Van Til fires back at Krieg
By Rich Bird Post-Tribune correspondent August 8, 2012 5:16PM
Van Til’s response to Krieg charges
In just three weeks Eric Krieg has gone over the top in terms of wild, irresponsible, non-factual political campaign rhetoric.
First he tried to make something out of nothing, because some of my dedicated staff and some contractors sometimes donate modest sums of money to terribly expensive election campaigns, as governors, city, town, county, and township officials of both parties also do, legitimately, but sometimes not as carefully as I do.
Then, last week, totally in error, Krieg misreads the law and various records and embarrasses himself by leveling ridiculous erroneous charges about non-existent staff and misread credentials.
Now, Krieg reaches new levels of absurdity and irresponsibility by trying to blame me and the county commissioners for a reported incidence of West Nile Virus in our area. Krieg now displays a basic lack of knowledge about mosquitoes that almost matches his serious dearth of scientific and historical knowledge about stormwater issues, surveying, and record reading that he’s already shown.
For West Nile Virus, should we blame the Governor for state owned wetlands in that area Krieg knows nothing about? Should we blame businessman who’ve owned commercial fishing ponds and golf course water hazards, or wooded wetlands, or apartment house retention ponds in the area he’s talking about? Or what does Krieg know about the topography of the problem areas of county highway ditches I don’t control?
Nor does Krieg care in his careless, thoughtless, and ignorant statements that he’s attacking among others a county commissioner whose spouse died from West Nile Virus contracted before Krieg showed up in our county. How thoughtless.
Krieg may himself be breeding mosquitoes for West Nile Virus in his own yard without knowing it like anyone could. Who knows? He should talk to the County Health Department, his town officials, and study up big time, while stopping his ill-informed political diatribes.
What will he charge me with next? I’m responsible for world hunger? He’s irresponsible.
I now see why Krieg has been the very unpopular “bad boy” of the local Republican Party ever since he moved into the area a few years ago and carelessly and caustically criticized his party’s leaders from the very beginning through today.
Soon infamous for his profane shoot-from-the lip blogs, in what he called Buzzcut, he wildly attacked quality officials in both parties, media figures, and iconic community leaders with little regard for the truth or decency, while publicly in print using words like “idiot, stupid, corrupt, ignorant, crybaby, liar”, etc along with outright profanities and lies.
For instance, he used seriously convoluted reasoning to viciously attack the Republican councilman Dan Dernulc who easily beat him in a recent primary election.
Also, without the benefit of facts Krieg regularly posits his self proclaimed expertise about school and educational issues, and attacks virtually any and all public and party officials who are chosen by the people, because he believes he knows everything about everything and totally knows better than everyone.
Now, recently, Krieg has issued three political press releases against me that were also devoid of common sense and fact. With zero “institutional knowledge”, no “on the ground” experience or expertise, using shockingly misread and misinterpreted files, Krieg’s political screeds contain at least 24 factual errors! That’s twenty-four, plus additional email follow up errors.
This total carelessness with the truth, combined with his classless attitude and approach, makes rational public disclosure and reasonable politics impossible.
Not only is the approach unfair, unprofessional and wrong, it exactly flies in the face of the approach that has been so successful for the people of our area, that I have used, for their benefit for a long, effective time.
Krieg’s record of unwillingness or inability to reasonably talk with, reasonably work with, civilly listen to or compromise with leaders of both political parties in our area and his lack of governance skills , is exactly the wrong approach needed for a multi-faceted, multiple community leader driven office like the county surveyor’s.
I have been one of the most successful officials in our area in establishing and consistently maintaining high levels of intergovernmental cooperation. Through knowledgeable, careful, respectful, open relationships, I have been able to develop scores and scores of much needed cooperative stormwater projects throughout the years in Lake County, in eleven (11) different communities, saving huge amounts of money working together on projects that couldn’t have been done alone.
Also, our sophisticated information technology systems, which I started from scratch, have always been about cooperative uses in various offices, agencies and communities.
Our newer MS4 water quality duties have also allowed for cooperative projects in places like Ranburn Woods and Schererville Heights and many smaller but equally important areas.
