Quick Hits – June 18, 2018

Be still my beating heart!

So, Kane County Chairman Chris Lauzen broke a tie vote to reimburse himself for a $34 book? Why, the scurrilous scoundrel! I’m thinking death penalty here! C’mon! What’s next? Cutting tags off mattresses, providing accounts of Cubs games without Major League Baseball’s express written consent, and putting money in other peoples’ parking meters?

Of course, in their precipitous plunge to the journalistic bottom – they haven’t managed to find it yet – the Daily Herald made this non-story headline news. And they managed to get it wrong again, too!


You see, the aforementioned book wasn’t about Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, as Jim Fuller reported, it was on Blockchain technology, a different animal entirely. According to IBM:

“Blockchain is a shared immutable ledger for recording the history of transactions. A business blockchain, such as IBM Blockchain and the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project, provides a permissioned network with known identities.”

Apparently Mr. Fuller can’t even get the time right twice a day!

Put more simply, Blockchain is a far more secure version of the Internet. Cities like Austin, Texas, are using it to track the homeless, and Blockchain may be the answer to bulletproof Internet voting. The public-sector applications are virtually endless.

So, I don’t know about you, but I’ll personally pay that $34, because I kinda like the notion of a County chairman who keeps up with the latest technologies. I don’t know if I would’ve broken that tie to reimburse myself, but you certainly can’t accuse the man of trying to hide anything!

And the real irony is, while the Daily Herald gave former Chairman Karen McConnaughay a pass on completely redefining the term “pay-to-play, going after Lauzen for a $34 book makes them look mean, petty, and not too bright.

All Ms. McConnaughay had to do is bat her eyelashes at John Lampinen, Jim Slusher, Jim Baumann and the rest of those incompetent editors and they lauded her artificial virtue at every turn. After all, they have very delicate sensibilities.

But wait, there’s more!

Liberal outrage has become such a powerful addiction that Aurora State Rep Stephanie Kifowit just had to rally the Democratic regulars and propose sainthood for those stalwart board members who furiously wept as they took a stand on a $34 book.

I’m thinkin’ reality show!

To be fair, I’ve always liked and admired Ms. Kifowit. Any woman who can make it in the Marine Corps deserves our utmost respect. But with no disrespect intended, I’ll take Chairman Lauzen, his $34 book, and a six-year flat tax levy over the fiscal devastation wrought by that Democratic Springfield supermajority every time.

As for those pious mostly Democratic board members who voted against the $34 book, when you give up the full pension and Cadillac health care benefits you get for a very part-time job, I’ll take you all a lot more seriously.

Let’s all move on to more important things.


You were right!

To all those folks who insisted that union members who crossed the probation picket line were scabs, you were right and I wuz wrong! I always thought the word “scab” was reserved for non-union folks taking union jobs.

But what frosts my flakes (just a little) is, the rabble’s ongoing theory that, if they don’t like a column, they can use something as simple as a spelling error to dismiss the entire thing. But if they love it, the most massive factual error won’t deter their effusive praise in any way.

Giant Rat

So yes! Twenty-five probation workers crossed the line, but since the strike had nothing to do with scab workers, and my column had everything do with a Teamsters local that had no clue, my point remains unchanged, despite that minor connotational error.

And that point was to use those utterly out-of-place giant inflatable animals as a metaphor for Teamster 330’s complete failure to understand a public-sector strike. If I were one of those probation workers, I’d be lobbying to bring in a new union in right now.

I’m glad we cleared that up.


But I am right on this one!

Repeat after me class! COUNTY CHAIRMEN ARE NOT CEOs, as so many of you insisted in replies to the same strike story. Though they both lead large entities and they generally report to shareholders/voters, that’s where the similarities begin and end.

I’m also convinced that none a y’all know that Illinois has three separate forms of county government, none of which are analogous to a corporate structure. Cook County always makes their own rules, there’s another set of statutes for counties with at least 500,000 people like the collar variety, and then there’s all the rest.

Once hired, within the bound of the law, CEO’s have absolute power over that business and everyone in it. A county chairman has no such authority. In fact, once their budget is set, the chairman cannot interfere with the countywide elected officials’ process for any reason.

All he or she can do is make suggestions. That doesn’t sound like any CEO I know!

CEOs can implement, change or remove corporate policies as they see fit. But the Kane County chairman has to amass 13 board votes before anything changes, and that’s kinda like herding cats.

