Quick Hits – The return of the rabble!

And this time, that Wednesday evening Elgin City Council throng spilled well out into the hallway perhaps marking the largest congregation to which that governing body has ever played host.

Of course, the catalyst for that kind of capacity crowd was yet another effort on the part of a small but vociferous Elgin group intent on seeing Elgin Police Lieutenant Chris Jensen twist in the wind just a little bit more.

I can’t imagine I have to remind anyone that Jensen is currently on administrative leave while Kim Foxx and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office continue their review of the March 2018 I-90 shoulder shooting death of DeCynthia Clements.

Clements Jensen

Ironically, the folks who claim Jensen violated Clements’ civil rights and due process want to “redress” the situation by depriving Jensen of his. It’s a fascinating flight of hypocritical fancy. Regardless of the massive lawsuit that would inevitably ensue, they want Jensen fired now because it would make them feel better.

Isn’t that exactly what we’ve become? A bunch of third-grade whiners who fervently believe that government’s sole purpose is to cater to our every whim and temper tantrum? The fact that the same pastors keep showing up to regularly rend their garments and prove just how unchristian they really are truly frosts my flakes, too.

I guess anyone can claim they’re a “clergyman” these days and any minister who prefaces their name with the term “Trueprophet” clearly is not. But I digress!

This time, the anti-Jensen rabble turned out in uniform consisting of t-shirts emblazoned with the officer’s stylized name surrounded by a circle and slash. C’mon! Couldn’t they be a little more creative? How about a depiction of Jensen with a noose squarely around his neck hanging from the top of the Tower Building?

That’s what y’all really want, right?

When Elgin police union attorney, Tim O’Neil told the council they shouldn’t be issuing public proclamations about Jensen until the remaining investigations were complete. He added that they should avoid “a premature, hasty decision by some government officials who represent the city to judge and condemn Chris Jensen’s distinguished career based on their opinion and conjecture based on a small snippet of video.”

Of course, Councilman Corey Dixon, who never misses an opportunity to resort to pandering, responded, “I’m here to serve my community and I don’t care about your politics.” Councilman! That ain’t politics, it’s actually sage legal advice. And if by “serve my community” you mean:

  • Grandstanding at every possible turn
  • Unnecessarily stoking racial tensions
  • Setting your city up for a massive lawsuit
  • Pandering exclusively to Elgin’s 9 percent black community
  • And looking well past the council for your next political gig

Then we agree!

The only solace is Dixon is well on his way to becoming a one-term councilman.

But on a night when hypocrisy was in full bloom, councilwoman Tish Powell remained the reigning queen of the blatant double standard. When she was publicly confronted with her attempt to bring the NAACP and Cities United in to make matters much worse, she said the NAACP contacted her and Cities United helps communities deal with police-involved shootings.

“My role as an elected official does not mean blind allegiance,” Powell said, “It means critical accountability.”

First, Powell hasn’t had a critical thought in her entire political career. And second, shouldn’t that “accountability” come with the advice and consent of the entire city council and not just one member unilaterally attempting to capitalize on a truly sad situation?

Ms. Powell! If you want to freelance like that, perhaps the city council isn’t for you.  Might I suggest a community activist role instead.

A number of sources also told me that Powell, Dixon and disgraced former U-46 school member and general race baiter, Traci Ellis, also reached out to the Reverend Jesse Jackson in the hope he’d enter the fray.

That always makes things better, right?

But thankfully, when they considered the evidence, the series of events leading up to Clements’ death, and her troubled history, neither Jackson nor the other groups will touch it with a ten-foot pole.

As a pleasant aside, for the first time since the anti-Jensen folks started showing up, Councilman Terry Gavin didn’t mix it up with them. Perhaps he’s finally given up drinking before city council meetings. Hope doth spring eternal!

But then a funny thing happened on the way to that Wednesday night forum. Dressed in t-shirts of their own, the number of Jensen supporters easily equaled those of his detractors. That included a slew of EPD officers who simply sat there silently.

Tiring of that lynch mob’s bombast, for the first time, citizens spoke out on behalf of Lt. Jensen and due process. So, not only are Powell’s, Dixon’s and Ellis’s massive effort to turn Elgin into another Ferguson, Missouri failing, but they’re finally backfiring.

