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Lyons: New, but dubious, fame for Hebron

Hebron now will be famous for two things:

1) The 1952 Green Giants Illinois State Basketball Championship.

2) Electing a village president facing fresh felony charges for possession of crack cocaine.

Hopefully, there are no plans to repaint the Hebron water tower basketball in the likeness of a glass pipe.

We wrote several stories about John Jacobson’s felony arrest, at least one of which appeared on the front page of the Northwest Herald. We restated the arrest on our editorial page in our endorsement of incumbent Frank Beatty.

I took a call from an exasperated reader within the past week or so who implored me to tell people not to vote for John Jacobson because of the charges. I explained what we had already reported and that while newspaper editorial boards make endorsements, newspapers in their news pages do not tell people how to vote.

She pushed harder, essentially saying people don’t always read the newspaper. I realize that, but frankly, there’s not much I can do about it. We can put it on the front page, post it on our website, send a text alert to your phone or email, link to it on Facebook or Twitter. But we can’t make you read it.

Sometimes your responsibility as a voter, and everyone has one even though only 16 percent could be bothered to vote, will require one to read between the lines. Or read. Period.

Not only can we not make people read, but we can’t make up anyone’s mind or make them vote or not vote. The latter part doesn’t trouble me, since I’m in the news business instead of the mind-control business.

But I have a hard time believing the good people of Hebron are cool with having a village president facing potential prison time. It is not that kind of town.

But frankly, Hebron residents, you got what you deserved. While only 145 residents voted for Jacobson, fewer than 300 bothered to vote at all.

This could very well have been a vote of frustration over Beatty’s administration. It certainly doesn’t speak well for him. But the fact is that voters put in a candidate who will have to be removed from office if he is convicted of a felony for cocaine possession, according to the Illinois Municipal Code.

This is why we make fun of Cook County. Hear that slam, Hebron? That was the joke door closing for good. Even Cicero is looking at you cockeyed.

Jacobson on Tuesday night said he’s innocent, and he still enjoys that presumption of innocence. But he never bothered to make that case of innocence publicly other than to say it on election night.

He declined an opportunity to meet with the Northwest Herald Editorial Board or the chance to fill out a candidate questionnaire, so 145 people in Hebron either must believe that the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department is making the charges up or just don’t care.

The sadder truth is that some probably didn’t even know the charges existed. In that case, they have only themselves to blame.

• Kevin Lyons is news editor of the Northwest Herald. Reach him at 815-526-4505 or email him at kelyons@shawmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinLyonsNWH.

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