Monday, September 25, 2017

Take a Knee in respect of our Flag

My immediate and current reaction to Diamond Tee's slamming of NFL players for taking a knee at during our Nation Anthem is clear. Double Down on Diamond Tee, Let all of us Take A KNEE.

You must understand that this vicious hateful man that sits in the White House has shown a morality that demands resistance and change. We need to get our country back and away from his extremists.

Our Flag and Anthem stands for our freedom, our right of rebellion, justice for all, equality, humanity and a nation where we should all be united under these values. That does not mean ONE voice tells us how to think, but rather many voices represented in a body promoting those great values.

Last year I was challenged by NFL members taking a knee during the Anthem since I took for granted the unquestioning observance to our flag and nation. But during the last year Diamond Tee has shaken everything within our nation including the positions, observances, and structures occupied. Diamond Tee has been so disrespectful of our national values demonstrated almost everyday by his tweets and actions. He jeopardizes our safety and economic interests internally and across the globe. He is a fool and there seems virtually no hope for him to change into a President I could respect.

NOW, we need to stand up for our nation, flag, soldiers, and future generations by resisting his attempts to turn us towards darkness and if it means taking a knee during the National Anthem then let it be! No one should be shy about standing up for our freedom and liberties in this country. We should also not take any words from Diamond Tee as our moral direction for he has proven his dysfunctionality and hateful spirit. This is one nation under g-d indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL. Stand up for our nation and what our fathers have fought and died for! Resist this man and his evil teachings and fight for the future of our nation.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Close HP Country Club in 2018

The Park District of Highland Park is 101% right to close the HPCC in 2018 and naturalize the majority of the Flood Plain property. The Highland Park City Council should work along side the Park District by returning the HPCC lands back to a natural habitat. Citizens do not need to subsidize a second municipal golf course anymore for a very few. Also, with the need to enhance the natural lands to soak up storm water this site can be complementary to a future storm water solution.

In 1993 one of my first votes on the City Council was to purchase the HPCC to protect it from a contract developer (Spatz) from building 100's of homes and covering it with cement and hard structures. This property is largely in the flood way, not just the flood plain. That means it not only stores water, it moves south and flows through it. Past leaders like Mayors Dan Pierce and Ray Geraci beat the drums of preservation for this property. Ray Geraci and I led a group called Save Open Space (SOS) to retain this land unencumbered from structures. It was not about saving a golf course although the revenues of the 1990's did pay off about a 100k a year of the 700k of debt service HP citizens paid off through 2013. As the golf business softened, being in an area of a saturated golf market and a constant need for capital improvements, very little if any golf revenues helped relieve the 10 million dollar debt the citizens encumbered. The bonds were totally paid off as of 2013.

In support of reduction of flood waters along the Skokie River and as a tenured 10 year Councilman, in 2003 I led efforts to naturalize the HPCC and close the golf course. We worked with the LCFPD, Park District, and IDNR to purchase the adjacent "38 acres" and combine all the HPCC property into conservation easements that would withstand time and future political pressures to cash in on open lands. With the support of Dan Pierce we gathered landscape architects, engineers and governments to come up with a naturalization plan that would retain more water, allow better flows, and provide a great natural habitat that could be enjoyed by our citizens. Bike paths, creek channels, tall grasses and a critter rich environment. Because of politics and the complexity of the situation this initiative sizzled out at that time.

The time has come to close the golf course when the new sunset course reopens. We need to reach out to the county, state and federal governments for funding to help enhance our floodway/floodplain Skokie River corridor. The City should not demand money for this property from the Park District since the citizens have already paid 10 million for its purchase once. If there is a need to make a DEAL then look at property to trade but do not demand more that what will help both our city and park district operations. After all, it all gets levied on all the same citizens of Highland Park.

There is no them and us, it is only US. I am hopeful that our Mayor Nancy Rotering and President Brian Kaplan will work TOGETHER. Past City Council's I was part of  worked well with the Park District accomplishing the Aqua Park, new Fredrickson roadway, new fire station, 38 acres, Founders Park and several land trades for $1 like Moraine Park. This is not a deal between advisories, It simply should be an exercise to create a better community and allocate resources to the best management team and government.     






Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Diamond Tee Dump #5 Hope was buried in Charlottesville.

My observations of Diamond Tee over the past seven Presidential months of his hate, bullying and crazy antics really have amplified my emotions from simple concern to terrifying reality and projections. His continued dog whistle message to the white supremacists, Nazis and just pissed off people has been comforting to their terrorist burn it down cause. And make no mistake that this man that just ran over that lady in Charlottesville is a TERRORIST. Not a Christian Terrorist or an Islamic Terrorist, Just a TERRORIST. Whether you blow up or run your car into a crowd in Paris, London, or Charlottesville it is a terrorist act.

There can be no tolerance for Nazis, the KKK, and all White Supremacists. They hate Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, Immigrants, Gays, and strong women. They are fascists and support the elimination of people that are not like them. Yes, they want to kill us and exterminate our people. How Double Down Donnie can cuddle the White Supremacists and equate them with people protesting fascism and hate screams his madness. Diamond Tee should understand that a huge majority of Americans were represented within the protests against the White Supremacists, not just the liberal left. Most Conservatives as well do not tolerate hate and will oppose his disgraceful direction. I have never seen any President fan the flames of hate and continue to hammer in a wedge throughout this country like Trump. Republicans need to divorce themselves from these hateful people and need to unite with Democrats against Hate, Oppression, and the destruction of our values.

Trumps words this afternoon were shameful, disgusting, and should be condemned by every member of Congress. But besides the Democrats and a few republicans, they will continue to remain silent because of their deal with the hateful devils that have saturated the politics of our day. The bombardment of hate by Diamond Tee that is directed at Women, Hispanics, Gays, Immigrants, Muslims, Mexicans, Judges, and anybody that disagrees with him has boiled over his administrations walls and is creeping into our homes and communities.

He continues to redefine all things with bombastic definitions. Diamond Tee does not care what the majority of Americans think about his statements. After all he won the Presidency so the people that voted for him hold the full weight of his mission of hate. He did not hide his mission and beliefs prior to his election people! The blood and the degradation of our democracy and country values falls on his supporters heads and unfortunately ours as well. The least supporters that voted for him can do is speak out against his actions of hate and turn against Trump in a strong and assertive manner.

Any hope that Diamond Tee would come around and start to support our good values is dead and buried. Our only hope is to have him removed from office. His support of the angry far right neo Nazis and want to be Killers is clear and his dog whistle to them is now been heard by all. Resist, Fight, and lets overcome this moment and find ways to unite with positive and constructive agendas that will again bring peace and sanity to our nation. To ignore this any further without action could be catastrophic. #ItsBad

Monday, June 19, 2017

Diamond Tee Dump #4 Hate, Fate and Our Optimism

If we chose to allow our leaders to provide an immoral normal for our society we must become real about our future. Eventually, if we let them provide official judgement and punishment on this immoral basis all hell will break loose. This could be the basis for a violent revolution and out of control pain and suffering for us all. Most all of us agree and profess violence to overcome oppression, immoral actions, and direct aggression against us and humanity. As a matter of fact we use of our military to kill many around this earth combating immoral behavior against humanity across the globe.

