Quick Hits – March 16, 2018

Say no to Geneva

With early voting in full swing, I many be a little late weighing in on this one, but that won’t stop me from encouraging my fellow Genevans to vote “No” on the Geneva sales tax increase ballot measure. It’s only a .5 percent increase, but just like offering an alcoholic a pint of Guinness, it will simply enable the City’s spending addiction.

The best proof of what I say is, while Mayor Kevin Burns is consistently crying poor, they’re hiring an assistant city manager to the tune of a quarter of a million tax dollars. Aside from Aurora and Elgin, both more than four times our size, no other Kane County Municipality has a dedicated assistant city manager.

And we don’t need one, either.

Meanwhile, the mayor’s private city employee army, who are never held accountable for anything, enjoys the kind of absurd benefits that you and I can only dream of. Put more simply, there’s so much fat in the Geneva budget we could use the fiscal equivalent of lap band surgery.

I love Geneva’s argument, too! “We have to come in line with St. Charles and Batavia sales tax.” But what you never hear is, “Neither St. Charles nor Batavia have an assistant city manager so we should probably stay in line with them.”

Breaking an addiction always requires a little tough love, so please send a message to the alderman and city administrators by voting “No” on any Geneva tax or fee hike referendum.


It’s prediction time!

1. Governor

J. B. Pritzker, already having spent almost $70 million of his own money, will handily prevail over rivals Daniel Biss and Chris Kennedy, who ran two of the worst campaigns in modern history. It’s certainly sad that after spending all that cash, Pritzker is basically tied with “undecided” at 33 percent. But with Biss and Kennedy tied at about 15 percent each, it would take a truly wild statistical break to put either one of them over the top.

On the other side, despite his absurd mailers and commercials, Bruce Rauner will beat Jeanne Ives, but not by very much. I’m predicting she’ll get about 47 percent of the vote.

2. Attorney General

Sharon Fairley will make her way out of that crowded field and she will beat Erika Harold in November.

3. 14th District Congress

Jim Walz, a tireless campaign worker and the previous Democratic nominee, will easily dispatch his six primary opponents, most of whom couldn’t win even if they had Pritkzer money. Lauren Underwood is clearly the best candidate, but she’s campaigning as if it were a city council race and she hasn’t been able to rise above the field. Illinois Congressional Democrats really need to get their act together if they want to take those Republican seats. What’s the point in running when you can’t possibly win?


4. Kane County Sheriff

Though I do have a horse in this race, Ron Hain will beat Willie Mayes on the Democratic side, and, since my three favorite Kane County Republicans believe Don Kramer will squeak by Kevin Tindall, I’ll go with their hypothesis.

5. Kane County Clerk

Though he really should retire, despite making absolutely no campaign effort, Jack Cunningham will beat challenger Stan Bond.

6. Kane County Board

Despite the Chairman’s intervention, all of the incumbents will keep their seats. I don’t think I can take four more years of Phil Lewis.

7. 16 Circuit Judge

Elizabeth Flood, who’s run a shockingly competent campaign for a sitting judge will squeak by Circuit Clerk Tom Hartwell with David Kliment coming in dead last.

On the Democratic side, Lark Cowart will upset former State Senator Michael Noland who’s looking at disbarment for blatantly violating the Illinois judicial canon of ethics. One can only hope that loss relegates Noland to the political obscurity he so richly deserves.

8. Fox River and Countryside Fire Protection District

Like the others before it, that referendum will go down by a 2 to 1 margin forcing the failed fire district to finally be disbanded.

9. Aurora Election Commission

Because so many Aurora Democrats believe that Republicans are behind the move to eliminate the commission, they will survive.


Go maroon and gold!

If you did not watch the Loyola Ramblers – Miami Hurricanes NCAA basketball game yesterday afternoon, you missed one for the ages. An improbable steal in the final minute, a missed Hurricane free throw, and a running line drive 3-pointer by Donte Ingram with .3 seconds left sealed the deal.

