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ere the TRUTH starts. Public Pension Reform. Law Enforcement News. Officer Down News. Collective Bargaining. Corruption. - See more at:
Where the TRUTH starts. Public Pension Reform. Law Enforcement News. Officer Down News. Collective Bargaining. Corruption. - See more at:

Officer Down

Thursday, February 28, 2013

R.I.P.: Sergeant Gary Morales


Sergeant Gary Morales
St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, Florida
End of Watch: Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 35
Tour: 13 years
Badge # Not available
Military veteran
Cause: Gunfire
Incident Date: 2/28/2013
Weapon: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect: In custody

Sergeant Gary Morales was shot and killed while making a traffic stop in the 3200 block of Naylor Terrace, near Edwards Road, at approximately 9:30 am.

During the stop a subject exited the stopped vehicle and opened fire, striking Sergeant Morales as he sat his in his patrol car. He was transported to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute where he was pronounced dead.

The subject was taken into custody.

Sergeant Morales was a U.S. Air Force veteran and had served with the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office for 13 years. He is survived by his wife and twin children.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Sheriff Ken J. Mascara
St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office
4700 West Midway Road
Fort Pierce, FL 34981
Phone: (772) 462-7300

CHICAGO OUTFIT: Reputed Outfit enforcer guilty on gun charge

--I am in no way condoning anything this man may have done.
I just find it funny that he is 58 years old and looking at 15 years in prison for a gun charge and we have gang bangers running around on the street with two, three, or even more gun charges and serious felonies on them still running around shooting at people.--

Story at Chicago Tribune

Reputed Outfit extortionist Mario Rainone. (Illinois Department of Corrections / January 6, 2010)

By Annie Sweeney
Tribune reporter
6:02 PM CST, February 27, 2013

A reputed mob enforcer was found guilty today in federal court on a gun charge that will land him in prison for at least 15 years because of his lengthy criminal record, authorities said.

Mario Rainone, 58, had little reaction to the verdict by the federal jury even as family members of his bowed their heads and wept.

He was on trial this week on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm after a Smith & Wesson .357-caliber handgun was recovered from a nightstand at his Addison home after a search in 2009, authorities said.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber set sentencing for June 5.

Rainone is already serving a 7 1/2-year prison sentence for a residential burglary conviction.

Prosecutors argue that Rainone’s criminal history makes him an armed career criminal, a designation under the federal law that carries a minimum of 15 years in prison. He faces up to life.

In 1992 Rainone  was sentenced to 17 1/2 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to extorting more than $300,000 from restaurant owners and a car dealer.

Earlier, he had been taken into witness protection, but he later refused to cooperate with authorities after an explosive device damaged his mother's porch.

OFFICER DOWN NEWS: Gary Morales, St. Lucie County deputy, shot and killed in Fort Pierce

--Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sgt Morales' family and to the St Lucie County Sheriff's Department on their loss.

Memorial information will be posted when available.--

Story at ABC Action News

By: WPTV Web Team


A St. Lucie County Sheriff's deputy was shot and killed this morning south of Fort Pierce, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office.

One suspect is in custody, according to St. Lucie Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.

Sgt. Gary Morales, 35, a 13-year agency veteran, was shot and killed at 9:28 a.m in the 3200 block of Naylor Terrace, Mascara said.

At 9:28 a.m., deputies made a traffic stop just south of Edwards Road, south of Fort Pierce in unincorporated St. Lucie County.

At some point during the traffic stop, a suspect got out of his vehicle and shot Sgt. Morales who was in his patrol car, deputies said.

Sgt. Morales was transported to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute where he was pronounced dead.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family," Sheriff Mascara said in a release.

A suspect is in custody and is being questioned at this time.

The area of the 3200 block of Oleander Avenue will be closed to traffic for the next few hours at least while the investigation continues.

Morales was promoted to Sergeant Jan. 18, 2013.

This was the second police officer in less than 24 hours who was shot. A Port St. Lucie officer was shot Wednesday night while responding to a domestic violence call

A St. Lucie County Sheriff's deputy was shot and killed this morning south of Fort Pierce, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office.

One suspect is in custody, according to St. Lucie Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.

Sgt. Gary Morales, 35, a 13-year agency veteran, was shot and killed at 9:28 a.m in the 3200 block of Naylor Terrace, Mascara said.

At 9:28 a.m., deputies made a traffic stop just south of Edwards Road, south of Fort Pierce in unincorporated St. Lucie County.

At some point during the traffic stop, a suspect got out of his vehicle and shot Sgt. Morales who was in his patrol car, deputies said.

Sgt. Morales was transported to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute where he was pronounced dead.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family," Sheriff Mascara said in a release.

A suspect is in custody and is being questioned at this time.

The area of the 3200 block of Oleander Avenue will be closed to traffic for the next few hours at least while the investigation continues.

Morales was promoted to Sergeant Jan. 18, 2013.

This was the second police officer in less than 24 hours who was shot. A Port St. Lucie officer was shot Wednesday night while responding to a domestic violence call.

PENSION: ****Legislative Update*****

The pension amendment votes on House floor today went:

HB 1154 amend 1 (eliminate COLA) failed 2-66

HB 1154 Amend 2 (eliminate COLA unless system is 80% funded) failed 5-62

HB 1165 increase retirement age to 67 failed 1-66.

HB 1166 to increase employee contribution 5% failed 5-62.

These votes were all on motion to adopt amendments, bills still on second reading.

NEWS: Legal battles hidden from public view

--Secrets? Being kept from the public? NO!!!!!!
It has been this way since the beginning of time.
He who has the money controls the information (and everything else).--

Story at Chicago Tribune

Cook County cases involving a judge, the Wrigley family and former Bull Scottie Pippen were all sealed

By Cynthia Dizikes and Todd Lighty
Chicago Tribune reporters
February 24, 2013

A Northwestern University student filed a lawsuit against the school in 2008, alleging top administrators failed to discipline a student who raped her.

But what happened in the case is a secret.

The student's complaint, filed under a pseudonym to protect her identity, was sealed shortly after it was filed in Cook County Circuit Court. Northwestern University says the student had the case sealed. The student's lawyer says that's not true.

The court order sealing the file that could clear that up? That's a secret too.

The Northwestern University legal dispute is one of 163 cases in the Chancery Division that judges have hidden from the public, according to a Tribune analysis of cases sealed since January 2000. Chancery judges handle various legal matters, including contract disputes, mortgage foreclosures and big-money class-action lawsuits.

State law allows some legal battles to be filed under seal, such as whistle-blower lawsuits. But the Tribune found chancery judges also have sealed cases for a fellow judge, the Wrigley family and a former Chicago Bulls basketball player.

Legal experts said public access to courts is a fundamental right, and that only in the rarest of instances — such as matters involving national security — should entire case files be secret.

If a file is sealed, the order sealing it should remain public and spell out why the judge took the extraordinary step to hide a case, said Scott Drazewski, a McLean County judge who last year spoke about court access at a Chicago educational conference for judges.

Drazewski and others pointed to a 2004 Illinois Appellate Court case involving the billionaire Pritzker family, which found that orders are "public documents and should not be kept under seal."

"The judge needs to go ahead and make specific (public) findings to seal a case because courtrooms and the files within them belong to the public," Drazewski said.

"Sometimes you'll get these attorneys who get together and a file will be sealed because nobody objects," he said, adding he was not speaking specifically about Cook County. "That's not a basis for sealing a file. It should not be rubber-stamped just because somebody asks."

The Tribune reported last fall that Cook County judges in the Law Division had sealed hundreds of cases since 2000, including disputes involving a famous chef, other judges and millionaire businessmen. The types of suits filed in the Law Division include allegations of wrongful death, defective consumer products and medical malpractice.

The Tribune also found that judges in the Law Division sometimes failed to give a reason in their written orders for sealing files and hid entire files when they needed only to remove sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers or home addresses.

The Tribune this year requested to see 126 sealing orders by 55 judges and former judges in the Law and Chancery divisions.

Chief Judge Timothy Evans and the presiding judges of those two divisions declined to provide the orders, instead telling the Tribune to get a lawyer to file motions to intervene in each case.

Evans, in an interview last week, said the Illinois Supreme Court in 2000 ruled that the public's right to access records is not absolute. "Whether the particular order is a public order, in the sense that the public would have access to it, is something that is reviewed on a case-by-case basis," he said.

