- Lee Hamilton: November’s elections won’t resolve much of anything
- Pec Playhouse Theatre announces auditions for holiday production
- Keeping up with Aida: A western adventure, part three
- State prepares for thousands of medical marijuana applications
- Rockford’s Choices Natural Market celebrates Non-GMO Month
- Week 5 NFL picks: Lions to improve to 4-1, Packers and Bears will keep pace at 3-2
- Craft Beer Scene Around Rockford: Revolution Brewing’s Oktoberfest offers good all-around balance
- Rockford’s Fall ArtScene at 37 locations Oct. 3-4
- Tales from the Trough: Preseason interview with ‘The Voice of the IceHogs,’ Mike Peck
- Mr. Green Car: Saltwater-powered car: the Quant e-Sportlimousine
THE ROCK RIVER TIMES
NOVEMBER 2, 2010 GENERAL ELECTION ENDORSEMENTS
FOR CITY OF ROCKFORD and WINNEBAGO COUNTY VOTERS
Following are the endorsements, or lack of them for the General Election, Nov. 2. As has been the position of this paper for many years, if you don’t like either candidate, don’t vote in that race. That lack of a vote is called an “undervote,” and is closely watched by the political pros and parties. Send a message to the major parties because the system is broken.
I’ve said this before—I think the democracy has become a farce. Special interests either control a candidate from the start, or they co-opt them once they are in office. Even the new Tea Party is no exception as you will see below.
Representative government steadily represents an aristocracy that is steadily destroying the middle class, either through greed-blinded incompetence or cold-blooded design.
This extended “recession,” which is really a depression, is wiping out many small businesses that do not have the assets to survive, yet mega-corporate profits soar, and some big fish have had their eyes on some little fish for quite some time. When corporations were granted all the rights of an individual, the Dr. Jekyll took the first sip for Mr. Hyde. The deregulation of banking begun under Carter by Bert Lance, and the dismantling of the anti-trust laws begun under Reagan, have brought us to the bailouts that have rewarded the few at the cost of all of us.
Controlling many of these efforts, a private company, the so-called “Federal” Reserve, owned by various private banks, controls our government’s money supply and sets national interest rates—and outrageously, the Federal Reserve is unaudited by Congress.
Add in the never-ending tax increases sneaking in on property taxes and goods and services, and we are getting bilked by nickels and dimes like death by 1,000 cuts.
If you doubt the growing disparity between the rich and the poor and the Tea Party propaganda about Socialism, go to http://www.truth-out.org/socialism-the-rich-are-winning-us-class-war-facts-show-rich-getting-richer-everyone-else-poorer64514. After attending a Libertarian Convention, I said Libertarians are Republicans on crack. After observing the Tea Party loudly swing out to the far right of the stumbling Republican Party, I’m keeping my hand on my Social Security statement and wondering if they’ll call me a “Communist” for collecting all the money I’ve put in for my retirement.
Then we have this from the major London daily, The Guardian: “BP [British Petroleum] and several other big European companies are funding the midterm election campaigns of Tea Party favourites who deny the existence of global warming or oppose Barack Obama’s energy agenda, The Guardian has learned.” from an Open Secrets.org report.
So much for the grass-roots movement, eh? I can’t blame Tea Partyers for their anger, but the economic rage needs to be aimed at Cheney/Bush as well as Goldman Sachs/Obama. One set started the massive spending with the war/poor economy/first bailouts, and the other pushed those costs over the cliff into our seemingly never-ending freefall.
Democrats just seem to stand around and wring their hands. We are still in Iraq. We are still in Afghanistan. Count the dead. I really don’t see the difference in Bush’s and Obama’s policy in those countries. We’ve just shifted all our Iraq commitment to Afghanistan, with a too-distant pullout date. We are losing the balancing act with Pakistan as well.
In the farce of our federal checks and balances, now the decidedly Supreme Court (because Congress is weak and franchised) has rolled over for the corporations, too, by allowing secret campaign contributions to political action committees. Across the country, big, unknown money on both sides is ganging up on targeted races. So much for fairness or truth on all issues. Many of these secretly-funded ads just lie, and we can’t hold them accountable. Campaign finance reform has been set back 50 years.
According to a recent posting on Truthout.org, even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (CoC) has surrendered to the secret contributions of mega-corps in its lobbying efforts, while the businesses of local chapters like ours are just used for stats; and their/our interests are not really represented nationally because we cannot contribute like the big bananas.
