The Rock River Times’ election endorsements

October 31, 2012

By Frank Schier
Editor and Publisher

Vote the undervote

The Rock River Times’ endorsements are for contested races only for the General Election, Nov. 6. Again, being purposefully redundant, we stress what 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 that you think their choices are poor and the system is broken, if that is appropriate.

I’ve said this before — democracy has become a farce. Special interests either control a candidate from the start, installing malleable and owned jelly spines in the primaries, or buying naive candidates with contributions for access, or co-opting newbies once they are in office, providing false ego inflation and special social arrangements, making them feel they have joined and been accepted by the elite. Legal business or property enhancements will suddenly flow to the willing candidate or their family or associates for later reimbursing. Money and personal clout grow, and principles and public interest withers.

Fairness and the interests of the common citizen barely register in the unspoken reality of the existing political mindset. It’s a semi-secret game, and voters are not allowed on the inside track.

Many times, incumbents become incumbents with a natural advantage: name recognition and the false credibility of experience in office by being appointed to a vacancy that is many times arranged. While I am favorable toward John Cabello, his appointment to Dave Winters’ seat is a classic example of this syndrome, and a party payback to how he was slighted in past races with Winters. Another such appointment, Marc Gasparini, to fill the county board seat of Tom Owens, who resigned. Gasparini then lost the last election to Lynne Strathman. Classic good ol’ buddy politics, Chairman Scott Christiansen. I’m sure your friend, Don Gasparini, appreciated you appointing his son, as former Winnebago County Sheriff and real estate beneficiary of Randy Olson’s presidency of the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District.

The opposing party has to run an unknown name and face against a now-known name and face, actually holding the office. Name recognition sparks more votes than you think. In the last election for the joke the new Forest Preserve District Board has become, Randy Olson, Judith Barnard, Gloria Lind, Mary McNamara Bernsten and Cheryl Maggio gained many votes because of their past ballot appearances or that their family names are very well known.

For the votes you really do cast, remember our voting rights and the validity of our vote has never been more challenged. From possible electronic voting machine hacking, to new voter ID requirements and redistricting, many can be disenfranchised from their right to vote. Look up the three subjects above on the Internet, and get ready to be amazed. Check out this Oct. 30 story on the Huffington Post website, “Vulnerable Voting Machines in Ohio?” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allan-brawley/vulnerable-voting-machine_b_2020044.html I signed the petition directed to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. You might want to, too.

The FBI Voter Intimidation Hotline is 202-514-1888 — pass it around, and pray for our nation, whatever your faith. Report any infraction or technical glitch you see to that number, and please inform The Rock River Times as well, 815-964-9767. Please leave your name and phone number, or we are at an immediate and probably insurmountable disadvantage to check on your complaint.

Yes, again, if you feel you cannot support either candidate or are mystified by an unopposed candidate whom you really don’t like or even know, The Rock River Times once again recommends you do not vote for that office. Undervote, instead. It’s a subtle message, but a message nonetheless.

PUBLICATION BALLOT

GENERAL ELECTION

NOVEMBER 6, 2012

WINNEBAGO COUNTY, ILLINOIS

• • •

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

NOTICE

THE FAILURE TO VOTE THIS BALLOT MAY BE THE EQUIVALENT OF A NEGATIVE VOTE, BECAUSE A CONVENTION SHALL BE CALLED OR THE AMENDMENT SHALL BECOME EFFECTIVE IF APPROVED BY EITHER THREE-FIFTHS OF THOSE VOTING ON THE QUESTION OR A MAJORITY OF THOSE VOTING IN THE ELECTION. (THIS IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS A DIRECTION THAT YOUR VOTE IS REQUIRED TO BE CAST EITHER IN FAVOR OF OR IN OPPOSITION TO THE PROPOSITION HEREIN CONTAINED.)

WHETHER YOU VOTE THIS BALLOT OR NOT YOU MUST RETURN IT TO THE ELECTION JUDGE WHEN YOU LEAVE THE VOTING BOOTH.

CONSTITUTION BALLOT

PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE 1970 ILLINOIS CONSTITUTION

Explanation of Amendment

Upon approval by the voters, the proposed amendment, which takes effect on January 9, 2013, adds a new section to the General Provisions Article of the Illinois Constitution. The new section would require a three-fifths majority vote of each chamber of the General Assembly, or the governing body of a unit of local government, school district, or pension or retirement system, in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system. At the general election to be held on November 6, 2012, you will be called upon to decide whether the proposed amendment should become part of the Illinois Constitution.

If you believe the Illinois Constitution should be amended to require a three-fifths majority vote in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system, you should vote “YES” on the question. If you believe the Illinois Constitution should not be amended to require a three-fifths majority vote in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system, you should vote “NO” on the question. Three-fifths of those voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election must vote “YES” in order for the amendment to become effective on January 9, 2013.

