Quick Hits – January 21, 2020

Hey adoring throng! Please don’t start expecting a daily Quick Hits because it ain’t gonna happen. It’s just that the local news is coming hot and heavy right now, and as you already know, only I can provide the appropriate analysis.

Although, if the Daily Herald can start begging their readers for cash, perhaps I should do the same. At least you’ll get your money’s worth out of me!

 

Why does the phrase “no shame” suddenly come to mind?

Just when you think you’ve bleepin’ seen it all, there I was, reading long-time Chicago media columnist Rob Feder’s ‘Robservations’ this morning, when I realized those ancient Greeks were dead wrong! On occasion, there really is something new under the sun.

And that “something” is John Lampinen, Senior Vice President of the Daily Herald, in the worst possible GoFundMe panhandling tradition, begging readers to pony up half the cash for three new reporters! The only thing missing were the sunglasses, the wheeled cart with leg-hiding blanket, and a sign reading “A grateful war veteran thanks you!”

(Google Eddie Murphy Philistines!)

“These additions will greatly help us better cover the suburbs,” Lampinen said, “They will beef up local coverage following the historic challenges the newspaper industry has confronted for the last decade.”

Daily Herald Building

According to Rob, “Report For America will provide half of the funding for three reporters and another for Paddock Publications’ Southern Illinois operation. Donations are tax deductible.”

This of course begs the question, if you can’t get people to pay for your newspaper, how in the bleep are you going to get them to paying for your staff – which isn’t a one-time expense, by the way!

And isn’t the Daily Herald a for-profit proposition? Will there be profit-sharing for people gullible enough to contribute? Have I mentioned the whole “no shame” thing already?

Why would the Daily Herald need more reporters to not break the stories they’re already not breaking? And why would we pay for more reporters so we could not read more stories than we’re already not reading?

How about actually performing some real journalism and due diligence instead? Oh, that’s right!  But breaking real stories requires real sources and developing sources means sacrificing short-term gain (Internet hits) for a greater long-term benefit.

You see, when you earn a reasonable reputation and you work at developing sources, if you do it long enough, the sources will start coming to you!

I’m so flippin’ tired of hearing about “the historic challenges the newspaper industry has confronted” when virtually every one of those “challenges” is just another self-inflicted wound that an ADHD sixth grader could’ve predicted. Even the Chicago Tribune is begging for some sort of billionaire savior to rescue them from Aiden Global Capital’s slash and burn management methodology

How about, God forbid, instead of perpetual whining, those publishers actually decided to try something different? Holy bleep! If they were covering a government entity that refused to accept reality by continuing to engage in the same endeavor while magically expecting a different result, those papers would bleepin’ tear them a new one!

But no! They can’t possibly apply the same sort of scrutiny to themselves! If those Tribune writers put half that effort into outside-of-the-box writing and analysis, they wouldn’t have to face fending off a poor suitor. Pay the Daily Herald to hire new reporters so I can further pay them to read their non-stories? I think not, Dear Readers!

And I fervently hope you’re not stupid enough to fall for this, either!

A number of folks have been pressing me to monetize this blog for the last two years. Considering this non-starter, I think it may be time!

 

Don’t Worry, Dalton’s getting moved!

Ye really do have little faith, don’t you? Despite my generally applied due diligence almost always bearing fruit, the second some of you bleeps hear something slightly askew, you insist on coming straight at me with some scurrilous suspicions that either I or my sources suck.

But as it turns out, that miserable excuse for a human being known as Kane County Judge John Dalton will not be removed from family court on 1/24 as originally indicated, but he will be removed! The hitch in our courtroom rotation giddyap is the unclear arrival date of Kane County’s newest associate judge.

If, God forbid, our elected men and women in black choose the Kane County State’s Attorney’s chief felony prosecutor Bill Engerman, the move will come sooner rather than later because his position will be filled quite quickly.

Conversely, if Aurora attorney Reggie Campbell gets the nod, the more likely possibility, he’ll need at least a month to settle his law practice. Once his clients are taken care of, he’d likely be seated sometime around March 1.

So, if you have a pending appearance before the only man on the planet who makes Donald Trump look good, file a motion for a continuance – don’t ask for one in court because the sadistic Dalton certainly won’t grant it. A formal motion is no guarantee, either, but it gives you a far better shot.

And since we’re talking, my sources tell me the new courtroom 101 judge will be The Honorable Julia Yetter who’s developed quite a decent reputation in her very short time on the bench.

