It started Friday morning at Crystal Lake’s City Hall at ten.
I decided to drop by on the way from picking my son up from junior high a little before two.
The parking lot looked like that of a water park in the Wisconsin Dells.
Mainly Illinois license plates, but lots of Wisconsin plates.
And it was packed.
Police cars were parked at each entrance next to signs urging people to got to the parking lot of the old and now-demolished police and fire department building.
I managed to find one of two empty spaces and walked in.
Mercy had a sign outside.
It promised 128 private suites.
No “Bucket Shop” operation here.
As I entered the city council chambers, I saw it was packed.
While I was there, a doctor was testifying that approving Centegra’s proposal in Huntley would be preferable to a hospital in Crystal Lake.
There were so many policemen and women visible in the building that I was reminded of the Gay Games meeting of the city council.
The meeting seemed peaceful to me.
But a lot is at stake.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to build the proposal facility, plus the permanent jobs and revenue that would be generated for Mercy Health Systems or, in the alternative (assuming the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board approves only one hospital), Centegra.
I have made it no secret that I think the approval process is worthless.
It is an attempt to impose a Soviet-style of centralized planning on a vibrant sector of our economy that, had it worked, would have us still in a Cold War with the Soviet Union.
During the first year of my second eight-year stretch in Springfield, I introduced a bill to abolish the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board (the name of the hospital approval board before the General Assembly changed the name to protect the guilty).
Many of the highly politically connected lawyers making money from this worthless licensing scheme descended upon my office before they killed the bill in committee.
Should you desired to read more of my opinion about the Certificate of Need process, here’s the place to find it.