Quick Hits – Election 2020 Part 2!

Alright! Now that we’ve covered the Kane County only races, let’s move on to their higher compatriots:

Election 2020 2

14th Congressional

You’d a thunk Republicans would’ve learned something from the utterly overcrowded Democratic presidential field where you have to be particularly nutty just to get noticed. C’mon! Corey Booker thinks Barack Obama wasn’t liberal enough?

But no, because they didn’t learn a damn thing, it would be far more expedient to list the Republicans who aren’t running for this seat than to cover those who are. But let me give it a shot in alphabetical order:

  • Anthony Catella
  • Jerry Evans
  • Ted Gradel
  • Catalina Lauf
  • James Marter
  • Jim Oberweis
  • Sue Rezin

Reader John Lopez encouraged me to determine the merit, or lack thereof, of each of those candidates, but who has that kind of time and why bother when the outcome is inevitable.

Whenever you have a field that large, either the craziest candidate or the candidate with the most name recognition always wins. And in this case, Jim Oberweis is both. His only real challenger is Mr. Marter who clearly couldn’t win an election if he ran unopposed.

So, Jim will trounce that field only to be trounced by incumbent Lauren Underwood who will have that job as long as Donald Trump is President. Word is that Mr. Oberweis thinks this one is in the bag, which has even his closest friends scratching their heads.

But what bothers me is about this race is, I consider Jim to be a friend, and watching him suddenly toeing the Trump line, something he’d never do privately, is more than discouraging. I certainly won’t be voting for him.


6th Congressional

Fresh off her GOP gubernatorial primary loss, a race that was hers to lose, now Jeanne Ives is running for Congress. As Chief O’Hara used to say on the 60s Batman TV show, “Saints preserve us!”

Ives is just another garden variety right-wing loon that already over-permeate that nation’s capital and we certainly don’t need one more.

Though she’s a terrible candidate – she sent a small book as a campaign mailer last time – Ives will beat Gordon Kinzler who has a rather nasty habit of losing elections. But then Ives will be handily dispatched by incumbent Sean Casten.


8th Congressional

Just when I thought it was those 14th District Republicans who were a banana short of a bunch, the Democrats managed to top them! Please tell me why Raja Krishnamoorthi is being primaried, not by one, not by two, but by three separate candidates?

No one’s ever come to me with a negative story about the Congressman, so I can’t imagine why these numbskulls are running. Raj will defeat them without breaking a sweat and he currently has no Republican opponent.


11th Congressional

Bill Foster, a man who makes Sheldon Cooper look normal, will beat primary challenger Rachel Ventura. Foster has too much money and he understands ground game math better than most candidates.


17th Congressional

Again! Why does Cheri Bustos, a politician with an exceptionally bright future, have a Democratic primary opponent? That said, it would be far more expedient for him to throw all that campaign cash directly into the Mississippi River, because there’s no way Spanky Edwards – his real name – is gonna win.

And Bustos will easily dispense with any of her three Republican Challengers.


U.S. Senate

Dick Durbin, my least favorite Illinois politician – and that’s really sayin’ something coming from me – has five Republican and one Independent challengers. Though he’s served for far too long (since 1996), he will be reelected.


Since I gotta get other stuff done, it looks like we’ll move on to the State Rep and Senate races in part three on Monday! Until then…

Quick Hits Special Edition – Kane County Elections 2020!

To quote that great philosopher Frank Barone, “Holy crap!” I ain’t never had so many people seek my sage counsel than after the County Clerk posted the final candidate nominating paperwork yesterday afternoon.

Though there certainly weren’t a lot of surprises, the few revelations we do have make up for that lack of quantity with some real quality. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Election 2020

1. Chris Lauzen will bow out to support Dave Rickert

Many of you astutely noted that both the Kane County Chairman Chris Lauzen and Treasurer Dave Rickert filed the paperwork to run for chairman. The burning question was, “Is Dave really running against Chris?”

And the answer to that fascinating query would be a resounding “no!” Chairman Lauzen, who always said he’d serve just two terms, will gracefully withdraw in support of Rickert’s candidacy.

