The Village of Thornton, Illinois gives the superficial impression
of being like TV's Mayberry of the Andy Griffith shows. But that
impression does not show the vicious political attitudes of the leaders
of the Village! Here is one example!|
During early 2003, many young new families had moved into my neighborhood near the south end of the small Village, and so there were a lot of young kids running around. Like many young kids, when anything exciting was happening, they would sometimes run out into the residential streets. Generally, those streets rarely had had much vehicle traffic, and they WERE all Posted at 20 mph, so the kids SHOULD HAVE BEEN pretty safe.
Hunter Street is even a dead end street, so no through traffic ever occurred, and nearly all traffic was by local residents. However, many of the drivers were usually apparently in a hurry, and so MOST cars went down the street at over 40 mph, and often around 50 mph. My property is on the corner of a FOUR WAY STOP, with very obvious stop signs on all four corners. The drivers seemed to feel that such signs were for others, as the majority of the traffic certainly did not STOP at the stop sign, but most rarely even slowed down to 30 mph as they ran the stop sign! This included many of the Thornton Municipal Police Cars, which also roared through the stop sign at usually over 40 mph.
(I borrowed a Sports Speed Gun to measure many of these speeds to confirm that I was not just guessing at these vehicle speeds.)
There was such an apparent danger that I decided to create a 'warning sign' for drivers to try to get them to do some thinking!
Here is the text I came up with:
You can be confident that
your vehicle and your license
plate are being videotaped
each time you roar through
this stop sign. If and when a
child is struck, you can be
assured that the Police will be
given a record of all the times
you ran this stop sign.
Have a nice day, and drive
carefully around these kids!
Here is the DOC file I composed on September 10, 2003, which I used to have a Printing Company create a 24-inch tall sign, black text on a white background , My good deed sign. I then paid to have the sign laminated with a plastic coating to make it rainproof. I made two such signs, at a personal cost of around $30. I got the neighbor's permission to stick a small stick in the ground just in front of the opposite stop sign, and I stuck the other stick and sign just in front of the stop sign in front of my house.
I also found an old metal box that had been part of an emergency light device, but without the lights. I tilted it sideways and pointed the two open holes toward the intersection, and I mounted that box to a nearby tree, about ten feet up. I also found some heavy electrical cable and prominently nailed the wires to the side of the tree and extended the wires down into the ground next to the tree. I expected that drivers would first find the sign to be an empty threat, but then the very prominent box and electrical cable, apparently with 'eyes' and 'cameras' pointed toward the intersection, might cause them to give some additional thought.
My very short but prominent signs DID NOT TOUCH the stop signs, but they were just a few inches in front of them. The Village of Thornton regularly sticks such signs all over the Village, to promote their Political people to ensure that they always get re-elected, to promote endless garage sales, and far more. At any instant, the small Village has always had at least 40 such signs stuck in many lawns.
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The ONLY vehicles that we saw which still ran the stop sign at high speed were three Police cars and one other vehicle! But by 3 p.m. that afternoon, we laughed that we probably had the safest intersection in America!, and that statement was realistically true!
The teenaged-kid-brat from across the street clearly never even bothered to read the sign, but he ripped that sign out and threw it out into the street. That got me about as angry as I ever get, and I called him over a little later and demanded that he give me back a $400 world-class Haro bicycle I had bought for him about two weeks earlier. And I was seen as 'the bad guy' by that family and their friends! (The brat's mother had authorized me to stick that sign there).
The sign on MY side of Hunter Street was still there, though! By the next day, my sign had clearly become the news of the moment, and I was told that Crossing Guards on the other side of the Village were discussing my sign and talking about getting the Village to create signs like mine for EVERY intersection in the Village! There was now HUGE traffic down and up our dead-end street, where every driver made their Driver's Education Stops both ways, but also many drivers would sit and re-read my sign many times!
Even Police Cars started making actual STOPS at the stop signs. I suspect that no one wanted to be the one to appear on Chicago's Nightly News for flying through a Stop Sign!