Please understand, SHE WILL NOT AUTOMATICALLY AND IMMEDIATELY OVERTURN ALL OF DALTON’S PREVIOUS RULINGS. Please provide her with an opportunity to become familiar with your case, provide EVIDENCE to support any new motion you or your attorney might make, and please, please, please, make it clear that you have the best interest of your children in mind.

Judges do respond positively to that kind of approach.

Now I want to hear a collective apology from all you doubting Thomas’s. I’m waiting…

 

A small request!

You know I love to see all those Geneva Women’s March photographs particularly because they stir the political soul, but because it was wayyyyy too bleepin’ cold and icy for my bony white butt to be out there.

So, let’s briefly take stock!

As if to prove it exists, the good Lord Herself seems intent upon sending swift proof of climate change every time you ladies take to the streets! Last time it was a polar vortex, and this one was beset by rapidly descending temperatures, ice, windchills hitting two degrees above absolute zero, and heavy wet snow that clearly came from the core of a distant neutron star.

With all of that noted, would it be too much to ask y’all to move these semi-regular marches to July? I’d even settle for April if your busy schedules would permit it. That way I’d be more than happy to join you and cover the march it directly.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Please let me know if that works for all of you!

Quick Hits – A few good Geneva women and men – please!

Sadly, my efforts to recruit a 2021 Geneva mayoral candidate, as well as several of the aldermanic variety, aren’t going nearly as well as I’d hoped. Despite some serious financial backers, it would seem the insidious issue is, anyone harboring half-a-brain, a capacity to consider tomorrow, and a reasonable moral mooring is far too prudent to run for a job that requires a ton of time, pays virtually nothing, and generally solicits a slew of criticism.

Another difficult hurdle in this regard is, while our local elected officials have a far great impact on our wallets and well-being, we inexplicably prefer to focus on their statewide and national counterparts.

Run for Office

But I’m not ready to throw in the electoral towel quite yet! An outstanding five-tool Geneva First Ward candidate recently approached me, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about that campaign. Current alderman Mike Bruno, and his single-minded insistence on all things historical preservation, really needs to go.

“Jeff? I’ve heard of a five-tool baseball player before, but can you please explain a five-tool candidate?”

Absolutely! A five-tool candidate has:

  • Money
  • A great message
  • Charisma
  • Electability
  • And they play well with others

What that means is I’m still looking for:

  • A Third Ward aldermanic candidate
  • A Second Ward aldermanic candidate (only if Rich Marks doesn’t run again)
  • A Fifth Ward aldermanic candidate
  • A mayoral candidate.
  • Two (and maybe three) non-union supported school board candidates

Rich! You need to get in touch with me sooner than later because you’ve clearly earned a fourth term if that’s your thought, and we certainly work well together campaign-wise.

Fourth Ward Alderman Jeanne McGowan also deserves a second term. I can’t remember enjoying a more effective collaboration with an elected official in getting things done. Though I’d certainly like to see some of her fiscally conservative tendencies surface, Jeanne is the reason I haven’t been writing about Geneva nearly as often these days.

If you can take care of something behind the scenes, it always works out better for everyone involved.

All that said, we do desperately need a new mayor and whomever that enterprising individual turns out to be needs to make their intentions known somewhat soon so perennial also-ran Tom Simonian doesn’t make it a three-way race which will assure Mayor Kevin Burns’ reelection.

Before you start running for the crawl space, I’m not talking about remaking Geneva in my image! Not even I would want that. But please note just how well so many of my former clients are doing:

  • Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin certainly has that city humming along
  • Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain is doing a great job and working quite well with Chairman Chris Lauzen
  • Geneva’s own Rich Marks, the only alderman to survive the 2017 Simonian bloodbath, continues to be a city council voice of reason
  • A brilliant and insightful D304 School Board member continues to serve with grace and distinction

Furthermore, I’m not nearly the only Genevan who believes we need:

  • A more effective, responsive and far more principled Mayor
  • A more independent City Council
  • A new City Manager
  • We don’t need an Assistant City Manager
  • More respectful and responsive City employees
  • A far more effective salting and snow removal effort
  • Union contracts that reflect today’s realities
  • A more fiscally conservative Mayor and City Council
  • Real leadership in the face of a rapidly deteriorating Third Street business district
  • And some immediate attention to our sewer and roadway infrastructure

If you’re interested in the municipal government challenge, it’s not all that difficult to get ahold of me. What’s in it for you? Quality candidates will receive:

  • My considerable campaign managing services at no charge to them
  • A copy of my new book ‘So You Want to Win a Local Election’
  • Potential financing from Geneva Business owners desperate for change
  • Ongoing counsel on how to navigate the vagaries of city government
  • My eternal gratitude for making Geneva a better place

We all regularly engage in the tried and true national pastime of kvetching about our elected officials, but here’s an opportunity to actually do something about it. So, how about it Genevans?

