Quick Hits – Supplemental

Quick Hits – Supplemental

Oops! I forgot to post that I wouldn’t be posting on Labor Day for all the obvious reasons. So the next real Quick Hits will be coming tomorrow, Wednesday, September 5. But lets catch up on a few brief items first!

Please keep George and his family in your meditations and prayers

For those of you who don’t know, former Naperville Mayor, George Pradel, 80, is currently in hospice care. When George recently went to the doctor for severe neck and back pain, tests revealed a large malignant tumor and that the cancer had already spread throughout his body.


George, a former Officer Friendly, who reined over the city he loved from 1995 to 2015 was an immensely popular mayor.  Though he’s in too much pain to receive visitors, his family set up this website where family, friends and fans could post their thoughts and anecdotes.

We’ll be covering George’s tenure more thoroughly in an upcoming Quick Hits installment. Meanwhile, this is my favorite Real-world Example from my impending ‘So You Want to Win a Local Election’ book:

In 2015, George Pradel, the Mayor of Naperville, Illinois, stepped down after 20 years of public service. That tenure is no small accomplishment when you consider that Naperville exploded from 100,000 to 145,000 residents during that time.

Some worthwhile candidates challenged George over all those years, but he dispatched each and every one of them without breaking a sweat.

George was very amicable, he knew how to connect with voters, he avoided the typical political pitfalls and, best of all, he was Naperville’s Officer Friendly for years. All those school children became voters who have very fond memories of George’s visits.

George never let a handshaking opportunity go, either. I’ll never forget the day he showed up to pass out the awards at a 5K race in which I placed third in my age group.

From 1995 to 2011, any Napervillian with mayoral aspirations was SOL (bleep out of luck). No amount of money, no amount of name recognition, no amount of negative campaigning, no amount of positive campaigning, no amount of time and no amount of door-knocking mattered. Had Jesus Himself returned to run, he would not have beaten George Pradel.

I’ll say it again, running against an undamaged incumbent at the local level is political suicide.

You really think that’s a good thing, Joe?

Just when you think an elected official can’t possibly be any more politically naive, they almost always manage to prove me wrong.

With the Jason Van Dyke trial looming large, both major Chicago papers have taken turns covering defense attorney Daniel Herbert and special prosecutor and Kane County State’s Attorney, Joe McMahon.

In the Sun-Times piece, McMahon brags how he and his top prosecutors routinely spend 13 to 14 hours a day on the case. “It’s whatever it takes, he said, “Sometimes, those days are very long.”

After claiming there’s no net taxpayer loss to taking on a Cook County trial, he basically admitted that Kane County voters aren’t getting the benefit of his $170,000 pay, or the six-figure salaries of his top lieutenants.

So, why run for State’s Attorney if you have no intention of doing the job? If you want to take on a special prosecution of this magnitude, go ahead, but take a leave of absence to do it – don’t bilk the taxpayer for it.

What this boils down to is McMahon is getting all sorts of positive state-wide press, and you and I are footing the bill.

Continuing with his unique brand of naivete, when the Sun-Times reporter/columnist asked bout his recent five-round bout with Chairman Chris Lauzen, McMahon said, “The criticism has really come from a single person. The board members who have communicated with me about this have been overwhelmingly supportive.”


First, the board members who don’t appreciate Lauzen’s unique leadership style are going to tell him whatever he wants to hear. It’s the whole enemy of my enemy thing.

Second, from the beginning, board members who’ve spoken with me consistently called McMahon’s judgement into question for taking on a case he can’t win. If he wins, his relationship with law enforcement is permanently damaged. If he loses, every Chicago activist will be out for his head.

And third, since the Maxxam rehab center lawsuit settlement disaster, the bloom is completely off McMahon’s county board rose. Most board members are furious with him for his failure to address that situation early on. That means Joe is going to have a very rough time going forward – especially when it comes to his recent budget increase request.

Considering his fascinating track record, I bet he still thinks that’s gonna happen!

The right way to stage a protest

I’m not going to get into the vagaries of traffic blocking anti-Chicago violence protests – we’ll save that for a time we can talk about it in more detail. But I will say that Monday’s attempt to block I-190 and temporarily close O’Hare Airport worked out well on all counts.

The protester’s 50 person presence was vastly overshadowed by three times the number of State Police officers, who explained they would not stop the group from walking onto the highway, but any interloper would be arrested and hit with a $120 pedestrian on an expressway fine.

When Twelve of them, including organizer the Reverend Gregory Livingston crossed the line and walked onto I-190, the were peacefully arrested, processed, and released.

In the end, the protesters got national press, O’Hare airport operations continued unimpeded, and everyone shook hands and went home. Sometimes life is good!




2 thoughts on “Quick Hits – Supplemental

  1. Jeff you should consider letting Chris Lauzen fight his own battles with the State’s Attorney. You don’t want to go down with Lauzen’s ship when it sinks and it will eventually sink. Lauzen can’t stand that someone other than himself is the center of attention even if the attention is bad. Let Zahm do his dirty work you want to be considered a worthy journalist leave the pettiness of the Chairman to his flunky and himself. He wouldn’t help you get out of a wet paper bag.

    1. Roger,

      You are wrong young Padawan! Look at the chronology! I started writing about the problems with an absentee state’s attorney over a year ago, and the Chairman just recently picked up on the Laquan McDonald aspect of it.

      In fact, I specifically wrote that the Chairman’s contention that McMahon’s links with local developers led directly to the Maxxam rehab center settlement was dead wrong. But I have been hammering – and rightfully so – that 20 prosecutors working on Cook County cast is wrong and the Chairman eventually adopted that point of view as well.

      Please understand that I’ve also taken the Chairman to task as often as I’ve supported him and I don’t support his public battles with any elected official.

      But as to Chairman Lauzen’s loyalty, despite my often fascinating life, he’s stuck by me through it all. Have I been on his bad side? You bet, but we always seem to work it out.

      The bottom line here is, I’ve been leading the anti Van Dyke special prosecution charge, not the Chairman.


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