The Guardian also reported, “The Chamber of Commerce reportedly has raised $75m (£47m) for pro-business, mainly Republican candidates.” I guess the Chamber has a scarcity of Independents, Greens and Democrats. Yet, the Rockford CoC’s Einar Forsman, at the urging of Choices Natural Market’s Karen King, brought Cinda Baxter, the founder of 3/50 Project to Giovanni’s.
Speaking of bananas, now let’s look at the first question on the ballot—shall we have the ability to recall the governor of this state?
PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE 1970 ILLINOIS CONSTITUTION for the proposed addition of Section 7 to Article III of the Illinois Constitution.
After governors, Mr. Shoeboxes-of-Cash-Paul Powell, Mr. Let’s-Go-To-Racetrack-Exits-Otto Kerner, Mr. Fix-My-Yacht-Dan Walker, Mr. Bribes-Equal-Driver’s-Licenses-George Ryan, and Mr. Comb-Me-Out-A-Golden-Senate-Seat-Rod Blagojevich, any voter would have to be bananas to take a pass on giving a haircut to an obvious crook’s term.
As the “YES” section of the ballot reads, “the Illinois Constitution should be amended to provide for a special election to recall a Governor and for a special election to elect a successor Governor.”
Actually, we need recall power for every public office, and yes, term limits are a Lipton-Ice-Tea dream.
Vote “Yes” for the right to recall.
FOR UNITED STATES SENATOR
(For a six-year term, vote for one)
– MARK STEVEN KIRK, REPUBLICAN
– LE ALAN M. JONES, GREEN
–ALEXANDER “ALEXI” GIANNOULIAS, DEMOCRATIC
– MIKE LABNO, LIBERTARIAN
Kirk is the captain of cash, raising four times the money of his only major opponent, Giannoulias. Check his D-2s for BP, ok?
The Chicago Tribune reports: “Kirk and Republican-backed groups such as American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, co-founded by former George W. Bush political guru Karl Rove and funded largely by undisclosed donors, have battered Illinois Treasurer Giannoulias with a series of ads.”
Yup, the ads are negative and about Gainnoulias’ family bank’s poor practices. It’s not so good to be a banker running for office today.
Bailing out from reality and once known as a moderate, Kirk is a former Navy spy-guy with a vivid imagination about his record, who now likes Sarah Palin, and the Demos are running negative ads about that.
Mr. Green Party is Mr. LeAlan Jones, who produced a Peabody Award and Robert F. Kennedy award-winning documentary as a teenager. Obviously talented, he has kept up through other film projects and speaking engagements but seems to lack the macro skills needed for the job. There also seems to be dissent about him in his own African-Amercian Community, which he says is two-faced.
The Libertarian contender for the Senate seat, Labno, comes recommended by the National Taxpayers United of Illinois’ Jim Tobin, whom I respect. Labno pitches himself as the true conservative. To me, he’s just too avid in his bows to Ron Paul, whom I also respect. I like what he has to say about getting out of Afghanistan, but he likes Glenn Beck and flirts with the Tea Party.
I really can’t believe in any recommendation for this race. Vote for the undervote.
FOR STATE OF ILLINOIS GOVERNOR and LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, (Vote for One)
– BILL BRADY, JASON PLUMMER, REPUBLICAN
– RICH WHITNEY, DON W. CRAWFORD, GREEN
– PAT QUINN, SHEILA SIMON, DEMOCRATIC
– LEX GREEN, ED RUTLEDGE, LIBERTARIAN
– SCOTT LEE COHEN, BAXTER B. SWILLEY, INDEPENDENT
For why I can’t support the Republican Brady-Plummer ticket, go to the excellent majority of the Chicago Sun-Times’ editorial, “Brady keeps Extremist views out of spotlight” of Oct. 25. I disagree with what they say about concealed carry because it might be right handy when someone “on the CTA gets testy.” However, Brady is just too far over the edge of the past for the modern world.
I hope with the memory of Granny D. walking with him, Quinn says he’s still for campaign finance reform and signed a bill that limited contributions in December of last year on the anniversary of Blago’s arrest. The legislation may limit individual contributions to $5,000 in primaries and general election; limit corporations and unions to $10,000 an election, and limit PACs to $50,000 per election, but, there’s a big “But.”
