Guest Post: Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis On The Rule of Law


Today's guest author, Jim Ardis, is the Mayor of Peoria, Illinois.

Ladies and gentlemen, the rule of law is what separates us from animals and barbarians and people from Joliet. It is that rule of law that I now invoke to prevent so-called "satire" from being used to abuse my person and position.

By now you have heard that someone pretending to be me on Twitter has breached the peace by suggesting that I am some sort of corrupt, disturbed drug fiend. The statements attributed to me have been scandalous, personally hurtful, and textually ambiguous.

Let me clear some things up right now:

  • I am devoted to my loving family and have not "shacked up" in a motel with a so-called "notorious furry."  I do not visit motels because their low thread-count sheets make my skin chafe.  I have not been observed at any motels and if I had been it would have been to visit with community leaders about growing jobs in Peoria's business climate.  I had a soiled fox costume in my car because I was going to participate in a pantomime for children at a local cancer hospital.  My staff's nickname for me is "Swift," not "Yiff."
  • I have not hired any sex workers.  I have nothing against them, and feel our system should do a better job protecting them from harm and providing them with opportunities to better themselves and stop being such fucking liars about important people.
  • I do not have a "drug problem."  Drugs are a scourge of impoverished, powerless, and dark people everywhere.  I am fortunate to be affluent, to have friends, and to know many people in the criminal justice system.  Throughout my career I have strongly advocated that people, including myself, avoid the ruinous consequences of drugs.
  • Interns hallucinate and are prone to sudden unconsciousness.  It's a thing.  You can Google it.
  • I have not accepted cash in low denominations for political favors, as has been claimed.  That's ridiculous.  I am reliable and honest.  Look — I have a lapel pin!

People may believe that they can get away with mocking me or saying unpleasant things about me because of the "First Amendment."  They are mistaken.  Here in Peoria we have a system that respects the law — and respecting the law means respecting the Office of Mayor.  When I was victimized by satire — abused by someone with no regard to my right to self-esteem and dignity — my good friend Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard sprang into action. Could you get the police to devote substantial resources to investigating someone being making fun of you on the internet? Probably not — but frankly you don't carry the burdens of state that I do. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, and all that.

With the help of Steve, your tax dollars, scores of police hours, and other resources, we were able to present search warrant applications. First we got a warrant for Twitter from Judge Kirk D. Schoenbein. Good old Kirk understood that "satire" is no excuse for disrespect here in Peoria. Then we went to Judge Lisa Wilson to force Comcast to cough up the subscriber information associated with the Twitter account. Lisa gets it too: who does this punk think he is, making fun of the mayor? Finally we went to Judge Kim Kelley with an application for a warrant to search this asshole's home, and to toss it for drugs while we were at it. And what do you know? They found drugs! Time for this little shit to face some real consequences.

You hear all the time about judges getting all bent out of shape about the First Amendment. So why did three judges issue warrants here? Well first of all, they all understood that as the Mayor of Peoria I am an important man, and my reputation is something that should be protected under the law. Second, I made it clear in the warrant application how just plain mean some of those "satirical" tweets were. Now, some eggheads out there might say that the warrant suggested, on its face, that the tweets were not meant to be taken seriously, and that there's no articulated basis to search for drugs in the warrant. You just remind those eggheads that a Mayor in a town like Peoria can get things done. I know people, and people know me, and when I want a warrant, then by God I get a warrant. I know all of these judges. This is exactly why you cultivate relationships, my friends. That kid in your fourth grade class eating paste and wetting himself during story time may seem worthless to you now, but you never know when he's going to wind up having the power of life and death over people because he's got an inoffensive name and photographs well.

In conclusion: this is a case of the system working the way it ought to. Someone disrespected me, a man of respect. The system turned around and bit him in the ass. That will teach you to think twice about mouthing off about people like me, won't it?

