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February (and March) open thread

1 February 2015 Elgin Illinois 113 Comments

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113 Responses to “February (and March) open thread”

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  1. SIE says:

    Chuck, regarding the Candidate Questionnaire you said:

    “It is a bit awkward reading the spread sheet on line, so an email address is provided to contact us. Send us an email, and we will send you the completed candidate questionnaire PDF. This will make it much easier for you to read the document.”

    I am interested in what the candidates had to say but there is no way I can read that document. Id rather not provide an email so I am wondering isn’t there a better way to post it?

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      SIE, I am open to suggestions. (Background: For whatever reason, when the spread sheet was posted on our website, it made it hard to read. My non-technical solution was to have an email address on the Elgin OCTAVE website where someone can request a copy of the spreadsheet.)

      My next non-technical solution would be for you to find a friend to go to the Elgin OCTAVE website and have that person request the spread sheet. I’ll send it to them, and then they can send it to you.

      If you have some other suggestions, that I am capable of implementing, I will be more than willing to try it.

      Thanks, Chuck

      • Anonymous says:

        Hey Chuck, Here’s a non - technical suggestion for you:

        Stop eating meals with Price at the taxpayers expense.

        • Anonymous says:

          Dam auto speller.
          I meant Prigge.

          • paul says:

            “Dam auto speller.”

            If only auto speller could understand what you mean, too!
            Why you want to erect a dam on the auto speller is completely unknown.

            Also, anon, every single council member except Shaw took part in the free lunch program. You bizarrely single out Chuck and only Prigge. I only we and auto speller could understand what you mean. Is Chuck getting free lunches too???

  2. Cruex says:

    The best of the best if being best is spending and furthering far left agendas. He raised our taxes and spent like money like crazy for 4 years. I am poorer because of him:

    https://www.facebook.com/CouncilmanJohnSteffen

    Keep them coming, bw! You’re making this election season fun!

  3. bw says:

    Tish Powell, Elgin City Councilwoman I think you are mischaracterizing how most communities utilize home rule authority in Illinois. During my tenure on the Elgin City Council I believe that we have been extremely diligent and responsible in how we utilize our authority.
    I support maintaining Elgin’s home rule status because it allows us the power to enact local solutions to local issues. With increased uncertainty at the state level, it is imperative that local governments have the flexibility to seek alternative forms of revenue to manage unfunded mandates such as pension payments. Being a home rule community also gives us more control over local zoning and more options for financing debt. These additional options often allow us to finance debt with lower interest rates, resulting in stronger bond ratings, such as Elgin’s AAA bond rating.

  4. bw says:

    Jason Dusenberry Mr. Reinert,
    I have mixed feelings on the issue. I’ve always felt that municipalities should have more freedom to manage their local communities. We can all agree that Springfield is a mess and a trust deficit exists there. However, locally, many I’ve spoken to are feeling less trustworthy of City Hall as well. I honestly feel the answer is to elect people locally that understand how critically important personal and financial freedoms are to their constituents.

  5. bw says:

    Julie A. Schmidt I would be supportive at this juncture should the citizens of Elgin desire to create a charter and change Home Rule,
    however I would need to thoroughly consider the implications of such a change and contemplate unintended consequences. As
    your representative on the Council I am always open to changes that are for the benefit of the general welfare.

  6. bw says:

    Iqbal For Elgin Mr. Reinert:
    The Illinois Constitution permits a home rule municipality to exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs including, but not limited to, the power to regulate for the protection of the public health, safety, morals and welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt without specific statutory authority. These are tremendous powers which the municipality must exercise with due care.
    The Home Rule removes the tax cap so that the municipality can levy tax on a property it deems fit. Further, the Home Rule gives the municipality authority to tax nearly any product or service it wants. The residents need to know that the Election Day is their only chance to keep the local government in check. Now is that time!
    In Elgin, we have a serious, if not an alarming, situation where the tax levy on the property will go up by 5% in 2016 and then another 5% in 2017. On the other hand, an average Elginite makes $23,601 per year ($11.80 per hour) and his income level is stagnating. Therefore, the tax levies are out of line.
    On April 7, the voters will have an opportunity to stop the tax levies and the run-away expenses by electing fiscally responsible individuals. I am running for a seat at the City council to bring fiscal responsibility in the city government so that it lives within its means.
    I believe that my background as a corporate attorney, civil engineer and businessman will bring a higher level of professionalism to the city council. I am confident that my experience and expertise on budget and financial matters will help make Elgin a better place for all of us. I would be a strong taxpayer advocate, bringing a new sense of responsibility for every dollar that is spent.
    I need your vote so that together we can turn the page on Elgin.
    Sincerely,
    Mo
    Mohamad Iqbal, Esq.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mo, what is your source for stating that Elgin’s taxes will increase 10% by 2017? Is that only the city of Elgin, or does that include Kane County and/or Cook County, over which Elgin has no control?

      • Margaret Miller says:

        As I know you question was not directed at me, I did want to weigh in with some thoughts.

        During the 2015 budget talks, it was revealed that Elgin’s $12 million (approx) in surplus was gone to pay pension obligations. It’s my understanding that these obligations run approximately $5.5 million per year and plans for accelerated payments are upon us. So, a local tax increase would not be out of the question for City Hall.

        Sure, there are a few pockets to dig into but don’t look to the boat for additional revenue because they plan on building a hotel, expanded parking and a permanent or semi-permanent band stand for Festival Park, (not going to happen) along with their revenue losses of $300,000 to $400,000 annually to the City of Elgin, due to the absurd revised lease agreement and the projected revenue shortfall in gaming proceeds of $850,000, Elgin went into the 2015 budget talks with an approximate $1.2 million deficit.

        You can only dip into the emergency funds so often until you’re completely broke/bankrupted. In order for bankruptcy not to happen, I see a tax increase coming too as I understand 2015 is the break even year. All obligations moving forward are not funded, ergo tax increase. Most likely, after the election.

        The 2013 Budget that passed at $203,241,810.00 was a two year INCREASE of 36.7 percent in spending/taxes. In 2011, taxes went up approximately 38% as they looked forward to pension obligations. No one knows what the next increase will be but my best guess is that there will be one. How significant, our history can give you an idea and we’ll soon find out as Home Rule grants unlimited taxing power of the corporation known as the City of Elgin.

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

        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.

        Elgin is faced with difficulties from pension obligations a writing checks that its demographics cannot support. The more interesting thought would not be this election cycle but the next one.

        • Thomas Jackson says:

          It should be noted that Elgin’s position with regard to pensions was better than the rest of the State of Illinois.

          You may recall that the State required large set asides for municipalities to mitigate the impending pension disaster due to 30 years of mismanagement of pensions at the local level.

          Elgin did not need to set aside the State-mandated funds to meet pension obligations, since Elgin did NOT mismanage it’s pension system, but Elgin was still required to put that money aside by law.

          The plan was to pay those obligations so that they did not become a threat to the budget later. It wasn’t an exciting way to spend money, but this prudent action is one of the reasons for Elgin’s superior bond rating.

          It would have been far worse to prolong making those payments.

          • Margaret Miller says:

            I did not claim Elgin mismanaged their pension.

            I pointed out what’s taking the funds and more now that the plan is being accelerated by city hall.

          • Thomas Jackson says:

            I didn’t like Margaret’s selective edit of Sean Stegall’s words which are misleading, since Stegall was undoubtedly referring to the extra pension set-aside mandated by State law.
            That’s why I specifically rebutted that point.

            On another note: We OUGHT to bring a hotel in and we OUGHT to build a bandstand.

          • paul says:

            ” We OUGHT to bring a hotel in and we OUGHT to build a bandstand.”

            Who the heck is “we”! That ship sailed 15 years ago.

