Quick Hits – Tomorrow, the Kane County State’s Attorney loses in court!

It’s finally time! I’ve been working on acquiring those 255 pages of sexual harassment documents against just one former KCSAO prosecutor for 13 long months now, and the case heads to court tomorrow!

kendall_county_courthouse1

For those interested in attending – virtually all court proceedings are public – here are the details:

Location:         Kendall County Courthouse, 807 John St., Yorkville, IL

Courtroom:     116

Judge:            The Honorable Melissa S. Barnhart

Date/Time:      November 6, 2019 at 1 p.m.

Please remember that entering a court building means going through security, so adjust your wardrobe and pocket/purse contents accordingly. There shouldn’t be a long court security line in in the afternoon, but you never know.

With no testimony involved, the hearing will proceed directly to final arguments with me, the plaintiff, leading off, and attorney Pat Kinnally following up on behalf of the respondent, Joe McMahon.

Because the burden of proof generally lies with the plaintiff, not only do I speak first, but I will have the opportunity to respond to opposing counsel’s argument. The irony being, given the nature of the FOIA statute, the burden of proof falls squarely on the respondent’s shoulders. And having two opportunities to make my point will certainly be somewhat of an advantage.

Judge Barnhart may rule directly after the case; she may take some time to deliberate and rule later that afternoon; or, what will most likely happen, she will take it under advisement and set a date to issue her ruling.

But I’m convinced that won’t be the end of it. With the law and the precedent overwhelmingly in my favor, when I do prevail, I’m convinced the KCSAO will take it to the Second District Appellate Court. That means, if they don’t reject it outright – the most probable scenario – I may get to argue it in front of an appellate court panel.

And wouldn’t that be something!

Meanwhile, with the exception of a brief synopsis if the judge makes an immediate ruling, as you might imagine, there will be no Quick Hits tomorrow. But I will most certainly be covering the proceedings in Thursday’s Quick Hits.

As I like to say, good journalism should still mean something. Here’s to proving that!

 

Quick Hits – How the felony charging system works

That’s the question I’ve been consistently hearing since I broke what’s very likely to be the real story of the Burlington School District bus aide incident. And those same folks inevitably follow that one up with, “If there’s any doubt she hit the special needs child, how can she possibly be charged with a felony?”

Ah yes! As one of my former sainted Beacon-News managing editors liked to say, “They could indict a ham and cheese sandwich if they really wanted do.” That’s how easy it is. Don’t get me wrong, the system generally works because felony prosecutors don’t like spending time on losing causes, but when a case goes viral like this one, that’s when the system starts to break down.

Please allow me to explain!

If the arresting agency deems the alleged crime falls in the felony category, they put their case together and, depending upon the situation, they either call or submit the paperwork to the on-call felony prosecutor. Neither the police nor sheriff’s deputies can unilaterally file felony charges, they must be approved by the Kane County States Attorney’s Office.

felony_20gavel

But that’s hardly a check and balance because there’s no defense element to the felony determination process. The charging agency is under no obligation to provide exculpatory evidence and they’re well within their rights to present the “facts” in a manner that casts their case in the best light possible.

Though I’m sure you see the potential for abuse, the system tends to work because the state’s attorney’s office would quickly come down on any police department that regularly overcharges defendants.

If the state’s attorney approves the felony charge, the case moves to the indictment stage where the prosecutor takes those “facts” to a grandy jury. They have the ultimate say in whether there’s probable cause for the felony to go forward. And “probable cause” is a far lower standard than beyond any reasonable doubt.

But again, there’s no defense element to this “trial,” which means the prosecutor is under no statutory compunction to tell the whole truth. There’s no right to confront your accuser(s), either.

Both a local judge and attorney reminded me that, even if the prosecution has ten eyewitnesses to the “crime,” nine of whom failed to identify the defendant, they can proceed on the basis of the one positive ID and they don’t have to tell the grand jury about the others. Just as it was with the arresting agency, the prosecutor is under no obligation to present exculpatory evidence at the grand jury point.

