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March 21, 2018

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Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Craig McClure

Congratulations to Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz for winning the Democratic nomination for Illinois House District 17. While I had hoped that Alexandra Eidenberg would win the race, and I advocated for her candidacy, I’m very pleased that Jennifer won, as she was my 2nd choice in the race.

The important thing to me is that neither of the District 65 candidates won. Many of us here in District 65 think that the property tax increase that came about through the district putting a huge tax increase on top of an already known reassessment wasn’t reasonable, and that the surpluses the district is now running is money that should be in our 401k or available to pay the medical expenses we face in our high deductible health plans. Those of us in the private sector have to think about things like funding our 401ks and high deductibles.

I share the disappointment of many that Daniel Biss did not win. Daniel called me personally on the day he announced his candidacy to ask for my financial support, and I gladly gave it. Daniel has always been a thoughtful and articulate state representative both in the Illinois House and Senate. I appreciate how he has listened to my opinions through the years as we traded ideas back and forth. As I’ve said to him, we don’t have to agree on absolutely everything for him to have my support.

There again though, we don’t always get what we want. I’ve met JB Pritzker personally a couple of times now at different charity galas. I find him quite personable and I’ll be glad to see him win in November.

Congratulations to Larry Suffredin for another win! Larry was a valuable ally in the effort I led out here in the northwest corner to disconnect from the Skokie Park District, and I’ll always be appreciative to him for his guidance on that issue.

Posted: Monday, March 19, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Clif Brown

We should not feel that recycling is the answer to environmental problems. It deceives us into feeling we are doing a good thing, unjustified by what is actually being done. Today I talked on the phone with our city's recycling person and he told me the following:

>Only 20% (that's one fifth) of the total waste stream has been diverted from landfills by recycling. It's worse than than because...

>Of the total tonnage in the recycling system, about 13% is garbage (I know from Groot supplied annual data that this has been the figure for many years) that then ends up in the landfill after all...that means people are putting things in their recycling bins that should be in the garbage, creating an expensive extra trip to the recycling plant for no purpose. I know for a fact that most people put their recycling in machinery jamming plastic bags that must be hand opened at the Groot processing plant, but the city will not prohibit this bagging out of fear that less material would go into the blue bins.

>The amount of money received for the things extracted by the recycling plant (plastic, glass, paper and aluminum) is minimal because there is so much of it up for sale. This means the recycling program proceeds are a small fraction of the cost of the program.

I am an avid recycler but I can see that the end result is a private company making good money by being a middleman in a very inefficient program that the public cannot be bothered to contribute to properly, that the materials market has little to no use for and that only keeps a small amount of stuff out of the landfills, landfills which, if made properly, are not an environmental hazard. I suspect that even considering the cost of hauling garbage a long distance to landfills, going back to landfills would be cheaper than the much promoted recycling project. Unlike the Japanese and Germans who carefully separate things, we Americans want convenience above all, and we are paying for it.

Posted: Sunday, March 18, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Jim and Karen Young

17th District Voters Need to Follow Jen Gong-Gershowitz’s “Money Trail: During the contentious 17th District State Representative race several issues have been raised about candidate Jen Gong-Gershowitz’s controversial and negative advertising campaign.

In addition, the sources of her funding demands examination by voters. Questions have been raised by some voters about Jen Gong-Gershowitz’s independence and this “Money Trail” amplifies these concerns.

Campaign filings show that as of March 17th, the Gong-Gershowitz campaign has raised over $700,000, an astounding sum for a State Representative primary in the historically Democrat dominated 17th District. None of the other candidates have raised anywhere near this amount of money.

Interestingly, it appears that only a very small amount of total funds raised (3% or $23,000 from our calculations) is from individuals residing in the 17th District.

Almost $100,000 comes from Mike Madigan controlled organizations, namely the “Democratic Majority” and “Friends of Michael J Madigan.” This money has been used for printing and postage of misleading attack advertisements against one candidate, Candance Chow. None of the other candidates vying for the 17th district seat have received money from these Madigan controlled organizations.

Most concerning, however, is the $400,000 donated in the way of “transfers” from the campaign committees of 9 current State Representatives. These include:

· “Citizens for Gregory Harris” (13th District) - $55,000

· “Citizens for Lou Lang” (16th District) - $54,000

· “Citizens for Moylan” (55th District) - $55,000

· “Friends of Robert Martwick” (19th District) - $55,000

· “Friends of Tabares” (21st District) - $35,000

· “Friends of Elect Kathleen Willis”(77th District) - $55,000

· “People for Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch” (7th District) - $55,400

· “Friends of Michelle Mussman” (56th District) - $35,000

· “Citizens for Elaine Nekritz” (57th District) - $1,000

It is worth noting that $359,400 or 90% of these donations, was received on a single day (March 13th), a week before the election. Why are these Representatives from other State House Districts funneling large amounts of money into the 17th District primary race? This appears to be a coordinated effort orchestrated by the leaders of the state party to determine the representative for our district. I think it is a fair question to ask what will Jen Gong-Gershowitz owe these other Representatives and Michael J Madigan?

Political Action Committee donations (20 in total) were $93,000.

