Monday, December 24, 2007

Thank You for Caring, Sharing

The joint holiday party with OTDB and the DuPage Democratic Party was a great success, with a good turnout and therefore a sizable donation made to the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans. Thank you to everyone who attended and those who participated in the 50/50 raffle to raise more money for the shelter -- including the winner, Roger Tauchman, who generously donated his share back to the shelter. Anyone wishing to learn more about the shelter or make additional contributions is invited to visit:

Operation: Turn DuPage Blue also thanks everyone who submitted entries to win a $100 donation to the charity of their choice. The winner was Steve Stawarz and OTDB will make a contribution in his name to DuPage PADS, which works to prevent and eliminate homelessness in the county. Please visit if you would like to learn more about this fine organization or make a donation.

Thanks again for your generosity.

OTDB warmly wishes all the best to you and yours.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Here's the Plan

Bob Peickert and Michelle Barton have released the outline of their plan for improving the DuPage Democratic Party.

You can read it here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Another Message From Bob Peickert

How disappointing!

The November 6 press release by the DuPage Democratic Party states:
Robert Bisceglie, Chair of the Democratic Party of DuPage County, today announced that THEIR [emphasis added] campaign to recruit precinct committeemen more than doubled last year's numbers.

The rest of the release went on to report about the county's efforts in this recruitment period. No mention was made of the efforts or results of township campaigns or that of Operation: Turn DuPage Blue.

Throughout the recruitment campaign that included independent efforts by OTDB and township organizations, OTDB has recognized the work of everyone who played a role in this unprecedented recruitment period. Having spent many days walking precincts and making phone calls, I realize that no one group could have accomplished this by itself. Chris Hotchkin deserves a lot of credit for working on the county plan. Some townships had their own recruitment plans in place, and OTDB had its plan.

Let's look at the results. We now have 237 precinct committeemen (more when you count the "looped" committeemen) as compared to 122 at this time last year. Everyone who had a part in this should be recognized and given credit.

To take sole credit for this achievement sends a message — a wrong message. Apparently some now see this as a competitive exercise rather than a cooperative one. When someone speaks of "reaching out" to other Democrats and organizations, the words are meaningless unless one can attach an action or actions that support that claim or promise. When personal interests override the interests of the party, we won't get very far as an organization.

We can only hope that Rob Bisceglie will send out another press release that recognizes the work of OTDB and the township organizations.

Update: Minor edits at Bob's request.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The benefits of cooperation

Let's take another look at the numbers from the last post. Over the past year, some of the township Democratic organizations worked together with O:TDB on precinct committeeentity recruitment, while others did their own thing. Here are the townships in the first group and the results that they saw:
TownshipPCs on 2006 BallotPCs on 2008 BallotImprovement
Total72151+79 (108%)

By comparison, here are the results from the townships in which there was not substantial cooperation between O:TDB and the township organization:
TownshipPCs on 2006 BallotPCs on 2008 BallotImprovement
Downers Grove2643+17
Total4886+38 (79%)

A number of points need to be made here. First of all, O:TDB is certainly not claiming to have recruited all 79 of the new PCs in the cooperating townships. For example, of the eleven recruits in Addison township, four were already-appointed PCs, six were found by O:TDB, and one was found by someone else. Secondly, even in the townships that did not work cooperatively with us, we did do some recruiting -- we came up with thirteen PCs in Bloomingdale township and five PCs in Downers Grove township.
Update: Corrected some erroneous numbers.
Update 2: Fixed bad formatting. Thanks to michael in chicago for the tip.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

So, how'd we do?

The candidate filing period for the February 2008 primary election has ended. Now's a good time to step back and see how successful our party's candidate recruitment efforts have been compared to previous years.

Our Congressional Representative races are well-stocked with candidates, as they have been in previous years. So let's move down to the state level.

Out of sixteen state senator/representative seats up this time around, not including ones which are less than ten percent in DuPage, we filled six slots on the ballot. This is a notable improvement from both 2004 and 2006 in which we only filled four of these slots, but we still have a long way to go.

At the county level, improvement is marginal if even that. Seven out of twelve county board seats will have Democratic candidates on the ballot, compared with five out of twelve in 2006 and five out of six in 2004. We only managed to fill one out of three forest preserve slots on the ballot this time around, compared to none in 2006 and two in 2004. And we filled slots for zero out of five county-wide officer positions, compared with zero in 2006 and two in 2004.

Obviously the quality of candidates also matters, but there's no real way to quantify that until we see how they do against the Republicans. In terms of numbers alone, we're not seeing much progress except for the State Senate.

Where we have seen great improvement is in precinct committeebeing recruitment. Here are some numbers:
TownshipTotal precinctsPCs on ballot 2006PCs on ballot 2008
Downers Grove1282643

That's a total of 237 precincts with Democratic PCs on the ballot, compared with 123 last time around. With well over seven hundred precincts in DuPage, there's still a long way to go with this too, but an increase of nearly 100% is something we should all be proud of.

Update: Edited for formatting fix.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Progressive National Agenda

A coalition of progressive organizations has put together a Progressive Agenda for candidates for President and Congress. It is quoted below.

Questions for discussion:

1) Is this a good platform for our federal office candidates to adopt? If not, what would you change?

2) How can we get our federal candidates to sign on?

3) Could we come up with something similar at the more neglected county level?

Progressive Agenda

  1. End Imperial Foreign Policy, Redirect Funding

    All U.S. troops and military contractors must be safely withdrawn from Iraq now with war funding redirected toward social needs at home, and humanitarian and reconstruction aid to the Iraqi people. Under our Constitution, Congress has the power of the purse to cut off funding that prolongs the occupation of Iraq. The disastrous war in Iraq must not be extended into an even more disastrous attack on Iran.

    U.S. foreign policy must be fact-based, committed to international law and respect for the sovereignty of other nations, and aimed at intelligently countering real threats, such as weapons proliferation and transnational terrorism. Instead of producing more advanced nuclear warheads and promoting weapons into space and building missile shields, U.S. policy should lead by example in non-proliferation by disarming our own nuclear stockpiles. Reducing our nuclear weapons will facilitate negotiations with major powers like Russia and new nuclear countries like Iran. U.S. policy must be even-handed in the Middle East, aimed at justice and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. U.S. foreign policy must shift from reckless unilateralism toward cooperation and diplomacy with people of other countries knowing us more by our helping hand than our slugging arm.

  2. Healthcare for All

    It is immoral for a country as wealthy as ours to have 47 million people with no healthcare coverage, and millions more with inadequate, overly expensive coverage. Despite spending twice as much as other industrialized nations on healthcare, our system performs poorly because the private U. S. insurance bureaucracy soaks up nearly one-third of all healthcare money in waste, profits, paperwork and advertising. Poor health and poor healthcare drag down the economy and job creation; healthcare expenses are a factor in half of all personal bankruptcies. Nonprofit national health insurance Enhanced Medicare for All could provide topnotch universal coverage by negotiating drug and treatment costs, while recouping $300 billion in administrative savings currently wasted in private insurance bureaucracy. This kind of cost-effective single-payer system is publicly financed, privately delivered healthcare.

  3. Economic Justice

    The Bush Administrations enormous tax breaks for the wealthy must be rolled back so that the richest 1 percent of our population (with yearly incomes averaging $1.3 million) will not pocket $300 billion over the next few years. Tax burdens on the middle class can be eased if the wealthy pay their share. Thirty seven million people (equivalent to the population of California) are living in poverty in the U.S. today. These immoral levels of poverty, which disproportionately impact communities of color and women, can be significantly reduced through concerted effort including a living wage for all workers, expanded earned income tax credits, childcare assistance and housing vouchers. The federal government must fulfill its promise of resources to Hurricane Katrina survivors so they can return to rebuild their communities in the Gulf Coast.

    Protecting the right of workers to form and join unions in the U.S. is essential to preserving the middle class, as is federal investment in job creation, such as the Apollo Alliance for renewable energy, and investment in wireless Internet networks. We need fair trade deals with other countries that protect workers' rights and the environment not wage-reducing "free trade" agreements that protect only corporate rights to globally exploit unprotected labor.Finally, we need humane and comprehensive immigration reform, which insures the rights of undocumented workers in the workplace and affirms the dignity and integrity of immigrant families.

  4. Stop Global Warming

    No issue reveals more clearly the flaws of the U.S. political-economic system than global warming the triumph of greed and corporate power over the public good, and the near-sighted focus on the short-term over the welfare of future generations. But the U.S. public is ready to take action to save the planet and protect our remaining wild places from further degradation in the pursuit of oil. We need elected leaders who will act boldly in reducing our country's oil dependence and use of fossil fuels. This can be done by raising auto fuel economy and imposing mandatory caps on carbon pollution while investing in public transportation, energy conservation technologies and alternative energy development. (Such investments create good-paying jobs.)

