Quick Hits – The First Ward’s Midterm Predictions!

Normally, election prognostication columns are one of my favorite things, but with this election cycle truly testing my prophetic mettle, I’m not looking forward to dipping my toe into that muddied swamp.

Put more simply, not only would I like to preserve my 85 percent prescient track record, but some of y’all take far too much glee in reminding me of the few times I wuz wrong.

What I can tell you with reasonable certainly about these midterms is:

  • There will be no local blue wave
  • I wouldn’t count on a national blue wave
  • There will be no real Hispanic turnout
  • Non-voters still won’t vote

But there is a wildcard! If the current anti-Trump sentiment has motivated new and young voters to cast a ballot, that will change everything. But since they have no real voting history, applying a statistical model to forecast that turnout is pointless. Put more simply, we won’t know until we know.

Election Predictions

With all of that in mind, and with some qualifying conditions, I’m gonna give it my best shot. Just be gentle with me when it’s over:

1. Governor

J. B. Pritzker by 18 points; 23 if young folks vote. Pritzker gets better at campaigning every day while Bruce Rauner looks as lost as he did at that Southern Illinois Trump rally.

2. Attorney General

Kwame Raoul by 20 points. With the unparalleled Madigan ground game behind him, Raoul will trounce Erika Harold, a truly terrible candidate.

3. Secretary of State

Jesse White by a landslide. Why Republicans waste their time running against him is beyond me.

4. Comptroller

Susana Mendoza by 20 points. People like Ms. Mendoza and I’ve neither seen nor heard a thing from Republican challenger Darlene Senger.

5. Treasurer

Michael Frerichs by 20 points. Again, Michael is a very likeable guy and his main opponent, Jim Dodge, is anything but. If Dodge ever did have a chance, Libertarian candidate Michael Laheney’s entry into the race put an end to it.

6. 6th Congressional District

Casten by 3 points. If young voters show up, 8 points. Considering the vast GOP nature of DuPage County, I’m really going out on a limb here, but Peter Roskam’s failure to hold town hall meetings or effectively respond to constituents means he’s done. Casten has also run a campaign that hasn’t left those all-important swing voters out in the cold.

7. 8th Congressional District

Raja Krishnamoorthi by 20 points. Raj is quite popular in his district and I haven’t seen hide nor hair of his Republican opponent.

8. 11th Congressional District

Bill Foster by 25 points. He may be a completely worthless Congressman (and human being), but the district is highly Democratic and Foster is one of the few candidates who understands how to use voting statistics.

9. 14th Congressional District

Randy Hultgren by 4 points; Lauren Underwood by 1 point if young people vote. This one was Underwood’s for the taking, but her poorly run campaign has been aimed solely at people who were already going to vote for her. And preaching to the choir gets you nowhere when you’re in the district’s minority party. That said, given her surprising primary victory, if she has been aiming at swing voters via some unseen method, she could win by 5 points.

10. State Senate District 33

Don DeWitte by 15 points. Ain’t no Democrat ever gonna win the 33rd.

11. State Rep District 43

Anna Moeller by 25 points. Ain’t no Republican ever gonna win the 43rd.

12. State Rep District 49

Tonia Khouri by 20 points. Ms. Khouri knows how to campaign and her Democratic opponent, Karina Villa, does not. Ms. Villa is listening to the Aurora Democrats which is the quickest way to lose an election.

13. State Rep District 50

Keith Wheeler by 15 points. Jim Leslie may be a tireless campaign worker, but it doesn’t matter because he’s run one of the worst campaigns I’ve ever seen. Constantly attacking your opponent over minor issues doesn’t work in local races.

14. State Rep 65

Dan Ugaste by 20 points. Ugaste signs are everywhere, but I’ve only seen three of Richard Johnson’s in the entire county.

15. 16th Circuit Judge

Tom Hartwell by 10 points. Hartwell really should trounce opponent Michael Noland by twice that, but the extent of Noland’s contemptible behavior isn’t as well known outside of the Elgin area.

