The First Ward Report – Mayor Burns strikes again!

Just when you thought Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns couldn’t top his recent performance before the County Board’s Coronavirus Relief Fund Task Force, he managed to make that debacle look like a walk in the park without even breaking a sweat.

But before we get into his latest hijinks, let’s cover some important bases first.

The first is, I would be more than thrilled to see the RIGHT affordable housing scenario pop up in Geneva, but the proposed 8-acre 45 townhome project bordered by the Sterling Manor subdivision, the UP tracks, those Randall Road businesses, and Lewis Road is not the right development for anyone, including any potential residents.

Anytime you cram 225 economically disadvantaged people into a small geographically segregated area it’s a recipe for disaster.

Affordable Housing

There’s a reason Chicago tore down the Robert Taylor Homes and Cabrini Green and Aurora gave up on Jericho Circle. The public and affordable housing initiatives that are  successful tend to include area churches and social service agencies who work collaboratively with the municipality to integrate new residents into the community.

Another important consideration is, while the Burton Foundation has a great reputation for their senior housing developments, the same can’t be said for the rental-only project planned for Geneva. Word is, they simply let those properties rot.

Armed with executive power to run the City throughout May, the Mayor attempted to circumvent the vote and public comment requirements by pushing this plan through on June 1 when the City Council reconvened. His theory was, by the time folks figured out what happened, it would already be a done deal.

But his coronavirus cover hopes were dashed when the plan went public and a slew of concerned citizens called their aldermen and reached out to yours truly. Matters were further complicated by Sterling Manor residents hiring a law from to review the legitimacy the of the impending land sale/donation.

Now, we’re all caught up!

Though I wasn’t sure about it at the time, as it turns out, donating the land to Burton did require a special three-quarters city council majority, and since that wasn’t about to happen, the Foundation magically came up with the 600 grand required to buy the land outright.

This fiscal shift means that Burns now needs a simple two-thirds majority, or eight votes, for the land sale to pass. For reference purposes, since the ten aldermen AND the Mayor get  to vote on any City-owned land sales, for our supermajority purposes, two-thirds of eleven is eight!

And the Mayor was well on his way to securing those votes until, utterly unable to control himself once again, he single-handedly sent the whole situation sailing into a sea of serious doubt. “What did he do this time,” you ask?

In an attempt to blatantly intimidate the Genevans who sent letters and emails opposing the project, Mayor Burns told City Manager Stephanie Dawkins to publish those missives, pro and con, with all the associated names, addresses and phone numbers included.

And let me tell you, those suddenly outed opposition folks were not at all amused about becoming prime grist for the social media mill. But because these kinds of bullying effort always backfire, instead of simply calling the Second Ward aldermen, that irate group started calling all of ‘em, and that’s caused a bit of a shift to the no-vote side.

To be fair, releasing that personal information is not illegal. Someone FOIAed St. Louis to get the emails they received from citizens ratting out their neighbors and local businesses for violating COVID-19 restrictions, and the City was forced to provide those emails without any redaction.

But the fact that something’s legal doesn’t make it right. Not only was the data release a really bad idea, it was a demonstrable breach of Geneva’s own FOIA policy. And when the Mayor was backed into yet another pitchfork and torch corner, he finally ordered the personal information removed.

But it’s kinda hard to unring that bell now, isn’t it? So, what was once a slam dunk Monday evening vote is now a fraught-with-peril proposition that could go either way.

If I were to add my personal Geneva resident two cents, it would be to ask the City Council to vote against this project for the following reasons.

  • If you reward the Mayor for trying to subvert the process, he’ll just keep doing it.
  • If you reward the Mayor for trying to browbeat the opposition, he’ll just keep doing it.
  • This is not the right affordable housing initiative for Geneva or any city.
  • The Burton Foundation has a questionable reputation in the affordable housing regard.

Please remember that voting against this potential disaster does not mean the fat lady’s sung on affordable housing in Geneva. I would also encourage each of you to reach out to the fine folks at the Aurora Neighbor Project and Geneva Chapel Street Church who have a history of successfully supporting the kind of smaller scale affordable housing projects that actually work!

All that aside, it’s certainly going to be an interesting evening!

The First Ward Report – Why we get sick!

But before we start, let’s dispense with yet another round of BS press pandemic panic porn as the papers trumpeted that Illinois hit the four-figure case mark “for the first time since June!”

Yes! There were 1,018 new coronavirus cases yesterday, but what those “reporters” failed to mention is we also saw a record 36,180 test results. Considering our currently consistent 1 in 35 prevalence, 1,018 positives is exactly what we’d expect from 36,180 tests.

So, it’s NOT news!

Furthermore, Illinois saw just 20 deaths yesterday while COVID-19 ICU bed and ventilator usage are hovering at their lows of 353 and 151 respectively. Put more simply, we’re fine.

Now back to the issue at hand.

Obesity 2

Particular with the looming specter of schools reopening, we’re being forced to endure even more progressive’s screeching about perpetually knowing what’s best for the rest of us. But what our leftist loons and most so-called “experts” conveniently overlook is, when it comes to disease pathology, we have met the enemy and he is us.

Yes! The federal and state pandemic response have been abjectly abysmal, but that doesn’t nearly begin to explain why the U.S. has been hit so much harder than European and Asian countries. The inconvenient truth is, a great deal of that damage is a direct consequence of our vast capacity for self-inflicted wounds.

So, let’s examine why Walt Kelley (look it up) is right again:

1. Our insatiable appetite for cheap Chinese goods

“Wait a minute, Jeff! How does that notion affect our health?” I’m glad you asked!

All Trump bigotry aside, as a result of the ensuing manufacturing jobs, there’s an increasingly massive migration to the already overcrowded Chinese urban centers. And when you combine a packed city like Wuhan (11 million) with the traditional Chinese “wet markets,” it becomes a fantasy breeding ground for the next pandemic pathogen.

To put Wuhan, the origin of the plague, in perspective, it’s only China’s fifth largest city, besting New York’s paltry 8.4 million residents by an unhealthy 36 percent margin.