  5. Reproductive Freedom/Civil Rights & Liberties

    A woman's reproductive freedom, including the right-to-choose, is essential to personal privacy and gender equality. Equal rights and equal opportunity must be a guiding principle of society, especially in view of historic and ongoing discrimination against women and racial, ethnic and sexual minorities. Affirmative action in employment and education is an important tool for racial and gender equality. Lesbians and gays must be afforded equality, including in marriage and military service. The Bush administration has exploited the 9/11 tragedy to constrict precious Constitutional rights of privacy, speech and due process. These rights must be restored. Drug policy should emphasize treatment over criminalization not a drug war that erodes Constitutional freedoms, privacy and law enforcement resources. The prison-industrial complex in which economic interests profit from incarceration must be shrunk and capital punishment, with its racial and class biases, must be abolished.

  6. Clean, Fair, Transparent Elections

    The U.S. election system is in crisis, with voters facing political and racial obstacles in casting votes and in getting their votes counted. Big money and entrenched power deform the political process, with incumbents unfairly insulated by district gerrymandering and rules obstructing independent candidates and parties. We need comprehensive campaign finance reform at the state and national level, including Clean Money public financing of the public's elections, plus free TV/radio time for candidates. We need a ban on touch-screen (DRE) voting machines for counting votes, paper ballots as the official records for deriving voter intent, and rigorous mandatory audits of elections. We must end racially-biased disenfranchisement of felons who've served their time, and initiate reforms like "Instant Runoff"/proportional voting, which assure more accurate and broader representation than winner-take-all elections.

  7. Media Reform

    A half-dozen media conglomerates now sit on the windpipe of the First Amendment, having seized the publics broadcast airwaves; these companies helped facilitate the Iraq War. Giant phone and cable TV companies threaten to transform the Internet from a free forum fostering citizen action to a corporate-dominated medium fostering profiteering. The Internet can be saved by legislating Net Neutrality. Regulation and anti-trust enforcement can break up media monopolies to diversify broadcasting and expand minority and nonprofit ownership. Our country needs well-funded, genuinely independent public broadcasting to replace the current corrupt system of corporate underwriting and politicized White House control. Government policy should promote nonprofit and public access outlets, along with high-speed community Internet for all.

Friday, October 19, 2007

We're Not In Right Now

Please leave a message after the tone. Mostly, we're out gathering signatures for ourselves as Precinct Committeeentities and for our candidates. If you want to help with the latter, visit our Links Page for a list of candidates, or look here for petitions for candidates whose campaigns have asked us to display them.

In the meantime, here's a couple of things to tide you over. First, a bit of reading from Paul Krugman:
According to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, in the current election cycle every one of the top 10 industries making political donations is giving more money to Democrats. Even industries that have in the past been overwhelmingly Republican, like insurance and pharmaceuticals, are now splitting their donations more or less evenly. Oil and gas is the only major industry that the G.O.P. can still call its own. All of this greatly increases the odds that the Republicans, far from establishing a permanent majority, will be out of power for quite a while. But it also raises the question of what Democratic rule will really mean.... Many progressives, myself included, hope that the next president will be another F.D.R. But we worry that he or she will turn out to be another Grover Cleveland instead — better-intentioned and much more competent than the current occupant of the White House, but too dependent on lobbyists' money to seriously confront the excesses of our new Gilded Age.

Second, here's a video from a group calling themselves the 35 Percenters. Even if you're not a Kucinich supporter like I am, you may find this amusing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Your Tax Dollars At Work: The Free Speech Saga Continues

In our last very exciting episode, our protagonists Jeff and Sarah had been arrested for the crime of making public criticism of our leaders. Well, okay, those weren't the official charges, which were the supposed throwing of "unknown objects" down onto the roadway, and the impersonation of a traffic sign, causing dozens of motorists to get off at the next exit thinking they'd found Impeach Bush and Cheney Avenue.

And now, the plot sickens. Here's a note from co-defendant Jeff:

Hello All,
The absurdity continues.......

Sarah and I went to court this morning with our attorneys Shawn Collins and Julie Anderson of the Collins Law Firm in Naperville. They filed a motion to quash the fraudulent case against us. As a result, the State dismissed the "Reckless Conduct" and "Unauthorized Display of Sign" charges and added a new "Disorderly Conduct" charge.

I am now falsely accused of making a throwing motion. Yes, you read that right. I allegedly made a throwing motion.

The new official complaint reads:
"...Committing the offense of Disorderly Conduct in that said Defendant: Acted in such an unreasonable manner as to alarm and disturb Charles Hardin, and provoke the breach of the peace in that said defendant or one for whose conduct he is legally responsible, stood on an overpass above highway I-355 and made a throwing motion in the direction of vehicles traveling on I-355."

Sarah and I still have to appear in court on the 15th for a preliminary hearing on the new false charge. Technically, the original "Disorderly Conduct" charge is still pending, though I've got a feeling it'll be dropped. Of course you're welcome to attend the hearing on Monday. Please bear in mind, it will be very brief, like our previous hearings.

Due to the change of events, we've decided to scale back on the demonstration scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. A handful of us will be there as planned, but we've asked the Master of Ceremonies and Speakers to postpone indefinitely. We will re-schedule depending on how the circumstances develop. If all the charges are not dismissed and a new trial date is set in the future, then we will organize another protest. If that happens, we want a BIG turnout!

Please help spread the word. I've heard that people from all across the Midwest have planned on attending the demonstration and trial.

I'd like to remind everyone:
Sarah and I demonstrated on the bridge peacefully and within our Constitutional Rights. We did not throw anything. We did not act like we were throwing anything. There were no traffic disturbances.

We Are Not Backing Down!

You see, they never actually threw objects off the bridge. But Birkett and company thought that they had. And since nothing is ever your fault when you're a right-winger, Jeff and Sarah have to be held responsible for that.

This, in a nutshell, is how the Republican government of DuPage County thinks your tax dollars should be spent. And may I be the first to suggest: Let's draft Collins or Anderson to run against Birkett when his current term is up.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Peickert Responds to Ferraro and Bisceglie

Recently, Democratic precinct committeepersons received a letter from Gayl Ferraro and an e-mail from Rob Bisceglie. (Editor note: The text of Ferraro's letter can be read here and Bisceglie's email is here.) I want the chairs and township precinct committeemen and other members of your organization to know that neither Operation Turn DuPage Blue nor I have any intention of getting drawn into a "he said/she said" type of political posturing especially when we need to spend our time meeting recruiting deadlines so that we can, at long last, elect Democrats in DuPage.

Let me just say this: I adamantly disagree with Rob's recollection and Gayl's characterization of the events of the last nine months and have e-mails and other correspondence to substantiate my position. I will be happy to speak with anyone who wants to hear my recollection of events and see the supporting documents.

From this point forward, I will keep all of my focus on doing more of the work that OTDB has been doing since early January. For example, at an OTDB phone bank on Saturday afternoon, we recruited three more Democratic precinct committeemen. They and the many others who have joined OTDB because of our extensive and ceaseless outreach will have the opportunity in February to run as elected precinct committeemen. And, prior to the phone bank, OTDB helped organize a petition-signing event for DuPage Democrats running for public office.

Under the leadership of a very capable steering committee, OTDB has involved the Democrats of DuPage in meaningful and productive political work. In just the past nine months, OTDB has:

  • Coordinated and fielded over 300 people in ten parades from March to September,

  • Conducted three precinct committeeman trainings,

  • Hosted author and politico Dick Simpson to address the unique needs of this election cycle to our members,

  • Generated unprecedented energy for Democratic politics in DuPage through the use of our various media and personal outreach efforts,

  • Supported the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans golf outing to honor the inspiring work of fellow Dem candidate Dirk Enger,

  • Attracted and hosted a premier national campaign training (Wellstone Action) to the heart of DuPage County,

  • Arranged and hosted a professional media and message discipline training for 2008 local candidates,

  • Organized a fundraiser to support previous Democratic candidates, who showed the courage to run against the DuPage Republican machine,

  • Created an unmatched data base, e-newsletter and web presence that draws in new active Democrats everyday and developed an aggressive and highly effective precinct committeemen recruitment program.

In situations where townships and the county were doing good outreach, OTDB has been in attendance consistently. OTDB:

  • Sent two steering committee members to the Bloomingdale/Wayne Democrats fundraiser and parade.

  • Supported the recent Milton Township fundraiser in which OTDB Executive Director Amy Tauchman played a major role. I attended along with several OTDB steering committee members. (Neither Rob nor Gayl nor any of the county officers was there.)

  • Host sponsored the Naperville Township Democrats fundraiser attended by a number of OTDB members including myself.

  • Recruited between 50 and 60 Democrats to march in the Naperville Labor Day parade. I marched with many OTDB members many of whom rejoined the parade to march with Lisle Township. (Neither Rob nor Gayl was there.)

  • Supported the county golf outing by participating as a hole sponsor.

  • Participated in the county precinct recruitment effort. (Neither Rob nor Gayl participated.)

  • Co-sponsored a Labor Day picnic with Addison, York and Bloomingdale Township Democrats. (Neither Rob nor Gayl nor any other county officer was there.)

  • Co-sponsored a booth this summer at the Back to School Fair in Wheaton along with the York Township Democrats. Doug Cole, Dan Bailey and I were there all day. (Neither Rob nor Gayl nor any other county officer was there.)

  • Marched in numerous parades in conjunction with six of nine Democratic townships since March.

  • Held two fundraisers: one to help defer the legal bills for Rita Gonzalez and me and a second to support OTDB's precinct work. Both fundraisers were attended or supported by several township chairs. (Again, neither Rob nor Gayl nor any other county officer participated.)

