Quick Hits – December 22, 2017

A reminder!

Unless a really big local story breaks or I feel particularly inspired, Quick Hits will be taking Christmas through New Year’s Day off. Between the LSAT and all the recent writing, I’m really looking forward to a mental break.

And after that brief respite, given the need to contend with a heightened campaign season and an April 2 ‘So You Wanna Win a Local Election’ book rollout, Quick Hits will likely move from MWF to Tuesdays and Thursdays, with some sporadic content thrown in in between.

 

This is flippin’ hilarious!

A Dayton, Ohio, family came up with the perfect holiday gift for their son Jake’s teachers! It was bottles of wine emblazoned with his gleaming visage, bearing the inscription, “Our child might be the reason you drink, so enjoy this bottle on us!”

Wine Bottles

This incredibly funny and self-deprecating gesture has fully restored my faith in my fellowman, at least through Christmas week, after which, I’m sure somebody somewhere will do something stupid enough to remind me why that faith was utterly misplaced.

 

Yes! It really is a travesty, Your Honor!

Judge D. J. Tegeler said it was an “absolute travesty” that attempted murder defendant Scott Turyna could not be placed under the now defunct Kane County court GPS monitoring system. And I agree! But probably not for the same reasons

Briefly, Turyna, who was disarmed by then St. Charles School Board President Steven Spurling, fired five shots at his wife who lay bleeding in their driveway.

tegeler

Judge D. J. Tegler

But Yes! It certainly is a travesty that Chief Judge Susan Clancy Boles and Court Services Director Lisa Aust used the GPS monitoring program as an ill-advised bargaining chip in a battle to avoid the 3.6 percent budget cuts that virtually every other department head went along with.

Former Chief Judge Judith Brawka didn’t have these kinds of problems because she was smart enough to work with the County Board, and not arrogant enough work against them.

Even now, instead of maintaining their own fiefdoms, if those 16th Circuit Judges voted to implement our previously discussed DeKalb County-esque courtroom efficiencies, the GPS program could be brought back in a flash.

It would also be nice if they actually worked a full day for those 200 grand salaries (To be fair, Tegeler puts in more hours than most judges.)

But that aint’ about to happen, is it Your Honor? And that’s the real travesty.

 

Do I really have to say it again?

Look, I love the whole journalism thing, and I love (most of) my readers, too. Why, I frequently propose to the women AND men who manage to come up with a cogent point or counterpoint. But lately, some of y’all are starting to drive me crazy – not that it’s a very long trip.

And that includes one high-ranking KCSAO prosecutor who, under the guise of anonymity, insists upon leveling personal attacks through this blog. Apparently, wielding the full power of the people isn’t nearly enough for some people.

For folks who regularly put people in jail, the average prosecutor’s ultra-thin skin is a most magnificent irony.

Considering the vast amount of unpaid time that goes into producing Quick Hits, and the fact that it doesn’t help my business – it actually hurts it , there’s certain shit up with which I will not put. And that list includes:

1. Don’t make me the story. If you want to bitch about my dismal IQ, my lack of moral fiber, or my lengthy criminal record, pry your lazy white ass off the sofa long enough to start your own blog and build your own audience. Because you’re not going to do it on my time or in my space.

2. If you actually have an idea, by all means, agree or disagree with me as vigorously as you like. If, like State Rep Anna Moeller, you refer to me as “rude and obnoxious,” I’ll give you bonus points for creativity. But if you insist upon engaging in the kind of stupidity I simply cannot condone, not only will you be prevented from commenting on the blog, but you will be added to my already lengthy 140 person Facebook blocked list.

Put more simply, since you can’t fix stupid, I’m not even gonna try.

3. This really is a subset of point 2, but if, after I make a well-reasoned argument while providing a reasonable amount of evidence, and someone demands that I provide more proof while failing to offer anything other than, “I think you’re wrong because that’s what I think,” you’re gone!

