Rose Martinez, Jim Fuller, Shirley Sadjadi on Left, Right and You at 9 a.m on WRMN 1410

That’s right we’re talking immigration today with Elgin City Councilwoman Rose Martinez, Daily Herald Reporter Jim Fuller, and local attorney Shirley Sadjadi.

I’m just gonna get out of the way and let ’em all talk!

The only show that provides this kind of local news analysis is Left, Right and You, Mondays at 9 a.m. and Thursdays at 3 p.m. with Larry Jones and me, the Curmudgeonly Liberal, on WRMN AM1410. It’s going to be a good one!

Martinez 2

Quick Hits (or the lack of them) March 25, 2016

In observance of the fact that Friday’s our lowest hit day and all government employees have the day off, we’ll save our ammunition for Monday. And those salvos will include:

  • It wasn’t Elgin firefighter Amanda Bruce’s first time sexting or cheating.
  • Exactly how the Kane County Chronicle died such an ignominious death.
  • If the Carpentersville city council really wants to improve the city’s image I certainly have some suggestions!

Have a happy Easter or whatever pagan fertility ceremony suits you everyone.



Quick Hits

Left, Right and You coming up at 3 on AM1410!

It’s the thriller in… no! It’s the affair in…no! It’s the battle in…no! What the hell rhymes with Elgin?

Nevertheless, Daily Herald report Jim Fuller and yours truly will go one-on-one to discuss journalism, the DH, and my shortcomings. Of course, that third topic might be a tough one considering it’s only an hour show.

All I can tell you is it will certainly be a fascinating debate!




And the only place you get these kinds of lively discussions is Left, Right and You, Mondays at 9 a.m. and Thursdays at 3 p.m. with Larry Jones and me, the Curmudgeonly Liberal, on WRMN AM1410. Don’t miss it!


Quick Hits – March 24, 2016

We’re not in high school anymore Toto!

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the three Elgin firefighters, two male and one female, who were just disciplined for “sexting” each other and others – a typically high school pastime – between 2009 and 2013.

If you haven’t caught up yet, the DH did a reasonable job of sorting out the sordid details.

In the end, I agree with Mayor Kaptain, Elgin Fire Chief John Fahy, and the Union who unanimously declared the assorted punishments to be equitable. I even concur with Fahy’s contention that, “The videos and photos took 5 to 10 minutes of their time at work. In that time frame, Elgin firefighters put in about 1.5 million hours of work. It wouldn’t be fair to judge all of them by these 5 to 10 minutes.”

But where I start to deviate from that lofty pack is how in the heck did our trio come to the conclusion they were that invulnerable? C’mon! Putting that stuff on your cellphone is virtually the same thing plastering it all over social media.

The female firefighter, who was clearly having one or more affairs, had the nerve to say her ex-husband gained “unauthorized and possibly illegal access to certain personal information.” In other words, he picked up her cellphone and looked.

As a result of covering public entities for ten long years, I’ve learned that this frat house “we can get away with anything” attitude almost always starts at the top and I certainly have my suspicions here.

When I covered the County for the Beacon-News, Fire Chief Fahy was a board member. And while it’s not at all unusual for a politician to harbor an entitlement mindset (Mike Noland, Steve Caramelli, Rob Russell, Kevin Burns, Bill Sarto, Karen McConnnaughay…) John was particularly prone to that affliction.

Here’s a perfect example.

During the McConnaughay era, a plurality of the board members had a really bad habit of joking, laughing, and talking while citizens were speaking. And Fahy was the ringleader in that regard. I understand some of the public speakers were a bit nutty, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve some basic respect.

When I wrote a column about that practice, instead of simply saying “You may be a bleep, but you’re right about this one,” John sought me out at the next board meeting and proceeded to tear me a new one for my “impropriety.”

Though I certainly will give him credit for doing it face-to-face.

Rest assured, 90 percent of Elgin firefighters would never do anything to disgrace themselves, the uniform, or the city. But given Fahy’s vast entitlement mentality and fascinating leadership style, I’d be willing to bet there’s more to come.

Of course, it was John Prigge!

Who ratted out Rose Martinez, that is!

An impeccable source told me Councilman John Prigge knew all about City Manager Sean Stegall playing editor to Councilwoman Martinez’s prose, and it was Prigge who told Elgin OCTAVE boss Chuck Keysor to FOIA those emails.


John Prigge

By the way, the fact that Keysor follows Prigge around like an overeager lapdog in no way absolves him from his complicity in this and other fiascos.

The thing is, I can’t get mad at John for behaving this badly because he’s exactly who he says he is. Going after him would be just like blaming the bee for that nasty sting – it’s what they do. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fascinating ironies here either.

Because after the grenade he hurled went off, John immediately took to Facebook to take advantage of his lackey’s dirty deed.