The second kind-of-smoldering question was, “Jeff Ward! You scurrilous cad! How long have you been sitting on this knowledge?”

To be honest, for at least six months. And people have the nerve to say I can’t keep a secret! Well, actually they don’t say that, but it was a lot of fun to refute it anyway!

Why did I keep that epiphany under wraps? Because the last thing I wanted to do was sit back and watch the rest of the GOP rabble swarm into that race, as County Board members Mike Kenyon, Mark Davoust, and/or Doug Scheflow certainly would’ve done. You see, even if we combined their “political skills” into one candidate, that candidate still wouldn’t qualify to serve as a PTA bake sale chairman.

Though to be fair to Mark Davoust, his wife Melanie would have had to retrieve the “family jewels” from the mason jar she keeps in a locked cabinet before Mark could run for chairman, so he may never have become an issue.

The bottom line is, Dave Rickert is the best choice by far.

If Mike Madigan can apply this kind of electoral strategy, then why can’t the Republicans? I’ve been sayin’ the Illinois GOP should take a page from The Speaker’s playbook for years. So, now Dave’s path to the General is free and clear, and he’ll likely face Democrat Greg Ellsbree in the general only to make mincemeat out of him.

No sane flat-tax-levy-loving voter would ever want a high-ranking union official to be their County chairman. And I’ll be regularly reminding you of that!

As a voter bonus, not only will Dave follow in the Chairman’s fiscally sane footsteps, but unlike Chairman Lauzen and yours truly, he’s bound to be a little more diplomatic, too.


2. And speaking of Mark Davoust…

He has a primary AND a general election opponent, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!

Steve Oscarson filed his paperwork for the 14th County Board District Republican nomination, and as far as I can tell, none of the usual suspects put him up to it. To further support that theory, Steve and his family collected all 72 signatures!

Considering Davoust’s greatest hits would amount to one blank disc – I dare you to name a single accomplishment – I think Mr. Oscarson has a real shot.

To increase those odds and repay an old political debt, I would be more than happy to offer Mr. Oscarson my reasonable campaign consulting skills at absolutely no charge (I’m at jeffnward@comcast, Steve).

Like Phil Lewis before him, I know exactly how to beat Mark Davoust.

Meanwhile, even if there was a “Blue Tsunami,” no Democratic will win that district for the foreseeable future.


3. You served the board and Kane County well John!

The second surprise, though it’s not all that shocking when you really think about it, is 12th District County Board member John Hoscheit won’t seek reelection. The truth is, I wouldn’t have lasted one term, much less serve on that often-challenging board since 1997!

John, also a successful former KC Forest Preserve Chairman, is exactly what every local politician should be. He’s smart, he’s politically savvy, he has no ego, he consistently avoids the partisan pitfalls, he plays well with others, and best of all, he never forgot that it’s always about his constituents.

John is one of the few members of that body who can walk away on his own terms and with his head held high. It will not be easy to replace him.


4. Miscellany

If 10th District Republican County Board member Susan Starrett, survives primary challenger David Brown – an unlikely proposition – considering that district’s blue shift, Democratic general election opponent Mary Kay Crantz will probably send her packing. (I love alliterative names!)

Aside from the sheer number of signatures, the notable thing about Mr. Brown’s paperwork is 2nd Ward Batavia Alderman Allan Wolf secured one sheet. So, Dave is willing to work, and he has some local support.

Meanwhile, Mark Kay acquired all 90 autographs herself, which also demonstrates no fear of knocking on doors.

Brenda Rodgers is running for recorder again, but incumbent Sandy Wegman is unbeatable.

We already know about Penny Wegman for Auditor and Theresa Barriero for Circuit Clerk, and if the Republicans aren’t VERY careful, they could win.

Jamie Mosser will beat Junaid Afeef in the Dem State’s Attorney primary and Mosser will go on to prevail over former Appellate Court Judge Bob Spence in the general.

If North Aurora Village President Dale Berman doesn’t fall prey to overconfidence, he’ll replace Ms. Barriero in County Board District 2, and Ron Ford should beat Matt Hanson in County Board 6.

