By Rich Trzupek
-There is a moment that everyone remembers from childhood. It’s that point in time when your mother has been haranguing you for so long, and so loudly, that you are willing to do anything to just MAKE IT STOP. You would not only clean your room, you’d clean all of your siblings rooms, along with the rooms of every kid in the neighborhood.
We reached that point with the Presidential election about three months ago. By the time this column is published, American will have elected its next President, which means – thank the Lord – that the hectoring, lecturing, name-calling and finger-wagging will finally stop for another four years.
Whomever is elected, he will have a lot of challenges ahead of him, as Presidents of the United States always do. And, whomever is elected, the heavy-lifting will be performed by America’s citizens, which is always the case as well.
-Speaking of the election, can we finally do away with the boring, and thoroughly uninformative, debate format that has been in use since Nixon and Kennedy squared off in 1960? The candidates are coached on their answers so thoroughly, and the moderator’s questions so often ignored in favor of rote campaign statements, that one could learn as much by putting two cardboard cut-outs on stage with tape recorders playing their remarks. (And I am not entirely convinced that this is not what happened this year).
Here’s a suggestion for next time around: put the candidates on opposite sides of a table and let them talk to each other about the issues for two hours, while we listen in. How to make sure that one candidate doesn’t dominate the conversation? It’s 2008. We’ve got the tools. Use voice recognition software to track the amount of time that each candidate speaks. Each is allocated, say, fifty minutes of total talking time, which can be tracked on a flat screen, so that each candidate can see how much time they have used.
The moderator’s only role would be to identify the issues to be discussed as the evening moved on. Thus, “please discuss Iraq”, “please discuss the economy”, etc. In this way, we would actually learn something about each candidate’s personality, their real views and both candidates would have a real opportunity to hold their opponent’s feet to the fire. How ‘bout it folks?
-Locally, were Schaumburg Village President Al Larson capable of feeling embarrassment, this campaign has presented him with ample opportunity to do so. However, we suspect that when Larson had his nose repaired, the surgeon also implanted an extra dose of ego, which means that Al is pretty much bursting at the seams right about now.
Schaumburg has wasted an inordinate amount of time harassing Anita Forte-Scott, who just happens to be running against Larson’s pal, Paul Froehlich, for state representative. Schaumburg police ticketed vehicles parked at Forte-Scott’s residence and your humble correspondent was fortuitously present at Forte-Scott’s campaign office (about to conduct an interview with the candidate) when a Schaumburg fire department truck rolled up. As I watched curiously from a ringside seat in the cheapseatsmobile, Schaumburg firefighters inspected Forte-Scott’s campaign office, then walked out and drove off, without inspecting any other business in the strip mall. Odd coincidence, no?
Larson retains deniability with regard to these grade-school antics of course, but it’s beyond naïve to believe that this kind of thing could happen in the Kingdom of Al without the King’s assent.
If, as you read this, Forte-Scott has won the election (and the numbers indicate that she has a real shot), it would be payback time for Larson in an ideal world. However, we are certain that Forte-Scott is too classy a lady to make the citizens of Schaumburg pay for the petty behavior of their Village President, or to even call out Larson’s childish behavior.
-Odd rumors in St. Charles have caught the ears of the Cheap Seats’ crack research staff. They are still investigating, but let’s pose a theoretical question: is it appropriate for one department head to be romantically involved with, and even live with, another department head, particularly when the former has an obligation to independently oversee certain aspects of the latter’s department and its employees? This is just the sort of thing that Mayor Don Dewitte found objectionable with regard to his predecessor in office, but perhaps the Mayor’s heart (and head) have softened over time.
The residents of St. Charles may choose to ponder the answer to this theoretical question as we investigate further, and the City Council might just consider the meaning of the terms “propriety” and “conflict of interest” as well.
Just a suggestion.
-With the national election over, we will be subjected to local elections in April. Contested elections for village board seats in Bartlett and Streamwood seems likely, as well as spots on the Hanover Township and Wayne Township boards. The Examiner and your humble correspondent will have opinions about these elections, of course, but for now. let’s take a breather.
Quite frankly, we’re exhausted.