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Promise made, promise broken?

Monday, Sep 28, 2009

* As I’ve said many times before, this whole “the governor should live in Springfield” stuff is goofy.

Jim Thompson moved back to Chicago as soon as his daughter was old enough to attend school. George Ryan spent a lot of time in Springfield, but he also had a Chicago condo where he was often seen. Rod Blagojevich took a lot of heat for his decision, but like Thompson, he, too, had a school aged daughter. No way would I have wanted her in a Springfield school if I was Blagojevich. No way.

However, Pat Quinn promised to live in the executive mansion once he was sworn in to the top job. That doesn’t appear to be the case

CBS 2 requested records of the governor’s executive air travel. According to an analysis of them, Quinn slept at the mansion less than 40 times in the last seven months.

“I was there over the weekend. I’m there as much as I can be,” Quinn told State when she asked why he doesn’t spend more time at the Springfield residence. […]

He also disagreed that he said he would move to Springfield.

“I said I would live in the governor’s mansion. I do live in the governor’s mansion,” Quinn said.

I guess it’s how you define the word “live.”

The government has been run out of Chicago for many years now. Most of the state’s population is in the Chicago area. It’s also a big state, requiring lots of travel. Staying at the guv’s mansion every night is simply out of the question. Quinn made a valid point on 780

Quinn said being governor for all of the state means waking up some mornings far from either of his offices.

“As a matter of fact, last week I stayed at the Super 8 Motel in Mokena because it was right next to where I had to be the next morning,” he said.

But this is just silly logic by CBS2…

Though Quinn’s budget is less than some of his predecessors, some might argue the mansion is a costly perk. It costs $620,000 a year to maintain. That works out to $1,700 a night, if Quinn were to stay there 365 days a year.

At only 39 days out of a possible 209 days CBS 2 examined, that’s $9,000 a night.

So, if he spent zero nights at the mansion, then his per night spending would be $0.00. Hooray!!! Um… No… Wait.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


24 Comments
  1. - Bill O Rights - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 9:21 am:

    Quinn is the same o same o

    I really had higher hopes from him but so far he has been a big dissapointment.


  2. - Leroy - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 9:23 am:

    Wait a minute…we were whipped up into a frenzy by the blogosphere over Blago ‘abusing’ the state plane. Remember how expensive that was? How those resources could be used for other things? How he was pushing the state further in debt?

    Now it is OK to commute back and forth using state resources?

    And where was this stout “No Way” defense of Blago back during 2007 and 2008?

    Surely you can see how I’m all confused.


  3. - wndycty - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 9:25 am:

    Rich I couldn’t agree more. I expect the Governor to stay in Springfield when the General Assembly is in session, but the expectation that he or she live there full time is unnecessary. Rod took it to the opposite extreme, especially when he flew back and forth daily, but this is a manufactured controversy.


  4. - Cassandra - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 9:28 am:

    Are Springfield schools that bad?


  5. - Anonymous45 - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 9:34 am:

    I am really tired of this Springfield is the only place a Governor should live 24/7…in this day and age, you can do the State’s business anywhere, anytime…Quinn uses the mansion for
    his home base when in Springfield, hosts events there, and I’m certain the mansion is rented out for group gatherings…get over yourselves Sprinpatchers…I don’t think Quinn has broken his “promise” at all…


  6. - Ghost - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 9:35 am:

    Springfield has some excelletn schools; Isles which just started up an international program, Ball-Charter, The catholic and lutheran private schools etc.


  7. - You Go Boy - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 9:38 am:

    SJ-R reports judge has placed an injunction to prevent layoffs by Quinn. Arbitration or some other “agreement” must be reached by two parties.


  8. - Fan of CapFax - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 9:40 am:

    So Illinois makes a big deal of this, the rest of the country jumps in to say their Gov does just about the same thing…egg on face…again.

    Please, stop!


  9. - Greg B. - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 9:44 am:

    I think it’s more a symbolic issue of the gov. conducting state business. 3 nights per week in the Gov. mansion for what 5 to 6 months a year when the legislature is in session would be more to the point.

