Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy on Radio Chicagoland this morning

Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy discusses regional crime issues on Mornings with Ray Hanania this morning. The interview is podcast on iTunes.com and can be heard directly off the web site at www.RadioChicagoland.com. McCarthy, the secret service agent who was injured during the assassination attempt against President Ronald Reagan, discusses a wide range of issues including regional crime trends. McCarthy, chairman of the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force, also notes talks about crime trends, noting that there were 39 homicides this year (in the task force region) compared to 50 in 2006. He said the Task Force has "cleared 75 percent of the homicides" compared to the national average which is 60 percent. He also discusses the coyote problem int he Southwest suburbs.

To find the show, scroll down to 12-30-08 on the virtual iPod on the web site (all shows are listed in Chronological order and can be heard online without leaving the web page). Or, go to www.iTunes.com and download the podcast to your own iPod.

-- Ray Hanania

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Southtown Star has a good story on the Orland Park mayoral race today

The SouthtownStar has a good story by Nathaniel Zimmer on the mayoral battle in Orland Park between 16 year incumbent Dan McLaughlin and Gerald Maher, who is making his second attempt (last time was eight years ago) to unseat McLaughlin.

Here's a link.

What I found interesting was Mayor McLaughlin's response to Maher.

I don't think McLaughlin can blow off Maher the way he did before. In the 2001 race, McLaughlin was riding high and Orland Park was on its way up. The next year, very confident, McLaughlin imposed an increase of .75 percent in the local sales tax using home rule powers -- something other communities were doing. But McLaughlin also announced a property tax rebate to compensate residents so they would not be hurt by the sales tax hike which was intended to hit out-of-towners coming in to Orland Park to shop in Orland's then bustling retail community.

Since then, the economy has tanked, Orland Park is hit particularly hardbecause McLaughlin gambled everything on retail expansion and a dependence on the sales tax revenues. And he cut the annual resident property tax rebate down significantly to about 25 percent of what it was in the past (rebating about $4.5 million out of an approved property tax levy of $17 million ... which represents a hike, even though the levy covers a period slightly more than 12 months).

And, Orland Park has seen an array of local fees increased significantly.

The real problem, of course, isn't the conomy. The reality, as everyone in Orland Park knows, is that things are not well. Many of the programs originally offered by the village originally had fees. But in the past year, the village has imposed new fees and attendance has dropped significantly.

The economy has also put a serious damper on the Christmas Season in Orland Park. The reality is there are far fewer homes in Orland Park that have expansive Christmas lighting decorations. We go on the Holiday Trolley every year -- one of the few surviving free services -- and there were so few lit homes to see it was really rather boring and embarassing.

-- Ray Hanania

Friday, December 19, 2008

Middle Eastern businessmen targeted by robbers in Southwest Suburbs

Tinley Park officials are reporting that Middle Eastern businessmen are being targeted by robbers who are following the businessmen as they leave their businesses to their homes int he Southwest suburbs, robbing them at their homes and even in their driveways.

Tinely Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki issued an alert Friday.

"Tinley Park along with several other suburbans have experienced some late night robberies of Middle-Eastern business men. These men have businesses in the city and take the day's receipts home with them. They are followed home and than either in the driveway or the home itself is robbed," Zabrocki said in his statement.

The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC Chicago) has reached out to Mayor Zabrocki to offer any assistance in helping to get the word out or any support that might assist the police in confronting the suspects and stopping the robberies, according to ADC Chicago President Fadi Zanayed.

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'll take the mayor's word he did not ask for any special treatment

By the time Mayor McLaughlin returned home from work on Tuesday night, after a nearly 5 hour drive and in one of the worst snow storms we'ved had in a while, it was close to 10 pm, he explained in an email. He said he shoveled his driveway, the way everyone did, and he said the street in front of his house looked like it was NOT yet plowed.

He insisted that he does not ask for special treatment, and I believe him.

Still, when I drove by his house (maybe around 7:45 after shoveling my driveway and trudging through my street that wasn't plowed until very late, too), I saw his side of the street WAS plowed. I also drove past the home of the village manager, but his street wasn't plowed, although, like I wrote, a plow DID go by and do an unusual thing, plowing down the intersecting street and then turning left instead of right onto his street -- who knows, maybe they don't know where the village manager lives yet.

But, like I said, it could very well be some overzealous village employee -- I've run into a few, and by the way they are very rude (I'd use another adjective but this is a family-read blog) -- or who knows, a neighbor with a huge street plow.

I had wished I could have checked out the streets in front of the homes of all the trustees, too, because while I focused on McLaughlin, it's the trustees who I really don't "trust." They refuse to be accountable, are always contentious, can't deal with any form of criticism whatsoever, and think that their (here's another spot for a bad adjective) doesn't stink.

Well, it does stink. They're not doing enough to explain things to the public. They're happy with the "happy talk" coverage. (I can see them posing with their index fingers pointing into their cheeks with big cheshire cat grins). Meanwhile, property taxes HAVE gone up. Village fees HAVE gone up. Attendance at village board meetings -- according to the dozens of people who reach out to me -- HAS gone down. (I'm not interested in hanging out there and taking their attitudes, either.) And the accountability on the village HAS gone down, too.

Politicians always think it is personal. It's not. I just want answers. I want explanations. I also want the village board meetings broadcast live on Comcast Cable instead of that junk that is now broadcast (and I'll skip over one of the biggest attitude employees in the village for now) on the village's channel.

I love the Village Web Site. (Although the email address for the village manager doesn't work. But knowing the MIS staff there, they will get on it right away because that's how they have always been, one team the mayor, the trustees and the village CAN count on -- of course, I say something nice about someone, and suddenly their careers take a dive. I criticize some goof who think's she is a "big shot" and she gets a career promotion.)

We're not stupid, just because we village residents don't hang out at the little restaurant parties and the fatcat contributors. Most of us in Orland Park are working families who are worried about how to pay the bills. A few are even struggling with their mortgages. We know what's going on and just because the "unTRUSTees" don't feel an obligation to give us real answers instead of the blah, blah, blah they write in the village newsletter, doesn't mean we, the citizens in Orland Park, don't see what's happening. We see it.

I'll give McLaughlin the benefit of the doubt on this one, but if I were mayor I heard that anyone plowed my street before the rest of the streets, I'd be hopping mad. And I would call in the uncle of the brother of the 19th ward resident whose cousin probably leaned on a pal who probably works in the village or the neighbor with a plow to clean the street, and I would read them the riot act!

Because people do what they THINK the government officials want them to do. If employees think they are supposed to suck up, they will suck up. But if they think the government wants them to do a great job -- and there are MANY employees at the Village who do a GREAT JOB, a few even reach out) -- then everyone who works for the village will do a great job, too.

-- Ray Hanania

By the way, many residents in Orland Park like this blog, even if Jim Dodge and a few of the other trustees do not -- maybe he wants to get a local reporter from a now crippled dommunity newspaper that is slowly doing a vanishing act to unfairly attack me in print (without even calling me for a comment) the way he did the last time I authored an Orland Park blog ...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hey, McLaughlin is the mayor I guess -- when it comes to getting your street plowed in Orland Park

(I'll be talking about this one on my radio show this morning. WJJG 1530 AM Radio, and on the Internet ... click HERE to listen ... 8 - 9:30 am this morning)

I guess when you are the mayor, people tend to do favors for you. Like, when you are an employee of the Public Works Department and you are a) told to plow the mayor's street or b) you do it because, hey, he's "da mayor."

You know where I am going with this, right?

I came home last night around 6:45 pm and saw that my street wasn't plowed. (It was plowed later on that night, one side, across from my side.)

So I figured, I'd go check some of the other streets in town, like the one in front of Village Manager Paul Grimes' house, and also the street in front of the mayor's house. Well, a plow went past Grimes block, but not in front of his house. (Grimes is new, so maybe the drivers don't know where he lives.)

But Mayor McLaughlin has been around for a while, on Oakley Street, and they know where he lives. And so do his neighbors. I drove down 143rd and when I got to Oakley I turned and saw it wasn't plowed. Neither side. I kept driving to 144th street. Same thing. In fact, those two blocks were much like the rest of the village. Very few streets were plowed at all.

And I then I got to 145th Street, the start of the mayor's block. Wow. I couldn't believe it. I looked and saw that his side of the street -- let me repeat that -- his side of the street was plowed clean. The person who plowed the street didn't do the whole street, but started at 146th street and plowed north on the right (east side). You could see the clumps of snow that form when plowed snow splashes on the curb side. The street was smooth, easy to drive on.

(My street when I went to check on McLaughlin's street.)

Whomever plowed continued to the end of the street to 145th, and then crossed but then stopped plowing right at the beginning of the corner of the block.

Now, in fairness to the mayor, his driveway wasn't plowed. And I didn't see the plow truck, although a neighbor who tipped me, did. Big. Red. Village property.

Did the mayor order his street plowed? Or, was it just an enthusiastic employee trying to suck up. It's an election year, after all.

But you would think that a good mayor would want to make sure that before his street is plowed, maybe you might try plowing at least half of the rest of the side streets in Orland Park, which were a real mess.

Keep in mind that 159th and 143rd are plowed by orange Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) trucks, not red Village of Orland Park (VOP) trucks.

"Usually, they plow the whole street, both sides," one neighbor near the mayor said as he snowplowed his own driveway. "Yep. That's the mayor's house. Right there. Two stories. Beautiful, huh?"