And that’s especially true if you continue to press me after I explain that the time I spend on Quick Hits has to be finite.

Again! Pry your lazy white ass off the couch long enough to do your own damn homework and logically rebut my point, or perhaps you can pay me to research the requested data. But to demand that I perform your due diligence at no charge? All I can say is the entitlement mentality of some of ya’ll is way beyond the fuckin’ pale.

4. Before you go after me, please consider my entire body of work. The fact that we’ve agreed 75 percent of the time – or even half the time – should count for something. But if you’re one of those folks who insists that I think in lockstep with you – something that would certainly give me a migraine – you’re gone!

With that out of the way, let’s continue the conversation.

 

Yikes!

Apparently, I’m not going to get to that why the U-46 School District should be broken up conclusion today. We’ll save that for the New Year, which will give me plenty of time to re-gird my loins for even more annoying responses.

Quick Hits – December 20, 2017

U-46 really is too big – Part 2

Despite the imminent pitchfork and torch armed mob’s arrival, let’s continue the conversation regarding the fact that U-46 should be broken up into two or three smaller school districts. Since I’m shocked I’ve made it as far as 59 anyway, I have absolutely no problem diving into the whole angels and fools thing.

What’s particularly amusing about this debate is, everyone asks me to provide all sorts of proof, but they fail to offer the scantest support for their bigger is better theory. Of course, my best evidence is twelve years covering government entities of all shapes and sizes and, with rate exception, the bigger they are, the more problematic and difficult they are to manage.

u46

Put more simply, without casting any aspersions on anyone in U-46, there are limits to what one central team in one central office can accomplish on behalf of 40,400 diverse students spread out over 90 square miles. That’s why it’s called the law of diminishing returns.

And when I say “diminishing returns,” as it is with any profession or business, I also mean the pool of truly talented individuals only runs so deep. And this statistical reality puts any extra-large school district at yet another distinct disadvantage. By virtue of its very size, U-46 is frequently forced to settle for various shades of mediocrity.

I’ve seen it firsthand!

To make that matter so much worse, the people who prefer being a small cog in such a large gear tend to be those who embrace a lack of accountability. Have you ever tried to get a large corporation to admit who actually made the mistake? Given the opportunity to become a U-46 or St. Charles administrator, I’d choose D303 every time.

All that said, an alternative to a district breakup would be to implement the kind of borough-like system New York City uses to make administering that behemoth much more manageable. U-46 could install three sub-superintendents with offices in Elgin, Streamwood, and Bartlett, all of whom would report back to the CEO. It would be far more efficient than the current setup, and whatever extra salaries would be required would be offset by the new efficiencies.

But the best reason U-46 should be downsized is the district’s size inexorably turns it into a proxy war battleground.

To wit, U-46 is the largest Illinois school district in which board members are elected and not appointed. Since school boards deal with two of our most precious commodities – children and money – U-46 has become an unofficial arena for board members on both partisan sides to push an ideological agenda that has absolutely nothing to do with student performance and welfare.

Would the Edgar County Loons have descended upon U-46 if it weren’t for its size, the potential publicity, and certain board members’ propensity to resort to a purely political divide? Nope!

Think about all the time wasted on pointless overflow board meetings, pointless board bickering by both factions, and carpet baggers trying to turn the district into a self-serving ideological war of attrition.

Name another Illinois school district where this kind of insipid warfare has raged on for three long years? Don’t bother trying, because you can’t do it.

Some folks did reasonably argue that, were U-46 to be divided, it would cost them the Larkin Academy and a few other benefits only large districts can offer. Why? Since the Great Recession, to keep property taxes down, municipalities are cooperating on heavy equipment purchases like snow plows, fire trucks and specialized police vehicles. And they’re putting on multi-municipality fireworks displays, too.

Then a couple of people asked, “What if these new districts don’t cooperate?” That’s not evidence, that’s fear, and fear never gets us anywhere. I’d like to think that the folks who teach our children to cooperate would be able to adhere to the same low standard.

