Dennis Anderson begins string of town hall meetings in bid to win U.S. House seat in IL-14

by jstupec, posted on Wednesday, June 4th, 2014 at 8:25 pm

To unseat what essentially is a ghost incumbent in the 14th district of northern Illinois, Democrat Dennis Anderson has decided to take his message to the people of the district by holding 20-25 town hall meetings. In St. Charles on Tuesday, Anderson said the only thing that will prevent more meetings is securing venues to hold them.

This is Anderson’s second run for this office and he feels he learned a lot from the previous loss to make him a much stronger candidate. Anderson, who is now retired, said he is not looking for a career in politics. He vowed to do his best to address the issues of the day and if the voters of the district liked his accomplishments they would return him to office. With approximately fifty voters in attendance, Anderson limited his opening comments to a brief history of his past. After that he began taking questions regarding his views on every possible issue facing the nation today.

Here’s a synopsis of issues raised and his view regarding them:

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Love, Love, Love Those Government Regulations

by Ellen McClennan, posted on Sunday, March 16th, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Hey you Tea Party folks, how’s that ‘drowning the government in the bathtub’ routine going??? How’s that ‘getting rid of government regulations’ working for you, huh?

My neighbor just opened up her Nicor gas bill to see a ONE month charge of $960.00. The month before was nearly $700.00. The bills were double and triple the bills from last year.

Nicor Advanced Energy LLC - Get Started

No, she doesn’t live in a house the size of a public library. Her house is about 3,200 square feet—large for sure, but not enough to warrant one month’s heating costs of well over $900.

She checked all over her house for changes in her venting, open storm windows, and any heating leak problems she could find. NADA. NONE. Everything sealed tight. Everything.

So she called Nicor.

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Two January Events Focus on Charter Proliferation/Privatization

by John Laesch, posted on Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 at 3:16 pm

dont-privatize In Chicago Rahm Emanuel has closed 50 “underutilized” public schools and is rapidly replacing them with charter schools.  The unelected board of education (CPS) will consider 21 total charter applications on January 22nd.

Additionally, a stacked, special “charter school funding task force” put together by Springfield lawmakers and led by State Rep., Dan Burke, will come out with their “findings” prior to the general assembly returning to session (Jan 28th).  We expect that Dan Burke will be recommending more money for charter schools - big surprise (possibly at a Jan 13th task force meeting).  And, what a waste considering that the “too broke to pay the bills and pensioners” general assembly gave UNO (in Dan Burke’s district) $98 million dollars that was wasted on scandal-riddled construction projects.

The hedge fund managers and their politicians (Rahm, Rauner, Madigan, etc.) are not going to stop their privatization assault on public schools so we need to push back. You can help by attending and bringing a friend to either the Jan 14th event in Chicago, or the second event in the suburbs scheduled on Jan 23rd.

Event details and flyers are below the fold. Read the rest of this post »

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Thanksgiving Walmart Solidarity Action at Aurora Walmart - Pay a Living Wage

by John Laesch, posted on Friday, November 29th, 2013 at 8:20 am

Low Wages = food stamps About 35-40 activists braved the cold on Thanksgiving evening at the Walmart on the corner of Butterfield Rd. and Kirk Rd. in Aurora, IL.   Thanks to the Northern Illinois Light Brigade (NILB), we had beautiful, lighted signs that shoppers and ongoing traffic could see.  The signs read, “Living Wage Now!” and “Fight for $15″  You can check out some of the photos that will eventually be loaded to the NILB Facebook page.

The action was peaceful and our really cool lighted signs earned a number of honks from holiday travelers.  There was a bit of controversy when we approached the Walmart store.  A number of security guards attempted to stop us from taking up a spot in front of the store and told us that “we had to leave now or they would call the police.”  We stayed for 3-5 minutes and chanted, “Low Pay is not OK” and “hey-hey, ho-ho, the poverty wages have to go!” living-wage-5

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Unions of Illinois Unite–Our Families Are Counting on You

by Ellen McClennan, posted on Wednesday, November 13th, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Okay Union leaders, Union members, Everybody and Anybody else who cares about Illinois families, get out of your comfort zone and get to work. The time for sitting on the sidelines is over.

