Quick Hits – January 31, 2018

It’s starting to get interesting!

Just when I thought our Illinois mid-term races were gonna become the cure for insomnia, Wheaton State Rep and Governor Bruce Rauner primary opponent, Jeanne Ives, managed to rouse me from my semi-hibernatory January state.

And that’s not an easy thing to do!

During their Chicago Tribune endorsement interview, Ives seized the elephant by the trunk when she went after our beleaguered Guv for:

  • Being eminently untrustworthy
  • Lying to Chicago Cardinal Blaise Cupich about his stance on abortion
  • Falling prey to his wife’s “socially progressive agenda”
  • Being responsible for the state income tax hike
  • Caving in to Speaker Michael Madigan “every time”
  • Pandering to the union

while never quite giving the Governor an opportunity to speak. Are you taking notes Chris Kennedy?

Rauner was so flustered by her diatribe that he referred to it as “a filibustering screed,” which didn’t go over very well with anyone. Try saying that to your wife the next time you get into a domestic debate.

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Never mind that Ives didn’t mention a damn thing about how she might actually govern, but we all know that being a semi-crazy conservative means never having to worry about the details.

The most fascinating thing about this scenario was that Rauner knew he couldn’t counterattack Ives because he’ll need all those conservative voters to have any shot at prevailing in the general election. So, he went after Madigan instead, which sent me right back into my pre-vernal slumber

Look! I have no intention of voting for Ms. Ives, but I really do enjoy watching a candidate campaign so effectively that they completely control the conversation – against the incumbent.

This may well turn out to be a real race before it’s over folks!

 

She’s mentally ill! Can’t a Christian nation do better?

We’ve all heard – and laughed about – the story of our serial O’Hare stowaway who, this time, managed to make it all the way to the UK earlier this month. Marilyn Hartman, 66, of Grayslake was charged with felony theft for boarding a British Airways flight to Heathrow Airport, where she was immediately apprehended and forced to take a flight home.

Of course, our illustrious friends at the TSA can’t explain how she managed to pull this off – at least a dozen separate times. And how the bleep do you get on a airplane without a boarding pass?

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Upon reducing her bail, Cook County Judge Donald Parnese, Jr. warned Hartman to avoid O’Hare and Midway airports three separate times. But to absolutely no one’s surprise, a scant two days later, she was arrested in ORD terminal three at 1:30 a.m. by the Chicago Police.

So now, with her bond revoked, Hartman sits in Cook County jail, where she’ll get no real treatment to the tune of 150 taxpayer dollars a day.

Yes! She’s previously been ordered to undergo treatment and she’s up for yet another psychiatric evaluation, but that’s like telling Agent Orange to stop tweeting in the Krapper at 2 in the morning. The problem is, the kind of program Hartman needs are few and far between because, we the people, aren’t willing to foot the bill for it.

C’mon people! How can we call ourselves a Christian nation when we can’t handle this, the least of our sisters? This story may be somewhat amusing, but most of the scenarios involving the chronically mentally ill are not.

And the irony is, if we treated the mentally ill up front, the tax savings would be enormous.

 

Art Velasquez was a good man

One of the highlights of my brief stint at the Kane County Clerk’s office were the days Aurora activist, Art Velasquez, would come in for a conversation. He certainly wasn’t one of the typical politicians who regularly darkened Jack Cunningham’s doorway.

There was no “air” about Art, his feathers could not be ruffled, and he simply told the truth. Art had a unique gift for being able to compliment you and call you out in the same sentence – and he was almost always right!

I regret that we only got together a couple of times after I left the clerk’s office, but when we did, I always felt a little bit better about life afterwards.

Art died at the age of 83 last Saturday and, though there are very few absolutes in this existence, I can absolutely say that he loved Aurora with all his heart and he will be greatly missed.

Quick Hits – January 29, 2018

Let Bannon Speak!

God! I hate liberals – especially those of the collegiate variety. And the fact that I’m socially liberal myself isn’t about to change that sentiment.

The reason for that latest blanket statement is, University of Chicago Booth School of Business Professor, Luigi Zingales, invited former Trump advisor, Steve Bannon, to speak at the school on “the economic benefits of globalization and immigration.”

Just like clockwork, dozens of students and professors immediately took to the Quad, or whatever the heck they call it at the U of C, armed with signs demanding Bannon be banned. This, of course, forced Zingales to defend his invitation by stating the far-too-obvious:

“I can hardly think of a more important issue for new citizens and business leaders of the world than the backlash against globalization and immigration. Whether you agree with him or not (and I personally do not), Mr. Bannon has come to interpret and represent this backlash in America. For this reason, I invited Mr. Bannon to a debate on these issues with our faculty.”

Ban Bannon

Exactly! Like him or not, Bannon has made quite the impact on this country and its policies, and it would be fascinating to see him face off against folks who not only sit on the other side of the fence, but know how to engage in a civil debate.

University officials added:

“The University of Chicago is deeply committed to upholding the values of academic freedom, the free expression of ideas, and the ability of faculty and students to invite the speakers of their choice.”

Yep! Let him talk!

