Quick Hits – September 18, 2019

A lesson in law enforcement bias!

My youngest son is a really good kid. He may have inherited my foul mouth, but he also picked up my work ethic such that he quickly moved from cook/deliveryman to General Manager of a major pizza chain store. And I’m quite proud of him, too!

But aside from hitting the workforce ground running, he’s learned a very hard lesson in law enforcement bias lately. Please allow me to explain.

Given his propensity to deliver pizzas, he’s racked up many more miles than your average driver has over the last four years. But despite that insistently fast-forwarding odometer, when he drove our now-retired 2004 bronze Honda Accord, he didn’t receive a single traffic ticket.

Not one!

Yellow Car

Like most teenage boys, tiring of driving the “family” car and flush with cash, he set his heart on a bright yellow newer model Chevy. I tried to talk him out of it, but even my car enthusiast friends said it was a really good deal on a great car.

So, what could I do? He was 19 and he wasn’t about to listen to his father.

But since purchasing his dream vehicle, despite his driving habits and mileage remaining unchanged, he’s suddenly racking up tickets. You see, the reason I advised against buying a yellow car is, before they started catching on with white folks, it was our Hispanic brothers and sisters who primarily owned them.

And law enforcement hasn’t quite caught up with that sea change. They see a yellow car and…well…you know. So, a good kid who’s quickly risen through the corporate ranks and simply wants to earn a reasonable living now has to shell out at least a thousand dollars in court and legal fees to protect his driving record.

For the record, the DeKalb Police, who have, and are still having, all sorts of race-based issues, are particularly egregious in this regard.

Though this certainly has been a hard lesson for my son, at least he’s white. Between a recent Chicago Sun-Times expose and a 2019 Illinois ACLU report, Black and Latino drivers are pulled over twice as many times as white folks, and I’ve seen how some of you Caucasians drive!  Police are also 1.4 times more like to search Hispanic vehicles, despite the fact that white folks are 1.3 times more likely to be carrying “contraband.”

This is exactly the kind of blatant racism that drives minorities to despise law enforcement and eventually brings the federal government down on some “overzealous” police departments. And then the police wonder why a large swath of the public end up loathing them.

So, now my son wants to have his car painted blue. But I told him, just like every Latino or black driver already knows, he simply has to drive much more carefully. And even that might not be enough.

 

Like I said, it ain’t just me!

As a result of Monday’s column on the plurality of Geneva teachers who insist on attacking everyone and anyone who didn’t support them during the recent strike, an unexpected high-ranking local official reached out to me regarding that very issue.

You see, most local politicians hang out with other local politicians. Considering all the feuding and infighting that goes on, you’d thing the converse would be true, but, as it turns out, it’s the nature of the beast. And this official has even more friends on the Geneva School Board than I do.

GEA

So, he called me specifically to say that the teacher attacks on board members phenomenon is even worse than I wrote on Monday. As he put it, “One of those board members described going through hell after the strike was resolved.

As for me, I fervently hope Geneva teachers understand they’ve completely lost the public relations battle they’ve fought so hard to win. Monday’s piece received over 10,000 hits (not everyone reads the whole thing) and of the more than 60 to 100 responses, only three were negative.

What they also fail to understand is, there are any number of ballot referenda questions that can rein in rampant school district spending. The Daily Herald reported on 18 such Illinois referenda in the 2018 general election alone.

But those eager folks made a mistake. Tax cutting referendums should always be inserted into odd-year consolidated elections when only older and more conservative citizens tend to vote. Believe it or not, the average age of a Kane County consolidated election voter is rapidly approaching 60! And they don’t have children in school, and they’re sick and tired of being taxed out of their homes.

Has anyone checked their recently reassessed Geneva tax bill?

So, when you finally understand that politics is nothing more than a series of equal and opposite reactions, I can promise you that 2021 will be a fascinating proposition. Considering that some of those teachers cover The Bard, I’m rather surprised they don’t understand what “Hoist by his own petard” means.

But methinks they’re about to find out!

 

Quick Hits – Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I’d like to think that, despite whatever disagreements we might have, in the end, we can all be adults about it. I know the Tweeter-in-Chief has made civility a much more difficult proposition, but in the words of that Superfan saint and great philosopher Mike Ditka, “This too shall pass.”

