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.

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.