Friday, January 29, 2010

Send a Loud and Clear Message

The voters of Massachusetts have spoken. The outcome of Scott Brown’s U.S. Senate victory is historic. Along with recent wins in New Jersey and Virginia, we are seeing a fundamental realignment of American politics. Local and nation-wide conservative activists and independent-minded citizens are uniting to tell politicians enough is enough. DuPage County candidates and elected officials need to hear the people.

Loud and clear.

American voters are moving toward common-sense conservative candidates, especially when they represent the core values of fiscal responsibility, and transparent good governance. Mainstream conservative values can win anywhere in the United States, and that includes Illinois, and that includes DuPage County. Brown’s victory is a lesson for politicians of all stripes that the days of Chicago-style politics is over.

I know we’re right.

With your money and your time, citizens are supporting conservative candidates all over the U.S. DuPage County voters should know that Republicans in DuPage County need a positive message of fiscal responsibility that resonates with the voters. Politicians must pledge to be transparent in all they do on our behalf. Republican candidates need to be strong. They need to work hard for your vote. I encourage all of you to vote in the February 2, 2010 primaries and support your local candidates.

Send your message.

Join the revolution.

For my analysis on the DuPage County Board Chairman candidates:

Debra Olson

Gary Grasso

Dan Cronin

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dan Cronin – Getting Things Done

“DuPage County families are making tough decisions every day. Government must do the same."

- Dan Cronin

Dan Cronin is the only serious candidate in the DuPage County Board Chairman race. Dan’s long time service to his constituents, and his legislative abilities, have been acknowledged time and again. We see all of the local newspapers endorsing Dan. We see DuPage County legislators endorsing Dan. Pro-life groups. Education groups. (See list below) All have come forward to say that Dan is the man to lead DuPage County. The Chicago Tribune has declared Dan to be “among the best in the Senate.”

There’s a reason. His record.

Critics use a candidate’s record all the time. I did when I compared the words and records of Dan’s opponents.

I exposed Gary Grasso’s links to gambling and compared his statements about his alleged fiscal conservatism to the budget mess in Burr Ridge.

Debra Olson chose to make herself the queen of transparency and ethics. I show her actions and her words don’t necessarily align, especially in the areas of her receipt of campaign contributions from DuPage County vendors, her buddy-buddy relationship with ARAMARK, her vaporous 2010 County Board budget claims, and her asleep at the switch oversight of the DuPage County Water Commission. The list goes on and on. At best, her ethical lapses show she is a hypocrite.

As measured by the vehemence of the comments on the blogosphere, Cronin’s opponents certainly touched a nerve when they attacked him about his vote on a one-quarter cent sales tax increase. I laid out the reasons Dan voted for the sales tax increase, which came only after the same people who criticize him were unable to make the tough choices required to balance their own budgets and went crying to Springfield for help. They called to Dan for help, he helps, and they criticize him for his help. Those critics shouldn’t be allowed to have it both ways.

Lastly, I outlined my rationale for voting for Dan.

But what has yet not broken through the noise of the campaign is a snapshot of Dan’s record in Springfield. Dan is no sunshine patriot. Dan constantly fights Springfield, in Springfield, for the people of DuPage County. He did when the Republicans were in the majority. He continued the fight during the past few years when the Democrats completed their corrupt control of Springfield. Dan’s efforts keep DuPage County in better shape than our neighbor to the east, Cook County, and other counties in the state.

Fiscal Responsibility

On budget matters, Dan is a consistent voice for responsible government. Since 2004, I have found 37 instances where Dan has fought spending and tax increases. There are probably more.

Some highlights:

Dan sponsored the DuPage County property tax cap legislation to halt double-digit increases in annual real estate taxes. In 2009, Dan opposed FY2010 Quinn budget proposal that contained the largest tax increase in Illinois history, calling for 50% increases in personal income tax and taxes on employers, and raided the pension fund for $3.2 billion. 

