Gov. Pat Quinn today accused his primary opponent, Comptroller Dan Hynes, of misusing President Barack Obama’s words in a campaign mailing attacking the governor’s tax plan.
The mailing quotes Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, saying that raising taxes on the middle class during a recession is a bad idea. Hynes has campaigned accusing Quinn of pushing a plan to raise income taxes across the board, including the middle class, while the comptroller wants targeted increases for the affluent only.
The mailing then states that Obama opposes Quinn’s kind of plan.
“Pat Quinn’s 50% tax hike on the middle-class is NOT what Barack Obama thinks we need,” the mailing says.
Today, the Hynes campaign hit yet another historic low by implying the endorsement of a man Dan Hynes called a “do-nothing,” “pork pie” politician — President Barack Obama.
This misuse of the words and image of an iconic Illinois leader by the Hynes campaign follows last week’s misappropriation of the late, great Mayor Harold Washington’s words and image — even though Comptroller Hynes worked alongside his father to defeat and destroy Mayor Washington and everything he stood for.
Just six years ago, Comptroller Hynes accused Barack Obama of voting “in lockstep with George Ryan because he wanted his share of the pork pie.” Hynes attacked Barack Obama for fiscal irresponsibility by voting for tax relief for working families, and health care for children who needed it. Hynes claimed that he fought alone against state laws to provide healthcare for children and reduce taxes on working families.
In response — in a Chicago Sun-Times article headlined, `Hynes pounces on Obama at last debate’ — President Obama shrugged off Hynes’ carping. “I think it’s a little disingenuous of him to say he was this warrior,” Obama said. “But we’re six days away from an election. I think it’s to be expected that people are going to start throwing stuff out.”
* I got so busy I forgot to announce our contest winner today. We had 303 comments on yesterday’s Question of the Day, which asked you to come up with bumper sticker slogans for and against candidates. Most of them were very good, proving, once again, that this blog has the best commenters anywhere (yes, even today).
One that we might actually see on a real bumpersticker was from “How YOU doin?”…
Sensible Shoes, Sensible Leadership
PRECKWINKLE FOR PRESIDINKLE
That commenter is already coming to the party, so there’s no sense in awarding her first prize.
Quinn - I am Murphy’s Law and the Peter Principle
That hits pretty close to home. Unfortunately, Irish can’t make the party, so why give it to him?
Overall, OneMan, who has his own blog, was prodigious, funny and spot-on. A selection…
Vowels cost money and I got it. Vote Giannoulias
I understand poor people, they work for me. (McKenna)
But I am a legacy out of Chicago (Hynes)
I’ve played hoops with Obama, come on people (Alexi)
* The governor needed more of these big announcements this month. He’s been getting incessantly whacked upside the head for incompetence while he’s got billions of dollars in real, honest to goodness, job-creating, desperately needed infrastructure improvement projects to unveil. I don’t get it…
Less than a week before the primary election, Gov. Pat Quinn today announced a $366 million construction project this morning to completely revamp the north-south section of Wacker Drive.
The three-year project will start in April. It calls for both levels of Wacker Drive from Randolph Street to Congress Parkway to be rebuilt, including creating a separated service drive on the lower level along with increased clearance space and better lighting.
Northern Illinois University will get $8 million in state funding to renovate the site of a shooting rampage.
Cole Hall has been closed since a gunman entered a class lecture and started shooting. Five students were killed and 19 were wounded on Feb. 14, 2008.
The renovation will reconfigure the building that had two of the university’s large lecture halls. The room in which the shootings occurred will be closed to classroom instruction and reused as computer labs, offices and commons areas.
Combine stuff like this with the Ford jobs announcement and it spells “L-E-A-D-E-R.” Instead, he’s all bogged down in Harold Washington and violent prisoners.
Funding for the project comes through Illinois “mini-capital” bill passed last May. Construction could start as early as April.
Quinn said the project will create more than 4,000 jobs. Less than a week before he faces voters in what’s projected to be a tight Democratic primary, Quinn has been traveling the state in Santa Claus campaign mode, announcing a deal Tuesday to bring 1,200 new Ford assembly plant jobs to Chicago’s South Side and suburbs, announcing an agreement with the state’s largest union to avoid layoffs and then, today, the Wacker Drive project.
That “mini” capital bill was supposed to be for shovel-ready projects. Eleven months after passage, and voilà!
* 1:19 pm - If this Crain’s scoop stirs up a feeding frenzy, it could impact the Senate race. If not, then it may not make much difference to the campaign. Time will tell, but it ain’t great news for Giannoulias, that’s for sure…
Broadway Bank, the troubled Chicago lender owned by the family of Illinois Treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias, has entered into a consent order with banking regulators requiring it to raise tens of millions in capital, stop paying dividends to the family without regulatory approval, and hire an outside party to evaluate the bank’s senior management.
