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December open thread

1 December 2014 Elgin Illinois 111 Comments

Elgin Artspace Lofts Elgin Artspace Lofts (Photo by The Elginite).

December open thread. Let’s keep the conversation flowing!

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111 Responses to “December open thread”

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  1. Margaret Miller says:

    So, if this passes, will there be another 3.5% increase in Elgin’s healthcare costs?

    If Illinois moves forward with a state-based health insurance exchange for the Affordable Care Act, it could cost more than $170 million in just three years. During a house hearing on a measure to create a state-based exchange Sarah Myerscough-Mueller with Governor Quinn’s office says the costs will be tens of millions of dollars a year.

    A state-run health insurance exchange could cost Illinois upwards $170,000 in the first three years, if it passes the legislature. The measure that passed a house committee Monday allows for a 3.5 percent assessment on insurance plans to pay for the exchange.

    During a house hearing Monday State Representative Norine Hammond asked Representative Robyn Gabel if the three-point-five percent of health insurance costs to pay for the program could rise with the federal rate. Gabel said the law would cap that, but there are ways around expected increased costs.

    “So, and there may be some advocates that aren’t thrilled about this, but a big section of the money would go to marketing, so there would just be a little less marketing,” Gabel said.

    Gabel says if the cap of 3.5 percent doesn’t generate enough money to run the state-based exchange lawmakers could come back with a new bill to raise more revenue. The proposed exchange passed a house committee Monday and could be amended further on the house floor in the remaining session of the General Assembly.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Last month I posted the following:
      Chuck Keysor

      November 22, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      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

      November 22, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      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


      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Here is the complete reply to my above mentioned FOIA, which just came a few minutes ago. Chuck

        “Dear Mr. Keysor,
        Pursuant to your request, during 2014, the city spent approximately $4,763 on council meeting dinners.

        As to when this practice began, there is no way to determine same. We believe it started at least ten years ago, if not longer.
        Thank you, Nancy RXXXXX
        Office of the City Manager”

    • paul says:

      How soon we forget. Google searching Elgin restrictions placed on Walmart building, all I could come up:


      What a horrible Walmart store in Elgin. We actually now go to the Walmart store in Algonquin - tile and wood floors, wide aisles, clean - everything Elgin walmart is not.

      “Walmart has scaled back its store along 73 acres at the southwest corner of Randall and Bowes from 203,619 square feet to 177,557 square feet” not because Walmart wanted to scale back but because they were forced to scale back to comply with Elgin ’special’ interest groups.
      Thank both Kaptains. A socialist’s paradise - it even feels like you are shopping in a 3rd world atmosphere!!!

      • paul says:

        In any case, it’s clear that there’s some strong opposition to Wal-Mart occupying that site, and the objection is based purely it seems on the impact it would have on Elgin’s image. <<


        Well, not “purely”. Much of the opposition was/is based on their pure hatred of Walmart.

        If only S. Elgin had annexed the land; oh what a fine Walmart store we could have had! Thanks, Dave and Sandy Kaptain.

  2. bw says:

    As to when this practice began, there is no way to determine same. We believe it started at least ten years ago, if not longer.

    I guess we will never know.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      I don’t think it matters when it started.

      The cost of $16.67 per person per meal is acceptable to me.

      Many of these meetings start at 5:00 pm and go through, sometimes 10:00 pm. If there is a Liquor Commission meeting, it starts at 4:00 pm.

      I don’t want to see any Council Member brown bagging their dinner on the nights of Council meetings while doing the city’s business.

      • RS says:

        Can you describe how you got to the $16 average cost? I got a much higher figure with my assumptions.

        In any case, whatever the actual cost per person, I agree it’s probably a reasonable expense. Feeding them while they are there is a good idea and if you go too cheap and don’t feed them well they are likely to be unhappy about it. We don’t want any grumpy councilmen on Wednesday nights!

        • Margaret Miller says:

          I have been informed the approximate annual cost is $4,000 divided by 24 meetings (two per month) divided by 10. (9 members and the city manager)

          They work a lot of hours for pennies compared to the real world all while preparing to conduct the city’s business.

          Dinner twice a month is nothing compared to other issues but I did understand your last point.

  3. RS says:


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

    If Elgin ends up mandating commercial insurance for ride-share drivers, Martin said it would be cost-prohibitive for him. “I probably just wouldn’t work in Elgin. It probably depends on what Uber does,” he said.

    Tonight’s committee of the whole will be the first public debate on the issue in Elgin.

    Discussions in other cities typically take time and involve working groups and committees, Mullin said.

    Elgin police began researching the issue after Jaime Hjelm, owner of A Taxicab Leasing Corp. in South Elgin, contacted the department a few months ago asking for regulations of ride-share companies.

    We do not want any police resources spent on protecting one or two people’s legacy taxi operation. We do not want city hall resources spent on this nonsense either.

    We do not need more regulation. What is wrong with this town? You can use Uber in a big city but in Elgin it’s going to be essentially outlawed just to protect somebody’s old taxi business? Seriously?

    And they talk about making Elgin a center of art and culture in the suburbs? Don’t they realize that these days Uber is considered a necessity of life among the demographic they are trying to attract?

    The ability to use services like this is an amenity for the community and they want to get rid of it. Does that make sense to you? I mean who would choose to live here? How bizarre.


    • Margaret Miller says:

      I believe the issue comes down to liability in that case of accidents, destruction of property costs, injury and death.

      We don’t want another lawsuit because we followed a fad without the city doing its due diligence.