Then Randy Hopp and a host of the usual suspects are running in the remaining Democratic board races, but who cares?

On the Republican side, St. Charles Township Republican Chairman Ken Shepro is running to replace Hoscheit, and he will win, but considering he’s survived some serious medical issues, I don’t understand why he’d embrace that kind of stress.

Other than that, there aren’t any GOP board races of note.


This column will substitute for Wednesday’s Quick Hits, and we will likely cover the State Rep and higher offices on Friday.

Quick Hits – What are our schools supposed to do?

Let’s open this one by issuing a few caveats cause I know you’re a bit ornery about having to go back to work after a four-day break.

First, I am the proud father of a special needs child. And while I’m eternally grateful he isn’t violent, absolutely nothing about his education has been easy. From having to sit on his ass – even now in college – to dealing with the Geneva School District who clearly believed an IEP plan was a mere suggestion, it’s been a fascinating proposition.

So, I don’t want to hear any of y’all say I don’t know what it’s like, because I do. For those who don’t know, an IEP or “Individualized Education Plan” is a legal contract between the school district and the parents of a special needs child.

Second, I tend not to tackle topics unless I’m convinced the coverage has a reasonable potential to better the situation. If not, I’ll attempt to bring balance to the force quietly.

But leave it to the Chicago Tribune, and particularly the rank amateurs at Pro Publica, to insist upon making matters much worse, as they just did with their coverage of Illinois school districts’ “quiet rooms.”

“Quiet rooms,” to be blunt, are the educational equivalent of solitary confinement for prisoners. Originally intended to be utilized only when student safety became an issue, many districts banished children without supervision simply for being incorrigible. We’re talking about things like swearing, failing to finish classwork, disrupting class, or talking back.

Quiet Room

While I agree it’s not a perfect solution, what are our schools supposed to do? Let the inmates run the asylum? Corporal punishment is correctly out, and when teachers or administrators correctly call parents to criticize their destructive little darlings, all bleepin’ hell breaks loose.

In an effort to keep tabs on an errant Kane County family court judge, I regularly sit in the back of his courtroom, and most of the parents who appear before him shouldn’t be allowed to raise a hamster, much less a flippin’ child.

So, now teachers are being forced to raise our children which brings us all down to that least common denominator. When I was a database consultant, I regularly advised clients like Wrigley and Philips Electronics that they could not let one percent of the possibilities turn into 33 percent of the programming. The same logic applies here.

And that’s just the challenge with “normal” children. Illinois’ unfunded mandate to “mainstream” violent, impossible-to-control, and well-out-on-the-spectrum students has become an utter and unmitigated disaster.

How are teachers, aides, and administrators supposed to contend with these difficult children while doing their damndest to be sure the rest of the students get a good education?

Though the story went national, those of us who live in Kane County, Illinois, just saw exactly what can go wrong in the form of the Burlington bus aide story.

No school bus driver should EVER have to go to work with the expectation of being regularly assaulted. No aide, who has absolutely no training in this regard, should have to deal with a child who can’t begin to handle boarding a school bus, and resorts to biting them as a result.

Again, I give those parents vast credit for enrolling their son in two special needs schools first, but having been asked to leave both, how the heck are the public schools supposed to contend with him?

If I was the D301 superintendent, I’d explain, in no uncertain terms that, until the child can handle being on a school bus, the parents will be driving him to school, and if they threatened to sue me, I’d respond, “Bring it on!”

So now, due to the Tribune’s and Pro Publica’s “fine work,” school districts are simply sending these children home when they get out of hand, despite the fact that solution puts single parents’ jobs in jeopardy. Sorry! But with no realistic option left, that’s exactly what every principal should start doing.

Meanwhile, Governor Pritzker, never the brightest bulb in the pack, instructed the State Board of Education to change their rules such that quiet rooms must be manned by an adult, the door is to remain unlocked, and they can only be used for therapeutic reasons, not as a punitive measure.

