Shennigans in Chicago’s 5th District

Upon hearing that Rahm Emanuel would be resigning his 5th Congressional District seat to serve as President Obama’s Chief of Staff in Washington, D.C., Rosanna Pulido decided to put herself in the running. Ms. Pulido, assisted by friends and acquaintances, and after collecting 702 signatures, filed to run as a Republican congressional candidate on Monday, January 19th. This done, Rosanna planned to be listed as a candidate on the March 3rd Primary ballot, at which time a Democrat and a Republican candidate will be selected to face off against each other to replace Rahm Emanuel in Congress.

Joshua Hoyt, as a private citizen and constituent of the 5th Congressional District, is now challenging Ms. Pulido’s petitions claiming that 516 of her 702 signatures are not valid. Of interest is that Mr. Hoyt serves as the Director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Given that Rosanna Pulido is the founder of the Illinois Minutemen Project, and that recently she worked for the anti-immigrant group FAIR in Washington, D.C., it would not be unreasonable to suspect that Mr. Hoyt is attempting to disqualify Ms. Pulido as a candidate.

Consider these comments in Josh Hoyt’s January 19th petition filing: “For years Ms. Pulido has opposed the immigration debate with her vitriol, preventing rational debate on reasonable solutions for our broken immigration system.”

It cannot be disputed that election laws represent the law of the land. Signatures should be valid with proper notarization. When commenting about the validity of Ms. Pulido’s gathered signatures, however, Hoyt once again “showed his cards” by stating that should Rosanna’s signatures prove faulty, “. . . the 5th Congressional District will be mercifully spared from her hateful rants in pursuit of her own political ambitions.”

I know of no finer person than Rosanna Pulido. As an intemperate opponent of illegal immigration and gay rights, she would bring a breath of fresh air to 5th Congressional District constituents. Chicago needs more candidates like Rosanna Pulido to challenge the corruption that is rampant in Chicago Machine Politics.

Mr. Hoyt’s challenge must be met head on. It seems obvious that at the root of Hoyt’s petition challenge is his dislike for Ms. Puildo’s stance on illegal immigration. This is America, Josh Hoyt, where freedom of speech exists and where voice of opposition must not be silenced.

 

 

 

 

Government largess

January 24, 2009

President Osama’s $1 trillion stimulus package, shaping up to be a giant Ponzi scheme, allocates money this nation doesn’t have. It would either have to be borrowed or printed (unbacked money). The result would net rampant inflation down the road and unsustainable debt for future generations.

Marketed as a way to spend ourselves out of this economic downturn, many Americans have been convinced that debt no longer matters and that the advancement of big government policies will produce a rosy outcome. Already Chicago’s Mayor Daley is dreaming of an open federal spigot of stimulus money to pay for new construction, land acquisitions and more government workers. All this in a city and state recognized nationally as rife with corruption and graft!

Not to be out bid, other city mayors and governors, labor unions and environmental groups — all beholden to the Democratic Party — are likewise lining up like pigs at a trough for a piece of pork from the large government slush fund. Such government largess will suck wealth, creativity and investment out of the private economy.

Lacking completion and accountability, the one-time-only stimulus monies are destined to frittered away. There will be many “roads to nowhere” built, along with rampant waste, fraud, and inferior service.

May Barack Obama have the wisdom to enact policies that will keep this nation strong and vibrant. FDR policies will not do. Five years into the New Deal, despite frantic spending, unemployment still stood at 17.2 percent. What this nation needs to grow its economy is less government, slashing business regulations and legislating tax cuts across the board.

This county could easily morph into a full-blown socialist society. I am concerned over Obama’s rhetoric and announced policies that promote government as the solution to all problems.

May President Barack Obama realize the importance of this nation’s Constitution and our constitutional form of government. It has served this country and its people well for over 230 years. Socialism has only brought misery and dissatisfaction in its wake wherever and whenever it has been tried.

 

 

 

While the world and much of this nation were fixated on events leading up to today’s inauguration of Barack Obama as our 44th president and Commander in Chief, it would be ungrateful not to salute President George W. Bush for his service to country these past eight years.

Many Americans are disrespectful of Bush, the man. Evident is a Bush derangement malady, while at the same time many Americans are waiting in joyful anticipation of the hope and change promised by Obama.

Even before listening to President Bush’s Farewell Speech on Thursday, January 16, there was no question in my mind about his legacy. Although I have had my disagreements with President Bush during his eight years in office, he has been a great Commander in Chief. He has kept this nation safe, so safe that the Iraq war ceased to be a campaign issue in the November 2008 elections.