Because whether it’s Bannon, Milos Yiannopoulos, Anne Coulter or any of our other current fun-loving rightwing radicals, the best thing we can do is let them speak. I understand no one will ever dissuade their faithful, but rational people will be provided with an opportunity to see these far less-than-stellar individuals for who they really are!

No safe zone necessary!

 

Every now and then, Illinois gets it right!

To wit, I wholeheartedly support State Rep Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) who’s sponsored the Dave Duerson Act to Prevent CTE which would eliminate organized tackle football for children 12 and under.

You may recall that Duerson is the former Chicago Bears defensive back who committed suicide at the age of 50 after suffering the debilitating effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. He shot himself in the chest so his brain could be studied for a link to the repeated head trauma he suffered as an 11-year NFL standout.

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Dave Duerson

First, have you seen the size of some of those 11 and 12 year-olds these days? When I coached travel soccer I ran into some six-plus-footers who outweighed me!

Second, having had to avail myself of physical therapy more than once over the last four years, it astounds me how many middle schoolers were being seen for sports related injuries. And when we’re talking about developing bodies, that’s never a good thing.

Not to mention all of the concussions!

Sente issued the following statement:

“We all want kids to have fun playing football and to learn to play the game the right way early on, but the overwhelming data and powerful stories of our supporters here today show the risks of playing tackle football before turning 12 just aren’t worth it.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself, so let’s hope this bill takes flight!

 

And while we’re at it…

…though I’m the last one to be a proponent of the nanny state, it’s time for Illinois and every state to start requiring regular inspections for home schooled children. I’m not talking about anything like regulations as rigorous as our school buildings have to pass, just quarterly visits that guarantee that everyone’s doing alright.

This is not an effort to intimidate people into marching to the same drummer. Considering what it takes to get a teaching degree, I’m not the biggest home schooling advocate, but after the recent California debacle in which authorities freed 13 shackled and tortured children who were ostensibly being “home schooled,” it’s far too easy for these kids to fall through the cracks.

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This conversation has come up before, but all of the previously proposed bills died a slow and quiet death at the hands of the home school lobby. But this might be the perfect time to give it another shot.

And if home schooling advocates are smart, they’ll welcome this opportunity by proposing their own set of reasonable rules so legislators won’t unduly come down on them.

It will be interesting to see where this goes.

 

Do the right thing!

Congratulation to the Cleveland Indians for officially announcing they will retire their Chief Wahoo logo in 2019. The organization has been moving away from that racist rendition of a Native American for past few years.

Cleveland

I know there are traditionalists who think this kind of thing is OK, but imagine the fury that would ensue if a sports team decided to call themselves the Chicago Jews, Milwaukee Mexicans, or the Indianapolis Negroes.

Native Americans are people, not mascots.

Now if only the Washington Redskins would finally see the light.

Quick Hits – January 26, 2018

Dem’s dumb down debate

Look! I’m well aware of my general failure to play well with others, so, despite regular entreaties to do so, I simply won’t run for office. I’ll help good people get elected, but that’s about as far as I’m willing to go.

But if you were unfortunate enough to listen to the hourlong livestreamed Chicago Tribune Democratic Attorney General endorsement shouting match, you might suddenly be inclined to call me Mr. Rogers.

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Here are some of the lowlights:

  • The other seven candidates jumped all over State Sen. Kwame Raoul for taking tobacco money.
  • Raoul responded by calling Chicago Park District President Jesse Ruiz “a serial liar.”
  • State Rep Scott Drury and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering accused each other of taking Rauner money.
  • Former Federal Prosecutor Renato Mariotti repeatedly bashed former Governor Pat Quinn for “putting us in the situation that we’re in.”
  • Raoul responded to South Side attorney Aaron Goldstein’s insistent attacks by asking, “Should I assume that everybody who gave you a contribution is buying you?”
  • Drury accused the rest of the group of being in Mike Madigan’s back pocket.
  • And then Rotering accused Drury of being “the height of hypocrisy.”

I think we would’ve all been better off visiting your average fourth-grade classroom than having to listen to this kind of drivel. C’mon! If these fine folks can’t put their best foot forward during an endorsement interview, how the hell are they going to run one of the most important offices in the State of Illinois?

As the local endorsement, forum and debate processes heat up, I would advise my esteemed collar county candidates that this is exactly the way NOT to comport yourself.

Meanwhile, all I can say is Democrats suck!

 

Just don’t do it!

Nothing says, “I’ve completely given up on myself and life in general,” like wearing flannel pajama bottoms outside. Leave it to Americans to create an entirely new definition of the word “laziness!”

And I’m not talking about the short driveway jaunt to get the newspaper, either. I’m talking about putting them on to go to the bank, the grocery store and any other place where civilized folk expect reasonably appropriate attire.

Pajama pants

We’ll exclude Wal Mart from this conversation because pajama pants would be a big step up there.

What incited this rant is having to observe one of my neighbors heading out to the car in those flannel abominations as I walked my dog this morning. And let me tell you, there’s nothing more terrifying than wondering if you’re going to catch a glimpse of something you really don’t want to see.

Have some fricken self-respect people!

So that’s it! I’m officially calling this disturbing and third-sign-of-the-apocalypse trend off. You can thank me later!

