Sunday, March 22, 2009

While Molski is Pessimistic about Flossmoor's Future, Braun Looks Forward

The local League of Women Voters held their Flossmoor Candidates Forum on Thursday, March 19 at the Flossmoor Library. More than 50 people showed up, including members of several candidate's families. There were several pieces of news out of the Forum, but perhaps the most interesting news was the sharp contrasts between the two mayoral candidates. Roger Molski was stuck on his "we can't do that" meme, while challenger Paul Braun was thinking creatively, offering fresh ideas and basically reminding us, Yes We Can.

Roger Molski was first with his opening statement. He mentioned that he came to Flossmoor because it resembled Grosse Point, MI. Then he told us why he was running for re-election:

I am terribly proud to say that I am the Mayor of Flossmoor and my mother who passed away last year was *really* proud to tell everyone in the world that Roger is the Mayor of Flossmoor.

He ended:

It's a team effort, and I am very, very proud to be Mayor and head of this team.

Then Paul Braun got up and introduced himself:

I am running because I believe that village government can do more for our residents than what's been going on. I am running because I believe that we can continue to maintain high quality public services -- police and fire -- and public works while at the same time doing more to increase economic development for our town.

Then Braun noted the biggest difference between his candidacy and that of Molski.

Washington has decided to pump 787 billion dollars into our economy and my question is, will Flossmoor be there to take advantage of that.

Braun laid out a strategy for getting more federal (and state) dollars into Flossmoor. Molski would later say, "They can't help us."

Braun ended by saying:

I am running because I'm passionate and I care about our town.

The first question asked by an audience member of the mayoral candidates was, "What changes will you try to make that is different than what's going on at the present time?"

Braun took the first crack at it:

My focus primarily is on economic development for our town in terms of making changes for the future. As I said in my opening statement, we're in the middle of a perfect storm, and while we're going to do everything we can to attract business to our community, new business to our community that's compatible with our community, I believe that for the next two year period we really need to be chasing dollars that are going to come from Washington and from the state of Illinois.

Braun said that he wants to be on the board of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, and that Flossmoor should join the Illinois Municipal League. Finally, he said:

we also need to be federally involved, as well. I'm committed to go to Washington, if necessary, to go knock on doors to get the funds that are necessary for our town. Because with those funds, that takes the pressure off of us, our taxpayers, the resident's tax burden. Some of you may have seen that a number of our recent mayors went to Washington and that we did not.

He ended by saying that if we don't get more active, "We could lose out on the dollars that are available to us."

Roger Molski then said,

The changes that you're going to see in the next four years in the village will revolve around economic development. I have been working ver, veryy hard for a long period of time, I've become a semi-expert on commercial development.

As a so-called "expert on commercial development," Roger Molski is the first and only mayor in Flossmoor -- probably in the South Suburbs -- to bring *blight* to our village. Then he pooh-poohed the idea of getting stimulus dollars for Flossmoor:

Washington will not reduce your tax dollars but good solid commercial developments in our TIF area will.

This is one of the reasons that people who know Roger Molski question his judgment, whether he is capable of leading in the 21st century. Molski's record of development in the past four years was to bring in a (now) bankrupt developer who happens to be a personal friend of his. He rammed the project through the board -- despite the questions that were raised about the troubled developer. Molski took $88,000 a year in property tax revenues off our tax rolls and left a black hole in the heart of our downtown commercial district.

Why should Flossmoor not be a contender for federal stimulus dollars? Molski's reasoning is unclear. Probably it's too much work for him. He seems to prefer to continue what he knows -- that is, bringing more blight to Flossmoor!

Then they were asked about whether Flossmoor should have business licenses for local businesses. Paul Braun noted that the question was first posed to him by the downtown Flossmoor business association who were actually in favor of commercial business licenses. "I'm not exactly opposed to it," he concluded. Roger Molski flatly stated, "We're not going to do it."

Another audience member asked, What is Flossmoor doing to obtain its share of stimulus money?

Roger Molski was a little perturbed:

If it's to be gotten, we're going to get our share for the projects that the trustees cited.

Paul Braun noted that Flossmoor was really depending upon our village manager and staff for requests for federal stimulus dollars. Where other cities have their mayors being aggressive about getting federal money, Molski was on vacation during the height of the process. Braun promised to be more proactive. He has "a totally different take on things:"

I think we were a bit late in terms of getting that information, not through any fault of anybody at this point, other than the fact that we're not focused on looking a bit outside our village in terms of regional, state and federal matters. So, in terms of getting economic stimulus dollars, yes, we're going to get trickle down at this point. But what I'm talking about is actually going after it, instead of waiting for it to come to us by sending letters and applying for projects, we need to be out there.

