Quick Hits – On Halloween

You’re in for a real treat, Dear Reader! Because the passage below is the chapter on Halloween from my impending ‘The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Life’ book. Enjoy!


There is nothing funny about Halloween. This sarcastic festival reflects, rather, an infernal demand for revenge by children on the adult world. – Jean Baudrillard

I despise Halloween with the kind of red-hot passion I typically reserve for drivers who don’t know how to turn left. Here’s why!

As my lovely wife and I were enjoying a lovely mid-October evening stroll, I caught a bright orange glow out of the corner of my left eye. Turning to face the abomination, I sneered, “Would you look at that! One of the bleepin’ neighbors already has their bleepin’ Christmas lights up! There really oughtta be a law…”

But before I could finish my rather inspired rant, my sainted spouse interrupted it with something even more terrifying than Santa Claus in October, “Those aren’t Christmas lights, you idiot! They’re Halloween lights.”

Halloween Sucks

“Halloween lights,” I exclaimed! “They can’t be Halloween lights because there’s no such thing as Halloween lights. Why, when I was a wee lad in Evanston, Illinois, no one dared display Halloween lights. They would’ve been the laughed out of the neighborhood.”

But upon closer examination, to my utter horror, that evening I discovered Halloween lights actually do exist. “Mother of all things holy,” I wailed doing my damndest not to start keening, rending garments and gnashing teeth.

It takes months to recover from the psychological damage inflicted by those optic-nerve-searing yuletide displays, and now we have to deal with another over-the-top holiday? Isn’t being forced to give all manner of disguised and ill-mannered urchins license to infest the neighborhood with their insatiable demand for a sugary tribute horrifying enough?

And the unplugged dioramas are even worse. They’ve gotten completely out of control. We’ll collectively gasp at a teenage Eminem wannabe with the temerity to flash the top of his boxer shorts, but we have no problem exposing two-year-olds to the kind of graphic scenes of blood, gore and dismemberment that Wes Craven couldn’t possibly have imagined.

Though I will say, it’s gonna be fascinating watching the PC people inevitably battle it out with those neighbors who insist on erecting scenes depicting lynchings.

Here’s a thought! If after installing your Halloween display, you’re either temporarily blinded or you can’t see a single blade of grass, you might want to tone it down a bit.

It ain’t all bad. Please don’t tell anyone this, but even this cold-hearted curmudgeon finds some solace in those children who don truly imaginative costumes. But that small pleasure is summarily shattered when a pack of tween girls show up in something that curls your toenails.

And we’re not talking about the good scary, either! As friend and former school board member Anne Blaeske likes to say, “Girls’ Halloween costumes come in three sizes; baby, toddler and slut.”

Do we really have to sexualize every aspect of our teenagers’ miserable middle school lives? Can’t we let them be children for just a little while longer?

But if you thought those costumes were depressing, the fascinating festive apparel they foist on adult women is even worse. Slutty nurse, slutty police officer, slutty firefighter, slutty teacher, and slutty doctor, just to name a few. Exactly when did Halloween became the de facto audition night for strippers?

And exactly when did Halloween become a binge drinking holiday, too? I’m not talking about partying in your basement – though that’s getting out of hand as well – I’m talking about parents’ inability to escort their treat-seeking miscreants a scant block without a bottle of beer in hand.

I considered handing out Bud Lites in lieu of candy this year, but then I realized I’d have to come up with bail money again.

And just when you think your end-of-October ordeal is finally over, dressed only as themselves with pillow cases in hand, the 6-foot-6 high school seniors show up at your front door at 9 p.m. If you so much as scowl at them disparagingly, odds are your house will look a lot like a giant roll of Charmin or the early stages of a Denver omelet the next morning.

C’mon! Halloween used to be a fun fall experience where elementary and middle school children could dress up as something fun and enjoy a bit of candy. But no! As it always is whenever adults get their grubby little hands on something, like the vampires their children love to portray, they suck any remaining vestige of childlike joy right out of it.

This is exactly the kind of thing our “bigger is always better” hyperactively competitive culture loves to engage in. Take something simple like youth sports, school events, or an autumnal celebration and blow it so far out of proportion that no one recognizes it anymore.

Only Americans could take a children’s celebration and turn it into a complete nightmare – and not the fun Elm Street variety, either. Though I suppose that does make it more terrifying than ever.


Quick Hits – There’s more to the Burlington bus story!

Just as we thought there’d be. Though stranger things have happened, for someone who served the Burlington Fire Protection District as a firefighter/paramedic with distinction for 35 years to suddenly haul off and slug a special needs second grader was a little hard to fathom.

