Thursday, December 1, 2016

As I got to thinking about the Charlie Smith saga

As I got to thinking about the Charlie Smith saga, I began to realize that I had some very unique things occur in the general vicinity of the world I live in.   I was always in the right place at the right time.   Obviously I did not plan such an event - it just happened and bingo - my eyes were open and I got the opportunity to enjoy the event.    I do not know if such happens to other people, but it sure happened to me.

I got the opportunity to observe and in many cases to experience events that apparently few others were subject.   Charlie Smith appeared in my life when I was idealistic to still believe that given the right formula you could turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.  The world existed - in my mind - to provide me with interesting scenarios.  And indeed I could not ask (or even imagine) for opportunities such as appeared.    Contemporaneously, I worked with the Mayor of Elk Grove village to deal with a 'farm labor' crisis,  I had a client who was a refugee and attempting to beat the bureaucracy, I was engaged to deal with an internal Democratic Party dispute, ****.      

Even today, such opportunities abound.   The Elder Cleansing scandal has made me realize just how vulnerable we all are.   Yesterday, Judy and I visited cousin Mary at the Lincolnwood house where he now resides = waiting for death.  (He is in hospice).   The scenario is depressing; however, it adds fuel to the fire in my belly to get something practical going that will assure all of the elderly and the infirm that when they are the most vulnerable they will be treated not only with respect, but they will be safe from the predatory bastards who prey on elderly and turn them into subhumans.

When my brother elected to go into hospice it was extremely difficult to accept his decision.   In fact it still is!    Giving up, is not a trait that I like to admit exists in my world.   I believe in retreat and coming back to fight another day ****. However, when I was rational I recognized that no one ever gets out of this life alive.  When the time comes, why not just attorn and allow Nature to take its course?

The problem that I have is very simple - it was drilled into me from almost birth - "where there is life, there is hope!"    Exactly what this phrase means in the rational world is a another mystery.   In my world "the limits" are always open to challenge and no matter what happens I have the ability to find fault and be dissatisfied = if I so desire.   Fortunately, I rarely get the opportunity to dwell upon real and imagined discontent.

Indeed, I am trying to justify my quest for Justice for the elderly and disadvantaged and my quest for an HONEST INVESTIGATION of the infamy and the cover-up.    The corruption that I viewed "first hand" not only in the Circuit Court of Cook County, but in the lawyer disciplinary process was monumental and institutionalized.   I realize that reform and reclamation of the 2nd oldest profession probably will not occur in my lifetime, but, as I have been given a front row seat why should I retreat? Why should I sojourn into the maze of 'book clubs' and 'lifetime learning' when I have been given the opportunity to sit behind my computer and stir the pot!    

When I discussed with my brother, my friend Harry, my friend Ray and others the prospect of being vulnerable as we grew old, the consensus was as long as you have life in you, you do not have to be vulnerable.   *******    

The Smith saga was the subject of another e-mail.   If you have read it, in words and phrases I characterized the story as follows:

