Crystal Lake Metra Derailment Delays Service

From Metra:

Location of the Metra derailment. Trains heading north were delayed.

UPNW #720 Will Not Operate

UPNW train #720 scheduled to arrive Ogilvie Transportation Center 4:23 pm will not operate due to train #710 derailment. Train #718 will be the next train to accommodate passengers to Chicago.

UPNW Operational Change

Due to UPNW train #710 derailment, service has been suspended from Crystal Lake to Harvard until further notice. Some trains may change originating departure locations, operating out of sequence or annulled. For your safety, stand behind the yellow line.

UPNW #714 Delayed Departure

UPNW train #714 scheduled to arrive Ogilvie Transportation Center at 1:23 pm, will be delayed in departure due to train #710 derailment. Duration of delay is unknown. Metra will provide updates as they become available.

IL-11 UPDATED: Daily Herald Should Endorse “None of the Above” in Republican Primary

After watching the Daily Herald editorial board interview end-to-end, if I were the newspaper, Republican candidate quality merits “No Endorsement” as all the candidates were that bad

Exclusive to McHenry County Blog and from the desk of John Lopez

UPDATE: February 24, 10:20AM CST:

The Friday broadcast of Smoke Fille Room featured this article from McHenry County Blog concerning discussing the Republican primary in the IL-11.

Cued video of the 5 1/2 minutes segment at the bottom of the article, plus a reader comment.

======= END OF UPDATE =======

As reported Wednesday on McHenry County Blog, some grassroots Republicans had begun “splicing & dicing” the Daily Herald editorial board interview video of the Republican candidates for the 11th Congressional District primary and distributing it on Facebook.

As discussed yesterday, it was an example of astroturfing trying to make frontrunner Jerry Evans (R, Warrenville) look bad, and I acknowledged Evans should have answered this question better on the topic of abortion and the truth his position changed from his 2022 primary campaign from favoring a federal ban to letting the states decide, per the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

But now, the campaign of Susan Hathaway-Altman (R, unincorporated Geneva) started to do a similar “splice & dice” video and issued a press release which was picked up by multiple media outlets around the country.

Splicing and dicing certain clips, usually 5-8 minutes, leaves out the entire interview.

Over my 4 1/2 years writing for McHenry County Blog, I’ve always emphasized readers to apply discernment and use full context. Therefore, the entire nearly hour-long video recording of the ZOOM interview with the Republican candidates and the Daily Herald can be viewed here and all, especially Republican primary voters in the 11th Congressional District, are urged to watch this video in its entirety.

And after viewing the entire video of the interviews which took place on February 13, in my honest opinion, the Herald editorial board, who will make their editorial endorsement decision after viewing the video in its entirety, should not endorse any of the Republican candidates hoping to face Congressman Bill Foster (D, Naperville) in the fall campaign (yes, Qasim Rashid (D, Naperville) is challenging Foster in the Democratic primary, but in spite raising an impressive $627K in 2023, evidence shows he’s not gaining traction against Foster).

I don’t make this “None of the Above” suggestion lightly, as I respect all 3 candidates, and have talked with all of them over the past 4 years.

In the 2022 Republican primary for the 11th Congressional District, the Daily Herald editorial board was so unimpressed with the 3 Republican candidates (out of six total) who participated in the ZOOM interview in early May of 2022 (the Republican primary in 2022 was June 28), the Daily Herald endorsed one of the candidates who didn’t show up to be interviewed and vetted, and that same candidate finished in 6th place when the votes were counted.

Clearly, the Daily Herald editorial board’s recommendations do not sway elections.

This time, all of the candidates participated, and I still suggest a “No Endorsement” in this race, based on the quality of the candidate interviews.

Here’s why:

The Republican candidates are running against Bill Foster, not President Joe Biden

Congressman Foster was mentioned only once by the candidates, and that was Jerry Evans’ closing statement at the end of the interivew. No discussion of the Foster record, not only in the current Congress where he is in the minority, but over his entire 8 terms serving in Washington going back to his special election win in the 14th Congressional District in 2008.

There was much discussion about President Biden, but all three candidates as they challenge what President Biden is doing wrong for the country, forget that whoever wins the primary, must court Biden voters to split their tickets in the fall.

Cor Strategies, in multiple Smoke Filled Room podcasts, point out ex President and likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is very unpopular among general election voters in the 11th Congressional District. The Republican nominee from IL-11 will get no help from the top of the ticket to win their race in the fall.

By not discussing Foster’s record during the primary, Republican primary voters do not know who will force Congressman Foster to defend his record, which he’ll portray as “moderate and centrist”.

But Foster will set up any of the Republicans like he did at the end of 2023 in a campaign fundraising email solicitation.

Yes, Foster’s campaign got some facts wrong, particularly Hathaway-Altman’s main source of income is not as a small businesswoman but as a corporate executive, and she pulled down over $277K in 2023 from her job per her Financial Disclosure report filed last month.

But Foster preparing to defend his seat in the fall once he dispatches Qasim Rashid’s upstart leftist primary campaign on March 19 and through the end of 2023, he has nearly $1.7 million in the bank to do so.