    Gov. Blagojevich was an absentee governor who was never around when legislators were.

    It’s pretty apparent that Quinn shows up for work — even if the results weren’t pretty.


  10. - ahoy - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 9:50 am:

    A Gov should at least be in the Mansion during session, especially when trying to push hard to pass bills.


  11. - VanillaMan - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 9:54 am:

    What we have here is a state burned by bad governors. One of the thing the last governor did was insult Springfield by turning it into “the” problem regarding dirty politics. Blagojevich never intended to live in the Mansion, but he didn’t say that. Instead he slandered the state capitol by claiming that as a reformer, he wasn’t going to live where the dirt was. Blagojevich fingerpointed at Springfield as the root of Illinois corruption in order to justify his “stay-at-home” governor’s job.

    Quinn is the follow-up guy. As governor he can fix this smear-job of Springfield by ensuring that Illinoisans know he lives in the Mansion and believes it is fit for living within. That is if he cares to undo the damage Blagojevich caused with is political lies. It is good for Quinn to live in Springfield at this time.

    That doesn’t mean that every governor ought to live in Springfield. That means that this governor, in order to remove the corrupt stink left behind by Rod Blagojevich, should be the Anti-Blagojevich regarding this issue.

    It will take at least one term of living in Springfield before the Mansion can be seen as the viable living accommodations that suited all of our governors since it opened during Lincoln’s days in Springfield.

    Quinn needs to do this, not for fiscal reasons alone, but because it is the right thing to do at this time.

    Springfield schools are about the same as they are in Chicago. So, if a governor with children decide to live in Springfield full-time, then their children would have to attend private schools.

    There are a few decent Springfield schools in the newer western developments, but the Mansion’s location would force the governor’s kids to attend one of the poorer schools in the district. Unfortunately, Springfield schools and their issues has become a real estate issue, forcing parents into Chatham, Rochester, Riverton and Williamsville school districts and out of Springfield.

    Springfield schools are about as good as Chicago’s. Not.


  12. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 9:57 am:

    Still, I like the idea of raising the profile and significance of Springfield in the state.

    It’s centrally located and should be the rallying point for a geographically large and culturally diverse state.

    I wish all Illinois schools would have an eighth-grade trip to Springfield like they used to (at least how I remember). And/or Chicago, too.

    My kids went to New York and Washington. That’s great, but every Illinoisian should get to know the state better, if for no other reason than to keep the charlatan politicians from playing regions and peoples off against each other.


  13. - shore - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 10:23 am:

    I dont think anyone cares where the governor lives as long as he does his job. It’s not an easy job to do and I’m sure there’s already a lot of burden on his time and sacrifice his kids have to make.
    His family shouldn’t have to be in limbo because he couldn’t make a reception with a ranking member of a subcommittee.

    Same thing with being a member of congress. And as for cost, I am sure camp david costs a ton as does all those fancy trips overseas the obama girls took of no benefit to taxpayers that members of congress have to pay for themselves if they want to take their kids on trips with them.


  14. - Third Generation Chicago Native - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 10:56 am:

    This is no surprise, I had my doubts that he spent much time if any there because I saw him so much on local Chicago news attending this or that or what not back here.


  15. - zatoichi - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 11:04 am:

    In past jobs I regularly flew all over the country for days at a time and would be back at the main office for several days. It got old but was also part of the job. I see no problem with Quinn having a home up north and staying in Springfield at the Mansion for any scheduled session. You are only talking a 3 hour drive every couple of days. Doable. Regarding the schools, I have family working as teachers in Springfield and their outcomes are looking pretty good. You could put SHG up against any school in Cook County with favorable results.


  16. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 11:11 am:

    zatoichi, my point wasn’t about the quality of Spfld schools. It was about putting one’s children in Spfld schools while trying to run the government. It’s a company town and they’re the boss’ kids. Not smart, especially considering RRB’s bizarre and in your face management style.


