Well years ago at least.
Well years ago at least.
Ever since its creation over forty years ago, the Internet has remained a mostly unrestricted place. It is a place where anyone can present themselves in any form they choose. Are those who choose to hide their real names for their own privacy and safety in danger of losing anonymity online?
Such is the power of anonymity on the web, that it has made it possible for people, some of who might normally be restricted from communicating with the outside world to speak out without fearing the repercussions of their actions. Actions that could put them in danger if carried out using their real names. Concealing one’s true identity online has made it possible for free speech to break through the physical barriers enforced by governments across the world.
Being anonymous on the web also makes it possible for people to discuss sensitive subjects, such as medical conditions, physical abuse, sexual orientation and political believes without these actions affecting their everyday lives in a negative or potentially harmful way.
There are many positive ways to use anonymity on the web, but there can sometimes be very destructive side effects too, such as bullying, racism, impersonation of an individual or individuals, and harassment. Think back to schillerparkblog.com, jamestompson.wordpress.com (without the j in the middle), and to a point ROYFMC.com. The first two are the perfect examples of “Bullying”, “impersonation”, and “harassment. Coincidentally the blog impersonating me, and defending the very person who filled suit against me went private around the same time of the suit. I do not believe the petitioner of the lawsuit is a part of that now private blog, but it is one very large coincidence.
Is my blog a positive way to use anonymity? I will leave that question to my readers, but I like to think it has had a positive effect on this town. I don’t discuss fun topics or the latest recipe, I do however talk about the things going on in Schiller Park during what some have called one of the more politically turbulent times in recent years. I share information found in direct connection to current, and former campaign, and elected officials, and I share it. I use the F.O.I.A. system to prove or disprove information. I share opinions, and give my own personal input based off of found facts.
jamesjtompson.wordpress.com has always been about sharing my own personal opinions based on actual facts found through research. I hate to describe it this way, but it is basically a political blog, but for the purpose of returning some semblance of normalcy and truth to this beautiful town.
Lets discuss lawsuits for a minute, ones that are particularly directed at uncovering my identity. I don’t normally address these things, but I feel today is as good a day as any to break an unwritten rule of mine. To start let me share an article that brings me to the subject of this post. portions of my post bellow have come from the following article describing the petition filed with Cook County. http://cookcountyrecord.com/stories/510635555-woman-active-in-schiller-park-politics-community-organizations-wants-facebook-to-reveal-id-of-blogger
The following is the first post mentioned in her petition for discovery.
This is the second post described in her petition.
This is the third post mentioned in her petition, and although my original post is partially satirical in nature the public petition was not originally created by me. It was created by the now private blog impersonating me and meant to destroy my name. The vary blog that has so many times in the past used their anonymity to target people with actual defamation of others.
The original article shares the details of her petition of discovery. In that petition she stated that my posts are false, and malicious, and done with the intent of harming her reputation. Her statement is in fact false. I would like to remind everyone that In my posts I have also mentioned the amazing work she has done for this and many communities in the area. I have talked about her fine reputation for public service, and to this very day I still feel she has done many good things, and should be an example of good public service to everyone. She also claims I am interfering with her volunteer and political efforts, and she states that my posts could hurt her established relationships with others in her community. She is currently the president of a very prominent polish organization in the Chicago area, and has been a key political figure in many communities for years. whether you agree with her or not these are the facts, and the facts that she is a prominent political personality can not be disputed. I would only hope that the working, and personal relationships she has made through all those acts of public service are not so easily swayed by the political opinions of one blogger.
According to the article linked above, her petition also stated that “she has suffered damages to include out of pocket costs to investigate my posts, and in repairing her relationships with others”. Maybe I don’t fully understand this, but can you suffer from out of pocket expenses to repair relationships? How does the action of repairing a relationship cost money? She has also stated that because of my posts her hopes may be dashed for future community involvement. This also troubles me as the things I have posted even if they are my opinion based off of facts pale in comparison to the actual malicious lies shared by other anonymous blogs in this community against people who also currently volunteer heavily in this and other towns, and continue to do so despite the negative posts against them. Many of these targets have gone on doing their work for many years. If my searches have been accurate not one of the other targeted political officials and volunteers have filled similar lawsuits.