He then quoted a Southtown Star article that quoted Blue Island Mayor Don Peloquin:

Communities with more clout, more village officials on political boards and mayors with more time to lobby on behalf of their towns usually have more access to money, Peloquin said.

Braun concluded:

I plan on doing a lot more than just waiting for the money to trickle down to us, we need to apply for it. We need to be out there actively seeking it and that means outside of our village.

The next question asked was, What plans does Flossmoor have for foreclosed or empty housing?

Molski claimed that the number wasn't that high and there wasn't a lot that we can do about it.

But as far as what we can do as a village, it's very limited.

Paul Braun was thinking about how to make Flossmoor more attractive to new people coming into the village:

If we can maintain the current tax level, which will be difficult, that makes Flossmoor more attractive to new people coming into town to turn these houses over.

He said that's why he's so interested in pursuing federal and state dollars, to ease the tax burdens of Flossmoor residents.

Why aren't the streets better maintained?

Roger Molski noted Flossmoor Road is a county road and the village isn't responsible for it:

It's their road. And we're willing to a transfer of that road if they completely rebuild it.

This speaks to one of the other complaints that people have about the current mayor. He doesn't seem to have influence with other local officials, to get them to keep their word to him or to Flossmoor.

Paul Braun noted that the federal stimulus package had some infrastructure money with it. He wants to apply for federal money to resurface all the roads in Flossmoor.

We need to be out there. SSMA is responsible for dishing out those funds, so let's get there and let's get an application in.

How does a store with a liquor license across the street from 3,000 students fit in with the character of Flossmoor?

Paul Braun answered bluntly:

It doesn't.

Braun wants to get community input about what residents think about Molski's latest idea.

Going forward, I don't think it's the proper location. You'll hear others say, 'well, they can go to the Jewel or they can go elsewhere,' well let them go elsewhere. I don't think we need that across the street from the high school at this point. I don't think it sets the proper example.

Then Braun noted that the high school is against this:

But, again, the high school district does not want it. 233, I've talked to school board, they do not want liquor at that location. So that tells you something right off the bat. If they don't want it, I don't see why the village needs to press it.

Molski re-acted defensively. "That is a done deal, it's been approved," Molski said. "It's been approved, it's going to be there."

The CVS is approved, everything about it is done, it's going there.

What kind of relationship does Flossmoor have with Metra and CN to maintain the Via Duct?

Paul Braun noted that he's heard complaints about the Flossmoor station, and that "Over all, we have as good a relationship as any other local town does have with Metra." He also said: "We've had our challenges from time to time in terms of maintenance issues regarding Via Duct."

Molski responded by basically pointing to his lack of influence:

The Canadian National people are difficult people to deal with. Their philosophy sometimes is that "we were there first."

"We're constantly on them," Molski ended. In other words, Roger Molski is doing everything he can. And it isn't good enough. His record -- which is what he wants people to use as their guide in voting in this race -- is one of failure.

What can be done about Flossmoor Square?

Paul Braun observed that "Flossmoor Square has caused us much community pain." I suppose we ought to say that Molski counts this vacant lot continually in his list of accomplishments, but I suspect Braun is right. For everyone except the mayor, this blight does cause us pain. Isn't it nice that the mayor has some place besides Flossmoor to go home to, so he doesn't wake up to this black hole in our commercial district every day?

Must be nice.

Braun suggested that we should "clean it up now" -- and, more importantly, that the village should be more proactive in staving off the "rumor mill." Most of us know that Chuck Bruti went through bankruptcy, but the mayor prevented the village from keeping up on that process -- probably because Bruti was the mayor's friend and Flossmoor Square was the mayor's project. Braun concluded:

We have to do something, this wait and see is not working. Its a top priority for me if I'm elected mayor.

Molski was basically in denial. He suggested that the economic downturn started four years ago, and that's the reason why Flossmoor Square has failed. "We can't do anything about it," Molski claimed.

He is wrong. Roger Molski may not be able to do something about it, but that's largely because he doesn't have the ability to lead Flossmoor or the vision to take it into the future.

Molski concluded the night by asking people to vote on his record. Are you happy with the empty lot in the heart of our downtown that Molski brought to Flossmoor in the last four years? Are you happy with the fact that Molski is bringing in a store that sells liquor across the street from H-F High School (against their wishes)? Are you happy with Molski being in vacation in Florida while other local mayors were in Washington, DC asking for stimulus money for their communities?

