It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. ― Noël Coward
And deceit and hypocrisy are the hallmarks of that Elgin city council’s progressive faction, or Gang of Four, as I affectionately refer to Corey Dixon, Tish Powell, John Steffen, and Carol Rauschenberger. They never miss an opportunity to make Elgin worse as demonstrated by their greatest hits which include, but aren’t nearly limited to the following.
Powell directly interfered with and tried to intimidate the law firm conducting an independent investigation into a police department personnel issue involving a black employee. Then she childishly insisted that she was well within her council rights to do so. And we all know the kind of unbridled fury that would’ve been unleashed if councilman Toby Shaw similarly intervened on a white employee’s behalf.
We just covered mayoral candidate Dixon’s 180-degree flip from defunding the Elgin Police to campaigning on the basis of a “stronger police department.” Now, Mr. “Transparency” is putting my social media blocking capacity to shame by swiftly dispensing with anyone who dares to mildly question his “integrity.”
After insisting that the public wear masks and roundly excoriating Shaw for his refusal to get vaccinated during the height of the pandemic, the entire Gang was photographed going mask free at a packed downtown Elgin Democratic fundraiser.
Perhaps the most egregious example of our quartet’s unabashed duplicity was voting down a stronger 2021 city council ethics ordinance because it would’ve barred their progressive compatriot Baldemar Lopez, or any lobbyist, from holding that office. Had the more conservative councilmen similarly supported one of their own there it certainly wouldn’t have been pretty.
But Gang may have managed to top themselves by attending a March 16 high-end Dixon fundraiser hosted by Elgin’s premier Trump supporter and business owner Dragos Sprinceana. I say “premier” because Republican Magazine ran an article claiming Sprincena was a “pivotal” player in Trump’s 2020 election bid.
Before we get off track, I have no specific issue with Mr. Sprinceana. If harboring a bad taste in politicians were a crime, then most of the populace would already be in jail. Meanwhile, having surmounted his humble Chicago beginnings to preside over a number of highly successful business ventures, Sprinceana is the very embodiment of the American dream. He’s also heavily invested in the city of Elgin, and everyone tells me he treats his employees like gold.
The reason one of Sprinceana’s businesses hosted that fundraiser is because Dixon’s brother works for that company.
So, my problem isn’t with him, it’s with our four self-proclaimed progressives who can so easily shuck their lofty liberal standards to accept political support and money from people diametrically opposed to their emphatically professed political ideology.
Can you imagine how Dixon, Steffen, Rauschenberger, and Powell would’ve reacted if Shaw or councilman Rose Martinez received support from the likes of the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, or God forbid, George Soros?
Oh, wait a minute! You don’t have to imagine it. After Martinez received a sizeable contribution from the conservative Jimmy John’s founder’s family, the Gang started a whisper campaign intended to cut off her electoral support. This, of course, begs the question, is there a stronger word for “hypocrite” than “hypocrite.”
Why is the Gang of Four so blatant in their disregard for the ideological standards they so eagerly thrust upon everyone else? They know they can get away with it. They know that all they have to do is spout the appropriate political platitudes from the council dais, and just like it is with Trump supporters, the Elgin progressive plurality will ignore their sad track records and vote for them regardless.
So much for actions speaking so much louder than words.
They know that, as long as Elgin maintains an at-large election methodology, the overly vocal progressive mob will vote for them in just enough numbers to put them in the top four. And that’s particularly true when the city council field consistently consists of nine to eleven candidates, a numbers dynamic that will always favor the incumbents.
To wit, when my column on the maskless fundraiser ran, the first thing the progressive posse did was attack my credentials. If you can’t craft a cogent argument then kill the messenger, right? When that didn’t work, some of them resorted to the Trump “fake news” tactic of claiming it wasn’t a maskless John Steffen working the door.
All they had to do was click on the photo to enlarge it and remove all doubt, but then they’d have to deal with the truth and their own hypocrisy, wouldn’t they?
Though it’s about as futile as asking conservatives to admit that Fox News is a shameless propaganda farce, considering the abundance of evidence, I’m going to ask Elgin liberals and progressives to consider the possibility that Powell, Dixon, Steffen, and Rauschenberger are acting in their best interest and not yours.
The next step towards returning to reality would be to vote accordingly.