Quick Hits – Joe McMahon Was Never There – Part One!

First, I want to thank those sources who, once again, made sure The First Ward was the first to break the news that, after two-and-a-half dismal terms, Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon will not be seeking reelection in 2020.

Of course, in his letter to the press, McMahon tried to spin his disastrous tenure thusly:

It is my hope that my successor maintains the integrity, professionalism and commitment to justice that has been so important to me and my colleagues over the last 10 years. The citizens of Kane County deserve no less.

Joe! Perhaps if you repeat that paragraph often enough, you might actually start to believe it.

The truth is, McMahon’s administration was marred with an utter lack of staff supervision, across-the-board incompetence, arrogance, vindictiveness, and a vast unwillingness to apply justice as it was intended to be applied.

Joe McMahon

To put that statement in perspective, my journalistic efforts have coincided with both former SAO John Barsanti’s and McMahon’s terms. And while I’d receive about one complaint a year about John – none of which came from attorneys or former prosecutors, the multiple weekly complaints about McMahon were primarily from attorneys and former prosecutors.

And that all starts with McMahon’s vast political naivete, and that starts with the fact he was appointed and never had to run a contested election.

McMahon was excellent with the press, but how someone that smart has absolutely no clue as to the political consequences of his actions consistently baffles me and many others. Even when we were on good terms and I helped him navigate the Chairman and the County Board, he never really “got it.”

Yes! Chairman Chris Lauzen can be difficult to deal with, but he’s equally as easy to please. And all the other Collar County chairmen have similar personalities, so it’s not as if he’s some sort of rarity. Have you ever met McHenry County’s Jack Franks?

I was just one of the folks who warned McMahon NOT to make Civil Division head Joe Lulves the County Board attorney, but he wouldn’t listen. And once Lulves pulled his typical arrogant and dismissive BS with the Chairman, all bets were off and Lauzen’s and McMahon’s relationship never recovered. The sad result was a host of pointless infighting and a whole lot of wasted time.

And McMahon’s inexplicable overarching obliviousness was greatly compounded by his addiction to pursuing fame and glory. Sure, the periods where he was rarely in the office were problematic, but they weren’t nearly as questionable as the fact his head was never in it. He was always on the lookout for something “better.”

First, it was that federal prosecutor gig, and when that fell through, it was the Cook County Jason Van Dyke prosecution. McMahon can say he was “appointed” to that gig till he’s blue in the face, but while every other Illinois state’s attorney hid in the bathroom when that fateful call came, McMahon actively sought the jop. He thought that taking that case would be his ticket to a downtown law firm.

In the end, it may well tun out to be, but that only comes on the backs of the shortchanged Kane County voters because, as the Good Book says, “no man can serve two masters.”

So, when McMahon, First Assistant Jodie Gleason, and misdemeanor head Joe Cullen spent months in Chicago, the frontline staff were cast adrift with no guidance or direction to the point where one insider said they felt like they were being “thrown to the wolves.”

Office morale plummeted to the point where that Peck Road and Route 38 entrance became the kind of revolving door where they could barely keep up with replacing the departing staff. Those who did remain didn’t even know to whom they were supposed to report.

My favorite revelation was the one where the new prosecutor quit by leaving a sticky note on his supervisor’s office door.

Generally left to their own devices, any notion of prosecutorial discretion went right out the window. The theory was, “Charge ‘em all and let the judges sort it out,” but that’s not the way it’s supposed to work. The current KCSAO legal theory looks a lot more like fascism than any kind of justice.

As I proved in this February 2018 column, despite the local newspaper reports, there has been no significant increase in Kane County felony cases since 2014. That number is remarkably consistent. What has changed is Chief Felony Prosecutor Bill Engerman absolutely refuses to separate the wheat from the chaff, and let me tell you, some judges are NOT amused that this blatant abrogation of responsibility then falls on their black dressed shoulders.

 

Since I’m taking four well-earned days off writing, on Monday, part two will cover the massive failures of the civil division, how the KCSAO libeled acquitted defendants, the still unfolding sexual harassment scandal, and why Joe McMahon is really leaving.