Diamond Tee has spoke and drummed up hate for over two years directly in the mainstream eye. His rhetoric of "Lock her Up", statements of violent actions against protesters, threats against the judicial system, Muslims and Mexicans bellowed loud and far. Actions and words against women and constant bullying of any person or group that disagrees with his boasts demonstrates his intolerance and a virtual stance of Conflict First, Civility Last.

The Charleston church and the Orlando slayings, hateful rhetoric and actions against Blacks, Jews, Muslims, Mexicans and other minorities are on the rise since the 2016 presidential race. Diamond Tee can't continue to condemn folks by spewing out venom and not expect to see violent reactions from citizens that under a stable moral leadership live on the edge. For us not to continue to condemn this behavior as not Presidential and not American can't be demonstrated enough. All Americans are affected by these Presidential proclamations and they must stop.

Under the reality of our economic situation for middle and lower income families that are threatened with flat wages, evaporating pensions and benefits, we are all under a stress and need words and reality of hope and promise. With appointments of a right wing cabinet, dismantling of Obamacare, stripping dollars for programs for housing, education and our environment it is hard for centrists and liberals to see any hope. Yet with the President abandoning the position of our American Moral Compass, we must all stand in the vacuum and push for reasonable dialog and civility.

All the blood including our recent congressmen, staff, and police being shot by an enraged citizen demonstrates AGAIN the pain, suffering, and divide within this country. Bullets have been flying from all political sides.

We need to believe in truth, justice, freedom, and our ability to move forward and upward. Let us all provide optimism, hope, compassion and love to each over. Civility and persistence in pursuit of the right outcomes for our nation can overcome this malaise and depression. Work together, reach out, and reset towards a positive and less violent future. We do have another choice but it will be at a far greater expense.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Budget and Conservatism

Listening to the unveiling of the White House budget gave me some pretty extended pains and torment, but as the debate and discussion unveils itself I am finding that a slash in the belly might not be all bad.

I have real frustration about the budget premise to build up the military and abandonment of social and environmental programs. That being said the devil is in the details and I do think it is good to look at those details.

Lets not forget that this initiative is coming from the most deceitful and hateful President that ever existed, but his intentions or justifications might be the irrelevant facts in this discussion since it is congress that will craft the final budget. All the same, this focus on the opportunity to redefine government and its efficiencies can't be ignored. The basics of feeding and housing unfortunate people and protecting our clean air and water is a no brainer responsibility of our government. The Congress, the people, will not tolerate an inhumane approach to our citizens in this nation. Turning a blind eye to dirty water and air are irresponsible actions since they are of the highest priority for our survival. Reasonable regulation and economic support for governmental guidance and enforcement must remain in place.

Moving past this twisted Presidents intentions we should dive into costs and process of how we govern and spend money at all levels of government. We might just be surprised by not taking this money for granted, studying best practice ways to provide these services, that there is billions to be saved by waste and programs that just don't make real sense to a thoughtful and caring "center of the road" person.

I look forward to the debate in congress on this budget and hopefully they, along with our States representations, will have a robust discussion on best practice, a reasonable department of defense, and new ways for government to slim down and operate more efficiently. Remember, this is our money they are spending and we do need to hold them accountable.

Being a fiscal conservative myself,  I will always appreciate the questioning and viability of programs as methodology's change over time. We need keep flexibility to adapt to the change of the most cost effective delivery of government services.

Bottom line is while we are faced with incredible incompetence and crude actions within the white house, we still need to govern and should take this opportunity to evaluate our current structure and reduce wasteful spending. While one might want to just say "NO" to this administration on the budget, I would suggest we participate in the process through our Congressman and be sure what is sent to the President is a well represented and vetted document from its citizens. Stay in the Arena, Resist, and Participate.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Warped Political Reality Rules for now

In the old days when some politician would lie, be obscene, wallow in the mud, or just try to impersonate the devil during a campaign, they would show some remorse and climb back into a normal state of reality after the election. NO MORE! Now it is all about doubling down and taking what use to be political rhetoric into a kind of religion that reconstructs our moral and value makeup.

Listening to the drone of absurdities mostly from the Trump and Company but also from the press to a lesser degree, it is hard to stay optimistic on a good result. Science, Truth, Data, Facts and the basic support of America's values are important here but it seems like much of what I was taught in my life is of little value in a Donald J. Trump reality. The things and policies I had thought had real value and importance seem to be irrelevant and meaningless to the majority of Congress and the President.

When I look at the facts of Healthcare and we keep pre-existing conditions and children under their parents to age 26, we need participation from all citizens in the same pool to make it work. Simple math and statistics do not support abandonment from government subsidies and regulation without increased premiums and decreased coverage. The claims are the claims and somebody needs to pay for it. We need to fix Obama care or go to a universal coverage and it is as simple as that folks. Otherwise we are taking more than 2 steps back to higher premiums and less coverage, the government being off the hook for subsides, and of course the wealthy getting a tremendous tax break from the republicans again.

But why should I complain about the results of an election of the greatest nation on the planet right? We elected these guys and now it is time to pay the price. Maybe this Warped Political Reality will pave the way to real change in 2 and 4 years and we will again be leaders of the humans on this earth. But for now we must buckle up, resist, and stay true to the values and moral structure that we know is America. We must not let the Warped Political Reality change our core beliefs in our fellow human beings and should continue to push forward on a positive and constructive approach to our future.

   

Monday, February 27, 2017

Diamond Tee Dump # 3 America First!

I was hoping by now that the campaign rhetoric would have ceased with President Trump and he would have moved on to showing a few olive branches and methodologies to success.

On a positive note I am all for a fairer tax system and improvements in the ACA program that has insured millions that never had coverage. But the Muslim Ban and fear labeling groups of people needs to stop. Trump needs to repeal and replace his hate speeches and executive orders with workable actions that brings humanity together with a true safe plan to move forward. Reasonable actions and caution is all good to protect our nation but it must be based on reality data, not political populist rage and reaction. Creating more polarity and anger will only breed more violence and hatred.

The America First cry is in action what every president and elected official has tried to enact since the first day this country was born. We have all taken the oath of office and pledged our allegiance to this nation. It is not a question of whether the "America First" was your slogan or not that makes you a good Representative or President, it is whether or not your policies have been supportive to the American Dream and produced results for that mission. We will not know if Donald J.Trump will achieve any success at all at this point in time. Some Presidents in the past have made America greater and some have made it less great. But all have tried to put America First, for this there is NO DOUBT about their intention.

Now real success might not be as easy to achieve in 2017 and beyond because we do live in a global economy and very accessible world. The days of the Iron Fist having any success in controlling the world is over. If not already the reality, many nations and groups throughout the globe will have the ability to destroy the planet and could use it if backed into a corner. Therefore a just, fair, and civil approach to relationships and negotiations need to be the boilerplate to all embraces from this nation if we want to achieve peace. Our constitution, bill of rights, and past humanity towards others demonstrates the values we need to succeed with our fellow inhabitants of this world to survive and live a good life. We need to be in this for the long term, not just win a battle or a war for profit.

