Friday, July 31, 2009

White House Beer Summit Over Gates, Cambridge Police, Obama, Biden, Racial Profiling, Law Enforcement | Obama Hopes to Undo Stupidly Attention



Sgt. James Crowley talks to the media


Obama Explains Why the Beer Summit isn't a Beer Summit

Election 2010 | Aurora's Robert Enriquez Takes Shot at U.S. Senate Seat

Robert Enriquez, from Aurora, will formally announce he is running for President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat, currently occupied by Roland Burris, who was appointed by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

As a Republican, he would face the establishment's choice, Rep. Mark Kirk, a Congressman from the northern suburbs.

Enriquez, who was in the Marines, has an MBA, works for Rasmussen College in Aurora, is also on the Illinois Human Rights Commission. He has not run for political office before.

One of his primary issues will be taxes, which he says are a burden on families and small business.

Kirk's support from the establishment of the Illinois Republican Party is a large advantage, but some observers note Kirk is not liked by many Republicans on social issues.

Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is running as a Democrat for the same U.S. Senate Seat.

So, What About That Cash for Clunkers Program?

Wedding Entrance Dance

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Obama's Health Reform Town Hall



President Barack Obama's Town Hall Meeting
Health Reform - Shaker Heights, Ohio
Thursday, July 23, 2009

Video Provided by the White House


Differing view from Obama's former physician


Another view by Dick Morris

Monday, July 27, 2009

Diana Martinez Resigns From Paramount Theatre | Dick Hawks Named Interim Director

Diana Martinez once posed for this
photo for Chicago Magazine

Diana Martinez says she will resign, effective July 31, from the Paramount Theatre in Aurora and will be replaced on an interim basis by Dick Hawks.

Martinez, who joined the Paramount in 2001, says she had a difference with the goals of the Aurora Civic Center Authority and Paramount boards.

How has the Paramount improved in recent years and what should the goals be considering there is increased competition coming from new facilities in Naperville?

Meet the Press | Hillary Clinton Says What About Me!!!

Okay, we got the message. Hillary Clinton wants some attention, so here you go:



Who Oversees the Federal Reserve of the United States and Trillions of Dollars?

Friday, July 24, 2009

City of Aurora Announces Mandatory Furlough Days and Wage Freezes

Daily Herald reports on Thursday that Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner has announced mandatory furlough days for all executive and non-exempt city employees.

"In a memo to affected employees, Weisner said they will be required to take five mandatory furlough days during the remainder of this year and 10 mandatory furlough days next year. The city also will freeze wages next year for executive and nonexempt workers and is looking for ways to cut health insurance costs that could result in higher payments for those employees."

The City of Aurora had recently offered an "incentive package" to get employees to voluntarily exit employment. It is widely believed the fiscal situation with declining revenues will force the City of Aurora to terminate and/or layoff a large number of employees in the near future.

***UPDATE: City of Aurora says 37 city employees applied for the voluntary incentive package to exit employment.

Obama Says Cambridge Police Acted Stupidly | Police Strike Back



What actually happened and the reaction to what happened may be different issues, but the incident involving Henry Louis Gates and the Cambridge Police Department has got people talking.

Did the police act properly? Was it racial profiling? Did President Obama step too forward only to backtrack later?

Chicago White Sox Mark Buehrle Pitches Perfect Game and Makes Baseball History



Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox pitches a perfect game, only the 16th time in history since 1900 and his second no-hitter.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Aurora's So-Called Corporation Counsel Wants to Dictate Private Business Practice and Demand Taxpayers Produce Credit Cards


Alayne Weingartz (aka "Alayne Scatterday" or "Alayne Filarski"), City of Aurora's so-called corporation counsel, who has a widespread reputation as being unprofessional, rude and incompetent among the legal community, has been misusing her position to dictate to private business on how they should operate, ranging from auto repair facilities to hotels.

