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Question of the day

Thursday, Aug 31, 2006

No, this is not another caption contest. It’s just a humorous illustration.

Question: What would you do if you ran the Illinois government zoo?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 7:03 am:

    Get rid of the current zookeeper.

    And his baby sitter.

  2. - Disgusted - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 7:08 am:

    Get rid of the multi-multi layers of management. There are too many chiefs and not enough indians.
    And bring in term limits at the Statehouse.

  3. - Anon - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 7:13 am:

    One more time, Big Bird and I do not use the same stylist.

  4. - Snidely Whiplash - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 7:21 am:

    I wish I had a real clue. This state now has so many problems that I pity the next governor.

  5. - Gregor - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 7:23 am:

    I would make us live within our means: cut-up the credit cards so to speak, and pay down the debt on a dedicated schedule. New initiatives would have to find their own new funding mechanisms. I would ban any campaign contributors from bidding for any state contracts or committee appointments. I would insist on Illinois companies getting the first crack at all state busines.

  6. - So-Called "Austin Mayor" - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 8:07 am:

    New Zoo Rule: Mandatory spaying and neutering.

  7. - Southern Illinoisian - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 8:21 am:

    Fire 50% of the bloodsuckers in state government, then tell the other 50% to get their tushies to work. Cut taxes 50%, pay all the damn bills, fund the pensions, and tell Daley to kiss my you-know-what.

    Tell Missouri to take their toll bridge and shove it where the sun don’t shine, shift every last stinking gambling dollar into the education fund where it was supposed to go in the first place, and make it clear that anyone who wants a free ride at the government’s expense can move to California.

    Enforce the laws the way they’re written, and fix them if they’re broken. Kids’ parents would know if their daughter was having an abortion, a Tylenol at school would not be cause for alarm, and all of this political-correctness mania would cease.

    And, I’d live in Springfield.

  8. - Walking Wounded - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 8:25 am:

    Doggone, Southern Illinoisian…..You have my vote!!

  9. - bored now - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 8:27 am:

    move the state capitol to peotone (using the property for the so-called third airport). that brings the capitol closer to the geographical center of the state, saving the state government (and others) tons of money, and make it a lot more transparent to the citizens of the state.

  10. - Squideshi - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 8:33 am:

    Reform Illinois Election law to allow more competition in our political marketplace of ideas, decentralize to make the system more participatory, and reduce the influence of money to keep the focus on issues.

  11. - Niles Township - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 8:38 am:

    Where do you begin there is so much to do?
    1. Merge the offices of comptroller and treasurer; elimating positions.
    2. Centralize the management/administrative functions of all state agencies like HR, accounting etc.; elimiate redundant positions.
    3. Lease the Illinois Tollway Authority (do not sell) and use proceeds only to pay down existing pension obligations and to fund transporation improvements.
    4. Freeze particpation in the existing defined benefit pension plan that state employees have and introduce a 401(k)/403(b) style plan like most private sector companies have done.
    5. Reform property tax/education funding with a modest increase in the income tax (we all know it needs to be done, just no one willing to do it) to fund education initiatives. Trade off some value gained with new property tax formula to help offset impact of income tax increase.
    6. Get out and woo businesses that might consider moving to IL. Gov. Mitch Daniels in IN has done a great job of that in a short period of time with good results. We can’t wait to see what companies want to leave Chicago, and then run after them with incentives. We should be all over the country selling IL.
    And the list goes on….

  12. - Reddbyrd - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 8:40 am:

    Don’t let JudyBore out of the house with wrinkled turtlenecks and no upper plate

  13. - Tony - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 8:52 am:

    Ah Southern Illinois…another bitter resident fixated on State workers. Couldn’t get on with the state huh?

    I’d keep reddbyrd in a cage as well.

  14. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:17 am:

    1. Have the state house and senate only meet once a month, all other meetings debates etc. to be held virtually via network (security could be dealt with a VPN). Keeps the pols in their district so they don’t lose touch and makes it harder for the lobbyists to keep up with them all.

