The jail commission political contributions and affiliations

The jail commission political contributions and affiliations

By Jeff Havens, Staff Writer

Winnebago County’s Citizens’ Commission on Crime and Public Safety will meet for the first time on Jan. 9 at 7:30 a.m. in the County Administration Building, Room 501.

The commission will make recommendations to county officials on how to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars on public safety issues: The following is a list of the its members and their political contributions and affiliations.

1. John Anderson was appointed by Winnebago County State’s Attorney Paul Logli (R). Logli donated $1,000 to Winnebago County Board Chairman Kris Cohn’s (R) campaign on June 13, 2002 unsuccessful run for the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. Anderson donated $5,000 to Cohn’s campaign on May 29, 2002. Anderson also has donated at least $39,500 to local and state Republicans since 1996. Illinois State Board of Election records indicate that Anderson donates exclusively to Republicans.

Records also show that Anderson identifies himself as retired, the CEO of Anderson Packaging, president and CEO of Anderson Partners and as an executive of Spring Creek Partners.

2. Steve Bland was appointed by Logli. Bland enthusiastically voiced his support for the Logli/Meyers jail plan last fall on his radio show on WNTA. Logli and Sheriff Richard Meyers (D) were a guests on Bland’s show during the campaign to sell the jail plan. Bland also made a $200 in-kind contribution to Rockford Mayor Doug Scott’s (D) campaign on April 2, 2001 for “rally expenses.”

An “in-kind” contribution is a contribution of anything of value, other than cash, made directly to a political committee or indirectly on behalf of a political committee. Anything of value includes all things, services, or goods, regardless of whether they may be valued in monetary terms according to ascertainable market value.

Bland is the pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church.

3. Charles Box was appointed by Scott. Box is the former Democratic mayor of Rockford. Lawyer and Democrat Thomas O. Meyer was the campaign manager/advisor for Rockford Democratic Mayors John McNamara, Charles Box and Doug Scott.

Meyer lost to Republican challenger Joe McGraw in the November elections for a judgeship that was vacated by former 17th Judicial Circuit Judge Michael Morrison (R), a member of the jail planning committee and jail commission.

4. Gloria Cardenas-Cudia, a Republican, was appointed by fellow Republican Cohn. Cardenas-Cudia publicly supported the Logli/Meyers jail plan. Cudia lost to incumbent Democrat Chuck Jefferson (D-67) in the fall election.

5. Robert Driver-Bishop was appointed by Loves Park Mayor Darryl Lindberg (R).

Lindberg said he appointed Driver-Bishop because he is a “community-minded guy” with educational training in personal conflict resolution. Driver-Bishop is a reverend who preaches at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Driver-Bishop did not return this paper’s telephone call.

6. Phil Eaton was appointed by Logli. Eaton is president/CEO of Rosecrance Health Network. Rosecrance is a not-for-profit organization that attempts to help individuals who have a chemical dependency. Drugs and alcohol play an important role in many jail inmates’ behavior.

The success of programs in helping individuals overcome drug and alcohol addictions is questioned by some researchers. However, many feel inmates should have access to chemical-dependency programs and that approach is the national norm.

Eaton said he lives in the community, and his interest in serving on the commission goes beyond his employment with Rosecrance.

7. Thomas Eschen was appointed by Scott. Eschen is associated with the Illinois Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 364. Scott has received thousands of dollars in contributions from Local 364 during his years as a state representative and mayor. IBEW-C.O.P.E. in Washington contributed $5,000 to Meyers’ campaign on May 1, 2002. IBEW is a member of the Northwestern Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council. The council publicly supported the Logli/Meyers jail plan.

The brotherhood stands to employ many of its workers if a new jail is built.

8. Jeff Foote was appointed by Meyers. Meyers was asked how Foote could be contacted. Meyers declined to give Foote’s telephone number for an interview, citing Foote’s privacy.

Citizens should demand that commission members be accessible to the press. Readers of this paper, taxpayers and citizens have the right to know more about the members of the commission that will be recommending how to spend hundreds of millions of dollars.

9. Terry Hall or a representative from the Rockford Area Association of Realtors (RAAR) was appointed by Cohn. Hall is the CEO of RAAR, which contributes frequently to the Winnebago County Republican Committee. The RAAR publicly supported the Logli/Meyers jail plan.

10. Ernie Heuer was appointed by Cohn. Heuer is a former Republican county board member.

11. Nancy Hyzer was appointed by Logli. Hyzer is a lawyer with Hyzer, Hyzer and Zimmerman in Rockford. Hyzer’s firm is the legal counsel for the RAAR.

Also, according to the Illinois State Bar Association’s May 15, 2000 edition of the ISBA News, Hyzer is the third member of he family to serve as president of the Winnebago County Bar Association. Hyzer’s husband Keith and father Stanley Guyer preceded her.

12. Suzanne Kaufman was appointed by Scott. Kaufman is identified as an artist and retired professor. Her appointment is consistent with Vaughn’s assertion that the community leaders wanted to appoint some members with educational backgrounds.

13. Thomas Kisting was appointed by Meyers. Kisting is the business manager for the Iron Workers’ Union Local 498 of Rockford. Local 498 of Rockford contributed $1,000 on May 1, 2002 to Citizens for Meyers. Local 498 is a member of the Northwestern Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council. The council publicly supported the Logli/Meyers jail plan.

