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ethics

Last Winter, the Village of Lake Barrington published the following in their seasonal newsletter:

Lake Barrington’s Ethics Commission

Did you know that the Village has an Ethics Commission? The independent commission adds to the overall transparency of our government and serves to investigate complaints alleging violations of the Ethics Chapter of the Village Code. We are proud to report that this 3-member Commission has never once had to meet regarding a violation!”

Their Municipal Code actually devotes a chapter to ethics, and the main page of their website contains a link to, “Report a Concern.”

As previously chronicled in this publication, if one searches our Village Code, keying in the word “ethics,” the result reads, “No Matches Found.”

Our Village needs an Ethics Commission.  How else could parties involved in complaints present their respective cases to determine if ethics violations did, or did not, occur? Listed below are typical practices that might arise in our Village, and in our opinion, may warrant investigation, understanding that there are no implications as to guilt or innocence of any on the list:

  • Should expensive legal battles, possibly precipitated by actions of elected and appointed Village officials, be investigated?
  • Should the hiring and retention of Village paid staff positions by elected family members be investigated?
  • Should contracts with vendors who maintain personal and professional relationships with elected Village officials and their families be investigated?
  • Should the solicitations of funds and hand selection of vendors by family members or close friends of elected Village officials, absent oversight by appointed Village committees, be investigated?

For these and other reasons, our Village needs to appoint an Ethics Commission to act as ombudsmen, when any question of potential maladministration or ethics violations is considered or occurs.

Candidates for this proposed commission could come from existing appointed Village bodies, ones whose objectivity would be unquestioned.

The perfect candidates for this roll are the incumbent members of the Board of Heath.  They are highly qualified, underutilized, and would prove to be an effective force in maintaining ethical governance of the Village of Barrington Hills.

Related:Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 1),” “Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 2),” “Better Government Association Commends Passage of Chicago Ethics Ordinance–Sees More to Do,” “What happened to ethics reform in Illinois government? Why watchdogs have some hope,” “Meanwhile, One Barrington Hills makes amends, extinguishes website and turns the volume down,” “Learn from your (big) mistake, Laura, Bryan, Dave and Tom,” “Agreed

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Election Illinois Voting

Passage of Amendment 1, on the November ballot, would put Illinoisans’ pocketbooks at risk of another hit during a time when it is already difficult to make ends meet.

You may wonder why anyone would be against the proposed change to the Illinois Constitution at the top of the Nov. 8 ballot that proponents call the “Workers’ Rights Amendment.”

Don’t ask me — ask Deb Cohorst.

Cohorst is a mother, grandmother, retiree and resident of Effingham, Illinois. For now. If the deceptively dubbed “Workers’ Rights Amendment,” or Amendment 1, passes, Cohorst might be forced to leave the state she has called home for almost 40 years.

“My husband and I really don’t want to leave, but we may not have a choice,” Cohorst said. “This amendment would be devastating to not only my family but any family.”

Why? Amendment 1 is a potential property tax hike in disguise that could hurt low-income families and seniors on fixed incomes. In a state that leads the nation in foreclosures, homeowners can’t afford higher costs.

Amendment 1 would allow government union bosses to collectively bargain over new, broad contract topics such as “economic welfare,” which could include anything from affordable housing to preventing advancements in technology. The more subjects available for government unions to bargain over and the longer negotiations take, the greater the potential cost to all Illinois workers — which would be reflected in higher property tax bills.

In Cook County, the median homeowner could pay at least an additional $2,935 in property taxes during the next four years if voters approve Amendment 1. In Cohorst’s home of Effingham County, property taxes on the typical home would rise by $743.

Property taxes already eat up approximately 7% of Cohorst’s fixed income. Increases make life in Illinois less feasible for her family.

“It scares me we may have to move,” she said. “I have friends in neighboring states, and they cannot believe what we’re paying in property taxes. I am paying more for the property tax on my half-acre lot than my three out-of-state friends’ property taxes combined.”

Read the full Chicago Sun*Times opinion here.

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Missing

By John Kass

Do you feel safe in Chicago?

The great city by the lake was once famed for its toughness and unbreakable will. But now it curls up into the fetal position as uncontrolled violent crime and legitimate concerns over the Democrat Safe-T Act–which will do away with cash bail on Jan. 1–bleed the city dry.

Democratic political leaders are on the defensive before the mid-term elections. Some like Gov. J.B. Pritzker have been reduced to babbling. Others like Mayor Lori Lightfoot go into hiding. More than a dozen city council members have resigned. They look to the chaos from the mayor’s office and begin turning away.

