All good things…

You pay a price for telling the truth and, as of late, that price has gotten pretty steep, financially and mentally. I’m not complaining about it – I knew exactly what I was getting myself into – it’s that I’ve reevaluated my priorities. And after 11 years of trying to bring balance to the force, I’m worn out, stressed, and very unhappy.

Put more simply, I’m no longer willing to accept the consequences for speaking my mind.

Thank you

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of Left, Right and You and Ward & Jones. I started out as a sometime sub and, through a lot of effort, turned it into a regular three day a week show. We got some great sponsors too. But the truth is, Larry and I still have to pay for airtime and I’m not willing to do that anymore.

I’m 58 years old and it’s time to stop chasing impossible dreams. Newspapers and the Huffington Post taught readers the written word comes for free so no one’s gonna hire me as a columnist. If some major radio station was going to sweep me off my feet, it would’ve happened sometime in the last 6 years.

I was thrilled when the show expanded, but putting out three quality products a week is a very time consuming proposition.

Put more simply, for my own mental health, I need to devote my full attention to those endeavors that provide a financial return.

In no way am I blaming or criticizing WRMN, they have been very, very good to me on every bleepin’ level. In fact, their kindness propelled me to do the show much longer than I probably should have. I knew it was a brokered show going in, and I knew that wasn’t going to change.

Put more simply, I have decided it’s time to move on to other things.

I want to thank WRMN and, especially Leah Unser. I want to thank my co-hosts Larry Jones, Allen Skillicorn, Tim Elenz, and Paul Edwards for some really fun shows. I want to thank our sponsors, Ancel Glink, American Eagle Bank, Driver Tom, and Bravo Magazine for having faith in us.

But most of all, I want to thank you, the listeners. Without you, none of this would’ve been possible. When I said, “Thank you for listening,” I really meant it.

The 4/4/17 edition of Ward & Jones

…is right here:

 

Larry and I want to thank new Elgin City Councilman Corey Dixon for calling in and talking with us. He will be a great addition to that governing body!

Meanwhile, the Smiling Conservative and I covered all of the election results and provide the kind of analysis that you only get from Ward & Jones.

Friday! Larry and I will get back to the news. I bet you can’t wait! Until then…

Kurt meme

Ward & Jones at 3 p.m. on AM1410

After last night’s election coverage extravaganza, the Smiling Conservative and I will be back this afternoon to review all of the results. That includes, but is not nearly limited to:

  • How could Elgin City Councilman John Prigge lose?
  • Elgin Township will be Democratic for the first time in over 100 years!
  • How to lose an election and destroy your friends like Tom Simonian did in Geneva
  • Richard Irvin will be the first black mayor of Aurora!
  • U-46 voters repudiate an alt-right agenda

But best of all, new Elgin City Councilman Corey Dixon will call us early in the show!

And you can call in too at 847-931-1410 or text the show at 224-325-4458.

Where’s the only place you get this kind of in-depth local, northern Illinois, and Springfield news coverage? That’s right! Ward & Jones, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, at 3p.m. on WRMN AM1410. Be there or be square.

 

Jeff and Lary Bravo

 

 

 

It’s the election night Ward & Jones!

Though the results are in, you might still want to listen to the magic that is Ward & Jones:

 

Of course Larry and I want to thank Kurt and Brittany Kojzarek for performing their usual election night magic. The Aurora and DuPage Election Commissions may have slowed us down, but we still got you most of the results.

Today at 3, the Smiling Conservative and I will recap and analyze all of the elections. Until then…

election-nigh-16

The Ward & Jones election night extravaganza…

…is coming up at 7 p.m. on WRMN AM1410.

Larry Jones, Kurt Kojzarek, Brittany Kojzarek and, of course me, Jeff Ward, will bring you all the lightning fast election results and in-depth analysis that you’ve come to expect from Ward and Jones!

And it always starts with our round table predictions. I know I’m ready to make some!

So please join us tonight from 7 to 10 p.m. as we bring results, insights and some humor to the electoral process.

election-nigh-16

Quick Hit – Newspaper, heal thyself!

The Daily Herald just did a three-part editorial entitled “Our Dwindling Democracy,” in which their editorial board lamented a lack of local candidates. That’s certainly not a bad thought and they should be commended for it, but I can’t bring myself to do that, because that newsroom’s consistent failure to apply any kind self-reflective capacity bugs the crap out of me.

