Thursday, June 15, 2006

An Open Letter to Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Mr. Governor,

Greetings again.

I have asked you numerous times from this venue to halt Dennis Hastert's "Prairie Parkway" plan, which has now been moved forward by IDOT. All the while, I have been careful to avoid making this seem like a vendetta against the Speaker.

While the rumors that Mr. Hastert and his business partners were involved in land trusts have for years been among the biggest open secrets in Kendall County, nothing was proven until news broke yesterday that Mr. Hastert is indeed personally profiting from land deals around the route of the Parkway.

My sources actually tell me there's still plenty more to the story.

That is why I am renewing my request today that you stop IDOT from any further work on the Prairie Parkway plans until all the facts can be sorted out.

Mr. Governor, we have a roadway sorely in need of expansion and improvement that's a better, more direct route for truckers who desire a better way to get from DeKalb to Minooka. It's called Illinois Route 47, and it would be a great place to start spending the $209 million Mr. Hastert earmarked for his favorite project.

The fastest growing county in the state needs its infrastructure expanded now. Route 47 is the place to start.

Thanks for your time.


Brian G said...

I eagerly look forward to your illumination of his ethical lapses. I just know know how Hastert has the time to be corrupt. I mean Congress works 97 days this year.

Tom Brophy said...

WELL PUT! Rt 47 seems, to me, to be the most viable place to start with infrastructure upgrades. It was built in a place that wouldn't hack off prime farm land and can be upgraded without disturbing what little "green" land is left.


Cal Skinner said...

For a slightly different take, you might want to read the two articles I wrote for

Anonymous said...

Lets face it the roads in Kendall county suck. However 47 is a nightmare and should be addressed thanks tom for pointing out the obvious.

Anonymous said...

Umm, Tom...what do you think will become of the "green" on either side of IL 47 if it is widened? I'm all for it, but every road in Kendall County will eventually become its own little "sprawlway" sooner or later. There's simply too much money to be made by the farmers and land owners, and no shortage of new people willing to come in.

Denny would probably make me want to wash my hands after shaking his, but if I lived in Kendall County, I wouldn't want the transportation mess of a McHenry or Lake County, where many fought against transportation projects and some later regretted it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I haven’t been in Yorkville for a while, but maybe someone should dig up one of the old “I cross the Yorkville Bridge.” bumper stickers and strikeout “the” and “Bridge.”

Tom Brophy said...

The way I understand it (and I'm really not 100% certain of this) is that the farmers really don't make tons of cash when they sell their land. After paying taxes, farm loans, etc...I understand that there really isn't a lot left. The guys who really make the cash are the developers who improve the property and sell it off to guys like me - for a place to call home.

I know that there is no way the growth will stop now. It's like a snowball that's grown out of control at this point. I do think, however, that Hastert's plan for his parkway is aboslutely stupid and gives no consideration to the farmland or the owners of those lands in its path. I think the only consideration good ol' Denny gave to it path is how much of the adjacent property he could buy up and sell off to developers because that property is now close enough to the interstate system to give the new homeowner or business owner a commute that's livable.

This isn't just a land grab - it's a huge money grab as well. The man has no soul and certainly doens't give a shit about the agriculture industry like he wants everyone to believe. If he truly gave a damn about the farmers, why couldn't he do more about expanding ethanol research and production - that would give the farm community a market to sell corn to. He'll never do that - he's too concerned about creating his retirement account.

Anonymous said...


It's called a 1031 exchange. Capital gains taxes from the sale are waived if the money is reinvested in-kind in real estate within something like 45 days. There are lots of farmers in DuPage County who sold 100 acres and now own 1,000 acres in places like Livingston, DeKalb or LaSalle counties. Land values are understandably appreciating there, too, with competition from 1031 buyers, non-1031 investors, and nearby farmers for the same pieces of ground.

Over half the owners of farm land in IL are absentee owners.

And if one is going to farm, why not make a 10 to 1 trade of land? Many farmers can justify letting go of their land when they factor all the negatives of trying to farm in an urbanizing area, and the much larger profit margins to be made by expanding their operations downstate or out of state. It generally takes 1000 to 1500 acres of land to sustain a true full time occupation in farming these days (with no side job to support your farming habit), unless you're a specialty farmer.

When the farmer decides to cash out, instead of do the 1031 trade, taxes must be paid on the capital gain. For those farmers mortgaged to the hilt, you are correct that there are probably some who don't make out so well...but they probably weren't making so much in farming either, given today's ag dynamics. For the old money farmers who were handed their property through a few generations, and for those who assembled parcels with cash when prices were low, there are fantastic sums of net money made, I guarantee you.

As to the path of the parkway...if a road is built, it's gotta go somewhere. If you build it over here, it's going to piss off someone...if you build it over there, it's going to piss off someone else. The real question is, what is this area going to look like in 30 years? And what kind of planning needs to be done to make sure it's going to look the way you want it?

Route 47 is a worthwhile project, and should be done before the parkway in my opinion, but I envision a 90 minute or more drive between Morris and Elburn during rush hour when the area is all built up. The 47 corridor is even more attractive to developers than the parkway since you can put an entrance anywhere along it. Just count all those stoplights that are sprouting up in Yorkville, and multiply that by another 20 or 30 years of development.

Anonymous said...

Tom Your guy does not think that buying land along the highway is an issue! please explain

Tom Brophy said...

What guy - are you refering to John Laesch? I can't believe he thinks this isn't an issue - I've heard him talk about it. I'm sure he doesn't agree with fat Denny on this if that's where you're going.

I know for a fact that he's opposed Hastert's highway since I first met him and I know that he's been talking about the nasty land deals that have been made here.

I don't know where your information is coming from, but I'm 100% positive, that is not Laesch's postion.

Anonymous said...

Clearly what is Mr. Laesch's postion then when he himself in this weeks Yorkville record say's that the land buying issue is not the issue at hand. I oppose the highway too. I want John elected because our farm land is that imporant and personally feel that if hasert is profiting from knowledge of internal goverment information then this is an issue and it needs to be talked about. For months John Laesch has been saying that he Main street and not wall street should run this country.Then he makes that statement in the paper. What is the postion if we oppose the free way and Denny is guilty then everyone should be outragged that is the issue at hand here. The man is guilty plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

Well Once again Mr. Brophy has found a common excuse just like the Laesch campagin full of excuses and no real substance. Thanks Guys for all your help Hey Brophy keep up the good work we really appreicate it.