Advocates style campaign season kick-off soils AOL’s DGPatch
Every candidate has it’s supporters. In this election some residents keep trying to pitch the State House 81 election as another round in an endless battle of Sandack vs. Krajewski. This is a lie- I’m the guy that did what they twitter and blog and insinuate, and gossip about. I wrote that up in Patch a while ago to set that record straight. Truth doesn’t seem to play a part in the narrative when it comes to that; doesn’t fit the meme
Who started it?
The DGTRO PC’s know Ron Sandack. Brian Krajewski gave Sandack his leg up into local politics by approving his appointment to the Liquor Commission, and then supporting him for Council Commissioner. DGTRO PC’s know Ron’s political confidant and political pal Bob Barnett, too. Krajewski approved Bob being named to the Liquor Commission in 2002, and Bob was briefly a PC himself. As well, Council Commissioner Sean Durkin got his start in DG politics thanks to Krajewski appointing him to Sue McConnell’s empty seat when she took a job in Hawaii.
Both Sandack and Krajewski helped get Barnett endorsed by the DGTRO when he ran for Council in 2009. More than a few PC’s saw Sandack’s supporters, anonymous ads and commenters, and the Advocates all trash Krajewski, a lifelong resident of DG, when Ron ran successfully for Mayor, so it was not a unanimous thing. That played into the official endorsement vote this year, BTW.
Here’s some disclosure- I trashed Krajewski too. Look back at 2005-2006. I was all over that ethics issue. I voted for Sandack for Mayor. I never realized I walked into a local war Advocates had been waging on anyone who was not for what they were for. To boot, I found I was already on the enemy list and didn’t even know it.
Welcome to DG politics.
The gerrymandered remap trigger
I hoped Patti Bellock would run in House 81. Fiscal conservative, social moderate, very tough to beat because she resonates with the voters here. Nice lady who was remapped out of our area. Ron Sandack announced he was running for House 81 almost before the map was certified. All summer he lined up impressive support of local politicians, even made his formal announcement at Village Hall with a bunch of them lined up next to him. He even asked me to endorse him. Twice. I said no, let’s wait and see who the field is the first time. I said that to other PC’s too; wait, and see what the options are. Deb Boyle had not announced then. She waited to see what Bellock would do. When Patti said she was running where Mike Madigan had mapped her, Boyle decided to commit to running in the primary.
This fall I made calls and got turnout that translated into an endorsement for Deb Boyle. Here’s why I did it for her. I had some disagreements with Boyle past choices, I didn’t like that she sued the district, but that made me look into it instead of just accepting what I’d been told.
The harder I looked the more I saw paw prints of political hackery, political payback, and another who had stood up to the Advocates. Nepotism Policy? Uniquely crafted by then Board member Megan Schroeder to keep Deb Boyle from serving the school district if elected to the board. Why? Because she had challenged the long held policy of allowing students to attend “the other high school”? Her child’s would have been one of many allowances that year. Not unique, especially when it came to sports or family members. It had happened dozens of times before, not always, but almost always, approved.
She sued the school. That’s the meme you’ll hear repeated non-stop between, well since 2007 until the sun cools or until the Advocates dissolve. Someday someone will write about the ill fated convention (what convention?); the abrupt need for a new principal at North (here one day, gone the next with no explanation?); which board suck-up and Superintendent favorite didn’t get the North Principal job (which teachers could have had something to do with that?) and why the records of executive session meetings were sealed and then destroyed at the first opportunity (routine for the old board who specialized in back room shenanigans). The why and what that led to all this. It isn’t pretty, it is petty, and the meeting minutes being destroyed is not a coincidence. You can’t take all these different false threads and weave a new cloth of deceit if there’s records around showing what you did. So they covered their tracks. Who? The CHSD99 Board of Education that existed in 2006.
The board, controlled by the Advocates, said no, your son can’t attend North and play football for his uncle and grandfather, and if you don’t like it, sue us. Boyle asked for arbitration, and the Advocates-controlled board said no, and if you don’t like it, sue us. So she did, but she was not allowed to bring into the case the background, all those other requests that had been granted, some the same year. The judges comments in the ruling were illuminating, but you’ll never hear about that from any Advocates backer; that doesn’t fit the narrative.
Uniquely held to a different standard, Boyle fought the double standard. One policy for all she said, not one policy for everyone but me. That still doesn’t sit well with some people, until they start thinking about the implications of 2 different sets of rules. One for all of us, and one for just you.
