Archive for the ‘OP/Ed’ Category

2023 Seats Up For Reelection

Angela Wilcox, Leah Collister-Lazzari and Barry Altshuler

Angela Wilcox, current and second longest serving 220 Board of Education member, recently withdrew from the race for another term on the board.  This week, the district’s superintendent, Dr. Robert Hunt, announced his departure only eighteen (18) after his installment (as an aside, the BOE under former President Kazmier and then VP Ficke-Bradford spent nearly a year and Lord knows how much in taxpayer dollars searching for Hunt in 2020).

In light of these two recent events, we think it’s time to take a good look at the candidates running for 220 Board of Education in the upcoming April election.

Incumbent Barry Altshuler, a pediatrician who espouses on his professional website to believing in ‘holistic’ care, routinely advocated for vaccination of students, to keep students remote and masked. Altshuler voted to keep Gender Queer in the District’s libraries, saying, “kids need the book,” and he “wished that book was around when (he) was in middle school.”  For reference, the book is recommended for ages 16 and up.

Altshuler was also heard violating the doctor/patient HIPPA confidentiality when he discussed his patient, Alex Strobl, publicly during BOE meetings surrounding the controversy of Strobl dropping from the 2021 BOE election.

Incumbent Leah Collister-Lazzari voted to keep students remote and masked.  Collister-Lazzari also wrote emails micro-managing Dr. Hunt, such as asking him to tell BHS basketball coaches to make sure the kids were properly masked while playing sports.

In December, Collister-Lazzari voted remotely for an increase in the levy while on a purported ‘business meeting’ in New Zealand, yet also advocated in favor of the District increasing the parental cost of kindergarten enrichment and voted against keeping the fees at their current rate in favor of raising them.

During the D220 strategic planning meetings she brought a 3×5 card with Ficke-Bradford’s equity statement written on it and advocated to have the equity statement put into the D220 mission statement.

Most egregiously, in the opinion of the Observer, in 2021 when three new members of the current Board were sworn in for their first BOE meeting, Altshuler and Collister-Lazzari colluded with Sandra Ficke-Bradford and Erin Chan Ding to oust Member Wilcox from any position as a Board Officer. Wilcox was 6 years into the position, to Altshuler’s and Collister-Lazzari’s 2, and had an exemplary record as the Treasurer of the Board in preceding years.

In addition, the public had made it clear to the BOE Board that Wilcox was preferred to succeed to the position of President surrounding controversial actions of Ficke-Bradford and Kazmierz and their treatment of Alex Strobl who withdrew as a candidate in the 2021 election following their strong-arm tactics.

For these reasons, and more to come, we urge voters NOT to vote for Barry Altshuler and Leah Collister-Lazzari.  They do not deserve to continue on our 220 school board.

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220 Ticket

Tuesday evening, during the District 220 school board meeting, member Collister-Lazzari once again claimed that when she called in remotely to vote at the December 20th Board of Education meeting on the controversial $170M tax levy she was on a 3 week “work” trip in New Zealand!

Collister-Lazzari has filed a Statement of Candidacy and of Economic Interest wherein she identifies her ‘Job Title’ as ‘School Board Member’ and stated ‘Not Applicable’ in response to the question regarding the source of any income “in excess of $7500 required to be reported during the preceding calendar year.” Are we to believe, then, that her jaunt to New Zealand was on the taxpayer’s dime in pursuit of Board of Education business?

After searching for alternative potential employment, the only position she seems to hold is with SHP Holland, Inc., an apartment complex in Holland, MI. What business could someone with real estate holdings In Michigan be conducting in New Zealand?

Thanks to the Overseas Investment Amendment Act of 2018, you must be a resident of New Zealand to purchase property, so that’s ruled out. Instead of addressing the issue and explaining exactly what ‘business’ she was conducting during her extended sojourn in New Zealand that caused her to be away for two board meetings, but, coincidentally, only calling into the one with an important vote implicating your tax dollars, Collister-Lazzari deflected with a call for “trust” among board members.

