Quick Hits – July 30, 2018

It ain’t always nefarious, John!

Though he can certainly write, a compliment I rarely bestow on anyone, I’ve tried to tell former Elgin City Councilman John Prigge that if he accuses his former peers of a nefarious scheme every bleepin’ time he covers them, people will stop paying attention.

Insistent negativity eventually becomes just more political white noise.

I may not be a big fan of my hometown, but Geneva schools are reasonable, a plurality of the residents actually seem to “get it,” and despite a police department that couldn’t catch a cold, you generally don’t have to barricade yourself inside your house to foil the criminals.

But I digress!

So, I winced a bit when our former city councilman accused Elgin’s St. Joseph’s Church of “breaking their word” after opting out of a deal to buy two dormant City parking lots.

St. Joseph Church

I know John was opposed to this kind of connected contingency deal from the get-go, but that truly seemed like it was the only option.

St. Joe’s, the only interested party, signed a deal to purchase those lots, if and only if, they met certain church expansion fundraising goals. One of those targets was to have $2.25 of the $3 million total project price in place by July 1. But with only $617,000 in hand, church leaders did the right thing by pulling the plug on the parking lot deal.

That doesn’t mean St. Joe’s and the City can’t work something out going forward, and considering how rapidly that parish is growing, I certainly hope they do. But “breaking their word?” I don’t think so.

That’s why it was a contingency deal to begin with.

As Larry Jones and I pointed out on our former radio show, whether it’s another useless TIF district or marginal properties like these, if the market would bear a specific kind of development or a tidy sale to a developer, it would’ve already happened.

So, John! I’m not quite sure where you’re coming from here, and my challenge is for you to cover something that puts Elgin and its City Council in a positive light in your next exposition.

I wonder if you can do it!

 

Hey guys! Boobs aren’t just for ogling!

I know it’s hard to believe, but they actually do have a function beyond becoming Internet entertainment.

To set the story stage, I’m always amazed when, in the process of a high-profile jury selection, they always manage to find folks who never pay attention to the news. Given our frightening 24/7 news cycle, it’s hard to believe some folks summarily ignore it.

Aren’t those exactly the kind of citizens you really don’t want serving on a jury?

But apparently these creatures do exist because, despite a slew of news stories on angry women protesting security guard’s and management’s attempts to stop them from breastfeeding, it keeps on happening.

Breastfeeding protest

The latest incident occurred at Aurora’s Fox Valley Mall. When a Build-a-Bear promotion gone wrong added up to four-hour lines, a couple of moms had no choice but to discretely feed their infants. Though none of the customers cared, an errant security guard rudely insisted the women take it to a more private location.

His first problem is that Illinois law expressly forbids anyone from interfering with a publicly breastfeeding mom for any reason. And sure enough! Given our guard’s failure to consider history, about 50 irate breastfeeding moms descended upon the Mall in a Saturday, July 14, protest to make their point.

There were no incidents that day.

To be fair, mall management released the following statement:

“We have always allowed breastfeeding at our shopping center, and fully support the right for a mother to breastfeed wherever she may choose, including the common areas of the property. The actions of a few have impacted many and are not indicative of Fox Valley Mall as a whole. We have apologized to the mother and will continue to support these rights.”

But it baffles me that this kind of thing continues to happen. You’d think it would be on the second page of the security guard training or business owner manual, “Don’t mess with breastfeeding moms, because hell hath no fury like one of them scorned!”

 

Larry and I told you so!

Back in February of 2016, the great Larry Jones and I told you all that, despite the massive shrieking and rending of garments, Maxxam Partners’ proposed Campton Hills rehab center would become a reality. And if the County Board insisted on putting up suspect road blocks, the fine citizens of Kane County would be on the lawsuit hook for underwriting that project as well.

And that’s exactly what just happened.

Put more simply, the rehab center will be occupying the former Glenwood School building and a seven-figure settlement will be the icing on the developer’s cake. The second the Kane County Zoning Board of Appeals referred to these impending addicts as “animals that should be locked up,” the legal die was cast. You see, the federal government takes a very dim view of government entities that don’t take the American’s With Disabilities Act seriously.

Glenwood 3

Some board members are questioning State’s Attorney Joe McMahon’s lack of lawsuit fighting mettle (he does have a propensity to settle these things) as the reason for this turn of events, but even though I need to apply a little more due diligence here, given the players involved, I firmly believe this outcome was inevitable.

