55-Year Old Motorcyclist Killed on Ringwood Road

A press release from the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office:

Sheriff’s Office Investigates Fatal Motorcycle Crash

A 55-year-old McHenry man died Sunday as a result of a motorcycle crash in the 800 block of Ringwood Road in unincorporated McHenry Township.

W. Ringwood Rd, Pistakee Highlands

On Sunday, at 6:46 p.m., the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, Johnsburg Police Department, McHenry County Conservation Police, and the McHenry Fire Protection District responded to a single motorcycle crash near the intersection of Ringwood Road and Meadowhill Lane involving a 2010 Harley-Davidson motorcycle and a single rider.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the motorcycle was traveling westbound on Ringwood Road west of Meadowhill Lane when it exited the roadway to the north and struck a tree.

The intersection of Ringwood Road and Meadowhill Lane was closed for several hours while the crash was investigated.

The driver was transported by ambulance to Centegra Hospital in McHenry, where he was pronounced dead. The name of the driver is being withheld until his family has been notified.

It is unknown whether drugs or alcohol were a factor at this time. Final determination will be made pending toxicology results from the Coroner’s office. The rider was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

An investigation is ongoing by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Major Crash Investigation Unit and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

More on the Last HR Meeting on Making It OK for Jack Franks to Keep His Two Patronage Employees

Former McHenry County Board member Ersel Schuster gives another take on the last McHenry County Board’s Human Resources Committee:

3/15/17 Human Resources Committee meeting

Ersel Schuster

It is necessary to continue on the bumpy trail of county government and the ongoing issues surrounding the at-large-election of the McHenry County Board Chairman.

At a recent Human Resources Committee (HR) meeting, members began working on the board Rules and the ill-advised hiring of the chairman’s “personal” staff.

A huge thank you to Members Craig Wilcox, Michael Rein, Donna Kurtz and Tom Wilbeck.

Touching a ”3rd rail” is not a comfortable place to be; however, it is a true public servant who is capable of standing up and willing to meet these difficult situations head on.

These folks came to the meeting well informed and made their case in voting against a resolution intended to “justify” the positions in question.

Peter Austin

On the “hot seat” was County Administrator Peter Austin as over and over again, he stated

“…this was the first time a chairman has been elected at large…”

and

“it has created some unique problems.”

He went on to explained that, upon being sworn into office, the Chairman came to him with some strong opinions about how the office had been run and “was quite adamant in what he wanted.”

That, he, the chairman, “was going to run things differently.”

At one point the administrator stated, “…the chairman has the authority to ask for anything.”

This was the underlying rationale he used for carrying out the chair’s directive to figure out how he, the chairman, could get “his people” hired.

There upon, the Administrator went about “robbing-peter-to-pay-Paul…” so to speak, in finding open positions and money designated for other departments to accomplish this goal.

Member Mary McCann, defending the ultimate actions, suggested the administrator had the authority to figure out how to make these hiring’s happen.

In making these conclusions, she was telling half the truth and ignoring the whole truth.

The administrator has specific authorities… “with the county board’s consent.”

Unfortunately, far too many public officials deal with like issues in this manner.

Bottom line.

The County Board, when placing the referendum on the ballot to elect the chairman at large, never intended for this elected chairman to perform any more, nor any less actions, or activities, than prior chairmen.

The intend was that this person would function in the same capacity as his/her predecessors and to be guided by the County Board Rules and State Statute.

From the discussion, and from all indications, there are those on the county board who, after the fact, are considering giving the position authority rejected by the voters when they shouted, by a 2 to 1 margin, NO!

No to a referendum on electing a chairman-at-large under the EXECUTIVE form of county government.

Jack Franks

As simply as it can be stated… the chairman needs to cool his jets… accept the position as the board intended and work with the board… not in opposition, nor to undermine them at every turn.

He has a beautiful office.

He has a big fat salary and benefits.

He has access to secretarial staff.

He needs to come to grips with his role by listening to, and working with the county board to carry out their directives.