The bleeding continued Thursday with news that seven children had been shot in the street gang wars in separate incidents, including a 3-year-old shot at home while sleeping. Oh, and anti-violence activists were listed among the wounded at yet another Chicago mass shooting.

CWB Chicago reported that police warned about yet a third armed robbery crew working the city from the West Loop to Edgewater.

But don’t fret, Lightfoot has made sure that no repeat criminals—including violent muggers, robbers, shooters or murderers–will have to risk being hurt in a police chase.

And there had been no arrests in that infamous Sunday afternoon street mugging in the leafy Lakeview neighborhood, where a woman walking alone was attacked, pulled to the ground by thugs and robbed. The poor woman’s piercing screams were caught on a doorbell security camera. And those screams have cut deeply into Illinois politics and focused the people on the Democrat criminal justice centerpiece—the Safe-T Act signed and applauded by Gov. Pritzker.

And to all this comes Chris Kempczinski, the CEO of McDonald’s Corp. who spoke at the Economic Club of Chicago luncheon and delivered a series of body blows to Mayor Lightfoot’s reelection campaign:

The issue? Crime and her inability to handle it. Crime is up almost 40 percent in Chicago, though murder numbers have dropped slightly. Kempeczinski told his audience that violent crime makes it difficult to attract employees to Chicago.

Read more here.

Related: Editorial: McDonald’s CEO is worried about Chicago. His compelling menu of changes has 3 main categories.

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220mm

Martin McLaughlin’s public comments to the District 220 Board of Education Tuesday night were followed by applause from attendees.

Speaking as a parent of five children, Martin McLaughlin voiced the following Tuesday evening during public comment at the District 220 Board of Education meeting:

“My name is Martin McLaughlin

I am here tonight as a parent. I live in Barrington Hills. I have had four children go through District 220 school system I have a current sophomore in high school. My family has a 50 year history with this school district.

We have chosen to live here because the District has been a leader in academic excellence for many years.

In the past four to six years, I have been astonished at the level of outside influence that has been allowed to infiltrate our local school district and have impact on policies and curricula, all with the blessing and tacit approval of the majority of this and prior school boards.  And the results have not been good. 

Letters and requests by local blogs and special interest groups arrive every day to each of you, pushing their narrow agendas.  And believe me I get it.  I’ve been in your position, serving as an unpaid elected official for 8 years. I can’t tell you how many special interest groups I have had to say no to.

Allowing Non-Profits out of New York and DC lobbyists and unelected social justice and cultural change agents have an impact on our children’s education and development is what we expect you to protect against, not to embrace.

As a community member, I’d like to see the old 3Rs come back— Reading Writing and Arithmetic. Today unfortunately, our children are being taught a New 3Rs – Radicalization, Revisionist history and Racial divides and IT NEEDS TO STOP.

As far as the academic performance at District 220 in mathematics and reading, the failure rate has increased over 20% since 2019 —a direct result of the policies that kept our children remote and kept them out of the classrooms.

The use of our public education system or Misuse to forward and mandate moral and sociological standards is just wrong. How about we get proficient in math, reading and writing first?

There are places for these discussions to occur, but it’s not in chemistry, math or during PE. And it certainly shouldn’t be presented to minor children, particularly those in the lower grade levels.

We all agree it is not appropriate in public schools to discuss or push religious beliefs upon others, so why should it not be as equally inappropriate to discuss political leanings and further, to discuss age-inappropriate related materials to minor children?

Finally, as it relates to public safety and the public good, in my day public school safety meant putting mulch under the monkey bars in the playground, adding padded seats on the bus and making sure that bullying and physical harm did not occur to any students. 

Never in our wildest imaginations did we believe under the guise of public safety that our parental rights and obligations would be taken away by elected or appointed officials when it comes to the best decisions on children’s behalf regarding personal health decisions, cultural or social guidance, morality, traditional curricula or age-inappropriate content.

As a parent I ask that we please begin to focus once again on what’s most important for our community. Traditional academic-based performance standards which is why we all moved here in the first place and is why we all pay incredibly high taxes to support.

Thank you for your dedicated service.”

The video of McLaughlin’s comments can be found here. You decide which Board members listened.

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madiganAutomatic was a nice improvement on car transmissions, on bank cash machines and on cat litter boxes, but it’s not so great when government tries to automate.

Illinois state government likes making laws with automatic features. They require no additional responsibility or thought. But they come at a high cost.

For example, the state gasoline tax: Gov. J.B. Pritzker and state lawmakers doubled it and then built in automatic increases scheduled for every July 1, which means state lawmakers never again must vote for the unpopular tax hikes. Pritzker may have earned extra bonus points for the campaign trail when he delayed this year’s tax for six months, but that means two increases in 2023 when the tax is expected to hit 45.2 cents per gallon when it was 19 cents pre-Pritzker.

