Archive for the ‘OP/Ed’ Category

ProftYesterday’s commentaries on recent District 220 news on the, “Chicago’s Morning Answer,” program can be found here.

Related:District 220 goes too far (again)

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e-poll Devices

Thousands of new iPad pollbook devices will be available for use by suburban Cook County voters leading up to the June 28 election. | Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Voters in suburban Cook County will be casting their ballots in upcoming elections with the help of new devices that aim to streamline check-in at the polls.

Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough announced the purchase of the 4,500 new e-poll devices that will be used in the June 28 primary election.

The equipment uses secure iPad applications to check in voters at every poll location in suburban Cook County, Yarbrough said at a news conference Thursday. That means poll workers won’t need to check in voters by finding their names on bulky paper ledgers.

The devices load each voter’s registration information and verify their signature to ensure they receive the correct ballot.

“We fully expect this new equipment will improve the voting experience for, again, the voters certainly, but also our election judges,” Yarbrough said. “And it’s going to make the process more efficient.”

“One of the great things” about the new, digital system “is that it allows voters to check in in a seamless way,” Edmund Michalowski, Cook County’s deputy clerk for elections, said during the news conference.

First-time voters can register to vote on the new equipment as well, Michalowski said.

Read more here.

Editorial noteExpectations on June 28th..


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JB Census

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker made a big deal out of “finding” 250,000 hidden Illinoisans during the past decade, claiming the state population was over 13 million in the 2020 Census head count.

“I look forward to celebrating this development with all Illinoisans, including those who routinely badmouth our state,” Pritzker said in a press statement last week.

Two interesting observations here.

First, Pritzker cheerily embraces the idea of population gain, despite plenty of evidence Illinois is rapidly losing people, and he misinterpreted what the U.S. Census Bureau was saying. Of course, you’d expect him to grab onto the “Illinois is growing” theme, because it lets him ignore the public policy issues that he’s made worse, including $2,165 in new taxes per family that are driving those families out.

“Move along. Nothing to see here,” Pritzker is saying.

Second, he tried to hush anyone who calls him out for his mistake by expecting even those who “routinely badmouth our state” to join him in his glee. Facts can be troublesome things, but telling the truth is far from badmouthing.

So now for some truth telling.

The U.S. Census Bureau knows counting every person is a problem. For decades they and experts have argued that there are better, more accurate ways than spending $14.2 billion to send surveys, knock on doors and try to find every homeless person under a bridge. “One, two, three… 331,893,745.”

The Op-Ed continues here.

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Editorial note: What follows was posted to the Village website Friday after The Observer’s posting of our commentary:

“The Village experienced technical difficulties during the Board of Trustees Meeting this past week, leading to a less than optimal streaming quality. We are working to improve this. Our goal is to upgrade to a more reliable system. In the meantime, the existing system has been tuned up, to improve the audio quality.

In addition to the audio that is live-streamed from the meeting, a recording of the meeting is made available shortly after the meeting at barringtonhills-il.gov/meeting-packets. Since this audio is not being streamed, the quality is more consistent.

We appreciate your feedback. As always please contact us at 847-551-3000 or village@vbhil.gov with any questions or concerns.”

Click here to view the post.

Related:What message is the Cecola administration sending residents?

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BC 2

Brian Cecola

Three weeks ago, we ended an editorial (“Meanwhile, One Barrington Hills makes amends, extinguishes website and turns the volume down”) with the following:

“And just last month, residents reported they couldn’t hear April’s Board of Trustees meeting due to low or no volume when they phoned in, so what are they to make of this?

If the OBH party is sending a less than subtle message to residents, consider it received, Brian, David, Laura, and Tom.  But you’re in for a LONG three (3) more years in office.”

Monday, residents who dialed the number to connect to the May Board of Trustees meeting heard the usual:

”Welcome to My One Number.  If you are the host, press star now.  Otherwise please wait and you will be joined into the conference.”

After some time passed, the message changed to indicate the conference had begun, but beyond that there was nothing but silence. The frustrated residents who took time to listen in were left to question what went wrong (again) or was it their error.  The made no error.

We know President Cecola reads The Observer, so he was aware of the telephony issues weeks ago.  But apparently, he is just too busy to address a documented issue that negatively reflects on both him and his administration. Or, he simply doesn’t care.

The question now is what other issues is he too busy to address or not care about? The way things are recently, we’ll be the last to know.

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An editorial in the Wall Street Journal the other day explained what is happening to the once-great city of Chicago:

“The shooting in Buffalo on Saturday has horrified Americans, but it was massacre as usual in Chicago this weekend and few outside the Windy City noticed.”

There were more than 30 shot and several killed in all the city’s neighborhoods. It was violent last weekend and the weekend before.

But the violence wasn’t confined to the South and West Sides where it had been kept for years. Now it spreads into Chicago’s downtown, the commercial heart of the city, and the North Side, where tourists and people with money used to play.

One recent murder took place at the sculpture Chicago calls “the Bean.” It was once place where tourists, families, friends and dates would meet, downtown on magnificent Michigan Avenue. “The Bean” is now a staging ground for the street gangs.

“The Bean” is the place where they fire guns into crowds, where people are shot down. It was once a source of civic pride. No longer. No one with sense goes near “The Bean” at night.

Is this how a great city begins to die?

Why didn’t those outside Chicago want to pay much attention to another weekend of massacres in the city by the lake?