So, I want to, once again, compliment my beloved Elginians not only for their capacity to see though this smoke screen, but for having the courage to speak out against it.

Might I also remind you that Councilman Powell is up for reelection on April 2nd. That’s when you can let her know exactly what you think of her self-aggrandizing antics.

Quick Hits – February 13, 2019

The GEA is still quite tone deaf!

I certainly understood the late, great philosopher Tom Petty when he mused, “Listen, it don’t really matter to me, you believe what you want to believe,” but that doesn’t mean the capacity to reject reality and substitute your own in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary ever ceases to amaze me.

It’s in that very vein that Donald Trump ain’t got nuthin’ on the Geneva Education Association’s peculiar propensity to engage in almost mythical flights of fancy.


Still somehow believing those Geneva Township voters are 100 percent behind them, despite the radioactive fallout from a more than contentious strike, the D304 teachers’ union proudly announced its school board endorsements on Monday.

And it’s gonna be the electoral kiss of death for:

  • Alicia Saxton
  • Katherine Frye, and
  • Robert Cabeen

Because the only way this trio got the nod is by convincing the GEA that the 5 percent annual raises our teachers recently received weren’t nearly enough. These are the candidates who clearly want to raise our already beyond absurd property taxes even more.

And that’s especially frightening when you consider how vastly pro-union some of the other hopefuls are!

Though it won’t make much difference to the rabble, before you go after me again, please remember that my wife is a D131 middle school teacher who, like most educators, deserves far more than she gets. And that sentiment certainly doesn’t put me in any sort of anti-teacher camp.

But by embracing my keen perception of the obvious, I know that’s not going to happen until Illinois decouples education funding from property taxes. The Collar Counties are already paying some of the highest tax bills in the country and we’re simply tapped out.

And now is exactly the time to make that decoupling a reality, too! Illinois has a new progressive Democratic Governor who enjoys the kind of Springfield supermajorities that mean all sorts of interesting things can happen.

The problem is, the union can’t be bothered with addressing the real issue. Instead of working to fix this broken system once and for all, the GEA and the teachers’ immense sense of entitlement demands that they keep coming back to us for more money, and in a fit of pique, punish those scurrilous sitting school board members by attempting to get more teacher-sympathetic candidates elected.

As I’ve suspected all along, it isn’t all about the children and so what if senior citizens are taxed out of their homes?

The irony is, if the GEA collectively had half a brain, they would’ve seen the voter handwriting on the chalkboard and endorsed the three candidates they DO NOT want to see elected. That would’ve been a stroke of political genius.

Meanwhile, were I one of the six who did not receive the GEA’s blessing, you better believe I’d put “Proudly NOT endorsed by the GEA” on every piece of campaign literature going forward.


I thought the flirty napkins were fun!

Though that, once again, puts me smack dab in the middle of yet another minority who actually happen to have a sense of humor.

In a effort to make a bleepin’ miserable experience a little less miserable, Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola got together to print the napkin depicted in the photo below:

Flirty Napkins

Call me crazy, but I thought encouraging folks to pass their phone number along to their “plane crush” was the kind of lighthearted fun that would make us all smile just a little bit more. And that’s especially true when you consider that I’d rather enjoy a week’s worth of colonoscopies than ever darken an airport door or a 727 cabin again.

But no! Those delicate flowers who always know what’s best for the rest of us just have to rip the still-beating heart out of any potential joy we might encounter.

One particularly aggrieved female Tweeter said the napkins were “creepy and unwelcome,” while another declared, “Pretty sure no one appreciated unsolicited phone numbers in the ‘good old days’ and they sure as heck don’t want the number of someone who has been gawking at them on a plane for hours today.”

Somebody’s pretty damn sure of themselves, aren’t they?

The last thing I want to do while flying is “gawk!” My plan is to close my eyes, put on some Modest Mouse, and do my best to completely ignore the fact that we’re hurtling through the always bumpy upper reaches of the atmosphere at 600 mph as those surly sky waitresses overserve my inflight compatriots while we put our fate in the hands of an unseen pilot who hopefully wasn’t served with divorce papers that morning and won’t get food poisoning midway through the flight.