To that end, one of the most consistent social media memes during the early height of the pandemic was “When this is over, let’s buy American!” While that’s certainly a noble sentiment, we all know that will last only as long as the initial sticker shock.

2. Our diet sucks!

American insist on the flippin’ WORST on the planet, and that starts with the processed food possibilities that make our lives easier, but then those antibiotic bloated chickens eventually come home to roost.

Processed foods are packed with sugar, sodium and the most deleterious kind of fats leading directly to an unheralded obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease epidemic. And pandemics just love to go after these compromised people.

They’re also rife with artificial ingredients, they contain unnatural oils, and those empty calories only make you even more hungry. Since we haven’t evolved past our original prehistoric fat and sugar cravings, those processed foods are quite addicting, too.

But they are a bleepin’ health-food diet when compared to our ubiquitous fast food options!

Anyone’s who’s watched the documentary ‘Supersize Me’ knows that a fast-food diet presents all the processed food problems along with depression, mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and liver problems mixed in for good measure.

Having McDonald’s once or twice a year is fine, but it’s a dietary disaster when otherwise applied.

3. Factory farming makes animals – and us – sick!

Again, we’ve all seen the undercover videos of beakless chickens cruelly crammed into small cages in monstrous facilities while being fed copious amounts of antibiotics and “growth promoters.” And the cattle industry is even worse in the antibiotic and unnatural bovine diet regard.

Then, it what isn’t a surprise to anyone, all of those immune system compromising drugs end up in our stomachs rendering us far more susceptible to infections like, you guessed it, the coronavirus.

Trust me! I know how expensive free-range chicken and organic beef can be, but it’s more than ironic that we regularly pound our fists about sparing no pandemic expense while we slowly kill ourselves with bad food choices.

4. We have an aversion to exercise

At the height of the shutdown I was thrilled to see so many of my Geneva neighbors walking and cycling as a family. But now that we’re back to work, it’s right back to the same folks I’ve seen walking, running, and cycling for years.

A slew of longitudinal studies have shown that even brisk walkers’ bodies are medically 20 years younger than their sedentary counterparts, and even the mildest exercise vastly improves your outlook and immune system response.

5. We’re fat!

Yep! As a result of almost all of the above we’re the most obese nation on this third rock from the Sun and being number one ain’t nuthin’ to brag about.

In 2000, just 30.5 percent of Americans were obese. Fast forward to 2020 and that number has skyrocketed to 42.4 percent with no end in sight. That’s just obesity, too! Seventy percent of American men and 67 percent of women are considered to be overweight.

Our current 132,000 coronavirus casualties are certainly tragic, but they pale in comparison to the estimated 300,000 American who die from obesity related complications like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer every year. The CDC has been quite clear that obesity is a serious risk factor in the severity of the coronavirus.

But if a doctor has the temerity to tell a patient they need to lose weight, or Sarah Michelle Geller posts a racy picture to remind herself not to overindulge at Thanksgiving, the cackling progressive crowd cries “fat shaming!

And then we just get fatter.


So, with the next pandemic already percolating in China, particularly considering all the self-righteous COVID-19 shrieking and howling, wouldn’t it behoove us to buy American when you can, eat better, chose better groceries, lose weight, and exercise at least four times a week?

They’re such simple but meaningful steps, too, because there’s absolutely no substitute for the kind of fully functioning immune system that’s made Homo Sapiens the dominant planetary species. Let’s not be our own worst enemies

The First Ward Report – Coronavirus spikes explained!

But before we go there, let’s take a quick look at Illinois’ latest numbers:

Date   Cases   % Increase     N Cases   N Tested   Prevalence  Deaths   N Deaths

6/26 140,291            0.6             857         30,425       1 in 35.5     6,850        39

6/27 141,077            0.5             786         30,237       1 in 38.4     6,873        23

6/28 141,723            0.4             646         23,789       1 in 36.8     6,888        15

6/29 142,451            0.5             728         26,918       1 in 36.9     6,902        14

6/30 143,185            0.5             734         31,069       1 in 42.3     6,923        21

7/1   144,013            0.5             828         33,090       1 in 39.9     6,951        28

7/2   144,882            0.6             869         30,262       1 in 34.8     6,987        36

7/3   145,750            0.5             868         34,318       1 in 39.5     7,005        18

7/4   146,612            0.5             862         27,235       1 in 31.5     7,015        10

7/5   147,251            0.4             639        33,836       1 in 52.9     7,021          6

7/6   147,865            0.4             614         21,134       1 in 34.4     7,026          5

7/7   148,452            0.3             587         26,994       1 in 45.9     7,063        37

We’ve tested 1,809,834 citizens, IL has slipped to sixth place in the state coronavirus rankings, and the national mortality rate has precipitously declined to 4.3 percent.

Facts Not Fear 3

1. Mortality rate

As we predicted, with coronavirus deaths falling off the table, the Illinois mortality finally inched downward to 4.7 percent. Again, take away the pointless nursing home deaths it would be less than half that. To make matters even better, add the CDC’s declaration that we have 10 times the asymptomatic cases as originally thought, and the COVID-19 mortality rate drops well below that of the annual flu.

2. New daily case percentage increase

Until Illinois experiences a COVID-19 spike, and we likely will when school resumes, this indicator is exactly where it will be until the pandemic burns itself out.

3. New daily cases

See the new daily case percentage increase.

4. Prevalence

We seem to have at temporarily settled on 1 in 35, but given past history, this number will likely retreat further.

5. Daily Deaths

This continues to be the best stat. And it’s not a matter of declining case totals, either, as the daily death toll has disproportionally plummeted.

6. ICU beds and ventilators

It just keeps getting better. As of yesterday, a mere 320 Illinois ICU beds and 153 ventilators were applied to COVID-19 patients.


Meanwhile, in an effort to confirm some stipulations and get reasonable answers to lingering questions, I’ve spent a great deal of time talking to real experts about the current coronavirus circumstances. And by “real experts” I mean those fine folks who actually pay attention to facts and statistics and they don’t change their minds every ten seconds.

