Still Watersthe em spaceWhere They StandBy the Numbers,

How We Stack UpWhat's Up With That?

Sen. Madiganís replacement:
A nobody or nobody at all

By Mike Fak

[JULY 3, 2001]  We no sooner got over the rumors, stories, and twists and turns of discovering who would replace our state representative, John Turner, than we were met with another revelation, that Lincolnís own senator, Bob Madigan, was resigning the Senate to fill a lucrative position in the stateís hierarchy.

Being a neighbor of Madigan, I personally was delighted to see the man not only get a better-paying job but also get out of the dog-eat-dog Illinois Legislature. This is a terrible thing to say, but Bob Madigan is too nice a guy to have to spend his time with some of the individuals who work the machinery of Illinois law.

While many of you were starting anew the rumors, stories, twists and turns of who would replace Madigan, I was spinning my own scenario.

I have been saying that no one will. No one past the redistricting determination, that is, will take the senatorís seat. Now it seems, the State Journal-Registerís Doug Finke is stating the same possibility out loud. Hey, Doug, wait for me.

The idea is basic. Illinois must lose a downstate senator due to the latest census information showing there are fewer Illinoisans in this area. I donít know why we had to spend millions to prove that, but we did.

 

Now with Madiganís district centered in a part of the state that fields Republican senators who think the sun rises and sets on the governorís backside, who should be sacrificed as the one senator asked to bid fond adieu to the likes of Ryan, Philip, Mike Madigan and the others? Could it be a senator who had the guts and intestinal fortitude to vote "no" to the governorís Illinois FIRST program and may still be in Georgeís doghouse? It is only conjecture on my part, but rumors to the effect that Gov. Ryan keeps a list in his breast pocket of who said "the heck with him" concerning the $12 billion bilking of Illinois taxpayers are as common as flies during the county fair.

 

 

[to top of second column in this commentary]

Madigan, a good, honest man with 14 years of service to his constituents, couldnít just be sent to pasture without screams from constituents that even the deaf ears of the governor would hear. So what does Ryan do? How about appointing Madigan to an important job with higher pay and no need to worry about oneís own political backside.

What makes this possible situation all the more interesting is that regardless of the possibly shady reasons for moving Bob Madigan out of the Senate, Illinois residents will still be the winners. Time will show Madigan as a champion of the residents of Illinois. In his new capacity, it is possible he will have a potentially greater positive effect on our way of life then he ever could have as a senator who rubbed Ryan the wrong way.

In the event this situation comes to pass ó and realize this is just my opinion ó someone will need to temporarily fill the senatorís seat. That is, until redistricting says that the chair is now being folded up and placed in the legislative closet. To accept a political appointment that has the same duration of life as a mayfly is not an enviable position. The individual will show by his or her interest that the good of this area is at heart. I will remember that, in the event the person decides to run again someday for a seat that hasnít had three of its legs already sawed off.

You know, somehow, although I am truly happy for both Turner and Madigan, I find myself grimacing at the future of Logan County residents.

We have lost two exceptionally honest representatives. Jonathan Wright and somebody, or perhaps nobody at all, will have a tough time filling their shoes.

[Mike Fak]

Reply (not for publication) to Mike Fak:

mfldn@lincolndailynews.com

Reply as a letter to the editor:

ldneditor@lincolndailynews.com 


Districts: We get what we wished for

By Mike Fak

[JUNE 30, 2001]  So there you have it. For the first time in the storied history of Logan County, those few of us who vote for county board members will see our options dwindle even further in future races.

I was never too excited about picking six out of seven candidates. I look forward with even less anticipation to picking two out of three. For good or bad I enjoyed knowing that everyone on the board had my endorsement over others. Well, most of the time, that is. I find no serving of the public good with a new system that allows 10 members of the board to care little if any as to how I feel they are voting on issues that affect me as well as all of you.

Thursday, June 21, the board changed our system of representation from at large to districts. It was the proper thing for the board to do since it was mandated by the voters in this county. Well, it was mandated by the 20 percent of the voters who got off their kiesters on Election Day, that is. I fear we all now get what we wished for.

Six districts with two representatives each is how the ballots in Logan County will be prepared for at least the next decade. I have serious doubts if that will be a good thing.

