by Tim Schmidt reprinted from Facebook February 25, 2013 with permission.
Let’s talk about crime.
Can you imagine if Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel or Mayor Bloomberg in New York answered the question of what are you going to do about the rising murder rate in your community like our Mayor has?
In a recent Daily Journal article it read ….
Epstein said there is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to crime reduction, but she said crime statistics have been reduced nearly across the board, except in the all-important category of murder.
“It’s the elephant in the room,” she said. But how can someone determined to commit such a horrendous crime be stopped? she asked. ( Who is she asking? Are we supposed to get the answer for her? Ask the experts.)
Under her leadership, the city restarted the foot patrols Continue reading »
Mayoral Forum on Tuesday March 26 Kankakee Library (Starts 6 p.m. with Aldermen)
by Tim Schmidt reprinted from Facebook with permission.
Posted to KankakeeGazette.com March 26, 2013
On Tuesday, March 26, if you want to stop the insanity of Kankakee’s decline, join Team Porter as the candidates square off at the library at 6:30 for the mayoral forum. Then come down to Kankakee River North (former Sully’s) where 2nd congressional district nominee, Robin Kelly will be taking questions.
It’s time for a change. Because we deserve better.
Saturday March 23, 2013
Spent a couple of hours at a rally for Democratic candidate Myron Porter. Good mix of people. Elected officials, candidates, state office holders and concerned citizens determined to make a change and get Kankakee back on track.
Meanwhile, in the Republican camp we see the RTA is suing the city again for withholding information a judge has determined they have to disclose, but not these guys. And the lawyers keep on winning. Nearly $500,000 of your tax dollars on a fight Mayor Epstein caused.
Posted byJoanie Liesenfelt, Publisher/Managing Editor
The Kankakee Mayor claims your ComEd bill decreased 48% (read it here) because of her leadership.
Last fall, the City of Kankakee changed to a different electricity supplier, FirstEnergy Solutions.
Any fourth grader can tell you the 48% math isn’t possible. On average, your total bill for the same kilowatt hours will run about 25-35 percent less. Continue reading »
Posted by kankakeegazette.com staff | News & Opinion June 16, 2012, 6:30 a.m.
The City of Kankakee’s choice for our electricity municipal aggregation program, First Energy Solutions Corp. (FES), forgot to provide accessible ways to opt-out of their program as required in their contract. And let’s be honest about this: the City of Kankakee forgot to care!
According to the contract with the City of Kankakee, FES must provide the following (page 8, section 22.214.171.124 :
In addition to receiving completed Opt-Out Notices from Eligible Customers by mail, the Supplier shall, at its own expense, provide, operate, and maintain a toll-free number and secure website for the use of Eligible Customers to opt out of the Program.
www.fes.com/kankakee is the web address provided on the FES letter to the eligible customers in Kankakee. It appears to be for opt-out as required by the FES contract.
But when you enter the address, you get a web page talking about “enroll now”. As you can see in this PDF of the web page captured June 16, 2012, there is nothing here about opting-out.
Clerks reached in two separate calls to the toll-free number courteously said there is no website for opt-out, only opt-in. And there is also no opt-out by phone. One of the clerks placed me on hold to find the answer to my question of why no one could opt-out by phone or on the website.
She came back with this answer: “The company needs a signature on file from people who opt-out.” She said that’s why no one can opt-out on the phone or on a website. She was a good customer service agent and persistent in trying to answer my questions and provide information about FES procedures.
It is confusing, though. FES doesn’t seem to have any of the same concerns about someone forging an opt-in on another person’s account. No signature required for those anxious to give FES their business – toll-free phones and a special website await all opt-ins!
My first question to the FES clerk now seems rather naive: I would like you to
confirm you received my opt-out form. The clerk said they did not have anything to do with opting out. They usually just answer questions about rates and differences in rates and about the company. FES does not confirm to customers and if something unlikely
happens, like FES misses scanning your opt-out form, you can always rescind within 30 days after they switch you to FES electricity supply. Oh, goodie!
According to the contract, FES is at least required to report to the City of Kankakee who FES has recorded as included and who’s opting out. But so far, the FES record on following the contract regarding handling of Kankakee’s eligible customers isn’t really living up to the expectations of those who read their contract.
In addition to FES’s we don’t resolve any problems we create, we don’t answer the phone to confirm you’re recorded on our opt-out and we don’t make mistakes (I was told), the city of Kankakee seems to be taking a similar hands-off position. This statement is near the bottom of your FES letter by the opt-out form: “Please do not call the city of Kankakee with aggregation program questions.”
Perhaps it doesn’t mean that the city of Kankakee won’t keep it’s own list of opt-outs if you send a note to them. After-all, it’s their program to help the city make a little extra money from FES, so they want it to work well. All of us want it to work well.
So it seemed like a good idea to notify the Illinois Commerce Commission of FirstEnergy Solutions violations of their contract with the city of Kankakee. The request is for ICC (if they are so empowered) to request that due to the lack of customer opt-out options and no customer service for opt-outs, FES extend it’s deadline to opt-out until 14 days after they have provided the required options in their contract with the people of Kankakee.
If not, maybe the next contract needs to be opt-in only.
Read the complete contract between the City of Kankakee and First Energy Solutions.
