Quick Hits – A whole lot of free speech going on!

How many times do I have to say it! Freedom of speech, in no way, means freedom from the consequences of that speech.

Is anyone really surprised that Rosanne Barr managed to cut her comeback shorter than a tertiary Trump cabinet member’s tenure? It’s not as if she hasn’t been Tweeting that kind of bizarre racist and anti-Muslim BS for years. Did ABC and Disney really think they could keep that genie in the bottle for very long?

For those of you who’ve been taking too much Ambien, in the culmination of a bizarre series of tweets, Barr referred to former Obama adviser, Valerie Jarrett, as a cross between the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes. Of course, Jarrett, who was born to American parents in Iran, is black.

Barr deleted the tweet and quickly attempted to apologize, but as most rational people already realize, nothing on the Internet ever goes away. Both ABC and Disney swiftly reacted by cancelling the ‘Roseanne’ reboot which had been a huge ratings bonanza.


But what’s been fascinating for me is having friends on both sides of the political spectrum come at me with all kinds of questions. And the first one was, “Why now? Hasn’t Barr always been kinda nutty?”

Yes, she has!

But this time, she had something to lose. And if you have something to lose, you can’t compare black folks to apes and come out unscathed. Only the N-word will get you in more trouble.

Here’s a perfect example that occured long before taking offense because our national pastime.

While calling a September 5, 1983 Monday Night Football game, the legendary Howard Cosell said of Washington Redskin’s black wide receiver Alvin Garrett, “That little monkey gets loose, doesn’t he?”

Never mind that Cosell didn’t have a bigoted bone in his body. Never mind that he’d used that term in reference to white players like Mike Adamle. Never mind that Cosell conspired with Mohammed Ali to significantly boost both of their careers.

The excrement hit the air propelling device, and, despite his stellar racial track record, Cosell retired from MNF after that season.

So, why didn’t Ms. Barr suffer when she compared Condoleezza Rice to an ape back in 2013? Because she didn’t have a hit show then. It’s as simple as that.

Some of my more conservative friends also complained that, if Roseanne got the boot, how come Keith Olbermann and ‘The View’ are still on the air. First, MSNBC did fire Olbermann and now he toils for ESPN which is hardly a political proposition. Meanwhile, Sean Hannity and Alex Jones, both of whom make Joy Behar look like Mrs. Rogers, still blather away on their respective outlets.

That’s why I don’t watch talk shows.

Whether you like it or not, talk show hosts are held to an entirely different standard than sitcom stars. Being controversial works for the talking heads, but controversial stars don’t help sitcoms ratings. Considering her regular anti-Muslim declarations, I wouldn’t even glance at the ‘Roseanne’ reboot.

But what really frosts my flakes is, the conservatives who would deny black NFL players the right to a peaceful protest are exactly the ones shrieking “freedom of speech” in regard to Barr’s firing.

Um… I hate to tell the Tea Baggers, but Ms. Barr didn’t get arrested, murdered, tortured, imprisoned, or subjected to rendition for speaking her mind. As far as I can tell, her First Amendment rights are quite intact. It’s the consequences that my conservative friends don’t like.

All Wanda Sykes did was exercise her right to work elsewhere. Co-stars Sarah Gilbert and Michael Fishman exercised their freedom of speech when they condemned Barr’s Tweets. And ABC and Disney applied their rights by denouncing Barr’s racism and choosing not to continue her employment.

Why, it would appear this was an outright rights celebration!

As is par for the course, the now-fired Barr blamed the insomnia drug, Ambien, for her Twitter tirade. But as that pharmaceutical company pointed out in a countertweet, Ambien may have side-effects, but racism isn’t one of them.

No, it isn’t! Freedom of Speech is alive and well, my friends, but it certainly won’t protect you from the consequences of that speech.

Quick Hits – What a Load of Garbage

Make no mistake, waste removal is big business and it’s a political business. As an Evanston, Illinois, youth, I still recall those Chicago Tribune stories that regaled the mob’s role in determining which waste companies got which garbage contracts.

When Richie Daley initially ran for mayor, one of his first press conferences involved how to streamline garbage pickup.

Though the stakes are somewhat lower these days, it’s always fascinating whenever the Tri-Cities puts out those requests for waste removal proposals. And this spring has certainly been no exception.

It started with the current Tri-Cities garbage company, Advanced Disposal, distributing plaintive pre-printed missives warning residents that Western Civilization will most certainly collapse if their vastly overpriced bid is rejected.