      RS, I thought you were a resident of Elgin.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        The Uber discussion was tabled at tonight’s council meeting, because of possible pending legislation at the state level. Jamie Hjelm of A1 spoke on the issue. A few minutes later, the Chicago area manager for Uber spoke at great length to the council. If you want to hear two sides of the same story, check out tonight’s council session, during the recognition of persons present. Chuck

      • RS says:

        Liability? What? Why would the city have any liability? Any liability issues are between Uber, their drivers and their customers. And they have insurance above and beyond what they need.

        They are being asked to buy insurance twice. For no reason. Only to impose a dealbreaker cost to keep them out of the market to protect the legacy taxi businesses.

        As the DH story says this would be the strictest rules in the country.

        Seriously are they retarded? Does this city council and city hall and police department have nothing better to do?

        This is what you want your tax money spent on? Protecting somebody’s taxi business?

        The Elgin City Council’s committee of the whole will look at both sides of the issue tonight, when members are expected to consider regulations for the ride-share industry that, if enacted, would be the strictest in the country.

        Elgin’s proposed requirements for companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar include mandating drivers to carry commercial vehicle liability insurance and go through yearly safety vehicle inspections.

        Ordinances enacted in major cities like Chicago, Boston, Seattle and Minneapolis don’t mandate commercial insurance, said Jennifer Mullin, spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc.

        I can’t believe this is even being discussed in Elgin. It just shows you what low level of intelligence prevails in this city. Anybody who supports this and has the audacity to complain about high taxes and big government at the same time should be ashamed of themselves.

        • Margaret Miller says:

          Any thoughts on Uber and taxi companies playing on a level playing field? If Uber is offering a commercial service (service for fees paid=commercial commerce) they should be regulated as cab companies are.

          Please don’t start about any cab company fighting competition, that is not the issue. The issue is when performing a commercial service the regulated field must be equal.

          UberX driver sued in fatal Hoffman Estates crash
          “This was a tragic accident. While I can’t comment on the specific details, the driver’s auto insurance provided coverage as intended for a personal trip that occurred about a mile from the driver’s home, according to the police report,” Jennifer Mullin, spokeswoman for San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc., said in a statement.

          The city of Chicago in early May ordered UberX to stop picking up passengers at O’Hare and Midway airports, but dropping them off there is allowed, said Mika Stambaugh, director of communications for Chicago’s business affairs and consumer protection.

          Fast forward to last evenings Council meeting. Starting at video minute mark:00:04:51 SPECIFICALLY video minute mark 00:08:40

          Sound familiar?

          Now, the other side of the story. Uber’s General Manager - Chicago
          Video minute mark 00:20:50 Specifically video minute mark 00:26:20 and 00:28:30

          Let’s see if the Council receives its requested data from Uber.

          • RS says:

            You should read the articles you post.

            As the articles state, the lawsuit was between the passenger and driver and the insurance covered it. The city had nothing to do with it. It’s none of the business of the city!

            Read the article you post:

            Uber provides commercial insurance coverage from the time an UberX driver accepts a trip request through the company’s mobile app until the completion of the ride, according to Mullin.

            Additionally, Uber started providing contingent coverage in March for accidents while UberX drivers are logged onto the Uber network and available to accept a ride.

            Why should they be forced to buy insurance twice? They are covered. And it’s none of your business or the City of Elgin’s business what happens when an Uber car gets in accident.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            Published on Dec 5, 2014
            It’s been a top story in many cities all over the country. Now, Broward County puts their foot down on ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. County officials issued a stark warning to the two companies Thursday: get off the road, or we’ll force you off the road. If police catch any Uber or Lyft drivers in Broward County, they have instructions to arrest the drivers and impound the cars. It’s a hard stance against the company that says their business is based on technology, not an actual taxi company. Taxi drivers are upset, saying these smartphone apps are using the internet to take away business from them. In many other cities, taxi drivers themselves plug into the apps, to get extra business. 
            Broward cracks down on Uber, Lyft
            By Robert Nolin,
            Sun Sentinel
            contact the reporter
            Making good on a promise made last month, Broward County officials have issued an ultimatum against ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft: Get off the road or we’ll arrest your drivers and impound your cars

          • Margaret Miller says:


            Leaving Las Vegas: Uber Bleeding Cash and Banned in Nevada?

          • Margaret Miller says:


            In a statement, Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick said that the city is prepared to issue civil and criminal penalties against Uber and its drivers for operating without required permits and inspections.?

  4. Margaret Miller says:

    More at the link, if you can bear it!



    Each year, 24/7 Wall St.ranks the states on how well or poorly they are run. This year, North Dakota is the best-run state in the country for the third consecutive year, while Illinois replaced California as the worst-run state.?

  5. RS says:

    But the Uber thing underlines the point I made in the November open thread that we have an overstaffed police department. This needs to be the focus of OCTAVE’s efforts. Preventing the hiring of any more police or fire personnel and trimming headcount down to a reasonable level that will force them to prioritize and focus their efforts instead of going on adventures and looking for new things to do like being the personal henchmen of A#1 taxi co, etc.

    They will not prioritize unless they are forced to with a smaller budget and fewer resources (policemen). Cut their budget.

    There are cities in this country with less than half as many officers as we do (per 10,000 people). We don’t have to go to that extreme but we can and should aim for a lower headcount. Naperville got by with 131 officers for 145,000 people. Surely we can get by with 140 officers instead of 180 for our circa 100K population.

