Quick Hits – February 29, 2016

If they were any more transparent, they be invisible!

I’m not saying Elgin City Councilman John Prigge isn’t prone to making some strange statements. It’s just that, when he does, there’s usually some sort of underlying logic to them. The implied theory may be peculiar to the councilman, but at least you understand why he made the point.

But his latest pronouncement kinda baffles me.

John asked the Elgin Police to issue a press report anytime shots are fired within the city limits. As he put it, “There’s too much anxiety in our neighborhoods.” So let’s tackle one contention at a time.

priggeFirst, the EPD is the most transparent police force on the planet. Aurora is great and St. Charles was excellent under Jim Lamkin, but Elgin is incredible. There have been times when I’ve called Chief Jeff Swoboda to check on a developing story only to find the information was already posted to the EPD’s Facebook page – while the phone was still ringing.

On the rare occasion I beat them to the punch, the Chief immediately picks up the phone, tells me what’s going on, and lets me know if I can run with, or if I need to wait until they tie up some loose ends.

I’ve never seen anything like it!

Meanwhile, trying to get information out of almost any other police department is a lot like pulling chicken teeth. Take the Geneva Police for example. The City forced me to FOIA data that the police had to make public and then they refused to answer the FOIA. Then I had to appeal it all the way to the Attorney General’s office to get them to comply with the law!

But Elgin? I’ve never had to file a FOIA for anything.

Perhaps the Councilman is simply trying to stir up fear which he does enjoy doing on occasion. But even that falls kind of flat here because, with the exception of gun violence, crime in Elgin – and most major U.S. cities (even Chicago) – is way down.

Anxiety in the neighborhoods? Please correct me if I’m wrong my esteemed Elginians, but I just don’t see it.


Single issue candidates rarely win and they can’t effectively govern when they do

And the 2016 iteration of this tired old tale will be no different.

SLMThough Larry and I love to give folks credit for throwing their hats into the County Board ring, none of the three Longmeadow Loon candidates will ever get more than 33 percent of the vote. And by “Longmeadow Loons” I means those folks who woke up 30 years too late to oppose a bridge that’s been a done deal for quite some time.

Of course, their first problem is that all three of ‘em are running for the same county board seat which guarantees at least two of them will lose. That certainly ain’t the best political planning.

Jarett Sanchez is running against Democratic incumbent Joe Haimann, while Roben Hall and Billita Jacobsen are running on the Republican side. Like most single-issue candidates, Sanchez will be lucky to get 30 percent of the vote, Jacobsen has all the personal appeal of a rabid hedgehog, and Hall simply doesn’t present well.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say all three win. It still wouldn’t change a bleepin’ thing. Three nay board votes aren’t nearly enough to derail this popular project and their peers will quickly tire of these one-trick ponies rendering them ineffective.

When these folks almost inevitably lose, they tend to fall back on some sort of conspiracy theory because they couldn’t possibly be wrong, could they? Government is all about give and take and single-issue candidates rarely catch on.

All that said, it’s immensely fun to sit back and watch the single-issue electoral process unfold!


Now he’s just makin’ it up!

C’mon! We all expect our local candidates to gild the lily to some degree, but Kane County Republican Chairman candidate Ken Shepro – an historian in his own right – has taken rewriting history to a whole new level.

kane countyI’m not sure how he avoided the lightning strike at the Elgin Area League of Women Voters forum when he said, “[Chris Lauzen] talks about freezing the levy, he wants to take credit for all the good things that happened because he took over a county with a credit rating of double A plus and $55 million in reserves.”

Say what?

Back in the day, I spoke with former Chairman Mike McCoy who noted that successor Karen McConnaughay blew through his $40 million surplus faster that a real housewife of Orange County on a three-day shopping bender.

When McConnaughay walked out that Building A front door, the surplus was no more than $1.4 million and the County contingency fund was well below that. So not only were there no surpluses during the McConnaughay years, but she raised taxes to the tune of 50 percent to cover the increasing expenses.

It’s only through the fine financial work of this County Board that we have any surplus whatsoever.

Keep trying Ken! Maybe someday even you will believe you!

Quick Hits

This is the February 29, 2016 edition of Left, Right and You!

And this kind of show could’ve only happened on Leap Day:


Larry and I want to thank Elgin State Reps Anna Moeller and Steve Andersson for coming on the show and proving that, not only can Illinois legislators still talk to each other, but they can come up with some pretty interesting solutions too!

Perhaps there’s hope in Springfield yet!

We also want to thank Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain for calling in and showing his support for this bi-partisan effort.

Thursday! the Smiling Conservative is back in saddle! Until then…

Steve, Anna and Jeff


Left, Right and You tackles the budget battle!

As part of their effort to bring some sort of resolution to the Springfield budget stalemate, 43rd District Democratic State Rep Anna Moeller and 65th District Republican Steve Andersson will join us in the studio this morning to discuss solutions.

Could this bi-partisan effort be the start of something good?