The fascinating thing is, through the magic of social media, I learned that, no matter which Tri-Cities municipality you call home, all of the dire door hangers were signed “Your Advance Disposal driver, Sean.” That means one of the following must be true:

  • Advanced Disposal only hires drivers named Sean
  • Advanced Disposal requires all drivers to change their name to Sean
  • Sean works a heck of a lot of overtime

Or perhaps, considering that “Sean’s” decidedly feminine handwriting is exceptionally consistent, perhaps some administrative assistant signed all of those flyers with the same name at the same time.

Advanced Disposal

It’s not that I begrudge any self-starting young woman from becoming an Advanced Disposal driver, it’s just that, in all of my 20 Geneva, Illinois, years, I’ve never seen one!

Moving on!

When Advanced Disposal realized they were being massively undercut by Morton Grove competitor, Lakeside Recycling Systems – $2.60 to $3.40 per garbage sticker – they suddenly sent those three city councils a letter claiming the original bid was an inexcusable error. What they really meant to say was, it was a mere $3.10 per sticker.


In a move even more illegal than attending a Batavia City Council meeting in the buff, that consistently statutorily challenged body utterly violated the sanctity of the bidding process by considering Advanced Disposal’s sudden bid “adjustment.”

By vote, a city council can reopen the bidding process, but they cannot consider information that comes outside the legal bidding process. That means Batavia will likely be hearing from Lakeside’s attorney sooner rather than later.

Then, to compound their capacity for truly bad judgement, the Batavia City Council voted to stay with Advance Disposal, citing their sponsorships of and free refuse services at community events.

Oh! So apparently, bribes still work! Perhaps the garbage game hasn’t changed nearly as much as I thought it had. And how do the alderman know that Lakeside wouldn’t have been more than happy to match that kind of “good” corporate citizenship.

Meanwhile, in a move that bleepin’ scares the hell out of me, Geneva did the right thing by ignoring that illegal secondary bid and going with the company that worked within the guidelines.

The bottom line is, no matter what waste removal firm patrols the Tri-Cities, there’s always a point at which I begin to wonder who works for whom. I understand folks can’t be dropping baby grand pianos affixed with a garbage sticker off at the curb, but there are times I’ve had to resort to an electron microscope to ensure my refuse falls within their anal-retentive tolerances.

Put more simply, if you give an Advanced Disposal driver the slightest reason to drive by your house, that’s exactly what they’ll do.

And I love the added touch of the drivers leaving the now empty 60-gallon garbage and recycling receptacles directly in the middle of the driveway so you have to exit your vehicle and move them to the side to have any hope of ever reaching your garage.

Of course, I hope no one loses their job as a result of Geneva’s shift, but I’m more than OK with a 22 percent garbage sticker price cut. Go Lakeside!


Quick Hits – May 23, 2018

It’s not another conspiracy, man!

So, reader “Anonymous for Now” posted the following blog comment:

“Not sure if you are interested, but the Glenwood School/Maxxam situation reeks of collusion and other suspicious behaviors between McMahon, Glenwood Academy Board Members and Steven Marco (supposed owner of Maxxam). Now McMahon is encouraging the Kane County Board to settle a $68 million dollar lawsuit filed by Marco/Maxxam. Any ways your investigative nature can help out would be appreciated.”

Glenwood 3.jpg

And while I certainly appreciate the acknowledgement of my superior investigative skills, there’s no need to bring them to bear here. “Collusion” and “suspicious behavior” presuppose a commonality of purpose, a modicum of intelligent thinking, and a capacity for foresight, none of which have been evident in this fascinating rehab center case.

It starts with a former Kane County Zoning Board of Appeals member calling addicts “animals” immediately after voting against the facility. That’s why he’s a former Zoning Board of Appeals member. That simple stupid act virtually ensured the rehab center’s existence.

You see, if you want to send a mayor, village manager, or county development director into a complete nervous breakdown, make fun of folks covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act at the next committee/council meeting.

Considering the lingering effects of NIMBYness, the feds take this kind of discrimination VERY seriously.

I also know for a fact the State’s Attorney’s Office warned the board that, by turning the facility down a second time, in the words of those great philosophers Molly Hatchet, they were “flirtin’ with disaster.”

But they didn’t listen.

Some of the more astute county board members went as far as warning their peers that barring addicts from Kane County without a firm legal footing would generate the kind of lawsuit that their insurance company wouldn’t completely cover.

And last, but certainly not least, the great Larry Jones and I warned y’all on the radio that any violation of the ADA and Fair Housing Act would not only result in a massive lawsuit, but that the rehab center would become a reality, regardless. That’s exactly what’s about to happen.

