Hanging out in Rockford: The old college try

If you are a regular reader of my column you noticed that I was strangely absent the past few weeks. Not without reason. The flu, the election and some things in my personal life took their toll. Frank Schier didn’t want me to write about my candidacy (from the equal representation standpoint) and that was a big part of what I had going on. The things that happened in my personal life were a little too personal to share. I had this roller coaster life, full of fodder for a great column and was completely unable to write about it. Now the election is over. Now I can share a few things with you, my readers.

It is Sunday, and I am sitting at the computer completely unaware of how the election will turn out. Saturday I pasted more than 1,000 stamps and stickers on my mailing to all the Democratic households in the 12th district. I ran as a Democrat, but my personal beliefs are more that of an independent. L. C. Wilson, my opponent, challenged my signature petitions. Paul Logli, Winnebago County States Attorney, threw me off the ballot in his position as chair of the election review board. I was ably represented by attorney John Nelson, and we managed to get Mr. Logli’s decision reversed in circuit court.

Mr. Wilson was appointed to fill out Reggie Taylor’s term. This was done before the Democratic primary. This was, in my opinion, a handoff, and therefore wrong. When there are two candidates on the party ballot for an open position, the proper procedure would dictate that you wait a couple of weeks to appoint the person to fill that job. In this case, if I win the primary (there is at this time no Republican opposition), Mr. Wilson will fill that spot only until November. He most certainly will not be the representative after that time. What purpose will his short stay serve?

Imagine my surprise when Greg Tuite, the chairperson of the Democratic Party, showed up to represent Mr. Wilson at my hearing in circuit court. We are both seeking the Democratic nomination, and the chair of the party represents one of us over the other in a nomination dispute? If this is not a conflict of interest, it is certainly in the poorest possible taste. Why would both the big time Republicans and Democrats both line up to keep a single candidate off the ballot?

I think you know why. I can’t be counted to toe the party line. Any party line. I am too much of a free spirit for them to want to put up with me. But that is only if I am elected, and we will know a lot more about that after Tuesday. This may all be moot.

But life goes on. I am either happy today because I am the Democratic candidate for county board in the 12th district, or I am happy because I am not. Either way, I will continue to be outspoken about our local government. The 12th district may not be big enough. I may need a larger venue to have a credible candidacy. Only time will tell.

Our local governing bodies are out of control. Times are tough, and what do they do? Raise taxes and fees. The people didn’t spend enough to provide them with sufficient (in their minds) funds. No problem, we’ll add a new tax here, another one there. This will only stop when the people get mad. Mad enough to take charge and throw out the old and vote in the new.

I, for one, am content. I gave it the old college try. Whether I am successful or not, I have raised some questions. Questions that may not at this time be answered, but questions that may set people to thinking. The biggest danger to entrenched political power is people thinking.

Owner of the Irish Rose (Rockford) and Irish Rose North (Rockton) restaurants, Mike Leifheit’s “Hanging Out In Rockford” reviews locally-owned restaurants, businesses and Rockford life. These columns are also available on his Web site: IrishRoseRockford.com and featured on WNTA talk radio AM 1330.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!