Trust? A person who kept our kids out of school and behind masks?

The community deserves clarity around this issue. What type of ‘business’ trip turns into a three-week vacation, in a country that doesn’t allow foreigners to purchase property? This does not follow the policy laid out for remote participation in school board business. And Collister-Lazzari and Ficke-Bradford, who colluded in this farce, know it.

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Illinois BudgetBy Bryce Hill | Illinois Policy Institute

New Illinois lawmakers who will be sworn into office Jan. 11 would serve their state well if they started their terms by providing overtaxed Illinoisans with economic relief.

Early into 2023, Illinoisans continue to pay many costs that residents of other states do not. Those costs include the highest cell phone taxes and second-highest property taxes in the nation.

Illinois’ excess taxes and fees further hurt the state’s families, who are already struggling to pay the ongoing costs of rampant, nationwide inflation. Lawmakers’ inertia on tax reform over time may be discouraging, but the new legislative session offers hope for change. New lawmakers looking to make a difference could do so by eliminating some of the unnecessary costs that make Illinois a less affordable place to live.

Here are three potential solutions Illinois’ leaders could pursue:

  1. End automatic gas tax hikes.
  2. Adopt hold-harmless pension reform to reduce Illinoisans’ property tax burden.
  3. Loosen regulations on small businesses.

Read Hill’s full editorial here.

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Happy New Year

2023 New Year

If we are ever to enjoy life, now is the time,
not tomorrow or next year… Today should always
be our most wonderful day.

Thomas Dreier

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Following are the eleven (11) most viewed posts published in The Barrington Hills Observer in 2022:

  1. Controversial ‘Gender Queer’ will remain on the shelf at Barrington High, school board decides
  2. Woman bit her daughter’s finger off during altercation in Barrington Hills, prosecutors say
  3. Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 1)
  4. Learn from your (big) mistake, Laura, Bryan, Dave and Tom
  5. Special Village Board meeting this afternoon
  6. Resident tells 220 Board of Education what they needed to hear (but did they listen?)
  7. Barrington Hills man severely injured in crash
  8. Some observations on tonight’s Appropriations public hearing
  9. Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 4)
  10. District 220 goes too far (again)
  11. Petition started to “Filter Adult Obscene/Porn Content & SB818 Opt Out,” in D220 Schools

For those wondering why eleven and not an even number, we simply couldn’t end the year without reminding readers where we’ve been in 2022 by omitting #11.

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SWA Grinch

Travelers wait in line for Southwest Airlines luggage services to recover their luggage after major service interruptions at Midway International Airport on Dec. 27, 2022. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)

The airline with the ticker LUV, now a far cry from its early customers-first days under co-founder Herb Kelleher, ruined countless holiday reunions over the past week. Southwest Airlines marooned not just passengers but also its own crews and landed tens of thousands of its customers in a Sisyphean holiday-week bog from which there seemed to be no escape to anywhere but the filthy bathroom or the knee-deep bar.

Canceled flights were rescheduled to other canceled flights. Pilots deadheaded to nowhere. Stressed-out travelers searched for overpriced planes, trains and automobiles. Even the airline’s shareholders got burned as the reputation-searing meltdown caused the company’s stock to fall, the market having deduced Southwest was about to lose much of its pricing power and brand affection.

Chicago was at the epicenter of this mess. Unless you’re going to Mexico or Canada or a couple of minor Allegiant frontiers, you’re almost certainly flying Southwest out of Midway, whose luggage-strewn floors looked more like a refugee camp this week. Allowing one massive airline to so monopolistically dominate a publicly owned airport, designed to serve the people of northern Illinois, looked like utter folly. No wonder local politicians started making statements.

Sure, there was a very bad storm. But any frequent flyer knows that airlines love to trot out the liability-shielding word “weather” when a more honest reason for a delay is a chronic staff shortage, as was clearly the case in Denver for Southwest; no backup plans; or, in this instance, problems with an archaic, off-the-shelf phone and crew-scheduling system that buckled under pressure even as every other airline quickly got back to normal.