And as it turns out, that’s not exactly what happened. By the end of this piece, you’ll see that virtually all the evidence indicates the responsibility for this unfortunate incident falls squarely at the feet of D301 School District administrators and particularly Superintendent Todd Stirn.

The parents of this child share some culpability as well.

In fact, the only one who’s truly innocent in all of this is the child whom I’ve learned sits well out on the autism spectrum. Some Facebook folks have done their damndest to paint him as a “juvenile delinquent,” but that’s patently unfair. It’s difficult enough for “normal” children to deal with this increasingly bizarre existence and those with special needs find it particularly tough.D301

And speaking of Facebook! Yes! I’ve seen all of the social media accounts, conspiracy theories, and bizarre twists on this sad story and they have been summarily dismissed. Put more simply, as is always the case, I rely on well-placed sources for these stories and not the rabble.

And the story starts with the reality that some special needs children lash out when the world overwhelms them. But we don’t put the onus on an 8-year-old to somehow suddenly improve, we correctly place the responsibility to effectively adapt to a difficult situation on the parents and other associated adults.

This particular child has difficulty with getting on and off the small school bus. He tends to be fine once he’s seated, but the morning ritual generally consists of the mother picking up her son, thrusting him onto the first bus step, and shouting at the bus driver to close the door.

The problem with this being thrown-into-the-deep-end methodology is, sometimes this 80- to 90-pound second grader physically takes out his frustration on the typically female bus driver, who has to endure it until the aide can wrestle him away.

And that’s pretty much what happened on October 2nd. The child refused to move from that first step and then he threw himself on the floor. When the aide went to pick him up, contain his arms, and take him to his seat, he bit her on the arm and that’s when his already loose teeth fell out.

Not only will the bus video show this to be the case, but there’s an earlier video in which the driver admonishes the boy not to play with his loose teeth because she doesn’t want blood all over him and the bus. I’ve FOIA’d them both among many other things.

Whether the aide, Jean Miklevits, hit the child after getting him to his seat remains to be seen. But my sources tell me that video will exonerate her.

If this version of events is the truth, and I have no reason to believe it isn’t, then why was Miklevitz fired? My sources said, for fear of losing her job, the bus driver told district administrators exactly what she thought they wanted to hear. That’s why the papers reported that the aide dragged the child to his seat, and assaulted him, knocking out two teeth.

It was only in an effort to cover their own not-nearly-innocent collective behinds, that Superintendent Stirn and District administrators went along with the more expedient scapegoating story. But they must’ve figured out the truth somewhere along the line, because I could not for the life of me figure out why they fired the bus driver, too! Now I think we know.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise that this child has already gone through as many as four bus drivers, but regardless of the reason, no one should have to show up for work with the expectation of being assaulted.

To the parents’ vast credit, they tried to enroll their son in private schools more capable of handling special needs students, but he was asked to leave because they weren’t equipped to handle violent students.

To D301’s vast credit, they asked the parents to agree to placing their son in a harness before he gets on the bus. That would’ve greatly mitigated the ongoing problem, but the parents refused to do so, and that decision might take just the teeth out of their likely impending lawsuit.

For argument’s sake, let’s say the news story stands. Let’s say the aide actually did drag the child down the aisle and then she hit him with enough force to knock out two teeth. D301 should never have let it go this far.

The second the parents refused to consider the harness solution, Dr. Stirn and the District should’ve protected their employees by putting an end to this, even if it meant taking legal action against the parents. C’mon! The beyond simple solution is for these parents to drive their son to school.

School districts are not and cannot be responsible for raising children, much less dealing with children who are a threat to others. But because the District refused to act, the aide now faces aggravated felony battery charges, and there’s a school bus driver who will never drive a yellow bus again.

And D301’s guilty conscience became abundantly apparent when, just two scant days after the event, they hired Crisis Prevention Institute to provide training on how to deescalate a situation before it becomes physical.

As a brief aside, I was a consultant for CPI in the 90’s and it is a very worthwhile program.

What baffles me, but probably shouldn’t, is how the Kane County State’s Attorney’s rushed to join the lynch mob. If I can come up with these details, a felony prosecutor should certainly have no problem doing the same.

Any reasonable defense attorney will tear the bus driver’s testimony apart in court and D301’s insistence on putting their employees in harm’s way will be a major mitigating factor in any trial. Aggravated felony charges? No jury is ever going to buy it!

To be clear, I delayed this column to provide numerous opportunities for Dr. Stirn to respond with his side of the story, but he failed to do so – even to simply say he can’t discuss the matter because of a possible pending lawsuit.