Last 5 posts by Popehat


  1. Tom Z says

    Mayor Ardis,

    I am disgusted by the attempts to portray you as a drug-addled sex trafficker. You are the most honorable and forthright public servant there is.

    P.S. If you need more nose candy, meet at our regular spot at 9:00. I'll bring the hookers too.

  2. That Anonymous Coward says

    And lawsuit in 3…2…1…

    I can only giggle as I imagine him sitting in his office having the interns searching the web to see if people noticed what he did…
    His mouth stuck in a silent apoplectic scream wondering how it is getting even more coverage now.

  3. The War Hamster says

    A bit off topic. But who plucks his eyebrows? And why did he not opt for the lasers in the background?

  4. VinceClortho says

    The Police Chief's page about "re-educating" people to not tolerate profanity and loud music is just as disturbing as what the mayor is doing here….

  5. Speed says

    Time for the mayor to do a quick search on "reputation management."

    "Suppress Negative Search Results. Speak To A Reputation Expert Today!"

  6. PonyAdvocate says

    Mayor Ardis, sir: You said

    Drugs are a scourge of impoverished, powerless, and dark people everywhere. I am fortunate to be affluent, to have friends, and to know many people in the criminal justice system.

    You forgot to say

    Plus, I am a white guy, and white guys, especially white guy politicians, never, ever use drugs. Just ask my buddy Mayor Ford.

  7. Matt says

    Now guys, I thought it was well established, guest posts were supposed to be on the Scourge of the Pony Menace. Sure, I see his thing in the story about how somebody made him feel bad on Twitter, but he obviously left out the crucial detail that it was in fact, a pony that was operating said account. And obviously, only a pony would be so devious-minded as to spread false stories about such a respected and forthright mayor engaging in sordid comminglings with (or as) a furry.

  8. WDS says

    @Christopher Jorgensen,

    Obviously someone who takes on the mayor must be high, therefore it makes sense to search for drugs.

  9. Matthew Cline says

    What was the probable cause for the drug search?

    According to the warrant, a tweeted photo of a hand using a razor blade to cut a pile of white powder into lines.

  10. jimmythefly says

    I do not have a "drug problem." Drugs are a scourge of impoverished, powerless, and dark people everywhere. I am fortunate to be affluent, to have friends, and to know many people in the criminal justice system. Throughout my career I have strongly advocated that people, including myself, avoid the ruinous consequences of drugs.

    This is perfect! Like him, my relationship with drugs is going great, no problem at all!

  11. TM says

    So, if I understand correctly, one of the components of the parody protections against copyright and libel/slander claims is the degree to which the parody in question is obviously a parody. That is, if I start going around telling everyone that I'm the mayor, but the only tell that it's not true is that I wear blue suits when the mayor has expressly stated they hate blue suits, then I would have a hard time.

    The question then becomes, when the politicians or people you are parodying become so ridiculous that it's difficult to distinguish between the parody and the real thing, do the satirists become more at risk? I'm sort of nervously awaiting the day when a satirist is put away because while the truth is admittedly absurd and beyond reasonable belief, the parody is not sufficiently absurd to differentiate it from the truth.

  12. Fasolt says

    "I do not visit motels because their low thread-count sheets make my skin chafe. "

    As long as you avoid the motels with the hourly rates, you should be OK.

  13. mcinsand says

    TM, the problem is that reality too often merges with the ridiculous. Not long ago, we would have assumed that much of what we now see as obvious parody. Would you have believed in a crack-smoking mayor of Toronto? Would you have believed in a national agency violating the fourth amendment with abandon? I would have thought that I was reading something from The Onion, for sure.

    However, the oddity of Ardis' actions is that they suggest that the parodies might not be far from reality. I'm not saying that is true, but my perspective is that, if he is that thin-skinned about the parody, then maybe there is some truth buried in the tweets somewhere.

  14. Matt says


    Would you have believed in a crack-smoking mayor of Toronto?

