Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ode to Jesus

Mr. Correa:

I watched the debate from the balcony of the Coronado Wednesday night, donning my Phantom of the Opera mask, and your mom can be proud of her son.

I agree with you 100% that downtown should resemble On the Waterfront at all times, which you've said at more than one debate. It's amazing what a few colored lights, delicious smells and the sound of music in the air can do to make downtown a vibrant place people want to be. I would urge you to get involved with or start your own arts-based downtown group that embodies your vision. I think we'd both agree the mayor's office deals with too many things beyond your areas of passion and expertise, and that downtown specifically could benefit from your full attention.

By the way, I don't recommend getting mixed up with the River District Association. They have their own ideas, and I suspect it involves "young professionals," not young minds. Just imagine thousands of Patrick Batemans living in a skyrise downtown. Eesh. I'm sure you know Kim Wheeler, so you must also understand she's probably unfit to be leading the charge to resurrect downtown, unless maybe it was still the 1980s.

Art + Politics = Power

Jesus, you're an artist, right? I propose you make downtown your new canvas. Every single other candidate in the mayor's race has taken precious debate time to applaud you in one way or another. In the next debate, you should ask each of them whether they will commit to your vision of downtown as a pedestrian-friendly festival atmosphere. Frankly, I'd like to know which of them recognizes the real merit and viability of transforming downtown in the very simple ways you've laid out. They would work wonders and give the city something to be proud of. Let's see who among them is willing to embrace a good idea that was not their own.

Make Larry and Doug, either of which could win at this point, give you a seat at the table.

By the way, you get a special shout-out for the Peter Criss sweater and the crack about Larry and Doug's personal argument. You were right in noting its absurdity, as was John Harmon when he called the issue a red herring.

Let's work on 2013 by transforming downtown first. If you can make an impact there, you will have the collective ear of the people as someone who is capable of attaining results. As I alluded in my last piece, a single citizen can often do more than a single elected official. It's the clout you gain now that will determine how far you can take things in the future.

Put on some gloves, Jesus, because it's time to start squeezing balls while you have a share of the spotlight with the other men running for mayor.

Shit, you may even wanna bluff by saying you're in command of a street army larger in number than Operation Desert Storm. Based on the sweater, I'd go so far as to suggest you claim to have the full allegiance of the Kiss Army at your behest. It couldn't hurt. Drive them with fear into utter submission, which is the intended place for an elected public servant.

Do this in remembrance of me.

Your friend,

The Patriot

Saturday, March 28, 2009

First Rockford not just first in Rockford anymore

I was finally able to sedate myself for a few days of respite and decompression. Quite literally, I came up too fast and got a case of the political bends. Feeling better now after much self-prescribed medication. Thanks for your cards and flowers.

Mr. Correa, I'm sorry if I pissed off your friend, but someone had to pay for the day I had. Luck of the draw. I'll talk more about Jesus in my next post.

You might say I awoke from the American Dream. While glad to be back at it after my coma, the problem is that I awoke to an uglier place than I'd fallen unconscious in, atop piles of uncashed checks no bank would honor. I've been meaning to assure my bank I'm good for every penny I write checks to myself for, some day. I'm sure they'll see things my way.

The daily and weekly both rang the bell on Sunil Puri's plan to get his special use permit pushed through again before anyone realized the court threw out the first one. But it seems no one is listening. RRStar later reported the zoning committee voted in favor of it again. Now I see the board is set to vote on it April 9, and Steve Schultz is learning he had more power as a civilian than on the board, where he can't say a thing about it.

And the makeup of the zoning committee is a joke, but nobody is laughing except for realtors, developers and other land-raping, sprawl-mongering, greed-heads, which arguably account for a majority of the committee's members. Oh yeah, they're also the ones tweaking the land use plan as we speak, and it appears that's the way Scott Christiansen likes it.

Keep in mind this is exactly the type of sprawl, a "leapfrog" subdivision on septic no less, that the county's new land use plan is supposed to prevent. That means Sunil's gotta get his permit passed again before the 2030 plan is adopted this spring, and he's not getting much resistance from board members. Absolutely fucking disgusting. Somebody oughta have the balls to say no to that donkey-humping (as in Democrats) apparent egomaniac who wants his name on everything.

Paul Nicolosi should be crying foul and directing attention to this, because he's gotten a lot of bad press from RRT for the same type of contributions-for-influence stuff. He can't fart without them writing about it, and Sunil deserves at least as much scrutiny. But I suppose Puri's lineage doesn't jibe with RRT's evident fixation with the Italian mafia.

Anyway, the last time the board voted on this, it was approved 19-4. Unfortunately, I doubt it'll be close this time, either, and it will speak volumes about the power of money over the wills of good Patriots like you and me.

I wish I didn't have so much corruption and utter incompetence to write about. You think there aren't other activities I'd rather be doing? Fuck-n-A.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yep, I'm still smellin' trouble for Larry

Does anyone else get the feeling aldermen are delaying budget cuts until the last possible moment for the most devious of reasons?

Could it be council Democrats and Republicans, working in concert, are preparing for a March 30 drive-by anal-rape of all the projects Morrissey holds dear? I'm betting on it.

By delaying any real public deliberations on the budget cuts, Morrissey has been left in the dark and out of the loop, Baby.

I mean, they haven't talked about anything. There are, of course, the obvious issues of ambulance fees, minimum staffing in the fire department and the less-talked-about scheduling changes in the police department. But those are drops in the bucket when we're talking about $8 million worth of snips. They could be made anywhere, and it'll be fun watch, courtesy of handsomely-compensated, yet technologically inept, Comcast.

The trap will be sprung the night before the city's mandated deadline for passing its spending plan. If, for whatever reason, they don't pass a budget, the projected deficit just got a whole lot worse. It won't happen, though, despite Pat Curran's anxiety nightmares.

There's a bit of a Monday night ritual here at the compound. Friends, acquaintances, strangers and political figures begin knocking on my door around 4 pm, usually disturbing my breakfast, but at least they bear gifts, guns and good memories.

Martinis are deployed and smoke permeates the air. A line begins to form for the bathroom before the meeting eventually gets started, no less than 30 minutes late usually.
A hundred tenuously-filled shot glasses litter the coffee table and the game begins. The rules are simple.