And that silence says it all, doesn’t it?


Quick Hits – All the Dem’s have to do is be saner than Trump

That’s it! It’s that bleepin’ simple. But instead of heeding that seemingly sage advice, the collective response from that giddy gaggle of goofs known as the Democratic primary field is “Hold my beer!”

Beto O’Rourke is coming for your AR-15s, Elizabeth Warren wants you to pay for inmates’ sex change operations, Bernie Sanders believes the Boston Marathon bomber should be allowed to vote, Corey Booker thinks Barack Obama wasn’t liberal enough, Kamala Harris thinks Joe Biden wasn’t liberal enough – in the ‘70s, and Marianne Williamson believes we can change a hurricane’s path with the power of our minds.

Democratic Candidates

But my all-time favorite Democratic proclamation is Julian Castro defending transgendered women’s abortion rights. Ummm, Julian! Please tell me you knew that transgender women can’t get pregnant?

And this is supposed to be the cream of the crop?

For purposes of full disclosure, I did purloin a couple of those examples from Bill Maher and last week’s dead-on ‘New Rules’ finale. But the truth is, I’ve been explaining this truth to candidates for eight long years which is why my campaign track record sits somewhere north of reasonable.

Put very simply, it’s pointless to pander to people WHO ARE ALREADY GONNA VOTE FOR YOU! And the failure to heed this conspicuously simple advice is why so many candidates, and especially novices, lose.

Unless you’re a “movement candidate,” and, trust me, you’re not (nor is any current presidential contender) or you wouldn’t be reading this. Diehard Democrats always vote Democratic and diehard Republicans always vote Republican. With the right message, leaning Republicans can be convinced to vote for a Democrat, and vice versa.

And this political reality is as eminently predictable as death, taxes, and Democrats blowing presidential elections.

Generally, I’d be loathe to blurt out one of my best kept professional secrets, but I’m not too worried because 98 percent of candidates are so convinced they hold the keys to the electoral kingdom they’ll never listen to me anyway.

If you’re a 2020 Chicago Collar Countywide Republican candidate, given the impending Trump effect, here’s what you can count on:

  1. Diehard Republicans WILL vote for you
  2. Diehard Democrats will NOT vote for you
  3. Leaning Democrats will NOT vote for you
  4. Leaning Republicans will LIKELY NOT vote for you

Since Collar County Republicans continue to outnumber the Democrats, the only group that matters to our fictional countywide GOP candidate is leaning Republicans, and thus, their entire focus should be on bringing back these all-important swing voters.

Conversely, if you’re a 2020 Collar Countywide Democratic candidate, here’s what you can expect:

  1. Diehard Republicans will NOT vote for you
  2. Diehard Democrats WILL vote for you
  3. Leaning Democrats WILL vote for you
  4. Leaning Republicans will LIKELY vote for you

That means, the only group that matters to this imaginary countywide candidate is leaning Republicans, and thus, their entire messaging focus should be on them, because swaying one leaning Republican away is the equivalent of getting two votes!

And nothing, not even your gloriously gleaming visage is going to change that reality.

This dynamic is even more pronounced at the presidential level where swing voters always make the difference. It was the Rust Belt that got Donald Trump elected, after all.

So, when O’Rourke says he’ll confiscate assault rifles, something near and dear to Democrats’ hearts, but certainly not to leaning Republicans, will that get him votes, or lose him votes?

Worse yet, Sanders’ stance on mass murderer voting rights and Warren’s position on taxpayer funded inmate sex-change operations are so far beyond the political pale that I can’t even begin to comprehend what they or their campaign teams could possibly be thinking.

Because even if you claim they’re pandering to the far left in an effort to win the primary, you’d be wrong. Only 46 to 48 percent of Democrats identify themselves as liberals, and if I’m Donald Trump’s team, I’m gonna be harping on how “those crazy Democrats” want you to pay for prisoners’ sex change surgery from here to eternity.

That’s the kind of visceral message that sticks with those all-important swing voters, too.

It’s such a simple concept that even an ADHD fourth grader would get it. All the Democrats have to do is be less crazy than Donald Trump – the guy who changed a hurricane path map with a black Sharpie – and they win in 2020.

But they can’t even handle that. Now I understand why their Party symbol is a jackass.

Quick Hits – October 25, 2019

Today Quick Hits will live up to its name. So, let’s get started!

The hearing approaches!

Opposing counsel, Pat Kinnally, just submitted his legal memorandum, or defense to my lawsuit seeking 255 pages of sexual harassment complaints from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Despite having won the FOIA denial appeal, State’s Attorney Joe McMahon continues to refuse to abide by the law and turn over the documents, so there was no other choice but to seek relief in the 16th Circuit Courts.