Quick Hits Breaking News – Joe McMahon is Not Running

A number of sources just told me that Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon called his senior staff into his office this afternoon to announce he’s not running for reelection.

McMahon

It’s really no surprise because his heart and head have never been in this gig. Always on the lookout for fame and glory, he’s the epitome of the absentee boss.

Some folks say he’s aiming for associate judge, but really? The guy who was never in the office suddenly wants to work weekends, be perpetually on call, and do weddings? Nope!

What this means is chief felony prosecutor Bill Engerman will likely run in his place and Engerman has more skeletons in his closet that Hannibal Lechter. Trust me, it will be a very fascinating proposition

We’ll delve into this a lot more in tomorrow’s Quick Hits!

Quick Hits – The Straight Pride Parade is Bleepin’ Hilarious!

Since some of you bleeps love to read just the column title and summarily dismiss the rest of the piece, please let me preempt your prejudicial practice by stridently declaring I’m as socially liberal as they come – with exception of firmly believing in personal responsibility.

Ironically, the lack thereof is one of the few things that regularly brings conservatives and progressives together. With that stipulation out of the way, let’s proceed!

On August 31, the city of Boston, Massachusetts, will play host to the first ever Straight Pride Parade, and just like those impending Fourth of July fireworks, liberal heads have been serially exploding since the event organizers won a lawsuit forcing Beantown to issue a parade permit.

Milo

The Fabulous Milo!

So, now I’m going to type really slowly so progressives can finally see the abundance of humor permeating this rather preposterous proposition.

First, the group planning the parade calls themselves “Super Happy Fun America” which sounds a lot more like a Japanese toothpaste marketing campaign slogan than a white supremacist group. I know this because the average white supremacist’s sense of humor sits somewhere south of the liberal variety.

Second, parade organizer John Hugo prefaced the one-of-a-kind event with, “Perhaps one day straights will be honored with inclusion and the acronym will be LGBTQS. Until that time, we have no other choice but to host our own events.”

“I’ll stake Satire for $600, Alex!”

Third, SHFA whose motto is “It’s Great to be Straight,” not only enlisted a gay parade ambassador, but they slated openly gay conservative activist Milo Yiannopoulos to be the grand marshal. And the only thing gayer than Yiannopoulos is Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ video.

Lastly, three parade organizers recently received suspicious envelopes in the mail only to discover they contained glitter. Now, I generally wouldn’t recommend speciously getting the FBI involved in anything, but that really is freakin’ hilarious. Hey! It’s a lot better than Chicago aldermen bombing their own ward office just to get more press.

C’mon liberals! It’s a joke, and it’s a really good one, too. It’s the kind of satire and hyperbole that has Andy Kaufmann laughing his ass off from the great beyond. Please tell me you understand that this is not an attack on your version of morality or your generally delicate sensibilities.

Considering that we white males are kinda down and out right now – you know – toxic masculinity, microaggressions, Ellen, hostile college campuses, Colin Kaepernick, priestly pedophiles, Oprah, Betsy Ross flag Nikes, and Bruce…I mean Caitlyn Jenner, this is a far better response to a cultural sea change than anything the Republican Party would typically concoct.

With some notable exceptions, we’re not all cads!

Though I’m getting a little old for them, I love Pride Parades. They’re a blast! Our LGBTQRXZ and sometimes Y brothers and sisters really know how to celebrate something. But having been to more than my share, to some degree, they’re a lot more about getting stoned and acting accordingly than they are about any kind of pride.

So, why should anyone be surprised if someone wants to have a little fun with the entire concept?

In that very vein, were I a proud member of the LGBTQ community, I’d immediately co-opt the event by coming up with a float that makes blistering fun of straight folks which really wouldn’t prove to be all that difficult.

It would start with a shirtless Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin kissing, move onto some portly middle-aged white men wearing white v-neck t-shirts, plaid Bermuda shorts, and sweat socks with black sandals, and end with every anti-gay activist who eventually got caught in a “compromising” position.

