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Reader Comments Closed for the Weekend

Friday, Sep 28, 2007

I don’t know if you remember me telling you this or not, but the Daily Southtown has been running excerpts from the comments here in the paper. Lately, they’ve been putting those excerpts online. Go check it out. You’re famous.

It was a short, but productive week. Had a couple of good scoops in the subscriber-only Capitol Fax and we had a lot of interesting comments here. Have a great weekend, and don’t forget about Illinoize. It’s a great place to visit…

And for your video enjoyment, Hesitation Blues by Hot Tuna…

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Governor demands speed limit veto be upheld

Friday, Sep 28, 2007

This could be a fun debate here. Let’s consider it our second question of the day. From a press release…

Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s top transportation officials were joined today by traffic safety and law enforcement advocates in urging legislators to sustain the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 540, which would have raised the speed limit for trucks in Illinois to 65 miles per hour. The Governor has fought to keep the 55 mph speed limit in place for trucks on Illinois highways for the safety of everyone who travels our roads. During Gov. Blagojevich’s administration fatalities on state roads have dropped by 200 a year, the lowest levels since 1924.

“Raising the speed limit for trucks means more people will die in accidents. It takes a large truck traveling 65 miles per hour 40 percent longer to stop than a truck traveling 55 miles per hour. And that same truck traveling 65 miles per hour has an impact that is 40 percent more destructive than a truck at 55 miles per hour. That’s why I urge the Legislature to sustain my veto of SB 540.” […]

According to AAA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when tractor-trailer trucks travel at speed rates of 55 mph or higher, it significantly increases the likelihood the truck will either jackknife or rollover. The vast majority of persons killed in crashes involving trucks are occupants of passenger vehicles, not trucks. […]

In 1996, the year after Missouri increased the speed limit for trucks, it recorded 70 more fatalities caused by large trucks, increasing from 97 to 167. If Illinois had a corresponding 72 percent increase as Missouri did, that could translate to 114 more fatalities in one year.

How do you feel about this one?

* Also, as an aside, that line about how traffic fatalities are at their lowest levels since 1924 is something that’s always fascinated me. Check this out from 1999

Six times as many people drive today as in 1925, and the number of motor vehicles in the country has increased 11-fold since then to approximately 215 million. The number of miles traveled in motor vehicles is 10 times higher than in the mid-1920s. Despite this steep increase in motor-vehicle travel, the annual death rate has declined from 18 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 1925 to 1.7 per 100 million VMT in 1997 - a 90% decrease.

Amazing, eh?

* Here are some more Illinois stats, taken from the guv’s press release…

There were 1,454 total fatalities in 2003 and by 2006 the number of fatalities in Illinois was down to 1,254, the lowest number of fatalities since 1924, when there were 1,065.

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      

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Friday, Sep 28, 2007

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Question of the day

Friday, Sep 28, 2007

The setup from Sneed

Tipsville: State Sen. Kirk Dillard tells Sneed he’s seriously considering running for a statewide office for the first time.

• • Quoth Dillard: “I would consider running in 2010 if there’s an open seat, especially if the Illinois attorney general seat opens up.'’

• • The gov’s job? Dillard claims he doesn’t have his sights on the governor’s mansion but . . .”I am keeping my options open.” There ya go.

Question: Rate Dillard’s chances.

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      

New spin is empty, misleading and false

Friday, Sep 28, 2007

* It appears that Gov. Blagojevich has found a new way to spin his budget vetoes. If you oppose him then you’re against breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment for hundreds of thousands of women. But, in the end, as you’ll see, it’s a bunch of empty rhetoric based on a hugely inflated promise.

* The background

Gov. Blagojevich on Thursday announced plans to provide free mammograms and breast cancer treatments to all uninsured women over age 40. The state also will offer free pelvic exams and Pap tests to uninsured women over age 35, and pay for cervical cancer treatments.

* The setup quote

“We will save lives,” [Blagojevich] told supporters at St. Elizabeth Hospital.

* Almost there

“We’re paying for it by the vetoes of pork-barrel projects and other special-interest spending that I vetoed in the budget,” Blagojevich said.

* Now here comes the spin

“I dare the state Legislature to take this one away,” Blagojevich said.

