Quick Hits – Let’s Send Judge Dalton packing!

Of the approximately 2,000 columns I’ve written since I started toiling for the then suburban Sun-Times newspapers back in 2006, none has generated the kind of continuing and consistent reader responses that the piece on 16th Circuit Judge John Dalton has. I’ve received at least 60 emails and Facebook PMs on the topic in the last year.

They all ask the same question, too! “How can we remove such a poor excuse for a human being from the bench?” It’s also the only column I’ve ever written where the responses have been unanimous. There hasn’t been a single comment, email, or private message supporting Judge Dalton.

Dalton
But before I explain how exactly how we can put the Judge out of our collective misery, let’s review Hizoner’s greatest hits:

1. He doesn’t follow the law

One of Dalton’s favorite courtroom theatric is to lean back in his chair, steeple his fingers, and declare, “I’ve read [name of a law book] from cover to cover,” and then he “interprets” the law in a way that clearly indicates he hasn’t. I’ve never had so many attorneys reach out to me  to complain about a judge who makes it up as he goes along.

2. He doesn’t enforce his own rulings

And that includes child support rulings, which is beyond cruel. Not only is that justice denied, but his mercurial inconsistency costs plaintiffs and defendants thousands of dollars in legal fees, lost work, and court filings. Judge Dalton takes great pride in reversing himself and watching attorneys squirm because he knows there’s absolutely nothing they can do about it.

3. He isn’t terribly fond of women

Of those aforementioned 60 responses, 75 percent of them came from women. I’ve watched the Judge berate and belittle female plaintiffs and defendants to the point of tears. And if he has no problem being a bully when I’m in the gallery, you can only imagine what he’s like when I’m not there.

Dalton also enjoys making blatantly sexist comments to female attorneys. I’d provide examples, but he’d figure out who my sources were and the he’d extract his typical pound of flesh.

4. He isn’t fond of minorities

And that’s especially true of Hispanic males. But don’t take my word for it – ask any attorney who’s ever had the misfortune of appearing in front of him. Put a minority defendant in front of him and Dalton becomes exponentially more condescending, more imperious, and more sarcastic. I’ve seen attorneys’ eyes get  as wide as satellite dishes while watching his racist antics.

5. He’s needlessly cruel and nasty

Here’s a perfect example. When a white female plaintiff was trying to get a bogus order of protect against her black boyfriend, the boyfriend admitted he pulled a chair out from under her in 2007 – a decade before the hearing. Meanwhile, it was clear to everyone else in the courtroom that she was lying through her teeth. But that didn’t stop Dalton from finding in her favor.

Here’s the kicker, as he made the ruling, he sat back in his chair, put his hands behind his head, laughed and said, “If you hadn’t admitted to the chair thing, I wouldn’t have ruled against you.” Nice! I’ve personally seen him play the “are you really that stupid” game at least six times.

 

Make no mistake, he can behave, it’s that he chooses not to. Because some Fox Valley Court Watch folks have caught onto him, when they’re present, Dalton has no problem acting like any reasonable judge should.

But when they’re not there, Dalton uses the office to exact his “revenge” against every perceived slight he’s ever “suffered.” And the fact that his elected peers, and especially the Chief Judge, refuse to call him out on it makes them almost as bad as he is.

So, what can we do to get this bleep from the bench?”

Circuit judges run for retention every six years, and John Dalton just happens to be on the ballot as we speak. If the 10 to 20,000 people who read this post vote “no,” and they encourage just one friend to do the same, that would be the end of this bully’s reign of terror.

We have the power people to change this people. Let’s use it!

Quick Hits – 2018 First Ward Endorsements!

Since this is gonna be a long one and I’ve got things to do, let’s get right to our endorsements in those contested races:

County Board 3 – Anita Lewis

If you want the Kane County Board to descend into another Springfiled-esque partisan quagmire, vote for her opponent who’s nothing more than an Aurora Township Democratic shill. As we’ve already discussed, the Aurora Dems are beyond dysfunctional redemption, and they and their ilk need to be relegate to history’s dustbin.