This is Roger Molski's record for the past four years. He may be proud of it. But I don't think too many of us who actually live here can afford it any more. Roger Molski is far too focused on what we can't do. Paul Braun reminds us, Yes We Can. The choice is stark, and the implications are clear.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Roger Molski's Record of Failure

Flossmoor's Missing Mayor, Roger Molski, sent out a postcard last week claiming "Record Commercial Development." Like all things that Molski does, the truth really depends on the definition (and the time frame). But there should be no doubt that Molski is continuing to gloss over his responsibility for bringing of blight to our downtown commercial district -- four years before our current economic crisis!

Our Missing Mayor wants you to believe that his record is one of accomplishment when it is actually one of dramatic failure. Really, what has he done in the past four years to be proud of?

At the May 2005 meeting where he was sworn in, Roger Molski pushed through the proposed "development" on the 2600 block of Flossmoor Road. You probably see the huge empty lot that Molski brought us every day. It's a dark hole in our commercial district.

One month later, in June 2005, Molski told us that "he expects ground to be broken by the end of the summer." The Flossmoor Square development was the centerpiece of Molski's development philosophy -- a philosophy that clearly failed.

Two and a half years later, the project remained "stalled," and even had the Southtown Star editorialize on the blight Roger Molski had brought to Flossmoor:

An empty lot near Flossmoor's downtown area is a reminder of a building project that's been in the works for more than two years, but hasn't happened yet. -- December 9, 2007

Four years later, the Daily Southtown featured Flossmoor's blight in its "Arrested Development" story:

Though a groundbreaking was slated for spring 2008, construction is stalled as plans still are being finalized, according to Patrick Finn, assistant village manager in Flossmoor.

Roger Molski introduced Chuck Bruti at May 2005 meeting as "his friend." He said that he'd known Bruti for years, and he mentioned that he -- our Missing Mayor -- had suggested to Bruti the development of the property where five thriving businesses had to be destroyed and removed from our tax roles.

This sounds like Blagojevich cronyism. Molski was looking out for his friends, not looking out for the village. Old school machine politics right here in Flossmoor.

Had the mayor done due diligence -- or even shown an bit of judgment -- he would have known that this project would sit idle for the past three-plus years (I predicted it at the very meeting that Molski pushed the project through). It was said that Bruti was having trouble with other projects. And if he was having trouble during the go-go period of economic development, there was no way he would be able to continue in the stingy credit environment we have now.

But Molski was trying to help his friend. He even waved Flossmoor's zoning code to help his friend.

What did Flossmoor get out of it? Well, we've lost money. The five businesses that paid property and other taxes are now gone. The large parcel in the heart of our commercial district remains empty -- four years later. The actual prospects of development are low, especially as long as Molski is mayor.

Of course, Molski has moved on. He's trying to divert our attention from his record of failure by pushing the development of a store that will sell liquor across from Homewood-Flossmoor High School. Think about it. Roger Molski wants to turn H-F into a party school!

These two developments -- blight in the middle of our commercial district and alcohol to be sold across the street from H-F -- creates a tremendous downward pressure on our property values. Instead of being insulated from the rest of the South Suburbs, Molski is working hard to turn Flossmoor into another Harvey, another Robbins. It's not simply that Molski exhibits poor judgment, it's that he just doesn't care about Flossmoor anymore. If re-elected this time, it's hard to see how Molski serves out the full term.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Flossmoor's Missing Mayor Threatens Residents

After the theatrics of Rod Blagojevich, you would have thought that Illinois' politicians would have understood that abusing their power and threatening people isn't a good idea.

But not here in Flossmoor!

Flossmoor's Missing Mayor, back from his prolonged vacation in another state, decided to give me a call! I don't know how he got my number -- probably another example of his abuse of power -- but the first thing out of his mouth was:

I'll make this short and sweet. Illinois has a law that prohibits free speech and what you have been saying about me has defamed my character.

Roger Molski may never have heard of the Free Speech rights afforded to American citizens in the First Amendment or -- more likely -- he was just trying to intimidate me from talking about the fact that he's been going home to his place in Chicago every night (well, before his campaign started).

Personally, I've had my fill of Blagojevich tactics, of politicians taking us for granted and thinking that they can intimidate us just because we are paying attention. No one begrudges Roger his right to go home and sleep in his bed, to be with his wife -- but Molski shouldn't run for mayor if he feels the need to do that.

