More Indications Rich Will Leave Illinois to Avoid Democrats’ Progressive Income Tax

A loaded moving van ready to leave the northern part of Crystal Lake.

Just looking at the headline of this Crain’s Chicago Business article gives a clue as to effect switching from a flat rate to a progressive income tax will have on rich people in Illinois:

South Florida mansion sales surge as tax exiles seek savings

“It’s not just the weather,” says one Bloomington, Ill., executive. “The advantages of the tax code are greatly appreciated . . . right now, we pay a lot of state income tax.”

READ MORE >

There is no income tax in Florida.

Also no snow to shovel.

Craig Wilcox Reports

From State Senator Craig Wilcox:

Senate Week in Review: January 14 – 18, 2019

Springfield, IL — In the district, I met with Chamber of Commerce members in Marengo and visited with a local radio talk show host. In Springfield, a new Administration transitioned into power this week with Governor J.B. Pritzker taking the Oath of Office Jan. 14.

Minimum wage

Craig Wilcox

The Marengo Chamber of Commerce invited local and State officials to give a report on the state of the community. Business owners are interested in the minimum wage issue.

A $15 an hour minimum wage has been advocated by the new governor.

What will be the impact on small businesses?

Will this be a phased-in increase?

I suspect these questions, and others, will be discussed in Springfield in the coming weeks and months.

Government Consolidation

I also spoke about local government consolidation.

I favor consolidation but it must be done in a way that protects taxpayers.

Before he left office, Gov. Rauner amendatorily vetoed a consolidation bill (HB 4637) that directly impacts McHenry County.

The legislation was flawed but the good news is, the former governor’s action gives us another chance to bring a more comprehensive bill forward that better protects taxpayers.

The new Dorr Township Hall just southeast of Route 47 at 1035 Lake Avenue.

There are three key points I want to see in such legislation:

  1. Only within the dissolving township boundaries are responsible for paying any debt transferred to the county.
  2. All park and cemetery land, buildings and facilities within the geographic area of the dissolving township must be utilized for the primary benefit of the geographic area of the dissolving township. Furthermore, any proceeds from the sale of these assets after dissolution must be utilized for the sole benefit of the geographic area of the dissolving township.
  3. We must ensure counties will receive Motor Fuel Tax dollars that were dedicated to a dissolving township based on lane miles. Under the flawed HB 4367, a dissolved township’s lane mile Motor Fuel Tax funding would be redistributed state-wide and not to the county or municipality taking over the road responsibility.

Star 105.5 Radio interview

I touched on a number of topics during an interview with Stew Cohen of Star 105.5 (WZSR).

Star 105.5 logo.

The interview will air on Northwest Spectrum heard every Sunday morning at http://www.star105.com.

We discussed consolidation, homelessness, and big challenges facing state government such as pensions, public education and taxes.

I spoke about the atmosphere of bipartisanship at the State Capitol too.

There’s been a lot of talk, on both sides of the aisle, about working together.

I hope the actions match the words.

Time will tell.

One controversial issue Stew and I discussed was the legalization of marijuana.

Illinois has legalized medical marijuana but there’s a push to legalize marijuana for the broader population.

If you are more of a Libertarian person and want more personal freedom or personal privilege, it must come with an equal amount of personal accountability or responsibility.

There are a lot of unanswered questions about legalizing the drug.

There are legitimate concerns from law enforcement, the medical community and business owners.

The impact of legalizing marijuana will go beyond the individual user to encompass our communities.

We must be thoughtful in how the state proceeds.

If Illinois is solely focused on legalizing marijuana because it wants the tax revenue it would generate, I feel we will probably get it wrong.

We can’t let the desire for more tax dollars obscure the full ramifications of legalization.

Great turnout for Pioneer Center

I wanted to thank everyone for the great community turnout.

We had good discussions that the Continuum of Care group will further build upon moving forward.

The gaps in services available to the homeless population in our community was a big topic, and I support the efforts of Pioneer Center, and all providers to continue to expand their services.

However, it is also important that we provide an opportunity to the people of the community to come and learn about the situations, and have a voice in any possible expansion of services funded by taxpayer dollars.

The ultimate outcome of this effort will depend on the state grant the Pioneer Center has applied for, continued support of private donations, and the dedicated work of volunteers and all provider organizations working together.

Gun dealer licensing

The sign on the top of the OnTarget shooting range proclaimed, “Now Open,” as it opened for business in Crystal Lake.

During the week, Gov. Pritzker signed legislation creating another level of licensing for the state’s firearms dealers. Senate Bill 337 requires federally licensed gun dealers to also be licensed through the State Police and obtain a certificate.

While gun violence, especially in the suburbs, is a major concern, I don’t think making it more costly for Illinois gun stores to conduct business is the answer.

As federally-licensed dealers, Illinois gun stores are already required to meet strict regulations set forth by the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives).

We need tougher prosecution and stiffer sentences for gun crimes, and jail time for those who skirt firearm laws already on the books.

Pritzker assumes office

A new Administration took control of the Governor’s office this week with recently-elected Democrat Governor taking the Oath of Office on Jan. 14 and beginning his term in public office.

As Gov. Pritzker assumes office and prepares to deliver his first-ever budget address before the General Assembly on Feb. 20, Senate Republicans remain cautiously optimistic that compromise and bipartisanship will be encouraged.

However, as members of the super-minority in the Senate, we underscore the need for Illinois to embrace reforms, encourage economic prosperity and provide for a balanced spending plan that does not add to the burdens placed on the shoulders of Illinois’ taxpayers.