You drink a shot whenever:

-Linda McNeely says "Mr. Mayor"
-Larry says "Thank you very much," which we all repeat in Elvis voices

-Frank Beach votes against a liquor license
-Joe Sosnowski or Jeff Holt abstain from a vote because of a conflict of interest
-Pat Curran brings apple-related goodies for the council

-Doug Mark's hair is a little goofy
-Carl Wasco doesn't make sense
-Victory Bell says "aldermans"
-Lenny Jacobson says "Your Honor"
-Anne Thompson looks surprised because of a plastic surgery disaster
-Bill Timm thanks a department head

-John Beck tries to justify the millions of taxpayer dollars thrown into the Metrocentre

-Dan Conness fucks up trying to read

So, why will donkeys and elephants stampede together Monday night? Because the mayor is neither, Holmes.

This certainly isn't a year that Republicans expect to have a chance for the mayor's mansion. Even Jan Klaas is laughing at John Harmon. Kind of a shame any way you look at it. Historically, the guy's 100% unlikable, but I've gotta admit again, a conservative might be the best thing for the city right now. I know it won't happen, however, so that really just leaves Larry and Doug.

That is not meant to discourage Jesus Correa, by the way. He's stated there's no way he'll win, but that doesn't mean he hasn't got ideas that he's not in a unique position to share with a relatively wider audience than he'll find in a coffee shop or bar that's already tuned him out. I'm all ears, Jesus, and so are our readers. My invitation stands if you have any sort of platform you'd like to share.

It's encouraging to see that at least the local media acknowledge a Green Party candidate, and that Jesus is being included in the mayoral forums. I have much to teach you about running a real campaign, Jesus, but you and your friends are spending entirely too much time looking for clippings on this blog, and not nearly enough time getting off your Generation-Why? asses.

By the way, you and yo
ur friend - I'll call him beefcake - have developed impotence over some photo I posted along with a reference to you. HINT: Don't post it on the internet if you don't want people to see it.


Is there a photo you'd prefer me to use, or should I just not give Correa any more free press? Shall I also remove Mr. Correa from my mayoral poll? Hell, I'll remove every reference to Jesus ever being in the race. Would that make you happy? Can do. Awaiting your prompt approval to do so, and I'll pull the butt-plug right away.

City Hall is already filled with assholes, beef-beef. There's no room for you, but you're welcome to stay in the political manger with the rest of the sheep and swine.

Free advice to Jesus: Ditch anyone who thinks that was a piece of photography good enough to be some sort of bargaining chip on a blog that means absolutely nothing to anyone.

Back to the two-way race between Block and Morrissey. For a time, I believed Republicans would stand behind Larry, because an independent is better than a Democrat in their eyes, right?

That does not seem to be the case now. The two parties appear to be doing away with any hope for a three-or-more-party system in Rockford, despite indie aldermanic candidates. Larry was set-up from the beginning, and it'll be a long time before another third-party candidate holds the mayor's office. Aldermen will do their best to see to that March 30.

That's not to say I support Larry. We're just talking politics here. Jesus (not Correa), take your heart and blood pressure medications already. Mr. Correa, you should probably take your meds, too, whatever they may be. We will all need to be heavily sedated once Doug Block or Larry Morrissey wins.

Why wait? I think I'll sedate myself now.

It doesn't seem to be working. Shit.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Register Star profile of 11th Ward race

Well, based on what the three 11th Ward candidates had to say in the Register Star today, there is a clear choice: Independent James Bryan Latham.

Of the three, he's the only one that mentioned doing what is best for the ward.

For those of you who were at the Heartland forum, did anyone else think the bizarre manner in which "Democrat" Karen Elyea spoke was indicative of long-term buzz-chasing? I'm thinking she might have a closet freon-huffing habit, but I can't be sure. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but I can't bring myself to trust this shifty chica. Sorry, Nurgle, I know you've gotta live with her. My condolences.

And I don't mean to insult a reader, honestly. Please understand that I don't care what someone does for a living.

No one knows better than me that not all of life's pleasures are legitimate. After all, my welcome mat says, "Come back with a warrant."

Hypothetically speaking, I would favor a candidate who'd get involved with the political system in order to change unjust laws. However, if that candidate were to engage in politics simply to corner a market in an area, I'd have a problem with that, especially if their business involved children. Luckily, there's no one like that around here, right?

Elyea's stated biggest issue in the race was just a simple rehash of Doug Block's platform, going as far as to actually say, "Now is the time to get back to the basics," a Block catch-phrase. Elyea's been humping lots of union legs to ride the Block coattails while the gettin' is good. But I suspect she'd pledge her loyalty to anyone who will help her get an elected job that pays $12,000, instead of the $7,500 one she has now on the county board.

Latham, 44, is the executive director of the Total Health Awareness Team, or THAT, president of the Midtown District Inc, and owner of Midtown Marketplace. Talk about a guy with his hand on the pulse of everything in the 11th Ward.

You can't deny drugs and prostitution are issues in that ward, and when the two mix, even worse problems emerge. While needle exchanges in the neighborhood may not be something for residents to brag about, the need for such a program is clearly justified there.

One might argue having a needle exchange in the the 11th Ward attracts the dope addicts to the neighborhood, but the simple fact is that the problem was already there. That's not to say there isn't some design behind why the drug markets appear to be tolerated in certain areas of the city.

Drug dealers and pimps seem to make sure subsidized cops don't disrupt their business as long as no shots are fired. Driving around the city, we all see areas obviously infested by the criminal element - and they appear to be permitted and even corralled within areas that nice, rich folks pretend don't exist.

In places like that, the cops seem to just drive by the obvious criminal activity being done out in the open. If they really wanted to establish a presence, they'd park their squad cars wherever the ne'er-do-wells gather. But if they did that, there's the possibility the crime would move to where those nice, rich people live instead, and we wouldn't want that.

Another independent candidate, Wade Hendrickson, targeted wasteful spending in City Hall as the big issue. Yes, that's a problem, but how will you adress the issues unique to the 11th Ward?

