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Question of the day

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009

* Every now and then I have trouble coming up with a QOTD. Today is one of those days.

* The Question: What question of the day would you like to see asked here? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   109 Comments      

5th CD roundup

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009

* Democrat Victor Forys has gotten little to no media coverage in the 5th Congressional special election. That’s unfortunate. Forys has an interesting campaign strategy that’s spelled out pretty well in an article written by a Polish Daily News reporter

Out of approximately 650,000 residents in the district, more than 111,000 (17%) are of Polish descent.

“All we need is 30,000 Polish-Americans to come out and vote and we’ll win,” Forys claimed in a phone interview. The candidate is counting on a very low turnout by the area’s non-Polish residents.

He probably only needs a fraction of that number, considering the expected low turnout. Forys has been pushing early voting very hard, and from what I hear the early voting roster is jam-packed with Polish surnames. Forys claims he’s already leading going into election day, and he might not be all wrong.

Forys runs a huge medical clinic in the district which serves the immigrant community. He claims the clinic serves 10,000 patients in the district. He attended grad school in Poland and has apparently been quoted often in Chicago’s extensive Polish media. The guy is very plugged in.

* But with visibility comes scrutiny, and being scrutined is not always fun. Consider this Forys press release, which features an attack on Mike Quigley by Republican gadfly Tony Peraica

Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica called Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley a big phony when it comes to reform and in fact the worst kind of political insider.

Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley has sent out nearly 10 mail pieces showing Commissioner Quigley standing next to Commissioner Forest Claypool slamming Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.

The Minister of Propaganda for Germany in World War II, said “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

“Commissioner Mike Quigley is telling a big lie, and he is repeating it over and over and over,” said Dr. Victor Forys, M.D.

Nazi baiting? What the heck?

Peraica’s support probably helps Forys in a fractured and impossible to predict Democratic primary. Media scrutiny might just help his campaign, even if it’s negative. But that hit was way over the line.

* Meanwhile, another little-noticed Democratic candidate is continuing to pile up endorsements from groups that are better known for backing conservative Republicans. From a press release…

Illinois Citizens for Life Federal PAC announced [yesterday] that the organization is endorsing Cary Capparelli, candidate on the Democratic ballot to fill Rahm Emanuel’s seat representing Illinois’ 5th Congressional District. […]

The Illinois Citizens for Life Federal PAC endorsement is the third one in less than a week for Cary Capparelli. Cary has received an endorsement from Family-Pac Federal last weekend. National Taxpayers United Illinois endorsed him on Monday. […]

“Cary Capparelli is a traditional Democrat who represents the values of the majority of hard-working Democrats in the 5th District,” said Paul Caprio, director of Family Pac Federal.

* And another “second tier” candidate, Tom Geoghegan, is trying to get some publicity by attaching himself to the Roland Burris issue. From a press release…

A suit was filed in court today calling on Governor Patrick Quinn and the state of Illinois to call a special election for the Senate seat previously occupied by President Barack Obama, as required by the 17th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

* And now to the “top tier” campaigns. The Sun-Times smacked down Mike Quigley

The fight for the open 5th Congressional seat is getting ugly.

And Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley deserves a knock for moving it in that direction.

With Election Day looming Tuesday, mailboxes in the North Side and suburban district have been littered with flyers, including a cheap and misleading one by Quigley. The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board endorsed Quigley and we stand by that endorsement. But that means we’re holding him to a higher standard, including calling him out when he strays.

Several of his ads blame his opponents Sara Feigenholtz and John Fritchey, both state representatives, for giving Chicago the highest sales tax in the nation.

That’s not accurate.

* The Tribune continues to omit sentences from its print edition in its online stories, which is just plain bizarre. For instance

Of all the candidates in the congressional race, Feigenholtz perhaps has the strongest ties to Blagojevich. Her campaign committee gave more than $10,000 to Blagojevich, including $5,000 in June 2006, when it was clear to the state’s political class that the then-governor’s administration was under federal scrutiny.

This line was in the print edition, but not online…

She also has hired as a campaign aide Becky Carroll, a deputy chief of staff to Blagojevich until September 2007.