We need to endorse another candidate to run for Governor. Quinn/Vallas would be a disaster. A Republican would be a disaster. We can no longer fear what traditional Democrats will think–or what traditional Republicans will think–if we ‘rebel’ against our ‘traditional’ party lines. They have both abandoned us in support of a corporate-driven tax loophole culture which is cannibalizing our schools and our state. We need to think of our children and their future in Illinois. Our kids are counting on us.

All of us who care about the education of our children, our tax burden, and the maintenance and structure of our beautiful state’s infrastructure need to open our eyes. We have a real crisis brewing and we cannot live in denial any longer.

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Quinn Picks Republican Running Mate

by John Laesch, posted on Saturday, November 9th, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Who will you vote for on Nov. 5, 2014 if you are given the choice between voting for a Republican (pick one) and a Republican (Paul Vallas)?  Yep, Pat Quinn picked a Republican as his running mate, further alienating working people, minorities and women from the Democratic Party.

quinn_vallas

Four years ago, Vallas told host Jeff Berkowitz on the Public Affairs cable TV show that he’s now a Republican.

VALLAS: “I would take a Republican primary ballot.”
BERKOWITZ: “Do you think of yourself as a Republican?”
VALLAS: “I’m more of a Republican than a Democrat.”
BERKOWITZ: “If you run again for office you’d be running as a Republican?”
VALLAS: “I would, yes, yes.”

It gets better

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Hultgren’s vote - for the record

by Downtowner, posted on Thursday, October 17th, 2013 at 10:30 am

I don’t intend to engage in hyperbole, hysteria, or histrionics this morning - that’s apparently something that Randy Hultgren sees as his job - but I don’t want Hultgren’s vote last night to continue the government shutdown, and default on the nation’s debt, to pass unremarked.

Last night Randy Hultgren was the only member of the Illinois Congressional delegation to vote to continue the wildly expensive government shutdown.

That’s right, the only one, of either party.

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Hultgren and Ribble Republicans trying to end Social Security?

by Ellen McClennan, posted on Wednesday, October 16th, 2013 at 8:00 am

Looks like Randy Hultgren is finally trying to make good on some of the promises and agendas he offered at an Oswego Town Hall Meeting the summer of 2012 when he said “I’m not planning on Social Security. Most people my age aren’t planning on Social Security.” At the time, Hultgren actually paused a few moments and looked around for cheers which did not come forth. His pronouncements fell on dumbfounded ears–people could hardly believe he was attacking Social Security.

But now, over a year later, Hultgren has found about fifty other like-minded people in the House of Representatives. After joining the Suicide Caucus in August to shut down our government in their effort to defund Obamacare, Hultgren has additionally joined with fifty other Republican House members to demand Boehner use the government shutdown to negotiate Social Security reductions.

In a letter drafted by Wisconsin Representative Reid Ribble, and signed by Hultgren and 49 other House Representatives, the signers demand Boehner use the “ongoing fiscal discussions” and “this window of opportunity” (i.e. government shutdown), to address the “long-term viability of Social Security.” The letter has four demands, three which would clearly lower retiree benefits. Hultgren, Ribble and the rest, call for upping the retirement age, cutting retiree benefits by changing calculations, and for using ‘means testing’ for recipients.

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Hultgren Goes Off the Reservation With Government Shut Down

by Ellen McClennan, posted on Saturday, October 12th, 2013 at 6:25 pm

By now, it is quite clear Randy Hultgren has aligned himself with the far right wing Republican contingent responsible for shutting down our government and threatening the debt ceiling crisis. Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer has actually termed Hultgren and his contingent of about 79 other representatives as the “suicide caucus.”