But as we see in the Syverson/Wilson race, the Democratic party leaders have dropped more than $150,000 in for Wilson. No limits really exist for party leaders transferring in funds to any candidate. Quinn still has to solve that problem; although you’ve got to give it to him, he did get the first set of limits in—BUT—they don’t take effect until after the 2010 elections. One step at a time in politics. He says he’s going to continue taking those steps.
I remember when Quinn was in my office with Granny D. as she walked across the country for campaign finance reform and held a sparsely-attended rally at Beattie Park. That wonderful woman’s standards made a long walk that Quinn must match with more than election talk.
Brady has fallen short of good standards with legislation that drew up conflict-of-interest charges with his real estate development business, and with legislation withdrawn in embarrassment about lowering the standards for euthanizing animals.
Quinn’s ears still burn with embarrassment when his first ringing endorsements of Blago are repeated; and as I predicted in our endorsements for that election, a vote for Blago was a vote for Quinn because Blago would end up indicted.
While it is a real indictment of the political system and the general political consciousness, the best candidate, the Greens’ Whitney, has no chance of winning. While he says everything I want to hear about campaign contributions and job patronage, the Green party just can’t get out the vote like the two major parties. They need some of the Tea Party’s fire, a pile of honest money, and their base has no flame.
Same goes for Independent Cohen and Libertarian Green. Their base isn’t strong enough; and while the ideas of independent ethical enforcement and term limits ring true, the fire alarm to get people moving is not sounding. They are not preaching, advertising and holding unusual events in the off-election cycle to build a base. Their cold points can barely be heard.
A warm spot in many hearts committed to ethics is enkindled by the name Simon, as in Paul. The late Senator’s daughter, Sheila, is Quinn’s choice for Lt. Governor, and she will bring the interests of her downstate region and home, Carbondale, to balance out the Chicago interests. A law professor and a former city council seat holder, she brings the freshness of the local to big state politics. Surely, the championing of little versus the big will be continued as a thankful family tradition.
Quinn has to be thanked for reopening our state parks. He has to be encouraged to continue to fund renewable energy (he’s the only candidate truly committed to Green issues), while not letting wind farms get out of control in industrializing our agricultural and natural lands.
At the Green Fest at Navy Pier this summer, Quinn said he would support creation of the Rock River Trail. We will be putting that support to the test.
For continued campaign finance reform, a chance at term limits, and advocacy for the environment, Quinn is our best bet.
Vote for the Quinn-Simon ticket.
FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL
(Vote for One)
– STEVE KIM, REPUBLICAN
– DAVID F. BLACK, GREEN
– LISA MADIGAN, DEMOCRATIC
– BILL MALAN, LIBERTARIAN
Rockford has a candidate running for one of the most powerful offices in the state, but not many local citizen know that David F. Black is the Green party candidate for this office. He needs to change that. Again, it’s the principle of establishing a base. He’s run for this office before. He’s a good man, but he has blended into the woodwork with the other candidate in this race. He has room to move with the truly Green issue of cleaning up all the waterways in Illinois, but he’ll have to ruffle some local feathers in so doing.
Former Rockford Mayor Doug Scott is now the executive director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). He has the reputation with many groups of being the worst IEPA director ever. The USEPA is pushing him for more complete enforcement. His prosecution record in the last two years is dismal, considering all the concentrated dairy and hog confinement operations in the state.
Then there’s the June 19 ethanol spill on the Kishwaukee that caused the largest fish kill in the history of the state, and Scott largely let the Canadian Railroad off the hook with fish restocking and some studies. No significant fine was levied.
Black or Madigan have a tremendous opportunity to push for higher compliance with the U.S. Clean Water Act. Permits are issued around the state permitting discharges of toxic substances into our waterways. Violations occur every day. Citizens could be recruited, and the 400 investigators Madigan cites on her website could be directed to those violation sites. Madigan has to push Doug Scott to bring her cases.
While Madigan has a fine record with protecting vulnerable humans from sex offenders and felons in nursing homes, and going after consumer fraud, surely she will extend that fine effort to our vulnerable environment. She has the most clout and experience of any of the candidates in this race. Vote for Lisa Madigan.
FOR SECRETARY OF STATE
(Vote for One)
– ROBERT ENRIQUEZ, REPUBLICAN
– JESSE WHITE, DEMOCRATIC
– JOSH HANSON, LIBERTARIAN
Since the last election, Jesse White has trimmed down his staff significantly, saving money, and at the same time, saving taxpayers time in line at his offices through greater use of internet services. His organ donation program has distinguished him nationally. He is one of the most popular politicians in the state for many reasons. Look at his lead in the polls; his opponents are almost invisible.
