraceful Council majority behavior!?

        As I watched online Wednesday, I did a double take as to how fast the majority members voted to table Councilman Gavin’s motion for simple information on this issue.

        What are they hiding and/or who do you think they are protecting??

        I thought Mayor Dave Kaptain ran on transparency in government. All evidence to the contrary.

        What do the majority members have to lose with just a request for additional information and public clarification? ?

        Maybe we’ll find out it’s their Council seat/s.?
        ?

  2. Chuck Keysor says:

    Thank you RS!

    Now, if you will notice, I left a small empty area on the grass above my name. I was going to put a little image of Jeff Meyer standing there, thinking: “Gee, its getting kind of cloudy. I think we may have a cloud burst on Election Day!” But then I thought:
    A) it is too late! (it was around 2am…) I have to quit…
    B)if I leave that hole in the image, I can ask the readers how they might have filled in that spot!

    Thanks, Chuck

  3. Chuck Keysor says:

    We often have discussions about Code here on the Elginite. Well here is something that involved me and Code that happened just yesterday and today.

    I made 3 signs that said Jeff Meyer had been endorsed by the Daily Herald And the Chicago Tribune. Then below that, I asked people to vote for Jeff. These signs are 4 feet by 8 feet, and placed in high traffic spots. But Code called yesterday and said that my big sign on State and Lawrence had to be moved back about 3 inches! So we had to go out last night in the cold and move the sign back behind the orange line that Code had marked on the grass.

    Because of the steep hill, moving my sign back, raised it up enough to block the sign for Larry Kaifesh. (Which is why we had to place my big sign where we did in the first place….) So I went back today, to move Larry Kaifesh’s sign farther up the hill, so that it would be fully visible. And, because there were lots of low hanging branches and brush, I had to cut out lots of low hanging branches, and clear out brush, BEFORE I could move Larry Kaifesh’s sign! And then when that was done, I drove in some pieces of pipe to mark where the limit line is,,,,,,,,,

    So, Code was very nice about it, and I have no complaints there. But this shows that not only can code be used as a weapon between warring neighbors, it can also be used against political rivals….

    Chuck

  4. bw says:

    Great job Chuck how true it is about Anna Moeller.

  5. SIE says:

    Reading all the posts about Jeff Meyer and what he has done with OCTAVE, etc. made me wonder if he wouldn’t be better utilized as a Elgin city council member?

    Assuming he wins does OCTAVE have other candidates they plan to support next year?

    Or assuming he loses does he plan to run for city council?

    While state government is important I would rather have someone like him where he could have the greatest immediate impact, and that would be in local government.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      SIE, I write about what Jeff Meyer has done with the Elgin OCTAVE, because that is how I know him. So perhaps in this forum, that makes it look like all he does is Elgin politicking.

      However, Jeff is very involved with lots of other political people doing lots of things of which I don’t even know. I have never been interested in statewide politics, other than to be dismayed by it. So I don’t talk to Jeff about those issues. I have a feeling that those other circles Jeff moves in, don’t bother with the Elginite, as they are concerned with statewide issues, or matters in Springfield.

      One of the unwritten objectives that Craig Mason and I had when we started the Elgin OCTAVE, was to get to work with people who might be running for council, and get to use our contact as a way to get to really learn first hand who is a go-getter, and who is a slug. There is nothing like working with someone to get to know what they are really made of, instead of trying to gauge someone at the last minute based upon a few candidate forums and newspaper interviews. But in the case of Jeff Meyer, well, that contact has served well in sizing the man up, which is why I can so enthusiastically support him.

      However, I would expect that my personal/local experience with Jeff can safely be translated to indicate that his general capabilities should not be limited to the little realm of Elgin.

      Thanks, Chuck

      • SIE says:

        To make changes statewide will be pretty difficult, for anyone. To have those changes, if they ever do occur, be meaningful to me or other Elgin residents is even less likely.

        Changes made on the local level will have an immediate impact. If Mr. Meyer doesn’t win this race I hope he considers “the little realm of Elgin” for his talents.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          SIE:
          I guess anyone could be dissuaded from running for statewide office if they looked at how big the challenge would be to making a difference. But on the other hand, should their be a change in the governorship, and a concerted effort to shake things up in Springfield, I am sure Jeff would be eager to jump in and help in affecting change.

          While the chances for affecting change in Springfield are much more remote compared to here in Elgin, the magnitude of what needs to be changed is enormous compared to Elgin. Such a challenge just seems to attract some people! Chuck

  6. RS says:

    Here’s an interesting article on the Illinois legislative races:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-illinois-legislature-election-met-20141031-story.html#page=1

    For Rauner and GOP, magic number in Illinois House is 1

    Those closely following the legislative races indicated that Madigan’s worst-case scenario is he loses about a half-dozen seats to the Republicans. That result would still leave the speaker with a firm grip on the gavel. On the Republican side, Durkin’s worst-case scenario is where he doesn’t make the net gain of one seat necessary to help Rauner avoid a legislature where Democrats are more easily able to override his vetoes if he becomes governor.

    It does look like party leaders have no interest in the Elgin race, for whatever reason (I have to assume they have done their own polling). They’ve got a downstate house race that is approaching $3M in spend, and here in Elgin they’re spending nothing.

    If Meyer is going to win he needs to do better than Munson did by about 1000 votes. It’s doable but requires considerable effort, organization and resources. And I would have to say it looks too late for that.

    I don’t mean to poop on anybody’s parade, but I’m guessing Moeller will win by a comfortable thousand-vote margin.

    • RS says:

      Well I was wrong. The margin was closer to 3000 votes. Which is probably the largest deficit on record for a Republican running for this district seat. This probably means nobody will step forward in the future to be the sacrificial lamb.

      Well, good try anyway guys.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        I am of course sorry for how Jeff’s campaign turned out. At least there is positive compensation in the dumping of Quinn and the GOP retaining control of the US House and regaining control of the US Senate. Chuck

      • bw says:

        The GOP selected the wrong person to tun. They should have picked Rauschenberger he would have won. Who knew Jeff Meyer?

  7. bw says:

    what goes around comes…

  8. RS says:

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/2014/10/29/nightmare-chicago-streets-success-means-tweaks-2015-zombie-party/

    Nightmare on Chicago Street’s success means tweaks for 2015 zombie party

    With that being said, Keselica noted the event has grown from about 4,000 patrons the first year to an estimated 8,000 in 2013 to 12,500 this year.

    “We do need to relook at the entirety of the event’s operation, from real estate and staffing levels to gate management and overall budget,” Keselica — dubbed the event’s Commander of Mayhem — said.

    “Fred Wimms, the Nightmare on Chicago Street art director, said ‘We have officially moved from the minor leagues to the majors,’” Keselica said. “As exciting as that realization is, there is a lot of work ahead for the Zombie Defense Initiative team.”

    Wow, it looks like my “10,000 people” guess was a huge underestimate of the crowd!

    See pictures here:
    http://elginite.org/blog/2014/10/26/nightmare-on-chicago-street-2014-pictures/

    Attendance increased by more than 50% year-over-year, which is incredible. Of course, perfect weather had to do with it and we can’t always be assured of perfect weather but I’d say there’s a great chance of doing 15,000 people next year.

    I really have to say “Thank you!” and “Good job!” to the people who first came up with this idea, organized it and made it happen. You should get an Elgin Image Award. I think Nightmare has already become Elgin’s answer to Ribfest (Naperville), Scarecrow Festival (St. Charles), etc. We really didn’t have anything before, but now we have it, and I think it’s the best one, sincerely.

    I know not everybody supports this event, but it brings thousands of people to Downtown Elgin for a fun and exciting time. And Downtown Elgin looks beautiful at night, let’s admit it. When the lights are on and people are walking on the sidewalks, it’s a wonderful atmosphere. And as far as making people think positively about Elgin, it works. Indeed I briefly overheard a conversation where someone said they wanted to live downtown. That’s great. We have to keep this event going and bring other events like it (Electric Daisy Carnival) to Downtown Elgin.

  9. Chuck Keysor says:

    It was noted maybe a week ago that the State Appeals board turned down the Elgin Charter School’s request for a charter. This route to a charter was taken after U46 turned down the Charter School’s request for approval.

    I thought, hmmm that is odd,,,, Anna Moeller was a high profile person on the charter school’s board, and given that she has been a professional lobbyist, and given that as our State Representative, she should have some say on this issue, if not clout because the machine would want her to look good by scoring a win to brag about during her campaign, why did Anna fail in winning approval for the Elgin Charter School?????

    Well, I talked to somebody from City Hall tonight who explained it to me. He said “Chuck, Anna didn’t even advocate to the appeals board to approve the Elgin Charter School.” I expressed confusion. My source said, “Chuck, you don’t understand. The teacher’s union is totally opposed to the Elgin Charter School. Anna was told to back off by her bosses, who do the union’s bidding.” So, I of course expressed surprise.

    IF this is true, it would certainly be firm proof that Anna can do nothing more than the machine will allow her to do, even on matters for which she is a passionate advocate!!!!! VITAL POINT!!!!!

    It would be nice if Anna could address this question. Too bad I didn’t know about this before the ONE public forum that was held between Moeller and Meyer. Maybe that is part of why Anna refused all other invitations to appear publicly with Jeff. (SWAN and the Near West Neighbors Association both asked Jeff and Anna to appear, and in both cases, only Jeff showed up…….)

    But based upon how Anna answered the straight forward Courier question about how much money she was going to spend on her campaign, she probably would also have not given a straight answer on why she failed to get the Elgin Charter School approved by the State Appeals Board………..

    Really, why would anyone want to vote for Anna, unless they are Madigan Machine Zombies……. Chuck

    • RS says:

      http://couriernews.suntimes.com/2014/10/29/state-panel-rejects-elgin-charter-school-plan-urges-rewrite/

      ECSI’s Kerin Kelly said the state legislature created the commission to counteract the predisposition of local school districts to reject proposals for charter schools inside them. But she said that of the last 20 locally denied school planners who appealed to the commission before ECSI, the commission voted in favor of just one. She said one other appeal was denied and the backers of 18 others withdrew their proposal before any formal vote because they had been informed during a pre-hearing conference that the commission would vote them down.

      According to one of the charter commission’s own publications, it has received 38 appeals and has approved two of them.

      So there’s just a 5% rate of successful appeals. It appears that the state commission is either philosophically against charter schools or just wishes to defer to the local school boards on this issue. If I had to guess I would say they hate charter schools. It could be because they are all appointed by union-backed politicians (they were all nominated by Quinn and confirmed by the State Board of Education). It’s kind of like, you know, what do you expect?

      • bw says:

        RS

        The commission was just doing their job. Your way of thinking is the problem with Illinois. Always that someone has a motive. Your just another opinion without any merit. Illinois has way too many people like you. I praise the commission for doing what was right. Smarter people would have made a proper presentation. Better people are needed to draw an acceptable plan that will be approved. The present group are worthless in drafting a solid plan for a charter school that can get approved. Karen Schock, et al,have been around way too long.

        • RS says:

          thank you for the feedback, bw. i will add that to the ever-growing list of things that make me a horrible person.

  10. bw says:

    I get a bang out of you people who think Anna Moeller is a high power person. Ask why the Chicago Tribune and Daily Herald failed to endorse her. Was it because she failed to make an impression on the news media? Cone election she will find out how much power she has with the common man and woman. When I read THE BOSS by Len O’Connor,I see an Anna Moeller version of a member of the GA. the only big difference is that she will never wheel the power of the late Chicago Mayor who watch the Anna Moellers come and go without helping the state and the financial position as a contender for last place with the other 49 states who all score better then Illinois. Illinois will never get out of the status quo by electing people to the GA like Anna Moeller. They all fail in so many areas of running government that people can respect and not consider it corrupt, mismanaged, failing, and worse in the land.

  11. SIE says:

    Check, Please! is a restaurant review show on WTTW. On this week’s show they had a restaurant named Chef Amaury. The reviewers generally liked it. When we watch we try to guess the average price per person (food only). We guessed way low as the price was $45.

    Where was this restaurant? Downtown Chicago or River North or some other trendy neighborhood? Nope it was in Aurora. Just down the street from their riverboat. In conjunction with the review they mentioned the “renaissance” going on in Aurora.

    So what does Elgin have near its riverboat or in its downtown? Certainly nothing of this caliber. It is clear that Elgin is a city that can not and will not ever be able to have a vibrant downtown with restaurants, shopping, etc. that people want to patronize.

    Many cities on the Fox river, St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia, have had vibrant downtowns for many years. Now add Aurora to list. At one time I thought Elgin would have done better than Aurora when it came to revitalizing their downtown. Apparently not.

    • RS says:

      It seems like Aurora has been pulling ahead of us for years. They already have 60 miles of fiber and we can’t even get our downtown wired.

      http://www.auroradowntown.org/downtown-building-goes-onlight/

      Hites’ Downer Place building will be the first of many to connect to the fiber optic network in downtown [Aurora], Mervine said. In the coming years, the network will act as a significant economic development driver in the city, he said.

      “Making downtown buildings more attractive to businesses is a key part of that,” he said.
      The city’s fiber optic network began as a 43-mile ring in 2007. Today, that underground network encompasses 60 miles of fiber, Mervine said, with substantial capacity to expand over the next few years.

  12. bw says:

    I THINK for MYSELF, THEREFOR I can be an INDEPENDENT voter…..

  13. RS says:

    http://couriernews.suntimes.com/2014/11/03/new-downtown-elgin-restaurant-wants-sell-bottled-wine-wine-club/

    A new downtown Elgin restaurant is planning to open sometime later this month in the 13 Douglas Ave. space formerly occupied by Villa Verone.

    Downtown Neighborhood Association Executive Director Deirdre Higgins White said that the restaurant, called Solo, will feature American cuisine with global influences and have a rustic-type look.

    The restaurant’s owner also operates L’Eiffel Bistrot & Creperie which is located in The Atrium in South Barrington, White said.

    I wish they would just have a french menu. Elgin has long lacked that dining option.

    In any case, it’s good news, and best of luck to them.

    So you guys can look forward to the opening of two new restaurants in downtown very soon. The other one is Abe Froeman’s.

  14. bw says:

    We demand that the city council members who attended any non profit events, where us taxpayers pick up the tab, pay back the cost of the price of the ticket(s). From now on, for future events, pay their own way if they want to attend any such non profit function. If the council can attend by using taxpayer money, the same policy should apply too every citizen, in the community, who wishes too attend any and all such function. We consider this a wasted use of our money. We demand this policy be discontinued immediately. Poor judgment on the part of the manager, as usual, and any member of the city council who accepted any ticket to any function paid out of the $18,400 used as explained in the Elgin Herald today. That is shocking news as is must include every council member. The mayor was probably the leader in accepting misuse of taxpayer money to these events. How did they get this by Prigge, Gavin and Shaw?

    • RS says:

      http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141104/news/141109497/

      The total includes a $5,000 expense for sponsorship of Judson University’s World Leaders Forum, which included two tickets, but that is part of the city’s marketing efforts, Stegall said.

      Umm, whut?

      • bw says:

        What Aurora and Naperville have to do with Elgin? We have to worry about Elgin. Stop telling us what other governments are doing. We pay our taxes to Elgin. We expect our taxes to be used for proper expenses. Powell and Steffen attend these events for political reasons. It is called PR as a future election campaign. Next year is another city election cycle. These people will be circulating petitions in December. This is a good time too send Powell and Steffen into retirement. It is time for more conservative people to govern our community. Elgin has always been a conservative community;for some reason there was a change. We need to reverse those who get elected to the city council starting with the mayor followed by new council members who have served their term limit. We ask you seek new blood in the city council. Candidate’s will be out with petitions in December. Their name will be put on the ballot on filing their petitions with the city clerk. Get involved with solid conservative people who will be an asset on a new council. Let’s all work for a city council who knows how local government is suppose to operate. We will all see the benefits.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Hmm, who was that special guest at Judson? George Bush, Condi Rice or the man from Great Britain I think that was John Major.

        Funny how they would attend at the expense of the taxpayer when NONE of these guests have the same political leanings as Kaptain and Powell.

        • bw says:

          I told you their motive.

        • bw says:

          MM,

          How about running or mayor in 2015 so us seniors can survive on a fixed income. You are the most qualified for the position. We need a candidate who can beat Kaptain. He can be beat by a person with your knowledge of government.

        • bw says:

          MM,

          You have different political leanings then Kaptain how about a run for mayor in the 2015 city election. Us seniors need a person with a purpose in leading this community. The status quo is no longer acceptable. You understand government and would make an excellent candidate and can be the answer to many city problems. Give it some thought before you answer.