Hultgren and the rest of the Republican politicians known as the “suicide caucus” are called that because they signed Republican Mark Meadows’ letter, known as The Meadows Letter, which demands that House Speaker Boehner pass legislation to defund the Patient’s Rights and Affordability Care Act (ACA–Obamacare) and to commit to defund the ACA by using the continuing resolution to fund the government. In other words, shut down our government.

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Hultgren and Roskam Too Expensive for Us

by Ellen McClennan, posted on Sunday, September 29th, 2013 at 9:00 am

We can’t afford to keep Randy Hultgren and Peter Roskam in office any longer. They continue to waste our taxpayer money in vain attempts, 42 at last count, to end the Affordable Care Act. Each Hultgren and Roskam attempt to defund the law, which was enacted by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court, costs us taxpayers (according to research by CBS) approximately $1.45 million.

Hultgren and Roskam join with the rest of the House Republicans in collectively spending 15% of its activity since 2011 on repealing the ACA (Obamacare), or about $17 million in Congressional Republican salaries– according to a recent report published by the New York Times.

When considering all the facts, it becomes quite clear that the Republican temper-tantrum over the ACA is nothing more than them serving the financial services industry–their primary campaign donors–rather than any concern about American people.

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Hultgren spending $58 million to protect CEO bonus checks

by Ellen McClennan, posted on Saturday, August 24th, 2013 at 11:57 am

For a politician claiming to value fiscal responsibility, 14th Congressional Representative Randy Hultgren certainly has wasted a lot of our money.

Hultgren has voted with the rest of his Tea Party coalition to repeal Obamacare 40 times. According to a recent CBS study, each Republican vote to repeal costs all of us American taxpayers $1.45 million—for a total of about $58 million.

Question: Why would Hultgren be so focused on wasting our money to repeal a law voted in by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court?

Answer: Hultgren’s largest campaign donors come from the Securities and Investment (i.e. Insurance) industry. Check it out at OpenSecrets.org. Hultgren is protecting Insurance CEO’s paychecks at the same time he is attempting to take insurance coverage away from those who need it and billing American taxpayers millions for his efforts.

Question: So what’s so bad about Obamacare that the financial services industry wants to repeal it? After all, Obamacare just delivered millions more people into their coffers.

Answer: Obamacare restricts the profit insurance companies can make.

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Dennis Anderson Announces (IL-14)

by jstupec, posted on Saturday, August 24th, 2013 at 7:41 am

I attended the Anderson Announcement:

Dennis Anderson_Joe Stupec For the past two years we in the IL14 congressional district have had a do-nothing Republican Tea Partier as our representative in the US Congress.  Due to gerrymandering, the district stretches from almost the Wisconsin border south to Yorkville, Il.  On the east there’s the Fox River and the district bulges to the west occasionally but it’s a difficult district to campaign in because of the time consuming distances necessary to meet as many constituents as possible.  In the 2012 election, Dennis Anderson came from out of nowhere to take 41% of the vote from a well-funded Republican (Randy Hultgren).  Anyone who has been watching this useless House of Representatives knows exactly what his voting record is.  This country must change the balance of power in the House and we have a truly superb candidate that will work hard for District 14 and, ultimately, all of the people of America.

I could try to paraphrase Dennis’ very impressive biography and where he stands on issues but that wouldn’t do him justice so I’m going to take the easy way out and let you read the good news.  The speech was delivered on August 18th, 2013. 

To donate, go to the Anderson Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dennisanderson.IL14 and click the ActBlue (AB) button or email the campaign at andersonforcongress14@gmail.com. You know the drill, volunteering and donations to help him fight for us.  Dennis gives us the chance to change Congress.