Where is the only place you get these kinds of local story insights? That’s right! Left, Right and You, Mondays at 9 a.m. and Thursdays at 3 p.m. with the Smiling Conservative, Larry Jones, and me, the Curmudgeonly Liberal, on WRMN AM1410. You don’t want to miss this one!

Quick Hits – February 26, 2016

We don’t do endorsements these days, but…

With all the candidates gracious enough to come on Left, Right and You, making endorsements doesn’t make sense anymore. The entire point of those hour-long radio forums is to give you, the voter, all the information you need to make an informed decision.

But I am going to make an exception here and endorse 18th District Kane County Board Member Drew Frasz.

FraszDrew truly represents his constituents, he attends a slew of committee and community meetings, and, most of all, he understands that a 24 person board has to work in concert to get anything done.

Meanwhile, his opponent, Jim MacRunnels, is an abject bully who’s never quite made it past the third grade. He has no clue what teamwork is, he has no idea what it takes to effectively run a county, and his brand of “fiscal conservatism” would cost the County millions more than we’re spending now.

But why listen to me? Simply read MacRunnel’s responses to the Kane County Chronicle’s endorsement interview and you’ll see exactly what kind of bleep he really is. And as my favorite TV judge likes to say, “If this is how you behave in the court of public opinion, I can only imagine how you behave when no one’s looking.”

The truly sad thing about all of this is MacRunnel’s once called himself Drew’s friend.

To make matters even worse, MacRunnels is being backed by Oswego political operative John Reeves, whose sole purpose is to seek political payback for Frasz’s failure to support his wife’s State Rep run. The irony there is, Keith Wheeler won that race in large part because this Reeves wholeheartedly supported him two years earlier.

The bottom line is, Frasz is an exponentially better county board choice. So please send Mr. MacRunnels back under the rock from which he occasionally crawls out from under.

I wouldn’t wanna be Keith Wheeler right now

Because he – or should I say his legislative aides – are taking all kinds of telephone heat for an ill-conceived bill that our intrepid State Rep half-heartedly signed onto.

HB6064, the brain child of GOP State Rep John Cavaletto, proposes that, “…if the unmarried mother cannot or refuses to name the child’s father, either a father must be conclusively established by DNA evidence or a family member’s name, a birth certificate will not be issued and the mother will be ineligible for financial aid from the State for support of the child.”

In other words, if the single mother can’t or won’t finger the father, the blameless child will be damned for life. No birth certificate means no education, no job, no pretty much anything. Didn’t Nathaniel Hawthorne write a book about something like this?

WheelerSo while I certainly agree with the notion of holding fathers responsible for their progeny, this is not the way to do it. In fact, this bill is the kind of silly misogynistic Republican effort that keeps them from winning Illinois elections.

And what makes this inevitable collateral damage so much worse is that Donald Trump has a better chance of being invited to a quinceanera than this bill has of making it through the Democratic General Assembly

Thankfully, Representative Wheeler, who really isn’t a bad guy, paid heed to his capable advisors and is in the process of withdrawing his name from this misguided bill. Good for him!

But as far as Mr. Cavaletto goes, just when you thought that Illinois Republicans couldn’t possibly make it worse from themselves, they do. It takes real talent to be able to shoot yourself in the foot on such a consistent basis!

Hope springs eternal!

Sometimes, even in Springfield!

Though you’d never know it because the local papers, once again, completely missed the story. And by “story” I mean the joint statement issued by 43rd District State Rep Anna Moeller and 65th State Rep Steve Andersson calling for a return to Springfield budgetary sanity.

To paraphrase:

“We acknowledge the dysfunction that has gripped our state government and the collateral damage it is inflicting on the citizens of this state. As new State Representatives representing both side of the aisle, we want to see an enactment of a fair and balanced budget. We know we can do this through bi-partisan cooperation, and indeed acknowledge that the best outcome will only come through genuine compromise.”

They conclude:

“We commit to ensuring all members of the legislature are part of a meaningful dialogue on solving the state budget problem. We stand ready to work together.”

This is how it starts folks! Now your best bet is to call your own legislators and insist they join Anna and Steve in this eminently constructive effort.

As far as my part of this goes, both State Reps will be in-studio for the Monday, February 29, 9 a.m. edition of Right and You on WRMN AM1410. And I gotta tell ya, the mere thought of that show is making me kinda giddy!


Quick Hits

This is the February 25, 2016 edition of Left, Right and You!


Once again! The intrepid Smiling Conservative and I covered it all!

We want to thank Lisa for calling in and making the point that, had U-46 School Board loon Jeanette Ward’s children been surprised by an unexpected liberal classroom guest, she’d have a bleepin’ cow!

Meanwhile, Monday’s gonna be a great show folks. Democratic 43rd District State Rep Anna Moeller and Republican 65th District State Rep Steve Andersson will be in-studio to reissue their bi-partisan call for Springfield sanity.

Until then…


There’s a lot to talk about on Left, Right and You!