Given the blight that Molski brought to Flossmoor in the last four years -- something that is evident to anyone who travels down Flossmoor Road (our main drag) -- we have every right to note that he is not fully invested in our community. We don't need a commuter Mayor, an absentee Mayor, a missing Mayor leading us in this time of economic crisis. Because of Molski's actions (taking five businesses off our tax roles just because he thought it was a good idea), our village finances are more strained than they would have been. Property values around Molski's blight have been degraded, while our property taxes have been increased.

Shortly after six this evening, Roger Molski threatened to take me to court because I think Flossmoor deserves a fully invested mayor who actually resides here 24/7/365. I told him that we should take it to the voters -- and Molski's threats have now motivated me to take these issues before our community. I thought we got rid of all these Blagojevich antics; I didn't realize that we had our own little Mayor Blagojevich right here in Flossmoor!

[pics are of Roger Molski's parking spots from this winter's blizzard; just another indication that the mayor doesn't live here anymore]

Monday, March 9, 2009

They're Baaaaaaaack!

Flossmoor's First Couple, Roger and Marcia Molski, are back from an extended "vacation." This being a month before the next election, Flossmoor can expect to see more of the two. They did this last time the mayor was on the ballot as well, Marcia spending time in the village to give the appearance that they still live here.

Voters in Flossmoor can be expected to vote on whether it is "good enough" to have an absentee mayor. No one can blame Roger for wanting to sleep in his own bed or return home to his wife each night. The problem is that they are in Chicago, not Flossmoor. So the question remains, should the mayor live here?

The issue with having an absentee mayor has been made crystal clear this winter. Flossmoor's mayor was absent from the village during the recent ice storm. He didn't endure local power outages because he was at home, in Chicago. Nor did he visit local businesses concerned about having power to open their doors. He simply wasn't here.

Molski was absent during our recent "blizzard," as well. Pictures were provided in a prior post of the Mayor's absence. Of course, the blizzard only made Molski's practice of going home (to Chicago) each night more obvious.

Because the mayor doesn't live here anymore, he's fairly disengaged from the community. So it is no surprise that the mayor has expressed little interest in helping Flossmoor benefit from federal stimulus dollars. While the city manager has done yeoman's work in trying to recover from the mayor's managerial weaknesses, the fact remains that Flossmoor would have greatly benefited from a mayor who was engaged in his community, who could have had an immediate response when the concept of stimulus dollars was becoming public.

The question of whether our mayor should live here really is a question about how invested the mayor should be in the community that he leads. Overnight power outages have no effect on the mayor because he doesn't sleep here. He can't look out his windows and see a community that is blacked-out. One suspects his condo in Chicago has its own backup generator, so he may very well be immune to local power outages there, as well. Must be nice.

The mayor's lack of investment in Flossmoor shows in the kinds of things he is doing to our community, as well. He brought blight to Flossmoor, helping an over-extended developer raze five active businesses on the tax rolls here and leaving a half-block long hole on Flossmoor's main street. What is he doing about it? When I asked, not a thing.

Instead, we come to find that the mayor is helping to bring in a store that will sell liquor and tobacco across the street from Homewood-Flossmoor High School. Once again, Molski was instrumental in having our community standards waved in order to get one of his pet projects passed.

Would Roger Molski really have worked so hard to wave our community zoning requirements if he actually lived in Flossmoor? Probably not. If Molski was fully invested in our community, he would have been more likely to understand why residents would want to retain the look and feel of Flossmoor, why it is important to encourage businesses to adapt to our community standards, why selling liquor across the street from one of our community's main assets (its high school) isn't a good idea. No, our absentee mayor has discovered Chicago values and seeks to import them here, to Flossmoor. He's not fully invested in our community, and it shows.

So the question is, should the mayor live here? If you care about Flossmoor's community values, about its inherent charm and small town flavor, then the answer must be yes. If you want to turn Flossmoor into Chicago, then obviously the mayor is a great promoter for undermining Flossmoor's charm and standards. He's done it before and you can expect for him to do it again. Home is where the heart is, and it's clear that Roger Molski's heart is no longer in Flossmoor.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

South Suburban "Shovel Ready" Projects

Stimulus Watch provides a breakdown of "shovel ready" projects eligible for federal stimulus dollars. These are defined as:

the "shovel-ready" projects the mayors of this state submitted in the 2008 U.S. Conference of Mayors report.