Considering my vast Kane County notoriety, and the fact I’m suing a sitting state’s attorney, the case was moved to the 23rd Circuit where Judge Melissa Barnhart will hear it in the Kendall County courthouse (807 John St., Yorkville) on November 6 at 1 p.m. in courtroom 116.

Please note! I’d previously posted it was to be heard in courtroom 110, but that was incorrect. I had a little difficulty reading the handwritten court order.

The hearing is open to the public, and given the unique nature of the case, I’m sure the proceedings will be more than fascinating.

This is opposing council’s argument:

Memorandum of Law

And here’s my rebuttal to that memorandum. For all those attorney doubters out there, this answer is 100 percent my own work. Did my legal adviser review it? Yes, he did! But he didn’t change a word:

Reply to Memorandum of Law


Working with children is always a difficult proposition

Particularly when you consider the existing massive parental entitlement mindset, I don’t know how teachers, day care workers, school counselors, school aides, and all manner of other individuals who work with children, do it.

And working with special needs children takes the kind of unique calling and level of patience I can’t even begin to comprehend. But the happy truth is, those stalwart folks who choose those kinds of vocations are generally pretty good at it.

That’s why, for the most part, we can send our children to daycare and school every day without a major concern for their safety.

But there is another side to this dynamic that I began to recognize as my two boys made their way through the local school system. Some of those fine folks find out, too late, that the thought of working with children doesn’t always match up with the sometimes-stark reality.

That’s why educators have one of the highest professional attrition rates in the country with 44 percent of teachers walking away from the gig before they hit the five-year mark. That’s even worse than it is with police officers.

But having spent thousands of dollars on the required classroom training, many of these disillusioned individuals feel it’s too late to turn back now, so they persevere regardless, which really isn’t good for them or the children in their care.

So, I was more than dismayed upon reading the current news story about a Burlington School District bus aide dragging and striking a special needs child to the point where she knocked out two of his teeth.

School Bus

Now the aide, who previously served 35 years as a firefighter/paramedic for the Burlington Fire Protection District without issue, faces an aggravated felony assault charge, which tends to make one’s life quite difficult going forward.

Though she’s clearly presumed innocent until a judge or jury decides otherwise, with the difficult nature of the crime and a number of eyewitnesses involved, I’m not so sure there will be much of a plea offer.

The child will never be the same, either. Being struck with the force required to remove two teeth by someone charged with helping and protecting you will haunt him for the rest of his life. And special needs children have a very difficult time as it is.

I know it’s not easy, but if you find yourself getting to the point where you no longer have the patience necessary to work with children, please preserve your sanity and your future by simply walking away.

There is nothing about this case that isn’t disturbing.


Don’t forget Thriller on 38!

On a lighter note, don’t forget that next Tuesday (10/29) Vargo’s Dance will be performing their second annual Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance right next to the studio – a little more on 2nd Street than on Route 38.

Jamie Vargo

This free performance will include food trucks and a costumes encouraged after-party upstairs at the Old Towne Pub. The event will proceed thusly:

8:15 – 9:15         Outdoor music, food trucks and more

9:00 – 9:05         The performance

9:15 – 10:30       After Party at Old Towne Pub Upstairs ($15 cover)

Though I won’t be dancing this year, I will certainly be on hand to cheer on the dancers and enjoy a family fun Halloween event. Be there or be square!

Quick Hits – October 23, 2019

Dear readers! You know I love (most) of you with all of my bleepin’ heart because you consistently prove that you’re the smarter ones. You actually enjoy the process of critical thinking and you have no problem standing apart from the rabble. I may often lament that I’m a man without a country, but the truth is, we centrists outnumber the loons on both ends of the political spectrum – combined.

All that said, it doesn’t mean that some of y’all aren’t getting on my last good nerve. So, once again, it’s time to address those folks who barely have two brain cells to rub together.

Elgin 2

No! I won’t give up a source!

The semi-frequent phenomenon by which a reader, “unhappy” with something I just wrote, demands to know the source(s) of that particular column is beyond baffling. Yes! Just because you asked me so imperiously, I’ll be happy to turn over that name so they’ll never talk to me again and the rest of my sources will commence to avoiding me like the plague!

It happened again with Monday’s piece. Ecclesiastes 1:9 may proclaim “There is nothing

New under the sun,” but the insistent expansion of the average American entitlement mentality never ceases to amaze me.

