Latest news from The Southtown Star Online en-us Wed, 28 Jul 2010 14:10:16 PDT Southtown Star logo 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ Term limits vote cleared for Country Club Hills ]]> Lead story image

The Illinois Appellate Court has ruled that a term limits referendum can remain on the Nov. 4 election ballot in Country Club Hills. If approved by voters, the referendum would prohibit longtime Mayor Dwight Welch from running for re-election in April. The referendum asks voters to limit the terms of the mayor, aldermen, city clerk and city treasurer to five consecutive four-year terms, or a total of 20 straight years in office. Welch has been mayor for 27 years. Attorney James Nally, who represented two residents who tried to block the referendum, said an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court … ]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 19:14:00 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Early voting underway for Nov. 4 election ]]> Lead story image

Voters anxious to cast their ballots for the Nov. 4 election arrived Monday for the first day of early voting at the Orland Township Hall, which in recent elections has been the busiest site in suburban Cook County. I didn’t see any lines for the polling booth, often evident in previous years when the polling place was across the street at Orland Park Village Hall. But parking spaces were hard to find at the township hall, 14807 Ravinia Ave., which has a much smaller parking lot than the one for the village hall and civic center. I saw only two … ]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 02:05:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: An education on school funding ]]> Lead story image

If a politician opens his mouth to talk about school funding in Illinois, chances are good he’s lying. That’s the one hard and fast recommendation I have for voters and taxpayers after writing about education financing in this state for nearly 25 years. It holds true for the current election for governor, where both candidates are promising to improve public school funding. It’s all about helping the children, don’t you know. I was the first to expose the shell game that state legislators played with state lottery money, which was sold to the public for many years (via radio commercials) … ]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 02:11:48 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Guns really aren’t the problem ]]> Lead story image

Gov. Pat Quinn wants to ban assault weapons in Illinois. His opponent, Republican Bruce Rauner, does not. During their second debate Tuesday evening before a mostly black crowd at the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, Rauner said the “most important thing we can do with guns is to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.” The candidates’ positions on the gun issue are why I feel that debates are not enlightening and actually serve to confuse the public. For example, can anyone out there tell me what an assault … ]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:01:39 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: The cost of saving on mental health care ]]> Lead story image

When I saw the news release about a Cook County Board hearing today to “look into mental health needs and services,” I was sort of surprised. Surprised because it has been my experience that hardly anyone in this state cares very much about the needs of the mentally ill as long as such people don’t shoot them while they’re eating burgers at a McDonald’s. Since the closing of the Tinley Park Mental Health Center in 2012, Cook County Jail has become the largest facility treating mentally ill patients in Illinois. The city of Chicago shut down six of its 12 … ]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:18:09 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Beverly community rallies to support John Rooney and his family ]]> Lead story image

John Rooney suspected while interviewing Dawn Clark Netsch, six days before her death from ALS in 2013, that he probably had the fatal disease himself. But he didn’t mention it because, well, Netsch — a former state senator, Illinois comptroller and Democratic candidate for governor — was the story, not the guy writing about her battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Now it’s Rooney’s turn to be interviewed and, while gracious and willing, he’s not comfortable being the face of ALS. A longtime resident of Chicago’s Beverly community, a reporter for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and an active volunteer in … ]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 02:12:08 -0500 <![CDATA[ Fifty years later, retired Army colonel ends Vegas boycott ]]> Lead story image

Fifty years ago, 25-year-old Army Lt. Eugene Scott was looking forward to a trip to Las Vegas with fellow military officers, a break from combat tank training in the California desert. “The white officers I was going with, I was the only black, came in to tell me I wouldn’t be able to join them,” Scott recalled. “The hotels in Vegas didn’t allow black people.” Scott vowed “never to visit that place” the rest of his life. After two tours in Vietnam, receiving the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star, retired Col. Eugene Scott will be breaking that vow … ]]> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 10:11:15 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Illiana Tollway snarls Illinois’ long-range transit plan ]]> Lead story image

Calling the Illiana Tollway project a “runaway train,” a key transit planning agency voted Wednesday against its long-range transit plan, setting up a battle with Gov. Pat Quinn and the Illinois Department of Transportation. Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett, chairman of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, led the attack on the Illiana, saying it will put taxpayers on the hook for more than $2 billion. “IDOT tried to sell us this idea for the Illiana last year as a public-private partnership,” Bennett said, “but it’s become clear there is no private partner willing to assume the financial risk. Taxpayers … ]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 18:32:55 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Lipinski tells colleagues to return to D.C. ]]> Lead story image

Congressmen should leave their campaigns for re-election and return to Washington, D.C., to focus on the ongoing war with ISIS, according to U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski. In a news release, Lipinski, D-3rd, also questions whether the Obama administration has proper congressional authority to conduct bombing attacks on ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. “I don’t think it was the right thing for Congress to adjourn and leave Washington to campaign for re-election while there remain so many unanswered questions about what we’re doing in Iraq and Syria,” Lipinski told me in a telephone interview Tuesday. Lipinski said that although the … ]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:34:59 -0500 <![CDATA[ Southland mayor again hopes to kill plan for Illiana Tollway ]]> Lead story image

