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Meeks: I’ll definitely run against him

Friday, Aug 8, 2008

* As I told subscribers today, this appearance by Rev. Sen. James Meeks on Fox Chicago Sunday may explain a whole lot about the special session for education funding next week and the governor’s announcement yesterday that he may call special sessions up to four days a week, every week starting after Labor Day until the General Assembly comes up with an education funding reform package and passes a capital bill.

“If he runs again, I’ll definitely run against him,” Meeks said of Gov. Blagojevich, adding that Blagojevich “has failed in the area of education.”

Click the pic to watch the segment…

The only “base” the governor has left is the African-American community (and that’s not solid any longer), and particularly African-American ministers. If he has any hopes at all of winning a multi-candidate primary in 2010, he has to make sure that no viable black candidate runs, particularly a black minister.

Thanks to commenters and readers for the tip about the Meeks interview. And thanks to Fox for posting the video on the Intertubes late yesterday.

* Meanwhile, Meeks’ rally in the Loop yesterday drew about 2,500 people. Meeks is organizing a boycott of the first day of school and led the crowd in a chant of “No way first day!” CLTV has more…

* On boycott day, several children will travel north in an attempt to enroll CPS students in New Trier. There’s another step after that

Then, from Sept. 3-5, Meeks plans to have kids descend on corporate offices. The idea is to force big business to back equal education funding, they way they’ve backed a Chicago Olympics.

“It became an idea, and the entire business community got behind it,” Meeks said of the city’s Olympic bid. “School funding is a problem and everyone’s ignored it.”

Downtown workers agree the tactic will draw attention.

“It would be very disruptive but they’d make a point. They’d make a point,” Hallie Page said.

Suzanne Hamilton said it was, “Real life, in your face awareness. It’s important to do things like that. It has an impact.”

There are supposedly seven steps in this thing. Stay tuned.

* You can listen to an excerpt of the governor’s comments about the autumn spcial sessions at Chicago Public Radio

“I am, in fact, thinking about the possibility of whether or not we discuss with the legislative leaders after Labor Day scheduling maybe 2, 3, 4 days a week throughout the fall for education funding and job creation.”

* More from the Daily Herald

Blagojevich said Thursday he’s considering ordering lawmakers back to the Capitol in September and keeping them there until they fix education funding - a move that most believe would require some kind of tax increase.

The catch is Blagojevich would then veto any such increase.

“If it increases income taxes, yeah,” said spokesman Lucio Guerrero. “Any kind of taxes.”

During an unrelated appearance Thursday, the governor mentioned the September special sessions. Afterward, Guerrero said they remain only an option.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Beerman - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 3:08 am:

    Will someone please pass a bill to take money away from New Trier and give it to CPS?

    I am getting sick of hearing about this insanity.

  2. - Anon - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 7:06 am:

    Let Meeks run. I cant wait until the press, and hopefully the feds, look into the funding behind the House of Hope. A whole lot of cash goes in and out of that place each week. When Meeks was simply a minister, some might have been willing to let it be. When he ran for state senator, some began talking about it. When he runs for gov, if the media doesnt go after it, they will be handed juicy stories by opponents who are pros at opposition research. I cant believe that Mr. Meeks’ financial house is in order.

    Also, that comment about racists is sure to come up again. Some may say that this will help him solidify his support in the African American community. But you should know that, among Chicago’s African American minister community, Mr. Meeks isnt very popular. He sucks too much wind out of the room. If he ran against the governor, I dont think you would see a mass exedous of black support from the governor. He has done right by the community and I doubt they would give up on the best governor they’ve ever had in favor of a grandstanding ego-maniac who possibly skimmed money donated to build his church for personal use.

  3. - South Side Mike - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 7:23 am:

    Sorry, I don’t trust Meeks anymore. He let himself be bought off by Blago a few years ago, when even then it was obvious you couldn’t trust the governor. It was too easy.

    I expect Meeks to back off again when Rod offers a double pinkie swear that fixing education funding will happen “soon.”

  4. - Meeks will not inherit - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 7:42 am:

    Meeks has been played for a sap too many times. While anything that could hurt Rod in a primary is a gift to the people of Illinois, Meeks is only a potential spoiler, not a winner. The impression everyone will get is that he’s just greenmailing Rod for his own cynical ends.

  5. - Anomos - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 7:51 am:

    I would imagine you’ll see a lot of Blagojevich people seeking shelter under Lexi’s tent next week at the mere mention of a Meeks’ candidacy. If Rod had any hope of winning–that is, if his potential legal problems go away–it would be dashed with Meeks in the Primary. O’ James, what will it take?