For the proposed addition of Section 5.1 to Article XIII of the Illinois Constitution.

YES

NO

Vote “NO,” or better yet, don’t vote on this one. This is a bunch of hocus pocus to make you think Illinois is doing something about the pension crisis. It is not. Tell Illinois state politicos that by not voting for this meaningless amendment. No politician in their right mind would “increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system” for the next 20 years because that’s how long it will take to pay off this current crisis — if we make the promised payments EVERY YEAR WITHOUT FAIL. Like we should have in the 1996 to 2011 budget years resulting in $64 billion in unfunded pension liability. Tell your state officials that’s what you expect, not some goofy amendment. Besides, one lawsuit has already been filed just over this being on the ballot. Get ready for the unions to file many more if this passes, and they’ll win. Can you say, “more legal costs”? I don’t want to amplify this farce. Neither should you. Again, vote “NO,” or better yet, don’t vote on this one.

FEDERAL

FOR PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

(Vote for one)

MITT ROMNEY and PAUL RYAN – REPUBLICAN

BARACK OBAMA and JOE BIDEN – DEMOCRATIC

GARY JOHNSON and JAMES P. GRAY – LIBERTARIAN

JILL STEIN and HOWIE HAWKINS – GREEN

Write-in

Every once in a while, party talking points have a ring to them because they are the bellwether of an actual truth. The ding dong Democrats actually struck one and are right about “Moving Forward,” not backward. Let’s make sure it’s not a “Forward into the past!”

If you like rebirth of cold war politics and picking a new fight with an already-ornery Russia, and if you like the weak spray of the trickle-down economic theory with an undefined method of balancing the budget (who really pays for it?), then vote for Romney. If you do so, get ready for the alien nation of neocons to rip out of the nation’s treasure chest like a new Iraq or Afghanistan War, only this time in Iran. Gotta keep that military industrial complex cranking out the money for the big boys and girls and cranking out the bodies of the little boys and girls.

Women, as you grow up, how do you feel about your most personal rights, all rape aside? Just where did some of those Republicans get their Cro-Magnon Man lessons anyway? Oh, they never changed. The neocons don’t want us to change from that treasure chest, dumping and thumping, bloodthirsty and drooling taxpayer, while they try to FOX Network everyone while going for a new Manifest Destiny, errr, New American Century, in the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe. All the while, neocons wave the false flag of “It’s all to protect our ally, Israel.” Oh, hell, let’s not leave out China, either, even though it’s “verboten” to speak of the ever-richer Yellow Peril, which is also rather interested in Iran.

Just in case you don’t think the folks (neocons) who brought you the false Iraq War don’t hold sway over the new and supposedly Moderate Mitt’s mysterious foreign policy, read The New Yorker’s Sept. 13, 2012 article, “Romney’s Libya Blunder Reflects Larger Failings,” posted by John Cassidy: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2012/09/mitt-romneys-libya-blunder-reflects-larger-failings.html#ixzz2AlDd42JE.

If you don’t think the new Mild Mitt was birthed out of neocon creation, just read William Kristol’s April 30 article “President Romney” in The Weekly Standard. http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/president-romney_640520.html. You read Thrill Bill coaching Romney to be “Presidential” and let Obama be “shrill.”

Do Kristol’s double-bladed admonitions sound like the Mitt you saw in the last debate: “Let his super-PACs focus on single issues. Romney should speak to his fellow citizens, whose concerns are broader. When Democrats engage in farcical claims of a Republican ‘war on women,’ he can let surrogates respond by accusing Democrats of a ‘war on moms.’ But he should make clear that he doesn’t intend to divide Americans by gender, race, or ethnicity.”

Ah, the timeless advice, “If you are going to stab someone, use someone else’s knife, and preferably, have someone else do the stabbing.” This is the kind of duplicity and false flag operation that are classic Orwellian Doublespeak meant to build an illusion contrary to the truth. In other words, “Direct Truth Love” probably means, “I’m gonna screw you sideways and lie as I do.” Welcome to the ruling class of Animal Farm.

I don’t like the sneaky segment of the nation that thinks they’re the ruling class. Romney seems to gleam of false veneer; and in general, I really don’t know who Mitt Romney really is. From Massachusetts, to picking Ryan as a running mate, to his understressing of his faith, and from his ever-changing positions, I just can’t trust him. The predatory nature of his firm Bain Capital slashes right down to the lives in nearby Freeport, Ill. I think more sincerity existed in the “I like to fire people” remark than any of us ever want to know.

Mitt Romney kinda creeps me out. He seems like a Stepford Candidate. The smile and warm gestures are just too brittle, and I don’t think the nation needs to be run by the forces that have written or will write his program. I wish him and his family the best.

