Wednesday, May 29, 2013


We just went from 27th in the world to 32nd in the world in Math and science.  About 9 million households are raising children without the parents of that child.  College is no longer affordable without ruination.  Skilled jobs go wanting because we are too stupid and unskilled to fill them.

Many people have suggested the problem is education, speculation, moral and spiritual decay and even flouride in water.  None of that is the REAL reason.

The real reason for our demise is on full display.  It has destroyed the purity of our undertakings.  It has destroyed our ability to defer gratification and it is utterly obvious:


Tuesday, May 21, 2013



Mr. President, Commissioners and Mr. Executive Director, thank you for your service and your stewardship.

My name is Anthony Cameron. My address is 529 Hampshire St. I am here as a friend of Scotty Glasgow, a volunteer committeeperson for “the Scotty” and self-appointed counsel for all the youth and beginning golfers of the future. More on that in a minute.

Your third nine is a true treasure. When one finds oneself in possession of a treasure there is a resulting obligation to take care of, to make the most of it.

Let me tell you a brief story about your treasure. It was sometime between 1985 and 1988. I wish I could be more specific about the year.  I was on an airplane from Phoenix to St. Louis. There was a man a few rows behind me who looked very familiar. I thought I had seen his face in a golf magazine. When I got onto the commuter airline to shuttle to Quincy, he was on my flight. We talked. His name was Ed Ault. He was a golf course designer and he was going to Quincy to look at a golf hole that was an outstanding representation of a certain architecture style.  He intended to incorporate that style into a course he was building near Phoenix. The hole? Number 22, a perfect representation of the linksland “washboard” style of conflict without using linksland.

We live in an age of specialization. You have a monopoly on two very valuable things. First, you have the only freestanding nine hole public golf course in the immediate area. Anyone nearby who wants to play nine holes of public golf virtually must come and see you. Is it is an enviable position. Additionally, you have the only contiguous 27 hole facility for more than 100 miles.  No publicly owned facility in downstate Illinois can match your number of holes of availability.

If you were giving up that specialization to create something where you were literally without competition, that would be at least rational. This plan, however, seeks to build an executive course, within one mile of an existing and apparently successful executive course. It also seeks to build a practice facility within 1 mile of an existing and successful practice facility. The logic of tearing down a true monopoly to compete with a benevolent and successful local not-for-profit truly escapes me.

I am told that this decision is driven by a need for new revenue from this portion of the property. Understandably, you wish to increase revenue. To calculate whether anything will increase revenue, you would first have to have a mechanism by which you could know what revenues the third nine now brings in. When someone buys a hot dog, a dozen balls or a golf club, how do you know which nine accounted for that retail purchase? 

How do you know whether your marketing program has optimized the monopoly you have in the treasure that is your third nine? Most respectfully, I believe you are missing data to support any teardown of an existing, viable recreational facility.

Indeed, strongly marketing the third nine might resolve your revenue problem altogether. I’ll bet a lot of local kids would jump at the chance to play nine with a devil or raider varsity player. If a passholder kid could bring his non-passholder playmate out one time all day for two dollars or five dollars, you’d be making more golfers.

Scotty Glasgow always said that the way to succeed in the golf business is to “make more golfers.” My friend and PGA professional, Steve Cramblitt, in his homage to Scotty last Friday said “Scotty was the First Tee before there was a First Tee.”  The purpose of the back nine, as built, was to help “make more golfers.” In the final analysis more golfers in our area means more revenue for Westview.

The National Golf Foundation states that a so-called “core golfer” is a reliable source of revenue for local public courses. The definition of “core golfer,” is a modest one. A core golfer is simply someone who plays 8 or more rounds of golf per year. 

In the 70s and 80s, Quincy made core golfers by the dozen, largely through the inviting nature of the third nine. If that gateway to pleasurable golf is cut off, it can be virtually guaranteed that we will make core golfers at a much slower rate.

National Golf Foundation statistics are difficult for me to access because I am not a member. This much is clear: in every 15 year period there is a roughly five-year period of decline. The other approximately 10 years are growth. By that statistic, it would appear we are coming to the end of the period of decline, which began in approximately 2008. People will need places to play if there is to be growth. Take away golf holes and you don’t give the natural growth a place to happen.

