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Lake County Board may ask Rauner to alter chief assessor bill

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on July 9, 2018 at 6:30 AM

Russell Lissa

The Lake County Board may ask Gov. Bruce Rauner to alter legislation designed to make the county's chief assessment officer an elected post rather than appointed.

A bill that would let voters decide how Lake County's assessment officer is hired has cleared the legislature and is awaiting Rauner's signature. If Rauner signs, a binding question would appear on Nov. 6 ballots in Lake County.

The post would be up for election starting in 2020 if voters approve the plan.

Lake County officials are weighing asking Rauner to use his amendatory veto power to expand the legislation so the same question appears on ballots for the roughly 60 Illinois counties that have board-appointed assessment officers and board-chosen chairmen, just as Lake does. The board will debate forwarding the veto request to Rauner Tuesday.

"We support the right of voters to make this decision," said Chairman Aaron Lawlor, a Vernon Hills Republican. "But if it's such a good idea, why not make it applicable (elsewhere)?"

Targeting Lake

The bill, which had bipartisan support in Springfield, is the third piece of state legislation in the last five years to target Lake County government.

In 2013, the General Assembly stripped election oversight from the county clerk and created a Lake County election commission. Lawlor sued to block the change, and a judge declared the law unconstitutional.

Last year, legislators approved a plan to let voters elect the county board's chairman, rather than continuing to have members choose their leader. Rauner vetoed it.

The latest bill singles out veteran Chief Assessment Officer Marty Paulson's job.

Paulson's office coordinates property tax assessment activity in Lake County. It oversees the work of township assessors and mails annual assessment notices to property owners, among other duties.

Paulson, who through a spokeswoman declined to comment, has feuded with some township assessors who said he ignored their reassessments. Paulson and the county have been sued twice by those assessors, but both cases were dismissed.

Yingling leads charge

State Rep. Sam Yingling, a Grayslake Democrat, championed the legislation. He has called Lake County's property tax system "dysfunctional" and said the chief assessment officer can unilaterally increase assessments and drive up taxes.

But county board member Craig Taylor, a Lake Zurich Republican, believes the legislation stems from the disputes between Paulson and the assessors. Taylor said some GOP lawmakers who backed the bill didn't know about those fights.

"They've been duped, in my opinion, into going along with this," Taylor said. "Why would you want to have an assessor who's tied to a political party?"

Yingling isn't the only Democrat tying Paulson's nonelected status to the county's relatively high property taxes. So is county board candidate Julie Simpson of Vernon Hills, who's challenging Lawlor and made a campaign video supporting the legislation.

In the 30-second spot, Simpson calls the proposed amendatory veto "a deceitful, political maneuver that deprives us our right to vote."

Adding counties will create a delay and prevent the question from appearing on this November's ballot, Simpson told the Daily Herald.

"If other counties are interested in passing similar measures, they are welcome to learn from the grass-roots campaign that was built in Lake County," she said, referring to a local petition drive against a veto. "We need reform now, not two years from now."

'It will fail again'

Critics of the legislation, however, say changing how the assessment officer is chosen won't lower tax bills.

"The only way to materially effect property tax reduction is a reform of the way schools are funded," said county Commissioner Steve Carlson, a Gurnee-area Republican.

Carlson also dislikes that the legislation targets Lake County, even though most of Illinois' 102 counties appoint chief assessment officers in the same manner. To Carlson, the bill smacks of previous legislative attempts to weaken Lake County politicians.

"This has been tried twice before and failed both times," he said. "It will fail again. It will either be vetoed or it will eventually lose in court."

A Rauner spokeswoman couldn't be reached about the governor's plans for the bill.

Not all county commissioners want a veto. North Chicago Democrat Vance Wyatt supports putting the question on Lake County ballots as proposed.

"We need to look at all options for (tax) reforms," he said.

Still, Wyatt said he would have preferred the proposal come from the board or citizens rather than legislators.

 

 

Prizewinning business journalist: Speed, change essential in company growth

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on June 1, 2018 at 5:40 PM

Written By Kim Mikus

Speed matters, as does a willingness to embrace new tactics and change in the workplace in order to grow as a company, award-winning national journalist Robert Safian told more than 500 business leaders Friday.