Lawmakers return to the State House on Jan. 29 to resume spring session.

State Rep. David McSweeney Offers Road Map for Illinois GOP Future

An op-ed piece re-printed with permission of State Rep. David McSweeney:

“You can’t be for big government, big taxes, and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy.” -Ronald Reagan

The most recent election night was not kind to Republicans in Illinois.

David McSweeney

Former Governor Bruce Rauner, who didn’t accomplish anything as Governor and presided over a massive tax hike and more out of control spending, was defeated in a landslide.

The election was not a repudiation of Republican ideas – it was a repudiation of Raunerism.

The Democrats led by Governor Pritzker may be pushing Illinois to become the California of the Midwest, but we are still a long way from that. There is a path to victory for Republicans in Illinois.

The Republican Party will always lose statewide in Illinois if it doesn’t give voters a clear choice on economic issues.

The Republican Party must stand united for lower taxes, less spending and real reform.

Republicans have made significant gains in the rural parts of Illinois.

Districts that were once Democrat strongholds are becoming Republican districts, but the gains in downstate are not enough to overcome big losses in the suburbs.

If the Republican Party is going to turn its election fortunes around, the party must be able to win in both downstate Illinois and in the suburbs.

Republicans must first focus on advancing a positive agenda for Illinois.

Only talking about House Speaker Michael Madigan is not a cohesive message.

The best way to weaken Speaker Madigan is for Republicans to pick up legislative seats.

Republicans must make the case that big government and high taxes are hurting, not helping, regular people.

We must show how these taxes are hurting real families and make an appeal to stop driving families out of Illinois by continuing to raise taxes.

Republicans must go on the offensive.

The progressive income tax, the linchpin of the Pritzker plan, wouldn’t hurt the wealthy a lot – they can easily move out of Illinois.

It would harm the middle class.

There is a reason we do not see a tax rate schedule from those supporting the progressive income tax.

They do not want voters to see exactly who the progressive income tax will affect.

Do you really trust Illinois career politicians to set your tax rates?

The Illinois Republican Party also needs to stand united for cutting property taxes.

Cut Illinois Taxes” was Palatine State Rep. Bernie Pedersen’s mantra in the 1990’s.

Specifically, the General Assembly should extend the statewide property tax cap (PTELL) to all units of government (including home rule units of government) and then mandate a 10 percent cut in property taxes levies over two years (5 percent per year).

Property tax would then be permanently frozen unless local voters approve an increase.

Local governments would be forced to cut administrative expenses and make hard spending decisions just like Illinois families are required to do every day.

Illinois has 7,000 units of local government.

The key to long-term lower property taxes is to give voters the right to consolidate many local governments.

Republicans must oppose tax increases and offer solutions to reduce the cost of government.

The most meaningful way to reduce spending is to enact meaningful pension reform.

Arizona, like Illinois, has a Constitution that makes changing pension benefits very difficult.

The best path for Illinois is to follow the Arizona model and, as part of an overall negotiation with unions on other issues, pass a constitutional amendment to limit annual benefit increases.

Also, all new state workers should participate in a 401(k) plan.

Another important way to reduce Illinois spending is to do a much better job of managing the state’s Medicaid program.

In addition to eliminating Medicaid waste and fraud, Illinois should be actively pursuing multiple innovative waivers that would save money and make the program more efficient.

We should also be aggressively fighting to increase the federal government’s unfairly low 50 percent Medicaid matching percentage for Illinois.

Many other states are receiving a far higher percentage of federal support.

In addition, Republicans need to present a positive agenda on health care.

Republicans must strongly make the case for keeping coverage for pre-existing conditions at the state and national levels.

Republicans must promote cost savings ideas such as allowing health care to be purchased on a national basis, providing vouchers for low income families to purchase health insurance and enacting meaningful medical malpractice reforms.

Finally, Illinois Republicans must recruit better candidates to run and that recruiting process must begin now – not later.

Republicans must look for candidates who can connect with voters and offer fresh ideas.

These candidates must be inclusive and must be diverse and most importantly must stand for something.

Republicans Party leaders must also focus on better integrating the use of technology and vote by mail programs in their campaign strategies.

Most importantly, Republican candidates need to work harder to keep up with their well-organized Democratic opponents.

Illinois Republicans must rally around lower taxes and meaningful reforms as the only way to save the middle class and stop the mass exodus from Illinois.

As Ronald Reagan said, “Simple fairness dictates that government must not raise taxes on families struggling to pay their bills.”

It is time for Republicans to rally around the message of standing up for the people of Illinois by supporting sound economic policies that can turn our state around.

If we do that, we can win again.

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You can find lots of comments here.

Reader Reaction to Woodstock Independent Editorial Hit Piece on Joe Tirio – Part 1

The first reaction to this week’s Woodstock Independent editorial, still not on the internet, attacking Joe Tirio for daring to file a lawsuit to discover who is responsible for maligning him came from Woodstock Republican Precinct Committeeman Richard Rostron:

Very disappointed in Cheryl Wormley and crew

After reading this garbage, and speaking as a former sports editor with The Woodstock Independent, this ‘editorial’ doesn’t hit Joe, it hits The Independent.

And it hits right where no publication can afford a blow – to the solar-plexus of their credibility.

To the degree that The Independent has, previously, stayed above the fray, they have now gone all-in headfirst.