What if you tear out the back nine and find there was and continues to be a need for those golf holes?  Baseline, it costs about a million dollars to build a nine-holer.  Do you really have enough data to make this decision?

Finally, we should focus on your core constituency here at Westview, your season pass holders. By and large they appreciate this place. They respect it. They replace divots and fixe ball marks. They are loyal to the continued success of Westview and are entitled to loyalty in return. Look at your own schedule on your webpage. There are 35 days listed entailing golf course unavailability or closure. Anyone who plays here regularly will tell you there will ultimately be for five more days that are not on the list on your web page but the course is closed for outings or some such. Right now, those passholders can still play golf. If you take out the back nine, you have taken those passholders off the golf course for more than 25% of the viable golf season. (Using 150 days for the golf season and 40 days of golf course closure). If you take that step, you have devalued the pass by about 30% but conditions will not allow you to reduce its purchase price by that much.

Leaving the third nine in and marketing it to “make golfers” yields a realistic business model to increase your revenues. Tearing out the third nine amounts to negative market-making. You will be creating an environment in which the market for your principal service, the enjoyment of golf, inevitably shrinks and shrinks because of conditions, you, the seller, created.

Thank you for the opportunity be heard.  I leave you my complete remarks in written form and a copy of the NGCA economic report on the prospects of golf rebounding.

Friday, May 17, 2013


The studio version of the "Lonnie Dunn Traveling Salvation Show" has been taken down.

The group-grope is still up here.

Lonnie's part of the tribal chant starts up at 19:22 and runs a little past 21:30.  You can just slide the little bead to about 19:20.

Here's the part I don't understand, if one is proud of something like this, why would one take it down, once it has been called to the public's attention?

Your input would be appreciated.

Many of you are looking for my post on "The Scotty" tournament and Scott Glasgow in general.  It'll go up over the weekend.  This little tidbit preempted it.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Today, let's look at the IRS, AP and State Department controversies as symptoms.

Yes, I know that our Republican friends will say "Yeah, symptoms of democrats always being corrupt and overreaching."  If we take a historical look at all this, the second term of the Eisenhower administration gave birth to the military-industrial complex that Ike could caution us against but not do anything about.  The second term of of the Nixon Administration was a Plumbers' crack. (Yes, the apostrophe is in the correct place.)  The second term of the Reagan administration gave us a good guy losing his grasp and the Iran-Contra thuggery, coverup and other Meeses. (and I guess messes.)  The second term of the Clinton Administration gave us biological evidence and a president so toxic (at the time) that Al Gore (I believe incorrectly) ran away from him.  The second term of the Bush administration gave us endless war and the "Big Short".

Second term vaporlock is a bi-partisan disease.

Oh, there a lots of theories why.  The favorite seems to be that the legislative agenda becomes impossible as soon as the next election is in sight.  Some folks like the Hubris theory and some go big for the post-election exhaustion theory.  All have merit but I have my own special favorite.

All the grownups go home in the second term.  There is no buffer to the Valerie Jarretts and Oliver Norths.  You can tolerate overzealous and political amateur types when there are professionals in the building.  When the professionals go home and the kids become principal decision-makers you are in trouble.

Why would Clinton go get Dale Bumpers at the end if Cheryl Mills had everything under control?  Why did Baker have to come back for Reagan.  Why did it take so long for Bush to off Rumsfeld?

Getting grownups to join a second term effort is difficult.  Getting zealots and amateurs, full of piss and vinegar but lacking in judgment is easy.  Imbuing them with judgment and wisdom seems out of reach.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


OK, the DOJ subpoenaed a buttpile of phone contacts from a journalistic organization.  Conceded that's a big deal.  Conceded that the White House has butchered the response.  None of that is my point today.

ALL the networks are bringing on "experts" to describe the situation.  All the "experts" describe, in loving detail, how there exists this "tension" between the Press and the Government's prosecution arm.  Each and every one of them looks so proud of himself as he explains this tension, as if he is revealing one of the great mysteries of the universe.  In fact, they are explaining "Milk comes from cows."

Look, this is a "No shit, Sherlock." situation.  The tension has been in play since the Republic was founded.  The drafters acknowledged the tension by making the First Amendment, well, first.  Uh, guys, it's been around since 1791.  This conflict of doctrine was refined during Watergate.  There is nothing new under the sun.