However, Thornton is a very peculiar Village. A few months earlier, in a phone conversation with the Mayor of the Village (on May 7, 2003), the Mayor (named Swan) was casually talking about a 'Black family' that had moved into Thornton, and he happened to tell me that 'any employee of the Village or the Village Police Department always has the right to enter any house or building in Thornton, as long as they did not have to break any door or window.'
To a very naive Christian Minister, that was an amazing comment to hear! I had thought I was fairly familiar with the US Constitution, and so I had thought I was correcting the Mayor by adding 'you mean only by a Police Officer and only after a Judge had given a Warrant', but the Mayor immediately set me straight! He explained to me that NO WARRANT was ever necessary and ANY employee of the Village was free to enter any building in the Village at any time!
Actually, the Mayor's comment actually enabled me to clear up a question I had from the year before (2002). I did not then live in Thornton but 60 miles away in Kingsbury, Indiana, near where the Church was that I was a Pastor for. In 2002, I only drove over every two or three weeks to mow the lawn in Thornton, so my house was generally unoccupied, but always secured locked.
No windows or doors were ever broken, but at least twice during 2002, I got to the house to find that all my stacks of Research Papers in the house had clearly been kicked all over and everything else was disturbed, vandalized. Interestingly, I found empty cans of Diet Pop on my kitchen counter both times! I NEVER bought or drank any Diet soda because I think they tasted too nasty. I was also aware that cases of pop are manufactured and crated by machines, where no human fingerprints should ever be on new cans of pop. I bought a Fingerprint Kit and found several very clear fingerprints on several Diet pop cans, and also on a couple other objects inside my house. Of course, I had no idea who left the fingerprints, in a house that had no broken doors or windows! At first I thought I simply had evidence of some criminal who might later be identified by the fingerprints. But it was weird that nothing was ever stolen! But the Mayor's comment of a year later made me wonder if it had been someone in the Village government that had been in my house. It took nearly another year of surreptitiously collecting fingerprints when I would visit the Village Hall, before I got sample fingerprints of the Mayor's own Part-Time Secretary, an elderly and obese lady, Karen Leoni, which exactly matched the fingerprints I had found inside my house in 2002. So there was certainly no doubt that she had been inside my house. She also worked Part-Time as Secretary for the Police Department, so I suppose she had access to various toys that Police have to get into buildings.
At the time I had created my traffic sign, I had no clue that anyone had rummaged around inside my house when I was not there, or that anyone in the Village had any grudge against me at all! After all, I was a VERY popular and respected Christian Minister (but 60 miles away!)
However, I was certainly absolutely mystified that another Part-Time Village Employee had driven up in an unmarked white pickup truck while I was playing horseshoes with some friends, on April 1, 2003. Without saying a word or even getting out of his truck, he handed me a folded red card and drove away. That WAS April Fool's Day, and so when I opened up the card to see it was a Cease and Desist Order, the four of us thought it was someone's idea of a strange joke. We first thought it somehow referred to us no longer being allowed to play horseshoes on my lawn! The Cease and Desist Order was absolutely BLANK, with none of the informational lines filled in, nothing!
But two weeks later, I walked down to the Village Offices two blocks away to talk to the 'Building Commissioner' Harry Nolan (another part-time employee at $18/hr) to find out what was going on. I was so naive that I thought it would be some friendly conversation about some misunderstanding. He made sure I saw his big desk sign of 'Building Commissioner' in his bathroom-sized tiny office, and he immediately got a giant smile when he learned my name (we had never met and I had never had ANY conversation with ANY person in Thornton) and he promptly informed me that in exactly 90 days, he was going to Condemn and then Demolish my house! He even knew the exact date late in June 2003 that would occur!
It turns out that my old garage had a small area of the roof that had been leaking, a little larger than the size of a kitchen table, and I had bought some shingles from Home Depot to repair it. He informed me that I had not gotten a 'Building Permit' to do such work, and so I was in Violation, and so he chose to Condemn and then Demolish my entire house and garage!
(I later saw as the Mayor's Part-time Secretary had hired a company to entirely re-roof her house (a block away from mine), while never having any Building Permit ever displayed on her house, so I guess they feel that different rules apply to them!)