    I just dug up the numbers:


    Naperville now has 11.2 officers per 10,000 people. Elgin has 16.5, which is also higher than Aurora’s number which is 14.5. Wheaton has 12.

    Bring it down to at least 14.5 as a starting point. They should NOT be hiring people in 2015.

    • One Vote says:

      But if they cut police officers who will guard the empty day school?
      A cop was parked there this morning, as always I assume.
      If he’s there on a Saturday morning, I’m guessing he’s there all the time. Not exactly power shift time.
      So, Kaptain told his Chamber buddies that public safety is Job One and very expensive.
      Here’s a way to save some money: Barricade the entrance to the day school and install a couple of alarms on the property. Monitoring costs $20/month.
      For less than an hour of cop time, you’ve got enough protection.
      Or, you could tie up an officer and a car 24/7.
      With strategies like that, no wonder we need so many officers.

    • SIE says:

      If the Police department is overstaffed how come there never seems to an officer around when you need one?

      In the 20+ years I’ve lived here I can count on one hand I have seen a squad car taking radar or similar in my neighborhood. Conversely just over the border in to the next town I see their police cars almost on a daily basis.

      I guess we are to assume all Elgin police officers are busy doing something, but I do wonder what exactly?

      On a side note I made my first trip in ages to the police station to do some paperwork. It seemed deserted. Had to wait a while for someone to come and help me (and I had an appointment). So again I ask, where are all these police officers?

    • SIE says:

      Unfortunately Elgin is not Naperville when it comes to crime. Yes I know Elgin has a lower rate of this or that crime compared to other cities but lets be realistic on what a Naperville cop has to deal with compared to one in Elgin.

      I wouldn’t mind the number of officers we have if I could actually see what benefit we get. I guess maybe the fact that there isn’t a murder every month or two is one of them. Still I’d like to see a bigger police presence on the streets, in the neighborhoods, etc. given the numbers they have.

  6. Margaret Miller says:

    Any thoughts on this video as we are in are in a minimum wage struggle.


  7. Margaret Miller says:

    Interesting turn of events just under the wire? You have to wonder who filed the objection and why? Was the objection filed by a citizen or by a city official? If it was a citizen, how did that citizen know what this final application looked like or what it read? Was it a city official working in the capacity of election duties? Will we ever know?

    updated: 12/4/2014 6:25 PM

    Objection filed against Elgin council hopeful
    An objection was filed by the Wednesday deadline against Kyle Scifert’s petition to run for a seat on the Elgin City Council in the April 7 election.

    An electoral board hearing will take place at 10 a.m. Monday at city hall, 150 Dexter Court, city officials said. The board will rule whether Scifert can stay on the ballot.

    That is the only objection filed against any of the 11 candidates running for city council. Mayor David Kaptain is also running against challenger Joseph Galvan.

    The objection states that the paperwork submitted by Scifert noted a wrong date under “primary election,” Elgin City Clerk Kim Dewis said. The date on the paperwork is April 7, but it should have been Feb. 24, according to the objection.

    More at the link…

    • RS says:

      You don’t have to wonder. The answer is in the article you posted.

      Elgin resident Roy Chapman said he filed the objection after he and a group of others reviewed city council candidates’ petitions on behalf of Julie Schmidt, also a candidate.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      Oh, but who clicks on links to get the rest of the story?

      • Margaret Miller says:

        As I posted this information from the Herald before Roy’s name was mentioned.

        If you clicked on the link, you will see the story had been updated hours after my Elginite post.

        Further proof of this arrived this morning from Elena herself.

        Margaret Miller Top Commenter
        Interesting turn of events? You have to wonder who filed the objection and why? Was the objection filed by a citizen or by a city official? If it was a citizen, how did that citizen know what this final application looked like or how it read? Was it a city official working in the capacity of election duties? Will we ever know?
        Reply ·  · 13 hours ago

        Elena Ferrarin Daily Herald · Reporter at Daily Herald
        Hi Margaret - I updated the story with that information, so you have your answers now! Anyone can review petitions and file objections.
        Reply ·  · 19 minutes ago

      • RS says:

        That explains it!

  8. RS says:


    Adding just two firefighters per shift would cost almost $791,000 per year based on the average firefighters’ salary of about $78,500 and an overtime rate of $45 per hour, they said.

    That’s a total of $8 million over 10 years “for no tangible resulting improvement in services,” Stegall said…

    For example, a few years ago the city opted to buy paramedic engines, which require less staffing than ambulances, Mayor David Kaptain said. As a result, the city didn’t replace two firefighters, bringing the number on shift down to 34 from 36.

    “I don’t want to jeopardize anybody’s safety,” Kaptain said. “We felt we could transition to this (paramedic engines) and still provide the same level of quality of service based on response times.”

    The bill also defeats the notion that cities should invest in money-saving technology, Kaptain pointed out.

    The firefighters union has sued Elgin over lost overtime opportunities stemming from the paramedic engines, but that lawsuit won’t be affected by the minimum manning bill, Corporation Counsel Bill Cogley said.

    Incredible. Suing over lost overtime opportunities! Amazing. And you guys sit around on the curb and clap your hands when they parade by. I guess it’s true that you only get what you deserve.

  9. Margaret Miller says:

    In follow up fro my October 27th post, the following.

    updated: 12/5/2014 5:46 PM
    Former state Rep. Farnham pleads guilty in child porn case

    Ex-State Rep. Keith Farnham pleads guilty in child porn case

    Margaret Miller
    October 27, 2014 at 11:47 am
    Farnham guilty plea possible in December?

    • RS says:


      Blair said Farnham started collecting his $1,237 monthly pension April 1.