Don’t get me wrong, the DH did get a few things right. Illinois does have too many levels of local government and our nominating petition process makes it too easy to commit a mortal error.

That said, they could’ve been clearer about how campaigns take a mental toll and candidates can end up broke with nothing to show for it. They also forgot that many mayoral and city council gigs aren’t really “part-time,” and my infamous quote, “Threatening to throw someone off the school board is like threatening to stop beating them with a 2 x 4.”

The End

But what really frosts my cookies is the Daily Herald has no clue as to their role in discouraging people from running for office.

Let’s start with their lack of any real journalistic effort. The last in-depth story the DH did was Melissa Silverberg’s magnificent series on the East Aurora School District. But that was back in May of 2016. If our local papers aren’t willing to expose the entitlement mentalities that often plague our local boards, then who will?

Don’t tell me they don’t have the resources to do it either. Ward & Jones is all of two people and I break more stories than the entire DH.

Take my recent series on the compromised Kane County Public Defender emails. The DH actually got their hands on it first, but they either didn’t grasp the magnitude of the problem or they simply didn’t care.

To make matters so much worse, the DH’s endorsement process is so fraught with peril that new candidates don’t have a shot.

Their automated notice system doesn’t always work. They put too many hopefuls in the same room which turns the interview into a debate. Editors rely on candidate surveys and an hour-long interview to make their final decision and then they endorse folks who fail to submit a survey and/or don’t show up for the interview.

The Daily Herald endorsed so many incumbents this round that I’ve been giving Geneva Second Ward alderman Rich Marks all sorts of crap grief for being the only they didn’t. So why should new candidates answer their call to run?

But where the DH’s holier-than-thou attitude truly falls flat is their political coverage, especially when it comes to new candidates. Here’s a perfect example.

Despite the plethora of pithy information Batavia mayoral candidate Jason Stoops provided at a local forum, Sue Sarkauskus chose to highlight his sanctuary city answer. I may be fond of Sue, but she knew damn well it was a meaningless question and she led with that low-hanging fruit anyway.

And sure enough! The Batavia crazies were all over Jason. Of course, the real headline was how well he performed against a 9-term incumbent, but that wouldn’t generate the next easy story, now would it?

Meanwhile, DH reporter Jim Fuller openly admits he pits politicians and candidates against each other to make his job easier. The truth is, the worst reporter can make mincemeat out of novice candidates who haven’t learned how to handle the press yet.

The day Harry Hitzeman actually gets a story right I’ll start rooting for the White Sox.

The ironic result of this vast hypocrisy is, beyond prepared statements, local campaign managers no longer let their clients talk to the press. And they carefully practice all forum and debate answers too – neither of which adds to the political process.

Given my carefully crafted argument, I’m going to ask the Daily Herald a question that’s just dripping with irony! “Why should anyone run for office when your journalistic standards are so low, your endorsement process borders on unethical, and your reporters regularly set up new candidates to get the next story and sell newspapers?”

So here’s my thought. Perhaps I’ll purchase a very large mirror for that main Paddock Publishing Arlington Heights newsroom. And perhaps the day will come when an enterprising editor or reporter stares into it and, in the words of the great cartoonist, suddenly shouts, “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

I won’t hold my breath.

The 4/3/17 edition of Ward & Jones

…is right here:

 

Though I think Jeff Meyer, my substitute co-host did get a little too partisan, Larry and I still want to thank him for filling in. And we barely made it, but we covered all of the biggest Kane County races and we made some predictions too.

Once again Larry and I would encourage you to get out and vote tomorrow. After all, these local elections have the biggest impact on your tax bill.

Don’t forget! Tomorrow night (Tuesday) for 7 to 10 p.m. is the Ward & Jones election report extravaganza. That’s Larry, Kurt Kojzarek, Brittany Kojzarek, and yours truly bringing you all the election results.

Jeff and Jeff

Quick Hits – April 3, 2016

This doesn’t work!

I typically pass the McClean Boulevard Elgin Township offices on my three weekly Elgin sojourns and I laugh out loud every single time because you’ll see something like this:

Too Many Signs

It baffles me that any reasonable candidate thinks the lemming school of campaign management could possibly work.