    I realize Toronto is not quite the same as DC, but Marion Barry springs to mind…

  15. Jack B. says

    I'm looking forward to "do interns hallucinate?" showing up in future "Road to Popehat" posts.

  16. luagha says

    As we can logically determine from the above plus the Popehat guest post policy:

    The Mayor is the fox, the 'notorious furry' is the pony in question.

  17. Anonymoose says

    So, I don't know how these things work, and hope criminal legal minds can enlighten me. Not legal minds than are criminal, of course, just legal minds that associate with criminals. And by 'associate' I don't mean conspire with I mean defend. Legally, that is, not with actual force. OK, you know what I mean.

    Anyway, is it unusual to take warrants in a drug investigation, including a home invasion/search, to two traffic court judges?

  18. Dr. Warren Chapin says

    Clearly poorly written satire. Impossible for the average Peorian to mistake for the utterings of an elected official of any sort. The title should have been ""This is Jim Ardis! I'm the mayor!!! Why Not Search Warrants?" It would also have been much less confusing to the average Peorian if the post had faked a city letterhead and replicated a mayoral letter by Jim Ardis which solicited financial support for a partisan judicial contest (Citizens for John Vespa) from several hundred recipients. The mayor skillfully defended his actions: When first asked by the Journal Star why he sent the fundraising request on city letterhead, Ardis responded, “Because I support (Vespa). I’m the mayor. Why not?”

    Knowing that shovels are only used for digging holes, Mayor Ardis continued, disclosing it wasn't his first trip to that rodeo! “That’s not the first time I’ve sent out letters asking for support. I use mayor letterhead for a lot of stuff,” Ardis said. When the Journal Star referenced a city ordinance that prohibits such activities in his official capacity, Ardis first said it “doesn’t pertain to elected officials.”

    Would it be satire to include a link to a local Peoria blog which alleges that two of the judges mentioned above (Schoebein and Kelley) are appointees and that allegedly Judge Vespa (winner possibly due to a little help from his friends) is one of the appointers?

    The post has the title Here are two judges who apparently do not give a flying rat’s ass about the 1st Amendment either. The specific allegation is: Unfortunately, Schoebein and Kelley are associate judges in the 10th Judicial Circuit. They are appointed to their jobs by regular judges like Kevin Lyons, John Vespa and Stephen Kouri. It is a system designed to allow judges to make unconstitutional rulings and issue unconstitutional warrants without having to directly face voters.

    Like Mayor Jim Ardis once allegedly said: “If it’s the law and I know it’s the law, obviously I wouldn’t break the law. I don’t deny that I did it, but I did it not knowing that it was not permitted.” After conferring with City Attorney Randy Ray, Ardis later admitted he should not have sent the letters on city stationery and that he would not do it again.

  19. Waldo says

    I'd love to know how much time and money has been spent on this matter. Perhaps someone with knowledge of Illinois FOIA law could figure this out.

  20. says

    I'm against the practice of drawing and quartering criminals and displaying their severed heads and limbs at the four gates of the city, but like many foes of capital punishment, there is the occasional offender who sorely tempts me to reverse that stand.

  21. says

    How does a mayor even qualify under the laws against impersonating a public official? Those statutes tend to be aimed at people who are impersonating officials like police or firefighters, not holders of singular and easily verifiable elected offices.

  22. ketchup says

    If anyone would like to compliment the Mayor on his fine guest post, his contact information is on his official site, linked to under his picture above.

  23. Joe Pullen says

    Seems Twitter is not consistent in how it treats divulging of information of it's subscribers. I'm aware of at least one other situation where there was substantial push back from Twitter unless the plaintiff could provide sufficient evidence of criminal conspiracy.

  24. says

    Best ending would have been a signature to drive the point home:

    Regards, Jim Ardis
    Really Really the Mayor or Peoria and not someone else

  25. Speed says

    Get ready for me love, 'cause I'm a "comer"
    I simply gotta march, my heart's a drummer
    Don't bring around the cloud to rain on my parade

  26. nlp says

    Arrogance, meet Stupidity. Stupidity, this is Arrogance. I think the two of you are going to get along great.