As to comments made about my attendance at county meetings, it was made manifestly clear that my participation and offers of assistance were not welcomed. So, I have been focused on accomplishing through OTDB, with much success, what Democrats have not been able to accomplish by working under the county organization as it is currently operated.

It is not divisive to speak your mind about a system that has not been as effective as it needs to be. And it is not sensible to continue following that same pattern of leadership and expect miraculously different results. However, in order to dispel any lingering perception of divisiveness, OTDB will happily forego the rigors of a special election and will not oppose Rob for interim chair. And, so there is no misunderstanding, I will run for the position of Chair of the DuPage County Democratic Party at the 2008 county convention when all of the newly elected precinct committeemen will be allowed to vote for the person they believe should lead the party for the next 2 years. Any debate or discussion of the future of the party can continue after the candidate petition drive is over and the petitions are filed.

As to the concept of unity, please take a look at the names on the proposed Democratic cabinet posted on for the past two weeks. Among them you will find several current county officers and chairs, members of OTDB and new Democratic activists we have garnered along the way. Sweeping changes in the times and in the electorate demand that Democrats broaden our coalition and sharpen our tactics and resolve. I believe that OTDB and I have done just that and we have the results to show it.

We do not intend to stop until the Republican hold on DuPage County has been relinquished.

It is time to get Democrats elected in DuPage.

I may be reached by e-mail at or by phone 630-421-2405.

--Bob Peickert

Update: Added links to Ferraro and Bisceglie's messages.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saying Thanks, and Staying Focused on What Really Matters

From Bob Peickert:

Chill! Relax! Take a Deep Breath!

As a result of the recent announcement of the resignation of Gayl Ferraro as Chair of the DuPage County Democratic Organization, we will undoubtedly be hearing and reading about everyone's "take" on her decision. What's to "take"? She made a decision and the party moves on.

First, I want to thank Gayl for her work on behalf of Democrats in DuPage County. I readily admit that Gayl and I have had our differences, disagreements, and you might say battles, but she did spend a lot of time doing what she believed to be the right thing. As we decide on the direction of the Democratic Party, we should all recognize work that people do whether we agree with them or not. Thank you, Gayl, for your work on behalf of Democrats in DuPage County.

Second, I want to comment briefly on the impact of Gayl's decision. The newspapers already predict some type of "battle" for the position. However, what ultimately happens doesn't depend too much on who the chair will be for a two or three month period. And, we also need to remember that the chair is only one person of many who will be called upon to lead the party in the future. There are many unanswered questions about the interim election, but, more importantly, there are unanswered questions about our plan to elect Democrats in DuPage in 2008. THAT’S THE REAL ISSUE.

We must get our precincts ready for the upcoming campaigns by recruiting precinct committeemen. This is what we started with OTDB back in January, and this is what we must continue to do. OTDB will continue to work on our recruitment drive and to reach out to as many Democrats as possible in the next year. Let's not get distracted, and let's not lose our focus. Electing Democrats in 2008 is what this is all about.

Friday, September 14, 2007


From today's Daily Herald:
DuPage County Democratic Organization leader Gayl Ferraro will step down today, several months earlier than her anticipated retirement. That decision speeds up the battle for the chairman's job brewing between Democratic Organization Vice-Chair Rob Bisceglie and Bob Peickert, president of Turn DuPage Blue, a rival Democrat group. Party rules require a special election be held not less than 30 days and within 60 days of the resignation. Ferraro had said earlier she would depart after the Feb. 5 primary.

Interestingly, the party has yet to send out any notification about this over its email list. One can presume that this decision wasn't made at the drop of a hat, so why is the party membership, to which the chair is supposedly responsible, the last to know?

So-called Austin Mayor has a couple of earlier but still noteworthy posts on the situation in DuPage. Here is one. Here is another, in which the so-called Mr. Mayor makes this point:
Anyone trying to fix the problems afflicting the DuPage County Democratic Party will necessarily have to identify the problems afflicting the DuPage County Democratic Party.

Ignoring the problems will not make them go away.

Taking an honest, i.e. critical, look at the county party's shortcomings is essential to ever making the DuPage County Democratic Party effective.

Update: It appears that township chairs, at least, were informed of Gayl's resignation before it appeared in the Herald.

Michelle Barton Agrees To First Vice-Chair Slot on Ticket with Bob Peickert for DuPage County Democratic Party Leadership

Michelle Barton, Naperville Township Democratic Organization Vice-Chair for Volunteer Coordination, has agreed to run for the position of First Vice-Chair of the DuPage County Democratic Party along with Chair candidate Bob Peickert, First Vice-Chair of Addison Township and Chair of Operation: Turn DuPage Blue.

“Michelle Barton is an emerging superstar within the DuPage Democratic Party. Michelle was supportive of my initial offer to Rob Bisceglie. When Rob declined, I didn’t hesitate calling Michelle,” stated Peickert, who also praised her for organizing the Naperville Labor Day parade that had over 100 Democrats marching together. “That says it all about Michelle. Her ability to bring people together is what made this any easy choice.”

In her presentation at the Naperville Township fundraiser, Barton challenged the crowd by saying: “Ask not what Democrats can do for you, but what you can do for Democrats throughout DuPage County. We are at a turning point, and Democracy is not a spectator sport. It means rolling up our sleeves, picking up phones, talking to neighbors, and getting people out to vote.”

Barton said she will continue to work with the Naperville Township Democratic Organization in her role as Volunteer Coordinator, which includes precinct committeeman recruitment. Peickert said that he and Barton will work together on a plan for the county structure. “Michelle and I are in complete agreement on the need to broaden the party structure so that more people are involved from the existing county leadership, township organizations, OTDB, and all interested Democrats.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bisceglie Declines OTDB Unity Offer

Rob Bisceglie, 1st Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of DuPage County, has turned down Chair candidate Bob Peickert’s proposal to run together on a “unity ticket” following the departure of current Chair, Gayl Ferraro.

According to Peickert, “I was informed yesterday by Rob that he intends to run against me for Chair. I am disappointed that Rob didn't recognize the opportunity that a combined ticket would have presented for the Democratic Party.

“While I respect Rob’s decision and look forward to a great contest, what I find most disappointing is the fact that Rob presented a “slate” that did not contain even a single person active in Operation: Turn DuPage Blue.”

Last month, Peickert, Chair of Operation Turn DuPage Blue, reached out to Bisceglie inviting him to run on a unity ticket for the top two county positions. The OTDB Steering Committee fully supported Peickert's offer as an attempt to dispel lingering perceptions of division within the party.

Peickert, who in recent months has helped forge greater alliances between OTDB and the Democratic township organizations, indicated that he would continue to support Bob Jeffers as county treasurer. “Bob has done an excellent job as treasurer and I hope he will continue.”

Peickert also said that he will soon be announcing his plans for the county and his choice for 1st Vice-Chair. As to the other positions, Peickert said: “If elected, I plan to bring together those people from OTDB, from the current county leadership, and from other sources who will work hard and get the job done. That has to be the bottom line. I intend to make this a campaign about DuPage Democrats working together with a vision for the future.”

Monday, September 10, 2007

A note from Naperville Township Chair Tom Wronski, newest OTDB Steering Committee member

Dear Operation Turn DuPage Blue:

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Operation Turn DuPage Blue for the assistance it has provided to the Naperville Township Democratic Organization, and to commend the organization for its fine efforts.

Bob Peickert, Amy Tauchman and the folks at OTDB are doing excellent work. Their "roll-up our sleeves and get to work" approach is inspiring. Although the Naperville Township Democratic Organization adheres to a policy of "self-sufficiency" -- that is, we do not ask for help from outside organizations if at all possible -- OTDB has repeatedly reached out to the NTDO on a "proactive" basis. Most recently, OTDB sent a large contingent to the Naperville Labor Day parade. One of our key members, Michelle Barton, is also an OTDB member. OTDB has done these things without setting pre-conditions for the assistance, and without asking for anything from NTDO in return. That is my definition of leadership.

As we have discussed, my focus is strictly limited to building the Democratic Party in the Naperville area, and I have no plans to, or interest in becoming involved in DuPage County Democratic politics outside of this sphere. Nonetheless, I have decided to accept your invitation to serve on the OTDB steering committee because I appreciate your proactive approach, and I anticipate that serving on your steering committee will further benefit the NTDO.

The fact that I have joined the OTDB steering committee should not be interpreted as an endorsement of any particular candidate who may be seeking, or may in the future seek, an elected position within the Democratic Party in DuPage County -- either by me personally, or by me in my official capacity as NTDO Chair. Indeed, I look forward to continuing to work with OTDB, and with all Democratic, Labor and like-minded organizations that share our goals, and I recognize the efforts and great strides being made by others to build up the Democratic Party in DuPage County.

Once again, thank you OTDB for all of your hard work.