* The Trib also whacks Rep. John Fritchey today

Like his predecessor in the Illinois House, John Fritchey is trying to jump from Springfield to Washington running as a reformer.

And much like then-state Rep. Rod Blagojevich did in his bid for Congress, Fritchey enjoys the backing of a politically connected father-in-law, other clout-heavy Democratic North Side ward bosses and many labor unions.

The piece is drenched with overt hostility. Go read the whole thing.

* Related…

* 5th District Campaigns Adjust to Low Voter Turnout

* Last day for early voting in Rahm Emanuel replacement race: Through Wednesday, just 3,420 people in the Chicago portion of the district had cast a ballot. In the suburban Cook County part, a whopping 235 people have voted since the early voting started Feb. 16.

* Hopefuls spar over economy, Olympics

* IL-05: The (Victor) Forys Interview

- Posted by Rich Miller   57 Comments      

More Burris revelations, more threats *** UPDATED x1 ***

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009

* Drip, drip, drip

The son of embattled Sen. Roland Burris is a federal tax deadbeat who landed a $75,000-a-year state job under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich five months ago, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Blagojevich’s administration hired Roland W. Burris II as a senior counsel for the state’s housing authority Sept. 10 — about six weeks after the Internal Revenue Service slapped a $34,163 tax lien on Burris II and three weeks after a mortgage company filed a foreclosure suit on his South Side house. […]

Burris II’s hiring, however, raises more questions about Sen. Burris’ interactions with Blagojevich and his inner circle at a time when the governor was soliciting Sen. Burris for campaign contributions and Burris was angling to have Blagojevich appoint him to the Senate seat once held by President Obama.

Burris also talked to former Blagojevich chief of staff John Harris and Blagojevich insider John Filan about a job for his nephew before Blagojevich was arrested.

* More drip, drip, drip

In Springfield, the head of the legislative committee that took Burris’ testimony on how he got the Senate appointment from ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued a timeline aimed at refuting Republican accusations that she sat on a controversial affidavit revising Burris’ story.

But in her written response to Republicans, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago) acknowledged she received the affidavit from Burris’ attorney on Friday, Feb. 6, days earlier than was previously known.

“Without a closer look, I assumed the entire document was a routine response to committee questions,” she wrote. “Any suggestion that I engaged in a deliberate cover up, that I purposely delayed distribution of the information is totally false.”

*** UPDATE *** From House Democratic spokesman Steve Brown in comments…

Actually this part of the Trib’s reporting is dead wrong…her first statement and yeseterday’s letter contain the same info…As soon as Jim Webb returns my phone call the correction will be requested.

[ *** End of Update *** ]

* Delmarie Cobb, Burris’ media adviser who more than hinted to Carol Marin this week that she intends to play the race card, sent a pretty frank letter to Ald. Freddrenna Lyle which was then posted on a local blog

In true David Axelrod style, all week, white progressive Democratic elected officials have called for Roland’s resignation–David Orr, Dan Hynes, Dick Durbin, Pat Quinn, and Alexi Giannoullias.

You may not be able to ask this question, but where have all of these self-righteous people been during all of the corruption, scandal, pay-to-play and mismanagement revelations that have been uncovered by the Chicago Sun Times and Tribune on Mayor Daley. Not once have these elected officials or the Chicago media called for Daley’s resignation. As John Kass said in his column on Friday, black elected officials are perceived as weak and white elected officials are seen as powerful. Consequently, we can do to Roland–with no evidence of wrongdoing–what we can’t do to Daley and others with mounds of evidence.

Also, all of them will need black votes to be elected or re-elected, so this isn’t a good time to make enemies of the black community.

It seems pretty clear where this is headed.

A not so veiled threat…

Many black elected officials didn’t like Barack, but they stayed quiet and got on board and they need to do the same for Roland.

The ultimate goal…

We need to help rehabilitate Roland’s image and try to get him elected. Then, over the course of his six-year term, we need to find a successor, who is African American.

…Adding… As a commenter rightly notes, Ms. Cobb supported Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama last year. The irony abounds.

