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This just in… Guv files new lawsuit *** House approves recall measure *** Daley threatens tax hike ***

Wednesday, Apr 2, 2008

* 3:02 pm - I told subscribers about this development this morning. I still can’t understand how the Chicago media missed the lawsuit’s filing, which was last Friday…

Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s ongoing power struggle with state lawmakers has heated up again with a lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed last week by the governor’s Department of Healthcare and Family Services against Secretary of State Jesse White is aimed at authorizing his health care expansion without legislative approval.

The lawsuit aims to force White to publish rules allowing expansion of the state’s FamilyCare program for Illinois residents who can’t afford private insurance.

The governor has been trying for months without success to persuade lawmakers to pay for the expansion of the program. Twice, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules has turned the governor down.

Download the entire lawsuit by clicking here.

* 3:05 pm - The House showed its eagerness to pass an amendment to the state Constitution today on recalling elected officials, but it’s highly doubtful this will ever see the light of day in the Senate….

In an important test vote, the House advanced legislation Wednesday that would allow voters to dump the governor and other statewide office-holders through recall petitions.

Those who want to give the public a chance to recall the governor would have to get signatures from at least 12 percent of the registered voters who cast votes for that office in the prior election. If they got enough signatures, a special election would be held asking voters if the office-holder should be removed and who the successor should be.

State lawmakers also could be removed, but a successful recall would require signatures from at least 20 percent of voters.

Judges were originally included in the proposed constitutional amendment, but they were removed under the amendment that passed Wednesday by a vote of 80-25, with two lawmakers voting present. Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), chief sponsor of the legislation, said he took the judges out to reduce chances that a state judge would someday strike down the amendment as unconstitutional if it becomes law.

* 3:09 pm - Mayor Daley threatened a property tax increase today unless the state comes up with another $100 million for Chicago schools. Gov. Blagojevich has proposed an $80 million hike for the city’s schools…

“We don’t want to raise property taxes, we want to avoid that. I want to make it clear, the Board of Education is forced to raise property taxes this year it will be because Springfield forced them to do that,” Daley said at a news conference.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


26 Comments
  1. - A Citizen - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 3:13 pm:

    We will just have to wait til his term runs out and hope the idiots don’t give him a third one. Fitz is simply moving too slowly, recall won’t be available in time, and the legislature is too chicken to try impeachment. I just try to ignore him and bide my time to the next governor. It is very depressing hoping for things to change for the better anytime soon.


  2. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 3:19 pm:

    Why shouldn’t the people (citizens) have the right to recall any elected official (including judges) once a year if basic requirements are met? Hopefully, it would require more than a majority to passs, such as 2/3 or 3/4 to prevent abuses.

    Citizens should also have the right to initiate and enact laws by referendum. Again, this power should be limited by requiring 2/3 or 3/4 public support to prevent abuses and encourage compromise.

    Referendums should also reequire two years of non-binding votes to allow for full public discussion and give elected officials time and feedback to attempt to find and enact a good compromise that will satisfy the public concern.


  3. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 3:33 pm:

    All three items have something in common - a weak governor. Let’s forget who right now and discuss this.

    When a governor flops, he loses power. So, we see that the GA has decided to seperate itself from him by passing a bill favoring gubernatorial recall. This is an election year, and no one wants to be anywhere near this governor.

    When a governor flops, leadership needs do not disappear. Instead other officals step in to handle each crisis. Daley is a mayor and he feels that he can treat an Illinois governor like this. It is sad when a mayor trumps a governor on an issue that should be handled by the State.

    Finally, when a governor flops - he grasps at straws called lawsuits. Without political power, a failed governor attempts to use the judicial branch of government to offset their weak standing with the legislative branch.

    This governor was just re-elected last year. We have a very long term ahead of us with him. Lets not pretend that we will be delivered by Mr. Fitzgerald. Instead, lets do what we can to isolate this governor from doing more harm to our state by ignoring him. After last year, we know how to work around him. And this year we will need to do that again.

    Politics isn’t baseball, is it? If it was, this thread would obviously show three-strikes for an out at bat.


  4. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 3:36 pm:

    Blago obviously talks to Gov. Thompson from time to time. Do you think Big Jim has ever given him any unsolicited advice on how to win friends and influence legislators? Would he listen. Blago seems so isolated from reality.


  5. - PhilCollins - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 3:37 pm:

    I agree that all elected officials should be subject to recall elections. They would probably fulfill their campaign promises, if they knew that voters could recall them, if they break their promises. Within the past 18 months, Gov. Blago, Board President Stoger, and Mayor Daley proposed tax rate increases. They probably think that, the next time they can run for reelection, the voters will forgot what they did in 2007 & ‘08. If we had recall elections, voters could vote out officials almost almost as soon as the officials did something the majority of voters disliked.


  6. - Just an Observer - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 3:37 pm:

    What I do not see in the lawsuit any indication that the case was filed by the Attorney General or with her permission.
    I thought the Constitution gives the AG the sole power to represent the State and its agencies? Maybe she would give each side permission, but usually the law firm indicates a Special Assistant Attorney General designation.
    Maybe the lawsuit is void for lack of authority to file it?
    Of course the common sense issue is will this Governor ever recognize that checks and balances of power require working toward goals instead of temper tantrums that it is his way or else….. or else it is his way?