Just my thoughts exactly. Beautiful!

(I emailed the mayor asking for his comments. If I get a response, I'll post it, in fairness, after all. Until then, I have to go out and finish cleaning the street in front of my house. Although who knows, after I'm done cleaning the driveway, a plow will come by and pack it back full of snow.)

(McLaughlin's street.)

-- Ray Hanania

Monday, December 15, 2008

Coyotes getting brazen in Orland Park region ...

I was driving down 82nd Avenue near the Silver Lakes Country Club heading south to 151st Street when I looked to the west and saw a pack of coyotes looking startled, I guess. They stood out with somewhat orangish coats although that may have looked that way from the bright snow they were standing on that covered the entire golf course.

Coyotes are everywhere and the Village and the Police Department are doing everything they can to deal with them, but it would help if we didn't feed them or put out food for other wild animals that end up on the Coyote's menus, says Orland Park Police Chief Timothy McCarthy.

Coincidentally, McCarthy said he was planning to address the issue in the next issue of the Orland Park Public when I asked him about the problem and how big of a problem it is.

"We have many reports of coyotes and see them often ourselves. They go where the food is and we are over run with rabbits squirrels etc. We have also had reports of people feeding them and have an article that will appear in the next 'Public' about this issue. There are no reports of coyotes ever biting a human in the state of Illinois other than when people tried to feed them. The coyotes do not know the difference between the food and the hand giving it to them. It’s all food to them," McCarthy wrote back in a email.

"We occasionally attempt to trap them (however they cannot be relocated and must be euthanized) when we get substantiated reports that they have attacked a domestic animal or have come close to humans which are generally unusual. It appears to be caused by the fact that some people are feeding them and they learn this new behavior of going up to humans."

Watch for Chief McCarthy to be on my radio show in the coming weeks to talk about this and other topics. He is one of the most responsive leaders we have in the Southwest suburbs and region.

-- Ray Hanania

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Orland Park has one of the region's best web sites

Although Orland Park may suffer from Elected Official arrogance and lack of accountability, it does have one of the best and most informed web sites in the region.

The web site is: http://www.orland-park.il.us/

The latest service among much of the information available on the site includes a new feature that allows you to sign up for notices from very specific village agencies and interests. I went there, signed up, and immediately got confirmation that I was now subscribed to 25 services -- notified by 25 emails, which might be much.

Yet, the web site offers comprehensive menu of information. It's well designed. Efficient. Full of information.

Of course, the web site can only offer what the village officials want it to offer, and th efact is the village is not vewry good about being honest or forthright about issues and controversies int he village, like the property tax hike that will soon take effect because most residents don't seem to really care about the rising property taxes, and rising village service fees across-the-board.

Still, you can't blame the web site managers or the MIS department for that. They do what they can with what they have and they are doing a great job.

If you need information, visit the web site.

Someday soon, hopefully, the Village Clerk David P. Maher will do a better job of providing public information through the web site. Right now you can get the agendas of meetings online. But, the minutes of meetings seem scant, and run about a month behind the actual meeting. And, in truth, as a journalist for 32 years, I have found that village officials always skewer what they report about controversial public meetings, always making themselves look better than they are.

Hey, maybe instead of the excessively repeated self-promotion ont he village Comcast Channel that we get over and over an dover again, maybe we could have a live broadcast and repeat broadcast uncensored or our village board meetings. So few people attend now, why would they? It might open doors to all kinds of problems if you watched how our Mayor Dan McLaughlin conducts his meetings. It might push citizens to want to get involved, and I don't think that is really what our elected officials want.

(Most of the trustees are so arrogant and unresponsive. They only respond to those who support them and like them, not to those who question their actions. Why should they, right? They are working for themselves, not the best interests of the village or its citizens.)

You can't trust your elected officials to be honest. You have to force them to be honest by vigilant monitoring of what they do. And for most of us who work for a living, also policing our politicall unscrupulous elected officials can be a fulltime and unwanted job.

-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Full text of the Charges and press release on Rod Blagojevich

Click HERE to open the press release issued by US Attorney Patrick Fiztgerald on the corruption charges against Gov. Rod Blagojevich (Bla-Bleep-ovich).

Click HERE to read the actual charges and full "Complaint" filed by the US Attorney's Office.

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Village of Orland Park plans whopping 17 percent property tax levy hike

The front page of the Orland Park Prairie, my favorite newspaper, reports what can only be called a real Christmas Miracle:

"Retail Vacancies filling up in Orland."

According to the story, while the rest of the nation is seeing retail businesses closing and abandoned space increasing, "that's not completely the case in Orland Park."

Now, I started laughing because I thought, wow that is one of the funniest jokes I have heard in a long time.

Imagine, two businesses plan to expand and an estimated 15 have closed in the past year. In fact, when you drive around Orland Park, all you see are empty storefronts. In practically every mall.

According to Orland Park Village Clerk David P. Maher (father of Patrick Maher who jacked up ambulance fees mainly for senior citizens at the Orland Park Fire Protection District, but not related to Gerald F. Maher who is running for Orland Park Mayor on a reform hold-the-line on taxes platform), property taxes in Orland Park are going to increase -- significantly.

I'll repeat that. They are going to increase, significantly.

Oh, but that's not even the biggest story of the year. The biggest story is that while the members of the Village Board have been spinning yarns about how they "saved" the property tax rebate, it turns out that the rebate is actually far less than they even admitted it would be.

Now, again, I have to rely on Clerk Maher's numbers. Maher states in the apparent paid advertisement in the paper that last year's property tax rebate was $15,303,532, and that this year's property taxes to be levied for 2008 are $17,905,671. (The Ad is framed in a thick black border, much like a funeral notice.)

That is a $2.6 million increase in property taxes, for starters.

But what is really significant? Well, Mayor Dan "Happy talk" McLaughlin announced that because of the village's financial problems, they would be short $4.8 million. To compensate for the shortfall in spending -- which means the village is spending more than it receives in revenues (which are all taxes) -- they would cut back on many things, including reducing the annual Property Tax Rebate.

The local newspapers reported that village officials are sighing relief that the "Property Tax Rebate" is "intact" -- remember that cute little word? Intact!


Do the math folks.

They "capped" the rebate at $4.5 million this year. In fact, as I was writing this, I received a automated telephone call from the village reminding me that I had to get my tax rebate forms in by Dec. 13. They even have a hotline (708-403-6116) if I had any questions. And I do.

So, if the property tax rebate is being capped at $4.5 million, and the property taxes actually being levied for 2008 are $17,905,671 ... duuuh! ... that means the "Property Tax Rebate" is far from being "intact."

It means that the village is only rebating exactly 25.1 percent of the village property taxes.

They are KEEPING 74.9 percent of the property tax that they used to rebate every year.

Some village observers estimated that you would get about 60 percent of your property tax rebated. But, as you can see, that's not true. In fact, if two thirds of the homeowners failed to file their rebate forms in time before the village deadline, you stll wouldn't get that much in a rebate.
The $4.5 million "cap" will be divided based upon how many homeowners file for rebates. Let's assume that will be the same as last year? Which means that you WILL get only 25 percent of what you paid.

Nevermind the other OBVIOUS story, that the village is increasing property taxes on residents by a whopping $2,602,139. That represents an increase in your property taxes of 17 percent.

The Village of Orland Park is going to raise our property taxes 17 percent.

The village plans a special meeting on Dec. 15 at 7 pm to discuss all this.

-- Ray Hanania

Monday, December 1, 2008

Military veteran Gerald F. Maher to challenge Mayor Dan "Happy Talk' McLaughlin in 2009

THE SCOOP: Longtime Orland Park residenNumbered Listt Gerald F. Maher will soon officially announce his candidacy for mayor of Orland Park, challenging incumbent Mayor Dan "Happy Talk" McLaughlin in the April 7, 2009 municipal elections. Maher will run under the Concerned Citizens of Orland Park independent party.

Maher challenged McLaughlin once before in 2001 and while he did good, McLaughlin was riding high and won. Maher will do better this time.

Immediately after his election, McLaughlin imposed a .75 % home rule sales tax increase and then bought off citizen outrage by promising to rebate homeowner property taxes. That, McLaughlin promised, would off-set the increased sales taxes we would have to pay and put the tax burden on outsiders who shopped in Orland Park.

But the McLaughlin tax Hike is back, and the rebate has been trimmed significantly. Not only will you not get it rebated AS WAS PROMISED by McLaughlin, but if you miss the deadline, you will no longer have a chance to qualify. How much will be rebated? Far less than promised, and even less depending on how many people apply.


Don’t confuse Gerald F. Maher with McLaughlin’s cohort, Village Clerk David P. Maher, who has a problem with the fundamentals of the Illinois Open Meetings Act – he can’t seem to understand it. Gerald F. Maher is the brother of Robert J. Maher the Orland Township Supervisor. Remember, Gerald Maher supported his brother while the do-nothing Orland Township Republican Committeeman Elizabeth Doody Gorman backed Tom Mahoney, the Democrat, who lost re-election.

It’s David Maher’s son, Patrick Maher, who is the president of the Orland Park Fire Protection District.

Clearly, Gerald F. Maher is from the right political side of the popular family name.


McLaughlin also promised a new vision for the village of Orland Park, but over the years the reality has plagued that vision with cataracts, and the village has “seen” a series of backdoor property tax hikes, fee increases, lack of accountability and the Chicago Machine’s stranglehold on local politics. (His chief ally, trustee Brad O’Halloran is a relative of Chicago 19th Ward powerhouse and former alderman and legislator Jeremiah Joyce.)