Thomas J. Wronski


From Operation: Turn DuPage Blue Chair Bob Peickert:

We are extremely pleased to have Tom serve on our steering committee, and we appreciate his comments about the work of OTDB. We look forward to working with Tom and the Naperville Township Democratic Organization to elect Democrats in 2008.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Why turning DuPage 'Blue' isn't just a pigment of our imagination:

According to Robert T. Saar, Executive Director for the DuPage County Election Commission (in a FOIA reponse last month), in the 2004 general election in DuPage County, there were:

174,063 Republicans
99,095 Democrats
246,607 Independents
11,970 Nonpartisan

Certainly the gap between professed Republicans and Democrats seems quite wide, yet with more Democratic-minded individuals moving into DuPage, ongoing dissension over the Bush administration and the Iraq War, and the likelihood of a Democratic presidential candidate with Illinois roots -- plus strides made by 2006 Democratic candidates -- you can see where this gap may no longer remain so large.


This Washington Post article states that in 2006, Independents were voting Democratic 2 to 1. If anything, this left-leaning preference has increased over the past year. Carrying this out to mean that 164,000 Independents vote left in DuPage, while 82,000 Independents vote right, that would make the tally approximately:

263,000 Democrats
256,000 Republicans

But before "we" declare victory, realize that DuPage may have been completely "Red" all these years for reasons superceding the proclivities of its voting populace (and no, I'm not talking about Election fraud; I'll leave that to others).

In the past some DuPage "independents" may have been swayed by the seemingly Right-leaning mindset of "most of their neighbors," especially with Republicans filling their Precincts with Committee(wo)men. To win, we need to do the same, and show everyone that there is no reason to be bashful, embarrassed or guilty about voting for Democratic candidates in DuPage.

Click here to learn more about becoming a PC or contact if you want to participate in upcoming PC-recruitment Phone Banks, host a PC-gathering Coffee or Potluck at your house, attend a PC Training Session or get involved in other ways.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Theosophical Society Meeting

Last night I was given the opportunity to go and speak with a small contingent of people from the Theosophical Society. I was asked to speak by our close friend David Bland and was excited by the opportunity. That being said, I had no idea what to expect so I wrote out some notes about OTDB, Progressive politics and our mission heading into the future. In my experience, Mr. Bland is a man of action and a man of integrity therefore my expectations were very high. However, what I encountered was more than I could have ever asked for. I sat and talked with a handful of people from the Theosophical Society and I couldn't believe how quickly time went by. I began to learn about the society, which I strongly encourage you to look into ( This is a group who is based around three objects and I am simply going to cut and paste these objects;

The three declared Objects of the Theosophical Society are:

  • To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.
  • To encourage the comparative study of religion, philosophy, and science.
  • To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity.
The group then listened intently to my (not so) short synopsis of OTDB and were ready with some tremendous questions. I cannot describe to you how much I enjoyed the evening and how much I learned. I strongly urge you to learn more about their group, they are truly sincere people who we could all learn many lessons from. I believe Mr. Bland would say the same thing about OTDB and doesn't that alone make all of this hard work worthwhile? When it comes down to it, we are all working together to make DuPage, and the world, a better place to live and learn. We are in great company folks, let us not forget how important that is.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I-Spy, U-Spy, We All Spy

submitted by Bob Peickert:

Further illustration that the Republicans are more than a little worried about the progress of the Democrats in DuPage County was supplied by the appearance of a surprise guest at the OTDB fundraiser on Aug. 17. None other than William Maio, one of Pat Durante’s lackeys, happened to show up at the Itasca Country Club on the night of the fundraiser (a huge success I might add). For those of you unfamiliar with Maio, he was a former trustee of Addison Township, former member of the County Board, and a now a member of the DuPage Water Commission, appointed by Bob Schillerstrom. He is also very close to the team of Durante/Ketter, known for their filing of a complaint against one of the Democratic County Board candidates.

Maio claimed to be there by happenstance and thought he’d drop in and say “Hi”. Not that we bought into that, but we nonetheless let Bill have his fun as he stood at the bar chatting with one of our members. We were even so kind as to introduce Bill to the gathering, letting Bill know how much we appreciated his interest in our efforts. These Republicans really don’t get it.

Well, the good thing about the Republicans is that they don’t know how to keep their exuberances in check, err, "mouth shut" in Durante/Maio parlance. After enjoying our fundraiser, Maio went back and proudly told Durante (chairman of the Addison Township Republican Organization) and the others how well he follows orders. He told them how he stayed at the event and chatted with our members. He blabbed to Durante and the folks at the Addison Township about how the Democrats had to raise money to pay for the complaint they filed. Problem is Maio thought his audience would keep their mouths shut. Didn’t happen. You see, several of the Republicans, including certain elected officials of Addison Township talk to the wrong people. Our “spies” told us of Maio’s report and much more.

Bill and Pat, watch out for your friends. They may not really be that loyal to you. See you at the next event. Maybe they’ll send their “sign-puller” this time. What’s his name again? Oh, yes, Steve Z***n? Or is it a guy named W****y?

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Submission as Summation

In July, OTDB submitted an entry in BlogPac's Progressive Entrepreneur Contest, with hopes of winning one of five $5,000 prize grants. Over 100 entries were submitted and other worthy causes were selected in lieu of ours (you can read about the winners at:

I wanted to post our submission essay earlier, but wasn't sure what the judges would think of that. Now that the contest is over, I feel no qualms about doing so. Please note that much of the following was written & edited between July 10-24, so there are things that are already a bit outdated (such as the number of PCs recruited) and some things referred to as upcoming may have already past.

Still, I believe this 1,000-word piece serves as a strong summation of what OTDB has done and achieved in our first 7-8 months in existence, and wanted to post it for the public record.

-- Seth


Despite the national Democratic groundswell in 2006, despite impressive Democratic gains in otherGOP-hotbed counties of Northern Illinois (Lake, Kane,Will) and despite several notable, closer-than-everraces, including one 299-vote-difference, recount-inducing contest, every elected official inDuPage County, Illinois (due west of Chicago) remainsa Republican.

Tired of seeing red on Election Day, several ardent, progressive Democrats—including unsuccessful-yet-unbowed candidates and devoted campaign workers—experienced their Howard Beale moment (“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”) and then quickly realized that only action, not anger nor apathetic acceptance, would end a losing streak even the Chicago Cubs would pity.

Germinating in November 2006 and evolving ever since, Operation: Turn DuPage Blue (OTDB) was hatched with great optimism and strategic planning instantly replacing frustration and finger-pointing. Our main goal is to reintroduce DuPage citizens to the value of 2-party (at least!) politics and the subsequent dialogue that will bring about better government at all levels while putting in place an effective progressive infrastructure for the future of all DuPage citizens.

From Day One, the focus was on Precinct Committeeman recruitment, as only 122 of 735 precincts contained Democratic PCs in 2006. When one analyzes Peter Roskam’s 2-percentage point victory over Tammy Duckworth in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District (largely in DuPage County), it does not take much to realize that if half of those precincts had been filled, DuPage would already have a Democratic representative. Through the implementation of a multi-phase PC recruitment plan, OTDB has recruited approximately 75 new Democratic PCs as of July 10, 2007 and is fielding more every day.

Led by a founding Steering Committee of 12 (slightly swelled since), our grassroots, entirely-volunteer group has undertaken an array of impressive marketingand community outreach efforts considering our slimpocketbook. These have included a much-praised, regularly updated website (, a promotional poster series (exhibit 1, below), participation in several local parades (2) including seven on the Fourth of July featuring 150 total marchers, a fundraiser that attracted 120 people without any paid advertising (3) and monthly StrategySessions (4) to which over 500 people have come to help shape OTDB plans and hear guest speakers talk about substantial issues of interest to voters.

On August 3-5, 2007, Operation: Turn DuPage Blue will welcome Camp Wellstone (5) to the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. OTDB is delighted to co-host (with Greater Chicago Caucus) the initial area visit of the much-heralded 3-day progressive political training program created by Wellstone Action, an organization formed by the family of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone after his death in a 2002 plane crash. Roughly 75 OTDB members are already enrolled in the August camp, which will provide in-depth training in separate focus areas for prospective candidates, campaign workers and community activists.

Other upcoming OTDB events include our second PC training class on July 21, a second fundraiser on August 17, a Dems’ Day Picnic on a date to be determined, a series of monthly get-togethers or“friendraisers” to interest new people (especially Independents and former Republicans) and the rollout of petitions for committeemen and candidates for the February 5th primary.

Operation: Turn DuPage Blue is led by Chair BobPeickert and Executive Director Amy Tauchman. Peickert received 45% of the vote in his 2006 run for a seat on the completely Republican-controlled DuPage CountyBoard, despite being outspent by a 25:1 ratio. Peickert was also the campaign manager for Democrat Joe Vosicky’s bid for an Illinois House seat in District 46 which, as mentioned, came 299 votes and an inconclusive recount short of turning former Rep. LeeDaniels' district blue.

One of Peickert’s major initiatives has been to bring about a reduction in the salaries and benefits provided to DuPage County Board Members. Peickert has created and widely distributed a flyer on the matter (6), and it, along with recent press coverage, has resulted in several board members returning their$3,000 stipends.

Tauchman was a political consultant on the Vosicky race and the Office Director for Christine Cegelis’ 2006 primary race for the 6th Congressional seat (Cegelis, like Vosicky, is a member of OTDB and helped drive Rep. Henry Hyde into retirement with her far-better-than-expected 2004 run). Tauchman is also aco-founder of DAWN (7) (DuPage Against War Now), which was created before the Iraq War began and counts several thousand recipients on its e-mail list.