16. County Clerk

Jack Cunningham by 20 points. Being a perennial losing candidate has not helped Nico Jimenez at all and his campaign ethic does not impress me.

17. Sheriff

Don Kramer by 5 points; Ron Hain by 1 point if new and young voters turn out. Ron Hain should’ve run away with this one, but the Kane County and Aurora Democrats totally screwed him by running candidates against countywide Republicans they can’t possibly beat. This blitheringly stupid move forced those Republicans to mobilize and, though Kramer clearly doesn’t deserve the office, a rising GOP tide lifts all boats. If you want to snatch an election defeat from the jaws of victory, take advice from Democratic Vice Chairman Corinne Pierog.

18. County Treasurer

Dave Rickert by 40 points. I haven’t seen a single Jim Snelson sign anywhere and Rickert is a very astute campaigner.


For Kane County Board Races, I’m just going to pick the winner:

District 2 – Anita Lewis

District 5 – Bill Lenert

District 6 – Ron Ford – will actually win a write-in campaign!

District 11 – John Martin – by a landslide

District 13 – Steve Weber

District 15 – Barb Wojnicki

District 19 – Kurt Kojzarek

District 21 – Cliff Surges

District 23 – Jim Patrician

Now, it’s your turn to put your neck on the line and make your own predictions in the comments section. After that, get out and vote!

Quick Hits – Just Don’t Do It – Part 2

Survival as a journalist depends upon a capacity to harden your heart or follow in those Zen masters’ non-attachment footsteps. I’d like to think I fall into the latter category, but despite my best efforts, some news reports still get to me. To wit, two similar stories ripped my heart out and stomped on it last week.

The first involved a 21-year-old University of Utah track standout who’d taken compromising photographs with a boyfriend who turned out to be a 37-year-old sex offender. When they broke up as a result, he used those photos to shake her down for $1,000 and then he killed her after she went to the campus police six separate times.

He committed suicide when the police finally caught up with him and the University will have to explain how they could possibly let this one fall through the cracks.

While that one’s certainly gut wrenching, it’s the second one I’m having a really tough time with.

Through a chatroom, David Cottrell, a former law student who lives in Niles, Illinois, somehow convinced a seventh-grade girl to send him nude photos. Thinking she was anonymous, the girl complied only to be threatened with a child porn charge if she didn’t continue to provide more graphic videos and photographs.

David Cottrell

David Cottrell

Cottrell, 28, coerced the middle-schooler into providing pictures and videos almost daily, which included making her stay up late to act out pornographic scripts and leave her classes to take nude pictures in the school bathroom. This went on for three long years until her parents finally found some of those transactions on her phone.

Cottrell, who plead not guilty to all charges, was remanded to federal custody where he faces a minimum of 15 years in prison if convicted. Considering the charges, my guess is he’s in isolation.

I may not have daughters, but I can’t comprehend how any human being could torture a 13-year-old girl in this heinous a manner. There’s gotta be a special place in hell for Cottrell, and my fondest wish is his inevitable jail time comes as damn close to one of Dante’s inner circles as possible.

But despite harboring a vast amount of sympathy for the two victims and especially for their parents, we both know that a senseless death and three years of torment might have been avoided if those nude photos didn’t exist.

All I can say is, I’m glad cell phones weren’t available in 1971.

The first problem is, even if you consent to sending graphic photos of yourself, if you’re underage, it may well mean a child porn charge for the sender and the recipient. That’s a quick 4 to 15 years in prison.

The second issue is, blinded by that sense of blissful sense of youthful invulnerability and/or being in love, teenagers quickly forget that nothing ever goes away on the Net – and that includes emails and texts. All it takes is a bad breakup, and most of our early relationships end poorly, and those pictures go up on a revenge porn site or worse.

Not to mention they can simply be passed around by someone who’s a bit more callous than you might like to think.