The rebate plan, despite watered down news reporting, has been cut back to off-set the mayor’s failed leadership. In fact, the property tax rebate reduction isn’t even an honest dirty back-door property tax hike. When you promise voters to off-set a sales tax you impose by rebating their property taxes, and then renege on the rebate, that’s a TAX INCREASE.

Maher, though, plans to change all that. He promises open and accountable government that will speak to the voters and citizens of Orland Park, not to their political backers or to their slacker pals in the news media.


There are many issues that we face in the village:

• The tax rebate fiasco – you are only getting a portion of that tax rebate and you are still saddled with McLaughlin’s .75 % sales tax hike.

• The 143rd Street TIF District fiasco. I thought a TIF district was for blighted property, not property that a poor mayor blights with bad talk and bullying? How much money was wasted on that project that the mayor plans to salvage by shutting down so many family-owned businesses?

• Fees have continued to skyrocket with no accountability from anyone in McLaughlin’s Machine Organization – Orland Park is often referred to as Chicago’s 51st Ward it is so much under the control of the 19th Ward and relatives and friends of Brad O’Halloran.

• The village bought several homes allegedly severely damaged by flooding several years ago, and then lost a fortune by re-selling them far below the purchase price. AND, how much money was spent to refurbish them? (Why didn’t the village save money for the taxpayers by simply giving the beleaguered homeowners interest free loans to fortify and salvage their properties instead of dumping millions into the properties only to lose money?)

• What about open government? The village is using Comcast Cable TV to broadcast their Happy talk propaganda, instead of trying to inform the residents about important issues. They continue to rebroadcast over and over and over again these soppy interviews with the mayor and his allies discussing why they are so great, ignoring issues like back door property tax increases and fee increases. We need live broadcasting of the village board meetings so that the village activities are brought directly to the public, rather than forcing the public to attend the uninformative, political village board meetings.

I am elated that Gerald F. Maher is running. He is a military veteran. (I can’t remember, did Dan McLaughlin serve in the military or does he just surround himself with veterans and exploit their service in Iraq and Afghanistan to make himself look good in village press releases?)

Maher has already launched a web site and I urge you to visit it and read the information there. It is very informative. It is www.CCOP.us.

Here is Maher’s Bio:
(You can read McLaughlin's background in the taxpayer funded newsletters that saturate the village and have more pictures of McLaughlin and his named mentioned than real issues.)

• Orland Park Resident of 29 years

• Husband, father of 4, and grandfather of 4

• Attended Moraine Valley and Northwestern University

• Previous Business Owner:
- International Transportation
- Financial Consultant

• Politically active for more than 40 years incl.:
- Campaigned with President Ronald Reagan
- Campaigned with President Gerald Ford
- Campaigned with Senator Chuck Percy
- Ran successful campaign in 2005 to elect Robert J. Maher as Orland Township Supervisor, defeating the heavily endorsed incumbent

• Veteran - 82nd Airborne
• Member, American Legion

• Previous coach:
- OYA - Varsity Boys Basketball
- Beverly Little League Baseball

Wake up Orland Park. It’s your tax dollars. Why are you allowing some Chicago Machine hack to run this village to the ground, offering excuses, patronage, clout and insider deals to his pals while making you pay the bill? It is your hard earned tax dollars that are at stake in this election.

Maher's slate will also include:

Kenneth Houston for Trustee, Orland Park
Orland Park Resident of more than 20 years; Graduate of Robert Morris College.
Previous Business Manager and UPS Employee for 15 years.

Kenneth Wzorek for Trustee, Orland Park
Orland Park Resident of 18 years
Graduate of Governor's State University BA Public Administration; Business Owner
Husband and father of three, grandfather of three
Active member of St. Michael's Church
Veteran US Army; Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 15014; American Legion Member Orland Post111 ; Member Elk's Lodge No. 2254

-- Ray Hanania

Didn't know I was "needed" at Orland tree lighting

I usually go every year to the tree lighting ceremony that Orland Park has. It's usually packed with parents and especially with the children.

But this year, I had too many things I had to finish and my wife and son went. They came back with a discouraging report. Like many of the events in Orland Park, fewer and fewer citizens are attending. This was the lowest turnout of any prior year, they said. And, the village offered far less for the kids. There was so much more to do last year and the years before. But this time, it reflects the times.

Now, I think it reflects the deteriorating leadership of the Village Mayor Dan McLaughlin and the village board, which is unaccountable to the public.

Yes, there is a small clique of pals and friends and their family who show up for everything to put on the happy face to give the impression to the local news media that everything is fine. But it's not fine. The majority of Orland Park residents are not engaging in the system and what it has to offer, because the system is set up to benefit the Mayor and his pals and their friends.

Everything has a political ring and purpose to it in Orland Park. From the theater group all the way down to the public events. It's all about getting re-elected. Meanwhile, the village is going to hell in a handbasket and taxes and fees are increasing. The worst part about it is that not one -- NOT ONE -- of our elected officials has the courage to be a leader and admit that things are tough. They want to pretend everything is fine while the real people out here are struggling to make ends meet.

Mayor Dan doesn't have to worry about anything. He has this great cushy union job downtown. None of the village trustees have to worry about anything.

Do you EVER hear anything of SUBSTANCE from the village trustees? Ever? Seriously? Forget about the Happy Talk they mumble about how great things are here and how great they will be. (I cal them the STEPFORD TRUSTEES.) I am a big booster too, but I also know the truth is more important and recognizing and addressing problems is more important than pretending the King is wearing clothes when this village is naked. Everyone knows it.

Turnout to village events has been DOWN but the department heads and their bosses who feed on the public taxpayer trough pretend everything is fine because they get a paycheck that comes out of our taxes. When you even DARE to raise a question about, say, Orland Days, which was far less in quality than it has been in past years, everyone who is involved takes it so personally AS IF IT IS ABOUT THEM. It's NOT about them. It is about US. It is about leadership. If you can't take the criticism then you ARE NOT A GOOD LEADER.

Leaders are people who listen to the public, not their own egos and their pride or are quick to rip open the pay check enevlope to see their reward. Good leaders are those who really care about what people feel in Orland Park and the truth is there are very few really Good Leaders in Orland Park these days. Just a lot of greedy, selfish people more concerned with how they look than with how the village is running.

Our taxes could jump 100 percent and the Mayor Happy Talk and his Happy Talk Village Board would be out there saying the village should be grateful for what it has and that everything is fine.

It's not fine. And the low turnouts at public events is PROOF.

So many village employees email me saying that what I write is true but fear the political vindictiveness of Mayor Happy Talk because when it comes to criticism, he is far from happy and far from accountavle or responsible.

I am glad we had the tree lighting and the wonderful lights that line the streets around the Village Hall. But how about some community accountability and honesty for once, Mayor Happy Talk. How about a real admission that things are tough and that as good leaders, you had to take tough decisions innstead of always worrying about the spin?

I met the mayor when he first started. Years ago. I was a big fan. I understand that friendships between journalists and politicians are doomed. They rarely last. But I had so much hope for this one. Like he was going to be different. Turns out he's no different than the rest of the politicians out there, more concerned about themselves and how they look than the truth.

Then again, maybe that's what unaccountable politicians want? A public that doesn't care and stays home and is afraid to question their poor leadership and their lack of accountability?

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Media pundits Monroe Anderson and Dan Proft tear into each other over Obama appointments

Dan Proft and Monroe Anderson tore into the issues in discussing the preliminary appointments and possible appointments by president-elect Barack Obama, including the rumor that US Senator Hillary Clinton will become Secretary of State. What impact with former President Bill Clinton have on the decision. The controversies surrounding former Congressman and now Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, the son of a former member of the terrorist organization the Irgun, and also the appointment of Eric Holder.

Check the 11-19-08 audio podcast on the Flash iPod player on this blog, or go to www.RadioChicagoland.com for more information. Also, watch a live video and audio broadcast of the radio show live on the internet off the web page, too.

-- Ray Hanania

Monday, November 17, 2008

Property taxes skyrocket -- local fees quietly increase too

After months of backdoor tax increases from the Village of Orland Park, my actual Water Rate did go up this last bill, 19 cents per unit of water I consume every two months, or about $1.61.

But the bulk of the increases reflect backdoor tax increases (fees) quietly approved by the Village of Orland Park while they have been telling the sympathetic local news media that they are not increasing taxes and are rebating our village taxes -- well, not all of it. But according to one paper, that's "good news."

No. It's mnot good news, especially when the other fees in our water bill, for example, increase quietly, too, with noe xplanation from Mayor McLaughlin, or, as I will be calling him from now on, King Dan. Under King Dan's Chicago Machine Manual of Politics, you don't explain anything. You just keep putting out press releases showcasing the positive news, and avoid any accountability or explanation on the bad news. And, when the media does hold his royal feet to the political fire, no wonder he is so arrogant and believes he can do whatever he wants.

Storm water and sewer service also went up. The others, went up already months ago.

On top of it all, it's just a drop int he bucket of how you, the naive sheep-like taxpayers, are being screwed. But that's the way you like, it right. Rough. And without warning or consent. Because in this Chicago Machine town, which is a satellite of the bigger Machine in Chicago and Cook County, raising taxes is just a part of the blame-game.

