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Archive for the ‘Deception’ Category

Terrance Wallace wants to relocate his InZone Project from Wauconda to this 12,000-square-foot mansion on roughly 28 acres in Barrington Hills so he can provide better opportunities for 25 children who are under his legal guardianship. Wallace said the boys from the inner city would attend Barrington Area Unit District 220 schools and live in a nurturing environment with support.

Terrance Wallace wants his InZone Project in the 12,000-square-foot home on roughly 28 acres so the inner-city Chicago children of color, who are under his legal guardianship, can live in a nurturing residential environment with support. The plan is to relocate InZone from Wauconda to Barrington Hills, with the boys there before school starts in August.

Wallace, who hosted the online forum that drew about 200 visitors, said he first contacted Barrington Hills in April 2018 to make village officials aware of his plan and did not receive a response for several months. He said officials have continued to ignore his recent emails, and he has questioned whether discrimination is behind Barrington Hills’ inaction.

In a statement before the forum, Barrington Hills officials reiterated that few details were provided when the InZone proposal arrived in 2018. Wallace was directed to consult the village’s codes to ensure compliance with use of the residentially zoned land.

Village Attorney Patrick Bond told the Daily Herald that the issue solely is about how Barrington Hills’ zoning code applies to the plan.

During a question-and-answer portion of Thursday’s town hall over Zoom, Wallace eventually bristled at text queries on who would own the property and pay taxes on the six-bedroom, six-bathroom mansion that includes an indoor basketball court, a library and an outdoor pool. He said he’ll be the owner and that no one needs to know how the deal was worked out.

“Someone is asking questions about property taxes,” Wallace said. “Again, I don’t feel I need to disclose to you, me paying. As a homeowner, do you pay your property taxes? I don’t think you would be asking me this question, No. 1, if I was not Black and if I didn’t have all my boys.

Read more from the Daily Herald here.

Related: “Fact checking

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The Barrington Hills Bulletin Board claims to be, “AN ALTERNATE RESOURCE OUTLET FOR LOCAL BARRINGTON HILLS RESIDENTS TO READ, COMMENT AND REACT TO NEWS AND TOPICS WITH THE INTENT TO EDUCATE, PROVIDE AWARENESS, TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY TO RESIDENTS IN A UNCENSORED FORMAT.”

The Barrington Hills Bulletin Board posts fabrications, typo-ridden incoherent ramblings and now offers a new feature to their minimally followed blog; censorship of comments that are posted on Facebook (“…some comments may have been filtered out”).

As for the offensive comment that was, “filtered out”?

“Paragraphs and proper grammar and punctuation would be nice.”

So much for transparency.

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Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivered a state budget address Wednesday acknowledging a “challenging” picture of Illinois’ finances and offering improved funding for government services if voters adopt his graduated income-tax plan.

Pritzker’s $42 billion budget proposal would provide $1.4 billion in additional funding for schools and public safety if voters in November pass the graduated-rate proposal, which would replace the state’s constitutionally mandated flat income tax.

“As important as these investments are, we cannot responsibly spend for these priorities until we know with certainty what the state’s revenue picture will be,” Pritzker said.

The proposed constitutional amendment, Pritzker’s signature initiative, would raise an estimated $3.6 billion on an annual basis. If it is adopted by voters, Pritzker has said rates previously passed by the legislature would boost the income-tax burden on the wealthiest 3 percent of taxpayers, with the other 97 percent paying at least the same or less.

Read more here.

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Barrington School District 220 held the first in a series of informational meetings Wednesday about the $147 million referendum voters can expect to see on the March 17 ballot.

Supporters of the referendum, including Helen Lodowsky, leader of a local advocate group called “Yes for 220,” said the district needs this referendum to pass for the students’ sake.

“You guys are talking about money, I get it,” she said. “But these are the people who are our future.”

Others, like community member Bill Bishop, shared concern for the referendum. Bishop said he has a hard time supporting it currently because he doesn’t see a full strategic plan in place for how the district will adapt to changing needs in the community over the next 20 years.

Read more here.

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 wants voters to authorize borrowing $147 million. Voters last April rejected a request to borrow $185 million for facility upgrades.

