Wednesday, April 29, 2009

State Senator Michael Bond Seeks to Shake, Not Just Stir, Illinois' 10th Congressional District (UPDATED)

As we anticipated (though some had doubts), State Senator Michael Bond has announced his candidacy for Illinois' 10th Congressional District for the seat currently held by 5th term GOP Congressman Mark Kirk. Read his press release here.

We've been talking about the ramifications of this for some days, since Roll Call ran a story on Bond's intentions. On the Dem side, potential candidates State Senator Susan Garrett and two-time loser Dan Seals are waiting a decision by Kirk as to whether he runs for U.S. Senate (or possibly Illinois governor), and a Highland Park attorney named Elliot Richardson has also formed a committee. We'll see if Bond's announcement has any impact on any of the others' intentions.

On the GOP side, while we all breathlessly await Mark Kirk's announcement as to his political future, the local GOP is going to have a field day with the anticipation of picking up Bond's Illinois senate seat. It's too early to tell who the front-runners might be, but my money is on GOP Lake County Chairman Dan Venturi, who just won re-election as Lake Villa Township supervisor.

UPDATED 04.30.09: Pioneer Press has an article out that quotes Susan Garrett and Dan Deals, each of whom are equally mealy-mouthed as to what their plans might be. Garrett does get a sideways dig into Bond (perhaps aimed at Seals too) as to the residency issue, and says she will seek community input before making a decision. Seals, as usual, concentrates on whether he can run a competitive campaign, not whether he'd be any good as a Congressman should he win. This guy never learns.

At some point, unless his primary opponents simply wilt in the face of a determined climber like Bond, voters will be reminded that he is one of the Tribune's "Blagojevich 26" - maybe just in time for a Blago trial to begin next year?

Public Service Announcement: The Munchkins, Glinda the Good Witch, Dorothy and all their friends will visit Zion (Michael Bond's district, coincidentially!) this weekend when a Lake County theater group stages "The Wizard of Oz." The Christian Youth Theater company will put on the live performances of the classic story 12 times starting Friday night at the Christian Arts Auditorium in Zion. The run concludes May 10. See here for details.

The Christian Youth Theater is a nonprofit, educational theater arts program for kids ages 6 to 18. It offers camps in dance, voice, drama and other specialties, and it performs three musicals annually.

Arlen Specter's Defection May Increase GOP Support for Moderate Mark Kirk's Senate Run

As you probably have heard by now, yesterday, long-time Pennsylvania GOP Senator Arlen Specter officially jumped ship and announced that he would run for re-election as a Democrat. Specter had a long history of flirting with the left, infuriating those on the right.

GOP Chairman Michael Steele opined that Specter's defection had much more to do with a desperate bid for increasing his chances for re-election than philosophical or policy differences with the GOP; after all, based on recent polling, it appears that Specter was down about 20 points from his conservative primary challenger, Pat Toomey.

"Let's be honest - Sen. Specter didn't leave the GOP based on principles of any kind. He left to further his personal political interests because he knew that he was going to lose a Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record." said Steele. "Republicans look forward to beating Sen. Specter in 2010,'' Steele said, "assuming the Democrats don't do it first."

Interestingly, not all Democrats are ready to welcome Specter with open arms, even if he helps provide a critical vote that enables Senate Dems to end threatened filibusters by Republicans.

All politics is local, as Tip O'Neill's famous book told us. Well, no matter how hot a politician you think you are on the national scene, if you don't take care of business at home, you can't get re-elected. I often wonder about politicians in leadership positions that neglect their districts to the point of, seemingly suddenly, being in danger of losing an election back home because they have spent too much time trying to play D.C. (or Springfield) politics, and not paid attention to folks back home.

Will Specter's defection have any effect on IL-10 Congressman Mark Kirk's decision to potentially run for Senate? Not sure. Some have already said that Specter's defection is a sign of increasing hostility for moderate Republicans in the GOP. That might be true locally for Specter in Pennsylvania (is that a warning for us here in Illinois, perhaps?) But, with Specter's defection, if anything, the national GOP will renew its attempts to open up the big tent and embrace moderates to refute the notion that Specter's defection had anything to do with policy schisms within the party. Not to mention the fact that the GOP needs to win back some Senate seats in 2010, and Kirk is widely regarded as one of the GOP's strongest candidates anywhere.

