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Unsolicited advice

Thursday, Sep 30, 2010

* Dear Bill Brady,

During yesterday’s debate, you mentioned how Texas was doing so well. They ain’t

Earlier this month [Texas] House Speaker Joe Straus told county administrators the state budget deficit would be at least $18 billion.

Tuesday legislative budget staff said the shortfall has grown to $21 billion.

But on the same day, when Governor Rick Perry sat down with KERA, Perry said the gap to fund the next two-years of state government will be only half that bad, no more than $11 billion.

Yeah. No problems there.

And New Jersey’s Chris Christie, who is coming to town to raise money for you, ain’t doing all that great either

Meredith Whitney, the analyst who correctly predicted Citigroup Inc.’s dividend cut in 2008, will release a report rating California’s financial condition as the worst among the 15 largest U.S. states, Fortune said. […]

After California, New Jersey, Illinois and Ohio tie as the second-worst

* Dear Rich Voltair,

The problem was not your “word choice“…

A suburban political candidate said he regrets saying the nation’s attitude toward gay marriage will change because older people eventually will die.

“It was a poor choice of words,” said Rich Voltair, a Round Lake Beach Democrat running for the 62nd District seat. “I definitely realize that.” […]

“As a 32-year-old, I hold views that are consistent with my age group,” he said in that story, which was based on e-mail exchanges with both candidates. “These views represent the future and it is only a matter of time before the previous generation expires and our generation takes over.”

The Great Die-Off you speak of will also “solve” our Social Security, Medicare and state pension problems. But it’s not something you’re supposed to cheer for, dude.

* Dear Jason Plummer,

Chicago is a border city, too, ‘ya know

Over the last several months, [Republican lt. governor nominee Jason Plummer] said he has been on the campaign trail, visiting those cities – Rockford, Moline, Danville – that are located near borders with other states.

But, then again, Chicago also has reporters who probably wouldn’t write puff pieces about you. So, better stick with the little towns.

* Dear Adam Andrzejewski,

Timing is everything. If the primary was later, you and your “forensic audit” proposal might’ve actually won the governor’s race. I mean, even a Chicago alderman is hyping the phrase

[Ald. Scott Waguespack] now plans to put together an “agenda” — including a “forensic audit” of city finances and contracts — for a City Council expected to assert itself more forcefully in the post-Daley era.

“Open the books. Let’s look at how we’re spending and re-direct the monies towards our most important needs, including the Police Department,” he said.

* Dear Sun-Times,

Hope is not a plan

But by referring to leaving “daily operations of the bank,” the Giannoulias camp clearly was trying to leave the impression that he had walked out the bank’s doors for good.

Giannoulias’ opponent, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, has been no more straightforward on Broadway Bank issues. Last week, in a meeting with the Sun-Times editorial board, he ominously said the Giannoulias family “took $70 million out of the bank before its collapse” without mentioning that most of that money went to pay taxes.

We can only hope both campaigns get more straightforward in the final weeks before Nov. 2.

The public floggings need to continue on a regular basis.

* Dear national Democrats,

You may be seeing a “dead cat” bounce

Democrats say they see a bounce

The story line for Election 2010 has been set for months: Republicans are on the march; Democrats are in deep trouble. Is it possible that Democrats have begun a comeback?

Several Democrats say there is modest movement in their direction and some reason for optimism after many dismal months

* Dear John Shimkus spokesman Steve Tomaszewski,

Careful, the Interwebtube Gods can be vengeful

“It was an unknown person from an internet media source, and I did not reply,” said Steve Tomaszewski, spokesman for Shimkus, when asked about Cary’s request.

* Dear Mike McRaith…

Et tu?

The name of Illinois Insurance Director and Chicago resident Michael McRaith is being floated as the first chief of the new Federal Insurance Office, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

* Dear scientists…

I’m not sure this is such a good thing

If huge, hungry Asian carp end up reaching Lake Michigan, their long-dreaded invasion might turn out to be less ferocious than once expected because a tiny competitor is gobbling up their primary food source, some Great Lakes researchers say.

The quagga mussel — a thumbnail-sized foreign mullosk first spotted in the lakes two decades ago — has devoured so much plankton in southern Lake Michigan that the entire food web is being altered, federal and university scientists say in a series of newly published articles.

Hey, maybe we can use the carp and the mussels to clean up this problem

Illinois is failing to crack down on water pollution from large confined-animal farms, the Obama administration announced Wednesday in a stinging rebuke that gave the state a month to figure out how to fix its troubled permitting and enforcement programs.

