A leopard cannot change its’ spots

leopard_changes_its_spots

It has been said that a leopard cannot change its’ spots nor can a person change their basic character.

The current political situation in Morton Grove makes it imperative that we remember some of what our current politicians have done in the past and take a close look at what they are doing right now.

In 2005 the current village President wanted to run in a primary election. To do so required a certain amount of signatures collected in a certain way. It was suspected that Mr. DiMaria did not follow the law and his petitions for candidacy were challenged, (see Cook County Board of Elections decision 05 CEOB TC 05 Niles Decision-DiMaria 05COEB TC 05 )  As a result of this challenge Mr. DiMaria was removed from the primary election ballot…

05 CEOB TC 05 DiMaria Decision

Why is what happened in a ten year old election board decision important? Because a leopard cannot change its’ spots and now Mr. DiMaria is one of the political bosses involved in the current election cycle. Tactics are being used that seem to indicate that, indeed, things are “business as usual” regardless of ethical considerations.

For example, Mr. DiMaria was a circulator and signator on petitions for the current Action Party candidates. How can we be sure that he followed the rules in this case when he admitted that he did not follow them in his own election ten years ago? A leopard cannot change its’ spots nor can a person change their basic character.

Political signs are showing up on the fences of construction sites and on properties that are currently vacant or in foreclosure…

AP Signs on construction001     APSigns construction sites 003

Action signs- Menard-South Park 2015 006   Action signs Mango-SouthPark 007

The question here needs to be asked, with Action Party signs plastered all over several construction sites in Morton Grove, what are the chances of code enforcement  or work stoppage on these projects, even in the case of egregious violations?

There have been reports of village staff, (paid out of tax dollars), questioning the placement of opposition signs on private property. Since when is it legal, (let alone ethical), to use village staff employees as political enforcers on the taxpayers dime? Shades of Chicago-style machine politics. Is it ethical or legal behavior on the part of political bosses Grear and DiMaria? A leopard cannot change its’ spots nor can a person change their basic character.

In a previous editorial, we pointed out a troubling juxtaposition between political donations and businesses doing business with the village,(See “Ethics, we don’t need no stinking ethics in Morton Grove News”). There is an ethics ordinance in the village that prohibits political donations from businesses doing a certain dollar volume with Morton Grove, yet the ordinance is notable only in its’ lack of observance. Groot, (the exclusive residential garbage collection folks for Morton Grove) for example was a sponsor for the Action Party golf outing, and yet sitting trustee and party boss Grear accepted the check with the apparent consent of party boss DiMaria. More Chicago-style “pay-for-play” politics. A leopard cannot change its’ spots, nor can a person change their basic character!

Grandiose public relations announcements; the appearance of business shakedowns; squandering of public funds on “consultants” instead of a solid financial strategy; retread political cronies slated for public office in place of independent public servants; elected officials up to their ears in Chicago-style machine politics… this is what passes for leadership in Morton Grove today.

Morton Grovers, you deserve better.

one party rule

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I would never lie to you!

geico-pinocchio-bad-motivational-speaker-commercial

SOURCE: http://mortongrove.chicagotribune.com/2015/01/12/prairie-view-plaza-owners-coming-morton-grove-village-pushing-grocery-national-retailers/

On January 12, 2015 there was an article in the Morton Grove Champion reporting that the owners of Prairie View shopping Center were coming in from Canada to meet with Village President DiMaria on January 15th. “It’s a good spot for a grocery store that complements the surrounding area, and we need a good $20-a-plate outlet restaurant, such as Carraba’s*,” DiMaria said.

DiMaria announced the owners’ visit Jan. 8 at a public meeting called to have consultant John Houseal present the findings of the village’s strategic plan. His comments came in response to a citizen who asked at the meeting what had happened after reports last May announced a Meijer grocery store might fill the space Dominick’s vacated. Nothing has materialized yet.

“What Happened”?

Just like all of the announcements from Dan DiMaria, nothing has materialized yet.

Just more talk and  more promises as his term as Village president wanes down.   The Village President always seems to tout how things are going to happen and then Nothing has materialized.