The Jan. 26 consent order with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Illinois Division of Banking comes less than a week before Mr. Giannoulias, Broadway’s chief lender until 2004, must face voters in the Democratic primary for the Senate seat previously held by President Barack Obama.
He’s faced criticism, principally from former city Inspector General David Hoffman, who’s running against him, for his past role at the bank and the $70 million in dividends the family took out of the bank in 2007 and 2008 as the real estate crisis was becoming apparent. […]
Among the ways to restore the bank’s fiscal health, the order lists “the direct contribution of cash by the directors and/or shareholders of the bank.” The Giannoulias family owns 100% of the bank’s shares.
David Hoffman response in five, four, three, two…
* 1:33 pm - Flashback, from the 10/25/04 edition of Crain’s…
Broadway “knows what deals are solid or not solid.” Alexi Giannoulias said of Broadway Bank’s loan portfolio that the bank knew what it was doing. His father had been in the real estate business since the 1950s, when he started as a developer of shopping centers and banquet halls around the city. Giannoulias said, “He knows what deals are solid or not solid, what areas are hot or not hot.”
Broadway held almost twice the percentage in high-risk development loans as similar-sized banks. In 2004, Broadway Bank had bet heavily on Chicago’s then-uninterrupted commercial real estate boom. Of the bank’s $409 million in outstanding loans, 23 percent were to customers in the construction and land development industries, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) reports. By comparison, ShoreBank and Lakeside Bank, both Chicago institutions of similar size, each had roughly 14 percent of their loans in construction and land development.
ShoreBank, of course, is now in big trouble. So, it’s more conservative style back then didn’t help it much.
*** 4:27 pm *** From a press release…
Cheryle Jackson calls on Alexi Giannoulias to withdraw from Senate race in wake of Broadway Bank scandal
The Giannoulias family’s money has directly bankrolled the State Treasurer’s political career and that money has been made off of the backs of working families, small businesses and tax payers. Giannoulias and his family pulled $70 million in profits out of the bank and put it in their own pockets. Giannoulias and his family put other families at risk, the same way he, as State Treasurer, put the families who invested in Bright Start for their kids’ college at risk. The families and struggling businesses that he and his bank took advantage of are the same families and businesses that I have been fighting for most of my adult life. They desperately need a strong advocate in Washington. Giannoulias’ actions have made him unelectable, probably in the primary and certainly in the general. For the sake of Illinois families and for the good of the Democratic Party, I am calling on the Treasurer to do the honorable thing and withdraw from this race today.
*** 4:46 pm *** From a press release…
Statement from Hoffman for Illinois Campaign Manager Michael Powell on Broadway Bank
Today’s news about Broadway Bank provides further evidence of what a disaster Mr. Giannoulias would be as the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate.
Even before today, his limited experience and his refusal to take responsibility for his failures - both as a banker and as manager of the Bright Start program - were clear. Now we learn that his risky loans at the bank, and his family’s decision to take $86 million in dividends for themselves, has caused the bank’s collapse, and a likely bailout and takeover by the FDIC.
Mr. Giannoulias has shown a consistent pattern of refusing to take responsibility for his actions and blaming others. People are sick of politicians, like Mr. Giannoulias, who are not honest about their own conduct and don’t want to be held accountable.
Democrats in Illinois are about to choose their nominee to fill our President’s former U.S. Senate seat. Choosing an inexperienced 33 year-old failed banker who allows Republicans to use Tony Rezko and other failures as attacks would be a sure loser for us.
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* Kirk Dillard’s campaign rolled out Jim Edgar yesterday to ask for civility. From a press release…
Former Governor Jim Edgar [yesterday] said he was disappointed in the negative tone of the governor’s race, and urged candidates to talk about the issues. “There’s a lot at stake in this year’s election,” Edgar said at a joint news conference with Republican hopeful Kirk Dillard. “I think the voters deserve better.”
Edgar reaffirmed his support for Dillard, who served as Edgar’s first Chief of Staff. The former Governor said instead of discussing the issues, opponents have spent money on television to distort Dillard’s record.
“Let me be clear,” said Edgar. “Kirk Dillard opposes higher taxes. He’s never voted for a general tax increase.” Edgar said Dillard has been running a positive campaign with a real vision to create jobs, cut spending, eliminate red tape and end politics as usual.
But today Dillard started running a new TV ad. Technically, I suppose, it’s “comparative.” Others might just call it negative. Rate it…
* I told you earlier today about a new Pat Quinn TV ad. That was just one of the two he has running. Here’s the other one…
Quinn is not letting up on trying to create a backlash against Hynes’ Harold Washington ad. Patterson has details…
Quinn’s campaign released a list of county Democratic chairman who signed on to a letter taking on Hynes for his ads. The letter reads in part, “you have crossed an important line by choosing to be so destructively, relentlessly negative in your campaign.”
The letter is signed by the Democratic chairman of the DuPage and Kane organizations along with several other counties.
