About

Cal Skinner

About Me

Retired Republican state representative (73-81, 93-01). Began government career in the U.S. Budget Bureau (before it was called the Office of Management and Budget). Served as McHenry County Treasurer (66-70). Ran for GOP nomination for Congress in 1980. Ran for State Comptroller in 1983. Ran as Libertarian Party candidate for Governor in 2002. Web site archived by Library of Congress here. Won/loss record for public office is 19 and 4. Bachelor’s degree in economics from Oberlin College. Master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan. Graduate of Crystal Lake Community High School.


Comments

About — 45 Comments

  1. Hello Mr. Skinner!

    I have sent you a couple of photos of the signs on “hamburger hill” on Johnsburg Road.

    We fought our taxes this year as we have the last two years. This year one of the comps we brought in had a house in Johnsburg with more square feet and lower taxes. The lady in McHenry Township office said that they give people with more square footage a break, so that comp wouldn’t work.

    They picked apart our comps and finally agreed to lower our house to 317,000. We paid 325,000 in 2006 and they had it assessed in the 350′s.

    Last year a girl in their office asked, “What are you going to do, fight your taxes every year?”

    After I have dealt with the McHenry Township Tax Assessors office for the last few years, I encourage everyone to contact a Realtor near you and ask them to pull some comps and fight your tax bill!

  2. Hi Cal,

    Really have enjoyed your recent postings on the Grafton Township mess. That recording of Lonely Girl was priceless as was the clever write-up. I may be inspired to go to the Wed. meeting for the entertainment and the “Encore.”

    BTW, Is that the first “movie” that has been posted on your website? I do not recall any that was here before this one. Will there be more of them? Someone told me that you had a “movie” or video recording of one of the last Grafton Township meetings. Will that one be posted for our information, edification, and entertainment?

    Again, I want to thank you for taking the time for this website. I have gone through all of the prior 4.000 postings even tho I did not read all of them in toto. I never missed any of the School District 158 episodes nor any of the Grafton fiascos. I must say the pix add a lot of spice to the presentations. I particularly reveled in the antics of Trustee Jerry McMahon gesticulating wildly at a recent meeting. He must have been protesting the fact that he was censured by the group.

    Since he seems to be one of the main actors in the “Comedy of Errors,” it would be a shame to lose him if they follow up the censure with a recall from his position of
    Township Trustee. Well, maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all.

    One more question… In the new format, I seem to have lost the listing of the recent postings each week. And the archives. Are they still available? When I needed to recall some past incident, it was a great service to type in D.158 or Grafton Township and be rewarded with an hour of happy reading.

    Maybe I willl see you at the Wed. meetings.

    Be well!!! Don Bond (Again, remember, no S in my name Bond)

  3. Cal, I hope all is well. In your article about video gambling you stated, “All Republicans representing McHenry County in the Illinois General Assembly–State Representatives Mike Tryon and Mark Beaubien, plus State Senator Pam Althoff–voted supported video slot machines.” Just would like to note that I also represent McHenry County and I voted AGAINST video slot machines and against the budget. Thanks and take care, Dan

  4. Cal, your bio. states that you ran for comptroller in 1983. Did the state have a special comptroller election, because the comptroller resigned or died, or did you run in 1982? I’m surprised that the election would be held during an odd-numbered year.

  5. Mr. Skinner; I sent the following letter to the NW Herald RE the proposed McHenry County Sports Complex.

    The president and CEO of the proposed MC Sports Complex has been taking lessons in double speak from the best when he says taxpayers have no liability. Really? And where is the money coming from?

    • A FEDERAL program called EB-5
    o So it’s OK to take money out of everyone’s pocket as long as it’s not only the citizens of Lakewood
     BTW, the last time I checked Lakewood citizens are taxed at the federal level
    • $18M in ‘stimulus’ bonds from McHenry County
    o Government has NO BUSINESS being involved with BUSINESS
     Do politicians not see the near revolt that is sweeping the country
     We need ‘limited government’ that protects citizens
     And what happens if the MC Sports Complex fails (Have you noticed the empty buildings in the county?)
     Have you seen the $400M Motorola factory in Harvard, Illinois that was never inhabited and now has weeds growing in the parking lot?