If anything good came of the meeting the Mayor certainly would have been posting it on all of the Village light post with his picture on top saying “I Dan DiMaria Did this!”

DiMaria@capitol

Two years in his term and what is there to show for it?

More people working at Village than ever before trying to make thing happen or just to promote DiMaria .

Maybe we need more studies more consultants!

Political Boss DiMaria has hired more in the past  two years than all the past Mayors combined.   

We need results not big announcements and then silence.  It is really just All  talk  Mr.DiMaria.

Is this why you and party boss Grear dropped Maria Thoth & Shel Marcus from the ticket? Because they started to ask questions.

Morton Grove deserves leadership, not political boss control.

one party rule

Transparency dies in darkness

On December 15, 2014 Morton Grove News ran an editorial about the administration’s desire to contract with yet another consultant regarding the proposed new police station and a possible new village hall.

Yesterday, Morton Grove News received the following comment on that editorial:

  1. G. Resident says:
    January 14, 2015 at 8:08 am

I was sitting in the former Police Chief’s office discussing the new Police Station when “Mayor” DiMaria called and told him to stop all work with the consultants who were preparing an outline of requirements for the architectural quote. The new Police Station was pretty far down the pike with property being researched, vetted, consultant studies performed on the locations’ viability, land purchased, funding arrangements made with minions at the County and State level and even two other Police agencies (METRA and Cook County Forest Preserve District) had expressed interest in “renting” space inside the new facility for their officers to use.

No explanation was given at the time why to cease and desist. The former Police Chief did a lot of work on his own to make things happen because of the constant foot dragging of the Mayor, Corporation Counsel and Village Administrator.

The taxpayers need to know that if this call was not made when it was there would probably have been a ribbon cutting ceremony taking place next month at the new Police Station on Lehigh. Many of us believe that the decision to stop work on the new Police station was a contributing factor in the former Chief’s decision to retire.”

This new information motivates us to ask the following questions:

  1. If all of this work was already done, why would the administration hire yet another consultant to redo work that had already been done and paid for out of tax dollars?
  2. Does a Village President have the sole power to stop an ongoing project without the input of the village board and without an opportunity for public input?
  3. Since the village has already purchased this piece of property, why is there a buzz going around that the administration has a plan to locate the new “cop shop” and a new village hall at the rear of Prairie View Plaza?
  4. Is that desire part of the plan for the discussion when the Canadian owners of Prairie View come to Morton Grove on Thursday 1-15-2015?
  5. Why isn’t the village board doing what is necessary to curb the overreach of power by the village president?

It seems as though we have a situation where some of our politicians like to do things in the dark and out of sight of the residents. Cockroaches and rats like to operate in the dark and scatter when the light is shined on the situation…

cockroach

Let us shine a bright light here for the good of Morton Grove… we’re likely to see the cockroaches & rats scatter.

2 rats

Restaurant-Style Easy Baked Potato Soup

With the north winds blowing, snow swirling and temperatures below OMG, now is the best time to think about a nice
bowl of hot soup.
Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
2 potatoes
3 tablespoons margarine
2 cups chopped white onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups instant mashed potato flakes
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
8 ounces bacon – cooked and crumbled
2 green onions, chopped

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake potatoes for 1 hour, or until done. Set aside to cool.
-Melt butter in a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions until tender and golden brown. Stir in flour,
and cook 5 minutes to make a roux.
-Pour in chicken stock and water.
-Add cornstarch and mashed potato flakes.
-Season with salt, pepper, basil and thyme.
-Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.
-Remove the skin from the cooled potatoes, and discard.
-Dice the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes, and stir into soup, along with the half-and-half.
-Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until thick.
-Spoon into bowls, and garnish with shredded cheese, bacon and chopped green onion.

ENJOY!

soup nazi

We are the Borg of Morton Grove

 

borg

In a letter to the Morton Grove Champion 12-30-2014, Action Party secretary Terri Cousar said, in part; “The Action Party started over 40 years ago with the goal of listening to the residents and working together for the best interests of Morton Grove. National political affiliations don’t matter(1). We are, and have always been, “inclusive,” and by that I mean we have often sought out and encouraged people who ran against us in the past to join us.

