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April open thread

1 April 2015 Elgin Illinois 148 Comments

Finally a new open thread and it ain’t no April Fools joke!

Keep in mind that Elgin municipal elections are on April 7th. Who are you voting for? Who are you kicking out?

Watch videos of the candidates and discuss it here:

http://elginite.org/blog/2015/03/25/city-council-candidate-forum-videos-octave

What else is happening this month? Keep us posted!

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148 Responses to “April open thread”

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  1. RS says:

    Let’s start it off with discussions on Noland for Congress

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-noland-campaign-st-0401-20150331-story.html

    If Noland does choose to go forward with the campaign, he would have to resign his seat in Illinois 22nd District.

    “I would have to give up the seat to run for Congress. That opens up a whole other set of questions for local officials and prospective candidates,” Noland said. “I am confident there will not be shortage of interested candidates,” he said.

    We can note that Duckworth’s district was redrawn by state Democrats to guarantee a Democratic victory. Whoever wins the democratic nomination is overwhelmingly favored to win in the general election.

    For Noland it’s a pretty decent bet. Krishnamoorthi fared miserably the last time against Duckworth and his name is unpronounceable for most voters which cannot help him at the polls. Unless another strong Democratic candidate emerges, I would have to say the advantage is with Noland.

    However it is worth noting also that Krishnamoorthi will be able to raise money nationally, given his background, and will have the endorsement of the president. I just don’t know if that’s enough to surmount a name that people cannot pronounce.

    In any case I hope Noland enters the race. But I wonder who will be the candidates for the vacated senate seat…

    • RS says:

      If Noland vacates his seat (which everybody should encourage him to do), this could be a good opportunity for Republicans. Maybe Galvan, assuming he loses the mayoral race, should consider running for state senate. I think his prospects are much, much better for that than for the Elgin mayoralty, which he has no chance of winning.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Maybe Dave Kaptain could run for Noland’s old seat. You haven’t been around to feel the pulse of the City RS. This race is hot! Do some door to door work, and hear how many people want to get the last word in on Kaptain, Steffen and Powell for the trash tax, natural gas tax, electrical tax, etc. The frustration is there.

        It was frustration with Ed Schock’s spending that cost Ed the election 4 years ago (I know, I know, your great expose’ work was key, but it was a CLOSE election, and the people I talked to then, no one was complaining about the bad bar deal, they were complaining about the Rec Centre and the $800,000 per year that it was losing.)

        This time it will be the high taxes imposed in December 2011 that will do in Kaptain and Powell for sure, and knock down John Steffen 3 notches. They all voted for the trash fee, natural gas tax, electrical tax, etc, and even tried to bring us a “Rain Tax”…..

        Chuck

      • RS says:

        http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-elgin-mayor-race-st-0408-20150407-story.html

        By 9:30 p.m, with all precincts in both Kane and Cook counties counted, Kaptain tallied almost 70 percent of the vote to Galvan’s 30 percent. Only 9.24 percent of registered voters in Cook and 12.8 percent of Elgin residents registered in Kane voted in the elections.

    • RS says:

      Hell I think Moeller should jump into the congressional race too. That would be fun.

    • RS says:

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/31/1374258/-A-Progressive-Explores-a-Run-for-Congress#

      Greetings Kossacks –

      My name is Mike Noland and I am exploring a run for Congress in Illinois’ 8th District. While I explore this campaign I plan on having hundreds of conversations with voters, activists, organized labor, and progressives like you. I understand that congressional campaigns extend well beyond the borders of their district and I hope that after getting to know me you consider supporting my campaign, even if it is not your own district.

    • RS says:

      http://chicago.suntimes.com/lynn-sweet-politics/7/71/516653/krishnamoorthi-noland-cullerton-looking-duckworth-house-seat

      State Sen. Mike Noland, D-Elgin, is also exploring a House run. “I’m leaning in a little harder every day,” he said.

      Yes, do it. Do it!

  2. RS says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_sharing_system

    Elgin should have some kind of bike sharing program. Either for within the city itself, or in cooperation with the Kane County Forest Preserves. They should have stations along the entire bike trail. They should have one in Elgin and you can grab a bike there and ride down to St. Charles where there would be another station, etc. I think that would make the Fox River Valley more attractive to visitors and residents alike.

    Chuck can pay for it.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      RS, are you baiting me???? I think you could leave a bike on the bike trail downtown, and have it be quickly shared……. but you’d never see it again………. Chuck

  3. RS says:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-ecc-burn-st-0402-20150401-story.html

    Ryan Callahan, the college’s grounds director, said that “the goal is to have a natural prairie appearance. The edges of the property will be maintained by Spartan Drive, McLean Boulevard and along the housing subdivision to the south of the property. These areas will be mowed to a lower length. The center section is being reseeded with a long-stem native grass seed.”

    Glad to hear that they’re doing this. I hope they also consider naturalizing the big pond and the lawn that is now surrounding it.

  4. Chuck Keysor says:

    The value in doing the naturalization, is that it will lower the long-term maintenance costs for that land. Chuck

  5. James Madison says:

    Elgin residents accuse councilwoman of violating election law

    Two Elgin residents are accusing Councilwoman Rose Martinez of violating election law by not reporting campaign contributions in a timely manner.
    Resident Margaret Miller filed a complaint with Illinois State Board of Elections alleging that Martinez failed to report contributions of $1,000 or more within the required five days.

    Martinez, who was appointed to her seat in May, is among 11 candidates vying for four open seats on the Elgin City Council in Tuesday’s election.
    A $1,000 contribution to Martinez’s campaign from the Construction and General Laborers’ District Council of Chicago was dated Jan. 12, and two $5,000 contributions, one by James Liautaud and another Grazina Liautaud, were dated Jan. 28; both were reported Feb. 8, according to the state board of elections website.

    Martinez said her nephew, Miguel Martinez, handles her campaign filings. She said she wasn’t sure if the dates listed for the contributions referred to the checks’ dates or when they were deposited.

    “We’re not experts,” she said. “My nephew graduated college, and I wanted to get him involved in the campaign. It’s good for youth to be involved.”
    Chuck Keysor, chairman of the conservative group Elgin OCTAVE, said he mailed certified copies of Miller’s filing late Wednesday to Martinez and the state board of elections office in Chicago.

    Miller and Keysor said they looked at Martinez’s online campaign disclosure forms after hearing her say on a local radio show that she didn’t know much about her campaign finances.

    “She’s running what appears to be a professional campaign. She has huge yard signs; she’s obviously spending a lot of money, but yet she doesn’t know anything about the funds she has,” Miller said. “She’s not educated as being the treasurer (of Citizens for Rose Martinez).”

    Martinez might get fined if found in violation, Keysor said. He also said he consulted an attorney and an election official, who said a hearing might take place in three to four weeks.
    “Obviously we wanted her to lose votes, but the point is not to smear her or attack her,” Keysor said. “Part of being qualified for a responsible position is that you can follow the rules and know what is required to run for office.”

    Martinez said she’s just running “an honest campaign.”

    “(Keysor) is going to do what he’s doing to do. He’s admitted what his motives were,” Martinez said. “I’m just running my campaign. I’m not bad-mouthing anybody.”

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150401/news/150409814/

    Elgin councilwoman: No violation, only clerical mistake

    An Elgin councilwoman says bank receipts prove she didn’t violate election law as claimed by two residents earlier this week.

    The receipts show checks for two $5,000 contributions and one $1,000 contribution made to Rose Martinez’s campaign were cashed Feb. 4. The contributions were reported Feb. 8 — or within the required five days — according to the state of board of elections website.

    Miguel Martinez, who handles campaign disclosure filings, said he made a clerical mistake when he reported the contributions, marking the date the checks were written rather than the date they were cashed. That’s why the state board of elections website shows the contributions as dated Jan. 12 and Jan. 28, he said.

    Two Elgin residents, Margaret Miller and Chuck Keysor, made the accusations against Rose Martinez on Wednesday. Miller said she notified Rose Martinez and the Illinois State Board of Elections’ Chicago office via certified letter.

    “It’s obvious what Mr. Keysor and his group is trying to do,” Rose Martinez said. “They’re just trying to slander me. He himself admitted (to the Daily Herald) he wanted to take votes from me.”

    Miller did not return a request for comment. Keysor, the chairman of the conservative group Elgin OCTAVE, said he doesn’t regret raising the issue, even if it was a clerical mistake. “All we go could off and all anybody could go off — is what was reported (on the state board of elections website),” he said.

    Andy Nauman, deputy director of the state election board’s campaign disclosure division in Chicago, said Miller’s letter had not been received as of Friday morning. Candidates’ campaign statements cannot be amended, but candidates can send a letter to clarify such issues, Nauman said. Miguel Martinez said he’s planning to do that.

    Martinez, who was appointed to her seat in May, is among 11 candidates vying for four open seats on the Elgin City Council in Tuesday’s election.