And I’m sure he’s gonna dip into his vast personal fortune to provide the funding to add the personnel required to meet this state-issued imperative.

I’m not saying these children should be abandoned, but it’s abundantly clear they need to be in educational facilities specifically designed to deal with the difficulties involved. Where is the money going to come from? The Tri-Cities school districts, and others, get far more state funding than necessary, and if we eliminate unnecessary programs like golf, dance, bowling, cheer, and wrestling, that’d be a great start.

Were there quiet room abuses? Yes! But they were borne of a state government that consistently fails to comprehend they’re asking far too much of our schools. When Aurora State Senator Stephanie Kifowit, a person I consider to be a friend, jumped on the Tribune quiet room bandwagon, I immediately wanted to encourage her to take a look in the bathroom mirror first.

And I wasn’t nearly the only Facebook respondent who chided her for that, or complained that the expectations thrust upon our school districts are patently unfair.

The fact that she’s a member of the Generally Assembly Democratic supermajority means she has the power to address the root cause, though our educational system needs so many fixes it’s beyond embarrassing.

And lastly, I would encourage the Tribune and Pro Publica to consider the possibility of a greater good before breaking a story, because they both just made an already untenable situation that much worse. I suppose it’s par for the course.


Quick Hits – November 27, 2019

Now, some readers, particularly those of the Tri-Cities variety, are getting on my last good nerve by self-righteously proclaiming I should be “supporting the community” instead of “tearing it down.”

Oh! Lord grant me patience. Some of y’all really need to start appreciating the massive effort I put into not being a serial killer. Just go ahead and add that to your pre-meal Thanksgiving prayer.

First, for better and likely much worse, that’s what the rest of the local newspapers already do. I call it “happy news.” When was the last time any local paper broke a real story? Conversely, here’s what we’ve recently discussed here:

  • The immense violence occurring at the Illinois Youth Center – St. Charles
  • Why Batavians’ electric rates are so ridiculously high
  • How an Elgin City Councilman has been bought and sold by the Madigan Machine
  • The sexual harassment scandal in the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office
  • The real Burlington bus aide story
  • The Public Defenders utter inability to make it into the office
  • The truth about roundabouts

And so much more!

I’ll certainly give Shaw Media credit for following up on the IYC, the KCSAO sexual harassment, and the truth about Burlington bus aide stories, but please note the phrase “following up.”

Second, when no one’s covering government malfeasance, it only encourages elected officials to further misbehave, and before you know it, your taxes skyrocket. How are those electric rates Batavia? And didn’t you just get socked with a double property tax increase?

How’s the fact that no newspaper broke those stories ahead of time workin’ out for ya?

And third, whenever someone insists I should “support the community,” roughly translated, what it really means is, I’ve offended their delicate sensibilities with the truth, and they can’t come up with a better argument for why I shouldn’t print the truth.

But since you so impolitely asked me, I’ve got your community support right here:


March on ladies!

On the heels of 2017’s eminently successful Geneva Women’s March – despite having to endure polar vortex-like conditions – We Can Lead Fox Valley is hoping to double those 700 female marchers in 2020.

Still gluttons for midwinter weather punishment, the upcoming event will take place on January 18 at noon, opening with a rally in the Kane County Civil Courthouse parking lot on James Street. The marchers will proceed north on 6th Street, east on State Street, and south on Third Street, sticking to the sidewalks the entire time.

Geneva Women's March.jpg

This Women’s March theme is “Get out and vote,” a sentiment I can get behind without reservation.

But there’s an irony involved here that’s just too ironic to pass up. Despite the fact that moderate folks like me wholeheartedly support women laying claim to their political power, it’s beyond fascinating to watch conservatives – and particularly conservative women – take this apolitical march as a personal affront.

And I’m the one who fails to support the community? The mere existence of female marchers seems to immediately trigger conservatives into a sprint to their safe spaces.

I applaud the group organizing the march – it’s no small task, I couldn’t possibly hold our January marchers in higher esteem, and I believe in standing for something, because if you don’t, you’ll fall for anything.

March on ladies!


Congratulations Terry Emma!

