Monday, May 24, 2010

Back Scratching

This is the way the unions, big government and big business profit, by and large. There are incidents of this type of thing going on all of the time. One, I'll blog on in a month so when I gather more information in what I am pursuing. It needs to play itself out. What I have learned so far, makes me angry and it will make some of my readers, a little disappointed as a big name company and some politicans APPEAR to be involved.

Back scratching. Tomorrow night as the Council votes on the Gary Matthews potential profit without risk hotel venture. Do you think Eric Turner would turn on his "handlers" (Think Big Yellow) and the union card carrying members of the Council would turn on their handlers? After all, we need jobs. Right? No matter that what they build that is taxpayer supported in the next couple of years, the taxpayer will be paying for these public funded or taxpayer guaranteed projects ad infintum. The short term benefit for workers belonging to unions and a select few who will manage the finished product. And long time benefits for union bosses. The rest of the employees may be paid a minimum living wage, not the high paying jobs so many of our politicians have promised us.

Any taxpayer supported projects built within the past 10 years that employ people at more than a bare living wage after they are built? Any on the drawing boards like the museum?

BelWood, perhaps but this facility costs NOW the property tax payer $2 million a year and growing. What will it cost when the $51 million replacement is built??

They say "get used to it". Maybe the new independents will be a major factor in FINDING AND GETTING PEOPLE ELECTED who will say no at least 10% of the time. I blogged where surveys showed that politicians say "no" less that 3% of the time. What money it costs them, is made up in genourus salaries, paid health plans and sizable pensions.

And a guaranteed job forever.

Here is the email forwarded to me. Some may recall, I blogged on this blatant travesty prior to the election. This was printed in the JS but no columnist from the big media pointed out the obvious political implications and the eventual payback.


the top right hand corner of page 17 of the New
York Post, January 24,
2009, was a column entitled,
"Replacing Michelle" in the National Review,
Here it is, as it appeared, below:

employees are simply irreplaceable. Take Michelle
Obama: The
University of Chicago Medical center hired
her in 2002 to run 'programs
for community
relations, neighborhood outreach, volunteer
recruitment, staff
diversity and minority

In 2005 the hospital raised
her salary from $120,000 to $317,000 nearly
what her husband made as a Senator. Her husband, Barak
Obama, had just become a US Senator. He sure had. He
requested a $1 million earmark for the UC Medical
Center, in fact. Way to network, Michelle!

that Mrs.... Obama has resigned, the hospital says her
position will
remain unfilled. How can that be, if the
work she did was vital enough to
be worth

Let me add that Michelle's position was
a part time, 20 hour a week job."

My thoughts:
How did this bit of quid pro quo corruption escape the
reporters that dug through Sarah Palin's
garbage and kindergarten files?

I hope this
is forwarded so many times that the media will HAVE to

-- For every action, there is an
equal and opposite government program.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Caterpillar Visitors Center Potential Attendance

In September of 2008, Mark Johnson, then representing Caterpillar on building of the downtown Cat Visitors Center in conjunction with the building of the new Peoria Riverfront Museum, was quoted in the JS, 9/17/08, that attendance to the visitors center "must hit 120,000 a year" helping make of the projected combined visits of 360,000 yearly or even 400,000 as one museum commitee chair once stated.

On 4/20/10, in a LTE to the JSEB, Doug Oberhelman, Vice Chairman and CEO Elect of Caterpillar, promoting the building of a Downtown Marriott and the renovation of the Pere Hotel, wrote that, "Each year, Caterpillar brings up to 13,000 customers and other visitors to Peoria to tour Caterpillar World Headquarters and our local facilities."

Doug, I'm sure, has his figures correct. But who is guaranteeing the other 107,000 vistors each year will visit the Cat Visitors Center?? And will all 13,000 who now come each year because of Cat, have time to also visit the Vistors Center while taking in the PRM, working out at the RiverPlex, going to the baseball and basketball games, visiting the zoo, the Civic Center, the....and have time to spend $14 million dollars a year with the local taxpaying merchants in the area?

And now with all the growth in East Peoria; Bass Pro, the proposed Cat museum in E. Peoria, the new convention Center, the proposed new major shopping center, all across the river, does that change the "estimated" 240,000 people who will visit the PRM each year for the next 20-30 years?

I sincerly hope these projections come true but the record of "projections" in Peoria have not been to accurate.

If all these projections would only come true, it is possible that one day the World Series of Baseball could be held right here in the Peoria's as a former Cat newspaper editor once predicted. Tonque in cheek, of course.

That is, if the local taxspending governmental bodies can balance their budgets.

Museum Deficits

"Hit by the Downturn, Museums Seek Bailouts", is the title of May 20th article by Shelly Banjo published in the WSJ.

"Tottering under years of deficits, accumulated debt and declining donations, several of the country's small and medium-sized museums have been turning to to the art-world equivalent of a bailout. They are partnering with a university or any other academic institution, in some cases handing over artwork and changing locations, in a last ditch effort to keep their doors open and their collections intact and available to the public."

Museums mentioned in the article are located in Portland, Oregon, Berkeley, CA., Fresno, CA. Last year, the Gulf Coast Museum of Art in Largo, Fl., shut its doors and gave its 435-piece collection of contemporary Florida art to St. Petersburg College after seeing its $8 million dollar endowment shrivel to $500,000.

Here in Peoria we have hardly any endowment to shrivel; it appears it have stayed at around $2 million for at least 30 months. Financial experts locally say the Peoria Riverfront Museum needs up to $14 million Endowment.

Still to be raised for this museum project are millions of dollars because all but approximately $2 million of cash raised has already been spent by 12/31/09; out of the somewhere around $14 million in cash raised.

As I look at the financial outlook for this city; don't count your chickens before they are hatched, neither the Marriott nor the Bass Pro have even started construction plus there are no guarantees that their customers will be big museum goers.

Of pledges made to the PRM over several years, financial statements show over $1 million in previous pledges had been cancelled by June 30, 2009.

The recent city-wide fund-raiser held by the museum last month took in $400,000 in pledges, a long, long way from the dollars needed.

One County Board member stated this week that we had progressed "too far" to turn back now. Progressed too far? There is only $2 million in Lakeview's till and sales tax revenue may be suspect. No ground has been broken, no contract with IMAX has been signed, no Endowment to speak of, pledges suspect as they always are and the economy in Peoria lacks sizzle while the certainty of taxes rising is absolute.

It is a also certainty that if the museum is built and the economy normalizes, young people are not going to be going downtown to pay to park in an underground garage to see the history of the Illinois High School Association and the African-American Hall of Fame (which has pledged $10,000 to this $130-40-50 million dollar project) and pay to attend 2nd run IMAX shows. If IMAX executives believe Peoria is a good location for an IMAX Theatre, I will guarantee you it would not be downtown with underground parking. It would be out North and Northwest where Dunlap and Peoria are expanding.

And it would be privately owned with 1st showings. If one is not built, it means that Peoria cannot support an IMAX.

The city, in apology for promoting growth way out north and northwest, is making a renewed efffort to bring back those who are fleeing the City. All talk and no money just like no money for Eagle Point. Same tallk as has been going on for years, just different councilpeople. In the first place, it would take a lot of money while the city will not even be able to meet their budget defcits WITHOUT RAISING TAXES OR FEES next year or sooner.

Another reminder. IF THIS UNPOPULAR MUSEUM IS BUILT IT WILL BE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PEORIA COUNTY TO MAINTAIN THE BUILDING FOR ITS LIFETIME. County administration may say it is not but don't believe the "movers and shakers" in this community would leave an $80 million building sit empty on the riverfront.

I recently reviewed the economy on the riverfront. I also said their might be more shake-out of businesses on the riverfront in the not too distant future.

Stay tuned.