While the writer expects us to make an impossible, Evil-Kenevil leap of faith to buy into this nonsense, there’s no need to stretch the imagination, or even look creatively at the idea of doing so, to see that this piece of trash came straight from the ‘pen’ of Jack Franks or one of his minions.

This is Franks’ way of hitting back now that he’s on the hot seat.

It’s foolish to think that he wouldn’t do so.

It’s in his nature.

In his campaign for McHenry County Board Orville Brettman called for draining the swamp.

He’s lived in The Swamp of local and Illinois politics (with little, head-swelling dabbles in national politics) for so long that he has intravenously swapped any traces of character or honor that he once might have possessed with the self-serving fluid of Political Swamp Water.

The only sad and surprising thing here is that The Independent chose to join him for a splash in The Swamp.

Someone should point out to the folks at The Inde that the toxic nature of The Swamp leaves a residue and odor that doesn’t wash off easily.

Eight Years for Gun Theft Home Where He Was Staying

A press release from the McHenry County State’s Attorney:

MITCHELL KIRKSEY SENTENCED TO EIGHT YEARS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS FOR AGGRAVATED POSSESSION OF STOLEN FIREARMS

Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announces that 32 year old Mitchell
Kirksey was sentenced to eight years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for the offense of
Aggravated Possession of Stolen Firearms pursuant to a negotiated plea in front of the Honorable
Judge Prather on January 17, 2019.

In June of 2018, numerous firearms were reported missing from a McHenry residence.

An investigation by the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office revealed that Mitchell Kirksey and a co-
defendant stole the firearms from a residence where they were staying.

The co-defendant’s case is still pending.

The case was investigated by members of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office. This case was
prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Rita Gara.

Senator Terry Link Pledges Township Abolition Bill Will Pass Again and Likely Be Signed by Governor JB Pritzker

Terry Link

Calling former Governor Bruce Rauner “hypocritical” for vetoing the township abolition bill, State Senator Terry Link,also Chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party, says the bill will pass again and be signed by Governor JB Pritzker.

The bill had two parts:

  • one. advanced by State Rep. David McSweeney, applied to McHenry County and would have allowed voters to petition for a referendum to abolish township government
  • another, the part Link emphasizes, would have abolished township road districts with less than fifteen miles of road in Lake County after the current road commissioners’ terms expired in 2021

The (Waukegan) News-Sun reports, “According to Link, Rauner’s veto went against positions the former governor had lobbied for, but Link added he was not surprised by that.”

Concerns were voiced by the bill’s opponents that transition problems had not been addressed.

Link told the paper “he had promised Rauner to work on trailer legislation that would address any concerns, but that it was vetoed anyway.”

Woodstock Independent Descends to Tabloid Level

The Woodstock Independent rarely covers anything in government above the municipal level of Woodstock, Bull Valley, sometimes Wonder Lake governments and the local school board.

I only remember seeing a reporter elsewhere at one McHenry County College Board meeting.

Nothing wrong with staying local.

But, recent evidence indicates it has become a mouthpiece for McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks.

See, for example, complete with supplied photo,

Franks calls 2018 ‘year of efficiencies’

Woodstock Independent

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks looked forward to those projects and more last week during his second annual State of the County …

But more evidence is a scathing editorial January 16th editorial comparing McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio to Stormy Daniels.

Reading like it was spoken by a lawyer giving a closing argument, the piece points out defamation suits involved both the porn star and the public official (called a “politician,” of course).

The Woodstock Independent, which to the best of my knowledge did not cover the smear mailings sent by Jack Franks ‘ allies, asserts that both Tirio and Daniels “pursued defamation complaints that they are destined to lose.”

The editorial concludes, “In Illinois such lawsuits are not supposed to be allowed to stand.”

One wonders what law school Editorial Board members Cheryl Wormley, Larry Lough, Sandy Kucharski or Ken Farver attended.

The paper certainly did not cover the trial over which Associate Judge Kevin Costello presided or it would not have written that the “judge should have laughed the case out of court.”

The verbal decision that Judge Costello delivered after about ten minutes in his office was stunning in its logic.

Confounding is the assertion that Tirio’s Republican primary opponent was responsible for the mailings’ saying “some mean things about him.”

Even someone reading the Northwest Herald should know the primary opponent, a defendant in suit along with Breaker Press and the Illinois Integrity Fund, testified she knew nothing about the mailings.

The editorial does not even mention the charge of “false light” in Tirio’s suit (neither did the Northwest Herald), pretty much an admission that no one at the weekly paper read Tirio’s court filing.

For those with no knowledge about false light, an attorney told me the level of proof is lower than for libel or slander.

The paper does endear itself to me by referring to the anonymous group behind he mailings as “the so-called Illinois Integrity Fund.”

I could not find a link to the editorial.

Jack Franks Doesn’t Share Campaign Resources

Commenter Fair Play claimed that commenter DJ’s saying the following about Jack Franks was anti-semitic:

You could get rid of Franks with one simple statement:

“Your buying the first round, I forgot my wallet”.

If Fair Play is saying that calling out someone for being cheap is anti-semitic, I think that is something of a leap.

Look At Jack Franks’ campaign finance reporting and notice and note that he admits to only only $500 going to support another candidate in the run-up to the election:

https://elections.il.gov/CampaignDisclosure/D2Quarterly.aspx?id=feNJkMpr2HffzPU9h8o93Q%3d%3d

That went to State Rep, candidate Mary Edly-Allen of Libertyville. She ran against Helene Walsh.

Franks had about $550,000 available.

