Monday, January 21, 2008

HGTV's "Designed to Sell" in Rogers Park

Taniya Nayak and company were within blocks with their subtle black and white sign just off of Touhy just north of Bakers Square. HGTV's Designed to Sell prepared 7233 N. Oakley for sale and filmed last weekend. Although I am unsure when the episode will air, I saw the obscure black magic marker bill board at about 4pm on Sunday. Did Taniya and company contact Did Designed to sell contact the bloggers or any local media? I think that the sign is still posted, perhaps, in disappointment.

I don't know when 7233 N. Oakley will appear on HGTV, but RP has quite a bit to promote and fix up. Maybe Scripp can come up with a show to fix up storefronts and restaurants; we have a few indeed in need. For those who are interested, you may want to encourage conduits capable of promoting property. The nearby Office Max and Kinkos could have provided slicker signage. If more neighbors knew that "Designed to Sell" was in Rogers Park, would they have stopped by? Have any other properties been featured on HGTV? Does anyone know when HGTV will air this episode? Will HGTV return?

If HGTV provides advanced notice on future filming, or is curious, then I will see whether it has any interest or need for the neighbors. Of course, once they are done, we can find out when the show or shows air, as well. They are a neat little fix up trick and it is always nice to see our neighborhood with something good going on. Perhaps, if the permits were not in order, perhaps, Chicago can encourage them to return and work on someone else's home or condo with proper permits, so as not to alienate it. We have needs for those who want to stick around, as well.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

She Shucks Seed Shells on the CTA

The pale sunflower seed sucking sixty-something sat in car 2929 of the Redline heading south. She publicly puckers and sputters or spreads her hulls. Some of us have seen her. Segments sail to the rubber railcar floor without care or concern. The signs seething a $300 sentence for litter pigs stare silently, above. Will this salvo to the spineless seed eater subsequently spew CTA scorn?

Perhaps, fifty and frumpy the sallow, yet skillful, seed splitter trashes triumphantly, but if confronted, simply may schpiel about the jobs that she generates from such merciless messes. Upon her evacuation east and south, she leaves hundreds of semilla segments spread over the shiny bear brown rubber floor. The segments subsequently scum up the surroundings with the paw prints of some who had to step on segments slathered in her saliva.

Why are commuters, who are so slimy not subjected to societal service? Would this slatherer of semilla shells suffice for her sins in service to the CTA by scurrying to sanitize CTA sanctums? Do CTA cops care to significantly cite the un-hallowed black and white criminal warnings that grace the graffiti and tan plastic parapets? Will the seed splitter seek subtle internal strife from those gritting in grief? The sanguine signal subsequently starts. . .

"Smoking, littering, and eating are prohibited on all CTA vehicles," wages the warning to the semilla sucking salivator. The savant services her seeds with her teetering teeth tearing them up with contempt for the criminal code.

This faithful replication of what was witnessed in past rides remains raw in the reticulum. Has anyone seen or heard Chicago's finest cite this scalawag seed sucker? Could it be that some advocate for action, some cavorting crusader coax conformity with conviction? Man, she is messy! Must we be in political office before we call 311 or 744-4000. Is it possible to get our civil servants to seek that the semilla seed sister ceases striking again? Maybe, I am stuck scheming so. So. . . seem . . . sit?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Shiny Happy People? Out of Time? Are Progressives Losing their Religion?

As the Cook County States Attorney Candidates reduce the campaign to television sight and sound bites, wolves may overcome. In the political realm, those who act, aspirate and are active can represent the firmly entrenched. Who represents the status quo? Dick Devine or the Joe Moore's in office? Will candidates be cloaked in the capes of pseudo progressive posers who truly control the status quo? Who represents the the Shiny Happy People in power?

Who symbolizes all that is idealistic, positive, and novel among Democrats? Milan and Pera? Lipinski and Suffredin!? Which candidates are looking to ride the coat tails of firmly fixed politicians and organizations? Are we just out of time? Are progressives losing their religion? If you don't believe in Larry and Wait for Godot, then take another look at Robert J. Milan. His fundraiser is on the evening of Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at Maggiano's. Call the campaign office or get on their e-mail list. Find out who this guy really is and then think twice before you touch your political telescreen.

In hindsight, how should the Democratic Party vet extremely qualified candidates who approach politics for the first time? Why do activists buddy up with their acquaintances or contemporaries? How should the DFA or any political organization objectively evaluate lobbyists with arguable credibility challenges as candidates? How must a future candidate view lobbying activities before they begin that slippery slope of a credibility gap? What is change?

Why do we let politicians like Larry Suffredin 'go teflon' at times. Should we consider claims that there may be rust that naval jelly can no longer cure? Has Larry removed that rust or simply dealt those cards under the table? Which politicians end up creating fiscal disasters? Should we raise the political hurdle for some politicians on the road to undoubtedly bigger political aspirations? How do we temper lust, not love, for some political offices?

A few educators publicly appear to lapse into Suffredin endorsements by default. Do they forget their own experiences or qualifications being overlooked? What about their futile rage against machine candidates? What happened to legal idealism after the Operation Greylord Scandal? I view Suffredin as the Machine candidate, pure and simple. Suffredin appeases Evanston, not everyone.

I fear that Suffredin will take care of his supporters in an eventual and unreasonable way. Will he subtly scold those who speak out against Machine politicians. I believe that Suffredin is not on the cusp of appreciating the challenge of crime in Chicago. Instead they commute to and from north suburban homes on the Metra. Perhaps, they bask in the offices that line LaSalle's silk stocking subsistence. The public practice of law is being slowly eaten up by inexperience, oversights and eventual outsourcing.
Civil practice indiscretions in the Law Department of the City of Chicago may have lead to the extreme outsourcing of legal work. Now, the agreements 'seem curious' between the public and private sectors. No Alderman wants to take on that poodle. We may pay dearly to groom those puppies (silk stocking firm associates) with our tax dollars.