So what if someone provides you with their phone number in any venue short of a convent? If the flirtation begins and ends there, it’s not a #MeToo moment. “Unwanted advances” can only occur when someone won’t take “no” for an answer.

Thankfully, after Coke and Delta pulled the napkins as a result of that bizarre backlash, some fliers proved that, just like an American Express card, you should never leave home without your sense of humor. Here are some of their similarly humorous Tweets:

The napkins are fine. I’m 57 years old and don’t understand why your perfectly appropriate attempt to get people to actually interact with each other outside of their phones is viewed by #snowflakes as #creepynapkins Explaining is great but please don’t apologize.

Then a young woman said this:

Thanks @CocaCola and @Delta, for encouraging people to TALK to one another, make new friends, or do anything besides stare mindlessly at phones. But don’t you know it’s practically illegal to flirt these days? Sad world, but nice try & not #creepy

A young man Tweeted this:


And my personal favorite:

I just met you, and this is crazy
But here’s my napkin
So call me maybe!

That one made me laugh out loud!

All I can say is, I’m gonna go right out and buy a couple cases of Vanilla Coke Zero at Meijer, and the next time I fly, it’s gonna be on Delta.


Quick Hits – “Toughness tempered with mercy?” Yeah right!

That was Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon’s previous campaign slogan.

When I broached this topic with my favorite former managing editor, he replied, “The sad thing is, this is one of those stories people really should care about, but they won’t until it finally happens to them.”

He’s right!

The average voter doesn’t give a flying bleep about a State’s Attorney’s office that can’t spell the word “justice” much less administer it. They’d much rather count themselves among the cacophonous crowd who insist on running with the faux social media outrage du jour.

Apparently, that’s much more fun. But since the prospect of spitting into the wind has never deterred me before, let’s move forward.

Despite the too-obvious fact that Shadwick King’s murder trial was a complete sham foisted upon the public by now-retired Kane County Judge James “Hang ‘em High” Hallock, McMahon and the KCSAO are heading to the Illinois Supreme Court in an attempt to get King’s successful appeal reversed.

Shadwick King

Shadwick King

For the uninitiated, The First Ward covered that successful appeal at length.

To fill in the general background blanks, King, then 47, was convicted of strangling his 32-year-old wife Kathleen in July of 2015. The prosecution contended he strangled her in a “jealous rage” in July of 2014 after discovering cell phone evidence of an emotional affair with a much younger man. A jury convicted King, and Hallock sentenced him to 30 years.

Fast forward to August of 2018, and that Second District Appellate Court panel, consisting of Judges Kathryn Zenoff, Ann Jorgensen, and Mary Schostok, came down on Hallock like the proverbial wrath of God – or at least like Donald Trump on a recalcitrant Democrat.

In what might be the strongest unanimous reversal I’ve ever read, they declared:

1. That Hallock permitted FBI profiler Mark Safarik to testify on “facts” well beyond his expertise. The ruling stated that “Safarik – no matter how many crime scenes he had attended as a police officer, how much study he had done on violent crime scenes as an FBI profiler, or how many courses he had attended – was not qualified by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education to opine on the cause and manner of Kathleen’s death.

2. That allowing Kathleen’s family to testify they were “upset” by her death, was beyond the legal pale. The appeals court correctly ruled that testimony had no probative value and was “introduced solely for its emotional impact.”

3. That Hallock was completely off base when he did nothing to prevent prosecutors from telling the jury they could have “questions” about the evidence, and still convict. In other words, they could redefine reasonable doubt! The panel called it “an improper attempt to define and dilute the state’s burden of proof,” succinctly adding, “Nothing close to it is permitted on retrial.”

4. That consistently looking the other way while the prosecution admitted new evidence during the trial rebuttal phase was a blatant disregard for due process that prevented the defense from offering their own rebuttal to those new facts.

Put more simply, Zenoff, Jorgensen, and Schostok tore Hallock a new one for playing second prosecutor. It’s the stuff of a defendant’s worst nightmare. I’m convinced the ignominy of that appellate rebuke played a major role in Hallock’s decision to retire.

