By Frank Schier
Editor & Publisher
Will elections ever not be corrrupt? With their recent 5-4 ruling that corporations can contribute to support or attack any candidate, the U.S. Supreme Court just kicked the concept of campaign finance reform back a few decades, if not completely out of the possibility of non-violent history.
Hearing their echoing voices ever since the Warren Court, I don’t ever want to hear my conservative friends complain about judicial activism and the disrespect for precedent by the nation’s top court again. You become what you hate.
And in case you ever doubted it, this court ruling gives the supreme stamp of approval on the rule for big business, by big business, and of big business over the rest of the people all the time.
The judicial, legislative and the executive branches of our national government are so deeply owned by the corporations—personified by the military-industrial complex, which is enslaving us and our children with never-ending wars. What deficit?
Banks and insurance corporations sing songs of joy as the bailouts keep coming with no real return to the economy, just more chain gangs of taxes breaking the backs of a disappearing middle class.
The Republican and Democratic parties are really over because of the penny-pinching grip of the classic Golden Rule: Those with the gold rule. The elephants and donkeys in the supposed electoral room all really belong to the old/new oligarchy party. So as we go through the motions of fading democracy, let us look to Massachusetts for smiling inspiration.
Oh, the farce of it. The coat-tailers of the Kennedy dynasty and an overconfident and presumptive Obama presidency found out about populist backlash, and they lost the 60-seat, super majority in the U.S. Senate with the election of a guy who posed nude in Cosmopolitan magazine once, Republican candidate Scott P. Brown. Gotta love it, my moral majorities. National health care now looks more than shaky; and that may be a good thing, all deficits considered. The populist laugh is on both sides.
So choosing to electorally laugh rather than cry, let us continue that populist backlash and “bring it on,” the unexpected, rather than “Mission Accomplished.”
Traditionally, this paper has not made endorsements for primary elections. Too many candidates, too little space in our weekly endeavor. However, some races in this primary are just too choice not to comment on, so let’s break some rules, preferably the “Golden” one spoken of earlier. Only a few races will be chosen for endorsement because the ones not chosen are viewed as the “usual suspects” in continuing crimes against the taxpayers, with exceptions to be surely proven by their actions in office if elected.
Democratic Primary Ballot,
February 2, 2010, Winnebago County
and the City of Rockford
Federal For United States Senator
Oh, such fun. The former governor of the state (Blago) tried to sell the national senate seat of the man who became president of the country (Obama); and the man the governor appointed in the interim decided not to run because he couldn’t get elected for certain (Burris), because the questionable selection process by the governor, who is now under federal indictment and will be on a national television show as an “apprentice” to a business tycoon (Trump). Geeesh.
The entire process seems like a new poker game, “The Most Corrupt State,” played by the Three Stooges and W.C. Fields with the stakes being bragging rights among New Jersey, Louisiana and Illinois, and, of course, Honest Abe Lincoln’s state wins.
So now, six people are running for the Democratic seat. Quite a mix.
Alexi Giannoulias is in the lead in the polls, and the state’s Sierra Club and teachers’ union do endorse him. Yet, I also like Chris Kennedy, son of RFK and noted Chicago businessman. Google “Illinois Senate Race” for more information, and I think you’ll find more politics as usual. Your call. No endorsement.
State For Governor
The pick is between incumbent Pat Quinn and Daniel W. Hynes. Monday, Jan. 25, they had a televised debate on WTTW that was less than pretty. Quinn clearly feels abandoned by some of his own party and feels Hynes was no help since Quinn had to take over from Blago.
By the way, in this paper’s last endorsements for the governors race, it was pointed out that a vote for the Blago/Quinn ticket was a vote for Quinn because Blago was probably going to be indicted. This paper was correct and claims it.
From his work with Mayor Harold Washington, with Granny D’s cross-county trek for campaign-finance reform and from his work with Citizens Utility Board, Quinn has always been the outside insider. Inheriting Blago’s financial mess, like Obama did Bush’s, Quinn seems to be doing little better than the president.
Yet, he did deliver the state capital campaign money to Rockford recently, and has supported renewable energy, although with too much focus on big wind. Lowden State Park and others are open as a result of his efforts.
Reaching way back, Hynes really has made this race personal, and the cold taste of his hard approach is sour.
Quinn has more promise, but he has to win the system. The Rock River Times strongly endorses Pat Quinn.
For State Central Committeewoman 16th Congressional District
The Rock River Times strongly endorses Wendy Schnieder. Her opposition to the ethanol plant and her races for a seat on the county board are some of the best-run campaigns around. Problem is, in her area of the county, you have to be a long-time rural resident and male to win. That outdated conservative notion has cost that area a person who truly cares and works smart and hard.
As much as an honest, fun and a good person Linda McNeely is on Rockford City Council, we have to vote “No,” as she does too often to really make it count.
For Members of the County Board District 1
Again, The Rock River Times strongly endorses Wendy Schnieder. She is the area’s poster woman for the grassroots populism and courage so sorely needed to protect our agricultural and natural land treasures.
