Thursday, March 31, 2011

Will be live on WYCC Ch 20 TV tonight (Thursday) 6:30 pm with Garrard McCLendon

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I'll be on Off 63rd with Garrard McClendon live tonight at 6:30 Ch 20 WYCC TV. The focus is Chicago and Rahm Emanuel

Also on the show with me will be:

Warner Todd Huston, a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis 

Also, The Chicago Defender's reporter Kathy Chaney will join us in this live panel discussion.

McLendon's web site is and you can call in to the studio during the live show at 773-487-3630

-- Ray Hanania

Downers Grove Community Advocates Endorse Candidates for Village Council and Park Board

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Downers Grove Community Advocates Endorse Candidates for Village Council and Park Board

The Downers Grove Community Advocates are pleased to announce their endorsements of Downers Grove Village Council and the Downers Grove Park Board candidates in the April 5th election.

At a forum on February 26, held at Downers Grove Fire Station #2, 5420 Main Street, each candidate was given the opportunity to make a brief presentation and then participated in a question and answer session followed by a closing statement. All candidates were asked the same questions in the same order and were allotted the same time.

In addition, candidates submitted answers to a brief questionnaire prior to the forum. The DGCA's decision to endorse these candidates was based on the responses to the questions asked, both written and verbal. Factoring in to the decision was the experience and knowledge DGCA members have of current and historical village issues. It is the policy of the DGCA to endorse for the number of positions available.  

The following candidates were endorsed 

For Village Council

Geoff Neustadt (website)
Becky Rheintgen (website)

For Mayor

Martin Tully (website)

For Park Board 

Mark Roman (website)
Robert Gelwicks
Cathy Mahoney
Matt Cushing

The DGCA’s purpose is as follows: “We are a diverse and experienced group of residents who see the awesome opportunities before our great community. We are here to provide a positive, constructive and Independent voice in the discussions that will shape our community’s future. Because we are a politically diverse group of people with many years of community service in government, the library, the schools and other civic groups, we believe we are uniquely capable of helping to meet this need.  Our goals are to promote the best attributes of our village and to explore and inform citizens about those issues facing our community that will have an impact for many years to come.”

The DGCA believes that our endorsed candidates best embody this purpose and will serve the Village with integrity, objectivity and careful consideration of all sides of all issue before reaching decisions which best meet the needs of the citizens of Downers Grove.

Two Village Council candidates, Michael Maley and Dominic Scalzetti, declined the DGCA’s invitation to appear before the caucus or to provide information on their positions.  


The Downers Grove Community Advocates exist to reach out and to work positively for the best of our community.  The DGCA was founded in 2004 by members whose combined community service totals over 463 years as elected officials, board and committee members and volunteers in local organizations.  We conduct a thorough process including questionnaires, written statements and public interviews.  The longevity, diversity and range of our service demonstrate our longstanding, unwavering commitment to the community.

Daniel McInerney, President 
Megan Schroeder, Secretary

Greg Beggs
Michael Carter
Betty Cheever
Hilary Denk
Kathleen DiCola
Tinker Harvey
Jan Kopis
Dan McInerney
John Mochel
Nancy Peraino
Ken Rathje
Jim Russ, Jr.
Megan Schroeder

Founding and Past Members

Stephen Daniels
Robert Barnett
George Nicholaou
Randy Stark

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Faso crosses the line in Chicago Heights

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Faso crosses the line in Chicago Heights

There are some things that are issues in an election, and then there are the lies. And some lies even go way beyond “integrity” and into the realm of libel and defamation.

The attacks by Chicago Heights Trustee Joseph Faso against Mayoral candidate David Gonzalez fit into that last category.

Here’s what happened.

Two candidates are running for mayor in Chicago Heights, Faso, who has been a trustee and political opportunist, and David Gonzalez who has been active in the community.

Gonzalez is waging a strong campaign, sticking to the issues and connecting with a lot of voters in Chicago Heights. His message has been positive, one of moving the city and all its residents forward.