I have been comforted that while President Trump was tested a few times by both Russia and North Korea and he has not reacted in the same fashion as his asinine tweets that get excreted out like the perfume of a skunk. But on almost every front of our relations with other nations, his words and rhetoric of "America First" and hateful under tones, have put even our best allies in a recoil mode. This behavior by the President and reaction to it throughout the world has been the most dangerous development and is a threat to the security of our nation.

It is time that Donald J. Trump really put "America First" and act like a President should, with compassion, thoughtful dialog and understanding of  people different then himself throughout the world as he tries to make things better for this nation. We understand we need to act from a position of strength but that strength does not come from our military and economic standing alone, the real strength comes from our values for truth, freedom, and the well being of human beings in this world.



Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Diamond Tee Dump #2

I am embarrassed that Donald J. Trump is our President of the United States. With his lying, bullying, threatening and empowering a cast of destructive disrupters I am dumfounded that every citizen isn't screaming for impeachment.

There will be no change or normalization from Double Down Trump in the future. The only remedy will be impeachment and conviction by the United States Congress which at this point seems light years away.

Let us not fool ourselves here people, Diamond Tee has a Large Cleaver in his hand and his chopping at our civil rights and the humanity of our nation. Up to this point this assault is going virtually unchallenged by the Republican establishment. I guess they just cant wait for themselves and their billion dollar backers to get the big promised tax cuts!

The Muslim Ban was a way to continue his hate and fear cultivation to prep the public for a clamp down of our cherished liberties. Wait! Wait! Wait!.. Oh ya, its coming.  Intention matters concerning immigration and voting rights in this country. He is not honest in his speech or his intentions. The Muslim Ban threatens our liberties and the 3-5 million illegal vote allegations are to limit minorities from voting in the future elections.

Working Class folks are threatened with loss of health insurance and Diamond Tee will legislate the elimination for the right of workers to have collective bargaining. He might be successful in generating more low wage jobs with NO BENEFITS. If Diamond Tee is unchallenged social security, Medicare and Education will also be restricted to give people fewer options. Full access to options that are unaffordable and unattainable are promotions of false hope.

The only hope I am having now is that Diamond Tee shafts the Republicans over the next few months so they grow impatient and become fearful of the vast spectrum of uncertainties. I am counting on the fact that he doesn't really care who he sticks it too and the Republicans will have their day....Believe Me! Now Let's Pray!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Diamond Tee Dump #1

I'm Done. All of Trumps stupid ill-advised promises to his alt right cronies are being delivered in spades. There will be no pivot, no thoughtfulness, no intelligence, no humanity and absolutely no refection of this nations great values that has drawn people to our nation for decades. My allegiance is to the United States of America and our Constitution, not Diamond Tee.

The Presidential position as I have known it is vacant and a tyrant is occupying the Whitehouse. Listening to the rants and tweets of this guy that is continuing to destroy the years of good will throughout the globe and across our nation is very disturbing. Diamond Tee's most recent action banning Muslims from coming to this country will undermine our connections to good honest Muslim allies across the globe and flame the fires of anti-American hated throughout the populous of the Muslim world. Trump is gutting the intelligence from our intelligence agencies that work through the Muslim networks in the Mideast. Trump could also cause great harm to our troops especially in IRAQ and around the globe. When Diamond Tee is done burning every bridge that past diplomats have built he will leave us with only military options to deal with problems we face internationally.

Whether it is women's issues, environmental abandonment, the stupid 15 billion dollar wall, immigration, a giant build up of our military, or attempting to create illegitimacy for our elected officials in our last election, Donald J Trump is catastrophic on so many levels I am absolutely stunned.

Solutions and resistance must immediately be put into play to keep us safe and rational over the next 4 years. The Congress and Judicial must immediately intercede to prevent Diamond Tee from doing substantial damage to our health, economics and safety. Failure to immediately act to either put him in his place or impeach him and fumigate that White house of this infestation will be devastating for us and looked at throughout the free world as a abomination.

If the Federal Congress will not step up to stop him them I would suggest the States of our Union stand up and resist in increasing strength that will be necessary to defeat him and his hateful and isolationist ideology. In any case States like California, New York, and Illinois should work together on strategies to disarm Diamond Tee and prevail on retaining all the great values this nation stands for.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Lake County Board Votes to Keep IMRF Pension

Yesterday I watched the Lake County Board vote to support its members to receive a IMRF pension. While I was able to promote a vigorous debate on this issue last year, this resolution passed without a word of debate at the full board meeting and at the Finance Committee a week prior.

Senate Bill 2701 will eventually put an end to pensions for County Board members throughout the state but McHenry County in 2016 voted to reject pensions for its members.  The Lake County Board should have followed McHenry's lead in immediately stopping any additional pension liabilities from current and future board members. I think one unintended consequence of Senate Bill 2701 was while Board Members were receiving their full salary to allow them to start immediately drawing their monthly pension. I believe most current vested board members have significantly enhanced their compensation opting for their pension while continuing to serve.

Government reform can come in many forms to help reduce costs to the taxpayers. Wasteful spending, out sourcing to private companies, consolidation of governments and internal departments, and sharing capitol assets to provide services can all provide tax relief to citizens of our communities. 

Pensions for part-time policy makers like Lake County Board Members should be ended sooner than later.  As a managerial government we hire professional people to operate our government and carry out the policies that are put forward. The Lake County Board position is currently designed as a part time job that has well less than 10 scheduled (about 2hr.) meetings per month. The one great thing  Senate Bill 2701 does is preempt new Board Members from joining the IMRF plan so as the board turns over this pension offering will disappear. The one thing I have come to realize is the best way to effect change at our local level is for the State to Mandate reforms even though it does have a hard time dealing with its own problems.  I would suggest an amendment to SB2701 to stop any participation beginning in 2021. That would give notice to those that run 2 or 4 years from now that no pension would be available after that date. This policy could also be taken on by our Lake County Board. A hard cut off date is reasonable and affirmative pension reforms that benefit the taxpayer need to move forward asap.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Get it Done School District 112

It has been many years, a referendum, some studies, and plenty of Chaos that has proceeded lack of current direction by our elementary school district 112. After the denial of the 200 million dollar referendum the board had committed to closing some schools in 2017 and getting the over population of underutilized school buildings under control with BDR3. It has been a well accepted premise that several schools need to close since the school populations has dropped.

A mistake was made by putting together the 2.0 committee last summer without sufficient time to reevaluate and study alternative scenarios for the 2017-18 school closing/boundary transition. There was just not enough time to get any change done and start to transition into the 2017-18 school year. Political pressure on the board and new board elections seemed to precipitate a total collapse blamed on the superintendents resignation but was just a basic surrender of the reigns of power directing the collapse of the 2017-18 BDR3 plan.

I have no intention to get involved at a micro level and am not going to appear at any meeting on this issue but am just dismayed at the unfolding of events and actions of the board of education. The 112 Board was elected to deal with these issues of how to continue to provide excellent education to our children and work through the financial models that were presented and agreed to that demonstrated solvency for our future. What I will say is that there is a tremendous burden on the property taxpayers of Highland Park and Highwood that needs to be addressed by this school board. Throwing your hands up in the air and giving in to parents in Ravinia and Elm Place so they can have one more stab at the apple does not do it folks!