 

 

Quick Hits Special – My Eulogy!

Given my recent run in with the national Teamsters Union, I’ve asked a number of you motherfuckers to come up with my eulogy. But despite that myriad of requests, only my Elgin-based female curmudgeonly counterpart, Sharry Lynn Blazier, managed to follow through.

Make no mistake, I’m still here – I had Leslie start the car this morning just to be on the safe side – but how many people are endowed with the rare opportunity to read their own obituary?

And it’s a really good one, too!

So, despite the fact you’re all a constant source of disappointment, I will share it with all you ungrateful bastards! I’d continue but this fond farewell has me quite verklempt!

 

RIP Jeff

Good afternoon, fellow mourners,

… and I use the word “mourners” a tad questioningly, since I note many of you present are clinking champagne flutes and giggling giddily. Could you please refrain for a few minutes? And save some bubbly for me? … Thank you.

It is my honor, just such an honor, to have been asked by Jeff Ward himself to perform this sad task when his time came, because I just sooooo flippin’ much wanted to spend my day off wearing a dress and nylons, delivering a eulogy for someone I never even met.

But I grieve as I stand before you, as I come to grips with the reality that Jeff’s gone, and that I need to buy Queen size panty hose again, because the crotch on these regular sized mofos is halfway to my knees right now.

But I digress. We are gathered here today to remember Jeff Ward, whose gruesome dispatch to the Great Beyond has left us all … completely unsurprised, I think would be the accurate term? Indeed, friend and foe alike, I think we are all wondering: What the hell took so long?

And, just who was Jeff Ward, anyway? How did this Evanston boy end up in Kane County, annoying the crap out of so many politicians, police officers, judges, attorneys, doctors, firefighters, teachers, union leaders, neighbors, liberals, conservatives, sports fans, appliance repairers, homemakers, electricians, drywall installers, hair stylists, plumbers, fashion designers, farmers, car wash attendants, women, children, all other carbon-based life forms, and even some inanimate objects?

I dunno. I don’t really even care. The important thing is, once Ted Kaczynski was definitively proven to be the Unabomber and the feds cleared Jeff, he wound up here in the Fox Valley.

Let’s face it: Jeff didn’t play well with the other kids in the print media sandbox. He called ’em like he saw ’em, and nothing gets a guy in more trouble than that. Especially in a Chicago collar county where many are easily lulled into complacent belief that we don’t have any of that big city corruption out here where there is still a cornfield or two.

So he forged his own media outlet, in the form of his First Ward blog, where no editor could tell him no. Sometimes I cheered Jeff on in his commentaries and bold exposes. Sometimes I cringed, thinking him off-base, or unnecessarily harsh with personal digs. A lot of times … ehhhh, I didn’t get around to reading his column. He was way the hell prolific, often a column a day, and ain’t nobody got time for that.

Oh, sure, Jeff could be a giant ass-ache, but, hey, look at that squirrel frolicking in the tree outside the window, how cuuuuuuute! … What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Jeff’s knowledge of Kane County law enforcement agencies and its judicial system is nothing short of legendary, and that’s just from his experience on the arrestee and defendant side of it. [note to self: bring drummer with to funeral, to do pa-RUMP-pahhhhh rim shots].

On the journalist side of it, Jeff had his eye on everybody. Everybody. From Batavia to Geneva to St. Charles to Elgin to Dundee and slightly more bucolic points east and west thereof, if it was an elected or an appointed office, Jeff Ward knew who held it, and could tell you in precise detail the 100 ways in which that office’s present holder and 20 predecessors were total assholes.

Republicans hated Jeff because they assumed from a coulmn or two that he was a Democrat. Democrats hated Jeff because they assumed from a column or two that he was a Republican. Evangelical Conservatives hated Jeff because he called them out on their un-Christian attitudes. Progressives hated Jeff because he hated their bullshit lingo like, “micro-aggressions.” In terms of pure political labeling, Jeff was a man without a party. And he relished that independence.

But he did have his friends and supporters, and I am 78.691% proud to have counted myself among them.