As I tell my wife, who still hasn’t quite figured out my wonderful sense of humor after all these years, just go along with the joke because it always makes it more fun. That kind of attitude would actually bring people together as opposed to further driving a wedge between the two communities.

Put more simply, the best way to ensure the Straight Pride Parade’s success is for progressives to spend every waking hour railing against it, or to stage an utterly unnecessary and counterproductive counter-protest. Liberals! For once in your fricken’ self-righteous, guilt ridden, existential angst riddled, and miserable self-loathing lives, please prove you actually have a sense of humor.

Quick Hits – Let the Democratic Self-Destruction Commence!

It certainly didn’t take a degree in theoretical physics for The First Ward to predict that, given the absurd 293 candidate Democratic presidential field, those debaters who either unleashed politically suicidal attacks or engaged in a group sprint to the left would be the ones who got noticed.

Two sets of ten candidates over two separate nights of debates? That ain’t an electoral field, that’s a Women’s World Cup soccer team. Why don’t we just declare Donald Trump the 2020 winner right now?

And those night two frivolities commenced with California Senator Kamala Harris launching the kind of nuclear attack on frontrunner Joe Biden that’s going to take down the entire Democratic party. Of course, the source of the verbal assault was Biden’s 1970’s position against federally mandated busing.

Biden-Harris

For those of you who weren’t alive then – and that includes the vast majority of Biden’s current critics – “busing” was an utterly misguided effort to end the de facto segregation plaguing most major metropolitan schools. The thought was, if you bussed black students into predominantly white schools, not only would it would satisfy that Brown v. The Board of Education ruling, but it would help bring about the end of the de facto practice in general.

But just like it’s impossible to legislate against stupidity, this attempt to impose morality was an unmitigated disaster.

Black parents didn’t want their children bussed to schools up to 12 miles away and white parents didn’t want black children in their schools. Worse yet, white parents feared their progeny would be bussed to inner-city schools in much more dangerous neighborhoods. Things got so bad in Boston that the issue generated riots and violent protests on both sides.

Though I really shouldn’t have to say this, considering one reader’s blatant misinterpretation of my piece on the Dalai Lama, I AM NOT pro-segregation. I’m simply and factually explaining why busing was an abject failure and that you can’t apply today’s morality to a 40 year-old problem.

So, when Biden said busing was “the least effective remedy to desegregate schools” in 1981, he was dead on. In addition to the associated violence, white parents pulled their kids out of the public school system making the problem even worse.

Pease let me also restate that I’ve never been a Biden fan, but I am a fan of anyone who can beat Donald Trump. This isn’t a defense of Uncle Joe, either. It’s yet another attempt to prevent my progressive compatriots from rewriting history.

And the truth is, Harris’ “I was that little girl” attack is so much more than disingenuous.

Biden was specifically opposed to federally mandated busing, which may have fallen in line with those segregationist senators, but they hardly “worked together” on the issue. Biden believed busing should be left to the states, and as it turns out, California’s busing program was, indeed, state driven, not a federal edict. So, Kamala’s Golden State experience had nothing to do with Joe Biden.

Not to be outdone, in an effort to appear four standard deviations to the left of Che Guevarra, various and sundry Democratic contenders seriously mangled the Spanish language as they unanimously insisted that national health insurance should be extended to undocumented immigrants.

Yes! That’s exactly how you get a machinist in Milwaukee to vote for you. And when are the Democrats finally going to figure out that Hispanics don’t vote?

I can’t tell you how much it pains me to agree with Rush Limbaugh, but when he said, “Overall, folks, it is the never-ending portrayal of this country as a land of destitution, hopelessness, discrimination, racism, hatred, bigotry, that I, frankly, have had my fill of…,” he was dead on.

As Bill Maher likes to say, “Republicans govern with no shame while Democrats shame without governing.”

