Demetra Tsimiligras for Circuit Judge

Lakewood Votes for Flat Tax Levy

Lakewood Village TrusteePaul Serwatka emails of “some exciting news:”

Paul Serwatka

Paul Serwatka

In my write in campaign to be your village trustee, I essentially made 3 promises…

  1. I would fight to stop the annual property tax hikes that have been levied every year for more than a decade.
  2.  I would fight to stop the $66 MILLION TIF Dist./Sportsplex.
  3.  I would provide an entirely new level of transparency.

For the hundreds of you who joined my email list early on and/or follow along on social media, you know that I have, and continue to, fulfill my 3rd promise of providing exceptional transparency to residents.

But, today, I am very proud to announce that after more than a decade of annual property tax hikes… and after much discussion over many months, the Lakewood Village Board voted, last night, to HOLD THE LEVY FLAT this year!


For those who attended my town hall meetings, you know that I talk quite a bit of the fact that there are still many other taxing bodies in need of substantial reform (none more than the school districts) and while I will continue in my efforts to bring about this reform, I am excited that I can say that this year the Lakewood Village Board has stood with the over-taxed residents!

For those who have supported my write-in campaign to become your village trustee, I thank you for your trust, your support, and your courage. I pledge to continue on in fulfilling my promises to you and in working to achieve responsible, accountable government.

As you may know, in my quest for responsible, accountable government I have decided to run to be our next state representative in the General Assembly in Springfield. Achieving this will help our efforts exponentially, and I hope I can count on your support in this endeavor as well.

You can learn more of my endeavor to Take Back Illinois at

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The motion was made by Serwatka and seconded by Jeff Iden.

All Trustees–Gene Furey, Jeff Iden, Ken Santowski, Bev Thomas–but Carl Davis, who was absent, voted in favor of the motion.

Skillicorn Scores Another $1,000

Allen Skillicorn

Allen Skillicorn

Checking out the financial status of the four Republicans running for State Rep. Mike Tryon’s seat shows activity only for East Dundee Village Trustee Allen Skillicorn.

He reported receiving $1,000 from Jedidiah Settles, Finance Manager for Rosen Hyundai.  Settles lives in Lake in the Hills.

Skillicorn himself also put in $1,384.97 in mid’November.

He lists himself as Marketing Consultant for PE Inc.

Lakewood Fire Protection Switch from Woodstock to CL Draws Criticism

This email from Linda Wagner criticizes the Lakewood Village Board’s 3-1 vote to switch fire protection from the Woodstock Fire Protection District to the City of Crystal Lake Fire Department.

Voting favor were Jeff Iden, Paul Serwatka and Bev Thomas. In opposition was Gene Furey. Ken Santowski abstained. Carl Davis was absent.

Here is Wagner’s critique of the decision:

On Tuesday November 24, 2015 the trustees for the Village of Lakewood voted 3-1 to accept a proposal for fire and EMS protection with the Crystal Lake Fire Department (CLFD) effective January 1, 2016.

This in turn ends the agreement with Woodstock Fire Protection District (WSFD) that has been in place for the past several years.

The manner in which the trustees conducted themselves, as well as the lack of any concrete information as to why they believe the proposal from CLFD is superior to that of WSFD is disturbing.

Both proposals are available to view on the village website.

Village residents were not afforded an opportunity to discuss, debate or dialogue with the trustees in a public forum on the proposals prior to the vote.

It was communicated by multiple trustees there was a plan to “tee up” a public discussion prior to the vote and any remarks or questions about the proposals were not restricted or limited to the Public

Comments section of the meeting agenda. Sadly, the trustees did not follow through with this commitment therefore no public discussion actually occurred prior to the vote.

None of the trustees articulated specifics as to why they believed the CLFD proposal for fire and EMS protection was superior to the proposal from WSFD.

Trustee Serwatka did reference a perceived advantage to having more (4 v. 3) fire and EMS personnel available to the village in the CLFD proposal, yet he apparently did not understand that the CLFD personnel at the Bard Rd station are shared resources for the village whereas the WSFD staff at the Haligus Rd station are dedicated resources to the village (more on this point later). Rather, the trustees simply stated one after one, how difficult a decision it had been for THEM.

The decision on fire and EMS protection, which is a matter of safety, should not be an emotional one.

A decision can be reached using factual information yet the trustees did not reference anything factual – either operationally or financially — as to the reasoning for their decision.

Frankly, if the trustees were concerned about making difficult decisions, they should not have run for public office.