  6. - anon - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 8:05 am:

    can i try this again? Senator Meeks suggested when he threatened to run before that people who dont support him are racist. that will not go over well with voters in a statwide election. Second, many African American ministers are not fans of Senator Meeks. Senator Meeks has a very big ego and he tends to suck all the air out of the room. The remaining ministers have had a reat relationship with Blagojevich and I dont think they will run to Meeks’ corner simply because he is African American. There are many factions within the African American community, but all have done well under Blagojevich. The African American community will likely see through Senator Meeks’ latest stunt as a way for him to generate some publicity. Third, has funding for the House of Hope ever been really scrutinized?

    In short, I doubt that Senator Meeks will rin for governor.

  7. - Ghost - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 8:16 am:

    The Gov has broken tons of promises. However this time one of the people he broke a promise to is fighting back. The Gov breaks promises to the republicans over things like funding the Lincoln Developmental Center and the republican stratgey is to jump on board and back the Governor on even more promises in a capital plan. The republicans could take a page from Meeks. Instead of taking what Blago is ditching out and standing there, empty bowl in hand, beeging the Gov “May I have some more please”; Meeks has made the decision to fight back. I pretty reguarly disagree with Meeks and his approaches as more press ops for himself then his cause, but at least he is doing somthing about the issue of education reform. And he appears to have it set up to do it in a big enough way to be heard.

    Blag has the odd problem of just having worked with his ally to push education funding increase of 400 Miilion, but with no reform. This begs the question every media outlet reporting this story shoudl ask; if the Gov went to such great lenghts to drop 400 mill more for education into the budget, and is pushin for nmoney for education in the capital bill; why has the Gov not put forth one solid proposal for reform? So far the Gov has just asked for money in large sums, under the Govs control to release. The GOv then has taken this money for education and turned it over in 20k blocks to friends of Hendon, dontating contractors etc. Instead of demanding cash Gov, perhaps you should provide real ideas for reform. Right now all Blago wants is the money to hand out in exchange for votes and capaign contributions. he is not reforming education, he is lining his pockets at the expense of our children.

  8. - Bill - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 8:20 am:

    What I like about Meeks the most is that his spirit is good and he doesn’t lie, cheat, or steal. But if Alexi runs, Meeks won’t.

  9. - Honest Harry - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 8:23 am:

    Meeks showed himself to be “For Sale” to the highest bidder when it came to Blagojevich the last time. He is “All show & No go”.
    Meeks couldn’t get elected as Governor of Illinois anymore than George Ryan could seek re-election when he gets out of prison. Jim Meeks obviously never played poker with Barack’s poker playing buddies because he is all bluster and never learned how to effectively bluff.

  10. - Lurleen - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 8:26 am:

    “What I like about Meeks the most is that his spirit is good and he doesn’t lie, cheat, or steal”

    I beg to differ. Please recall his 2005 traffic stop incident.

  11. - Observ2 - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 8:27 am:

    Neither Alexi, Lisa or Hynes will run if there isn’t an African-American in the primary against Rod. Meeks will stay in long enough to make a lot of people squirm.

  12. - Fan of the Game - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 8:29 am:

    I still dislike the idea of disrupting the education of New Trier students, even for a day. Those students have nothing to do with state funding (nor does the New Trier school district which runs almost exclusively on revenue from property taxes).

    A lot of what Meeks is suggesting sounds like Saul Alinskey community organizing. Perhaps Sen. Obama can help. The other issue I have with Sen. Meeks is his focus on CPS. I realize that’s his district, but education funding is broken for all of Illinois, not just the CPS. So many districts in central and southern Illinois are struggling.

    And that’s just P-12 schools. Community colleges are really getting the shaft from the state.

  13. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 8:37 am:

    I still dislike the idea of disrupting the education of New Trier students, even for a day

    OTOH, this event could be turned into a great learning exercise for New Trier as well as its visitors. Let us mingle.

  14. - Anomos - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 8:44 am:

    “Meeks doesn’t lie, cheat or steal.”

    Ergo, if he says he’ll run, we should take him at his word, Lexi or no, Emil’s okay or not.

  15. - Fan of the Game - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 9:20 am:

    OTOH, this event could be turned into a great learning exercise for New Trier as well as its visitors. Let us mingle.

    Has Sen. Meeks discussed this with the New Trier administration and Board? Have NT teachers been asked to create learning activities that can foster greater understanding? At this point it simply sounds like Sen. Meeks wants to “storm” NT as a protest without much pre-planning or even attaining permissions from the folks at NT.

    It could be a great learning experience for all students, but I have seen nothing that shows the groundwork has been laid or that learning experiences have been planned.

