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The problem with Jones *** Updated x1 with a warning ***

Thursday, May 31, 2007

I happen to like Senate President Emil Jones, despite all the mistakes he’s made this session (and there have been many). But there’s no escaping the fact that his credibility has been shot to hell this year. Phil Kadner puts his finger on it in today’s Southtown column…

State Sen. President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) didn’t realize he was cutting Country Club Hills out of the bidding for a casino in the south suburbs by requiring that any new gambling joint be built within 8 miles of the Indiana border.

That’s his story, and he’s sticking to it.

Jones also didn’t realize his stepson had a big contract with ComEd when he opposed extending the electric rate freeze.

That’s his story, and he’s sticking to it.

And Jones says the $80,000 bump his wife received in her state salary and the $57,000 state job his son received had nothing to do with his support for Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s gross receipts tax proposal.

That’s his story, but you don’t have to believe it.

As I told you yesterday, Country Club Hills has long been a contender for a Southland riverboat. Part of its proposal is to redistribute money from the boat revenues to neighboring towns and the mayor was baffled when it was excluded from Jones’ bill. He shouldn’t have been. The mayor is a strong ally of Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Dolton Mayor Bill Shaw is a longtime foe of Jackson.

Kadner’s column finishes this way…

Country Club Hills is about 10 to 12 miles from the Indiana border.

People in the south suburbs who gamble in Indiana would save about 30 minutes driving time by going to Country Club Hills, which can be reached from I-57 or I-80.

I’m not saying that Country Club Hills should get a casino.

What I am saying is that right now it is the best bet for the south suburbs.

To eliminate the city before the competition even starts is a huge mistake.

Jones can play dumb. But I don’t think he is. As always, he’s looking out for his buddies.

Jones has had way too many convenient coinkydinks for my taste this session.

* Related stories…

* Jackson gets involved in casino bill debate

* McQueary: Go ahead, call me a spoilsport

* Waukegan casino buoyed by legislature

* Sun-Times Editorial: If tax hike won’t fly, expand gambling

* Sweeney: Rockford aldermen revved up on gambling

NOTICE: I posted this in comments and I’ll post it here, too, as a further warning

OK, I’ve already deleted one comment that got way too personal. Let’s avoid that, shall we? There’s enough material here to work with that you don’t need to write that sort of stuff.

Please don’t make me ban you. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Sapphire - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 9:41 am:

    If Emil Jones were to be employed like the rest of us, he’d been fired long ago.
    He’s a disgrace!
    Meanwhile everyone in our state loses because of his actions.

  2. - Bluefish - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 9:54 am:

    At what point do the Senate Dems finally grow the stones to overthrow their leader, whose only claim to fame is to serve as the face of Illinois corruption.

  3. - Slow An' Easy - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 10:17 am:

    What else is Emil qualified to do?

  4. - Anon from BB - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 10:25 am:

    Kadner forgot to mention the $40 million for Chicago State that Jones said wasn’t in the casino bill before it was pointed out to him.

  5. - PalosParkBob - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 10:27 am:

    Teach Latin at Chicago State University.

    The way the State university system works, as it did for alleged Republican Jim Edgar when he retired as Guv, Emperor Jones could probably increase his pay from the state Senate as an “emeritus lecturer” there, not to mention picking up SURS pension benefits.

    The only problem is that the “contributions” he’d get for inflating grades wouldn’t come close to what he gets for selling out the citizenry to ComEd, gaming, and the other influence peddlers in Illinois.

    Sorry. I’m pretty bitter about the way Jones sold out the South burbs with this gambling boundary thing.

    Open question: How can the Dems dump this loser, and regain some sense of credibility again?

  6. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 10:27 am:

    OK, I’ve already deleted one comment that got way too personal. Let’s avoid that, shall we? There’s enough material here to work with that you don’t need to write that sort of stuff. Please don’t make me ban you. Thanks.

  7. - Leigh - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 10:28 am:

    When I look at Emil Jones, it occurs to me how bad things are in the Republican party. No one with half a brain would support this man if there were better alternatives.