But Mike Rathsack, a veteran Illinois appellate lawyer, said requiring an individual to hire a lawyer to see a court order imposes an unfair burden on the public, adding that court secrecy fosters mistrust.

"I hate to disagree with three presiding judges, but allowing public access to the order sealing a court file should not be a burden to anyone," Rathsack said. "The order can be and presumably is drafted so that any of the actual matters that are sensitive are not set out in the order.

"After all," he said, "an order sealing a case involving Coke's secret formula does not itself reveal that formula."

Suit against NU sealed

The Northwestern undergraduate student who in January 2007 accused a male student of raping her on campus sued the school for allegedly mishandling the internal disciplinary case.

The Tribune obtained a copy of the suit through a commercial database that provides online access to some court records. The Northwestern suit and others in this story had been entered into the database before judges ordered them sealed.

According to her suit, a Northwestern sexual-assault hearing board found against the accused student. The student appealed and lost. He then appealed to the university president's office, and the case ended in limbo.

"Northwestern's president or his designee took no action at all, intending that the entire proceeding should permanently remain pending and unresolved, and that the effectiveness of the findings and sanctions against the rapist would be permanently stayed, thereby effectively denying (the female student) any resolution of the charge and any assurance that Northwestern would keep the rapist away from her as the hearing board ordered," according to the complaint.

The female student said in her suit that she later learned during a chance encounter with a Northwestern official in August 2008 that the school cut a deal with the male student: The student would not return to the university, and there would be no final record of discipline.

The woman alleged the university violated its own sexual assault policy, which is intended to encourage victims of sex crimes to come forward.

Two days after the suit was filed, court clerk records show Judge Sophia Hall sealed it. The woman's suit is no longer publicly available from the court, and all other filings in the case are also secret.

The woman's lawyer, Damon Dunn, said he did not request that the case be sealed. Dunn said the matter was later settled.

But Alan Cubbage, spokesman for Northwestern University, said the female student filed the case and had it sealed. He declined to talk about her allegations or any settlement.

"Because it's sealed, I can't talk about it," Cubbage said. "We are continuing to respect that."

Hall, through a member of her staff, declined to comment for this story.

Eva Janda, a Florida-based victim advocate who lectures at campuses nationwide, said the case should not have been sealed, regardless of who requested it.

"They want to pretend they are protecting the victim, but they are not," Janda said. "They are potentially harming the rest of the Northwestern population. I don't know why you would seal that case."

Judge's legal disputes secret

The legal disputes between a Cook County judge and a Chicago doctor also remain secret after judges sealed the cases in 2011.

Judge Eileen Brewer was sued in November 2010 over properties she and the doctor co-owned in Mexico, Michigan and Chicago.

Dr. Jane Blumenthal, a Gold Coast obstetrician and gynecologist, alleged she and the judge were unable to agree on "the use, occupancy, maintenance, possession and sale" of a two-story Kenwood house they bought in the 1990s. The home was valued at about $630,000 in 2012, according to the county assessor's office.

The doctor alleged Brewer had refused to allow her into the house since 2008 and would not sell it or buy out Blumenthal's share.

Blumenthal asked the court to divide the house, and to force the sale of the other properties she and Brewer owned in Michigan and Mexico, according to her 2010 complaint.

About a year later, Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. sealed the entire file, according to court clerk records. Martin, through his law clerk, declined to answer questions about why he had sealed the still-pending case.

Brewer, who became a judge in 2002 after serving as chief counsel to then-Cook County Board President John Stroger, also requested that a domestic relations case involving her and Blumenthal be sealed. Brewer filed that case in 2009 under their initials.

Blumenthal declined to comment.

Brewer said she requested the cases be sealed for the safety of herself and her children. She said the files contained her home address and her children's names.

"I felt that my safety and that of my children was threatened by a series of incidents that occurred in November 2011, in connection with a case pending before me," she wrote in an email.

Brewer provided a copy of her motion asking that the chancery case be hidden from public view.

"The grounds for this motion are that defendant Brewer is a Cook County Circuit Court judge who has been threatened by an attorney whom she had removed from her court room on Nov. 8, 2011," according to the motion. "The file on this matter contains personal and confidential information, including Judge Brewer's home address and information concerning her family."

Asked why she did not just request that the confidential information be removed, Brewer said, "Sealing the file was advised by my attorney as this is typically how a situation like this would be handled."

Frank Bilecki, spokesman for the Cook County sheriff, said the office was not told of a threat against Brewer and did not investigate. "I am not aware of any direct threats against the judge," he said.

Bilecki said the sheriff knew that a lawyer had been "problematic and disruptive in Judge Brewer's courtroom and possibly others." The office provided additional courtroom staff at Brewer's request, he said.

Judge Lisa Ruble Murphy, who sealed the domestic relations case, could not be reached for comment.

Cases of the famous

Judges also have given the highest level of secrecy to well-known Chicago families and businesses.

In December 2003, Judge Bernetta Bush sealed a case involving William Wrigley Jr. and his sister, Alison Wrigley Rusack, on the day it was filed. At the time, William Wrigley was the head of the multibillion-dollar Wrigley chewing gum company.

The case was disposed of nine months later, and details about what happened remain a secret, as does Bush's order sealing the file.

Bush, who has since retired, said in an interview that the case may have been a dispute involving a trust but that she could not recall the details.

"Someone petitioned to seal the case," she said. "As I always do, I listened to the argument and made a ruling."

Wrigley's lawyer, Stephen Novack, declined to comment. Alison Rusack declined to comment.

That was not the only time a judge sealed a legal matter involving the Wrigleys.

William Hagenah III, a cousin of William Wrigley Jr., said he asked the court in 2010 for permission to resign as a trustee of several Wrigley family trust funds.

Hall sealed the case days after it was filed, according to records. That order remains a secret.

It was "private to our family," Hagenah said. "What people in the public care about are the names. When they see a name they've heard before, such as Wrigley, they tend to care about it."

A 2011 legal battle between two book companies also was sealed one day after being filed.

Follett Higher Education Group, a family-owned business started in 1873 and based in suburban Chicago, became embroiled in a contract dispute with, launched in 2008, rents and sells college textbooks to students.

The two companies teamed up in March 2010 in a deal to sell books online, but, according to Follett, the relationship soured and Follett sued.

Follett asked for the case to be sealed because it contained confidential and proprietary information, said Follett spokesman Tom Kline. Hall agreed and sealed the case.

But Greg Wharton, vice president of legal affairs for Rafter Inc., formerly known as, said his company wanted the dispute public.

"Follett is a major, major player in the book industry. … Perhaps they had the case sealed because they didn't want to make us seem sympathetic in this David versus Goliath battle," Wharton said. "We believe the market had a right to know about the dispute."

Scottie Pippen case

Of the 163 secret cases, judges had unsealed only 16 as of July, according to a Tribune analysis. One those cases involved former Chicago Bull Scottie Pippen.

In April 2004, Pippen took his financial adviser to court after he "experienced significant losses" in his investments. Pippen accused Robert Lunn of self-dealing; of placing his money into questionable, risky investments; and of failing to protect Pippen's assets, according to court records. (Lunn last year was indicted on unrelated federal charges that he defrauded a suburban bank and two of his clients of more than $3.2 million. The case is pending.)

Pippen's lawyer, Jerry Esrig, asked the court to seal the Pippen file. Esrig argued that the file contained extensive personal financial information about Pippen, and making it public could harm him financially.

Judge Bush agreed and sealed the file. She unsealed it in October 2004 after Pippen received an $11.8 million judgment against Lunn and his company. The next month, news stories disclosed Pippen's financial battle. What was not widely known at the time was that Pippen had his court case hidden from the public.

Esrig, in an interview, said it was easier to seal the entire file rather than risk having some of Pippen's personal financial information revealed. He said he would have done the same for any client, regardless of their celebrity.

Bush agreed that fame was not a factor.

"I did not seal it because he's a celebrity," Bush said. "He's not even my favorite basketball player. Michael (Jordan) was."

Judge Moshe Jacobius, the presiding judge of the Chancery Division, sealed two chancery cases in 2011, according to records. The identities of the parties involved in those disputes also are hidden from the public.

Chief Judge Evans, who approved the Tribune's request for court data on sealed files, said judges rarely seal cases but acknowledged that sometimes "a mistake could be made."

