In the famous but somewhat paraphrased words of the fictional Margo Channing, “Fasten your seatbelts folks, it’s going to be a bumpy Geneva 2012 retrospective ride.” Since we’ve got so much to cover, let’s get right to it!
In January, responding to a make-a-prognostication-before-the-fact challenge from eminent readers Colin Campbell and Ken Loebel, this columnist predicted the president would prevail one more time.
My theory was that a combination of pandering to far-right lunacy and the contenders’ willingness to tear each other to shreds during the primary would ultimately lead to the GOP nominee’s downfall. And that’s essentially what happened.
February brought us the sad revelation that Geneva streets Superintendent Steve LeMaire misused a city credit card to the tune of $24,000 over eight years. He was eventually convicted and terminated, losing a promising pension as a result.
My theory was, though we’re ultimately responsible for our actions, had the city implemented basic fiscal controls this theft never would’ve happened. And I’m still not convinced they’ve applied the appropriate checks and balances.
March meant it was primary time, and we attacked that prospect from a couple different angles. Of course, the most fascinating story was the race for county board chair.
On the Democratic side, former St. Charles Mayor Sue Klinkhamer defeated former Carpentersville Village President Bill Sarto without even bothering to campaign. Sarto tried to chalk it up to the Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke “slut” fiasco, but that only proved he was sillier than Sue.
State Sen. Chris Lauzen walked away with the nomination after a contentious GOP race in which a series of missteps lead to Mayor Kevin Burns failure to carry Geneva.
As those spring breezes released us from winter’s grip, Joe Stanton’s attempt to tear down the iconic Pure Oil building dominated the April news.
After a number of heated full capacity City Council proceedings, a compromise was reached where the blue roofed structure would be preserved by converting it into a rather unique bank drive through.
Sometimes things work out exactly as they should!
The future of our quaint downtown was on everyone’s mind in May. Not only did we discuss how the aldermen might think outside the Third Street grocery store box, but that the demise of Cole Travel was an Internet warning shot we simply cannot ignore.
Even though we’re seeing signs the great recession may be waning, that inevitable short-term bounce doesn’t mean we’re out of the downtown woods. The master plan is a great step, but the time to take the bull by the horns is now!
How many jewelry stores can any self-respecting business district support?
Despite some merchants’ vast overreaction, June brought the annual bike race back to Third Street and what a spectacle it was! Watching professional and Cat 1 riders do better than 30 mph for more than an hour thrilled the throng of eager spectators.
The story in July story had to be the heat which brought four straight days of record-breaking, triple-digit temperatures. On the rare occasion we actually got some precipitation, the event tended to be rather violent leading to lengthy west side power outages.
In August it was back to backyard chickens, and I’m still stunned at how close the City Council came to permitting those foul backyard fowl. This is one instance where I had no problem with the mayor’s tie breaking proclivities.
If you really do want a residential chicken coop, then please move west of Peck Road. I can barely tolerate the aldermen, much less noisy and smelly birds.
Then it was on to September where the prospect of a new teachers contract galvanized this bedroom community like nothing I’ve seen before. My hope was that, by discussing both sides of the debate in a two part series, cooler heads would prevail. Sadly, we that was not to be the case.
October opened with the City Council’s attempt to end the proliferation of parking lot donation boxes. In an ensuing investigative piece we discussed how these purported clothing recycling companies aren’t charitable in the least.
But while I proposed banning the boxes outright, the alderman ultimately decided to charge an annual fee and put ‘em up against the buildings. Those out-of-compliance letters are set to go out in January, so we’ll see what happens.
November brought us to the brink of a teachers strike, something previously unthinkable in Geneva. As we inexorably moved towards that precipice, I wrote one last ditch column asking the teachers to truly consider the consequences of their choices.
Sometimes it is all about the timing.
But this time, cooler heads did prevail and, thanks to a last-ditch negotiating session, the deal got done.
Which brings us to December and a contested mayoral race. It looks like TaxFACTS head honcho Bob McQuillan and incumbent Kevin Burns will square off this spring. As noted in this column, it’s always good to have political competition.
Our final month also brought us the sad news of the passing of original fiscal conservative and long time Geneva alderman Paul DesCouteaux. You can’t walk down Third Street without seeing Paul’s face. He will be missed.
So that’s it for 2012. Next time, we’ll discuss what I believe will be the major Geneva news stories in 2013.
- Jeff Ward: How To Make Your New Year's Workout Resolution Last
- Jeff Ward: Sho-Deen + Geneva, a True Municipal Love Affair
- Jeff Ward Picks His Geneva Economic Development Dream Team
- Jeff Ward: Symptoms of Municipal Mindset? Our City Council's Chronic Focus on the Trivial
- Jeff Ward: What Happens When FACTS Doesn't Attack!
- Jeff Ward: We Still Have Cheerleaders?
- Jeff Ward: The Worst Geneva Intersections of 2011—And What To Do About It
- Jeff Ward: Do I Really Have to go Shopping With My Wife?
- Jeff Ward: Why President Obama Just Got Four More Years
- Jeff Ward: You Mean, They're Still Talking About Sandwich Boards?