        • Hollyce Mack says:

          I did not know about the Elginite til recently. About this subject, I wrote very similar ideas on my face book page and got blasted by Mayor Kaptain and Tish Powell for giving our misinformation. I checked with all my sources and did my best to give a complete story, but to no avail, several people were against the whole idea that I was outraged. I am glad to see that someone else was as upset as I was.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Hello Holly. Please go to your Facebook page, and tell people about the Elginite. Thanks, Chuck

    • paul says:

      “How did they get this by Prigge, Gavin and Shaw?”

      DH made it clear: via the back door.
      The events used to be free for the city as a quid pro quid for taxpayer provided grants. When the city cut back on grants as a means of demonstrating some semblance of fiscal responsibility the city then resorted to their own little slush fund to pay for the freebies to the events.
      And excellent lesson in ethics. Powell and Dunne readily admit using the free dinners as a means of political campaigning.
      Kaptain’s response is the most hilarious; he concedes the possible ethics of the over-flowing sleaze pool but then dismisses the sleaze. >> Elgin Mayor David Kaptain said he believes his city’s practice is OK. “It’s a difference of opinion, but it’s a valid thing to raise,” he said.<<

      • still concerned says:

        Whilst the dollar amount is miniscule the intent is clear…politicing. I agree that if the tickets are not provided to the city for free, then whomever wishes to go should pay their own way. I also agree we need to assist Steffen and Powell to “retire” come the 2015 election.

  15. bw says:

    I will write Prigge,Gavin, and Shaw and seek their ideas on the position of mayor and electing at least two or three individuals that have the same political ideas that they have in the 2015 city elections. We need a 5-4 vote with the majority voting with them instead a 6-3 vote we see from the present council. Government must function with a purpose and answer the question why this issue is necessary for the community so that a benefit too the taxpayer is realized. If anyone reading my post would like to offer feedback please reply to my post.

  16. SIE says:

    No comments about the election results? Particularly the State Rep race? Kind of obvious the results weren’t what many here wanted.

    Like I said above, it would be good if Jeff Meyer turned his attention toward the Elgin city council. In doing my research I was impressed by his positions on many local issues.

    • RS says:

      Republicans need to focus on the constitutional amendment process and how to change the redistricting law.

      It’s fine for a state with a plurality of Democrats to have Democratic majorities, but it is not fine for them to use those majorities (and the subsequent power to control the redistricting process) to create permanent supermajorities.

      That’s a problem that should be dealt with before the next redistricting.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Now, how will fair redistricting ever take place with the Madigan Machine in control?

        Even if the GOP would have magically made a clean sweep, they probably would have redistricted to give themselves the advantage. It think that is now almost what any politician would do if given the opportunity.

        I wish someone could create an initiative to divide up the state in a neutral fashion. Such a system would not allow any fingers or slivers. All districts would have to be simple blocks. But how that would be done, or who would do it, I can’t even imagine.

        Chuck

    • RS says:

      Another thing for the amendment process is the pension problem. I’m tired of reading how pension reform violates the Illinois Constitution. But it’ll be years before another ballot question about a constitutional convention. So the amendment process I think is the only way forward.

      That’s what state Republicans should be working on.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        RS: I agree, someone should be championing pension reform, and neutral, geographically based redistricting. But with the Democratic machine with a lock on our state, how many people will you find like Jeff Meyer, who are willing to risk getting clobbered when the Democrat will get a gift of $150,000 from the Madigan machine for every $22,000 the Republican can scratch out from his friends?

        Whomever would champion the above issues would be clobbered by the left/Dem/union combine, and the majority of the stupid voters will stand back and applaud, because they are so thoroughly brainwashed or brain dead……

        Chuck

  17. Chuck Keysor says:

    Hey, I’m still too bummed out to comment! Chuck

    PS: Well, of course I am delighted that Quinn got the boot. I haven’t looked, maybe I am too bummed still, but to compare Meyer’s votes to Rauner’s votes in the 43rd district…. Did Rauner do badly in Elgin, if so, Jeff doing badly would be less disappointing….. Maybe RS could check and see. That would spur some discussion.

    And of course nationally, I couldn’t be happier over how things went. Even Scott Walker winning was uplifting.

  18. bw says:

    Chuck,

    Who asked you to serve as spoke person for the so called group in finding candidates for mayor and city council? Read my post above that should tell you that I have an interest in seeing that the right people run in the 2015 election. I was a member of the Township GOP or 30 years never running into you doing anything for the community all during that time. Let the record show that there are others who have an agenda in seeing that the right people run and get elected that will find the right purpose for all stakeholders of city government.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      bw, as with so many things, I took the initiative to start the mayoral candidate search. I actually started this back when Noland was running against Tim Elenz in the Dem. primary for State Senate. I had emailed Steve Rauschenberger before that election, to ask him if he was interested in running for mayor….. he didn’t reply, which I took as a bad sign. At Tim Elenz’s election night party at the riverboat, I saw Steve, and so I went over to him and asked him why he hadn’t replied to my email, and if I should take that as a bad sign……… When he got done laughing, he said yes, take that as a bad sign! He said he loves what he does now, and he had no interest in running for mayor…..

      Before long, I had involved 5 other people, and a couple other people occasionally beyond that. I was the one reporting back to the others. We never even all met in one spot. I just went around talking to people and telling them what everyone else had said, and got people’s reactions.

      A couple of people in this informal group are VERY connected, and know lots more people than I do. So that helped a lot in reaching out to the people we targeted as being well known, responsible individuals that would be taken as legitimate candidates by the electorate.

      The Courier said we had contacted 1 former judge…… I haven’t watched video, and won’t, as who likes to watch themselves? Not me! But I did say, or meant to say, that THREE judges had been contacted. One had lost for re-election, and two were retired federal judges. None of them had any interest.

      Most universally the responses were, “It isn’t worth the bother.”

      Also, the contacting of the individuals was done by whomever knew that person the best. And for many of these people, it was by someone who has no public connection to me or the Elgin OCTAVE. We were NOT looking for an Elgin OCTAVE candidate. But we were looking for someone we thought would likely be a good mayor. So we were NOT looking for liberals. And no discussions even took place as to what strings would be attached, as there simply was no interest. But there would have been NO strings attached or conditions. This was an honest effort civic effort.

      Also I do have a meeting set up with someone for Sunday who is interested in running for Mayor, and that person is someone I had approached about this about a year ago, but he said no at that time. But it is too early to say yet until we can talk on Sunday.

      Chuck

      • bw says:

        CK,

        How about one of the three who are now council members? Shaw was interested in the position Anna Moeller got. Gavin or Prigge are ripe for the job. Did you ever approach them?

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          bw, believe me, EVERY obvious person was approached about running for mayor. After all the obvious names were exhausted, the real work started. Chuck

          • bw says:

            ck, the door has been opened so someone should step up who is interested in being Mayor. We shall see who is interested,a man or woman who want the right purpose for the community.

  19. bw says:

    Keysor,

    Do you lack the ? to reply to my post.

  20. Cruex says:

    We missed an opportunity to send a bad egg home by voting in Moeller. I will be counting the lies and the phoniness of independence. She is bought and sold and no one in Elgin should be proud of what happened. As far as the TLC right to lifers goes they look like fools now.

  21. Chuck Keysor says:

    Cruex, I agree.

    As I understand it, the TLC people were not fired up about Jeff Meyer, because he was not as pro-life in all cases without exception as they required. As a result, they preferred to sit back and not get involved since Jeff did not EXACTLY share their views. It is hard for me to understand it, but as Walter Cronkite used to say, “That’s the way it is,,,,” Chuck

    • RS says:

      Is there a reason to focus on the mayoral race? Considering that the mayor holds only marginally more power (he gets to hold a gavel), I don’t see why it should be treated differently from the other races.

      • bw says:

        rs, there will be several people interested in the council seats. Not the same for MAYOR.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          I agree with bw. There will be plenty of people running for council. (Now, finding GOOD council candidates is another matter….) But at least the voters are sure to have a large number of candidates to choose from to be on the council. Chuck

  22. bw says:

    ck, Kurt R. Kojzarek member of county board is interested in moving up in politics, he is the former Township Clerk. He might make a excellent candidate for Mayor if the right person talks to him.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      bw: Actually, Kurt’s name did come up in early discussion, and the person who knew him best felt he would not be interested, so we didn’t explore it with him.

      RS: It isn’t just about council votes. (Yes, the Mayor gets only one vote. But with the present council make up, any contested vote goes 6 to 3, so why should someone like me not hope to have a conservative mayor that may go with the minority, or make it so the conservative minority doesn’t have to pick up that many extra seats to become the majority?) The mayoral race generates lots more interest in the election. Because of that, the mayoral race gets added attention from the press. And the mayoral race, given the right candidates, and the right issues, can set the tone and issues for the entire council election. Further more, the Mayor is the representative for the entire city, which does give that position more value. AND, we also know that for example, in the last mayoral election, Schock wanted to turn Rt 20 into a tree lined boulevard, and to turn the cobble stone house at 302 W. Chicago Street into a “Leed Compliant/Certified” house, and to have the traffic circle at Summit Street. Kaptain was opposed to all of those issues. After Kaptain won, without any real discussion, the council voted to scrap all three of Schock’s favored programs. That clearly shows the added value in the Mayoral slot.

      Conversely, IF no one runs against Mayor Kaptain, that sends a huge message of apathy. Voter apathy is something we active voters are really upset with. So fighting against apathy from within the very election process itself seems only logical!

      Chuck

      • RS says:

        Speaking of the traffic circle, is that going to make a comeback? I noticed that the city purchased the cleaners recently. Was there a purpose to that other than to remove another property from the tax roll?

        Anyway, interesting points about the mayoral race. The thing is that all of us worked very hard and spent a lot of money to elect Kaptain [Picard]. I’m not convinced that he has to go, in the absence of a really good alternative. And putting up a bad or “just ok” candidate is not only pointless but will detract and distract and take resources away from winnable races.

        This is a fairly small city so there’s always going to be a dearth of good candidates for anything. I mean we have had some pretty weird people running for city council for example. So a lot of voters will look at Kaptain and say that’s a pretty safe bet. I don’t think anybody with an unknown name is going to defeat the incumbent in this case. There’s just not that much that you can run against. With Schock there was plenty of ammunition and it was easy to draw a contrast.

        I still like the mayor and think he can do a good job. Admittedly I haven’t followed Elgin politics closely in the last few years, but nothing stands out to me as a reason that he has to go.

        There are 4 council seats up for election in 2015. One is held by Toby Shaw. The remaining seats are held by Steffen, Powell and Martinez. It is possible to knock out Powell and Martinez. If you pick up two conservative seats there, the council will have Shaw, Prigge, Gavin and the two new people for a 5-person conservative majority.

        Now I’m not saying that would be a good thing or a bad thing, as I know some of you conservatives out there are extremists and don’t want to spend money on my pet projects. But I’m just saying that if you focus on unseating Powell and Martinez, you will go a lot further than if you spread yourself out too thin.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          RS:
          a)This is NOT an effort to dump Dave Kaptain! If someone runs against Kaptain, that I don’t think is as good as Dave Kaptain, then I will vote for Dave Kaptain. If someone comes along who I think is better in my eyes than Dave Kaptain, I will not vote for Dave Kaptain.

          b) Interestingly, while you are recalling big differences between Kaptain and Schock, during that election, Kaptain seemed to stress the fact that there were few differences between them, and that their voting records were almost identical. He said those things at a forum held at the VFW.

          c) We realized that some unqualified Joe Schmoe off the street wouldn’t stand a chance, so effectively, the voters would NOT be given a choice unless they were given a real, viable option. It is not a choice to say, vote for Dave Kaptain or Joe Schmoe.

          That is why we were looking for STRONG candidates, like former judges, former state senators, prominent attorneys, etc (For example, I talked to John Juergensmeyer about this over a year ago. He didn’t want to run for mayor, nor did the other attorney I talked to.)

          So if a candidate comes out of our efforts, it will be someone with strong credentials, as that is what it will take to have a candidate that can generate serious consideration and evaluation, thus intensifying the potential for real debate between the candidates, and stir real interest in the election.

          Chuck

          • RS says:

            I view it as a waste of effort/time/resources. If you want to win an election, focus on winning the election. It’s not going to happen because of debate. It’s going to happen because you got out there early and raised money. Money is the lifeblood of politics. If you don’t have it, you don’t get your message out. It’s very simple. I think Jeff Meyer learned that recently…

            Raise money, build a campaign organization, develop a strategy, etc. This is what it takes to win an election.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            RS, Ed Schock had a huge campaign war chest for his 2011 campaign. He had so much money, he was even able to pay for mailers for other candidates!

            Dave Kaptain ran on a shoe string, and I think, only sent out one mailer.

            This proves that the fundamental cornerstone of your argument is invalid.

            You are also looking at this in the entirely wrong way! Both Dave Kaptain and I agree that the City needs a public debate on our future course of action. You are advocating simply raising a pile of money and trying to buy an election, and doing nothing to stir debate and discussion.

            The mayoral contest is the best place for a discussion due to its added media attention and the small field of players. The council candidate races are more of a 15 ring circus with everyone fighting just to raise their profile above the crowd.

            My strategy is what it is! Chuck

          • RS says:

            The Kaptain organization was not the only one spending money on his behalf!

            In that race we went all in and it even got us a nice mention in Ed Schock’s valedictory speech. That was an abnormal race for that reason and you cannot use that race as an example. Craig and I put a lot of money into that race and spent it wisely (we purchased 2.4 million ad impressions, reaching 21,000 people, each person seeing our ads 100 times). That’s not going to happen again.

            I really think it would be a mistake to be distracted by a mayoral race. And by distracted I mean not only distracting oneself from achievable goals, but also distracting and confusing voters. Don’t overestimate the average voter. Don’t give them four names to remember when you can give them three. Don’t give them two races to follow when you can give them one.

            These are just basic principles that apply to any kind of undertaking. Keep it simple and focus, focus, focus.

      • RS says:

        And yes, it would make sense for Jeff Meyer to run, because he has the advantage of his name still being recognized from this last election. He can build on that more easily than any other new candidate running. And his campaign organization should be easy to revive for this race.

        If you get Jeff Meyer on board, you only need to worry about recruiting ONE other person. So I say just focus on that. Get it over with quickly and move on to actually winning the election rather than waste time trying to recruit a cornucopia of candidates. Forget about the mayoral race. Get Meyer on board and find ONE other person. That’s it.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          No one knows if Jeff even wants to run for council. The aftermath of a losing election can not be minimized.

          After Jeff lost his Kane County Board race two years ago, there was someone who begged Jeff to run for the council, and it simply made no difference. Jeff was still too swamped with his loss to Deborah Allan.

          So that ball is entirely in Jeff’s court at this time. I have no clue which way he will go on this. Chuck

          • RS says:

            That’s your job, Chuck. You have been assigned the task of convincing Meyer to run for council. There are a lot of good reasons. I’m sure you can persuade him.

            The situation now is different than it was in the county board race. At that time, that was just the first loss. Now he’s had is second loss. If he doesn’t follow that up with a win, he’s done politically. And a win now is quite likely given the advantages he has going into this race compared to the other candidates.

            If he wants to have a political future, he basically has no choice but to run in this election whether he wants the job or not.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            The stakes were high for Jeff to run 2 years ago, and I can’t divulge why!

            Again, this is up to Jeff to decide on his own. He knows all the stakes and doesn’t need me, or anyone else to tell him.

            Chuck

  23. paul says:

    >>Chinese investor Hongwei Zhao…The group’s proposal to the city included $100,000 to buy the property <<

    Now that is funny. Prime acreage along the toll road worth millions and an offer of $100K is actually being take serious by the taxpayer overlords at Elgin city hall.

    • RS says:

      http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141108/news/141108579/

      The group’s proposal to the city included $100,000 to buy the property and up to $900,000 for site improvements. However, the group overall has $4 million for acquisition and property improvements, Zhao said.

      Another proposal for the site was presented by Restoration America, Inc., based in Hoffman Estates, which wants to create a treatment center with programs for veterans.

      Restoration America Executive Director Charles Konkus has said the group, which includes investors Michael and Kyle Oremus, has $5 million for property acquisition and improvements.

      Kaptain said Restoration America’s nonprofit charter requires its properties to be donated. Konkus did not return a call for comment.

      Either way the land is essentially being given away, which is fine. The alternative is to spend millions of dollars in upkeep and maintenance for essentially no benefit.

      The Chinese plan sounds good. I don’t know if the investors know anything about running a school, but it probably doesn’t matter. I guess it’ll be their problem to deal with if it fails. For the city, the priority now should be to get this money-sucking property off the balance sheet and onto the tax roll.