I screamed so loud as that final shot went through the net, my older son ran into my home office to see what was wrong.

So, you know exactly where I’ll be tomorrow (at 5:10 p.m. as the Ramblers beat the Tennessee Volunteers to move into the Sweet Sixteen. Viva la March Madness!

Quick Hits – March 14, 2018

Rauner and Ives continue their dance to the bottom

Bruce! Nobody but nobody is buyin’ your “Jeanne Ives is Mike Madigan’s favorite Republican” BS TV ads – not even your most strident supporters. And to take two of her Tribune endorsement comments so completely out of context is beneath even you, sir.

Rauner Ives

First, in no way does Jeanne Ives “support” the Madigan state income tax hike. She said she wouldn’t repeal it right away because she understands that pulling that fiscal rug out from under us would do even more damage to Illinois’ already dismal bond rating.

Unlike you Bruce, Ive’s doesn’t believe in “governing by crisis.”  She understands all sorts of financial reforms have to be installed before we can even start thinking about cutting taxes.

Second, when Ives told the Tribune, “I don’t think that’s any way to deal with the powerful Speaker of the House – Mike Madigan,” she wasn’t “supporting” him! She was accurately noting that name calling and creating an artificial budget crisis would not pull Illinois back from the fiscal abyss, much less serve the people of the state.

Though no Democratic gubernatorial candidate is setting my soul on fire, I can’t wait to see whatever nominee put Bruce Rauner out of our misery.


Isn’t this exactly what we’re trying to teach them?

The irony of some school administrators threatening to discipline students for participating in today’s national walkout to protest gun violence certainly isn’t lost on me. Their hypothesis is it “isn’t safe” for students to leave their classrooms during the course of the day.

GHS Walkout

Geneva High School participates in the National Walkout

Haven’t they noticed that it ain’t exactly safe for them to be in those classrooms these days, either?

But not all is lost dear reader! Mundelein High School spokesperson Ron Girard was dead on when he said, “We don’t see a reason to discipline students for engaging in a learning activity.”

C’mon! Instead of using their cell phones and social media to send questionable photographs, high school children have organized a nationwide effort to rein in gun violence, something adults seem incapable of doing.

Don’t we want our children to think for the themselves? Don’t we want them to question authority? Don’t we want them to, on occasion, take a stand for a noble cause?

All I can say is, carry on my young friends! Unreasonable conservatives are shaking in their shoes.


Give the truth a chance

Regardless of the final verdict, there will be no winners in the recent fatal Elgin Police shooting of  DeCynthia Clements. It’s a truly sad situation for all parties involved.

But while we await that final word, I want to applaud Elgin’s black community for their measured response to this tragedy, and EPD Chief Jeff Swoboda and the department for facing the challenge head on.

elgin water

A new Illinois law requires an independent investigation whenever an officer uses deadly force, and that’s exactly what the Illinois State Police are doing as we speak. Armed with multiple body camera video footage, the truth will come out.

The problem is, the State Police don’t do anything quickly, so this is one going to take some time and patience. Let’s continue to give these investigators a chance to do their job.


Go Ramblers!

The last time the Loyola Ramblers men’s basketball team made the NCAA finals was way back in 1985, the year I graduated from that hallowed institution. Though it took 33 years for history to finally repeat itself, this exciting turn of events brought back some rather fond memories.

You see, the bulk of that 1985 team was in two of my classes and they clustered around my desk in both, making me feel very, very short. We won’t go into exactly why they all sat beside me – let’s just say I did my small part to keep that team on the court.


The cool thing was, for Division I star athletes, Alfredrick “The Great” Hughes, Andre Moore, Andre Battle, Carl Golston and Nate Brooks were all incredibly nice to a scrawny 6-foot, 150 lb. Caucasian senior, who loves basketball.

Having had the opportunity to regularly discuss the most recent game with those gentlemen is, by far, my favorite college memory.

So, you better believe I’ll be glued to the Television set tomorrow at 2:10 p.m. when the Ramblers take on the Miami Hurricanes. Go maroon and gold!