     McHenry County taxpayers will have to eat $18m plus interest and then maintain a huge facility which will be a millstone around the neck

    • Lakewood Village BOARD give away $5M of taxpayer money
    o $3M ‘grant assistance’ money? What is the source of that money?

    o $1M waiving of development fees? Who’s going to make up that $1M? Guess.
    o $1M cash contribution – the source for which HAS NOT BEEN IDENTIFIED yet.
     Government doesn’t create wealth so where is this $1M coming from?

    Then there is the other issue that makes me want to scream. What about property rights? Some landowners may wish to sell; others not. Is the Village of Lakewood going to join the ranks of those cities that have resorted to plundering the property of citizens under the unConstitutional crime of Eminent Domain? If those living in the target zone don’t wish to sell will the McHenry County officials resort to the POWER of government to SEIZE property because that is the only reason some will move? Everyone knows Eminent Domain is criminal but as long as someone is mouthing words about ‘the greater good’ then any violation of anyone’s INDIVIDUAL rights is justified including property rights.

    This is government out of control. I don’t even live in Lakewood but I’m ready to join any protest to prevent this violation of our rights.

    The developer and supporting politicians are liars at best when they try and assuage the opponents by making the utterly absurd statement that taxpayers won’t be liable. Is black the new white?

    This is Atlas Shrugged becoming real.

    Please post this.

    CC: Congressman Manzullo, Congressman Tryon, Senator Althoff

    Cloud Downey
    Crystal Lake, IL

  6. Regarding public comment at public meetings. See HB5483 pending signing by the Governor.

  7. The Illinois taxpayers should be informed of past policies of Illinois TRS, which allowed teachers and administrators to not fund TRS from TRS wages but trade TRS credit for FICA, thus establishing teachers as eligible for Medicare.

    Once eligible for Medicare, retired teachers are required to use Medicare as primary provider, therefore pawning off TRS obligations on the SSA.

    TRS will deny that teachers traded TRS credit for FICA, but TRS literature disputes their claim.

    Call TRS and ask if teachers ever used an SS option. TRS will deny and coverup.

  8. Cal,

    My ex wife (also a recently convicted felon) is married to Steven R Green ( ponzi scheme). I have been battling the two of them for over a year. There is a lot more to this story

  9. Mr. Skinner,

    I’m trying to reach you regarding a story I’m working on about the state Freedom of Information Act. Please call me ASAP at (217) 788-1542. Thanks.

    Bruce Rushton
    Reporter
    The State Journal-Register
    Springfield, IL

  10. What is the Status of you FOIA on the independent Prosicutor?

  11. Keep up the good work Cal.

    I have not paid attention to state and local politics my entire life.

    Now I am paying attention to how my taxes are being spent (Federal Income, State Income, Social Security, Property, Sales) and I am shocked.

    I want a good return for my taxpaying dollar.

    I attended my first local board meeting in my life this month!

    As you know, there was hardly anyone there!

    And the board didn’t say a word to me, they didn’t seem very friendly, they just like to go along spending my taxpayer money without my input! I see the light!

    Amen.

  12. I want to use a cartoon picture i found that is connected to your blog it is the Chicken and he says “i’m guilty” i am using this in my presentation for Deaf Ministry– i am planning to make DVD’s and mailing them out and in most part all will be free– possible to sell DVD at cost to some who can afford only to pay for expenses. I am doing this because i believe in helping to present the Gospel. Please reply back. If possible give me some advice.
    Thank You

  13. you did an analysis of the sports complex. could u please re publish that analysis so i can take it to the next Lakewood board meeting please?

  14. Cal-

    You’ll remember me from forty years ago when I was on the McHenry High School Board, eventually for eighteen years.

    You’ve given a lot of coverage lately to the “three in a row” candidates and their opposition to the eight million dollar tax increase being voted on Tuesday, April 5.

    You’re right and they are right.

    As much of the current Board as possible should be replaced and the tax increase should not be approved. The problem is; there’s a much bigger story in McHenry right now.

    McHenry’s equivalent of Algonquin’s Tyvek Tower continues to be a joke. It’s primarily a residential condominium complex that has grossly inadequate parking.

    Not even one spot for each condo, no spots for the twelve stores or restaurant, no spots for a store owner or their employees, none for a guest or customer.

