Being lucky doesn’t matter if you’re not smart enough to see it!
I thought Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon had actually managed to pull it off. It wasn’t a conscious effort by any means, but on occasion God really does protect children and fools.
He got his conviction of CPD officer Jason Van Dyke, and not only was there no significant fallout in Chicago’s African-American community, but McMahon actually avoided becoming a law enforcement pariah, too.
It was the kind of trifecta you generally don’t see in high profile prosecutions because someone’s always unhappy with some part of the outcome.
But just when he thought it was safe to wade back into the legal water, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul threatened to go to the Illinois Supreme Court to get Van Dyke’s unduly light 6.75-year sentence overturned. As it stands now, he’ll serve just 3.5 years.
When you consider how many non-violent drug offenders are doing double digits, Judge Vincent Gaughan’s thought process is a wee bit more than perplexing. He did do the right thing by sentencing Van Dyke solely on the second-degree murder charge, but just 6.75 years for shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times?
While we were waiting for that final word, a local attorney and I were betting on what Gaughan would do. I predicted 12 years, while she went with 8 to 9. Needless to say, we were both quite surprised at the Judge’s generosity, but it did work out pretty darned well for McMahon.
He got his conviction, which went a long way towards placating those often-rabid Second City minority activists, but the sentence was light enough that he didn’t lose much standing in the Illinois law enforcement community, either.
So, when Raoul started asking questions, all McMahon had to do is keep his mouth shut, and in the words of those great philosophers Modest Mouse, we’d “all float on! But no! Looking that gift horse directly in the mouth and always a glutton for free press, McMahon took to WGN radio and talked to the Chicago Tribune to defend himself for not questioning Gaughan’s largesse.
And that blithering bad PR move immediately created a political vacuum that a host of critics rushed in to fill. One attorney stipulated that McMahon had “abandoned his responsibilities” by failing to challenge Gaughan’s legal interpretation.
Now, because McMahon was foolish enough to open his mouth, Raoul has no choice but to challenge the sentence or he’ll appear to be complicit. This turn of events, of course, puts our intrepid State’s Attorney right back on the hot seat he so unwittingly avoided.
When Shakespeare coined the phrase, “Hoist by his own petard,” I’m convinced he must’ve had the average politician in mind. Being lucky may mitigate the need to be smart, but Joe McMahon is neither.
Yep! He’s running again!
Unable to parley the Van Dyke conviction into a more prestigious gig – we all know Joe’s still looking for that big break – it would appear Mr. McMahon will be settling for little old us.
How have I ascertained this eventuality? Because the Citizens for Joe McMahon Facebook page has suddenly sprung to life with multiple recent posts. And that’s as sure a sign as any.
Considering my eminently magnanimous nature, I’m thinking, “I’m never in the office so how could I possibly screw up” would be the perfect campaign slogan. This one’s on me, Joe!
And he’s running, too!
There’s also no doubt in this journalist’s mind that 10th Ward Aurora Alderman Judd Lofchie is positioning himself for a 2021 mayoral run.
How do I know this? First, Lofchie, a legend in his own mind, clearly believes only he can bring balance to the Aurora governmental force. Second, he’s been regularly taking on Mayor Richard Irvin over nitpicky bleep just to provoke the kind of rise that tends to bestow a certain political credibility. And third, his most recent efforts revolve around Aurora’s pending ethics ordinance, specifically in regard to campaign contribution limits.
Let’s just call him Captain Obvious.
Lofchie took the mayor to task for the “appearance of impropriety” over contributions from telecommunications company Scientel and the Poulikidas brothers, both principles in the Fox Valley Developers group.
Last January, the city council reversed itself on Scientel relocating their national headquarters to Aurora, a project Irvin had been championing. Scientel made a $10,000 donation to Irvin’s 2015 campaign.
And while it’s certainly true that Fox Valley Developers, who won the contract to clean up and develop the old Copley Hospital site, made quite a few contributions to Irvin over the years, the Poulikidas brothers have been smart enough to cover their assets by contributing to a host of Aurora politicians. Those fine folks include the late Mayor Tom Weisner, State Rep Stephanie Kifowit, and former Sheriff candidate Willie Mayes.
But think about it! The fact that Lofchie could only come up with two examples clearly indicates Irving hasn’t quite caught up to the Illinois pay-to-play standard. Irvin also correctly noted that neither contract would’ve been approved without the advice and consent of the Aurora City Council.
And the Scientel reversal and Copley votes were unanimous at a time when the rubber stamp votes that Mayor Weisner generally enjoyed are rapidly becoming a thing of the past.
Should Aurora limit campaign contributions beyond the Illinois State Board of Elections $5,600 individual and $11,100 business/organization limits? I’m torn on that one. But that’s a topic for another day.
Meanwhile, make no mistake, Lofchie’s running for mayor and he will go down in electoral flames.