    2. Merge the offices of comptroller & treasurer. This does seem duplicative.

    3. Make sure that the prisons are geographically located near their customer base. It makes little sense to have so many prisons downstate when so many of the prisoners come from and ultimately return to the Chicago met area.

    4. Require that well-off school districts that abut non-well-off school districts must accept up a certain number of the high scoring students in the non-well-off school district.

  15. - Cook Dem - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:18 am:

    Yeah, too late Rich. Caption contest away.

    “Alright, who let the red-haired bird woman into the petting zoo again? Get it away from the children, aww look, now it’s got one of their books.

    Come on now, get the children back. And keep that gate locked!”

  16. - Nice Suit - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:20 am:

    1) Stay in Springfield, no matter where your family lives. It shows respect to the institution.

    2) Hire real HR people to come in and truly get the best people for jobs…not cronies, disregard quotas. And pay them enough to keep them satisfied.

    3) Raise taxes in the short term to pay down the long term debt. Belt tightening now will save our kids in the long run. 3% is a joke, go to 5% or use a graduated system.

    4) Rewrite the lobby and FR laws in IL. Remove the influence that cash brings to the table. Put a cap on election spending on TV, and force the candidates into true debates.

    5) Institute a stronger education program, emphasizing the need not only for a high school diploma, but for at least an Associate degree. Fritchey mentions “The World is Flat” in his blog. We are severely undereducated, and will get passed by. Find a way for the State to subsidize (either thru tax deductions, or rebates) the first two years of tuition for students that graduate with a B average from high school. The C students get 1 year, and the D students get to retake their Senior year.

    6) Give businesses incentives for moving to IL–not taxing them, charging fees, etc. They will have a large pool of educated workers ready to get jobs. Recruit the businesses to help in the paying of tuition.

  17. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:21 am:

    Cut taxes until the zoo becomes a small menagerie. Cut all non-educational social spending by 66%. School vouchers for parents. No income taxes for families with more than 3 children. Sell off the damn tollways. Turn South Chicago into a tax-free Enterprise Zone. Bring in gambling. Build the damn airport in South Chicago. Build ethanol plants. Turn Decatur, Danville and East St. Louis into tax free zones. Return the state capital to Springfield. Build a high speed railway between Chicago and St. Louis. Bring big box stores to Chicago.

    And on the seventh day, I’ll rest.

  18. - Wumpus - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:26 am:

    Stop nepotism/croneyism
    fight corruption
    fight crime on the street
    Oops, that is what Obama told Kenya.

  19. - Eagle I - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:46 am:

    I’ll be the first rat off a sinking ship. Let’s all move to Iowa before the bills come due or the trials start, whichever comes first.

  20. - DOWNSTATE - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 10:21 am:

    And in this book you will find the governor and his entire staff

  21. - Gus Frerotte's Clipboard - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 10:39 am:

    I would try to lead by example in creating a culture of civility, where policy issues could be debated respectfully, and where there would be no tolerance for the kind of petty personal sniping you see so much from both parties (and on this blog). With a process characterized by mutual respect and healthy debate, the legislation and budgets produced would be reflective of a true consensus on the best interests of the state, not on posturing or clout-driven giveaways.

    After having done that, I would sit back with some of my mermaid and unicorn friends to watch the Cubs try to defend their World Series title.

  22. - Gus Frerotte's Clipboard - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 10:44 am:

    I would try to lead by example in creating a culture of civility, so that policy issues could be debated respectfully, and there would be no tolerance for the kind of petty personal sniping you see so much from both parties (and on this blog). With a process characterized by mutual respect and healthy debate, the legislation and budgets produced would be reflective of a true consensus on the best interests of the state, not on posturing or clout-driven giveaways.

    After having done that, I would sit back with some of my mermaid and unicorn friends to watch the Cubs try to defend their World Series title.