    Problem is: the building is mostly done and some occupancy in place.

    It, the building, will survive.

    The question is: survive as what?

    People with a hundred, or several hundred thousand dollars to spend aren’t going to buy in a building without adequate parking.

    Nobody has bought in four and a half years of effort.

    The few who had contracts walked away when the parking got diminished by the City Council to help the developer survive.

    Since then the bank took it back, entered into a contract for its sale to a group that is requesting the City to change the developer agreement to allow them to convert it into a rental complex.

    The City gave two million dollars of incentive for the developer to build a ten million dollar owner occupied residential complex and some commercial space.

    Seventy five percent of it residential units.

    A four story low income or Section 8 rental complex will have nowhere near the value to justify two million dollars of incentives.

    We have many low income rental properties, one or more in each of our other downtowns.

    We may need more.

    Certainly not as the crown jewel of our RiverWalk in the absolute center of our town.

    Algonquin is lucky.

    Their Tyvek Tower will either be finished according to its original plan or torn down.

    McHenry’s will either be finished according to its original plan or diminished into a low income rental complex, the tenants of which somehow function without cars.

    There’s talk of a special City Council meeting on April 11 with the only topic on the agenda being RiverWalk Center.

    The contract purchaser group speaks freely of their request for conversion to a rental complex.

    The City Council has previously caved in and gave in to whatever absurd request the out-of-towner high rollers requested.

    I wonder what they’ll do this time.

    I hope you pay attention. Keep up the good work. Regards!!

  15. Love your blog. Are you familiar w/scandal surrounding Iowa Assoc of School Boards? Issue concerning diversion of taxpayer dollars to Illinois ASBs is arising. Because Iowa ASB is supported entirely by taqx payer dollars, republicans there are trying to include organization under OPA & FOIA laws. Some of us in Crook County will be attempting same. Do you want to be kept in the loop?

  16. Thanks to all of the greedy business owner fatcats in America who have sold middle class America out in favor of cheap Chinese,Mexican, Japanese etc foreign labor instead of well trained American union labor like I used to be until 1 and 1/2 years ago when I lost my job as a local 281 fire sprinkler fitter, we might as well fly a Chinese flag over our heads and call this country Chinerica!

    Nothing is built in America anymore and the closest thing is plants assembling products made up of foreign parts!

    Soon we will lose our home in Crystal Lake and also will not be able to buy anything at Home Depot, Walmart, Kohls or any of the other traitor companies that sell only foreign made products! 1% of the people control 40% of the wealth in Chinerica, the middle class is being eliminated!

    I have always only voted republicon in the past but they only care about the rich, so you have lost our vote!

  17. Thank you, Cal, for your always informative articles.

    You can pass on to Linda and others still contending with Ancel Glink, that on the 27th of April, the Village of Lyons – aka Ancel Glink beta-test proving ground for tactics on how to negate elections and ignore the Illinois Statutes for fun and profit – beat ‘em to the punch by installing the newly elected Board members in a special meeting.

    The Board then dismissed the Ancel Glink installed and approved Village Manager (formerly Finance Director, formerly Accountant, formerly payroll tax specialist at Paylocity), appointed the Police Chief as Interim Manager, and approved the Interim Manager’s appointment of Burt Odelson as Village Attorney. Ancel Glink, you gone!

    (Yes, we know Burt and his pluses and minuses, but when going after grizzly bear, it’s best to leave the peashooter at home and go with the 50 caliber, depleted uranium hollowpoints…or the legal equivalent. After all, Lyons is in Crook County, and we don’t have the Honorable Michael Caldwell here.)

    Anyway, Cal, keep up the great work and know that we here in Lyons look forward to reading the Blog every day.

  18. I am a videographer that does a lot of free work to help the environmental movement. I would be happy to help you cover any events or projects you want to showcase. I have a Youtube site with over 530,000 views on it!

    John Sefick
    505 2633136

  19. Dear Mr. Skinner,

    As you suggested this past weekend during our brief communication, I’m smacking away at a keyboard in the local library for that golden Internet access… :)

    I just finished printing up my own FOIA request for documentation in connection with my Village’s website and will be heading over to Village Hall shortly to submit said request. As I touched upon with you, it is likely my request will be denied, and although I will remain hopeful my instincts are incorrect, I am still prepared to submit a request for the documentation you suggested in our communication…and will do as such regardless of the outcome today.