Is Obama the best choice? With a grimace and plenty of complaints, I say, “I think so.” If for no other reason than to shut down the racists who are in ancient convulsions because of the fact that a black man is our president, we all might want to vote for Obama. He has become very “presidential,” and all who believe in social justice and social hope should be very proud of him. Very unfortunately, his inspiration is tainted with some strong disappointment. He must stand firm as our “social justice champion.”

After the massive economic pit George W. Bush and Dick Cheney warred us into, without being charged with war crimes or lying about weapons of mass destruction, this election is really about the great divide in this county between the truly “entitled” and the growing peasant class. Just how much can the oligarchy rip off from taxpayers, young, aging and disadvantaged alike as they seem to become more ignorant every day, plastered vapidly to one electronic screen or repetition or another, dumbing down by the megabite on shallow and sensational information that must be “entertaining”? The electronic sport is just so much empty modern “bread and circus” that will pull into reality the ruling class of The Hunger Games.

Ravenously, the oligarchy has hated Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal ever since he offended his class and offered all the classes in society some federal insurance for their retirement — Social Security. While whipping up Medicare and twisting Social Security into a new shaky form, both parties have stolen from that fund and voted into being its overreaching.

Yes, the day of paying the poor piper and/or reducing the big bucks on defense spending is coming, and privatization will only result in more corporate robbery of the public purse. So, don’t fall for that rhetorical pejorative spitting of “entitlements.” Many people may be ripping off public aid, but many more people have paid their taxes and are rightly entitled to that aid. How to ferret out the ripoff artists, without screwing everyone else, is Obama’s challenge.

Remember, when a politician tells you it’s “simple“ (entitlement is evil!), it’s complicated. Conversely, when a politician tells you it’s “complicated,” it’s simple (you’re being conned). Do you really think a corporation is a person? Damn right them is! And them is a more “entitled” person than you.

Righteously, Obama has conned us about how long it would take to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan; in many ways, Obama’s first two years in office made me think Bush had morphed himself into a black man. He bailed out all of Bush’s cronies and their almighty Corporate Personhoods at our expense. His “Just Us” Department hasn’t prosecuted a single one of the BIG crooks that trumpeted from Wall Street, “You Jerkos came tumbling down like a phony mortgage! Underwater suckas!”

And for all the squealing about Obamacare by the Republicans, the insurance companies sure like the program. They should; they wrote most of it. Thank you, Mr. President.

Breathe deeply and remember Obama’s first campaign promises of “Transparency.” Well, transparency seems not to exist when you consider Obama’s record on the recent Libya attack, required stimulus reports, predator drone attacks, the Fast and Furious arms fiasco, and now his effort to farm out FOIA requests. How bad is it? According to http://www.businessinsider.com, “In fact, another recent Bloomberg report gave Obama a glaring ‘F’ on transparency, with 19 of the 20 requested departments failing to comply with the law.”

As a publisher who fought with Rockford School District 205 over FOIA requests, I am very unhappy. Again, I state: “privatization will only result in more corporate robbery of the public purse;” and as far as transparency goes, more stonewalling. Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/report-obama-admin-pushes-privatization-of-transparency-foia-requests-2012-10#ixzz2Alcak98P.

As a final FOIA fault, www.canadafreepress.com reports, “As Ken Ward Jr., President of the Society of Environmental Journalists recently commented, the ‘Obama EPA is the most difficult to get information and answers out of that I’ve covered in 20 years.’”

Mr. President, fulfill your first campaign promise. Hire federal employees, provide new jobs, and get out those FOIA requests! As www.whitehouse.gov states: “SUBJECT: Transparency and Open Government. My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”

Well, how about it, Mr. President?

Finally, Mr. President, many of us are worried that the over-inflated Iran will turn into another war we just can’t afford on so many levels. Please do not let manipulative forces push Israel to an independent strike. Push for peace talks with the Palestinians and bring Iran to the table, too. Be bold, win the Nobel Peace Prize for us. No more “War All The Time!”

Enough dead kids and civilians! We have too many wounded warriors! Get us out of Afghanistan as soon as possible and spend that money creating jobs and reducing taxes. I really would like to say I am glad I endorsed you and voted for you when 2016 rolls around. Make us proud.

CONGRESSIONAL

FOR REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS — SIXTEENTH

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

(Vote for one)

ADAM KINZINGER - REPUBLICAN

WANDA ROHL - DEMOCRATIC

In the new 16th District primary, first-term Rep. Adam Kinzinger beat Rep. Don Manzullo in a redistricting mismatch, where the senior Manzullo was abandoned by his party in favor of the “rising star” potential of Kinzinger. An Air National Guard Pilot, with extensive government employment, Kinzinger is a hard liner on defense. Wanda Rohl has energized many progressives with her example as a social worker and her achievements while suffering partial paralysis and confinement to a wheelchair for the last nine years. She’s earned a master’s degree and is a champion for social justice and women’s rights. Kinzinger could learn from her, and his party could have done better with the more experienced and politically savvy Manzullo. Let’s give the fresh face, enthusiasm and determination of Rohl a chance. Vote for Rohl.