In any case, he kept his big smile as he told me about the MANY houses and buildings he had Condemned and Demolished in his position as Building Commissioner. In my mind, I wondered if anyone in the position of Building Commissioner normally goes around REMOVING buildings from being on the Tax Rolls! I had always assumed that such a person normally tries to get more buildings built, to ADD to the tax rolls! In any case, I guess he could not legally deny me the right to pay for a Building Permit, but he smilingly assured me that it really would not matter, as late in June, he would REJECT any work done and so he would still Condemn and then Demolish both my house and garage then.
I had received an Official letter which was actually the reason I had walked over to talk to him. It not only mentioned my garage but also claimed that my house had a faulty roof and windows. The 'Building Commissioner' even admitted that he had NEVER EVEN SEEN my house, and he told me that 'a neighbor' had made the Complaint which was to end the existence of my house and garage. I later learned that 'the neighbor' was actually the Mayor's Part-time Secretary, the elderly woman who clearly had no construction background. In fact, the 'Building Commissioner' never even LATER ever drove the two blocks down Hunter Street to look at my house! His third threat to Condemn and Demolish my house (he WAS very persistent!) in late August was another letter that stated that I had 'barely done any roofing' and 'had not painted any of the windows'. Had he made that short drive, he would have seen that by then, I had already sanded and painted 46 out of the 48 windows of the large house and I had already excellently repaired and replaced around 85% of the house roof and all of the garage roof.
So, in a few minutes of conversation on April 15, 2003, I was Ordered to do fairly massive work on my house, but was also informed that there was absolutely no point in me spending the money or doing the work as he had ALREADY made the decision to Condemn and Demolish my house after exactly 90 days, in late June. Actually, the frustration of that situation was why I called the Mayor on May 7, 2003, to ask if there was ANY way I might be able to save my house (during that conversation, the Mayor had made the comment about any Thornton employee being free to enter any house or building in the Village). By the way, the Mayor told me that he had absolute confidence in his 'very good friend, the Building Commissioner', and any decision he would make would not be overruled. (Other people had told me that ONLY the Mayor had enough power to overrule such a decision to Condemn and Demolish my house.)
I was rapidly learning during April and May of 2003 that the entire Village of Thornton seemed to not want me around! I had earlier noticed (early September 2002) that the previously friendly neighbors had suddenly and totally stopped talking to me or even acknowledging that I existed. I never had any clue of why that was until about three years later, in May 2005, when three children knocked on my door, and they explained some things to me that made many events in 2002, 2003, 2004 and early 2005 make sense.
In any case, I moved from Indiana to Thornton in April 2003, entirely because I HAD TO, in order that I be able to do all the work to re-roof a large house and garage and to sand and paint 48 windows! It seemed like an empty effort, as I had NO CLUE as to why I had been forced to do all that work, while also having the absolute certainty that I would shortly watch as bulldozers demolished my house. (The Building Commissioner, still smiling in that brief April 15, 2003 conversation, clearly enjoyed telling me that I would be charged for the cost of that Demolition!)
Getting back to the Stop Sign:
I made that sign on September 10, 2003, just as I had successfully delayed the Building Commissioner's THIRD attempt to Condemn and Demolish my house (April 1, 2003, mid-June 2003 and early August 2003). Incidentally, I think that the only reason I still have a house is because I was educated as a scientist and I have always kept very thorough notes. Thornton never bothered to inform me of any of their actions but apparently they legally had to send me a letter regarding their upcoming Hearing in front of a Judge to get my house Condemned on the following Tuesday. I called the Courthouse and learned the exact time of the Hearing. I sent a note to the Thornton government to inform them that I intended to Appear before that Judge, to provide the Judge with the actual facts of the situation. I noted that the Thornton Building Commissioner had initiated actions to Condemn and Demolish my house three separate times, while never having even taken the trouble to drive two blocks to ever LOOK at my house. I intended to ask the Judge HOW a house could be justifiably Condemned without ever even having been SEEN! I also mentioned in my note to Thornton that I hoped to inform the Judge, and get into the Public Record, a variety of other behaviors by Thornton which I felt hurt my Civil Rights.