Have you looked at the letter from Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan this week, announcing a major increase in your property assessed valuation?

Oh yea. While your property values are dropping like federal indictments in a typical Chicago City Council year, your property assessments are skyrocketing. Most homes will increase about 15 percent in assessments, even though the actual value of the homes has dropped by as much as 30 percent and more in some regions.

Nayor Daley, Kig Dan's sponsor, says it is because of Houlihan. Daley -- I have to laugh every time I hear him speak -- says (that's being generous) that Houlihan is responsible because he is the "Assessor."

No, Mayor. The Assessor does not determine the assessments. The assessor basically translates the tax increases divide up based on the number of homes and properties being taxed, and that's how your assessment increases.

But Daley knows the blame game better than most. In reality, the reason for your property tax hike -- which will equal as much as $1,000 to $2,500 for many homes in Orland Park and across Cook County -- is that Mayor Daley has increased his budget and it is the increase in government spending that is driving up taxes. Daley's pal, Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, also jacked up his own budget spending, and part of that spending will be covered by the humongous increase in the sales tax -- which combined with the King Dan .75 sales tax increase of 2001 (which King Dan said would be off-set by the village tax rebate, which is being off-set this year by his political arrogance and poor budget management to just over half of what it was promised to be) -- is making your depressed property on the free market look like a worthless piece of junk. But on the Chicago and county and Orland Park tax rolls, it looks like a mansion that has increased significantly in value.

The value of your home goes down. But not Mayor Daley's salary or Todd Stroger's salary. You pay more. And Daly and Stroger know of stupid you really are, so gullible you will believe anything they say and still vote for them in exchange for a new garbage can lid -- the bartering system set up when the Chicago Machine was first built by slaves in the 1950s.

And the taxes on your home go up.

And the lies and twist, and turns, and spin from the elected officials, including King Dan, continue. No accountability at all. They just decide they will break their promise to off-set the Orland Park home rule sales tax increase of .75 percent by rebating our full property tax. They did it just long enough to win your votes. Gain your confidence. And then. WHAM!

They shove it up your tax bill.

Merry Christmas everyone.

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hate crime declared in racist attack in Orland Park

Despite the local media's "Happy Talk" spin, thinsg are not so happy in Orland Park.

Read this story about the hate crime attack at Wenday's Restaurant on 145th and LaGrange Road.

Former Frankfort Trustee behind Draft Tom Cross for Governor

Jake Parrillo, who now works for Google, is the designer behind the very popular web blog Draft Tome Cross for Governor at www.ItsTimeforTom.com which is promoting Illinois Republican House Minority Leader Tom Cross to run for governor of Illinois against Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Parrillo discusses the draft and the use of the internet in such a very effective way in an election campaign on my radio show on WJJG 1530 AM Radio, which was broadcast live this morning at around 8:45 am. (You can hear the full podcast and other audio files by visiting www.RadioChicagoland.com.

but, it was interesting to catch up with Jake who was one of th estate's youngest elected officials, serving in Frankfort in the early 1990s. He moved when he married a to Elmhurst and now works for Google.

I hope you tune in to the interview.

And, as an aside, Radio Chicagoland is now not only broadcast live on the radio, we also simulcast the radio broadcast on the Internet.

But, beginning today, we started to also video and audio broadcast the radio show on our web site at www.RadioChicagoland.com so you can watch the show and hear it live.

I hope you check out the live video broadcast tomorrow morning. The show is broadcast on radio Monday through Friday from 8 am until 9:30 (until 9 on Fridays).

-- Ray Hanania

Monday, November 10, 2008

Inundated with letters and thanks ...

I am humbled by how many people now read this blog in Orland Park and by all the email letters I am receiving. Thank you.

I try to reply to every email. I know that Orland Park is run by a vindictive dictator so I am careful when I do post a letter I will not post your name to protect you from Mayor McLaughlin's wrath. The guy is just mean.

But clearly, from the emails from within the and from the employees, there is a LOT of dissastifaction in Camelot.

Residents are upset about the rising fees, and the taxes, and the mayor's broken promise on the tax rebate. You should be. You deserve better.

If Orland Park is going to be the great town all the fluff and PR claims it already is, the mayor will have to do a better job of managing the excess waste in government and trim the fat, starting with his office.

It is amazing how the Mayor is responding directly to this little blog by pushing fluff press releases in the local newspapers that talk about how great he is and how great his programs are and how great everything he does is.

Congratulations Your Greatness!

-- Ray Hanania

Also, sign up for my new newsletter for my radio show, columns and blogs. Go to


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Andy Shaw close, but ...

WLS TV's Andy Shaw reported tonight that David Axelrod was probably playing basketball with Barack Obama tonight waiting for the election results ... close Andy -- weren't you the guy who once said Ed Vrdolyak would never be convicted? You were close. He wasn't convicted. He pled guilty to a kickback scheme today.

Actually, I stopped at Manny's Deli on Roosevelt Road after being turned away from the celebration for Barack Obama at Grant Park. And while chomping on a corned beef sandwich, potato latke and bowl of matzo ball soup, who do you think came up and said hello? David Axelrod. Axelrod, one of the real stars behind the rise of Barack Obama, was sitting with political consultant colleagues awaiting the results coming in. Axelrod and I covered Chicago City Hall together. He worked for the Chicago Tribune, before moving on to launch his very successful political consulting firm.

Congratulations to Axelrod. He deserves the accolades for managing the Obama campaign. There's no question that Obama's very successful efforts are the direct result of Axelrod's guidance.

As for Vrdolyak -- he once vowed during the Cicero battle in 1996 "I'll bury that Hanania" when he was manipulating the greedy Betty Loren-Maltese. When Maltese was accused of corruption, and she refused to answer my questions about the subpoenas, I quit/she fired me ... and she went on to jail, thanks to Vrdolyak's manipulation of the town. Who buried who Ed? Vrdolyak was one of the smartest politicians in Chicagoland history, but also one of the sleaziest. Sources say there were some terrible FBI recordings of him bragging about things that were extremely embarassing to his family. If it's true, it's out of his character to do the right thing! but he did.

-- Ray Hanania

Monday, November 3, 2008

Suspect wanted in slaying of Rana Ishmail in Bridgeview

You can get information and photographs on the suspect wanted by the Bridgeview police in the murder of the young woman at 87th and Harlem Saturday by visiting:

Arab America's Most Wanted


Arab American Media Services

Information on the funeral services for the victim:

Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaihy Rajeoun

with deep sorrow, I inform you that the beloved daughter of Hajj AbuTariq Ismail, sister of AAAEA member Engr. Tariq Ismail, and niece of Dr. Mahmoud Ismail of the Aqsa School Board & Univ of Chicago, has tragically passed away yesterday in Bridgeview.

May Allah bless her soul and may Allah grant her family patience.

Condolences (Beit A'zaa) will be as follow:

Tonight, Sunday Nov. 2
At the Community Center (Youth Center) 2nd Floor, 7260 W 93rd St., Bridgeview, IL, from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Tomorrow, Monday Nov. 3
Hann Funeral Home, 8230 S. Harlem Ave, Bridgeview, IL, morning before Thuhr prayer

Janazah prayer after Thuhr prayer at the Mosque Foundation, 7360 W 93rd St., Bridgeview, IL, then will proceed to burial at LaGrange

At the Aqsa School, lower level, 7361 W. 92nd St., Bridgeview, IL, Monday evening.

Tariq may be reached at tismail2000@yahoo.com

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kristen McQueary doing PR for Renee Kosel?

Kristen McQueary, the narrowly-focused hard-hitting writer for the SouthtownStar did a nice hatchet job on Dick Kelly who is running for the 81st house District against incumbent Renee Kosel. (The district is the same one I ran in 16 years ago).

Although I haven't had much contact with Kelly over the years -- and Kosel doesn't talk to "Democrats" -- it seems McQueary's attack against Kelly might be one-sided.

Click here for the link to the story.

Although McQueary picks and chooses who she hammers -- she's no different than most other writers -- she did a nice job of fist-bumping Kosel, the do-nothing Republican incumbent who has held the legislative seat for the past 10 years. (She makes her predecessor Larry Wennlund look like a genius.)

McQueary loves to dish out the criticism, but her colleagues report she has a very thin skin when it comes to any criticism of her. (They call her "Miss Touchy.") Too bad. Of course, maybe she's looking for something beyond as the SS is struggling like all community newspapers these days. A great newspaper squeezed by it's selfish owners -- Wow. Nothing's changed since I was last there in 1985.

-- Ray Hanania

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Roving lawn care companies slam Orland Park every weekend morning

I don't mind lawn care companies working like everyone else, but at 8 in the morning with three giant lawnmower machines that look like they belong on a farm not a suburban neighborhood, the lawn care companies rip up the lawns and disrupt the community.

Shouldn't they be licensed and regulated?

Who are these companies? They operate with crews of workers and while they care about one person's lawns, they are ALWAYS disrespectful to the other people's lawns who have not hired them.

A few months ago, the lawn care company was digging the ground at a home nearby but instead of parking their dirt-covered machines in front of that house -- they wouldn't want to upset the people paying them -- they parked in front of my house and the houses of two other neighbors tracking clumps of mud all over the sidewalks and the streets.

The guy stands atop this huge yellow tractor zipping through the neighbor's lawns and parts of anyone else's lawns that are in the way and their trimmers do great damage to the lawns and grass edges.

It's careless. And honestly, they're sloppy.