CEOs say “jump,” and if their underlings want to keep their jobs, they reply, “How high?” Collar County chairmen don’t get to vote unless there’s a tie. They’re forced to rely on their powers of persuasion to get anything done.

CEOs get seven-figure salaries and amazing perks. The Kane County chairman makes about $110,000 and gets the same benefits as your lowly part-time board member.

Depending upon the industry, CEOs occasionally have to contend with some strange statutory requirements. Ah! But chairmen have to deal with interminable volumes of state laws, most of which contain unfunded mandates.

To put it in the simplest terms possible, CEOs preside over varying degrees of what should be a benevolent dictatorship, while County chairman are travel soccer coaches at best. That’s why you’ll never see me run for that office.

I’m glad we cleared that one up, too!


The anatomy of an unnecessary strike – part two

On Wednesday, we covered how Kane County Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles and Court Services Director Lisa Aust not only incited the unnecessary probation workers’ strike, but did their best to exacerbate it.

Though our dynamic duo should certainly shoulder the majority of the work stoppage blame, Teamsters 330’s approach towards settling it clearly demonstrated they had no clue about public-sector strikes.

Teamsters Logo

It started with the absurdly out-of-place giant inflatable animals. The giant rat made no sense because there were no scab workers. The whatever-it-was with the moneybag and giant pinky ring was even more silly because no one “owns” Kane County, there are no shareholders, nor is there a CEO.

I realize those rubber beasts are intended to draw attention to a strike and embarrass management into settling, but the truth is, the Chairman and most of the county board were more than content to watch the Chief Judge fall flat on her face.

Despite a number of attempts to enlighten them, the Teamsters simply could not grasp the concept that county government consists of satellite offices loosely bound by a statutory gravity. They never understood the Internal Control Statute forbade Chairman Chris Lauzen from directly intervening in the strike without the Chief Judge’s express written consent.

And that’s a good thing! Do we really want overbearing chairmen running roughshod over folks duly elected by county voters?

In fact, the only power the County Board actually does wield over the countywide elected officials is budgetary. Even then, if you recall the legendary legal battle between former Circuit Clerk Deb Seyllor and then Chairman Karen McConnaughay, the Board has no choice but to fund state mandated services.

Once the electeds’ budgets are set, with the exception of those mandated services, they can spend those taxpayer dollars any way they see fit! The only people they have to answer to at that point are the voters.

Of course, the Chairman could’ve publicly supported the strikers, as some strikers hoped, but he’s not nearly that politically naïve. There was no political gain, it could’ve been construed as interfering with labor negotiations, and, after the GPS monitoring system debacle, the only rope the Chairman was willing to provide Boles was just enough to hang herself.

The Teamsters also failed to engage in the very basic due diligence that would’ve revealed Chairman Lauzen’s regular 50 points election wins. He will be in that office as long as he wants to be in that office.

And the Teamsters never understood this enemy of my enemy is my friend dynamic. They couldn’t comprehend the Chairman’s consistent resolve on his flat tax levy campaign promise, either. Somebody really oughtta buy them a copy of Sun Tzu’s still relevant book.

Because they don’t understand collar county government, even the strikers embraced the notion that any unbudgeted funds should automatically go to them. But anybody who’s ever toiled for the government knows that’s not the way it works. There’s never enough cash to go around, so the various offices have to get in line for whatever funds there are.

As we’re suddenly seeing with Metra, funding operational expenses with reserves or capital funds is a lot like a retirement plan solely based on Power Ball winnings.

To wit, if any county department deserves a bigger bite of budgetary apple, it’s our beleaguered Public Defenders. As an aside, we’ll soon discuss how some of our 16th Circuit judges consider the PD’s office to be their own personal punching bag, and more.

But where Teamsters 330 really fell flat was in doing their damndest to lose the public relations battle the strikers had already won.

Until it became too personal, a plurality of the probation workers realized that voters would never understand their previous 3.7 percent step raises (I still don’t), and that insisting the work stoppage made citizens less safe wouldn’t win many friends or influence people.

They even managed to get sympathetic news coverage from the local papers and NBC and Fox News.

But while the international Teamsters communications expert appreciated that argument, it went right over the more local folks’ heads. They inexplicably sent picket-line-weary strikers door-to-door and took out full page newspaper ads threatening dire consequences if the rabble didn’t lean on Chairman Lauzen to cough up the cash.

The only thing that saved them from themselves here is Boles and Aust set the PR bar so much lower. Thankfully, the strike was settled before the Teamsters errant outreach efforts could come around to bite them in the butt.