That same attorney told me that, thought this part of the felony system is far from perfect, it’s the best one we’ve managed to come up with. And it generally works because even though the grand jury doesn’t get to hear absolutely everything, the judge or jury who eventually tries the case will. For all the obvious reasons, most prosecutors don’t want to develop a reputation for exercising the kind of overreach that means loses felony cases.

Again, the grand jury system tends to fail in high profile cases like the Burlington bus aide, because it’s going to be difficult to find jurors who haven’t heard the news, and the State’s Attorney’s Office will be under immense pressure to convict a person who’s already been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.

Many of you also complained about the press being sensationalistic in this regard, but that’s not a fully accurate assessment.

Yes! I do find myself accusing Shaw Media and the Daily Herald of being nothing more than glorified police blotters. Though even traffic tickets are public record, whenever a newspaper prints an arrest, it basically becomes a conviction in the press.

But that doesn’t mean those editors are violating any ethical standard by running the story. The truth is, that person has been charged, and the charging documents are readily available to anyone at the Circuit Clerk’s office.

Prior to the print media depression, one of those now extinct old school local reporters might’ve questioned whether felony charges were warranted and performed some sort of investigatory groundwork. But with newsroom staffing at an all-time low, that kind of due diligence is out of the question.

So, shortly after a grand jury indictment, the State’s Attorney’s press release hits the newsrooms and all the papers run it virtually verbatim. It’s neither libelous nor unethical, but it isn’t the best journalism, either.

I think the biggest question our bus aide will face is whether to take a misdemeanor conviction plea deal – if offered. And I think it will be offered because sources told me the bus video is not a slam dunk for either side and the burden of proof is on the prosecution. It’s a heck of a lot better than having a class 3 felony on your record, but if you’re truly innocent, even a misdemeanor conviction will be a very hard thing to swallow.

So, now you know how it works and, yes! My former editor was right! A prosecutor can indict a ham and cheese sandwich if they really wanted to. Though it’s rarely abused, the felony charging system completely favors the prosecution. They know the fact you’re charged with a felony can be a very expensive proposition, which might make some defendants accept a plea because they may not be eligible for a public defender, but they can’t afford a vigorous defense, either.

It’s certain not a perfect system and if you have a better idea, I’d love to hear it.

Quick Hits – On Halloween

You’re in for a real treat, Dear Reader! Because the passage below is the chapter on Halloween from my impending ‘The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Life’ book. Enjoy!

 

There is nothing funny about Halloween. This sarcastic festival reflects, rather, an infernal demand for revenge by children on the adult world. – Jean Baudrillard

I despise Halloween with the kind of red-hot passion I typically reserve for drivers who don’t know how to turn left. Here’s why!

As my lovely wife and I were enjoying a lovely mid-October evening stroll, I caught a bright orange glow out of the corner of my left eye. Turning to face the abomination, I sneered, “Would you look at that! One of the bleepin’ neighbors already has their bleepin’ Christmas lights up! There really oughtta be a law…”

But before I could finish my rather inspired rant, my sainted spouse interrupted it with something even more terrifying than Santa Claus in October, “Those aren’t Christmas lights, you idiot! They’re Halloween lights.”

Halloween Sucks

“Halloween lights,” I exclaimed! “They can’t be Halloween lights because there’s no such thing as Halloween lights. Why, when I was a wee lad in Evanston, Illinois, no one dared display Halloween lights. They would’ve been the laughed out of the neighborhood.”

But upon closer examination, to my utter horror, that evening I discovered Halloween lights actually do exist. “Mother of all things holy,” I wailed doing my damndest not to start keening, rending garments and gnashing teeth.

It takes months to recover from the psychological damage inflicted by those optic-nerve-searing yuletide displays, and now we have to deal with another over-the-top holiday? Isn’t being forced to give all manner of disguised and ill-mannered urchins license to infest the neighborhood with their insatiable demand for a sugary tribute horrifying enough?

