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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner Exploits East Aurora School District 131, But One Week Later, City Prepares to Give Grants for West Aurora School District 129



Last week, Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, most of the Aurora City Council and the leadership of East Aurora School District 131 colluded to extract millions from children, taxpayers, classrooms and families as part of a shell game and shakedown (see previous story).

The "excuse" Weisner used for not helping the school district and to justify taking money away was based upon a convoluted, hallucination-laced memo written by Weisner himself about how school districts are "separate taxing bodies" and it's not "fair" to benefit one school district at the expense of taxpayers across Aurora.

Leaving aside that he was wrong and contradicted himself with various sweetheart crony deals for Waubonsee Community College, now we learn the City of Aurora this week is ready to give West Aurora School District 129 grants to help acquire property for parking lots.

The grants, about $30,000, would technically be funneled through a 6th Ward slush fund.

West Aurora School District 129 is purchasing four properties near Hill Elementary School that would help provide parking.

For most, the problem isn't that the city would be helping West Aurora.

The problem is that the same city administration just lied to everyone about East Aurora.

Alderman Rick Lawrence, who opposed the attempt to exploit schools and children, said in a statement that he understands helping West Aurora School District 129, but said "it's the opposite from what Tom (Weisner) said about why he couldn't help East Aurora School District 131."

City spokesgirl Carie Ergo, when asked about the flip-flop, said "it's different because well...the money for West Aurora is coming from a ward slush fund and not from the city as a whole."

But, where does the money come from for the ward slush funds?

Ergo said "it comes from the city as a whole."

Weisner ranted last week that it would be "unfair" to help District 131 because then, would the city be expected to help all the school districts?

So, now, does this mean any school district can get assistance or grants for acquiring a property for parking?

Ergo said "it depends."

On what?

"it depends."

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

clearly the mayor was using excuses in the deal with East Aurora. He needs those $3 million for his other Waubonsee scheme.

I just don't understand why the city council goes along with these obvious contradictions. I have no problem with helping the schools in these type of situations but the fact the city council just allowed the east aurora kids to be exploited like that was just amazing.

Anonymous said...

In the Beacon article on this subject, they totally missed the obvious flip-flop and contradiction on what Weisner said last week and is doing this week.

Anonymous said...

where were the east side aldermen standing up for their own constituents? where was so-called east grad Richie Irvin?

Anonymous said...

The east side of Aurora has deteriorated under Weisner's watch.

The only area where I see improvement is the 4th Ward on the west side and that's because Rick Lawrence has worked hard to deal with issues, not because of Weisner.

If Rick were mayor, we would see lots of problems being addressed.

Larry J. Frieders said...

Perhaps, this is an example why only brilliant, nefarious people are successful in being elected. Only the brilliant would be able to grasp how to craft all of these numerous deals. Only the nefarious would be unfazed when they violate any rules of decency.

I still marvel at how a mayor with obvious socialist leanings can make a statement about how combining the school boards with city government is a socialist move that he couldn't support. That suggests there are different kinds of socialism. I disagree, but I'm neither brilliant nor nefarious.

Anonymous said...

Fake quotes again by Openline. While it may be a true description of the ward funds, there's no way Ergo would have called them "slush funds". Hey Openline, when you're making up quotes, at least TRY to make it sound like the person you're pretending to quote, and not obviously your own words.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, this is an example why only brilliant, nefarious people are successful in being elected. Only the brilliant would be able to grasp how to craft all of these numerous deals. Only the nefarious would be unfazed when they violate any rules of decency.

Intriguing comments by Mr. Frieders, who by the way attends the Committee of the Whole and the City Council meetings on a regular basis like a good citizen should.

In the end, this mess can be laid at the feet of we the people. We continue to vote for career politicians time and again. We do not actively recruit, ask, encourage and support our neighbors in a run for pubic office; instead we wait for the self serving to emerge and develop their campaigns, and then we complain that we had only bad choices at the ballot box.