During the Daily Herald editorial board interview, Congressman Foster’s votes were not brought up, and there was plenty of recent votes any of the 3 candidates could have worked into the interview with their responses to questions, even if the questioners did not frame the question around Foster.

For example, on Abortion, how about Foster’s consistent votes to codify Roe v. Wade which he voted for twice in the 117th Congress, on Sep 24, 2021, and July 15, 2022?

From California Target BookPre-Dobbs Decision Vote to Codify Roe v. Wade

This is what Congressman Foster said after the 2nd vote, on July 15, 2022:

“As the Trump-packed Supreme Court and radical lawmakers across the nation wage an all-out assault against reproductive rights, Congress’ work to defend every woman’s basic health freedoms has never been more important.

“The Women’s Health Protection Act, which I was proud to help pass for a second time, would enshrine the protections of Roe v. Wade into federal law to ensure access to reproductive health care, including abortion care, for women in every state.”

The fallacy of the “Women’s Health Protection Act”, including the 2nd vote within one month after the Dobbs decision, was exposed by Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV) who twice voted with Republicans to filibuster the WHPA of 2021, when Manchin stated the bill, “goes too far” from codifying Roe v. Wade.

Did any of the 3 Republican candidates bring up this important part of the Foster record to the Daily Herald? Nope.

How about foreign policy, Israel and the war against HAMAS terrorists. Did anyone bring up Foster’s “present” vote denouncing the rise of antisemitism from early December, when 311 members of the House, genuine bipartisan support, and Foster could only vote “present”?

From California Target Book

Business experience of all three Republicans pales with Foster’s record as a successful businessman and scientist

The Republican candidates, particularly Hathaway-Altman, stress their business experience, with Hathaway-Altman discussing her 35-years in business, and saying she knows how to negotiate business deals and she’ll do the same in Congress.

First, a freshman member (with few exceptions) of Congress will not be involved in any kind of major legislation, particularly negotiations. That’ll be for more senior members.

But Foster will remind voters this fall how he and his brother started a business from scratch in the 1970s, and that business is still doing business today (though Foster sold out his share when he first ran for Congress).

Throw-in he’s a physicist and the only scientist in Congress, and all of the Republicans are challenged by Foster’s self-made American business success story.

Hathaway-Altman’s inspiring story going from waitress to the corporate executive suite is impressive, but she was still a “hired-hand”, and not a successful entrepreneur as Foster will point out in the fall.

In the 2022 election, Congressman Foster wiped out his Republican opponent Catalina Lauf (R, Woodstock) by 13 percentage points. Lauf claimed to be a product of the American dream, and a start-up businesswoman, but look at Congressman Foster’s career record which goes back 50 years in this cued video for little over 10 minutes and for many reasons, Lauf didn’t have a chance in 2022.

While Hathaway-Altman, along with Evans’ successful and self-made music school as well as Dr. Kent Mercado (R, Bartlett), ALL THREE Republicans are products of the service industry, and none are involved in manufacturing!

Should be noted, Foster already took a shot at Dr. Mercado claiming he’s not self-made with the “inherited” description.

Given the particle accelerator picture Foster shared, the 8-term Congressman can literally wrap rings around all of the Republican candidates as a proven and successful manufacturer.

That’s what the winner of the Republican primary will be up against in the fall, and Republican primary voters should demand all three candidates to discuss HOW they will defeat Foster in November if they win the Republican nomination.

It’s doable to beat Foster, and he lost a general election in 2010 to then state Senator Randy Hultgren (R, Plano), but the Republican nominee must prove they will defeat Foster in the fall by the known weakness of his voting record in Congress.

Yes, there’s always the Republicans’ campaign fundraising

As stated elsewhere, campaign fundraising is crucial, and candidates in districts like IL-11, rated “strong/safe Democrat” will likely not see super PAC funding from outside IL-11. Any hope to upset Foster in the fall comes through broadcast TV advertising, and thus far, none of the Republicans have money to be on TV.

Feedback has reached me to do a deeper dive into Evans’ fundraising, given claims of “dark money” contributions from max-ed out donors that could be inflating Evans’ cash-on-hand.

Between now and Midnight Tuesday night, February 27, the Republicans will be fundraising as the final campaign disclosure report, the Pre-primary filing with the FEC, will determine if the candidates have increased fundraising since the first of the year. Particularly Hathaway-Altman, given she announced her high profile endorsements just after the first of the year and her next filing will show if those endorsements have resulted in campaign contributions.

All three candidates will be vetted, and Republican primary voters need to do the same to cast informed votes.

From the Friday morning Smoke Filled Room podcast, with host Collin Corbett including guest Kevin Coyne (R, Naperville), founder of the Safe Suburbs USA PAC.

=========================

Don’t agree with me and want to comment on this article? No problem, provided the comment has to do with the contents of the article, and are respectful in opinion of the author. Please email johnlopez1891@gmail.com with your comment and if acceptable will be appended to the end of the article. Commenters with established/email-verified pseudonyms will be posted from the pseudonym. Commenters requesting their real name not be posted will be referred to as “Friend of the Blog”.

From Friend of the Blog from Thursday, February 22, 10:25PM CST

Thank you, John. Interesting article!