She also took issue with a post I made questioning her abilities when I said the following “Not a political movement happens in this town without this fabulous young lady weighing in with her vastly one sided and heavily inflated opinion. In fact I am not completely convinced that she actually has her own opinion at all and she simply just parrots the thoughts of others. (Moskal is the) type that will talk about how terrible something is without actually knowing any facts about the subject she is talking about,”the statements impute that she does not know what she is doing and lacks an ability to perform or think for herself when that is not true.” This complaint would be similar to a movie director filing the petition against a movie writing for saying he doesn’t know how to direct despite the fact that he/she may very well know how to direct a feature film. Am I not allowed to share my opinion of a political personality or organization?
This is also completely my opinion, but i find this petition a blatant attempt to use our judicial system to disrupt the first amendment rights of a citizen simply because someone doesn’t like what someone else has said. Me posting things that may or may not be uncomfortable for some doesn’t make them any less true or opinionated for that matter.
In my efforts to to share all the details I am including the links to any other posts mentioning her on my blog. I ask that everyone the a look again and let me know if I have been Malicious in any way, or have made any knowingly false statements.
Why is anonymity so important?
Has David C Stachura taken it on himself in declaring the US Supreme Court wrong, and the First Amendment invalid? Of course he wouldn’t/couldn’t use those exact words. That is however the image he portrays with his devotion to my spine or lack there of simply based on my perceived anonymity. He has declared my message to be false simply because he and many others do not know me. Simply not knowing the author of a history book does not make it less true. Not knowing who wrote the dictionary doesn’t make its definitions false, or inaccurate.
People through anonymity can express themselves without fear of reprisal. In Schiller Park specifically there has always been a trend among the “Wrong Doers” (Description used based off of my point of view) to attack and harass those who speak up against them, they would metaphorically beat them into silence by attacking and harassing them, and their families. We saw it on a regular basis with the old, School Board leadership of David Stachura and Patricia Godziszewski. It has always been my opinion that in most cases they perpetrated those harassment campaigns through, and with the help of Roy F McCampbell. I do however feel that their once close group has been disrupted by parts of their group not being able to perform their assigned task, but it was the situation none the less. The smear campaign against the School District, its staff, and supporters became harassment on an epic scale. That is in fact why this blog was created in the first place. We wanted to give a voice to the majority of the community that could be safe from the onslaught of harassment intended to silence that voice. We wanted to have a voice that disarmed them of their only form of attack. You can not harass into silence that witch you can not identify.
The former group of troublemakers has for the most part devolved into one final voice spewing nothing but anger and hate. There is very little coherence left in what once was a consistent and unified all be it very negative voice, but that sole survivor seems hell bent on discrediting me simply based off of my perceived anonymity. In all actuality he does not even known for sure if his thoughts are true. I can only imagine the frustration caused by having someone tirelessly call you out on your lies, and not be able to specifically target their name with a smear campaign as has been their past practices, but none the less he continues with his school yard name calling.
Anonymity is the tool I chose to embrace to defend and protect my children and grand children. To protect my name I lessened my message, and by keeping the details of my identity secret I made more work for myself. This had a positive effect of forcing me to be more diligent in offering as much proof of my claims and opinions as possible. I feel for the most part I have succeeded. Of course I have my detractors, the people that obviously despise my very existence. They need no introduction but they hate none the less, and attempt to discredit my information as lies simply by declaring my secrets to be the key proof of my dishonesty. This is of course not true, and simply just another vain attempt at strengthening their position among the very harshly divided political portion of this community. For every hater there is at least one supporter, and if my hate mail to support mail ratio is an indicator, these is by far more for my information then against.
Anonymity has been a heated topic for far longer then any of us have been involved. It’s clear to me that anonymity is both good and bad. Anonymity has its place, and has always had a place in society. But the Internet is something new. Does anonymity have a right to exist as such on this new medium even if the risk is great? Twenty years ago, there was no Internet and we were doing fine with the issue of pre-Internet anonymity, so would technologically ending internet anonymity once and for all be a disaster? What changed that makes anonymity on the internet so important? And what would things be like if the internet had evolved to this day with anonymity being an impossibility? Ask yourself if we would be demanding anonymity on the Internet if we never had it in the first place.