            Speaking of “we”. We NEED to fire more than a few people over the City of Elgin fiasco of the Fox River Country Day School property. And Stegal HAS to be at the top of that list.
            http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-country-day-school-st-0218-20150223-10-story.html

      • Disgusted says:

        Good Questions. It’s a shame that Margret will not let Mo answer in his own words. Looks like another puppet of the Miller camp. It might work though, it worked for JP.

        • Margaret Miller says:

          Hey Disgusted,

          LOL, did you not get that Mo’s response was a posting from Dave (bw)Reinert and not a post direct from Mo.

          Mo probably doesn’t even know Dave (bw) Reinert posted his email response on Elginite.

          You could be waiting a long time for Mo to respond on this blog. Best you contact him yourself if you’re looking for a direct response.

  7. Chuck Keysor says:

    I haven’t commented on the Home Rule matter, because all I know about it is from the links Margaret provided.

    However, in watching Governor Rauner’s speech today to the IL House and Senate, he talked about creating enterprise zones, where cities could enact at their own initiative, to create localized “Right to work” zones. Further discussion and commentary after the speech indicated that home rule municipalities in Illinois already have the right to make themselves be “right to work” cities. This discussion was on WTTW and Michael Madigan was one of the participants in the discussion. But I don’t know the law, and maybe this was just post speech political spin-meistering.

    So I could see now why Dave/bw may have such a great passion for keeping home rule for Elgin so that he can work to get Elgin declared a “right to work” City. LOL, Chuck

    • James Madison says:

      Chuck, just like every other Republicon proposal, this is code:

      to create localized “Right to work” zones = right to work for minimum wages zones. Rauner another word for con-man.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Hello James. Good to see you are still posting, even though we disagree.

        Right to work is not a code word for minimum wage work. It is a clear statement proclaiming that the workers are free to NOT pay union bosses.

        I am happy to hear that Rauner is promoting this idea. Illinois is a proven basket case, and sticking with what we have, with the unions in such a strong position, working with the political democratic machine isn’t going to fix our mess. Keeping the status quo is only a bonus for the Unions and the Democratic machine.

        It is only logical that in order to break out of our current/long-term mess, that the power lock held by the Democratic machine/Union Combine needs to be dialed back.

        Allowing workers to be able to chose to be in a union, or not be in a union is the first step. And it also is in line with giving workers a fundamental right to control their own destinies.

        Chuck

        • Thomas Jackson says:

          Chuck, do you think that rights are inalienable, or should any opportunist be allowed to opt out of respecting them at will?
          How about contracts? Is a contract an agreement, or a suggestion which any opportunist may heedlessly violate without consequence?
          If that isn’t enough, then how about this:
          Should everyone be subject to democracy, or should they be allowed to opt out if they so choose?
          How about the rule of law? Is that optional for the purpose of expediency, and if so FOR WHOM?

          • paul says:

            “Chuck, do you think that rights are inalienable”

            Evidently, tj. you have no idea what an inalienable right is.
            An inalienable right is right granted to you by God or nature. The right to life, liberty, free will, and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights. Ironically, you unwittingly make the case for ‘right to work’.

            “How about contracts?”

            Should you be liable for your neighbor’s contracts! Though you are not a party to them nor signed them, you may directly or indirectly benefit from those contracts!

            “Should everyone be subject to democracy”

            Ask the German Jews in 1939. Inalienable rights are not subject to democratic rule; nor are the Bill of Rights as set forth in the U.S. Constitution - rights guaranteeing the ability to defend our inalienable rights. Ya know, like the right to bear arms and free speech.

            “How about the rule of law? Is that optional for the purpose of expediency, and if so FOR WHOM?”

            Clearly, it is optional for Obama.

            But hey, thanks for unwittingly making the case for ‘right to work’.

      • Thomas Jackson says:

        We heard this “enterprise zone” pitch from Reagan in 1981. In every instance of deregulation proposed since then, thieves have destroyed public institutions and looted the commons and have institutionalized racketeering and bribery.
        I think the Governor’s proposal is little more than unrealistic red meat being tossed to his base, as it has no real public policy value, unless, of course, you believe that overthrowing the rule of law in favor of corporate fascism is a better means of governance. Then the Governor’s proposal must sound to you like a goal to be achieved.
        I believe the Governor is actually more pragmatic in practice than he sounds. If not, then I hope each and every labor leader who reads this, my reply, will realize that Taft Hartley did not abolish the General Strike for The People, only for Labor Unions.

  8. bw says:

    Chuck:

    Margaret Miller
    January 31, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Let’s chat about Elgin’s “Home Rule”.

    MM wanted to chat about Elgin’s “Home Rule” on Jan. 31. I asked each candidate to provide feedback on the issue. You can read or comment on their answer on repealing Home Rule. They can offer feedback on each other’s post. Chuck Keysor added the “Right to Work” portion. Just ignor his post, he has his own agenda. Just ask Jeff Meyer who lost by 3000 votes to Anna Moeller, with Keysor’s backing.

  9. bw says:

    Please support Donna Redmer for 509 Trustee.

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1093015724

  10. Cruex says:

    Please all pay special attention to the quotations by Rosamaria Martinez.

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150206/news/150209207/

  11. Chuck Keysor says:

    And while we are in election mode, here is a video by the Daily Herald showing Mayor Kaptain and Joe Galvan. It isn’t very long, but is good to watch. http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150207/news/150209019/
    Chuck

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Thanks Margaret for sharing the link showing the ratings of Elgin’s public schools. The sad thing is that seeing the terrible results on this report is no longer surprising. Chuck

  12. Margaret Miller says:

    MONDAY, FEBRUARY 09, 2015

    8 OUT OF 10 AMERICANS THINK PUBLIC EMPLOYEES SHOULD CONTRIBUTE MORE TO THEIR PENSIONS

    Excerpt:
    The report says more than half of Americans polled say public employees should contribute at least half of the cost of their retirement while fifty-eight percent favor setting a cap of maximum dollar amount for annual pension payments. Anthony Randazzo, Director of Economic Research at Reason, says the study also found nearly seventy-percent of those polled favor moving defined benefit plans to 401(K)-style systems, though far less support breaking current contractual agreements.

    Illinois’ currently has one of the worst run public employee pension systems in the country with one-hundred-eleven-billion dollars of an unfunded liability.

    http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2015/02/8-out-of-10-americans-think-public-employees-should-contribute-more-to-their-pensions.html

  13. RS says:

    http://boingboing.net/2015/02/09/a-master-of-miniatures-incre.html

    Michael Paul Smith’s Elgin Park is a town that does not exist except in the mind and miniatures of this master of tabletop photography. It is “a 1/24th-scale recreation of everyday scenes from mid-20th century America, ranging from the 1920s to the mid-1960s.”

  14. James Madison says:

    http://chicago.suntimes.com/other-views/7/71/348094/reimagining-illinois-right-work-state

    Rauner by any other name is Mitt Romney.

    Seriously, is this what we want for this state, for this country? Walker and Rauner and Jindal and Brownback…really, this solves what problem? These pols assist which group of eldery, children, working men and women…who is their constituency? Are members of this chat board really convinced that these pols and others of their ilk such as Paul Ryan really care about any of us? Do they care about anyone but themselves and their own future? Does any politician care about any of us? The HSBC revelation of laundered money reported that at least $81 million went to the CLINTON FOUNDATION. Is anyone surprised? A plague on both houses. Who speaks for the people of this country? Who cares about this country? No one single politician (and certainly not local clowns like Prickly could ever represent anyone with an IQ above room temperature) certainly. Why does this board throw rocks at each other instead of at the rottenness of the Washington, Springfield, Elgin politial crap?

    Gov. Rauner has asked state and local lawmakers to consider adopting union-free business zones. So let’s imagine Illinois as a “right to work” state.