*Appears to be a violation of the City of Kankakee Council Code of Conduct:
dis•re•gard (d s r -gärd )
tr.v. dis•re•gard•ed, dis•re•gard•ing, dis•re•gards
1. To pay no attention or heed to; ignore.
2. To treat without proper respect or attentiveness.
1.7 All Members of City Council shall work and strive to inspire public confidence in Kankakee City government
1.8 All Members of City Council shall demonstrate honesty and integrity in every action and statement.
Posted by kankakeegazette.com staff Jun 17, 2012
Posted by kankakeegazette.com staff | News & Opinion June 9, 2012, 3:58 a.m.
Bourbonnais Township Park District plans to spend 3.1 million dollars of your money to buy the failed recreation facility, Hidden Cove Sportsplex.
Because of the Tax Cap law, they can’t raise taxes without your permission. So Bourbonnais Park District Executive Director Hollice Clark and the BTPD Board will do an ‘end-around’ play and borrow the money by issuing alternative revenue bonds for which no permission is required.
To add insult to injury, they have pointed out that your tax RATE will not increase. They imply it won’t cost you anything.
It will cost you. What they don’t tell you is that you will be paying that 3.1 million dollars plus interest out of your taxes.
It’s a simple accounting trick used by car dealers for years. You have all heard salesmen say: “Don’t worry if your old car isn’t paid off yet – we’ll just put it on the new car loan and extend your current payments!”
Essentially, BTPD will extend out for twenty years the loans they already have. Sure, your payments won’t go up – you’ll just be paying longer.
The failing Hidden Cove Sportsplex isn’t free – it’s 2.4 million dollars plus .7 million dollars for unspecified “other park upgrades” (Daily Journal May 26) – that BTPD plans to buy without getting your permission to spend your taxes.
You can stop them cold – all you need do is gather 2000 signatures on petitions requiring that BTPD has to put this purchase to a referendum vote on November 6.
Make sure you sign the petition when someone brings it around. And you can volunteer to help collect signatures even if you live outside the BTPD area.
If the project has merit, why not let the voters decide? Failure to put projects like this in front of the voters raises suspicions as to the project’s legitimacy. Continue reading »
Posted by kankakeegazette.com staff Jan 17, 2012
Kraftdale residents were shocked by the news earlier tonight that Mr. Jensen withdrew his request for a crematorium permit.
At City Council, Mayor Epstein reported that the administration received a letter that afternoon from Mr. Jensen asking that his application be withdrawn. The full letter was not read at the meeting.
Mr. Jensen purchased the property at 2450 Grinnell Rd in Kankakee’s eastside industrial area in 2006. Complaints from residents in the adjacent subdivision of Kraftdale began shortly thereafter.
By that time, Mr. Jensen had accumulated a large file of code violations.
Garbage, 6-foot weeds, rotting particle board, scattered car parts and a boat, littered the Jensen property across the street from this residential neighborhood. By the time Mr. Jensen moved in a crematory furnace several years later, without a city permit (he had a temporary permit from the Illinois EPA in 2006 pending satisfying state and local regulations), code violations and frustrations had already stacked up.
Although Mr. Jensen had trouble caring for this property, his management and care as part-owner of Brown Funeral Home of Manteno is well respected.
Much time and effort were invested by many people to keep the Kraftdale and surrounding area from being negatively impacted. Alderman Steve Hunter, Kankakee Township Supervisor /County Board member Larry Enz, and many Kraftdale residents, including Randy and RoseAnna Kinckerbocker, spoke up about their concerns to the City of Kankakee, to the Kankakee Aldermen and to the IEPA.
Also, Clancy-Gernon Funeral Homes and Schreffler Funeral Homes both generously provided information about cremation and crematory management.
Read the discussion (pages 4-52) between Mr. Jensen, the Kraftdale neighbors, other concerned officials and the City of Kankakee Planning Board and learn how someone is approved for a permit.
Look over lawsuit documents filed by the City of Kankakee against Mr. Jensen and Mr. Jensen’s lawsuit against the City of Kankakee.
Posted by kankakeegazette.com staff⋅11:30 a.m. Jan 15, 2012.
In August, 2006, Mr. Jensen applied for and received a conditional use permit to build and operate a warehouse on his property. At the same time, Mr. Jensen also applied to the Illinois EPA as River Valley Crematory requesting a permit to construct and operate a crematory. Illinois EPA issued that permit November 1, 2006.
Records show Mr. Jensen never applied to the City of Kankakee for a permit to operate a crematorium until 2011. City Council and the residents adjacent to Mr. Jensen’s property became aware of his plans when Mr. Jensen placed a crematory on his property in 2009 without a permit.
By that time, Mr. Jensen had accumulated a large file of code violations. According to the documents
resulting in an Order of Demolition dated July 27, 2010, Mr. Jensen was dumping car parts and storing his boat on the property, he had never mowed or graded the land which was an eyesore to the residential neighborhood, and had partially constructed a building that was legally ruled unsafe and a hazard that could not be brought up to code.
In addition, Mr. Jensen was not responding to the numerous letters sent by the City and he had not complied with the notices to clean up his property. He also did not pay the assessed fines which included the City of Kankakee mowing the property to rid it of health and safety issues.
So why in early 2011 did the City of Kankakee and the Planning Board recommend that Mr. Jensen be given a permit to operate a crematorium on his property—property whose 2010 taxes were recently sold for non-payment of the total due of $82.93?
Posted by kankakeegazette.com staff⋅6:58 p.m. Jan 14, 2012.
Posted by kankakeegazette.com staff⋅Jan 9, 2012⋅4:34 p.m.