President Bush realized that the strategies in place prior to 9/11 were no longer working. 9/11 was not of his choosing. It was a curve ball thrown at him. Bush’s mission was how to deter a repeat of the catastrophic happening. How was he to beat back Islamist terrorists whose extreme views had become an international religion of murder?

Although vilified for taking this nation to war in Iraq, Bush’s action did remove a ruthless dictator. Bush was told early on that war casualties would be astronomical. While we mourn every loss of an American military hero, the 4,000 U.S. combat deaths is a low figure compared to past wars.

It was Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who not long age declared that the war in Iraq had been lost. Other Democrats wanted to set a time table for withdrawal – just a nice term for surrender. Then candidate for President Barack Obama proudly proclaimed that he was against the Iraq war and the surge, even after the surge was declared an astounding success. Yet Bush soldiered on as our Commander-in-Chief. The citizens of Iraq now have a chance at self rule.

Despite false accusations of abuse at Guantanamo where the most dangerous terrorists are housed and the controversy over FISA — a bill written in 1970 which could not have anticipated camera phones which led to the Abu Ghraib scandal — President Bush continued to put in place those policies which he through could best protect this nation. Bush never as did FDR during WWII, round up ethnic people and put them in interment camps. Likewise Bush, although accused of doing so, never violated the civil liberties of the American people. He has also refused to allow our troops to be tried in an international court. He has also remained steadfast in his support of Israel.

Maybe he’s not the most gifted speaker, and perhaps President Bush can be faulted for his inability to explain better to the American people the nature of Iraq war and what its been all about. Nor did Bush get help from his fellow Republicans in Congress who should have been front and center in educating the American people, especially on why America went to war and how weapons of mass destruction was only one of many justifications.

In regard to the tremendous spending spree during the Bush years, it is regretful that Bush didn’t veto authority more often. But here again House Republicans were only too eager to bring home the bacon for their constituents.

The U.S. House under the leadership of Dennis Hasterd, doled out money and earmarks that made drunken sailors look responsible. This was all done under the false assumption that the public would reward Republicans with reelection in the 2006 elections.

 

History of course is still a blank slate for Barack Obama’s presidency. I do wish Barack Obama’s administration well, but not those policies which seem destined to weaken this nation economically, morally, and militarily.

The moral component was brought home to me this past Sunday when I participated in a “March for Life” sponsored by the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. Barack Obama has promised Planned Parenthood that one of his top priorities as President will be to sign the “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA) into law. May those who care about the erosion of moral values not be hesitant to express their concerns to all who will listen and especially to their elected officials.

For President Bush, a fair history about his failures and accomplishment is still years in the making. I feel certain, however, that history will conclude that the Iraq War was just and noble. Likewise, Bush’s Supreme Court picks of Alito and Roberts are a proud lasting legacy.

Americans should consider themselves lucky and blessed to have had President George Bush and Vice President Dick Chaney at the helm these past eight years, with leadership that strived to put the interests of this nation and its people first.

 

Previewing Obama’s World

History, evidence or reality seem not to matter. Presently there is unbelievable cold in Europe and all over America, even in hot spots, yet climate change — a win-win term — remains a matter of urgency among politicians. Hillary Clinton at her confirmation hearing stated how America must be a leader in developing and implementing climate change. Like John Kerry, Hillary regards climate change as a national security threat which could incite war over a shortage of basic resources like food, water and arable land. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) promises quick action to curb greenhouse gasses.

Gone are global warming segments on “60 Minutes” and alarming news reports. Al Gore seems to have done a disappearing act. The UN must know that cold kills more people than heat?

Disregarded is that the world has not gotten any warmer for ten years. Rejected also is a published December, 2008 Senate report of more than 650 dissenting scientists who are convinced that the current alarm over carbon dioxide is mistaken.

Unless Americans look in fondness back to the horse and buggy days, they should reject an ideological energy crisis that forces expensive and inadequate “green” solutions that will cost taxpayers billions of dollars and place an enormous burden on the U.S. economy, while it seeks to limit coal, oil and nuclear (a clean energy source) as sources of energy. For without enough energy, brown outs will be common place.

It is embarrassing that global warming or climate change has become politicized. This hoax will only destroy society, all to advance an agenda that values “mother earth” before the needs of human beings. Is this the change the American people were hoping for?