The First Amendment is first because it addresses the most critical and easily anticipated problem.  The American people get that.  They do not Howie Kurtz, Larry Tribe or Jeanine Pirro to absorb that principle.

To the networks, I would say.  Get better experts.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


As one might expect from my age and military experience, I normally handle the whole death and the grieving thing relatively gracefully.

Not this time. So many really bright people have written so many insightful things about Parker/Chip/Tookie that I am ashamed to admit I could not even compose myself to attempt the task until my young friend was buried.

Understand at the outset that any close friend of Chip's explaining Chip would be something like Dr. Timothy Leary explaining an acid trip. Being close to him was unreal, too real and surreal all at once. He was, at once, brilliant and learning disabled, polite and crude, resolute and maddeningly indecisive, open and cautious, dedicated and distracted.  He was all of us--all of our good and not so good traits-- with the volume knob turned up.  And we loved him all the more for it.

He often told whomever would listen that he suffered from both dyslexia and ADHD. I have not even the foggiest notion where he got that diagnosis but how he reacted to it was instructive. He would bring me books that he had completed and say "I have to read five or six books a week or else my dyslexia and ADHD get worse. You read these and then I'll read them again and will discuss them." At the same time, we would both read statistical matters and his memory of what we had read would far exceed mine. I was skeptical about the whole dyslexia and ADHD thing.  On top of that, he would have a mature and well thought out interpretation of the stats we were reviewing.

It is true that his thought process would sometimes tire and his mind would go to some new shiny object, leaving our discussion someplace utterly unintended.

He knew I didn't care.

That he was somewhat easily distracted madeTwitter the perfect medium for him. In fact one of my first thoughts when I learned of his death was, selfishly, "there will ever be another SEC football game where I tweet my way through it with Chip." The very limitations of time and space imposed by twitter put it right into Chip's "sweet spot."  He was the Prince of the Twitterverse.

As I said earlier, it's impossible to describe the intensity of a close friendship with this man. I will just tell you two stories that capture a little bit of him and leave it at that.

In early 2002 we were working on a project together, we were either on the telephone or at my house every night. Predictably, we would get sidetracked with SEC football talk or local gossip or politics. Around the end of February, the intense work on the project was nearly completed. There was not nearly the constant need to meet or talk as much.

Almost on cue, I suffered a temporarily disabling illness. By March, I was hooked up to an IV and confined to a bed or couch. I kept my illness very quiet, being self-employed. About the second night of the whole ordeal, Chip shows up at my front door with the penultimate draft of our project and wants to discuss several very un-Chip things like font styles and margin sizes. The next night, the same thing. He literally wanted to discuss where to put the commas.  And so it continued for nearly 2 months, Chip thinking he was fooling me that his visits were business and not convalescent calls and me, appreciating his kindness but not letting him know I was aware of his benevolent ruse.  Chip cheering me up but leaving me my dignity and keeping my secret.  When it was over, we never spoke of it again.

The other incident happened in about 2008. We were in a public place and, by sheer chance, Chip witnessed two people that he really liked commit a drunken, gratuitous act of bigotry. He was also fond of the victims of this act of bigotry. He didn't hesitate in taking sides. He called out the bigoted action and let the offenders know in no uncertain terms that they needed to leave the victims alone. It was interesting to see how my old Sunday school pupil and ballplayer had, at some point, decided what his standards were and what kind of man he wanted to be. Aside from being a bit worried how I was going to have to pull him off of these guys, I was proud of him. When we talked about it a few days later, I told him his sense of justice was a credit to his mom and dad but that is conflict resolution skills could use a little improvement.  We both laughed.

There are 1 million ways to describe Chip, all comprehensively inadequate. All I know for sure is that it will be years before I stop reaching for the phone in an impulse to share with Chip the ironies of football, politics, the neighborhood, the business environment and the geist that surrounds the place where he lived and that he loved.

As I said on Twitter, and he is already inside the pearly gates because SEC guys go in the first round.

Too soon gone, Chipper.  Roll Tide!

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Again, no dispute with the BSA's right to keep its current policies and no quarrel with those who will withdraw from BSA if the policy changes.  Whatever gets one up in the morning.

But the arguments are instructive.