From July 1 through August 31, Franks also made only one gift to a fellow politician.

Joe Gottemoller received $250.

See

https://elections.il.gov/CampaignDisclosure/ItemizedExpend.aspx?FiledDocID=pmTROO8BL0iEfc3gRVNN4g%3d%3d&ExpenditureType=QDvE7bJkO40oLQXhO%2fZ9q9tZeZ3yeh53OZhzUNP07ac%3d&Archived=VUYa7knnZTba0g9oBtSiQQ%3d%3d&OrderBy=VaquNL9OzTulWObUjdk%2bkIhQn5vlVSWPsC77cLvHsuGnBqmJ2poKaQ%3d%3d&ItemizedExpendFrom=1oC01Bqc%2fR9UDwXO7ZUlrNm0EA4SCUEC6CS3ONHVS%2bnojTaAPlOqig%3d%3d

Franks had about $550,000 at the end of August.

McHenry Arrest Leads to Five-Year Sentence on Cocaine Charge

A press release from the McHenry County State’s Attorney:

MAGNOLIA VASQUEZ-MORALES PLEADS GUILTY TO POSSESSION OF COCAINE WITH INTENT TO DELIVER

Patrick D. Kenneally, McHenry County State’s Attorney, announces that Magnolia Vasquez-Morales, 46, pled guilty to Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Deliver (1-15 grams), a Class 1 Felony, before the Honorable Robert Wilbrandt.

Members of the McHenry Police Department responded to a report of a hand-to-hand narcotics transaction occurring at Walgreens in McHenry, Illinois.

An investigation led to the discovery of approximately 10.1 grams of cocaine and a large amount of United States currency on the person of Vasquez-Morales.

Vasquez-Morales was sentenced to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections pursuant to the plea.

This case was investigated by members of the McHenry Police Department.

This case was prosecuted by Robert Ladd of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Will Illinois Integrity Fund Frontmen, Jack Franks Face More Court Action?

Joe Tirio photoshopped by the so-called “Illinois Integrity Fund.” to look like a robber in a mask wearing rubber gloves. Besides the mask, he is show wearing gloves so he won’t leave fingerprints at the scene of the crime.

Will Illinois Integrity Fund Fronts, Jack Franks Face More Court Action?

A friend of McHenry County Blog that knows all of the candidates has told me that several have been interviewing numerous lawyers in the Chicagoland area with an eye to litigation.

It may be too soon to know for sure, but the statute of limitations is running and, if more lawsuits are coming, it won’t be long now.

Will there be other shoes drop in Breaker Press-Illinois Integrity Fund-maybe Jack Franks smear mailings that were all aimed at critics of Jack Franks?

Besides McHenry Republican Party County Clerk candidate Joe Tirio, there were four GOP County Board candidates who were attacked by anonymous negative postcards:

  • Michael Rein
  • Chuck Wheeler
  • Ersel Schuster
  • Orville Brettman

Hit piece aimed at County Board member from the anonymous Illinois Integrity Fund.

Will some or all of the others similarly situated with Tirio join in Tirio’s suit?

Will the others file separate lawsuits?

If there are separate legal actions, will the judge decide that combining them would be the best use of the judge’s time?

New State Rep. Tom Weber Refuses Pension

A press release from State Rep. Tom Weber:

Weber Rejects Taxpayer Funded Pension

FOX LAKE – In one of his first actions since taking office, State Representative Tom Weber (R-Lake Villa) declined the state pension provided to members of the Illinois General Assembly.

A small business owner and fiscal conservative, Weber said his decision reflects a personal commitment to fiscal discipline and his conviction that being entrusted as an elected official should be a public service and not an incentive for personal financial gain.

Tom Weber

“We have a pension crisis in Illinois and those elected to solve the state’s financial problems shouldn’t be adding to the strain already placed on overstretched taxpayers,” said Weber.

“My experience as a small business owner has taught me how important is to operate within your means and Illinois needs to learn the same.”

Weber’s decision to reject the pension is final and irrevocable.

Administrative rules within the state pension system do not allow a legislator to opt back into the system.

In 2017, the average legislative pension was $61,808 annually, up from $47,061 in 2008, an increase of nearly $15,000 in less than a decade.

“Considering the state estimates the pension debt at more than $130 billion for the five pension systems, and some outside estimates put that figure even higher, I don’t believe any new members of the General Assembly should be entering the pension system,” said Weber.

“I’m glad I won’t be adding to the problem.”

Weber, a life-long resident of the Lake Villa area, is a small business owner and prior to being elected to the Illinois General Assembly served on the Lake County Board and Forest Preserve Board since 2012. He and his wife have two adult children.

The 64th House District is split between Lake and McHenry Counties, from Crystal Lake in the south and stretching northeasterly to cover the communities throughout the Chain O’Lakes up to the Wisconsin border.

To learn more about Representative Weber and the 64th District, visit: RepWeber.com<https://repweber.com/>.

Furloughed Federal Employees and Others Can Get Free Food Friday in Crystal Lake

First Church (First United Methodist Church of Crystal Lake) continues to coordinate with the Northern Illinois Food Bank to distribute a wide range of food Fridays at the Nunda Township Hall north of Crystal Lake.

Where the Bay Road Nunda Township Office complex is located.

Besides the Food Bank, church members pick up food from Jewel stores in Woodstock, Cary and Crystal Lake.

Coming about noon will fit the scheduled truck delivered most Fridays.

When this photo was taken of the Nunda Township Hall most people were lined up inside.  Now pretty much everyone is seated inside waiting for their numbers to be picked.

