October 30, 2007

Peraica's Email Info

Fact: I'll vote against an unworthy Democrat
Fact: I voted against Todd Stroger
Fact: The local Dems beat the pavement for Stroger
Fact: The local Dems will soon be asking for your vote again
Fact: These alleged tax/wage increases will hit everyone - in essence, let's pay for more cronyism, let's take it like a battered woman.

So I'll share the email I received today from Tony Peraica. Think about your cost of living wage increase and compare it to the tax garnishes Todd and Crew will take. Remember, this doesn't include the proposed City, State or CTA's slice of the pie. Will it leave your available income more like it was 5-10 years ago? You'll clear beginner wages after all these years of working your way up, earning those raises. Do you think they really deserve your money?

I don't.

Cook County needs to shape up

Dear Friend:

For those who believe in honest, efficient government, the current Cook County Board budget plan is an unmitigated disaster. Several new tax increases were proposed. A measure was approved that will most likely result in a politically connected vendor receiving a generous contract to install automated traffic light cameras. Also, commissioners recently looked the other way while a politically connected law firm, which is connected to one of the commissioners and the current States Attorney, received a windfall at taxpayers' expense.

After the 2007 budget debacle, many on this board were chastised by the public for siding with Stroger's patronage budget rather than supporting an alternative budget supported by Commissioner Claypool and myself that would have cut county waste while saving front line workers. I had hoped that this would serve as a wake up call, and that the 2008 budget would yield better results. Sadly this is not the case.

Today, the county board is not divided Republican vs. Democrat. The real divide is between political insiders and reformers. Unfortunately, some of my fellow board members think you are not taxed enough. They are proposing several new taxes that will cost county residents over $900 million if approved. These include, but are not limited to, adding a county tax on: electricity, natural gas, telephone use and income. Then there is the Stroger/Murphy plan to triple the county sales tax which would increase our sales tax to a staggering 11%. These unimaginative proposals make it perfectly clear that some of my colleagues just don't get it. Unfortunately, President Stroger will spend any additional tax dollars received on padding his political patronage army at taxpayer's expense.

However, the public fleecing is not limited to raising taxes. Some commissioners are attempting to secure a lucrative contract for a politically connected vendor, Red Speed Illinois, which recently received a no-bid contract from the Village of Melrose Park to install traffic monitoring cameras, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Perhaps the most egregious violation of the public trust occurred during the last litigation subcommittee meeting, where legal bills were approved for the politically connected Shefsky & Froelich, which charges the county $375 per hour. The county is not supposed to pay outside firms more than $185 per hour. Sadly, no one else is concerned about these bills. Nor does anyone ask why Cook County does business with this law firm, which is the former law firm of States Attorney Richard Devine and has Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin as a partner. This is an obvious conflict of interest.

Lastly, I believe the Stroger cuts focused on front line workers in order to create the greatest hardship on the largest segment of Cook County residents in hopes of passing a large tax increase the following year with the promise of restoring county services. It was an orchestrated plan with the end result being another unnecessary tax increase. Cook County would have plenty of money if we would just eliminate rampant waste and corruption. In fact, the Chicago Sun-Times has reported that in 2007, Stroger has actually added over 1,100 county employees with annual salaries of 60,000+ to the county payroll, while low-level employees who actually do much of the work were fired.

As a result of the wasteful spending that continues unabated, I am not willing to support any tax or fee increases of any kind. This is why I sponsored a Tax Moratorium Resolution which called for no new taxes for the 2008 fiscal year. I urge everyone who is tired of paying excessive taxes to a wasteful government to contact your county commissioner and attend the public hearings regarding the cook county budget.

Tony Peraica

Cook County Vocabulary Builder, part 3

Third in a series of posts dedicated to improving English literacy skills THROUGHOUT Cook County!

ef·fec·tu·ate (-fkch-t)

TRANSITIVE VERB: To bring about; effect.

ETYMOLOGY: Medieval Latin effecture , effectut-, from Latin effectus, an effect ; see effect

A memory-help for affect and effect is RAVEN:

Remember, Affect is a Verb and Effect is a Noun.

Homophones ("sound-alike words"): Affect/Effect

Affect or Effect Practice

As Seen on Oprah!

Hey, kids! Study hard, and with the right daddy, you can go FAR!