County Board 5 – Bill Lenert

Bill made a few rookie mistakes, but he’s generally done a great job. He’s clearly earned another shot. Meanwhile, the Democratic candidate has bought into the whole Democratic “let’s take back the board” thinking and that isn’t good for anyone.

County Board 6 – Write in Ron Ford

We’ve already discussed this situation at length!

County Board 11 – John Martin

John Martin has been a stellar county board member and you know I don’t make that kind of pronouncement very often. If all Illinois politicians were like John, we’d have a balanced budget and lower taxes, too!

County Board 13 – Steve Weber

I helped Steve beat Phil Lewis and I helped him out with his general election campaign plan as well. Steve’s background makes him particularly suited for the county board and I look forward to finally working with a decent board representative.

I also like his opponent, Lark Cowart, but in the end, she’s incredibly bull-headed and won’t listen to anyone. That does not bode well for someone seeking public office. Losing two elections in less than a year will make her unelectable.

County Board 15 – Lucas Strom

I love Barb Wojnicki as a person and a friend, but she’s an absolute nightmare as a county board member. Some people just aren’t cut out for politics. Meanwhile, Strom may be a Democrat, but he’s not the insane variety and I love his CV.

County Board 19 – Kurt Kojzarek

Like John Martin, Kojzarek has been a stellar board member and, as his campaign slogan states, he truly is “A Voice of Reason.” There are those who say Kojzarek will eventually rise to  chairman and I happen to agree with them.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Iqbal has run for every office but dog catcher and he’s managed to lose every single one. In the end, he’s simply parroting Kojzarek’s platform, so you might as well vote for the real thing.

And please let me add that, I’m utterly disappointed in Elgin’s mayor Dave Kaptain’s wife Sandy and her Democratic ilk who’ve supported Kurt and his environmental initiatives for years but abandoned him the second it became politically expedient. Shame on her and all the rest of them.

The mayor is running again, right?

County Board 21 – Cliff Surges

Cliff is simply the stronger candidate.

County Board 23 – Jim Patrician

Jim supports the current Kane County tax freeze and his opponent does not!

 

Endorsed

 

43rd District State Rep – Anna Moeller

This is more a vote against her opponent, Andrew Cuming, another perennial candidate who brings nothing to the table, than an endorsement of Anna. If you can’t run a reasonable campaign, why should anyone put you in a state rep seat?

Moeller is clearly the better candidate, but the extent to which she’s bought into the general assembly partisan bickering is truly terrifying. And if serving in Springfield turns you into a generally miserable human being, then perhaps it’s time to walk away.

49th District State Rep – Tonia Khouri

If you can extrapolate a campaign mien to the capacity to govern, then Khouri is the clear choice. Sadly, Karina Villa could be a rare movement candidate, but she’s far too wishy washy, her campaign has been an unmitigated disaster, and she’s far too beholden to the Aurora Democrats. The last thing we need in Springfield is another go-with-the-flow Democrat.

50th District State Rep – Keith Wheeler

It’s the whole can a candidate run an ineffective campaign and still somehow govern question again. And Jim Leslie’s campaign has made me cringe every step of the way. Despite the fact he’s a bit too conservative for my taste, I have been able to work with Keith on a number of issues. But if he doesn’t start showing a bit more independence, I will be more than happy to provide his next opponent with all the statistical analysis he or she might need to win.

65th District State Rep – Dan Ugaste

While his signs are everywhere, I’ve seen two of Richard Johnson’s. And if you aren’t in it to win it…

84th District State Rep – Stefanie Kifowit

She does occasionally hork me off by poking her nose into places it doesn’t belong. But she is an exceptional state rep who truly takes that gig to heart. She’s a very effective communicator, she truly cares about her constituents, and while she’s not as independent of the Madigan Machine as I’d like, I’d never ask anyone to commit political suicide,,either.

 

(In the initial posting I missed the state senate races, so here they are!)

26th District State Senate – I haven’t followed this one enough to make the right call.

33rd District State Senate – Don DeWitte

Don did a great job as Mayor of St. Charles, he’s a smart and independent politician, and he’s not the kind of idiot Republican that regularly drinks the that absurdly conservative Kool-Aid. I wish I could vote for him myself! I don’t dislike his opponent, it’s just that she doesn’t bring much to the table.