What separates me from my non-independent reporting compatriots is that I actually have sources! The sad truth is, as newspaper publishers increasingly resort to just-out-of-school journalism students, the art of developing real sources is rapidly becoming a lost one. Today’s shortsighted journalists will sell out a source in a second just to get more hits on a generally inconsequential Internet article.

Real journalism consists of reporters and columnists doing the heavy lifting for you, and for them to succeed in that regard, particularly at time when newsroom staffing is at an all-time low, they have to rely on those brave (or angry) folks who, under the guise of anonymity, provide the kind of stories that can change the status quo.

There are sources who’ve been so consistent that I take their word at face value. Most others require verification of their stories through other sources, a well-worded FOIA request, or seeing something for myself.

The bottom line is, if journalists really did come up with “fake news,” they’d find themselves on the wrong end of a libel suit far more often than they’d care to think. It’s taken me over a decade to develop some stellar sources and I’m not about to risk my reputation and all that hard work on the likes of one irate reader. So, don’t ask!

Put more simply, I’ve never given up a source and I never will.


In the end, does the timing really matter?

What our source seeker and a few other of my fervent fans wanted to know was, how did I know the Elgin City Council was warned about the recent ICE raids in advance. Of course, the obvious answer is the Daily Herald printed that the Elgin Police Department said they were alerted the previous day.

So, it hardly took a source to run Monday’s story.

And after covering municipal politics for more than a decade, I know exactly how it works. The Police Chief gets the news from ICE and immediately passes it along to the Mayor and City Manager. There would be hell to pay if that didn’t happen.

Then, as a political courtesy, the Mayor and/or City Manager would pass the same information on to the City Council so they won’t be blindsided by the news. Had they failed to do so, those councilman would be publicly demanding to know why they were left out of the loop.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say the City Council wasn’t warned. Let’s pretend they heard nothing about the ICE raids until the rest of us did. That means we’re still waiting to hear something – anything – from that body’s two most vocal members about an event that has greatly impacted Elgin’s 45 percent Hispanic community.

Councilmen Corey Dixon and Tish Powell certainly wasted no time in convicting Elgin Police Lieutenant Chris Jensen in the press, but something that deeply affects 50,400 Elgin residents isn’t worth as much as a full sentence?

Again, Powell did claim she was “troubled” by the raids on social media, but that’s literally the least she could do. Dixon still hasn’t addressed the issue, and Carol Rauschenberger, who was far less vocal about Jensen, but still did her damndest to get him fired, is equally silent.

So, are they progressives or not? All it would take to prove their self-proclaimed political sincerity is some kind of a public statement. It could be a condemnation of the raid. It could be a declaration of solidarity with the Hispanic community. It could be a simple statement of concern.

But all you hear are crickets.

When an opportunity to show their support for their Hispanic brothers and sisters arises, but doesn’t present the same political possibilities as the Clements shooting, Dixon, Powell and Rauschenberger showed their true colors faster than Donald Trump can Tweet at 2 a.m.

And where are those “Christian” Elgin pastors who had absolutely no problem judging another human being as they circulated a petition to have Lt. Jensen removed? They certainly don’t seem to care about ICE coming to Elgin. All those protestors seem conspicuously absent, too!

I hope DeCynthia Clements’ family finally understands that these three councilman used the tragic death of their daughter solely to pander to their constituents and promote their own specific political agendas. And if something doesn’t fit, they don’t give a… We all know Dixon and Powell want to move on to Springfield and Rauschenberger wants to be mayor.

Ah! But Dixon and Rauschenberger are up for reelection in 2021. I certainly hope Elgin’s Hispanic voters remember all this at the polling place.

Quick Hits – Ice Comes to Elgin!

Since I don’t want this column to become a catalyst for another absurd anti-immigration debate, let’s go over some numbers first! We certainly don’t want our crazier conservative Elgin counterparts confronting every Hispanic they see strolling down Chicago Street, now, do we?

According to the Pew Research Center, a group as statistically sound as it gets, a mere 4.1 percent of Chicago, Naperville and Elgin, Illinois, residents are undocumented. I’m not sure why they combined those cities while omitting Aurora, but that’s what they did.

What that means is, completely ignoring how Chicago and Naperville clearly skew that number with their greater job opportunities, of Elgin’s 112,000 residents, at most, 4,592 are here illegally. And that includes Poles, Canadians, and all manner of other nationalities – not just Hispanics.

Even if you accept Pew’s similarly too-high contention that 23 percent of Elgin’s foreign-born residents are undocumented, that means 77 percent of them are here legally. Furthermore, the number of undocumented residents in those cities declined by a massive 27 percent between 2007 and 2016, long before the Tweeter in Chief embarked upon his anti-Mexican pogrom.