      I like the idea of bringing international students here. As the mayor said it can lead to more Chinese investment in Elgin. Many of these children will come from families who are in a position to make investments here. It could also lead eventually to more international students for Judson and ECC (or Elgin Academy, etc). It can lead to good things.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        RS, I agree with you on the proposal by the Chinese group to purchase the FRCDS property! For the majority of this year, we have been hearing that this property is WORTHLESS, that it had been marketed, and NOBODY wanted. From the beginning, most people I talked to favored giving this property away, to simply keep it from becoming another blood sucker on the taxpayer’s pocket book. Now, someone wants to buy it, and put it on the tax rolls, and there is a clamor that suddenly this is valuable property!

        If we keep it any longer, we may well find ourselves spending that $650,000 possible roof repair, that was to be paid for by sucking that money out of the property acquisition fund. Then if we spend that money, are we going to get half of that money back in an increased sales price? I’ll bet not.

        Move the property now, don’t spend the roof repair money, and celebrate that the taxpayers avoided being taken for a ride.

        This city likes to trumpet its economic development efforts, and the council has wisely moved away from cash incentives to spur economic development. So selling this property for $100,000 fits well in that model to spur economic development.

        Thanks, Chuck

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          PS to my own post about the Chinese and the FRCDS property. Say in your wildest dreams that this property is worth 3 million dollars. Now, let’s add in the fact that City Staff had estimated the cost to make all the basic repairs to that property to make it useful, was, as I recall $4.5 million.

          OK, so that would mean that even having someone pay $100,000 for this is a bargain for the City.

          We aren’t selling a property worth $3million or $4 million for $100,000! We are selling a direct $4.5 million liability for $100,000! How can anybody forget that????

          Sell this for $100,000 and rejoice!!!! Chuck

          • RS says:

            Yes, I’m surprised anybody doesn’t think this is a good deal. They probably don’t realize that the property also has covenants on usage which means most potential buyers are out of the market and the property is not worth nearly as much as they think.

            Properties are abandoned or sold for a dollar all the time when they become money pits. If “money pit” doesn’t describe this property I don’t know what does.

            Hopefully this goes well for the Chinese and they become interested in the other property as well, the Rakow/Larkin Center. Perhaps a primary school in one location and a secondary in the other?

            What the Rakow/Larkin campus has going for it are extensive playing fields (even a golf course “on campus!”) and proximity to ECC which can be a big plus for secondary students. They should build dorms there and import a thousand rich Chinese high school students. It would be very good for Elgin. Let’s make it happen!

            Everybody Wanxiang tonight!

      • RS says:

        Yeah, I think the city and the chamber should try to develop a “Chinese gateway to Chicago” strategy.

        Capitalize on the existing Chinese businesses here already, namely Wanxiang, which is a huge company ($16B revenue) that now owns Fisker among dozens of other businesses.

        If we can encourage Chinese businesses to set up here in proximity to each other (which they may feel advantageous for mutual support and networking), Elgin could potentially become to Chinese businesses what Arlington Heights is to Japanese businesses. This could be a major driver of economic growth and lead to an immigrant pool that is wealthier and better educated.

        If we can grow our Chinese connections, this can become an important source of capital for local industry. The federal government’s EB-5 program grants green cards to foreign investors and they may choose to invest in Elgin businesses so they can get those green cards!

        So yes, I think we should see this school as an opportunity to deepen connections with China as part of a strategy to make Elgin the Chinese gateway to Chicago. Let’s make it happen!

      • RS says:

        And we should look into this “Regional Center” thing as it sounds like a potentially good source of growth capital for local industry:

        The EB-5 visa provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States.[1] To obtain the visa, individuals must invest $1,000,000 (or at least $500,000 in a “Targeted Employment Area” - high unemployment or rural area), creating or preserving at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers excluding the investor and their immediate family.[1] Initially, under the first EB-5 program, the foreign investor was required to create an entirely new commercial enterprise; however, under the Pilot Program investments can be made directly in a job-generating commercial enterprise (new, or existing - “Troubled Business”[2]), or into a “Regional Center” - a 3rd party-managed investment vehicle (private or public), which assumes the responsibility of creating the requisite jobs. Regional Centers may charge an administration fee for managing the investor’s investment.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EB-5_visa

      • RS says:

        Some more interesting stories on Wanxiang.

        http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-05-18/fisker-billionaire-owner-vows-u-dot-s-dot-drive-to-take-on-tesla-cars

        The Chinese billionaire who bought Fisker Automotive Holdings Inc. at a bankruptcy auction is planning to build a new slate of electric-drive cars in the U.S., challenging Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA:US) on its home turf.

        http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/2014-07/28/content_17944873.htm

        If companies operating in China want to expand to the United States successfully, there may not be a better example than the Wanxiang Group Corporation, the largest China-based automotive components company by revenue.

        The Elgin Chamber / Economic Development people at City Hall should always be following Wanxiang news, and every time they make an acquisition, they should be calling and pleading to move production to Elgin. I mean we should be making Fisker cars in Elgin! Right?

        Get on it, people!

        Wanxiang aims to produce the Karma model in the U.S. and later make other extended-range hybrids there, the company said on May 17. It declined to offer a timeline or other details.

        Lu said in last week’s interview that he expects Wanxiang to receive a license to manufacture electric cars in China, without offering specifics. The company already has a permit, granted in October, to build electric buses and trucks there.

        “The road is still very long,” Lu said. “We want to concentrate for now on manufacturing in the U.S. If I don’t succeed, my son will continue with it. If he doesn’t make it, my grandson will.”

  24. bw says:

    RS,

    You made several good points in your post. Chuck’s post added reasonable comment in suggesting why competition in the race for Mayor adds interest in the election process. The right candidate could give Kaptain a reason too explain his purpose in satisfying all stakeholders in the next four years. A strong candidate could provide a much stronger agenda in bring more jobs to the city, answer why so many small businesses don’t make it in the present environment, and why senior citizens must make a 30 day supply of medicine last 60 or more days because of the added city expenses

  25. bw says:

    RS,

    I have a problem with Jeff Meyer being able to win a seat on the council. He has lost two elections a sign that he has a problem getting his message over to the voter. Anna Moeller beat him by 3000 votes because she campaigned harder without the endorsement of the news media, You hst don’t put your name on the ballot and expect to win. The GOP did well in Illinois but he lost. Maybe he should consider just being a lawyer.

  26. bw says:

    Chuck,

    I suggest you contact Bud Westphal, former member ESD as a possible candidate for the 2015 election. His wife passed away a few weeks ago and he might have an interest in a position. He was appointed to the ESD by their board and served well for several years. I seen him at a few GOP functions. I suggest your committee contact him.

  27. Chuck Keysor says:

    bw, the type of Mayoral candidate we were seeking was someone who was either already well known, or who had awesome credentials. And in the dream come true situation, the candidate would meet both of those conditions.

    I found his wife’s obituary. She was 75,,,,, hmmmmm,,,,, I did a Google search on Harold “Bud” Westphal, and I found nothing on Harold, other then a reference to a man with such a name in Elgin who is a surveyor.

    I would not want to bother a grieving man that I don’t know, who does not seem to meet our conditions. But thanks for the suggestion……..
    Chuck

    • bw says:

      I was thinking more of the council. He is a retired surveyor and a conservative of the ESD board.

    • bw says:

      I don’t think you will find an individual with awesome credentials. Looks like you’re stuck with Kaptain. It will remain a 6-3 council for 4 years.
      Steffen, Powell and Shaw will be hard to beat. I don’t konw about the new girl.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        As I understand it, there are around 14 people who have “pulled packages” to run for the council.

        As to the mayor, there is one person other than Kaptain who is interested. But we have to wait and see if he files. I hope that he does, but it is not in my hands.

        Chuck

  28. RS says:

    We need to block off Chicago Street and do a Third Floor / Slapstick reunion

    Some kind of a punk rock festival. I think there would be a LOT of interest in that.

  29. RS says:

    Some more articles related to the Chinese gateway to Chicago idea:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110306/news/703069929/

    In Bartlett, though, where the Asian population more than doubled to 5,918, growth could be traced to construction of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a Hindu temple off Route 59.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2007-03-16/news/0703160366_1_japanese-chamber-japanese-businesses-japanese-firms

    “Schaumburg has the highest concentration of Japanese businesses in the Midwest,” said Ralph Inforzato, development director of the Japan External Trade Organization office in Chicago.

    More than 60 Japanese firms call Schaumburg home as businesses are drawn by access to O’Hare International Airport, sprawling corporate enclaves and such cultural amenities as bilingual public schools.

    While other northwest suburbs also built a significant Japanese commercial base in the mid-1980s–notably Elk Grove Village and Arlington Heights–Schaumburg has recently distanced itself, with the number of Japanese businesses increasing by nearly 11 percent in the last two years, according to the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Chicago.

    That article was from 2007. But Schaumburg officials had been laying the groundwork for years. The following article is from 1993:

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1993-07-21/news/9307210229_1_japan-trade-issues-japanese-business-leaders

    “Let’s face it, American business was not going out and building new buildings and leasing office space,” Horton said. “Being very pragmatic about it, our concern is building the business base in the village. From that standpoint, we know that the Japanese are looking at investment in the U.S., and why not us?”

    Why not indeed. Already, several Japanese companies have located to Schaumburg; companies such as Omron Electronics, NEC, Futaba and Hosiden.

    “From our experience, Japanese companies tend to locate in areas because other Japanese companies are located in a particular area, not because of any particular village effort,” said Thomas Koenig, the village’s director of planning.

    Said Koenig: “THK came here because of Mazak.”

    It so happens that Mazak Corp., whose gleaming white and glass building can be seen from the Northwest Tollway, is right next to THK. In fact, Mazak uses a component manufactured by THK in its machine tools. Mazak also uses a machine part made by another Japanese company, Kitagawa, which is conveniently across the street.

    So the question is, what have Elgin officials been doing? If nothing, then why not start now? China is the new Japan and we have a chance to get their investment. Partially because all the other ideal locations like Schaumburg have already been taken, and let’s face it, the Chinese and Japanese have long been antagonistic and maybe don’t want to be located in the same place. So let’s brand Elgin as a place for Chinese businesses.

    I can’t recall reading anything that we’ve done to “Wanxiang tonight” or exploit that connection. Instead I’ve read that we sent emissaries to a podunk town in Chile because there might be an opportunity to import wine from there. Seriously?? Wine? That’s going to drive our economy?

    Why not invest our time and resources into building a relationship with a country that has the potential to boost our economy by billions of dollars? Not a few cases of wine, we’re talking billions of dollars.

    And god I hope this leads to a decent Chinese restaurant in Elgin…

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Well RS, you only need to get 75 signatures, and turn in your completed petitions by 11/24/14 to run for the council. No matter how good these ideas are, I don’t think they would find an advocate on the present council. You can more effectively persuade yourself to run than you can persuade Jeff Meyer. Now, what do you say to that?

      Actually, a mutual CPA friend of ours said that for him the best reason to run for council would be to use it as a soapbox to express his views. And that is what Driver Tom seems to do. You could do the same.

      Chuck

  30. Margaret Miller says:

    Pleas read and post your thought.

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141113/news/141119339/

    Elgin’s proposed 2015 budget includes five new positions and continued increased contributions to its public safety pension funds.

    The city needs a geographic information systems analyst to maintain its databases, and a public safety systems specialist to help with technology within the fire and police departments, City Manager Sean Stegall said Wednesday at a special city council’s committee of the whole meeting.

    The city also needs a development engineer, whose salary would be offset partially — or possibly fully — by impact and building permit fees, and two 911 emergency operators to avoid forced overtime in that department, Stegall said.

    “Those are high-stress positions from the beginning,” Councilwoman Tish Powell said. “You don’t want to burn people out.”

    Altogether, those five positions roughly would cost an additional $500,000 per year.

    The city, which has about 700 full-time equivalent positions, hasn’t created any news ones since it laid off employees in January 2012, Stegall said.

    The city’s 2015 proposed budget is $290.5 million, or about $9.7 million larger than last year’s.

    The proposed 2015 general fund budget — which accounts for the city’s day-to-day operations — is balanced at just under $114.9 million, including a $5.5 million supplemental police and fire pension contribution funded by reserves. That’s a $9.5 million increase over this year’s $105.3 million general fund budget.

    Stegall said the increase is mainly due to health insurance and pension contributions. He plans to delve into specifics at next Wednesday’s committee of the whole meeting, he added.

    The city contributed an additional $6 million to its pension funds this year and is planning to contribute $3 million more each in 2016 and 2017, Stegall said.

    “We always paid our actuarially required amount, and now you’re paying beyond that,” he said.

    Under this plan, the city’s reserves would drop from an estimated $43.1 million this year to $34.3 million — or 30 percent of total expenditures — in 2017.

    Councilman Toby Shaw proposed using even more reserves for pension contributions, pointing out they would earn interest. Stegall called it “an idea worth exploring.”

    The city council should consider acquiring debt to fund capital projects, and street projects would be a good candidate because of next year’s projected low oil prices, Stegall said.

    Elgin has an estimated $850 in debt service per capita this year, compared to $1,214 in 2004, he said.

    The city’s proposed capital investments include $400,000 to upgrade the 14-year-old fitness equipment at the Centre of Elgin, he said.

    “We don’t’ need to be in the LA Fitness market; it’s a community recreation center. But we need to have sufficient equipment,” he said

    • bw says:

      What is your question MM?

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Hi,
        Just post your thoughts on the article. Thanks

        • Margaret Miller says:

          bw,

          Any thoughts on this?

          “The city’s 2015 proposed budget is $290.5 million, or about $9.7 million larger than last year’s.”

          • bw says:

            MM,

            The % increase is within reason for a city of 108k.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            And where is it written that government should simply grow? With growing government comes added expenses which create higher taxes.

            Of course, they are talking about added 5 new staffers, for a total cost of $500,000. And there is an unfilled position of communications director that was approved last year, but not filled, but still being carried over into this year’s budget. So make that a total addition for staff of about $600,000. That leaves about $9.1million more in other growth…… I missed the first75 minutes of yesterday’s council budget session……. Chuck

          • Margaret Miller says:

            Let’s not forget that we’re working with a 2014 budget loss.

            Two weeks ago, Kozal confirmed that the 2014 budget is short $1.6 - $1.8 million.

            Do we just forget that or do we add it to the $9.5 million increase for the 2015 proposed budget?

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Margaret, as I recall, Kozal was calling our attention to ONE line item in the budget that is down. By itself, that means very little. How are all the items in the budget doing? What do they ALL add up to, that is the question. For example, at last Wednesday’s session, Sean pointed out that we are money ahead in almost all departments, because most departments spend less than they are budgeted.

            The budget is a plan, it is a target, made up of many smaller targets. In the sessions I have attended, I haven’t heard any comments about what the entire 2014 expenses in excess of revenue projection is looking like. But had there been a projected over-all deficit for the ENTIRE budget, you can be assured you would have heard the alarm bells being sounded long and loud of impending crisis. Remember, they did that in 2011, even when it turned out after the 2011 books were audited, that there wasn’t a deficit. (And of course, they kept that quiet, as the alarm bells had served their purpose, to ram through a massive tax increase. Which by the way, I was looking at some old documents from December 2011, in which the City was projecting that the tax increases would cost the average home owner $56.68 per year….. And when I added everything up for my accounts in 2013, my 2012 NET tax increase was $119.52. So take what Staff tells you with a pound of salt when it comes to believing if we have a problem or not, and as to how much your taxes will go up!)

            Chuck

          • RS says:

            Of course, they are talking about added 5 new staffers, for a total cost of $500,000. And there is an unfilled position of communications director that was approved last year, but not filled, but still being carried over into this year’s budget. So make that a total addition for staff of about $600,000.

            It would be interesting to see the actual lifetime cost of each staff member they add in terms of expected pension payments. But not even Octave can produce pension figures for Elgin. It seems to be a state secret.

            The only thing we know is that the city put in another $6M into the pension fund this year and everybody claps their hands and says how wonderful it is we are fully funding our pensions! How responsible and fiscally conservative is our city management! Bravo bravo. Give Stegall a raise please.

            All your tax increases are going into the pension fund, people. Why not tell your councilmen to stop funding pensions? Leave it to future generations to figure out that problem when it comes to it (or even better, don’t figure it out!). By then you will be dead. Seriously.

            That extra $120 they took out of your pocket, Chuck, went to pay for some Elgin “retiree”’s pension payment. Of course you know what “retiree” means around here. It means he retired from his Elgin government job on Friday and took up a new government job in St. Charles (or wherever) on Monday. Don’t you love how you are paying for that?

    • One Vote says:

      $400K for new fitness equipment???
      Wouldn’t it be cheaper to burn the place to the ground?

  31. bw says:

    MM,

    It was a status quo story as usual.

  32. bw says:

    Chuck,

    Are you saying that your whole tax bill increased 119.52 in 2012 or the city of Elgin amount increased that amount? Your tax bill includes all units of local government who filed a levy.