And no! I will not provide anyone with the names of those sources simply because you demand them! Bleepin’ entitled bleeps! This pandemic has become such a political hot potato that I will expose them to the regular bovine manure generally hurled in my direction.

So, here’s how those conversations went!

1. Illinois has succeeded

Remember! Before the pandemic became a partisan proposition, the goal was to flatten the curve such that our healthcare system wouldn’t be overwhelmed. Since we’ve certainly accomplished that mission, let’s get back to reasonably living our lives.

2. The spikes

We’ve already touched on this! With the plague not going anywhere, is it any surprise that our three most populous states, California, Texas and Florida are experiencing case increases?

No, it isn’t! As one expert said, “It’s a matter of density!” They also added that it isn’t going to the beach that gets you, it’s crowding into the bars and stores afterward that does it.

But because those new cases primarily consist of young folks, the mortality rate in those states continues to free fall. Florida ranks 26th with 18 deaths per 100,000 residents, California is 30th with 16, and Texas is 45th with just 9!

And despite this second wave, their COVID-19 mortality rates are far better than Illinois’ 56 out of every 100,000. It’s called critical thinking people!

Did we really think the pandemic was going anywhere?

3. Herd immunity

Not only did my new experts agree that herd immunity is the only way out of this, but that, the Governor’s worst efforts notwithstanding, our insistently retreating prevalence in the face of consistently increasing testing means Illinois is well on its way to the final pandemic resolution.

They also acknowledged that, with 25 percent of the population refusing to consider a “rushed” vaccine, when it finally does arrive, that vaccine will be as pointless as a Trump political rally

4. How you catch it

Unless you lick a surface or someone licks you outside, the singular COVID-19 transmission medium is repeated exposure in poorly ventilated rooms.

5. An Illinois back to school spike?

Yep! Sure as I’m sittin’ here, it’s gonna happen! And a great part of the reason for that will be our brain-dead Governor banned recess until further notice. So, now those kids will be stuck in perpetually poorly ventilated classrooms and cafeterias even longer!

Then, because of his own stupidity, the Governor will call for a second shutdown.

6. There’s no reason for new shortages

Those same three spiking states have been rolling back their re-opening efforts, but who’s flippin’ fault is that? Did those governors really think the pandemic was packing up and leaving as they closed down those temporary COVID-19 treatment facilities?

Now, they’re issuing all sorts of preposterous self-righteous proclamations about how the rest of us suck when they should be pointing the finger directly into their bathroom mirror.

Then, yesterday, CNN and other media outlets warned of new PPE shortages. Really? The whole point of the shelter-in-place orders was to provide states with catch-up time, but it’s three months after the fact and we’re still not prepared? That’s a bi-partisan political failure of epic proportion.

7. What’s the plan?

I keep asking them, but those progressive nanny-staters just keep walking away. And they’re just as bad as Trump, too, because, contrary to their “conventional wisdom,” no manner of repeated shutdowns will eradicate any pandemic. Just like it’s been for the previous 199,999 years we’ve walked the planet, it has to run its course.

But the difference between this classic liberal and today’s crazy crop of petulant progressives is, I don’t expect you to absolve me from the consequences of my life choices, and my regular readers know just how fascinating those consequences can be!

If, like my wife, you’re a teacher, but you’re afraid of going back to school, retire! If you’re a Major Leaguer and you feel the impending abbreviated season carries too much risk, opt out. And if you’re a health care worker and you don’t want to be repeatedly exposed to the virus, then quit and make a better career choice.

The next pandemic is already brewing in China!

Of course I’ll continue to take all the basic precautions! But I’ve never asked anyone to save me from myself and I certainly don’t expect you to ask me to do the same. The basic definition of this life is “risk!”

The First Ward Report – Pompous, drunk and belligerent is no way to go through life, Mayor Burns!

Before we get to his July 1st County Board fireworks, let’s lay some groundwork first.

Given Geneva’s reliance on retail taxes, the recent shutdown has been particularly hard on the city. But the Mayor managed to make it it much worse when, unlike Elgin and a host of Kane County municipalities, he refused to consider the most minor staff furloughs.

You see, the Mayor counts on the entire city workforce to drop what they’re doing campaign for him every four years. That’s why Geneva unions get whatever they want and furloughs were out of the question.

When asked exactly how Geneva planned on making up this serious shortfall, the Mayor would offhandedly proclaim, “We’ll get that $3 million from the County!”


Kane County did, indeed, receive $45 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds, but with the needs far outstripping the available cash, some might say the Mayor embraced a particularly pernicious form of baseless optimism.

But much to the dismay of many of the elected officials involved, as President of the Metro West Council of Government, Burns managed to weasel his way onto the seven-person County Board committee tasked with the final fund distribution.

The Mayor is capable of putting on a persuasive and semi-logical front for brief periods of time.

But before those fine folks could counterattack and contest his appointment, I told them it wouldn’t be necessary. Now that Burns was on a very public committee, all they had to do was give enough rope and he’d happily hang himself.

But even I had no idea of just how far he’d go to prove my point.

That fascinating process commenced with the Mayor showing up drunk to the Wednesday 9 a.m. July 1 Coronavirus Task Force meeting. Yes drunk! A number of eyewitnesses described him as wreaking of alcohol,  being “unsteady on his feet,”  being noticeably “off,” his eyes were bloodshot, and his verbal tempo was overly halting for a veteran public speaker.

But why listen to me when his five-minute tirade is forever memorialized on tape. Fast forward to the 29:30 mark in the official County audio minutes and you’re good to go!

Anyone who’s routinely dealt with a high-functioning alcoholic will hear exactly what I did. He wasn’t able to handle the words “Aurora,” “disbursement,” and he frequently paused mid-sentence as if he’d lost his place.

He might’ve actually gotten away with it, too, had he approached the Board with the appropriate humility and respect, just like Kane County Republican Chairman Ken Shepro did immediately before him.

Ken came in with a short presentation, he briefly explained how unincorporated fire protection districts were affected by the pandemic, and the task force thanked him for his due diligence.