Those signing up are assigned numbers, which are drawn at random.

There is not prerequisite for eligibility.

If one wants food, all one has to do is sign up.

Judge Thomas Meyer Orders $55,000 Taken from Algonquin Township Road District Bank Account to Satisfy Illinois Leaks’ Freedom of Information Suit Win

The chickens finally came home to roost today in the Edgar County Watchdogs’ (publisher of Illinois Leaks) Freedom of Information suit against the Algonquin Township Road District.

It is costing taxpayers $55,000, $15,000 more than if the Algonquin Township Board had paid the bill in October, when Road Commissioner Andrew Gasser explained the settlement his attorney
Robert Hanlon had negotiated on his behalf.

Yesterday, Associate Judge Thomas Meyer ordered the bank to turnover of the funds.

Karen Lukasik

Today Illinois Leaks attorney Denise Ambroziak will go to the American Community Bank to get the $55,000 check resulting from the failure of Algonquin Township Clerk Karen Lukasiks’ the eight failures to provide answers to Freedom of Information requests.

The price for Lukasik’s failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act started out with a settlement agreement of $40,000.

Because the Algonquin Township Board took no action in October, even though being told them the cost would go up $5,000 for each month’s delay, the price escalated.

Attorney’s fees are included in the settlement figure, although state law says they could be levied separately.

In the only other high profile FOIA suit, the one filed by Peter Gonigam (First Electric Newspaper) against Sheriff Keith Nygren for the report on Undersheriff Andrew Zinke, Gonigam received $5,000, while his attorney, Mary Gardner, received $104,000.

Chuck Wheeler Reminds County Board Members That They Are in Charge

Here are last night’s comments of McHenry County Board member Chuck Wheeler, who, along with Joe Tirio, Michael Rein, Orv Brettman and Ersel Schuster, were subjected to direct mail from Breaker Press that was in the style of dirty Chicago politics:

Chuck Wheeler

The following comments are directed primarily to my fellow board members both new and old.

The time has come for this Board to rise to its elected responsibility of taking the lead in County Government.

Slowly, but surely, we have seen our Chairman chip away on how we perform our tasks and functions.

Simply put, we have allowed Chairman [Jack] Franks to take over how we do business and unfortunately, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves and the County.

First off, I would like to show you the organizational charts that are present on our county website.

The first one was prior to the election of our current Chairman.

It correctly shows the Chairman reporting to the Board and carrying out Board initiatives.

Nothing has changed since then except that now he is elected by the members of the County reflected in the new chart.

Our Chairman is not a Constitutional Officer nor a County Executive but a duly elected official just like yourself.

Some of you might think that with this change we report to the Chairman and he is our boss, nothing could be further from the truth.

As board member you report to your constituency unless you choose to do otherwise.

Anything that comes before you, you have a right, and a responsibility to question it, that’s our job.

The quality of representation that we provide our constituents is equivalent to the level of accountability that we require of all responsible parties!

In the name of ‘consolidation and transparency’ our Chairman has requested that we advise him of items that we want removed from the “Consent Agenda “ so that he can have your vote recorded as NO vote but keeping the item on the consent agenda and reporting to the public that this was a consent agenda item.

I know of no other municipality which does this.

If an item is pulled by any member, the item is moved to the regular agenda where the member can voice their objection or state their reason for obtaining.

What is the problem with open discussion?

Should something even be on a consent agenda if a board member or the chairman has a conflict of interest?

Each item should pass and or fail on its own merits.

Members votes can, and often do change based positions posed during open discussion.

Open and honest government should not be the sacrificial lamb to efficiency and expediency.

While I’m on the topic of the agenda, it has been strongly stated that members should not amend items at the board meeting floor as this “disrupts our system”.

I might agree with that if we were working under ordinary board circumstances where agendas were from 500 to 800 pages but now with once a month meetings our average agenda package ranges anywhere from 500 to 1,200 pages.

Any of us that works a full-time job and claim to have reviewed the entire board package prior to the Committee of the Whole meeting agenda meeting date is either a very fast reader or is not being entirely honest.

Let’s be fair and honest to the minority view and allow all points to be made debated and resolved.

It won’t harm anything.

It just might take a couple more minutes and we might learn something we didn’t know.

Let’s properly administer the people’s agenda so that it properly reflects the stance of our McHenry County Board.

The Huntley Library Bond Issue Debate

The Library Board meets tonight at 5:30.

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The following questions were asked of Huntley Library Board Frank Novak:

1) Why do we need a library twice the size of what we have now when utilization is down 30% and likely to continue?

2) Why is the cost over $400 per square foot when new commercial space only costs around $125 per square foot and half of the money for the library is only remodeling, which should cost even less?

3) Why is 30% of the library’s circulation DVDs? How does that benefit the public? Why compete with RedBox and NetFlix?

Here is the reply from Library Director Frank Novak:

Here are responses to the questions:

1) Why do we need a library twice the size of what we have now when utilization is down 30% and likely to continue?

A: The Huntley Area Public Library was outgrown quite a while ago. In fact, it was probably too small not long after it was built. The library passed a referendum in April of 1997 to build the current facility and grand opening for the new library was in July of 1999. The first house sale in the Sun City development was closed in April of 1999. After that, the Huntley area’s population exploded.

We are currently operating in a building where the Children’s Department (with an occupancy limit of 12 people, including staff) and the library’s only program room are in trailers. Those trailers are at end-of-life. Once the trailers are gone, the library will have to move those services back into the original library building.