There are many other ideas that could reduce costs like a unified school district with our High Schools, more integrated intergovernmental cooperation on maintenance, landscaping, and non education function partnerships with other governmental bodies. Administrations do not have to be so robust for a population of our size. What is the optimum size for a unified school district? Will the State of Illinois require districts to consolidate in the near future? What happens when the State of Illinois freezes the property taxes next year. Is this how you prepare for that event?

Get real and Get to work on these issues because they wont get solved by continuing to kick the can down the road for the next guy or gal. Really it is more like a Gorilla or Elephant than a Can here folks. Wake up and move on this issue before it cripples the core education of our children.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

HP City Council Candidates - First Glimpse and Evaluation

Well, since my retirement I know I have become more irrelevant in the Political World and that is just fine with me. Anyways how many people really listened to me with credentials? I am excited to see opposition in this City Council race and look forward to hear people debate the issues.

We have a City Council race coming up in April and I have been thinking of issues that are important to me. This race is one of best of three for one seat and another of best of four for three seats. There are Three incumbents and four newcomers in this newly contested City Council race and the one thing I can say is there are some very smart and well educated folks that will be on the ballot. The only problem is will that smartness and education be used to further promote the values that are important to me and others that think in a similar manner or will they oppose those values.

One of the most important qualifications to me to serve on the City Council is accessibility to the citizens and timeliness of responses. I'm a kind of guy that expects a Councilman to be ALL IN, respond immediately to a resident, and be as fully engaged and transparent as possible. If someone has a full time job that can be a distraction and limit accessibility and timely responses. On the other hand a particular profession can be an asset to performance as a Councilman. A candidates commitment to time and engagement is a primary focus during evaluation of my choice.

For most candidates there is a learning curve to the job so is the candidate just running for a two year term or are they committed to running in 2019? Most City Councilman serve 2 terms (8 years) so how passionate is the candidate to public service? Does the candidate have a conflict with the functions of the City of HP that can benefit themselves, associates, family, or friends economically? A single issue candidate is not the worse thing if they have the ability to pivot off that issue and use the passion for other matters. Experience may also not be required especially if the candidate can show leadership and good judgement on community matters. Several past Councilman had not served on a commission prior to being a Councilman and were major contributors.

Some Questions I might ask of the Candidates are as follows:

1. Why do you want to be a Councilman and what do you want to achieve?
2. What background and passion do you posses that will make you successful?
3. Explain how you would interact with the decision making process for sister governments like schools? Explain the boundaries of separate authority. Do you believe the City should have authority on which schools close in HP? Should the City have authority on what the Park District spends?
4. How do you feel about the LARGER multi-story buildings recently allowed by the change in zoning?
5. City of HP is Home Rule that allows them to bypass state restrictions on taxation and legislation. How do you feel about property taxes and fee structure?
6. Is sustainability important to you and how will you promote leadership in HP?
7. Explain your position on the recent legislation on gun restrictions in HP?
8. Concerning a global position on government reform, consolidation, and efficiency. How would you promote it and what suggestions do you have?
9. How many hours are available per week for you to dedicate to being a Councilman?
10. Give me your comments and evaluation of the current City Council over the past 4 years?

I have talked to several candidates and look forward to speaking to the rest so I can make my decision about who to vote for in this election. I hope you will listen, speak up and ask questions. We need to network and understand whom amongst this bunch will lead the city with a framework that will serve us best.
Steve








Sunday, January 01, 2017

Potus-Elect Trump Dump # 3 Dumbing Down the US of A

Denial of Climate Change, Voodoo Economics, Allowing Pollution to flourish, and pushing back civil rights and liberties to darker times would all be dumb directives for this new administration to promote. If the executive branch wants to declare war on science, national values and humanity we hopefully have the legislative and Judicial branches to keep us alive and rational. Such an abuse of power can't be allowed to occur by Trump since the harm it can do could be catastrophic. Kind of Scary!

More and More we are seeing the bombastic Candidate Twisted Trump, now President Elect, being the shameful beast that many of us feared. While I was hoping that he would be more grounded in reality with his election, his demonstration of appointments and tweets are continueing on the same abusive and irrational pattern as The Candidate Twisted Donald Trump.

I will say there are some signs of hope but are still dwarfed by the actions and words that continue to be unreasonable and irrational. One can only hope that the power and weight of the office, once emerged within it, will overwhelm and truly grip a newly sworn in President. Maybe he will then start to weigh his words and actions to protect his nation and citizens. So there is hope and really until he is sworn in I will not brand him the Presidential disaster he has portrait himself as of this date.

While I was much more hopeful right after the election, stepping into the Presidential Shoes will even impact a Prima Donna like Trump with a tremendous BOLT. So Let us Pray, because at this point we have little other choice with Trump being our duly elected President.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

President-Elect Trump Dump #2


Almost three weeks of hoping and praying that some common sense judgement and decisions would emerge from the lips of the Potus-Elect. My past thoughts of "Give him a Chance" seems to be slipping away into a reality of hopelessness, despair and depression.

While some of his proposed appointments are from that awful swamp, at least they know the lay of the land and have worked in the peoples arena. Most of them are smudged with past comments of hate, mistrust, and spoken rants that do not represent the values of our nation. Other appointments not from the swamp are missiles from the far right and will promote policy from the voices of  a small misguided minority of our nation. I'm very concerned about the harm and destruction that will occur to citizens and our earth from his appointments if the Senate approves.

Potus-Elect needs to shift from his Pre-Election rants to allow his presidency to be viable. He should be applauded if he changes his positions to a more reasonable stance. How about a little honey for good decisions. His continued tweets, the appointments of his billionaire far right buddies, and any Bannonistic rage will unravel any chance of success.

Let us not forget another gorilla in the room that has not been caged as yet, Trump International. Without a complete and total disconnection from his business dealings, this Potus-Elect will teeter on impeachment and legal action against him. Profits to a family owned Trump International can't have any connection to his policies and friendships related to his Presidency.

We now see Hillary Clinton with about a 2 million vote lead and Jill Stein initiating a recount in three States. It is significant that the a majority of citizens did not support Potus-Elect. Nobody should be threatened by the recount to verify that the vote was correct. This is permitted by law and part of our free and transparent government. For me even today that any chance the Potus-Elect wont be sworn in is worth investigation.

Saying Donald J. Trump will be my President is not easily digested at this point. I am hopeful I will feel more settled about that reality in 2017. I will not surrender my values to assimilate to an evil presidency if Potus-Elect choses that path.. While the United States of America is my country, My President will always support and cherish the constitution, values and the laws of our nation. While we need to give Donald J. Trump a chance to succeed it should never be a blank check and must always depend on performance and adherence to the values that make America Great NOW.

Friday, November 11, 2016

President-Elect Trump Dump #1

Elected, to be sworn into office in January, this man Donald J. Trump will be the next President of the United States whether we like it or not. I can say on election night I was not just sick to my stomach but also heartbroken at the thought of his outrageous election rhetoric being melded into the boilerplate of our great country. President Obama and Secretary Clinton could not have been better leaders to us all with their remarks to this nation and to President-Elect Trump.

