County Treasurer Gets 4 Years for Theft

Mercer County, Illinois

Mercer County, Illinois

The former Republican Mercer County Treasurer just got sentenced to four years in State prison.

Mike Bertelsen is his name.

In the past he was chairman of Mercer County Republican Central Committee.

Then he was treasurer of the Republican Party in this far Western Illinois county.

In August of 2012 Precinct Committeemen found out Bertelsen had stolen $1200 in party funds, a Committeeman wrote me.

He confessed and was turned him in immediately.

Bertelsen was charged and released on bail, but he continued to work as Mercer County Treasurer.

The local GOP ousted him..

A year later he was charged with official misconduct for stealing $13,000 from the county’s 911 Fund.

He was charged, released on bail and returned to work at courthouse for a day or two when his key to courthouse was taken from him.

For about a year he continued to get salary.

Former County Board Candidate Makes Modest Suggestion of How to Fund Obamacare Counselors

An email from Nancy Gonsiorek, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat in District 3 on McHenry County Board in the GOP Primary Election, talks of how to fund Obamacare counseling being discontinued by the Family Health Partnership:

Subject: Board Rejects Health Care Grant

Dear County Board Members Barnes, Evertson, Heisler, Hammerand, Kohler, McClellan, Miller, Nowak, Schuster and Skala;

The Affordable Care Act is not a perfect law.

Nancy Gonsiorek

Nancy Gonsiorek

In fact, it is an incredibly convoluted and frustrating law.

Nevertheless it is the law, and millions of hard-working taxpayers have been able to obtain insurance because of it.

I don’t expect it to go away; therefore my hope is that, over time, the law will be easier to administer and an increase in the insured population will reduce the cost of health care for all.

It was with great disappointment that I read in today’s paper that you have chosen to decline $584,791 in federal health care funding.

Respectfully, what is wrong with bringing our tax dollars back to McHenry County?

We have many people in this county who are uninsured, many of whom may be working one or more part time jobs, such as yourselves.

The difference between you and those who enroll in insurance plans provided through the ACA, is that you have the opportunity to receive taxpayer-provided benefits for your part-time job as a public official.

Perhaps you are not aware that a majority of employers in McHenry County do not provide benefits for part-time work.

Perhaps you may not know that many elected officials are, in fact, unpaid?

Perhaps we can make a compromise on this situation, to meet “halfway.”

I understand that you may oppose a current law on principle.

Whether it is good policy to reject the funding provided to administer the law may be appropriate in your mind; however, I view this as the baby thrown out with the bathwater.

So, If you really want to make a point about government spending, here’s your chance!

You, the 10 county board members who oppose wasteful government spending, should take your collective $286,972.12 in government-provided salaries and benefits and make a charitable contribution to the Family Health Partnership Clinic in Crystal Lake, so they may continue to provide health care to the uninsured.

Next, vote to reduce the size of the County Board from 24 to 14 members – voila!

More savings for taxpayers – that $286,971.12 becomes an annual savings for our taxpayers.

The additional benefit would be that the County Board meetings may not take quite so long.
GonsiorekCo Bd  chart 10-24-14 You know the old saying about providing solutions rather than complaining about problems.

I hope you will agree that I have provided you a solution to your problem of wasteful government spending.

Thank you for your consideration.

Cary Grade School District Taxes to the Max

The Northwest Herald reported Friday that Cary Elementary School District 26’s Board decided to take from the property taxpayers next year every dime allowed by the Property Tax Cap.

That’s an increase of 1.5% over what was extracted this year.

The maximum amounts allowed to be taxes for each year since the Tax Cap took effect can be seen below:

Tax Cap history 91-14
The Social Security Administration just announced that the expected increase in benefits next year will be 1.7%. It is usually pretty close to the inflationary bounce allowed tax districts.

Drilling for Oil in Lake Michigan

Drilling for oil in Lake Michigan has made the political radar screen in the close North Shore race between Robert Dold and Brad Schneider.
Oil Drilling in Lake Mich Dold-Schneider DH 10-25-14According to an article in the Daily Herald by Russell Lissau, it was already illegal to drill for oil in the Great Lakes and the vote in question was a procedural vote on an amendment that would have been duplicative.

The 2005 Energy Policy Act banned such drilling.

The impact of procedure votes like this is described thusly:

“Politicians on both sides of the aisle and journalists have noted these motions can be gimmicks used to force lawmakers to take votes on politically sensitive topics. Those votes then can be attacked by opponents.”