  8. - GettingJonesed - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 10:28 am:

    We are drafting an amendment to give Country Club Hills the 5th new license — and a partridge in pear tree.

  9. - DOWNSTATE - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 10:51 am:

    HOW DO YOU MAKE GOOD REPUBLICANS??People like Jones and Blago running around like loose cannons and Madigan knows that every screw up will hurt his darling little girl at election time.

  10. - Downstate Dem - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 10:56 am:

    Jones actions speak volumes on the tragic commentary of Democratic leadership in the State of Illinois today. No wonder most don’t want any revenue increases in the state budget.

  11. - Gd - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 11:04 am:

    General comment here: I’m tired of the media always forgetting the number one rule of statistics: correlation does not mean causation. Just because to events happened in close proximity to each other and happen to appear related does not mean that one caused the other! Government and politics is WAY too complex to boil events down to simple conclusions (and flashy headlines) such as the one implied in this article or seen in Chicago newspapers and editorials every day.

  12. - amy - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 11:08 am:

    every time Jones does some bone headed thing, all
    I can shout is albatross! start erasing the
    pictures, Barack….

  13. - Drew - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 11:12 am:

    I actually escaped Springfield for a few hours Sunday to attend a family event. I always find it interesting when I break away from the capital and talk to people who aren’t constantly surrounded by state politics. My relatives follow the news just as much as the average Illinoisan, and they have little to no clue who Emil Jones is, how he controls his members, and why some of the backwarrds things to come out of Springfield are his doing. One of the primary roles of the political party out of power is to play “watch dog.” The Republicans simply haven’t done a good enough job of getting the word out on what happens in Springfield and how it impacts them.

  14. - Team Sleep - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 11:18 am:

    In my opinion, the Senate Dems that are up for re-election next year will cave if Emil threatens to not fund their campaigns. How can a Gary Forby or a Dan Kotowski compete if Emil doesn’t dump hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars into their accounts? It will be tough to justify going against him if they want to keep their seats. Senators like Frerichs and Bond, though intelligent and hard-working, have Emil to thank for being where they are. Double-crossing him, no matter how much he has slipped up, could wind up being career suicide. As long as Emil is in charge, the rest of the SDems will fall in line. That’s a shame, but it’s the truth. I would like to see a Haine or Trotter or Halverson take over the caucus; the state would benefit from such a move.

  15. - bored now - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 11:22 am:

    i have to say it: i wonder how much of this would be said if jones was white? yes, i realize that there are a lot of madigan supporters here, but at least jones had the cajones to go out and get his super-majority. madigan couldn’t be bothered.

    the ‘madigan is god’ meme has been too pervasive, it seems to me that the balance of power has shifted. the speaker has deftly recognized this, avoiding the showdown that either blagojevich or jones seemed to want. what we need is real leadership right now. no one’s stepping up…

  16. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 11:27 am:

    Bored now - are you really going to play the race card on this one? Bad move.

    What would you call him if he was a white guy always looking out for his buddies? George Ryan.

  17. - Ghost - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 11:36 am:

    The drafters of our constituion added a provision in Article 4, section 13,( special legislation) which in theory is supposed to make bills like this one designed to shut out Country Club Hills withg no real govt purpose illegal. Perhaps its time for the City to bring in the Lawyers.

  18. - i d - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 11:41 am:

    There’s nothing wrong wih Jones that isn’t wrong with every pol be it rep or dem. They look out for number one, family, political party, county of residence. When I think of what I just wrote, I realize that this is what each of us does. I am talking about self, family, and neighbors and not race or religeon. Can any of us separate our prejudice for our own. I think not. But ould we not do better if so much of our money was kept close to home and not sent to the state and federal government. If we are not required to pay so many taxes, could we not each take care of our own children, our own elderly, our own neighbor? When we are held responsible for the needs of the whole world, how can we support our own? The American people are tired. But when we are unable to care for ouselves, who will step up for us?

