Quick Hits – August 18, 2017

On to Illinois Idiocracy!

I suppose I should take some solace in the fact that my Republican friends aren’t abjectly rejoicing over State Rep Steve Andersson’s recent retirement announcement. Considering his role in breaking the budget deadlock, they may not be unhappy to see him go, but they all admit he’s a good guy, a good politician and they greatly respect him.

Steve and I did have a brief conversation yesterday and as he’s publicly put it, “there’s just no room for moderates in Springfield.”


Though I desperately wanted him to stick with the gig, and I think I could’ve run the kind of campaign that would’ve worked, I couldn’t bring myself to apply my most humorous persuasive possibilities. Who, in their fucking right mind would want to serve in the Illinois General Assembly right now?

I’ve watched that gig turn State Rep Anna Moeller into the kind of person I have no intention of dealing with for the foreseeable future.

Look at all the other excellent Springfield politicians who are also retiring:

·         57th District State Rep Elaine Nekritz

·         49th District State Rep Mike Fortner

·         66th District State Rep Mike Tryon

·         64th District State Rep Barb Wheeler

·         104th District State Rep Chad Hays

·         70th District State Rep Bob Pritchard

·         101st District State Rep Bill Mitchell

·         47th District State Rep Patti Bellock

·         45th District State Senator Tim Bivins

I’m sure I missed a couple, but that list is way too long as it is. In short order, with all due respect, we’re going to be left with ideologues like State Rep Allen Skillicorn and State Sen Jim Oberweis, who have no interest in actually governing.

Their specialties are pandering and constantly campaigning.

And the irony is, most of the people on that list – especially Steve Andersson – were the kind of astute public servants who could’ve created the kind of compromise reforms that Illinois so desperately needs. They actually understood that political goals are always a marathon and never a sprint.

But no! The current conservative mindset, the one that most closely approximates a two-year old with a dirty diaper and no nap, insists that they get their cookie NOW! Of course, the irony is, when you act like a spoiled two year-old you get tossed in the crib with the door shut while the adults actually craft a budget.

Mark my words, as we continue to watch the good guys go, this bullshit is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

You see, even if Michael Madigan gets wheeled out of the house chamber on a gurney – with that gavel firmly clenched in his right hand tomorrow – his successor will carry on that proud supermajority stranglehold tradition.

And just like Messrs. Oberweis, Skillicorn, Brady and their ilk, the zealots who replace our retirees will shriek, howl, gnash their teeth, rend their garments and make all sorts of fascinatingly impossible pronouncements as they accomplish absolutely nothing.

What further proof do you need than conservative Republicans currently control the U.S. Senate, Congress and the White House, and they still can’t get a goddamn thing done. And now the top guy is supporting Nazis, while conservatives are suddenly silent!

You really gotta love folks who are so stupid and oblivious that they utterly fail to see they’re their own worst enemies. And trust me, this ain’t Steve Andersson’s loss, it’s ours.


Mike Royko’s ode to the end of summer vacation

Though he wrote it regarding the demise of the Chicago Daily News, my all-time favorite Mike Royko passage echoes my youthful sentiments on the end of summer vacation. I despised that final vacation day even more than school itself. So, to all you teachers, students and similar staffers heading back to the grind next week, enjoy!

“When I was a kid, the worst of all days was the last day of summer vacation, and we were in the schoolyard playing softball, and the sun was down and it was getting dark. But I didn’t want it to get dark. I didn’t want the game to end. It was too good, too much fun. I wanted it to stay light forever, so we could keep on playing forever, so the game would go on and on.

That’s how I feel now. C’mon, c’mon. Let’s play one more inning. One more time at bat. One more pitch. Just one? Stick around, guys. We can’t break up this team. It’s too much fun.

But the sun always went down. And now it’s almost dark again.”

Quick Hits – The Kane County State’s Attorney edition!