But noticeably absent is the chairman of the powerful Cook County Democrats, lobbyist and property tax maven Joseph Berrios. That organization endorsed Quinn, but didn’t sign on to this letter ripping Hynes on the ads, at the same time recent polls are showing an extremely close race.
The list of counties is pretty short - and those counties for the most part are also short on [Democratic voter] population. See it for yourself.
* Democratic treasurer candidate Justin Oberman has a new TV ad that slams his opponent Robin Kelly. Watch…
Three weeks ago, we declined to make an endorsement in the Democratic primary for governor. It wasn’t a decision — or non-decision — we took lightly. Voters are fed up and fired up, eager to elect a leader who can put an end to this era of scandal and fiscal recklessness. “None of the above” was an enormously unsatisfying recommendation.
But the closer we get to Election Day, the better we feel about that decision. We’ve continued to look for a good reason to get behind either of the candidates, but we’re still coming up empty.
They don’t like Quinn’s tax hikes, and they don’t like Hynes’ refusal to force the unions to give back on pensions…
So why not back Hynes? Because we’re still waiting for him to offer an honest prescription to treat the state’s ills. He promises fiscal responsibility, but won’t acknowledge what it will take to rescue this state from its most desperate problem: a pension system with an $80 billion-and-counting unfunded obligation.
This is the same newspaper which has endorsed Andy McKenna, a guy who solemnly pledges never to raise any taxes while rhetorically firebombing anyone who might have a semi-reasonable opinion on that matter. This is also the same editorial board that regularly praises the Civic Federation, but has ignored its latest report that Illinois is facing at least a $12.8 billion deficit next fiscal year.
What did the Tribune write in its McKenna endorsement? Pablum…
If he’s nominated Feb. 2, McKenna wouldn’t strike Illinois voters over the next nine months as a man running for people-pleaser-in-chief.
You gotta be kidding me.
McKenna is spending millions of dollars on blatantly pandering ads. It’s super easy to run a “no new taxes, no way” campaign, until you’re effectively called out on it - or elected. Heck, Jim Thompson got away with that at least twice. He got the Trib nod, too.
First, we must level with people about the size of the state’s unfunded pension liabilities. For years, politicians have been misleading voters by expanding benefits without a funding plan to support those commitments. Now, we are stuck with the bill and no credible plan to pay it.
Second, we need to implement a two-tiered system for existing beneficiaries and new entrants into the system. The second tier could be a defined contribution plan or a hybrid defined contribution/defined benefit plan, or a defined benefit plan with benefit levels more in line with the private sector.
Third, government pension should look more like private sector plans. We have an opportunity for public employee unions to meet taxpayers half-way, so we can balance the interests of both parties in finding a reasonable solution to the pension crisis.
A two-tiered pension system will save money, but the state’s pension debt is so huge that this idea will barely make a dent in the coming years. How will he solve that far more immediate need of paying for the pensions already promised - a multi billion-dollar debacle that will last decades? We don’t know and the Tribune’s sages apparently don’t care.
Republican Bill Brady is promising to balance the state budget in his first year in office if he’s elected Illinois governor.
The state senator from Bloomington made the pledge during a debate Tuesday night at Chicago’s WTTW-TV against four other Republican challengers.
A sixth candidate, former Illinois Republican Party chairman Andy McKenna, didn’t participate because his campaign said he had a scheduling conflict.
Brady says he can fix the state’s finances by starting with a 10 percent across-the-board spending cut.
A ten percent spending cut would give you far less than $3 billion in savings. Just $10 billion to go. No biggie.
Look, the Democratic proposals also fall short and also need far more meat on the bones. No doubt about it. Period. But at least they’re being realistic about finding revenues to help get this state out of its massive fiscal hole. Stuff like Brady’s promise is just plain goofy. He’s a candidate, however. That’s expected. The state’s largest newspaper, on the other hand, has a sacred duty to be honest with its own readers and not just spew hyper-partisan talking points.
Given the survey margin of error and the large number of undecided voters, the race is clearly a toss-up heading into Tuesday’s primary vote.
One reason the race is close is Democratic Primary voters give Quinn mixed reviews on his job performance. Overall, 53% say they at least somewhat approve of the job he’s doing. That’s pretty tepid support from the party’s base voters. Only 13% Strongly Approve, while 21% Strongly Disapprove.
On a personal basis, as distinct from job approval, Hynes is viewed favorably by 54% while Quinn earns positive reviews from 51%.
Just 12% have a Very Favorable opinion of Quinn while 18% hold a Very Unfavorable view.
For Hynes, those numbers are 16% Very Favorable and 11% Very Unfavorable.
Toplines are here, crosstabs (subscribers only) are here.
We looked at four potential November match ups and found Dan Hynes leading Jim Ryan 40-35 and Andy McKenna 38-36 with Pat Quinn trailing Ryan 42-35 and McKenna 42-36.
