This the April 28, 2016 edition of Left Right and You!

 

I firmly believe the Smiling Conservative and I covered the tragic Denny Hastert case more thoroughly than any other news outlet. That’s why smart folks always turn to Left, Right and You.

We also want to thank Ancel Glink partner Keri-Lyn Krafthefer for coming on the show to talk about a once-in-a-lifetime DuPage County recount win. You already know that Larry and I love to say, “If you need help, think Ancel Glink!”

Monday, we’ll get Kurt Kojzarek on the show to talk about all sorts of national and local news – and there’s plenty of it! Until then…

 

Krafthefer

 

 

Left, Right and You at 3 on AM1410

Today the Smiling Conservative and I are going to cover:

  • The Dennis Hastert sentencing
  • A DuPage recount that worked!
  • The DuPage Election Commission might be doomed
  • Why November will bring even longer election lines (or the end of elections!)

And the only place you get this kind of in-depth local news analysis is Left, Right and You, Mondays at 9 a.m. and Thursdays at 3 p.m. with Larry Jones and me, the Curmudgeonly Liberal, on WRMN AM1410.

 

Larry n Jeff

 

Quick Hits – April 28, 2016

Denny Hastert gets 15 months

Larry and I had come to the conclusion that, though the technical issue was lying to the FBI – not child sex abuse – Judge Thomas Durkin would sentence former Speaker Dennis Hastert to some sort of prison term. But neither one of us thought it would be nearly triple the federal recommendation.

Given that these kinds of federal felonies mandate the offender serve 85 percent of their sentence, Hastert will be incarcerated for a little over a year which, considering his poor health, could turn out to be a death sentence.

Is it justice? Probably not. But I’m sure Judge Durkin didn’t want to face the slings and arrows of outrageous public opinion had he handed down probation.

Is it karma? Absolutely! Correctly referring to Hastert as a “serial child molester,” the judge also insisted upon sex offender evaluation and a two-year supervised release. And he could do just that because the abuse was a mitigating factor in the sentencing process.

In the end, I suppose what gets me is how many folks and entities were willing to buy into the Hastert myth because it furthered their own interests.

Accusing elected officials of being gay is a tried and true tradition, but it was different with Denny Hastert. The tales were much more specific and they were much more relentless. Not as much about abuse, but being bisexual. Even if you didn’t buy into that, his finances and real estate dealings have been suspect for a very long time.

But that didn’t stop Wheaton College from taking Hastert’s money and calling it the Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy. They’re not nearly the only ones who bought into the legend either.

Since I couldn’t say it better than the Judge, let’s let his words stand:

“The defendant is a serial child molester. Some actions can obliterate a lifetime of good works. Nothing is more stunning than having ‘serial child molester’ and ‘speaker of the House’ in the same sentence.”

Hastert 2

Will they recant?

Yesterday, a good political friend mused that, with Hastert finally admitting he actually did abuse a series of teenage boys, will the friends and family who wrote letters supporting a lighter sentence rethink it?

One would hope Former Illinois Attorney General Ty Fahner, former CIA Director Porter Goss, Tom Delay, members of the wrestling community, and so many others – 41 in all – have to reconsider their kind words.

The fascinating thing is, Dallas Ingemunson, Jan Carlson, and Pate Phillip, the local politicians who brought us Dennis Hastert, have been strangely silent.

It kinda makes you wonder what they knew.

Scott Cross?

This is the best reason those letter writers should reconsider. Don’t get me wrong, no form of sexual abuse is “better” or “worse” than other. It’s just that Scott Cross coming forward to describe what happened to him at Hastert’s hand makes it all very real

It becomes much more difficult to dismiss the abuse as some sort of conspiracy theory when one of the victims is the brother of former Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross.

Tom Cross, of course, came to the Illinois political forefront, in great part, because of Dennis Hastert’s vast influence. Some folks had noted that, despite being asked, the elder Cross did not pen a letter supporting his mentor and now we know why.