It was never intended that being elected to the position meant growing another whole department of county government.

That folks… is what is actually happening.

Interesting, for the guy who ran, and was elected because he was going to reduce our taxes!

LITH Village President Who Lost Endorsed Jack Franks, Too

Looking at the map of mayors and village presidents who endorsed State Rep. Jack Franks for McHenry County Board Chairman, I see a third one who bit the electoral dust–Lake in the Hills Village Paul Mulcahy.

He was beaten by Russ Ruzanski by a vote of 807-589.

Pretty low total vote for a town of over 28,000 people.

Towns where village heads endorsed Jack Franks for McHenry County Board Chairman.

Other who lost the April 4th election were

  • Don Lockhard, Mayor of Marengo
  • Terry Counley, Village President of McCullom Lake

Franks Making Another Run at Gaining Approval of His Patronage Hires Wednesday

On the Agenda of the McHenry County Board’s Internal Support & Services Committee on Wednesday morning for the second time is an agenda item to legitimize the patronage hiring of Chairman Jack Frank’s two former employees.

To remind readers of what’s going on, here is a reprint of the last of three articles about the last meeting:

Franks’ Patronage Hires Fail HR Committee Test – Part 3

This is Part 3.  Part 1 can be found here. Part 2 is here.

Michael Rein

Michael Rein wondered if most jobs were not advertised on the internet and advertised.

“That’s correct,” County Administrator Peter Austin replied, [but] it varies for the electeds.

Rein asked if departments were “actively pursuing filling the two jobs now?”

“No,” Austin replied.

The Committee member wanted to know Austin was informed by Franks about his desired hires.

Peter Austin

“Before the first of the year” was the answer.

Austin told the members that he had been told that Franks had phoned “a number of the members” to tell them about the situation.

“Though this may have been legal, it was misleading, fraudulent in nature,” Rein concluded.

“Would you have done it differently?” Rein asked.

Austin referred to the cliche about 20-20 hind sight and repeated, “This isn’t the way we do things normally.”

He added, “This has been a real problem for me personally.”

I believe the next speaker was Chairman John Jung.

“I think we’ve talked about this enough and it’s getting too political,” he said.

There was a motion made to immediately proceed to a vote, but the motion failed to gain a two-thirds majority, which Jung said was required to end debate.

Craig Wilcox

Craig Wilcox drew State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally into the discussion and the State’s Attorney said, “We’re eager to serve when called upon.”

Then, Wilcox addressed Austin again.

“Could you see a rescinding of that employment?”

“I think that’s what’s before you,” Austin replied.

Jack Franks

“I don’t know how this gets further legitimizing,” he said, indicating the hiring was the same as the authority given other countywide elected officials.

Then came the stunning admission:

“I let the Chairman make the decision of who to hire.”

The legality of the hiring had been argued by the contention that the County Administrator has the authority to hire employees.

“I think we did not do our diligence.

“Hiring requires authorization from the County Board.

“There’s no way I can approve this resolution, Wilcox concluded.

Donna Kurtz

Donna Kurtz contended that the hiring process “should have allowed anyone interested to interview for the positions.”

She said she was getting “a dinging from the public.

“That doesn’t look right to the public.

“[State] statute does not say you can do that.

Mary McCann

Mary McCann then took the floor.

She saw two issues:

  1. the authority of the County Board Chairman
  2. the hiring issue

She pointed out that Austin had hired assistants before.

Supporting her, Austin pointed out, “The Board rarely approves hires.”

“I think it time for a realistic discussion of that [situation].” McCann added.

Wilcox saw three issues:

  1. the authority to hire
  2. the positions themselves
  3. the hiring process

John Jung

“Are you asking that these people be let go?” Chairman John Jung asked.

“I don’t like what happened,” he continued, “but Peter had been given the authority to approve up to the midpoint.

“It’s an elective office,” Jung pointed out knowing that the other countywide elected officials had the authority to hire the employees of their choice.

