Quick Hits – July 31, 2017

Ninety percent ain’t good enough?

Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times. Michael Jordan missed more than half his shots. Johnny Unitas failed to connect on 45 percent of his passes. During his incredible 1977 season, Rod Carew got a hit only 39 percent of the time he came to the plate. My favorite former managing editor likes to say you can’t get 9 out of 10 people to agree the sky is blue.

And yet Governor Rauner self-admittedly got 90 percent of what he wanted in the current education reform bill, but that’s not good enough. So, the Sun-Times said, “Take the win, Governor!” and I’d have to agree.

Because this is what happens when you’re dealing with ideologues, we’re right back to square one with another sophomoric standoff in which the Democrats won’t move the bill forward until Senate President John Cullerton has a private meeting with the Governor, and the Governor won’t have a private meeting with Cullerton until the bill is moved forward.


This reminds me of the Paris Peace Talks where the North Vietnamese and the U.S. couldn’t even agree on the shape and size of the negotiating table. It’s a level of political pettiness that I can’t begin to comprehend.

And I put this squarely at the Governor’s feet, because he’s supposed to be the “head coach.” C’mon! Harry Truman knew exactly where that buck stopped!

Meet with Cullerton Bruce! Political progress would grind to a halt if it weren’t for those private discussions. I thought you just discovered that throwing a hissy fit because you didn’t get 100 percent doesn’t work.

And don’t tell me the Democrats are just as bad my Republican friends. For all of Michael Madigan’s vast shortcomings, at least they’re willing to talk. If you doubt that conclusion, please note that the Republican Party controls the White House, the Senate and the House AND THEY STILL CAN’T GET ANYTHING DONE.

This is what happens when you fervently believe that governing by temper tantrum is always a good idea. Meanwhile, good people like State Reps Elaine Nekritz and Barb Wheeler are “retiring” because they can’t stand that Springfield rancor anymore.

Ninety percent!

If any other politician, businessman, or any one of us, got 90 percent of a deal, to quote that great philosopher Steve Miller, we’d “take the money and run.“

And here’s the thing, accepting 90 percent doesn’t mean you have to give up on the other 10. Take the win and move on to the next win. You can work to reform the Chicago school system in subsequent compromises.

So, I’m gonna keep on saying it! Political progress only comes through a series of win-win compromises that slowly move the ball towards the greater good. To think anything else is beyond politically naïve.

Republicans! We have a businessman in the White House and a businessman in Springfield. How’s that workin’ out for ya?


Genevans! Give it up! Campana’s a done deal!

The single question I’m hearing from most of y’all these days is, “Jeff! What’s your take on the whole Campana Building thing?” And you know I never want to disappoint my readers!


So, in that very regard, Batavia will host a massive 7 p.m. Wednesday night (8/2) planning commission meeting (in the city council chambers) to talk about potential zoning variances as well as procure citizen feedback on the low-income apartments slated as a large part of the Campana redevelopment plan.

Meanwhile, the No to Campana group, citing “power in numbers,” is rallying the troops to make their presence felt those Wednesday evening festivities. I’m sure you’ve seen their signs generally littering the Geneva side of Fabyan Parkway.

And I say “littering,” to quote a great playwright, because, “Aye! There’s the rub!”

You see, those Batavia leaders are being more than polite by entertaining all opinions. But, the truth is, the bulk of the No to Campana group live in Geneva, while that mostly vacant building sits squarely in Batavia.

That means those fine planning commission folks will respectfully listen to anyone who speaks, but then they’ll summarily dismiss any Genevan’s concerns because this is a case in which their opinions aren’t worth as much as those proverbial two cents.

Put more simply, the Geneva residents who show up will be completely wasting their breath because:

1. The building has been virtually empty since the ‘80s

Unless the developer shoots for the zoning variance moon, Batavia isn’t about to pass up what may well be the only opportunity to put that property back on the tax rolls. Of course, those opposition Genevans will cite all sorts of alternative uses for that building, but if the market would bear it, it would already be there.

2. This development doesn’t affect Batavians

Since the Campana Building is situated on the lone Batavia peninsula that juts north of Fabyan Parkway, its presence will barely affect Batavians. And that’s the kind of winning proposition that’s gonna make those aldermen giddy with anticipation.

3. Mostly white suburbs are being hammered for no low income housing

Tinley Park, Sleepy Hollow, Zion and even Joliet are facing the federal government’s wrath regarding their failure to follow the low-income housing guidelines. When you consider this development goes a long way towards meeting that requirement, it completes our back–on-the-tax-rolls and doesn’t-affect-Batavians trifecta.

Do you really think the Batavia City Council is going to pass this one up?

4.  Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns is not well-liked

In fact, his often fully unleashed ego has alienated virtually every other Kane County politician. Had he maintained a better relationship with our neighbors, perhaps some sort of deal could be struck, but Batavia leaders will lose no sleep over sticking it to Mayor Burns and those uppity Genevans

So, my No to Campana friends! You can shriek, howl, keen, rend garments, weep uncontrollably, stomp your feet, gnash your teeth and threaten to bring holy brimstone fire down upon that planning commission, but it won’t change a thing. As the great Judge Don Anderson used to say, “Keep your powder dry for something you can actually change!”

Mill Creek railed against those apartments and they came in. Geneva railed against the St. Charles Prairie Winds Apartments and they’re going up right now. St. Charles railed against those former St. Charles Mall apartments and they’re about to be built. Before they’re done, the Charlestown Mall “retail” redevelopment will turn out to be primarily apartments.

The marvelous irony in all this is, the huge demand for rental units is the direct result of the failed subprime mortgage policy applied by the George W. Bush Republican administration. After the smoke from the Great Recession cleared, the pendulum swung back, and now it takes an 800 credit rating to get a mortgage.

Never failing to disappoint me, it’s been utterly fascinating watching Genevans refer to apartment dwellers as, “those people, “that element” and “trash.” It’s always heartening to know I live in the midst of such good Christians.

3 thoughts on “Quick Hits – July 31, 2017

  1. Jeff, unless a whole lot has changed since I left the public sector, being within Geneva’s planning one and one-half mile planning boundary and possibly affecting Geneva school district, you are correct. This is a Batavia issue. Only folks living within the jurisdiction of those city limits should be allowed to speak at the upcoming meeting. But we both know that to try and placate the everyday folk, it is likely that anyone who can shout loud enough will probably be allowed to spout off. Admittedly, I have only read a bit about this and the parking issue and the single elevator for such a huge building, when it becomes dwellings, is just a little crazy. I was, like you, amused to see that the majority of signs protesting this were not in Batavia but in Geneva. Good grief I’m so glad that when we were house shopping all those years ago we passed on the one in Geneva.

  2. The Geneva-Campana situation reminds me of the Mill Creekers who,
    because they have a Geneva zip code, believe they actually live within Geneva!

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