GOP Candidate for Attorney General Erika Harold Seeks Contributions

Here’s an email from Harvard lawyer Erika Harold, the one who signed up to be the sacrificial lamb against Lisa Madigan, but now has a chance.

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We normally wouldn’t send you two emails in a row like this, but we just got some exciting news that shakes up this race and puts us in a better position than ever before:

According to Capitol Fax: Lisa Madigan just dropped out of the race against Erika Harold for attorney general.

The message sent today from the Madigans is clear: they know that Erika’s momentum can’t be stopped.

Now we need your help more than ever before. It’s time to change the status quo and stop the Madigan Way from squashing reform. You deserve a state government that works for the people, not the powerful.

Will you chip in today to support Erika as she keeps up the fight against the Madigan machine?

>>Chip in $5>>
>>Chip in $10>>
>>Chip in $15>>
>>Chip in $20>>

We don’t know who they’ll put up next to try and get in the way of reform, but we’re ready, and we need you to be too.

Chip in today.

Thanks for your support,

Team Harold

What Jack Franks Will Need to Run for Attorney General

Jack Franks

Mike Fourcher, who runs “The Daily Line,” writes today of what it will take to run for Attorney General

He speaks from the experience of having tried to put together a campaign for State Rep. Julie Hamos in 2010 when Lisa Madigan was making noised about running for Governor.

Here are a couple of paragraphs from his email:

You have to raise a ton of money. A competitive primary campaign will cost $3 to $5 million in 2018, consultants told me this week. The attorney general’s office does not have a natural constituency like governor does, so fewer PACs and lobbyists will want to contribute big dollars to A.G. campaigns.

As a result, primary candidates end up depending on a pool of wealthy, issue-driven donors for a large portion of the fundraising. But even before you get to the “big dollar” people, primary candidates need to demonstrate that they can raise the first $1 million or so from their own base–a large group of people who like them enough and their chances to win that will give a primary candidate multiple $5,000 checks…

Whoever runs now, will need to compress months of handshaking and dealmaking into weeks. They will need a fundraiser and a campaign manager that already have donors and party leaders on speed dial. And they will need a base of supporters who will be able to quickly gather 5,000 to 10,000 high quality signatures for their ballot petitions by the December 4 deadline.

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks has more than $500,000 and, it appears, less than $600,000.

That’s a long way from the amount that Fourcher says consultants will be needed this year to mount a successful campaign for Attorney General.

However, Franks comes from a rich family.

If the candidate or any other candidate contributed $100,000 that would allow unlimited donations from family members and friends…which is the way Franks got his campaign fund as high as it is.

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CVommenter AlalbamaShake says the magic number is $250,000.

Althoff Gets Mental Health Post

A press release from State Senator Pam Althoff:

Althoff appointed to the Advisory Council on Early Identification and Treatment of Mental Health Conditions

Springfield, IL… State Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry) is one of four Illinois lawmakers appointed to serve on the Advisory Council on Early Identification and Treatment of Mental Health Conditions.

“Together, it is my hope that we, as policy makers, will have a better understanding of the obstacles those with mental health conditions face and develop a more effective, more comprehensive approach to enabling the thousands of children, youth, and youth adults living with mental health conditions to get the early diagnosis and treatment they need to effectively manage their condition and avoid potentially life-long debilitating symptoms,” said Sen. Althoff.

The advisory council will look at how the State of Illinois can improve access to mental health treatment in Illinois, and will be required to submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly within one year of the first meeting of the advisory council.

Althoff, who was a sponsor of the legislation (HB 3502) creating the advisory council, says she is eager to begin working with her colleagues and key players in the mental health realm.

On average, it takes ten years for a child or young adult with a mental health condition to receive the right diagnosis and treatment.

That’s why it’s so important that we find and implement best practices on early screening, identification, and treatment of mental health conditions,” said Sen. Althoff. “Suicide, often due to untreated depression, is the second leading cause of death in Illinois for those 10 to 34. This is something we can’t take lightly any longer.”