  33. Chuck Keysor says:

    bw, I was only talking about Elgin taxes. Comparing 2011 to 2012, my taxes to the City of Elgin increased $119.52

    Interestingly, I presented these figures to the Council, on 2/13/13, and Councilman Prigge asked if anyone had questions about my figures. No one said anything, so I went to sit down. As I was leaving the podium, the City Manager said, well, of course Chuck’s numbers are wrong, he is an engineer, he is not an accountant. I went back to the podium, and we engaged, and Mayor Kaptain suggested that I meet with Sean to discuss the numbers.

    I met with Sean on 2/28/13, and we spent over an hour talking. The first thing we did, was I presented my actual Kane County tax bill, and all of my utility receipts for the years 2011 and 2012. I showed him the spread sheets, with all of my numbers. He said my numbers looked OK. Since he had publicly said my numbers were not right, I said, look, I will leave all of these papers with you, and you can check them carefully.

    I met with Sean again on 3/11/13, and he gave me back all of my papers and said my numbers were right. Then we spent over an hour with him explaining budget matters, such as the nature of the surplus, how it carries over from year to year, and how it gets added onto every year, under the present 5 year financial plan.

    Now, of course while he had publicly said my numbers were wrong, and privately told me my numbers were good, I should have asked him to make a public statement that we had met, and he had verified that my numbers were in fact correct. But I did not do that, nor did I announce from the podium at a subsequent council meeting that my numbers had been checked, and that I had in fact had a 12.38% tax increase. I figured I would just let the matter go, and move on.

    However, during the election, that same spring, here on this forum, I was making points about the budget, and one of the people here said, hey, you don’t know what you are talking about, the City Manager even called you out for your bad numbers……

    So at that point I felt pretty stupid for not having publicly gotten a retraction from Sean. I suppose I’ll even hear about that in the upcoming election cycle when I try to make some point or another about the budget.

    Chuck

    • bw says:

      Chuck,

      That seem to me to be a above average increase. Our tax bill went down so I never checked the difference in any taxes paid to any local government. I had no reason to do so.

    • RS says:

      Chuck maybe your taxes are higher than they projected because you are not an “average” homeowner.

      If you are an “average” homeowner then well I guess it might be fair to say Mr. Stegall is a bureaucrat not an accountant.

    • James Madison says:

      Chuck, has the city replaced the CFO position, the one that Colleen Lavery vacated?

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        James, Colleen Lavery has not been replaced yet.

        bw, My property taxes went down exactly 90 dollars. I talked to a couple of other people who also said that their property taxes went down, and neither had even thought of the fact that their other taxes and fees had gone up, MORE than their property taxes went down.

        It became clear that City Hall was correct in assuming that they could get away with the “revenue diversification” scheme as a way to raise taxes, without people noticing, because most people are just too lazy or too dumb to check.

        And couple that with the fact that City Hall loudly proclaimed that property taxes had gone down, without giving equal time or space to the fact that other taxes had gone up, most people didn’t think any further.

        RS: You are correct, I am not the typical consumer. As you know, my house is cold, and I don’t use much electricity. Since the natural gas and electrical taxes are both proportional to the amount of natural gas and electricity used, my taxes should be lower than most people’s.

        Also,,,,,,,,,,,,, you made no comment on my thought that you could run for council and have a great platform for your ideas. 75 signatures on the correct form, between November 17th and 24th.

        Chuck

        • RS says:

          Oh I thought you were just kidding about that. I have no interest in that of course, and I won’t even be here. I think it would make sense for you to do it though. If you and Jeff Meyer are in then you guys can all get a head start and focus on winning the election.

          I think you should consider teaming up with Toby Shaw for a three-person slate. Pool your funds (or raise money together), divide responsibilities for canvassing, etc. I think this could also help to convince Jeff Meyer to run, because running together with other people would be different than his last experiences. Toby Shaw has run a successful campaign and it could be a good idea to be on the same team as him.

          If you declare early, you can also scare off all other conservatives and clear the field before anybody files.

          What you don’t want is a large pool of conservative candidates splitting the vote. So it would be advantageous to declare an “official” slate of three people and gently encourage all others to wait their turn in a future election. In fact, as the filing window is coming up, this should be done immediately and press releases issued so the papers can hopefully get the message out before people start filing.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Well RS, I was partially kidding, but also making a comment on the fact that it is easier to tell someone else to run than to run one’s self…….

            I have no plan on running, and never have had such a plan. And more important than a plan, it takes a calling!

            So, you won’t be here???? Will there be an alien abduction that we don’t know about? Don’t go anywhere before you upgrade this site, unless you are going away to find the time to make site upgrades……

            Thanks, Chuck

    • still concerned says:

      I totally agree with Chuck. Also doing the math and comparing City property taxes vs. the fees on all of my utility bills…the next is I paid (pay) over $100 more annually, even with the property taxes having decreased due to a drop in the house assessed value. So the NET is a tax increase…anyway you look at it. Whatever happened to the revenue neutral promise?

  34. Margaret Miller says:

    http://www.illinoispolicy.org/elgin-taxpayers-contribute-almost-3-times-more-to-pensions-than-city-employees/

    July 17, 2014 - Graphs provided at the link

    Local pension crises are severely affecting cities, towns and villages across Illinois.

    Even local governments that have a good track record with transparency and high credit scores are struggling to pay for pensions. Take the AAA-rated city of Elgin, for example.

    To get its pension system’s funding level up to par, the city would have to completely shut down its government for more than a year and a half and pump every general fund dollar into pensions.

    Facing a $164 million pension shortfall, the city, and by extension its taxpayers, now contribute almost $3 into the pension system for every $1 a city employee contributes. This trend is no longer sustainable.

    Elgin has already gone through a series of tax hikes to try to curb its budget problems:

    Elgin passed a 3 percent alcoholic beverage tax in 2012 – raising more than $1 million in revenue.
    Elgin adopted a municipal electricity use tax in 2012 – raising nearly $5 million dollars annually.
    Elgin adopted a municipal natural gas tax in 2012 – raising nearly $2 million annually.
    Elgin increased the city’s home rule sales tax to 1.25 percent from 0.75 percent in 2012.
    Despite these efforts, the city of Elgin’s pension funds have worsened. Pension funds that were close to fully funded in the late 1990s are now severely underfunded – with police and fire funding ratios at only 46 and 53 percent funded, respectively.

    Elgin needs real pension reform. The problem is that Elgin officials have too little power to enact it. The state sets the rules – determining things like retirement ages and cost of living adjustments – and the city is forced to front the bill. Any reform Elgin would consider passing must be moved through Springfield first.

    It’s time for the state to stop running local government pensions into the ground. Springfield should allow local workers and leaders to control their own pension systems.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Since I received NO comment on my earlier above post specific to Elgin, perhaps this might generate some conversation.

      Graphs at the link.

      http://www.illinoispolicy.org/illinois-pension-debt-still-ballooning/?utm_source=Illinois+Policy%3A+Opens&utm_campaign=eb8485ea13-utm_source%3Dmailchimp&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9471dd8540-eb8485ea13-12848597
      ?
      With a mere 39 cents on hand for every dollar needed to pay for future benefits, the state would need a three-year government shutdown just to break even.?
      ?
      Pension debt in the Land of Lincoln is a big problem. So big, in fact, that it would take three years of a complete government shutdown, during which the entire general fund went toward pensions, just to break even. No funding for schools, no money for public safety, and nothing for health care and human services.

      Illinois’ unfunded pension liability grew to more than $111 billion this year, according to official estimates. That’s a $48 billion increase since 2009.

      That $111 billion pension shortfall means the state now has only $0.39 of every dollar it should have in the bank today to pay for future benefits. In the private sector, these funds would be deemed bankrupt.

      Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Senate Bill 1 last December, which is projected to reduce the state’s annual pension payment by more than $1 billion. But SB 1 is still bad news for Illinois. The bill may provide temporary relief, but it does nothing to fix the current defined-benefit system. And it keeps Illinois politicians in control of public-employee pension funds. Illinois’ history with politician-run pensions shows that’s a recipe for disaster.

      SB 1 is currently tangled up in the courts. But as we wait for a decision, Illinois’ pension debt continues to grow. The state’s pension payment for the current budget year totals $6.9 billion, and without reform, that pension payment will balloon to $7.6 billion for the 2016 budget year; an increase of $681 million.

      Illinois politicians have looted and mismanaged public-employee pension funds for decades. The system is no longer sustainable or affordable. With or without SB 1, the same politicians who got the state into this mess will continue to control and abuse the retirement security of public employees.

      It’s time to take politicians out of the retirement businesses and give public employees control over their own retirements with self-managed plans.?

  35. SIE says:

    No matter what I post a certain someone slams me for my view on the cities leaf collection program. It seems as if it is an issue to more than just me.

    From the City of Elgin FB. I will also post a link but FB links are a little wonky. And no it is not me posting. But of course you know how I feel. Last week as I drove by city crews picking up leaves from only a portion of its residents I couldn’t help but think what an inequitable leaf program this city has.

    In response to a request for ideas for the 2015 budget:

    “Colman Smith Stop picking up unbagged leaves. How much does this cost the taxpayers?? If I have to bag my leaves, everyone should have to bag their own leaves.

    Like · Reply · November 12 at 3:17pm.

    Sharon Deters Rodriguez Agree with stopping picking up unbagged leaves. Or, maybe re-instate free leaf bags to those of us who have to bag.”

    https://www.facebook.com/cityofelgin/posts/10152838571170030?comment_id=10152866853305030&offset=0&total_comments=9

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      SIE, I was talking to someone in Public Works about leaf pick-up. The stories he told makes the entire program seem crazy. On one hand, City workers are always fighting idiots who put rocks, tomato vines and even drywall into their leaf piles. A big rock can get sucked up into the high-power 14″ vacuum hose, and cause many thousands of dollars of damage. The big hoses are very hard to work for long shifts and it is understood that the physical strain causes long term repetitive stress injuries, especially to shoulders and wrists.

      And the workers doing all this leaf pick-up cost the City/taxpayers $40/hours and up.

      Oh, and we pay to dump the leaves at a special site, and that company then sells them as organic mulch.

      In 2011 at the budget task force meetings, we were told that the City spends $450,000 per year to collect leaves. I’ll bet that doesn’t include damage to machines from sucking up rocks and drywall. I’ll bet it doesn’t include expenses from workers comp claims for repetitive stress injuries. It probably doesn’t include the cost for purchasing all of the big machines that the City purchases to deal with leaves.

      Until 1981 (or there about), everyone was responsible for getting rid of their own leaves. That meant burning for most people, and mulching for some. But what did that cost the City? Instead, we had an asthmatic councilman who pushed to ban leaf burning in the City. How many MILLIONS have we spent over the last 33 years to collect the leaves?

      You can still burn leaves, with restrictions in Kane county except where banned by various municipalities.

      Forget bagging, forget City vacuums and fancy leaf plows with direct annual direct expenses of $450,000 and diesel trucks belching their black smoke while they haul leaves that we can’t burn . Just burn leaves,,, Chuck

      • SIE says:

        “In 2011 at the budget task force meetings, we were told that the City spends $450,000 per year to collect leaves.”

        Is that for the curbside collection done by city workers or does it include what the city pays to Waste Management to remove bagged leaves? I have to think it is the former. We all pay garbage fees (which are going up) so I have to think a portion of my fees goes toward removing leaves.

        The problem as I have said numerous times is that to pick up leaves curbside from only some residents is just plain wrong.

        I don’t agree with burning leaves as it has been proved that there are health risks and doing it within a cramped city is not practical.

        Elgin needs to revamp its leaf collection program to make it equitable for all its residents. There are three options as I see it.

        1. Have curbside collection for everyone. But as you point out there are extra costs from damaged machinery, etc. so this plan would cost the most

        2. Have everyone bag their leaves using their own bags. This plan would cost the least.

        3. Have everyone bag their leaves using city provided bags (with a reasonable limit on bags per household). This plan would fall in between the other two in terms of cost. Especially if the cities contract with Waste Management includes removing bagged leaves.

        I would prefer #1 or #3. I wouldn’t have a problem with the other option as long as it applies to everyone.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          SIE, I do agree the same situation should apply to the entire city.

          Your comment that leaf burning isn’t practical in an urban environment is exactly opposite from the truth. NOT burning leaves is impractical. The documented direct costs in 2011 were $450,000. That is significant! The fact is, we are spending $450,000 for leaf pick up every year, year in and year out. That expense could be eliminated.

          I lived in Elgin for many years while you could burn leaves, and it never got nasty during the leaf burning season. I enjoyed burning leaves, and it was a sign of the season, to meet your neighbors out on the street, and helping them rake and burn leaves. It was something like the old days of the early settlers, where everyone gathered around a fire and exchanged stories and shared in good times.

          Former Councilman Gilliam had asthma , so he didn’t like leaf burning. And so the council got rid of leaf burning, and he still had asthma anyway. But that idealistic, un-thought-out policy change by the council created a huge financial drain that has been going on for decades. And it has cost us $millions….

          Let everybody in the city be responsible for getting rid of their own leafs. But let each citizen decide what they want to do. I see bagging, burning and mulching as the options.

          If you bag, you buy your own bags, and pay all the costs to have the leafs hauled away. Then it would not cost the City anything. Or you can burn or mulch your leafs, neither of which cost the City anything. This approach would not cost the City of Elgin anything for residential leaf removal.

          Chuck

          • SIE says:

            $450,000 out of a total city budget of ?? (I think it is pushing $300 million)

            My point is $450,000 is a small percentage of the cities entire budget.

            Leaf removal is a service that most people want. Every town I researched has some sort of leaf removal program. I’m pretty sure they don’t do it for kicks. They do it because people want it. I remember reading that after Police, Fire and snow removal it was the most desired service).

            I was in East Dundee the other day and saw their leaf piles by the curb ready for pick up. Elgin is a larger city so naturally it will cost them ore to provide the service. It is a cost for doing business.

            I will continue to disagree that burning leaves is a viable option. I can easily provide links showing documented health problems associated with burning. And the safety factor has to be considered. To expect people to properly and safely burn something is quite a stretch.

            Leaf removal is a service that should be provided by Elgin. Equitably.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            SIE, we of course disagree. But recognize that they didn’t ban burning in the early 1980s because it was a safety issue. At that point, we were coming off of an entire history of our city to draw upon. They banned it because of asthma issues, when there was clearly a personal interest by a member of the City Council. So citing a safety hazard as to why we should ban leaf burning is not a historically accurate argument. And, my contact in Public Works says Repetitive Stress Injuries from working the giant vacuum is a real concern. That involves surgery, worker’s comp fees, and even potentially disability claims.

            And citing bagging as desirable, because that is what you want, has as much validity as my saying we should burn leaves because I like burning leaves. So I guess that leaves a wash on that level.

            But ignoring $450,000 because it is a small percentage of our budget is highly flawed. You are in the territory of standard bureaucratic trickery and manipulation when you say that. That is how City Hall fools most people into accepting new taxes and fees. “Well, we will raise the sales tax, just one half percent, and just put on 5% onto your electric utility bill. Oh, and, gee, 5%, that is nothing, we’ll add that onto your natural gas bill. Oh, and $2, that is hardly a cup of coffee, we’ll just charge you $2/month for a leaf rake out fee. And what is 4% or 5% on your phone bill? Or this few percent on your liquor bill. And gee, we have over 1200 employees (full plus part time,,, so what is the big deal if we only add on 5 new positions???” This is how you increase your budget by millions every year, and nobody bats an eye! And do this over time, you go from $201million ACTUAL in 2009, to $290million budgeted for 2015.

            Burn leaves, burn expenses! Or, Burn baby burn. Chuck

  36. RS says:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141116/business/141118745/

    As an inner-city outlier for the company, even the Detroit store does not quite approximate Englewood. But it was the first test of a larger plan for the company, within which Englewood represents the next move. Whole Foods has almost 400 stores. But it’s aiming for 1,200, an impossible number if the company targets only the high-income markets it’s already entered. Whole Foods also can’t get to 1,200 stores by only talking about the quality of food without addressing the price of it.

    OK so how do we get them in Elgin now if they are ready to expand beyond their traditional markets?

    • still concerned says:

      Only the Randall Road corridor would be appropriate for the demographics they would demand, but given the current council decision not to offer incentives for new businesses not quite sure how this would play out. Of course…the council DID offer an incentive to Butera to build out in the Tyler Creek Shopping Center; however, that was a pet project of Mayor Kaptain’s desire to fill the “food desert” of the near NW side with a store that sell fresh foods. We have large vacant properties from the old Walmart and Lowes that could easily accommodate a Whole Foods..if only given the incentive to locate in Elgin!

      • RS says:

        Yeah there are different kinds of incentives and the city needs to be pragmatic about it. Some incentives are poorly designed and do not actually serve their purpose (the business would have located here anyway). Others can make a difference. In this case, if you have properties that are vacant and not generating sales tax, then an incentive could make sense.

        Stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joes are nice amenities for a community and an effort should be made to bring them here.

        Other (non-food) kinds of retail we have pretty much replaced with Amazon.com and so on, so forget about them. We have no use for brick and mortar retail here except for fresh food.

  37. SIE says:

    @Chuck You misinterpreted a few things. I don’t favor bagging. I would prefer having my leaves picked up from the curb. Realizing that there is a cost to any service I believe bagging would probably be less costly than curbside collection.

    Don’t forget that a major purpose of a city is to provide services to its residents. While $450,000 may seem like a lot of money as I said as percentage of the budget it is pretty small. Look at on what else this city spends that much and more. New floors, new radios, a promenade that won’t do a darn thing to enhance a dilapidated downtown. It is an expenditure for a necessary service. Problem is its for a service that only benefits some residents. That’s what you should be upset about.

    So please don’t take my argument as being flippant. Providing services is a major priority for any city. Or at least it should be. Others do leaf collection just fine and so should Elgin. Right now they don’t.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      SIE: I am not saying you support bagging. I said I support bagging, IF YOU and anyone who wants bagging will pay for it. That was key to my point.

      IF you have to pay for it, you won’t want to pay, and you will be happy to BURN or COMPOST your own leafs.

      Now, IF I were to say leafs should be picked up from the curb for ANYBODY, then the City would have to keep all those HUGE and expensive trucks that belch diesel smoke, and have $40/hour workers.

      So again, my solution was to have NO cost to the City of Elgin with those three options:
      1)Bag your own and YOU pay to have them hauled away by WM, the City has no cost.
      2) Compost your own leafs and you pay no one, the City has no cost
      3) Burn your own leafs and you pay no one, the City has no cost.

      We fundamentally disagree… The major purpose of a city is NOT to provide services to its residents. That is almost the same as saying that the purpose of the City is to be Santa Claus, which can justify just about anything a few people want.

      The government should provide for the common defense and infrastructure. And providing for the common defense does not imply that the maximum cost approach is what must be selected when the means of common defense and infrastructure are selected. At least when we address the matter of infrastructure, we submit requests for lowest possible bids. (However, even there, as Council Gavin has discovered, not all lowest possible bids can be accepted, because to be considered, the supplier must meet diversity requirements, which may be bringing other cost raising factors that have yet to be investigated.)

      And at the risk of sounding glib, (though my point is to bring an alternate perspective), what if I said a very important service to the residents would be for the City to present a low economic burden to its residents? When you consider the demographics that Margaret Miller has supplied, Elgin is even POORER than Aurora. Low economic burden is even more important to poor people.

      Chuck

  38. RS says:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141117/news/141118655/

    Incumbent John Steffen and challengers Fred Moulton, Mohammad “Mo” Iqbal, Jaime Hjelm and Andrew Cuming filed nominating petitions Monday to run in the April 7 election.

    Five 4-year seats will be open in Elgin, including the mayor’s. Petitions can be filed until 5 p.m. Nov. 24.

    All five candidates showed up at the city clerk’s office before 8 a.m. Monday, so they will be part of a lottery Dec. 3 to determine who gets the top placement on the ballot.

    All around me are familiar faces…

  39. RS says:

    http://urgentcomm.com/video-surveillance/elgin-leverages-public-private-video-assets-through-motorola-solutions-real-time-

    Elgin has hundreds of city-owned video-surveillance cameras, but it often has not been easy for law enforcement to access the video until the city implemented the RIC solution, according to Jim Bisceglie, a detective/sergeant in the Elgin police department.

    “We have now aggregated all of our cameras on one platform,” Bisceglie said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “In the past, where we’ve had to go to a convenience store or go to a water department or public works to pull their camera feeds, we’re aggregating everything in one spot.

    Wow, there are hundreds of cameras. I never noticed them…

    But this is interesting because continuing to invest in technology like this means we don’t need to hire more police officers. Replace them with technology. Send in the drones!

  40. RS says:

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20141119/NEWS07/141119758/nations-largest-packaged-sushi-distributor-to-open-plant-in-south

    The nation’s largest provider and distributor of prepacked sushi is opening a manufacturing center in South Elgin that’s set to start shipping products next month.

    Santa Fe Springs, Calif.-based Fuji Food Products Inc. said today that it is nearing completion on the 40,000- square-foot plant on Schneider Drive that will produce refrigerated, ready-to-eat meals such as sushi, salads, rice bowls, sandwiches and wraps. It will employ about 100 workers, a spokeswoman said…

    Marc McLaughlin, community development coordinator for the village, said Fuji Food asked South Elgin for an incentive package but did not receive one.

    “We just didn’t have anything to offer,” he said.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      That is pretty cool! “We just didn’t have anything to offer.” There is honesty!

      If the South Elgin Chamber wouldn’t have gone bust during the recession, they could be crowing about the great job that they did in bringing this business to South Elgin…..

      Of course the Elgin Chamber might have gone bust also in the great recession, but instead, they were bailed out by the City of Elgin with the sham business license/tax. Instead the City propped them up, so they had no reason to re-invent themselves to provide a real value to the business community. Now the Elgin Chamber advocates for the City over the businesses of Elgin.

      Chuck

      • RS says:

        That’s a good point Chuck. It’s kind of like if the US Chamber of Commerce was taken over or funded by the Department of Commerce. It would lose the ability to advocate on behalf of businesses and just become an arm of the government. One of the main purposes of a chamber of commerce is to advocate and lobby government on behalf of the business community, but that’s not possible when they have become effectively employees of the government.

        Now the Elgin Chamber of Commerce is dependent on business taxation to function as another level of government bureaucracy. When they want to enlarge their salaries or higher more people, they will just ask the city to increase the business tax.

        You’re right, they are effectively now a part of the government.

  41. RS says:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141106/news/141108824/

    An initiative to annex land to the Gail Borden Public Library District has failed, according to unofficial results from Tuesday’s election.

    A majority of voters in unserved areas in Plato and Campton townships, on the western edge of the district, answered “No” to the referendum question on Tuesday’s ballot…

    For a house with an assessed value of $150,000, library taxes are estimated at about $240 annually.

    This was one of the interesting things that came out of the last election. The library wanted to annex land and provide services to people and they turned down the offer. It would have increased their taxes by probably a few hundred dollars in most cases.

    That got me thinking about whether people who are in the district NOW would choose to continue funding it at that level. I’ve always been a huge fan of our library and definitely I have always been a fairly heavy user since I was a child, excepting the times when I did not live here. But when you think about the alternatives today, it makes you wonder, do you really get $240 worth of value out of it every year?

    Today, we can download, we can buy online, we can have any book in the world delivered to our doorstep in two days (or download immediately). Movies, music, etc. All of that is readily available immediately. So what does the library do for us these days?

    Can’t $240 buy you plenty of ebooks, MP3s, movies and so on? I know you can buy a Netflix and Amazon Prime subscription and still have money left over. Or how many ebooks can you buy with $240? Probably more than the number of books you ever check out from the library in a given year.

    So at some point, I think the community will have to discuss this as libraries have become increasingly irrelevant and yet they will still cost you an arm and a leg in property tax.

    Part of my concern with the library too is that they seem to have a lot of money. I cannot count the number of times that they have switched out their automatic checkout machines in the last few years. It seems like every six months (or every year?) there’s a completely new system. So perhaps the level of taxation is too high and they have too much money to play with.

    What do you guys think? Let’s start this discussion.

  42. bw says:

    The library has always had surplus funds available. Spending them was never a problem. They do a good job on kids programs,programs for Hispanics, and teaching computer programs too those who enroll.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      RS:

      Good comments on the library election, and the need for a library. Maybe 5 years ago, I was talking to my sister about what looked to me to be a radical shift in the nature of the Gail Borden Public Library. Of course, when I was growing up, and certainly through 2000, the library was a quiet place for looking at books, magazines, and doing research. And now, it seems to be a community events center.

      My sister had at the time just read something about that very issue, that forward looking libraries across the US are re-inventing themselves so that they do not become irrelevant for the issues you pointed out. So becoming a fun-time community center is the common path to a continued future existence, and a perpetuation of the jobs of everyone connected to the local library. That may sound cynical, but that seems to be exactly what has transformed the formerly sacred book stacks at the Gail Borden Public Library, self preservation.

      I haven’t used the GBPL for research in maybe 4 or 5 years. I saw something on PBS about some WW1 German bunkers I found interesting, and thought that for sentimental reasons, I’d go down to the GBPL and see what I could find. I was there from dinner time until closing, flipping open the index of every WW1 book they had, and had a pleasant time stumbling about, reading all manner of WW1 things, but I never found anything connected to what I was searching for. I came home, and looked on Yahoo, and Google, and found 4 or 5 articles, with pictures about the German bunkers in a matter of a few minutes. Though I enjoyed the sentiment of spending time researching at the library, like I used to do, I realized that I had wasted my time.

      And if you look at their technical books on computers and using the newest versions of Photoshop and Illustrator, everything is long out of date. And I suppose nobody would even care, because what thinking tech person wouldn’t just go on-line to find an infinite supply of training videos on Photoshop, etc on YouTube??????

      A nice community center,,,, maybe it is time to change the name to the Gail Borden Community Center. They could free up a lot of space if they dumped out many of their books, and maybe hold dance lessons.

      As a note, I pulled my 2011 property tax bill out of my old tax file, and I paid over $200 to the GBPL, and something like $17 to their pension fund……

      Chuck

      • bw says:

        I use my university library it has everything anyone is looking for from A-Z.

        • One Vote says:

          What I like is access to databases/collections through GBPL.
          I haven’t been able to make them work from home, but there is a wealth of information out there that isn’t shared with everyone…like most university collections.

      • paul says:

        “becoming a fun-time community center… a perpetuation of the jobs of everyone connected to the local library. That may sound cynical, but that seems to be exactly what has transformed…”GBPL.

        That is EXACTLY what has happened. ASK GBPL how many people they have reduced from their payroll with the recent millions they spent on automation!

        • wombat says:

          Not only has the library become a community center (circus) with all the events they’ve got going on, now with the onset of colder weather, it’s become a de facto daytime warming shelter for all the hobos. Last I checked, that really wasn’t the stated mission of GBPL - nor of any library ~

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Wombat, I totally agree. In kind of watching the last two library board elections, it is clear that the majority of the board loves the present community events nature of the Library. This new role for the library won’t change without replacing the entire library board, well, at least the voting majority. There weren’t enough people running against the new library roll to even make such a change possible in a single election.

            I am aware of one person who is going to run for the library board that is against this new library functionality.

            Chuck

  43. bw says:

    I told all you poster’s, on this site, that I got from good source that SB 1 would get shot down. Pension Reform will go back to square one.

  44. One Vote says:

    I see where Prigge is called out for too many meals on the city’s tab.
    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141121/news/141129660/
    Shades of Kevin Kelly acting like a real mayor back in the Gavin 1.0 days. He really shook them up by finding out what really went on at Dexter Court.
    I’m not sure I buy the idea that Prigge needed to get Segull away from his desk to get business done. Nor am I sure the 1-on-1s are a good idea.
    Of course, this is a leaked story. The Herald reporters aren’t that clever.

    • RS says:

      The city of Elgin has spent about $3,000 this year to pay for meetings conducted over meals shared by city council members and city staff members, with more than half stemming from meetings attended by one councilman.

      The overall expense in 2014 is $3,063 for 81 lunches, breakfasts and dinners, according to information provided by the city. That’s an average of $37.82 per meal…

      Councilman John Prigge took part in a total of 33 meals totaling $1,607…

      The expense for meals attended by councilman Rich Dunne was $421, followed by Councilman John Steffen at $396, Councilman Terry Gavin at $178, Councilwoman Tish Powell at $134, Councilwoman Rose Martinez at $86, Mayor David Kaptain at $53, and Councilwoman Carol Rauschenberger at $31.

      LOL. Prigge ate more than all of them combined!

      But seriously, yeah he should not try to defend it. Acknowledge that he made a mistake and don’t do it again.

      The idea that Stegall is unable to close a door and put up a “Do not disturb” sign is ridiculous. If the man cannot get his own staff to not disturb him, then he might as well be working on the maintenance crew instead of in the corner office.

      The worst thing about it is that Chuck (and other taxpayers like him) has to pay for not only Prigge’s lunch but for Stegall’s, who earns more than enough ($185K salary) to pay for his own lunch. Free lunches should not be a perk of the city manager’s job.

      Lets give credit to Toby Shaw for being the only one who didn’t see the need to have a taxpayer-funded lunch.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        I have now read the Courier and Daily Herald articles on the subject. Yes, these articles make Prigge look hypocritical. There is no way for him to escape that. But I don’t see anything legally or ethically wrong with the lunches themselves.

        I have long been aware of these meetings, and I know that Prigge and Stegall do focus on City matters at their lunches. These really are business lunches.

        However, I have been bothered by the fact that Dave Kaptain started the practice of having a catered meal for all the council members before EVERY council meeting. They CAN’T be conducting business at those council meals, because that would violate the open meetings act. So if there is no business being conducted, the taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for these meals.

        But it must be remembered that for 3 years out of the last 4, Mayor Kaptain has not taken a salary, to my understanding. So that is about $45,000 which would pay for many years of catered meals for the council.

        But having these catered council meals does set a precedent that may well be maintained under future mayors. And will the future mayors in fact collect their annual salaries, AND enjoy their free pre-council meals?

        Chuck

        • RS says:

          And it’s not like Prigge and Stegall were eating burritos at El Faro’s either. They were averaging almost $50 a meal. So, Chuck you really don’t have a problem with these “business lunches?”

          First of all, these are not businessmen we are talking about. They are not dealing and doing business. (Even then, no I don’t support the ability of businesses to deduct such expenses–this is obviously routinely abused.)

          But Stegall and Prigge are government officials. Now every time two government officials get together for lunch, we have to pay for it?

          I don’t mind them having lunch together, but maybe they should pack it? Or pay for it themselves? Set an example of stewardship of public money?

          The image of expense account lunches among bureaucrats is just, well, sickening really.

          • One Vote says:

            U46 has been catering board meetings for decades.
            The rationale is that board members were rushing from work to get to the meetings and had no time to get dinner.
            These meals were eaten during the executive session.

            Then again, U46 pays nothing to their board members, and no health insurance…at least they never used to pay anything.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            RS: I try to write carefully. Note, I said that Prigge and Stegall eating on the public dime is not a legal or ethical issue. But did I say that I don’t mind the fact that this practice makes Prigge and Stegall look greedy? I do mind that, and that is the issue.

            It is an issue, because it under cuts Prigge’s moral authority in throwing stones at others on spending issues, whether that be going to “rubber chicken” dinners with tickets purchased by the City, or spending money on Chilean junkets and junketeers.

            But I wouldn’t go so far as to say such a practice is “sickening”.

            And as I mentioned before, yes, they Mayor got catered dinners for the council as a regular practice. But the Mayor didn’t take his salary for 3 years out of four. In the same way, all the city council members put in lots of time considering their small pay. So if there are meals to be had in addition to the low pay, and city business is being transacted, it doesn’t strike me as out of line.

            Now, IF someone is earning more than $200,000 per year (not the paultry $187,000 you often cite, because the papers also cite that OLD, long obsolete figure) is getting free meals, that is getting closer to the “sickening” reaction you experienced. Kind of like the then assistant City Manager, who was pulling in big bucks, also getting a grant from the City to restore the copper work on his personal residence. That actually was sickening. Yet that was aired in the papers, and it seems as though nobody cared at all about that.

            Chuck

          • RS says:

            Now, IF someone is earning more than $200,000 per year (not the paultry $187,000 you often cite, because the papers also cite that OLD, long obsolete figure) is getting free meals, that is getting closer to the “sickening” reaction you experienced.

            The city manager, if I’m not mistaken, was paid $160K in 2011, and it’s now ballooned to over $200K? And should we wonder why people who are having lunch with the guy every week cannot resist giving him a pay raise every year? Doesn’t it remind you of those chummy corporate boards that are beholden to the CEO and pay him whatever he asks?

            And the point I was making was that you are paying for Stegall’s free lunch. It’s not like he goes out to lunch with Prigge and puts Prigge’s portion on the city card and pays for his own portion. If Prigge himself is racking up $50 meals at lunchtime, I would be amazed that he can manage to do that in Elgin without being a drunk. The meals you are paying for as a taxpayer are for both people, including the $200K city manager.

            Let’s look a little bit more at the numbers given by the Daily herald:

            Prigge took 33 meals totalling $1,607, averaging out to $48.70 per meal.

            All the other councilmen combined did 48 meals totaling $1,453, averaging out to $30.27 per meal.

            The other councilmen when they go out on those rare occasions with Stegall are averaging only $30 a meal and Prigge is averaging nearly $50 a meal (and we are talking at lunch rather than dinner prices)! What does that tell you?