"I think that the overwhelming majority of our judges know the law and apply the law," he said. "But judges are human like anyone else."

Rathsack, the appellate lawyer, said the public cannot know if a case was properly sealed unless "it can see and read the reasons" that it should be secret.

"Even if no clout is involved in sealing the case, there's the appearance of impropriety," Rathsack said. "The appearance of impropriety is critical. It's critical to the courts because courts have to have the public's trust to properly function."

Tribune reporter Alex Richards contributed.

PENSION: Action needed! Pension-Cutting Amendments being considered

Read about the latest pension-cutting amendments in the House and our action to oppose them, and then read on about the bills supported by the We Are One Illinois coalition!

Action Alert Details: Pension-Cutting Amendments in the House

On Thursday, the House will be considering a series of pension amendments – all of which devastate the pensions that public workers paid and toiled for years to earn. The amendments are as follows:

House Bill 1154, Amendment 1: Completely eliminates cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).
- This amendment leaves senior citizens defenseless against inflation.

House Bill 1154, Amendment 2: Eliminates COLAs unless an individual system is 80% funded.
- Thanks to the state’s fiscal irresponsibility in underfunding the pension systems, this amendment effectively also eliminates COLAs for a generation of retirees since the systems are not projected to reach 80% until the 2040s.

House Bill 1165, Amendment 1: Broadly and immediately raises retirement age to 67.
- There is no graduated phase-in for older workers, and no consideration of the hard labor performed by many public workers in physically strenuous jobs – for example, public safety officers, corrections officers, and nurses.

House Bill 1166, Amendment 1: Increase employee contributions by 5%.
- This is well over the 2% increase offered by the coalition that is strictly contingent on a balanced solution that includes an ironclad funding guarantee and revenue. A 5% increase would result in Illinois systems having the second-highest employee contribution rate in the nation, according to a Boston College survey.

Click here to call your representatives in the House, or call toll-free at 888-412-6570!

Tell your state representatives not to devastate the pensions that public workers faithfully paid for out of every paycheck – even when the state did not.

Tell them not to devastate the pensions that retirees rely on as their most reliable source of retirement security – particularly the many public sector retirees who do not receive Social Security, such as teachers, state university personnel, and public safety workers, to name a few.

Tell them to get to work with the We Are One Illinois coalition of unions and to support a fair, constitutional solution backed by the coalition – like HB 3162 and SB 2404! (Read on for the details on these bills.)

Coalition-Supported Bills: HB 3162 and SB 2404

The We Are One Illinois union coalition is proud to announce its support for House Bill 3162 and Senate Bill 2404, identical bills that contain essential pieces of the coalition’s framework plan. Unlike many other proposals, HB 3162 and SB 2404 are fair and constitutional. The bills have three parts:

1. An Ironclad Funding Guarantee. For decades, Illinois politicians shorted payments to the pension systems, even as public workers faithfully and consistently paid their fair share. To ensure that today’s politicians cannot repeat the mistakes of their predecessors, HB 3162 and SB 2404 contain an ironclad funding guarantee. If the state fails to make its full payment, the retirement systems – or their members – can sue to ensure proper payment.

2. The Pension Stabilization Fund.
HB 3162 and SB 2404 dedicate revenue to pay down the state’s pension debt. In short, revenue currently being used to pay off the state’s pension obligation bonds would be committed to the pension systems after the bonds are paid off.

3. Shared Sacrifice. Public employees are not to blame for Illinois’ pension problem, but they are willing to be part of the solution. With an ironclad funding guarantee to ensure pension shortfalls will never happen again, Tier 1 employees would be prepared to contribute an additional 2% of salary, phased in over the next two years, for their retirement.

HB 3162 features bipartisan support, led by Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Belleville), Rep. Raymond Poe (R-Springfield), and Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Decatur). A diverse set of six state senators are sponsors or co-sponsors of SB 2404 – Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora), Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry), Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake), Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields), Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood), and Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-Moline). Our coalition is working to add more co-sponsors to both bills. We also continue to work on additional framework solutions, such as closing corporate tax loopholes to generate $2 billion in new revenue.

Thank you for your advocacy, and please make the call this Thursday, February 28!

Click here to call your representatives in the House, or call toll-free at 888-412-6570!

Thanks again,
- We Are One Illinois

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

CONCEALED CARRY: Concealed Carry Permits Not Protected By 2nd Amendment

--Hmmmm, interesting stuff here.--

Story at FindLaw

By Deanne Katz, Esq.
February 26, 2013 8:29 AM

Owning a gun is a right protected by the Second Amendment, but it doesn’t include the right to a concealed carry permit, according to a federal court.

The case started with a Washington man, Gray Peterson, who was denied a concealed carry permit in Colorado. The state only issues those permits to certain people, a policy that Peterson claimed violated his Second Amendment rights.

His complaint was initially dismissed by a federal district court judge and Peterson appealed the decision. But with Friday’s decision, it looks like he was unsuccessful.

Peterson has a concealed carry permit in his home state of Washington and in Florida, according to The Associated Press. He wanted one for Colorado since he travels to Denver often.

But the state of Colorado doesn’t honor concealed carry permits from Washington. The reason? Washington won’t honor Colorado permits.

Peterson also can’t get a Colorado concealed carry permit because he isn’t a state citizen.

Many states follow that pattern of only honoring permits from states that return the favor. But Peterson said it was more than a political decision.

He claimed it was a violation of his rights. Unfortunately for him, the three-judge panel didn’t agree.

The court noted that the right to keep and bear arms doesn’t rely on being able to carry a concealed weapon. In fact, the U.S. has a history of restricting a citizen’s freedom to carry concealed firearms.

Based on that, the court determined that refusing concealed-carry permits is not a violation of the Second Amendment.

That’s good news for states like Colorado that only issue concealed carry permits to certain individuals. It’s also good news for states that don’t allow concealed carry at all.

The Second Amendment guarantees the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. As part of that right, states can’t prohibit citizens from buying or owning firearms.

But they can put limits on where and how people carry those guns.

That includes laws on permitting and storage requirements, waiting periods, and places where guns aren’t permitted, like courtrooms and schools.

The person that’s not good news for is Peterson, who still won’t be able to get a concealed carry permit in Colorado. He could file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, but will he? Only time will tell.

 Related Resources:

    The Second Amendment and the Right to Regulate Guns in Public (FindLaw)
    No Right to Carry Concealed Gun, Judge Rules (FindLaw’s Law and Daily Life)
    Are Guns Allowed in Shopping Malls? (FindLaw’s Blotter)

PENSION: Pension bill would reduce benefits, create 401(k) for new teachers

--House Bill 3411 does nothing to fix the current problems facing our pension funds.
It does, however, insure that future employees will having nothing for their futures.
I do not believe this bill would stand up to a constitutional challenge.--

Story at Daily Herald

By Mike Riopell

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross, Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz and a handful of other suburban lawmakers today made the pitch for a new plan to cut the state’s pension costs, hoping a bipartisan presentation of support could bust open an ongoing logjam on the issue.

As more competing legislation is proposed to deal with one of Illinois’ financial problems, it could become more difficult for lawmakers to pick one to proceed with. And this new plan conflicts with other prominent ones.

But Cross, of Oswego, and Nekritz, of Northbrook, said they have more than 30 supporters in the House, about half of what they’ll need to succeed.

Their plan would cut pension benefits as previous ideas have, but it would also have new teachers and university workers split their retirement benefits between a more certain pension-style system and a riskier 401k-style one.

That idea could have won over the support of more Republicans, some of whom have called for a move away from a pension system for employees altogether.

In addition, suburban school districts would pay the 401k-type account and largely get to choose how much they contribute. That would move the cost for teachers’ pensions away from the state slowly.

Republicans have generally opposed having local districts pay for teachers’ pension costs, which could cost school districts millions of dollars every year. But Cross’ support of this new idea represents a possible compromise.

“That cost is now more manageable and more certain,” said state Rep. Darlene Senger, a Naperville Republican.

Others aren’t likely to get on board immediately, though. Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, is supporting a different proposal and has argued others’ plans are unconstitutional. Gov. Pat Quinn has backed him.

State Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat, wants to, among other things, extend the state’s 2011 income tax hike to pay for public employee retirement costs. The income tax hike is set to expire in 2015.