Third, a good friend just told me, “There’s no such thing as anonymity anymore,” and he’s right. One of the things I’ve learned in 12 years of journalism is that, give me a scant 15 minutes, I can find out virtually anything about anybody. Getting something as simple as an address is child’s play. And we’re not talking any kind of hack either. Most of it’s already out there. It’s simply a matter of knowing how and where to look.

If you do make a mistake and someone does post those kinds of pictures online or attempts to blackmail you, please, please, please, go to a parent, counselor, or law enforcement agency. Of course, your parents won’t be happy about it, but we’ve all made blunders we’d rather forget, and I can tell you that protecting our children from predators is far more important than prosecuting an error in judgement.

Trust me, your parents will support you in this regard.

Though it certainly feels like another case of spitting into the wind, my fondest wish is that every parent, and every middle school and high school teacher, will impart those two terrifying news stories to their young charges. It’s hard to believe that a couple of photographs could spiral out of control like this until the evidence proves that it can.

I understand it’s not easy to entertain certain unpleasant realities. When I think about the “dangers” we faced growing up in the 60s, it’s remarkable to consider that predators can enter your child’s life directly through a device in their back pocket. That’s why it’s so important to talk to them about the dangers of sending nude photos and so many other of our fascinating 2018 parental challenges.

Because to lose a daughter and to have another daughter endure three years of agony over the briefest of lapses is beyond sad and incredibly difficult to comprehend.

Quick Hits – October 26, 2018

This is why Republicans can’t win in Illinois

With the friendliest poll numbers putting him 13 points behind J. B. Pritzker, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is resorting to the same sort of silly shenanigans that will ensure the Springfield Democratic supermajority will be sustained.

His latest TV ad, entitled ‘Unholy Union,’ features the backs of two well-dressed men facing a minister at the altar. The clergyman says, “Repeat after me. I, Mike Madigan, take you, J.B. Pritzker, as my unlawful partner in destruction, to raise property taxes, corrupt government and bankrupt Illinois’ future.”

To which the Madigan character responds, “Done,” while the Pritzker stand-in says “Deal.”

The minister continues; “And I, J. B. Pritzker, take you, Mike Madigan, to honor and obey till death do us part.”

“Always have; Always will.” the faux Pritzker replies.

“By the power vested in me, I now pronounce Illinois bleeped,” the minister concludes mouthing a F-bomb directly into the camera.

Rauner Wedding Ad

First, the tired old anti-Madigan Republican mantra doesn’t work. Illinois voters want a lot more solutions and a lot less blame. As the Governor himself said in 2014, “If I don’t change the state in four years, throw me out.”

And that’s exactly what we’re gonna do.

Second, this kind of messaging is called a “dog whistle” ad because it’s true intent is to scare the conservative voters who’ve long since abandoned Rauner for third party candidate Sam McCann. C’mon! Do you really think the depiction of a same-sex marriage was an accident?

Not only will this tactic fail to rescue Rauner from being relegated to political oblivion, but its radiating ripples will help doom Illinois’ Republican chances for years to come. I keep saying it! Illinois is a purple state and shrieking about social issues won’t get you very far.

I’m gonna keep saying this, too! If the Illinois GOP wants to beat Mike Madigan, they need to put a lot less effort into lip service and a lot more effort into creating the kind of ground game that gave the Dems a supermajority in the first place.


Just don’t do it!

My wife and I have a running gag called ‘Things you thought you’d never have to say.”

For example, when they were younger, I had to tell one of my sons to stop licking his brother. Then there was the time I had to explain why putting cereal up your nose is a bad idea. Just last week I had to tell the new dog not to pee on his sister.

It’s along those very same lines that I suddenly feel obligated to call on my Caucasian counterparts to stop calling the cops on folks for breathing while black. It’s not that I’m necessarily responsible for my race (and I’m an honorary Mexican anyway), it’s that I’m tired of having to read the weekly story on the latest loon setting our race back 200 years.