“…I still have the spending authority as the governor and whether they’re there or not, I simply choose to spend the money on mammograms for women instead of pork barrel projects for legislators.”

* Spinning like a top

“If they’re not going to give us a budget that provides enough money for the important priorities, then you have to make decisions on what’s more important, and I defy any of the men and women of the general assembly to tell me that there’s a more important priority in providing women a chance to get mammograms,” the governor said.

* He’s a veritable whirling dervish, even

The governor told a reporter the women of Illinois should thank state Rep. Tom Holbrook, D-Belleville, and state Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, for indirectly providing the funds to expand the cancer screening program.

“I vetoed their pork barrel projects to pay for this,” Blagojevich said.


* The new plan also includes an additional bonus for the governor

Health-care advocates lauded the expansion, which will be coupled with a public awareness campaign

“Saving lives… Brought to you by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.” Perfect.

* I’m wondering if that PR campaign is included in the projected cost

Blagojevich said expanding the women’s cancer screening program could cost about $50 million. His spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said that would be the total cost of the program if all eligible women get screened and treated.

* And even that’s misleading, as the Tribune points out

…Blagojevich said up to 260,000 more women will be covered by expanding the existing Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program. But spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said the state expects about 5,000 of those 260,000 women to get screenings in the next year, with about 50 needing treatment.

* So, once again we have a huge splash, but little benefit. And there’s more

It was unclear Thursday how the program, which at full capacity would cost about $50 million a year, will be funded. Blagojevich said it would be paid for by his recent cuts of so-called “pork” from the state budget, while Ottenhoff said the program would be supported primarily through an additional $1.75 million set aside in the budget for public health.

Incredibly enough, the spin appears to be completely false. Imagine that.

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      

Poking the pigeon

Friday, Sep 28, 2007

* Recently, a couple of Tribune reporters have wondered aloud about Mayor Daley’s almost complete silence on the mass transit issue and the property tax assessment caps debate.

My column in today’s Sun-Times attempts to answer those questions and more. The bottom line for Daley, his raison d’être, if you will, is his quest for the Olympic games

Politicians love it when a fellow politician wants something really big. They’re called ‘’pigeons'’ because they’re ripe for the plucking.

Mayor Daley is now a pigeon.

Daley’s overriding lust to land the Olympic Games has put him at an extreme disadvantage in dealing with Gov. Blagojevich, who is playing the mayor for all he’s worth.

Several months ago, Daley used both barrels to blast Blagojevich’s proposed gross receipts tax on business, saying if the tax were enacted we could all wave goodbye to businesses as they moved out of state. The two men went out to dinner not long afterward, and Daley subsequently toned his comments way down.

What happened?

I’m told on high authority that Blagojevich laid it out for Daley. The mayor needs strong support from the state to convince the Olympics committee that Chicago is a viable siting option. The governor knows the same thing and told him so. The implication was clear: ‘’Mess with me and I mess with you.'’

Anyone who has watched this governor for any length of time understands that Blagojevich is just crazy enough to go all populist on the Olympics and announce that the cost is not worth the benefits.

So, despite the occasional mumbles and grumbles about the lack of comity in Springfield, Daley has done his best to stay mum.

Please, go read the whole column before commenting. Thanks.

* Part of my analysis has to do with Daley’s weakened political organization. There are a couple of articles today that provide more info on that…

* Sun-Times: Shakman monitor objects to Daley-run hiring office -Federal Watchdog cites ‘history of noncompliance’

* Tribune: Nobody in Mayor Richard Daley’s administration can be trusted to keep city hiring free from politics except the inspector general, a court-appointed official has concluded.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

Weller district: No clear favorite? Plus, two looks at the race to replace LaHood

Friday, Sep 28, 2007

* CQPolitics (Congressional Quarterly’s online service) claims there are “four highly competitive [congressional] races” in Illinois.

Retiring Republican Jerry Weller’s seat is listed as “No Clear Favorite,” which seems to be a growing consensus these days. Perennial targeted Democrat Melissa Bean’s district is listed as “Leans Democratic.”

CQ has Mark Kirk’s seat and retiring GOP Congressman Denny Hastert’s district as “Leans Republican.” Two districts are ranked as “Republican Favored,” including freshman Peter Roskam and retiring Congressman Ray LaHood’s seat.