In deference to my adoring throng, I’m not gonna name names, but some previous Geneva Wood Award winners left me scratching my head. But not this one! If anyone ever deserved this 2019 accolade it’s third-generation Genevan and Geneva History Museum head honcho, Terry Emma.

Terry Emma 2

For you non-Genevans, the Wood Community Service Award, annually bestowed by the Chamber of Commerce, goes to the individual who’s most contributed to “the growth and health of the Geneva community.”

I figure my nomination got lost in the mail – again!

Of course, having been married to Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns, I fervently believe that Terry should’ve won a Nobel Peace Prize, and I’ll be talking to those Swedish folks shortly. But let’s not sully this fine occasion with any kind of negativity.

Among her many accomplishments, Terry brought in $200,000 in History Museum grants and donations that were applied to redesign their new stunning main gallery. I could continue to embarrass Ms. Emma with yet more praise, but the Chronicle already did a fine job of doing just that!

Upon calling Terry to congratulate her, I have to say I had a blast talking with someone who’s truly enjoying life and is beyond excited about what the future might bring. That kind of perspective always proves to be quite contagious!

Good job Geneva Chamber of Commerce and good job Terry. You deserve it!


Just Dance!

I know all this community support has made you kind of dizzy, but since I’m clearly on a roll, why stop now? There’s always the possibility that some of your heads will summarily explode and I firmly believe every last Geneva male should take their significant other to the Vargo’s Dance Studio Friday night beginner East Coast Swing class.

For a mere sawbuck ($10) per student you get 45 minutes of expert instruction from Carl Linder and studio owner Jamie Vargo, you get another 20 minutes of supervised practice time, and you can even BYOB. How can anything possibly get better than that?

And trust me, if Jamie and Carl ever give up the whole dance thing, they could go on the road as a comedy team – the class is quite entertaining.

Jamie Vargo

The Lovely Jamie Vargo

As a result of our tenure at Vargo’s, my wife and I have moved up to the West Coast Swing class, and I’ll be shortly taking adult tap lessons with the Geneva Park District. Not only is dancing flat out fun, but it’s made me a far better athlete.

It’s not just swing, either. Vargo’s offers a variety of adult classes which you can see for yourself right here.

And guys! If you take your wife or girlfriend out dancing on a Friday night, not only will she be completely shocked, but the odds of you getting’ lucky later will increase exponentially. C’mon! What have you got to lose but your whiteness!



Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Lastly, my long-time readers know Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday, and my fondest wish is that you enjoy it as much as I do.

I’m certainly thankful for the kind of regular readership that’s incited me into doing this for more than 13 years, and I’ve enjoyed every second of it!

Since I could use four days off, I’ll likely run another Curmudgeon book chapter on Friday!

Quick Hits – Finishing off the Elgin Cabal

Before we move on to other things, to put a period on our two-part Elgin cabal story – at least for now – let’s cover some of their generally amusing lesser nefarious and incompetent endeavors. There’s quite a bit to choose from in that regard, but let’s start with former State Senator and current 16th Circuit Judge Mike Noland, who can’t even handle the Aurora traffic court call.

You see, what the judge utterly fails to understand is, by law, the men and women in black cannot campaign for, support, endorse, or help any political candidates in any way. And they can’t engage in those activities because it reflects poorly on and calls the integrity of the judiciary into question. But that hasn’t stopped Noland from making proclamations like “Kane County needs another Democratic Judge” and the like.

So, while it’s going to take some time to remove Judge John Dalton from the bench, given his infamous inability to remain silent, those kinds of ethical breaches mean Noland should be gone in a scant two years.

And speaking of Judge Dalton, it’s come to my attention that he and husband Rich Jacobs regularly use Elgin Township Supervisor Franklin Ramirez as their private limo service – on Township time. That means the citizens of Elgin are paying Ramirez to drive our dynamic duo to their Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, home, and in return, Ramirez gets to enjoy that residence when the owners aren’t there.