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Fox River Flood

by Downtowner, posted on Thursday, April 18th, 2013 at 2:42 pm

After last year’s drought it was a relief to learn, just the other day, that our soil moisture has officially reached normal levels. But as they say, when it rains, it pours. And it’s not only been raining, it’s predicted to start again at around two this afternoon and keep raining until around midnight. Here are a few pics of current conditions - these pics are from St. Charles, but there are problems up and down the valley.

First, the Illinois Street Bridge is closed, not because there is water on the bridge, there isn’t. I remember this bridge closing in 2008, because water had filled the bridge arches and was hitting the side of the deck - a problem for this particular bridge as it’s sitting on the riverbed, rather than anchored in it, so the force of water broadsiding the deck has the potential to unmoor it. Not a big potential, but it exists, so in an excess of caution it was closed. Just a guess, but I suspect the same sort of thing is going on now, since there is no water on the bridge.

Illinois Street Bridge is closed

Illinois Street Bridge is closed

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When did it become acceptable to take money from old people?

by John Laesch, posted on Monday, April 8th, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Pat Herrmann I first heard Pat Herrmann, a retired art teacher from Wheaton, Illinois, ask the question, “when did it become acceptable to take money from old people?” during a public pension discussion hosted by the DuPage Coffeehouse.  Herrmann is a deep-thinking activist.  The multiple messages on her signs reflect her ability to conduct careful research and see the bigger picture.  Her question about taking money from old people reflects her ability to see the human impact; something lawmakers don’t see.

As the Illinois General Assembly debates how much money they will strip from Illinois teachers’ pensions and President Obama puts deep cuts to Social Security on the table, I was reminded of Hermman’s important question.  If you have not signed the petition to tell President Obama to take Social Security cuts off of the table, now would be a good time to do it by following this link.

Of course those reaching into the pockets of old people don’t want to talk about how this will impact living, breathing human beings.  They want to talk about numbers, budgets and other inhuman things.  Consider Tom Cross’s recent letter to the Chicago Tribune that makes this all sound like a tragic math problem.  Cross, after 20 years in Springfield, takes no responsibility for the state’s past 40+ years of delinquency.  I am not giving Democrats a free pass on this either.  The primary drivers of pension reform in Springfield are Mike Madigan, Pat Quinn, Elaine Nekritz and Dan Biss (all Democrats).  All of them, Democrats and Republicans, are singing from the same sheet of music.  Watch the video of Bernie Sanders below the fold.

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When will the 18 school districts vote for or against K12 Inc.?

by John Laesch, posted on Sunday, April 7th, 2013 at 8:03 am

Pam Verner took the time to contact all 18 school districts and ask when the school board planned on voting for or against the K12 Inc. application for a charter school.  Thanks to Heather Steans, Stand for Children, and wealthy charter school backers, the law (SB79) requires school districts to vote 30 days after the public hearing. stop-k12-450

While the public comments section is officially closed, we are still encouraging people to attend these hearings, add your comments of opposition at the beginning of the meeting and have your voice heard.  Here are the dates that school districts said they anticipated a vote:

April 8, Monday

Naperville District 204 @ 7:00 p.m.
Crouse Education Center
780 Shoreline Drive
Aurora, IL 60504
630-375-3000

West Aurora District 129  @ 6:00 P.M.
West Aurora High School
1201 West New York Street
Aurora, IL 60506
- Meeting will be held in the Library.
Closed session first, then “may” vote on K12.

Geneva District 304 @ 7:00 P.M.
Williamsburg Elementary School
1812 Williamsburg Avenue
Geneva, IL 60134
630-463-3010

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Money Grab: Heather Steans, Chicago School Closings and K12 Inc.

by John Laesch, posted on Friday, March 29th, 2013 at 9:16 pm

State Senator Heather Steans and Stand for Children are ultimately responsible for Chicago school closings and the recent increase of charter school applications like the 18-district virtual charter initiated by K12 Inc. in the Chicago suburbs.