There’s no conspiracy here folks! In fact, it’s just the opposite. It’s simple cause and effect.


God! I hate liberals – part one

Oh my bleepin’ lord! The second our children, and especially young women, show any sort of creative spark, we douse that burgeoning ember faster than Caucasians can call the police on black people for barbecuing.

To wit, if you have a copy of the Oswego High School 2018 yearbook, you will note, in large type and bright red lettering, the phrase “No one ugly allowed!” adorning the competitive cheer team’s page.

It’s virtually the same thing as Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon’s famous 2016 “Try not to suck” motto.

But as you might imagine, my eternally outraged liberal compatriots immediately went into the kind of righteous conniptions that make those zealous Second Amendment advocates look like Mr. Rogers.

No one ugly

C’mon! The context for this caption is the yearbook itself. Does anyone with half a brain really believe these young women were dissing unattractive chicks? Personally, I’ve never met an ugly woman.

What these athletes clearly meant was, you have to let go of any internal darkness to be a true team player. And this kind of bonding over bold statements is exactly what high school – and all team sports – are really all about. You bring out the best in your teammates by firing each other up.

But as is par for the course, rather than tell these critics with such delicate sensibilities they have way too much time on their hands and they really need to get a life, Oswego High School principal Mike Wayne went on the local liberal apology tour:

“The headline of the article is inappropriate and should have been recognized and removed during the editing process. While the headline quotes a line in a song, and was not intended to come across as offensive, it has, and we sincerely apologize.”

Least common denominator, here we come!

A Naperville teen counselor added, “The headline, on its own, might lower girls’ confidence and self-esteem. It plays into a stereotype about cheerleaders and could affect girls who might want to try out for cheerleading.”

Really? So, now we’ve descended to the point we’re trying to protect lazy people from themselves? Here’s a thought! Read the entire page so you actually understand that line in its intended context.

And liberals have the nerve to wonder how Donald Trump got elected. Look in the mirror people!


God! I hate liberals – part two

In an effort to be humane, rather than subject them to the kind of poison that slowly suffocates the little pests, I purchased the kind of mousetraps that are supposed to kill them outright. I’m not sure if there’s a Planet of the Apes thing going on here, but all those traps served to do is provide peanut butter snacks for mice.

dead mice

Meanwhile, as a result all my overly compassionate thinking, utterly undeterred, the bold little vermin managed to make it upstairs where my new dog nabbed three of ‘em and they got into food on the kitchen counter.

So now, I’m going all Republican on the furry little bastards’ behinds. There are twelve separate semi-dog proof disposable poison stations scattered throughout the house and I’m not going to rest until every mouse within 20 bleepin’ miles has perished.

I suppose I’ll have to turn in my official socially liberal credentials.

Quick Hits – May 21, 2018

It ain’t a conspiracy, man!

Since the Elgin Courier-News can’t break any real news stories, just like the Daily Herald does, they’re making it up as they go along. And their latest Sunday effort is that the U-46 school board is engaging in the kind of collusion conspiracy that puts President Combover’s Russian problem to shame.

Yes! The Courier claims that something nefarious is afoot because that sly school board only interviewed 10 of the 17 applicants to replace a recently departed board member.

I really wanted to swear a blue streak here, but since so many of you have said it’s unbecoming of a journalist of my vast stature, I will do my bleepin’ best to maintain some sense of decorum. No fucking promises!

U46 board

First, those seven candidates should sacrifice a virgin to the political gods in gratitude for their vast good fortune. What have I been telling you for years, class? That’s right! “Threatening to vote someone off a school board is like threatening to stop beating them with a 2 by 4.”

You don’t get paid, it’s not a jumping off point for any other office, it takes an incredible amount of time, and you’re dealing with parents’ two most precious commodities – their children and their money. So, it’s the quintessential no-win situation.

An astute friend was asked to apply for that position, and to his credit, he was far too wise to take them up on it. Perhaps my threat to start beating him with a 2 by 4 had he accepted had something to do with it, too.

Second, the U-46 school board is under NO obligation to interview each and every replacement contender. What if 50 hopefuls had applied? Was the board supposed to summarily suspend all operations just so they could get to each and every one?

If it was up to me, I would’ve used those resumes to narrow that group down to three finalists before sitting down with any of ‘em.

There’s no conspiracy here people! It’s just another case of another Courier-News reporter who has no bleepin’ clue as to how it really works. Please move along.


I’m gonna propose to Crain’s Greg Hinz

The fact that I’m not gay notwithstanding.