  19. - Ambulance chaser - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 11:43 am:

    People should not underestimate Emil Jones, but I agree with Rich’s lead-off that Jones has been sloppy lately. However, I stop short of the harsh assessments that others are sharing. Unfortunately, these are typical actions of powerful politicians. Because the Speaker is so darn disciplined, the perception of Jones can get skewed by comparison. That said, shame on all these examples of leadership that is too powerful!

  20. - bored now - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 11:49 am:

    Anon 11:27: who’s playing? i’m saying it appears (could be interpreted as) racist. i got no dog in this fight. but i was surprised at what looks to be a racial tenor in these comments. if you don’t mind looking racist, then carry on…

  21. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 12:00 pm:

    Bored Now: It looks like the only ones bringing racism in right now are you and Meeks. Or is it racism whenever a black person is criticized for ANY reason?

    Let’s leave racism completely out of this shall we? Jones succeeds or fails (miserably in my opinion) on his own. The fact that he is black means NOTHING.

  22. - bored now - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 12:08 pm:

    yeah, i’m sorry but i’ve reread the comments that i thought questionable, and i still think the question is warranted: how much of this would be said if jones was white? i’m not saying that other comments aren’t justified. i admit that i may be more sensitive to racism and the appearance thereof than you…

  23. - Doug Dobmeyer - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 12:08 pm:

    The people in Chgo opposed to gambling spreading to the city like Madigan’s approach. Sen. Jones should adopt it and get out of Dodge!

    More gambling in the state will only hurt the people and our reputation.

    Doug Dobmeyer

  24. - Team Sleep - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 12:11 pm:

    Slick, that made my day. I could put that on the shelf with my 15″ George W. Bush “Air Force” figurine.

  25. - irishpirate - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 12:16 pm:

    HEY, did my post get deleted? Did I even post?

    My Guinness addled brain is in a “State of Confusion”. Which could be used to describe Springfield right now. Maybe, I didn’t hit the enter key between gulps of the delicious stout.

    I thought I posted something suggesting that the Senate voting in a new leader is unlikely because of Jones’ race. I used the term “race card”. I also badmouthed him because of his support for the electric rate increases.

    I don’t think mentioning the “race card” should be out of bounds. It is apparent. It is a political reality. It would be a better world it wasn’t but it is.

    I have also referred to a certain Chicago politician, who shall go unnamed but shares the same ethnic background as me, as a “verbally, ethically, and intellectually challenged garden gnome.” I hope that is not taken as an attack on garden gnomes.

    Oh well. Maybe I didn’t post. Maybe I posted something that could be “misscrootened” as racist. If I did it was not meant that way.

    Now back to the Guinness. I need to cut my lawn. Maybe I can scare up some delicous cicadas for lunch.

  26. - bored now - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 12:24 pm:

    btw, i didn’t intend for this sentence, “but i was surprised at what looks to be a racial tenor in these comments” to be generalized. i should have said “i was surprised at what looks to be a racial tenor in SOME OF these comments.”

  27. - Leigh - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 12:35 pm:

    Blago is considered far worse than Jones so I think that about answers the “race” card. Ever heard the story of the boy who cried wolf?

  28. - Bomber91 - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 12:42 pm:

    I don’t see Emil as black or white. I see Emil as someone whose time has past, but he can’t let go of the past. He’s been in office forever and day (MJM as well), but, unlike the Speaker, Jones isn’t embarrassing his party. A lot of my Democratic friends think he needs to go “for the good of the party”. The fact that Emil seems to be the only one in the state (except Bill) who backs GRod is a clear indication that he’s out of touch.

    Remember Emil’s comment about being 22 seats shy of his ideal Senate composition. That should have clued you into the fact that he has no respect for democracy and was only looking out for himself. All of these “blunders” are proof of this disrespect and his need to gallop off into the sunset.

  29. - Gregor - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 12:43 pm:

    I remember the MANY impassioned speeches Senate President Jones made when Pate ruled the senate.

    He should dig those out and re-read a few of them, because except for the bad Members-Only jacket and white hair, he’s become everything he used to villify about Pate.