For the uninitiated, Jacobs was Noland’s Elgin “Chief of Staff,” who now serves current State Senator Cristina Castro in the same capacity. A legend in his own mind, Jacobs somehow thinks he was the one who got elected, and as a result, he acts as if the Senators’ constituents are but a mere annoyance.

Most legislative aides actually answer the phone when folks call, but not Jacobs. Having to contend with the peasantry is something that’s quite beneath him.

Then there’s Senator Castro herself! To be fair, she does have a number of redeeming personality traits, but those qualities haven’t evidenced themselves since she moved from the Kane County Board to Springfield.

Castro 3

Castro, who believes she’s la reina hispana de Elgin, was not at all amused by Elgin City Councilman Rose Martinez’ refusal to fall in line and support Baldemar Lopez’ 2019 city council run. For reference purposes, we covered Mr. Lopez’s follies last Wednesday.

When charm and cajoling wouldn’t work, Castro quickly resorted to outright threats, which didn’t get her very far. If any of you know Rose, then you also know threatening her tends to generate an equal and opposite reaction. So, now Castro is desperately trying to mend fences, but Rose will have nothing to do with that level of insincerity.

Another fun fact regarding the Castro posse is their willingness to use other peoples’ legal misfortunes against them. Since turnabout is fair play, I issued a FOIA request seeking any Elgin police report involving she and her husband Joe McKeown. And sure enough! I found a fascinating tale of how Castro should’ve been arrested for intimidating another candidate’s campaign workers.

Other than the fact Penny Wegman had the temerity to run against her, I don’t know the root cause of the feud between the two. But apparently it got bad enough that Castro pinned a Wegman campaign volunteer’s car in place and proceeded to berate and threaten the high schoolers within.

She then used her car to block to block River Bluff Boulevard in a manner such that the campaign volunteers had to turn around and go the other way. And we all thought Donald Trump behaved poorly.

Castro’s husband proceeded to stalk Wegman – regularly driving by her house, etc. – for the rest of the campaign. To put that in perspective, Penny Wegman is so politically innocuous, that starting a feud with her would be a lot like picking a fight with Mr. Rogers.

I provided Ms. Castro with every opportunity to explain her antics and she declined to do so.

So, there you have it! A bought and sold city council member, two of the worst judges to ever don the black dress, a political lackey who’ll do anything for a dollar, and then there’s State Senator herself.

These shenanigans would be almost funny if these weren’t the people purporting to represent and serve you Elgin, and they’re counting on your continued inattentiveness to get away with all of it. But now that you know, all I ask is that you choose a bit more wisely going forward.

Quick Hits – An Elgin Cabal Cracks – Part Two!

On Wednesday we covered how, in the form of Elgin City Councilman Baledmar Lopez, the Madigan Machine’s tentacles have oozed all the way out to Elgin. We discussed the fact the councilman, who’s co-owns a lobbying firm, was paid 60 grand by Commonwealth Edison to do absolutely nothing.

It’s great work if you can get it!

But as bought and sold as he is, Lopez’ antics pale in comparison to another charter member of that Elgin cabal, Judge John Dalton, who revels in a sadistic capacity to make the folks unfortunate enough to enter his courtroom suffer as much as possible.

John dalton

John Dalton

Again, Dalton, Lopez, Judge Michael Noland, and Dalton’s husband, political lackey Rich Jacobs, all revolve around Elgin State Senator Cristina Castro who firmly believes she was somehow elected queen of The City in the Suburbs.

For reference purposes, we’ve previously covered Judge Dalton at length and here are some of his greatest hits:

  • He refuses to enforce his own rulings and laughs in peoples’ faces in the process
  • He makes the law up as he goes along
  • He’s a bigot who’s exceptionally hard on Hispanics and blacks
  • He plays to the courtroom gallery consistently looking for reactions
  • He granted unsupervised shared custody for a father who was out on bond for threatening to kill his ex-wife – twice
  • He granted unsupervised shared custody to a women with a series of arrests for public intoxication (I have the police reports)

Then there’s my personal favorite, when a woman presented texts in which her ex bragged that he was masturbating on the bed next to their two-year-old daughter, Dalton replied, “Do you know how many people have sex in the same room as their children?”

