It’s Time To Streamline Illinois Government

Last year legislators from both sides of the aisle came together to approve a “smart streamlining” bill (Senate Bill 3) that would enable all 102 Illinois counties to begin merging or eliminating overlapping, and arguably, unnecessary units of government, including many of our 1,400 antiquated townships.
Illinois has 7,000 units of government, more than any other state in the nation. In fact, there are more governing bodies in Illinois than in New York and Florida combined, even though both states far outpace Illinois’ population. Partly due to all those governments, Illinois has the second-highest property taxes nationwide.
SB 3 gives local governments the flexibility they need to make the most out of limited resources by, when appropriate, consolidating or dissolving districts and townships into more efficient governing bodies.
The Better Government Association supports SB3, along with other non-partisan organizations and advocacy groups across the state, including Transform Illinois, of which the BGA is a member.
SB 3 gives Illinois an opportunity to become a national leader in government efficiency.

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Is Leyden High School SD 212 Achieving Its Transparency Goal ?

leyden reflections

In a democracy it is especially important that citizens have access to information so they can actively participate in government and make good choices on Election Day;  at Leyden School District 212, transparency is the best way to promote #leydenpride

As Thomas Jefferson said, “An informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will.””

Elected officials should stop making excuses on why they can’’t be more transparent.

Leyden SD 212 regularly affirms their commitment to transparency in their governance.

But are their actions implementing their statement supporting “transparency” ?

An intense review of Leyden SD 212 website calls their commitment for “transparency” into question.  when you cannot even find the “Board of Education policies” on their website.

The policies are basic to school district governance and the only way that you can get a copy of the Leyden High School SD 212 Board Policies is to file a Freedom of Information (FOIA)  request with the school district.

So as a taxpayer of Leyden SD 212, and for many as a parent or student of Leyden SD212 to review the governance documents of the District you have to file a FOIA .

Yet numerous adjacent grammar and high school districts have their policies on line.

So why,  as the District that continuously articulates its desire to provide transparency in its governance, SD212  does not publish its governing documents on their own website ?

I had to file a FOIA to get a copy of the governance boards policies.

I am posting a link to a copy of Leyden High School District 212 Policies.

Please go to this link to review Leyden High School District 212 policies:


I hope that my Blog article will encourage SD 212 to pursue their stated goal of transparency more aggressively to provide access to the governing policies of Leyden High Schools for the students, parents and taxpayers of the District.

Until the SD 212 decides to portray their words of transparency in action by posting their governing Board policies you can refer to my blog page to review the policies.

I will have more to say about transparency at Leyden School District 212 in the future;  I am hoping to provoke a conversation as to how the Leyden Board of Education should implement their commitment to “transparency”  .

True “transparency” at Leyden School District 212 will promote #leyden pride.

Let’s all encourage the Leyden High School Board Of Education SD 212 to post their Board policies !    












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Schiller Park Board of Trustee’s Recognize Police Officer Steve Lima for His Community Service 

See the presentation below:

At the June 1, 2017, Village of Schiller Park Board of Trustee’s meeting the Board adopted a resolution recognizing retiring Officer Lima’s community service.   The resolution was read by his son, Trustee Lima.

Posted in Economy, Mayor Caiafa, politics, Roy F. McCampbell, Schiller Park, Schiller Park Commentaries, schiller park police, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Appearance Speaks Volumes For Schiller Park

 The Village needs to understand and implement “curb appeal” throughout the Village, especially at it’s gateways. 

Would a respectable resident repair his auto on their front lawn and then leave the parts laying around for a week on the front lawn ?

We as a community need to change our thinking if we wish to pursue successful economic development with the”big dogs”.   

No matter what the excuse, 4111 Mannheim Road looks bad, and leaves a poor impression of Schiller Park to visitors and travelers alike.

Some landscaped green space bordering Mannheim Road would go a long way in improving the depressing look.

Most entry points to our Village produce a terrible appearance to the visitor and are depressing to our residents .  

Lawrence and River Road is  a prime example.  

This area provides an awful image for everyone going to and from Rosemont and as well as entering our Village. 

This abandonment has existed for over seven years.  These conditions clearly contribute to issues arising at the motel next door.  This transmits a message no one cares and you can do what you want in Schiller Park.  

Why not demolish this obsolete building and install lush landscaping until the property is redeveloped ?

Another key Village entry point is Irving Park and River Road with an abandoned gas station for over 4 years.    