To wit, white people have dialed 911 to report blacks who were:

  • Barbecuing
  • Babysitting white children
  • Accidentally brushing a woman with a backpack
  • Going to a public pool
  • Sitting a seat away while flying
  • Napping in a dorm lounge
  • Shopping
  • Leaving an Airbnb
  • Taking a college tour
  • Golfing
  • Sitting in Starbucks

Just don’t do it!

And when your ridiculous rant goes viral, insisting that you’re not racist while claiming that one of your best friends is black really doesn’t help matters, either.

White Folks

The next sentence I never thought I’d have to issue is, “Men need to stop groping women on airplanes!” There have been three separate airplane groping news accounts in just the past six months.

What the hell is wrong with you people? Despite whatever adult movies might depict, most women don’t like being randomly grabbed by anyone, much less a stranger. And there’s no place to hide on an aluminum tube hurtling through the upper reaches of the atmosphere at 600 mph, either.

Just don’t do it!

Of course, airlines might want to consider not overserving passengers on long flights, but that’s a column for another day.

All I can say is, to quote a short story character in the Atlantic Monthly, “Sometimes I wonder if the whole world isn’t an idiot asylum for the castaways of happier planets.”


Quick Hits – October 24, 2018

Yes! Judge Dalton really said that!

As is always the case, whenever we cover John Dalton, a miserable excuse for a judge and a human being, a slew of new emails inevitably arrive detailing even more of his abhorrent abuse of power. Most of them are heart-rending, too.

In that very vein, I just received another missive that truly sums up the kind of man John Dalton really is.

In February, a young woman petitioned Dalton for an order of protection against her ex who was stalking and harassing her, including sending sexually explicit text messages that detailed how he’d masturbate in bed next to their two-year-old daughter. The ex also happened to be out on bond for threatening to kill her two separate times.

Dalton’s response to those texts was to admonish the plaintiff with, “Do you know how many people have sex in the same room as their children?” Then he proceeded to “explain” that her ex-husband was making these threats out of frustration that she wouldn’t respond to him.

Then he wouldn’t grant her the order of protection.

Courtroom KC

I don’t know about you, but my fervent believe is that most of us don’t threaten to kill our wives of former wives if they don’t immediately respond to a text. And who wouldn’t want to engage in a lively conversation with an individual who regularly stalks, harasses and threatens you.

I told you Judge Dalton doesn’t like women.

But wait there’s more!

When the plaintiff asked that her ex remain in the car during visitation exchanges – an agreement they’d both already signed – Dalton ignored it and insisted that the child be dropped off at a police station instead. Then he proceeded to lecture the mother for getting the police involved and how it might affect their daughter.

That’s the very essence of John Dalton – he loves to berate plaintiffs for his own orders.

In this woman’s own words:

I have witnessed this judge berate people every time I am in his courtroom. I have watched him have no sensitivity for very personal matters; and I have watched as he rolls his eyes, snarls, chuckles; and I have watched him accuse good parents of damaging their children.

I am voting that he NOT be retained as judge, and I pray that many other people do the same.

I’m praying for the very same thing!


Don’t let ‘em get away with it folks!

When we last left off, Kane County 6th District County Board candidate, Ron Ford, was headed to court to try to level the electoral playing field.

You see, because these delicate flowers harbor a third-grade mentality, especially when they lose a race they shouldn’t have lost, the beyond dysfunctional Aurora Township Democrats pulled a fast one by pulling the slating rug out from under Ron.


If you recall, Ron was appointed to fill out Brian Dahl’s term after he moved out of the district, and that would typically mean he’d automatically get a spot on the November ballot.

But KC Democratic Chairman, Mark Guethle, and Aurora Township Democratic Chairman, Greg Elsbree, conspired to keep Ron and his precinct committeemen supporters in the dark as to that nominating process until it was too late for them to respond.

So, the Aurora Dems secretly slated yet another nothing candidate whose sole purpose in life is to turn the county board in the local equivalent of Congress. Do we really need another partisan battleground right here in Kane County?