This is a 37 minute "I'll pretend to listen to you if  you'll pretend to listen to me" fest.  I suggest you watch some of it, especially the women, then slide to about minute 19-21:30 to see Mr. Dunn's less edited version.

To view the vid click here.

I am nearly speechless.

VIDEO: HONESTLY SOLICITING YOUR SERIOUS COMMENTS (Please read the preamble before you watch the vid.)

I understand the BSA is reconsidering their "closet gays only" policy and there has been a more permissive one circulated.  I understand that everyone, even a prospective public official, is entitled to personal views on this topic.  Certainly, most legal scholarship and case law supports the right of the BSA as an NGO to restrict its membership pretty much any way it wants.

Don't care to debate any of that here.  What I want to know--and please comment here rather than on FB or Twitter--your impressions, your reactions to what you see.  I do not want to argue about it, although I may later share mine.  I guess the  ultimate question is "how do you feel watching this?"

Click here to watch video (Just a bit more than two minutes).

Whether you feel the topic is the role of a scoutmaster, the rights of  NGOs, the speaker's grasp of adult sexual behavior or just "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?," please comment here, as opposed to in the social media. I seriously and earnestly want to here from anyone who will kindly share his or her views on this.

I know what Tookie would have said.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Here is what is hurting my head today.  There are all these experts out there commenting on security protocols for diplomatic outposts.  Some of them could probably even pull Benghazi off a pin map.

That's fine.  I like to learn stuff from real experts.

But, if they are so expert in the protection of diplomatic personnel and missions, why are all their posts, statuses and comments Cut and Paste Jobs?

Friday, May 10, 2013


Among the comments I rec'd yesterday was a very long one from someone I respect greatly and have worked with and against.  Before I could publish his long comment, he wrote again and asked me to pull it.  This is the last thought in a much longer narrative and I thought it was worth reposting and I do with his permission.   Except for cleaning up his grammar a bit, it is verbatim.  

With all the interesting things going on in the world (Benghazzi, Quincy Park District Westview Tempest, Illinois Pension Wars), I had no intention of writing today about City Politics or its interesting governing techniques.  This one is really not about anything but how a friend treats and friend.  The author's outrage on behalf of the Havermale family is very authentic:

Mr. Moore..... If you're reading this..... COUNT THE FREAKING VOTES BEFORE YOU PUT SOMEONES FAMILY NAME IN FRONT OF THE SCRUTINY OF THE MEDIA!!!!! You did the Havermale family (who are very good people) a great injustice by not finding out whether you had the support to put Paul in.  You opened their family up to unnecessary ridicule by handling this in a rookie manner. The media wouldn't have touched this issue until you announced his name. You further failed by having an alderman deliver the news to Mr. Havermale that the votes on his nomination weren't there.  Even if you're an unskilled politician, you could have been a faithful friend.

Thursday, May 09, 2013


During the general election campaign, Kyle's principal purpose was to craft a sentence that had a noun, a verb and the word "Hydro" in it. All told, not a bad strategy. Somewhat dishonestly presented, but an effective political strategy. Peachy. That was his way of telling people not to vote for John Spring.

That, of course, left Moore needing some reason that people should vote for him, as opposed to against John Spring.  Somewhat artfully, his backup argument became, paraphrased, "John Spring is simply too old and has been in office too long to think long range or futuristically."  Kyle, on the other hand, presented himself as the second coming of Stephen Hawking, able to picture things as they will be in the future, invent flubber and replicate Fred Flintstone's DNA. It was simply a not very subtle age discrimination argument.  

The fundamental problem with making the "Stephen Hawking" argument is that it constitutes a promise to actually be that thinker who can project things out and play things out through their natural progressions.  Many of my friends are gleefully pointing out that there is nothing very futuristic about failing to grasp that it would be difficult to have the Council confirm a guy with a massive 941 tax problem. At least a week out, it should have been obvious to anyone not abusing intoxicants that Moore's team had best develop a B plan. While loyalty to your campaign aide may be laudable, stubbornness and the inability to look at alternatives is more than a few clicks short of Hawking. 