Just like it was with the new County jail that I can see from my house, within three months of accepting their first client, no one will remember the facility it exists. You know I love my Campton Hillians, but they’ve really gotten unnecessarily nutty over this prospect.

To me, it once again, boils down to a least of our brothers kind of thing. With a completely out-of-hand heroin and meth epidemic spanning all demographics, we need more rehab options, not less.

10 thoughts on “Quick Hits – July 30, 2018

  1. Did the zoning people really call addicts animals who need to be locked up? That one is just astounding!

  2. The good people of Campton Hills must have a special place in the hearts of trial attorneys, zoning attorneys and village attorneys

  3. Jeff, Jeff, Jeff…

    “I’m not quite sure where you’re coming from here,” I know, man. A simple call or email would have quenched your thirst before you wrote this. Then there would be no mystery, as you have always stated about me, about this topic.

    “I’ve tried to tell former Elgin City Councilman John Prigge that if he accuses his former peers of a nefarious scheme every bleepin’ time he covers them, people will stop paying attention.” I call balls and strikes when it comes to the council. But, I have also cited specific examples of which you write of because I was there. I specifically warned the council about the dirty deals they have orchestrated or endorsed. Can you or anyone else name a positive thing the council has done in the last 1-3 years? There are many dysfunctional issues on the council, from the all-of-one-mind-council down to the city manager.

    “I winced a bit when our former city councilman accused Elgin’s St. Joseph’s Church of “breaking their word” after opting out of a deal to buy two dormant City parking lots.” They did break their word. The city had a deal. You even wrote so when you said, “church leaders did the right thing by pulling the plug on the parking lot DEALl.” You have to have a deal to get an extension on a deal, right? The city did not break their word. St. Joseph did with a good reason.

    “St. Joe’s, the only interested party..” That should read, “St. Joe’s, the only one who knew that the property was available.” Why? Because the council intentionally made it that way by not offering the people’s land for sale save for a classified legal section ad in the Herald. No For Sale sign on the property. No commercial real estate involvement who would used the Internet. And, irresponsibly ironic, no enlisting our $135K per year contractor, the Downtown Neighborhood Association, to shop that property around to occupy it. That’s what they’re paid to do, you know, fill our anemic downtown with businesses.

    “if the market would bear a specific kind of development or a tidy sale to a developer, it would’ve already happened.” I strongly disagree. If you want to sell something you have to tell people it’s for sale. A blind squirrel can find a nut once in awhile but it’s rare. Would you sell you record collection and not tell anyone?

    “my challenge is for you to cover something that puts Elgin and its City Council in a positive light in your next exposition. I wonder if you can do it!” I can and will. Because the next time it happens will be the first time it happens in a long time. But for now, with a 9-0 shutout on the council and now an all-Liberal roster pitching no-hitters twice a month, it may be awhile.

    For the record, I did tell my colleagues in the Executive Session of August, 2016 that they were going dirty on this deal and that we could easily make it clean. Place a For Sale on the land at 1 p.m., have the church call at 1:01 pm make an offer for the list price of $95K, sign a contract, take the sign down and TA-DAH, it’s all good. They said nope. That wouldn’t make them feel as powerful. They wanted to pander and be perceived as a South Pole Santa Claus. Council member Martinez, who is a St. Joe church member and brought the issue to the council, voted to make the deal in Executive Session. No abstaining for her. That is, until later in front of the the public at later meetings.

    Here’s the solution to all of this embarrassment: Do what millions of others do when they want to sell property. List it with a commercial Realtor! Then let the DNA market it and put a sign in the ground. Heck, even tell the Chamber of Commerce. If an offer comes, THEN tell the church we need your money or we’re going to sell it. But now, it looks like we’re going to hold that land for them without looking for prospective buyers So we can repeat the dirty deal all over again.

    P.S. thanks for the writing compliment.

    • John,

      I know I could’ve come to you directly, but the fact that neither one of us has any secrets made it much more fun to have the discussion here!

      Jeff

  4. Dave, not now. Heck, I released this information right after my colleagues decided to sanction a hit on the citizens of Elgin with this back door deal in 2016. I worked for the citizens of Elgin, not my colleagues who drooled at the chance to get dirty with the citizens property. I was not going to be complicit in this. My hands are squeaky clean on this one.

  5. One little thing to add to the breastfeeding item: Every male politician, pundit or columnist who trots out that obnoxious “if women can breastfeed in public, I should be allowed to pee wherever I want” line should immediately have his head dunked in an unflushed toilet until he learns the difference between urine and mother’s milk.

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