  27. says

    As the Mayor of Peoria I will absolutely vouch for the accuracy of this story. There is no question but that I, the very real Mayor of Peoria – one Jim Ardis – am responsible for this response.

    There is NO question. Mr. Steve Settingsgaard has analyzed the message for satire and parody and has determined that it is "not obvious" to him that there is any satire or parody present.

    Thus. It is CLEARLY the case that this response was written by me. I have no recollection of writing this response but I trust in Steve Settingsgaard – my chief of police – and in his discretion when it comes to the English language.

    Settingsgaard has shown that he is quite capable of grasping things like context, content, dialect, and frequency in the use of English language. Moreover – he has shown a total and complete understanding of the internet and what goes on, "in that shit hole."
    So: Citizens of Peoria. I, your mayor, OBVIOUSLY wrote this response.
    Don't believe me? Just say so on the internet and see what I do. Just try me. Bitches.

    (Steve Settingsgaard has informed me that most politicians he knows do use words like "Bitches" in their public communications to the public on the internet. Thus my use of this word is not parody. It is fact. I did use that word. Because I am an incompetent asshole of a Mayor and I like to talk about my drug problems, the hookers I frequent, and how I hate my family on the internet.)

    Listen people. I AM the Mayor of Peoria. LET THERE BE NO DOUBT.
    I am trill as fuck.

    For real. Bitches. Where's my blow? Someone get me my blow.


    PS – I, Jim Ardis, have hired a PR firm to take back my name. I will not allow you to frag my name through the mud in the way you have been. I suggest you cease and desist using #JimArdis and "Jim Ardis" on Twitter and the internet to make me look bad. You will lose that war. You cannot win. So just give up, internet. Just let me take my name back. Do not, for example, attempt to define me in Urban Dictionary or etc. It won't work.

  28. RB says

    Many years ago, I watched a TV interview with the editor of Mad Magazine. He said that he thought the magazine was going to go out of business. He said that the magazine might publish a one page spread with Gary Hart fooling around with girls in bikinis on a boat. They would probably name the boat "Monkey Business."

    He said the problem was, that when it was true, it wasn't funny. Just sad. I don't think he was worried about being sued for libel, since the truth is an absolute defense. He just didn't want to start running a news magazine.

  29. Noscitur a sociis says

    "So shouldn't the police suffer some repercussions for falsely swearing out a warrant?"

    What part of the warrant application do you think was false?

  30. Quixote says

    There’s actually nothing surprising about Twitter parodists being viciously tracked down by the police, because if we don’t speak up for everybody’s rights, we better be ready for our own rights to be trampled on when we least expect it. It starts with criminalizing deadpan satire in the form of “Gmail confessions,” intended to embarrass or “injure” a well-connected academic department chairman, and from there it moves to criminalizing Twitter parodies intended to “injure” a city mayor. See the documentation of America’s leading criminal-satire case at:

    and consider, in particular, the NACDL’s statement that if certain individuals “feel aggrieved by online speech with academic value, they have remedies in tort,” rather than in criminal courts.

    Further, note that the Peoria chief of police “said the intent of the account was not clearly satirical. 'I don’t agree it was obvious, and in fact it appears that someone went to great lengths to make it appear it was actually from the mayor,' he said.” This argument was first employed precisely in the New York “Gmail confession” case. That case, despite being widely reported on in the press, has been largely ignored by legal commentators, so it’s not at all surprising that the police now feel free to go after the creators of satirical Twitter accounts embarrassing to wealthy and powerful members of the community, whether they be politicians, university presidents, or anyone else ordinary people might choose to mimic and mock on the Internet.

  31. barry says

    I don't know if Jim Ardis or Jim Ardat, but normally a police chief's satire-Settingsgaard against that kind of thing happening.