In 2008, he did the same thing on Blagojevich’s bloated FY2009 budget that again increased taxes, swept state funds for use by the governor, proposed selling the Lottery and other state assets, and increased spending on an already out of balance state budget. 

In 2007, Dan opposed Blagojevich again when Blagojevich proposed a budget relying on a Gross Receipt Tax. Dan has fought against every Democrat budget proposal going back to 2004, where I stopped my examination, including a July 2004 proposal where he led the Senate Republicans in halting a new $300 million job killing tax. Dan has voted against all of the raids on the state pension fund proposed by the Democrats, while trying to implement common-sense pension reform.

Dan is pro-fiscal reform. In 2009, Dan advanced proposals that would have saved the state $3.4 billion in the first year alone through cutting waste, Medicaid and pension reforms and limited state-mandated education expenditures that passed costs to the localities. He sponsored the bill that instituted the Illinois Accountability Portal where taxpayers can track how their dollars are being spent. Dan supported the tax accountability act that requires a three-fifths majority vote by General Assembly to increase any taxes.


Both sides of the aisle acknowledge Dan Cronin as the leader in Springfield on education issues. Dan is the current minority chairman and spokesman (and former chairman) of the Illinois Senate Education Committee, which oversees every key education issue in the state. As chief sponsor of the Chicago Public School reform, he demanded local accountability as well as improved standards for teachers, administrators and students. Dan secured millions in funding for new school construction in suburban districts. Dan is a strong advocate for new approaches to public education, including charter schools and alternatives to teacher certification to expedite the hiring of new, qualified teachers.

Transparency and Good Government Reform

Few people remember that Dan was the first legislator to call for the impeachment of Rod Blagojevich. Months before any other legislator, Dan was building support among his colleagues to impeach Blagojevich. Dan sponsored the impeachment resolution in the Senate. Dan sponsored the recall legislation to permit voters to remove elected officials from public office. Dan was out in front when he reformed the state eminent domain laws to protect private property owners from government intervention. Dan sponsored a Senate bill to limit contributions to political campaigns in Illinois, and created laws to improve security at schools, protect women and children from domestic violence, strengthen teen driving laws and reduce gun violence.

Dan’s opponents have whisper thin credentials. They make promises that have no way to keep. They are tied into special interests, and have broken their sacred trust to the people. Compare them to Dan’s accomplishments.

You can’t. There is no comparison.

Vote for Dan Cronin.

For my analysis on the other DuPage County Board Chairman candidates:

Cronin Endorsements

Patti Bellock - State Representative, 47th District
Bob Biggins - State Representative, 41st District
Joe Birkett - DuPage County States Attorney
Fred Bucholz - DuPage County Recorder
Joe Cantore - Forest Preserve Commissioner, District 2
Kathryn Cermak-Durante - Addison Township Supervisor
Chicago Tribune
Clarendon Hills Doings
Tony Cuzzone - York Township Trustee
Daily Herald
Patrick Durante - Addison Township Republican Chairman
Jim Durkin - State Representative, 82nd District
Elmhurst Doings
Barbara Finn - York Township Trustee
Mike Formento - Milton Township Republican Chairman
Chris Heidorn - Milton Township Supervisor
Gwen Henry - DuPage County Treasurer
Paul Hinds - York Township Republican Chairman
Hinsdale Doings
Illinois Citizens for Life
Illinois Federation for Right to Life
Italian American Political Coalition
Chris Kachiroubas - DuPage County Circuit Court Clerk
Moon Khan - York Township Trustee
Gary King - DuPage County Clerk
Dan Kordik - York Township Clerk
Michael Kwasman - Mayor, West Chicago
John Millner - State Senator, 28th District
Pamella Moretti - Addison Township Clerk
Barbara Murphy - DuPage County Republican Chairwoman
Marsha Murphy - Forest Preserve Commission, District 1
Rachel Ossyra - Naperville Township Republican Chairman
Linda Painter - Forest Preserve Commissioner, District 3
Dewey Pierotti - DuPage County Forest Preserve President
Sandy Pihos - State Representative, 42nd, District
Michael Prueter - Lisle Township Republican Chairman
Randy Ramey - State Representative, 55th District
Ron Sandack - Mayor, Downers Grove
Dick Schroeder - York Township Highway Commissioner
Darlene Senger - State Representative, 96th District
Peter Siekmann - DuPage County Coroner
John C. Smith - Winfield Township Republican Chairman
Frank Soto - Mayor, Bensenville
Sun-Times Oak Brook Doings
The United Hellenic Voters of America
John Valle - York Township Supervisor
Deanna Wilkins - York Township Assessor
May Yurgaitis - Naperville Township Trustee
John Zaruba - DuPage County Sheriff