* Bob Novak, who has claimed that Weller’s district leans toward a Democratic takeover, has a different take on LaHood’s seat. While Novak eventually concludes that the outlook leans towards a Republican retention, he also says it’s nearly a tossup because of a celebrity Democratic candidate…

Illinois-18: The entrance of former basketball coach Dick Versace (D) brings to a near tossup the race for the Peoria-based seat left open by the retirement Rep. Ray LaHood (R).

Versace was the head basketball coach in the 1980s at Bradley University in Peoria, the golden era of the program. He later coached the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, worked as an on-air commentator and served as the head coach of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. The other Democrat in the rate is retired Navy Captain Chuck Giger (D).

The Republican field features 26-year-old State Rep. Aaron Schock (R), Peoria businessman Jim McConoughey (R) and former Peoria City Councilman John Morris (R). Rep. LaHood’s son, Darin LaHood (R), took a pass and is instead challenging the incumbent state’s attorney.

Versace’s wide name recognition combines with a likely strong Democratic year in Illinois to wipe out the generic advantage a Republican has in this district, which Bush won by 5.5 points in 2004 and which has been in Republican hands for 70 years (including former Minority Leader Bob Michel). Versace has media experience, but as a political rookie, possibly facing more seasoned (although much younger) opponents, he faces many likely pitfalls. This one could swing the other way if Versace proves to be a strong candidate, but right now it is still tilting towards the Republicans. Leaning Republican Retention.


- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

Morning shorts

Friday, Sep 28, 2007

* Governor calls VA ordeal an ‘unbelievable thing’

* Lawmakers say politics is behind anti-violence program

* Coalition tells Stroger: Skip this sales tax hike

* Stroger at the heart of tax debate

* Foes organize against sales-tax hike; more here

* CPR: Cook Co. deficit tops $300 million

* McNulty: Reporters stay above fray in museum fight

* Ald. Reilly uses foe’s book to sway colleagues; more here

* Field museum asks for more green

* City plan takes aim at resident’s’ illegal hotels

Burke gets a lot of legislative ideas from New York City, and the crackdown he introduced at Thursday’s City Council meeting was no exception. The Big Apple has launched its own crackdown against “illegal hotel conversions” after residents complained.

Burke’s ordinance would require short-term renters to buy $400-a-year city licenses and secure $300,000 worth of general liability insurance. Violators would face fines as high as $100 a day.

* U of I’s alumni group’s conservative curriculum plans are blasted

Conservative commentator Robert Novak said Thursday that his Washington colleagues were stunned to learn that a University of Illinois alumni group was setting up an organization to encourage and finance conservative studies on campus.

They asked, “Capitalism and limited government at a public university? How can that be?” Novak, an Illinois graduate, told about 250 people gathered for the launch of the Academy on Capitalism and Limited Government Fund.

Some U of I faculty members fear that the group’s plans to raise money to pay for classes and research on free-market capitalism and limited government would create an undue conservative political influence on campus. They also complain that the new group was formed without faculty input.

* Friday Beer Blogging: Return to Schwelmer edition

- Posted by Paul Richardson   12 Comments      

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Friday, Sep 28, 2007

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Thursday, Sep 27, 2007

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Question of the day

Thursday, Sep 27, 2007

I noticed in our sometimes controversial QOTD yesterday that many of you said that as long as Lisa Madigan promised to live in the governor’s mansion there would be no issue made of her family in the campaign.

As most of you know, I find this mansion argument completely bogus. Jim Thompson moved out of the mansion as soon as his daughter was old enough to go to school. Jim Edgar moved to a “log cabin” after his wife complained about hearing gunfire at night. George Ryan spent time in the mansion, but he also had a condo in Chicago and a house in Kankakee.

There is no law that requires the governor to live in Springfield full time. The executive mansion is not like the White House - it’s not a place of work.

Should Gov. Blagojevich (and future governors) spend more time in Springfield? Without a doubt. However, I wouldn’t want my kids going to school in Springfield if I was governor. There’s no way they could get fair (or decent) treatment.

So, here’s the question: Convince me that I’m wrong. No goofy emotional drive-by comments, please. Use some reasoning and logic or find yourself deleted.

