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Question of the day

Thursday, Jun 29, 2006

Rate Pat Quinn’s performance as lt. governor.

Also, as a bonus question, is GOP LG candidate Joe Birkett an asset to the ticket or a drag? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   58 Comments      


More reform and renewal

Thursday, Jun 29, 2006

This is very big, campers. Very big.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s top lawyer issued a sweeping order Wednesday directing state agencies to compile lists of everyone who worked in their personnel offices since 2003 and to inventory their computer records, signaling a broader federal investigation of hiring than the governor’s office has previously acknowledged.

The order, in a memo from the governor’s legal counsel obtained by the Tribune, covers 15 state agencies, far more than the three departments that the Blagojevich administration had previously confirmed as having received federal subpoenas.

Administration sources familiar with the federal investigation and the document-gathering order said Wednesday that additional state agencies had received federal subpoenas since October of last year, when the governor’s office acknowledged subpoenas had been received by the Departments of Children and Family Services, Corrections and Transportation. The sources would not say how many more agencies had received subpoenas. […]

The administration sources cautioned against interpreting the state order as a sign of an expanding federal probe, saying the investigation was broad from the start.

Bull.

The initial investigation focused on just a few agencies and the governor’s personnel office. If they’d found no problems, it’s doubtful that they would have expanded their probe into so many other agencies.

Meanwhile, the governor was hit on another “Reform and Renewal” front today.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich awarded a lucrative special deal to a California company that employs his campaign manager’s sister as an executive.

The $100 million contract to oversee the state’s much-touted program providing poor seniors with prescription drugs went to Pacificare, where Nancy Monk works as a vice president. She’s the sister of Lon Monk, the governor’s longtime friend and chief of staff at the time the deal was announced last fall.

And the Tribune ran an editorial with the headline “Gov. Rod Ryan”

Blagojevich is making just like George Ryan, handing out free money to legislators’ friends, relatives and constituents for their pet projects.

And, finally, I had a little about this in Wednesday’s Capitol Fax, but Topinka claims that a Blagojevich staffer was videotaping her fundraiser guests and taking down their license plate numbers.

‘’If we wanted a list of her contributors, you can get it on the computer in 30 seconds. We wouldn’t go through a ridiculous process to send a staff person out to videotape license plates,” [Blagojevich spokesperson Sheila Nix] said.

You would if you were trying to intimidate people into not contributing or checking to see if any state employees were in attendance.

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      


Stroger roundup

Thursday, Jun 29, 2006

· The Sun-Times starts us off:

Ald. Todd Stroger (8th) has the votes among Democratic ward bosses to replace his stroke-stricken father as County Board president, Ald. William Beavers (7th) said Wednesday, predicting the younger Stroger will grow in the pressure-cooker job.

“When your father is a powerful man, you kind of step back. … He’s never been Todd Stroger. He’s always been John Stroger’s son. He’s going to become Todd Stroger,” Beavers said.

· But has Beavers really rounded up all the necessary votes? Tribune:

Chicago Ald. William Beavers (7th), a veteran South Side political power broker who has been making calls on Todd Stroger’s behalf, told reporters “there’s enough votes” for Todd Stroger to succeed his father. But when asked if he had the votes already lined up for Todd Stroger, Beavers said, “We’re working on that right now, OK?”

· What Mark Brown is really saying here is that Todd Stroger has been a back-bencher for his entire political career. And he’s right, that does make a big difference.

Unlike the progeny of some of the other politicians boosted up the ladder, the characteristic so often remarked upon in regards to Todd Stroger is his utter lack of ambition in everything he’s done. A nice guy, they’ve always said, but no fire in the belly. Beavers says he’ll be different now.

· The Sun-Times editorializes:

We have to admit we are not aware of widespread anger over the utter disregard the John Stroger camp has shown the voting public since the Cook County Board president was sidelined by a stroke in March. But we hope people are finally getting mad as heck over the concerted efforts to keep Stroger’s health a secret, to resist interim measures that would actually put someone in charge of county government and to pass on the presidency as a hereditary title.

· As does the Tribune:

By what right do they ordain as Stroger’s successor in this crucial post–the second most important job in local government–a son who has shown no leadership whatsoever in the Illinois legislature or the Chicago City Council?

After John Stroger’s decades of public service, those closest to him want this to be his legacy?

This is a debacle that doesn’t have to be.

· And Mary Mitchell says the deal is unfair to Steele:

But if the scheme to install Ald. Todd Stroger (8th) as Cook County Board president is an indication of the direction black politics is heading, good government is still a long way off. Frankly, the actions black politicians have taken since Todd Stroger’s father, President John Stroger, suffered a stroke in March have made us a laughingstock.

These elected officials aren’t even pretending to be interested in public service.

Steele is speaking at the Union League Club next Thursday morning. Should be interesting

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


Morning shorts

Thursday, Jun 29, 2006

· “Just months after Illinois cracked down on the short-term loan business, Gov. Rod Blagojevich is making another push for restrictions to protect consumers – a push the industry says goes too far.”

· “Jill Blodgett… attended a Judy Baar Topinka event Wednesday in Palatine looking for one answer.”

· Editorial: Governor’s claims require proof to be fact

· Good for him: Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich declared his disapproval of plans for a toll bridge across the Mississippi River at St. Louis. “It will never happen as long as I’m governor,” Blagojevich said.

· Drives designed to boost Hispanic voters’ clout

· “Faced with a hefty fee increase, a group representing the state’s 1,400 Korean-American dry cleaners has proposed scrapping a program that oversees the licensing of dry cleaners and provides money to clean up chemical spills”

· “A trade group that represents liquor retailers is mounting a legal challenge to Springfield’s new indoor smoking ban for public places.”

· “… But the stage for politicians is going to be a little smaller this Independence Day because of changes prompted by parade-watchers who complained that too many politicians made the event boring.”

· Suit costs could have paid 28 teachers

· “He is a high school dropout, but imprisoned killer Brian J. Dugan has become something of a jailhouse lawyer over the years”

· GOP calling ‘big oil’ rallies political stunt

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      


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