  23. - Cornelius - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 10:52 am:


    Everyone knows that Mermaids are Sox fans…

  24. - Sine Die - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 11:08 am:

    Thought it might help for people to know a little more about the book…

    If I Ran the Zoo
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    If I Ran the Zoo is a children’s book written by Dr. Seuss in 1950.

    The book is written in anapestic tetrameter, Seuss’s usual verse type, and illustrated in Seuss’s trademark pen and ink style. The book is likely a tribute to a child’s imagination, because it ends with a reminder that all of the extraordinary creatures exist only in McGrew’s head.

    If I Ran the Zoo is credited with inventing the word “nerd” with the sentence “And then, just to show them, I’ll sail to Ka-Troo/And Bring Back an It-Kutch a Preep and a Proo/A Nerkle a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!”

    In the book, Gerald McGrew is a kid who, when visiting a zoo, finds that the exotic animals are “not good enough”. He says that if he ran the zoo, he would let all of the current animals free and find new, more bizarre and exotic ones. Throughout the book he lists these creatures, starting with a lion with ten feet and escalating to more imaginative (and imaginary) creatures, such as the Fizza-ma-Wizza-ma-Dill, “the world’s biggest bird from the island of Gwark, who eats only pine trees, and spits out the bark.” The illustrations also grow wilder as McGrew imagines going to increasingly remote and exotic habitats and capturing each fanciful creature, and brings them all back to a zoo now filled with his wild new animals. He also imagines the praise he receives from others, who are amazed at his “new McGrew Zoo”.

  25. - GP - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 11:27 am:

    First I would rid the zoo of all nonviolent animals. Violence sells. After I got rid of the cute and cuddly animals, I would start selling long term sponsorships. For example, the Tiger’s would be Absolut Fierce. I would than get Bruce Springsteen to sponsor the only nonviolent animal in the park, the tortoise. After all the sponsorships were filled I would buy a mechanical panda. Importing Panda’s from China is too difficult. Than I would sell the land to a group of Japanese investors who plan on turning the zoo into a golf course.

  26. - Judy, Judy, Judy - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 1:24 pm:

    Well at least twice I’ve seen reference to an airport in Peotone which is located more the 42 miles south of Chicago’s central business district. So let’s start there. I would not spend one more taxpayer dollar for this nearly 30 year old political pipedream. Enough is enough. If Gary, Rockford and Mitchell airport aren’t fully being utilizied what makes anyone think building one airstrip in the middle of a cornfield will? Well over $100,266,750.00 ($266,750 of which Jackson just spent on a media blitz) of taxdollars has been spent promoting and studying, maintaining and securing the properties purchased not including the unknown salaries of those appointed to positions to push the airport further. It’s got to stop. When we see schools, college students, Veterans, and seniors in desparate need of money and services that the state can’t afford.

    I’d review each branch of the goverenment and cut waste (the administration in all levels of governement is needs to be cut back) - we need to live within our means and not in the ‘credit card’ fantasy world that our state lives in today. I’d cut fees, which Blagojevich increased to raise funds, but those fees hurt small businesses and the farmer. I would do all that I could to encourage new technology for alternative fuel creation and usage - we have great corn growing soil in Illionis, I’d stop paving over it, grow more corn, and provide incentives to businesses who find ways to use alternative fuels. We need to focus on the future and concrete isn’t the future. I’d build high-speed rail lines and plan for more public transportation to cut our need for nearly everyone to drive to work. And I’d get the guys who had ideas I liked written in this blog to work on those ideas while I took time for lunch.

  27. - Bubs - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 1:41 pm:

    I would immediately seek to abolish at least one-third, if not one half, of the independent governmental entities existing in Illinois. We are the most wastefully over-governed state in the Union, by a wide margin.

    That action alone will reduce corruption, free up monies that can either be reallocated or used for a tax reduction, and streamline government services in service of the people.

  28. - doubtful - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 2:04 pm:

    Get rid of the smoke and mirrors so everyone could see and enjoy the animals and their habbits clearly.