That great political philosopher and Kane County Treasurer Dave Rickert calls these eyesores ‘sign graveyards’ because that’s where yard signs go to die. Not only are these graveyards a terrible messaging medium, but they’re detrimental to the campaign process as a whole.

Too many placards in one place turns it into the political equivalent of white noise and  trains voters to ignore all yard signs. Worse yet, the voters who actually do notice the mess get totally turned off by all the “litter.”

I don’t want to give away all my campaign secrets, but I insist that my candidates focus primarily on front lawns and set their signs separately from their opponent(s) whenever possible. If a generic sign location gets too crowded, those signs get moved.

That goes for cramming thousands of yard signs just millimeters outside the 100 foot mark at every bleepin’ polling place too. It might be a Christo-esque modern art statement, but it won’t get you any votes.

Just don’t do it.


This doesn’t work either

If there truly is a yin to my complicated yang, it would have to be my good friend and Streamwood resident Bill Wright. For the uninitiated, Bill helps moderate the U-46 Uncensored Facebook page, he’s politically active and he aggravates the bleep out of me by often condensing my 800 column words into just two paragraphs.

That kind of temerity is even worse than being a Cardinal fan.

Bill rarely speaks ill of any candidate and, unlike me, it takes a lot to get him going. But mediocre campaign manager Drew Veeneman and the Citizens to Elect Cody Holt committee managed to do just that. Please note to whom this mailer is addressed:

McRino

“Billy H. McRino.” Funny right?

Alt-right candidates like Cody Holt and Enoch Essendrop already have to spend a great deal of campaign time defending their stilted candidacies and something this blitheringly stupid undermines all that effort in a nanosecond.

Nice going Cody and Drew! What are you guys gonna do for an encore, call random voters and ask if their water heater’s running?


This doesn’t work part three

Jeff Meyer and I will cover some of this silliness on Ward & Jones at 3 p.m. today (4/3 on AM1410), but the folks on both sides of the Elgin Township electoral effort really need to calm down a bit.

It’s not necessarily the candidates either. As is typical of late-in-the-game attack mailers, they come from “concerned” anonymous folks who think they’re helping a candidate, though they rarely do.

To wit, two mailers recently hit Elgin voters.

The first was a Pinocchio themed piece in which the “Noland State Central Committee” went after the Republican township slate for failing to consolidate services like Hanover Township is currently attempting to do.

Of course, the Republican township highway commissioner immediately started defending his position until some smart soul reminded him that state law forbids this kind of consolidation outside of Cook County.

And by the way, the Noland State Central Committee is not registered with the state and is not necessarily attached to former 22nd District State Senator Mike Noland. Though if anyone could get it wrong, he could!

Meanwhile, “The Elgin Progressives for the Truth,” another unlisted campaign committee, put out a hit on Democratic Township Supervisor candidate Franklin Ramirez. That mailer asked voters if they’d trust their township to a “Republican operative.”

Yes! Ramirez once was a member of the Republican House Committee staff, but that kind of gig typically requires putting some of your political beliefs aside. Even if that’s not the case, Kane County politicians switch sides all the time.

Perennial Coroner candidate Stan Hickrod made an art out of it. My favorite county board member, Deb Allen, turned Democratic when her district did. With the exception of Recorder Sandy, the entire Wegman family has switched sides so many times they write “D” or “R” on the palm of their left hand.

So it’s nothing new. And we all know that mailer didn’t come from any “progressive” group, it came from some snickering Republicans who have nothing better to do that try to scare Democratic voters.

The thing is, especially with early voting, not only do these spurious last-minute attacks fail, but they often backfire. And the net effect is that fewer folks trust politicians and  fewer want to engage in the political process.

Just don’t do it.

Ward & Jones coming up at 3 on AM1410

One of my many on-call attorneys and EEC Trustee Jeff Meyer will be filling in for the Smiling Conservative today.

Not only will we recap and offer our thoughts on all the local races, but we’ll dispense with some of the silliness that makes the late election season so much fun!

Where’s the only place you get this kind of in-depth local, northern Illinois, and Springfield news coverage? That’s right! Ward & Jones, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, at 3p.m. on WRMN AM1410. Don’t miss it!

 

Your Vote Matters