  7. - Levois - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 4:05 pm:

    Does CPS actually have taxing power?


  8. - Princeville - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 4:08 pm:

    I really boil when it comes to Blago and his healthcare expansion. First, I’m not totally against some type of program to help those who can not obtain healthcare to do so, but that’s not my issue here. And now I read he’s trying harder than ever to get around the legislatures. Have anyone looked at what the programs consist of in ‘citizen’ cost he is pushing and trying to force through are? People who make $50,000 a year can get $0 generic drugs and $3 brandname, $0 for emergency room and like $3 a day for in hospital. I think that if Blago does get his expanded programs through that a serious look needs to be focused on citizen cost. As it is now, he is offering the expanded citizens better costing insurance than the state offers their employee. And no, I’m not whining over my own cost, I pay my fair share as I rightly should, and I pay it each month in premiums and for services at time of ‘visit’ as I walk through the door prior to services, but as I am also a taxpayer and medical cost keep raising, what’s with a program that offers $0 this or that for people should have some means of paying a fair price. Yes, I know there is a premium cost to the citizens but it is almost identical to alot of the state employee contracted premium cost. for their healthcare. Yes, I’m on a rant, but the guidelines for the programs are online through the state pages for anyone to check out.


  9. - Wild Bill - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 4:08 pm:

    All Blaggo talks to WrigleyJim about is Fitz matters


  10. - So. Il citizen - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 4:25 pm:

    What would stop an Illinois employer from dumping healthcare so that his employees can take advantage of the “better” state provided plan? Would self employed millionairs also get insurance?
    Everyone understand the need for affordable healthcare for the masses. I just want to make sure that the masses are really in need and not out for another Blago free ride.


  11. - So. Il citizen - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 4:33 pm:

    Levois,

    I can’t speak for the Chi town schools but, the Belleville schools certainly have the power to raise taxes. On our $175,000 home, we pay $4,000 in taxes to public schools. (one K-8 grade school, two high schools and, a community college)


  12. - The Doc - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 4:37 pm:

    Mayor Daley enacting political cover for his next tax grab. Despite Blago’s failings, and there are many, Daley is equally, if not more so, onerous. At least Blago’s reckless behavior can be kept in check by the GA. Daley has free reign over the city’s purse strings, as the city council is nothing more than a collection of 50 rubber stamps. Don’t hold Chicago residents hostage for the state’s perceived failure. Instead of making disingenuous threats and scalping taxpayers, Hizzoner should be looking at his TIF slush fund in the event that CPS needs additional revenue.


  13. - Mr. Wizard - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 4:39 pm:

    Phil Collins- “If we had recall elections, voters could vote out officials almost almost as soon as the officials did something the majority of voters disliked.”

    I can’t tell if your tongue is in your cheek, but that may not be such a good thing - google on “tyranny of the majority” and see why the founding fathers created the system we have rather than a direct democracy.

    Btw, you don’t sound like the Phil Collins I know… :)


  14. - Independent - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 4:45 pm:

    Levois - Yes, CPS does have taxing power and I believe they have raised their levy by the maximum allowable amount the past several years. I’m pretty certain the Chicago Park District has taxing authority, too.


  15. - ONE_MCMAD - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 5:40 pm:

    - Just an Observer - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 3:37 pm:

    What I do not see in the lawsuit any indication that the case was filed by the Attorney General or with her permission.
    I thought the Constitution gives the AG the sole power to represent the State and its agencies? Maybe she would give each side permission, but usually the law firm indicates a Special Assistant Attorney General designation.
    Maybe the lawsuit is void for lack of authority to file it?
    Of course the common sense issue is will this Governor ever recognize that checks and balances of power require working toward goals instead of temper tantrums that it is his way or else….. or else it is his way?”

    Excellent point. Why are we paying for not only one, but two outside law firms to represent the state in this lawsuit? If Lisa Madigan does not intervene in this lawsuit, then another citizens should to put the legal representation of the state in retrospect.


  16. - plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 6:28 pm:

    I don’t find it unusual that the big media fail in its duty to provide information to their readers/viewers. The editorial boards are out of touch with their audiences. So thanks Rich for bringing this forward.

    It seems like a full employment WPA style for law firms in this state.

    Have these firms ponied up the required donations to the combine?

    I guess any hope for adult behavior and leadership this session is out the window right out of the box.


  17. - just say no - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 6:36 pm:

    Who can blame Mayor Daley for the threats? It worked for the CTA and it will probably work for the schools also. My only guess is what will be the next threat? No need to worry about foreign terrorist, we have our own ‘home-grown’ version.


  18. - some former legislative intern - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 6:39 pm:

    “Rep. Jack Franks (D-Woodstock), chief sponsor of the legislation, said he took the judges out to reduce chances that a state judge would someday strike down the amendment as unconstitutional if it becomes law.”