Quick Hits – Never Say Never!

Help I’m steppin’ into the twilight zone
The place is a madhouse, feels like being cloned
My beacon’s been moved under moon and star
Where am I to go, now that I’ve gone too far

I haven’t done that in awhile! Remember when I regularly prefaced my Beacon-News columns with the appropriate song lyrics? This certainly seems to be the time to revive that practice.

Because if any of y’all told me, just a scant decade ago, I’d be arguing for reasonable gun control alongside State Senator Jim Oberweis on his Facebook page, I would’ve dismissed you as utterly insane and beyond any kind of help, whatsoever.

But last weekend, that’s exactly what happened, and I’m not sure I’ll ever completely recover. In the words of those great philosophers, Romeo Void, “Never say never!”

Yes! Our own Illinois 25th District State Senator, Jim Oberweis, is co-sponsor of House Bill 1465 which raises the assault gun purchase age to 21. As the likely-to-pass bill stands now, anyone under 21 would have 90 days to divest themselves of such weapons once it’s signed into law.

Jim Oberweis

Jim said he’ll endeavor to modify it so current underage assault rifle owners can keep their weapon. He’s also in favor of House Bill 1457, which bans bump stocks.

But despite the eminently reasonable nature of HB1465, all the Second Amendment loons are going completely nuts over his support of what truly is a very mild measure. So, let’s “shoot” down their arguments one by one!

First, yes! I own a gun and I really enjoy taking it out to the range every now and then. I was trained to shoot by my late Navy Seal father, and though I wouldn’t call myself a marksman, I’ve done alright with a hunting rifle, a Mini 14, a .44 magnum, a 20-gauge shotgun, and my current Glock.

Second, HB1457 doesn’t go nearly far enough, because nobody needs to own an assault rifle – a weapon whose sole intent is to kill people. They should be banned entirely.

“But Jeff, the Second Amendment is absolute!”

No, it’s not! I can’t remember the last time I saw an armored car or an M108A7 self-propelled gun in someone’s driveway, so there are plenty of limitations on “bearing arms.”

And if anyone’s perused the text of that Amendment lately, it opens with, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” So, when you show me your “well-regulated militia paperwork” you can have your AR-15.

In addition to that, back in 1776 when the Constitution was signed, your average minuteman could purchase the same, or a better musket, than the British regulars carried.

Finally, the Supreme Court may have overturned Washington D. C.’s 2008 gun ban, but they were clear that municipalities, states and the federal government have every right to reasonably regulate gun sales and ownership.

I’ll say it again! The Second Amendment is far from absolute.

“But Jeff we have to be ready to strike back against the tyranny of the government!”

Some of y’all have been watching too many black and white movies. When this government comes to get you, an incredibly unlikely occurrence, your pistol – or even your AR-15 – won’t help you. If you’re lucky, you might just hear the cruise missile a second before it hits.

It won’t help when the M1 Abrams tank runs right through your living room, either. I suppose you could try to bat away the cluster bombs or shoot down that drone, but I wouldn’t count on it.

“But Jeff! Guerilla movements like the American Revolution, Viet Nam, and Afghanistan all succeeded against vast military might.”

Not so fast buckaroo!

As previously mentioned, the colonists were armed almost as well as the Redcoats, and those rogue Americans would never have beaten the British had not the French intervened on a number of levels. That included Lafayette and Casimir Pulaski turning that well-regulated militia into a real army.

Similarly, the Viet Cong would’ve gotten nowhere without all the arms and training supplied by the Soviets and Chinese. As it is with most proxy wars, the U.S. fought with one arm tied behind their back for a corrupt regime that didn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the Mujahidin were getting their butts kicked until the U.S. sent them shoulder mounted Stinger missiles. That forced Russian ground support aircraft to fly above 8,000 feet rendering them utterly ineffective.

So, that argument ain’t gonna fly, either.