I suspect that Thornton did NOT want such things read into the Cook County Public Record or told to any Judge, as they apparently suddenly cancelled their Request for a Hearing, early on that Tuesday morning, just hours before the Hearing was to occur. Fortunately, I had called the Courthouse again that morning where I learned that there was to be no Hearing.
I have a feeling that Thornton realized that any future threats to Condemn my house would also provide me with a chance to read a lot of things into the Public Record and to let a Judge know about many aberrant behaviors by Thornton. Thornton was probably really lucky that I had not then yet known two of the even more extreme behaviors of theirs, as I would never have sent them such a note as I would have WANTED to have things read into the Public Record! It was around eight months later that I got fingerprints of the Mayor's part-time secretary (around May 2004) that confirmed that she had (illegally, by the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment) entered my locked house, at least twice in 2002. And it was another year later (May 2005) that those children told me of the most horrific Thornton behavior, when in early September 2002, three different Thornton Police Officers had each LIED to the three children, where the Thornton Police Officers had each MADE UP DIFFERENT HORRIFIC LIES about me to them. In 2002, I was still living in Kingsbury, Indiana, 60 miles away, near our Church, where I was a highly respected Christian Minister and universally liked. Somehow, without ever knowing any of those actual facts about me and without ever even talking to me for a moment, the three Thornton Police Officers each decided to invent the most ugly lies about me. The oldest boy (then 12) was told that 'the Police had absolute proof that I had sexually abused dozens of little boys before him', apparently to try to get that boy to agree with the Officer and make any statement that I might have ever improperly touched him! However, I never even shook that kid's had or otherwise ever touched him at all! The girl (then 9) was told a DIFFERENT set of lies by a DIFFERENT Thornton Police Officer, clearly to try to get her to say anything that might have also sent me to Prison for life. The third child (then a 10 year old boy) was told yet a different set of lies.
I never knew anything about that for three years! The children were so frightened of me by what the Police Officers had told them that they were too afraid to ever visit. Even three years later, in May 2005, they were each shaking violently in even standing near me, and when I told them that they KNEW me and that I would never do anything like that, they each told me that 'Police never lie!'. I tried to explain to them that THESE THREE POLICE OFFICERS DEFINITELY LIED TO THEM.
Again, I wish I knew those things when I 'had a chance to Appear before a Judge regarding the Condemnation of my house in August 2003!' I would have loved to have the Public Record know that my house had been illegally invaded a year earlier, at least twice by the Thornton Mayor's Secretary, and that a clear PRE-MEDITATION had clearly existed among three different Thornton Police Officers (since their lies told were DIFFERENT to the three children) regarding destroying my career, my reputation and my life, which was clearly a Felony by the Thornton Police Department.
Again, back to my Stop Sign:
The existence of my sign briefly made me a local celebrity, as the entire Village population was buzzing about my sign, and about the idea of creating dozens of identical signs for every Village intersection. With the previous attitudes and behaviors of Thornton mentioned above, they apparently did not want all their work of destroying my life to be diluted, so the Mayor's part-time Secretary Filed an Official Complaint about my sign. Being the Mayor's Secretary, she filed the Complaint with herself, where she then typed it up!
At the next Village Board Meeting, the Board heard that Complaint and acted on it, and on the very next day, a Village truck showed up where the worker pulled the sign out of the ground and threw it onto my lawn! But she had clearly messed up. She had to File another Official Complaint regarding the small metal box up on the tree, so the Village Board heard yet another Complaint and acted on that, and another Village truck arrived the next day, with a ladder, to rip down the box, again throwing it onto my lawn!
Keep in mind that during 2003, I still had no clue about whatever strange attitudes anyone in Thornton had about me, and so the fact that 'Good Deed' signs I had made at a personal cost of around $30, and which were universally appreciated, were soon discarded, was very puzzling to me. It was just a couple weeks earlier when a Village Trustee (Volek) had stopped by regarding my situation regarding my house being threatened with Demolition, that he mentioned to me that the Mayor's part-time Secretary (Karen Leoni) had Filed 42 separate Official Complaints against me in the previous six months, each of which the Village Board (of Trustees, including him) had to Hear and Act on. I was quite surprised about this because no one ever bothered to even inform me of ANY of those 42 Official Complaints which had apparently Officially been lodged against me (in a rather short time interval!). Except, of course, the three written documents which I had received in the mail regarding Condemning my house, which, of course, were ALSO typed up by the very same Karen Leoni!