Supporting a moderate like Mark Kirk for an important U.S. Senate race might just come at exactly the right time for the GOP.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

IL-10 Dance Card Filling up Quickly, At Least for the Dems

As we have been reporting for some time now, the race for the Tenth Congressional District in Illinois has already gotten very interesting, mostly because 5th term incumbent Congressman Mark Kirk has been flirting with running for either U.S. Senate or perhaps even governor. Kirk's decision on what to do is expected by the end of this week, but meanwhile a bunch of Dems are already lining up in hope and anticipation (did I mention hope?) that they could run for an open seat and not have to face Kirk. We've already told you about State Senators Michael Bond and Susan Garrett, and of course, there always seems to be perennial candidate Dan Seals lurking in the background.

However, the up-and-coming bloggers at LakeCountyEye uncovered yet another stealth candidate on the Dem side, a Highland Park Attorney named Elliot Richardson.

website can be found here, and it appears he launched his campaign back in March. However, I never heard of this guy, and was unable to find any mainstream media coverage of his candidacy. Maybe this plug will help the poor guy. Daily Herald, you guys listening? It'll be something to write about until Kirk's announcement, maybe.

You can also see Richardson's LinkedIn page. I have to say, at least he has some community involvement to his credit and apparently actually resides in the 10th District. Thus, he's already got a couple legs up on Seals as far as TA is concerned, and Bond as well, for that matter (at least on the residency issue). Neither Seals nor Richardson has ever been elected to anything, though, so they are even on that score.

It's a bit troubling (or perhaps simply sad) that this guy has announced for Congress and no one knows about it, so we can't count him as a serious contender, yet. After all, anyone can form a committee and put up a website. It remains to be seen if he can get his signatures to get on the primary ballot, and considering the rest of the already-announced field, we have to place Richardson as the 4th in a four-horse race right now.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

State Senator Michael Bond the Latest Contender for Mark Kirk's Not-Yet-Vacated Congressional Seat? (UPDATED)

As we have been reporting, the 10th District Congressional race in Illinois is already turning into a free-for-all, especially on the Dem side. Former two-time loser Dan Seals and current State Senator Susan Garrett have indicated their brave intentions to run for the seat, but only if incumbent senator Mark Kirk decides to run for either U.S. Senate or Governor. Kirk has stated that he will announce his intentions by the end of the month, but TA's ad-hoc Kirk Campaign Advisory Committee seemed to, on balance, recommend staying put in the 10th.

Now, Senator Terry Link's "mini-me," State Senator Michael Bond, is apparently gearing up for a run, as reported by Roll Call. I was just commenting to someone the other day when I had heard this news on the street that if Bond was smart, he would announce quickly before Kirk made his choice that he (Bond) was going to run regardless of what Kirk did. That would allow Bond to steal just a little of Kirk's thunder, but more importantly, would get him momentum among Dem primary voters and allow him to claim that he is the one Dem with some testicular virility, considering that bravehearts Garrett and Seals have indicated they are interested ONLY if they do not have to face the fearsome and unbeatable Mark Kirk (say, wasn't it only last cycle that the Obama wave was going to sweep Kirk out of office? What a difference a few months make...). I doubt the person I made the comment to ran to tell Bond, so apparently he figured this out for himself, and is setting up a campaign team; I would expect an official announcement soon after some of the press builds.

So, what about Bond? For those of you who don't know him, he is an ambitious little climber, who squeaked into office by coercing an endorsement from long-time Senator Adeline Geo-Karis at the twilight of her career, after she had lost a primary race to Bond's opponent, Sue Simpson. Bond has quickly tried to get his fingers into all sorts of local races in Lake County to build up a political army, kind of like his mentor Terry Link's 10-year plan on steroids. He has had varying degrees of success, and TA hears the word among the Dems is that Bond is a bully and mean-spirited even among his "own" people. Like Link, like Bond, apparently.

If Bond runs, regardless of his opponent, Illinois voters will be reminded that both Link and Bond are part of the Tribune's "Blagojevich 26," the group of state senators that voted to block a recall provision months before Blago's indictment and appointment of now-U.S. Senator Roland Burris. TA also hears that Bond's donor list will reveal some very interesting ties and contributions, so this could be quite a festival.

