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Jackson won’t repudiate Steele

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2009

* Sheesh

A racially charged comment from former Cook County Board President Bobbie Steele had U.S. Senate hopeful Cheryle Jackson explaining the sentiments of her supporter Monday.

At a Sunday endorsement event for Democratic candidate Jackson, Steele asked, “Do we need another rich white man?”

“Cheryle believes anyone has a right to run for the Senate and she respects that right,” Jackson’s spokeswoman, Susan Chandler, said. “But the makeup of the Senate suggests that the glass ceiling exists and more needs to be done so that not only wealthy candidates can finance winning campaigns. We believe what Bobbie Steele meant to say was that Cheryl was the only candidate in this race who is not self-funded.”

I seriously doubt that Bobbie Steele meant to say that Jackson is the only self-funded candidate.

Weak, weak response by Jackson.

…Adding… Timing is everything. From an e-mail…

New primary media contact for Cheryle Jackson campaign

This is to introduce Susan Chandler, a former Chicago Tribune reporter who has joined the campaign as our in-house communications director. Susan will be your primary contact for the campaign moving forward.

Welcome to the game.

- Posted by Rich Miller   57 Comments      

Hoffman hit by Trib

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2009

* This is probably no big deal, but it’s what always results when a reformer tries to place himself above the fray and above reproach…

A former federal prosecutor running for U.S. Senate is holding a fundraiser next week where he’s asking current prosecutors for a “suggested minimum” political donation of $150.

The fundraiser for Democrat David Hoffman is scheduled for Nov. 3 at The Berghoff, the traditional spot of going-away parties for prosecutors that’s around the corner from their Dearborn Street offices.

Campaign spokesman Thom Karmik said Hoffman was reaching out to as many people as possible for support. He said the mailing was not sent to current assistant U.S. attorneys, but the campaign expects that former prosecutors and others will make them aware of the event.

The Hoffman campaign is seeking contributions of $250 from “friends” and up to $2,400 from “sponsors”—the maximum amount an individual can give a candidate in a federal primary, according to campaign literature for the event. You can read the invitation by clicking here: Download Hoffmanfundraiser

Assistant U.S. attorneys are allowed to make political contributions, so there’s nothing inherently wrong here.

And, frankly, when you run for office you ask the people you know for contributions. That’s the way it works. Hoffman knows those people at the US Attorney’s office. Why wouldn’t he ask them for money?

Still, when all money is deemed dirty, we get non-stories like this.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Back off

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2009

* I always had a huge amount of respect for Gary Hannig when he was in the House, and he appears to be doing a good job at IDOT, but he needs to get himself out of local politics right now.

From Crain’s

A political fundraiser featuring Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig has been abruptly cancelled amid apparent concerns that it violated at least the spirit of new state ethics laws.

Mr. Hannig Tuesday morning pulled out of the event for state Sen. Michael Bond, D-Grayslake, after higher ups in Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration expressed concerns about the event. The cancellation came after I phoned both officials Monday evening with questions about the event.

A spokeswoman for both the governor and Mr. Hannig declined to go into details, but confirmed that the decision was “a combination” of views of both Mr. Hannig and the administration.

The invitation to the event highlighted the attendance of Mr. Hannig, whose department controls billions of dollars in highway contracts, and Michael Sturino, president of the Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Assn., whose members compete to get those contracts.

There is absolutely no excuse for this. A fundraiser co-sponsored by the road builders? Sheesh. Didn’t he learn anything from Rod Blagojevich? Wait. Never mind. Apparently, he did. The wrong thing.

To be clear here, I have no issue with the road builders doing a funder for Bond. They have interests like everybody else. And I seriously doubt that the law pointed to in the Crain’s story was even close to being violated. That’s more of a political charge from Bond’s GOP opponent than anything else. Hannig, however, should’ve seen the inherent conflict there. Sen. Bond should’ve seen this as well. No excuses. Period.

My other concern is that Hannig’s behavior is becoming a pattern. Secretary Hannig has been involved in more than just the Michael Bond campaign of late. He was deeply involved with getting his wife appointed to his House seat and numerous local sources say his fingerprints are all over the developing disaster for Democrats in that district. Hannig pushed retired county coroner Charles Landers into the race over the objections of local Dems and has now imperiled Democratic control of the seat.