Read more of the Chicago Tribune commentary here.

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Esther Wojcicki

Esther Wojcicki is an educator, journalist, and bestselling author of “How to Raise Successful People.”

By Esther Wojcicki, Contributor, CNBC • Published December 3, 2022

Developing skills like curiositykindness and emotional intelligence at a young age will help kids succeed as adults. But there’s one skill that parents aren’t teaching their kids enough of today: self-regulation.

When kids learn to self-regulate, they better understand the importance of time and how to manage their own behaviors and actions.

This was something I prioritized teaching my daughters when they were young, and it contributed to their success. Susan is the CEO of YouTube, Janet is a doctor, and Anne is the co-founder and CEO of 23andMe.

All three rose to the top of competitive, male-dominated professions.

Kids need to learn self-regulation now more than ever

Twenty years ago, children would meet up with friends in person, play outside, do puzzles and read books.

Things have changed a lot since then. We are constantly on electronic devices. And kids are tech-savvy. I’ve seen second graders demand cell phones from their parents to take photos or go on social media.

But it’s not so much the access kids have that worries me. It’s the lack of self-control and self-efficacy regarding the access. How much time should kids have on a digital device? How often should they use it? What should they be doing on it?

Self-regulation isn’t just about screen time. It ultimately helps them become more capable and confident in all aspects of their lives.

Read more here.

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Barrington Hillbillies

“TV families are a lot like real families. They always come together for Thanksgiving. For the ultimate TV Thanksgiving, look no further than the 1968 episode of The (Barrington) Hillbillies, The Thanksgiving Spirit.”

The crossover episode not only features the Clampetts, it features the cast members of Green Acres and Petticoat Junction. The episode culminates with a shared dinner that includes characters from the three shows.” (Source)

Editorial note: Many preferred to use the phrase, “Barrington Hillbillies,” when referring to the political antics of some in our “oasis of another time” Village, but that subsided until recently when the Cecola Administration took office. Now the popularity of that phrase is experiencing a resurgence.

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Why ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’ is the ultimate Thanksgiving movie – and how John Hughes turned a buddy comedy into a Turkey Day classic.

Rolling Stone | Jason Diamond

Thanksgiving is all about the buildup.

You wait for it, that long weekend that you know will include family, maybe some football, plenty of food, and then leftovers and sales the day after that. Everything looks great in those weeks leading up to the fourth Thursday in November, until it all goes to hell, with that long drive probably filled with holiday traffic and the drunk relatives whose opinions you really don’t care to hear about. The anticipation of the holiday is fun. The drama that ensues during it is not.

That’s one of the many brilliant things about 1987’s Planes, Trains and Automobilesthe last truly great movie that John Hughes took on the triple job of writer, producer and director before slowly fading into the background, eventually all but vanishing from public view until his death in 2009. The buildup to the holiday weekend that Steve Martin’s Neal Page experiences as he tries to make it home from New York City to Chicago looks about as enjoyable as Dante’s exploration of the Inferno. And if we’re using that classic poem as an analogy, Del Griffith, played masterfully by John Candy, makes a horrible Virgil on the duo’s hellish journey back to the windy city.

Of course, this all equals comedic gold for viewers. Martin and Candy together is really the kind of pairing people dream of. The former, a few years completely removed from his standup days, was starting to inch away from zanier works like The Jerk and The Three Amigos and move closer towards his more family-friendly fare of the 1990s. For the latter, it was the start of a fruitful working relationship with Hughes, one that would see the SCTV alum go on to star in The Great Outdoors (1988), Uncle Buck (1989) and a small role in Home Alone (1990).