  32. Dave in Peoria says

    Excellent work! Thanks to Popehat for joining in the mockery of our illustrious mayor/strong man.

    I've been annoyed with Ardis for years. Originally, he came off as a bit dim-witted and overly pious. Then it became clear that he was really enamored with police power and surveillance. I've skewered him in local op-eds a few times myself. But now I'm just sitting back and laughing at the international shit-storm he has provoked. Fuck this petty little goose-stepper!

    Thanks Pope Hat, you guys are trill as fuck ; )

  33. L says

    What part of the warrant application do you think was false?

    "Complainant states that he does believe that the above listed items [including cocaine, heroin, and drug paraphernalia] to be seized are now located on the premises described above, . . ."

    I suppose it's not provably false, since the "complainant" might sincerely believe in the tooth fairy for all we know, but come on.

    ETA: Also, ". . . which has been used in the commission of, or which constitutes evidence of, the offense of False Personation, . . ."

    Obviously this is false as to the drugs and drug paraphernalia. At least arguably, it's false as to all of the items because there was no crime, although that might more charitably be described as a mistake of law rather than a falsehood.

  34. Roy George says

    and rule of law is what also separates us United States citizens from socialist dictators like you you Vladamire Putin wannabe. What a scourge. Hey mayor I just did an in your face. Come on down here to Texas with your SS Gestapo police and arrest me. BAM! Ouch bet that hurt when you walked square into my first amendment right you dictator. If you feel you're being defamed you don't pull a Vladamire Putin, you haul the defamer into court and sue them. I hope the satirist turns around and sues the hell out of you and takes all of you affluence you elitist.

  35. ScottG says

    I read about this recently, and thought the issues involved were perfect for Popehat. Still, your coverage exceeded my expectations. Good luck! You may never (willingly) be able to visit Peoria, but you're not missing much.

  36. ScottG says

    Also, if I were Stevie Hughes, and I was under the age of oh, seventy, I'd be embarrassed to have signed that warrant.

  37. ollie nanyes says

    Yeah, I live in Peoria and have lived here since 1991. Yes, I voted for this man (you should have seen the other candidates). And yes, this incident embarrasses me. And no, it does NOT surprise me.

    Welcome to my world.

  38. bob vincent says

    What a scumbag communist. Why will America fall? Because of morons like this who don't have a CLUE what freedom is…

  39. Mike Hunt says

    What are they drinking in Peoria? Is that a test bed for high dose fluoride or LSD? The people of Peoria need to immediately perp walk this clown out of office to the nearest prison cell for abuse of power. Let this little tin dictator get away with this and you open the door to tyranny at a local level, I mean seriously, who does he think he is, Obama?
    PS – don't give this guy a drone!

  40. kps says

    I am so proud right now to be from Canada, where you can be a crack-addled alcoholic gangbanger mayor of a major city, and still not stoop so low as to sue your critics. Four more years!

  41. ETW says

    Dear Mr Mayor,

    If you truly believe the things you just wrote, you deserve every mocking tweet and article you will get as fallout from this debacle.

  42. Mike Hunt says

    Had to read this again since this wanna be elitist ASSWIPE seems to think he is better than me and you and I am having a hard time believing he is better than ANYBODY. A "man of respect"? How about of waste of time and money, a jealous monkey without enough self-esteem to laugh at a little poke. I see that you were bullied as a kid, well then you learn not to piss your pants in public – a lesson you obviously haven't learned.
    Your career is over, but more, you should be installed in the nearest cell while you discuss with your lawyers how to spin your abuse of power and the public disgrace you have reigned upon yourself.
    Now go have some paste, Dick.

  43. Frank Rizzo says

    "No Charges Over Fake Peoria Mayor Twitter Account"

    "Jim Ardis said he doesn’t regret his attempt to protect his identity. Some City Council members and others regret Peoria has become a nationwide punchline.