And now to his terrible demise. We all have our theories as to who finally did Jeff Ward in. Probably we will never know, seeing as the Geneva police have already closed their homicide investigation, after restricting it to asking a Ouija board, and reporting that the planchette immediately scooted to “Good-Bye” and fell over the edge. Then, they went to lunch. Since that’s just the sort of Kane County scandal only Jeff Ward would have taken a big bulldog journalist chomp out of, the story will sadly end there.

Having no actual full body for autopsy, all we can be sure of is that the blood trail begins at his home computer keyboard, proceeds through his house to the driveway, and ends with a huge coagulated puddle in the trunk of a plateless 1972 El Camino found abandoned next to a Teamster’s Hall construction site that was bitterly opposed by stuffed-shirt area residents as harmful to their property values. So, could go either way, really, or have been a collaborative effort.

Apparently, Jeff, upon his killers breaking into his home, realized what a great scoop he had, and instead of dialing 911 immediately began writing a First Ward Supplement. His last typed words were, “My Biggest Story Ever!: Covering My Own Murd ”

Without a corpse, some speculate that Jeff can’t be assumed dead. Forensics experts, however, assure us that nobody could live after the loss of so much blood … and their typing fingers. The cremains of which we consecrate to the earth today in this snack-size ziploc baggie, lovingly and ironically wrapped in his trusty Kevlar vest that he just didn’t have time to put on.

I like to think that Jeff is hanging out with other journalists killed when they pissed off the wrong people. RIght now, he’s probably holding a can of wine with his palms, trading their mob abduction stories with shoeless Molly Zelko.

We will all have our memories of Jeff. As for me, I’ll think of him whenever I see a woman doing doughnuts on a scooter in a Walmart parking lot, drinking booze from a Pringle’s can. I’ll think of Jeff every time someone else calls me, “Young Lady.” So … I won’t think of Jeff very often at all, I guess …

Wait. I will think of Jeff, every time a Sheldon Cooper presents Sheldon Cooper’s Fun with Flags with Sheldon Cooper segment pops up on a Big Bang Theory rerun. I will think of Jeff whenever I get a Messenger DING! at 6 in the morning. We may never have met, but we did talk each other through some rough times, and congratulate each other in victories.

I will miss him.

In closing, Jeff’s widow, the Lovely Leslie, has asked me to let you all know that Jeff’s fantastic collection of sports and superhero memorabilia just now went up on ebay.

Thank you.

Quick Hits – January 17, 2020

Do you think they’ll tell me where Jimmy Hoffa is buried?

Now I’ve gone and done it! Despite my winning personality and utterly uncanny capacity to make new friends, I’ve managed to rile the entire national Teamsters Union. And that’s no small task when you consider their logo consists of two horses – the only animal that sleeps standing up!

It all started with yesterday’s Quick Hits where I congenially noted that, while the formerly striking Kane County probation workers were getting picked off by their bosses, Teamsters Local 330 wasn’t doing a damn thing about it.

Well… That’s not exactly true. To be fair, they still somehow manage to collect those union dues.

Teamsters Jacket

So, always being the helpful sort, I called a Washington D.C. Teamster staffer to politely explain my dismay over this unfortunate turn of events. Why, I may have even left a voicemail inquiring as to why I was doing the Teamsters’ job and exactly who she slept with to get her’s.

Now, before you hit the “send” button, I genuinely believe it was an abundantly fair question. First, her name is Ash Latimer which is clearly one of those artificial 22-and-a-half shades of burnt sienna appellations. And second, her discernible skillset consists solely of flying out to strike locations, asking a local journalist for advice while looking beyond bored and constantly referring to her cellphone, and then ignoring that sage counsel and doing the polar opposite.

To say the Teamsters mismanaged the probation workers strike would be the mildest of understatements. Yes! Sending your strikers out to knock on random doors to explain to the person behind that door that they’re less safe because the two folks standing at their door aren’t at work is always a winning strategy.

I’m sure they got all sorts of hugs that day!

So, as I was fully engaged in a post dinner nap because sitting at a keyboard all day can be quite exhausting, I received a delightful call from a D. C. Teamsters’ staffer who not only failed to note his position, but refused to identify himself.

It was only after I called him back and got his voicemail that I finally learned his name was Todd Thompson. And Todd just happens to be Teamsters Union President James P. Hoffa’s executive assistant. To quote the great James Cagney, “Made it Ma! Top of the world!”

Since Todd and I have become such good friends, I will hereafter refer to Todd as “Todd” and not Mr. Thompson, because Todd wouldn’t want it any other way.