“You can hire Joe and not hire Mary,” Jung said.

Jack Franks patronage worker wearing Franks campaign stickers at the McHenry Chamber of Commerce Business Expo.

“I see the other side.”

[The difference being that the office of at-large Chairman of the McHenry County Board was created by statute, while offices like the Sheriff, Treasurer, State’s Attorney, etc., were created by the 1970 State Constitution and, as such, had more authority vis-a-vis the County Board than Franks.]

“I don’t think believe it is clear Mr. Austin had the authority,” Kurtz said in rebuttal.

“When you have questions about what is proper, it is likely something was improper,” he concluded.

Seeing to frame the issue, McCann asked, “Is the Chairman Peter’s boss or are we all Peter’s boss?”

Bridgett Geenen’s McHenry County employee identification card.

She argued that not approving the resolution “doesn’t do much for the moral for many of the employees we have, department heads as well.

“‘Gee.  They’ll find an excuse to go after us for something they don’t like about us,’” McCann said, putting words into a county employee’s mouth.

Wilcox called for a request for a State’s Attorney’s opinion.

“Give me what you want to present to Patrick [Kenneally] and I’ll ask it,” Jung promised.

Austin said the issue was the re-classification of a position in mid-year without Board approval.

“In a nutshell, that is the issue..

“We did that, but there are parallels.”

Jung said the issue should be “come out of [the] Internal Services [Committee].”

“Just re-classifying doesn’t negate the packet posted,” Wilcox countered.

A vote was taken with Jung, Kopsell and McCann voting for the resolution which would legitimize, albeit belatedly, the hiring of Jack Franks’ two patronage employees.

Those three were outvoted by Kurtz, Rein, Wilcox and Wilbeck.

Lakewood Debate Continues

Here is Steve Willson’s latest contribution:

Until two days ago, I had a big misunderstanding about what the Route 47 and Route 176 road improvement project consisted of. Foolishly, I guess, I though the dog leg was going to go away. From this map one can see only Pleasant Valley Road is going to be aligned with the northern intersection of Route 14 with Route 176.

Thanks for the graphic and the caption, Cal.

After looking at it, I’m more doubtful than before that change=improvement.

Let’s be clear: the two-part, turn-right, turn-left intersection at 176 & 47 is stupid.

It also exists, so the marginal cost is zero.

Smoothing it all out will remove one traffic light.

That means the average motorist will save 30 seconds.

Is that worth millions of dollars?

Could be, but I’d like to see some very specific cost-versus-benefits numbers before I sign on.

The issue of safety has also been raised, but with the recent change at the northern part of this intersection — putting in a traffic light — my guess is that safety is no longer nearly as big a concern.

Again, I could be wrong, but I’d like to see definitive evidence before millions of dollars are spent.

Former Mayor Re-Election as Marengo 4th Ward Alderman

Dennis Hammortree at a 2013 candidates’ night.

Advanced to Marengo Mayor by appointment, Dennis Hammortree won back his Ward 4 seat a couple of years ago and Tuesday retained it.

Hammortree was a vociferous critic of Mayor Don Lockhart, who lost his re-election bid.

Hammortree beat challenger James Edward Regelin 130-114.

Second Franks-Endorsing Mayor Defeated

Not that I remembered that the Village President of McCullom Lake endorsed Jack Franks for McHenry County Board Chairman, but reader “Swordfish” did under the article entitled, “Marilyn Shepit Elected Village President in McCullom Lake“:

Here is what he or she wrote as a comment:

Village of McCullom Lake President Terry Counley’s effusive praise in Franks puff piece:

“I don’t often get the chance to tell you how much I, and the Village of McCullom Lake, appreciate the hard work that you have done for us over the years.

“Between the brain cancer scare as well as the electric power outages that the village used to have, there was a very large black cloud over the village.

“When people heard the name McCullom Lake, they ran.

“Thanks to all the calls you made to the proper people, as well as the several town hall meetings that you had here, the black cloud has lifted. Things are very good here now.