Terry Link, who is also Lake County Democratic chairman, has not been as effective a leader as he has been for years, being tainted by the Blago debacle and most recently losing a prime ally in Waukegan Mayor Dick Hyde. Looks like that Waukegan riverboat may not happen on Terry's watch after all.

But, I digress. I believe Bond is up for re-election in 2010 and will have to give up his senate seat to run for Congress. That will set off a feeding frenzy on the Republican side for Bond's seat, with names like Lake County GOP chair and Lake Villa Supervisor Dan Venturi, State Representative JoAnn Osmond, and County Board Chairwoman Suzi Schmidt all being mentioned on the street from time to time.

UPDATED 04/24/09: The Daily Herald has an article today, which I would have expected, but not much new information--unless you count the implicit confirmation by Bond that he is in fact running. Where's the press release/conference/fundraiser, Einstein?

The article does not address whether Garrett might change her mind about running only if Kirk does not, now that Bond has thrown in. The funny part is, there is far less risk for Garrett to run than Bond, since her senate seat is not up in 2010. Maybe Garrett will run just to annoy Bond, for whom she has no love lost, TA understands. Where will LBG of the 10th Dems go? She has already made some nice statements about Garrett, but her heart previously belonged to Seals. And she probably thinks Bond is cute in a munchkin sort of way.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

No Coin Toss in Mettawa Mayor's Race; 12-year Incumbent Barry MacLean Apparently Ousted (UPDATED)

Well, I just got back from attending the counting of the late-arriving absentee ballots at Lake County Clerk Willard Helander's office. In the much-anticipated count for Mettawa Mayor, which was tied after election day, challenger Jess Ray got three votes of three ballots that were counted (several more were received but were rejected by the election judges for various defects), and none for incumbent Barry MacLean. So, the unofficial totals for mayor are Jess Ray- 146, Barry MacLean- 143. That means no coin toss after all, although Willard was ready with a shiny new coin, just in case. Here's a pic of the votes being read off the tape.

The results are expected to be certified tomorrow. No word yet on any challenges or recount demands, etc.

The other very interesting aspect is that Mr. Ray sued the Village over its plan to develop a Costco at the southwest corner of I-294 and Route 60. If Mr. Ray is confirmed as the winner, he may well be in the unusual (if not unprecedented, at least in Lake County) of a sitting mayor suing his own village. Ironically, the Ray lawsuit was up in Lake County court this morning on the Village's latest motion to dismiss, at the same time while the mayoral votes were being counted downstairs in the clerk's office. The late word is that two counts of the lawsuit were dismissed by the judge, and three survived the motion to dismiss. So, this could be very interesting.

This could turn out to have plenty of twists down the road as the new Mayor tries to play his various cards to thwart the Costco project. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: The Daily Herald has expanded its article that was posted earlier today, here.

Lake County Election Scandals Continue

The Daily Herald reports yet another Lake County election scandal:

A Chicago woman filed at least 10 fake voter registration cards in Lake County before last fall's election, prosecutors said Monday.

Jeannette Sims, 46, of the 700 block of North Ridgeway Avenue, is charged with mutilation of election materials and faces up to three years in prison.

Sims was working with a voter-registration drive sponsored by the Service Employees International Union when she submitted the falsified cards, said Assistant State's Attorney Christen Bishop.

Read the whole article here.


In the weeks leading up to the election, more than 1,000 suspicious cards had been discovered by employees of the Lake County Clerk's office, which oversees elections and checks such documents for validity. Some were submitted with Lake County addresses that didn't exist, while others were for people who didn't live at the addresses given, County Clerk Willard Helander announced in mid-October.

The discovery prompted a criminal investigation by the county sheriff's office and the state's attorney's office, which found suspicious cards submitted by Sims, Bishop said. Handwriting samples and 10 of those cards were sent to a handwriting expert for analysis in late October, Waller said. After the Nov. 4 election, the expert determined all 10 had been filled out by Sims, and had fake addresses listed, prosecutors said.