Here are our takeaways from those numbers:
-Hynes is a more electable candidate for Democrats than Quinn. Quinn’s approval rating has fallen to 25/55…those sorts of numbers make him virtually unelectable in the general election. His 9% approval with Republicans is par for the course in a time of polarized politics but the 16/55 spread with independents is bad and the fact that his standing with Democrats is under 40% is even worse. Matched against the Republicans Hynes gets around 70% of the Democratic vote and Quinn gets just 60%, which is why Hynes is ahead and Quinn is behind.
-This is probably going to be a close contest no matter who gets nominated. Three out of the four scenarios we looked at came out within the margin of error and there are a decent number of undecideds. Illinois will be one of the most watched states in the country this fall with close races for both the Senate and Governor.
-The same trends that fueled Republican victories in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia are showing up in Illinois. Independents are leaning strongly toward the GOP, leading by anywhere from 5 to 21 points in these head to heads. And Republicans are also more unified, getting 71-80% of their party’s vote compared to 60-69% for the Democrats. That’s the formula that makes Republican victory possible in Democratic leaning states.
*We tested Ryan and McKenna because earlier polling in the race suggested they were the GOP front runners. Given the lack of variability in their performance relative to Hynes and Quinn it seems likely Kirk Dillard or Bill Brady would have polled similarly.
* Axelrod Glad He’s Not Involved in Illinois Politics: “I miss Chicago every day. I’m homesick every day,” Axelrod said at a Chicago home for those with developmental needs where he was the keynote speaker. “But the one virtue of being away is that I don’t have to be in the middle of a contest between very good friends.”
* This Tribune revelation is coming at a horrible time for Gov. Pat Quinn, but I have a hard time believing that Quinn did anything intentionally untoward…
Quinn has kept [his US Senate campaign fund] alive by pumping in a series of personal loans and then soliciting political donations so he can pay himself back, at interest rates approaching 10 percent. The end result is that Quinn has made at least $24,000 in interest from the campaign fund he controls, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Quinn spokeswoman Elizabeth Austin said Quinn first began extending loans to his campaign in 1996 and at that time believed federal law required him to be paid back in full with interest.
But a spokesman for the FEC told the Tribune there are no such requirements. Austin said Quinn aides checked with the FEC after the newspaper raised questions about the interpretation of the law and found that Quinn’s fund did not have to pay him interest.
OK, so he made $24K in interest since 1996. That works out to what? Less than $2,000 a year? It isn’t nothing, and he probably deserves a little ding, but I’m just not all that excited. Still, this is the Tribune, so they can push a story into the public realm with ease. The paper’s online “political docket” makes it clear what they’ll be pursuing today…
Quinn’s also is likely to face questions about today’s Tribune story that looks at why he’s still raising money for his failed 1996 U.S. Senate bid. The end result of the unusual practice is that Quinn has made at least $24,000 in interest from the campaign fund he controls, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.
* Marin: A test for Quinn, Hynes: Back real reform
* WTTW is again hosting a gubernatorial candidates forum tonight at 7. This time, it’s the Republicans. But once again, it’s not gonna be on the Intertubewhatsis, so I’m again asking commenters to live blog it for the rest of us.
The union had obtained a court injunction against layoffs last year, but that injunction was about to expire and the arbitrator pushed for a mediated resolution. The union then pushed to broaden the scope of the proceedings.
According to the union, the mediated resolution will “protect the vast majority of AFSCME members from layoffs through June 30, 2011.” According to the document, there will be no layoff notices - including temporary layoffs - beyond those already issued until June of next year. Layoff notices at the Department of Corrections will be “rescinded.”
That leaves about 200 layoff notices or so still out there. The governor had wanted to lay off 2.600 workers, and the administration had already sent out about 600 layoff notices.
It will also prevent any facility closures through June 30, 2011 that haven’t already been announced.
In exchange, the union has agreed to “defer” 1 point of the 2 point wage hike scheduled for July 1 of this year and 1 point of the two point pay raise scheduled for January 1, 2011 until June 1, 2011. Union members will also be “encouraged” to participate in a “voluntary furlough program.”
The union claims it “has not ceded its right” to prevent the facility closures already announced.
Union members will also receive “greatly expanded vacancy and recall rights” for the “limited number” of workers who could still be laid off. The agreement also gives the union the ability to “identify and eliminate personal service and vendor contracts and restore bargaining unit work.”
*** 9:11 pm *** I was out of the office and didn’t see this in my e-mail until now. From the governor’s office…
“The Quinn Administration is pleased to have reached this positive agreement with AFSCME, which will result in a cost savings to taxpayers of over $200 million.
Through the collective bargaining process, the State and AFSCME worked together to settle differences, save money and achieve a constructive relationship going forward. The combination of employee furlough days, decreased pay increases and avoiding costly litigation will help to ease the State’s budgetary woes.