More simply put, illegal immigration is not a significant problem in Elgin, Chicago, or Naperville, but that didn’t stop Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from raiding two related Elgin business last Friday.

Ice Raid

As it turns out, this is one of the rare cases where ICE was actually going after the business owners and not the just their employees, but no one knew that until after the fact. That said, I guarantee you the 36 undocumented workers at MetalFab, Inc. not only no longer have jobs, but they’ll be escorted out of this country in short order.

Of course, ICE struck real fear into the hearts of Elgin’s 45 percent Hispanic community. Though a supermajority of them are legal, ICE’s philosophy has always been to round up brown people regardless and simply let the judge sort ‘em out. I’m sure you’ve heard the horror stories.

But despite this existential threat to the largest portion of the city’s population, those normally vocal Elgin City Council members have been strangely silent. And when I say “normally vocal” I mean Tish Powell, Corey Dixon, and Carol Rauschenberger, all of whom went well out of their way to see that Elgin Police Lieutenant Chris Jensen was terminated even after he was cleared by three independent agencies in the DeCynthia Clements shooting.

As is customary, ICE warned the Elgin Police Department they would be conducting a law enforcement action 24 hours in advance, which means the Chief alerted the Mayor and City Manager shortly thereafter. And, trust me, one of them warned the City Council so they wouldn’t be blindsided by the news.

But while Powell and Dixon went out of their way to incite protesters into co-opting city council meetings, and they consistently lynched Jensen in the press with no regard for the city attorney’s advice, despite their knowledge of the raids, they did nothing about it. ICE certainly wouldn’t pre-announce their targets, but once they struck, the news spread through Facebook like an out-of-control wildfire.

There were no warnings, no protests, no grand gestures, no bold statements – just a whole lot of quiet.

Powell did say she was “troubled” by the ICE event on her Facebook page, but that’s hardly an official statement and it’s literally the least she could do. Apparently, Dixon contracted a sudden case of laryngitis, because if he came out against ICE, it would jeopardize his 72-grand-a-year job in the Kane County Sheriff’s Office.

Though Rauschenberger wasn’t nearly as vocal as Dixon and Powell were regarding Jensen, she was equally as bad behind the scenes by trying to get him removed even after Chief Ana Lalley made the decision to reinstate him.

All I can say is, since I started covering Elgin for the Courier-News back in 2010, it’s always baffled me how little Elgin’s 50,400 Hispanic residents mean to most city council members. Despite that rather large demographic, it’s as if they somehow never seem to exist.

To wit, despite reaching out to our three previously mentioned councilmen last Friday, none have bothered to respond. I guess, only black lives matter to these purportedly “progressive” aldermen.

Though, when you really think about it, what else could they say but that they’re rank hypocrites?

Quick Hits – On the incompetence and hypocrisy of Collar County city councils

Don’t get me wrong, there are some fine local city councilpersons out there who truly listen to and serve their constituents. Geneva, Illinois, Third Ward alderman, Jeanne McGowan is a perfect example of this too-rare breed. The problem, of course, is, their far more numerous self-serving pandering peers generally drown them out.

To wit, one of my favorite friends recently regaled me with tales of Geneva First Ward Alderman Mike Bruno co-opting the October 7 city council meeting to the point where it went well into overtime.

She said she got so tired of having to watch him pontificate that she wanted to gouge her eyes out. I explained that, had she embarked upon that drastic course of action, she’d still have to listen to him, and that’s so much worse.

Illinois Pot

Bruno, a legend is his own mind, wouldn’t let go of the fact he was the only alderman opposed to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church installing new siding on the Larrabee House they once used as a rectory. So, he relentlessly and pointlessly droned on making the meeting last three times longer than necessary.

Then, his ‘Mr. Smith Goes To Washington’ proclivities notwithstanding, the council voted 9 to 1 to override a Historical Preservation Commission vote denying the renovation. I’m sure you know who the lone “no” vote was.

The Chairman and I discuss this lost art all the time. Understanding you’re about to go down in electoral flames is lost on so many city councilpeople. When you know you’ve lost the battle, the correct strategy is to briefly voice your opposition and move on. If you keep your legislative powder dry, you might actually make a difference on the next vote. But if you consistently tilt at windmills, you’ll be labeled as a loon and your council peers will simply tune you out.

Rest assured, Mr. Bruno will have a credible and well-funded opponent in 2021.

But as bad as he is, watching Collar County city councils tackle the looming legalized marijuana issue is so much worse. Is it any wonder why the rabble is starting to think that old white men suck?

