Quick Hits – A Wayside update and a judge that can’t behave!

As previously promised, I did, indeed, attend the Wayside Cross Ministries v. The City of Aurora hearing in Kane County courtroom 320 at 9 a.m. this morning, and the status quo reins.

The Wayside residents’ attorney, who inspires no confidence whatsoever, tried to backdoor a TRO (temporary restraining order) to keep those men in that building pending the inevitable appellate court ruling, but he failed to do so.

That said, rest assured, the fat lady ain’t nearly warmin’ up yet!

Though there’s nothing in place to prevent the City of Aurora from enforcing the unconstitutional Illinois sex offender statute as we speak, that Wayside attorney will shortly file for an emergency TRO with the no-nonsense Second District Court of Appeals, it will be granted, and those men will stay put for the four to six years it will take our justice system to unravel this stupidity.

Now, you all know me! Given my vast penchant for public service and my stellar personality, I’d normally post Judge Kevin Busch’s written ruling right here so you could see it for yourself. It’s something I’ve regularly done for the ten years I’ve covered the Kane County court system.

Kevin Busch

But alas, Dear Reader, it pains me to admit that, for the first time in my lengthy journalistic career, I’ve failed you. I know! I have a hard time believing it, too, and I’m me!

You see, as I’ve done at least a dozen times over the last decade, I quietly and politely approached the room 320 court clerk to get a copy of that written ruling. And because Circuit Clerk Executive Assistant Kristy Sharpness runs a tight shop, he was more than happy to oblige an upstanding member of the press.

But when Judge Busch saw what was happening, never missing an opportunity to embarrass someone he doesn’t like, he ordered the clerk to sit down saying, “Sir! The clerk is not here to help you. If you want a copy of the order, go to the Circuit Clerk’s office.”

And Busch made a point of performing his shtick loudly enough for the rest of the courtroom to hear it!

Since, unlike the Judge, I refuse to make a public scene, I simply headed down the clerk’s office of the first floor of the Geneva civil court building, only to have the two lovely ladies manning the desk say, “Get the courtroom clerk to give you that order. That’s what he’s there for.”

I replied, “That’s what I thought.”

The hilarity was, there were a number of attorneys there at the time and they summarily launched into a tirade regarding Kevin’s utter lack of judicial comportment. And who am I to disagree with them?

Then, to add insult to injury, the young female Tribune reporter somehow obtained a copy of that very same ruling. Oh the ignominy! How will I ever show my face in public again?

As far as trying to embarrass me, I actually consider today’s proceedings to be a major step up! The last time Daily Herald reporter Harry Hitzeman and I were in the same courtroom, he chased me down the hall, jumped into an elevator with me, and threatened to assault me such that court security had to intervene.

So, Kevin!  You’re going to have to do a lot better next time.

For all the obvious reasons, I’ve had reservations about the gentleman who approached me last year to run a 2022 anti-retention campaign against you. He’s willing to put 40 to 50 grand into to seeing you relegated to the anonymity you so richly deserve. Despite your best efforts, you didn’t nearly deprive him of all his hard-earned cash.

And some people say I have a way of framing a message.

This gentleman’s contention is that you spent so much time staring at his ex-wife’s rack, you failed to appropriate apply the law. And that certainly seems to make sense in light of your well-known reputation for misogynist courtroom behavior and a sexual harassment complaint that derailed your effort to become chief judge.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m going to take his money. Having already aggravated the crap out of national Teamsters Union, like Alexander the Great before me, I’ve been lamenting the lack of new worlds to conquer.

Thank you for proving me wrong Your Honor!

Meanwhile, the Circuit Clerk’s office will provide me with that written ruling on Monday and I will post it here. And if any of you face the kind of abhorrent behavior so many Kane County judges insist on dishing out, please come to me. Unlike Chief Judge Clint Hull, I will listen, and I will address it.

It’s the least I can do.

Quick Hits – Special Report!

In what can only be described as a very welcome turn of events, our Kane County full circuit (elected) judges, by a majority vote, chose Aurora attorney Reggie Campbell as our newest 16th Circuit associate judge.

Not only is it important to have at least one African-American serving on the bench, but Reggie’s vast and varied legal experience combined with a stellar comport make him far better candidate than runner up, Kane County State’s Attorney chief felony prosecutor Bill Engerman.

