Friday, June 23, 2006

The Wrestling Coach from Yorkville

.... otherwise known as the Speaker of the House and my representative. (His mother calls him Denny Hastert.) He is in deep this time.

There are a few things you have to know before this story will make sense. Chicago is big. Okay, you probably knew that part. I meant it's geographically big, not just in terms of population. And, it's extending unevenly, but certainly, into the cornfields at its edge. As the population shifts and grows, transportation needs change. Denny Hastert lives a little west of Chicago, representing the corn counties.

That's the local color. The Washington connection is that, in 2005, the House of Representatives approved an extension of the interstate system, the Prairie Parkway, which will link two major highways, giving those of us out here in the fields another path to Chicago. Three months later, Dennis Hastert sold part of a farm, purchased in his wife's name, and an adjoining parcel held in trust between Hastert and some long-time supporters, to developers for a $1.8 million profit. This farm-land is 5.5 miles from the Prairie Parkway path.

Naturally, there was no disclosure of any financial interest in the appropriations for the new interstate. Naturally, he's claiming that he's entitled to this profit and that there was no need to disclose anything. Besides, how could 5 miles from a new interstate make a difference in the value of his land? Uh huh....

Land is increasing in value in Kendall Country. I'm not surprised that he could make a profit like that. I AM surprised that he's angry that the Tribune broke the story. I AM surprised that he clearly thinks - or wants us to think- that this is no big deal.


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