 

16th Circuit Judge – Tom Hartwell

Though Mr. Hartwell personally disappointed me in a manner that typically makes me work for his opponent, when that opponent is former State Senator Michael Noland, I do feel a sudden sense of forgiveness. Hartwell won’t be a great judge, but he will be a good one, and when you consider some of the Kane County mopes in black right now, that’s a massive step up.

Meanwhile, Noland is so corrupt and slimy, he makes Moeller look like saintly by comparison. We will devote an entire column to Mr. Noland’s foibles next week.

Another thing I like about Hartwell’s candidacy is, it sends a message to all those associate judges that those 16th Circuit seats aren’t theirs to inherit. I think it’s high time that “regular” attorneys make a regular run at Judge and I will help the good ones going forward.

Retain Judge John Dalton – NO!

This man is purposely cruel to plaintiffs and defendants, he ignores the law, he ignores his own rulings, and woe be it to any woman or minority who appears before him. Here’s your big chance to vote this poor excuse for a human being out of office. We’ll cover this piece of bleep next week as well.

Retain Judge John Barsanti – Yes

John was a great State’s Attorney and he’s an even better judge. His wife may annoy the crap out of me, but we can’t pin those kinds of poor choices on him. There aren’t very many 16th Circuit Judges I hold in the highest esteem, but Barsanti is one of them.

 

County Clerk – No one

You may as well write me in because both candidates suck!

Sheriff – Ron Hain

I could brag about Hain’s impressive anti-recidivism programs, but when the current Sheriff doesn’t bother to show up to the Delnor hostage tragedy because of a sore big toe, I really don’t need to.

Treasurer – Dave Rickert

The other guy isn’t even trying, and all sorts of folks regularly call me to say what a great job Dave is doing.

 

Since you already know the statewide and Congressional candidates, we’ll just go with names here:

14th Congressional District – Lauren Underwood

11th Congressional District – Nick Stella

8th   Congressional District – Raja Krishnamoorthi

6th   Congressional District – Sean Casten

 

State Treasurer –         Michael Frerichs

State Comptroller –     Susana Mendoza

Secretary of State –     Jesse White

Attorney General –     Kwame Raoul

Governor –                  J. B. Pritzker

Queen –                       Kristen Ziman

 

Now, go out and vote!

Quick Hits – Write in Ron Ford!

Please get your scorecards out for this one folks, because the Aurora Township Democrats, in cahoots with the Kane County Central Party, just tried to pull a fast one. All I can say is, if the Aurora Dems put as much energy into improving Aurora as they do into pointless infighting, losing elections, and generally behaving badly, the City of Light would be a spectacular sight.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Having moved out of the 6th District, Democratic county board member Brian Dahl relinquished his seat on April 7. That meant Chairman Chris Lauzen had to appoint another Democrat to finish his term, and he reached out to former board member Ron Ford to fill the vacancy.

If you recall, Ford served the 6th District from 2008 to 2015 when he stepped down due to work and family obligations. The truth is, done correctly, that purportedly part-time gig can be anything but.

Three years later, with those considerations well in hand, Ford accepted Lauzen’s appointment, and the county board unanimously – Democrats and Republicans alike – approved his return. Considering his capacity to work with just about anyone, that 23 to 0 vote certainly didn’t surprise me at all.

Ford

But then a funny thing happened.

Given the timing of his appointment, Ford couldn’t run for re-election the regular nominating paperwork way. He’d have to be “slated” by the Aurora Township Democrats to get on the November ballot, but that’s almost always a formality.

But instead of doing the slating at their August meeting as is customary, this fine group of Democrats decided to move the vote up to the July meeting. And when it came time to notify the precinct committeemen, as required by statute, treasurer Greg Elsbree says he sent a certified letter to all 14 of them and supposedly CC’d Ron, too.

But then a rather strange thing happened, only seven of the PCs received that missive in a timely manner and four didn’t receive it at all. I know the post office can be a difficult proposition, but not even they are capable of a 50 percent certified mail failure rate.

Oddly enough, the seven precinct committeeman who received the notice just happened to be opposed to Ron’s nomination, while those who support him – including all the African-American PCs – were left out in the cold. Nothing racist about that at all!