Other folks argued that property taxes would skyrocket if the district was divided, but they cited Bartlett’s earlier attempt to secede from the district, which was an entirely different proposition.  I’m sure costs would go up in the short run, but if it significantly improves the prospect of student success – as I strongly suspect it would – isn’t it worth that temporary short-term cost?

Bleep! I’m going overtime again. That means you can look forward to my conclusion in part three on Friday.  (If I live that long.)

Quick Hits – December 18, 2017

Going forward…

Considering campaigns will soon start heating up, the due diligence required to bring you the kind of stories the newspapers can’t handle, my business coach (Brian Basilico) is correctly kicking my ass to move forward with Forward Communication, and I desperately need to get my ‘So You Wanna Win a Local Election’ book out there, Quick Hit’s might be a little more sporadic going forward.

I may shift it to Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I’ll definitely be taking the week between Christmas and New Year’s off.

Meanwhile, please keep those stories coming! There’s a whole lot of you, but only one of me so I always appreciate your willingness to reach out.

 

Get Matt Brennan’s book!

With the above stipulation issued, I thought it would be fun to start with a purely positive piece.

Yesterday, former suburban Sun-Times reporter Matt Brennan and I were engaged in yet another interesting political discussion, when I asked him how his new book was doing.

You see, instead of bitching and whining about the downfall of local newspapers, Matt, who toiled for the Courier and Beacon-News at the same time I did, built a new career as a Marketing Copywriter. In that very regard, in May, he published a book called ‘Write Right – Sell Now, How to Create Content That Will Grow Your Business’

Write Right - Sell Now: How to Create Content That Will Grow Your Business by [Brennan, Matthew]

It’s a book I highly recommend to anyone who needs to get their Net messaging right – an often-daunting proposition. Please don’t mistake the fact it’s a short and easy read for a lack of pithiness, because that’s clearly not the case.

I forget the name of the astute writer who said this, but truer words than this were never spoken; “Oh! You want it short? That’ll cost you twice as much!”

“My business has also been going well,” Matt said, “Essentially, I help businesses and organizations tell stories that sell. Over the last year I’ve had an increase in technology clients, whether it’s some sort of app development, IT, or tech hardware.”

Please pick up a copy of his book, and here’s where you can find Matt if you need him!

 

Ain’t that the truth!

The opening spoken word line on N.E.R.D.’s first song off their current album, ‘No_One Ever Really Dies,’ is, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

Yep!

 

U-46 really is too big!

So, yesterday I foolishly entered the Facebook fray regarding conservative Illinois State Rep and GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives’ assertion that the U-46 School District needs to be broken up. She said some smaller districts needed to be consolidated as well.

I’m happy – and pleasantly surprised – to report that it was a generally civil debate, despite the fact that the always fascinating ultra-rightwing U-46 school board member, Jeanette Ward, openly supports Ives’ theory.

Ives Ward

But all inspirational civility aside, I was confounded that I was the only one sitting squarely on the break it up side. It’s actually something I’ve fervently espoused since my family lived in Streamwood from 1991 to 1998.

But before we go there, let’s make a point of leaving the Chicago Public School system out of the mix. They’re an utter anomaly because the statutes governing Cook County bear no resemblance to what’s required of any other Illinois county. And CPS is a massive mess, too.

Back to the issue at hand!

U-46 regularly contends with 40,400 students, making it 41 percent bigger than the next largest school district, Rockford 205. And any time you can say “41 percent bigger” in regard to what’s ultimately a management quandary, it becomes a problem by default. There’s a reason no other Illinois district crosses the 30,000-student boundary.

Yes! CEO Tony Sanders does a great job, a caveat Larry Jones and I regularly repeated on the radio show. But we’re not always going to have Tony. Having to manage that many schools and that many students, by its inherently unwieldy nature, is going to be problematic for all but the top-of-the-line of CEO’s and superintendents.

