UPDATED! TRRT offers endorsements for April 5 election

9:45 a.m., Tuesday, April 5. VOTE!

Editor’s note: Following are The Rock River Times’ final installment of endorsements for the 2005 general election in the City of Rockford and Winnebago County. Names surrounded by asterisks indicate a positive endorsement.




Vote for One

*William J. Timm – Republican*

Charles H. Laskonis – Democratic

Bill Timm is called the best alderman on City Council by people in his ward. His development efforts have been laudable, although this will hurt existing businesses. He drives his ward on a regular basis and is obviously responsive to his constituents because of how good the ward looks. With Doug Mark, John Beck, Pat Curran, Dave Johnson, Frank Beach and Frank Giammarese, a balance against the Democratic majority is possible to work with Mayor Larry Morrissey.

Considering all this and Timm’s two-term experience, challenger Charles H. Laskonis is out-gunned. We agree with his railing against the old mindset in Rockford politics, but Timm just works too well and hard, unlike others. Try again, Charles.

Vote for Timm.


Vote for One

*John C. Beck – Republican*

Matthew J. Daughenbaugh – Democratic

Beck makes all the right calls. He’s concerned about the river. It is hoped he’ll do something about the crazy lack of control of the dam during high water. His proposed focus on the old Essex Wire and Sears buildings makes sense, as does the work on North Main Street’s sidewalks and landscaping. He responds well to his constituents, as do Bill Timm and Doug Mark in the area. They make a good team.

Daughenbaugh seems to lack issues in his campaign, presenting no real need for a change.

Vote for Beck.


Vote for One

*Frank Giammarese – Republican*

Daniel P. Conness – Democratic

Conness’s unfettered support for the gambling boat presents a real need for a change. He is just another part of the machine that has wrong-headedly run this town into decade after decade of losses. Big projects line big pockets, and that’s fine with Conness.

Giammarese’s affiliations with police, conservation, veterans and arts groups speak of an open mind with eclectic influences. As a Republican, his endorsement of independent mayoral candidate Larry Morrissey speaks of independent and critical thinking. We need more thinkers like Giammarese.

Vote for Giammarese.






Vote for One

Mark Thompson

*Barb Dent*

Nancy Kalchbrenner

Several unfortunate outcomes have outsourced themselves into our reality during Kalchbrenner’s tenure.

First, there’s outsourcing itself. The unfair negotiations with the custodian’s union and resulting outsourcing of that contract will haunt the halls of our schools for years to come. The custodians gave in to the district’s demands and were told they bowed too late. So the schools and students lose the quality that knows the nuances of each facility and the student’s personalities to newcomers. This will ultimately cost us more in dollars and in the human sense.

Second, a new scary stage has been reached with the cutting of seventh hour in our schools, for teachers’ planning time/mental health and students’ study time/academic health.

Most importantly, oh well, lack of communication seems to be the course for this school board member.

Never wanting to control choices, communication is one of Barb Dent’s talents. She doesn’t know how to be quiet, thank God. As any person in the media will tell you, she’s the queen of the press release. She’ll let you know, even if you don’t want to know or agree with what she says. She writes well, too, as readers of this paper know from her guest columns. From the start of R.E.A.Ch (Rockford Educating All Children) to the present, through tireless effort on tax protests to knowing the full scope of every issue confronting the school district, Dent is amazing. She will listen. For depth and fairness, she’s the one. She works like few people can because she really cares.

Vote for Dent.



(Vote for ONE)

Trent Ferguson – Owen Township

*Jolyn M. Fasula – Independent*

What a mess.

Two candidates are vying for assessor in Owen Township. They are: Trent Ferguson, 22, grandson of veteran assessor Cal Ferguson, 84, and Jolyn Fasula, 44, a newcomer to the political scene.

Both candidates have taken technical courses required to get certification for the assessor’s post. Ferguson was appointed to the position after his grandfather resigned earlier this month.

Unfortunately, for all involved, this smacks of nepotism. Ferguson claims six years of experience working for his grandfather. Since he is only 22 years old, he says he has volunteered for his grandfather since he was 16. He has been on the payroll in the Owen Township Assessor’s Office, assisting his grandfather for approximately nine months, drawing a salary of $3,900 and expenses of $2,662 for that period. However, he still had the job through the graces of his grandfather, Cal. Cal drew $1,666 for his March 1 monthly payroll. Cal Ferguson’s resignation, just before the his grandson’s election race, now the appointed incumbent, was too timely.