All the “Greenies” out there should support this woman, particularly the women in that movement and all the women in the rural area of District 1. Isn’t it time for some empowerment and equal rights? Get people to the polls in this offbeat primary, and you can win. Wendy Schnieder’s time is now. Everyone who is environmentally conscious and anyone who supports local foods should work for her.
For Members of the County Board District 7
She’s quite feisty, but Angela “Angie” Goral has got to go-—off the county board. Go to our Web site, www.rockrivertimes.com, and type her name into our search engine. From her positions supporting big wind, to her extremely pro-development/pro-urban sprawl positions on the county’s 2030 plan, she has been an advocate for her vocation, real estate, not our endangered environment or her constituents.
She just doesn’t get the facts stated in the Rock River Valley’s “Green Communities” survey that 75 percent plus of county voters surveyed believe farmland and open areas should be preserved. She fought putting in the Greenways Plan and the Natural Resource Inventory of the County’s 2030 Land Use Planning Map. Her mode of thinking that jobs must be had at all costs robs our children of their future quality of life. Even Mayor Morrissey had to point out to her the cost to the city for infrastructure for new subdivisions, and her fellow county board members voted against her on the issue. Considering all upcoming votes on zoning, she is the classic example of why those involved in the construction trades and real estate have a conflict of interest on the Zoning Committee and the county board as watchdogs for proper land use.
Gerald O. Albert is strongly endorsed by The Rock River Times. Albert was a supporter of the Ditzlers when they fought the Springfield-Harrison extension and then-State Rep. Doug Scott’s quick-take form of eminent domain. As he opposed the destruction of the Ditzlers’ historic Woodland Indian settlement site, he has always represented the best interest of the west side of Rockford. As opposed to Goral, he has always been for “in-fill” development of existing neighborhoods rather than the “out-fill” development that just wastes more resources.
For Members of the County Board District 12
The Rock River Times strongly endorses incumbent George Anne Duckett. She has done a sterling job of representing her district and is what all community leaders should strive to be. She has tremendous clout in the Democratic Caucus and tries to be very open and fair, as opposed to many on the other side of the aisle.
Gary Allen Crowley, thanks for running, but you are outclassed and can’t match Duckett’s outstanding experience.
Republican Primary Ballot,
February 2, 2010, Winnebago County
and the City of Rockford
Federal for United States Senator
The Rock River Times endorses Patrick Hughes, chairman of Sensible Taxpayers Opposed to Increased Taxes (http://www.patrickhughesforsenate.com/). He’s running second in the polls, but his stance on the Energy Cap and Trade issue makes sense, and we need every one we can get in the Senate who is against more taxes. We’ll see if he is a real fiscal conservative if he gets elected.
Mark Kirk, U.S. Representative for Illinois 10th district, leads in the polls and endorsement, but he just seems more of the usual suspects crowd. We’d all love to be surprised.
State for Governor
In what is also becoming a “personal” or dirty race, it’s between 2006 unsuccessful gubernatorial Bill Brady, Former Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna, former Illinois Attorney General and 2002 Republican nominee for governor Jim Ryan and state Senator and former Jim Edgar Chief of Staff Kirk Dillard and two other candidates.
Ryan is in the lead in the polls, but the whole crowd seems to be the usual suspects. I like Dillard because I like Edgar, but Syverson has endorsed Dillard, eh. No endorsement.
For Representative in the General Assembly 68th District
Dave Winters may experience the Kennedy-Massachusetts syndrome. Overconfident, and in office long enough to feel dynastic, Winters decided to run for Lt. Governor, and Winters told John M. Cabello he had Winters’ support for the state rep. seat. Then, some big state dogs with big state money came into the Lt. Governor’s race, and Winters saw he had declared too soon. Cabello had his campaign under way. Winters said he wanted Cabello to step down. Cabello said, “No.” It’s a mess, and the Republican Party faithful are avoiding this race with money normally slated to Winters and/or taking sides.
Winters has carved a fiefdom out in Shirland with state money for a wildlife area he can use as a hunting club under the conservation banner. It’s all quite legal, but unseemly, and many residents have commented. His attempted dismissal of Cabello is also unseemly, and obviously unsuccessful. In effect, Cabello was told, “Thank you for committing your time and money; but I’ve changed my mind because of a poor decision, so go shut up and sit down. We’ll take care of you later.”
Cabello admirably doesn’t seem to take orders too well. He said it pretty well here: http://rockrivertimes.com/2009/09/22/guest-columncabello-to-stay-in-the-race-for-68th-district-representative/.
Seems like Cabello will not fall in line for Winters’ cronies and masters. Good. Winters as a farmer has talked a good agricultural and open space preservation game. This paper will hold Cabello to winning that game locally and downstate, as well as pushing for restrictions on the siting of big wind farms in migratory areas and new funds for more public acquisition of sensitive natural areas.
Winters should have fought Palatine state Senator Murphy dropping his bid for Governor and going for the Lt. Governor slot to be Andy McKenna’s running mate. That was not Cabello’s fault. Winters’ subsequent support of Murphy is also no doing of Cabello’s. As usual, it’s all about Winters, but what about fair play? Ego dis way; ego dat way—wrong way.
