Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Obamarama - Boosting the wrong guy? *** Updated x1 ***
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Obamarama - Boosting the wrong guy? *** Updated x1 ***

Friday, Jan 12, 2007

[Updated and bumped to the top.]

Why would Senator Obama give a political boost to embattled Harvey Mayor Eric Kellog just before the municipal elections?

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama has picked an interesting spot to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Harvey.

The troubled city claimed the minor coup Thursday when the in-demand senator’s office announced he will speak to an expected audience of 2,000 at St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church.

Obama, who is pondering a bid for the presidency, will be joined by Harvey Mayor Eric J. Kellogg, said St. Mark’s pastor, Bishop William Jordan.

The senator will be in Harvey for “reflection, not politics,” his spokesman Julian Green said, adding he did not know if Obama was aware of a series of scandals plaguing Kellogg’s administration.

Kellogg is accused of ordering police to return a gun taken in evidence to a murder suspect and faces allegations of police and financial corruption.

Jordan said Kellogg was slated to introduce Obama, but Green later said the pastor would do the honors.

Here’s a bit of background on Kellog.

Harvey Mayor Eric J. Kellogg ordered one of his detectives to make a gun seized from a convicted felon vanish from evidence, authorities said Friday in the latest scandal to plague Harvey police and the first to finger the mayor in potentially criminal behavior.

In an October meeting with other unnamed Harvey officials, “Public Official A” told Detective Hollis Dorrough to “help with the case and return property” to the defandant’s stepfather, whom he had known for years, prosecutors said at Dorrough’s Friday morning court appearance.

Sources close to the case named Kellogg as “Public Official A” and said Kellogg’s bodyguards are the other “unnamed officials.”

And guess who Kellogg’s attorney is? Why it’s Sam Adam, Jr., the same guy who is representing Ald. Arenda Troutman. Adam had this to say yesterday about Troutman’s case.

“(S)he never took any money to do anything illegal.”

The problem isn’t whether her official actions were legal, the problem is that she allegedly took money to make the calls and write the letters.

Anyway, Harvey is so screwed up that the Daily Southtown has a special page devoted to the town on its website. The page is called “Eye on Harvey,” and it’s an instructive read. Perhaps the Senator’s staff should go check it out.

Here are a few stories from the site.

* Harvey candidate sues mayor, officer

A Harvey mayoral candidate filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Mayor Eric Kellogg and a police officer Kellogg rehired, claiming they falsely arrested her for political gain.

* Harvey rehires felon

Son of former school board president was convicted of fraud, theft for bilking state out of $10,000 in student aid money

* Harvey wins a Worsty

The Illinois Press Association has identified the worst offenders in the state when it comes to the Illinois Open Meetings Act and the Illinois Freedom of Information Act — and the city of Harvey made the list.

Called the Worsties, each year the IPA recognized the state’s 10 worst violators of the public’s right to know. This year, Harvey came in at No. 3, right behind Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his administration.

“Harvey city officials hit on a unique way to hide its fiscal problems. Don’t do the paperwork,” the IPA said, noting Harvey’s efforts to avoid releasing public records. The stalling tactics and noncompliance with state law prompted the Daily Southtown to sue the city of Harvey.

*** UPDATE *** One of Mayor Eric Kellog’s opponents in the upcoming election has just sent out a press release. Here’s part of it.

Anthony L. McCaskill – Candidate for Mayor of the city of Harvey – is requesting that U.S. Senator Barak Obama use his time in the politically corrupt town of Harvey to confront the many ills of the community. McCaskill is appealing to the U.S Presidential hopeful to speak out against culture of corruption in Harvey as well as announce a measure that would allow more public safety funds for the citizens of Harvey.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Leroy - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 6:32 am:

    As a former Harvey resident, all I have to say is the divine hand of God himself (and by God, I don’t mean Obama) couldn’t save that place.

