Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thank You to All My Supporters

Now that all the excitement of the election has died down, I want to take this moment to thank all the people that supported me in so many ways during this campaign. Without your support there would not have been a campaign. You faith in me has meant a great deal to me all these months.

Though the election did not turn out the way we hoped, we none the less achieved a great deal. Not the least of which was that, with your help, we forced the discussion to address issues vital to the continued success of McHenry County. Our opponents were forced to take a stand on those issues and make commitments that we will monitor and hold them accountable for.

It is my every intention to continue to pursue public office. I will continue to watch the county board. And I will continue to work to keep McHenry County a great place to live, and try to make it better every way I can.

Thank you all.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Crystal Lake Gala Parade - Saturday July 5th

The McHenry County Democratic Party and its supporters were out in force for the Crystal Lake Gala Parade on Saturday. It was a perfect day for a parade. Over 80 Democrats marched, carried signs, and distributed flags and candy to a very receptive crowd of viewers.

(Photo courtesy DiGregor).

(Photo courtesy DiGregor).

Marching with us were many candidates for office including:

Robert Abboud – Candidate for U.S. Congress in the 16th District with Newton the Energy Dog (Photos courtesy DiGregor).

Rich Garling – Candidate for State Representative, 52nd District (Photo courtesy DiGregor).

David Bachmann – Candidate for McHenry County Coroner (Photo courtesy DiGregor).

Kerry Julian – Candidate for McHenry County Auditor (Photo courtesy DiGregor).

Bob Kempfe – Candidate for Illinois State Representative, 64th District (Photo courtesy DiGregor).

Anita Harmon – Candidate for McHenry County Board, District 2 (Photo courtesy DiGregor).

Also marching with us were Kathleen Bergan Schmidt – Candidate for McHenry County Board District 3, Paula Yensen – Candidate for McHenry County Board District 5, Tom Cynor – Candidate for McHenry County State’s Attorney, and a very enthusiastic group of Barack Obama supporters.

My thanks to all the supporters that came out and made this parade a huge success. Special thanks to Andrew Georgi, Lisa Georgi, and BJ Rendine for all their efforts organizing the parade.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Look For Us

Watch the parades this summer and you will see something McHenry County hasn’t seen in a long time – Democrats. We’ve always been here. And we haven’t been hiding, though there are some who would have you think we were. But now we are out in force and growing stronger by the minute.

You will see us marching in the parades this summer. Most importantly, you will see our candidates. Cal Skinner fears that the “Republican hegemony” is threatened. He’s right. For too long a sense of entitlement and hereditary right has pervaded the Republican run government and the politics of McHenry County.

Mr. Skinner has likened us to pests invading this county. Mr. Skinner refuses to accept the fact that we have always been here – living here, working here, going to church here, sending our children to school here, and paying taxes here. Rather than accept the fact that we are your friends and neighbors, he would have you believe that we are an enemy.

I don’t know where Mr. Skinner learned his civics, but I seem to recall that we live in a democratic republic; that our leaders are chosen by the sacred institution of the vote; and that any citizen, regardless of race, creed, color of skin, or political leaning may run and serve in any office for which they are eligible.

Look for us Mr. Skinner. We won’t be hard to find. There are far more of us than you may be willing to believe. Look for us in the parades this summer:

  • Village of Island Lake – Friday, July 4th, 10:00 a.m.
  • Wonder Lake – Friday, July 4th, 1:30 p.m.
  • Crystal Lake Gala – Saturday, July 5th, 1:00 p.m.
  • ... and more to come

And look for us on the ballot in November. We’ll be there too.

Friday, May 2, 2008

GI Bill 2008


Normally I use this space to talk about issues related to McHenry County. However, I’m stepping outside that role to speak about an issue that is important to all of us.

A new GI Bill is before Congress. This bill will provide a much greater range of benefits for the men and women serving in the military. While this GI Bill falls short of the one our veterans received when they returned from World War II, it is far better than they are currently receiving.

I believe we, as a people, owe our returning veterans a debt of honor that can never be fully repaid. This bill makes an important start on repaying that debt.

I urge all of you to go to GI Bill 2008 and learn about the new GI Bill 2008. I hope you will all find it in your heart to add your name in support of this bill and to contact your representative in congress and urge him / her to add their name as sponsors to HR.5740.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Reflections on Election Day

As I watched the election unfold Tuesday, I was struck by the significance that Tuesday was also Mardi Gras. As voters in McHenry County and 20 states were choosing their future, the people of New Orleans were defiantly celebrating their beloved holiday.

Before I explain the significance of this in relation to McHenry Country, permit me to recite a quote:

“I want to shrink government to the size that it may be dragged into the bathroom and drowned in the bathtub.”
Grover Norquist

The author of this quote is the Karl Marx of neo-conservative thinking. Reflecting on that philosophy, I am reminded that government at the hands of its adherents is more bloated and unresponsive than ever at all levels. Yet on August 30, 2005 we were presented with incontrovertible evidence of just who would be doing the drowning. Abandoned and left to die, the crescent city continues to struggle back to its former greatness. Its people paused amid the massive reconstruction to revel in their carnival as much to hoist a one finger salute to the administration that turned its back on them as an expression of joie de vivre.

