An ode to former Forest Preserve lobbyist Karen Ramey

Where do I begin with this one? Well…how about here!

A disproportionate part of the problems associated with Kane County politics are directly related to the existence of what I like to call “ancillary players.” The term “political groupies” would work just as well. They tend to be folks like precinct committeemen, lobbyists, non-paid minor board members, and self appointed advisers who tenaciously cling to the periphery because they’re addicted to the rush of being a part of the process.  Kane County

Try as they might, they don’t have the comportment, or good sense, to make the big time and, to suit their purpose, they will change allegiances faster than Charlie Sheen changes “girlfriends.”

Please don’t get me wrong, real workers like Michael Foote and Tina Yagla, both Geneva precinct committeemen, are worth their bleepin’ weight in gold. When I decide to run for Mayor of Geneva, those are the first two calls I’ll make.

But for the most part, the ancillary players’ unceasing self-aggrandizing efforts to accumulate an ever increasing piece of the political pie almost always make the situation worse and never better.

Just like the Weak Force transmits the energy necessary for nuclear fusion, these folks are responsible for carrying the feuds, vendettas, inane rumors, one upsmanship, and general middle school mentality that plagues the local political process.

And like a lemming on a death march, ancillary players will stop at nothing to fulfill their self-intended purpose. They also love to give themselves far more credit than they could possibly deserve for whatever turn of events they believe they had a hand in. And they always believe they had a hand in it.

To wit, in DH reporter Jim Fuller’s well-written article on this very topic, if you read between the lines, Ms. Ramey clearly takes credit for getting Chairman Lauzen elected when the truth is, she cost him at least five points.

Please, please, please! I’m certainly not saying our elected officials are anywhere close to perfection because they’re not. Left to their own devices, they generally do a good job. Ah! But when, perhaps seeking respite from the constant criticism, they start relying on these hangers on for their moral compass, it’s the beginning of the end.

So when I read that Forest Preserve President John Hoscheit “gently” guided Ramey into retirement, I wasn’t the least bit surprised. Though the irony is, for a mere 12 grand a year, she did a great job for the Forest Preserve. The best evidence is, when, for the first time in ages, the KCFP asked for other bids, no one came close to her reasonable price.

But because the ancillary player’s job description clearly states you can never be content in your own skin, her constant need to “spread her influence” ultimately did her in. As it was with her friendship with former Chairman McConnaughy, when Karen became more of a liability than an asset…

If you will allow me to briefly digress, I would also like to point out that Mr. Hoscheit’s bizarre outright backing of Mark Davoust for Kane County Clerk might just bring him this very same kind of heartache. There was a time I thought John was chairman material. Not anymore.

Please don’t cry for Karen Ramey, dear readers! Because, like a late Saturday night channel 26 vampire, ancillary players never fade away. No! Like that blazing morning sun, Ms. Ramey will come roaring back to torment her perceived detractors in new and interesting ways.

It’s the cycle of political life!

9 thoughts on “An ode to former Forest Preserve lobbyist Karen Ramey

  1. Figure out a way to “gently guide” Hoscheit into retirement and I will help on your mayoral campaign.
    I for one am tired of Forest Preserve land grabs and the consequent cost in higher taxes to Kane County property owners, plus the money this takes away from township road maintenance funds in the townships of western Kane County.
    Of course, when John Hoscheit DOES leave, the Forest Preserve District will,name its next
    annexation for him, as they have done for others who have helped rob the taxpayers of this county.

  2. First, I had a role in getting Chris Lauzen elected. I voted for him. Second, the DH article helps sum up why Springfield is in such a mess. They rely on lobbyists to get their local information, instead of the local elected officials. The fact that the KCFP EVER had a lobbyist in the first place is a huge problem. And the fact that KFCP relies on grants from an essentially bankrupt state government for their local projects is a major problem as well.

    • Jeff,

      Considering Ms. Ramey’s boundless though unfocused political energy, I may have to come live in your basement until this one blows over. I do cook and clean though.