Remember, we’ve all seen that not all leaders are created equal.

Look no further than former Superintendent Connie Neal and whomever had the gig when my family lived in Streamwood in the mid 90’s. The district essentially descended into the kind of civil war that I haven’t seen before or since. We moved to Geneva on the sole basis of being utterly unwilling to send our sons to U-46 schools.

Former Superintendent Jose Torres was certainly a vast improvement over Neal, but even someone of his great intellect had trouble holding it all together. Even though he certainly has the communications skillset, Tony Sanders does it by working the kind of hours that would kill most mortal men.

Because of the challenges that size brings, U-46 consistently runs the risk of hiring a CEO or superintendent who’s doomed to fail them. There’s a reason we four-wheelers can’t simply step up and drive a semi with that CDL license. Breaking up U-46 would go a long way towards mitigating this indisputable and unnecessary risk.

Not only that, but the needs of the students U-46 serves are so disparate, they’d be better served if it was split into three separate districts:

  • Bartlett, South Elgin, Wayne
  • Elgin
  • Streamwood, Hanover Park, Schaumberg, Hoffman Estates, etc…

Granted, that’s a vast oversimplification that doesn’t take facility age into account, but think about it! Three 14,000 student school districts would be a far more manageable proposition. Heck! Two 20,500 student school districts would be a far better option.

Holy crap! I’ve already crossed the 1k word mark! We’ll continue this U-46 conversation on Wednesday.

Quick Hits – December 15, 2017

It ain’t over until the men and women in black sing

Alright my socially liberal brothers and sisters! Let’s all take a deep breath in 2…3…4…5; hold it 2…3…4…5; and exhale 2…3…4…5!

Better? Good! Now, trust me, the sky isn’t falling.

dont-tread-on-net2

I know the scurrilous Orangeman just dispensed with Net Neutrality, but within a mere hour of that errant FCC ruling, the appropriate lawsuits were already filed. Since it’s going to take quite a while for those cases to wind their way up to the Supreme Court, there’s no need to start hoarding bandwidth just yet.

Furthermore, every public utility – and the Net is a public utility – has had to fend off this kind of blatant corporate monopolistic power grab in its time. And thankfully, the courts almost always rule in favor of the public.

Remember when SBC, as they were called back then, tried to force their competitors to pay for using “their pipes” as they put it? Considering it was the consumers who paid for those “pipes” via a tax on every phone bill, that effort didn’t go too well for one of my least favorite companies.

So, buck up my progressive compatriots! That Hulu episode of Dr. Who ain’t gonna slow down and start pixelating just yet. And when you consider our President’s vast capacity to shoot himself in various body parts, he may be gone long before the loss of Net Neutrality brings darkness down across the land.

 

If there was any doubt before…

There ain’t any more. Even Donald Trump called newly elected Alabama Senator Doug Jones to congratulate him on his upset victory. But Roy “God is always in control” Moore still refuses to do the right thing and concede.

Think about it! Our generally belligerent and tone-deaf president was more gracious than our failed senate candidate. That’s something I never thought I’d say!

roy-moore-2e10d9314e8607a9

Moore is clinging to the beyond false hope that a mere 1,500 outstanding military ballots will someone offset Jones’ 21,000 vote lead. Of course, when you consider the women he “dated,” Moore never was very good at math.

There may not be many of ‘em left, but one of the few remaining political niceties is congratulating your opponent when they’ve won the race. Moore’s outright refusal to perform that simple task speaks volumes.

It may be terrifying to some, but I say it’s fascinating to watch the national Republican Party implode under the weight of its capacity to sink lower than anyone ever thought they possibly could.

 

A new Kane County Board attorney

In yet another non-news story, the Daily Herald reported that Kane County Board attorney Patrick Kinnally is moving on. While it’s certainly worth noting that Kinnally consistently preformed admirably in the face of a situation that most closely resembles herding cats, that clearly wasn’t the DH’s focus.