Similarly, thuggishly whacking a city engineer and Comptroller on either half-assed or no legal advice, again with no plan B, shows an inability to game things out to their natural conclusion. I completely understand that Kyle had to show the knuckle – draggers that he could be really politically tough and fire Dick Durbin's Chief of Staff's brother-in-law and the employee who wrote a letter to the editor taking issue with some of Kyle's own positions. I understand also that, after this rock started rolling down this hill, Team Kyle finally reached out (of town) to what they hoped were real lawyers and who perhaps knew something about personnel law (no doubt certified USDA Prime by Aaron Schock).  The trouble with outside legal advice is "garbage in, garbage out."    "Details" like when the City Engineer was actually appointed sort of matter.  That's usually the kind of thing that clients tell lawyers.  Of course, these phantom outside lawyers had no client because the City of Quincy hadn't hired them.  Imagine that!  A contract law issue!  

Ultimately, we come back to the confirmation of Kyle's  legal staff. His nominee for city attorney has no enemies, political or otherwise. His nominee for assistant Corporation counsel is universally recognized as one of the bright young professionals in town and actually comes from a Republican law firm. Still something about the three-person Slate was radioactive and it was obvious to anybody watching that it was going to be radioactive among Republicans. It did not take Carl Sagan to figure out that Slate was not going to get confirmed on opening night. Again, where is the futuristic thinking?  

But let's be balanced about this. Except for the indefensible Department Head firings, which will no doubt cost the city big money in the future, the rest of this is minor league "political junkie" material. No damage has  been done yet. No real payroll has been added to the lean profile that Kyle was left. The city can go a few weeks without a DAS. The legal Slate will probably be confirmed next week and that's at least 67% of a good thing. 

To be utterly fair to Kyle, we have learned that, in the short-term, is not very poised and not a very good judge of character. On the other hand we haven't learned much about how he will govern and where he wants to take the city.. It would be wrong to judge him on a truly comprehensive failure to be up and running on day one. He is not the first Mayor to have trouble getting his people in place and he will not be the last.  I, for one, will give him a pass on the startup thing. I'd rather watch the patently phony job creation thing and meter the crony factor. 

Clean slate for now. Gentleman, I would suggest you start your engines pretty damn quick.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


The City's Director of Administrative Services Must have three attributes:  First, be really good at understanding and interpreting financial data; Second, have a basic understanding of personnel issues and labor law requirements and, Most Importantly, His or her word must be golden.  Everyone must be able to rely on a promise given by the DAS/Deputy Mayor.

It is already obvious that this administration's interpretation of integrity and good character is different from mine so I will just say the list below does not amount, in all respects to a character endorsement.  It also doesn't mean that anyone below is looking for a new job.

In no particular order, here are some choices to fill the Director of Administrative Services Position, all of whom have the capability to do a good job:

Travis Brown

John Heidbreder

Jon McCoy

Lisa Rapp

Jean Reddington

Sayeed Ali

Paula Connell

Bob Dixon

Bill Metzinger

Mel Dillman

Sue Voth

Randy McFarland

Joe Padavic

John Tournear

Mike McCabe

Jill Arnold Blickhan

David Kent

Dick Klusmeyer

Mike Troup

Jerry Carnivale

Bill Daniels

Dave Daniels

Randy Hughes

Mike Farha

Harry Cramer

John Latour

Bill Latour

Dr. Gary Carter

Don Crim

Jay Graff

Tom Carpenter

Ron Kelly

Tim Wies

Chris Larson

Ron Dreyer

Phil Featheringill

Donna Veile

Kim Niekamp

Mark Tyrpin

Eric Larson

Scott Ruff

Donna Niekamp

Bottom Line here is that there is no shortage of talent here in the immediate Quincy area.  If the Mayor wants a skilled manager, rather than a crony, there he has a target-rich environment.

And the above list is off the top of my head after a difficult day.  Bet every reader could add two or three hot prospects.

It's time for self-proclaimed long range planning leaders to lead.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


Life-Changing Experience (click here)

I liked working with this last police chief so much, I did it for free.

I guess it's conservative to fire a competent guy who works at a job for free, if he's a known democrat!  Of course, these boys wouldn't know that because nobody every asked me "What is it you do and how do you charge us for it?"

Much more to the point, thanks to all the police personnel who made these last 37 years such a great experience.  See ya'll down the road.