And the unplugged dioramas are even worse. They’ve gotten completely out of control. We’ll collectively gasp at a teenage Eminem wannabe with the temerity to flash the top of his boxer shorts, but we have no problem exposing two-year-olds to the kind of graphic scenes of blood, gore and dismemberment that Wes Craven couldn’t possibly have imagined.

Though I will say, it’s gonna be fascinating watching the PC people inevitably battle it out with those neighbors who insist on erecting scenes depicting lynchings.

Here’s a thought! If after installing your Halloween display, you’re either temporarily blinded or you can’t see a single blade of grass, you might want to tone it down a bit.

It ain’t all bad. Please don’t tell anyone this, but even this cold-hearted curmudgeon finds some solace in those children who don truly imaginative costumes. But that small pleasure is summarily shattered when a pack of tween girls show up in something that curls your toenails.

And we’re not talking about the good scary, either! As friend and former school board member Anne Blaeske likes to say, “Girls’ Halloween costumes come in three sizes; baby, toddler and slut.”

Do we really have to sexualize every aspect of our teenagers’ miserable middle school lives? Can’t we let them be children for just a little while longer?

But if you thought those costumes were depressing, the fascinating festive apparel they foist on adult women is even worse. Slutty nurse, slutty police officer, slutty firefighter, slutty teacher, and slutty doctor, just to name a few. Exactly when did Halloween became the de facto audition night for strippers?

And exactly when did Halloween become a binge drinking holiday, too? I’m not talking about partying in your basement – though that’s getting out of hand as well – I’m talking about parents’ inability to escort their treat-seeking miscreants a scant block without a bottle of beer in hand.

I considered handing out Bud Lites in lieu of candy this year, but then I realized I’d have to come up with bail money again.

And just when you think your end-of-October ordeal is finally over, dressed only as themselves with pillow cases in hand, the 6-foot-6 high school seniors show up at your front door at 9 p.m. If you so much as scowl at them disparagingly, odds are your house will look a lot like a giant roll of Charmin or the early stages of a Denver omelet the next morning.

C’mon! Halloween used to be a fun fall experience where elementary and middle school children could dress up as something fun and enjoy a bit of candy. But no! As it always is whenever adults get their grubby little hands on something, like the vampires their children love to portray, they suck any remaining vestige of childlike joy right out of it.

This is exactly the kind of thing our “bigger is always better” hyperactively competitive culture loves to engage in. Take something simple like youth sports, school events, or an autumnal celebration and blow it so far out of proportion that no one recognizes it anymore.

Only Americans could take a children’s celebration and turn it into a complete nightmare – and not the fun Elm Street variety, either. Though I suppose that does make it more terrifying than ever.

 

Quick Hits – There’s more to the Burlington bus story!

Just as we thought there’d be. Though stranger things have happened, for someone who served the Burlington Fire Protection District as a firefighter/paramedic with distinction for 35 years to suddenly haul off and slug a special needs second grader was a little hard to fathom.

And as it turns out, that’s not exactly what happened. By the end of this piece, you’ll see that virtually all the evidence indicates the responsibility for this unfortunate incident falls squarely at the feet of D301 School District administrators and particularly Superintendent Todd Stirn.

The parents of this child share some culpability as well.

In fact, the only one who’s truly innocent in all of this is the child whom I’ve learned sits well out on the autism spectrum. Some Facebook folks have done their damndest to paint him as a “juvenile delinquent,” but that’s patently unfair. It’s difficult enough for “normal” children to deal with this increasingly bizarre existence and those with special needs find it particularly tough.D301

And speaking of Facebook! Yes! I’ve seen all of the social media accounts, conspiracy theories, and bizarre twists on this sad story and they have been summarily dismissed. Put more simply, as is always the case, I rely on well-placed sources for these stories and not the rabble.

And the story starts with the reality that some special needs children lash out when the world overwhelms them. But we don’t put the onus on an 8-year-old to somehow suddenly improve, we correctly place the responsibility to effectively adapt to a difficult situation on the parents and other associated adults.

This particular child has difficulty with getting on and off the small school bus. He tends to be fine once he’s seated, but the morning ritual generally consists of the mother picking up her son, thrusting him onto the first bus step, and shouting at the bus driver to close the door.