The advisory council is comprised of no more than 27 members and three ex officio members including:

  • One member of each legislative caucus (4 total)
  • One representative of the Governor
  • 22 members of the public which include:

o   four pediatricians
o   four primary care physicians
o   two advanced practice nurses
o   two psychiatrists
o   two psychologists
o   one representative who is a parent of a child living with a mental health condition
o   two community mental health service providers
o   two substance use treatment providers
o   one representative who has lived with a mental health condition
o   two representatives from private insurance companies

  • Three ex officio members:

o   Director of Public Health
o   Director of Healthcare and Family Services
o   Director of the Division of Mental Health within the Department of Human Services

County Board Tote Board Not Working

Noet that the electronic voting machine did not record the votes of two Crystal Lake members voting against Chairman Jack Franks’ wishes. Votes from both Jim Heisler and Donna Kurtz were not recorded by the expensive machine, which was purchased without County Board permission.

Above is one of the votes taken electronically at Thursday’s McHenry County Board Committee of the Whole meeting.

A technician tried to fix the problem for Jim Heisler, but failed.

At least two times, the tote board did not show Jim Heisler’s vote.

Donna Kurtz could not get her voting switch to work either.

One member suggested the meeting could have been over a half an hour earlier had oral roll calls been conducted.

Jack Franks has the same advantage over ordinary members that House Speaker Mike Madigan has in Springfield. He can see how a vote is progressing. At least in Springfield, House members can see how people are voting before the tally is taken.

And, Jack Franks would not have know who was voting how before each vote was cast, as he can with the current system.

Does Jack Franks Have the Guts to Seek the Democratic Nomination for Attorney General?

Jack Franks surveying his domain.

Sitting on about $570,000 in his campaign fund, McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks could be well positioned to seek the Democratic Party nomination for Illinois Attorney General now that incumbent Lisa Madigan has decided to retire from the office.

Franks may have more money in the bank than any other legislative or local official Democrat who might be interested in the office.

Franks problem is that there are a plethora of rich personal injury lawyers who could jump into such a primary race to challenge him.

Not to mention Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

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Franks has told the Northwest Herald he is considering running.

Camera Pen for Photographers

Not since a McHenry County Board Chairman tried to change County Board Rules to banish photographers to the back of the room have restrictions been evident.

That was in April, 2007, an initiative of County Board Chairman Ken Koehler.

Yesterday, entering the Board room, one could see a sign on the far wall saying, “Camera.  This area only.”

The sign on the wall reads, “Cameras.  This area only.”

Guess it must be some effort by Democrat Jack Franks to limit photographs of his face from the front.

Side view of Jack Franks.


On the floor was duct tape outline about a six foot square along the wall.

I note that the Northwest Herald photographer Rick Bamman ignored the sign.

None of the photos in the online story were taken from the newly-designated area.

Daily Herald Returns to McHenry County for a County Board Article

I was pretty surprised to see a reporter from the Daily Herald covering the Special McHenry County Board meeting on Thursday.

Not since Chuck Keeshan became an editor have I seen someone from the paper that prints the Northwest Herald.

The headline of Lauren Rohr’s article is

The subhead is

Members of the McHenry County Board criticized Chairman Jack Franks and staff members Thursday, saying they should’ve been more transparent in issues related to staff hirings and the Valley Hi Nursing Home.

The article is two-sided.

NWH Offers Balanced Story on Confrontation Over Jack Franks’ Patronage Employees & Opposition to Sharing Legal Opinions with Public

Northwest Herald headline:

McHenry County Board chairman’s hires under fire

All but John Hammerand showed up for the Special Meeting. Hammerand was attending a funeral.

Here’s what Google brought up concerning the Northwest Herald’s story about Thursday’s McHenry County Board Committee of the Whole meeting:

McHenry County Board chairman’s hires under fire

WOODSTOCK – A bid to eliminate two employees who work directly for McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks fell flat Thursday, but …

Anderson Asks Agenda Items for October McHenry Township Meeting

Bob Anderson

At the McHenry Township Board Thursday night, Township Trustee Bob Anderson is asking that five items be placed on the Board’s October meeting agenda.