Having propelled me directly out of a dream in which Zoe Saldana finally called me back, Todd proceeded to completely castigate me, explaining in no uncertain terms that he would be going directly to my supervisor tomorrow morning which, of course, would be this morning.

Now, I know that kind of threat would strike fear in the hearts of most mere mortals, but I’m kinda hoping Todd actually does find my boss because I have a few choice words for that m**********r.

She makes me write three columns a week; she makes me say things diametrically opposed to my heartwarming personality; she loves to call local law enforcement to get me in trouble; and then she doesn’t pay me one thin dime for my journalistic efforts.

So, not only did I encourage Todd to go directly to my “supervisor,” but I politely proceeded to ask him who he slept with to get his job. And I’m kinda surprised he didn’t take that very well because no self-respecting woman would ever sleep with anyone named “Todd Thompson,” and to even infer that possibility was the highest of compliments.

Apparently, you just can’t make some people happy! And who knew someone named “Todd Thompson” could get that angry? I’m not sure how I did it, but I musta struck a nerve.

And just when I was about to ask Todd where Jimmy Hoffa was buried, he hung up on me! When I called Todd back to explain that friends like us don’t hang up on each other, Todd hung up on me again. The nerve!

So, despite the fact I don’t send any, I’ve crossed Todd off my Christmas card list! Let’s see him recover from that cruel twist of fate!

I’m sure upon Googling me, Todd will unearth my heinous criminal history which will most certainly lead to a Teamsters’ job offer.

So here’s my eminently amicable advice for my new friend Todd, Ash, and Local 330 President Dominic Romanzzi. Why don’t you get up off your bleepin’ collective overpaid fat union asses and actually do something about an overly vindictive Kane County Court Services management that’s systematically targeting union probation workers in an effort to get those former strikers to quit?

I understand that, right before he died, Jesus told the Teamsters not to do anything until He gets back, but perhaps you might want to make an exception because I don’t bleepin’ get paid to do your bleepin’ jobs. Perhaps you might even consider directing your anger at Court Services instead of a journalist who’s simply pointing out how your useless Union completely fails its members.

Now that I have the national Teamsters’ full and undivided attention, I’m not quite sure what I’ll do for an encore. Hmmmm! Maybe I’ll call the Amish and see if I can rile them up, too. That would be a challenge but, apparently, I’m up to the task!

 

A frighteningly fun Vargo’s Dance event!

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, it does! Because, on January 25, Vargo’s Dance at Route 38 and Second Street in beautiful downtown Geneva is hosting a Murder at the Masquerade – Dance Lesson & Mystery!

As studio owner Jamie Vargo put it, “We couldn’t be more excited to bring out the one and only Chicago’s Murder Mystery Company to Vargo’s for an intriguing evening of dance, murder and mystery.”

All I can say my lovely wife and I are beyond giddy over the possibility.

The studio doors open at 6 p.m. and the festivities kick off with a free Prosecco toast, a beginner’s dance lesson at 6:30, a murder, and then it’s time to solve the mystery!

You must be 21 or older to attend, cocktail attire is required (no jeans or t-shirts), wearing a mask is highly encouraged (basic masks will be provided), and you can count on the actors making fun of the attendees.

Having grown used to the women in the Tuesday night dance class consistently and collectively correcting me, I’ve kinda gotten used to that kind of thing.

Oh! It’s an eminently reasonable $30 per person, you don’t have to attend as a couple, but reservations are required. Please call Vargo’s Dance at 630-232-2990 to reserve a spot! You can pay over phone or in person at the event.

It’s BYOB, too!

Space is limited, so please make your reservation ASAP! Feel free to email vargosdance@gmail.com with any questions and the delightful Jamie will swiftly respond.

Of course, given my recent raft of prose, there may actually be a real murder that evening, but sadly, there would be no mystery as to why it happened! Jamie’s already preparing the eulogy and peppering it with MFs, SOBs and pain in the asses.

I certainly hope to see you there!

 

Our first story reminds me of a joke!

A dedicated Teamster was attending a convention in Las Vegas when he decided to check out the local brothels. When he got to the first one, he asked the madam, “Is this a union house?”

“No,” she replied, “I’m sorry, but it isn’t.”

“Well, if I pay you $100, what do the girls get?” the Teamster responded.

“The house gets $80 and the girls get $20,” the madam replied.

