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A Columnist's Take on Carriero, Moffat, Burns-McQuillan and More!

When it comes to Geneva elections, I'm sure you all want to know my opinion.

As we slouch toward the April consolidated elections, we’ll start our political analysis with the now-never-ending saga of long-time Genevan Jay Moffat. He’s the fascinating candidate who decided to run for Geneva park, library and school boards all at the same time.

Of course, the attorney general sank his District 304 ambitions, and even though we noted that you can’t serve two political masters, Moffat settled on the park and library boards. But even that duality has come under scrutiny.

Unlike the folks at Geneva Township who consider the voters to be a mere annoyance, the Library Board and Library Director Matt Teske sought both a state’s attorney and county clerk ruling input as to the legality of serving on both boards.

Their point being that someone winning an election only to be immediately dismissed actually subverts the electoral process. As Teske told Patch, “We’re not trying to kick anyone off the ballot, we’re just trying to get information from the Kane County Clerk’s Office.”

The problem is, if the offices are found to be incompatible, a timing technicality could mean Moffat will be completely removed from any ballot.

So, in an effort to make a self-inflicted bad situation that much worse, Moffat called the inquiry a “vendetta” against his candidacy which is a great way of introducing yourself to the very board members you may eventually have to work with.

Moffat went on to say, “My desire to serve is being stifled. I hate to sound like sour grapes, but I think I did everything any reasonable person would do … ” No Jay! A “reasonable person” wouldn’t run for three offices, because the appearance of impropriety is always worse than any actual impropriety.

Moffat also argued that the “incompatibility exists only if I take the oath of office for both (boards),” which gives a whole new meaning to the having-your-cake argument. Does anyone else see the inherent problem with running for multiple offices and choosing your favorite?

Folks, Barnum was wrong! There is such a thing as bad publicity. And this is exactly how you make yourself unelectable long before the first ballot is cast. I wouldn’t vote for Mr. Moffat to park cars at GHS football games.

Moving on and speaking of Geneva Township, their best efforts to subvert democracy are failing. Yes! They managed to throw clerk candidate Geoffrey M. Carreiro off the ballot just so they could appoint a favored son to that $22,200-a-year office (salary and benefits), but Carreiro foiled their nefarious scheme when he registered as a write-in candidate.

Take note, future office seekers! You have to fill out the appropriate paperwork at the County Clerk’s Office to run as a write-in. Thankfully, my fear that Mr. Carreiro wouldn’t follow through was for naught.

What this means is, unless the township cabal slates their own write-in plant —they have until Feb. 7 to do it — Carreiro only needs one vote to prevail. If they do slate someone, I’ll be sure to let you know.

The truth is, this will be my first write-in vote in 36 years! And if Mr. Carreiro has the sense God gave a billygoat, considering his tricky last name, he’ll be busy passing out business cards that voters can bring to the polls.

Let’s move on to the 1st Ward aldermanic race, which has been far more sedate than I expected. It’s not that I was anticipating any kind of partisan rancor, but considering the lack of an incumbent, I thought we’d be seeing a little more of Mike Bruno and a lot more from Zac Ploppert.

Now I know how much you like to kill the messenger, but I only report the political rules, I don’t make them. In light of his earlier submissions and the young Ploppert’s steep uphill battle, I thought we’d be seeing a lot more of his thoughts on Patch.

But it’s been eerily silent.

You can have your mailings, yard signs and buses, but as long as you don’t end up wrestling with the pigs in the slop, nothing quite connects with the local populus like reaching out with some sentient thoughts on Patch. And it doesn’t cost you a bloody thing!

Right now, in the vein of statistician extraordinaire Nate Silver, I’d give Mr. Ploppert a 15 percent chance of pulling it off. Before you hit the send button, I’ve called one contested election wrong in the last 15 years.

Then we have the mayoral race which, with the exception of a minor Daily Herald exchange, has been interestingly subdued, as well. That said, we are coming down to crunch time. Let’s hope the candidates stick to the issues, because there are plenty of ‘em to go around this city.

And lastly we come to you: the Geneva voter! Though local taxing bodies take a far-bigger chunk of your paycheck than the federal government does, the recent consolidated election turnout has been downright embarrassing. In 2011, just 15.1 percent of you managed to make it to the polls.