Scott Cross did not tell his family until the news of Hastert’s arrest. In his words:

“As a 17-year-old boy I was devastated. I tried to figure out why Coach Hastert had singled me out. I felt terribly alone. Today I understand I did nothing to bring this on, but at age 17, I could not understand what happened or why.”

In 2013, Tom Cross was instrumental in eliminating the Illinois child sexual abuse statute of limitation. Sadly, the Constitution does not allow for it to be retroactive.

Left, Right and You at 9 on AM1410

Today the Smiling Conservative and I will be discussing:

  • Cody Holt will be on the show
  • The Hawks, Cubs (and maybe the Sox)
  • One less brick in the Springfield wall
  • What? A recount in DuPage County worked and what it means for future elections
  • You gotta give Jim Oberweis credit – again!
  • Dennis Hastert is sentenced on Wednesday
  • U-46 School Board member Jeanette Ward takes on textbooks

And where’s the only place you can get this kind of in-depth local news coverage? That’s right! It’s Left, Right and You, Mondays at 9 a.m. and Thursdays at 3 p.m. with the Smiling Conservative, Larry Jones and me, the Curmudgeonly Liberal, on WRMN AM1410. Don’t miss it!

Jeff and Larry2

 

Not so Quick Hits – April 22, 2016

The Daily Herald gets it wrong again!

Remember the Seinfeld episode in which George does the polar opposite to his every instinct and winds up having his best day ever? Perhaps the Daily Herald should  consider the same possibility.

Because, once again, in one of the most inane, sad, and lazy editorials I’ve ever read, not only did their Editorial Board fail to lift a flippin’ finger, but they got absolutely nothing right.

To fill in those background blanks, we recently discussed the curious case of Democratic DuPage Recorder write-in candidate Moon Kahn, who  appeared to fall 145 votes short of the 844 required to move on to the November ballot.

Moon Kahn

Moon Khan

When Moon insisted DuPage Election Commission irregularities were to blame and he’d actually received 4,000 votes, I took exception noting that digital voting machines are an all-or-nothing proposition and no DuPage Democrat has or ever will get 4,000 write-in votes.

The possibility I didn’t consider is miscounted paper ballots because so few of them are cast these days. But in this increasingly bizarre tale, an Ancel Glink law firm instigated court ordered recount quickly found those extra 145 votes. Thus, Kahn is, indeed, looking forward to the General Election.

Now back to the Daily Herald. They reamed the DEC for their nefarious malfeasance, lamented the recount required a court order, and said they really need to train their election judges better.

So let’s examine those absurd contentions, one by one:

1. “It shouldn’t have taken this long, nor should Kahn have need to file a lawsuit to get this done.”

(Yikes! Even their writing is horrific!) It took that long and required a lawsuit because that’s exactly what the statute mandates. DEC Director Bob Saar tried to tell the Daily Herald that his hands were tied, but they wouldn’t listen.

Had he unilaterally cut the seals on those voting machines and ballot envelopes, he’d already be headed to Stateville.

With Khan’s errant 18 percent margin of “defeat,” the only means of a inciting a County financed recount is via court order. And the amount of time it took to get one had nothing to do with the DEC. As soon as Kahn hired Ancel Glink, and as soon as Ancel Glink went to court, Kahn got his recount.

It is incredibly difficult to understand how the Daily Herald Editorial Board doesn’t understand something this simple, but they clearly don’t. The bottom line is, if you want to change the process, then change the law.

2. “The DEC needs to investigate its processes and training of judges…”

Though that kind of effort would benefit any local election authority, once again, the Daily Herald completely misses the underlying issue. According to Keri-Lyn Kraftheffer, the Ancel Glink attorney who won this case:

Krafthefer

Keri-Lyn Krafthefer

“It looks like the amendments to the Election Code increasing the burdens on election judges on Election Day pushed them over the edge. There were over 6,200 voters that registered in polling places on Election Day, so judges had to process those registrations in addition to their usual functions. Many experienced judges have resigned, polling places had more precincts in them, and some judges were no shows. We need a legislative fix. Candidates should not have to be required to file an election contest lawsuit to have their votes counted initially.