    Wait a second. It is a constitutional amendment. Therefore, it is not just making the recall provision ILCS law, subject to judicial review, but actually changing the state constitution to allow recall. I thought changing the constitution was the way to to above the judicial branch. Therefore, why couldn’t you inclulde the judges?

    I am curious now. If a constitutional amendment is successfully passed, can a judge later come down and say it is unconstitutional? Maybe some of the fine lawyers that read this blog could comment and help me out. Thanks.


  19. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 6:45 pm:

    When the gov first got in, he used the JCAR Rule to whack 35 employees. Didn’t he? He seems to only want to follow the rules he wishes. At this stage, ANY elected official in the state of Illinois should be able to be recalled. It should be the same percentage for all.

    I am willing to sign when the time comes!!! In fact I can probably get 3000 votes easy go dump this guy.


  20. - Undercover - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 6:50 pm:

    Daley has a lot of nerve threatening to raise property taxes after siphoning off 500 million dollars in TIF funds last year.


  21. - Gregor - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 10:33 pm:

    I will admit that under the current situation, recall looks mighty tasty. But we have to look beyond the moment and try to anticipate unforeseen consequences.

    In this case, that would be: a shadowy cabal of power brokers and funders can bankroll a recall petition drive any time the governor doesn’t play ball with them. It need not succeed, just the bother of fighting it will hog-tie him or her very neatly. Just the credible threat of being able to do it will carry weight. And nobody elected the cabal members. They don’t answer to voters.

    Blago is on the record as supporting recall provisions: why not, since he was able to raise all those millions in ads, he could use that against, say, Mike Madigan to kick him out of his district, in a way he never could otherwise. Again, the recall process could be subverted I think too easily. Excellent intentiona, possible bad repercussions.

    So I tend to favor term limits more than recall. If there is enough churn, the baddest crooks can’t dig in deep enough to hurt too badly. The downside of THAT is, progress will be slower as each initiative gets reversed over and over.


  22. - Gregor - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 10:37 pm:

    Just a question. If Emil’s health takes a turn for the worse, who takes over to run the senate, and how tight would they stick with Blago and the Blago-Jones agenda? We might be one Russian Flu away from a break-up of the ice jam, so to speak.


  23. - Pot Stirrer - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 10:39 pm:

    Hey Mayor Daley. You should raise your taxes if the Chicago schools need the money. Why should the rest of us in Illinois keep sending you our hard earned dollars. The same is true down here in Springpatch. Why is it every body in this state seems to think that we ought to wring the cash out of somebody else rather than take responsibility and control of our own problems?

    End of rant.


  24. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Apr 2, 08 @ 11:04 pm:

    People of this state must feel like turnips with an IV attached


  25. - The Mad Hatter - Thursday, Apr 3, 08 @ 12:54 pm:

    Three observations:
    1. Chicago Public Schools’ high school graduation rate is a dismal 52 percent, despite all the billions thrown at them over the past few years. They don’t need more money. They need more accountability and results.
    2. Term limits are the ideal way to rid us of ineffective or crooked politicos. However, none of the current office holders will vote for term limits, since it eventually means the end of their political career. Short of mass indictments, right now it looks like recall is our only option.
    3. Gregor’s “shadowy cabal” already exists. It’s called the Democratic machine and is responsible for giving us all these pinhead politicians in the first place.


  26. - Anonymous - Friday, Apr 4, 08 @ 12:43 pm:

    While we’ve already got regular recall opportunities built into the standard election system, a special recall by referendum should require a special vote by about 2/3 to pass…in order to minimize political games and abuses of power by special interests.

    The people should have the right to initiate a special recall referendum for any elected official, but no more than once a year.

    Unfortunately, our IL Constitution seems to prohibit amendments by the people, except to the Legislature.

    Considering power in this state of over 12 million citizens is largely controlled by just four individuals, doesn’t it seem inevitable our government would have routine fits of dysfunction as the growing cash pile attracts more squabbles?

    A hundred years ago, there were far fewer people, far less tax money, and poor communication systems, so the power of a centralized government power structure was limited by circumstance.

    Now we have far more people, far more taxes, and far better technology to communicate. Unfortunately, these changes have been used to centralize power and control, greatly increasing the potential and temptation for abuses, as well as greatly increasing the odds of dysfunctional government.

    Given our abysmal voter turnout compared to every other democracy (ie citizen apathy due to disempowerment and dependency), why not return significant power and control to the people via a referendum system with appropriate checks and balances between citizens and the three branches of government? Given our growth and new technologies, isn’t it time for a fourth branch of government…the citizens?

    For example, require two years of non-binding referendums to ensure the public has a full debate of specific issues, as well as give elected officials direct public feedback on major concerns. Those two years give elected officials time to find a good compromise or consensus that satisfys the public.

    If elected officials fail, the third referendum would be binding, but only if at least 2/3, perhaps more, of voters approve. The higher vote standard is a check and balance to prevent tyranny of the majority and encourage public debates to strive for consensus by seeking more inclusive compromises.

    Four people ruling over 12 million people (and over $50B of the people’s money each year) is not a democracy with appropriate checks and balances of power, especially when over 12 million have no direct voice at the decision table on specific issues of wide concern.


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