I bought former Crystal Lake Mayor George Wells’ 549-page book, “It’s That Way Everywhere, George,” and have read the last couple of hundred pages. That includes his years as Crystal Lake Park District commissioner and term as mayor and thereafter.
It’s a pretty fast read, full of documentation, and certainly puts forth his point of view well.
As those of you who lived through the 1990’s might imagine, a lot of space is dedicated to Wells’ fight to gain what he says in the book was 50% of daylight hours for passive users of Crystal Lake.
Besides that fight in which Wells identifies the major antagonist as the Village of Lakewood, Wells recounts how Lakewood fought and managed to delay payment of sewer fees until after Wells left office. The fees, he reveals were settled for pennies on the dollar by his successor.
Several times Wells expresses admiration for the political skill Lakewood folks demonstrate.
Just goes to show how those in the political arena may not appreciate what their opponents accomplish, but can appreciate the skill it took.
Wells does reveal negatives about his opponents, but since the memoir is not indexed, they are difficult to find. He redacts the names of opponents in some places, but a careful reader can guess or, if they are willing to go to the Crystal Lake Police Department and ask for a specific day’s police reports, find out what one did that was beyond everyday discourse.
Wells is not happy with the “good old boy” way of doing business in McHenry County. He goes into detail of how Judge Sharon Prather kept him in a court suit brought by members of the Shoreline Property Owners Association without any justification having been filed for his inclusion. She even ordered three boxes of his lake diary to be given to the Village of Lakewood for trustees to peruse. One box was not returned.
“I think the judge is not dumb or stupid; I think she is ….”
Well, if you want to know the characterization, you’ll have to read it someplace else.
A Wells refrain is a quote attributed to former Mayor Carl Whede. “You need to learn how we operate around here,” Whede is said to have told a Mr. Van Den Buschesse.
Wells is not a fan of the Northwest Herald. After a conversation with then-Publisher Bob Shaw, Wells concluded that Shaw did not know what was happening in the newsroom run by Mark Sweetwood.
Wells is unrelenting in his criticism of Sweetwood’s management of the news, which he characterizes as “ocean-bottom quality news.”
Part 2 Saturday.
Part 3 Sunday.
= = = = =
You can order the book by typing in the author’s name on this internet page.