The shocking thing about this report is not who is on it, but who is missing from it. There were no projects submitted for that report by the villages of Hazel Crest or Dolton, County Club Hills, Markham, Steger, Robbins or Flossmoor. Mayors in Illinois made a request totalling $3 billion, representing all the requests in the state listed in the report. But the villages of County Club Hills, Dolton, Flossmoor, Hazel Crest, Markham, Robbins or Steger were absent from these requests.

Ford Heights (pop: 3,227) had an estimated median household income in 2007 of $20,031 (Illinois average was $54,124) according to the website Robbins (pop: 6,312) had an estimated median household income in 2007 of $27,637. I suspect that these two villages (like Flossmoor) aren't members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Markham (pop: 12,190) had an estimated median household income in 2007 of $47,608. Steger (pop: 10,458) had an estimated median household income in 2007 of $49,534. All these villages were below the Illinois statewide average, and all of these could have easily benefited from stimulus dollars being used in their communities.

Dolton (pop: 24,032) had an estimated median household income in 2007 of $54,965 (slightly more than the Illinois average of $54,124). Hazel Crest (pop: 14,164) had an estimated median household income in 2007 of $57,891. Both of these villages have seen brighter days and suffer from neglect of existing infrastructure. Country Club Hills (pop: 16,764) is more fortunate, with an estimated median household income in 2007 of $66,047 and Flossmoor (pop: 9,353) had an estimated median household income in 2007 of $107,850, but neither village had infrastructure projects in mind for the report.

According to Stimulus Watch, the report includes $49,865,000 in project requests from Blue Island for 25 projects. Click on the link will provide more information about those project requests. Richton Park has requested $48,047,000 for 9 projects. South Holland has made $29,911,340 in requests for 19 projects. Homewood has asked for $22,000,000 for its Water and Sewer Infrastructure Rehabilitation project in the neighbor by Walt's. Glenwood has requested $19,350,000 for 28 projects in its community.

Calumet City wants $12,504,000 for 7 projects. Olympia Fields has $12,200,000 worth of projects in 16 different areas. Chicago Heights is requesting $11,674,165 for 27 projects, according to the Conference of Mayors report. Chicago Heights has also asked for $30 million in federal stimulus dollars for its proposed wind farm at a dormant landfill. Tinley Park asked for $10,272,105 to fund 13 projects.

Rounding out the requests for the South Suburbs in the 2008 report, Harvey put in for $5,120,000 for 13 projects. Lynwood asked for $5,825,000 for 15 projects. Park Forest wants $3,757,000 for 5 projects. And Sauk Village requested $3,350,000 to fund 5 projects there.

While you could argue that no one could have foreseen the economic meltdown that has resulted in the federal stimulus package, that doesn't exactly explain why the communities of County Club Hills, Dolton, Flossmoor, Hazel Crest, Markham, Robbins or Steger were not included in the Conference of Mayors report. Most, if not all, communities have a list of projects that they would like federal help on, so you have to wonder why County Club Hills, Dolton, Flossmoor, Hazel Crest, Markham, Robbins or Steger weren't submitting projects in this routine request. I called the villages of Dolton, Flossmoor, Hazel Crest and Markham to ask why they were omitted from this report. I asked them for an explanation as to why their villages weren't included in the requests detailed by the 2008 Conference of Mayors report.

I talked to Joseph Bertrand and Robert Palmer, who is the Village Manager, from Hazel Crest, and they were surprised to hear that they didn't have any shovel-ready projects in the report. "There are a lot of reports out there," Palmer told me. He also told me that Hazel Crest submitted requests to the Mayors Caucus of Chicago about a month ago and that they had just had their transportation meeting on Tuesday where Hazel Crest had made requests for transportation dollars. He said he knew about the Stimulus Watch website, and didn't really have an explanation for why Hazel Crest wasn't on it. "We were told we had two weeks to get it back to South Suburban Mayors and Managers," Palmer said.

He guessed that they had about 8-10 projects ready to go (he didn't say ready to go, but that's what the stimulus funding requires). Palmer said there was a lot of creek stabilization and sewer lining in what they believed would be eligible for federal funding under the stimulus package.

I also talked to Bridget Wachtel, the City Manager for Flossmoor, who gave me a very simple explanation as to why Flossmoor wasn't included. Flossmoor is not a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, so it couldn't have been on this list. Nonetheless, we did talk about the steps the village was taking to receive stimulus dollars. "We are pursuing stimulus dollars," Wachtel told me. "We have begun to register programs through the recovery website," she said.