Cook County Vocabulary Builder, part 2

Second in a series of posts dedicated to improving English literacy skills THROUGHOUT Cook County!

Today's featured words:

ob·stet·ric (b-stt-rk, b-)

also ob·stet·ri·cal (b-stt-r-kl)

Of or relating to the profession of obstetrics or the care of women during and after pregnancy.

Latin obstetrcius, pertaining to a midwife, from obstetrx , obstetrc-, midwife, from obstitus, past participle of obstre, to stand opposite to : ob-, opposite to ; see ob- + stre, to stand; see st- in Indo-European roots

NOTHING prepares one for a career in the health services like a firm grounding in Latin, even including jobs like President of the board of directors of one of the world's largest public health systems!

Watch this space for more fascinating facts about Our English Language!

October 29, 2007

Cook County Vocabulary Builder, part 1

First in a series of posts dedicated to improving English literacy skills THROUGHOUT Cook County!

Many words in the English language change their meaning with a simple change of accent. One example is "DESert" and "deSERT." In far eastern languages accent is much more important than English.

Many words sound alike but mean different things when put into writing. One example is "desert" and "dessert."

Words that Sound Alike Practice

Watch this space for more fascinating facts about Our English Language!

Unscientific Poll

From today's Sun-Times Metro Section:

Opinions sought on city casino

October 29, 2007
As state lawmakers consider allowing casino gambling within Chicago's city limits, the Chicago Crime Commission is conducting an online poll about the subject. Taxpayers "are the ones affected by a casino in Chicago," commission President James Wagner said in a news release, "and the political leadership is not asking them anything." The commission has gone on record opposing a city-owned casino. Residents can participate in the unscientific poll at Chicago Crime Commission.

Rogers Park Garden Group Meeting

Believing in the power of gardens to build communities through beauty, camaraderie, and involvement. . .

Dear Rogers Park Garden Group Member and Friends,

Don’t forget about the last meeting of the season on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 7 p.m., Rogers Park Presbyterian Church (corner of Greenview & Greenleaf).pvg_1007_col This is your opportunity to vote on next year’s community garden project. We have some exciting proposals but YOU have to help decide where our efforts in 2008 should be and how the community garden funds we’ve raised should be spent. You helped come up with the funds, come cast your vote on where and how the RPGG spends the money and our labor.

Also, we have a fabulous speaker lined up in Jeanne Felknor, founder and president of the East Village Block & Garden Club and 2004 Chicago Gardner of the Year. Jeanne and her band of volunteers and children have done amazing things in the East Village area from planting over 200 parkways to forging new bonds among peoples from all walks of the community. Jeanne has a treasure trove of stores to tell, having done community gardening since 1999. Come learn what has worked in other neighborhoods so that we can put it to good use in Rogers Park.

When: Tuesday, Oct. 30
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: Rogers Park Presbyterian Church,
northeast corner of Greenview and Greenleaf,
2nd floor, Fellowship Room.

RPGG Website

October 28, 2007

Blago Removal Clause

Editorial from the Chicago Tribune, October 28, 2007

“Illinois citizens have little for which they can thank Rod Blagojevich. They can, though, thank him for demonstrating why this state's legislature and voters should add a recall provision to the Illinois Constitution. And use it.

What do you think? Read complete editorial here

- - -

Should Rod Blagojevich be recalled from office? Why or why not?
E-mail us with your response by 2 p.m. Monday at ctc-response@tribune.com with "recall" in the subject line. Include your name, hometown and contact information. Responses will be published online and in Tuesday's Tribune.”

* * *

Here's your chance to sound off about Blago.

And don't forget Toddler: If you haven't contacted Todd and your commissioner there's still time.

Claypool and like minds will meet at the southwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive at 12:00 noon on Monday, October 29th, to protest the record tax increases offered by Stroger. If you are interested in participating, feel free to show up tomorrow.

There should be a removal clause for every public office. Period. Do your research on the local machine boys and girls who promoted Stroger and Blago a few months ago. Some are up for re-election or are seeking other offices. It's astounding...a rattlesnake is a rattlesnake and politicians calling it "the party" will hang together to get the rattler elected. Democrats and Republicans alike.