Reggie Campbell

We have previously discussed that distinction at length.

I know it’s hard to believe that, particularly when it comes to any complex governmental endeavor, on occasion, the right thing can happen. I want to compliment those judges for their wise choice.

As it is with any judge, my fervent with is that Reggie works hard, listens to sage counsel when necessary, and that he hits the ground running. Congratulations Reggie! I have no doubt you’ll do the black dress proud!

 

Oh! And in regard to tomorrow’s Quick Hits, I’ll be in courtroom 320 tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. to personally bear witness Judge Kevin Busch’s ruling on whether the 19 sex offenders currently residing at Aurora’s Wayside Cross Ministries can remain at that location.

My plan is to report back as quickly as possible, but if the hearing goes into overtime that may not be possible.

 

 

 

Quick Hits – On the Elgin Homeless Problem – Part 3

Alright! We’re in the home stretch! In part one we discussed how the Elgin homeless problem threatened to reverse all of downtown Elgin’s hard-earned gains. In part two we covered the steps City Hall is taking and will take to address this growing problem. Now, let’s tie it all together in part three!

But again, I want to be perfectly clear that we’re not talking about those rendered homeless by a series of unfortunate economic circumstances. We’re talking about those individuals who, as a result of mental illness or persistent addiction, have become chronically homeless. And as much as Elgin does for the least of our brothers and sisters, the City has neither the resources nor the manpower to solve what may well be an unsolvable problem.

So, how did it get so bad that the downtown business owners had to revolt to finally get the City’s attention, and why did it require yours truly to finally communicate the eminently reasonable measures City Hall conceived to mitigate this complication?

The majority of this trilogy may have been a bit of a journalistic slog, but I can answer that simple question without any hesitation whatsoever. The City of Elgin is suffering from a massive leadership vacuum and a crippling CYA mentality as a result. More often than not, the City succeeds despite themselves, typically due to the efforts of few stellar individuals who understand how to get the rest of the folks on board.

Those leadership suspicions first surfaced during the interminably drawn out Elgin Police Lieutenant Chris Jensen saga where no one seemed willing to put their neck on the line and do the blitheringly obvious right thing. That “process” took three times longer than necessary, and the four separate investigations were two too many, particularly when the outcome was inevitable. All that dithering did was present the protesters with more of an opportunity to make the situation so much worse.

And those suspicions were confirmed while performing the due diligence this series required.

It all starts with City Manager Rick Kozal who is, bar none, the least effective city manager I’ve ever encountered. When reading that statement, please consider that, not only have I covered dozens of city managers in the past 14 years, but my three-year Elgin radio show co-host, Larry Jones, was a former city manager.

Kozal absolutely refuses to get out in front of anything to the point where he won’t even talk to the press. And this is not the kind of scenario where you can successfully lead from behind.

Rick Kozal

Rick Kozal

Think about it. A public employee making $230,000 a year with commensurate benefits won’t allow himself to be held accountable by the citizens who pay his salary!

Rick! If dealing with your public through their Fourth Estate representatives is simply too much for your delicate sensibilities, might I respectfully suggest another career path, perhaps something along the lines of building barns with the Pennsylvania Amish. That kind of endeavor really does seem to suit you.

And Mayor Dave Kaptain, who clearly has the cojones to confront an issue head on, hasn’t been any better in the Jensen or homeless regard, either, which makes him even worse than Kozal! Though to be fair, Dave doesn’t get nearly the remuneration Kozal does.

It’s not that the Mayor is weak as a former City Councilman likes to say, it’s just that he’s not willing to risk taking on a liberal cause. Why? Because innumerable sources have said he’s afraid of alienating his ultra-liberal wife Sandy. And, trust me, Sandy is one of those crazy liberal loons who, by adopting extreme stances, only does damage to the cause.

So, Dave’s gonna be no help in the homeless and many other regards.

Then there’s the City Council who, while actually getting along better than most similar bodies these days, aren’t exactly setting the world on fire. Terry Gavin was right! Tish Powell is a major problem and she’s a blatant racist. Corey Dixon is far too busy buying votes with free backpacks and turkeys, Toby Shaw has apparently devised a cloaking device he shares with John Steffen, Carol Rauschenberger is afraid of her own shadow, if Terry Gavin isn’t unduly annoying protesters. he’s regularly breaking the law, and if it wasn’t for me exposing his antics, Baldemar Lopez would already be running for state rep. So much for serving on the City Council, right Baldemar?