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150403/news/150409475/

    Chuck Keysor, I know you like to ally yourself as a fellow “king maker” with Sir John of Prickly but you threw mud in the wrong place without any justification. A public apology is the minimum required and the right thing is to make a personal donation to the Martinez campaign. (And then see if it is reported in a timely manner.)MM has zero decency so I know she will not acknowledge her part in this disgusting charade orchestrated by Prince Prickly.

    • One Vote says:

      Seriously Chuck, how DARE you question the paperwork?
      They don’t need no stinkin’ badges!
      I’ll bet you and Margaret snuck into her office and changed the dates on her disclosure form. Martinez had plenty of cash in the war chest. It’s obvious they would hold $10 grand in checks for three weeks before depositing them. That’s just walkin’ around money. Hardly worth noticing.
      You and Margaret should be ashamed of yourselves.
      [sarc off]

      • Margaret Miller says:

        One Vote:

        Thank you for your support. You have a person, appointed and confirmed by the progressive liberal left majority to the City Council. She was their “shoe in” before the vote was even taken. Ignorant of city government and easily manipulated, she fit the liberals ideal of a diversified model of representative government that left her qualifications highly in question along with their judgement for seating her.

        In her ten months on the Council, what has she done? What initiatives has she brought forward? Nothing that I can recall but she sure votes directly down the progressive liberal party line as hoped, guaranteed and predicted by the left who appointed her.

        Ms. Martinez’s performances at forums can only be described as ill informed of the issues, void of ideas and solutions and several questions answered with “I don’t know” answers. “Ouch”.

        Let’s be clear, I am no,t nor ever have been a member of Elgin OCTAVE nor a member of any Tea Party organization. I certainly cannot be called a racist as I am supporting Joe Galvan of Mayor. But I guess that doesn’t matter because I am a Conservative who follows the rules and thinks everyone should who’s looking for serve in an official elected capacity.

        Now we’re in an election cycle and the Conservatives have a chance to take over the liberal majority. Election laws are in place for a reason. The other ten candidates were able to follow the rules. Should a pass be offered to the one who didn’t and is vying for the same position? I don’t think so. Part of being a good leader is making sure that your subordinates follow the regulations because ultimately its the candidate’s responsibility for any errors and mis-steps of their campaign. Ms. Martinez has not taken responsibility (The buck stops here.) for her filing errors. If any one owes someone an apology, it would Ms. Martinez to her nephew for not keeping on top of her own war chest and his filings in my opinion.

        Keep in mind that my facts of her filling was a breach of election regulations as the posting reflected. That error was apparently corrected on Friday afternoon right in time for the next newspaper article. It would NOT have been corrected if there was nothing to correct.

        Hardly worth noticing! Not unless the left were the ones to have found errors on their Right opponents filings and did the same thing.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      James, as One Vote pointed out, Rose is responsible for the filing of her papers. Her documents were filled out incorrectly. The campaign official at the State Board of Elections verified for me on the phone, before Margaret filed the complaint, that Rose’s filings indicated a violation of campaign law. And both Margaret and I consulted an attorney before the State Board of Elections was contacted. Due diligence was done at our end. It is not Margaret’s fault or my fault that Rose’s campaign documents were incorrectly filed.

      If any apologies are required, they would from Rose to her supporters for having messed up, and increasing their chances of having wasted their campaign donations.

      But the real issue here is Rose’s basic competence to serve on the council. During council sessions, her input has been minimal, but not alarming.

      However, dealing with Rose in advance of our 1/17/15 candidate forum in two conversations (one in person and one on the phone)I sensed a disturbing nature, one of remote disconnectedness. But her performance at the League of Women Voters and at the Eagle Heights forums was distressingly, painfully demonstrative of someone who just doesn’t posses the prowess required to function at a level with her peers on the council. Even people in her camp were highly distressed at her “clueless” performance.

      So take that as a lead-up to Rose’s statements on WRMN about not knowing anything connected to her finances, and what types of donations she had gotten…. Where if you will recall, information about her donations had even been posted here on the Elginite. Why even I knew more about Rose’s campaign finances then she claimed to know. How could it be possible that Rose, or anyone, could be that “clueless”?

      So looking at her campaign finance report, and seeing errors just adds further confirmation to Rose’s lack of ability. With all the money at her disposal, she could have afforded to have hired someone to do this work. Or with all of the help she is getting from the unions, she could have asked for someone qualified, with lots of experience, to volunteer to do her financial reporting. Or with her backing from the Mayor, Rose could have asked for his guidance on how to avoid messing up her campaign reporting. Her failure to do any of these things, again just shines more light that should make anyone question her ability to serve with distinction on this council.

      With this understanding of Rose, it is clear why the left would want her on the council, because she will not do her own thinking. She will simply do as she is told.

      This episode should be positively received by the voters because it gives a last minute chance to see how unfit Rose to serve on the council in any role other than as a rubber stamp for her Union backers and their associated leftist allies.

      Chuck

      • RS says:

        It seems to me that you guys lost an opportunity to talk about what really matters. Instead of making the story about the fact that she’s getting $5,000 checks, which as far as I know has never happened in an Elgin municipal election, you guys decided to make the story about a filing that was a day or two late, which nobody cares about. So the story ran as a couple of locos complaining about a filing that was a day late instead of being look, this was filed late but what’s more interesting is why is she getting $5,000 checks in the first place? Who are these people? Why are they funding her campaign? None of that mentioned at all in either story. You blew it. You can clean out your desks on Tuesday. Hasta la vista, baby.

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          RS, the story wasn’t about filing a day or two late. By the papers as she filed them, she filed the first donation 18 days after getting it, when the law only allows 5 days. You have missed the bigger point entirely. The issue is one of competence, which is why I carefully laid out the trail of rising doubts.

          And one opposition candidate did file one day late, and we didn’t bring that up, as one day late is not an issue.

          That Rose is getting all that money is of itself not an issue to me. If Tish Powell, John Steffen, Dave Kaptain, Joe Galvan, or Toby Shaw, or anyone else got a $5000 donation, I wouldn’t say a word, because that is not an issue to me. Modern politics usually involves money. Postage isn’t free.

          Again the issue with Rose is one of competence. You have never talked to Rose, and you have never seen her in a forum. If you would have, you wouldn’t have been so blithely dismissive of our point.

          We are right on with this issue, Chuck

          • RS says:

            The impression I got was that it was a day late, and that’s going to be the public impression in general. People don’t pay attention to exactly how many dates you’re talking about. It’s just nitpicking that nobody cares about. If the point of the story was to highlight incompetence it was not successful. I just did not get that impression at all from reading the stories that she’s incompetent. The impression I got was two people making a big deal out of a filing that was a little late. You may have even done her a favor by giving her more name recognition.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            RS…. If you got the impression the stories said the filings were a day late, you didn’t read the articles. Why do you have such strong opinions when it is clear you didn’t read the articles. You are clearly responding with other motives in mind, and not responding to the articles. Maybe you are favorably predisposed to Rose for other reasons and are simply “spinning” in her defense.

            Again, if you would have seen her at the forums, you would not be defending her based upon her own merits.

            Chuck

          • Paul says:

            I agree with RS. The question of the two checks for $5000 concerned me way more than a late filing (which in the end wasn’t late and was within the five days).

            So, are there limits to individuals contributions to local/state elections? I guess the $2,600 individual limit must only apply to federal offices.

            Although you might not care, I do wonder why the Liautaud’s gave $10,000 to Martinez.

        • LFG says:

          In 2011 Mayor Schock got 2 checks for $5,000 each - one from Fresh Market West Side, the other from Fresh Market East Side… coincidentally, both groceries were scheduled to go in front of the liquor commission to request selling Beer/Wine in their store in the May 2011 council meeting. At that time only the Mayor and one other council member (Gilliam) sat on the liquor commission… a little dirty or curious anyone? This is a prime reason why Mayor Kaptain championed to have ALL council members on the liquor commission once he took office, for transparency.

          • RS says:

            I don’t want any misinformation here so I’m going to have to correct you.

            His largest individual check was for $2,500. However, donors listed as Elgin Fruit Market #1 and Elgin Fruit Market #2 each gave $1,500, bringing the total from those stores to $3,000.

  6. RS says:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-day-school-st-0405-20150403-story.html

    Officials from Elgin and the Forest Preserve District of Kane County are set to meet April 15 for a preliminary discussion about a potential deal that would have the district getting the city’s portion of what was the Fox River Country Day School, adding that parcel to what the district already acquired of that property in 2013…

    Last August, the city moved police ROPE (Resident Officer Program of Elgin) officer Greg Lynch and his dog into what was the headmaster’s home on the campus.