    First a clarification. The phrase “right to work” is a misnomer that has little to do with the right of a person to seek and accept gainful employment. Anti-union proponents use “right to work” to refer to an option under federal labor law that allows workers employed by a unionized employer to receive the full benefits of a labor contract without paying for any of the cost to gain those benefits. In fact, no employee anywhere in the country has to join a union and no employer has to sign a labor agreement.

    In Illinois, nearly 900,000 workers employed by thousands of union employers are covered by labor-management agreements, which shape the middle class standards that prevail in the state. If, however, Illinois adopted rules that allowed workers to forsake their obligations toward the common good, not only would it violate the fairness principle, but also the capacity to protect the quality of life for all workers would be damaged. Union bargained contracts unquestionably provide workers with higher incomes, more and better benefits and a stronger “voice” in the workplace. However, when workers are encouraged to accept the higher standards of living that flow from unionized workplaces, while also opting out of making any financial contributions to the contracts that protect them, then the capacity of unions to lift up all workers will be compromised.

    The results of “right to work” in Illinois for working men and women would be punitive. According to a 2013 University of Illinois study that I co-authored, workers would suffer a substantial income loss from 5.7 percent to 7.3 percent. More damaging to middle class standards, workers would experience the equivalent of a decade-long wage freeze. Additionally, fewer workers would have health insurance and retirement savings. As if this was not bad enough, the losses would be particularly harsh on women and people of color. Overall, in less than a decade, annual total labor income in Illinois would drop by between $35 billion and $40 billion, and the poverty rate would increase by at least 1 percent. That would not only be terrible for the newly poor, but it would be a burden on every citizen of the state, as Illinois would lose $1.5 billion in annual state income tax revenues. If Illinois had been “right to work” in 2013, government assistance from the Earned Income Tax Credit would have been $307.1 million higher, further straining the public budget.

    There is no doubt that if Illinois were to become a “right to work” state, the ability of work to lift people into the middle class and provide a ladder to prosperity would be severely handicapped. A lot of workers would be left struggling to hold on to middle class respectability, but not many, if any more people employed, because fraudulent “right to work” laws have no discernible long-term impact on employment growth. In the end, with “right to work” in Illinois, the unilateral authority of employers to determine how men and women should labor for their daily bread would replace workplace democracy. Hard to imagine that kind of Illinois.

    Robert Bruno is a professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois.

  15. Chuck Keysor says:

    James, when you posted: “Are members of this chat board really convinced that these pols and others of their ilk such as Paul Ryan really care about any of us? Do they care about anyone but themselves and their own future?”, it sounded to me like you are simply concerned about preserving your piece of the pie, and are not concerned about the non-union crowd, (the vast majority of the population).

    IE, it sounds to me that if you were being honest, you would have written: Is anyone really convinced that the Unions and Machine Democrats and others of their ilk, such as Michael Madigan, are really concerned about any of us regular people? Of course not, the Union/Democratic Machine/combine only cares about themselves and their own futures.

    If you would have written that, I would have said, Wow, James you are right on! Actually I think plenty of people believe the crying and wailing from the left, is because the machine democrat crowd finally sees a threat to their gravy train.

    Liberal democrats such as yourself are into wealth redistribution, with the notion that it is good to rob from the rich and give to the poor. Well, to most people, like the average Elginite, with a median income of something like $23,000/year, they see the wealth of the unions and they want to keep their own meager earnings and not have it forcibly redistributed to the Union bosses and their minions, and they will thus cheer Rauner on. The forcible redistribution from the POOR to the rich, is for us poor people to be forced by the State to pay huge taxes to fund all these giant pensions, for people who make more in pensions then I ever earned while I was working full-time.

    Chuck

  16. James Madison says:

    Chuck,

    I think is was inarticulate in my rant. My point was not an attempt to preserve any status quo. My point was that these attempts to dismantle worker protection and union representation by creating a “right to work” zone or state is a straw man. These politicians only have one strong bulwark against total control of our democracy: working men and women whose give their life (time) in exchange for wages and benefits. Do you think ANY corporation every gave a working person any benefit without the intervention of a union or the threat of a strike and shutdown of their business. Since Reagan, middle class jobs have been outsourced to China, India, VietNam, the Philippines, and anywhere on the globe where cheap labor resides. This has been done by the D’s and the R’s and has been blessed, or at least condoned, by labor leaders.
    What is the end game? Have 99% of America working at minimum wage? With no retirement benefits, no Social Security? Are we willing to go back to the 1800’s before there was a labor movement? I agree with your analysis about the pensions. That was a case of politicians “buying” support with other people’s money. That is no better than the current group of pols buying support from the Kochs, Romneys, and others by denigrating and trying to destroy the working class. That is the issue. We are all in danger. Not just the “liberal democrats who are into wealth redistribution…” You bet your ass I am into wealth redistribution. I want Walmart workers to earn $15 an hour and I do not want the Walton heirs to earn $8 million a day in dividends from Walmart. I want the impossible. I want fairness and a level playing field for every American–EVERY American. Not just white or democrat or repulicon, EVERY AMERICA.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      James, now I am distracted because of tonight’s long city council meeting. But in re-reading your post, we both agree that the middle class has been wiped out.

      You look at the Unions as the only way to save the middle class, and I look at the middle class as having been wiped out for most of America. Now it is the “well to do” teachers, municipal, state and federal workers, both union and non-union, are being financially propped up, in an unsustainable effort, on the backs of the collapsed middle class that is now poor.

      This doesn’t address a cure, but a first step to dealing with a problem, is in fact identifying the cause. The cause of America’s middle class vanishing is the intentional and willful off-shoring of manufacturing. Manufacturing is what propelled Britain into pre-eminence in its greatest days of glory, when the sun never set on the British Empire. And it was Manufacturing that transformed America from an agrarian giant, into a super power that won WW1 and WW2.

      In the mid 1970’s when I was in college, in the summer, I could walk into a factory in Elgin and ask if they had a job. I worked one summer at Lightolier, and another summer at Elgiloy. I got paid $15/hour without any training or experience. I never joined a union, although I would guess both factories were unionized. So I never even worked at a minimum wage job, and used to wonder why anyone would.

      I remember back when I got out of college in 1979, and started work at Dukane in St. Charles. We took in coils of steel, barrels of paint, electronic components, in one door, and using our own brains and team work designed and manufactured expensive products that we shipped out the other door. I used to go up and down the line as one of my designs was running in production, and marvel that we could talk to customers, see what they needed, design products, build these products that uniquely met the customer’s requirements at a price they found reasonable, and we could market to these people and convince them to buy our products, and then they would send us money, we would ship them goods, and we all could get paid, making the workers richer and the company richer.

      Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, manufacturing was worried about being put out of business by the Japanese, and I used to read about how Japan had risen to greatness through manufacturing/engineering/marketing/sales. So I used to be both proud of our company’s manufacturing, and concerned for our future.

      When all the talk of NAFTA came up, maybe in the late 1980s, and well into the 1990s, the sound of jobs being sucked out of the country became a real worry for me. First NAFTA, then globalization, all arranged and encouraged by government, in collaboration with corporations and unions trashed our manufacturing economy. Politicians regularly said manufacturing is old fashioned, we are moving to the information age, and to a service economy. They joyfully embraced this, almost mocking anyone who doubted this new model as being old fashioned and simple minded.

      Where I worked for 27 years is now effectively gone. There were almost 1000 employees at Dukane in the early 1990s in 5 divisions. Now there is one division, and maybe 130 employees. The huge factory that used to be bursting at the seems and that at one time couldn’t keep up with demand, is now mostly filled with a cardboard carton factory, few people, and lots of boxes, and the remaining sliver of Dukane. That tragic tale has repeated itself all across the US, and that is what has destroyed the middle class. The unions can’t save anything when most of the manufacturing jobs are gone.

