Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Boone County considering food fees for no-profits (again)


Last time—members of the County Board left the meeting and voted “abstain” so as to defeat the increase.  What are the chances for the proposal this time?



The Rhubarb

2 hrs ·

URGENT NEWS ALERT! If you are a member of a not-for-profit, the Boone County Health Department is at it again wanting to charge you fees. It has not even been a year (September 2016) since their last request. The Rhubarb will be posting articles published last year in the Belvidere Daily Republican on the issue. The Rhubarb wonders if Mr. Hatfield has a another insightful suggestion other than food items? Last September he suggested, "They could sell Popsicle sticks." Below is the explanation Mr. Hatfield provided last September to the Rockford Register Star and republished in the Belvidere Daily Republican. You will also find a post from Boone County Board Member Cathy Ward included in this news alert.

It should also be noted that at yesterday's Boone County Board of Health meeting it was announced that Administrator Cynthia Frank is retiring as of September 1 and Bill Hatfield will be retiring as of December 31, 2016 as he also is retiring.

Two Boone County Board of Health members are running for Boone County Board in November. Dr. Bernard O'Malley Dist. 2 and Marshall Newhouse Dist. 1. Yesterday the health board voted in favor of the fees. Dr. O'Malley voted against the request while Marshall Newhouse voted in favor. Information provided by Bill Pysson who attended the meeting.

"In an article published Sept. 13 in the Rockford Register Star and written by Staff Writer Ben Stanley, BCHD Director of Environmental Services Bill Hatfield provided the following explanation as to the need of the fees for NFP’s.

'One of the things that’s getting overlooked here is this is a user fee,” Hatfield said.

'A not-for-profit is choosing to drive down the food highway, and there’s rules, and inspections. They could choose to drive down a road that is not food. They could sell sports equipment. They could sell Popsicle sticks.

They could do whatever kind of fundraiser they want and not even have to worry about a food permit. But they’re choosing to do food, and the general public needs to have assurance that the food that’s being offered meets the public health code … and there are expenses involved.

Hatfield said the cost of health inspections has risen over the past 40 years as health codes expanded and more stringent rules were put in place.

Posted yesterday on FB by Boone County Board Member Cathy Ward.

"BOONE NOT-FOR-PROFIT -- Red ALERT again. The Boone County Health Board today voted 8-1 to start charging ALL not-for-profit groups food permit fees. This was turned down by the county board a couple months ago, but they won't take no for an answer. Makes no sense to me. These groups are the lifeblood of our county. Board claims they need the money. I claim they need the not-for-profit groups to be healthy far more. Every penny the Health board takes makes it harder for not-for-profit groups to do good in this county. This will come back to the full county board in a few weeks for a final vote. So frustrating. I think they want to slip this in quick."

No agenda posted as of yet on June 28, 2016.
Meeting Type:
Health & Human Services Committee
1212 Logan Ave., Belvidere, IL 61008
Date & Time:
Thu, 07/07/2016 - 6:00pm

Agenda will posted at:  http://www.boonecountyil.org/upcoming-meetings

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Redistricting reform won't save Illinois


Redistricting reform won't save Illinois

By Rich Miller



Photo by Crain's/ThinkStock

Illinoisans are undeniably furious about the way their government has been running (or, more accurately, not running). They're looking for solutions, and some are grasping at anything within reach.

A downstate newspaper editorial the other day attempted to pin the blame for just about all of our state's fiscal and economic problems on the way politicians in this state draw legislative district maps.

That's just silly.


Reforming the process by taking away map-drawing duties from politicians and handing it to a nonpartisan commission is definitely a good idea. But, don't kid yourself that reforming this one process, where politicians choose their voters instead of voters choosing their politicians, will suddenly make Illinois great again, or whatever.

First of all, it may not work like some think it will. When editorial writers and pundits talk about redistricting reform, they usually focus on the man who draws many of the legislative district maps: Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, one of the most disliked politicians in all of Illinois, and the man who is blamed by many for much (or even all) of our problems. Take that power away from him and you'll do away with Madigan, the theory goes.

OK, but take a look at the Illinois Election Data website, which has the 2014 gubernatorial election results by Illinois House district. Those districts were drawn, of course, by Speaker Madigan.

Bruce Rauner won 50.8 percent of the popular vote in 2014. Yet, by my count, Rauner also won 69 of Illinois' 118 House districts that same year, or 58.5 percent.

In other words, the Republican candidate for governor won 22 more House districts than the House Republicans.

That's why Gov. Rauner thinks he has a real shot at picking up some House seats this year. His operation is focusing like a laser on the districts he won.

Why didn't Republican House candidates do as well as Rauner?