And despite the fact that he’s the incumbent, Ron wasn’t warned about the impending vote until the day before. Oh! He asked Democratic Chairman Mark Guethle about the nomination process at least three times, but all he got was non-descript answers.

So, let’s tie this up in a neat little bow!

The Aurora Democrats and Guethe don’t like Ron Ford for a number of reasons, the most of which is that he actually gets along with Republicans. You see, what the KC Dems really want to do is turn the county board into just another partisan battleground and Ron isn’t the kind of “true believer” who’d be willing do something that stupid.

That’s all we need, right? Springfield or Washington right here in Kane County!

So, they pulled a fast one to keep a sitting county board member off the ballot. But all is not lost, dear reader! Ron has filed to run as a write-in , and plugging “Ron Ford” into a voting machine is about as easy as it gets.

Ron is the kind of board member that other board members look up to, So, please don’t let the township Democrats and Mark Guethle get away with this kind of unadulterated BS. Write in “Ron Ford” for the 6th Kane County Board District. You’ll be glad you did!

Quick Hits – Some of you really do need to be strangled!

Every time I wanna take a day off some of you bleeps just have to insist upon engaging in the kind of intolerant, anti-social, and Neanderthal behavior that demands an immediate, thorough and insightful response that you can only get at TheFirstWard.net.

You certainly won’t find it in the local newspapers.

Sadly, former Batavia High School teacher and current D101 School Board member, John Dryden, recently discovered the peril of applying hyperbole on social media. John! The next time you feel the urge to do something silly like that, please put the keyboard down and leave it to the professionals. So what if the Geneva Police arrest me for the 97th time!

If you recall, Mr. Dryden got himself into a bit of a 2013 pickle when he correctly advised his young charges not to incriminate themselves by answering a not-nearly-anonymous high school survey on drug, alcohol and tobacco use.

Dryden

The great John Dryden!

You really gotta love the Batavia school district! Just when I think Geneva D304 couldn’t possibly disappoint me any further, D101 always steps up and makes them look reasonable by comparison. I suppose that’s good for our property values.

Meanwhile, our erudite educator’s response to getting spanked by administrators was to retire from teaching, run for school board, and win!

That’s how you do it Democrats and liberals! No whining, howling, shrieking, lawsuits, long soliloquys, recriminations, insipid memes, Facebook rants, co-opting board meetings, or playing the victim card. You simply put yourself in a position to affect the very people who once affected you.

Upset by some parents’ over-the-top school board meeting reactions to a transgender student using the sixth-grade girls locker room and restrooms at Rotolo Middle School, John posted the following on social media:

Sometimes School Board meetings are like Mr. Toad’s wild ride.  You can watch me try really hard not to launch myself over the table and strangle an anti-transgender lynch mob. The Board Comments at the end are worth listening to. Cheers Batavia — let’s move ahead, not backwards.

When I read that missive in real-time, my immediate response was, “I really need to give John a call and offer to help him throttle the appropriate attendees at the next Batavia board gathering. Given the general comportment of the average Tri-Cities school parent, there’s no way he could possibly get to all of them.”

And all the proof you need of my some-of-y’all-really-need-throttling hypothesis is anti-transgender parent, Kelly Sullivan, took John’s post to the Batavia Police Department and filed a police report because she felt threatened by it. I’ll pause right here to give you some time to take that in…………….

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve watched school board members assault parents during board meetings.

When confronted by the Daily Herald, Ms. Sullivan explained that, while some of her best friends are transgendered, the District failed to warn parents of this student’s existence and perhaps provide her with separate changing and restroom facilities.

Sullivan also claimed she was fearful of Dryden’s Facebook page commenters, who accurately accused her and the other intolerant parents of all kinds of bigotry and discrimination. As I frequently like to say, we certainly have the right to free speech, but none of us are free from the consequences of that speech.

And I’m glad she’s scared. She certainly wasn’t afraid of throwing a middle school student directly “under the bus,” as Dryden put it, to press her own agenda. Board member Tina Bleakley supported Dryden’s sentiment adding, “To come publicly to speak about a child disappoints me.”

