The First Ward Report – Mayor Irvin strikes again!

As if it wasn’t bad enough that the citizens of Aurora have to pay for Mayor Richard Irvin’s ex-girlfriends’ employment and his baby momma’s insurance, now it’s the Kane County taxpayer who’s on the hook for his vast and dismissive arrogance.

Look! I understand we all have flaws, but most of us aren’t prone to self-righteously standing before Aurora’s black congregations while we proclaim to be a virtuous man of God when nothing could be further from the truth.

I couldn’t imagine a scenario in which the Mayor could possibly top his beyond disingenuous 2019 effort to get 20 well-supervised sex offenders thrown out of the Wayside Cross Ministries. That’s the one where Irvin installed a couple of rocking horses in McCarty Park, a well-known drug dealer and hooker haven, just to bring the Ministry within the 500-foot sex offender playground statutory limit.

And that move was particularly ironic when you consider that Wayside helped a close Irvin family member recover from some truly serious trouble – twice! Apparently, there’s no room for gratitude or the least of our brothers when they get in the way of your political ambitions.

But Mayor Irvin actually did just top himself in this very sad regard, and here’s how he did it.

Despite his insistent declarations that he was all about Aurora COVID safety and care, when a number of Hesed House homeless residents tested positive in late March, the Mayor and his administration completely ignored the obvious plague propagating possibilities.

Because if you simply ignore a problem it just goes away, right?

Fearing the worst, Hesed House reached out to the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, and clearly comprehending the potential danger, Sheriff Ron Hain stepped up to provide the required assistance. His office quickly quarantined the infected residents in a local hotel, assigning a series of deputies to care for them on a 24/7 basis.

With the rest of the Hesed House population at-risk, the Sheriff’s Office helped secure a 200-bed Schaumburg hotel, and his staff transported the remaining residents to that location to be quarantined for 30 days.

As a result of those Herculean efforts, beyond those initial cases, Hesed House remains COVID free.

But when those residents tried to returned to Hesed house a month later, despite the Sheriff’s quarantine, the City of Aurora placed all sorts of new restrictions on the facility, not the least of which was limiting the number of residents.

So, once again, the Sheriff, in cooperation with the Kane County Health Department, stepped up to provide Hesed House with portable showers, toilets and fencing to prevent those homeless folks from spilling out onto Aurora city streets where they could further contract and spread the disease.

Up to the end of august, the KCHD had been applying anticipated CARES Act COVID relief funds to cover the cost of that rental equipment and the massive staff overtime, but that’s no longer a possibility because the federal government changed the fund distribution rules for the 98th time.

Faced with those mounting expenses and a September 11 federal fund termination deadline, on September 2, Mayor Irvin assured all the agencies involved that the City of Aurora would cover those costs going forward.

But just a few days later when that transition was about to take place, what’s the best Mayor Irvin and the City of Aurora could do for the least of our brothers and sisters? The Deputy Mayor (Irvin failed to attend the second meeting) offered Hesed House a City line of credit.

Be still my fricken’ beating heart!

Please tell me, how on God’s green earth is a non-profit low-threshold donor dependent homeless shelter supposed to pay back a major loan at a time when a pandemic has rendered fundraising a virtual impossibility? And Mayor Irvin has the cojones to proclaim his vast Christian virtue to anyone who’ll listen.

If you fell prey to that eminently demonstrable deceit, don’t worry, so did I!

Recognizing this financial hit wasn’t feasible for Hesed, and clearly comprehending the risk involved in turning 100 homeless individuals out onto the streets of Aurora, Sheriff Hain stepped up one more time by taking the 25 grand a month rental fee out of his own budget for this month and the next.

That means that Kane County taxpayers are subsidizing the City of Aurora to the minimal tune of 50 grand, and that will likely turn into more. The fact that Aurorans are coughing up the cash to pay for Irvin’s self-installed City Hall harem suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, does it?

And kicking those sex offenders out of Wayside pales in comparison to this abject lack of Christian leadership and compassion.

Aurora! Don’t be fooled by this man like I was. Richard Irvin has got to go!

The First Ward Quick Hits – How many Geneva Police officers does it take to handle a fender bender?

The answer is six! One to deal with the accident and five to stand around and watch.

To be more specific, my favorite attorney just told me he saw five – count ‘em – five regular GPD officers, and one community service officer dispensing with a minor fender bender at Fargo and Randall Road.

He also noted that everyone involved, including the drivers, was simply standing around the vehicles talking. No one was being arrested, no vehicle was being searched, the intersection wasn’t blocked, and no cleanup was necessary.

Perhaps the other four officer were a bit bored.

As a 24-year Genevan, I can personally attest that this wasn’t a rare occurrence.

When you consider only six patrol cars ply those Geneva streets at any given point in time, it makes one wonder who was covering the rest of the City. I’m not sayin’ Geneva’s exactly hotbed of crime, but if you add up the hourly cost of six officers showing up to every minor accident I’m not sure it’s the best use of our property tax dollars.

And if the GPD can afford to send six officers to one inconsequential fender bender, perhaps we don’t need as many of them!

 

The First Ward Report – On the First Ward!

The good news is, every last bleepin’ version of ‘So You Wanna Win a Local Election’ is finally up on Amazon. That means you can purchase:

I’m sure the Pulitzer Committee will be calling me any day now!