Is it Suffredin's plan to outsource civil legal work to the big firms? I don't know, but I smell something! It is invading my political nostrils like a skunk on steroids. In the last decade, I predicted some extremely unrighteous acts before they took place. However, I never had a blog for a pulpit to call to put public politicians under reasonable magnification. I can only hope that journalists are not spending too many hours at Suffredin's shindigs before and after this election.

Yet, to the DFA, I find the choice of Suffredin over Brewer, fear over substance, even if I will not support either in the primary. Will Robert J. Milan take 'the Tsongas fall' or will some Democrats start finding their religion? What's my opinion: how long? I say how long will this B.S. go on? News in February, perhaps, indefinitely.

For those who claim to represent change, I feel like many are hypnotized like the Shiny Happy People that R.E.M. mocked. I now see Chicago, rather than Chinese political status quo in the Suffredin Candidacy. Whether it is Ann Smith or Joe Moore's support, I perceive double speak in the Democratic Party. This seems typical of a stale enrichment and spoiled politicians.

We experienced Todd Strodger and his father's shinanigans. We witnessed family feud 'Blagojevic style' in Ravenswood with those blue suede shoes. However, Pera did something incredible when he switched on DFA's light for the Congressional fight on the South Side. Ironically, Milan and Pera seem to know each other, but Pera has not stepped up to the plate and endorsed Milan. Why?
Perhaps, time will tell. I am not referring to the tell on the poker table at future Chicago Casinos, either. What about the frustration and poverty that casinos bring to those who lack restraint. Will a States Attorney who lobbied for gambling interests overlook the relationship that plagues areas affected by Atlantic City, New Jersey? What is the gaming industry doing for Camden, among other NJ Cities that are plagued by record setting crime? Is there a connection? Has anyone done any research?

What makes sense among thoughtful and intelligent Democratic voters who do their research? One is an accomplished politician and mouthpiece whose plans are idealistic, but fiscally excessive due to budget cuts. The other worked as a prosecutor for 21 years, candidly let's people know how he feels (seen by some as a weakness), but administered over the SAO office as second in charge. He wants to bring his ideas to the SAO's Office, not necessarily Devine's. The Democratic DJs of Chicago are spinning this primary out of reach. They look for an actor, not someone whose heart and experience is in the right place in my opinion.

A prosecutor, not a politician will keep the SAO's office in check. We don't need the legacy of political persecution for the sake of one cultural constituency over another. Does anyone remember the Chief District Attorney or "Raymond Horton," among other characters in Presumed Innocent by Chicago's own Scott Turow?
Does Larry Suffredin possibly mimic the potential one of those characters? I don't have a crystal ball, but experience and integrity in office should count. Milan and I became attorneys after the wake of Operation Greylord. I observed what seemed like the political tug of war with cronyism in the Law Department. I want to avoid any repetition of the history of conflicts of interest and corruption.
In media and politics, all facts should be exposed, even if you think that a candidate is a real nice guy. Politics is full of nice people, who may present themselves as shortsighted when it comes to running for and governing certain offices. I regret that the politically explosive Clifford Kelley, who seemed to have conflicts of interest in my opinion, was allowed to host a debate. Was it a set up? Is it yellow journalism/media to create such an uneven platform? Either way, a Democrat will be the next States Attorney. I can only hope that the most qualified Democrat wins in spite of the endorsements and the desire for a first rate actor.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

No Bed of Roses and Gun Bloats? Hypocrats or Democrats? Future Environmentally Conscious Suffredin Staffers Litter RP Lawns and Planters

During the last five years, I have witnessed more plastic campaign posters with metal prongs pierce lawns and planters than at any other time in RP history. No doubt, this 'trash the neighborhood' mentality to secure political office should stop. The green and white posters are pollution, pure and simple. One more reason to support Robert Milan for Cook County States Attorney. Change that is rash is not always good.

Its troubling to me that any candidate who touts themself as environmentally friendly allows staffers or party faithful to litter our street corner parkways. Witness the trash down Ridge, from Howard to Devon. Suffredin seems like more of a hypocrite, then a Democrat. Okay, perhaps, we should coin two new terms "hypocrat" and "reversican" in my humble opinion. A certain Giuliani comes to my mind, as well. However, what seems like blatant hypocrisy on the political litter scene is by no means party-wide, nor limited to one party.

Tear down those dowels south of Greenleaf, Mr. Commissioner. Perhaps, Lucky Larry 'the hypocrat' and perhaps heir apparent can recognize that the plastic signs, not the arguably shortsighted endorsements, must be picked up by Streets and Sanitation workers and disgruntled residents.
I am into substance, not finger snapping. These signs are litter that create neighborhood blight, pure and simple. If Suff n' Stuff is soooo confident, then why litter our lawns in the search of voters who rely on name recognition rather than the issues. Cook County needs a capable and fiscally competent law office administrator for its Cook County's prosecutors. That's all.

To treat the electorate as an ignorant mass who will vote name over substance suggests an admission of political weakness. I have to wonder about a supposedly law and order candidate whose supporters post their signs near unconsenting neighbor's residences.

I am tired of the political garbage and apparent hypocrisy of the Suffredin States Attorney campaign. As chief of law enforcement, Suffredin 'should not appear' to violate litter laws. I can only wish that some invisible mother earth emerges from the cesped and politically aspirates, "its not nice to fool [with] mother nature." It is a shame that Robert Milan cannot afford the commercials that Suff n' Stuff will air with the some of the mega-pesos that he collected at Skadden Arps. Hey, how about equal access and time to answer questions and seek political contributions at the Cities large law firms?

There are candidate and internet websites for those who really want to unravel the rhetoric. Know that Chicago banned handguns since Mayor Jane Byrne enacted the handgun ban ordinance in the early 1980s. The handgun laws are being enforced in Gun Courts. The ban continues to have tremendous legal enforcement as it did decades ago at 11th and State! The 'grandfathering in' clause has slowly eliminated lawful possession through red tape.
Recently, I learned of a few attorneys who fell victim to the two year handgun re-registration law and were forced to store outside city limits. Ultimately, the County has to decide whether to severely and zealously litigate the gun laws. There are consequences to the Suff n' Stuff rhetoric.

