Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Tomato Plant that was Left for Us

I’ve begun to appreciate the little things.  However all that I am left to nurture, for now, is a small tomato plant. It was a gift from him for Mother's Day. It now serves as the memory of a child who has left and needs to return. The plant seems endowed with love and cherished memories. It reminds me of times that I can only pray for. The conception of loss is now overwhelming. Yet, I have to believe that we reclaim what seems taken for granted.

There were warning signs. Sometimes, I inferred advice by bearing witness to others. In the process, I ignored what was more essential and staring directly at me. You can buy a whole library of self help books in an effort to pave the path of parenthood. Perhaps, even read a few of them, but applying the knowledge can be a battle.

Once I felt more responsible. Like conceptions that come and go, I feel like I am chasing a dream that was handed to me, but denied to others. Unfortunately, parents cast opportunities aside. We should nurture kids to be stable and strong as the tomato plant that we are now left to care for until he returns.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Emanuel Predicted, Emanuel Elected. What's Next? Teachers Strike?

Traditionally, both the U.K. Labor Party and the U. S. Democrats have become the most palatable politicians to destroy unions.  Business will support these candidates and so-called liberals overlook these radical changes to the economic landscape.

I expect Emanuel's next jab at the Teacher's Union.  Besides, with Emanuel's kids safely tucked in The Latin School, does the Rahminator really care about Chicagoans with children in the public school system? Imagine if teachers at Latin School sat out for a day, perhaps a week, and demanded a vote for collective bargaining? Would they be locked out? Would enough pay attention?

Are many Latin School Teachers looking to network and treat their jobs as a transition? Well, I fear that we will experience all the mistakes that resulted in repetitive strikes in Daley Jr.'s early days.  Growing pains? Repeating history? 

I hope that good teachers stay with CPS. I suspect scapegoating of competent teachers for the sake of the political status quo. Its gone on for years with uncommitted parents blaming CPS, not their own lack of commitment, or that of other parents.

The consequences of losing experienced and well trained teachers is not worth the gamble. Teachers struggle for the attention of those kids.  Some have young irresponsible parents and this cycle of ignorance cannot be broken without attention. It is a parent-teacher-student bond that leads to continuing and successful education.

Of course, the continued layoff of CPS social workers and psychologists mean that emotionally challenged or mentally ill children have fewer people and legitimate places to go for positive support.  Will these budget cuts result in more financial loss through the golden road to unlimited room and board via the correctional centers. Those who struggle for attention need options for legitimate success.

Kids need a place to thrive. The home television just does not cut it. Oh brave new politics! We feign ignorance for the sake of appeasing the masses into oblivion.

In four years, will the City will be a different place? Will it be a better place?  In four years,will Mayor Emanuel succeed?
Is Rahm that far from Bernard Epton in his political views? I have to wonder. Any thoughts? Perhaps, this is a work in progress with comments to come.  Is Rahm a short term Chicagoan with a long term suburban mentality?  Is this what Chicago needs for urban renewal?

The public schools are part of the puzzle. Yet, depending upon private enterprise which may have greater incentive to dummy test scores inflate grades creates concern? How much oversight exists in the private charter schools? Does the composition of charter schools threaten education?  Can charter school staff more easily dummy up test scores due to less oversight? Or are these simply exaggerated claims?

Political Phone Calls - What the Deal with the Do Not Call List? Has Rogers Park Dummied Down?

Who is sick of receiving political calls? Why do politicians think that these calls will work? The calls have the reverse effect on me. For those who thought that politicians will honor the "Do not call list;" think again!

What a bunch of blithering hypocrites! 

To all those who appreciate our struggle to end idle chatter hinders productivity, then call one of the worst offenders, Rep. Schakowsky. Tell Jan to support a National Political Do Not Call List!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Experiencing the Rahmenon with Eyes Wide Open.

I was born and have lived in Chicago for nearly thirty years. My family has lived Chicago for over a Century. I have witnessed the Rahm phenomenon. I have concerns. I can only hope that he does a good job, but his staff's actions, as alleged by Gery Chico, may raise eyebrows at the U.S. Attorney's Office. 