“You know, I have been bugging you for years to run as Governor, and I understand why you wouldn’t, especially now days.

“But, we need you here in McHenry County.

“I think with the way you are relentless with your missions, you would make a great County Board Chairman.

“The same old stuff is getting very old.

“We need some new blood with some new ideas and the courage to chase those ideas.

“We would lose you in Springfield but we need you here in McHenry County more right now”

Source: http://franksformchenry.com/endorsements-for-jack-franks/

= = = = =
I know nothing about the politics of McCullom Lake since Jake Levesque days back in the 1960’s. He ran unsuccessfully for State Representative in 1966, the year I was elected McHenry County Treasurer. (He ended up Deputy Director of Aeronautics under Republican Governor Richard Ogilvie.)

Debate on Lakewood Issues Continues

A reply from Steve Wilson to the comment made by Jason McMahon:

Jason, let’s examine your comments one by one.

First, “A portion of the property is needed for intersection improvements at 176 and 47.”

Until yesterday, I had a big misunderstanding about what the Route 47 and Route 176 road improvement project consisted of. Foolishly, I guess, I though the dog leg was going to go away. From this map one can see only Pleasant Valley Road is going to be aligned with the northern intersection of Route 14 with Route 176.

If indeed a portion of the property was needed for “improvement”, then purchasing that portion and only that portion could be justified.

However, that word “improvement” is used awfully loosely with regard to road projects.

Can you show the tangible benefit of the proposed changes?

Can you compare that with the total cost?

Only if the value exceeds the cost can you claim that portion is justified.

As for the rest, it was not justified.

Next “Selling off property at a loss, simply for the sake of selling it makes you a TAX WASTER.”

No, Jason, keeping property the Village has no business owning is a tax waste.

Trying to divine the market and time the sale is real estate speculation, and that is not the business of ANY Village Board — not the last one and not the one coming into office.

Next “Selling Village assets and reducing cash reserves may temporarily and artificially reduce taxes for ONE year but it could also negatively affect the Village bond rating.”

Jason, no one suggested using the proceeds of the sale for a one-time large reduction.

A better idea would be to spread the proceeds over, say, a ten year period to reduce our taxes.

After all, the property was purchased with our taxes, and that the Village had enough money for the purchase shows they have been over-taxing us for years.

As for the bond rating, that’s not going to drop if the money is drawn down slowly.

Next “Selling Village assets and spending cash reserves to reduce taxes is similar to a person spending money from their savings account and pretending their expenses for the year were less because they did not need more income.”

No, it’s not, because it’s OUR money — the TAXPAYERS’ money.

In a perfect world, the government would take in exactly what was needed to cover necessary expenditures.

As the world isn’t perfect, in any given year, the government may run a small surplus or a small deficit.

But over time, those should balance out.

The only reason to keep a modest fund balance is to cover uneven cash flows throughout the year. Moody’s considers a fund balance equal to 8% of expenditures to be adequate.

But if the Village has large fund balances, then, as I said above, it’s because they over taxed us for years.

Next, “Developing commercial property in Lakewood is the only real solution to a tax reduction.”

No, Jason, there’s another obvious solution: cut expenditures.

That you fail to even entertain that idea is a particularly disturbing statement from a public official.

Finally, “No Village Board is going to approve residential development in that area.” [47 & 176]

One would hope so.

But we’ve seen Village Boards do other stupid things, like buy golf courses and sign TIF agreements putting Lakewood’s taxpayers on the hook for expenditures by a school district of which they aren’t part.

We’ve seen school districts build bleachers without permits and then use the taxpayers’ money to fight a losing suit all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Based on my years of experience with local government,

I lack your faith, which is why I prefer that local governments simply stay out of such situations.

