Category Archives: Hemant Mehta

Hot-cha-cha Air

Ten Hut!

Ready for a chain reaction of idiocy?

Morton Grove is a comfortable suburb just northwest of Chicago, populated by devout Christians and Jews. And, I might add, pious followers of the American religion.

Morton Grove Sign

As in many such modest burghs, the municipal officials, members of boards, and heads of civic organizations in Morton Grove see themselves as something a bit more than the paper shufflers and ten cent soapbox orators the less enlightened of us might view them as.

When they look at themselves in the mirror each morning, they see proud, courageous, righteous bulwarks whose sacred duty is to protect America from ruination.

Where would we be without them?

To wit: a couple of months ago, renegade Morton Grove Park District official Dan Ashta decided to spit in the face of all that is right and good by opting to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance, the reciting of which kicks off that august body’s monthly meetings. Which only makes sense: after all, how can one plan for next spring’s Little League schedule without expressing solemn and sincere obeisance to this holy land?

Ashta is a constitutional lawyer and says his refusal to stand during the Pledge is an exercise of his free rights as delineated in that document. Whoa now, says the commander of the local American Legion post. Joseph Lambert immediately announced his group was withdrawing some $2600 of annual support it gives to the District to fund things like fireworks displays and holiday celebrations.

In other words, nobody’s going to have any fun in Morton Grove until that commie rat Ashta gets up off his duff.

Photo/Baltimore Sun

No Fun For You!

Makes sense, no? Why else would able-bodied young men march themselves into the meat grinder of war unless it was for the higher cause of ensuring that people hold their hands over their hearts while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance?

It seems another bad man read of this teapot tempest and decided to throw his own anarchist’s bomb into the crowd. Hemant Mehta (clearly a foreign mole, right?), a teacher, blogger, and — gasp! — atheist from suburban Naperville, figured he’d subvert the will of America’s fightin’ men by raising the $2600 himself and donating it to the Morton Grove Park District.


Hemant Mehta

So, we’re back to square one, eh? Nay.

Mehta presented his check to the District at which point its executive director Tracey Anderson sent the dough back and said, essentially, keep yer filthy coin. Anderson emailed Mehta and at first told him the District was in no mood to get itself involved in any kind of First Amendment debate. Strange, isn’t it? Mehta’s cash doesn’t strike me as being particularly argumentative. Later in the email, Anderson seemed to reveal the real reason the District can do without the $2600.

As reporter Jonathan Bullington wrote in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune: “The email also says Park District officials do not want to appear ‘sympathetic to,’ or show a perceived position for or against, ‘any particular political or religious cause.'”

I have no way of knowing at this moment how much money the Park District accepts regularly from various churches, congregations, and synagogues. If Anderson’s rationale is to be believed, the figure would be precisely zero.

So, Morton Grovers are back to having no fun.

All because some troublemaker read the United States Constitution. The dirty commie.


The WFHB Board of Directors’ botched search for a general manager has cost the station at least one invaluable resource for the time being.

The Pencil won’t reveal this person’s name, but one long-time active volunteer says s/he will take a break from station activities for an indefinite period of time.

This person confided s/he doesn’t trust the board’s vision after the six-month fiasco that finally ended last week with the hiring of Cleveland Dietz.

The Pencil has spoken with this person and another key member of the WFHB community in the last couple of days. Both said they have nothing negative to say about Dietz and his performance as acting GM since the departure of Chad Carrothers in June, but the Board’s tabbing of him seemed “a copout” and “panicky.”

In fact, the latter of those sources told the Pencil s/he is thinking of asking for the entire board to resign.