The semi-bad news is, if you add up running a fascinating number of current campaigns, getting the ball rolling with some 2021 campaigns, and promoting Forward Communication and the book, I’m a very busy boy! So, starting this week, The First Ward will move from a MWF three columns a week schedule to a Tuesday-Thursday two columns a week schedule.

Though I suppose, depending upon how you look at it, one less weekly column might actually be good news for my “adoring throng” and all those incessantly misbehaving local elected officials.

Rest assured, it’s beyond gratifying that my core readers understand the effort involved in making sure The First Ward is always a quality endeavor, but for most folks, unless you’ve done this for 14 years, you can’t possibly understand how time-consuming real journalism really is.

Even the local papers don’t begin to understand that! And then there are those readers who simply want me to turn over my hard-earned-sources because they firmly believe they’re entitled to them. Yikes!

Please don’t get me wrong! I’m not complaining. I love the fact that my unpaid written endeavors, on occasion, level the playing field. And I can’t tell you how much I enjoy bringing you the stories that only someone with real sources can bring you.

Not to mention that if I didn’t regularly expound on those Kane County and Northern Illinois shenanigans, I’d probably get arrested twice as much as I already have. Trust me! Appeals can get kind of expensive!

The truth is, though I generally LOVE my cut-above-the-rabble regular readers, I write for me and no one else. The best indicator of that dynamic is the 450 or so people I’ve blocked on Facebook. I really should call the World Record folks about that one, shouldn’t I?

It’s not that my writing volume will decrease – I don’t think that’s possible. It’s that I’ll be writing shorter and more instructional political posts that not only call out the ne’er-do-wells, but fold into promoting Forward Communication and the book.

I’ll also be posting more spur-of-the moment shorter stories on topics that move me in real time. The first one will likely be St. Charles closing bars at midnight to limit that heinous COVID-19 contagion. You mean to tell me the virus reacts similarly to feeding gremlins after midnight?

Mayor Rogina will be getting a call in that very regard.

Lastly, I will be adding a “donate” button to the blog. If those absurd Edgar County Watchdogs, who couldn’t spell the word “journalism” can do it, then why not me? Though I’m not a hard-sell kind of guy, if any reader wants to get their business in front of thousands of smarter than average readers, I’m certainly open to that possibility.

Put more simply, as I’ve relentlessly proclaimed for 14.5 years, “Let’s continue the conversation!”

 

The First Ward Report – Quick Hits – September 11, 2020

Let’s catch up on a few things!

He gave the money back?

Two separate sources confirmed that embattled Springfield lobbyist and soon-to-depart Elgin City Councilman, Baldemar Lopez, returned the 60 grand he received from ComEd for doing absolutely nothing. At least he couldn’t remember what he did for them.

If you recall, it was WBEZ and yours truly who broke the lobbyist and $60,000 do-nothing contract story back in late 2019. And when Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain and the saner city council members tried to implement an ethics ordinance banning lobbyists, councilpeople Tish Powell, John Steffen, Carol Rauschenberger, and of course, Corey Dixon tabled it faster than Donald Trump backtracking from a recorded conversation.

Apparently, that quartet likes to regularly embrace corruption and graft.

If Lopez did, indeed, return the money, there are but three possibilities for his sudden change of heart:

1. Those ComEd federal bribery investigators were hot on his trail.
2. Despite previous pronouncements, he’s running again.
3. He couldn’t deal with his guilty conscience.

Number 3? Nope! When you consider Lopez bought that city council seat with Madigan money, he perjured himself on his 2018 economic interest statement, and he voted to table the ordinance that would’ve prohibited him from serving on the council (no conflict there!), I don’t think Lopez has a conscience.

Number 2? Nope! Even if he spends another 25 grand in Chicago money, the odds of Lopez being reelected sit squarely between slim and none. Despite that massive campaign war chest, he barely beat opponent Steve Thoren last time and these ComEd revelations put the final nail in his political coffin.

That leaves us with number 1, doesn’t it?

But much like the inherent problem with un-ringing a bell, returning a bribe, in no way, mitigates the fact that you were bribed to begin with. All I can say is it will be fascinating going forward because, as the Pet Shop Boys once intoned, Baldemar always makes a point of “never being boring.”

Meanwhile, neither Elgin State Rep Anna Moeller nor State Senator Cristina Castro have called on Speaker Madigan to resign. That failure may be even more fascinating for them going forward!

 

Some great debates!

My Cubs hat is off to those fine League of Women Voters of Central Kane County folks for putting on some excellent COVID era candidate forums over the last two evenings.

Though there were more possibilities, I personally partook of Wednesday night’s Jamie Mosser/Bob Spence (state’s attorney) forum, and last evening’s Tom Hartwell/Theresa Barriero (circuit clerk), Elizabeth Flood/Brittany Pedersen (judge), and Dave Rickert/Corinne Pierog (county chairman) debates.

Auditor candidate Penny Wegman declined to participate leaving incumbent Terry Hunt with no other option than to present a two-minute statement.

And it was time well-spent, too! I quickly learned that not a single one of these races boiled down to the overly ubiquitous “lesser of two evils” conundrum. In fact, these candidates clearly maintain quite different campaign messages and electoral intents.