These efforts have been recognized repeatedly throughout the state with awards and by praise from local officials and organizations. These results can only come from a fierce dedication and ability to work with and respect those in authority, not saying things like Krieg did in one of his many vitriolic public blogs, when he claimed that congressman Visclosky has been “corrupt for a long time…”. That kind of nonsense would make Krieg a disaster in public office.
I’ve proven again and again that I can and will work with government leaders for the greater good, and I also know when to fight to make a better bill or pull back to make things go forward. It’s a learning process and a respect for others ideas and opinions that helps us work together.
I have done this, the record shows! Mr. Krieg’s truncated record shows in virtually all cases that he can’t and won’t. So clearly he is not the right person for this office, for multiple reasons.
Updated: August 8, 2012 5:46PM
CROWN POINT — After three weeks of playing defense against attacks leveled by his Republican challenger, embattled Lake County Surveyor George Van Til has gone on the offensive against what he calls “wild, irresponsible, non-factual political campaign rhetoric.”
In a series of weekly releases, accompanied by documents posted on his Facebook page, Krieg has accused Van Til of taking campaign contributions from staff members and contractors who benefit from contracts awarded by the Drainage Board; accused Van Til’s office of violating a state law that requires a registered land surveyor for county projects; and suggested that the surveyor’s failure to clean ditches in the South Broad Street area of Griffith led to the recent positive tests for West Nile virus in the area.
Van Til said the releases are littered with dozens of factual errors.
“First he tried to make something out of nothing, because some of my dedicated staff and some contractors sometimes donate modest sums of money to terribly expensive election campaigns, as governors, city, town, county, and township officials of both parties also do, legitimately, but sometimes not as carefully as I do,” Van Til wrote in a statement titled “Eric Krieg’s Untruths.”
“Then, last week, totally in error, Krieg misreads the law and various records and embarrasses himself by leveling ridiculous erroneous charges about non-existent staff and misread credentials,” he wrote.
Van Til said his opponent has reached “new levels of absurdity and irresponsibility” by trying casting blame for the positive West Nile tests, which reveals “a basic lack of knowledge about mosquitoes that almost matches his serious dearth of scientific and historical knowledge about storm water issues, surveying, and record reading … ”
“… He should talk to the County Health Department, his town officials, and study up big time, while stopping his ill-informed political diatribes. What will he charge me with next? I’m responsible for world hunger? He’s irresponsible.”
Van Til also castigated Krieg’s most recent attack as “careless, thoughtless, and ignorant” in light of the fact that Commissioner Frances DuPey’s late husband, former Hammond Police Chief Frank DuPey, died in 2011 from complications from West Nile virus.
Krieg’s response to the surveyor basically asks, “What else have you got?”
“There’s nothing to it,” Krieg said of Van Til’s statement. “There’s three pages of nothing. What are the 24 factual errors? Where are his links to the documents backing up what he says? Everything I say, I put a document out there showing what I’m talking about.”
Krieg, 40, of Munster, said he spent the day at the GOP booth at the Lake County Fair, and estimated that nine out of every 10 people he spoke with said they had a drainage concern that has not been dealt with by the surveyor’s office.
“He can talk about intergovernmental agreements, but I’m not seeing any politicians that want anything to do with him,” Krieg said. “He can talk about all the projects he’s worked on, but they leave a lot to be desired.
Van Til also mentioned Krieg’s former “Blue County in a Red State” political blog, which he operated under the name “Buzzcut,” as evidence of Krieg’s “shoot-from-the lip” attacks on other elected officials.
Following his win in the GOP primary, Krieg shut down the site, stating that he believed Van Til would try to make it an issue in the campaign.
The latest salvo in the war of words between the two men comes days after the revelation that at least two employees of Van Til’s office have been subpoenaed to testify next before a federal grand jury. In June, state and federal investigators executed a search warrant at Van Til’s office in the Lake County Government Center, seizing computers and documents. Although Van Til has urged voters and other officials to avoid a rush to judgment, Lake County Democratic boss Thomas McDermott Jr., publicly called on Van Til to drop out of the race.
Van Til ignored the request, saying that McDermott is no longer a factor in how he processes his legal and political situations.