If you doubt my hypothesis, remember when the Aurora Dem infighting got so bad that two separate township groups claimed heirship to the throne? They went as far as holding separate meetings until the courts finally sorted it all out.

Nobody ever benefits from that kind of political stupidity.

The courts were Ron’s last chance to redress this blatant power play, but as is too often the 16th Circuit case, they failed us again. I’m not saying that Judge Kevin Busch was necessarily nefarious, it’s just that, when it comes to election law, he has no clue. And applying a family court mien to a ballot issue never works well.

According to Ford’s attorney, Jeff Meyer:

Judge Busch appeared genuinely troubled by the clear effort to avoid providing actual notice to Ron Ford supporters. Unfortunately, the Judge ruled that was a not a legally relevant consideration in determining sufficiency of notice under the statute.

It is however, a relevant consideration for voters. The fine folks in Kane County Board District 6 should respond to Guethle’s and Elsbree’s effort to abrogate the voting right of Ron Ford supporters by sending their candidate packing.

Put more simply, don’t let those Aurora bleeps win this one.

Ron, a county board member who other county board members look up to, is running as a write-in candidate. And if he hasn’t knocked on your door, he will soon with a simple instruction card on how to apply the write-in process.

It certainly won’t be that difficult to write in “Ron Ford?”

Quick Hits – No mention of Delnor?

As we briefly discussed last Friday, the Daily Herald inexplicably endorsed incumbent Kane County Sheriff Don Kramer over the eminently more qualified Sgt. Ron Hain with absolutely no mention of the Delnor hostage standoff. It truly is a new low for that newspaper’s editorial board.

If you recall, a nurse was raped, beaten and shot, but Sheriff Kramer still couldn’t be bothered to show up to the scene of what became national news story. He said his big toe hurt.

But that wasn’t nearly his only failure, it was simply his worst. So, let’s review the Sheriff’s incredibly poor decision making that led to an incredibly brave woman’s life being irretrievably altered.

Delnor Hostage

1. Tywon Salters was a known risk

Both Kramer and his command staff knew Salters was not only more unstable that most inmates, but he was also an escape risk. So, when Salters ate half of a prison issued plastic shoe and he required surgery as a result, that should’ve been a massive red flag.

When this scenario was brought to his attention – and it was – Kramer should’ve assigned two deputies to accompany Salters at Delnor. We’re certainly not talking rocket science here folks!

2. Shawn Loomis was NOT the right deputy

To make matters much worse, instead of assigning two officers, Kramer let Loomis guard Salters solo.

Loomis had a well-documented series of crises of confidence as a Sheriff’s deputy, and Kramer and his supervisors knew all about it. I know unions protect employees, but that didn’t mean he should ever have been assigned to guard a prisoner who had escape on his mind.

3. There was no struggle for the gun

I know what the reports say, but that’s just another Kramer coverup. Salters was allowed to regularly shower, and on that fateful day, he burst out of the bathroom buck naked, demanded the guard’s weapon, Loomis turned it over without a struggle, and then he fled the room leaving two nurses with the now-armed Salters.


But why listen to me? Here’s an excerpt from the Illinois State Police summary report on that tragic day:

Salters was wearing only a white cloth bandage across his torso and locked the door. He demanded the nurse take off her clothes and pointed the gun at her. Salters took her pink hospital scrubs, white medical coat and New Balance shoes and put them on. He then demanded her phone and car keys. Salters seemed very rushed and told her “we have to hurry.” The nurse said she tried to stall and said she couldn’t leave because she did not have any clothes on.

The nurse said she thought about her two young boys and began to cry, and Salters got mad at her and told her to be quiet.

She said that, 98 percent of the time, Salters had her in a headlock with his left arm while he pointed a gun to her head.

Salters changed the woman’s passcode on her phone and he instructed her on who to call. “Sorry you’re in this (expletive), but depending on what the cops do, we may both be leaving in body bags,” Salters said

During one call, Salters held a gun to a nurse’s head while he did a video chat with a family member who pleaded with him to release the nurse. “You gave up on me, walked away from me, now I’m going to kill myself,” Salters replied.