            If this practice continues I have to agree with the other poster that henceforth John Prigge on this site will be known as John Piggy.

            The man himself on his Facebook page equates it to a perk when he says that he’d be willing to give it up only if the other members give up their nonprofit event tickets. And we all remember how critical he was of other members when that news story came out.

            There are many cases where I would approve of lunches paid for by the city. For example, the city manager is recruiting a candidate for CFO and takes him/her out to lunch. Perfectly legitimate. The occasional team building events and so forth is also legitimate. If the mayor finds that he wants to take someone out to lunch in recognition for the service to the community or something, that’s perfectly legitimate. If the mayor wants to take someone to lunch who is a potential investor or something in Elgin, that’s legitimate. There many legitimate cases. But you don’t take the same guy out to lunch every week to have a meeting!

            A regular meeting once a week is not a legitimate excuse to have a taxpayer-funded lunch!

            Now you have brought up the city council’s catered group meals and I don’t have a problem with that, because I can see the rationale for that as an opportunity for the members to see each other socially before the meeting begins, exchange ideas and to foster a better working atmosphere. And also the expense of that I’m sure is much less per person than what’ it’s costing to give Stegall and Prigge their private steak lunches.

            So if you disapprove of Stegall and Prigge’s lunches, disapprove. Don’t equivocate. Don’t go Bill Clinton and get technical.

            Don’t say it’s OK. Don’t say it’s just an appearance problem. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong.

            And damnit, I’ll tell you that it’s wrong!

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            OK, it seems to be retraction time. I got a phone call from a councilman tonight who told me that I am wrong, the pre-council meals were already in place at the time Dave Kaptain became Mayor. That councilman said he doesn’t know when they started having the pre-council meals. Sorry, Chuck

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            PS: As to when the pre-council meals started, I have FOIA’d the City of Elgin to ask when that practice started, and to ask how much we spend for those meals each year. I’ll post the information when I get a reply. Chuck

        • UTBOOT says:

          Its amusing to read that “fiscal watchdog” Councilman Pigge (pun intended) has figured a way to belly up to eat his fill at the public trough . I understand that he is particularly fond of the pulled pork at Public House and Walnut Street. You have to go back to the days of Kevin Kelly to find someone running up a tab on the taxpayers dime.Dont try to compare Prigge with Kelly since as Mayor, Kelly had more responsibilities and obligations to meet with people than a regular council member.You could accuse Prigge of talking out of both sides of his mouth but that would be difficult since it’s probably full of city funded food. Next time you run into him at a local restaurant, go up and introduce yourself as a constituent and offer to pay for his meal, opps never mind, you already are. I guess the $60,000 plus health insurance benefits he has received so far as an elected official isn’t enough to curb his appetite for public funds.

          • RS says:

            I don’t care about paying for Prigge’s lunch. If he’s hungry, then feed him, But Stegall is making $200K, will soon be retired and pulling in a big Elgin pension on top of his new salary as a city manager in whatever city he’s going to go to next. I don’t think any of us wants to feed bureaucrats who will be feeding off of us for the rest of their lives.

          • paul says:

            Nice response, RS. Nice hatchet job by the DH on Prigge. UTboot sure bought it hook line and sinker. While UT is so busy spewing his hatred of Prigge he missed the story. From written, EVERY council member participated in the free lunch program with the exception of Shaw. Bravo for Shaw - man of integrity. Shaw regularly meets with Stegall, Shaw never gets a free lunch. Readers are left to wonder if Shaw meets with Stegall over lunch and picks up his own tab or meets with Stegall during regular city business hours to discuss regular city business!!!
            WHAT is not written but implied is Stegall got 81 free lunches. “amusing’ how UT has no concerns about a taxpayer paid city bureaucrat making $200K getting 81 free lunches! I would assume Stegall is the one who picks up the tab and bills the city. DO council members have a city credit card?
            The best responses always come from Kaptain. He’s okay with the ethics of it because he himself does it but is deeply jealous of Prigge getting 10 time more them him.
            Like RS said, it is just plain wrong.

          • UTBOOT says:

            Paul: Never let the facts get in the way of an opinion. The manager, as the employee of the council, does not set the time and place of meetings with his employer, the council members. It is the individual member who determines when and where this will take place. if you had any knowledge of the workings of the council, you would know that Pigge’s choice of lunch meetings at taxpayer expense hasn’t been the norm both past and present. Generally, council members meet with the manager at city hall, during regular business hours or before meetings,.You would also know , from numerous articles over the years, that council members are given city credit cards when they are elected, some take them, some don’t. It’s nice that Pigge’s, has found a backboor way given himself a 16% pay increase unilaterally .

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            UTBOOT, I’m not defending anybody on this issue at this point. But your description of how the council members can boss the City Manager around as though he were a flunky is not at all realistic.

            Councilman Prigge doesn’t go up to the City Manager and order him as a bully to do his bidding. All of the council members know that Sean is their top resource, and that he is a professional with a huge work load, and that his time is very expensive. The council accommodates his schedule, and if someone chooses to have lunch, or not to have lunch with Sean, it is by mutual agreement.

            Your misunderstanding, or misrepresentation of the relationship between the council and the manager is not helpful or fair in assisting people to decide who should be blamed in this affair. Chuck

          • RS says:

            Your misunderstanding, or misrepresentation of the relationship between the council and the manager is not helpful or fair in assisting people to decide who should be blamed in this affair. Chuck

            It’s hard for me to see how Stegall can be blamed for this. I have to agree with UTBOOT in general that Stegall accommodates the members rather than the other way around. I just can’t see it that Stegall would be saying to Prigge or anybody else that the only opportunity to talk to him is over lunch. Stegall is a smart guy and he’s not going to be the one to suggest that they go have a taxpayer-funded lunch. Otherwise he would have done the same thing to everybody else, but instead it’s just (for the most part) his meetings with Prigge that take this form.

            Somehow I also doubt that Stegall would WANT to have lunch with any of these people. I don’t know, it’s just that if I were him, I would prefer to eat a bagged potato than go out to lunch with Prigge on a regular basis. Nothing against Prigge, it’s just that I would rather get work done than go waste time talking with food in my mouth.

            So while I don’t like to feed Stegall, I don’t blame him for this at all. This isn’t on him.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            RS: Look, I have YEARS worth of contact with both the affected parties, and inside information on these lunch meetings. You are applying external, non-experientially based conjecture.

            I am not laying any blame, or re-shifting it. But UTBoot’s conjecture simply is not reflective of the relationship that exists between the City Manager and anyone on the council.

            UTBoot said: “It is the individual (Council) member who determines when and where this (meeting)will take place.” That is casting Prigge as the master and Stegall as the slave, and that is NOT in any way their relationship. Both Prigge and Stegall want to go to these lunches, they like each other’s company, and they carry out extensive discussions covering every detail of upcoming council meetings. So these meetings serve both Prigge and Stegall.

            You may also not be aware that there has been long simmering discontent within the council over the time Prigge spends with Stegall. And it has nothing to do with the expense of these lunches. Other council members feel that such close contact between Prigge and Stegall gives Prigge an unfair inside track as to what is going on. And there have been serious council ruminations on diluting this contact. I do not have any idea, nor am I conjecturing, if this price of meals scandallette (as in little scandal) was in fact launched to curb Prigge’s contact with the City Manager, or if instead of shrewd calculation, this was just dumb accident that will achieve that same end.

            Chuck

            Chuck

          • RS says:

            I am curious, what was Prigge’s input on Stegall’s pay package over the years?

            Do you want them to be chummy chummy? I’m not sure it’s appropriate for them to have that kind of relationship when one is supposed to be watching over the other on behalf of taxpayers. I don’t want them to be buddies. I want them to have a professional relationship conducted professionally like everybody else does it.

            I also have to say that I think any councilman who thinks they have a special relationship with Stegall is a fool. The man earns his keep by making them all happy and he said he spends the vast majority of his time on communicating with the city council. I could describe what he does in unflattering terms, but we all know what he does. And one would be a fool to confuse it for something else.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            RS: I am not pushing an agenda for what their relationship should be. I am only explaining what I know it to be, based upon conversations with both parties, and comments made by other council members, and some City Staffers.

            Oddly, what they discuss in executive session usually stays confidential, unless it is an exceptional issue like replacing Anna Moeller. I have never pressed any council member to spill the beans on Sean’s review discussions. But the pay he gets is testament to his glowing regard by the council as a whole.

            (And I believe that it is no accident that the commonly brandished figure for his compensation is so out of whack with the reality of his current pay.)

            There are a couple on the council who however do not fall in the club of Sean venerators. But that is a matter for private discussion.

            Chuck

          • RS says:

            (And I believe that it is no accident that the commonly brandished figure for his compensation is so out of whack with the reality of his current pay.)

            Let’s blame Prigge because he’s no longer watching out for taxpayers. He’s now watching out for his lunch buddy.

          • UTBOOT says:

            Oh Chuck, there you go again. When you cant make a rational argument, devolve to hyperbole. Nowhere in my comments does it indicate the council treats a manager by bullying, and you,being well connected and the self professed “go to Guy” at all levels of city hall should be aware that the relationship between council and manager is one of employer and employee. Council members set the tone and frequency of their meetings with the manager not vice versa. This is done with mutual respect by all parties, not the bullying attitude you imagine or would like to exists. One fact you fail to acknowledge is that the manager serves at the pleasure of the council, and when a manager loses that confidence their tenure with the city is short lived. One only has to look back at Joyce Parker and David Dorgan to illustrate what happens when a majority loses confidence. Mr. Stegall is a capable, professional manager and is skilled in the craft of treating all members of the council as equals. Elgin council members have not and would not tolerate any other behavior by a manager in his or her relations with the council. If Mr. Pigge chooses to feed at the public trough while meeting with the manager, it is well within his job description and ability. It is not nor has it been in the past, the practice of other council members to do so and he is the exception. As an astute political tactician like yourself knows, perception is reality, and the perception in this matter is that Mr. Prigge, the bastion of fiscal conservative philosophy, is a hypocrite. Your attempt to switch the responsibility for the feeding frenzy by Mr. Prigge to Mr. Stegall and your apologist attitude toward the councilman is both sad and laughable.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            UTBOOT, one of my first posts on this affair is that nothing was illegal or unethical. I said it makes Prigge look greedy. I said that this undercuts Prigge’s authority to criticize other’s spending problems. I can not call that a defense. That is an objective assessment of the situation.

            But presenting an over-all objective tone in a debate requires a consideration of the opposing argument’s biases. Because the attacks by you (UTBoot) are so over the top attack hatchet jobs by someone who clearly hates Prigge, that my colorations have to spin slightly in the other direction, just to maintain some higher level of over-all balance.

            You just posted that “Nowhere in my comments does it indicate the council treats a manager by bullying”. Yet you did say “It is the individual (Council) member who determines when and where this (meeting)will take place.” I characterized that as “casting Prigge as the master and Stegall as the slave, and that is NOT in any way their relationship.” And now you are twisting what I said. So it is clear that we have degenerated into “I said-You said” hair splitting and spinning, which is not furthering the argument.

            The bottom line, for me to define my view, and not your contorted spins on my view:
            Nothing illegal or unethical has taken place.
            This affair makes Prigge look greedy, and that will undercut his ability to be a critic of governmental waste, which is unfortunate.
            These meals are held on a consensual basis between Prigge and Stegall.

            Chuck

          • UTBOOT says:

            Chuck: Many years ago, a wise gentleman advised me to never do intellectual battle with an unarmed man. Interaction with you has proven him right. Not onlly do you fancy yourself as all-knowing related to the affairs of the city, but now you profess to be able to read minds and motivations, or maybe it’s just projecting your nature on others. The fact is, that Mr. Prigge isn’t important enough to elicit anything close to as strong an emotion as the hate you are sure I harbor . I only find his actions and responses amusing and sad given his position as self-anointed guardian of the city purse. His time on the council too will pass as all do, and few will remember either him or his actions. At least he, unlike you, will have stepped forward in the public arena and subjected himself to the criticism that his office generates. This can not be said for you, who can be best described as a man who talks much and accomplishes little in life. Stay well.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            For the unbiased readers:
            1) In my last post, I stuck to the issue. UTBoot responded only with more condescending sarcasm and petty attacks.

            2)UToBoot wrote: “At least he (Prigge), unlike you, will have stepped forward in the public arena and subjected himself to the criticism that his office generates.”
            Isn’t that odd that I post with my name, and am clearly NOT lurking in the shadows, and you post with a pseudonym? How much sense does that make?

            Chuck

          • UTBOOT says:

            There you go again, Chuck .My postings under a pseudonym make as much sense as those of your friends, one vote,RS, Paul, and others and seem to fall within the rules of this site if I am not mistaken. Seems like you are pretty thin skinned when the crticsizm is aimed at you, rather than by you. have a happy thanksgiving, and don’t waste any additional time in responding, as I have better things to do with my time and frankly, your incessant whining bores me.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            UToBoot: Again, RS, and One Vote aren’t criticizing me for “not stepping out of the shadows” when I post with my own name, and you don’t.

            That is hypocrical, which is essentially what you are nailing Prigge for.

            After several years of posting here, my skin is as thick as can be and this doesn’t upset me. I have had much worse over the years from other posters. Don’t take this as a compliment, but you are much nicer than others have been to me in the past!

            Chuck

          • One Vote says:

            Bully - Slave - blahblahblah.
            A successful city manager need only know how to count. Five is the magic number in Elgin.
            That’s how he keeps his job.

  45. RS says:

    And yet another example of the 20 years, retire and get a job in the next city:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141120/news/141129700/

    Theriault, 42, will leave his post as operations commander in Elgin, where he’s served for 20 years.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Very interesting RS. Congratulations to Glenn. He is a good officer and a good man.

      But I must confess that I am unsure, if Glenn retires from the EPD, does he collect his pension from his time serving Elgin right away while he collects his new salary from Sycamore? This is my understanding,,,, but how illogical is that? It is so illogical, that it doesn’t seem like it should be possible. To be pulling in two salaries, effectively seems, well, greedy.

      If Glenn could not pull in any pension, until he turns say 66, well that would be fair. And that would save a huge over-burden on the pension system.

      I don’t want to sound like Mr. Sour Grapes, because I have no pension, except what I hope to get some day from Social Security, but
      I worked and saved my money so that I could retire off of my own savings. If someone has a pension, what do they need to even save money for?

      Just change the laws so public employees can’t collect a pension until they have truly retired at age 66 and are not working. If someone wants to stop working before age 66, they can as long as they are living off of their own savings to do this.

      Oh wait, that logical and fair situation is cleverly UNCONSTITUTIONAL thanks to great political maneuvering in the State of Illinois.

      Chuck

      PS: I am not picking on Glenn, but he is the newest example. I said the same thing about Rich Dunne when he retired from the EFD to go to work for FEMA. I said the same thing when that officer retired from the EPD and was hired by City Hall to be an ethics officer of some sort over the EPD. There are no doubt thousands of such cases, which is a big part of why Illinois has “a pension deficit disorder”.

      • RS says:

        He’s quite young to retire at 42. My understanding is that anyone hired before 2011 can start collecting at age 50 (those hired after 2011 have to wait until they are 55), so he needs to wait another 8 years to start collecting from Elgin. But yes, at that point he will be collecting both a pension from Elgin and a salary from his job.

        It should be illegal to collect a pension and work at the same time, but not only is it legal (and incentivized) but Illinois is one of only three states in the country that does not tax pension income!

        So I hope you can work with Anna Moeller and see if she can push something forward in the legislature to stop this kind of nonsense.

        Illinois is the worst place to live if you are normal person. BUT if you are a retired bureaucrat, teacher, cop or fireman it doesn’t get any better than this.

      • RS says:

        But bottom line is he can fit two 20-year careers in without even hitting the social security age of retirement.

        Somewhere along the line the unions decided that 20 years constituted a career, and everybody went along with it even though it meant people retiring at age 42 like Theriault. In 20 years at his new job, he’ll only be 62. At that point he will have been collecting a pension from Elgin for 12 years and will begin collecting his new pension on top of that.

  46. RS says:

    https://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141122/business/141129421/

    But hunting participation increased by 9 percent from 2006 to 2011, the latest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s national five-year survey found, and wildlife officials around the country suspect that it’s local food connoisseurs — or locavores — partly helping to level it off…

    “The motivation really was something that I can do for myself as a way of knowing where my food comes from,” he said. “I’ve worked on farms for a number of years and enjoy picking and helping grow some of my own produce and it seemed like a natural extension to apply that to at least some of the meat that I eat.”

    He’s slaughtered pasture-raised rabbits and chickens, and said he feels at ease about killing a deer since it’s able to roam free and grow in a natural habitat. With a clean shot, the deer dies quickly, Eanes said.