Now that Blago and Toddler are making complete jackasses of themselves we're seeing some backpaddling. Don't forget three rattlesnakes are are rattling and trying to bite your income - impending city, county and state taxes.

The bottom line is: Local dems endorsed both of them and now these locals want your vote again.

October 27, 2007

Hey there, Georgy boy

Here's a farewell version of the song in honor of our former Illinois governor. He just lost his appeal in the federal appellate court.

Watch the 1968 rendition on YouTube and sing along!

(click the headline)

Georgy Girl - The Seekers 1967 (parody version) by Dane Ronvik

Hey there, Georgy boy
Selling out our state so fancy-free
Never thought that we would ever see the corruption there - around you
Hey there, Georgy boy
How did laws and justice pass you by?
Could it be you didn't try and did it catch up to you?

You're always wheeling-dealing and often stealing but why?
Just shed those greedy feelings and fly - to prison now

Hey there, Georgy boy
There's another Georgy deep inside
Show some honesty and pride and, oh, what a change there'd be
The world would see a new Georgy boy

[Instrumental Interlude]

Hey there, Georgy boy
Dreamin' of the someone you could be
Life is a reality, you can't always run away
Don't be so scared of changing and rearranging yourself
It's not about your personal wealth - it's government

Hey there, Georgy boy
There's another Georgy deep inside
Show us some respect and pride and, oh, what a change there'd be
The world would see a new Georgy boy!

(Hey there, Georgy boy)
Wake up, Georgy boy
(Hey there, Georgy boy)
Come on, Georgy boy


(Hey there, Georgy boy)
Wake up, Georgy boy

A Suggestion for Iceman Butler

Jerry "Iceman" Butler should do a concert and donate the proceeds to Toddler. Better yet, he could do a series of fundraiser concerts with all of his old music friends. A 'Save Cook County's Ass' series.

Keep the blues in the music lyrics Jerry!

Update On The Lerner Property

The daylight series of photos of the Lerner building demolition was taken Saturday, October 20. The shot of the downed fence is for you Craig!

Haunted City Hall 005 Haunted City Hall 004

Looking south…
Haunted City Hall 006

Looking north thanks to the downed fence….

Haunted City Hall 010 Haunted City Hall 008

These shots were taken last night October 26, 2007.

Bldgs on Howard 006 Bldgs on Howard 009

It will be interesting to watch the method of remediation to this portion of the property. As I understand, there was once a gas station here just as there was on the curve on Sheridan where the condo-townhome complex now sits. Does anyone know where all the excavated contaminated material goes? What happened to the contaminated material from the Sheridan Road complex? Where did it go?

Bldgs on Howard 010

Did any neighbors ever notice hoses spraying water on the demolition area to keep the dust minimized? One of the reasons (or excuses) this property was allowed to sit for years was the contamination story.

Gale Community Center Update

This photo was taken inside the construction gate looking west at the building. When one looks at the building at night, the sloped area (multi-purpose gymnasium) to the right reflects interior lights. Several windows have been installed in the new building. There’s also a security warning sign and an armed security guard now.

Bldgs on Howard 001

Views from Marshfield looking east.

Bldgs on Howard 005 Bldgs on Howard 004

October 25, 2007

Claypool Invites You To A Tea Party

From the incoming mailbox:

Commissioner Claypool is strongly opposed to President Stroger’s proposed record-breaking tax increases (almost $1 billion) and would like you to join in and voice your opinion. Some elected officials feed up with the huge tax increases are taking matters into their own hands by organizing a “Boston Tea Party” in Chicago.

We'll meet at the southwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive at 12:00 noon on Monday, October 29th, to protest the record tax increases offered by Stroger. If you are interested in participating, feel free to show up this coming Monday.

Furthermore, we would like to invite you to voice your opposition in person at one of the scheduled public hearings. The dates, times, and locations are listed below.