Think about it! JFK made us feel better about ourselves as did Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Donald Trump won by speaking directly into the fears of the receding white majority. But this insistent shaming by Democrats and progressives ain’t gonna get them anywhere. In fact, it’s doing just the opposite.

I’m not asking the Dems to abandon their core beliefs, but as my father used to say when I reacted to someone cutting us off in traffic, “I’ll put the fact that you were right on your tombstone.”

And Harris clearly cut off her nose to spite her face, too. She has absolutely no chance of winning the primary, and if she somehow did, Trump will eat her alive. Some folks were even talking about a Biden-Harris dream ticket, but that certainly ain’t gonna happen, and that’s an opportunity squandered.

If Harris had any shot at getting me to cast a ballot in her favor, in the words of that great philosopher Mick Jagger, “But it’s all over now!”

The Democratic party should have one singular goal – defeating Donald Trump – and the only way they can do that is by providing a reasonably united front and appealing to those swing voters who determine each and every bleepin’ presidential election.

And let me tell ya, those two debates were a terrible way to start.

 

Quick Hits – So, now the Dalai Lama’s the Reincarnation of Archie Bunker?

That’s it! This time they’ve gone too far! So, now the Dalai Lama is the face of intolerance and sexism? Oh lord! Just like His Holiness, I’m a man without a country.

Have I said liberals suck?

In a recent BBC interview in which the sole purpose seemed to be “gotcha” journalism, the Dalai Lama said some things that have my purist progressive compatriots up in arms. The problem, of course, is that most folks fail to understand His Holiness harbors a wonderful sense of humor and they have no clue what Zen Buddhism is really all about.

When asked about the possibility of a female Dalai Lama, His Holiness laughingly replied, “If female Dalai Lama comes, then [she] should be more attractive.” When further pressed, he did admit that statement could be construed as an objectification of women.

Dalai Lama

First, he was having a little fun at his own expense, and second, given the centuries old male dominated Dalai Lama field, he was making the point that a female successor would need every possible advantage to succeed in that role.

I know liberals like to take offense and fear the truth, but that doesn’t change the fact that males tend to respond better to attractive females.

But the comment that really got His Holiness in hot water were those regarding the tide of African refugees flooding into Europe.

He said that while Europe should certainly take in these migrants, it should be only to offer them education and training so that they can better succeed upon returning to “their own land.” He added that only “a limited number” should be allowed to stay on the continent.

“The whole Europe [will] eventually become Muslim country? Impossible. Or African country? Also impossible,” the Dalai Lama said, “It’s better to keep Europe for Europeans.”

As you might imagine, European liberals’ heads collective exploded after he made those statements, but while the U.S., a nation of immigrants, is more than disingenuous when it comes to immigration policy, Europe is under no such karmic obligation.

Perhaps those countries that colonized Africa should shoulder some responsibility for the mess they created, but that’s about as far as it goes. That Statue of Liberty plaque notwithstanding, no country, no matter how prosperous, can simply fling open their doors and let everyone in.

So, His Holiness is right, short of the moral imperative to shelter war and genocide victims, the only way stability will come to Africa if good people stay home and work to change the system from within.

And his “keep Europe for Europeans” declaration demonstrated a clear understanding of the European “culture.”

Americans tend to forget that, by any chronological standard, our country is a young one with a generally homogeneous population. Our similarly homogeneous culture, which is globally dominant, is also incredibly fluid. To its credit, the U.S., has rapidly assimilated every immigrant group from the Irish, to the Chinese, to the Central Americans.

But the same cannot be said about Europe where the cultural underpinnings have existed for millennia – not just a scant two centuries.

We Midwesterners may have occasional trouble understanding our southern brothers and sisters, but during a two week stay in Italy, a nation of just 60 million, I discovered it’s actually three separate countries. There’s the Milanese in the north, the Romans in the center, and the Neapolitans in the south. They generally despise each other and barely speak the same language.

There are separatist movements in Spain, the French are demonstrably xenophobic, England revolves around tradition, the eastern European countries continue to recover from communism, and the Greeks date back to pre-biblical times.

