Monday, August 31, 2009

President Barack Obama's Eulogy for Sen. Ted Kennedy | Did Kennedy Jump on the Obama Bandwagon or Help Make Obama President?



What effect did Sen. Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama have in 2008? Was he just jumping on the express train with Obama or did Kennedy's endorsement make a key difference that enabled Obama to become President?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Illinois High School Football's Oldest Rivalry | West Aurora Wins 9th Straight Over East Aurora with 40-12 Blowout


The oldest rivalry in Illinois High School Football had East Aurora and West Aurora on Friday night in the opening game for both schools.

West Aurora Blackhawks scored 4 touchdowns in the 1st quarter and had a 33-0 lead toward the start of the 2nd quarter. By halftime, West Aurora had a 40-6 lead with a final score of 40-12.

With blazing speed, Leon Spears had over 185 all-purpose yards for West Aurora and scored three touchdowns, including a 90 yard kickoff return.

West Aurora leads the rivalry 57-48-12 over East Aurora.

>Daily Herald story

>West Aurora Video Replay (video may not be immediately available)

>East Aurora Video Replay (video may not be immediately available)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Election 2010 | Chicago's Inspector General David Hoffman Jumps Into U.S. Senate Race As Reform Candidate



All of a sudden, the 2010 race in Illinois for President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat may be getting much more interesting.

David Hoffman, former assistant to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who became the City of Chicago's first Inspector General to actually take on widespread corruption and waste under Mayor Richard Daley, will resign to run for the U.S. Senate Seat.

Although he is running as a Democrat, most observers say he's very independent and will appeal to both sides.

Presidential advisor David Axelrod's former consulting firm is helping Hoffman after Christopher Kennedy decided not to run. Hoffman's campaign website is already up. All signs indicate a serious campaign ahead.

Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois State Treasurer, and Chicago Urban League CEO Cheryl Jackson are also running. Giannoulias has had various issues around him that may put him at a disadvantage. Jackson was a former spokesman for Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Mark Kirk is the Republican's establishment's choice for U.S. Senate. However, with many views opposed by conservatives and other issues, there are other candidates hoping to take him out.

Hoffman's office recently issued highly critical reports of Mayor Daley's parking meter fiasco and has been working on several investigations of the Daley regime.

Some say Hoffman, who went to Yale and law school at the University of Chicago, has proven himself to have political courage taking on the most powerful political figure in Illinois and may have a better shot at beating Kirk than either Giannoulias or Jackson.

And, he may have the most coveted endorsement of any politician, even if it is implied and not stated directly...from U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

One Year After DNC Speech | Sen. Ted Kennedy Dies at 77







Aurora Police Request Assistance to Help Solve Case of Stray Bullet Hitting Elderly Woman









Aurora Police are requesting your assistance to help solve the case of a shooting Monday evening at approximately 8:20pm in the 1100 block of Ohio Court.

Multiple shots were fired and random bullets hit four homes, including one where an elderly woman was shot (see above video report).

If you have any information that may help, please contact Aurora Police at 630-801-6655 or CrimeStoppers at 630-892-1000 for anonymous tips and a potential cash reward.

You may also email us at openlineblog@gmail.com and we will forward any tips directly to Aurora Police. If you wish to remain anonymous, please let us know.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Aurora's Auto Shop License Proposal Gets Brake Job

The controversial auto shop licensing proposal for the City of Aurora drafted by so-called corporation counsel Alayne Weingartz to address isolated concerns of 7th Ward Scheketa Hart-Burns has hit the brakes in the Government Operations Committee.

After a vocal reaction from auto shop owners and operators about issues with the ordinance, the proposal was being reviewed in committee, but according to sources will be put on indefinite hold and could eventually be dropped.

Instead, enforcement of existing rules and ordinances would be applied toward dealing with the isolated situations, which is what 4th Ward Alderman Rick Lawrence had suggested when the license proposal was initiated.

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner agrees with Alderman Lawrence and is directing staff to focus efforts on the problems Alderman Hart-Burns is experiencing in her ward.

Here's Super Tuesday's schedule today at Aurora's City Hall:

>FINANCE COMMITTEE 3:00pm | Agenda | Map

>GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS COMMITTEE 4:30pm | Agenda | Map

>AURORA CITY COUNCIL 6:00pm | Agenda | Large Bills | Map
(issues include towing ordinance, junk house at 409 W. Downer)

NOTE: To speak up to 3 minutes at the Aurora City Council meeting on any agenda item or non-agenda issue, contact City Clerk Cheryl Vonhoff at 630.844.3615

Death of Michael Jackson Ruled Homicide | Murder, Malpractice or Accident?