The latest Weingartz fiasco and breach of power involves a proposed hotel and motel licensing scheme that would dictate to hotels how they should operate their business and put demands on the personal and financial information of hotel owners, operators and the public.

Hotel owners and operators would be required to provide confidential and personal information, such as a social security number, date of birth and information that could be misused and has no relevance on the facility itself.

Guests at hotels in Aurora would be required to not only provide photo ID, but they would have to provide a "valid credit card" in an era some people's credit cards are being terminated, the nation is in an economic crisis with many trying to get people to not use credit cards and where many prefer to use cash due to economic or personal preference.

These examples are similar to the complaints of auto repair facility owners who say the unlawful auto repair facility ordinance drafted by Weingartz also made unreasonable demands of owners and tried to pry business, proprietary and confidential information of customers.

A hotel owner, who asked not to be identified due to the anticipated retaliation by Weingartz, said a licensing program should be restricted to what is absolutely necessary to ensure the property safety of a hotel, but should stay out of the business operation or fishing for people's personal information, whether that is an owner or guest of a hotel.

"I don't see any need for Ms. Weingartz to have my social security number anymore than I need her social security number. Why should I trust her? Who is she to demand how I do my business and what I require of our guests? I have the right to ask or NOT ask for a credit card from a hotel guest, if I choose. What business has Weingartz ever run except causing massive litigation costs and liability to the taxpayers of Aurora?"

Weingartz's habit of creating problems, adversarial situations and liability for taxpayers is nothing new, but we urge the Aurora City Council to protect the taxpayers and business entities of Aurora from her continued breach and abuse by removing any requirement for credit cards and any ability for Weingartz to obtain anyone's personal information.

The hotel and motel licensing scheme apparently does not apply to social service agencies such as Hesed House and Mutual Ground that house individuals overnight and don't require credit cards. We say if hotels are required to do anything, ALL facilities that house guests should be required to do the same.

Perhaps Weingartz won't mind if her social security number, credit card number or confidential information is available to the taxpayers of Aurora. After all, she is a public servant and supposedly works for you.

President Barack Obama's Primetime Press Conference on Economy, Health Reform, Race, Transparency

Obama press conference highlights


Obama takes credit for saving the economy


Obama gets fuzzy on numbers and defense of spending


Obama explains the rush for health reform


Obama on the "public option" and if he would use it


Obama explains "stupidly" and the Gates incident


Obama questioned on the promise of transparency


The full press conference

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Election 2010 | Mark Kirk Runs for U.S. Senate

Congressman Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) says he's in the race for President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate Seat.

Who else should run for the Republican or Democratic nomination?

Obama Pushes Health Reform By End of Year

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Parental Notification Law Gets Cleared for Takeoff in Illinois



The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals shot down an order by U.S. District Judge David Coar keeping parental notification from going into effect in the State of Illinois.

The law, which was most recently amended in 1995, has been prevented from being effective due to legal challenges.

After Planned Parenthood built the nation's largest abortion clinic in Aurora, parental notification became an issue among those on both sides of the abortion debate and brought focus on the state's law that sat idle.

Alderman Rick Lawrence, former Alderman Chris Beykirch and current Alderman Richard Irvin co-sponsored a resolution urging action by the State of Illinois and federal courts to resolve the matter of parental notification and considered how the City of Aurora could implement its own ordinance in lieu of the state law being in effect.

Unless further legal action delays the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, the law could be effective within a few weeks.

With parental notification laws existing in many states and all surrounding the State of Illinois, legal experts say it's unlikely the U.S. Supreme Court will prevent a parental notification law in Illinois after this decision.

> Chicago Tribune story

Aurora City Council Hits Taxpayers Again with Water Rate Increase

Call it a tax increase or fee increase, it's the same thing when government votes to take more of your money. On Tuesday, the Aurora City Council voted 10-1 to slam Aurora taxpayers with yet another water rate increase.

The only city council member to vote against the tax-n-fee increase was Alderman Rick Lawrence.