Sources also said the more liberal faction of the Council is beyond terrified of the ACLU suing them over any homeless measure much like they did over the TLC mobile ultrasound unit fracas back in 2013. So, they’re gonna be no help whatsoever.

As far as the utter dearth of effective communications goes, to be fair, Elgin is in the process of hiring a new staff member to fill that gap, which is a really good thing because, between the Jensen and homeless issues, it couldn’t possibly get any worse. Really? A foul-mouthed, immature, intemperate, non-fool suffering, moderate IQ, pain-in-the-ass, and ancient opinion columnist can frame and communicate a message exponentially better than everyone at City Hall combined?

Right!

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, those “amazing” Elgin pastors insist upon entering the picture.

Since I’ve already gone on far too long let’s cut right to the chase! The problem with the pastor-penitent dynamic is, without penitents, there’s no pastor, so those self-proclaimed righteous religious reps have absolutely no incentive to improve their congregants’ lots in life and make them more independent.

Why, if they did that, there’d be no one left to put cash in the collection plate.

Yes! Christian or not, we are all conferred with an inalienable responsibility to care for the least of our brothers and sisters, but that “care” never means enabling them. There’s a reason I give money to homeless shelters and not directly to the homeless. Because when these churches offer the downtown homeless food handouts and nothing more, it does nothing to improve their lot and only puts that business district at risk.

Those unfortunate folks would be far better served by lobbying the state to finally deal with our dire mental health issue. What’s the point of incarcerating the mentally ill at ten times the cost of treatment? Those pastors should also spearhead of a movement to bring more rehab centers into our communities so no addict reaches the point of no return.

But those kinds of initiatives take guts, and local rehab centers aren’t exactly popular with their congregants, now are they?

So, there you have it! Though this three-part series doesn’t nearly begin to describe, address, or provide a solution to Elgin’s chronic homeless problem, it certainly serves as a conversational starting point. So, what do you say Elgin?

 

Quick Hits – On the Elgin Homeless Problem – Part 2

So, let’s continue with part 2 of what will likely be a three-part series on the Elgin homeless issue. Again, the word “homeless” applied herein refers to those chronically street-bound folks who, due to a mental illness or persistent addiction, refuse to avail themselves of the shelters and assistance Elgin regularly offers our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

My theory continues to be that, while every human being deserves a basic modicum of respect, the chronically homeless should not be allowed to co-opt the downtown such that they erase all the gains the City and businesses owners so painstakingly achieved over the last decade.

Given the unanimous positive public and private responses to last week’s column, clearly I’m not nearly the only one with a keen perception of the obvious here.

Also, in part one, I noted it was a rumor that set me on this journalistic quest. And that rumor was one or more city councilmen wanted the five-week experiment assigning two Elgin officers to the downtown 24/7 to fail, because they feared it would drive the homeless out into the neighborhoods.

And when the new program racked up 82 grand in overtime expenses in such a brief time, there seemed to be something to that hearsay. Ah! But as is often the case, the only thing right about that rumor was the overtime amount.

First, as Chief Ana Lalley and Assistant City Manager Laura Valdez explained, the homeless congregate in the central downtown area because that’s where the food, and thus, the free handouts are. Since there are generally no food outlets in the neighborhoods, the homeless have no incentive to migrate there. That means the worst consequence of any Elgin homeless enforcement effort is driving them to the downtown fringes as is currently case.

As for all that overtime, a spate of recent retirements has relegated the EPD to between 13 to 21 officers per patrol shift. And to pull two of them into dedicated downtown duty would put another area of the city at risk, so overtime was the only option.

As we speak, the EPD is in the process of training new officers, but that’s a year-and-a-half proposition and some of the candidates fail to make the cut.

Then there was the “leave the homeless and their belongings alone unless they act out” edict I previously described which turned out to be only partially true. It’s a lot like one of those Star Trek episodes where two civilizations have been at war for centuries, but no one can remember who or what stated it, so they just keep on fighting.

If there ever was such a City or EPD directive, it appears to go back to the previous City Manager Sean Stegal and previous Police Chief Jeff Swoboda, but it may even predate them. Since that information came from a couple of police officers, Chief Lalley said she’d make sure her department is aware that no such order exists.