In strictly enforcing Illinois Statutes on unlawful possession of a firearm, based upon Chicago Gun registration, Suffredin if elected will create arguably unintentional consequences. First, Suffredin's desired tactics in conjunction with Chicago's handgun ban ordinance can physically and permanently separate long term lawful permanent resident foreigners from their U.S. Citizen Children based upon INA 101(a)(43), INA 237(a)(2)(C), and INA 212(a)(2)(B).

Given the inconsistent state standard on who can possess what gun and how, there is another dilemma against unknowing violators. Keeping up with State laws is one thing, but many newcomers who try to be law abiding residents know little about the Chicago handgun ban and additional registration ordinances.

Is there some way that our politicians can avoid creating unintended consequences to lawful permanent residents who improperly depend upon the IFO licenses and their limited Fifth Amendments Right to Bear Arms? Quite a few long time Middle Eastern Shop owners, among others, 'pack a piece' under the counter. To them, they care about their survival, not a miniature gun ban law. Of course, that is until the are found guilty, detained and finally deported by the Department of Homeland Security.

Another issue is the cost of conviction by full blown bench or jury trial. Plea bargains do not always reward criminals. Usually, plea bargains save the county incredible amounts of money in needless litigation. Often, some feel that they should not be charged with a law that they were unaware of.

The Suffredin assumption is that all who possess guns 'knew' that their conduct was criminal. There are states that allow "conceal and carry." Illinois has a patchwork of State and municipal gun laws. Gun Courts and laws also goes against those whose guns are located incident to a consensual search for a fleeing felon, among others. Imagine what zero tolerance can do to law enforcement in its search for more serious "persons of interest!"

If prosecutors must go to trial, this takes more resources and more courts. Also, more may go wrong. Yet, "where's the beef!" Where are the funds for additional courts and prosecutors? The States Attorneys Office was pressured by a cash strapped Cook County to cut its budget and lay off a significant number of its investigators and staff. I hope that the jury has reached a verdict on this election other than a decision based upon green and white plastic posters!
Ultimately, we should avoid electing politicians who seem to wear a diaper of inexperience in the prosecutor's office. Desitin will not cure all baby rash. Finally, Suffredin's metal prongs may kill a buried tulip bulb in a planter. Larry, Larry you can't hide, we charge you[r staff] with agricide. [sorry, I couldn't resist the temptation].

Monday, January 14, 2008

CC States Attorney Richard Devine Endorses Robert J. Milan

Richard Devine, a North sider from Rogers Park, but also the current Cook County States Attorney now endorses Robert J. Milan. Perhaps, Devine suffers from choosing between two extremely experienced and talented Deputy Assistant States Attorneys. If anyone has doubts , then hopefully his website helps to display what was done to date. The office must work with police, but must also treat all defendants, alike. Equity is an uneasy task. Equity can be politicized as was experienced in the Duke University LaCrosse Team mess, when we try to sympathize with those pundits who overlook the burden of proof.

Although a Devine decision was likely, it was by no means certain. Anita Alvarez, another Deputy ASA candidate, serves her Pilsen neighborhood well. Milan and Alvarez hold the second and third highest administrative position below Devine. Both Alvarez and Milan sport significant credentials. Given, Devine's time both in public and private practice, it seems unfortunate that he withheld his decision until last night. His endorsement missed the deadline for the Sun Times decision. Although troubling, it seems arguably unintentional. The challenge of political theater is that it is often unmatched by deeds. A few of Suffredin's weaknesses seem woefully downplayed or overlooked in the SunTimes endorsement. Does Suffredin really know where the bones are buried? And if so, will he bother to tell us?

Sometimes, late endorsements create confusion among those who may rely upon them. It is unclear whether this decision will have an impact on Suffredin's oncoming freightrain full of endorsements. Many, including the green and white plastic signs, cater to uneducated voters. Chicago should not vote for what seems to me like clout ridden Rostenkowski-type candidates. Can we afford to ignore the symbolism of Dick Simpson's and John Cullerton's political epitaph during this primary.
Will what appears to be cronysm, repeat itself? Well, I hope not, but I don't carry a crystal ball, either. I don't do political readings for entertainment purposes, either. I remember the dreaded Larry Bloom legacy with Operation Silver Shovel. Bloom ran unsuccessfully for States Attorney lest those who forget against Richard M. Daley in one primary. Compare and contrast our loving lobbyists? O' Brave New World! Or are we followed by the thought police who monitor the dreaded Orwellian Telecreens of Chicago?

Ultimately, 'who' is the status quo candidate in this election? A dedicated party politician with clout, theatrical prowess, and the blessings of Joe Moore and the infamous Fagus? Or a seasoned prosecutor who has twenty one years of dedication from law clerk to prosecutor in the Cook County States Attorneys' Office? The angst from being overlooked and publicly persecuted for seeking long overdue raises for colleagues seems unfortunate. Alderman and Commissioners have routinely stiffled such controversies simply by raising their own hands and saying 'aye' yeh yeh yeh. How many Fritos have been taken by those Banditos? Los muertos unidos son nunca votan vencidos!

I regret that some of us overlook the political litterpigs who post signs on our personal parkways and street corners without consent! It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out who are the more environmentally sensitive candidates, does it? Has Suffredin considered tearing down his contributions to Chicago's Landfills? Not yet! Will our environmentally sensitive Alderman, Joseph Moore and his faithful assistant oppose the mess? Will the status quo of unprecedented political garbage continue to haunt the 49th Ward? Boo?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Howard Street Terminal - Updating

For those who have not seen or witnessed the changes, I decided to upload some recent photos. The Howard Street Terminal Project is a huge. To watch the windows and escalators popping out of the building is quite a relief. Does anyone remember the broken fiberglass overhangs with pigeon poop that commuters like me used to cower under only to find little protection from the rain?

