Local Editorials

Our View: Jacobson should resign, or felony prosecution pursued

John Jacobson is hurting Hebron whether he admits it or not. He owes it to the residents of Hebron to step down from his role as village president for the good of the community, and for his own well-being.

Jacobson, whom voters elected in 2013 despite a pending criminal charge of possession of crack cocaine, has continued to display abhorrent personal behavior unbeffiting of elected office. But he so far has refused to leave the post voters entrusted him with.

The initial charges in 2013 were felonies, and a felony conviction would have removed him from office. However, the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office treated Jacobson as they would any other first-time drug offender and allowed him to plead down. Jacobson was sentenced to probation, allowing him to remain in office.

Although we warned voters about Jacobson’s charge and warily endorsed his opponent, incumbent Frank Beatty, we did not criticize State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi’s decision not to pursue a felony conviction of Jacobson. It was reasonable.

Obviously, many Hebron voters had enough of Beatty, and some felt so strongly about it they voted for Jacobson with full knowledge of his pending drug charges. That was their prerogative.

Not long after that plea deal, Jacobson was charged with driving under the influence in Wisconsin while still on probation for the drug charges. The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office declined to take further action against Jacobson’s probation, although doing so still wouldn’t have resulted in a felony conviction.

Here we are again in 2016 as Jacobson faces another felony charge of unlawful possession of a controlled substance after rescue workers found him unconscious in his bathroom after allegedly using crack cocaine.

Many Hebron residents now appear to have finally had enough, including the 215 residents who signed a petition demanding his resignation. That might seem a small number, but Hebron has about 1,200 residents in total and only 145 voted for Jacobson in 2013.

If Jacobson refuses to resign, this time we urge Bianchi’s office to pursue a felony conviction. They’re no longer dealing with a man who just made a mistake. He obviously needs help for substance abuse, and he no longer should be Hebron’s village president.

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