Because the politics just aren’t right. The Democrats and their media allies don’t see an advantage in re-examining the furies they helped unleash just two years ago in Chicago with the George Floyd riots, and once unleashed to fuel their own politics, the lawlessness really hasn’t stopped.

Read more here.

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By Greg Ganske

May 15, 2022

Before I retired from reconstructive surgery, I cared for toddlers who bit into electrical cords and burned their lips. Maybe that is why I feel like I am bound in a chair, gagged, arms and legs tied, watching a two-year-old chewing through a plugged-in electrical cord when I watch the nightly news.

I see one Biden disaster after another on TV and feel as if I am helplessly waiting for the next to occur. Just when it seems it can’t get worse, something even more worrisome, and in some cases more absurd, happens on the national and international stage.

It starts with the failing mental acuity of President Biden. A year ago, I wrote a column for the Des Moines Register (Opinion: Joe Biden isn’t the person I knew in Congress. He should get cognitive testing, with the result made public.), on Biden’s failing cognition. Sadly, his gibberish has gotten worse.

Recently President Biden spoke about his administration’s request to Congress for additional Ukrainian aid. The president’s inability to even read his teleprompter causes the White House to alter the official transcripts of his word mishmashes.

Biden said the plan would “enhance our underlying effort to accommodate the Russian oligarchs. . .”   Accommodate! Then a weird laugh, “We’re gonna accommodate them.” Then he couldn’t pronounce kleptocrats, “Klep–the guys who are in the kleptocracies. Ha, ha, ha,” accenting the laughs.

The White House official version substituted “hold accountable” for “accommodate.”   Correcting these gaffes is a full-time job at the White House. Last month in talking about lower gas prices, Biden said solar, or heat pumps could “save you $500 per month.” This, too, had to be cleaned up in the official transcripts as it is false.

We watch President Biden with trepidation wondering when he’s next going to bite into the electrical cord.

Read more here.

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Editorial note: For the time being at least, the reality is people seeking a non-union Starbucks store can drive less than five or ten minutes in any direction from the one featured to find one (and many will).


A Starbucks in Cary became the first in the state to unionize, which followed efforts from multiple locations across the country.

A Starbucks in Cary became the first in the state of Illinois to unionize after votes were tallied earlier this week.

The final vote was counted April 26 and came out to 17-4, said Michael Mueller, a shift lead at the 620 Northwest Highway location. The Starbucks has 27 employees there, he said. The union will run through the Workers United Labor Union.

While Mueller said he expects the union to bring several benefits to the location’s employees, he said he hopes more than anything it provides them more of a voice within the company.

A Starbucks spokesperson said the company thinks the employees and corporation work better without a union, but that they will respect the process.

The location is one (1) of many Starbucks stores across the country opting to unionize. Efforts ramped up after a store in Buffalo, New York, was able to do so in December, Mueller said.

Employees at the Cary location hope to see higher pay and more work-life balance as a result of the unionization, he said.

Read more here.

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We’ll accept the checks and rebates coming to Illinoisans — but with no illusions about the timing

You heard that most of us will soon be getting some free money — or, if you prefer, some of your tax money — from the state of Illinois in the form of small payments, right? Plus, if you own property, the extra property tax rebates that are planned.

We have provided coverage of the tax relief that Gov. J.B. Pritzker first touted in his February budget address, as well as the final package in the budget that passed the General Assembly this month — only after a drawn-out final day of the legislative session that started on a Friday and lasted until dawn the following Saturday. You can be forgiven if you didn’t quite follow it all. Or you can be forgiven if you’re just not excited about it, or even if you’re suspicious of it. But the budget does include a number of enticements for taxpayers. Among them:

  • Doubling the property tax rebate to qualifying homeowners, up to $300 per household.
  • Direct tax rebates to taxpayers of $50 per individual and $100 per child, up to three children per family, for households with annual incomes below $200,000 per taxpayer.
  • Suspending the 1% grocery tax.
  • Freezing the inflationary increase in the motor fuel tax.
  • A suspension of the state sales tax on back-to-school purchases for a limited period in August.
  • Permanently expanding the earned income tax credit to 20% of the federal credit, up from 18%.

Read more of the Daily Herald editorial here.

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By John Kass

April 17, 2022

Usually at Eastertime, I find myself writing about the turning of the lamb over coals. And about Pesach, the Hebrew word for the Jewish Passover, and of Pascha, the Greek word for Easter

There will be time enough for the Paschal Lamb, the Easter Lamb. Maybe next week. But not now. Not today.

Because today, our brothers and sisters of the Western Christian world celebrate Holy Easter. Today is their day for great joy.

And whether you’re a Christian of the East, and Greek Orthodox are of the East and celebrate next Sunday, or a Christian of the West, as Roman Catholics and Protestants are of the West, celebrating today, please remember what a wise man, a saint, said years ago:

We’re one body in Christ, said the late Pope John Paul II.

Two lungs, one body, he said.

“I hope you write about Easter on Sunday,” said a friend who’d just returned home from church with his wife. “On Easter, we refresh ourselves. We renew ourselves.”

He is a practicing Catholic, a husband and father, a tough-minded but compassionate old school guy from the South Side of Chicago.

“As we get together with our families and friends on Easter Sunday, it’s all about renewal,” he said. “It’s all about faith, family and love. Everybody needs faith, family and love. And those who don’t have it, want it. We all need it. What’s wrong with that?”

Nothing is wrong with it. Absolutely nothing. Everything is right with it.

Read more here.

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