This past session a bill was passed that will allow voters to eliminate the office of Township Road Commissioner.

Anderson wants to see a referendum to that effect on the ballot at the March Primary Election.

If it passes, McHenry Township Road Commissioner James Condon would remain in office until the end of his term.

McHenry Township Road Commissioner James Condon walks in the Johnsburg Parade.

Then, the Road District functions would come under the control of those elected to the next Township Board.

The second item would be setting salaries for the McHenry Township officials to be elected just under four years from now.

Traditionally, township boards set those salaries at pretty much the last time allowed by law.

Anderson is on record as saying township trustees should be paid nothing.

Thirdly, Anderson proposes that McHenry Township withdraw from the Township Officials of Illinois.

He bases his opposition to belonging to the organization because it lobbies the Illinois General Assembly.

Fourth on his list is spending McHenry Township taxpayer money to maintain subdivision parks.

Fifth is elimination of a similar subsidy of a subdivision building.

Republicans Give Democrat Franks County Board Victory

The effort of less than half of Republicans on the McHenry County Board to rein in Democratic Party McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks failed Thursday.

There were two issues.

The first was Jack Franks’ Christmas season patronage hiring of two former campaign workers without gaining the required permission of the McHenry County Board.

Prior to Board members considering the resolution on the agenda, Franks frothed falsely that he was like every other countywide elected official.

Former electoral opponent Mike Walkup set those attending straight by pointing out that other countywide elected officials were mentioned in the Illinois State Constitution, while the Office of County Board Chairman was not.

After most of the first resolution’s proponents put forth their arguments (Chuck Wheeler’s blinking light was ignored by Franks), Joe Gottemoller moved to turn the motion on its head.

That was amended by Larry Smith to send the revised version to three committees.

Human Services Committee Chairman Yvonne Barnes wanted some direction to the committees, but none was given.

The effect of the motion was to delay the decision, which the minority who called the Special Meeting has been trying to surface at the County Board level since January, even further.

Voting the way that Democrat Jack Franks desired were Michele Aavang, Kay Bates, Chris Christensen, Joe Gottemoller, John Jung, Don Kopsell, Mary McCann, John Reinert, Mike Skala, Larry Smith, Chris Spoerl, Tom Wilbeck, all Republicans, plus Democrat Paula Yensen.  Jim Heisler voted, “No,” but the electronic vote counter did not register his vote.

The new touted tote board did not work.

John Heisler, among others, had problems.

The process took much longer than a voice vote would have.

But it did serve one purpose.

It allowed Franks to see who was voting how.

Jack Franks has the same advantage over ordinary County Board members that House Speaker Mike Madigan has in Springfield. He can see how a vote is progressing. At least in Springfield, House members can see how people are voting before the tally is taken because as people vote, their votes appear on the public tote board.

When I sort out who voted how, I’ll add the information.

The second resolution called for making public McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Opinions which scuttlebutt says backs up the contentions of those calling the Special Meeting that the County Board, not the County Board Chairman does the hiring.

Below you can see the photo I took of the voting.  Note that two proponents, Jim Heisler and Donna Kurtz did not have their votes recorded.

Both John Heisler and Donna Kurtz voted in favor of the resolution, but were not recorded as voting in favor.

CL Child Pornography Arrest

A press release from the Crystal Lake Police Department:

Unlawful Possession of Child Pornography Arrest

John Dzierzynski

On September 14, 2017, at approximately 5:00 am, Crystal Lake Police, with the assistance of the Illinois Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Unit, executed a search warrant in the 1600 block of Yellowstone Circle subsequent to an investigation being conducted on a resident of this address for unlawful possession of child pornography.

The matter initially came to the attention of the Crystal Lake Police Department through the ICAC Task Force, of which the Crystal Lake Police Department is a participating member, prompting an immediate investigation.

