Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bob Dold Pulls Liberal Opponent In IL-10, But He's No Secret Agent

Bob Dold, the freshman congressman who succeeded Mark Kirk to the seat for Illinois' 10th District, knew from the moment he won that the Dems would come after him, given that the 10th is one of the most Democrat-leaning districts to be held by a Republican in the entire country. Dold has now had his first official opponent stick his head up in the as-yet undetermined 10th District for the 2012 race. His name is Ilya Sheyman (not to be confused with the fictional secret agent Illya Kuryakin from the old Man from U.N.C.L.E. TV show) and he's all of 25 years old. A former for America organizer, he's about as far left as you can get. Watch him rail against the evil Republicans, but also against Democrats who are not progessive enough for his very liberal tastes:

Here's some additional background on this guy.

Given that the boundaries lines of the 10th are not even known yet, I highly doubt that this kid is going to be the only candidate on the Dem side. Greg Hinz speculated yesterday that our old friend Lauren Beth Gash might even make another stab at the race. And of course, we can never count out the erstwhile Dan Seals, who still doesn't seem to have anything better to do that continue to try, try, try again, for this seat. Assuming that Mr. Sheyman sticks in the race through the primary, it will be fun to see the Dem primary candidates try to run to the left of this guy... which may not be possible... and then try to pivot to the center in the general.

The good news is, that if Mr. Sheyman turned out to be the Dem nominee, the independent-minded 10th District is going to have a hard time swallowing Sheyman's fire-breathing liberalism, especially in the face of Bob Dold's centrist views.

Looks like the fun is beginning, campers...

Below: NOT Ilya Sheyman

Monday, April 25, 2011

Senator Mark Kirk on Face the Nation: U.S. Military Now "Overstretched"; No Vote To Extend Debt Ceiling Without Spending Reform

Yesterday I watched Senator Mark Kirk on CBS News' "Face the Nation" talk about a variety of current issues. Watch the video here. Mark gets right to the point and discusses Syria and Libya, and other foreign policy issues, and notes that the U.S. military is now "overstretched" with four current major military and humanitarian missions (Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Japan). Nevertheless, Kirk says that now that we are involved in Libya we "have a responsibility to win," but we need to "wrap this up."

Kirk also worries about financial issues, including the debt ceiling, and criticizes the U.S. Senate for going on break when such serious issues must be dealt with. Kirk says he will vote "no" on raising the debt ceiling unless "we have comprehensive, dramatic, effective and broad-based cuts to federal spending, including the reform of entitlement spending."

Read more at The Hill.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New RNC Chairman Reince Priebus Invokes Kirk, Dold as Proof That Moderate Republicans Are Alive and Well In Illinois

I have never met her, but I continue to be impressed by Kerry Lester's reporting on the political beat at the Daily Herald. In her latest piece, she sits down with the new Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, and talks about the impact of the Tea Party on the GOP, and other issues. Priebus mentioned new Senator Mark Kirk and new Congressman Bob Dold as proof that moderate Republicans can thrive and survive in Illinois:

Q. We're seeing tremendous tea party growth in the Northwest suburbs. How do you see the tea party affecting the Republican Party both in the state and across the country?

A. I think the tea party movement's great for the Republican Party. I would call it the conservative movement in this country. I've often said the Republican Party is not in competition with the conservative movement in this country. We're part of the conservative movement. I think the tea party's done a good job of focusing in on issues, like for example our out of control debt. ... I think the tea party has brought to the forefront those issues in a very effective way.

Q. But is that tea party growth isolating moderate Republicanss?

A. I don't think so. How could it be? (Senator Mark) Kirk, a moderate, just won in Illinois. And (10th District Rep. Robert) Dold won. I think this issue of where we are fiscally in this country transcends party lines. It doesn't matter if you're Republican or Democrat. I think Republicans and Democrats agree that this president has not followed through on his promises. ... I think Republicans conservatives, they agree with this message. I think that's where they're going to throw Barack Obama out.

Go read the whole thing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

$6 Gas By Summer? Where's Dan Seals' Gas Giveaway When We Need It?

Remember perennial loser Dan Seals, candidate for the 10th District? He got clobbered by now-Senator Mark Kirk a few times, and then newcomer (and now Congressman) Bob Dold clocked him for good measure. Among many really stupid things Dan did as a candidate, one gaff really stands out, and that was his 'gas-for-votes' stunt in Lincolnshire, which snarled up traffic and got him billed for police costs when he 'gave away' free gas (actually, he made up the difference when gas was running about $4 a gallon, and Seals claimed that it was all Mark Kirk's fault we didn't have $1.85 gas).