 

Political associations matter

As a reasonable campaign manager, I consistently warn my candidates to avoid unnecessary associations with other politicians.  The truth is, more often than not, those “alliances” come back to bite you in the butt. Running as a slate of candidates is especially fraught with peril, because all it takes is one “team” member to screw up and everyone gets an equal share of the infamy.

Elgin City Councilman Corey Dixon managed to pull it off in 2017, but he was an extraordinary candidate who joined forces with well-known commodities.

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The much more likely outcome is what almost happened to Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham and Treasurer Dave Rickert when they asked then Sheriff candidate Don Kramer to run as a Republican trio. They dodged a massive bullet when Kramer refused and went on to blow a $2.5 million hole in his budget just 15 days into office.

In that very regard, aside from her economic interest statement blip, I’ve been more than impressed with Associate Judge Elizabeth Flood’s campaign for David Akemann’s soon-to-be-vacated 16th Circuit seat. Judges typically have no clue how to campaign, just ask David Kliment who’s also in the running.

But then I saw Flood’s fundraising invitation.

There it was in the list of hosts, “Senator Karen McConnaughay and Mr. John McConnaughay.” When you’re in a primary field of three, with a frontrunner who’s already won two countywide elections, that poorly conceived association means the end if the campaign line for Ms. Flood.

Former KC Chairman McConnaughay was so reviled by the beginning of her second term that her Republican compatriots finally conspired to get rid of her. When she fled to Springfield, Governor Rauner was particularly enamored of her until he became aware of her vast pay-to-play and union supporting proclivities.

To add insult to injury, because she abandoned them the second they became superfluous, her old Kane County friends now speak ill of Ms. McConnaughay. Add all of that to a slew of bad press and that means putting her name on campaign material is bound to backfire.

You see, our generally lazy voters love to look for a reason to quickly dismiss a candidate, and Judge Flood just provided them with all the visceral reaction ammunition they need to do just that.

I’m not saying candidates should give in to the kind of political paranoia that would make Damocles look sane by comparison, but if you’re going to run for local office you can’t be that tone deaf about whom you hand your hat with.

 

The Daily Herald has no sense of humor – Part 37

The nerve of some folks at that Newspaper!

In response to Managing Editor Jim Baumann’s Facebook post thanking readers for being patient while many of their reporters and editors were out with the flu, my Elgin friend Daniel Rich called on me to “chip in in and lend a hand.”

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But when I reminded Dan just how much the people at Paddock Publications love me, Baumann agreed, adding the Daily Herald and Jeff Ward would be better off sticking to their own “platforms.”

When I quickly responded with, “Jim, My platform is journalism. What’s the Daily Herald’s?,” he blocked me! And I’m such a nice guy, too!

I subsequently called Mr. Baumann, leaving a voicemail that explained that:

  • It was a joke!
  • Had he said the same thing to me, I’d still be laughing
  • And the folks who hold other folks to the standard should have the thickest of skins

Despite being eagerly glued to my cell phone, there’s been no return call. Normally I consider it a badge of honor whenever anyone from the Daily Herald blocks me, but it’s much more meaningful when I actually have to earn it.

I may have gone on to say that I hadn’t noticed any effect from the lack of DH reporters and editors, and perhaps they might want to make it a permanent thing.

I am always willing to help, aren’t I?

Quick Hits – January 24, 2018

Kept on looking for the sun in the middle of the night

So, my former radio show co-host and current Illinois State Rep, Allen Skillicorn, recently tweeted:

Markets are up 40% yet the IL Treasurer can’t manage the prepaid college investment fund. #Incompetenceorcorruption

To which I responded:

Um! Allen! That ain’t the Treasurer! That’s the Governor’s Illinois Student Assistance Commission. #crazyassstatereps

And Treasurer Michael Frerichs responded:

Pre-paid plans are part of the governor’s office, not treasury. All of this information was in the article you posted. Sorry for the tweet response, but you have not returned our calls. BTW, our college savings programs are among the best in nation.

To which our illustrious State Rep failed to respond.

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C’mon Allen! I know you can do better than this.

 

And speaking of crazy-assed conservatives…

… U-46 School Board member Jeanette Ward is at it again, though her capacity to rile the faithful appears to be on the wane. Instead of hundreds of “supporters” showing up at Monday night’s board meeting, the Courier-News determined there were mere “dozens.”

Oh! How the mighty have fallen.

This time, Ms. Ward’s (No relation, thankyou Jesus!) outrage du jour was in regard to a homework assignment author who stipulated that Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same God. Ward called that assertion “utterly incorrect and false on many levels,” and in another display of perfect parenting, refused to let her daughter do the work.

Why, Ward went as far as posting, “Do you know what your children are being taught: Muslims believe in the same God as Christians and Jews?” on Facebook.

Ward 2

Actually Jeanette, despite your best efforts, what the school is trying to teach your daughter is to be a critical thinker. Instead of having to endure another one of your hissy fits, perhaps she could have explained why she disagreed with the author’s assertion. Then she could’ve further explained the significant differences between the theologies.

But no! Your self-definition and belief system are so fragile that you can’t endure even the slightest bit of dissent.

