Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chicago School Breakfast? What about Family Breakfast?

"Chicago's school board on Wednesday adopted a sweeping new program to offer free breakfasts in the classrooms of Chicago Public Schools' 410,000 students . . . . In selling the program to the board, officials promoted both the nutritional and psychological benefits of a breakfast with classmates, crediting it with improving "intellectual, emotional, social and physical development while at school." - Chicago Tribune
For the kids whose moms can't be bothered to give them something to eat before school in the morning, I image the school breakfast program will be a real blessing. I also imagine that number of moms is limited. Low income doesn't make a mother a bad mom.  It never ceases to amaze me how politicians and society equate superior parenting with higher income. While it is true that more money gives more advantages, it certainly doesn't mean richer children are more loved or cared for better.

Frankly, I would think the children would do far better psychologically if they eat breakfast with their family, not at school. Eating breakfast with classmates is more like an orphanage or boarding school--or camp for that matter. I am surprised that some of the moms in the target areas aren't protesting the insult to their parenting skills.

I pasted up a picture that I used a couple of years ago when Chicago's Rev, Meeks brought a number of children over to New Trier to "register" to draw attention to problems in the Chicago Public schools. I am pretty sure these students are from the area where the free breakfasts will be served. I would note that every child is nicely dressed in clean, wrinkle-free clothing. Their hair is combed and styled. Might I suggest that these children also have a nice mom who makes sure her kids have something to eat before they go to school? While I am sure there are children  who parents neglect them in the morning, I imagine that number is far lower than anyone thinks.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wilmette's Rahm Emanuel Currently Off Chicago Ballot

Thank goodness, something to take our mind off yesterday's sad loss at Soldier Field. It looks like Wilmette's own Rahm Emanuel is, at least for the time being, off the ballot for Mayor in the City of Chicago. The court found that there is a difference between being a qualified voter and a qualified candidate. "As we have observed, the 'reside in' requirement is stated separately from, and in addition to, the requirement that he be a qualified elector of Chicago in order to be a candidate for municipal office. The fact that the two requirements are stated separately and in the conjunctive leads to the inference that the legislature intended that they be considered separately from, and in addition to, each other."

" . . . for purposes of the "business of the United States" residency exception, this State has for over 150 years recognized a distinction between voters and candidates and has retained the exception only for voters. That revelation, combined with our interpretation of the language of section 3-2 and its interrelation with subsection 3.1-10-5(d) of the Municipal Code, convinces us that section 3-2's 'business of the United States' exception applies only to voters, not to candidates. Accordingly, it cannot avail the candidate here."

This is not to say that the question has been settled, as the appeal continues to the next level. There is a long dissent which could prevail in the next round, which doesn't find any distinction between being a voter and being a candidate.  As the dissent says: "[T]he candidate never voted in Washington, D.C., never changed his driver’s license to Washington, D.C., never registered his car in Washington, D.C., never purchased property in Washington, D.C., never conducted personal banking in Washington, D.C., and never demonstrated an intent to sell his Chicago home. The challengers failed to counter the candidate’s evidence, and the Board found that the weight of this evidence established that the candidate intended to maintain his residence in Chicago throughout the time of his temporary employment in Washington, D.C."

What can I say other than "Goodness!" Well maybe I could say, how come no one ever notices that Rahm Emanuel grew up in Wilmette?

Da Bears: A Sad Monday Morning for All of Chicagoland

As I read somewhere before yesterday's Chicago - Greenbay playoff for the Superbowl, Chicago is a good team but Greenbay is a great team. I guess that is what happened at last night's game, but all Chicago--including the suburbs, the exurbs, and possibly all of Illinois is in a bit of a funk this morning. Losing is sad.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Large Tax Bills Drive Out Wilmette Area Residents

Reader, and long-time Wilmette resident, MLOR, sent us a letter that I wanted to share, comparing her property tax to a homeowner association fee. One of the greatest problems in Wilmette is that people just move away quietly at retirement or shortly after retirement, depriving the community of years of accumulated local experience and wisdom. Having seen my property tax more than double in a few short years (and ditto for the water bill), while I am sorry to see long-time residents leave the community, I feel MLOR may simply be a more realistic planner than I am. I've added a picture of those pesky municipal spending elves with their wheelbarrow at the ready, all set to haul off taxpayer cash. Her letter . . .