    I’ve wanted to hunt for a long time too but don’t even know where to start.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      RS: The standard way to get into hunting, is to first find an avid hunter! The rest follows from there. Problem solved, Chuck

  47. RS says:

    And I want to add that the idea of lunch being a distraction-free opportunity for them to do business is completely ridiculous. Lunches in the business world are not used to transact business. Lunches are opportunities to get to know people and build relationships, network and so on. If you want a distraction-free window of time, you book a conference room and shut the door. You don’t go out to a busy restaurant sit around, read a menu, sip drinks, eat food, talk with your mouth full, chat with people walking by say hello, greet the regular staff, flag waiters down, etc.

    The idea of it being distraction-free is so absurd that I am insulted that Prigge thinks we the public are so stupid that we are going to buy this argument.

  48. bw says:

    Prigge took 33 meals totalling $1,607, averaging out to $48.70 per meal.

    Prigge cock and bull story is a bunch of bs. He got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and is not man enough to admit his misuse of the taxpayer’s money. If he did not the position as councilman because of the time involved he should resign the position. He is old enough to know the time these positions take, so his ego must have got the best of him. You get little pay for a bunch of hours when you fet elected to these positions. Cry baby cry!

  49. bw says:

    UTBOOT,

    That was one of the best, honest, and great post ever. Your points were right on target. Chuck has an ego problem when it comes to the business of the city. He must not have any other agenda. I take what he post with a grain of salt. Good content is lacking for one reason or another. He is the self appointed watch dog of all city business. Thanks for a great post.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      That is perhaps correct bw, I don’t have many agendas beyond the City Council and City government. I hope that you take everyone’s post with a grain of salt. That is how it should be. I try to provide good content when I have good information.

      The fact of the matter is that concerning the lunch scandelette, because no laws were broken and nothing un-ethical was done, it will be soon forgotten as we all become embroiled in the coming April election cycle.

      Chuck

      • RS says:

        The fact of the matter is that concerning the lunch scandelette, because no laws were broken and nothing un-ethical was done, it will be soon forgotten as we all become embroiled in the coming April election cycle.

        As long as the practice continues, it won’t be forgotten. There will be snickering and mockery every time Prigge opens his mouth. They will hit him with this on the head until he shuts up.

        If he wants to put it behind him, all he has to do is say “I never thought there was anything wrong with it, but a lot of people whose opinion I value think that it could present at least an appearance issue . To avoid this being a distraction going into the future, I will find another way for me to meet with the city manager on a regular basis.”

        And it would be over. instead we get him defending himself saying he’s going to do it forever until other members give up their perks, you defending him, and the argument never ends. Does the man really want to go down with his mouth full of food?

        Is it that hard to pry him from the lunch table? My god, just let it go already, Prigge. Pull the napkin out, put the fork down. You can do it!

  50. bw says:

    UTBOOT,

    Chuck must not be able to read or is it he has to have the last word?

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      UTBOOT can post again and get in another chance at the last word. That was not my purpose. I had a point to make. If I have no point to make or information to pass on, I won’t post. Chuck

  51. Chuck Keysor says:

    I am happy to see that there will be a contested mayor election. And the field of council candidates is not so large that a run-off is not required. Both the Courier and Daily Herald have articles on the candidates. http://couriernews.chicagotribune.com/2014/11/24/kaptain-one-opponent-elgins-mayor-11-running-city-council/

    Chuck

  52. bw says:

    The current mayor an four members of the council have earned another term in the 2015 city election.

  53. bw says:

    This election is like a NFL replay. There is not enough reasons to change the current council members. Those seeking the job will not make any improvement in the city council. I’m not excited by any new person filing for a position. They don’t offer any new improvements for Elgin.

    • still concerned says:

      BW. Why don’t you wait to engage some of these newer candidates before you make up your mind. I think you may be surprised about some of the ideas that will come out. Already some of the new candidates are pushing for a ward system where neighborhoods that today feel under represented if not neglected would have someone more attuned to their needs if geographical representation was in place. Also, ideas about how to tweak the budget without excessive utility fees will be put forth. I realize it’s hard not to be cynical when so few historically vote for our city leadership…but I can guarantee you some of these candidates will “shake up Elgin” during the campaign!

      • bw says:

        I’m sure all of these people are good people. However, these ideas are ideas from past city council candidates. I’m 78 years old and have watch candidates come and go. When you run for any office you must think of a new agenda even if it was debated during prior elections like the ward system. That was on the table a few years ago in several different forms. It went nowhere as most of these things go. The current council has the pulse of all what is being suggested by the people who want to be elected in 2015. Having been a past elected official for 30 years and a lifelong resident of the city I think I know if a better candidate is offering anything new that needs a second look. I guess I’m satisfied with the current council ad will work for their election.

        • still concerned says:

          Hi BW. 78 years, great! This is a public forum that I am sure some of the candidates access from time to time. Most candidates have or will have FACEBOOK and/or other web pages. If you have any forward looking ideas now is the time to express those openly to all. As a example of frustration…I recall that when Mayor Kaptain ran the 1st time he and others pushed for a ward system..where we’d still have a City Manager-Council form of government, but where some or most of the council members would be elected from specific geographical areas (ward if you will) rather than at large. Unfortunately the power that be don’t want that, as it is easier to get elected at large, target only specific special interest groups for votes, rather than you neighborhood. Those folks prevailed then and in the past. We need to change that mindset. As I said before, many people feel they are not represented and the historic and pathetic vote totals in these municipal elections show that. Post your ideas BW, maybe it will help!

          • bw says:

            still concerned,

            I made three post why I favor the current council members for another four year term. There is nothing complex about why I favor them I just feel that they have improved the community using financial policies that have been fair, in my opinion, without increasing my real estate taxes. Elgin has an excellent Bond Rating and is one of the more favorable cities in the state. These current council member’s will continue moving the community in the right direction using a common sense approach. The people who opposed these council members are one issue citizens.

  54. bw says:

    Chuck Keysor
    November 11, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    bw, the type of Mayoral candidate we were seeking was someone who was either already well known, or who had awesome credentials. And in the dream come true situation, the candidate would meet both of those conditions. The list of new candidates, all good people, don’t fit Chuck’s criteria. I never heard on any of these people and I lived here for 78 years. None of them are well known or have awesome credentials.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      bw, actually Mo Iqbal and Joe Galvan both have very impressive credentials. And their resumes have the potential for providing real benefits to Elgin.

      Dr. Iqbal has PHD in Civil Engineering, a law degree and an MBA in finance. With his legal background, he was able to question, and then get the staff and council to reconsider the City’s solar panel ordinance. Having someone who can make independent, well qualified assessments of Staff legal and engineering issues has a huge upside potential for not having the council simply having to take staff’s recommendation for everything. Dr. Iqbal’s resume clearly has a great upside potential for uniquely benefiting the residents of Elgin.

      Joe Galvan was the Midwest director for HUD for 8 years, with a staff of maybe thousands and a budget of billions. His education is in urban planning and he worked in that capacity in a Chicago suburb before starting his own firm and before going to Washington for 8 years. He is politically connected in Springfield as well as in Washington. Considering this City’s heavy reliance on HUD dollars, urban planning issues and needing good political connections, Joe Galvan’s impressive resume also brings great value to the City.

      So there are a number of very good candidates, but that is getting into my personal preferences. But going on resume’s alone, Dr. Iqbal’s and Joe Galvan’s are standouts for local office.

      Chuck

      • bw says:

        CHUCK,

        i’m glad that you’re impressed with the two candidates you mentioned in your post. However, I have never heard of either man. It sound to me both men are over qualified to serve on the city council. anyone who has a Washington or Springfield connection don’t impress most voters as the approval rating of persons with government connections are not who we want running our community. Dr. Iqual being an asset to legal and engineering issues is only your opinion. He could be a poor upside potential to the staff who run these department’s at the present time. As a self appointed local government professional you are entitled to our own opinions. I’m glad you made the effort to introduce to these new men who have little name recognition that is the number one criteria in getting elected to any political position.

  55. RS says:

    Hey guys don’t forget about the Community Thanksgiving Dinner

    https://www.facebook.com/communitythanksgivingdinner

    It will be at First United Methodist Church from 11-2 on Thanksgiving

  56. Cruex says:

    James Madison is back after hiding out after I asked him to give Elginite 5 reasons to vote for his Anna Moeller. Maybe you can give us all 5 reasons to vote for Steffen, Powell, Kaptain and Martinez. We know Shaw doesn’t deserve your vote. This should put you in hiding until after this election. I would ask bw to to do the same but she likes paying the higher taxes that Powell, Kaptain and Steffen have all caused and that’s good enough for her. I think you are two people bw because anyone who supported Jeff Meyer but would support the same liberals as Moeller is has to have multiple personalities. I will vote for the new guy running for mayor and anyone but Steffen, Martinez and Powell. They’re the real problem here in Elgin.

    • James Madison says:

      Cruex, gloating is not one of my personality characteristics but since you and the Chicago Tribune both picked the loser in IL43, I guess you are in good company.Can you say 60% to 40%. In the old country we call that a thumpin.’ As to the upcoming intramurals: Kaptain fails every basic test of leadership, let’s give Galvan a whirl. With the City Manager/City Council form we have in Elgin, he can’t screw many things up. I strongly support Shaw and Steffen. I oppose Powell. Martinez needs a full term to assess her strengths and weaknesses. I will vote or not vote for others based on what they display in forums, interviews and other encounters. (I understand Cruex is excellent for jock itch…have never had, so can’t speak from personal experience. Since that is your chosen handle, maybe you can do a testimonial.)

      • bw says:

        JM,

        Your comments about Mayor Kaptain are only an opinion. Those type of opinions are tossed about everyday. My neighborhood love the Mayor and think he has done an excellent job for the community. If it is not broken way fix it. With the City Manger/City Council form we have in Elgin, the Mayor is not expected to be an exceptional leader. The City Manger runs things with the help of the department heads. I suggest you have a beef with the Mayor maybe because he beat Schock. You’re another single issue voter. Anna Moeller won her election 60/40 because the GOP failed in choosing a strong candidate. I don’t know you and I’m not looking for a friendship. At 78 I could care less about new friends. Have a good holiday season.

        • James Madison says:

          BW, great exchange of ideas. The Mayor is the highest ranking official in the City. The City Manager is the COO, the Mayor the CEO. Nothing is done by the CM without prior or subsequent approval. I happen to personally like DK, just think he does not want to be THE leader. Enjoy the conversation, always. Hope you and your family have a healthy and safe holiday season.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      James, as to the matter of Jeff Meyer being beaten, I looked at the results for Elgin’s 59 precincts, to see what I could learn. In my opinion, Oberwiese is a nice man, and a rich man, nothing more. And he could only expect to get the votes from die-hard Republicans. Likewise, Quinn is dead from the neck up, and no one but a die-hard Democrat would vote for him.

      Then, I said, IF Oberwise and Rauner win a precinct, it is a solid Republican precinct. If a Durban and Quinn win a precinct, it is a solid Democratic precinct.

      If Durban AND Rauner carried a precinct, then I generously called it a split precinct. When a precinct was split, Rauner only carried it by a small amount, and in most cases Kaifesh and Meyer lost the split precincts (Rauner didn’t have long coat tails as they say.) Which suggests that the split precincts were still slightly more Democratic.

      In the Solid Republican precincts, it turned out Kaifesh and Meyer also won. In the Solid Democratic precincts, Duckworth and Moeller won.

      Now, the important part:
      In Elgin, 29 precincts are Solid Democrat
      16 precincts are Solid Republican
      14 precincts are split.

      Elgin voters are hugely democratic. It isn’t who is the better candidate. Most voters seem to simply go down the line and vote for their party.

      Again, it is not about who is the better candidate. It is just about the numbers, unless one can throw HUGE sums of money to pay for enough educational ads to break through to at least a few people who decided not to just go straight down the party line.

      Happy Thanksgiving, Chuck

      • One Vote says:

        Thanks for the analysis, Chuck.
        It still takes my breath away that the political winds have shifted so quickly in Elgin.
        But shift they have. Noland is Exhibit A.
        Happy Thanksgiving.

      • bw says:

        Chuck,

        The 16 Republican precincts have a larger total GOP vote than all 29 Dem precincts. They are the big voting West side precincts. Rt. 31 to Randall and the Tollway to the Rt. 20 By-Pass are where all the GOP votes are located.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Hello bw, you do know your precincts, and are correct about the size of the GOP precincts.

          I just now did a quick sort of the spread sheet. EL59, 24, 58, 47 and 53 were the top for size and vote count. They are all GOP precincts. The EL48 was “split”, going for Rauner and Durban. But the next three biggest by vote count were EL55, 16 and 7, and they too are all GOP.

          But get this,,,,,,, all of those precincts are outside of the 43 Congressional District. So none of those GOP votes were of any help to Jeff Meyer.

          Well, not to sound too fixated on this political stuff, I was happy to have participated this morning in St. Mary’s Thanksgiving worship service helping to provide the day’s special music. The service was well attended and uplifting.

          When I pulled into their parking lot this morning, I parked crookedly, which I realized right after I had turned off the engine. So I tried to restart the engine, and it just cranked, but it wouldn’t start. So I put it in neutral and pushed my truck to get it parked right.

          During the service, I kept thinking, gee, my truck has never done this before. What if my truck won’t start after church? What will that cost? And I baked two apple pies (from scratch) yesterday to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner in Wheaton. How will I get my pies to Wheaton? How will I get to Wheaton? But the service kept drawing my attention away from my momentary concern, as we were called to reflect on all of the many things for which we can be thankful.

          Well, I was extra thankful when I went out to start my truck after the service, and it started right up!

          Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Chuck

      • James Madison says:

        Chuck, great analysis. Your need your own MSNBC program. No one even looks at this level of detail on the precinct level. Happy Thanksgiving.

  57. bw says:

    Cruex,

    You’re entitled to vote for any candidate. I’m what you cal an independent voter. I vote for a person I think will do the best job in his/her position. Political Party means nothing when I vote. For the record I’m a man. I don’t see any real problem here in Elgin and I have lived here for 78 years. What you see as a problem, the rest of us would disagree. You’re entitled to have your own opinion. I don’t think I have to give you one reason why I vote for any candidate. I don’t hide. If you move around the West side of the community you will see me everyday. Have a nice Thanksgiving.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Cruex, good points.

      bw, I am surprised as to your gender. I think any long-time reader will be surprised at this revelation. I believe that people are nice to you in part because they don’t want to be mean to an old lady!

      Happy Thanksgiving! Chuck

      • bw says:

        OK Professor, now you know I’m not an old lady but a 6 ft, 245 pound male. I can take care of myself and take anything you throw my way. I don’t know what good points Cruex made only another opinion. I guess you get excited about just anything. Enjoy tomorrow Professor.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          OK bw, since we are the same height, and you outweigh me by 100 pounds, I will be nice to you, even if you aren’t a nice little old lady. Of course I may be able to run faster than you! Happy Thanksgiving, Chuck

  58. James Madison says:

    Chuck Keysor: the conscience of Elgin: have a great Thanksgiving.

  59. Cruex says:

    Even after she won you still can’t come up with 5 reasons to vote for her. Don’t feel bad, most of the people who voted for her could join you in staring into space. Just wait until she gets going carrying out Madigan’s orders against the people.

    • James Madison says:

      Cruex, winners celebrate, losers analyze. You have four years to devise a plan to defeat her. Good luck.

  60. RS says:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141126/news/141128688/

    The majority of the $9.5 million increase projected for the city of Elgin’s general fund budget stems from pensions, along with salaries for new employees and increases in benefits.

    • One Vote says:

      Legacy costs are killing us, but which candidates even talked about it?
      Certainly not the incumbents. Rauner made hay on the subject, even though we knew deep down that he’s powerless to do anything about it.
      At this point it appears that the lawyers who drew up the Illinois Constitution knew how to sew up loopholes.
      Locally, the only defense is part-time or contract workers. Maybe early retirement buy-outs. Who knows, but our elected officials sure don’t want to talk about it.
      The only thing we can do is vote with our feet. Sort of like musical chairs. Just one more reason not to start a business in Illinois.

      • RS says:

        Yeah they need to keep headcount low. I think we could do with at least one less fire station for example.

        As for police, over the last few years they have shown themselves to be overstaffed. They have to go on all sorts of adventures like busting out-of-town petty MDMA dealers, luring them to Elgin just so they can arrest them near a school on trumped up charges. The end effect is to waste our police and judicial resources and push up our crime statistics (again we are talking about out of town MDMA dealers).

        What other adventures? Well they also sent in somebody underaged so they could bust a downtown Elgin restaurant for no reason, and they shut that down. Yeah, that really left us better off! The place has been vacant since, not contributing any tax revenue to the city and not providing anybody with cold cervezas and homemade tortillas.