Mayor DiMaria’s (2), election in 2013 spurred many new people to get involved in village government(3)…”

(1) http://www.russstewart.com/articles/2005/01-26-2005.html “Two-term (1997-2005) incumbent Mayor Dan Scanlon is retiring… Scanlon’s predecessor was Dick Flickinger (1977-97), a Democrat and Sutker ally, whose Action Party was really an adjunct to the Caucus Party/Democratic Party.”

(2) Morton Grove does not have a Mayor, it has a Village President.

(3) Niles Bugle Thursday, December 23, 2004 Letter to the editor from (then) Trustee and Action Party President Dan DiMaria: “This letter is in response to the Morton Grove Caucus Party and their 11th hour attempt to confuse the residents of Morton Grove into thinking they could turn the 2005 budget from having a potential shortfall into a huge surplus. It became clear to me that Mr. Krier is more interested in his own political gain than the good of the people of Morton Grove… By the way, I ran for trustee because I was and still am tired of “typical” politicians

2005 Caucus Party candidates:

From the 2005 Caucus Party Brochure:

Brunner + Minx 2009Caucus 2005-Time for a change

It sounds like the Morton Grove Action Party has more in common with the old Chicago Democratic machine or the Borg from Star Trek than it does with a non-partisan group of small town folks looking out for the residents of the village.

 

The Borg were a pseudo-species of cybernetic beings, or cyborgs, from the Delta Quadrant. No single individual truly existed within the Borg Collective, as all Borg were linked into a hive mind. Their ultimate goal was the forcible assimilation of diverse sentient species, technologies, and knowledge. As a result, the Borg were among the most powerful and feared entities in the galaxy, without really being a true species at all.

So, Ms. Cousar,

one party rule

Ethics? We don’t need no stinkin’ ethics!

New action party

 

The fact that something is legal doesn’t make it ethical.

Let’s make the case explicitly, and explain why legality doesn’t determine ethics.

First, we can proceed by enumerating a few counter-examples:

  1. Most kinds of lying are perfectly legal, but lying is generally recognized as being unethical;
  2. Breaking promises is generally legal, but is widely thought of as unethical;
  3. Cheating on your husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend is legal, but unethical, though the rule against it is perhaps more honored in the breach;
  4. …and so on.

So, if you want to hold that what is legal is also ethical, you’ve got to bite an awful lot of bullets, and accept as ethical a lot of behaviors that you very likely don’t want to accept.

The following contributions to the Morton Grove Action Party are probably legal, but you decide if they are ethical:

SOURCE: http://www.elections.il.gov/campaigndisclosure/ItemizedContrib.aspx?FiledDocID=543879&ContributionType=Individual+Contributions&Archived=True&OrderBy=LastorOnlyName-AtoZ&ItemizedContribFrom=D2Quarterly.aspx

Campaign contributions Morton grove Action Party

A-1 Contractors                                120 E Marquardt Dr Wheeling, IL 60090 $500.00

Do these folks do business with the village?

Advanced Dentistry        5821 Dempster St Morton Grove, IL 60053 $400.00

Aren’t these forks subject to inspection by the village?

Bill‘s Complete Landscaping Service, Inc              6100 W Oakton St Morton Grove, IL 60053 $250.00

Do these folks provide services to the village?

Chasers Sports Bar & Grill, Inc   9003 N Milwaukee Ave Niles, IL 60714 $550.00
Why would a Niles gin mill contribute to a political party in Morton Grove?

Loyal Order of Moose Morton Grove Lodge #376  6419 Chestnut St Morton Grove, IL 60053 $500.00
This is a 501(c)3 organization that is prohibited by law to engage in political activity

Lundin, Ron    6902 Church St Morton Grove, IL 60053     $250.00
Owner of Linn-Mar Towing which holds the exclusive towing & impound contract with the village

Marino Real Estate, Inc.    5800 Dempster St. Morton Grove, IL 60053     $550.00
The real estate business is regulated by the village.

McGrath Imports, Inc    9105 Waukegan Rd Morton Grove, IL 60053     $250.00
Yet another Morton Grove business regulated by the village

Mitchell Insurance Agency, Inc.    9140 Waukegan Rd Morton Grove, IL 60053     $650.00
Does this agency do business with the village?

