How to lose credibility in three easy steps

Run for three separate political offices at the same time! In the ultimate case of political indecision, that’s exactly what Geneva Planning Commission Chairman Jay Moffatt just did. moffatt

Apparently adhering to the shotgun method of getting elected, not only is Moffatt running for the D304 school board, he’s going for the Geneva Park and Geneva Library boards too. Never mind that state’s attorney sanctioned conflicts will prevent him from holding more than one or two of ’em, considering the likely voter backlash, he’ll probably go 0 for 3.

To make matters even worse, when the press caught up with his interesting electoral antics (sometimes the media is a good thing), he refused to respond to their overtures. And let me tell ya, it doesn’t help your case when you choose not to explain your suicidal and bizarre political behavior because then you leave it up to the press.

And, trust me, that never turns out good.

Goodbye Jay! At least you made your too-brief political career relatively fascinating.



She’s just like one of those presistent James Bond villians

Just when you thought the Elgin Township Trustees might actually have some good taste, they go ahead and appoint that ridiculous Laura Wallet to the township clerk post vacated by new Kane County Board Member Kurt Kojzarek.   wallet

If you recall, when Wallet pre-announced her appointment to the press earlier this month, those same trustees suddenly decided she wasn’t the right person for the job after all. Lord knows who’s ring (or other body part) she had to kiss, but apparently after some sort of reconciliation, Ms. Wallet got the job despite her regular tantrums.

And this isn’t the first time she’s acted like a spoiled brat either. The most notable instance came when, despite refusing to participate in the proceedings, she crashed the Kane County Young Republican debate anyway. When YR Chairman Tim Stoll politely asked her to leave, she went berserk and threw a shrieking and howling fit at the top of the stairs.

I saw that one for myself.

This woman isn’t fit to serve tables much less hold public office which doesn’t say too much for the folks running Elgin Township. Thankfully, this is Clerk gig will turn out to be the pinnacle of her political career.

Yes! You actually can do less than nothing!

I hope Santa was good to everyone. Despite my tendency towards misbehaving I can’t complain about my Christmas. But now it’s time to get back to work!  guns

Though I’m all for reasonable gun control – no one needs to own a M-16 knock off – in Monday’s Patch column we discuss just how silly Dick’s Sporting Goods temporary ban on selling real and toy guns really is.

Not only is it an exercise in futility, but, because stupid symbolic gesture give us the illusion of actually doing something, it makes solving a serious problem even more difficult.

You can read the entire piece here. Despite a couple of knuckleheads, the comments are fairly interesting as well.


There is a solution and it ain’t armed school guards

My knee jerk reaction to the Sandy Hook tragedy was to start calling local law enforcement in an effort to come up with the perfect solution to end school shootings once and for all. But after taking some time to ponder this imponderable, I realized it’s actually going to take a three pronged approach.  sandy hook

1. Reasonable gun control – no one needs an M16 knock off.

2. A comprehensive nationwide plan for treating the 10 percent of us who are mentally ill.

3. A realization that we really are our brother’s keeper. As D303 Superintendent Don Schlomann wrote, ““We cannot afford to allow our students to withdraw from others.”

Please read Monday’s Patch column for my complete thoughts on this very difficult issue.

Sad news for Sun-Times Media West

Sorry for the dearth of posts lately, but I’ve been adjusting to my new schedule working as a part-time consultant for the county clerk.  sun times

The folks at the Beacon-News, Courier-News, and Naperville Sun got word today that the Sun-Times is  closing their Aurora office. With only the reporters excepted, the only way those hard-working folks will keep their jobs is if they’re willing to make that daily train to downtown Chicago.

And from out here, that’s a three hour commute.

Considering some of their more interesting business decisions, my best guess is this contraction is their way of culling the herd – so to speak. They’re counting on the fact that some of the staff will choose to move on instead. The Sun-Times is moving to a Net first philosophy and they harbor this strange notion that all four papers can share the same content.