The happy truth is, for 13 years, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of readers who’ve respectfully disagreed with me in person. It’s one of the best parts of the gig. And my favorite instance of this phenomenon occurred immediately after the Geneva, Illinois, School Board and teacher’s union narrowly averted a 2012 strike.

D304

Not Really!

I’d written a number of columns on the subject, the central thesis being, since D304 did not renegotiate their contract downward during the Great Recession as most districts did, the teachers should take that good will into account during the stalled negotiations.

It’s a rather simple argument.

So, when my wife left me unsupervised at the conclusion of our ensuing Geneva High School parent-teacher conferences and a teacher asked if I was Jeff Ward, I was a little apprehensive. But upon the appropriate admission, he said, “I don’t agree with what you wrote about the possible strike, but it was a fair and well-reasoned argument. I generally like reading your stuff.”

Five minutes later, another teacher approached me to say the same thing.

Not only did those interactions greatly enhance my estimation of Geneva teachers, but I left that building walking on air. That’s exactly how it should be, and particularly when it comes to teachers, right? At least that’s what we’d like to think.

But before we continue with our main contention, let me further set the stage.

I know this will completely ruin my reputation, but another one of my favorite endeavors is my morning dog walk. I may, at times, have a little fun with my Fisher Farms compatriots, but the truth is, after 19 years of two-mile walks with the pups every morning, I’ve come to know almost every dog walker, runner, and many of the Heartland Elementary moms who regularly escort their children to school, dog leash firmly in hand.

Even the crossing guard and I wave at each other, and he does it with more than one finger, too! Unless it’s monsooning or polar vortexing, I don’t miss a day, but I kinda wish I missed last Friday.

As I made the turn into the back of Heartland Elementary for the likely 6,664th time, a teacher, who’d clearly been waiting for me, leapt out a side door and, completely ignoring my hearty “good morning,” launched into a bizarre and rather loud tirade about children arriving with dog allergies.

It was one of those strange situations where you wonder if you’re still in bed dreaming and you start to question if it’s actually happening. My dogs were looking at me as if to say, “What the bleep is her problem?”

I fully expected her to order me to stop walking the critters through the school and that would be the end of it, but it never happened. Instead, she simply continued with her entirely bizarre verbal assault. I wanted to ask her why I was being singled out among the dozens of parents walking their dogs to school that day, and why it was suddenly a problem after 19 years. But when you consider the Geneva Police tendency to arrest me for breathing, and the NFL irony that it’s always the guy who responds to an indignity that draws the flag, I simply said “OK” and walked on.

Suddenly lacking my legendary keen perception of the obvious, I asked my wife what she thought of the one-sided confrontation. Without missing a beat, she responded, “Ummm, Mr. journalist! Don’t you remember writing extensively about the 2018 teacher’s strike? I’m surprised this hasn’t happened before.”

But I thought “no!” My opinion columnist persona may, on occasion, present quite the ego, but the truth is, if you asked 20 random Genevans who Jeff Ward is, only one would respond affirmatively.

But I shoulda listened to my wife (please don’t tell her that), because when I vented about the incident on Facebook by applying my trademark sarcasm and hyperbole, word quickly got back to me that those Heartland teachers bitterly complained to the Principal about it. And how would they know to go to my Facebook page unless they knew who I was and they knew I’d likely react?

Only a Geneva teacher could go from attacker to victim in ten short seconds.

Though I’m getting tired of being publicly confronted and I’m taking the necessary, and fully legal, countermeasures to make it a far less enticing option, I’m not nearly worried about me. As my favorite attorney likes to say, “Jeff, you tend to ‘confront’ people in print, and since we’ve all become delicate flowers, some of them will confront you in public.”

That’s as good an explanation as any.

What I am worried about are all the other folks who’ve had to endure the teachers’ and their rabid supporters’ post-strike wrath, because I’ve heard all the stories. I know board member Mike McCormick’s children were bullied by other children in this regard and his family isn’t the nearly the only one. Virtually every other board member can recount multiple personal teacher incidents like mine, and now some board members are questioning if it’s really worth serving. Parents who supported the board’s strike position are still being targeted by these educators, their union, and their supporters.