"You have to have a project that fits into an existing program and it has to be shovel ready," she explained. She expressed some frustration with the conflict between the definition of "shovel ready" and the need for a funding source for the village to take the project to the shovel ready stage. Flossmoor has a "slew of programs in a capitol plan," but that doesn't mean they are eligible or shovel ready.

Wachtel explained that Flossmoor was "struggling to find where we can fit in" with regards to this new source of federal funds. She mentioned the Illinois Public Energy Agency low interest loan program that helped fund the first three phases of Flossmoor's sanitary sewer rehab. "That's where the $27 surcharge on your water bill goes," she said. They are thinking that perhaps the fourth phase of the sewer rehab project could come under the stimulus package. That way, 50% of project would be funded through stimulus dollars, and -- of the remaining 50% -- half (or 25%) would be eligible for a no interest loan and the other half would be eligible for a low interest loan. But "can we meet the deadline? Can we logistically meet those deadlines?"

I spoke with the offices of the mayor in Markam and Dolton, but neither office had anything to say about this. They took a message; no one called back.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Roland Burris throws Pres. Obama 'under the bus'

It has long been obvious, at least to him, that Roland Burris is more important than President Obama. Now he's got someone to play along.

Burris' latest media strategy is to associate Rod Blagojevich with President Obama in the attempt to lessen the attention paid to the fact that he didn't do what he promised to do (disclosure fully and truthfully the contacts he had with the Blagojevich people before his appointment to the U.S. Senate). Burris' media consultant writes in a recent email (which was originally published on the Chatham/Avalon Park Community Council blog but the offending portion has since been removed -- undoubtedly due to its inflammatory nature):

The two biggest beneficiaries of Tony Rezko were Rod Blagojevich and Barack Obama, so no one can afford to be self-righteous.

Now this is a line that you'd expect from Rush Limbaugh or even Michael Steele, but not from someone who claims to be a Democrat. While Roland is reduced to waving at the President and trying to get some of that Obama glow, Delmarie Cobb was setting up the conditions for Obama's defeat in 2012.

I've already been told in conversations with Southern Republicans that linking President Obama with William Jefferson and Roland Burris is their best chance at re-taking the White House next time. Clearly, Roland is eager to play along and they've got Delmarie Cobb singing their song.

For Roland Burris -- and Delmarie Cobb -- keeping a "black seat" in the U.S. Senate is clearly more important than re-electing Barack Obama. What are they thinking?

What Burris is thinking is obvious. This is all about him. Freddrenna Lyle makes that obvious:

Roland Burris wanted the Senatorial seat and talked to everyone who would listen once it became obvious that Sen. Obama had a chance to win the Presidency. In fact when he would hear discussions about possible replacements he would get upset when he did not hear himself mentioned.

Cobb continues the assault on the President:

Many black elected officials didn't like Barack, but they stayed quiet and got on board and they need to do the same for Roland.

Understand, Delmarie Cobb is undoubtedly talking about herself. Whether she can find "many" black elected officials who didn't like the president remains to be seen, but there is no question that *she* doesn't like him.

And now she seems eager to tear down the first African American elected to office. Cobb has never made a secret of the fact that she preferred Hillary Clinton over the first black president, but her argument that we have to protect the only black senator and be willing to sacrifice the only black president is more than a tautology. It defines hypocrisy. It is the perfect example of self-destruction.

That Roland Burris' public face is someone who is best known for her opposition of the president, someone eager to sow controversy, shows a lack of political judgment that will neither serve him -- or Illinois -- well. Delmarie Cobb may be eager to throw Barack Obama under the bus, but I haven't found a black voter who is willing to do so. By accepting this appointment from such a fatally flawed figure had already put Burris' political skills and judgment in doubt. Surrounding himself with people who clearly oppose this president only cements it. Roland Burris is too naive to be our senator.

Roland Burris needs to decide if he is standing with our new president or fighting against him. Delmarie Cobb's email suggests to me that she is using Burris as a means for tearing down Barack Obama. We have no indication that Burris is willing to stand with the president or his agenda, but we do have indicators that he and his campaign are eager to sacrifice Barack Obama for their own benefit. It seems to me that those very "black elected officials" who "stayed quiet and got on board" for Barack Obama are now basking in his limelight. Roland Burris faces an uphill battle to divide them from the president but it appears Delmarie Cobb is eager for the challenge. I'd say 'good luck with that,' but I don't really wish her luck. I -- and many others -- worked too hard to get Obama elected president to sacrifice him for Roland Burris. I'd much rather have a good man in the White House. I strongly suspect I'm not alone in that sentiment...