Despite the fact they regularly commute at 36,000 feet, when I hear another insipid NBA player try to tell me the world is flat, I don’t demand a retraction, start passing around petitions, or demand that people boycott the NBA.

Nope!

I simply laugh because that’s what rational and mature adults do when faced with what they believe to be an absurdity. You see, unlike you, I don’t need other people to believe what I believe in order to believe it.

I truly fear for your children, Jeanette.

 

Where the real danger lies

Having endured yet another government shutdown – this one over immigration – conservative reprobates like radio show host Joe Walsh are doing their damndest to invent statistics summarily declaring all illegals to be hyper-violent.

Sigh!

We’ve already covered that undocumented works are significantly less prone to criminal activity if for no other reason than they don’t want to get deported. And despite those consistent “always fear the other” rightwing proclamations, we’ve also thoroughly discussed that the real threat almost always comes from within. To wit:

  • 80 percent of homicide victims knew their killer
  • 85 to 90 of sexual assault victims know their attacker
  • And 93 percent of child sexual assault victims know their abuser

Robbery is the only violent crime that’s more likely to be perpetrated by a stranger, but even then, 46 percent of victims had some sort of relationship with the robber.

And right now, there’s no better evidence of what I speak than U.S. Olympic doctor Larry Nasser being sentenced to 175 years for sexually abusing at least 150 women and girls. And those are just the women who had the courage to come forward!

This veteran journalist isn’t shocked by much anymore, but this story certainly did the trick. I keep asking myself how something like this could possibly happen in America, until I remembered that we’re so busy fearing illegal immigrants that we almost always ignore the real threat.

Meanwhile, I hope these women sue the U.S. Gymnastics organization and Michigan State into utter oblivion.

Quick Hits – When did Outrage Become an Art Form?

The plan was to start this piece in a Swiftian ‘A Modest Proposal’ fashion, but considering the fallout from the recent Elgin basement homeless slumber party fiasco, and the fact that virtually none of you can spell “satire,” much less handle it, I decided to play it safe.

Put more simply, some of y’all are really starting to suck!

You see, because I have nothing better to do, I’ve been threatening to torment Elgin Assistant City Manager extraordinaire, Laura Valdez, with the scenarios I could come up with that  might make her life even more miserable than taking the heat for Elgin code enforcers abruptly ending those subterranean soirees.

It’s what I do!

For example:

1. I could post something on The First Ward explaining that, in an effort to keep taxes down for the one percent, Elgin is going to start charging homeless folks an hourly rate to sleep on those sidewalk benches.

2. Or I could inform former Elgin City Councilman John Prigge and friends that Ms. Valdez was behind an effort to have a statue of City Councilwoman Rose Martinez installed right there in front of City Hall.

3. Better yet, I could alert the citizenry to the fact that Laura authorized a $6,000 payment for Councilman Rich Dunne to take stripper lessons and to install a pole in the council chambers just to liven up those endless meetings.

Elgin Homeless

Elgin P.A.D.S. Shelter

But no! I won’t do it because, despite the blatant mendacity and my reputation for resorting to hyperbole, some of you would’ve gone ballistic and immediately started rallying the social media troops just to feed your boundless outrage addiction.

Not to mention I’m convinced Laura could kick my ass and I’m not convinced I can outrun her.

“But Jeff! No one would believe any of that stupid shit! People are more discerning than you think!”

Oh really? You mean like how you all utterly overreacted to the news that Greg Schiller couldn’t host homeless happenings in his Elgin home anymore? Not that that’s at all illegal and inappropriate.

When Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain picked up the phone in this regard, my first words were, “Dave! You made NPR!” His quick retort was, “Jeff! We made the London Times!” That meant that city officials started receiving international death threats.

Not even I’ve managed to pull that kind of thing off! And I’m me!

Had any of the liberal rabble actually taken the time to consider the totality of the Elgin homeless evidence – not just this aberration – perhaps your underwear wouldn’t still be twisted and all tied up around your head.

And that just doesn’t look good on you.

As one high-raking Kane County Republican said to me, “It’s sad to see Elgin endure all this bad publicity. They’ve historically been very progressive in dealing with the homeless.”

Yep!

Whether it’s working with and supporting P.A.D.S. and the other homeless shelters, reaching out to the chronically homeless, or simply working with local pastors, the City of Elgin and the Elgin Police have been exemplary in their enlightened approach to an insistent national problem.

But now, because the local, national and international newspapers would rather play to this vast pool of infinite outrage fueled by the rise of the liberal Tea Party than perform any kind of actual due diligence, the rest of the world believes Elgin regularly rounds up the homeless so they can send them to the Pit of Misery.

And you all fuckin’ fell for it!

Think people! Put the cell phone down, let go of social media, ignore the newspapers, turn off Fox News and MSNBC, take a deep breath, and – I don’t know – become truly informed?

Because some of y’all really are starting to get on my last good nerve.

 

Quick Hits – January 19, 2018

How to destroy your life in two short minutes

By now y’all have heard about – and probably even witnessed – 19-year-old University of Alabama freshman Harley Barber’s selfie video in which she “encourages” black folks to go back to Africa while predicating it with a series of “I fucking hate n____s!”