Start increasing the pressure on the M & S crowd to kill this impending long-term financial disaster. No, neither expansion of hotel rooms, which might put at least two existing hotels out of business, or a Bass Pro, which will no doubt take dollars from existing businesses, maybe more than they presently think, will boost the 240,000 PRM visitors now projected. (Lakeview's Finacial statement showed that 81,000 people visited Lakeview Museum). And that was with free parking. People who visit museum's similar to this one as planned, do not usually come from the outdoor types. The Bass Pro types are more likely to visit the aquariums at.... Bass Pro. Free and free parking.

Or the new zoo. Or the ball park.

The Museum finance people "estimate" it will cost $4.1, 4.2, 4.3 million to operate the PRM the first year with our departing County Financial Officer predicting it will cost over $8 million a year to operate by 2033.

I believe overlooked by all the "experts' that even in a good economy there are only so many discretionary dollars to be spent.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Establishment

Michael Steele says he is not part of the establishment, John Stossel and Rand Paul say they are not part of the establishment.

Guess I'm part of a pretty good crowd.

One thing I am sure of. If the new crowd can't change the establishment of the two major parties, this country is sunk. After watching the daily major crash of the stock market and reading and watching about world events, this country may be sunk anyway.

Better pull away from your sitcoms and other forms of entertainment and pay attention. Just because both parents work with nice pensions on retirements, I suggest everyone who doesn't live on welfare start paying attention and putting money aside, even if this money doesn't bear much of a return. And even welfare one day may not be guaranteed as charitable giving is down as there is less money to give. And governments are unable to pay their bills, (Think Illinois, California.........)

Remember the saying "Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world". And not always for your best interests.

One half of the adults living in this country have no idea how the stock market collapse, the financial condition of most of the world, this current administration with free spending career bureaucrats from both major parties, is affecting almost everyone.

Who got us into this situation? No question who. The establishment crowd, most with government jobs, health care and pensions and others who are usually financially secure and think they know what's best for the rest of us. If they make you feel secure, I suggest again, you haven't been paying attention.

Don't ever believe that a dictatorship is NOT possible. Why do you think this administration, including the Mayor Daley, wants to take away your guns but are unable to take weapons away from criminals and terrorists?

A defenseless citizenry is ripe for loss of all major freedoms. Read some history starting with The Rise and Fall of The Third Reich which most students have never heard of.

Having said all this, I know there are many in any "establishment" that mean well and do well. They, too, are a "the small group of committed people".

They need your attention and your help. Like in voting. And like in the fledgling Tea Party. Get more involved with the facts.

Peoria; "World" Class City

Demosthenes warned approximately 2500 hundred years ago that "Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what every man (or woman) wishes; that he (they) also believes to be true."

Our movers and shakers have been telling us that if we complete everything on the drawing table, we will be a "world class" city. Perhaps people who call Peoria a "world class" city like former interim City Manager, Henry Hollings, is correct. It sure doesn't look or act like one now but time will tell a more complete story. Maybe Bass Pro, the Marriott and the museum will complete the success circle.

Without putting a great burden on the sales and property tax payers.

But maybe not. Most of you are probably so used to riding over Peoria's streets badly in need of repair or noticing deteriorating curbs and sidewalks, watching events occurring at both Peoria Public School System and other public bodies, that you do not notice that "world class" is used in describing this city. And why have things been so quiet on the $300 million dollar sewer renovation that Mr. Browning told me last year, had to be started in 2010? And where is the missing $14 million promised BEFORE breaking ground on the new underground $8+ million parking garage ? The Museum Endowment needs (must) around $11-14 million, yet only $2 million has been saved to date. I say "saved" because records show that some of the money raised for this fund was lost on investments. Remember that $11+ million of cash raised for the the museum has ALREADY been spent.

Also has anyone heard how much is in the zoo endowment? Not much I hear. While it is a nice zoo with amenities, it still has a huge financial nut to track and busloads of school kids will do little to help meet much higher operating costs . The zoo lost approximately $1. 2 million for years 2006, 2007 and 2008.

On May 17, the JSEB, "wrote that Peoria City is eyeballing a $10 million dollar deficit after having to plug a $14.5 deficit in 2009. There just seems to be no end to the city's fiscal misery."

Yet a possible taxpayer, Bass Pro landed in EAST Peoria, not Peoria. I don't know how much Gander Mountain on Peoria's west side was given in subsidies nor Pressley's in Bartonville. Both may see their business decline. On the other hand, once we fully understand what E. Peoria had to give away, Peoria may be glad E. Peoria got Bass Pro (See the JSEB Editorial and the accompanying intelligent LTE by Tim Church of East Peoria on May 19).

At least Peoria will keep Big Al's. At an additional cost to taxpayers in the city.

And world class? If the public believes that the new design of the proposed Marriott is an improvement over the old design they better look at the "mausoleum" architects designed for the now nearly empty former Bank Plus building at the corner of Knoxville and Pioneer Parkway. Or Furniture Row at the Shoppes. To name a couple.

Phil Luciano's Column on May 19 sums up the architecture of the Marriott quite well. Sizzle to fizzle somewhat similar to the scaled down proposed museum, from 110,000 sq. ft. to 81,000 sq. ft. Why scaled down? Because the movers and shakers failed to come up with the promised money.

Anyway, with the economy still in a form of perhaps major collapse, I have yet to be convinced to drink the "Kool Aid".

And Demosthenes was correct. Maybe he also said, dream big but have enough money to completely cover your butt without asking the majority of tax payers to cover a major part of it for you.

Kellar Trail Deception??

Next question - where is the PPD going to get another $7 or more million to build the trail including a bridge over Knoxville and what about a bridge over heavily trafficked Pioneer Parkway, when they can't find $5 million to complete the parking lot and entrance to the expanded zoo? Nor the money to build the recreational ballparks promised to be built by 2003 on the 40 acre lot off Rt.91 and Fox Road? Nor the money to build the promised sports complex off Lake at Peoria Stadium? Nor the money to put in water, toilet facilities, electricity and picnic tables at this "playground" off Lake?

Here is an email I received today from David Pittman, who says the Kellar Trail is now a "success". David, I believe is President of Peoria Wilds:

"Effective immediately I am resigning as VP of the RTA /Friends of the RI Trail. Even though I helped start this group nearly 20 years ago I will not accept any assignments, or attend meetings, or represent this group any longer. I do this to protest the deliberate silence of the RTA leadership over the $140,000 compensation paid to Kellar Branch Corridor Corporation. The Kellar trail is now a success, but public money was spent without oversight and this group kept silent. It was accepted as the 'price' of getting the job done. this will be my last email to this group.

KBCC's main attorney asked our group to publicly keep quiet over 18 months ago, which we did, with my reluctant acceptance. Many of us heard the KBCC attorney claim to be motivated by his desire to help the community and his altruism. I am happy the Kellar is now a construction project instead of a political frustration. But for me, it is a bittersweet victory.

I feel that our group silence worked well for KBCC, allowing them to get $140,000 with NO PUBLIC scrutiny or audit or previous public agreement. Even though I asked our group leadership to raise these concerns in public, the email exchanges of the past weeks made it clear that I am a minority of one; don't ask, dont' rock the boat, and speak publicly only to praise the KBCC for its success. I am alone in my dismay and I cannot reconcile continuing in this group without violating my internal sense of right and wrong. As an officer of RTA /Friends of the RI Trail I felt obligated to keep silent, per the majority will of the leadership. Now, with the deed done, I can step away.

