Category: Local politics
Posted on June 27, 2022 by Gary
Because nobody asked. Keep in mind these are my opinions only, and I don't claim to speak for anyone else. There's a fair number of races with only one Democratic candidate (such as my own for Precinct Committeemortal in York Township Precinct 87, a job no one else seems to want) which I won't mention. (But didn't I just mention them? Oh well.)

You may not even know that Governor Jay Pritzker has a primary challenger, one Beverly Miles. In general, I do think we need more non-billionaires in government, but it's not clear to me why Ms. Miles is running or what she wants to accomplish, and she doesn't seem like a particularly strong campaigner considering how few people even know who she is. Her web site touts her military experience, which I really don't care about, but lists few or no specific policies that she wants to implement. I'm officially endorsing Pritzker, but feel free to vote for Miles if you don't like him and want a protest vote, because this race is a pretty foregone conclusion anyhow.

The Secretary of State race is much more competitive this year, with long-time incumbent Jesse White not running again. My biggest recommendation is don't vote for Giannoulias. People outside the Democratic bubble don't much trust him, and based on how much special interest money he rakes in, I can't say it's entirely for bad reasons. He's also not a good choice even if you just want any Democrat in this office, considering that he's already lost a statewide election to Mark Kirk in 2010. I don't have any major preference as far as the other three candidates but will probably vote for Anna Valencia as she seems to be the strongest challenger.

For Congress, many of us are in new districts for the new decade. The new District 3 is a latino-heavy area, and the best candidate is State Rep Delia Ramirez who is running a grass-roots people-powered campaign. For the new District 6, which includes my precinct, and in which two incumbents are fighting it out, the clear better choice is Marie Newman. Newman does not take corporate PAC money and supports Medicare for All which would provide full health coverage for everybody in the country for less than we're currently paying. Super-PACs backing her opponent have been sending out lots of mailers over trumped-up scandals. Think about how much that costs, and what they'd be expecting in return. For District 8, which used to be my district but isn't anymore, I support challenger Junaid Ahmed over the incumbent; Junaid is better on pretty much every issue.

One office you might not be familiar with is that of State Central Committeeman and Committeewoman. This is an often overlooked position, but an important one because the State Central Committee oversees the operations of the state party and elects the state party chair. Incumbent Patrick Watson has put in a lot of work and deserves to continue.

For DuPage County Board, District 2, which like every other district this year has three openings, I recommend Yeena Yoo, Paula Garcia, and Maryann Vasquez. The fourth candidate, Liz Chaplin, has been on the board longer than any other Democrat. I at one time admired Chaplin's work in fighting against Republican corruption on that board. That changed during a local party election in which Chaplin, as party vice-chair (a position that I myself had nominated her for), basically stacked the deck for her preferred candidate. After that, I can't in good faith recommend her for any position of public trust.

Last but not least, there's one competitive judge primary on the ballot in my area. I know relatively little about what makes a good judge, but a friend who is an immigration lawyer says that James Murphy is the better candidate in the Appellate Court race.
Category: Local politics
Posted on November 4, 2018 by Gary

DuPage County Judge Patrick O'Shea has been removed from all his judicial duties after his arrest Friday on a reckless conduct charge in Wheaton.

There's also this.

After his administrative assistant filed a sexual harassment report against him in 2016, DuPage County Court Judge Patrick J. O’Shea complained to her boss about the assistant’s “gang-related” tattoos and threatened to have her locked up, according to a complaint filed Thursday by the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board.

When Republicans come to you saying what great and upstanding people their local candidates are, remind them that they said the same thing about this guy.

Category: Local politics
Posted on November 7, 2016 by Gary
I've done "Who to vote for" posts a number of times, and the only ones I ever hear back from are the ones who I don't recommend. So, screw it. Here are people who should not under any circumstances be put into the offices they're running for. Find their names on the ballot, and vote for the other person.

» Read More

Category: Local politics
Posted on March 13, 2016 by Gary
My thoughts on the current election. Does anyone care? Is there anybody out there? And what of Rhonda's forbidden love for Edgar? Tune in tomorrow!
Senator Bernie Sanders is by far the best choice for President. Bernie has spent his whole career fighting for working people. He takes no campaign money from Wall Street and opposes corporate trade treaties like the Trans-Pacific Partnership that force us to compete for jobs with countries that pay pennies per hour. He supports a plan for health care as a public service which will cover everyone while saving the average family thousands of dollars. As a member of Congress he voted against the Iraq war and pretty accurately predicted what its consequences would be for the region.
But can Bernie beat the Republicans? As Democrats, we believe in science when it comes to things like evolution and climate change, so we should look to science to tell us who is electable. All available scientific evidence shows that Sanders can win. polling match-ups consistently show him doing better than his main opponent against any likely Republican nominee. He also has a higher approval rating and polls much higher among independents and “swing” voters. He draws huge crowds to his speeches which will lead to higher turnout. When Democrats are inspired and turn out to vote, we win.