Another source said the EPD has, indeed, been intensifying their homeless enforcement efforts with promising results.

But the best news is, that five-week downtown police presence worked so well the affected business owners collectively lauded the new “calmness.” In light of that success, Elgin has recently implemented or will proceed with the following new measures:

  • More informational signage
  • New HD cameras
  • Interactive parking garage kiosks
  • An updated personal property removal ordinance
  • A new downtown neighborhood watch
  • Hiring a downtown ROPE Officer

Last fall, signs were installed in each of the downtown parking garages outlining behavioral expectations as well as providing phone numbers for assistance, and there have been fewer homeless sleeping and storing personal property in those facilities.

Elgin Parking Sign 2

New hi-def cameras have been installed in the Spring Street parking deck which has seen the most homeless activity. The other parking structures will receive theirs shortly. The new cameras make it much easier to identify anyone committing an illegal act.

An updated ordinance requiring a 24-hour notice, instead of the previous seven days, before personal property is removed and impounded has resulted in less belongings being stored in public places, and particularly in the parking garages.

An interactive “kiosk” will soon be placed in each floor of the City’s three parking decks featuring a split screen display with rotating announcements and a live feed of each floor. That means no surprises as you make your way to your vehicle. Signs will be also be placed in the kiosk areas encouraging people to report questionable activities.

Since the police can’t be everywhere, the Downtown Neighborhood Association, in partnership with the Elgin Police, just created a downtown Neighborhood Watch, and Elgin is in the process of hiring a downtown ROPE officer (Resident Officer Program of Elgin) to better keep tabs on those pressing business district issues.

The bottom line is, City Hall is not nearly giving up on bringing balance to the downtown force as some sources – and even I – thought might be the case. And that’s the best news. But while Ms. Valdez, the Chief, and yours truly certainly see progress and potential future successes, the acid test will be how effective these measures are during the warmer weather months.

Though there’s always a collaborative effort involved in these kinds of municipal sea changes, as far as I can see, the catalyst behind these new initiatives is Elgin Public House owner Greg Shannon who appeared before the Elgin City Council last summer to tell them just how bad the chronic homeless problem had become.

Considering the lingering downtown Chicago street parking shortage, I’m sure Shannon was beyond frustrated with the nearby municipal garage being turned into a rather large homeless toilet. Again, Shannon isn’t the only one who complained, but he is one of the few with the cojones to directly address the City Council and demand action. Sometimes that’s all it takes!

That said, I still firmly believe this is a case of Elgin succeeding despite itself.

I’m convinced the only reason the homeless situation is suddenly improving is the combined efforts of Assistant City Manager Valdez and Chief Lalley. Without their capacity to accurately perceive a problem, reduce it to its least common denominator, and come up with a set of innovative fixes, this scenario would’ve likely ended with the five-week downtown patrols becoming an occasional and expensive band-aid solution.

So, along with Shannon, those two deserve a boatload of credit for being willing to tackle the downtown homeless problem head on. And I firmly believe it will continue to improve as a result.

 

In Wednesday’s (1/29) part three, we’ll discuss the Elgin leadership vacuum that incites a fear-based reactionary City Hall and the semi-phantom liberal force behind that pervasive and often crippling anxiety. The City Council certainly doesn’t seem too terribly interested in truly addressing this issue, either.

We’ll also talk about the lack of effective Elgin communication such that I had to explain these downtown initiatives to you. How did this generally good news stay under wraps? We’ll cover how, by consistently enabling the chronically homeless, Elgin’s Churches and pastors make this, and other problems, far worse than they need to be.

 

Quick Hits – On the Elgin Homeless Problem – Part 1

This is one of those columns that grew organically from the kernel of truth you generally find at the core of any unfounded rumor. As is often the case, the pursuit of a non-truth led to the truth, and after talking with more than a dozen people, you look up two weeks later and wonder where the time went.

And it’s in that very conversational regard that I want to thank Elgin Police Chief Ana Lalley and Assistant City Manager Laura Valdez for taking 40 minutes out of their eminently busy day to finally put the exclamation mark on this fascinating journalistic quest.