Simply stated, vote Latham.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

County reducing workforce by about 10 percent

Well, the county has a little over 500 employees, and it's reported about 50 of them will be laid off.

What bugs me most about this is that the elected officials (Chairman Scott Christiansen and the Winnebago County Board, whose mismanagement has led to this) are trying to avoid responsibility for the layoffs. Instead, they forced department heads to do the dirty work for them.

When the board voted for this, not one of them had the cajones to stand up and say, "You realize, of course, this means we are voting for layoffs." No, instead they pretended they were just making "budget cuts." They told themselves people would just work less and have more time to spend with their starving families.

Others will still have their jobs at least, but they won't be making as much money. Hours are being rolled back, some are being forced to take mandatory unpaid vacations and some will take the early-retirement money and run, but it won't get them far enough down the road to fuck the mouth of a $20 lot lizard at the nearest truck stop.

My old man, a Patriot, once counseled, "Save the last metaphorical bullet for yourself."

Let's talk about Dan Conness, the 14th Ward and Rockford Township...

Well, the city council will be rid of Dan Conness soon enough, but the damage in the 14th Ward has already been done. Just ask all those folks living next to Rockford Blacktop.

I love the smell of asphalt in the morning. It smells like...treachery.
Speaking of which, wanna know why none of the mayoral challengers are picking on Morrissey for breaking the tie to approve the asphalt plant? They'd have done the same thing. Well, I suspect Jesus Correa is an exception, and that might not be a bad point for him to bring up at some time during the campaign.

By the way, Jesus, since I know you're a reader, I'd be glad to grant you the floor if you'd like to talk about the issues and your ideas. My site meter tells me we're rapidly attaining impressive readership.

The asphalt plant was one of those deals Conness publicly pretended to be against, but I suspect he privately urged his fellow aldermen to pass it. Business as usual in Rockford, and that's why I'll be glad to gawk at his political castration in township waters.

Rockford Blacktop gets whatever it wants, and we get stuck with their piss-poor roads. Rinse, repeat.

Anyway, now the cocksure Conness thinks he can topple Patriot Pete MacKay for the Rockford Township highway commissioner job. Being out of work (and recently divorced, from what I hear), I'm sure that's quite appealing to Dapper Dan. What's he gonna do when he loses in that race and doesn't have a council seat to come back to? Maybe he can get a job at the asphalt plant. I suppose he's earned that much.

I suspect he's been letting Jameson (that's an Irish whiskey to the squares) do all the thinking.

There's no point in delaying an endorsement for the best candidate to succeed Conness: That's a no-brainer. Vote for retired Fire Chief Bill Robertson, a proven, untarnished leader and true Rockford Patriot.

Now, as for township supervisor, a good Patriot named Don Hall, a Republican, wants to unseat Democrat Mickey Goral. Hall has an impressive military background and was fingered as a super-candidate during the Republican township caucus a while back.

Mr. Hall has been doing his best to paint Goral as a Blago pal. I do know Goral was once appointed to a salaried post by the shamed ex-governor, but I don't know if they're actually acquainted. If anybody knows, send me the skinny.

Hall also points to a salary increase recently approved for Goral, as though the supervisor can simply give himself a raise. That stuff is voted on, Mr. Hall, and there are Republicans on the board of trustees. Oh yeah, they got raises, too. If you're going to complain about Goral getting a raise, it seems a little hypocritical to follow that up by saying you want his job.

My advice to Hall: We all know about Mickey Goral, so just tell us about yourself.

Democrat Jeff Holt, who could have made a serious run for mayor, decided he didn't want to raise his kids in Rockford. I don't blame him. He's running for township clerk as Democrats there try to strengthen their little fort.

By the way, it was recently suggested that I open a Cafe Press store so fellow Rockfordians can show their Patriotism. Well, here it is:

Right now, there's only a basic t-shirt available, but it's made in America and I didn't mark up the price. I get nothing.

Disclaimer: Cafe Press rapes you for $15.99-plus, which I have no say about.

As we continue our journey together, I'm sure the product line will expand. Submissions from local artists are encouraged. Let's take back our destinies.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Morrissey drops the ball again

As Jesus Correa told us yesterday, Mayor Morrissey was a no-show at the Green Communities Coalition mayoral forum/debate over the weekend. Kinda surprising for a guy who is supposedly so green.

I see today that he claims he wasn't invited. Really, Larry? Are we actually to believe the group wouldn't extend an invitation to the sitting mayor? Please.

And, I guess it's also beyond reason to suggest you would have been aware of the event sans an invite.

Allegedly, GCC sent an email to Julia Valdez, one of Larry's administrators, but according to the mayor, Julia never got it. Hmmmm...Really?

There's more. It seems Frank "Save the Kishwaukee River" Schier was stifled as a public participant during Monday's council meeting. Again, Valdez claimed his request to speak was either lost or not received.

I dunno. Maybe that really was an honest mistake. When you see guys like Rev. Derrick "Rockford cops rape black kids" Shelby allowed to speak on a regular basis, I find it hard to believe anyone was afraid of what Schier had to say.

But still, the city appears to have fucked up, and the common denominator in both cases is Valdez. I hope she's been sending out some resumes. That is, if she can manage to work a fax machine.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A note from Jesus

I just received a note from Green Party mayoral candidate Jesus Correa. For fear the buried comment may go unnoticed by readers, I'm reprinting it here:

Correa wrote:
"If you had taken the time to come to the GCC mayoral forum you would have seen what I am capable of doing. I behaved as myself, I cracked jokes and at the same time was putting out ideas, and making the other cndidates address issues that I brought up. Unfortunately you were not there, and neither was Larry.
Why hide behind the facade of a dead man?
You are doing a good thing here, you should do it with your own likeness and voice as opposed to using an alter ego. or at least make up your own alter ego."
He has a valid point that deserves to be addressed. I think I've alluded to it before, but I'll talk about it some more.

If, let's say, I'm employed by a local governmental agency, I'd be put in a position where my criticisms could be accompanied by serious repercussions. Frankly, I like my job and would prefer to keep it if I can. (My wife and kids would appreciate that too).

It's a shame I can't freely speak as a citizen on my own time without having to worry about it when I'm on the clock, but that's just the way it is. My anonymity provides the opportunity to remove the filters that might normally censor what I want to say.

