The First Ward Report – Quick Hits – September 11, 2020

Let’s catch up on a few things!

He gave the money back?

Two separate sources confirmed that embattled Springfield lobbyist and soon-to-depart Elgin City Councilman, Baldemar Lopez, returned the 60 grand he received from ComEd for doing absolutely nothing. At least he couldn’t remember what he did for them.

If you recall, it was WBEZ and yours truly who broke the lobbyist and $60,000 do-nothing contract story back in late 2019. And when Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain and the saner city council members tried to implement an ethics ordinance banning lobbyists, councilpeople Tish Powell, John Steffen, Carol Rauschenberger, and of course, Corey Dixon tabled it faster than Donald Trump backtracking from a recorded conversation.

Apparently, that quartet likes to regularly embrace corruption and graft.

If Lopez did, indeed, return the money, there are but three possibilities for his sudden change of heart:

1. Those ComEd federal bribery investigators were hot on his trail.
2. Despite previous pronouncements, he’s running again.
3. He couldn’t deal with his guilty conscience.

Number 3? Nope! When you consider Lopez bought that city council seat with Madigan money, he perjured himself on his 2018 economic interest statement, and he voted to table the ordinance that would’ve prohibited him from serving on the council (no conflict there!), I don’t think Lopez has a conscience.

Number 2? Nope! Even if he spends another 25 grand in Chicago money, the odds of Lopez being reelected sit squarely between slim and none. Despite that massive campaign war chest, he barely beat opponent Steve Thoren last time and these ComEd revelations put the final nail in his political coffin.

That leaves us with number 1, doesn’t it?

But much like the inherent problem with un-ringing a bell, returning a bribe, in no way, mitigates the fact that you were bribed to begin with. All I can say is it will be fascinating going forward because, as the Pet Shop Boys once intoned, Baldemar always makes a point of “never being boring.”

Meanwhile, neither Elgin State Rep Anna Moeller nor State Senator Cristina Castro have called on Speaker Madigan to resign. That failure may be even more fascinating for them going forward!

 

Some great debates!

My Cubs hat is off to those fine League of Women Voters of Central Kane County folks for putting on some excellent COVID era candidate forums over the last two evenings.

Though there were more possibilities, I personally partook of Wednesday night’s Jamie Mosser/Bob Spence (state’s attorney) forum, and last evening’s Tom Hartwell/Theresa Barriero (circuit clerk), Elizabeth Flood/Brittany Pedersen (judge), and Dave Rickert/Corinne Pierog (county chairman) debates.

Auditor candidate Penny Wegman declined to participate leaving incumbent Terry Hunt with no other option than to present a two-minute statement.

And it was time well-spent, too! I quickly learned that not a single one of these races boiled down to the overly ubiquitous “lesser of two evils” conundrum. In fact, these candidates clearly maintain quite different campaign messages and electoral intents.

But as much as I enjoyed the proceedings, it was beyond depressing to note that the number of folks viewing the live stream never amounted to any more that 60! And when the Chiefs-Texans game came on during that all-important county chair forum, the viewership plummeted to 30!

But not to fear, Dear Reader! Those also fine folks at Batavia TV has posted each and every one of ‘em on their Youtube page http://www.youtube.com/user/BATV1017, so you can avail yourself of them at your earliest reasonable convenience.

So, you can even watch them buck naked if you want!

I wholeheartedly encourage you to observe each one of these debates because, despite our insistent protests to the contrary, voters have real choices here. These candidates are not carbon copies of each other.

 

Climate change?

Can’t we Northern Illinoisans enjoy just one gradual seasonal transition?

Perhaps it’s nostalgia for my Evanston youth, but I seem to recall a series of summers where autumn smoothly proceeded from those sadly waning summer months such that one could become accustomed to all the things those falling leaves bring. But for at least the last five years, we’ve had to endure a cold, wet spring only to get jolted into a moderately warm and eminently dry summer, and then be summarily flung into another frigid damp fall.

Wasn’t it just a scant week ago we were enjoying that wonderful mid 80-degree Labor Day weather while we complained about an abject lack of any summer precipitation? But then, as if someone tripped a light switch, it plummeted to 30 below with all the associated ensuing monsoons of epic proportion.

And every radical seasonal shift comes with an entirely different set of allergens which takes two weeks to get used only to return to the previous iterations during our inevitable three Indian summers.

Ah well! One can dream, can’t they? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to building the backyard ark.

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