It’s been awhile since I’ve received an anonymous snail mail missive and I can’t say it’s something I’ve missed. Those letters, typically penned by a crackpot former columnist who single-handedly destroyed the Kane County Chronicle, go to great lengths to extol just how scurrilous a cad I really am. Who knew?
Why can’t Lucy Liu be nearly as obsessed with me as he is?
And this reader managed to mangle my address, too! So, I’m not sure if I should be thrilled my standing is such that it made it to me anyway, or nervous about being that easy to find. I guess I can always take solace in still possessing my attorney’s Kevlar vest.
As long as they don’t aim for the head!
Though I applied the word “reader” to this “Concerned Genevan,” I’m not so sure that’s the case. Because he – and the writing style was indeed masculine – seems to believe I’d somehow support Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns and City Manager Stephanie Dawkins.
My regular readers know Burns places second in my worst Collar County mayor ever contest, trailing only former Carpentersville Village President Bill Sarto. And Dawkins, bar none, is the least competent city manager I’ve ever encountered.
She’s beyond imperious, she’s the only small-town city manager who requires an assistant city manager, and, on at least three separate occasions, I’ve had to FOIA documents to turn over to the City Council because she illegally refused to do so.
The communique proceeded to excoriate former alderman, mayoral hopeful, and current city council candidate, Tom Simonian, including some rather amusing accusations against him. It’s not that I don’t believe he’s a brute force legend in his own mind, but I refuse to repeat anonymous allegations because they generally aren’t worth paper upon which they’re printed.
That doesn’t mean I’m not checking their veracity as we speak. And if one of them does pan out I will certainly let you know!
But our letter writer was dead on when he admonished me for a “lack of coverage” of the current Kane County city council races. All I can say is, without the backdrop of the radio show, I have not applied my typical due diligence. Not only that, but I’m heavily involved in county politics, and getting one book published while writing a second is a far more than a full-time proposition.
But the Burns/Simonian feud does sit squarely within my journalistic wheelhouse, and to quote that great philosopher Sting, Geneva certainly is, “Caught between the Scylla and Charybdis.” (Look it up!) So, get out your scorecards my fellow Genevans!
Mayor Burns greatest hits include, but are not nearly limited to:
- Enjoying the kind of police reports that make mine look like the work of a rank amateur. And that’s with the Geneva and Batavia Police trying to protect him!
- Running a car off Fabyan Parkway and coming at the victims with his mayoral badge. He bought his way out of that one.
- Using the entire City workforce as his private campaign team on company time. That’s why he gives them whatever they want at contract negotiation time.
- Using the Geneva Police as his private paramilitary arm. He was behind one of his daughter’s gleeful use of the GPD to harass the family of a boy who wouldn’t date her.
- Sliding on as many as eight DUIs. Three separate eyewitnesses, including a former Geneva Police officer, told me exactly how it happened.
- Despite political friends providing all sorts of employment opportunities. He can’t hold a job for more than a year.
That same former officer also said, when he questioned former GPD Commander Julie Nash as to the efficacy of letting a drunk driver repeatedly go, Nash replied, “This is the man who gives us our jobs.” And the catalyst for one of the police-involved kerfuffles with his ex-wife was that she wouldn’t let him have a girlfriend on the side.
Put more simply, he’s a real piece of work.
But the only reason Tom Simonian is marginally better is because it’s virtually impossible to be worse! His highlights include:
- Making a great deal of his money through patent hijacking.
- Running the kind of horrific 2017 mayoral campaign that managed to get him slaughtered against a very unpopular incumbent.
- Taking half the city council with him on the way out, too. Alderman Rich Marks was the only bloodbath survivor and he’ll be happy to tell you why.
- Spending over 40 grand just to get trounced.
- Speaking at city council meetings after that loss in a manner that actually made the Mayor look better.
- Gaining a reputation – deserved or not – for being the only Genevan who can outdrink Burns.
And this is just the proxy war! The real fight will come in 2021, when Simonian aims for mayor a second time.
For now, Simonian is running against long-time 5th Ward Alderman Craig Maladra to better position himself for that impending run. While Maladra is certainly a nice guy, he walks in lockstep with the Mayor having never met a tax increase, fee hike, or Cadillac union contract he didn’t like. He’s also served for WAY too long.
Apparently, Simonian is backing two other city council candidates as well.
But just when I started feeling a little sorry for my beleaguered hometown, no one showed up for Wednesday night’s League of Women Voters forum. And the folks that did appear tended to disappear before the school board candidates had their say.
Considering that contentious teachers’ strike and the fact the union is running a slate of board candidates who firmly believe four years of five percent raises aren’t nearly enough, you’d think my overtaxed compatriots would show a little more interest.
Perhaps they deserve both Burns and Simonian.