Alderman Stephanie Kifowit, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor, claiming she felt the "pain" of the tax-n-fee increases the public was feeling and how she would be "leadership that would listen" apparently neither feels the pain nor listens to the people.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

When Property Values Go Up, Taxes Go Up, But When Property Values Go Down, Where Will Your Taxes Go? | Commentary By Alderman Rick Lawrence

As we go through these challenging economic times with our lower investments and property values, there is a danger we must all be aware of.

Currently, most of our township assessors are in the process of re-evaluating the 2009 assessments which will determine our 2010 property tax bills.

Most assessed values, if not all, should be considerably lower due to the economic climate. Naturally, you should expect a lower tax bill as a result.

However, backroom deals between county officials, municipalities and local government entities could falsely inflate our assessed values through the county's so-called multiplier.

As an elected official in Aurora, a city that cannot afford a loss in revenue, I full expect the fraudulent inflation of property values by the county to subvert the township assessor's professional assessment to avoid politicians having to face taxpayers and ask for a tax increase.

I call upon Kane County residents to demand elected officials to stop this type of action, be honest about the bloated costs of government and explain why the public should be asked to make further sacrifice while politicians continue their addiction to spending.

Taxpayers, who are already under severe pressure from the State of Illinois and years of irresponsible spending by all levels of government, should not be hit again during the dark of night.

The solution is not for local government to keep extracting money from your wallet or checking account, but to prove how they are reducing the cost of government and apply the same fiscal restraints all businesses and families are dealing with.

As propery values have declined, demand your county officials to not artificially inflate values and multiply the impact on your tax bill to feed the spending habits of local governments.

Courts Make Policy | Commentary By Judge Sonia Sotomayor



U.S. Supreme Court Justice nominee Sonia Sotomayor's statements from the past are inconsistent with her statements of the present.

Should courts make policy and law?

Should judges be held to much higher standards on how they perform in court and the application of law?

Fleecing of America | U.S. Deficit Tops $1 Trillion

Saturday, July 11, 2009

State of Illinois Dishes Out Your Taxdollars to Private Social Service Organizations; Deficit? Less Spending? Oops...

Remember back in early July 2009 that $8, 9, 10, or 11 billion deficit for the State of Illinois you've been hearing about and to justify a massive tax increase? And how all the legislator's men and women claimed they wanted to clamp down on wild spending?

Just a week later, turns out the State of Illinois has lots and lots of cash (thanks to taxpayers) to dish out after all. In fact, it has so much, that all that talk about pushing through a $29 BILLION capital bill to help "essential infrastructure" such as roads, bridges and schools even has taxpayer gifts for social service agencies not accountable to taxpayers.

Yes, the capital bill that is supposed to help fix crumbling PUBLIC infrastructure is also going toward PRIVATE infrastructure.

In Aurora, the private social service agency Mutual Ground is getting $150,000 taxdollars from the capital bill for "tuckpointing" and "roof repairs" even though they closed their doors July 1st, saying they didn't get enough taxpayers funds for their private organization's operating expenses.

Hesed House, which is expanding their offices along prime riverfront property that should instead be used for development, is getting $150,000 taxdollars to help with construction.

Paramount Arts Centre and North Island Center in downtown Aurora will get $2.1 million taxdollars for new air conditioning units and other "repairs."

And a $5 million, 23,000 square foot day-care center on Root Street scheduled to open next year will get $2.4 million...or $104.34 per square foot, courtesy the capital bill.

With an economic crisis and the so-called deficit, should your taxdollars be used for PRIVATE organizations or should they be used only for PUBLIC infrastructure as the hype for the capital bill implied?

>HB 313 Amendment (pdf)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Alderman Leroy Keith Justifies Giving Away Taxdollars and Says Aurora Causes 1/3rd of Violent Crime in Kane County

Around Aurora's City Hall, 9th Ward
Alderman Leroy Keith is nicknamed by
many as "Napoleon" for his self-claimed skills


Aurora's 9th Ward Alderman Leroy Keith, one of the chief spending addicts on the Aurora City Council, says Aurora is responsible for almost 1/3rd of the violent crimes of Kane County.

