Column

Editor's Desk: Cease fire in McHenry County political wars?

Not sure whether it makes me a cynic, an idealist or just a dope, but we should all hope that dismissal of the case against former McHenry County coroner Marlene Lantz marks the end of a particularly nasty chapter of McHenry County politics.

The criminal case against Lantz over the remains of fetuses long left in the McHenry County Coroner’s office should have never been filed, and most of us knew better after our eyes were opened after two corruption indictments against then-McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi that weren’t worth the inkpad used to stamp them.

On Wednesday, I nearly spit my coffee as I edited Jordyn Reiland’s profile on an outgoing Bianchi when Bianchi said the prosecutions that he characterized as political attacks made him more cautious about charging others, as he felt “falsely and inappropriately” accused.

I assumed Bianchi suspended that caution when he charged Lantz, his bitter political enemy, in that indictment. Just as in the prosecution against him, Lantz’s case flamed out leaving another pile of taxpayer dollars that is still smoldering today. There’s no doubt that the irony of Bianchi’s statement wasn’t wasted on Lantz.

Individually, most of the people involved over these years of rancor including Bianchi, former McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren, McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim, former McHenry County GOP Chairman Bill LeFew, former Undersheriff Andy Zinke, Lantz and many others are decent people. That’s besides the point.

If we’re fixated on who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, we’re all being duped. This isn’t a comic book. It’s not a screenplay. This is real life and the power of the top county law enforcement has real effects on its residents. It is not to be squandered on political bickering. These weren’t even partisan wars. These people all wore the same colors.

Blame whomever you like, blame the media, too. The point is that a great deal of time, resources and energy have been wasted over the past 12 years in ego battles at the highest levels of McHenry County government.

McHenry County residents deserve better than that. And generally, they couldn’t care less about political vendettas, alliances that are shaky or otherwise and who has the more impressive army of precinct committeemen. Those who do care about those things, should get Netflix. There are far more entertaining things to watch there.

There’s a new slate of people in charge and most of the major instigators in political squabbles of the past aren’t key players anymore. That means there’s a new chance to start over.

No, everyone doesn’t need to hug, sing Kumbaya or snuggle up for a weekend retreat, but it’s a good chance to remind our new leadership and each other that these roles do not exist to further someone’s ego or advance a political career.

These roles exist to serve the taxpayer.

• 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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