The problem with this being thrown-into-the-deep-end methodology is, sometimes this 80- to 90-pound second grader physically takes out his frustration on the typically female bus driver, who has to endure it until the aide can wrestle him away.

And that’s pretty much what happened on October 2nd. The child refused to move from that first step and then he threw himself on the floor. When the aide went to pick him up, contain his arms, and take him to his seat, he bit her on the arm and that’s when his already loose teeth fell out.

Not only will the bus video show this to be the case, but there’s an earlier video in which the driver admonishes the boy not to play with his loose teeth because she doesn’t want blood all over him and the bus. I’ve FOIA’d them both among many other things.

Whether the aide, Jean Miklevits, hit the child after getting him to his seat remains to be seen. But my sources tell me that video will exonerate her.

If this version of events is the truth, and I have no reason to believe it isn’t, then why was Miklevitz fired? My sources said, for fear of losing her job, the bus driver told district administrators exactly what she thought they wanted to hear. That’s why the papers reported that the aide dragged the child to his seat, and assaulted him, knocking out two teeth.

It was only in an effort to cover their own not-nearly-innocent collective behinds, that Superintendent Stirn and District administrators went along with the more expedient scapegoating story. But they must’ve figured out the truth somewhere along the line, because I could not for the life of me figure out why they fired the bus driver, too! Now I think we know.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise that this child has already gone through as many as four bus drivers, but regardless of the reason, no one should have to show up for work with the expectation of being assaulted.

To the parents’ vast credit, they tried to enroll their son in private schools more capable of handling special needs students, but he was asked to leave because they weren’t equipped to handle violent students.

To D301’s vast credit, they asked the parents to agree to placing their son in a harness before he gets on the bus. That would’ve greatly mitigated the ongoing problem, but the parents refused to do so, and that decision might take just the teeth out of their likely impending lawsuit.

For argument’s sake, let’s say the news story stands. Let’s say the aide actually did drag the child down the aisle and then she hit him with enough force to knock out two teeth. D301 should never have let it go this far.

The second the parents refused to consider the harness solution, Dr. Stirn and the District should’ve protected their employees by putting an end to this, even if it meant taking legal action against the parents. C’mon! The beyond simple solution is for these parents to drive their son to school.

School districts are not and cannot be responsible for raising children, much less dealing with children who are a threat to others. But because the District refused to act, the aide now faces aggravated felony battery charges, and there’s a school bus driver who will never drive a yellow bus again.

And D301’s guilty conscience became abundantly apparent when, just two scant days after the event, they hired Crisis Prevention Institute to provide training on how to deescalate a situation before it becomes physical.

As a brief aside, I was a consultant for CPI in the 90’s and it is a very worthwhile program.

What baffles me, but probably shouldn’t, is how the Kane County State’s Attorney’s rushed to join the lynch mob. If I can come up with these details, a felony prosecutor should certainly have no problem doing the same.

Any reasonable defense attorney will tear the bus driver’s testimony apart in court and D301’s insistence on putting their employees in harm’s way will be a major mitigating factor in any trial. Aggravated felony charges? No jury is ever going to buy it!

To be clear, I delayed this column to provide numerous opportunities for Dr. Stirn to respond with his side of the story, but he failed to do so – even to simply say he can’t discuss the matter because of a possible pending lawsuit.

And that silence says it all, doesn’t it?

 

Quick Hits – All the Dem’s have to do is be saner than Trump

That’s it! It’s that bleepin’ simple. But instead of heeding that seemingly sage advice, the collective response from that giddy gaggle of goofs known as the Democratic primary field is “Hold my beer!”

Beto O’Rourke is coming for your AR-15s, Elizabeth Warren wants you to pay for inmates’ sex change operations, Bernie Sanders believes the Boston Marathon bomber should be allowed to vote, Corey Booker thinks Barack Obama wasn’t liberal enough, Kamala Harris thinks Joe Biden wasn’t liberal enough – in the ‘70s, and Marianne Williamson believes we can change a hurricane’s path with the power of our minds.

