ELMHURST – Describing recent accusations as both “blasphemous” and “fabricated”, Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley told reporters following him through Wilder Park at 3:00 a.m. Wednesday morning that his interest in the new and wildly popular augmented reality game Pokémon Go is merely a “hobby” and not an addiction, despite contrary reports from multiple sources within City Hall and from other local “Team Red” members of the Pokémon gaming community.
“This is just something I’ve been playing around with for fun,” said Morley, who was assigned around-the-clock security detail earlier this week after he was lured to a Pokéstop at a vacant lot on the south side of Chicago late Saturday night and was then spotted by a nearby resident the next morning climbing a fence near the Elmhurst Quarry in pursuit of a “Snorlax”. “There’s no reason for anyone to worry about me at all.”
While Morley downplayed the danger and potential miscommunication that can happen when he tells strangers unfamiliar with the game that he’s looking for “candy” and “stardust” in order to “power up”, the mayor admitted that he’s invested a “fair amount” of his free time playing Pokémon Go and that he has spent more than $100 on in-app purchases of Pokécoins since downloading the game last Friday.
“I’m not even sure if he’ll be at Monday’s city council meeting,” said one Elmhurst alderman, who asked for his identity to be kept anonymous. “He keeps saying that he has to go out and collect ‘Razz Berries’ and ‘Master Balls’ next week.”
Fellow game players expressed irritation and jealousy over the attention Morley is receiving.
“He’s only on Level 7,” said 16-year-old local resident Justin Kenny, who witnessed the mayor battling a “gym” while standing in the middle of the Elmhurst City Centre fountain Tuesday afternoon. “And then before he got out, he made these two dudes following him around climb into the fountain and pick up a bunch of pennies and nickels.”
Several members of the city council said they plan to approach the mayor this weekend to confront him with their concerns.