If you had trouble with the link, see below:

                                                      ANTHONY B. CAMERON
                                                            ATTORNEY AT LAW

Telephone:  (217) 228-8669                                                                                            E-mail:
Telefax:       (217) 228-2225                                                                                                   IL Attorney No. 0374555
                                                                                                                                                AR Attorney No.  73137

May 7, 2013

Chief Robert Copley
Quincy Police Department
110 South 8th Street
Quincy, IL  62301

                        Re:      End of Years as Counsel

My Dear Friend Chief Copley:

            For more than the last thirty-five years, I have been in one or more consultative roles with the Quincy Police Department, the last twenty-eight as the Department’s principal civil advisor. 

No service in my career has been the source of more pride and satisfaction than this relationship.  Through five Chiefs, talented Command Staff, highly skilled and motivated Officers and exemplary civilian staff, I have experienced all the joy, heartbreak, humor and serious learning that goes on inside of an urban police station.  To have shared all those things has been an enormous privilege. 

In serving the Department, it has always been my attempt to combine balance, discretion and professionalism with the legal skills and training I brought to the job. I have had no client for whom I saw greater success, over time, than your Department. 

Many years ago, Chief Wilson and I decided to meet weekly to prevent problems, where possible, and to address them early when they appeared anyhow.  Chief DeVoss and you continued those weekly meetings.  In addition to providing good “preventative medicine,” we often had a lot of fun on Monday mornings.  I truly appreciated our meetings. 

After I retired as an employee, we continued the meetings.  I volunteered not to charge the City for that time.  For the last four years, that service has always been at “no charge.”

If circumstances permitted, I would gladly continue this work until my retirement from the practice of law.  I would love to continue to provide the Department with an adult lifetime of institutional legal memory.  That, for better or for worse, is not how the Real World works.  Effective May 7, 2013, at 12:01 a.m., I will no longer be the Quincy Police Department’s lead civil advisor or its attorney in any respect at all.

I was proud to have brought a few sundry skills to the table. I had a grasp of how a police station operates.  Through effort, time and resources, I knew personnel handling and discipline of Peace Officers is completely different from any other sort of Human Resources practice. From my military experience, I know weapons and assault strategy.  My time as a lifeguard actually helped me understand tasers and AED’s.  

It would be difficult to advise a Police Chief on taser use, pursuit policy, K-9 use or racial profiling issues without understanding what it is that police, particularly patrol officers, actually do and face.

It is my hope you find some of this in my replacement.  It is also my hope you are able to continue a preventative approach to legal issues.

            On an interpersonal level, it is amazing that our personal time working together will come to almost nine years.  Because it was pleasant, it flew by.  I know I have left the Department better than I found it and hope my efforts have assisted you to that same end. 

While this letter is addressed to you personally and while l am enormously proud of and grateful for our time together, I intend it to be a salute and an expression of gratitude to every Chief, Command Staff member, Supervisor, Officer and employee with whom I shared this time.  I am the better for having had each of them as a colleague.

            Best personal regards. 


                                                                        /s/ Anthony B. Cameron

cc:       Chief Gruber
            Chief Wilson
            Chief DeVoss
            D/C LaTour
            D/C Cramer
            Captain Capps
            President Giles

Sunday, May 05, 2013


This was kind of a busy text and telephone day.

If a mere random blogger of no political import, like me, had his smartphone melt, I cannot imagine what it must have been like for the real players.

In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that aldermen Havermale and I interacted several times today. As I have said before, he and I were friendly and I have sympathy for what he and his family are feeling now.

A lot of the hurt arises from the fact that the decision-makers took four days to decide – and then communicate the Paul – that the inevitable was, well, inevitable.

If, for whatever reason, the local Republican Party felt compelled to put Paul's name up for nomination, then it should have been done humanely with support and a little intelligence. First of all, they should've found a crisis manager for him. They should've helped him, starting April 10, get his story out in detail and with complete transparency to all the media and all of the Republican alderman, with Paul sitting there until every question was answered, no matter how insulting or insipid. It was unfair to Paul and unfair to the other Republican alderman for anyone on the Council to have been surprised by this.

Several excellent public relations experts have published books on crisis management. There is a playbook for something like this. Because Paul was left on his own, there was nobody to explain the playbook to him.

So, when I criticized Paul's public statement, I now know I was criticizing his team's failure to support him in anything even vaguely resembling a humane way. [More on the humane behavior of the local Republican Party later this week.]