Why I am I suddenly so enamored of my fellow political writer, you ask? Because today, he correctly warned Illinois Democratic gubernatorial nominee, J. B. Pritzker, that his “I’m not the other guy” campaign strategy ain’t gonna work.

That’s something I’ve been trying to tell candidates for more than a decade to absolutely no avail.

Greg Hinz

Greg Hinz

Hinz also propitiously postulated that Pritzker is paying heed to those campaign folks who insistently whisper that he’s got this one in the bag. While it will certainly be difficult for Governor Bruce Rauner to prevail in light of State Sen. Sam McCann entering the race as a conservative third party spoiler, as that old baseball pitcher adage goes, any man with a bat in his hands is a dangerous man.

Don’t forget that Rauner has more money than God.

For incontrovertible evidence of Hinz’ theory, look no further than State Sen. Bill Brady’s 2010 loss to the likes of Governor Pat Quinn. Brady also ran on an “I’m not the other guy” platform, which gave the Quinn team the opening to paint him as a loony conservative and he quickly became an also ran.

Who could forget those incredibly effective “Who is Bill Brady” commercials that sealed his fate with female voters.

J. B! We know you’re not the other guy – you’re not nearly as tall as Bruce and you might want to start putting the fork down. If you don’t start running scared and getting YOUR message out so you control YOUR conversation, you will join Mr. Brady in the ranks of unduly overconfident Illinois politicians who blew a sure thing.

Thank you, for semi-restoring my faith in journalism Mr. Hinz!


And speaking of Governor Rauner…

So now, despite his demonstrably Democratic wife, he’s suddenly pro-death penalty? In a political ploy even more see-through than a Kim Kardashian evening gown, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner suddenly wants to reinstate the death penalty for mass shooters and cop killers.

Thankfully, unless you count the Brown’s Chicken and Lane Bryant robbery massacres, Illinois hasn’t really been subjected to this violent plague. The Northern Illinois University tragedy being the clear exception, of course.


And a death penalty threat will in no way deter anyone already bent on going out in a blaze of glory, or someone who thinks that killing a police officer might be a good idea.

Once again, Governor Rauner is proposing a solution in search of a solvable problem.

Bruce! Is this the best you can do? A half-hearted attempt to rile that conservative base that Jeanne Ives proved has long since abandoned you? You still aren’t listening to anyone but yourself, are you?

Like two gentlemen stuck at a building entrance repeating “after you!,” it will be fascinating to watch Rauner and Pritzker do their damndest to hand each other the race. If they’re not careful, State Sen McCann might just pull off the upset of the century.


And speaking of transparent ploys…

In an effort to stave off his impending impeachment, White House Agent Orange is demanding the Department of Justice investigate his claim that President Barack Obama inserted a “spy” into his 2016 election campaign.

That tweet went as follows:

“I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”

Though it will probably give you a migraine, for just a brief moment, let’s engage in the kind of flight of fancy that generally requires the influence of opiates and give this insipid male bovine manure maneuver some actual credence.


I apologize in advance for making you do that.

First, it would seem that Mr. Trump forgot that he won the election. That means our “mole” has got to be one of the least effective spies in the history of politics. And second, if our “spy” had previous knowledge of Russian collusion, don’t you think the Democrats would’ve broadcast it from every 2016 street corner in the county?

Sadly, President Cofeve knows that all he has to do is mention the black guy and his base will rally to him like norovirus infected folks on a sinking cruise liner. But this isn’t an election and that ain’t gonna save him this time. Enjoy the White House while you can Mr. Trump!

Quick Hits – May 18, 2018

Memes just aren’t gonna cut it!

Considering how conservatives consistently savaged Barack Obama for ridiculous things like wearing “mom jeans,” I have to admit I was looking forward to watching the liberal outrage machine extract their pound of flesh from President Orange Man Group.

At least Donald Trump is giving us a plethora of real reasons to shriek, howl and regularly rend our garments.

But two years of watching my generally rational progressive friends completely lose their minds on Facebook is more than enough. It was fun for a while, but the only thing it’s managed to accomplish is getting those on-the-bubble Trump supporters to dig in even further.

Before we continue, let me clearly stipulate that Donald Trump is nothing more than a piece of human waste, something he makes absolutely no bones about. It’s not as if anyone with a conscience is being duped by this poor excuse for a president.

The conservatives who immutably support him, especially those of the evangelical variety, have proven to be the worst kind hypocrites. But any attempt to get them to own up to their enormous ethical shortcomings is even more futile than spitting into the wind.

The resistance? No! There is no occupying foreign power. I’ve already explained that Trump was duly elected by the rules that apply to all presidential candidates. And Facebook memes are literally the least any liberal can do about him.