But the truth is, what gets a Second City reader’s motor going, doesn’t necessarily sell in Elgin.

My fear is this is just the first step in shutting those suburban papers down. And that really would be a loss.

Today’s show is up!

If you missed today’s Left, Right and You you’re in luck! Simply click on this link, sit back and relax: Left Right and You Dec. 18

We may not have covered quite as much ground as we had hoped, but the sad Newton, CT situation demanded a bit more attention that most topics.

A special thanks to District 303 Superintended Don Schlomann for offering his cogent thoughts on what parents, educators and peers can do to head these things off before they hit the point of no return.

We also want to offer our gratitude to Lauren Kelliher of Illinois Doberman Rescue Plus for calling in. For those folks considering giving a pet for Christmas, Lauren covered exactly what dog ownership really means.

Enjoy the show!

It ain’t Radio Gaga, but you still don’t wanna miss it!

That’s right! Left, Right and You is back on the air today (12/18). Please tune your radio dial to WRMN AM1410 from 3 to 4 p.m. to get Allen’s and my thoughts on:  queen

  • The Newton, CT tragedy and what we can all do to prevent school shootings.
  • Allen and I may not like unions, but should taxpayers be subsidizing Wal-Mart and McDonald’s employees?
  • Will they complete the bridge across that fiscal cliff in time? Didn’t the president receive some sort of fiscal mandate?
  • The realities of giving a pet as a Christmas gift.
  • Why Lovie Smith should be run out of town on a rail!

D303 Superintended Don Schlomann will be calling to provide thoughts on keeping students connected and we welcome your calls too! 847-931-1410.



Nine terms? That ain’t right!

Personally, I like Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke and the fact that we sometimes choose different political friends has absolutely no bearing on this contention. It’s all part of life’s rich pageant.

With that caveat issued, the truth is no mayor or village president should serve more than three four-year terms. Even Venezuela blinked at the prospect of putting Hugo Chavez in office for life.   schielke

There are the obvious problems, not the least of which include a tendency towards corruption borne of an encroaching entitlement mentality and a sense of ruling by divine right. Look no further than the late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley who fell prey to all of the above.

Dixon, Illinois is another prime example of what we’re talking about.

Thankfully, Schielke seems to have avoided these pitfalls and I’d even go as far as saying he’s a pretty good mayor.

But then there are the more subtle concerns like the staleness of a long-held vision. To wit, Schielke told the DH, “I don’t like to leave things in the middle, and we started the streetscape program and I would really like to see that through.”

In the middle? Does that mean he plans on running for another eight terms?

Because if you can’t accomplish what you set out to do in 32 long years, then isn’t that a really good reason to step down? Batavia, which has always harbored a serious case of Geneva envy, is pretty much the same city it was when I used to come out here to visit a friend in the late 80’s.

Not only do downtown businesses continue to come and mostly go, but the city is trying to put what businesses they have out of business with constant construction. Despite some high-end west and south side growth, property taxes continue to skyrocket with no apparent real benefit to the average Batavian.

Even the best and most earnest mayor will fall prey to the the Municipal Mindset if you give him or her enough rope. And Batavians have given their mayor all the rope anyone could ask for. When you consider his journalistic origins, Mayor Schielke really oughtta know better.

It’s time for new blood at that Batavia helm. And there’s still time for someone to step up and offer Batavians an alternative.

A column that was set to run in the Courier-News

By now, most of you are probably aware that I’ve moved on from the Beacon and Courier-News. It’s nothing more than a case of it was time for a change and I’ll always appreciate those folks for giving me my big break. The really sad thing is the Sun-Times is strangling those satellite newspapers and it’s frustrating to have to watch them fade away.

As we speak, I’m looking forward to some new challenges including the radio show.

This column was set to run in the Courier-News before the divorce and ironically, if more newspapers did with the Huntley High School voice just did, I think the print media would be far better off. Enjoy!


What the heck has gotten into the water in Huntley?