- Posted by Rich Miller   88 Comments      

Watch the hacks

Thursday, Sep 27, 2007

* You can watch the Chicago City Council right now live on the Intertubes. The debate started at 10 o’clock. Click here for the video.

* Background

Chicago has come a long way since the days when television cameras were not allowed to broadcast or record City Council meetings.

In those days, it took an order from then-Finance Committee Chairman Tom Keane, introduced at each meeting, to let the cameras roll.

Fast forward more than three decades. After years of talk, City Council meetings will finally be televised live on the Internet, starting today.

Welcome to the 21st Century.

“I’ve got to check with my makeup artist,” joked Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th).

You need more than makeup, Pat.

* More

Ald. Edward Burke (14th), a leader of the push to the Internet, said he hopes schoolchildren will view Thursday’s meeting, and all the council meetings thereafter, from their classroom computers

Please. Let’s hope not.

Watch and discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

Hypocrisy defined

Thursday, Sep 27, 2007

* These guys are so blatantly hypocritical sometimes…

The Blagojevich administration’s efforts to promote a capital spending bill came to Springfield Wednesday, touted as a way to build a $10 million simulated hospital at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. […]

In Springfield on Wednesday, labor leaders, educators and others touted the simulated hospital that would give physicians training in situations they will encounter in emergency rooms, operating rooms, intensive care, obstetrics and other areas before dealing with patients.

* Why the hypocrisy? Check out what’s buried way down in that SJ-R story…

Michael Boer, chairman of the commission that oversees Springfield’s medical district, also attended Wednesday’s event, even though Blagojevich cut $350,000 from the state budget that would have allowed the district to hire full-time staffers.

“Because we don’t have staff doesn’t mean we aren’t concerned with accomplishing the purposes we were created for,” he said. “The most important one is creating health-care-related economic development in the (district).”

[Emphasis added.]

* Speaking of hypocrisy, the Daily Herald looks at the governor’s flip-flops on gaming…

When Gov. Rod Blagojevich backed a casinos-for-construction deal last week, it marked the second time in recent months he’d reneged on a campaign promise to oppose gambling expansion.

He first broke that promise in May when he offered his support for a Senate casino deal that would have funded the governor’s coveted health care expansion. At the time, Blagojevich said he wasn’t thrilled with more casinos, but he’d make the sacrifice if it meant health coverage for needy families.

“Without health care, I’m not going to accept any new gaming proposals,” Blagojevich said in late May.

That plan never came to fruition.

Now, he’s backing the biggest gambling expansion since the state first legalized riverboat gambling even though it has nothing to do with health care.

* While we’re on the topic of gaming, last fall the governor’s budget honcho John Filan wrote a guest piece for this blog trashing Judy Baar Topinka’s gaming plan, which was smaller than the governor’s plan now on the table…

When you increase the gaming opportunities in the State as much as Topinka has suggested, these opportunities begin to become counterproductive. That is, casinos are luring the same dollars statewide, and these dollars will begin to be split among facilities, rather than moved from other facilities. Some market share will be taken from Indiana and Wisconsin casinos, and as a result, we estimate based on studies by Deloitte Consulting, LLC and the Illinois Department of Revenue that about $600-700 million annually may be obtained from recurring revenues, about half the $1.25 billion annually that Topinka predicts. There is absolutely no empirical support for an additional $1.25 billion in revenue per year.

* And despite all the talk of a massive infusion of immediate cash from the governor’s proposal, Filan had this to say about the timeline of getting a Chicago casino built and operating…

As most of us know and as suggested in the discussion about capital above, it takes time to build additional space, we estimate very aggressively no less than 9 months for existing casinos and 18 months for the Chicago casino. This means that the full value of the gaming expansion won’t be available until 2010 or 2011- at the earliest. And this doesn’t even take into account the amount of time the 10th license will remain in limbo.