(Vote for One)
– JUDY BAAR TOPINKA, REPUBLICAN
– R. ERIKA SCHAFER, GREEN
– DAVID E. MILLER, DEMOCRATIC
– JULIE FOX, LIBERTARIAN
Topinka, state treasurer under Jim Edgar, ran with George Ryan against Rod Blagojevich. Topinka has the experience and is probably the most qualified for this office. But the Ryan stain and the old Republican guard, need to be avoided.
But I think it’s time for new faces in office. Democrat Miller seems very thoughtful on many issues. He is a dentist who is the state representative of the 29th District. With his stances on targeted taxes, the sanctity of pension funds with negotiation options, health care expertise and a good sense of reality about the $13 billion state deficit, he would work well with fellow Democrat Quinn.
On the other hand, the Libertarian Fox is, as her ads point out, the only Certified Public Accountant in the race. She makes this statement on her website: “I’m an ordinary citizen like you. When I see that things need fixing, I don’t wait for someone else to do it.” I like that. In fact, in some other races, I’m really going to stress the need for ordinary citizens’ expertise and common sense.
This is a two-way call; if you want Quinn, vote for Miller; they’d be a good team. If you don’t want Quinn, vote for Fox; she’s not a career politician and could be some fresh air.
(Vote for One)
– DAN RUTHERFORD, REPUBLICAN
– SCOTT K. SUMMERS, GREEN
– ROBIN KELLY, DEMOCRATIC
– JAMES PAULY, LIBERTARIAN
The polls say it’s a tight race between Republican Rutherford (a state senator) and Democrat Kelly, Kelly is the chief of staff to Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who’s running for the U.S. Senate seat.
Again, the Green and Libertarian candidates are in the penny points. This one is an undervote if there ever was one. No endorsement.
FOR FEDERAL REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS’ SIXTEENTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
(Vote for One)
– DONALD MANZULLO, REPUBLICAN
– TERRY G. CAMPBELL, GREEN
– GEORGE W. GAULRAPP, DEMOCRATIC
I don’t like saying this, but the Green Party’s Campbell has the lamest website I’ve ever seen for a candidate. Go to http://www.terrycampbell.us. He really is invisible, and a man of few words.
I really like Democrat Gaulrapp. He’s a friend of some book-collecting friends of mine and has helped this paper with an issue. He is well-liked by folks out in Freeport, too, and has the support of many sportsmen there. As the mayor of Freeport, he knows the battle is really won from the bottom up and rightly points out, jobs comprise our major concerns. He supports sustainability and attended this year’s Winnebago County Green Business Awards. He actually visited many of the 64 vendors there and learned a few things. He is a smart, capable, personable man, and he would make a fine congressman.
Problem: the 16th Congressional District’s reconfiguration to include Crystal Lake and part of McHenry County has made it all but impossible for a Democrat to win. The big money is with the Republicans, and Manzullo is slamming Gaulrapp at more than $10 to $1 in the fund-raising department.
Manzullo touts what he sees as 300 jobs coming with the new Japanese Nippon Sharyo U.S.A. plant in Rochelle. He has brought home plenty of concrete dollars for the district’s roads and is working with Sen. Dick Durbin (D) on commuter rail for the area.
Recently, Manzullo pulled in three earmarks that totaled about $960,000 for the “Connecting Our Future” campaign for the Discovery Center and Burpee Natural History Museum’s expansions.
He also impressed me by sending his deputy chief of staff, Bryan Davis, to a meeting this paper held to court the National Park Service (NPS) as a consultant to the Rock River Trail. We succeeded, and NPS’s Jeff Obirek of the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program told me he hadn’t seen a meeting with a congressman’s chief of staff and a newspaper editor in the same room and on the same side.
Davis said Manzullo will assits in setting up a meeting of the seven federal congressmen and four senators that represent the 10 counties that the Rock River flows through for a presentation on the trail. The session will be asking for funding to provide uniform signage, safe approaches and conservation design portages for each of the 19 dams on the river, so the Rock River Trail would put safety first for boaters, kayakers and canoeists. Other issues such as a unified approach to stormwater management and flood control would also be addressed.