Again at this point the building should be demolished and the Village might acquire the property as green space, which is much needed in this over built area with apartments.   It would enhance the entry to the Village and provide “curb appeal ” for residents and visitors alike.  

This is not about “politics”, but how we as a community envision the Schiller Park of the 21st Century and beyond.  

We can’t point fingers at each other but need to “roll up our sleeves ” and work together as a “family”.

Let’s get it done as a Village !

It “takes a Village” !

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Schiller Park Village Board is Considering The Exempting of Private Employers from Cook County Minimum Wage Ordinance 

At the June 1, regular meeting, the Schiller Park Board of Trustees will vote on an ordinance that would effectively exempt private employers in the village from ordinances passed last October by the Cook County Board of Commissioners that would increase the minimum wage and establish earned sick leave for employees.

I raised this issue in February, 2017, in my article at , when I encouraged the Village Board of Schiller Park to opt out of the Cook County ordinance.
Under the county’s minimum wage law, private employers would be required to pay employees $10 an hour starting July 1, 2017. The current minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 an hour.
The minimum wage in Cook County would then increase by $1 each year through 2020. On July 1, 2021 and each July afterwards, the minimum wage will increase by the rate of inflation up to 2.5 percent. If unemployment is over 8.5 percent, however, there will be no increase.
As I noted in my earlier article that the county’s minimum wage ordinance creates an “uneven playing field for employers and employees inside and outside of Cook County.”
Many home rule municipalities have opted-out of the county’s minimum wage law, creating an uneven patchwork of wage levels across the county. In addition, the wage law also creates an uneven playing field between counties.
The  communities that are opting out want the state to address this in order to create an even playing field. 
When a community opts out, it creates an uneven playing field not only for employers but for employees.  You  can have people in neighboring communities working the same job and getting different wages. That’s in Cook County. If you’re next to, say, DuPage County, you can have a scenario with three different sets of rules.
Cook County took a step forward and raised the bar and I applaud them for that, but they’ve created now a patchwork of communities opting out, which those communities have a constitutional right to do.
So far at least 13 other villages in Cook County have opted out, including Bellwood (which opted out in March), River Forest, Rosemont, Rolling Meadows, Palatine, and Elmwood Park.  The county’s minimum wage law doesn’t apply to public employers like municipalities. 
Currently, Springfield is working on a proposed minimum wage law, called HB 198, which would raise the minimum wage for both private and public employers across the state from its current level to $9 on January 1, 2018. The minimum wage would then increase to $10, $11.25, $13 and $15 each subsequent year until 2022.

If House Bill 198 is enacted, it would provide a uniform minimum wage applicable to all Illinois employers and employees, as opposed to the Cook County Ordinance, which only applies to private employers within Cook County, and not public employers, like the Village. 

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West Leyden Groundbreaking 

On May 18th, the Leyden Board of Education SD212 held a ground breaking for a $25,000,000 building project at West Leyden High School.  At West Leyden they are building an addition inside a portion of the inner courtyard.  The first floor will be a cafeteria/common area addition and a kitchen renovation.   The second floor addition will be a new  Library and media center.  Renovated spaces will include new classrooms,reorganized offices, student support areas and more. 

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Remember When You Could “Fly the Friendly Skies of United “







Without the shocking video, it unlikely that the world would have learned or cared about the violent manhandling of a 69 year old man on a plane last month.

The outrage on social media, the mea culpa by an airline CEO, the promise to treat customers better…………NONE of it would have HAPPENED.

The passengers who shot those videos on a United Express plane in Chicago violated United’s policy on photography.  By the letter of the airline’s law, they too could have been ordered off the plane.

Under United’s policy, customers can take pictures or videos with small cameras or cellphones “provided that the purpose is capturing personal  events. ”  Filming or photographing other customers or airline employees without their consent is prohibited.  America, Delta and Southwest have similar policies.

Passengers are accustomed to using their cellphones to take photos and videos that they can upload to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  Airline rules on photography are sporadically enforced, but passengers should read them in the in-flight magazines because there can be consequences.  This month, a United ticket agent ordered a passenger’s reservation canceled as he filmed her while disputing a $300 baggage fee in the New Orleans airport.  After Navang Oza posted his video online, United apologized, saying that the video “does not reflect the positive customer experience we strive to offer”.

In April, a  Jet Blue Airways crew called airport police to meet a man who they said continued to record a selfie video during a security-sensitive time in flight, while the cockpit door was opened.  Michael Nissenshohn insists that he wasn’t recording the procedure.