Faso's message has been about mud. Yes mud.

Last week, Faso produced an online video that alleges that if elected, Gonzalez would commit crimes in office out of Chicago Heights City Hall if he were elected mayor. The crimes are so heinous (and false) I don’t want to repeat them.

The literature promoting the online video which is also running on Comcast Cable TV channels, according to news reports, makes other false allegations.

Now, if any of the allegations were true, there would be stories in the local news media.

But they are not true. Faso knows that putting out the lies that Gonzalez would sell drugs if he were elected will scare voters.

Here’s the story about Faso’s video from the Chicago Sun Times:

Chicago Heights mayoral candidate David Gonzalez is suing his opponent, Joe Faso, claiming Faso accused him in mailings and YouTube videos of selling drugs out of his Chicago Heights accounting firm.

The mailings and videos also claim the city pays Gonzalez’s home mortgage, according to the suit filed Thursday.

The campaign documents say Gonzalez would allow drugs to be sold out of city hall if he were elected, the suit says. The suit claims slander, libel and civil conspiracy. It also calls for Faso, the Integrity Party and Faso’s campaign manager, Alan Cottrell, to issue daily apologies and retractions in the Southtown Star until April 5.

The suit also seeks to order Faso to send automated phone calls to all Chicago Heights residents in which he apologizes and says the information in his commercials is false. Sun-Times Media

The lawsuit requests sound reasonable to me.

Faso owes Gonzalez an apology.  And maybe Faso should change the name of his political party to something other than “the Integrity Party.”

I don’t see any “Integrity” in the video or false charges that Faso has made in this election.

Ray Hanania

Friday, March 25, 2011

Andrzejewski: Schaumburg mayor's race key to correcting Illinois’ “fatal death spiral”

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Andrzejewski: Schaumburg mayor's race key to correcting Illinois’ “fatal death spiral”

SCHAUMBURG, IL – Schaumburg residents have a historic opportunity in the mayoral election April 5, said fiscal reformer and 2010 candidate for Illinois governor Adam Andrzejewski in a speech to voters recently, to stem the crushing tide of deficit spending and unaccountability both within the Village and beyond.   
“This race is critically important to the state of Illinois,” Andrzejewski explained. “I believe that we have two years to correct the path. We’re entering a fatal death spiral of bigger government, more taxation, more borrowing, more spending and more regulation.” Incumbent Mayor Al Larson, Andrzejewski noted, by virtue his positions both in Schaumburg and as president of the Illinois Municipal League, is “part and parcel of that spiral.”

Andrzejewski made his remarks at “Toast to Reform Schaumburg,” a fund-raiser for Brian Costin, mayoral challenger in the April 5 Consolidated Election, held March 11. HEAR the entire speech here.
Referencing Costin’s self-authored “Taxpayer Protection Act,” Andrzejewski said, “Brian is running on a piece of policy that I think is one of the ideas that not only will save Schaumburg, but will save the state of Illinois. He simply wants to give the people of Schaumburg the right to vote on any tax increase. He feels that you should be the one – since you have to fund it – you should be the one to approve the tax hikes.

“That is a policy that needs to go from village to village … and it needs to go to Springfield and it needs to go to Washington, D.C.,” Andrzejewski added, “and Brian’s the guy who can carry it forward.”

Andrzejewski and Costin are leading the fight in Illinois for fiscal transparency and accountability. Costin contributed to drafting the Local Government Transparency Act: SB 37, currently under consideration by the Illinois legislature. As president of Schaumburg Freedom Coalition, he assisted dozens of local and regional government bodies, including the Village of Schaumburg, in improving public access to critical financial information.

Adam Andrzejewski founded For the Good of Illinois in 2007 with the mission of bringing transparency, accountability and limits to state and local government. Andrzejewski’s work has spurred local units of government to post more than $2 billion in check register spending online. He championed forensic audits in his 2010 gubernatorial run.