      Now most of what is left, is minimum wage work, and had the politicians/factories/unions never agreed to NAFTA and then globalization, this would be a different and better world.

      Now we have a flood of cheap goods from China, cheap TVs, computers, etc. I’d rather have more expensive electronic junk, and have it all made here in the USA, and have it so people wouldn’t be stuck with minimum wage jobs, that there was an easy path to upwards mobility by landing a factory job.

      So that is where I see us as having run off the rails, and what on the most elemental level got us into the crummy mess that we are in today.

      Again, the unions can’t unscramble this egg, so I don’t look to them to save us, nor do I look to the Democrats or the Republicans to save us, because they all worked together with the major multi-national corporations, along with the unions (who were no doubt bought off by politicians in various power deals) to create the mess we are in. Bush 1 and Clinton were big on NAFTA. And all the while, the Democrats and Republicans changed the laws to give tax breaks to companies to move off shore! (Oh, and when Obama hired Jeff Imelt, the head of GE to be in charge of the group that would re-stimulate America’s manufacturing base, I just about died laughing. What a fool! And in that time frame, GE announced that they were closing an X-ray tube plant in Wisconsin (as I recall), that had been in operation for over 100 years! And where did it go? To China! And Imelt did that right under Obama’s nose, while Obama continued to praise him as a source for America’s manufacturing resurgence.)

      Well, that is a simplified story, and probably highly flawed, but we all create our own version of where we find our fundamental political grounding points, and this is mine. Since the middle class has largely evaporated, and wages have stagnated, I can look at municipal unions, teacher unions, etc and wonder why can or should they be spared the collapse that has crushed everyone else? When everyone else who has lost it all, and can only find minimum wage jobs, has to prop up their middle class lives of the protected groups cited above, that is what strikes me as simply unsustainable. Sometime soon, if things aren’t re-equalized (either the poor have to get richer to pay the union teachers, firemen, etc or the union teachers, firemen, etc, have to get poorer like the rest of us), then things will simply collapse, and Illinois can file for bankruptcy as far as I am concerned. Then everyone will have to settle for pennies on the dollar, but then things will balance out, and be sustainable.

      If we had a robust manufacturing economy, then there would be plenty of middle class jobs, that could easily bear the cost of expensive municipal union and teacher union workers. But that model has died, gone to the grave and rotted………….. Somehow the equation needs to be rebalanced, because it is not sustainable in its present form.

      Chuck (OK James, now I have rambled back, and it is your turn to throw stones at me.)

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Excellent Post and very accurate.

      • James Madison says:

        Chuck,

        First of all, never stones, not at you (others, yes). We just have conversations of honest differences of how we want to see our country get to the same place.

        We have talked about unions as though they were distinctively the problem. It think that what we are seeing, especially in Illinois, is the fact that union issues are the “canary in the mine syndrome.” As the middle class jobs have evaporated, those who do have union protection have become targets of resentment from others who are not as fortunate (or lucky). In most manufacturing environments, American manufacturers that have survived have done so with great union cooperation and mutual cost/pain sharing. The UAW have approved a dual wage system for virtually all their organized plants. Even the airline and all of their mergers usually produce a combined workforce with wages based on age and/or seniority and not just membership.

        Teachers unions and public employees unions will be a sticking point for any comparison for one simple reason: Their work cannot be outsourced. Since their wages and benefits consume and will consume a large share of any local or state budget, they will be in the firing line whenever budgets are stressed.

        Unions were fundamental in the creation of a working class (middle class) in this country. The numerous advances in workers rights and benefits (40-hour week, paid vacations, better working conditions, retirement benefits, no arbitrary dismissal, workplace safety) all were collectively bargained. As the unionized middle class evolves to a white collar middle class there is less and less union organizing and virtually no union strikes in this country. When both of us were growing up, the Sunday news programs always had a labor leader (Walter Reuther, George Meaney, Leonard Woodcock) to discuss the direction of the country and economic policy. That seat at the table has been co-opted by the banksters who now control economic policy in the country. Who now represents the middle class in these discussions? John Boner? Dick Turban? Ram Emmanual? John Prickly?

        We have evolved into a strange political conundrum. Representatives now choose their voters, rather than voters choosing their representatives. As a result, you have two stratified political parties whose only focus is self preservation and maintaining the status quo. No good solution to America’s issues will come from this condition. I just saw yesterday that someone earning a million dollars a year has now gone past the maximum wage for social security taxes. They have reached the max of $118,000.

        If Rauner wants to be God and create a Right to Work at Low Wages State, here is what I need to approve that idea:

        1. Minimum wage of $15, indexed to the annual CPI
        2. Universal Healthcare
        3. No cap on Social Security Earnings
        4. Reagan-era tax rates
        5. Repeal of Citizens United

        And I am not just accusing the Repulicons of creating this mess. Look at the last 40 years:

        Reagan: Killed unions through decertifying Air Traffic Controllers union, spent billions in arms build up; tax rate from 70% to 28%

        Bush 1: NAFTA negotiations finalized.

        Clinton: NAFTA approved; Glass-Stegall repealed; financial bubble mechanism created.

        Bush 2: multiple wars, unfunded medicare subscription program, tax cuts, economic implosion.

        Obama: triage wounded economy, banks bailout, no prosecution of banksters, hand holding wall street, too timid to confront Congress on size of economic stimulus needed.

        Just some meandering observations on this “President’s Day.”

        Chuck, your serve.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      By accident, at 7PM tonight, I happened to watch an episode of “Undercover Boss”. (I have never watched this before, but had heard of it.) The episode was filmed at Peavey Electronics. It painted a picture which looked exactly like Dukane 15 years ago: reduced work weeks, people going without pay raises for 8 years, products being outsourced, and rumors swirling within the factory that the plant could close at any time, etc.

      Near the end of the episode, the under-cover boss was revealed, and he paid bonuses to those employees that he had worked with. But then they showed 4 months after filming ended, that Peavey announced that one of their plants featured in the show, was being closed, and the products would be built over-seas. They interviewed those lucky employees who had worked with the undercover boss, and they were angry, upset and felt betrayed. They were American factory workers, out on the street, no one to bail them out.

      I wish everyone could watch this episode. This again shows the decimation of America’s manufacturing base, which is what used to grow the middle class, which used to spin off the taxes to pay the union benefits for the public employees, which now has to be paid for by an ever increasing impoverished former middle class America.

      Talk about breaking contracts with the unions all that you want, but if there is no one left who can pay their taxes, then the whole state may just wind up going bankrupt. Then who will bail out the unions and the union pensioners?

      Chuck

      • RS says:

        Unfortunately economic development is disruptive like this and there’s nothing really that can be done about globalization. Protectionism is not the answer unless we are all going to be content with inferior products, high prices and lack of innovation.

        • Margaret Miller says:

          Hmmm, am I misunderstanding? I don’t recall American products being inferior? I never heard that!

          I always hear Chinese cheap and we know the reason why.

          Companies were pushed to go off shore for lower wages, no unions, less regulation and less tax.

          BTW, the Euro has tanked, by design, over the last 6-8 months. Increased imports will be more interesting than the past four years because of it. That’s if the west coast union longshoreman, who make $1,000 per week stop the work slow down and get the vessels off the ocean and into port. Some have been floating for three weeks.

          America has turned into consumers as manufacturing is lost. Illinois just lost American Stair to Indiana but never fear, Amazon is now here and so are the new taxes I have to pay.

          • RS says:

            Quality varies widely in China as it does here or anywhere else. It’s a factor of what you’re making, the skill of your labor and the wages you pay. For example, I don’t think anybody thinks Apple’s Chinese-made products are cheap or shoddy. If Apple moved production to the US, the devices would cost more and would be less competitive here and in the international market.