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Debbie Olson – In Her Own Words

Debra Olson mercilessly attacks and distorts Dan Cronin’s record. Why? So we don’t look at what Debbie does in DuPage on the County Board. It’s time to set the record straight.

“I am committed to smaller, limited government, long-term fiscal responsibility, restraint, and accountability, and have the record to prove it.” – Debra Olson to the Chicago Tribune editors


Debbie Olson and the DuPage County Board blew though tens-of-millions of dollars they had pilfered from the DuPage County Water Commission. There has been no accounting of where that money went.

Debbie Olson has primary oversight of the Water Commission as head of the County Board Committee on Public Works.

While her opponents demand the dismissal the General Manager of the Water Commission, Debbie Olson wants to “study the issue.”

Debbie Olson promised to hold public hearings on the Water Commission before the end of 2009, no such meetings have occurred and none are scheduled.

DuPage County was required to borrow $30 million because of this “oversight” that occurred on Debbie Olson’s watch.

“As a County Board Member, I have consistently voted to hold the line on property taxes and spending, and our budgets are balanced every year.” – Debra Olson, Illinois Review, 1/15/2010


In 2007, the DuPage County Board “Doomsday” budget showed tens-of-millions of dollars of deficit.

Debbie Olson did not, could not, and would not identify any budget cuts. Instead of showing leadership, she and other county officials went hat-in-hand to Springfield begging for a new revenue stream into county coffers.

Springfield responded with a one-quarter cent tax increase, much of which was paid for by NON-DuPage residents.

Now, Debbie Olson is attacking Springfield for providing the money. “We’ve all seen too much of Springfield-style government – overspending, overtaxing, playing politics and ignoring the real issues.” – Debra Olson, Illinois Review, 1/15/2010.

You can’t have it both ways, Debbie. Your attacks are just more of the shift, shuffle and blame we are sick and tired of seeing from empty-suit politicians.

“This month [December 2009] DuPage County, where I have served for the last 8 years, had its AAA bond rating reaffirmed because the County Board has been fiscally responsible.” – Debra Olson, Illinois Review, 1/15/2010


The 600-page 2010 budget, passed under the claimed leadership of Debbie Olson, is based on unrealistic budget assumptions. The current budget assumes sales tax revenues will significantly increase in 2010, in spite of the continued economic downturn and a state unemployment rate above the national average.

The 2010 budget assumes continued issuance of grants by Springfield despite the bloated and busted budget deficits in Springfield. There is no reason to believe these grants will be provided at levels equivalent to those from last year.

Even while knowing about the 2010 budget assumptions, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Debbie Olson said that she could probably find funds to spend more on human services in 2010, which would deplete any budget reserves that would be used in the event that revenue estimates are not achieved.

The budget contains no plan to find new or increased revenue streams.

The only budget cuts Debbie Olson has ever stated (again in the Chicago Tribune interview) has been for critical public safety employees like Jail Guards, Bailiffs, Sheriffs, Probation Officers and State’s Attorneys.

The budget contains no contingencies showing prioritized reductions that could be immediately implemented to achieve cost savings to cut spending if the revenue assumptions are not met.

Debbie Olson has never answered the simple question: “If you can’t or won’t identify any spending cuts, and you won’t vote for tax increases, how would YOU balance the budget.” 