The nurse tried to get him to think of someone to live for, but he said he had no girlfriend or children. He told her “I’m dealing with these rigged charges” and said he did not do what he was accused of doing.

The nurse said Salters began to cry, saying “they aren’t taking me serious” and “they ruined my life.” I’ll either die in here or in the car trying to get away.” He told police, “if you shoot, I’ll blow her brains out.”

Salters told the nurse “You’re getting punished for them not getting my car.” Then Salters fired a shot out into the room, which took the nurse by surprise, and within seconds police officers came through the door.

And remember! The initial news stories reported that this brave woman exchanged herself for two co-workers who were initially taken hostage. Meanwhile, Sheriff Kramer didn’t bother show up at Delnor because he hurt his big toe at an Arizona conference the previous week.

And somehow the Daily Herald endorsed him anyway? Fricken’ unbelievable! May I humbly suggest that you cancel your subscription to that poor excuse for a newspaper if you still have one.

I’ve rarely been at a loss for an explanation in 12 years as a journalist, but this one has me utterly stumped. All I can say is, I’ll be voting for Ron Hain.

Quick Hits Supplemental – A sudden newspaper sadness

Having heard that 4 a.m. slap on the driveway, at 6:45 a.m., I dutifully went out to secure today’s Chicago Tribune. As I grabbed the paper, aside from the typically ripped plastic sheath, I was immediately struck by just how light it was. Their Wednesday and Thursday editions used to have more heft than this Sunday paper did.

Then I scanned my two-block street in search of more subscribers and saw but one other paper ensconced on a driveway apron. There was time when at least 10 of my 13 neighbors had a blue bundle waiting to be retrieved on Sunday morning. I’m sure some of ‘em get the e-paper, but with Net ads bringing in less than a tenth of their print counterparts, it’s not a sustainable business model.

Sunday Tribune

As I separated the wheat from the chaff – don’t need Rides, Real Estate, or Business, and the Arts section has been useless for years – I realized I could get through what’s left in 10 short minutes. There was a time when I’d digest the Sunday paper throughout the entire week.

And the ads, or lack of them, was even more depressing. There was a time when you’d find flyers from:

  • Carson’s
  • J. C. Penney
  • Best Buy
  • Jewel
  • Dominick’s
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • Home Depot
  • Lowes
  • Staples
  • Kohl’s
  • Office Max
  • Circuit City
  • Petsmart
  • Barnes & Noble
  • PetCo
  • Various mattress stores
  • Sears

and more. Granted some of those businesses are out of business, but today’s Trib contained just:

  • Target
  • Menards
  • Meijer

and a smattering of flyers from smaller stores like Walgreen’s, CVS, and Michael’s. And that kind of revenue hemorrhaging simply can’t continue. The Sun-Times already announced there’s just a 60 percent chance they’ll be around in two years, but I believe that’s overly optimistic. Of the 19 non-columnist news stories in today’s Fox Valley Daily Herald, just six covered local issues. The vast majority are wire service national news that you could read on dozens of websites.

What we’re witnessing is the slow demise of an industry we can’t afford to lose. And much like Bruce Willis in ‘The Sixth Sense,’ those publishers and editors don’t even realize they’re already dead and/or irrelevant. And ain’t it ironic that the folks charged with critiquing you and me, like vampires, can’t even see their own reflection in the mirror.

Of course, some of my adoring fans say my consistent criticism of my print media journalistic brethren is borne of sour grapes from my departure from the Sun-Times, but nothing could be further from the truth. In the era of Trump, we need local dedicated journalism more than ever, but newspapers are so mired in the Einsteinian definition of insanity that they need to be shaken out of their inexplicable malaise.

Who knew the Sunday paper could be this depressing?

Quick Hits – October 19, 2018

Not Recommended!