In a letter received by OpenlineBlog.com, he tried to defend why he and most of his fellow spending addicts on Aurora's City Council gave away about $183,000 or 30% of a federal grant to the county in exchange for their simply processing the grant.

While Kane County was designated to process the grant, the City of Aurora is part of four counties, including DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will Counties. Apparently residents of DuPage, Kendall and Will Counties are not at any risk of crime.

Keith acknowledges the giveaway might have been high and would have been more comfortable giving away just $123,000 of your taxdollars.

Claiming to understand law enforcement because he works as a lab tech at the DuPage County Sheriff's Office, Leroy Keith has been embroiled in various controversies ranging from wild spending from his finance committee to attacking, tracking and tracing anyone who differs with his views or opinions.

Nicknamed "Napoleon" by many around Aurora's City Hall because he self-claims to be an expert in military and political issues, some say Leroy Keith is planning a coup against the current administration and/or finance chairman and install himself as mayor or chairman someday despite his track record of fiscal irresponsibility.

He was recently elected to a new term by knocking his opponent off the ballot.

Leroy Keith says Aurora has 3,864 violent crimes in 2007, which was about 31.4% of all violent crimes in Kane County.

A source with the City of Aurora says Leroy's numbers are misleading and violent crime has been falling since.

Leroy Keith and the Aurora City Council voted to give away about $183,000 to Kane County for taxdollars intended for Aurora.

***

Recently, Leroy Keith was involved in a city council battle defending why $600K should be spent on an equipment shed. Read the story or listen to the audio clip (courtesy Daily Herald)

Learn more about Napoleon from Wikipedia

Lisa Madigan | Most Overrated Politician in Illinois?


Lisa Madigan, who has little legal expertise or experience, yet became Illinois Attorney General due to her father's name and political army, announced she isn't running for Governor or U.S. Senator in 2010 and will instead run again for Attorney General.

While many in the media are gawking over her and considering it's pretty hard to screw up being Attorney General since most of what you do is speak out at times and have 700 employees and attorneys do the actual work, what makes Lisa Madigan even worth considering for Governor or U.S. Senator?

Does she have experience with fiscal responsibility that might be helpful as Governor? Does she have foreign policy that might be helpful as U.S. Senator? No and No.

She has a name and she has money.

Ms. Madigan has been raising about $4 million the past year in campaign contributions in a state where the mix of money and politics is considered the heart of many of the problems that have turned Chicago and Illinois corruption into a national joke.

During the ongoing epidemic of corruption, pay-to-play, hired truck scandals, pension schemes, city hall games and statewide contracts, Lisa Madigan has been mysteriously quiet except when it was time to lead the way to throw Gov. Rod Blagojevich under the political bus.

The only protection for the people of Illinois from the politicians of Illinois has come from U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who has managed to bust corruption from Chicago to Springfield while Madigan keeps raising campaign contributions.

Then, there's the situation with her father, the Czar of the Illinois Democrats.

Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, who has been at the epicenter of the dysfunctional state government and the political power base of Chicago, calls the shots and daughter Lisa Madigan is his choice to be queen someday.

President Obama, who warned us he would make mistakes from time to time, thought perhaps Lisa Madigan would be a possible choice for his former U.S. Senate seat. His chief of staff, Rahm Emaneul, no stranger to the political corruption of Chicago, says Lisa Madigan is the most popular Illinois politicians.

Should popularity be the reason why to choose Lisa Madigan? Under the logic, Michael Jordan would have been a better Governor of Illinois a few years ago.

We say considering most Illinois politicians are considered less trustworthy than used car dealers or Enron accountants, Lisa Madigan may not be hated as much as many, including her father, but she has not earned any credentials of being on the leading edge of ethics, reform or fiscal responsibility.