    Friday, City Manager Sean Stegall said he’s in the process of reviewing the two proposals for a final time and is seeking further information from both parties. He hopes to have something before the City Council to discuss in late May or early June regarding taking either of the offers, moving ahead with discussions with the forest preserve district or other options.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Great, as long as all of the options are for the City to unload this property! Chuck

  7. Cruex says:

    Ok everybody quit beating up on the union puppet. Who cares about getting $10K from one family? What I care more about is the fire fighters and construction unions supporting someone who does nothing and knows nothing and says nothing for 10 months. The unions saw her staring into space and heard her reading her prewritten answers even if they were for the wrong question at forums. She will not challenge what the union crews say which means fresh meat for the union. Let’s thank Kaptain, Steffen, Dunne, Rauschenberger, Powell for bringing the puppet to the council!!!!!!

    I wonder if the same unions have given money to Powell and Steffen. What better lackey to latch onto? She has made a life out of taking orders from the government starting with the Army, then onto the postal service, then onto the u-46 transportation dept., and now taking orders on the city council.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Good post Cruex. Interesting point on Rose always being in a position of having to follow orders……… Thanks, Chuck

  8. Zreebs says:

    I struggled on who to vote for in this election, and I still might change my mind. I am neither a progressive, nor a conservative on local issues. This year I’m inclined to vote for candidates who are intelligent, rather than ideological. I don’t really agree with the crowd whose only goal is to make Elgin a low tax city. Low taxes are nice of course, but no one with money chooses a city to live in solely because it has low taxes. Focusing solely on low taxes will just make Elgin the preferred choice for low income residents - and that is ultimately in nobody’s long term interest. At the same time, we do need to make sure that we get good value out of spending, and certainly we haven’t always done that. So I am looking for a good balance - whatever that is, and hoping that if we elect intelligent people, we would be more inclined to achieve that balance. I think there are 3 inumbents that I don’t plan to vote for, and I still haven’t decided about mayor, but I am probably leaning towards Kaptain. I am genuinely open to changing my mind, and would be interested in hearing what others think.

  9. RS says:

    Nice little article on suburban hens

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150405/news/150409319/

    She launched her Urban Chicken Rentals business to make it easier for suburbanites to get the experience (and the fresh eggs) without having to make a commitment. Starting at about $110 a month, a customer can rent a specially designed, portable chicken coop, a couple of egg-laying hens, feed and other supplies.

    It would be cool if the mayor as an environmentalist would take part in this movement. John Prigge too.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Well of course before someone could rent $110/month chickens, they’d have to get a $65 permit/inspection from the City, which would make those little Easter eggs REALLY expensive. Chuck

  10. Joe doesn’t live in the 22nd. He lives in the 33rd.

    • RS says:

      dangit. what now?

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Thanks Allen.

      Does Dave Kaptain live in the 22nd? If so, RS has his man, and he can vote for Joe Galvan for Mayor, so that Dave Kaptain can be freed to run for State Senate.

      If Dave Kaptain isn’t in the 22nd district, how about John Steffen, Tish Powell and Rose Martinez?

      Thanks, Chuck

  11. Voter Integrity says:

    Once all this mud slinging and other personal disparagement ceases we still are faced with a persons integrity. How many elected officials have violated the public’s trust? So, on this day before the Consolidate Election, one only needs to look at the State Board of Elections web site to see who appears to be in compliance and who may not be in compliance. Unfortunately, yet another candidate may not be: Jason Dusenberry. His D-1 statement was just filed on 3/27/2015. There have been no reports filed for contributions, either self-contributed nor from others. Yet we see what must be large expenditures for large and small signs, multiple mass mailings and robo-calls. One must ask, where is this money coming from and why has nothing been reported to date? Other candidates, particularly those who are self funding have made reports: Shaw, Galvan, Kaptain and others. Election law is clear about thresholds where reports must be filed in a timely manor. (See below from State) So again we ask: Where is the funding coming for Mr. Dusenberry and why has nothing been reported to date?

    http://elections.il.gov/CampaignDisclosure/CDPdfViewer.aspx?FiledDocID=567950&DocType=Image

    The Illinois Campaign Disclosure Act applies to candidates, individuals, groups of persons or any organizations, political or otherwise, who: (1) have accepted contributions or made expenditures or independent expenditures in excess of $5,000 within a 12-month period in support of or in opposition to a candidate or candidates for public office, or any question of public policy to be submitted to voters; (2) have received or made expenditures in excess of $5,000 within a 12-month period for electioneering communication – defined essentially as any broadcast, cable or satellite communication, including radio, TV or internet communications, that makes an appeal to vote for or against a clearly identified candidate, political party, or question of public policy made within the 60 days before a general or consolidated election or 30 days before a primary election (this does not apply to communications exclusively between a labor union or a Section 501(c)(3) or Section 501(c)(6) organization and its members); or (3) have made independent expenditures in excess of $5,000 within a 12-month period. Independent expenditures are defined essentially as any payment or expenditure made for electioneering communications or expressly advocating for or against a candidate, provided the spending is not made in coordination with a candidate or their committee.
    A contribution is cash, loans or anything of value received in connection with an election or for political purposes. Goods or services provided to the campaign or purchased on behalf of the campaign must be reported as in-kind contributions. Procedures for disclosing such contributions will be discussed later in this booklet. A candidate’s personal contributions or loans to his campaign must also be disclosed and considered when determining if or when the threshold has been reached. Once the $5,000 threshold has been reached, the Act requires that the committee file campaign disclosure documents with the State Board of Elections.
    An individual who makes independent expenditures supporting or opposing a particular candidate does not qualify as a committee, but is required to file a special written disclosure with the Board if the independent expenditures total more than $3,000 in a 12-month period. This disclosure must be filed within 2 business days of exceeding the $3,000 threshold and must identify: the person making the independent expenditures as well as their employer and occupation, the public official or candidate supported or opposed, and the date(s), amount(s) and nature of each independent expenditure. Once the threshold is reached, the individual is required to report further expenditures in relation to the same election in $1,000 increments until the conclusion of the election.

  12. Cruex says:

    After the election who will be the first loser to claim racism made them lose the election? I say Martinez 1st then Powell 2nd.

  13. James Madison says:

    Awfully quiet on this board tonight boys (and MM)…some serious shoe leather eating to follow with a healthy helping of humble pie for dessert…

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      I’m not sure about shoe leather, but I am up for an order of crow. It was a route. The voters have asked for more government and higher taxes and that is what we will all get. Chuck

  14. Paul Stocksdale says:

    City Council Winners

    Tish Powell (4,061)
    F. John Steffen (3,866)
    Rose Martinez (3,221)
    Toby Shaw (2,802)

    Mayor

    David Kaptain (4,785)
    Joseph Galvan (2,078)

    • Zreebs says:

      I was a little surprised that the Kaptain-Galvan race wasn’t closer, and that Powell, Steffen and Martinez all finished as strongly as they did. In the past, incumbents often struggled.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Zreebs, the answer is easy, UNIONS. They hate Governor Rauner, and the best way for the local unions to protect themselves and not be hurt by the inevitable cuts made by the State, will be to have a union controlled council.

        When THIS council has to deal with a cut from the State, they won’t do anything to rock their Union backers. They will simply pass tax increases, and say, “Sorry, but look what that mean Republican governor made us do”. All while the unions are protected and laughing with glee.

        So of course the Unions knew they had to attack this Elgin election for all that they were worth. And that is what they did. The results speak for themselves.

        Chuck

        • Paul says:

          I know a lot of people who voted for Powell, Steffen and Martinez. And not one of those voters is in or associated with a union.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Saying Unions does not mean the voters were in the unions, come on! The Unions knock on the doors of likely Democratic voters, and pay to send campaign literature to likely Democratic voters, and have phone banks to call likely Democratic voters. The Unions with their money and volunteers push the buttons. That is politics 101. Chuck

        • Zreebs says:

          Chuck. I don’t think I have bought into your suggestion that unions are the driver of Democratic politics, although I’ll concede that unions do fund the Democratic Party in some elections. Many years ago I was the campaign chairman for the Democratic Party in a small New Jersey city. During my stint as Chairman, I was not aware of ANY Union involement for my candidates.

          Personally, I am not a supporter of unions. I think the declining Union membership countrywide is a good thing for this country. While I can understand the argument that nonunion members shouldn’t have to contribute to a union, why can’t the same argument be made on the corporate side. I own stock in companies that fund the GOP. Why not let that funding come solely from those stockholders who support the GOP?

          I haven’t looked at the funding for Elgin candidates, so I don’t have an opinion on how much of their funding came from unions. I would have guessed that most of the local funding and campaigning came from their own family and close friends and their own pockets. Maybe I’m wrong?

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Zreebs, thanks for the commentary. My observation on the connection between the Democratic Party and the Unions was quite specific to THIS election. IF the Unions are going to engage in an election cycle, they will primarily work the field of Democratic voters, as that is their most likely base of support.

            Are the Democrats involved in every election? Probably not, and that is why you didn’t see them in your political role in NJ. But if for example their been some right to work issue in your time in NJ, you would have seen the Unions come out.