In the end, the two sides settled on 2, 2.25, and 2.5 percent raises over the next three years which, when you consider other management concessions, is strikingly similar to Bole’s and Aust’s pre-strike final offer.

That’s the best evidence this strike never should’ve happened.

The anatomy of an unnecessary strike – part one

Having spoken and commiserated with so many Kane County probation officers and youth counselors over the past month-and-a-half, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see them back at work. But that solace is sorely tempered by the fact that this strike, the only one of its kind in Illinois history, never should’ve happened.

In an effort to avoid being doomed to repeat history, let’s examine the series of missteps that not only instigated this insipid snafu, but made it last three times longer than it really had to.

Clancy Boles

Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles

It all starts with Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles consistently mistaking a vast tailwind for talent. I’m not saying she doesn’t have her moments, and acquiring a law degree is no small task, but as a fourth generation Clancy attorney, most of what she’s “earned” has come at the hands of her family name.

At least she isn’t another former prosecutor, but she didn’t stand out in private practice, she was a mediocre litigator, and without that Clancy name, she never would’ve been appointed judge. When you don’t have to struggle to succeed, those inevitable insecurities tend to make everything about you.

And that’s exactly where this strike started. Instead of leading by example, Judge Boles took everything personally, which made her want to crush the “insolent rebels” who had the temerity to reflect poorly on her.

It wasn’t just her, either! Court Services Director Lisa Aust was more than happy to hop on that arrogant bandwagon and our dynamic duo managed to convince themselves that:

  • The probation workers didn’t have the nerve to walk out
  • They knew how to handle a public-sector strike if they did walk out
  • Any strike would be a short one
  • If the strike wasn’t short, they could bust the union once and for all

But they got it all wrong and Court Services clearly wasn’t nearly prepared for the realities of a strike.


Lisa Aust

Boles biggest mistake was dispensing with crack Kane County labor negotiator Carl Tominburg in favor of a family connected attorney. It’s not that the friends and family methodology is necessarily a bad thing, but it only works if those folks are reasonably competent, and this guy was not. His idea of compromise was to regularly resort to name calling, which made the strike far worse than it had to be.

Tominburg is one of the few attorneys who understands the vast nuance of collar county government, and he knows when NOT to be an attorney. Had he been the County negotiator, there never would’ve have been a strike.

Meanwhile, with both sides far closer than you might think, the new guy had Boles unleash the nuclear option just 10 days in. Threatening to hire replacement workers did nothing but harden the strikers’ resolve.

You see, what Boles and Aust didn’t know is, before that boneheaded move, the strikers had set a June 1 return to work deadline. They actually understood how Kane County government works and they were more interested in making a point than getting a raise.

Instead, it got so bad so quickly, a number of strikers told me they’d go back to work for no raise if Boles and Aust simply resigned. That says it all, doesn’t it?

Then we had Juvenile Justice Center Superintendent, Mike Davis, doing his best Xfinity Fairy Tales Support Group impersonation (it’s a TV commercial). He told the County Board they barely noticed the strikers’ absence. That utterly unnecessary and mendacious statement further infuriated the probation workers and the battle lines were drawn.

But it was Aust’s second-in-command, Jeff Jefko who single-handedly sent the strike into overtime. More than one source regaled me with tales of his closed-door meeting with Teamsters 330 President Dominic Romanazzi quickly descending into the kind of shouting match that makes Gordon Ramsey look like Kelly Ripa.

Romanazzi, a generally mild-mannered individual, was so incensed by Jeffko’s needless attack that Teamsters 330 decided to pay the strikers’ insurance through June to the tune 53 grand. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Perhaps Boles finally did learn something as her press release heralding the end of the strike was conciliatory and positive. But it’s too little, too late. The relationship between Boles, Aust and the people they employ will never be the same.

Had they toiled in the private sector, Bole and Aust would be swiftly shown the door for presiding over this kind of debacle. One could ask for their resignations, but since they have no capacity for self-reflection, it would be pointless. They think they did nothing wrong.

And that’s what’s truly frightening about all of this.

Though they weren’t as bad as our dynamic duo, on Friday, we’ll discuss how Teamsters 330 had no idea of how to handle a public-sector strike, either.

Quick Hits – June 12, 2018

As promised, here’s what shoulda gone up yesterday. And BTW I would not recommend an emergency root canal to anyone. My favorite part was, with my immunity to Novocaine in full bloom, they had to shoot it directly into the heart of the infected tooth to get me numb.