District 220 is seeking authority to issue $147 million in school building bonds for a variety of projects to include paying for basic improvements at all schools in areas such as safety and security, plumbing, electrical, roofing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

Voters last April rejected a request to borrow $185 million for facility upgrades.

Due to existing debt the district expects to pay off in 2021, approval of the ballot measure would have the owner of a $500,000 home still see a net decrease of about $75 a year. Without the referendum, the same homeowner would see a reduction of $468.

Read about other Cook County ballot questions making news here.  Lake County initiatives are also covered by the Daily Herald here

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Some Barrington Hills properties don’t just have numeric addresses. They come with charming names like “Serendipity” and “Hidden Pond Estate,” often seen on signs posted along village streets.

Concerned that proposed changes in a sign ordinance could force those markers to go away, some residents this week let elected officials know they want to keep that slice of Barrington Hills tradition.

But Village President Martin McLaughlin said those distressed about proposed amendments in the sign ordinance have it all wrong and their concerns are unfounded. He said the intent is not to get rid of property name signs but to tweak the dated ordinance so that those signs as they are can comply with local laws.

Trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan said the village is trying to achieve a finely crafted sign ordinance that updates one that dates to 1963 and was last revised in 1977.

“For those who apparently are not aware, our current ordinance means that probably 90-some-odd percent of the signs that are currently existing are out of compliance,” Hannigan said.

Read more here.

Editorial note: We will publish a link to recordings from Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting soon.

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Paula Jacobsen

The latest Village newsletter came out recently, and it mentions the results of the latest Village annual audit among other things. The sound financial position of our Village is noted, but what is absent of any narrative is how earlier this year, first term trustee Paula Jacobsen caused a potentially damaging accusation that caused the auditor to investigate that accusation.

One question Jacobson was asked to answer during the audit was:

“In your opinion, are there any areas of operation of the Village that do not receive enough oversight of management or board, or any particular weaknesses in internal controls?” 

Jacobsen checked off “Yes.” As a Trustee, she could have taken the opportunity beforehand to gather specific information and to offer a detailed explanation or perhaps even actual facts, but instead submitted her vague audit questionnaire on March 17, 2019 (perhaps hoping to disrupt the April 2 election?).

Jacobson had a wealth of resources at her disposal for weeks before if she had any questions whatsoever on completing her forms from the audit firm. She could have easily gathered information from the Village Treasurer, Director of Administration, Clerk or even the Trustee assigned to Finance, but she did not avail herself of those ample opportunities according to recordings. She could have provided an answer to the question she was asked instead of repeating an anonymous rumor told to her by some residents.

Instead, when asked why she answered “Yes” to the audit question, her initial answer was:

“While I don’t know that it is considered fraud, but some residents have claimed that contracts are being given to certain members of family of the Board, however, that is not evidence of guilt. I don’t know that we have a clear process to evaluate this if in fact this is happening.   I’m not aware of any contract awarded to a Board member.” 

The first thought that came to our minds upon hearing this was that of an immature four-year-old who answers the question “why did you eat those cookies?” with, “Someone said I could.”

Though asked repeatedly, Jacobson would not, or more probably could not offer any specificity to her unsubstantiated allegation, and at times her answers to Trustees questions on her inexplicable answer changed from one minute or meeting month to another.

For example, before the auditor was asked to read back her answer to the question in the presence of the Board, Jacobsen denied checking the “Yes” box repeatedly. She also denied making any claim or charge of process or fraud issues, and she only began to recant her statements once the village president asked the auditor to read them into the record.

Jacobson also stated on more than one occasion that she understood that her responses to all audit questions were private and would be kept anonymous.   Those wishing to listen to the recording of this exchange can do so by clicking here.

She followed up at the June Board of Trustees meeting by reading a written statement that actually reversed her position in May. She stated she believes that fraud and processes have been violated at the Village, and further she made a secondary allegation that the auditing firm was not independent thereby impugning the reputation of the village treasurer, the independent auditor and the finance chairman Mr. Croll and the Village board.