Feds Continue Prosecuting Crimes That Could Be Prosecuted by Cook County State’s Attorney

From the U.S. AttorneyL

Chicago Man Convicted on Federal Carjacking and Firearm Charges

CHICAGO — A Chicago man has been convicted in federal court of carjacking a vehicle at gunpoint on the city’s West Side and firing a handgun while attempting to carjack another vehicle.

The jury in U.S. District Court in Chicago on Tuesday convicted KIAR EVANS, 24, on all four counts against him, including one count of carjacking, one count of attempted carjacking, one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, and one count of illegal possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon.

The convictions are punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in federal prison and a maximum of life.  U.S. District Judge Martha M. Pacold has not yet set a sentencing date.

The guilty verdicts were announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI, and Larry Snelling, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paige A. Nutini and Jimmy L. Arce.

According to evidence presented at the week-long trial, the carjacking and attempted carjacking occurred within minutes of each other on the afternoon of May 20, 2021. 

In the attempted carjacking, Evans approached a Chevrolet Impala near the intersection of Independence Boulevard and Congress Parkway in Chicago and fired shots through a window while attempting to get inside. 

The driver of the Impala was able to drive away from the scene.

Evans then approached the driver-side window of a Nissan Altima, pointed a firearm at the driver and demanded that the driver exit the vehicle. 

The victim complied and Evans drove off in the Nissan.  A short time later, Evans was driving the stolen vehicle when he was involved in a multi-vehicle crash at the intersection of Harrison Street and Ogden Avenue in Chicago. 

Chicago Police officers arrested Evans and discovered a loaded semi-automatic handgun in his possession. 

As a previously convicted felon, Evans was not lawfully allowed to possess a firearm.

McConchie Comments on Budget

From State Senator Dan McConchie:

This week, Governor J.B Pritzker delivered his annual state budget address proposing the biggest budget in Illinois history, and unfortunately it was no surprise that he wants to raise your taxes to help pay for it.

Governor Pritzker’s budget would raise taxes by more than $1 billion to spend a billion on the migrant crisis and free healthcare for illegal immigrants.

While there are always some good things in a budget, this proposed state budget does not match the priorities I think would best serve the people of Illinois.

This session I will remain focused on the citizens of this state and push for a transparent budget that centers on spending your money wisely and prioritizing your needs.

Below I have highlighted some of the key points within the Governor’s proposed budget.

At the bottom of this email is a way for you to send me your feedback and ask any questions. I look forward to keeping you updated as the budget discussions progress.

Fiscal Year 2025 Proposed Budget Highlights

Spending & Revenues

The largest introduced budget in Illinois history.A 4.5% increase from FY24.Overall, spending has grown by $12.4 billion, nearly 31% since Pritzker took office.

Proposed Tax Increases – Over $1 Billion from FY24

Individual Tax Increases

  • Reduce standard deduction for tax year 2024 from $2,775 to $2,550.
  • Sports wagering tax increase from 15% to 35%.

Business Tax Increases

  • Extend the Limit on Corporate Net Operating Loss Deductions for the Next Three Years at $500,000 Per Year
  • The Governor is proposing a $1,000-per-month cap on the Retailers’ Discount.
  • Currently, Illinois retailers receive a discount of 1.75% of the sales tax due on their retail sales.
  • Increase the maximum Corporate Franchise Tax exemption from $5,000 to the first $10,000 of tax liability, reducing available revenues by $10 million.

The Governor is counting revenues that have not yet become law to balance this budget meaning that it could end up being $755 million out of balance.

Governor’s Initiatives

  • Non-citizen funding ($811 million).
  • $629 million ($440 million GRF) is identified for non-citizen healthcare.
  • $182 million for non-citizens as part of a joint $321 million response with City of Chicago and Cook County.
  • Funding for non-citizens will total at least $3 billion since FY23.

Smart Start Illinois

Provides over $400 million for the second year of this early childhood initiative ($150 million in new spending):

  • $13 million for Department of Early Childhood.
  • $200 million for Childcare Workforce Compensation Contracts.
  • Increases ISBE’s Early Childhood Block Grant by $75 million.
  • Provide an additional $36.5 million for Childcare Assistance Program participation.
  • Adds $5 million to expand DHS Home Visiting Program.

Notable Spending Proposals

  • Higher Education ($12 million increase)
  • PreK-12 Education ($462 million increase)
  • HFS/Medicaid ($91 million increase)
  • Public Safety Agencies ($15 million increase)
  • Human Services Agencies ($716 million increase)Pensions ($322 million increase)

Your feedback matters.

If help to tell Pritzker “NO” to these new tax hikes, please sign his petition here: Say NO to Tax Hikes Petition

If you have any feedback, concerns, or questions, I would love to hear from you.

You can contact me here.

Upstate v. Downstate Illinois

A column originally appearing in the Chicago Tribune. Reprinted with permission of author Jim Nowlan.

Illinois downstaters and their city ‘cousins’ live in different worlds

Rural and urban Illinoisans live in starkly different worlds, and the former resent it, though they don’t clearly understand why. There are textbook solutions, such as better education and higher parental expectations in rural Illinois.

