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Another “secret” plan?

Wednesday, Oct 31, 2007

* Could there be some movement on the transit bailout bill?

The transit union that represents 600 bus drivers, facing layoffs on Sunday, was planning a news conference to claim that layoff notices were not sent out in a timely manner and the CTA has enough cash on hand to keep operating at full tilt. Those allegations could have been followed by a lawsuit, a work stoppage or some other type of job action, but all of the threats are now on hold, because Illinois’ political leaders are reassuring the president of the transit union that a bailout will be approved in Springfield this week.

“He is very confident that there will be a resolution, a legislative resolution, to the transit funding crisis,” said Melvin Caldwell, transit union lobbyist.

* But, there’s a catch, as always

“The legislature will take action and will be responsible and not allow one of the largest mass transit systems become paralyzed,” Melvin Caldwell, ATU Local Union 241, said. […]

A spokesman for House Speaker Mike Madigan says he’s not aware of any breakthrough.

Another “super-secret” plan from the governor, perhaps? I’ll believe it when I see it.

* Meanwhile, this is a concern that most of us don’t think about when the topic of transit cuts is discussed…

Chicago Police are planning to pull desk-duty officers onto the street to help shore up patrols around schools that will be most affected by the upcoming CTA cuts.

Officials are bracing for more children being on the street for longer periods of time as they search out a new route or wait at a stop because of packed buses.

Another concern is that students will be crossing gang territories and walking in neighborhoods they don’t know. After-school programs that have youth staying well after dark are expected to be affected as well.

* The Sun-Times did a story about the gang turf problem earlier this month

About 400 Steinmetz High School kids use the bus on Narragansett — not even a block away — to quickly get to and from the Northwest Side school every day.

But under the proposed CTA “doomsday” cuts on Nov. 4, they would have to scatter to new bus routes for longer commutes — some crossing through gang turfs.

One police officer in the area estimated there are more than a half-dozen gangs around the school.

* And the horror stories are really coming out with the deadline approaching…

Holding a cane in one hand and a piece of notebook paper less than an inch from her face in the other, Mary Anne Sullivan begged Chicago Transit Authority President Ron Huberman and the agency’s board Tuesday night to spare the bus routes she uses as they make budget cuts for 2008.

To make it to work on time, “I have to be [at a CTA bus stop] at 6:30 in the morning,” said Sullivan, 41, a Park Ridge resident who is visually impaired. “If I have to depend on Pace, I have to walk a mile and a half.”

* More CTA and session stuff, compiled by Paul…

* Clout Street: Daley calls out lawmakers on mass transit

* Sun-Times Editorial: Get going on the CTA

* Tribune Editorial: Four days and counting for the CTA

* State, SIUC officials tout capital bill

* Tribune Editorial: In search of teeth on gift ban act

* Phil Kadner: Spinning the wheel for a casino

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 9:47 am:

    The union is probably right about there being enough money to keep going at full tilt.

    But it is Halloween after all. Young Ron and the Mayor will be providing the adult thrills for Chicagoans this week.

  2. - Anon Again - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 10:35 am:

    Maybe if we get the funding for transit we can get chicago some extra money for a gang unit at cpd

  3. - - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 10:41 am:

    So cutting transit funding will result in increase in gang violence?

    If Blago was demagoguing like that, you people would have an ABSOLUTE FIT.

  4. - Anon - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 10:41 am:

    I cant understand how Mr. Madigan is able to avoid so much blame in the mess that is Springfield today. Rich, do you think that he has the votes to pass the regional sales tax hike he plans to call on Friday? If not, than it isnt an honest attempt to resolve the transit crisis now is it.

    It has been made clear to him by the house and senate repubs that they will not vote for a tax increase to bail out Chicago mass transit unless there is a capital bill to fix roads, bridges and schools in their districts. Isnt the speaker just playing games here? Even worse, isnt he the sole obstructionist at this point?

    I dont understand why the Tribune is saying that the gov needs to go and letting madigan fly completely under the radar. He’s put his poisen pill into the gaming discussion and now he will call a bill that is sure to fail. How is that making a serious attempt to solve the problem.

    Isnt Madigan expected to demonstrate some leadership as well? Why arent more people in the media pointing to the petty games that he’s playing at taxpayers expense?

  5. - Jason - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 10:52 am:

    Is having a “secret” plan to bailout transit the same as being on “double-secret probation”?