Manzullo could be very helpful to the Rock River Trail, considering he is in the Congressional Travel and Tourism, Caucus and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. Those would be of great assistance with marketing the trail.
The 2010 Winnebago County Green Business Awards and the Rock River Trail announced the “Micro-Hydro Power from the Rock River Contest” at the Oct. 7 awards. Manzullo serves on the Steering Committee to the National Innovation Initiative, Council on Competitiveness, High Technology Trade Caucus, and is co-chair, House Machine Tool Caucus, and chairman/founder, House Manufacturing Caucus.
His staff has said he’ll help, and so far, his staff have come through on everything requested. I must say for myself and many others, the office of Don Manzullo has delivered on many fronts. Vote for Manzullo.
FOR ILLINOIS STATE SENATOR
THIRTY-FOURTH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT
(Vote for One)
– DAVE SYVERSON, REPUBLICAN
– MARLA WILSON, DEMOCRATIC
I was more pleasantly surprised when I went to Democrat Wilson’s website. On her home page, right at the start she says, “I support clean, alternative energy like wind and solar that lower energy prices, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs that can’t be outsourced. I believe 21st century technology jobs are the future. I want to make Rockford the industrial capital it once was, through green jobs.” Yes, she champions Green Collar jobs right here in Rockford and protecting the environment!
Those stances do largely balance against the massive influx of state party money for her. But Syverson has had his big influx of party money, too.
On his website, he has a Tea Party Straw Poll that put him in at 95 percent support to 5 percent for Wilson. With all the Republican Tea Party trimmings, I’m surprised at even the 5 percent.
Wilson does point out something that is relevant in the Manzullo race as well. She alleges that Syverson started in office supporting term limits but is now a career politician, as did and is Manzullo. Syverson has also been rumored to have his eye on Rockford’s mayoral office.
However, Wilson seems totally committed to sustainability, and she is fresh air. Her husband is on the air as Eric Wilson, the news anchor for Channel 13. She could bring some more clout to Green issues. Big money might be on the right side for a change. Sorry, Sen. Syverson, even though you offered your assistance with state legislators for the Rock River Trail, and we’ll need it, my Green vote goes to the Greenest candidate I’ve seen so far. Vote for Wilson.
FOR REPRESENTATIVE IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SIXTY-SEVENTH REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT
(Vote for One)
– ROBERT E. BROKISH, JR., REPUBLICAN
– CHARLES E. “CHUCK” JEFFERSON, DEMOCRATIC
Talk about direct mail, Democrat Jefferson wins the prize with six full-color appeals in my mail box. Candidates Manzullo, Syverson, Cohen and White only had one each. That’s what Jefferson is very good at—reaching out to people in a very direct, but relaxed way. His office is very responsive to his constituents, and his influence is growing downstate.
His opponent, Republican Brokis, mentions Jefferson’s affiliation with Speaker Madigan. Brokish also touts his Chicago Tribune endorsement. Sorry, sir, but you just don’t and probably never could have the kind of rapport with the constituents of the 67th District that Jefferson has. Chicago Tribune aficionados are rather rare there, as are Republican sentiments. It’s like the opposite of McHenry County. We’ll vote for Jefferson.
FOR REPRESENTATIVE IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SIXTY-EIGHTH REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT
(Vote for One)
– DAVE WINTERS, REPUBLICAN
– GERRY WOODS, GREEN
– ANTHONY “TONY” VIREN, DEMOCRATIC
Republican Winters told the local daily, “In both Iowa and Indiana, you can apply for an industrial site, and the EPA and water permits are handled very quickly,” Winters said. What is normally a 30-day permit process, for example for a new wind farm, in those two states is a six- to nine-month process in Illinois. “Illinois is very lackadaisical,” Winters said. “The length of time and the uncertainty that we have in our state bureaucracy is a great detriment. That’s one thing that has been driving business away.”
I want to drive business away that wants quick approval to pollute our rivers or industrialize our agricultural landscape with unsightly wind farms in the Mississippi flyway that devalues property and ruins the peace of farm life.
Winters has seemingly has endless support in the Shirland area, but folk who live out there should take a good look at the chairman of the Winnebago County Green Party, Gerry Woods.
He’s been endorsed by the Chicago Tribune in both 2008 and this race. They say this region needs a change downstate, and they’re right.
Woods is Green in all ways; he will support agriculture, all industries of renewable energy and the Green Collar jobs they’ll bring to the area. He supports a downtown campus for a university and doesn’t want to raise taxes, just a few new crops for farmers.