I used the name Raoul Duke (by the way, as a fictional character, I disagree that he is "dead") because I feel it suits my style. But then, I suppose I could make up some name that means nothing to anyone. I'll be glad to entertain any suggestions for other pseudonyms, but this blog isn't about me, so it seems trivial.

I'll note my profile photo is actually yours truly, albeit electronically obscured for the reasons stated above.

By the way, Jesus, glad to hear you were more in your element at the GCC forum. Sorry I missed it.

Aldermen getting cold feet over ambulance rates

After realizing how truly absurd and potentially tragic it would be to begin charging more than double the current rate for ambulance service, councilmen started going limp on the idea this week.

God knows there are people in other communities, like Cherry Valley, who pay less taxes and get their ambulance service for free. That's what a mall can do for ya', and Rockford missed the boat there. Oh well.

Kudos to Pat Curran, however, for trying to do something about it. At last week's city council meeting, Curran encouraged colleagues to participate in a budget discussion during a special committee meeting, set for two hours before Monday's council meeting so as not to interfere with other committee schedules.

Nancy Johnson was the only other Finance & Personnel Committee member to show up on time, so hats off to her as well. I would be remiss if I didn't throw Carl Wasco, Frank Beach and Jeff Holt high-fives for giving a shit, too, but their interest was in vain.

Unfortunately, according to my sources, Curran and Johnson's presence wasn't enough to constitute a quorum, so these aldermen, along with interested citizens, the press and about a dozen staffers and administrators (who are paid by taxpayers for their time), sat twiddling their thumbs for an hour before Doug Mark graced everyone with his presence so the party could begin.

I guess his employer, the Metrocentre, doesn't feel the city's millions in contributions warrant letting an alderman work on city business. By the time Mark arrived, the non-F&P members had to leave for their own committee meetings, so the whole purpose of meeting at 4 was a complete wash. I'll bet Curran was pissed, and rightly so. But hey, at least Mark showed up.

From what I've been told, Vic Bell and Linda McNeely (also F&P Committee members) apparently had better things to do than discuss how they're gonna get out of the $8,000,000 mess they helped put the city in. No kudos or high-fives for these two, only bitch-slaps. McNeely is only around to be a pain in Larry's ass (probably on behalf of Doug Scott and/or Charles Box), and Bell is a short-timer, so what do they care? They apparently don't.

By the way, Ann Thompson didn't even set foot in city hall Monday. Probably a bad eyebrow day. Jesus, what a horror show.

Anyway, not surprisingly, I'm guessing little or nothing was accomplished during the committee meeting, because nothing was accomplished at city council either.

I'm getting the feeling most aldermen would rather keep putting this off and go to their little caucus-orgies on Monday nights instead. After Mr. Sammul prattled on forever about the dry nuances of ambulance costs, councilmen seemed to have had enough for one night.

Two weeks before the drop-dead date to pass a budget, none of them felt like talking about it, so they just put it off for yet another week. They claimed they wanted more time to review the "new" information, but they really just needed a fucking drink.

For that, I can't blame them, but maybe Patrick Hayes should draft a new council rule to allow bar service in chambers. I'm not sure that even tea-totaler Beach could resist the thought of Julia Valdez reaching blackout-point, taking on her true black widow persona in some sort of ritualistic dance on the mayor's desk. I won't even get into the Tijuana performance I imagine her putting on with the gavel. You don't wanna know.

At any rate, Curran was the only alderman with the balls to essentially say, "Hey, doubling ambulance charges just isn't right if all we're gonna get is happy fire fighters and a few re-elected aldermen."

By the time the council is done with them, IAFF local 413 may realize they have a premature ejaculation problem once aldermen come to the realization they just don't have the luxury of putting four brave souls on every engine right now. Now the union is stuck with Doug Block.

Even if the city were to solve the budget crunch and wind up with some huge hypothetical surplus, you'd better believe Morrissey will cut crews now, no matter what. Why? 'Cause it makes more sense to spend the money on something we truly need. Oh yeah, and I suppose going against Larry didn't help their cause either. Block may have peaked too early as well, but we'll see.

I love, respect and admire our men and women who rush to our aid on our blackest days, but c'mon...We do NOT need 4 of you on every fire truck when multiple companies can readily respond. Regardless of EJ Dilonardo's propaganda, 3 fire fighters is the norm. Do your research. I did. The only people who buy into this 4-man nonsense are the ones who've never been outside of Rockford.

Between having to shitcan his buddy Adam Smith and having fire fighters endorse Block, Larry had a hard week, but I expect he'll bounce back before election day. Block has a clear edge at the moment, and plenty more opportunities to criticize the administration, but three weeks is an eternity during a campaign. Anything can happen.

C'mon, people, this is gonna be fun to watch, one way or another! Pour some scotch, spark a fattie and watch the show.

With their boy Block posing a serious threat now, I suspect Democrats will dig their heels in on the 4-man issue, but I think Republicans (who don't really have a dog in the fight) will side with Morrissey. Afterall, to them, an independent is better than a Democrat.

Your prayers for Jim Powers and his family would be appreciated. Lord knows I haven't always agreed with him, but I've never doubted his integrity or his love for the Forest City. Thanks for your service, Colonel. It is appreciated. God bless.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Correa publicly admits to thievery during campaign?

In a Feb. 8 comment left for one of his friends on Myspace, Green Party mayoral candidate Jesus Correa VII stated:
"i rided my bike for over five hours yesterday. all the way to borders and back for no good reason. i shoplifted some."

Friday, March 13, 2009

A theory about the new school superintendent...

I think there's a lot more to this LaVonne Sheffield story than local news outlets have cared to pick up on, especially considering Mayor Morrissey's involvement in circumventing the list of candidates the School Board had put together.

Why Sheffield? That's easy: She has no problem with an appointed school board.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. If you don't believe me, wait and see.

Kurlinkus instructed to make Republicans look good

I just watched a tape from last night's county board meeting. Republicans had their hearts in the right place by proposing a 10 percent cut in their own $7,500 stipends last night as a show of solidarity with county employees in the midst of budget cuts. Unfortunately, they turned a nice gesture into more partisan nonsense.