Another key Steering Committee member is 23-year-old Justin Heath, who possesses a Political Science degree from Ohio State and heads OTDB’s Youth Action Committee. Heath, instrumental in reaching first-time voters and other young DuPage residents, recently showcased his organizing skills by bringing a large youth contingent to OTDB’s Independence Day parade in Lisle, IL.

Having already earned considerable press coverage (8), Operation: Turn DuPage Blue will continue publicizing its existence and purpose. But we are really looking forward to providing financial, strategic and“on-the-ground” support to candidates that arise to run for local, state and national offices in 2008. To date, the group has raised money through a fundraiser, small donations and sporadic sales oft-shirts & buttons soon to be for sale online at the Operation: Turn DuPage “Bluetique " (9). With more ambitious county-wide marketing expenditures, training literature and candidate financial support on our agenda, we would be enormously grateful for BlogPac’sgenerous $5,000 grant.

In the words of Chair Bob Peickert, “We’ve largelybeen funding this from our own pockets, but that’s only going to take it so far. To get where we want togo, we’ll need some benefactors and what BlogPac is offering is incredible. I can promise that the money will be put to good use in continuing to build a progressive infrastructure. DuPage County is considered a cornerstone of the GOP’s base, and turning it blue will be good for the entire country. But, to do so, we could surely use a bit of green.”

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Peickert reaches out to county, believes OTDB offers important 'blueprint' for success

by Bob Peickert

I have announced my candidacy for chair of the Democratic Party of DuPage County. When Operation: Turn DuPage Blue began early this year, I had no idea of the impact that it would have. I also had no idea that we would reach the number of Democrats that we have in this short period of time. I only wish that this was started years ago. We continue to grow and we continue to give hope to the DuPage Democrats who had little before OTDB began.

If we are to succeed in 2008, the campaign started by OTDB must continue. This is why I decided to accept the challenge presented to me by the OTDB Steering Committee and run for chair of the county organization. OTDB has succeeded because of the team approach that was created. OTDB has assembled a team of experienced, talented and determined Democrats who have a will to win and they see OTDB as the organization that will make that happen.

However, nobody can achieve what we all want by doing it alone. OTDB can’t do it alone. The county can’t do it alone. If elected I will work to bring together the people from the county, township organizations and OTDB to get the job done.

Prior to making my decision public, I reached out to DuPage Party Vice-Chair Rob Bisceglie and asked him to be my running mate. I believe we could make a great team atop a re-energized and ready-to-win party structure that maximizes the possibilities for all residents of the region, from Democratic activists to anyone open to exploring how much happier a "blue" future can be.

I have yet to hear back from Rob regarding my request and hope that he will choose to partner with me in my bid.

Thank you to everyone who has already offered me their support, from the crowd at our fundraiser Friday night to others in the Democratic community who have gotten in touch. Together, to victory in 2008 and beyond!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Some Clarification about SB 662/HB 1752

by Bob Peickert
Chair, OTDB

I would like to share some insightful information about Senate Bill 662/House Bill 1752 (see post below) that was obtained by members of Operation: Turn DuPage Blue. Since this issue was first brought to everyone’s attention in the OTDB Action Blog, OTDB steering committee members have been in contact with Senators Terry Link and Emil Jones’ offices as well as Senator Don Harmon.

The recent e-mails from the Democratic Party of DuPage County contain information that appears to be inconsistent with the information that we have received.

First, HB 1752 and SB 662 began as 2 different bills and were sponsored by Democrats. SB 662 deleted important language that allowed poll watchers to receive a copy of the voting tape at the closing of the polls. HB 1752 originally dealt with the pay for election judges. Republican Senator Dan Cronin, and others, made some amendments that included increasing the number of signatures required on candidate’s petitions by 300% in DuPage County only. The Democrats agreed to this amendment. No other collar counties would have this increased requirement. HB 1752 was then merged with SB 662 and that bill was passed on Wednesday August 15.

We have been told by the Democratic county leadership that the passage of this bill was the result of the Republicans holding the Early Primary situation hostage if these provisions were not included. Our information is different. First, the Early Primary issue was passed in HB 426 and signed by the governor. Staff from Senator Link’s office confirmed that the Early Primary issue had nothing to do with SB 662, contrary to what many have been told.

The inclusion of the 1.5% factor amendment was sold by the Republicans as a way of keeping the “rump” Republicans off the primary ballots. The amendment has been there for more than two months and was not recently “slipped in”. The 1.5% factor hurts the Democrats and helps the Republicans since we do not match up with the number of precinct committeemen they have to gather signatures. By minimizing or eliminating the increasing number of contested Republican primaries, the Republicans would have that much more money in an already bloated war chest to use against the Democrat challenges they are likely to face. We lose on 2 counts.

I and others from OTDB have been assured that the issue is not dead. Bob Babcock has been in constant communication with Senator Emil Jones office. Dan Bailey and I have been in touch with Senator Harmon. We have also had several calls to staff from Senator Link’s office. The likely solution is for a “trailer” bill to be passed that clears up or removes the objectionable parts. I have sent faxes and e-mails to Senators Emil Jones, Linda Holmes, Terry Link and Don Harmon. I also spoke to several State Representatives. They now understand our concerns with the language.

We will continue to be in communication with them and report any changes or plans for corrections to these bills.

(Thank you to Jean Kaczmarek, Co-Chair of the DuPage Chapter of IBIP, for bringing this matter to our attention over the weekend.)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Help us oppose Senate Floor Amendment No. 2 to IL House Bill 1752

State Senator Dan Cronin (a Republican from District 21) has proposed an amendment to House Bill 1752 which seeks to amend the Election Code by making the minimum nomination petition signature requirement for county offices in DuPage County 1.5% (now, 0.5%) of the number of voters in a certain category.

OTDB thinks it is egregious that such a state law would single out DuPage County, seemingly for the purposes of making it three times more difficult for Democratic, and especially grassroots, candidates to run for office.

What makes Sen. Cronin’s sponsorship of this amendment even more irksome is that he has recently written letters to the editor stating that, “It has become imminently clear that one-party rule in the General Assembly does not benefit the people we were elected to represent” (Elmhurst Press, 6/14/07) and that Illinois’ budget stalemate was “the result of one-party control of our system of governance, which eliminates the need for cooperation and good-faith negotiations” (Daily Herald, 8/7/07).

Noting how Sen. Cronin’s support for two-party politics seems to stop at his home turf, OTDB Steering Committee member Bob Babcock penned this Letter to the Editor:

August 13, 2007

To the Editor,

Simply put, the DuPage County Republican leadership seems to support un-American activities. Otherwise, why would Senator Dan Cronin feel free to tamper with elections? Certainly he believes his party would support him.

America is based on Democracy – our vote is sacred. It is at the core of what we all believe it means to be “American”. The very thought that ANYONE would interfere with the voice we are given through our vote is nothing but horrific!

However, Senator Cronin has seen fit to slip an amendment to House Bill 1752 that TRIPLES the number of signatures required on petitions for DuPage County elective positions. It doesn't impact any other county. It’s nothing less than dirty politics.

It shows how desperate Republicans are becoming in DuPage – apparently willing to stop at nothing to prevent Democrats from being elected.

We have a huge budget deficit in DuPage County. I’m told that Property Tax Assessors complain that they’re overburdened and there is not enough money to hire more Assessors. Guess what? The priority is residential property. Commercial property owners are getting a free ride!

Meanwhile, DuPage County Board members enjoy salaries for PART-TIME jobs that equal the median income for a FULL-TIME employed person in the county. Democrats are calling not only for a reduction in the number of DuPage County Board positions, but also in the salaries.

Why does this matter? It matters because there is ONE PARTY RULE in DuPage County. There is NO balance in DuPage County government. There’s no one “keeping them honest”.

Senator Cronin speaks from one side of his mouth decrying Democratic rule in the state, and speaks from the other side of his mouth while legislating against fair elections that might give Democrats a chance in getting elected to something as simple but important as the DuPage County Board because it impacts our taxes!

I remember the “cold war” with the Russians. Supposedly it was because the people had no voice in government – they weren’t a democracy.

Apparently, Senator Cronin doesn’t believe in democracy either.

Cronin has deceitfully added his amendment to what otherwise might be a good piece of legislation. Oppose his amendment to HB 1752 NOW. Unless you don’t believe in what America was founded on – democracy.

Bob Babcock
Downers Grove


OTDB asks that you contact state legislators to oppose -- and otherwise spread the word about -- this horribly misguided proposal sponsored by an Elmhurst-based State Senator.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Dave Diersen Versus the Volcano

Seth already beat me to the punch on this one, but let's take a second look at Mr. Diersen's rantings:

Peickert fails to acknowledge that many of DuPage County's most serious problems are caused by its elected officials and Republican party leaders who claim to be Republican, but who reject most if not all the Republican platform and who are in reality, Democrats. These RINOs blame all problems on conservatives and by their words and/or by their actions, they promote dependency on government, illegal immigration, abortion, homosexual activity, erosion of Second Amendment rights, etc.

