Arriving late last week to District 1 McHenry County Board voters’ homes was a post card from incumbent Bob Bless.
You can see it below:
Arriving late last week to District 1 McHenry County Board voters’ homes was a post card from incumbent Bob Bless.
You can see it below:
You can read the contents below:
102 N. EVERGREEN, SUITE 220
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL 60004
10075 N. River Rd.
Algonquin IL 60102
Notice to cease and desist
Dear Mr. Nick Chirikos:
Please be advised that I have been retained, by Robert Bless, in the above captioned matter.
My client has been informed that you have made several untrue statements and disseminated literature that contained untrue statements.
At this time we are demanding the immediate cooperation by ceasing and desisting of any further conduct. Further more, you have disclosed private and privileged information, which is not publicly known and could jeopardize the identity of my client’s family in violation of the privacy act.
I have been advised by my client that should your conduct continue by you or any agent of yours after the receipt of this notice, I shall file suite for slander and libel and any other actions or remedies available to my client.
Again thank you for your time and the amicable resolution of this matter.
Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.
Very truly yours,
Ronald M. Justin
Attorney at Law
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Chirikos told me at the County Executive debate that he would consult with his attorney before offering any comment.
Getting as much money out of taxpayers is pretty much the goal of every tax district official, from school board member to township trustee.
To do that, boards need to ask for more than the increase in the Cost of Living allowed by the Illinois Department of Revenue under the Tax Cap law.
Virtually every tax district will ask for the maximum increase allowed.
That’s 3% this coming year.
103% is multiplied by what is called the “tax extension,” the amount of taxes each district is allow to collect from local property owners, to determine how much the tax district can collect in 2013.
But there’s more.
If there has been new construction, as there has been on Crystal Lake’s Route 14 shopping corridor, local park districts, schools, McHenry County College, the Mental Health Board, townships, county government, etc., have to ask for more than 103% of last year’s tax take IN ORDER TO capture the new growth.
I have suggested that legislators could amend the PTELL (the technocrats’ acronym for the Real Estate Tax Cap) law by allowing each government under it to pass a resolution authorizing county officials to tax all of the new growth, rather than using the current practice of balloon levying.
So far, I haven’t noticed such legislation has been introduced.
Last week, the McHenry County Board approved a multi-year contract with the McHenry County Economic Development Commission that uses the same formula for increases contained in the Tax Cap formula used to maximize the Tax Take.
Might the roll call on that question be a good indication of which County Board members will vote in favor of maximizing the County’s Tax Take?
I think it will, so I present it below:
EDC related Resolution vote count is as follows: 19 yes 5 no
AYES: Merkel, Miller, Munaretto, Nowak, Peschke, Provenzano, Salgado, Schmidt, Wheeler, Bless, Breeden, Donner, Draffkorn, Heisler, Hill, Jung, Kurtz, McCann and Koehler
NAYS: Schuster, Yensen, Donley, Evertsen and Hammerand
My prediction is that most of those who will vote to maximize your County tax bill voted “Yes” on the EDC subsidy resolution.
I will further predict that the vote on the tax levy will not occur until after the election, so the above roll call, plus last year’s “Tax to the Max” roll call will be the best you are going to get before you have to cast your vote.
If you think the County Board is not moving in the direction of maximum taxation, please read this May 13, 2012 article.
Those voting against cutting the budget (read the story here) were
On a second roll call the following voted for the “Tax to the Max” levy (again, see this article):
15 members voted in favor:
Maybe the League of Women question screeners at the last week in September County Board candidates’night will allow a question that will pin down the incumbents running for re-election on the question of whether they will vote to increase the County levy so much that our County taxes will increase as much as the law allows.
Riding east Algonquin Road just east of Pyott Road, I saw my first rental sign for a McHenry County Board candidate.
It’s for Bob Bless of Fox River Grove.
He wasn’t at the front of the parade but the owner of Port Edward, Ed Woloweic, was the Grand Marshall.
The parade took about an hour, truncated because of construction south on Route 31.
Most of the politic entries which I try to document were fairly near the front of the parade.
But, before they arrived, a volunteer for Congressman Peter Roskam, who will, pending a political upset of tremendous proportions, represent Algonquin Township in Congress next session, was sighted passing out small bags. With candy on their minds, a lot of folks took them.
Of course, there were the members of the Algonquin Village Board.
But before the politicians came Police Chief Russ Laine.
And an entry dedicated to the Chicago Cubs.
Founder Favorite Rusty Cherbak was surrounded by a Chicago Cubs wish fulfillment contingent.
There was even a goat. A billy goat, of course.
Then came the village politicians.
Village President John Schmidt waved.
Village Trustee Bob Smith was accompanied by Buzz Lightyear.
Village Trustee Debbie Sosine was in waving mode.
Trustee Jerrold Glogowski was one of three trustees walking the route handing out candy.