Safian has interviewed the most innovative CEOs in the country and shared what he has learned from stories he has written about them for Fast Company, Fortune, Time and other magazines. He was the keynote speaker at the annual Big Event breakfast at Marriott Lincolnshire held by Lake County Partners, celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Safian told participants the speed of change in a company is important. "Building a cadence of change" is key, he said, pointing to companies that have succeeded in this area, including Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon. "These companies are completely and continually redefining who they are. It's not just an online seller of books or a place for college kids to meet each other," he said. " These companies are pushing themselves and they're pushing each other in that process to continue to be more ambitious."

Safian recently started The Flux Group, a media, insights and strategic advisory firm, after overseeing Fast Company's print, digital and live-events content for the past decade.

Safian said innovation is key and people in the workplace must work together to make changes happen. "Innovation often happens in the gap between silos," he said. "We have to break down silos between the different parts of our business to be able to unlock those things" and find creativity and survive, he said.

Speaking of survival, Safian pointed to the father of evolution himself, "Charles Darwin noted that it's not the strongest of the species that survives. It's not the most intelligent that survives. It's the one that's most adaptable to change."

Several other speakers joined Safian during the economic meeting. Sumit L. Dasai, vice president and director of research at Mesirow Financial Wealth Advisors talked about the growing economy and important issues relating to the growth. Costco raising its minimum wage, intensifying the battle for unskilled workers in a tight U.S. job market, and the steel and aluminum tariffs were among the issues he addressed.

Jennifer Harris, president of CR Search Inc., presented the Lake County Workforce Ecosystem Talent Innovator Award to Lincolnshire-based HydraForce Inc., a manufacturer of hydraulic cartridge valves, manifolds and electrohydraulic controls. The 1,000-employee company has launched innovative programs to bridge the skills gap, Harris said.

Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor provided an economic update of the county.

Participants at the event said they were inspired by the speakers. "The key note was wonderful. One thing I picked up is that you have to be adaptable," said Cheri Richardson of Gorter Family Foundation in Lake Bluff.

"It was a great event with great ideas," said Lake County Board member Vance D. Wyatt. He said he picked up that business owners must find ways to reinvent themselves and adapt to change.

 


Coffee with your County Board Member Second Quarter

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on May 13, 2018 at 9:25 PM

Lake County Board Member Vance D. Wyatt hosts his second quarter coffee with your County Board Member of 2018. It’s an informal gathering for residents to share opinions and learn more about some county services that are available to them.

Lake County Commissioner Vance D. Wyatt on Community Fourm

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on April 23, 2018 at 9:00 PM

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Organization sponsors movie field trip for underprivileged kids

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on April 4, 2018 at 3:55 PM

Organization sponsors movie field trip for underprivileged kids

By Gregory Harutunian For Chronicle Media — April 4, 2018

It started as an idea through the Lake County chapter of Black Lives Matter for school students, ranging in ages from 12-17 years old, giving them the chance for a free dinner and seeing a movie.

 

Their March 7 event gathered up 75 kids without the means of enjoying an afternoon out, and took them to the Gurnee Marcus Cinema for a screening of “Black Panther in 3-D.” It proved to be an unqualified success.

 

Coinciding with “Spring Break 2018,” the organization did it again March 26, this time with another 75 students from Waukegan, North Chicago, Zion, and the Round Lake areas. They also received a free box of popcorn and a soda. Waukegan School District 60 buses provided transportation to the Gurnee cinema for another free screening.

 

“We went and saw it, and thought this would be nice for kids that couldn’t afford to see it to do so,” said Clyde McLemore, one of the organization’s founding members. “This movie is phenomenal. The kids can get a bit of history, and knowledge of self. And with that, we’re hoping that it will lessen the violence in the neighborhoods that occurs, when these kids are out of school.

 

 

Kids stand by the door leading into the Gurnee Marcus Cinema to attend a free screening of “Black Panther.” (Photo by Gregory Harutunian/for Chronicle Media)

 

“When you have an entertainment vehicle like a movie that projects positive role models while celebrating African culture, African-American culture, their morals and belief systems, and knowing black ancestors were stolen from their homelands and brought to the land of the unknown … it’s empowering,” he said.

 

“Black Panther,” which opened Feb. 16, spent six consecutive weeks at the top slot in box office ticket sales.

 

The story revolves around T’Challa, who returned to his native homeland of Wakanda, following the death of his father, and takes his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy reappears, T’Challa must rally allies to save Wakanda and the world by unleashing the power of Black Panther.