Too often, we have seen the officeholder resign before an election and appoint a successor, so the handpicked enjoys the powerful advantage of incumbency. Kotche/Gasparini and Aurand/Goral are two recent examples. With arguments about performance in office aside, those “transitions” did anything but offer a level playing field for the candidates or the voters. These machinations must stop.

Fasula has had experience in real estate and with board of review issues. She worked for Williams & McCarthy for six years. She is a computer teacher at St. Bernadette grade school. She is intelligent and mature.

Fasula said she is concerned with the way the Owen Township assessor’s office has been run. She believes records need to be better maintained to be readily available to taxpayers, and she thinks the office should be computerized like many other townships. She will do a good job of that since she teaches computer science and has applied and adapted technology in the workplace. She will also buy a copy machine for the office, which is something it does not currently have.

Ferguson said he is in the process of establishing a computerized system in the office, but he lacks the expertise of Fasula.

As noted, both are certified to perform the job, although Ferguson protested Fasula’s certification, and a review board dismissed his protest. The day before the election, Ferguson was on 1330-AM, WNTA’s Stephanie Caltagerone Show, still saying she might not be certified. Bad form.

As to expertise, Ferguson says he will keep his grandfather on to advise him. Who are the voters voting for—another term for Cal Ferguson or a contest between his grandson and Fasula? The whole situation is unseemly.

Cal Ferguson at 85 years of age should be able to retire after many years of fine service. Unfortunately, instead of giving his grandson a straight run at the office on a level playing field with his opponent, he is still grasping at the reins of power.

Cal is the founder of the Winnebago County Taxpayer’s Association (WCTA), which was essentially the only group that represented taxpayers in its heyday. WCTA also did a fine job as one of the collecting groups for the tax protests against Rockford School District 205.

In 2002, tragically to their stated purpose, the WCTA wasn’t even on the radar in the fight against the huge, never-ending sales tax increase for a monstrous jail. We will live with that burden and its effect for years to come, and the WCTA was invisible on the issue.

Then, comparable to the awkward withdrawal from Owen Township, Ferguson’s WCTA accepted approximately $22,000 from Dan Arnold and Sunil Puri to defeat the very worthy and sorely-needed Rockford Park District Referendum in 2003. WCTA’s sterling reputation
was tainted by carrying one of the area’s largest taxpayer’s water. To add insult to injury, WCTA has not been heard of since, nor is their River District office staffed.

Cal’s once-great approach and judgment have faded. While the Fergusons may have the best of intentions for the taxpayers, and can do the job, obviously, it’s time for a change of values. Nepotism has its negative definition for good reason. Vote for modern maturity and good judgment, and reject the resignation/appointment syndrome. Trent Ferguson can take his own shot next time around, with some real-life experience and sorely-learned lessons under his belt.

Fasula can do the job with none of the baggage. Vote for Jolyn Fasula.

—Cherry Valley Township—


Vote for One

No Candidate – Democratic

*Wendy Owano – Republican*

Danielle Rumple – Independent

Two races generate interest here—assessor and highway commissioner. And one of them, yes, oddly it’s the assessor’s race, too, is almost a carbon copy of the Owen Township “family.”

The assessor’s race pits the deputy assessor, Danielle Rumple, 22, against former trustee, Wendy Owano, 51.

In office for 23 years, Harry Buck is the retiring assessor and grandfather of Rumple. At least she hasn’t been appointed to his office. She has worked in the office four or six years, depending on the source, and is described as energetic and efficient. Reportedly, more than 80 percent of the assessor’s office budget goes to members of the Buck family.

Buck stressed the importance of family on 1330-AM, WNTA’s Stephanie Caltagerone Show. We agree—for home life—not for public office. That’s nepotism.

Owano’s campaign has focused on cost-cutting. She voted on the assessor’s budget annually during the time she was a trustee, and needs to really crunch those numbers if she wins. From all reports, she’s very intelligent, politically active on the county level and has held elected office before. She just has more experience.

Vote for Owano.



No Candidate – Democratic

*Pat O’Donnell – Republican*

Kevin Fagan – Independent

Pat O’Donnell, the incumbent township highway commissioner, has long tenure in the office and is well regarded by other highway commissioners. He is said to be dedicated to furnishing honest, quality service to the taxpayers. His long experience puts him well above his challenger, Kevin Fagan, as we see it. Pete MacKay says O’Donnell is the best he’s ever seen and all other highway commissioners are measured against O’Donnell. That’s the word.