But thankfully, my jaw actually hurts more than the tooth does today! So let’s get back to far more important things.

Rauner Pritzker

This one’s gonna get ugly!

Whaddaya get when you cross two billionaires with another Illinois gubernatorial race? That’s right! A campaign that makes Bill Sherman’s jaunt through the South look like a Sunday stroll. And there’s six long months to endure before election day mercifully puts us out of our political pain.

Governor Bruce Rauner came out swinging with a reprise of his J. B. Pritzker – Rod Blagojevich wiretapped conversation in which the Democratic gubernatorial nominee salivates over the prospect of being appointed Treasurer.

It was quite effective when it first hit, but I don’t understand why Rauner wasted it on the primary. That kind of revelation would’ve been far more propitious being released three weeks before November 6th.

But now the initial shock has worn off and voters have resigned themselves to the reality that these kinds of political deals happen all the time. Put more simply, the spot has lost its pizzazz!

Meanwhile, Pritzker’s counterpunch resonates on all counts, a somewhat surprising stipulation considering his eminently lackluster primary effort. Don’t get me wrong, it’s clearly an attack ad, but it does make an effort to highlight Rauner’s abysmal governing track record.

Finishing off that litany of charges with the National Review cover labelling Rauner “The worst Republican Governor in America” is a really nice touch, too. Pritzker isn’t going negative, Rauner’s fellow conservatives are calling him out. And the time to remind Republican voters of how dismal his rein has been is right now.

But what still worries me is, like State Sen. Bill Brady before him, Pritzker’s “I’m not the other guy” strategy is leaving the window wide open for Rauner’s team to frame him as they see fit. They just haven’t done a very good job so far.

At some point, if they want to have any shot, both candidates are going to have to start telling us who they are.


And speaking of former Illinois governors …

…Rod Blagojevich is back in the news! It would appear that, as President Agent Orange plays pin the pardon on the donkey, the roulette wheel has finally rolled around to our most infamous incarcerated former governor.

But just like that inert chronograph that’s correct twice a day, I think the Cofeve-in-Chief is onto something here. He should commute Rod’s prison stay if for no other reason than the taxpayers shouldn’t have to cough up all that room and board cash.

I’ll say it again! The only thing Rod Blagojevich is guilty of is actually saying the words that every other politician in his position would’ve been thinking. The power to appoint a “friend” to a U.S. Senate Seat really is “f*****g golden!”

He certainly wasn’t gonna trade that seat away for a player to be named later!

As for the fed’s contention that his overly long sentence will act as a deterrent to other nefariously minded public officials is laughable. The only lesson they learned from is never to say such things out loud.

Once again, if you truly want to punish Rod, send him back to his foul-mouthed wife. Though that could be considered cruel and unusual punishment.


If you need further proof…

…of my contention that former Governor Blagojevich’s sentence is no disincentive to the kind of political shenanigans for which Illinois is famous, look no further than Governor Rauner appointing Ken Dunkin to a Metropolitan Water District seat.

If you recall, after he was provided with certain assurances, State Rep. Dunkin rebelled against the Madigan Machine long enough to disrupt the Springfield Democrats’ veto-proof majority. But it didn’t end well for our intrepid hero, who lost to the Obama- and Madigan-backed Julianna Stratton by two-to-one.

The water reclamation spot was supposed to be the consolation prize.

But just three weeks into the gig, a long-time state worker contended that then State Rep Dunkin once exclaimed to her and another female staffer, “I want to take both of you home and see of you will be the naughtiest.”

Of course, Dunkin called the accusation “baseless.”

If he didn’t further purse those women or use his power for payback purposes, then it’s just a really bad come on. But when it comes to a purely patronage hire like this one, that kind of backstory put Rauner directly between that #MeToo and election year Scylla and Charybdis.

So, the Governor asked him to resign, but Dunkin told him to pound sand because, while it’s certainly within his purview to fill those vacant board seats, the Governor lacks the power to send one of ‘em packing.

And didn’t Governor Rauner excoriate former Governor Pat Quinn for engaging in the very same kind of patronage politics?

I suppose we should look on the bright side. The State of Illinois is never boring!


A life well-lived

I am not a fan of Washington Post columnist and Fox political pundit Charles Krauthammer.

His writing is too dense, his leaps of “logic” completely confound me, and his world view is beyond bizarre. I understand that we all evolve, but how Krauthammer could go from a flaming liberal to a diehard conservative in one short lifetime is a mystery to me. My philosophical and ethical underpinnings aren’t nearly that fluid.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t admire the man.