Brian Costin is endorsed in the April, 5 2011, race for Schaumburg mayor by Andrzejewski as well as Tax Accountability, the political action arm of National Taxpayers United of Illinois. His campaign website is


Lisa M. Wogan
Brian Costin for Schaumburg
815.472.4159 (o)

March 25, 2011

Brian Costin

Ron Sandack issues endorsements for Village of Downers Grove

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Dear Friends:
We are in the midst of early voting now through March 31, 2011 and with the official Election Day – April 5, 2011-- quickly approaching, I have been asked many times who I am voting for to serve on the next Village Council. Because this question has been posed to me repeatedly, I am answering these queries collectively and publicly.

Before venturing further I wish to be clear about a few things relative to this message. First, if you do not want to know who I am supporting for Village Council that’s certainly fine. This message is not sent to unduly impose, so simply delete this message should you wish. And if you do not want emails sent to you about community matters kindly hit the “unsubscribe” tab because there is no intent, again, to bother you or impose upon you.  The information I am sharing may not be for everyone and I am fine with people doing whatever they want with one exception--please do vote, our community is worth our time and attention come Election Day.

I am offering my thoughts as a resident of Downers Grove only; not in any other capacity. I have served this community in various ways since 2001. Given the duration and scope of my service I have met many people and have gained some perspectives as to what our Village needs going forward. But mine are inherently subjective opinions; this is clear. I’d be happy to hear the perspectives and thoughts of others should anyone wish to think through the challenges and needs of Downers Grove as a community, collaboratively.
Last prefacing comment, I know most of the nine candidates seeking to serve on the next Village Council. 

However, two of the candidates are unknown to me and have neither come to Council meetings nor participated in various community activities I have been involved in. That said I assume they seek to serve for only the best reasons, just as the seven other candidates. For those candidates I do know but do not support as a voter, I want it made known that I admire their willingness to serve, wish them the best, and will happily shake their hand and offer my unmitigated support should they prevail. In the end, we all want what’s best for Downers Grove and I am ready to help any member of the next Council with their transition in any way I can.

So, with all of that made known… who do I want to see on the next Village Council? In part that answer is easy because there are two incumbents seeking to be re-elected. Sean Durkin and Geoff Neustadt have served 5 ½ and 4 years respectively. I was on the Village Council when Sean was appointed back in 2005 to serve the remaining term of Sue McConnell. When I ran for mayor in 2007, Sean and Geoff sought to serve on the same Council. Thus, I know quite a bit about both gentlemen, including their character. In sum, both Geoff and Sean deserve to be re-elected as they have been conscientious and hard working Council members who have shown a deep dedication to our town and a sound and committed resolve to stay the course of financial sustainability. Geoff and Sean along with most of my other Council colleagues have demonstrated leadership and grit during the worst economic climate since the late 1920’s. During our service together, Sean and Geoff were responsible for making and keeping the Village fiscally sound and sustainable; which meant being accountable for tough decisions that were not always popular-- and that’s true leadership. These two selfless public servants remain vigilant and committed to making fiscally prudent decisions for the collective betterment of our community. They deserve to be re-elected and as a community we ought to be glad they have stood up and volunteered to again serve.

Consistent with the above mantra, Becky Rheintgen is the only new candidate to publicly state unequivocally that she stands ready to stay the course paved by the majority on the last Council. Many other candidates have advocated “returning” to certain services or adding new ones-- but they have not delineated dedicated revenue streams to pay for these new services. This lapse is something that should worry discerning residents. What’s more, these other candidates have simply not demonstrated a thorough and complete understanding of the ever increasing costs of providing basic, but necessary, Village services like police, fire, public works and Village infrastructure. In contrast Becky has spent considerable time learning all aspects of municipal government and has demonstrated a commitment to continuing down the path of fiscal sustainability so that our community will continue to be a vibrant and desired town steeped in financial stewardship and ready for all future challenges.