Vote for O’Donnell.



(Vote for ONE)

*Thomas W. Strickland – Republican*

Linda M. Vaughn – Democratic

Linda Vaughn fooled us last time around, and we endorsed her—not this time. We thought she was for the regular citizen, but she has jumped into big sprawl and into big business’ pockets. The expansion out Highway 173 is ridiculous and poorly planned, eating up farmland by the acre and threatening Rock Cut State Park. Her support for the Perryville extension has disastrous environmental and conservation consequences for the future.

The new TIF district is offering incentives to the developers and big box stores on the backs of the small businesses and property owners. They really pay the tax bills and cowered under possible eminent domain and unbridled commercial growth infringing on their once quiet neighborhoods.

Like President Bill Clinton, she’s the best Democrat the Republicans ever had.

Tom Strickland needs to step up and address all of these issues. He sounds like he wants to, but we’re rather wary of stances and promises from Machesney Park. We’ll let his actions be his platform. Step up for the citizens, Strickland. Step off the Republicans’ (or for that matter the Democrats’) platform.

Vote for Strickland.



(Vote for ONE)

Dale B. Adams

*Thomas Wallace*

Dale Adams is an able administrator, but he’s out of touch with his citizenry and small businesses, too.

His push for development, sprawl, in Rockton to increase the tax base is not welcomed in town, nor is his police department’s focus on downtown restaurant and lounge patrons. Although he works hard, he’s not listening to his constituents. Government from the grassroots up works best, as he should know.

Tom Wallace, as co-owner of the local grocery store, knows and honors grassroots conservation and improvement. He wants to make what Rockton already has better. His involvement with community festivals, schools and fund-raising is laudable and a great background for knowledgable action. He wants to communicate. He knows sales taxes bring revenue, and he wants to expand the sales of local business. He wants to make Rockton a welcoming community for visitors again.

Vote for Thomas.


The following endorsements were posted Friday, April 1, 2005.

Editor’s note: Due to resource constraints, The Rock River Times was not able to publish endorsements for all contested seats at this time. Following is a list of all contested seats in the City of Rockford and Winnebago County that we do endorse for the April 5 general election.

More endorsements will be posted online Monday, April 4.




APRIL 5, 2005


Vote for One

Gloria Cardenas Cudia – Republican

Douglas P. Scott – Democratic

Lawrence J. Morrissey

– Independent

See “VOTE MORRISSEY” on the front page of this Web site for complete endorsement



Vote for One

Patrick Curran – Republican

Melissa Lewis – Democratic

As admirable as the energy and fervor of Melissa Lewis is, Pat Curran simply is more qualified for the job. As a business owner and long-time alderman, Curran knows the intricacies of private and public business as few do. Lewis is on a big learning curve, and should stay involved.

The only criticism to be offered of Curran is his occasional adherence to the powers-that-be line, with a reticence to rock the special interests boat. When Curran wants to make the waters rough in the public’s interest, he’s very good at the helm. We’d like to see him make more waves. Encourage him.

Vote for Curran.


Vote for One

Doug Mark – Republican

Daniel A. Lewandowski – Democratic

Vote for Doug Mark. Although Daniel A. Lewandowski has run an good campaign and gave a good showing in the River District debate, Mark is superior. However, Lewandowski has shown great talent and potential, he’s just running against a very strong opponent. We hope to see him again on a ballot in the future.

In his last four years, Mark actually did what his predecessor, Carol Jambor-Smith, did not. He returned phone calls. He listened to his constituents. He performed for his constituents, with very good work. Mark even is willing to reverse his stance if he thinks the majority of his constituents are against a particular proposal. A good example of this is how he turned around on the Wyman to Main crossover, once he realized that at least 24 of the 35 businesses that would be affected by the project were against the project. He listened and acted. We hope he does the same for the goofy North End roundabout idea. Plus, Doug’s great wife, Sally, works just as hard as he does for the taxpayers, while they both raise their umpteen kids.

Doug Mark knows how to relate to the members of a team and how to lead as well. Largely, he really does a great job as an alderman. He’ll even fix your garbage can problem. Unlike some who consider themselves royalty, no job is too small or to big for Mark.

Vote for Mark.


Vote for One

David F. Johnson – Republican

Carl R. Wasco – Democratic

Carl Wasco has no experience as an elected official. He is chairman of the Rockford Housing Authority, which has a huge list of problems. His small business experience is a plus, but not e

nough to match David Johnson’s years of political warfare.