        So the police department should not be hiring as many people as they are planning on hiring next year, especially not people from another country. Their officers already have too much time on their hands. Maybe they should hire NO new people next year.

        Other things they should look at are not responding to all calls where police presence doesn’t matter. If somebody wants to report something, let them do it online. Filing a police report in this day and age shouldn’t require an officer to take notes. Of course if necessary they should call back or do it in person if its found to be necessary in specific cases. But generally, many reports should just be handled online or via telephone.

        Another thing is that police in Elgin still are hired to stand around during events (presumably they are paid on overtime), which is probably more expensive than hiring private security.

        And the list goes on. I’m sure if the will was there, the city council, city manager and police chief can all sit down and come up with a very long list of situations where using Elgin police officers is not necessary.

        I am skeptical that the level of staffing we have now is appropriate. That DH story says we have 180 officers. Elgin has about 100,000 people. I don’t have the current statistics for Naperville but a story from 2010 shows that Naperville at that time with a population of 145,000 people had only 131 police officers.

  61. Margaret Miller says:

    The $12 million surplus is gone.

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141126/news/141128688/
    ?
    Pensions make up most of Elgin’s new day-to-day expenses?
    The majority of the $9.5 million increase projected for the city of Elgin’s general fund budget stems from pensions, along with salaries for new employees and increases in benefits.

    The 2015 proposed general fund budget — which is used for the city’s day-to-day operations — is $114.9 million. Elgin’s fiscal year starts Jan. 1; the city council is expected to approve the overall $290.5 million budget Dec. 17.?

  62. bw says:

    If the revenue is there fine. If there is not enough revenue to cover the total expenses then we have a problem. They will have to look at some of the cuts RS suggested in his post.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      The unfortunate fact is that this 2015 budget only allows for about $2 million in discretional spending.

      The pension, salaries and benefits for over 700 city employees will always be facing the taxpayer and obviously these cost will continue to skyrocket faster than revenue. This does not even take into account the high costs of our school districts.

      Even if they cut all $2 million of discretionary spending, we’re still about $7 million behind for 2016 as the high cost of city personnel remains.

      It seems to me that 2015 is the break even year.

      2016, will result in another massive tax increase as we saw in 2011-2013 just to keep up.

      As an example of continuing higher government costs,the 2011 budget was $203 million. We’re now at $290 million. That’s almost a $90 million increase in four years. How in the world is this escalation sustainable by the taxpayer?

      The only salvation would be a huge injection of revenue. Where do think that’s going to come from?

      So the next time a conservative suggests cut backs, it’s because the needs of the many’s fiscal health out weight the wants from the few.

      • bw says:

        I guess the council have the option of increasing real estate taxes and cut back 10% in every department.

        • Margaret Miller says:

          The 10 percent across the board department cut was suggested many times.

          It’s not going to happen.

          It’s now a world of the have and the have nots.

          The haves are the ones who get a pension.

          The have nots are the lucky ones who pay for the haves.

          So as I see it, the dwindling middle class not only pays for the wealthy side of pensions, salary increases and healthcare, but we also subsidise the poor who’s ranks are increasing.

      • RS says:

        As an example of continuing higher government costs,the 2011 budget was $203 million. We’re now at $290 million. That’s almost a $90 million increase in four years. How in the world is this escalation sustainable by the taxpayer?

        Are these figures accurate? It would be incredible. I mean if this is accurate, where’s the outrage? We’re talking a 44% increase in spending over four years.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          RS, I cited similar figures with Mitch Esterino in the last election, and John Steffen made a rare post, to tell me and all readers, that I was misleading the readers with such numbers. He said that the historical figures represent actual spending, where the budget figures that apply to the current year, and the next proposed budget are estimates, that he said were always higher than actual spending, thus exaggerating the appearance of an increase in spending.

          I replied that I was not twisting figures, or misleading anyone, unless the City Manager was misleading everyone, because I was using figures taken, all from one single chart in the official budget document. So, I am not scolding you, but passing that on. And, I think that effect is rather small, like $3million out of $290,000 million. So the increase may be more likely to be $203million in 2011, up to $287million in 2015!

          Oh, and you asked, where is the outrage? Like I said, I raised this point here 2 years ago, and in a speech to the council, and there was no outrage, except that I got accused of misleading people…..

          Chuck

          • paul says:

            “Oh, and you asked, where is the outrage?”

            Near as I can tell the outrage is focused on re-electing the current tax raising racist mayor Sgt. kaptain.

            Kind of like Rauner vs. Quinn only without the Rauner.

  63. bw says:

    Someone is going to bite the bullet as the city government continues growing.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      The only ones left to bite that bullet are city employees and all union pensioners.

      • paul says:

        “The only ones left to bite that bullet are city employees and all union pensioners.”

        Really! Is that who think has been biting the bullet in the City of Elgin?
        No. It is the taxpayers who bit the bullet with higher rates of taxation and it WILL be the taxpayer who bites even harder on the bullet in the future. Re-elect Sgt. Kaptain to get another portion of the tax and spend solution.

        • Margaret Miller says:

          Paul:
          No, that’s NOT who I think has been biting the bullet! One the contrary. It appears you have not read the entire thread to this conversation, not always attached to the conversation…but its there. I have made my position very clear on pensions in Elgin & Illinois on this blog. The taxpayer has been and will continue to foot these pensions, salaries and healthcare bill for a long time to come. My retort was that the only ones left of bite any bullet is the city employees and union pensioners BECAUSE we, the taxpayer, have always been the ones to bite the bullet regarding this unsustainable pension program. To recap and save you time on my posts, here are some excerpts.

          Nov 15 - Even local governments that have a good track record with transparency and high credit scores are struggling to pay for pensions. Take the AAA-rated city of Elgin, for example.

          Nov 17 - Pension debt in the Land of Lincoln is a big problem. So big, in fact, that it would take three years of a complete government shutdown, during which the entire general fund went toward pensions, just to break even. No funding for schools, no money for public safety, and nothing for health care and human services.

          Nov 22 - Illinois was one of the worst offenders, according to the report. It found that while the state says it has an “unfunded liability” of $8,133 per person, the true amount is three times higher at $25,740 per Illinois resident.

          Nov 27 - The $12 million surplus is gone. Pensions make up most of Elgin’s new day-to-day expenses? The majority of the $9.5 million increase projected for the city of Elgin’s general fund budget stems from pensions, along with salaries for new employees and increases in benefits. The 2015 proposed general fund budget — which is used for the city’s day-to-day operations — is $114.9 million. Elgin’s fiscal year starts Jan. 1; the city council is expected to approve the overall $290.5 million budget Dec. 17.

          Nov 27 -The pension, salaries and benefits for over 700 city employees will always be facing the taxpayer and obviously these cost will continue to skyrocket faster than revenue. As an example of continuing higher government costs, the 2011 budget was $203 million. We’re now at $290 million. That’s almost a $90 million increase in four years. How in the world is this escalation sustainable by the taxpayer?

          Nov 28 - The 10 percent across the board department cut was suggested many times. It’s not going to happen. So as I see it, the dwindling middle class not only pays for the wealthy side of pensions, salary increases and healthcare, but we also subsidize the poor who’s ranks are increasing.

          Nov 28 - The only ones left to bite that bullet are city employees and all union pensioners.

          I hope this assists you in understanding my position.

  64. bw says:

    Hard working are entitled to those benefits.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      bw: And the hardworking, financially strapped taxpayers are entitled to further financial distress to pay for all these HUGE pensions? You say public sector pensioners are entitled to these benefits. Why? I am not entitled to such generous benefits, and neither is anybody I know in the private sector. Let these public workers get what people get for social security.

      It was only because of the unions working in collusion with elected officials that are under the thumb of the unions, that the public sector employees got these HUGE retirement benefits and Cadillac health benefits. In the private sector, the unions are countered by “company owners and their management” who have to watch their own money and future profitability, so they will naturally fight off as much union abuse as is possible.

      In the public sector, the check on pension excesses has been blown away, because as noted, the elected officials on the take to the Unions are more worried about getting union money for their next re-election campaign. They don’t care about the future debt obligations they are racking up. That is why FDR wisely opposed the unionization of the public sector.

      God didn’t write the Illinois constitutional clause that protects pensions. It was those same greedy politicians who are taking all those Union dollars that put the constitutional pension provisions in place. But with the mess we are in, it will take an act of God to straighten things out.

      Do the pensioners want to force the state into bankruptcy, and then let their pensions be reduced to pennies on the dollar? Then the unions would be glad to get their pensioners to have a reasonable pension, like half of what they made while working. I would think I had gone to heaven if I were getting half of what I was earning while working!

      Chuck

      • RS says:

        The unions will be toughest to deal with so why not start with the non-union workers? Eliminate the pension system for non-union employees first. City management for example. Most (or all?) of the top level positions are non-union, and they should not receive a pension at all. They should be moved over to 401K or whatever.

        These new positions they’re talking about for example: CFO, Communications Director…what are the packages they are going to offer? If there’s anything in there about a pension it had better be scrapped right now. What is Octave doing to make sure that no new non-union employees enter into this unsustainable pension system?

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          RS: In a long conversation I had with the City Manager, back in January 2012, I raised this very question (with many others) of cutting back the pensions for the non-union employees. He said that actually, if someone tried to mess with these non-union employees pay and benefits, that they would most likely organize with a union, and threaten to strike. So for what he told me, going after them because they aren’t protected by a union doesn’t offer any help…… At least that is what he told me.

          Chuck

        • paul says:

          Are you crappin me??? Your solution to runaway union public pension disaster is to get rid of the non-union???

          Contract out public works. Contract out the police and fire departments. The ONLY hope is to get rid of the public union employees.

          • bw says:

            That will never happen.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            Paul:

            It is not my intention to publish my suggestions so that people take punches at them, only to show that I tried to be a part of the process. Here were my suggestions, submitted three times, to Elgin regarding the 2015 budget back on November 9th. See point #2. I think we’re thinking along the same lines.

            As some of the suggestions are undoable and perhaps not practical, I did offer them up for consideration. What I also feel is that this was a ploy by the city to make the citizen feel involved in the process and has no intention to do anything past what they are currently doing and that is growing our local govenment.

            Call for a 10% across the board department cut, code enforcement exempted.
            Privatize Code Enforcement, Forestry & Public Works.
            Call for a two year freeze on wages and new hires.
            Sell the Hemmen, The Centre & East Side Rec Center. (Privatize at the very least.)
            Police to use Drug Asset money to pay for their equipment before coming to the taxpayer.
            Fire, a five year freeze on capitol equipment as we have what we need.
            Stop all department duplication and memberships.
            Raffle off ALL City owned properties. (Set mimimum amout to cover all city costs, $100 per ticket)
            Stop all implementation of ANY new programs where hardware/software is required.
            Dissolve the Sustainability Commission.
            No more bailouts on “Too Big To Fail” organizations.
            Add to Code Enforcement budget money to go after over crowding.
            Stop all money for business signage and grease traps.
            The Village of Bartlett to pay for ALL expenses in the expansion of water. (Roads, piping, chemicals, software infrastructure improvements)
            Stop all green & sustainability projects.
            Stop all State & Federal grant programs where the legacy costs trickle down to the taxpayer. (Bike Lanes)
            Stop all City employees from the free tickets to NFP fundraising, meetings and lectures. (ECC & Judson)
            Stop all HUD projects.
            Stop all funding all departments of travel outside of Illinois.

  65. bw says:

    Chuck,

    What about all the units of local government who have no union representation? They levy a tax on your real estate tax bill and pay into the IMRF each month. When a worker is eligible for his/her pension as it is based on the last four years of earnings. My point is that many public workers don’t have any connection with unions. My partner was a nurse for 30 years. She gets a monthly pension based on St. Joe’s pension system that was in place when she started working there. They have made changes their pension system 10-15 years ago. They do not have any union connection. They withheld her share for pension contribution out of each of her bi-weekly checks and the hospital matched it. Now she gets a monthly check from JP Morgan each month. So a lot of people collecting monthly pensions have no connection with the unions including many public as well as private workers. Look at your real estate tax bill and you will see that you pay into a few local government pensions that are not connected to any unions.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      bw: Clearly the little non-union pensions are not what is sinking this state. But the fact that you pointed out that was of most interest, was the non-union pension with your partner was modified 10 or 15 years ago. Was that done to avoid bankrupting the pension fund? Had it been a State/union pension, it would not have been touched. Again, special treatment for public pensions controlled by unions and politicians, that private pensions don’t or can’t get. Those funds either get changed, or go bankrupt, and then the legal system gets messed up with them deciding how to deal with the mess. And as I recall, the Feds come in to rescue some bankrupt pensions, leaving the taxpayers on the hook. But it is my recollection that even then, the pension payments are knocked way down.

      We have someone in our neighborhood who works for one of the big airlines that went bankrupt. When they came out of bankruptcy, he said that he lost almost all of his pension.

      Thanks, Chuck

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Pension Reform Won’t Move Forward In Illinois Until Union Friendly Constitutional Clause Amended

        On Friday Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belze ruled that a “fake” pension reform bill passed by Speaker Michael Madigan and signed by Gov. Pat Quinn is unconstitutional because it violates a provision on the Illinois state constitution.

        Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship,the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.

        Governor-elect Bruce Rauner has said that he wants the state Supreme Court to review the case quickly so the state can move forward on pension reform.

        Illinois currently has $111 billion in pension debt.

        Because of that provision of the Illinois Constitution the result of any further challenge to the “fake” pension reform bill will be predictable, it is going to be struck down, the courts in the state are bound by that language and thus any attempts to say move state employee retirement plans to 401(k) style defined contribution plans will be blocked by the Unions who want to keep the taxpayers on the hook for their defined benefit retirement plans.

        So long as Article 13, section 5 is written the way that it is, this state is in for a lot of pain as it tries to deal with that growing pension debt.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Margaret, thanks for sharing the article. Who wrote the article and who published it? Thanks, Chuck

        • bw says:

          As long as there is money to cover current pensions debt the GA will drag their butt’s on fixing the problem.

  66. bw says:

    The Board of Directors change the pension at St. Joe’s because they felt that the new system made it better for all concern, not because of any bankruptcy problem. My partner was grand fathered in under the old system because of the amount of time employed at the hospital. My daughter-in-law works for United Airlines and her pension did not change when they came out of bankruptcy. She is fully vested in their pension system. I have a friend who worked for the state and he retired via a buy out deal from the Department of Transportation he is collected his pension today and was concerned about SB1 that the GA passed that would reduce the amount of his pension. He was please that the Judge in Springfield took the action in favor of those collecting their pension. The action Lisa Madigan has filed a notice of appeal this past week. He told me the State Constitution don’t allow the GA too change the employee’s pension that he is collected each month. It makes sense that a person collecting $2000/mo. pension can’t be reduced because the state failed to pay the necessary amount into the system every year. Should those who are collecting a monthly pension be made to suffer a loss of their benefits? Elgin must have their butt’s covered as far as their pension system requires by law.
    As salaries increase each year so do pensions as they are based on an employee’s last 4 years of earnings. Public pensions are a problem all over governments in Ill. The taxpayer’s pay the salaries and the city’s amount of each employee’s benefits. It is what it is!

  67. RS says:

    https://www.dailyherald.com/article/20141129/news/141128421/

    Elgin police researched ordinances enacted in Chicago, Seattle, Boston and Minneapolis and concluded it wants to treat taxi and E-Hail companies the same, Elgin police Lt. Jeff Adam said.

    “Not paying the overhead for commercial vehicle insurance is how (E-Hail companies) are keeping their overhead down, but it’s what you need to be a cabdriver,” Adam said. “You want to make sure the occupants are protected.”

    Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed a bill in August that would have required, among other things, commercial insurance for ride-share drivers.

    Ride-share companies Uber, Lyft and Sidecar state on their websites that they provide insurance coverage of $1 million.

    But that’s different from requiring each vehicle owner to carry commercial vehicle liability insurance, Jaime Hjelm said. That insurance costs from $3,000 to $4,000 yearly per vehicle, said Hjelm, owner of A Taxicab Leasing Corp. in South Elgin.

    Yet another example of an overstaffed police department with nothing better to do than to stop innovation and the new generation of services that are now considered essential among the demographic the city is trying to attract.

    Likewise a city council with nothing better to do than to create more regulation. What a bunch of bozos.

    And Hjelm on the council? Seriously? Does she have any reason for running other than to protect her taxi business?

  68. bw says:

    Ckuck.

    N
    MM made some good points but who in government cares?

    • Margaret Miller says:

      I think I have already addressed that with my comment…What I also feel is that this was a ploy by the city to make the citizen feel involved in the process and has no intention to do anything past what they are currently doing and that is growing our local govenment.

  69. RS says:

    OK everybody we had some interesting discussions in November, but it’s time to close this thread and move over to the December open thread:

    http://elginite.org/blog/2014/12/01/december-open-thread-5/