            Perhaps you don’t recall also that American cars were unreliable gas guzzlers before the Japanese forced them to innovate in all aspects of car production just to survive and compete in the US and abroad.

          • One Vote says:

            I’ve lived it.TWICE.
            Sunbeam. It was huge in Chicago. Block after block of factories along Roosevelt Road.
            What happened was down and out and over there.
            When they could no longer afford to pay low skilled workers $40/hour to install legs on frying pans they started to move. First Springfield IL, then Neosho MO, then Hattiesburg MS. Still, labor was too expensive so they opened plants in Mexico. Then it was off to Taiwan.
            In the end, Sunbeam is just a logo whore. That tagline about trusted name for 100 years is hooey. Ownership has changed so many times there is ZERO relationship to the original company. Products are made on contract with obscure companies who slap the logo on. We are dumb enough to think that means something.
            The same can be said for Zenith, a once noble Chicago brand. They are now owned by Lucky Goldstar of Korea, better known as LG.
            Companies aren’t just logos.

        • paul says:

          I’m happy I never had to buy an American made UAW automobile.

          And from the stories I’m hearing now from the 2 people I know working at FIAT/Chrysler Belvidere I never will buy a UAW car.

  17. James Madison says:

    On Tuesday, a draft statement from the Group of 20 finance officials warned that growing income inequality could harm economic growth, the first time the group has voiced concern over the issue.

    “In some countries, potential growth has declined, demand continues to be weak, the outlook for jobs is still bleak and income inequality is rising,” it reads. The officials write later in the draft, “We will also strive to ensure that growth is inclusive, including through policies that address income inequality.”

    According to Bloomberg News, the group has never explicitly mentioned it in a communiqué before.
    According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the income gap between rich and poor in most developed countries is the biggest in three decades, with the wealthiest 10 percent making 9.5 times more than the bottom 10 percent. And a recent report from Oxfam forecast that the top 1 percent of the world’s earners would own more wealth than the bottom 99 percent by next year. Its share of wealth has already increased from 44 percent in 2009 to 48 percent last year.

    Here in the United States, income inequality has been growing for decades, but it’s gotten even worse since the financial crisis. Between 2009 and 2012, the top 1 percent of earners captured all of the income gains while average income actually fell for everyone else. That continues a recent trend in which the richest 10 percent capture increasingly larger shares of income growth during times of economic expansion.

    The G-20 isn’t the only group concerned about what these trends mean for the economy. Economists at the International Monetary Fund released a paper arguing that higher inequality is correlated with lower and less long-lasting growth, while taking steps to redistribute income gains won’t hurt the economy. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has warned that income inequality is a “very serious problem.” The CEO of one of the world’s largest banks has called it “very destabilizing.” A majority of large American companies have warned investors that falling incomes for most consumers could hurt their businesses.

    And while President Obama has been talking about inequality for some time, Republicans are now even taking up the issue, even if their policy prescriptions would likely make it worse.

    The evidence seems clear that income inequality does risk harming economic growth if left unchecked. It also pushes Americans into more debt, reduces economic mobility, makes us less healthy and safe, and undermines democracy.

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/02/11/3621727/first-time-g-20-warns-income-inequality-dangerous/

  18. Chuck Keysor says:

    James, thank you for your interesting reply which I read carefully. We share some common GRAVE concerns, but I think we trace them back to different sources.

    I’m tied up right now, and then there is council tonight. So I plan to thoughtfully respond to your post later this evening.

    Thank you, Chuck

  19. RS says:

    Here’s a question for trivia night, the federal judge who just blocked Obama’s immigration order was born in… guess where?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_S._Hanen

  20. One Vote says:

    Courier News article shows city hall bungling the management of the Day School site:
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-country-day-school-st-0218-20150223-10-story.html

    It seems they let the pipes freeze, creating additional damage.

    I wish they’d make up their minds. They have a cop living there, devoting a decoy cop car to the property…and then bungle the utility bills.

    Now they’re hooked in to a historic site designation which just added to any rehab costs for anyone.

    Yet the offers on the table are $100,000. Can you say LOWBALL?

    This white elephant needs to go! And I don’t mean a sweetheart deal where the city gets stuck with the rehab so some friends can use it rent-free.

    • RS says:

      That’s kind of funny that they have deployed a ROPE officer just to watch this one property. I don’t think that was the intent of the ROPE program at all. Doesn’t the “R” stand for residential?

      They will spend more and more on this thing, digging a deeper and deeper hole for themselves until years from now they throw in the towel after having spent millions.

      OR they can do the smart thing now and hand the school over to the Chinese or whoever else will take it. How long is it going to take them to review these proposals? Just accept one already and move on. Nobody wants to hear anymore about how this property is falling apart while they twiddle their thumbs.

  21. Margaret Miller says:

    http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2015/02/judge-wont-delay-sentencing-for-ex-illinois-rep-farnham.html

    FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2015
    JUDGE WON’T DELAY SENTENCING FOR EX-ILLINOIS REP. FARNHAM

    CHICAGO (AP) - A federal judge in Chicago is refusing to delay sentencing for ex-Illinois Rep. Keith Farnham on a child pornography conviction despite an illness that soon could take his life.

    Judge Edmond Chang says in an order filed Friday that the Democrat seems “physically capable” of attending the hearing. He adds there are “victim interests at stake” in sticking to the March 19 sentencing date.
    Farnham’s been under house arrest. He pleaded guilty to transporting child pornography and faces a maximum 20-year prison term.

    Defense lawyers asked for the delay, citing Farnham’s pulmonary fibrosis, a condition that damages lung tissue. They say he likely has less than six months to live.

    Prosecutors opposed a delay. They said one victim who “made allegations against defendant personally” intended to speak at Farnham’s sentencing.
    Friday, February 27, 2015 at 12:44 PM

    • RS says:

      Even if it’s true that he’s going to do die in six months (which I highly doubt), he needs to do time in prison. Especially if he abused a child as it’s now coming out.

      http://chicago.suntimes.com/news-chicago/7/71/401285/former-state-rep-keith-farnham-abused-child-woman-alleges

      He deserves prison, not perpetual healthcare and a public pension.

      • paul says:

        “he needs to do time in prison. Especially if he abused a child as it’s now coming out.”

        If he abused a child he needs to be prosecuted for that crime. That the State did not prosecute him for that crime indicates the State does NOT have the evidence to charge him with that crime. To bring it up at his sentencing hearing is a travesty of justice.

        The best outcome for Farnham and his family is he die very soon.
        Funny he wasn’t on that oxygen tank before he was caught!

  22. One Vote says:

    As if one state-of-the-city speech wasn’t enough, Dave Kaptain gives another one just ahead of the election.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-state-of-elgin-st-0227-20150226-story.html

    He burst out in pride and the city’s rating, failing to mention that it was created by finding additional ways to gouge the taxpayers, not by better management.

    On cue, he’s setting up an excuse by preemptively blaming Rauner.

    Do any of the politicians think outside the box? You know; fix the problem rather than patch it with more money?

    Did you Kane County folks get the letter from Cunnningham telling us that they undercharged us on our tax bills for TWO YEARS? You’d think an error like that would be caught right away.

    And, I see that Butera is making as much progress on the new store as Dominic’s did. Not that we need a FOURTH grocery store on the block. But at least Kaptain can brag that he eliminated the food desert on Big Timber. The Butera at Tyler Creek Plaza seems to have plenty of customers.

    • RS says:

      For those of you who are retired or whatever and able to do so, you might consider reducing your real estate exposure in Elgin and voting with your feet. And why do you want to put up with all that cold and snow and the blistering hot summers? Add real estate taxes on top of that, yowza! Does it make much sense if you’re retired? I understand there are family and social connections you can better maintain but the world is more connected now than ever before with the Internet, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and all that.