The other two were Jim Steigert and John Spella. Handing out candy is the Algonquin Parade is easy on Route 31 because the spectators are all on the south side of the street.
The village clerk came dresses as the clown Lazy Bonz.
The first partisan politician was District 1 Republican McHenry County Board member Bob Bless.
District 1 Republican McHenry County Board members Marc Munaretto and Anna Miller were driving in a Mercedes convertible by Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Bob Miller.
I asked Munaretto, who is not running for re-election to the County Board, whether he was running for re-election for Algonquin Township Clerk.
“You’ll have to wait and see,” he replied.
That was the same answer he gave last year before for filing deadline for County Board.
There are no Democrats in District 1, but there is one in District 5–Paula Yensen.
Next came Jean and McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi.
McHenry County Auditor Pam Palmer followed Bianchi.
Both Bianchi and McHenry County Auditor Palmer are unopposed this fall.
Kane County politicians followed the McHenry County ones.
There were two County Board members, Hollie Lindgren and Maggie Auger.
There are always pictures that could have been. The one below was going to be of the current and future Kane County Auditors, incumbent Bill Keck and candidate Terry Hunt.
Fortunately, I got a shot of Keck and Hunt before the parade.
“Take my picture. Take my picture,” the two members of the Eagles, a youth football team shouted as they mugged for my camera.
How could I resist?
Interrupting the parade was the girder from the World Trade Center brought by the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District.
On the sides of the fire engines you can see the above sticker.
I was seated on the porch of a closed building when I way something political after a truck for the Red Run. (The 5K is August 11th starting at Presidential Park in Algonquin.)
It was the McHenry County Republican Party entry…right at the end of the parade.
There was a banner for GOP State Rep candidate David McSweeney up front.
Right behind were people carrying Congressman Peter Roskam signs.
Then, Dave McSweeney passed me quickly. I got his attention and he turned around so I could get the photo above.
Next came the McHenry County Republican float.
I just kept snapping my shutter, getting County Board member Nick Provenzano and County Chairman & State Rep. Mike Tryon.
Next came supporters of State Senator Dan Duffy, whose district mirrors that of David McSweeney on the eastern edges of McHenry and Kane Counties.
Next I found McHenry County Board member Robert Nowak.
And with the passing of the next entry, cheerleaders from CEE Snowball Blast Grand Champion, the Algonquin Founders Day Parade was over.
Afterward, however, the young man who had been assiduously gathering candy during the parade put on a Young Republican sticker and agreed to let me take his photograph.
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A special note for you Sheriff’s Department watchers. The McHenry County Sheriff’s Department had no entry in the parade. Neither Sheriff Keith Nygren nor his Undersheriff Andrew Zinke was anywhere to be seen.
The upside is obvious.
The idea is to build agreement going into a general election, not encourage disagreement.
Perhaps those running the party have not noticed, but the energy is not coming from those making money out of the political game.
Those folks do what they think is expected of them, which seems to be not too much.
The rejuvenation of the the GOP, if it is to have one, is coming from those inspired by the TEA Party movement.
Now, I know the Taxed Enough Already folks don’t appeal to local officials who every year have decided to tax the maximum amount allowed by the Real Estate Tax Cap
But that’s where the energy in politics is coming from today.
Mike Tryon knows how much trouble he had getting enough signatures to get on the ballot.
So, what’s the downside?
She will be flying the Republican banner in place of the Establishment’s white flag.
She may take embarrassing anonymous hits from Jack Franks’ allies who are too chicken to put their names on the mailings.
That’s pretty much it.
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An open meeting of the Republican Central Committee will be held at d’Andrea’s at the southeast corner of the intersection of Routes 14 and 31 this Saturday at 9 AM. Prospective GOP opponent to Jack Franks Tonya Franklin will be there at 8, if you want to meet her one-on-one.
Still thinking about the implications of the McHenry County GOP interview committee’s decision to reject Tonya Franklin’s offer to run a high energy campaign against 7-term incumbent Democrat Jack Franks.
Today Jack Franks is sighing a big “Whew.”
The gift given freely by the McHenry County Republican Central Committee for the third time in four elections.
Once by then-Chairman and County Treasurer Bill LeFew and twice now by Chairman and State Rep. Mike Tryon.
Until this morning I was just focusing on the potential impact of legislative campaigns elsewhere in Illinois.
That’s not quite right.
I did point out that the manpower-starved Central Committee with Precinct Committeeman vacancies all over McHenry County would benefit from an infusion of Tea Party supporters for Tonya Franklin.
Rather than all of those energetic folks going to Wisconsin to support a cause not yet espoused by Republicans in Illinois, some of them might be working Tonya Franklin, if she were running for state rep. (This is so reminiscent of how Illinois Republicans, led by Governor Jim Thompson, missed the Reagan Revolution.)
But most of my thoughts had been focused on Jack Franks’ traveling all over the state trying to ingratiate himself to Democrats running for state rep and state senate.