John M. Cabello is strongly endorsed by The Rock River Times.
For Representative in the General Assembly 69th District
Rockford Ald. Joe Sosnowski (R-1) has taken many stances this paper has disagreed with, and his former employment with the Nicolosi real estate firm, Buckley Partners, was a conflict of interest. Michele Corirossi is the wife of 17th Circuit Court Judge Ronald J. White, and that’s too much potential power and conflict of interest in one family. Thaddaeus V. Loffelmacher is actually the legislative aide to retiring Rep. Ron Wait. He makes sense. He knows the office, all the players and the issues. The Rock River Times endorses Thaddaeus V. Loffelmacher.
For County Sheriff
A former county board member, Randy F. Sturm has run for several offices and earned the endorsement of this paper. He is responsible and has the public’s interests at heart. He just doesn’t have the comparative experience for this job.
His opponent, Aaron Booker, comes from a law enforcement family. Booker’s brother, Michael, is a deputy chief for the Rockford Police Department. His other brother is with the FBI. Finally, tremendous opportunity for intergovernmental cooperation on organized crime and gangs in particular exist with his election, with any conflict of interest clearly defined publicly. Booker has racked up 28 years of law enforcement experience first with Loves Park and now as a sergeant with the county. The Rock River Times strongly endorses Aaron Booker.
For Members of the County Board District 1
Richard A. Sneath, Robb Firch and incumbent Lynne Strathman want this job. Strathman was appointed to the seat when Randy Olson resigned to take the chief pilot’s job for Law Enforcement Aviation Coalition (LEAC). Her recent vote with Frank Gambino on his motion to withhold pay from Loves Park Democrat Carolyn Gardner until an old traffic violation was paid was a cheap shot. It was obvious retaliation for Ted Biondo’s loss of Mary Ann Aiello’s seat to Gardner in a court decision by Judge Ron Pirrello. Yet, many say she comes from a fine family in Winnebago and can do the job. Sneath and Firch are also really unknowns. Best of luck to all of the candidates. No endorsement.
For Members of the County Board District 2
So much water has passed under the bridge in the longtime battle between Jim Webster and incumbents Steve Schultz and Dave Yeske, the muddied issues could fill a large part of the Rock River.
Webster lost last time to District 2’s other incumbent, Steve Schultz, because of Webster’s supposed alignment with Rockton Mayor Dale Adams on annexation of the Cannell subdivision and Webster’s supposed failure to address a local landfill issue. Webster will point out his county board vote against the Cannell development, and his very strong stance on all things “Green,” as a former member of the Forest Preserve Board and supporter of local natural land acquisition.
Yeske by far is the most knowledgable person about zoning on the county board, much to the irritation of some fellow Republicans, who were stymied by his excellent work on the steering committee for the county’s 2030 Land Use Plan and his work on the zoning committee.
Yeske peeved Demo king Doug Aurand over some committee appointment deal years ago, and Aurand again and again grinds that ax.
And Yeske did work to try get special-use permits for wind turbines, but only Steve Schultz had the ultimate courage to vote against the ordinance on the final vote. So even with his final vote for the wind ordinance, organized labor is peeved at Yeske, too. In this case, that’s a positive thing for Yeske—labor and the board were wrong for the too few temporary jobs that will come from the wind farms.
With all this other weird water in the past downriver, what has really sunk Webster recently is a mailing he will not make full disclosure on, and the fact that one of his signs was put up underneath and attached to a directional sign to a county forest preserve. Some have made the assertion he thinks he is so close to the forest preserve folks, he can do whatever he wants on their property, calling it “arrogance.” Others say he will not make a full disclosure on the mailing—why not—what’s all this technical argument about the amount of money required for mandatory disclosure?
Then came his response to this paper’s inquiries about those matters. Webster said, “I know who’s creating the waves, and it’s the same little—there’s a core group of people that—and I’ll be very frank with you—I think they’re very mean-spirited people, and they were around at the last election cycle, and they’re still mean and ornery and bitter, and they’re just gonna dig and look for every little thing they can to try to harpoon Jim Webster. And that’s the bottom line on that.”
Well, dang, Jim; I’ll be very frank with you. That reply sounds “mean and ornery and bitter” and a lot like whining. Politics is a big-boy game, and that’s the reason so many people in District 2 support Yeske; he’s a big boy who supports them first. Yes, Yeske supports his constituents before he will support the people who appear in the mailer in question endorsing Jim Webster. Those “big” (not “little”) people are state Senator Dave Syverson (R-34), state Senator Brad Burzynski (R-35), South Beloit Mayor Randy Kirichkow, Rockton Village President Dale Adams, and Roscoe Village President Dave Krienke (R).
That’s why The Rock River Times strongly endorses Dave Yeske. “Little” people and/or little groups of people “creating waves” are OK with Yeske and this paper. They’re not “good ol’ boys” who don’t like, or vote, or work, for anyone but themselves. Go, Yeske!
From the Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2010 issue