I consider my taxes to be HOA fees, and have been evaluating what I get for my money. District 39 wants an additional $7.6m for next year, which will increase my "fees." The Village Board appears to have become professional developers, and intend to tear down & rebuild a section of Green Bay Road buildings/businesses, which will raise my "fees" as well. And, I believe that the Park District still wants money for lakefront redevelopment.

Spending more money on teacher salaries will not improve my life. Eminent domain battles on Green Bay Road will cost big money and help cement Wilmette's reputation as anti-small business. Spending money to entice more people to visit our lakefront will certainly not enhance my experience as a resident. But, all of this will add to my tax bill.

My HOA fees are constantly increasing but the benefits I derive from living here are not. That's why we can never retire and continue to live in Wilmette. We have friends who recently bought a large place in Northbrook and their taxes will be substantially less than those on their former house in west Wilmette. There is no business base in Wilmette, so homeowners will always be squeezed for more cash.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Perspective on Theft

I do get tired of all the thefts that seem to occur on nearly a daily basis in Wilmette, but this Youtube video about an octopus who seals an expensive underwater movie camera is pretty interesting! That would not be my video camera, by the way.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Bob Dold's Swearing In Photo

Nice picture of the Dold clan, eh? They are obviously very happy at Bob's swearing in. Here's hoping for better political news in 2011. I do think that it really helps candidates win if they have a big family.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

POW! Illinois State Legislature Takes Aim at its Citizens, Businesses

"When politicians are allowed to treat taxpayers like Automated Tellers, there is zero incentive to be anything other than profligate and reckless." -Americans for tax reform

Really bad news, and I am nearly speechless. The Illinois Legislature--at least the Democrats who dominate it-- is planning to nearly double the Illinois Individual Income Tax.  In addition, the legislature will impose sales tax on mail-order businesses who don't have a physical presence in the state but do businesses with Illinois-based affiliates such as,, and, which receive much of their commissions from sending customers to major online retailers.

How terrible is this? Very. Taxes cannot be doubled during a recession without very negative consequences. The State of Illinois refuses to make cuts that will balance its budget, instead trading prosperity today for a guaranteed poorer tomorrow. It is said that the income tax is temporary, but the last permanent Illinois income tax increase was done in absolutely the same way. In addition, Fat Wallet is already looking for a way to move out of the state, which is particularly a shame because it is located near Rockford, which is suffering miserably from high unemployment.

We won't even mention the dollar increase on a pack of cigarettes which will likely be good for consumers' health (it will encourage quitting), but could well be revenue neutral because of the quitters.

It remains theoretically possible that one day, the citizens of Illinois will wake up and demand better.

Good to Know Our Extemely Local Swat Team News has International Coverage.

No need to pick up a Winnetka Talk or Wilmette Life this morning. You can go directly to the UK Telegraph for the big local news story that happened just a short distance up Wilmette's Hibbard Road in next-door Winnetka. It's being called a "butt-dialing" incident, but one cannot decide whether to laugh or cry with the news that a Washburne School employee (it is not clear whether the man is a teacher) accidentally called his wife on his cell phone (which was in his back pocket) while driving after school, presumably on the way home. After the phone rang, not only was there no one there, the wife heard noises which consisted of either the radio or  CD playing Gangster Rap Music and her husband talking to himself. The wife panicked, decided her husband  was being held by a dangerous gunman at the school, and immediately called 911.  911 sent out a 30-man Swat Team who spent three hours searching the school and found nothing. Evening meetings at the school were moved elsewhere, and local police turned away parents returning their children to school for various activities. Eventually the husband showed up at home.

Why the Washburne School employee's wife confused a mistaken cell phone call with a severe police emergency is wholly unclear.

Interestingly enough, while the news about this situation showed up only yesterday, the actual incident took place on Monday, January 3.