The winner of the US Senate Democratic primary will go on to face a Republican, probably incumbent Mark Kirk. Tammy Duckworth is currently our member of Congress and is the party leadership's choice for this Senate seat. I'm not that big a follower of the party leadership and I'd happily support an outsider candidate like Andrea Zopp or Napoleon Harris if one of them were clearly better but I don't think either Zopp or Harris has all that much to offer that Duckworth doesn't.

The Eighth Congressional is the hottest local race right now. Those living in the district have probably seen the mailers and TV ads. The candidates are Mike Noland, Raja Krishnamoorthi, and Deb Bullwinkel. I like all these candidates. Each one has a lot to offer and any of them would make a good Congressional representative.

  • State Senator Noland has the most political experience. His record is mostly very good, with a few blemishes &msdash; he, along with the rest of the state legislature, voted for a bill that prohibited anyone receiving state funds from advocating a boycott of Israeli apartheid — but for the most part he's been a strong and independent progressive. He is also better than the others on some issues, most notably on health care where he is the only one advocating eliminating private insurance and making health care a public service.
  • Krishnamoorthi is a very strong campaigner and will add badly-needed diversity to a Congress that is still mostly white. He is highly knowledgeable on just about any issue you can name, and says most of the right things, but without any sort of legislative record it's hard to be absolutely sure that he would follow through on them.
  • Deb Bullwinkel's strength include compassion and a strong connection to the community, but as a late entrant into the race and someone who is new to national-level politics she hasn't built up the experience and knowledge base that the other two have.

Some other races on side two of my ballot are worth mentioning. Moon Khan is running as a write-in for County Recorder. He had previously filed petitions to be on the ballot for that office but they were challenged by Republicans and he was forced to withdraw. If you live in DuPage County please write in Moon Khan for recorder. Note that to do a write-in you must both bubble in the oval next to the write-in blank and then write the name in the blank. Note also that Khan is a write-in only for Recorder; please do not write him in for President or Senator.
Also of note, Jennifer Shalakis Wiesner is running for judge in a circuit that includes most of DuPage. She has no primary opponent, but the race is interesting because of the ridiculous lengths the Republicans have already gone to try to keep her from running. At first they challenged the validity of the signatures that she had collected. When that didn't pan out, they tried to claim that she didn't live at her stated address and reportedly even hired a private detective to follow her around to prove it. Finally they asserted that she should be off the ballot because she failed to raise her right hand as her statement of candidacy was notarized. Anyone involved in politics knows that this has never been required of any candidate anywhere, but the DuPage Election Commission, of which all three members including the supposed Democrat were hand-picked by DuPage County Führer Dan Cronin, decided this was reason to throw Wiesner off the ballot. Fortunately this decision went to court and was reversed, but it's a good reminder of what we're up against in DuPage. Wiesner's opponent, Liam Brennan, still has enormous advantages; he has money, connections, and a county where a lot of people automatically vote Republican. Wiesner on the ballot isn't a huge threat to Brennan's position and power. It will, however, necessitate his backers to spend some money that they otherwise might not. DuPage County, where we try to deter democracy, because having it can run into money.
Category: Local politics
Posted on March 14, 2014 by Gary
Because nobody asked for it.... My candidate choices for the Democratic primary are here, with explanation of reasons below the fold. I should emphasize that I am speaking for myself only, not for York Township Democratic Organization nor anyone else. Also, since I'm friends with some of the people running here, let's be clear that these recommendations are based only on which persons I see as the better fit for the particular job for which they're contesting, and not on who I like or don't like on a personal level.

Governor: Pat Quinn
DuPage County Board District 4: M. Moon Khan
State Central Committee District 8: Rose Fitzpatrick and Bob Wagner
Precinct Committee York Township Precinct 55: Arthur Biladeau

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to rant or rave in comments. But click the "Read More" link first.