So, what’s the answer? That’s easy!

If you want to defeat Donald Trump, the best way to do that is to strip away his Congressional support. And the best way to do that in Kane County land is to step away from the keyboard and actively support Congressional candidates, Lauren Underwood and Sean Casten.

And by “actively supporting” I mean hauling your ample butt off the couch and knocking on doors on their behalf. No candidate can possibly cover every applicable voter door in something the size of the 14th or 6th Congressional Districts.

Door Knocking

A campaign check would be a nice gesture, but it doesn’t have nearly the same effect as direct voter contact does.

Ah! But removing Randy Hultgren and Peter Roskam, who walk in lockstep with the 2 a.m. toilet tweeter, will have an immediate and discernable effect on his ability to push his racist and radically conservative agenda forward.

Conversely, all those memes and liberal outrage only serve to do is undermine the progressive cause. So, stop it!


We told you so!

I got a text from my former radio show co-host, Larry Jones, asking the question, “A settlement with Maxxam? Who would’ve thought?

Of course, the astute Mr. Jones is referring to the twice voted down Maxxam Partners LLC rehab center proposed to open in the former Glenwood Academy building just outside the Village of Campton Hills.

Of course, all of those good Campton Hills Christians have been engaging in the kind of hissy fits that make Manhattan attorney Aaron Schlossberg look rational by comparison. So much for the “least of our brothers and sisters,” right!

Glenwood Academy

When Larry and I were doing the Ward & Jones show, we predicted that, not only would the Kane County Board’s patently illegal rejection of the project result in a hefty financial settlement, but the rehab center would become a reality as well.

And wouldn’t you know it, according to a State’s Attorney letter leaked to the Daily Herald, that’s exactly what’s about to happen. I’m sure that Campton Hills board member Barb Wojnicki had nothing to do with that privileged missive falling into the press’s hands, either.

After they were turned down a second time, Maxxam filed a $68 million lawsuit accusing Kane County of violating the Fair Housing Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

I’m thinking it would’ve been easier to list the acts they didn’t violate.

So now, instead of working with and wringing concession from the developer in the face of what was an obvious inevitability, within the bounds of statutory reason, Maxxam Partners will now  proceed with the rehab center on their own. And they’ll be paid very handsomely by Kane County to do so.

The board’s insurance company will likely cover the cost of the lawsuit, but it will be the taxpayers who pick up the higher premium costs.

Look, the Kane County Board generally consists of good people whose hearts in the right places, but they blew this one big time. If the likes of Larry Jones and Jeff Ward could get it right, they certainly should’ve been able to far better than this.

Quick Hits – May 16, 2018

So, now we’re paying prosecutors to defend the bad guys?

When those Greek philosophers said, “There is nothing new under the sun,” they were tragically mistaken, because, despite that stoic proclamation, I ain’t never seen this one before!

Just when you thought our strange and sordid tale of former Kane County Prosecutor McGropy couldn’t get any stranger or more sordid, it did! For background purposes please avail yourself of this and/or this previous post.

Briefly, after a six-plus-year reign of sexual harassment terror, State’s Attorney Joe McMahon finally let this prosecutor go on February 22. How do I know this? Because suddenly, the KCSAO is taking my Freedom of Information Requests seriously.

It’s amazing what happens when the Attorney General’s Office gets involved.

Ah! But here’s the thing! As a result of a separate FOIA to the Treasurer, it became abundantly clear that this prosecutor was paid until at least April 20. Another FOIA to KC Human Resources confirmed the State’s Attorney submitted April 20 as his final day.

Ghost Payroller

Meanwhile, the KCSAO’s FOIA response to me said he was paid until May 4. So, somebody bold faced lied to somebody! Regardless of what the actual termination date is, there’s nothing quite like a ghost payroller to brighten the taxpayers’ day, is there?

But wait there’s more!

Not one to rest on his laurels, our temporarily unemployed prosecutor immediately went to work for McNamee and Mahoney, one of the more “fascinating” criminal defense firms in Kane County.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re all entitled to a zealous defense – I’ve been known to avail myself of a good attorney on more than one occasion – it’s just that I have a problem with that defense coming at the expense of the Kane County taxpayer.

To sum this sordid tale up, despite being fired on February 22, Prosecutor McGropy was paid until April 20, or May 4, depending upon whom you believe. And while the taxpayers were paying him 11 to 13 grand not to work, he was defending the very individuals his former peers were in the process of prosecuting.

And Lulves continues to insist there’s no severance agreement here.