Rahm Emanuel, Barb Byrd-Bennett, Heather Steans, Jonah Edelman

Rahm Emanuel, Barb Byrd-Bennett, Heather Steans, Jonah Edelman

I started researching SB79 and HB 5825, the legislation that created and gave the Illinois Charter Commission super “override powers” and autonomy from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).  If SB7 gave education activists concern, SB79 and HB 5825 should have started a five-alarm fire.

Because of SB79, K12 Inc., a for-profit, Wall Street-traded company applied for a virtual charter scam in 18 suburban school districts.  Why are they doing this?  K12 Inc. anticipates that the state charter commission will override local rejections of their taxpayer rip-off scheme and approve the charter despite overwhelming local opposition.

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K12 Inc. – Last Hearing March 27, First Vote April 1st

by John Laesch, posted on Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 at 5:52 pm

K12 Inc., a for-profit virtual learning company is pitching their services to 18 Illinois school districts, attempting to exploit Illinois’ weak charter laws. K12 Inc. executives have handled presentations at 16 of the 18 schools in which they have submitted an application for a virtual charter. Geneva’s school district 304 held a hearing on March 11th and the applicant did not show. The final hearing is in District 365U (Romeoville and Bolingbrook).

stop-k12-web_1

Please join Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice (RSVP via this link) at the final public hearing to express your opposition to K12 Inc’s taxpayer rip-off scheme. This Wall Street company is trying to rip-off taxpayers in the amount of $8,000 per customer (students that they sign up).

When: Wednesday, March 27th @ 6:30 p.m.

Where: Valley View D365U School Service Center (755 Dalhart Ave., Romeoville, IL 60446)

The first vote for or against K12’s virtual charter scam is going to be held in East Aurora, District 131. Please join NIJwJ (RSVP via this link) and encourage the board to vote “no.”

When: April 1st @ 7:00 p.m.

Where: School Services Center (417 Fifth St., Aurora, IL 60505)

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“Defend Your Profit Model.” March 18th K12 Inc. Hearings

by John Laesch, posted on Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 at 7:33 am

When the K12 Inc. executive stammered, Dean Fisher, a Yorkville School Board member repeated his question, “defend your profit model.”  The questions came after the K12 Inc. corporate executive had made a 20-minute presentation to the board and administrators of Yorkville District 115.

K12 Yorkville Hearing

The real world questions kept coming like a series of body blows to K12 Inc., the for-profit virtual education provider that has come under fire nationally for low test scores, scandals, lawsuits and cover-ups.

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Progress: Chance for Moratorium on K12 Virtual Charter

by John Laesch, posted on Sunday, March 17th, 2013 at 8:26 am

We will have some exciting news at the informational meeting on K12 Inc. that is scheduled for Sunday, March 17th from 2-5 p.m. at the Geneva First Congregational Church (321 Hamilton St.) in Geneva, IL!

In addition to hearing from Tennessee State Representative, Gloria Johnson about how k12 Inc. has hurt students and taxpayers in her home state of Tennessee, we will have a charter school expert by the name of Sharon Teefey to share knowledge on Illinois’ Charter Commission.

Teefey will be reporting that State Rep. Chapa LaVia (IL 83rd District) intends to initiate an amendment to address virtual charter schools. According to an e-mail from Rep. Chapa Lavia, she intends to file the following amendment in the house when they return to session.

(l) From April 1, 2013 through April 1, 2016 there shall be a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools with virtual schooling components which includes but is not limited to full-time online virtual schools and virtual blended schools. For the purposes of this subsection (l) virtual blended schools means a virtual school with in-person components.

This moratorium will give Illinois parents and lawmakers more time to study K12 Inc. and their questionable track record of performance.

An amendment is progress, and it shows that organizing works and we need to keep doing more of it!

If you want to support the fight against K12 Inc. and want to see this fight continue, please consider supporting NIJwJ financially.