Illinois on automatic example No. 2: Pritzker’s emergency declarations, which he’s imposed 32 times. He’s cried “pandemic” for nearly 2.5 years to circumvent the messy legislative process, and instead used disaster declarations intended to last 30 days to impose 116 executive mandates. At some point the emergency becomes “situation normal” and state lawmakers should resume manual control to debate and vote on those 116 orders.

But the biggest potential for automatic governance is headed for voters Nov. 8 in the form of Amendment 1. It’s being portrayed innocuously as a “Workers’ Rights Amendment,” when in reality it is a way to keep the corrupt Mike Madigan-era government union preferences in place without state lawmakers getting their hands dirty.

Amendment 1 does a lot more than stop Illinois from becoming a right-to-work state. It uses the same constitutional tactic that has stopped Illinois from fixing its nation-leading $313 billion pension debt by declaring state lawmakers can pass no law that “interferes with, negates, or diminishes” government union powers. Hands off, at the same time government unions’ negotiation topics are vastly broadened past wages and benefits.

Once negotiations are automatic and elected leaders’ roles are restricted by the state constitution, expect the demands to get more militant. The Chicago Teachers Union has been in the lead of activism, trying to impose a political and social agenda through its contracts that included housing issues, “restorative justice,” wealth redistribution and even defunding the police.

Read more here.

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Real EstateWhen Deb Cohorst reached retirement age, she didn’t expect to face possibly leaving the rural town she’s loved for close to 40 years. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s tax hikes have not helped.

“I have lived in Illinois for almost 40 years. My husband was born and raised here in Effingham, and we like it here. We feel like this was a great place to raise our kids, but frankly, I’m worried how much longer we can stay here because we are both retired. And with the rising property taxes and gas taxes, it’s becoming harder to survive on a fixed income,” Cohorst said.

In 2019, Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly passed 24 tax and fee hikes, including a doubled gas tax. During Pritzker’s term, the average family has seen a net tax hike of $2,165 and faces the second-highest property taxes nationally, leaving fixed-income retirees such as Cohorst wondering if they’ll ever see relief.

“Property taxes are another thing that we’re really worried about, and it scares me we may have to move. I have friends in neighboring states, and they cannot believe what we’re paying in property taxes,” Cohorst said. “I am paying more for the property tax on my half-acre lot than my three out-of-state friends’ property taxes combined.”

Effingham, Illinois, is located just southeast of Springfield. The median household income is about $52,551 and 19% of residents such as Cohorst have reached retirement age. The average home value in Effingham is $136,000 and families pay $2,328 in property taxes, or an effective tax rate of 1.7%, which is higher than the national average of 1.1%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“It’s not tens of thousands like some other families pay. But when you’re on a fixed income – and the people in this area don’t earn like what they earn in Chicago or some of the bigger cities, at our wage level, it’s getting harder and harder to keep up as property taxes keep increasing and we’ve seen the effect that’s having,” Cohorst said.

When property taxes cost roughly 4.4% of your income, Cohorst and other retirees have trouble finding spare cash to sustain never-ending tax hikes.

Read more here.

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Foxx

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx

In Chicago, homicides and shootings are surging while carjackings and shoplifting are rampant. The town is becoming more like the Wild West – no law and no order. And much of the blame falls on its chief law enforcement officer, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.

Foxx’s record is blotted by botched cases and improprieties (e.g., Jussie Smollett) and public tension with her law enforcement and city partners (i.e., Chicago Police, the City Council and Mayor Lori Lightfoot) who have all bemoaned her conduct and public safety policies. Even Foxx’s longtime chief investigator has had enough and resigned last month to keep his “integrity, morals, and ethics intact.”

While the State’s Attorney has a lot of adversaries, she has one very well-heeled friend: George Soros. Based on campaign donations, the billionaire loves Foxx – lavishing cash on her with $2.7 million poured into her two campaigns to be chief prosecutor.

That money came in the form of two PACs funded almost exclusively by Soros. In 2016, Illinois Safety and Justice PAC spent $708,000 on Foxx with $408,000 coming direct from Soros and the rest via another PAC that Soros finances, Civic Participation Action Fund. In 2020, Foxx got another $2 million from Soros before her heated Democratic primary.

As crime soared and cases crumbled, Foxx has spent weeks away from Cook County on junkets across the country with fellow Soros-backed district attorneys including Los Angeles’ George Gascon, Philadelphia’ Larry Krasner, and the now-former DA for San Francisco Chesa Boudin.

