Political website targets Amrich, supporters in Island lake
An Island Lake activist has relaunched a website criticizing mayoral candidate Charles Amrich -- and it now targets some of Amrich's civilian supporters, too.
Daniel Field, a local resident who is contracted to do computer-related work at village hall, created the sourgrapesgang.com website a few months ago but pulled it down in January after it was featured in a Daily Herald article.
In its first incarnation, the site targeted the candidates running against Mayor Debbie Herrmann and the often-anonymous political activists who oppose Herrmann and her allies.
The new version of the site mostly focuses on Amrich and his dealings as the town's mayor, a post he held from 1985 to 2005. It targets Tony Sciarrone, one of the trustee candidates running with Amrich, too.
The site also includes information about Amrich's campaign manager, Wayne Schnell, and two vocal supporters of Amrich's political slate, men who are not running for office.
Amrich was critical of the site and its founder Thursday.
"It's a sad day when they have to go out and attack supporters and candidates," Amrich said. "To go after supporters is uncalled for."
When asked about the site's content, Field cited his free speech rights.
"My First Amendment rights allow me to discuss and document when I see issues that affect me and my community," Field said in an email.
He also said he targeted the two Amrich supporters because he sees them "as foot soldiers, not civilians."
Amrich is leading the For the People slate in the April 9 election. The other members are clerk hopeful Teresa Ponio and trustee candidates Mark Beeson, Keith Johns and Tony Sciarrone.
Herrmann leads the United for Progress slate. The other members are incumbent Clerk Connie Mascillino and trustee candidates Ed McGinty, Ken Nitz and Josh Rohde.
Herrmann said she hadn't seen the retooled website and isn't interested in it.
"What Mr. Field does is Mr. Field's deal, not mine," she said.
Field has worked against Herrmann's political foes in a number of ways recently.
He and former trustee Louis Sharp filed formal objections to Amrich's and Sciarrone's candidacies this year, hoping to knock them off the ballot. They dropped their complaint against Sciarrone before the case could be heard, but they succeeded in getting Amrich eliminated as a mayoral contender until a Lake County judge restored him to the ballot.
Field and Sharp also tried to keep a citizen-created advisory referendum off the November 2012 ballot in Island Lake.
In January, Field said he created the Sour Grapes Gang site to make people aware of what he's learned about the candidates. He initially insisted everything he posted was factual but later admitted some of the information didn't meet that threshold.
He pledged to rework the site after speaking with trustee candidate Beeson about its content.
For the People supporter Greg Jenkins is one of the two civilians now targeted by the website. He criticized his inclusion as a personal attack.
"It's unfair that it's become personal with nonelected officials," Jenkins said. "I'm incensed and perturbed."
Mascillino, a former trustee who was appointed clerk last year, confirmed she supplied Field several reports published on the website after he requested them under the Freedom of Information Act.
She didn't object to Field's tactics.
"When you run for office and when you support people, you are in the public eye," Mascillino said. "And so, if anybody from either party has information they feel the public should know, they have a right to put it out there."