Yeah! He’s a real piece of work! And the reason he gets away with behaving like such a bleep is he’s an elected circuit judge, but he might not be getting away with it for much longer.

You see, his beyond questionable custody placements – Dalton feeds on making the women who appear before him break down and sob in court – have finally caught up with him in the form of a dead two-year-old boy.

To be clear, no good journalist will EVER get involved with, or take sides in a custody dispute, in great part, because it’s far too easy to accuse someone of sexual abuse or any number of heinous acts. But when you consider his track record and a call I received from a Glen Ellyn pastor, it indicates an obvious pattern in Dalton’s placements.

The pastor found me through a previous column on this despicable excuse for a human being, and he reached out because he couldn’t quite believe a church member’s account of Dalton’s behavior in court. His utter disregard for anyone actually is quite hard to believe.

As the pastor went on to describe the horrific particulars of the case, I assured him that Dalton was more than capable of the egregious behavior his congregant described, including placing a child in the care of a pedophile. The pastor was beside himself as he described how the young boy was undergoing rectal reconstruction surgery as we spoke.

So, when the mother of the dead two-year-old previously accused her ex of the same sex abuse, and then that child mysteriously died in the care of the ex and his family, I’m starting to take that possibility far more seriously.

To be clear, the Cook County Medical Examiner is in the process of determining the cause of death, and DCFS has opened an investigation, which means it’s time to issue some FOIA’s in both regards. But the bottom line is, John Dalton has a long history of placing children in peril because he feeds on watching their mothers’ complete and utter despair.

As previously stipulated here, outgoing Chief Judge, Susan Clancy-Boles, refused to address this issue in any way – no shock there – but a new 16th Circuit Chief Judge takes office on December 1, which means there’s new hope! So, let me address Judge Clint Hull directly.

Judge Hull,

Given our former friendship, no one understands this journalist’s persistence quite like you do, and you and I know you have the power to bring John Dalton’s reign of terror to an end. To wit, when there was a mere whisper of Judge Joseph Grady issuing a racist comment in court, Chief Judge Boles slapped a court reporter in that room so fast that heads were doin’ 360s.

It didn’t happen again, did it?

And that’s all that’s required here. So, your first course of action as Chief Judge should be to do the very same thing in courtroom 101. You and I both know Dalton behaves quite differently when the court watchers are there for the Tuesday and Thursday order of protection hearings, and a court reporter would be even more effective in that regard.

Should you chose not to avail yourself of this eminently simple solution, I promise to take you and this situation to the Judicial Inquiry Board and beyond. I will continue to rally the Dalton victims who have come to me to action, and I will personally run the kind of 2024 anti-retention campaign that will require you to respond with some serious campaign cash.

It’s nothing personal Your Honor. It’s simply a matter of refusing to simply sit back and watch people suffer when you and I can do something about it.

Quick Hits – An Elgin Cabal Cracks – Part One!

You certainly can’t say Darth Madigan didn’t have a good run, but just as those 60s generals warned us about Communism, those falling dominoes are quickly closing in on The Speaker. Ed Burke, Martin Sandoval, Tom Cullerton, Mike McClain, Kevin Quinn, Michael Zalewski, and Danny Solis wore a wire!

Say it ain’t so, Danny!

But make no mistake my politically perspicuitous friends, the feds have their eyes on one prize and, considering that elected snitches go home for Christmas, Illinois’ own Sith Lord will fall.

Before you Republicans start in with all the self-righteous smirking, the Madigan Machine would be but a mere political speed bump if it weren’t for some truly serious of GOP collaboration every single bleepin’ step of the way. Can you say Pate Philip? I knew you could!

And those swiftly spreading federal tendrils managed to make it all the way out to Elgin, too!

For reference purposes, the “Elgin Cabal” we’re discussing primarily consists of Judge John Dalton, Dalton’s husband and political hanger-on Rich Jacobs, former State Senator and current Judge Michael Noland, and its newest member, Elgin City Councilman Baldemar Lopez.