    Just to put this in perspective: If you saw the 1979 movie ‘The Blues Brothers’, there is a scene where the Blues Brothers go nuts driving through a shopping mall, trashing it completely. That mall was Dixie Mall, in Harvey. The mall was closed in early 1979 due to lack of business. They filmed the Blues Brothers in the fall of 1979.

    It was been sitting abandoned since. Yes, a derelict mall sitting abandoned for 30 years in a Chicago suburb.

  2. - This is a story? - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 7:28 am:

    I guess I forgot…a U.S. Senator only represents the “nice” parts of his state, and certainly has no business going to places where help is particularly needed.

    If we started linking attention from our elected officials to whether or not other officials our neighbors elected were corrupt, I’m not sure how many of us could claim representation in Congress.

    MLK day is a time to focus on the affluent and untroubled rather than on those that could still use a hand…right?

  3. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 7:34 am:

    LOL. It’s not about Harvey. That’s a disingenuous complaint and either you’re trying to deflect or you’re not a very good reader.

    Nobody disputes that Harvey is in dire need of help and that the residents could use a hand up.

    The piece above is about Mayor Kellogg’s troubles and how Obama’s presence next to him could boost Kellogg’s re-election.

    Try again.

  4. - DOWNSTATE - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 7:35 am:

    This only shows that he is still a Chicago hack and corruption does not bother him.It also shows that he is not ready for the national spotlight.

  5. - Rich Guiney - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 7:55 am:

    Obama may not be worse than other politicians. But he is fairly typical. Obama has many sleazy associations, not that he did something wrong exactly, from Cairo Illinois to Resko to Harvey.
    It is a reality of being a politician especially in Illinois were we have a lower bar.
    The media is putting Obama on a pedastal to high.

  6. - Cassandra - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 8:03 am:

    Looks like Obambi’s staff members are so busy plotting national strategy that they have forgotten to do their homework on the ole home state.

    I guess from here on out we’ll have one senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, as Obambi prepares for his appointment with destiny.

  7. - Snidely Whiplash - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 8:20 am:

    Golly gee, first Stroger, then Reszko, now Kellogg. Hmmmm, the Messiah could NEVER be about business as usual … Unless, of course, he is angling to play “Curtis” in “Blues Brothers 2007.” Could be … if nothing else, a Messiah must have plenty of soul (so to speak).

  8. - Bridget Dooley - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 8:27 am:

    I see where you’re going with this, Rich, and I agree that it seems odd and that things like this are rarely just as they are on the surface. Does anyone have any idea who actually organized this function? His future Prez campaign staff? His Illinois staff? That would be helpful to know.

  9. - fedup dem - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 9:42 am:

    From my vantage point, it looks like Kellogg, even though he is clearly a piece of political garbage, is likely to win re-election in April as long as he faces five challengers who will divide the anit-Kellogg vote.

  10. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 10:16 am:

    Yesterday I blogged about how Obama needs to be ready to address concerns US voters will have with any presidential candidate from Chicago. Voters know shorthand. They know what a San Francisco Democrats is. They know what a Massachusetts Liberal is. They know what a Georgia Republican is. So, they know what a Chicago Democrat is too, but haven’t connected Obama to that image - yet.

    He made Giannoulais. He endorsed Stroger, even after the machinations to give him the nomination. His governor-buddy is covered in investigations. His mayor-buddy is clinging to this job as more Hired-Trusters go down. Now he is endorsing Kellogg?

    Lucky for him Troutman was an advisor for Edwards and not him. But how much can Obama shake these affiliations and still look virginal?

    If I were advising his opponents, I advise them to always refer to Obama as a “Democrat from Chicago” and let the voter start putting 2 and 2 together.

    Being raised politically in a stink hole with that parade of corrupted politicians can be one of Obama’s weaknesses to exploit. Get ready for a lot of opposition research types to video the Kellogg/Obama lovefest.

  11. - Squideshi - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 11:19 am:

    I’ve called Obama’s campaign office three times during the past three weeks, and no one will call me back. If that’s any indication of how he plans to do business once in office, no thanks.