He’s a former sergeant in the United States Air Force, and I’d rather have him flying to Springfield than Winters, who has passed legislation benefitting his local hunt club and other interests. Vote for Woods.
FOR REPRESENTATIVE IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SIXTY-NINTH REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT
(Vote for One)
– JOE SOSNOWSKI, REPUBLICAN
– DANIEL (DAN) LINDSEY, GREEN
– RAY PENDZINSKI, DEMOCRATIC
Ron Wait represented the 69th District for too long, as a get-along-to-go-along office holder, representing special interests, not his constituents. Rockford Alderman and Republican Sosnowski is cut from the same cloth as a Realtor who supports sprawl and big money over the citizens, as epitomized by the county-wide record of his former employer, Nicolosi and Associates/Buckley Companies.
Democrat Pendzinski is a Belvidere alderman, and he thinks a progressive tax increase is the answer to our state’s deficit woes. We could not disagree more.
Green Party’s Lindsey of South Beloit is not availalbe. Vote the undervote. No endorsement.
FOR REPRESENTATIVE IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY 89TH
(Vote for one)
– JIM SACIA, REPUBLICAN
– VICTORIA F. GRIZZOFFI, DEMOCRATIC
Report after report out of the Freeport area says Republican Sacia does a good job for his constituents. He has massive law enforcement and military credentials. As he and many of our readers are aware, we do not support the Blackwater facility in his district. It’s dangerous and hurts property values. And yes, he supports concealed carry, and this paper supports Second Amendment rights.
Yet this website on campaign finance reform brings favor to Democrat Grizzoffi: www.changeil.org/candidate_survey/QuestionnaireResponses.php?CandidateID=241
And she was 911 Dispatcher Aviation Communications Operator, City of Chicago, 2001-2006. She seems to be very pragmatic, but lack real political experience, which might be a plus.
Yet, Sacia supports the recall amendment, and as he notes on his website: “Three times Winnebago County Soil and Water Conservation District has awarded me conservation farming honors to include Conservation Farmer of the Year and Conservation Farm Family of the Year.”
Grizzoffi has the element of the unknown, but Sacia’s approval rating is known. Sticking with the people he represents, vote for Sacia.
FOR WINNEBAGO COUNTY CLERK
(Vote for One)
– JOSEPH A. “JOE” TERRELL, REPUBLICAN
– MARGIE MULLINS, DEMOCRATIC
Republican Terrell has held events with Aaron Booker, Sheriff Dick Meyers’ challenger. His principles are very agreeable on his website. But his affiliation with the Tea Party movement gets too close to the outside gamut of Republican principles.
Mullins is a good Democratic balance in a mainly Republican Winnebago County administration.
Vote for Mullins.
FOR WINNEBAGO COUNTY SHERIFF
(Vote for One)
– AARON BOOKER, REPUBLICAN
– RICHARD “DICK” MEYERS, DEMOCRATIC
Many people have really been waiting for a good candidate to run against Democrat Meyers. He is Don Gasparini’s heir. He has employed and promoted members of his family and friends, including the Gasparinis, for years. Yes, it’s called nepotism, and many people have come into the offices of this paper to complain about that, but they’d never go on the record. Fear of reprisals or loss of their jobs was very apparent.
Many of those people were sheriff’s deputies. They have and continue to complain about low morale within the department. They say the majority of deputies support Booker and are excited about the possibility of Meyers’ defeat.
Resentment over perceived preferential treatment and promotions are a large part of this problem. The allegations that Sheriff Meyers made sure his son, Deputy Chief Scott Meyers, had proper test scores on his lieutenant exam have been around for a long time. The problem was key witnesses would not go on the record with the allegations.
There are other witnesses I am aware of who have made these allegations, but now former Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Kudzma has made the allegations on WNTA radio and in the local daily.
Kudzma never spoke to this paper directly, but several of his fellow officers relayed the allegations he has now made public.
You could say this is just a bunch of disgruntled employees who want to replace their boss with one of their own. However, after years and years of repeated complaints, I must say something is very wrong in the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department.
The continual resurrection and delay of a full hearing on charges against Meyers’ opponent, Aaron Booker, is just par for the course. These tactics are so revelatory in themselves, voters should really want Meyers out. When a man prosecutes his opponent for an elected office and leaves the verdict hanging before the election, that is a lowly smear campaign.