The Woodstock School District Facilities Review Committee Members

Here are the members of the Woodstock School District’s Facilities Review Committee:

  • Gabi Anguiano
  • Amanda Bergstrom
  • Jennifer Bigler
  • Amy Blalock
  • Tricia Bogott
  • Catherine Cantwell
  • Diane Carter
  • Ray Caywood
  • Artuor Flores
  • Diana Frisbie
  • Linda Gabrielson
  • Brian Gerloff
  • Carl Gilmore
  • Maria Gonzalez-Echevarria
  • Joan Grandrath
  • Kirsten Green
  • Susan Handelsman
  • John Hanlin
  • Risa Hanson
  • Ryan Hart
  • Meri Jaco
  • Julie Jennett
  • Suzanne Kockler
  • Tom Krieger
  • Keely Krueger
  • Maureen Larson
  • Vicki Larson
  • Brian McAdow
  • Rob McClurg
  • Tom McGrath
  • Joe Meier
  • Mike Moan
  • Lynn Mohan
  • Bill Nattress
  • Michele Neuhart
  • George Oslovich
  • John Parisi
  • Toby Parker-Goad
  • Julia Patterson
  • Lisa Pearson
  • Virginia Peschke
  • Angie Ribbe
  • John Rigby
  • Christopher Riley
  • Ken Roiland
  • Yesenia Sanchez
  • Jeremy Schaaf
  • Eric Schleutermann
  • Dana Smith
  • Justin Smith
  • Jenn Spear
  • Liz Stroh
  • Brady Stromquist
  • Mike Thomas
  • Debra Walsdorf
  • Michael Wheatley
  • Jennifer Wiegel
  • Glen Wilson
  • Dave Zinnen

When the response to my Freedom of Information request is received, readers will learn which have received compensation from District 200.

32 Years for Sexual Abuse of Children

A press release from McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally:

ROBERT MARON SENTENCED TO 32 YEARS IN THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS FOR THE OFFENSES OF PREDATORY CRIMINAL SEXUAL ASSAULT AND AGGRAVATED CRIMINAL SEXUAL ABUSE

Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announces that Robert Maron, 48, was sentenced to 32 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections on two counts of Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault and one count of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse.

“We are pleased with the sentence and the assurance that this predator will no longer pose a risk to children in our community,” said Kenneally.

“Sexual assaults on children, which inflict abiding emotional and physical scars on young minds and bodies, can and will be prosecuted by this Office regardless of the amount of time that has passed.”

In 2013, an investigation by the Cary Police department found that Maron sexually assaulted two young girls under the age of ten in the 1990’s.

After Maron was charged in 2013, a third woman contacted Police and reported that she was also sexually assaulted by Maron as a young child in the 1990’s.

Maron recently pled guilty in Cook County to the offense of Criminal Sexual Assault with respect to a fourth victim and was sentenced to 6 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Maron will serve his sentence from Cook County consecutively with the 32 year sentenced imposed today.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Randi Freese and Criminal Chief John Gibbons.

The lead investigator was Officer Susan Ellis of the Cary Police Department.

Two Days After Election, Crystal Lake High School District Announces Fee Increases for Books & Athletics

Crystal Lake Central High School

When we moved to Crystal Lake in 1958, I was a junior in high school and my sister was a freshman.

Our family had lived in Maryland, Utah and New York State before coming here.

We were astounded that the Crystal Lake High School system charged for books.

They were free in the other three states.

Prairie Ridge High School

Now, two days after a new high school board majority backed by the teacher union was elected, defeating candidates who said they would cut taxes, District 155 send an email to parents telling them fees were going up.

As a former employee of the United States Bureau of the Budget (now the Office of Management and Budget), I know that one can balance a budget buy cutting expenses or raising revenue.

South High School bleackers.

The High School Board obviously decided on raising revenue.

Here is the announcement:

D155 Student Fee Increases

by Shannon Podzimek in

Church Lady says, “Isn’t that special?”

Recently, district administration completed an examination of all student fees.

The student fee structure also was compared to surrounding districts in the area.

The board, using its public committee forums, met about the student fee structure and were mindful of how the fee increases would affect our families.

