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Archive for the ‘OP/Ed’ Category

Wasted Contributions

Brian Cecola, David Riff, Laura Ekstrom and Tom Strauss

For the second quarter in a row, the One Barrington Hills (OBH) Committee comprised of Brian Cecola, David Riff, Laura Ekstrom and Tom Strauss, failed to meet the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) deadline for filing quarterly financial reports due this week. The committee’s 4th quarterly report was due on Tuesday, January 18th, but instead was filed just yesterday afternoon.

Their 3rd quarter report was filed a week late on October 22nd, 2021, and that was likely due only to The Observer bumping them with our friendly reminder post that day.

In their latest filing, OBH reported it had $4,432.86 in donor cash available.  A copy of that report can be viewed here, however this is before the ISBE assesses any civil penalties as they no doubt will now.

We spoke with a representative of the ISBE earlier this week, and they indicated sometimes first committee violations are stayed.  However, if a second violation occurs, they will assess the fees for both violations. Noteworthy is the ISBE has increasing penalties for multiple committee violations, which will now be in play. A copy of, “Section 125.425 Civil Penalty Assessments,” may be viewed and downloaded here.

Current Village President, Brian D. Cecola, is listed as chair of the OBH committee, and David Riff is listed as treasurer according to the ISBE website. It’s likely both will have some penalty paperwork to fill out, some checks to write, and they’ll likely have to appear at a ISBE hearing to account for their negligence.

However, we submit all four members of the OBH committee bear some responsibility, and we believe their missteps go deeper than that we’ve just reported.  Starting next week, we’ll begin revealing why based on FOIA files we’ve obtained in the last year and audio recordings.

Meantime, any concerned donors to the OBH 2021 campaign can always seek refunds by contacting them at Team@barrington-hills.com. While it may seem premature to some now, perhaps what’s reported next week may change that thinking.

Related:(Most) Village candidate committees report Q-3 financials

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Mary Hallan FioRito

By Mary Hallan FioRito

On the Friday afternoon before Christmas–as families prepared for the holiday–Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave Illinois parents a terrible present. It was not wrapped, but he put his name on it:.

Pritzker signed the bill repealing the Illinois Parental Notification of Abortion Act, a commonsense law requiring abortion providers to notify parents or guardian that an abortion would be performed on minor girls.

It was active since 2013, intended in part to thwart the human sexual trafficing of young girls, many who were pulled into the sex trade and had lost contact with their parents.

And Pritzker killed it for Christmas with the help of his Democratic House and State Senate majorities.

The law that Pritzker killed had nothing to do with  parental consent. All it did was mandate that parents or guardians be notified–by the abortion provider–-before an abortion would be performed.

Dr. Brook Bello, an advocate for victims of sex trafficking–and who was herself raped as a child and trafficked as a teenager and lost contact with her parents during that gruesome experience–had something to say. :

“I can only imagine what my father or mother would have done if they at least received notification that I was having an abortion at 15 that they did not know about. They assumed I ran away and stayed away on my own free will. It only makes the work we do to lessen and prevent human trafficking that much harder,” Dr Bello said.

There is a remarkable degree of consensus about parental notice of abortion. A Tarrance Group poll of Illinois residents found that 72% of Illinois voters wanted to see the law remain in place — that statistic includes 55% of respondents to the same poll who identified as “pro-choice or strongly pro-choice.”

Governor Pritzker’s statement on his signing the repeal was deliberately misleading, implying that the law required a minor girl who was a victim of abuse or neglect to notify a parent or guardian. It did not.

Read more from johnkassnews.com here.

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ORD

If you’ve wended your way through O’Hare International Airport lately, you probably have noticed longer lines at security checkpoints and the Gold Coast Dogs cashier, more and more people crowding into concourses and shuttle buses beginning to fill up. Hard numbers back up the perception. In July, nearly 6 million people flew through O’Hare. That’s a marked jump from the 2 million who did so in July 2020.

That’s good. It means one of the tell-tale signs of extraction from the pandemic — back-to-normal air travel — has been picking up pace.

Alas, we’ll have to temper that feel-good moment with a cold dose of bad news. J.D. Power, which annually ranks passenger satisfaction at North American airports, put O’Hare at the bottom of the list. Even Newark Liberty International Airport ranked higher. O’Hare’s dismal performance is linked mostly to passengers’ dissatisfaction with their experience at the airport’s terminals, J.D. Power officials said.

We’re not surprised. Seasoned travelers have been putting up with O’Hare’s cramped, inefficient terminals for years. Navigating the airport’s concourses has always been not unlike a roller derby. A few nudges here, some shoulder bumps there. Bathrooms? Claustrophobic and grungy — it’s a roll of the dice whether you get a stall door latch that works. Aesthetic? Sure, if you fancy stained carpets and drab decor. None of these problems have stopped parking rates from increasing again. It’s now a whopping $42 a day to park even in the cheaper sections of the main garage.

