Friday, March 6, 2015

Freeport Pedestrians...Second Class Citizens

The City of Freeport spends much money to keep streets clear of snow and ice in the winter time.  After most major snow events the Street Department works nights cleaning the snow off downtown sidewalks and parking lots and trucking it to points yonder to sit in big piles until warmer weather turns it to water.

Tutty is amazed that as much taxpayer money that Freeport officials spend on snow removal, the basics, as far as Freeport pedestrians are concerned, never seem to be taken care of adequately.

Take a look at East Stephenson Street between Liberty Avenue and the Pecatonica River, this heavily travelled pedestrian route is never cleared of snow and ice.  In many cases the snow and ice is intentionally piled on the sidewalk by private businesses and Freeport Street Department workers themselves, forcing pedestrians, many of whom provide viable commerce to downtown businesses to violate City ordinances (and risk injury or death) by walking in the street.

Here are a couple of pictures:

North side of Stephenson Street looking west toward downtown Freeport, March 4, 2015
South side of Stephenson Street looking west toward downtown Freeport, March 4, 2015
Why can't the City of Freeport make sure that these sidewalks are kept passable for pedestrians.  They've been this way for more than two months.  Drive by this area around shift change and you will see numerous pedestrians walking in the street because, quite frankly, the City of Freeport is apparently blind to the issue even though many Street Department employees hauling snow drive right by numerous times throughout the day and evening yet no one seems to notice that the elephant has not only entered the room but has sat down in the easy chair and picked up the remote.
Why can't pedestrians expect better Mayor Gitz and City of Freeport officials?
As always, yours in honesty, Tutty Baker,

Thursday, February 5, 2015

NBC And Their News Editor, Brian Williams, Misled the American Public For A Decade Plus

In case you missed the news, and it would be easy to miss with corporate media in America giving everyone a steady diet of the three S's, Sports, Sex and Sellebrity (not necessarily in that order) Brian Williams, news editor and anchor for NBC Nightly News, admitted that him and his network have been lying about events that took place in Iraq nearly a dozen years ago.

Brian Williams, on numerous occasions, claimed to be in a helicopter that was hit by rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and forced to land in the Iraqi desert.

Now Brian Williams and his bosses at NBC, say he "misremembers" the events of that day.  As if a sane person can forget the details of being fired upon and hit by RPGs only to remember the details a dozen years later and after the soldiers that were in the wounded aircraft complained.

But the real travesty in this story, in Tutty's opinion, is that Brian Williams still has a job and NBC still has sponsors.

While corporate media and corporate America, talk much about integrity, none of them, Tutty repeats, none of them apparently know how to walk the walk.

Corporate media blacklists individuals all the time, in many cases for much less than lying to the American public--repeatedly.

Brian Williams is referred to as a "journalist" yet Brian Williams obviously has got no idea what it actually means to be a journalist.  Real journalists are not liars.  They don't embellish, they enlighten.

So NBC, what are you going to do about a lying newscaster and editor?  And what about the major NBC sponsors?  What is their opinion on the Williams lies?

How many other lies have been told by American corporate media that have yet to be uncovered because others involved to not have a way to tell their side to the world.

When the Allied Forces took over near the end of WWII, the first thing they did was destroy Hitler's centralized media system saying it was bad for Democracy.

Tutty believes it as past the time for the United States to force the break up of this country's centralized media system.  Obviously, when NBC and its news anchor and editor can get by with a lie for over practically a dozen years without another media outlet crying foul, our media system is far too centralized and far too much against the type of free thinking and reporting real journalists insist upon.  Tutty would not have a chance at a corporate media establishment and it's not because Tutty lacks reporting skills...Tutty is simply too honest.

As always, yours in honesty, Tutty Baker

Saturday, January 31, 2015

An Increased Tax in Freeport? Tutty Would Bet On It.

Tutty has been trying to rest but must roll over temporarily in effort to bring light to the citizens of our fair city.

Don't look now but right before aldermanic elections the Gitz administration appears to be setting a fee increase (new tax) in place.

This coming Monday night the Freeport City Council will be asked to approve Ordinance #2015-09.  Basically this ordinance gives Mayor Gitz the authority to "make and application" for a loan through an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency fund.

Not just any loan, but a nearly $8 million loan.  Let Tutty say that again, an $8 million loan which will be placed directly on the backs of the businesses and people which rely upon the Freeport Water and Sewer Commission for this most basic of public utility.

While Tutty has numerous issues with the ordinance in question, for the purpose of this post, Tutty wants to concentrate on Section Four (4) of Ordinance #2015-09.  Linked here is the complete ordinance.