Democrats on the board were deliberately left out of the loop. I guess that's just the GOP's way of trying to make people forget whose majority got the county into this mess in the first place.

The resolution was introduced by John F. Sweeney, who shall henceforth be referred to as Teeny-Sweeney, so as not to be confused with his father, John M. Sweeney, a/k/a the Weenie-Sweeney.

Republicans who jumped on board with this proposal were too busy strutting like peacocks to realize that what they were suggesting is technically illegal. By statute, a board cannot alter its own pay, even if it's to lower it. This is basic stuff and not one among them seemed to realize it.

When Democrats caucused during the meeting, it's a sure bet this came up, because by the time Teeny-Sweeney brought forth the resolution, he asked for legal counsel, Dave Kurlinkus, to make the plan legal by the time it comes up for a vote in two weeks. I'm fairly confident Republicans would have called for a rule suspension and immediate vote otherwise.

What's at issue here is that board members must be sure the taxes, based on the full stipend amount, are paid to the state and feds. After that, I suppose they could pledge to give 10 percent back to the county. Sounds like an awful lot of trouble over a combined total of $21,000, but now they're gonna be stuck with the absurdity they've started.

Not long ago, Chairman Christiansen boasted he was taking reduced pay. I'll bet the tax issue hadn't occurred to him either before he blurted that out. And if I know Doug Aurand, I'll bet Democrats will remind him of it at the next meeting.

Karen Elyea, who some would say is in politics just for the paycheck, was not present. I know because I saw her at the aldermanic forum going on at Heartland Church at the same time last night. Apparently, her priority is campaigning for one office while negating another. If she feels it wasn't important to be representing her district during a very important county board meeting, who am I to judge?

I'll be she won't sign the resolution. She'll scratch, kick, bite and pull hair to keep from parting with that $750.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

OK, I was wrong - Firefighters to endorse Block for mayor

There, I said it.

Tomorrow at 1 p.m., the IAFF will endorse Doug Block for mayor despite my speculation they'd stick with Morrissey, who was the frontrunner until today.

As I noted earlier, Morrissey took a big hit today after all of this Adam Smith business. Then again, aldermen were probably going to cut Smith anyway, so they just let Morrissey do it for himself like a big boy.

Smith-gate, in my estimation, is probably enough to give Block an edge in any poll more scientific than the one you see on this page.

Speaking of which, c'mon, Jesus. You've probably already gotten more votes on this page than you'll get on election day. I hope your friends are at least taking the time to read this stuff. Pay attention, son.

While it may be little more than a joke to you that you're running for mayor, this is your ultimate canvas - and I don't see you paintin' shit. Where's this alleged artist, comedian, musician you claim to be? I know you don't expect to win, but at least have some fucking fun with it and make a statement that won't shame your mother. You may never get another opportunity like this.

The Patriot has spoken and it is so.

Morrissey caves to pressure over Smith raise

Days after defending the salary increase extended to Adam Smith, Mayor Morrissey did a 180 today, "accepting" Smith's resignation under tremendous political pressure resulting from the unpopular raise.

If I know Doug Block, we're gonna be hearing about some other salary increases very shortly.

Frankly, I'm surprised Morrissey crumbled on this. He's obviously been viewing all the reader comments on the Register Star's website.

I think he could have diffused the situation by better articulating the fact that the raise was issued last year and that the $95,000 is a bargain considering Smith's alleged credentials, plus the millions of dollars worth of results he's allegedly delivered. To save face, Larry should have stood by Smith. This was a huge bungle as far as the mayor's campaign is concerned.

There's blood in the water now. Larry's in big trouble.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Harmon makes surprisingly strong showing in debate

After having watched the Register Star debate in its entirety, it's clear Larry Morrissey recognizes his only real opponent in the race right now is Doug Block. He went on the offensive several times, challenging Block to think as a mayor, not as a union rep, and to publicly acknowledge that the union needs to make concessions or accept changes for the sake of the city's fiscal health. Well played, Mr. Mayor.

The problem with this two-way race is that John Harmon has far more interesting things to say than Block does, but Block has the bruised legs of the police union to keep him in the press.

If, as I've predicted, the fire fighter union will be appeased (they're VERY happy if they keep four men on an engine), the police union may be alone in supporting Block. Block would do the same for the fire fighters, but as I've noted, the fire fighters know Larry's bound to win. They know it may not bode well if they go against him now.

If the police union wants to get the public on its side, it needs to start doing something about the crime. YOU are the ones I see driving past open-air drug markets. YOU are the ones I see bullshitting with your buddies in the parking lots. YOU are the ones I see turning on your cherries just to go through the red lights. YOU are the ones in MY rear-view mirror when you ought to be ridding the streets of the filth that threatens my family's safety. Don't fucking talk to me about the mayor or the chief. They can't be blamed for your inaction. Start making a difference and people will care more about what you have to say.

Harmon presented a fairly strong case for change and actually seems to have a logical, no-nonsense plan to cut spending. He's a conservative, and I have to admit that might do the city some good right now. It's been a long time.

His platform also seems to have an emphasis on creating jobs. Not sure how he plans to do that, but he's correct in that jobs would start healing some of the city's other ills, like poverty and crime. While Larry's emphasis seems to be education, jobs make at least as much sense. It's a reasonable priority, and one that a lot of unemployed folks might be interested in. This is easier said than done, though, so I'd like to hear more about his plan to make those jobs available ASAP.

It's important to note, however, that Harmon isn't picky about what types of jobs there are. Who knows. He could be right. Maybe we've been setting our sights too high. Baby steps first. On the other hand, I shudder to think about all the pig-slaughtering facilities, ethanol plants and environmental catastrophes this approach might welcome.

Fuck. I dunno. At the moment, I'm not unemployed, for which I'm very thankful. But because I do have a job and am able to pay my bills, I can't speak for the unemployed folks as to what sort of job they would or wouldn't take. My worry about bringing in these shit-jobs as a short-term fix is that we'll be stuck with them in better times.

While there are plenty of things he'd do differently, I like that Harmon praised Larry for the things he's gotten right. If I know Harmon at all, that was probably a difficult thing to do, but it showed some class.