But then it was Mayor Burns turn to talk, and he certainly made the “most” of it.

It started with a bad mask joke that was wholly inappropriate at meeting to determine how to mitigate the COVID-19 fiscal fallout. Then he:

  • “Urged” the County Board to “reject” the task force proposal on no specific grounds.
  • Disputed the task force’s municipal census figures.
  • Demanded the implementation of a “multi-phased plan” in which municipalities would get all the relief funds while the County got none.
  • Insisted that $45 million was just the initial “distribution” with expected “rolling disbursements through the end of the year.”

Alrighty then! Let’s just say that the Board was utterly un-amused by his performance as indicated by the dead silence as he left the podium.

To put this “request” in some semblance of real-world perspective, here’s what I want you to do tomorrow morning! March into your employer’s office and insist that he or she turn all their current profits over to you. Make it clear that this is first decree with future profits provided upon further request.

Then be sure to tell the owner that you won’t take “no” for an answer. All I can say is, I’ll look forward to watching Dr. Phil ask you, “How’s that workin’ out for ya?”

When asking for a bail out, the first rule of politics is issuing demands won’t get you very far. The second rule is, if you do make demands, you really oughtta have the political clout to back them up. The third, it’s pointless to ask for money that doesn’t exist.

That $45 million in federal relief funds is the whole enchilada. Where did Burns think the County was going to come up with “rolling disbursements?”

They may not have publicly conveyed their dismay, but they certainly did so privately.  In fact, the Board was so infuriated that a face-saving attempt to seat the Mayor as a non-voting committee member. And that demise came at the hands of Geneva Board Member John Martin, the man who initially asked Burns to serve on the committee.

After he was ignominiously expelled, since the board couldn’t completely disregard Geneva, the board-only committee voted to retain a portion of the relief funds as a reserve, which means Geneva will get even less that the $1.7 million stipulated in the original plan.

And if I was a Metro West mayor, I wouldn’t be asking the Kane County Board for anything anytime soon!

As is always the case after another of his many debacles, Mayor Burns will do his best  spin it into some sort of victory, but this time, there are too many eyewitnesses for him to pull that off.

And you know exactly who he’s gonna come after for that money, right? You may as well start handing your wallets over now taxpayers.

Haven’t you had enough of this guy, Geneva?


The First Ward Report – “Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong” Part 2!

To recap previous events, my good from Ken Menzel accurately stipulated that, “Feelings and self-righteousness trump facts now. Facts are merely social constructs in the service of the racist heteronormative phallocentric patriarchy,” and we’re in the process of proving that postulate by completely dismantling the local progressive’s arguments against my application of seventh grade coronavirus math!


So, let’s proceed!

2. Governor Pritzer is doing a great job!

And progressives have the nerve to say Trump supporters define the term blind loyalty. Let’s start with the indisputable fact that over 50 percent of Illinois coronavirus casualties have come in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

In fact, Bria accounts for 27 of the 29 Geneva COVID-19 deaths, and their case count now stands at a criminally reckless 153, up 31 from when we first covered that travesty a month ago. Nursing home residents aren’t exactly tearing up the aisles at Meyer, either, rendering the whole social distancing debate quite moot.

Of course, J.B. immediately launched an inquiry, ordered the Attorney General’s Office to prepare charges, and shut the worst facilities down, right? Nope! He put recovering COVID-19 hospital patients in those very same nursing homes, instead!

Harkening back to point one, exactly what has the Governor done to improve health care possibilities in our inner-city neighborhoods? The answer to that question would be “absolutely nothing,” because black folks continue to needlessly die from a lack of medical resources.

3. The new models predict further pandemic havoc

Yes! Just like the old models did! If we throw senior citizens to the wolves, take absolutely no precautions, and always assume the worst, it could get really bad. But it won’t because it never does.

Remember when California was gonna have 26 million coronavirus cases, Chicago was going to see 40,000 “serious” hospitalizations, and we’d have a million nationwide deaths by now? But none of it happened, did it?

And yet, the press and the progressive the progressive throng will lap up the very next prediction of impossible dire consequences in a heartbeat.

4. MRSA deaths don’t matter

This one that really frosts my cookies! If progressives don’t simply ignore the fact that 99,000 Americans die each year from secondary hospital infections like MRSA, they rationalize those pointless deaths in all the best Stalin-esque ways!

To quote a local nurse who works with COVID patients, “Hospitals test for MRSA and people can get it at work or at school, so it’s not just hospitals.”

Oh! So the fact that 99,000 people vanish every year because long-term care facilities can’t be bothered to clean and disinfect correctly is immaterial when compared to a one-time pandemic? That’s good to know! Apparently if those deaths take place at the hands of health care concerns its all right. And hospitals simply consider any secondary infection death lawsuits to be the cost of doing business.

5. Shutdowns have no consequences

If is weren’t for the MRSA issue, his fascinating omission would easily come in first place in the progressive pantheon of preposterous hypocrisy. “Not one more coronavirus death,” they shriek, while showing absolutely no concern for the inevitable despair driven suicides, alcohol and substance abuse deaths, and mental health issues caused by these prolonged and pointless shutdowns.

Not to mention the businesses that will ever come back. When I explained that restaurants were dying at a record pace, a progressive’s flip answer was, “They can do carry out!” When I further informed them that Rick Bayless’ popular Frontera Grill locations had to lay off 225 people because pandemic carry out orders accounted for just 20 percent of their total business, they suddenly went silent.

They wouldn’t admit they were wrong because they never are!

6. What’s your plan?

When you finally throw in the you-can’t-fight-pandering-illogic-with-facts towel, and you ask the question, “OK, my progressive friend, then what’s the plan? How long do we stay shut down, how do we take care of the folks unduly affect by this unnatural shelter-in-place, and how do we mitigate the tremendous economic damage, you get the kind of look you get when you tell Donald Trump Finland isn’t a part of Russia.

Progressives just love to live in the moment until the moment doesn’t work and then they blame the “status quo!”