A coroner's report will say entertainment superstar Michael Jackson died due to a homicide. However, it remains to be seen if there will be criminal charges against Jackson's physician.

What's more likely? Was this a murder, a case of malpractice or just an accident?

Do Illinois Republicans Have the Courage Name Names? Commentary By Dan Proft



Here's the commercial he's referring to:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Area High Schools Improve ACT Scores

Test scores, in this case the ACT, are one of many factors to evaluate not only a high school student, but the high schools themselves. Each high school varies in number of students and demographics. Regardless, here are the average ACT scores for various local high schools:

> 25.4 - Marmion
> 23.7 - Geneva
> 23.4 - St. Charles North
> 23.2 - Batavia
> 23.0 - Waubonsee Valley
> 22.5 - St. Charles East
> 21.1 - NATIONAL AVERAGE
> 21.0 - Aurora Christian
> 20.9 - Kaneland
> 20.8 - STATE AVERAGE
> 20.5 - Oswego
> 19.8 - Sandwich
> 19.6 - West Aurora
> 18.9 - Plano
> 16.8 - East Aurora

Andy McKenna Steps Down as Chairman of Illinois Republicans | Pat Brady From St. Charles Becomes New Chairman

Sen. Ted Kennedy Seeks Legal Change to Take Power From People

Images | Metea Valley High School















Metea Valley High School Day 1.0
(photo courtesy Daily Herald)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Aurora's So-Called Corporation Counsel Alayne in Fantasyland



At last Tuesday's Aurora City Council meeting, sources inform us of a groundbreaking new legal theory that was unveiled by none other than Aurora's so-called corporation counsel, Alayne Weingartz (aka "Alayne Scatterday" or "Alayne Filarski" or just "Alayne" for this situation).

During a debate on a plan to license hotels, attorney John Phillipchuck reportedly raised objections to various sections of the proposed ordinance drafted by Alayne. One section in particular referred to other legislation.

The problem is that other referenced legislation does not formally exist yet. It's a hypothetical draft that has not been seen, submitted, considered, reviewed, debated or voted upon the city council, let alone the public.

Alderman Rick Lawrence reportedly asked "how we can vote on something that does not yet exist?" and after sources confirm several attempts to dodge a straight answer to the question, Alayne finally said it does exist.

Lawrence said "where does it exist? Fantasyland?"

And, if that weren't enough, many of the provisions related to the hotel license would come later in the form of "administrative rules" to be attached to the ordinance.

But, were those administrative rules prepared for consideration with the ordinance?

Lawrence again asked if those administrative rules had been written and Alayne's eventual answer was no.

Yet, the city council was being asked to vote on all this. Even more bizarre, according to several sources, was Alayne acknowledged after being grilled by various city council members, including Alderman Lynda Elmore, that they could create any administrative rules later that could change anything and somehow it would be all required as part of the ordinance if this was passed.

So, new legal theory was created in Aurora. Who needs to finalize legislation and have all aspects, references, rules considered when you can just allude to legislation and rules that only exist in fantasyland?

In addition to so-called corporation counsel (Alayne) and an actual attorney (Phillipchuck), there are also two attorneys on the city council. Alderman Bob O'Connor, a real estate attorney voted against the hotel license fantasy plan and Alderman Richard Irvin, a criminal defense attorney voted for it.

Most bizarre, the fantasy plan passed despite Alayne's clear failure to competently have all aspects prepared and ready.

From now on, Congress and the Illinois General Assembly should learn a lesson from this. No need to have formally existing legislation and rules when referring to them in any other legislation.

Welcome to Alayne in Fantasyland. Enter an example of her mind below and where she expects everyone to follow...

Illinois Tollway Authority's Top Priority | Go Green?

With the announcement Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner would be appointed to the Illinois Tollway Authority Board, it was also announced that Paula Wolff would become the new chairman.

Her priority? Getting rid of corruption, patronage abuse and administrative bloat? Making sure cronies and contractors don't exploit opportunities? What about reducing congestion?

No, it's to go "green."

