Back in the day, the late great Chicago opinion columnist, Mike Royko, proposed that The Second City should adjust its motto from “Urbs in Horto,” or “City in a Garden,” to “Ubi Est Mea,” or “Where’s Mine.”
And that would still work today, just ask Ed Burke!
It’s in that very same vein that, after the Elgin City Council “tabled” an eminently reasonable ethics ordinance – one based on Chicago’s current statute – I’m unilaterally changing Elgin’s motto from “The City in the Suburbs” to “Et Potest Emit,” or “I can be bought!”
It certainly has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
By the way, the reason I put “tabled” in quotes is, that’s what city councils do when they don’t want to vote something down outright, but they want to be sure it will never see the light of day again.
So, Et Potest Emit is is!
And this proposed ordinance is beyond mild. It simply would’ve ensured that:
- Whistle blowers are protected
- Firms doing 10 grand in annual business with the City don’t contribute to city council members or candidates
- City council members aren’t lobbyists
It’s hardly draconian, and the fact that Elgin actually has to say it makes me wanna bang my head against the wall. Shouldn’t city council members have some sort of internal moral compass? Apparently not!
Claiming the ordinance was a “Slippery slope,” the “liberal” faction of the council which includes, Tish Powell, Corey Dixon, John Steffen, Carol Rauschenberger, and of course, Baldemar Lopez, are the ones who voted to table it.
“Slippery Slope?” A slippery slope to what? Actually behaving as any good council member inherently should behave? Doing the right thing without having to be under the influence of an ethics ordinance?
After nonsensically insisting that Chicago aldermanic positions are full-time, while Elgin’s aren’t, Powell said, “I have very serious concerns about overreach in what we can do in our personal endeavors if it does not have a direct conflict with the city.”
Oh! So only full-time city council members are required to be ethical. Good to know! And it’s not up to you to determine what is and isn’t a direct conflict because you’ve repeatedly and clearly proven your sole city council raison d’etre is you!
What Powell really meant when she said that was, “I’m getting all sorts of ‘consulting’ jobs as a result of being a councilman and this ordinance would correctly end that.” If it weren’t for her council compatriot Terry Gavin, Powell would rank as the most hypocritical elected official I’ve ever met.
Not to be outdone, Steffen said, “I agree with the concept, but I am also not trying to create situations that are just going to trip people up unintentionally.” Translated, that means, “As an Elgin Attorney, particularly because I’m sitting on that council dais, I get all sorts of business from clients who do business with the City and this ordinance would correctly end that.”
I do have a Ph.D. in aldermanese!
Meanwhile, Rauschenberger performed her typical disappearing act by slithering under the disk, while Dixon tried to borrow co-councilman Toby Shaw’s cloaking device. You see, when you look up “ethics violation” in that Miriam-Webster, you’ll find Corey’s gleaming visage directly adjacent to it.
Under the guise of constituent care, Dixon hosts free “giveaways” that make Fast Ed Vrdolyak’s antics look like the ministrations of Mother Theresa. He parlayed his inconsequential role in Ron Hain’s 2018 Sheriff campaign into a $72,000 job in that office, and I’ve been getting all sorts of reports he’s driving his personal vehicle with County issued plates all over Elgin.
Apparently, only we serfs have to pay the new $150 annual license plate fee. Corey Dixon would sell his two daughters if he thought it would advance his political career.
But we’ve saved the best for last! Baldemar Lopez! The very reason Elgin finally decided an ethics ordinance update was necessary. He actually had the bleepin’ nerve to say, “It would be little unfair to adopt these changes now because it would have an adverse effect on my practice.”
No! What’s truly unfair is that you have the temerity to purport to serve the people of Elgin, while fervently believing they’re there to serve you! Can you say “narcissistic?” I knew you could! I’ve heard Baldemar had all the mirrors removed from his house because he can’t stand the sight of himself.
Perhaps even more shockingly, Shaw turned off his cloaking device just long enough to make the best point of the evening, “Running for office is a choice, and not an obligation,” adding, “I sometimes laugh about some of the things that Chicago does. When they actually pass a transparency and ethics ordinance, and now we don’t want to take that? Really? It’s too strict for us, but it’s good enough for Chicago?”
Tish! If serving on the city council cuts into your potential consulting clients and your amazing capacity to undermine the City and the police department, here’s a thought! Step down! And that goes for Steffen, Dixon, Rauschenberger and particularly Lopez, too. If you don’t want your “practice adversely affected,” then don’t bleepin’ run!
C’mon! If Terry Gavin somehow manages to grasp this concept, it can’t possibly be a difficult one. Shame on every last one of you!
Ah! But, as most of my readers already know, I’m much more than just a pretty face. Dixon, Lopez, and Rauschenberger are all up for reelection in 2021, and with this ethical lapse being utterly unconscionable, I’m officially looking for three good candidates.
I understand that running is no small task, but I’ll be more than happy to provide the ground game framework, the messaging, and perhaps even some of the campaign financing. And, trust me, that’s no small offer. You know where to find me!
And I thought Donald Trump was bad!