It a far cry from 2012, isn’t it?

All I can say is, it’s utterly beyond the pale that the individuals tasked with preventing bullying in its earliest stages have no problem doing it themselves. To be clear, I’m not indicting every single Geneva teacher, but if I know about these incidents, trust me, they do, too. And their complicity through silence is worse than if they were an active participant.

Since some of us clearly can’t behave like adults, I’ll simply adjust my dog walk so this won’t happen again. And I’m even more ecstatic that my sons are well beyond D304’s grasp. To be fair, Geneva has some magnificent teachers, administrators and support staff (I named many in a previous column), but as a whole, it’s a mediocre school district fraught with the most massive teacher entitlement mentality I’ve ever seen.

To wit, 90 percent of D304 educators wouldn’t last two weeks in East Aurora where my wife’s taught for five years.

Lastly, for those considering a move to Geneva for the schools, considering what I’ve seen in the last year, I’d seriously reconsider it.

Quick Hits – September 13, 2019

Vaping was never a good idea!

I was planning on going off on another prototypical JW rant generally embracing and promoting the notion of natural selection. But then I thought it might be a worthwhile idea to talk to some parents of vaping age children in an effort to get a better idea of the challenges they’re facing in this regard.

In the end, it’s not unlike the lure of cigarettes when I was a spry 70s youth back in Evanston, Illinois. Did I give it a shot? Yep! And those opportunities came at the hands of peers who were already hooked.

Teenage Vaping

Thankfully, my attempts at developing yet another bad habit were short lived because, as it turns out, smoking and asthmatic lungs are a really bad combination. To this day I recoil in allergic horror just standing next to a smoker in the grocery store.

Meanwhile, those parents told me that, while they’ve put the kibosh on vaping at home, they’re one of the rare families who’ve issued that prohibition. It’s when their children visit a more laissez-faire household that the vaping starts.

Ah yes! Good old peer pressure.

But as much as I want to launch into Roseanne Roseannadanna’s “It just goes to show you, it’s always something. If it’s not one thing it’s another…” there has been somewhat of a sea change since those halcyon days of the 1960s.

First, both my parents smoked and almost every adult they knew regularly partook. Maybe I live a sheltered life, but I don’t know a single adult who vapes. Not only that, but I still clearly remember the offensive to insert warning labels on cigarette packs with the anti-tobacco lobby finally prevailing in 1965. From the 30s to the 50s, doctors actually recommended cigarettes as health!

But now, having witnessed the incontrovertible swath of destruction tobacco’s left in its wake, the vaping fad is turning into yet another doomed to repeat it out of ignorance possibility. Having, once again, dismissed history, the too-typical American response to a new clear and present danger always follows the same pattern.

It starts with, “What could possibly go wrong with inhaling a foreign substance into your lungs? Go ahead and vape little Johnny!” Then six children die and its “Ban the bleeps you scurrilous politicians. Why didn’t you save us from ourselves?”

I’M NOT ENCOURAGING VAPING, but the truth is, we still don’t know what specifically caused those deaths and hospitalizations, and only a scant minority of vapers have been affected this acutely, most of whom used marijuana laced products.

C’mon! Haven’t we finally figured out the only thing humans should be inhaling is air, and in some places in this country, you might want to avoid even that. It’s not rocket science people!

 

It’s clearly not a deterrent!

It’s important to note that, throughout the course of the last 13.25 years, I’ve supported law enforcement 90 percent of the time. That’s far more than any profession I regularly write about. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t times when I have to say that police department command staffs certainly aren’t paid to think.

Let’s use Plainfield as the perfect example.

That police department just charged a Plainfield Central High School student with felony disorderly conduct for threatening to “shoot up the school.” The juvenile claims it was a “joke,” and if that’s true, it’s a really bad one.

My problem with this sad scenario is, aside from adding another conviction to the ledger, what good are felony charges going to do? They might even make it exponentially worse by costing student lives in the long run.

Please let me to explain!