In just a few short months the petitioning period begins for the Mayoral and Aldermanic candidates (you may begin gathering petitions on August 28th) for the 2013 election. Once again the Mayor and one half of the city council will be up for reelection. Get together ten of your neighbors to find and support a candidate of your choosing and help them campaign. You have plenty of time to evaluate and assay your neighbors and ask them to run for public office as an act of community service. Ask them to serve but a single term as an act of community service and promise to attend the meetings, give input and back their decisions.


The local, ward oriented Aldermanic positions should be at the level of friends, peers and neighbor; conduct the campaign that way. You do not need political consultants or a lot of money to win these races.


The Alderman-At-Large and Mayoral offices are a bit different. Money helps, as you have to overcome a lot of pay-to-play crony capitalism, union thuggery and social service agency interference. However, once again, a dedicated group of volunteers can do a heck of a lot of damage even to an entrenched opponent. If you can get coordinated support from 50 people you can level the playing field, pure and simple.

In the end, it is up to you. If you want to continue a status quo that simply keeps piling debt after debt onto future generations while crony capitalists enrich themselves at your children’s expense, then do nothing, as usual. But if you want to affect change, then you need to be an agent of change.

Sincerely,

Kevin L. Mathews

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Anonymous said...

Reading todays paper the West Aurora school district said it was working with the City on work force development. Gee could this be the old Waubonsee. how will Rick vote

Rick said...

If it includes the taxpayer buy yet another building in our downtown, I will vote know. When does all of the Mayors economic engines actually produce private investment?

Given the people that walk through my door that can not even read a tape measure let alone have any skills, I support the expansion work force development training. But it must be focus on skills and work ethic not a union membership drive.

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Anonymous said...

f it includes the taxpayer buy yet another building in our downtown, I will vote know. When does all of the Mayors economic engines actually produce private investment?

Yes another waste of taxpayer money in yet another attempt to breathe life in a downtown that is demographically challenged. Just how much more prime real estate are we going to take off the tax rolls in a thinly veiled attempt to provide public funds to Weisner's corny capitalist buddies (I mean in order to revitalize the downtown, yeah that is what I meant.

To Rick's point, granted that people applying for jobs cannot utilize a tape measure. But would that not be more appropriately addressed at the already funded public schools system? We use to have shop classes where you could learn trade skills and students were generally divided up into two segments: college prep and the trades. At one time Aurora turned out students that could go from high school into the local machine shops, Western electric, Caterpillar etc so it is not without precedent.

Those classrooms are empty at night and could serve a dual purpose. For those who have graduated they could get skill remediation training without creating yet another public funded agency and another tax exempt real estate footprint.

Let’s se, we will now have a new library that is sucking up prime real estate not paying taxes, the old building, in arguably the best location in all of Aurora will probably remain of the tax rolls forever, and now we are going to purchase the old Waubonsee and keep that off the tax rolls also.

A brilliant plan. And people wonder why their property tax bills keep going up. You keep creating programs that are magnets for the disadvantages who have a propensity to consume social services to the area and the only funding comes from the increasingly small pool of net positive tax contributors. Eventually those people will move elsewhere.

Moreover the city keeps favoring on enterprise over another in the same genre, effectively turning a business owner’s own money against him by forcing him to subsidize his competitors. How would you like to own an established pizzeria in Aurora only to have the city offer tax payers subsidies to another pizzeria that happened to locate in a new TIF district? Or how would you like to be a franchisee of a daycare business only to find out the city granted an expansion permit that will allow a local church to offer day care services, while having tax exempt status?

Well, like I said people, find some candidates who are not lining their friends pockets with your grandchildren’s.

Kevin L. Mathews

Anonymous said...

Well, like I said people, find some candidates who are not lining their friends pockets with your grandchildren’s.

That should be:

Well, like I said people, find some candidates who are not lining their friends pockets with your grandchildren’s money.

KLM

Larry J. Frieders said...

Kevin Mathews is dead on. The problems we bitch about are of our own making. First, we elect politicians. Then, we fail to show up and make ourselves heard - until afterwards. That's when the whining, complaining, and bitching starts. It eventually fades away - as all good politicians know - and then we're hit again. The cycle continues.

While I agree with Mathews' evaluation - and his suggestions for a solution - I take a dim view on the ability of the "common man" to step up and get involved.