The Department’s Criminal Investigations Unit conducted the investigation, which culminated in the issuance of an arrest warrant for resident John J. Dzierzynski* (53) of 1650 Yellowstone Circle, Crystal Lake, for the offenses of:

  • 3 counts of Child Pornography – 720ILCS 5.0/11-20.1 (a) (6) (Class 2 Felony) and
  • 1 count of Child Pornography – 720ILCS 5.0/11-20.1 (a) (6) (Class 3 Felony)

Crystal Lake detectives placed Dzierzynski into custody during the execution of the search warrant. Detectives charged Dzierzynski with an additional count of child pornography (Class 2 Felony) following his arrest and search of his home.

Dzierzynski was later transported to the McHenry County Jail where he currently remains in custody, with his bond set at $50,000.00. His next court date is September 27, 2017, at the McHenry County Courthouse.

*All defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.

Democrat Micheal Vijuk Running for District 1 McHenry County Board Seat

Michael Vijuk

Attending the Algonquin Township Board meeting Tuesday night was Michael Vijuk.

He was wearing a badge that indicated he was running for the McHenry County Board.

Sitting next to a local Democrat, I guessed that was his party.

Afterwards he told me he had an MBA and had taught management and leadership at Harper College for thirty years.

For twenty-four years he has lived in McHenry County.

Property Division Decision in Cancer Treatment Centers of America Owner’s Divorce Today, Text of Judge’s Decision

McHenry County Circuit Court Judge James Cowlin ruled on the property part of the divorce of Alicia and Richard Stephenson today.

Stephenson is the man responsible for Cancer Centers of America and the divorce ended up in McHenry County because he lives in that portion of Barrington Hills.

Below is that part of the court order that deals with property, maintenance and legal fees:


Local Tribune reporter Amanda Marrazzo has been tenaciously covering this story. Her latest effort is here.

Algonquin Township Legal Bills for Six Months

Algonquin Township Supervisor Chuck Lutzow emailed me the Township Board agenda and packet for tonight’s 7 PM meeting.

Included were expenditures for the six months ending September 30th.

Here’s what each official has spent:

  • Supervisor – $21,454.00
  • Highway Commissioner – $111,884.40
  • Assessor – $4,452.02
  • Clerk – $36,642.50

These figures reach back beyond the beginning of the incumbents’ terms.

Ersel Schuster Promotes Candidacy for McHenry County Board, Other GOP Candidates Present Selves, Too

Former County Board member Ersel Schuster answered questions.

At the NorWest Township Republican Party meeting last night at the Woodstock Public Library, former McHenry County Board member Ersel Schuster announced her candidacy for the 2018 election.

There were other candidates as well.

State Rep. Steve Reick was attending to paperwork when this photo was taken.

State Rep. Steve Reick talked of his first year in Springfield and his intention to run for re-election.

The northeastern part of the territory covered by the NorWest GOP is in State Rep. Barb Wheeler’s district. Lake County Board member Tom Weber is the only candidate for the seat at this time.

Lake County Board member Tom Weber told of his campaign to replace State Rep. Barb Wheeler.

McHenry County Treasurer Glenda Miller, running for re-election, was really amused at something.

One Friend of McHenry County Blog caught McHenry County Treasurer Glenda Miller, a member of the organization, in a really good mood.

Sitting behind Miller is Orville Brettman, who is running for one of two Republican nominations for the McHenry County Board in District 6. and also spoke to the Committeemen.

Up for re-election are Larry Smith and Michele Aavang.  Neither were in attendance.

Joe Tirio, Recorder of Deeds, talked of his campaign for County Clerk. Sitting is former State Rep. candidate John O’Neill and his youngest, Teddy.

McHenry County Recorder of Deeds Joe Tirio, now running for County Clerk, which will assume the responsibilities of the Recorder’s Office after the March referendum is passed, spoke to the crowd.

Bobby Miller of the Rebuild Project.

Bobby Miller of the Illinois Rebuild Project spoke about his organization’s goals.

2016 Roskam Opponent Taking on Dem State Rep.

Jay Kinzler, who challenged Peter Roskam for Congress in 2016, was on the Family PAC Cruise with his wife Jennifer.