Perhaps if you paid more attention to those local folks I wouldn’t have to chastise you every time you go after a black president.

Jack January 31, 2013 at 04:02 PM
Jeff, I'm surprised that you think skin-color should be a bar to criticism.
Jim Radecki January 31, 2013 at 04:05 PM
I have been told that Jeff Carrerio can not run as a write in candidate since his petitions have been successfully challenged. Apparently there is a law referred to as the sour grapes statute that does not allow someone to run as a write in candidate if their petitions for the position have been successfully contested.
Bob McQuillan January 31, 2013 at 04:49 PM
According to the write-in rules posted on the Kane County Clerk's website, Geoff Carrerio CAN run as a write-in candidate. Rule listed below: Write-in votes shall be counted only for persons who have filed notarized declarations of intent to be write-in candidates with the proper election authority or authorities not later than 61 days prior to the primary. However, whenever an objection to a candidate's nominating papers or petitions for any office is sustained under Section 10-10 after the 61st day before the election, then write-in votes shall be counted for that candidate if he or she has filed a notarized declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for that office with the proper election authority or authorities not later than 7 days prior to the election. [10 ILCS 5/7-59 (b), 17-16.1, 18-9.1] As to the mayoral race, next week seems like a good week to see some things happening.
Mike Bruno January 31, 2013 at 04:55 PM
You will likely see something by the little-to-quiet Mr. Bruno on zoning today or tomorrow.
Ttw January 31, 2013 at 04:57 PM
Jeff- as we move into the local spring election season I look forward to reading your thoughts. Can I make one request/suggestion? Edit these things down. You seem to run off in thirteen directions and take the most convoluted path to a point. remember: brevity is the soul of wit
Donna Mead January 31, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Jeff, It's quiet in the 1st Ward because our candidate (you know, the one who has a finance background, owns a very popular local eatery - and oops... a liquor license) has been kept off the ballot by those in the know at City Hall. Our current offerings (Ploppert vs Bruno) feels a little bit like Obama vs. Obama over here in 1, as such, we're not all that fired up.
Jeff Ward January 31, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Jack, That's not what I said! What I do keep saying is, considering how much more of your money local taxing bodies appropriate, shouldn't some of that anti-Obama vitriol be directed at them? The real issue is equivalency! Jeff
Jeff Ward January 31, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Jim, That's not true. As long as you file the appropriate paperwork with the County Clerk, anyone who meets the age, residential and background requirements can run as a write-in candidate. Jeff
Jeff Ward January 31, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Dear TTW, Yikes! I actually thought that column was kinda short. I will try to keep your sage advice in mind! Jeff
Jeff Ward January 31, 2013 at 05:25 PM
Donna, While I certainly harbor a special afinity for Mr. Oleson, I don't think the other Mike is a bad choice. Unless they take it too far, independent city council voices are typically a good thing! Jeff
Terry Flanagan January 31, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Jeff, I'm not sure there's much difference between running for two offices and running for another office while currently holding a different office. The latter is common practice. Usually, the office-holder says they will resign their current position if elected to the new position. However, two mayors in DuPage county said they would continue serving in their municipal posts if elected to the DuPage County board. DuPage had an advisory referendum on the November ballot about holding dual offices. The incompatibility of office issue generally hinges on contracts between governing bodies with the presumption that the governing agencies must act in their own interest. However, that can and often does lead to situations in which one agency benefits at the expense of another. The average taxpayer often does not distinguish between the various taxing bodies. He must pay for them all and it is to his/her advantage that these agencies cooperate and minimize expenses in inter-governmental agreements and contracts. That goal is often at odds with the idea of incompatibility between the agencies. Consider the sale of property between taxing bodies in which the the taxpayer pays for the property each time it changes hands, often at escalating prices. Any office holder's first loyalty must be to the voter and not the office/agency he is elected to. I think the issue of incompatibility, while it does have its valid points, confuses that duty.
Jeff Ward January 31, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Donna, Just an ineresting point, Both Geneva's 1st and 2nd precincts which, are part of the First Ward, went for President Obama. And the 2nd went for him in a big way! Jeff