But as much as I enjoyed the proceedings, it was beyond depressing to note that the number of folks viewing the live stream never amounted to any more that 60! And when the Chiefs-Texans game came on during that all-important county chair forum, the viewership plummeted to 30!

But not to fear, Dear Reader! Those also fine folks at Batavia TV has posted each and every one of ‘em on their Youtube page http://www.youtube.com/user/BATV1017, so you can avail yourself of them at your earliest reasonable convenience.

So, you can even watch them buck naked if you want!

I wholeheartedly encourage you to observe each one of these debates because, despite our insistent protests to the contrary, voters have real choices here. These candidates are not carbon copies of each other.

 

Climate change?

Can’t we Northern Illinoisans enjoy just one gradual seasonal transition?

Perhaps it’s nostalgia for my Evanston youth, but I seem to recall a series of summers where autumn smoothly proceeded from those sadly waning summer months such that one could become accustomed to all the things those falling leaves bring. But for at least the last five years, we’ve had to endure a cold, wet spring only to get jolted into a moderately warm and eminently dry summer, and then be summarily flung into another frigid damp fall.

Wasn’t it just a scant week ago we were enjoying that wonderful mid 80-degree Labor Day weather while we complained about an abject lack of any summer precipitation? But then, as if someone tripped a light switch, it plummeted to 30 below with all the associated ensuing monsoons of epic proportion.

And every radical seasonal shift comes with an entirely different set of allergens which takes two weeks to get used only to return to the previous iterations during our inevitable three Indian summers.

Ah well! One can dream, can’t they? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to building the backyard ark.

The First Ward Coronavirus Report – As good as it’s gonna get!

Yep! It’s that time! Let’s, once again, debunk the abject COVID-19 bull guano the “mainstream” media persists in printing. And that process always starts with the numbers, or as I like to refer to them, “the evidence:”

Date  Cases          % Inc      N Cases      Tested     Prevalence  Deaths    M%

8/17   207,854          0.8          1,773         38,246       1 in 21.5     7,756       3.7

8/18   209,594          0.8          1,740         34,175       1 in 19.6     7,782       3.7

8/19   211,889          1.0          2,295         50,299       1 in 21.9     7,806       3.6

8/20   213,721          0.8          1,832         51,612       1 in 28.1     7,833       3.6

8/21   215,929          1.0          2,208         51,736       1 in 23.4     7,857       3.6

8/22   218,285          1.0          2,356         56,766       1 in 24.1     7,874       3.6

8/23   220,178          0.8          1,893         54,351       1 in 28.7     7,880       3.5

8/24   221,790          0.7          1,612         36,155       1 in 22.4     7,888       3.5

8/25   223,470          0.7          1,680         40,859       1 in 24.3     7,917       3.5

8/26   225,627          0.9          2,157         50,362       1 in 23.3     7,954       3.5

8/27   227,334          0.7          1,707         44,510       1 in 26.0     7,977       3.5

8/28   229,483          0.9          2,149         48,383       1 in 22.5     7,997       3.4

8/29   231,363          0.8          1,880         48,784       1 in 25.9     8,008       3.4

8/30   233,355          0.8          1,992         43,693       1 in 21.9     8,019       3.4

8/31   235,023          0.7          1,668         47,379       1 in 28.4     8,026       3.4

9/1     236,515          0.6          1,492         22,961       1 in 15.3     8,064       3.4

9/2     238,643          0.8          2,128         32,751       1 in 15.3     8,091       3.3

9/3     240,003          0.5          1,360         40,795       1 in 29.9     8,115       3.3

9/4     245,371          2.2          5,368       149,273       1 in 27.8     8,143       3.3

9/5     248,177          1.1          2,806         61,935       1 in 22.0     8,166       3.2

9/6     249,580          0.5          1,403         46,496       1 in 33.1     8,171       3.2

9/7     250,961          0.5          1,380         28,975       1 in 20.9     8,179       3.2

9/8     252,353          0.5          1,392         31,363       1 in 22.5     8,186       3.2

As of yesterday, Illinois claims to have tested 4,478,710 of its citizens.

1. Testing results shenanigans

I’m sure my crack deputy statisticians have already noted that our testing result range has gotten a wee bit nutty, moving from an inexplicable 22,961 low on September 1 to an insane record 149,273 high on September 4. It was quite clear that something wuz awry on September 1 and 2 because you won’t see a 50 percent testing crash without some sort of mitigating circumstance.

My more cynical friends believe Illinois held test results back to scare folks into “behaving” over the Labor Day weekend, but I’m convinced it was a vast and continuing incompetency that led to this purported backlog.

The problem is, the press, and particularly the shameless Daily Herald, ran with that artificial 5,368 new case “spike” headline, only explaining the testing anomaly in the much smaller print below.

And this test reporting absurdity renders many of our statistics temporarily meaningless, too – and “meaningless” is a word we’re gonna use a lot today!

2. Daily percentage new case increase

That number mildly increased throughout August, but now it’s right back down to it’s rock bottom 0.5 percent. And since the plague ain’t goin’ anywhere anytime soon, this is as good as it’s gonna get.

3. The prevalence tells the story

Again, discounting the contrived September 1, 2, 4, and 5 stats, our steady 1 in 24.6 average prevalence tells it all. If you test 1,000 Illinoisans, 40 will have the virus. That too, appears to be a rock bottom number that won’t further recede until herd immunity truly kicks in – if it hasn’t already.