Northwest Realty Group, Inc    7174 Dempster St Morton Grove, IL 60053     $50.00
Another realtor making political contributions.

 Northwest Realty Group, Inc    7174 Dempster St Morton Grove, IL 60053     $500.00
Apparently $50 wasn’t enough so the multiplied it by ten!

Restore Construction    11241 Melrose Ave Franklin Park, IL 60131     $1,000.00
Why would a construction company in Franklin Park contribute a cool “G” to a Morton Grove political party?

Citizens For Lou Lang     PO Box 1815 Skokie, IL 60076 $200.00
The fund raising arm of the Niles Township Democrats influencing Morton Grove politics?

El-Mech, Inc       8700 Waukegan Rd Morton Grove, IL 60053 $500.00
Why would an electronic component company contribute to a political party? Do they do business with the village?

Gene A Eich, LTD              6032 N Lincoln Ave Morton Grove, IL 60053 $165.00; $250.00
What is this Morton Grove attorney’s relationship with a Morton Grove political party. Does he do legal work for, or has been an adversary to the village?

Grendys, Charles             4318 W Carroll Ave Chicago, IL 60624-1705 $350.00
This is a co-owner of Fear City, a business that is regulated by the village and also does business with the village.

Right-Way Rescue       5915 Lincoln Ave Morton Grove, IL 60053 $500.00
This is  a 501(c)3 charitable animal shelter that relies on tax deductable donations.

This violates their non-profit status to write a $500 check to a political party. 

Action Party Golf sponsors01Sponsored the Golf Outing

 

wright way 002

Got a zoning exemption for an over sized sign

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pigs at the money trough
ThePoliticalMachine-2

You can read the code of ethics and see that with the exception of the 501(c)3 charitable organization, the businesses were within the law to make the contributions. It is somewhat questionable if the politicians were within the law to accept them.

Village of Morton Grove Municipal Code: 1-8-12: CODE OF ETHICS:

  1.  Prohibition Of Political Contributions:
  2.   Any person or business entity whose contract(s), and pending bids for contract(s) with the village of Morton Grove in aggregate annually total more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) shall be prohibited from making any contributions to: a) a political organization established to promote a candidacy of an elected village official, or a declared candidate for an elected village office, b) an elected official, or c) a declared candidate for an elected village office in excess of one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) per year per official, declared candidate, or political organization. This prohibition shall be effective for the duration of the term of office of the elected official, or for two (2) years after the date of the election for a declared candidate for an elected village office, whichever is longer.
  3.   A political organization established to promote a candidacy of an elected official or a declared candidate, an elected official, or a declared candidate shall not knowingly accept a campaign contribution in excess of one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) per year from any person, business entity whose contracts and pending bids for contracts with the village of Morton Grove in aggregate annually total more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00). This prohibition shall be effective for the duration of the term of office of the elected official, or for two (2) years after the date of the election for a declared candidate for an elected village office, whichever is longer.

The most striking effect of the Morton Grove Ethics ordinance is in its’ lack of enforcement. It could be because the chief ethics enforcement officer is the part-time village attorney who is very active in the political party to which all of the current elected officials are beholden. It seems as if it is a classic case of the fox guarding the hen house.

A P foxes in the hen house

The most important effects of 2014’s donations of money will come after Election Day. The influence bought by donors will remain. All of the politicians can be counted on to remember the favors that donors did for them.

How will those debts be repaid? How can we be sure that it won’t come at the expense of Morton Grove residents, who can’t afford to buy influence? The answers are the same as they’ve always been. Transparency through real-time reporting , vigilance by the public and the press. And an insistence that our representatives be held accountable.

Based upon recent actions by this administration, we hold out little hope.

Russian Mushroom & Sour Cream with Bacon Casserole

A Mushroom casserole

Russian Mushrooms in Sour Cream & Bacon Casserole

This one is a Russian favorite for special occasions, and conveniently very easy to make (it looks good too).  The recipe presented here is the most elementary one, and there are quite a few variations out there. So feel free to be creative.