 

Bush’s legacy defined

January 17, 2009

Bush’s legacy defined

Even before listening to President Bush’s Farewell Speech on Thursday, January 16, there was no question in my mind about his legacy. Although I have had my disagreements with President Bush during his eight years in office, he has been a great Commander in Chief. He has kept this nation safe, so safe that the Iraq war ceased to be a campaign issue in the November 2008 elections.

Although vilified for taking this nation to war in Iraq, Bush’s action did remove a ruthless dictator. The citizens of Iraq now have a chance at self-rule. Early on Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared that the war in Iraq had been lost. Other Democrats wanted to set a time table for withdrawal. President-elect Obama proudly proclaimed that he was against the Iraq war and the surge, even after the surge was declared an astounding success. Bush was told that war casualties would be astronomical, yet the 4,000 figure is low when compared to past wars, even though every life lost is a cherished one. Yet Bush soldiered on!

Despite false accusations of abuse at Guantanamo where the most dangerous terrorists are housed and the controversy over FISA — a bill written in 1970 which could not have anticipated camera phones which led to the Abu Ghraib scandal — President Bush continued to put in place those policies which he thought could best to put in place those policies which he through could best protect this nation. Bush never as did FDR during WWII, round up ethnic people and put them in interment camps. Likewise Bush, although accused of doing so, never violated the civil liberties of the American people. He has also refused to allow our troops to be tried in an international court. He has also remained steadfast in his support of Israel.

Bush has not been an imperial president. I am positive history will prove this to be so. This nation has been indeed luck and blessed to have had President Bush and Vice President Dick Chaney at the helm these past eight years.

 

Inauguration Day and Beyond  (Letter one)

A helicopter drop of the $1 trillion destined for Obama’s stimulus package would be more effective than what is shaping up to be a giant Ponzi scheme. It allocates money this nation doesn’t have. It would either have to be borrowed or printed (unbacked money). The result would net rampant inflation down the road and unsustainable debt for future generations.

Marketed as a way to spend ourselves out of this economic down turn, many Americans have been convinced that debt no longer matters and that the advancement of big government policies will produce a rosy outcome.

Already Mayor Daley is dreaming of an open federal spigot of stimulus money to pay for new construction, land acquisitions, and more government workers. All this in a city and state recognized nationally as rife with corruption and graft!

Not to be out bid, other city mayors and governors, labor unions, and environmental group — all beholden to the Democrat Party — are already lining up like pigs at a trough for a piece of pork from the large government slush fund. Such government largess will suck wealth, creativity, and investment out of the private economy. Lacking competition and accounting, the one-time-only stimulus monies are destined to be frittered away. There will be many “roads to no where” built, along with rampant waste, fraud, and inferior service.

As Barack Obama is sworn into office of January 20th, may he have the wisdom to enact policies that will keep this nation strong and vibrant. FDR policies will not do. Five years into the New Deal, despite frantic spending, unemployment still stood at 17.2%. What this nation needs to grow its economy is less government, slashing business regulations, and legislating tax cuts across the board.

This country could very easily morph into a full-blown socialist society. I am concerned over Obama’s rhetoric and announced policies that promote government as the solution to all problems. May Barack Obama realize the importance of this nation’s Constitutional and our constitution form of government. It has served this country and its people well for over 230 years. Socialism has only brought misery and dissatisfaction to the people in its wake wherever and whenever it has been tried.

 

 

Inauguration Day Jitters or Are we sliding down a slippery slope?

As Inauguration Day approaches on January 20, my concerns are many. But of greatest concern is Obama’s proposed $1 trillion stimulus plan aimed at jump starting the economy. Obama has warned of dire consequences if his stimulus bill is not passed quickly soon after he takes office.

It would not be unreasonable to believe that many readers of the Lake Forester have been scared into believing that this nation is in a hopeless mess, that in an emergency spending has no limits and debt doesn’t matter, and that government must come to the rescue because capitalism and the free market system have failed.

Since May of 2008 the federal government has added $1.2 trillion ($1 trillion is a thousand billion) to its public debt to buy up, bail out, or take over private enterprises such as banks, insurance companies, and automakers. $150 billion of that $1.2 trillion was spent to send stimulus checks to the American people. Despite all the money that has been allocated so far, the economy has only gotten worse. (Tax payers should be angry that no one knows what happened to the first $350 billion of the authorized $700 billion financial market rescue fund, although banks are using the money. There is even a push being made by Bush and the incoming Obama Administration to release the second $350 billion. Government handouts by their very nature add up to corruption, incompetence and inefficiency.)

Obama’s stimulus plan would be the largest government spending bill in world history, charged to this nation’s credit card for our children and grand-children to pay. The funds will either have to be borrowed or printed (unbacked paper) which could cause double-digit inflation down the road, for it is not possible to raise enough taxes from people or business in a down economy.