It is known that several of the trustees conducted individual due diligence sessions with representatives from both fire departments as well as individual tours of CLFD Bard Rd fire station.

In fact, one of the trustees contacted my husband requesting directions to Woodstock Firehouse #1 while in route to a meeting with Chief Ralph Webster.

The actions of the trustees appears to be a purposeful and concerted attempt to circumvent the requirements of the Open Meetings Act, leaving residents of the village in the dark.

It also appears there was a purposeful attempt to push the vote through during a holiday week, thereby reducing public engagement.

On November 16th I specifically asked one of the trustees when a vote on the matter was anticipated, and the response was that he “could not remember”.

Two days later on November 18th, a meeting agenda (for the meeting scheduled November 24th) was published on the village website, with a corrected and final agenda published at some point over the weekend of November 21st -22nd.

There is no apparent violation of the Open Meetings Act due to the timing for release of the agenda as only 48 hours is required, it is simply ironic the timing of the vote on such an important matter for the village.

Key Points from the Proposals

The initial costs in total to the village for fire and EMS protection are virtually identical, with CLFD being slightly less expensive year

1: CLFD: $743k WSFD: $750k

A Crystal Lake Fire Department Open House had engines parked outside City Hall.

A Crystal Lake Fire Department Open House had engines parked outside City Hall.

CLFD based their fees on the following formula:

The base rate is calculated utilizing the CLRFPD (Crystal Lake Rural Fire Protection District) tax rate against Lakewood’s Equalized Assess Valuation (EAV). In other words, CLFD is tying the cost of fire and EMS service to increases in property tax which is controversial on its own merit. Increases in cost for future years are tied to CPI (Consumer Price Index). The 4-year historical trend in CPI as noted in the CLFD proposal is:

  • 2012: +3.0%
  • 2013: +1.70%
  • 2014: +1.5%
  • 2015: +0.8%

The use of this formula does not appear to take in account any actual expenses for labor, equipment, gasoline, insurance and other hard costs.

Nor does the formula take in to account any savings Lakewood may realize by changing fire and EMS service to CLFD, such as rent for the shared use of the Public Works facility on Bard Rd.

Woodstock Fire Engine Number 01 headed south on Route 47.

Woodstock Fire Engine Number 01 headed south on Route 47 in Woodstock.

The WSFD proposal of a service fee takes into account actual expense required to maintain the fire house, personnel, equipment and other hard costs based on expenses realized in the prior agreement.

A modest 1.5% increase for years 2-5 is contractually guaranteed which based on the above CPI trends is less than what the village has actually experienced in the past few years.

Historical costs to the village for service from WSFD based on CPI changes were as follows, reflecting quite a bit of upward movement due to the noted CPI trends (hence another indication of higher costs in the go forward years of the CLFD proposal):

  • 2012: $620k
  • 2013: $765k
  • 2014: $800k
  • 2015: $830k

Note: The average annual cost of fire protection for the Village of Lakewood over the preceding 4 year period is $753k.

2. In regards to equipment, WSFD proposed to take ownership of the 2 Lakewood fire trucks and 1 ambulance.

Noting the age of the fire engine (1985), WSFD requested an additional $25k annual capital contribution each year for the sole purpose of investing in a newer (not new but newer) fire engine on behalf of the village.

WSFD cannot dispose of any of the Lakewood equipment without written consent from the village. \

WSFD will also assume all expenses for the maintenance and upkeep of the equipment.

Conversely, CLFD will not take ownership of the equipment nor did they request any capital contribution, as they will simply use current CLFD equipment.

Under the CLFD proposal, the village can dispose of the existing Lakewood equipment as they see fit.

As there is minimal resale value in a fire engine dated from 1985, any proceeds from the disposal of the equipment will simply result in a one-time financial bump for the village.

Lakewood Fire Department

Lakewood Fire Department

3. WSFD will continue to man the fire house on Haligus Rd with 3 trained fire and EMS professionals each and every day 24×7.

In addition, they will maintain the current fire and rescue equipment consisting of 2 fire trucks and 1 ambulance (see above for requested capital contribution).

The 9 firefighters and EMS professionals (3 per daily shift) are 100% dedicated to the village. In other words, the Village of Lakewood does not ‘share’ fire and EMS support with other calls in the larger area for which WSFD serves.

Furthermore, when the fire and EMS team at the Haligus Rd station goes out on a call into the village, the station is and will continue to be backfilled with another WSFD team and equipment.

Therefore the residents of Lakewood will never be exposed to a gap in protection under the WSFD proposal.