As I've stated before, Harmon's just not a factor in the race, yet, but I'm starting to like the guy. That's saying a lot, because I usually think he's a complete bastard and I don't like the shitheels he hangs out with, truly.

As a Republican, its an uphill battle for him in a Democratic city. To have any chance, he's gonna need to keep the anti-Democrat rhetoric toned down - not an easy task for him - because he's gonna need a lot of their votes to have any chance. I also have doubts as to how strongly Jan Klaas at GOP HQ will want to support him financially.

In short, I guess I'm just a little disappointed Block is posing the biggest threat to Morrissey, because from what I've seen, Harmon clearly deserves that distinction. I hope the press will start paying a little more attention to him instead of just giving Block all the free campaign spots.

I'll probably wait until the last minute, or the maybe the last week, before I make any sort of painful endorsement (and I do realize that counts for nothing, because who the fuck am I?), but for those looking for a mayor who will trim the fat, I think Harmon's your guy.

Correa scores a three-pointer vs. Morrissey @ RRStar debate

I'm working my way through a replay of yesterday's mayoral debate at the Rockford Register Star. From time to time, you can hear John Harmon consoling Jesus Correa, who often looks as though he's about to burst into tears as he stumbles for words to spit out.

When Larry Morrissey boasted about jobs added at Anderson Packaging - calling it a shining example of a TIF - Correa called him on it. Unfortunately, by this time, most people had tuned him out.

Last year, Anderson Packaging was given $1.1 million in TIF incentives. I'm told by company insiders that Anderson execs allegedly celebrated their windfall at strip clubs in Lake Geneva, but I can't verify this.

In exchange, Anderson Packaging promised 150 new jobs. Five months later, the company shitcanned 167 of its senior employees - the ones who were making too much - the ones who can be replaced with cheaper labor. Before the deal expires, Anderson could very well uphold its end of the bargain, but at the cost of its most loyal employees, and with lower-paying jobs.

After Morrissey cited the Anderson TIF deal, Correa noted the company had been given money to create jobs, only to turn around and permanently lay all these folks off. Way to go, Jesus!

I'm sure I'll have some more thoughts about this debate as I make my way through it. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Aldermen hope lots of rich people get hurt this year

At the City Council meeting last night, aldermen won a Fire Department popularity contest by nixing Mayor Morrissey's plan to reduce fire crews from four to three men on every truck.

Well, that's what the news will report, but it all could change in a week after aldermen are done licking their bellies for the TV cameras.

It's great news for the handful of people who'll actually need a fire extinguished this year, but the other 80 percent of the department's calls are for ambulance service.

***"If you vote Yes right now, we'll include a special bonus: Dial 9-1-1 for an ambulance and we'll also send a fully-loaded, shiny, red firetruck - whether you need it or not! (Fire truck mandatory. You will be billed.)"***

How can the city afford to keep four fire fighters on every engine? It can't. Instead, the taxpayers will be expected to pay for it every time an ambulance driver farts.

Folks, these aldermen are essentially saying, "If the 'people' insist on four-per-truck, then we'll reach so deep into their pockets for ambulance calls that they'll actually think twice about wanting to live before dialing."

This careless move by councilmen appeases those who fear death will rape them in the night if only three firemen bounce off a firetruck when some weekend drunkard sets his picnic table on fire during the local NAMBLA chapter's solstice BBQ.

For the record, I received an invitation to the BBQ, but declined. As an excuse, I spun some web of deceit involving a prior commitment in the form of a speaking engagement at a small New England private college, which would demand a rigorous regimen of heterosexual coitus with virgins of legal age.

Anyway, according to Finance Department figures, under the aldermanic plan, a bare-bones ambulance call would start ticking at $775. Right now, it's $375.

Given the economy we're faced with - and remember, Rockford's unemployment and poverty levels are especially high - collecting these bills is a pipe dream at best. As for what's in the pipe aldermen are passing, I'd guess it's some combination of crack, heroin, meth and Sani-Flush, but I can't be sure until I hear back from the lab.

As an educated man of modest income, I know that the difference between a $775 bill and a $375 bill is that the $375 bill might actually get paid. This is not Naperville, even if we have a river-walk paved with the gold teeth of hard-working people who can't afford an emergency right now.

Then what is the city gonna do? They'll waste tax dollars sicking Patrick Hayes' sweaty minions (from what I understand, lawyers make a good living) on these unfortunates for money they simply don't have.

These aren't the lifelong leeches-on-the-system the more heartless among us prefer to imagine. These are good people having a bad time, and I've been there, boy.

Simply put, aldermen are just trying to look like heroes until after they're re-elected. By the time their solution turns out to be a new problem for the general fund, we'll already be stuck with them all over again.

I'm expecting Larry to come out swinging against this proposal. I think his position, more or less, will be: "Aldermen want to charge you twice as much when you need the city most. By the way, four firemen per truck is still pretty wasteful."

I think he's got a good chance of building enough support in the next week to seriously challenge this not-so-well-thought-out plan when it comes up for a vote. Then, somehow, it'll be more appropriate to blame the mayor for reduced manning. The aldermen can't lose, unless they open their mouths.

I still think there's a good chance my earlier prediction about the outcome of this is on the mark. A lot can happen between now and the next City Council meeting, and Larry tends to be able to whip up the votes for what he wants. He's a clear favorite, and I still say the status quo won't want to burn any bridges when it gets down to it.

When all is said and done, I still say the fire crews will be cut to three. After today, the deck is stacked against my prediction of the fire fighter union endorsing Morrissey, but they also have to recognize the likelihood of his re-election. It's a good wager, and I'm all in. I think they know their endorsement isn't enough to give Doug Block an edge. For now, I stand by my prediction.

If I'm wrong, send me an ambulance bill.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rockford's city fathers to perform coathanger-abortion of employees - SuperBlock nowhere to be found

I'm still nursing a state-of-the-city-hangover, but as those of us with "true grit" will acknowledge, there's no better cure than the hair of the dog that bit you.

It's about 5 a.m. and I'm celebrating - well, the kind of somber celebration one would allow in memory of a friend who's passed -because tonight, the city's alpha males and females will roll in shit when when life as city employees know it will forever be altered as a direct result of wasteful spending while the gettin' was good.