It was suggested to me that the KBCC attorney deserved compensation for his professional duties; but what about all the other professionals who have given to the Kellar rail to Trail cause without asking compensation? What about the hundreds of hours of our President George Burrier, also an attorney, or the $100,000 donation of O'Brien Steel, or the testimony to City Council of the Maloof realtors, or any of us for that matter?
Plus we were never told this KBCC attorney was a hired gun. Just the opposite, we were lead to believe this was a community service. The suggestion that KBCC deserves $$ and the rest of the group does not, presumes a business contract that never existed. We as taxpayers and activists were not allowed to see how the KBCC justifies $140,000 for their expenses. Why not $120,000, or $180,000? No one knows. KBCC gave the cities a bill for services rendered. But our elected representatives never signed a contract, never made a deal. I believe this is very wrong.

I know that five years from now no one will care how the Trail was built, or if this deception occured. It is very typical of how projects get done in our community, with last minute demands and back room deals. Peoria will have a Kellar trail, and the KBCC will have $140,000. Maybe they deserve every penny, who knows? I have chosen to keep silent for the sake of my friends and out of respect for their long, long struggle to make the Kellar into a trail. But I am ethically challenged beyond my limits and will step away from the tainted odor.

I truly respect the people I have worked with over the past 15 years and I know there is no deliberate deception here, only a burning desire to build the Kellar Trail. By keeping silent on this issue until after the final public votes have occurred, I have tried to adhere to my responsibility, as I understood it, as an officer in RTA. Thank you to everyone who tolerated my strong feelings over the years as we worked on developing the Kellar and other recreational trails throughout the region. It is a good cause and I hope to see many of you in other times and places."

David Pittman

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Minority Hiring and Local Governmental Bodies

Lately, I have been hearing about local officials reciting their good deeds of hiring more minorities.

I know I'll be criticized by at least 30% of the population but I owned my business for 28 years and it never occurred to me that I was expected to hire a minority quota. I remember hiring what I thought were the best people qualified for the position and firing those who didn't live up to their promise or encouraging some to perhaps seek another line of work.

Where did I go wrong? I know, if I live another 20 years, my race would allow me to expect to be hired to help the government and some of the private sector and colleges (Think University of Michigan) to meet minorities quota's of 2030.

I know I went wrong because mine is the only office equipment dealer in Peoria that still bears the founders name. Mine.


Judicial Watch - Ten Most Corrupt Polticians

And that is just the top 10.


Judicial Watch Announces List of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians" for 2009.
Contact Information:Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305
Washington, DC
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today released its 2009 list of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians." The list, in alphabetical order, includes:

Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT): This marks two years in a row for Senator Dodd, who made the 2008 "Ten Most Corrupt" list for his corrupt relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and for accepting preferential treatment and loan terms from Countrywide Financial, a scandal which still dogs him. In 2009, the scandals kept coming for the Connecticut Democrat. In 2009, Judicial Watch filed a Senate ethics complaint against Dodd for undervaluing a property he owns in Ireland on his Senate Financial Disclosure forms. Judicial Watch's complaint forced Dodd to amend the forms. However, press reports suggest the property to this day remains undervalued. Judicial Watch also alleges in the complaint that Dodd obtained a sweetheart deal for the property in exchange for his assistance in obtaining a presidential pardon (during the Clinton administration) and other favors for a long-time friend and business associate. The false financial disclosure forms were part of the cover-up. Dodd remains the head the Senate Banking Committee.

Senator John Ensign (R-NV): A number of scandals popped up in 2009 involving public officials who conducted illicit affairs, and then attempted to cover them up with hush payments and favors, an obvious abuse of power. The year's worst offender might just be Nevada Republican Senator John Ensign. Ensign admitted in June to an extramarital affair with the wife of one of his staff members, who then allegedly obtained special favors from the Nevada Republican in exchange for his silence. According to The New York Times: "The Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee are expected to conduct preliminary inquiries into whether Senator John Ensign violated federal law or ethics rules as part of an effort to conceal an affair with the wife of an aide…" The former staffer, Douglas Hampton, began to lobby Mr. Ensign's office immediately upon leaving his congressional job, despite the fact that he was subject to a one-year lobbying ban. Ensign seems to have ignored the law and allowed Hampton lobbying access to his office as a payment for his silence about the affair. (These are potentially criminal offenses.) It looks as if Ensign misused his public office (and taxpayer resources) to cover up his sexual shenanigans.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): Judicial Watch is investigating a $12 million TARP cash injection provided to the Boston-based OneUnited Bank at the urging of Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank. As reported in the January 22, 2009, edition of the Wall Street Journal, the Treasury Department indicated it would only provide funds to healthy banks to jump-start lending. Not only was OneUnited Bank in massive financial turmoil, but it was also "under attack from its regulators for allegations of poor lending practices and executive-pay abuses, including owning a Porsche for its executives' use." Rep. Frank admitted he spoke to a "federal regulator," and Treasury granted the funds. (The bank continues to flounder despite Frank's intervention for federal dollars.) Moreover, Judicial Watch uncovered documents in 2009 that showed that members of Congress for years were aware that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were playing fast and loose with accounting issues, risk assessment issues and executive compensation issues, even as liberals led by Rep. Frank continued to block attempts to rein in the two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs). For example, during a hearing on September 10, 2003, before the House Committee on Financial Services considering a Bush administration proposal to further regulate Fannie and Freddie, Rep. Frank stated: "I want to begin by saying that I am glad to consider the legislation, but I do not think we are facing any kind of a crisis. That is, in my view, the two Government Sponsored Enterprises we are talking about here, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not in a crisis. We have recently had an accounting problem with Freddie Mac that has led to people being dismissed, as appears to be appropriate. I do not think at this point there is a problem with a threat to the Treasury." Frank received $42,350 in campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac between 1989 and 2008. Frank also engaged in a relationship with a Fannie Mae Executive while serving on the House Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner: In 2009, Obama Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted that he failed to pay $34,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes from 2001-2004 on his lucrative salary at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization with 185 member countries that oversees the global financial system. (Did we mention Geithner now runs the IRS?) It wasn't until President Obama tapped Geithner to head the Treasury Department that he paid back most of the money, although the IRS kindly waived the hefty penalties. In March 2009, Geithner also came under fire for his handling of the AIG bonus scandal, where the company used $165 million of its bailout funds to pay out executive bonuses, resulting in a massive public backlash. Of course as head of the New York Federal Reserve, Geithner helped craft the AIG deal in September 2008. However, when the AIG scandal broke, Geithner claimed he knew nothing of the bonuses until March 10, 2009. The timing is important. According to CNN: "Although Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told congressional leaders on Tuesday that he learned of AIG's impending $160 million bonus payments to members of its troubled financial-products unit on March 10, sources tell TIME that the New York Federal Reserve informed Treasury staff that the payments were imminent on Feb. 28. That is ten days before Treasury staffers say they first learned 'full details' of the bonus plan, and three days before the [Obama] Administration launched a new $30 billion infusion of cash for AIG." Throw in another embarrassing disclosure in 2009 that Geithner employed "household help" ineligible to work in the United States, and it becomes clear why the Treasury Secretary has earned a spot on the "Ten Most Corrupt Politicians in Washington" list.