4. The CLFD proposal provides fire and EMS personnel plus equipment supporting the village primarily through the Bard Rd station.

Please keep in mind, Lakewood will be sharing support from the Bard Rd station with other calls from that station – including the entire area in which CLFD serves.

According to data shared by the CLFD Fire Chief at the meeting, the Bard Rd station runs approximately 1300 calls per year. With the addition of the Village of Lakewood, the Bard Rd station will add another 300 calls per year on average, accounting for 25% of all the calls run throughout the entire CLFD fire service area.

When the fire and EMS team from the Bard Rd station is out on a call, the station will not be backfilled with a replacement team in case a second and subsequent call comes in.

Given the math reflecting 3.5 calls per day from the Bard Rd station (based on pre-Lakewood volume) that simply shows how frequently Lakewood will be unprotected.

Response times into and around Lakewood from other CLFD fire stations will clearly increase, leaving Lakewood residents unfairly and unnecessarily exposed to additional risks.

I want to be very clear – my comments and position on the above fire department proposals are in no way a negative reflection of CLFD.

CLFD is a highly qualified fire department with men and women who work tirelessly and selflessly every day.

However, it is glaringly obvious that residents in the Village of Lakewood, under the CLFD proposal:

Will be paying more for fire and EMS protection without any accounting for actual expenses realized.

Starting in 2016, Fire and EMS protection for the Village of Lakewood will be provided by shared resources with the broader CLFD territory.

The vote count on the CLFD proposal:

  • Trustee Davis was absent from the meeting and did not cast a vote.
  • Trustee Santowski abstained after failing to secure enough votes in a prior motion to delay the vote for accepting the CLFD proposal to a future meeting.
  • Trustee Furey voted NO to accepting the CLFD proposal.
  • Trustees Iden, Serwatka and Thomas voted YES to accepting the CLFD proposal.

Please join me in expressing your displeasure with the decision of the trustees to contract with CLFD as of January 1, in addition to their complete mishandling of any communication on the matter with village residents.

Contact information for village officials

Mark Kirk Gets GOP Primary Opponent James Marter

A press release from Republican U.S. Senate candidate James Marter:

James T. Marter, Republican, successfully files for U.S. Senate with 9,193 signatures!

Oswego, IL – –  James T. Marter, Republican candidate files for U.S. Senate 2016, Illinois.

A very BIG THANK YOU to everyone that circulated and signed my petitions across the State of ILLINOIS!   I hope you know you have my appreciation and gratitude.

My Campaign started 64 Days ago, on Sept. 20th with a passion and a premise that the people of the State of Illinois should have a Senator who is looking out for them and not powerful corporations or lobbyists.

My campaign has grown exponentially since day one, now it is statewide with over 162 volunteer, grass roots circulators from more than 42 different counties and many more active supporters on board!

Today we filed with 9,193 signatures in 72 of 102 counties on 678 pages of petitions!  More arrived which would have exceeded 10,000 signatures!   The quality of these signers are solid, registered, republican and independent voters!

Special thanks to all of the County and Township Republican Central Committee Chairmen and Precinct Committeemen, and Liberty Loving patriot based organizations who circulated petitions and invited me to their meetings and events.

Against all odds, phase one is nearly complete and has been a phenomenal success made possible by the people who came out to support my campaign!  I know we share many common concerns that are facing our nation today.

We need to work together to bring the original purpose of our constitution and limited government back to our great nation, and return to our country’s foundations of LIFE and Liberty.

Your support is so important in keeping my campaign moving swiftly to victory in the Primary (phase two) on March 15th, 2016

Please volunteer, support, contribute and invest in my campaign at  www.Marter4Senate.US or mail contributions made payable to my committee: James Marter for United States Senate, PO Box 271, Oswego IL 60543

It is the RIGHT time to send a Senator to Washington D.C. whose first interest is the Liberty and Security of the American Citizen Taxpayer!

Diane Evertsen Sticking to Term Limits Pledge

Diane Evertsen

Diane Evertsen

When she ran for the McHenry County Board, District 6 candidate Diane Evertsen said she would serve only two terms.

McHenry County Blog has verified today that she will not be running for re-election.

“I promised constituents 2 terms & am currently finishing my second. Term limits can work to give other qualified individuals an opportunity to serve,” she wrote.

Filing so far for the two empty seats are

  • Kelly Liebmann
  • Preston Rae
  • Ersel Schuster

Mary McCann’s term is also expiring.

