Monday, July 27, 2015

Because the APD Does Not Like Her...

A little while back there was an incident involving some folks, including the President of Aurora University.  The police report has been put on-line and is an interesting read. You can find it here.

It ends up being for the most part a narrative of two adults who had a dispute and solved it like adults, without filing charges.

But there is a money quote in the report, that seems to require more attention and questions that it is likely to get...

"She told me she was concerned because APD does not like her....."

This came from the President of Aurora University. So the President of the local college thinks the local PD does not like her and was willing to tell an officer of that same PD that.

That's a problem.  That's something that needs to be addressed.  Someone needs to start asking questions about the relationship between the city and the University. They are a major employer and presence in the city and have been a part of the community for over a century.

It would be nice if the Beacon News looked into this some, but it appears that there haven't been any stories about it.

It seems like a question the candidates for mayor should be asked.

But sadly, I doubt anyone is asking.

Full disclosure, I took a couple of graduate school classes at AU back in the early 90's before deciding I didn't want to pursue an MBA and got a different degree from a different area school.  Also for what it is worth, the campus is much nicer now than it was back then.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Race To Be The Next Mayor Of Aurora...

Well Tom is not running for re-election so the race to be the next mayor of the second largest city in Illinois is now on...

Here are some thoughts and names of folks who I think might be running and the odds of them doing so. Lots more to come on this race, but now to the possible candidates at this point.

State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia -- 100%
She would have to be considered the front runner at this point with good name recognition, the ability to raise some decent money all being strong points in her favor.  Also she is likely the most popular Democrat in town.

 Alderman At Large Richard Irvin -- 80%
Well he has run for mayor before and had the backing of the police union (not sure if he would get it this time) he has raised decent money in the past and might be able to do so again if he leverages his Republican contact.

Alderman At Large Bob O'Connor -- 50%
He ran against Linda as the Republican candidate when the seat was created after the 2000 census. Willing to work hard when running, he was able to even get Denny Hastert to do a fundraiser for him when he ran against Linda (full disclosure: I gave him money and singed an ad for him during that race).  He would be the old guard candidate ie the guy most likely to know the most people at the Aurora Country Club.

Juan Thomas -- 90%
Former Aurora Township Clerk.  Well he runs for stuff a lot, including  the 11th congressional district, West Aurora School Board, Township Clerk and is the current Aurora Township Democratic Party chair. Would make sense he takes a shot at Mayor.

Now the folks who may be thinking about it

John Shoemaker -
Aurora Township highway commissioner.  I think my odds on him running may be high, but his family name is well known in town and he has been around for a little while, with the factions within the Democrats in town, he might be the 'other faction' choice to make a run.,

Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham -
Current Kane County Clerk, he ran last time getting into the race at the last minute. He held office in Aurora under the old commissioner system at one time.  I would be surprised if he isn't at least thinking about it.

 Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen --
The rumor has been Chris has been itching to run for mayor of Aurora.  For what it is worth, Aurora loves Chris.

Clayton Muhammad --
Current City of Aurora Director of Communications and founder of the Boys || Men organization in Aurora.

At least one person from Naperville Township --
Not sure who this person may be, but there is at least one person who lives east of Eola road who is giving it some thought,.

OneMan --

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Last Trip To Springfield...

Thanks to Gifted Ed days and some other things, I have been down to Springfield multiple times with my kids, tomorrow marks what is likely the last chance I get to do that. Going down to our state capital one last time as a chaperone for the youngests 8th grade trip.

Not sure if we are even visiting the Capital, I kind of hope we do because if nothing else I might get a chance to show some kids the Secretary of State's office one last time.  Always one of the coolest things to do when in the building IMHO and it has always been a hit with the kids.

Had the chance to see kids talk to several legislators, in particular I would have to call out John Fritchey who on previous trips was always awesome and took time to talk to either just one of my kids or with a whole group.  Same holds true for Dan Rutherford  and Christ Lauzen who was always nice, even when I wasn't on his best side as it were.

Also thinking about how 7 years ago, my daughter managed to get us into Rod's office...

So we will see how long we have in the Capital and see if the governor is in (FYI any staffer, Rich knows how to get a hold of me) and may reach out to a legislator or two.

But I just wanted to say, complain about government but when it comes down to it, most people approach it with a servant heart and agree or disagree with them, be thankful for that.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Aurora Is Getting A New Logo As Part Of It's New Branding...