Illinois State Board of Elections General Council Ken Menzel added this:

“DuPage is one of the best. There has always been some level of problem of this kind all over the state, and we appear to be at the point where the precinct workers are just too overburdened to handle all of their tasks”

Ah! So it would seem those unfunded State mandates are our local undoing yet again!

Did the DH Editorial Board get off their ample butts and call Kraftheffer or Menzel themselves? Nope! Did DH reporter Robert Sanchez make any effort to talk with either one of ’em? Nope!

Does the Daily Herald have any credibility whatsoever? Nope!

There are just two possible conclusions here:

1. Some overworked and completely stressed out DuPage election judges made a mistake. The only way to correct that mistake was by court order. Candidate Khan hired Kraftheffer, who got the order, which led to the recount, which put him back on the ballot.

That’s exactly the way the system is supposed work.

If, like me, you fervently believe that’s not a very good process, then start lobbying Springfield to change it. But don’t blame the DEC for following the law.

2. Not only is Same Day Voter Registration the real culprit, but if we don’t dispense with it soon, we won’t have any Election Judges at all.

Why would any self-respecting retired election judge toil from 7 a.m. to as late as 11 p.m. while facing the slings and arrows of outrageous slow voter line fortune only to have the Daily Herald say “they suck!”

And then to get paid all of 150 bucks for that kind of misery? I wouldn’t do it for five times that amount!

What that DH editorial should have written is that we either need to either eliminate same day registration or the State should provide the funds for local elections authorities to make it work.

I’d typically end a piece like this by saying the Daily Herald could certainly do better, but clearly, they can’t.

(For purpose of full disclosure, the Ancel Glink law firm is a sponsor of the Left, Right and You radio show. That said, if you do need help with a problem like Mr. Khan’s, you’d be foolish not to hire them.)

Left, Right and You is coming up at 3 on AM1410

And with Smiling Conservative back at the mike, we’re gonna talk about:

  • Who voted against the Treasurer’s life insurance bill and why
  • Sometimes elected officials actually deserve raises
  • Jim Oberweis said the right thing
  • The Longmeadow Loons have a bad week
  • Kane County Animal Controls owes a lot to a former director
  • Larry’s take on the proposed $50 million St. Charles school referendum

And of course, your calls at 847-931-1410.

The only place you get this kind of in-depth local news coverage is Left, Right and You, Mondays at 9 a.m. and Thursdays at 3 p.m. with the Smiling Conservative, Larry Jones and me, the Curmudgeonly Liberal, on WRMN AM1410. It’s going to be a good one folks!

Larry n Jeff

 

Quick Hits – April 20,2016

Goddam Republicans!

Last week Larry and I lauded Treasurer Michael Frerichs for pushing a bill that would force life insurance companies to pay out on policies whether the heirs made a claim or not. And HB4633 passed the House by a resounding 75 to 34 vote.

General Assembly

Taking a cue from the Treasurer’s press release, I too used the phrase “bi-partisan effort” only to discover that ain’t exactly the truth. In fact, a local legislative aide told me that vote broke down perfectly along party lines.

All the Democrats voted for it, and all the Republicans didn’t.

If you also recall, as we discussed this topic, Larry remarked, “I can’t imagine why anyone would vote against this bill. It forces the insurance companies to do the right thing.”

The unsurprising answer to Larry’s question is, the Republicans voted against it because the insurance companies line their state capitol pockets. And if something comes up that might hurt those insurers’ bottom line, they’ll do their damndest to derail it.