Giving President-Elect Trump a chance to succeed with constructive legislation and behavior is a posture I wish to embrace but am not betting on a positive result. He is currently off balance and has been transported to a place that will be light years away from any responsibility he has ever shouldered. What comes out on the other side of this transformation of responsibility is any ones guess.

I also want to thank our younger generation for taking to the streets and pushing the argument that we will not forget the words that were spoken and how offensive and hateful the pre-elected Trump performed. That Donald Trump can never represent our great land and only a metamorphosis into a rational and caring human being that embraces our constitution and core values will survive any length of time as our President. Not even the republican politicians will go down that post election road of hate, bigotry, and intolerance.

President-Elect Trump is a showman and seemingly a extraordinary marketer. I am hoping he can play the roll of a decent President we can all be comfortable with just as well as he played the roll of a perfect ass hole during the campaign.

While the climate and competition might have been perfect for a squeaky victory (Electoral College Count), garnering support as Trump represents our nation will require the substance and qualities that reflects the true spirit of this nation. There will be nowhere to hide or others to blame. While there have been a few Presidents that have gone through impeachment proceedings in my lifetime, President-Elect Trump will be a easy target if he fails to pull it together and does not respect our constitution and rule of law.

All that being said, I am hopeful he will center himself, reflect back on those NEW YORK values that many of his local neighbors cherish, and work with both sides of the isle to create a constructive agenda that will support our nation and citizens. Let G-d Bless this great country and its citizens.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Twisted Trump Dump #2

Twisted Donald Trumps decline in the polls could not be more satisfying to me. This pompous nitro powered egotistical person is so far off the tracks I am astonished that 1% of the American public will vote for this guy for dog catcher yet alone our President.

Our American Lives Matter people. Our Children's Lives Matter. I have no doubt that this Twisted Donald Trump would still be shooting off his disgusting mouth as warships of other nations would be approaching our shores to silence his carnage. Twisted Donald Trump is not only a disgrace and totally incompetent for the job of our Commander in Chief, he is a threat to the existence of our great nation and ourselves.

Now he has hired the ultimate cut-throats and personal assassination experts to go after Hillary Clinton and double down on his hateful rhetoric and negative campaign. How many more people can he insult, diminish and deprive before the all the American people wake up to how he threatens us as a nation. This man screams unconstitutional programs, fear and hatred yet prominent Republicans still keep silent.

Step up ALL Americans whether you are Democrat, Republican, Independent, Green, or Libertarian and condemn this Twisted Donald Trump for what he is! A fool that is harming our nation and families every time he opens his mouth.. Unite!

Friday, August 05, 2016

Twisted Trump Dump #1

I have been tweeting about Twisted Donald Trump for many months and really need to vent with more than 140 words per shot. While I almost would like to not think about this fool, it has been impressed on me that our citizens could actually elect this beast, so I will continue to shout out against him being elected as our national leader. It just can't happen!

For my fellow citizens that are Republicans or Independents that can't stand Hillary, you need to suck it up, vote for her, and save our country from the travesty that Twisted Donald Trump would cause. The ticket of Twisted Trump / Pence is a total disaster and while Mike Pence shows a civilized nature, his anti equal human justice stance and demands on women's behavior with their own body is on its own condemning.

Twisted Donald Trumps arrogance, stupidity, and hateful rhetoric has astonishingly been given great freedom and acceptance by a great minority of our nation. WHY? The outright lies about Hillary Clinton who in my opinion has worked tirelessly for the families, women, and people in general makes me want to gag. I guess if you just keep throwing enough shit on the walls, some actually sticks and becomes the public reality over time. Politics in this Country needs to stop being about personal assassinations.

How do the Twisted Trump supporters interviewed on CNN, CNBC, and other stations keep a straight face as they defend Twisted Donald Trump. When asked about the horrible statements Twisted Donald Trump makes they immediately do a 180 degree to the spin and direct the conversation to Hillary / Benghazi, Hillary / Emails, or some other sick spin about Hillary / Lewinsky. It is pitiful journalism in my opinion to give these people any air time as they are basically saying the Blue Sky is RED..... The Blue Sky is RED. Give me a break here folks... THE BLUE SKY IS BLUE!!! I guess if Twisted Donald Trump said don't watch the Olympics on TV because it would give you Zika Virus these Trumpets would justify it. Can someone please wake me up?

And how about the beating they are giving the Clinton Foundation. I was and am delighted to see our former President Bill Clinton and Hillary have done with that foundation by feeding people, educating people, housing people, providing jobs to people, and healing people. Listening to this Twisted Donald Trump and his cronies you would think that the foundation was set up to make money for the Clintons. The Clinton Foundation enjoys the highest charitable ratings. This was done because the Clintons care about people and have served their entire life in public service helping folks and trying to make lives better. This must be a hard concept for hateful degenerates like Twisted Donald Trump that has spent his life using folks and taking advantage of their misfortune to make a living.

From the beginning I never took Twisted Donald Trump seriously but now we must bring every rational person to the election table to weed this guy out of politics forever. Our objective should be to stop him from winning ONE state in this great union. For those of you that read this I apologize for my tantrum but I do need to vent and there will be more.  Please vote!  My TWISTED Donald Trump Dump #1



Thursday, May 26, 2016

Help us Kill The Route 53 extension Now and Forever

The currently projected 2.65 Billion Dollar Route 53 Extension into Lake County took a big hit when our Chairman Aaron Lawlor courageously reversed his decision to support this boondoggle. This Rt. 53, 45mph pipe dream that has the tollway authority currently scheduled to spend 10's of millions in studies over the next few years needs to be stopped right now.

With folks running from Illinois as fast as they can because of large debt, super high property taxes, and many dysfunctional politicians, some Lake County Board Members continue to push for this new costly roadway.

Now is the right time to get a full Lake County Board consensus on if we should continue to move forward on this Route 53 project or cut the line and Lake County Board support. Whether it is a resolution or a letter from our Chairman that gives direction to staff and the tollway authority on Route 53, we need to act now.  Let us put the project up for debate and get the consensus on the Lake County Board to shut this thing down for good.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Lake County Board Should Reform Redistricting to be Fair to Citizens

Five years ago a few Lake County Board Member Republicans sat around a table and put forward the Republican minded redistricting for the 2012 Elections. With the reduction of two seats on the Lake County Board the Republican Majority did what they could to make those Democratic Seat Losses. They were 50% successful by eliminating a Democratic seat in Deerfield, increasing the Republican majority.

These districts established for the 2012 elections were simply designed to give leverage and a unfair advantage to the Republicans Majority on the board. This is easily done by packing more Democrats in districts the Republicans can't win thus putting less Democrats in districts that might be competitive or democratic leaning.

While the Lake County Story is about the bully pen of the Republican Majority being unfair to all the residents of Lake County, I suggest all governments need follow a non-partisan process for redistricting in our future. We should immediately change our laws and rules to promote fairness and equality for a process that will begin again in just a few years.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Allow Public Online Access to our Committee Meetings! Now!