First he admitted that, “One look at the voting we have done in the last six months will produce (sadly) very few close votes where swaying an individual councilmember would have made a difference. Therefore, I see no reason [Sean] would do so.”

So John! If nothing’s changed, then what’s the bleepin’ problem? Other than you longing to see your name in print at every turn.

Then he called out the “liberal” city council members by asking them, “What exactly have you done to mentor or even help your appointee [Rose] in the last two years?

Apparently Councilman Prigge’s already forgotten that Rose was the third highest 2015 City Council vote getter, pretty much matching his best electoral performance. When you consider John’s modest admissions to being the best city councilman ever, why hasn’t he bothered to bestow his vast wisdom upon Rose?

But here’s the best part! Councilman Prigge meets with Sean Stegall at the Elgin Public House, every Thursday from noon to two, to discuss forthcoming agenda items. And while helping a peer with a bit of editing ain’t at all unusual, that is! In fact, John’s the only Alderman I know who meets with his City Manager on such a regular basis.

And if that isn’t the perfect opportunity for Sean to apply his clearly hypnotic capacities, I don’t know what is. So Chuck! When are you going after John?

Will the last one here please turn out the lights?

As we predicted, that Sixth Sense newspaper, the Kane County Chronicle, finally discovered they were dead yesterday.

JTShawAnd that admission came in the form an in-paper missive explaining that the Chronicle will shrink to a weekly print format with associated website updates and a Monday through Saturday email newsletter.

Needless to say, a former Chronicle editor and I quickly agreed that, for a wide variety of reasons, this “milestone,” as always inept General Manager J. Tom Shaw spun it, will never fly. It’s just the last in a long line of Shaw Media death throes.

But given how we’ve already gone on a bit here, we’ll delve into those details a bit more tomorrow.

Quick Hits – March 23, 2016

0 for 2!

This time we’re talking about Governor Rauner and Capitol Fax publisher Rich Miller.

In a March 19 Crain’s piece, Miller wrote that the Rauner-Madigan feud had nothing to do with State Rep Ken Dunkin’s massive loss nor did it factor in to State Senator Sam McCann’s big win. His theory was Dunkin lost because he failed to heed the folks back home while McCann won because he did.

Dunkin McCannThat certainly may have had something do with Dunkin’s 36 point disaster, but the flaw in Miller’s logic is, as a card carrying member of the choir, he fervently believes that the vast unwashed ADHD voter masses actually pay attention to the issues. But they don’t.

The real reason for these opposite electoral outcomes is far simpler. Dunkin lost because the Madigan team knows how to defeat a candidate, while McCann won because the fledgling Rauner team does not.

We’ve already covered just how viscerally effective Madigan’s anti-Dunkin ads were. So even if our intrepid State Rep somehow managed to mow constituents’ lawns every weekend, all that would’ve amounted to is a 26 point loss.

On the other hand, Rauner’s McCann attack ads were eminently unspectacular, simply more of the same, and they completely failed to resonate with the voters. Meanwhile, McCann’s defensive commercial, featuring a believable group of blue collar constituents, was almost as effective as Madigan’s.

What I’m saying is, effective messaging determined these elections and nothing more.

My good friend Kurt Kojzarek surmised that these losses mean nothing to Rauner because he has the kind of cash to play the long game. The problem with that thought is the Governor’s only got two more years to get a lot smarter before the Madigan team turns that messaging machine on him.

They’ve already started!

It may be just the protective canopy, but seeing the work start on Elgin’s Tower Building truly is a sight for sore eyes.

I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about this project that makes me want to pull a chair up to that Chicago and Douglas intersection and sit there and watch. Perhaps, on occasion, I’d even kiss a passerby on the lips.

I’ll keep you posted with pictures on this one!

Accentuate the positive

As a result of attending the Elgin Image Awards, I came up with an idea that I happily passed along to Mayor Kaptain. What if the Elgin City Council gave out a:

  • Volunteer of the Month Award
  • Citizen of the Month Award
  • Organization/Business of the Month Award

These kinds of positive pronouncements would go a long way towards offsetting the tacit negativity that tends to take over any city council meeting. And you can never go wrong by acknowledging folks who regularly put their best forward.

I’m not saying this endeavor should replace the Image Awards, but why wait a year to celebrate the good guys?

I’m not sure about this one

Drive-up communion? That’s a new one!


But it’s exactly what Elgin’s oldest house of worship, the First Congregational United Church of Christ, is gonna do this Holy Week. Drive-up Communion will be available in the Church parking lot from noon to 1 and 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 24 regardless of the receiver’s religious denomination or affiliation.

On the one hand, this interesting idea seems to embrace the worst of our, “if it doesn’t take much effort, I’ll do it,” instant gratification culture. But on the other, ya gotta give these guys credit for giving something different a shot

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the average non-mega church goer’s age is now a ripe old 53. So unless pastors do something to attract younger attendees, their congregations will simply start to die out.