Any guesses why she won’t answer the question? Because she can’t.

“I have run a campaign on issues, I have nothing to hide, and my record is available for all to see online – my votes, my contributions, everything.” – Debra Olson, Illinois Review, 1/15/2010


Debbie Olson committed to posting all of her campaign contributions on her web site, saying in September 2009, “Because the reporting mechanisms are not yet in place, Olson is committing to putting all campaign contributions made to me [sic] since July 1, 2009 online on my [sic] campaign website within 5 business days of receipt.”

To date, neither Olson campaign web site lists any contributions whatsoever.

When challenged on her failure to live up to her self-imposed commitment, she is quoted as saying it is “too difficult” to do so.

For eight straight years and as of April 2009, as required by Illinois law, Olson filed a Statement of Economic Interest stating she had no business relationship with DuPage County. In October 2009, after declaring her intention to run for Chairman, she filed another statement saying she did actually do business with the County.

According to Illinois State Board of Election and DuPage County Board Records, Debbie Olson has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from vendors doing business with the county.

One of her campaign coordinators works for ARAMARK, a major vendor for DuPage County that is under the purview of a committee chaired by Olson. Olson claims to have returned all of the campaign contributions received from ARAMARK, however, the Illinois State Board of Elections shows un-returned campaign contributions from an ARAMARK vice president. ARAMARK was the recipient of a favorable ruling during the negotiations for a county food service contract.

“Politicians promising to be all things to all people are what gets government in trouble.” – Debra Olson, Daily Herald 1/4/2010


For my analysis on the DuPage County Board Chairman candidates:

Monday, January 25, 2010

RTA Tax - A Tough Choice

In 2008, DuPage County faced a several million dollar budget shortfall created by Mrs. Debra Olson and the DuPage County Board that would have severely impacted public safety and human service agencies in the county. Debra Olson, a member of the County Board for years, and currently running for the Chairman position, was unable to find a way to maintain these agencies at an acceptable level after having overspent on other projects. The residents of DuPage County were looking at staff reductions of critical personnel in both the State’s Attorney Office and the Sheriff Department, Bailiffs, and Probation Officers, those departments essential to the public safety.

To head off these layoffs and showing a great amount of responsibility, the State’s Attorney, Joe Birkett, and County Sherriff, John Zaruba, and a few other County officials reached out to Sen. Dan Cronin in Springfield to help find a new revenue stream for those critical departments. Even though it meant supporting a fare increase, Dan Cronin felt that the one-cent-on-four-dollars on public transportation tax (a sizeable portion of which is paid by residents NOT living in DuPage County) being debated in Springfield as part of the RTA Act would provide those critical public safety departments with the additional revenue that would allow them to continue funding those departments so they could most effectively serve the residents of DuPage County.

While Debra Olson was sitting on her hands doing nothing, Dan Cronin answered the call.

Cronin agonized over his vote since he was acting against his fundamental principles of low taxes and small government that he’s always followed during his time as a legislator in Springfield. Up until the County he loves was faced with increasing property taxes or cutting services, Dan was and remains a reliable vote against the outrageous spending and taxes we’ve grown to expect from the corrupt politicians in Springfield. Cronin obviously felt that the best interests of the County’s residents would be best served if he voted for the RTA Act, a consumption-type tax (if you don’t want to pay it, don’t ride the RTA). He listened to the arguments of the State’s Attorney and DuPage Sherriff, and looked at Debbie’s and the County Board’s inability to fill its impending deficit and took action.

Dan Cronin, along with his State Senate colleagues Kirk Dillard and John Millner, braved enormous political pressure and helped secure passage of the RTA bill in Springfield. Not every one of our DuPage legislators had the courage to make this tough choice. After Dan made the tough choice, Debbie and the County Board gratefully accepted the additional revenue provided by the RTA plugging a $20,000,000 budget shortfall they had no way to address other than drastic spending cuts or massive tax increases.