Section 4. Loan Not Indebtedness of City Of Freeport
           Repayment of the loan to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency by the City of Freeport pursuant to this Ordinance is to be from revenues generated by a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) monthly increase to system users in an amount sufficient to repay the loan over a twenty (20) year loan period and the loan does not constitute an indebtedness of the City of Freeport within the meaning of any constitutional or statutory limitation.

Note the words "monthly increase" in the above.  Tutty must wonder if and Freeport City Council members have even noticed those words.  Tutty's guess is most of them have not read the paltry six-page document.

How you can ask eight individuals to vote on a nearly $8 million transaction with only six-pages of paper is a mystery to Tutty.  A three-thousand dollar loan from the local banker is much longer than six pages.  Where are the financial specifics Freeport City Council?  And why are they not out in the open for you (and Tutty) to see?

Freeport residential water and sewer users already pay a ten-dollar ($10) monthly CIP surcharge.  Tutty has always taken issue with this fee as it applies equally regardless of if you live in a one-bedroom bungalow on an undersized lot in Freeport's Third Ward, or in a five-bedroom five-bath townhouse of Forest Road.  It does not take a rocket scientist to see the discrepancy.  Why should residents that live in areas where one sanitary sewer manhole can service a dozen or more homes pay the same for "capital improvements" to the shared system as those that live in grand houses that require practically a sanitary sewer manhole per residence.  Physics alone will prove that it is much more cost effective to deliver water and sewer service to a high density areas.

Regardless of Tutty's personal opinions on the issue of funding with what's going on in Freeport right now the current Freeport City Council should be asking much more in the way of questions and demanding a few answers before moving ahead with this project.

As always, yours in honesty, Tutty Baker

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Fellow Citizen's View of the Race For Sheriff of Stephenson County

Tutty was asked to post the following letter on the Stephenson Blumdoggle.  Tutty is always happy to oblige the readers of this blog.

This county is NOT safe. The schools are not  safe, the streets are not safe, no one is exempt from a crime, an assault or even a shooting. We need to bring back the K-9 unit and the D.A.R.E program. It's time for "revival" in the StepensonCounty Sheriff's department.
We need a sheriff's department that has honesty, integrity, solid ethical beliefs and leadership skills. I do not feel safe with the current sheriff's department operating at "bare bones" levels. I thought the sheriff's department was in place to "protect and serve".
I would say that it is definitely time for a change. I don't think the Crime in Numbers for Stephenson County are going down because there is less crime. They are going down because there are less deputies thus less criminals and law breakers being arrested and ticketed.
The Stephenson County Sheriff's department needs new blood and fresh ideas. We need a sheriff that is as passionate as we, parents and grandparents, are about our county and making it a better place to live and work. On July 10, 2014 Sheriff Snyders stated in the Journal Standard that "Property crimes and scams targeting the elderly are among the more prevalent local crime problems, but overall the county is safe. I would say it’s a safe community, a safe county to live in.” WRONG!!

Ask me how safe I felt after my home was broken into the day before Christmas and I had all my heirloom family jewelry and other personal items stolen. Granted the jewelry wasn't worth much, but they were things that had been belonged to my deceased grandmothers. Things I no longer have to pass down to my daughters. My youngest daughter never felt safe again as photos of her were also taken. Just one more unsolved crime. This is NOT a safe community. Guns, drugs, shootings,unsolved murders, millions of dollars in lawsuits against the county for no action or inappropriate action by the sheriff and his staff. We need accountability in the sheriff's department and it can't happen soon enough for me.
Yes, time for a change. This is OUR sheriff's department, not theirs. Don't vote your party this election. Get out and vote for the best candidate: Steve Schaible.
Yvonne Knight-Wandel
As always, yours in honesty, Tutty Baker

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Where Cover-ups and Brutality Are Condoned

Tutty rarely posts anything on the Stephenson Blumdoggle pertaining to issues outside of Northwest Illinois, however, Tutty has been doing some research analysis regarding the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and some very public problems that have surfaced as of late.

For the record, Tutty is not much of a sports fan.  The commercial media makes a big deal out of sports because it easy to sell advertising for the "big game".  As a general rule, sports fanatics are a gullible audience, just what big advertisers want, that's a fact folks.  There is reason the NFL championship game draws so much money from advertisers and it is not flattering for sports fans.

Do you really think many people would consider buying a super-size, four-wheel drive truck, to get them across town if they were watching Jaques Cousteau?  Go a month without watching TV and you will see just dumb advertisers really think you are.

