Photo by Cal Skinner.
Richard Nixon learned a cold hard truth of politics and paid the price, Bill Clinton nearly did the same. That truth is, no matter how bad the thing is that you’re trying to cover up, it’s the lie that people remember and the lie gets you every time.
Apparently Bill Gentes, Round Lake village president and candidate for Illinois Senate District 26 didn’t get the memo because he decided to outright lie to the Daily Herald editorial board, on his website, and elsewhere. What was the lie? That he was on a leave of absence from his job when he was actually fired six months ago.
Per the Herald article:
When asked Monday about handling all that goes with running for the open Senate District 26 seat, Gentes responded he’s on a leave of absence from his full-time job as operations director at the Realtor Association of NorthWest Chicagoland.
However, association Chief Executive Officer Peggy Kayser refuted Gentes in a statement issued Tuesday.
“On advice of counsel, I cannot give the terms of his separation, but Bill stating he is on a leave of absence is an outright lie,” Kayser said.
In fact, his former employer has endorsed Dan Duffy, his opponent in the upcoming election.
To be honest with you, I had a lot of respect for Bill Gentes at one point and, like many residents, thought he had done a great job for our village. Then before long I started to look deeper into things and had more personal dealings with him and that opinion changed.
In fact, that opinion did a 180 last summer after a tense meeting at the village hall with myself, district administrators and Bill where he demanded RLAS come to an agreement with a developer to lower our impact fees or he would dictate to us what we would get. We had researched our impact fees before adopting them and they were in line with other school districts. But because the developer had been quoted fees from several years ago and had already negotiated impact fees with other entities they were unwilling to give RLAS what we wanted. Here I thought Bill would step in on our behalf, we’re under state oversight after all and we’re talking about critical funds to help provide infrastructure for the additional kids we would take on, and he was telling me our fees were way out of line.
He then accused me of threatening him when I said I would take my case to the village trustees and said, “Do you know who runs the village, Guy?” I hesitated and replied, “the board of trustees.” Bill leaned forward in his chair towards me at that point and said, “No Guy, the mayor does” as he pointed a finger into his chest looking dead at me. In a matter of a few moments my opinion had totally changed and it was clear to me that Bill was not the person I thought he was. So this latest admission on his part comes as no surprise to me.
Things might be a lot easier for me if I kept my experiences to myself, didn’t work to support candidates I believe in and I know some people think I should step back and be impartial. School board is non-partisan but not un-partisan. I shouldn’t have to forfeit my rights as a citizen to say what I believe in just because I serve on the board.
When the future of our state is at hand and a rare opening of a state senate seat is at stake I think people are entitled to know who they’re voting for. I’m not supporting Dan Duffy simply because he’s not someone with a skewed sense of power like Bill Gentes. I’m supporting him because he’s a down to earth man with a beautiful wife and family who built his own business. He knows what it’s like to struggle just like you and I do from day to day and he knows what an impact the General Assembly has on our everyday lives.
I took my time to get to know him asking to sit down one-on-one which he gladly accepted several months ago. I think if you take the time to get to know Dan you’ll find he has the makings of a great state senator. Elections should be about the candidates and who they are, what they stand for, what standards they embody — not the party banner they carry and most definitely not about who’s running for President of the United States.
Bill forgot the second most important lesson of politics — you don’t run anything, the people do and at the end of the day you will be answerable for what you have done and what you have led people to believe. When you lie to the people to try to get their support they remember, and I think they will remember the first Tuesday in November.