The Quinn Administration has long believed that employee furloughs are preferable to imposing deep employee lay-offs and is grateful that AFSCME agreed to this approach. The State of Illinois is facing unprecedented financial troubles. But this agreement is an example of how we can work together to resolve problems, improve the State’s financial health and position Illinois for better days ahead.”
* Some members of the Statehouse press corps gave House GOP Leader Tom Cross a hard time today about the poll Andy McKenna ordered done for the state party back when he was chairman. Cross was unveiling a new campaign reform plan at the event, and he was asked about the irony of the situation. Background on the poll controversy is here. Coverage of Cross’ reform proposal is here. And here’s the video of the Blue Room exchange…
We also have video of Leader Cross talking about his campaign finance reform idea. Click here.
Cross’ presser was about limiting the amount of money that legislative leaders could put into campaigns. The Democratic leaders get a lot of grief in this state, but Larry points to a “whip count” of congressional members on where they stand on passing the US Senate-approved health care bill…
Where do Illinois Members of Congress stand on passing the Senate Bill?
Bean, Melissa IL-8 “not made a decision yet”
Costello IL-12 Waiting for leadership
Davis, Danny IL – 7 supports HCR but “hasn’t received marching orders from leadership”
Gutierrez, Luis IL – 4 “Waiting to see what leadership does”
Quigley IL – 5 Waiting for leadership to propose
Schakowsky IL – 9 Waiting to see final bill, no opinion on Senate bill
Apparently, it’s not just state politicians who defer and/or hide behind their leaders.
* Yesterday, I wondered aloud why some legal fees weren’t reported by candidates. The lawyers were instrumental in kicking some candidates’ opponents off the ballot. It turns out that since the candidates themselves were not challenging petitions and ballot status, and since those candidates weren’t paying for the challenges, the fees don’t have to be reported. So, there you have it. It may be a loophole worth looking into, however.
During last night’s WTTW debate, Democratic gubernatorial challenger Dan Hynes said that, when Gov. Pat Quinn’s plan to raise the state income tax “failed” during the spring legislative session, he “had no plan B.” It’s a fair point. But I would have liked to hear Quinn or moderator Carol Marin ask Hynes what his own “plan B” would look like if he wins the primary and his proposal to pass a progressive income tax subsequently fails.
Hynes will need a three-fifths vote in both chambers to get that plan on the ballot. The odds are against it. What will he do if it tanks? I’ll be sending that question off to the Hynes campaign this afternoon. I’ll let you know what they say.
* Speaking of Hynes, he unveiled more endorsements today from state legislators. Gov. Quinn has racked up a huge legislative endorsement list, so it’s slim pickings. From a press release…
State Senator William Delgado
State Senator Ed Maloney
State Senator Martin Sandoval
State Senator Maggie Crotty
State Representative LaShawn Ford
State Representative Jack Franks
State Representative Bob Rita
Gov. Pat Quinn’s politics amount to “Hail Mary passes and gimmicks,” says State Sen. Marty Sandoval. […]
“The question I ask myself: Are Illinoisians better off today?” Sandoval said. “Very similar to our Chicago sports teams - we can’t quite get a touchdown - we’re tired of the Hail Mary passes and gimmicks.” […]
State Rep Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, took a harsher tone in criticizing the Governor.
“We all know he’s the accidental governor, but he is the incompetent governor as well,” he said.
Make sure to click on the “Illinois’ worst political web sites” link in the middle of that story. Lt. governor candidate Mike Boland’s comes up first. I had forgotten how bad it really was. Yeesh.
Proft, by the way, has just filed A-1’s totaling $88K, including $25K from a member of the Pritzker family. Where was that cash earlier?
* Speaking of money, as I told subscribers this morning, Pat Quinn’s campaign just took out a second $100,000 loan from Ald. Ed Burke. Also, Cook County Board President candidate Terry O’Brien reported a $130K loan from a family member this morning. Kirk Dillard got another loan from Ron Gidwitz. This one was for $50.000.
* Rep. Julie Hamos has an endorsement ad on broadcast and cable. Rate it…
* Campaign cash disclosure lacking in Senate race: Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias raised $521,340 and Chicago attorney Jacob Meister raised $53,511 as the Senate candidates campaigned in the last three months of 2009, but the public won’t likely know who gave the money until after the Feb. 2 primary.