I wish I could be optimistic.

I have lived most of my 82 years in rural Illinois, yet much of my work is in the city. I am an Amtrak regular.

I quaff Modelo beers with my buddies in their seed corn caps at a tavern on the outskirts of my hometown and next day sip a nice sauvignon blanc with my associates at the Union League Club of Chicago.

Never the twain shall meet.

The differences are, sure, wealth, income, education and family cohesiveness, but more important, expectations and aspirations — with much less of all these in rural Illinois than in metro Chicago.

Lawyers know where the wealth is — 87% of all Illinois lawyers practice in the six metropolitan Chicago counties, out of 102 counties in Illinois, according to the state Attorneys Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

As for family units, pundits talk about the broken family unit as an urban problem.

Yet, state public health agency reports show that nearly half of all births in 2020 in my rural home county of Stark were to unmarried (white) women; in nearby Peoria County, it was 54%.

This, versus slightly more than one-third of births to unmarried women in Cook County and one-fifth in suburban DuPage County.

A typical, successful double-income suburban or urban couple, together making, say, $200,000 — and often much more — generates 10 to 30 times more income per household than the typical rural single mother on government programs or in a low-income job.

Somehow, it doesn’t seem quite fair to the single mother and her boyfriend, and they resent it.

After all, her kids want the same sneakers as the youngsters in cities, and she would love a vacation on the beach in Mexico, as she sees upscale young families enjoying.

Somehow, the young single parent can’t blame herself for not studying harder in chemistry class, nor her mom or dad for not encouraging her to do so.

So, she blames others, such as big-city dwellers.

Donald Trump taps into this resentment in rural America with the powerful, nihilistic message “(Expletive) them all.”

Most small towns under a couple of thousand people, the warp and weft of 19th century America, have been slowly dying since I was a kid.

Big-box stores in bigger cities did a number on Main Street businesses, leaving vacant storefronts.

Health care consolidated, leaving little towns without their family doctor.

Achievement in tiny schools fell far behind that of shiny, much better-funded suburban schools — all sharply diminishing the lure of a small town “of dear hearts and gentle people” to any upwardly mobile young couple.

When I was growing up in small-town America post-World War II, each little burg tended to have a small manufacturer, a banker, a couple of lawyers and Main Street businesspeople.

Back then, their kids returned home after college to run the businesses and lead the town.

No longer.

The kids of any leading citizens go to college and never look back.

Now they live in the ’burbs, maybe soon to be hunkered behind gated communities.

The natural leadership of small-town America has largely vamoosed.

Indeed, today’s school superintendents and health care professionals who work in small towns often refuse to live there, commuting from a metro area like Peoria or Bloomington-Normal.

More leadership potential foregone.

Don’t get me wrong.

There are some delightful, lively small towns, but let the numbers do the talking.

The population of rural America has declined from 36% of the nation’s total in 1950 to 14% in 2020.

A fundamental difference between small-town and urban America is the schools.

The strongest correlate for school achievement scores has always been the level of education of a school’s parents — the higher the latter, the higher the former.

With lower education levels in rural areas, small-town school districts tend to score below the Illinois state average and far below good suburban schools.

Where would you want your kids to matriculate?

“Politics, The Starter Kit. How to Succeed in Government and Politics.” by James Nowlan.

Government programs will never lift rural America out of its doldrums.

Only the kindling of higher expectations and aspirations for one’s children will do the trick.

Those who do well as a result may leave town for good.

Yet, maybe the electricity in a community that is striving hard to achieve will draw new families to the laid-back small-town lifestyle, some of whose kids may stay.

Fortunately, survey after survey going back to my graduate school days has shown that urban Illinois residents have quite positive attitudes toward their rural Illinois “cousins.”

Thus, urban Illinois leaders, the only ones who count, could benefit their country cousins with systematic programs to infuse small-town school leaders, parents and students with aspirations to achieve more in school. Then country and city mice would become more alike.

Jim Nowlan is a former Illinois legislator, state agency director, senior aide to three Illinois governors [who were not indicted], professor, small-town newspaper publisher and author, most recently, of “Politics — The Starter Kit: How to Succeed in Politics and Government.” 

He lives in Princeton, Illinois, which he calls a delightful town.

Comprehensive Look at Pritzker’s FY25 Budget

From Wirepoints:

Gov. Pritzker’s 2025 budget address and the kitchen table issues that actually matter – Wirepoints

By: Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner

It’s become nearly meaningless to opine on the details of Illinois’ annual budgets. For more than 20 straight years, Illinois governors have claimed their budgets were “balanced.”*

That they were fixing Illinois’ structural problems…like

And yet year after year, Illinoisans are on the hook for more debtstaxes go up and people continue to flee the state.

Illinois’ budgets don’t work.

They are dishonest.

The only real way to really judge a budget, then, is to measure how it impacts the kitchen table issues of ordinary Illinoisans.

Like gasoline prices.

And property taxes.

The quality of education. Inflation.

And of course, jobs. 

By that standard, Gov. Pritzker’s previous five budgets have failed and his latest proposal for 2025 is on track to do the same.