14. Frederick Marcus was appointed by 17th Judicial Circuit Judge Gerald Grubb (R). Like Grubb, Marcus also contributed to Cohn’s failed Illinois Secretary of State campaign. Frederick M. Marcus and Co. P.C. donated a total of $685 in 2002 to Citizens to Elect Kris Cohn.

15. Larry Morrissey was appointed by Logli. Morrissey is a lawyer with Morrissey Law Offices. Morrissey ran as an independent candidate unsuccessfully against Scott for Rockford mayor in 2000. The Morrisseys’ law office made a $100 contribution to Democrat Lisa Madigan in her successful run for Illinois State’s Attorney. The offices also made a $200 contribution to Jefferson.

Morrissey publicly supported the jail referendum but has said he is not entirely sold on the plan Logli and Meyers pitched to the public.

16. Michael Morrison, a former judge, was appointed to the commission by fellow Republican and Circuit Judge Gerald Grubb. In addition, Morrison served on the original jail planning committee with Cohn. In 2002, Grubb donated $235 to Cohn’s failed effort for the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office last fall.

17. Dave Peterson was appointed by Scott, Logli and Grubb. Peterson is the vice president of Rockford Products, Inc. Peterson’s company makes a variety of metal products such as nuts, bolts and other fasteners.

Peterson personally contributed $1,250 to Republicans Dave Syverson (R-34) and Dave Winters (R-69) since 1994. Syverson publicly supported the Logli/Meyers jail plan. Rockford Products, Inc. also underwrote a fundraiser for Republican Jim Ryan in 1995. The company’s in-kind contribution was $6,199.14.

18. Greg Scalise was appointed by Vaughn. Scalise is the finance director for Beloit Memorial Hospital. Vaughn said she appointed Scalise because of his expertise in budgeting and background in working with people in health care.

19. Brian Sendele was appointed by Vaughn. Sendele is part of a family-run real estate appraisal business. Vaughn said she appointed Sendele because of his knowledge of land values. The county plans to purchase several pieces of property to build the large new jail for which appraisals must be completed.

20. William K. Sjostrom was appointed by Lindberg. Lindberg said he appointed Sjostrom because he is a citizen of Loves Park and his knowledge of buildings. Specifically, Lindberg cited Sjostrom’s experience as the facilities manager for county buildings such as Pubic Safety Building—home of the current county jail.

Wllliam K. Sjostrom is the son of William G. Sjostrom, the former CEO of William Sjostrom and Sons, Inc.—a construction company. He is also the brother of Joel Sjostrom, the current CEO of Sjostrom and Sons, Inc. William K. Sjostrom did not return this paper’s telephone call. Further efforts to reach Sjostrom were unsuccessful. A representative from Sjostrom and Sons, Inc. said William K. Sjostrom “has nothing to do with the company.”

Sjostrom is currently the director of facilities planning, operations and maintenance for Rock Valley College (RVC). Controversy exists over how Sjostrom obtained his current position.

Sjostrom was the president of the Board of Trustees at RVC when the board hired RVC President Roland Chapdelaine in 1997. Sjostrom remained board president until Aug. 2000, when he was recommended for hire by Chapdelaine’s administration and the board of trustees approved the administration’s recommendation.

In addition, William G. Sjostrom and the construction company have contributed $35,200 to local and state Republicans since 1994. The company also contributed $200 to Meyers’ campaign on May 1, 2002.

21. Greg Tuite was appointed by the Democrat Meyers. Tuite is a lawyer with Greg Tuite and Associates. Tuite has personally contributed $1,966.33 of individual and in-kind contributions to Democrats since 1994. His firm has contributed $1,675 to Democrats since 1999.

Tuite is also the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Winnebago County.

22. Glen Turpoff was appointed by Cohn. Turpoff is executive director of Northern Illinois Building Contractors Association. Turpoff’s association contributed $20,000 to Cohn’s campaign on June 6, 2002. The associaton publicly supported the Logli/Meyers jail plan. The association has also contributed at least $12,850 to other local and state Republicans since 1996. They also contributed $5,000 to Scott’s campaign on June 28, 2002.

Turpoff personally contributed a total of $1,400 to Republican state representatives Dave Syverson (R-34), who supported the Logli/Meyers jail plan, and Dave Winters’ (R-69) campaigns since 1995.

23. Alice Uphouse was appointed by Meyers. Uphouse said she is the cofounder of the Coronado-Haskell Neighborhood Association, that was instrumental in closing some area drug houses. When asked what she thought of the Logli/Meyers jail plan, Uphouse said she thought it was “positive.”

According to Uphouse, she was “encouraged” to apply for the commission by Judge Grubb (R), fellow Circuit Judge Rosemary Collins (D) and Rockford Alderman Doug Mark (R-3). Uphouse also said she knew well other commission members Bland, Box, Morrison, Cardenas-Cudia. Sjostrom and Frank Ware.

24. Frank Ware was appointed by Scott. Ware is the executive director of Janet Wattles Mental Health Center. The center is a not-for-profit community behavioral health center serving individuals and families in northern Illinois. The center provides an array of assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation for adults, children and adolescents.

The center is supported by grants, fees, foundations, and corporate and individual donations. The vast majority of Wattles’ funding comes from government agencies such as the Department of Human Services.

Like Rosecrance, Wattles also may gain from the construction of a new jail. However, many feel that inmates having access to mental health programs should be the national norm.

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