 

“It’s a great film and well worth the praise,” said Michael Kassin, manager for the Gurnee Marcus Cinema. “This isn’t the first time we’ve hosted kids from different schools for screenings. This is a good thing for our community at-large to have an opportunity to come together, join together … and have some fun.”

 

The afternoon-out adventure was not lost on the kids, either.

 

“This is a very empowering experience, and will make some good memories,” said Tamara Long, a Zion Central Middle School student. “It’s nice to be appreciated in this way. This is my first time being able to do something like this.”

 

In addition to Black Lives Matter and District 60, other sponsors included the Lake County and Waukegan housing authorities, Circuit Court Judge Charles Smith, State Rep. Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan), the Tenth District Democrats, Jim Neal, Adam Broad, Tamika Gray, Vance Wyatt, and Women of Faith.

 

 

Kids start to jump off the bus March 26, heading to Gurnee Marcus Cinema for a free movie. (Photo by Gregory Harutunian/for Chronicle Media)

 

“This is a really positive experience for the kids in our community, we don’t have field trips in school anymore, and that’s sad,” said Mayfield. “We need to get together and do more of these types of things to encourage kids to look beyond their environments and see the horizon.”

 

At a later date, Black Lives Matter will be conducting a forum called, “The Black Panther Challenge,” with a scholarship being offered to students making the best video about what they gleaned from the movie.

 

“Historically, the educational systems in place do not provide the knowledge of self,” said McLemore. “Young people are very important. Developing a well-rounded character can help make them leaders in the community, even now … something that will benefit them later in life. If we can offer one quality moment for a young person, it will be remembered, and hopefully, a positive impact to pass along.”

 

 

—Organization sponsors movie field trip for underprivileged kids–


Letter to the Editor - Law could help end puppy mills

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on March 27, 2018 at 11:05 AM

3/27/2018 10:03 AM

Go Humane Lake County is an organization that promotes rescue and adoption of pets, and advocates for changes in local and state laws to end the pet overpopulation crisis.

We respectfully urge Lake County government to follow the lead of Will and DuPage County and request our state legislators to add Lake County to Senate Bill 2280.

This bill states that all pet stores must source their dogs, cats and bunnies from rescue organizations or animal shelters (as has been done in Cook County).

We commend PetSmart, Petco, Pet Supplies Plus and the many other retailers who have already adopted this humane business model.

Reputable breeders never sell their animals to pet stores for resale, which is why this legislation does not hurt reputable breeders. Reputable breeders are concerned with every aspect of their animal's health and always allow potential buyers to visit their facilities.

Pet stores often source from commercial breeders, aka: puppy mills. These operations can house hundreds of breeding dogs, who spend their entire lives in cages being repeatedly bred, then are disposed of when no longer producing. Some, but not all, are USDA licensed, but oversight and inspection are inadequate. "AKC registered" has no bearing on the conditions pets are bred under. Pet stores and puppy mills call themselves the "pet trade industry." They are the major cause of pet overpopulation and euthanization in the USA.

Go Humane Lake County strongly supports the addition of Lake County to Senate Bill 2280, and thanks board members Sandy Hart, Judy Martini, and Vance Wyatt for their advocacy.

Let's make Lake County humane and join with 230 cities, towns, and counties, and the state of California to help put a stop to puppy mills.

Denise C. Rolando

Gurnee

 

Lake County Commissioner Vance D. Wyatt on GMAP1 Network

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on March 15, 2018 at 9:05 PM

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Lake County Board election: Four candidates compete for Audrey Nixon's former seat

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on March 7, 2018 at 5:20 PM

Emily K. Coleman

March 7th, 2018, 5:18pm

A four-way race for District 14 on the Lake County Board is pitting the appointed incumbent against a former board member, a North Chicago alderwoman and a local business owner.

The crowded Democratic primary in Waukegan and North Chicago's District 14 follows the death of Audrey Nixon, the longest-serving member on the Lake County Board who, in 1982, became the first African-American woman to serve in that role.

Her seat was filled in June by Vance Wyatt, who at the time was the Foss Park District board president and a member of the North Chicago Public Library board.

Wyatt, 27, said the opportunity appealed to him because as a County Board member, he would be able to make an impact on a variety of issues he was interested in, including the jail population, youth employment and economic development.

"Being on the County Board allows me to affect so many different things that I have a passion about," Wyatt said. "There are so many different portions of the county that (touch) people's lives."