When the plans and progress are completed, then the Terminal's north end off Howard will be renovated as the Howard Terminal looked when it was first built only improved and more classical. If you combine the Terminal with the condos to the east and west, then the future seems amazing for those who care to be objective. Pivot Point is now upscale condos. However, the management of Gateway Plaza seems like a total joke to this resident.
Who is the management company responsible for all the unfilled storefronts? Did I see a 630 area code? How do you allow management from such a distance and expect it to efficiently fill the space with tenants? It seems like its out of the loop in more ways than one! Do they own it or appear unable to fullfill responsibility that Gateway's ownership tolerates for what seems like brain dead reasons in my opinion.
Although the new age store at Howard and Clark did not open at the right time, Wild Oats is a bike ride away down Chicago Avenue and remains open until 11:00 p.m. La Cocina di Donatela and the Fish Keg are effortless to reach given the blue light, new pavement, and street lamps down Howard. The infrastructure is begging for residents who are looking for an affordable neighborhood on the far north side kitty corner to the major northside suburbs without the hassle of additional Purple or Yellow Line Stops!

It totally blows me away that Rogers Park has not overwhelmed other neighborhoods in interest, due to the open space and cheap commercial store fronts. I am not talking about rising prices as much as interest. It is an incredibly diverse Chicago Community with undervalued housing right next to the Lakefront, among other things.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Unqualified? CBA Remains Mum on the States Attorneys Race, the 'Democratic Nod' on Judgships, and Ambulance Chasing

The Chicago Bar Association finds favor in its Judical Evaluation Committee panning and praising attorney candidates who run for Cook County Judges. It often claims that some candidates lack enough experience in the appropriate court rooms. Its evaluators even pan attorneys who have significant litigation experience. Such candidates can be criticized as not having the 'proper diversity of experience' to serve as a Cook County Judge. Well, what about the lack of prosecution experience in an extremely overendorsed candidate for Cook County States Attorney, Larry Suffredin? Is there a conflict of interest?

The general rule is that if you lack ten years of Experience as an attorney, then it is understood that the Chicago Bar Association automatically finds a candidate "unqualified." If you work in one court to the exclusion of others within the Cook County System, then you can be found unqualified, perhaps. However, the Chicago Bar Association or CBA has been incredible quiet about the Cook County States Attorneys races. In the past, all endorsed candidates for States Attorney once served as a prosecutor. Usually, the attorney candidates provide full disclosure of political accomplishments on their political websites.

Well, not Larry Suffredin. Ironically, Larry Suffredin is still a "registered lobbyist" for the CBA according to State of Illinois records. Is there a connection in CBA's silence on whether Larry Suffredin is "Qualified" to serve as Cook County States Attorney, even though he may have never prosecuted a single case? Look at Lucky Larry's self proclaimed political resume. Is this a strength? A significant weakness? Is it a coincidence that the CBA is silenced by what seems like a conflict of interest? Is there a double standard?

What is believed to be a reputable attorney source, who asked not to be named, and whose claims cannot be substantiated without support, insists that Alderman Burke, among others, may have a significant say in who gets 'the nod' for Democratic Party endorsements. Rumors abound unofficially, among aging attorneys, that you must make a significant donation to participate as a Democratic Candidate for Cook County Judge.

Is there a 'pay to play' rule? Are Cook County Judgeships for sale? Is the non-attorney public aware of this situation? Are members of the bar encouraging this conduct and benefitting from it. Is the CBA's Judicial Evaluation Board being infiltrated by unreliable committee members with a political agenda? What about other groups who endorse Judges? Does anyone really look at those recommendation sheets when they go into the voting booth?

Does the media care to investigate these rumors? Is this just a vindictive attorney 'spouting hay' over nothing? Is there justification for some sort of donation by a potential candidate looking for political support from a national party? Should this be disclosed to the public? Is there merit for merit selection? Are judicial watch groups asleep in the gallery, with subtle conflicts of interest, tending to the Political Party faithful of both blue and red in more than one county when dough rises?

Is there a collective "Matter of James Himmel" issue snowballing out of control among attorneys who simply treat the alleged "party share" as a rumor, when others know that it is fact? What about ambulance chasing and capping? Has this gotten out of control in the City of Chicago? Does the ARDC, CPD, or FBI ever conduct successful sting operations on Illinois ambulance chasers? Does it even care or is ambulance chasing a tolerated practice of an understaffed ARDC?

I wonder if this will ever make to to the news at 10?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

DFA Endorses North Side Candidates for States Attorney – Suffredin Challenged by Moderator, Among Others.

A Long-Winded Opinion with Respect: I agree to disagree with Suffredin’s Candidacy.

Last Thursday, I attended the DFA's States Attorney Candidate forum at Reza's. The organizers within DFA deserve tremendous credit for bringing five of six candidates into one room at a known Restaurant. The DFA is Howard Dean’s not for profit political group, which has diversified. The Group’s mantra is that it stands for change. What change, where, and how detrimental or effective the alterations will be is another issue worth exploration after the first term, hopefully sooner. In pipedreams, we trust? Pick your puff daddy!

Some in DFA share my sentiments that Larry Suffredin can do much more good on the Cook County Board, then as its States Attorney. Perhaps, Larry should be honing his legislative skills, make an endorsement, and back the candidate to the hilt. Brewer and Suffredin are North Siders, but Brewer is not viable, even if he may make an interesting Deputy Assistant to rival Judge Kenneth Gillis’ commitment. Yet, this is the North Side DFA, and whatever Larry wants, Larry gets. Debra Shore , a good friend of his, and another Suffredin staffer are regulars at DFA Meetings.

