Ah, ending the year with a December 19th Crystal Lake sunset across Main Steet's big empty field that my 9 year-old son picked as prettiest.
As of the end of 2006, 2,182 articles have been posted since starting this blog in reaction to Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley’s and his city council’s promotion of Tax Increment Financing districts, which will increase taxes for all McHenry County property owners.
Last year Tribune columnist and blogger Eric Zorn asked for summaries of the year. The question intrigued me, so I submitted mine.
It was a lot of work, which probably explains why Zorn didn’t repeat the effort this year.
Last year I awarded a “Most Stunning Example of Left Stream Media Bias By a Reporter” award to a WTTW’s Elizabeth Brackett.
This year, the very day of Todd Stroeger’s ascension to his father’s ballot position for Cook County Board President, I was watching WTTW’s Chicago Tonight again and again heard something I could not believe.
Mispronoucing his last name, Carol Marin outlined the Democratic Party strategy to defeat Tony Peraica:
…there are plenty of Democrats out there who might want to protest by voting for you, but they see you as an anti-gay, pro-gun, anti-abortion (pause) guy in the bluest state and county in the state, so what do you have to say to them on the social issues that are going to make you attractive if they do decide to jump the traces?Does this woman deserve the “Most Stunning Example of Left Stream Media Bias By a Reporter” award for 2006 or what? And maybe she should get the run-on sentence award of the year, although I'm sure I'm in the competition for that one.
This is the second time that a WTTW employee has achieved this distinction.
Oh, yes. The panel had three Democrats and Peraica. Pretty typical of political balance on most WTTW panels.
Incidentally, last year Marin won the “Most blatant defense of a future felon.”
That future felon, Tru-Link Fence guy Jim Levin was indicted two days after her 2005 Sun-Times column and pled guilty in early December of this year. He admitted to being a briber of Chicago School District procurement officers and to falsifying minority business partners.
I’ve noticed no follow-up, but her columns are not on my “must read” list.
Most Undercovered Story by Main Stream Media:
Developers’ and school vendors’ financing of school tax hike and bond referendum.Oh, I readily admit that the Northwest Herald reporter Allison Smith broke its long-standing ignoring of this story with her excellent stories on the subject. She somehow infiltrated an early fund raising rally, revealing the Carpentersville School District 300 tax hikers goal of $153,000. She followed up, too. If only every local Northwest Herald education reporter would cover his or her district the way Smith covered District 300. Smith now works at a much higher salary the Carpentersville School District 300's media relation’s person. That's the school she covered previously.
Still, each of those almost “pay-to-play” or, maybe, “pay-to-be-able-to- keep-selling-homes” contributions deserves to see the light of day before the referendum. And that did not happen in the Northwest Herald, the Daily Herald or the Chicago Tribune.
But voters did see the direct mail pieces those contributions paid for.
(You might think that since most campaign spending completely ignores newspapers that they would have little to lose by reporting the contributions, but that ignores the tens of thousands of dollars of advertising revenue that the papers get from developers.)
And, as long as I am passing out kudos to reporters, surely, they are deserved by Daily Herald reporter Jeffrey Gaunt. I can’t begin to list the way he kept both District 300 and Huntley School District 158 on their toes--or, maybe, I should say “off balance”--by just reporting what they did. Click on Jeffrey Gaunt to see all the stories he wrote that I have referenced.
The two should share the award for "Reporters who gave the most fits to local school boards and administors."
I'm sure they would rather I call it, "Reporters who asked and wrote about the most probing and legitimate questions." OK, we'll call it that.
Runner up in that category should be Northwest Herald reporter Karen Long, who delivered an unwelcome article for Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley five days into the 8-day petition filing period for the spring election. (I'd love to know what was edited out of her article and whether Long will be allowed to follow up before the April election.)
More about what happened on McHenry County Blog in 2006 on New Year's Day.