The data is unequivocal, as we detail in the sections below.

Three points before we make our case:

  • Illinois’ failed budgets existed long before Gov. Pritzker’s. We’ve criticized Governors RaunerQuinnBlagojevich and Edgar for many of the same issues. But Pritzker has been governor for five years now and he’s got an easily measurable record.
  • In 2019, political mismanagement brought Illinois to the fiscal brink and Moody’s even threatened a junk rating for the state. Gov. Pritzker’s budgets are special in that they were bailed out by the unprecedented $200 billion in federal covid dollars given to the state’s public and private sectors. The paydown of the state’s unpaid bills, the restoration of a rainy day fund and the credit rating upgrades were all due to the windfall tax revenues created by the federal largesse, facts the governor refuses to acknowledge.
  • Illinoisans may be confused into thinking that many items in the 2025 budget tackle kitchen table issues. There’s the elimination of the grocery tax, the child tax credit and the pre-K education expansion. But on the whole, they don’t. That’s because the cumulative impact of more programs and more spending just results in more tax hikes, more bureaucracy and the dysfunction that Illinois is known for. The costs outweigh the benefits.

Here’s how Gov. Pritzker’s budgets fail to address the kitchen-table issues Illinoisans care about:

1. Illinois’ jobs climate still one of the nation’s worst

Kitchen table issue number one for most people is jobs.

In his budget speech, the governor highlighted the jobs created by a few favored industries, but overall his budgets have failed to put Illinoisans back to work.

Illinois’ unemployment rate remains the nation’s 3rd-highest and the number of Illinoisans employed fell by 16,500 in 2023. 

And compared to when the governor first took office in 2019, employment in Illinois today is down by more than 120,000 people – the nation’s 2nd-biggest loss. Illinois had 6,277,328 people employed in Jan. 2019, falling to 6,155,725 by Dec. 2023.

2. No relief from nation’s 2nd-highest property taxes

Property taxes are perhaps the single most painful part of living in Illinois. Residents pay the nation’s 2nd-highest tax rate and have done so for years.

Gov. Pritzker acknowledged that pain and promised in his 2020 budget address that a property tax task force would deliver relief.

That task force ended up failing and the governor hasn’t mentioned property tax relief since.

The 2025 budget marks the fourth year in a row the governor has failed to deliver on his original promise of property tax relief.

Pain for homeowners continues to grow across the state, most recently in Cook County.

Many residents in the Northwest suburbs, for example, just saw their bills skyrocket by 25% to 30%. And in Chicago, immigrant neighborhoods like Pilsen and Little Village have also been shocked by unaffordable property tax hikes.

3. No relief from nation’s 2nd-highest gas taxes

The pain Illinoisans feel at the pump is real. Residents pay the 2nd-highest gas prices east of the Rocky Mountains – a fact with huge implications for family budgets.

Yet the 2025 budget delivers no gas tax relief. 

Illinoisans’ high costs are due largely to Gov. Pritzker’s doubling of the state’s motor fuel tax hike in 2019.

That drove up Illinois’ gas taxes to the nation’s 2nd-highest – up from 21st-highest before the hike.

When the scheduled increase in gas tax was delayed, the Democrats manded signs like this be placed on every pump.

And because of the new law’s annual, automatic adjustment for inflation, the gas tax will continue to grow higher year after year.

4. Driving up inflation

Gov. Pritzker’s proposal to eliminate the one percent sales tax on groceries is real relief for Illinois families, even if small.

But it won’t make up for the record inflation that’s bitten into Illinoisans’ wallets over the past several years – inflation created by the massive federal spending and covid bailouts that Gov. Pritzker and other state leaders championed.

Senate President Don Harmon made Illinois the first state in the nation to beg for federal money back in 2020. 

It triggered this New York Times headline“Illinois Seeks a Bailout From Congress for Pensions and Cities.” 

And Governor Pritzker warned several times that the state required federal largesse to continue operating:

  • From WBEZ Chicago: “There’s no chance we won’t have to suffer severe, damaging cuts to higher education, to K-12 education, to basic services that people need if we don’t get any support,” the governor said. “That’s what’s going to happen to our state. We’re going to see just an enormous hole where we’ve made so much progress.”
  • From the Chicago Tribune: Gov. J.B. Pritzker warned that the state faces ‘extraordinarily painful’ budget cuts if the federal government fails to provide states with relief funding to make up for tax revenue shortfalls caused by efforts to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.”

Their begging helped create a windfall for Illinois.

The state’s public and private sectors ended up receiving $200 billion out of the trillions the federal government spent on covid relief.

Illinoisans have suffered the inflationary impact of all that spending.

The price of ground beef has risen 29% since January of 2020. Chicken is up 41%. Coffee, up nearly 50%. Eggs, up 73%. 

Ending the 1% grocery tax doesn’t even make a dent in that. Especially since Illinoisans will be hit with more spending-related inflation if Gov. Pritzker has his way.

He’s calling for even more federal support (i.e. spending) for the illegal immigration crisis.

5. Education: more spending, worse outcomes

Children unable to do their homework because they can’t read properly is literally a kitchen-table issue. K-12 education is a prime example of how major increases in programmatic spending don’t translate into better outcomes for Illinoisans.