Of importance will be the makeup of the final stimulus package. Although $300 billion in tax cuts have been proposed by Democrats to sweeten the pot for Republican so the bill becomes bi-partisan, most of the tax cuts would only be temporary in their effectiveness. A major share of the stimulus package spending will go for massive infrastructure, alternative energy investment, more health care spending, and bailing out cities and states, all items on the Democratic wish list! All will be lining up like pigs at a trough to feast for a piece of the pork from what amounts to a large government slush fund. Jobs created will be government jobs resulting in money being sucked out of the private sector, at a time when the economic recovery calls for less government, legislated tax cuts across the board, and slashing regulations on businesses.

A lesson can be learned from FDR who under the New Deal offered frantic spending programs to pull this nation out of the Great Depression. In 1939, five years into the New Deal, unemployment still stood at 17.2% It took the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese to jump start this nation’s economy through the start up of private sector war time industry and production.

 

Too many Americans believe that the “general welfare” clause in our Constitution means a right to a college education, health care, employment, to own a house, etc., when as defined by Thomas Jefferson, “Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare but only those specifically enumerated (in the Constitution).”

We are becoming a “government with people” instead of a “people with a government.” It is time that “we the people” stop acting like sheep. This nation stands on the brink of a socialist abyss which could very easily morph into a full-blown socialist society, minus a despot. Citizens in Lake Forest and Lake Buff and all over this nation should care if our Constitution is being eroded and with it our constitutional form of government, if not for themselves, then for their children and future generations of Americans. Let your voices be heard!

 

 

 

Much has been written and speculated as to the why of Barack Obama’s recent election to the presidency and the subsequent loss of many Republican House and Senate seats at the national level. The Illinois Republican Party is in even worse shape. It is in a crisis mode and in danger of losing all influence in state government unless Republicans rally in coming elections.

The Republican blame game is now in full swing. There is naturally much anger and soul-searching with second guessing and recriminations taking place, despite data from the 2008 elections indicating that America is not a center-left country and that its citizens still like the concept of more freedom and limited government.

How then did it come to pass that Barack Obama, the most leftist candidate ever to seek the presidency, succeeded in winning the White House? According to People’s Weekly World, the Communist Party U.S.A. celebrated the election of Barack Obama and the strengthening of Democrat majorities in Congress when they met after the November elections.

Instead of all the hype and finger pointing, it would be wise for the Republican Party to go back to a time in history when the “seeds were planted” that gradually changed the belief systems (mindsets) of many Americans into thinking that needs can be better served by big government and that they deserve government handouts paid for by taxing their fellow Americans

The April 2008 Mindszenty Report, published monthly by the Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation, tells a story of how Foundations such as Carnegie, Rockefeller and Heinz, whose intents were at first honorable and idealistic, morphed into purveyors of radical leftist ideas. Initially supporting American values, they gradually moved toward supporting radical environmental and social justice groups in their grant-making. The Ford Foundation has funneled millions of dollars into environmental groups that promote the false claim of man-made global warming. Especially note-worthy is how the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations sought to change this country through its educational system by zealously producing textbooks promoting the socialist pedagogy of ideologues like John Dewey who advocated turning schools into social engineering laboratories to recreate American society. By the early 1950’s it had become obvious that schools had abandoned the teaching of the basic principles upon which this nation was founded.

Also in the 1950’s the Communist elitists with their leftist agendas began plotting to infiltrate American institutions such as our schools, the media, libraries, and the court system. A crusader at the time and one who saw the evils of Communism early on was Dr. Fred C. Schwartz. Schwartz founded the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade in the State of Iowa in 1953 and for 45 years led the Crusade by writing a monthly newsletter and speaking throughout the U.S. about the evils of Communism and its stated objectives for this nation. Dr. Schwartz’s first book published in 1960, “You can Trust the Communist (to be a Communist)”, sold well over one million copies.

A book by Neil Postman published in 1985, Amusing Ourselves to Death, provides further insight into understanding how so many Americans could fall for Osama’s “change and hope” message with policies that inspire massive government expansion, redistribution of wealth, no end to taxes, appeasement in defense issues, and an erosion of individual liberties and freedoms. The premise of Postman’s book is that the visual image has replaced the written work. This shift has degraded our ability to think and even hold conversations. As such many Americans have lost the ability to think critically. Feelings have become more important than facts. Obama’s past associations and his background mattered little to many voters, even if they were known, as feelings superceded rational and critical thinking about candidate Barack Obama.

