Quick Hits – March 30, 2016

Quick Hits – March 30, 2016

Twice the court costs?

Look, I understand we send teenage shills into liquor stores because we don’t want them selling stuff to minors. Though truth be told, the little darlings in my neighborhood head right to the unlocked liquor cabinet or they drink with their parents’ consent.

But going after convenience stores for selling tobacco to minors?

I know it’s against the law, but when you consider what’s out there, if my younger son came home with a pack of Marlboro Lights, I’d simply ask him to take it outside.

7 ElevenAh! But not St. Charles! That police department sent a 17 year-old plant into the 1705 W. Main Street 7-Eleven, and when he came out with a pack of Camels, the excrement hit the quickly rotating air propelling device.

To wit, the clerk who sold the cigarettes was immediately fired and, after the owner threw himself on the mercy of the liquor commission court, the store was fined $750. So let’s review!

Toiling as a convenience store clerk has got to be even worse than being Donald Trump’s barber. You live in constant fear of being held up. You have to contend with idiot teenagers who’ve never heard the word “no.” Late evenings consist of a series of drunks buying more booze and stoners buying more Doritos.

It’s a lot of fun!

So when some 17 year-old, who looks 38 because he clearly shaves his back hair, comes in to buy a pack of cigarettes, that’s the least of your bleepin’ worries. All that St. Charles really accomplished was having an already desperate minimum wage worker lose their job and a store getting fined over something more trivial than Taylor Swift’s latest “hit.”

Oh! And by the way, $500 of that $750 fine went to court costs! Larry and I have talked about how courtrooms are starting to make credit card company late fees and interest look reasonable.

And when the “court costs” are twice the fine, it starts to look a lot like state sanctioned racketeering.

All I can say is, way to go St. Charles!

Another Brick in the Wall

When discussing the Kane County Chronicle’s demise with Kane County Treasurer Dave Rickert, he backed up my “it’s all over but the shouting” theory with a very interesting point.

public noticeAn area in which local newspapers still make money is printing public notices. It’s a bit of an anachronism, but State law requires the Treasurer, Assessor’s Office, County Clerk, Circuit Clerk, and other various elected officials to place ads in local papers regarding specific legal proceedings.

You may recall that, a few years ago, when those elected officials lobbied Springfield to allow them to use the Net instead, the newspapers went nuts. Of course, if a public servant argued for that kind of inefficiency, the papers would’ve been all over it. Doncha’ just love double standards!

You can’t place those public notices in just any publication because the statute is clear about what is and isn’t a newspaper. We don’t want the Assessor running those notices on his brother’s blog now, do we!

So with the Chronicle collapsing into a weekly format, they’ll no longer qualify for public notices which means yet another massive financial hit. I’m sure their management didn’t even consider this possibility when making the change.

If the folks at the Daily Herald are smart, they’re already angling to pick up that business.

Blessed be the masochists for they shall get their wish

Fresh off his unsurprisingly lopsided loss to Mark Kirk, a man who’s clearly a glutton for all forms of punishment, Jim Marter, just threw his hat in the Kendall County Republican Chairman ring. Now, before you get too excited, he’s the only one who actually wants to follow in Jessica Bannister’s footsteps.

Jim Marter

At least the Kendall County GOP maintains some semblance of unity. Don’t get me wrong, dealing with self-important loons like Dallas Ingemunson and that leprechaun Larry Nelson ain’t no walk in Clark Park, but it pales in comparison to what goes on in Kane County.

The two major Republican factions there can’t stand being within 100 yards of each other and State Senator Karen McConnaughay, the Kanye West of Illinois politicians, makes Dallas and Larry look like egomaniacal amateurs. Throw in walking ethics violation, Ken Shepro, filing ethics violations, and it’s even better than The Jersey Shore.

But despite those kindergarten realities, despite the job being utterly thankless. Despite the fact that he’s already lived through four years of it, Circuit Clerk Tom Hartwell is gonna give the Kane County Republican Chairmanship another shot.

And he has no competition either.

Tom will be on Left, Right and You Monday, April 4, at 9 a.m., at which point I’ll ask him if his willingness to serve four more years as Chairman should automatically disqualify him by way of mental defect.

And speaking of Kendall County…

Apparently interjecting myself into the Kendal County Coroner’s race and, to a lesser extent, doing my damndest to see Jim MacRunnels defeated in Kane County, I’ve officially made it to the top of Oswego political operative John Reeve’s lengthy leather-bound hit list.

John Reeves

First, I want to thank the members of the Academy and the little people like Steve Youhanaie for making it all possible. I woulda settled for being in the top ten, but making number one is a real honor for which I will strive to prove myself worthy.

And I’m going to kick off that campaign by seriously looking into the connections between Jacquie and John Purcell, Larry Nelson, Dallas Ingemunson, Mr. Reeves, and the soon-to-be sentenced Denny Hastert.

We’ll start with Dallas because that one’s bound to be fascinating.

To quote the great Bette Davis, “Fasten your seatbelts folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!”

0 thoughts on “Quick Hits – March 30, 2016

  1. Sorry, Jeff, not with you on the tobacco issue. First, the clerk didn’t have to lose his job. That was a decision made by the owner. Second, your argument about how old the shill looked would also make it okay to sell alcohol to a minor if they looked old enough. The law is the law. Third, surely they didn’t send the shill into just one store. How did the others do? Did others get caught, or did they all pass? Fourth, yeah court costs are too high, but if all the stores obeyed the law, there wouldn’t be any fines or court costs, right?

  2. Jeff,

    Sorry for the delay in responding so here goes:

    1. I differentiated between alcohol and cigarettes in the piece. I’m not nearly as worried about a 17 year-old driving under the influence of Camels.

    2. I believe they sent the shills into 31 other business who passed, but that does nothing to change or diminish my point. I could argue this effort was a massive waste of time, catching just one store selling tobacco to a minor.

    3. I know they sent someone into that store who looked 25 because that’s what the police do. It’s essentially a form of entrapment. If there was probable cause to send a shill into a store – a parent complained – that’s one thing. But this is not the way the law is supposed to work.

    4. As far as court costs, I’m not just talking about this case, and the “if you behave” argument falls completely flat. If I had a police officer follow you to work today, I bet he could cite you for at least 10 violations like 7 mph over the limit, failure to use your blinker, failure to yield, not coming to a full stop at a stop sign etc… It’s not just you, we all drive that way, but you have no shot at prevailing in court and that $100 fine suddenly turns into $300 with court costs.

    When you look at the Geneva morning traffic cattle call, those folks are 50 percent minority despite the fact we have just a 5 percent minority population (if you include Asians!). This makes those court costs nothing but a patently unfair tax. And I’m going to make this tax my latest cause.


Leave a Reply