If this sounds pathetic, it is, and it goes on (and on). Rather than continue with what is basically transcribing her lunacy from recordings, we have a better solution for all involved.

The solution to this problem will be for the village to spend further taxpayer dollars to “investigate” the rumor that someone repeated to Jacobson, and then hopefully follow that by providing educational information to Jacobson on the importance and serious nature of the annual financial audit so that in the future she may confidently answer the audit questionnaire with facts instead of vague, unfounded rumor.

-The Observer

Related: Flip, Flop: What changed your minds Trustees Messer, Meroni, and Selman?  (August 30, 2011)

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In April of this year, the Village of Barrington released the results of a 16-item survey sent to 4,505 Barrington households. They received 1,111 responses (a 25% return rate), and we just got around to reviewing the information residents shared with the Village.

Of all the items Barrington included in their survey, one stood out in our eyes immediately as something our residents might find interesting. In question 12, respondents were asked to, “Select your top three (3) sources of information about Village news and activities,” as seen below:

(Click on image to enlarge)

Even with the option of selecting three (3) out of 12 options, the two choices were dead last were:

  • Village Board/Commission Meetings – 2.3%
  • Channel 4 – 3.3%

“Channel 4” in Barrington is a dedicated Comcast channel for all Village meetings. It essentially serves as a “Live Stream” service that two candidates were pitching heavily in the most recent Trustee elections.

Not only were “live streaming” of meetings of little interest to survey respondents, data kept on Village meetings dating back years demonstrate that people seldom looked at recordings of meetings after they’d occurred (the records can be viewed here).

On the bright side, we found little surprise that respondents preferred printed newsletters, emails and newspapers as their primary sources of information.

Further, last week the Barrington 220 Board of Education held two widely publicized meetings that were Live Streamed. Out of a potential audience in the tens of thousands in District 220, only one person tuned in to these streamed events outside of The Observer, and we suspect even that one participant may have been a 220 intern assigned to monitor the quality of the broadcast.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Based on the Village of Barrington and District 220 facts, no one in their right mind would continue to suggest that our Village invest in “Live Streaming” meetings with any expectation of return on investment.   But then again, what sane people suggesting this and other oddities have multiple Facebook pages (anonymous and named), multiple aliases they blog under and at times, post fictitious dialogs under their pseudonym’s hoping to inspire some form of coalition that never materializes.

Many readers may be surprised this goes on. Sadly, it does, especially every two years during election seasons.   

The full 2019 Barrington survey results can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Last week we reposted an article from the McHenry County Blog announcing, “Elaine Ramesh appointed to Algonquin Township Board”.

We omitted that a total 13 candidates filed for the position created when Melissa Victor stepped down according to the Blog (seeApplicants to Replace Melissa Victor as Algonquin Township Trustee“), and two of those candidates are Barrington Hills residents as seen below:

“Elaine Marie Ramesh, Barrington Hills, patent attorney, former BH Village Clerk and Trustee, member of the McHenry County Republican Women’s Club, member of McHenry County Conservation District Advisory Committee, equestrian advocate, raised $40,000 local private match to Federal Recreational Trails program grant to install a horse trailer parking lot to support five miles of multi-use trails. 

Linda H. Cools, Barrington Hills, Citizens Advisory Group for IDOT re widening of Route 62, advocates lowering the required bid level for Highway Department, advocates countering negative publicity, ran twice for the BH Village Board, advocate of transparency, records and posts BH Village Board meetings on Facebook, endorsed by BH Trustees Fritz Gohl and Robert Zubak.

Fritz Gohl is not a Barrington Hills trustee, although he was in some darker times in our past history. He is now in a paid position as trustee for Barrington Township (he ran unopposed) where he can inflict far less damage to the taxpayers of this Village than he did in his too many years on the Barrington Hills Board of Trustees.

Apparently, the resident who filed for consideration is not up on current events, or decided on their own that accurate facts should not matter in the trustee’s consideration. 

Robert Zubak

Our larger concern is the apparent endorsement by Trustee Robert Zubak of this resident’s filing to fill the vacancy (“apparent” due to the fact that the applicant has  “misstated” facts before).  If Zubak did endorse this applicant, does that imply an endorsement as a potential running mate in the 2021 Village Trustee elections?