Of course, as we pointed out, when gas prices plummeted during the recession, you would think a fair guy like Seals would have given credit to Kirk for driving down gas prices. But, no, crickets from Seals.

Now that Seals is more irrelevant than ever, but with gas skyrocketing under the reign of Seals' would-be idol, Barack Obama, where's Dan out there pumping gas when we need it?

Coin Flip for Green Oaks Village Board Reminds Us of Short-Lived Tie for Mayor of Mettawa (UPDATED WITH RESULTS)

A late-arriving vote means that the bottom two vote-getters for the Green Oaks Village Board will be have their fates decided by a coin toss, to be administered by Lake County Circuit Clerk Willard Helander's office. Our friend Dan Sugrue, as we all know, won election as a newcomer to the board, which means that one of the two other incumbents has to go.

This reminds us of the vote for Mayor of Mettawa last cycle, in which incumbent Barry MacLean and newcomer Jess Ray were tied as of election night. Ray officially won a few weeks later once several late-arriving votes were counted, avoiding the coin flip.

But I do love that picture of Willard with her shiny coin at the ready.

UPDATED: And, the results are in....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chief Deputy Clerk Keith Brin Announces Candidacy for Lake County Circuit Court Clerk

As we have been anticipating for some time, in the wake of long-time clerk Sally Coffelt's retirement announcement, Chief Deputy Circuit Court Clerk Keith Brin will announce his campaign for Circuit Court Clerk later today. Here's the press release:

Brin Announces Campaign for Lake County Circuit Court Clerk
Current Chief Deputy Thanks Sally Coffelt for her Faithful Service to Lake County

HIGHLAND PARK, IL – With Lake County Circuit Court Clerk Sally Coffelt announcing last week her intention to retire at the end of her term after thirty-two years in office, Keith Brin has announced his candidacy in 2012 for the seat currently held by his boss.

“It has been an honor to serve as Sally’s Chief Deputy,” said Brin. “She has served Lake County with honor and integrity, and has taught me the most important responsibility of an elected official is to serve the public. I intend to continue that tradition of public accountability.”

Brin, an attorney and business executive from Highland Park, has made technology the focus of his campaign. He has led recent modernization efforts in the department and intends to further improve efficiency and access in order to reduce costs and improve customer service. In addition, he has pledged to continue the Lake County tradition of fiscal discipline and transparency.

Keith summarized: “By implementing a system that allows for the electronic filing of documents as well as universal access to the services and documents that are currently only accessible at the Clerk’s counter in Waukegan, we can increase accessibility, convenience, and security. The goal is to transform to a paper on demand system in order to save the taxpayers money while streamlining processes.”

To learn more about Keith Brin and his campaign, go to

About Keith Brin:

Keith Brin is the Chief Deputy for the Lake County Circuit Court Clerk. An attorney and business executive from Highland Park, Keith received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Emory University and his JD from the Loyola University School of Law. He is highly involved in area civic organizations, including serving as chair of the Technology Committee for the Lake County Bar Association and as Vice Chair of the Moraine Township Republicans.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy Tax Day! Obama's Tax Plan Looms, and the "Pauls" Better Hold On To Their Wallets

Well, federal and state income taxes are due today. I got mine done on time for the first time in years. I don't feel much like celebrating, though, considering the state of the economy and where tax rates are likely to head. Of course, they have already increased over 50% here in Illinois, and if you think that increase is only temporary, well, then Dan Duffy doesn't have a temper. (We love you Dan, just kidding).

Looming on the horizon are big increases in the federal income tax, and not just for the wealthy. Sure, President Obama talks about increases only for the top percentage of wage earners, the "wealthy," but as the Wall Street Journal points out this morning, the 'soak the rich' tax policy simply won't raise enough money... therefore, the Dems are going to be looking for sneaky ways to reach into your pocket, such as ending the mortgage interest tax deduction -- which hits the middle class right in the breadbasket. So, before you think that Obama's talk of tax increases affects just Peter, if you are Paul, you Pauls all might want to hang on to your wallet.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lake County Circuit Court Clerk Sally Coffelt Announces Retirement Plans After 30 Years In Office; Who Will Step Up Next?