With all of the absurd gnashing of teeth, keening, and rending of garments, you’d think they were talking about bringing back opium dens, or God forbid, pool halls!

Collar County municipalities like Wheaton, Plainfield, Naperville, Sugar Grove, Campton Hills and Batavia have all opted out of recreational pot sales by applying a “logic” that has no logic. Though the Naperville city council finally decided to let the voters make the call via referendum.

Campton Hill Village President Mike Tyrell opposed recreational marijuana sales because “It would increase the number of impaired drivers on the road.” That’s certainly a possibility, but a Campton Hills ban wouldn’t nearly mitigate that problem. Their residents will simply drive to St. Charles and Geneva to buy their pot, and what would stop pot-impaired folks from driving through that municipality?

Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michel is also against recreational sales on the grounds they could put a dispensary directly across from Waubonsee Community College. First, college students won’t be the least bit daunted by having to drive elsewhere, and doesn’t the gas station right across the street sell booze?

And second, were I a college student, I’d be rather insulted in regard to that kind of ironic Republican nanny state-ism. Sean! Trust me! Any Waubonsee student who has a hankerin’ for pot is probably already partaking.

But, as is almost always the case, the worst case of this Quincy Wagstaff Adams thinking is none other than the King…I mean Mayor of Batavia, Jeff Schielke. Just like that River City con man Harold Hill, without as much as consulting the city council, Schielke launched into his own version of ‘Ya Got Trouble’ claiming marijuana would bring about the downfall of his beloved city.

No Jeff! That’s been your job for nine too-long terms

If you’re gonna ban marijuana for its inherently evil propensities, then you damn well better shut down all of those Batavia liquor stores and bars, too.

Ask any police officer who they’d rather encounter, a pothead or a drunk, and their answer will be unanimous. A felony court judge told me his court call would be reduced by 70 percent if they could effectively ban alcohol, but if they managed to eliminated illegal drugs, it would decline by a mere 20 percent.

So, why isn’t Batavia addressing the far more insidious alcohol scourge? That’s right! It’s because of the inevitable massive tax revenue hit – particularly in regard to the local restaurants and bars – and we tried that back in the 30s and it didn’t work out too well now, did it?

It’s really sad when people who clearly are aware of history choose to ignore it. Though I suppose I should be grateful that all those Batavians will be coming to Geneva with their legal marijuana tax dollars.

And the level of hypocrisy in ignoring alcohol’s ills while demonizing pot, says it all. Old white men, and particularly those who serve on city councils, really do suck! Thank God I’m an honorary Mexican.


Quick Hit’s Supplemental Part II – I’m back on the radio!

That’s right! For those of you who don’t get enough Jeff Ward, and who does, I’ll be on my favorite crazy conservative friend, Phil Kranz’, Black Dog INDIE Country Radio show somewhere between 6 and 8 p.m. central time this evening (10/17) to discuss my new book, ‘So You Want to Win a Local Election?’

Black Dog

Since the syndicated show emanates from Ringgold, Georgia, your best bet is to pick it up on the Net right here:


If you are otherwise occupied, though I can’t imagine what could possibly be more important than me, all of Phil’s previous shows can be located simply by clicking on the “Episodes” tab at the top of that page. That way you can listen at your leisure.

I certainly appreciate the opportunity to promote the book throughout the Southeast and I’m sure the discussion will be quite entertaining. Please tune in!


Quick Hits Supplemental – It’s a Thriller!

By now you know Vargo’s Dance at Route 38 and 2nd Street in Geneva, Illinois, is one of my favorite places on the planet, and I’m pleased to say they’re planning quite the Halloween event!


Yes! On Tuesday, October 29, various Vargo instructors and a plethora of students will perform Michael Jackson’s legendary Thriller dance at Rt. 38 and 2nd Street in beautiful downtown Geneva. This free performance marks the second annual “Thriller on 38” which will proceed like this:

8:15 – 9:15         Outdoor music, food trucks and more

9:00 – 9:05         The performance

9:15 – 10:30      After Party at Old Towne Pub Upstairs ($15 cover) Costumes encouraged!

In dance studio owner Jamie Vargo’s own words:

Bring the kids, bring the family, bring a date and watch the dancers perform Michael Jackson’s Thriller. We decided to move the event to Route 38 and 2nd Street this year to accommodate more people, more food trucks, and give everyone a chance to grab a cocktail and watch the dancers from the beautiful upstairs patio at Old Towne Pub. The more small businesses we can support the better!

The vendors include the Chicago Donut Company, The Grumpy Gaucho, and the All Chocolate Kitchen – so far!

