Category Archives: County

CMAP – Regional Government

 

Representative government on the wane as regional government makes in-roads in DuPage County.

In 2014 at a DuPage County board meeting, a couple county residents took time to address the board during public comment. Their issue was an item on that day’s meeting agenda.

CMAP, a non elected regional government was on the agenda for a board vote. At issue: giving CMAP the go ahead to send a number of its staff to the DuPage County Economic Development department to help develop a sustainability plan for the county campus. CMAP employees would have access to county records, files and staff while they developed the plan.

It all sounded so innocent to the board members who would vote to give the go ahead for CMAP to move in and start working. One board member quipped, it’s free, we don’t have to pay them and we get a sustainability plan. What’s the harm?

Therein lies the problem. Most county board members have no idea what CMAP is or what its goals and policies are or who pays for it. If they did, a lot more questions would have been asked before the vote.

What is CMAP? It is the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (or the comprehensive regional planning agency for metro Chicago). It is comprised of seven counties that make up the Chicago Metro area. CMAP is staffed by government employees, paid for by taxpayer dollars. CMAP has a website where its agenda and ideology are clearly outlined. Anyone who goes to the website will soon discover that CMAP’s agenda is far from harmless.

So what is a sustainability plan?

The word “sustainability” entered our vocabulary in a big way in the early 1990’s, when it was brought to the public eye during the U.N. Rio earth conference.

Sustainability was defined more by what was NOT sustainable, than what was sustainable. In short, the western lifestyle and prosperity brought about through capitalism, and private property rights were declared unsustainable and “had to go”.

Looking under the veil at CMAP’s true intentions, we can see this philosophy clearly embedded in CMAP’s agenda.

The website has one section devoted to tax policies and another to land use. A quick read of these will clue you in on what is really up at CMAP.

In short: CMAP advocates the raising of every tax now in place, including real estate, income and sales taxes – all of which they believe are too low. They also advocate creation of new taxes – for example: a sales tax on services and removal of legislated caps on real estate taxes.

CMAP advocates for the redistribution of local tax dollars, removing tax revenues collected by local governments in affluent towns and villages and redistributing them to localities it believes are less economically advantaged. They are pushing for redistribution of tax revenues from collar counties to Cook County and the City of Chicago.

CMAP land use goals are just as radical. Advocating the U.N.’s Sustainable Development agenda which includes using regulatory means as well as tax dollars to end single family suburban development while using tax dollars to promote pack and stack development in urban areas.

So what does this all have to do with a county board vote and a free sustainability plan? EVERYTHING.

The fact is, CMAP is designed to push the Rio sustainability agenda into local governments at the county and city level.

The method for doing this has several components. First CMAP staff is placed into a city or county government and through a methodology called ‘breaking down silos,’ its staff identifies allies and opponents in the local government. CMAP will identify the projects the city or county staff want done, but cannot afford. CMAP will have its grant writers come in and obtain government grants to pay for these projects. Local staff that are already in agreement with the sustainability agenda are encouraged to sell it to the elected officials motivated by grant money. Opponents are either minimized or persuaded to give in for more grants. They are bribing us with our own money – taken from a different pocket.  Get the picture. CMAP staff comes in to the county, identifies friends and foe, co-ops who they can with grants while minimizing opponents to its policies. The sustainability agenda now becomes county wide policy and begins to erode property rights, tax limiting protections and creates tax expansion and redistribution policies.

CMAP has just nullified representative government in your county or town using grants and control techniques to do it.

Your local government has just joined the U.N. sustainability plan designed to eventually destroy your property rights and raise your taxes – and your elected officials opened the door to let them in.

Guess what? The board voted yes. No one listened to what the public comment speakers had to say. As bad as all this sounds, there is more.

DuPage County Board chairman, Dan Cronin announced this spring that the 7 county board chairmen for the CMAP counties had formed their own board and will now develop a legislative agenda to be pushed in Springfield at the state government level. Lawmakers will introduce and pass legislation giving CMAP and its non-elected officials the power to enact an agenda through state government sanction of local sustainability and tax initiatives.

In conclusion, DuPage County board chairman Dan Cronin has kicked the door wide open to CMAP and its policies. This will result in property rights erosion, redistribution of local tax dollars, hinder development of new single family homes in favor of ‘pack and stack’ urban housing and increased taxes and fees for all county residents.

Representative government in DuPage County is in danger as long as CMAP is allowed to operate in our county and its municipalities.

CMAP policy is diametrically opposed to everything freedom loving Americans believe in. What does Chairman Dan Cronin think about your property rights? Look at his embrace of CMAP and its policies and figure it out for yourself.

COD in the news – COD President, Dr Breuder to retire

Background:

COD board vote [ January regular COD Board Meeting]

On January 22, COD board voted to amend COD president Dr Breuder’s contract, giving Dr. Breuder a $762,868.77 Golden Parachute when he retires on March 31, 2016.  We still did not know all the details.  The details were not read into the record.  The document was not available on line until a few hours after the vote.  This violated the Open Meetings Act.