I used to have them do my lawn but they were never careful and stuff would be missing from the backyard all the time so I dumped them.

I mow my own lawn and trim my own trees and not only does it save money but it also looks far better than the machine chopped lawns of a few neighbors.

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tinley Park Community Halloween tops the region

Tinley Park saw a flood of Orland Park residents attend their annual Halloween for the kids program Saturday October 25th, in part because of the high fees imposed by the Village of Orland Park for their similar program.

The Village has been cash-strapped and has been increasing fees, cutting services and reducing the tax-rebate program which was approved originally to off-set the Orland Park home rule sales tax increase of .75 on all sales. The sales tax hike today has become regressive in the face of so many other sales tax hikes.

The Tinley Park Park District turned out to be the alternative to the high taxes and fees in Orland Park. There were no charges in Tinley for children or families from the within or outside of the village. And, in today's economy, that was a major source of interest for the more than 310 people who attended the event with their children.

Children dressed up in everything from witches to politicians, from Spiderman to Batman. The event was held at the spectacular 65,000 square foot Tony Bettenhausen Recreation Center which in addition to being a recreation center and gynasium is also a museum for the many achivements of this car-racing family. The kids flocked around one of the Bettenhausen race cars roped off in the center foyer of the entrance lobby.

Down the hall, the Tinley Park Park District set up rooms with attractions that included a story-teller, an exhibit of bugs, spiders, and lizards, face-painting, games and more.

Downstairs, the kids could play more games and lined up for more than a dozen games where they could win prizes. The lines were long but the patient children had fun waiting for their turn to ring toss, play the "Bozo-buckets" and more and every child left with a bag loaded with free goodies to make their halloween enjoyable.

"This is amazing," explained one mother who said she lived in Orland Park. "We went to the Orland Park Halloween event and they wanted us to pay. It just seemed wrong."

Her sentiments were repeated by dozens of parents and the topic of the day in fact was the ongoing discussion about the charges in Orland Park, and the new taxes and high fees for services.

"I love the Orland Park Recreation Department. I don't blame them. But even if you are a resident, it's costly. I have four kids," another mother explained. "It's free here and my kids are loving every minute of it."

While Orland Park also sometimes becomes a self-promotion for members of their staff and friends to perform, Tinley Park's event focused entirely on the children.

The biggest attraction was the haunted house in the downstairs gynasium. Children entered and left the huge in-door haunted house screaming with laughter.

Students from nearby Victor J. Andrew high school served as cheerful volunteers to make the event from 12 noon until 3 PM the most enjoyable for the children.

This is the 6th year the village has hosted the free event for families in the region.

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Okay, here's a simple question for Mayor McLaughlin

If you gave us the property tax rebate as a way of off-setting the .75 home rule sales tax you imposed -- telling us that by returning the property tax through rebate it would compensate for the sales tax increase (and keep it focused on non-residents who come to orland Park to shop.)

Well, now, you'r trimming the property tax rebate, but you're kepping all of the .75 sales tax. It sounds like an election gimmick?

Bet that's a question you won't read in the local newspapers :)

-- Ray Hanania

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chicagoland Muslims launch annual turkey drive to help needy for Thanksgiving

We are excited once again to announce the start of the TURKEY DRIVE! Once again, Chicago's Muslims are taking up the challenge to provide Thanksgiving turkeys to needy neighbors here in Chicago - neighbors who would otherwise have to do without. Last year, you helped feed SIX HUNDRED FAMILIES, both at Emmett Till Academy in Jackson Park and families near IMAN in Marquette Park. With your help, In Sha Allah, we will once again fill this need!

As we did last year, we are again joining forces with the Sabeel Food Pantry, run by the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA). Sabeel has provided food for anyone in need for years on Chicago's North Side, and with the help of AMAL volunteers to coordinate and distribute the turkeys will extend their services this Thanksgiving. Sabeel is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in the state of Illinois; this means that once again, your contributions will be 100% tax deductible, and all who donate to Sabeel will receive a receipt for tax purposes. (For more info, check Sabeel's website at www.sabeelpantry. org)

We are now accepting donations for the drive. Please send your tax-deductible check written out to "Sabeel Food Pantry" with "Turkey Drive" written in the memo section to:

Sabeel Food Pantry
777 Busse Highway
Park Ridge, IL 60065

Donations can also be given online via PayPal. To donate via PayPal, please go to www.sabeelpantry. org and click on "Donate".

The Annual Turkey Drive is a symbol of the true nature of our faith at a time when it is sorely needed. Please help us to continue it and make it grow!

Jazak Allahu Khairan,

Jihad Shoshara, MD

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dozens of parents flock to Tinley Park after expressing disappointment with Orland's Recreation Department's Halloween for Kids program

We went to the Tinley Park Recreation Department's Halloweeen Day for Children on Saturday. It was great. It had rooms of events, insects, creepy animals and a haunted house, plus all kinds of games.

But what was most surprising was that the fee imposed for the same event at Orland Park chased many Orland Park residents away. And they came to Tinley Park -- those that knew about Tinley's great and FREE annual program.

Orland Park's increased tax, and increased fees are turning resdents off. The Recreation Department was forced to increase fees on almost all of its programs and despite an effort by local media to cover the fee increases up, residents are up in arms and blaming Mayor Dan McLaughlin for his poor leadership that is politically motivated.(He's a Chicago Machine politician who has sold Orland Park's soul otu to the 19th Ward.)

You can't blame the Recreation Department in Orland Park for the punitive fee increases. You have to blame McLaughlin. And it was obvious many who fled to Tinley Park in the face of the event fees -- they said it cost as much as $12 to get in. Yikes! That's terrible. (Actually, it was $6 for residents and $11 for non-residents -- which doesn't seem like much until you add it to the heap of new taxes and fees being imposed by the village and Mayor Dan McLaughlin.)

They were all complaining and it didn't take much to hear it. They were telling everyone. This year, we chose Tinely's event for our child because we heard so many great things about it. Orland has a GREAT recreation program, ut the tax increases and the increased fees will certainly chase many orland Park homeowners to go elsewhere for their recreation programs.

In the end, increased fees don't bring in new revenues. They chase participants away and the total revenues generally remain the same.

Sad to see this happening to Orland Park.

-- Ray Hanania

Amazing technology -- what can be done with online campaign videos

This is just hilarious ... "Ray Hanania blamed for Barack Obama's defeat Nov. 7":

Pass it on.

-- Ray Hanania

Stephanie Gehrings excellent story about deer in the southwest suburbs

Stephanie Gehring did an exhaustive news-feature in today's SouthtownStar about the presence of deer in the southwest suburbs. Very good read. Perfect timing for us, too. Click HERE for the link to the story.

My wife and son looked out the back window while I was in front of the house cleaning the lawnmower, and they saw a huge deer slowly walking through our backyard. Now, half our yard is fenced (one neighbor has a large pool -- had one -- and needed a fence) ... and two neighbors took their fences down, damaged by the flooding over the years. It just wandered around for a few minutes, snacked on some vegetation, and then bolted, they said.

I'm not sure where it went but they can be fast and they can jump the tall privacy fences (that are such a waste of money).

I'm sure everyone is upset about the deer but frankly what's the difference when it comes to ticks and excrement between a deer and a raccoon or a possum or a skunk or even a coyote. We've seen a few of them around. The raccoons usually get killed by cars. The skunks get chased away. But the real damage to homes comes fromt he squirrels. I never tire of telling my squirrel story. An amorous couple of squirrels made their way into my rooftop and nested there. They don't like to do much during the day but they sure like to squabble in the evening -- squirrel squabbling. I couldn't get them out. It always seemed one was in while the other was out and I couldn't seal it until I knew they were both out.

One day, I poked my head through the ceiling trap in the closet and sprayed the attic with insect fogger -- four cans. Then, I ran outside and watch as, after a few minutes, the fogger started to waffe out of the small opening they made under the gutter. And then I heard a scream and a squirrel popped out like a cannon ball. A few minutes later, the second squirrel screamed and popped out of the same hole. I had to get up their right away and fixed the hole, and do a check of the eaves around the roof and gutter, too, to make sure they couldn't get back in.

Back to the deer. It's kind of like the airport folks. The forest was here first. If you move into a suburb nestled into a beautiful forest, don't blame the animals for wanting to survive. I think the fact that they eat a few of our plants and vegetables is part of the price of living int he "suburbs." And if we have to take some steps to keep the yard clean, so what.

At least the people quoted in Stephanie's story seemed reasonable.

-- Ray Hanania

Saturday, October 25, 2008

How Mayor McLaughlin is manipulating the property tax collections to shore up his re-election

How Mayor McLaughlin is manipulating the property tax collections to shore up his re-election

Click HERE for a history of Orland Park's elections (1998 to present)

Want to know how the Orland Park Tax Rebate program is being manipulated to manage the results of the local elections?

First of all, remember, that when you impose a property tax and then rebate it, it is a tax reduction. When you repeal all or part of the tax rebate, it is a TAX INCREASE. Don't let the politicians define for you what a tax increase is or isn't. It IS defined by the bottomline of how much money is taken by the village from your pocket and KEPT.

But back to our main story this morning on how Mayor Dan McLaughlin used and abused taxes to help shore up his re-elections over the years and how the tax rebate plan was used to keep the sheep voters (you) sleepy and happy grazing on our "Tall Grass."