Nice! And the unbridled glee with which she delivers her diatribe is truly terrifying.

Despite a sorority sister’s plainly heard protests, Barber posted the racist rant on Instagram, where, as you might imagine, it went quite viral. So, both the sorority and school expelled her, while a police officer currently sits, 24/7, outside her New Jersey front door.

Ain’t social media grand!

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First, to all those conservative white folks who just love to shriek, “How can we be racist? We elected a black president!” This is how! I’m convinced Ms. Barber was inebriated, but as that great philosopher Craig Ferguson said in reference to Mel Gibson, “I’ve never gotten drunk enough to suddenly become a Nazi.”

Second, though I firmly believe in the right to have the stupid shit we’ve all done at age 19 forgotten, that’s no longer the case in 2018. Not only are Barber’s UA days over, but that video will dog her in every job interview for the rest of her life – if she ever manages to get another job interview.

But here’s the real issue nobody’s talking about. The fact that Barber clearly felt safe enough to make that statement falls squarely on the University of Alabama’s shoulders. To wit, I’ve spoken with a number of UA parents, one of whom said, “The United States elected a black president before a black girl was ever invited to a UA sorority.”

And despite University President Stuart R. Bell being well aware that he presides over that kind of institutionalized racism, nothing changes.

Roll Tide!

 

Nice Try KCSAO!

In an effort to dismiss two federal lawsuits filed by nurses and their families stemming from last year’s Delnor Hospital hostage standoff, the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office issued a written argument claiming, “After all, until (Tywon) Salters made a move on Corrections Officer Shawn Loomis, Loomis remained armed and by all indications in control of Salters and the situation.”

Ah! So apparently, we laypeople wouldn’t know the situation went bad until it went bad unless we had attorneys to tell us it went bad!

The motion continues: “Surely, our society values heroic police officers who place themselves in life-threateningly dangerous situations, but the conscience is not shocked when an unarmed and overpowered officer elects to avoid direct and certain harm.”

No! But the conscience is shocked when the officer simply hands his firearm over to a naked convict and flees leaving a nurse to be raped, tortured and shot. And that’s especially true when that officer has a well-documented history of crises of confidence.

I thought that law enforcement motto was “To Serve and Protect,” not “To Flee and Blame the Victims.”

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Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon

But wait, there’s more!

The KCSAO goes on to hypothesize that if Loomis had tried to apprehend Salters, it might’ve made everything “more dangerous” for everyone involved. You mean more dangerous than a nurse being raped, tortured and shot, while an officer gets shot in the back trying to rescue her?

What shocks me is that any attorney could write that bullshit with a straight face and that the KCSAO isn’t trying to quickly and quietly settle these suits, because they clearly don’t have a defensive leg to stand on.

What doesn’t shock me is just how low Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon and his minions are willing to sink when it comes to considering crime victims.

Four separate sources told me exactly how that standoff started. If any of the plaintiffs need someone to testify to that effect in court, you can count me in! And as my Fan Club just loves to point out, I’ve had quite of bit of courtroom experience lately.

 

The book is done!

And when I say “done” I mean the mechanical editing, the table of contents, and I want to thank Illinois State Board of Elections General Counsel, Ken Menzel, for writing a great Foreword. Ken was also instrumental in the making-sure-I-got-it-right process.

I also want to thank:

  • Kane County Treasurer Dave Rickert
  • KC Board Member Kurt Kojzarek
  • Former KC Sheriff Pat Perez
  • State Senator Jim Oberweis legislative aide Kim Murphy
  • Mechanical editor extraordinaire Fred Reklau
  • State Rep Keith Wheeler legislative aide Ben Marcum
  • Illinois Treasurer Press Secretary Greg Rivara
  • Former South Elgin Village Manager Larry Jones
  • Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain
  • KC Circuit Clerk Tom Hartwell
  • Superb comic book store clerk Kurt Biallas

who stuck with me for the entire 2.5 years as they managed to make it through 100,608 words while tirelessly providing the best feedback an author could ask for! I also want to offer my heartfelt gratitude to all the local election authorities across this vast country who took the time to talk with me.

And, of course, had Elgin YWCA Director Julia McClendon not insisted I write this book, it never would’ve happened.

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If all goes well, the official rollout will be April 2. I intentionally avoided April Fool’s Day, but perhaps that would be the perfect platform to put forth a political publication. So, I may have to reconsider that possibility.

But the first part of the publishing process is to come up with a catchy cover. Since nothing is seriously striking my fancy, let’s have a little fun! I’m offering a free autographed copy to The First Ward reader who comes up with the best “So You Wanna Win a Local Election” cover thought.

And, if like Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman did this morning, you make me laugh so hard I spit out my Vanilla Coke Zero, you’ll get a free copy, too! Apparently staging an APD coup d’etat in her absence probably isn’t a good idea.

You can either post your thoughts here, Facebook PM me, or hit me up at jeffnward@comcast.net. Let the festivities commence!

Quick Hits – January 17, 2018

What a dick!