Mightily offended at such an unfair arrangement, the Teamster stomped off in search of a more equitable and hopefully unionized shop. His search continued until he finally reached a brothel where the madam responded, “Why, yes, sir! This IS a union house.”

Giddy with anticipation, the Teamster asked, “And if I pay you $100, how much do the girls get?”

“The girls get $80 and the house gets $20,” the madam replied.

“That’s more like it!” the Teamster said. He handed the madam $100, looked around the room, pointed to a stunning blonde and said, “I’d like her for the night.”

“I’m sure you would, sir,” the madam replied pointing to a well-worn 85 year-old woman standing in the corner, “but Ethel here has seniority.”

 

Quick Hits – January 16, 2020

It’s down to two!

Though I firmly believe a number of applicants’ resumes are superior to the two finalists, our remaining Kane County associate judge contenders are Bill Engerman and Reggie Campbell.

And as we’ve previously discussed, Engerman is just another old white male prosecutor with a beyond questionable misogynist history and a capacity to quickly lose his cool in court. Do we really need another prosecutor with absolutely no other legal experience serving on the bench?

Meanwhile, Reggie Campbell is a well-regarded and well-rounded black attorney who not only spent four years in the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office, but has almost 20 years of legal experience as a partner in a longstanding Aurora law firm that serves a variety of clients.

So, in a Circuit where the judges are 70 percent male, 83 percent white, and 0 percent black, considering that Campbell’s clearly the better candidate, it would seem those full circuit judges have been blessed with one of those too-rare obvious choices this existence rarely presents.

Please don’t disappoint me and particularly the people of Kane County Your Honors!

 

It ain’t any better at probation!

Seeing Director of Court Services Lisa Aust at this morning’s Kane Count Board Judicial and Public Safety committee meeting reminded me that I’ve been meaning to follow up on the fallout from last summer’s probation worker’s strike.

Sadly, there’s no happy ending here.

My myriad of sources have been remarkably consistent in their tales of Aust and Court Services management targeting the strikers in an effort to get them to quit. And by “targeting” I mean using bogus grievances to go after them.

It starts with a criminal defendant on probation filing a formal grievance against their probation worker. That’s not uncommon because they know how to game the system and those staffer’s caseloads are so absurdly large that’s it’s difficult to do an effective job.

That would generally be no big deal, but here’s the catch! Someone deep within the local Teamsters Union recently reached out to explain that every single grievance Aust has pursued since the walkout has been against a striker. Complaints against non-striking staff simply get thrown in the circular file.

Aust

Lisa Aust

At least one former probation worker simply set his keys on the desk and walked out of the office as a result of this BS.

What’s the real irony you ask? The real irony is, one of the managers who’s doing all the dirty work is on probation for a recent DUI. And the reason Ms. Aust didn’t fire him outright, as she should have, is she knows she has him by the short hairs and he will unerringly do her bidding.

So, where are the Teamsters, you ask? I wish I knew! Not only did they completely mismanage the strike, but President Dominic Romanazzi and Local 330 have inexplicably thrown these probation workers to the wolves.  To wit, I just called the national Teamsters office and tore them a new one.

So, Chief Judge Hull! Since you deserve a vast amount of credit for so swiftly resolving the Judge John Dalton problem, here’s another one. We clearly need a new director of Court Services because no probation officer should EVER have to work under these circumstances.

Please feel free to call me in this regard.

Normally, I would’ve reached out to Ms. Aust in this regard, but she’s never responded to any of my eminently congenial overtures, so what’s the point? Ah well! I suppose there’s always next month’s Judicial and Public Safety meeting.

I’ll be there!

 

Dave Rickert’s Statement

Since we’ve already run Chairman Chris Lauzen’s statement, it’s time to print the Republican Kane County Chairman nominee’s! Here’s what Treasurer Dave Rickert had to say at yesterday’s press conference:

“I would like to thank each of you for coming here today as I kick off my campaign for County Chairman. The outpouring of support for my campaign has been utterly over-whelming. I am truly honored to have the backing of current County Chairman Chris Lauzen. Chris has dedicated his career to public service. First, as an accomplished legislator in the Illinois State Senate; then, serving as County Board Chairman diligently protecting the interests of taxpayers by running a lien efficient county. Chris has established high standard of accomplishment for the next chairman to follow. I also appreciate the advice, encouragement of the elected officials and dignitaries that are in attendance today.