I applaud and respect anyone seeking to serve the Village of Downers Grove. That desire is truly commendable and appreciated by me because it is grounded in a selfless passion to serve. Nevertheless, it is incumbent upon the governed, you and me, to thoughtfully choose who the best candidates are to guide and shape our Village going forward. To that end, I highly recommend Geoff Neustadt, Sean Durkin and Becky Rheintgen as the right leaders to continue to guide Downers Grove down the right path into the future. Thanks for reading this and please remember to vote.
Ron Sandack, 20 year resident of Downers Grove  

P.S. This message was mine and mine alone. You may get a semi-annoying email message from me from time to time, but that is done out of a desire to inform people. That said you’ll never get a Robo-call from me-- those calls are truly insufferable.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Carol Quinlan Pushes For Oak Lawn Reforms

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March 25, 2011   Southwest News-Herald - City & Suburban

Carol Quinlan Pushes For Oak Lawn Reforms

I only met Carol Quinlan twice, both times at board meetings. I have only read about her work as an Oak Lawn village trustee, or heard others sing her praises.

Quinlan has lived in her district her entire life, over 46 years. Whenever someone has asked for help, she always volunteers in her neighborhood, her parish, and for local charitable organizations.

Why a good person like that would get involved in politics always amazes me.

The fact is the majority of voters could care less about good government, and only complain about their taxes and fees that are required to pay for village services.

The few who actually do vote do their best to advocate for the candidates they support. And when you try to do, there is always a critic around, like me.

I know what it’s like to be criticized. A few people who oppose Carol Quinlan hate the fact that I like her, and that I favor Mayor Dave Heilmann and independent write-in candidate Dan Sodaro, too. The group fighting Quinlan, Sodaro and Heilmann used to love my opinions when it was about them, but now have gone off the deep end with anger.

So be it. Believe me, I can dish it out and take it too, having written about politics as a journalist and a media consultant for more than 33 years. I’ve been attacked by Mayor Mike Bilandic, Jane Byrne, Harold Washington, Eugene Sawyer, Richie Daley, and recently by Carol Marin in her Sun-Times column. She’s entitled to her opinion, but so am I.

Remember how to spell Dan Sodaro’s name. It’s spelled D-A-N  S-O-D-A-R-O because you will have to write in his name in the 3rd district race. But you don't have to write in Carol Quinlan’s name because she is on the ballot in the 5th District.

Many who have watched Carol Quinlan work on the village board praise her.

Heilmann, who is experiencing some personal family health issues (I wish him and his family the best), says this about Carol Quinlan: “She just cares about the neighborhood and does everything she can to make it better. She spends an enormous amount of time with people in the district making sure that she is listening and sincerely trying to help, not just giving lip service. She doesn’t sit back and ‘go along’ with a crowd. She stands up for what she believes is right."

She even challenges other board members even though she is in the minority, something that takes a lot of courage. It’s not easy to challenge the powers that be.

So here’s a salute to Trustee Carol Quinlan. I'm sure the person running against her is a fine person, too. But I hate to see good people like Carol Quinlan, who is already in office, be pushed out for no reason.

*   *   *

AROUND TOWN: I’m fortunate to be involved in making a movie directed by actor Sayed Badreya (“Iron Man,” “Independence Day” and many other films) about the challenges facing Arabs in America. It’s called “Chicago Mirage” and it’s being shot in Bridgeview, Oak Lawn and throughout the Southwest Suburbs. The film is about an American Arab arrested after Sept. 11, 2001. While in jail, he is attacked by the prison’s top gangster. But the Arab kills the gangster, winning the respect of the other prisoners and a 10-year sentence. His release and return to his wife and 11-year-old son is the story.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, and media and political consultant. You may reach him at

Some Reflections On Suburban Elections

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March 18, 2011   Southwest News-Herald - City & Suburban

Some Reflections On Suburban Elections

It’s so ironic that I hear many Americans complain that foreigners, especially Mexican immigrants, need to learn English when the truth is that most Americans have a lifelong difficulty with the English language themselves.