A new KCSAO motto

I love Latin mottos. Just like an English accent gives any statement a not-necessarily-deserved gravitas, a Latin motto lends an air of dignity to any institution so imbued. It gives it a certain je ne sais quoi! (Look it up!)

Doesn’t Chicago’s motto, Urbs in Horto, conjure up the image of a “City in a Garden?” It’s a lot better than Anas which roughly translates to “Duck!”

Aurora University has a great motto; Sapientes Abscondunt Scientiam, or “Wise persons will carry away knowledge. Even the Kane County Coroner’s office is a member of this exclusive group with their Honor, Veritas, Servitium or, “honor, truth, service” motto.

But would you believe the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office doesn’t have one?

Kane County Judicial Center

Kane County Judicial Center

So, since I’m nothing if not generous in nature, I’ve been poring over those ancient Roman texts in an effort to come up with the perfect Latin slogan for State’s Attorney Joe McMahon’s bunch, and I think I’ve finally done it!

Contemptibilem, Parvis, et Superbus

The literal translation is, “contemptible, petty and arrogant,” and I think it has a certain truthful ring to it. You see, those fragile folks at Route 38 and Peck Road consistently engage in the kind of shallow and mean-spirited behavior that’s earned them that sobriquet. To wit:

1. Despite being warned it’s downright libelous, the KCSAO insists on posting a pre-verdict Sun-Times story claiming Daniel Rak murdered his father. And it’s libelous because the jury said that’s not the case in no uncertain terms.

2. Despite being warned that removing comments from a taxpayer funded social media site is blatantly illegal, the delicate flowers at the KCSAO have regularly removed mine, as well as those of expert Rak defense witness Dr. Douglas Miller. If you don’t want public commentary then don’t have a Facebook page!

3. Dr. Miller told me that, throughout the proceedings, Rak prosecutor Alex Bederka:

  • Called his office “under false authority” in an attempt to gain information to which the judge had already denied his motion.
  • Lied to him about a non-existent Rak confession.
  • Lied to the court about Dr. Miller “refusing” to speak to him a second time.

Apparently, working for the State’s Attorney means never having to say you’re sorry – or follow the law you were sworn to uphold. Bederka shouldn’t be handling parking ticket disputes, much less murder cases.

Meanwhile, the KCSAO gets away with all of this because Daniel Rak is in no position to sue the County. He’s still waiting to be sentenced on the aggravated domestic abuse charge, he just spent 1.5 needless years in jail and lawyers cost the kind of money he probably doesn’t have.

So there you go. Contemptibilem, Parvis, et Superbus. It works for me!


But that doesn’t mean they’re all bad

The fact that an agency or institution is generally headed south doesn’t mean all the lemmings are willing to jump off the cliff. There’s usually an “‘in” group that’s behind those self-destructive tendencies, while the “outsiders” do their damndest to right the ship without putting their jobs at risk.

I’d list some of those fine folks, but I don’t want to ruin their careers.

And this is of all government offices. The majority of the important positions are patronage hires, so it’s very difficult to fire those folks and they know it.

Don’t get me wrong, I utterly agree with the great Bill Daley when he said, “Not all patronage is bad.” But if it goes too far, as it has within the KCSAO, it does become a problem.


Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon

So,  the “in” State’s Attorney’s cabal – the ones running the show – believe they’re never wrong, they’re above the law and they tend to forget they serve the people. Regularly determining folks’ fate can become a heady proposition.

Meanwhile, there is a core group of KSCAO staffers who signed on because they understand that bringing the full weight of the people to bear against an individual is a proposition that’s always fraught with peril. They believe in justice, and they’ve never forgotten they’re merely an extension of you and me.

And it’s the members of the latter group who’ve lately been reaching out to me.

Because it’s so difficult to fire government employees, most countywide elected officials curry this kind of divide and conquer competition. Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham is as a master at this game.

You see, if those two factions are too busy fighting each other, they don’t have time to come after – and perhaps, even run against – the boss.