First, how many of us can walk away from earning a living to expose ourselves and family to the painful scrutiny that campaigns bring out? Most of us have a hard enough time selecting the best candidate from a pack and we certainly lack the ability to identify which neighbor or relative could break away, enter a race, win, and make a difference.

Second, doing the job of an alderman well demands far more effort than the paltry salaries afford. If a person wants to meet constituents, attend meetings, and engage with other alderman he/she should devote considerable time to it. As much as our sitting aldermen may want to be fully engaged, it just seems they can't do more than scratch the surface, especially when they have to depend on other jobs to survive.

Larry J. Frieders said...

Ancient democracies were arranged in ways that brought people into the decision bodies and moved them out again - much as what happened early in American politics (ie, George Washington went back to his farm). People of good will, fine education, and maturity should be brought into active community life and then set free to experience the fruit of their governance. Today, a politician who succeeds in winning usually stays in the political scene for life (or until retirement with a fully vested pension and insurance program).

If a person of maturity, education, and good will did step forward and win, what are the odds he/she could make a difference for the better? We already witness how one voice is scorned by the other 11-12.

Governing power has left the voting public and has landed in the laps of the professional politicians - especially the brilliant, nefarious ones. While I’d personally prefer a different outcome, I can live with the fact that it has turned out a way I don’t prefer. Power returns to those who engage. Since there are but a handful of Aurora’s citizens so engaged, we can individually experience it, but have minimal impact on the city as a whole. I could list a few examples, but their significance pales in comparison to how our money is taken from us and spent by the millions on projects that are outside the realm of good government. I vote and I participate. That gives me the right to complain and acquire whatever minimal power I can exert – usually on my own behalf.

How would Mr. Mathews suggest we go about the process of undoing the current crop of brilliant, nefarious politicians – and their nefarious minions and successors? I agree that we should, but I am at a loss for how to engage. I beg people to attend City Council meetings and sometimes they do – once, maybe twice. That’s “nice”, but irrelevant. So, the grass roots approach, while infinitely appealing, is futile for now. Another option might be massive financial backing for people we believe will make things right again. I really mean massive. Where would those funds come from and how would they be sustained? The final stumbling block would be to identify people of good will who can enter the fray and not be swayed.

My friend, Richard, often says that politics and heaven are mutually exclusive. Of course, he isn’t judging anyone’s eternal fate, but his point has merit. Really good people get into the political arena and they can take but one of two roads. They can stick to their convictions and fight for their constituency or they can compromise. On the first road, they are ineffective and risk losing the next election. On the second road they become that which they thought they’d fight against, a member of the ruling class of brilliant, nefarious politicians.

Does this mean we have lost and that we should just shut up and accept what we’re allowed to retain after the political group picks our pockets? Of course not. I suggest it means we need to get involved, to participate, to observe, to speak out. One of our aldermen once stated that he got many comments about a certain topic and he decided to vote the “will of the callers”. He said that AS MANY AS SIX PEOPLE called him. Think about what that means. If six people can sway one alderman, could those same six sway others, or even the mayor? Maybe not, but sixty might, or six hundred. The problem isn’t IN the office holders. The problem can’t be fixed by getting different people into office. It can only be fixed by an active electorate. That is extremely rare – and maybe more difficult than electing a good guy who would either get nothing accomplished or would go over to the dark side just to stay in office.

So, Kevin, I think we’re both on the same side and we both see the need for adjustment. While I think it would be grand if we could elect strong people who would straighten thing out, I suggest being involved on a larger scale is far more likely to generate success.

Anonymous said...

East side school board and leadership now look even more stupid than they already did.

Damn, this has been a bad series of events for the bearded leader, Tom Weisner. His son investigated by homeland security, exposed for exploiting millions from kids and now his campaign crony Ragu Nayak indicted.

Anonymous said...

The City does these projects all the time and the East side receives its equal share. The Parking lot at Dietrich school alone cost $300,000 complements of the City. It is just Rick Lawerance way of twisting the truth like he did with the Mayors son and then when the truth came out about him and his daughters he deleted 11 messages in the Openline blog see how long this one lasts

Anonymous said...