Friday, October 26, 2007 10:00 A.M.
Cook County Building
118 North Clark Street
Board Room, Room 569
Chicago, Illinois

Tuesday, October 30, 2007, 6:30 P.M.
Second District Courthouse
5600 Old Orchard Road
Lower Level Cafeteria
Skokie, Illinois

Tuesday, November 6, 2007, 6:30 P.M.
Proviso East High School
807 South First Avenue
Maywood, Illinois

If you are able to attend you may sign up early with the Secretary of the Board at (312) 603-6127. Please provide your name and the name of any organization they are representing, You may also you can register at any of the locations listed above, at the time of the meeting. Each organization will be limited to one speaker. Each speaker will be limited to 3 minutes. Speakers are requested to submit 30 copies of any written statement to the committee prior to speaking.Can’t make it to one of the public hearing, but still want to have your voice heard?E-mail, call, or fax the President Stroger and the Commissioners.

Just click here to view their contact information

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us either by phone - (312)603-6380 or (773)832-4642 or by e-mail at commissioner@forrestclaypool.com

Action On Fargo

Here’s a view of the construction from the rear of 1640-42 Fargo taken Saturday, 10/20/07.

Rear 1640-42 Fargo

Street views from Fargo.
Haunted City Hall 013 1600 Block of Fargo1600 Block of Fargo

These links are a partial chronology of the problem building(s) on Fargo. After neighbors complained about the activities in one or both vacant properties, action was finally taken.

An update on 1640-42

The public meeting

1640-42 and 1626-30 reported to troubled buildings initiative

Toddler's Demanding

Toddler is whining and demanding

It's almost amusing isn’t it? It takes audacity to slide onto daddy’s corrupted throne and point fingers. Hasn’t he been told we’re aware of all the cronyism, the pals and deals we’ve been footing the bill for? Hasn’t he read the papers about the negligence in management, the billing never sent hence collected?

The commissioners should counter-demand Toddler's resignation.

Blago wants to fund CTA with Cook County gas tax

That headline should send Toddler into a new round of demands.

October 24, 2007

Community Alert

All age groups should be careful - REAL utilities personnel are required to identify themselves and show IDs and credentials.

Cook County Bureau of Health Roundtable

Last week, Stroger's head flunky for the County Health Department, threw down the gauntlet!

Stroger's $888 million tax hikes

MORE THAN TRIPLE SALES TAX: Would pull in $749 million

DOUBLE GAS TAX: Goes from 6 cents to 12 cents

DOUBLE PARKING TAX: Adds $20 to monthly pass

By Mickey Ciokajlo, Tribune staff reporter, October 18, 2007

Stroger's health chief, Dr. Robert Simon, called out Claypool and Commissioners Mike Quigley and Tony Peraica, saying he wants to debate them to prove he's running a lean operation.

"Newspapers like battles, allow me to do battle," Simon said. "Show me what you would cut that is waste."

Quigley said he would welcome it.

"Anybody who wants to get into an argument about finding waste in Cook County, God bless him. That's an easy fight," Quigley said.


Today, Commissioner Claypool took up the challenge!

Boxing in Chicago

Cook County Bureau of Health Smack-down!
Claypool v. Simon
WBEZ Eight Forty-Eight 10/24/2007

This is local public radio at its finest! Listen in as the good Dr. Simon first pleads he is not a political animal like Claypool, then waste no time wasting his air time on a vicious personal attack on Claypool. Simon sez whiny Commissioners are driving doctors out of the County health system, not budget cuts! Simon thoroughly embarrasses himself, the Stroger administration, and our County.

You will find no stronger evidence anywhere for the critical need to de-politicize our County health system.

October 23, 2007

October 22, 2007

A Quiet Scandal

A little kitty meowed to 24/7 about A Quiet CTA Scandal

How very interesting we read about such things on blogs right?

Shhh, don't tell anyone!

Yesterday's 5 Mile Walk

The pink street sweeper and a pink concrete mixer awaited the walkers at Lawrence and the lake. Most of the walkers wore matching pink hats or boas and yes, a few pink wigs were very stunning.
CancerWalk10.21.07 012

We headed North along the lake, circled back and headed south and around Montrose Harbor. What a gorgeous day for a walk.
CancerWalk10.21.07 002CancerWalk10.21.07 007

Here’s one of the canine walkers and most were wearing pink too.
CancerWalk10.21.07 005

Just one more mile…

CancerWalk10.21.07 009

I walked with several employees from American Spanish Institute. ASI provides home care for the disabled and seniors. Left to right: Maria, Maryon and Jan.

CancerWalk10.21.07 011

Fatal Shooting in West Rogers Park

A 19-year-old man was shot and killed overnight in the West Rogers Park neighborhood on Chicago's North Side, authorities said.

