Lester: Palatine supervisor disputes suggestion of 'Chicago politics'
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Are "Chicago politics" alive and well in Palatine Township? A piece of anonymous "snail mail" that landed on my newsroom desk suggested they could be, after township Republican Chairman Aaron Del Mar was appointed to two taxpayer-funded posts with the help of the Palatine Township supervisor he slated during a 2013 primary election.
But Supervisor Sharon Langlotz-Johnson -- who advanced Del Mar's name for the posts of Palatine Township highway commissioner and Palatine Rural Fire Protection District trustee -- disputes the theory and called Del Mar "uniquely qualified."
The two jobs combined pay $23,000 annually.
On Langlotz-Johnson's recommendation, the township board named Del Mar to the fire district post in late 2015 and highway commissioner in May. The vacancies occurred after fire trustee Richard Wells died and former highway commissioner Tom Kaider resigned for personal and health reasons.
"It was a very difficult time for the road district," Langlotz-Johnson said, noting "we knew Aaron's qualifications," which include a degree in public management and experience as a Palatine councilman and small-business owner.
Del Mar, in his party role, slated Langlotz-Johnson over two-term supervisor Linda Fleming in the 2013 primary, saying he had concerns about Fleming "double-dipping" by collecting her supervisor's salary on top of her pension.
"Sharon brought a lot of good insights to the position," he told me.
Johnson says the endorsement had no bearing on Del Mar's appointments. "We were under the impression (Kaider) was going to run the next four years. Aaron would have had no knowledge of future openings when he was slating me."
She says Del Mar is doing "an amazing job" in the new roles.
'My heart leapt'
I was delighted to get a call this week from Betty-Ann Moore, former Lake County Democratic chairman and retired Libertyville Township supervisor, who unearthed my voice mail from a cellphone she says she keeps buried at the bottom of her handbag for emergencies.
I'd called Moore when working on a piece about pioneering suburban women's views on Hillary Clinton's historic nomination as the first female major-party candidate for president. "I have to say my heart just leapt and tears came to my eyes when she accepted the (Democratic) nomination," said Moore, 78, of Libertyville. Of course, she said, it also made her wistful for Republican and Democratic female friends who blazed trails for women around the suburbs but have died in recent years -- including Republican state Sen. Virginia MacDonald and state Rep. Eugenia Chapman, both of Arlington Heights. "These were thoughtful women," she said. "But they're gone."
Well, this is amusing
The Kane County Cougars issued a tongue-in-cheek announcement that "the budget has been approved" to hold Political Corruption Night on Thursday, Aug. 18, when they take on the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in a 6:30 p.m. game at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva. "In an homage to the politically corrupt reputation that the state of Illinois holds, the team will poke fun at a variety of circumstances residents have experienced throughout the years." Activities include rigged contests and a "Water-balloon-Gate Slingshot." For more information, call (630) 232-8811.
As the election controversy played out over the parents of slain U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, I recalled others who emigrated to the United States and were killed in military service for our country. Among those from Illinois was U.S. Army Spc. Uday Singh, a native of Chandigarh, India, who was killed in 2003 while serving as a gunner in Iraq. Singh had moved to the United States to live with an aunt and uncle in Lake Forest in the 1990s. He was posthumously awarded U.S. citizenship during a ceremony at the Sikh gurdwara in Palatine.
'Have you been running?'
That was Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes' question when we ran into one another at U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk's talk at European Crystal Banquets last week. Hayes -- a longtime runner who's been known to complete an out-of-state marathon and return home in time for a village board meeting that same night -- is preparing to run his 29th marathon in Chicago this October and already is qualified for the prestigious Boston Marathon next spring. Chicago will be my eighth marathon and I'm crossing my fingers that I'll run fast enough to qualify for Boston myself.