Me too!

This could have, and should have been handled behind the scenes, but today’s brand of conservatives can’t be happy unless they’re making a scene. And if you believe in a Christian God, there’s a special place in hell for anyone who would needlessly make an already difficult middle schooler’s life that much more difficult.

As is too typical of Tri-Cities parents, Sullivan somehow managed to perceive and portray herself as the victim. It’s almost as if conservatives believe our gay and transgendered brethren are doing it just to annoy the crap out of them.

Yes! It’s every middle schooler’s dream to court derision, ridicule and intolerance by making a flip decision about their sexuality. Most of y’all can barely handle a splinter, much less the kind of surgery that affects your most delicate areas.

As to Sullivan’s allegation that parents should’ve been warned, Illinois privacy laws make it utterly illegal to do that. “We would never discuss personal private information about a student without their permission,” Superintendent Lisa Hitchens correctly contended, “It’s the law.”

Yes, it is!

And these bleeps who had no problem outing a middle schooler are the same bleeps who’d sue D101 in a heartbeat if they dared divulge anything about their delicate little darlings.

Another protesting parent complained her daughter was scared when she heard a male voice in the locker room, because she wasn’t aware that transgendered students existed. But that ain’t on the school board or the district, that’s on you for being a bad parent.

I get it! There are all sorts of realities we wish our children didn’t have to face, but that doesn’t make them go away now, does it? The head-in-the-sand parenting methodology never works out very well in the long run.

“Preparing students for the possibility of attending school with a transgender student is a family conversation,” Hitchens added, “The district can provide parents with resources to have that talk.”

Good enough!

John’s social media response to the entire police report kerfuffle was this:

One could argue I set myself up to be a punching bag here. On the other hand, I have to wonder why this is newsworthy. I suspect a group of parents didn’t like the response the board gave them, so they are flailing at whatever they can hit. Metaphor is clearly lost on them. Much ado about nothing.

And the truth is, it isn’t, or shouldn’t be newsworthy. Shame on the Daily Herald for going after the lowest of the low hanging fruit one more time. Those unethical editors did nothing more than exponentially compound Sullivan’s outing error by making sure we all know about this student.

I keep waiting for that paper to hit journalistic rock bottom, but they just keep on digging that hole!

So, no! Having spoken with John at length, I can personally guarantee that he isn’t about  to start strangling parents at board meetings despite the fact that some of you really need a good throttling. But I’m making no such promises!

Ain’t it funny how conservative Batavians refuse to believe the eminently credible Dr. Christine Ford, but they have no problem believing a transgender student will go after their daughters and take down an entire school district in the process.

Apparently, they missed the whole “least of my brothers” Sunday School lesson. Good Christians every one!

 

Quick Hits – The verdict at 1:45 p.m.

The jury will announce the Jason Van Dyke verdict at 1:45 p.m. CST. Should you want to see it live, please turn to CLTV on your cable or satellite network.

Van Dyke 2

Given the light speed nature of the deliberations, and the fact the jury asked the Judge two questions, my money is on a second degree murder conviction which will make everyone unhappy, but it might just prevent rioting.

But the protest leaders are saying, if it ain’t first degree murder – if there’s no justice for Laquan McDonald, there will be no Chicago Marathon on Sunday. Interesting!

I’ll be watching!

PS: It was a second degree murder conviction exactly as it should’ve been.

 

 

Quick Hits – October 3, 2018

Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis

As Cook County’s Jason Van Dyke prosecution slowly slouches towards Bethlehem, another astute local Republican politician called me to describe a scenario that’s even more dire for Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon than any I’d previously predicted.

But before we continue, if those Chicago Tribune reporters are reasonably accurate, given their coverage of this pathetic prosecution effort, the team of McMahon, Cullen, Gleason, et al shouldn’t have stopped at 13- to 14-hour preparation days.

Is this really the best they can do?

My original fallout theory was, should McMahon lose this case, every Chicago activist will want his head on a silver platter. Conversely, should he prevail, his relationship with law enforcement will be permanently damaged to the point that he’ll be a less effective state’s attorney than he already is.