  17. - Will County Woman - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 11:30 am:

    It’s not just a question of whether or not really a question of whether or not the governor should live in the masion. It’s more so a question of did Quinn say that he would? And, the answer is yes. He did.

    He said it around the time that he said that he would fumigate state government and was ready to lead. The living in Springfield statement was also on the heels of Blago’s demise and ouster, and was very much a populist appealing thing to say. Based on that of course Quinn did not bother to “qualify” what he meant when he said that he would live in Springfield. The reasonable conclusion drawn was that he would live there full time. He said it at a time when his word was he word. So, no one, and maybe not even himself, would have known or thought that he meant something other than what he said. The issue here too is that Quinn, as illustrated over the last 9 months, has a tendency to say things firmly and with conviction only to not follow through on what he says or unceremoniously back out (flip-flop), and then tries to equivocate about it as a way of defending himself (e.g., “we’ll I never really said that I would live in Springfield”).

    Does live mean live? In this instance the reasonable conclusion was that he would live in Springfield full time, unlike blago, based on what he (Quinn actually said). The Daily KOS and Washington Times etc. had it as such at the time. Given his tendency to not do what he says, CBS2 is right to call him out on this now. I think it’s perfectly legitimate of CBS2 or any news organization to follow-up with anything elected official who says things, in his elected official capacity, and then doesn’t do it. It speaks to a certain pattern that we have seen from Quinn in particular. And, believe it or not there is a taxpayer related concern here. If the mansion is only going to be used for events, is there not someplace else cheaper that can be used –do we(taxpayers) necessarily need the expense of the Executive Mansion? There are nice hotels in Springfield where he can stay when there on state business, and these hotels, certainly much nice than a Super 8, can host events too. If there isn’t going to be full time usuage of the mansion, why keep/have it? Obama lives in the White House, as well he should, rather than some swankier part of D.C. I think the mayor of new york doesn’t occupy gracie mansion full time, and so new city taxpayers should be asking themsleves if its worth paying for, assuming that they are? So far as taxpayer money is concerned the question of ultility arises. And, I agree with CBS 2 on that point as well.


  18. - Will County Woman - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 11:35 am:

    instead of the word “cheaper” I should have used the word(s) “cost-effective” the latter sounds and looks better, and is more appropriate for the context of my point.


  19. - Anonymous45 - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 12:01 pm:

    WCW: Why would the Governor pay a hotel to host an event when the mansion is there for him to use?…oh, that’s right, you just love to jump on the let’s bash Pat bandwagon…you don’t talk too much about your idol Dan Hynes these days, huh? What happened there?

    An objective perspective just isn’t one of your strong suits…


  20. - zatoichi - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 2:31 pm:

    Rich, I agree with you it would be a problem, but not unlike similar situations all over the country. There have been families with kids in the Mansion before and there will be again. Obama is facing an extreme end of the same issue. It is just part of the job these families get tossed into because of a job situation. Just like taking a job out of state or getting transferred. Happens a lot and people adjust.


  21. - David Ormsby - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 3:39 pm:

    Sleeping in the governor’s mansion at night makes no governor a better governor during the day.


  22. Pingback In the News | IEANEA - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 3:59 pm:

    […] Promise made, promise broken? The Capitol Fax Blog (blog) -  According to an analysis of them, Quinn slept at the mansion less than 40 times in the last seven months. “I was there over the weekend. … […]


  23. - Chi Gal - Monday, Sep 28, 09 @ 5:45 pm:

    The problem is that Quinn made this such an issue. After being sworn in, hardly a day went by when he didn’t mention his intent to live in “the people’s house.” I mean it got to the point where he was just annoying. I think the average person didn’t give a darn where he lived, they just wanted a governor to do the job they were elected to…. but Quinn kept going on and on. So now that he made such an issue about this, it is interesting to see that he really did not keep his word. Do I or many of the other tax payers of this state care? No. But he is the one who made it an issue and who hasn’t lived up to his word. He made his bed… now he just isn’t lying in it!


  24. - Anon - Tuesday, Sep 29, 09 @ 9:04 am:

    I think it would cost infiniti, not zero


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