It would be unwise for the Republican Party to deny how the “fruits” of the 1950’s Leftists factored into the 2008 November elections. Our public schools and universities have indoctrinated young people with leftist ideas. It is obvious what has happened to the field of journalism where 95% of the mainstream media slavishly supported the presidency of Barack Obama with blatant and obvious bias. Our moral and religious values are likewise under constant threat and are being tested and even overturned by Leftists on the courts.

While the picture does look bleak for the Republican Party after the November purge, is it hopeless? Is it too late to reverse the trend? Must the Republican Party concede defeat nationally and here in Illinois be consigned to irrelevancy?

Many moderate Republicans see the need to cater to different categories of voters, believe that bi-partisanship for the common good is the way to go, and that Republicans must compete with Democrats (be Democratic-light) in order to win future elections. Advice even came from moderate Democrat Mort Kondracki of Fox News who blamed the election losses to conservative talk show icon Rush Limbaugh for his pre-election influence over millions of conservative Republican. Rush Limbaugh’s brother, David Limbaugh, chastised moderate Republicans in his commentary of November 25th, “Bipartisanship: For the Common Good.” Limbaugh questioned what represents the common good and blamed Republicans for co-opting Democratic ideas and allowing the left to gain a strong foothold instead of pushing back.

According to David Limbaugh, the way out of political wilderness for Republicans is to promote limited government, fiscal common sense, traditional family values, and victory over terrorism. But are these values no longer sustainable or too old-fashioned for the American people? Has society become too progressive to reverse the tide? Democrats and many Republicans would have us think so.

Jed Babbin, deputy undersecretary of defense in the George H. Bush Administration, had this to say in an article appearing in Human Events the week of Nov. 10: “If Republicans fail to nominate a candidate in 2012 who is solidly — reflexively — conservative, they will lose again.” Babbin further emphasized that the Republican Party should be reoriented toward conservative principles, that McCain campaigned on issues and failed to focus the contest on Democrats’ liberal ideology, and that if the party rallies around principle, the person will arise to lead the party.

Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, who took over the Republican National Committee in 1992 after Clinton’s victory and who helped to lead the GOP to its dramatic 1994 takeover of Congress, is quoted in a Nov. 17th Human Events article: “Republicans say what we’re for, but not why we’re for it and why it helps the family and the community. We’ve got to be better at telling our story.” He also cautioned “that the next national chairman must move swiftly and dramatically to spread the Republican message through the most modern high-tech means of communications.”

Edwin J. Feulner, President of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank located in Washington, D.C., hasn’t the slightest doubt that the Republican Party can make a come back. In a recent newsletter Feulner stated that conservatives and their ideas can provide a strong defense “against liberals who aim to redistribute wealth, abolish the right of workers to cast secret ballots on proposed union representation, nationalize health care, bankrupt energy companies — the list goes on and on.” Feulner concedes that the Republican Party is in trouble but that the conservative movement is not in decline.

Here in Illinois where new state leadership is a badly needed and across the nation, Republican must educate the public with a positive story of who we are and what we are about. Republican candidates must find a way to be competitive without diluting what they stand for. Conservative Republicans must be identified, recruited, trained and placed in positions where they can fight back against the Secularism and the political Left. Additionally, the American people must be made to understand what democracy is all about, for without this understanding they are apt to drift toward the acceptance and the desirability of massive government control over the economy and their lives.

David Horowitz, president of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, gives this definition of leftism:

“Political leftism — aka liberalism — is a secular religion, promising     kingdom of heaven on earth — a world without racism, sexism,homophobia, inequality, war, etc. — delivered by political operatives.”

Defeating liberalism is a tall order for the Republican Party when faced with the governing trifecta of Obama, Reed and Pelosi for at least the next four years. Direct Elections of party leaders here in Illinois would be a positive step toward rebuilding a Republican Party that is now more Democrat than Republican. Republican losses this past November must not be viewed as a sweeping change (mandate) in America’s political ideology.

It is essential that Republicans unite in rising up to defeat liberalism by promoting the principles of conservatism. Not to do so could usher in a death knell for that great experiment envisioned by our Founding Fathers 236 years ago — our democratic form of government.

Letter one:

Noteworthy in Lake County is a political event that took place Monday, December 15 at the Republican Federation Headquarters in Libertyville, IL. It was then that Sheriff Mark Curran, elected as a Democrat in 2006, switched to the Republican Party, a rare happening in a state where there are twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans.