During the March board meeting, the board approved a student fee structure for the next three years, which includes increases from

  • $155 to $225 in 2017-18 and
  • 2018-19, and
  • $225 to $255 in 2019-20.

There will be a discounted rate for those families that pay the fee prior to the first day of school.

During our analysis of the fee structure, D155 was one of the only districts in the area to not charge an athletic fee.

Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, the board approved a $50 athletic fee.

Additionally, the board also instituted student and family maximums to assist families whose students’ participate in multiple sports and/or have multiple student-athletes.

The athletic fee will increase by $25 in 2018-19 and again in 2019-20.

Individual and family maximums will increase accordingly.

Families who qualify and apply for fee waivers will not need to pay registration or athletic fees.

Skillicorn Blasts Madigan

A press release from State Rep. Allen Skillicorn:

Skillicorn Says “Stopgap” is Another Madigan Political Maneuver

SPRINGFIELD – In response to a late move to pass another stopgap in lieu of passing a comprehensive balanced budget, State Representative Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) called it another political maneuver by House Speaker Michael Madigan.

“Today, Speaker Madigan passed a pork filled stopgap that cannot even be considered by the Senate until April 26th,” said Skillicorn.

“The Illinois Senate has already adjourned and begun their spring break, meaning this pork-gap will sit in limbo for three more weeks.

“Higher education and social services need urgent, real solutions, not more of Speaker Madigan’s political maneuvers.

“I urge the Speaker to work with both Republicans and Democrats to pass a comprehensive balanced budget immediately.”

Skillicorn noted that this maneuver to pass another stopgap shows there is no intention from the Speaker to pass a complete state budget any time in the near future and this stopgap would only stand to escalate the state’s financial problems further.

Analysis of Marengo Mayor Election

Commenter “Brett Stephans” offers this analysis of the defeat of Don Lockhart as Mayor of Marengo by John Koziol:

Mayor and Mrs. Don Lockhart rode in a convertible at the Settlers Days Parade.

Honestly, saying that Jack Franks endorsement cost Lockhart the Mayor of Marengo position.

(Here is the article under which this comment was posted: Jack Franks Made Robo-Call for Marengo Mayor Don Lockhart.)

Is an overkill. What cost Lockhart the Mayor position are the following:

(1) The increasing cost of water. Koziol posted on local FB pages the increasing cost of water/sewer for Marengo residents. The rates have continued to increase and people are sick of the increasing water/sewer rate.

(2) With the increase in the rate of water, the quality is rather poor. Again their are a lot of yellowish/tan water pictures residents have posted on FB.

(3) the NWHerald, within a week of the election had an article related to a decrease in the credit rating for the city.

All 3 of these primary issues Koziol posted on FB and said that he would change all of them. People are sick of their water rates and water quality.

I don’t believe Jack Franks robo calling the area played any part in the downfall of Lockhart.

Woodstock School District Talks Closing School Buildings

Susan Handelsman reports on the

Facility review committee meeting

Motion to identify which of 49 voting committee members’ households were compensated by D200 failed to pass by a huge margin.

The motion and vote were not recorded by the committee record keeper.

The only recommendations passing committee:

  • close admin building lease ($70,000)
  • sell owned admin building ($400,000; saving annual $56,000 ops&maintenance and external upkeep), and
  • closing Dean St. School (capacity 500, enrollment 325) and creating dual and mono classes.

Clay Academy

Clay Academy building closure failed to pass at 63%: 31 yes votes of 49, a supermajority of 75% was required.

This was with committee informed that Clay building housed predominantly out-of district students and that D200 taxpayers have to subsidize them in order to keep Clay building open.

The figure I estimated was that we were paying $63,000 per each of 11 District 200 Clay students in order to provide a low cost option for wealthier districts tuition ($29,000) students.

Discussion about Clay Academy:

Last year Clay Academy enrollment included 29 in-district students and some number of out-of district tuition students.

This year D200 in-district enrollment dropped to 11, with 59 out-of-district tuition students.