Perhaps we’ll learn the answer at Monday evening’s Board of Trustees meeting. If not, only time will tell.

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Four years ago we asked readers of The Observer to trust our judgment when voting for 3 new trustees to be on our Village Board of Trustees (see Croll, Maison and Cecola for Barrington Hills Trustees).

In what turned out to be a hard fought, oft times contentious campaign, some may have thought we were asking for a leap of faith from our readers, and we continue to appreciate the confidence bestowed upon us by our readers. Though this year’s campaign is the quietest we’ve witnessed in 10 years, the stakes are no less high than they were four years ago.

Five residents are running for three seats on our Board of Trustees. Two residents are incumbent Trustees, one is a current member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, the other two ran unsuccessfully for village positions in 2017.   Here are our thoughts on these five candidates:

Louis Iacovelli: Louis seems like an affable guy in the computer software business. His campaign website is well done, though it would be more suitable to have photo of a location in the Village on the home page and not unincorporated McHenry County.

We cannot support Louis candidacy for the simple reason his wife, Gigi Iacovelli, is the treasurer of the Barrington Hills Park District. Currently a candidate for election on the park board herself, she derives at least part of her income by providing lessons at the district. While this is not a direct conflict of interest, the potential for lack of objectivity may cause concern in a trustee position.

Linda H. Cools: Linda ran as a write-in candidate for trustee 2 years ago, and after two recent Board of Election hearings, she is running for trustee on the April 2nd ballot.

The best thing one can say about Linda is she will do anything to get elected. This was evidenced by the fact that she (‘misspoke’) under oath multiple times to the Village President, President Pro-Tem and the Deputy Village clerk (see Truth or consequences). We have no place in such a small village for unrepentant (misspeakers)!

Buettner

Debra Buettner: Debra had served on the Zoning Board of Appeals for nearly 4 years when President McLaughlin asked her to consider running for Trustee. When she asked if he needed her help, he replied “Yes.” And that’s why she’s running today.

Debra founded her law firm about the same time she moved to the village nearly thirty years ago.   She is a graduate of Barrington High School, and she has her CPA as well as a law degree. Her confident attitude and her experience on the Zoning Board warrant our endorsement for Board of Trustees.

Cecola

Brian D. Cecola: Brian became a Trustee in 2015 and was given responsibility for Roads and Bridges as well as Public Safety.   No one adequately prepared him for the conditions he would be inheriting, but as most residents now recognize, he was up for the challenge and then some.

Brian also graduated from Barrington High School and he also owns his own business. He and his wife, Stephanie, and their three children are active in the community, participating in the neighborhood clean up days and riding trail maintenance.

Brian is also very active in philanthropy, is President of the Lions Club, and helped found and run the Fourth of July tent and fireworks. Despite all this, when President McLaughlin asked him to serve another term, he agreed, and he has our wholehearted endorsement.

Bryan C. Croll: Bryan was also elected to the Board of Trustees in 2015. He has been in charge of monitoring the finances of the village with the day-to-day oversight Peggy Hirsch, Village Treasurer.   He and Peggy also keep track of police pension fund performance.

Bryan and his wife Josie have three children and he manages his family business remotely in Arizona.   He donates his spare time to causes such as Barrington Area Conservation Trust and the local riding club.

We had some concerns with Bryan’s willingness to work with others early on in his first term. We now are equally concerned with his motivations in seeking a second term, and this publication cannot in good conscience unreservedly endorse him.   

Overall endorsements: The Daily Herald, Village President Martin McLaughlin and President Pro-Tem Colleen Konicek Hannigan have endorsed Bryan Croll, Brian Cecola and Debra Buettner for Trustees of Barrington Hills.

Cecola and Buettner have the unconditional support of The Barrington Hills Observer. Both have demonstrated a passion for our Village and willingness to serve our community. Both display the honesty, dedication and sound judgement that will represent the residents of Barrington Hills admirably for the next four years.

Early voting ends today, April 1.  Election Day polls open tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM.

Please Vote!

 

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