Let's step back a couple of years. The House Democrats picked up seats in 2012 after they drew the new map in 2011, but besides creating districts that certainly favored their candidates, the wins were also due to '12 being a hugely favorable (to them) presidential election year. Democrats do much better here in presidential years.

And once people are elected, it's difficult to knock them out. By the time the national GOP wave swept through two years later, in 2014, it ran smack dab into Democratic incumbents who'd been working their new districts hard for two years. That's always something to remember about Madigan. In exchange for his monetary and staff support, he demands rigorous door-to-door work by his candidates. Once they're in, they tend to stay in.

This year, the presidential election means the national trend will likely be the Democrats' friend yet again. If Rauner doesn't net some gains, he'll likely blame Madigan's map, but that won't be totally true.

And just because one party draws the map doesn't mean it has a lock on it. For instance, the Republicans currently control three U.S. House districts that were actually drawn to favor Democrats.

Also, go back to 1991, the last time the Republicans drew the legislative district map. Madigan's Democrats managed to hold on to control in the very next election, when Bill Clinton and Carol Moseley Braun swept the state. But Madigan's Democrats lost the majority two years later in a huge national GOP landslide. Madigan learned some hard lessons in 1994. He regained the majority in 1996, when President Clinton ran again, and managed to hold onto it until he could draw his own map in 2001.

Yet the Senate Republicans held their majority throughout that very same 10-year period.

The lesson here is that getting rid of Madigan, or even clipping his wings, ain't going to be as easy as it looks.

Again, I think that a nonpartisan, independent remap process would be a good thing no matter the Madigan-related outcome. But so would California's open primary system, where the top two vote-getters battle it out in November even if they're from the same party. I'd love to see that brought to Illinois.

There are lots of things we can do to reform the process. But I highly doubt that this one reform will solve all our problems. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise because they're living in an overly simplistic cartoon world. I prefer the real world.

Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and CapitolFax.com.

Above is from: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20160624/NEWS02/160629877/redistricting-reform-wont-save-illinois

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Rauner lays out his minimum requirements



Rauner lays out his minimum requirements

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2016

* Gov. Rauner was asked yesterday where he stood on the “non-budget” talks. Kim Geiger at the Tribune fills us in

Changes to the rules on civil lawsuits, commonly referred to as “tort reform” is “off the table, for now,” Rauner said.

“The biggies,” Rauner said, are changes to workers’ compensation, the property tax freeze with collective bargaining provisions and legislation to alleviate the pension problem. Asked if that would be enough for him to strike a deal with Democrats, Rauner said: “Yeah, sure.”

That Rauner has set his sights on those items is no secret. There are working groups of lawmakers debating those topics now, and he’s focused much of his public comments on the three items in recent weeks. Still, it was the first time we’ve heard Rauner say specifically what would satisfy his general call for “reforms” alongside a budget deal that includes spending cuts and tax hikes.

Rauner’s answer might provide more clarity to casual observers of the budget impasse, but it’s unlikely to motivate Democratic lawmakers, who say they’ve lost trust in the governor because of his shifting rhetoric over the past year. Also, many Democrats are opposed to the workers’ compensation and collective bargaining proposals, which they contend would hurt the middle class.

Above is from:  http://capitolfax.com/2016/06/21/rauner-lays-out-his-minimum-requirements/

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Gov. Rauner says he’ll seek reelection in 2018


Gov. Rauner says he’ll seek reelection in 2018


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    Governor Rauner sounded off on the state budget that never was in a wide ranging interview.

    How dire is the crisis, will Chicago Schools go bankrupt, who's to blame, and will he run again?

    With 10 days left in the fiscal year, the Governor sat down with WGN’s Tahman Bradley.

    Even though he hopes lawmakers soon work out a stop gap spending plan and K-12 education funding, Gov Rauner continues to hammer his chief rival House Speaker Mike Madigan.

    “I think the Speaker is interested in a crisis,” Rauner said.  “At this point there’s a risk that public safety isn’t funded there’s a risk that health care service aren’t funded there’s a risk that our schools don’t open on time. We can’t allow that to happen. That’s not right.”

    And that’s the message the governor has taken on the road.

    All month, he has been traveling from city to city, where he pins the blame for the budget stalemate on Democrats who continue to resist his pro-business, union-weakening agenda.

    “All of us in government are elected to do a job,” Rauner said. “I ran for governor to work for all of the people of the state to change the system so our government works for the people again. We’ve got the highest unfunded pension, hghest debt in America, highest unemployment rate in American, most job losses, worst school funding and the most corruption and cronyism of any state government in America.”

    For Chicago, Gov. Rauner had even harsher words. Recently, the governor said some Chicago Public Schools are like crumbling prisons.

    Chicagoans hit back and hard.  Today, they showed their anger and forced the governor to cancel a Juneteenth celebration at the DuSable Museum.

