There are two Republican parties in Kane County

Every summer, the Kane County Western Township Republicans put on their annual soiree on the spacious grounds of county board member Drew Frasz’ Brundige Road estate. With all due deference to Chris Lauzen and his Porky Picnic, it’s probably my favorite fundraising event.

The great thing about it is, WTR secretary Denny Ryan and I always hang out and debate the merits – or lack thereof – of the various speakers, and, despite my propensity to harbor some socially progressive thoughts, Denny and I always end up laughing because we have so much more in common. We’re both raging fiscal conservatives who want nothing but the best for Kane County.

But as I looked around at this year’s gathering and noticed who wasn’t there, it struck me. There are two Kane County Republican parties.

One faction is ruled by iron-fisted board chairman Karen McConnaughay with her lackey and political mastermind, St. Charles Township GOP Chairman, always close behind.  Then there’s former KC GOP chairman Mike Kenyon, KC Republican Women’s Organization heads Connie von Keudell and Susan Secondi, Geneva Township Highway Commissioner Mark Wissing, failed auditor candidate Laura Wallett, and Ellen Nottke. Even Jim Oberweis and Randy Hultgren have been known to fall in with this sad group.

Until former Beacon-News reporter Dan Campana started digging, they pretty much held sway over and treated Kane County – and our money – like their own personal playground. But despite being shut out of most of it,  the folks on the other side always made an effort to keep up public appearances for the good of the party.

But now that the political shoe is on the other foot and this group is fading, only Randy Hultgren managed to make it to the WTR event. Their too-obvious theory is, if they can’t be on top,  then they’ll take their ball and go home. This way, they can continue to operate under the delusion that they’re still the ones in control.

I’m especially disappointed in Kenyon and Wissing. I had high hopes that they could rise above their own egos and do what’s best for the party.  Ah well! It would appear that some folks never do graduate from high school!

Mike Kenyon

Karen McConnaughay

The one liner I couldn’t use on Patch!

In my Monday Patch column on running Brian Urlacher and Jenny McCarthy out of Geneva – a worthy endeavor if there ever was one – I promised to share the joke that was deemed inappropriate for an on-line family newspaper.  After all, there is no editor here!

So in regards to Ms. McCarthy mistakenly texting nude pictures of herself to her dentist instead of the mediocre middle linebacker, what I really wanted to say was, “I bet that’s a cavity he never thought he’d see.”

Stop worshiping celebrities people!

Brienny!

The real story behing that not-quite-so abandoned Aurora house

In addition to today’s Beacon-News column on the subject, I had an interesting conversation with Aurora Alderman Rick Lawrence regarding that ostensibly abandoned Downers Place home the neighbors supposedly “looted.”

Here’s what those “dastardly” neighbors told him:

1. The homeowners said they were not coming back and would hire someone to finish the job.  Realizing the couple was short on cash, the neighbors pitched in to help them out. Some say the owners told them they could take what they wanted.

2. They did email and phone the homeowners repeatedly, but got no response.

3. The doors to the residence were left wide open.

4. The sinks, appliances and other fixtures had already been sold at a garage sale.

5. The house was and is completely unlivable including maggots rooting through food strewn about the floor.

6. The male homeowner allegedly agreed forgo filing a complaint in return for a low 5 figure settlement.

The facts are:

1. Lawrence said, “We secured the doors and reported the situation to the Mayors office, exactly as I have done numerous times before on other properties. The only difference here was, the neighbors took it upon themselves to start the cleanup. Usually they just call me.”

2.  After the police inspected the home, the owners were cited by the city and given 5 days to clean it up or they’d take action.

3. The city removed 7 truck loads of garbage from the back yard alone.

4. The homeowners have since hired a cleaning crew that spent over a week hauling debris, furniture and  garbage from the home and garage.

You be the judge as to who’s trying to pull a fast one here.

Rick Lawrence

If Sheriff Perez fires folks for their politics, then why is Kevin Williams still there?

Four long years after the fact, former Kane County Deputy Stephen Yahnke is suing Sheriff Pat Perez for more than $1 million in damages and, oh yes!, his job back.

Mr. Yahnke claims the Sheriff violated his First Amendment rights by terminating  him for supporting then general election opponent Kevin Williams.  The supposed CSI smoking gun moment is former Undersheriff Steve Ziman’s deposition  testimony in which he claims Perez said, “I am going to fire (Yahnke) because some day he is going to run against me for sheriff.”

Let’s list all the problems with that supposition:

1. I know Sheriff Perez and he wouldn’t be stupid enough to say something like that on his worst day.   Even if he did harbor some latent Machiavellian tendencies, that’s just not the kind of thing anyone with half a brain says out loud.

2.  As Sun-Tzu is purported to have said, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”  County Clerk Jack Cunningham will readily attest that you don’t fire political opponents, you hire their wives.  If you fire them, then they’re bound to run against you and they have the time to do it!

C’mon! If Sheriff Perez made a practice out of firing political enemies, then why is Kevin Williams still working there? Wouldn’t he have been the first to go?  Not only that, but Pat Gengler supported Williams and he’s their Communications Officer.

3. The Sheriff can’t summarily fire anyone because the union would have a fit. Before any termination can take place, the malfeasance has to be clearly documented. Then there’s an investigative interview. Then there’s a pre-disciplinary hearing where the deputy has their say. If senior staff recommend a suspension of 3 or more days, then it goes before the merit commission which consists of retired police officers.

Yahnke was facing 5 separate unrelated “just cause” incidents meaning he could’ve been fired for any one. After he and his attorney waived their right to the merit commission hearing, he still had 10 days to appeal their termination ruling, but he chose not to.

Here’s the real story folks. Through a mutual friend,  Ziman put out feelers to ascertain whether Perez would support him in a 2014 run for for Sheriff.  Mere days after Perez declined that generous offer, the former undersheriff provided that interesting deposition testimony.

Sheriff Pat Perez

As the First Lady of Soul once sang, “Who’s zoomin’ who?”

If you can’t get the petition part right, why should we vote for you?

22nd District State Senate GOP challenger Cary Collins just survived a Mike Noland petition challenge by a scant four signatures.  Doesn’t anyone in the entire fricken’ Illinois Republican party understand you have to submit a little more than 1,386 autographs when they require 1,000?

The real irony is, if it weren’t for some bi-partisan support, Collins would’ve would’ve come up 300 signatures short.

Why is it that the local GOP, who regularly shriek and howl shout about the Madigan Democrats,  can’t even manage to come up with someone who can beat that utter embarrassment known as Mike Noland? If a Democrat can win Denny Hastert’s old Congressional seat, then a decent GOP candidate can put Noland out of our misery.

As for Mr. Collins?  Perhaps the jury is still out, but he ain’t exactly instilling confidence.

Cary Collins & Mike Noland

Addiction is not an easy thing to deal with

Though I love my print newspapers, the one thing I love about Patch is the capacity to instantly add to the discussion.  In today’s Geneva Patch column, using the news story of a young Geneva woman who’s struggling to make the right choices, I covered the difficulties that families and the court system face in dealing with addiction.

And the mother of this young woman joined the story and let my readers know just how hard that whole process has been for her.  I admire her courage for taking that step and thank her for reminding us that there’s always a human face behind these news stories.