4. The “infection rate” is meaningless

This is the State’s favorite stat and the press loves it, too, but it’s beyond misleading. Until and unless you test every last Illinoisan, the only thing the “infection rate” measures is the number of folks with COVID who CHOSE to be tested. And that’s the prevalence, which as we’ve already noted, is quite good.

5. Local “spikes” that aren’t necessarily spikes

This is another facet of local “journalism” that frosts my cookies. If you report, as the DH did today, that DuPage County is experiencing a recent coronavirus “spike,” but you don’t report the number of tests tallied in that region, it’s completely – you got it – meaningless!

Worse yet, the fact that a young healthy person catches the disease is also meaningless because they’ll be utterly asymptomatic, so they have no undue impact on our health care capacity. And wasn’t that the whole point?

Don’t give me that “they’ll take it home to their grandparents” BS, either, because, according to those fine Census folks, only 2 percent of American homes contain a grandparent. That has to be one of the biggest BS arguments I’ve ever heard, and I regularly interview politicians.

6. The mortality rate is still the best news

That, of course, means the press refuses to report the steep decline from a 4.8 percent high on July 4, to just 3.2 percent yesterday. Remove those utterly unnecessary 4,445 COVID deaths in long-term care facilities and the Illinois mortality rate would plummet to just 1.4 percent.

That steep decline is likely a result of more young people being infected combined with a clearly waning pandemic lethality.

Add the CDC’s declaration that 94 percent of coronavirus casualties had a co-morbidity factor, and this press and progressive-based pandemic panic porn is one of the biggest frauds ever perpetrated on the American public. Healthy people under 70 do not die from the disease.

Trust me, more than a few political heads will roll in the 2021 through 2024 elections.

7. No back-to-school spike!

I know it’s hard to believe, but progressives got it wrong again! Despite a smattering of Illinois school districts and all private schools being back in in-person session, not only has the predicted COVID “spike” failed to materialize, but the number of new cases is actually trending downward.

Even if you consider the testing craziness of September 3 and 4, a correctly weighted September daily new case average comes out to a scant 1,575, which is beyond statistically significant when all the “experts” were expecting a back-to-school spike.

7. The only stat that matters!

Remember when the whole point of these now pointless COVID restrictions was to give our medical professional time to get ahead of the pandemic and prevent a run on ventilators? How many times do I have to say, “mission accomplished:”

Date   ICU Beds   Ventilators

9/1          362               146

9/2          347               142

9/3          360               144

9/4          360               155

9/5          363               151

9/6          356               134

9/7          352               137

9/8          343               133

Those Illinois COVID-19 occupied hospital beds and ventilator numbers are as flat as they ever were. Put more simply, our hospitals ICUs are nowhere near capacity and they never will be.

 

If you add up these facts – and they are facts – for all intents and purposes, the pandemic is over and we need to get back to living our lives. And if you’ve seen the Geneva Commons on any recent Saturday, I’m not nearly the only one who’s come to that conclusion.

I’ll happily wear my Mandalorian mask at Meijer if for no other reason than my adoring throng won’t be able to recognize me. But beyond that, we don’t need progressives or politicians to tell us what’s best for the rest for us. I’ve gotten along for 62 long years without those bleeps, so they may as well save their intercessions for themselves.

Like many other Americans, that taking care of myself process will not include any rushed vaccine, particularly when you consider the deleterious effects of previous inoculations which ultimately led to some rather serious long-term effects. Bring on herd immunity! It’s the only thing that’s ever ended a pandemic and it’s the only thing that will end this one.

The First Ward Report – You’re gonna get Trump reelected progressives – Part 2!

Since song lyrics were good enough for part one, let’s give it another shot!

I got God on my side
And I’m just trying to survive
What if what you do to survive
Kills the things you love
Fear’s a powerful thing, baby
It can turn your heart black you can trust
It’ll take your God filled soul
And fill it with devils and dust

Bruce does have a way with words, doesn’t he?

And sure enough! Just as we predicted in part one, the Daily Herald with their “We love to make matters worse” motto backed Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain into that Luau Coffee corner by forcing him to declare that his office would, indeed, enforce the Governor’s COVID-19 restrictions.

If you’re one of the ten people that still subscribe to that worthless rag, please cancel today.

Of course, my astute readers already know that, rather than slap ‘em with a $2,500 fine, the Sheriff will work with any “errant” business to ensure they’re minimally compliant with those absurd edicts.

But as bad as our calculating conservative compatriots can be, in this current COVID case, they pale in comparison to those progressive nanny-staters who always seem to know what’s best for the rest of us. And if those pandemic panic porn pandering progressives insist on further wielding their coronavirus club, particularly in the realm of school closures, they will hand Agent Orange a second term on a silver platter.

I’ll say it again! The science clearly contravenes this remote learning fad, and in fact, it doesn’t support shutdowns of any kind and the public is catching on!

Please refer to my column on Aurora University which outlined exactly how students and their professors are FAR more likely to die in accidents, or from preventable heart disease and cancer, than they are from COVID-19.

And shortly after that piece, the CDC proclaimed that a comorbidity factor contributed to 94 percent of U.S. coronavirus deaths. That means just 9,210 Americans, perished solely from the virus and the Illinois Department of Health says 86.4 percent of them were over 60.