Proponents of going to districts are quick to point out that nearly all of Illinoisí counties already are districted. My Irish grandmother used to tell me: "If everyone jumps off a cliff, it doesnít mean you need to." I wonder what wisdom she would tell me if still alive today?

The new board setup will mean a little more rural representation, but will it be a mandate from the people or simply more "pick me or nobody" as we just saw in the last Lincoln City Council election that presented five candidates to fill five district seats?

I have stated repeatedly that in the last 20 years, 82 percent of the rural candidates have been elected to the county compared to 74 percent of the urban candidates. Those statistics are indisputable and irrevocable. To date, no one who supports districts has debated these findings. Instead, like a federal politician, they ignore these facts and go on with their own diatribe of how rural Logan County is being left out in the cold.

Look at the last several elections and notice if you can a candidate running from Mount Pulaski.

How about an Atlantan running after Darrel Deverman decided to retire? How many New Hollanders besides Rod White have been a part of the selection process? Until Roger Bock, who initially was appointed, how many Elkhart residents have we seen on the ballot?

 

 

[to top of second column in this commentary]

Lloyd Hellman from the tiny town of Emden was the top vote-getter in the last election, but still I hear that rural residents donít think they have a chance to be elected.

We can all pretend this isnít the truth if we want to, but the aim of districting was promoted by rural proponents to get a larger foothold on the board. That isnít a bad thing, but it could be in the event rural members become increasingly negative to urban initiatives and are not answerable to a full 50 percent of the constituents. The coin can also become reversed, with rural residents feeling they are still being left out of the process with no future chance of voting rural candidates into offices held by urban members.

The board, I believe, was required to adopt this initiative because the voters of this county said so. In a democracy you have to follow the will of the people, regardless if it is the best thing to do or not.

No one wants to say it out loud, but the board is breaking into rural and urban factions. With a 12-member board, split evenly between rural and urban, I fear a great deal of deadlock on important issues is just over the horizon. I hope I am wrong.

Time will also tell if a field of candidates worthy of spending a minute in a polling place will be available to voters. I stand on record that in the event every district has more than two choices to pick from, I will apologize in this forum. In the event I do not see failures to progress due to where a board member lives, I will again apologize. Fair warning: In the event my fears on what will happen does occur, I will not be afraid to tell you: I told you so.

[Mike Fak]

Reply (not for publication) to Mike Fak:

mfldn@lincolndailynews.com

Reply as a letter to the editor:

ldneditor@lincolndailynews.com 


The em space is a staff writer's commentary section with observations about life experiences in Logan County and beyond.

ó Mary Krallmann


A presidentís Fourth

The Declaration of Independence has been around longer than any of us, so we have plenty of historical precedents to select from as we decide how to observe its 225th anniversary. The earliest celebrations included readings of the Declaration, parades, music, dinners and fireworks.

Now that Independence Day is firmly entrenched as an American summer holiday, I thought it might be instructive to see what American presidents have done on the Fourth. After all, as people who have assumed leadership of the country, they naturally would have a heightened awareness of our philosophy of government and a vested interest in it. Displays of patriotic conviction are to some extent politically expedient on the Fourth and also heartfelt, we hope.

On the other hand, itís likely that since the regular duties of the office are more directly related to the nationís governing than most American jobs are, the president, of all people, could use a holiday from national concerns. If we as individuals often fail to appreciate and use responsibly the freedoms handed down to us, how much more challenging it must be to provide patriotic leadership for millions of such constituents every day of the year, including the Fourth.

Researcher James R. Heintze has compiled information about Fourth of July events, including activities of the American presidents over the years. His list at http://gurukul.american.edu/heintze/FourthPres.htm mentions predictable presidential engagements such as attending public ceremonies, laying cornerstones, giving and listening to speeches, reviewing military parades, receiving guests, and viewing fireworks. Presidents have also marked the Fourth by attending church services. Others have played golf, gone for a drive in the country, looked over their mail, signed bills, gone to car races, or spent time on the water, whether on a steamboat, yacht or aircraft carrier.

Several times a president or family member has been ill on the Fourth.

Itís also of interest that President Coolidge was born on July 4 (1872), and that three former presidents died on July 4: James Monroe in 1831 and John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in 1826.