Attorney General Eric Holder: Tim Geithner can be sure he won't be hounded about his tax-dodging by his colleague Eric Holder, US Attorney General. Judicial Watch strongly opposed Holder because of his terrible ethics record, which includes: obstructing an FBI investigation of the theft of nuclear secrets from Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory; rejecting multiple requests for an independent counsel to investigate alleged fundraising abuses by then-Vice President Al Gore in the Clinton White House; undermining the criminal investigation of President Clinton by Kenneth Starr in the midst of the Lewinsky investigation; and planning the violent raid to seize then-six-year-old Elian Gonzalez at gunpoint in order to return him to Castro's Cuba. Moreover, there is his soft record on terrorism. Holder bypassed Justice Department procedures to push through Bill Clinton's scandalous presidential pardons and commutations, including for 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican terrorist group that orchestrated approximately 120 bombings in the United States, killing at least six people and permanently maiming dozens of others, including law enforcement officers. His record in the current administration is no better. As he did during the Clinton administration, Holder continues to ignore serious incidents of corruption that could impact his political bosses at the White House. For example, Holder has refused to investigate charges that the Obama political machine traded VIP access to the White House in exchange for campaign contributions – a scheme eerily similar to one hatched by Holder's former boss, Bill Clinton in the 1990s. The Holder Justice Department also came under fire for dropping a voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party. On Election Day 2008, Black Panthers dressed in paramilitary garb threatened voters as they approached polling stations. Holder has also failed to initiate a comprehensive Justice investigation of the notorious organization ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), which is closely tied to President Obama. There were allegedly more than 400,000 fraudulent ACORN voter registrations in the 2008 campaign. And then there were the journalist videos catching ACORN Housing workers advising undercover reporters on how to evade tax, immigration, and child prostitution laws. Holder's controversial decisions on new rights for terrorists and his attacks on previous efforts to combat terrorism remind many of the fact that his former law firm has provided and continues to provide pro bono representation to terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. Holder's politicization of the Justice Department makes one long for the days of Alberto Gonzales.

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)/ Senator Roland Burris (D-IL): One of the most serious scandals of 2009 involved a scheme by former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to sell President Obama's then-vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. Two men caught smack dab in the middle of the scandal: Senator Roland Burris, who ultimately got the job, and Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, emissaries for Jesse Jackson Jr., named "Senate Candidate A" in the Blagojevich indictment, reportedly offered $1.5 million to Blagojevich during a fundraiser if he named Jackson Jr. to Obama's seat. Three days later federal authorities arrested Blagojevich. Burris, for his part, apparently lied about his contacts with Blagojevich, who was arrested in December 2008 for trying to sell Obama's Senate seat. According to Reuters: "Roland Burris came under fresh scrutiny…after disclosing he tried to raise money for the disgraced former Illinois governor who named him to the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama…In the latest of those admissions, Burris said he looked into mounting a fundraiser for Rod Blagojevich -- later charged with trying to sell Obama's Senate seat -- at the same time he was expressing interest to the then-governor's aides about his desire to be appointed." Burris changed his story five times regarding his contacts with Blagojevich prior to the Illinois governor appointing him to the U.S. Senate. Three of those changing explanations came under oath.

President Barack Obama: During his presidential campaign, President Obama promised to run an ethical and transparent administration. However, in his first year in office, the President has delivered corruption and secrecy, bringing Chicago-style political corruption to the White House. Consider just a few Obama administration "lowlights" from year one: Even before President Obama was sworn into office, he was interviewed by the FBI for a criminal investigation of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's scheme to sell the President's former Senate seat to the highest bidder. (Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and slumlord Valerie Jarrett, both from Chicago, are also tangled up in the Blagojevich scandal.) Moreover, the Obama administration made the startling claim that the Privacy Act does not apply to the White House. The Obama White House believes it can violate the privacy rights of American citizens without any legal consequences or accountability. President Obama boldly proclaimed that "transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency," but his administration is addicted to secrecy, stonewalling far too many of Judicial Watch's Freedom of Information Act requests and is refusing to make public White House visitor logs as federal law requires. The Obama administration turned the National Endowment of the Arts (as well as the agency that runs the AmeriCorps program) into propaganda machines, using tax dollars to persuade "artists" to promote the Obama agenda. According to documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the idea emerged as a direct result of the Obama campaign and enjoyed White House approval and participation. President Obama has installed a record number of "czars" in positions of power. Too many of these individuals are leftist radicals who answer to no one but the president. And too many of the czars are not subject to Senate confirmation (which raises serious constitutional questions). Under the President's bailout schemes, the federal government continues to appropriate or control — through fiat and threats — large sectors of the private economy, prompting conservative columnist George Will to write: "The administration's central activity — the political allocation of wealth and opportunity — is not merely susceptible to corruption, it is corruption." Government-run healthcare and car companies, White House coercion, uninvestigated ACORN corruption, debasing his office to help Chicago cronies, attacks on conservative media and the private sector, unprecedented and dangerous new rights for terrorists, perks for campaign donors — this is Obama's "ethics" record — and we haven't even gotten through the first year of his presidency.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): At the heart of the corruption problem in Washington is a sense of entitlement. Politicians believe laws and rules (even the U.S. Constitution) apply to the rest of us but not to them. Case in point: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her excessive and boorish demands for military travel. Judicial Watch obtained documents from the Pentagon in 2009 that suggest Pelosi has been treating the Air Force like her own personal airline. These documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, include internal Pentagon email correspondence detailing attempts by Pentagon staff to accommodate Pelosi's numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker's 11th hour cancellations and changes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also came under fire in April 2009, when she claimed she was never briefed about the CIA's use of the waterboarding technique during terrorism investigations. The CIA produced a report documenting a briefing with Pelosi on September 4, 2002, that suggests otherwise. Judicial Watch also obtained documents, including a CIA Inspector General report, which further confirmed that Congress was fully briefed on the enhanced interrogation techniques. Aside from her own personal transgressions, Nancy Pelosi has ignored serious incidents of corruption within her own party, including many of the individuals on this list. (See Rangel, Murtha, Jesse Jackson, Jr., etc.)

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and the rest of the PMA Seven: Rep. John Murtha made headlines in 2009 for all the wrong reasons. The Pennsylvania congressman is under federal investigation for his corrupt relationship with the now-defunct defense lobbyist PMA Group. PMA, founded by a former Murtha associate, has been the congressman's largest campaign contributor. Since 2002, Murtha has raised $1.7 million from PMA and its clients. And what did PMA and its clients receive from Murtha in return for their generosity? Earmarks -- tens of millions of dollars in earmarks. In fact, even with all of the attention surrounding his alleged influence peddling, Murtha kept at it. Following an FBI raid of PMA's offices earlier in 2009, Murtha continued to seek congressional earmarks for PMA clients, while also hitting them up for campaign contributions. According to The Hill, in April, "Murtha reported receiving contributions from three former PMA clients for whom he requested earmarks in the pending appropriations bills." When it comes to the PMA scandal, Murtha is not alone. As many as six other Members of Congress are currently under scrutiny according to The Washington Post. They include: Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN.), James P. Moran Jr. (D-VA), Norm Dicks (D-WA.), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), C.W. Bill Young (R-FL.) and Todd Tiahrt (R-KS.). Of course rather than investigate this serious scandal, according to Roll Call House Democrats circled the wagons, "cobbling together a defense to offer political cover to their rank and file." The Washington Post also reported in 2009 that Murtha's nephew received $4 million in Defense Department no-bid contracts: "Newly obtained documents…show Robert Murtha mentioning his influential family connection as leverage in his business dealings and holding unusual power with the military."

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): Rangel, the man in charge of writing tax policy for the entire country, has yet to adequately explain how he could possibly "forget" to pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income he earned from his off-shore rental property. He also faces allegations that he improperly used his influence to maintain ownership of highly coveted rent-controlled apartments in Harlem, and misused his congressional office to fundraise for his private Rangel Center by preserving a tax loophole for an oil drilling company in exchange for funding. On top of all that, Rangel recently amended his financial disclosure reports, which doubled his reported wealth. (He somehow "forgot" about $1 million in assets.) And what did he do when the House Ethics Committee started looking into all of this? He apparently resorted to making "campaign contributions" to dig his way out of trouble. According to WCBS TV, a New York CBS affiliate: "The reigning member of Congress' top tax committee is apparently 'wrangling' other politicos to get him out of his own financial and tax troubles...Since ethics probes began last year the 79-year-old congressman has given campaign donations to 119 members of Congress, including three of the five Democrats on the House Ethics Committee who are charged with investigating him." Charlie Rangel should not be allowed to remain in Congress, let alone serve as Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and he knows it. That's why he felt the need to disburse campaign contributions to Ethics Committee members and other congressional colleagues.
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2ND Amendment Warning

While the majority of the country goes about trying to make a living, this administration is trying to take away your right to defend yourself.