So, Democratic Illinois gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy’s response to Republican opponent Jeanne Ives’ Chicago’s gun violence solution was to storm out of West Loop Gate forum sponsored by the Community Renewal Society?

There’s a reason the Democratic Party mascot is a jackass!

Again, Ms. Ives leans far too far to the right, her social thought processes frequently baffle me, and there’s no way I’m going to vote for her, but you have to give her a boatload of credit for being the only conservative candidate to step into that progressive lion’s den.

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So, Kennedy walks out on her because she provided an answer that didn’t surprise anyone? That sucks! We already have one petty political jerk in the governor’s mansion and we really don’t need another.

Was Ives’ “more fathers in the home” statement a simplistic solution to complex gun violence problem? Yes it was! But it wasn’t that far off, either. And for Kennedy to use that opportunity to, for the 3,783rd time, remind us that his father was assassinated, was beyond the political pale.

To quote Kennedy on Ives, using your murdered father to get elected is “stupid and ignorant,” not to mention morbid, pandering, hypocritical and cringeworthy.

By now, I’m sure you’ve surmised I won’t be voting for this poor excuse of a man anytime soon. I hope I haven’t been too subtle.

 

We do need more fathers in the home

The answer to Chicago’s systemic gun violence will require wholesale change on a philosophical, economic and leadership level. Ending the drug war wouldn’t hurt either. But to unequivocally state that “more fathers in the home” is all we need demonstrates a massive lack of understanding of a complicated social situation.

But it’s a start!

We’ve all read the studies that show the deleterious effects of absentee fathers on children. Social scientists have correlated the breakdown in the black family structure with the current carnage in Chicago’s inner city. And it was a systematic and institutionalized racism that devalued the black male to the point where the family unit began to disintegrate.

Ives

To make matters so much worse, in an incredibly short-sighted and misguided effort, Chicago prosecutors and Police teamed up to jail the established gang chieftains which threw the whole equation into complete chaos. At least you could negotiate with those “leaders” and they, in turn, could reasonably rein in their minions.

But all chopping off those heads did was splinter these gangs into ultra-violent sub-factions which nobody can control. It’s the same dynamic Ives clumsily described – an utter lack of male leadership.

But no! Since too many liberals refuse to take responsibility for themselves, or insist that other folks similarly step up, we’re simply going to discount anything any conservative ever says.

God! I truly am a man without a country.

Will implementing policies that provide the bedrock for black families to stay together end Chicago’s gun violence? No! But it would be a really good start!

 

Dicky Durbin?

Yes! That was President Pottymouth’s hilarious response to Illinois Senator Dick Durbin’s revelation that, while discussing DACA, he referred to Haiti and African states as “shithole countries.” Dicky!

I’m sure that showed him!

But he’s not nearly the only one who failed to graduate from the fourth grade, because if you’re foolish enough to read the public commentary in the local newspapers, a few of his dogged detractors love to refer to Kane County Chairman Chris Lauzen as “Chrissy.”

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Then there’s the former columnist – the one who single-handedly destroyed the Kane County Chronicle (Are they still around?) – who insists on calling me “Jeffy.” Pretty soon he’ll be calling me “the plaintiff.”

Is adding that “y” supposed to be funny? Is it supposed to be cute? Is it supposed to be the sign of a rapier wit? I don’t think so!

And now those mental midgets might want to consider with whom they’re keeping company!

 

Should I be worried?

One of the four mousetraps I carefully placed in our basement has completely disappeared. Should I be worried?

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Quick Hits – January 15, 2018

With everybody home for Martin Luther King day, including my lovely teacher wife, I’m not going to get much work done, but we’ll see how far I get here.

 

Rolling in his grave

Martin Luther King

“I have a dream”

 

donald-trump

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

 

It must be fun!

I generally don’t read the Chicago Tribune’s John Kass because slogging through one of his columns requires the liberal application of the kind of mental machete I don’t have the time or patience for.

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But just like some folks can’t take their eyes off that Dan Ryan wreck,  I did manage to make it through Sunday’s piece in which our aspiring writer spent about 800 words explaining why Bill Clinton was far worse than Donald Trump.

I truly wonder what it must be like to create, and then take up residence, in the kind of blatantly bizarre reality that mystifies the rest of us. There isn’t a drug on the planet that could convince me of half the shit Kass comes up with, but he manages to pull it off without the use of any pharmaceuticals whatsoever.

Suddenly the Daily Herald doesn’t seem so bad!

 

Kifowit gets quoted!

Yes! Our very own State Rep Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego) was recently highlighted in the Trib’s ‘Quotables’ section where, in reference to Governor Bruce Rauner’s Veteran’s Home publicity stunt, she quipped, “I want to know if he took a shower!”

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Taking a cue from the late Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne, after facing a boatload of criticism in regards to his underwhelming response to 13 Legionnaire’s Disease deaths at that facility in the last three years, Rauner took up residence at the Illinois Veteran’s Home in Quincy.

He said he wanted “to gain a more thorough understanding” of operations there,” and thus, Ms. Kifowit’s quote, referencing how Legionnaire’s Disease spreads.