So, after sparsely populated and lily-white Sweden admitted 1.3 million Middle Eastern and African asylum seekers, it turned into an unmitigated disaster. A ’60 Minutes’ film crew was assaulted while covering the story, the immigrants have become a massive drain on the generous Swedish social safety net, and perhaps because of religious differences and an underlying Scandinavian bigotry, there’s no effort by either side to assimilate these new citizens, which means the situation is only going to get worse.

Meanwhile, France is having real difficulty dealing with their primarily Muslim immigrant population who’ve shown no willingness to adapt to their new homeland. That country went as far as banning overtly religious symbols in an effort to rein in the widening schism.

So, His Holiness was dead on in his short analysis of the European migrant situation.

But taking a cue from their conservative counterparts – and always on the prowl to take offense – liberals excoriated the Dalai Lama because it’s so much easier than taking the time to truly understand the issues he correctly addressed.

The bottom line is, if in their pursuit of ideological purity and shaming anyone who isn’t, progressives insist on attacking folks like the Dalai Lama, not only does that bode poorly for our 2020 elections, but, just like a black hole, the liberal movement will eventually collapse under its own weight.

Quick Hits – June 26, 2019

Investigative reporting ain’t cheap!

As a result of posting Shaw Media’s coverage of my FOIA war with the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office on Facebook, one commenter complained that she couldn’t get past the Chronicle’s paywall. When I explained the existence of local newspapers’ is critical and their survival depends on being able to make money, she replied, “I think all news should be free.”

Thank you, Huffington Post!

To be fair, print media should shoulder a great deal of that blame for failing to install Internet paywalls from the get-go. Once you provide your product for free it’s awfully hard to convince people they have to pay for it.

But the truth is, investigative reporting ain’t cheap.

Investigative Journalism

Back when I toiled for the then suburban Sun-Times papers, reporter Dan Campana and I embarked upon a quest to prove just how corrupt former Kane County Chairman Karen McConnaughay really was. And it was a very time-consuming process, particularly on the part of Campana, to compile the pay-to-play data that would prove our point.

Then it took two years of hammering that point home and Chris Lauzen finally running against her to bring fiscal sanity back to the Kane County chairmanship. But as costly as that kind of thing can be, a lack of local investigative journalism will be even more expensive. Because once local government realizes that no one’s watching, the taxpayers will be coughing up far more than the cost of an annual digital newspaper subscription.

And those too-common municipal foibles aren’t necessarily based on nefariousness, either. The kind of egos required to run for local office tend to get those folks into trouble. Here’s a perfect example!

I’m sure, like me, when my Tri-Cities compatriots opened their most recent electric bill, they experienced quite a shock. And the reason for those ridiculous rates, especially in Geneva and Batavia, is their respective mayors, Kevin Burns and Jeff Schielke, thought they were smarter than everyone else.

These two politicians, neither of whom have ever held a real job, thought they could beat the market, and they convinced their city councils to go along with what amounts to a “clean coal” con. The end result? Geneva, Batavia and a host of other Illinois towns will be paying above market electric rates for decades.

The good news is, the local press extensively covered this debacle which otherwise would’ve been swept under the rug. And because of that coverage, Tri-Cities city councils are far less likely make this kind of massive mistake again. Additionally, The First Ward would not have been able to add an opinion angle without that newspaper coverage.

So, suddenly that $76 a year for a Kane County Chronicle subscription sounds like a bargain, doesn’t it?

 

Greg Elsbree for county chairman? I love fairy tales!

So, Teamster Union treasurer and Aurora Township Democratic chairman, Greg Elsbree, is running for Kane County chairman? That’s exactly what we need! Haven’t the Teamsters and their union brethren already done enough to destroy the State of Illinois?

Apparently, they don’t think so!

Not to mention that every time I find myself in the same room with Elsbree I suddenly feel the need to take a three-day shower. I’ve covered all manner of politicians in the last 13 years and I can tell you that very few share his capacity to lie with such incredible ease.