In 2002, the Village of Orland Park increased the sales tax .75 in order to generate more revenues for their spending. (Most people have forgotten that.)To off-set the increase, and counter the anger from the community, Mayor McLaughlin and the Village Board proposed rebating the village property tax that was collected. They could have reduced the property tax itself, but like all politicians they want you to remember that he that taketh can also giveth. That year, they returned 50 percent of the property tax rebate and the Orland Park sheep, I mean voters, went back to grazing mindlessly and uncaringly about their community. It was a great political gimmick and it worked. Go to the Village's very informative web site and you'll see press releases one everything, all the "happy talk: McLaughlin is used to pouring into the spoons of the local newspapers. But there ISN'T a press release on cutting the tax rebate program, which is a BACKDOOR Property tax increase. McLaughlin won a contested re-election in 2001 by a comfortable margin. But comfortable isn't good enough for politicians like McLaughlin who say one thing from one side of their mouths and somethign else from the other. That's why the Tax Rebate plan was so ingenious. Take the property tax burden that he and his village board put on the people of Orland Park, and then withdraw it and pretend like you are doign the taxpayers a favor. That's the concept of the "Tax Rebate" Plan. It really benefits the elected officials more than it does the home owners. (The rebate equals about 5 percent of the total taxes on a typical Orland Park property, but it means huge benefits for McLaughlin.)

At first, it was only a half-rebate of the village tax. But in 2002, McLaughlin went to a full rebate after imposing the Sales Tax Increase of .75 percent. Remember, McLaughlin's argument then was the burden fell on people who lived outside of Orland Park who were coming into this retail giant of a shopping strip, so, he argued, while you would pay, too, outsiders would pay and help build the village.

AND McLAUGHLIN WOULD REBATE YOUR PROPERTY TAXES in order to make you accept the sales tax increase.

Cheap politics. But the sheep in Orland Park simply went about their business uncaring, grazing and baaaahing!

They went to the full rebate to shore up his re-election chances. And sure enough, in 2005 McLaughlin and his clerk David P. Maher, (the father of the Orland Fire Protection District head who clobbered seniors recently by ordering that they pay for ambulance service out of pocket -- what a putz!), were UNOPPOSED for election. McLaughlin received almost every vote that was cast in the contested race four years early, 9,200 or so votes.

And the rebate stayed the same.

Now, McLaughlin wants to abolish the rebate. Who cares about the taxpayers who have proven to be sheep-voters who are easily abused and exploited. But McLaughlin DOESN'T DARE eliminate the ENTIRE TAX REBATE because he is up for re-election on April 7, 2009 and he won't know until January if he is going to face a challenger and McLaughlin doesn't take chances., the huge salaried union plumber spokesman that he is.

Believe me when I tell you that they WILL repeal the entire Rebate after this next election. They don't need it any more to make you forget about the .75 increase in the Orland Park sales tax because you have already forgotten. McLaughlin's pals in Cook County Board President Todd Stroger's regime sure took care of that this year.

So, McLaughlin WILL repeal the tax rebate, but after the election.

In the meantime, they will reduce it 33 percent as a start. They need the money. Their strategy to choke this community with retail businesses to boast sales taxes is not working 1) because sales taxes are so high many people are fleeing to Will County to make larger purchases and 2) the economy has tanked.

You can go to my Radio Show Web Site http://www.radiochicagoland.com/ and get information on how EASY it is to run for public office. Are you going to let McLaughlin run unopposed again?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Veterans encouraged to attend Jobs Fair in Orland Park Nov. 7

U.S.Department of LaborFor Immediate Release
Office of Public AffairsOct.22, 2008
Chicago,Ill.Contact:Scott Allen or BradMitchell
Release Number:08-1508-CHIPhone:312-353-6976
For Veterans Day, U.S. Department of Labor encourages
Orland Park, Ill., area employers to participate in Veterans’ Job Fair
Employers and veterans invited to participate in Nov. 7 event

ORLAND PARK, Ill. — In observance of Veterans Day, the U.S. Department of Labor encourages employers and veterans to attend the Veterans’ Job Fair on Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. CST at the Orland Park Civic Center, 14750 Ravinia Ave. in Orland Park.

Employers looking for excellent job candidates either for immediate or future hire are encouraged to attend the Veterans’ Job Fair. Interested employers can contact Lane Knox of the Illinois Department of Employment Security at 312-636-4053 to learn more.

“America’s military service men and women are well known for their discipline, strong work ethic, leadership and technical skills,” said Heather Higgins, regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). “With these job fairs, we can help America’s veterans transition back to civilian life when their tours of duty end, and help employers connect with great workers.”

This job fair is one of nearly 100 nationwide to be held as part of VETS’ HireVetsFirst campaign. For more information on all of the veterans’ employment programs offered by VETS, visit www.dol.gov/vets.

# # #
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.

Orland Parker launches programs to help Regular People run for local office

The Orland Parker is setting up a support network to help individuals and regular people run for local office like mayor, trustee and also park, school board and library board positions. We'll not only have the documentation available for you to download and fill out, to file for the offices, but we will also have the calendar information and even make some election lawyers available to give you advice ...

The system is being set up at http://www.radiochicagoland.com/ ... Now is the time to start thinking about filing your nomination papers and collecting your sigantures for the April 7, 2009 consolidated elections.

Orland Park is one of our prime target communities, but we will help candidates file in EVERY suburban locale FREE OF CHARGE.

We'll also offer guidance on how to manage and structure your campaigns, to get media and to do direct mail offering companies that provide the services efficiently and cheaply. We even have a few willing to drastically reduce their costs to help you.

AND, we will promote any and all candidates on our radio program, our web site network (which brings in more than 3,000 hits every day) and in our newspaper columns and interviews.

We are going to help give you a leg-up on the system, the incumbents and the corrupt and failing news media outlets.

-- Ray Hanania

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Orland Park tax Rebates WILL be lower, not "might be"

Orland Park officials said it clearly that the budget problems (and didn't say their failure to look ahead) would cause them to alter the way they define the village tax rebate and return only a portion of it to taxpayers.

That's a reversal on their promise to return the entire village tax rebate to homeowners that they insisted they were doing not as a political move but to compensate for the huge amount of retail stores they had attracted to Orland Park which has caused an enormous traffic jam in the village for the past decade. The traffic has been terrible.

The village said they would deduct a portion to pay the pension bill for the village to cover the enormous pension benefits for the villages elected officials -- why not just give yourselves a pay increase, too while you are at it, and hire a second over-salaried person to work with the high-salaried Village Manager you already hired, Paul Grimes. Or, maybe, buy a few more homes including from a few people you know, and then try to resell them to help them out -- not the village of course.

It would be nice if the media pretending to cover the Village of Orland Park "full time" at least got the story right. Everyone else int he village knows the facts.


-- Ray Hanania

Sunday, October 19, 2008

One sided report in the Joliet-Herald News about the 81st District Race

You'll have to dig hard to read any real analysis of the state representative race in the 81st District between incumbent Republican Renee Kosel and Democrat Rich Kelly. So far there hasn't been any fair or balanced reporting at all. This story is a good example that showcases Renee's "achievements" in office -- I can't believe she is taking credit for building i-355 and the reporter let her get away with it :)

Anyway, here's the link. Forget the quotes and use it for background on the two candidates. I expect Kosel will be sending this out in her campaign literature. Too bad. We need someone to do some critical reporting in this race but we won't get it, again.

Click here's for the link.

-- Ray Hanania

School board races gearing up for Spring

Now's the time to get involved in local elections and I will be posting information on how you can file and run for local trustee spots in orland Park, Tinley Park and elsewhere to force our elected officials to be accountable -- they're not.

It's not hard to do and you would be surprised how easily some of these incumbents can be beat simply by filing your petitions and then reaching out to voters. I will showcase ALL independent candidates running for office in Orland Park here mainly because I feel the Village of Orland Park's Mayor, Trustees, the Clerk and the Village Manager have been unresponsive and are taking you for granted.

They don't care about you and they thinkt hat just because there is a new newspaper that publishes their press releases, they can tell you what they want without being accountable.

The biggest problems I see:

Lack of accountability. Mayor McLaughlin is not accountable and doesn't want to be. He is a Chicago Machine Democrat who doesn't care about the views of Orland Park residents. he only cares about his friends and supporters and if you question -- I didn't even say challenge just question -- his decisions, he will ostracize you, target you and villify you. (When I questioned his decision to avoid public input in the select of the Civic Center Director's position -- a very high paying spot -- McLaughlin lashed out at me. All I wanted to do was give Orland Park residents a chance to submit nominations for the post. The candidate they did hire is very good and the issue is NOT about her. It is about the PROCESS. Chances are she would have gotten the job anyway, but McLaughlin prevented the community from even having a voice in that high paying job.

Traffic in Orland Park is nauseating. The village has done a poor job of managing traffic, even with the widened LaGrange Road, a state project, traffic is horrible. One of the problems is McLaughlin and his village board mafia have stuffed the village with new stores helter skelter. Theya re ALL OVER the place. The benefit they promised was that the increased sales taxes from sales would allow the village to REFUND our village taxes.

Now, as you all know -- and the newspapers did a poor job of explaining this, your VILLAGE REBATE is being reduced significantly and you WILL NOT receive the full rebate back that you ALREADY PAID to the village. Instead, the village will be taking a significant portion of the rebate and using it to pay other bills.