    When the dems got a majority, at the inauguration I was so excited: “Boy, after all this time, our guys get to do things the right and honorable way, now that they are in charge!” Well, I was naive about that. While we did get some good and useful bills out of Pate’s Purgatory, the ethically shady and downright despicable activities are just as bad under the New Management.

    Why can’t we find honest men and women without personal avarice, hubris, and an overdeveloped sense of entitlement to be our civil servants?

  30. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 12:47 pm:

    “Bored Now,” I think he would still be harshly criticized if he was white. However, I do think the fact that he is black might be playing a role in the piling-on factor here. So I’d ask everybody to think about that before posting.

  31. - irishpirate - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 12:53 pm:

    Leigh saying Blago is far worse than Jones is not a great endorsement for Jones.

    It reminds me of the Republicans defending the firing of the US Attorneys “Well Clinton did it too”.

    If Blago or Clinton are the standard then we are in trouble.

  32. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 1:48 pm:

    Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I have often wondered how many of the Emil stories were planted with the media to undermine his power in the Senate. It doesn’t take much deduction to figure out who would want to do this undermining.

  33. - Bill - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 1:51 pm:

    Anybody want to guess who Doug Dobmeyer works for.

  34. - Captain America - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 2:15 pm:

    I think the lack of timely action on the exorbitant electricity rate increse was pretty damning. Jones was the roadblock in the Senate. I was pleased to read that the Senate may finally take some action.

    I’m unhappy with all three of the top Democatic State leaders based upon their obvious flaws and personal failures during the current legislative session. Mike Madigan’s not my personal favorite, but I respect his political acumen, not his governing style.

    I detest the Shaws and applaud the Jacksons. Meeks I respect as formidable whether I agree with him or not on a particular issue. I really like Obama. Although, I’m sure Emil Jones is a fine gentleman,a great guy, and a shrewd political operator, I’m personally in favor of dumping him as Senate President. But that’s because I’m a lakefront lberal reform type, not because I’m prejudiced agaisnst powerful black politicians.

    When I see Senator Jones on Governor’s Day
    in Springfield, I’m going to applaud him respectully, just like I will do for all our other Democatric leaders,white or black. I definely prefer Emil Jones when you compare him to the political troglydyte, Pate Phillips.

  35. - Drowning Quicksand - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 2:49 pm:



  36. - Little Egypt - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 3:07 pm:

    There are a few SDems who will always need help from THE Senate President, past, present, and future, whomever he/she is. Forby is the first to come to mind. He would not have made it the last time had it not been for the $$ the Dems dumped into his campaign. He’s about as bland as unflavored gelatin and unfortunately is an educational product of southern Illinois. I’m sure not proud of that and I didn’t/won’t vote for him.

    Jones will be Senate President, no matter what the errors, until he becomes an extremely ineffective leader of the Senate and Senator in his district. Perhaps the time is coming near since there is no other topic bigger in the minds of the constituency than electric rates. If he doesn’t act to give some relief for the electric rates, it may end up being his iceberg.

  37. - Team Sleep - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 3:07 pm:

    I don’t care if Emil is green or yellow or white or burnt sienna. He is doing this state a great disservice. I don’t care what he’s done in the past or how he represents his district; his Senate presidency is not good for Illinois.

  38. - poli sci guy - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 3:31 pm:

    I heard the Senate president rip on the media a couple of times last night for “inaccuracies” and sensationalism.

    President Jones made those comments during committee deliberations on the gambling bill. The “Enquirer”-style reporting he decried was the rash of stories about how the gambling bill was larded up with Chicago State, a bailout for the Emerald investors and a Shaw Bros. casino.

    This was the bill, you’ll recall, that President Jones said didn’t have Chicago State in it a few days ago until one of his Senate Democratic colleagues pointed to specific language in the bill during a committee hearing.

    If there truly were so many inaccuracies, it’s amazing that members of his caucus are not rallying to his defense for the alleged inaccuracies, which presumably in Emil’s mind also include the stories about helping out his family with high-paying state jobs and juicy state contracts.