    With Chicago Public Schools facing a billion dollar budget deficit, Democrats in Springfield are trying to get more money into the district. But the governor’s plan would keep CPS funding at its current level.

    “I care deeply about Chicago Public Schools and the children in those schools,” Rauner said. “Chicago has been mismanaged for years. Our reforms will help them improve the system.”

    In the meantime, the governor is doubling down on his call that the district considers bankruptcy.

    “They could go into a judge and seek court protection and reorganize in bankruptcy under court supervision so that that wouldn’t require any layoffs .  They can redo their contracts, redo their debt and make it more affordable under bankruptcy,” he said.

    Rauner also said he is planning to seek reelection in 2018.

    Above is from:  http://cltv.com/2016/06/20/gov-rauner-says-hell-seek-reelection-in-2018/

    Saturday, June 18, 2016

    Will the county board finally pass the resolution?


    • Boone County Board expected to pass a resolution against railroad project



    • By Chris Green
      Staff writer


    • Posted Jun. 16, 2016 at 8:52 PM
    • BELVIDERE — The Boone County Board is expected to vote and pass a resolution opposed to the construction of the proposed $8 billion Great Lakes Basin Railroad project at a June 29 special board meeting.
      The special meeting was necessitated after the board failed to vote Wednesday on an existing resolution, said board member Cathy Ward.
      She described the new resolution as an "abbreviated" resolution that will be forwarded to the federal Surface Transportation Board, which has the authority to approve or reject the project, or approve it with conditions.
      The 275-mile rail line would cut directly through Boone County and several other communities in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana in order to provide quicker freight rail service that bypasses Chicago.
      Many Boone County residents are opposed to the project fearing damage to farmland and lower property values.
      The special meeting will start at 6 p.m. at 1212 Logan Ave.
      Chris Green: 815-987-1241; cgreen@rrstar.com; @chrisfgreen

    Above is from:  http://www.rrstar.com/news/20160616/boone-county-board-expected-to-pass-resolution-against-railroad-project

    Thursday, June 16, 2016

    Advocates for Denial of Climate Change

    Conservative Funders of Climate Denial Are Quietly Spending Millions To Generate More Partisan Journalism

    Graham Readfearn | June 15, 2016

    By Graham Readfearn • Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 22:33




    Millions of dollars have been pouring into conservative media outlets and student journalism projects from the same groups funding climate science denial, a DeSmog analysis has found.

    Analysis of IRS tax filings shows the funding groups, including some linked to the oil billionaire Koch brothers, are trying to combat a perceived left-wing bias in media with cash to ideologically-aligned projects.

    Many of the funded journalism projects also produce stories that claim human-caused climate change is either a liberal hoax or that policies to mitigate it, such as promotion of renewable energy, are an unnecessary drag on the economy.

    DeSmog found that two linked funds — Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund — have been a key source of cash for organisations attacking climate science and opposing policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    DCF and DT have been described as the “dark money ATM” of the US conservative movement.

    A DeSmog investigation found that almost $500 million that has flowed into DCF and DT are untraceable.

    The two funds are also being used to channel money into conservative journalism projects.

    In 2014, the Daily Caller News Foundation — the non-profit arm of the Daily Caller website — accepted some $106,248 in two donations from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.  Donors Trust also handed the Daily Caller $60,000 in 2014.

    The Daily Caller regularly publishes stories that denigrate climate science while promoting Republican outbursts against cutting fossil fuel emissions.

    Climate science denier and Republican supporter Foster Freiss helped bankroll the Daily Caller with a $3 million donation before it was launched in January 2010.

    Several Daily Caller staff have spent time at the organisations analysed by DeSmog.

    Investigative reporter Katie Watson spent three years at the Franklin Center’s Watchdog project, reporter Connor Wolf was an associate at the Charles Koch Institute, environment writer Michael Bastasch was a Koch intern, editor in chief Christopher Bedford was an associate at the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, and managing editor Paul Connor and reporter Casey Harper both spent time at the Young America’s Foundation’s National Journalism Center (NJC).

    Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

    The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, one of the biggest beneficiaries of conservative-linked cash, received some $6.8 million from Donors Capital Fund in 2014, according to IRS filings.

    Bankruptcy papers from the biggest coal company in the US, Peabody Energy, also reveal the Franklin Center as one of the “constellation of conservative thinktanks and organisations” to have received money from the coal giant, according to The Guardian.

    The center says it supports and trains “investigative journalists” with two goals in mind. One is to “advance transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility in local government” which sounds like a worthy and ideology-free cause. 

    But the second goal is to “spotlight free-market, pro-liberty solutions to difficult public policy challenges.”  In other words, the journalists are encouraged to lean a particular way when covering big issues.

    “We offer a megaphone to those with the best free-market, pro-liberty solutions,” the website adds, just in case you were in any doubt.