Sheriff Curran explained his change of party as a “matter of conscience.” He had tried to fight for change within his own party but came to the realization that change was no longer possible in either the State or the Lake County Democrat Party. In reflecting upon the corrupt machine politics of Chicago, Curran lamented how most state-wide office holders were products the Chicago Democratic Machine, that the state continues to bail out Chicago, but that it is really the city that runs the state.

30th District Democrat and state senator Terry Link of Waukegan, and head of the Lake County Democratic Party, has been at the forefront of lambasting Curran for his switch. Given Link’s own ethically challenged candidacy in the last election cycle, he has no moral standing to criticize Mark Curran whose life and actions reveal a strong moral compass.

There is no reason to doubt that Sheriff Curran will bring to his office the same ethical values and standards as he did when a Democrat. To those who persist in hurling insults and accusations against Mark Curran because of his switch, is Sheriff Curran a different person now that he no longer has a “D” connected with his name?

There should be a hunger for leaders at all levels of government in Chicagoland who are motivated out of a desire to serve, regardless of political affiliation. As such Sheriff Mark Curran brings a welcome “ray of political sunshine” to Lake County and Illinois that should serve its citizens well.

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Letter two:

As one of many who packed the conference room at Lake County Republican Headquarters in Libertyville on Monday morning, December 15 to hear Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran announce his switch from the Democrat to the Republican side of the aisle. I am appalled by the insults and accusations that have been forthcoming from Democrat legislators and the expressed outrage from Letter to the Editor writers, all hurled against the Republican Party and Sheriff Curran because he dared to switch parties.

Not that the Republican Party isn’t deserving of insults from time to time, especially state-wide, where there exists a bi-partisan political Combine whose members crave both power and money. Notwithstanding, when considering the current brand of the Democrat Party given the shenanigans of Governor Blagojevich, it doesn’t smell all that good right now. Such corruption undoubtedly represents just the tip of the iceberg for the Illinois Democrat Party. Then there is the refusal of Democrat legislators to sanction a general election to replace Barrack Obama’s senate seat out of fear of losing that seat to a Republican, after 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk expressed an interest in running. What is the big hurry to fill Barack Obama’s senate seat? Hasn’t Obama been an absentee tenant of his seat for two years?

Regarding 30th District Democrat and state senator Terry Link of Waukegan, his pointed remarks chastising Sheriff Curran’s for his Republican shift were featured in several Lake County news publications. But what about Terry Link’s own ethically challenged candidacy in the last election cycle? Although Link did defeat his reform-minded Republican challenger and businessman Keith Gray of Mettawa, Link has no moral standing to criticize Mark Curran whose life and actions reveal a strong moral compass.

At the Monday, December 15th news conference, Sheriff Mark Curran spoke boldly and clearly about his decision, knowing that in his announcement he would lose friends and create enemies. To Mark Curran there was only one reason he made the switch. It was a “matter of conscience.” His conscience would no longer allow him to remain a member of the Democrat Party. Sheriff Curran had hoped to fight for change within his own party, but came to the realization that change was no longer possible in the State or in the Lake County Democrat Party.

Lake County Democrats who persist in calling Sheriff Curran’s switch traitorous are displaying pettiness and blatant partisanship. Is Sheriff Curran a different person because he no longer has a “D” connected with his name? Mark Curran puts service above all else. He sees himself as a humble county office holder. He rejects the job perks of money and power coveted by many Illinois office holders.

There is no reason to doubt that Sheriff Curran will continue to bring to the sheriff’s office the same ethical values and standards as he did when a Democrat. There should be a public hunger for leaders at all levels of government who are motivated out of a desire to serve, regardless of political affiliation, in a state where corruption has brought Illinois undesirable national attention and shame. As such Sheriff Curran brings a welcome “ray of political sunshine” to Lake County and the state of Illinois that should serve its citizens well.

Zion’s dual-reactor nuclear power plant was built by ComEd in 1973, the third dual-reactor nuclear power plant in the Illinois ComEd network. Both units were retired on Feb. 13, 1998. Fuel has been removed, and they are now in long-term safe storage (SAFSTOR) until both licenses expire on November 14, 2013, after which decontamination and dismantlement are to begin.

At a time when coal and oil are being condemned as sources of energy because the CO2 produced is being blamed for global warming, nuclear reactors are reliable solutions to providing energy needs. Importantly, nuclear reactors do not emit carbon dioxide by contributing to global warming mania.