If you recall, in March of 1981, after 37 shootings resulted in 11 murders in three months at the public housing project, Mayor Byrne took up residence at Chicago’s Cabrini Green. So, not only is the Governor availing himself of a 37 year-old political strategy, but he’s resorted to a gimmick that failed to get Byrne reelected.

I’m not gonna miss you Bruce!

 

A competent campaign?

I don’t want to get too excited, because, Illinois, you’ve disappointed me before! But suddenly it seems like Democratic gubernatorial candidate J. B. Pritzker has figured out how to campaign.

Pritzker

To wit:

  • Someone taught him how to dress appropriately
  • He no longer sports the kind of haircut that makes you think he lost a bet
  • He doesn’t come across like a guy who just shoveled the driveway – he’s speaking with energy and enthusiasm
  • Instead of simply spouting “Trump sucks, which means Rauner sucks,” he’s actually discussing issues important to Illinoisans

Pritzker still doesn’t have a neck, but that may well be beside the point.

Like I said, I don’t want to get my hopes up too high, but I really could get used to a competent Illinois gubernatorial candidate.

 

 

 

 

Quick Hit’s – January 12, 2018

Quick Hit’s is going to have to be quick today because I promised my publisher I’d knock out the table of contents to “So You Wanna Win a Local Election” soon!

 

Flood stays on the ballot

Having just returned from the second installment of Hampshire attorney Laura Pollastrini’s objection hearing, I can tell you with certainty that her contention that Judge Flood should’ve filed an economic interest statement specific to her 16th Circuit candidacy fell completely flat.

Those of you interested in the ruling that preserved her ballot status can read it right here: Flood.

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Judge Elizabeth Flood

Basically, the Kane County electoral board ruled that the EIS she filed as a sitting associate judge equally served her purpose as a candidate. But despite the fact she won, Flood’s failure to take the 10 minutes to file a separate EIS cost her at least five grand in attorney’s fees.

The moral to this story is, please fill out those EIS’s whether you need to or not people!

I can also tell you – with certainly – that the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office still can’t get the hearing procedures right, but we’ll save that story for another day. It would’ve also been a bit more efficient if KCSAO civil division chief, Joe Lulves, could figure out it isn’t 2019 yet.

Waiting for the ruling to be revised and recopied meant another 20 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

At the conclusion of those festivities, a reporter asked Ms. Pollastrini if she issued the objection on behalf of another candidate or had been in contact with another candidate. She refused to answer. When I inquired as to whether she’d file an appeal, Pollastrini told me she’d discuss it with her attorney.

Considering the stakes involved, there will be much more to this story, I’m sure.

 

There’s something about a stellar attorney

Though the law school option didn’t work out for me, I still find it utterly fascinating to watch an elite attorney ply their trade. The Kane County folks who immediately come to mind are:

  • Kelli Childress
  • Jeff Meyer
  • Brick Van Der Snick
  • Rick Williams (negotiations)
  • D. J. Tegeler in his prime

The fact that you’re not on the list doesn’t necessarily mean you suck (though it might) – it’s just that I haven’t seen all a y’all at work.

To quell any potential Jeff Ward Fan Club dissent, not only is their no remuneration involved here, but one of those folks is permanently off my Christmas card list. And Rick, your politics suck! Jeff Meyer’s could use some philosophical adjustments, too.

But I digress!

In this very vein, it was a pleasure to watch Judge Flood’s attorney, Ancel Glink partner Keri-Lyn Krafthefer, in action over the past two days.

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When it comes to the Land of Lincoln, election law can be a daunting and fluid thing, but that didn’t stop Ms. Krafthefer from hitting the legal nail on the head time and time again.

And unlike the bulk of attorneys who could put the worst insomniac to sleep, she argues her points with a verbal style and cadence that draws listeners in. The court reporter did have to ask her to slow down a bit, but that was just an amusing aside.

There may have been very little merit to the challenge, but Flood was in very good hands with Ms. Krafthefer.

 

And speaking of problematic economic interest statements…

… There’s no way I’ll be voting for Democratic attorney general candidate Scott Drury any time soon.

You see, Drury used his sitting State Rep EIS to round out his attorney general nominating paperwork which drew the same kind of objection that Flood faced. Voting somewhat along partisan lines – with his fellow Dems trying to boot him from the ballot – the Illinois State Board of Elections electoral board kept him on the ballot by a 5 – 3 margin.

An indignant Drury declared:

Through his challenge, Mike Madigan and a corrupt political system tried to thwart democracy and maintain their grip on power. The good guys won, and there will be a lot more victories for the public when I’m attorney general.

What our intrepid candidate failed to mention is, while he was sitting in on his own hearing, Drury was attempting to get AG opponent Renato Mariotti thrown off the ballot for a lack of valid signatures. Why does something about pots and kettles suddenly come to mind?

Mariotti survived the challenge.

State representative, Scott Drury speaks during Monday evening's Village Board meeting. The agenda included discussion of a proposal to regulate assault weapons in the Village of Deerfield. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media

But to quote my good friend Bill S., aye, here’s the rub! Drury showed up at the Illinois State Board of Elections at 8 a.m. on Nov. 27 to submit his paperwork. With about 500 candidates on hand that day, he had to wait in line for about an hour.