Before this topic becomes utterly dead to me (in about 120 seconds), I wish to add one thing. In my original piece on this topic, late last week, I used the word "dishonest" three times. If you will look at the context, you will see that word describes Paul's press response to the tax situation, his public utterance on the subject. I never suggested his tax returns or any of his contacts with the IRS or fraudulent or dishonest. The topic where that word came up was the topic of intellectual dishonesty.

Last thing I want to do is pile on.  Nothing to see here people.....move along

Saturday, May 04, 2013


It has been an experience since I posted yesteday's extended article.

I have been stopped by no fewer than fifty people in my rounds today to talk about this.  I have had five calls from three journalists and talked to multiple Aldermen of both parties.

Frankly, the talk boils down into two categories.  The first category is pretty much "How screwed are his employees?"  (Answer: not very).  The second category is "when does Paul get a chance to tell his story?"

Two answers to that second one.  First, to be coarse, "he had his chance and he pissed it away by sending out a very substandard prefab release."  Second, He can have a second chance.  He can send me anything he wants and I will print it verbatim.  If it is more prefab bullshit, I will certainly comment on it, but I will print it verbatim.  He has my email or he can send it in as a comment.  I will place it in a post and feature it.  No extra charge.  I would hope he corrects anything out there he thinks is factually incorrect and that he doesn't practice indirection, like Kyle Moore did on his behalf.

I also hope he realizes that this has himself and Moore in a Helluva spot.  Denial is not a river in Egypt.

Y'all come!

Friday, May 03, 2013


The new mayor announced his management team today.

There must have been at least three or four people in town who did not already know that the designated Director of Administrative Services (A/K/A Deputy Mayor) was Paul Havermalel and that Paul was the General Manager of a corporation and a named principal involving a butt pile of Federal tax Liens, Levies and other fun IRS stuff.

Two things should be said up front.  I have known Paul since childhood and I like him.  Further, I have known about this tax problems for a very long time and argued strongly against any airing of them in the recent  political contest.  (Not that any political insiders really gave a rat's ass what I think...but that is a topic for another day.)

Once Paul was designated by the mayor- elect for his important job, Channel 7 had no real choice but to commit an act of journalism and publicize Paul's tax mess (and make no mistake about it it is Paul's tax mess.).

I have not made any attempt to drill down into the nature of Paul's specific tax liability. More on that shortly.

As a general rule, an incoming Chief Executive should be entitled to select his management team and have them confirmed without a hassle. If the Chief Executive is going to be responsible, he needs to be able to select his management team. I make three exceptions to this general rule: First, if the nominee has a problem involving moral turpitude, that is, straight up antisocial or corrupt behavior; Second, if, for whatever reason, the Chief Executive's own party is not unanimous on the nominee; and, third, if the nominee is demonstrably baseline incompetent.

Since the DAS role is inherently subjective, the third one does not apply to Paul.

The issue with the failure to pay taxes is complex. Not all tax defaults are created equal. One form of tax is simple income tax. Taxpayers pay estimates and sometimes they don't estimate enough. Sometimes, taxpayers just choose to use for lifestyle what they should pay for estimates . This is probably poor judgment and certainly bad financial management but is not tinged with any moral turpitude. In terms of the impact of collection, the taxpayer is not hurting anyone but himself. Internal Revenue will eventually get the money with interest and the society is not harmed.

Alas, there is another category of tax that an employer must pay, the dreaded 941 tax.  It is hugely different.

Oversimplified, employers take employee withholding out of the employees' pay for federal tax, Social Security and Medicare. They hold this money from the employee in trust, then match the Social Security and Medicare portions with the so-called "employer contribution." Depending upon a number of things, the employer then has a deposit schedule, sometimes known as a "schedule B" deposit schedule. The employer sends this money to the federal government and withholding is credited to the employee. The employee also gets credit for Social Security and Medicare contributions.

This is vital and it is something the employee has earned. The handling of this kind of tax is completely different from general, federal income tax. The employer is holding the employee's earnings in trust. Those earnings, while paid to the government, are technically the property of the employee while being held by the employerbefore deposit. In other words, whether the employer acknowledges it or not, the employer holds one of the most significant positions in our society, the employer is a trustee.