If you need further evidence, the National Center for Biology Information recently declared that “People <65 years old have very small risks of COVID-19 death even in pandemic epicenters, and deaths for people <65 years without underlying predisposing conditions are remarkably uncommon.”

But because progressives insist upon persistently screeching “all schools must close” without any consideration for the developmental damage they’re inflicting on now-isolated children and the extra burden they’re thrusting upon parents, the 2020 tide is turning towards Republican candidates.

And the poll data I’m privy to proves it!

So what if a U of I or grade school student catches it? They’ll be asymptomatic and there’s no reason for their masked teachers – who won’t die from the disease, either – to get within 6 feet of them. If you’re still paranoid, add classroom fans to swiftly disperse any aerosols.

In this amazing Tribune piece, Notre Dame history professor Patrick Griffin put it perfectly when he said, “At Notre Dame, we see that life entails risks.” Exactly! And if you really want to spread the plague, send spiking college kids home to spread it to everyone else.

But sadly, this ain’t nearly the worst progressive effort. Since facts and history are meaningless in their world, their newest kick is to disparagingly refer to suburban white women as “Karens.”

How did that Guinness Stout commercial go? “Brilliant!”

No post-60s president has prevailed without 45 percent of suburban women, and those coveted voters have been abandoning the President in droves. That’s why Trump is courting them with his new law and order central campaign theme. But if progressives insist on alienating those necessary voters with demeaning epithets, Trump could easily turn the polling tables.

We’ve all seen the video of those all-white BLM protesters surrounding a cowering white woman trying to eat at a Washington D.C. sidewalk café as they vociferously insist she raise her fist in “solidarity” with their cause. Who do you think that woman is gonna vote for now?

Throw in a healthy dose of pointlessly violent protests and Trump just might pull victory from the jaws of defeat. Don’t even get me started on the worthless Cancel Culture.

This was the point at which I was going to ask progressive to grow up and back off, but then I suddenly realized they actually want Trump to win. Without him, they’re nothing! Without a foil to rail against, those extreme left loons have virtually no voice and even less power. Their self-righteous proclamations, woke pronouncements, and pandemic proclamations would simply fall on deaf ears.

Since they’ve never had more political power than they do now, they love Trump’s existence, and they’re dead set on getting him reelected.

So, please let me reassure my fellow suburban voters that the sane liberals like myself far outnumber those foaming-at-the-mouth progressives. We believe in being inclusive. We understand that some Americans need a leg up, but their success or failure is ultimately up to them. We want our schools to succeed, but we also know that money doesn’t solve every problem. We don’t mind paying taxes, but we do mind the government persistently reaching into our pocket.

We believe everyone has a right to pursue their happiness, but that right ends at the tip of the next person’s nose. We’ve been fighting for an end to discrimination, but we know destroying property makes it worse and not better. We’re not coming for your guns, but no one needs an assault rifle, either.

We believe in the American dream, but we might take a different route to get there.

When you cast your ballot in November, please consider those words and not the insipid howling of a fringe political group who will inevitably fade just as quickly as Donald Trump will.

The First Ward Report – You’re gonna get Trump reelected progressives!

Since I haven’t prefaced a column with song lyrics in quite some time, at least for today, let’s revive that old opinion column tradition. Though in this case, I’m only gonna apply the applicable passages:

There’s somethin’ happenin’ here
But what it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
A-tellin’ me I got to beware

There’s battle lines being drawn
And nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speakin’ their minds
A-gettin’ so much resistance from behind

What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singin’ songs and a-carryin’ signs
Mostly say “Hooray for our side”

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line
The man come and take you away

Had you told me that Buffalo Springfield song would be more relevant now than when I first heard it back in 1967, I would’ve encouraged your significant other to lock up the liquor cabinet. So much for the evolution of the species because here we are!

In all my 62 years on this planet, I’ve never lived through a time where polarization reigns so supreme and facts matter less, and that includes “enjoying” a front row seat to those 1968 festivities.

But before we continue, given some recent social media commentary, let’s review some basic journalistic standards that some folks somehow completely fail to grasp. My regular readers – the ones who read newspapers back when they were newspapers – know that:

  • I will not name a source simply because you believe you’re entitled to it.
  • I may allude to insider information to make a point, but I will not share my hard-earned professional work here simply because you think I should!
  • I am neither a Trump supporter nor a progressive.
  • Despite being an opinion columnist, I generally deal in facts and evidence, and the fact that you may not believe me is wholly immaterial to the “conversation.”

With that out of the way, let’s finally get to today’s point and that point is I’m so perturbed with both ends of the political spectrum that I want to bang my head against a brick wall for at least an hour just to make the pain stop!

And that’s particularly true of the preposterous preponderance of bi-partisan pandemic pandering that’s turned a demonstrably minor disease into a force majeure. And neither “side,” to quote the great Harry Chapin, has done anything “to make the folks write home!”

In fact, it’s just the opposite!

On the right, we have Campton Hills’ own Luau Coffee making the papers by publicly declaring their establishment to be a “mask free zone.” (Deep sigh, followed by another one!) What those fine folks fail to understand is, unless a business forces their hand, the Kane County powers-that-be have no intention of applying the Governor’s unconstitutional dictatorial edicts.

And I know this because I’ve made a point of knowing this, so don’t ask me how I know this!