So! To all my righteous Republicans friends ECC Trustee Jeff Meyer and County Board member Kurt Kozjarek, who regularly denigrate the Democrats while holding the Springfield GOP up as the guardians of all things holy, the only difference between the Republicans and Democrats is that there are less of them.

If the Republicans enjoyed a Springfield supermajority, they’d be doing exactly what the Democrats have been doing. I rest my case!

Sometimes elected officials really do deserve raises

Before we get started, in order to bring some balance to The Force, let me clearly state that seven years ago, I wrote that then County Chairman Karen McConnaughay deserved at least $150,000 a year.

I may not have always agreed with her efforts, but considering the effort that job requires, that amount should be the low end of the pay scale.

kane countyComing back to 2016, and given the brief window in which county boards can discuss elected official salaries, someone just distributed a spreadsheet with suggested raises. Of course, that piece of paper provided board member and general snitch Mark Davoust with the perfect opportunity to run to the Daily Herald’s Jim Fuller while repeatedly shrieking, “See! The Chairman sucks!”

You may remember Mark Davoust as the board member who never manages to accomplish anything because his wife Melody keeps certain body parts locked up in a cabinet. He’s also running for County Clerk again and fervently hopes his insistent tattling will curry favor with the press

First of all, Chairman Lauzen had nothing to do with that spreadsheet. And second, the Kane County electeds are paid well below their collar county counterparts and there isn’t a person on the planet whom, upon discovering that kind of salary disparity, wouldn’t run to their boss or start updating their resume.

County Board member John Hoscheit put it perfectly:

“The difficulty becomes, if you wait too long, the salaries become so far out of reality that trying to adjust them to be competitive becomes very difficult. We want to attract and keep competent people. But with the desire to keep the (property tax) levy frozen, any increase in expenses needs to be considered very carefully.”

Might I also point out that, the elected officials who’ve worked so hard to keep the County tax levy flat have actually earned a raise.

Mandate? What mandate?

It’s been a really bad week for the Longmeadow Loons.

First, after they managed to hijack the Algonquin Village Board meeting, President Ed Ritter released a statement that included this powerful paragraph:

“I hear some say, ‘the people have spoken, look at the advisory referendum’, but I reject the premise of the advisory question outright. The question was purposely worded in a confusing, false and leading manner. The question was designed as a campaign slogan, devoid and ignorant to the facts, with the purpose of creating public fear to elicit a specific response. The question is disrespectful to the citizens who participated in the hundreds of public meetings throughout the years, engaging with engineers, planners and elected officials based on the facts. The advisory question tried to hijack twenty years of public discourse, which is frustrating and unfortunate.’

Exactly! And then he went on to debunk the Loon’s wackiest contentions.

Then, in a move that forced our undaunted citizen activists to turn to Prozac, the East Dundee Village Board handily defeated a resolution denouncing the bridge.

Ouch!

But alas dear friends, these setbacks will not deter these nutty folks in the least. To quote the great philosopher Bruce Springsteen, “Wounded deep in battle, they stand stuffed like some soldiers undaunted.” In other words, we haven’t heard the last of the Loons.

The right thing to say!

In regards to Comptroller Leslie Munger’s decision to put legislators’ paychecks in the queue with all the other overdue State of Illinois payments, State Sen Jim Oberweis said,

“I think she’s doing the right thing. I don’t know what the law is, the court will determine that. But for heaven’s sake, when we’re not helping those most in need in our state, legislators shouldn’t be getting paid either.”

That was exactly the right thing to say!

Quick Hits – April 18, 2016

Goddam Democrats part 2

If you recall, we originally tackled this topic on Friday.

But the whole U-46 CEO Tony Sanders serving as superintendent bill getting derailed by a Waukegan Democrat didn’t sit very well with me, so I started digging. And wouldn’t you know it, I managed to come up with a couple of fascinating facts.

sanders2It would seem that State Rep Rita Mayfield is far from consistent on this kind of licensing thing. In fact, for a woman who just said “[Sanders] does not have the credentials to be superintendent” she’s sponsored some rather strange bills.

