How can I miss you if you won’t go away? – Nancy Ward
I quote my not-so-sainted mother here because, just like those bad end-of-the-movie Bond villains, a couple of Elgin entities we’ve been discussing have reared their ugly heads to plague the City in the Suburbs one more time. And who better than yours truly to expose them for the nefarious schemers they truly are.
Despite hinting we hadn’t seen the last of them after County board member Vern Tepe’s wife Judi expressed interest in resurrecting the group, I thought the Elgin Poet Laureate Project was kaput after Gareth Mann single-handedly destroyed Elgin’s Memorial Day ceremony.
Oh! And by the way. If you ever run into a woman with a last name that ends with an “i” instead of the requisite “y,” like “Terri,” “Kelli,” or “Judi,” avoid them at all costs because they’re all nuts.
And sure enough! If you avail yourself of the Poet Laureate Project’s website, that eminently dysfunctional group, whomever they are, are soliciting applications for the 2024-25 term, which instigates a fascinating number of issues.
The first is, when we last left off, the City had disavowed themselves of the Project by eliminating their funding through the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission. And if they’re no longer affiliated with the City proper, then how can their candidate claim to be Elgin’s official poet laureate?
If that’s the case, then I’m unilaterally nominating Elgin Public Museum director Sharry Lynn Blazier, who can concoct a limerick that’ll knock your socks off. Limericks are short, too.
The second issue is the Poet Laureate Project remains steadfast in their attempt to maintain anonymity, a lack of transparency that should automatically eliminate them from any partnership with the City.
And thirdly, after the aforementioned Mann debacle and all the previous complaints regarding “performances,” who would risk inviting the new poet laureate to their event? It would be the literary equivalent of Russian roulette.
Needless to say, as soon as my keyboard cools off, I’ll be FOIAing (Freedom of Information Request) all of the usual Elgin suspects to get to the bottom of this latest poet laureate resurgence and I will happily report all of the new developments.
They won’t go away, either
It’s not that I expected the fine folks at Elgin’s never-going-to-open Shared Harvest food co-op to fold up shop and go away, but I vainly hoped that, after I challenged them in print, they’d either return their investors’ money or, better yet, come up with a business plan that might actually work.
Silly me! Instead, they literally did the least they could do, which is par for the course for that eternally meandering group.
Clearly stung by The First Ward’s criticism, Shared Harvest simply shifted their messaging from “Own it” to “Opening a community-owned cooperative grocery store is not a sprint, but a marathon! Talk about false equivalencies. No! A marathon is like a marathon. What this group is doing is running around in concentric circles with no start or finish line.
A runner knows a marathon is exactly 26.2 miles – no more and no less. They’ll generally survey the course, consider any serious elevation changes, and come up with a pace to finish the race somewhere between two and five hours – no more and no less. Their plan of attack will likely include where to conserve their energy and where to speed up to beat the competition, and then they’ll execute that plan.
Not to mention the intensive prerace conditioning program to get them over that legendary 20 mile race day “wall.”
And that, my friends, doesn’t BEGIN to describe the pointlessly haphazard methodology of the Shared Harvest Co-op, an enterprise that is every bit as fictitious as Donald Trump’s political theories.
Elgin city councilwoman and chief co-op apologist Carol Rauschenberger, a woman who’s never failed to embrace a bad idea, just said this on social media:
Look to this organization for guidance https://fci.coop/ Most cooperatives today will take over 10 years with Covid and changes in the economy. Shared Harvest was hampered by 2 lost sites that we spent years on. The Board remains committed and we (sic) any help you can give is appreciated.
It’s heartening to know we both agree that the board should be committed.
Of course, Rauschenberger’s declaration is an outright lie as her cited website puts that opening timeframe at five-to-seven years, not ten, and Shared Harvest is rapidly moving onto to their 12th year of futility.
“Hampered by 2 lost sites? Really? That may not be an outright lie, but it certainly takes stretching the truth to its outer limits. Shared Harvest “lost” those possibilities because they’ve contracted that dire progressive disease known as “entitlement mindset-it is.” They expect Elgin landlords to grovel at their feet in sheer awe of their “noble undertaking” such that they shouldn’t have to any rent, which does tend to “hamper” the prospect of getting a lease.
I revisited Shared Harvest’s website in the giddy anticipation of discovering some form of a business plan that would give this enterprise some shot at success, but apparently progressive can’t be bothered with those kinds of banalities.
As far as I can tell their plan is to never open, but if by some miraculous twist of fate, they actually do, plan b is to demand money for the City to stay afloat. While the co-op might get some initial TIF funds if they open within the applicable geographic boundaries, Elgin taxpayers are not about to eternally finance a “business” just so they can pay five dollars for locally grown organic broccoli when you can get it for $2.79 a bunch at Jewel.
With every major grocery store chain on the planet effectively competing in the local natural food arena, and with well-established stores with a plethora of healthy options like Fruitful Yield and Trader Joes, the day of the major food co-op has passed Shared Harvest by. Perhaps no one told them there is no Elgin “food desert.”
So, my advice to that lethargic group would be, return your investors’ money because you’re never going to open.