To keep the seat though, Wyatt will have to top a field that includes North Chicago Ald. Bonny Mayfield, business owner Richard Otero Cintron and former Lake County Board member Angelo Kyle. No Republican filed to run in the district, meaning the Democrat emerging victorious on March 20 will continue unopposed to the November general election.

Kyle, 60, served on the Lake County Board from 1990 through 2012, when redistricting moved his Waukegan home into the district represented by Nixon, someone he said he considered a mentor.

Kyle said he wants to return to the County Board to see the completion of projects that he had participated in during their preliminary stages, specifically the Lake County Housing Authority's completion of a new mixed housing development in North Chicago, as well as to assist North Chicago in pursuing a development project centered on a proposed U.S. Navy museum.

 

Kyle said he wants to, "finish the work that I started, to make sure that the work is complete, that the project is complete."

This is Otero Cintron's first time running for office.

Otero Cintron, 48, has been the owner of North Chicago Auto Service on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive for the last 12 years, a job that he said has taken him all over Lake County and put him in touch with many residents.

"I hear my community, all the problems, all the issues — 'Richard, my car needs to be fixed, but I can't pay you til next paycheck,' the paycheck-by-paycheck living style that we have in this community," he said. "It's a beautiful town, but there's a lot of suffering in this community."

As a new member on the board, Otero Cintron said he knows he would have a lot of learning to do, but his focus would be on coalition building and reaching out to nonprofits and other local governments to find out what their needs are.

Mayfield, who has spent nearly seven years on the North Chicago City Council after a brief stint on the North Chicago School District 187 school board, said she's always been interested in serving on the Lake County Board.

The 58-year-old Mayfield said she thinks she can leverage her municipal experience into making a difference at the county level, building a bridge between local groups and bringing resources like health fairs into the community.

As her accomplishments, she pointed to the creation of an annual public safety fair, designed to build trust and familiarity between North Chicago residents and their Police Department, as well as new rules for public meetings to make them more efficient and decorous.

She pointed to crime as one her top priorities, saying she would like to encourage more collaboration between the county and local police departments in addressing gangs.

"I think my big attribute is my passion, and my passion to work with everyone in District 14 to make sure that the people in this district get the resources that are available through the county," Mayfield said. "I think that I can be a bridge to bring those resources to District 14 as a whole.'

Economic development was a core issue for several of the candidates, with Otero Cintron, Kyle and Wyatt all noting that the city of North Chicago lacks a large retail grocery store.

Wyatt said he's been working with a nonprofit to establish a community garden that would fuel a small grocery store, something he hopes would show potential developers that the community can support new business.

Collaboration between private and public entities can lead to substantial changes, he said, pointing to Abbvie's remodeling of the North Chicago Public Library. He also said collaboration between the various neighboring towns is really important.

"I understand that pressure of trying to get more money into their community, but it's going to have that spillover effect as well," Wyatt said. "I think we (should) come together and work as a consortium of communities and understand this is how we're all going to make money."

Wyatt said he's also proposed a tax rebate program for businesses that hire people with criminal records, an idea that's in the research phase with county staff.

Otero Cintron, a Puerto Rican immigrant who moved to North Chicago in 1989, said he'll focus on outreach to existing businesses to encourage their longevity and potential new businesses to address any concerns they might have.

He said his main focus will be creating something for North Chicago's kids and teenagers, perhaps a community center or something similar.

"We live in a world nowadays (where) as soon as our kids step out of the front door, we don't what they're doing, we don't know where they're at," Otero Cintron said. "It's the drugs, the street and the gangs (that can) get a hold of them first. I want to give them something … positive."

Kyle, who organizes Afrofest and other events, said part of his focus would be on helping the city of North Chicago bring the proposed Navyseum and Sheridan Crossing developments to fruition.

Those projects could serve as catalysts for other economic development, Kyle said.

He suggested looking at federal dollars to fund infrastructure improvements, including work on roads and water and sewer lines.

Kyle, who worked at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity before starting his own consulting firm, also pointed to his connections at the state and federal level that could helpful in facilitating other projects.

Kyle said he has had "not only the opportunity but the ability and the knowledge of how to initiate and complete a major economic development project in Lake County."

 

 

Facebook Live Q&A with Lake County Commissioner Wyatt Mar 2018

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on March 6, 2018 at 8:35 PM

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Shantals Shining Stars Lake County Board Member Vance Wyatt

Posted by Vance D. Wyatt on February 24, 2018 at 8:05 PM

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