And state Sens. Linda Holmes of Aurora and Pam Althoff of McHenry have presented bipartisan legislation supported by unions.

“We think that this is the wave of the future,” Cross said of the new plan.

He might find out if that’s true soon. The House is expected to begin debating various provisions of pension reforms one by one on Thursday, using test votes to gauge support for each one.

Cross and Nekritz said their legislation could save the state $2 billion a year. But it wouldn’t take hold immediately and help lawmakers with the budget they’re working to craft now.

“We still have enormous fiscal pressures,” Nekritz said.

CONCEALED CARRY: State House gun votes: Lifesaver or stunt?

--By the time they finish with this bill, Illinois citizens will be able to carry a concealed weapon in their backyard and that will be about it.
This is being done this way for one reason and one reason only.........So Mike Madigan can show off his power--

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Ray Long and Rafael Guerrero
Tribune reporters
February 27, 2013

SPRINGFIELD — The Democratic-led majority in the Illinois House has voted in favor of banning guns in schools, casinos and on public transit during an unusual debate allowing lawmakers to vote piece by piece on where people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons.

Democrats said the hourslong action on the House floor Tuesday was a way to test support for the various elements of a bill that lawmakers are expected to pass this spring to comply with a federal appeals court ruling against Illinois — the only state that hasn't legalized some form of concealed carry for citizens.

Republicans accused the Chicago-led majority of forcing GOP lawmakers to take controversial positions that could be used against them in their next campaign.

"This is a political stunt," said Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-Elmhurst, a former prosecutor. "It demeans this process."

The perpetual fight over gun control in Springfield took on new meaning following a December federal appeals court order that calls for Illinois to legalize concealed carry by early June. At the same time, Democrats who run City Hall and the Statehouse are pushing for new gun penalties amid an unrelenting stream of Chicago shootings punctuated in January by the death of a South Side teen who had traveled to Washington with her school to participate in President Barack Obama's inauguration festivities.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, set aside a special order of business to allow debate and votes on more than a dozen concealed carry proposals. Madigan's action forced up-or-down votes on the long lineup of amendments to a Democratic bill rather than the typical approach of weeding them out in committee or behind closed doors, then tacking on a few changes in the full House.

The legislation that carries all the amendments was not called for a vote, leaving potential conflicts between the proposals that lawmakers may seek to reconcile before any House vote to send the bill to the Senate.

With Madigan, the state Democratic Party chairman, already picking up suburban seats in the last election, Republicans feared he was setting his sights on gaining even more ground rather than actually trying to address the concealed carry issue. Republicans questioned why Democrats were focusing on the gun issue now, in this fashion, rather than on Illinois' budget problems and $96.8 billion pension debt.

Republican Minority Leader Tom Cross asked state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, whether her gun amendment does anything to address the state's pension crisis. Feigenholtz said the proposal was an "attempt to save lives."

"This bill can't pass out of the House like it is, nor can it go to the Senate, so how does that save a life?" Cross said.

Democratic lawmakers voted in favor of prohibiting concealed weapons in places like casinos, libraries, hospitals, mental health centers, child care facilities, stadiums and amusement parks.

"When they get done with this, you won't be able to carry anywhere," said Rep. David Reis, R-Willow Hill, expressing a frustration among many gun rights advocates as they watched restrictions get piled on.

At the end of the long string of amendment votes, lawmakers late Tuesday also approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Brandon Phelps, the Harrisburg Democrat who has long sought to legalize concealed weapons. Phelps' proposal was drawn as a full bill that includes bans for stadiums, bars, churches, gymnasiums, sporting events and some businesses.

The gun debate in Illinois has always been more regional than partisan, with Downstate and suburban lawmakers of both parties more interested in gun rights for hunters and sportsmen. Chicagoans and lawmakers from nearby suburbs have been more interested in gun control.

R.I.P.: Detective Elizabeth Butler


Detective Elizabeth Butler
Santa Cruz Police Department, California
End of Watch: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: Not available

Tour: 10 years

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 2/26/2013

Weapon: Gun; Unknown type

Suspect: Shot and killed

Detective Elizabeth Butler and Sergeant Loran Baker were shot and killed as they followed up on a sexual assault investigation at a residence in the 800 block of North Branciforte Avenue at approximately 3:30 pm.

The suspect began fighting with the officers and fatally shot them both during the struggle. He then fled the scene but was located nearby approximately 30 minutes later. He was shot and killed by responding officers when he opened fire on them.

Detective Butler had served with the Santa Cruz Police Department for 10 years. She is survived by her two children and boyfriend.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Chief of Police Kevin Vogel
Santa Cruz Police Department
155 Center Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Phone: (831) 420-5800

Related Line of Duty Deaths

Sergeant Loran "Butch" Baker
Santa Cruz Police Department, California
End of Watch: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Cause: Gunfire

R.I.P.: Sergeant Loran "Butch" Baker


Sergeant Loran "Butch" Baker
Santa Cruz Police Department, California
End of Watch: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: Not available
Tour: 28 years
Badge # Not available
Cause: Gunfire
Incident Date: 2/26/2013
Weapon: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect: Shot and killed

Sergeant Loran Baker and Detective Elizabeth Butler were shot and killed as they followed up on a sexual assault investigation at a residence in the 800 block of North Branciforte Avenue at approximately 3:30 pm.

The suspect began fighting with the officers and fatally shot them both during the struggle. He then fled the scene but was located nearby approximately 30 minutes later. He was shot and killed by responding officers when he opened fire on them.

Sergeant Baker had served with the Santa Cruz Police Department for 28 years. He is survived by his wife, son, and two daughters. Sergeant Baker's son also serves with the Santa Cruz Police Department.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Chief of Police Kevin Vogel
Santa Cruz Police Department
155 Center Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (831) 420-5800

Related Line of Duty Deaths

Detective Elizabeth Butler
Santa Cruz Police Department, California
End of Watch: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Cause: Gunfire

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

NEWS: Black cops: Offensive N. Chicago presentation ‘set us back 60 years’

--Ughhhhhh. Just Ughhhhhhhhhh--

Story at Chicago Sun-Times

By Judy Masterson

Four veteran African-American North Chicago Police officers stood quietly outside a City Council meeting Monday night in protest of a racially insensitive slideshow recently used during a Citizen Police Academy session.

The presentation — which included negative depictions of African Americans — “set us back 60 years,” Officer Ron Montgomery said outside the meeting.

The four officers, who have more than 90 years of policing experience among them, said they were even more offended by a statement made by Police Chief James Jackson, who said the document was the work of a black officer.

Lt. Curtis Brame said that “blanket statement” called into question the character and judgment of all African-American officers on the force.

“We have longevity, we have respect in this community,” Brame said. “I got calls asking if I had anything to do with it. No, I didn’t. I’m sure other officers got calls, too.”

The officers are pressing for accountability. The presentation, which was intended to illustrate trial procedures, was shown during a Feb. 14 session of the new Citizen Police Academy. It contained images that included comedian Dave Chappelle’s junkie character, Tyrone Biggums, and a black man in an orange prison jumpsuit surrounded by four white guards. It also included photos of Lindsay Lohan, Judge Judy and bumbling TV cop Barney Fife.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say, ‘Look, the city already has racial problems, why add to it?’ — knowing good and well that this was something that would fuel the fire,” Montgomery said.

Jackson said that he assigned several officers to prepare materials for the academy and that a sergeant had been assigned to oversee their activity. He said the trial procedures presentation was prepared and shown without his permission.

“The content of this demonstration was unprofessional and it displayed a lack of good judgment by the participating officers,” Jackson told the council. “At no time was there any intent to humiliate or discredit any persons or group. I take full responsibility for what may be deemed as crude or unprofessional behavior by my officers.”

But Jackson’s statement did not satisfy certain members of the council, or the audience. Mayor candidates including 7th Ward Ald. Charles January and 3rd Ward Ald. Valerie DeVost and resident Anthony Coleman called for action including a possible removal of the officers involved in the presentation, suspension of the academy until an investigation is completed and dismissal of the chief.

Jackson has declined to name the officer or officers responsible for the document, which the News-Sun received in handout form.

“That’s why we have an investigation going,” he said after the council meeting. “We were told it was a black officer.”

Fourth Ward Alderman Bobby Allen, who is also running for mayor, said Jackson should be given time to investigate and that the officer or officers involved should apologize before the council.