One thing that made it harder for schools to have the college prep/trades kind of split was when the state mandated that ALL students take the ACT as part of the PSAT. And those scores count toward whether or not the students are making AYP. So they've got to prepare those non-college bound kids for the college entrance exam, or the school takes a big hit.

Anonymous said...

5:36 That story about Weisner's son was blown WAY out of proportion (deliberately) by Openline. Department of Homeland Security wasn't even involved. Somebody at a motel got suspicious at materials for a NASA science experiment being done by Weisner's daughter-in-law and other students from Harper College, called the cops, the cops and FBI talked to everybody, and after a few hours it was all done and the cops and FBI closed the investigation. Of course, you'll never see any report of the outcome from Openline, because Openline's not real big on the truth. His specialty is gossip and innuendo and twisting facts.

Anonymous said...

I apologize in advance if this is slightly off-topic, but the above comment is very wrong.

When a law enforcement agency starts investigating a situation that appears to involve unknown materials, explosives and other suspicious behavior, it does usually get the attention of Department of Homeland Security.

After viewing the photos of the mayor's son and what he was doing, anyone with common sense would be very concerned and while it turned out eventually to be an "experiment" there was nothing blown out of proportion by the maid, hotel, FBI, DHS or the story by the blog. In fact, the blog made no statements that it was anything unlawful other than there were questions being asked.

Anonymous said...

11:21A.M SHOW US THE PICTURES. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO HIDE?

Larry J. Frieders said...

Anonymous certainly posts a lot. I often ponder why so many people seem to fear being identified with their comments. I wonder if they understand that their identity isn't private - especially on a public board.

danhites@hotmail.com said...

Sorry Rick, but I will have to side with the Mayor's stated policy concerning helping the East side school district; the city should not subsidize other taxing bodies. It diminishes transparency, creates too many oportunities for backroom deals,takes citizens out of the discussion, and can lead to lesser well-off tax payers subsidizing the more well-off.

This is especially true of Waubonsee Community College. Here we have a taxing authority whose average family income is higher than Auroran's, whose tax base is broader, and whose territory is many times larger than Aurora's being subsidized by Aurorans.

And these "subsidies" can take many forms. The "sale" of WCC's old campus to the city might turn into a major one. My understanding from the Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement(s)I have FOIA-ed (pls review them and correct any misunderstandings I might have)is that the City of Aurora basically bought the buildings for the old campus and paid for their renovation. And now they want to pay for them a second time?

In the ICA dated 1/22/85, para 2 it states;The city agrees to purchase the Carson Building... (for)$170,000 and further agrees to convey the Carson Building to the Kane County Public Building Commission (PBC)...

Further, para 4 states; The city agrees to purchase the bonds to be sold by the PBC to finance the renovation, rehabilitation, and equipping ... for use as a downtown extension center for the College....

So it seems that the Auroran taxpayers bought and totally outfitted the old WCC Campus. I leave it to readers to further research several questions; 1. if WCC now owns the property what reimbursement did the city get? 2. If city bonds were used to outfit the campus- how much $, who was paying the interest and principle on them (WCC or were they getting free use of the money), are these bonds still oustanding and are they a "lien" on the properties? 3. Will proceeds from the "sale" go to paying off these Bonds?

Anonymous said...

Mr Hites raises an important question...are taxpayers about to buy the same building TWICE? How does Waubonsee get away with all this?

Anonymous said...

Dan, the reimbursement the city got is called "the shaft".

Anonymous said...

Dan, the reimbursement the city got is called "the shaft".

Anonymous said...

1:06 the pictures are on the Openline post on the topic of the huge investigation of Weisner's adopted son.

11:21 my statement was 100% on the money. The only one blowing it out of proportion was Openline. Openline was making statements by the way he reported the story, and by the way he worded his "questions". Read Openline's post, and then read the stories published by real journalists who actually spoke to the people involved, including the police and FBI. DHS was never mentioned in any of those stories. The only one who starts talking about terrorism and DHS is Openline, doing his specialty. Twist, twist, twist.

Anonymous said...

Good point Dan and research too that is stating the facts . I agree East Aurora should have paid a fair market value for the Building but Waubonsee should donate the Building back it would appear they are purchasing it twice.