“But Jeff! If you can’t purchase an assault rifle until you’re 21, shouldn’t we raise the military enlistment and voting age to 21?”

Yes! We should.

Considering what happened in 2016, I really don’t want most of y’all voting anymore, much less folks one-third my age. And we shouldn’t be sending teenagers off to fight in proxy wars, ever!


The irony is, all of you absolutist Second Amendment supporters are just fine with trying to regulate women’s bodies, installing a state sponsored religion, and forbidding certain  marriages, all of which are patently unconstitutional. Not that that’s hypocritical or anything.

The bottom line is, sentiment is rapidly shifting away from the NRA. And if they and their supporters don’t offer reasonable compromise, unreasonable compromise will be thrust upon them. Though I’m thrilled to see how Senator Oberweis has evolved, the bill he co-sponsored is literally the least we can do.

Think about it my overzealous Second Amendment friends! You have a vast propensity to be wrong. I’m still waiting for Barack Obama to come and take away my gun.



Quick Hits – Mike Noland never met a lie he didn’t like

The Noland mailer hits!

Though it wasn’t as bad as my source said it was gonna be, it’s still nothing more than a series of blatant lies – something at which our former failed State Senator excels.


Despite being well aware of her stellar curriculum vitae, the piece comparing his “record” to 16th Circuit judicial opponent Lark Cowart’s conveniently leaves out large swaths of her experience. So, lets’ set the record straight:

1. Voting record

Noland claims Cowart only voted in 2016 and she pulled a GOP primary ballot when she did. The truth is, Lark regularly votes and she regularly votes Democratic. It’s just that her voting record has yet to catch up with her marriage and the ensuing move.

And Noland knows this because Cowart handed him her complete voting record at a candidate forum. This particular lie will earn him a Judicial Inquiry Board complaint for purposely distorting a judicial candidate’s record.


2. Democratic contributor and supporter

Noland claims he “consistently helped get local Democrats get elected,” which is a fascinating contention considering he can barely get himself elected, losing six separate elections. Most local candidates avoid any connection with Noland because they don’t want to lose either.

The Democratic Party has divorced Noland to the point where Dem primary sheriff opponents, Ron Hain and Willie Mayes, are both passing out Cowart’s campaign literature. In all my years of covering local politics I’ve never seen that kind of thing happen.

Meanwhile, Cowart told Noland she’s worked on Democratic causes and campaigns all of her life, but he chose to omit that. I tried to get Lark to run as a Republican judge to have a better shot, and she flatly refused.


3. Professional experience

This one’s hilarious!

Noland cites being an assistant Kane County public defender when he was fired from that job for incompetence. As one of my favorite PD’s told me, that’s a very difficult feat to accomplish.

Yes! Noland was a state senator who served on the criminal law committee, but he left Springfield because he was generally reviled by his Democratic peers while he managed to accomplish absolutely nothing.

Then he claims to be a “successful attorney at law – private practice” which made me laugh out loud.

Please note that attorney Noland has no Internet reviews because he has no clients! The reason he sued Springfield for back pay after making a big deal about forgoing that salary is he can’t make a living as an attorney.

Despite Cowart handing Noland her resume, he only listed “Assistant Prosecutor for Republican State’s Attorney.” He also failed to mention he worked for a Republican Public Defender.

Lark’s background includes:

  • 14 years a Kane County Juvenile Prosecutor – a very difficult job
  • Worked for a team of Cook County felony judges to gain judicial experience
  • Served as an appellate court law clerk to gain judicial experience
  • Worked as a mediator

On the other hand, Mike Noland has never successfully practiced law in any courtroom anywhere. And he wants to be a judge? Yeah! Because he’s salivating at the thought of that 200k annual salary


4. Military service

In a rare ethical lapse, Noland didn’t lie about this one. He actually did serve in the Navy. He also received the National Defense Medal which servicemen receive for simply breathing. He listed no other medals.

Lark attempted to enlist in all four military branches but was turned down because of shoulder surgery at 18.


