First things first - Peg haffey is a breath of fresh air. I believe she said the Savanna City Council are stewards of our money. They should take a cue from her. Lets not forget Jeff Griswold at the last council meeting. I said he must have been the only one not overcome by the white-out fumes. He said all the right things, but he was ignored and was hushed by our Mayor. Mayor Stebbins points out there is an item for a million dollars for street repairs on the budget and he is afraid they would run out of hours real quick if they had a public forum each time. I’ve got news for you, mayor. We all agree it was long past due. And most would agree you should add another million to street repairs instead of investing into “Stebbins Folly.” Here is a little news for Chief Moon: If you have been working on a project since 1996, maybe it should not materialize. Maybe there is a reason. Scrap it!
Did anyone take the time to check out City Offices in neighboring towns? Mt. carroll has an older remodeled building, obviously not $700,000. How are they going to manage?
How about that Open House! Who ever heard of having an open house from 9 am to 12 on a work day? Yes, there are still people that work. No, not in Savanna because there are no jobs. Most people have to travel 30 to 40 miles to secure a job. Are you concerned? Obviously not. Now, getting back to the meeting and those hours: I believe the mayor was hosting for that older “appliance buying” group that they could snow. I’ve got news for you, you will be footing the bill, not that age group. But maybe the charm will attract a few charitable donations. Maybe that was the point of the strange hours, or maybe it was Larry’s solution for crowd control. Then, we didn’t have to have one of our many police officers down there, did we? I suggested this to one of our councilmen the other night. Let’s see what he does with it. He might not know how to go about it because he will be saving money, not spending.
Macomb, Illinois, where they have a fairly decent population and Western Illinois University, have decided to get rid of their entire police force. Yes, folks, more towns are doing this, and we are filling vacancies of retiring officers. I bet our police force costs us more than a million dollars in four years. Hiring the County has to be cheaper when you consider pensions, health benefits, cars, wages. etc.
This is not the US Government in action. This is a small town, depressed for sure. But we can’t operate like the govt. did when they buried computers, brand new ones, so they could get newer ones. I can guarantee the council is not burying computers, but they are burying us in debt.
Is it just me, but when they are discussing 3% raises, I wonder what planet they are from. Everyday, i talk to people across the country that have lost jobs, trying to exist, trying to stay afloat, but our council is deaf to this. Evidently they are blind, too, because the letters to the editor would cause even a disinterested person to think. The key word is THINK. Have you heard of a ceiling on wages? I believe the highest paid person in the building should be the Chief of Police. After all, he is the one with the gun. But I will bet not. Do I remember correctly, that there is a clothing allowance, isn’t there? $300 - is that yearly per person? I believe so. Maybe they should use that money to buy “long johns” and stay where they are.
I will bet there are a couple of people employed there that are in contention with Pres. Obama salary-wise. I just asked the other day if a city could go bankrupt. JD Gundlach touched on that in his letter (Horror Story, March 31, 20201), and I think it is scary that the tax increase he mentioned is going to be really high because no one will be left to share the burden.
I have also asked about what a “no confidence” vote is. Sounds like it would work here. No matter what it is, it seems appropriate. If elected, can we remove them by petition if they are recklessly blowing our money in these tough economic times? Let’s see how the minutes read and the newspaper reports the meeting banter, and then we will have an idea how many petitions we need to pick up. I bet we could ask the city attorney what we could do about this. You know, the attorney from galena that our city pays. And then he takes that check and spends it in Galena.
Remember SHOP SAVANNA? Respond now, or forever hold your peace and pay higher taxes.
A Veteran Helping a Veteran
I have been in the Veterans Assistance Commission (VAC) office for a year. It has been a good year. Approximately 775 Veterans stopped for assistance, such as health care or spousal benefits.
I reached out to 175 Veterans and their families by doing presentations to local Veterans groups, the members of which are my eyes and ears in the community.