In my very peculiar sense of humor, I have sometimes wondered just what those 42 Official Complaints against me were during those six months, each of which the Village Trustees had to Hear and Act on! I can only guess that none of them must have been very serious, as nobody bothered to ever contact me about ANY of those 42 (alleged) Violations, either prior to such an Official action (such as by a possible 'warning'?) or after some sort of legal punishment might have been invoked against me! I was rarely off my own property, so I do not think I did any 'felony jaywalking'. During that entire year (and longer), the horseshoe players had noticed the small red light of a video camera in a neighbor's upstairs window, which we later determined was pointed down to look into one of my windows, apparently 24-7. I recognize that I might have sneezed inside my house, if that should be some Thornton violation! One of the neighbor horseshoe players mentioned that he often saw the Mayor's Secretary walk down the street on garbage day to dig through my garbage can. His concern was actually that he worried that she might also dig through his garbage, but he said she did not, only mine. So I wonder if any of those 42 Official Violations that the Mayor's Secretary Filed against me might have been due to a glass bottle having been in my garbage can or such things. Interesting!
Very briefly after I put my sign up, a few drivers would briefly comment to me about them being Crossing Guards on the other side of Thornton and their praise of my sign, but other than that, my sign was soon scrapped out by the Village of Thornton and apparently, history was probably re-written to remove any reference to my sign! I can only conclude that the Village of Thornton, Illinois must not care in the slightest about the safety of their own little children crossing their residential streets. I suppose in May 2005, I also learned that Thornton Police Officers also feel free to lie to their Village children about very important matters. Some Village, eh?
In the following ten years, many people in the Thornton government and Police have either retired or moved elsewhere, but there are still a handful of those people who still are persistent in their harassment of me, even more than ten years later. I wonder how many other Christian Ministers in America have been subject to such abuse by local Police and government Officials. I can only hope I am unique in America about that. But given that they feel free to enter my house at their own whim, in February 2007, I came to realize that my accumulated evidence about these matters was not safe on paper inside my house. So I created a web-page that presented my accumulated evidence about a substantial number of the harassments, including those mentioned above and many more in following years. Amazingly Bad Behavior of the Village of Thornton, Illinois
I later added some more of the incidents and evidence in another two web-pages:
Amazing Bad Behavior of the Village of Thornton, Illinois, Part 2
Amazing Bad Behavior of the Village of Thornton, Illinois, Part 3
Between Thornton's attitude that they could freely enter any house at their whim, and their well-proven attitude regarding destroying me, creating the Thornton web-page(s) seemed important in February 2007. I had also realized by then that it might only have been a matter of time before they sent a SWAT team to my house to Arrest me and send me into a Prison somewhere where I might never again see the light of day. The Thornton web-page(s) were therefore NOT meant 'for you' but for the SINGLE purpose of being able to mention their existence to a Judge.
I figured that even if Thornton somehow managed to cause me to be sent to some Prison, at some point I would have to be put before some Judge in some Court, where I could mention the Thornton web-page(s). I also suspected that even if I was put in some remote Prison cell, at some point some Lawyer would come to visit me, where again I could mention the Thornton web-pages, as my collection of reliable evidence.
So far, I still have an existing house and Thornton has not yet sent any SWAT team to haul me away. Actually, I worried that the existence of the Thornton web-pages might ENCOURAGE Thornton to try to 'eliminate' me, since THOUSANDS of people have found and read the Thornton web pages each year since I first uploaded them in February 2007! But I am hoping that 'the herd has already gotten out the gate' by now and that no matter what else Thornton does to me now, the massive evidence about the atrocities they have individually and collectively done to me in the past eleven years are available for a Judge or a Lawyer to examine.