Long ago, or so the legends say, there were tribes who used to sacrifice virgins by throwing them into their local volcano. We need to appease the gods, they would say, or else the volcano would surely erupt and bring death and destruction.

Trouble is, sometimes the volcano would erupt anyway. And if you made a comparison, you could find that the volcanoes that got sacrifices erupted, on average, with the same frequency as the ones that didn't.

For the people making the sacrifices, there could be only one answer to this conundrum.

Obviously, they weren't sacrificing enough virgins. Or maybe their sacrifices weren't high enough quality, whatever that might mean.

Diersen, of course, is a pretty extreme case even by Republican standards. But this way of thinking, if it can be called that, isn't limited to his ilk. Twenty-plus years of trickle-on economics have been devastating our country. Unthinking deregulation and upper-bracket tax cuts have made the rich richer — always the real purpose — and have left the rest of us with massive deficits, a dwindling number of good jobs, a crumbling infrastructure (last week's tragedy in Minnesota being only the latest example), and so on and so on. Yet you still see far too many Republicans telling us that all we need is more tax cuts, more privatization, more sacrifices to Mammon and everything will be fine.

Hilarious, In Name Only

Silly me, for all these years I have found it distressing that DuPage County was exclusively governed and represented by Republicans, whose views and voting records didn't represent mine. And to my awareness, most elected Republicans followed the George Bush/Karl Rove rulebook pretty lockstep.

But in my time in DuPage, I came to know a good number of decent, nice, everyday people who happened to be Republicans.

But it turns out I was wrong. They weren't good people, they were merely bad Republicans. At least according to a far-right winger named David John Diersen, who runs a website called GOP Illinois ( Seemingly, based on his response to OTDB Chair Bob Peickert's recent letter (published on this blog a few days ago) regarding State Senator Dan Cronin, in order to be a good Republican, you must be a gun-toting, anti-abortion, selfish, bigoted homophobe.

Well, to all you "Republicans In Name Only" to which Mr. Diersen so endearingly refers, I have but one thing to say: Welcome. We'd love to have you join us in helping to turn DuPage blue.

Since there is no good way to link to Diersen's post, I have provided it below. You might want to swallow your donut before you start reading.

-- Seth


Diersen responds to Operation Turn DuPage Blue Chairman Bob Peickert

by David John Diersen

Operation Turn DuPage Blue Chairman Bob Peickert fails to acknowledge that "ONE PARTY" rule by Republicans in DuPage County has brought far greater prosperity and far greater safety than "ONE PARTY" rule by Democrats has brought in Cook County or anywhere else for that matter.

Peickert fails to acknowledge that many of DuPage County's most serious problems are caused by its elected officials and Republican party leaders who claim to be Republican, but who reject most if not all the Republican platform and who are in reality, Democrats. These RINOs blame all problems on conservatives and by their words and/or by their actions, they promote dependency on government, illegal immigration, abortion, homosexual activity, erosion of Second Amendment rights, etc. They demand blind loyalty to themselves and continue to argue that Scott Fawell and George Ryan are completely innocent and that conservatives have caused, are causing, and will continue to cause all problems.

Many of DuPage County's most serious problems are caused by RINOs who want to build patronage armies by promoting programs that attract people to the county who have serious health and/or financial problems and who lack education and/or job skills. Supporting the people who they attract, people who need/demand costly government services and who tragically, are far more likely to commit crime, is costing all DuPage County governmental entities more and more each year. In the past, people (like Dave and Karen Diersen who did not move to DuPage until 1978) did not move to DuPage until they could afford to live in DuPage. But now, people who could easily afford to live in other areas with a lower cost of living move here because they are attracted by thousands of extremely generous welfare programs - all promoted by Democrats and RINOs. A major reason why the cost of living is high in DuPage is the high taxes needed to support recent arrivals who have serious health and/or financial problems and who lack education and/or job skills.

Outrageously, some RINOs spend most if not all their time badmouthing real Republicans - outrageously, the more planks in the Republican platform that you support, the harder that you work to elect candidates who will advance the Republican platform, the harder they work to demonize you. Outrageously, some RINOs spend all of their time badmouthing me, badmouthing the GOPUSA ILLINOIS email that I send out every morning, denigrating my credentials and accomplishments, trumpeting my weaknesses, ascribing evil motive and bad judgment to everything I do, and arguing that I never was, I am not now, nor I ever will be a member of the news media or a conservative leader. People who want to improve DuPage County should elect precinct committeemen, municipal officials, township officials, county officials, state officials, and federal officials who really are Republicans, not Democrats or RINOs. Republican Precinct Committeemen should elect party leaders who really are Republicans, not Democrats or RINOs.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

An Open Letter to Illinois State Senator Dan Cronin (Republican, Dist. 21)

Dear Senator Cronin:

As a Democrat in DuPage , I compliment you on your observations in your letter to the editor of Aug 7 [Daily Herald, see below]. In referring to the state budget negotiations, you allege: “This is a result of ONE-PARTY (my emphasis) control of our system of governance, which eliminates the need for cooperation and good faith negotiations.” You make this claim despite the fact that Republicans are represented in Springfield – your party holds 22 of 59 Senate seats and 51 of 118 in the General Assembly. You go on to say that “For the past 50 years, with few exceptions, Illinois has been governed by both Republicans and Democrats who were compelled to work together and compromise.”

Senator Cronin, wouldn’t it be great if in DuPage County, where 50% of the citizens are Democrats but all of our officials are Republicans, we could “work together” to solve some of the county's growing problems? And, wouldn’t it be great if we had same the kind of TWO-PARTY system of governance in DuPage that you advocate for in Illinois.? As you know, DuPage is not without problems. Bloated salaries and benefits for Republican county and township officials, budget deficits, cutbacks in services, proposals to raise taxes, and threats of home-rule are all problems that should have input by local Democrats who have for years been shut-out of the county's decision-making process.

Let’s work together, Senator Cronin, to elect just 6 Democrats to the county board; the Republicans currently have all 19 seats and would still be the majority, a broader majority than the Democrats now hold in our state legislature. But this would still bring us closer to the TWO-PARTY system of governance that you so eloquently espoused.

Two party government in DuPage County... deal or no deal, Senator Cronin?

Bob Peickert, Chair
Operation Turn DuPage Blue


For reference sake, this is the text of Sen. Cronin's letter in the Daily Herald on Aug. 7:

Democrats’ poor legislative record

As I wrote this letter, the General Assembly was 60 days past its scheduled adjournment day, setting the shameful record of the longest overtime session in Illinois history.

With no year-long budget negotiated, once again we are privy to a disgraceful display of irresponsible governance and a failure of leadership.

This has been a frustrating, difficult session. By refusing to compromise on some of the state’s most pressing issues, Gov. Blagojevich and Democrat leadership in the House and Senate have broken their promise to the people that they were elected to represent.

I believe that our experience this year is a clear demonstration of the ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats.

It is my opinion that Illinois lawmakers are citizen legislators who should come to Springfield and work diligently to do the work of the people in a reasonable, responsible time frame before returning to their families, jobs and lives.

What we are witnessing is a fundamental change in state government, courtesy of the Democrats. Under their watch, government continues to grow. The legislature is meeting more often, moving toward a full-time legislature dominated by people who are committed to bigger government, more programs and higher taxes. This is the result of one-party control of our system of governance, which eliminates the need for cooperation and good-faith negotiations.

For the past 50 years, with few exceptions, Illinois has been governed by both Republicans and Democrats who were compelled to work together and compromise. I ask that once again Republicans are allowed to demonstrate our ability to govern.

We have been and will continue to be ready to work to bring a conclusion to this difficult overtime debacle that continues without direction, guidance or any semblance of leadership.

State Sen. Dan Cronin

Monday, August 6, 2007

Wellstone Success

Many OTDB members spent their weekends attending Camp Wellstone at College of DuPage. It was a tremendous event with incredible speakers and great students. We all had the opportunity to learn a new path being taken by the Progressive movement made both popular and successful by the late Sen. Paul Wellstone. This new grassroots strategy aims to win elections using a bottom-up strategy that empowers communities and activists. That being said, the whole weekend was based around the brilliant (however, often forgotten) idea that we have the ability to improve our community. Wellstone grads are taught that winning elections is only one step toward bringing better resources and better lives to our communities.