You cannot vote at DFA Dean Events unless you show up to three meetings and complete a sufficient amount of political work. This means that even if you can vote in an election, you are an outsider until you show up to three meetings. This makes sense, because DFA decides the endorsement at these meetings, as well. To DFA’s credit, newcomers are given the floor, which is certainly worth its weight in gold to some. I endorse the three meeting rule.

To Larry Suffredin's credit, he gave DFA a Steppenwolf performance, but it lacked sufficient foresight. He won my Jefferson Award for political entertainment. What he wants to do can be undertaken from his position as Board Commissioner. If he cannot get funding for the States Attorney’s Office as a Commissioner, then its not happening when he becomes States Attorney. This position looks like a Suffredin stepping stone to higher aspirations.

If the DFA and the Board want more Minorities as States Attorneys, then it must advocate for and encourage Toddler to raise salaries as well as the quality of the SAO’s Human Resources Department. Brewer and Suffredin cannot blame Milan and Alvarez for the County’s inability to attract minorities; Larry is already responsible for lobbying to approve funding to Agencies like the States Attorneys Office! Why can't Suffredin propose funding to beef up training and staff at the SAO’s Human Resources Office, so it can learn how to best recruit minorities and from where?

Experience Differential and the Tom Allen Factor: Suffredin v. Alvarez, Brewer, Brookins, or Milan

Suffredin and his supporters insist that experience as a civil attorney, lobbyist, and former adjunct professor is enough. His Staff never challenged concern about whether Larry ever prosecuted a criminal case to verdict in his career. Has he? Yet, the States Attorney’s primary job is criminal prosecution. It is vital that a career prosecutor or one who once had a career in prosecution be considered. Jack O’Malley met his match in Richard Devine for all the right reasons. Why Suffredin cloaks his Public Defender experience seems lame; there is no shame!

Milan and Alvarez did well with their presentations and pamphlets, but were unfairly ignored as serious candidates. Some in the room understand and can bolster their campaigns. Each was unreasonably baited with the re-raked decades old Burge incidents that did not happen on their watch. The fact that they work for the present administration, which is the status quo, meant that they were somehow disqualified from DFA consideration.

Alvarez and Milan do not control all policy; Devine is the States Attorney. Some issues about those convicted under Burge, but may remain jailed can be targets for delayed and pitifully underfunded but proposed County investigations. Yet, grants are successfully secured. I detected significant North Side prejudice. Yet, I have lived on the North side my entire life.

A few portray candidate Tom Allen as a boogey man capable of a Lyndon LaRouche-style upset like Fairchild and Hart. They fear Alvarez and Milan are unknowns and spoilers that will create an Allen upset. Tom Allen gets one DFA members badge of scorn for 'allegedly' put something on his website that demonstrated poor judgment. Some in the DFA crowd ended up persecuting the prosecutors simply for prosecuting or for past frustration in public. This made little sense to me, because they reasonably answered every question. Those opposed to Alvarez and Milan focused on red herring issues that sounded good, but lacked a viable foundation for realistic change and concern.

The Battle for the SAO’s Budget: Doesn’t the Board Hold the Purse Strings?

Ultimately, the most capable candidate, Robert Milan, who seriously and politely considered the most unsubstantiated question of the night, was overlooked for endorsement. Robert appears he cares and he seems to have given full disclosure. The DFA wants prosecutors to prosecute civil Environmental cases in spite of legendary staffing shortages. The SAO has an ever increasing criminal docket of felony offenses and cold case indictments. The unrecorded population changes in Cook County arguably due to census inaccuracy and oversights were experienced at our household, as well.

The Cook County Board has repeatedly cut or froze the SAO budget, which fails to keep up with the cost of living. This is not unusual to the legal practice as a whole, which has its elite ten percent, no doubt. Yet, ASA commitment to Richard Devine, a prosecution legacy, is at an all time high. This was totally lost on the DFA Chapter. No chief prosecutor in many decades other than Devine has ever taken the time to show States Attorneys how prosecution is done right! Milan has done it extra crispy, as well with the Browns Chicken Murders!

A few in the crowd are DFA regulars who want to place the blame for crime, punishment, and law enforcement oversights squarely on the shoulders of prosecutors, not commissioners or legislators. Who are judges or juries? What are their roles? What is the burden of proof? What happens when prosecutors waste time on a publicity driven “heater” cases? How can the public and its legislators support the States Attorney and the Public Defender to get diversified and better equipped to do justice? Civil servants are tired of hearing people whine about taxes, yet complain about County Services.

Is it all that surprising to see a reasonable judge dismiss cases because the burden of proof is unmet as a matter of law? What happens when the public pressures prosecutors to waste valuable underfunded time on pet projects? How can prosecutors better calm, liaison, and quell opportunistic politicians with an agenda when they encourage journalists and the masses to prematurely perceive someone as a bad apple worth lynching or persecuting? Does anyone remember Richard Jewell, Twanna Brawley or the Duke University stripper with the media and political persecutions that followed? "People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?" Wasn’t that Rodney King's line?

Well, that was not considered, nor was the improving quality of the criminal defense bar, either. We also need to improve prosecutor’s and defender’s quality of life. The Democratic Party has yet to better acknowledge and reward career prosecutors and public defenders with appropriate endorsements and challenge cronyism. Instead, ASAs and PDs are both feared and loathed, because prosecutors can indict and PDs are overwhelmed. Thus, we witness this balance of justice that at times seems imbalanced, but may best be approached by the U. S. Department of Justice due to both budget constraints as well as possible inappropriate and subtle pressure.

Experience continues to hemorrhage from the States Attorney and Public Defenders Offices due to periodic cronyism and subtle pressure. How can you deal with the Judge’s children, who just passed the bar or want a paid summer job? What about the big firm that wants assistance? Some ASAs save their money and move on as Judges. There are also fiscal cut backs by the County Commissioners, not Richard Devine. Now, Suffredin wants to 'expand' the SAO’s office to fight civil woes that he will not fund as a Commissioner! How? Do I hear Clara Peller screaming, “Where’s the beef” from her grave?