  12. - Pat Hickey - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 12:27 pm:

    Let’s all try to remember how the hard-hitting reporters portrayed Eric Kellog in the rush to evict Harvey’s last good Mayor, Nick Graves. Kellog was the school board member who would sweep out the old tired ways. The guy was punk loooong before he became Mayor.

    Whoever is handling Obama on this visit and photo op might be one of those genius journalists who excitedly touted Kellog. Obama still has too many rank amateur giving him counsel. He’s toast once the Arkansas Hill-Billies get their steel into his ribs.

  13. - Just Observing - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 1:27 pm:

    I think the mall in the Blues Brothers was in Ford Heights,not Harvey, but I could be wrong.

    My predicition is that Marion Beck will be the next Mayor of Harvey — she is a Thornton Township Trustee and President of the Harvey Library District. If Zucarelli backs her… she has a very good shot.

  14. - Stomp Da Yard - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 4:06 pm:

    It was Dixie Mall in Harvey:

    Quite the destination for urban explorers.

  15. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 4:33 pm:

    Mr. McCaskill doesn’t seem to understand the reason Obama is in town. He is there for “reflection”, you know, the thing that Obama tells us he does all the time.

    He is reflecting with the Mayor. Who, it seems, will be reflecting over how he landed Golden Boy on MLK day before his admiring throngs of voters. If Obama turns Kellogg into a Sister Souljah does what McCaskill wants, then we could be seeing some kind of a weird Animal Farm purge meeting.

    Imagine Obama reflecting and demanding Kellogg to admit to the crimes he is suspected of doing before being hauled off by police.

    Nah, not going to happen.

    McCaskill seems not to understand that Obama would have to do that not only to Kellogg, but to Daley, Blagojevich, Giannoulais, Stroger, and possibly a dozen US Congressmen and City Aldermen.

    Nah, Obama won’t start doing that, will he?

  16. - VanillaMan - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 4:35 pm:

    One more thing…
    Isn’t it funny how many “Public Official A” Obama knows and shows up at campaign stops with?

  17. - Rod's Brush - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 4:43 pm:

    The dots move a little closer, when it’s shown on the state board of elections that Sam Adam, Jr. contributed over $6,000 to the campaign of our new state treasurer.

  18. - phocion - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 5:07 pm:

    He doesn’t have to denounce corruption, so he won’t. But at some point, his silence when his voice is needed will cost him.

  19. - Bill Baar - Friday, Jan 12, 07 @ 8:41 pm:

    Is he serious about running for Prez? This just convinces me Obama as Clinton’s stalking horse makes more and more sense. He can’t be running for Prez accumulating this kind of baggage.

  20. - Harry Hopkins - Monday, Jan 15, 07 @ 4:22 pm:

    If I recall Dr. King, he wasn’t hanging out in Manhattan. Dr. King was not in Beverly Hills. Folks said ‘Why are you going to Harvey? Harvey has lots a problems.’ I said that why I’m going to Harvey.”

  21. - Rambo - Sunday, Feb 25, 07 @ 4:28 pm:

    I was born and raised in Chicago, though I currently live in Pennsylvania, I have always kept up with the news back home. Barack Obama is a Pandoras Box full of unknown dangers for the welfare and survival of our democracy. Now i know why I never heard of him before Hollywood chose to craft a new “Golden Boy” for the Democratic Party. We voted out our own “Golden Boy” Rick Santorum, last fall. The voters in our state realized that he was really too good to be true, and I am afraid that Illinois will be seeing the same in their “fresh” new presidential candidate Obama. As the wife of a soldier that served fifteen months in the “sandbox” during the beginning of the Iraq Conflict Iwas not impressed with Barack Obama’s handling of the David Geffen controversy. I do not blame Senator clinton for her vote to support the incursion back in 2003, after all, it was overwhelmingly supported by both parties, and over %75 of the American Public. Senator Clinton read the reports and acted on the information at hand because she believed that we were at risk of another potentially more devestating attack from terrorists supported by Saddam Hussein. It was nearly six months later that the truth began to unravel, and we all discovered that the intelligence was doctored, and or fabricated. Senator Clinton had the best interests of the American people at heart, Obama apparently lacks the maturity and the experience to see the truth himself, and that is why he is incapable of leading this country and keeping us safe from the terrorists who want to destroy our freedoms and our way of life.With a nineteen year old daughter in the Army Reserves I trust her life and her welfare with the capabilities and experience of a leader who will make sound judgements - Senator Hillary Clinton, we don’t need another unknown in the White House to mess things up!

