A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

My fear is, by the time you finish reading about this silly scenario, you might think that I’m the “idiot” for pursuing a nearly pointless story. I’ll leave the final verdict up to you.

But there is a more than reasonable moral involved here, particularly for those who toil in the public sector. Per that great philosopher Dave Kaptain, “Never let the secondary issue become the main one,” as was the consistent case with everyone involved here.

Please also allow me to stipulate that occasional Elgin candidate, Enoch Essendrop, is too conservative and religious for my taste, and he can come across as a wee bit nutty at times. But if we started locking up folks for any of those quirks, 98 percent of the populace would be in jail.

If I had to choose who’d be the first one to bump me off, my attorney and friend Jeff Meyer or Enoch, Jeff would win that contest hands down. When I informed Jeff of his victory, he was quite pleased that I understood exactly what he was capable of. 

Lastly, for reference purposes, I have unredacted copies of all the emails we’re about to cover here – no thanks to the City of Elgin legal department, which will be receiving a call shortly. .

The whole thing started out so innocently, too!

Mr. Essendrop sent a brief email to Elgin Township trustee, Alex Lopez, seeking his viewpoint on two or three issues. But because Mr. Lopez has all the emotional maturity of a sleep-deprived four-year-old, he responds to every inquiry with an iteration of the following two sentences; “Thank you for your correspondence, Mr. _________. I am genuinely pleased when constituents such as yourself engage with their elected officials and exercise their right to ask questions.”  

I’ve been told Lopez routinely believes he’s the smartest person in any room, but considering how that response is far worse than none at all, I think he’s overestimating his IQ by a quite the wide margin.

As you might imagine, Essendrop wrote back that, while he was grateful for the response, he’d hoped for a more detailed answer, concluding his missive with, “I look forward to seeing you at the next township meeting.”

So far, so good, right?

Apparently not, because immediately after that communication, Lopez turned his keyboard directly towards Elgin Police Chief Ana Lalley. Citing the prevalence of post-COVID mental health issues and mass shootings, Lopez wrote that he feared for his safety and asked the EPD to pay Essendrop a visit.

Which they did.

I understand why the EPD, or any police department, would rightly believe they’re caught between a rock and a hard place in this regard. Even though Lopez is clearly a complete jackass, if they don’t intervene and something actually does happen, the EPD would wind up with a dozen eggs on their face.

But if they do intervene when there’s absolutely no basis upon which to do so, and threaten an emailer with an investigation, then you get an angry columnist who’s been falsely accused by the best of them coming down on you like white on rice.

Because having a Major Investigation Division lieutenant show up at your front door at 7 p.m. for your wife, children, and all the neighbors to see is the kind of public conviction that cannot be appealed. It’s not nearly the same thing as being scrutinized by the ATF and FBI for 16 years, but it frosts my cookies nonetheless.

So, I issued a rather terse yet descriptive email asking trustee Lopez to explain the basis for his imminent danger claim, ensuring that Mayor Kaptain, the Chief and the Detective were carboned in on the festivities.

Of course, Lopez resorted to his typical “Thank you for your correspondence, Mr. Ward” response. When I further explained that single sentence didn’t begin to answer the question and he wouldn’t look very good in print as a result, Lopez issued the identical reply because his capacity to aggravate people is even greater than mine.

But at least I mean to do it.

Desperately believing there had to be something more to this, I turned to Chief Lalley in the hope she’d provide the missing puzzle piece. But there was none. The Chief assured me they respond to every call and this situation between Lopez and Essendrop was no different. Though it’s the subject for another column, I have it on very good authority that the EPD doesn’t respond to absolutely everything.

Then the Chief encouraged me to issue a FOIA request to get the police reports, hinting they’d clear up the confusion. But after the City’s legal department went overboard with the redactions (remember I already had all of the emails), I actually got less information than I had to begin with.

That annoying development led to a rather strained conversation with the Chief that did not end well. Something about “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”

But Mr. Lopez wasn’t through yet. In yet another email to the township supervisor, Lopez claimed “Now I am fearful for my safety from not only one, but two folks,” conclusively proving he’s not the smartest person in any room.

So, now I’m threatening his life, too? Yes! Because that’s what I do. Whenever an elected official disappoints me, and particularly a township trustee, I wait till no one’s looking and then I bump ‘em off.

Lopez also accused me of “escalating” the situation, which may well be the irony to end all ironies.

All I can say is Alex’s antics require an entirely new definition of the word “snowflake.” As Mayor Kaptain aptly noted, “If Mr. Lopez ever reads my emails he’d have a nervous breakdown.”

So, here’s what really happened.

Despite being a very public official, Lopez, who possesses all of the finesse of Donald Trump, doesn’t like being questioned by anyone. When Essendrop persisted, Lopez thought he’d leverage his township position to sic the EPD on him to “teach him a lesson.”

When confronted with this asinine possibility, the EPD felt like they had no choice but to investigate the matter – which they did with a reasonable amount of tact according to Essendrop. I wouldn’t have dispatched an officer, much less a top detective without a scintilla of probable cause, but I’m likely in the vast mass shooting minority in that regard.

What no one counted on was me getting involved because they never do.

In an effort to bring balance to the force, I discussed this silly situation with one of my favorite Elgin minority friends who encouraged me to “look on the bright side.” He wryly noted that an Hispanic “caller” actually got the police to go after the white guy. I suppose there is something to be said for that fascinating turn of events.

As for Chief Lalley and EPD, I would encourage them to review and revise their policy on responding to what can only be called abject stupidity. Because if they don’t, when the rabble catches on, they will be inundated with calls from frustrated folks who similarly want to use the police as a weapon.  

I’d also reconsider asking a journalist to file a FOIA request only to have the City’s legal department illegally redact 80 percent of the reports. That’ll get you off my Christmas card list quite quickly.

As far as Mr. Lopez goes, considering his blatant disregard for his constituents, his propensity to weaponize the police, and the fact that everyone’s out to get him, perhaps he doesn’t have the cojones required to serve as an elected official, or anything else for that matter. My advice would be for him to step down before he actually has that nervous breakdown.

Should he attempt anything like this going forward, I’ll personally file the complaint for filing a false police report. 


Author’s Note:

I want to be clear that I’m not laying the blame for this stupidity at the Township’s feet. Considering the blatant misconduct that went on under previous supervisor Franklin Ramirez, this board has made every effort to restore the Township’s reputation and get back to serving their constituents. They deserve to be reelected, perhaps with one exception. 

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