First, these charges are no deterrent because this is the sixth similar threat made against the Plainfield School District this year, and it’s only September 13th. And the reason it’s not a deterrent is, all teenagers are idiots because they lack a fully developed brain.

Considering we were all teenagers at one time, I’m bleepin’ amazed we’ve survived as a species.

The second, and far more insidious problem with this arrest is, those who tend to make these overt threats are least likely to carry out a school shooting. School shooters, in general, tend to be the quieter clinically depressed and/or regularly bullied students. The leave trails and clues as to their intent, but the adults involved really have to be listening to pick up on it.

Plainfield Police

So, when law enforcement overcharges the idiots who not only had no intention of shooting anyone but didn’t even have access to a gun (as in the current case), all they’re doing is training the real potential shooters to be even quieter about it. And that silence puts student lives at risk because our only defense against them is to catch on before a depressed or bullied student pulls the trigger.

I’m not saying the six students who made those threats shouldn’t have to face the music. But I’m thinking a misdemeanor involving community service, perhaps with gunshot wound victims in local hospitals, would be far more appropriate.

Sadly, there’ve been so many school shootings in this country that we know exactly who pulls the trigger. So, if we really want to stop this scourge, we’ve got to pay far more attention to those students sitting out on the fringes and do our damndest to eliminate bullying in any form.  But that takes real time and effort while filing absurd charges does not.

God help us!

Quick Hits – I’m Startin’ to Think Rauner Wuz Right!

Perhaps my long-time reader (singular) will recall that I broke the story of Former Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner fervently intending his insipid budget stalemate to, by default, force a number of state universities to permanently close. You see, he thought having a dozen of ‘em around was costing the taxpayers too much.

I didn’t embrace the idea at the time because even a temporary shutdown would’ve done great damage to those students’ academic hopes and dreams, and the consistent budgetary threat was having quite the deleterious effect on potential new admissions. Who’d want to apply to an Illinois state school if they could close at any time?

But now, in light of Northeastern Illinois University’s student, faculty and alumni response to former Trump White House press secretary Sean Spicer participating in a September 12 panel on presidential elections, I’m reconsidering my stance.

Put more simply, have I recently said my liberal compatriots suck?

Oh! My bleepin’ lord! By all the shrieking, howling and gnashing of teeth, you’d think Dave Chappelle was showing up to talk about the “alphabet people” again. Though it would be a lot more interesting if Melissa McCarthy was going to appear as Shawn Spicer.

Safe Spaces.jpg

To wit, a letter to University President Gloria Gibson from those same students, faculty and alumni claimed, “It would be an affront to humanity to host Spicer at NEIU.”

No! People wearing pajama pants in public is an affront to humanity. Inviting Shawn Spicer to speak is simply a case of entertaining another viewpoint. It’s the kind of open forum colleges should be providing on a regular basis.

And when their shrieking and howling fell on deaf ears – the university President said the show must go on – those same students, faculty and alumni started planning a protest declaring:

We find it particularly distressful that our university administration would ignore its claims to being an Hispanic-serving institution that ‘stands in solidarity with undocumented immigrants’ by providing Spicer this platform, and that it would do so in an attempt to raise the profile of this institution.

Then they had the temerity to use the term “safe space” which truly is an affront to humanity. For the record, if any of you bleeps use any of the following phrases in my presence:

  • Safe space
  • Microagression
  • Cultural appropriation
  • Trigger warning

it won’t end well for you. But I digress.

And don’t you just love the irony of those endearing college campus liberals labeling every last Hispanic student as “undocumented.” I thought that was the Tea Party’s job!

The Chicago Tribune estimates there are 307,000 illegals in Cook County, which comes to just under six percent of the population. Though this is a bit of an oversimplification, that means of the 9,000 NEIU students, statistically speaking, just 540 are here illegally.

So much for college students being able to apply sixth grade math.

The entire point of a university’s existence is to broaden their students’ horizons on every level, and refusing to entertain speakers who threaten your eminently fragile sensibilities is entirely antithetical to that process.

So, kudos to President Gibson for standing up to the rabble.

If you want to give your adversaries far more gravitas than they deserve, immediately resort to rending garments while offering stupid bleep like they’re an “affront to humanity.”