      Real estate taxes down here in Colombia for example are like 1%. If you buy property of sufficient value, you get a visa. If you have a pension, or social security or something you get a visa. Medellin is just like 3 hours from Miami so if you want to return to US soil once in a while, it’s no problem. And the discount airlines fly here so the flights are very cheap. Every day of the year is spring-like (with perfect sunlight, not like the skin-burning sun of San Diego, etc), large sectors of the city are more prosperous than most American cities and you have all the comforts of home in supermarkets and malls that put to shame anything you’re going to find in or around Elgin. All the US TV channels are available here and the Internet download speeds are as good as in Elgin and as reliable. There are lovely churches, incredible coffee and an endless variety of international restaurants and bars. Once you’re here, it’s not hard to see why Colombia is consistently ranked the happiest country on earth.

      So sell that old house you’re constantly patching up, say goodbye to fall leaves, winter snow and the unbearable heat of the Midwestern summer. Enjoy your retirement instead of pinching pennies. Call now!

      • Margaret Miller says:

        RS,

        You’re kidding with this correct?

        Either it’s a copy + paste advertisement, you’re on, just back from or going on vacation.

        Why wouldn’t you promote sales tax or income tax free states instead of leaving the country?

        You are promoting people leave their homeland because taxes are too high and nicer weather. As I would take nicer weather about now, your promotion of defeat distasteful to me.

        Progressive Liberalism, with the help from unions and RINO’s, got us in this mess and rather stick around, fight it out and clean it up, you promote fleeing the scene of the crimes and misdemeanors.

        Frankly, I understand the vacation all year around enticements but don’t appreciate the cut and run attitude you seem to suggest.

        That’s surrendering and no matter where I go in the USA, I will not surrender.

        • RS says:

          I’m just addressing the retirees out there. The last thing I would want to do as a retiree is spend my last days fighting anything or anyone uselessly. The trends in Illinois are clear. It’s not going to become a more conservative state. Taxes are not going to go down. You can stick around and pay for all the things you don’t support or just leave and enjoy peace of mind, fine weather and a better life in general.

        • RS says:

          How Colombia went from murder capital to tech powerhouse
          http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/13/investing/colombia-tech-silicon-valley/index.html

          Elgin needs a Colombian sister city :)

          • homer simpson says:

            glad to hear you are enjoying it there! i’m counting my days down to my retirement. bangkok is my first choice, somewhere in south america is my second. ain’t going to stick around in illinois that is for sure.

          • RS says:

            There is a good opportunity now in Colombia, because of the strong dollar and weak petrol prices. The Colombian peso is tied closely to the price of crude (Colombia’s top export), and if crude continues to remain weak or slide even further in the next couple of years–a quite likely scenario, the peso will remain under pressure. This means for anybody holding US dollars, the next two years are prime buying opportunities in the Colombian market.

            This is the building going up next door. Two elevators in each tower and only two apartments per floor in each tower.

            http://www.elinmobiliario.com/colombia/desarrollos/medellin/departamentos_en_construccion/coninsa_ramon_h_s_a_/stanza_9057.html

  23. Margaret Miller says:

    http://ilnews.org/4156/can-illinois-compete-with-its-neighbors-it-soon-may-be-surrounded-by-right-to-work-states/

    Can Illinois compete with its neighbors? It soon may be surrounded by right-to-work states

    MADISON, Wis. — As right-to-work-laws sweep the Midwest, Illinois business leaders worry that the state will continue to lose jobs and businesses to its neighbors.

    “We already are losing jobs to neighboring states and that will just accelerate as more become right-to-work,” said Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

    “Illinois has got to do something about its business climate. … Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be in the DNA of the legislative leadership to do anything about this unless the state is facing an absolute crisis,” he said

    On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Senate approved a right-to-work law, and its House is expected to follow suit. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has pledged to sign the measure.

    A right-to-work law prohibits employees from being required to join or pay money to a union as a condition of employment.

    In the past two years, Indiana and Michigan have adopted right-to-work laws.

    A right-to-work bill also is pending in Missouri, where it has been approved by one chamber of its legislature.

    Kentucky is experimenting with right-to-work zones that allow counties to opt for that status. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has called for a similar “Worker Empowerment Zones” in the Land of Lincoln.

    Until three years ago, Iowa was the only neighbor of Illinois with right-to-work law.

    “A fire of freedom has started in the Midwest and it’s spreading across the nation,” said Vincent Vernuccio, director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center, a Michigan-based free-market think tank.

    But Illinois organized labor is not happy about the developments in neighbor states and is increasing its lobbying efforts to keep the same from happening in the Prairie State.

    More at the site.

  24. Cruex says:

    How does one like Martinez get so many signs up? More than anyone else? She hardly eever says anything in public and when she does it’s of no relevance to the topic. Who is supporting Martinez and not supporting Powell and Steffen? I bet it’s the unions who have singled her out as the weakest minded who will vote their way. How do you like that Powell and Steffen? The token Hispanic you appointed for diversity sake is getting more support than you!! What a country!!

  25. still concerned says:

    To find out where some of the money is coming from all you have to do is access the State Board of Election web site and search under the candidates name. Rose in particular has raised several thousands from her fund raisers, but of note are contributions from the Construction and General Laborers District Council of Chicago for $1000 and from James & Grazina Liautaud for $5000 each ($10,000).
    That’s where the sign money comes from. Rose is a personally a nice person, but nice does not necessarily give one the qualifications to be a Council Member. I’ll leave that to you.

  26. One Vote says:

    Did you study the Elgin city newsletter that just came in the mail this week?

    Did you read the part about their “success” if diversifying the revenue stream? Property taxes used to be 40% of the total revenue; now it’s only 21% (or is it 23%? Both numbers are shown in the same brochure). Mission accomplished.

    Or is it? Did your property taxes go down? Mine didn’t. And it turns out we were undercharged by the county clerk so we’ll have to pay more to make it up.

    Of course, we know that they have really just figured out a way to get more money from us in the guise of revenue diversification. It’s really just us paying the same people MORE money for the same services. Out-of-towners don’t pay utility taxes, refuse collection fees or water and sewer. It’s the same old Elginites.

    And “city staff” feeds the council all these studies showing what a great deal we are getting, compared to other municipalities that THEY chose to study.

    Yet, despite all the hype, they are spending another $5 MILLION on downtown streetscaping. Lipstick on a pig. For what? The annual zombiefest and pub crawls?

  27. Tim Palmer says:

    Martinez got 11 thousand? Thats some real money there for someone who has not even been sitting in her seat for a yr. Who is buying her vote I wonder. Probably someone who won’t get an argument from her. VOTES FOR SALE!!!!!! Something is very screwy around here.

  28. Margaret Miller says:

    Another opportunity in case you missed earlier 2015 Candidate forums.

    South West Area Neighbors (SWAN) Candidates Forum
    With candidate from mayor, City Council, U-46 School Board, Elgin Community College Trustee and Gail Borden Library Trustee races.

    March 21, 2015
    10:00 am until 3:00 pm

    Zion Lutheran Church
    330 Griswold Street, Elgin, IL

  29. Cruex says:

    The building trades union in Burr Ridge and the Elgin Fire dept. union are buying the Martinez vote so far. It must be nice to get a free city job because you’re Hispanic and then do jack squat while in office. The unions love those kind of politicians.

    • Margaret Miller says:

      She gave an awful performance at the LWV forum.

      It was embarrassing. A terrible example of representation.

    • One Vote says:

      Waiting for bw to tell us that Martinez shouldn’t even be allowed to run because she doesn’t have a degree.
      :)

      • Margaret Miller says:

        I was at the SWAN forum today and Rose Martinez was in attendance but did not participate in the forum.

        Apparently, she had laryngitis.