My goal is to reach out to the Veteran, or spouse of the lost Veteran. There are many forms of help available to them that they may not be aware of.
Any organization in the community that would like me to do a presentation for is encouraged to contact me. This includes non-Veteran organizations as well. Townships, Churches, Chamber of Commerce groups, or any other types of organizations would feel free to contact me to set up a presentation so you may see what the VAC can do for you and/or your people.
Also, Veterans, or families of deceased Veterans, who have lost or cannot find their DD-214 discharge papers - we can help. It is also a good idea to have that DD-214 registered at the Courthouse “just in case.” We can also help with that.
The VAC held their first quarter meeting on March 18. We had a good turnout, and we’re looking foe a better turnout on June 17, as I’m sure that many of you reading this will be interested in coming out to see what we’re about.
Our motto is, “A Veteran Helping a Veteran.” That starts with you, so please come show your support and share your ideas.
Claude (Butch) Lease
Special People in Milledgeville
I am trying to reach some “Special People” with ties to Milledgeville - to say Thank You!
On Friday, April 1 (no April Fools joke), I was on my way to my son’s for Easter. At the intersection of Rt. 64 and 26, I had slowed down to turn, when smoke started to come out from under the hood! I turned off the ignition. grabbed my dog and purse, and ran across the highway, hoping I was far enough away if it blew.
A nice lady in a van stopped to see if I was OK, and did I have a fire extinguisher, which I did not.
She flagged a trucker, and he had seen what was happening, but couldn’t stop that fast. But, Bless him, he turned around at the next intersection and came back. By then, a young man with a pickup truck had stopped also.
To make a long story short, it was steam that was billowing out, not smoke. Thank God!
The trucker’s name was Chad, and he called on his own cell phone for a flatbed truck from Chessy’s, and asked them to look at it and determine how bad the problem was, as I was traveling. The young man with the pickup stayed with me until the tow truck arrived. His last name was “Schreiner,” and his Dad lives in Milledgeville. He lives in Leaf River and works in Rockford.
Bushman’s (Chessy’s) did a great job and got a radiator from Sterling. They had the Jeep fixed in a matter of hours! The man that towed me in, even shared a sandwich with me.
My heart-felt thanks to these Good Samaritans who cared enough to stop and help me!
The white-haired lady with the little dog,
A Joke That’s Not Funny
Instead of fixing the roads, Savanna is building a New City Hall. Instead of fixing the streets, Savanna is building a New City Hall. Instead of fixing our sewer problems, Savanna is building a New City Hall. Instead of doing anything in preparation of the prison opening, Savanna is building a New City Hall. For what, because you need more room? It’s cold in the winter? The roof leaks? These are all good reasons to spend $600,000+. Savanna and its City Government are becoming a joke that’s not funny. Not only here, but in the surrounding communities as well and I don’t think that’s funny either.
I always thought that when the Savanna Marina was built, they got rid of the City Dump. However, as I was driving around, I realized they didn’t get rid of it; it was just relocated to different homes throughout the City. When I asked Chief Moon about the problem he stated that “Now that the snow has melted, I can see some of the problems areas”. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but snow melts ever year and some of these homes have looked like dumps for several years.
You can find boarded up windows, rusty motorcycles, inoperable vehicles with no valid plates filled with junk, old golf carts, beds, mattresses, tires, broken fences, carpet remnants and anything else one might find at a dump can be found on porches, in front yards, back yards, and side yards at some of these houses. You can go out the back door of one of the churches and be faced with piles of junk and collapsing sheds: How attractive! And no, it’s not the responsibility of church groups, or Boy Scouts or whoever you’re waiting for to clean up this mess. It’s the homeowners’ responsibility to keep their property clean and if they aren’t going to do it, it’s the City’s responsibility to see that it gets done.
