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Morning Shorts

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008

* State plans program to reduce foreclosures

Homeowners facing possible foreclosure will be able to apply to refinance their mortgages at stable, affordable rates under a program to be announced Thursday by Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The Homeowners Assistance Initiative program, funded with $200 million from four mortgage lenders, is aimed at trying to ease the rising tide of home foreclosures.

* CQ Politics’ Fundraising Top 10s: Best-Funded House Incumbents

9) Melissa Bean , Democrat, Illinois’ 8th ($1.9 million). Though Bean is a centrist Democrat with an effective campaign style, she probably will be a target of the Republican Party as long as she represents this suburban Chicago district, which historically has voted more Republican than Democratic. This year, as she runs for a third term, is no exception: She is opposed by Republican Steve Greenberg, a businessman.

* McCain to raise cash for Oberweis in race to succeed Hastert

* Both parties think the 14th District is theirs to take

* Hidden in the sewers

During the year that Mayor Daley’s son had a hidden ownership stake in a sewer company, the business not only landed lucrative deals at City Hall, it also got work from another local government — the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

* United across party lines, lawmakers take FutureGen fight to Bush

* Officials worry about local economy in wake of Rend Lake closings

* Quinn urges veterans’ children to apply for scholarship

* More Illinois students taking, failing Advanced Placement tests

* Chicago must improve opportunities for African-Americans, study says…

Chicago’s African-American population has the city’s biggest untapped economic potential and will play a key role in determining whether the city is globally competitive in the next decade, a study released Wednesday states.

To realize this potential, Chicago’s government and business leaders must improve academic, business and job opportunities for African-Americans, who make up 37 percent of the city’s population, the Chicago Urban League report says.

* The Mayor in the Mirror - When it comes to skyrocketing property taxes, Mayor Daley is wagging his finger in the wrong direction.

* Daley: Property tax assessment reform sought
* Ameren defends request for rate hike in Illinois

* Illinois authorities to compile list of felons needed for DNA database; more here

* Pothole on Edens Expressway snarls morning traffic near Northbrook

* I-55 express bus planned

* City of Aurora and Planned Parenthood are sued over alleged zoning violations at clinic site

The plaintiffs, including residents and a group called Fox Valley Families Against Planned Parenthood, say the clinic misrepresented itself to the city and to the public, denying residents a chance to express opposition to the clinic.

* Cashing in on the Land of Lincoln

* Buckingham Fountain set for $25 million face-lift

- Posted by Kevin Fanning        


14 Comments
  1. - Leroy - Thursday, Feb 14, 08 @ 9:49 am:

    >Buckingham Fountain set for $25 million face-lift

    Which means it will wind up costing $35 million after ‘cost overruns’

    That seems excessive, even for Chicago.


  2. - Squideshi - Thursday, Feb 14, 08 @ 9:57 am:

    You know, simply calling a project “FutureGen” or referring to it as “clean coal” doesn’t actually make the technology any better; and it should be recognized that carbon sequestration doesn’t equal zero emissions–it just entails pumping those emissions into the ground.


  3. - taxmandan - Thursday, Feb 14, 08 @ 9:58 am:

    This has been the worst pothole season that I can ever remember. It has taken all my skill as a driver to try and avoid them. The toughest ones to avoid are on the expressways.


  4. - Adam Smith - Thursday, Feb 14, 08 @ 10:06 am:

    It is very curious that you tout Bean’s $$$ prowess but ignore that Mark Kirk came in 4th on that list and raised over $2.3 million last year. Kirk continues to hold his seat in spite of buckets of limousine liberal spent against him. He is smarter than Seals (by a long shot), he’ll out work him, and he has high positives in his district among independents. I agree that Bean is no slouch either, but give credit where it’s due.


  5. - Amy - Thursday, Feb 14, 08 @ 11:01 am:

    wasn’t Buckingham fountain rehabbed just some time ago? $25 million seems excessive. what if we don’t get the Olympics? and why is the park district purchasing expensive real estate to house their offices? isn’t there a less expensive alternative?


  6. - Pat collins - Thursday, Feb 14, 08 @ 11:21 am:

    Quinn urges veterans’ children to apply for scholarship

    It used to be only one per county, and it was not well known at all. I attended UI on this, as did my cousins. The tie breaker used to be ACT(or SAT) scores.

    I am glad to see it’s still there, and preference is to those whose father died, or was disabled.


  7. - Trafficmatt - Thursday, Feb 14, 08 @ 11:31 am:

    On the potholes post……..

    Is anyone going to make a connection between the roughly $1 billion that Blago took out of the highway budget for other purposes and the fact that our roadways are turning into gravel??


  8. - Garp - Thursday, Feb 14, 08 @ 11:34 am:

    I know this will sound cynical but, knowing how the City works, I believe it would behoove a media reporter to look into contractual ties to the Buckingham Fountain restoration and Park District head Tim Mitchell, Jeremiah Joyce et al. Projects like this are never on the up and up.


  9. - True Observer - Thursday, Feb 14, 08 @ 12:37 pm:

    “I know this will sound cynical but, knowing how the City works, I believe it would behoove a media reporter to look into contractual ties to the Buckingham Fountain restoration and Park District head Tim Mitchell, Jeremiah Joyce et al. Projects like this are never on the up and up.”

    What good would that do?

    The voters already know about this crew and are happy to have them stay in charge.


  10. - Jon Shibley Fan - Thursday, Feb 14, 08 @ 3:14 pm:

    “He is smarter than Seals (by a long shot)”

    Yeah. University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University…safety schools.


  11. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 14, 08 @ 3:26 pm:

    Adam Smith, I simply didn’t see it. People just love to read into things, but, I skimmed the piece and saw Bean and not Kirk.


  12. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Feb 14, 08 @ 3:54 pm:

    I hope the Gov is wise (no snickering, you in the back) in planning the foreclosure prevention program. I would prefer something like ACORN’s program where they help the homeowner work to save his property. The fact is some of the foreclosures are due to fraud and some due to cluelessness and I don’t believe the IL taxpayer should be responsible for helping out either of those classes of homeowner. I worry about the moral hazard of rewarding those who saw quick profits or quick savings (lowering their home bill figuring that teaser rate would never end or when it did they would refi yet again) while ignoring (or worse asking them to bail out) those who bought modest homes they could afford, didn’t take out money in refis and kept their reasonable rated fixed rate mortgages.


  13. - Jon Shibley Fan - Thursday, Feb 14, 08 @ 4:01 pm:

    And I know Kirk’s pedigree is impressive (Cornell, London School of Economics), but “long shot” is a bit much. I don’t think smarts is what divides Kirk and Seals.


  14. - Captain America - Thursday, Feb 14, 08 @ 4:35 pm:

    Don’t know who is smarter Kirk or Seals. I assume they are both bright guys.

    If Obama ends up being the Presdential nominee, Seals wins. If not, Kirk is reelected. Ditto on other closely contested Congressional districts in Illinois and across the country. That’s really what’s really at stake in terms of the identity of the Democratic Presidential nominee. Obama will have coattails and Clinton will not. Republicans are praying that Clinton is the nominee for good reason.


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