The first was HB3191, which would mean than administrators of a bilingual school programs no longer need to be certified. So what if you can’t understand a bleepin’ thing your teachers or students are saying! I wonder which one of Ms. Mayfield’s “cronies” would benefit from that bill?

The second one is even better! HB3192 would remove the requirement for school nurses to be certified because every parent wants their child to be treated by someone who stayed at a Motel 6 last night.

What’s next? Bus drivers without valid licenses?

Thankfully, both bothersome bills are bottled up in committee, but the notion of the queen of decertification suddenly worrying about the lack of Sanders’ credentials started to bother me even more. So I dug deeper.

And wouldn’t you know it, word on those shadowy Springfield Streets is that the Speaker himself – Darth Madigan – ain’t terribly enamored of Sanders’ leading the equitable school funding Springfield charge.

With all due respect to my favorite school district CEO, since he’s simply an annoyance – we aren’t talking Ken Dunkin here – the most Madigan’s willing to do is stall the bill that would allow CEO’s to serve in place of Superintendents.

Given this scenario, the odds of the bill hitting the House floor anytime soon are pretty much nil. But there’s always a chance the companion Senate legislation might get wings. Regardless of anything the Speaker does, the U-46 School Board has no interest in changing the status quo, so Sanders will continue to serve.

 —

 “A flaw in the system”

 I’m sure you’ve heard about the Burlington middle school student who, after threatening to shoot his fellow students, was arrested by Kane County Sheriff’s deputies as he exited the bus last week.

Nothing surprising there.

But what did surprise me was that this student was charged with disorderly conduct, which neither puts him in jail nor prevents him from returning to the school. So I talked with my radio show co-host, Larry Jones to better understand the process involved.

But first, let’s be clear that the students who make these kinds of overt threats rarely act on them. It’s the kid who’s slowly sinking into isolation while leaving a frightening trail of intent that we need to worry about.

Meanwhile, Larry explained the orderly contact charge was used because it did apply and it will get this teenager “into the system.” You see, the courts can’t simply mandate treatment, there has to be a criminal charge to move the case in the appropriate direction.

Another local official agreed with Larry’s assessment and said the need to charge first and treat later is a flaw in the criminal justice system. Of course we never want to take something like involuntary commitment lightly, but there should be some social safety net process that gets likely non-offenders the help they need without wasting the court’s time.

For now, let’s just hope this one turns out well for everyone involved.

 —

You shall not pass!

Is it something in the water? Are we facing an invasion of the body snatchers scenario? Perhaps too many of ‘em are travelling to Colorado! But whatever it is, the City of St. Charles is certainly seems to be going off the deep end these days

D304First it was a player selection scandal on their high school sports teams. Then it was the Quad St. Charles, and now it’s the possibility of D303 floating a $50,000,000 school referendum that would increase the average homeowner’s property taxes by $150 a year.

Yo! D303! The city couldn’t get voters to give the thumbs up to a $20 million athletic center which would’ve benefitted everyone. And If that one couldn’t pass, what on God’s green earth makes you think senior citizens and empty nesters will ever go for it?

In fact, I doubt that D303 could get a $10 million referendum to fly.

And your “this isn’t really a property tax increase” logic is DOA as well. If the school district simply retired that bond debt, it would save the average homeowner a whopping $600 a year. But give it your best shot! Go ahead and tell taxpayers that this isn’t a hike, it’s a “smaller tax reduction” and see just how far you get.

As the great Paul Simon once sang, “Who do you think you’re fooling?”

So please, please, please, don’t waste all the time, money and effort necessary in putting the question on the ballet, getting the “it’s not a tax increase” message out, and printing all those pro-referendum yard signs because it will all be for naught.

Just one similar Kane County ballot initiative has passed in the last ten years and, trust me, this one won’t be the second.