It has been said that Illinois has over 7,000 taxing bodies of government. I don’t know, I haven’t counted them. Some argue that this causes taxes to be higher, but what really happens is that this causes an Identity Crisis in Illinois government.
What does that mean? Well, when I represent drivers who have been charged with DUI, I often want to see their police reports, videos, test results etc. I ask the State’s Attorney’s office or the local municipal prosecutor for those items and they almost always say the same thing: You’ll have to ask the police department for those we don’t have them. With 7000 different parts of government you have 7000 little chiefdoms, with no one responsible for the whole enchillada. Each has their Chief and he decides what information the public does and doesn’t get.
Recently, our Supreme Court whom I admire for their ability to make rulings with little relation to reality, made a rule that county governments have to have the records available at the courthouse, also available online. In our county you have to pay $750 down and $50 a month to get access to all of the court records (and that will be the subject of a different post). Once you log in to see the courthouse records if you look for some other county information such a property records, that log in will be worthless to you (of course).
The government doesn’t see itself as the government. All 7000 little governments see themselves as separate countries, and you will need a visa to visit each one. Information is handed out as if they are handing out tickets to a sold out Rolling Stones concert. For example, if you go to the Lake in the Hills police department the daily log of arrests is posted and updated and placed in the lobby of the police department, if you go to the Spring Grove police department and ask to see the daily log, they act as if you are asking for the formula for Cold Fusion (for some reason it’s a big secret). In Fox River Grove they will question a daily log could ever exist in this universe. In Cary they update it every other month — seems like a daily log would be updated every day, just sayin.
People often ask, how did our government get this way … and the only answer I can think of is …. that this is the way you want it. You vote for what you want, or you ignore it (until it affects you personally), probably the latter. Turns out you get the government you vote for.