Unlike Cunningham, McMahon doesn’t actively encourage this kind of infighting, but he doesn’t discourage it, either. Sadly, as is often the case in this existence, the folks with only their own self-interest at heart win that battle – until they go too far.

And that’s exactly where the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office is headed right now.

So, what’s the solution? Read on!


A few good men or women

Since the buck for this kind of office-wide dysfunction always stops at the top, I’m looking for a 2020 Republican Kane County State’s Attorney candidate to primary Mr. McMahon (if he runs again).

I know it’s not easy to beat an incumbent, but there are all sorts of mitigating circumstances here, not the least of which are Joe McMahon’s:

  • Previous battle with Chairman Chris Lauzen
  • Blatant leveraging of his position to get a better gig
  • Taking on the LaQuan McDonald prosecution after he asked for a slew of new hires
  • Filing ridiculous First-Degree murder charges against Daniel Rak
  • Letting the unqualified inmates run the asylum
  • Essentially being an absentee boss

And they’ve all greatly weakened him.

Better yet, McMahon has never had to mount a real campaign and it’s not that difficult, nor is it too costly, to win a Kane County Republican primary. To sweeten that pot, I’d throw in the friends and family campaign manager discount rate.

“But Jeff! We’re talking about 2020 here. Why so soon?” Because that’s the nature of countywide campaigns these days. I’d explain more, but I don’t want to give away all my secrets!

Qualified candidates should:

  • Be willing to right the KCSAO ship
  • Have the courage to regularly do the right thing
  • Understand that they represent the people
  • Be more interested in justice that a better gig
  • Be more interested in this job than another one

It’s not that difficult to find me, so let’s talk! Democracy truly is a wonderful thing!



Quick Hits – There will always be predators

As I observe the fallout from the confrontations and the blatant murder of a counter-protester in Charlottesville, Virginia, I’m struck by the fact that the vast majority of commentary is aimed at the white supremacists and politicians who instigated these kinds of abhorrent acts.

I hate to tell you folks, they’re not going to change.

Yes! Donald Trump is culpable for this unabashed display of hatred, and neither the President, nor the majority of his Republicans supporters, have truly condemned the actions of a group they’ve tacitly supported for years.


But even if the President and his Republican allies did unite to denounce this despicable act, it wouldn’t change much, because it’s impossible to convince evil people that they’re evil. White supremacists, by their very definition, are impervious to logic.

(As to Donald Trumps second statement on this issue, I don’t believe a word he said.)

Furthermore, these bigoted predators have always been with us they always will be. It’s the nature of this existence. These are simply sad people who need a constant supply of victims to give their fragile self-definitions meaning. The President didn’t create them, he simply tapped into their vast anger over their own failures and he reinforced the illusion that someone else is always to blame.

Donald Trump certainly isn’t nearly the first “leader” to pull that off. It’s that whole doomed to repeat history thing, right?

Before you hit the send button, I firmly believe that prayers make a difference and it warms my heart to see Facebook light up with so many statements against such abject evil. But, in the words of the great Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” and social media declarations are literally the least we can do.

So, since we can’t eliminate predators, our only hope is to stop becoming victims. That’s exactly what those Charlottesville counter-protestors were doing. It’s never an easy task, it almost always requires a long-haul effort and, as Heather Heyer and her family just discovered, it often comes at a rather high cost.

But, just like cockroaches, these racist bullies always scatter when you shine a light on them long enough. That’s why the KKK wears hoods. That’s why these white supremacist are suddenly backpedaling as result of their pictures being plastered all over social media.

That’s how you beat these folks. You stand up to them in no uncertain terms and regardless of the risk. And by “stand up to them” I mean right here, right now. These very same predators can easily be found in our families, neighborhoods and churches.

It’s those Tri-Cities denizens who use racist code words to denigrate and disparage apartment dwellers. It’s the person in the next pew – or perhaps even the pastor – who goes on an anti-gay rant. It’s that neighbor who makes racist jokes about the black family that just moved in down the street.