Chicagoans should look at Rahm Emmanuel for what he is, what he has done, and what he can do. Also, what the other candidates want to do. This means some soul searching in spite of frustration with all the current candidates. Perhaps, Rahm really is the last candidate standing until the next election.

Our troubling Illinois Supreme Court precedent in Maksym is old news. The Illinois Legislature should look at the Burton Odelson Brief and the Hoffman decision in the Maksym case, as well. Yet, I know Illinois needs to move ahead with meaningful legislation when the elections end. Chicago Politics should not be reduced to a vacuum featuring Big Bill Thompson-like characters.

I recall with disappointment the inappropriate lambasting of Supreme Court Justice Heiple by Jenner and Block's Jerold Solovy through Bob Greene in the Baby Richard case. The response by the Illinois Legislature to impeach Heiple seemed more like a tribute to Solovy, who was both tenacious and tender in his practice. Yet, Heiple was dead on correct. I believe that Solovy may have wanted to up the body count. The Jenner Law firm seemed to use it's discretion for the Warburton Family to successfully tempt Loren Heinemann to fight. In that fight, Loren's fate as a licensed Illinois Attorney was sealed. Heinemann's other clients could no longer be served while he fought for the Kirchners with his license at risk. Otto Kirchner deserved his child back according to the U.S. Supreme Court, as well!

Here is another twist on Michael Kasper, who represented Rahm Emanuel. Kasper also represented Illinois in its fight to impeach Justice Heiple. Kasper was the Counsel to the Special Executive Committee for the Illinois House of Representatives for the purpose of impeaching Justice Ronald Heiple.  Perhaps, a coincidence, but it is interesting to ponder whether any of the Justices consider this unusual fact.

My concern: should Illinois Attorneys engage in what may appear like political vendettas? Mr. Kasper, don't get me wrong, we all know that we can do; the ethical challenge is, should we? Do our actions encourage Justices to make decisions that they later live to regret? It is their choice, I know, but ethical inconsideration through the use of Ben LaBolt like power can seriously complicate justice as some attorneys have argued.  I am not faulting Mr. Kasper, just the environment that creates our arguably overzealous steam that complicates and contorts justice to suit our needs.

This incident, among others, encourages me to believe, until convinced otherwise, that Justice Thomas and the Illinois Supremes punted. In doing so, out went Judge Hoffmann's plain meaning interpretation of the Illinois Municipal Code. However, there is no other choice but to respect the decision until the Illinois Legislature decides what it will do with it! To that, I say good luck!

Still, our politicians, including elected judges, must use wise discretion. I fear that Rahm Emmanuel's Ben LaBolt who purportedly put pressure on Gym Club owners suggest the Chicago to come.  That mentality must change! I'm glad that story surfaced. Perhaps, a future Mayor Emmanuel will read about it, investigate, and recognizes whose in his huddle. I hope that he and his staff use the gym for something other than fingerpointing. I can envision Rahm Emanuel holding a 'rat tail' to Representative Massas arse. Fortunately, Emanuel was not alleged to have gone that far!  Well, both incidents are on the record even if I dislike quoting Gery Chico's rhetoric and Fox News.

Our media must remain independent of too much suburban affluence and influence. It must cast aside the desire to promote 'Deal Estate' and focus on the day to day issues that affect everyday Chicagoans. I know that the Charter Schools are problematic. I appreciate challenges with the Chicago Public Schools. Children should not have children who never learned how to care about education! This can perpetuate itself.

When a public school sheds itself of a gang member, these misfits often end up in Charter Schools. The recent shootings at C.M.S.A. in Rogers Park demonstrate the challenge. Yet, Rahm Emmanuel and the media ignore this phenomenon that undermines the Charter educational system. Crime at Charter Schools too often goes underreported.  Hey Rahm, look at what gang members learn in the Charter Schools!

Chicago issues and challenges are best known by the residents who pound the pavement on a day to day basis. The marketing machine created by Rahm Emmnuel and Richard M. Daley suggest that the media can warped and overly anamored by oversights until it is too late.