McHenry County is undergoing its own Katrina moment at this time. And, while it lacks the visual immediacy of bodies floating in the streets, it is none the less devastating to the people of McHenry County and has cost lives. While the immediate cause of Katrina was a natural disaster, the McCullom Lake disaster is entirely man made. Both Katrina and McCullom Lake share the proximal cause of neglect. In the case of Katrina the resources to maintain and improve the levees was withdrawn. In the case of McCullom Lake the government simply neglected to monitor an industry long known to deal with toxic chemicals.

The McCullom Lake cancer cluster spot lights a county government that has failed to protect the two irreplaceable resources vital to the existence of the county – its people, and its ground water. Rather than address the problems and resolve to change the failings that allowed this disaster to occur, a dysfunctional county board, Board of Health, and Health Department spin in a desperate attempt to evade responsibility.

The selfish philosophy that pervades Republican thinking is bereft of social conscience. Through their words, they claim to serve the greater good. However, through their actions they serve only themselves. It is the philosophy of entitlement. It is the philosophy of the sinking ship. Its authors lack the intellectual capacity and desire to examine their manifesto through to its larger implications. It is destructive, not only to the populace subjected to its arrogance, but to itself as well. The ever expanding spiral of neglect that is the heart of neo-conservatism will ultimately consume it and lead to its own destruction. Like communism and fascism, neo-conservatism too will be relegated to a footnote of history with the rest of a long list of failed political ideologies.

In both New Orleans and McCullom Lake government failed to rally to the defense of the people when the crisis was revealed. Long term, in both examples, was the failure to manage and protect the commons. The most damning sin, however, is the refusal to examine their own conduct, to learn from their mistakes, and to devise and implement remedial solutions so that others need not suffer the same fate.

I opened with the contracted and disconnected Grover Norquist quote. I’ll leave you with a different view of our society - one that binds us and unites us in mutual respect and support.

"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness....No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
John Donne

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Newspaper Endorsements

Northwest Herald

The Northwest Herald endorsed Robert Ludwig for the Democratic candidate to the McHenry County Board in District 6. The article dated January 22, 2008 endorsed Robert Ludwig for the February 5th election. The questionnaire posted by Robert Ludwig was printed in the article on January 29, 2008. Read what the Northwest Herald has to say.

Daily Herald

The Daily Herald endorsed Robert Ludwig for the Democratic candidate to the McHenry County Board in District 6. The articles and dated January 31st, 2008 and the article dated January 29th, 2008 endorsed Robert Ludwig for the February 5th election.

Friday, January 4, 2008

McHenry County College

The commissioners of McHenry County College want to build a minor league baseball stadium and events center. The major problem with this plan is that the land they want to use is a sensitive watershed. Paving over this watershed would adversely affect the people of Crystal Lake and all the communities down stream.

After the zoning board voted to deny permits for this project, MCC went to the Crystal Lake city counsel. MCC failed to muster the votes necessary to override the zoning board, twice. Somehow, like the mythological hydra, no matter how many times the head is cut off this monster, it seems to rise again. In a final act of petulance, the MCC commissioners disgraced themselves by voting to censure two of its own members that oppose the plan.

MCC’s charter, as I understand it based on my yearly property tax bill, is to provide higher level and continuing education to the people of McHenry County. MCC should confine themselves to this theater of operations.

I understand MCC’s desire to put this otherwise idle land to some productive use. In the spirit of doing more than just complaining, here are some suggestions for use of that land that would be consistent with McHenry County College’s charge to provide education and would not devastate the watershed and the communities that rely on it.

The University of Illinois has an extensive curriculum in agriculture both in terms of crop management and animal husbandry. McHenry County College could partner with the U of I to bring some of these classes to the area. Given that the county’s primary industry is agriculture, who would benefit from such a program?

MCC could use the land to experiment with, study, and teach classes on alternative energy production. Wind, solar, and alternative fuel generation experiments could be studied and developed. Given the rising cost of petroleum, who would benefit from a program like this?

Another suggestion would be to operate both of the above programs together. Demonstrating ways the green energy production can coexist with agriculture would go a long way to advancing alternative energy, making it more attractive for farmers to get double duty out of their land.
Who in this area would benefit from that?

A fourth suggestion would be a different pilot program to produce electricity from bio sources. Dennis Haubenschild's dairy cattle produce 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to run his farm plus 78 average homes. The manure from the cows is used to generate methane which in turn is used to run generators to produce electricity. The entire operation is carbon neutral since the CO2 produced burning the methane is offset by the CO2 consumed producing the cattle feed. The farmer gets a secondary source of income and the cost of producing dairy products is reduced since the farm doesn’t have to pay for its electricity. Who would benefit? I can think of about 300,000 people – the farmers and anyone that consumes dairy products.

These are just four suggestions on how MCC could put that land to use in a way that would be beneficial to all. MCC could take a leadership role in providing superb educational opportunities to McHenry County – opportunities for their students, and for the community at large. Opportunities that could be the starting point for whole new industries and a whole new economy. MCC could set the stage for their students to make that life changing breakthrough that all educators want to see in their pupils. All it takes is a little imagination. Or, they can destroy a watershed and build a ball park.

Which legacy would you want to see on your tombstone?