            I will ask you to consider that 2 years ago, Mayor Dave Kaptain endorsed his neighbor, who is a pleasant and competent individual, for City Council. That person came in LAST place in the 2013 City Council election.

            Now, this time, Mayor Dave Kaptain endorses one candidate, Rose Martinez. She is also a nice person, as was the Mayor’s neighbor. But Rose is simply of the lowest caliber of any council candidate I have ever seen, based upon her two candidate forum appearances, and her 10 months so far on the council. Yet, she was endorsed by the Unions, and she beat EVERY non-union backed candidate.

            Dave Kaptain’s endorsement power did clearly not multiply by a factor of 1000 in 2 years, and Rose was a terrible candidate. Her name plate on the council should say “Union Made”.

            And as a great indicator that that there was Union interest in this election, think of the hundreds of Union protesters who showed up to protest Governor Rauner when he spoke in Elgin on 3/6/15. That anger and energy didn’t just evaporate when the Governor pulled out of town. As the Union Firefighters how they have been spending their free time in the last few months.

            As to the union funding, we will have to wait to see the D-1 reports. But even that is hard to tell. The couple who gave Rose $10,000, were they asked by a union to make this donation? (If I were a rich man, why would I pick out a totally unknown person to give $10,000 to? How can that just happen?)

            Oh well, thanks, Chuck

          • Paul says:

            Are you saying the owners of Capsonic and Gabriel inc. and the parents of the CEO of Jimmy Johns are in the pocket of big labor?

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            I didn’t say these folks are in the Union’s pocket. I did say when donations come from someone other than directly from a Union, it is hard to trace. That is why it is done that way. Chuck

          • RS says:

            Well the time to discuss the $5,000 checks was before the election. It would have been nice to hear Ms. Martinez’s explanation for it. Never before in the history of an Elgin election has anybody written a $5000 check for somebody else’s election. Here we have a couple of people–the same household–contributing $10,000. What’s the story behind that? It could be fascinating if there’s some kind of human interest story there. The newspaper reporters should have been intrigued. Do these multimillionaire parents of the sandwich billionaire travel in the same social circle as a U-46 bus driver? Would have been a good read.

            Instead we were regaled with the tale of a day-late paperwork filing…

          • RS says:

            Or even the unusual level of union support for this candidate would have been good to read about before the election. Instead it was all just about paperwork filed a little late.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            RS, wouldn’t those all be interesting questions to investigate concerning Rose’s donations? I will invite you do engage in that investigation when you have the time.

  15. 2030 says:

    Maybe it also shows that your assumptions about what voters “want” don’t exactly jive with reality, Chuck.

  16. UTBOOT says:

    Interesting that with all the “support” from Chuck Keysor and his legion of Octave members that incumbent council members were overwhelmingly re-elected and in Martinez case elected to terms on the council. Historically, Keysor and his alphabet soup of special interest groups, (ie, AFLA and OCTAVE) have had no success in backing candidates for office. They might cite Terry Gavin, John Prigge and Toby Shaw as “victories”, but these individuals had name recognition and support from the community before their “affiliation” with Keysor. I wonder if we will now see the demise of OCTAVE and the formation of a new group by Keysor. He could call it RWWJAE&E (Right Wing Wack Jobs Against Everything and Everyone). Some advise to candidates thinking about the 2017 municipal elections. If you want to win, please beg Chuck Keysor to campaign against you since history has proven that when you are opposed by Keysor and his minions, victory is the result. The exact opposite is true for those supported by Keysor and his “organizations”.

    • Conservative says:

      UTBOOT has hit the nail on the head. The move away from OCTAVE has already begun.

  17. Paul Stocksdale says:

    UTBOOT:
    I don’t think that is a fair characterization. I don’t agree with Chuck on some things, but I think he has brought up some important issues.

    Issues like the tax diversification with the increase of user fees. I think the user fee increase is a legitimate concern mostly because it is a regressive tax hitting poor homeowners the most.

    When organizations like OCTAVE mix that issue with tea party rhetoric and mischaracterize City Council members as tax and spend liberals, they lose me. The City Council and Mayor are if anything pragmatic conservatives and overall have the best interest for our town. We should be able to have reasonable discussions on many of these issues without it becoming a pretend liberal/conservative fight.

    • UTBOOT says:

      My point exactly, Chuck, OCTAVE and that ilk, do nothing to further the discussion of local issues in a rational manner. One need only look at the candidate questions developed by Keysor to see that he and his group aren’t seeking solutions, but rather seeking ideological purity from those they agree with and demonizing those they oppose.It should also be noted that Octave has “recruited” candidates to run for council who are completely unqualified and have little to no knowledge of the working of city government. Gone are the days when candidates for council had experience serving on city boards and commissions prior to running and had some knowledge in the responsibilities and operations of city government. It is truly sad that the election of council members has taken on the tone exhibited in the latest election. You dont have to go back to many years to see that candidates and groups that opposed each other did so in a non-derogatory way, and in some cases candidates who opposed each other were both civil and friendly. Keysor and his “multitudes” have been instrumental in bringing the election process down to its lowest level.

    • RS says:

      I agree with Paul that OCTAVE has an important role to play in bringing information to voters. At the end of the day voters decide based on what they know, and it’s important that they have all the facts they need to make their decision.

      I would not have voted for a lot of the candidates supported by OCTAVE myself but I think Chuck and OCTAVE have rendered invaluable service in highlighting various taxing/spending decisions in the past few years.

  18. RS says:

    Congratulations to the mayor and all the city council winners.

    It’s also worth looking beyond the city council elections:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-u46-board-race-st-0408-20150407-story.html

    The Elgin School District U46 Board will be split 4-3 after Tuesday’s election elected three candidates who have been highly critical of how things have been going in the district and two candidates who support the status quo.

    With all 137 precincts counted in three counties, the top vote-getters for four four-year board seats unofficially were incumbent Traci O’Neal Ellis, with 15 percent of the vote, followed by pro-status-quo challenger Sue Kerr with 14.7 percent, anti-tax candidate Jeanine Ward with 14.4 percent and challenger Phil Costello with 14.3 percent.

    For the lone two-year seat that was open, Republican activist Cody Holt ran well ahead of teacher Kai Rush, with 55 versus 45 percent of the votes.

    Also seeking the four-year seats, challenger Ed Novak garnered 13.9 percent of the vote, challenger Larry Bury obtained 12.8 percent, incumbent Jennifer Shroder 9.1 percent and challenger Arisleyda Taylor 8.7 percent, according to unofficial returns.

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150407/news/150408923/

    Incumbent Donna Redmer and challenger Jeffrey Meyer were elected to 6-year terms on the Elgin Community College board Tuesday.

    Glad to see Jeff Meyer on the ECC board. We don’t want to hear anymore about scandalous compensation packages for ECC President David Sam.

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20100414/news/304149465/

    Sam’s total compensation this year is more than $270,000. Sam receives a $18,500 annual housing allowance and $10,000 annual annuity; a $500 monthly car allowance for business and personal use; and a $1,000 monthly stipend for business expenses. The college provides Sam with a college-owned computer and printer for his home office and a cell phone.

    I hope Jeff Meyer can put an end to this nonsense.

  19. SIE says:

    Those on the losing end of 4-3 votes at U-46 and 6-3 in Elgin do nothing but waate time and resources. The majority still rules.

    No way will Prigge, Gavin and Shaw be able to accomplish anything except use up council meeting time. They won’t sway any of the majorities vote. Maybe they’ll get something tabled, sent back to the City Manager etc. but that does nothing but cost the city more money. Some will say they need to continue fighting for this or that but I say it is a waste of everyone’s time. They should just shut up and vote no. But they won’t, at least two of the three. Prigge Gavin like nothing more than to hear themselves speak.

  20. Cruex says:

    Let’s have Martinez do all the public speaking for the council from now on. She earned it!

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      She knows better than to say anything, except to vote with the majority. Chuck

      • Jimmy McGill says:

        You have four years to listen to her Chuck!

        • Chuck Keysor says:

          It won’t be hard to listen to her for four years, as she won’t say much. Why would she?

          Rose is by nature a quiet person. She provided no insights at the two forums she participated in. She embarrassed her supporters by her bewilderment and inability to answer even simple questions. She just has to vote with the mayor and that is it. Chuck

          • Jimmy McGill says:

            I’m surprised you’d b ad mouth a veteran.

          • paul says:

            “I’m surprised you’d b ad mouth a veteran.”

            Veteran U46 school bus drivers are above criticism in your world!

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Jimmy: Since when is being a veteran the same as being a saint? I vote for candidates based upon where they stand on the issues, which indicates to me how they will vote.

            How does being a veteran figure into this calculation? It doesn’t.

            If there were two candidates that I felt were politically correct choices, and one was a veteran, and the other wasn’t, I’d almost certainly choose the veteran.

            Chuck

          • Jimmy McGill says:

            Chuck, You are blessed with a lack of self awareness.