Drive-up communion? I suppose there are stranger possibilities.

Quick Hits – March 22, 2016

A Rose by any other name

Driving by Chuck Keysor’s crumbling house en route to WRMN last week, I briefly considered how welcoming Elgin had become without that self-proclaimed OCTAVE generalissimo making matters so much worse. Since Larry and I gave him enough Left, Right and You rope to hang himself last year, he really hasn’t had all that much to say.

But that sweet silence was summarily shattered by Keysor’s latest attack on Councilwoman Rose Martinez – a woman with whom he’s so clearly obsessed it’s become Elgin’s version of Fatal Attraction. I can just hear him howl, “You can’t ignore me, Rose!”

This time, Keysor FOIA’d her City emails and, after pouring over those missives for days, the best he could come up with is, on occasion, City Manager Sean Stegall edited her written thoughts into more concise statements that Rose read at City Council meetings.

Be still my beating heart!

Of course, Keysor’s kooky theory was Svengali Stegall was exerting all sorts of undue influence over our hapless councilwoman by twisting her words into his own. Yeah right! Apparently only Chuck can save a fragile female from herself.

Here’s the truth!

If I got paid for every bleeping time I edited or helped a politician hone a statement, speech or letter, from city councilman to Springfield assemblymen, I’d be a fricken’ millionaire. Though I’m often tempted to insert my own political philosophy, that would be pure folly because the author would immediately reject it.

So all I generally end up doing is cutting their stuff in half because they’re all so damn wordy.

Some folks are good at writing, some are good at speaking extemporaneously, while others are good at assimilating large amounts of information. Rose isn’t the most dynamic public speaker so the fact that she seeks help in that regard is not all unusual. In fact, it’s smart.

And in the end, those thoughts are hers and no one else’s.

Rose 2

I love it when people prove my point

Every time I note that Chuck Keysor and his fading Elgin OCTAVE group seem to have a consistent problem with minorities, he completely flips out. Then he immediately goes out of his way to prove my point.

And this time is certainly no different.

Rose isn’t up for reelection for three years, she beat her closest 2015 OCTAVE candidate by 12 points, and she’s served on the council without peer complaint, but that hasn’t stopped Keysor from shrieking “she’s not qualified to serve on the city council” just like a single-minded parrot.

Yet he never offers a shred of evidence to back up this oft echoed claim. C’mon Chuck, what proof do you have that Rose isn’t fit to serve other than your flapping gums?

So what’s different about Rose Martinez? What sets her apart from the rest of the Elgin City Council? Why would Chuck Keysor be so obsessed with this woman that he’d resort to FOIAing  her City emails?

Oh yeah!

Chuck Keysor’s not a bigot. He’s just another concerned citizen.

And Mike Danahey ain’t much better

For once I have to give the Daily Herald credit for, so far, staying away from a story that isn’t a story. But that certainly didn’t stop Courier-News reporter Mike Danahey from diving in to grab that low-hanging fruit.

Think about it! Elgin OCTAVE is basically one guy who, on Left, Right and You, said he wouldn’t rest or cooperate until he’d recreated the City of Elgin in his image. Go ahead! Ask Chuck how many folks are card carrying OCTAVE members and he’ll dance around the question faster than Donald Trump trying to tackle answer a policy issue.

Danahey tried to mitigate his complicity in this yellow journalistic endeavor by quoting an NIU professor who said it isn’t at all unusual for politicians to seek out editors. To quote him directly, “In my 27 or so years in my field I haven’t heard very often of a city manager trying to shape the words of a city council member to his ends. I have heard the opposite.”

So if this practice is not at all atypical, then why bother to write about it in the first place? That’s all you really need to know about Mike Danahey.

And the Tribune is even worse

First we have a former Courier-News reporter noting that Tribune editors would strip the word “conservative” from any description of U-46 Board Members Cody Holt, Jeanette Ward, and Phil Costello.

Then we have the Trib absurdly refusing to endorse any Democratic presidential candidate.

And now we have them giving the green light to an attack on the only Hispanic Elgin City Councilwoman simply because one activist loon is on a mission from God.

If you’re the one person in Elgin who still has a subscription to the Courier-News, would you kindly cancel it?

Irony Man

What Chuck Keysor utterly fails to grasp is, he’s just ensured a Martinez victory three years from now. And he’s done that by repeating her name at every turn. If you don’t believe me, then I have two words for you, “Randy Hopp.”

Randy is the clearest and most convincing argument for PT Barnum’s no bad publicity theorem.

Think about it! Despite being charged with beating his elderly parents. Despite being banned from the very library on whose board he served. Despite being banned from the Judson University library. He just won a county board primary against a much better candidate.

The reason he won that race is because, three long years down the road, voters forgot what he’d done, but they remembered his name.

Keep up the good work Chuck!