Welcome to DG politics.
Boyle moved on and the Advocates, with their willing and unwitting supporters, have blasted away at her ever since. I’ve written about this before; all the ginned up self righteousness they could all muster at every opportunity to decry Deb Boyle. To this very day they still link back to anonymous websites and planted letters to the editor as justification, and repeat the memes almost word for word. Practice makes perfect. When she ran for the high school board to change it from the inside, the first time she lost. By fewer than 30 votes, and after the most acrimonious election campaign season, for both the Village and for CHSD99. Not as acrimonious as Patch is right this instant, but a pretty seminal signal politics in DG took a turn away from what had been, up until the 60’s, described to me as “several hundred residents getting together and deciding who would officially be to blame for everything that goes wrong.”
Most people at that point throw up their hands and walk away. A bunch did who simply didn’t want the hassle of fighting such a well organized and determined group. But Boyle ran again and won a seat on the same CHSD99 Board of Education the following election in 2009. That inflamed the Advocates on the board, especially Megan Schroeder, Julia Kennedy-Beckman, and Terry Pavesich. That Advocates controlled board blocked whatever Boyle wanted to do. Publicly kept records of meetings? Televised meetings? Those were things to be talked about at election time, but never to be done. End huge pay hikes at the end of careers? Salary spiking’s the way they’ve always done it. They even made it policy. Tax hikes? They ask for the maximum every year, and say if they don’t they’ll lose that money forever. Budget votes? They refused to let her vote on almost everything.
It didn’t stop with Boyle either. Former BOE member Bob Lemke tried to bring up insurance alternatives that would save taxpayers money. He was interrupted and shouted down, a violation meeting rules. Reliable shill Lucy Lloyd filed FOIA’s and complaints of alleged conflict of interest against Lemke. Because now you’re a Advocates enemy, former Board member Bob Lemke. Want to keep a popular young teacher with a bright future educating children? Now you’re an Advocates enemy, Board member Bill White. Like everyone else who they have judged enemy, once you cross that line, it’s scorched earth from that point on. Forever.
Welcome to DG politics.
The endorsement vote
And now Deb Boyle has the temerity to run in the House District carved out for Ron Sandack. Why won’t this woman learn to get out and stay out! And so it begins again, another sordid chapter of Advocates stained politics in Downers Grove.
It’s no coincidence that House 81 is dominated by Downers Grove, but it’s only my opinion it’s payoff to Sandack for not running against Christine Radogno. Mike Madigan controlled the remap and Mike Madigan doesn’t do favors like that, to Republicans no less, without them being paid for. What was the price Ron paid? Just conjecture, but Sandack was one of four baffling Republican votes to permanently end the Death Penalty. His explanation hit all the talking points put forward by the Democrat Party, and he’s since said he supports the Death Penalty. Don’t be shocked when Advocates start coming out supporting Ron.
Here comes the DGTRO endorsement vote in September. Sandack had already made several votes expected of a Democrat, not a Republican. Radogno, the month before, lays down that she supports Sandack, and after the primary the PC’s will support Sandack. Not her exact words, but that’s how it came down. The very next month we vote, and way more than 75% of the DGTRO PC’s vote to endorse Deb Boyle. That got attention. Boyle wasn’t supposed to be that well liked, there was supposed to not be that big a majority. Not enough to give an endorsement to another candidate. Yet, that’s what happened.
The Precinct Committeemen of the DGTRO would rather see Deb Boyle get elected than Ron Sandack. How do you think Ron took that? For one, he talked several folks into running for PC. Good. For any who were able to properly fill out a petition, and might get elected, once they see for themselves, they’ll begin to question what they’ve been told. Won’t be the first or last time.
DGTRO PC’s, welcome to DG politics.
The petition packets
I helped Deb Boyle get her needed signatures. Not Krajewski; me. Look at the packet. I was in the parking lot at the Library, I was at the train station, I walked house to house. So did a lot of others. I pulled Ron’s packet. It was a mess. He even Notarized 12 of his own petitions. Is that even legal? He should be ashamed of himself for submitting such shoddy work, but he didn’t submit it. It was submitted for him. Sandack had 1,192 signatures with well over 500 valid ones.
Boyle didn’t submit hers either. I did. Sandack hired a high powered researcher from a top downtown law firm to comb Boyle’s packet with all the tools at her disposal. They found over 800 good signatures, over 85% Republicans. That got attention.