Hmm, does anyone notice a pattern here? From Senator Terry Link's and would-be Antioch Township assessor Eugene Kryczka's petition scandals down to fraudulent voter registrations, something must be done to address the apparently systemic voter disenfranchisement issues that are being perpetuated in this county.

Is it fair to blame this all on the Democratic party? Traditionally, Dems must register more voters every cycle just to keep up with the GOP, as voters who tend Democratic also tend to be more transient, which means that the Dems loose more voters and must re-register people as they move. Couple that with now-President Obama's big campaign push to register literally millions of people that had never voted before, and it's no surprise that some people try to cut corners to meet registration goals.

It's all great to get everyone who is eligible to vote involved in the electoral process, but when you have to lie about it, it's the candidates who end up suffering--that is, when the fraud is discovered in time, which it often is not. If not, then it's you the voter who suffers--as a fradulent vote or petition signature often means that your legal vote is nullfied.

Kudos to the fantastic Lake County Clerk Willard Helander and her office for figuring out this scam and reporting it to the State's Attorney's office.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Join TA's Kirk Campaign Advisory Committee

Congressman Mark Kirk's self-imposed deadline to make a decision as to whether he will run for U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress (for a sixth term!) or Illinois Governor, is the end of the month.

So, while I'm sure that many people have weighed in with Congressman Kirk as to what he ought to do, here is your big chance at Team America to let Mark know what your advice is.

Which office offers Kirk the best opportunity to serve the people? Which poses the biggest challenge? Why?

Let's also try to avoid the obvious, folks. We all know that if Kirk runs state-wide, he will need a lot of money, no duh. But we can do better than that. For example, if Kirk doesn't run for Congress, is there enough time for him to build a state-wide organization, especially if there is a contested GOP primary in which the state GOP apparatus will not officially take a position (so I understand). Given Kirk's more moderate stance on social issues, will the hard-core right-wingers support him in a primary?

If you were advising Kirk, what would you tell him? And, if you say that this is silly and Kirk must have made up his mind by now, I would not be so sure. This will probably be the toughest decision of his political career. Over to you, folks.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Illinois Republicans—Time to Grab a Pitchfork

Guest Column by Collin Corbett

Fellow Illinois Republicans, it is time to be aggressive. When you’re last in the standings, there is no excuse for playing it safe. Let’s throw off the chains of political correctness and grab a pitchfork, because in this climate the old rulebook simply does not apply.

The political landscape in our great state is not calling for clean-cut politicians who stick to cautious talking points; rather, the public wants leaders as angry as they are. They are looking to “throw the bums out,” regardless of party affiliation. This was evidenced on Tax Day when suburban parents showed they were angry enough to take the day off work, pull their kids out of school, and sit in traffic for three hours to hoist a sign and scream in anger, not just against high taxes and out-of-control spending, but against a government that that has systematically robbed them of their liberties (see Ralf Seiffe’s fantastic column in Illinois Review on 4/16).

To this end, Congressman Mark Kirk was an evil genius this week, whether accidentally or on purpose, when he stated that taxpayers in Illinois “are ready to shoot anyone who is going to raise taxes” (see story here). With quotes like this, he is attempting to capitalize on the public’s anger and show them that he feels their pain.

The tax raise that Congressman Kirk is referring to is Governor Pat Quinn’s proposed 50% tax hike on struggling Illinois taxpayers. Even as families are forced to tighten their belt simply to put food on the table, Democrats in Springfield are spitting in their face by increasing spending and charging their excesses to overburdened taxpayers.

State Senator Matt Murphy, my Senator and a rising star in the ILGOP, hit the nail on the head (see here) when he called for spending cuts instead of higher taxes. Illinois unemployment rose for the 6th month in a row to 9.1% in March, the highest level in 24 years. After losing 27,400 more jobs, 596,000 Illinois residents are unable to find work, and yet the Democrats want to raise taxes in an already hostile environment for business?

While Governor Quinn may be political Teflon (see latest poll numbers here), a vote for this proposal by any member of the legislature in Springfield is political suicide, and Illinois voters are watching. When the Democrats regurgitate President Obama’s line touting “tax cuts for 95% of the people”, Illinois Republicans must do what the not-so-eloquent Senator McCain could not, and point out that many of those Americans would ultimately end up paying no income taxes at all after joining the ever-growing ranks of the unemployed due to the Democrats’ tax hike on businesses and job creators.