* Democratic US Senate candidate Cheryle Jackson claims in an e-mail that she’s going on TV tomorrow with a new ad. Rate it…
* House Republican Leader Tom Cross was asked today about a subscriber story I ran this morning about how the HGOPs are paying for a robocall blasting a House Democratic candidate in the Quad Cities area. My intern Barton Lorimor was there and we have video of Cross’ non-response…
* A video of GOP state Rep. Beth Coulson is making the rounds. Coulson is running for the Republican nomination in the 10th Congressional District. But she was asked in 2000 if she was supporting fellow Republican George W. Bush or any Republican candidates. Coulson refused to commit, including on Mark Kirk’s congressional bid. “I have to wait and see where they are on some of the issues that are important to me.” The full video is here, but I excerpted the best part. Watch…
* A new ad from Cook County Board President candidate Terry O’Brien goes after Toni Preckwinkle and Dorothy Brown. Rate it…
In the flier, [state Sen. Randy Hultgren] alleges that [Ethan Hastert] is “employed by the same law firm that lobbies on behalf of foreign mining companies with deplorable human rights records and a history of human trafficking.”
Hastert is an attorney with the law firm of Mayer Brown in Chicago, which does represent several mining interests around the world. The firm is also a major donor to Hastert’s campaign.
But Hastert campaign spokesman Andrew Nelms said the candidate has “never had anything to do with human trafficking,” which he called “reprehensible.”
In an automated call to voters on Monday, Hultgren apologized for “discussing some questionable clients of my opponent’s law firm.”
Calling it the “most absurd campaign piece he has ever seen,” state House District 59 candidate Elliott Hartstein said his Democratic primary opponent is using “distortions” in two direct mail campaign pieces sent in recent days.
Hartstein, who is currently Buffalo Grove village president, said state Rep. Carol Sente claims he tried to take away free speech rights for people attending zoning hearings.
The ad uses quotes from 2005 newspaper stories about Hartstein’s visit to Springfield to lobby for a bill that focused on zoning hearing rules. It concludes by stating, “For Elliott Hartstein, sometimes the First Amendment is just a suggestion, not a right.”
He’s also upset by another piece warning voters of his support for a tax increase to bolster the state’s budget.
“She was appointed by party leaders and her political godfather, Mike Madigan, who is bankrolling a good portion of her campaign,” Hartstein said Monday. “They should be ashamed of themselves for their current tactics in the primary races.”
* 10th state House District Democratic candidate Jonathan Goldman is having no luck with a FOIA request to DCFS. They have some explaining to do. From a press release…
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has failed one of the first tests of a new law that went into effect Jan. 1of this year that requires state agencies to respond within five business days to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
On Jan. 8, Jonathan Goldman, a Democratic candidate for state representative in the 10th District, filed a request to DCFS concerning State Rep. Annazette Collin’s employment as a social worker with the agency. He specifically asked for information about her hiring date, salary and who authorized her hiring.
“My curiosity was piqued when I saw that Ms. Collins, who is already employed by the State as a legislator, making $76,732 in 2008, had landed another job with the state during a time of record unemployment when the state has laid off thousands of workers,” said Goldman. “I made a simple FOIA request 18 days ago and still haven’t heard from DCFS.”
When five business days had passed with no response, Goldman contacted DCFS on Jan. 15 to inquire about his request and was told he would receive a letter requesting an extension from the agency in the mail. He still hasn’t received correspondence of any kind from the department.
What’s the point in having a new FOIA law if the Quinn administration won’t follow it? It’s like déjà vu all over again. Sheesh.
* One of Peter LaBarbera’s websites is currently attempting to out a suburban county candidate for having adulterous affairs. No link. Try to avoid the Google. It’s really disgusting. LaBarbera has stooped to a new low.
* Usually about this time in a campaign cycle, I sternly warn commenters to avoid posting bumper sticker slogans in comments.
“Vote for X! She’s the best!” goofiness really has no place here. The same goes for “Vote against Z! He’s no good!” crud.
We’ll be deleting as many of those comments as possible in the coming days, so be warned: Your bumper sticker won’t stick here.
This time, though, I’ve decided to give our warning a little twist, so…
* The Question: Can you come up with a bumper sticker slogan for your favorite candidate and/or against your most despised candidate? If so, have fun while it lasts. Snark is heavily encouraged, of course.
The winner will get an invite to a special private party I’m probably throwing this Saturday night in Chicago. If you can’t come, or if you don’t want to divulge your identity, no biggie. At least you will have won. I say “probably” because I’m so busy this week that I may be too tired to do the party, which I host the Saturday before every state election. I’ll decide by tomorrow. If I don’t do it, I’ll buy you a pop or something more adult-oriented.
…Adding… People are getting so into the spirit of things that I thought I’d create an actual bumper sticker just for fun…
Politicians who hope to gain traction with voters by urging that the Illinois Tollway be leased to a private company might want to rethink their strategy.
By overwhelming numbers, Republican and Democratic voters alike oppose privatization of the tollway system and believe it would lead to higher tolls, according to a Tribune/WGN-TV poll.
The statewide poll of likely primary voters, conducted Jan. 16 to 20, shows Democrats opposing privatization 72 percent to 14 percent, with 13 percent undecided. Republicans oppose the idea 65 percent to 16 percent, with 19 percent undecided.