Democratic Candidates

But my all-time favorite Democratic proclamation is Julian Castro defending transgendered women’s abortion rights. Ummm, Julian! Please tell me you knew that transgender women can’t get pregnant?

And this is supposed to be the cream of the crop?

For purposes of full disclosure, I did purloin a couple of those examples from Bill Maher and last week’s dead-on ‘New Rules’ finale. But the truth is, I’ve been explaining this truth to candidates for eight long years which is why my campaign track record sits somewhere north of reasonable.

Put very simply, it’s pointless to pander to people WHO ARE ALREADY GONNA VOTE FOR YOU! And the failure to heed this conspicuously simple advice is why so many candidates, and especially novices, lose.

Unless you’re a “movement candidate,” and, trust me, you’re not (nor is any current presidential contender) or you wouldn’t be reading this. Diehard Democrats always vote Democratic and diehard Republicans always vote Republican. With the right message, leaning Republicans can be convinced to vote for a Democrat, and vice versa.

And this political reality is as eminently predictable as death, taxes, and Democrats blowing presidential elections.

Generally, I’d be loathe to blurt out one of my best kept professional secrets, but I’m not too worried because 98 percent of candidates are so convinced they hold the keys to the electoral kingdom they’ll never listen to me anyway.

If you’re a 2020 Chicago Collar Countywide Republican candidate, given the impending Trump effect, here’s what you can count on:

  1. Diehard Republicans WILL vote for you
  2. Diehard Democrats will NOT vote for you
  3. Leaning Democrats will NOT vote for you
  4. Leaning Republicans will LIKELY NOT vote for you

Since Collar County Republicans continue to outnumber the Democrats, the only group that matters to our fictional countywide GOP candidate is leaning Republicans, and thus, their entire focus should be on bringing back these all-important swing voters.

Conversely, if you’re a 2020 Collar Countywide Democratic candidate, here’s what you can expect:

  1. Diehard Republicans will NOT vote for you
  2. Diehard Democrats WILL vote for you
  3. Leaning Democrats WILL vote for you
  4. Leaning Republicans will LIKELY vote for you

That means, the only group that matters to this imaginary countywide candidate is leaning Republicans, and thus, their entire messaging focus should be on them, because swaying one leaning Republican away is the equivalent of getting two votes!

And nothing, not even your gloriously gleaming visage is going to change that reality.

This dynamic is even more pronounced at the presidential level where swing voters always make the difference. It was the Rust Belt that got Donald Trump elected, after all.

So, when O’Rourke says he’ll confiscate assault rifles, something near and dear to Democrats’ hearts, but certainly not to leaning Republicans, will that get him votes, or lose him votes?

Worse yet, Sanders’ stance on mass murderer voting rights and Warren’s position on taxpayer funded inmate sex-change operations are so far beyond the political pale that I can’t even begin to comprehend what they or their campaign teams could possibly be thinking.

Because even if you claim they’re pandering to the far left in an effort to win the primary, you’d be wrong. Only 46 to 48 percent of Democrats identify themselves as liberals, and if I’m Donald Trump’s team, I’m gonna be harping on how “those crazy Democrats” want you to pay for prisoners’ sex change surgery from here to eternity.

That’s the kind of visceral message that sticks with those all-important swing voters, too.

It’s such a simple concept that even an ADHD fourth grader would get it. All the Democrats have to do is be less crazy than Donald Trump – the guy who changed a hurricane path map with a black Sharpie – and they win in 2020.

But they can’t even handle that. Now I understand why their Party symbol is a jackass.

Quick Hits – October 25, 2019

Today Quick Hits will live up to its name. So, let’s get started!

The hearing approaches!

Opposing counsel, Pat Kinnally, just submitted his legal memorandum, or defense to my lawsuit seeking 255 pages of sexual harassment complaints from the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Despite having won the FOIA denial appeal, State’s Attorney Joe McMahon continues to refuse to abide by the law and turn over the documents, so there was no other choice but to seek relief in the 16th Circuit Courts.