  16. - Team Sleep - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 9:24 am:

    Good. I like Meeks. Illinois politics are no different than football: full-contact. Meeks has an ax to grind, and this would be a good avenue to sharpen that ax.

    How can anyone blame Meeks for cutting a deal? He was trying to achieve an end game and thought a compromise - which is what sensible adults do - was the best way to reach his goal. We shouldn’t heap shame on Rev. Meeks. Instead, we should heap the shame on Blago since he was the one who didn’t hold up his end of the bargain.

    It’s sad that the “special session” is an affront to Meeks. Rich is right: you can’t solve decades of education funding problems in one afternoon.

  17. - Captain America - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 9:42 am:

    I think Senator Meeks is very sincere in his crusade to reform education funding - so kudos to hum of his sisyphean endeavor against the political status quo.

    I think it is unlikely that Governor Pinnochio will run for relection, and that if he did run for reelection,he would be soundly defeated. However, Meeks” declartion of intent to run against Blago is the death knell of Blago’s post-2010 political career.

  18. - Pat Collins - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 9:44 am:

    But you have to give Sen. Meeks credit - he had been able to get a LOT of publicity for this. His “seven steps” implies a plan to increase the pressure over time.

    The campaign plan seems very well thought out.

  19. - Captain America - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 9:45 am:

    Strike that and make it “kudos to him for his sisyphean endeavor.”

  20. - Anomos - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 9:46 am:

    TS,you’re exactly right. Remember, if Meeks does run he can go to Sen. Clayborne to access the Metro-East primary vote. Hoffman is only a player in the African American community there because they “allow” him to be. Clayborne could make himself a player by stepping up for Meeks.

  21. - Wumpus - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 9:56 am:

    Team Sleep, I can’t fault Meeks for wanting a deal with the Gov. I fault him for accepting/believing it. Blago gets enough shame even though it is somehow Madigan’s fault…the evil, evil Republican Madigan!
    Blago will be indicted by then…or in the Senate. SO Meeks, Alexi, Lisa, Dan, etc will have a choice to make.

  22. - Maggie - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 9:56 am:

    Meeks is a clown. Enough said.

  23. - Levois - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 10:05 am:

    Hmmm, I wonder why Black ministers continue to remain in the governor’s corner. Could it be that no one else has been willing to approach them? I’m sure if there was a viable alternative or if they were convinced of one, they would go with it in a minute.

    Oh and I remember when the transit doomsday scenario played out, the governor was at the House of Hope. I wonder if this means that he’s no longer a welcomed guest there.

  24. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 10:08 am:


    Don’t underestimate the Rev. James Meeks. He may accept suggestions from Emil and other African American community leaders. But, he ain’t beholden and “keeps his own counsel.”

  25. - Observ2 - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 10:10 am:

    Sorry, Rich, that was me.

  26. - PhilCollins - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 10:33 am:

    In all of the other states in which I lived (CA, CO, KS, AR, and OH), each school district includes at least one high school, at least one junior high, and at least one elem. school. Illinois has many districts that only have one school each. Each district has a superintendent, with an average salary of $110,000, per year. Each superintendent has some assistants and secretaries. Each district needs to elect board members, and the government pays for the elections. Each district can charge property taxes from the homeowners in that district. They would probably be more efficient, if more districts consolidated.

  27. - Anon from BB - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 10:47 am:

    Tagging on what PhilCollins said, I can’t believe the number of overlapping elementary and high school districts…then we have county level superintendents of education and their related staff. Why?

    Illinois needs to consolidate first, then look at the funding problem.

  28. - Doggone - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 10:57 am:

    Rev. James Meeks is reportedly courting Senator Mike Jacobs to run as his Lt. Gov. Those in the know theorize a Meeks/Jacobs ticket could unite upstate and downstate in the race to replace Blagojevich.

  29. - Suzanne - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:01 am:

    Heading up north to try to enroll kids at New Trier is confrontational and, in my book, brilliant. Fan of the game wrote: “I still dislike the idea of disrupting the education of New Trier students, even for a day.” What about the disrupted education of our CPS students? Unless they’re one of the lucky few that get to go to one of the “good” schools, their education is gutted and disrupted every single day.

  30. - Amuzing Myself - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:02 am:

    Blagojevich would have to be a true idiot to call special sessions “…until education funding is fixed…” as long as he plans to veto any tax increase. We all question the sanity of the man, but he has generally shown an ability at self-preservation.

    With education funding, you have the ONLY (some would argue even this isn’t) reason to raise taxes that voters just might stomach. If Jones and Madigan actually decided to dump billions into education funding and school construction by raising taxes either “on the rich” or across the board in what would surely be called a “complete overhaul of Illinois schools,” then any opponent could legitimately stand up and say the governor KILLED education reform in Illinois, and he alienates the very base he’s trying to appease.