Illinois Liberty PAC interviewed both candidates. They’re an interesting group, not content to lobby or buy votes one at a time, they want candidates willing to get things done, not just complain about how bad things are and endlessly link to stories about how bad it is. That means people that will walk the walk, not just talk the talk. They want people who care about our state, not their next political office, or who they’ll be having drinks with tonight at Saputo’s.
The ILPAC is the political action spin off of the Illinois Policy Institute, a fascinating group that actually does hard research on budget and policy. I’ve followed them from (almost) Day One. They publish that information, as well as solutions that can be implemented; done it for years. Their annual budget reports should be required reading for every taxpayer and legislator in Illinois.
The Illinois Liberty PAC panel interviewed both candidates looking to help fill this open seat with someone who will put goals ahead of ambitions, fight to change the very system itself that has brought the state to the precipice. Both Sandack and Boyle wanted this endorsement. It means something. Sandack even had his Springfield and Wheaton political pals lobbying for him.
After multiple discussions, they chose to endorse and support Deb Boyle. Why? Look at Boyle’s issues: budget, pension, Medicaid, education. Look at Boyle’s history. Standing up for what she believes. They looked at the Nepotism issue, they looked at the lawsuit, they dug into the backgrounds of both candidates. After all the lead up, all the events scheduled, all the lofty talk and tweets, Sandack has some more sand thrown into his smoothly oiled gears. Illinois Liberty PAC supports someone who is willing to work for the people, for change, willing to work to fix the state.
Now everyone and everything about Illinois Liberty PAC is the enemy too.
Illinois Liberty PAC, welcome to DG politics.
Adam Andrejewski is the guiding force behind For the Good of Illinois. He came out and endorsed Ron. There were no interviews, there was no explanation of why AA’s organization could endorse someone they held up as an example of a poorly performing Senator. Ron even voted for a bill that would have block AA’s efforts to research and publish salaries and pension perks of public employees.
AA’s still a good guy. Everyone can be deceived. Another who walked into the middle of a war.
Adam, welcome to DG politics.
That brings us to the here and now of Downers Grove Patch as a comment battleground. This used to happen on DGreport all the time. I commented on Patch after reading yet another dreary chain of reader comments where one commenter attacks another commenter. Not the candidate, not facts as presented, not even classic ad hominems. Attacks on commenters. Residents. Neighbors. Not public officials or those seeking election. Folks who live here and dare express an opinion publicly.
How has Downers Grove gotten to the point where, in every local election, neighbors attack neighbors? Why does this happen? It’s always the same. Thrashing and trashing. Then the push back, then the open warfare of name calling, casting aspersions, lying and calling others liars. And the sideshow of twits and shills.
Did all this happen before Advocates came to be? Is this what Downers Grove has become? Is this how we want the surrounding communities to see us?
DGPatch deleted heated comments. As I write this they are sketchy on enforcing their policy of prohibiting links to anonymous websites, but given the avalanche of comments, anyone would be hard-pressed to keep up. It’s their turn to walk unknowingly into the middle of an Advocates war that has been going on for years. They’re not alone. They’re just the latest.
Patch, welcome to DG politics.
The shape of things to come
A gentleman who I respect very highly once gave me the background history of the first effort to write a Comprehensive Plan for Downers Grove. The Herculean time and effort put in, in the late 50’s and early 60’s, mortally wounded some members the Kiwanis organization that did the ground work and laid the foundation. Their day jobs and friendships suffered. Some say Kiwanis here have never fully recovered, but they did it because they knew they had to. They committed to helping the community navigate the future. It was a part of DG history I never had heard before.
Another gentleman I respect equally as highly has begun to open up about the genesis of the Advocates. He is hesitant and reticent, but I have pressed him that it’s time to tell that story, because so far all we’ve really heard is the spin. We’ll see where that goes.
Someday someone will write about the why behind all this. All this venom. If not me, someone else. I may be too far inside the curve to keep a reliable perspective, because I walked into it years ago without even knowing it.
Welcome to DG politics.
Full Disclosure: Unlike some shills on Twitter, blogs, commenting on other websites, I’ve been pretty up front about who I am and why I blog. Everyone knows by now I’m a Republican Precinct Committeeman, that I ran (and lost) for our Village Council twice, that I have followed and written about local politics, the school boards, and local political parties. That I am involved in a couple volunteer efforts.
And yes, I am helping Debbie Boyle.