Not only was DuPage County able to avoid layoffs in the State’s Attorney Office and the Sheriff’s Department, the additional revenue stream provided by the miniscule fare increase, much of which was paid by non-residents, allowed the DuPage County Board to abate the property tax levy by $1,000,000, providing the residents of DuPage County with much needed tax relief while lowering the reliance on property tax to fund our critical programs and services. Without the revenue increase provided by the RTA, the DuPage County Board would have either had to raise taxes, cut critical services including those involved in public safety, or some combination of both.

Debbie takes all the credit for these rebates, while slamming Dan Cronin, the man who made them possible. What say you, Mrs. Olson? Aren’t you being a touch hypocritical?
It’s easy for a legislator to collapse under political pressure and other legislators in DuPage County did. Some County Board members, like Debbie Olson just stood by and watched, and now those same County Board members criticize Cronin for his vote. Why hasn’t Debra Olson ever been called on the carpet to explain why Cronin had to make this vote? Simply because she wouldn’t look to good if everyone knew Cronin had to cover her butt and she has worked hard covering up these facts.

It’s easy for weak local officials like Debra Olson to snipe about Cronin voting for tax increases when they themselves had no ideas on how to balance their budgets and maintain public safety in DuPage County. Cronin’s tough choice on the RTA Act was courageous and the right thing to do for the citizens of DuPage County.

I hate taxes, and I hate politicians like Debbie Olson who overspend in their areas of responsibility and go crying up the chain, in this case Springfield, for help. Dan Cronin made a tough choice. He was right.

For my analysis on the DuPage County Board Chairman candidates:

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gary Grasso - You Gotta Know When to Hold ‘Em

As I’ve already reported, for the past 60 days I have been doing independent research on the four Republican February 2, 2010 primary candidates for DuPage (Illinois) County Board Chairman, State Senators Dan Cronin and Carole Pankau, DuPage County Board member Debra Olson and Burr Ridge, Illinois mayor Gary Grasso.

I usually focus on a candidate’s statement and compare it to his record on any issue since it is the only thing we voters have to use when making our decisions. Differences ring alarm bells. I hate hypocrisy.

The Video Gaming Revenue Stream

"Dan [Cronin] said YES to installing tens of thousands of video gaming terminals throughout Illinois; a scourge that DuPage County and many municipalities resoundingly rejected."
- Gary Grasso

I am personally not against gaming in general. I group together revenues received from gaming as similar to revenues provide by consumption-type taxes. The citizens who voluntarily use the good or service provide the revenues from these types of taxes. If you don’t want to pay the tax, don’t use the good or service. I further am a strong believer of having decisions affecting people be made by government bodies as close to the individual as possible, if the decision is impractical to be made by the individual himself.

Mr. Grasso, and Mrs. Olson are both on record criticizing Sen. Cronin’s yes vote on HB 255. This bill allowed for increased video gaming in Illinois and had overwhelming majority party support in Springfield. The bill was easily going to pass the General Assembly and be signed into law by Gov. Quinn. As we in Helliois® are well aware, decisions made in Springfield are normally not in the interests of the citizens of this State. Sen. Cronin insisted that provisions be added to the bill that allowed decisions about video gambling be made by the localities instead of the corrupticrats in Springfield. Sen. Cronin insisted on these important local control provisions in advance of his vote. Without Sen. Cronin’s efforts, video gaming decisions would be made at the state level.

So we see hypocrisy on two levels. Firstly, Mrs. Olson’s vote against video gaming in DuPage County is entirely appropriate. If her constituents don’t like her vote, they can vote her out of office. Curiously, it was Sen. Cronin’s changes to the video gaming legislation that she and Mr. Grasso so hotly criticize that allowed Mrs. Olson to cast that very vote. Without Sen. Cronin’s efforts, video gambling decisions would have been made in Springfield instead of Wheaton. This wise application of local control, insisted to by Sen. Cronin, headed off the need for cities, counties and other municipalities to litigate a decision made in Springfield if a locality did not want video gaming within its boarders.