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K12 Inc., A Wall-Street Traded Charter Corporation Out To Strip Illinois Taxpayers of Money

by John Laesch, posted on Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 at 9:03 pm

K12 Incorporated, a for-profit charter business has a track record of poor academic performance, misleading investors, and deliberately telling teachers to “delete bad grades.” Now, as many Illinois school districts are struggling with shrinking budgets, K12 Inc wants to milk our schools of $8,000 – $11,000 per pupil with a new, “virtual charter school.” In my first piece on this subject, I listed the public hearings for all 18 schools that K12 Virtual Learning Solutions is targeting in the Chicago Suburbs.

K12 Inc. has a Record of Poor Academic Performance and Deletes Grades to Boost Scores.

When I learned that K12 Inc was trying to get their hand in the pocket books of Aurora taxpayers, I started researching the company. One story by investigative reporter, Phil Williams, with Tennessee Channel 5 News exposes an e-mail from the Tennessee Virtual Academy’s vice principal to middle school teachers titled, “important.” The e-mail reads:

“After … looking at so many failing grades, we need to make some changes before the holidays,” the email begins.

Among the changes: Each teacher “needs to take out the October and September progress [reports]; delete it so that all that is showing is November progress.”

“Does it talk about we need to make changes in curriculum? Does it talk about we need to make changes in our teaching strategy? No,” Rep. Johnson observed. “Those changes we need to make are deleting grades from the computer system.”

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K12 Inc. Attempting to Establish Virtual Charter Scam in Fox Valley

by John Laesch, posted on Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 at 7:26 am

New rules allow an Illinois charter school to apply for a charter from a local school district and appeal any rejections to the Illinois Charter Commission.

As of this blog post writing, I am aware that K12 Inc. has applied for charter schools in 18 school districts in the Chicago Suburbs.  Please plan on attending these hearings (listed below) to ask the board to reject this scandalous business.

In addressing local school boards we need to let them know that K12 Inc. is a business that pays their CEO $3.9 million dollars per year and offers returns to investors. It is not a school. Our tax money is being diverted from the classroom to the pockets of the wealthy. K12 Inc. may perform well on Wall Street, but they don’t perform well in the virtual learning environment. And, according to Channel 5 News in Tennessee, when K12 Inc. fails to perform, they instruct teachers to “delete grades.”

These are the public hearings that we know about:

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Austerity Chicken

by n0madic, posted on Sunday, March 3rd, 2013 at 6:23 pm

In the maneuvering to affix blame for the mess that is sequestration, the Republicans in Congress would have us believe this was all the President’s idea to begin with, while the Obama Administration would have us believe that it was a deal that was never supposed to take effect. Not really. And yet, both sides voted for it. Both sides agreed to play this dangerous game.

And that’s the problem. The debate has never been a question of whether or not we should even be pursuing a politics of austerity in the first place, it has merely been a question of the precise balance of pain that was to be exacted upon those less fortunate than those who will determine our fate.

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Aurora TIFs – A New Vision for Our City

by John Laesch, posted on Monday, February 11th, 2013 at 8:00 am

I hope that readers take the time to attend the Aurora City Council meeting on Feb. 12th at 6:00 p.m. in the city council chambers, 2nd floor of city hall, 44 E. Downer Place, Aurora, IL. If you want to address the City Council should notify the City Clerk’s Office at (630) 256-3070

Being discussed and voted on at this meeting is the appropriations of $750,000 of taxpayer money to fund a development project in downtown Aurora. The project was written about by Stephanie Lulay of the Aurora Beacon News. For reading with much more inflammatory political rhetoric you may wish to consult the Aurora Openline blog.

To read the details of the resolution, you can read the downloadable agreement that was already approved by the Aurora Finance Committee.

This latest TIF deal has me asking lots of questions about our city’s TIF policy. This one certainly has “politically connected insiders” written all over it, but other developers and “businessmen” have taken the city for a ride in the past.

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