“I told them there is no rule against taking a selfie on a plane,” Nissensohn says.  He says he was ordered off the plane and held up at LaGuardia airport in New York for more than an hour before being let go without charges.  JetBlue declined to comment  on the incident.  A spokesman says the airline doesn’t publish its photography policy for security reasons.

With airline customer service in decline, videotaping is the only way that passengers can make sure they are treated fairly, say Gary Leff, a travel blogger who has criticized the airlines over the issue.

Gary Leff noted that “the TSA allows more photography at the checkpoint than the airlines allow on board their planes.”

The Transportation Security Administration says that photography at checkpoints is fine if people don’t take images of monitors or interfere with screeners.  Travel bloggers say, however, that people have had run-ins with TSA officers, and you should expect  to be questioned if you snap more than a casual photo of a companion.

Lawyers who specialize in First Amendment or travel law say airlines generally cannot limit photography or recording in an airport because it is a public space.  But airlines have more power on planes because as private parties they are not bound by the First Amendment.

Joseph Larsen, a media law attorney noted that “they are within their rights to establish these rules, they are within their rights to throw you off the aircraft if you continue filming.”

However, there is no law against taking photos or video on a plane, and it is unlikely that anyone would face legal jeopardy for taking pictures of an altercation on a plane or their own peaceful selfie.

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Northern Illinois Hiring Practices and Expenditures Questioned

An Office of Executive Inspector General investigation into Northern Illinois University’s hiring and spending practices has found that President Doug Baker routinely circumvented state laws and regulations to reward friends and associates.
The report, commissioned after watchdog groups and whistleblowers questioned Baker’s use of the so-called “affiliate employee” classification for hires in key university positions, shows what investigators call a pattern of dodging procurement code requirements.
“As a result of (Baker’s) actions, since 2013 NIU has paid over $1 million in public funds to consultants who were not selected through a competitive procurement process,” the report released Wednesday said.
In addition, the school, facing millions of dollars in cuts due to a $35 million funding gap, has paid nearly $200,000 in legal fees to outside counsel for Baker during the course of the OEIG investigation.
The report also found numerous support staff to Baker had assisted in the practices, and some had further used their positions to gain extra payments over and above their salaries. 
Another Baker hire, Ron Walters, received $463,125 in compensation as an affiliate employee from June 2013 to Dec. 2014. According to the report, Baker described Walters as a friend and explained to then NIU Dir. of Human Resources Steve Cunningham that Walters was a “turnaround consultant.”
The OEIG report says that when Cunningham informed Baker that the school could not pay Walters more than $20,000 for his services, “Baker showed a ‘high degree’ of dissatisfaction with the Procurement Code,” and that Baker instructed Cunningham to “find a way” to onboard Walters.
The report identified five employees: Ron Walters, who was paid $463,125; Nancy Suttenfield, who was paid $425,041; Ken Wilson, who was paid $135,963; Magaly Rodriguez, who was paid $85,031; and William Pfeiffer, who was paid $23,516. […]
Although Baker agreed with the report’s findings that there were no violations of the state’s Ethics Act, he disagreed with any implications that there was intent to circumvent NIU’s guidelines or state regulations.

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Happy Birthday, Wrigley Field

April 23, 1914………Weeghman Park (Wrigley Field), opens for the first time, with the Chicago Federals as the first tenants. The Federals are part of the upstart Federal League, the 3rd Major League. The Federals will remain in Weeghman Park for 2 years, winning the championship in 1915, before the league dissolves, and the Cubs move in, in 1916. The Cubs had been playing in West Side Park. Charley Weeghman owns the Cubs that first year, with William Wrigley also owning a small percentage, and the park remains Weeghman Park until 1920, when it becomes Cubs Park. It remains Cubs Park until 1926, when William Wrigley, the sole owner of the Cubs then, officially names it Wrigley Field. Why was this park built in a more residential section of Chicago and not near a major road? Well because the park, built in 1914, was situated near the Milwaukee Railroad. This is the only remaining Federal League park that still stands. The photos are Weeghman Park, April 23, 1914.

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Parakeets in the Chicago ‘Burbs ?

Have you seen parakeets in Chicago? Some time in the 1970s, somebody’s pet parakeets escaped. These weren’t tropical parakeets, but ones that evolved in the relatively cold climate of southern South America, called Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus). Their cold-tolerance and huge apartment building-like stick nests, along with food from backyard bird feeders, allows them to survive Chicago winters. There are still populations on Chicago’s south side, where they have been since the 70s, and there are other colonies in the suburbs.

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