Remember! The appeal question isn’t whether King is guilty or innocent, it’s whether he got a fair trial. Since he clearly did not, that means he – or any similarly railroaded defendant – gets a new one.

Make no mistake, McMahon and the KCSAO share a great deal of that ridiculous reversal responsibility. Instead of heading over to Old Town Tavern and drinking to their massive judicial good fortune, those prosecutors should’ve gone to the Chief Judge, or minimally, stayed within the bounds of what they damned well knew to be the law.

It begs the question, are they after justice or just more convictions?

McMahon knew that ill-gotten guilty verdict would be at risk, especially with the eminently capable Public Defender Kelli Childress at the defense table. But because the KCSAO didn’t do the right thing, now there will be a new trial with another round of  expensive expert testimony all underwritten by – yes – the hapless Kane County taxpayer.

As my favorite TV Judge Marilyn Milian likes to say, “Just because you can take advantage of a situation doesn’t mean you should!” Lady Justice may be blind, but she’s not stupid. There’s something to be said for understanding the law they swore to uphold also applies to prosecutors, too.

And just when you thought the KCSAO couldn’t get any worse, they do! Despite those vast defects in the King trial, they’ve managed to get the Illinois Supreme Court to review the Second Appellate District’s ruling.

So, a potentially innocent man continues to languish in jail because McMahon would rather go to the wall in the pursuit of a bad conviction than serve justice by preparing for a retrial. So much for the “good guys” always doing the right thing.

Trust me, the Illinois Supreme Court will not reverse the Second District and King will get his new trial. The due process violations are simply too egregious, as is the behavior of the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office.

Not that I’m surprised by either.


Quick Hits – February 8, 2019

Don Quixote ain’t got nuthin’ on these guys!

As The First Ward recently reported, Illinois 25th District State Senator Jim Oberweis and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham, suddenly seem to be harboring Congressional aspirations – again!

Some people never learn, do they?

And now we have a new name to add to the 14th District mix – none other than my former radio show co-host, friend, and one of the least effective state reps in Springfield – Allen Skillicorn.

It’s not that Allen lacks talent, it’s that conservative Republican ideologues don’t get very far in Springfield these days and he’s shown no political capacity to start with where you are. And Allen? Backing Jeanne Ives? Yikes!


Allen Skillicorn

So, since we’re here, let’s review our terrible trio’s electoral chances.

Their first problem is the 2020 general election will bear witness to the kind of Republican bloodbath that’ll make 2016 look like the GOP glory days. Considering Trump’s ever-increasing intractability and the ongoing Mueller investigation, the President will go down at the hands of the kind of Mondale-ian landslide that will take the Senate right along with him.

But even if Cunningham could match Congressman Bill Foster’s campaign acumen, and even if that 2020 Blue Wave doesn’t materialize, the 11th District has forever fallen into the Democratic camp never to turn red again.

Is the fact that Jack took his campaign truck out of mothballs enough to say he’s running? Not necessarily. He loves to keep people guessing. But having worked for the man, I know his singular regret is having never mounted a successful Congressional campaign.

And that’s Jim Oberweis’ biggest disappointment, too, but unlike Cunningham, I firmly believe he’s gonna give that halcyon 14th seat another shot.

But it will be to no avail because, even though that district remains predominantly Republican, he’s run for statewide office too many times, and regardless of what personal resources might be brought to bear, no old white man will beat Lauren Underwood in 2020.

She will be vulnerable in 2022 after the Dems take control and screw it all up again, but even if Jim stays in the game till then, I don’t see him coming out of that primary with a win.

On to Mr. Skillicorn who has less of a shot than our dynamic duo does. At least Cunningham and Oberweis can semi-finance their own campaigns. But word on the street is, fed up with a long litany of losses, Dick Uihilein is done being Dan Proft’s sugar daddy and the eminently conservative Liberty Principle PAC, which has supported Skillicorn’s state rep runs, won’t be able to fund him going forward. Not that he’d do any better against Underwood than Oberweis would, but without that PAC cash, his Congressional campaign is dead in the water.

As an aside, I fervently hope Proft’s sudden lack of financing dooms his abhorrent fake print and Internet newspapers, but I digress.