I also don't get the attack on Weisner for granting 27,000 to West. Sidewalks traffic safety and streets are for the common good of all residents. But you would have to have your child enrolled in East Aurora schools to receive a benefit of the Magnet School.

Anonymous said...

I can see why Lawerance thinks schools have no money. As a resident and taxpayer of d129 I am very angry with the way they are running the finance/ First d129 operates without 6 months in reserves. Now they are operating in the red for this school year and next. Do they not know we are running out of money. Then I read the d129 board gives Ryland a raise and contract extension. I looked up Rylands wages he is ranked under ISBE as the 7th highest paid at $297,000. The d129 board needs to resign first to go should be Ormond and Smith. They call themselves Accountants. What accounting school did you go to Neil and Angie. I sure you don't run your house that way.

BTW, I checked d131 for the hell of it they have bottom lines in the black and a six month reserve.

Anonymous said...

Larry(all) my response had to be broken into 4 parts. Sorry for the length, but I figure a thoughtful commentary deserves a thoughtful response.

Kevin

Anonymous said...

Part01:

Mr. Frieders writes a lot of thought provoking stuff. I appreciate the polite tone and time it took for him to respond to my post.

Larry writes:

Then, we fail to show up and make ourselves heard - until afterwards. That's when the whining, complaining, and bitching starts. It eventually fades away - as all good politicians know - and then we're hit again. The cycle continues.

My reply:

In my opinion, to a large extent the blame falls on three resources:

1) A media (primarily print) that has objurgated its fundamental job in deference to partisan politics, social engineering and acting as biased agents of change. They no longer report the news, they slant it.
2) The two major parties. Non-partisan elections mean you do not have candidates who declare they are Republican or Democrat; not that the political parties totally dissolve themselves of responsibility. The two major parties can still serve a useful purpose of disseminating information to their respective constituents. The mechanism is in place, with the precinct system. Yet, other than a relative handful of committeemen, I do not see the party active in municipal information dissemination.
3) An apathetic public who refuses to keep their end for preserving the legacy our Founding Fathers bequeathed to us.

You have it exactly right; the City Council knows the general public is weak willed and will not make a consistent stand, and will not ride shepherd on their elected officials as they are supposed to.

Larry writes:

While I agree with Mathews' evaluation - and his suggestions for a solution - I take a dim view on the ability of the "common man" to step up and get involved.

My reply:

I suspect I am a decade or more your junior, so perhaps I fall prey to naïveté of relative youth : )

Larry writes:

First, how many of us can walk away from earning a living

My reply:

A couple of points. One, if you look at the average (median) family income in Aurora, you will find it is about 54 thousand. Statistically, households in Aurora have on average 3.1 people and most households today are dual income. When you consider total compensation for an Alderman it clearly falls in line with the expectation of a single earner, especially when you consider the very, very, very generous and over the top benefit package.

So when you view it that way, I would not consider it necessarily stepping away from earning a living for the majority of citizens (source is city-date.com).

In addition when you look at demographics you will find as a society we have certainly moved into the category of having an excess of available labor at either extreme of the labor pool. In particular, people over 50 often feel pushed out of employment in their most productive years. And in general our seniors remain able, more engaged then ever, and in full possession of their faculties for decades after retirement. I truly believe there is a large pool of 50+ individuals available. In fact two days ago one of my neighbors approached me, indicating now that he was retired he would be interested in running for office in order to give back to the community. Naturally I am going to do what I can to explain the process to him and assist him in obtaining his goals, despite the fact that politically we are at very different orientations.

In addition, you might recall we discussed a young lady we mutually know. She is very interested in representative government and has aspirations. You know her. I think we would both agree she is the type of person we would want holding office: ethical, intelligent, motivated, and all tempered with concern for her fellow man.

Given the number of stay-at-home mothers (and fathers), forcefully retired people, gracefully retired people and the average income, I do not see the financials as an insurmountable barrier to popular representation.

Anonymous said...

Part02:

Larry writes:

…to expose ourselves and family to the painful scrutiny that campaigns bring out?