Here's Illinois Governor candidate Dan Proft's reaction:

Health Reform | Democrats vs. Obama, Public Option, Co-ops

Metea Valley's Finishing Touches As Aurora's New State-of-the-Art High School Opens Thursday


As the 465,000 square foot, $124 million new Metea Valley High School prepares to open on Thursday on Eola Road in Aurora for Indian Prairie School District 204, finishing touches are ongoing.

In the school's gym, artist Eulogio "Joe" Ortega of Sandwich works on a mural for the new Metea Mustangs.

>Daily Herald feature on murals

Tech Talk | Apple iPAD, AT&T, Hulu, Google, Dell, Verizon, Lenovo, Palm, Bing, Blogs, Texting

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Aurora Township Clerk Juan Thomas Will Resign and Move to New Orleans

Juan Thomas, who was recently re-elected as Aurora Township Clerk, will resign effective September 10th so he can become the pastor of a church in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Any appointment by the board of trustees to fill the vacancy will expire in 2013.

Previews | District 9

Friday, August 14, 2009

Where's Congressman Bill Foster on Health Reform Debate? Answer: Israel



Rep. Bill Foster's office held a meeting where over 100 people gathered to discuss health reform, but he was not present and instead took a trip to Israel.

Gov. Pat Quinn Appoints Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner to Illinois Tollway Board; Former Waukegan Mayor and Auroran Bill Morris; New Chairman Paula Wolff

Illinois Temp. Gov. Pat Quinn appointed Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner on Thursday to the Illinois Tollway Board. He also named Bill Morris, a municipal finance expert, former Auroran and former Mayor of Waukegan.

Quinn announced former Governor's State University President and regional planning executive Paula Wolff as the new chairman to replace John Mitola, who resigned after more than six years.

The Illinois Tollway, which has had various controversies and questions in recent years, includes 286 miles of highways over 12 counties in Northern Illinois.

Health Reform | Free Market, Competition, Change of Tax Structure, Eliminate Employer Health Benefits? Commentary By Peter Schiff



Healthcare costs keep going up and up and always will, right? Well, not always.

For example, prices of cosmetic health procedures such as Lasik eye surgery continue to go down over time even as quality improves. These are not covered by health insurance or the government.

As the health reform debate continues, many assume the staggering health costs cannot be undone, but some believe the answer to making healthcare affordable and with higher quality is to make your purchases of healthcare a free market choice.

What if government controlled or influenced the price, access or requirements of computers. Would we see constant innovation with lower prices or would see slower innovation with price controls that were higher?

Peter Schiff offers his perspective on how the free market fits with addressing health reform.

Video | Hudson River Plane-Helicopter Crash

VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Flygate | Walter Payton's Roundhouse Swats Back at Manny Maysonet



"Exhibit A"

Back in August 2008, Manny Maysonet, Assistant Director of Economic Development for the City of Aurora, went to Walter Payton's Roundhouse and claimed he found a fly in his meal. Sources say he may have wanted his meal for free as a result, but no flies were found.

He then sent the above email blast as a "health warning" to people around the city, warning them to stay away from Walter Payton's Roundhouse.

Soon after, City of Aurora's Chief of Staff Bill Wiet sent another blast saying "the city does not adopt, endorse or approve of the email..."

A subsequent inspection by the Kane County Health Department gave Walter Payton's Roundhouse high marks.

According to Scott Ascher of Walter Payton's Roundhouse, the damage was still done and now a lawsuit has been filed against Manny Maysonet, seeking over $100,000 in damages.

Fourth Ward Alderman Rick Lawrence called for the termination of Maysonet, but the extent of any disciplinary action involving Maysonet has not been disclosed by the City of Aurora.

Ascher did not include the city in his lawsuit at this time, but he says he has not received an explanation or apology.

Shortly after the incident, Ascher told the Daily Herald:

"Walter Payton's name is on this restaurant and we keep it there with as much respect as it deserves. For this guy to talk about Walter Payton's Roundhouse like that, that's where I draw the line."

Maysonet has deferred all questions to the city's so-called corporation counsel, Alayne Weingartz (aka "Alayne Scatterday" or "Alayne Filarski").

Health Reform | President Obama Says AARP Endorses His Plan; AARP Says No

City of Aurora Licenses for Auto Repair Shops, Hotels, Towing Companies...And?


What about when a tow truck tows a tow truck?
Do both need a license?

As auto repair shop owners continue to object to a licensing proposal and the Aurora City Council approved a hotel license plan on Tuesday 9-2 (Lawrence and O'Connor voted no), there's another license proposal in the works. This time, it's for towing companies.