I’d like to hear what Spicer has to say because knowledge of any kind is power. What better way to defeat conservatives than to get it directly from the horse’s mouth? If those delicate student flowers can’t manage to handle that, then simply ignore him. Call me crazy, but I’d be willing to bet that no one’s put a gun to anyone’s head and said, “You must attend the lecture!”

At least conservatives are blatant in their bigotry. The fact that liberals have no clue about their vast intolerance makes them so much worse.

What’s going to happen when these kids get their first real job? Telling your white male boss his patronizing comment is a “microaggression,” or that wearing a sombrero on Cinco de Mayo is “cultural appropriation” probably won’t go over too well.

So, now you liberal MF’s have finally pressed me to the point where I’m actually agreeing with Bruce Rauner. If this is the kind of BS that’s going on at our state schools, perhaps it is time to shut the whole shebang down and start over.

I truly am a man without a country.

 

A few tips for my adoring throng!

Alright geniuses, or should I say “genius.” If you really want me to believe I’m beyond heinous and all of Geneva will shortly show up and my front door with their pitchforks and torches, here’s a few tips:

1.  Spoofing the names of readers who generally support me won’t work because, as the blog moderator, I get to see all the email addresses attached to the comments.

2. Varying your screen names, but not your email address, is a dead giveaway that all the attempted comments are coming from the same person.

3. But even if you do vary your email addresses, I’m also am privy to your IP address, which is yet more evidence it’s just you.

4. And because I can see your IP address, with the resources at my disposal, it’s not at all difficult to trace it back to one person making you not nearly as anonymous as you think you are.

Thank you! We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Image result for parents basement internet trolls

Quick Hits – September 9, 2019

Everything is awesome in Geneva!

We have a drug dealer in our Geneva, Illinois, south Fisher Farms neighborhood. Welcome to white suburbia, right? It’s easy to discern that by the ten to fifteen cars lining up on Husking Peg Lane every other week for a very short visit to one particular residence.

It’s not the first time we’ve had a dealer in the mix and it probably won’t be the last. Geneva has a massive drug problem that will eventually hit the tipping point such that it can no longer be ignored.

Call the Geneva Police, you say? Right! A group of neighbors, myself included, did just that for the previous iteration of this scourge and they wouldn’t even bother to come out. The Sheriff’s Office would’ve been a far better option, and that’s exactly what I’ve advised the folks in closer proximity to this dealer do.

Simply tell the 911 dispatcher the Geneva Police refuse to do anything about it and those deputies will be more than happy come out. The truth is, local law enforcement agencies take a very dim view of the GPD’s lack of competence, though they don’t quite put it the same way.

In fact, those Husking Peg neighbors have basically begged the Geneva Police to do something about this problem for well over a year and all they’ve gotten is lip service. “We’ll increase patrols,” is their insistent response, but I haven’t seen a GPD patrol car in our neighborhood for well over six months.

So, finally fed up with this untenable situation, one neighbor finally called Chief Eric Passarelli and Mayor Kevin Burns insisting that something finally be done. But all the Chief said was that they’re aware of the problem and they’d increase patrols. I don’t know if Mayor Burns responded, but I’m sure it wasn’t any better if he did.

Passarelli

Geneva Police Chief Eric Passarelli

I suppose I should’ve warned her that calling the Mayor would be pointless, because he’s the one behind this Laissez-Faire drug dealer attitude.

A number of former aldermen and sources inside the department have told me for years that keeping “bad news” from the press is the Mayor’s prime directive. You see, if they arrested this blatantly obvious drug dealer, there would be a police report. And if there was a police report, the local papers would pick up on it. And if the local press picked up on it, then everything wouldn’t be awesome in Geneva.

To wit, I FOIAd all the potential police reports in close proximity to that house for the last two years, and despite dozens of calls from my neighbors there wasn’t a single one. Imagine that!

Some years ago, a Kane County Public Defender told me her attorney husband was threatened with a knife in the process of resolving a minor fender bender, and when he insisted the GPD do something about it, they threatened to arrest him if he didn’t let it go.

I didn’t believe her when she told me that story, but I certainly do now!

 

Dahleen Glanton strikes again!