I told you those Greeks were wrong!


The Elgin Art police strike again!

My beloved Elgin has taken more than its share of undeserved hits lately, so while I’m loathe to pile on, when a wound is entirely self-inflicted, it bears mentioning if for no other reason than to seek redress.

For brief background purposes, after it had been on public display for 12 long years, in the summer of 2016, an observer noted that David Powers’ ‘American Nocturne’ bore a striking resemblance to a photograph of a 1930 Marion, Indiana, lynching. The reason it had been previously overlooked is the mural depicted only the lynching’s white audience.


Once its true intent was uncovered, the liberal outrage machine, with their eminently delicate sensibilities, immediately threw the kind of temper tantrum that makes Kanye West’s outbursts look tame by comparison.

The strange thing is, nothing about the painting had changed!

Fast forward to the spring of 2018, and Powers wants it back.

Sorry buddy! You’re out of luck. You happily sold it to the City of Elgin for $6,000 and now it’s theirs to do with as they see fit. Not only that, but when your brilliant piece of work came under fire, you abandoned it faster than Donald Trump ditches cabinet members.

Not only do you have no claim to it, but my fondest wish is that you get stored in a warehouse somewhere never to be seen – or heard from – again.

Meanwhile, the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission, who can’t get it right even twice a day, decided they wouldn’t return the mural to Mr. Powers, because, as city liaison to the commission, Amanda Harris, said, “…it could be displayed with no explanation of the origin of the work.”

This is exactly what Nazis do. They unilaterally determine if a piece of art has “merit,” and if they deem it doesn’t, they put it under lock and key where the rabble and their eminently malleable minds won’t have to be disturbed by viewing it. This is censorship at its abject worst!

Elgin City Council! It’s time to disband the Cultural Arts Commission because they have become an embarrassment to a city that doesn’t need any more public embarrassment. I’ve never seen a more inept and embarrassing group in 12 years of covering inept and embarrassing groups.

And that includes the Longmeadow Loons!

C’mon! They’ve had two years to deal with this mural, and they still can’t come up with a policy for artwork that will no longer be displayed? I’ve seen 90-year-old quadriplegics move faster in an ice storm.

Once the commission is mercifully extinct, please donate the mural to a museum or group who will honor the piece’s profound message by proudly displaying it – with no explanation – because none is necessary.

Quick Hits – The Union Strikes Back

When we last left off on Saturday’s supplemental Quick Hits, Kane County Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles had just issued an ultimatum insisting the striking probation officers and youth counselors return to work by May 15 – under her terms – or they’ll lose their jobs to replacement players.

The First Ward correctly surmised that, since that Teamster’s contract does not contain a no-strike clause, the Chief Judge was embarking upon the kind of illegal course of action that would incite the union into immediately striking back.

Teamsters Logo

And that’s exactly what they did. Here’s the meat of their response to Court Services negotiator David Heilman:

Union Response 2

Boles first problem is, just 12 days into the strike, she managed to rack up three unfair labor practice charges which means you don’t get to hire replacement workers. And I’m sure the Teamster’s threat to take it all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court is a good one.

If someone of my limited intelligence (my readers tell me this) and abject lack of any legal background can figure out that replacement workers are an illegal proposition, exactly where is the Chief Judge’s crack negotiating team? At Chuck E. Cheese?

And I don’t think Court Services can afford the kind of legal fees this protracted battle would require, either. They’d have to go to the County Board for extra funds and hell will freeze over before that happens.

Her second issue is, even if Boles was allowed to hire replacement workers, with all due respect to the young men and women who currently hold those positions, with Illinois unemployment an all-time low, who’s going to jump at the opportunity to be paid all of 39 grand to take on a four figure caseload while walking through a picket line every day?

So, I don’t think there would’ve been too many takers, anyway.

But the Chief Judges biggest challenge now is, having resorted to the nuclear option just 11 days into the work stoppage, where does she go from here?

Like I said, Court Services can’t afford a lengthy legal battle, but the Teamsters can! And if there were any cracks developing in those striking workers’ united front, the Chief Judge’s ill-advised letter completely took care of that. They’re more united than ever and now Boles somehow has to get those workers to buy into a negotiated settlement after she so summarily dismissed them.

All I can say is, it’s going to be a rather fascinating 2018 Court Services Christmas party.

Let’s juxtapose this absurd labor fiasco with former Sheriff Pat Perez’ deft handling of eight years of negotiations with three separate unions during the height of the Great Recession. Pat knew that then Chairman Karen McConnaughay would never give his deputies everything they wanted, so he had to build the kind of relationships that meant the unions would take him at his word – and they did. It’s something called “trust!” And there were no strikes during his tenure.

