Our Fiscal Conservatives

Credit where it’s due. I see where our State Sen. Brad Burzynski and State Rep. Bob Pritchard each voted for resolutions that would have blocked pay raises for lawmakers and other top state positions.

Their side lost, so now $5 million has to be budgeted for salaries of $66,000 annually for a job that’s not even year ’round. That’s not counting the $125 expense allowance for each day they’re in session, nor the mileage reimbursement.

How obscene is it that our state lawmakers voted themselves a pay raise while leaving pensions and schools underfunded and Medicaid reimbursements later than ever? Pretty darn obscene in my book. My thanks to our local guys who refused to act like pigs at the trough.

We are Cannibals

Our property taxes are becoming too burdensome to bear. Yet we can’t pay for our schools. We’ve invented impact fees to pay for our schools but that increases the cost of our homes, which leads to higher property taxes once again. We homeowners get stuck coming and going. In effect, we’re cannibalizing ourselves to make ends meet.

I got most of my schooling in the ’70s. We had great schools then. My parents had great schools. And property taxes weren’t the premier topic of conversation or worry. What happened? Continue reading We are Cannibals

Who Thinks Gas Prices are being Manipulated? Oil Investors Do.

[UPDATE 11/17: Here’s a link to U.S. retail gasoline prices across the country that compares the price just before the election with gas prices one week after the election. Please note that crude oil prices are down right now. Question: How high will gas be by Christmas? Any guesses?]

I don’t usually post about national happenings, but this one hits every last one of us in the pocketbook. If you ask your neighbors whether they believe that gas prices are being manipulated for political reasons and will rise again after the election, chances are at least a few of them will say, “Yes.” I’ve personally stayed neutral on the subject up to now because of reading conflicting opinions by people who know something about the energy industry. They can’t agree on whether that is even possible. Then today I read this little blurb from an investor’s newsletter put out by New York Global Securities: Continue reading Who Thinks Gas Prices are being Manipulated? Oil Investors Do.

Education Finance Reform & District 70

I attended Candidates’ Night at Kishwaukee College last week. The 70th District* candidates were there along with DeKalb County Board candidates, county clerk and county treasurer, and two judges from the 16th Circuit. One of the more interesting parts was how little it can matter what party you belong to when it comes to countywide issues. No one party has a monopoly on conservation, farmland preservation, management of the growth of government, support for veterans or the jail referendum. At this level, a good (or bad) idea can just be itself.

For me, the meat served up that night came from Rep. Bob Pritchard and Chuck Sauer, the pharmacist/attorney who is after Pritchard’s seat in the 70th District. Continue reading Education Finance Reform & District 70

South 4th Street as “Complete”

This fall my fourth-grader began riding his bike to school. He’s of an age where he sometimes still depends on what he calls the “luck factor” when crossing streets so I go along to prevent what I term the “splat factor.” One of our more hair-raising problems is crossing South 4th Street (Route 23). Five lanes with traffic traveling at 35 to 40 miles per hour can be tricky even for the grownup.

Because S. 4th is so dangerous, my son actually is eligible to take the bus to school. After all, we taxpayers are footing the bill for at least two buses–at an estimated annual cost of $70,000*–that we wouldn’t need if not for the hazardous crossing designation. But the trip is less than a mile, and I want to teach him to depend more on pedal power, less on petrol power. We’ve felt resigned to living with S. 4th as it is–until now, when I discovered that we may not have to. Continue reading South 4th Street as “Complete”

Mac’s Potawatomi Land Claim Series

It’s no longer a secret that the Prairie Band Potawatomi would like to build a bingo parlor on their “new” acreage in Shabbona. I want to help ensure that DeKalb County Online’s analyses of the Shabbona land claim and the Prairie Band’s Kansas gaming operation aren’t secrets to anyone, either. Publisher/Editor Mac McIntyre has done an outstanding job on this four-part series.

Imagine the emotions that must have been in the mind of the old Indian chief, Shabbona, as he measured the statement of the settler living on his land.

“This is not your land you big dumb Indian! Take your family and get out of here!” Continue reading Mac’s Potawatomi Land Claim Series

hastert Looks the Other Way Again

Hastert Looks Away For A Price

Dennis Hastert was caught looking the other way recently with the Foley scandal. However looking the other way from those who are being abused for the sake of the abusers and their power is not uncommon for Mr. Hastert. This last episode is just a time when he was caught doing so, because he has often put protecting political power above his duty to protect children.

Take for example the May 24, 1999 ABC News program 20/20 and a report by Brian Ross. His report was on human trafficking on the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a U.S. territory and the protection of the abusers by the Republican Leadership in Congress. Brian Ross reported on the findings of a human rights activist group, Global Survival Network, from the American island of Saipan.

Thousands of women from across Aisa were brought through an immigration loophole to American soil to supposedly work as waitresses in restaurants or nightclubs. “Once they got there, they were told they had to do more than that.” said Steve Galster, Executive Director of Global Survival Network. He went on to say, “We’re talking about forced prostitution.” Continue reading hastert Looks the Other Way Again

Attack of the Killer Dishwashers

Last weekend I trained as a water analyst for the Sierra Club’s Water Sentinels program. We tested two fresh samples of water from the Kishwaukee River, one upstream from DeKalb Sanitary District operations and one downstream. I was surprised by this in a couple of ways. I had expected we’d analyze water from a rural part of the county for farm chemical runoff, for one thing. And I did not expect that the Sanitary District would be putting anything bad in the river.

And they’re not, sort of. The Sanitary District isn’t breaking any pollution laws or anything like that. It’s that our treated water is too nutritious. Seriously. Continue reading Attack of the Killer Dishwashers

Hastert Where Are You?

Once again residents of the 14th district try to speake to J. Dennis Hastert their absentee representative. This week he is in Arizona and southern California raising money for other Republicans. Some fools are paying a $1,000 just to have their pictures taken with him.
Yet right here in his own districts constituents without checkbooks in their hands are ignored.

He thinks he has this election sewed- up. However there are many grassroot groups working to bring him down. From peace groups to immigrant rights groups, etc coupled with being investigated by the FBI, and other federal investigators for the Turkish FBI tape scandal, his ties with Abramoff, his other ties to lobbyists, and his unethical land deals, this November there is going to be a shock wave come out of the 14th district that is going to catch the national media flat footed again, as John Lasesch pulls the upset of the decade, maybe of the century. Continue reading Hastert Where Are You?