When a person is young, he/she looks forward toward the future and laughs at the past – it’s gone – live with it.     When that same person gets a bit older – say 80 years old – the future, if any, is a more uncertain and no matter how that person tries the past looms.     When a minor amount of fog appears on the highway, the vision of the time you ignored the warning and at the bottom of hill there was no visibility and ****** - you escaped, but, not without more respect for mother nature.
As I’ve pointed out many times, I was born with a gold spoon in both ends and for the first 80 years of my life sheltered by my parents and just about everyone else who came down the pike.    Hardly a day went by that I did not have ‘fun!’     Last night I recalled the saga of Charlie Smith.    Charlie, the cop, was beat cop who serviced my first office.    He was a bright individual who had the stuffing dragged out of him by the Chicago Police Establishment – he had no clout!     His wife nagged him about his lack of ambition and refused to understand that to obtain promotion in the Chicago Police Department in 1961 you had to be on good terms with the Alderman.    The 50th Ward had a “Republican” Alderman so paying him the usual $10,000 gratuity would not get you the “efficiency rating” necessary for promotion.   Charlie tried in vain to explain the ‘facts of life’ to the Mrs., but she would not listen.
My office for reasons I cannot explain became a focal point of clandestine business meets or just hanging out for reasons that escape me.    I explain it as:  It was an escape – the local businessmen felt safe therein and except for the disruptions created by a flow of clients the lean hours were filled with frank conversations as to things that could not said in public and my listening to the serious concerns of the locals.     Charlie had taken the Police Sergeant’s examination and his ranking on the list was always above average.     Phil Epstein, a Sergeant, and a family friend counselled him to see Mr. **** and he could enhance his chances.    Naïve me, was actually shocked that such perfidy was conducted so openly; however, Jack Pahl, the local State Farm Agent filled me head with reality – much of which I rejected openly as being things that was “local legends!”, until I was let out into the real world.     The reality shock was almost traumatic.    (but that is another story)
During a day, the locals and I solved all the problems of the world.    We had solutions for everything including crime, corruption, *****.      Somehow, we all managed to eke out a living and support for our families and spend enough time at it to actually claim to be moderately successful.     I worked from dawn to dusk, and Monday, Wednesday and Friday to 9:00 P.M.     Saturdays and Sundays were less formal work days.     I also had a full Court schedule.      However, the generation of business was part of my work and I realized that the local businessmen were part of my life blood.     Ergo, Kiwanis and the local business people were very important to me.
Every young lawyer suffers from droughts in business.     I was no exception; however, I always had to have project.     Thus, I set out to get Charlie the promotion = without paying a dime for it.    Quietly, I drilled him on the examination questions and pointed out the keys that I learned so as to pass the law school courses on Criminal Law.      In addition, my father’s classmate – who happened to be policeman-  drilled him as if he were a Marine recruit, as to the self-contradictory Department Rules, and the theory of the examination.  
The key to obtaining remuneration from the police candidates was the efficiency rating.     It counted an undetermined amount, but was published as counting 50%.      Service in the military etc. gave points; however, it appeared that only the policeman who paid the $10,000 unofficial charge to the Chicago Democratic Organization obtained sufficient points to get high enough on the list to qualify for promotion.     (Having sufficient clout – such as being the nephew of x – also allowed you to get the promotion – Charlie’s relatives were also without clout).    
Being naïve, I thought that if there were enough letters of praise sent to police authorities in addition to Charlie’s military service record and a top school on the examination, Charlie would be a candidate without the $10,000.     Thus, it was a requirement to an admission to my office, every businessman was required to write a letter of praise for Charlie’s job as a policeman.     I reasoned that as the Mayor of Elk Grove Village was one of the “gang” and our local Alderman was looking forward to re-election the screws could be tightened, and *****.    (It also appeared that the Chicago Police Department was also engaged in another of its scandals)
My then secretary sent all the material to the Captain of the Police District, as well as copies to the Superintendent.     We received not one single reply.     At last, the examination was given.   Charlie was dubious that he could score high on the examination, but to his surprise he scored well and was number 3 on the list.    All that remained was his efficiency report.    If he could make a number 25 or higher he was in and would be made.      The list was published and as Charlie had no clout he made the list but was not made Sergeant.      He made the portion of the list that would not be promoted.      Quite understandably Charlie was discouraged; however, he was like a schoolboy when he overheard the candid talk that was being uttered ******.        
Phil, my father’s friend – and a Police Sergeant himself and I also had a candid talk.   My illusions were shattered and I was angry.     For reasons that I could not explain then and certainly cannot explain now I took Charlie’s rejection as personal.       It was a personal rejection!     I now knew that the system was indeed rigged and an honest cop had the chance of a snowball in hell of promotion.      The Mayor of Elk Grove Village, the Alderman, and I discussed openly and notoriously the Summerdale Police scandal and suggested that it was not limited to just a few ‘tainted’ officers, but ******.     We picked a crowded Kiwanis meeting to carry on our discussion.     When we finished, there was not a member of the local Kiwanis clubs who did not know intimately of the Charlie Smith saga and who was not outraged.
 As usual the media contacts were uninterested and even the local press (Lerner Newspapers) would not touch or averments with a 40-foot pole.    The Editor was a member of the local Kiwanis Club and we had lunch with him at least once a week.      (NB.   At this point in time, I was getting my education as to Politics as this was not my only sojourn into its ‘never, never land.’   -  I already knew about steam room trials, etc.    My education was going full steam ahead.    I was even learning about the DuPage County Republican organization)
Just when the issue looked as if it was going to washed down the drain, Charlie showed up in my office grinning from ear to hear.    He had been made Sergeant!      He was delighted!     He then sat down at my desk, looked me straight in the eye and asked me if I had paid off anyone – and if I had he was not going to accept the position.     Of course, I paid off NO ONE!      That was not the way I operated and   I told him quite candidly and quite truthfully, I had not and would not.
Fortuitously and embarrassingly, right at that point, in walked Phil (my father’s Policeman friend) who was also walking on air – it seemed that both Charlie and my cousin Marvin had both been appointed.    (Both had been appointed out of sequence – as the Department was looking for special needs).      Charlie looked at both of us, and we all went out to celebrate.    In all honesty, I had more fun than either of them.

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