So, no! The fact that you firmly believe whatever you’ve been thinking for the last five minutes is the truth doesn’t make it the truth. And the fact you fall prey to the same mindset the Trump supporters you loathe, makes you so much worse because you think you’re so much better.

And however hard you might try, you can’t cancel that!


(I will be taking Friday off!)

The First Ward Report – “Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong”

My planetary sojourn will soon hit 62 revolutions around the Sun mark, and all I can say is it’s truly been a fascinating proposition!

My later Baby Boom generation has proceeded from five scratchy remote-free black-and-white channels to 4k smart TVs with a myriad of cable options. We’ve evolved from a busy-signal-prone landline to cellphones with exponentially more computing power than the Apollo missions got by on. The closest thing to the internet was walkie talkies, we had to resort to utterly un-refoldable paper maps, and Pong was videogame nirvana!

But while our daily lives have generally improved, people have not! In fact, it’s gotten so bad, that my current, and quite persistent, recurring dream centers around a desperate but inevitabely futile attempt to return to 1970’s Evanston where, as my childhood friend David May put it:

What happened to the days when your mom and my mom could work at the polling station and still come home friends that night. This social justice, cancel culture, and all the other crap going on drives me batshit crazy!

For references purposes, Mrs. May and Mrs. Ward were Democratic and Republican judges of election, respectively, who peacefully provided ballots at the Evanston Number 2 Fire Station polling place for decades.

Ascent of progressivism

But despite nostalgia becoming a particularly potent pastime, let’s get back to the people suck problem because what David described are just symptoms of a plague decidedly more problematic than any pandemic could possibly be.

As my good from Ken Menzel just said, “Feelings and self-righteousness trump facts now. Facts are merely social constructs in the service of the racist heteronormative phallocentric patriarchy.”

I fervently believe that “racist heteronormative phallocentric patriarchy” is gonna catch on, too!

Put more simply, if, back in 1972,  you insisted that, not only would flying cars sadly remain science fiction, but the rabble would be so consumed by their own partisan pandering thought process, they wouldn’t begin to be able to recognize the truth – and progressives were particularly prone to this perpetual propaganda – I would’ve pointed at you and called you a name!

Trust me! I fully comprehend and “appreciate” my “adoring throng’s” absurd pitchfork and torch reaction to my more common opinion pieces, but to go obsessively over-the-top in regard to a series of fact-based coronavirus pieces that aptly apply seventh-grade math?

I never thought I’d see the flippin’ day!

My previous radio show protestations aside, today’s progressives have progressed into something palpably more preposterous than their always fascinating Tea Party counterparts. Yes! The far right loves to take offense, shout loudly, and fear brown people, but the left is convinced they have a monopoly on what’s best for the rest of us and that kind of pure patronization is the worst kind of bigotry.

Why, what would black and Hispanic folks ever do without the persistent kindness of Caucasian strangers?

But all bovine manure aside, I never thought I’d see the day when progressives would collectively resolve that pandemic politics always trump the truth (pun intended). As I said to a gaggle of Tri-Cities social media scions of social certainty this weekend, “You wouldn’t know a fact if it bit you in your ample ass.”

Then, fully triggered, they proceeded to prove my point.

And they did this despite the accurate and duly referenced application of CDC and Illinois Department of Health numbers. I swear, if a perceived member of the “racist heteronormative phallocentric pale patriarchy” said the sky was blue, without as much as an upward glance, progressives would argue it was purple to their dying breath.

So, without further ado because we’ve clearly ado-ed far too much, let’s cover some of their contrived calculations:

1. We may need to close the economy again to protect minorities!

There may be a kernel of truth there in that, black folks, who constitute just 13 percent of the population, account for 23 percent of U. S. coronavirus deaths. But the massive flaw in that reader’s logic is minorities are no more susceptible to COVID-19 than anyone else, it’s that they tend to be economically disadvantage which limits their health care options.

Call me crazy, but wouldn’t the far better solution be to ramp up medical efforts in our inner-city neighborhoods? That initiative would solve a host of health care problem beyond those deleterious coronavirus consequences.

Of course, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot have been paying lip service to that possibility since late March, but despite a demonstrably Democratic General Assembly and Chicago City Council, black folks just keep on dying. C’mon! If the Chinese can build an entire hospital complex in just six days, we can significantly improve inner-city health care prospects in two months.


Part two on Wednesday!

The First Ward Coronavirus Report – Still good!

Though it wasn’t as bad as his last overnight visit, our grandcat Teddy – along with our younger son – is back for an extend stay, and the scurrilous cat unilaterally decided he was nocturnal last night, which apparently requires regular bouts of yowling that can be heard at least two blocks away!

Facts Not Fear 3

So, because I’m a bit sleep deprived, instead of our regularly scheduled First Ward programming, and because the press is right back at their pandemic panic porn best, let’s do a quick coronavirus update! And we’ll start with the most recent numbers:

Date   Cases   % Increase  N Cases   N Tested Prevalence Deaths N Deaths

6/11 130,603            0.5             766         22,325       1 in 29.1     6,185        90

6/12 131,198            0.4             595         24,774       1 in 41.6     6,260        75

6/13 131,871            0.5             673         21,844       1 in 32.4     6,289        29

6/14 132,543            0.5             672         22,004       1 in 32.7     6,308        19

6/15 133,016            0.3             473         18,663       1 in 39.4     6,326        18

6/16 133,689            0.5             673         18,729       1 in 27.8     6,398        72

6/17 134,185            0.3             496         29,987       1 in 60.4     6,485        87

6/18 134,778            0.4             593         25,504       1 in 43        6,537        52

6/19 135,470            0.5             692         27,171       1 in 39.2     6,580        43

6/20 136,104            0.4             634         25,965       1 in 50        6,625        45

6/21 136,742            0.4             638         23,816       1 in 37.3     6,647        22

6/22 137,224            0.3             482         18,219       1 in 37.7     6,671        24

6/23 137,825            0.4             601         20,507       1 in 34.1     6,707        36

6/24 138,540            0.5            715         29,331       1 in 41        6,770        63

6/25 139,434            0.6             894         31,686       1 in 35.4     6,811        41

I’m sure you can see there’s absolutely no evidence of even the mildest Illinois post-protest COVID-19 spike, and the rock bottom daily case numbers indicate just the opposite. Clearly, it’s virtually impossible to catch this thing outdoors, which begs the question, why are we cancelling all manner of morale boosting outdoor summer events?