Considering my vast Kane County notoriety, and the fact I’m suing a sitting state’s attorney, the case was moved to the 23rd Circuit where Judge Melissa Barnhart will hear it in the Kendall County courthouse (807 John St., Yorkville) on November 6 at 1 p.m. in courtroom 116.

Please note! I’d previously posted it was to be heard in courtroom 110, but that was incorrect. I had a little difficulty reading the handwritten court order.

The hearing is open to the public, and given the unique nature of the case, I’m sure the proceedings will be more than fascinating.

This is opposing council’s argument:

Memorandum of Law

And here’s my rebuttal to that memorandum. For all those attorney doubters out there, this answer is 100 percent my own work. Did my legal adviser review it? Yes, he did! But he didn’t change a word:

Reply to Memorandum of Law

 

Working with children is always a difficult proposition

Particularly when you consider the existing massive parental entitlement mindset, I don’t know how teachers, day care workers, school counselors, school aides, and all manner of other individuals who work with children, do it.

And working with special needs children takes the kind of unique calling and level of patience I can’t even begin to comprehend. But the happy truth is, those stalwart folks who choose those kinds of vocations are generally pretty good at it.

That’s why, for the most part, we can send our children to daycare and school every day without a major concern for their safety.

But there is another side to this dynamic that I began to recognize as my two boys made their way through the local school system. Some of those fine folks find out, too late, that the thought of working with children doesn’t always match up with the sometimes-stark reality.

That’s why educators have one of the highest professional attrition rates in the country with 44 percent of teachers walking away from the gig before they hit the five-year mark. That’s even worse than it is with police officers.

But having spent thousands of dollars on the required classroom training, many of these disillusioned individuals feel it’s too late to turn back now, so they persevere regardless, which really isn’t good for them or the children in their care.

So, I was more than dismayed upon reading the current news story about a Burlington School District bus aide dragging and striking a special needs child to the point where she knocked out two of his teeth.

School Bus

Now the aide, who previously served 35 years as a firefighter/paramedic for the Burlington Fire Protection District without issue, faces an aggravated felony assault charge, which tends to make one’s life quite difficult going forward.

Though she’s clearly presumed innocent until a judge or jury decides otherwise, with the difficult nature of the crime and a number of eyewitnesses involved, I’m not so sure there will be much of a plea offer.

The child will never be the same, either. Being struck with the force required to remove two teeth by someone charged with helping and protecting you will haunt him for the rest of his life. And special needs children have a very difficult time as it is.

I know it’s not easy, but if you find yourself getting to the point where you no longer have the patience necessary to work with children, please preserve your sanity and your future by simply walking away.

There is nothing about this case that isn’t disturbing.

 

Don’t forget Thriller on 38!

On a lighter note, don’t forget that next Tuesday (10/29) Vargo’s Dance will be performing their second annual Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance right next to the studio – a little more on 2nd Street than on Route 38.

Jamie Vargo

This free performance will include food trucks and a costumes encouraged after-party upstairs at the Old Towne Pub. The event will proceed thusly:

8:15 – 9:15         Outdoor music, food trucks and more

9:00 – 9:05         The performance

9:15 – 10:30       After Party at Old Towne Pub Upstairs ($15 cover)

Though I won’t be dancing this year, I will certainly be on hand to cheer on the dancers and enjoy a family fun Halloween event. Be there or be square!

Quick Hits – October 23, 2019

Dear readers! You know I love (most) of you with all of my bleepin’ heart because you consistently prove that you’re the smarter ones. You actually enjoy the process of critical thinking and you have no problem standing apart from the rabble. I may often lament that I’m a man without a country, but the truth is, we centrists outnumber the loons on both ends of the political spectrum – combined.

All that said, it doesn’t mean that some of y’all aren’t getting on my last good nerve. So, once again, it’s time to address those folks who barely have two brain cells to rub together.

Elgin 2

No! I won’t give up a source!