    Seems to me, rather than attacking the messenger, the Senate president would be wise to reflect on his own poor judgment. It has completely made him untrustworthy to members of his own caucus.

  39. - Boutte-no name nickname needed - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 4:50 pm:

    wasn’t the original casino legislation written to benefit distressed or communities in need? Maybe few of you have visited Country Club Hills, but it is not a community in need. The infrastructure needs are also numerous. A casino there would ruin a middle to upper middle class community.
    The vaccinity of of 8 miles to the Indiana border directly attacks the Indiana riverboats, who have been taking our precious tax dollars. It is also a predominantly distressed community. Think about the economic development a casino would bring to a community like Ford Heights?
    Regarding Chicago State University was there not early wording that an inordinate amount of education directed casino generated tax dollars were to go to the state university chosen by the Senate president. I guess that was alright under Pate Phillips, but not now. I know a lot of great businessmen and civic supportors who got there education from Chicago State and wish to see many more.

  40. - Bill - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 5:44 pm:

    I think that President Jones has done a decent job as president this session. He has stood up to the Speaker and let it be known that his Chamber will not be a rubber stamp for whatever nonsense the House sends over. Jones truly has the best interests of his constituents at heart.He and the Governor will fight to the finish to achieve their agreed upon objectives. It ain’t over yet. Madigan had his chance and blew it by not maintaining control of his Chamber. Now the repubs will become players making any budget more expensive as the speaker tries to buy them off with pork.
    It is the same old story. Too much power concentrated upon one individual with very conservative proclivities. For years it was Pate Phillip. This year it is Madigan.

  41. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 7:16 pm:

    Bill -

    You are right - president Jones let it be known that his chamber WILL be a rubber stamp for whatever nonsense Blago sends over.

    You honestly have to be at the edge of your sanity if you can use the words ‘Madigan’ and ‘conservative’ in any sentence without ‘is not a’. It’s hard enough to find conservative Republicans in the GA now; I can definitely assure you that Madigan is no Republican.

  42. - Little Egypt - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 7:21 pm:

    Bill, I don’t think either EJ or MM have done a decent job if they can’t end the session on time. Do you believe that by aligning himself so closely with Blago, that makes Emil a truly independent, standup guy? From my side of the fence, it appears to me that EJ is a rubber stamp for Blago and MM is trying to be the independent leader. I don’t run in the political circles that some on here do so this is just my “outside” opinion.

  43. - Holdingontomywallet - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 8:08 pm:

    Yes Bill, they have all done a great job. Aren’t you just a little embarassed that your party has the House, Senate, and Governor and they can’t even pass a budget on time? Even you have to admit, this is unacceptable.

  44. - Disgusted - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 9:45 pm:

    Rich, I am more than a little surprised that you would speak so solitiously of EJ. Your site points out politicians’ foibles and missteps all the time and you surely know about EJ’s. I don’t care how great, funny, generous or prestigeous a man is. If he’s not forthright, doesn’t do what he was elected to do by the voters of his district and doesn’t follow the basic rule of how to treat others (you know, the Golden One), while lining his own pockets at taxpayers expense, he is not a likable person.

  45. - Bill - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 10:00 pm:

    You have a terrible attitude. No wonder state services leave a lot to be desired.

  46. - Lied to - Thursday, May 31, 07 @ 11:18 pm:

    It does not matter which party put in place (or let Ameren & ComEd put in place) those horrible ELECTRIC RATES, incumbents are doomed to loose their future elections IF THIS MESS IS NOT FIXED!!! If you have read the blogs state wide, you know that the citizens are really angry about this. Talk is the people are sick and tired of politicians working for the LOBBYISTS and throwing the people overboard to the GREEDY SHARKS. WATCH OUT INCUMBENTS..IF YOU DON’T FIX THE ELECTRIC MESS!!!!!!!

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    * Due to budget impasse, Secretary of State suspends mailing license renewal notices

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