» Read More

Category: Local politics
Posted on July 30, 2013 by Gary
I don't know if this on craigslist is for real, but it's too good not to share.
Republican Illinois Attorney General (Springfield)
Candidate will be provided with a realistic plan to defeat incumbent.
Candidate must be willing and able to stand up to a multi-million dollar schmear campaign.

So don't bother replying if you happen to be allergic to very expensive cream cheese.
Candidate must meet the requirements for the office of Attorney General of Illinois.
Candidate must place the well being of the people of Illinois above that of their family's.

Above their family's what? And since candidate is singular, I must assume that "their" refers to the people of Illinois. So, okay, I guess they mean the candidate must support the right of deadbeat dads to desert their families for personal gain.
Please respond with and educational resume and three paragraph summary of platform and campaign plan.

Ah, so the plan won't be provided. Thanks for clarifying that.
This is a longshot, but my plan can win.

I'm guessing it was just some random chucklehead who posted this, since Jack Dorgan would at least be able to afford a decent copy editor. Still, it's an indication of the condition that the IL GOP is in, and deservedly so.
Category: Local politics
Posted on April 6, 2013 by Gary
Because absolutely nobody asked for it, and if past precedent is any guide the only people who will care are candidates who don't get chosen, my thoughts on the April 9 election:

First and foremost, support the Democratic slate for York Township offices.

Ahmed Sayyed for Supervisor
Joe Vosicky for Clerk
Mark Pitchford for Highway Commissioner
Cathy Sewell, Diane Blair Sherlock, and Carol Davis for Trustee

It should be obvious that the current York Township government is mostly useless. Most residents are barely aware that they exist. About three-quarters of their budget is spent on staff salaries, which keep going up despite the economy, and other administrative costs. They have little or no money for youth services, but do have money to send out full-color brochures touting themselves, which for some odd reason always seem to arrive around election time. They do provide services for seniors, some of them necessary and valuable ones, but when they do they'll be sure to use the opportunity to persuade those seniors to vote for them. The purpose of the township, according to the current incumbents, it seems, is to keep the current incumbents in office. We the taxpayers have different priorities. The only way we'll get a township government that is actually worth the money we put into it is to vote out Mr. Valle and as many of his cronies as possible.

If you live in Villa Park, please vote for Deborah Bullwinkel for village president. Bullwinkel has been an independent voice on the village board of trustees. She will bring energy and fresh ideas to the office of president. Her opponent is the former village police chief who has been the subject of investigative articles by the Chicago Tribune:
Long before an Internet sex picture overshadowed his candidacy, John Heidelmeier was the popular police chief of Villa Park — and was facing secret accusations of mismanagement.

The newspaper's review of hundreds of pages of records previously denied to the public found that, before the ink was dry on last year's gag order, village officials had quietly begun accusing the chief of assorted mismanagement, including:
•Keeping an evidence room that was in disarray, with $10,000 in cash and a bucket of guns left unlogged.
•Hiring an officer against the advice of a psychological assessment who then was later accused of roughing up a teenage girl who had done nothing wrong.
•Giving a convicted felon wide access to the department, including riding along with officers on patrol.

There's more. Read the whole article. See also comments posted by a local resident on the Daily Herald's endorsement of Bullwinkel:
I have personally dealt with this bumbling police department. About 2 and a half years ago I was less than a block from my house minding my own business when all of a sudden I was surrounded by 5 police cars. Guns drawn they yelled at me to put my hands in the air. They then proceeded to force me to the ground even though I had clearly given up. My neighbors had all tried to tell them who I was and that I had just come out of my house. I had asked my neighbor to please go tell my mom what was going on so that someone could find me at the police station. I was put into the squad car and driven away, everytime I asked the officer what was going on he told me to "shut the hell up" I was taken to an area aproximately a quarter mile from my house taken out of the squad to be identified. I will never forget the woman identifying me when they had asked her "is that him?" she replied "not even close" I was then put back into the squad car still handcuffed even though I had done nothing wrong. I was then driven home and dropped off in front of my house while the officer turned his lights on uncuffed me outside of the car for all my neighbors to see and then didn't even apologize. Too this day it makes my blood boil to think about this incident. To make matters worse when my mom who had just had heart surgery a few months prior to this incident, went to the police department to find out what had happened to me the woman at the front desk threatened to have her arrested. Real Classy VPPD. Don't believe me? you can ask multiple neighbors who saw what happened. If Heidelmeier can't run his police department competently how can we trust him to run Villa Park?