Curiously, and in most cases with some exceptions like those I face with the aforementioned individual, those for and against anonymity seem to often have the same motivation—protecting democracy and freedom. The pro folks say that taking political debate to the highest level of discussion is not possible without some anonymity. Whistle blowers are a good example of why anonymity is necessary. Once they are discovered, they are fired and ruined. The anonymity folks will cite examples from law enforcement showing how attacking organized crime in particular and crime in general would be impossible without the use of anonymous sources. As I said before, I have chosen anonymity for my families freedom from persecution. Those honest individuals against anonymity would argue that in crime-fighting, anonymous sources are not reliable and can be abused, leading to the ruin of innocent people. Furthermore, anonymity is often used to illegally move secret information. People and corporations are often libeled by those who spread false information. In fact, a Schiller Park resident attempted to challenge my anonymity in court not to long ago, and did not succeed. This if nothing else was one of this blogs greatest success stories as it added validation to my message, and goals. It does not in any way prove what I have said as truth, that still remains in the hands of my readers, but it protected my freedom of speech by declaring I was not acting out of malice.
The United States Supreme Court has declared that protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.
I have included at the end of this post a small gallery of examples to my point. The individual mentioned above still resorts to personal attacks, of me and my family despite not even knowing who we are.
As some of the more infamous members of this community tend to resurface from time to time (I believe some would put me in the same category) let us not forget their past transgressions against the tax payers of Schiller … Continue reading
Tomorrow is the day we have been hearing about for the past few months. Both sides have spoken their piece, accusations and defenses have been put to the public. We have heard from all of the players at the table, and some who stand off to the side.
Two very different parties, both very passionately defending what they believe and who they believe in. On both sides the names are the same as always. Some would say it’s a fight similar to good versus evil, and although that may be a bit over dramatic it isn’t much of a stretch when you look at one of the groups.
What I do know is that the people working for and defending the Schiller Park First party are the same ones who fought the good fight against the deceiving deeds of the likes of David C Stachura, Patricia Godziszewski, and Roy F McCampbell. These same people have spent years of their lives doing everything in their power to get Schiller Park out of the hands, back room deals, and one sided pandering to the needs of a small few.
The same people that tried desperately to destroy the education of the Children of Schiller Park have taken to the call of defending the name and pushing for the campaign for re-election of our current Mayor Barb Piltaver. One of the people who is most outspoken in her defense, David C Stachura resigned in absolute disgrace from the School Board of Schiller Park School District 81 after having disregaurded his sworn duty for many months because it was to hard. That same disgraced Board member recorded video while two others harassed a voter, and resident practicing her constitutional rights, and then posted it to social media trying to shame a resident for standing for what she believes. One of those harassers is also running for School Board, and has never attended a single meeting. Are those morals and values you want involved In the potential leadership of Schiller Park?
The Vision for the Village party (Basically Evil) has taken the assistance and backing of people who have spent years of their lives trying to tear down the education of children, and cost the tax payers hundreds of thousands. Many relative newcommers to the positions they are running for, and at best have a lot to learn. At worst follow the beliefs of their supporters. The only players on their side we know anything about do not have a good track record in any form. Lies and back room agendas was their mantra, and I can not imagine these details have changed.
Schiller Park First (The good guys) has taken the assistance and backing of people that have fought for the education of your children, while keeping taxes and that same education well balanced. We know their track record and it has been well documented over the past few years in Schiller Park.
This election has become a quagmire as do many. We are slammed with mailers, and signs, and our brains are assulted with endless details, and the confusion of what to believe. If we break it down to the simplest facts and examine the history of those involved on both sides the choice is a simple one. I only know what I have seen over the past few years on the level of public education in Schiller Park, but they are the same people and this made the choice clear for me.
I don’t think anyone really knows, and that alone is pretty damned frightening.
I want to talk about something I normally don’t. National news, and I only choose to do this because it could so seariously affect the education of the children in Schiller Park.
It is also more important now then ever that we stand up, and speak out in defense of our School system, and public education in its entirety.
In a 51 to 50 vote Betsy DeVos (A main player behind the Michigan charter school systems that is being called by some “the biggest school reform disaster in this country” will now be the guiding force behind this country’s public education system. A wealthy campaign contributor from Michigan who has devoted much of her life to expanding educational choice through charter schools and vouchers, but has limited experience with the public school system. (Here, here, and here)
When she was nominated to the post in November, she was called “a brilliant and passionate education advocate” by President Trump, But her performance before the nomination committee had her in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. In the end two Republican senators said they could not back her, leaving the vote tied at 50-50, and it was Vice-President Mike Pence who cast the vote that confirmed Betsy Devos
Prior to her hearing, labor unions, rights groups and teaching organisations spoke out against her appointment. So why is she so unpopular?