Tonight, the proposed budget comes before the full City Council. City Hall will stink of wet, mangy mutts as the aldermen who've allowed this mess to happen squirm and cower to be thrown a re-election bone. They can blame Morrissey all they want, but remember that they went along with all of it.

Especially considering that Larry's an Independent, you'd expect that Democrats and Republicans would have been doing their homework to keep him honest, but they obviously haven't. As one regular caller to WNTA would say, "Get rid of the bums!"

We're talking about a bunch of political hobbyists who are more concerned about status and throwing their weight around than doing the jobs they're charged with. They share in the blame for the failed expectations of the Morrissey administration, and so do we for that matter.

This mayoral election, despite Morrissey's emphasis on education, will be decided on the issue of public safety. That's what, from the beginning, made Doug Block the front runner to challenge the incumbent.

John Harmon is not a factor in the race and Jesus Correa just needs to take his egocentric art project back to his bedroom. I think it's fair to say both gentlemen are barely tolerated, even by their friends.

Aldermen have allowed Morrissey to run rampant with development funds, which has effectively raped the general fund to benefit developers who hardly need the breaks. And how is Rockford any better for these "investments?" Nothing I've seen supports the notion that TIF benefits anyone but property mongers.

Instead of taking the mayor to task for misuse of taxpayer dollars, aldermen are going to go along with cuts to the level of service Rockfordians pay too handsomely for - with a real, human cost - just so they can later claim balancing the budget as a victory.

You can't lay all the blame on Larry. Despite failure, at least he tried to do something. I'm beginning to think he might be the best one to get us out of this. It's kinda like how G.W. won re-election on the notion that we shouldn't change commanders-in-chief at wartime. Then again, we were probably wrong in that "choice."

Simply put, if Doug Block thinks he can manage to fill an $8 million budget hole without touching public safety, now's the time to for him to speak up. You can point to Adam Smith-types all you want, but the problem is much bigger than a handful of $100k jobs. Where, Mr. Block, do you propose to pull $8 million from the 30 percent of the city budget not directly attributable to public safety? Do you even recognize how we came to be in this awkward, prone position? Seriously, Dude, I hope you have more to say than, "Protect union jobs."

It's 2009 in Rockford, and it's still appropriate for residents to hang their heads in shame. Next year's looking no better and the Forest City isn't likely to see significant change in the next four years, despite having sons of Illinois in high places nationally. Remember, we're still the people who re-elected Blago, but only because the alternative was that allegedly "medicated nutcase," Judy Baar Topinka.

As my father once quipped, "Rockford is the asshole of Illinois." He was absolutely right then, and it still holds true, unfortunately. Like it or not, of the candidates we have, I think Larry best recognizes Rockford's history of mediocity, which is the first step to at least upgrading Rockford to taint-status.

First things first - the basics. There's some validity - in real dollars - to Larry's priority of decreasing truancy. As he noted during his annual campaign address last week, companies don't choose to locate in communities with great fire departments. They choose to locate in communities where their children can get a decent education. I think it's a crusade that makes sense.

Again, Mr. Block, where do you stand on issues that do not directly involve the unions? What about the rest of Rockford? Gotham City needs a hero. Take the union-cock out of your mouth and spit out a couple solutions. Otherwise, just shut up and go play with Jesus Correa in Prozac-land.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Big surprise - Police union endorses one of its own for mayor

You know, I figured it was a foregone conclusion the PB&PA was backing Doug Block, who served as a labor rep for the union until he won the Democratic mayoral primary last month. Still, the union president, Aurelio Delarosa, felt the need to issue a press release stating what everyone already knew.

Wanna know why that's gonna bite the PBPA in the ass? The Morrissey administration is still in control of the budget. Delarosa has now weakened his union's position.

At least EJ Dilonardo, president of the fire union, has the smarts to dangle his union's endorsement in front of incumbent Morrissey. Dilonardo's asking price: Maintain minimum staffing of four firefighters on every truck.

Public safety represents about 70 percent of the general fund, so this will be a tough sell. Friend, you'd better believe cuts are gonna be made in public safety.

With the PBPA's premature and unnecessary endorsement, I'd wager Morrissey will bitch-slap them when the budget is passed this month, and in arbitration. That'll give Larry some room to work with the Fire Department.

It'll be interesting to see how the firefighters' endorsement will play out.

My prediction: The IAFF local will endorse Morrissey, despite "temporary" reduced minimum staffing. Morrissey isn't gonna budge on that. He'll basically say four men on every truck is a luxury, not a necessity. In its endorsement, the IAFF will concede that it must share in the sacrifices we're all having to make. They will pledge to maintain the department's high level of excellence while we ride out this economic shitstorm. In exchange, Morrissey will pledge to restore four men per truck as soon as the city's back in the black.

Why the IAFF won't endorse Block: Morrissey will easily win re-election, for good or ill.

On the other hand, Dilonardo is listed as a supporter on Block's campaign site. Regardless, I'll stand by my prediction.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Elyea plans to hoarde seats?

Sources are telling me Karen Elyea does not plan to step down from her County Board seat if elected to the City Council in April. She and sugardaddy Jim Hughes must feel awfully slick. Now she can be an ineffectual component of two governmental bodies!

I'm checking into this with the attorney general to see whether these two offices are really compatible.

"Stay tuned, stay off your knees, and death to the screwheads."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

With Doug Block in chambers, Democratic aldermen take shots at Morrissey

Another interesting pair I noticed at this week's city council meeting was Democratic mayoral candidate Doug Block and firefighter union president E.J. Dilonardo glowering together in the gallery.

Doug was the victor in the Democratic mayoral primary last week, at which time he removed himself from duties as a police union negotiator. But make no mistake - he's still representing the union's interests.

Despite the hundreds of members in the fire and police unions, Mayor Morrissey raised an interesting point when he noted many of the city's fire and police personnel live outside the city limits. He seemed to be saying: "If you don't like me, tough shit. You can't even vote me out."

While that may be true to an extent, in the end, citizens want to know they're protected. Public safety will be the No. 1 issue in the mayoral election. The unions will make sure of it, and they know how to get their own propaganda out, just like the Morrissey administration.