    Debate about the Peoria mayor’s legal pursuit of the creators of a Twitter account that parodied him reached dramatic tones before and during a council meeting that extended late into Tuesday night."

  44. Mary says

    Tyranny REIGNS in Peoria, IL. Recent anecdotes garnered while riding bus: a woman recently walking down a street in Peoria Heights at 11 p.m. on a week night was stopped by a policeman and asked what she was doing out so late; 3 black kids 16-17 yrs. old walking down a street in P. Hgts in the afternoon were stopped by police and asked if they were responsible for a recent string of thefts (they answered their mothers had taught them not to steal); a woman with 2 DUIs and sober for 5 yrs. after last one, was stopped monthly when she came to visit her daughter at her home in P. Hgts by a policeman who repeatedly made her take tests in the street to verify she was sober (she no longer sets foot in Hgts). The poor are sent off to jail, so overcrowded that women inmates are sleeping on mats on the floor in a big room. The RICH RULE and attempts at humor (a woman in jail overnight asked a prison guard if he had children and he replied "Is that a threat?") are not understood by authorities and individuality is crushed. Politicians and judges should be required to ride the bus here!

  45. Jim Ardis Streisand says

    Recently reported from Peoria:

    Peoria Police Officer arrested for illegal videotaping Updated Mar 28, 2014 at 10:37 PM CDT

    PEORIA, Ill. — A Peoria police officer, acquitted of rape charges just last week, is under arrest, again.

    John McCavitt is being held in the Peoria County Jail on felony charges of unlawful videotaping.

    Police said the charge resulted from at least one other incident, not the incident he was most recently acquitted of.

    McCavitt admitted during his trial last week to video recording what he called a consensual sexual encounter.

    McCavitt is still on administrative leave pending the conclusion of this investigation and the subsequent investigation.

    Peoria police officer arrested on drunken driving charges PEORIA — A Peoria police officer was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol after a traffic crash early Friday. He was off duty and in a personal vehicle.

    Logan M. Grayson, 31 of 109 Behrends Court, was arrested at 3:10 a.m. Friday after police responding to the scene of his crash at 111 W. Corrington Ave., according to a police report.

    Authorities said they found his 2012 Chrysler 300 stopped at the intersection of West Corrington and North Linn Street. According to police, Grayson said he lost control of his car because it was a rear wheel drive vehicle

    <a href=" Peoria police officer retires, then sentenced to jail

    A newly retired Peoria police officer was sentenced to 90 days in the Peoria County Jail for attempting to mislead investigators probing a drunken driving crash last summer.

    Vice Officer John Couve, 46, appeared in Peoria County Circuit Court on Thursday and pleaded guilty to attempted obstruction of justice. In addition to the jail sentence, he was sentenced to two years of probation.

    He also must testify “truthfully” if requested by prosecutors in the case of his fellow officer, patrol Sgt. Richard Glover, 41, who also is facing charges stemming from the July 8 traffic accident in the 8000 block of North Hale Avenue.

    Couve and Glover were charged in connection with the early morning accident in which Couve crashed his unmarked police SUV into a power transformer, damaging it. The new charge states that Couve knowingly “attempted to furnish false information” to Glover regarding the accident.

    Negotiations appeared to go to the last minute as the two sides hammered out the agreement which saw eight other counts dropped, including official misconduct and obstructing justice, both felonies.

    Peoria officer sentenced to probation in connection with DUI crashPEORIA, Ill. — A Peoria police officer who resigned after pleading guilty to Attempted Obstruction of Justice was sentenced to 24 months probation on Friday.

    Sergeant Richard Glover was charged in connection with a drunk-driving crash of fellow officer John Couve in July of 2012

  46. says

    I hear eating Haribo sugar free gummies is a good way to cheer yourself up Mr mayor. There are plenty of reviews on Amazon of people wishing to send them to members of congress.