      5 years of employment as a state legislator (he started in 2009) and already collecting a monthly pension.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Well at least he will probably loose his pension. And he won’t need it anyway, since he will have his room and board paid for by the taxpayers for the rest of his life. Chuck

        • Margaret Miller says:

          The one’s who write the laws are usually the one’s benefitting at taxpayer expense.

          • paul says:

            The final insult will be, after a lifetime of smoking, he gets a million dollar lung transplant courtesy of the taxpayers.
            Isn’t that what Obama care was all about - no caps, no limits, no responsibility, no death panels. Where is our humanity. Money is no object. Keep that man alive so he can fulfill his debt to society residing in a penitentiary at taxpayer expense.

  10. Margaret Miller says:



    Without the controls of a local charter or constitution, and with citizens stripped of their right to vote on city issues, so-called Home Rule in Illinois empowers politicians to:
    1) Raise taxes without citizen permission.
    2) Impose new taxes in the form of fees, licenses, and regulations.
    3) Expedite seizures of private property.
    4) Give city property to private interests without competitive bidding.
    5) Take greater control over citizens’ lives, livelihoods, property, and liberty.
    The solution: Local taxpayer groups in Home Rule municipalities need to mount a massive educational campaign to alert the taxpayers in their areas, and must run a well-organized petition drive to place the issue of repealing Home Rule on the local ballot. Taxpayers United of America has used TEF’s Home Rule research to educate the public for nearly four decades, resulting in 206 victories against Home Rule in Illinois. Dismantling Home Rule unlimited taxing power will take research, education, and organization to fight back against the bureaucrats – but it can be done.

    More at the link.

  11. RS says:


    South Elgin High students marched from the school’s commons area to the auditorium during the 10th passing period. They chanted “Hands up. Don’t shoot!” as they walked through the hallways.

    The march was organized by a student who requested and received permission from Principal James Edwards.

    “They did a great job … it sparked awareness to maybe those students who may not have been privy to what’s going on,” Edwards said. “This is a controversial issue for all America. It’s not easy to digest this topic at all. It makes people uncomfortable.”

    Well this must have greatly pleased the U-46 Chief of Equity & Social Justice..

  12. Margaret Miller says:


    Moeller, Noland to host Holiday Open House in Elgin

    Submitted by State Rep. Anna Moeller

    State Rep. Anna Moeller, D-Elgin, announced that she is teaming with state Sen. Michael Noland, D-Elgin, for a Holiday Open House at the district office of Sen. Noland from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10.

    “This holiday season is a good time to reflect on the year and to bring our community together,” Moeller said. “I look forward to working with Sen. Noland, community leaders, and residents to keep our community moving in the right direction heading into the new year.”?

    More at the link.

  13. Margaret Miller says:

    updated: 12/8/2014 2:51 PM

    Scifert to remain on Elgin ballot, board rules

    • paul says:

      Little man Scifert. Even in victory, impugning the integrity of a person challenging him on his ability to follow rules!!! Costs nothing to be magnanimous and might even earn some goodwill, but no, be vindictive.
      And yet another person on the public payroll wanting to be in charge of a public payroll.

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Hi Paul,

        Please correct me if I’m wrong and please keep in mind the the person who Roy filed on behalf of is yet another candidate hopeful, an applicant to the Moeller appointment and who also wants to be on the public payroll and in charge of the public payroll is Julie Schmidt.

        • paul says:

          MM, What is your point?
          That you are okay with people currently on the public payroll should also be in charge of the public payroll?
          Rules are optional and people unable to follow the rules of running for publicly elected office is okay with you.
          That Schmidt is running for council for the purpose obtaining a council member’s salary, as you imply?
          That you agree with Scifert’s implication that anyone challenging his inability to follows simple rules must be of low integrity because Scifert is a perfect guy otherwise and need’t follow rules?
          That anyone who applied for Farnham’s open seat must be of low integrity?
          That Chapman is indeed of low integrity for challenging Scifert because Chapman did not challenge Scifert on Chapman’s own interest but only on the “behalf’ of others? Kind of like I don’t vote in my interest but only on the behalf of others! And on who’s behalf are you posting(the question is facetious - I really don’t want to know)?

          My post was clear. I never heard of Scifert prior to this recent massive free publicity he received from the challenge. He won his challenge unanimously. Came out smelling like a rose. And then immediately proceeds to crap on his victory by impugning the integrity of anyone who challenged his inability to follow the rules like everyone else did!
          My post had NOTHING to do with Schmidt. Now if you want to discuss Schmidt, MM, maybe you should do that separately from Scifert!!! Let’s do! Cause I don’t anything about her either.

  14. Cruex says:

    Thank you so much Anna Moeller for the phony message. Tell you what, the next time I want to know what you’re thinking I will call Mike Madigan.

    • paul says:

      “what you’re thinking I will call Mike Madigan.”

      Or Farnham. The EXACT same people who bought us Farnham bought us Moeller.

  15. RS says:


    If Joseph Galvan is elected mayor of Elgin in April, he’ll be the first Hispanic mayor in the city’s 161-year history.

    Galvan, who is running against incumbent David Kaptain in the April 7 election, is a principal with Galvan and Associates, which provides information technology and business management services.

    • bw says:

      He had a connection with HUD. We don’t need a former federal employee as Mayor of Elgin. Just take a look at Washington D.C. and the debt they run up to be paid out of the taxpayer’s pocket

      • RS says:

        Oh yeah HUD. Elgin was sued by HUD a number of years ago.