Mrs DeVos, age 59, is a wealthy Republican Party donar and a former Michigan Republican Party chairwoman who has long campaigned for education reform in the state. Her husband Dick DeVos was a CEO of the beauty and nutrition giant Amway and her brother is Erik Prince, the founder of the controversial private security company Blackwater.
Most of the problems with Mrs DeVos focus on her support of charter schools, which are publicly funded and set up by teachers, parents, or community groups, outside the state school system. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said her work in Michigan involved “elevating for-profit schools with no consideration of the severe harm done to traditional public schools” despite “overwhelming evidence” that charter schools were no more successful than their traditional counterparts.
In the past she lead the fight to loosen oversight of charter schools in Michigan, and less oversight of charter schools could allow them to pursue a creationist, evangelical agenda. The New York Times reported that she had told a meeting of Christian philanthropists in 2001 that education reform was a way to “advance God’s kingdom”.
An editorial in the Detroit Free Press in December highlighted concerns in Michigan over her appointment. “DeVos isn’t an educator, or an education leader,” it read. “She’s not an expert in pedagogy or curriculum or school governance. In fact, she has no relevant credentials or experience for a job setting standards and guiding dollars for the nation’s public schools. “She is, in essence, a lobbyist – someone who has used her extraordinary wealth to influence the conversation about education reform, and to bend that conversation to her ideological convictions despite the dearth of evidence supporting them.”. One of the two Republican senators who said they could not support Mrs DeVos, Susan Collins of Maine, said she was “concerned that Mrs DeVos’ lack of experience with public schools will make it difficult for her to fully understand, identify and assist” challenges facing rural schools in particular.
The concerns over her qualifications were furthered last month after her confirmation hearing. In perhaps the most uncomfortable moment, she struggled to show she was familiar with the Individuals With Disabilities in Education Act (Idea), a federal law that requires public schools to make accommodations for disabled students. The American Association of People with Disabilities said it was “very concerned” that she seemed “unfamiliar with the Idea and the protections it provides to students with disabilities”. It was not the most striking moment of the session though – that was when Mrs DeVos, discussing whether to allow firearms in schools, noted that a Wyoming school might need a gun to defend against grizzly bears.
What does this mean for the Schiller Park public school system? In all reality I don’t even think the educators here, or in this country know how this will affect the process of educating the nations youth. One thing I do know, you will have a hard time finding anyone that works in public education who is excited about this appointment.
School-related traffic congestion and the risks such congestion poses to the safety of the students, teachers, parents, and residents, in and around schools is a significant problem in this community. The most obvious cause of traffic congestion around schools is vehicles, and the biggest source of those vehicles is simply the parents’ dropping off and picking up their children from school. In the United States, roughly three-quarters of school-aged children are taken to school by car. As described below, an increase in children taken to school by car is just one contributing factor to the problem. Other factors include changes In School population, new school construction causing confusion or issues with residents that did not have any issues previously, and traffic signs and signals surrounding a school.
Traffic congestion alone causes inconvenience to drivers, leads to lost time from the job, and can contribute to “road rage.” In addition to affecting parent drivers and other commuters, school traffic congestion is a source of problems for students, school staff, residents in and around schools, and local police charged with enforcing traffic laws and responding to problems raised by residents and schools. More importantly, congestion can be a source of traffic crashes and child pedestrian injuries and deaths. Child pedestrian injuries due to traffic are more likely to occur in settings with high traffic volume and on-street parking, with children’s often emerging “masked” from behind parked cars. This is an issue in Schiller Park at all of the local schools.
While many factors contribute to the problem of school traffic congestion, the single greatest explanation for recent school traffic congestion is actually two fold, the growth of the school-aged population over a relatively short time, combined with the redesign of the drop-off and pick-up system at Kennedy School. Both factors have led to the issues being complained about around that School, and rendering original school drop-off and pick-up schemes (including guidelines for when and where parents may drop off, pick up, and park), street layouts, and traffic control measures ineffective in controlling congestion. I feel I can safely add that in my own experiences the conditions surrounding the Drop-off, and pick-up at Kennedy School is significantly better then it was at the start of this school year, and in my opinion even better then it was when the school used its original traffic pattern.
In general when asked, parents who choose to take their children by car cite distance, traffic hazards, time constraints, and bad weather as the most common reasons for selecting this transportation mode. Other input has suggested that both road safety and “stranger danger” are the key explanations for why parents are increasingly taking their children to school by car. One can view such threats to child safety as both a cause and a symptom of school congestion. On the one hand, parental concerns about traffic hazards could lead more parents to drive their children to school, thereby increasing congestion. On the other hand, traffic congestion could lead to more child pedestrian accidents, with backed up cars’ blocking the views of small children crossing the street to enter school.