Just in case you didn’t believe me or the 50 commenters on that first column exposing Judge John Dalton’s regular cruelty, the Illinois State Bar Association just released their 16th Circuit judicial evaluations this week. Those 0 to 100 ratings are compiled from surveys sent to all Kane County Bar Association members.


As a result of those 164 assessments, in an unprecedented move, the ISBA smacked Dalton with their dismal “Not Recommended” rating. And when I say “unprecedented,” I mean none of my astute legal friends can remember a single sitting Kane County judge who wasn’t recommended for retention by the ISBA.

Here are the actual numbers:

37.65 Meets requirement of the office

58.64 Integrity

49.95 Impartiality

58.02 Legal ability

30.02 Temperament

50.03 Court management

59.63 Sensitivity

To put those sad scores in perspective, let’s compare them to Judges John Barsanti’s, Donald Hudson’s, Clint Hull’s and Rene Cruz’ evaluations. They’re also up for retention or election:

Barsanti       Hudson         Hull              Cruz

95.92           98.68           93.90           95.20     Meets requirements

96.58           98.68           98.15           98.25     Integrity

93.24           98.04           92.96           93.81     Impartiality

100              98.69           98.61           93.45     Legal ability

94.59           99.35           97.18           97.08     Temperament

95.92           98.68           98.14           96.07     Court management

94.59           98.04           94.88           99.12     Sensitivity

Now you can see how truly terrifying Dalton’s numbers really are. They’re another excellent reason to vote “No” and send this miserable excuse for a judge back to the private sector.


Digging a deeper hole

Remember when I said, “Just when you think the Daily Herald has finally hit rock bottom, they simply dig a deeper hole?” Apparently, they’re dead set on proving my point, because they inexplicably endorsed Kane County Sheriff Don Kramer over the eminently more capable Ron Hain.

Hain Kramer

And in a turn the Ripley folks would find fascinating, their editorial board wrote that endorsement with absolutely no mention of the Delnor hostage tragedy. I’ll pause for a bit to let you take that in…

Yes! The Daily Herald actually endorsed a Sheriff who didn’t bother to show up at the scene of one of the worst criminal events in Kane County history because he “hurt his big toe.” I’m sure the nurse who was raped, beaten and shot takes a great deal of solace in that bizarre excuse.

And Kramer didn’t reach out to the SWAT team member who was also shot until three or four days later, either. Now, that shows real leadership, doesn’t it?

Of course, those DH snowflakes pulled this stunt because Chairman Chris Lauzen has offended their delicate sensibilities by occasionally calling them out. So, since Kramer and Lauzen have clashed in the past, that paper automatically takes the other guy’s side. So much for journalistic integrity.

We’ll run a full column on this topic next Monday or Wednesday.


Digging a deeper hole part 2

Along the very same lines, the DH endorsed Independent Olynda De Hoyos over Democrat Anita Lewis for Kane County Board District 3. Their theory was, since Lauzen supports Lewis’ run, De Hoyos would automatically be an “independent voice.”

First, the DH completely ignored the fact that De Hoyos is just another Aurora Township dysfunctional Democratic shill intent on turning that generally functioning county board into another partisan battleground. Though her volunteer work is laudable, she brings absolutely no applicable experience to the government table.

Lewis for Board

But the kicker is, like many of her Hispanic brothers and sisters, Ms. De Hoyos has never voted in any election – ever! And if you refuse to engage in the process, should you really become a critical part of that process?

Though it happens all the time, that doesn’t mean I agree with the Chairman, or any other political leader, who runs candidates against sitting board members. All it does is set up a tit-for-tat downward spiral that always gets in the way of good governance.

But for a purportedly neutral newspaper to regularly endorse candidates on the grounds their editors don’t like the Chairman is exponentially worse. Like I said, digging a deeper hole.


The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office is hiring!

While State’s Attorney Joe McMahon and his top staffers were off getting a Cook County verdict a first-year law student could’ve secured, the KCSAO continues to hemorrhage assistant state’s attorneys at an alarming rate.