        The City of Elgin resolved on Monday a number of longstanding complaints that its enforcement of housing rules discriminated against Hispanic residents.

        The settlement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice and Wheaton-based HOPE Fair Housing Center sets up a fund to compensate alleged victims of code enforcement discrimination. It also changes the way various codes are enforced, requires inspectors to take Spanish lessons, translates some housing documents into Spanish and creates a HOPE fair housing office in Elgin.

  16. bw says:

    I’m sorry to hear that Judy Barr Topinka died during the night at age 70.
    Tom Cross will be the leading GOP candidate for her job.

  17. One Vote says:

    I visited the new Butera at Big Timber and McLean today. They did a nice job remodeling. The prices are higher than Woodman’s so maybe the libs will rebate the customers who can’t go that far. LOL!
    Gone is the park bench with the plaque honoring the Eagle employee killed trying to protect someone in the parking lot. Too bad.
    Now, when will Butera start work on the Summit St store?

    • Anonymous says:

      I drove past the Summit St Butera location today and the sign reads it will be open Spring of 2014…

    • RS says:

      Speaking of openings, waiting for Abe Froeman’s to open has been like Chinese water torture. I don’t recommend that anybody follow this path in opening a restaurant. Taking more than six months (since announcing) to spruce things up is just kind of wacky. Get to market quickly, test and refine your menu. That’s what counts.

      Compare that to Solo which announced last month and has been open for a while now. And the best thing about Solo is that it has a french menu! Yay!

      Not totally (or even mostly) french but enough there to satisfy your cravings when you just have to have snails or confit (please add boeuf bourguignon).

      Actually their menu looks awesome. I haven’t had time to try it but I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes the best restaurant in town.


      • anono says:

        Agreed. From what I’ve read, they are trying to save some money upfront by doing 99% of the interior themselves. But after months of that (and paying lease, I assume paying some employees, etc.) without making a single dollar yet can’t be worth the trade off. Pay a contractor to come in and knock the stuff out and get some cash flow coming in. At this rate, they won’t open til Jan or Feb, which are notoriously bad months for restaurants, anyways. And if those months are as bad as last year, there will be little to no foot traffic to help them out.

        • RS says:

          That’s what I was thinking. How can you afford to not be bringing in revenue? Six months of expenses only and no revenue, and such a high upfront cost in terms of time invested without being able to test the market response to your product. It’s not a good way to start up a restaurant.

          They should have understood that in Elgin there is a limit to your pricing power, which means ambience is never that important enough here to justify a major expense in rehabbing that space which was already perfectly fine. Nobody cares if you have a fancy bench or not. They could have taken six months of rent and put it towards advertising and promotions (maybe like a Groupon or something) and it would have been much better spent.

      • RS says:

        While we are offering advice here to restaurants, I have to add that I think Solo would be much more successful if they embrace a French identity. I don’t know why they would want to be purveyors of something vague like “modern American cuisine” or “American cuisine with global influences” when they could just be the only French restaurant in the area. I think French food is much more marketable and nobody ever searches for “modern American cuisine” around here but people do look for French restaurants in the area and for a long time now they have had to leave town to get it.

        They will continue to leave town as long as they don’t realize that Solo is actually offering in large part a French menu.

        It would even be preferable for them to say “modern French” or “French fusion” etc–just get the word French in there so people looking for French food can find it!

    • paul says:

      Let’s not tiptoe around the elephant in the room. The city of Elgin subsidized Butera to the tune of one half of a MILLION dollars to open in Tyler Creek plaza.

      Mayor David Kaptain: “Elgin won’t be losing as much in sales tax revenues to Woodman’s Markets in Carpentersville, he added.”

      Wow! Elgin is specifically and directly losing 1/2 million dollars in sales tax in rebate payments to Butera!!! Is Dave really that obtuse that he thinks that 1/2 million will be made up by skimming Woodmans market. No, Dave is socialistic-ally that dishonest. Most of that 1/2 million will be lost tax revenue from Larkin Jewel, downtown Butera, and local drug, convenience and alcohol stores.
      Socialist Dave picking the winners and the losers. See if that liquor store over in Dave’s neck of the woods next to the old Walmart finally tosses in the towel. Maybe even Larkin Jewel might toss in the towel - only the rich and food stamps recipients can afford to shop there anyhow!

      Not only are the prices cheaper at Woodman but sales tax rate on alcohol is much cheaper 8.5% vs. Elgin’s 11.25%!

      >>Mayor David Kaptain, who lives nearby in the Eagle Heights subdivision, estimated that 10,000 to 15,000 people now have a grocery store within a short distance.<<

      Socialist Dave is clearly including his Eagle Heights despite the FACT that Butera is only marginally closer to his home than the Jewel market on Larkin. Dave ain’t gonna be walking to Butera market!

      • still concerned says:

        Paul, While I agree with you somewhat that some of the tax revenue will be lost from other Elgin businesses….and I do agree Jewel is pricey….I think the point that needs to be stressed here is Elgin needs to provide incentives for businesses to open in Elgin rather than by-pass Elgin as many, many have been doing for years!. Look just to the North (Carpentersville/Algonquin/Lake-in-the-Hills) and South (South Elgin) and compare the number and type of sales tax revenue generating businesses to what Elgin has to offer? Also, look at the 2010 Elgin budget…huge incentives where given to the (unfulfilled) Auto Mall, car dealerships on East Chicago Street and a few smaller businesses (funding from the River Boat mainly). Also look at the new Walmart Complex as to incentives offered as stated in the Daily Herald back 2010: “The agreement calls for Walmart to pay for $3 million in improvements to Bowes and at least $2 million of the estimated $10 million to widen a portion of Randall Road to six lanes.