Gambling Gary Grasso

According to documents filed with the Illinois Gaming Board, Mr. Grasso is part of a consortium, Calumet Gaming, LLC. Calumet Gaming was dedicated to getting the prized last Illinois casino license, and was in the running until outbid by another company who bid about three times the other bids being offered. Calumet Gaming had interests in the Empress Casinos in Joliet and Hammond, IN.

Grasso, Bass and Williams, P. C., Mr. Grasso’s law firm’s website proudly states, “Finally, we also represent the commercial interests of our corporate clients, in connection with a variety of real estate ventures, gaming projects, and other business transactions.”

Coincidentally Calumet Gaming, the Capital Gaming Group, Grasso, Bass and Williams and the Mayoral office share a common address, 760 Village Center Drive, a mixed-use facility in Burr Ridge. Burr Ridge, a major portion of which resides in Cook County, funded part of the Village Center from municipal funds. A company owned by Pat Harbour, a major Grasso contributor, who recently held a large fundraising event at Harry Carey’s to benefit the mayor, also provided additional funds for the Village Center project.

Mr. Grasso’s and Mrs. Olson’s attacks on Sen. Cronin are hypocritical at best, and in Mr. Grasso’s case a giant conflict of interest at worse. You be the judge.

A Burr under the Saddle

“Mayor Grasso believes government is too large…”
- Grasso campaign literature

Several of Mr. Grasso’s quotes and pieces of campaign literature tout his work as mayor of Burr Ridge. A recent campaign brochure from the Grasso campaign, and approved by Grasso says, “Mayor Grasso wants zero based budgeting…” So we need to roll the videotape and see exactly what Mr. Grasso has DONE in Burr Ridge, it’s not enough to believe what he says.

Arguments can certainly be made Burr Ridge has been improved during his tenure as mayor. At what cost?

We see for starters that Mr. Grasso is more than willing to enter into “public-private” partnerships to build a commercial mixed-use space and a police station in downtown Burr Ridge. In fact, he does so with his major campaign contributors, and supports the Village by renting space for his gambling interests in the same building. Remember, a sizable chunk of Burr Ridge is in Cook County. While no allegation of inappropriate behavior is made here, others may say we see the typical pay-to-play antics we have come to know and love from the Cook County/Chicago machine. I think it’s safe to say that all residents would prefer to not even see the hint of impropriety here in DuPage.

Looking at the budget of Burr Ridge on its city website shows that the village is running a one million dollar deficit this year, and has about two million dollars of deficits projected for the next five years. The budget report indicates a budget surplus in fiscal year 2008-9 was wiped out by lower than expected revenues, and for the seventh year in a row, the sales tax revenues had been overestimated. The Equipment Replacement and Stormwater Management Funds were not funded as previously budgeted. Given the track record of overestimating revenues, what gives anyone any confidence that the outlying years budgets will not be even deeper in debt than the already projected deficits?
In a press release from September 2009, Mr. Grasso states, “… inefficiencies, waste and neglect in government led to unprecedented deficits” Perhaps he was talking about the finances of Burr Ridge instead of Springfield. It appears both were bitten by the same bug.

Inconvenient facts for "Gambling" Gary Grasso.

For my analysis on the DuPage County Board Chairman candidates:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cincinnatus Supports Dan Cronin for DuPage County Board Chairman

" DuPage County families are making tough decisions every day. Government must do the same."
- Dan Cronin

For the past 60 days I have been doing independent research on the four Republican February 2, 2010 primary candidates for DuPage (Illinois) County Board Chairman. The candidates, State Senators Dan Cronin and Carole Pankau, DuPage County Board member Debra Olson and Burr Ridge, Illinois mayor Gary Grasso are in a knock-down-drag-out fight in the primary. Located just outside Chicago, DuPage County has an electorate that is still fairly conservative, although following recent national and state trends, the county has become more liberal over the past 20 years. Since the electorate is still leans conservative, the primary winner should handily beat the Democrat candidate, Ms. Carole Cheney, in the November General Election.