The new building program was community-driven.

The library held meetings in 2018 with a Core Planning Group of people from the community to provide guidance for the size and design.

The library also had a Citizen Task Force of additional citizens who attended multiple meetings are provided recommendations to the library board related to the amount to spend on the project, its size, and its design.

Additionally, the library held a focus group of Sun City residents and it held three community discussion meetings for citizens to share their opinions about the project and provide input on the design.

The library’s architects attended each of these meetings in order to directly interact with our community members.

Staff members and library trustees also offered input, but not until after the community did.

Furthermore, the library board members have unanimously supported this project from the beginning.

Libraries are used differently today than they were fifteen or twenty years ago.

We do far more programming, tech training, job training, and so on, than in the past.

People come to the library to use our high-speed Wi-Fi connection without ever checking out any items.

Still others use the library’s digital collections both in-library and from their own homes.

People use the library for business purposes.

Tutors meet with their students here.

Community groups use the library’s single program room continually.

Students come to collaborate on school work after the school libraries have closed, and so on.

2) Why is the cost over $400 per square foot when new commercial space only costs around $125 per square foot and half of the money for the library is only remodeling, which should cost even less?

A: Here are some of my initial points about the square footage cost figures:

1) library buildings are different from other buildings (especially residential or light commercial) in that they are designed to accommodate heavy public traffic and provide myriad experiences/functions

2) the cost includes furniture and equipment

3) there is sitework that needs to be done including dealing with water retention matters and adding parking

4) we have to pay Prevailing Wage for the project which (in my opinion) increases our overall costs quite a bit

5) we are including escalation costs

6) we are factoring in bond rate increases

7) we are including a design and construction contingency in the overall cost

Then, I specifically asked our architects and cost estimator about the square footage cost figures.

Here’s what they had to say:

The library project is responsibly envisioned to current standards for public libraries in IL and in the Huntley area.

The estimates provided are based on that vision and incorporate market-based pricing for recently completed library projects, and current similar library public projects.

The market (the final bids) ultimately dictates the final pricing of any project, these are estimates based on actual pricing and bids the construction manager sees in the market as well as factors in historical cost data for public sector projects in the area.

The total cost per SF also includes the design and physical construction of the project from start to completion, and includes the fees to consultants for their work.

Often times, cost per SF numbers people read about do not include design and construction.

The total cost per SF also includes all of the anticipated “soft costs” i.e., it’s all-inclusive, completely comprehensive, so there is not more money needed to finalize the project.

Cost per sf between projects and building types is always apples and oranges.

A plan was developed and a professional independent estimated generated from that plan.

The estimate was based on a detailed take off all components and is inclusive of all costs so we do not need to go back to ask for more money because something was left out.

Cost per sf does not provide an explanation of the actual work.

For example the cost to replace an outside chiller is a cost that does not corollate to sf being it is outside of the sf of the building footprint.

The library is designed around a similar level of interior and exterior finishes as the existing library so the building addition appears to be harmonious with existing library minus a two story volume.

This project will be publicly bid so the community can be assured they are getting a fair price for the project.

3) Why is 30% of the library’s circulation DVDs? How does that benefit the public? Why compete with RedBox and NetFlix?

A: The fact that 30% of the library’s circulation is DVDs, by itself, answers the question about benefit to the public.

Obviously, quite a few people value those items in our collection.

The library also has streaming movies and music available to the public.

Not everything in a library needs to have value to everyone for every reason.

As a public library, we meet the needs of the public at-large, not just one subset.

The library has been “competing” with other business interests for years.

This is nothing new.

In addition to being a primary source of information and services for our community, we support and supplement what is commercially available to the community. And we will continue to do so.

As technologies change, so will the library.

It is also important to mention that we, as a community, can afford more collectively than we can individually.

Can people buy books elsewhere or pay for materials elsewhere?

Of course, but there are many folks who recognize the value of economies of scale that the public library provides by offering materials, programs, and services that do not have to be purchased for each individual, each time those materials, programs, or services are used.

Critiquing Jack Franks’ State of the County Speech

Here are some observations on the Jack Franks State of the County speech:

Jack Franks standing at the podium.

Listening to the 1/10/19 McHenry County “State of The County” message, it rang hollow as our leader once again, nearly broke his arm patting himself on the back.

While working to make it appear that each “thank you” was to point out individuals, in nearly all cases the issues were to glorify his personal agenda for the county.

If we heard it once, we heard it repeated a dozen times that “working together…” the county has “improved efficiencies.”

This message was meant to convince us that under this leadership, a new and cohesive county board has miraculously transformed county government for the better.

These would be credible statements had we not been privy to the backroom shenanigans; and if board members had not been threatened and bullied into submission over the last 2 years.

These were the tactics used to snap the county board in line, thus mimicking the stranglehold one-person-control has in Springfield.

The presentation ignored several troubling events.

  • The year began with two unnecessary patronage employees firmly in place to do the job voters elected the chairman to do.
  • A failed attempt to install the chairman’s “hand-pick replacement” for the position of County Auditor.
  • The unsuccessful takeover of control of the Auditor’s duties was followed by a failed attempt, via scheduling a referendum, to abolish the position of County Auditor.
  • Despite these efforts, the interim County Auditor has proven she has a spine and did not acquiesce to pressure and continues review of all expenditures, including those of the chairman.
  • Interestingly, there was no glowing praise and thanks for her work.
  • No mention was made of any “house cleaning” in the chairman’s office when it was learned that his Personal Assistant was caught on camera changing the message on a Rte. 14 campaign sign.