The size of the group was absolutely amazing, well over 100 people paid to give up their entire weekend in exchange for sitting in a classroom for 21 hours over 3 days. The whole group ate meals together and had a couple of sessions together but mainly we were split into three different groups. One group was a training for community activists, while I was not in this group I heard amazing stories about the enthusiasm in that room, not for electoral politics but for making the world a better place. I can tell you from personal experience that they were having a great time, walking by their classroom repeatedly taught me that they are one loud, fun-loving group. Honestly, these new activists are going to return to their communities ready to make change and I have little doubt they will do exactly that. The second track was for campaign workers, these are the people who willingly spend their own time and money just to get other people elected. That being said, the campaign worker group worked on many things from finance to media and everything in between. I can assure you that these newly trained campaign workers will go on and run and work for numerous successful campaigns around the country. If you are considering running for office anytime soon I urge you to go out and find these Wellstone graduates and beg them to work with you. If you have to, get down on your hands and knees and kiss their shoes because I can promise you it will pay off in the end. These newly trained campaign workers are a force to be reckoned with and I cannot wait to see what the have planned for all of us. Finally, I was in the candidates track with 25 of the most amazing people I have ever met. Remember that kid in 1st grade who talked too much and when asked explained that he/she wanted to be President? Well there were 26 of those kids in one room together all weekend. Our classes were mind blowing, the ideas that the presenters shared were so cutting edge that they directly contradicted what I learned in electoral politics in college just over a year ago. Just one example, they talked at length of the importance of basebuilding, going to our often-ignored supporters to ask for help, ideas, volunteers, everything one could imagine. That directly contradicts the idea that you should use all your resources to pay attention only to undecided voters. I loved the new ideas, because of course being elected means that you represent every member of your respective district and that if you only pay attention to 20% of that district you have failed (no matter if you win or lose the election), and done so in an ugly, disrespectful way. Our goal of being elected is really a goal of bringing, first hand, a better life to all Americans. This is a level of morality that few current politicians have and that they all must learn going into the future. If the fail to learn these lessons quickly they will all lose their jobs.

The Camp Wellstone experience is something that I will look back on as changing my life. We all learned theories of how we make the world a better place through the use of politics. Politics is not the engine of American life; rather it is a machine we must use to improve the lives of all Americans. Any use of the machine for any other reason is disgusting, politics will no longer be a corrupt system of selfishness. No, I can promise you, with the help of Wellstone graduates politics well have one purpose, and only one purpose, to improve the lives of every last American, no matter if they are blue or red, undecided or they don't even vote, male or female, immigrant or naturalized citizen, evangelical or agnostic. It doesn't matter, we are all Americans and we must all work together to reclaim the post of the most important hegemon in the history of the world.

Thank you to Camp Wellstone, the College of DuPage, Amy Tauchman, Adriana Barboza, Erik Peterson, Pam Costain and every other trainer or organizer involved in this amazing weekend. Additionally, I learned so many things from other students that I will look to for advice and support well into the future. If you ever have the chance to go to Wellstone training I strongly recommend you take that chance. Maybe we will even end up in the same classroom, I will certainly be back to learn even more from Wellstone Action, the students and the passion everyone shared all weekend.

“A politics that is not sensitive to the concerns and circumstances of people's lives, a politics that does not speak to and include people, is an intellectually arrogant politics that deserves to fail.”
-Paul Wellstone.-

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Fun in Libertyville

Former Congressional candidate Lee Goodman meets some anti-abortion demonstrators, and asks them some pertinent questions.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

London Calling? Or Havana?

Well, though still a few weeks away from getting into my new condo, I'm enjoying Skokie and the northern burbs (though I regret missing the DuPage County Fair; nothing like rows of cows and goats on a 90 degree day). Today I went to a house party -- and this was quite a house, in Highland Park -- for Daniel Biss, a young University of Chicago math professor who is running for the IL House in District 17, which covers Skokie and nearby. U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and a couple of current state reps were there. I was impressed by Daniel; obviously he's a bright guy, but he also seems to be well-composed and knowledgeable on many issues. ( I'm hoping to get involved with his campaign in some way.

Prior to going to the gathering, I thought I'd get myself in a political state of mind by seeing Sicko, the Michael Moore movie, which conveniently was playing at the Highland Park Theatre. I certainly admire Michael Moore and the dialogue he spurs, but sometimes I find him a bit too overt in presenting what to me (and I'd presume most Dems) seems to be an obvious message that the "other side" will opt to reject regardless. But I'm not sure I want to know anyone who can see Sicko and not feel a sense of shame for the state of health care (or more accuratly perhaps, coverage) in the United States. As Moore ( depicts with typical irreverence and incredulity, Canada, England, France and even Cuba(!!!) have universal health systems that seemingly provide comprehensive, quality healthcare for everyone (including visiting Americans) while still managing to make doctors wealthy. And as Sicko artfully depicts, even those of us fortunate to have health insurance would likely be far better off in a country where the public good takes precedent over the profits and lobbying power of insurance, health care and pharmaceutical companies.

I asked Cong. Schakowsky if Washington, on both sides, takes Michael Moore seriously, because it would seem obvious that they should. She said she and others got a private screening of the movie, and she certainly endorses some sort of universal coverage, but said it won't even be on the table until the next administration.

Friday, July 27, 2007

OTDB Young Democrats Success Story

Thursday, July 26th was a big night for OTDB and I would like to spend a few moments sharing what happened at the meeting. We met in a large meeting room filled with about 150 chairs, when 50 people showed up it proved the venue was a bit large. That being said, OTDB was represented by 8 people, by far the largest group in the room of 50. Truly what surprised me most was that no more than 15 actual young people were in the crowd. More than a 50% representation by OTDB was a surprising success. However, that being said, expansion will be quick and exciting. A little advertising, phone banking and spreading the word goes a long way. OTDB cannot wait to get started working with the Young Democrats on recruiting and winning elections. We all have the same goal in mind, registering new voters, educating voters, energizing voters, all these things will pave the way toward numerous Blue victories next November

Adults filled the night with lectures yet two young people outshined them all. Both Mike Keene (representing the South Chicago Young Democrats) and Magen Ryan of the Young Democrats impressed everyone in the room. Both had very interesting things to say and they both presented themselves very well. In addition to Mike and Magen there were a few highlights. There was much talk of a hypothetical "playbook" for Democrats and how to develop this playbook, that being said, there were never any specifics provided, maybe the venue was too large. We also discussed the impact of Pop Culture on the world of politics, again Mike and Magen shined by presenting very different views from the rest of the speakers. Both pointed out that Pop Culture is, in fact, what is POPular and therefore it would be a mistake to run an election without at least paying attention to what is popular. Harvey Wells of WCPT (listen now) presented a good point when he said that we need to flip around the fallacy that Liberals run the media while also paying attention to how to use the media to our advantage, truly the media defines pop culture, or maybe vice versa.

There was some time spent on a question and answer forum in which OTDB presented 2 of the 6 questions. Our questions were simple, yet left unanswered. First, "Is there any plan to expand the Young Democrats and if so, what is that plan?" Secondly, "Don't you think that this generation is ignored rather than apathetic?" While the questions were never answered both Mike and Magen displayed true passion on the subjects. The night went rather quickly and ended with the presentation of those who were there for election reasons and those who were organizers. All and all the meeting was a good first step, the OTDB Youth Action Board hopes to be included in the organizing of the next meeting with great ideas for expansion and further excitement. After the meeting our group agreed unanimously that the Young Democrats are a very determined group who have great ideas for the future of our county and country. Any worries you may have about us Young Democrats in general can be laid to rest. We will engage more young people than anyone can imagine, that I promise to you before November of 2008.

Be excited for the next generation, because if you are not, we will leave you in the dust. :)

Justin P. Heath

Let's Hear It For the DuPage Election Commission!

The below is a screen shot from the official election results, with highlighting added. Way to go, guys! I feel great that you'll be counting my votes.

This is What Censorship Looks Like

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Good Time for a Great Cause

Today, the Wheaton-based Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans ( held their 2nd Annual Golf & Grill fundraiser and Operation: Turn DuPage Blue was delighted to participate. OTDB sponsored a hole, Chair Bob Peickert led a foursome of golfers on a beautiful day and 10 of us joined a large crowd for dinner, highlighted by a full half-hour of generous raffle prize giveaways.

OTDB thanks the MSHV for a wonderful event and very much appreciates all of their vital efforts.

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Comment on Comments

Comments on this site are now moderated. We've taken this step after our site was hit by spammers, both those of the garden-variety web-'bot sort and local Republican trolls.

For those who are going to denounce this decision as a violation of free speech, I say pardon my French, but au contraire. This is not a public forum, it is our own private corner of the Internet. You no more have carte blanche to post anything you want here than we have to barge into your homes uninvited and try to persuade your children that Republicans are evil. If you, whoever is reading this, don't like the way we run our site, you can plunk down $4 a month and get your own site. Or you can even sign up for free for a page on Blogspot. But this site (along with the parent Turn DuPage Blue domain) is our home; you are a guest here, and we expect you to behave accordingly.

We apologize to any legitimate commenters out there. If you are someone who's worked with O:TDB, contact us and we'll add you as a poster to this site. Otherwise your comments will need to wait for a moderator to approve them.

As for the Republicans who spammed their attacks into a whole slew of threads, we may post a response to your allegations once we've verified the relevant facts. For now, we'll just take it as a sign that DuPage Republicans, or at least some of them, are getting very, very worried. As they should be.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

DuPage deserves better than a political 'Schill'

In today’s Daily Herald, there is an article about how DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom—one of the county’s most powerful Republicans—is using his Democratic ties to enrich his private law practice on bond deals while awarding allies of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and Gov. Rod Blagojevich taxpayer-funded lobbying contracts.

The article by Herald political writer Eric Krol can be found here:

Addressing the questionable intersection of public and private interests raised by the article, Bob Peickert, Chair of Operation: Turn DuPage Blue, sees the revelations about Schillerstrom as representing another example of what happens when one-party controls government.