With a hat tip to Tip, the issues are local. Like municipalities everywhere, DuPage County is worried about fiscal issues and the opacity of its government.

Mrs. Transparency.

Mrs. Olson chose to make transparency in government a centerpiece of her campaign. My research of public records indicated that over the years, she has accepted significant contributions from over a dozen contractors and vendors doing business with the county. I have written many posts on the local blogs outlining my criticism of Mrs. Olson because she brought up the issue of Ethics as the centerpiece of her campaign, and the shear hypocrisy of her claims compelled me to blog. I will do so until she satisfactorily answers the ethical questions surrounding her.

ARAMARK had lost a bid for the county food services contract. In an unusual and virtually unprecedented sequence of events, the winning bid of a different vendor was stopped by the County Board. A new round of bidding was ordered. ARAMARK still lost the bid, but significantly, around the time of the rebid, ARAMARK made campaign contributions to Mrs. Olson. One of its vice presidents currently serves on Mrs. Olson’s campaign committee.

In a scandal revealed just last year, the DuPage Water Commission was found to have depleted its funds. The funds were inappropriately transferred to the County General Fund. Those funds were promptly spent by the County Board to cover its burgeoning operating expenses. DuPage County was required to borrow $30 million to cover the shortfall in the coffers of the Water Commission. And who was the County Board member that chairs the Public Works Committee that has primary oversight responsibility over the Water Commission? Debra Olson. And who was a member of the County Board that voted to spend the misappropriated money? Olson, again. When asked if the General Manager of the Water Commission should be fired for letting this misappropriation happen, Sen. Pankau, Mayor Grasso and Sen. Cronin all said yes. Mrs. Olson said a task force should be set up to “study the issue.”

Where would you get the money?

Mrs. Olson says she was the fiscally responsible candidate in the race. Leading the attacks, she berates Sen. Cronin as fiscally irresponsible, pointing to taxes Sen. Cronin has voted for while in the Illinois General Assembly. Close examination of the voting record indicates that Sen. Cronin has been a spending hawk. NONE of the criticism aimed at Sen. Cronin is about his spending habits. All of the criticism revolves around taxes.

So we are then compelled to look at Sen. Cronin’s record on taxes. Sen. Cronin has never voted for an income or property tax, in fact, he sponsored the property tax cap legislation passed in Springfield that save property owners in DuPage County tens of millions of dollars. Sen. Cronin has fought Governors Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn tooth and nail over income tax increases.

Sen. Cronin has voted for consumption taxes. All his votes for these consumption taxes were made after he ensured that DuPage County would receive new, significant revenue streams from these taxes. It was just these new revenues funneled into DuPage County that allowed the County Board to cover the deficits they were racking up, including the shortfall left by the Water Commission fiasco that had Mrs. Olson at its heart.

Mrs. Olson touts the cuts in spending made by the County Board, and the property tax reduction the Board recently rebated. She should be given credit for voting for a $30 million County Board budget decrease. Close examination of this budget cut shows that it rolls the budget back to 2006 levels. What must be realized that the budget had increased by that amount since 2006, during her tenure on the County Board.

If Sen. Cronin had not found and channeled money into the County Board coffers, the current County Board budget would be $70 million out of whack. What would Mrs. Olson have cut to balance the budget? So far, all we've heard is she would cut critical public safety personnel like State's Attorneys, prison guards, bailiffs and sheriffs.

One thought on consumption taxes, they are one of the necessary evils that provide revenue to provide government services. From my point of view, consumption-type taxes are preferable to income or property taxes. If you don't like 'em, don't consume the product or service being taxed. At least then the individual has responsibility; those using those goods or services being taxed pay for those services, while those that do not consume do not.

Philosophically, do you attack spending or taxes first? I think that government needs to go after spending with a battle axe, taxes will fall as a result of decreased government spending. This line of thought embraced by Sen. Cronin.

Rolling craps.