The City needs an ordinance that makes property owners maintain their property to a certain standard and it you already have one, you ought to damn well enforce it. Issue tickets with fines and follow up on them. If the property isn’t cleaned up within a certain time period, double the fine. If any of you are unfortunate enough to live next to one of these “dumps” don’t ask the City to do something, DEMAND it. If you don’t demand it, nothing will be done and your property values will go right down the toilet if they haven’t already.
According to Chief Moon, a New City Hall is something they’ve been working on since 1996. Maybe if the City had been working on fixing the streets since 1996 they wouldn’t be in the shape they’re in. All of this garbage, collapsing garages and sheds are eyesores and safety hazards, to say the least, if not health hazards. Apparently, the City Council isn’t concerned about the safety and/or health of the City’s residents. Did you know Savanna is one of the only towns, if not the only town, in this area that doesn’t have a tornado warning system! What’s wrong with that picture?
Why not offer incentives to individuals to clean up/fix up their property? If someone wants to paint their house or do minor repairs let them do it without making them purchase a permit. If, according to John, $600,000 is just a drop in the bucket, the City certainly doesn’t need a paltry permit fee. What’s the permit for anyway? Nothing is ever inspected by anyone other than the Ordinance Officer and then his work is never followed by tickets and/ or fines. The Ordinance Officer doesn’t get paid enough and there aren’t enough hours in the day for him to inspect and issue warnings to all the properties in Savanna that need cleaning up. Why not have a full-time Ordinance Officer, or do people only violate ordinances in the summer months? I forgot, everything is snow covered during the winter. What’s a commercial fishing business doing operating in a residential area? The stink and flies have to be terrible. It seems as if the only time you can get them to do anything is when it benefits them. If it’s to benefit the entire city, they just don’t care.
Mayor Stebbins says there is a million dollars in next year’s budget for street repair. The entire budgets for 2009 and 2010 were each approximately $1,200,000. Now, all of a sudden there is money to almost double a single year’s budge! Where did they come up with that kind of money? If City Hall can come up with this figure for next year why couldn’t they have come up with it for last year or this year? The $600,000+ for more office space would also go a long way toward fixing a couple of streets or sewer lines.
Savanna is located in an economically depressed area since we lost the depot and most of the rail business. The City and City Council can’t just sit back and be happy with the status quo. Things aren’t what they were years ago. The City doesn’t have the monies coming in the way it used to. It’s ludicrous to spend $600,000+, simply to provide more space, and forget what’s important. Where that money is coming from has yet to be explained. It’s pure stupidity for anyone to believe that new space is more important than decent streets, decent sewer lines, a decent sewer plant and decent neighborhoods.
Again, I ask how the City can fix the streets before they fix what’s underneath the streets, unless this is another band-aid on an open wound. Maybe they intend to put a temporary fix on again to buy time like they have for the last several years. Sooner or later a water pipe is going to break or a sewer line is going to collapse and the street will have to be torn up to repair it.
Mayor Stebbins worries about the “criminal element” he says Poopy hires at times for crowd control. I’m telling you that what this City and City Councils, both past and present, are doing, or I should say not doing, to the town is almost criminal.
On a happier note, it’s nice to see some private citizens doing something to improve this town in spite of what the City is not doing. Some individuals have purchased property north of the bridge and are getting the land ready to build some nice homes. Another individual has torn down the old roller rink to get the property ready for new dwellings. The bank buildings look great. The museum is taking shape. Congratulations to all of you. It’s a start. Something has to be done to attract quality residents and businesses to Savanna when the prison opens. A new Village Hall isn’t going to do it.
Illinois Lawsuit Loan Sharks?
Stop This Latest Trial Lawyer Bill
From the Institute for Legal Reform
Illinois’ reputation for lawsuit abuse hurts our jobs climate.
The last thing we need are measures in Springfield that would encourage trial lawyers to file more lawsuits.
So then why are our state legislators considering a law that would do just that?
This wrongheaded bill (S.B. 3322) would legimitize a new “lawsuit lending” industry in Illinois — creating new “lawsuit loan sharks” who loan money to help people file lawsuits.
