For Mayor of Geneva?
Though I suppose it should come as no surprise because the entire newspaper endorsement process is obsolete and flawed. It’s an anachronism that harkens back to a day when papers were the only local media game in town and only they had the clout to get the candidates to sit down and talk.
Now, the vast majority of local candidates will answer any reasonable question on fricken’ facebook!
Yes! Assistant Managing Editor Jim Slusher made a big deal out of endorsement month by claiming they really weren’t in it to influence your vote, No! The Daily Herald is simply trying get you to engage in the political process – by doing your thinking for you.
C’mon! Couldn’t they create candidate profiles without picking anyone which, ya know, might actually engage the reader’s thought process?
But No! As newspapers lose whatever gravitas they once had at an alarming rate, the endorsement game has become a form of mutual masturbation. The newspapers do it to prove they’re still relevant and, to a lesser extent, so do the candidates. They love it when they can get a politician to come to them!
And that’s when they aren’t endorsing criminals like Jesse Jackson Jr. because they’re afraid of losing readers.
The truth is, the more you suck up to the editorial board, which more frequently consists of at least one reporter who can’t even spell the word “investigative,” the more likely you are to get the endorsement. So is it any wonder that the smarmy State Sen Mike Noland would get the nod over challenger Tim Elenz or the ingratiating Kevin Burns would prevail over the more rough-edged Bob McQuillan?
The problem is, as newspapers (and candidates) continue to engage in this stroke fest, they lose standing. I’m not necessarily saying the DH should’ve endorsed McQuillan for Geneva Mayor, but I can’t see how they chose Kevin Burns.
Lets review class!
- After frequently calling himself a “fiscal conservative,” Mayor Burns has repeatedly said Geneva has to implement the maximum property tax levy increase or we “lose that money for good” if we don’t.
- After Alderman Dean Kilburg staged an insurrection, he single-handedly kept a property tax increase alive by voting in place of a missing alderman and tying the score!
- In part because Geneva failed to do bank reconciliations for as long as a year, an employee managed to steal $29,000 over the course of eight years.
- Again, it isn’t the fact that the mayor used his Geneva email account to send and receive county chair campaign emails, it was what he said in those emails.
- I personally caught the mayor in a number of absurdly silly lies including, but not limited to, right-on-red camera tickets, Geneva’s involvement in the Rt. 30/Kautz Rd. project(in the comments), Geneva employee salaries and raises, Geneva’s property tax rate, budget cuts that aren’t cuts, and the not-so-prestigious Distinguished Budget Presentation Award which they’ll send to anyone who sends them the 425 bucks.
And trying to excuse yourself by picking the lesser of two evils doesn’t cut it. If you can’t bear the thought of either candidate, then don’t endorse anyone. Because if you do, you lose the kind of credibility that newspapers simply can’t afford to lose.
I can’t tell you how many emails and calls I’ve received from folks aghast at the DH’s choice.
The irony is, as I proved in this column, the quickest way to lose a truly contested election is to be endorsed by the local papers! And the only paper worse at picking the losers than the DH is the Chicago Tribune.
So whenever a candidate asks me if they should do any endorsement interviews, I quickly answer that query with an unequivocal and emphatic NO! The odds of it helping your cause are slim while your chances of saying something that hurts your candidacy is far greater.
The bottom line? I’ll be voting for Bob McQuillan because I’m tired of watching Kevin Burns spend my money and local newspapers will continue to fade away.