Deceptive campaigns are nothing new to Meyers. The improper and deceitful push to build the taxpayer money pit known as the Winnebago County Justice Center has been well documented in this paper by our former reporter Jeff Havens. The “just 1-cent” public relations juggernaut everyone fell for was lead by the former Winnebago County State’s Attorney Paul Logli, the former Winnebago County Board Chairman Kristine Cohn and Meyers. Their scare tactics built Meyers an empire. He doesn’t want to give that power up, and he does not react well to any type of challenge of any kind. Look at his reaction to these latest charges.
Meyers is used to having his way in his own little world, and he’ll cover for his own until everyone calls him on the carpet. Look at how he originally casually dismissed the sexual harassment charges about the computer porn that was passed around his office. Anyone who did that in any other office would get canned so quickly, they’d spin like a top out the door. Yet, in an office that supposedly enforces laws against such things, it’s a casual matter under Meyers.
Booker was promoted by the Meyers administration for his good work in its own right and no one else’s. He admitted on a long night shift, he nodded a bit at the computer. Heck, I’ve done the same writing these editorials. Anybody who spends long hours at a keyboard and a glowing monitor will tell you giving a needed rest to the eyes can lead to a snooze.
Booker is a cop; he can be short and to the point when a job needs to get done. But he knows how to handle people honestly and fairly. Admirably, he has courage as shown by his run against Meyers. I believe in him.
Vote for Booker for Winnebago County Sheriff, and you might start to turn this county around. More corruption is here. People just have to know that if they go on the record, something good happens. Elect Booker for the good of us all.
THE FOLLOWING SURVEY WAS GIVEN TO ALL 35 CANDIDATEs FOR WINNEBAGO COUNTY FOREST PRESERVE DISTRICT COMMISSIONERS. THEIR REPLIES WILL BE POSTED ONLINE AT www.rockrivertimes.com this Friday, Oct. 29 at 5 p.m., ALONG WITH ENDORSEMENTS FOR SEVEN OF THEM.
1. Would you put forward and support a referendum for taxes to acquire funds for land acquisition for the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District (WCFPD)?
2. The WCFPD has 41 forest preserves. How many have primitive campsites? Could primitive campsites provide more revenue?
3. How many golf courses does the WCFPD have? Which specific ones would you consider closing or expanding? Please explain how and why. What would become of that land?
4. Would you allow archery and/or firearm seasonal hunting on WCFPD properties for additional revenue? How would that be done and what would be the charge?
5. How many Winnebago County forest preserves have you visited, and which is your favorite and why?
6. What was WCFPD’s total budget for last year? Considering eco-tourism, what percent of the 2011 budget should be spent for marketing, and where should that marketing be directed—locally, statewide, regionally, nationally?
7. Have you or will you accept campaign donations from developers, Realtors, construction companies or unions? Why or why not would accepting those donations be appropriate?
8. What is conservation design?
9. What is an agricultural easement?
10. How many rivers are in Winnebago County, and which is your favorite and why?
11. Besides taxation to support natural land acquisition, how could the WCFPD acquire revenue for expansion of their land preservation program?
12. Do you support the placement of large-scale wind farms in agricultural areas? Please explain your position.
13. Who is your favorite environmental author?
14. Do you support residential, commercial, or industrial development adjacent to or nearby WCFPD properties?
15. Where are you employed and for how long?
16. If married, where is your spouse employed and for how long?
17. Do you have any relatives who would present conflicts of interest to be considered with issues before the new board?
18. Would you be a watchdog to ensure fair-market prices were paid for new land acquisitions?
19. How do you evaluate the monetary value of wetlands as opposed to agricultural, industrial or residential property?
20. Would you review all bids/contracts in force with WCFPD, and would you be willing to consider the privatization of services provided by the WCFPD?
21. What are natural resource/natural species inventories and are they cost-effective?
22. What is “sustainability”?
23. Why would you close off certain sections of a forest preserve or an entire land holding and for how long?
24. Why do you want to be a member of the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District’s Board of Directors?
25. Who suggested you run for this office?
26. Who are your campaign workers and financial supporters?
Due to survey returns, and space limitations, endorsements for all Winnebago County Board members, Winnebago County Forest Preserve District Commissioners, referendums and judicial retention will be posted online at www.rockrivertimes.com, this Friday, Oct. 29, at 5 p.m.
From the Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2010 issue