FOR REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS — SEVENTEENTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

(Vote for one)

BOBBY SCHILLING – REPUBLICAN

CHERI BUSTOS - DEMOCRATIC

Here’s a tough one. I like Schilling. He attended the Rock River Trail Initiative (RRTI) legislative briefing at Burpee Museum of Natural History last year. He has been very supportive of the trail, and had the good sense to hire Manzullo’s experienced Deputy Director Bryan Davis, who has also been very supportive of the RRTI. Since working on the RRTI has frequently brought me to the Quad Cities (Schilling’s from Rock Island), I’ve heard quite a bit about him on the street. He is very well liked. His respected pizza business stands him in good stead with the business community and local citizens. He’s been labeled a Tea Party man, but seems more flexible, although he supports free trade agreements, which have cost jobs. Yet, Schilling has received International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 endorsement because of his many years of union membership, and he was a union steward. Bustos has a rich family history of Democratic Party associations, and was a respected long-time journalist. She has spent her recent career years in the health care industry with considerable success. Serving as a volunteer in several community organizations and efforts, she was elected to the East Moline City Council in 2007, won re-election. She resigned in 2011 to run for congress, defeating Freeport Mayor George Gaulrapp and Augustana College’s Greg Aguilar in the primary. This race is really a toss-up, and I like both candidates for obvious reasons. I really prefer Schilling’s working man’s roots and business acumen. I think we need both of those traits in Congress today. Still torn by Bustos’ good journalism background, Schilling wins. Vote for Schilling.

LEGISLATIVE

FOR STATE SENATOR — THIRTY-FOURTH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT

(Vote for one)

FRANK GAMBINO - REPUBLICAN

STEVEN “STEVE” STADELMAN – DEMOCRATIC

This one is an easy choice. While Stadelman has many respected years of journalism to his credit, he does not have the political and business experience of Gambino. As a county board member, particularly as a member of the zoning committee, Gambino and I have had many serious disagreements. In fact, I can’t think of one time we agreed initially. What has earned my respect is, with good humor and discernment, Gambino is reasonable and willing to compromise. He does his homework. As a Realtor, which I think is a conflict of interest on zoning votes (he has recused himself), I think he is too pro development, but he does listen carefully and respectfully to all sides. I have not had that impression from Stadelman. The word on the street is that he is a Republican in Democratic garb, which he would adamantly deny. Yet, he has ties to State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-35). Furthermore, former Public Relations Director of Rockford School District 205 Mark Bonne is on his staff. Bonne was Superintendent LaVonne Sheffield’s right hand, and stonewalled this paper more than once. That speaks of poor judgment on Stadelman’s part. Gambino is obviously the more experienced and qualified candidate. Vote for Gambino.

FOR REPRESENTATIVE IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY — SIXTY-EIGHTH REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT

(Vote for one)

JOHN M. CABELLO – REPUBLICAN

CARL R. WASCO – DEMOCRATIC

Remember Rockford City Council’s granting of a special-use permit (SUP) to Loves Park-based Rockford Blacktop Construction Company for the construction and operation of a hot-mix asphalt plant in its Mulford Quarry within 1,000 feet of homes? A group called Neighborhood Environment & Traffic Safety (NETS), local homeowners in the area, opposed the project. Wasco voted against those neighbors. During the county’s 2012 plan process, it was very obvious Wasco supported the interests of his career industry, Realtors, over the zoning interests of rural areas. Wasco supports a casino in Rockford, too. Cabello is a Rockford police officer, whose union has endorsed Wasco. While Wasco crows that nobody owns him, and he is independent, I think Cabello is the independent individual. If Cabello steers clear of the local Republican Good Ol’ Boys Club, he might really be a representative of the people, not the powerful. His appointment stain should be a lesson to him. I think Cabello, for all his naiveness and bluster, is exactly the kind of fresh face we need in Springfield. Vote for Cabello.

FOR STATE’S ATTORNEY

(Vote for one)

GLEN R. WEBER – REPUBLICAN

JOSEPH P. “JOE” BRUSCATO – DEMOCRATIC

What a mess. In 2008, The Rock River Times endorsed Bruscato’s challenger Chuck Prorok. We still believe Prorok was the better choice. Now faced with a choice between Bruscato and Glen Weber, Bruscato is the better choice. Bruscato has his problems: a large case backlog, and the embarrassing cases of Katie Stockton, Greg Clark/Richard Wanke/Diane Chavez and Anthony Purifoy. Area police unions have endorsed his opponent, Glen Weber.