Outgoing Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley constantly mangles his sentences. Students across the nation from elementary school on up can’t seem to get their spelling right. The Internet is not helping, either, with texting that results in misspelled and confused words being sent to millions on Twitter, Facebook and Ping.

Yet, we Americans can’t give up our struggle to overcome the challenges of what is really a beautiful and simple language.

In Oak Lawn, voters living in the 3rd District will be put to a test. They are being asked to write-down two simple words on the election ballot on April 5th. D-a-n  S-o-d-a-r-o.

It’s just nine letters but the truth is there are very few elections where a write-in candidate has won, or produced significant vote totals.

Why? Because we Americans are illiterate and can’t write? Or, because we are lazy, lazy in writing and lazy in challenging a corrupt political system that discourages good people from seeking public office and helps keep a few skanky politicians from getting out?

Election laws are stacked against the average person. You have to be an insider and a part of a political Machine to win office and then sip freely from the public trough.

Dan Sodaro is just 36 years old. Here is how he describes himself in his literature:

“Dan is a lifelong resident of the 3rd District, is married to Dawn and together they have three beautiful children; Jacob, Lucas, and Abbie. For the past six years, Dan has volunteered as a Ridgeland 122 School Board member and currently serves as president of the Board. Dan is a graduate of St. Gerald's, Oak Lawn High, and Governors State University.

For the last 12 years, Dan has been employed by JPMorgan Chase. Currently, Dan is Assistant Vice President, Derivatives Documentation Negotiator. Dan’s focus as Trustee will be to establish regular communications with residents, work to resolve issues, and treat the office and residents of the 3rd District with dignity and respect.”

Sodaro is challenging longtime Trustee Bob Streit, who years ago was the outsider who challenged the old Machine. Now, he’s a part of the new Machine, and he is being challenged by a new “Bob Streit,” a young man named Dan Sodaro.

And what's the hurdle? Writing. Can voters write? Can they spell the candidate’s name “Dan Sodaro” legibly enough to satisfy the skewered election system in Oak Lawn.

I always favor the underdog and Sodaro is the underdog, a position once occupied by Streit. But I also favor having elected officials move on to make room for new and younger faces.

And when you have been a trustee for 20 years — two decades — maybe it is time to just move on and make room for someone else.

I say that with great difficulty because I really do like Bob Streit. I just don’t like the people he’s been hanging around with and the politics that he has wrapped himself in. I guess, I long for the old Bob Streit. And maybe that’s what I see in Dan Sodaro.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and media consultant. Reach him at

Friday, March 4, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Patrick Maher quits race for re-election in Orland Fire Protection District Race

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Patrick Maher, the son of Village Clerk David Maher, withdrew his name from the April 5, 2011 election, citing family concerns and issues. Maher was pushed in to a challenge of Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman last year, winning the Democratic Primary but losing in a landslide to Gorman in the November 2010 general election.

Maher had the financial backing of many contributors to the Village of Orland Park and received thousands from Mayor Dan McLaughlin and newly elected Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, almost as if Preckwinkle was firing a declaration of war against Gorman who has risen to become one of the county board's most respected members.

Maher was elected in 2003 as president of the Orland Fire Protection Board, one of the largest and most expensive in the nation, second highest budget in Illinois, more than 28 million. He was elected president in 2006. He has been under intense pressure to run for higher office as he is the first cousin of former Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes, the 19th Ward scion. Orland Park has been a target of the 19th Ward politicians for years and at election time they often inundate polls with 19th ward precinct workers

Although Maher is a decent person, his past exploded in the middle of his race for the Cook County board when it was discovered that Maher had been charged with brutally beating another student when he was in college. Maher was charged in 1991 with felony aggravated battery and the case went to trial. Although the first trial ended in a hung jury, Maher pled guilty to misdemeanor battery.

There were too many issues involved not only in the case but in the way the case was addressed by Maher himself. Several media sources claimed he had lied on candidate response forms saying that he had never been charged with a crime. And, his birth date on some records had been changed by one day. Today, the court system doesn't use social security numbers to index court records. Cases are often filed by birth dates. Changing the birth date, or an error, would result in records not being found. (Read and watch Dane Placko's news report from the election on that issue.)