As if John Kass wasn’t bad enough! Former Tribune columnist Bob Greene may have written well over 100 columns on Baby Richard (Look it up!), but Dahleen Glanton is clearly doing her damndest to surpass that mark with regard to the Lake County Five as they’re now being referred to.

For those readers living under a rather large rock, six African-American teenagers drove from Chicago to Lake County in a stolen SUV in an effort to commit burglaries and steal more vehicles. During a theft attempt, they ran into a 75-year-old homeowner who shot and killed a 14-year-old boy as he moved towards the house with a knife. The group then led police on a 120-mph chase all the way back to Chicago, only stopping when they ran out of gas.

As the Illinois forcible felony statute allows, the five surviving youths were charged with first degree murder because, if not for their collective actions, their friend would still be alive.  Though I have absolutely no problem with that additional charge, a 20-to-life sentence is more than a little overkill.

Meanwhile, as often as twice a week, Glanton has been writing that no murder charge was reasonable, and column inch by column inch, she’s “rehabilitating” these felons while making the homeowner look something like the second coming of Charles Bronson.

And today’s Tribune piece was no exception.

Apparently, Glanton spoke with one of the fathers who made the effort to get custody of his son and moved him out to Oglesby, Illinois, because, “He was getting into trouble and I wanted to nip it in the bud.” That’s what we call good parenting.

But then, because his son was “bored,” he inexplicably let him go back to the same neighborhood for three weeks during summer vacation and now his son faces life in prison. We all make mistakes as parents, but this one’s a rea. doozy.

Then this kid tells his father he was asleep in the back of the SUV when the shooting started and both he and Glanton completely bought it. Really? This group is out stealing cars at 2 a.m. while the “bored” one simply sleeps in the back seat?

But what really frosts my cookies about all of this is this kind of minority pandering is so much worse than the worst kind of white supremacist bigotry. Think about it! These panderers implicitly assume that black folks and other minorities are incapable of taking care of themselves or doing the right thing. And to be patronized on that gargantuan level would make me absolutely livid. That’s the heart of the argument that defended slavery!

Silly me! I happen to believe that minorities are eminently capable to doing quite well without my help.

In the end, I’d rather focus on this boy’s father, who may have made a mistake, but quickly owned up to that lapse. He got himself out from under drugs and jail to make a better life for himself outside those difficult Chicago neighborhoods and tried to take his son with him.

I truly hope it works out for him in the end.

Quick Hits – Mercifully, the Jensen Saga Comes to a Close

My sources told me that Elgin Police Lieutenant Chris Jensen’s return from 1.5 long years of administrative leave would come on Tuesday, September 3, but his full reinstatement actually came the next day. I chose not to share that information so neither side could organize a protest ahead of time.

For now, Lt. Jensen will be relegated to off-the-street duties which, when you consider the lingering bad feelings, probably isn’t a bad idea. I can tell you from personal experience that, though this too shall pass, he will continue to have to face the court of public opinion for the foreseeable future. This is one instance where that legendarily short American attention span might not be a bad thing.

But now that the most difficult chapter in this long story has ended, it’s a good time to review the process and see just where one of my favorite cities stands.

elginlogo-3color

1. In the end, Elgin did the right thing

Since I’ve already expounded on Jensen’s inevitable return at length, there’s no need to cover old ground. Suffice it to say that when three separate independent agencies clear you of any criminal wrongdoing, termination is not an option.

2. But the lack of Elgin leadership is truly astonishing

Even at this late stage, Elgin Police Chief Ana Lalley, the one who made the final call to bring Jensen back, has been unceremoniously thrown to the wolves. Neither Mayor Dave Kaptain, City Manager Rick Kozal, nor Corporation Counsel Bill Cogley have issued any kind of statement in support of Lt. Jensen or the Chief’s decision, and that really sucks.

Not only is it an inexplicable and abject failure to lead, but it’s a massive moral failure, too. Since they seem more concerned with protecting their own posteriors than the city they’re sworn to serve, all three of them need to go.

3. This decision took far too long

Eighteen months? Please! It should’ve taken no more than six. All this bizarre lapse did was play into a small group of protesters’ hands and offer them the false hope that Jensen actually would be fired.