My reply:

That is in the hands of the public and who they elect and re-elect. You might note that in the last Alderman-At-Large race there was only one candidate who was actively debasing the others. One other had confederates doing a hatchet job, but by and large the race did prove that it is possible for candidates to disagree on substance without being disagreeable in public. It is disappointing that the smear monger won re-election, but that is a choice the public made. They could have remedied that situation easily.

As for family, it is hard on them. Once again I suggest the tone should be that we the people ask our peers to serve and we support our representatives. The trick is to make sure they are sent by us, rather than driven to self nominated by vested interest. And when they are done with office, we should profusely thank them for their service.

You wrote:

Most of us have a hard enough time selecting the best candidate from a pack and we certainly lack the ability to identify which neighbor or relative could break away, enter a race, win, and make a difference.

My reply:

I think I adequately addressed the break away aspect. Entering the race is trivial, especially if you have assistance from those you represent. Winning is also very possible at the ward, county board, and school board level. The reason is the districts are so small you can have an impact simply by knocking on doors. A few volunteers can go a long way to countering mailings, name recognition etc. It is far more difficult for Mayoral, Alderman-At-Large, State representative and Township positions due to the size of the constituency.

In Aurora the ward division enables a handful of volunteers to easily cover a ward.

Larry writes:

Second, doing the job of an alderman well demands far more effort than the paltry salaries afford.

My reply:

I touched on this earlier. But when you look at the median family income and the benefits, I believe the compensation is fair overall. Additionally, the motivation should be one of public service not that of a career politician. Simply put, we reward our law makers far too richly, hence the motivation to become entrenched. Shift the focus to an act of self sacrifice for the betterment of your community with the expectation of serving only one term before you pass the torch. If you like it, sure stick around a second term.

Larry writes:

especially when they have to depend on other jobs to survive.

My reply:

Once again I’ll just say I think we have a wide body of individuals who might be willing to serve, if they felt compelled to do so by their fellow man.

Larry writes:

Ancient democracies were arranged in ways that brought people into the decision bodies and moved them out again - much as what happened early in American politics (ie, George Washington went back to his farm). People of good will, fine education, and maturity should be brought into active community life and then set free to experience the fruit of their governance.

My reply:

Exactly. This should be the epitome of what we strive for. And I believe it can be done.

Anonymous said...

Part03:

Larry writes:

Today, a politician who succeeds in winning usually stays in the political scene for life (or until retirement with a fully vested pension and insurance program).

My reply:

And that is the fault of we the people. We should set the expectation that we will call someone forth for service, support them as the champion of our causes, and then after a brief period, after having faithfully served their community they are able to go back to remerge as part of the masses with our heartfelt thanks. The expectation should be that they would assist in transitioning to the next community representative. Ideally people would serve one 4 year term with a gratis overlapping transition period (3-6 months on either side). This would enable the incoming candidate to get up to speed and have a little mentoring before soloing.

It was not so long a time ago when citizens used to view teachers, firemen, and police officers as something other than living off the backs of the working man. I am sure in your lifetime you can remember when citizens had respect for and accorded respect to those we once considered civil servants. It is only in recent times, with pension and salary abuse that we as a whole have come to view the role of public service so nefariously. I am calling for a return to an era of civility, when we bring forward friends and neighbors to champion our causes to serve the community and not themselves; in return we the people respect our friends and neighbors for serving in such capacity, knowing that they only did so at our bequest.

Larry writes:

If a person of maturity, education, and good will did step forward and win, what are the odds he/she could make a difference for the better? We already witness how one voice is scorned by the other 11-12.

My reply:

As you have seen demonstrated, in a practical sense they can’t. However two people can make a considerable difference. For one, by simply seconding a motion it becomes an item of public record. Two individuals on the council can be very effective at engineering the popular defeat of entrenched politicians. You do this by essentially furnishing the opposition’s campaign material by making the process part of public record. So it is not so much what my singular vote could do for the city, but rather how much damage you can do to entrenched politicians by making things items of public record and forcing debate.