Let's not sell out Chicago. Those who work in the media and live in the City that works must put pressure on inexperienced politicians who don't appreciate day to day challenges of City Life.

The media must not overdo its sensationalism and marketing glitz to mischaracterize Emmanuel as some sort of Camelot Conqueror. There are excellent Chicago Public Schools waiting for parents who actually spend time to work with their kids and know where to find these gems.

Again, let's get serious about Chicago, the media should muck rake the challenges and applaud the successes. I hope that if and when Rahm rolls in, he selects a staff that does more than look good in a suit and tie!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bob the Punter? Rahm in Rollout? Perrier Instead of Tap? Is there a Resident in the House? Or Do We Simply Sellout?

Punter in my opinion! Okay, I admit that I am still on page four of the 25 page decision. I still remain unconvinced based upon the Trib's excerpts. What about that Illinois Municipal Code? Does it mean anything? Or can Rahm move to Wilmette and govern from the suburbs? Can Chicago have an absentee mayor? That may be an interesting one for both future Justices and the Electorate.

Okay, the good. Rahm has a website fit for President Obama, but it may take more than voters to make it to a second term.  Will there be an unexpected backlash in February? I admit that Rahm is much more organized. That is a fact and the disparity is obvious!

My concern: its just a matter of law. What was done to the Illinois Municipal Code to accommodate Rahm Emmanuel? This has lasting consequences and it needs to be challenged for future candidates. I don't believe that those consequences are 150 years old, as suggested. Burton Odelson is an accomplished election attorney; the Municipal Code was clearly and concisely presented. Waiver? I think that it is a procedural stretch. Judge Hoffman did not deserve the lashing from a Justice who claims to know what it means to be defamed!

The challenge with electing Illinois Supreme Court Justices is that when they are voted out of a job or decide to leave office, they often still want to work! That is why Illinois needs to reconsider merit selection. Also, the appointment of Justices for life with the right to resign. Thomas, among others, needs find a job after this gig is over! Who do you think wrote those briefs to the Illinois Supreme Court? The future employers of clout, perhaps? Judges who are free of such concerns, and have the consent of both parties based upon merit are often more objective while on the bench. I don't suggest corruption; I suggest human nature; conscious or unconscious, pure and simple! This decision helps confirm that merit selection makes sense in my opinion.

If the public could care less, then voters can easily be careless with their votes. Who, other than attorneys, read the Chicago Bar Associations Judicial Recommendations? How many voters actually study the judges or download that CBA form? Our ballot is one big amorphous mass of names to sort through! Even I admit that I have trouble without the CBA Cheat Sheet!

If Bob Thomas is the most Anglicized name, then he is elected. Of course, the name of a Chicago Bears Football player who punted his way into Superbowl History can carry carte blanc. This is particularly among suburban season Bears Ticket holders and remote control jockeys. Now, Justice Thomas, among others, have made their mark on Illinois Municipal Political Law. Did Rahm ever meet Bob Thomas when he was younger? Look, the decision does not sit well with me, even if I eventually learn to appreciate the rationale. There is no doubt that I must accept until another case comes.

Imagine, I can now spend  most of my time in Boca and return to run for political office in Chicago as I please.  I may not be elected, but I can be an 'absentee candidate.' This, as long as I am a snowbird in waiting and the voters are infatuated with me. I need not be 'domiciled' and 'dwelling' in the City of Chicago. All I need is a Chicago address and a tax return. The right celebrity can broadcast on the internet after upgrading the botox, nose job, skin peels, tummy tuck and liposuction. Every school teacher and city employer ever required to reside in Chicago should be seething with jealousy.

I think it was a mistake for the Justices to ignore all of the words in the subsection of the Illinois Municipal Code. However, the vote was unanimous. There is no difference between the right to vote and the right to be a candidate. That is why I will have to read past page four to figure out what the hell just happened!

Summary: Perhaps, too our Justices strive for the charmed silk stocking law firm life after tiring of the job.  Where is Patrick Fitzgerald when you need him? Again, this jury is still out, but the excerpts remain unconvincing. They read like a bulldozing litigator on speed in my opinion.