To leave a 20-year officer with a stellar track record twisting in the wind like this was flippin’ inexcusable. What kind of candidates are going to apply to the EPD now? I thought I was the master of aggravating both sides, but I ain’t go nuthin’ on the City of Elgin.

4. I’m even more disappointed in the Elgin clergy

I didn’t set that tough Christian standard, but I’m always more than happy to apply it to those who purport to preach it, but somehow never seem to get it right. I’m an opinion columnist which makes it my job to judge, but those pastors who repeatedly called for Jensen’s head – without due process – clearly have never picked up a Bible. If they have, they certainly missed the whole “Judge not lest ye be judged” part.

Whether it’s the ministers who refuse to call out Trump supporters or this blatant case of pandering to their congregations, the Elgin pastors’ participation in this debacle had nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with the collection plate.

And this schism between the Elgin Police Department and certain churches won’t be healing anytime soon, either.

5. The City Council wanted to have their cake and eat it, too

Some were better than others, but this was the time they should’ve either taken control of the situation or simply kept their collective mouths shut. Unable to come to any kind of consensus, the council left the Jensen decision to Chief Lalley which should’ve been the case from the start.

And for some of them to comment on what would clearly become a litigation issue is utterly beyond the pale. Just like those pastors, they chose to serve themselves and not the constituents that elected them.

6. Tish Powell’s and Corey Dixon’s political careers are over

In the words of that Holy Grail knight, “They chose poorly.” Powell and Dixon completely misjudged public sentiment and wound up pandering to a group of people who’d vote for them regardless.

But those moderate swing voters who put them over the top won’t likely cast a ballot for two councilmen who tried to publicly lynch a long-serving police lieutenant. Not only will their ill-advised statements come back to haunt the City in the pending civil suit, but the police union will pour serious campaign cash into seeing they’re defeated.

They may be able to hang onto their council seats for another term, but as far as their obvious political ambitions go, stick a fork in them, they’re done!

7. The Clements’ civil suit will fail

The City of Elgin is notorious for not settling lawsuits, and with three separate independent agencies having cleared Jensen of any criminal act or civil rights violation, the plaintiff’s attorneys are going to have a really tough time convincing a jury otherwise.

8. The protesters have been generally reasonable

It’s really sad when Elgin City Councilman Terry Gavin is the one who ends up behaving badly. I may disagree with the endless city council keening sessions, but if that’s what the majority supports, then you simply sit back and politely listen. Unless your intent is to make the situation worse, there’s no point in engaging already angry and emotional people in a downright hostile manner.

I truly hope this is Mr. Gavin’s last term.

I’m not a big fan of blocking traffic, co-opting meetings with megaphones, and defacing billboards, but the protesters deserve a lot of credit for getting their point across in a generally reasonable manner.

My fondest wish is for them to maintain this comportment going forward, because if they really believe the EPD has an inherent racial bias, getting one officer fired won’t change a damn thing. That kind of shift only comes through the ballot box.

I’ll say it again! If you don’t like this outcome, run for city council, actively support someone who’s running for city council, or vote for someone who’s running for city council.

9. Police Chief Ana Lalley is the single bright spot in all of this

We’re I in her shoes, I wouldn’t have put up with the complete lack of City Hall support for a second. And then there were all the horse manure “New Age” forums where she graciously listened to the same stories over and over again.

Chief Lalley never spoke out of line, she made herself available to anyone who approached her on the issue, and she carried this difficult burden with confidence, compassion and grace. Then she made the difficult but correct decision to bring Lt. Jensen back because that’s what real leaders do.

I hope she’s looking for a new gig because there’s a real demand for police chiefs of her caliber and the Elgin “leadership” clearly doesn’t deserve someone like her.

 

What truly saddens me about all of this is that Elgin was on the brink of greatness. The business district is thriving, the Tower Building is back, and people want to live and raise their children there. This will likely turn out to be nothing more than a temporary detour, but the simmering resentments between the various factions will haunt Elgin for years to come.

And that all could’ve been avoided if anyone in City Hall had the cojones to be a leader. It’s time for change in Elgin and I’m on it!