“We have a lot of black officers who are really upset,” Allen said. “They’re here tonight because they’re standing up for what they believe in. There are great officers here. If there’s a bad one, get rid of them, I don’t care what color they are.”

Mayor Leon Rockingham acknowledged that the document “probably was inappropriate and to some degree offensive.”

“Our chief is working in the department to find out exactly what went on and who was involved and to make sure that person or those people get the training they need so this doesn’t happen again,” he said, adding that he would consider sensitivity training for the police and other city departments.

NEWS: Oak Brook police continue to raise money for Special Olympics

--Great idea for a great cause.--

Story at Pioneer Press

OAK BROOK — The Oak Brook Police Department continues its fundraising efforts for Special Olympics of Illinois when department members serve others in a non-law enforcement manner March 22.

Police personnel will work as wait staff for Tip a Cop from 4 to 8 p.m. March 22 at Labriola Cafe, 3021 Butterfield Road, Oak Brook. All tip money collected will go toward the fundraising effort.

Oak Brook police kicked off their 2013 fundraising by hosting a Feb. 9 Candlelght Bowl at Pinstripes, 7 Oakbrook Center. The event resulted in about $1,400 being collected toward the 2013 goal of $15,000.

“Hosting this fund raiser at Pinstripes was an excellent opportunity to get members of our business community involved in Special Olympics,” officer Erica Huff said. “We were able to raise money and awareness for our year-round fundraising efforts.”

CONCEALED CARRY: Madigan to open concealed-carry gun debate today

--The bill, House Bill 1155, already has over 20 amendments proposed to it. All looking to PROHIBIT the carrying of a firearm at various locations.
We could, realistically, end up with the most prohibitive law in the country.--

Story at Chicago Tribune

By Ray Long and Rafael Guerrero
Chicago Tribune reporters
7:04 AM CST, February 26, 2013

SPRINGFIELD — Democratic Speaker Michael Madigan plans to hold an extraordinary debate Tuesday to begin to gauge where House members think people should be allowed to carry concealed guns and where they should be forbidden in Illinois.

Among the more than 25 such questions that could come up for test votes on the House floor: Should concealed weapons be allowed in church? At day care centers? In casinos? On buses and trains? Inside sports stadiums? And what exceptions should be made?

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said that Tuesday marks the "first of probably several sessions" on the topic. The goal is to give lawmakers the chance to "speak to and vote on" numerous gun issues, Brown said.

The motivations of the state's longest-serving speaker, however, are not always clear in a Capitol where he has largely controlled the agenda year after year. Hot-button legislation often is worked on behind closed doors among competing interest groups and heard at the committee level; then a single bill that lawmakers can take or leave is voted on. Madigan also sometimes will survey his Democratic members privately to see what they could support on issues such as tax increases.

Illinois is the only state in the nation that does not allow citizens to carry concealed weapons in some form. That, however, changed in December, when a three-member federal appeals court panel ruled Illinois should act within six months to allow citizens to carry guns in public.

The court ruling set off a scramble among gun rights advocates to press for looser restrictions and gun control backers to argue for tighter ones. Pro-gun forces are set to rally at the Capitol on March 6 for their annual lobbying day.

Rep. Brandon Phelps, who has pushed for allowing concealed carry in Illinois, has added his own question to the Tuesday mix, an amendment that would legalize the practice but require training and prohibit guns from being taken into schools, stadiums and bars.

Phelps suggested the speaker's Tuesday debate is an attempt to find out where every lawmaker stands on the various issues that have come up in hearings before the House Judiciary Committee.

"A lot of people across this state and nation will be watching," said Phelps, a Democrat from Harrisburg in far southern Illinois, of Tuesday's action.

Doing it this way will leave individual lawmakers less political cover to run away from a bill by simply arguing they didn't have a chance to add an element, such as certain restrictions for a firearms bill. The approach also puts many freshman lawmakers as well as some squeamish veterans on the spot, requiring them to take clear positions on politically difficult issues.

The gun debate in Illinois is at a fever pitch as homicides in Chicago have been on the rise. President Barack Obama, calling for an end to the violence on the streets, appeared in Chicago following the shooting death of a teenage girl who only days before took part in inaugural activities in the Washington area.

The appellate ruling started the clock ticking. On Friday, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's request for rehearing before the full U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was rejected. Madigan, the speaker's daughter, has not decided whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court and has urged the legislature to work on putting a law on the books to beat the deadline.

At the Capitol, each of the amendments potentially could be heard shortly after the House convenes at noon Tuesday, but decisions on which ones are called will be made by the various sponsors, Brown said.

The House is scheduled to hold further hearings this week on assault weapons. Among the officials who want to ban assault weapons are Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

R.I.P.: Correctional Officer Eric Williams


Correctional Officer Eric Williams
United States Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Government
End of Watch: Monday, February 25, 2013

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 34
Tour: 1 year, 6 months
Badge # Not available
Cause: Stabbed
Location: Pennsylvania
Incident Date: 2/25/2013
Weapon: Edged weapon; Shank
Suspect: In custody

Correctional Officer Eric Williams was stabbed to death by an inmate inside USP Canaan in Waymart, Pennsylvania, at approximately 11:30 pm.

The inmate attacked Officer Williams and stabbed him with a shank before being subdued by other officers. Officer Williams was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his wounds.

Officer Williams had served with the Federal Bureau of Prisons for 18 months.

Please contact the following agency to send condolences or to obtain funeral arrangements:

Director Charles E. Samuels Jr.
United States Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534
Phone: (202) 307-3198

Monday, February 25, 2013

NEWS: North Chicago police brochure peppered with black stereotypes

--Some places just can't seem to get out of the spotlight.--

Story at Chicago Sun-Times

Comedian Dave Chappelle's character Tyrone Biggums.

By Judy Masterson

On one page, comedian Dave Chappelle appears as Tyrone Biggums, the stumbling junkie with crack residue around his mouth.

On other pages of an official North Chicago police handout, one smiling African American is handcuffed in an orange prison jumpsuit and another is portrayed as bug-eyed and slack-jawed in a mugshot. The handout — given to participants of the new North Chicago Citizen Police Academy last week — was intended to illustrate trial procedures. It had a much different effect.

Waukegan activist Ralph Peterson called the handout “outrageous.” NAACP Lake County Branch President Jennifer Witherspoon said the handout reinforces “every negative stereotype blacks as a people have been fighting against.”

Also in the brochure: Bumbling TV cop Barney Fife, Judge Judy and Lindsay Lohan. On the cover: Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim opposite Tom Cruise as a military defense attorney from “A Few Good Men.”

Nerheim called the handout “incredibly disturbing.”

“Unprofessional is probably the nicest way to put it,” Nerheim said. “It was obviously done without my knowledge and consent. I definitely see how it could be offensive to people. It’s not something that should be coming out of the police department.”

Nerheim said he called North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham after receiving the handout via e-mail on Thursday.

North Chicago Police Chief James Jackson said that the material, created by an officer in the department, an African American, was not authorized. The brochure also contains images of Indiana University basketball coach Tom Crean, big-bellied white police officers and infamous murder defendant Casey Anthony.

“We should have caught it,” said Jackson, who characterized the handout as an ill-considered attempt at humor.

Activist Peterson isn’t laughing.

“It’s another red flag,” Peterson said. “It’s more bad judgment. For officers to pass out a pamphlet like this screams a need for sensitivity and that this department is not capable of policing the black community.”

He said it showed continued insensitivity toward the city’s majority African-American community in the wake of the Darrin “Dagwood” Hanna police brutality case, over which North Chicago and its police department are embroiled in a federal wrongful death suit. Peterson brought the handout to the attention of the North Chicago City Council last week.

Peterson also questions why the department is using officers who were involved in the Hanna arrest, along with others who have been the subject of excessive force complaints, as instructors in the academy.

Chief Jackson defends his decision to use veteran officers who volunteered to lead the 10-week course.

“We’re trying to get more interactions with the community,” Jackson said. “We don’t want to discourage that.”

Meanwhile, the “Trial Procedures” handout has been scrubbed from the curriculum and police Lt. Tony Thies, who is in charge of the academy, apologized to participants who showed up Thursday for the third class.

Mayor Rockingham said that he had talked to two academy participants about the circular. “One said they didn’t find it offensive, the other said it could have been taken the wrong way,” he said.