And for Hughes, it was the beginning of a new phase in his own career as well. Planes, Trains and Automobiles was his first attempt to make films aimed more at adults and kids, moving away from the teen movies that helped him make his mark in Hollywood. The Great Outdoors and Uncle Buck were both successful at the box office (though 1988’s She’s Having a Baby was a critical and commercial letdown), and the director would close out the decade by successfully revisiting the Griswolds, a family based off the short stories he wrote for National Lampoon in the late 1970s. Christmas Vaction was the first time Hughes would use the holiday as inspiration for his work; he’d return to December 25th as the basis for the first two Home Alone films, as well as the somewhat underrated (and way darker than you might remember) remake of Miracle on 34th Street. But while Planes didn’t bring in the same overflowing bags of box-office loot as the saga of Macaulay Culkin torturing two idiot burglars, it did end up as something else: a Thanksgiving classic.

Read more here.

Editorial note: Both copies of PTA are checked out of the Barrington Area Library, but Best Buy in Deer Park has two (2) on the shelf for $5.99.

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By John Kass

November 16, 2022

America has been feasting for years on angry politics and toxic politics and tribal politics. Many of us are literally fed up. And Thanksgiving is coming.

The White House picks turkeys to get a pardon. Can’t Americans be pardoned from the exhausting drama of politics? And before one of you starts screaming at me in the voice of the Napoleonic duelist Harvey Keitel to say that I never loved the emperor, all I’m asking is this:

As we prepare for Thanksgiving can we just push back from the table a little bit and set aside the warclubs, tomahawks and swords?

Yes, I know this will upset the true political warriors, but can we keep the tomahawks out where they belong, at least for Thanksgiving, just outside the doors of the lodge? Unclean, somewhat grisly tomahawks should be nowhere near the Thanksgiving table. The mere sight will ruin the appetite and kill dinner conversation.

Even so, Trump’s pronouncements from Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday night bear digesting. His words will take some time to sort out. I don’t feel like blasting out some quick hot take about Trump and the Republicans. I’ve already done that. And now I’d rather consider, and digest what the former president says and take my time.

It may be that the former president’s time has passed, that Republicans appreciate his combat with the establishment but now they’re looking to move on. At least, that’s the media theory, and you know how fairly Trump has been treated by the American media.

Or, it may just be that he’s been playing a turtle trick, hiding back in his shell to see who will come out against him and then grab them like that old snapping turtle in the muddy waters.

I’d like to clear my mind and ride a good horse in the snow. A fine high stepping sure-footed horse, a Friesian horse or maybe a good old American quarter horse. A horse in need of good work, the horse stopping on the trail, breath pluming, maybe an antlered buck with his head up nearby.

I’m tired of the drama, Mr. Trump. And I think many Americans are tired of it. The thing is, I can’t stand the left, I can’t stand the media that simpers about “speaking truth to power,” yet carries the left’s water day after day on behalf of Big Tech and Big Government and the Security State and mocks the American people. Watch the lefty cable news, read what we used to call “mainstream media,” and the sense you get from them about Republicans is that we’re the people the country is supposed to hate with reason.

But I’m also tired of the drama. Maybe someone who could read animal tracks in the snow can look over those political numbers from the mid-term election and see the evidence of Americans dragging their heels, tired of constant drama, dreading the next news cycle.

Leading up to the Trump event announcement, the other day on The Chicago Way podcast with Jeff Carlin, and again in my free column off the podcast, I wondered if Trump was about to “jump the shark” like Fonzie in the old “Happy Days” sit com, and wear a leather jacket like the Fonz while water skiing near Mar-a-Lago.

Or are his voters committed to the fight with him in the lead? They can’t just be whipped on in a frenzy, with screams of “lock her up,” not if you want a nation at the end of victory. They must be inspired to reach for the greater good, inspired to exhort each other to that good. That’s leadership. It leaves something behind worth building.

Politics is important, yes. But Thanksgiving is coming, and thanking God is also important, too. And the nation needs a break. The presidential election is two years away. President Joe Biden doesn’t know what time it is, he can’t remember the time if you wrote it on his forehead. He can’t stay up late, even in crisis. And now we’re told that missiles fell in Poland and now NATO wants to ratchet us up to World War III. As we stumble ever closer to nuclear war, the rest of us could use a few days of peace, even if Biden is mercifully isolated away from world leaders and media and left to chatter to himself in a room alone.

Read on here.

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