  22. - Rambo - Monday, Feb 26, 07 @ 11:35 am:

    There are two kinds of candidates that I just won’t vote for- One, is someone who weaves their way to the top of the pack by glossing over their past mistakes with excuses, and the second kind is someone who plays the blame game concerning bad decisions they have made to make themselves look good. Someone who admits to having taken hard core drugs during a time when only ardent users were actually using is a scary admission at best. And when that person then explains his misteps away by blaming his social inequities and the anger of his inner persona instead of admitting that he made an egregious mistake, we lose.My friend lost her only child last year because of drugs, she was only seventeen and no mentor came forward to show our youth why drugs just aren’t the solution to their problems. Too bad Obama couldn’t find it within himself to encourage America’s children to avoid his pitfalls by steering them away from excuses, helping them avoid or overcome their own pitfalls. The fact that this issue was avoided proves to me that the user and excuser is a wimp without purpose. A whiner who lays blame on the easiest and most convenient cause of his bad decisions- society. In a era when our youth are losing their lives at an alarming rate due to the growing problems caused by drug addiction in our country, this person could have been a positive role model by accepting the fault as his own, but he didn’t, so we are left wondering how easily this person will run from responsibility if elected to higher office. After researching the net for information on the Rezko debacle, it is also clear that close friends can sometimes become a painful thorn in our sides, in this case however, the mutual friendship says an awful lot about what we the American people can expect in a Barack Obama candidacy- is that a risk we are really willing to take post 9/11?

  23. - Concerned - Tuesday, Feb 27, 07 @ 2:31 pm:

    I can’t believe that everyone has missed Obama’s actual meesage in Harvey. He did not support Kellogg nor any other candidate while he was there on MLK Day. Kellogg wasn’t even allowed to sit on the same stage with Obama nor was he able to welcome him publically to Harvey.Obama blasted the city for its short falls and corrpution.He also blasted the voters for not voting at all. You remember only 6,000 voters turned out to vote in a town of 40,000 in the last election. The person who got the most votes was an Alderman Ronald J. Waters now running for Mayor.

  24. - RUKIDDING - Sunday, Mar 18, 07 @ 3:56 pm:

    Maybe one of these days you should travel to Harvey and see all of the work that Kellogg has done. McCaskill can say and ask for all he wants but he lacks the experience and know how to run a city. Don’t you think that a crooked cop is going to say anything to TRY to get himself out of trouble and stay out of jail? Nobody made the cop SELL the gun back to that criminal. Not Kellogg not anyone, except for the fact that the officer thought he was above the law. Obama should back Kellogg! Unless you live in harvey, have a vested LEGAL interest in harvey, you should leave the upcoming election to the citizens of HARVEY!

  25. - Tired of It - Monday, Apr 9, 07 @ 11:41 am:

    I got off the subject a bit. Obama backed Kellogg the same reason Rep. Jesses Jackson Jr. and Sen. James T. Meeks backed Nick Graves in 2004 even though Graves was corrupt and did nothing for Harvey but get the city into debt. It’s all about favors. You rub my back and I’ll rub yours even though you are corrupt. That is the political machine that we have grown to love. If politicians were really who they say they are, honest, then they would have few friends in politics because it is all about the money. Count how many political figures have been charged with political corruption in the last 20 years. Birds of a feather flock together. Most politicians are corrupt, and many have not been caught yet. Change the game, then there will be results.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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