Paralyzed after an errant college swimming pool dive, he would not relent in his pursuit of a Harvard medical degree. Then he gave up a lucrative, cutting-edge psychiatry practice to change the world through writing.

Then, a battle with cancer rendered him absent from the Post for the last ten months. And he never bitched about any of it.

As we all do, Krauthammer did have his good points. He was one of the first conservatives to warn us about Donald Trump’s inherent instability, and he eschewed the current political shouting matches for a reasonable and meaningful debate. He implicitly understood that disagreement isn’t a crime.

But now that insidious disease finally got the best of him, and with only weeks left to live, Krauthammer issued his final statement. Here’s the best part:

“Lastly, I thank my colleagues, my readers and my viewers, who have made my career possible and given consequence to my life’s work. I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.

I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”

And that’s certainly not subject to debate!

Quick Hits Postponed!

Dear Readers,

As a result of a suddenly necessary emergency root canal, I will get today’s mostly written Quick Hit’s up tomorrow. I can’t tell you how much fun it is being me these days!

I appreciate your patience!


Quick Hits – June 8, 2018

An unexpected move

Silly me! I thought – and predicted – that Deputy Chief Bill Wolf was a shoo-in to become the next Elgin police chief. But a mere three days after being appointed interim chief, Wolf told City Manager Rick Kozal he was leaving to fill Schaumburg’s open Deputy Chief position.

Of course, there’s been all sorts of speculation as to why Elgin’s two top cops departed in short order, and despite my curiosity, I really don’t want to give the rumor mill any grist.

What we do know is, given the lengthy interview process involved in hiring law enforcement command staff, Wolf’s move couldn’t be a spur of the moment thing. These kinda things always take time.

Bill Wolf

But by the same token, it always makes me nervous when someone of his stature makes what can only be considered a lateral move. Regardless of his reasons, I fervently home that this isn’t a symptom of a deteriorating EPD – City Hall relationship.

As former Chief Jeff Swoboda pointed out before he left, any one of the EPD commanders – Ana Lalley, Colin Fluery, or Allen Young – are quite capable of taking on that tough job. I certainly hope one of them gets the nod so the EPD can continue and expand Swoboda’s unique brand of community policing.

Meanwhile, let’s offer Mr. Wolf our best wishes as he moves two municipalities to the east.


Please get a carbon monoxide detector!

I was going to do another one of my infamous survival of the fittest pieces, but one of my former managing editors convinced me that more than two-dozen motorists dying from leaving keyless cars running since 2006 was a serious story.

Serious enough for the New York Times to run with it.

Apparently, with their housekeys firmly in their pocket or purse, some folks are forgetting to turn off their keyless vehicles in attached garages only to fall prey to carbon monoxide poisoning. But, in the end, the two-part answer to this dilemma is quite elementary.

The first step is to purchase a CO detector and plant it somewhere above your inner garage door. Every family should have one. They’re not terribly expensive and those babies will warn you long before that deadly gas hits a critical concentration level.

The second step is for auto manufacturers to install the same kind of alarm that goes off when a driver attempts to exit their car with the keys in the ignition. Opening a vehicle door with the engine running would set it off. And I think a voice warning would be particularly effective in this regard.


Not Anthony Bourdain!

Shortly after writing about fashion designer Kate Spade’s sad suicide, it was more than disconcerting to open up CNN online only to discover that storyteller extraordinaire, Anthony Bourdain, took his own life at 61.

Bourdain was the host of CNN’s Emmy Award winning ‘Parts Unknown’ program, as well as a renowned chef and writer. He apparently hung himself in his hotel room, leaving an 11-year-old daughter behind.

Please understand that this is complete speculation, but with no other obvious answer, I can’t help but wonder if a split between Bourdain and his decade-long actress girlfriend was the catalyst. If that is the case, it’s truly tragic because we’ve all had to bounce back from those kinds of relationship losses. And that kind of depression, which is very real to the sufferer, tends to be of the short-term variety.

It also could’ve been his self-documented struggle with substance abuse, including heroin, cocaine and alcohol. But whatever the cause turns out to be, it’s difficult to comprehend another fascinating life cut short by this scourge.

Again, whether it’s depression, mental illness, a pharmaceutical side effect, or a serious loss, suicide is not the answer. Talk to someone. Call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Or, as an astute reader noted, text 741741 to be connected to a crisis counselor.

If you’re willing to give it time, life always gets better!