One more comment, not to long ago there was an aura of hope permeating Aurora. If you recall it was when three relatively younger people all emerged on the city council. There were high hopes they would change the tone downtown and they could have. However two soon stood revealed as partisan hacks working for a well defined constituency for their own self aggrandizement. It was particularity distasteful to see how quickly each tried for higher office, especially given their weak resumes of personal accomplishment and life experience. Clearly, two of them where there to serve themselves at the taxpayer’s expense by directing money to their constituency. It is/was sickening to watch.

Anonymous said...

Part04:

Larry writes:

How would Mr. Mathews suggest we go about the process of undoing the current crop of brilliant, nefarious politicians – and their nefarious minions and successors? I agree that we should, but I am at a loss for how to engage.

My reply:

1) Film/Record the meetings. This is easily accomplished. There are several ways, one appropriate one is an internship with the Waubonsee AV department.
2) As I indicated above you need to get two people on the council, so motions can have a second and become a matter of record.
3) Use the recordings to establish a campaign for the entrenched politician’s successor. Would you not love the public to hear the contempt and disregard Burns routinely shows as she shouts consent before an agenda item is even fully read in order to speed up the process? Would it not have been wonderful to record O’Connor’s disdainful outburst when the public dares to express their view to the city council?
4) Use the new media and get away from the biased, control of the established print media


Larry writes:

I beg people to attend City Council meetings and sometimes they do – once, maybe twice. That’s “nice”, but irrelevant. So, the grass roots approach, while infinitely appealing, is futile for now.

My reply:

But neither you nor I are an Alderman. It makes a huge difference. If I was an Alderman, I would pick up the phone and invite small groups of citizens to meet with me before a Committee of the Whole and City Council meetings for a brief introduction and refreshment (I would pay for it out of my own pocket). Then I would direct them to a trained volunteer who would sit with them through the meeting and discretely and quietly explain to them the operations of the meeting and what is going on. Afterwards over the next two days I would have the volunteers call the citizens that attended and get their thoughts and transcribe them to blogosphere. I would also disseminate this information to the members of my ward on a monthly basis. I know from experience I can go to every door in my ward easily over a weekend, by myself.

My life’s experience is that people respond favorably to vested authority figures, especially when they feel the person truly has their best interest at heart.

Larry writes:

The final stumbling block would be to identify people of good will who can enter the fray and not be swayed.

My reply:

I have talked to many former city council members. Most have told me that you do get burned out by your 6th year. That is why I think it is imperative to shift the focus from career politicians to a neighbor who enters the public arena as a servant of his peers. That individual should be respected, assisted and viewed as self sacrificing. And their term of service should be minimal. And when they are done they should be accorded respect and thanks.

Larry writes:

Really good people get into the political arena and they can take but one of two roads. They can stick to their convictions and fight for their constituency or they can compromise. On the first road, they are ineffective and risk losing the next election.

My reply:

In large part that is why we need to shift the focus to an act of community service. You serve one term and then you can get out. If you want to serve a second, fine. But the expectation should be one term and you are done. People handing around longer should be viewed with caution. Maybe they really like the position; you can usually tell who is sincere.

Mr. Frieders, I sincerely thank you for the thoughtful, proactive and well thought out response. And you are correct, we both want the same thing: the best for our community.

Kindest regards,

Kevin L. Mathews

Anonymous said...

Larry:

I responded earlier to explain to you why there are so many anonymous posts -- because that's the way Openline (who himself remains anonymous) wants it. You may or may not have seen that post -- or this one, depending on when Openline sees it. That's another lesson for you of how Openline works -- he selectively deletes posts he doesn't like. It's not about length, or profanity, or libel, or being rude and nasty (he actually really likes those kinds of posts so they don't get deleted). It's about maintaining his own twist/spin on things. The posts he's most likely to delete are those which make well-reasoned, valid points that support a viewpoint he doesn't agree with.

danhites@hotmail.com said...

CAN-Doit; Don't shut up-but also put up! Larry, Kevin, and all those others that are discontented, let's call a "convention" of like minders and start CHANGE AURORA NOW-Doit! I can bring at least 10 people, if each of you bring ten more we have 30; enough to start a good grass roots movement.

The idea will be to set a platform, find candidates, and work the streets. How about a Wednesday evening in about three weeks? I'll secure a room.

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