Because there is so much money in collegiate sports and the associated broadcasting rights, major and not so major college athletic departments across the country to their best to hide their heads in the sand whenever anyone or anything threatens their gravy train.

Most local media suck up local colleges' athletic departments.  However, today's New York Times did a very good job of pulling the covers off how major college programs and their participants forsake justice for profit.  Here is a picture of the front page of the The Times:

(fair use copyright claimed for the purpose of public education)
While Tutty will not attempt to paraphrase the New York Times' thorough and lengthy story it is crystal clear the Florida State University and the Tallahassee Police Department have engaged  in numerous cover-ups regarding Florida State Athletes.
However, the Florida State scandal is likely the tip of the iceberg of a culture of cover-ups and condoned brutality.
A few weeks back Tutty was asked to look into an incident where an Ohio State assistant coach, Anthony Schlegel, body slammed a fan that ran on to the field after the fan, an Ohio State student, got drunk on beer the University of Ohio serves at its football games.
Here is picture of Mr. Schlegel body slamming the fan:

(fair use copyright claimed for the purpose of public education)
While Tutty is not going to defend the drunken fans actions, Anthony Schlegel had no reason to attempt to intentionally inflict bodily harm on the fan by slamming him to the ground as hard as he possibly could.  Note the close proximity of security whose job it is to take care of such matters.
While many sports fans and writers, with their limited intellectual capacity, praised Mr. Schlegel actions, Tutty will not.  Mr. Schlegel had no reason whatsoever to inflict such brutality upon anyone.  Mr. Schlegel then picked the fan up, drug him to the sidelines and slammed him to the ground again.  Mr. Schlegel is not stadium security and he does not have police powers.
Maybe next time Tutty sees someone texting behind the wheel of their car Tutty should take the law in his own hands a throw a rock through their windshield.  Would the NCAA and the Ohio State administration and coaching staff publicly condone Tutty's actions because Tutty's victim was violating the law?  Maybe Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer would give Tutty the "hit of the week" award as he did Mr. Schlegel for Tutty's efforts at being cop, judge and jury.  Hardly, Tutty would expect to be prosecuted if Tutty took the law in his own hands and meted out punishment accordingly.
Tutty sent an e-mail to the Franklin County, Ohio, Prosecuting Attorney, Ron O'Brien and asked Mr. O'Brien why Mr. Schlegel was not being prosecuted or indicted under Ohio Code 2903.21 "aggravated menacing".  It is clear from the picture above and the video of the incident the Mr. Schlegel's intent was to cause "serious physical harm" to the Ohio State student not once but twice.  Tutty copied the e-mail to the president of Ohio State University, Dr. Michael Drake.
Tutty did not receive a response from Prosecuting Attorney O'Brien but did receive and e-mail response from Ohio State University.  Someone by the name of Debra Guinan, who Tutty assumes is an assistant to President Drake, forwarded Tutty's e-mail to the director of athletics of Ohio State, Eugene Smith and wrote, "Would you like to respond to this one?  Please let me know your preference, hopefully these will wind down soon."  Mr. Smith simply thanked Tutty for his "concerns".
There you have it folks, those in charge of keeping NCAA athletes and coaches in line simply hope that the letters of complaint "will wind down soon" without taking any sort of disciplinary actions against those that obviously need it.  If Mr. Schlegel has such little control of his emotions to inflict brutality upon anyone in front of 100,000 people and TV cameras, God only knows what his demeanor is like in private when a player (or his girlfriend) crosses him.
Tutty really hopes to see the day when the NCAA embraces intellectual development with same fervor they embrace cover-ups and brutality.
As always, yours in honesty, Tutty Baker

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Sad, Sad State of Freeport Media...and Therefore Local Democracy

Those that wrote the United States Constitution knew that if this great experiment with Democracy was ever going to be successful it would require an informed public.

This is why the First Amendment is first and reads as follows:

 "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievance."

The problem in Freeport, Illinois is that there is no credible media with which the First Amendment is fully embraced.

In nearly every single case local media, whether it be Rockford television stations, Freeport radio, or the Journal-Standard, Freeport's almost daily newspaper, news is the product of a press release.  Which always resembles an advertising pitch than anything designed to increase the public intellect.

Want a good example?

In the past few weeks local media has been loaded with criticisms of the Freeport School District #145 Board of Education.  The Journal-Standard penned an editorial calling the board inept.  Local radio newsman Brad Hart, who gets all of his information from the newspaper or from those who have a vested interest in the outcome, reported likewise.