Weber has his share of embarrassing cases as well: As a Winnebago County assistant prosecutor, he handled the Janet Nivinski/Ted Kuhl case, which is still controversial in its conclusion. Then, while working for Paul Logli, Weber was accused of leaking information about Associate Judge Steven Vecchio designed to damage Vecchio’s primary campaign for a circuit judge position. The judgeship was won by then-Associate Judge Michael Morrison. His tenure as State’s Attorney of Jo Daviess County brought forth more than questionable charges and practices in the cases of Judith Trost and Nancy Siegei, not to mention the federal lawsuit brought against him by Matthew Karlberg, and then the reversal of the conviction of Nathaniel Slabaugh. The Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission censured him in four cases because of extreme statements he made in closing arguments. The Illinois Supreme Court confirmed the ethics violations, which carried no penalties.

Where Bruscato may seem overly cautious, Weber snaps as much too avid. Bruscato has been a good administrator, addressing fine collection backlogs and providing for new structures in the office for specific issues like gangs and elder abuse. Weber wants to be in the courtroom going after criminals.

A large case looms before Bruscato for possible prosecution. Sources have confirmed the convening of a grand jury to investigate the issues surrounding former county board member and former president of the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District Randy Olson and County Board member Dave Fiduccia (R-4) and possibly the entire Winnebago County Forest Preserve Board applying for law enforcement grants without an actual law enforcement body. Since the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department is contracted by the Forest Preserve District for law enforcement, sources note that Sheriff Meyers should have been involved with the application and listed therein. He was not. Olson was also listed on grant applications as the chief of an airport police force that doesn’t exist when the Rockford Police Department is contracted for those services.

At his press conference announcing his endorsement by the Rockford, Loves Park and Machesney Park police unions, Weber said he could explore charges of possible fraud, and he noted federal charges, such as wire fraud [if the applications for the grants were made online via the Internet] was a subject for consideration.

In previous conversations, while refusing to confirm or deny a grand jury investigation, citing the secrecy requirement of grand juries, Bruscato said in similar cases simple official misconduct was appropriate. In trying to get specific charges or denial of possible charges for this endorsement, Bruscato was not available, saying previously: “I can’t comment on that. I will determine if something should be done about it, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

Assistant Deputy of the Criminal Division Jim Brun and Assistant Deputy in charge of civil cases Dave Kurlinkus said they were trying to obtain “an interview with Randy Olson, and have not been able to meet with him.” They stressed any such investigation is not concluded, with the collection of evidence to be presented to the grand jury to conclude or not conclude for “sufficient probable cause.”

Where Weber is ready to jump the gun, Bruscato and his staff seem measured, patient, thorough and conservative. That’s the tenor of this race. Vote for Bruscato.

FOR REGIONAL SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS

DeKALB COUNTY

For an unexpired two year term)

(Vote for one)

DEREK R. AVERY - REPUBLICAN

AMANDA CHRISTENSEN – DEMOCRATIC

Avery is another appointee who is now the incumbent after Gil Morrison retired. He was assistant regional superintendent for less than a year before filing for election, where he worked without pay for five months when Gov. Quinn went after regional superintendents’ salaries.

Caucused in by her party, Christiansen teaches humanities at DeKalb High School.

Avery was a long-time math teacher at Sandwich High School. He wants to focus on truancy and bring his job into the public eye.

Christensen is proud of her role as president of the DeKalb Classroom Teachers Association, and knowing the contents and effects of pending legislation. She wants to continue and expand that knowledge as regional superintendent, focusing on communication, intergovernmental networking, and public meetings.

Not an appointed incumbent, Christensen could bring more of the student/teacher relationship and class content into the regional superintendent office, rather than just being an administrator. Vote for Christensen.

FOR MEMBERS OF THE COUNTY BOARD

DISTRICT THREE

(Vote for one)

STEVE SCHULTZ – REPUBLICAN

JOHN GEDNEY – DEMOCRATIC

Good. Excellent. Trustworthy. Ethical. Smart. Very Smart. Those words I have used many times to describe Steve Schultz, a truly nice man who lives his Christian beliefs. He is an example for us all, and particularly for all the knuckleheads on the Winnebago County Board. Steve would not call them knuckleheads, but I will because they consistently ignore him when he is the only voice in the chamber for the taxpayers. He cannot be bought. He has run a multi-million-dollar fund for a large group of Baptist churches for years, and they are lucky to have him. The other board members should really consult him on any financial matters with a great deal of respect. As I have said before to the amusement of many, his troop of children is much more well behaved (and they probably get better grades) than the entire county board. He is concerned about our schools, environment and fairness for all of our children’s future. He is gentle but sometimes too stern of a mindset type of fellow, and I like to get a grin out of him. I hope this does. Even veteran politician Paul Gorski says he respects Schultz more than any other board member. Mr. Gedney, thank you for your participation in your government, but Steve Schultz stands above many for experience, intelligence and the courage to do the right thing. Vote for Schultz.