Ingredients (4 servings)

1 lb portabello mushrooms (wild mushrooms are better).
1 medium onion
2 tbs butter
1 tbs all purpose flour
8 oz sour cream
6-9 oz shredded Farmers cheese or Cheddar cheese (or your favorite)
4 oz bacon (optional, can substitute any other meat as well)
Salt and pepper to taste

Start by chopping up the mushrooms and onions. Wild mushrooms would have been used in Russia, which you can actually find canned in ethnic stores.  If none are available, baby bella mushrooms will suffice.

Melt the butter in a skillet and toss in the mushrooms.  Cook the mushrooms on medium-high heat for a few minutes and add the onion, salt, and pepper.

Keep cooking on medium-high heat until the onions have caramelized and mushrooms are tender.

Sprinkle with a flour and mix in the sour cream.

Transfer the mixture into any oven safe dish or a ramekin.

Sprinkle the mushrooms with coarse chunks of bacon and top with a layer of shredded cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven to 10-15 minutes or until the cheese on top has melted.

Enjoy!

Morton Grove, best place to raise a family?

In July of 2007 Family Circle Magazine named Morton Grove as one of the 10 Best Towns in the U.S. for families.

http://evanced.nileslibrary.org/research/Newspapers/NilesBugle/2007/07_19_2007.pdf

At the end of 2011, Business week named Morton Grove the 3rd. best place in the U.S. to raise kids:

http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/20111115/the-best-places-to-raise-your-kids-2012#slide14
“The No. 3 best place to raise your kids in the U.S. Morton Grove, a suburb about 15 miles from Chicago, is part of a park district that comprises 14 parks totaling more than 70 acres, two outdoor pools, a museum, four field houses, a 50,000-square-foot community center, and an outdoor ice rink, according to Morton Grove Park District. The village is home to several high-performing schools, including Hynes Elementary School, Park View Elementary School, Golf Middle School, and Melzer School, according to greatschools.org. ”

If you look back in Morton Grove’s history, it was not always so…

♠ Roadhouses thrived during Prohibition (1920–1933) in rural areas near Chicago. Roadhouses varied from small, sleazy taverns to big, fancy nightclubs with name dance bands and floor shows. Many served food, but the big attraction was being able to drink illegal beer or liquor. “The Outfit” or syndicates distributed the illicit booze and controlled many roadhouses where recognized customers could get served.  The Dells and Lincoln Tavern in Morton Grove, were among the biggest and best known.

♠ On October 25, 1931, the unbelievable happened. Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion and sentenced to ten years in prison. That same day Matt Kolb was killed at his speakeasy gambling club, the Club Morton on the corner of Dempster and Ferris Road.

♠March 25, 1935 a tragic fire took six lives at Club Rendezvous in Morton Grove.

♠ February 17, 1947 William Vogel, (dubbed the slot machine king of the north side), surrenders to the court on an indictment of conspiracy to operate gambling equipment in Morton Grove.

And, if you think about it, the more things change, the more they stay the same…

All-InnAll Inn

Top row: “ALL INN on Dempster”

Bottom row:  “BIGGIES on Oakton” This is kitty-corner from Niles North H.S.

biggies 1biggies 2

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2005-09-16/news/0509160192_1_otb-parlors-niles-betting


Regulators hit “bad apples” in video gambling.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-05-30/news/ct-video-poker-blacklist-met-0530-20140530_1_video-gambling-top-gambling-regulator-video-poker-companies

Video Poker Protections Questioned
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-10-06/news/ct-met-video-poker-regulation-20131006_1_video-gambling-nicky-nichols-illinois-gaming-board

More Suburbs Betting On Video Poker
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-02-07/news/ct-met-video-poker-reversals-20130207_1_video-poker-bans-suburbs

Gaming Board Targets Video Poker Loopholes
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-11-22/news/ct-video-poker-rules-met-1122-20131122_1_video-poker-video-gambling-slot-machines

And, after the “Tilted Kilt” project was withdrawn in Morton Grove, we now have Playboy Bunnies…

Bringer Playboy
Bringer Inn on Ferris

I wonder whether Business Week would consider Morton Grove as a good place to raise a family in 2015?  

  MG-neon_gal