Quick Hits – March 4, 2020

Quick Hits – March 4, 2020

Let’s be careful out there!

I’m sure my fellow ‘Hill Street Blues’ aficionados will immediately recognize that line as the great Sergeant Phil Esterhaus’ roll call admonition to those officers about to head out on patrol.

It’s a heck of a lot better that Sgt. Stan Jablonski’s, “Let’s do it to them before they do it to us” line the late Robert Prosky applied after Michael Conrad died, but I digress.

For reference purposes, when I first heard this “rumor,” despite Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman and I having developed some major differences, I did not believe it for one second. There’s so much crazy bleep going on out there that I only consider 10 percent of it on a good day.

But when a second stellar source called with the same scenario, I had to take the story a bit more seriously. So here it is!

When Ziman and her significant other, Kane County Child Advocacy Investigator Chris Tunney, were recently dining at North Aurora’s Turf Room, at some point, the Chief got up to “powder her nose.” Nothing unusual there, right?

But what Ziman failed to realize is, when she returned to the table and ultimately left the restaurant, her sidearm did not! It was still silently sitting in that bathroom stall. Oops!

So, imagine their vast surprise when an employee or patron opened that partition portal only to discover find what I believe was a nine-millimeter Glock staring them in the face. Of course, they immediately notified the manager who immediately called the North Aurora Police who took the weapon into custody.

Then, willing to take one for the team, Tunney showed up at the North Aurora Police Department the next morning claiming the errant firearm was hers. But they’d already run the serial number and they knew it was the Chief’s.

Before we continue, I want to be clear that I hold Chris Tunney in the highest regard. She regularly deals with the kind of horrific child abuse cases that would make the rest of us summarily melt into a simmering puddle of warm Jello.

I could never do what she does.

The final semi-fascinating facet of this story is, the NAPD has absolutely no record of this rather bizarre “incident.” I suppose there must be a recording of the 911 call, but it’s not material to the story.

The good news is, thanks to the fine folks at the Turf Room, everything worked out exactly as it should have. Meanwhile, my humble recommendation to the Chief would be to make a point of considering Sgt. Esterhaus’ sage words going forward.

Election 2020

Predictions and endorsements!

Finally, right? While I certainly appreciate those readers who’ve pressed me to proceed here, the truth is, the local 2020 news cycle has been atypically relentless and there aren’t that many fascinating Kane County-ish primary races.

So, not only have I been extraordinarily busy, but I’ve lacked the enthusiasm to apply my typical electoral due diligence. That said, let’s cover the races I have been following.

Until Joe Biden’s surprising Super Tuesday surge, I thought Bernie had Illinois all sewn up. But even though the pollsters will have to catch up with Joe’s sudden frontrunner status, I now think he has a shot.

As far as the 14th Congressional Republican primary goes, State Senator Sue Rezin notwithstanding, Jim Oberweis has that one all sewn up. But he’ll later lose to Incumbent Lauren Underwood by ten points.

Simply as a result of name recognition, Beth Goncher will beat Jeanette Ward in the GOP 25th State Senate race, but she will lose to Karina Villa in the general. And once again, Allen Skillicorn will best Carolyn Schofield in the Republican 66th State Rep contest.

On the Dem side, unless her previous losses have provided more name recognition than I expected, Greg Ellsbree will beat Corinne Pierog, but neither will survive Republican nominee Dave Rickert.

State’s Attorney contender Jamie Mosser, one of the best flippin’ candidates I’ve ever interviewed, will move on to face Bob Spence in the general. Cristina Castro will easily fend off 22nd State Senate challenger Rae Yawer, Martha Pachke will win in the 65th State Rep race only to lose to incumbent Dan Ugaste, and incumbent Barbara Hernandez will retain her 83rd State Rep seat.

Now, for those endorsements!

But before we go there, for purposes of full disclosure, Ron Ford and I go way back, and when he calls me for campaign advice, I’m always happy to oblige. Steve Oscarson and I have spoken a couple of times, and I’ve also provided him with limited counsel. But though I certainly know of former Batavia Alderman Dave Brown, I can’t remember ever having a conversation with him.

First, I wholeheartedly endorse Ron Ford’s return to the County Board. He’s one of the few politicians who understands that, as Otto Von Bismarck aptly noted, “Politics is the art of the possible.”

For utterly unimportant reasons, 6th District incumbent Matt Hanson is not my favorite, but beyond the personal, he simply doesn’t have the poise to be an effective elected official. He’s such a rabid Democrat that he refuses to collaborate with his Republican peers. Then he told the Beacon-News he’s not averse to raising taxes.

Even my staunchly Republican friends agree that Ron brings quite a bit to that County Board dynamic. With Washington D.C. and Springfield rapidly becoming lost causes, do we really want that kind of hyper-partisanship to derail the County Board?

Next, for the same reason I helped Steve Weber beat Phil Lewis in 2018, I would love nothing more than to see County Board candidate Steve Oscarson replace Mark Davoust in the 14th. In his 16 long years on the board, Davoust has been nothing but a place holder. I dare you to name just one of his “accomplishments.”

His only claim to fame is spending $116,000 in his failed 2014 attempt to unseat Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham.