- Jeff Ward: Let's Engage Rational People in Rational Conversations
- Jeff Ward: I'm Stunned at What Teachers Have to Put Up With, for Very Little Pay
- Jeff Ward: Hard Truth Is City of Geneva Hasn't Begun to Make Budget Cuts
- Jeff Ward: LaCure Confirms It—Downtown's 15% Drop in Assessed Value Ain't No Fluke
- Jeff Ward: Service Is Downtown Geneva's Edge Over Randall Road
- Jeff Ward: Geneva School Board, City Taking Steps in Right Direction
- Jeff Ward: Lord, Save Us From Do-Gooder Politicians
- Jeff Ward: It Ain't All Steve LeMaire's Fault
- Jeff Ward: How to Scare Your Boyfriend Without Using a Shotgun
- Jeff Ward: The City Council Strikes Another Blow Against the Municipal Mindset
- Jeff Ward: If Geneva Red-Light Camera Revenue Quacks Like a Duck ...
- Jeff Ward: An Ode to Davy Jones
- Jeff Ward: On Youth Sports Coaches, Whitney Houston and Racism
- Jeff Ward: Why Do I Suddenly Feel Like Singing 'We Shall Overcome'?
- What Downtown Geneva Doesn't Need
- Jeff Ward: Disdain for Women Is GOP's Death Knell
- Jeff Ward: Do They Have a Homemaker Merit Badge?
- Jeff Ward: If an Ethics Investigation Takes Place in a Vacuum, Does it Make Sound?
- Jeff Ward: On March 20, You Have the Power
- Jeff Ward: On School Bus Stops, Sexual Predators, And Protecting Our Children
- What it Means to be a Fiscal Conservative
- Seven Essays: Of FACTS and Fantasy
- Jeff Ward: I am the Greatest ... Cook in Geneva, That Is!
- Jeff Ward: Geneva Does Write Right-on-Red Tickets!
- Jeff Ward: Yes! I Know Where My Red Tent Is!
- Ain't No One Making Me Pee Into a Cup!
- Jeff Ward:Taking Solace in the Joy of Lives Well-Lived
- Jeff Ward: The Best Obituary Ever
- A Predictable Plea Bargain in LeMaire Case
- Jeff Ward: You CAN Fight City Hall ... and Here's How You Do It!
- Best of Jeff Ward: Do As I Say, and No Genevan Gets Hurt!
- Jeff Ward: And the First Annual 'What the (Bleep) Were You Thinking?' Award Goes to ...
- Jeff Ward: The Truth About Your Property Taxes
- Leave the Geneva Mental Health Board Alone!
- Jeff Ward: For Whom the Toll Bells
- Jeff Ward: DuPage County Needs to Do Some Political House Cleaning
- Cole Travel Says Goodbye
- Jeff Ward: 7 Habits for Highly Effective High School Grads
- The Bus-Stop Herding Habits of Middle and High Schoolers
- Jeff Ward: Don't Just Throw the Rascals Out! Replace Them!
- Jeff Ward: Despite Some Merchants' Protest, Bike Race Likely to Move Through Third Street
- Class Size Doesn't Matter
- Jeff Ward: How to Keep Coyotes Honest
- Geneva, You're Getting on My Last Good Nerve
- Jeff Ward: Club Sports Prey on Parents' Fantasies
- Not Again, Zac!
- Lions, Tigers and Mountain Bikers, Oh My!
- Jeff Ward: Demonizing the Opposition Only Diminishes You!
- On a Church Fire and an Aldermanic Race
- Put the Fried Twinkie Down, and No One Gets Hurt
- When Geneva Republicans Act Just Like Democrats
- My Final Thoughts on Mill Creek—Until Next Time
- Why the Small Things Matter so Much in the Business World
- Hail to Thee, Geneva Metra Commuter
- The Human Face That Goes With Nicole Wiesner
- I Don't Wanna Hear Another Thing about 'Brienny'!
- Best of Jeff Ward: It's Time for Suburbs to Ban All Fire Pits!
- What We Got Here Is a Failure to Communicate!
- More Thoughts On Millcreekia!
- No One Needs to Carry a Purse During School Hours!
- Calling Me a Cad Doesn't Change the Truth About Purses at the High School
- How to Have a Great School Year in Geneva
- In Regard to TaxFACTS, I Told You Thusly!
- My Advice to Geneva Teachers
- Two Customer Service Surprises—One Good, One Bad
- Tanna Farms in Foreclosure? An Anti-MIll Creek Apartment Argument that Might've Worked!
- The Foods That Separate Geneva from the Rest
- Geneva City Council, School Board Are Doing All Right!
- Ode to a Genevan's Summer Yearn
- How to De-Skunk an Unfortunate Canine
- Charity Doesn't Begin in a Parking Lot
- So Now the Chairman's Going to Freeze the Tax Levy? Right!
- Driver's Ed Certainly is an Education for Me!
- Jeff Ward's 2012 Pre-Election Recap
- Jeff Ward: Barnes & Noble Blows it Again!
- Congestion Pricing Won't Work in Chicago, But My Ideas Will!
- Get a Grip People—It's a Negotiation!
- What's All That Fuss About the Presidential Election?
- I'm Proud of You, Geneva!
- How Local Government Really Works 101
- Technologie Ist Nicht So Schlecht, Nachdem Alle!
- I'm Not Getting Old, It's just that I'm too Tall for my Hair!
- Freedom of Religion Also Means Freedom From Religion
- City Government is Supposed to be Non-Partisan
- Paul DesCouteaux Was the Original Fiscal Conservative
- A Tale of Two (Geneva) Candidates
- With the Teachers Strike Averted, Now Let's Solve the Real Problems