        The city will rebate one-third of sales taxes collected from the new Elgin store back to Walmart to the tune of up to $8 million.

        City officials predict that entire development will produce $3.3 million a year in sales tax revenue 15 years from now.”

        Let’s face it, without incentives, which the current council seems to have put a halt to!, Elgin would most likely be by-passed by new businesses and go to our neighbors as many have. How does the old saying go>: You have to spend a little money to make some money! Enough said.

        • One Vote says:

          Government does a lousy job stimulating business. They need to give it up.
          When the mayor (Kaptain or Schock) spouts statistics while on the campaign trail or in the brochure or at the Chamber breakfast, the sunny data is emphasized and the reality ignored.
          We can’t seem to tell ourselves the truth.
          Whether big box or strip mall or downtown…Elgin sucks. As for encouraging local business, the city has their pamphlet projects; the rest are hounded by code enforcement and fire inspectors for the pettiest of violations. Don’t let them kid you, Elgin is not “business friendly.”

          • bw says:

            One Vote

            Your post applies to the citizens of Elgin who have failed in supporting the business community. Why do you think so many closed their doors after a short period? It has been this way for the 78 years I have lived in the community.You can’t force people to shop and support the business community. Get your facts right! Elgin people like shopping in other towns.

          • paul says:

            “citizens of Elgin who have failed in supporting the business community.”

            Nothing like blaming the victim, eh bw!

            “Why do you think so many closed their doors after a short period?”

            Because the business failed to offer goods and services the “citizens of Elgin” wanted. Hundreds of businesses do just fine in Elgin. Witness Walmart, Portillos, EPH, etc. etc. etc.

            “Get your facts right! Elgin people like shopping in other towns.”

            Your delusional thoughts aren’t “facts”. All things being equal “Elgin people” DO NOT prefer to spend their valuable time and money traveling elsewhere to shop. Just because your retail endeavors went down in flames don’t blame the “citizens of Elgin” victims for your own failures.

      • ADV says:

        I can’t say too much without losing anonymity here but I must remark that that there’s no comparison — even with the business license issue, Elgin is much, MUCH more friendly and accommodating to small business than Carpentersville. Cville is corrupt, power hungry, incompetent, and hostile to small business. Elgin might not be perfect (the liquor tax alone is a huge liability to business here), but the City at least understands how important small businesses are and provides good support through the DNA. (Yes, really.) They will also make a point of welcoming new businesses and establishing a relationship, unlike Cville, where the only time a business owner can expect to hear from the Village is if they smell money. No comparison.

        • paul says:

          The comparison of Elgin to Carpentersville is not the issue, just smoke on your part. Trashing Carpentersville to making Elgin look good!!! Your only example of Elgin support being DNA is absurd given that most Elgin businesses aren’t in the DNA district and have nothing to do with DNA. Speaking of DNA, been downtown lately? Why not compare Elgin to Detroit while you’re at it?
          Stick to the issue at hand - like Kaptain giving Butera 1/2 millions dollars of taxpayer money and then hilariously saying Elgin will make it back by siphoning off Woodmans’ customers. That man is an idiot.

          • ADV says:

            Just making an observation based on first person experience, that’s all. The comment was in reply to Still Concerned’s remarks above regarding where businesses choose to locate in the area. I am downtown every day, thanks in large part to the DNA.

  18. Chuck Keysor says:

    FYI: At tonight’s council session, Capstone Development Group, the people who want to re-work the Tower Building, were asked why they were not going to put retail on the ground level of the Tower Building, and instead have residential on the ground level…..

    Their reply was they didn’t see enough commercial potential in the downtown, and would get a better financial return on using that space for residential.

    I was surprised that their view of the downtown’s future business climate was so bleak. But under questioning, they did say that if the environment in the downtown should change at some point in the future, they could convert to retail/commercial on the ground level. Chuck

    • bw says:


      They were only being truthful. Do you see commercial potential for downtown? It has been the same since the opening of Spring Hill Mall.

  19. Chuck Keysor says:

    I appreciated their candor. But was anybody of importance listening to that message? Chuck

  20. bw says:


    Who do you consider of importance? Not you I hope!

  21. One Vote says:

    I just got the Elgin City newsletter the other day.
    It cracks me up that they spent two pages patting themselves on the back for reading our water meters…
    …and another page for answering the phone.
    With water bills that gouge the residents and utility taxes, you would expect nothing less.
    Then they spend our money to print and mail this self-congratulatory tripe.
    They have no shame.

  22. Chuck Keysor says:

    JM, I wish I would have said that! Chuck

  23. James Madison says:

    When you get caught with all the peanut butter on your face (i.e., all those lunches with the City Manager paid for by the taxpayers), you become suddenly compliant and not such an “advocate for the people.”

    Councilman John Prigge voted against approving city budgets for the last three years, but he gave his thumbs-up in the unanimous vote on Wednesday.


  24. bw says:

    Mr. Galvan there is a difference between a Parks and Recreation Department and a Park District. A person running for Mayor should know that as a matter of how the City of Elgin functions.


  25. James Madison says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all on this board. I hope you and your families have a bright and happy new year. JM

  26. bw says:

    Merry Christmas to all!

  27. RS says:

    Merry Christmas y’all

  28. rm says:

    “And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us Everyone.”

    Merry Christmas.