5. Education

Noland listed his undergrad, graduate and JD experience, but there’s no mention of honors because he generally finished at the bottom of his class.

Meanwhile, Lark:

  • Double majored in three years with honors while being on the swimming team
  • Earned a masters degree in dispute resolution with honors
  • Graduated from law school a semester early with honors


The bottom line is, Michael Noland damn well knew he was lying on that mailer and he didn’t care. But this time, the Judicial Inquiry Board is going to have something to say about it. This is NOT the kind of man we want wearing the black dress.

Please pull a Democratic primary ballot and vote for the only Kane County judicial candidate worth voting for – Lark Cowart!

Quick Hits – March 9, 2018

I’ll pay you to vote for Steve Weber

Apparently undaunted by last Friday’s Quick Hits, Kane County 13th District County Board member Phil Lewis continues to try to top himself in the “what insane idea can I come up with next” competition he’s playing against himself.

Trying to vote “no” on a presentation is gonna be kinda tough to beat, but Phil really is giving it his best shot.

This time, not only does he want to greatly increase building permit fees, but he just proposed eliminating the non-profit discount for schools, churches and social service agencies. You see, he wants them to foot the bill restore the temporarily defunct Kane County criminal defendant GPS monitoring system.

If you recall, in an attempt to avoid the 3.6 percent budget cuts requested of all Kane County departments, Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles and Court Services Director Lisa Aust played GPS chicken with the County Board and lost. Now Lewis wants to save them from themselves on the backs of entities who can least afford it.

Furthermore, Phil wants to jack those building fees up by a factor of three or four because, in his words, “Kane County is a destination location and, just like it is with country clubs, developers should have to buy in.”

There simply aren’t enough walls in my house on which to bang my head. Talk about someone doomed to repeat history out of ignorance of it!

Before the Great Recession, Sugar Grove became so enamored of themselves they increased builder impact fees to heretofore unforeseen heights. As a result, developers simply built elsewhere. Now, even with a modest real estate recovery, they avoid Sugar Grove like the plague.

weber 2

Steve Weber

Not only that, but at last night’s Batavia candidates’ forum, Lewis declared, while most county board members are swearing off the ridiculous benefits and pension, he will continue to avail himself of both those perks.

Full time benefits for a very part-time job? Right!

Please! I beg you! As a card carrying member of 13th County Board District, please vote for Steve Weber and put Phil Lewis out of our misery.



And speaking of trying to top himself…

Just when you thought former Elgin State Senator and current Kane County Judicial candidate Michael Noland couldn’t top:

  • Getting thrown out of a Carpentersville polling place by the police
  • Suing Springfield for back pay after making a big deal out of forgoing that pay
  • Getting caught plagiarizing a JFK speech on the Senator floor
  • Getting stopped for speeding while driving on a no-insurance citation
  • Getting caught stealing his opponent’s yard signs red-handed on video
  • And then there’s all those other wom…, well, you know…

he’s trying to do just that!


About an hour ago, an impeccable source told me his team has, or will send a mailer tying his Democratic primary opponent, Lark Cowart, to Donald Trump and Governor Bruce Rauner.

Not only is that a patently absurd contention, but it’s a blatant violation of the Illinois Judicial Canon of Ethics, which explicitly states you CANNOT issue ad hominem attacks against your electoral opponent(s). And the consequence for that kind of bad behavior is disbarment!

The fact that the mailer might be sent under the auspices of a “third party” will not shield Mr. Noland from the Judicial Inquiry Board’s wrath, either.

The canon also states that judicial candidates CANNOT engage in any kind of fundraising activities, whatsoever. They must appoint a fundraising chairman to do that. Ah! But word is, Mike’s been reaching out to the usual suspects himself, which is another big JIB no-no.

So, Mike! If that mailer does fly, the same team I’ve put together to remove Judge John Dalton from the bench will apply their vast talent in seeing that the only way you ever darken a courtroom doorway is as a defendant.

The irony, of course, is that Noland is the only person I’ve met who’s actually worse than Donald Trump in every regard.

