Forensic audit turns up big trouble in downstate county

In rural Iroquois County, the citizens find out that all corruption is local
by Adam Andrzejewski

An IT forensic audit of government computers allegedly turns up porn, theft of services, bid rigging, campaigning, running personal businesses, political fundraising, surfing sports websites, and thousands of Facebook posts, dating and shopping website hits.

It starts with a small felony — a $340 donation from a government entity to a political committee, or a mayor paying for his continuing legal education with his city credit card. It ends with two former governors in jail and three federal investigations of the current governor based upon a corrupt sense of self-entitlement.

If you don’t fix the broken window, the whole house, from foundation to shingle, rots to the core. That’s the story of Illinois.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Broken Windows Theory, it debuted in a1982 essay in the Atlantic Monthly. The theory suggests that decline to lawlessness begins when a community tolerates minor violations of public order — vandalism of abandoned structures, turnstyle jumpers and the like — and that cracking down on small offenses discourages more serious crimes.

It’s time to aggressively apply that theory to Illinois’ public servants. It is time to crack down on the small stuff, not only looking into behaviors in the statewide offices and agencies, but burrowing down to the township and municipal level, where the mindset of waste, greed and insider dealing sets in.

Tribune Concluded Cameras Do Not Reduce Injury-Related Crashes

from Chicago Tribune

Chicago’s red light cameras fail to deliver the dramatic safety benefits long claimed by City Hall, according to a first-ever scientific study that found the nation’s largest camera program is responsible for increasing some types of injury crashes while decreasing others.

The state-of-the-art study commissioned by the Tribune concluded the cameras do not reduce injury-related crashes overall — undercutting Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s primary defense of a program beset by mismanagement, malfunction and a $2 million bribery scandal.

Emanuel has credited the cameras for a 47 percent reduction in dangerous right-angle, or “T-bone,” crashes. But the Tribune study, which accounted for declining accident rates in recent years as well as other confounding factors, found cameras reduced right-angle crashes that caused injuries by just 15 percent.

At the same time, the study calculated a corresponding 22 percent increase in rear-end crashes that caused injuries, illustrating a trade-off between the cameras’ costs and benefits.

The researchers also determined there is no safety benefit from cameras installed at intersections where there have been few crashes with injuries. Such accidents actually increased at those intersections after cameras went in, the study found, though the small number of crashes makes it difficult to determine whether the cameras were to blame.

The finding raises questions about why the city installed cameras in so many places where injury-causing crashes were rare — nearly 40 percent of the 190 intersections that had cameras through 2012, the Tribune found.

“The biggest takeaway is that overall (the program) seems to have had little effect,” said Dominique Lord, an associate professor at Texas A&M University’s Zachry Department of Civil Engineering who led the Tribune’s study.