This would normally be the point at which I’d issue a public proclamation pleading with my three amigos to see the electoral light and stop wasting their and our time. But that entreaty would be just as futile as executing the boiling water challenge directly into today’s screaming west wind.

Ah well! At least an Oberweis/Skillicorn primary will be more than entertaining!


And speaking of the boiling water challenge…

As a result of attempting the challenge during our piquant polar vortex, eight separate Chicagoans resorted to the Loyola University Medical Center with burns of varying degrees. Apparently, our budding amateur scientists didn’t understand the difference between standing “up” or “downwind.”

For the uninitiated, the “boiling water challenge” is an endeavor by which with the experimenter hurls a cup of highly heated water into subzero air only to watch it immediately vaporize. My wife and I gave it a shot on a minus 27-degree morning and it turned out to be quite fascinating.

boiling water challenge video

We may have emerged unscathed, but other folks weren’t so lucky – or perhaps, smart. You see, the medical problems started when they hurled the cup of water into, instead of with the wind. Then all that steam blew right back on them, or on an unfortunate observer, and as we all know, vaporized water sits somewhere north of 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, here’s my theory. If you can’t figure out that throwing boiling water into the wind is a really bad idea, then all the local hospitals and immediate care facilities should be allowed to refuse treatment based the principles that you shouldn’t be permitted to single-handedly spike our insurance rates and that you’re too stupid to live.

Perhaps if you have to endure the pain of untreated third degree burns for a few weeks, you won’t do it again. That’s the only way some people will learn.

Please explain again how Homo Sapiens are the pinnacle of evolution?

Quick Hits – Those are exactly Joe Ricketts’ values!

Just when my Caucasian brethren and sisteren were finally recovering from racist hazards like calling the cops on black people for:

  • Barbecuing
  • Babysitting white children
  • Accidentally brushing a woman with a backpack
  • Going to a public pool
  • Sitting a seat away while flying
  • Napping in a dorm lounge
  • Shopping
  • Leaving an Airbnb
  • Taking a college tour
  • Golfing
  • Sitting in Starbucks

Cubs owner Joe Ricketts just had to go and set white folks back at least eight decades. And he did a real bang up job of it, too! How many people have the capacity to single-handedly take the heat off Virginia Governor Ralph Northam?

The Splinter website somehow managed to get ahold of a slew of the billionaire Ricketts’ 2009 to 2013 email musings that basically referred to Islam a “cult,” denounced then President Obama in some new and fascinating ways, and promoted the kind of conspiracy theories that make Facebook and your wacky next door neighbor seem sane by comparison.

Let’s not forget those hilarious racist jokes, either.

Joe Ricketts

The highlights of those missives include, but aren’t nearly limited to:

  • Declaring “We cannot ever let Islam become a large part of our society.”
  • Calling racist jokes blatantly employing the N-word a “great laugh”
  • Declaring “I [sic] tired of Political Correct, Multicultural and Diversity aspects of our culture.”
  • Claiming President Obama was “really a Saudi/Muslim ‘plant’ in the White House.”

And my personal favorite:

  • Before he changed his last name to “Obama” in an effort to defraud the IRS, the former President worked as a gay prostitute and a heroin drug mule.

As you might imagine, the elder Ricketts offered the typical half-hearted mea culpa:

I deeply regret and apologize for some of the exchanges I had in my emails. Sometimes I received emails that I should have condemned. Other times I’ve said things that don’t reflect my value system. I strongly believe that bigoted ideas are wrong.

Right! The only thing Ricketts “regrets” is getting caught and that correspondence perfectly reflects his “value system.” Had it been just one or two questionable emails over that four-year period, an apology might’ve worked, but there are dozens of them.

Even after Pete Ricketts, the current Nebraska governor, warned his father to verify his “facts” before putting those conspiracy theories forth in 2010, Joe completely ignored that sage advice and continued on his merry narrow-minded way.

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts condemned his father’s bigotry and tried to cover his ass by pointing out that, “My father is not involved with the operation of the Chicago Cubs in any way.”