Not a lot of politicians nowadays can say they have been sent back to do their jobs for eight four-year terms in a row, but Lake County Circuit Court Clerk Sally Coffelt can. Today, in a press conference at the Lake County Government Center in Waukegan, Coffelt announced (tearing up almost the second she started talking) that she will not seek a ninth term in 2012, capping a career of over 30 years in office. Coffelt first thanked her staff, and went on to thank the Lake County judiciary, the county elected officials, and others, but most especially the voters who "rewarded me with the incredible honor to serve you."

Coffelt told Team America that she was proud of many accomplishments during her term in office but gave most of the credit to her staff of around 150 people and especially her management team. She feels that she leaves behind a firm foundation for the next clerk, especially in technology. "We have come a long way in technology in office," she said, noting that when she started, there we no computers in the office at all, and the office has been making steady strides towards increasing the use of techology to make court records more accessible.

Lake County Clerk Willard Helander, a longtime friend and colleague, told TA that "Sally's leadership in Lake County will be greatly missed; on a personal note, her friendship and assistance to me when I first was elected was invaluable. Sally has been a leader among the entire state association of circuit clerks and has brought many innovations into her office."

I caught Chief Deputy Clerk Keith Brin after the news conference, who said that "Sally has done a remarkable job serving the people of Lake County and I have been honored to serve as her Chief Deputy." Keith obviously didn't want to step on the news of Sally's announcement today with any comment on his own potential plans to run for the position, even though Sally's decision had been anticipated by people in the know. But, TA understands that Brin's campaign has already scheduled a fundraiser for early May, with more to come, and is ready to roll out a website and press release soon.

This may also fuel further speculation about other county-wide posts that will be up for election in 2012. Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller has not made any announcement about a bid for re-election, but TA hears that several Republicans are waiting in the wings should Waller decide to not run again. Of course, assuming the Lake County Coroner's position remains an elected office, there are at least two Republicans ready to run for that office.

Stay tuned for further developments....

Venturi Defends Township Governments

It seems that recently, with the nationwide awareness of bloated government and its effect on our economy and the fiscal health of the nation, there is a call for more limited government that is gaining appreciable momentum.

Even our own State Senator Terry Link is trying to get out in front of this issue. However, those who are intimately involved in many of these local governments take a different view, and proclaim that local control and needed services justify having so many units of government. We have been critical of some units of local government before, particularly townships, so we thought we would give some equal time today to the other side of the argument, and give Dan Venturi, Lake Villa Township Supervisor, a chance to have his say:

Townships Serve an Important Role

The role of township government is often misunderstood and some of our legislators in Springfield and even the Township Supervisor in Avon Township are calling for the dismantling of township government. Townships provide many important functions that very economically improve the quality of life in our community.

The supporters of dismantling township government fail to focus on whether the elimination of township government will save the taxpayers’ money. The bill being considered in Springfield does not mention reducing taxes or eliminating the respective real estate tax levy if a township or other government entity is eliminated. The proposed bill does require they consider the “costs and benefits to the State and other units of local government.” It is important to note that township government is funded with local tax dollars and not funded by the State. Eliminating township government alone does not help the current state budget crisis. The plan is not to reduce your taxes but to liquidate townships and then divert township funds to pay the states bills.

The role of township government is different depending on the demands and needs of the community. Some townships only have a few miles of road and therefore do not need a highway department. Some areas have fewer parcels of land and have one assessor for several townships.

I have been the Lake Villa Township Supervisor for the past ten years. In our township the highway department rebuilds and maintains over 50 miles of roads. Our assessor performs assessment valuations on over 17,000 parcels of land. As Township Supervisor I oversee the other township functions which can generally be broken down into three categories; assistance programs, senior services and public facilities.

Our Township operates a full-time food pantry, administers general assistance to help sustain people in need who are not otherwise eligible for federal or state assistance programs, and we administer the emergency assistance program to help people in emergency situations with evictions and utility disconnections. We also work with our residents to coordinate other charitable and governmental programs that may help them in their time of need.

Our next area is senior services. We run a shared destination based township transit system with two other townships. We drive to popular destinations on a set schedule. I share the driving responsibility with a part time bus driver. The annual cost in each of the three townships has been less than $3,000. By establishing common destinations (the most popular destination being Super Wal-Mart) we generally have a full bus instead of a bus with one or two passengers.

We also have regular senior activities that are staffed with local public servants from our township, the mayors and trustees from our villages, county board members and even our state senators and representatives. The help from all our local volunteers keep costs down and make the events very popular with regular attendance between 150 to 200 seniors.

