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Thursday, Apr 27, 2006

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Enter your password to view comments      

Question of the day

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006

Mary Mitchell writes this morning:

Should pastors serve as elected officials? […]

Frankly, the days of the preacher/politician are numbered. They should be.

It is the preacher’s job to preach the gospel and bring unbelievers into the church. Unfortunately, sometimes the actions of the politician/preacher make the preacher/ politician’s job that much harder.

Read her column and tell me what you think about this topic.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

Still more trouble for Alexi

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006

As I told Capitol Fax readers earlier this week, Dem treasurer nominee Alexi Giannoulias was planning to meet with reporters in an all-out attempt to improve his image.

There appears to be mixed results. He answered some questions and backtracked from some of his dumber comments about an ex-mobster, but the Tribune found more problems.

Citing bank privacy laws in response to new questions about loans made by Broadway Bank, Giannoulias would not comment about the bank’s relationship with another borrower, Boris Stratievsky, whose companies received millions of dollars in loans before his federal indictment on money-laundering charges last year. […]

[Ex-mobster Michael Giorango] runs companies that own dozens of properties in the Chicago area, Florida and South Carolina. He also has financed real estate deals with other convicted felons. Broadway Bank in the last year has extended more than $6 million in mortgage loans to a company called 1201 South Western LLC run by Giorango and another convicted bookmaker, Demitri Stavropoulos.

The Broadway loans helped the firm acquire properties including a Loop restaurant and a West Side commercial property that boasts two large Giannoulias campaign signs.

Giorango’s 1201 firm also has made millions of dollars in mortgage loans to dozens of other property owners. The state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said it was unclear whether the 1201 firm should have registered as a mortgage lender. “We’re going to do further inquiries,” agency spokeswoman Susan Hofer said.

Read the whole thing. There’s plenty more.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

Guv claims he isn’t leasing tolls to keep Meeks out

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006

I’m not sure this is believable.

The governor insisted he is not considering the tollway-leasing idea as a way of keeping state Sen. James Meeks, a Chicago independent, from making a run for governor.

Meeks, who is also the pastor of Chicago’s 22,000-member Salem Baptist Church, continues to eye a bid, saying he is disappointed Blagojevich is not putting more money into schools and social programs. Meeks has said he wants a pledge from the governor to devote billions more to education during a second term, although Blagojevich has again taken a pledge not to raise the income or sales taxes.

Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, the Republican candidate for governor, said the state needs to be careful about leasing the toll highway system.

“If we are selling it to keep Sen. Meeks out of an election, if that’s indeed the reason it would be done, that would be probably the most awful, opportunistic reason for doing something like that,” Topinka said. “You can always look and see if there is some merit to any of this, but it seems the reasoning behind this is purely political, and ultimately the state would be without an asset.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

It’s still not going away

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006

The governor attended a Holocaust memorial ceremony in Springfield yesterday, which dredged up some bad memories.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich joined Jewish leaders for an annual ceremony observing the Holocaust on Wednesday, the first public gathering since he angered many of them by standing by his appointment of a Louis Farrakhan aide to a state panel.

Federation leaders publicly thanked Blagojevich for his participation in the program, jointly sponsored by the governor’s office and several Jewish federations from around Illinois.

But several community leaders said relations are still strained with the governor, who has refused to remove Claudette Muhammad from his hate crime commission. Muhammad is the minister of protocol for the Nation of Islam and has declined to condemn recent anti-gay and anti-Semitic statements by Farrakhan.

After the event, held at the Old State Capitol, Blagojevich said he thinks his relationship with Jewish leaders is strong.

“Relationships have always been very good and, I think, continue to be very good,” he said. As for whether the Muhammad controversy had harmed his relationship with Jewish voters, Blagojevich said, “Those things don’t enter my mind.”

But others who attended the Holocaust commemoration said they think Blagojevich still needs to repair his bonds with the community.

The Sun-Times adds:

But key Jewish leaders said Blagojevich must engage in serious fence-mending if he intends to keep Jewish voters from aligning themselves this fall with Republican gubernatorial nominee Judy Baar Topinka, who attended Wednesday’s observance.

“Without him attacking this and coming up with some solutions to resolve this issue, he’s going to alienate a lot of Jewish voters,” said state Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago), who was among the speakers at Wednesday’s event. “If he lets this fester, it’ll get worse.”

Steven Nasatir, president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, said he was encouraged by Blagojevich’s presence at the Holocaust observance but agreed that the governor has not done anything to ease the frustrations Jews have experienced from his handling of the hate-crimes commission controversy.

“For us, the issue is one of important principle, and there continues to be disappointment and pain connected to this matter,” Nasatir said.

Claiming everything is fine when it obviously isn’t is probably not a good idea. At best he looks disingenuous. At worst he looks like an uncaring jerk.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      

Trib moans about guv’s ads

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006

The Tribune editorial today is entitled “194 days and counting

Here it is barely spring, and Gov. Rod Blagojevich already is resorting to the sort of negative campaigning traditionally reserved for, well, late spring.

Candidates in the last three governor campaigns have restrained themselves until at least June before launching televised attacks on their opponents. But Blagojevich, who has a lot of campaign money to spend, started slinging mud at Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka on April 20. The first of his anti-Topinka ads was taped March 25, four days after the primary. […]

There are 194 days until the election, and it’s getting tiresome already. Are we really going to have to listen to this sort of thing for six more months?

The AP has a summary of the governor’s new ads here and an article here.

esurrecting a tactic that helped him win office four years ago, Gov. Rod Blagojevich stepped up efforts Wednesday to link his Republican opponent to the failures of former governor and convicted felon George Ryan.

Blagojevich is running television ads showing Ryan side by side with Republican candidate Judy Baar Topinka. The ads accuse Topinka, the state treasurer, of letting Illinois’ budget deficits and pension debt skyrocket during Ryan’s tenure.

“Topinka didn’t do her job as treasurer and now she wants a promotion? What’s she thinking?” one ad asks.

The Blagojevich campaign also held a news conference to point out that Topinka, who now distances herself from Ryan, once described him as a “damn decent guy” whom she loved dearly.

Topinka called the strategy a sign that Blagojevich is “desperate.”

“He’s spending a great deal of money to vilify me in whatever way he can. It doesn’t hold any water,” she said, noting that the treasurer has no role in setting the state budget.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

Morning news roundup

Thursday, Apr 27, 2006

· Ousted Ryan juror alleges more intrigue

· Zorn: Anti-gay issue could shake up the fall election

· Lawmaker proposes 3-month gas-tax holiday

· Editorial: We need to tank up on ideas for energy independence

· Voting machines, company focus of scrutiny

· Non-tenured Chicago teachers getting pink slips

· Lots of links on a very important and crucial topic for the future of the Internet.

· Blagojevich gets bill on ‘doggie bags’ of wine

· It was Sutor. Figures.

· Group says 3 area executions were botched

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

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