More Illinois lawsuits? That’s the last thing we need.
This bill has passed the Senate and is pending in the State House: click here to email your state representatives today to oppose the “Lawsuit Loan Shark” bill.
A recent Harris survey of major employers found that Illinois has the sixth-worst lawsuit climate in America.
The majority of survey respondents also said a state’s lawsuit climate affects important decisions, such as where to locate or do business.
Right now, Illinois needs more jobs. We certainly don’t need more lawsuits.
Aside from encouraging more lawsuits in Illinois, this bill raises several additional questions:
Are trial lawyers and plaintiffs making decisions about their lawsuits based on the interest of the law — or the interest of getting a return for their lawsuit lender?
Is the bill aimed at actually helping injured parties — or creating more profits for trial lawyers and lawsuit lenders?
Will this legislation encourage inflated lawsuit settlements?
So many ethical questions about a bill clearly designed to benefit trial lawyers and newly-created lawsuit lenders.
We need to make sure this bill gets stopped in the State House.
The Institute for Legal Reform is an advocacy group working to end lawsuit abuse. ILR is a national campaign of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with the critical mission of making America’s legal system simpler, faster, and fairer for everyone.
By Jim Sacia, State Representative 89th District
I served with him on the Winnebago County Board, and my good friend Chuck Jefferson (D-Rockford) and I have teamed up on many pieces of legislation in the House. Such is the case with House Bill 6195 that was presented in the Judicial-Criminal Law Committee on March 22nd.
I believe the bill is common sense. It increases, by one class, the penalties for soliciting for a sexual act, soliciting a prostitute, soliciting a juvenile prostitute, patronizing a prostitute, patronizing a juvenile prostitute, and pimping.
The procedure in committee is that individuals and groups, who want their feelings known, sign in, fill out a witness slip, and testify in support or opposition to a bill. It’s democracy at its finest. On the 22nd, an organization I hadn’t heard of came to the committee hearing to testify against our bill - Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) from Chicago. Now it doesn’t take the brightest bulb in the circuit to figure out that these are the ladies and gentlemen of Chicago’s nightlife. One young lady stated that increasing penalties for solicitation would ruin the lives of first time offenders. She said that one solicitation conviction could result in the loss of license or professional certification for military personnel, security guards, police officers, lawyers, doctors, educators, state workers, paralegals and bonded drivers. I was somewhat dumbfounded. Was I hearing this right?
She went on to inject race into her argument, stating that this legislation will “put more working class African American and Latino men in prison. Current law targets street workers. These new penalties will simply target those who are already economically marginalized.” Ladies and Gentlemen, you can’t make this stuff up. She summarized that increasing penalties will “cost the taxpayers without increasing safety. Additional felony convictions will increase prison populations at a time when the state desperately needs to reduce the prison population.”
This is just nuts. I always advocate the need for lobbyists, but as for these folks, they can return to Chicago and do what they do best. Representative Jefferson’s bill is a good one that deserves to pass.
Another bill that deserves mention is House Bill 6123 authored by my good friend Harry Osterman (D-Chicago). Harry is well known for carrying anti-second amendment bills for Chicago’s Mayor Daley. I have never supported his anti-gun bills and I speak passionately against them. House Bill 6123 is a different story. The legislation makes it a Class 1 Felony to “knowingly sell or give any firearm to any person who is a known street gang member.” Though the NRA (of which I am a lifetime member) opposes the bill, I have signed on as the chief co-sponsor. My motivation is a lifetime in law enforcement.
Think about it this way folks - the only reason you would knowingly sell a gun to a gang banger is so that gang banger can shoot people. This is not a Second Amendment issue. It’s common sense legislation and I challenge the NRA on this one.
As always, you can reach me, Sally or Barb at 815/232-0774 or e-mail us at email@example.com. You can also visit my website at www.jimsacia.com. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.