Whenever predators go unchecked; whenever they smell fear; whenever we just “let it go,” it’s us – you and I – who create next Charlottesville. This ain’t just on Donald Trump, we have to choose not to be victims. Those white supremacists marched in Virginia because they’ve never had to face the consequences of their beliefs before.

I understand there’s a price to pay for standing up to these kinds of bullies. I’ve spent a lot of money, time, and aggravation dealing with the fallout from publicly taking on predators for 11 long years.

But I’d do it again in a heartbeat and I will continue to do it simply because it’s the right thing to do. Not to mention there’s that incredibly high Christian standard that demands it.

The mistake progressives consistently make is they believe these bullies can be beaten. But they can’t be defeated. The Civil Rights movement didn’t do it, Barack Obama couldn’t do it, and those counter-protesters can’t do it either. The best we can do is drive them back into their dark holes until the next opportunity for them to emerge presents itself.

And there will always be another opportunity for bigots to wreak their specific brand of hatred.

The required high school book that had the most effect on me was Albert Camus’, ‘The Plague.’ The final passage from that novel describes exactly the kind of vigilance I’m talking about:

“And, indeed, as he listened to the cries of joy rising from the town, Rieux remembered that such joy is always imperiled. He knew what those jubilant crowds did not know, but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men, it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.”

It’s up to us to stop this kind of hatred, people – not Donald Trump.


Quick Hits – On turning 59

I told y’all we were gonna get a bit more philosophical and that’s certainly where we’re headed today.

But before we go there, please let me stipulate that I utterly understand I’m about to break former Beacon-News managing editor Rick Nagel’s major caveat against what he called, “navel gazing.” In my defense, the last time I did something like this was 10 years ago when I turned 49, and even Captain Kirk violates the Prime Directive more often than that.

Oddly enough, turning 30, 40 and 50 didn’t bother me at all, so I can’t imagine the six decade mark is going to mean all that much, either. It was 29, 39, and 49 that made me take pause and reconsider some things.

What I’ve recently discovered is that facing 59 may be the most significant milestone of them all. Perhaps it’s some sort of male tipping point.

The biggest surprise is that I’ve made it this far! My family tree is fraught with the kind of rampant alcoholism and heart disease peril that appeared to make 50 the upper limit. My unique capacity to aggravate vast swaths of people could’ve cut things short, too.

But I’m still here and it doesn’t look like I’ll be going anywhere anytime soon.

That said, the suddenly stark 59 year-old reality is that most of my life is behind me. You can fool yourself into thinking you’ll live to 100 at 49, but you can’t fudge the fact that 120 ain’t gonna happen to anyone.


But upon that end-of-the-decade reflection, the truth is, I’m fine with there being a bit more in the rearview mirror than there is through the windshield. It’s not nearly the worst thing that could happen.

If you’ve learned from your mistakes, and I’ve made ‘em all, old age really is its own reward. You see, George Bernard Shaw was wrong! Youth isn’t wasted on the young, it’s that you have to be physically stronger and a bit more stupid to survive all that bullshit.

Would I do some things different? Sure! Who wouldn’t? But it’s only through overcoming those mistakes that I have no regrets and I’m enjoying this existence more than ever. Given the choice to go back to 29 and do it over or face 60, I’ll stare that senior citizen discount straight in the eye.

And the best part is, the Irish priest, poet and philosopher, John O’Donohue, was right when he said, “You’re as young as you feel.” If you take reasonably good care of your body and exercise your mind, they are very forgiving mechanisms.

I physically feel like I’m 30 and folks are all too ready to point out that I harbor a middle school mentality. So, I’m good!

One of my favorite friends likes to tell me I have no fear, and fear is life’s great self-imposed limiter. But after you’ve survived some of the worst this existence can throw at you, you realize that worrying is a complete waste of time. The irony is, the things we do to ourselves are far worse than anything we could possibly fear.

Put more simply, if you believe in life, it will believe in you.