1. Mortality rate

The Illinois mortality rate inched up from 4.6 to 4.8 percent, but that’s the result of those insistent and inexplicable nursing home deaths combined with our rapidly decreasing daily case numbers. When you consider over half of Illinois coronavirus casualties have occurred in long-term care facilities, the mortality rate has become quite meaningless.

2. New daily case percentage increase

I know I’ve said it before, but bouncing between .3 and .6 percent really is as good as it gets! Until we fully develop herd immunity or an effective vaccine, this pandemic ain’t goin’ anywhere anytime soon. But please note that, at the onset of the plague, it took just 24 hours for cases to double and now the same process takes over 45 days!

3. New daily cases

We haven’t’ had a four-figure new case day since June 5th, and that’s despite Illinois’ unrelenting testing effort. That trend would indicate that, for the next few months, we’ll simply see a 600 daily new case average.

4. Prevalence

Of course, the astonishing prevalence continues to be the best news. It recently retreated as far as 1 in 60.4, settling in at around 1 in 40. It’s truly hard to believe that, less than two months ago, it took five tests get a positive result, but now it takes a whopping 40!

Again! The only possible answer for that is a rapidly growing herd immunity.

5. Daily Deaths

The third-best news is we haven’t seen a three-figure coronavirus death day since June 4th!  And when you combine that stat with the swiftly ICU bed and ventilator numbers, that stat should continue to get better.

6. ICU beds and ventilators

Which brings us to our second-best news as both indicators continue to hit new lows. COVID-19 occupied ICU beds crashed from a March 28 1,290 high to just 389 Wednesday, while ventilator usage similarly dropped from 789 to just 216 on Thursday. Those are massive 70 and 72 percent declines respectively!


General COVID-19 thoughts:

1. Coronavirus Spikes

Other than they’re the three most populous states and there’s bound to be a rebound effect after the numbers hit rock bottom, I have no specific answer for the spikes we’re seeing in California, Texas and Florida. But the news the papers refuse to report is, though COVID-19 hospitalizations are up in those states, just like it is with Illinois, deaths are way down.

2. Cancelling outdoor events and youth sports

The Bundesliga just finished their 2020 regular season and the English Premier League has resumed theirs, but neither soccer association has reported one new coronavirus case as a result. That means there’s no reason not to go back to those amazing River’s Edge concerts and restart youth sports. If you don’t want to participate then don’t!

3. New Illinois school resumption rules

Just when you start to think our Governor’s IQ can’t possibly slip any further, it does just that.:

  • I predict a rash of retirements as second grade teachers everywhere run screaming from their schools after just two hours of trying to get their students to stop fiddling with their masks.
  • The CDC has been abundantly clear that you can’t catch COVID-19 from a surface, but students won’t be allowed to share toys.
  • The same agency finally admitted the critical contagion factor is how long someone’s been subject to the virus INDOORS! So, a time when classes should be held outside, there’s no more recess.
  • Temperature checks? Really? By the time you have a temperature you’ve probably already infected half of your classmates. Can you say “pointless?” I knew you

4. The curve is already flatter than a Donald Trump combover

Before the economic havoc-wreaking shutdowns became a partisan hot potato, the entire point of social distancing was to “flatten the curve” such that we didn’t overwhelm our health care system. In the words of a President whose suddenly lookin’ so much better these days, “mission accomplished!”

But with deaths, ICU beds, and ventilator usage all at new lows, Pritzker just declared he’s ready to pull the shelter-in-place trigger again at the slightest pandemic provocation! Why?

I suppose the bright side there is, if he dares attempt to reinstall that bovine manure, the Governor will long for the days of our previous social unrest.

5. We’re still not protecting the vulnerable

Utterly immune to the rising chorus who correctly contend we can open the country while protecting our senior citizens, not only do those bleepin’ Democratic governors refuse to make that eminently obvious move, but they refuse to hold nursing homes accountable for a criminally reckless number of deaths.

And the CDC U.S. COVID-19 age group deaths trend is blithering clear. As of June 17:

Age Group      Deaths

1 to 24            151

25 to 34             699

35 to 44          1,780

45 to 54          4,976

55 to 64        12,307

65+               83,426

I’m sure even an off-meds ADHD sugar-buzzed sixth grader can see the obvious pattern! Our senior citizens account for more than four times all the other coronavirus casualties combined! To put that in perspective, 3,446 Americans under 50 died of the 2017-18 flu, which reasonably approximates the same age group’s current 4,630 COVID-19 deaths.

I’ll say it again! Particularly when you consider the vast number of asymptomatic cases, for reasonably healthy folks under 65, the coronavirus is far milder than the average annual influenza. But regardless of the irrecoverable economic damage a disastrous second shutdown would inevitably entail, our patently pandering politicians are still willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I voted for Dan Walker, Rod Blagojevich, Pat Quinn, and J. B. Pritzker, but I will never vote for another Illinois Democratic governor again.

Before we part ways till Monday, who’s willing to take Teddy for the weekend so I can get some bleepin’ sleep?

Stay Safe!

The First Ward Report – Black lives clearly don’t matter to Black Lives Matter!

To give you some idea of exactly where this Evanston, Illinois, classic liberal is leaning these days, I just cancelled my New York Times subscription over their lurching-to-the-left lynching of former editorial page Editor James Bennett.

And when the eminently progressive regular Rolling Stone contributor Matt Taibbi writes:

…the American left has lost its mind. It’s become a cowardly mob of upper-class social media addicts, Twitter Robespierres who move from discipline to discipline torching reputations and jobs with breathtaking casualness.

that really says something.