So stand up, Republicans, and demand that your voice be heard. If Democrats want to pay more taxes, let them—State Rep Tim Schmitz from Batavia recently proposed a bill that would allow them to do just that. We fight for those who are struggling to survive in this difficult recession, and we don’t do them justice by meekly reciting talking points. The taxpayers just reenacted a 236 year old event to show us their frustration, and the Democrats are supplying us with ad-ready quotes showing how out-of-touch they are with the struggles of everyday Illinoisans—the ball is on the tee and we’ve been handed a bat.

I wonder, how long before the Department of Homeland Security labels me a right-wing extremist?

Collin Corbett is President of the Lake County Young Republicans, and a friend of TA. Please remember to visit both of us in the re-education camps, perhaps some day sooner than any of us think...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Congressman Mark Kirk Appears at City Club, But Mum on Future Election Plans

Mark Kirk addressed a capacity crowd at Chicago's City Club yesterday over lunch to discuss a wide variety of issues, ranging from the drug trade in Afghanistan to immigration, the economy to Illinois political ethics. Interestingly, he spent the first five minutes speaking alternately in Spanish and English, perhaps to counter the fact that a small group of immigration protesters (it looked to be the bussed-in variety) milled around outside the restaurant. (I noted that they all packed up as soon as Kirk started speaking inside; I guess they weren't being paid overtime).

Kirk sounded very much like a guy who would be a great candidate for U.S. Senate or Governor if he declines to run again in Illinois' 10th Congressional District. Even the protesters' signs outside made reference to Kirk's potential statewide election bid. For my money, if you are attracting this kind of attention, it's clear you are a serious consideration for either of these offices. Kirk is raising money like he's serious, but he's always been a prolific fundraiser, and he reports raising over $690,000 in the first quarter of 2009.

After snarfing down some Maggiano's pasta, I hung out in the back of the room trying to pump Kirk staffers for information on Kirk's intentions. I was in good company, and noted that Rick Pearson from the Tribune was there along with Andy Shaw and others. But, no one was leaking a word, not even to Team America. Kirk did some interviews with the T.V. media after his speech, but he told them zippo, as well.

Kirk has indicated he'll make a decision before the end of the month. If he decides not to run for Congress again, the 10th will be thrown into a free-for-all, at least on the Dem side. It'll be fun to watch all the crabs trying to climb over each other to get out of the bucket. But it won't make up for losing a great congressman, if that happens. The 10th's loss will hopefully be the State's gain, however; Illinois needs Mark Kirk now like never before.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Congressman Mark Kirk Among "Greenest" of Republicans

Republicans for Environmental Protection has named Congressman Mark Kirk of the 10th District in Illinois among the "greenest" members of Congress.

“REP is proud and gratified at the strong environmental leadership that our top-scoring lawmakers have demonstrated. Their hard work has been indispensable for moving conservation and environmental legislation, which history has shown cannot succeed without strong bipartisan support,” REP President Rob Sisson said.

“Mark Kirk was the first congressional candidate endorsed by REP. We are proud of the strong conservation record that he has compiled. He has met all our expectations and then some,” Sisson said.

“He has been a steadfast champion of protecting the Great Lakes, and as a resident of Michigan, I can tell you that means a great deal to me personally. He has worked hard to clean up air pollution, expand use of cleaner energy resources, and protect our country’s parks and wilderness lands,” Sisson added.

See the complete 2008 Congressional environmental scorecard here.

Don't believe popular hype that Republicans care only about promoting business to the exclusion of the environment. On that score, REP says the following:

We point with pride to the great GOP leaders of the past who fought to save natural treasures, signed landmark environmental-protection laws, and established many of the policies we take for granted today. We remember Teddy Roosevelt, who established our unmatched system of wildlife refuges and national parks. We remind people that Barry Goldwater, the father of conservatism, was a lifelong conservationist (and also a REP America member). We recall that Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and also established the Environmental Protection Agency.

We talk of the bi-partisan efforts of previous decades, which eliminated burning rivers, toxic waste dumps, DDT and other environmental horrors. Republicans had no special exemption from polluted air and contaminated water, so they made sure their leaders heeded their concerns.