Lark 2

Lark Cowart

Please pull a Democratic primary ballot and vote for Lark Cowart for 16th Circuit judge. She’s been protecting our children as a prosecutor for 14 years and she can do even more as judge.


In for a penny…

Did I say I don’t do endorsements anymore? The best laid plans of mice and men, right?

So, while we’re at it, might I humbly suggest Sharon Fairley for Attorney General. She’s managed to pull off the Tribune, Sun-Times, and State Journal Register endorsements in an absurd field of eight Democratic primary hopefuls.

Image result for sharon fairley

The Trib gave her the nod on the basis of her service as chief administrator to Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability and general counsel for the City’s Inspector General’s office. Both are tough gigs that Fairley has handled incredibly well.

In another race, Lauren Underwood has the kind of impressive resume that’s gotten her written up in Time Magazine as well as the Tribune and Daily Herald endorsements. She’s running in a field of six candidates for our 14th District Congressman.


Her campaign may be one of the worst I’ve ever seen, but Underwood is the only hopeful capable of beating Randy Hultgren, who really has to go. You can learn more about Lauren right here!

Quick Hits – March 7, 2018

At least they’re predictable!

My wife says I’m psychic (not psychotic), but it didn’t take any prescient possibilities to predict that the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office would refuse to respond to my sexual harassment FOIA request in any meaningful manner.

Unless, of course, by “meaningful manner” you mean providing 292 completely redacted pages, and by “redacted,” I mean just about 292 blank pages. Well…that’s not totally true…they did include page numbers.

I’d say, “talk about flipping a journalist the bird,” but they did the same thing to the Tribune.


The legal “logic” they applied to hide 292 pages of complaints against Prosecutor McGropey makes Donald Trump’s mendacious proclivities pale in comparison. But what do you expect from Civil Division head, Joe Lulves, who regularly brags about his office being “immune to FOIA requests.”

Meanwhile, one of my attorneys reviewed their non-response and called it complete BS. So, since the local papers don’t have the horses or money to truly tackle this, here’s what I’m going to do:

1. I will appeal the denial to the Public Access Counselor arm of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. Given past successes, the PAC tends to get back to me faster, but the process still can take up to six weeks.

2. I will win the appeal, but since the PAC’s FOIA rulings aren’t binding – there’s no penalty for failing to comply – I’ll have to get a judge to enforce their ruling.

3. Since no Kane County judge will hear a case involving the KCSAO and Jeff Ward, we’ll have move to have it moved to DeKalb County or some other venue.

4. The odds of a “regular” associate or full circuit judge ruling for a journalist and against a State’s Attorney’s office aren’t very good. That means I’ll probably have to take it to the Second District Court of Appeals, and now you’re talking real time and money.

5. Despite prevailing in the appellate court, the KCSAO will simply appeal that ruling to tie up the documents’ release for as long as possible.

By that time, with the bloom clearly off his rose, State’s Attorney Joe McMahon will have moved on to some other endeavor or back into private practice.

The only advantage I have is a crack legal team who supports what I do. And they’re more than a match for the likes of Joe Lulves, whose legal skills never set any courtroom on fire.

Despite their denial, we know there are up to 292 pages of complaints against our terminated prosecutor, who somehow managed to survive at the State’s Attorney’s office from at least 2012 to 2018.

This scenario reminds me of Lily Tomlin’s “Earnestine” telephone operator character, whose tagline was, “We’re the phone company, we don’t have to care!” All we have to do to change that to, “We’re the KCSAO – the law doesn’t apply to us,” and we’re good.


Vote for Mark Guethle (and Kristina Zahorik)

As previously noted, we actually have an interesting Democratic Kane County primary ballot this round that includes some real choices. But just as it is with our judicial candidates, there are some down-the-ticket races that tend to be ignored.

To wit, 14th District State Central Committeeman Mark Guethle is currently facing a challenger, as is incumbent 14th District Committeewoman Kristina Zahorik.

