Remember Rick Baker? I certainly do. He was a great individual and an excellent writer for the Journal Star. His untimely death created much sadness in the community and created a journalist gap that has never been replaced by the JS. On May 21,1980, Rick wrote “Dealing with state government can at times be like dealing with an enormous, all powerful dolt that simply won’t listen to reason” His article was entitled “Peoria Businessman Tackles State Over Unpaid Bill.” My company had unfortunately received an order from the State of Illinois and when the State unpacked the merchandise, they discovered one item slightly damaged. They would not pay the bill until my company replaced the damaged part. We promptly reordered the part which we had to pay for it because the trucking company had a receiving copy signed by the State that the merchandise was received in good condition. In the meantime the period of time in which the State had to pay their bill to my company elapsed and I was told by law I must hire an attorney to sue the State for payment. This was despite the fact that the State did not deny they owed the money. A year and two letters from then Governor Jim Thompson, who while agreeing with me, stated I still had to sue the State to collect. Baker then wrote his article on my behalf saying “These millions of dollars are being withheld from businessmen who are paying high interest rates on the money while it sits in limbo.”
More than a year later, with help from our local representatives, Prescott Bloom, Mary Lou Sumner and Fred Schraeder, we got paid but lost money on the order.
My local support group working with a Chicago Law firm eventually got the law changed to make sense, no credit to Thompson and an arrogant attorney by the name of Tim Johnson who said “you are only attempting to beat attorneys out of business rightfully due them and that “young” attorneys need the business.” I believe this guy is still being elected each year to Springfield and we wonder why the State is in such a mess!! By the way, Johnson later made the Champaign-Urbana, (he at that time represented that area) newspapers showing a paper clip stuck in his personal voting device so that it would always show he voted whether he was present or not. Terry Bibo asked me for this clipping a few years ago. She never returned the clipping nor never mentioned it in her column. Bibo who was married to Baker at the time of his death also failed to act when I gave her information that some of the Social Clubs in Peoria were hiring a company to solicit funds for their clubs with only 10% of the receipts going to the club and the solicitor keeping 90%. Maybe silence is better because the Journal Star is also a solicitor and suspicion might be cast on where all the money donated to the JS Christmas Fund goes.
If JS has ever issued a public accounting, I apologize but I’ve never seen it. Someone help me out on this one. Maybe Barbara because I gave her the same facts I gave Terry.
Why am I bringing some of these issues up? Because “blogging” gives the little people like me a voice, (albeit small), to compete with media who buy their ink by the barrel and paper by the railcar load. Also, because I am now in County politics and I want to know when County government uses their power to lock out the voice and rights of the people.
Also, the name Big Jim came up and brought back some sour memories. I’ve been around long enough to bring up a few more over the next few months.
Fortunately, most people in politics try to do well by their constituents, back then it was politicians like Sumner, Schraeder, Fred Tuerk and competent and missed, Prescott Bloom.
I close with this quote “We not only praise individual liberty, but our Constitution has the unique distinction of ensuring it”. (Charles Evans Hughes)