Jack Franks employee Kevin Craver changes message on Jack Franks campaign office in Woodstock.

Another long distance moving van in Crystal Lake.

Of special interest was the statement that…

”Last month as Illinois observed its bicentennial… yet another census estimate put us at… or near the top… of states losing population… and I am sick-and-tired of Illinois’ biggest export being our best and brightest minds.”

He went on to say…

“We can’t let… whatever is going on here… or not going on here in Springfield… or in Washington… lull us into a sense of hopelessness… that change, and reform are futile… as long as the states and federal governments can’t get their act together.”

The Illinois Manufacturing Association selected this photo of Jack Franks to use when it criticized the Democrat for introducing a really large tax increase bill.

To address the “problem,” it was suggested that the county should aspire to the “Springfield model.”

Galloping to the rescue it is stated…

“Now just yesterday… the 101st Illinois Gen Assembly… was seated and on Monday… our new governor will be sworn in.

“It is my belief that after years of inaction at best… and outright disfunction… gridlock at worst… Springfield will start working again.”

How anyone, with 18 years of personal participation (the last month as a double dipper) in the damage done to the State of Illinois can, with a straight face, stand before us and suggest that the new governor and the 101st Legislature will change anything… is beyond credible.

It is correct to say that McHenry County is well on its way, thanks to the leadership, to mimic the failed governess of the state.

Woodstock Resident Says Tirio Suit “Wasting Everyone’s Time”

The following letter was published in the Northwest Herald and is re-published here with permission of Elliot Cassidy of Woodstock:

Letter: Tirio needs to stop wasting time

Joe Tirio photoshopped by the so-called “Illinois Integrity Fund.” to look like a robber in a mask wearing rubber gloves. Besides the mask, he is show wearing gloves so he won’t leave fingerprints at the scene of the crime.

I’m writing you because Joe Tirio is wasting everyone’s time with his recent lawsuit. If you read [The Northwest Herald], then you know that Tirio sued because of a “malicious” campaign flyer.

The flyer portrayed Tirio with a mask on and called him “Crooked Joe.”

When you peel back the onion, however, you begin to realize that this lawsuit shouldn’t have been brought in the first place.

Tirio said in his lawsuit that the flyers intended to “maliciously” harm him, and he alleges defamation.

If the attacks were so malicious and constituted defamation, then why, on March 18, at a Republican fundraiser, did Tirio put on the same mask portrayed in the flyers just in case, quote,

“You don’t recognize me from the recent publicity I’ve been getting!”

The crowd then laughed with him at his joke.

Tirio’s behavior was hardly that of someone reeling from a malicious attack.

Honestly, Tirio should sue because he was portrayed to look like The Hamburgler more than a malicious political hooligan.

No reasonable person who looked at the flyers would take them seriously.

One of the smear pieces intended to soften Joe Tirio up for the fall campaign against Democratic Party County Clerk candidate Andrew Giorgi.

I’m probably not alone in wanting to put the past two years of politics behind me and am reminded by wisdom from my late grandfather who once said, “Don’t give life to dead situations.”

Joe, please do what you promised and eliminate wasteful government.

This whole sideshow is a waste of time and does nothing to help taxpayers.

Illinois Leaks Merits Attack by Northwest Herald Editor

Reprinted with permission from Illinois Leaks:

NW Herald Editor Jon Styf pretends to report again…

ALGONQUIN TWP. (ECWd) –

NWH’s Editor Jon Styf titled his latest piece: “What in the World is going on in Algonquin Township

We ask: “What in the World in going on at the NW Herald

We suggest Styf is either willfully clueless or was listening only to certain trustees of the township when writing it, while masquerading it as a real news story.

There are several lawsuits in Algonquin Township involving the Road District and the Township. There are also lawsuits between the Road District, Union 150, the Edgar County Watchdogs, the Township Clerk, and the Township Supervisor.

Some of the suits involve:

  • the belief (by 150) that their “union members” were improperly terminated (we understand this one is being appealed)
  • Union 150 also had an FOIA lawsuit in which the Court ordered the Road District to pay $31,800 for the one-count suit (they were seeking considerably more than our settlement with the Road District that contained multiple counts.)
  • a suit between the Road District and the Township Clerk and we believe vice-versa.
  • a suit between the Road District and the former Highway Commissioner
  • a suit between the Edgar County Watchdogs and the Road District and Township (we settled with the Road District to avoid incurring any more legal fees)
  • a suit between the Road District and its former attorney to turn over all of the legal records generated during previous terms of office
  • and this new suit between the Road District and Chuck Lotzow because he allegedly moved Road District monies into a new bank, but not into accounts in the name of the Road District

As we wrote in an earlier article (here), this new lawsuit seeks to have the Road District funds placed back into bank accounts in the Road District’s name.

The NW Herald, in this pretending-to-be-news-story, tries to minimize what Charles Lutzow did when he did not place the Road District monies into an account in the name of the Road District.

This minimization appears to be a defense of Lutzow’s actions, without questioning them.

Styf talks about a letterhead title, Facebook page title, website title, and the position of Highway Commissioner as if any of those play a role in the actual and official name of the Algonquin Township Road District.

He even quotes the long-time township accountant who would probably never say anything derogatory against the people she has been working with for more than a decade.

Considering Styf appears to think all of those titles are one in the same as “Road District,” it’s no wonder he missed the mark with his false allegation regarding the watchdogs spreading false Hanlon-defending narrative with fellow bloggers everywhere.

