Quick Hits – November 16, 2021

Quick Hits – November 16, 2021

Since we haven’t applied our former short news story format in quite some time, I thought it might be fun to give the “Quick Hits” format another shot. Why not? Right!

 

The Kane County Board drops all tax hike pretense!

Still flummoxed by their $16 million budgetary hole (What? COVID hurt the economy?) and “alarmed” at the prospect of dipping into the reserves to cover it, Kane County Board Member Vern Teppe recovered from his terrible case of amnesia just long enough to remember that he actually does serve on the County Board.

Suddenly heeding The First Ward’s cue, he committed political suicide by introducing the 1.4 percent property increase budget amendment he fervently hoped another board member would be foolish enough to promote.

And he did this after the County significantly increased fees and doubled their portion of the gasoline tax at a time when people are paying near record pump prices. We won’t even mention that, despite all the plague perturbance, the County also attempted to go on a $10 million hiring spree.

Wouldn’t you think that at least one of the eleven Republican board members would gotten out of their chair, stood up, and declared, “Not on my watch! We’re not raising property when so many people are hurting from COVID.”

But no! The best we got from our staunch defenders of the taxpayer and promoters of less government was GOP Board Vice-Chairman Ken Shepro meekly explaining, “If we were to raise the tax levy, I’m not sure I would support raising the gas tax.”

Whoa! That kind of fiery oratory means that Ken will likely have to take more naps during board meetings just to recover.

Oh! And once again, not a single one of the 24 Kane County Board members as much as mentioned the possibility of spending cuts to help close the budget gap.

Now the Board hopes you’ll develop a case of amnesia, because in an unprecedented move, they put off the final budget approval until the December meeting. Why the December meeting? Because it sits smack dab between Thanksgiving and Christmas and they know the voters will be distracted by other things.

But I won’t be! Rest assured, Dear Reader, I’ll be posting the names of all the Board members who vote to raise the property tax levy at a time when folks can least afford it.

 

The Elgin City Council ain’t gonna win any fiscal prizes, either

To be fair, I have to give the City Finance Department mad props for crafting a 2022 budget with absolutely no fee or tax increases! The vast irony there, of course, Elgin, a demonstrably Democratic municipality is doing far better than a mostly Republican Kane County Board in this regard.

(I say “mostly Republican Board” because three of the Democrats are actually Republicans at heart.)

But that fiscally balanced Force doesn’t mean The City in the Suburbs is out of the woods just yet! Their Parks and Recreation Department is currently facing a $5 million deficit, but unlike the County Board, and to that department’s credit, they did make $750,000 in cuts BEFORE considering a small tax increase to cover that red ink.

All that said, perhaps if the progressive Elgin City Council posse weren’t so intent on hiring a  worthless Sustainability Coordinator and patently pointless Human Rights Officer to the tune of 300 grand a year, they might actually have the money to offset these eminently expected COVID shortfalls.

Just a thought!

Don’t forget, that same Council tried to buy a dilapidated and unrecoverable building to the tune of $2 million, too! After all, it’s not their money!

 

This prosecution should rest – permanently

As I’m sure you already know, I’m no fan of prosecutors in general. It’s the kind of thing that happens when you’ve covered too many examples of prosecutorial abuse and they proceed with two consecutive absurd cases against you resulting in directed verdicts.

Beyond that personal animosity, the vast majority of prosecutors aren’t paid to think, they routinely abuse their discretion, they believe they’re more infallible than the pope, and they have some of the thinnest skins on the planet – and that’s on a good day! With some notably rare exceptions, prosecutors work for the State because they don’t have the legal skillset to succeed in private practice.

But despite my rather dismal view of that group, I never thought I’d see the day when a prosecution team botched a major case so badly it actually made LA’s O. J. Simpson fiasco look good! It wasn’t easy, but those fine Kenosha County ADA’s managed to do just that.

As we discussed on Saturday, their first inexplicable massive mistake was allowing Judge Bruce “The Terrible” Schroeder to hear the Rittenhouser case. Not only has he set a record for being substituted, but this trial isn’t nearly the first where he’s barred the use of the word “victim” as it typically applies to a decedent.

Again, for reference purposes, before the trial truly starts, every prosecutor and defense attorney in this country gets one “free” substitution request that’s granted with no questions asked. Of course, they have to carefully consider whether the new judge might be worse, but that’s clearly not possible in Schroeder’s case.

Then they compounded that absurd error by leveling charges that were clearly not supported by the video evidence. Some pundits claim it was the media glare that made them overcharge Rittenhouse, but I’m convinced it was that pervasive prosecutorial we-can-do-no-wrong arrogance at play.

Having viewed the drone video, any attorney with a third of a brain would’ve swiftly realized that first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide, and first-degree attempted intentional homicide weren’t one, but ten flippin’ bridges too far! And I can’t begin to understand how District Attorney Michael Graveley approved those charges.

So now to absolutely no one’s surprise, with their case unravelling before their eyes, the prosecution wants the judge to allow the lesser reckless homicide charge they should’ve applied from the beginning. Of course, they publicly claimed this move “wasn’t the result of a weak case” when that’s exactly what it was.

Prosecutors tend to be exceptional liars, too!

But as dim and oblivious as most jurors are, they likely won’t fall for the prosecution’s ploy of providing a lesser charge on which they can compromise, particularly when that charge wasn’t introduced until closing statements.

As a result of those borne-of-arrogance stupid mistakes, my prediction is a hung jury at best, or the more likely outcome, Rittenhouse will be acquitted.

 

2 thoughts on “Quick Hits – November 16, 2021

  1. Jeff, To my count there have been 4, yes 4, directed verdicts this year in Kane County courtrooms that I have seen. That is not a great direction for any State’s Attorney office. I’m sure some promotions are in store for those that have had tried those cases against citizens because that’s how the system works. Promote the screw ups and punish the people that are good. 🙂

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