The discussion above is only a generalized description of our school traffic congestion. You should use these basic facts to help develop a more specific understanding of your local problem. Analyzing the local problem carefully will help you design a more effective response, and help to open our minds to who is ultimately responsible for these issues, and who has gone above and beyond in their effort to assist in dealing with these issues.
The following groups have an interest in the school traffic-congestion problem and should be considered for the contribution they might make to gathering information about the problem and responding to it.
This was written more for the police, and the village, not only because they are the biggest stakeholders in solving these traffic congestion problems, but because they are often one of the first to be called when traffic congestion develops around our schools. The Police are more likely to be contacted only after tensions have developed among residents, school staff, and parents over who is responsible for the congestion. Police therefore are in a unique position to serve as mediator between these groups, helping them to seek common ground in developing and implementing effective solutions and ultimately making their jobs easier by reducing the number of calls for service generated by congestion, and traffic safety issues that often accompany it.
When it comes to both understanding the underlying source of the congestion problem and developing responses to it, parents may be the single most important stakeholder you identify. This is because parents’ decisions to drive their children to school, their concern for their children’s safety, and their regard for existing traffic rules can tremendously affect the problem. With the general courtesy and respect this portion of the issue seems to be very much under control.
While research indicates that most school traffic problems occur around elementary and middle schools, Student input in these lower-grade schools is equally important, and can become critical if a response strategy includes encouraging children to walk or bike to school.
School Administrators and Teachers
School staff often experience the aggravation of school traffic congestion in equal measure to parents. Some staff, such as the principal and school administrators, bear the brunt of complaints by parents and local residents. Given that most congestion occurs in and around school property, the child safety concerns associated with traffic congestion become the school’s responsibility, as well. These are addressed regularly and seem to be of the highest priority to School District 81. No days have gone by that one or all of the administrators of Kennedy School are not assisting with the drop-off and pick-up process, and an army of teachers and staff at all points of the process.
Residents living near schools with congestion problems are very much affected by the problem, and may also be contributing to it In their own way. Imagine being late for work and pulling out of your driveway, only to realize that school traffic is at its peak and it will take another 10 minutes just to travel a tenth of a mile. Residents may become so frustrated by repeated complaints to the school or local police with no visible sign of resolution in sight, that they deliberately ignore signs, speed limits, or pedestrian traffic, further contributing to the congestion problem, and reduced safety.
Enhancing the enforcement of existing traffic laws. As with similar, more “reactive” police measures, such as increased patrols, enhanced enforcement of existing traffic laws is likely to have a positive but short-term impact on the problem if not maintained consistently. As soon as traffic enforcement reverts back to preintervention levels, congestion is likely to increase again. However, if patrols are assigned strategically to increase presence during peak arrival and departure periods, they may serve as a very useful and effective complement to other problem-solving measures.
The answer Is simple to me. The general responsibility falls on all of us, in my opinion some of the responsible parties are already pulling their weight, but the rest of us need to step up. I have sat and watched at all three of the public Schools since the beginning of the year, and the School District personnel are doing an outstanding job, with the District regularly implementing new technologies and procedures since the begging of the year. The parents actively participating in the process are also for the most part relatively appropriate and respectful during this process with the exception of a small few. They in reality have little choice in the matter, and have taken the changes in stride. The remaining stakeholders need to step up, the resididents around the Schools need to realize that everything that can be done by the Schools is being done, and constantly being improved by the Schools themselves. The remainder of this issue again in my opinion falls on the village, and possibly the police department.
Even though it is my feeling that the issues that most are complaining about are not actually issues at all, but simply a new inconvenience to their daily routine caused by the rerouted lines they are still complaints that need to be addressed, and still remains the normal speeders we see in Schiller Park, and the new ones created by the congestion itself who put our children and residents at risk, specifically at Kennedy School, but in reality all of Schiller Park
There is no consistent police presence at any of the schools during drop-off and pick-up, and it is putting everyone at risk daily. If we all stop blaming the people who are already doing all they can, and direct our energy and issues to those who still have much they can do maybe we will see some meaningful change.
Barbara Piltaver – Village President / Mayor
Phone: 847-671-8502 firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Fragakis – Chief of Police
Phone: 847-678-4794 Tfragakis@schillerparkil.us