The semi-frequent phenomenon by which a reader, “unhappy” with something I just wrote, demands to know the source(s) of that particular column is beyond baffling. Yes! Just because you asked me so imperiously, I’ll be happy to turn over that name so they’ll never talk to me again and the rest of my sources will commence to avoiding me like the plague!

It happened again with Monday’s piece. Ecclesiastes 1:9 may proclaim “There is nothing

New under the sun,” but the insistent expansion of the average American entitlement mentality never ceases to amaze me.

What separates me from my non-independent reporting compatriots is that I actually have sources! The sad truth is, as newspaper publishers increasingly resort to just-out-of-school journalism students, the art of developing real sources is rapidly becoming a lost one. Today’s shortsighted journalists will sell out a source in a second just to get more hits on a generally inconsequential Internet article.

Real journalism consists of reporters and columnists doing the heavy lifting for you, and for them to succeed in that regard, particularly at time when newsroom staffing is at an all-time low, they have to rely on those brave (or angry) folks who, under the guise of anonymity, provide the kind of stories that can change the status quo.

There are sources who’ve been so consistent that I take their word at face value. Most others require verification of their stories through other sources, a well-worded FOIA request, or seeing something for myself.

The bottom line is, if journalists really did come up with “fake news,” they’d find themselves on the wrong end of a libel suit far more often than they’d care to think. It’s taken me over a decade to develop some stellar sources and I’m not about to risk my reputation and all that hard work on the likes of one irate reader. So, don’t ask!

Put more simply, I’ve never given up a source and I never will.

 

In the end, does the timing really matter?

What our source seeker and a few other of my fervent fans wanted to know was, how did I know the Elgin City Council was warned about the recent ICE raids in advance. Of course, the obvious answer is the Daily Herald printed that the Elgin Police Department said they were alerted the previous day.

So, it hardly took a source to run Monday’s story.

And after covering municipal politics for more than a decade, I know exactly how it works. The Police Chief gets the news from ICE and immediately passes it along to the Mayor and City Manager. There would be hell to pay if that didn’t happen.

Then, as a political courtesy, the Mayor and/or City Manager would pass the same information on to the City Council so they won’t be blindsided by the news. Had they failed to do so, those councilman would be publicly demanding to know why they were left out of the loop.

But for argument’s sake, let’s say the City Council wasn’t warned. Let’s pretend they heard nothing about the ICE raids until the rest of us did. That means we’re still waiting to hear something – anything – from that body’s two most vocal members about an event that has greatly impacted Elgin’s 45 percent Hispanic community.

Councilmen Corey Dixon and Tish Powell certainly wasted no time in convicting Elgin Police Lieutenant Chris Jensen in the press, but something that deeply affects 50,400 Elgin residents isn’t worth as much as a full sentence?

Again, Powell did claim she was “troubled” by the raids on social media, but that’s literally the least she could do. Dixon still hasn’t addressed the issue, and Carol Rauschenberger, who was far less vocal about Jensen, but still did her damndest to get him fired, is equally silent.

So, are they progressives or not? All it would take to prove their self-proclaimed political sincerity is some kind of a public statement. It could be a condemnation of the raid. It could be a declaration of solidarity with the Hispanic community. It could be a simple statement of concern.

But all you hear are crickets.

When an opportunity to show their support for their Hispanic brothers and sisters arises, but doesn’t present the same political possibilities as the Clements shooting, Dixon, Powell and Rauschenberger showed their true colors faster than Donald Trump can Tweet at 2 a.m.

And where are those “Christian” Elgin pastors who had absolutely no problem judging another human being as they circulated a petition to have Lt. Jensen removed? They certainly don’t seem to care about ICE coming to Elgin. All those protestors seem conspicuously absent, too!

I hope DeCynthia Clements’ family finally understands that these three councilman used the tragic death of their daughter solely to pander to their constituents and promote their own specific political agendas. And if something doesn’t fit, they don’t give a… We all know Dixon and Powell want to move on to Springfield and Rauschenberger wants to be mayor.

Ah! But Dixon and Rauschenberger are up for reelection in 2021. I certainly hope Elgin’s Hispanic voters remember all this at the polling place.