I finally got smart enough to let go of people, situations and things that only dragged me down. It’s amazing how many items I’ve crossed off my “what’s really important in life” list from ate 20 to now. Give me a Bass Ale, a sunny September afternoon and a humorous conversation with a friend who “gets it” and I’m good.

I particularly enjoy the people who dare me to be better.

By the way, it’s the folks who accompany you on this destination-less journey – even for the briefest of times – that make it worthwhile. Enjoy those relationship while you can people! The frequently fade too quickly.

Another immeasurable benefit of experience is, I enjoy everything I do. Life is too short to do something you hate. Retire? Why would I retire from doing what I love? I’m not saying there aren’t ups and downs, but I get to give voice to voiceless, I get great candidates elected, I enjoy being a curmudgeon and putting fools in their place is more fun that you could possibly imagine.

And being able to laugh at yourself throughout the entire process only makes it even better. In the words of the great author Hugh Prather, “There are better ways to go through life than to be dragged through it kicking and screaming.

By no means does this mean that I’m done learning, growing and making mistakes. To redress the single regret I do have, if the LSAT goes well in December, the plan is to start NIU Law School in September of 2018.

What can I tell you? The thought of practicing law in my 60s fires me up!

It took me far too long to realize that the only reason we’re here is to solve problems – our own and others. Every time we successfully put one of them behind us, it only gets better. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to stop coming. And I’m certainly going to enjoying solving the next one.

In the end, I guess what I’m saying is, bring on 59. I’m ready!

Quick Hits – August 9, 2017

Soft drinks are for socialists!

So, Kane County Board member Kurt Kojzarek’s Facebook post decrying the nanny state in regard to Cook County’s new soda tax went viral. That post essentially invited Cook Countians to do their grocery shopping, and thus, make their soft drink purchases in Kane County.

As Kurt put it, “Man! I really think people love their soda.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not big on taxes or this nanny state BS either. I don’t need the government telling me what to do – that’s my wife’s job. And as you may recall, I’ve frequently come out in favor of letting natural selection take its course.

No Soft Drinks

But what frosts my cookies is these “Give me Pepsi or give me death!” conservatives will be the first ones to run to the socialist side when their bad habits finally come home to the health care roost. You see, the carnage soda wreaks on our bodies includes, but is not nearly limited to:

  1. Just one can of Coke a day puts you at a 26 percent greater risk for Type 2 diabetes.
  2. A Harvard University study found that each 12-ounce can of soda increases the odds of childhood obesity by 60 percent.
  3. Just one Pepsi a day increases the risk of a heart attack by 20 percent.
  4. Soft drinks, and especially diet soft drinks, are so acidic they destroy bones and teeth leading to osteoporosis and massive tooth decay.
  5. Artificial sweeteners are suspected of causing cancer and MS.
  6. Ironically, in many cases, soft drinks actually make dehydration worse.

And when y’all get sick from prolonged consumption of something this bad for you, you’ll run right to your doctor – or end up in the hospital – and then all of our insurance rates go up. That’s about as socialist as it gets.

Why should I pay for your refusal to take personal responsibility for your well-being?

So here’s the plan! All you conservative soft drinkers can prove your dedication to the non-nanny state principle by pledging that, should you suffer from the ill effects of your poor choices, you will pay for any ensuing health care costs yourself and leave the insurance companies out of it.

I always come up with the perfect solution, don’t I!


Could Tri-Cities school parents become any more entitled?

In general, Tri-Cities school enrollment is down to the point where the Geneva and St. Charles school districts are talking about closing schools. But as is always the case with that big picture math, there will always be statistical anomalies that buck the trend.

For example, D304 (Geneva/Mill Creek) recently experienced the kind of southwest side population bump that forced them to consider reworking the Fabyan and Mill Creek Elementary School student balance.

Now, it would seem that D303 (St. Charles) is facing a fourth grade bulge forcing them to increase the average 24 student class size to 28 or 29. To quote the great Marlon Brando in ‘Apocalypse Now,’ “The horror!”