But when a business so boldly flaunts the purported public policy it forces those powers’ hands. Now they have to take enforcement steps or they that progressive rage and all the bad press that goes along with that if they don’t.

That’s exactly what’s happening with Luau Coffee as we speak.

The problem is, when the Sheriff’s Office and Health Department are left with no choice but to publicly intervene, it emboldens the rest of those nanny-state busybodies who will increase their efforts to self-righteously seek out and report any perceived entrepreneurial COVID-19 slight.

And most businesses can’t afford a hefty fine or another closure right now.

Trust me! I understand the absurdity of the Governor’s seemingly random edicts. I also understand the irony of watching a plethora of our pandemic compatriots wearing those utterly ineffective neck gaiter, bandana, and thin cotton masks. But when wearing a mask to Meijer is such a small sacrifice, and the potential economic consequence of not wearing one is so dire, then that’s the time to go with the flow.

As Mr. Spock so eloquently put it, there are times when “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Put more simply, if the enforcers have no intention of enforcing unreasonable decrees, don’t force them to enforce them by making the enforcers look bad in the press.

That means my eminently simple advice to Luau Coffee would be to issue a public proclamation apologizing for their recent coronavirus recalcitrance as they also assert they’ll be benevolent business neighbors going forward.

Then, after that, if they choose not to enforce the mask edict, it’s between them and their customers. Local papers are so decimated these days that those editors wouldn’t even consider “wasting” a reporter on a “story” about how some customers at a coffee shop weren’t wearing masks. But if you put a large sign in your front window clearly demonstrating your rebellious intent, they will!

And those utterly unnecessary news stories make it that much more difficult for those Kane County small business who are hanging on by the skin of their teeth.

It’s a pretty simple concept, so get with it!

But as bad as the right can be, at least for now, the left is so much worse. On Friday, we’ll discuss how, if progressives continue to persist in their pandering pandemic panic porn endeavors, they’ll be responsible for getting President Trump reelected.

The First Ward Report – It’s time to elect a new Mayor, Aurora

Some folks long for fame, fortune and glory, but not me. My fondest wish is my capacity to get candidates elected will someday translate into actually being happy with those candidates once they are elected.

It ain’t all bad! Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain is doing a great job and Rich Marks is the only Geneva Alderman who has the nerve to do the right thing. But Elgin City Councilman Corey Dixon has been a pointless pandering nightmare and Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin is a disappointment of epic proportion.

And I don’t care whether you call it ego or skill, but I’m the one responsible for putting Irvin in that position. While his “campaign manager” was off vacationing in Vegas during that all-important sprint to the finish, I convinced Richard to seriously shift his message and shut up long enough to let Linda Chapa LaVia talk her way out of the primary race.

Were it not for those professional intercessions, Rick Guzman would be the Mayor of Aurora right now.

It’s not that erudite folks didn’t warn me about him – they did. But Richard tells a great story and he has a remarkable capacity to look you squarely in the eye while making the kind of a “heartfelt” promise he has absolutely no intention of keeping. My preeminent disappointment with him is I thought I got a conservative mayor elected – at least that’s what he claimed to be during his campaign. But he’s not even close as primarily evidenced by his vast predilection for COVID-19 shutdowns.

You see, everything’s always all about Richard, and since he contracted a particularly nasty case of the coronavirus, he’s publicly proclaimed his full support for even future economically disastrous closures despite the lack of any science supporting them.

Yes! I also know the Mayor’s power is far more limited than most people think, but the “leader” always sets the political tone and the office wields an inordinate amount of influence within and well beyond the City of Light. But instead of making the case for in-person learning for Aurora students, the Mayor ignored all the inevitable developmental damage and didn’t do a damn thing.

I’m not saying he could’ve necessarily prevented that possibility, but we’ll never know now, will we? The truth is Mayor Irvin doesn’t do much of anything.

When I explained exactly how Aurora’s Family Counseling Service regularly rips off minorities, considering the issue, I thought the Mayor would at least have someone look into it. But no! He was far too busy hiring former girlfriends to six-figure city hall gigs to deal with it.

Here’s how the scam works. The court orders an anger management or domestic violence class evaluation at Family Counseling Service, but through a phony intake process and regardless of a judge’s specific recommendation, FCS forces every last one of those mostly minority defendants directly into their four-figure 26-week course. (We’ll be covering that story in greater detail soon.)

Two of my former managing editors know this, former Kane County prosecutors know this, and even some 16th Circuit Judges know it, too, but Richard just couldn’t be bothered with it.

Then there’s the City of Aurora’s inexplicably horrific response to the recent downtown looting. Despite stellar State Police, Sheriff’s, and APD intel laying out exactly what was going to happen, instead of ramping up the law enforcement presence and heading off the known agitators as Batavia did, Irvin did nothing but sit back and watch downtown businesses burn.

Correction! Irvin did pay lip service to it the following day.

But the Irvin issue that should truly frost your cookies is his propensity to put former girlfriends in cushy City jobs. That list amounts to four with one making $132,000 a year in an utterly unnecessary position created just for her.

Had I known that sleeping with Richard could land me that kind of gig, I might have given it a shot.

It gets better, too! In what has to be the worst-kept “secret” in Kane County, Irvin had twins with long-term former girlfriend and attorney, Brittany Pedersen. To be fair, Richard is a part of their lives and he pays a reasonable amount of non-court ordered child support. But guess who’s paying at least a portion of that trios’ insurance bill?