Gov. Pritzker and his supermajority allies have cumulatively poured $7 billion in additional funding into public schools since he took office and yet the share of students able to read or do math at grade level remains dismally low.

In 2019, 37.4% of students could read at grade level and just 32% could do math at grade level. I

n 2023, the results were even lower.

The real question

The question Illinoisans should ask themselves is, “am I better off under Gov. Pritzker’s budgets?” 

The above facts show the answer is no. 

Appendix

Capitol Police Shover, Water Bottle & Metal Travel Mug Thrower, Capitol Pot Smoking Illinois Man Pleads Guilty

From the U.S.Attoney in tyhe District of Columbia:

Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Law Enforcement During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

WASHINGTON – An Illinois man pleaded guilty today to assaulting law enforcement during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election.

Quinn Keen, 36, of Manteno, Illinois, pleaded guilty today in the District of Columbia to a felony offense of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers. U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly scheduled sentencing for June 27, 2024.

According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Keen entered the restricted permitter of the U.S. Capitol at approximately 1:14 p.m. and made his way to the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol grounds.

Here, U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers had formed a police line behind bike rack barricades to restrict the crowd from further advancing on the restricted area.

While on the Lower West Terrace, Keen confronted the police line and threw a water bottle and its contents at the officers.

Moments later, other rioters had pulled a bike rack barricade from the police line to the ground.

An MPD officer then bent over and attempted to pick the barricade up when Keen moved forward and shoved the officer with both of his hands, making physical contact and pushing the officer backward.

Keen then backed away and, approximately one minute later, threw a metal travel mug at other officers in the police line.

The mug struck a plexiglass riot shield being held by one of the officers, deflected, and fell to the ground.

Keen remained on the West Plaza and was later seen entering the Capitol building via the Upper West Terrace door at approximately 2:38 p.m.

Once inside, Keen traveled up a staircase and into the Capitol Rotunda with other rioters.

While in the Rotunda, Keen gathered with other rioters and smoked marijuana.

He then exited the Rotunda, moved towards the Senate chamber, and finally exited the Capitol about 3:15 p.m. via the East Rotunda Door. 

The FBI arrested Keen on April 6, 2023, in Chicago.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section prosecuted this case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois provided valuable assistance.

The FBI’s Chicago and Washington Field Offices investigated this case. The U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department provided valuable assistance.

In the 37 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,313 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 469 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony.

The investigation remains ongoing.

Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.

Algonquin Township Redux

Does this nepotism remind anyone else of Algonquin Townshp times pase?

Daily Southtown | Wife, son of Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus Jones made six figures working with city

The wife and son of Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus Jones combined to earn more than $120,000 in 2023 while working for or on behalf of the city, public records show.

Saprina Jones made $92,538 for her roles while Thaddeus Jones Jr. made $32,250, according to records showing the money they made from the city from Jan. 1 to Dec. 4 of last year.

IL-11: Chicago Tribune Endorse Bill Foster and Dr. Kent Mercado for the Primary

Congressman Bill Foster
Dr. Kent Mercado

Rejects 2022 primary endorsement recipient Susan Hathaway-Altman & Qasim Rashid, recognizes Jerry Evans fundraising

Exclusive to McHenry County Blog by John Lopez

Today (Friday, February 23), the Chicago Tribune announced its endorsement for the 11th Congressional District in both the Democratic and Republican primaries.

Congressman Bill Foster (D, Naperville) was endorsed in the Democratic primary over upstart Qasim Rashid (D, Naperville). While the explanation was lengthy, just more proof Foster will easily win renomination on March 19.

On the Republican side, Dr. Kent Mercado (R, Bartlett) was endorsed over both Jerry Evans (R, Warrenville) and Susan Hathaway-Altman (R, unincorporated Geneva).

The Democratic primary endorsement speaks for itself.

Susan Hathaway-Altman

The Republican primary needs additional discernment.

In 2022, the Tribune endorsed Susan Hathaway-Altman in the Republican primary over 5 opponents including primary winner Catalina Lauf (R, Woodstock) and Evans.

Here’s what the Tribune said on June 14, 2022, after rejecting Lauf for their endorsement:

“…but our endorsement goes to Susan Hathaway-Altman, a business executive from Geneva who supports a rollback in federal spending and jump-starting the economy through tax cuts, which she says would help revitalize the farming and manufacturing sectors in the district”

So this morning, the Tribune described Hathaway-Altman like this:

“…and business owner Susan Hathaway-Altman, who is billing herself as the anti-establishment candidate.”

That’s it. No more about Hathaway-Altman except she’s now the “anti-establishment” candidate.

Jerry Evans

So what changed in the Tribune‘s views from Hathaway-Altman’s 2022 campaign, when they endorsed her over Evans and Lauf, and 2024, when Evans received 3x more print space than Hathaway-Altman?:

“Evans described the two most pressing issues in his district as ‘inflation and the illegal immigrant crisis.’