So, Corron Elementary School parents want the district to hire another fourth-grade teacher so their children can enjoy the same amount of classroom “space” as all the other children. In fact, the Daily Herald talked to a Corron parent whom, upon asking her son about his class size, got this response:

“It’s just really crowded. When we go down to the rug and talk to our teacher, we don’t all fit on the rug. We have to alternate who gets cold on the tile.”

And the mother, who shall remain nameless because she’s clearly embarrassed herself enough already, immediately started rending her garments as she told the reporter, “That almost put me in tears. They are just getting bigger and bigger. There’s going to be more not fitting on the rug.”

First, fourth-grade is about the time that rug sitting stops. Second, those kids will only be in Corron for one more year. After that, it’s middle school with no rug sitting at all. Third, hiring more fourth- or fifth-grade teachers will only solve the problem for a year. And fourth, as Superintendent Jason Pearson pointed out, unable to play favorites, they’d have to hire 25 fourth-grade teachers at a district-wide cost of $1.6 million.

And that ain’t chump change.

But I think these vastly over-entitled parents really need to do is hoist their whiny butts off the couch long enough to visit an East Aurora classroom or take a tour of one of the “poorer” U-46 elementary schools. That’d shut ‘em up real quick.

They have to sit on the tile floor? I sleep on the bleepin’ floor because it’s cold, hard and my back loves it. I’d sleep on the front sidewalk if it weren’t for the coyotes and the fact the police might pick me up for vagrancy.

So, I will sum up this story in the words of my favorite female comic, Katherine Ryan, “White people!”


It’s a honey of an idea

Anyone who owns an above ground swimming pool knows they attract wasps – especially during a dry summer. So as my wife was headed out to the pool a few years ago, I shouted, “You really need to check for wasp nests before you get in.” But since women never listen, I watched her run back into the house in tears a scant five minutes later.

Foolishly racing to be by her side, I got both barrels for “predicting” what would happen to her. I tried to explain that my warning was merely coincidental, and I didn’t cause the wasp stings, but I don’t think I ever won that argument.

I did find the offending nests and they were quickly eliminated.


But the real answer to our pool and wasp conundrum would be backyard bees! You see, honeybees are generally docile creatures until wasps or yellow jackets invade their territory. Then they become the just like a Canadian going after the puck.

Not only that, but considering Monsanto is killing off bees as fast as they can, home hives help to restore those depleted populations. But, despite the fact that bees actually reduce the danger of being stung, you can’t have backyard beehives in Geneva because they’re illegal.

Ah! But those fine folks on the Elgin City Council will shortly take up this very question. And if they’re nearly as smart as I think they are, this no-downside proposition should be a no-brainer.

Perhaps I’ll approach the Geneva City Council in the same regard! I’m not sure I could survive my wife getting stung again.


Quick Hits – August 7, 2017

Since the most fascinating political story right now is Kane County Auditor Terry Hunt’s discovery of a swarm of bees in his backyard, let’s catch up on a few things! And I think we’re going to be all positive today too!


A shout out to my two Geneva Aldermen

First, I want to thank veteran Fourth Ward Alderman, Jim Radecki, for effectively tackling our recurring west-side power outage problem. Jim worked with the fine folks at the Geneva power utility who applied an ounce of prevention methodology that’s turned the electrical tide.

To wit, while folks in Elgin and Aurora recently faced 20 plus hour outages, we west-siders never lost power during that particularly severe storm.

Second, I want to thank new Fourth Ward Alderman Jeanne McGowan for taking care of a situation that could’ve caused serious injury to our elderly friends at The Crossings assisted living facility.



You see, there’s a driveway to nowhere between Delnor Hospital and that facility that’s never been “finished,” meaning the curb wasn’t flush with the walking path or the street. And I know exactly what can happen because I took a header after incorrectly hitting one of those curbs while flying down that Keslinger Road hill in front of the former First Baptist Church West Campus driveway.

It wasn’t pretty. Six foot tall 50+ year-olds should never fall going downhill at full speed.

