I am finding the race for Lake County Circuit Court Clerk between Deputy Clerk Keith Brin and Democratic challenger Rupam Davé a rather difficult one to endorse. As most of you know who follow this local blog, I have not been a big fan of Keith Brin due to his secretive off-site usage of electronic records by only a select group. He was eventually told to “cease and desist” by the Chief Judge. His Democratic challenger originally was attorney Cynthia Pruim Haran whom I was impressed by, especially her level of energy which I thought she would bring to the office. Haran eventually decided to withdraw from the race and was replaced on the ticket by Mundelein attorney Rupam Davé whom many know little about. I had the opportunity to meet her and her family at several local events and she seemed like a nice, caring individual with plenty of academic credentials to back her up.
Then along came the article in the Daily Herald that detailed both candidates responses to numerous questions. One question, in particular, was whether the candidate had ever been arrested or convicted. Davé responded that she had been arrested THREE times for driving under the influence (DUI), the third time while her license had been revoked. Davé went on to state that “the three DUI arrests were the only times in the past 20 years she consumed alcohol“, a statement extremely difficult for anyone I have spoken with to find credible. Like myself, most find it unbelievable that the ONLY times that Davé consumed alcohol, she got caught behind the wheel of a 3,000 pound potential killing machine.
With both candidates rapidly reaching a credibility factor of ZERO yet another article came out in the Daily Herald in which both candidates were asked about technology upgrades to the office as well as allowing online public access to court records.
Both Brin and Davé felt that the office should move towards allowing online access to do such things as pay fines, access allowable case file information, etc. Where they tend to differ is where the money will come from as well as whether the current system needs an entire overhaul. While Davé feels the system is archaic and needs millions of dollars in upgrades Brin feels that the current system (created using COBOL technology from years past) is adequate with a new, more user-friendly “front-end”.
While Davé’s explanation of her DUI’s leaves one scratching their heads, Brin does so equally when he states that “upgrading technology in the clerks’ office is my first priority” and “a more user-friendly interface…is something that is currently being designed”. Keep in mind that Brin himself has said that HE is in charge of the office, thus already has the ability to “make it his first priority”. However, when he authorized the “user-friendly interface design” those expenditures had NOT been approved. Also, unapproved was allowing a select group to “beta’ test the system FOR MONTHS with unauthorized online access to court records which eventually led to a cease and desist order being issued by the Chief Judge.
The voters will have to decide who is more credible when they go to the polls on November 6th. Until then, I will be looking for something positive from either candidate to convince me that they are the one I should vote for rather than assuming we are all idiots with their past statements. Thank goodness this position is not one that creates or passes laws for the rest of us to live by. Speaking of law, there’s word on the street that the law may be coming down hard on one of these candidates. Stay tuned!