Our study – examining campaign finance reports across the country – identified over $40 million in campaign spending by Soros to elect progressive prosecutors including Foxx. At least 75 Soros-linked prosecutors hold office today – stretching from Orlando to Seattle, Los Angeles to the Washington, DC suburbs. Those district attorneys preside over 40% of homicides and represent jurisdictions covering one in five (72 million) Americans.

Read more here.

Related: “George Soros and his Soft-On Crime Prosecutors: the Johnny Appleseeds of Urban Anarchy,” “Time To Recall Kim Foxx, For Jussie Smollett, And More

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Editorial note: The following opinion is featured today on the Northwest Herald website.

Scott Reeder

A horse tenderloin provided a delicious meal for author Scott Reeder on a recent trip to Iceland. (Scott Reeder)

By Scott Reeder

“If you eat horsemeat, Daddy, I’m going to throw-up right in front of you.”

So decreed my 14-year-old daughter this month as we sat across from one another in a restaurant in Iceland.

I’d never tasted horseflesh before. But over the years I’ve written quite a bit about the debate in the Illinois General Assembly on whether to outlaw horse slaughter. Fifteen years ago, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the legislation ending the practice.

I’ve long been curious: “What exactly does horsemeat taste like?”

I grew up on a hog farm. My father was a farmer and a livestock veterinarian. And I showed cattle at fairs, knowing that eventually they would end up on someone’s dinner plate. And mind you, those calves were companions. They came when they were called, loved to be petted and were taught to walk beside me better than any dog I’ve ever taken on a leash.

I can remember eating steaks at the dinner table with my folks and my dad would ask for the platter of meat by saying, “Pass Charlie over here, would you please?” Yep, our food had names.

When you are a farmer, you live close to what you eat.

The waitress who stood over me in the Icelandic restaurant cooed, “You have to try horse, sir. It is three times more tender than beef and it tastes so good.”

Read more here.

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Education,,Choice,,School,Motivation,,Color,Pencils,,Books,,Blackboard

By Steve Huntley

July 20, 2022

The covid-19 pandemic left a lot of wreckage in its wake. High on the casualty list is a growing loss of confidence among middle class parents in public schools.

When schools shut down, moms and dads got a peek at zoom classes. They watched with disbelief, then anger as they got a closeup look at how too many public schools promoted an unsettling agenda of political and cultural indoctrination to pupils.

Radical racial ideas distorting American history and sowing division. Nonsense about kids born guilty of oppression because of the color of their skin. Theories about the “fluidity” of gender identity trafficked under the banner of sex education. All that taking priority over math and language instruction.

And that was just the beginning.

When the covid emergency receded, school unions and the school boards in their pockets resisted reopening in-person learning in classrooms. Chicago parents saw the city’s teachers union go on strike for five days to try to keep from returning to the classroom.

Union defiance to in-person learning came even as evidence mounted that computer screen classes knee-capped learning in pupils. Reading and math scores fell across the board, but especially plummeted for low-income kids.

Then there was nonsense like the far-left San Francisco school board that, rather than open classrooms, worried about schools being named for famous heroes of history like Abraham Lincoln.

Steve Huntley’s commentary continues here.

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CATLOW

Thursday’s Daily Herald editorial read in part,

“…losing the (Catlow) theater would be a blow to Barrington and the entire suburban arts community. Movie houses like the Catlow are increasingly rare; seeing a film there was something special.

That’s why we wish O’Connor the best of luck in finding the right buyer should he choose to sell — someone who shares his sense of the community, who understands the entertainment industry and who respects the Catlow’s unique legacy. And we hope village officials do what they can to make that happen.

The Catlow is a suburban treasure, one we hope to enjoy on its 100th birthday and beyond.”

The full editorial can be found here.

There is absolutely no disagreement here!  None whatsoever.

However, the Herald and many others fail to acknowledge fact that lack of available nearby parking is one of the primary reasons for the Catlow’s woes, and has been for too many years.

The parking lot signs next to the Catlow Theater behind some Main Street stores where movie patrons used to park now read, “DO NOT PARKING ’THEATER’ CUSTOMER.” We made a special trip to capture the picture seen above, since try as we can, we just cannot make this up.

Signs in the main Jewel parking lot state, “ONE HOUR PARKING 5PM to 10PM – Per Village Ordinance.” Apparently, it’s OK to park at Jewel all day long when commuting downtown via Metra, so long as you leave their lot before 6PM (Per Village Ordinance). However, parking at Jewel for more than an hour during certain times to enjoy an evening movie could result in a fine.

We can cite other parking issues, but why bother? The fact is the Village of Barrington and some local businesses purposely abandoned the Catlow’s ownership and supporters years ago, and that’s inexcusable.

Related:Owner of Catlow Theater in Barrington looking to sell historic venue

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