* Related…

* Burris expresses concern over turmoil he’s caused state Dem leader: “We spoke very briefly; he expressed concern over attacks on me and said that he’d done nothing wrong. We did not discuss the affidavit,” Currie said Wednesday.

* Burris trying to appear as if situation is normal

* Burris ignores calls to resign, goes about day

* Burris? He’s all theirs.

* Burris Presides Over the Senate

* Burris has campaign Web site, but not much on it: “Legislation,” “Endorsements,” “Accomplishments,” “Issues,” “News Articles” - these sections are all blank. The “Biography” section contains 500 words about Burris’ career, and he names his wife and children in the “Family” section.

- Posted by Rich Miller   56 Comments      

AG Madigan: Legislators can force special election

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009

* I’ll have more on Sen. Burris in a different post this morning, but this should kickstart the day in an interesting way…

In the latest installment of the saga of U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, Atty. Gen Lisa Madigan issued an opinion late Wednesday saying she thinks it would be legal for state lawmakers to move up the date of the Senate election to choose a successor to President Barack Obama, who vacated the seat.

The legal opinion by Madigan, which was sought by Republicans, means legislators in theory might be able to force Burris to run in a special election if he wants to retain the U.S. Senate seat he was appointed to by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich amid a cloud of scandal. Right now, Obama’s former Senate seat is set to be decided by Illinois voters in a February 2010 primary and a November 2010 general election.

If Burris lost, he would be out of office sooner than January 2011, when the term he is filling is set to end. That would also be the case if Burris chose not to run—Illinois’ new senator would take over shortly after a special election.

In a letter to members of the General Assembly, Madigan said such a move would be legal under the U.S. Constitution.

Read the opinion by clicking here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009

* ‘Fast Eddie’ Vrdolyak to be sentenced today

* GM posts $9.6B 4Q loss, burns through $6.2B cash

* New Report: Drop in Chicago Home Sales

The Illinois Association of Realtors says Chicago home sales are down about 25 percent. This January, about 900 homes were sold in Chicago… that’s compared to the nearly 1100 in January 2008. David Hanna is president of the Chicago Association of Realtors.

The report says the average home price last month for the Chicago area dropped below $250,000. The average in January of last year was more than $320,000.

* New reports due on jobless claims, home sales

* Public headaches for private schools

* Durbin urges regulator to fight CN appeal

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says Canadian National Railway should have to meet a key condition placed on it before its hotly debated acquisition of a nearly 200-mile railway line encircling Chicago.

CN this week asked a federal court to overturn a requirement from the Surface Transportation Board that CN pay around 70 percent of the costs of building overpasses or underpasses at two crossings.

Montreal-based CN says railroads have historically paid only up to 10 percent.

* Judge approves hospital settlement with uninsured

Tens of thousands of uninsured patients could qualify for up to $3.5 million in refunds on payments they made to eight Chicago and suburban hospitals under a class-action lawsuit settlement approved Wednesday.

* Despite probe, problems continue at psych facility

* Open government will lead to less political corruption

* Feds bag all kinds of bad guys

* Daley: Inspector General Can Stick Around

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he’ll reappoint the city’s inspector general if he wants to serve another term. David Hoffman’s investigations have led to some embarrassing reports about city departments and employees. But Mayor Daley says Hoffman’s “done a very good job.” Daley was asked Wednesday if Hoffman had “stepped on any toes.”

DALEY: No, he hasn’t stepped on any toes. No, he hasn’t. He just does his job. I don’t know why you’re [asking if he’s] stepping on toes. He does his job. Rightfully. And that’s what his authorization is. Inspector general.

* Show Us The Money: City Aldermen Want Answers

* Slam brakes on Chicago’s rent-a-tax

* Chicago schools moving ahead with closings

* Protesters Vow to Keep Fighting School Closings

Sixteen Chicago Public Schools will be closed or revamped at the end of this school year. The Chicago Board of Education unanimously approved the plan yesterday.

The district says 12 of the schools are under-enrolled and 4 are performing poorly. Those four will see their entire staff dismissed.

* Former Aviation Commissioner to Take Over CTA

* Cook County to name new hospitals CEO

- Posted by Mike Murray   2 Comments      

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