The North Siders: What Makes an Effective Leader? Experience and a Track Record

The outspoken few want change. Perhaps they unconsciously want continued North Side control of the SAO’s Office. Devine is a North Sider. Perhaps, the DFA will unconsciously encourage numerous resignations of extremely accomplished prosecutors. In its place, will a new SAO encourage the promotion of inexperienced, yet idealistic new attorneys just out of law school, perhaps, politician's children or campaign workers? A good externship without pay is the best way to learn about the SAO’s Office, not clout. Milan, like me, worked his way into the office without clout. Supporting Milan is the progressive, not the digressive route. We should endorse Milan’s incredible twenty one year rise from externship to candidate for the top chair.

Larry’s Plan to Act as the Environmental Litigator of Cook County: Usurped by Federal Law and Without Funds.

Suffredin wants to turn the chief prosecutor's office into more of a civil litigation machine. A larger bureaucracy funded by money from future lawsuits. He seems to count his chickens before they are hatched. Major litigation often takes years. Anyone who worked on the Microsoft and IBM cases know that it took more than one administration. In the former, the George Bush Junior Microsoft settlement did little to bust the Microsoft trust. Yet, Federal jurisdiction will pose extreme and costly challenges to County jurisdiction; the right to abate an environmental nuisance, pollution, depends upon whether Federal law already regulates it.

Environmental issues have repeatedly been found to fall under the control of the EPA by Congressional Act. I watched painfully as one of these brilliant efforts self-destruct at the asset forfeiture unit under Judge Bakakos. Instead, Larry struggles for a Constitutional basis. Perhaps, he should hire his fellow Professors Gorby or Seng at John Marshall Law School as outside consultants.

It makes me appreciate that this comes off like a pedantic exercise in puffy politics. Perhaps, Larry aims at an electorate under-educated in the economics of practicing law. Yet, for at least two seasoned attorneys to reasonably challenge the DFA monolith that supported Suffredin seemed ackward, since there were other issues that Larry left unanswered.

To a trained skeptic, Suffredin may start a legal money pit that needs seed money. I just don't see Todd Strodger starring as Suffredin's sugar daddy! Will Larry somehow manage to float a sugar loan for the SAO’s Office without Todd’s blessing? Suffredin wants to emulate a New York prosecutor , Eliot Spitzer, who made headlines before becoming Governor. However, victory and settlement does not quickly translate into hard currency. Public good has no price tag, but chasing after windmills does little to eliminate a deficit and subsequent neglect toward law and order.

What Larry proposes is lofty, but he does not have to wait to become a States Attorney to do it. He is a Commissioner, who still has standing to vote. If Suffredin is savvy as a lobbyist, then why can’t he convince his own Board or Illinois Legislators to more reasonably fund the States Attorneys Office? Why doesn’t he encourage collective bargaining for seasoned prosecutors at the Illinois Legislature? Why can’t he encourage legislation that confirms that Attorneys are NOT managers as a matter of law? Politics! There are not enough votes and no one wants to compromise! We live in the 'age of gridlock;' Aquarius was spiked ten feet deep, somewhere in the endzone, where Jupiter aligns with Mars.

Perhaps, Larry does not have the Board votes, well, he should admit it. As a capable advocate, he can bamboozle the electorate just as well as George Bush Junior can do it. Some at the DFA agree with me that Suffredin should remain on the Cook County Board and aspire to become its President, among other political options. Perhaps, this may upset Forest Claypool’s aspirations.

How to Approach Laymen About the Legal System without Looking like a Condescending: Prosecution, not Pollution!

Attorneys' run the risk of turning people off, because we appreciate how important it is to defend a position. Attorneys may have read or witnessed failed legal arguments, firsthand. I consider appeals and have filed in the Seventh Circuit. I litigated close jurisdictional issues in the Northern Illinois District. My area requires a firm grasp of Federal Jurisdiction, because it is extremely limited or non-existent in some areas. But some may mumble, “who am I to question Suffredin’s master plan?” I appear as a DFA outsider, even if I did serious time on campaigns in past decades for Cranston, Hart, and Charlie Hayes, among others.

I guess the Godzilla faced off with ‘a few DFA members’ who may have launched their Suffredin biplanes with pea shooters at the opposition. Jefferson Airplane . . . it was not to DFA’s credit! What I felt were members rational skepticism was ignored. I think that many hoped that some candidate would outperform all with their legal lyrics and prose. To me, one too many DFA members ‘red baited’ or ignored the prosecutors simply because they were prosecutors, not merely politicians with theatrical polish. The SAO is an agency whose primary responsibility is handling prosecution, not pollution.

Candidate Alvarez grew up in Pilsen at a time when 18th Street had a history of criminal challenges during the seventies and eighties. I was doing my undergrad at Halsted and Harrison and was active in the dSA, so I should know. [Kugler and Sadlowski were fond of the lower case “d” for democratic]. Much of this was overlooked by DFA’s Andersonville Chapter.

Milan is from Beverly, but has done significant justice for this County and earned his non-elected position at the number two post. Robert Milan got an in house appointment for a position often handed out as a political favor. That is a significant milestone and demonstrates credibility that has been missing for years from the SAO.

Why Do Silk Stocking Law Firms find Larry Suffredin Appealing? Ulterior Motives?

Suffredin is a North Sider. He stands to reap the largest campaign war chest by rigorously soliciting Attorneys who work in silk stocking law firms. Why would silk stocking law firms find Larry so appealing? Many in the crowd want a North Sider to run as States Attorney, even if the most experience prosecutor is currently on the South Side. Why?