  3. Dear Readers,

    Yes! I just deleted a post from Karen Ramey under the auspices of “Kane Facts.” Talk about an oxymoron!

    And I did this because, though I’m more than willing to engage anyone on any topic (short of some folks who just want to be a dick and I have much better things to do), she chose not to use her real name.

    You’re right! I did let the Oncoming Storm slide on the Tegeler/Kostelny debate, but that being the lone exception, the policy here is very clear. If you stake a real claim, you MUST use your real name or the post will be deleted. End of story. You can call me all sorts of shit, but the one thing you can never accuse me of is taking the coward’s route by hiding behind a cloak of anonymity.

    What I will finally put to rest is, not only did Chairman Lauzen have nothing to do with me working for the the County Clerk, but, in the beginning, he advised me against it. And if anyone thinks Mr. Cunningham does the Chairman’s bidding, they’re two bananas short of a bunch.

    In addition, though some folks might think that a $49,000 salary is a lot of money, it’s the least I’ve made in the last 25 years. I took the job for the experience and I don’t regret a minute of it.

    Not everything is some sort of conspiracy. And the simple answer here is, I will forever hold the County Clerk in the highest esteem for providing a desperately needed break from writing at a time when I was reeling from senseless newspaper editors and a relentless pace. Once armed with that respite, I have returned to the proposition I love more than anything else in life.

    So, in essence, Ms. Ramey just proved my point. Being the eternal coward, as the ancillary players always are, she wanted to engage in a debate without having to put her reputation on the line. And that dog don’t hunt at The First Ward.

    I love it when people go out of their way to prove my point.


  4. Jeff,

    My old friend.

    I guess I am now added to the list of those with your ever growing target on their back. Certainly I am not alone in this distinction.

    Thank you for your backhanded compliment for the work that was done for the Kane County Forest Preserve District. I wish them nothing but the best in the future and their record of accomplishment that brought them the funding for being the 2nd most successful forest preserve in the state for securing Illinois open space funding is a proud legacy they will no doubt continue.

    Many governments are doing an admirable job of keeping budgets in line and focusing on the challenges ahead of them. And the cities and leaders that you constantly criticize along with certain politicians deserve a nod as well. While we may not always agree certainly no one individual should be the ever changing target for your political arsenal.

    I did not personally agree with timing of the raises that were supported by the Chairman nor an expensive programs that are taking away focus from very important social service needs in the county.

    I would appreciate your posting this personal message and hope that it will not be deleted as I will then be happy to share it in a more formal manner.

    Thank you,

    • Ms. Ramey,

      As long as you use your real name (and we don’t get into name calling and outright lies) your post will stay here until the Internet fades away.

      And as it is with most of the of the folks I cover, there’s nothing personal about! There are no targets, only opportunities. Thus, whether the sentiment is mutual or not, I still consider you friend.

      But as is the sworn oath of any real journalist, the truth is more important than any one of us. And though I think the Forest Preserve was foolish to let you go, your “moving on” simply provided an opportunity to offer my readers some a form of minor political enlightenment.

      To wit, I stand behind what I wrote.

      As far as the Chairman’s raises, they were meager compared to what the former chairman doled out and as long as he keeps his promise not to raise the county property tax levy, I don’t give a flying bleep what he does with the general fund.

      And that’s exactly the way it should be.


      • Jeff,

        Consider the club of ‘ancillary players’ a pretty large one. I think you may even be an ancillary player yourself. The way you describe it makes it sound like a bad thing.

        ‘Ancillary players’ pay taxes and care about the truth too.

        It’s when bloggers that become ‘journalists’ make ancillary players seem like a profound criticism does the spiral begin.

  5. Karen is a complex figure. I consider her a friend and any negatives are outweighed by positives. As your article states, she was a bargain at $1000 a month for the taxpayers. She brought in far more dollars than she collected in fees. Do not underestimate her political knowledge and moxie. While all consultants make mistakes and errors in character judgment sometimes, myself included, Karen is one of the top ten influencers in Kane County politics over the last 25 years.

  6. Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article!
    It’s the little changes that produce the most significant
    changes. Many thanks for sharing!

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