Thumbs-down: To mixing a cash giveaway with a campaign for office. Willie Wilson, an independent candidate for Chicago mayor, passed out a reported $200,000 in cash to people at a church service on Chicago’s South Side over the weekend. Video from WGN-TV showed Wilson peeling off bills and handing them to people who filed past. The money was supposed to help them pay for their property tax bills, although there was no indication that anyone verified that the people taking the money were homeowners. Gov. Bruce Rauner, who also appeared at the event, has contributed $200,000 to Wilson’s foundation, which was the source of the money. The Illinois State Board of Elections said it’s not a campaign finance violation because the money came from Wilson’s foundation, not his campaign fund. Rauner said if any of his money was used in the handout, he will demand it back, and added he will not contribute any more money to Wilson’s foundation, which undoubtedly is the right move in light of this crass way of campaigning.
Thumbs-up: To the community for helping support John Paul Kilanski’s family after his untimely death Sunday. Kilanski, a firefighter for the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District and an Army veteran, leaves behind his wife and three sons. He was with the fire district since 2001 and was up for a promotion soon, his brother said. So far, more than $5,200 has been raised on a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral costs. We’re glad the community is helping the family in this difficult time, and we are thankful for Kilanski’s service.
Thumbs-down: To those who ignore warnings during the adventurous summer months. Signs are posted at state parks throughout the state instructing hikers to stay on marked trails. Those warnings often are ignored, directly resulting in injury, sometimes death, to say nothing of the danger posed to those brave enough to attempt rescue missions. But we’ve noticed trails are not the only place where safety bulletins are overlooked, as there also seems to be far too many instances of people swimming in water deemed unsafe, and not everyone is pulled out alive. Fortunately most of those occurrences involve Lake Michigan – the state doesn’t seem to matter, as it happens in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan as well as Illinois – but we’d hope the takeaway is the same regardless: The safety warnings are in place for a very good reason, to keep you safe. You might be a strong swimmer or a hardy hiker, but if the risk is too great, what is there to gain? Live to play another day.