Constitutional arguments over environmental lawsuits require a bit of work to put it mildly in my legal opinion. They also require a defendant who must be represented usually by a more respected silk stocking firm. That also translates into serious hard hours at attorney wages at the SAO. Well, big Government at work, business at usual? Let's first hire the world and if we can't afford it, layoff, and outsource to a big firm. What next, get more bank loans and bill the taxpayers for our errors of judgment and the mea culpa to follow. Dealers choice as to which law firm gets the job! Is that what Chicagoans must tolerate? Must we litigate to bankruptcy or can we advocate, zone, negotiate, protest, and legislate for change?

If either Alvarez or Milan loses, then each will likely depart the States Attorneys Office to the private sector of the criminal defense bar. They have reached their pinnacle. Each will likely be demoted or replaced for Larry’s people, so they will not stick around for the resignation request. However, if or when Larry loses a re-election after the first term fallout, then Lucky Larry will still have a job at that big law firm and a shot at a bigger home on Evanston’s Lakefront, among other places. He may continue to do his lobbying work in different confines. Perhaps, he may bring a few contracts to Shefsky and Froelich or head to greener fields in another firm.

Conflicts of Interest, Anyone?

How can anyone continue to represent that they work for any law firm and work as a Commissioner or any other position? Isn’t there a conflict of interest for these paid politicians’ time and effort? Is there “double dipping” among some candidates? Is there ever Public outsourcing of legal work to private law firms that is carefully courted by Shefsky and Froelich? Well, it may be against the public trust. However, a few DFA members grilled Alderman Brookins, a forty something African American candidate about his challenges with rent for his underfunded private practice. Yet, the DFA expressed concern about racism in the States Attorney’s Office and how Brewer and Suffredin somehow understood best. Is there a conflict of interest against the public trust when a politician promotes his or her firm or splits his time and effort? Is this going on?

Frankly, Brookins needs to concentrate on being an Alderman just like Suffredin should concentrate on being a Commissioner. Perhaps, he could get more work done for the Cook County Board if he focuses in on his stated goals. Does Larry focus on his work in the Board or does he have three legal mistresses, that is, (1) the Cook County Board, (2) Shefsky, and (3) his campaign? Does anyone know? Does Suffredin still lobby in Springfield? If so, for whom?

Some in the DFA crowd admitted that they work for Larry. That was noble, but they should not vote. To do otherwise, seems like a conflict of interest against independent thought. Many admitted that they were friends with each other. They go to the movies and think sweet political thoughts, together, or challenge each other. That sounds worthwhile, but in the process some may drop their guard for a friend with a political agenda supporting a politician for public office. Frankly, mens rea or the personal motives of those who publicly endorse politicians are often a closely held deck possible unaffected in the shuffle.

The DFA and Change: What is Change? Who Can Best Make Effective and Efficient Legal Changes for the SAO and From Where?

The DFA crowd repeatedly claims, we want change, we want change. Yet, the DFA ignores Suffredin's work for the tobacco lobby, among others clients with questionable public health agendas. Furthermore, there is no shame in serving at the Public Defenders Office. Why hasn't Suffredin promoted this aspect of his experience. That seems to make no difference to the some, but not all. It is a lame political move to suppress his experience as a PD in my opinion. If Suffredin is such a brilliant and moral lobbyist, then did he reasonably support regulation on the public advertising of paycheck advance loan programs that sap money from the irresponsible or poor?

What happened to the Paycheck loan protests that won Larry friends and influenced campaign workers? The Payday loans are still in business. In fact, changes in Bankruptcy laws eliminate legal rights and create worse tragedies. Many of us want Larry to focus on his position at the Board.

Larry's loyalists still spin, Suffredin can change the laws; they chant, “Larry is a lobbyist! Larry is a lobbyist!” [Okay, I exaggerate; they push those emotional buttons by foisting this seductive little socially responsible kitten in our faces and tell us to vote for him]. However, the legislators who tried to increase the legal age of an adult to eighteen, failed, and so did Larry in the mix.

I fail to see why a brilliant Democratic lobbyist cannot start a 501(c)(3) to convince the Illinois Delegation and Legislature to raise the age to eighteen if this is his goal. This is a State wide challenge that hurts the poor in some Southern Illinois counties, as well. Suffredin need not have to be the Cook County States Attorney. He simply has to work with Richard Devine and Suffredin, I fear is too busy to do it effectively. I see no difference if he becomes States Attorney in Cook County.

I agreed that fewer should be tarnished for life from foolish experimenting with drugs in High School. The grassroots to mount these challenges were overlooked. It seemed like the States Attorney alone had the power to mount this challenge, not those who have been wronged and rejected. The effort has to come from DFA-ers' willing to March on Springfield with the victims, not a lobbyist or a States Attorney, alone.

The McCarthy-like Ultimatum at a Progressive Meeting: An Oxymoron?

One member challenges all of the candidates that those who worked with Burge still work in the States Attorney's Office and must be fired. The devoted DFA member claims that he can "names names" of those who helped Burge. Milan gives the inquirer who appears to me to seeth like a McCarthyite chewing Birch logs at a John Society meeting, his direct telephone line.

Milan tells the members that if anyone can give him the name of one person directly involved with the infected Burge torture cases, he will fire him. The guy stands down. Later, the same member made a profound statement and regained credibility in my opinion. I sincerely appreciated the member’s presence, since he got Milan to speak up to both of their credit. It was the approach that was a bit tasteless. A resolution that can be easily researched may give some solace to victims, but should a cash strapped Board spend time grandstanding resolutions, rather than simply signing a letter to the U.S. Attorney's Office for action and publishing it?

Someone else claims that the States Attorney and all under him is to blame for Springfield not requiring video cameras in every interrogation room sooner. Each candidate wants to set their own unique agenda to build their credibility. In an agency that must prosecute crime, oversights are made, but there are nearly a thousand prosecutors in that office from what we were told. In the end, the in-person vote to endorse a candidate creates a stalemate between Brewer and Suffredin, who are both from Evanston.

Foresight or Overeaction? Larry Bloom’s Run. Human Resource Efforts for Minority ASAs Require Fiscal Commitment, not Contrition!