Can you really brand a city in the age of Google?  Will someone or some entity looking to relocate or move to Aurora be influenced by branding over what a Google search and/or a Lexis/Nexis search is going to show?

Not sure how branding is going to make any difference.

A Review of Abaco Flats Fly Fishing on A Disney Cruise...

Yeah I know not my normal stuff. But it seems hard to find a review of this activity on a Disney Cruise so I figured I would offer mine up...

My son (13 years old) is more of the fly fisherman than I am, so he did the fly fishing. The time of the year wasn't ideal, but we had a great time. The guide worked well with my son, answered all of my questions about how he ended up a fly fishing guide and where he lived, etc...

Didn't catch any fish fly fishing, but our guide took us baitcasting and we both caught something and that was cool..

When it comes down to it I was glad we went.   If you have any questions please post a comment and I will try and answer them.

Monday, March 16, 2015

If You Want A Different Perspective On Education In Illinois, Go Judge a Regional Science Fair...

I have judges science fairs before for a neighboring school district that covers Naperville and Aurora but I had never done a regional fair before.  It was quite the eye opening experience.

The region I was a judge in covered the southern half of Cook and Dupage Counties and Will County...

It gave me the chance to see kids (middle school aged) from a variety of educational backgrounds. The students my team judged came from

  • A private school in DuPage county for gifted kids 
  • A Catholic school in Southern Cook County
  • A public school in Naperville
  • A public school in one of the poorest suburbs in the Chicago area...

The differences in resources available at home at school were obvious when looking at the projects and research produced by the students.

(I am being kind of vague here, specifically so people can't be identified)

One of the kids from what I suspect is an expensive private school (I know it is a private school) thanked three teachers and their tutor for their assistance on the project. (It had 15+ APA format pages of tangential research).

Another kid was able to get specific chemicals from their school for their experiment.

Another kid was able to spend at least $150 on materials (and that estimate may be low) for their tests as part of their project.

The kids from the public school in the poor suburb, thanked their teacher for letting them use the computer (giving the impression they didn't have access to one at home), didn't have any research in their paper, it wasn't APA formatted (all of which cost them points based off the judging rubric) and didn't appear to have gotten much if any guidance on the paper or their project.

Afterwards looking at the projects and the kids who did them got me thinking...

It first got me thinking about my own son (who qualified for state), how he had access to a computer, a dad who understood and could show him how to use Excel to produce charts and graphs and show him how to add them to his paper (that he had to redo in APA format since his school science fair didn't require APA format) and was willing to stay up until 11:30 the night before the fair to help him with computer issues.  He also has an amazing science teacher, who has a depth of education and a real commitment to her students.  He doesn't go to school in a wealthy district compared to some in the area, nor a poor district compared to others.  He also has parents who encouraged and is sometimes required with a 13 year old cajoled and ordered him to work on his project.

He has some advantages money provides, he has some advantage genetics and the backgrounds of mom and dad provide and he has some dumb luck advantages (for example his science teacher could be teaching at a different middle school in the district).

Some of the kids I judged didn't have any of those advantages, not through any fault of theirs, but it doesn't change the fact they didn't.  I don't see how tossing more money at their education addresses much of that. Doing a quick check the district in the poor suburb spends almost 3x my district per student on operational spending per student and 30% more on instructional spending per student than my district.  So if it takes that much money to get to that point, I am not sure what it is going to take to get to parity.

But there has to be a partial answer to what it is going to take besides money.. We may not be able to get every kid to the point of thanking three teachers and a tutor and I know not every teacher can be like my son's science teacher. But as a society, it is our responsibility to raise the platform as it were for some of those kids.  I know there are a people a lot smarter than me, some with vested interests, some without working on these issues.

But if we are going to try and make it easier for folks to move up in this world, we had to reduce the educational disparities in this state

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Rauners' Plan

You have to show the pain in order to get anyone to pay attention....

I think his budget and recent actions are intended to show the pain, you combine that with a likely court ruling that they can't touch the pensions, you are then set up for a tax increase. Fundamentally no one seems really willing to do anything in Springfield (that isn't unique to Springfield) unless a full crisis is on.  This is making the crisis plain and real.

You may very well think I am nuts, but I think that is how it is going to break.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Other Big Question Of The Night...

Did someone invite Ronny Woo-Woo to Rahm's thing tonight or did he just show up?

The Timing Of The Obama Library Announcement

If they don't announce the location of the Obama Presidential Library before the April election it is going to go to New York IMHO...

Getting it would be a win for Rahm, not getting it would hurt him. So no announcement before the election, no library.