    I’m actually somewhat surprised he’s sticking to the tax thing, because the “swing voters” that care about taxes are probably not in that 13% that are supporting him right now … the supporters of taxes for education are - voters he would need in a primary.

    No way he lets Madigan put him in that situation with Lisa waiting in the wings.

  31. - Ted - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:03 am:

    The question is not whether Meeks is willing to take on Blago. Just about everybody is ready to take on Blago these days. Rather, how will he stand up to the other Dem heavyweights looking to run for Gov as well. My guess is that he is positioning himself for a run for one of the other constitutional offices and wants to parley his stated intentions of running for governor into a deal with Madigan or Daley for a guaranteed slot elsewhere on the ballot. Given that Obama won the US Sen primary when he was’nt taken seriously by the other whites in the race, history will induce the heavies to take Meeks seriously. With two or three legitimate white candidates running against Blago, none can afford to cede the large black vote to an African-American in the race. Moreover, Blago may not be in the race given the US Atty’s interest in his activities. Without an incumbent in the Primary, the black vote becomes more volitable as incumbents normally get the lion share of the black primary voter. One caveat, things may change even more dramatically if Sen Obama is still Senator Obama in late Jan. 2009. His desire to be in the executive branch might prompt him to cast a longing eye at the governor’s mansion.

  32. - Thanks for taking my call - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:03 am:

    Rich: I’m not sure what polling you have been viewing lately, but I would say the private reports I have viewed would strongly suggest that African Americans have left the governor. He no longer has a base. You are right that the majority of the 13% of favorables he hs left are minorities, but that can no longer be called a base.

  33. - Captain Flume - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:31 am:

    Could be that any bill that raised taxes to pay for education would find itself amendatorily vetoed, not vetoed outright. What would the “right” amendmentary veto do?

  34. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:33 am:

    You are right that the majority of the 13% of favorables he hs left are minorities, but that can no longer be called a base.

    What do we call it, then?

  35. - Truthful James - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:37 am:

    Consider this —

    New Trier opens its doors and enrolls CPS students. (Forget about where the money is coming from — perhaps the CPS kids could bring vouchers, perhaps NTHS could knock off programs to accommodate the new kids. And by the way CPS loses a lot of money when its ADA drops)

    The next problem is placement for these high school students. NTHS can rely on the PSAT scores for entering freshmen, but will have to give placement exams for the 10th through 12th grade students. There are class tracks for every subject at NTHS depending on student qualifications.

    This would be an excellent way to evaluate the CPS and the schools they are coming from.

    But I don’t think that is what Rev. Sen. Meeks wants to learn about.

    Suppose NTHS offers to give up the 5% that they get from the State, provided that the legislature and the County will let them raise more money locally under the tax caps. What would we call that. How far would that go to fund CPS. Probably $50 per student, if the CPS ADA were 100,000 pupils — more per student if the ADA were lower.

    Or does the Rev. Sen. Meeks just want NTHS to spend less per pupil in its own District and pass the rest of the money to CPS?

    No, I don’t think so. He just wants everybody in the state to dig deep and send more money to Springfield to feed the CPS kitty.

    But we have been doing that. CPS has gotten more money every year, raised locally and sent in by mail from the Feds and the State.

    Let us consider that more money has brought in better teachers. Has there been a parallel (16% more money increases test scores by 16%, etc) increase in test scores? No — even though standardized tests have been dumbed down and results normed up.

    The Rev. Sen. Meeks wants all of his people to look outward — at the schools — for a solution. Others suggest an inward look would be appropriate.

  36. - PhilCollins - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:40 am:

    Thanks for taking my call, when you said, “African Americans,” I hope that you were referring to people who were born in Africa. About 2/3 of Blacks, I know, dislike being called African-Americans. They know that, since the dictionary definition of “African” is “a resident of Africa,” an African-American must be anyone who was born in Africa, immigrated to the U.S., and became an American citizen. This definition includes some Whites, so whether someone is an African-American can’t be determined by his or her skin color.

  37. - Wumpus - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 11:44 am:

    New Trier should admit as many of the kids as it can hold, but give them a tuition bill due on their second day for the amount that they are lacking due to no property taxes collected since these kids don’t live in the district.

    Come this winter, I am going to demand that a city of Chciago snow plow come plow my streets…I also want them to pick up my trash, police my community, etc.

  38. - Bill - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 12:11 pm:

    ==About 2/3 of Blacks, I know, ==
    2/3 of 0=0

  39. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 8, 08 @ 12:13 pm:

    Yeah. Bill is right. That was a really weird post.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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