You know, trying to make sure Mike Madigan remains House Speaker and John Cullerton Senate President.
But that’s no problem for the Republican-dominated McHenry County.
And, along the way Franks would picking up chits for whatever statewide office he wants to spend his $450,000 war chest on.
Are Republicans willing to wait for Franks to make such an exit from the 63rd District?
Another thought popped into my head this morning.
The leaders of the Republican Party probably don’t know it, but Jack Franks has gone to go door-to-door for candidates other than himself.
Four years ago, for instance, he campaigned actively for Mary Margaret Maule in the McHenry-dominated District 4. Franks had no opponent then.
Maule is coming back for a second try this year.
Franks has already contributed to the campaign fund of District 6 Operating Engineers’ member Ryan Heuse, so he has a stake in his winning.
Six years ago, Franks campaigned actively in McHenry County for Melissa Bean against David McSweeney. We know how that turned out.
No opponent then.
What did it take to turn Melissa Bean out of office?
Tea Party candidate Joe Walsh.
We wouldn’t want to try that approach again, though, would we?
If Franks is really interested in running for County Board Chairman (look for article about his robo-call survey on the subject later today), he might take the freedom of having no worries and campaign for Nick Chirkos in District 1.
Goodness knows that Republican incumbent Bob Bless has about as many problems as he can juggle.
Or, heaven forbid, even get involved in District 2 County Board races, where the Democrats will be trying to knock of County Board Chairman Ken Koehler using alleged conflict of interest charges.
Already Jim Roden, who fought Metra‘s attempt to buy property in Ridgefield that Koehler half-owned
And, Roden went to the C0unty Board meeting last week to call out Koehler for his son’s being head of a housing entity that could benefit from County action.
But McHenry County Republicans have little or no interest in making sure Jack Franks stays in his district.
In discussing what I consider an abrogation of Republican Party responsibility to make sure that Franks has an opponent, one person pointed out that Republican Barb Wheeler has no opponent and maybe a deal has been cut to reciprocate.
While possible, I don’t think that’s the reason for making Jack Franks happy for the rest of his life, to paraphrase the Disney song.
Columbia Journalism School grad Pete Gonigam, Editor of the First Electric Newspaper, wrote an article last Thursday about the legal problems of District 1 McHenry County Board member Robert Bless.
Bless is running for re-election this fall, along with two other incumbents and one who lost the 2010 primary election and seeks a comeback.
The Democrats are running only one candidate.
Gonigam reports information from the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, where Bless is employed.
Gonigam talked to Bless at the Rolling Meadows Cook County Circuit Court, where he is stationed.
In addition, Gonigam mentions the open Attorney and Disciplinary Commission’s investigation. You can read the complaint here.
On top of that Gonigam reports on a Cook County Grand Jury investigation.
There’s also a civil suit that Gonigam uncovered.
Since he did the research, you should go to the original source.
The Better Government Association includes a short article on McHenry County Board member Bob Bless in its half page report in the Chicago Sun-Times today.
You can find the story on the BGA web site here.
Reprinted with permission, it’s entitled,
These days, McHenry County Board member Robert Bless must feel cursed.
An attorney and cop in addition to being a Republican politician, consider the trouble he’s in:
As one person familiar with the situation relayed, “You have a guy who basically had an unblemished record . . . and all of a sudden it’s fire and brimstone raining hell and fury.”
It’s a convoluted situation, and it’s still unfolding. Details continue to emerge, including revelations the ex-mistress pleaded guilty years ago in an insurance fraud scheme.
Voters might be the final jury.
Bless is up for re-election this fall.
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Four Republicans and one Democrat are contesting for four seats on the McHenry County Board in District 1. The Democrat is Nick Chirikos.
Here’s how the GOP primary in which four candidates–Yvonne Barnes, Robert Bless, Anna May Miller and Robert Nowak–turned out:
Chirikos received 876 votes.
District 1′s boundaries have spread west into Lake in the Hills, as you can see below:
On March 27, McHenry County’s Finance and Audit Committee discussed emergency appropriations: a pair of contracts for the Planning and Development Department –
The motion to approve the non-budgeted contract failed with four nays:
There were three ayes:
The main concern at the time seemed to be that the maintenance costs were not budgeted in Planning and Development, the department that will be using the software.
P&D was not willing to absorb the fees into their budget for this year. Neither did the IT department budget for this unforeseen expense.
All that changed at the April 10th meeting, when the emergency appropriation was reconsidered.
Hammerand voiced strong concerns that this was not an emergency appropriation and, instead, it should be earmarked as a supplemental or budget item in the 2013 Budget.
Although no department agreed to pay the ongoing maintenance fee from their budgets, the Finance Committee decided to place it in the non-departmental budget and move it on to the County Board for approval.
There was general agreement that sometime in the future a policy will be drawn up about the allocation of ongoing fees for computer maintenance fees.