  29. - Middle Majority - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 3:23 pm:

    Lot’s of good suggestions in here. I could support most of them. The problem our current and past leaders faced, however, is that many of these are impossible to accomplish with the systemic barriers we have. Please support a constitutional convention as it is the only way to achieve necessary structural change.

  30. - Establishment Republican - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 4:23 pm:

    If I ran the zoo:

    More elephants on display and far less donkeys.

    Also, perhaps a special exhibit where zoogoers can watch a lion kill a wildebeest, sponsored by Obama 2010, Inc.

  31. - Southern Illinoisian - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 5:11 pm:

    Hey Tony, I wouldn’t work for the state if it was the last job left (and at the rate Blago is driving out businesses, that’s not too far off).

    While I am certain that there are many state employees that are good people and hard workers, the fact of the matter is that most would be really challenged by similar private-sector jobs.

    But, once the inefficiencies are removed from state government, there would be plenty of money left over for generous salaries designed to reward hard work and innovation, the same way real business works.

    Oh, and for you Wounded, thanks for the vote! You’re a great judge of character.

  32. - In the Sticks - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 5:50 pm:

    I didn’t realize that Peotone was closer to the geographical center of the state than Springfield. It is probably closer to the population center of the state.

  33. - So Blue Democrat - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:02 pm:

    Bored Now,

    You need to return to school. Peotone is not the geographical center of Illinois.

    I would completely overhaul the state hiring practices. The job categories are too broad. Anyone can get an “A” on the broad Excecutive I and Excutive II job classifications. The tests have nothing to do with true job experience.

  34. - Shallow Pharnyx - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:11 pm:

    I just wouldn’t do it- that’s an option, isn’t it? Why try to run a state that shows up in the lower 25 of so many indicators- pension funding; school funding; number of state employees; obesity; etc. If I really wanted to govern, I’d move to another state, be elected to an office, show a period of success; and hope the same for Illinois before I ever ran for something here- I’m not big on failure.

  35. - Rex - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 9:51 pm:

    If I Ran the Zoo - there would be no more MOU’s.

    Illinois needs a governor who stands by their word thus gaining respect and trust from the legislature and the taxpayers. No more liars. This is the first step - all the others above come next.

  36. - Tom - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 10:25 pm:

    Niles Township is on to something with #4. All newly hired public employees, not just state, should get 401(k)s instead of defined benefit plans. #5 is great in theory, but local governments would simply raise property taxes back to the same level as they were before the income tax swap.

    Wumpus has a nice point about Obama. He’s quite vocal about corruption on the national/international level, but he loses his tongue when it comes to Chicago and Cook County corruption.

  37. - roman girl - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 10:34 pm:

    I would feed the right-wingers to the lions. I’d reward the giraffes, who stick their necks out for people. I’d complain about cleaning up after the elephants and quit feeding them peanuts

  38. - anonymous again - Thursday, Aug 31, 06 @ 11:07 pm:

    someone told me 80% of the people of illinois live north of I80 and east of I39 just what if they like the peotone airport idea dont give a crap about whether the gov spends ever night in spfd or sherman do you think they care and i am serious and last i checked tha area is in Illinois. The name of the state rs is Illinois not springfield or southern illinois and last i checked the mid america airport in southern illinois was built under republican admin and they have at least 6 planes a day leaving that airport but i will give you guys credit the land was probably cheaper they unless one of our local state pilerers sold us the land. Now listen this is important next time build it by the 80% of the people especially an airport i could understand you putting a nuke waste plant down there but not an airport they really should be around the population.

  39. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Sep 1, 06 @ 12:17 am:

    1. Hire my best friend as my deputy governor
    2. Hire my biggest critic as my chief of staff
    3. Fill my cabinet with people way, way smarter than me.
    4. Put a suggestion box front and center on the state website.
    5. Read my own mail.
    6. Walk to work.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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