We remind skeptics that nothing is more conservative than conservation. True conservatives should safeguard the resources on which the health, recreation, and economic prosperity of present and future Americans depend. There is nothing conservative—and certainly nothing wise—in squandering our energy, clean air and water, beloved landscapes, wildlife, wilderness, wetlands, and other natural treasures.

TA is a proud member of REP. Consider joining REP. Help us grow a greener GOP from the ground up!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Senator Susan Garrett and Other Dems Line Up to Succeed Mark Kirk in IL-10

As Congressman Mark Kirk moves closer to making an announcement soon about his future plans (run again in IL-10, run for Senate, run for Governor), the Democratic field is getting ready to pounce on an open seat in an Obama/Kerry district. Kirk told NBC-5's City Desk that he would make a decision after the indictment of former Governor Blagojevich, which has now happened. This is just a gut feeling on my part, but I'm thinking that, while all options are still on the table for Kirk, he may be thinking more seriously about the Governor's race that we might have guessed earlier. We'll just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, a sea of spineless jellyfish Democrats are starting to line up to declare their intention to run for Kirk's open Congressional seat (if that occurs), including self-styled ethics watchdog State Senator Susan Garrett and two-time loser Dan Seals. Maybe it's just me, but if I were contemplating a run for Congress, and I wanted to make some headlines and jump out in front of what may be a crowded Dem primary field, I would announce NOW, and say I'm running regardless of who the GOP candidate turns out to be. Of course, that would take some guts, and it's clear that the Dem field is lacking in the intestinal virility department.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

More On a Modest Proposal: Eliminate Townships for Real Savings

A week or two ago, we went off on the smoke and mirrors tactics of some state legislators (notably State Sentator Terry Link) who are seeking to shift the debate from some budget reduction proposals that make real sense (like eliminating Townships) and talk about silly ideas like consolidating small school districts that will cause a lot of people angst for very little real savings. We're not the only ones to have noticed this and voiced concern.

This week, Pioneer Press ran a great letter to the editor from Jan Schnobrich of Lake Bluff, who goes off on Senator Link and proposes, as we did, that the elimination of the township layer of unneccesary government is an idea that could actually save the state millions. I don't know Ms. Schnobrich, but her letter was so good, I am posting it below. Give it a good read, and then call Senator Link and let him know how you feel.

Eliminate townships in Lake County

I was listening to WGN early Sunday afternoon (March 22) on my way home from my morning meeting as Rick Pearson spoke with Republican Senator Dan Cronin of Lombard and Democratic Senator Terry Link of Waukegan on the subject of Governor Pat Quinn's budget presentation. Senator Cronin stated that he wanted to be part of the solution for meaningful fiscal reform and that he has accepted the fact that a tax hike will be necessary. However, he also stated that he was offended by how the state got into the financial mess in the first place.

Terry Link, Chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party and a Majority Whip in the Illinois Senate, stated that there had to be other ways to balance the budget without raising taxes or cutting services. He cited the fact that there were over 6,600 units of government in Illinois, more units than any other state in the Union, which the taxpayers had to support, but he offered little in the way of concrete solutions other than to say school districts could be consolidated to save money. Further, Senator Link stated that Illinois lawmakers need to pour over the budget (he didn't identify for how long) in order to determine if there was a way to balance it without raising taxes, and that Governor Quinn's proposed budget was just a matter of inexperience in the budgeting process.

Now, I am not an accountant type, but even I know that the State of Illinois is in deep, deep, financial trouble. I also know that this crisis has been years in its gradual evolution, starting with the term of Governor George Ryan and his ILLINOIS FIRST program and running through one and one-half terms of Governor Rod Blagojevich. In my book, this disaster-in-the making has encompassed at least 10 years of spending without any true accountability.

During those 10 years that Terry Link and "legislative company" have been key players in Springfield nothing has been done to reform the way our schools have been funded. We are still encumbered with reliance on local real estate taxes to finance our schools at the expense of those who reside in more affluent areas and with costly human sacrifice to those who live in the economically depressed districts. It is probably true that there are areas where school districts could be consolidated to save money, but the greater truth is that too many inflated egos have controlled the Illinois legislature to allow for any meeting of the minds in efforts to pursue a focused course toward School Funding Tax Reform.