That’s right! They’re insured through the City which puts the fine citizens of Aurora squarely on the hook. To be clear, Richard’s love life is none of my or anyone else’s business until and unless he starts using taxpayer money to placate his ever-growing harem.

Now Irvin’s promoting and helping Pedersen run for Kane County judge when her comportment and general track record clearly indicate she shouldn’t judge a third-grade science fair. We need more judges like her opponent, Elizabeth Flood, not fewer of them.

This would typically be the point at which I’d encourage you to vote for Irvin’s 2021 opponent, Alderman Judd Lofchie, but I can’t because Lofchie’s interminable ego and legend-in-his-own-mind status makes Donald Trump look like a rank amateur. That said, one of Richard’s biggest flaws is consistently misjudging his level of voter and political support. So, if I had to make a prediction, given Lofchie’s work ethic and Irvin’s lack of one, Aurora will have a new Mayor next year.

And I certainly won’t be shedding a tear over his loss. I promise I’ll get better at choosing candidates.

The First Ward Report – Aurora University’s bait and switch – Part 2

If you require the previous pieces to this story, may I humbly suggest you resort to Wednesday’s part one. With that caveat issued, let’s move on!

The next in a long line of issues I have with Aurora University is, not only did they completely fail to warn parents and students about the move to fully remote learning, they’ve made no attempt to support their sudden switch with any form logic or evidence.

Despite all the nanny-state progressives’ (I’m a classic Evanston liberal) howling about the risks of returning to the classroom, the FACTS tell us something completely different. And if you take the time to review the Illinois Department of Public Health website, you’ll see exactly what I mean.

As of this morning, 38 Illinoisans age 1 to 29 have perished from COVID-19. And while every death diminishes us, also according to the IDPH, in 2018 1,525 Illinois 1 to 24-year-olds died in accidents, 366 were murdered, 201 took their own lives, and 91 died of cancer.

Considering that leading cause of young deaths, why haven’t we banned cars or shut down the roads?

Moving on to professor age (30 to 69) Illinois individuals, 2,479 have succumbed to the coronavirus, and according to the Kane County Health Department, 90 percent of them had a “co-morbidity” factor, or a serious underlying medical condition that played a major role in their demise.

Meanwhile, for Illinoisans aged 25 to 64 in 2018, 7,125 perished from an eminently preventable  form of heart disease, 6,512 died of cancer – 45 percent of which were preventable (Cancer.org), 3,618 were killed in accidents, 1,059 committed suicide, and 619 became homicide victims.

The very definition of life is risk management, and until pandemic panic porn became this politicized, that’s a reality we generally accepted. The truth is, according to a study by the National Center for Biology Information, “People <65 years old have very small risks of COVID-19 death even in pandemic epicenters and deaths for people <65 years without underlying predisposing conditions are remarkably uncommon.”

Put more simply, there’s absolutely no evidence that supports Aurora University’s bait and switch money grab.

As a brief aside, in my capacity as a campaign manager, I’m privy to polls most folks aren’t, and with the possible exception of the presidency, these heavy-handed progressive efforts have eliminated any November “Blue Wave.” And if the nanny staters persist in this remote learning and shutdown bovine manure, they will get Donald Trump reelected because parents neither have the time nor inclination to become teacher’s aides.

Illinois pays some of the highest property taxes in the country so our schools can do their jobs. And the fact we suddenly have to take on that task is a clear indication that, for the vast majority of students, remote learning doesn’t work.

A couple of readers duly noted that online classes worked for their sons, but they chose that route because their children were predisposed to that method. My family didn’t choose remote learning and in spite of a Herculean effort, I’ve watched D131 struggle with every last aspect of that process from consistent connection issues right on up to getting students to actually log in.

Worse yet, cable systems and their collective bandwidth model are bogging down under the strain because they were never meant to handle all that simultaneous streaming.

Even if remote learning worked, we send our children to school, in great part, because of the critical social development classroom aspect. So, in an effort to “save” them, progressives are permanently damaging our sons and daughters, instead.

The “cure” has clearly become so much worse than the “disease.”

When you consider the FACTS, given my pro se courtroom track record, if I had standing, Aurora University would already be on the receiving end of a slam dunk fraud and breach of contract lawsuit.

But my son, who’s not nearly equipped to handle the legal process, is over 18 which counts me out. My fondest wish, however, is that enough aggrieved AU students and parents do see fit to file the class action lawsuit that forces AU to reopen their classrooms or forces tuition discounts. And I’d be more than happy to provide what ever support I can in that regard.

I know some really good attorneys, too!

Lastly, maybe I’m just a bit slow, but someday I might finally understand that arguing with a blatant narcissist like AU President Rebecca Sherrick is patently pointless. I would expect better email responses from a sugar-addled toddler throwing an epic tantrum because they didn’t get their afternoon nap.

It never fails to amaze me how narcissists consistently manage to wrangle their way to the top education and local government positions. We’ll get to Ms. Sherrick her and those fascinating emails in an upcoming column.