* More budget stuff, compiled by Paul…

* Deeper CTA cuts in ‘08 officials warn

* Illinois gaming industry lobbies for Internet gaming

* Governor sees support for casinos, Madigan wary

* State plans for casinos runs into trouble

* State leaders talking, but no progress seen

* Senate deal may make winner out of Watson

* Leaders tout capital spending plan

* Leaders push capital budget

* CPR: Blago and legislative leaders meet to resolve disagreements

* Push for health-care expansion continues

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

Sandoval blasts Blagojevich on veto, but there’s more than meets the eye

Thursday, Sep 27, 2007

* As you already know, the governor vetoed all of CeaseFire’s appropriation for the current fiscal year. The group has been holding demonstrations across the state and did another one in Chicago yesterday

Supporters of the violence intervention group CeaseFire said Wednesday that shootings will increase if the Chicago-based organization does not receive the $6.2 million that Gov. Rod Blagojevich vetoed from the state budget last month. […]

The governor cut $463 million intended for an assortment of projects. Blagojevich spokesman Justin DeJong said that CeaseFire has done good work but that the organization should find different sources for money to pay for its operations.

* More background

Cease Fire uses former gang members as neighborhood liaisons to intervene in gang feuds. They say there have been six fatal shootings since Cease Fire lost its funding.

“There’s a general feeling among gangs that if Cease Fire is not out there, it gives us a free reign,” Cease Fire outreach worker Melvin Santiago explained.

* And from the same story comes perhaps the harshest rhetoric I’ve ever seen used against Gov. Rod Blagojevich…

State Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) had some strong words for the governor. “The caskets and the killings partly lay at the door of Governor Rod Blagojevich,” Sandoval said.


* Despite the rhetoric and the dire predictions, this is not a black and white issue. The group has more than its share of critics and was whacked but good in a recent auditor general report. Then there’s this

The Chicago Police Department has supported CeaseFire’s work for years, with former Police Supt. Philip Cline and other officials calling for an expansion of the program. On Wednesday, though, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said the department can’t back a claim that CeaseFire helps reduce crime. ‘While CeaseFire has made significant contributions to the community and has been recognized by their presence and anti-violence programs, it would be difficult to quantify operationally how those programs translate into reduced homicides, shootings and violent crime,’ she said.

* More background on the audit…

The audit found that of $6.5 million the legislature promised to communities over a two-year period, CeaseFire disbursed $5.4 million, using the rest on expenditures not specified in state documents, Holland said.

Usually, the legislature could demand that CeaseFire return that $1.1 million because the program didn’t spend it as intended, Holland said. But that law doesn’t apply because most of CeaseFire’s money was doled out through the “member initiative” process that lets lawmakers fund pet projects in their districts.

That last point is really why the funding was vetoed. The program was supported mostly by House Democrats and had some powerful opponents among Senate Democrats, so Blagojevich axed the cash. Simple as that.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

Weller district leaning Dem? And Pera gets important backing for primary bid

Thursday, Sep 27, 2007

* Pundit and prognosticator Bob Novak classifies retiring Republican Congressman Jerry Weller’s seat as “Leaning Democratic Takeover” in a recent newsletter update…

Illinois-11: Rep. Jerry Weller (R), another Republican under a cloud of scandal and suspicion of corruption, will retire from Congress at the end of this term. Weller is married to a Guatemalan lawmaker and says the long-distance relationship was becoming a strain.

This district stretches West from Chicago’s South Side, including Joliet and Ottawa, and reaches South to Bloomington. It was a near tie in the 2000 elections, but Bush carried it by seven points in 2004. It is wedged between the districts of retiring Representatives Dennis Hastert (R) and Ray LaHood (R), and politically it lies between them — slightly more Democratic than Hastert’s 14th District and slightly more Republican than LaHood’s 18th.

While the district leans slightly Republican, the shadow of Weller’s corruption could give Democrats an edge. Early Democratic candidates include Kankakee Community College President Jerry Weber (D). The Republican field is still nascent. Depending on the nominees, this could go either way, but unless Weller’s shadow departs quickly, this one looks like the Democrats’ strongest chance in Illinois. Leaning Democratic Takeover.

* The Joliet Herald has more potential candidates in a story today…

Joliet Mayor Art Schultz is talking to his family about whether he should run for Congress.

State Sen. Debbie Halvorson plans to spend this weekend in Washington, D.C., as she explores whether to make a bid for the U.S. House. […]

State Sen. Christine Radogno, a Republican who made an unsuccessful bid for state treasurer last fall, is considering a bid. She lives in Lemont, just outside the 11th district, and her Senate district covers part of Will County.