FOR MEMBERS OF THE COUNTY BOARD

DISTRICT FIVE

(Vote for one)

OWEN BACH – REPUBLICAN

DAVE TASSONI – DEMOCRATIC

Bach, a township supervisor for more than 30 years and a former member of the Winnebago County Board of Review for more than 11 years, has a master’s of science in financial services. He is well respected in the community, as is Tassoni. However, Tassoni is for a metro police force (combine Rockford Police Dept. and the Sheriff’s Department). That’s too much power in one place. We need decentralization of power and services. As a proud representative of one of our most democratic and smallest units of government, townships, Bach clearly has the advantage in experience and education. Vote for Bach.

FOR MEMBERS OF THE COUNTY BOARD

DISTRICT SIX

(Vote for one)

KAY J. MULLINS – REPUBLICAN

MELVIN PARIS – DEMOCRATIC

Mullins clearly has more depth of experience and a better grasp of the issues than Paris. Yet, her avid support of the new I-39 & Baxter Road Industrial Tax Increment District and host fee for dumping, without questioning the equity of both issues is not for me. While both candidates are nice people, Mullins and Paris are just more of the same from their political parties’ playbooks. No endorsement. Vote the undervote.

FOR MEMBERS OF THE COUNTY BOARD

DISTRICT NINE

(Vote for one)

DAVID L. KELLEY - REPUBLICAN

ALLEN PENTICOFF - DEMOCRATIC

Kelley, once the Libertarian candidate for governor, has lost his roots. As a Rockford School District 205 member, he carried the establishment’s water. He has drunk the Kool-Aid. Penticoff free-lances for this paper, and he’s good about cars, excellent, in fact. I disagree with him on just about everything else. No endorsement. Vote the undervote.

FOR MEMBERS OF THE COUNTY BOARD

DISTRICT ELEVEN

(Vote for one)

DAVE FIDUCCIA – REPUBLICAN

PAUL GORSKI – DEMOCRATIC

Here’s an obvious choice. Fiduccia’s role as Randy Olson’s tool in signing up for law enforcement grants when no police force existed to receive those grants was really foolish, professionally, legally, ethically and politically. I thought he had better sense. A former board member, Gorski has run for county board chairman, and lost to a lesser, more well-funded candidate. We need him back on the board. He is for fiscal constraint. His take on the tipping fees slush fund, the cheap rates robbing taxpayers, and the quality of the environment affected by the landfill is admirable. Not only does he want to make sure the Greenways and 2030 plans are followed, he actually wants to complete the program (all the “environmentalists” have abandoned this) and pass the zoning ordinances that will enforce the parameters of the Greenways and 2030 Plan (including the Natural Resources Inventory — remember that, Blackhawk Sierra Club, Natural Land Institute, and Sinnissippi Audubon Society?) Hmmmm. Wonder who they’ll vote for? Vote for Gorski. By the way, he’s a pretty good columnist, webmaster and computer techie, too.

FOR MEMBERS OF THE COUNTY BOARD

DISTRICT FIFTEEN

(Vote for one)

JOHN M. EKBERG – REPUBLICAN

BURT GERL – DEMOCRATIC

Ekberg has had his run, and it’s usually more of the same. He will not stand up on critical issues because many times there’s a conflict with his family’s fine and respected business. He has to recuse himself. It’s time for a fresh face and fresh ideas for that district; Gerl seems to be ready. His idea for our county justice system to start an internship program with NIU is brilliant. I like the fact he stands for the working man, while thinking about high school and college students and even improving downtown. Vote for Gerl.

FOR MEMBERS OF THE COUNTY BOARD

DISTRICT TWENTY

(Vote for one)

TED BIONDO – REPUBLICAN

DAVID J. SOLL – DEMOCRATIC

I don’t know how Biondo keeps getting re-elected. He’s not that good, but he can really pitch himself as an expert. But when you really check his homework, he doesn’t have it right. He sure had me fooled for many years, until he flipped into the Judicial Tyranny of Magistrate Mahoney. Since he drank the Kool-Aid, he has been rewarded with several community posts and won election to the RVC board. His conflict of serving on both the county board and the RVC board is STILL A CONFLICT OF INTEREST. Soll actually is another fresh face and a fresh thinker. He speaks of grassroots politics, open government, involving business and utilizing government staff better. He wants to decriminalize victimless crimes, create local funding for buy local businesses, and drop the taxpayer subsidies. Vote for Soll.

JUDICIAL RETENTION

BALLOT FOR JUDICIAL CANDIDATES

SEEKING RETENTION IN OFFICE

Vote on the Proposition with respect to all or any of the Judges listed on this ballot. No Judge listed is running against any other Judge. The sole question is whether each Judge shall be retained in his present office.”