To sum it up, paying full tuition for poorly conceived remote classes sucks, but we’re stuck with it. The most difficult part of this AU bait and switch for this journalist is my general capacity to create social and political change is severely limited here. My only solace is we weren’t duped into paying that six-plus grand in dorm and meal fees (just one semester) only to have our son sit solo in a tiny room and watch his classes on a small laptop screen.

A good friend told me to tape a large copy of the Serenity Prayer to my home-office desk, and even though he’s right, the thought of having to regularly recite it makes me want to beat the crap out of someone. And I’m thinkin’ that kind of thinking tends to undermine that passage’s underlying intent.

The bottom line? Given a karmic replay, I wouldn’t send my child to Aurora University if they paid me for the privilege!

 

On Monday, how Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, a man I got elected, has been more than disappointing in this and so many other regards!

The First Ward Report – Aurora University’s bait and switch!

For purposes of full disclosure, our eldest son currently attends Aurora University and our decision to send him there is one I deeply regret. In an effort to get parents to show them the money, like a slew of savvy used car salesmen, they’ll tell you whatever they think you want to hear, including, but not nearly limited to promising student services they’ve never provided.

And my son enrolled there based on those assurances, but then after one bad sophomore semester, those commitments evaporated faster than Agent Orange’s vaunted health care plan.

Furthermore, as much as I like to think I set my own issues aside whenever I take to the keyboard, were I you, Dear Reader, I’d take this particular prose with a reasonable grain of salt. I truly believe the facts fully support me, but to say I’m unhappy with the University would be the most mildest of understatements.

Then there’s the not-so-subtle appearance of fighting my personal battles in print, something I have not and will not do here.

You see, my son has less than a year of college left, so I’ve resigned myself to realities that clearly won’t change. Even if AU provided students and parents with any manner of timely warning, a senior year transfer is a proposition perpetually fraught with peril.

Put more simply, sometimes you find yourself in a position where your only choice is to bend over and take it. Ah! But there are plenty of AU parents and students who can avail themselves of the options my family cannot. This is for them.

This sad bait and switch story starts with AU President Rebecca Sherrick sending regular summer emails to parents and students in which every last one of ‘em gloriously described the development of an ostensibly reasonable hybrid teaching plan. They sounded so good they actually had me rethinking my disdain for that institution.

But, as it turns out, to this very day, AU has never truly declared they’ve moved to fully remote learning.

In President Rebecca Sherrick’s final August 17 summer email she wrote, “Soon undergraduates will hear from faculty members teaching remote fall semester classes…” Yes! Students will hear from those professors who opted for remote teaching.” There’s certainly no cause to believe anything had changed.

And when I privately called her out for this intentional obfuscation, not only did she claim her intentions were abundantly clear, but that their webpage was ever clearer. But it isn’t! Today, it still stipulates that, “In late July, Aurora University announced revised plans for the 2020 fall semester that include class instruction via enhanced remote delivery.”

Oh! And by “enhanced remote delivery” they mean Zoom, which crashed nationwide on the first day of “class.”

Again, any reasonable parent would understand “that include class instruction” to mean as a part of a greater hybrid plan because that’s all that had been previously discussed.

Conversely, when the East Aurora School District announced their shift to remote learning, they sent an email to every parent clearly specifying, “We’re going fully remote until November,” so there was absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind. It’s really not that difficult, is it?

And when we’re talking about a college rife with professional communicators, this deception by omission clearly was intentional. As that great philosopher Judge Judy likes to say, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!”

So, as you might imagine, a scant 24 hours before his first in-person class, while we were working out the family vehicle logistics, my son received two emails from two professors explaining that their classes were now fully remote. To say I was “peeved” would be yet another massive understatement.

C’mon! Everyone within the sound of my voice knows that President Sherrick and AU pulled this last-minute bait and switch money grab because, had they provided ample remote learning warning, those inevitably unhappy parents and students would’ve made other arrangements, and all that tuition money would’ve vanished along with them.

Even if I give Sherrick her errant assertion that we were adequately warned in late July, that’s not nearly enough notice to make other arrangements, and she knows it!

And we know this is a money grab because they’re not shutting down the dorms or their associated cafeterias. In fact, at the very same time they were closing all those classrooms, AU was gleefully ushering incoming students into their residence halls. So, now parents are paying to have their sons and daughters take Zoom classes in a tiny room while they get fed bad college food.

Call me crazy, but couldn’t those same students have done the same thing at home while enjoying better meals without having to take out another student loan to pay the $6,165 in AU dorm and meal fees? Oh! And that’s just for the fall semester, too!

At least we didn’t get suckered into that bovine manure, but my heart certainly goes out to all those families who fell for this slimy tactic.

All those dorm dwellers will religiously practice the best kind of social distancing, too, because that’s what college students are renowned for, right? When I mentioned this prospect to one of my favorite appellate court judges, his eminently keen-perception-of-the-obvious response was, “Social distancing in a dorm is considered to be wearing a condom.”

But the best part is, unlike many other colleges, AU refuses to provide any kind of tuition discount for suddenly offering a vastly diminished university experience. And my updated job description now includes Teacher’s Aide as I’ll be making sure my son isn’t nodding off or playing video games during his “classes.”

On Friday we’ll discuss:

  • How the science and FACTS don’t support classroom closures
  • How remote learning is a complete farce
  • Why students and parents should bring a class action lawsuit against AU
  • Why I somehow still haven’t learned that arguing with a narcissist is pointless

Until then…