No! Once again, their local reporter used this “opportunity” to take yet another shot at Chairman Chris Lauzen. Of course, when Karen McConnaughay was Chairman, this reporter completely failed to make any mention of the fact that Ken Shepro was her personal attorney, the County Board attorney, and he represented developers who did business with the county.

lauzen 2

I’m convinced Ken’s real middle name is “Conflict of Interest.”

So, in an effort to get the Daily Herald to finally cover some real news, let’s, once and for all, stipulate that Chairman Lauzen:

  • Doesn’t always play well with others
  • Tends to take things personally
  • May not be the most forgiving at times
  • Doesn’t like to hear the word “no” from an attorney

But he has managed to keep the property tax levy flat, and all of those bullet points tend to apply to yours truly, as well as most of his detractors.

Using Kinnally’s quiet departure to attack the Chairman – again – is the worst kind of low hanging fruit journalism. What’s next? Lauzen cuts the tags off mattresses and rebroadcasts games without Major League Baseball’s express written consent?

Meanwhile, of today’s 24 main section DH articles, only nine of them cover local issues. If you take out the two Crystal Lake stories which really don’t apply here, that makes it just seven.

As one of my favorite former editors likes to say, “The Daily Herald is a mile wide and an inch thick.” Yep!

 

Ives has NO shot

So, all the sudden all the newspaper pundits are trying to tell us that State Rep Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) not only has a shot at unseating Governor Rauner, but she might just get by the Democratic gubernatorial nominee as well.

I can tell you the answers to those two suppositions are a definitive “no” and “no!”

Ives

And I can tell you this because Illinois Republicans are so mired in that Einsteinian definition of insanity that they simply keep doing the same thing over and over again. And the same thing is:

1. The Democratic governor either goes to jail or does something so stupid it opens the door to a Republican candidate. (Who might just end up in jail, too!)

2. The electorate, fed up with Illinois politicians, falls for all that “government should be run like business” bullshit and elects a businessman.

3. But since political progress always depends upon consensus building, running it like a business inevitably fails, and the faithful start to lose faith in their messiah who was somehow going to save them from themselves.

4. Then, when their “conservative” candidate develops a chink in their Republican social issue armor, despite a host of previously ignored shortcomings, the faithful rise up and demand yet another true believer come forth to supplant the infidel.

5. And one always does! But though they might successfully primary the pretender, running on a social issue platform in a purple state damns them to defeat at the hands of whatever dismal candidate the Democrats manage to come up with.

6. Then we’re right back to the same kind of supermajority shit that got us into this fiscal mess in the first place.

Like the shampoo bottle says, then it’s “rinse, lather, and repeat.”

When are Illinois Republicans and Republican voters going to wise up and get smart? On second thought, don’t answer that question. It would be far too depressing.

Quick Hits – December 13, 2017

A win for common sense – I think!

I’m not sure if I should be shocked that Democrat Doug Jones beat Roy Moore in that infamous Alabama race, or shocked that a pedophile lost a senate seat by a scant half-percent (21,000 votes).

171210-roy-moore-doug-jones-se-900p_f5af78faf6030d564f913984253e3f21

But all fence-sitting aside, that in no way changes these truths:

  1. That Donald Trump “magic” is wearing off faster than anyone expected.
  2. The average “Christian” voter is finally catching up with some GOP candidates’ blatant hypocrisy.
  3. This Alabama race bodes very poorly for all 2018 Republican candidates, especially if black voters continue to turn out at that 30 percent clip.
  4. Women still matter in Alabama.

But I would advise all those flexing-their-new-muscles Democrats to hold off on the celebratory backslapping, because voters did not embrace their platform, they simply repudiated Trumpism.