Superintendent Moan said that because no such Option was on the list describing alternatives for Clay, he would not address the question of whether D200 taxpayers are obligated to keep Clay building open in order to offer a low- cost tuition option for all out-of-district students even if D200 special ed enrollment fell to zero.

Wold Architects $170,000 10 year life-safety survey indicated Clay building need $2.2 million capital improvements.

The facility review committee on buildings had recommended that Clay building (300 capacity, 70 current enrollment of which only 11 now were local D200 students) be investigated for closure.

Since Initial Facility review of physical buildings committee met in November Superintendent Moan, in person and in emails, had promised to supply specific breakdown of undisclosed costs to operate Clay Academy.

Dr. Moan repeatedly stated that “Clay operates at about a break even”.

I have repeatedly insisted that the costs of operating Clay Academy which were not disclosed to the voting committee were quite substantial, created a deficit per tuition-student which was required to be funded by D200 taxpayers, and would have bearing on the committee’s analysis and vote.

Yesterday, less than 24 hours before tonight’s vote, the facility review committee was sent an email which again failed to include those substantial and significant cost figures, and also overstated (relative to two handouts previously distributed by admin to our committee) tuition revenue by $120,000.

The handout again implied that Clay Academy was operating at a “profit ” generated by tuition.

When costs of the Clay building, life safety mandated improvement costs, exterior maintenance, building insurance, OPEB including D200 guaranteed insurance premium payments for retirees pre-Medicare, shared general admin, shared special ed admin, tech and IT, tort fund liability premiums, and the D200 portion of State personnel reimbursement allocations are taken into account, it is clear that D200 taxpayers are paying more per student than is covered by tuition revenues paid.

The Target Boycott

Here’s an email from the American Family Association, an organization with a huge email list:

Target CEO Admits Policy Announcement Was Huge Mistake

A very damaging article just out from the Wall Street Journal clearly shows that Target CEO Brian Cornell regrets his company’s policy announcement welcoming men to use women’s restrooms and dressing rooms.

According to the article, Mr. Cornell expressed frustration about how the bathroom policy was publicized without his permission or knowledge, and told colleagues he wouldn’t have approved the decision to flaunt it with a public statement that is still on Target’s website today.

“Target didn’t adequately assess the risk, and the ensuing backlash [AFA boycott] was self-inflicted,” he told staff.

You can read the entire WSJ article here

but be aware that it requires a subscription. Copyright laws prohibit AFA from providing the entire article to you.

The WSJ article explained that Target headquarters sent an internal memo to store managers reiterating its official stance on men using women’s facilities. On April 15, 2016, a group Target calls its “risk committee” emailed executives informing them of a plan to post that message publicly. Mr. Cornell wasn’t among the recipients of that email.

At least two of Mr. Cornell’s lieutenants approved the post, including Target’s chief risk officer, Jackie Rice, and its chief external-engagement officer, Laysha Ward.

AFA agrees with Mary McCandless, a shopper in Winston-Salem, N.C. who told the WSJ, “Target picked a side and pretty much said to the rest of us that we don’t matter.” The 56-year-old financial analyst said she quit using her Target credit card and shifted most shopping online. “At least I don’t have to worry about using the bathroom on Amazon.com.”

Inside the company, executives predicted the backlash would die down. It didn’t, and foot traffic inside stores declined significantly in the months following AFA’s boycott announcement.

Since the boycott started, Target’s stock has lost 35% of its value, and shuttered plans for major expansion projects.

Together we are making an unprecedented financial impact on a corporation whose policy is to allow men to use women’s restrooms and dressing rooms. Target’s decision is unacceptable for families, and their dangerous and misguided policy continues to put women and children in harm’s way.

It is urgent the Target boycott reach 1.5 million signers by the end of April. At that point, I will personally return to Minneapolis with an additional 500,000 names. I will then discuss how Target can invite 1.5 million AFA supporters back to their stores by having a common sense bathroom and dressing room policy that links use of these rooms to a person’s biological sex.