= = = = =
Way before then, back in the 1970’s, I sponsored a bill that would have banned drilling for oil in the Illinois part of Lake Michigan. It went nowhere.

Tribune Endorses Harrison for Sheriff

The Chicago Tribune has reportedly endorsed Jim Harrison for Sheriff.

I say “reportedly” because someone told me that was the case.

I can’t verify it because the Tribune has locked this subscriber out of what is behind a digital wall.

A couple of days ago I spent about a half an hour with a young man from what I believe was India trying to get logged in after not being able to remember my password.

He said he would escalate my request to someone who would get in touch with me in a couple of days.

It’s been a couple of days and the Tribune’s subscription services operation has been judged inadequate by this long-time subscriber.

Family Health Partnership Clinic Lays Off Obamacare Counselor

An email from Susan Hoban of the Family Health Partnership:

Family Health Partnership logoIt is with deep sadness that we announce the closing of our In Person Counselor Program, which helped countless uninsured people in McHenry County obtain insurance through the new Health Insurance Marketplace or the expanded Public Aid.

Funding for this program came through the state, via our County Health Department who coordinated efforts at 8 local non profit organizations to assist people with the process of getting health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

On Tuesday, October 21, the McHenry County Board voted 10-10 against accepting this grant from the state.

We immediately had to lay off our trained Navigator, and will no longer be able to assist people through this complex process.

Loss of this program is a blow to those we are privileged to serve, and many will face an unforgiving amount of medical debt if they become ill or are in accident.

One of our patients was faced with an uncertain future when his lung x-ray indicated a mass.

We could not get him a lung biopsy, necessary for definitive diagnosis, because he had no insurance.

Thanks to our In Person Navigator, she was able to expedite his Public Aid (which had previously been turned down).

He was then able to get his biopsy and enter treatment for lung cancer.

Without that Public Aid card, there would be no diagnostic nor treatment options available.

Thank you for your continued support of our services.

Without assistance to get people private insurance or Public Aid, we expect the number of patients we serve to increase, and many more to use the emergency room as their primary care clinic wasting precious local health resources.

For more information on the vote, go to the Northwest Herald’s coverage of this issue at

State Grant Statistics – November 2013 – June 2014 (8 months)

Last Fiscal Year Grant –  $500,000

FHPC      Total Program – McHenry County
Face to Face Sessions 913       5750
Public Aid Application Completed 116       905
Marketplace Applications Completed 202       2036

Average Cost of Getting Person Access to Insurance – $500,000 / 2941 = $170
(figure is higher than actual – annual budget was divided by 8 months of activity)

Average Cost of an Emergency Room Visit – $1233 (Bloomberg News, Feb 2013)

Unclear on District Boundaries

In 2008, when this citizen on Lake Avenue in the Grafton Township part of Lakewood put up a sign for Barack Obama, everyone knew he was on their ballot.

This week the same man seems to have put a yard sign for every Democrat he could find.

Dem signs Lake Ave 10-24-14

There are sign for Joe Mains, running for State Representative, District 3 McHenry County Board candidate Kathy Bergan Schmidt, District 4 County Board candidate Arne Waltmire, Congressman candidate Dennis Anderson, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, District 5 County Board candidate Paula Yensen and District 1 Board candidate Nick Chirikos.  

The only problem with the County Board signs are that the resident is located in District 2.

Signs are missing for the top of the Democratic Party ticket–Dick Durbin and Pat Quinn.

Anderson Brings Congressional Campaign to Crystal Lake Tuesday

A press release from Democratic Party congressional candidate Dennis Anderson:

U.S. Congressional Candidate Dennis Anderson Holds Public Town Hall in Crystal Lake October 28 at the Rotary Building/Veteran Acres

Anderson, Dennis facing left

Dennis Anderson

Oct 20, 2014, Gurnee, IL –  U.S. Congressional Candidate Dennis Anderson’s Town Hall Tour continues into the final week of the campaign season.

Anderson’s 20th town hall is scheduled for Crystal Lake area residents on Tuesday, October 28 from 7:00 to 8:30 PMat the Rotary Building at Veteran Acres, 431 N. Walkup Road.

Dennis Anderson is the Democratic candidate for the United States Congress for Illinois’ 14th District. He is running against Republican, Randy Hultgren.