(I don't know this person and can't vouch for the truth of these accusations. One should always be careful about what one reads, especially on the Internet.)

I've had personal experience with Heidelmeier's core supporters. Recently the York Township Democratic Organization voted to endorse Bullwinkel. I am chair of YTDO but did not vote for or against this endorsement. State Senator Cullerton, a strong Heidelmeier supporter recently elected as a Democrat with support from the party, responded by pulling his support from a YTDO fundraiser. Another Heidelmeier supporter posted under an assumed name on YTDO's Facebook page harping on Bullwinkel's past support for selected Republican candidates, ignoring Heidelmeier's own record of voting Republican. Many more Heidelmeier supporters frequent this forum. For a candidate whose selling points are leadership ability and that he'll listen to your ideas and opinions, it's interesting how many of his supporters apparently have zero tolerance for ideas that they don't agree with. They are more like Groucho Marx: "If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you."

Robert J. "Bob" Wagner for Villa Park Trustee is an obvious choice, especially for Democrats. Bob ran as one back when nobody thought Democrats could win in this area. As party township chair, party state central committeeman, library trustee, and everything else he's done, he's always displayed strict honesty and thoughtfulness. John Davis is an incumbent village trustee who has served with integrity and deserves to be re-elected. A third candidate, Robert Taglia, is also an incumbent and is aligned with Bullwinkel, Wagner, and Davis; he's been a responsible trustee but his conservative Republican views make me reluctant to recommend him. For local office his ideological views aren't that big of an issue but village elected officials can grow up to seek higher office. Other candidates include Greg Hassler who is not aligned with either camp; he seems to have a pretty good grasp of the issues but I don't know a lot about him. Rodney Pate seems to have some smarts and good sense except for his decision to align with the Heidelmeier camp.

For College of DuPage Trustees, please vote for Ed Agustin and Frank Flores Jr.. College of DuPage has been plagued by mismanagement. Tuition keeps rising and the current administration seems more interested in putting up new buildings than it does in actually working to help the students. Agustin and Flores will hold them accountable. Accusations of harrassment against the latter seem to be unverified.
Category: Local politics
Posted on May 16, 2012 by Gary
Daily Herald:
DuPage Forest Preserve commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to reduce their own salaries from nearly $57,000 to $53,500, but they disagreed on whether the cuts were deep enough.

Commissioner Joe Cantore suggested reducing salaries in October and on Tuesday fought to keep the issue from being tabled to next week’s commission meeting.

He urged fellow commissioners to cut their salaries to $50,000, roughly equal to the annual compensation DuPage County Board members receive.

“It was just time for some action,” Cantore said. “We needed to get it done. But I don’t think we reduced it enough and I guess you could call it a compromise.”

Oh Joe, you great crusading action hero you.

Reality check, please. The median income per household in the USA as of the last census was a little over fifty thousand. In DuPage it's just over $75,000. Assuming an average of 1.5 wage-earners per household, that means that even if this proposal had passed, Joe and his buddies would still each have been getting the same money the rest of us get, plus very generous benefits like health care and pensions. But the rest of us have to work full time for our money; not so Joe. DuPage Forest Preserve Commissioners claim (in the Herald article linked above) to work 1000 hours a year; that's only half a full-time job, if true; the real amount of time they spend is probably quite a bit less. Most if not all of them have day jobs—Cantore is an industrial building remodeling contractor.

Then there's this:
[Outgoing commissioner Carl] Schultz said one forest commissioner represents the same number of people as three county board members per district. He added that county board members also have offices, while forest commissioners keep offices in their homes.

This is a bloody silly argument for a number of reasons. Besides the obvious, that running the forest preserves might not be quite as much work as running the entire rest of the county, the fact of the matter is that DuPage County Board members are also grossly overpaid, getting full-time salary and benefits for work they do as a sideline to their regular jobs.

Joe and others, if you're really out to save the taxpayers some money, cut your salary and benefits to what a typical ten-hour-per-week position would offer. Give up your guaranteed government-provided health care and retirement income until such time as the rest of us are entitled to such things, which might happen if we get the Republicans out of state and federal government.