        I think the labor unions told her to remain quiet, as she is a bad representative, even for them.

        • Tim Palmer says:

          Hey Margaret Miller, don’t you know Martinez has been a puppet from the beginning? Super mayor Kaptain and the others thought they could make points with the Hispanics by giving her a seat on the council. She has done nothing but confirm the falsehood that Hispanics want to be involved in Elgin. I heard she showed all of Elgin at the League of Women Voters forum she should never speak. Does anyone have a video?

          • Margaret Miller says:

            Tim,

            I am fully aware of that. I was at the LWV forum as well and she was an embarrassment.

            I believe that it was this forum that let the liberals and unions know clearly what they really have, an empty pant suit.

            The liberal majority thought they would score with this appointment and that it may assist them in this election cycle.

            Have any of them reached out to her? Doubtful and now that they know what they actually have, they won’t for fear it would look like they are connected and supportive of her.

  30. RS says:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-03-15/a-250-000-tour-with-one-aim-get-chinese-to-buy-a-home

    Many countries, including the U.S., offer preferential visa treatment in exchange for investment pledges. Last year, Chinese nationals snapped up 85 percent of the U.S. EB-5 visas offered to foreigners who plow at least $500,000 into U.S. development projects. It was the first time that the annual allocation was completely taken up before the end of the year.

    What is Elgin doing to attract Chinese investment?

  31. RS says:

    Why are we still on the February open thread anyway? Isn’t it it March already?

  32. anon says:

    Well, here’s the latest status of Abe Froeman’s, if anyone even cares at this point (and it is BIZARRE):
    ***
    UPDATE: Good afternoon everyone! We would like to announce the changes here at Abe’s. Abe Froeman’s is still in the works. However there has been a shift in ownership. Tyrrell tomlin and Jamie Berry are moving forward and are still working hard to bring Abe’s to life for downtown Elgin. Iran Garcia will be moving in other directions. We wish him the best of luck with all of his endeavors, We know that he has put in a lot of work and has many skills and ambitions that will go far! Jamie and Tyrrell plan on working with the city to speed up the process and to decide on a definite location and time frame for a realistic open date. We don’t see this as a set back but rather a learning experience on this amazing journey we have started. We want to thank-you for the continued support and for your thoughts and concerns. It truly makes every day worth fighting to get Open.
    ***
    So, basically, they are starting from scratch and trying to find a new suitable location. Good lord, what a mess… so what have they been doing for the past 9 months at the previous location besides putting in benches?!? I’d put a fork in this one, not likely to ever happen at this point…

    • RS says:

      Thanks for the update. Yeah, it’s kind of sad. I hope they (and others) don’t repeat the same mistakes. As long as the place is clean, start cooking!

  33. One Vote says:

    The great Elgin chicken debate comes to a close.
    Prigge was belittled for pointing out that people are keeping chicks in the house.
    Rauschenberger shot back with the fact that they hatch and keep chicks in classrooms. Too bad Prigge didn’t know that a decade ago there was a fire in a U46 school, cased by a heat lamp. The chick died.
    I think it was Laurel Hill. The fire was limited to one wing of the school, but smoke damage was throughout. I remember visiting the school after the fire and the restoration company was cleaning the smoke from the books in the library. I’m guess the clean up was at least $750K.
    How about that, Carol?
    Prigge will have to wait for a fatal basement fire to make the point with Rauschenberger.

    • paul says:

      Wait for the house fire caused by a chicken warming heat lamp. And Dunne said nothing.
      Why have an ordinance if the city itself refuses to adhere to it.
      $60 permit for 4 chickens!!! Then you have to build a coop. And buy the chickens! And feed the chickens! Only the very stupid or very rich can afford the cost of those eggs.

  34. Cruex says:

    MM’s words are true. Martinez claimed she had laryngitis but was still strong enough to attend and speak to others in the crowd yesterday. If there are any voters who are looking for a reason not to vote for Steffen, Powell and Kaptain, they can think of how Martinez even got her seat.

    I heard Scifert did not show, either. Why is he bothering? That’s his 2nd forum missed.

    • still concerned says:

      Fred Moulton is a much better candidate and deserves your consideration:
      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Moulton4Council/1054048751278774

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Still Concerned:

        At the LWV forum Fred said something that stuck with me and not so much in a positive way.

        Paraphrasing, “I don’t let others influence me, I influence others.”

        I took this as he has his opinion, maybe only his opinions on an issues, and could be perhaps unwilling to listen/hear other’s opinions, and will influence those others to what he feels is the right way to go, at least to him.

        I’m not sold on that concept and thought to myself, he may actually think that way but could have kept what some could perceive as arrogance out of the public realm.

        • still concerned says:

          Out of context Margaret. I believe he was referring to donations made by friends and relatives only and not paid off by others trying to buy or influence him…. most people got it.

  35. Margaret Miller says:

    Hello Elginite’s!

    Here is the latest news from the campaign trail.

    The Elgin Octave mailed out thousands of post cards urging citizens not to vote for the Tax & Spenders. (Tish Powell, John Steffen & Dave Kaptain)

    Looks like this was just the poke of the beehive that was needed to get them stirred up in these last days of the current election cycle.

    Tish stated that this was a classic dirty trick in politics. New information to surface about an incumbent before the election to paint them in a negative light.

    Welcome to Elgin politics Tish!

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Thanks Margaret for letting people know about Tish Powell’s Face Book post.

      I posted a detailed reply to Tish on her FB page, but it was quickly removed. So, here (with major edits, as I HATE writing on FB, with its little window and other awkward limitations) is what I posted on Tish Powell’s Facebook page. Chuck

      “Dirty Tricks” Tish? This is called “Free Speech”.

      “New Information”? No, this is old news. Remember December 2011, when YOU, Dave Kaptain and John Steffen voted (along with Gilliam and Dunne) to impose massive tax increases? This is the first election for the three of you since you voted to give us all these new taxes (natural gas tax, electric tax, increased Elgin’s sales tax by 66%, etc.) It is as simple as that.

      Because our campaign postcard was in response to the tax hikes of December 2011, Rose Martinez was not mentioned in this mailer. Rose had nothing to do with the tax increases that YOU, John Steffen and Dave Kaptain voted for in December 2011. Perhaps if you would have taken the time to answer our “biased” questionnaire in January of 2015, you would have had a clearer understanding of the issues behind this MASS postcard mailing.

      You said that the Elgin OCTAVE has not come up with a solution. Not true. Our solution is to change the balance of the council, so that the majority of the council will not be so prone to reflexive taxing and spending. We hope that the election will prove that most voters agree with us.

      It is a truism for politicians that the farther away from the next election you are before you vote for tax increases, the better off you will be. That is because it is normally expected that given enough time, the voters will have forgotten who was responsible for tax hikes by the time the next election rolls around. Well, we found that 4 years later, that was true. In some test marketing, we did in fact find that while people were still upset over the December 2011 tax increases, they didn’t know who was responsible. So our effort was simply to remind the voters who voted to create these tax hikes. If in fact most people like to have their taxes go up, you will have a happy night on April 7th.

      Also note, our campaign postcard does direct voters to view the YouTube videos of our 1/17/15 Council/Mayoral forum so that they can see and hear for themselves what the candidates have to say. And we also direct them to view the questionnaire we submitted to all of the candidates before our forum, so that they can read the full, detailed UNEDITED replies from all of the candidates. Well, all of the candidates except for you, John Steffen, Dave Kaptain and Rose Martinez, who chose to not bother to answer any of our questions.

      Instead of engaging your opponents, and understanding them by answering our survey, you chose to dismiss us. That alone makes a significant statement about your term on the council, showing that you choose to ignore your critics, which is seen by many as a failure in representation. Chuck

      • Margaret Miller says:

        Chuck:

        Forget the poke of the beehive, Elgin Octave’s mailer stirred up a hornet’s nest! My phone has been ringing off the hook about it.