State central committeemen and committeewomen elect the party leaders and set the Illinois Democratic Party platform. They don’t get paid for a gig that can turn out to be rather time consuming, either.

Mark also happens to be our Kane County Democratic Chairman with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working on several campaigns and other issues. So, I can unequivocally say that no one does a better job of herding cats than he does.

Mark G.

Make no mistake, whether you’re a township, county or state party chairman, the term “herding cats” is a massive understatement. If you’ve ever tried to keep a gaggle of egotistical, self-centered and bullheaded candidates and politicians in line, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

And it’s especially difficult in Kane County where you have three separate Democratic strongholds with three sometime separate agendas – Aurora, Elgin and Carpentersville.

But Mark does a good job of managing that mess, trying to get good candidates to run and get elected, and frequently playing referee between rival party factions. Put more simply, you couldn’t pay me to do that job that doesn’t pay you anything.

So, as you make your way down that March 20 Democratic ballot, be sure to check off Mark Guethle’s and Kristina Zahorik’s name. You won’t be disappointed.


A Geneva bright spot

As most of you know, I’m kinda down on my current hometown. It’s all that ongoing Geneva Police harassment, a mayor with the morals of a rutting pig, and a new city council that never met a tax increase, fee hike, or expenditure they didn’t like.

But suddenly, there is something for Genevans to celebrate!


Our Geneva High School girls basketball team just captured their second straight Class 4A title last weekend. Despite trailing for most of the game, the Vikings squeaked by Montini in a 28 – 26 defensive nail biter at Normal’s Redbird Arena.

Also for the second straight year, 5-foot-8 GHS senior Stephanie Hart knocked down the winning shot with less than five seconds left on the clock.

Repeating a championship isn’t easy in any sport at any level, but it’s particularly tough in high school athletics because the team chemistry changes every single year, star players move on to college, other teams add new talent, and everyone’s gunning for you.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that senior guard Margaret Whitley won the Queen of the Hill Three-point Showdown before the big game. My long-time readers will recall  I wrote a suburban Sun-Times column on the Whitley family’s propensity to produce all-star athletes.

My theory was – and still is – if they’d only adopt me, I’d finally win a 5k. Sadly, they have yet to sign the paperwork. C’mon! I could be the 59 year-old son they never had! (Or probably never wanted to have.)

So, here’s to these persistent and talented Viking women who gave this curmudgeonly columnist a reason to smile about the city of Geneva! Does Pat Riley still hold the copyright on “Three-peat?”

Quick Hits – March 5, 2018

Ives really is nuts!

Once again, I apologize to friend, U-46 Citizen’s Advisory Council chair, and guinea pig rescuer supreme, Lisa Hopp, for trying to convince her that, while Jeanne Ives social policies are a bit too extreme for my taste, she wasn’t nuts.

Because she clearly is.

For those of you who aren’t paying attention, Ives is the crazy conservative messiah du jour who, despite whatever her rabid and generally unreasonable fans might think, couldn’t get elected Illinois governor on her best day. But that didn’t stop her from primarying Bruce Rauner.


The most recent indicator of her special brand of political lunacy is her latest mailer, which came in a tightly sealed brown envelope.

There is but one Illinois politician who can get voters to open a sealed envelope, and that’s Kane County Chairman Chris Lauzen. But even then, only his diehard followers will reach for the letter opener. The rest will just throw it in the trash.

If you thought the envelope idea wasn’t bad enough, the 20 percent of recipients who actually opened it were confronted, not by a simple and succinct mailer, but a 40-page book. Yes! You read that correctly, dear reader – a 40-page book on just how scurrilous Bruce Rauner really is!

Apparently, Ms. Ives and her campaign team don’t understand the concept of the average American voter being the equivalent of an off-meds ADHD sixth-grader coming off a three-day sugar and videogaming binge.

A book?

Good campaign managers know the singular intent of a political mailer is to get the voter to read the candidate’s name, and perhaps two bullet points, in the 10 seconds it takes them to get from the mailbox to the recycling bin. If you manage to get them to read three bullet points, you’re way ahead of the game.