Downtown Elgin

But before we get started, to quote a former disgraced President (not the current disgraced President), “Let me make this perfectly clear!” The word “homeless,” as used here, in no way refers to those individuals reeling from an unfortunate economic setback. No! Going forward, we’ll be discussing those individuals chronically on the streets as a result of mental illness or persistent addiction.

Put more simply, we’re talking about folks who are beyond any municipality’s help. No city has the resources to deal with the mentally ill on any scale, and though I like to believe redemption is always around the corner, if chronic addiction has led you to homelessness, there’s virtually no turning back.

At the outset of my fruitful conversation with Ms. Valdez and the Chief, they thought I was about to chastise Elgin for not doing enough. So, please let me also stipulate that I firmly believe The City in the Suburbs does too much for the homeless. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not issuing yet another conservative edict that utterly abrogates our duty to the  least of our brothers and sisters. It’s simply a matter of the law of diminishing returns. There’s always a point at which simply throwing more money at a problem makes no discernible difference.

Lastly, the twelve plus people I sought out in this regard included Elgin police officers, elected officials, business owners, and long-time residents. And their almost unanimous conclusion was, until Elgin Public House owner Greg Shannon addressed the City Council about this issue in July, the downtown Elgin homeless problem has gotten much worse since my halcyon Elgin radio show days.

And my sources cited a number of reasons for this startling shift, the most interesting of which is, unless they’re specifically acting out, the EPD has be instructed to leave the homeless and their belongings alone. And when those officers do write a nuisance ticket, those indigent folks simply tear it up and throw it back in their faces.

Some told tales of the Spring and Chicago parking garage turning into a homeless refuge with drunks sleeping in the stairwells and the persistent odor of urine and feces permeating the entire facility. The City did install a porta-potty on one garage level only to have the homeless defecate right next to it.

Others said Blue Box Café building owner Jerri McCue spent thousands of dollars repairing and rehabbing that building’s bathroom. It’s a homeless favorite because it’s set in the hallway of that unique indoor mini mall and they can come in through the back door unnoticed.

A couple of businesses owners told me that they and Public Works are beyond tired of cleaning up human excrement behind their buildings.

Some sources weren’t at all happy with the churches, and particularly those well-meaning Vineyard Church pastors who regularly feed the chronically homeless in Carleton Park while taking no further responsibility for their well-being.

The problem with those kinds of handouts is they incite the homeless into taking over the park every summer such that children and their parents completely avoid it. One business owner regaled me with a tale of being chased from the outskirts of Carleton Park as she tried to take photographs of the homeless occupants to bring to the City.

An elected official said that just one of the downtown homeless cost the city $500,000 in 911 emergency and other city services. Valdez disputed that total amount, but she did admit there was an individual who the City transported to the hospital 77 times in one year. And that ain’t cheap!

Taken at face value, these stories left me with a what-the-bleep kind of uneasy feeling. It seemed odd that City Hall would preside over an amazing downtown resurgence only to watch those gains slowly slip away through inaction. It made no sense.

Every human being on the planet deserves a basic level of respect, but that doesn’t mean the homeless, left to their own devices, should be ever be allowed to take a business district down with them. And that’s exactly what appeared to be happening.

What further troubles me is, much as it was throughout the absurd Lt. Chris Jensen saga, Elgin  City Hall seems gripped by an incomprehensible fear of some amorphous liberal force that will somehow rain down upon the city like the Holy Ghost if unduly aggravated.

 

On Monday, we’ll delve into the leadership vacuum that allowed this problem to persist and fester, and the steps Elgin is finally taking to restore balance to the downtown Force.

 

Quick Hits – January 21, 2020

Hey adoring throng! Please don’t start expecting a daily Quick Hits because it ain’t gonna happen. It’s just that the local news is coming hot and heavy right now, and as you already know, only I can provide the appropriate analysis.

Although, if the Daily Herald can start begging their readers for cash, perhaps I should do the same. At least you’ll get your money’s worth out of me!

 

Why does the phrase “no shame” suddenly come to mind?

Just when you think you’ve bleepin’ seen it all, there I was, reading long-time Chicago media columnist Rob Feder’s ‘Robservations’ this morning, when I realized those ancient Greeks were dead wrong! On occasion, there really is something new under the sun.