“ ‘We need to stop wasteful spending and get inflation under control,’ he told us. ‘Securing the southern border is a humanitarian, foreign policy and economic imperative.’ Evans does not support aid to Ukraine being decoupled from border politics, nor does he support a ban on the sale of semi-automatic rifles. Although Evans is the better-funded candidate and comes with a strong appeal for faith-based Republicans…”

All of that said, Dr. Mercado earned the Tribune‘s endorsement and he should be congratulated, though with the caution that in 2022, his opponent Hathaway-Altman received their endorsement and finished in 4th place.

The entire endorsement article can be read here.

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Kane County Republicans Oppose Democrats’ Attempt to Designate It as Sanctuary County

From Kane County Republicans:

Breaking News: Is Kane County on the Verge of Becoming a Sanctuary County?

Fellow Taxpayers,

If you haven’t heard, our Chairwoman of the Kane County Board, Corinne Pierog, along with Board Member Mavis Bates, would like to see our County become a Sanctuary County.

But do we really want this for our community?

For those unfamiliar, a sanctuary county is one that adopts policies discouraging local law enforcement from reporting the immigration status of individuals.

These policies not only undermine Federal law but also pose significant risks to our safety, finances, and economy.

This is because sanctuary policies defy Federal laws which creates a dangerous environment within our communities.

Let’s address the immediate impact on crime and safety in our county.

By becoming a sanctuary county, we risk providing refuge to criminals from other countries, and if you don’t think that there are bad people crossing over hidden within the masses, then think again.

This undermines the efforts of our local police and makes their job difficult to carry out and thus endangers our communities.

Pair this with the recent implementation of the SAFE-T Act, which eliminates the cash bail system, and the result is a recipe for increased crime and decreased safety for Kane County residents.

Also, the financial burden of accommodating undocumented migrants is staggering.

The costs associated with housing, services, and legal proceedings would strain our county’s resources and burden taxpayers.

Just look at the exorbitant expenditures in other sanctuary jurisdictions like Chicago and Cook County.

Just this month, Governor Pritzker announced an additional $182 million in state taxpayer funds to address the ongoing migrant issues in Cook County and Chicago, with approximately $321 million to be spent in this calendar year, and $500 million was spent in 2023.

We cannot afford to follow in their footsteps.

Additionally, granting sanctuary status undermines the integrity of our economy and welfare system. Chairperson Pierog is in favor of fast-tracking work visas for undocumented migrants over those who have entered the system legally.

It’s unfair to prioritize undocumented immigrants over our own citizens, we must prioritize the well-being of Kane County residents first and foremost.

Also, what about the affect this policy would have on wages?

It seems that the unions who support the Democrat Party are fine with open borders and sanctuary status which will drive down wages.

These same unions have supported the electric vehicle agenda which sends work to China, NAFTA which killed union manufacturing jobs, and of course the oil pipeline shut down.

These same unions can also be found on Madame Chair Pierog’s donor list.

Furthermore, there’s a clear disregard for the rule of law in advocating for sanctuary status.

By circumventing existing immigration laws, we set a dangerous precedent and encourage lawlessness.

When migrants come to our country, they start out by breaking the law by entering illegally.

Then we forgive their crime by creating sanctuary status and we protect them from enforcement of Federal laws.

It’s not a good way to start a relationship!

We cannot condone illegal immigration and must uphold the laws that protect our nation’s borders and sovereignty.

In conclusion, now is the time to adamantly oppose the establishment of sanctuary county status in Kane County.

We can’t afford to conform to Chairwoman Pierog’s political maneuvering aimed at appeasing Governor Pritzker and disregarding the voices of Kane County constituents who oppose this sanctuary status.

Our neighboring counties anxiously await our stand against this encroachment on our borders, knowing that their own communities may be next in line.

Now, more than ever, is the moment for Republicans and grassroots organizations to unite in protest.

Let us make our voices heard and stand firm against this imminent threat.

Stop Sanctuary County Status.
Stop Chairwoman Pierog.
Stop the Democrats.

= = = = =

Meanwhile,,,,

Daily Herald | Kane County dismisses bipartisan push for statement on migrant busing

The county board deadlocked in an 11-11 vote at its most recent meeting on allowing a discussion and possible official proclamation stating the county’s position on the migrant busing situation.

The absence of two members and the resulting tie vote quashed the proclamation push.

County board Chair Corinne Pierog opted not to break the tie, though she indicated she would not support discussion on the topic.

She referenced a neutral statement crafted by members of the Metro West Council of Governments, which represents various Kane County municipalities.

Flyer Opposing 708 Mental Health Board Sales Tax Hike Distributed at League of Women Voters One-Sided Forum

Libertarian Kelly Liebman is leading the opposition to the quarter cent sales tax hike referednum.

Her letter agsainst the tax hike has been published in the Northwest Herald.

The McHenry County League of Women Voters reached out to her in response asking if she would be willing to sit on the panel.

She agreed, but was not told she could do so.

Liebman attended the event at McHenry County College and passed out the flyer seen below:

Bob Anderson Unviels New Government Consolidation Sign

The latest in Wonder Lake’s Bob Anderson’s quest to consolidate Illinois local governments is below.

He and his allies continue to meet with legislative leaders.

I see there are 321 Multi-Township Assessment Districts.