But the NAACP’s Witherspoon said that “someone needs to be held accountable.”

“Imagine if you just came to America and saw this,” Witherspoon said. “This is not who we are. We are doctors and lawyers. I don’t understand why this wasn’t reviewed by the chief or mayor before it went out.”

Academy student Paula Carballido of North Chicago said an officer explained the images were taken from movies and TV and were not meant to offend.

Carballido, who said that about half of the dozen or so participants are African American, praised the course, which offers an in-depth view of law enforcement procedures, as informative and “respectful.”

“It’s changed my perspective about police officers,” Carballido said. “Officers are human and they can make poor choices. But the officers in the academy want to restore trust.”

It's that St Baldrick's time of year

If you have extra tax return money and you are looking for a good cause to donate to, I got one for ya.

The ST. BALDRICK'S FOUNDATION is devoted to helping children who are fighting cancer.

Please donate today. And, if I can make a suggestion.........

This is a great page to donate at LISA 'DIBS' DYBAS ST. BALDRICK'S PAGE


Friday, February 22, 2013

NEWS: (Stone Park) Money squabble keeps strip club near convent from opening

--It was back in October that I asked questions about the ownership status of Get It.

Around the Water Cooler
--Get It, the strip club made notorious before it was even finished being built is reported to be trying for a November 22, 2012 opening. Were some church donations made to help smooth things over? And is the original owner, Robert Itzkow, still the club owner or does he just own the property now and leasing it to someone named Chris, who is reportedly involved in another adult club? And is there a new local 'silent' owner involved? Will the name be Get It if and when the place does open?--

Story and Video at My FOX Chicago


CHICAGO (FOX 32 News & Better Government Assoc.) -

The case of the nuns versus the strippers just took a bizarre new turn.

It's been one year since FOX 32 News first broke the story about that giant strip club going in next to a convent in west suburban Stone Park.

It was supposed to be "Get It," a giant, multi-million dollar strip club in Stone Park just feet from a Melrose Park convent, but more than nine months since it was supposed to open, it sits empty.

The sisters of Saint Charles Borromeo say it's a sign from God, but FOX 32 and the Better Government Association have learned it's more likely a battle over the almighty dollar.

"Fortunately it hasn't opened and there appears to be a big fight of the leadership and the ownership of the facility," says attorney Peter Breen.

That fight has made its way to court and FOX 32 has obtained a copy of a lawsuit detailing a rift between the club's owners.

A group called "Stone Lake Partners," which owned 70 percent of the club, is suing Bob Itzkow, who owns the rest of it.

The suit alleges the club "ran out of funds", and "debts are now owed to numerous contractors some of whom have filed liens against the property." It says "the opening of the club is in jeopardy."

To raise cash, the plaintiffs sold a controlling interest to an international company called Spearmint Rhino, which owns strip clubs all over the world.

The suit alleges Itzkow tried to "extort" the new owners, and hired a professional mixed martial arts fighter to stop them from coming on the property.

Attorney Peter Breen represents the convent.

"[The nuns] are very happy that the facility isn't open," Breen says. "At the same time, we'd like some certainty that the facility won't ever open."

Jose Suarez is running for mayor of Stone Park, which is now 88 percent Latino. Suarez says the fight over this club woke up a political sleeping giant.

"A lot of people are intimidated, but a lot of people are not buying it anymore. They're willing to make a stand," Suarez says.

Incumbent Mayor Ben Mazzulla once again refused to talk to us for this story.

Suarez says Mazzulla is probably hoping talk about the strip club will go away until after the election.

"We're less than two months away from the election, so if it isn't heard, it isn't thought of," Suarez says. "I'm very sure that they're waiting. Our strategy is every door that we knock on, we're letting them know. They can't forget this."

It seems they haven't.

Stone Park is just one-third of a square mile, and based on yard signs, it seems nearly every last home and business has taken a stand in the election.

"There's been a lot of corruption over the years there, they've had problems there," Robert Herguth of the BGA explains. "So that the citizens of the community are getting involved in the electoral process, the democratic process I think is a good thing."

Peter Breen from the Thomas More Society says he has papers ready to file right away to stop the club from opening, but so far, he hasn't had to take the case to court.

The club's owners have done that for him.

After this story was reported, FOX 32 was contacted by lawyers for both sides in the lawsuit between owners of the strip club. They say their lawsuit has been resolved and will be dismissed from court next week.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

PENSION: Illinois SB 2404 provides for guaranteed pension funding. Plus 2%

--Finally!!!! A pension bill that actually starts addressing the fixing of the problem in a fair manner.--

From the Fred Klonsky Blog

IFT President Dan Montgomery

There’s an important development happening in Springfield. As you know, together, we’ve been fighting back attacks to our pension security for the past several years. Your advocacy has provided a tenacious defensive line, and it’s because of you that we’ve been successful.

Now it’s time to play offense.

Late last week, State Senators Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) and Pam Althoff (R-McHenry) filed Senate Bill 2404, legislation that includes key components advocated by the IFT and We Are One Illinois labor coalition. In large part, this fair, constitutional bill provides a path to paying down the pension debt that, as you know, neither workers nor our modest retirement benefits are responsible for causing.

We support this legislation, which addresses three of our key priorities:

1. Guaranteed Funding. You’ve always paid toward your retirement. The state has not. Decades of skipped and shorted payments have created a $90 billion debt and a serious crisis. This bill secures an ironclad promise that lawmakers must make the annual pension and debt payment every year. And, SB2404 establishes the right for the state retirement systems – or individuals – to bring court action if they don’t.

2. Creating a Pension Stabilization Fund.
Beyond paying the annual costs, the state must also pay down the massive debt. In past years, Springfield leaders used creative borrowing schemes to make payments, which only created more debt through bonds that had to be paid off first by law. SB2404 would create a constitutionally protected fund to directly pay down the debt with resources already in the Illinois budget.

3. Shared Sacrifice.
While public workers are not to blame for Illinois’ pension problem, we are willing to be part of the solution. With an ironclad funding guarantee to ensure employer underfunding can never happen again and the dedicated revenue source described above, active members would contribute an additional 2 percent of salary, phased in over the next two years. This will generate more than $3 billion over the next decade.

In the weeks ahead, organized labor aims to add more co-sponsors to this bipartisan legislation. We believe there is an appetite to support an initiative with the union coalition’s backing.

This bill is just one piece of the puzzle. We will continue to work on solutions for retiring the debt and finding new revenue (by closing corporate tax loopholes, for example).  We have always held that the pension crisis is a fiscal one and that revenue must be part of the solution.

Like you, we’re looking forward to a fair resolution so we can better focus on providing our children with a world-class education and our citizens with great public services.

TRAINING: Why cops should be dangerous

--Excellent article--

Article at

Are you a highly-trained killer? Are your hands and feet weapons? Are you dangerous?

Blue Knights
with "Lt. Dan" Marcou

Are you dangerous?

Are you hyper-vigilant? Are you over-aggressive?

These words are used to describe traits considered by some to be undesirable in police officers.

Be Aggressive

Whenever a particular officer “aggressively” pursues criminals at a rate significantly above and beyond the norm, the term over-aggressive becomes the career kiss of death even though all those officer’s arrests withstand the scrutiny of the court.

Often, pressures are brought to bear on these officers to slow them down so they do not appear to be “over-aggressive” for doing what they are paid to do too often and too well.

There was even a time police administrators had long guns placed in the trunks of squad cars “out of sight.” They insisted black and whites be painted toasted meringue, azure or honey suckle so that police would “appear more people-friendly.”

They would unabashedly proclaim, “Black and whites and shotguns up front make us appear over-aggressive.”

In today’s world, law enforcement should embrace the word aggressive. That should have been made abundantly clear by the recently-resolved Christopher Dorner saga. Officers must aggressively pursue criminals and the stalkers of innocents. They must aggressively embrace the constitution, while aggressively seeking justice.

The fine line of justification is drawn between a justifiable use of force and a battery. Even so, a Justifiable use of force will appear aggressive and in fact often must be so for officers to prevail.

Aggressive is good. Aggressive officers make a positive difference in their communities.


Look out in the hiring process if you have served multiple tours in a war zone. Some psychologist, who has never been shot at, or had his buddies blown up, during what appeared to have been an uneventful drive through a war zone may attach the label, “hyper-vigilant,” to you as a candidate.