Mr. Grasso was a non-starter choice for me. Both he and Mrs. Olson have railed against Sen. Cronin for his vote to allow video gaming decisions to be made at the local level, instead of being dictated by the corrupt government in Springfield. I have no problems with gaming in general, and I certainly have no problems with local choice of gaming. Those decisions should be made by those as close as possible to the people potentially affected. Indeed, while I don’t necessarily support it, I think Mrs. Olson’s vote against video gaming in DuPage County is entirely appropriate. If her constituents don’t like her vote, they can voter her out of office. Curiously, it was Sen. Cronin’s support of the video gaming legislation that she and Mr. Grasso so hotly criticize that allowed Mrs. Olson to cast that vote.

Mr. Grasso heads a consortium, Calumet Gaming, dedicated to getting the prized last state casino license. Mr. Grasso’s law firm’s website proudly highlights that it represents gaming interests across the U.S. His attacks on Sen. Cronin are hypocritical at best, or a giant conflict of interest at the worse. You be the judge.

Mr. Grasso touts his work as mayor of Burr Ridge. Indeed, Burr Ridge has been significantly improved during his tenure. At what cost? Looking at the budget of Burr Ridge on its city website shows that the village is running a one million dollar deficit this year, and has one million dollar a year deficits projected for the next five years. Inconvenient facts for "Gambling" Gary.

Panning Pankau?

Close examination reveals that Sen. Pankau's County Board record meets or exceeds Mrs. Olson's. Sen. Pankau's tenure at the County Board has many accomplishments, without all of the controversies surrounding her time in office, unlike Mrs. Olson. Sen. Pankau is an attractive candidate because she is a budget hawk and she benefits from experience in the State Senate, she was high on my list for my vote. Mrs. Olson must be worried about Sen. Pankau since Mr. Olson has thrown so many attacks her way. I'm sure Mrs. Olson is worried that Sen. Pankau may split off some of the women's vote that Mrs. Olson so desperately needs to remain competitive in this race and this must be why Mrs. Olson has attacked Sen. Pankau so vociferously.

The problems I see in Mrs. Olson and Mr. Grasso record and behavior left me with a choice between Sen. Cronin and Sen. Pankau. I ruled Sen. Pankau out because of the time I spent looking at their legislative records. Sen. Cronin’s is orders of magnitude superior.

Finally, Cronin

Sen. Cronin not only fought spending in Springfield and programmed critical revenues to DuPage County, he has led the fight on several other issues that should be considered by the voters. Sen. Cronin was the lead sponsor of the resolutions leading to former Gov. Blagojevich’s impeachment. Sen. Cronin was out front on this issue, months before anyone else in the General Assembly got sick of the slime ball that is Gov. Blagojevich. Compare this to the ethical lapses in Mrs. Olson’s record.

Sen. Cronin is the leading expert on education issues in Springfield, and is recognized as such on both sides of the aisle. Sen. Cronin led the fight to reform the Chicago Public School system. He led the fight to bring accountability and improved standards for teachers, administrators and students in Illinois, and is a strong advocate for new approaches in public education such as charter schools and alternate teacher certification to expedite the hiring of new qualified teachers.

In addition to the things I have mentioned in this rather long post, the list of Sen. Cronin’s accomplishments goes on and on.

Cincy says

Voters are struggling with a trade-off between conservative principles and the slate of candidates they are presented. The choice between this particular batch of candidates can be difficult since they all have strengths and weaknesses. I am not God, nor a Father Confessor, it is hard to judge a candidate's heart. I can only use their records. When facing a tough choice on a ballot, I always fall back on a saying from Mr. William F. Buckley: "Always vote for the most conservative ELECTABLE candidate." Politics requires tradeoffs.

As I write this, most of the loyal DuPage County Republicans, the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald (a newspaper historically very friendly to Olson) and the Pioneer Local (the local Chicago Sun Times newspapers) all agree. They endorse Sen. Cronin.

I agree. Vote for Dan Cronin.

For my analysis on the DuPage County Board Chairman candidates: