My brothers and sisters. Here we go again.
By now you know the drill: Every three years the "Boys" get together, unite under a ticket, claim the incumbent sucks ("They said they'd come out to every roll call and they never did!") and that they "can do everything so much better, in the light of day and we'll fight for your rights".
For we lonely plebeians it's difficult to wade through the clutter and vote for the best candidates. Many times we vote because our buddy "Harry" worked with "Steve" in 005 and says "he's a good guy" so we check the box because we know Harry and if Harry says Steve is "good" we go ahead and "do the right thing."
I know, I know. Well this FOP voting system is set up this way for a reason. And that's to keep the membership minimally informed on what's going on inside the sacred halls of the FOP, and to barely know the people running on the various tickets. There is no true "Vetting" because there is no media to investigate the candidates, their backgrounds, their positions, their corrupt ties, or the skeletons in their closets.
Like a fan dance, they open a feather here, maybe a little there so you get a peek - but you never get the full Monty.
Here's my take on the candidates. I'll only discuss those running for President.
Dean Angelo, Sr
Time in office: 3 years
Dean inherited a mess - with Mike Shields almost single-handedly destroying Lodge 7. So I have some sympathy for him. He righted the ship fairly quickly and stabilized our negotiations with the city. He's also been very visible in the media when it comes to defending officers who've "stepped on their batons" in public. I think that is laudable and should be happening more frequently.
My issues with Dean are these:
1) He acquiesced to the body-cameras with nary a fight.
2) He acquiesced to allowing the ACLU to dictate Chicago Police department policy, and to have unfettered access to CPD personnel.
3) Took away part of our tuition reimbursement.
4) Lowered our healthcare and raised our costs.
5) New police hires won't be paid Duty Availability for their first 4 years.
In addition to those listed above, there are other "irregularities" that are alarming. Dean and Company took a trip to Florida in January (on our dime) to attend a conference with retired officers who live on the west coast of Florida. They're trying to get retirees a voting voice with the Union. I don't have a problem with retirees adding their voice but they really only should have input on the pension and healthcare - the two issues they deal with. Active members have other issues that the "Old Guard" don't have to deal with. Plus the retirees are good at being manipulated through fear that their bennies are going to be taken away if some new whipper-snapper gets into the FOP Palace.
The FOP handed out golf-shoes at the 2016 golf-outing which cost the lodge tens of thousands of dollars.
Dean put on this Facebook page a fund-raiser to get his daughter's veterinary bills paid because her dog got sick. (I know that one's a bit petty.)
I give Dean the C+ because I think he could be more aggressive when it comes to defending us (and don't tell me about 'OPTICS' - that's just an excuse to accept the premise of our enemy's debate) he needs to step up and speak the truth about our city, our mayor, our aldermen and the criminal gangs that run the South and West sides.
I attended a group meeting with Eddie Johnson soon after he was picked as the Superintendent. He gave us his word that he "hated the ACLU and BLM thugs" and would do every thing in his power to make them go away. He said he wouldn't approve the ACLU agreement when it expired. At the table was Kevin W. Graham (019). While we tried to make the case to the Supe that our department was in an existential crisis, Graham decided it would be a good time to bend the Supe's ear about "manpower" shortages in district 019. And not to be outdone, some CAPS Barbie from 014 spent 5 minutes of our time begging the Supe to bring the "baseball cap" back into the uniform matrix.
To use a phrase from Gerry McCarthy, I'm "underwhelmed" with Kevin Graham. I think this interview speaks volumes.
Though he has many shining stars on his team, he won't get my vote for president. (Yes go ahead and vote for Marty Prieb as 2nd VP)
The walking disgrace that is Mike Shields is well known amongst the rank and file. His public shenanigans have made headlines, and tarnished the public perception of the department. His tenure as FOP president was rank, amateur and corrupt.
Shields is a liar, a narcissist, and completely incapable of honest self-assessment. In my humble opinion, he isn't fit to wear the Badge of a Chicago Police Department officer.
If you're considering voting for him - slap yourself, hard.
Brock Merck will get my vote for FOP president. And why? Because my buddy Harry worked with Steve in 005 and Steve says Brock is The Man! (just kidding).
I think that in the role of FOP President he could do great things for our union members. The fact that he addresses Body-Cams and ISR's as primary problematic issues for us is key.
I have to remind you that we should NEVER be lumped in with Leftist labor groups like SEIU, AFSCME, IEA, NEA or CTU. Those unions literally HATE us. CTU magazine two years ago had 3 teachers on the cover with their hands in the air and t-shirts that read "Hands up, Don't shoot."
In this new era of Trump, I think Merck may be the very person to change the same old blue print of how we approach City Hall. His leadership could change our bargaining position for the good, and we could get back our healthcare, our educational allotment, our pride and ultimately our effectiveness.
Most of us went #fetal after the COPRA was created and the ACLU went on their witch-hunt. When you have 807 homicides in one year, with 14 people getting killed by Chicago Police - and you let your police offices get harassed, vilified and fired for "institutional racism" -- you're clearly not ready to deal with reality.
Maybe Brock Merck will make FOP Lodge 7 Great Again.
I say give him a chance.