I'm looking for rationale, Justice Thomas, but then, again, you outrank me and you wear a Superbowl XX Ring!  Perhaps, it is law on a shoestring. I am now obligated to read, perhaps re-read, the next 21 pages with care, contemplation and objectivity. However, Burton Odelson's brief and the Hoffman decision deserved careful contemplation, not clashing condemnation. The decision was no way to treat fellow Judges!

Are there any others licensed to practice law who also think that the Maksym Decision was a Supreme Court mulligan? Is there a desire by Illinois Justices to spend more time at Medina, or in meditation? Either way, as Rahm goes to the final round, I must wonder whether he will turn into another Mayor Michael Bilandic? Will the next Jane Byrne please prepare herself?

How about that $6.1 Billion Budget and the $654 Million deficit?Will we sell off the Water Department next and forfeit its quality based upon dummy-ed up records for political consumption and public poisoning? Perrier anyone?

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Teething of Inner Jealousy: From a Political Voyeur's View. Rahm and Charter Schools

It is difficult to watch a candidate, who has lived much of his life in Washington  and the North Shore Suburbs run for office. It is upsetting to view his comments about sucking up money to substitute Chicago Public Schools with Charter Schools. My children left private school to attend public schools. It was a conscious choice. It is one for which I have no regrets. Yet, as I read Rahm's chatter about Charter Schools, it seems ignorant.  Rahm seems out of touch with our neighborhoods. I can see it in his political rhetoric and position papers.

Rahm Emmanuel is an incredible politician, who has a deft control of his opposition. Strangely, I don't view myself as his opposition. I just wished that he followed the rule of law. He has not dwelled in Chicago within the last year. I wish the that Illinois Supreme Court could have taken a step back and looked at the Illinois Municipal Code with reasonable reverence. However, that is no longer reality.

I have watched the pride of the Chicago School System belittled and underestimated by Oprah, among others. The challenge is parenting, not the schools. Taking the substandard funding from CPS and turning it over to Charter Schools is a mistake.

I know in my heart that Charter Schools are a mistake. The control over learning, once removed from public control, can be manuevered to such an extent as to minimize its effectiveness in order to seek a higher profit for those who work within it. We can ill afford to turn our schools into babysitting services. Chicago needs to find a way to deal with absentee parenting and children birthing children. It will not come from teaching absentenance, but understanding and reacting to reality. These are facts that many politicians politically sidestep.

In Rogers Park, CMSA, that is the Charter School known as Chicago Math and Science Academy on Clark struggles to avoid being viewed as a babysitter service for wannabe gangsters.  Kids who lack structure at home, can lash out at those who they know the least; their neighbors. Many of us remember the shootings of a CMSA Student on Clark by another.  Perhaps, it is an unfortunate anecdotes to a coming age. 

Here are my questions. Does the City of Chicago amass records of violence at Charter Schools? How does it compare? Is there a trend showing that those expelled from public schools are having their impact on the Charters?

My teething sensitivity over this, among other Chicago issues upsets me. Yet, I had a reckoning. I am no more than a political voyeur. I comment, I prophesize, and sometimes I can explain what may be difficult or frustrating to explain for some. Perhaps, it's too complicated for words. Sometimes, its simplistic and sophomoric. Occasionally, I misunderstand, like all others willing to accept it.

The 25 page Illinois Supreme Court decision isn't the issue. I predicted several days ago that Bob Thomas would write it. I feared that politics would dictate a reversal on procedural grounds. The decision seems based upon the failure to object and preserve the issues, perhaps. The scathe from the newest Maksym decision appears like it was written by an upper end law firm and locked in place by the Illinois Supreme Court. I was not surprised.  There was meant to be a distinction, but politics steamrolled over reason.

Chicago has four insubstantial candidates, some whom have actually lived in Chicago for the last year.  There is another who maintains a residence of convenience for his political aspirations.  Yes, a permanent abode, but not a home that has dwelled within for the past year. The storage of personal property was not meant as a sacrifice for physical presence.  I am unaware of any candidate for Mayor of Chicago that has ever spent so little time in the Chicago before an election.

