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Morning Shorts

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009

* Oops: County computer error further delays Cook tax bills

Cook County officials have averted a disastrous property tax error affecting 80,000 long-term homeowners, but the discovery could further delay the mailing of second installment property tax bills.

* Daley appoints CHA chief Peterson to CTA board

* Mayor Daley taps ex-campaign manager to lead CTA board

Terry Peterson is a hospital lobbyist who served as Daley’s 2007 campaign manager, was an alderman and ran housing authority

* Gift cards for city workers?

Twenty employees of Chicago’s scandal-scarred Buildings Department were summoned to the commissioner’s office Tuesday to explain why their names appeared on a list of city employees who allegedly accepted $100 and $200 gift cards from a permit expediter-turned-government witness.

The gift cards were allegedly distributed in 2005 by Catherine Romasanta, a former expediter caught up in the federal investigation known as Operation Crooked Code who testified in the trial that culminated in last week’s conviction of former supervising building inspector Michael Reese.

* Weis: Help us get others

The “four most egregious offenders” have now been charged in the videotaped fatal beating of Fenger High School honor student Derrion Albert, Chicago’s top cop said Tuesday.

But even as 17-year-old Eugene Bailey was ordered held without bail Tuesday, police Supt. Jody Weis pleaded for the public’s help in identifying three more people seen in an amateur video that has shocked viewers around the globe.

* Fenger beating death: Violence, tension had been building over years

Students, cops say rivalry between local students, Altgeld Gardens students led to deadly brawl

* Guilty verdict in Brown’s Chicken case

* Jurors to Decide on Death Penalty in Brown’s Chicken Case

* Oak Lawn board OKs sexual harassment settlement

Firefighter to be paid $850,000, though officials unsure where money would come from

* Chicago Olympics: How the Copenhagen vote will work Friday

* IOC to 2016 bidders: Play nice

* Poll shows Chicagoans, Americans support 2016 Games in U.S.: Ryan

* Poll shows steady support for Olympics: Chicago 2016

* Community Organizer Says Olympics Will Bring Long-Awaited Improvements

* Protestors Against Chicago Olympics Gather at City Hall

About 200 people gathered downtown last night to protest a possible 2016 Olympics in Chicago.

* Some Chicago residents hoping Olympics bid a bust

* South Side Resident Fears Chicago Olympics Will Uproot Community

* City failed to sell key Olympic idea: Fun

* Landing Games would be 7-year feast of news

* Joliet hoping to boost profile if Chicago wins Olympics

Joliet is ready to sell itself to national teams that will train in the area if Chicago is picked to host the 2016 Olympics

* Blue Island reaches deals with unions to avoid most layoffs

Unions representing the city’s police officers, firefighters and public works employees have negotiated amendments to their contracts, which are designed to reduce by $600,000 the city’s $1.5 million budget shortfall.

* Elk Grove Village restaurants offer 10 percent off meals

* Support drying up for early learning center

DuPage neighbors fear impact on aquifer and traffic from proposed $8 million facility for at-risk children; zoning board votes no

* New Lenox approves round -the-clock construction on Wal-Mart

* Illinois utility begins light bulb recycling

- Posted by Mike Murray   9 Comments      


A little problem

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009

* The template I chose for our new website is currently unable to handle the sort of high-volume traffic that we experience here on a regular basis. We’re working on a fix, but we’re also taking the new site offline for a while because it was killing this site as well (they’re both on the same servers).

Be patient. We’ll get it worked out somehow. I’d hate to have to start all over again, though. Sheesh, that was a lot of work.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


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Tell the truth, governor

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009

* Gov. Pat Quinn is hosting a rally of university types this afternoon at UIC. The rally is designed to boost Quinn’s efforts to pass legislation to fund the rest of the year’s MAP scholarship grant program. The money runs dry at the end of this semester.

But as I told subscribers in detail yesterday, Quinn has blamed everybody else except himself for this mess. Dan Hynes’ campaign issued a press release earlier today suggesting six questions that should be asked of Quinn at the rally.

Question 2…

In July you said you had “no reservations about signing the budget bill” and that it “stabilizes our budget,” even though it slashed funding for the MAP program by 50 percent. This weekend you blamed the General Assembly for the crisis, calling it “unacceptable” that it “decided to only fund the first semester of college scholarships.” How do you justify laying the blame so squarely on others even though as the Governor you have had the authority all along either to push to fund the program fully, or to restore funding?

Quinn made that “no reservations about signing the budget” comment during a July press conference that we videotaped at the time. Quinn, you may recall, surrounded himself with his budget staff during the media event.

I’ve isolated Quinn’s “no reservations” comment for you today. Also in this clip, Quinn talks about how he would have to “manage” the budget “very well” to make sure everything went smoothly. I guess that didn’t happen? Watch it


Question 3…

Even after it became apparent that hundreds of thousands of students who rely on MAP grants were being put in a terrible bind, why haven’t you used any of your remaining allocation authority to restore funding?

As I told subscribers yesterday, the governor used his wide discretionary authority (given to him by the General Assembly) to squirrel away $180 million in a reserve account. But throughout this MAP debate, Quinn hasn’t said Word One about using that cash stash to help keep the scholarship program alive. The program is short about $225 million. Instead, he wants to raise income taxes to shore up the program or hike the cigarette tax by a buck a pack.

