Despite the vast gulf existing between Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns and myself, had you told me a scant year ago that I’d be tackling this topic, I would’ve confidently co-signed the paperwork to have you committed to the Elgin Mental Health Center. Despite his dire narcissistic tendencies, I NEVER thought the day would come when the Mayor would turn on the very business that bestow a one-of-a-kind grace and charm upon our unique city.
But here we are proving that truth is far stranger than fiction for the 347th time!
The Mayor’s move to fine Geneva bars, restaurants, and small business who run afoul of Governor Pointless’ unconstitutional COVID mitigations started with a Thursday email to the City Council. The point of that missive was to request a Monday COW meeting (Committee of the Whole) to pre-approve the pending ordinance.
Of course, as is par for the course, Burns tried to keep that fully remote meeting process on the down-low by listing the agenda item as, “Consider Draft Ordinance Amending Title 5 (Health and Sanitation) of the Geneva City Code” which is quite benign when you consider his actual intent.
But, once again, utterly oblivious to a City Council that generally general doesn’t care for his arrogant demeanor and strongarm antics, at least one alderman leaked the proposed ordinance to the Chronicle and Daily herald. Here’s the heart of the statute:
It shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, joint adventure, association, society, club, trustee or corporation or any officer, agent, employee, factor or any kind of personal representative to violate any Executive Order of the Governor of the State of Illinois pursuant to the Governor’s powers under Article 5 of the Illinois Constitution and Sections 7(1), 7(2), 7(8), 7(10), and 7(12) of the Act
First time “offenders” would have to come up with a C-note, with the fine increasing to $250 and $500 for the second, third, and any ongoing offenses. It may not sound like a lot of money, but when most of our Third Street restaurants, bars, and small shops are already suffering, a $500 fine could mean the difference between staying afloat and sinking.
And please note that the ordinance would allow Geneva to come after little old you and me, too!
To be perfectly clear, two separate sources told me the Geneva Police, who’ve been exemplary in handling the inevitable anti-business informant calls, do NOT like this ordinance. But other than saying the GPD has much better things to do, we’ll leave it there because I don’t want the Stasi to turn their nanny-stater sights on them.
That makes the elephant-in-the-room question, why on God’s green Earth would Mayor Burns turn against the very businesses that provide so much of the Geneva tax base bottom line? First, the affordable housing debacle, and now this? It’s a rather strange and wondrous form of political suicide.
My theory continues to be that it goes back to theory we discussed last summer when Burns tried to not only give the property away, but ram the affordable housing project though when he thought the citizenry was too preoccupied with the pandemic to notice or care.
And the reason for this sudden progressive bent on the part of a self-declared Republican politician is he’s so sick of Geneva and Genevans that he’s doing everything he can to catch on with the Pritzker administration. The Mayor certainly hasn’t been able to hold down any sort of private sector gig.
Further evidence of this possibility is, as President of the Metro West Mayor’s Council of Government, Burns has been regularly hobnobbing with the Governor in regard to the COVID mitigations and he’s hoping these vastly progressive efforts will catch J. B.’s eye. And with Geneva’s K. C. Gulbro and Firefox Restaurant leading the legal charge against the Governor’s illegal edicts making the Mayor look really bad, he had to do something to show Pritzker he’s ready, willing and able to be his loyal lapdog.
But the icing on that cake is, though Burns has been circulating his signature sheets, I’ve heard it’s just a front to try and slide the eminently insipid First Ward Alderman Mike Bruno, into that mayoral seat. You see, Bruno also been passing around mayoral paperwork, and once submitted, with no likely opponent coming forward in the COVID era, the mayor would simply withdraw from the race.
But that ain’t gonna happen because former mayoral challenger Tom Simonian is circulating those same signature sheets now, too!
The bottom line is, between the affordable housing debacle, this bizarre attempt to fine Geneva businesses for simply surviving, and other internal Geneva battles that can’t be brought forth quite yet, I can see Simonian beating Burns this round. So, perhaps there’s some truth to the Burns – Bruno conspiracy theory and he’s really not running, which would explain these bizarre moves.
So, what can you, the citizens of Geneva, do to send this proposed ordinance down in the kind of epic flames that will make a real point? That’s easy! Express your vast dismay in an email to the entire city council before tonight’s meeting, and particularly Aldermen McGowan, Bruno and Swanson who are reported to be fully behind this business fining effort.
Don’t bother emailing Mayor Burns because nothing short of an asteroid strike will change his mind. But if the social media reaction to this horrific move is any indication, those opposed to the ordinance outnumber supporters by at least twenty to one. And trust me, those City Council members fully understand on which side their political bread is buttered!
So, now that I’ve done my part, it’s time for you to do yours! I don’t know about you, but particularly after a spectacular Sunday dinner at Gia Mia, I don’t want to have to eat at Apple Bees for the rest of my life! If Geneva’s bars, restaurants, and Third Street shops are force to close again, they won’t reopen this time.
I’m not gonna simply sit back and watch that happen, and I hope you won’t stand for it, either. ¡Viva la Revolución!