I get the blame or credit for these units of local government.

Algonquin Township Assessor Forrest Hare (first elected in 1973, re-elected by write-in four years later when Establishment Republicans ran a school teacher against him, but would not allow a recount although election judges were uncertain that the extremely close vote tally was accurate) stratified townships by population and margins of error.

Hare found townships with fewer than 5,000 residents tended to have the worst uniforminty.

In response, I introduced the Multi-Township Assessor bill.

It allowed townships, through intergovernmental agreements, to elect a single assessor.

Apparently, a number of townships have taken advantage of my law.

Court Initiates Guardianship Accounting Program

From the McHenry County Circuit Court:

22ND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT LAUNCHES GAP

The 22nd Judicial Circuit of McHenry County proudly announces the launch of its groundbreaking online Guardianship Accounting Program (GAP).

This innovative tool has been developed by the Judges of the Circuit and its Court Administration team, in this case led by Taylor Maron, who serves as a Business Analyst for the Court and developed the software.

“GAP will revolutionize the handling of guardianships in Illinois, in that will facilitate the efforts of guardians who often represent themselves in accounting for the property of an estate, and will therefore provide greater access to justice,” comments Chief Judge Michael Chmiel, who handled the probate and guardianship calls for the Circuit between 2012 and 2022.

“GAP will be shared with the other judicial circuits of the State.”

GAP is designed to assist appointed guardians in effectively tracking and filing essential annual reports.

With the Court appointing and supervising guardians, the Court will be better positioned to review the filings of guardians.

This process begins with the rigorous selection of a guardian, emphasizing a prospective guardian’s character, competence, and ability to meet responsibilities.

Upon appointment, the Court continues in a supervisory role, ensuring ongoing compliance and proper guardianship conduct.

Annually, the 22nd Judicial Circuit processes hundreds of guardianship reports and accountings which are mandated by law.

Many of these filings are plagued by errors and incomplete information.

David Gervais

“Being a guardian, can be difficult, stressful, and time consuming,” explains Circuit Judge David Gervais, who serves as the Presiding Judge of the Civil Division of the Circuit.

“The goals of the program are to greatly reduce unnecessary court appearances and to ease the burden on guardians so they can focus on the wellbeing of their ward, instead of paperwork.”

The mission of the 22nd Judicial Circuit of McHenry County is to be the guardian of life, liberty and property to all seeking access to justice, by adhering to practices that ensure equality, fairness and confidence in the judiciary.

The GAP initiative addresses these challenges by providing a streamlined, user-friendly platform accessible via the Court’s website or directly at https://gap.mchenrycountyil.gov.

Guardians utilizing GAP can create accounts, manage ward inventories, record financial transactions, and complete reports with enhanced accuracy and efficiency.

A significant feature of GAP is its capability to directly integrate with financial institutions, allowing guardians to import a year’s worth of transactional data into the program.

This feature positions the 22nd Judicial Circuit as a pioneering court in direct financial data integration for
guardianship reporting.

The Court collaborated with Societal, a New York-based technology vendor specializing in enhancing justice system fairness and efficiency through technology.

This collaboration underscores the Circuit’s commitment to leveraging technology to improve guardianship oversight and the justice system.

Addressing the critical issue of financial exploitation in court-appointed guardianships, GAP is a proactive measure against such unethical practices.

Financial exploitation, often targeting vulnerable individuals like the elderly or mentally incapacitated, can range from misuse of funds to outright theft.

GAP provides the Court with comprehensive data and insights, enabling it to make informed decisions and safeguard those in need of utmost protection.

“The implementation of the Guardianship Accounting Program is a significant step forward, explains Dan Wallis, who serves as the Trial Court Administrator for the Circuit.

“In my career, I’ve witnessed the dire consequences of financial exploitation by guardians and have seen guardians incarcerated because of their unethical and illegal actions.

“This program not only helps protect our society’s most vulnerable but also equips the Court with vital information for effective decision-making.”

25 Years for Child Porn Production

From the U.S. Attorney:

DeKalb, Ill. Man Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for Sexually Exploiting Children

ROCKFORD — A DeKalb, Ill. man was sentenced today to 25 years in federal prison for sexually exploiting children.

MARQUESE CANNON was 22 years old in 2022 when he began communicating online with a 12-year-old girl. 

The conversations began on Snapchat and continued through text messaging and phone calls. 

During these communications, Cannon enticed the victim into sending him sexually explicit photos and videos of herself. 

Cannon instructed the girl on what type of sexually explicit conduct should be portrayed in the photos and videos.

In addition to those videos and photos, Cannon also possessed on his phone a collection of hundreds of images of other children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Cannon pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of production of child pornography. 

U.S. District Court Judge Iain D. Johnston imposed the prison term and ordered that it be followed by a lifetime of court-supervised release.  Judge Johnston also ordered Cannon to pay $34,000 in restitution to six victims.

The sentence was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr. Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI.  The DeKalb, Ill. Police Department provided valuable assistance in the investigation. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica S. Maveus.

If you believe you are a victim of sexual exploitation, you are encouraged to contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by logging on to https://www.missingkids.org/ or calling 1-800-843-5678.  The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.