Then there’s the “People Mover” that hasn’t moved any people at all since January 2019, and hasn’t moved passengers on weekdays since the spring of 2018.

Officially known as the Airport Transit System, the train that connects economy parking lots to terminals was supposed to be all but done by a Dec. 6, 2018 deadline. Instead, travelers — families with children and suitcases in tow, businesspeople rushing to make flights — agonize in economy lot shelters while they watch a shuttle bus on the far side of the lot, creep along aisle by aisle. Add snowfall and rainstorms to the experience, and you get the very definition of misery.

Read more here.

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Village Hall Entrance

The Village Board of Trustees met last Monday evening, and one person stated the following during public comment:

“My name is (name).  I live at (address). I’ve been a resident of Barrington Hills for eighteen years.  I’m the Deputy Clerk and I also sit on the Plan Commission.

I’m here tonight to express my opinion that I think it’s inappropriate to have a family member of an employee (Building Department) that’s a spouse of the Village President. I believe the situation doesn’t reflect favorably on the Village of Barrington Hills. I think it exposes us to criticism, conflict of interest, favoritism, nepotism – any number of words that you can come up with.

In my opinion, no Village employee should be related to any of the Trustees. I think that’s best. I think just the situation in this particular situation – because it’s the Village President and his spouse – it just accentuates it a little more as a potential conflict of interest, so, that’s my comment.”

Her comments begin at the 00:40 minute mark of Monday’s meeting recording found here.

We applaud this resident for coming forward and voicing what others believe, and we agree.

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Hoffman Candidates

A friend recently stopped by Village Hall, and something caught their eye in the discarded election signs stacked for recycling at the “public works” barn.  Upon closer inspection, they discovered three hundred (300) new, sealed and uncirculated Hoffman Estates election campaign signs left for recycling (seen in the image above).

Now, Barrington Hills does promote recycling at our facility, so there’s no problem with that.  And, we actually published a piece six years ago on the overabundance of election signs blighting our roads (seeToo many sign”), but we weren’t advocating wasting donors hard earned money just to please us, so we had to learn more.

The Hoffman Estates unofficial election results show the second-place presidential candidate lost by roughly 900 votes, but the trustee elections were much closer for one candidate named in the heap at our Village ‘pubic works” barn.

She lost by just 28 votes, and according to the Daily Herald, the incumbent trustee who narrowly defeated her, “…said he picked up all 77 of his signs Wednesday morning from throughout the subdivision.”

So, would 300 extra campaign signs have made a difference?  There’s no definitive answer, but some might argue it explains why those signs were left in Barrington Hills and not closer by Hoffman Estates.  Others might say a little more effort might have changed the outcome for at least one candidate.

Why is this noteworthy?  Because ten years ago all it took was one newly elected trustee to spark a change in the momentum of our village government, and it’s a shame to see any opportunity like that squandered.

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There are a number of exceptionally qualified candidates running for office in the upcoming Consolidated Elections April 6th.    

Following is a summary of candidates running for various offices in the order they appear on the ballots for those offices. The Observer has noted those candidates we endorse with a check mark.

Early voting is available to registered voters now through Election Day.

Pres VBH

Trustee VBH

220 VBH 1

HC VBH

BAL VBH

BHPD VBH

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Dittmann

North Barrington resident Kelly Dittmann has our endorsement for Harper College Board

Late last month, the Daily Herald wrote the following of candidate Kelly Dittmann in their summary of candidates running for Harper College board:

“Newcomer Kelly Dittmann, of North Barrington, does, however, complicate the decision for voters. For, she, too, exhibits a passion for the school and an appealing record of service, ranging from board memberships on the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Central Homeless Shelter to leadership roles with the United Way and more. She would fit well into the composition of the Harper board”

Maybe the Herald didn’t endorse Dittmann, but they clearly wanted to. They all but wrote, “Vote for her,” and not to say that influenced our decision, it did reinforce our resolve that Kelly Dittmann deserves to be on the Harper College board.

Our (very) short list of reasons for our endorsement of her include:

  • Dittmann has earned degrees from Purdue University in Organizational Leadership and Management, an MBA in Executive Leaderships and Management from Drake University and studied Advanced Strategy & Economics: Building and Implementing Growth Strategies at The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business
  • Her extensive community involvement also speaks to her qualifications including Community Leader, Board Member Make-A-Wish Foundation, Strategic Advisor, Mentor AgriTech Accelerator and iEmergent Technologies Mentored leaders, Cabinet Co-Chair, Board Member United Way Education Leadership Initiative (ELI) National Chapters and Board of Directors Central Iowa Shelter Services (CISS) to name a few.