Tell us something we don’t already know! Ever since the George Steinbrenner fiasco, MLB owners aren’t allowed to interfere with the day-to-day operations of their teams. But that doesn’t mean Joe Ricketts is any less the face of the franchise.

And the Ricketts’, with the exception of Maureen, unflinching financial and ideological support of Donald Trump makes this problem so much worse.

How many minority free agents – or free agents in general – will sign with the Cubs now? How many players will veto trades to the Cubs because they don’t want to be associated with that kind of intolerance? Will black fans continue to show up at Wrigley Field?

With the long-term health of the Chicago Cub franchise at stake, there’s only one solution.

If the NBA can force former Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell that team after he told his girlfriend not to post Instagram pictures of herself with minorities at home games, then Major League Baseball can do the same damn thing. And the Commissioner has the power to do it, too.

We’ll see if Rob Manfred has the cojones.

The bottom line is, Joe Ricketts’ level of bias makes Sterling look like a rank amateur. He and his family have no place in baseball.


Quick Hits – Do snitches really get stitches?

At a time when it’s generally dying, some enterprising entrepreneur really oughtta revive the reality show genre with ‘The Real City Councilmen of Chicago, Illinois.” Can you imagine the cameras following that captivating “cast” virtually everywhere they go – including those sacrosanct City Hall lavatories? I guarantee it would be a ratings coup along the lines of that last ‘M.A.S.H.’ episode.

Of course, the star would be none other than 50-year alderman Ed Burke, who’s facing federal attempted extortion charges for doing his damndest to shake down a Burger King restaurateur. Please note I didn’t use the word “alleged” because it’s all on tape – the Alderman’s stern denial notwithstanding.

Please also note that, while his former peers and protégés are distancing themselves from him faster than Virginia Democrats can abandon Governor Ralph Northam’s rapidly sinking ship, none but the bravest city councilmen dare speak ill of the master.

Despite the recent damage done to both of them, the abject fear Burke and Illinois Speaker Michael Madigan strike into Illinois Democratic hearts has them continuing to toe the line.

And all reality shows need a generous dose of irony, too, right? Thanks to the once-powerful Chicago 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis, there’s plenty of that literary heavy metal to go around.

Image result for danny solis

You see, prior to Burke, the feds were listening into Solis’ cellphone conversations regarding receiving free sex acts, acquiring free Viagra to engage in those sex acts, free weekend use of an Indiana farm once owned by Oprah, and a slew of campaign contributions to ensure that zoning decisions went the contributors’ way.

At the time, the retiring Solis was Chairman of the influential City Council Zoning Committee.

But my favorite lines from those Solis conversations are, “I want to get a good massage, with a nice ending. Do you know any good places?”

First, I’m appalled that any God-fearing Chicago alderman had to ask that kind of question. Hasn’t he been paying attention? If you want a “nice” ending, simply avail yourself of any massage establishment that:

  1. Bears an Asian name
  2. Perpetually obstructs their windows
  3. Requires clients to be buzzed in
  4. Is open till two in the morning

And second, I would’ve fiercely fought the FBI on that one! My rebuttal would’ve gone something like this:

But my fine federal friends! Please note that I asked for a “nice” and not a “happy” ending. Of course, I know what a “happy” ending is, and I would never sully the Second City’s sterling civic reputation in that egregious manner. Never! A “nice” ending is one in which the fully licensed – and fully clothed – massage therapist gives you a gentle peck on the cheek!

I’m thinking the FBI would’ve bought it too, because no self-respecting Chicago City Councilman would be reckless enough to make that kind of salacious suggestion on a cellphone.

Caught with his pants down, Solis folded like a cheap suit, and even before the search warrants could be served, he turned on Burke like Donald Trump on one of his Intelligence chiefs. In short, he cooperated with the feds for two long years in which he recorded all sorts of conversations with his tall silver-haired compatriot.

And there’s no indication that Burke was the only one he taped, either.

But while Burke has, so far, has circumvented his cronies’ public condemnation, Solis has not nearly been as fortunate. It’s not that they’re aghast at his sexual or financial proclivities. Oh, no! They’re perturbed that he had the precipitancy to turn snitch.

It’s just more reality show gold!

