Quick Hits -April 11, 2016

Wake up D304!

Oh Lord! My Geneva school district finally did the right thing, but then they just had to go ahead and screw it up.

It all started with a new downtown TIF district that won’t work because they never do. What it will do, however, is essentially freeze property taxes by putting anything above the current levy in fund to benefit the businesses within its boundaries.


Kent Mutchler

Put more simply, D304 will see no increased revenue from that TIF until it expires in 2039, and since that’s quite a bit of cash, the District fought back. Which is exactly what they should’ve done, but that’s where it all went wrong.

Instead of bringing actual evidence to the County TIF hearing, D304 thought their mere appearance and magnetic personalities would be enough to turn the taxation tide. But sadly, Supervisor of Assessments Mark Armstrong didn’t quite see it that way.

Armstrong said he would’ve considered continuing the meeting and examining the issue further had D304 brought their consultants to testify or any documentation that supported their TIF objection whatsoever. Without that proof, Armstrong called D304’s contentions “hearsay.”

Do I really need to remind you that these are the very men and women who insist that your children do their homework? As my favorite TV judge Marilyn Milian likes to say, “You’ve got to bring me more than just your flapping gums.”

This kind of absurd incompetence starts right at the top with Kent Mutchler who’s clearly tied with U-46’s Connie Neal for worst Kane County School Superintendent ever. All that’s left now is for the Geneva City Council to vote on the TIF, which will likely pass. Guess who gets to make up the difference? Yep! You and me.

Reboot Illinois needs a reboot

I love what Reboot Illinois is trying to do and I generally support their efforts, but it’s getting to the point where comedian Patton Oswalt’s thoughts on “unlistenable” Public Radio apply. To wit, they are a completely humorless group, they’re starting to sound like a broken record, “pedantic” is a massive understatement, and they lack any kind of real insight on anything.


This theory was never more evident than in a piece authored by Reboot head honcho Madeleine Doubek regarding Mike Madigan’s sudden capacity to come off like the champion of the people.

God bless Madeleine for getting out of the Daily Herald and doing something much more meaningful, but while she’s an excellent editor, she ain’t exactly the most scintillating writer. And that’s being kind.

Ms. Doubek proceeded to chide you, me, and the rest of Illinois for falling for Speaker Madigan’s boyish political charm as we blast Bruce Rauner for the budget battle fallout. Considering the preponderance of damage the Democratic supermajority had already done, Doubek wondered how anyone with half a brain could possibly perceive Mike as the champion of “the poor, the working stiffs and the middle class?”

Um…so we’re to blame?

It couldn’t possibly be that an utterly naïve political neophyte like Bruce Rauner insists upon  blundering so badly that he’s managed to put the most hated Illinois politicians in a positive light. C’mon! That kind of thing takes real talent (or the complete lack of it!).

Somehow, the Governor thought that, by vetoing 17 out of 18 appropriations bills, the inevitable trickle-down effect would incite the least of our brothers and sisters into finally blaming the Democrats for the state of the State. But when you stop funding social services, schools, senior programs, and child care, of course they’re going to blame the guy who vetoed all of and continues to promote an impossible pro-business agenda.

Then, just for good measure, against the counsel of two popular former Republican governors, go for the kind first year win that no Governor’s managed to pull off during their entire tenure. Even Capitol Fax’s Rich Miller thinks Bruce Rauner is nuts and considering his fascinating personality, he should know!

Yet Ms. Doubek thinks we’re to blame?

No one on the planet would look this kind of political messaging gift horse in the mouth, much less the Speaker. Put more simply, Governor Rauner has met the enemy and he is him!

And the death throes start

The Chronicle just ended as an almost daily newspaper, but that hasn’t stopped management from putting all sorts of spin on what can only be described as a painfully slow, but certain self-inflicted death. Of course, if a business or government official tried to tweak this kind of suicide into something special, they’d be all over it.

Well…maybe not the Chronicle – they’ve never had that kind of talent.


Despite former Managing Editor (she’s now just “Editor”) Kathy Balcazar’s bubbly prose, the staff is not looking forward to this change – they fear for their jobs. A once a month Kane County magazine? Nobody cares!  Buying the Elburn and Sugar Grove Heralds? Shaw Media’s propensity to make really bad business decisions would indicate those weeklies won’t last long.

A daily email newsletter? I already get enough spam.

Her final contention regarding the perfection of a daily website/weekly print format would have merit if it weren’t for the fact that nobody’s goes to their website now. The article describing these changes has been up since Friday, but there is nary a comment on it.

Even more ironic, the only comment on their number one story by their most popular columnist, is from the Chronicle columnist who managed to get them sued, and let’s just say he doesn’t enjoy the author or her work.

Meanwhile, every time the Chronicle puts something up on the Web, shockingly, it shows up on the Tri-Cities Patches just 20 minutes later. Since Patch has no paywall, readers simply go there.

That may not the best business model, but at least it’s entertaining to watch!

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