Mike Bruno January 31, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Can I put that on my "endorsements" page?! "Mike Bruno - not a bad choice!" - Jeff Ward :-)
Beth Bales January 31, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Jeff -- How'd you come by the stat that local taxing bodies take up more of our money than the federal government? I'll have to double-check our taxes, and I don't have time now, but I'm nearly certain we pay much more in federal income taxes than we do in property taxes. And it's not like we're fabulously wealthy or anything ... Add the insane state taxes to federal ones and "local vs. state/federal" is no contest. Again, people's mileage will vary.
Beth Bales January 31, 2013 at 06:11 PM
However -- your point about paying attention is very valid!
Rick Nagel (Editor) January 31, 2013 at 06:14 PM
To Terry's point, a question for Mike Bruno: Would you hold on to your HPC role if elected as 1st Ward alderman?
Jeff Ward January 31, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Mike, How about this one! Mike Bruno - you could do worse! Jeff
Jeff Ward January 31, 2013 at 06:36 PM
Terry, And back when I was writing the Friday column for multiple Patch outlets, I took those two mayor to serious task. You absolutely CANNOT serve your municipality and the county without one of those entities suffering. The one thing I wanted to include in that column is, if Jay wants to serve, there are any number of non-profit boards that would be thrilled to have him!. Jeff
Jeff Ward January 31, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Beth, First, this theory generally applies to folks who make under 6 figures and second, the sad thing is, Mr. Romney was right! About 47 percent of us pay no income taxes, but no one escapes the school board! And there ain't no deductions for property taxes! Even during my business heyday when I did reach some lofty income heights, the 8 grand I pay in property taxes every year still eclipsed what the federal government got out of me. I've quoted the actual statistics in previous columns. Jeff
Mike Bruno January 31, 2013 at 06:57 PM
I suppose, in a two person race, that's all I would need! :-)
Mike Bruno January 31, 2013 at 06:59 PM
I do not think it would be productive for me to hold both seats. I plan on stepping down from HPC should I prevail this April.
Terry Flanagan January 31, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Jeff, I don't necessarily think that's true unless all government agencies exist merely to serve theri own interests. This is where elected officials can run into problems. Are they elected to serve the goals of the agency or the public? The agency often has goals related to its own internal functioning that may not be in the best interests of the public, depending upon your perspective. If an official's loyalty is primarily to the agency then his/her role cannot truly be considered public service. The agency is a means to an end, not the end itself. It's tough trying to separate the two at times, but I think some individuals handle it very well and those same individuals could serve in two different offices without being compromised in deciding what is in the best interest of the public.
Tommy Trash January 31, 2013 at 09:54 PM
The clerk makes $500/month, no benefits. Where did you get $22,000?
Mike Bruno February 01, 2013 at 12:04 AM
@Donna For what it is worth, I argued in front of the COW advocating that Mr. Oleson be allowed to serve on the City Council. In the final analysis, it is something of an injustice to separate a specific class of merchant and deny them the ability to serve in a public capacity. All merchants would have conflicts when it came to street closures, parking and more. There are complications, yes, but we should right the injustice in lieu of taking the easier/faster/cheaper route. We all benefit from greater choice in the market of ideas. As far as comparing me to Obama; it is important to understand that, just because a person didn't like GOP economic and social policy, doesn't make them a Democrat.
Donna Mead February 01, 2013 at 05:11 AM
Obama won the 1st Ward? Must be where all of the teachers live, either that or those pesky voting machines where all ballots automatically went for the big O.
tariq February 02, 2013 at 02:09 PM
You're right, Tommy. http://www.genevatownship.com/images/salaries_2013_2017.pdf
Mike Bruno February 02, 2013 at 03:46 PM
@Donna I've seen reports and video of voting machine problems going both ways. It appears that it is a problem related to calibration of individual machines and not any conspiracy. Calibration should be locked in prior to any machine leaving the controlled factory environment and should be verified by judging officials after 'x' number of votes and taken out of commission if it fails. I would suggest that electronic voting is still way better than paper. Something of a consolation would be that such errors, being random, would affect all equally and would unlikely affect election outcomes. I would bet money, though, that Murdoch/Ailes only reported on machines that switched votes to Obama and not the converse. (searching foxnews.com seems to bear that out) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdpGd74DrBM

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