Late last year, Joe Bruscato's victory over Chuck Prorok in the state's attorney's race came as a bit of a surprise to some, but not me. I think the police union's endorsement of Bruscato made the difference in that contest.

When it was announced, Prorok responded by prattling on about how it wasn't appropriate for Bruscato to accept the endorsement, but he would have taken it in a second if the shoe was on the other foot. In the end, folks decided to shake the last Logli-remnants from the office.

Since the election, Prorok also applied for a judgeship, but was beaten out again.

Interestingly, prior to running for state's attorney, Bruscato worked labor negotiations on behalf of the city. I saw the endorsement coming the very day Joe announced his candidacy, because the police union's Aurelio Delarosa was pictured standing beside Bruscato in The Rock River Times.

If Block is elected, my guess is his first order of business would be to show Police Chief Chet Epperson the door. Beyond that, it's not clear yet what his vision is for the rest of Rockford.

Larry Morrissey's war chest dwarfs Block's campaign funds, but the type of campaign he'll run won't run on money - It'll run on fear.

Anyone who's followed city government in recent months has seen Dilonardo appeal directly to Mayor Morrissey to not reduce minimum staffing levels on fire trucks as a cost-saving measure. We've already begun to hear the grim, worst-case scenarios of falling skies resulting from the police and fire departments having to share in the sacrifices the rest of us are making in this economy.

That being said, Rod Lashock has had some interesting things to say at council meetings recently. Lashock is a city employee whose wife is running for alderman. He's been trying to convince aldermen to ask Mayor Morrissey what happened to the general fund balance accumulated in previous years - tens of millions of dollars that could come in handy right now. From what I can tell, aldermen haven't been listening.

Dilonardo also began to pick at that rainy-day-fund-scab in recent weeks, and I think they need to keep pushing the issue. Where is the money?

Mayor Morrissey had a particularly difficult night March 2. Now that a Democratic mayoral candidate has been decided, Democrats wasted no time before starting to throw stones at Morrissey.

Carl Wasco bitched about how city staff told him he didn't know what he was talking about, but I think they'd probably be right. In any case, Wasco's tirade about the incident was directed at the administration.

Ann Thompson-Kelly drilled the mayor a new one, too, because she feels he's not making much of an effort to seal a deal that would bring a huge development to the west side. Hours earlier, Block issued a press release arguing the same point, so it's clear Thompson-Kelly was just spinning things for the Democratic mayoral hopeful.

Linda McNeely? Of course, she levied some criticisms, too, but she doesn't limit that to election seasons, so I'll let her slide. It's truly been a treat to see everyone on the council roll their eyes when Linda takes the floor, because she's consistently a thorn in Morrissey's side.

By the way, did anyone snap a shot of Epperson and Delarosa shaking hands during the Distinguished Service Medal presentation? Priceless. That awkward exchange even had me cringing.

Mark Bonne was also seen at the meeting Monday night. He's been whoring his face anywhere TV cameras go, so that came as little surprise. More on his his story another time.

The straight 'dope' about the 11th Ward

Well, County Board member Karen Elyea vanquished former County Board member Tuffy Quinonez in the 11th Ward's Democratic primary for City Council. Jesus, talk about two exceedingly poor choices. Go ahead and search their names through the circuit clerk's online case files. I'll wait.

Note that Tuffy is a nickname. His real first name is Theophelo. Charges alleged battery, possession of controlled substances, etc. Folks allege Elyea is no better.

As recently as 2003, she was charged with alleged manufacturing/delivery of cannabis and sale of drug paraphernalia. Some would allege you can still walk into her store, and walk out with a variety of goodies from around the world, but I'm not into hippie stuff.

If you search the name of her live-in boyfriend, James Harnden, you'll see they're made for each other: There are several charges alleging DUI's, drugs, etc. Oh, it appears they might owe some folks money, too. In one case, in which Karen and James are named defendants, you'll notice her last name is spelled AYLEA, so who knows how many more 'typos' may be obscuring her in the system.

There are rumors of other alleged business ventures she's involved in, but if that's true, she must be keeping her distance and letting others do the gritty work. She does appear to try pushing what little political weight she has around, though.

Within a block of her place, someone appears to have exerted some influence to allegedly crush would-be retail competitors in the local market. One nearby store was closed down after it was discovered it was an alleged bodega.

The hammer also came down on another nearby store that may or may not have been offering a little friendly competition, but one can never be sure.

Frankly, I'm surprised Quinonez couldn't beat Elyea (a DINO, or Democrat in name only, as Chuck Sweeny would say) in a ward with such a high Hispanic concentration.

I'm betting Tuffy is pissed, to say the least, that Elyea ran against him after he helped her get elected to the county board, where she's consistently aligned herself with Republicans. So, although she seems to have much in common with Tuffy, she's significantly less loyal to her party's label.

It should be noted Elyea associates with the likes of John Harmon, a Republican former county board member now running for mayor, and Jim Hughes. Hughes, for a time, was a well-known Democrat, but now that his paycheck is signed by his Republican keepers, he's looks to be playing for the other side.

Just last night, while watching the city council telecast, the two DINO's could be seen sitting together. A banister obstructed the camera's view from the chest down, but with a little imagination, it appeared as though Elyea was jerking Hughes off in the gallery, metaphorically.

With only a couple independents challenging her in April to take Jeff Holt's seat, she unfortunately appears to be a shoe-in. From what I hear, Holt is backing her. I always thought he was brighter than that, but you learn something new everyday. Then again, I suppose Tuffy couldn't expect the endorsement after raising a big stink about Holt's residency after he'd already announced he wouldn't be seeking another term on the council. Talk about burning a bridge unnecessarily. That probably made the difference in the primary.

Honestly, I don't care what someone does for a living, and I believe many types of things ought to be legal, or decriminalized at the very least.

Karen and Tuffy are probably fun to party with, but they are not the sort of representation the 11th Ward needs. It looks to me like their only motives for seeking political office are to protect their personal interests.

But, that's par-for-course in the Forest City. You don't gotta love it, but it looks like we gotta live with it a while longer.