A plurality of his council compatriots indignantly pounded their fists on the table as they declared, “We’re a family! And families don’t do this to each other!” They’ve never watched an episode of ‘Cops,’ have they? And if by “family” they mean the Kardashians, Gosselins, Addams, or my calamitous clan, then they might be onto something.

Sixth Ward Alderman Rod Sawyer said Solis NEVER should’ve have cooperated adding:

You would like to think someone would just take their punishment like they should take their punishment and not try to spread it to other people. It could be entrapment. It could be ensnaring somebody in something they would not normally do.

Apparently, the good alderman hasn’t been paying attention because ratting out your peers to save your own political posterior is as Chicago as the Cubs, the Bean, Buckingham Fountain, and weekend homicides.

Nineteenth Ward Alderman, Matt O’Shea, went a wee bit further! “Where I come from, if you wear a wire someone’s going to kick your ass.” Now, that’s s a statement I would expect from a certain brand of “family,” but it would probably be Italian and not Irish.

O’Shea later apologized, claiming he didn’t realize he was speaking out loud and not simply thinking it. Well…that may be what he meant, but what he actually told the Chicago Tribune was his statement was “An ill-advised and poorly timed attempt at humor.”

I don’t know about you, but considering that infamous ‘Goodfellas’ scene, I’m not gonna be telling the Alderman he’s funny any time soon.

An anonymous councilman said this:

The City Council is so scary right now. Because anytime you have a colleague selling you up the river — if people are trying to set you up, you could say something in passing and it gets taken as the basis for something illegal.”

“Sell you up the river?” Are we talking about a governing body here or an episode of ‘The Sopranos?

No! That’s not the way it works. Simply referring to an illegal act isn’t illegal. It’s when you’ve committed the act and you start talking about it on tape that your problems tend to start. It’s not as if Burke and Solis were beating around the bush – well maybe Solis was, but that’s up to the feds to determine.

Furthermore, while they were bitching about snitching, not a single one of ‘em said, “I haven’t done anything wrong, so I have nothing to worry about!”

Clearly, there’s a whole bunch of City Councilmen doing their damdest to recount every conversation they’ve had with Solis over the past two years. Again! It’s reality show gold! They could even bring in a professional hypnotist.

As for that esteemed body being a little more worried about fair and ethical government and a lot less worried about snitches, let’s harken back to something the late, great Mike Royko wrote in his December 21, 1976 column:

On the other hand, there were financial vices. And if somebody in City Hall saw a chance to make a fast bundle or two, [Richard J.] Daley wasn’t given to preaching. His advice amounted to: ‘Don’t get caught.’

But that’s Chicago, too. The question has never been how you made it, but if you made it. This town was built by great men who demanded that drunkards and harlots be arrested, while charging them rent until the cops arrived.

I don’t know about you, but I’m somewhat heartened that some Chicago traditions never go out of style! Pizza for example!

The late Paddy Bauler notwithstanding, it would behoove our illustrious aldermen to remember something comedian D. L. Hughley once said, “Snitches don’t get stitches, they get immunity from prosecution. Snitches come home for Christmas.”

Danny Solis ain’t under indictment, is he?

Quick Hits – February 1, 2019

There aren’t many thrilling topics to cover today, so I thought I’d catch up on a few minor things.

Small boards should be appointed

Look! I understand why Aurora State Rep Stephanie Kifowit drafted legislation that would convert the Aurora Library Board from an appointed to elected body. Not only is it in line with our representative democracy mien, but it might just help mitigate kerfuffles like the recent row over the potential relocation of the West Library Branch.

Though I have to say it is kind of fascinating to see a local library issue rise to the top. That hasn’t happened in quite a while!


But despite our State Rep’s legislative heart being in the right place, there are a number of problems with her proposal, not the least of which are:

1. Illinois has almost 7,000 governing bodies and even the savviest voter can’t possibly apply the appropriate due diligence to all of them.

2. Because voters don’t pay attention to these low-level races, you tend to get way-out-on-the bell-curve candidates like Elgin’s Randy Hopp. Hopp managed to make it on the Gail Borden Library Board only to be banned from that building for verbally abusing the staff. And he’s running again.