When a trustee converts assets from a trust to its own use, that is one of the vilest acts of conversion that can happen in Western society. When the Chief Financial Officer in Dixon stole all those millions of dollars, it was basically theft from a trust. When you occasionally read of a lawyer taking personal injury money or estate money, as happened here a year or so ago, that is a theft or conversion from a trust. Taking money that does not belong to you when you are a trustee of that money is, frankly, an act of moral turpitude. There is no way to put a happy face on it.

It is not too strong to say that, when an employer does not pay 941s, he is stealing from his employees. He is stealing in real time because he is taking their federal tax contributions. Moreover he is stealing a portion of their future because he is depriving them of Social Security and Medicare contributions. Indirectly, he is affecting everyone in the Medicare pool because he is reducing the amount of general contributions and that changes the actuarial calculations. The failure to pay 941s, in addition to being a breach of trust, is an act of negative citizenship (this is a lousy term that I am using to avoid saying "anarchy.")

Again, if these are 941 taxes, a contention that they were not being paid to "protect the employees" is disingenuous at best and baseline dishonest. If the employer's failing to pay the 941s he is taking money that is already the property of the employees, earned once and using it to pay the employer's payroll obligations and to maintain the benefit of the labor of the employees.

The argument that not paying 941s is some kind of act of grace toward employees is simply incorrect, tantamount to saying one had to destroy the village to save it.

This raises a whole different issue.  Paul's explanation is that he made these difficult choices to save jobs.  If the taxes are 941's, Paul's explanation is unacceptably dishonest.  If he holds a public job, who is going to believe a word he says.  If someone will lie about his employees, he will lie about anything.  Is not a presumption of credibility an important asset in a Deputy Mayor?

I do not know whether there are 941 taxes in Paul's obligation. If there are, they constitute an issue of fitness for duty.  A man who takes money from his employees' trust and then says he did it for the good of his employees is not worthy of the public trust.

Paul deserves a hearing on that issue.  Perhaps the taxes aren't 941's.  Perhaps, notwithstanding his title as 'General Manager," he is not legally responsible for all this (although one wonders why the liens are out against him personally.)

It is unfair to ask the City Council to digest this in one night.  The duty of clarity and transparency is on Paul and the new Mayor.  That begins with a document dump.  The Aldermen should have  the full tax package and the opportunity to ask questions of Paul until they are satisfied this is just an income tax issue.  If this is a 941 issue, he should not occupy a position of trust.

I am not accusing Paul of failing to render 941 taxes.  My hope is that he didn't engage in any of that.   I am saying that the Council deserves to know which it is.  If the unpaid taxes include long term 941s, both a conversion from trust and a dishonest explanation have taken place.  Those are not character traits fitting a second in command.

This is an agonizing decision and the Council should not be required to digest it in five minutes.  If a delay inconveniences Paul or the Mayor-elect, that is the product of Paul's utterances and actions and the Mayor's late announcement of his Deputy-designate.  The Council should take whatever time it needs to examine this.  If it is determined that the back taxes are 941s, then and only then is Paul unqualified on grounds of moral turpitude or simple dishonesty.

For the Council not to make that inquiry would breach their public trust.  And, yes, this is a very uncomfortable situation.  The burden of fixing it is on the nominee and the Mayor, not the Council.

UPDATE:  The Whig this midafternoon has revised its online version (after publishing the hardcopy) to include the following:

Paul Havermale said ASI fell behind by about $400,000 in payments to cover employer and employee Social Security and Medicare taxes, employee federal withholding taxes and the business' federal unemployment taxes between 2001 and 2011. The IRS assessed fines and penalties that increased the total owed to $745,698.87, he said.

In English, this means that Paul's business was not paying 941 taxes (Employees' Money) and not paying federal unemployment tax, kind of a floor for the national Unemployment Scheme that supports displaced and terminated workers while they look for new work.

If you have already read through the original post, you realize that, if true, this means that Paul's business was taking money from its employees' checks and not sending that money in whole to the Treasury.  Again, if this description is accurate, Paul's press release explanation about "standing up" for his employees is beyond deceptive.  It is duplicitous.

If the allegations in the newspaper are correct (and they are likely taken from public documents) the question asks itself "Is this the guy you want making policy for 300 plus employees?"