Why? Among Democrats, 71 percent say tolls are certain to increase if the tollway is leased to a private company; 68 percent of Republicans feel the same way.
[Ryan] said, if elected, he’d consider leasing the Illinois tollway system to a private operator. And he said that on the same day that rates were increased on parking meters leased by Chicago to a private operator in one of the most politically unpopular deals in recent city history.
“I want to consider and will consider every innovative approach possible to address our budget problems,” said Jim Ryan, (R) candidate for governor.
The former attorney general–who the Tribune poll suggested is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for Illinois governor– says leasing the suburban tollway system to a private operator might be the key to bailing out Illinois from its $13 billion budget hole.
“I’m willing to put everything on the table and take a look at it,” said Ryan.
Tollway users, however, have seen what happened when the Skyway was leased: Rates went up. And everybody has seen what happened to the price of Chicago parking meters when they were leased to a private company.
It could bring in big bucks, but it’s a killer issue. The Tribune didn’t post its crosstabs, so we don’t know how this breaks down by region, but I’d bet that the suburbs don’t love it.
The revenue generated by these video games is for a specific purpose. It will go to help pay off the bonds for the state’s long-needed and often neglected capital construction plan. Video gaming makes up 25 percent of the revenue to pay those bonds and we’re worried that if revenues fall short, other taxes may be raised.
Video gambling is already going on illegally. The state is legalizing the activity and taking its share.
We believe there are social costs to gambling but also think that government should only go so far to protect us from ourselves. People who are susceptible to addictive behaviors will find an outlet.
It’s time to take advantage of new legal sources of revenue.
Common sense on an editorial page. Who woulda thunk it?
The village’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted 5-1 Monday to recommend approval of a law that would limit campaign signs to 6 square feet per side in residential areas and 9 square feet per side in all other areas of the village.
Only one political sign per candidate or issue would be allowed on any lot, with the exception of corner lots, which are allowed two signs. […]
Opposing candidates would be restricted from placing signs within 10 feet of each other, and signs would not be allowed to be displayed more than 60 days before an election.
Violators would have their signs removed and could be fined up to $50 per violation.
[Oops. Misread the darned story. But it’s still a goofy idea.] OK, for starters, that one sign limit is just goofy. What if the husband and wife are on different sides of a campaign? I can tell you from my own experience growing up, that happens a lot.
And candidates can’t place signs within 10 feet of each other? Who’s gonna get the fine? Both? So, what if a candidate complies with this rule and puts up a sign, then another candidate violates the rule and places the sign right next to it? This also happens all the time. Which one gets dinged?
* Referendum to seek voter input about wind turbines in McLean, Livingston counties: Ballots in White Oak Township in McLean County will carry three referendum questions concerning the White Oak Energy Center. The advisory propositions seek input on whether a moratorium should be issued through Dec. 31, 2013, on issuing special-use permits for new wind turbines near Carlock. A second question asks voters if a requirement that new township road agreements should be finalized before extensions of special-use permits are granted for wind turbines in the township. The third question asks whether measures should be taken to protect the property values of White Oak Township residents before permits are extended.
* I told subscribers about this new poll already, but Public Policy Polling just posted the results on its blog, so here you go…
A primary loss for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is looking more and more possible. He trails Dan Hynes 41-40 in our poll of the race.
Hynes’ slight advantage is due largely to a 45-38 lead with African Americans, suggesting that a controversial ad featuring former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington making disparaging comments about Quinn may be working to Hynes’ advantage. The two candidates are tied among white voters with Quinn holding a 44-36 lead with Hispanics.
Quinn’s approval rating even among Democratic primary voters is just 38%, with an equal 38% disapproving of his job performance. 35% of voters view Hynes favorably to 25% unfavorably.
This race could still go either way but the momentum is in Hynes’ favor given his huge deficit in polling just a month ago.
The Republican race is even more up for grabs with five candidates polling within eight points of each other. Kirk Dillard is at 19%, followed by Andy McKenna with 17%, Bill Brady with 16%, Jim Ryan at 13%, and Adam Andrzejewski at 11%. Of the remaining candidates only Dan Proft with 7% is not in double digits.
At this point it seems the momentum is with Dillard, McKenna, and Brady with Ryan suffering from whatever the reverse of momentum is but on the Republican side it is definitely anyone’s game.
A week out from the primary there are still ten plausible match ups for the general election with five Republicans and two Democrats in serious contention- it’s not too often you see this kind of pile up so late in the game.
Important note: This is not the poll that Fox Chicago had last night. I’m choosing not to post that poll until I can find out more about it.
*** UPDATE *** Dillard’s campaign manger is the first to issue a press release…
“With just one week to go until the Primary Election, today’s poll from Public Policy Polling (on Capitol Fax) shows that the Dillard campaign continues to gain momentum from voters across the state. It’s clear that Illinois Republicans are supporting Dillard’s plan to create jobs, balance our State’s budget, and clean up corruption in Springfield.