Help us reach the 1.5 million signature mark.

If you haven’t signed the boycott pledge, please sign it today!

Newly-Appointed Lakewood Village Trustee Weighs In on Issues

A comment from newly-appointed Lakewood Village Trustee Jason McMahon which deserves broader readership:

Jason McMahon

It’s easy to be a no name, armchair quarterback on a blog too (I will give Steve [Willson] credit for using his name).

There are so many nameless individuals on this and other blogs that seem to have a lot of ideas and criticism but don’t show up and participate.

They are no different from those that complain and don’t vote.

While I was NOT involved in the land purchase and generally don’t agree with government purchasing real estate this purchase makes sense.

– The property was in foreclosure and was purchased below market price. In fact, the purchase contract between Lakewood and the bank included a claw back clause wherein the Village would be required to surrender some of the profit to the bank if the Village should turn around and sell the property for a profit within a set time frame. This has recently expired.

The intersection of Route 47 and Pleasant Valley Road as it will appear after it is reconfigured by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

– A portion of the property is needed for intersection improvements at 176 and 47. Would you have preferred the Village wait until the property was purchased by a private owner, then enter in to costly negotiations with a new owner or possibly an eminent domain proceeding? Spending money on attorneys and eminent domain fights does not save taxpayers money.

– By purchasing the property, Lakewood was moved up on the list for State money to fund the improvements because there wouldn’t be a costly fight to obtain the property needed for the improvements.

– Lakewood may even be able to sell the remainder of the property that is not needed for the improvements and recoup most, if not all, of the initial purchase cost. This would result in a net SAVINGS to the tax payer over the plan suggested by other commentor.

– Making bad decisions that cost Village residents money and blaming it on a previous Board is a foolish suggestion. As stewards of Village finances, Trustees are required to do what is best for the Village. Just because we do not believe in a previous Boards actions, does not give us the right to damage Village finances.

– Selling off property at a loss, simply for the sake of selling it makes you a TAX WASTER. Blaming it on someone else makes you a child. As government officials we are constantly at the mercy of our predecessors. All we can do is make informed decisions moving forward.

– Selling Village assets and reducing cash reserves may temporarily and artificially reduce taxes for ONE year but it could also negatively affect the Village bond rating. If our bond rates rise, the interest on our debts will rise and the savings residents thought they were getting will be erased in future tax years. I am excited to see how the tax fighters will cut 10%, permanently, from our Village budget while maintaining the level of service our residents expect. This means cutting at least $300,000 from a $3,000,000 budget and equates to about $225 per home in a tax year.

– Selling Village assets and spending cash reserves to reduce taxes is similar to a person spending money from their savings account and pretending their expenses for the year were less because they did not need more income. Lakewood infrastructure is aging, there are water and sewer main repairs that will need to be done. Paying for those repairs from cash reserve funds will cost residents less than borrowing money.

– Developing commercial property in Lakewood is the only real solution to a tax reduction. Route 47 and 176 is the best answer. Do I believe we should build a sportsplex or baseball stadium? No, I don’t believe the Village should build anything but if a developer wants to RISK HIS OWN FUNDS, that is a different story.

And while we are on the topic of 176 and 47, there is NOT a ticking tax time bomb.

All development in that area is Planned Unit Development (PUD).

This means the Village Board must approve any development and can set the parameters on how that will happen.

No Village Board is going to approve residential development in that area.

  1. Lakewood needs commercial in that area and
  2. They know the damage it will do to the Village budget.

Jack Franks Made Robo-Call for Marengo Mayor Don Lockhart

Don Lockhart

Jack Franks

Coming after the election is information telling me that McHenry County Board Chairman made a robo-call on behalf of his Republican Precinct Committeeman ally Marengo Mayor Don Lockhart.

Lockhart supported Franks in his run as a Democrat for McHenry County Board Chairman.

Election results by precinct for the Marengo Mayor’s race in Jack Franks’ hometown,