Like I previously stipulated, it’s amateur hour for the Chief Judge and Court Services Director Lisa Aust and those Republican County Board members are, indeed, smirking as those two insist upon falling flat on their faces.

Chief Judge Boles! This isn’t your courtroom where your every edict goes! This is a sensitive negotiation that requires a thorough understanding of political cause and effect, the ability to foresee consequences before they land squarely on your head, and a healthy dose of compassion because you’re dealing with people’s livelihoods and their families.

It’s time to call the County Board in before you make it any worse than it already is.

The real irony is, though it’s not this simple because the State pays judges’ salaries, if they eliminated just one judicial position, they’d have the 200 grand it would take to settle the strike. And I don’t care what the Illinois Supreme Court says, Kane County doesn’t need 12 circuit and 17 associate judges – most of whom work very part-time.

Perhaps it’s time to change that.

Quick Hits Supplemental – Mother’s Day ain’t for sissies!

It’s  actually Kinda fun watching all the odes to mothers on Facebook, but the truth is, I can’t even begin to muster that same sentiment. You see, I survived my mother. I endured her. Growing up in my family is something I wouldn’t have wished on anyone.

It was only by sheer semi-autistic persistence and will that we managed to come to some sort of detente and make peace before she died of cancer some seven years ago.

Sure! My sense of what’s right, my relentlessness, my capacity to roll with the punches, and my willingness to call the bad guys out are directly the result of her influence. But it wasn’t a positive dynamic – it was a response to her abject dysfunction and inability to correct her own life.

So, when my good friend and former programming partner Karen Tellef penned this short piece on the very dynamic of which I speak, it turned into one of those rare occasions when this author extemporaneously exclaimed, “Damn! I wish I wrote that!”

To all my friends and readers who find Mother’s Day to be a difficult challenge, here’s what she said:

“This post is for those of us who feel estranged from the Happy Mother’s Day posts. For us, we can only sit back and wish we had those sentiments.

Tellef Mother

Karen’s Mother

Some of us had mothers who were unhappy with that responsibility, and who stayed in bad marriages. And that unhappiness affected everyone, for their entire lives. Sometimes when the children become adults, you can understand what they were going through, and achieve a kind of “truce”. Sometimes the child never gets over it and finds it almost impossible to forget.

It’s just a roll of the dice whether the children will grow up to be good people, or whether a bad environment will negatively affect them. In my case, both my sister and I seemed to turn out to be good, well-behaved adults (although neither of us ever wanted children, and I didn’t even want to be married).

You have no idea how I wish I had just one picture in my photo album of my mother and I sharing a good time together. I wish I could truthfully wax poetically about what a wonderful mother she was, the amazing things she taught me… but I can’t. I have some satisfaction that we did have that “truce” before she passed, but it was never easy. I watch women of my generation and their daughters be amazing mothers and grandmothers and be genuinely “liked” by their children. And I am happy, and jealous.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself!


Quick Hits Supplemental – The Chief Judge has no soul

At Thursday’s Kane County Judicial and Public Safety Committee meeting, Chief Judge Susan Clancy-Boles, Court Services Director Lisa Aust, and Juvenile Justice Center Superintendent Mike Davis fell all over themselves in an attempt to demonstrate the striking probation officers and youth counselors were having no effect on day-to-day operations.

Clancy Boles

Susan Clancy Boles

As we discussed yesterday, Davis particularly went out of his way to label the strikers as non-essential personnel.

But a scant 24 hours later, the Chief Judge issued the letter below declaring the strikers’ absence constitutes a public safety threat and they better return to work by May 15 – under her terms – or they will be replaced.

Strike Letter


Never mind this may be a patently illegal move because Boles is essentially inserting a no-strike clause in a union contract that doesn’t have one. It’s the abject lack of any humanity or compassion that really bothers me.

I’ve had to deal with Boles as a felony crime victim and I was thoroughly disappointed. I’ve had to deal with the Chief Judge as a criminal defendant and I was thoroughly disappointed by her failure to follow the law.

Then, we all watched her single-handedly destroy the GPS home monitoring system.

I watched her try to cover up any connection between her late brother, Michael Clancy, and Anjum Coffland. That column, and perhaps even charges, will be forthcoming.

When I challenged her on a number of these issues, her response was to have my email address blocked from the Judicial Center server.