The veteran will be told, “Sorry sir/ma’am, we can’t use you. We are looking for a little less vigilant model for our police officers.”

As someone, who has been training officers in survival for 35 years I have yet to meet the officer who is too vigilant.

In 2013, when hyper-paroled criminals and hyper-released psychopaths are walking unfettered in communities around the countries stalking innocents, street officers need to be at the very least ever-vigilant.

Vigilance is not a neurosis; it is an absolutely necessary trait possessed by the sheep dog.

The Exquisite, Highly-Trained, Good-Hearted Killer with People Skills

Are you a highly-trained killer? Are your hands and feet weapons? Are you dangerous?

If those questions were asked in an interview and the candidate honestly answered “Yes,” that candidate would (tragically in most cases) not be hired.

It says protect and serve on the side of nearly every squad car in the nation. If those are not just words and it is a fact that police officers protect the people they serve it stands to reason officers must be dangerous to those that would do harm to innocents. When the murky patina of political correctness is cleared away, officers must be honorable, but still highly-trained killers.

To protect, officers should train so that their empty hand skills are not only effective, but also exquisite.

“Exquisite?” you ask?

Yes, exquisite.

An officer must not only know how to control suspects effectively, but their technique should be so professional that it survives the scrutiny of 14 million hits on YouTube, while leaving viewers thinking, “That was cool.”

Winning ugly is OK, though, if that’s what it takes.

The 21st century police officer should be a person who is aggressive, ever vigilant and possessing exquisite empty hand skills, while being a highly trained good-hearted killer with people skills.


Now to the question, “Are you dangerous?”

You should be.

You need to be dangerous in a Native American Warrior sort of way.

The Native Americans had a unique view of their police officers. Now they did not have police officers per se. They called them warriors, but make no mistake about it their warriors did what police officers do today.

Warriors often did battle around their camp fires with families holding tightly to each other near the fight, praying for a righteous outcome.

Have you ever been in a fight with an abuser in a living room with the family screaming and crying just a few feet away?

I rest my case.

Native American Warriors were police officers of their day and our police officers are modern day warriors.

As the Native Warrior looked to the impending battle, he would shout to the heavens, “Hoka Hey!” This meant, “Today is a good day to die.” This was not said in hopes that they would lose the fight and die, but quite the opposite.

It was said to free their heart from the fear of death while in the fight. Native American Warriors believed without the constraints of such a fear they could fight to their greatest potential and hence defeat their enemy.

The Native Americans also thought it was important for their warriors to be of good heart, while possessing great skills. To the Native American, who protected, their women, children, holy places and their way of life it was a deeply sacred thing for a warrior to be dangerous. So here is the question one more time:

“Are you dangerous?”  If the answer to that is “no,” train hard and train well to become so.

If the answer to that is “yes,” live long and well while knowing that it’s sacred to be dangerous.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

NEWS: Copper Green

--Tom Selleck says it best on Blue Bloods as the Superintendent of the New York Police Department. "I serve at the pleasure of the mayor". 
This is true no matter what town you are in. 
The police chief is an appointed position and police chiefs donate to their bosses.
That is not what makes a police chief, though.
What makes the chief is what he does in the position. Is he or she a cop's cop or a mayor's lackey? Can they be objective in the position?
As for the donating, unless they make a law against it, it will just go on.--

Story at Better Government Association

Why are so many local police chiefs donating to political campaigns? It’s one job that should be devoid of politics, experts say.

By Alden Loury/BGA
February 19, 2013 07:19 AM

They might be the toughest men and women in their towns, but even police chiefs sometimes find it hard to say "no" to their bosses.

That was the case a few years ago for Calumet Park Police Chief Mark Davis when that village’s mayor at the time, Buster Porch, asked if he’d attend a political fundraiser. Out of respect to the guy who appointed him to the job, Davis said he bought the tickets.

"Your boss comes to you and says here are tickets. What are you going to do, tell him you ain’t got no money?" said Davis, Calumet Park’s top cop for the past 11 years. "If you don’t, you’re going to look odd. . . . It wouldn’t be a wise idea."

Illinois State Board of Elections records show that Davis made a pair of $200 contributions to Citizens for Mayor Porch – one in 2006 and the other in 2008.

Davis stressed that Porch, who no longer is mayor of the tiny south suburb, didn’t twist his arm to buy the tickets. Porch – who appointed Davis chief in 2002 – relayed the same.

Whatever the case, Davis is hardly alone.

A Better Government Association review found 30 police chiefs in Cook County have made donations to local political campaigns while serving as the top cop or before getting hired. Eighteen of those chiefs – or 60 percent – donated directly to campaign funds benefitting their bosses: the mayors, trustees and board members who oversee them, according to interviews and records.

For the most part, the donations ranged from $20 to $500 and involved buying tickets for golf outings, dinner dances and other events that raised money for election campaigns.

For several years, River Grove Director of Police Rodger Loni has attended "Mayor’s Night," an annual corned beef and cabbage dinner held every January in the small west suburban village. It’s been going on for 49 years, Loni said. "It’s like a tradition here."

The event serves as a fundraiser for River Grove Mayor Marilynn May, but Loni said there’s nothing political about the $650 he’s spent every January since 2004 to take his wife, his sons and their guests to the event. "It’s just a family night out for us," Loni said.

May became mayor in 2004 and appointed Loni police director two years later, with the village board formally approving the hire.

While police chiefs interviewed by the BGA insisted their donations were not intended to curry favor with political figures in their communities – and they also noted it’s perfectly legal to give money to whom they please – some experts see the potential for problems.

"Objectivity is key" to the job, said Thomas Meloni, a former police chief in Thornton who now serves as a professor at Western Illinois University’s School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration.

"Staying out of the political process allows you to remain . . . an objective public servant," Meloni said.

T. Neil Moore, director of the Institute for Law Enforcement Administration in Plano, Tex., said he recommends that police chiefs do not engage in politics.

"There seems to be, in some jurisdictions, an expectation that police chiefs will be a participant in the political process in the Midwest," said Moore, who spent 10 years as police chief in Ft. Wayne, Ind.

The implication is if you want to keep your job, you have to donate – an illegal quid pro quo.

On the flipside: some chiefs willingly donate to political power brokers as a measure of job security – whether they deserve that security or not, experts said.

Moore provided a hypothetical that illustrates a potential problem with chiefs engaging in politics: A shop owner in a particular town is aligned with an opposing political party to the mayor. The police chief has donated money to the mayor’s campaign fund. The shop owner is arrested, and he questions whether the arrest was based on "some vendetta that the police chief has taken to make life miserable for someone of the opposing party."

In other words, the political involvement of a chief can create an impression that personal allegiances rather than cold, hard facts influence decisions. This is important because decisions made by chiefs can have such a big impact on lives – including whether someone spends years in prison since chiefs can hold the key to whether criminal charges are pursued.

"We not only have to be right, we have to be perceived as right in the actions that we take," Moore said.

But not everyone agrees.

John Kennedy, executive director of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, said none of his group’s members have expressed concerns about being pressured to make political contributions.

Kennedy said chiefs, as private citizens, have a right to engage in the political process and the association doesn’t advise its members on such personal matters.

"I don’t see a conflict," said Ray Hanania, spokesman for Cicero Town President Larry Dominick, when asked about the tens of thousands of dollars Dominick has received from town employees, including $4,005 from police Supt. Bernard Harrison. "I don’t see anything wrong with it."

Hanania said the employees contribute because they support Dominick’s vision and if people don’t like it, they should pursue legislation banning it.

That’s what Palatine did.
By ordinance, the northwest suburb prohibits village employees – with the exception of elected officials – from making contributions to any candidate for office within the village. It is unlawful for those candidates to even solicit donations from village workers.

Experts said even if there’s no such ban, mayors should have the integrity to refuse donations from police chiefs.

"I frankly appreciate the ordinance as it is something I could turn to should a village politician ask for my involvement, which I am proud to say has never even occurred in my 28 years here with the village," Palatine Police Chief John Koziol told the BGA via email.

He’s donated to Cook County Commissioner Tim Schneider, whom he described as a family friend with no connection to Koziol’s job in Palatine.