Jefferson had been invited to speak that year at a 50th anniversary observance of the Declaration of Independence he drafted. Declining because of ill health, he noted that the document expressed a choice between submission and the sword. He was happy that "our fellow citizens, after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made." He said it was a "bold and doubtful" one at the time.

Difficult choices such as that have been part of the American record in war and peace, but political decisions fail to control all of what happens in the pages of history.

Take for example the Fourth of July in 1850. Abraham Lincoln had returned to Illinois to practice law after a term in Congress, and the Civil War was still a decade in the future. Secession had been threatened, however, and the current president, Zachary Taylor, said he would use his full authority to quell any such rebellion. He spoke as a hero of the recent Mexican War, a 40-year military man who had also served in the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War and the Second Seminole War. He also was a slaveholder but favored admitting California as a free state without any compromise on related matters. In addition, he faced an ethics crisis in his Cabinet.

At that critical time, on a hot July 4, he attended ceremonies at the site of the Washington Monument, became severely ill and died on July 9. His death is attributed to acute gastroenteritis, commonly known then as cholera morbus or summer cholera. (A suspicion of arsenic poisoning was laid to rest 10 years ago with testing of his remains.)

Creators of historical fiction could speculate on what might have been if events had occurred otherwise, but no one can say for sure. Certainly, more than the presidential trivia listings were affected when, in the course of human events, illness struck on a hot Fourth of July and ultimately claimed a presidentís life.

[Mary Krallmann

 

Where They Stand

Where They Stand is a commentary section that poses a question about a specific issue in the community. Informed individuals present their position with facts, opinions or insights on the issue. The following commentaries have been printed, unedited, in their entirety, as they were received. If you have further comment on the issue, please send an e-mail message, complete with your name, address and telephone number to ldneditor@lincolndailynews.com.


District vs. at large

April 3 ballot proposition:  "Shall Logan County be divided into districts equal in population for the purpose of electing County Board members to serve on the Logan County Board commencing in the year 2002?"

YES!

 

In January of this year, citizens throughout Logan County circulated petitions to place this issue on the ballot. That effort was successful with more than 10% of registered voters signing within a two-week period (2569 total/2000 needed). The referendum has been certified by the Logan County Clerk and will be on the April 3rd ballot throughout the county. The citizens were successful and will be able to voice their opinion on this matter for the first time in 30 years!

Illinois law states that every ten years each county in Illinois with a township form of government shall determine whether board members shall be elected "at large" from the county or by county board "districts".

A "YES" vote on this issue will indicate that residents of Logan County want to have their County Board members representing all areas of the county. Each district must be divided equally in population and will guarantee that all areas are represented! The present "at large" system allows for all 13 County Board members to be elected from one area, while the remainder of the county could end up with no one. In fact, the east side of our county (from Mt. Pulaski to Atlanta) does not have representation at the present time! All of the counties surrounding Logan are in districts. Menard recently changed from "at large" to "districts" with an overwhelming vote. The greater majority of counties in Illinois are in districts and have been for several years. We are not the only county with this issue on the ballot. Bureau County recently passed a referendum to go to single member districts. Champaign County has a similar question, as does Adams County.

Remember that this question asks how the make-up of the County Board should be for the next ten years. Under a district system the voter is more likely to know the person they are voting for. This is your opportunity to voice your opinion and let your county governing body know how you feel. If the referendum produces a result in FAVOR of district representation, then measures will be introduced on the floor of the Logan County Board to accomplish that goal.

óRodney J. White

 

 

(Rodney White is a member of the Logan County Board.)

NO!

 

Itís rather interesting and enlightening to note the places of residence of people appointed to the Logan County Board to fill terms of members who have died, moved away, or resigned.

Mr. Robert "Bud" Behrends was appointed to the Logan County Board March 18, 1975, to finish out the term of Robert E. Downing, and Lloyd Hellman was appointed November 15, 1994, to finish out Robert "Bud" Behrends term on the board. Mr. Behrends grew up in the Hartsburg area, and spent most of his life in Lincoln, and Mr. Hellman, who replaced "Bud" has spent most of his life in the rural Emden area. Mr. Downing was a rural Beason farmer.