Although Johnson has stepped over the line with his petition drive to combine Rockford and Winnebago County election offices, which is a horrible idea, he has performed well as an alderman. He is the only council person to question the “no-bid” fiber-optic and garbage contracts. Where is the rest of the City Council? Hiding under their seat at risk of offending the omnipresent powers?

Johnson may shoot from the hip with some inaccuracy, but at least he’s taking a shot for the taxpayers. Keep firing, Dave, and forget the joint election office idea!

Vote for Johnson.


Question to issue $8,700,000 General Obligation Street Improvement Bonds of the City of Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois. Vote “No!”



Vote for One

Gerald O. Albert – Republican

Michael J. (Mickey) Goral – Democratic

This was a tough choice.

Republican Gerald Albert faces Democrat Michael “Mickey” Goral for Rockford Township supervisor. Goral enjoys a spotless reputation in the post he has held for some time. He has upgraded the office’s computer system, and has a reputation around the state for technical and administrative talent. His employees are enthusiastic about his retention. Goral runs a good ship.

Gerald Albert has a very good reputation as a community activist and is a personable man. He also has broad-based support and has organized his campaign well. As an African American, he offers the viewpoint and empowerment of the minority community, which we need more of on all levels of government. He is the most serious challenge Goral has had.

However, Goral’s vast experience and expertise outweigh Albert’s activism. We encourage Albert to run again for public office. Seeing a finely run office, we endorse Goral.

Vote for Goral.



Vote for One

Peter M. “Pete” MacKay – Republican

Elmer Jones – Democratic

Here’s an easy pick. Vote for Pete MacKay and encourage everyone else you know to do the same.

While it is admirable for Jones to run because he is retired, he cannot come close to MacKay for experience. As he had the fine support of his party, we thank Jones for his defeat of a “pretend Democrat,” Ron Swanson, in the primary election and for his civic concern and effort. Jones should run for another office.

In local Republican leadership circles, especially those involving Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen and State Sen. Dave Syverson, the name “MacKay” causes great consternation. What a compliment! MacKay refuses to “go along to get along.” By being his own man and brightly avoiding the blind party line, MacKay truly represents his constituents in the county and Rockford Township. MacKay actually considers each issue on its merits. MacKay is concerned about the well-being of his employees. MacKay thinks about the long-term consequences of each issue and its impact on citizens. MacKay is a tightwad with tax dollars. Pete MacKay is a man, and he stands up like one, for us all. God save all the weasels from good-natured, raspy-voiced, critical-thinking curmudgeons, but if cloning ever becomes legal, more honest MacKays sound just fine.

Vote for MacKay.


Vote for Four

Philip J. Nicolosi – Republican

William K. Sjostrom – Republican

John A. Rundquist – Republican

Terrance C. Bell – Democratic

Greg Tuite – Democratic

Jasper St. Angel – Democratic

Michael D. Olson – Democratic

Three Republicans and four Democrats have squared off for the posts of township trustees. They comprise an assortment of lawyers, developers and real estate personnel. Most any one of them can provide business and management expertise more than adequate for the positions sought. You get a choice of four.

Jasper St. Angel enjoys a name that stands for honesty and integrity in local politics. Greg Tuite and John Rundquist offer political, legal and business experience. The others have been active in local politics and civic affairs as well.

The only candidate we don’t recommend is former Rock Valley College Trustee and Board Chairman William K. Sjostrom. He resigned from the board and then was hired as an RVC administrator shortly thereafter by Dr. Roland Chapdelaine. Chapdelaine was fired as president of RVC after a series of articles by Jeff Havens for this paper (which took second place in the Illinois Press Association contest for 2004 News Reporting Series, Division C) and a “no-confidence vote” by the staff and faculty. Sjostrom still holds that RVC post.

Take your pick for the fourth candidate. Vote for Rundquist, Tuite and St. Angel.





Vote for Four

Rodney L. Scott

Patti Lawrence

Kathy Geyer

Brian D. Wolf

Christel Walters

Jack R. Ramsey

Tim Melvin

Demetris Prewitt

Karen E. Bell

Willie D. Ashford, Jr.

We endorse Kathy Geyer and Jack R. Ramsey. Geyer has been very involved in civic activities for many years with a great work ethic. As a retired Harlem teacher, Ramsey was an inspirational teacher and coach for many years as well. Both of them will be excellent watchdogs for the students, teachers and taxpayers.

As for the other two choices, it’s your pick. Vote for Ramsey and Geyer.

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