A Southland mayor who heads a key transportation planning agency says he will try to kill the Illiana Tollway this week because it would put taxpayers “on the hook for as much as $1 billion.” Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett, board chairman of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), said the tollway cannot work as a public-private partnership as envisioned by the state and that taxpayers would have to take on “all the risk, not private investors.” A crucial CMAP vote is expected Wednesday that could determine the future of the controversial project. However, another mayor remains strongly supportive … ]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 02:10:28 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: It looks like a prank but joke’s on us ]]> Lead story image

This had to be a prank. That was my first thought as I looked at the Cook County clerk’s website and examined the referendums on the Nov. 4 election ballot. Some teenage computer hacker must have gotten access to the website and was probably laughing himself silly. There was no other logical explanation. I was wrong. Here’s the language on the website that also will appear on ballots (including all the capital letters): “PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE 1970 ILLINOIS CONSTITUTION NOTICE: THE FAILURE TO VOTE THIS BALLOT MAY BE THE EQUIVALENT OF A NEGATIVE VOTE, BECAUSE A CONVENTION SHALL BE … ]]> Sun, 05 Oct 2014 02:15:03 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Fretting over the Ebola virus and ISIS/ISIL ]]> Lead story image

My attention was focused on ISIS when the Ebola virus attack broke out. Actually, I was wasting a lot of time trying to figure out why the terrorist group that was lopping off the heads of Americans was called both ISIL and ISIS. The talking heads on TV kept blaming ISIS, a name that sounded like some horrible creature from an alien planet that could eat its way out of someone’s stomach. But President Barack Obama kept saying it was ISIL that we should all be worried about ISIL sounds like a neurotic character in a Woody Allen movie who … ]]> Fri, 03 Oct 2014 02:10:35 -0500 <![CDATA[ Crestwood sues former water department workers for legal fees ]]> Lead story image

Crestwood has filed lawsuits to try to recover more than $350,000 in legal fees from two former employees who were convicted for their roles in delivering tainted drinking water to residents over more than 20 years. In addition, for the first time, village officials Wednesday said Crestwood will seek to recover money from former Mayor Chester Stranczek for his legal defense in cases connected to the water scandal. Mayor Lou Presta said the village has paid more than $1 million to Stranczek’s attorneys. Stranczek was mayor for much of the time that the village mixed well water contaminated by vinyl … ]]> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 02:11:34 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Try to find Quinn’s income tax stance on his website ]]> Lead story image

Here’s a little game voters can play. Go to the campaign website of Gov. Pat Quinn ( and see if you can find mention of his position on making the “temporary” state income tax hike permanent. His spokeswoman told me it was there, but I couldn’t find it. After my column Tuesday criticizing Republican candidate Bruce Rauner for his confusing (sometimes contradictory) positions on taxes in Illinois and noting that his campaign website seems to lack clarity, reader William Miller sent me an email stating that Quinn’s website fails to make his position clear as well. “I checked Quinn’s web … ]]> Wed, 01 Oct 2014 16:34:52 -0500 <![CDATA[ Rauner is confusing on state income tax hike ]]> Lead story image

Is the anti-tax candidate actually in favor of an income tax increase? Republican Bruce Rauner has been campaigning for governor as the guy who’s going to cut taxes and increase jobs. Rauner has blasted Gov. Pat Quinn and fellow Democrat Michael Madigan, the Illinois House speaker, for raising the state income tax from 3 percent to 5 percent as of January 2011. That “temporary” income tax hike is scheduled by law to decrease to 3.75 percent on Jan. 1 and 3.5 percent on Jan. 1, 2016. It would remain at that level thereafter, resulting in a .5 percent permanent increase … ]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:10:23 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Knowing nothing as an art form ]]> Lead story image

It often seems political leaders and business titans have all graduated from the Schultz Academy of Prevarication. Named for the legendary character Sgt. Schultz on the TV show “Hogan’s Heroes,” academy graduates can easily be identified whenever confronted with an allegation of wrongdoing. “I know nothing,” prison guard Schultz used to say to roars of canned laughter. Somehow, it doesn’t sound nearly as humorous in real life. Gov. Pat Quinn knew nothing about Illinois Department of Transportation patronage hiring or apparently about the fraud that occurred in a $54 million anti-violence program on his watch. For those who contend that … ]]> Sun, 28 Sep 2014 02:10:50 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: A battle for change in Harvey ]]> Lead story image

Listening to the praise by the mayor and aldermen and the applause of a crowd at a Harvey City Council meeting, you would think the police department is universally admired in the suburb. Yet, aldermen voted 5-1 this week to ask the Cook County sheriff’s department to undertake an “assessment” of the city’s police force. Under the ordinance, immediately vetoed by Mayor Eric Kellogg, Sheriff Tom Dart’s staff would examine all financial and arrest records in the police department and conduct interviews with every employee. As Kellogg said during his speech explaining why he vetoed the ordinance, it would allow … ]]> Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:39:54 -0500 <![CDATA[ Kadner: Fire union says politics behind possible far-reaching lawsuit ]]> Lead story image

The state’s largest firefighters union claims that a lawsuit filed by North Riverside to terminate the village’s fire union is motivated by politics, not financial problems. “Over the last 10 years, North Riverside hasn’t made a single full payment into the union pension fund,” said Pat Devaney, president of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois. “In five of those 10 years, it made no payments at all. Zero!” A lawsuit filed on behalf of North Riverside by Evergreen Park attorney Burton Odelson contends that the west suburb no longer can afford to make payments into the fire pension fund as … ]]> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 02:09:57 -0500