Mostests – 2007

For the last two years, that is, the first two years of McHenry County Blog’s existence, there’s been an article about the “Most” this and the “Most” that. This is a bit late, but I hope you enjoy it.

If you want to compare my “Mostests,” here is 2005’s and 2006’s.

Most Courageous Public Officials

McHenry County College Trustees Donna Kurtz and Scott Summers.

After voting with a unanimous majority and without any public discussion to build an addition, including a minor league baseball stadium, to McHenry County College, Kurtz and Summers told of their change of mind at the most dramatic time—right before the Crystal Lake City Council was to vote on the necessary rezoning. They had expressed their qualms before , but it took real courage to express them while their colleagues were sitting in the audience fervently hoping for a favorable outcome.

Most Courageous Public Officials – First Runners Up

Jeff Thorsen, Brett Hopkins and Ralph Dawson.

The three Crystal Lake City Councilmen provided the three votes necessary to defeat the rezoning.

Most Courageous Public Officials – Second Runners Up

The entire Crystal Lake City Planning and Zoning Commission.

This may be a mis-ranking since without the courage of these officials—all appointed by Crystal Lake Aaron Shepley, who strongly favors construction of the baseball stadium—the others listed as more courageous might not have had the courage to take the stands they did.

In any event, without the commissioners’ votes of disapproval, a supermajority of 5 votes would not have been required by the city council and the rezoning would have been approved.

Those commissioners are Chairman Tom Hayden and Commissioners Jim Batastini, Angel Collins, Vincent Esposito, Jeff Greenman, James Jouron, Carolyn Schofield, Allan Skluzacek,

Most Chutzpah

Minor league baseball team and stadium promoter Pete Heitman.

Without risking much of his own money and refusing to identify his investors, Heitman asked McHenry County College taxpayers to guarantee repayment of the money borrowed to finance the stadium and the interest. Virtually no profit was project for the first five years.

Most Chutzpah – First Runner Up

EquityOne’s Mark Houser.

Houser, who showed up with Heitman at a private MCC meeting , both being identified as from EquityOne Sports, got a $400,000 no-bid contract “to oversee and coordinate the development, construction, operation, and marketing processes for the Health, Wellness, and Athletic Complex.” That was on top of his $70,000 no-bid contract. In that $70,000 September 28, 2006, contract the college board gave Houser this right:

” At the completion of the feasibility study and independent review, if the College elects to proceed with the project, the College will contract with EquityOne or it’s (sic) assigns to develop the project on the College’s behalf.”

Most Chutzpah – Second Runner Up

Richard Starr, the man from Economic Research Associates who was in charge of writing the devastating critique of Equity One’s Mark Houser’s rosy analysis of Pete Heitman’s revenue projections.

After the rezoning was rejected by the Crystal Lake City Council, Starr gave a sales pitch to the McHenry County College Board. He argued ERA could put together a successful public-private partnership. The implication that Houser’s firm had failed to do so.

In this photo he points to the MCC Mission Statement. Click on the photo and see if you can find the word “entertainment.”

Most Effective Message

Former teacher Geraldine Cowlin generously pledged significant money for scholarships for county high school graduates who could not afford to attend McHenry County College. She decided that the effort to put a baseball stadium on campus was not true to the college’s educational mission and withdrew her $1 million pledge. The stadium’s original cost was $10 million (plus interest, of course). Cowlin showed that continued pursuit of stadium approval would have a significant tangible cost.

Most Effective Messenger

Without a doubt, Erv LeCoque. This former MCC board member used his behind the scenes persuasive skills on everyone he thought might be able to derail the baseball stadium. He had been attending Crystal Lake zoning and council meetings on the subject, but his opposition was made public at a meeting of opponents by the Northwest Herald.

The former CEO of Aptar also delivered his neighbor Geraldine Cowlin’s message to the MCC Board.

Most Accurate Description of MCC’s Proposed Addition

There’s a pony in this pile of horseshit somewhere.

Retired investment banker Barry Glasgow gets credit for this zinger. He asked so many penetrating questions at this first meeting of the McHenry County College Board he had ever attended.

Most Misleading Minutes by a Local Government

If you read the article explaining Barry Glasgow’s comments to the MCC Board, you would never recognize them from the official minutes of the meeting:

“Mr. Glasgow spoke about the need for a nursing program.”

It was if he said nothing unfavorable about the baseball stadium proposal.

Not to worry. The board majority has since decided not to include any of the content of those who speak in public session. Their names will be listed, however.

Most Inappropriate Comment by a Public Official

Huntley School District 158 School Board President‘s characterization of fellow board members Aileen Seedorf and Larry Snow as “terrorists running roughshod over the rest of us.”

Most Overreaction to Flash Bulbs
by a Public Body

Prairie Grove Grade School District 46.

Without a warning to yours truly, the board called police to evict yours truly for taking pictures through an open Venetian blind and laughing as now Board President Charlotte Kremer yanked them shut.

Most Overreaction to Flash Bulbs by a Public Body – First Runner Up

The McHenry County Board.

It proposed banning flash cameras and banishing cameramen to the back corners of its dimly lit room. Those proposed rule changes brought quite a bit of local newspaper coverage.

Reporters who gave the most fits to local school boards and administers.

The Daily Herald’s Jeff Gaunt was named here last year and, even though he has moved on to bedevil the Elgin School District, he continued to give fits to Districts 300 and 158 until his transfer.

David Fitzgerald, reporter for the Northwest Herald, obtained significant respect for his probe of District 300’s secret meeting minutes. Other coverage revealed details I’ll bet the District 300 board members wished had not been printed.

Gaunt was replaced by Jameel Naqvi, who gave District 158 more of a benefit of the doubt than its administrators and board members probably deserve. But, he learned quickly. I don’t think the District 158 ruling clique is wishing that Gaunt were back, but I’ll bet they can’t wait for Naqvi to be replaced. He’s getting quite dangerous.

Pioneer Press’ Pete Gonigam is playing the same role at McHenry County College.

Most Surprising Election Victories

Certainly having citizen-inquirer Aileen Seedorf run first in the Huntley School Board election was a surprise.

The upset victories of home school dad John Ryan and Monica Clark in District 300 certainly qualify as surprising.

In McHenry Grade School District 15, home school dad John O’Neill won election, even though the establishment used his family’s decision to save the school district money against him.

Least Covered Story with Perhaps the Most Future Significance

The Rockford Cherry Vale Mall Black Muslin terrorist story strikes me as a harbinger of things that might come. This American had previously lived with another with terrorist tendencies. What if this is just the first Black Muslim to turn terrorist? That might be important. I did not see what this guy actually said anywhere but on McHenry County Blog.

Story That Was the Most Fun To Cover

The McHenry County Republican Cat Tax

Most Astounding Alliance

Rosemary Kurtz and the man she defeated in the 2002 GOP primary election, Cal Skinner. The two joined together to fight the MCC baseball stadium.

Most Important Deliberately Ignored Story by the Northwest Herald

The Economics Research Associates’ devastating criticism of Mark Houser’s Equity One “evaluation” of his buddy Pete Heitman’s baseball stadium revenues for MCC.

Most Delayed Apology by a Main Stream Journalist
for the Most Blatant Defense of a Future Felon

Carol Marin, who still has not acknowledged that her good buddy Joe Cari, a prominent Democratic Party fund raiser, did not deserve the praise she gave him two days before he was indicted.

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