So, the purpose of the increased retail development in fact has failed. McLaughlin was shortsighted and did not factor in the problems of the economy which didn't just happen this year. They have been hammering the village for four years. McLaughlin continued to paint a rosey picture -- knowing the local media never challenges his mistakes and poor judgment at all.

The taxes and fees HAVE INCREASED in Orland Park.

Just look at how much more you are paying in village taxes, even though your property value is plumetting. Blame it on the county if you want, but I blame it on the people we elected to represent us and who have done a POOR JOB of representing us.

The reduction in the rebate IS A TAX INCREASE.

It's not about how they explain it, as you might comprehend from the incomprehensible local papers. It IS about how much money you end up ACTUALLY PAYING. And you will be paying more because the Village of Orland Park took a specific action to reduce the rebate which means keeping money you paid that they said they would return to you.

It's a shell game in orland Park.

And, they have increased an array of village fees and those fees are basically tax increases. What is a "tax?" It is when they take money from you to pay for village services. They can take it through the corrupt Cook County and State of Illinois tax systems, or, they can take it from the services they offer you that you must pay money to receive.

As I have already detailed in past columns, the Water Bill continues to increase and the INCREASES DO NOT have to do with the price of water that we buy through Oak lawn and from the City of Chicago. The increases have to do with increases the Village of Orland Park has implemented on the bill itself, increasing the amount of charge the village charges to manage and administer the bill itself.

Then there are other fees that have increased int he water bill, too.

How much has the village lost in terms of the homes the village purchased, some from people the Mayor knew? The village has lost perhaps millions on those purchases and huge investments the village -- you the taxpayer -- paid to upgrade them because of the water damage caused by the improper and inadequate sewer and drainage system that has plagued this village for years and only was addressed when there was a catastrophic problem.

So, if you are interested in running for office, I am going to help you.

I will have an election law attorney available to help anyone whow ants to run for office. And, i will showcase your candidacies on my morning radio show program on WJJG 1530 AM which airs Monday through Friday beginning at 8 AM. Just go to www.RadioChicagoland.com for information.

Here's some basic info on the timetable for running for office:

- Elections will be held during consolidated elections on April 7. School
districts have recently released information on how interested residents can get
- The first day prospective candidates may circulate petitions is Oct. 28. Candidates may file nominating papers between Jan. 20 and Jan. 26 with their respective district office. Feb. 5 is the last day candidates can withdraw from nomination.
- To be eligible, candidates must be at least 18 years old on the date of the election, a United States citizen, a resident of Illinois and their school district for at least one year immediately preceding the election and a registered voter.

Ray Hanania

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hypocrisies abound in handling of Christian versus Muslim hoaxers

Dueling hoaxes expose more than youthful lies in bonfire of the bigotries
By Ray Hanania

The incidents happened weeks apart, a young Christian girl in Palos Heights, a community notorious for anti-Arab hatred and racism, told police that she had been sexually assaulted by an man she described as “Arab looking.”

Police developed a sketch of the suspect and the community response was immediate. The sketch was posted on nearly every store window not just in Palos Heights, but throughout the Southwest Suburbs across a 15 mile span that happened to correspond with the regional settlement of Arabs.

Although widely reported, the story even made America’s Most Wanted and host John Walsh repeated the description of the assailant being “creepy” looking.

Several weeks later, a Muslim girl reports she is assaulted at Elmhurst College. The news media covered the event and Muslim organizations stood up denouncing the attack as an example of rising anti-Muslim and anti-Arab hate crimes.

In contrast, there wasn’t a peep from Arab American groups as they are ineffective and dysfunctional. And, America’s Most Wanted, which always seems to highlight cases where the victims are White and the Assailants are Black and “creepy” looking Arabs, didn’t bother to even give the incident 15 seconds on their popular national weekend TV program.

Safia Jilani, 19, told Elmhurst Police that she was attacked in the bathroom at the Southwestern suburban college and the incident was declared a “hate crime” when police found threatening graffiti written on the bathroom’s mirrors and walls.

Just about the time of the Muslim attack, the family of the Christian assault victim hired an attorney and the attorney announced his client had lied to police and that no such sexual attack had taken place.

The attorney expressed genuine remorse from the family, apologizing to the public, the police and later to “ethnic groups” who felt targeted, a reference to the Arab American profile of the hoax. Police said they would not prosecute, although the investigation into the crime cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The girl has agreed to do community service.

But when Jilani’s hoax was discovered, after she admitted to police that she had made up the attack details, police immediately announced they would file charges against her. She is charged with a Class 4 Felony and can face up to 4 years imprisonment.

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) which helped lead calls to declare the event a Hate Crime, responsibly and immediately issued a statement saying that false reports like Jilani’s undermine efforts to fight the many other, frequent incidents of discrimination that do occur.

Hate groups immediately flooded the Internet with statements denouncing Muslims as anti-American and citing the Jilani case as evidence that claims of discrimination are false.

Arab groups remained silent, reinforcing their view that doing nothing is oftentimes the best course of action.

What caused these students to do what they did?

In the case of the young Palos Heights girl, who is under-aged and her identity is therefore not made public, she was afraid to tell her parents about something she had done. The sexual assault would help her cover that up.

In the case of Jilani, earlier before she made up her lies, there was a clash between rightwing conservatives on the campus and students, including many Arabs and Muslims, who were protesting the abuse and violation of the rights of prisoners at Guantanamo, a detention center many compare to a concentration camp and a Russian Gulag. Many of the prisoners there are victims of politics and have never been charged with any crime, other than being Arab or Muslim.

Tensions were high at Elmhurst College but college officials acted responsibly to address the issues. Tensions were also high at Palos Heights but officials there have notoriously refused to address the rising incidents of hatred that have given the community the shameful moniker, “Palos Hates.”

Palos Heights was the site of the 2000 community protest to prevent their Muslim neighbors from establish a Mosque where they could pray. Palos Heights has two dozen Christian Churches, and no Synagogue.

While both girls are responsible for their lies, they are also victims of societies that put ethnic and religious faces on crimes. It’s not enough to capture a criminal. The suspects are used to argue racial issues that dominate American society and politics.

But there is one thing very clear.

When a Christian girl, who is White, cries wolf and it turns out she is lying, society is more willing to excuse her actions and not punish her with imprisonment of fines.

When a Muslim or Arab girl cries wolf and it turns out she is lying, the bonfires of bigotries and racism are ignited.

Although most of the police sketches of the phony “creepy” Arab assailant have been taken down from store windows, the mental sketches of hatred remain seared into the racism of a community disabled by hate.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and Chicago radio talk show host. He can be reached at www.RadioChicagoland.com or by email at rayhanania@comcast.net.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

YESSSSSS ... in the fight against litter bugs

This story is the best so far, from the Chicago Tribune:

Orland Park man charged with flinging bag full of papers out of a car onto street
Tribune staff report
October 16, 2008
An Orland Park man was cited for littering from a motor vehicle after he allegedly hurled a bag full of papers out of the passenger side window in the 11700 block of Greenfield Drive.

William Burgy, 19, of the 17800 block of Brookfield Circle was issued a ticket last week after a resident saw him throw the papers, police said. The resident found a receipt with the car owner's name and address on it, police said.

Burgy admitted to throwing the litter, police said.

# # #

It's about time litterbugs get nailed. The worst thing is to see so much litter flying around Orland Park. We have a HUGE litter problem. Just come down any neighborhood street off of a main street like 151st or LaGrange road and you can see the litter flying around.

So, yeah, for the person who picked up the bag and found a receipt it in that led to the litterbug.

Too bad he's the target of the problem. He's young and young people often do things without thinking. The bigger problem though are the adults who do it. They SHOULD be nabbed.

-- Ray Hanania

Sunday, October 12, 2008

John McCain's shame and the massacre of 34 Americans under his father's command on June 8, 1967

On June 8, 1967, the Israeli military was in the midst of a war with its Arab neighbors. At the time, they were engaged int he battle and did not fully grasp how easily the Arab nation's armies had collapsed -- they were never a real threat to Israel. Israel wanted the United States -- which was already supplying Israel with military supplies from American military stockpiles -- to also enter the war and attack Egypt, which was a client state at the time of the Soviet Union.

On June 8, 1967, Israel's air force was monitoring an American Naval Vessel, a spy ship, that was monitoring the war for the US Navy. The ship was the U.S.S. Liberty. The Israeli air force had monitored the ship for 7 hours. Suddenly, the Israeli planes disappeared. They were replaced minutes later by unmarked fighter jets that launched a massive assault on the ship which only had a few guns and cannons but was not a fighter vessel. The attack killed 10 American sailors.

The Liberty soldiers, who were pro-Israel and supporting Israel at the time, ran to the deck to wave American flags, but the jets kept firing ont he ship killing many of the sailors as they waved the American flags. Scores were wounded.

The ships captain immediately signaled an SOS to the commander of the 6th Fleet, who also immediately issued an order for American forces to respond and defend the U.S.S. Liberty. But within minutes, the order was contermanded and revoked by the 6th Fleet Commander and the rescue and defense American forces were ordered to stand down and return to their ships.

The order to not defend the Liberty came directly from Admiral John McCain, Senator McCain's father. Admiral McCain ordered that the 6th Fleet immediately withdraw its rescue and defense operation partly because he did not want the American forces to directly engage the Israelis.

When the order not to intervene was issued, the Israeli returned with five torpedo boats that were clearly marked with Israeli flags and the Star of David. The torpedo boats fired five torpedoes at the U.S.S. Liberty. Onew of the torpedoes was a direct hit and struck the U.S.S. Liberty and killed 24 more American soldiers.