So, Ms. McGowan teamed up with Public Works, who applied the kind of temporary fix that’ll hold until that up-for-sale property is purchased. We all like to regularly curse those scurrilous politicians, but the truth is, the vast majority of ‘em are more than willing to help – all you have to do is ask.

Thanks Jim and Jeanne!


The power of action vs. bitching

The late great Geneva code enforcer Chuck Lencioni and I had this discussion all the time. Some downtown Geneva store owner would start kvetching about the city council’s failure to grovel at their feet when the truth was these entrepreneurs could easily effect the change they sought themselves.

Those philosophical conversations typically revolved around unfriendly business hours, bad service, lack of an online presence and the kind of “hang separately” mentality that made it impossible for those merchants to effectively compete with Randall Road.

I miss Chuck!

Shop Local Fair

Ah! But the fine folks at Patriot Heating and Cooling in Elburn just co-sponsored an event that was the very antithesis of this kind of pointless bitching. It was called the “Shop Local Fair” with 64 participating local vendors, food trucks, live music and stuff for kids to do. And it drew a whopping 635 visitors, too!

In the words of Patriot co-owner Joey Joann, “It was just an amazing day! It all started from an idea to support as many local vendors at one time as possible and that idea became a reality!  I can’t wait for next year’s event!”

Wasn’t it Abraham Lincoln who said “The best way to predict the future is to create it?”


Start ‘em off young!

Back when I was writing for the newspapers, I consistently put forth two political theories:

1. If you want your fledgling political movement to have more influence, get precinct committeemen elected. It’s not that hard to do and they elect the local party leaders.

2. If you want your political movement to have staying power, get ‘em while they’re young.

Kane County Young Democrats

Tim Stoll did a great job with the Kane County Young Republicans until that group fell prey to just how fractured the GOP really is. In fact, Tim and his team put on the best candidate debate this journalist has ever seen.

(Ask me about the Stoll and Laura Wallet confrontation the next time we get together.)

Though the Young Republicans are gone, I’m pleased to say that the Kane County Democrats are making a new effort in this regard. You can find the Young Democrats’ Facebook page right here!

The group is headed up by Hector Velazquez, a politically active and capable young Aurora man whom I met while managing the Martinez for Coroner campaign. Kane County Democrats certainly have their moments, but I have high hopes that Hector will be able to bring some balance to the political party force.

The truth is, as people flee Cook County, Kane is getting two-percent more Democratic with every even-year election. And a successful Young Democrats group could be just the thing to put yet more pressure on that longstanding Republican majority.


Don’t wanna be an American idiot

Yesterday (8/6), my lovely wife and I attended an ECC SecondSpace Theater matinee performance of Billie Joe Armstrong’s “American Idiot.” From the actors to the musicians to the direction to the production and the choreography, it was superb! And for only twenty bucks a pop, too!

American Idiot 2

The cast of ECC’s American Idiot production

SecondSpace is an intimate 160 seat venue where you’re so close to the actors you feel like you’re part of the action. And let me tell you, though I’m in reasonably good shape, I got tired just watching those youngsters dance for the better part of 1.5 hours.

During the intermission I turned to my lovely wife and said, “Had I known you got to kiss and dance with attractive young women, I would’ve pursued an acting career a long time ago.” Her immediate response was, “But you can’t sing.”

Wives ruin everything, don’t they?

Meanwhile, in February, The SecondSpace Theater will put on a musical adaptation of Studs Terkel’s book “Working” and my wife and I will be there!

Quick Hits – August 4, 2017

Quick Hits is gonna have to be quick today because between deceased parakeets, a video gaming son who keeps me up at all hours, and client meetings, I’m more than a little behind. And that damn book has got to get done!

Genevans made me proud?

According to roving First Ward reporter Bob McQuillan, my fellow Genevans comported themselves with aplomb at Wednesday night’s Batavia Planning Commission meeting where the Campana Building redevelopment was the only topic.