Tribune Article

October 21, 2007

October 20, 2007

Political Paradox - Damaged Goods

By Bob Secter | Tribune staff reporter - October 21, 2007

“In his budget address to the City Council earlier this month, Daley said that revenues from the sales, fuel, parking and cigarette taxes have been down and that the "dramatic slowdown" in the housing market has depressed real estate transaction tax….”

If only these politicians could hear themselves!

Now Rich wanted a cleaner, greener Chicago didn’t he? Did he NOT urge people to car pool, bike or ride the CTA? Didn't he just spend money to check out bike rentals in Paris? How much did that trip cost us? The cost of maintaining a vehicle is another bite to owners after the license, stickers, permit parking, emissions testing and extra gas taxes. It's no wonder there are so many beaters in town. Let me know if I missed a tax - I don't own a car.

Did he not allow his Club 50 to ban smoking and raise cigarette taxes through the roof?

So collect lost revenues from your alderpersons. They are the a wise ones with the future vision-think out of the box mentalities. They all assume that if Chicagoans are dumb enough to re-hire (vote) them, term after term, that all Chicagoans will fork out the bucks for their overtax issues. Savvy Chicagoans buy gasoline and cigarettes outside Cook County. It’s still legal to take a drive isn’t it?

As for your ‘welcome to Chicago tax’…the wise ones should have been saving a portion of the grand income windfall for a rainy day. They should have been wise enough to know the boom wouldn’t last – it never does. They’re wise, that’s why they’re elected right? Daley should know better too. His parents probably told him the same horror stories about the Great Depression that we heard at family reunions. The subject should still be in history books too.

“The terms guarantee that city workers will continue to get very generous pensions and health-care coverage that is a bargain by standards of the private sector.”

It would be interesting to see these and make a comparison to the private sector. We contribute to our own health care fund and pensions from our checks too. With these tax hikes, there won’t be much to push into the 401k save at work plan for a lot of people will there?

In the private sector, or in some areas, people really have to work! We are expected to return calls, mail, email, solve problems and make clients happy. I am still waiting on a response from one city department. I’m still waiting for a promise to be kept from another department. I've been pink listed from ward 49 even though I'm not a contender for any political office! But ALL constituents should be responded to, right?

Rich, Toddler and Blago are not making their clients happy at all.

AND, in the private sector, we can ask for a refund on damaged goods. So how do we replace damaged goods from an election?

"In previous contract negotiations, Daley has made a show of pressing for work rule changes that he said would reduce waste and save money. This time around, he soft-pedaled such talk.

So at a time when private scavengers make due with a lone crewman on garbage trucks and some suburbs operate with two, the city agreed to keep three-man crews. City trades employees for the next decade were guaranteed the coveted "prevailing wage" earned by counterparts in private industry (even though city workers are guaranteed the 40 hours of work a week that their private sector brethren are not) and other workers won raises of up to 4 percent a year.”

In the private sector, we have to work and be held accountable. Most of us do not have a union boss to cover our asses. The proof is in our work and attendance…as outdated as that must be to government.

Again, in the private sector, we can ask for a refund on damaged goods. So how do we replace damaged goods from an election?

Haunted Halls

Haunted City Hall 001

Since the CTA Doomsday, three tracking, leave early, leave late era, my path home leads past City Hall. Last night it was transformed a Halloween Hall. The only missing elements were costumed characters and music. When I mentioned the decor to a friend, he reminded me of the scandal of Chicago’s Haunted Halls

If there was a real Costume Ball can you imagine Ed Burke as Dracula? A few cosmetic touches would transform him into Stuart Graingers character for the Haunted Halls costume ball.

14_Burke ft1j49n6d3_00035

Haunted City Hall 002 10.19.07 002

Russ Stewart in 2004
Russ Stewart in 2004

Russ Stewart in 2007
Russ Stewart in 2007

Developing Government Accountability to the People (DGAP)
Check out the aldermanic profile pages

The long list of scandals would be amusing if presented in a fictional TV series. The lack of professional polish in these real life sagas of our history is funny, pathetically funny. Why we retain some of them term after term is a sad reflection on all of us.

The hallowed halls of city hall.