Despite the prodigious cat-herding nature of the process, on occasion, city councils actually manage to get it right! Of course, it could be nothing more than the statistical reality that, given enough rolls, the dice will finally align correctly, but I’m good either way.
So, regardless of the reason, Elgin was dead on when they promoted Commanders Ana Lalley and Al Young to Chief and Deputy Chief. C’mon! Wouldn’t it be reasonably safe to say that Elgin has developed more national police chiefs than any other municipality, so why would anyone want to look anywhere else?
And when you think about it, the cool thing is Kane County’s two largest cities now boast female police chiefs. And an Elgin female chief and black deputy chief? If that ain’t diversity, then I’m even whiter than I thought.
When Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman told me she was headed to an Illinois female police chiefs convention, I asked her what she and the other chief were gonna do. Now they have a quorum!
But, as is almost always the case, this wasn’t nearly good enough for African-American city councilpersons Tish Powell and Corey Dixon. Taking a cue from the EPD’s Puerto Rican initiative to hire more Hispanic officers, they insisted the City “cast a wide net” in search of that perfect new head honcho.
Translated, they wanted a black chief and they’d settle for nothing less.
You see, both of our illustrious councilmen, to varying degrees, take their marching orders from former U-46 school board member and Donald Trump wannabee, Traci Ellis. It’s absolutely no surprise for Powell whose tragic flaw is always gravitating towards the strongest local political personality, but Dixon’s sudden lack of independence is troubling.
“But Jeff! When you compared Ellis to Trump, you’re, once again, pulling hyperbole out of your vast journalistic arsenal, right?” Au contraire, dear reader! This time, I’m as serious as a colonoscopy gone wrong. To wit:
- They were born into family situations the rest of us rabble can only dream about.
- If it weren’t for those families they’d probably be homeless.
- They write books that go to great lengths to explain just how great they really are.
- They regularly overestimate their intelligence.
- They make absurd proclamations to rile their base (Ellis recently compared the American flag to toilet paper).
- Trump uses immigration and Ellis uses the Cynthia DeClements shooting to whip the faithful into a frenzy.
- Lies always come easier than the truth.
- Everything is always about them.
- They are two of the most racist individuals on the planet.
Sadly, Powell is beyond hope. To watch her fritter away all that incredibly rare bi-partisan and multi-racial goodwill she painstaking built up on the likes of a political demagogue is a truly terrifying thing. She could’ve been a U.S. Senator, but now her reelection is in doubt.
I’m not willing to give up on Dixon quite yet. We’ll just call this the first strike in a one-and-one count and I’m not sure he can hit a curveball. I don’t think Mr. Dixon realizes that the voters won’t soon forget Ellis’ flag/toilet paper comment. How many one-term Elgin city councilmen have there been?
Put more simply, political associations matter.
Meanwhile, please allow me to congratulate Lalley and Young for these well-deserved promotions. They are stellar law enforcement officers who’ve ceaselessly worked to make Elgin a better place for all residents. When I think back to the EPD of the early 90’s, I want to hug and kiss them both on the lips.
My fervent wish is that we have the same kind of positive no-holds-barred relationship that former Chief Jeff Swoboda and I had.
But back to our aldermanic dynamic duo!
If Powell and Dixon are as serious about accurate representation as they claim, here’s how they can prove their sincerity. Considering Elgin is just 9 percent black, but 43 percent Hispanic, I want them to draw straws. I’ll be happy to moderate the procedure, too. And whoever gets the short end of the stick will immediately resign in favor of an Hispanic city councilman.
Now, that would be diversity!