  6. - Johnny USA - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 11:00 am:

    a “secret plan” is what you use to counter a “doomsday scenario”

    It’s all in the marketing, people.

  7. - Anon - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 11:04 am:

    I had a very interesting experince over the past week in getting signatures on petitions for GOP countywide and Ward Committeeman candidates, on the streets of Chicago.

    Unlike any year in my memory, which runs back six or seven on this issue, not once did a potential signatory refuse to sign on ground that the candidate was a Republican.

    I see it not as any endorsement of the GOP, but as a barometer of the discontent with the current situation at the city, county and state levels.

  8. - End Is Near - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 11:36 am:

    The “super-secret” plan from the governor is more like “Where’s Waldo”?

  9. - Juan Pizarro's Road Jersey - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 11:43 am:

    Anon 11:04–That’s very interesting. I go back much further and there were always a significant number of people who refused on those grounds; Chicago especially but also elsewhere in the state.

  10. - Princeville - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 12:03 pm:

    Anon @ 10:41–but if the Republicans withhold their vote and the doomsday bit crashes in, will not the citizens blame the ‘no’ voters? I would think that the bail out would pass especially if the Republicans do want in on the capitol plan. Does not the Republicans spotlight fade and become all but silenced after Jan 1st.

  11. - Legaleagle - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 12:12 pm:

    So what happens even if the House and the Senate do pass the Hamos transit bill this week with three-fifths majorities, and send it to the Governor? It’s still not law, and the Gov says he will veto it. Doesn’t the CTA have to impose the cuts, etc.? So doomsday is here no matter what!

  12. - Imagine that - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 12:21 pm:

    Doomsdays, State Government shutdowns and it’s October 31, 2007 the State of Illinois still has no budget. And all Governor Blagojevich does is hides or flys.
    I’ll tell where he spends the majority of time, with his attorneys trying to stay one step ahead of Patrick Fitzgerald, that’s where.
    And it’s all on our dime.

  13. - Princeville - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 12:24 pm:

    Call me Simpleton today, but I would think Blago would have to think his position over real hard before he strikes ‘veto’ over the Hamos Bill if they can get it through. How do you think Blago’s poll ratings will do if thousands of Chicago area citizens actually find themselves without transport or transport that seriously screws up their life?

  14. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 12:31 pm:

    Many state employees were observed in the Capitol feverishly polishing the roost. The word is out that the Chickens are coming home!

  15. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 12:37 pm:

    I would like to make it clear that I have met all the (so far) unlected Madigan kids and they seem pretty solid, smart and decent. So, if that thread continues, let’s remember to keep it light. :)

  16. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 12:38 pm:

    ===How do you think Blago’s poll ratings will do if thousands of Chicago area citizens actually find themselves without transport or transport that seriously screws up their life?—

    You mean his poll numbers could get worse?

  17. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 1:00 pm:

    It is nice to see who runs this city. Not the CPD, but the Folks, GD’s, Latin Kings, etc. So now, this is gang turf? I understand the concern, but it is like people have already surrendered to these criminals.

    Start snitching!

  18. - Captain America - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 1:11 pm:

    Madigan and the House of Represtatives have been the only responsible parties on the mass transit funding and reform bill. No one else has any real plan other than the Hamos plan. The Republicans only plan is to make fare increases part of the package. I don’t think anyone objects to modest fare increases as part of the solution.

    I think Madigan has signalled that he is willing to deal with the Republicans and the Senate by enacting expanded gambling legislation to fund a substantial capital program. Given the complications aassociated with the casino oversight and the particularities associated with the Chicago casino negotiations, there is unlikely to be any final agreement on the gambling bill this weekend. Unlike Blago and Jones, Madigan is recognized as a man of his word - Tom Cross can take his word that Madigan will support a capital bill/gambling expansion,particularly since Cross apparently supports the thrust of the expanded oversight provisions proposed by Madigan.

    The two most dishonest and irresponsible parties have been the Governor and Senate President Jones. If Madigan musters a veto proof majority in the House, and Senate President Emil Jones does not call and pass the bill with a veto proof majority, Senator Jones has effectively committed political suicide - he will not be re-elected Senate President next term. It’s his/our Democratic African-American base who will suffer the most if the Hamos bill is not enacted

    If Blago vetos the plan he will have effectively ended his political career because he will not be able to escape the political fall-out from doomsday.No one will forget his veto even though it will be overridden.