The emphasis on appointments was the type of person needed to effectively function on the board; not where they resided. A Beason resident (Mr. Downing) was replaced by a Hartsburg/Lincoln resident (Mr. Behrends), who was replaced by Mr. Hellman, an Emden resident.

The above appointments donít look like "district" representation. It looks like desire on the part of the replacements and their ability to effectively function on the Logan County Board.

Mark H. Werth resigned from the board December 31, 1988. L. Buckles was appointed to replace Mr. Werth, February 20, 1989. Both were from rural areas -- Mr. Werth, rural area north of Mt. Pulaski, and Mr. Buckles, rural area south of Mt. Pulaski.

Mr. Earl Madigan, who lived southeast of Lincoln, was replaced by Dwight Zimmerman, who farmed for years just east of San Jose and later lived in Lincoln. That certainly wasnít a "district" appointment. That was an appointment based on the desire of the person to serve and his ability to serve.

Mr. Edward L. Spellman, resigned from the board March 18, 1976, and Mr. Don Smith was appointed to take his place. both came from Lincoln, Both were successful business people and served well on the board.

Mr. Robert Welch died in office November 18, 1998. He was a resident of rural Beason. Mr. Roger Bock of rural Williamsville was appointed to replace him. Again, not a "district" appointment, but one based on desire and ability.

To my knowledge, no proponent of the district plan for electing members of the Logan County Board has ever submitted a plan, so my question is: If the at large system of electing county board members is not flawed, why fix it?

If the system is working well and the members are getting the work of county government done, why change?

Will a district election plan, which apparently is only floating around in the minds of a few people and has not been committed to paper, better serve all the people of all the county?? I think not!!!

óDick Hurley

 

(Dick Hurley is a former member of the Logan County Board.)


By the Numbers

Motor fuel taxes paid in August 2000

Local figures are as follows:

Logan County = $44,078.23

(Counties receive an allocation on the basis of motor vehicle registration fees, with the exception of Cook County, which has a percentage allocation set by law.)

Townships and road districts = $90,973.85

(Townships and road districts are allocated an amount computed on the basis of mileage in their jurisdiction.)

City of Lincoln = $38,003.84

(Cities receive an allocation based on population.)

[Source: Economic Development report]


Population estimates in Logan County
30,798 Total population, 1990
15,380 Rural population - 49.9%, 1990
15,418 Urban population - 50.1%, 1990
2,875 Projected births, 1990-1998
2,736 Projected deaths, 1990-1998
3,143 Persons below poverty level - 11.8 %
258 Average marriages per year
135 Average deaths per year

Alexis Asher


Logan County high schools: 1960-2000
1962 Middletown High School consolidated with New Holland
1972 Atlanta High School became part of Olympia School District
1975 Elkhart High School consolidated with Mount Pulaski
1979 Latham High School became Warrensburg-Latham
1988 New Holland-Middletown High School consolidated with Lincoln Community High School
1989 San Jose High School consolidated with Illini Central (Mason City)

Alexis Asher


Lincoln High School history

1859

Lincoln School District

5

School buildings in 1859

1

"Grammar school" in 1859

1

High school teacher, Mr. January, in 1859

1870-71

Central School opened

1898

High school building started

1900

High school dedicated, Jan. 5

$20,000

Cost of new high school

1920

Election authorized community high school District #404

1958

Dedication of new Lincoln Community High School, 1000 Primm Road, in auditorium, on Nov. 9

Alexis Asher


Lincoln/Logan County numbers
(2000)
5 Wards in Lincoln
17 Townships in Logan County
29 Officers in Lincoln City Police Department
20 Officers in Logan County Police Department
22 Firemen in the Lincoln City Fire Department
16 Rural Fire Departments in County
13 Members of Logan County Board
10 Members of Lincoln City Council
3 Colleges in Lincoln
44,850 Volumes in Lincoln Public Library
40,000 Volumes in Lincoln College Library
126,000 Volumes in Lincoln Christian College Library

How We Stack Up


This feature of the Lincoln Daily News compares Lincoln and Logan County to similar cities and counties on a variety of issues in a succinct manner, using charts and graphs for illustration.

Racial makeup of selected Illinois counties

 



What's Up With That?

        
[Road construction is taking place up and down Woodlawn Road.]

          

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