SHALL

J. EDWARD PROCHASKA

be retained in office as

JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT

SEVENTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT?

YES

NO

I have a conflict on endorsing or not endorsing this question because of a conflict of interest. Prochaska gave us a mixed ruling on our FOIA case against Rockford School District 205. He said we should get the information we requested; but even after the district stonewalled us and drew it out as long as they could, legal fees could not be recovered. Effectively, that says only those who can really, really afford lawyers can sue to enforce the FOIA law. Your call.

FOREST PRESERVE

FOR COUNTY FOREST PRESERVE COMMISSIONER

(For a full term)

(Vote for not more than two)

LENAE WEICHEL

MICHAEL P. EICKMAN

AUDREY L. JOHNSON

JEFF D. TILLY

ERIC THOMAS STROMBERG

I really wish the Forest Preserve District could go away, and we could let the Rockford Park District take it over. The whole culture out there on the old Brown’s Quarry Lake is really weird. I’m sorry they have an independent board, and I wish there were some way the county could take back the legislation that granted it. At least we had a more stable board than what now seem to be a nest of squirrels running wacko with 44-plus properties.

Just like squirrels don’t give a nutty damn about what you think, neither do these board members. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the forums to watch the farce.

Here’s a quick list of squirrelly whirlies: expensive poaching hunters totally wiping out the herds instead of local sportsmen culling for free (and you could charge big, big money for big racks to put in the land acquistion or operating fund); the contribution to the Gasparini retirement fund, buying lakes that will cost millions to develop; in the last two years, the FOREST Preserve District clear-cuts forests in four preserves, slaughtering close to 10,000 trees to plant prairie — killing one species to plant another; the sneak attack using former and retiring Rep. Dave Winters to try to increase their tax rate (THANK YOU, Rep. Chuck Jefferson, for stopping it); Executive Director Tom Kalousek unilaterally, as in without the board’s approval, signing an alcohol ban for all preserves on the Kishwaukee River (making the god of beer mad, so we have a drought, and the Kish runs blood red — really big joke!). Instead of firing him, the board keeps Kalousek on as he sometimes works for free when he’s not taking trips to inspect safety on other people’s playgrounds, not on the district’s time anymore, of course. The board chucks all the applicants it had for Kalousek’s position and starts the search over, how much time and money did that cost — HA! Then, they keep Kalousek on again for $80 an hour through a temp service, HA! HA! Randy Olson takes a crack at his own police force that never existed with his own expensive police queen that might sue because she’s now fired and really, really mad at Randy. Olson resigns as president and seemingly won’t talk to the State’s Attorney’s investigators, but he’s still on the board. Now we wonder if the whole board could be legally complicit because they authorized Olson to go after the grants.

I can’t endorse any of the standing board members because of the legal question. Lee might be OK because he was appointed to replace Jay Ferraro, who was living in the Quad Cities at the time he was on our County Forest Preserve and made that vote.

Every candidate in this list has some long-standing connection to the culture that has created this nightmare. There is an unspoken exclusivity here bordering on a cult that most voters don’t know about, poor company for poor Mother Nature.

Just to show your disgust with what has become a running joke on us, this whole fiasco deserves an undervote. Vote the undervote. I feel sorry for the newcomers, if they really are newcomers.

FOR FOREST PRESERVE COMMISSIONER

(For an unexpired two year term)

(Vote for one)

CHERYL A. MAGGIO

LEE G. JOHNSON

BEVERLY D. MOORE

Same sentiment and logic as the above. Vote the Undervote.

PROPOSITIONS

VILLAGE OF ROSCOE

Shall the Village of Roscoe have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?

YES

NO

Well … this aggregation will probably save some folks money on their electric bill. The proposition failed once already because of poor marketing. However, if it does pass and money is saved, look out for a new tax that might be coming your way. Vote YES.

SEWARD PARK DISTRICT

Establishment of a Proposed General Park District to be known as “THE SEWARD PARK DISTRICT”

For Park District

Against Park District

A property tax levy will be necessary to support this, but maybe you could get Seward Forest Preserve away from the WCFPD before they cut down all the trees. AND, you could create more parks that might help you with setback to move industrial wind turbines farther away. Furthermore, you have the superb model of the Rockford Park District to emulate. I’d get them out there right away to talk to you if you haven’t already. Their Executive Director Tim Dimke said it’s a chance at new grants and community partnerships, such as with the local school districts, business and grassroots volunteers. He noted the Village of Winnebago has done a very good job. More parks are always good. Vote For Park District.

FOR PARK COMMISSIONERS

(Vote for five)

NEIL POTTER

ALISON BEHN

KATRYNA KIRBY

DUANE LOVETT

RANDALL McCOY

Under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, may an aggregate extension not to exceed $25,000 be made for the Seward Park District for the 2012 levy year?

