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   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.