Media Coverage (January 22):

COD board  [ January 28, Special Board Meeting]

Late on Monday, January 26, 2015 we discovered  that a special meeting was to be held on Wednesday, January 28 for the purpose of re-voting the Addendum 4 to Dr. Breuder’s contract.

The normal board room seat about 50, most of which have “reserve” signs on them during regular board meetings, leaving most of the public standing along the back or across the hall watching a video feed.

COD board room

Talk radio, newspapers, facebook posts and emails told District 502 residents that a meeting would take place.  And the community turned out.

cod 1_28 special board meeting

The crowd overflowed the larger space – 300 chairs and standing room only along the side, the back and the balcony.

After almost two hours of public comment, giving the board plenty of reasons to vote “no” the board once again voted 6 -1 for the agreement that will give Dr. Breuder a $762,868 golden parachute when he retires in March 2016 and name the homeland security building after him.

Tying it all together,

No Pledge of Allegiance at COD and inaccurate minutes

Incredibly, only Vice Chairman Kathy Hamilton stood for the pledge of allegiance when Jan Shaw of the West Suburban Patriots gave the pledge during public comment.  The College of DuPage didn’t have a flag, nor do they do the pledge at the start of the monthly board meetings.  It was suggested that the COD board thinks the pledge is “offensive.”  6 of 7 Trustees, President Robert Breuder, and ten senior managers of college refused to stand up for the pledge on Dec 18, 2014.

 

At the January 2015 board meeting, the flag was in the corner, but still no pledge on the agenda.  Jan lead the Pledge again during public comment.  Trustee Hamilton asked for a correction of the December 2014 minutes.  The minutes say “Jan Shaw spoke regarding Tax Levy” – Kathy said they should add that Jan lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

The minutes also state that “Matthew Tyrmand spoke regarding Treasurer’s report” which he did.  But he also addressed Trustee McGuire’s November rant comparing the Watchdogs and the Tea Party to Nazzis.

Trustee McGuire’s November rant

The board voted 6-1 to accept the December minutes as is.

 

The Fat Cats at College of DuPage

Originally published in the Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-andrzejewski/the-fat-cats-at-college-o_b_6171962.html

Adam Andrzejewski
Founder, openthebooks.com
The Fat Cats at College of DuPage (an Illinois Jr. College)

 

Gift bans be damned. It’s steaks, ribs, filet and crème brulee… for all.

In June, the College of DuPage (COD) lost a $20 million state construction grant because of corruption. In July, COD was exposed for paying up to $27,000 in fees and private membership dues at the presidents shooting club. In September, COD won a national “Golden Hammer” award for hiding $96 million in “Imprest” accounting payments that weren’t disclosed to the public or trustees. In October, COD was forced to publically acknowledge “possible fraud” in the radio station for possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Therefore, it’s mystifying to many that the Board of Trustees and Senior Management Team have instituted zero reform measures- only Vice Chairman Kathy Hamilton has battled for reform. But thanks to the information made available by the Edgar County Watchdogs, we are starting to gain insight into how the elected trustees and entire management/oversight structures at COD have “gamed the system for personal gain.”

It seems everybody who is somebody at COD is on the gravy train.

A few examples:

Consider the COD’s very own Five Days of Christmas party during which $9,254.63 in gifts, dinners, and alcohol flowed to COD senior managers and trustees.

Here are the details: during a five day period in December 2013, $9,254.63 was spent on a Christmas gift of steak and ribs to the Senior Management Team ($2,345.03), a Senior Management Team Holiday party wasted $3,572.40 including $1,553 in booze, a Holiday Board of Trustees dinner ($2,331.60) included $807 in booze, and a Board of Trustees “retreat” dinner squandered another $1,005.60. View all receipts here.

All this eating and drinking on the job occurred at the upscale French restaurant at COD, The Waterleaf. This restaurant sports a fully stocked wine cellar–with more than $192,000 of wine and wine accessories purchased over the past three years. The Waterleaf lost $560,000 in its first year of operation (2012) and losses for 2013 are not disclosed.

Another example of largesse: House Account #10 – COD President’s fund for eating and drinking.

President Robert Breuder has led the way in lavishing himself and others with fine food and drink. Using “House Acct #10,” Breuder has not only charged at least nine “board of trustee dinners” to the tune of $10,466.40, but he’s also been compensated for another $10,864.18 in meals and alcohol. During one evening, on November 6, 2013, Breuder even needed a bartender change of shift to accommodate the late night drinking (a bottle of Nautilus, two Miller Lites, a Honey Bourbon, Pomelo SBG, and three Diet Pepsis). And he’s even racked up 14 nights for $1,429.68 at the upscale campus hotel.

All of this, of course, has been funded by the hard working students and over-taxed property taxpayers of DuPage County. We know this because the college previously admitted that Dr. Breuder has never paid back a dime during his tenure as president.