Don’t get me wrong (even though you surely will), it’s somewhat gratifying to see some reasonable folks talk up the mantra’s columnists like John Kass, Neil Steinberg, and yours truly have been repeating for years:

  • Police reform
  • The over-militarization of law enforcement
  • Minorities being vastly overrepresented in white suburban municipal courtrooms
  • The need for kneeling football players
  • Traffic/misdemeanor court simply separating minorities from their money to support a somewhat corrupt judiciary
  • Asset forfeiture being nothing more than legalized law enforcement theft

and so much more.

The problem is, these sane voices are being summarily drowned out by the emerging social justice cancel culture warriors who simply sit in their parent’s basement eating hot pockets while they fully engaged in an insipid online purity contest to determine who’s the “wokest.”

A perfect example of this abject stupidity is how this same cancel culture “canceled” Chicago’s iO Improv Theatre through a slew of utterly unfounded racism claims, and then the very folks who signed the spurious petition lamented they no longer had a place to perform.

There’s only two words that can describe that brand of brain-dead people and the would be “bleepin’ idiots!” These are exactly the twits and nitwits who will happily hand Donald Trump the 2020 election.

And even though I clearly see the need for the Black Lives Matter movement, and I’ve consistently supported their basic premise, they barely rank above the self-righteous bleeps who so blindly destroyed their own venue.

To wit, let’s take a closer look at the latest Chicago weekend festivities which included, but weren’t nearly limited to, 104 mostly black residents shot and 14 killed. Five of those slain were minors and one was just three years old.

That follows a weekend in which 85 people were shot and 24 of them died.

Chicgo Violence

And the best these Chicago “activists” can do is publicly demand that the three-year-old’s killers turn themselves in? I had no idea it was that easy! Has someone explained this to the CPD?

There were no protests, no marches through the affected neighborhoods, no bold public proclamations, no blocked highways, no social media barrage, and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were nowhere to be seen.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown lamented:

There are too many violent offenders not in jail, or on electronic monitoring, which no one is really monitoring. We need violent felons to stay in jail longer and we need improvements to the home monitoring system. We also must collaborate with our criminal justice partners to create a safer Chicago.

Even though our new Chief came perilously close to the only solution to gang violence, Brown didn’t dare utter the rest of the truth because that would’ve cut his superintendent tenure to the shortest in Second City history.

Ah! But Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea did have actually had the temerity to tell the truth when he recently explained:

The 16 and 17-year-olds that are running around shooting each other, we’re not wasting our time trying to save them. They’re lost. We’re trying to focus on the 3-, 4-, 5-year-olds, all the way through up to maybe 12 and 13, where we have a chance at saving them and changing their lives and changing the direction they’re going in their lives.

And to say the Chief was excoriated by BLM and all manner of black activists would be just like saying President Trump has a minor Twitter addiction. After the various and sundry repeated calls for his head, O’Shea backed off faster than Lea Michelle’s co-stars!

Trust me! I understand the ultimate solution to Chicago’s gang violence is economic opportunity, but even if we poured billions of dollars into the West Side by the end of the year, given the required cultural mind shift, it would take at least a decade or two to realize any real gains.

As those Zen folks like to say, you have to start with where you are now, and where we are now is sitting squarely in the morass those blithering oblivious white Cook County prosecutors created when they though it was a good idea to lop off those traditional gang leader heads.

Their theory was that the body of the snake would then wither and die, but the gangs devolved into ultra-violent splinter faction that no one can control, instead. And neither Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot nor Chief Brown will be able to solve this problem through anything other than the application of brute legal force.

As former Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin said on the former Ward & Jones radio show, these shooters are a well-known gang minority, but we lack the stomach to get them off the streets and put them under the jail. Once they’re removed, we have to apply the best community policing methods to save the children that, as Chief O’Shea noted, can still be saved.

And the activist response to his beyond keen perception of the obvious was the sound of crickets.

The bottom line is, if black lives really mattered, those generally well-meaning BLM activists could put an end to this Chicago violence by mobilizing their vast human resources to stand on those weekend street corners and put a serious dent in the drug trade that fuels this ultimately self-destructive violence.

But they don’t because, just like the white folks they loathe, BLM has co-opted the eminently Caucasian theme that their “constituents” can do no wrong and personal responsibility always starts with everyone else but themselves. You’ve come a long way baby!

If black lives really matter, BLM sure has a funny way of showing it!

The First Ward Report – You wouldn’t remember your high school graduation anyway!

In the sense that the offense-based mob mentality is so eminently easy to predict, I do have a basic understanding of the incessant garment rending and teeth gnashing revolving around the lack of any formal 2020 high school graduation ceremonies.

This is the very same horde who threw a hissy fit when classrooms canceled cursive despite their failure to apply that useless skill for decades. I’m sure their PDAs are still sitting in a drawer somewhere.

Granted, I’m old and my 70s era graduating class consisted of a considerable 998 Evanston compatriots, but other than I’m convinced I was there, I remember just two things about my high school graduation.

The first was the something-datorian’s attempt at a funny speech that fell so flat, it was far more amusing than if it had worked.

Drive By Graduation

The second, and it’s still one of my favorite memories, was, having gleefully returned the blue gown, dashing out that east side Dodge Avenue exit while running directly into the much more popular Michael Tarkington. With a grin befitting of a Carroll-esque feline, he turned to me and said, “It feels good to get the hell out of there doesn’t it?”

Summarily breaking into a similar smile, my simple reply was, “Yes it does!” That was the last time I ever saw or spoke with Michael, and, aside from fantasies like ‘The Breakfast Club,’ it may have been the only time a geek and an in-crowder truly connected.

Meanwhile, I have absolutely no recollection of my name being called or marching up to the stage to get my diploma.

Fast forwarding forty years, aside from it being a blisteringly hot late May day, I can only remember two things about my older son’s Geneva High School graduation. The first is laughing my ass off as he made a beeline for the diploma while utterly ignoring the outstretched hands of all those on-state-administrators. The second is eminently tall GHS Principal Tom Rogers hugging his almost-as-tall daughter with such zeal that her feet left the ground.

And that was just five years ago!