          • RS says:

            Jimmy McGill, if the quality of your comments do not improve you will be banned.

          • Jimmy McGill says:

            RS, Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Make no mistake, this election was a reputation of Chuck & OCTAVE.

    • still concerned says:

      Make no mistake…negative campaigning certainly did not pay off and having some candidates having been endorsed by the one-term extreme politician Joe Walsh added to the negativity!

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Gee, there were some candidates like Fred Moulton who ran a clean campaign, and who were not endorsed by Joe Walsh….. How does that play into your narrative?

        Had Fred run the same campaign, AND been endorsed by the Union, he would have bumped off Toby Shaw. If the Union endorsement of Rose could put her above Toby Shaw, they could have gotten anyone they wanted on the council. I’ll bet that is the only regret the Union/democratic combine have about this election, is that they didn’t add a fourth slot to their council slate.

        My advice to Fred, get endorsed by the unions 2 years from now, and you will get on the council. It is now as simple as that. You can thank me for the free advice when you get their endorsement next time around. Chuck

        • Conservative says:

          Same for Kyle Scifert as well. He had no endorsement from OCTAVE or any other group and he lost.

          • J.D. says:

            Fred & Kyle should run in 2017. They will get the ABP & ABG voters.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            JD: Who are the “ABP and ABG” voters? I have no clue what you mean. Thanks,Chuck

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            UTBoot……. Look, you have to ask who was fired up in an election, because it is the fired up side that gets out its base.

            Two years ago, we were able to fire up our base because of the Rain Tax. Our base turned out to vote and won. That is undeniable.

            This time, the Unions were fired up (*). And so they were able to turn out their base. They won.

            We were not able to fire up our side, and our base stayed home. We lost.

            I never said the unions were not involved in previous elections.

            *As attested to by unions picketing Governor Rauner, and the conservative vs liberal tenor of this council/mayoral race which extended the union passion from the governor’s level down to the council level.

            Chuck

          • Zreebs says:

            I assume that ABP. and ABG stands for “Anybody but Prigge” and “Anybody but Gavin”?

            Chuck, I really don’t buy this unions fired-up argument. We didn’t elect state reps and state senators. Unions are understandably concerned about Rauner. I say “understandably” because Rauner’s “State of the State” speech was full of anti-Union rhetoric - even though I agreed with much of it, so of course unions will be fired up about Rauner. But that only means unions would save their money for the state senate and state house races. Why waste money on a city council race? The conservatives lost for other reasons than Union anger.

            With that said, has the Elgin city council irritated or pleased the unions in recent years? I cannot recall, but you follow local elections closer than I do.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Hello Zreebs. I see you are up late, hopefully not doing your taxes……..

            Duh, I went through many combinations, and didn’t catch the ABP/G,,,, thanks.

            As to the Unions and their role in Elgin’s municipal elections: You are agreeing that they are fired up against Rauner, so we at least have a common starting point.

            The next point you need to be aware of in Elgin’s politics, is that Elgin’s Responsible Bidder Ordinance (RBO for short)was starting to become an issue starting last fall. This is very much a Union issue.

            Councilman Gavin brought the RBO up to the council as matter that needed investigation as he said it’s current requirement that any contracts for construction, repairs, installations (carpet, etc., any areas where Unions may be involved)that was $50,000 or more, can only be awarded to Union shops. Gavin said that it is reasonable to expect the City could save significant amounts of money if non-union shops could bid on larger jobs. (The $50,000 limit was imposed by the council in 2011.)

            Gavin simply asked for a study of the cost to the City for having this $50K Union lock, and instead of asking for a study, the council voted in another classic 6-3 vote to table/terminate the discussion. IE, we aren’t going to even investigate what the Union $50K monopoly is going to cost.

            On December 17th at the committee of the whole, the City Manager said it was hard to put a figure on what the RBO cost, and he explained why it would be hard to come up with a figure. But he did say that could assure everyone that it was a very significant amount, quite easily one million dollars per year.

            The next day, I went to take careful notes on this matter from the City’s video, and found that the video was gone. I called the City Clerk’s office right away, and they said there was a problem, and that video doesn’t exist (the only one I know of to disappear in my years of looking at these things….). The RBO WAS going to become a campaign issue (which is why the video evaporating was a real blow), as it was a clear split between the liberals and the conservatives, and it pointed out how the liberals in their support of the unions are willing to cost the taxpayers more money.

            However, in January 2015, the council, sensing an election issue brewing like the “Rain Tax”, voted to remove the RBO study from the table, and to ask City Staff to investigate. And, of course, the study was not going to be done until after the election, so the classic dodge of “Oh, we can’t comment on that until after the election, I mean after the study is done” had been put in place.

            The Elgin OCTAVE’s candidate questionnaire’s first question, was about the RBO, but the liberal incumbents refused to answer the questionnaire. The first question at the OCTAVE candidate forum was about the RBO, and the incumbents by and large dodged it (Tish even pointed out how she voted to remove this from the table in January.)

            In early March, there was a “meet and greet the candidates” spaghetti dinner at the American Legion hall. As soon as I walked in the door, I was greeted by an energetic and cheerful man named Marty (I forgot his last name, but I am told he is well known in Elgin), who is a local union official. Though I didn’t know him, he clearly knew who I was, and he told me how happy he was to meet me, and he said specifically that he wanted to talk to me about the RBO. He spent about 5 minutes explaining why the RBO is good for Elgin and the Unions. And he told me that he and his Union (I don’t recall which one, I don’t follow unions) were supporting all of the candidates who support the RBO. And I asked him who those people would be, and he said Kaptain, Steffen, Powell and Martinez. And he even pointed at a printed document with their names. So I asked him, “Look, if you are supporting these people, because they support the RBO, why don’t you make them announce that they support the RBO and the Unions? Wouldn’t that be fair, you say, I’ll give you my money and support, and you tell the voters you support the RBO and the unions. I proceeded to tell him that at our January forum, his candidates either obscured or minimized their support for the RBO. He politely and cheerfully told me that just isn’t how it worked. I told him with polite frustration, that our group tries to get things in black and white as to where the candidates stand on fiscal matters, and when they want to be cagey, and not take a stand, it is very disappointing and is a disservice to the voters. I said the voters need to know who they are voting for, from the mouths of the candidates.

            So the RBO is a local issue of concern to the unions. But that is not the only reason the unions are interested in the council. If you were a union, looking for union work for your union local, would you want a conservative council that says, “Sorry, we can’t afford to build the riverside drive, we can’t afford to build Artspace, we can’t afford to cover the downtown with millions of dollars worth of bricks and related decorations” or would you rather have a liberal council that says “spend baby spend?”

            Lastly, the Unions, and both political parties know that City Council’s are the farm leagues for politics. Just like Ruth Munson and later Anna Moeller were plucked from the council for higher office, and even councilmen moving up to be mayor, that filling the council with their people will up their chances of finding future supporters in higher office. If a union helped out at the start of someone’s career in elected office, that can’t be bad.

            So I do believe the Unions are interested in little old Elgin’s council and mayoral elections. And the Union’s intense disapproval of Governor Rauner would naturally spill over to anyone who agrees with the Governor and the principals he espouses.

            Chuck

          • RS says:

            Here’s an interesting thread on Capitol Fax related to what Chuck was talking about in his previous comment:

            http://capitolfax.com/2015/04/14/unions-try-to-keep-up-with-rauners-local-push/#comments

            More about the Rauner RTW:

            http://capitolfax.com/2015/03/31/oswego-will-discuss-rauner-right-to-work-proposal-tonight/

            http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-oswego-rauner-st-0402-20150401-story.html

            Rauner’s office has asked cities and villages across the state to support his initiatives aimed to “get the house in order” by changing how Illinois does business. One of the changes Rauner wants involves letting local communities enact “right-to-work” zones, which would allow voters to decide whether or not employees should be forced to join a union as a condition of employment.

            Organized labor unions packed Oswego Village Hall Tuesday night, with many union members urging the Village Board to reject the resolution.

            I’m guessing an RTW resolution in Elgin is a non-starter.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            RS: Thanks for the very interesting links, which clearly show the Union’s interest down to the lowest local level. The Union discussion in one link was even talking about recent actions in East Dundee to create Right to Work zone.

            People saying the Unions are a boggy man, fictional scape goat of the right for loosing the council election are being too quick and shallow in their analysis.

            While I am not saying that the unions were 100% of the controlling factor for the results of this election, I am saying that they were very significant.

            Thanks again RS for the very informative links, Chuck

          • Zreebs says:

            Thanks Chuck - I forgot about RBO. Yes it was a major campaign issue that was supported by the unions. Good post.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Thank you Zreebs.

            Earlier today I responded to a FB post that was critical of me and of OCTAVE. It was so silly, and unreasoned, I flat out posted on that site, that if they want to talk to me, they can come to the Elginite.