False, because he has once again failed to understand the difference between a legal entity and actual individuals who retain their first amendment rights.

We challenge Styf to point to any Edgar County Watchdog false narratives being shared with fellow bloggers everywhere.

None of this matters to the situation at hand; the improper naming of bank accounts.

What does matter with financial institutions and courts, is what the “official” and legal name of the District is, for that is how lawsuits are structured and how debts are paid.

Styf might want to take note that Thomas Gooch, the attorney for Bob Miller, tried to have his suit dismissed by claiming it was Gasser seeking the return of funds and not the Road District.

It would appear proper names are important and even recognized by Bob Miller’s attorney.

The Illinois Highway Code is the statute to look to when determining what is a “Road District” and what is a “Highway Department.”

That same statute outlines some very direct guidelines regarding banking selection and we are hedging our bets that those steps were not followed.

An FOIA request has been submitted to confirm our suspicions on this matter, and if true, Lutzow will have some more problems.

Illinois Highway Code [605 ILCS 5] makes no mention of a “Highway Department” and the statute grants no powers to a “Highway Department” or any other variation of the name:

  • Sec. 6-107. Road districts have corporate capacity to exercise the powers granted thereto, or necessarily implied and no others.
  • Sec. 6-501: The taxes, when collected, shall be held by the treasurer of the
    district as the 
    regular road fund of the district
  • Sec. 6-113. In each road district comprised of a single township, the township clerk shall be ex-officio the clerk for the highway commissioner.
  • Sec. 6-114. In each road district comprised of a single township, the supervisor of such township shall be ex-officio treasurer for the road district.
  • Sec. 6-206. In counties under township organization, the board of town trustees of the various townships shall, from time to time, when requested by the supervisor of their respective townships designate one or more banks or savings and loan associations in which the road funds of the road district in the custody of the district treasurer may be kept,
  • Sec. 6-112. In each road district, except in a county unit road district and except in municipalities that have been created a road district, there shall be elected a highway commissioner in the manner provided in this Code.

Why is this such a big deal and why such sloppy “reporting” by the NWH?

This is a big deal to the Courts.

The “Road District” is who can sue or be sued, and consequently, it is the “Road District” who rightfully owns the district’s monies, and must answer to the Courts, as in the case with our settlement, as to whether or not they possess the funds to pay the legal debt.

Without accurate accounting, in the name of the District, it presents to the Court a financial narrative that is completely false.

Imagine if a person could simply avoid child support payments by placing accounts in their nicknames, or work under a name other than what their legal name is.

Although this is an extreme example, imagine again, if the banks and auditors had caught Rita Crundwell’s opening of a bank account not in the name of the City of Dixon a couple decades earlier – things would have turned out very different for the residents of the city.

Styf, again, misleads his readers by implying the Courts forced any settlement.

The settlement was entered into by both parties in an attempt at limiting legal expenses for the Road District and bringing closure to the issue of the improperly withheld public records.

It appears to bother Styf and others that we are ‘not’ at odds with Road District.

Why be at odds with a public body that has actually taken steps to clean up a massive mess and bring compliance to our laws along the way?

Will he make mistakes?

Sure, as recognized with the salt delivery which was corrected when the matter was raised.

If we are at odds with anyone it would be the Township and their attorney.

Our FOIA lawsuit is still working its way through the Courts and public funds are being spent to somehow defend their unlawful withholding of public records.

The Township appears to be comfortable paying its attorney to defend what they will eventually lose.

Maybe the NWH can go report on why the Township is paying legal bills of James Kelly for reviewing pleadings in the 150 union case?

One would think that would be a story of interest considering Styf appears to be so concerned over taxpayer funds being used.

In this case, the Township is not even a party yet they get bills for it and pay them.

Trustees must be doing a great job auditing those bills?

He then takes a pot-shot at our attorney by stating: “Apparently, she didn’t think of searching for the account using the word “highway” instead.” 

How ignorant can he be?

Since when does an outside person have any power to actually do a search of bank records?

The fact of the matter is the Bank intentionally avoided disclosing what they knew and only after being told they would be drug into court for concealing the information did they finally amend their response.

They knew what was being asked for and it was not our attorney that needed to think of other search terms.

In fact, our attorney was present and spoke with the bank on this matter and it was made very clear what they were looking for.

The bank stood fast and denied having any accounts for the Algonquin Township Road District.

I guess that fact is a direct example that the proper name on a bank record is pretty important.

To imply she did something wrong in this shows the ignorance of all the facts in this matter.

More importantly, these facts were shared with Ed Komenda.

It would appear Komenda failed to provide what he was told or it was selectively ignored as it would not fit their agenda.

It’s almost as if Styf, the NWH, and the Trustees are the same organization since the NWH appears to defend their positions, without question or appropriate research, at each and every turn.

For a final laugh, he claims their Sunday article (slanted to paint an attorney in a bad light) was “well reported” and taken straight from court records; we find that laughable.

Yes, it was taken from court records, but only from part of the record.

Our follow-up article included what they failed to report.

We do find it telling that Styf made no effort of contacting our organization nor has he responded to our email.

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NWH Reports Algonquin Township Supervisor Sued in Role of Road District Treasurer by Road District

Showing up on January 11th was this article in the Northwest Herald concerning the banking practices of Algonquin Township Supervisor Chuck Lutzow:

Algonquin Township road district sues supervisor in alleged fraud case