    • RS says:

      Nice to see you rm! Thanks for Renee Fleming. Weirdly the aria I associate with Christmas is o mio babbino caro because I first heard it around Christmastime many years ago.

  29. bw says:

    May God have Mercy on the soul of Robert Gilliam on his passing, We pray for his family.

    • James Madison says:

      R.I.P. Robert Gilliam

    • paul says:

      “We pray for his family.”

      No, we don’t.

      bw “don’t represent me or any average citizen living and voting in the city of Elgin. For some reason someone provided ‘bw’ with authority and greed where ‘he thinks he has’ knowledge and power above the rest of the community. ‘bw’ represent a weak link in city government. ‘bw’ can be dangerous too any community.”

      • bw says:


        You got a head problem. Your comment “Know We Don’t” comes from the mind guided by a person with lots of problems.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          Gee, what happened to all that Merry Christmas and Happy New Year stuff????? I can be accused of being many things, but I hope I am never rightly accused of being mean. Chuck

          • ADV says:

            The sheer mean-spiritedness often found here is a real detriment to this board. I don’t post much here because of it, even when I know something that could contribute to the discussion, and I know several influential Elgin people who feel the same. There’s not much credibility in a place where it’s acceptable to be blatantly hateful to the family of a dead man while they are mourning.

  30. bw says:

    Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. JOHN 11:25-26

  31. bw says:

    HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL…Have a great 2015!

  32. James Madison says:

    From Chairman Prigge’s website: clearly these are not questions, or serious attempts to discuss important issues of local significance. They are articles of faith that each candidate must genuflect to if they are to get endorsement by Chairman Prigge and the People’s Republic of Elgin.

    The January 17 OCTAVE Forum questionnaire has just been mailed to all candidates and based on the questions, it should be fertile ground for all challengers against most of the incumbents.

    Some of the questions:

    1. The burying of any discussion on our responsible bidder ordinance via a recent 6-3 vote

    2. The over $400,000 in cash and free rent we give every year to the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce.

    3. Our revenue diversity plan that hides the ‘true tax” we charge taxpayers to exist in Elgin

    4. Leaf collection

    5. Bike lanes/paths

    6. Fox River Country Day School property

    7. Business license

    These are only the questions for the questionnaire. The in-person questions during the forum have not been formulated yet.

    We’re getting closer to April, 2015.

  33. bw says:


    OCTAVE don’t represent me or any average citizen living and voting in the city of Elgin. For some reason someone provided the group with authority and greed where their members think they have knowledge and power above the rest of the community. They represent a weak link in city government. Groups like OCTAVE can be dangerous too any community.

  34. Cruex says:

    So why snarl at Prigge for posting some of the topics that Elgin Octave is putting in their survey? Is Prigge a member of Octave, Chuck Keysor? I think James Madison is worried for his Lib incumbents on these topics and that’s just too bad. These look like issues of local significance to me.

  35. James Madison says:

    Cruex, they are issues of local significance. Why should Chairman Prigge steer the candidates to this forum? Why not one that is apolitical rather than so obviously skewed to a single solution and simple answer for all problems: “Cut, reduce, eliminate.” The discussion should be much bigger than this group can sanction. Chuck Keysor is just a good, smart guy. No appellations required.

  36. Chuck Keysor says:

    Hello Elginite Friends:

    I got a phone call from John Prigge asking me if he could post info about the upcoming Elgin OCTAVE candidate forum and our questionnaire. I said sure, do whatever you want with the information.

    What John published is just a slight sample of a partial sample, which is fine. But what he provided doesn’t really give enough information to form such strong opinions. But that is fine, that is how people are.

    As a note, John Prigge is not a member of the Elgin OCTAVE.

    I don’t want to leave everyone in the dark about our questionnaire, and hopefully RS won’t mind if I mention it now, but he has agreed to post our full questionnaire as the January lead article. I provided a little explanatory text, and some of the directions supplied to the candidates.

    In the council election cycle 2 years ago, we did the same thing, we had a lengthy questionnaire, and we asked about issues that were of concern to us, most essentially revolving around matters of taxation and spending in Elgin. Our objective then, as it is with the current survey, is to provide information to the voters, so that the voters can have added information upon which to form enlightened opinions on the candidates.

    Even though many of the questions are clearly indicating what we think is important, someone does not need to agree with our view in order to obtain value from our questionnaire.

    For example, if OCTAVE feels bike paths are a waste of taxpayer’s money, and we ask a question about bike paths, don’t people who like bike paths and are willing to spend big bucks on them, benefit by seeing that candidate XYZ loves bike paths, and is willing to spend millions to expand them? So anything we ask about, should help all voters whether they are ultra right wing or ultra left wing.

    I have told this story before, but for me, I became energized to do something to help ferret out where candidates stand on ISSUES after helping Rich Dunne in his 2009 council bid. I knew him as the founding president of our neighborhood group, and felt he did a good job there, so I pitched in. But I had NO clue about where he stood on anything, other than he was going to shake up city hall. I attended all the forums, and I even moderated one for that election, and even at the end of that cycle, I didn’t really know where Rich stood on anything. But after he was elected and he started to cast votes, I realized that I had no idea of what I was voting for. I vowed, never again. If I am going to vote for someone, I need to know where they stand on tax and spend issues. And much of my political activities are aimed at learning who stands where on what.

    However, realizing that I wasn’t the only person in the dark on where the candidates really stood, or could guess how they would vote should they be elected, it seemed logical to me to work to gather information and then to disseminate it as freely and as widely as possible.