            I hate Facebook, where you can’t even make paragraphs, unless you compose outside of Facebook and then paste into FB. So discussions seem to universally become shallow.

            The Elginite does offer room to be expansive, and even if I write something long, it is reasonable that someone will read it, and possibly respond. And I appreciate that.

            So thank you for your patiently engaging me, and thanks to RS for hosting this site. Chuck

        • UTBOOT says:

          Chuck, to attribute your endorsed candidates overwhelming defeat to union activity, exhibits a complete lack of understanding of the political process in Elgin . One only needs to look at past elections to see that union participation, be it fire, police, SEIU or the trades, does not have a significant impact on the outcomes.Look at Juan Figueroa, John Walters, Bob Gilliam, Brenda Rodgers and Tom Sandor to illustrate that union support does not equate to election or re-election. Unlike when the city required residency, fewer fire, police and public works personnel live and vote in Elgin. Instead of blaming outside forces for your personal and organization backed candidates losses in this and prior elections, you might want to acknowledge that your philosophy , methods and backing of unqualified candidates, although making you feel important, have little traction with the community. Even when you and your “organization” attempt to discuss legitimate concerns, the tone and hyperbole of the arguments put forth only serve to polarize.

          • One Vote says:

            Do some math. How many people are employed by the city? Times two for spouses and other family members.
            What was the margin of victory?
            This becomes all the more important when candidates start talking about outsourcing city jobs.

            U46 has the ability to control 6,000 votes by virtue of all the union members. It’s actually surprising how many people get elected who are not pro-union. When that happens, you know there are some incumbents who have created some bad feelings with the unions.

          • RS says:

            Unfortunately however many of these middle class jobs provided by U-46, ECC, CIty of Elgin, etc. go to people who live outside Elgin or the relevant district. As of last year, less than half of city employees live in Elgin. Just a third of Elgin cops live in Elgin and only 1 out of 5 highly-paid firefighters live in Elgin. All the money is going to those other communities where they live. Which is all the more disconcerting considering how many decades of pension-collecting these people are all entitled to.

          • conservative says:

            yes, can someone inform us what an “ABD” and “ABG” voter is?

      • J.D. says:

        Rule no. 4: Only go negative as a last resort and when you have nothing else.

        • One Vote says:

          Actually, Rule #4 is: Go negative when you can’t get any attention from the left-leaning media. They might actual write a story about you.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Still Concerned. Concerning my post about Fred needing to be endorsed by the unions to get better traction, someone told me that you were endorsed by the Elgin Firefighter’s Union. Is that correct?

        I guess there are different levels of support, beyond a simple endorsement. Elgin Firefighters were escorting Rose door to door as she campaigned. And they were also independently knocking on doors for her. Whatever level of support Rose got, is what you need to seek. And that isn’t just a simple endorsement. Comments?

        Chuck

        • RS says:

          She had union support but her campaign was almost entirely bankrolled by the Liautauds. You should not discount the value of $10,000 for buying signs, mailings, whatever.

          Without that money, would she have won?

          The unions are powerful but you don’t do your cause any good by telling politicians/candidates that they NEED to be in union pockets to have a chance of winning.

          • J.D. says:

            All sounds like sour grapes. She won & your guys lost.

          • RS says:

            Chuck thinks I was supporting Martinez. You think I was against her. I guess you cannot make any observation here without somebody imputing some kind of motive on you.

        • Jimmy McGill says:

          I would take a Firefighter over a Republican committeeman any day.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Anonymous:
      a) RS has policy against Anonymous posts, and he usually deletes them.
      b) Of course you mean a refutation and not a reputation……
      c) That is the narrative that you choose, I think Union hatred of anyone that threatens their piece of the pie is the heart of this story.

      Chuck

      • RS says:

        Yes please choose a user name, whatever you want except Anonymous because it leads to confusion. I will have to delete your previous posts.

  22. RS says:

    http://wqad.com/2015/04/08/iowa-and-illinois-among-worst-states-to-be-a-taxpayer/

    Illinois has the highest tax burden of the list of 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Illinois residents pay an average of $7,719 in annual taxes; that’s 37% higher than the national average, the report said.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      Wow, and it will only get worse when we try to deal with the massive debt of the State……….. Chuck

    • J.D. says:

      Fact: Illinois has the fourth highest regressive tax in the nation. For those of you on the west side, that means the poor pay a higher tax than the rich.

  23. J.D. says:

    I hear nothing about your friends on the Fox River Water Reclamation District board. They have more taxpayer money than they know what to do with.

  24. RS says:

    https://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150414/news/150419431/

    Grand Victoria Casino hopes to build an entertainment stage with covered seating at Festival Park in Elgin for the 2016 summer concert season, Mayor David Kaptain said.

    Casino officials are looking for sources of funding, including state funds and the sale of naming rights, for the project initially estimated at $10 million to $12 million, Kaptain said. He’s had several conversations with casino officials since the fall, he said…

    Kaptain said he hasn’t seen any plans recently, but plans last fall consisted of building a stage and space for about 2,400 covered seats. Some of such seats would be more expensive and have special access to concessions and bathrooms; the rest of the park would be open for lawn seating, he said.

    The casino would own the structure for five years, then the city would take ownership and lease it back to the casino, Kaptain said.

    Hmm..what do you guys think? I don’t see the rationale for why the city would want to own the structure after the fifth year. I’m sure maintenance in the long run will cost far more than whatever lease payments they get from the casino. That’s just how it always ends up. Anything the city owns runs at a loss and I don’t think it’s going to be any different with this.

    • ADV says:

      It’s a bad idea for taxpayers. The site is on a flood plain and the concert business is much more difficult than people realize.

  25. RS says:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-kaptain-interview-st-0412-20150413-story.html

    With all that in mind, after being re-elected, Kaptain put together a handwritten, 7-point list of what he hopes to address — or continue to address — during the next four years…

    A third area Kaptain hopes to address is the city making full use of the riverfront, especially downtown. Work would include exploring options for city-owned land north of the Gail Borden Public Library and further work developing the Riverside Drive Promenade…

    Kaptain also has a goal of looking for efficiencies created by partnerships with other towns. Projects underway, he noted, are plans for South Elgin to use Elgin’s 911 system and for Bartlett to buy its water from Elgin…

    Another idea to explore would be to see if the growing ridesharing services such as Uber could be used to provide rides for seniors and the disabled much like the Ride In Kane program currently does.

    It’s an interesting list. I’d like to see it a little longer and bolder…

    • RS says:

      For example, since he’s the environmentalist mayor I think he should say we’re finally going to put in a big community garden like Naperville (or St. Charles) has, because it’s kind of embarrassing at this point that we don’t have one.

      I’d like them to address the issue of the Foundry Park land also which is wasted space. Fill it up with amenities for local youths: basketball courts, tennis courts, skate park, etc. If you don’t want at-risk kids getting into trouble, give them convenient recreation opportunities. We might get some homegrown basketball stars out of it too. And if you want to put Elgin on the radar, put in the largest outdoor skate park in Illinois.

      Something like what they have in Davenport (but even bigger):

  26. Chuck Keysor says:

    Laurie Faith Gibson, are you reading the Elginite lately?

    Thank you for your reasonable post about the Elgin OCTAVE on Elgin Politics. What I saw posted there was so empty, I decided to write something off the wall.

    I try to write carefully here on the Elginite. I have years of careful posts here that make my thinking pretty clear. I will save my energies and loyalties for the Elginite.

    Plus, I don’t care for Facebook. What is life without paragraphs?

    Thank you, Chuck

    • LFG says:

      I’m here… took a break in APRIL from all of the election threads - too much going on with my ‘real job’ and work clients. :) Now that the excitement is over, I’ll happily contribute to the conversation where it’s appropriate. Posted some campaign finance history above… Something the paper didn’t report on back in 2011.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Thank you LFG. I had lost sight of the 2011 Liquor Commission issue, which I think I had originally learned about on the Elginite. Hopefully your work schedule will be a bit less hectic in the future. Thanks, Chuck

  27. RS says:

    http://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/7/71/515145/bga-school-districts-employees-pension-benefits

    State law says most public school employees in Illinois “shall make contributions” toward their future pensions – with 9.4 percent of their salaries deducted for retirement, which otherwise is substantially funded by taxpayers.

    But the law has a loophole, allowing public school districts to “pick up the member contributions” if they desire.

    A monthslong Better Government Association review found many Chicago-area school systems are doing just that – paying the employee pension share as an additional form of compensation for top administrators and, in some cases, teachers…

    Four of the 10 Chicago-area school systems surveyed by the BGA – Districts 74, 81, 87 and 202 – covered the entire 9.4 percent pension share for their teachers, according to records and interviews. District 212 covered nearly all of that, 9 percent. The other five districts covered none of the employee share. (The pension fund covering suburban and downstate teachers is called the Teachers’ Retirement System of Illinois.)