And that “something” is John Lampinen, Senior Vice President of the Daily Herald, in the worst possible GoFundMe panhandling tradition, begging readers to pony up half the cash for three new reporters! The only thing missing were the sunglasses, the wheeled cart with leg-hiding blanket, and a sign reading “A grateful war veteran thanks you!”

(Google Eddie Murphy Philistines!)

“These additions will greatly help us better cover the suburbs,” Lampinen said, “They will beef up local coverage following the historic challenges the newspaper industry has confronted for the last decade.”

Daily Herald Building

According to Rob, “Report For America will provide half of the funding for three reporters and another for Paddock Publications’ Southern Illinois operation. Donations are tax deductible.”

This of course begs the question, if you can’t get people to pay for your newspaper, how in the bleep are you going to get them to paying for your staff – which isn’t a one-time expense, by the way!

And isn’t the Daily Herald a for-profit proposition? Will there be profit-sharing for people gullible enough to contribute? Have I mentioned the whole “no shame” thing already?

Why would the Daily Herald need more reporters to not break the stories they’re already not breaking? And why would we pay for more reporters so we could not read more stories than we’re already not reading?

How about actually performing some real journalism and due diligence instead? Oh, that’s right!  But breaking real stories requires real sources and developing sources means sacrificing short-term gain (Internet hits) for a greater long-term benefit.

You see, when you earn a reasonable reputation and you work at developing sources, if you do it long enough, the sources will start coming to you!

I’m so flippin’ tired of hearing about “the historic challenges the newspaper industry has confronted” when virtually every one of those “challenges” is just another self-inflicted wound that an ADHD sixth grader could’ve predicted. Even the Chicago Tribune is begging for some sort of billionaire savior to rescue them from Aiden Global Capital’s slash and burn management methodology

How about, God forbid, instead of perpetual whining, those publishers actually decided to try something different? Holy bleep! If they were covering a government entity that refused to accept reality by continuing to engage in the same endeavor while magically expecting a different result, those papers would bleepin’ tear them a new one!

But no! They can’t possibly apply the same sort of scrutiny to themselves! If those Tribune writers put half that effort into outside-of-the-box writing and analysis, they wouldn’t have to face fending off a poor suitor. Pay the Daily Herald to hire new reporters so I can further pay them to read their non-stories? I think not, Dear Readers!

And I fervently hope you’re not stupid enough to fall for this, either!

A number of folks have been pressing me to monetize this blog for the last two years. Considering this non-starter, I think it may be time!

 

Don’t Worry, Dalton’s getting moved!

Ye really do have little faith, don’t you? Despite my generally applied due diligence almost always bearing fruit, the second some of you bleeps hear something slightly askew, you insist on coming straight at me with some scurrilous suspicions that either I or my sources suck.

But as it turns out, that miserable excuse for a human being known as Kane County Judge John Dalton will not be removed from family court on 1/24 as originally indicated, but he will be removed! The hitch in our courtroom rotation giddyap is the unclear arrival date of Kane County’s newest associate judge.

If, God forbid, our elected men and women in black choose the Kane County State’s Attorney’s chief felony prosecutor Bill Engerman, the move will come sooner rather than later because his position will be filled quite quickly.

Conversely, if Aurora attorney Reggie Campbell gets the nod, the more likely possibility, he’ll need at least a month to settle his law practice. Once his clients are taken care of, he’d likely be seated sometime around March 1.

So, if you have a pending appearance before the only man on the planet who makes Donald Trump look good, file a motion for a continuance – don’t ask for one in court because the sadistic Dalton certainly won’t grant it. A formal motion is no guarantee, either, but it gives you a far better shot.

And since we’re talking, my sources tell me the new courtroom 101 judge will be The Honorable Julia Yetter who’s developed quite a decent reputation in her very short time on the bench.

Please understand, SHE WILL NOT AUTOMATICALLY AND IMMEDIATELY OVERTURN ALL OF DALTON’S PREVIOUS RULINGS. Please provide her with an opportunity to become familiar with your case, provide EVIDENCE to support any new motion you or your attorney might make, and please, please, please, make it clear that you have the best interest of your children in mind.

Judges do respond positively to that kind of approach.

Now I want to hear a collective apology from all you doubting Thomas’s. I’m waiting…

 

A small request!

You know I love to see all those Geneva Women’s March photographs particularly because they stir the political soul, but because it was wayyyyy too bleepin’ cold and icy for my bony white butt to be out there.