I have tried to present 'my side' of all these incidents, including my rather thorough (scientific) evidence of each incident, where Thornton leaders might now realize that REALLY going after me now may have too many very public downsides FOR THEM. Yes, their power of operating a 'Home Rule' government can still cause me future difficulties, but the publicity they might get from harassing a Christian Minister so thoroughly might put them in a light where they probably don't want to be!
The hundreds of web-pages in my mb-soft.com Domain display several dozen of my other attempts at Good Deeds. The way I give away the Technical Packet for the Free Air Conditioning has already provided more than $2,300,000 to thousands of worthy charities. The FREE INSTRUCTIONS for the HG 3a house heating device and for the 'Pure Water from Humidity', and for the 'natural food refrigeration', and many other useful devices COULD have each made me many millions of dollars in profits (as the earlier JUCA Super-Fireplaces did), but my personality is such that I tend to get more happiness in GIVING AWAY many valuable ideas! Except for my interactions with the Village of Thornton, Illinois, I have had the happiest and most fulfilled life anyone could ask for.
Regarding Thornton's behaviors, I have even found something useful in that! As a Christian Minister, I had often been puzzled by the fact that Jesus had been UNIVERSALLY LOVED by the Jews around Him, and especially once they found that He could cause Miracles to occur! But then in a remarkably short time, apparently a few weeks, the entire Jewish community TURNED ON JESUS! In fact, when THEY were given the choice, the Jewish crowd CHOSE to have Jesus Crucified and a criminal spared! I had always been aware of the dark side of human nature, but still, such a remarkable 180-degree change of attitude toward Jesus seemed amazing. Well, I had spent a life where I was virtually universally loved and respected, particularly after I had become a Christian Minister in 1996 in Indiana. So when virtually the entire population of Thornton (then nearly 3000) seemed to 'instantly' turn on me in early September 2002, and I had not done anything or even said anything to anyone in Thornton, I was very puzzled. I did not know for three more years that three Thornton Police Cars had driven up to the Wolcott Elementary School in Thornton and took three children away (to interrogate them about me, the young girl's term), and that the Village of Thornton, along with hundreds of schoolchildren looking out windows at Police Cars hauling classmates away, that the Thornton grapevine made sure that every person in the Village (except for me!) knew of the lies the Thornton Police Officers had told the children about me. In any case, without knowing why at the time, I felt a closeness to Jesus in His situation of His last few weeks!
My story is clearly different than Jesus'. For one thing, as of yet, I am still alive ten years later! For another, no human, even a highly-respected Christian Minister, could compare with Jesus. But I DID get a new insight into an aspect of Jesus' Life that I had not previously fully realized.
There are some Good Deeds which I tried but which never came to pass. Around that same time, 2003, there were a pair of twins in First Grade who were neighbors, and they often came to play in my yard, which was the largest yard around to play in. They were brilliant and logical kids, and after I learned that their mother was in alcoholic Rehab (from one of the girls), I made the offer to them, still in First Grade, that I intended to pay for their College educations. Their mother committed suicide shortly later, and also Thornton had become aberrant, so I never had a chance to even say another word to either of them since then.
When I learned that a young boy was told that 'he was stupid, and that that was a Gift from God for him', I was incensed, and I arranged to pay a nearby Tutoring School $5000 to enhance his education. This also happened just as Thornton had gone aberrant and I never talked to that kid for three years and was never able to get him to know that he had that opportunity. I spent around $7000 to pay for a wonderful Private High School rather than having a nice girl kid have to be in a dangerous public school, but she never even finished that Freshman year before dropping out. In LaPorte Indiana, many people knew that I was a 'soft touch' and over about eight years, I wound up giving quite a few thousand dollars to around 40 different people who would give me sad stories about being thrown out of their apartment if they could not pay their rent or about having their cars re-possessed if they could not make a car payment, or about needing new contact lenses (for $200), etc, etc.
I would also hear from needy people and I would spend a lot of time and effort (and sometimes money) to create opportunities for them to start up new small businesses, 100% of which never were even started due to absolute lack of motivation.
It is not that I expected my attempts at Good Deeds to be 'appreciated"! DOING or OFFERING a Good Deed is only half the scene! Whether it CONTRIBUTES something positive or not is then in the hands of others.
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