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      RS: Unbelievable! Well, it should be unbelievable. But where is the outrage??????????? Sigh………. Illinois is such a wreck….

      I’ll call a couple of new school board members and ask them about U-46’s status on this practice. Chuck

      • Jimmy McGill says:

        If the new school board members swear to preserve, protect and defend the state constitution, they will have a hard time keeping their campaign promises.

  28. RS says:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/news/ct-sta-kadner-turnaround-st-0410-20150409-column.html#page=1

    “The prevailing wage makes it impossible to remain competitive,” Einhorn said. “It causes us to lose business to other states. State mandates imposed on municipalities are completely out of control. There’s a bill in the Senate now that would increase fire pensions. The Legislature keeps passing those increases and we (the local governments) are the ones that have to pay for them. You don’t have to be an actuary to see that we’re all going to run out of money, but legislators keep proposing this stuff and approving it because of the unions. They get a check from the unions and they are expected to keep passing increases in police and fire pensions.”

    Rauner’s turnaround agenda proposes that local voters decide what issues can be collectively bargained in their county or municipality.

    It states that local voters should decide pension and health benefits for their local governments.

  29. Jimmy McGill says:

    The Rauner Turnaround agenda? Oh yes, the one that cuts spending on the middle class and the poor, that busts unions all while protecting the 1%.

  30. RS says:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-ecc-police-st-0419-20150417-story.html#page=1

    And just in case worse comes to worst, each of the force’s 18 officers carries a handgun on his or her hip, though members say proudly that they have never drawn a gun on anyone since the department was founded in 2000. They have two interrogation rooms and even two holding cells where a prisoner can be handcuffed to a concrete bench.

    Eassa, who retired after working in drug investigations with the Illinois State Police and then headed the Kane County Forest Preserve District Police, has been chief of the force since 2008. He said most of the 18 sworn officers are, like him, retirees from city, state or village police departments. That way they don’t have to be trained from scratch and have the wisdom that comes from experience, he said. “We represent a combined 500 years of municipal and community college police experience.”

    In fact, he said, Officer Bill Powell is a former Aurora police chief, and Officer Dave Jannusch was deputy chief in the St. Charles department.

    There you go, Chuck. Your tax money being spent on 18 double-dipping “retirees.” 18 cops for ECC? That’s about 17 too many if you ask me.

  31. Jimmy McGill says:

    Let’s give a shout out to Tonya Hudson & the Elgin Civics Project. They helped move the needle on voter turnout.

  32. Jimmy McGill says:

    Where is Kane county Sheriff Don Kramer & why won’t he explain his cost overruns to the county board?

  33. One Vote says:

    Mr. Mayor, May I propose a White Elephant Ordinance? One that prohibits the council from investing in more than one money pit project at a time.

    First there was The Centre; the gift that keeps on giving red ink.
    Then there was the Elgin Sympathy Orchestra with year-after-year of debt forgiveness.
    And who can forget the Day School?

    Now you are contemplating more of the same thinking with the Tower Building.
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-tower-building-st-0421-20150421-story.html

    Let me provide a thumbnail sketch of the project. The developer wants to buy the building for $1 million and invest $8 million in renovation costs. Somehow the math is 1+8=$13 million.

    The Feds are kicking in $2 million in tax credits.
    Illinois is paying $2.6 million. (I thought they were $100 billion beyond broke???)
    Elgin is paying $4.7 million in TIF.

    And now the city is discussing ANOTHER $121,600 bail-out to keep the project moving!

    Is it just me, or does the very idea seem like another Money Pit?

    How about a little expenditure for signs the city can give to these beggars that says #gofundyourself?

    • RS says:

      I was likewise bewildered by this article. There is no indication from the article that the developer is putting in any equity of their own. City of Elgin is ponying up nearly $5M, state and federal are kicking in another almost $5M (and construction costs are supposed to be $8M). If Elgin is going to put up all the money why doesn’t the city just undertake this project itself?

      Do the project, and then sell the building after it’s completed. The way it is now, all these public bodies–city of Elgin included–are handing over platters of cash to a private developer who isn’t putting in anything but reaping all the rewards. If they’re going to just hand over cash to somebody it should at least be to a non-profit organization like ArtSpace.

      And of course, Stickling, which hasn’t been paying its property taxes walks away with a million dollars. This deal stinks.

      Another thing is that Capstone, the developer, according to their websites specializes in low-income housing so you know how this is going to end up regardless of what they say. If this is going to be a de facto Section 8 project, I would rather ArtSpace undertake this or the city should reassess what it wants to do with this building.

      They could turn it into an incubator for technology startups, for example. Free rent, true high-speed fiber internet (via a connection to the AT&T station downtown)…that would be pretty cool. The lower levels could be all office space for the startups and the upper levels would be microhousing available to the startup employees. Stegall could start talking to the venture capital community to see who might be interested in partnering with the city on this (they could split the equity stakes for example they are entitled to in the seed round).

      If the city receives equity it’s quite possible that in the long run, it could make money. But in the short run, a lot of other goals are achieved: adding housing, adding “creative class” and tech workers, providing a use for the Tower Building, etc.

    • RS says:

      http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-landmark-st-0423-20150422-story.html

      Capstone Development LLC of Missouri intends to renovate the Tower Building, 100 N. Grove Ave. in Elgin, at a cost of $13 million. When completed, the building would hold a mix of 45 one- and two-bedroom apartments with rents ranging from $863 to $1,200 per month.

      Capstone is to pay the building’s owner, the Stickling Foundation, $1 million for the property. The developer is budgeting $8 million for constructions costs, including contingencies.

      Capstone plans to utilize approximately $2.09 million in federal historic tax credits and $2.6 million in the state’s historic tax credit program. Elgin has committed to provide $4.7 million of development assistance through tax increment funds for the project.

      OV, one possible explanation for the gap between the $13M project cost and the actual property and construction cost is that they’re going to pay themselves enormous fees. They are probably looking at this project in terms of how much debt they can pile on and increasing the value of the project accordingly, which excess value (above the actual cost) they will take out in the form of fees. This way they can extract as much cash as possible upfront while risking nothing in the long run. It doesn’t look like they’re putting any equity into this–at least the article makes no mention of it–so they have nothing to lose if the project goes bankrupt five years or ten years from now. They will have gotten their payday upfront.

      The only people putting in cash upfront is the City of Elgin. Elgin’s contribution of $4.7M is 36% of the purported project cost or more than half of the actual cost of the construction and property. That’s way more than sufficient equity. With a bunch of bozos handing you that kind of money you don’t need to put in any equity of your own. Capstone Development has no skin in this game and yet they’re going to walk away richer by millions of dollars.

      What a joke.

      • What were they thinking says:

        Not only a joke, but a bad one. Leaving us with another building full of low income persons who don’t contribute anything to the revitalization of the downtown.

        Why do public dollars (our dollars) go to private developers? Public dollars for public buildings. Private dollars for private buildings. If you can’t walk into a building, then it’s private.

        At minimum, the first floor should be public space. And that is what every center city plans calls for, retail on first floor, residences on the upper floors.

        And if Capstone won’t at least make the first floor retail or some kind of public space, then let’s move on with someone who will.

        • One Vote says:

          Like the old saying goes, In a scam where you don’t know who is the mark, YOU ARE!
          Here we have a fire trap that is literally crumbling before our eyes and Dave and Sandy can’t possibly let the old girl go, so they agree to pump our money into it.
          No big deal; the taxpayers will pick up the tab.

          Now Gasthaus is throwing up roadblocks. Four possible reasons for that:
          1) they are just being vengeful over the Liquor Commission rules.
          2) they’d like to use their sidewalk again.
          3) they can see the city blocking off more parking spaces for the project.
          4) their crystal ball tells them they will be too noisy for the neighbors, just like Prairie Roll/cage fighters.

        • RS says:

          Yeah there are better ways to put housing down there than this one. The developer specializes in building low-income housing. That’s what their website says, so this is going to be marketed the way they always do it, to low income people. It will be de facto public housing. The assurances they gave of 25 years of market rate rent is meaningless because the Section 8 system has moved to vouchers and it is unlawful for them to refuse Section 8 vouchers.

          The better way to do housing down there is microhousing. And to prevent it from being a flophouse you limit who can live there the same way that ArtSpace does, by having another stated goal. So the microhousing units in the buiding would only be available to employees of the tech company startups in the building for example if we go with the incubator idea. The availability of on-premises cheap housing would in fact make this incubator very attractive to technology startups, I think. Especially if the building is wired for fiber, making it competitive with other areas of the country that have true high speed Internet through Google Fiber, etc.

          A yet easier option is to make it microhousing available only to full-time students. This would provide affordable housing to students of ECC and Judson and would provide a good demographic for the downtown as they will patronize the cafes, bars etc. And you would be able to fit in substantially more people.

          So I would urge everybody to put pressure on the council to scrap the deal, wait for the Tower to be taken over by the tax buyer, and worry about it later once a better plan has been put together.