According to reports, during the debate on the hotel license plan at Tuesday's City Council meeting, Sue Vos, who heads the Aurora Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau, said she supports the hotel license plan and hopes it would lead to every business in Aurora eventually being licensed.

Alderman Rick Lawrence reportedly called that "scary" for the business community and while Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner implied it's been done in other cities, a city spokesperson clarified that there are no plans and no interest in pursuing licenses for all, but just these few industries.

Should towing companies be specifically licensed by the City of Aurora?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Health Reform Debate Rages On



And here's the background from the man who spoke up:

Super Tuesday at Aurora City Hall



>FINANCE COMMITTEE
3:00pm 5th Floor City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place | Map | Agenda

>GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS COMMITTEE
4:30pm Alderman's Office, 60 E. Downer Place | Map | Agenda

>AURORA CITY COUNCIL
6:00pm City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place | Map | Agenda
-Red-Light Cameras
-Hotel Development on Rt. 59
-Junk House at 409 W. Downer
-Financial Reports
-Tonight's Spending: $8,010,897.49
(as of 9am Tuesday, large bill list was not available)

To address the Aurora City Council for up to 3 minutes on any of the above or any other issue,
please contact City Clerk Cheryl Vonhoff at 630-844-3615.

Hillary Clinton vs. Bill Clinton | Who Would You Call at 3am in an International Crisis?



Seems like former First Lady and now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may be a little sensitive to questions about her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

President Clinton, who recently went to North Korea, to obtain the release of two journalists, is being credited for solving a crisis.

Hillary, who had taunted candidate Barack Obama with this ad below, would like to remind everyone she's Secretary of State.

If you had an international crisis at 3am, who would you rather call? Bill or Hillary Clinton?



And, not to be left out, here's Obama's 3am ad:

Images | Mayor of Aurora, Illinois and Mayor of Voluntari, Romania

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner gives books on Aurora and a pin to
Florentin Costel Pandele, Mayor of Voluntari, Romania at a dinner in Aurora

Monday, August 10, 2009

Education Change | Traditional School Calendar vs. Year-Round Calendar

Starting today, 132 schools in the City of Chicago will begin the next school year as part of a year-round calendar system. Advocates of year-round schools say a more uniform schedule during the year of learning and breaks are better, but also address the major flaw with traditional school year calendars, which is the long summer break that leads to loss of learning and progress.

As school districts balance financial constraints with efforts to increase learning time with longer school days and more days of instruction, what is best for learning and the future of education?




Six Months Later | Wedding Divorce Dance

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Elvis, Blagojevich and Fabio Together at Last



Just when you thought former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was going to quietly drift off into the political sunset, he emerged recently to prove that if you really want to be a political rockstar (take that President Obama), you have to try to sing, too.

Blago appeared at a private party with Fabio recently and performed an Elvis song. So, maybe between now and the federal corruption trial, there's an opportunity for Blago to cash in...at private events, weddings and parties.

We'll even help. To book Blago at your next event, let us know at openlineblog@gmail.com and we'll ask Blago if he will appear and for how much. Political rockstars at your event. Yes you can!

Flashback | We Are the World



We Are the World

including Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Lionel Richie
Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram
Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson
Al Jarreau, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis
Cindy Lauper, Kim Carnes, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles

Friday, August 07, 2009

Fermilab's $60 Million Stimulus | Job Creation or Missed Opportunity

Batavia-based Fermilab is getting another $60 million in stimulus funds for projects at the research facility.

Regardless of the pros/cons of the projects worked on at Fermilab, should stimulus funds be used for projects and programs that would otherwise be considered under normal funding?

Some say about 100 construction jobs will be created by the added funds, but many say that $60 million would have been better put into other areas of the local economy to create jobs and economic activity.

Is funding programs at Fermilab an appropriate use of economic stimulus funds?

Election 2010 | Birkett Says No to Illinois Attorney General Race Against Lisa Madigan's Warchest of Cronies and Special-Interests

When DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett announced he would run for Illinois Attorney General, it looked like Lisa Madigan was going to run for Governor or U.S. Senator.

So, not suprisingly, when Madigan instead decided to run for re-election as Attorney General, Birkett has now said he will not challenge her.

Why? He says he can't compete with her on money.

