EXAMINER PUBLICATIONS – MAY 21, 2008
By Rich Trzupek
Is it true? Possibly, but does it really matter? With election season sneaking up on us, the rumor mill is already starting to grind into motion, and there’s nothing we enjoy more in the cheap seats than good ‘ole American unsubstantiated gossip.
• Mike Kelly for Village President? At the risk of turning Bartlett’s official symbol into the sweater vest, we think it would be an excellent move all around. Kelly’s keeping quiet, at least officially, but if he makes the move, the ultra-popular, hard-working and genial Hanover Township Supervisor would be a virtual shoe-in to replace Cathy Melchert.
Kelly has built a strong block of support in Bartlett, especially among seniors, and though he never blows his own horn, residents know that nobody works harder for charitable causes in the community. A move to village hall would also free him from the petty bickering and sniping that he has endured from a township board that has never quite come to grips with the fact that the vast majority of voters choose to say “I like Mike” over and over, and over, again.
Though your humble correspondent and this publication have taken the occasional shot at Melchert, one only has to take a look around Bartlett to see the results of her leadership and vision. Cathy Melchert helped build a new Bartlett, reinventing a new village without losing the old home town residents adore. If she chooses not to run again, we could think of nobody better to manage that legacy than Mike Kelly. And hey, there might be a bonus; as Village President, perhaps Mike will finally learn how to use his voice mail.
• The Fox Valley Water Reclamation District board has long been a home for those kind of sweet appointed patronage positions that are both lucrative and that don’t require a whole lot of actual work. It is said that board members get a nice little salary (upwards of $15,000 we’re told) along with medical coverage for life. Plus, if you happen to be otherwise employed in government, your board salary gets factored into your retirement package. Sweet indeed.
Now it appears that local Democrat political gadfly Jason Hughes has been pushing for one of the positions. To be sure, qualifications have never mattered on a board that currently features a car dealer, an educator, a beer salesman and a personal injury lawyer. But isn’t it time that somebody said “enough is enough”?
We hear that Senator Michael Noland, who controls the appointment, has been pushing back, and we applaud him for it. Since Hughes is an employee of the Cook Country Sheriff’s Department, appointing him to this board would represent a double-dip with no corresponding benefit to taxpayers. While Hughes has certainly shown a talent for slinging sewage during a campaign, that doesn’t translate into an ability to clean it up.
We hope that Senator Noland continues to resist making this appointment. And, while we’re at, how about taking it a step further? Let’s get rid of the patronage altogether, and introduce testing and an interview process, so we can pick the best-qualified people for the board, instead of the best-connected.
• Randy Ramey for State Senator? We hope not, for that would be subtraction by addition. Ramey is, in the view of your humble correspondent, one of the most reliable and effective conservative voices in Springfield. State Senator John Millner has been every bit as strong and, in addition to standing up for common-sense conservatism, has shown a real talent for working with the opposition. Both Ramey and Millner represent their constituents very well.
If Ramey were to go after Millner’s spot, voters would lose the services of one, and that would be a shame. While Ramey has surely earned the right to advance up the ladder in government, sometimes there’s just not a spot available. If he is indeed contemplating a Senate run, we hope that Randy will chose patience and continue to allow residents of the northwest suburbs to reap the benefit an exceptionally strong “one-two legislative punch”.
• It’s good to have friends in high places, and that appears to be true in St. Charles as much as anywhere, where being a friend of Mayor Don DeWitte said to be a very, very good thing indeed.
We were outraged when DeWitte and the City Council denied sportsmen their legal right to hunt ducks on a federal waterway (the Fox River) last year. According to insiders, that move was initiated to satisfy one of the mayor’s buddies, who was annoyed by the practice. That, some say, is typical of the way St. Charles is run these days.
If that’s the case, DeWitte had better hope that he’s got a whole, “heapin, help of” friends, or voters will surely take notice come re-election time.
• Streamwood Trustee Jason Speer apparently contacted the Village Presidents of several neighboring municipalities, hoping to win their support for a fund-raiser Speer is planning to help finance a run for an as-of-yet unnamed political office. Said leaders are said to have sensibly rebuffed these overtures. Without a defined objective, and with years of mutually-beneficial cooperation with the current administration in Streamwood, why upset an apple cart that’s clearly moving in a direction that benefits everyone in the northwest suburbs? (Jim Dasakis and Victor Santana excepted, of course).
• And finally: the new Prohibitionist movement may have finally over-stepped its bounds. Initiatives that would allow cops to forcibly draw blood from motorists suspected of driving under the influence have gotten a good deal of negative attention, as they should. In a nation where we debate exactly how far we can go to tap terrorist’s phone calls, without infringing on individual rights, how can anyone say that this practice is acceptable?
Everyone agrees that drunk drivers need to be caught and punished, but that doesn’t mean that we should trample of individual liberties to accomplish the goal. There’s plenty of blood on the streets already, without making cops spill more in the name of purity.