Landers is not exactly an ideal candidate. For instance, he quit in the middle of his term last summer partly so he could spend more time out of state

Another reason Landers is retiring is so he and his wife, Kay, can visit their son, Craig, who is attending graduate school in California, more often.

There’s much more to this story, as I’ve been telling subscribers for the past several weeks. But take it from me that it’s a freaking mess down in Macoupin. And much of the blame falls squarely on Secretary Hannig.

Again, I think he’s done a good job at IDOT. But Hannig really needs to come to terms with the fact that he’s now a statewide official.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

Question of the day

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2009

* The setup, from David Haugh

As a public service to save the next fed-up Bears fan from picking up the phone or clicking “Send,” please remember that Lovie Smith has two years and about $11 million left on his contract after this season.

So unless Virginia McCaskey adopts Daniel Snyder into the family, the Bears aren’t likely to pay Smith a fortune to go away and open the vault for a $6 million-a-year replacement such as Bill Cowher or either of the two Mikes, Holmgren or Shanahan.

That means, like Bono and U2, you can expect Smith back at Soldier Field in 2010, barring a Bears implosion that seems implausible. Only six games into a season that has gone terribly wrong, that doesn’t seem like a radical idea for the NFC’s second-winningest head coach since 2005. Not even after a 45-10 loss to the Bengals.

I know this is mostly a state politics/baseball blog, but let’s try something a little different today…

* The Question: Should Lovie Smith be fired? Explain fully, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      


Tuesday, Oct 27, 2009

* A blast from the somewhat recent past

“I’m prepared to take the responsibility with the partisan division on the committee to make sure that we move legislation that truly does reform state government. I’ll take on that responsibility. And I’ll take the credit or I’ll take the blame.”

That was House Speaker Michael Madigan back in early February promising to take the blame if he didn’t move legislation that “truly” reforms state government.

One wonders whether he’s still ready to take all the blame if everything crashes and burns this week.

* McCook Mayor Jeff Tobolski, who announced his campaign yesterday against Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica…

“For too long residents have had to put up with an unresponsive government and an angry commissioner on the Cook County Board.”

* US Sen. Roland Burris

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, this is — this is — I mean this is. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I’m done.”

Yeah, you are. Go read the whole quote in context. It’d be hilarious if it wasn’t so infuriating.

* Douglas R. Roberts, a criminal-defense attorney from Beach Park, who is running for Lake County sheriff

“The sheriff doesn’t arrest people.”

* Kane County Board Commissioner Barb Wojnicki appears to be in denial

“People aren’t running against me; they are running for the seat.”

* Joe Wozniak, who is now in his fourth attempt at winning a DuPage County Board seat in 15 years, is an eternal optimist

“I hope to do it this time.”

* The son of Rep. Art Turner on his own run for the Illinois House…

“I grew up in a political family. I grew up watching Dad.”

* Politically symbolic accomplishment of the week goes to Sen. Bill Brady for his gubernatorial nominating petitions…

“I’m proud to have collected signatures from every single county in this state.”

…Adding… Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich used his WLS program recently to call out Pat Quinn on the current governor’s pace at approving pardons and commutations…

“Hey Pat, ya big wimp. Call the show. Tell me I’m wrong. Am I wrong? Call me and tell me that. Don’t be afraid of me, Pat, Write me, tell me I’m wrong. But you know what? You won’t do it for two reasons. One, you are afraid of me. And number two, I’m right. That’s why you won’t call up.”

I’m so sure that Quinn is afraid of Blagojevich. Sheesh.

And, as Zorn has pointed out before, Blagojevich’s record on pardons and commutations was absolutely horrific.

Par for the course, I suppose.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

Quinn is our first Catholic governor in 92 years

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2009

* Here’s something I did not know

Until Quinn assumed the post — which occurred after Rod Blagojevich was charged with corruption and booted from office — there had not been a Catholic in the job in recent memory, Green said.

Indeed, a review of historical records found there had not been a Catholic governor since the early 20th Century. It appears Edward F. Dunne — who served as the state’s top elected figure from 1913 to 1917 — was the last Catholic governor in Illinois before Quinn.


As Catholic as this state is (about 40 percent, according to the article), and as many Catholics as we have at the top of the state’s power grid (Daley, Durbin, Stroger, Madigan, Cullerton, etc.), you’d think there would’ve been more Catholic governors.