    In the meantime, I must confess that had I looked at your resume prior to my contacting you, I might have been even more nervous about chatting with you, but perhaps more importantly, thank you, thank you, thank you for demonstrating to me at least one former politician from Illinois knows how to treat a constituent with respect and dignity regardless of party affiliation and perhaps more importantly, providing constructive suggestions regardless of your own position and opinion pertaining to my personal matters…(although it seemed we were in agreement about Berman’s pension!)

    Kudos to you and your past effects and who knows! I am aware our state has the worst credit rating in the nation, but you have left me hope that maybe you and/or one of your readers might become the people who ends up leading Illinois towards a steady and strong climb up the credit rating chart…rather than its continued trend downward.

    In the meantime, I must go do my part rather than socializing on the net with you! :)

    Thanks again for your time!

  20. Dear Mr. Skinner,

    Darn its hot today!!!

    Quick update…although the Village was prepared to give me one of their FOIA request forms, I almost broke into a dance when they instead accepted my request in letter format, stamped it and even offered to copy it for me!

    Small as this might appear, the last time I was given one of their FOIA forms a while back, it was severely flawed, including a space demanding explanation as to why I was requesting the information.

    Therefore, time to go formulate the next request while I await the results of this first one.

    Again, thanks for all that you do in keeping hope alive and thriving!

  21. I was wondering if you had any insight into the recent ruling by Judge Weech on the Jamie Koy animal abuse case. To call bone marrow fat analysis the gold standard test in determining if an animal was starved suggests that the test has been widely run on a significant number of animals of different ages, breeds, sex and disease states.

    After a literature search, I have not found that the bone marrow fat analysis test statistically meets the standards necessary to call the test reliable. Who funds the Hooved Animal Humane Association ? Thanks.

  22. No, I am not running again and will retire at the end of my term.

  23. Has something changed, Cal? Last few days nothing is clickable on your website. I can no longer read any comments. (Surprised I could get on here.)

  24. Cal,

    I appreciate your blog site and your pledge to support taxpayers. I have written a blog about the candidates running for office in Kane and McHenry taking a no future double dipping pledge.

    Hope you can help to ensure that their position on this is made public for your readers and voters.

    Thanks,
    Candid Kane

  25. Cal, thanks for the (older) post on Sue Facklam. It came in handy, as I was able to point folks to your post so that they could get a real sense of the communication that was going on.

    thanks again.

    steve

  26. Do you know what happened on Dole Ave in crystal lake a couple days ago?

    The police were all suited up at a private residence?

    I haven’t seen any reports anywhere about the incident.

    Thanks.

    CB

  27. I would like to get a conversation going on the term “Act of God”.

    McHenry county Judge Thomas Meyer dismissed an auto accident case on the basis that when the defendant hit and totalled our car and caused huge medical expenses

    it was and act of god because defendant claims, although she never had a seizure before, she must have had one at that moment.

    Her own doctor and tests in the ER showed no evidence of seizure.

    She did however, admit to being on the phone when she lost control and ran into the back of our vehicle at a pretty good clip.

    I believe the term accident means not on purpose.

    It is an accident which should be covered by her insurance.

    I believe the term Act of God means the responsible party is not held liable, at least in Judge Meyer’s court because he accepted this argument and was not the least bit concerned about the fact that the plaintiff just had the misfortune of being stopped at a light that was in defendants path.

    We are hoping for a motion to reconsider.

    Judge Meyers’ ruling sets a very bad precident for all future plaintiffs in this type of situation.

  28. check out the trib for another story about a McHenry Co. Sherrifs Deputy’s bad behavior

  29. Cal,

    You may wish to look into the Cary Area Park District considering the purchase of Chalet Hills Golf Course.

    At the meeting last week there were no reporters present.

    Two distinct factions were present, those who live in Chalet Hills and feel the park district purchasing the course is a great idea, and others who feel the purchase should be out of the question.

    It appeared clear that the board members have already made up their minds, heck, they appeared to all be golfers!

    Anyway, it appears this matter is about to heat up.

  30. Is it true that the Crystal Lake Park District has on their agenda to increase taxes at the October meeting?

    This might need to be looked into.