Rickert

Growing up in Kane County and now raising my family here, I have a very strong attachment to the Fox River Valley with all the benefits it has to offer. It does not seem too long ago that I graduated from Dundee-Crown High School and served both in the Army and Army Reserve. As a beneficiary of the G.I. bill, I was able to afford the expense of going to college. First, I attended Elgin Community College and earned my associate degree. From there, I pursued my degree bachelor’s degree in Finance at Northern Illinois University and was eventually able to complete my education with a master’s degree from Roosevelt University.

My up-bringing and military experience both provided me the drive to push toward higher education and to use my skills in the serve my country. The position of Chairman has been on my mind for many years, if elected, I plan to continue to carefully consider the needs of the taxpayers and direct the County government to meet those needs in the most efficient manner possible. As Treasurer have always strove to bring the highest quality of work and service to my office in the most efficient manner possible. I hope to bring this same can-do attitude in serving all the departments at the County. It is my intention to provide a listening ear and be a voice for all commonsense initiatives that will provide improved services and lower costs. I want to thank all of your advice wisdom and support.”

I think Dave will make a great chairman.

Quick Hits – Chairman Lauzen bows out of the race!

As The First Ward previously indicated, at a 2 p.m. press conference at Fiora’s in downtown Geneva, Kane County Chairman Chris Lauzen formally announced his withdrawal from the GOP chairmanship primary in favor of Treasurer Dave Rickert.

Both men briefly spoke, they shook hands, and Lauzen handed Rickert a $5,000 check to kick off his campaign.

After almost 28 years as an elected official, The Chairman said that he will serve out his  term and then remain active in local politics by supporting competent candidates both financially and with his legendary campaign ethic.

Chris & Dave

But why listen to me ramble on when we have the Chairman’s own words:

“These past eight years have been peaceful, productive, and prosperous in Kane County in terms of both consistently high-quality services delivered to constituents and respectful restraint on the size of government for taxpayers.

Kane County has kept the three commitments that I made to you eight years ago to freeze county-related property tax levies, to treat people respectfully, and to foster management best practices. Together we have accomplished what we set out to do by reversing the trajectory of large property tax levy increases to fund Kane County, i.e. from 50% in increases for seven years to frozen at zero for eight years.

We run the county and forest preserve with less property taxes than we did eight years ago. During my time as elected Chairman and chief administrator, we have paid down our public debt by 70%. Our public employee pension obligation is fully-funded at 95%. And, we have maintained our credit rating at AA+, equal to the U.S. Government and Exxon-Mobil Corporation.

Dave Rickert, our CPA County Treasurer, has been a strong ally in producing these results.

Despite the rancor, distraction, bloat, and incongruities that we see at state and federal government levels, Kane County represents an oasis of management competence and relative calm. Let’s keep it that way!

On a personal note, I feel strong, energetic, and engaged. Working 45-50 hour weeks serving others is a great privilege and pleasure professionally and politically for me. I intend to continue to work, using my public service and political experience, for at least another 10 to 15 years.

However, now is the time to place collective interests of our taxpayers and constituents ahead of individual ambitions of politicians who are supposed to serve them. Competent management performance and unity are our proper objectives. For the next 4-8-12 years in political terms, we need to assure those whom we serve that we will work together to provide county leadership that sustains the trajectory set during these past eight years.

Therefore, instead of running for a third 4-year term, I am endorsing Dave Rickert for Republican nominee for Kane County Chairman and will enthusiastically work for his election on November 3, 2020. In “absolute” experience terms, Dave has worked diligently for 20 years on the front line with taxpayers and constituents to make Kane County a place that we are all proud to call home. In “relative” political and governmental preparedness terms, neither of his Democrat opponents has proper attitude toward taxpayers, adequate stature, nor professional management experience in order to protect taxpayer and constituent interests. Dave has all three.

I intend to remain very active politically, especially in Kane County and Illinois, and have one more year to serve directly as Kane County elected board chairman and help in an important transition of responsibility. It’s OK to give someone else a turn to lead.”

 

Quick Hits – It’s time to pay attention to judicial appointments!

Alright! Without further ado, let’s continue with what was supposed to be a part of yesterday’s Quick Hits! And I’m still way too long-winded!

You certainly wouldn’t know it from the local papers, but tomorrow (1/15), our elected judges will choose two associate judge finalists, one of whom will replace retired Judge Linda Abrahamson.