This also happened after the board awarded the president a compensation package worth nearly $500,000 per year. After all, half a million dollars isn’t enough to satiate Breuder’s refined taste for other people’s money. And the sense of entitlement continues to build not just with Breuder but with the entire leadership structure of COD…

For the Senior Management Team and Board of Trustees, the litany of charges reads like an all-you-can-eat country club feast: crab cakes, gnocchi, scallops, Carpaccio, duck, salmon, bass, matelote, Bavarian cake, and porchetta. Before the October 17, 2013 board meeting, the Trustees feasted on filet mignon, pork chop, toffee pudding sorbets, bread pudding, salmon, potato puree, chicken mousse, French onion, vegetable strudel, halibut, duck breast, steak salad and more.

To acknowledge that there is a severe lack of accounting control at COD is an understatement. Corruption is a more appropriate term. Most of these food and alcohol charges flowed through the Imprest hidden payment scheme or other hidden accounting tricks at COD. These payments were deliberately hidden from the public and board meetings lacked basic transparency. Many payments violated the $75 statutory limit on gift bans, which is also board policy.

Thomas Glaser is the Treasurer at COD and previously held a similar position, Chief Financial Officer for Cook County in the administration of the legendary county boss John Stroger (1995-2007). At the last board meeting in October, Glaser pulled his 13 college accountants and put them behind the podium. For 40 minutes, they tried to say “we’re clean.”

But the facts tell another story. Taxpayers are outraged by this behavior and are calling for a house cleaning at COD

TUA – Top DuPage Pensions

According to Taxpayers United of America (TUA), 836 DuPage County Government Teacher Pensions are in the top 6.6% National Income Level.  click here.

  • Top 70 Naperville Police annual Pensions as of 6/30/2014 range from $106,595 to $20,465 view
  • Top 56 Naperville Fire annual Pensions as of 6/30/2014 rnge from $104,840 to $18,453 view
  • Top 50 Naperville Government Employees Pensions range from $156,146 to $51,539 view
  • DuPage County Government Schools Annual Pensions Over $100,000 has 836 entries ranging from  $284,674  to $100,007 view

“There are more than 11,054 Illinois annual government pensions over $100,000, in the state pension system alone, as of April 1, 2014; by 2020, there will be 25,000.” – TUA

 

College of DuPage in the news

What is the purpose of the college?
Are they spending our money wisely?
Are they following the law?
Residents take note…

 

A censure for speaking out (Chicago Trib)

 

For the Good of Illinois’ report on the COD meeting of 8/21/2014 (with links to other reports and video)  http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?

 

AG: “You Have No Authority to Sanction”…  http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2014/09/a...

 

Open meetings act violations filed against the College of DuPage board.  http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/2014/08/o...

 

…and from a few years ago

 

The Academic Bill of Rights (ABOR) which calls for an academic environment where decisions are made irrespective of one’s personal political or religious beliefs, was passed by to COD board in April 2009 and rescinded by the new board in May 2009.  Kim Savage and Nancy Svoboda who were new to that board voted to rescind and are up for election in 2015. New that year and voting to rescind, but no longer on the board is Sandy Kim. And new in 2009, still on the board, but not voting to rescind is Allison O’Donnell. Why is this important?  Because, we need good fiscally responsible people who do not condone indoctrination to run for COD board. 
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2009-05-08/news/...

 

Fiscal 2012 these 4 for profit operation run by the College of DuPage lost $1.8+ million dollars.

  • Waterleaf Restaurant (576,000)
  • WDCB jazz radio station (592,000)
  • MAC entertainment center (519,000)
  • Inn at Water’s Edge hotel (152,000)

Total Loss (1,839,000)

ISLAMIC CENTER WESTERN SUBURBS (ICWS) – Is the Law the Law?

Zoning rules exist for a reason.  They keep a neighbor from changing their property in such a way that it devalues the surrounding properties.    With County board elections next week, a reminder is in order.

In 2009,  An Islamic group bought a house, zoned residential, near Army Trail and Smith in West Chicago IL, and began using it for religious services.  The quantity and frequency of traffic became problematic and so the neighbors complained about this illegal use of the property.  The early DuPage County Board meetings found against ICWS use of the property, but, having not finalized it, the saga went on and the final meeting found in favor of ICWS.

At all Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) board meetings from 2009 thru 2012 at which a decision regarding ICWS was made, they voted NO to the ICWS requests.  At one Development meeting they voted YES but the full County Board vote was not taken until 2012, at which point the county board voted NO to the conditional use request.   The NO vote from the county in 2012 should have ended this request forever.

However Continue reading

DuPage Rain Tax

On Aug 13, 2013 Governor Quinn signed HB1522, allowing DuPage County to enact a stormwater “utility fee” on all properties in the county. The fees, if enacted by the county, will have an adverse impact on property rights as well as being one more mandatory expense, with no guaranty of alleviating flooding.

  • Fees would be placed on ALL properties in DuPage County including homes, businesses, schools, churches and the forest preserves.
  • The fee-waiver system is designed to push property owners into installing and maintaining expensive green infrastructure on their property.  Once installed, unelected county staff will have control of it and your property.
  • Administering the new fee-waiver program will greatly increase the cost of storm water management.
  • Granting fee-waivers could open the door for corruption.
  • This new fee could be the largest tax increase in DuPage County history. Continue reading