In the 2016 Republican Party Primary Election, physician Jay Kinzler took on Congressman Peter Roskam.

This time around, Kinzler is running for State Rep. against Villa Park Democratic Party State Rep.  Deb Conroy.

More information on Illinois Review.

NWH Takes Note of Jack Franks’ Patronage Hires and Thursday Meeting to Eliminate Those Improperly Filled Positions

In his ninth month as McHenry County Board Chairman, the Northwest Herald has taken notice that Jack Franks has made “political hires.”

This is how the Northwest Herald promoted its article about the Special Meeting to get rid of Jack Franks’ patronage employees.

It’s in a story about the Special Meeting called Thursday by a minority of Republicans on the County Board who were thwarted last month when enough colleagues did not show up for the roll call of two meetings to constitute a quorum.

Both meetings were adjourned by Franks without public comment being allowed.

A number of people signed up to speak at the Special Meetings not held on August 23, 2017.

A visitor from Illinois Leaks, the publication of the Edgar County Watchdogs, nevertheless, spoke to thirty or so who remained after the meeting on illegalities occurring in McHenry County’s 911 Commission.

Franks tried to convince Board members, those in the audience and Assistant State’s Attorney Norm Vinton that an illegal meeting was occurring.

The article, quoting Craig Wilcox, reports, “The utility coordinator position became vacant on May 3, 2013, and the temporary project manager was vacated on Aug. 12, 2016. Both were filled in December.”

Franks continues to use a false argument one would think a attorney would know to be irrelevant.

He says the other countywide elected officials can hire whom they wish, so he, as a countywide elected official should be able to do so as well.

What he does not bother to reveal is that the other countywide elected officials positions were specifically created in the 1970 State Constitution.

The office of County Board Chairman was not.

The difference is what gives positions like the State’s Attorney, County Clerk, Sheriff, Recorder of Deeds, etc., the hiring power that Franks does not have.

The Special Meeting will be held immediately after the Board’s Committee of the Whole meeting, which starts at 9 AM on Thursday morning.

Lakewood Buys 9 Tasers for $12,700

In its relatively short meeting Tuesday night, the Village Board of Lakewood spent $12,700 to purchase nine Tasers.

Trustees Jason McMahon and Carl Davis were absent September 12, 2017.

The price will be paid over five years out of money previously budgeted for other Police Department items.

Examples given were the money not being used to provide the Chief a private car and a private phone.

In addition, a former employee of the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District, laid off when the recession hit, was approved for hire.

A proposal for a $16,700 water and sanitary sewer study, pending looking at the study about which east end residents were told was conducted prior to switching sewage treatment in Conntry Club Additions from Crystal Lake to Lakewood’s plant.

At that time, residents to be switched were told that rates would rise only a little bit.

At the end of the meeting Trustee Amy Odum tried to get the board to go into Executive Session for “the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance or dismissal of specific employees of the village, including hearing testimony on a complaint lodged against an employee to determine its validity,” but was told by the Village Attorney that would be improper because the employee in question was not currently on the payroll.

LITH Pot Growing Operation Raided

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

Clandestine Cannabis Operation Arrest

On Monday, September 11, 2017, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force (which includes members of the Lake in the Hills Police Department) arrested Thomas Discher, 47, after serving a search warrant in the 100 block of Grant Avenue in Lake in the Hills and finding a clandestine cannabis “grow” operation.

Detectives received information that there was such an operation at a residence in the 100 block of Grant Avenue in Lake in the Hills.

An investigation was opened that led to a search warrant.

At the time the search warrant was served, Discher was inside the residence with his wife and four children.

Detectives recovered 74 cannabis plants, most 6 feet or taller; 182.2 grams of cannabis packaged for sale; additional packaging materials and equipment; and other related articles.

The estimated street value of the cannabis seized is approximately $56,064.

Members of the community are encouraged to report suspected drug dealing and other suspicious activity to the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office at 815-338-2144 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers of McHenry at 800-762-7637 (STOP).