But there’s a fairly good chance that the next governor will be a Catholic…

Of the 11 likely candidates in the Democratic and Republican primaries, a whopping nine are Roman Catholic, according to a survey by ChicagoCatholicNews.

There is just one non-Catholic on the Republican side — former state Sen. Kirk Dillard, who is Methodist — and one on the Democratic side — William “Dock” Walls, a Baptist.

Dillard isn’t a Catholic, but he attended DePaul University’s law school.

Thoughts on this?

- Posted by Rich Miller   74 Comments      

*** UPDATED x3 *** “Hair Today”

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2009

* Andy McKenna officially kicks off his Republican gubernatorial campaign today. The campaign will show this video at every stop and they’ve offered us an exclusive preview. Take a look

Rate it.

* Related…

* Former GOP Chairman Joining IL Governor Race

*** UPDATE 1 *** The theme continues with McKenna’s announcement

“Pat Quinn said he would be different than Rod Blagojevich, but, when it comes to taxes, he’s Rod Blagojevich with just a little bit less hair. He’s more of the same,” McKenna said.

*** UPDATE 2 *** I’ll be curious to see if this makes the final cut in tomorrow’s dead tree edition…

McKenna vilified the influence of special interests on public policy as he billed himself as an outsider. But he did not address how as chairman of the state GOP, he also relied upon Republican-oriented special interests for campaign donations to assist candidates.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Some of you have asked who made the video. From NBC5

The ad… was made for McKenna by the same team that made McCain’s Anti-Obama ad featuring Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

- Posted by Rich Miller   110 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2009

* U.S. newspaper circulation down 10.6 percent

* Jobs: fewer cutting, more adding

Thirty-one percent of firms responding to the October survey said they planned to cut jobs, down from 44 percent in January and 36 percent in July. And the percentage of firms adding jobs doubled from an all-time low of 6 percent in July to 12 percent this month. But that was down from 14 percent in January.

* Pump prices could deflate holiday spending

* Indigent burials: Cook County sees 30 percent increase in such burials last year

* Whose taxes went up most in Chicago?

Property tax bills coming out this week jump as ‘7%’ cap is gradually lifted

* Double-digit property tax increases in city, Cook County suburbs

Most Cook County residents are in for another round of sticker shock when new property tax bills arrive in the mail in a few days, with the median increase in many suburbs topping 10 percent and, in a handful, 20 percent.

Median increases in many city neighborhoods will also hit double digits, with some lower income areas hardest hit. The median rise in the West Garfield Park neighborhood will top 46 percent, according to figures provided to the Tribune by Cook County Assessor James Houlihan.

In all, four out of five homeowners in the city and northern suburbs will get higher bills than last year, In the south suburbs, 64 percent of homeowners will see bigger bills, yet the median tax bills in several south Cook communities will actually decline year over year.

* City may pay you for turning in tax cheats

Mayor Daley’s tough-times, 2010 budget includes a first-ever “Tax Whistleblower Program” expected to include cash bounties for informants who deliver the goods on unpaid business taxes.

* Crackdown as one-third of Streets, San out daily

Chicago’s Streets and Sanitation commissioner is cracking the whip to reduce absenteeism that sidelines nearly one-third of all laborers every day.

With laborers working a shortened week to cut costs, Tom Byrne has told union leaders he no longer can afford to tolerate chronic absenteeism and still provide the housekeeping services Chicago taxpayers demand.

From now on, laborers will be required to call a central telephone number at least one hour before their scheduled reporting time to declare their intention to be absent that day. Those who don’t will be considered “absent without leave” and could face disciplinary action.

* Toss absentee abusers out with the garbage

* CTA may name train stop Apple

Agency in talks with computer firm for naming deal

* Dixmoor Company may get Metra bid

* Bankers facing Chicago firestorm

* Cook County Health Board Under Fire

The skirmish over control of the Cook County health system is heating up. County board president Todd Stroger yesterday rallied union members in front of Stroger Hospital. They’re taking aim at the independent board installed last year to take politics out of the hospitals and clinics. Stroger accuses board members of running the public health system like a for-profit business.

* Stroger Takes on Independent Health Board

* Swine flu prompts changes in hospital visitation rules

Children among groups prohibited from seeing patients

* Get the shot

* Rev. Sharpton appears with Chicago parents

* Chicago’s rainy October could tie a record

- Posted by Mike Murray   4 Comments      

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