  31. Marengo forcing annexation of Riley Township on mon feb 10th.

    Meeting at township hall

  32. Mr. Skinner, I must say that as a fellow republican I am surprised that you are anti business. The only real way to be a tax fighter and keep the quality of life in a community is to increase the tax base by growing the revenue coming in.

    When people are saying things against gays, against development, and against elected officials actually doing anything, it makes me wonder what the purpose of this site is.

    The last few hours of reading this site I have seen people disparaging gays and encouraging our officials to vote against them. Misguiding the public by telling them that any development if it fails will cost the taxpayers money. And finally encouraging a guy to run for office whose whole campaign is based on NOT DOING ANYTHING.

    Those were the 3 most pertinent things I read on this site. Our system is not perfect, by far, but we do have to believe that if they are elected that they should do their job and not just clog things up.

    Regarding the development I read about, all I read was ignorance. The Federal EB-5 program was a program President Reagan brought forward and his successor George Bush enacted in the early 90′s. It is a conservative program that takes foreign money and invests it in america, as long as it creates jobs. An american conservative program designed to fight taxes and create growth. And to the people that says it sells visas to immigrants, the truth is that it does not. It does not allow undesirables in. Only qualified candidates get it, so if they have the credentials and are willing to invest in this country then they get to the front of the line. It is like paying extra to the IRS to get them to do your return first.

    The other part of that is that these people do not understand taxes at all. If you have nothing happening in your area there are no fees or waivers to collect. Yet, if there are $3 million in fees and the local gov gives $2 million in benefits to the developer, then the city just made $1 million in fees it does not get if it goes somewhere else and it gets that revenue in cities coffers for years and years to thus increase the tax base. Why does everyone think that if something fails that the government ends up paying? I guess no one should ever take a risk and open a business or try anything. Also bonds are bought by PRIVATE investors and not governments, so the only risk on bonds that are NOT guaranteed by a government is to the private investors.

    The Gay Marriage issue I read about quoted God and so many other distasteful things, but in reality the only viewpoint I can see expressed is one of hatred by these people against people based on who they have feelings for.

    It only helps your site to dismiss ignorance and stand up for truth. That is what I hate about our Republican Party now a days. We have lost all credibility. I would respect any Republican that can admit that this democratic policy is good or this democrat did a good job.

    I join you in fighting taxes, but saying no is not the way. Create jobs, spur growth, and increase all of our values while making quality of life better. That is a worthwhile goal.

  33. I assume you read the day you posted this that State Farm Insurance seems to be about to move lots of employees to Georgia, Texas and Arizona.

    That’s a pretty interesting commentary on the Illinois business climate.

  34. Hi, I now realized I should have included our actual address in the Rawson Bridge Road flood post. Can you please take out the sentence where I typed out our address? Thanks! :)

  35. Dear Cal:

    I have been trying to contact you for some time. We worked together on the Non-Game wildlife bill some years ago. Can you contact me? I am in need of some verification of those actions.

    Kind Regards,

    Bill Voeker
    Eagle Researchists
    Comanche Nation

  36. We citizens are advised that the only way to survive against marauding tax-raids by our county-level rulers is to individually protest property assessments. This means we are restricted to trying to save ourselves by beggaring our literal neighbors.

    I do not believe we have leaders in government now, only rulers. Leaders put themselves at risk alongside their brothers. Any individual receiving public salary/benefits with COLA, holding a higher secured creditor priority that private debt, cannot claim Leadership title. A Leader would rally us to work together with our neighbors to reach compromises that help one another, rather than pitting us against one other as adversaries, encouraged to grab a bit of the pie before our neighbor gets it. Rulers set citizens adversarial to each other and benefit themselves in the process. A Leader would not coincidentally inordinately benefit from policies set under his watch.

    Nobody is listening to pleas from homeowners for property tax relief. It is therefore insane to expect that further pleading, or appeals to honor or logic, will lead to change in policy.

    Is there any alternative? Could the money each of us might spend for a real estate tax assessment analysis attorney be better spent by hiring attorneys to explore radical solutions, such as forcing closure of entities this county cannot afford to support (MCC?), or demanding free market competition to monopolistic public school free-spending practices? Could citizens petition ‘higher powers’ to help police out-of-control spending by local government (one California county recently had to resort to that, and Federal government did step in).