Another area of focus is to provide public facilities for our community residents to use. We have over 90 acres of active recreational land including parks, community rooms, picnic shelters and sports fields that are used by our community and the thousands of children that participate in youth football, baseball, soccer, lacrosse and iceless hockey. By partnering with community volunteer organizations we are able to provide quality sports programs for our children at an extremely reasonable cost. It is not clear who would take over our facilities if the township was eliminated. The Lake County Forest Preserve generally does not provide sports fields or operate youth sports programs and park districts generally do not coordinate with volunteer groups. I do not believe that either would do a better job running youth sports programs or save the taxpayers’ money.

We provide many other services alone and in partnership with local villages, school districts, Lake County, and many local volunteer groups. Like most townships we are among the smallest part of the tax bill. We live within our budget. We do not spend money we do not have. Our pension obligations are fully funded. This is in contrast to our state government which has over 6 BILLION dollars of unpaid bills and has north of 80 BILLION in unfunded pension liabilities. As for the Avon Township Supervisor who cannot find any needs in his community, and endorses the dismantling of township government, he should look at the surrounding townships to see what services townships can and should offer.

No one has made a credible argument that dismantling townships government will save any taxpayer money. Without our township assistance programs the need will still be there and the people in need would likely be moved to a larger, less responsive and more costly bureaucracy. Giving control of our transportation program to a bureaucracy like PACE, would not result in taxpayer savings or better service. It is not clear who would take over our township facilities if the township was eliminated.

The assessment of our 17,000 parcels of property will not become any easier or cheaper and a larger centralized bureaucracy will not provide better customer service to the individual resident. It is also not reasonable to think the state will do a better or more economical job of rebuilding or maintaining our local roads.

You only have to look back a few weeks to the Blizzard of 2011 to remember which roads were plowed first (the local roads) and which roads were plowed last (the state roads). Having a larger centralized bureaucracy taking over township functions will not make services better or cheaper. The next time you have a problem with your road call the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and see how long it takes to get someone that will even pretend to care, let alone fix the problem.

Daniel Venturi
Lake Villa Township Supervisor

Thursday, April 7, 2011

State Senator Dan Duffy Outraged By Gov. Quinn Appointment of Campaign Donor; Sheriff Curran Cleans Up Coroner's Mess

State Senator Dan Duffy went ballastic yesterday in Springfield, and with good reason. Governor Pat Quinn nominated Terry Cosgrove, Executive Director of abortion-rights group Personal PAC (which reportedly donated more than $400,000 to Quinn's campaign last cycle), to Illinois' Human Rights Commission. Lots more on this over at Capitol Fax and Daily Herald.

Leaving aside the pay-to-play optics here, Personal PAC distributed campaign literature against Duffy that can only be described as a scandaleous lie. But Duffy's not the only victim - the mailer that boldly proclaimed that Duffy wanted to 'jail' women who seek abortions is a stock mailer of Personal PAC that they seem to send out against any candidate that is not a pro-abortion rights champion. Just ask former State Rep. Candidate Dan Sugrue (now a Green Oaks Village Trustee), about the same mailer being used against him.

Also, Sheriff Mark Curran is making headlines with his report on how deep the mismanagement and unprofessionalism went at the Lake County Coroner's office under the watch of Democrat Richard Keller. Time to drain the swamp over there, for sure. Read more at the News-Sun.

Finally, nothing's ever sure, but it looks like new Congressman Joe Walsh at least won't have to worry about a possible rematch with his defeated opponent, Melissa Bean. She told Roll Call she's not running again. She predicts that people will be lining up to run against him, though, given his "extreme and out of touch record."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Local Election Day! (UPDATED)

LATE UPDATE 10:25 pm: In a pair of stunning upset victories, both Dan Sugrue and Jim Moran won their respective Green Oaks and Libertyville Village Trustee Races against entrenched incumbents!!!

CONGRATS TO JIM AND DAN! [end of update]

This may take you by surprise, but there IS an election today.

Best of luck to my friends who are running in various local races like Dan Sugrue for Green Oaks Village Board, Jim Moran for Libertyville Village Board, and many others. In the last few years, the local GOP has been playing a little bit of catch up with recruiting candidates and encouraging them to run in local races to build up a 'farm team' - something the Lake County Dems managed to get a bit of a jump of us on. Well, no more free ride, guys.

There may be a lot of interesting action going on around the North Shore with respect to redistricting very soon... names like Garrett and Link are being thrown around as possibly ending up in the same district and being forced to shoot it out in a primary (that is, assuming both will want to run, which is not fer sher, especially in the case of Link).