Lester: The suburbs' four most expensive mayoral races
It's not just state and national political contests that are getting more expensive.
Four suburban mayoral races topped $135,000 in funds raised, with two reaching more than $350,000, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform found.
In Aurora, where lawyer and council member Richard Irvin defeated Rick Guzman, an aide in former Mayor Tom Weisner's office, a total of $358,181 was raised.
In Bolingbrook, where 31-year incumbent Roger Claar's support for President Donald Trump drew a strong challenge from Will County Board member Jackie Traynere, $440,416 was raised between the two candidates.
In Evanston, business owner Steve Hagerty defeated two-term Alderman Mark Tendam for mayor after $207,371 was brought into the race.
In Waukegan, where Alderman Sam Cunningham declared a tight victory over fellow Alderman Lisa May for mayor, $135,979 was raised.
Does money talk?
Illinois Campaign for Political Reform Executive Director Sarah Brune believes the political ads and mailers bought with the funds could actually discourage people from heading to the polls.
"It's an onslaught of information, and it's very campaign-orientated," Brune said. "People are getting exhausted by that."
Heartbreak Hill to village hall
Congratulations to Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes, who completed the Boston Marathon Monday in 4 hours, 4 minutes.
Hayes is known to head back from marathons in time for village board meetings that same day.
This year, Daily Herald staff writer Chris Placek tells me, Hayes arrived at village hall just before the 8:15 p.m. meeting start time on Monday.
It was Hayes' 12th Boston Marathon and 30th marathon in all.
"It was a beautiful day in Boston," Hayes said. "It was good for the spectators, but not for the runners because it was a little hot."
Bonding by necessity
I had coffee this week with Democratic U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, who tells me he's done some bonding with Congress' three other Indian-American representatives as they've teamed up on anti-hate crime legislation.
Krishnamoorthi, a father of three from Schaumburg, described a "real sense of unease" after his two sons came home from the playground recently after having a racial slur directed at them. A member of the House Oversight Committee, Krishnamoorthi has called for hearings on hate crimes and attacks around the nation.
The other Indian-American members of the House, also Democrats, are Praymila Jayapal from Washington and Ami Bera and Ro Khanna from California.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds NBC's "American Ninja Warrior" comforting late-night television. Two of the show's stars, Travis Brewer and Modern Tarzan (yep, that's his name), are planning a Friday visit to Elwood Elementary School in Naperville, where they'll perform and teach students some basic tumbling exercises.
McConchie gives it a go
State Sen. Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods says he's not sure GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner or Democratic leaders really want to pass a budget before the 2018 election.
The Hawthorn Woods Republican crafted his own plan anyway, saying he wanted to prod public discussion on what should be included and what should be cut.
McConchie's plan would include 10 percent across-the-board cuts to state agencies and departments. It would shift public pension costs to schools, universities and local governments in exchange for cutting unfunded state mandates. And it would cut back on local governments' share of state income taxes.
The plan will be introduced in the form of about 15 bills, beginning next week, McConchie says.
Giving back to Roosevelt
Earth Friendly Products, the maker of ECOS cleaning products, plans to present a $500,000 check to Roosevelt University on Friday as part of its 50th anniversary celebration at its Addison facility.
Krishnamoorthi, Rauner and Addison Mayor Rich Veenstra will be on hand for the event. Company officials say it was a dream of late founder Eftichios "Van" Vlahakis to "give back to the school that changed his life by helping him earn a degree in chemistry" when he came to the country as a Greek immigrant in the 1950s. The money will establish an organic chemistry lab in Vlahakis' name.
The gov and the goat
"It's really romantic. The master bedroom is near the goat pens," Rauner laughed as he described a house on the Illinois State Fairgrounds that will be the temporary Springfield residence for him and his wife, Diana. The governor was in town Wednesday to address the GOA Regional Business Association, Maine East High School and a Palatine Township GOP dinner.
The Governor's Mansion, built in 1855, will be undergoing major renovation. The repairs will be paid through private funds.
So far, more than $14 million has been raised, including $1 million from the Rauners themselves.