Secondly, of the 6,600 government units cited by Senator Link, 1,440 are townships located in 87 of the 102 counties in Illinois. These government units govern not at all, but do siphon off millions of tax dollars each year to replenish their coffers. Townships have only one local mandate-to administer to the needs of those who qualify for General Assistance (G.A). Since the 1930's, federal and state welfare agencies have taken over nearly all of the demands for services to the indigent, and townships now bear little of this responsibility. Presently, private not-for-profits work in tandem to supplement federal and state grants to those qualifying for assistance, and townships mainly continue to levy to meet their our economic/political needs-to support in-house salaries and benefits, and the pensions of the vested elected officials and hired personnel for life.

County government, as the governing authority in Illinois, chose to establish the 18 townships in Lake County. Lake County government can choose to dissolve those 18 townships. It is my suggestion to Democratic Senators and Majority Whips Terry Link (District 30) and Susan Garrett (District 29), and Michael Bond (District 31) as well as Republican Senator Dan Duffy (District 26) - all of whom were elected to serve Lake County residents - to attune themselves to the very real possibility that they can apply the pressure and enact legislation to eliminate the waste in "government" spending simply by eliminating townships in Illinois, starting with the 18 in Lake County.

Jan Schnobrich, Lake Bluff

Well said, Ms. Schnobrich!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

While Alexi Campaigns... Your Pocketbook is Drained!!!

From the Illinois GOP:

Illinois Bond Ratings Tumble

While the Illinois bond rating tumbles, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has been spending his time raising money for a U.S. Senate race.

"On the same day the State of Illinois appeared on a credit watch list, Alexi Giannoulias was busy trumpeting his fundraising numbers for a political campaign," said Illinois Republican Party spokesman Lance Trover.

"Blagojevich Democrats have created a fiscal crisis and instead of serving as financial watchdog for the people of Illinois, Giannoulias is focused on his next political move.

"Under State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Illinois’ bond ratings have fallen steadily. The loss will cost Illinois taxpayers millions as the new Democratic Governor plans a large increase in the state income tax.

Four days ago, Moody’s downgraded the state’s rating on general obligation bonds from A1 to Aa3. Yesterday Standard & Poor’s reaffirmed a previous downgrade from AA to AA minus. And today, Fitch Ratings placed Illinois’ AA minus rating on a negative credit watch.

These multiple downgrades of Illinois’ credit rating reflect a growing concern in the market of Illinois’ ability to remain solvent in the face of a $12 billion deficit and the most underfunded pension system in the country. This loss of confidence will cost Illinois taxpayers millions as the new Democratic Governor plans a large increase in the state income tax.

“Alexi Giannoulias should have spent more time looking out for the working families of Illinois and less time grooming himself for higher office,” continued Trover.Illinois’ Junior Senate seat became the focus of the criminal prosecution of Governor Blagojevich last December.

The field for the Democratic nomination Illinois senate race next year is crowded, with former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley (D-IL), former Blagojevich Press Secretary Cheryl Jackson (D-IL), US Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and US Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) all expected to make announcements about the February 2010 Democratic primary soon.

Hat tip: Backyard Conservative

Lake County Election Upsets / Open Thread

I have to get back to my day job before the firm looks for a new environmental lawyer. For now, please let us know what your take on the local elections is.

Check out the Daily Herald website for the best local overview. Obviously a few notable elections are the defeat of incumbent mayors in Waukegan, Round Lake and Libertyville. The Build Route 53 referendum passed with an overwhelming 3:1 ratio, which may put that debate to rest, finally.

Here in Mettawa, we have a tie for mayor, although there are still late-arriving absentee ballots to be counted. If it remains a tie, who knows what happens next. Probably a recount, or maybe a coin flip, or - this is Mettawa after all - we'll saddle up the horses and have a race.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Team America's Do-It-Yourself Endorsements

Have you heard of the "do-it-yourself Messiah" (as in the Handel holiday classic)?

Well, today we have Team America's do-it-yourself endorsements. Tell us who you are voting for in tomorrow's election, in what race and area, and why.

Here and here and here are a couple of local news items to get you started.

Me? I'm voting for this good-looking bloke. ;-)

Have at it!