Start your radios folks because another fine installment of Left, Right and You is comin’ up at 3 o’clock. At that time the Smiling Conservative and I will cover:

  • Our final thoughts on our recent Campton Hills rehab center guests
  • U-46 School Board member Jeanette Ward doubles down on Black History Month
  • Gym waivers (or the lack of them) cause a U-46 kerfuffle
  • Kane County hikes court fees (again)
  • State Reps Anna Moeller and Steve Andersson issue a bi-partisan call for Springfield sanity
  • And your calls on these very topics at 847-931-1410




The only place you get this kind of local news analysis is Left, Right and You, Mondays at 9 a.m. and Thursdays at 3 p.m. with the Smiling Conservative, Larry Jones, and me, the Curmudgeonly Liberal, on WRMN AM1410. Be there or be square!

Quick Hits – February 25, 2016

Jeanette Ward doubles down

Or, as I almost called this post, “Black unlike me!”

To absolutely no one’s surprise, U-46 School Board loon Jeanette Ward just can’t let go of Black History month. And you all thought white people rapping was bad enough! Undaunted by her peculiar February Facebook pronouncements, Ms. Ward wasted no time in proving that only she knows what’s good for black folks.

And she ain’t afraid to tell them about it either.

This time, Ward showed up at Larkin High School’s Black History Club with a full posse in tow, despite the fact that the club’s faculty adviser made it clear that the students were inviting just her. Ward’s entourage consisted of:

  • An African American couple from Waukegan because that’s how far Ms. Ward has to go to have black friends.
  • Tea partier and failed candidate extraordinaire Julie Schmidt.
  • Seth “Leni Riefenstahl” Somebody the “reporter” who writes for that fake free local “newspaper.”

The irony of Schmidt showing up is, after Ward erroneously accused Elgin City Councilwoman Tish Powell having no dog in the U-46 hunt, Schmidt actually has no stake in the district. Of course, we can’t tell Schmidt to heed Ward’s advice to pay attention to her own constituents because she has none.

Then, instead of having a dialogue, each posse member proceeded to speak on the vagaries of African Americans refusing to become victims. Why, they even told those baffled high schoolers to avoid using the term “white privilege” and substitute “dominant culture” instead.

Sage advice I’m sure.

Sadly, the young faculty advisor, who could’ve immediately shut this farce down, didn’t have the experience to do so. But I’m sure even she knew how utterly inappropriate it was for a school board member to co-opt an after-school club meeting to promote a stilted and bigoted message.

A source who was at the gathering said the kids were “upset and confused.”

But all is not lost dear readers! As a result of her February antics, I’ve come up with a new nickname for our amazing Ms. Ward – Vanilla Rice! Because it doesn’t get much whiter than her.




The nerds are revolting!

And I can say that because I am one – a nerd that is! While we’re at it, some folks think I’m revolting too.

But in this case, we’re talking about U-46 gym waivers, as in they’re not nearly handing out as before and the smart kids are complaining that PE takes too much away from their study time.

But it was when some of them whined about already playing club sports that it really frosted my cookies. You all already know what I think about club sports! Combine insane parents with cheating administrators and it ruins it for everyone.

But rather than go on another rant about club sports failing to produce just one world class athlete, I turned to U-46 CEO Tony Sanders instead.

Tony told me that the District had been previously passing out all sorts of waivers at a breakneck pace and, in an effort to curtail that process, they implemented new rules which had an unintended and undue effect on gym waivers.

He also noted that Academy students’ heavy course load precludes PE and the nerd’s (my word, not his) and their parents did make compelling argument for the reinstatement of the waivers. So the plan is to restore balance to the waiver force, but Tony also noted that, should it come down to dropping a study hall or PE, the study hall would go first.

And that’s the way it should be because the obesity epidemic is shortening life spans, we want to produce well-rounded young men and women, and teamwork is essential to success on this planet.

BTW, you young athletes will have far fonder memories of playing for your high school team as opposed to wasting your time on club sports. It’s your last chance to play with the friends who will soon be scattered by those collegiate winds.


Glenwood School


Campton Hills gets a rehab center

Before we get started, Larry and I want to thank former Kane County Chief Judge Keith Brown, Maxxam Partners’ Steven Marco, and opposition leader and Campton Township Trustee Joe Miller for coming on Left, Right and You to so cogently explain their points of view.

This is exactly how political debate is supposed to work.

After carefully listening to both sides, Larry and I came to the conclusion that we came to the right conclusion right from the start. Though Maxxam could’ve come up with a more detailed facility plan and their Development Committee argument could’ve been better, as good as the opposition’s argument is, we’ve all heard it before.

Maybe if the pendulum hadn’t swung in favor of treating addicts, the outcome would be different. But when this case goes before the FHA, and it will go before the FHA, the opposition’s argument will fall flat because it’s the same argument the FHA has heard for over half-a-century.

I’m not saying they didn’t make good points, it’s just that they weren’t very compelling.

Even though we firmly believe the outcome is in the bag, this one still has a long way to go folks!

Quick Hits