    McHenry County tax policy in the past few years seems similar in nature to the classic “reverse-pump and dump” scheme I witnessed employed in Zimbabwe since 2000:

    1. Government/ministers set public policy (encouraged through state-controlled media)such that business or landowners could not survive the marauding onslaught. In Zimbabwe, for example, government ‘price-fixed’ the cost of milk below the production costs: “it’s for the children”.

    2. There was no way to produce milk for sale at well below cost-of-production. Milk could not be bought in neighboring countries (South Africa, Botswana)at anywhere near the Zimbabwe ‘fixed price’, it would have had to be purchased at above the fixed rate. SA and Botswana would not accept the Zimbabwe dollar currency as it was being printed without restraint by Zim equivalent of our Federal Reserve. The Zim currency had no value, even within Zim it was effectively worthless.
    Within a short time, dairies and farms and retail operators had no milk to sell.

    3. Government/ministers raised public cries for ‘justice’ and ‘help the children’ against the ‘murderous greedy (farm owners, retail operators) interests who are starving the children’.

    4. Farms and stores went dark.

    5. In rapidly transacted, secretive, private deals, property ownership of bankrupt farms and stores was transferred to government ministers, for nominal consideration paid.

    6. Once ownership was transferred to government ministers and insiders, the public policy restrictions were lifted, milk prices free-floated higher to well above production costs, and despite very high milk prices, no more public media accusations were heard about ‘starving and murdering children’.

    Will this happen here? To my eye, it looks like we are in the portion of the program akin to devastating the value of property through legal taxation and enforced with public approval due to some vague implied ‘benefit to children’. The end game parallel would need to be determined by scrutiny of who ends up buying the devalued property, and their connections (if any) to those empowered to have engendered our property devaluation crisis.

    Whatever we have been doing is not working. We have a property tax rate in the uppermost bracket of the nation. California mansions pay lower taxes than Woodstock bungalows. Our schools are not producing exceptional test results befitting their top-bracket-funding. Our property values decrease annually–how can that not be correlated to our ever-escalating property tax rate, when property values in most every American community but ours are back at pre-recession-crash levels?

    Time to think outside the box. We do not have the luxury of time to survive our own rulers’ policy. Any ideas about a novel legal strategy to protect ourselves from our rulers’ taxation policy? Nobody wants to have to resort to extreme and expensive legal tactics, but even frogs slow-boiling in a pot at some point realize they have little time left to try to survive, and few options for survival methodology.
    (What a better place we might inhabit if we were not pitted against one another as adversaries, but encouraged to reach mutually agreeable solutions as brothers within a community. If a political candidate with such a platform exists, could this be made known?).

  37. Good morning Cal,

    Could you please tell me where I can sign up for the subscription of mchenry county blog. Also do you have a Facebook page? Please let me know…..

    Thanks

    Titus Mielke
    8477224027

  38. Looks as if the RSS feed dropped off the page.

    I haven’t gone the Facebook route yet.

  39. Hello Cal,
    I work for a local non-profit based out of Elgin and Wondered if you might be willing to help us get the word out for our upcoming Walk for Moms & Babies on Sept. 20?

    More Walk info here: http://www.ministrysync.com/event/website/home/?e=4900

    TLC Pregnancy Services is a pregnancy care center which has been serving Elgin and surrounding communities since 1996. We provide free medical, emotional, spiritual and practical support to hundreds of moms and children each month.

    Funds raised through The Walk for Moms & Babies will provide funds for TLC Pregnancy Services to continue offering FREE medical and support services to local women, men and children throughout the year.

    We appreciate any help you can give – thanks!

    Kathleen
    TLC Pregnancy Services

  40. Cal, I read your article you published in late September of 2013 relating to the Peaker Power Plant being built near the village of Oakwood Hills town hall.

    I found it very interesting how you were able to find this information and I am very grateful you published that article.

    This proves that many different officials ranging from the state level all the way down to the family that owns that property knew about this, but managed to not tell any citizens of this affected region.

    I urge you and your readers to attend a meeting on tuesday the 22nd of july at the holiday inn in crystal lake regarding this issue.

    I also urge you to write more pieces about this issue.

    Thank you on behalf of The Citizens against The Peaker Power Plant

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