Individual contributions total about $145,000, but “Out of State” contributions comprised about $60,000 and “Out of District” Illinois contributions were $63,000. As noted above, by our calculations, only about $22,000 or 3% of total funds was received from 17th District residents, people whom Gong-Gershowitz would supposedly represent, if elected.

Voters should be concerned that Gong-Gershowitz will be beholden to Mike Madigan and her State Representative colleagues and not voters in the 17th District. Voters should know how much money Gong-Gershowitz is spending on her campaign, and the sources of this funding.

Data from Illinois State Board of Elections website: (as of 3/17/2018)

Illinois Sunshine has similar data, but it’s not as complete or current:

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Andrea Idelman

For Mary Rita Luecke. The Illinois Education Association (IEA) resoundingly and enthusiastically endorsed Mary Rita Luecke in her race for the 17th Legislative District. As a retired member of the Illinois Education Association, I participated in the Illinois Political Action Committee for Education (IPACE) endorsement meeting in February. After listening to the four candidates in attendance, we wholeheartedly moved to endorse Mary Rita Luecke. There is a recent, very misleading, mailer from the Candance Chow campaign using the IEA logo which appears to suggest she is endorsed by the Illinois Education Association. She is not. Mary Rita Luecke is.

I first met Mary Rita Luecke when I was a District 65 teacher and she was a District 65 School Board Member and later the School Board President. I have always been impressed with her grasp of a situation and her willingness to talk and come up with solutions. Now, more than ever, we need a State Representative like Mary Rita Luecke.

I hope my friends, family, neighbors and community members in the 17th Legislative District will join me in voting for Mary Rita Luecke as our next Representative to the Illinois House.

Andrea Idelman

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Tracy Wasserman Cassidy, and others listed

Statement from the Committee to Save Our Schools in Support of Candance Chow

Our schools are the core of our communities. It is what makes them so unique and special. When they are threatened, people often will rally together to ensure that our most precious resource – our children – get the care, support and guidance to achieve their dreams.

That is why a diverse group of moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers, community, business and religious leaders and everyday residents of Evanston and Skokie came together last year to save District 65 from having to make devastating budget cuts, which would’ve meant closed schools, enormous class sizes, enrichment programs slashed and plummeting property values. Asking people to pay even a little bit more in property taxes – even for such a worthy cause – is never easy and was done after exhausting every conceivable option.

As President of the District 65 Board, Candance Chow was the driving force for ensuring that the first operating referendum in 30 years passed. Having grown up in poverty and been raised by a single mom, a first-class education was a passport to possibilities she never could’ve imagined. That is why she helped to bring together this enormous coalition that said yes to saving District 65 schools because the stakes couldn’t have been higher. The results were astounding: 80% of voters agreed that investing in our children, in our schools and in our community was the step we all needed to take together.

Candance now wants to take her passion and purpose for helping our children, and children across Illinois, to excel to Springfield as State Representative for the 17th District. We think she is ideally suited and the most qualified for taking on the entrenched special interests and the political leaders who are often more concerned with protecting their jobs than tackling the problems they were sent to solve, including adequately funding our schools.

Candance has always been an independent, progressive, problem solver, who is running because she has proven track record of bringing people together to affect real change. Unfortunately, one of her challengers, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, who has gotten more than $100,000 from Mike Madigan and his allies, is flooding mailboxes and doing robocalls with blatant lies about her commitment to education funding. This is outrageous. The Evanston RoundTable says these attacks “go beyond the pale” and are “absurd.”

While Gong-Gershowitz has no problem using Mike Madigan’s money to spread these scandalous smears, she won’t even utter Madigan’s name in public. Politics is not for the faint of heart. We understand that. Candance is running a tough campaign, but a campaign that is based on facts. Gong-Gershowitz is supporting Senate Bill 851, which State Rep. Laura Fine, Illinois teachers and Candance all oppose because it would cut $830 million annually from public schools, while also hurting our property values. Candance is fighting to invest more money into our public schools, while Gong-Gershowitz wants to make drastic cuts.

Voters have a clear choice on March 20th. Candance Chow isn’t afraid to speak truth to power and to do what is right, and not politically expedient, for the people of the 17th District. Please ignore Gong-Gershowitz’s lies and stay focused on the fact that Candance Chow has your best interests at heart.

Save Evanston Schools Committee Members - Tracy Wasserman Cassidy, Lindsay Cohen, Dawn Koenigsknecht, Jeannine Martin, Bridget Nelson, Valerie Weiss and Jen Zehr

Posted: Monday, March 12, 2018
Guestbook entry by: Elliot Zashin

Editor: Your brief article in the March 8 issue entitled "Chow Campaign E-mail" doesn't appear to adequately cover the facts alleged in this case. Mr. Frankel apparently emailed the Superintendent’s Executive Assistant at the suggestion of Ms. Chow. She then forwarded the request to several members of the staff. Mr. Frankel told the Roundtable that his action was "inadvertent" - that's convenient to say, but as Chow's campaign manager, he ought to have been very careful to make sure he was not violating district policy. After all, Ms. Chow's activity on the district school board is a major part of her "credentials" in this campaign. Some further examination of this incident seems warranted.


Elliot Zashin

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