So, while this special election and the Virginia governor’s race are certainly auspicious signs, the current Democratic messaging machine reminds more of a 1987 Yugo with 346,000 miles on it than a 2018 Mercedes S-Class Sedan coming straight off the lot. If Democrats truly want to be the party of inclusion, that includes finding a way to reach all those working-class folks who felt the Party left them behind.

The fact that Moore came that close shows the Republicans are way ahead in the spin game.

All that said, considering this almost impossible Alabama result, real Republicans need to take their party back now, or risk having nothing to take back. The fact that a sitting president, Christian ministers and a slew of Republican Congressmen supported, and even endorsed Moore, should not have been tolerated for even ten seconds.

And if the GOP doesn’t stop pandering to their rabid old white male base, the Republican Party will die right along with them.

 

A Republican that gets it!

As a result of Elgin Community College Trustee Jeff Meyer’s leadership and capacity to build consensus, that board just voted to keep their property tax levy flat for the foreseeable future. Jeff explained the fiscal math, but you pretty much need an accounting degree to understand it.

Jeff Meyer

So, while the Tea Party rants and raves about social issues, and those Springfield politicians pay particular homage to the ever deepening partisan divide, Jeff Meyer successfully brought a fiscally conservative policy to fruition.

Take note Republicans! Regularly shrieking about the falling sky ain’t the answer. This is the only way that true political progress ever transpires.

 

This isn’t the real danger

If you read the papers this morning, you probably saw the story about the 43 year-old Chicago man who attempted to abduct a 13 year-old St. Charles girl as she walked home from the school bus stop. God bless the young woman who escaped her attacker by biting him.

Earlier in the week, as an 11 year-old Naperville girl exited her school bus, she was approached by a motorist who asked if she needed a ride. That smart girl ran to adult who immediately reported it to the police.

stranger danger

These rare incidents are certainly the stuff of parental nightmares, but I want to remind everyone that 85 to 95 percent of sexual abuse victims were “groomed” by their eventual attackers, who turned out to be family friends, an authority figure or a relative.

So, while it’s certainly worthwhile to teach our children about stranger danger, it’s far more important to apply the kind of spider sense that automatically notes when an adult is paying far too much attention to one of our children. A suddenly withdrawing child is another danger sign.

The bottom line is, though those newspaper reports tend to make us fear and believe otherwise, the real sexual abuse threat to our children almost always comes from within.

 

It only seems to get worse

Insiders are telling me that Lark Cowart’s impending departure from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s juvenile division is sending that already troubled group into a complete tailspin. I want to be clear that my sources do not include Ms. Cowart, who hasn’t had a negative thing to say about her soon-to-be former employer or co-workers.

McMahon 2

The problem, once again, goes back to absentee State’s Attorney Joe McMahon, who’s far more interested in using his position to move up than he is in serving the people who elected him.

Since juveniles have no political power, and juvenile justice generally doesn’t make the right headlines, McMahon seems all too ready, willing and able to let that division twist in the wind at a time when it really requires his undivided attention.

Thankfully, there’s still time to right the ship, and considering what’s at stake, I certainly hope that turns out to be the case.

Quick Hits – December 11, 2017

A few good candidates?

Apparently, that’s too much to ask, because when I look at the gaggle running for Illinois governor, I automatically reach for two or three Xanax.

Bruce Rauner has been a dismal failure at a time Illinois can’t afford another dismal failure. Considering that the National Review just called him “the worst Republican governor in the country,” I’m actually starting to feel somewhat sorry for him, but not sorry enough to shed a tear when the voters inevitably send him packing.

Oh! And apparently he’s not in charge, either.

biss-kennedy-rauner-pritzker-combo

State Rep Jeanne Ives is, once again, going out of her way to prove that Republicans can’t let go of the social issues that consistently doom their electoral hopes in this solidly purple state. She may make it out of the GOP primary, but she has absolutely no shot against whomever the Democratic nominee might be.