It’s not that high school Facebook affrontery is anything new because it isn’t. If you ask me, social media is sending this society down to that least common denominator level even faster than “Two and a Half Men.” It’s just that, whenever those west of Elgin folks embrace questionable behavior, they tend to go all in.

And the evidence for this collective uncouth hysteria goes back to my fascinating youth soccer coaching days.

But before we continue, please let me stipulate that youth soccer parents, as a whole, are fricken’ nuts. They’re far worse than those of any other sport. Campton United parents got so bad that club had to start forcing them to watch a video outlining appropriate sideline behavior.

While there’s certainly some wonderful exceptions, I’ve never had to deal with a more entitled, self-centered and delusional group. And that’s really saying something when you consider I deal with politicians on a regular basis.

Despite the fact that it takes a special breed rise above that general level of insanity, Huntley parents managed to do just that.

Everything was fine as long as they were winning, but when the tide turned, their mothers – yes mothers – started threatening our parents. Quite frankly, I wanted to threaten ‘em too, but having to pull an irate soccer mom off of an unsuspecting father wasn’t in my job description.

And that bizarre attitude filtered right down to their kids. In the only case of a referee ever admitting anything like this, one told me we got a questionable goal call because the Huntley players were “incredibly disrespectful.”

Whenever they lost, they refused to offer the traditional postgame procession high fives and when I said something about poor sportsmanship, their coach came after me to the point the referee to intervene.

It got so bad, the fourth time we played them, in an unprecedented move, I asked the Sheriff and the McHenry County College Police to attend. And they quickly agreed because they said those parents had caused problems during the course of a previous game.

I know you shouldn’t paint an entire city with a single soccer club paint brush, but it wasn’t just them. Whenever I mentioned Huntley to any another coach they immediately turned a whiter shade of pale.

So the sad thing is, when the Courier-News reported the L.I.T.H./Huntley Memes Facebook page, which consisted of 20 to25 images of District 158 students complete with captions disparaging their weight and ethnicity, I wasn’t the least bit surprised.

Ethnicity? Really? Why was my first thought, “This could only happen in Huntley,” and the second had something to do with you might be a redneck jokes.

But perhaps there’s hope for Huntley yet!

When Michael Geherren, digital editor in chief of the Huntley High School Voice, and his staff discovered the scurrilous page, in that proud press tradition, they issued a scathing editorial denouncing cyber bullying and bigotry for what it is. Then they appealed to students to report the perpetrators to the district’s anonymous tip line.

And it worked!

Armed with the appropriate information, D158 administrators, teachers and counselors sprang into action and the offending Facebook page was deleted. They even managed to dispense with a copycat endeavor that sprang up a few days later.

If only I could get results like that! But the truth is, I can’t even get State Sen. Mike Noland to behave.

“The whole system worked all the way around,” Superintendent Terry Awrey said, “And I give Michael a lot of credit for having the courage to stand up for his fellow students.”

So do I! At a time when the practice of journalism is, to politely put it, “in flux,” the entire staff of The Voice risked their highly coveted high school reputations to stand firm on a principle that ain’t too popular with many adults.

There’s more than one northern Illinois newspaper that could learn a thing or two from these kids.

Though I’m sure the bad feelings will linger – you can’t un-ring a bell – I have to say The Voice did the next best thing. You’ll never get rid of the idiots, but you can make them fear you.

Albert Einstein put it perfectly, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

Now if only I could get them to take on soccer clubs.

Here’s today’s show!

Again, we hope you tuned in to Left, Right and You today, but if you didn’t, you can listen to the show right here:  Left Right and You Dec. 11.

A big thanks to former Illinois State Senator Roger Keats who called in to discuss the kind of rampant corruption that’s made the second city infamous. Allen and I highly recommend acquiring a copy of his fascinating new book, Chicago Confidential, that tells the real story of “America’s most corrupt city.”  Chicago-Confidential

And a special thanks to Tim Elenz who called in not only to keep us in line, but to share his vast wisdom.

Enjoy the show!