Quick Hits – January 6, 2022

Quick Hits – January 6, 2022

Is Dustin Good living up to his last name?

It would seem this writer may have erred in casting new Elgin City Councilman Dustin Good as a political lightweight. When you consider the timbre of his campaign along with his strange campaign bedfellows, it wasn’t an unreasonable conclusion. That said, it might be time to admit I was wrong.

The first sign of a healthy political independence borne of a reasonable foresight was when Good casting the deciding vote against the City purchasing the irrecoverable Cook building for an absurd $3.7 million. That’s money the city simply didn’t have and that amount wouldn’t even begin to cover a virtually futile “rehab” project further complicated by massive internal water damage and asbestos mitigation.

By voting “no,” Good stood in direct opposition to the progressive council posse who fully supported him throughout his campaign. He took crap from Elgin’s liberal elite for making the right choice, too!

A number of his council compatriots added that Good does his homework and generally makes thoughtful decisions. And unlike Councilman John Steffen who’ll happily party with a slew of his best maskless Democratic friends, but then he’ll only attends council meetings remotely, Good actually shows up in person.

Trust me! This is one of those times where I’d be more than happy to be wrong because the people of Elgin deserve reasonable leadership, not a city council intent in turning the process into race to see who’s “wokest.”

Keep up the good work, Dustin!


Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

To quote Ms. Morrissette, of course.

Watching the five-year back and forth between developer Kent Shodeen and the Batavia City Council in regard to the infamous One North Washington Place project was not unlike watching two chess masters who, down to just their kings, still stubbornly refused to call the unwinnable game a draw.

To quote another musician, that grandiose development has been “more down as dead” only to come back more often than the Cheeto Supreme himself. It seemed doomed from the start, but like Dr. Malcom Crowe, it never quite knew it was dead yet, either.

The irony, of course, is that it was COVID that finally did the never-starting enterprise in. Kent Shodeen may be used to getting his way with local government, but even he couldn’t beat all the pandemic fallout.

Shodeen President Dave Patzelt said, “It is unpredictable where these markets are headed. The very volatile commodity markets along with the uncontrollable supply chain placed too much pressure on the project feasibility.”

As anyone who’s recently paid a visit to the grocery store can attest, it’s very difficult to argue with that argument. Half of the fascination with food shopping in the plague era has been wondering what items will be missing from the shelves this trip.

So, the project that was the subject of so many heated discussions doesn’t go out with a bang, but with a barely audible whimper. We really do live in strange and fascinating times.

It will be interesting to see if another developer has the cojones to try and make it work.


More remote mitigations?

Because I’ve already done so at length, I’m not gonna belabor the issue today. But as school districts like Chicago’s cancel classes and attempt a return to remote learning, I want to remind you the safest place for children and teachers is the classroom.

The same goes for all the businesses sending their staff home again, your staff is far safer in the office.

Why? Because despite the variant du jour, the CDC continues to warn us that COVID doesn’t spread as easily in well-ventilated schools, businesses, and stores as it does in poorly ventilated homes.

So, sending everyone home again only makes the problem worse, and not better. Have I said we live in some very strange times?


Batavia High School racial incidents on the rise?

And just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse, it does! Because “Shaw Local contributor” (their words, not mine) Jonah Nink just issued a well-written and well-researched report on how racial, homophobic, and transphobic incidents are becoming far too frequent occurrences in Batavia schools.


This is what one Batavia High School teacher had to say about the sad situation:

I’ve been here (Batavia High School) for eight years, and I have never seen as many racially motivated incidents as I have seen in this one semester alone. At the high school, students have confided in me about racial slurs being thrown around, feeling like they aren’t represented in our curriculum or being poorly represented when they are, and even physical fights that are motivated by race.

The article goes on to describe how D101 administrators are attempting to contend with this upsurge in incidents, but that’s a patently perilous proposition particularly in the era of social media anonymity. Put more simply, there’s only so much they, or anyone, can do.

We expect way too much from our schools as it is. It’s difficult enough to educate high schoolers in the best of times, but it’s far more difficult in the plague era. And now those overburdened administrators and school board members are somehow supposed to nip this kind of bias thing in the bud, too?

That’s a very tall – and likely impossible – order because this blatant bigotry almost always starts at home. No child is born racist, homophobic, or transphobic, it’s learned behavior typically taught by example. So, even if the District manages to catch a culprit, it only drives the next group of nitwits further underground.

So, why is this all happening now?

First, a year’s worth of teenage isolation has had some nasty social side effects, not the least of which is the erosion of tolerance and empathy. And second, by embracing the alt-right and white supremacists at every turn, former President Donald Trump normalized bigotry and fanned the flames of all forms of intolerance.

It’s yet another perfect plague era storm.

As far as solutions go, I don’t have any. It’s far beyond D101 administrators’ purview to go after prejudicial parents and how would they “convert” a bigot if they did? Nope! This one is up to those straight Caucasian high school students who need to make it abundantly clear that this behavior will not be tolerated. They need to openly support the students directly affected by this form of outright bullying.

Lastly, to be clear, while the article centered on Batavia, that school district is not nearly the only one facing this kind of increasing intolerance.

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