“I find it interesting that Republicans constantly criticize the State Democrats, but are always there with their hands out when money is involved. You don’t deal with a $40 million budget deficit by handing out unnecessary political contracts,” commented Peickert. “And Schillerstrom wants home-rule in DuPage County so that he has more tax dollars at his disposal for unnecessary lobbyist and PR work. How do these contracts help the taxpayers in DuPage?”

In the article, DuPage County State’s Attorney Joe Birkett is quoted as saying he found the situation “troublesome.” And that “it’s the type of story that is going to attract scrutiny.”

Peickert considers this response both tepid and bothersome, especially in light of the ongoing charges against war protesters Jeff Zurawski and Sarah Hartfield (

“Joe Birkett’s office jumped on the Zurawski case, but his only reaction to this is that it’s “troublesome”. If that’s all he has to say, DuPage is in big trouble.”

Peickert believes Schillerstrom owes the taxpayers a full explanation as to the lobbying and public relations contracts. “Chairman Schillerstrom needs to fully explain his rationale for handing out what appear to be politically motivated and duplicative contracts. He needs to explain why these are necessary in light of budgetary problems. Then let the taxpayers decide.”

Reiterating his call for a 2-party system of government in DuPage County, Peickert concluded, “This would not happen if both Democrats and Republicans sat on the county board. When one party has total control, the system fails. The Republicans act like watchdogs in Springfield, but they will defend their turf in DuPage County and don’t want any Democrats “snooping” around.

“It's time to do something about it, and that is why Operation: Turn DuPage Blue exists.”

Sunday, July 15, 2007

This Shouldn't Be Seen As An Endorsement

The state's top Democrat and Gov. Blagojevich pose together after the Cubs game on 7-15-07. No, I'm not giving him the "Loser" sign. I'm saying #1, as the Cubs had just won a great game. Unfortunately, I did not have any Operation: Turn DuPage Blue cards to give him.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Yahoo Accidentally Tells the Truth


Thieves have stolen nearly $300 million from a bank in Baghdad, police and a bank official said Thursday, in what is probably one of the biggest thefts in Iraq since the 2003 war to topple Saddam Hussein.

The 2003 war still holds the record as the biggest theft in Iraq, especially since it's four years later and Bush still hasn't given back the country.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A Message from the OTDB Chair

Yesterday was a very special day for Democrats in DuPage County. DuPage Democrats gathered in 7 parades to celebrate our freedom and our right to voice our opinions, engage our passions, and encourage others to do the same. Operation: Turn DuPage Blue did just that by mobilizing 150 marchers in the 7 parades. We marched hand-in-hand with other Democratic township organizations, and we marched in other parades as the only representatives of the Democratic Party in DuPage. Yesterday, we were all Democrats marching together. Tomorrow, we will continue to be ALL Democrats working to bring change in DuPage County by electing local Democrats. And, it’s working as never before.

The freedom we enjoy that allows us to disagree, dissent, debate and challenge each other has resulted in activity that has been absent in DuPage County for years. OTDB and the DuPage Democratic Party have been engaged in ways that will allow us to make a difference in 2008. Democrats are grabbing headlines as we become more active and more vocal in our desire to see DuPage change to a 2-party system of government.

OTDB received an e-mail yesterday from a parade watcher in Glen Ellyn which says it all about what we are trying to accomplish.

“Thank you for marching in the Glen Ellyn parade today. …I was disgusted once again and quite frankly, seething, after watching Republican groups once again march in astounding numbers through the parade with absolutely no representation of the “other side”. However, my attitude changed a little while later, when I saw your group marching through. …I just wanted to thank you, though, for standing up and being counted for those of us in such a minority in DuPage County, and I wanted to tell you that if you had not walked in the parade, I would never have known about you. Keep up the good work and I will be seeing you soon, I am sure….”

Few things stir passions like politics, and OTDB owes its existence to people, like the person who wrote the e-mail, who are passionate about improving outcomes for Democratic candidates in DuPage County. At times, OTDB steering committee members, participants and non-affiliated supporters have voiced their passions in ways that may have struck an uncomfortable nerve with others within the DuPage Democratic Party. But while animosity has never been on our agenda and we regret hurt feelings among well-intentioned individuals, we will not apologize for “voicing our opinions, engaging our passions and encouraging others to do the same”. We will continue what we’re doing, with proud purpose but with lack of malice—despite any insinuations to the contrary. We invite anyone who shares our passion for furthering Democratic progress in DuPage County to assist us in facilitating success in 2008.

Bob Peickert
Chair, OTDB

Some Holiday Reading

Howard Zinn puts into words that which ought to be obvious but isn't.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

When all else fails, use a sports analogy

Let’s say there’s a basketball team. Its best player is Jack, a forward who scores the most points – say 16 per game, not exactly Jordanesque – while hearing the loudest cheers from the fans and getting the most press coverage. But in an 82-game season, the team wins only 12 games. And in an arena that seats 20,000, it averages just 7,000 fans per game.

The next year, a new point guard named Fred joins the team. He is happy to pass the ball, and in doing so helps Jack score 24 points per game. The team wins 48 games, makes the playoffs and draws 18,000 fans per game. Naturally, Fred gets significant press coverage along with Jack, and the fans give him hearty cheers previously only heard by Jack.

Should Jack be happy that he’s playing on a winning team, scoring more points and hearing cheers from a greater number of fans? Or should he pout and whine because his success was in part facilitated by Fred, who gains some notice and shares some credit in the process?

As a member of Operation: Turn DuPage Blue never motivated by animosity but merely by the desire to be represented by Democrats, it’s mind-boggling that anyone would take issue with the giving, or taking, of such an ‘assist.’ Aren’t we all on the same team?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

In the words of Woodrow Wilson: "If you want to make enemies, try to change something."

This is OTDB's response to some of the postings on (referenced in the post below here)

Operation: Turn DuPage Blue is thrilled at the movement that is going on here in DuPage. Tension is a result of any transformational process (a necessity, in fact) and OTDB is part of the transformation in DuPage democracy so it’s no surprise the two are being associated. Democrats of all stripes all over DuPage are working together, challenging each other, and regrouping in an effort to—like rocks in one of those noisy polishers--- bring out our best qualities as well as toughen up for the task ahead.

In the next 4-12 years, DuPage local state and federal representation is going to change for the better and begin working on behalf of EVERYONE who lives here not JUST the Republican party. Several forces are at work—1) the Bush Administration and its disastrous war have been a huge wake-up call for those who have reflexively voted Republican all their lives 2) more people of color are making productive new lives in the suburbs and 3) the grassroots Dems with the help of DFA, PDA, Peace and Justice Groups etc. have made great electoral strides, nearly winning a state rep race. We all know the time is near for the quantum leap that will change the face of DuPage and we plan to be ready.

We welcome anyone who understands and respects the tension and inherent benefits of this transformation in DuPage to join us at our next meeting on June 28th. Professor, author, columnist, former alderman and party-machine cracker, Dick Simpson will be our speaker. He will tell us how our campaign to break this arcane one-party stranglehold might be best done and help us all understand how vital our involvement is to this task. Please go to for more information.

In August, OTDB, along with the Greater Chicago Caucus, has invited Camp Wellstone to the College of DuPage. Spaces are limited and we would like DuPage activists to have first run (particularly those who are interested in candidacy) so please write to if you would like to start off August of 2007 and the election season in the most productive way possible. Please check out the Wellstone website at to see the general outline of their camps but please contact Operation Turn DuPage Blue if you wish to attend the Aug 3-5 Camp. Things are happening in DuPage and the final goal is to beat Republicans by getting more Dems on the street. OTDB is, and has always been, incredibly committed to doing just that and will continue to work in concert with anyone or any group who shares that goal.

Friday, June 8, 2007

The word is spreading....

Over at Prairie State Blue, blogger Michael in Chicago (who is actually in DuPage) has some good words to say about O:TDB.
I've had enough. Support Operation Turn DuPage Blue. The only way we are going to defeat the likes of Peter Roskam is to start by getting rid of party leaders locally who think they are in any position to dictate to anyone, especially those willing to help.

There's much more at the link. Thanks, Michael.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Another Memorable Parade

If someone who was unfamiliar with DuPage County's political landscape happened to follow Operation: Turn DuPage Blue as its members marched in Elmhurst's Memorial Day Parade, chances are they would assume that the Democrats were in power locally, or at least a few of them were in office. For as was the case in Elmhurst's St. Patrick's Day Parade, OTDB was met with plenty of rousing cheers, very little negativity and handed out everything it brought -- in this case, approximately 500 business cards. And aside from marching bands, OTDB seemed to have one of the larger contingents in the parade, with far more marchers than accompanied U.S. Congressman Peter Roskam. In a humorous twist, and hopefully a foreshadow of things to come, leading into the parade's main drag, OTDB's 60+ marchers were positioned directly behind a car containing Dennis Rebolletti, the Republican who had barely beat out Joe Vosicky for an Illinois state house seat in Elmhurst's district. Clearly uncomfortable at being dwarfed by the OTDB contingent, Rebolletti -- accompanied only by a driver -- frequently looked behind him with dismay until, thankfully for him, other groups provided a buffer as the parade moved down York St. Watch out Dennis, objects in your rear view mirror may be closer than they appear.