Turns out Lisa Madigan, who's been pretending to be above all the corruption and campaign finance problems of Illinois, has been raking in millions of cash from the same old sources of problems, including lobbyists, special-interests and various political cronies.

Don't be fooled. Lisa Madigan is part of the problem, not the solution.

We urge not only a Republican to run for Attorney General, but for a Democrat to take her out first.

John Hughes | Ferris Bueller Flashback



Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Parental Notification in Illinois, Effective Immediately



After years of litigation and a push to resolve the issue after Aurora become the nation's "ground zero" in the abortion debate after Planned Parenthood opened its largest facility ever amid controversy and complaints from zoning to special-use permits, parental notification is now the law in Illinois.

While there is vast disagreement on abortion and Planned Parenthood's facility in Aurora, one area most of the public did seem to have common ground was the issue of parental notification.

Alderman Rick Lawrence proposed a city ordinance requiring parental notification in lieu of the state's law being enforced and a resolution, co-sponsored by Lawrence, former Alderman Chris Beykirch and Alderman Richard Irvin, was unanimously passed urging the state's parental notification law to go into effect.

Starting today, a parent or guardian must have at least 48 hours notice prior to an abortion procedure being performed on a minor. Notification includes phone calls or certified mail.

There are various legal rights to deal with a minor and exceptions in the case of medical emergency.

Lawrence says "regardless of one's view on abortion, this is a positive step so if a minor is in such a situation, a responsible adult can now deal with the related issues."

Planned Parenthood says they will enforce the new rules. Illinois joins 34 other states with parental notification already in place.

Pro-life groups would prefer to see parental consent as a requirement, not just parental notification.

Eric Schiedler, Communications Director of the Pro-Life Action League says he's pleased to see the parental notification law, but Illinois parents will have to watch carefully to keep the law active.

Aurora Airport | Fastest Growth in State of Illinois


The plane, the plane...that's what is being said more frequently these days at the Aurora Airport, so much so, it's now the fastest growing airport in Illinois.

According to the Daily Herald, the Aurora Airport had a surge of 28% more air traffic compared to the same period in 2008, despite a nationwide drop in air traffic and reports:

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner said the boost is due largely to the December 2008 relocation of J.A. Air Center from DuPage Airport to Aurora to compete with Lumanair.

"The city has been focusing on a program for many years to develop the infrastructure of the airport." Weisner said. "That work is paying off because it has created an attractive environment for both corporate and recreational users.

The surge does not include the airport's future tenant, HondaJet, which will be locating its sales and service facility for the midwestern United States at Aurora Airport.

City of Aurora Approves Exit Strategy for 37 Employees

The City of Aurora has approved "voluntary separation packages" for 37 exempt employees.

Brian Caputo, Aurora's Finance Director, told the Daily Herald, the city would save about $4 million from the 2010 budget as a result.

Employees were offered incentives including six weeks of additional severance, six months of health insurance and tuition reimbursement waivers. Of the 37 employees, 35 were already eligible for retirement.

Daily Herald:

"The plan is one of a number of steps the city is taking to balance its 2009 and 2010 budgets. Earlier this summer, city officials estimated a $4 million budget shortfall in 2009 and have indicated that the 2010 shortfall will be considerably worse.

Last week, Aurora's roughly 200 nonunion employees were informed they will be required to take five mandatory furlough days in the remainder of of 2009 and 10 in 2010. The city also plans to freeze wages for executive and nonexempt workers in 2010."

The City of Aurora has over 1,100 employees and is negotiations with labor unions for similar cost reductions.

Who is likely taking the voluntary exit? Who will likely be terminated involuntarily?

Solution for Illinois | Bankruptcy?

Washington Park, a small town of 5,500 people in southwest Illinois, has filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, saying it has assets of less than $50,000 and debts exceeding $1 million.

Under bankruptcy law, a government entity can seek protection under Chapter 9.

So, with estimates of $7 to $11 billion of debt for the State of Illinois, instead of massive tax increases, why not just declare bankruptcy?

The "shame" shouldn't be a factor. After all, Illinois leads the nation in corruption from Chicago's City Hall to the state capitol in Springfield with figures from Chicago Mayor Daley to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

And, like in most bankruptcy situations, any further wild spending would be stopped or require court approval.

White House Propaganda Message on Health Reform

Fleecing of America or Economic Spark? Cash for Clunkers Program Could Become Another Government Financial Clunker | How Much is Enough?