And speaking of Democratic nominees, that’s exactly what J. B. Pritzker will be, but to quote the great Harry Chapin, “He’s nothing yet to make the folks write home.” The only reason Pritzker is leading this sad Democratic pack is he has more money than any of the other contestants.

His entire platform, “I’m not Donald Trump” and “I’m not Governor Rauner who is Donald Trump,” hardly builds much confidence. Granted, platitudes tend to win campaigns, but I’d like some idea of how he plans to work with Mike Madigan to pull us back from the fiscal abyss.

Can anyone tell me why Chris Kennedy is running? Even he doesn’t seem too terribly excited about it. Considering his money and the family name, his may well be the worst gubernatorial campaign I’ve ever seen.

Scott Lee Cohen with his “I didn’t know my girlfriend was a prostitute” slogan ran a better race than Kennedy has.

Daniel Biss? Though I’ve heard he’s actually a decent candidate, if you can’t get the running mate part right, what makes you think we should trust you to run the state?

All I can say is, God help the Land of Lincoln!

 

It gets worse

Given their abysmal track records, there’s nothing more I’d like to see than 14th District Congressman Randy Hultgren and his 6th District counterpart, Peter Roskam, be sent home by the voters – to some other state. But despite the current Trump solicited Republican vulnerability, neither possibility will come to pass.

Why not you ask? Because there are seven Dems running for Roskam’s seat and five are taking a crack at Hultgen.

prrhpt33016-1024x576

Not only is it incredibly difficult to find your way out of that kind of primary pack, but if you do, you’ll have burned whatever limited campaign funds you have, and your message tends to get lost in the crowd. And if any of them go negative before March 20, a likely possibility, they’re only doing the Republicans’ dirty work.

Meanwhile, with no primary challengers, Hultgren and Roskam simply get to sit back and watch the festivities.

My fondest wish is that the Illinois Democrats could’ve somehow picked the two candidates most likely to pick our errant Congressmen off. Beyond the basic pack mentality problem, most of them have absolutely no shot at winning those seats in two generally Republican districts.

When you consider the time, effort and money that goes into a Congressional campaign, it’s hard to watch these hopefuls bang their heads against the political wall.

I’ve said it before! Not all backroom deals are bad. The problem is, the Republican Party is much better at this game and, until the national Democrats catch up, Roskam and Hultgren will continue to rack up election victories.

Five or seven primary candidates is not the way to beat an incumbent folks!

 

It ain’t just the Democrats

In what can only be described as the equal and opposite reaction to Kane County Chairman Chris Lauzen running a number of candidates against sitting board members, Wayne attorney Ken Shepro was just appointed chairman of the Kane County Republican Party.

Circuit Clerk Tom Hartwell stepped down from that position last week because you can’t run for judge and hold a party office.

ar-160319754

If you recall, Shepro was the board attorney under former Chairman Karen McConnaughay, and, in an effort to keep him from focusing on the Coroner’s race, he was Lauzen’s primary opponent in 2016.

Shepro will hold the GOP Chair until at least until March when the party precinct committeemen will take the official vote.

Perhaps I’m beyond naïve, but even though they clearly aren’t on each other’s Christmas card list, I’m fervently hoping these two eminently intelligent men can put their past differences aside and work for the betterment of the Kane County Republican Party.

Because if they can’t find a way to come together, or at least peacefully coexist, the Democrats have a real chance of flipping the county board this round.

It’s not that I have a dog in that fight – some of my best friends are Democrats – I’m simply reporting on a possibility as I perceive it.

Quick Hits – December 8, 2017

Political odds and ends

With all the nominating paperwork in and hopeless write-in candidates the only remaining option, let’s quickly cover the stragglers who turned their nominating petitions in at the end of the filing period.

As expected, Jack Cunningham filed his paperwork on Monday to limit the possibility of a challenge. It was a smart move as he has been thrown off the ballot before (and no one caught his major 2014 error).