Not once did any of these so called "media outlets" mention the fact that now is the time to circulate petitions if you want to run for District #145 School Board.

Tutty admits that although Tutty prides Tutty's self on staying abreast of current local issues, Tutty too had no idea...until Tutty picked up a recent edition of the Orangeville Alert.

Contained in this edition of the Alert was a story about petitions being available for those interested in running for Orangeville District #203 School Board.  While the story probably originated from a press release from the Orangeville School, Tutty was impressed with how thorough the story was in explaining the process of getting your name on the ballot for school board.  Here is the story.

(fair use copyright claimed for the purpose of public education)

Why hasn't any Freeport media mentioned the fact that there too are seats up for grabs on the D145 School Board?  And who presently holds those seats?  You can look at the D145 website and it does show whose seats are up in 2015, but why has all local media ignored these pertinent and public facts?

Freeport needs more media than just Tutty to be concerned about Democratic principles.  Local media either wants to include the public or they don't.  Maybe they just don't know how to do as much.  Either way, Tutty has to believe a few of this great Country's forefathers are rolling over in their grave over what passes for media in today's world.

As always, yours in honesty, Tutty Baker

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Steve Schaible for Stephenson County Sheriff.

Stephenson County residents will have a chance to elect a new Sheriff at the November election and Tutty hopes just that happens.

Pearl City resident and Lena Police Chief Stephen Schaible is running against incumbent David A. Snyders.  Tutty has numerous reasons for supporting Steve Schaible over Dave Snyders and will write more than one post because it will take more than one post to explain the issues in this race as Tutty sees them.

Sheriff David Snyders has cost Stephenson County taxpayers millions upon millions of dollars in lawsuits since becoming Stephenson County Sheriff.

One of the first multi-million dollar lawsuits brought against the sheriff's department under the watch of David Snyders was that involving a deputy that had an unauthorized "ride-along" with him when he crashed our squad car resulting in the passenger, a photographer for the Journal-Standard, being severely injured.  The passenger ended up losing a leg as the result of the accident.

The deputy, although it was obvious he was driving too fast for conditions was never ticketed or publicly reprimanded.  If a civilian would have had an accident under the same circumstances Tutty will bet they would have been ticketed, probably several times over.  A ticket is a public reprimand.

Nor has Sheriff Snyders issued any kind of new rule about having an unauthorized ride-along in our squad cars that the Stephenson County public pays the insurance on.

Why was this deputy never publicly reprimanded in any way and what is the current written policy of the Stephenson County Sheriff's Department regarding such deputized behavior...and what are the written consequences for a deputy that violates that policy?  Tutty's guess is no such policy exists.

Here is the disposition page from the court case in question, notice all of the findings were against the Stephenson County Sheriff's Department:,2002L20,IL089015JL2002L20D4

Then we also have the "crisis drill" instigated by the Stephenson County Sheriff's Department at Orangeville High School in May of 2011.  Tutty wrote on Stephenson Blumdoggle about this incident shortly after it happened and received numerous inquiries from around the country about the asinine behavior of the Stephenson County Sheriff's Department. 

In this instance, unbeknownst to Orangeville High School students, a ranking Stephenson County Sheiriff's deputy dressed in civilian clothes walked into Orangeville High School, fired a two, .22 caliber blanks, and requested a specific student.  The requested student fled the scene and needed to be found.

This too ended up in a lawsuit against the Stephenson County Sheriff's Department.  Here is another take on the instant case:

To make the general public (high school students or not) believe that their lives are in danger is asinine.  What would have happened had the requested student gone to his car and came back with 12-gauge shotgun and justifiably shot the deputy dead?  What if an armed parent (legal or not some people like to carry firearms) would have been nearby and shot the deputy?  With today's ability to quickly communicate, a few students could have had armed parents at the school in no time, resulting a real and unplanned crisis.  People will do all kinds of crazy things ( and are justified in doing such) when they truly believe their own life or that of a loved on is in danger.

Here is what Tutty wrote in 2011:

While the superintendent of Orangeville Schools took full responsibility, Sheriff Snyders has never issued a public statement or acted accountable in any way regarding this Stephenson County Sheriff's Department led fiasco.

Tutty has more reasons to support Steve Schaible for Sheriff and Tutty will be expounding upon those issues, which does include other multi-million dollar lawsuits and the Stephenson County Sheriff's Department policy or the lack thereof.

Vote Stephen Schaible for Stephenson County Sheriff.  We need accountability in the sheriff's office, and it can't come soon enough for Tutty.

As always, yours in honesty, Tutty Baker