I actually remember more about my younger son’s glorious decision not to attend his high school graduation than I do about the iteration in which my older son participated!

But isn’t that the stark reality of these things? Despite the hugs, the tears, and the promises to reconnect, unless you ill-advisedly choose to remain in your small hometown, you’ll barely remember and never see or hear from those people again.

The vast double irony of Green Day’s ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)’ becoming the most played high school graduation song certainly isn’t lost on me. “Good riddance? C’mon! That ballad isn’t about fond remembrances, it’s about parting ways with someone you never really want to see again.

And that’s particularly fitting for most high school graduates, who, for the first time in their young freshman lives, abruptly realized their elementary and middle school teachers lied! Being different wasn’t something to be celebrated, it was something to be endured.

So, it’s the parents of that small student plurality who actually enjoyed high school who primarily keened about these coronavirus cancellations. But the truth is, those ceremonies are beyond boring, parents tend to behave like inebriated Bears fans, and the speeches are consistently and distressingly unremarkable.

High school, in its current form, isn’t something to be celebrated, is a lot more like a category four hurricane – it’s something you hope to survive. Only our absurd nostalgic capacity can make that torture seem like “the good old days!”

I understand how important milestones and rites of passage can be to the parents and older relatives who’ve had to contend with teenagers. But if you want to make that transition memorable, then make it memorable! One of the most important lessons any high school graduate can learn is if you wait for the world to accommodate you, you’ll die long before it makes the first move.

Furthermore, I fervently believe the class of 2020 will remember and smile more about their drive by graduation ceremonies than their more formally matriculated peers ever will.

Get used to irony graduates!


The First Ward Report – Police reform or just political pandering? – Part 3

To briefly recap, in parts one and two we discussed the police “reforms” recently promoted by Elgin City Councilpersons Corey Dixon and Tish Powell. Our contention has been these proposals are more about pandering to their posse than they are about real change.

Adding two minority civilians to the Police and Fire Commission isn’t a bad thing, but if those appointees don’t have a minimum of law enforcement experience or knowledge, they’ll only make matters worse.

A police officer residency requirement? That won’t solve a single problem and it will only serve to further limit the police officer recruitment pool.

police reform

Insisting that any internal police investigation be conducted by a board of folks who have absolutely no ties to law enforcement is patently absurd. That’s like asking the average American to referee a soccer game. Trust me! It won’t end well.

Ah! But if I were in a position to implement real police reform, here’s exactly what I’d do:

1. Traffic and misdemeanor court imbalances

Our newly “woke” social justice warriors may fervently believe that defunding the police as they beat people over the head with their perceived shortcomings is the road to real reform, but some of us have been consistently arguing for the kind of smaller shifts that would bring balance to an already difficult day-to-day minority existence.

Just once, I’d like to cover a Kane County misdemeanor traffic/misdemeanor court call where our black and Hispanic compatriots aren’t overly represented. Considering Geneva is 95 percent Caucasian, how it that those defendants are always 50 to 60 percent minority?

I’ve seen how white people drive, and to quote a great philosopher, “It ain’t that pretty at all!”

Even my Republican attorney friends agree that traffic/misdemeanor court has become nothing more than an institutionalized scheme to separate minorities from their money. The real crime there is, it’s typically the minority defendants who can least afford those ever-increasing fines, court costs and fees.

The problem for our perpetually pandering Elgin politicians is, real reform takes the kind of retraining time, persistent effort, and Springfield lobbying perseverance that doesn’t lend itself to grand gestures and vote soliciting soundbites.

2. Asset forfeiture

This purported law enforcement tool by which cash and property can be seized from suspects and their families without any form of due process, is nothing more than legalized theft, and  the only solution is to repeal these statutes outright.

Most folks think it was police brutality that incited the Ferguson, Missouri, riots, but they’d be wrong. The Michael Brown shooting was simply the spark that set off that already smoldering powder keg. That simmering anger and resentment was the direct result of how that department funded themselves on their predominantly black population through rampant property seizure and absurdly high traffic fines.

Even the best departments abuse asset forfeiture (the current Kane County Sheriff literally wrote the book on it), so if Dixon and Powell were truly concerned about their constituents and real reform, this would be the place to start. But that kind of change requires a subtle long-term partnership with the Illinois General Assembly, which doesn’t translate into city council votes.

3. Minority officers

Whether we want to admit it or not, Homo Sapiens haven’t begun to evolve beyond their basic tribal instincts, and the men and women in blue are particularly prone to that kind of exclusionary thinking.

When you have no reference point to see the other reference point, it becomes too easy to allow the prevailing “us against them” mentality to turn into the kind of poison that makes blacks and Hispanics your sworn enemy.

And that’s particularly true when a command staff consists solely of white males. Think about it! Who wants to be the only black police officer in Geneva?

Though they took a boatload of crap for their Puerto Rico recruitment venture, the EPD is pretty good in this regard, but given the inherent difficulties in attracting minority officers, this reform takes a dogged and relentless effort, something neither Powell nor Dixon are known for.

If it don’t rile their base, then it ain’t worth the chase.

Since no one wants to see part four, let’s briefly cover the last three potential reforms:

1. Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea made the mistake of telling the truth about dealing with gangs and gang members, but he was dead on. We have to put the irrecoverable 17-year-olds away while applying the best community policing standards to those still recoverable ten- to twelve-year-olds.

2. If my wife is required take massage classes every year to keep her license, then police officers should be required to attend annual de-escalation training.

3. Considering the ridiculous amount stress involved in the job, and with suicide claiming twice the number of officers killed in the line of duty, every department should hire a part-time in-house psychologist who talks with the officers on a regular basis.

4. The psych eval should be the first thing an officer has to pass, and not the last. Just like it is with airline pilots, we can’t afford a few bad law enforcement apples.

The truth is, while our suddenly shrieking social just warriors have been far too busy ordering the avocado toast, I’ve been advocating for these changes for years. But the problem is, the debate has become so personal that the truth tends to fall on deaf ears, particularly if those ears sit squarely on the heads of politicians like Mr. Dixon and Ms. Powell.