Given president-elect Barack Obama’s announced cap and trade policy to cut carbon emissions by a whopping 80% by 2020, it would be economic suicide for this nation not to invest in more nuclear power. Unfortunately the Three Mile Island accident near Harrisburg, Pa., the reactor was destroyed, but the core itself remained confined, and Ukraine’s Chernobyl disaster in 1986, created unwarranted fear about the use of nuclear power in the minds of the American people. Europe is way ahead of America in using nuclear energy. France gets 77% of its electricity from nuclear reactors.

Was it really necessary to shutter Zion’s dual-reactor nuclear plant? Recently I spoke with David Hollein, formerly the Westinghouse Project Engineer for all the Commonwealth Nuclear Plants built by Westinghouse and General Electric. Prior to that position, Mr. Hollein was involved in the Navy Nuclear Program where he assisted the Navy with the development of nuclear fuel in submarines, aircraft carriers, and destroyers. It is fact that the Navy has been powering ships with nuclear reactors for 50 years and has had no nuclear accidents!

David Hollein had an interesting story to relate. Mr. Hollein believes that there was no need to shutter the two operating Zion Nuclear Plants. Some steam generator tubes were found leaking in both Zion Nuclear Plants, but the tubes were closed off and the plants continued to run without jeopardizing the employees, the area citizens or the environment. Even so the steam generators could have been replaced.

ComEd noted that the cost of replacing the steam generators would have amounted to 435 million dollars but that the investment would not have paid off given the expiration in 2013 of the two unit plant operating licenses. Hollein believes that placing time limits on licensing is bunk and that older plants can be made safe and updated through routine maintenance to extend the life of the plant.

The Zion Nuclear Plants were included in a list of Westinghouse Nuclear Plants as part of a multi utility steam generator court suit, but the closing of the two Zion Nuclear Plants was never the thrust of this class action court suit. Mr. Hollein testified for two days in the discovery phase of the trial as the Westinghouse Project Engineer. Only a short time after the lawyers had deposed David Hollein in Chicago, an agreement was made between Commonwealth Edison and Westinghouse to shut down the Zion Nuclear Plants. Commonwealth Edison went further and had the court seal the agreement with Westinghouse.

So far Chicago area newspapers have refused to have their pubic advocate lawyers open this sealed court agreement. This “secret” agreement goes against the public’s right to know. In David Hollein’s opinion, both Zion Nuclear Plants could be unhesitatingly and safely operated beyond any initial design life time and that the Zion units can and should be restarted.

The Zion units served Chicago and the northern quarter of Illinois where energy needs must keep pace with ever growing demands. It is time for citizens to become involved by calling their state representatives and senators to demand answers. The General Assembly should invite David Hollein to present his findings. Public hearings are also needed. Refusing to build or use existing nuclear plants here in Illinois and across the nation could result in a substantial loss of this country’s standard of living.

 

On Friday, November 14, Leona Helming, just five weeks shy of celebrating her 101st birthday, joined her beloved sister, Alverdah, and their parents in death. Alverdah’s passing was several years ago. She likewise lived to celebrate her 100th birthday.

Although I salute the commentary honoring Leona Helming by Pioneer Press reporter Linda Blaser which appeared in the Lake Forester on Thursday, November 27, “Leona Helming passes away at 100; lifetime roots in village”, as a long time friend of the “sisters,” as they were affectionately known in Lake Bluff, I felt compelled to reflect further upon their lives. For in the death of Leona, Lake Bluff lost the last of a proud family who did so much and meant so much to the history of the Village of Lake Bluff.

By the time I became acquainted with Alverdah and Leona as a new member of Lake Bluff’s Union Church at Christmastime of 1980, they were already past their prime. Alverdah, known fondly as “Big Al,” was the dominant sister who did all the driving and most of the talking. Leona was the quiet one and a home body by nature. Not that Leona didn’t have thoughts of her own, which did surface after her sister and soul mate in life had passed away, but Leona was comfortable in letting “Big Al” take over. Alverdah many times addressed Leona simply as “sister,” for to Alverdah, Leona was always her little sister. Throughout their lives the sisters were seldom separated. Neither of them ever married. They instinctively seemed to know what each other was thinking. I never heard Alverdah and Leona say an angry word to each other, nor did I ever hear them speak ill of others. They cared about others; they lived to serve their church and their community with complete loyalty to their friends.

All who knew the Helming sisters were privy to their story telling. Alverdah delighted in telling about times long ago when she accompanied her father to the Chicago stock yards to order prime meat for his Lake Bluff grocery store — now the Village Market — and how he spent all day Sunday cutting up meat for people to take back home to Chicago after weekends spent in Lake Bluff, which was known as a resort community in the early 1900’s. As Lake Bluff’s fire chief, I was informed how Charles Helming was paid $l.00 for every fire he attended. Being involved in music, I especially enjoyed hearing stories of a time when Ravinia presented nothing but opera.