So, let’s briefly take stock!

As if to prove it exists, the good Lord Herself seems intent upon sending swift proof of climate change every time you ladies take to the streets! Last time it was a polar vortex, and this one was beset by rapidly descending temperatures, ice, windchills hitting two degrees above absolute zero, and heavy wet snow that clearly came from the core of a distant neutron star.

With all of that noted, would it be too much to ask y’all to move these semi-regular marches to July? I’d even settle for April if your busy schedules would permit it. That way I’d be more than happy to join you and cover the march it directly.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Please let me know if that works for all of you!

Quick Hits – A few good Geneva women and men – please!

Sadly, my efforts to recruit a 2021 Geneva mayoral candidate, as well as several of the aldermanic variety, aren’t going nearly as well as I’d hoped. Despite some serious financial backers, it would seem the insidious issue is, anyone harboring half-a-brain, a capacity to consider tomorrow, and a reasonable moral mooring is far too prudent to run for a job that requires a ton of time, pays virtually nothing, and generally solicits a slew of criticism.

Another difficult hurdle in this regard is, while our local elected officials have a far great impact on our wallets and well-being, we inexplicably prefer to focus on their statewide and national counterparts.

Run for Office

But I’m not ready to throw in the electoral towel quite yet! An outstanding five-tool Geneva First Ward candidate recently approached me, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about that campaign. Current alderman Mike Bruno, and his single-minded insistence on all things historical preservation, really needs to go.

“Jeff? I’ve heard of a five-tool baseball player before, but can you please explain a five-tool candidate?”

Absolutely! A five-tool candidate has:

  • Money
  • A great message
  • Charisma
  • Electability
  • And they play well with others

What that means is I’m still looking for:

  • A Third Ward aldermanic candidate
  • A Second Ward aldermanic candidate (only if Rich Marks doesn’t run again)
  • A Fifth Ward aldermanic candidate
  • A mayoral candidate.
  • Two (and maybe three) non-union supported school board candidates

Rich! You need to get in touch with me sooner than later because you’ve clearly earned a fourth term if that’s your thought, and we certainly work well together campaign-wise.

Fourth Ward Alderman Jeanne McGowan also deserves a second term. I can’t remember enjoying a more effective collaboration with an elected official in getting things done. Though I’d certainly like to see some of her fiscally conservative tendencies surface, Jeanne is the reason I haven’t been writing about Geneva nearly as often these days.

If you can take care of something behind the scenes, it always works out better for everyone involved.

All that said, we do desperately need a new mayor and whomever that enterprising individual turns out to be needs to make their intentions known somewhat soon so perennial also-ran Tom Simonian doesn’t make it a three-way race which will assure Mayor Kevin Burns’ reelection.

Before you start running for the crawl space, I’m not talking about remaking Geneva in my image! Not even I would want that. But please note just how well so many of my former clients are doing:

  • Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin certainly has that city humming along
  • Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain is doing a great job and working quite well with Chairman Chris Lauzen
  • Geneva’s own Rich Marks, the only alderman to survive the 2017 Simonian bloodbath, continues to be a city council voice of reason
  • A brilliant and insightful D304 School Board member continues to serve with grace and distinction

Furthermore, I’m not nearly the only Genevan who believes we need:

  • A more effective, responsive and far more principled Mayor
  • A more independent City Council
  • A new City Manager
  • We don’t need an Assistant City Manager
  • More respectful and responsive City employees
  • A far more effective salting and snow removal effort
  • Union contracts that reflect today’s realities
  • A more fiscally conservative Mayor and City Council
  • Real leadership in the face of a rapidly deteriorating Third Street business district
  • And some immediate attention to our sewer and roadway infrastructure

If you’re interested in the municipal government challenge, it’s not all that difficult to get ahold of me. What’s in it for you? Quality candidates will receive:

  • My considerable campaign managing services at no charge to them
  • A copy of my new book ‘So You Want to Win a Local Election’
  • Potential financing from Geneva Business owners desperate for change
  • Ongoing counsel on how to navigate the vagaries of city government
  • My eternal gratitude for making Geneva a better place

We all regularly engage in the tried and true national pastime of kvetching about our elected officials, but here’s an opportunity to actually do something about it. So, how about it Genevans?