YES

NO

Not a bad price to pay for a Park District. Vote YES.

ROCKFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT NUMBER 205

Shall the Board of Education of Rockford School District Number 205, Winnebago and Boone Counties, Illinois, build and equip additions to and alter, repair and equip school buildings, acquire one or more sites, improve sites and issue bonds of said School District to the amount of $139,000,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof?

YES

NO

Considering District 205’s record, I really wonder about trusting them not to create another disaster here. Dr. Ehren Jarrett was named the new superintendent Oct. 30. He will replace Interim Superintendent Dr. Robert Willis July 1, 2013. One source says institutions working with Jarrett and Director of Accountability Dan Woestman have seen the best relations and results in 20 years. With those sentiments as a background, reality shows the poor physical condition of our aging buildings, and their lack of handicap access for disabled kids. According to the proposal, these improvements will not increase your property or sales taxes; rather, it will be paid for by bond sales. Vote for the kids growing up and learning in these buildings. Vote YES.

PROPOSITIONS

SEWARD TOWNSHIP

Shall Seward Township, Winnebago County, Illinois allow the sale of alcoholic liquor in accordance with the Winnebago County Liquor Ordinance, Winnebago County, Illinois?

YES

NO

Of course. Blue Laws are sad, and out of date. Relax. Vote YES.

FOR CITY OF ROCKFORD VOTERS

Following is a complete set of sample ballots for the General Election, November 6, 2012. Voters will be eligible to vote in the districts as indicated on their valid voter identification card. City of Rockford residents who have been registered in Rockford, but moved before October 9, 2012, within the City limits and failed to change their address with the Board of Elections will be allowed to vote for Federal Offices only.

FOR MEMBERS OF THE COUNTY BOARD

DISTRICT TWELVE

(Vote for one)

DAVID L. STROMMER – REPUBLICAN

JULIO SALGADO – DEMOCRATIC

While I personally like Strommer, he has had his day on Rockford School District 205’s board, and he and we don’t need any more of that. Let the younger man in, with that fresh face and new ideas we are all looking for, including Strommer himself, who can be very gracious. Salgado wants to go after safety and crime in District 12, and I, too, like to remind everyone Rockford really is part of Winnebago County, although the heavenly doughnut around our city is considered the hallowed ground. Salgado is a smart realist with good communication skills to bring the interests of the citizens of District 12 to the county board floor. From securing service and technical jobs, helping troubled youth re-enter the workforce, Salgado promises to help everyone take the cooperative approach. Vote for Salgado.

From the Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2012, issue

One Comment

  1. John

    October 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Spoken like a true Rockford Liberal. After four years of the economic disaster that is Barack Obama, anyone who supports him must like unemployment, economic stagnation, and broken promises. But hey, he “looks” presidential so lets give him another shot? Are you kidding?

    The middle class should expect a tax hike, or watch the Obama debt climb another 4 Trillion. Taxing the rich will NOT even come close to solving the debt. How about a little honesty there? By the way, how did that stimulus work out? From my perspective, I’d say it was a complete waste of money, yet you lambaste Romney for his plans that you view as unworkable. Just what does Barry O have up his sleeve? Another stimulus?? Or the infamous Obama “just do nothing”. I haven’t read his pamphlet but I do need a good laugh.

    This reminds mne of the people who criticized Ryans plan, yet they themselves STILL HAVEN’T OFFERED ANYTHING! Guess it’s easier to criticize others than to do the heavy lifting and devise your own plan.

    That seems to be the Obama strategy in a nutshell…just criticize Romney. How’s that for our next President? The last president that tried this approach was Jimmy Carter.

    Yeah, blame the wars on Bush…typical left-wing talking point. You might make an argument against involvement in Iraq, everyone can, but not Afghanisatan. The blame for that goes to a bunch of Muslim psycho’s. So what would the invincible Barry O have done??? Talk them to death? Would the power of his teleprompter ward away Muslim terriorists?? I bet you think so.

    You make a big deal out of your links like they are some kind of truth. How about a link to 2016, Obamas America? Or the tell-all book on that fossil Joe Biden?

    Another 4 years of Obama, and America will certainly look nothing like it did in 2008. The question is whether it will be better, or resemble a tax and spend impotent European “Nanny” state?

    I am still astounded that anyone living in Illinois can still be so blind as to what Democrats do, or don’t do. Tax and spend, and “kick that can” down the road. Whats next for the “state of decay”? More taxes? more lost jobs as companys flee this industrial wasteland?

    Yes, vote for Democrats! Economic collapse and the destruction of the middle class can’t be all that bad!

    Finally, just like any good liberal, if you can’t win an argument on facts, trot out the name calling. According to you, I’m a racist because I’m white and I think Obama is ruining our country. Guess I’ll have to live with being a “racist” then.

    America, RIP 1776-2012

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