    So when we did our survey of the candidates 2 years ago, we handed out the complete un-edited replies made by all of the candidates, we handed them out at the next City Council meeting, and we posted them on our website.

    Again, this helps everybody, with the rare exception of people who do not care what someone’s taxing and spending stances might be. And honestly, I have met a couple of such people. I mentioned last fall, that a casual friend of mine loves Anna Moeller, but he also said he hated how she voted on the council on many issues, but he didn’t care, he would vote for her no matter how she voted on the council.

    I don’t personally understand that, but that is how some people are. But for everyone else, the candidate survey should be seen as a public service, which is frankly a lot of work to pull off.

    Also, two years ago, our survey was totally pointed and it made our issues clear. And some candidates refused to answer the survey, and refused to attend our forum because as one said in the papers, “It would be a crucifixion of OCTAVE’s critics.” At our forum, we asked three questions, What are your views on Elgin’s taxes, What are your views on Elgin’s spending, and frankly, I have forgotten the third, but it was equally open ended, and everyone had a good time. No one was crucified. We are pretty nice people actually.

    Well, I hope RS is able to post the questionnaire soon.

    Thanks, Chuck

  37. bw says:


    That is why we have the news media covering candidates and local elections. OCTAVE is a bias group of Right Wing (Tea Party) individuals trying to push their agenda in community affairs into the minds of local voters. Let the news media and the fair minded citizens ask the questions that need to be answered about taxes, fees, and expenses on how each candidate will vote on these issues as a member of the city council. I would suggest that every candidate running in the April election refuse to answer any questionnaire OCTAVE post here or anywhere else during this election cycle. I don’t expect my suggestion will please OCTAVE but that is to damn bad.

  38. bw says:


    You’re not “mean” just reckless as the head of OCTAVE another Tea Party type of group. We all know about their politics.

  39. still concerned says:

    BW and all. I understand how you feel about OCTAVE and its goals and ideology and indeed the survey may be slanted in favor of same, but I would strongly urge any candidate, even the incumbents to appear at OCTAVE’s forum and all others to express their view. Many will not agree with most or even all of what OCTAVE may stand for, but no one should be afraid to disagree in public…about what they truly believe.
    And sure it may be preordained as to the candidates OCTAVE supports, but perhaps some of the candidates could at least give to them some food-for-thought! Good Luck all!

  40. bw says:

    Candidates for City Council:

    Re: April Election


    1. Where do you stand on taxes and fees?

    2. Are you in favor of a balanced budget?

    3. How do you feel about excessive spending?

    This is the first of several questions that will be posted so the voter knows where you stand on issues that are important to the community. Your answers will be appreciated.

  41. Chuck Keysor says:

    bw, I thought you said nobody needs OCTAVE questions to the candidates, because “we have the news media covering candidates and local elections”.

    So I must have missed it due to your effort to conceal your identity, you must be the editor of the “BW Daily News”.

    Oh well, Chuck

    • bw says:



      I want to see if any candidates read post on this board. I don’t have any bias agenda like OCTAVE. I wish I owned the BW news. I doubt any candidate will answer my post due to lack of interest the same as any OCTAVE post questing their position on any bias issue from your so called group. Reading between the lines from your post tells me what your agenda is in getting your can


      • bw says:

        Chuck Cont.

        Reading between the lines from your post tells me what your agenda is in getting your candidates elected with you as author of their reply.

  42. James Madison says:

    As a candidate for Councilman of the City of Elgin, it would be helpful if Mr. Shaw, and others, to at least read the United States Constitution, even if they do not agree with the Establishment Clause.

    Nightmare on Chicago Street worth $34,000 deficit, Elgin says
    Nightmare on Chicago Street great for businesses, city says

    Councilman Toby Shaw, however, said he has reservations about the event, which he doesn’t consider family-friendly.

    “I’m not opposed to it from a financial perspective, but I’m not fond of the themes and what it stands for, from a religious background,” he said.

    In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the U.S. Supreme Court incorporated the Establishment Clause (i.e., made it apply against the states). In the majority decision, Justice Hugo Black wrote:

    The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion to another … in the words of Jefferson, the [First Amendment] clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State’ … That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.[11]


  43. Chuck Keysor says:

    James, while I appreciate that you are offering an intelligent point worthy of consideration, one could take the establishment clause as saying that Voodoo, which is a religious practice, is being aided/promoted by Nightmare on Chicago Street, and thus should not be promoted by the City.

    Someone could be a total atheist and be opposed to the promotion of Voodoo and its mystic communications with the undead for the same reasons they oppose any organized religion.


    • bw says:


      That is only your opinion. JM was right in his post.

      • still concerned says:

        I tend to agree with Mr. Madison. It’s one thing to sponsor a themed event to which all who come know it’s simply for fun, but entirely another issue to try to impose one’s particular brand of religion upon others. Unfortunately, we have right-winged people in this world who feel it’s their mission to convert all to their way of thinking. Might as well be zombies, hey?

    • RS says:

      I’m glad that Mr. Shaw’s position is in the minority. The event is successful because it’s NOT a family event. It’s a nighttime event for adults and young adults. If you want to do a family event for Halloween take your kids to a pumpkin patch like everybody else does (or go look at scarecrows in St. Charles). There are a lot of options for enjoying Halloween with your family, though I suppose if you are extremely religious you might view Halloween as pagan or satanic and not celebrate it at all (these must be the people who turn off their lights and don’t answer the door when the kids come a-knocking).

  44. RS says:

    Please move all discussions to the January open thread