Quick Hits – June 6, 2018

Please don’t choose suicide

In light of my current situation, a Facebook friend reached out to see if I was feeling suicidal. My immediate reaction was one of bewilderment because I hadn’t even given the possibility a second thought. As I said to former Elgin City Councilman John Prigge, they have not yet fashioned the stake that can kill this vampire!

But suddenly faced with that prospect, I realized my current circumstances might be quite difficult for someone who isn’t used to this level of scrutiny and I was grateful for my friend’s concern. But having been forced to suddenly consider it, two recent events stopped me short.


The first one was, a 20-year-old driver at the pizza place my son toils just took his own life. This was especially disconcerting because he’d delivered a pizza to my family two short days before. It’s not like you can make a psychological diagnosis in that short five-minute span, but he seemed like a perfectly happy twentysomething kid to me.

The second was the fashion designer Kate Spade’s recent suicide. How can someone who ostensibly had it all take their life at 55? And how could they leave a suicide note for their daughter explaining it wasn’t her fault? What 13-year-old isn’t going to believe they were responsible?

But Ms. Spade’s sister said she was bi-polar and that kind of mental illness is a very difficult thing to contend with.

As to my son’s co-worker, I would tell every teenager and twenty-year-old that, through the veil of limited life experience, things may seem insurmountable now, but it always get better. Unless you’re dying of a terminal disease, suicide is never the answer. It’s certainly not a victimless endeavor either.

I feel so much pain for that kid’s family, and I’m sure it’s exponentially worse for them.

As far as Ms. Spade, if someone of her means loses a battle with mental illness, it only reinforces what the great Larry Jones and I said on the radio for years. We need to remove the stigma of, and commit new resources to, battling mental illness, including chronic depression.

I’ll ask the question again! What did that holy book say about the least of our brothers?

The bottom line is, if you are feeling like there’s no hope, please reach out to someone before you do anything drastic. I can’t remember the name of the high-school book or short story, but I clearly remember the protagonist’s immediate regret at jumping in front of a train.

If you don’t believe you have someone to talk to, then please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. No matter who you are or what your circumstances are, rest assured, there are people who care about you.


Venue shopping sucks!

And when I say “venue shopping,” I mean the police officer practice of bringing accused individuals to counties where they’re far more likely to get hammered by the men and women in black than not.

To wit, instead of being taken the short 13 miles to the Markham, Illinois, courthouse, a California man accused of smuggling $2 million in marijuana and cocaine through the Lansing Airport was transported 69 long miles to Kane County.

Which county do you think is gonna be tougher on drug crimes? Kane or Cook?

The accused’s attorney argued that state law requires defendants be taken to the “nearest and most accessible judge,” but Kane County Judge D. J. Tegler inexplicably ruled that he saw “no evidence of forum shopping,” and once the jurisdiction die was cast, there was no point in sending him back to Cook County.

Apparently the judge forgot to put his reading glasses on. So, now we’re rewarding this kind of blatantly bad law enforcement behavior?

The only bright spot in this whole scheme is, in a Kane County Circuit rife with former prosecutors, it landed on former defense attorney Tegeler’s desk. I’m not saying that’s any guarantee of our defendant getting a break, but it does diminish the venue shopping effect somewhat.

But this is exactly why people start loathing the police and justice system. Because when you game the system to get a better result, it makes you no better than, oh, I don’t know, your average drug smuggler.


This ain’t how you negotiate!

I had hoped to write that Teamsters 303 made the kind of strike ending offer to which the Chief Judge and Court Services Director would be willing to respond in kind. Despite all the lingering bad feelings, I was convinced the Kane County probation strike was in its final days.

Then a source sent me a reasonable union letter outlining their willingness to continue to work with Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles and Court Services Director Lisa Aust to finally solve the strike.

Probation Strike

But instead of responding in kind, that same source also sent me Bole’s and Aust’s  four-page response essentially stipulating just how much the union and strikers suck.


Remember when JFK received two contradictory missives from the Russians during the Cuban Missile Crisis? He chose to ignore the saber-rattling iteration and go with the conciliatory one instead. And we know it worked because we’re all still here. The nuclear weapons stayed in their silos.

The point being, despite whatever animosity you feel towards the other side, if they open the door for reconciliation, you probably oughtta leap through it. Name calling and tit-for-tat BS generally won’t work.

Where’s Carl Tominberg when you really need him?

There still is hope however, as a full negotiation session is scheduled for Friday. Let’s hope cooler heads prevail and that’s all it takes to resolve this, once and for all.