It’s also important to note this clique that would be Elgin Kingmakers falls squarely into the orbit of none other than State Senator Cristina Castro.


But getting back to the feds, it’s Lopez that suddenly seems to be that group’s weakest link, and I want to thank Chicago’s WBEZ Public Radio for doing all the heavy lifting on this fascinating story.

It starts with Lopez being the co-owner of the Elgin based Stratagem Consulting Group, a firm that generally lobbies the Illinois General Assembly on behalf of their clients. An Elgin alderman who’s a principal proposition is being lobbyist? Oh! There’s no conflict of interest there!

To make matters far more interesting, Stratagem’s other co-owner is the eminently powerful 36th Ward Chicago Alderman Gilbert Villegas, Jr., a man who owes his very political existence to the magnanimity of the legendary Madigan Machine.


Baldemar Lopez

Considering the complexities of this scheme, let’s resort to numbered bullet points:

1. In January, Commonwealth Edison Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Fidel Marquez, Jr., approached Stratagem to perform “lobbying” services to the tune of five grand a month. Nothing unusual there, right?

2. Fast forward to spring, and the fed’s investigation uncovered a Com Ed “shadow lobbying” effort by which the electric utility paid a slew of connected contractors and lobbyists to do a whole lot of nothing! Their point was to curry favor with those individuals and call in that clout when it was the expedient thing to do.

3. As the fed’s dragnet expanded exponentially, Marquez, Jr. abruptly “left” Com Ed in October. I’m sure he’d already put in for retirement.

4. Villegas, who isn’t a registered lobbyist, admitted that Stratagem had been hired by Com Ed, but he didn’t know why that was the case, referring all questions to Lopez. So, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s City Council floor leader had absolutely no clue what was going on in his own consulting firm. I’m sure it happens all the time!

5. Lopez subsequently admitted that Com Ed had paid Stratagem 60 grand “to conduct general state legislative lobbying activities,” but he had great difficulty describing those efforts in any detail. I suppose, out of the goodness of their electrical hearts, Com Ed coulda said, “Hey Baldemar! Here’s 60 grand. Go forth and spread sunshine and lobby on behalf of CPS, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the homeless.” That’s just the kind of company they are!

6. With the federal noose tightening quite uncomfortably, Com Ed cut Stratagem loose on October 3rd with no explanation whatsoever. Lopez explained “they were doing some restructuring of their lobbying activities.” Oh! Is that what they call burying the bodies now? Good to know!

7. Really? even a bleeping ADHD Larkin remedial freshman student could figure out that Lopez was paid $60,000 to do nothing more than to sit there and look pretty. His defense is he hasn’t been contacted by the feds, but there’s still plenty of time for that.

To make matters so much worse for our intrepid first term councilman, his 2019 campaign donor list looks a lot like a copy of Michael Madigan’s greatest hits:

  • $1,000 from Luis Montgomery, owner of a connected Chicago engineering firm
  • $2,000 from former State Rep Linda Chapa LaVia
  • $1,000 from 65th District Democratic State Rep candidate Richard Johnson
  • $5,000 from the 36th Ward PAC which nothing more than Villegas himself
  • $1,875 from 6 Chicago donors suddenly interested in a little old Elgin City Council race
  • And $2,000 in “consulting” from the illustrious Senator Castro.

In fact, other than Castro, Lopez’s campaign finance records don’t show a single Elgin donor! And I wonder what kind of “consulting” the Senator could’ve possibly provided to a candidate so steeped in the Madigan Machine? Perhaps Lopez was simply sharing the Commonwealth Edison wealth.

If you recall, Castro was so hell-bent on getting Lopez elected that she went out of her way to persistently threaten Elgin Councilman Rose Martinez for refusing to fall in line. And now Castro is on the Illinois Legislative Ethic Commission, which is a lot like putting Saudi Arabia on the UN Women’s Rights Committee.

So, how does it feel to be played Elgin? These people aren’t representing you, they’re representing the interests that got them where they are and nothing more.


Friday! We’ll continue this theme as Judge John Daltons horrific custody decisions finally catch up with him.