Our Mayoral Candidates are career politicians, who seem too pre-occupied in their ivory towers to appreciate the differing needs of Edgewater and Englewood.  These politicians carry populist, not practical agendas.  Everyone knows that compromise is always on the table, but few appreciate that the dollars spent are often an indicator of where they are from.  There is  a functional disconnect from the City that I was born in. I have physically dwelled nearly 27 of my 48 years on this earth, like others who have similar insight. There is more to Come.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Well, I think that Rahm just bought it

The Illinois Supreme Court, that is, and that is just plain sad to me. This sets a poor precedent.  The law was clear and the Supreme Court just bent it, but not like Beckham, IMHO. 

When high powered law firms can plow our judiciary, we begin to feel that our State is falling to the lows complained about in Texas and West Virginia.

What comes around, goes around. This seems disrespectful. The decision is based more on media hype. Perhaps, I'll have to read the decision and adopt another inconsistent opinion. However, The Court of Appeals seemed extremely pursuasive. I found the Lampkin dissent more questionable.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Will Rahm's 2011 Candidacy be Embalmed upon Our Ballots or Our Memories?

Rahm has bought himself an appeal. The First District has held that Rahm is not a Chicago Resident for candidacy purposes based upon two decisions:

In People ex rel. Moran v. Teolis, 20 Ill. 2d 95, 169 N.E.2d 232
(1960), a party argued that a voter residency requirement should be extended based on the policy embodied by a precursor to the
Municipal Code section now at issue, which provided, as it provides now, that a candidate for municipal office be a qualified elector and have resided in the area at least one year preceding the election. Moran, 20 Ill. 2d at 104 (discussing Ill. Rev. Stat.1957, ch. 24, par. 9-87). The supreme court answered that the statute "differentiate[d] between 'electors' and those persons who may qualify for municipal office." ***." Maksym v. Board of Election Commissioners, 404 Ill. App. 3d ___ no. 1-11-033 at p. 9 (1st Dist. January 24, 2011) [citing Moran, 20 Ill. 2d at 104].

A mere constructive resident has no better opportunities for knowing the wants and rightful demands of his constituents, than a non-resident, and is as much beyond the wholesome influence of direct contact with them.
*** In [the candidate residency statute] the language is not, shall be a resident, but it is, shall 'reside within' ***." Maksym v. Board of Election Commissioners, 404 Ill. App. 3d ___ no. 1-11-033 at p. 13 (1st Dist. January 24, 2011) [citing Ballhorn,100 Ill. App. at 573.]

There were two laws; one covers voters and the other municipal candidates. Candidates must not only be an elector (voter) but also reside in the City of Chicago. To quote:

These two qualifications are stated separately and in the conjunctive. Id. at 14

A constructive resident is only capable of retaining their right to vote, not serve as Mayor. Unfortunately, the politically appointed administrator did not want to read the laws, so it took the First District Court of Appeals.  This is one more reason why we need an independent judiciary. I don't know that elections or merit selection solve this dilemma. However, does Bertina Lampkin, formerly with the night narcotics court appreciate what has happened in this case. In a word, 'clueless?'

When politicians become judges, they hopefully learn to be come objective and independent of the political powers that exist. Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s riveting documentary of the West Virginia Coal mess demonstrates how special interests can destroy the integrity of public office.  How will Rahm's Superfund be spent? Will he help Chicago or hurt and cast dispersions upon the independent judiciary?

Rahm should 'take five,' as in five years of residence in the City of Chicago. Maybe he can actually learn something about the City that Works.  Perhaps, his kids can attend the Chicago Public Schools, not The Latin School nor based upon clout. For those legislators who had the insight to enact an amend the Illinois Municipal Code 65 ILCS 5/3.1-10-5(a) (2008), who are still alive or beyond. Thanks, we needed that!

Good luck Carol, Manny, and others, we will have to hope that Justice Bob Thomas, among others, won't punt.  Thanks to Justices Hall and Hoffman, who had the courage to care about Illinois law.