During that time, he could’ve availed himself of the Secretary of State folks the ISBE brings in to take economic interest statements right then and there. They’ll help you fill the EIS out. They’ll notarize it. And they’ll be more than happy to provide candidates the required receipt.

But State Rep Drury just stood there.

As a result, an ISBE insider and I have decided we’re going to make a massive Springfield lobbying effort to install stupidity as a statutory justification to throw candidates off the ballot. Trust me, it’ll be far better than term limits.

Quick Hits – All My Judicial Center Children – Part 73

I’m not sure we’re actually quite to the seventy-third installment in this ongoing series, but considering the consistent antics at that Route 38 and Peck Road location, it certainly feels like we are.

But I digress!

In a somewhat gratifying turn of events, there is just one major nominating petition challenge in all of the county we call Kane. It’s actually somewhat reassuring to see both our experienced and aspiring candidates get their paperwork right!

The single hitch in our countywide petition giddyup is Judge Elizabeth Flood’s failure to file a separate Economic Interest Statement as a candidate for the full circuit seat soon-to-be vacated by Judge David Akemann.

Kane County Judicial Center

Kane County Judicial Center

Thus, Judge Flood’s March 20 ballot fate hinges upon whether the EIS she filed as a sitting associate judge will serve that nominating paperwork purpose. To wit, I spoke with an expert at the Illinois State Board of Elections, who firmly believes Flood will prevail.

But then a crack local election attorney explained that, on her most current 16th Circuit Economic Interest Statement, Ms. Flood listed her position as “Administrative Office of Illinois Courts,” which doesn’t exactly shout she’s running for judge. Depending upon how far the objector is willing to take it, that wording could turn out to be a real problem.

Trust me, the irony of a sitting judge gettin’ thrown off the ballot on technicality isn’t lost on me. Considering The First Ward’s previous stipulation to Ms. Flood’s vast competence, it makes the failure to file a candidate EIS even more baffling. C’mon! All we’re talking about is a scant 10 minutes of your time.

But let’s put it into reverse and start at the beginning!

As should always be the case, the challenge was issued by an “uninterested” third party, Hampshire attorney Laura Pollastrini, in an effort to keep it from getting back to the folks who are actually behind it. But as is also almost always the case, it didn’t take much effort to trace it right back to Judge David Kliment’s campaign.

Kliment is part of the GOP judicial primary trio with Circuit Clerk Tom Hartwell rounding out that field.

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David Kliment

Word is, the often-imperious Kliment is incensed that Flood had the temerity to step to the front of the line for a judgeship he clearly perceives to be his. The “it’s-my-turn” political phenomenon, and the feuds it precipitates, is always a fascinating proposition. Put more simply, I’d love to be a fly on the wall at that 2018 16th Circuit Christmas party.

And when I say “imperious,” I mean we’ll soon discuss how, as head of the unit, Kliment put his wife on the Public Defender payroll while she “worked” from home, sent scathing letters to the county board, and there’s another fascinating facet of the Judge’s sanctimonious character I’m going to give him a chance to address.

But as is often the case in this overly-complicated existence, just because you can do so something doesn’t mean that you should. And Kliment’s challenge is right at the top of that list.

His first problem is, who the bleep is gonna hear the objection?

The Kane County Election Board typically consists of Hartwell, State’s Attorney Joe McMahon, and whomever County Clerk Jack Cunningham appoints to serve on behalf of his office. Since Hartwell is running for the same seat, he and his entire staff are out. That means they might have to bring in an outside attorney who clearly won’t risk disappointing Ms. Flood.

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Elizabeth Flood

McMahon doesn’t have the cojones to throw a sitting judge off the ballot, and Cunningham’s minion will likely go along with whatever the State’s Attorney says, so Kliment has absolutely no shot at winning at the county level.

That means the case would head to a 16th Circuit courtroom. But that isn’t going to happen when you two of their own judges are involved.

That means the appeal would likely land in DeKalb or DuPage County where none of those judges have the audacity to throw a sitting judge off the ballot on a technicality. That just ain’t how the men and women in black roll!

The last resort, if the Kliment camp is good for the 10 grand it will require, is to take the challenge to the Second District Court of Appeals. And Flood might be in trouble there because those judges have a well-earned reputation as a take-no-prisoners, letter-of-the-law kinda bunch.

And wouldn’t that 10 large be much better spent on his electoral bid?

Even if Kliment manages to finally boot Flood, he’s still gotta get past veteran office-holder Tom Hartwell, and he’s shown absolutely no capacity to effectively run a campaign. In fact, he’s demonstrating just the opposite. (For purposes of full disclosure, since I refuse to work for a campaign that’s in utter disarray, I’m no longer helping Mr. Hartwell.)

So, what was Kliment thinking when he had Pollastrini file this challenge? He wasn’t thinking! No good can possibly come of this blatantly naïve and poorly conceived political move. All it will do is sow further dissent in those already fractured 16th Circuit ranks.

But that’s never bothered Kliment before.

The bottom line is, if you harbored any doubt as to my contention that David Kliment is not the kind of judge to light your skirt on fire, here’s all the proof you need. And if he can’t handle something this basic…