Not imploding as Attorney General does not mean she should be Governor or a United States Senator. She failed to lead the way as Attorney General and speak out against Mayor Daley's City Hall corruption epidemic and she failed to speak out on Blagojevich corruption until it was politically convenient.

That's not integrity and leadership we need as Attorney General, let alone Governor or U.S. Senator. We encourage ethical individuals to run against her in the primary and general election.

Illinois has had plenty of political dynasties running the show. Lisa Madigan is more of the same and the people of Illinois have to wake up she's part of the problem, not the solution.

Lisa Madigan may be the most overrated politician in Illinois.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Worldwide Audience Watches Michael Jackson Memorial







2009 City of Aurora Fireworks Show

The 2009 City of Aurora (Illinois) Fireworks Show for July 4th was held on July 3rd. See below for two different viewer-created views of the portion of the presentation.

How did the fireworks compare to last year? What do you think about the location?

Was it the right choice to have it on Friday, July 3rd instead of Saturday, July 4th? With the City of Chicago's Fireworks Show always on July 3rd, should Aurora do the same in 2010?

Should smaller communities such as North Aurora, Montgomery and Sugar Grove combine with Aurora every year?

Would you like to see Aurora and Naperville combine or alternate each year?




Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Comedian Al Franken Becomes United States Senator



Comedian, turned politician Al Franken became the United States Senator from Minnesota.

Monday, July 06, 2009

How Deep is the City of Aurora's Financial Challenge? | Aurora City Council Continues to Spend, Spend, Spend, Commentary By Alderman Rick Lawrence

The City of Aurora recently announced an "incentive package" to help encourage employees to take voluntary exits from employment in an attempt to reduce the city's workforce prior to implementing layoffs and terminations.

Our friends at the local fishwrap (aka "Beacon" or "Beaconfused") reported the reason for this action was a looming $4 million deficit. However, considering $4 million is less than 1% of the City of Aurora's budget, it would seem the deficit for 2009 and 2010 must be more complicated than $4 million.

So, what is the full amount of the financial challenge ahead for 2010?

With continued wild spending by the Aurora City Council combined with much lower revenue, Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner's attempt to trim the workforce may be one of many steps necessary to address the situation.

4th Ward Alderman Rick Lawrence, who has been warning the current fiscal situation would be inevitable if the Aurora City Council didn't change its chronic spending habits, says things must now change.

Read his commentary below...

With the election now behind us, it appears we have some financial challenges ahead in the City of Aurora that are now coming to light.

The initial proposal to address these challenges is to reduce our employee levels. However, why would our employees or anyone believe we face financial challenges?

Anyone that has attended a City Council meeting would assume there are unlimited funds available when observing the lack of concern on the cost or necessity of any proposal or issue that comes before Council.

One cannot blame our financial situation simply on the economy and our employees. The financial challenges are caused by the irresponsible spending habits of Council that have been ongoing for years.

The commitment of resources with a lack of planning and understanding of new revenue has put us in this position. It is easy for politicians to act as if the economic decline was unrelated to their own conduct. It has been their wasteful behavior and borrowing that created this situation.

I encourage you to visit www.aurora-il.org. Under "Finance" review the city budget and ward funds for many examples of how your money is spent.

Solving our financial challenge is not difficult if we first have a commitment by City Council to cease their wasteful spending and revaluate the need or priority of certain projects.

We must reduce the size of this bureaucracy and, most importantly, refocus our resourcs on the core priorities such as infrastructure and safety. We must only commit funds to projects and programs that are viable with a clear return on investment.

Failure to change the way we conduct business will result in additional tax and fee increases in order to feed the council's spending addiction.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Have a Happy 4th of July

Sarah Palin Announces Resignation as Governor of Alaska | Is She Looking Ahead to 2012 or Had Enough of Politics?





Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former candidate for VP of the United States has announced she will resign in a few weeks.

Speculation ranges from this being a step toward a future run for the White House to having had enough of the political pressure.

Regardless of your political views, if you were advising Sarah Palin, what would you suggest?