    If Tom Cross refuses to deal with Madigan and support a modified Hamos plan with fare increases as part of the package, he won’t have a prayer in a Statewide election against any Democrat because popele will his oppposition and obstructionism to the Hamos plan will be remembered.

    My best advice to Tom Cross and Senator Emil Jones would be “Let’s make a Deal” with the Hamos Plan as the foundation of that deal to avoid being casualties of the train wreck that may start on November 4/5.

    Although I believe that we are on the verge of an incipeient tax revolt becasue of Daley and expecailly Stroger, I think the public is willing to accept the 1/4% regional sales tax to fund the CTA, PACE and METRA as a means of avoiding draconian service cuts.

    Mark my words. Madiagna has successfully set up Blago and Jones to wear the jacket/take the fall for the failure of the Hamos Plan if Madigan succeeds in obtaining the veto proof supermajority in the House.

  19. - FED UP - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 2:20 pm:

    Is there any posibility that the state could save money by combining the CTA PACE and METRA. We could eliminate some managment overlap. Buisnesses merge all the time and often cite cost savings. The larger scale should be able to ensure cost savings on fuel, maintence and parts.

  20. - Anon - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 2:23 pm:

    I agree that the Speaker is getting an undeserved pass, probably because so many fear him.

    Does anyone else agree with what Carol Marin reports that she has heard again and again off the record in Springfield, that the crux of the problem between Madigan and Blago is a four letter word - “LISA,” as in “Lisa in 2010″?

  21. - Angry Chicagoan - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 2:24 pm:

    FED UP — it’s a wonderful idea. If we actually pulled it off we’d have the most administratively integrated transit system in the country. A shared ticket system. A shared administration. A common route system for the buses. Fancy that, Chicago as an innovator. Question is, would both the city and the suburbs show the necessary degree of trust at the same time for it to happen?

  22. - FED UP - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 2:38 pm:

    The cost savings is there if the state showed a willingness to make the changes. An efficant integrated system could save millions and increase ridership.

  23. - Princeville - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 2:51 pm:

    Frankly Anon @ 2:23, I don’t. I see the main problem between Madigan and Blago as being Blago, plain and simple. Blago does not play by ‘rules’. It’s all about Rod, Rod, Rod. Who can trust Blago? Who can count how many of ROd’s press releases have come to zip? Grand ideas to boost his own agenda and darn what gets in his way even if the agenda is bad and/or not do-able. I’d love to see a poll of Speaker Madigan’s ratings as House Speaker across the state. Lisa is just an easy target to blame Madigan for anything and everything. I’ve heard nothing out of Blago since like April but bad bad Madigan.

    And yes, I think Lisa Madigan would do well if she tries for 2010, but because she is a strong canidate all on her own. And if she is anything like her father, her word would be solid and trustworthy.

  24. - Ghost - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 3:33 pm:

    Rich you need to have the audio soundtrack for secret agent man playing in the background for this post.

  25. - B-no name nickname needed - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 3:46 pm:

    who is this Melvin Caldwell guy anyway?

  26. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 3:53 pm:

    It’s pretty clear in the story above who he is.

  27. - JakeCP - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 4:34 pm:

    As Doomsday starts to come closer and closer I realized that people aren’t as concerned as the media portrays them to be. I think on Nov. 4, if a plan isn’t passed then people will still ride like always and just bear with the pain. Mike MAdigan is another joke but not as bad as Blagojevich. Why couldn’t they just agree on an expansion of gambling.

  28. - Peter Zelchenko - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 5:03 pm:

    It’s becoming clear that Daley, Madigan, Blagojevich, and the Republicans are all using this crisis for their own political leverage. Two or three times now, when the Rider-Driver Alliance has raised the volume of criticism (instead of simply chanting the “please save us” responsorial) and pointed the finger directly at Daley, Madigan, and others, someone has pulled us off to the side and whispered, “It’s okay, they’re going to pass the bill. They decided a while ago to do it.” If that’s the case, then why all of the smoke and mirrors?

  29. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 31, 07 @ 5:31 pm:

    They lied.

    That being said, I think the bill (or some version of it) will pass. The question is when. And I think the choices are Friday, Monday, late next week or January. Pick ‘em.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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