Other Republicans mulling a bid are New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann and Chris McNeil of Frankfort, who made an unsuccessful run last year for the Legislature.

Democrats who might run include candidates who lost to Weller in past elections, John Pavich, a Beecher lawyer who ran a year ago, and Tari Renner, an Illinois Wesleyan University professor who ran in 2004. Jerry Weber, the president of Kankakee Community College, might also run.

Another potential candidate is former state Sen. Patrick Welch, a Democrat who was defeated in his 2004 re-election bid, said several Will County Democrats. Welch, of Peru, had served in the Senate leadership team during 22 years in the chamber.

Welch is one of the newest names on that list. Also, state Rep. Brady says he’s undecided on whether to run for Rep. Weller’s seat.

* Meanwhile, I kinda doubt that Mark Pera can defeat conservative Congressman Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary, but his campaign is drawing national attention from some influential blogs and websites. Faithfully Liberal has an interview with Pera

This campaign is receiving more blogger support than any other primary campaign in the country as far as I can tell. As an example, on Sept. 23, Markos Moulitsas wrote a piece on DailyKos endorsing our campaign. Over the next 24 hours, we received more than $10,000 from more than 200 people. In early September, we had a similar experience. That kind of response tells us that our message is resonating and gives the campaign a big lift.

The blogs, sites like Act Blue, these are communication modes that were in their infancy in 2004, made a major impact in the mid-term elections in 2006 and are now an invaluable tool for campaigns. We’ve made a quality, up-to-date Web site and blogger communications a campaign priority. That sets us apart from other candidates.

A number of folks out there, such as the people at Prairie State Blue, Larry Handlin, Howie Klein, Eric Stoller, David Sirota and others, deserve credit for boosting this campaign’s profile. They’ve helped get our message out and clue people in on Congressman Lipinski’s background and voting record. Their hard work compliments the work we do everyday at our campaign office. We hope they keep it up in the months ahead.

* Exerpts from Kos’ endorsement

And today, the machine is spitting out primary challengers in the district to dilute the anti-Lipinski vote. One of the other primary challengers, Palos Hills mayor Gerald Bennett, has a history of lauding Lipinski, including in Lipinski’s press release announcing his reelection […]

Now, suddenly, when it looks like Lipinski could go down in a primary, this huge Lipinski ally somehow decides it’s time to get into the race? It couldn’t possibly be more transparent. Not that the Chicago machine ever played things deftly.

So here’s our chance to fight back against an undermocratic machine, against an unDemocratic Democrat.

* ActBlue, a website devoted to raising funds for Democratic candidates, reports over $40,000 in contributions to Pera so far. That pales in comparison to the $136,000 raised on behalf of Dan Seals, one of two Democratic candidates who want to challenge Congressman Mark Kirk, but it ain’t bad.


- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

Morning shorts

Thursday, Sep 27, 2007

* Poshard meets with plagiarism committee

* County tax hike likely, but how much?

“I’ve never seen a government leader ask for a tax increase to pay for a budget that doesn’t exist,” said Commissioner Forrest Claypool. “It’s unprecedented.”

Yet a majority of the County Board is indicating they can support some kind of tax hike for government operations, and first up will be a sales tax discussion at a board meeting Monday.

* Kane Co. agrees to provide more aid for Hispanic voters

* Crain’s: Sun-Times Media Group, which owns the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, said on Wednesday it named a new chief operating officer, replacing the prior COO who left the company to join the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

* Sun-Times journalists’ union OKs contract

* Sneed: Gush & blush

Homespun diva Martha Stewart gushed and made Mayor Daley blush Wednesday after the two met privately after a Stewart speaking engagement at Navy Pier.

• • Gush ‘em: “My goodness mayor, the city is more beautiful than ever,” Stewart told Daley.

• • Blush ‘em: Called the “Martha Stewart of mayors” because of his efforts to beautify the city, Daley responded with a laugh and “really blushed,” said a Sneed source. Then the duo had a 15-minute chat, but I don’t think it was about recipes.