Do you think we should have a recorded feed to our Finance and other Lake County Board Committee Meetings? Yes, of course you do because in Lake County Government all the action takes place in Committee and the once a month full board meetings are Boooorrrrrinng! Yesterday at our Finance Committee meeting Sandy Hart of Lake Bluff spoke to the need for transparency and better public access to these meetings. While this issue had be discussed in the past in 2015, it was kind of... tabled at that time. At the begining of the meeting the conversation was cut short because the chairman thought this was a NEW MEMBER INITIATIVE that was outside our normal county function and should be discussed later on in the agenda under budget policies. The fine tuning of our budget policies is the normal beginning process of the yearly budget discussions. Because the State of Illinois has cut several grants and monies to local governments we have to look at ways we can futher restrain our spending and give all the departments and directors a clear message about cost reductions atributed to revenue cuts. On this issue I fully agree and keep pushing on living within our means. Now, the new initative section of the budget policies deals with a proceedure to create a new program whether it comes to our administrator from the staff or the board members. We have all decided that we should not allow those in 2017 because of fiscal restraints mostly attributed from State of Illinois uncertainies and I agree. The issue of giving public online access to our meetings has been pigeon holed in this catagory of New Initiatives by Chairman Lawlor and everybody else on the Committee but yours truley who strongly objected to this process.Being put into new intiatives would effectively kill online meeting access until 2018. To record meetings would take about 90k in capital unbudgeted money we already have in our telecommunications account. Communications is not a new program. Maybe for the communication crew to go out and tape an event might now require them to go through a new membership initiative process! Our Chairman has taped his Dirty Jobs Show for 3 years now at a cost of $$$$$ and it did not have to go through this process. We have had crews come to our district to tape us and it has not gone through new member initiatives! Come on Now. I thinking that maybe the "New Member Initiatives" is just a another way of making something hard to get done that the BIGWIGS just dont want to do... RIGHT?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

State Legislators don't support Collaboration on Consolidation of local governments

Where is the Beef? Last year when we finally got some traction on Centralizing Assessments in Lake County to save our taxpayers 4.4 million dollars I was hoping to get State Legislation rolling in the spring of 2015. At a minimum I was expecting to get discussions rolling with our State legislators like Melinda Bush, Ed Sullivan, Terry Link and Sam Yingling.... Then in the Fall of 2015 getting legislation on the table that would start the ball rolling for reform by referendum. While legislators initially seemed supportive, they virtually have done nothing to work with us or support progressive governmental ideas.

While it seemed intriguing shortly after we scheduled discussions at our RRL Committee that Melinda Bush offered some legislation (not at our request) to allow some action on the subject, she immediately crashed and burned with her ill (non) advised Senate Bill. After a surprise that this Senate Bill was in committee, those of us on the County Board tried to  get her to understand the complexities of this matter so that it would benefit the citizens, reduce the cost of government, and have a chance of working. But as soon as it was catapulted by Senator Bush into the abyss it was all over. During the current fiasco of state budget nonsense we had no idea a new bill was on the catapult, again without our knowledge or input.

After the Bush Senate Bill rocket crashed and burned I had several promising emails, texts, and calls with Sen. Bush on the subject of government efficiencies and specifically starting with Centralized Assessments. By then we had published our Lake County report that showed our current Lake County Assessment system was from the age of the dinosaurs and that in fact we could save 4.4 million dollars for our taxpayers with the modern Centralized County approach.

While I was promised Sen. Bush would work with me (us) to collaborate on the specifics of a new Senate bill that would work for Centralized Lake County Assessments, I never received any further contacts from her even though I reached out several times. The only thing I can assume is that the kitchen got way too hot for her from Townships and there was really no intention by her to accomplish real reform. Her motivation it seems was simply to make a compelling headline.

Upon publishing our report that would eliminate all the 18 Township Assessors offices and consolidate operations under the County we (Lake County) reached out to our Township officials and Assessors for them to come in one on one and in groups to comment and debate the merits of the draft report we put on the table. We were excited that the staff and elected township folks participated with us in about a dozen meetings and conversations. However, they never put together a comprehensive rebuttal report that challenged the facts in our March 2015 report from Lake County as they had requested as the next step.

At our last County Board discussion on assessments in the summer of 2015 the Assessors promised to have a response and report for us in a few months. Here we are in April of 2016 almost 8 months later and there has been no report, no meetings, and absolutely no response to the report we put out showing that there would be a 4.4 million dollar savings to taxpayers if we had a Centralized Assessment System in Lake County. The reason the Assessors can get away with this political burial of the Centralized Assessments lies directly at the feet of our State Legislators.

Now on this past Monday came Sen Bush and Morrison that held a press conference at our Permitting Center in Libertyville. The new legislation and packet of Senate Bills they unveiled came to a complete surprise to me and the township folks. Eight months of total silence on an issue that we were willing/needed to collaborate on with our state legislators. Instead they blindside us and simply decide to send up another media flare without doing the homework needed for successful legislation. It is like all these people know how to do is send up media flares hoping for a good political spin for the next election. Really Senators! No talk, no homework, and no collaboration means no results.

Hey I am on my last eight months on the County Board and I am still willing to push this collaboration on consolidation if some of these folks are willing to work on it. But the reality is when one election is over these folks concentrate on money and support for the next one until they are tossed out or get their pensions. Real positive governmental change is just not palatable to these political animals.

While I am heading off stage left into the wings, I wish everybody sticking around the best of luck in finding sustainable solutions for our citizenry. But I will tell you that unless folks step up and push hard for change, get ready to start forking up more taxes and fees to PAY the BEAST.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Transparency and Honest Government Demands Tax Referendums in November

I was sitting in a meeting the other day with a bunch of fine well meaning folks that work hard for our community. We agreed about the lack of transparency in County government by not having committee meetings recorded and the ability of anyone to view the on goings and discussions that occur.

Over the years in local government I have championed transparency. I have always promoted the citizens voices to be part of the conversation. That not only includes us opening avenues for them to travel on a transparent system but also to market and promote that system so it is used. The objective is to have our citizens not only educated about the process, but also to be part of the process where their voice is a constant integration that produces a well discussed result.

In our last election that included Presidential candidates we had a pretty good representation and voter turn out. A 112 school referendum which I opposed was turned down by a 2 to 1 margin. People are angry about taxes and the constant large money demands of governmental agencies in the name of quality services. It has become offensive to many. Politicians and governmental staff just don't seem to realize how oppressive these large tax bills are on the citizens.

As we look into elections currently with massive statistical analysis driving our words and strategies, we must also not lose sight of our values of true democracy as we passionately drive the nail home.

In Illinois we have 3 types of elections: General (in November), Primary (in March), and the Consolidated (in April). The amount of participation ranges from about 20% of registered voters in the Consolidated to over 70% in some Generals. The trick in elections is to get YOUR VOTERS to the polls on election day. Only 10% of citizens need to support your referendum or candidate if you can get them to the polls during an election where 19% show up to vote. And there lies the problem where issues and candidates can be successful against the will of the community at large.