Laquan McDonald Jason Van Dyke

But, like I said, my friend came up with another possibility. His hypothesis was that McMahon and his team would likely suffer both fates, and I think he’s right!

McMahon and company’s first hard-to-fathom mistake was pursuing a first-degree murder charge. It may be true that Van Dyke and most of his CPD compatriots are no better than the thugs they arrest, but he clearly didn’t wake up that day thinking, “I’m gonna shoot Laquan McDonald 16 times!”

Without that kind of premeditation, it ain’t first-degree murder.

So, despite their mediocre trial effort, unless McMahon goes for broke, which would be a really bad idea, the jury will likely convict Van Dyke of a lesser charge which means the worst of both worlds.

With their expectations sky high, those Second City activists won’t settle for anything less than the whole enchilada, while law enforcement won’t be happy with any kind of conviction. As that great philosopher Warren Zevon said, “Send lawyers, guns and money. The shit has hit the fan!”

So, who needs to expose McMahon’s vast administrative and political shortcomings when he’s more than happy to do it himself? How that man dresses himself in the morning is beyond me.

 

Joe Maddon needs to go, now!

My good friend and scurrilous Cardinal fan, Bill Wright, PM’d me this morning to ask if I required a shoulder to cry on regarding the Cubs’ quick playoff exit. Perhaps that would’ve been the case in previous seasons, but not this time.

You see, not only did I fail to watch last night’s wildcard game, but the loss to the Colorado Rockies is exactly what I was praying for. Insiders recently told me that, in great part due to allowing closer Pedro Stop injure himself on the base paths, Cubs’ GM Theo Epstein is not at all amused by the worst manager in the Major Leagues. And since I’m convinced the Cubs will never win another pennant with Maddon at the helm, it’s better to cut bait now.

Maddon

Yes! Maddon was the perfect manager for a young team facing 108 years of despair and desperation, but all his cute gimmicks and beyond bullshit baseball won’t work with multi-million-dollar veteran players, and the Cubs’ precipitous fall from that championship season is all the proof you really need.

I don’t care if the Cubs win 120 games, if you don’t make it back to the Series, then you’re no better than the 100 loss White Sox. Nobody remembers the wild card teams and nobody wants to be the White Sox.

Further proof of Maddon’s bizarre ego and inability to take responsibility for his failures include, but are not nearly limited to his:

  • Firing the hitting and pitching coaches that got them there out of pure ego. How’d the new guys work out, Joe?
  • Utter inability to handle pitchers
  • Ability to regularly overuse relievers
  • Utter inability to handle pitching changes
  • Refusal to be more aggressive on the base paths in spite of watching the havoc Javier Baez wreaked on opposing defenders’ psyches
  • Refusal to adjust to the defensive shifts that killed his power pull hitters
  • Insistence on pitchers batting eighth
  • Failure to kick ass when required

After he retired, Orioles Hall of Fame Jim Palmer admitted he’d never have been the pitcher he was if the great Earl Weaver hadn’t regular kicked his ass. Weaver wouldn’t let Palmer sink into the morass of his own doubts.

Jon Lester can’t throw to first base? What kind of fucking bullshit? I saw analyst David DeJesus’ nine-year-old daughter through a strike to home plate!

The late great five-time Yankee manager Billy Martin may have taken it a bit too far – on and off the field – but his former players conceded that they were terrified of losing, and there ain’t nuthin’ wrong with that. You may not be able to install a winning mindset in a player who doesn’t have one, but you can certainly use fear as a weapon with everyone!

Look at what the Brewers did with perennial all-star Corey Knebel. When he couldn’t right the mental ship, they sent his ass down to the minors despite his $4 million salary. And when he came back up, he was lights out!

Apparently, there’s something about long, hot bus trips that can make a player think twice about sucking.

When opposing managers started using shifts against the Splendid Splinter, Ted Williams simply bunted to the left side of the diamond until they were forced to stop. Fuck launch angles! Rizzo, Schwarber, Bryant, and Heyward need to learn how to use the entire field. Thirty-seven year-old Ben Zobrist gave up some power this year, but he batted .305 with a .378 on-base percentage because, as the great Wee Willie Keeler suggested, he “hit ‘em where they ain’t.
So, while the Cubs still have a winning nucleus under team control, it’s time to let Maddon go to another foolish unsuspecting team and hire a manager who actually knows how to win. My choice would be former Cubs catcher David Ross who won’t take any shit.