* Daley ‘action teams’ to tackle drugs

- Posted by Paul Richardson   6 Comments      

* One more day
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Sign of the times?
* Question of the day
* Exelon Just Received A $1.7 Billion Rate Increase Through The Market-Based Capacity Auction
* Today's number: 60
* No imminent power shut-offs
* Chamber all-in on impasse
* COGFA: State receipts down almost a billion dollars in first quarter
* Two racetracks will likely close
* "How many babies have to die?"
* Report: "A billion-dollar giveaway rife with failure"
* Frerichs warns of impasse consequences
* Quinn touring the state
* Yesterday's blog posts

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    * Verizon moving center to Rolling Meadows, adding 200 jobs
    * Report shows steep increase in Indiana homeless students
    * Illinois to implement new ratings for schools, districts
    * Elgin schools CEO frustrated with lack of Legionella advice
    * Illinois Senate to get 2 new members to fill vacancies
    * Number of Chicago heroin overdoses hits 74 in 3 days
    * Car crashes into northern Illinois church, injuring 6
    * University of Illinois opens center for wounded veterans
    * Opponents upset Chief Illiniwek merchandise available online
    * Chicago man charged in 20-month-old's death acquitted

    * Illinois to implement new ratings for schools, districts
    * Budget impasse cuts services for domestic abuse victims
    * Weaver tapped to replace LaHood in Illinois Senate
    * Peoria city councilman tapped to replace Darin LaHood in Illinois Senate
    * Illinois budget impasse affecting emergency call systems
    * Legal marijuana stirs hope in southern Illinois town
    * Statehouse Insider: We have a problem. Is anyone there?
    * AP Exclusive: Legal marijuana stirs hope in southern Illinois town
    * Gov. Rauner: Illinois budget standoff 'could go on for a while'
    * State revenues down by nearly $1 billion in first quarter

    * Data hack at 7 Trump hotels confirmed
    * Trump hotels confirm data hack
    * Trib papers offer broadest employee buyout yet
    * Baxalta reaches milestone in besting AbbVie's blockbuster drug
    * Michael Bozic, who confronted Sisyphean task as Sears merchandise chief, dies at 74

    * Shepard High School lifts lockdown
    * Billionaire Ken Griffin and wife in settlement talks, court says
    * A quick guide for the wannabe Cubs fan
    * Mantuano, Contino, Joho among Chicago Chefs Hall of Fame inductees
    * Suspect in terrorist bomb plot for Chicago is found mentally fit for trial
    * Rubio names Lisle state senator to lead his GOP presidential bid in Illinois
    * Kristin Cavallari describes life in the Cutler home during Bears season
    * Famous Naperville Halloween house goes dark
    * Fewer shot this weekend in city than any since February
    * Legal marijuana stirs hope in Illinois town

    * Illinois to implement new ratings for schools, districts
    * Paul Findley: Boehner deserves souvenir from Pope's visit
    * Budget impasse cuts services for domestic abuse victims
    * Weaver tapped to replace LaHood in Illinois Senate
    * Illinois budget impasse affecting emergency call systems
    * Legal marijuana stirs hope in southern Illinois town
    * Bernard Schoenburg: An added loss for workers at Illinois State Museum
    * Angie Muhs: Comics, the 'Power of the Press' and more
    * Bernard Schoenburg: An added loss for workers at Illinois State Museum
    * Statehouse Insider: We have a problem. Is anyone there?

    * Hangin' with Bill Cubit
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    * LIVE! Cubit talking Iowa
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    * Video: Where Am I? Oct. 5, 2015
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    * PODCAST: Central Illinois Business 10-3-15

    * Advocate Condell to end pioneering adult day care program
    * Lisle police nab man accused of two cellphone thefts
    * Jaguars place starting guard Linder on injured reserve
    * Other than Santos, bad week for kickers
    * District 204 teachers reject second contract proposal

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    * President Obama official schedule and guidance June 5, 2013. Lew, Baltimore Ravens
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    * Jesse Jackson Jr. medical condition: Will be a factor in asking for reduced sentence Friday UPDATED
    * Sen. Mark Kirk pokes at Eric Holder: Did NSA spy on Congress?
    * Democratic National Committee Executive Committee meeting in Chicago June 8
    * Emily's List hits Chicago June 27: Sebelius, Lisa Madigan, Neely, Finney to speak
    * Feinstein, Chambliss defend phone data snooping to "keep the homeland safe." Durbin has concerns. UPDATED

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