Now, I know what you’re thinking! Will yours truly be performing with the dancers?  I would if it weren’t for two issues.

The first is, much like it was with Elvis, my unique brand of dance would whip my adoring female fans into the kind of frenzy that would have them ripping the clothes right off my body – again. Not only would that become a distraction, but having to regularly replace reasonable attire ain’t cheap!

The second problem is, after four months of foot injuries, I’m finally getting back into the dance swing of things (pun intended), but I’m still beyond rusty. Perhaps I’ll participate next year if you ladies promise to behave yourselves.

Even though 9 p.m. is well past my bedtime, I will make an exception for this performance and I certainly hope to see you there!

Quick Hits – Suing the KCSAO for sexual harassment would be career suicide!

The irony of Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon offering more absurd excuses than the defendants he prosecutes certainly isn’t lost on me, and it shouldn’t be lost on you either. His newest response to the Kane County Board’s questions about the insistent and rampant sexual harassment in his office is that it didn’t happen because none of the “victims” sued him.

Joe McMahon

Oh! Really??? That’s a lot like saying, “Clearly, I never drive over the speed limit because I never get a ticket.” Right! If a prosecutor tried that sixth-grade logic with a judge, he or she would be laughed right out of the courtroom.

For my newer readers, in October of 2018, I filed a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) for all sexual harassment complaints and the disposition in regard to just one former prosecutor. Civil Division Head Joe Lulves’ response consisted of 255 grayed out pages with the exception of just one unredacted sentence.

Lulves regularly brags that his office is FOIA-proof.

So, I filed an appeal with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office the following month and they ruled in my favor in June. But the KCSAO hasn’t turned over those documents because McMahon and Lulves, the very souls sworn to uphold and prosecute the law, continue to ignore that ruling.

With no other available option, I sued the KCSAO in civil court to get a judge to order them to turn over the unredacted complaints. That case will be heard before Judge Melissa Barnhart in Kendall County courtroom 110 on November 6 at 1 p.m.

Meanwhile, I’ve spoken at the last three Kane County Board meetings in an effort to engage those capable commissioners in the process of putting pressure on the KCSAO to do the right thing.

Thankfully, the Board has called Joe McMahon on the carpet three times so far, but every time they do, he issues another insipid the-dog-ate-my-homework excuse. His latest alibi is the harassment didn’t happen because no one sued him.

Of course, the harassment victims didn’t sue him! It would be bleepin’ career suicide if they did!

First, if any Kane County attorney sued McMahon for sexual harassment, the KCSAO would refuse to make any plea deals with their clients, they’d tie those clients up in court, and they’d generally make their practice as miserable as possible.

And Second, and so much worse, McMahon has a reputation for being exceptionally vindictive. If any of his former employees had the temerity to sue him, he would pursue them like Captain Ahab tended to go after white whales.

“Oh c’mon, Jeff! You’re just making this up because you don’t like Joe McMahon.”

Au contraire, dear reader! As is always the case, I have beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence to back up my claim!

You see, when I originally broke the KCSAO sexual harassment story, a father and daughter attorney team privately came down on me like white on rice, and I couldn’t figure out why. But as any reasonable journalist would, I kept the conversation going until I better understood the situation.

As it turns out, the daughter had been similarly harassed by this former prosecutor and the father thought I was writing about her. That’s how pervasive the sexual harassment was.

The father was furious that I was writing about his daughter without her express written consent, which would be more than understandable if that were actually the case. And he was even more furious because of the repercussions McMahon would rein down on their practice if he thought they were the source.

To quote that great philosopher Alannis Morrissette, “Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?”

Think about it! Those attorneys were so terrified of McMahon that they inadvertently outed the daughter as one of the victims. And this is a law firm that’s raised quite a bit of campaign cash on McMahon’s behalf over the years. They continued to send those checks even after the daughter was harassed, despite the lack of any real consequences for the harasser(s). And the did that because they didn’t want to make Joe McMahon angry!

So, tell me, what hope does a former female prosecutor have against the full weight of the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office and Joe McMahon’s vast propensity to exact a pound of flesh, particularly when they’re trying to establish a new practice? That’s right, virtually none!

And McMahon’s contention that he’s innocent because no one’s sued him is worse than just immoral, it’s downright despicable.

But the fat lady ain’t sung yet! When McMahon steps down in 2020 and a new SA takes the helm, he will no longer have the kind of leverage that keeps local attorney’s in line. And these aggrieved former prosecutors have very long memories – as they should.

Perhaps Joe won’t be able to say he hasn’t been sued much longer!