Where’s Whitey Herzog when you really need him?

 

No Quick Hits Friday or Monday

Since I desperately need a break from writing, unless I’m truly inspired, I’m taking a long Columbus Day weekend. Quick Hits will be back on the 10th.

Quick Hits – Kept on looking for the sun in the middle of the night!

The only thing worse than a local newspaper failing to cover something is when they actually do cover something. The Daily Herald’s and Tribune suburban papers’ capacity to miss the real story while making it up as they go along is unparalleled in the realm of normal human comprehension.

To wit, the Beacon-News headline blared, “Donors that gave thousands to Aurora mayor get high-profile projects.”

My first thought was, “Holy crap! Richard Irvin certainly moves fast! He hasn’t even been in office for a year and he’s already managed to rack up those kinds of pay-to-play stats? Perhaps he’s a political prodigy!”

Irvin 2

But then I kept reading only to discover the reporter was talking about all of four donors.

According to that poor excuse for a newspaper, Scientel made a $500 contribution to Irvin’s 2017 mayoral bid, and soon after the city council reversed their decision disallowing the company’s relocation to Aurora, they provided another ten grand.

That total actually should’ve been $13,000, but the reporter completely missed a third 2018 $2,500 Scientel contribution. And if you can’t get the basics right, then your entire story is suspect.

Then our scurrilous mayor had the temerity to accept money from the Fox Valley Developers group who won the contract to clean up the blighted former Copley Hospital site on Aurora’s East Side. Those contributions lined up as follows:

  • $11,170 from Russel Woerman from 12/16 to 6/17
  • $ 500 from Stathis Poulakidas in 2016 (who cares?)
  • $14,000 in cash and services from Michael Poulakidas since 2015

The reporter went on to stipulate that “more than $12 million of the city’s over $80 million in payments to vendors went to companies that had donated, would soon donate, or were affiliated with donors to Irvin’s campaign fund…”

That’s exactly when the managing editor should have killed the story.

Fifteen percent? Back when the Beacon-News was a real newspaper, then-reporter Dan Campana and I wrote about former Chairman Karen McConnaughay extorting campaign contributions from 80 percent of Kane County vendors to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That was a story. But 15 percent and $39,000? Nope!

I can’t tell you how disappointed I am in Hizzoner, because if that’s the best Mayor Irvin can do, I never shoulda helped get him elected. Some of us do have political standards, and please tell me how I’ll ever be able to hold my head high in Cook County again when I have to explain those kind of sad campaign finance numbers.

C’mon! Mike Madigan can pull in 39 grand every five minutes! Pay-to-play my ass! I expect far more from my Illinois elected officials. Didn’t Richard learn anything from Tom Weisner and Rick Guzman?

The other thing that reporter completely missed is the deal with Scientel wasn’t one where they were paid for a service. That firm wanted to come into the city and create 50 jobs, but was initially turned down because the council errantly thought their impending radio tower would interfere with another nearby business.

Once that issue was resolved, the re-vote was a no-brainer. Call me crazy, but don’t we want companies to come into Aurora and create jobs?

To be fair, the reporter paid some heed to the notion that virtually nothing happens in Aurora without the advice and consent of the City Council, but not nearly enough. Having covered the City of Lights for over a dozen years, “rubber stamp” is not an appellation I’d apply to any of their various alderpersons.

The reporter also failed to note the Poulakidas family contributed to former Mayor Tom Weisner’s various campaigns, because smart developers hedge their bets by making everyone happy. There’s certainly no lost love between Irvin and Weisner, either.

C’mon! This ain’t pay-to-play – it’s not even close! And when you run a non-story like this, it damages your credibility to the point where no one will believe you when you finally come up with something worthwhile.

Upon opening this morning’s Beacon-News e-paper, my plan was to kvetch about the headline trumpeting a new restaurant coming to downtown Oswego. But I’ve changed my mind. Reporting on a new eatery is just about that paper’s speed.