Campana Building

My fondest wish is that they acquit themselves similarly when the hearing reconvenes at 7 p.m. in the Batavia City Council chambers on August 16.

Considering their consideration, I also wish this was the kind of case in which their reasonably involved-in-the-process efforts would bear fruit. Like B. F. Skinner said, positive reinforcement is a powerful thing.

But alas, I still say those Campana apartments are a done deal because:

  1. Evergreen Real Estate group is the only bona fide developer to come forward in 37 years!
  2. Genevans don’t vote in Batavia elections.
  3. These apartments will go a long way towards Batavia’s federal affordable housing requirement.
  4. Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns has worn out his welcome with the Batavia City Council.

That doesn’t mean y’all shouldn’t keep up the good work.


Stop wasting your breath

Part of the magic of being Jeff Ward is, my “fan club” as I like to call them, often obsess about me even more than I do. And when you consider my vast and unchecked ego, that’s really saying something.

But here’s the thing! Whenever I get a typed or handwritten piece of snail mail with no return address – and it happens more often than you might think – I simply send it to my attorney, Jeff Meyer, at Klein, Stoddard, Buck and Lewis in Sycamore – unopened.

There are a number of benefits to this particular strategy:

  1. If it’s just another piece of hate mail, I don’t have to read it.
  2. If it includes any threat or libel, Jeff will take the appropriate action.
  3. If it’s someone’s passing along a story anonymously, Jeff just throws it out.
  4. If there’s a strange white powder in the envelope, Jeff dies and I don’t.

It’s a win-win situation for me, especially in regards to number four!

BTW, if you’re looking for a law firm that doesn’t simply see you as a dollar sign, applies the kind of unique courtroom insights that wins cases, and the attorneys aren’t afraid to display their humanity, then I would highly recommend Klein, Stoddard, Buck and Lewis.

Unlike the “What’s Happening” Facebook pages, I received no financial remuneration for this endorsement.


Judge Dalton part 2 is coming

Hopefully next week.

In the meantime, I want to thank all of the readers who came forward with their own Judge Dalton horror stories – there certainly are plenty of them. It warms my heart that I could actually help some you, too.


In part two, we’ll cover the methods by which this unfit judge can be either removed from the bench or assigned to an administrative gig, where he can no longer hear cases.

Keep those Dalton stories coming!


My newest hero is no longer my hero

Just when someone says the kind of thing that makes me feel like I’m not alone, they bow to that least-common-denominator public pressure and retract their bold statement.

First it was Bill Maher begging forgiveness for his perfect “house N-word” joke. Then Kathy Griffin had an apoplectic and apologetic meltdown over a mere artificial beheading. Now Chicagoan Bill Hillman has semi-taken back his marvelous pronouncement on Americans’ general lack of merit.

Bill Hillman

Runner with bulls Bill Hillman

A veteran of more than 300 bull runs, Hillman took offense at the folks who criticized his dangerous hobby by declaring that Americans are, “…boring, pathetic…fat dumb people who vote for Donald Trump and have no interests except for McDonald’s and malls.”

Then he added, “America by and large is full of idiots.  Americans watch too many Disney films and are out of touch with what it is to be human. …The most interesting thing that happened to them this year is probably somebody shouted at them because their dog was barking.”

My first thought was, “When did he visit my Geneva Fisher Farms neighborhood?” because that describes the majority of my neighbors and their ill-mannered progeny perfectly.

But alas! Hillman took it a step back by more recently saying, “I don’t regret what I said but it also isn’t everything I wanted to say. America is also a beautiful place full of incredible people. The people who lash out at me in comments, I’m not mad at them, I feel sorry for them. They have a lot of negativity in their hearts and I hope they can replace it with something positive.”

All I can say is, I’m stickin’ with his initial statement.


Sometimes Dennis Rodman is right

Thanks to the fine folks at Schwartz Sports Memorabilia this is my latest acquistion – a Dennis Rodman autographed basketball with the inscription, “Sanity is Overrated.”


It truly is!