While our local men and women in black may not affect our lives nearly as much as those vaunted Supreme Court Justices do, it would be a serious mistake to underestimate their import. Judge John Dalton has taken great delight in destroying families just because he can, while Judge Bill Parkhurst has had the kind of positive effect on people that’s just short of magical.

judicial appointments

Just like those far-reaching gravitational waves created by the collision or two distant neutron stars, those courtroom ripples have an inexorably profound effect on our lives. Destroyed family members go on to wreak their own brand of havoc, while those shown mercy, guidance, and wisdom tend to pay it forward.

It’s nothing more than a simple matter of cause and effect.

So, not only will our new judge’s leanings and courtroom comportment be critical, but the Kane County judiciary should reflect the people they serve.

Oh! I can hear my conservative friends now! “So, a black, Hispanic, or female judge is automatically more qualified than the white male variety?” Of course not! But very little good ever comes from any law enforcement arm that fails to adequately represent our increasingly diverse populace.

Have you ever been to a Geneva, Illinois, Branch Court traffic call? Despite that community coming in at 95 percent Caucasian, without fail, 60 to 70 percent of the folks sitting in those chairs will be black, Hispanic, and Asian-Indian.

The reason that tacit bias regularly occurs is, of 35 sworn Geneva officers, just one is Hispanic, and just one is black. And when you’ve had nothing but negative minority experiences, it only reinforces an already insidious lack of perspective.

To further exacerbate this incredible imbalance, as often as I’ve walked those judicial center corridors, I have yet to encounter a single black prosecutor. For all I know they’re may be one or two, but like Bigfoot, I haven’t found any evidence of their existence.

And our judiciary isn’t much better. Of our 30 current circuit and associate judges:

  • 21 are male
  •   9 are female
  •   4 are Hispanic
  •   1 is Asian-Indian, and
  •   0 are black

In a county that’s 57 percent white, 33 percent Hispanic, 6 percent black, and 50.2 percent female, there’s certainly room for improvement there!

So, at a time when the Motion Picture Academy is being vilified for failing to nominate just one female best director candidate, my response to those conservative friends would be, “You mean to tell me there isn’t a single qualified black attorney in all of Kane County? And male attorneys are generally twice as good as their female counterparts?”

Considering their argument and those judicial statistics, those are the only conclusions that could possibly support that logic.

As to dismissing the latter count, for the last five years, my favorite friends have been almost exclusively female attorneys, because they have to be tough as nails, they develop an amazing sense of humor just to survive the job, and they have to be twice as smart as their male counterparts to succeed.

Put more simply, I wouldn’t have a problem with a slate of solely female judges.

But the truth is, we need judges who not only reflect their constituency, but who’ve experienced a wide variety of legal possibilities. We’ve already had more than our share of former prosecutors who’ve never touched a defense table, never tried a civil case, and never been a part of a successful private practice.

Some erudite attorneys insist that, since they’ve seen a slew of state’s attorney abuses, former prosecutors often turn out to be the most liberal. And because former public defenders have seen the worst of our criminal offenders, they often become the most severe judges

There’s certainly some truth to those thoughts, but it certainly hasn’t been my experience. Despite some obvious exceptions, I’d say it’s much more of leopard being stuck with their spots dynamic.

But back to our newest potential judge.

Three names have consistently come up in conversation, with one recently pulling away from the pack – KCSAO chief felony prosecutor Bill Engerman. Simply on its face, another white male prosecutor would be a poor choice, but when you consider the man himself, it becomes an exceptionally poor choice.

To be fair, I’ve learned that Engerman’s dismissal from the DeKalb State’s Attorney’s Office came in great part as a result of then State’s Attorney Clay Campbell’s jealousy over his ASAs favoring him for advice. We’ve all experienced bosses like that.

But that doesn’t mitigate the complaints from the women in that office, and it certainly doesn’t explain his need to regularly berate female Kane County prosecutors to the point where he earned the nickname “Angryman.” And I’ve heard those stories directly.

Furthermore, Engerman has never been anything but a prosecutor, and the biggest rap against him is it’s too easy to make him lose his cool in court, which doesn’t bode well for a judicial future.

But instead of beating them over the head this time, I’m simply going to ask our full circuit judges to not only to consider those obsolete “traditional qualifications,” but the candidates’ overall merit and what a truly representative judiciary should look like. Put more simply I’m asking them to make a wise and not expedient choice.

After all, there are a number of female attorneys who’ve earned that coveted “Highly Recommended” Kane County Bar Association endorsement!

As for the rest of us, while we love to focus on national politicians who have little local effect, we ignore judicial elections and appointments because they’re not nearly as fascinating. It’s clearly time for that to change.