Please get MORE INVOLVED in what this "stealth" government is doing to your freedom. Please read this email forwarded by a friend.


We can hardly keep up with the underhandedness and pace of this administration.
While you were watching the oil spill, Hillary Clinton signed the small arms treaty with the UN.
This is one of the things Sheriff Mack has been telling people about.


Just got this...pass it far & wide.
On Wednesday Obama Took the First Major Step in a
Plan to Ban All Firearms in the United States

On Wednesday the Obama administration took its first major step in a plan to ban all firearms in the United States . The Obama administration intends to force gun control and a complete ban on all weapons for US citizens through the signing of international treaties with foreign nations. By signing international treaties on gun control, the Obama administration can use the US State Department to bypass the normal legislative process in Congress. Once the US Government signs these international treaties, all US citizens will be subject to those gun laws created by foreign governments. These are laws that have been developed and promoted by organizations such as the United Nations and individuals such as George Soros and Michael Bloomberg. The laws are designed and intended to lead to the complete ban and confiscation of all firearms. The Obama administration is attempting to use tactics and methods of gun control that will inflict major damage to our 2nd Amendment before US citizens even understand what has happened.
Obama can appear before the public and tell them that he does not intend to pursue any legislation (in the United States) that will lead to new gun control laws, while cloaked in secrecy, his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is committing the US to international treaties and foreign gun control laws. Does that mean Obama is telling the truth? What it means is that there will be no publicized gun control debates in the media or votes in Congress. We will wake up one morning and find that the United States has signed a treaty that prohibits firearm and ammunition manufacturers from selling to the public. We will wake up another morning and find that the US has signed a treaty that prohibits any transfer of firearm ownership. And then, we will wake up yet another morning and find that the US has signed a treaty that requires US citizens to deliver any firearm they own to the local government collection and destruction center or face imprisonment.
As sure as government health care will be forced on us by the Obama administration through whatever means necessary, so will gun control. Read the Article U.S. reverses stance on treaty to regulate arms trade WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States reversed policy on Wednesday and said it would back launching talks on a treaty to regulate arms sales as long as the talks operated by consensus, a stance critics said gave every nation a veto. The decision, announced in a statement released by the U.S. State Department, overturns the position of former President George W. Bush's administration, which had opposed such a treaty on the grounds that national controls were better. View The Full Article Here
Please forward this message to others who may be concerned about the direction in which our country is headed. This is a very serious matter!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"The Conservative Magazine of Illinois"

Forwarded to me by people whose cause I support. Merle

For the past 100 years we have seen our liberties and freedoms encroached upon by an ever growing Federal and State government. In some cases it has been a slow, creeping march toward big government and socialism. In other cases, as more recently, it has been a blatant full frontal attack on our country and its rich tradition of freedom.The past 12 months have seen some extraordinary advancements in the conservative movement. Most notably has been the mobilization of communities by forming Tea Parties, holding town hall meetings, creating neighborhood groups, and actively critiquing those running for office. The momentum is with us even if the media isn't.As volunteers forming and leading our local 9-12 chapter in Peoria, Illinois, my wife, Jody, and I have thought long and hard about our role in taking the fight to the next level. We realized that we could use our publishing company in an effective way to move the ball forward.We decided about six months ago that we would put our own blood, sweat, and treasure on the line by launching a new conservative magazine for Illinois citizens by Illinois citizens. "The Conservative Magazine of Illinois" will go to print with our first issue in a few weeks, in time for the June 1st launch date.We have already received lots of great feedback on our project. We will have a nice mix of articles written for state specific issues like the recent talk of an creating an Illinois bill forcing "Eminent Domain" on our organs for the state. We also have national contributors like: Michelle Malkin, Thomas Sowell, Chuck Norris, Dick Morris, John Stossel, and many more...Our goal is to inform, educate, and entertain, but at the same time, be a vehicle to shine a light on the corruption in this state. Our local newspapers won't do it, so we will.We ask your help in supporting us in the fight by being one of the first to subscribe to "The Conservative Magazine of Illinois" and saving 15% off the cover price by going to our website at

We ask that you subscribe and support the magazine as it is one of the only honest media sources in the state, dedicated to telling Illinois citizens the truth.We also want you to send us your story ideas. Tell us about the corruption in your local community. Send us pictures, videos, articles, etc..This is your voice and your way to fight back in numbers. Please subscribe now at

Thanks Matt Pitcher, PresidentPathway

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We Owe as "Off to Work We Go"

That is if we are able to get a job. Or retirees forced to go back seeking work. Why? Read on.

"The World's Dollar Drug", by Zachary Karbell, author of 'Superfusion: How China and America became one economy', writing in the WSJ today says:

"Over the past decade, the relative position of the U.S. has shifted. It is no longer a creditor to the world, but rather a large debtor to the world. It is a net importer of manufactured goods--though its manufacturing sector remains quite large even while employing fewer workers. Its national economy is the world's largest but it is surpassed by the multinational euro-zone. And China's economy, while still perhaps not much more than a third of the U.S., is growing three to four times as rapidly and accumulating dollars at a torrid clip. Yet the dollar remains the linchpin of the global system.

Because most of the world's trade is conducted in dollars, especially Chinese trade, so governments and institutions throughout the world have little choice but to invest in U.S. assets. The U.S. government has the ability (the Fed) to print that global reserve currency when dire straits demand it. That gives the U.S. considerable latitude to spend its way out of a crisis without confronting real structural changes.

China's peg to the U.S. dollar is currently propping up an otherwise shaky American economy. The Chinese have become the ultimate offshore bank for American capital, and there is no evidence that they deploy it to less American benefit than Americans themselves do.

The U.S. has been able to forestall deep reforms because it has the dollar. But, the U.S. government uses its dollars--ant the ability to print more and borrow them---poorly. Large amounts of debt fund consumption of goods and health care. While today's needs are important, without sufficient investment these dollars will dissipate. You lend someone dollars to open a business or invent but not to go out for dinner and a movie.

By getting the dollars we want we forestall a greater fiscal crisis in the U. S. while allowing for gradual decay of the our economy. This can go on for many years (it has) because the world needs a reserve currency to reduce costs and allow market players to asses value across different countries and economies. But that need for the U.S. dollar shouldn't be confused for American strength.

The ubiquity of the dollar allows Americans to believe that their country will automatically retain its rightful place as global economic leader. That's a dangerous dream, an economic opiate from which we would do well to wean ourselves."

This dangerous dream is one I have been talking about ever since I started blogging. We are investing stimulus, subsidies, grants, entitlements dollars, etc., in what I call the "soft" economy, the one that does not produce a PRODUCT that can be sold to generate profits. Private sector companies like Caterpillar and Keystone produce a product they can sell at a profit so they can pay a living wage to their employees and pay taxes to support ESSENTIAL government.

While spending on "circuses", welfare, health and environment are good, there eventually are only so many dollars to spend. The heavy spending atmosphere we have created does not lend itself to the expansion of product creation. We tend to import what we could manufacture ourselves. In so many cases like here in Peoria, our priorities are askew. The reasons why are obvious and consequences are becming more obvious. Not enough dollars to finish what we start and too many dollars spent on non-priority projects that seemingly all have to be new or expanded.

There are not enough tax dollars or private donors willing to commit to everything being done in the public sector. A reminder again, public entities do not contribute much in the way of taxable profits. On the horizon, I see a continuing rise in taxes and more welfare, if we do not sort out our priorities better than we are doing. On all levels, local, state and national.

