Anyone who’s covered politics for any length of time understands the concept of “revisionist history.” In fact, it’s the current national Republican Party pastime! But while their capacity to ignore the truth is truly amazing, there’s nothing quite like a revisionist history as put forth by a narcissistic local politician.
And when you add Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns to that mix, the word “spin” isn’t nearly an enough of an adjective to describe the bovine manure he’s been spewing lately. It would seem that Nelson Mandela ain’t got nuthin’ on him!
This particular round of mendaciousness started on election night when, instead of being gracious in victory, the Mayor endlessly whined about “Having endured a vicious, vindictive and vitriolic assault on me and my family, this evening’s victory is particularly sweet.” “Vindictive and vitriolic?” Those are the Mayor’s middle names!
I’ve spoken with a slew of voters who’ve refused to put an opposing yard sign on their front lawn because Burns is so vindictive. He goes after them personally, he uses the police as his own paramilitary arm, and just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse, the pièce de resistance was a series of emails savaging an opponent’s wife.
And the Mayor thought that was funny, too!
Even family members don’t dare run or speak out against him for fear of his wrath. If you doubt me, simply avail yourself of any City Council meeting video where the Mayor doesn’t immediately get his way. I’ve seen two-year-olds hold it together better than he can. So, you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t feel the slightest bit of pity for some karma finally catching up with this poor excuse for a human being.
But the manure spreading wasn’t nearly over on election day because when Burns was sworn in, he had the nerve to say this:
There is no doubt – and I know that all of you will agree – that we serve in an era of rising acrimony both online and in person. When threats, accusations or intimidation are sown, we must do all we can to prevent those seeds from taking root. And when dog whistles are sounded, we must not be reticent. We must respond with sirens of actualities and veracity. To do anything less is to be complicit. And being complicit degrades the offices we hold, the body we represent and the community we serve.
The fact the he could issue that soliloquy with a straight face is a testament to pathological liars everywhere. The vast irony being that he was so far ahead of his political dirty tricks time, that Burns may well have invented the concept of “dog whistling.” That’s when a candidate issues a “coded” message he knows only his ardent followers would pick up on.
Then the Mayor promised to do his “best for the community!” The good news there is he’s got nowhere to go but up because here’s a litany of his greatest hits:
1. His ex-wife had to call the police on him at least three times after he repeatedly showed up at her home and threatened her while applying the worst kind of abusive language – in front of their daughters. The proximate cause of those confrontations was Burns wanted to have his wife and his girlfriend. Those police reports can be FOIA’d from the Geneva Police.
2. In a case of over-the-top road rage, Mayor Burns ran a car off of Fabyan Parkway and flashed his badge at the occupants in an effort to misrepresent himself as being a police officer. He managed to buy his way out of that one after one of the passengers turned out to be a relative. That report can be FOIA’d from the Batavia Police.
3. Burns regularly uses the entire City workforce to campaign for him and further intimidate “enemies.” This is why those unions always get the best deals at contract time.
4. The Geneva Police let the Mayor slide on at least four and as many as eight DUI charges. Three separate eyewitnesses have confirmed this.
5. The Mayor has shown up to City events inebriated to the point where he slurs his words. Most recently, three eyewitnesses confirmed he showed up drunk to the County Board meeting where COVID relief fund distribution was being discussed. When the Mayor informed the Board it was his way or the highway, Geneva ended up getting less money.
As an aside, I was rather surprised when a stellar organization like Casa for Children asked Mayor Burns to speak at their recent Hands Around the Courthouse event to bring attention to child abuse and neglect. There’s nothing quite like having an abuser speak out against abuse. I suppose there’s something to be said for knowing exactly what you’re talking about.
For an encore, after his swearing in speech the artificial tears started to fall when, in reference to his late father, Mayor Burns said, “I hope he’s proud of his youngest son tonight.”
Oh, I’m sure he is! Because the elder Burns was every bit the bully his son is. I watched his father do his damndest to intimidate his son’s detractors at a number of public events, and the apple certainly doesn’t fall too terribly far from the tree.
So, no Mayor Burns! Despite fully believing in your own lies, you don’t get to rewrite history. The good news is, with your ability to perpetuate your narcissistic façade fading with age and a seething resentment for your multitude of failures making it impossible to control your toddler-esque temper, Genevans are coming to grips with the reality of exactly who you are.
And it ain’t a pretty sight.