"Philosophically, I do not believe police chiefs should become part of the political landscape whether on or off duty. I believe it’s important to always analyze contributions or even relationships to make sure there are no conflicts of interest."

This story was written and reported by the Better Government Association’s Alden Loury, who can be reached at or (312) 821-9036.

PAROLE ALERT: Cop Killer Betsy Ramos


I respectfully ask that you DENY PAROLE to Betsy Ramos, inmate #99G0513. This inmate is responsible for the murder of Police Officer Anthony Mosomillo, of the New York City Police Department.

Officer Mosomillo was attempting to arrest inmate #99G0513's boyfriend when she attacked him and his partner. The attack allowed her accomplice to grab the officer's gun and murder Officer Mosomillo.

Officer Mosomillo was a great police officer, loving husband, and loving father of two young daughers. He was murdered protecting the citizens of New York from the violent criminals like inmate #99G0513.

Inmate #99G0513 is a clear and present danger to society and must remain locked up for entire life sentence.



Police Officer Anthony F. Mosomillo
New York City Police Department, New York
End of Watch: Tuesday, May 26, 1998

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 36
Tour: 14 years
Badge # 20316
Cause: Gunfire
Incident Date: 5/26/1998
Weapon: Officer's handgun
Suspect: Shot and killed by Officer Mosomillo

Police Officer Anthony Mosomillo was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a parolee who had missed his court appearance.

He was shot four times after the suspect's girlfriend attacked Officer Mosomillo and his partner. During an intense and violent struggle with both the wanted man and his girlfriend, the subject got possession of Officer Mosomillo's partner's weapon and shot Officer Mosomillo.

Officer Mosomillo was able to return fire, killing the suspect. Officer Mosomillo was taken to Kings County Hospital where he later died during surgery.

The female subject was arrested and convicted of manslaughter.

Officer Mosomillo had served with the New York City Police Department for 14 years. He is survived by his wife and two young daughters. He was assigned to the 67th Precinct in Brooklyn.

NEWS: Treading on Dangerous Terrain

--See this post for comment.>>>>>>>>>> COMMENTARY: Reapers: Not that grim after all.....

Story at Better Government Association
Video at CBS2 NEWS


Melrose Park motorcycle club is run by cops. So why are members showing deference to an “outlaw” biker club?

By the BGA with CBS2
February 19, 2013 10:00 AM

Members of a Melrose Park motorcycle club called Reapers Inc. look the part of rough-and-ready outlaw bikers.

They ride Harley-Davidsons, sport tattoos, hold parties at their clubhouse, pose for photos with middle fingers extended. And their club insignia – displayed prominently on the back of their jackets – includes a ghastly skeletal figure holding a red, white and blue scythe.

But to hear it from the club’s president, T.J. Datoli, the group in no way embraces the damn-the-rules lifestyle espoused by the likes of the Hells Angels and Outlaws – two of the largest and better-known "outlaw," or "1%-er", biker organizations that have been repeatedly targeted by federal authorities for drug trafficking and other alleged gangland activities.

After all, the Reapers club was founded by Melrose Park cops and has included at least a half dozen or so over the years.

"We’re nothing but a bunch of guys that like to hang out . . . and ride together," said Datoli, a patrol officer in the west suburb. "All we want to do is have a good time."

But a Better Government Association/CBS2 inquiry raises questions about whether police officers can function in such an environment and maintain their integrity and independence.

Consider the findings:

    As the Reapers were forming in or about 2005, Melrose Park police Sgt. Nunzio Maiello, who was one of the club’s founding members, sought out a leader of the Outlaws at an event to discuss the new group.

    A number of Reapers members have worn patches on their club jackets showing support for the Outlaws, which the federal government has described as a criminal enterprise.

    Reapers members have gotten into fights while wearing their "colors," including a 2009 brawl in a Villa Park bar in which an off-duty firefighter was beaten.

The findings don’t conclude illegal activity by the Reapers, whose members include several well-regarded police officers. And any interaction between the Reapers and the Outlaws seems more surface than substance.

Even so, Melrose Park Police Chief Sam Pitassi said he was disturbed enough by what the BGA and CBS2 uncovered that he ordered the Reapers members in his department to make a choice: quit the club or find another job. They opted to "dismantle" the Reapers in just the past few days, and Maiello apologized in a memo.

Pitassi determined that their involvement in the group violated an internal policy governing conduct on- and off-duty.

Among other things, the policy prohibits officers from engaging in any activity that they know "or reasonably should know is unbecoming a member of the Department . . . or which tends to reflect unfavorably upon the Department or its members."

Experts interviewed by the BGA question the wisdom of cops forming or belonging to biker organizations that cross paths with outlaw motorcycle clubs – and dress similarly, with specific colors and menacing patches.

It sends the wrong message to the biker world and to the community at large, they said. And it creates the opportunity for conflict or, worse, collaboration.

"These guys are . . . nobody you want to emulate," said an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) who successfully infiltrated biker gangs in the Midwest and agreed to be quoted so long as the BGA did not use his name because of his undercover work.

So why would a cop approach the Outlaws to discuss forming an independent biker group?

It’s not unheard of for new motorcycle clubs to ask permission of the dominant outlaw biker group in a particular region before forming so they aren’t seen as a threat or rival, experts said. In the Chicago area, the Outlaws are that dominant group, whereas their bitter enemies, the Hells Angels, historically are stronger on the West Coast. Each has a number of affiliated clubs of different names.

Datoli said the Reapers weren’t asking for a blessing so much as alerting the Outlaws to their creation so there was no confusion if they ever crossed paths.

"Some of our guys are little guys, so we don’t want their asses kicked because they’re wearing an ‘MC’ [motorcycle club] patch" and come across Outlaws, Datoli said.

Maiello said his main intention was to distance his group from an outlaw club called the Grim Reapers, which was the subject of a federal prosecution more than a decade ago in Downstate Illinois. Not only are the clubs’ names similar, so are their patches.

Datoli said the Reapers club has nothing to do with the Grim Reapers and adopted the Reapers name out of a sort of gallows humor.

Datoli said the Reapers clubhouse – which is located on 25th Avenue in an industrial area of Melrose Park, and includes pool and ping-pong tables – is laid-back and friendly but outlaw bikers aren’t welcome.

Datoli said they may "bump into one another" at events – members of the Reapers and the Outlaws, for instance, both attended a recent motorcycle "swap meet" in St. Charles. But they don’t interface, they’re simply "cordial" to each other because they’re all "in the biker world," he said.

"A couple of the guys [in the Reapers] know them [the Outlaws] from the past," he added.

Of the 20 or so members of the Reapers, a half dozen are cops, mostly in Melrose Park, Datoli said. "We’re about quality, not quantity."

But why have Reapers members been photographed sporting "Support Your Local Outlaws" patches? Some of those photos were, until recently, displayed on Facebook.

Maiello acknowledged that doesn’t look good, and said he told members to remove the patches a year or more ago. (The pictures apparently were from before then.)

"Basically if they were on the road and they saw an Outlaw, [the ‘Support Your Local Outlaws’ patch would ensure] they wouldn’t mess with them," he said. The Outlaws "are very territorial and we don’t want any problems."

David Bradford, the executive director of Northwestern University’s Center for Public Safety, called the BGA/CBS2 findings "very disturbing."

"When most people become police officers they understand they are being held to a higher standard than an ordinary citizen," Bradford said.

"You do not engage in behavior or conduct that discredits the uniform, that tarnishes the badge, that calls into question the professionalism, the integrity and the credibility of the law enforcement agency that employs you."

As for the bar fight in Villa Park, Maiello said the whole situation was a big misunderstanding, and his club members did not pound on the off-duty firefighter en masse, even though the police report suggests that’s what occurred.

Contacted by the BGA, the off-duty firefighter didn’t want to comment. He never pursued criminal charges against Reapers members, nor did they pursue charges against him.

Pitassi said he didn’t know about the brawl until a reporter told him. But he said he’s been aware of the Reapers for several years.

Alluding to past problems with the police force – whose previous chief went to federal prison for corruption, and which has a long history of mob connections – Pitassi said of the Reapers: "It’s a terrible image. Here I am killing myself trying to change the image of this place. . . . Appearance is everything."

This story was written and reported by the Better Government Association’s Robert Herguth and Patrick Rehkamp, and CBS2’s Pam Zekman. They can be reached at or (312) 821-9030.