    “Our reporting shapes narratives, drives conversations, and lays the foundation for long-term change,” says the center’s latest annual report.

    According to the annual report, Franklin now has “75 national and local media partnerships” and boasts their work is used by “Reuters, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Economist, Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, PBS NewsHour, ABC News, CBS News, and CNN en EspaƱol”.

    Franklin’s public-facing site is Watchdog, where its energy stories invariably support fossil fuels while finding ways to criticise renewable energy.

    Moulding student journalists

    The Student Free Press Association has been another major recipient of funds travelling through DCF, with $265,650 arriving in 2014 alone.

    The DC-based SFPA says it “opens critical doors for talented young conservative journalists” and its alumni are “counteracting liberal bias in the media, and are reshaping the future of political journalism”.

    According to its website, the SFPA has sent several students to the Daily Caller as interns. The College Fix — the SFPA’s news outlet — also publishes stories disparaging of climate science.

    The Young America’s Foundation says almost 2000 journalists have been through its National Journalism Center since it started in 1977.

    According to its website, the National Journalism Center “provides an opportunity for students and recent graduates to get involved in combating liberal media bias through its press internships.”

    In 2009, YAF accepted $150,000 for its journalism program through DCF.

    NJC alumni include conservative firebrand Ann Coulter. In 2015, Coulter tweeted how she would send money “to any candidate who calls [climate change] bullshit”.

    The Media Research Center accepted an $111,000 grant from DT in 2014. According to its website, MRC’s “sole mission is to expose and neutralize the propaganda arm of the Left: the national news media.”

    MRC helped one of its alumni, Marc Morano, to put together his 2016 climate science denial film Climate Hustle.

    The American Spectator Foundation — which owns the magazine American Spectator — got $15,000 in 2014 from DCF, alongside a $16,470 grant from the Charles G. Koch Foundation.  The American Spectator’s climate coverage is broadly critical of moves to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

    The American Media Institute, a self-described “non-profit investigative news service”,  accepted $524,500 in donations in 2014 from DCF and its sister group, DonorsTrust. The AMI does not appear to have worked on any climate or energy stories.

    One of the central tenets of journalism is to report “without fear or favour”. But the funding of many of these groups from ideologically-aligned sources suggests that on some of the world's most important issues, such as climate change, the funders want journalists to push their inquiries only in certain directions.

    Above is from:  http://www.desmogblog.com/2016/06/16/conservative-funders-climate-denial-are-quietly-spending-millions-create-more-partisan-journalism

    Kankakee River concerned about spills from GLB RR



    Proposed railway would cause problems for Camp Shaw

    • Robert Themer


    For the 71st summer, 4-H members and others will be enjoying outings at Camp Shaw-wa-nas-see on Rock Creek, adjacent to Kankakee River State Park.

    It's just one facility to grow from a campaign launched in 1945 to establish youth camps in memory of those who served in World War II.

    Now, the proposal by Great Lakes Basin Transportation to build a railroad loop around the Chicago metropolitan area would run freight trains "about every 20 minutes right next to Camp Shaw," Greg LaPlante, the camp's executive director, told the Kankakee River Round Table on Friday.

    "That would be devastating to Camp Shaw," he said. "The Rock Creek watershed would be particularly vulnerable to spills. ... We hear a lot about oil trains."

    Chad Miller, manager of the Kankakee County Farm Bureau, repeated the organization's opposition to the project, which would claim 16,000 acres of Kankakee County farmland — about 1,000 acres for rail line and utility right-of-way and 15,000 acres for a switching and maintenance yard between Manteno and Grant Park.

    Miller emphasized concerns about economic impact in reducing farm income and its impact through the community, plus direct loss of farm jobs, impact on local road patterns and drainage systems and potential spills from hazardous materials handing.

    "A big sticking point for our organization is that eminent domain could be used for private gain," he said.

    "My hope is that one morning, we will wake up and it will be off the drawing board, like the Illiana expressway."

    Comment period extended

    The U.S. Transportation Board's office of environmental analysis has extended the comment period on the Great Lakes Basin Transportation's proposal until July 15. It had been set to end Wednesday.

    The office also announced that no further extension will be granted and that comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted.

    Comments may be sent electronically on the board's here. Refer to Docket No. FD 35952 in all correspondence, including e-filings.

    Project-specific information can be found on the board's website at stb.dot.gov under "Environmental Matters," then click on the "Key Cases" button in the drop down menu and then select "Great Lakes Basin."

    For additional information, visit the board-sponsored project website at GreatLakesBasinRailEIS.com

    Above is from:  http://www.daily-journal.com/news/local/proposed-railway-would-cause-problems-for-camp-shaw/article_020ed186-3c2a-55ee-a54f-097f96126312.html