Elsbree

And wait till you hear the reason he’s running!

Elsbree says current Chairman Chris Lauzen didn’t do enough to settle last summer’s probation officer’s strike. He claims the Chairman should’ve intervened and provided everything the strikers asked for.

So, let me set the record straight.

First, as I previously explained at great length, given the Illinois Internal Control Statute, a county chairman cannot play mediator in a strike in which the workers don’t report directly to him.

Court Services is an entirely separate county department over which the Chief Judge presides, so the only power a Chairman really has is to set their budget with the advice and consent of the County Board. Had Chairman Lauzen intervened and either side believed he was playing favorites, he would’ve been sued.

So, he was wise to stay out of it.

As far as automatically conceding to the striker’s demands, Chief Judge Susan Clancy-Boles and Court Services Director Lisa Aust knew the probation contract was up when they submitted their budget. But because they firmly believe they’re the two smartest people in any room, they erroneously believed they could squash that proletariat mob with a mere flick of their wrist.

But it didn’t turn out that way did it? The strikes proved their resolve!

And when Aust and Boles came hat in hand to the Chairman, who’s repeatedly promised to keep the tax levy flat, he correctly turned them down, because if he saved them from themselves, what kind of message would that send to every other county office?

We all have to live within our means, right?

Meanwhile, while I was the one providing the rank and file with a reasonable strategy and good advice, the local Teamsters, who had no clue how to handle a public sector strike, were having the already weary workers go door-to-door telling folks the sky was falling.

Yes! That’s how you generate sympathy!

And if Elsbree doesn’t begin to understand those eminently basic government fundamentals, he shouldn’t be running for president of a homeowner’s association. Though if you want to see your taxes skyrocket, he’s your man!

If Chairman Lauzen does run again, and I stridently believe he will, Elsbree won’t even get 40 percent of the vote.

 

How to file a legal motion

Here’s a little bonus content! (Lucky you!)

In preparation of the next step in my FOIA battle with the Kane County State’s Attorne’s Office, I have taken it upon myself to learn how to file a legal motion. C’mon! I’ve already skewered Civil Division head Joe Lulves once, how hard could it be to beat him a second time?

Armed with a template and some fine instruction from one of my favorite female attorneys, I’m in the process of giving it a shot. But what I quickly realized is, even having been a professional programmer, this kind of legal construct is absurdly beyond the pale.

Motion

So, I decided to have some fun with it. And after attorney Jeff Meyer laughed his ass off at my humorous attempt, I thought I’d share it with you. Here’s how an attorney would file a motion to open a door:

1. The petitioner, JEFFREY N. WARD (“Jeff Ward”), is an individual residing in Geneva, Illinois.

2. THE DOOR, hereafter known as “The Door,” is located at the front of that residence.

3. Please note that all the universal laws of physics apply here.

4. The Door is a portal that allows people access and egress to the residence.

5. It is presumed that The Door works as a door should and is not impeded by foreign objects, extraterrestrial intervention, or severe weather conditions.

6. By its very nature, a door is meant to open and close and pretty much not do anything that isn’t doorlike.

7. On June 25, 2019 Jeff Ward decided he wanted to open the door.

8. So Jeff Ward approached said door in a westerly direction stopping 6 inches short of The Door.

9. Once stationary, Jeff Ward reached out his right hand and firmly grasped the doorknob, the part of The Door that moves the latch allowing it to open unimpeded.

10. With his right hand firmly grasping the doorknob, Jeff Ward turned it 60 degrees to the right (clockwise) moving the latch such that it no longer obstructed The Door.

11. With the obstructional latch temporarily removed, Jeff Ward gently pulled The Door towards his body, stepping slightly to his left to let The Door move unimpeded in a sweeping arc to his right.

I could keep on going, but you probably get the idea by now. This is exactly how the “gears” of justice “grind” folks. No wonder most attorneys are completely nuts.

 

Quick Hits Supplemental – A kinda sorta response from the KCSAO!