Kelly’s full profile of qualifications and experience can be explored here, and she can be found with other qualified candidates at Action PAC.

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Fast Tines 1

Political committees must abide by Illinois State Board of Elections transparency rules.

Earlier this week, we posted some helpful reminders to area political candidates of their campaign reporting responsibilities with the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE).  This will be our second (in what may become a series) posting of helpful hints on campaign transparency due to one (apparent) repeat offender.

The ISBE rules clearly state:

“Any committee that makes an expenditure for any kind of communication directed at voters and mentioning the name of a candidate in the next upcoming election must ensure that the communication clearly identifies the committee as having paid for it. This applies to any committee that pays for any part of the advertisement, including its production and distribution.” 

Well, residents are now receiving a mailing from a candidate committee (a portion pictured below) that does not appear to adhere to these rules. We previously noted that this candidate’s campaign committee signs display no state mandated committee identification either.  

DK Violation

A campaign mailers sent to residents recently does not disclose the campaign committee that paid for it.

Common sense dictates that if one is running for elected office that every opportunity for campaign advertising with the candidate’s name on it would be maximized, especially when it comes to taking credit for who paid for it (at least one would think that).

This particular candidate, however, either fancies himself as a rebel, or perhaps isn’t taking this election as seriously as he should considering the high office he’s seeking.  Another possibility is much more troubling, however, and that is he may not wish to disclose who is actually paying for his advertisements.

Related:Some helpful campaign tips for area candidates

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A statue named Young Lincoln at Senn Park in Chicago in Winter. It is on the list of monuments to be reviewed by an advisory committee.

Abraham Lincoln and Chicago go way back, from his visits here as a traveling lawyer to his nomination for president at the 1860 Republican National Convention. His connection is one of the proudest claims of our state — official slogan, “Land of Lincoln.” Every child grows up learning his incomparable place in the history of Illinois and of the nation.

But some people think Abe’s sins cancel out his achievements. On one hand, he was elected vowing to stop the spread of slavery, waged a successful war to preserve the Union and worked to achieve constitutional equality for Black Americans. On the other, he represented a slave owner trying to recover escaped slaves, sometimes expressed bigoted sentiments and allowed the execution of 38 Dakota men during the U.S. war with their tribe.

Facts like those account for the scattered calls that he be relegated to the dungeon of America’s villains. Even Mayor Lori Lightfoot thinks he may be problematic, judging from the list of monuments to be reviewed by an advisory committee. It includes several statues of Lincoln. Also in the dock: George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley and Leif Ericson, among others.

We have no objection to periodically reassessing public monuments as new information emerges and old information gains new pertinence. Chicagoans are not obligated to defer to the judgment of previous generations. But let’s not revel in proclaiming our superiority to yesterday’s heroes.

Apparently, some critics think every person we memorialize must be perfectly blameless by the standards of modern America. In that case, we’d have to raze just about every statue. If purity is the threshold — purity based on today’s standards against the cultural and political dynamics of our ancestors — there will be no monuments. A better approach is to weigh the good done by those who have been honored against their shortcomings, and in the context of their generation, not ours.

Read the full Chicago Tribune editorial here.

Related:Column: Crime, taxes, closed schools or clogged side streets. But Lightfoot focuses on statues.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s team announced last week it will enlist federal Disaster Survivor Assistance teams to help at COVID-19 vaccination sites in Cook and St. Clair counties. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency will give Cook County $49 million to help with vaccine distribution.

That’s entirely appropriate because so far, Illinois’ rollout of vaccinations has been flat-out disastrous.

It’s as if seniors across the region have had to come out of retirement to take on a new full-time job — tracking down the ever-elusive vaccine injection. They’re spending hours — and days — cold-calling potential vaccination sites and scrolling through the internet for injection appointments. Refresh. Refresh.

And how about these optics? At the same time elderly Illinoisans maddeningly scour their communities for a shot at a shot, Pritzker put state lawmakers at the front of the line. On Wednesday, members of the General Assembly were offered their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a state police facility in Springfield. One Tribune reader, Phillip Tutor of Schaumburg, wrote to us, “How about we have a law that no Illinois politician gets his or her COVID-19 vaccination until all Illinois residents get theirs? I then would bet that this vaccine rollout fiasco gets fixed in record time.”

The vaccine rollout in Illinois has been, well, as Tutor says, a “fiasco.” As of late last week, Illinois ranked 37th among states and D.C. in terms of rate of shots injected and that was actually an improvement. Of the vaccines it has received from the federal government, Illinois has injected 66.2% of those doses, which puts the state under the national average of 68%. As of late, distribution has been improving in Illinois, but the question remains: Why has Pritzker’s vaccine distribution management been so subpar, compared to other states? And why does he keep pretending it hasn’t been?

Read the full Chicago Tribune editorial here.

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