As I watch gold in in it's spectacular rise, I agree with my friend Steve that gold may be a better investment than the market. Eventually, land and property will return to some of its past investment values, but overall, not now.

Steve, please send me your email address so I can repond to you as I do not use the tube.

Can Tea Party Efforts "Oust" Them?

An email forwarded to me by a friend.

Most that need to be "ousted" are going to be hard to oust. Remember, 30% of the Democrats polled would have voted for another term for Blago, even after the first scandal news broke. Many Republicans would have voted again for George Ryan if given the opportunity, including former Governor "Big" Jim Thompson.

The next test races are Tuesday the 18th.


We've seen it b/4.....but let's keep in mind that we can and will oust them come next election!!
We do not have to put up w/this "stuff".

According to the Trustees for the Social Security Administration,


They, the Congress ( BOTH "REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATS TOGETHER") say no increase is warranted because of the losses in gross national product and other cute things...





Please pass this to ALL your friends and have them "PROTEST TO THE IDIOTS WE ELECTED TO CONGRESS" who by the way, have just voted themselves ANOTHER 2% SALARY INCREASE!!!


Just watch. They will spend this money and find the software doesn't work, dump the whole thing and go back to the old steam driven system just like they did with air traffic control several years ago. Don't worry though, they've got health care all worked out.

So here is what we CAN do....
All I ask is that you consider the suggestion here.

I realize that quite a few Members of each House are trustworthy, but, as a group they are absolutely the most corrupt bunch to ever disgrace our Nation.

In November of 2010 the entire House of Representatives will stand for re-election; all 435 of them. One third of the Senate, a total of 33 of them, will also stand for re-election. Vote every incumbent out.

And I mean every one of them. No matter their Party affiliation. Let's start all over in the House of Representatives with 435 people who have absolutely no experience in running that body, with no political favors owed to anyone but their own constituents. Let's make them understand that they work for us..

They are answerable to us and they simply have to run that body with some common sense.

Two years later, in 2012, vote the next third of the incumbents in the Senate out.

We can do the same thing in 2014 and, by that time we will have put all new people in that body as well.

We, the People, have got to take this Country back and we HAVE to do it peacefully.

That's what the Framers of our Constitution envisioned.



Please, if you love this Country, send this (as I have done) to absolutely everyone whose email address appears in your address book..

This thing can permeate this Country in no time. Let's make it happen.**



Mexican Immigration Law?

If my friend who forwarded this to me is wrong, please comment and correct. I believe it is basically correct. But money talks in Mexico so its possible some laws to some are not enforced. Same as in the U.S.

Similair also, as "money talks" in the U.S. Especially around election time.

Don't believe Arizona new law goes into effect until July??


Mexicans here and in Mexico are rather upset by the recent enactment of stricter anti-illegal alien laws by Arizona's governor.

In light of the following, that position demonstrates the typical double standard used by race-hustlers and assorted something-for-nothings. Read on, and read it to the end.

New Immigration Laws: Read to the bottom or you will miss the message...
1 There will be no special bilingual programs in the schools.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
2. All ballots will be in this nation's language.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
3. All government business will be conducted in our language.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
4. Non-residents will NOT have the right to vote no matter how long they are here.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
5. Non-citizens will NEVER be able to hold political office
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
6 Foreigners will not be a burden to the taxpayers. No welfare, no food stamps, no health care, or other government assistance programs. Any burden will be deported.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
7. Foreigners can invest in this country, but it must be an amount at least equal to 40,000 times the daily minimum wage.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
8. If foreigners come here and buy land... options will be restricted. Certain parcels including waterfront property are reserved for citizens naturally born into this country.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
9.. Foreigners may have no protests; no demonstrations, no waving of a foreign flag, no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our president or his policies. These will lead to deportation.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
10. If you do come to this country illegally, you will be actively hunted &, when caught, sent to jail until your deportation can be arranged. All assets will be taken from you.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Too strict?......
The above laws are the current immigration laws of MEXICO !!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Facts Like These Will Make The Tea Party Followers a LARGE Force in Upcoming Elections

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Freddie Mac's Big Losses
The New York Times reports:
If you blinked, you might have missed the ugly first-quarter report last week from Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance giant that, along with its sister Fannie Mae, soldiers on as one of the financial world’s biggest wards of the state.Freddie — already propped up with $52 billion in taxpayer funds used to rescue the company from its own mistakes — recorded a loss of $6.7 billion and said it would require an additional $10.6 billion from taxpayers to shore up its financial position.The news caused nary a ripple in the placid Washington scene. Perhaps that’s because many lawmakers, especially those who once assured us that Fannie and Freddie would never cost taxpayers a dime, hope that their constituents don’t notice the burgeoning money pit these mortgage monsters represent. Some $130 billion in federal money had already been larded on both companies before Freddie’s latest request. You'll notice Obama, Pelosi, and Chris Dodd aren't interested in reforming Freddie Mac. No word from Jesse Jackson on this one.
Posted by Steve Bartin
var addthis_pub="stevebartin";

at 8:52 PM

Peoria County Safe Drug Disposal System

This excellent program that I promoted for the last few years is now in effect. The policy reads as follows: Residents may drop off all forms of prescriptioin medications and over the counter medications in the Safe Drug Disposal boxes at the following locations.

Bartonville Police Department
Chillicothe Police Department
Peoria Police Department 600 SW Adams St.
Peoria County Courthouse 324 Main St.
Peoria County Jail 301 N. Maxwell
Peoria Heights Police Department 1311 E. Sciota

Medications cannot be accepted from doctor's offices, nursing homes or other institutions or businesses.

For questions, please call 681-2550

Improperly disposing of medications is VERY harmful to our environment, water resources and children. Please do your part.


Sunday, May 09, 2010

Other Sides to View the Muslim "Mountain"

"Muslims in America" by Edward C. Curtis, calling his book 'A Short History', 146 pages, is worth a read if you believe Islam's desired goal is to thrust the entire world under one Islamic caliphate under Sharia law.

This book, written to give non-Muslim America a better understanding of Muslims in America, presents a "mountain" with a different view depending on which side you are standing.

And time of day. Or season.

I (we) oftentimes lump all ethnic and religious groups as one. That is no more correct than Islamic Muslims believing all of America to be similar to Hollywood or the Mexican Mafia and other terrorist type gangs that dominate some parts of every community in the United States.

Or the mad bomber of the Federal Building in Oklahoma. Or Charles Manson and Al Capone.

"Tea With Hezbollah", 'Sitting at the enemies table - Our journey through the Middle East', by Ted Dekker and Carl Medearis is a must read for those who see the looming threat rising in the Middle East. In the authors search for a true Samaritan, one who would "love your neighbor, carry their burdens, and if necessary, lay down your life for them", they find most leaders talk the talk but do not walk the walk. They reiterate that religious fanaticism, distrust of truths, a distortion of facts or conflicting beliefs, and envy are the major causes of the failure of religious teaching to 'love your neighbor' not just in the Mid East but throughout the entire world.

Credentials of the authors, as usual, can be found by entering them in your search bar. Or for Dekker enter and Dekker and for Medearis enter Carl

U.S. Illegal Immigration Folly

Forwarded to me by a friend. Thanks also to Michael G. Bautigam of Cincinnatti who asks, "What's so radical about enforcing the rule of law, and allowing law-enforcement officials to ask for documents that noncitizens (and legal citizens) are required by FEDERAL LAW to carry at all times?"

We all know why the laws aren't being enforced but few want to say the truth. The truth? If all the illegals were to go back to where they came from and apply for green cards and eventual citizenship, thousands of businesses would close. We do have enough people to fill the vacated jobs but many would not fill these vacated jobs because they are "hard" work and most anywhere in the U.S., one can get free food, free housing, free medical care, free.....without doing much of anything.