Maher's loss crowned Gorman as one of Orland Park's strongest politicians and there are rumors that she is considering running for mayor of Orland Park in the next election against McLaughlin. Maher's candidacy in this election and his loss in the countywide election and the story of his past criminal charges has put many races in jeopardy. Candidates running with the backing of McLaughlin and Clerk Maher are being challenged by a slate endorsed by Gorman not just at the Orland Fire Protection District but on the Village Board.

There is no doubt that the candidates with Gorman's backing will sweep the elections. Maher was being realistic.

I called Commissioner Gorman and asked her for a comment. She was very reserved and polite considering the mud that was thrown her way by some of Maher's minions and by some of the political people who backed Maher. She said, "I respect his decision and I wish him and his family well in his future endeavors."

Maher's exit from the race will not change the fact that his name will remain on the April 5 ballot. Is it a brilliant campaign trick, to build sympathy. Sources say no, that Maher is being honest and working to repair his public image. His release cites concerns for his family, avoiding a rehash of the past criminal charges and the campaign in which the mother of the boy who was beaten in 1991 spoke to voters twice in robo-calls to voters' homes.

There's no doubt she would have urged voters again to vote against Maher in the election.

April 5 election:

There are 36 candidates competing for 14 seats in five Orland Park races.

There are races for School Districts, where 11 candidates are in the field including in District 135 Joe LaMargo, the kindly Orland Park Village Deputy Clerk under Clerk Maher.

Maher's presence in the race put in jeopardy two seating trustees and allies, Edward Schussler and Patricia Gira, backed by McLaughlin. They are running on the Orland Park United Slate along with newcomer Carole Ruzich, an unknown name.

Gorman is backing the candidates of the Fiscal Voices for Orland slate including John BrudnakMolly McAvoy Flynn and Steven Williams. Gorman's backing has given these three candidates voter power and the edge. Also running are independents Tom CunninghamJohn Fotopoulos and a name from the past, Rich Kelly. Kelly, according to CapitolFax, is a cousin of former Cook County Assessor James Houlihan and Kelly serves as the Orland Township Assessor. (How many jobs can one guy hold?)

In the Orland Fire Protection District, Gorman's backed candidates include Christopher Evoy and Blair Rhode, seeking to replace Maher, who is both a trustee on the board and its president, and Maher ally Salvatore CacciatoJanice Brooks is also running.

Maher Withdraws from Fire District Race

"I'm Honored to have Served"

Orland Park, IL - Patrick Maher, president of the Orland Fire Protection District announced today he will not seek re-election to the board of trustees and is withdrawing his name from the April 5th ballot. Maher stated, "I gave the issue of running for another term a lot of thought, discussed it with my wife, Karrie, and my father, and decided that after eight years on the board, it's time to focus on my family and their needs."

Maher listed some accomplishments that the board made during his stewardship. "I've worked closely with the board members and fire chief to bring greater productivity and efficiencies to the department. I'm most proud of the fact that we simultaneously returned over $4 million to the taxpayers while improving OPFD's Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating to class 2," Maher said. The district's class 2 ISO rating places it within the top 3 percent of the best fire departments in the United States. "As a small business owner and homeowner, I always felt an obligation to provide the best service without imposing a bigger tax burden," Maher said.

Maher thanked his colleagues on the board, Chief Bryant Krizik, the firefighters and staff for working so hard to improve the district's performance during his time as president.

On a personal note, Maher said, "My wife and family went through a lot during the Cook County Commissioner's race and I couldn't ask them to endure another grueling political campaign." Maher ran unsuccessfully last November for Cook County Commissioner (17th District) against Commissioner Liz Gorman. "Karrie and I are glad not to rehash the same old issues that campaigns tend to bring. For the kid's sake and ours, it's time to move on," Maher said. "I'm honored to have served and glad to leave the district in good financial shape and among the best in the country," Maher stated.