In the meantime, the commander of the 6th Fleet was fighting with Admiral McCain demanding that support be sent to DEFEND AMERICAN LIVES. It was no longer about Israel and the Arab coutnries but about AMERICAN LIVES. Admiral McCain could have issued orders to intervene, even though President Lyndon Baines Johnson was now involved in the discussions about the war and the incident involving the U.S.S. Liberty. LBJ was quoted as saying that despite the tragedy of the attack on the Liberty, he did not want to do anything that would expose Israel to defeat at the hands of the Arab nations -- remember, no one knew for sure, especially among the Americans, how easily the Israelis would defeat the Arab armies.

Admiral McCain's actions COST THE LIVES OF 24 AMERICANS who were killed AFTER the first attack and when it was clear the ship could have been defended.

The Israelis returned a third time assaulting the ship this time with helicopter gunships filled with heavily armed Israeli soldiers who were preparing to storm the ship. Their goal was to kill every last American on the U.S.S. Liberty as it became apparent to the Israelis that their plan to destroy and sink the Liberty had failed, that there were witnesses and that they feared the massacre of Americans would result in destroying their relationship with the United States. But before the troops could be ordered to assault, the Israelis realized that the battle among the American military leaders was now a major issue and it was clear that the Israelis had been identified not only by the survivors on the U.S.S. Liberty as being Israeli, but also by the commander of the 6th Fleet.

The assault helicopters were called back.

After the incident, Admiral McCain sent a commander to meet with the ship's survivors and he ordered them to keep their mouths shut or to face court marshal. If anyone EVER discussed what happened, they would be punished.

For years, no one spoke out about theinjustice. Then, survivors began to fight back publishing several books about what they saw with their own eyes, and challenging the Israeli propaganda that the ship was attacked "by accident," which was now the "official version" that was endorsed by the Israelis and the John administration and by Admiral McCain.

In response, Israel's powerful lobby produced its own material and a bookw as wwritten by a pro-Israel apologist which claimed the attack was an accident and that the allegations by the eyewitnesses on the boat, and the documents, were false. It further claimed that 10 official investigations were conducted and all concluded that the attack was an accident. The truth was, there was only one official Military Probe and it refused to blame Israel. testimony from the survivors at the investigation were censored and charges that the Israelis intentionally attacked the ship were rmeoved from the official record.

How does Sen. John McCain come into the picture. His father was the commander during the Gulf of Tonkin incident in which the United States and John administration faked up an attack on an American ship to allow American forceds to invade and bomb North Vietnam. The attack never took place, but Johnson got what he wanted, an excuse to enter the Vietnam War in full force with the backing of the American people who thought the Vietnamese had in fact attacked and killed Americans.

Senator John McCain acted to defend his father's honor and he endorsed the propaganda, pro-Israel book version of the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty introducing it to the U.S. Senate and declaring that this book by an outsider an dproagandist for Israel was in fact the official version of what happened. He then introduced the book to the Library of Congress to further cement the lie and to cover-up for his father's betrayal of the American soldiers and the American people and truth.

Senator John McCain owes the American people an apology. And, he can make this right by standing up and demanding a full and uncensored public investigation into how America turned its back on its fighting men on June 8, 1967 in order to protect an ally it viewed crucial to the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Senator McCain can show he is a leader by exposing the truth about his father's misdeed and to stand up for the families of the 34 brave men who were murdered by israel on June 8, 1967, and for the survivors and their families who have endured ridicule, shame and insult over the years for simply trying to tell the truth.

You can hear the story of the shameful coverup by Admiral John McCain and Sen. John McCain and the details of the massacre on my radio show (in both audio and video podcast) at www.RadioChicagoland.com.

Regardless of whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, the way our American soldiers were mistreated is shameful and remains a black spot on the honor of this country. It MUST be corrected and clarified and truth MUST be allowed to come out. The survivors of the Israeli massacre of 34 Americans must be given the chance to tell the truth, and the cowards who have shamefully tried to cover up and protect Israel's actions deserve to experience the same ridicule and persecution that the survivors, American soldiers and their families, have been forced to endure for more than 40 years.

-- Ray Hanania

Friday, October 10, 2008

Anti-Arab racism continues to plague southwest Chicago suburbs

It has been nearly a decade since residents of Palos Heights sullied their community by rising in protest against their neighbors who happened to be Muslim who sought to open a Mosque where they could observe their religion.

The move pushed nearly 2,000 people to sign a petition protesting the mosque plans, and sparked a high profile public battle led by some members of the Palos Heights City Council.

A few years later, after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 700 residents of Orland Park tried but failed to prevent Muslims from doing the same there, claiming that building a Mosque for the region’s Arabs who bring Osama Bin Laden’s terrorism to the suburb.

Although both incidents have faded from public view, the anti-Muslim and anti-Arab hatred that sparked the incidents of community racism has not dissipated at all. There have been many less publicized incidents.

So it was not surprising when on Sept. 16, 2008, a 17-year-old girl working a late night shift at T.J. Grinders in Palos Heights on Harlem Avenue claimed she had been sexually assaulted by a man who looked “Arab” or “Indian.”

According to police, the girl had sent a text message to a friend saying a strange man who looked “creepy” had been ogling her through the sandwich shop’s window before coming in an ordering a sandwich.

Two hours later when she was alone and closing the store, the “creepy man” put a knife to her neck, ordered her into the back seat of his black car, and threatened to kill her if she made a sound. He drove around for 20 minutes and then took her to the forest preserves where he sexually assaulted her.

After the 30 minute assault, she said he drove her within blocks of her home and dropped her off in her t-shirt and underwear.

The police drawing of the suspect, based on the young girl’s description, clearly described a man who looked Middle Eastern. It was a horrible thing to see for Arabs and Muslims in the area as the flyer was distributed everywhere, from Palo Heights to Burbank and to Orland Park, communities with large Arab American populations.

The story immediately became a major report on the weekly FOX News Crime program “America’s Most Wanted,” a program that has done so much good to capture criminals and make the public aware of crime. But you could sense the animosity reflected in the tone of the words of the host, John Walsh when he spoke about the “vicious sexual assault” and the “disturbed sexual predator.” The report noted repeatedly that the suspect was “Arab” or “Indian.”

And it repeated the claim by the victim that the alleged suspect “emitted some minor but offensive body odor,” according to America’s Most Wanted.

Over the past few weeks, emails have been circulating through the Internet about those “Arab animals” and “Muslim monsters” who live in Palos Heights, Orland Park, Burbank and elsewhere.

The Southwest suburbs have a large concentration of Arab Americans. Although they are mostly Christian, the Muslims whose women wear Hijabs of head coverings, stand out making them more obvious targets of the growing hatred.

This week, Palos Heights police announced they were closing their investigation into the alleged sexual assault. The girl’s attorney, Martin A. Dolan, issued a statement that apologized to the “Southwest suburban community” for “the unnecessary concern and the time and effort from everyone involved.”

Dolan’s statement continued, "At this time, we assure you our community is safe and always has been... we ask you to continue your prayers for the family and avoid criticism or anger as they move forward and cope."

It must be terrible to be the parents of a young child that is disturbed enough to make up such a story. I wonder how people in the Southwest Suburbs feel about a child who found it so easy to point a finger of blame against an “Arab” or an “Indian.”

I wonder how many of the people who sent the hate emails around warning about the vicious Arab rapist who was wandering our community from Burbank, to Palos Heights to Orland Park still believe this?

Dolan said he did address the issue of the racism and the family specifically apologized to the specific ethnic groups that were mentioned. This was the action of a young, immature girl and she did not intentionally try to single out Arabs and Indians, he said. “But I think maybe it might be a wider problem and I can appreciate it for sure," Dolan said.

But, I wonder how long it will be before all of the phony police sketches of the “Arab” or “Indian” suspect will be removed.

It probably will happen faster than many people in the Southwest suburbs will be able to cleanse their hearts of the racism that helped make this tragic young girl’s lies so believable.

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Reporting on a Halliburton abuse case -- local Orland Park lawyer heads defense

I'm in Peoria reporting on the Bush administration's prosecution of a former Halliburton-KBR contractor who is accused of inflating a contract in exchange for a bribe taking place in the Peoria Federal Court room of Judge Joe Billy McDade. The judge and J. Scott Arthur, the attorney for the defendant Jeff Mazon, got into an argument over how far Arthur could go in defending Mazon, excluding a discussion about the merits of the Iraq War, other instances of corruption related to Halliburton and KBR contracts in Iraq and more. You can read the first report at the Southwest News-Herald newspaper online at www.SWNewsHerald.com or at my Middle East writing sites including the Arab American Writers Group Syndication at www.ArabWritersGroup.com.

Arthur is from Orland Park. Mazon is from Country Club Hills.

Since I will be doing remotes often on Mornings with Ray Hanania, this week is a test to see how we can work out some kinks in the direct internet link connection from Peoria to the station iN berkeley at WJJG 1530 AM Radio.

This morning's topic includes the Halliburton case, but focuses mainly on the current economic crisis in America and the opinions of listeners on how they feel about the $700 billion bailout package and what they think needs to be done.

Call the station at 708-493-1530 or listen to the program online at www.RadioChicagoland.com. There is a link to the online stream feed at the upper righthand corner of the web page.

-- Ray Hanania