During the last consolidated election there was virtually no opposition to many offices up for election and voter turn out was low. Governmental organizations like school districts have the ability to market their plan in the terms of "Education" to those voters and can drive them to the polls in a small turn out election. If in fact the community really felt a referendum is truly needed it would not matter when it would be held on the election calendar. The bottom line is that if they know the majority of citizens in Highland Park will not support a huge referendum the only way to pass it is by disenfranchising a great majority of voters. This is a purposeful act that has been successfully driven by politicians and school districts for years. If you don't have kids or grand kids in schools, not up on community chatter, or not being driven by national political ads that scare the crap out of you, one might not focus and prioritize the need to go and vote in a consolidated election in April. Statistics don't lie! A quarter or less of our registered voters do not go vote in these Consolidated elections and that is what politicians that want big tax increases depend on.

The idea that these are very complex issues and leaders have been elected to make these decisions does not justify disenfranchising folks that don't go to the polls in April elections. Shame on them if they believe they have a better chance to pass a tax referendum at a low vote turnout but will lose in a large general.

I am suggesting that referendums that increase our tax levy over the tax cap be required to only be on the ballot in the General Election. If one would need to be passed in a consolidated election for an emergency I would propose that it only be successful if a 2/3rds vote is achieved. People talk about transparency and getting citizen involvement in the decision making process. Lets be real and not try to circumvent the majority of citizens by holding tax referendums in elections when they don't vote. November General Elections should be the only times that tax referendums can be passed with a simple majority.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Vote No on 198 Million 112 School Referendum


During the course of my 20 years in public service, I have often asked my fellow elected officials to help me find ways of reducing the huge tax burden on our Highland Park and Lake County residents. At best, the officials have shown small restraint by holding the line on tax levies. Nonetheless, our property values have still not recovered to pre-recession values, while our tax costs have continued to significantly rise. Together, these factors cause real financial stress for many of our residents.

District 112’s enormous referendum of $198 million capital debt and a huge tax levy--the largest increase in Highland Park history--will further strain our already struggling citizens. We already pay more than twice as much in real estate taxes as most areas in the nation, and D112 is irresponsibly ignoring this key fact: They are asking for money that people simply do not have. Residents are already abandoning Highland Park.

Enough is enough. Our community must do better.

The D112 Board needs to live within its means, just like the rest of us must do in our personal lives. This referendum pits neighbor against neighbor. The Board threatens closures designed to scare residents into voting yes, when the financial facts are quite different in the short term. This is an unfair “all or nothing” strategy designed to pressure voters. The message? Support the referendum or your school will soon close, even though the financial facts don’t support near-term closures.

There is a better way: D112 should consider combining and reducing the administration, eliminating unaffordable programs, holding the line on employee compensation, and voting to close unsustainable schools only after voters have a chance to decide on the referendum.

I urge all my fellow citizens to stand strong and VOTE NO.

 
Steven W Mandel

Current Lake County Board Member & LCFPD Commissioner, District 11 (2012- current)
Past Mayor Pro Tem, Councilman, City of Highland Park (1993-2012)
2157 St. Johns Ave. Highland Park, IL 60035
stevemandel@comcast.net   847.456.6933

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Reorganizing government requires Bold and Angry representatives

You need not look any further then ourselves to find solutions to problems we have with high taxation. The one report from Lake County staff demonstrated we could save 4.4 million from eliminating 18 township assessors. Coming on a year later no further action was taken and without booting the current leadership out of office I doubt any will be forthcoming. It is sad that the politics rule and simple common sense and the welfare of our communities suffer.

Current elected officials have a small stick (outside of providing momentum for large levy's) and like to speak softly so as to not create any attention or threats to themselves. Very few are willing to be bold and challenge the status quo of government operations. I myself have been put in jeopardy many times by fearlessly pushing issues that create angry responses and retribution, but what other way could I represent you in a way that promotes constructive change helping our citizenry.

With our high taxation and frustration with officials to deal with problems in Lake County and Illinois I urge all of you to participate in the upcoming elections to support candidates that are willing to be bold and make a difference. For those incumbents and candidates without opposition that seem comfortable in their positions and are looking to continue on our current trend, I would suggest you voice your expectation for change and greater efficiencies in government..... Or else!

While I have been on the Lake County Board for over three years requesting we provide aggressive leadership on these issues, only a lot of tongue wiggling has occurred without many positive results. Stay strong and let all your representatives know the pain you're feeling, demand results, or ask them to move out of the way of constructive progress for reform.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Everybody should be able to watch Lake County Committee meetings

Lake County Board Member Sandy Hart brought forward a request to start video recording our Finance Committee so the public could watch and hear our deliberations. The reason she chose the Finance Committee is most all agenda items deliberated by the Lake County Board comes through the Finance Committee. Starting at Finance would also be a pilot of sorts by demonstration of the more informative discussion at committees.

Our Finance Chairman Brent Paxton, Member Steve Carlson and Member Diane Hewitt spoke against video taping any committee meetings. Members Strongly supporting Member Sandy Hart's efforts to video tape the Finance meetings were myself and Member Nick Sauer of Lake Barrington. While our Chairman Aaron Lawlor and Member Mike Rummel had supportive words, they both had qualified support to move forward.

Bottom line is all the action at Lake County happens at the Committee level. Unless you can personally attend a committee meeting there is no way to experience the verbatim conversation on the many issues we vote on monthly at the Lake County Board. There are not even public accessible audio recordings of the committee meetings.

Listening to Members Carlson and Hewitt's vehement condemnation of an public open accessible video recording or live presentation of these meetings really left me without words. I am not understanding what the secret is and why they would not want to integrate our public in these deliberations. What is there to hide? Is there a different Member Carlson and Hewitt representing their constituents away from the cameras then in front of them? I would hope not.

Citizens have a right to be able to watch us speak and represent them at these committee meetings. They have a right to better understand the work we do on their behalf. Interaction is essential to our representations and video recordings of these meetings will allow the public and press to experience verbatim explanations of agenda items, questions, concerns, and hear new ideas. Since the press hardly comes to any of our meetings, it will give them a better chance to write about our agenda items, better understanding of facts and motivations.

Come on! Its almost 2016 and still members of this Lake County Board want to keep government in the 1950's. Please, lets open our doors, let the sunshine in and promote video taping at the committee meetings. PLEASE

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Representing The People


Current events in Chicago and Fox Lake have again made me reflect on my role as an elected official being challenged with official misconduct. Along with just reacting to these matters, we must always review policy as new data emerges to be sure there are sufficient checks and balances in place to prevent misconduct.

During my time representing Lake County and Highland Park there have been several times I have been challenged to understand the actions of our employees when their actions were contrary to our values or policy. When we are elected to public office we become trustees of that municipal corporation but are still ultimately accountable to our residents. When our governments produce misconduct events it is incumbent on us to fully understand how and why these actions occurred. We should never put our head in the sand and must always take immediate and appropriate action to remedy any wrongdoing. There can't be any tolerance to criminal behavior, resulting safety of our public, and possible financial cost to our taxpayers.