 

This time, Jack’s signature sheets are rock solid, so he will face his former Chief Deputy, Stan Bond, in the March 20 primary. Again, I think Cunningham will win this one without breaking much of a sweat.

Meanwhile, though I typically applaud anyone with the cojones to throw their hat in the ring, Nicolas “Nico” Jimenez also entered that race on the Democratic side, making Don Quixote’s capacity to tilt at windmills pale by comparison.

If you recall, Nico, tried to unseat 18th District County Board member, Drew Frasz, in the abundantly Republican Blackberry Township, and he lost big. Considering the still Republican leaning Kane County voters, whether it’s Bond or Cunningham, the result will be the same.

One of the cardinal rules of running for office is to pick a race you can win. With today’s 24/7 news cycle, two losses, and especially two large losses, in a row makes it almost impossible to win the next one. So, while I certainly appreciate his enthusiasm, my fervent wish is that Mr. Jimenez had chosen a bit more wisely.

Treasurer Dave Rickert also submitted his paperwork on Monday, but that timing is immaterial because, even if he had an opponent, he’s virtually unbeatable. He’s done a great job with that office and, considering all of his input into my impending ‘So You Wanna Win a Local Election’ book, he’d be a tough target regardless of his record.

 

But no PCs!

This one continues to baffle me.

The Tea Party’s biggest mistake, among many, is their abject failure to get precinct committeemen elected. They didn’t even bother to slate very many! They were so busy with their silly social issue stances, they never quite figured out where the real political power lies.

Granted, our light speed media culture has rendered the old-school PC worker bee somewhat obsolete, but they, and only they, elect the local party leaders. And if you control the party leaders, you control the party.

Despite this all-to-obvious reality, with the exception of Aurora and Elgin, every even-year election sees a precipitous drop in the number of folks willing to get the 10 signatures necessary to serve as precinct committeeman.

To wit, there are 169 non-city of Aurora/Elgin precincts and, right now, only 69 have GOP PC candidates, while a mere 47 PC candidates are running on the Democratic side. Were I elected chairman of either party – a prospect that terrifies me even more than Donald Trump – that’s the first thing I’d attempt to address.

 

Crain’s gets it right!

Fed up with trolls and stupid people, and there are plenty of both, Crain’s Chicago Business just eliminated all reader commentary on their website. This eminently smart move eliminates the impossible tasks of enforcing non-anonymity rules and trying to keep the worst offenders from regularly destroying the conversation.

Crains-Chicaog-Business-logo

Readers can still comment on Facebook where’s it much easier to block and moderate the chicken shit readers who can’t seem to muster the courage to use their real names.

Crain’s, the last Illinois bastion of real journalism, did the right thing.

 

It must be something in the water

All Kane County cities have an overarching personality. Though I’m not terribly fond of the motto, Elgin really is The City in the Suburbs. Aurora’s is based on the kind of diversity that being Illinois’ second largest city brings

Geneva is the City of Whites, St. Charles embodies a mature calmness, and Batavia always seems to feel like the lost Tri-Cities stepchild. Sugar Grove, Elburn and Pingree grove are experiencing growing pains. North Aurora is a bit insular, Carpentersville is the working man’s town, and Gilberts and Maple Park have retained their rural flair.

But Huntley is fucking nuts!

Huntley

Don’t get me wrong, every municipality has issues, but Huntley’s most recent claim to fame is three well-reported racist attacks revolving around the high school since last February. One of them included blatantly bigoted pamphlets taped to lockers.

That wouldn’t normally be enough for me to dismiss an entire town, but when you add my experience as a travel soccer coach, all this negative news doesn’t surprise me in the least.

The parents were nuts, the coaches were more nuts and the players, especially the middle school girls, were downright petulant and nasty. Then they’d all concoct the tallest of tales to absolve themselves of any responsibility for their boorish behavior.

This, of course, begs the question, can you prescribe Prozac to an entire village?