Remember, we are compassionate people. And many of the 4500 people in the area served by just Peoria Public School District #150 between the ages of 18-24 did not finish high school. (JS today quoting a #150 school official) A majority of these drop-outs don't know what work is let alone "hard" work which the majority of the illegals do.(Some drop-outs are pregnant most of the time, despite #150 teaching classroom "sex education" since 1994.)

Plus many Democrats and some Republicans would be voted out of office.


Let me see if I got this right.....

The Three "C's" - Illegal Immigration Truths

Emailed to me by a friend. My comments appear above this email.

Read Jonah Goldberg, Nationally Syndicated Columnist in today's JS. Goldberg, Dustin Butler of Mossville, Paul Richards of Peoria Heights, Jack Baize of Peoria along with County Board Candidate, Karrie Alms are some of the many caring citizens with common sense who are not afraid to speak the truth.


Think about this:

1. Cows 2.. The Constitution 3. The Ten Commandments ----------------------------------------------------------------- COWS
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington ? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow. -----------------------------------------------------------------THE CONSTITUTION They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq ... Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore. -----------------------------------------------------------------THE 10 COMMANDMENTS The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a courthouse or Congress is this -- you cannot post 'Thou Shall Not Steal' 'Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery' and 'Thou Shall Not Lie' in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians .... it creates a hostile work environment.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Peoria County Elected Officials and Senior Managers Salaries

The question has been asked. Here are the salaries set for 2010:

Elected Officials

Kevin Lyons, S.A. - $166,508

Michael McCoy, Sheriff - $111,806 with an extra $6,500 from the State and an optional $5,000 from the County Board as Supervisor of Safety

Steve Sonnemaker, County Clerk - $88,776 with eligibility to receive an additional $6,500 from the State of Illinois

"Tripp" O'Connor, Treasurer - $88,766 with eligibility to receive an additional $6,500 from the State of Illinois

Robert Spears, Circuit Clerk - $85,266 with eligibilty to receive an addional $6,500 from the State of Illinois

Carol Van Winkle, County Auditor - $82,078

Nancy Horton, Recorder of Deeds - $82,078

Johanna Ingersoll, Coroner - $82, 078

Administrator and Senior Managers

Patrick Urich, Administrator - $165,000 ( Mr. Urich declined his contract approved 2010 increase to $175,000, according to his statement to the board in 2009)

Russell Haupert - IT Manager - $129,127

Tom McFarland - County Highway Superintendent - $116,373

Katherine Van Beek, Human Services Manager - $115,240

Matt Niekirk, Administrator, B-W County Nursing Home - $113,404

Erik Bush - County Financial Officer - $96,373 (Bush is leaving to take a similar position at a Normal. Il. school at a reputed salary of $130,000.)

Mathew Wahl, Planning and Zoning Manager - $91,808

Lauren Malmberg, Animal Control Director - $85,000

Scott Sorrel, Associate Administrator - $79,101

Dave Ryan, Supervisor of Assessments - $70,133

Vicky Turner, E.S.D.A - $62,347

Virginia Pearl, Executive Secretary - $58,670

Karen Raithel , Recycling Manager - $54,625

Jennifer Zinkel, Promotions Director - $48,818

County Board Members - $8500 with no expenses paid by the County unless on approved Official business. The 8 Committee Chairs receive $9500 and the County Board Chairman recommended his salary be frozen this year at, I believe, $16,000. (I will confirm this Monday on this site)

The County Board Chairman also has an office on the fourth floor and a secretary for his board use.

Salaries for elected officials are voted on by the board and this voting is done approximately 18 months before the salary increase, if any, kick in. This is State of Illinois law. We will be voting on four year salaries for the County Clerk, Sheriff and Circuit Clerk Thursday evening. Effective 12/01/11, each of these three offices will receive a yearly 2% raise if the full board approves the recommendations of Management Services. No raise is recommended for 2010.

Underpaid or overpaid? Yes or no? From my observations, all do good work. Some elected officials supervise far more employees such as the Circuit Clerk as opposed to the Auditor. The fairness of compensation has been questioned by some Board Members and perhaps by some elected officials. Unfortunately, the State has too much say in how these salaries are set and the length of the contracts.

My opinion.

All of the above receive good benefits; retirement, paid vacations, personal paid days off and most of their health insurance. Elected officials may come and go at their discretion. It is the voter who elects them and that is to who they report their attendance, not the County Board.

There are also 85 take home County owned vehicles: Coroner - 1,

EMA -1, SAO - 2, P &Z - 4, Supervisor of Assessments Office -2, Highway Department - 4, and the Sheriff's office - 71.

The County Administrator receives a $500 a month vehicle allowance as well as a separate Life Insurance Policy. And all County business expenses paid by the taxpayer.

The County Vehicle Usage manual forbids the use of these marked County vehicles for recreational or personal use including unauthorized commuting.

This information is taken from County documents and all errors would appear to be mine and I stand to be corrected. None of this information is confidential.

The Future of Springdale Cemetery?

Emailed to me by a former Springdale Cemetery Manager. I would appreciate the readers comments. Other bloggers may be free to copy and paste to your blog sites with comments as to the future of this local and possible state and national treasure. Please restrict your comments to the Cemetery and not personnel, past or present.



What is best for Springdale?

Springdale Cemetery is a national treasure; she has suffered through some tough times; she deserves to be protected and preserved. However, over the years many promises and commitments have been made by individuals and groups representing what they said were 'the best interests of Springdale'. While most were given in good faith, others were not; I like to think some were the product of hope and 'wishful thinking'.

In the fall of 2002 an agreement was created that drafted the Taxpayer into supporting the operations of Springdale with the commitment by those advocating municipal sponsorship that 'Springdale would be self-sufficient in three to five years'. The resulting Intergovernmental Agreement stated that the County of Peoria and the Park District, together, would assume the first $100,000 of any yearly operational deficit, while the City of Peoria would take title to the property and assume liability for any deficits over $100,000. With the help of grants and donations, the Springdale Historical Preservation Foundation, as the principal advocate of the agreement, would accept the primary financial responsibility the first three years. This at first glance seemed like a great deal for the City of Peoria and its Citizens, but by 2006, the magnitude of the challenge in returning Springdale to solvency was realized and it had become obvious that the commitment of self-sufficiency was unrealistic and could not be met, so the City Council asked the Springdale management to present a five year prediction in the form of a spreadsheet as to when the Taxpayer could expect deficit relief. We took our commitment to the Council and the Taxpayer very seriously presenting what we thought was realistic expectations for our future revenue and expenses; when revenues did not meet anticipated levels, we cut expenses. Later audits of Springdale revealed the 2007 and 2008 deficits were within 1% of the early 2007 forecast. The City's deficit liability for 2007 was $160,566 and for 2008 was $143,982.

2008 was not only an exceptional year in Springdale's modern history, as it turns out it, it was a pivotal year. Besides the reduction in the rate of deficit spending, Springdale was able to finish leveraging a match of over $230,000 required by an EPA grant, saving the Taxpayer that financial burden. The wonderful work and resulting match were accomplished successfully due to the efforts of Tri-County Planning, hundreds of dedicated Volunteers and professionals and a very capable Staff.

The predicted 2009 deficit liability of the City presented to the Council in early 2007 was $110,228; in late 2008 with the momentum of the recovery increasing, we anticipated we could get it down to $74,000. Unfortunately, the soon to be revealed audit is most likely to expose a City liability of around $300,000, equal to the two previous years combined; the 2010 financial picture looks even bleaker.