She and other candidates for this or any other office, including Precinct Committeeman, can file at the County Clerk’s Office before the 5 PM deadline.

Insull and the ICC

The Civic Opera House next to the old Chicago & Northwestern Railroadd Station was built by Samuel Insull.

The Civic Opera House next to the old Chicago & Northwestern Railroadd Station was built by Samuel Insull.

I have previously told of my encounter with Samuel Insull’s secretary on a train ride to Springfield.

He told me that Insull got tired of bribing the Illinois General Assembly.

Insull decided that creating a Commerce Commission would be cheaper because there would be fewer members.

Now I have found something in writing concerning Insull’s connection to an Illinois Commerce Commissioner:

It was in an Illinois Issues article about congressional corruption by Thomas Gradel this past August 20th:

In 1926, Frank Smith, chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, entered the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

He accepted a $125,000 campaign contribution from Samuel Insull, a powerful owner of a public utility regulated by the ICC.

This was a clear conflict of interest and illegal under state law.

Nonetheless, Smith won the primary and the general election.

A Senate Committee refused to seat him after ruling that Smith’s election was tainted with blatant fraud and corruption.

Smith ran again for the seat in a special election in 1928 but was rejected by the voters.

Now, the successors of Samuel Insull’s electric company–Commonwealth Edison and Ameren–have apparently returned to the original model.

They deal with the legislators through the means of campaign contributions.

And they usually get their way.

If you are interested in how much money it takes, you might want to read this 2001 article:

2011 Campaign Contributions from Those Interested in Allowing Com Ed & Ameren to Hike Electric Rates without ICC Approval

Demetra Tsimiligras for Circuit Judge

McConchie Tallies $40,000 in State Senate Race

Dan McConchie

Dan McConchie

Dan McConchie, candidate for State Senator when incumbent Dan Duffy is retiring, showed $45,000 in campaign contributions during the third quarter of the year.

With campaign filing starting Monday, McConchie has received contributions of $150 or more from thirty-four entities.

Those making reportable contributions follow:

  • $5,400 – Patricia Foglia, Homemaker, North Barrington
  • $5,400 – Vincent Foglia, CEO, Sage Products, North Barrington
  • $5,400 – Steve Khoshabe, Executive, Speedwagon Properties, South Barrington
  • $5,400 – Kendra Khoshabe, Kendra, South Barrington
  • $5,400 – Richard Uihlein, Employer: ULINE, Lake Forest
  • $2,500 – Richard Slayton, Retired, Lake Forest
  • $1,500 – Daniel Dickinson, Executive, INAV Group LLC, Lake Zurich
  • $1,000 – Paul Hills, Paul, Chairman, Hills Capital Management, Barrington
  • $1,000 – Citizens for Kyle McCarter, Lebanon
  • $1,000 – Citizens for Tom Morrison, Palatine
  • $1,000 – Bonnie Quirke, Retired, Libertyville
  • $1,000 – Luke Vander Bleek, Pharmacist, Morrison
  • $1,000 – Michael Winn, Retired, Lake Forest
  • $500 – John Dreyer, Vernon Hills
  • $500 – Eagle Forum State PAC, Alton
  • $500 – Karen Forsythe, Homewood, in-kind photography
  • $500 – Nathan Hancock, Carol Stream
  • $500 – Illinois Citizens for Life PAC, Chicago
  • $500 – Dexter Means, Hinsdale
  • $500 – Jean Synovic, Beach Park
  • $500 – Raymond Wunderlich, Vernon Hills
  • $408 – Dan McConchie, Hawthorn Woods, in-kind mileage
  • $358 – John Barrington, Hawthorn Woods, in-kind for signs & mileage
  • $250 – Jay Cunningham, West Chicago
  • $250 – Fred Finn, South Barrington
  • $250 – Charles Krumpoch, Kildeer
  • $250 – Darrell McConchie, Mundelein
  • $250 – Joshua McConchie, Mundelein
  • $250 – Bill Saunders, Washington, DC
  • $250 -Randal Teague, Alexandria, VA
  • $200 – Carol Crossed, Rochester, NY
  • $200 – Roger Ream, Herndon, VA
  • $200 – Raymond Rodriguez, Long Grove
  • $150 – Darrell McConchie, Mundelein

Spending from July through September totaled $8,962.

Those items of more than $150 include

  • $4,700 – signs
  • $1,381 – promotional items
  • $1,954 – Printing
  • $436 – data
  • $183 – postage
  • $175 – mileage reimbursement for candidate