3. These small board consolidated election races don’t draw enough candidates and those electoral positions wind up being appointed anyway.

4. The folks best suited for those non-paying small board seats generally don’t want to have to mount a campaign to do all that work for free. I know we want to avoid these patronage pitfalls, but I’m just fine with water reclamation, park, and library boards being appointed.

5. If these semi-invisible races don’t draw loons, they tend to attract the kind of people you’d find serving on a homeowner’s association board. They’re far more interested in self-aggrandizement and having any modicum of power than in serving the public.

And the bottom line is, when the public pressed the Aurora Library Board not to move that West Branch, that’s exactly what happened – it’s staying put. So, the process still works, and if it ain’t broke, let’s not fix it!


March on my female compatriots!

Conservatives’ reactions to the various January 19 women’s marches never failed to be amusing – especially those of conservative women. It’s almost as if they took it as a direct affront to their gender. And the responses of Geneva women to our Third Street march were particularly intriguing.

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Though the march clearly didn’t diminish them in the least, their proclamation generally ranged from “Don’t they have better things to do,” to “Why do they feel the need to march,” to “How dare they attack our President.”


While most folks can’t be bothered to drive to a polling place in a light drizzle, these 500 or so motivated women braved our worst winter storm to stake their claim to political power. I’m not sure you could call it a protest, but it certainly was a peaceful demonstration with nary a mention of Agent Orange.

And that kind of march speaks directly to the core of our democracy. If you recall, this nation was founded on some not-so-peaceful protests, as well.

What I want to know is, what’s wrong with carrying signs saying, “We march for human rights,” or “Be brave. Speak your truth!” or “We are not afraid!” Those certainly aren’t radical thoughts. I’ve been encouraging folks to get involved in the process for 12.5 long years and it’s kinda cool to watch it happen.

So, lighten up my traditionalist ladies! No one’s forcing you to march, adopt a liberal ideology, or burn your brassieres. It’s all good!


SUI? Please God no!

Before we start, please let me clearly stipulate that I love the Blue Goose grocery store and I love the Lencioni family, too. But when I read they were petitioning the St. Charles City Council to allow customers to indulge in a little wine or beer sipping as they strolled their aisles, I wanted to immediately avail myself of my favorite crawlspace hiding place.

Why, I haven’t been this terrified since Geneva proposed allowing alcohol at city council meetings. Oh wait! The Mayor already does that!

Because if I had to choose between standing buck naked in the middle of Randall Road and Route 38 during rush hour or enduring any grocery store at 1 p.m. on any weekend day while fully clothed, I’d choose the former without hesitation.

Whether it’s Meijer, Jewel, Target, Trader Joe’s, or Aldi, food shopping has become something similar to surviving a military obstacle course.

First you have the female shoppers who stop dead in the middle of the aisle to gab such that, to quote the great Gandalf the Grey, “You shall not pass.” Then there’s the folks who insist upon hitting you from behind with their cart, the ones that just can’t get a plastic bag off the roll, those that leave their cart unattended in the middle of the aisle, the shoppers who insist upon swerving and changing direction like a squirrel on speed, the ones that take two hours to pick the perfect plum, and my personal favorite, the parents who take great delight in foisting five of their ill-mannered and shrieking progeny on the rest of us.

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Now, imagine adding alcohol to that incendiary mix and what could possibly go wrong with that?

Though, come to think of it, applying copious amounts of booze to the out-of-control children who just love to race those mini shopping carts around those tight Batavia Trader Joe’s confines might not be a bad idea. A shot of scotch should calm the little bleeps down!

You never know! Given the Batavia City Council’s generally strange proclivities, they just might go for it.

“You have the opportunity to earn customers’ understanding and respect, and to change how they see the experience of having a meal,” Blue Goose owner Paul Lencioni said. “It’s just looking for an opportunity to show elevated expertise and elevated cultural experiences.”

Personally, I think it will lead to baked goods aisle brawls, but perhaps I’m being a bit too cynical. Specialty grocers like Caputo’s, Mariano’s, and Whole Foods have already embraced this notion and they seem to have no problem with “shopping under the influence.”

So, why not! Perhaps if I get my wife sloshed enough, she’ll finally let me ride in the cart!