          • One Vote says:

            No matter what, this will not end well.

            Just sandblasting and sealing the exterior (all sides) must cost $4 million. And since parts started falling off the building a year ago, you can bet there is more gewgaw that needs to be repaired.

            To make the problem worse, the historic designation will limit the options for repair. Add the new, architectural windows and the exterior alone will cost $6-7 million.

            Now, we all know the drill. The city will be forced to back the cost overruns because they are already in too deep to back out.

            The new CFO is already trained to bury the bad news. Who came forward to tell the council that ESO was not paying their bills? No one. The problem just kept festering year-after-year.

            We’re screwed.

          • RS says:

            Interesting figures…which highlights the point of why Stickling should get a million dollars for a multimillion dollar liability?

            At this point all those maintenance costs are on the owner of the property and until the owners all back out one by one–including the tax buyer, it’s not the city’s problem. Eventually it will be, unless the tax buyer has some fabulous plan, but until then the city should sit and wait to get the building for free.

            It’s unconscionable that they should pay Stickling a million bucks.

  34. RS says:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150420/submitted/150429907/

    This will be the seventh time Love Elgin Day is offered to underresourced families and individuals. About 250 volunteers from nearly 40 churches set aside denominational differences to serve an average of 1,200 guests. More than three dozen business and organizational entities also are involved, either by providing services or resource information, making financial or material donations, or allowing the use of their facilities or equipment.

    • Chuck Keysor says:

      After having followed the story of campaign signs being removed from yards in the recent election, it spurred me to do a little reading and investigation. My hope was to make recommendations to the Elgin City Council that would prevent unfortunate campaign sign problems from occuring in the future. And while investigating, I found an unexpected problem in Elgin’s rules on campaign signs, which I also addressed in my recommendations to the council and City Staff.

      On Wednesday, April 22nd, I addressed the council with three recommendations on campaign signs:
      1) The City should change the rules on the location of political signs, allowing them to be placed anywhere between the sidewalk and the homeowner’s house/property.
      2) Post the rules for campaign signs in the City’s Neighborhood News letter, in every issue that goes out before any election. If we have rules, why not let people know in an appropriate and timely way? This newsletter goes to all Elgin households.
      3) Revise point A6 of Elgin Ordinance 19.50.120, which currently states campaign signs can only be displayed from 60 days before an election until 7 days after an election. That is direct conflict with Federal and State rulings and laws, which have established that there can not be rules which create a “season” for the expression of political opinions and/or free speech. (See 65ILCS 5/11-13-1)

      The key change here is point number 1 of course. I talked to a top City of Elgin staffer who said that the rules for posting political campaign signs were totally under the control of the Elgin City Council. He told me that the council could, if they so chose, revise the ordinance to reflect my recommendation.

      Such a change would make the rules so simple and obvious, that no special equipment or effort would be required to know if signs were in violation of the rules or not. Quite clearly, the disaster you experienced would have been prevented. And City Staff wouldn’t have wasted their time trying to figure out where signs were allowed and where they weren’t. Further, the appearance of possible political shenanigans being played by an outspoken liberal in Public Works pulling out your conservative candidate signs would be stopped in the future.

      I think these changes would be valuable and useful for the citizens of Elgin. But they won’t go anywhere if no one speaks up to get the council to act. Thanks, Chuck

  35. Frank S says:

    Hey,

    Any other West Elginites get your tax bill yet?? I went online to get a peek at mine because I heard they were going up. You better sit the hell down and take a few swigs of some good liquor because you are going to need it!

    Ready? Mine went from $8597.00 to $12,849!!! Yes, that’s not a typo. Almost a friggin 50% hike! Sweet isn’t it? I live in Edgewater. Loaded with seniors, and we got SCREWED ROYALLY. Everyone’s property taxes went up 40 to 50% here.

    Can’t wait to see all the “for sale” signs going up around here in the next few weeks. Mine will be first.

    • One Vote says:

      Looks like Kaptain and his liberal pals got reelected just in time.
      I never did see a decrease from their diversified revenue stream; just a higher water bill on top of the rest.

      Now the county had their math error and we’ll be paying extra.

      It’s getting so bad I’m almost willing to take a bath on the sale just to be done with it.

    • RS says:

      http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-kane-tax-bills-st-0424-20150423-story.html

      Oswego School District 308 is the only school district within Kane County that did not raise its tax levy. East Aurora School District 131 increased its levy by 7.56 percent and Elgin School District U46’s levy increased by 7.18 percent, according to figures from Armstrong’s office. Districts increase levies for various reasons and Armstrong’s office recommends calling your school district for an explanation of its levy…

      Pingree Grove had the highest tax levy increase at 12.76 percent over last year, according to the Kane County Clerk’s office. The second highest levy was in West Dundee, which increased 9.25 percent from the previous year. Aurora’s levy increased by 5.38 percent while Elgin’s increased by 3.48 percent, the clerk’s office reported. The city of St. Charles had a flat levy as did the village of Campton Hills.

      http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150421/news/150429683/

      The numbers show residents in Elgin Township will have the highest tax bills in the county by more than $400. The average tax bill on a $300,000 home will be $12,003.

      The second-highest average tax bills are in Aurora Township. The owner of a $300,000 home there will pay an average of $11,590. The third highest average tax bill is in Dundee Township. The owner of a $300,000 home will pay an average of $11,262.

      In contrast, the lowest average tax bills are all in the middle of the county. Campton Township has the lowest average tax bill on a $300,000 home — $9,159. St. Charles Township has the second lowest bill on that same home — $9,445. The third lowest bill on a $300,000 home is in Geneva Township — $9,536.

      • One Vote says:

        So much for saving money under the diverse revenue stream.
        Is tarring and feathering still an option?

  36. RS says:

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150427/business/150428738/

    One business is closed and another one will be closing soon, but a new gourmet popcorn shop and a new bar/restaurant with live music are expected to open in the next few months — all in downtown Elgin.

    Downtown just doesn’t get enough foot traffic to support day-to-day sales, said Maria D’Angelo, owner of the now-closed Viking Thrift & Artwork store at 160 E. Chicago St., and Ron Weiner, owner of Mr. Cheap’s Mattress at 215 E. Chicago, which will close after the end of May. Both moved last year from locations elsewhere in Elgin…

    A new restaurant and bar with live music and a modern-day speak-easy theme will replace Mr. Tequila de Elgin, a Mexican restaurant at 51 S. Grove Ave., White said.

    Mr. Tequila is slated to close May 2 and the new restaurant is expected to open in August, she said. “They are looking at signage, other details for that building,” she said.

    Also, a gourmet popcorn shop is expected to open at 20 S. Spring St., she said. “I’ve been told by the property owner that he’s coming in, but I don’t have an opening date,” she said.

    There were 35 empty storefronts out of 176 storefronts downtown Elgin as of a few weeks ago, White said. However, of those 35, eight or more had plans in progress and at least 10 have been chronically vacant for at least a decade, she said.

    Well at least with Mr. Cheap’s gone, that space will open up for bars or restaurants etc., which are a better fit for Chicago Street.

  37. RS says:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-lao-garden-st-0426-20150427-story.html

    In Elgin, Poole said the plans this season will have the land divided into 26 plots. Growers may have the opportunity to sell some of their produce at the city’s summertime outdoor Harvest Market.

    Keomuongchanh’s wife, Mary, said that in addition to vegetables familiar to Midwesterners as local summer fare, the community gardeners here more than likely also will plant items such as Thai basil and mint, long beans, and a sour lettuce used in Southeast Asian cuisines.

    Good. Some progress on the community garden front.

    This article led me to this:

    http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/global-garden-farmers-market-urban-farming-refugees/Content?oid=10815893

    Then she saw an announcement for the Refugee Agricultural Partnership Project, a funding program administered though the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement. The project aims to help refugees develop sources of income and promote healthy eating by training them in current agricultural practices. Seyler worked up a proposal in cooperation with the Heartland Alliance, and in the process got to know a lot of people in the city’s urban-agriculture scene, including LaManda Joy, founder of the Peterson Garden Project.

    When CLESE won a $240,000 federal grant three years ago to start the refugees’ garden, Seyler still didn’t have a dedicated plot of land to start the farm, but she did have refugees, mostly Bhutanese, Burmese, and a few Burundians, recruited though the city’s various resettlement agencies.

    So there’s federal money here that can be tapped. There’s a desperate shortage of community gardens and fresh produce in Elgin. If there’s significant acreage of community gardens, the farmers market will become much more interesting.

    We have immigrants from all over the world in Elgin and so far it’s been a wasted opportunity. The farmers market should be a bustling bazaar full of produce, street food and more from cultures all over the world. Instead it’s nothing.

  38. RS says:

    April is now over so this thread is closed. Please move the discussion over to the May open thread.

    http://elginite.org/blog/2015/05/01/may-open-thread-6/