Meanwhile, I like Steve’s energy, general intelligence, and willingness to roll his sleeves up and get to work. After four unremarkable terms, it’s time for some fresh blood and a fresh perspective in the 14th.

Semi-lastly, I’m pulling for Dave Brown to win in the 10th County Board district contest because, though I like incumbent Susan Starrett, her heart’s never really been in the job, and that district deserves far more.

Dave’s vast legislative and work experience makes him particularly suited to serve on the board.

Though The First Ward doesn’t get much Cook County play, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the hardest working Metropolitan Water Reclamation candidate to whom I’ve ever borne witness – Eira Corral Sepulveda.

I’m told she has a passion for water conservation and, let me tell you, it shows in her amazing campaign ethic. Were I back in my old Cook County stomping grounds, I’d certainly be pulling the trigger for Ms. Sepulveda.

So, there you go! But if you feel I’ve missed a race, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

7 thoughts on “Quick Hits – March 4, 2020

  1. I have not been in Kane that long but what about Drew Franz any primary opponent? None that I saw. Is a Democrat running? I really should check him out more as he seems to be a fixture. In 6th Congressional, I know is Sean Casten is unopposed since he is god’s gift to the world. What is your choice between Eva Bruan and a doctor that must want a Federal Pension or is tired of doing good?

  2. The 14th, and given the mood of the electorate, you definitely called-out the two candidates who are in contention for the nomination. Oberweis’ latest commercial brought his helicopter ad out of moth balls from 16 years ago, and that seems to be playing well with primary voters, though Rezin’s latest ad reminds voters of Oberweis’ record.

    Given Lauren Underwood brought up Oberweis’ wife’s Florida residency in Evanston two weeks ago, Rezin has picked up on that, too, so more may be coming out on that in the closing days of the campaign.

    As for the 66th, do you think the Legislative Inspector General’s finding against Allen Skillicorn falsifying attendance last year will hurt his chances?

    I agree with Jim, what is your call in the 6th? Given Jeanne Ives launched her first, and likely only commercial today, my guess is she has the race locked-up, otherwise she’d have been on TV much sooner (for comparison, Oberweis first went on TV in January).

    Looks like Dr. Jay Kinzler’s winning the Sun-Times and Daily Herald newspaper endorsements has not boosted Kinzler in the polls, and Ives’ late ad release is proof.

    1. John,

      If Trump can get elected with his absurd faults, no one’s gonna care about a state legislature attendance record. And Ms. Schofield is a terrible complainer who can’t quite figure out that going negative in a state rep race is the prefect way to lose.

      As far as the 6th goes, if I simply apply probability, Ives should win simply based on name recognition. Given the rise of Biden, Casten should have no problem keeping that seat because Ives is a bleepin’ loon.


  3. Jeff,

    Is this something out of your winning elections book? Campaign finance legerdemain?

    At the end of 2019, Jim Oberweis reported taking out a $600K loan from himself at the end of December, bringing his cash on hand at year-end to a little over $1 million and total loans to $1 million.

    He published his year end report to the FEC on January 15, 2 1/2 weeks before the January 31 deadline.

    Jim Oberweis’ congressional campaign released its Pre-Primary report to the FEC yesterday. It reports Oberweis paying himself back $500K on January 15, which was the same day Oberweis released his year end report. His cash on hand through February 26 is $415K, with his total loans now at $500K.

    I suspected and wrote last month the reason Oberweis did what he did was to scare off potential donors to Sue Rezin, or any other opponent given he has shown for nearly two months he had over $1 million in the bank at end of 2019.

    Most notably, I thought Elise Stefanik’s high profile Elevate PAC took a pass on Rezin because of Oberweis’ numbers.

    Whether Rezin will or can do anything about the creative, though legal accounting by Oberweis remains to be seen, but I do like being proven right concerning what Oberweis was really up to, and why his release of his year end FEC filing was 2 1/2 weeks early, which I knew was for a reason, not by chance or convenience.

    Just wanted to know if I missed that chapter in your book.


    1. John,

      No! That chapter isn’t in the book because the vast majority of local candidates – and that includes the congressional variety – don’t have that kind of money to play with.

      Though what Jim did is very legal, he’s such a polarizing figure that if folks want to give Sue money, that’s exactly what they’re gonna do.

      And, at least in this case, they’re both such abjectly poor campaigners that Jim could spend another 2 million and it wouldn’t change the number of votes he’ll eventually get.

      I’ve seen just one Oberweis and one Rezin sign – and the Oberweis sign was shortly stolen – the newspaper mailers are patently absurd, if there are TV commercials I haven’t seen them, neither one’s agents have knocked on our door (one strong Republican and one strong Democrat), not one door hanger, and it’s a race to see who can kiss Trump’s ass the most.

      They both should be completely embarrassed.

      But beyond that, unless an asteroid hits, like I’ve been saying all along, this race and the general election are already decided, so it doesn’t matter what Rezin or Oberweis does going forward.


  4. Where are the felony charges for lying to the police for Tunney?
    If you showed up to retrieve a registered gun to your significant other and said she he gun belonged to you, the Police and SAO would bring felony charges against you or me.
    Different rules for privileged people.

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