Technically, it’s been seven days without a direct response from Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon in regard to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office upholding my appeal of their FOIA denial of 255 pages of sexual harassment complaints against just one former prosecutor.

If you recall, this disclosure war has been waging since October, but believe it or not, there has been some movement and it comes at the hands of Shaw Media who deftly dove directly into the FOIA fray.

Shaw Media

My attorney, Jeff Meyer, and I were convinced the KCSAO would continue to ignore both the AG’s order and The First Ward, forcing us to take them to court to secure the documents. But the Kane County Chronicle’s coverage of the story did, indeed, solicit a State’s Attorney response.

And that’s the way it should be. We journalists may be a semi-dysfunctional bunch, but in the end, we all have the same goal – to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. And a great part of that process is to consistently turn a watchful eye towards those government entities that may otherwise try to put one past the taxpayer.

Our most important tool in that regard is the 1967 Freedom of Information Act our print media predecessors fought so hard to make law. This may be a vast oversimplification, but with slim exception, those documents underwritten by the taxpayer must be made available to the taxpayer upon a formal request.

So, when a governmental entity illegally denies one reporter’s FOIA request, they’re denying all of us. That’s why The First Ward jumped to the Daily Herald’s defense after the City of Carpentersville ignored an Attorney General’s 2014 FOIA ruling. The concept of government disclosure is not only critical to investigative journalism, but to the long-term health of a well-functioning Democracy.

So, I want to thank Shaw Media, the Kane County Chronicle, and reporter Brenda Schory for asserting the kind of pressure that forced the KCSAO to respond to the AG’s ruling. But as thrilled as I am with Shaw Media, I’m not at all happy with McMahon’s attempt to use the same sad arguments that have already failed twice.

On the positive side, McMahon did acknowledge the KCSAO’s legal obligations when he told Schory:

We’ll go through documents we have previously produced and if there is a way for us to release additional documents and still comply with these other state laws I have to comply with, that is what we’ll do.

Though I’m not sure what he means by “additional documents.” They’ve already released all 255 pages, it’s just that they redacted all but one sentence.

On the negative side, McMahon added:

The letter from the assistant attorney general disregards some of the important safeguards that are in place to protect the confidentiality rights of alleged victims and witnesses and will have a chilling effect on the willingness of some individuals and witnesses to come forward and report harassment in the future.

No! it doesn’t! If you read the AG’s ruling

FOIA Appeal

they didn’t disregard a damn thing. They covered the cited safeguards at length and made it abundantly clear that the KCSAO fell far short of providing “clear and convincing evidence” for the FOIA denial. What makes them think the third time will be the charm?

The AG quoted me directly while agreeing with my twin assertions that, “The public has a right to know if taxpayer funded offices are resolving sexual harassment complaints in an appropriate manner,” and “Mr. Ward argued that the State’s Attorney’s Office’s sexual harassment policy ‘is just that— policy, and if policies could be considered law, the State’s Attorney’ s Office could implement a series of ‘policies’ that would essentially render them FOIA-proof.”

I also stand by my original argument that:

…aiding and abetting a 6- to 8-year sexual harasser, who generated 255 pages of complaints (Mr. Lulves admits this) during that time, and was only fired when I caught on, is even more deleterious to the complaint process than answering a FOIA request. I know at least 4 female ASA’s who resigned because the KCSAO did nothing to stop this harassment.

Please let me remind the KCSAO that the “trial” is over and as is the time for presenting new evidence. Any further attempt to do so is yet another delaying tactic. Trust me, McMahon’s not nearly concerned with the victims, many of whom have already come forward, as he is in protecting his own posteriors.

So, now we wait to see what final response, if any, will be forthcoming. And if it’s just another lame KCSAO attempt to abrogate the AG’s ruling, this time I will get them issue the binding variety.

The good news is, local journalism may be on life support, but it’s not dead. Just like the Duke of Wellington’s spirit rose when he saw the Prussian army finally arrive on that Waterloo battlefield, I’m thrilled to have Shaw Media covering this story.