* In other political news, the National Journal today defended its decision a few weeks ago to raise the competitive rating of Illinois’ US Senate race to the second-most vulernable seat in the country

If there was one ranking that generated controversy last time, it was Illinois. Surely, the critics suggested, Obama’s home state would never replace him with a Republican. In the end, the true-blue nature of Illinois — along with an expected serious financial investment from a White House laden with Chicagoans — would surely assert itself come November 2010. Right?

We’re simply not convinced that the field of Democratic candidates — with the possible exception of former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman — can present the sort of “outsider” credentials to avoid being lumped (fairly or not) with Rod Blagojevich, et al. Plus, it’s hardly unusual for a state’s voters to develop a “throw the bums out” mentality when one party has overstayed its welcome. Even so, can Rep. Mark Kirk (R) convince voters that his nine years in D.C. qualify him as the heir to the “outsider” mantle?

Thoughts?

Hoffman, by the way, was endorsed today by Abner Mikva.

* Other campaign stuff…

* Quinn gets hotel union, Hynes gets ironworkers

* Hynes: State needs to cut back government to ‘05 levels

* Negotiations Continue For Campaign Donation Limits

* 2010: An updated look at that long list of candidates

* Lisa Madigan in B-N: Democrats have a lot to be proud of

* Jesse White Running for Re-Election

* White to announce for re-election today

* Aurora man running for secretary of state

* Hultgren joins Republican bid for 14th Congressional District

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


The trouble with witch hunts

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009

* One of the problems with witch hunts - aside from the fact that they’re too often used for nefarious purposes - is that they eventually start to burn those who merely associated with the alleged witches. Things can get way out of hand because it becomes impossible to stop the endless strings of associations that can be made.

And so it goes with this ACORN thing. Not content to just bash the organization, it’s now been deemed necessary by some that those who’ve associated with the group must also be demonized.

Enter Republican US Senate candidate Mark Kirk.

You’d think with all the boasting about how Kirk is the heavy-duty GOP primary front-runner, that someone known as one of the most liberal Republicans in DC (which is somewhat of a misnomer because DC GOPdom is so rightwardly skewed) wouldn’t have to prove he’s just like those bloggers at Illinois Review.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. IR does a very good job on many, many things. But the site has been obsessed with ACORN lately and has been pairing the group with the Service Employees International Union in a single name for weeks. Kirk eagerly jumped on the IR bandwagon yesterday and produced a complicated flow-chart to demonstrate why the US Census should disown SEIU because the union has supported ACORN in the past.

ABC7 didn’t cover the presser, and neither did NBC5 or CBS2. The Olympics coverage is pretty much drowning out almost everything right now. Fox Chicago had a preview of yesterday’s Kirk presser on its early morning show, but nothing else has been posted on its site.

The Tribune ran a brief story…

U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, a Republican Senate candidate, said Monday the Census Bureau should drop any involvement with the Service Employees International Union for the 2010 population count. But at the same time Kirk had to acknowledge receiving past campaign donations from the union at the center of a partisan firestorm.

The Sun-Times mixed in a foreign policy angle…

On the heals of a congressional vote to de-fund ACORN, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is calling on the U.S. Census to sever all ties to Illinois’ largest union, the Service Employees International Union, because that union, Kirk says, is too close to ACORN.

Kirk also urged the firing of the National Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, who he blames for under-estimating Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

* Obviously, Kirk is following the classic GOP presidential election strategy. Move way right in the primary and then move to the center for the general. Reassure the Downstaters and the more right-leaning suburbanites that he’s with them now. Then worry about assuaging the moderate independents later. He’s also obviously taking advantage of the fact that SEIU has endorsed the Democratic frontrunner, Alexi Giannoulias.

But, as I’ve pointed out before, this SEIU thing is a landmine for Illinois Republicans.

State Rep. Beth Coulson is considered the best bet to hold onto Kirk’s US House seat, but she’s been endorsed by SEIU in the past.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard received an SEIU contribution earlier this year.

The Republican State Senate Campaign Committee accepted $10,000 from SEIU in March.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross took a $10K contribution in February from SEIU Healthcare, which was once a brother/sister of ACORN Illinois, back when the group existed (there are actually two $10K contris listed from SEIU to Cross on the same day, but that could be a duplicate computer entry).

As explained at the top, it’s dangerous to conduct a guilt by association witch hunt of SEIU when so many of Kirk’s fellow Illinois Republicans have been taking the union’s cash over the years. If SEIU is guilty of its associations with ACORN, then what does that say about the Republicans who have associated with SEIU? Where does the witch hunt end? Does he want to burn them all?

Maybe that’s why yesterday’s presser was so lightly covered.

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      


« NEWER POSTS PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Good morning!
* Final thoughts before calling it a night
* *** UPDATED x3 - Script *** Quinn airs radio ad of Rauner joking about being "scared" of four African-Americans
* Karen Lewis endorses Chuy Garcia for mayor
* Friday night TV ad rating
* Yesterday's blog posts

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