Alternately, keep the salary and benefits, but make the Commission work for them. Make it illegal for Forest Preserve Commissioners (and County Board members) to accept any outside paid position or own a significant interest in any business during their terms. Transfer to them some of the work currently being done by salaried managers and make them spend enough time on it to earn that money we're giving them.
Category: Local politics
Posted on February 26, 2012 by Gary
If Santorum is defined to refer to that certain mixture of bodily fluids, then Roskam really ought to refer to a falsehood so blatant that nobody with the remotest shred of decency would want to touch it. Sadly this class of human being includes few if any modern-day Republican politicians, and certainly not Mr. Roskam himself. Case in point, his latest tax-payer-funded campaign emailconstituent franking email:
You and your families are surely affected by high and rising gas prices. The average price is already over $3.50 a gallon! Unfortunately, some experts say they could rise as high a $5-per-gallon.

This is a disappointing but unfortunately not surprising reality. High gas prices and rising electricity costs are just some of the results of the Administration's energy policy designed to benefit political allies at the expense of lower American energy costs.

But House Republicans are fighting back. Find out how in my interview with Martha MacCallum here.

High gas prices are the result of Obama administration policy in the world according to Pete. Here's a graph of those prices over the past thirty-plus years:

As you can see, gas prices were more or less stable until they took a major spike upwards around 2005 and another one in 2008. Gosh. Petey, who was President in 2005?

If you watch the video, you'll find the "solution" Petey is pushing is to build the Keystone XL pipeline. This pipeline is actually designed to allow Canadian oil producers to export oil overseas by providing a route to oil tankers in the Gulf of Mexico. Not only would this pipeline be disastrous for the health and well-being of those of us who drink water, but It might actually increase gas prices in the USA, and according to Cornell researchers might actually cost jobs in the USA.

But on the plus side, it would mean fat profits for Canadian oil companies, some of which would no doubt fall into Mr. Roskam's campaign coffers. Also, more work for doctors and other health professionals who will have to treat the resulting chronic health problems. This is good news for people like Pete and his staff whose health care is paid for by public money, a benefit he's worked hard to deny to the rest of us.
Category: Local politics
Posted on February 14, 2012 by Gary
The Daily Herald reports:
Tammy Duckworth, one of two Democratic Congressional candidates making a bid in the 8th District, challenged her opponent Monday to reject any contribution from Super PACs — political action committees that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money.

Opponent Raja Krishnamoorthi said he’ll agree — but only if Duckworth also agrees not to accept contributions from international unions, lobbyists or other corporations.... He also proposed that the candidates get rid of “paid media (ads)” by holding one debate a week until the election.

For Krishnamoorthi's specific proposal, look here.

This morning, the Duckworth campaign sent out this:
Yesterday, I asked my opponents to join me in a pledge to keep Super PAC spending out of this race. An overwhelming number of you signed on to agree that unlimited, anonymous funding should have no role in our democracy. But unfortunately, my primary opponent refused to sign on to the same kind of pledge Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown agreed to.

As I said yesterday, this will only work if my opponent agrees. Over 7,000 of you have contributed to my campaign--often in spite of tough financial circumstances--and I'm not willing to let your contributions be overwhelmed by millions of dollars in negative attack ads.

We've already seen the corrosive effect of Super PAC support in the Republican presidential primary. And frankly, I'm not surprised to see Republicans embrace unlimited, anonymous corporate funds. But using a Super PAC in a Democratic primary would be unprecedented. It's just not who we are as a party and it's not what we should aspire to be.

Hey, Duckworth campaign: Your primary opponent has a name, you know. And unless I'm missing something, the above is just dishonest.

How is it dishonest? For one thing, it's true that using a Super PAC in a Democratic primary would be unprecedented. That's why it's probably not going to happen. Joe Walsh will almost surely benefit from SuperPACs in the general election against whichever Democrat wins in March (and the chance of him signing onto any agreement of this sort are basically nil). But talking about a SuperPAC attack in the primary as if it were a clear and present danger is disingenuous at best, and is an indication of a campaign that is less interested in taking the influence of money out of the election and more interested in using it as a publicity stunt.

But more importantly, Krishnamoorthi didn't fold, he raised the bet. He didn't refuse to sign on, he asked for a broader agreement that would have taken other kinds of money out as well, plus public debates that would've lessened the impact of paid media. Maybe the Duckworth campaign views these extra conditions as unacceptable. It would be reasonable to say that Krishnamoorthi didn't refuse an agreement but attached conditions to it that they viewed as unacceptable. Then maybe they could tell us why they feel that one kind of outside money is bad but other kinds (which are far more likely to actually show up in this particular race) are absolutely necessary. But just portraying Krishnamoorthi's response as a flat-out "no" is flat-out dishonest.
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