With big silk stocking firms hosting Suffredin's fundraisers, one can only wonder if their criminal defense and civil units will have boom times with white collar crime indictments and more civil litigation against their clients.

Of course, Cook County will pay the bill and the silk stockings firms will seduce voters through funding Larry's campaign. Once in office, they may wrap rings around Suffredin's collars with hot tempting legal flourishes. Perhaps, in four years a Republican will emerge from the wreckage.

Does anyone remember when Larry Bloom ran for States Attorney? Does anyone remember what happened to that infamous reformer/alderman/lobbyist? It was a tragedy!

The States Attorney needs to stick with what it knows and voters appreciate; law and order. Otherwise, it runs the risk of outsourcing complicated civil legal work at a tremendous cost to taxpayers. Perhaps, to the benefit of some of Suffredin's law firm sponsors.

Trying to hire qualified African American Attorneys away from the big firms is a tough battle. I suggest that a few Idealistic DFA members who are Human Resource people apply for Personnel Department jobs at the SAO's office. Perhaps, they should apply with or without Suffredin’s support, now! When you have trouble recruiting reasonably qualified minorities away from competing private law firms at law school career nights, then report back to the Commish with your ideas! Will he listen?

The County needs more funds! Brewer and Brookins provoke thought, but staffing issues are more complicated. If you cannot pay extremely innovative and talented HR folks, then this is more questionable rhetoric from politicians. If you cannot question political authority, then our current apathy prevails. Few wanted to challenge Suffredin, as Socrates, after all was said and done.

The successes of this world, of every complexion, often want what every graduating law student in the top ten percent desires, which is excellent training, recognition, and a reasonable salary. Promoting the fact that the SAO is one of the known entities for prosecutor continuing legal education is significant. Promoting these jobs to diversify the SAO requires vision, financial, and personal commitment by the public, as well. Yet, it seems like many who could fill those jobs are painting, elsewhere, or may be affected by cronyism that may hord administrative positions at the SAO's Office.
Sometimes, County or public praise can be difficult to get as a productive second or third chair at 26th and California, among other Units. Former African American prosecutors like Aaron Iverson may go elsewhere because they feel under appreciated, frustrated with the system, or simply choose other paths. These feelings are by no means limited by race. This may be the reason why both Alvarez and Milan want to run for office to put more of their ideas to work. Yet, it seems like many who could fill those jobs are painting, elsewhere.


Robert Milan’s and Anita Alvarez’ focus on prosecution and Agency challenges, which are the primary responsibilities of the States Attorney. If Suffredin wants an expanded civil legal department, then he can subsidize it with Board seed money and new taxes, now! He should not delay or simply claim he will pay for it by getting judgments. Judgments are only good if the defendant pays, not simply appeals. Sending good money after judgment-proof defendants (those who will make you litigate and still negotiate to bankruptcy) is unwise. Many will make public precedent only to file for reorganization under bankruptcy, which can prove fiscally irresponsible for a public official.

The DFA claims that it wants change, but was unable to appreciate that change may mean fiscal chaos and layoffs with poor fiscal responsibility. A civil division can go out of control chasing windmills like Don Quixote. Suffredin looked more like the Man from LaMancha better known as Cervantes -Hidalgo Don Quixote.

Suffredin needs to fight the good fight at the Cook County Board rather than hopping from one political office to another. News in two to three years; will the layoffs 'hit the fan' due to hard hours overextended on unjustified and politically motivated Federal appeals. A successful acceptance of a writ of certiorari with a delayed decision may save Suffredin’s backside from extreme tarnish.

In conclusion, fixating the campaign on the ethnic, gender, orientation, and racial diversity factors will not solve recruiting challenges. The States Attorney needs a well-staffed and well-trained Human Resources Department funded by Cook County. A significant salary divide between public and silk stocking practices without the Board’s Expenditure simply won't attract minorities with better options. Frankly, you need to encourage parents to educate local kids, before law schools can educate future prosecutors. The concerns of Tommy Brewer are reasonable, but the causes track back to recruiting competition, who holds the purse strings, and what the SAO can do with limited funds.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Avoid Suffredin: Support Robert J. Milan! See Deputy States Attorney Robert J. Milan at Reza’s at 7:00 p.m. Thursday 12/3

Put up a yard sign and wear a button for Democrat Robert J. Milan. Robert, who has 19 years of experience as an Assistant States Attorney, serves as Richard Devine's eyes and ears. Let Moore, Fagus, and others in the 49th and beyond know about their shortsighted regional endorsement. Pull the plug on clout and let the SEIU know that once, again, it is hissing for the wrong cat. Attend one of Robert's events and find out what he is about. We cannot let the political fat cats of our world level those who deserve our attention and respect.
Let's chose a States Attorney who actually has appropriate credentials; we can ill afford candidates like Larry Suffredin who lack experience. Suff n Stuff is placing himself in a position that obligates favors to big law firms, who support him. Review Suffredin's campaign events! It disappoints me when those who claim to cling to idealism ignore their ideals and lose their objectivity about lawyering and reasonable respect for their colleagues.
Show Richard Devine that you are paying attention. Visit Candidate Robert J. Milan and his family at Rezas in Andersonville on Thursday, January 3rd before its too late and the primary goes to the floaters. Northsiders, remember how to elect experience over excessive campaign chests with unfinished business. If you cannot make it to Reza's consider other Robert Milan's other events.

While Suffredin pulls out the Rod Blagojevich playbook on corruption, Robert J. Milan responds:

"Larry Suffredin would have no way of knowing how much we’ve done, because he’s never been a prosecutor,” said Robert Milan, Devine’s first assistant who is also seeking the nomination.

Milan cited the current prosecution of Anita Mahajan, a businesswoman and crony of Governor Blagojevich’s charged with bilking the state through phony billings, as well as indictments of Chicago Police officers in the Special Operations Section (SOS) as examples the office is serious about public corruption and police misconduct.