While I was in Highland Park we were challenged by racial profiling charges and came up with measures to mitigate profiling. We challenged our officers to have more open and transparent interactions with the public. We started recording all stops and created a public safety committee of Councilman that reviewed video of those stops, periodically and unscheduled. We also handed out cards to all citizens that were pulled over and gave them a contact number to our Human Relations Commission and how they could go to make a complaint if they felt they were not treated properly.

When you're in government as an elected official there is constant talk about protecting the services and operations of government. I am always surprised that we don't have more discussion about the tolerance of citizens to shoulder the burden of government and deal with the aggressive nature we sometimes exhibit, either being from regulations, restrictions, or police enforcement. 

I always reaffirm in government meetings that my first responsibility is not to ensure the protection of the government but rather the citizens, the shareholders of the government. Dr. Thomas Rudd, our Lake County Corner, has demonstrated his welcomed independent view on several matters over the last few years offering his opinion on matters, even though they were in direct conflict with others in Lake County government. Dr. Rudd's efforts have challenged closed door decisions within our government jurisdictions, provided much needed sunshine on wrongful actions, and promoted transparency for our citizens.

While we should always promote a positive team spirit within our governments, it is incumbent for us including our staff,  to realize that the first team we are all on is the Citizen team, led by all the citizens and families that support and depend on us. Leadership like that of Dr Rudd demonstrates that we should always support our communities values and always pursue uncovering wrongdoing when something just doesn't seem right. We should always voice our opinions, suggestions, and demand dialog on remedies to possible conflicts, even before they might occur.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Buying Public Land is a Huge Tax Increase and loss of Open Space

When I served on the City Council with Mayors Pierce, Geraci, and Belsky, we worked as ONE government representing the people of Highland Park. We might not have agreed on every issue with the school and park district, but all of us showed the respect for each others office being aware that we all worked for the same citizens.

Whether money is spent by any taxing district in Highland Park, the money comes out of our citizens pockets. Past practice of governments I served on did not monetize land transferred among our districts. A few examples are Moraine Park, the HPCC driving range, and the Aqua Park. In the 90's, the City either gave properties to the Park District for one dollar, or/and swapped the land for other needed public uses like the Central Avenue Fire Station.

Currently, I am reading that the School District 112 wants to buy West Ridge Park for 4 million from the Park District. This would be a huge 4 million dollar tax increase for the citizens of Highland Park. Where does this new money come from? These new acquisition dollars come from increased tax dollars that won't go towards the services the district is mandated to perform. In district 112's case, add this cost on the already over budgeted capital outlays that are considered, and the tax burden grows.

I also will say, we should be creating more open space in Highland Park, not disposing of what we have acquired. The value of open lands and respect for nature is Highland Park. To cash out on our ball fields and greenways would be a mistake.

Highland Park and its governments should never accept a net loss of open space for its residents and should continue to build on the great green work of prior governments. If governments can't agree on a swap then maybe it is not the right choice for our community and citizens. Please don't charge your own citizens for land that they already own and want to keep.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Kentucky Clerk Needed to follow the law and should be Removed

When we take the oath of office we swear to support the constitution and the laws of our nation. For those politicians and elected officials that refuse to follow the law and directions of the courts, removal from the office they hold is a clear result.

If you become a soldier and are required to fight a war, but refuse to follow orders to kill, you are either jailed or released of service. This situation is no different and the issues here are crystal clear.

While many of us that believe in G-D and do our best to follow a good path in life, OUR values don't necessarily mesh with the laws of our nation. A fundamentalist's religious belief and order in many cases does not provide the diversity and choice that our current constitutional framework provides.

If one wants to serve as an elected official, we need to serve the orders of the courts, follow the laws of our nation, or face the consequences of being a criminal in our society. We have the right of religious freedom and practice of those choices as long as it does not take away from the freedoms of others. Live and let live is the motto.

The Criminal Clerk of Kentucky Kim Davis needed to perform her job or leave it. The harm has occurred and she has chose her personal belief over the law. She is a criminal and should be removed from the elected position she holds immediately as she has refused to abide by the orders of the court. Case Closed.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

4.4 Million in Centralizing Assessments should remain a Lake County Priority

Yesterday at the Finance Committee I asked if we were adding "Centralized Assessments for Lake County" on our 2016 Legislative Agenda. This is a timely issue since our RRL (L for Legislation) will be putting together our Agenda for our State Legislators over the next month.

To refresh everybody's memory, I had brought the issue of Centralized Assessments up to the RRL Committee about a year ago, our staff put together a Final Draft Report in which an estimated 4.4 million of wasted property tax dollars could be saved, and the RRL Committee differed further discussion with direction we meet with representation of 18 Township Assessors.

While Lake County Chairman Aaron Lawlor stated that legislation could be introduced through February of 2016, he thought it would be difficult to pass such legislation downstate on an election year. All that being said, we could amend our legislative agenda at anytime, giving us ample time to get the issue on the table after our discussion with the Assessors.

I believe the Lake County Board Members should stand up now and ask the State to give us authority to Centralizing Assessments in Lake County and Eliminate 18 Township Assessor offices. It has always been my opinion that these offices are a waste of money we can't afford and closing them would save our taxpayers at least 4.4 million dollars in property taxes. Read the Report! After many conversations with assessors and reviewing their data, I feel very comfortable that our Lake County report showing a estimated 4.4 million in savings is on the mark. I am not expecting any new revelations to emerge at future meetings with the Assessors but only a response to our Lake County report which I have heard.

Now we can sit on our hands and wait for Melinda Bush and other legislators of Lake County to do something constructive on Centralizing Assessments, but their recent silence on this subject has been deafening and discouraging. While you could be right Mr. Chairman on the election year politics shutting this initiative down, we were not elected to be bystanders and I strongly suggest we NUDGE them a bit. We need to put the welfare of our residents first by adding Centralized Assessments on our legislative agenda in 2016! Hey, this should be a no brainer for our reform Governor Rauner.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

This Presidental Race is Painful and Harmful

Listening to the anti-women rantings of republicans and the email Clinton saga really has me down on this Presidential election thing.

Really? In 2015 you can proclaim you're going to strip the rights of women and steer our nation towards the control of the fundamentalist religions and get elected? What happened to freedom of religion and thoughts?  I thought we were at war with ideology and rebels that dictated and dominated folks with their own religious values.

While this screaming level of rhetoric challenges our social tolerant values, the spill of this hate and motivated violence is seeping through the cracks of our social fabric, causing harm and polarity that could jeopardize us all. We must all be careful on personalizing our frustration and taking aim at select groups with our own view of justice.

There is a big difference of having a robust discussion of governance policy and those that take aim at their political villains, spouting evil doings and a harsh personal tone. I know these political debates about abortion, immigration, and governmental communication protocols are not meant to spur criminal and physical reaction throughout our public, but as frustration grows within supporters of these aggressive views, I would suggest violence becomes more rational to everyday citizens.

I am hoping we can turn down the personal attacks and accusations on fellow politicians and citizens. While there is much work to be done and many issues to resolve, we must always put civility first before we resort to violent speech or actions in support of our great nation. As we focus attentions on the intolerance, hate, and barbaric actions of foreign fundamentalists, we must not lose focus on the tone and actions within our country. One only has to look at world history to determine what could be our future.