“It’s too bad Andy McKenna has decided to make this a negative campaign against his fellow Republicans. As former Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, Andy said that he would unite the party around the issues that mattered. Andy also said that he would be an ethical leader. Clearly, that is not what he has done in this race, as it has been found that he unethically used party resources to bolster his run for governor while party chairman. That’s just more of the same kind of leadership Illinois is suffering from.
“Public Policy Polling is a highly reputable and accurate firm with a great track record in 2008 and most recently, the Massachusetts Senate race. The Wall Street Journal cites Public Policy Polling was one of the most accurate pollsters of the 2008 election cycle.”
An internal state Republican Party ethics inquiry found that Andy McKenna — former state Republican chairman and now a candidate for governor — “compounded one ethical misstep with another” by commissioning a poll including his own name using party money, and then not telling committee members that the poll could benefit him.
The four-page report, obtained by The State Journal-Register, was submitted by the ethics committee of the Illinois Republican Party.
The report adds background to a joint news release that was issued Jan. 8 by McKenna’s campaign and current party chairman Pat Brady. That statement said McKenna “had no intent to violate the spirit or the intent of the Party’s by-laws and he sincerely apologizes for having done so.”
The internal report said McKenna never told the Republican State Central Committee the poll was being commissioned, that his name was included in the poll or that “information in the poll could benefit him personally.”
In Williamsville, for instance, the Union Pacific Railroad’s tracks cut across Main Street, which brings traffic from Interstate 55 into the village. More and faster trains could increase emergency response times, endanger pedestrians and possibly jeopardize buildings along the tracks, Village President Tom Yokley said.
Conducted by researcher Andrew Sum at Northeastern University in Boston, the study concludes that youth of all racial and socio-economic backgrounds increasingly do not work, but finds that the problem is particularly severe among minorities.
Four days after South Side residents disrupted a Plan Commission meeting to demand Finney’s ouster, Daley agreed to investigate their claims of deplorable living conditions at properties owned by Finney’s Woodlawn Redevelopment Corporation.
With the most recent installation of cameras at 24 Green Line stations, CTA officials say the system now has 1,657 cameras at 73 rail stations. By summer, there should be at least one at every CTA station.
A homeowner who paid a $5,000 tax bill last year, for example, would have a first installment of $2,750 this year — $250 more than under the old law. But proponents point out that the change won’t hike the total taxes property owners will pay over the course of the year and could result in lower tax payments on the second installments of their bills.
The city has gotten a federal stimulus grant to pay for half of the cost up to $1.8 million, said Mayor Ken Nelson. He said the city could request bids and then not accept any of them, and there is no hurry because the grant deadline is lenient.
Organizer Sherril West said former Republican congressional candidate John Morris helped with the booking. Morris was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for the 18th Congressional District in 2008.[…]
The event will be used as a fundraiser for Washington’s community center, and tickets will cost up to $100 to see the speech and $200 for the banquet and speech. The group also hopes to set up a scholarship fund.
Democrats like Steve Beckett and Barb Wysocki are working with Republicans like Al Nudo to put in place a process for drawing county board district maps on a non-partisan basis. That means drawing lines that are compact and contiguous, not spread hither and yon to jam Republicans here and Democrats there.
Maryville has joined a growing number of communities, among them Glen Carbon, in making the switch to the non-regulated arm of Ameren Corporation’s energy operations, represented by Ameren Energy Marketing.
For the third time since 2007, voters in Lansing and Lynwood are being asked to approve a tax increase to help keep Sunnybrook School District 171 running. The district has already cut all extracurricular activities, and officials say a failed referendum will bring even more cuts.
The district’s overall budget is $52.1 million, but that includes capital expenses and other costs. The smaller $30.1 million operating budget pays for most of the services people who use the district are familiar with, such as soccer programs, lifeguards at Magic Waters and maintenance at neighborhood parks.
Pradel told the crowd gathered for a Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon that the city has not been immune to economic troubles. It faced an $11 million budget deficit going into the current fiscal year and what was once a $14.1 million hole in the coming budget.
Just weeks ago, the city eliminated 49 employee positions - 22 that were filled and 27 that were vacant.
* Layoffs threatened at CWLP unless unions OK concessions
Ward 3 Ald. Frank Kunz asked for a breakdown of how the potential layoffs would affect each of the utilty’s departments, such as the water fund and electric fund, but Renfrow couldn’t provide it to aldermen during the budget workshop.
December sales dropped to 168 sales in St. Clair County and 179 in Madison County according to numbers reported Monday by the Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois in Belleville and the Greater Association of Realtors in Glen Carbon.
Home sales locally before December had been above 200 each month for most of the year. For the year, St. Clair saw sales fall slightly from 2,478 in 2008 to 2,430 last year. In Madison County, annual sales dropped for 2,734 in 2008 to 2,698 last year.