The Intergovernmental Agreement was well intended; it helped to pull Springdale back from the brink, but it is no longer working and Springdale again is approach a tipping point with a deficit going the wrong way. Sadly, I believe that the financial recovery of Springdale has been led astray by some of the same interests who championed her rescue; I feel their agenda and actions have halted the momentum of recovery and have created impediments to the financial relief of the taxpaying public. It is now the Taxpayer who needs rescue.

The Springdale Historic Preservation Foundation is an organization of noble heritage; in the past it was comprised of hundreds of caring individual and organizations whose only motives were to see Springdale rescued, respected and preserved. The current leaders of the Foundation, many of whom made the original pledge of limited taxpayer involvement, must now bear responsibility. Their narrow agenda, with a singular focus on the older stones and monuments, has demonstrated a disregard of current Family needs and have shown a lack of Taxpayer sensitivity.

So, I offer a solution that I feel will broaden the Foundation's agenda and focus Springdale's current and future leadership on self-sufficiency and the needs of the Families, at the same time placing the privilege of Springdale's support on those who desire and deserve it most. The Foundation leaders have always wanted complete control of the management of Springdale; they have, with the blessing of the City and at Taxpayer expense, pretty much had it for over a year. So, I say, let it be done; let them officially have it; let them run Springdale and let them support Springdale. The Intergovernmental Agreement as drafted in 2002 has become flawed; it has not been precisely adhered to by the City or the Foundation; it should be scrapped without penalty to any party. The County and the Park District should be freed from further required contributions. Ownership of Springdale should be passed to the Springdale Historical Preservation Foundation for a probationary period of anywhere between three and five years, after which time the City leadership will determine the City's future involvement and Springdale's ownership future.

This offers the Foundation leadership a much better deal than was offered the Taxpayer in 2002; over the last eight years the labor of an army of dedicated Volunteers and millions of dollars of Taxpayer's contributions have created a new and better Springdale that, under the right circumstances, has a much better opportunity to prosper and become self-sufficient.

While this may not be the best solution for Springdale's financial dilemma, it may be the most fair.

Pat Lewis

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Legal and Illegal Immigrants - BIG Difference

Whether true or not, this email forwarded to me by a friend NAILS IT!

ORANGE COUNTY ( CALIFORNIA ) NEWSPAPER-New Immigrants This is a very good letter to the editor. This woman made some good points.. For some reason, people have difficulty structuring their arguments when arguing against supporting the currently proposed immigration revisions. This lady made the argument pretty simple. NOT printed in the Orange County Paper................... Newspapers simply won't publish letters to the editor which they either deem politically incorrect (read below) or which does not agree with the philosophy they're pushing on the public. This woman wrote a great letter to the editor that should have been published; but, with your help it will get published via cyberspace! From: "David LaBonte" My wife, Rosemary, wrote a wonderful letter to the editor of the OC Register which, of course, was not printed.. So, I decided to "print" it myself by sending it out on the Internet. Pass it along if you feel so inclined. Written in response to a series of letters to the editor in the Orange County Register: Dear Editor: So many letter writers have based their arguments on how this land is made up of immigrants. Ernie Lujan for one, suggests we should tear down the Statue of Liberty because the people now in question aren't being treated the same as those who passed through Ellis Island and other ports of entry. Maybe we should turn to our history books and point out to people like Mr. Lujan why today's American is not willing to accept this new kind of immigrant any longer. Back in 1900 when there was a rush from all areas of Europe to come to the United States, people had to get off a ship and stand in a long line in New York and be documented. Some would even get down on their hands and knees and kiss the ground. They made a pledge to uphold the laws and support their new country in good and bad times. They made learning English a primary rule in their new American households and some even changed their names to blend in with their new home. They had waved good bye to their birth place to give their children a new life and did everything in their power to help their children assimilate into one culture. Nothing was handed to them. No free lunches, no welfare, no labor laws to protect them. All they had were the skills and craftsmanship they had brought with them to trade for a future of prosperity. Most of their children came of age when World War II broke out. My father fought along side men whose parents had come straight over from Germany , Italy , France and Japan . None of these 1st generation Americans ever gave any thought about what country their parents had come from. They were Americans fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan . They were defending the United States of America as one people. When we liberated France , no one in those villages were looking for the French-American or the German American or the Irish American. The people of France saw only Americans. And we carried one flag that represented one country. Not one of those immigrant sons would have thought about picking up another country's flag and waving it to represent who they were. It would have been a disgrace to their parents who had sacrificed so much to be here. These immigrants truly knew what it meant to be an American. They stirred the melting pot into one red, white and blue bowl. And here we are with a new kind of immigrant who wants the same rights and privileges. Only they want to achieve it by playing with a different set of rules, one that includes the entitlement card and a guarantee of being faithful to their mother country. I'm sorry, that's not what being an American is all about. I believe that the immigrants who landed on Ellis Island in the early 1900's deserve better than that for all the toil, hard work and sacrifice in raising future generations to create a land that has become a beacon for those legally searching for a better life. I think they would be appalled that they are being used as an example by those waving foreign country flags. And for that suggestion about taking down the Statue of Liberty , it happens to mean a lot to the citizens who are voting on the immigration bill. I wouldn't start talking about dismantling the United States just yet.. (signed) Rosemary LaBonte

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Stephanie is Back Performing in the Area

Friends and discerning music fans,

Just the usual "week-of" email to remind you that I'll be in town playing with Larry Harms in just a couple of days. Join us on Thursday, May 6 at Basta O'Neill's restaurant on Cummings Lane in Washington from 6 - 9pm (it's a nice early gig; you could bring your Mama and treat her to an early Mother's Day dinner) or the next evening, Friday, May 7 at the Rhythm Kitchen on Water Street in Peoria from 8 - 11pm.

The weather is scheduled to be beautiful and the music is scheduled to be fabulous. Grab a friend, your mom, or the gang from work and meet us this weekend - we will be glad to see you, I promise.

Thanks as always for your support and enthusiasm...without y'all, we'd be playing for ourselves in our living rooms!


Sunday, May 02, 2010

Loan Officer at Family Owned Bank as a U.S. Senator?

Lent money to two convicted felons, one convicted of a multi-state bookmaking ring and the other convicted of promoting a nationwide prostitution ring?

As Giannoulias is Treasurer of the State of Illinois, maybe some sleuthing needs to be done. After all, the past and current elected officials are responsible for much of Illinois overwhelming debt.

30% of the Democrats in Illinois said by survey they would have voted to re-elect Blago even after all the scandals were made public. So Kirk can only be elected by Independents and Republicans with perhaps some support from common sense Democrats.

Dunlap Schools Also Have a Lot of Tax Dollars to Spend

Erik Christian, Peoria County assistant Human Services Director was hired by the taxpayer funded Dunlap School District 323 to be Human Services Director. Erik was making $61,277 with generous benefits. At Dunlap he will be making _____fill in the amount but considerably more than he was earning at the county position.

Here again, I do no begrudge Erik for his efforts at upward earnings or opportunity. I amazes me how taxpayer supported schools ALWAYS clamoring for more money can pay so much more than a public body like Peoria County.

As was also noted Peoria County Financial Officer Erik Bush making $96,373 with generous benefits was hired by McLean County Unit District 5 at roughly $34,000 a year more than the tax supported Peoria County could afford to pay. Bush's wife, I understand, was also offered at job in McLean County. No money left in Peoria to hire her for a teaching position which I understand she has qualifications?

Did union scale in Peoria #150 School which hires and pays by seniority instead of merit have anything to do with Mr. Bush's decision?

Anyway, losing these two well-paid County employees to school districts leaves gaps that must be filled and filled soon. Our Administrator says these two employees were leaving on good terms and that Peoria County has "strong leadership and management with a vision."

With over 9,000 KNOWN unemployed people in the area right know it should be relatively easy to find replacements without trying to match Dunlap and McLean County generosity.