Put more simply, Chief Judge Boles is one of those individuals who’s had everything handed to her all her life. She hasn’t had to work or struggle for much. As a result, she’s become arrogant, dictatorial and has absolutely no empathy for anyone who doesn’t come directly from her world.

I’ve stood with the picketers outside the Judicial Center. I’ve addressed them as a group outside the County boardroom. I’ve talked to the Teamsters reps. I’ve heard the pain in their voices that comes from being so callously cast aside by a woman who has no soul and makes 200 grand a year at a part-time job.

I’m sure I won’t have any problem getting the Teamsters to underwrite the kind of anti-retention campaign that will finally have Boles removed from the bench.

Quick Hits – May 11, 2018

How to win friends and influence people part 2!

First, I want to thank the astute reader who caught me incorrectly attributing the aforementioned book to Norman Vincent Peale. Peale wrote ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’ while the great Dale Carnegie penned ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’

But I digress!

For a variety of reasons, I attended yesterday’s Kane County Judicial and Public Safety Committee meeting, not the least of which was to perhaps hear those court services folks provide some insights into the probation officers and youth counselors strike.

And while they certainly obliged, it probably wasn’t in the way they’d hoped.


Chief Judge Susan Clancy-Boles, whom I’ve never seen flustered by anything, was clearly shaken. She didn’t address the strike situation in her monthly report, but with probation filling the gallery, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone blink quite that much.

Court Services Director Lisa Aust tried to put a happy face on it, but her effort clearly fell flat with the committee. But while Boles and Aust were careful not to aggravate the strikers, Juvenile Justice Center Superintendent Mike Davis made no such effort.

It’s not that I didn’t expect Davis to offer some sort of lily gilding as to how the JJC youths were faring in the midst of a short staffing situation, but I was surprised to hear a number of blatant lies.

Despite his proclamation of business as usual, I will stand by the sources who told me that, until this week, those youths were on a 23 hour-a-day lockdown and that the JJC school days were suspended.

But what really struck me was Davis going out of his way to tweak the strikers in the audience by arguing they never really needed those employees to begin with.

Look, having covered so many of them, I understand it can get very personal very quickly in a strike, but this one will end, and management and labor are going to have find a way to work together going forward. And saying “you’re basically non-essential employees” will make that a much more difficult proposition.



Through the process of talking to all sorts of police chiefs over the last 12 journalistic years, if they have one pet peeve in common, it’s people who leave their cars running unattended. It’s an open invitation to someone who might not otherwise behave quite so badly.

So, when I learned of the recent Aurora, Illinois, gas station carjacking in which an 11-year-old girl had to jump out of the back of a still-running vehicle before the thief drove off with it, all those previous chiefly admonitions came flooding back.

Guys and Gals! Don’t leave your car running unattended anywhere! It’s really not a good idea to pump gas with engine the cranking either.

As for me, I won’t as much as leave the keys in the car while I’m right there pumping gas and I drive a somewhat rusty 2001 Ford Ranger.

In the sage words of the great Michael Conrad issued in the opening of every Hill Street Blues episode, “Let’s be careful out there!”


 Our UPS mail thief is finally in hot water

The First Ward recently covered a rather enterprising Rogers Park man who somehow managed to con the Post Office into redirecting UPS’s Atlanta corporate mail to his rather tiny garden apartment.

Not only did this ploy work, but it went on unimpeded for three long months.

Upon discussing that stranger than fiction story with a County Board member this morning, we both wondered:

  1. USPS didn’t get suspicious when they started delivering tubs of mail to a Rogers Park basement apartment.
  2. How those fine folks in that UPS mHow the ailroom didn’t get suspicious when there was suddenly no more mail to sort.

Needless to say, I’m convinced heads are rolling in both locations.

Meanwhile, the only place our con man will be receiving mail anytime soon is the federal pen, because he was finally charged with mail theft and fraud, and the feds want him held without mail…I mean bail.

All-in-all, he’s looking at 20 years behind bars. I wonder if they’ll let him work in the prison mailroom?


The Trib turns off reader comments

And not a minute too soon! Because if I had to read just one more of those insane reader missives I was gonna get homicidal.

We all know our national IQ is mired in a rapid and uncontrolled descent, but having to bear witness to all that hard evidence is a truly depressing thing.


Guns banned from the NRA convention?

Let me get this straight! The NRA held a portion of their annual convention at a venue that banned all weapons from the premises? Bleepin’ hypocrites!


When did Rihanna start giving relationship advice?

So, suddenly Rihanna’s offering Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wedding night advice?

Really? Unless it’s something like “Duck if he tries to punch you in the face” I’m not sure she’s the one you really want to listen to in this regard.