Who should be the one to serve Elgin – the Final Chapter

Sadly, of the 21 folks who’ve thrown their hats in the Elgin Anna Moeller aldermanic replacement ring, only one will get that final nod. But if the powers that be in The City in the Suburbs do it right, there won’t be 20 also-rans, they’ll have 20 civic minded folks who are willing to step forward and make Elgin even better than it is today.

(I do love you Elgin – just don’t tell my wife.)  elgin city hall

That said, since this ain’t a kindergarten t-ball game, someone has to come out on top. And even though my opinion doesn’t count for all that much these days (and nobody really asked), I’m gonna add my two cents. Of course, some of you aren’t going to like my final assertion, but I’ve long gotten used to hiding in the crawl space until the politically correct storm blows over.

So throwing all caution into the wind, here’s my theory.

As I gaze upon those fervent Elgin city council faces, I’m somewhat blinded by the vast amount of whiteness. (My apologies to Tish Powell for lumping her in with the rest of those Caucasian males). In a great city that boasts a 44 percent Hispanic population, we seem to have a problem. Because, if representative government is supposed to be…well…representative, then we desperately need at least one of those city council bodies to be not like the others.

All things considered equal, I could just as easily go with Craig Dresang, Big Mike DeBrocke, Mitchell Esterino, Mo Iqbal, Julie Ann Schmidt, or John Walters. But, if we were on a level playing field, then we’d already have four Hispanic councilmen.

When certain Elgin constituents voiced the very same concern to Aldermen John Prigge and Terry Gavin, they immediately contracted the kind of severe case of the vapors (a strange southern disease) that only seems to affect old white male politicians in positions of power.

Why, they were aghast that anyone would even consider that they’d consider appointing someone based solely on race.

But the truth is, Ms. Moeller’s good fortune provides Elgin with the good fortune to redress an obvious imbalance. And when you have a group of aldermanic applicants in which eight of the 21 contenders have essentially equal curricula vitae, then maybe it’s time to do just that.

So please allow me to not-so-humbly suggest that the council should narrow their final list down to Alberto Lopez and Rosamaria Martinez. Then they can take it from there.

You may now commence to calling me a racist.

11 thoughts on “Who should be the one to serve Elgin – the Final Chapter

  1. Jeff
    I admire your courage and truthfulness and look forward to many more years of following your Royko spirit. Fight on.
    Arthur Allan

  2. Hi Jeff,

    Even as one of the other applicants, I too agree that Elgin’s City Council is woefully under-representative of the city’s demographics.

    I married into a Hispanic family, and while my father-in-law very closely follows local politics, he has never chosen to get involved through elected office. Given that these are elected positions, it really is up to the Hispanic community to really step it up and get their voices heard, and I really hope they do!

    Because this is an appointment, the City Council really does have opportunity to bring on more involvement from the huge Hispanic community and believe that they should do so now, even if it is a short term. I also agree that there are a large number of very qualified persons who have applied. Selecting one of the Hispanic applicants in this situation is not, as Mr. Prigge has suggested, simply a case of choosing a Hispanic just to have a “token” Hispanic on the board. Rosamaria and Alberto seem to both be well-involved in the community.

    But even though I’m JAWG (just another white guy), I am also a young resident of the city with a very young family (1 and 3 year old kids). The minimum age requirement to hold office is 18, but rarely has there been any candidate south of 30 to really seriously consider political office. Part of that is time, I wish I could be more involved in the city as a volunteer, but with bills (student loans *shudder*) and two youngins, many potential younger candidates have to be more deliberate with their time.

    I love the city and it’s sad to see so much bickering and more importantly vacant buildings in the downtown corridor that it makes the future of Elgin seem uncertain. But this boom in entertainment and the arts is bringing renewed interest in residents and potential residents in my generation. I want to be a voice and representative of the younger members of our community. Ultimately, its our city to inherit, which is why I will definitely be running in April.

    Thank you again Jeff for your spot-on analysis, I am definitely going to become a regular visitor of your blog 🙂

    Kevin Sherman

    • Mr. Ward I read your commentary on the vacant seat on the city Council in Elgin. You have a valid point about representation for Hispanics; however it seems to me if the Hispanics wanted representation on the City council that 44% of the residents in Elgin could elect a Hispanic. I believe the point terry Gavin was trying to make is if you want it work for it, run for it Mike Debroke works hard for the east side residents of Elgin, the Laotian Community contributes to the City of Elgin appoint Chin if you want minority representation, In the end appointments should be for the brightest, hardest working, community interested residents who will represent the City of Elgin despite RACE, COLOR, CREED OR RELIGION.

      • Cary,

        I was waiting for someone to make that excellent point because you are absolutely correct about the fact that Hispanics tend not to vote. But I will offer a counter-argument on the blog later today or tomorrow.

        Jeff

    • Kevin,

      I gotta tell you, your rapidly moving up my list. So even if you don’t get this one, not only would I encourage you to run next time, but I will support your candidacy.

      And I love the term JAWG, though I may attenuate it to JAOWG (just another old white guy).

      I thank you for your support and hope you spread the Jeff Ward blog word!

    • Well said Kevin, I wish you the best of Luck.

  3. Pingback: The empire (or at least Terry Gavin) strikes back! | The First Ward

  4. Why is it that you feel only a minority member can represent a minority. There are good and bad politicos of every race and creed. People should be judged by what they do and not who there parents were or which culture they came from. I serve on the Library Board. Ask any Hispanic, African American or any other person from a minority background, whether the library represents them well. Then look at the make up of my fellow trustees. We all strive to make the library serve all human beings.

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