Stories about the magnificence of Lake Bluff’s beach also remain forefront in my mind. It’s difficult to conceive of a time when the Lake Bluff Beach looked like a sea-side resort and when my home on East Blodgett Avenue did not exist, nor did the street itself! Both sisters were proud of their home at 210 North Avenue which their father had built for their mother upon their parent’s marriage. Alverdah reminded me many times that no house was every built as strong or as solid as was their home. She then would knock on the a wall just to prove her point. Both sisters lived in the house their father had built for their mother until their deaths. To them their home was their castle, and from within they continued to honor and revere the memory of their parents to all who stopped by.

In remembering their mother Julia, her trip over from Sweden as a young woman was recounted many times, how she was determined to speak English when she came to this country and how she learned to speak English with no accent, and according to Alverdah, “better than you and I.” I often asked both sisters why they never had traveled back to Sweden to see the birthplace of their mother. Having never received a direct answer, I suspect it had something to do with their mother’s attitude. She desired and became a proud and upstanding American citizen. She wanted her girls to become Americans first and foremost.

At a time when most women went into nursing and teaching, Charles and Julia Helming wanted more for their two girls. Both sisters graduated from the University of Illinois and became trail blazers in the world of business. Alverdah likewise must have shook up Lake Bluff — she certainly wasn’t shy in demonstrating to others what she thought a woman’s role should be, when she drove an automobile up to Milwaukee at 35 miles an hour, fitted out with goggles and appropriate driving gear of the time, with “sister” and another friend in tow.

There are many memorable stories that will forever remain with me. I also have some unpleasant ones as I witnessed the slow and steady decline of my friends. Four Polish care giver women in succession lovingly and patiently attended to the Helming sisters when about five years ago the sisters required live-in help in order to remain in their own home. Nevertheless, it would be remiss of me not to share some of my Helming Christmas memories. We faithfully attended Christmas services together at the Union Church of Lake Bluff and throughout the years enjoyed numerous Christmas concerts and other seasonal activities. Alverdah and Leona for many years honored their Swedish background with their much anticipated, annual Christmas “glogg” party.

Most memorable, however, is the Helming Christmas tree that dominated their living room at Christmastime — a tree decorated with only angels. Leona started to collect angels years ago (In later years Alverdah’s thing became butterflies.). Over time there were multiple boxes filled with angels that friends had given Leona throughout the years. There were even several from me. Every Christmas several of the boxes were brought down from the attic and Leona, assisted by Alverdah, would lovingly look at each angel ornament, fondly remembering who had given it to her, before placing each ornament on their tree. I helped place the ornaments when the sisters were no longer able to do so. Lighted, the Helming’s angel-filled Christmas tree was a “must-see” for friends and neighbors. It was a perfect fit for the Helming’s old-fashioned parlor setting.

Using butter in Christmas cookie-making also ranked high with both sisters. Butter had to be part of the recipe. No substitutes for butter were ever allowed in the Helming household. They believed in the real thing. At a time when many are concerned about consuming rich foods and when counting calories and worry about cholesterol levels seems to be the norm, especially in this holiday season, Alverdah and Leona ate whatever they wanted throughout their lifetimes, yet both lived to celebrate the ripe old age of 100.

 

Leona often reminded me that she was born on the winter solstice, December 21, either the longest or the shortest day of the year, you choose. Not to be forgotten, Alverdah would remind me that her birthday could be remembered by switching the numbers around and going back six months to June 12. As such, December 21 for Leona and June 12 for Alverdah will remain forever fixed in my mind as the birthdays of my two sister friends, Leona Claire Helming and Alverdah Dorothy Helming.

I have had many blessings throughout the year. Added to these blessings are those which grew out of my friendship with the Helming sisters. They were super gals who always thought of themselves as being young, for in their minds they never grew old.

This Christmas I will miss both sisters equally, knowing that in life there is a time and a place for everything. Friends come and friends go for any number of reasons, but for me my captured memories of my long and special friendship with the Helming sisters will always hold a special place in my heart.

Worth visiting is the Vliet Museum in Lake Bluff. In the museum are references to the Lake Bluff’s historic Helming family. Also on display is the scale Charles Helming used in his Lake Bluff place of business, donated several years ago by Alverdah and Leona Helming.