So, even my Republican friends are lamenting that kind of blatant campaign incompetence.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that Governor Rauner is doing much better. I received three anti-Ives mailers in two days, and they were all thematically identical – our Wheaton State Rep is Michael Madigan’s favorite Republican candidate.

Nobody’s buyin’ it Bruce!

Personally, I’d get rid of whatever campaign team member came up with that crackpot connection idea, because firing people is one of your few real talents. But just when you think Bruce handed the race to Ives, Jeanne sends voters a book in a calculated effort to save him from himself.

I can only imagine what it cost to print and ship that thing!

Contrary to what the Theory of General Relatively predicts, I’m starting to think gravity is somehow stronger in Illinois. How else would you explain the constant race to the bottom?


Perhaps I was unfair

Apparently, as a result of explaining why he shouldn’t be promoted to full 16th Circuit judge, I’m off Judge David and attorney Claudia Kliment’s Christmas card list. Not that I’m gonna to be losing any sleep over it.

But when a few trusted folks told me my Quick Hits’ assertion that, “He sentenced a dual felony arsonist to just 15 days because he was white,” could be misconstrued, I decided they were right.

That doesn’t mean it’s not an accurate statement, but please allow me to clarify it.

First, Judge Kliment did not technically issue that short sentence, he simply signed off on a plea deal between the prosecutor and defense attorney. That said, it is, and always has been my contention that the plea agreement should’ve been shot down because a trial would’ve been a slam dunk.


C’mon! We have marijuana dealers doing 10 to 12, so how does a dual felon, who could’ve wiped out two families in the same night, get just 15 days?

Second, I wasn’t saying Kliment’s a bigot, because I don’t believe he is. Compared to Judge John Dalton, who is a bigot, he’s Mr. Rogers. What I was trying to say was, a black or Hispanic defendant would never have gotten that same sweet deal, and Kliment knows it.

He may be a small cog in a much larger Kane County justice machine that has one set of rules for whites and another for minorities, but that in no way absolves him from his willing complicity in that dynamic. Nor do all the other county courtrooms who exhibit the same sort of bias.

So, in deference to my friends, I changed that statement to read, “He accepted a negotiated plea allowing a Caucasian dual felony arsonist to serve just 15 days, something that never would’ve happened if the perp was black or Hispanic.”

I will admit, that is much more difficult to misconstrue.

But that clarification in no way changes my previous conclusion that, due to a massive ego and a vast imperiousness, David Kliment shouldn’t be on the bench now, much less move up to a full circuit seat. He and Claudia continue to be furious with Judge Elizabeth Flood for “cutting in line” to run before it was “her turn.”

Somehow, I’m gonna finagle an invitation to the next 16th Circuit Christmas party.

The bottom line is, do we really want a judge who fervently believes he’s entitled to that position? I don’t think so! Pull a Democratic ballot and vote for Lark Cowart.


When did rescue dogs get so expensive?

With the recent passing of Eve, our 14 year-old Australian cattle dog, I’ve been combing Petfinder.com in search of another female working dog. I do love those abundantly energetic blue heelers, but a border collie or Australian Shepherd would work out just as well.

Having successfully navigated it five times, I’m no stranger to the adoption/rescue process, but I gotta tell ya, I’m shocked by some of the 2018 adoption fees

I understand I’m not going to get by for the $50 I paid for my first animal shelter dog back in the mid ‘80s, but $400 for an Australian cattle dog mix, when you can buy a purebred puppy for $500? That’s a little absurd, especially when you consider that rescue dogs can be somewhat problematic.

I also understand we don’t want these animals to go to the scientific or dogfighting people, and it can be expensive to get a stray ready for adoption, but I fear they’re pricing these eminently worthwhile dogs out of the market.

Personally, I’m good with the $200 I paid for my last three dogs, but you certainly won’t catch me shelling out $400.

If any readers or pet rescues have any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them!