McMahon 4

To wit, at least 10 prosecutors have walked away from that Route 38 and Peck Road morass in the last six months. The kicker is, the last one resigned via a Post-it note attached to his supervisor’s office door.

So much for office morale!

McMahon continues to insist that his participation in the Jason Van Dyke prosecution came at no net cost to the Kane County taxpayer. But constantly having to train right-out-of-law-school attorneys as you consistently lose experienced prosecutors is a very steep price.

The latest word is McMahon is angling for Judge James Hallock’s soon to be vacant seat. I suppose we can all take solace in the fact that our taxes have been going to the “Joe McMahon Career Advancement Fund.”

He certainly has no interest in being State’s Attorney!

Quick Hits – Please vote Hartwell for judge!

When we last left off, we were discussing how we have the power to vote Judge John Dalton out of office and, given his generally miserable comportment, it’s time to do just that.

But, believe it or not, there’s another 16th Circuit possibility that’s even worse than having to endure Dalton’s regular cruelty and bigotry. And that scary scenario involves former Elgin State Senator Michael Noland running for retired Judge David Akemann’s seat.

To give you some idea of how horrifying that prospect is, a number of prominent Elgin Democrats sent me plaintive emails me pleading, “Please don’t let Mike Noland be elected judge.”

It would seem his own party is utterly embarrassed by the man.


Trust me, I wish I had the kind of power to ensure our failed State Senator would simply fade into oblivion. But since I don’t possess that level of omniscience, the best I can do is remind you all of what a despicable human being Mike Noland really is.

Please note that I rarely apply the “despicable” adjective because most politicians do manage to have some redeeming qualities. But when it comes to Mike Noland, that word is entirely accurate. Let’s review the former state senator’s abysmal track record:

1. He got thrown out of a polling place by the Carpentersville police. That’s right, he became so obnoxious over some perceived slight that the election judges asked him to leave. When he refused to comply, the C’ville police had to remove him.

2. He was stopped for speeding while driving on a no-insurance citation. Apparently, that pesky auto insurance statute only applies to rabble like you and me. You’d think an attorney would know the law, too!

3. He was fired from the Kane County Public Defender’s office for incompetence. And that’s a truly astounding accomplishment. In 12 years of covering Kane County, I’ve never heard of another PD getting fired.

4. He got caught plagiarizing a JFK speech on the Senate floor. This one is my all-time favorite! Delivering a famous Kennedy speech word-for-word and somehow believing he’d get away with it in a room full of politicians is beyond the pale.

5. He sued Springfield for back pay after making a big deal out of forgoing that pay. Yep! You read that right! Noland waxed poetically about letting that salary go during the budget stalemate, but as soon as he lost his Congressional race, he sued the state. Even the Tribune made hellacious fun of him for that bizarre move.

6. He got caught stealing his opponent’s yard signs on video – twice! Apparently, Mr. Noland doesn’t understand you’re supposed to have your lackeys steal opponents’ signs. And to have it all on video is beyond hilarious.


So, as you might imagine, his legal peers don’t consider him to be judicial material. Here are their ratings as compiled by the Illinois State Bar Association on a scale of 1 to 100:

  • 19.78 – Meets the requirement of the office – That’s about right
  • 44.09 – Integrity – That’s way too high!
  • 42.05 – Impartiality
  • 15.96 – Legal ability – This one’s dead on
  • 56.32 – Temperament – That’s too high
  • 32.53 – Court management

Those are the worst ISBA judicial ratings I’ve ever seen. Think about it! His fellow attorneys rate his legal skills at just 16 percent! You really have to make an effort to be incompetent to be ranked that low.


Tom Hartwell

So, just as his fellow Democrats pleaded with me, I’m gonna plead with you, dear reader. Please, please, please vote Tom Hartwell for 16th Circuit judge. Kane County can’t afford another terrible man in black. Mike Noland should be appearing in front of judge in handcuffs, not trying to be one!


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.

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!




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!