        Good work! Thank you for your continual efforts to keep my taxes down.

      • Paul Stocksdale says:

        Thank you, Chuck and Margaret for letting me know NOT to vote for those Octave candidates.

    • Paul Stocksdale says:

      At least the mailer tells me not to vote for any of the Octave candidates who would support such lies.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Tish Powell chose to label our postcard as lies. You have indicated that the post card contains lies.

        What lies are on this card? Would you contend that Tish, Dave and John HATE to spend? Would you contend that they HATE to tax? Do you deny that they voted in December of 2011 to impose the first ever Elgin Taxes on natural gas and electricity? Do you deny that Tish Powell, John Steffen and Dave Kaptain voted to put trash fee on our water bills? Do you deny that Tish, John and Dave voted to raise your sales tax (to the maximum amount allowed under law)?

        IF anyone supports all of these taxes, and the spending increases which accompanied them, then fine, go ahead and vote for Dave Kaptain, Tish Powell and John Steffen, and you can be sure you will be rewarded with more of the same.

        Thanks, Chuck

        • Paul Stocksdale says:

          I do not like the utility fees or the increase in sales tax because both of these are regressive forms of taxation. But this revenue diversification also lowered property taxes. So a gross characterization of tax and spending is ridiculous and dishonest. Additionally since Prigge and Shaw also voted to continue this same revenue diversification along with other Council members, it is dishonest to include Shaw on the list of those who you endorse while discrediting others.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Paul, yes, it is true that property taxes have been lowered. But so what, when your net taxes to the City have increased? City Staff last December proved that the net cost to live in the City of Elgin HAS increased with Revenue Diversification, as enacted by the Council in December 2011.

            I would invite you to go to the City of Elgin’s Video Center, and watch the Committee of the Whole for 12/3/14, and go to the 1:00:00 mark. You will see City Analyst Aaron Cosentino reporting to the council that as a result of the taxes and revenue diversification enacted in 2011, that in the year 2012, the NET increase of costs to the average Elgin resident was $10 per MONTH, ie $120/year. For years 2013 and 2014, the per month increase in money paid by the average Elgin resident was $16 per month, which is $192 per year.

            Further, IF you watch the council discussions, Councilman Shaw has on multiple occasions branded the revenue diversification program as a way to hide tax increases. And he is the one who in November of 2014 asked City Staff to do a study of the net effect of the tax burden produced as a result of the afore mentioned changes made in December 2011. It was in response to that request that Aaron Cosentino made his December report to the council stating how much the taxes had actually gone up.

            Also, if you watched the council discussions at budget time, Councilman Gavin, Prigge and Shaw grabbed for the only tax relief that they could get out of this council, which was to not increase the trash fee in 2015, and that was their bargain to approve the budget last December.

            They had tried the year before to affect changes of a more significant nature to cut taxes, and had been defeated. When you are on the short end of the 6 to 3 council majority, you can not hope to do much, your hands are tied. That is why there is a concerted effort this time to change the council balance, to provide a different majority that WILL be able to work to reduce taxes, fees and spending.

            Thanks, Chuck

  36. Cruex says:

    Her voting record is the only dirty trick.

  37. Cruex says:

    I am going to do what Mayor Dave Kaptain is telling me to do and vote for him and Rosamaria Martinez. After I do that I will vote for Toby Shaw and two others to replace the two the Mayor is not endorsing in John Steffen and Tish Powell. Thank you Mayor!!

  38. Tim Palmer says:

    Hey I just received a Martinez postcard with Kaptain’s picture on it. Kaptain is endorsing her?? Take THAT Steffen and Powell and Shaw!! You lose!! Dumb and Dumber to the rescue!!

  39. Tim Palmer says:

    Hey lets all be like Kaptain and vote for the hispanics! I will vote for Martinez and Galvan. I wasn’t going to vote for Powell and Steffen anyways but now that I know Kaptain doesn’t like them but likes Martinez then I will vote for some of the new ones instead.

  40. Margaret Miller says:

    Who is Rose Martinez?

    “I don’t know, I really don’t know.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLYDDxryQ9U

    • One Vote says:

      It seems to me that if two people with the same last name gave me $10 grand I would know it.
      And if I’m signing my financial disclosure I would know what I was signing.

      When I got her mailer and read it, I suddenly wanted to vote for the person who wrote her position statement…because it sure wasn’t Rose!

      Galvan and Kaptain are tripping over each other to encourage Hispanic engagement. To me, they are both political hacks who have no use for white people. It may sound like diversity to them, but what I’m hearing is, “Pay your taxes and shut up.”

  41. Chuck Keysor says:

    Hello Margaret. Thanks for posting the link to this short, but very informative video about Rose Martinez.

    The video has Rose talking about her campaign and saying she doesn’t know about her finances. But then the video goes on to show her papers filed with the State showing who is running her campaign finances, and you will be amazed! Then it shows some of Rose’s reported campaign contributions.

    Rather amazing, that even I knew more about Rose’s campaign contributions than she does. Why, I even know more about her campaign finances then her campaign treasurer!

    Thanks again Margaret for providing the link to this video! Chuck

    • RS says:

      So what is the relationship between Ms. Martinez and the Liautauds? I’m assuming those are the parents of Jimmy John. Do they have business pending with the city or do they have a personal relationship with her?

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        RS: Those are important questions, questions to which I have no answers. Does anybody out there know? Chuck

    • Paul Stocksdale says:

      It is interesting. I imagine that donations from Elginites James and Grazina Liautaud are not that out of the ordinary. They do give to a lot to various campaigns, mostly just to Republican campaigns. It might not have anything directly to do with “Jimmy Johns.”

      Not sure why the creepy music is necessary in the video….

      • Paul Stocksdale says:

        Okay…. looking at other disclosures, that amount is a bit out of the ordinary.

      • RS says:

        It would be good if it did! Jimmy John’s is one of the saddest chapters in economic development here. How did we lose this company–once headquartered in Elgin–that has now hit $2B revenue per year?

        But in any case when I asked if the Liautauds had business pending I did mean their own business not that of their son. I don’t know how they are organized but anybody looking to see what’s going on might look into Capsonic and its related companies.

  42. RS says:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150330/news/150339922/

    State Sen. Mike Noland of Elgin has also been mentioned as a potential candidate for the Democratic primary. There’s still months for candidates to either emerge or drop out.

    Duckworth announced her 2016 campaign for Congress via YouTube video Monday, starting what could be one of the toughest campaigns in the country next year in both the primary and November elections.

  43. Cruex says:

    Martinez knows what is in her account and she knows she has been told to shut her mouth if anyone asks her about it. She could not have written a single word on her postcard and if you asked her what is on her postcard she could not tell you. What does our fire department union see in someone who says nothing but votes exactly as Kaptain does?

  44. Cruex says:

    Maybe Martinez has rich friends who feel sorry for her and want to help her. I cannot fault her for that but she could have refused the money or asked for less thinking the appearance may raise suspicion. But we all know Martinez will never be confused with being a thinker. I am more suspicious of the building trades union giving her a thousand dollars and she hasn’t been in office long enough to vote on anything that concerns them. Maybe they are buying loyalty for the future. The same thing goes with the Elgin fire department. Are they buying loyalty for the future from someone who is clueless?

  45. One Vote says:

    Hey, Noland wants to run for congress.
    He sent out a message to his supporters to donate. He wants to be funded by the little guy.
    Obviously he thinks we can’t read disclosure statements. The state democrat party and the unions own him. The question is: Will they finance a run for DC?

  46. RS says:

    Time to close this page and move the discussion over to the April open thread:

    http://elginite.org/blog/2015/04/01/april-open-thread-5/