Responding to a petition from environmental groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said its nearly yearlong investigation found widespread problems with the Illinois EPA’s oversight of confined-animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. Many of the cattle, hog and chicken operations produce manure in amounts comparable to the waste generated by small towns.

* Your turn…

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


But did anyone have the tomato and goat cheese torte? Enquiring minds want to know!

Thursday, Sep 30, 2010

* And, now, we get Rahm Emanuel’s lunch schedule

Rahm Emanuel lunched [yesterday] with Chicago billionaire Sam Zell, chairman of the Tribune Company, as the White House chief of staff mulls a run for Chicago mayor.

The two dined at a chic eatery, Central Michel Richard, a restaurant manager confirmed. The spot is about six blocks from the White House, where Emanuel serves as chief of staff to President Barack Obama.

“They have lunch all the time when he (Zell) comes to D.C.,” according to a source close to Emanuel, who cautioned against reading too much into the power lunch. “He’s known him (Zell) for a long time and I imagined they talked about the race, Chicago, the economy, education and other issues.”

In other words: This is not news. But, hey, if they were really enterprising reporters, they’d tell us what the two men ordered.

* Speaking of not news

WASHINGTON — Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, is resigning to run for mayor of Chicago, people familiar with his plans said today.

We’ve known this for days now. Thanks for retelling us.

* But there was one useful story about Emanuel this week. Medill Reports took a close, even-handed look at his residency questions. State law requires a mayoral candidate to reside in the city for a year before an election. Chicago’s election is February 22nd. Election law attorneys Burt Odelson and James Nally claimed Emanuel can’t run

Odelson noted that a section of the statute in the Illinois election code allows individuals who are in service to the U.S. to keep their residency status, but only for voting purposes.

“Even if Mr. Emanuel could make a claim that he’s in service of the U.S. and still vote absentee, he cannot make the claim he has been a resident of the city of Chicago for one year prior to the election because he leased his house to a family,” Odelson said.

And while Nally admitted that election law weighs heavily on “intent,” it also requires an actual physical presence for candidates

“Physical presence is very important,” Nally said. “The statute asks, ‘Were you residing in that municipality a year prior to election?’ That’s a pretty straight-up fact question.”

However, Jim Allen with the Chicago Board of Elections disagrees, and says if a candidate maintains a residence and voter registration, then he’ll pass muster. And Ron Michaelson, the former Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Elections, agrees with Allen

“Intent goes a long way in determining where one’s residency actually is,” he said.

Michaelson also noted that in these types of residency laws, the benefit of the doubt is usually given to the individual claiming intent.

* Roundup…

* Del Valle: No Money from Connected Donors

* Dart close to signing Joe Trippi as mayor campaign adviser

* Daley has nice words for Gery Chico in mayor’s race

* Emanuel to kick off mayoral campaign with city “listening tour”

* Emanuel Has a Campaign Manager [No name listed in story, but the author claims Emanuel is “a campaigner of mythical status”]

* Sneed: Out of the gate The Rahm run . . .

* Emanuel White House departure for mayor’s race likely to come Friday

* Emanuel faces hurdles if coming home to Chicago

* Rahm Emanuel no friend on immigration

* Rahm Snags Chicago Apartment

* Fioretti Makes Campaign for Mayor ‘Public’

* Mayoral race: Ald. Fioretti in, Ald. Waguespack out

* McQueary: Assessor’s race: Looking for love, coming up short

* Kadner: Berrios a minority of a different sort

* VIDEO: 90% of Tax Reductions Go to Berrios Donors

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


Question of the day

Thursday, Sep 30, 2010

* The Highway Loss Data Institute released a study this week that claims state bans on texting while driving don’t work. Jamey Dunn fills us in

The institute compared insurance claims data with stats from before and after the bans, as well as with those of neighboring states that did not have bans. Researchers also considered other factors that can affect collision rates, such as seasonal changes in traffic. The instance of collisions did not go down in any of the states; in fact, it went up a small amount in three of the four states studied. The largest increase was 9 percent in Minnesota. According to the study: “If the goal of texting and cell phone bans is the reduction of crash risk, then the bans have so far been ineffective.”

And I can attest to this…

From the report: “This unexpected consequence of banning texting suggests that texting drivers have responded to the law perhaps by attempting to avoid fines by hiding their phones from view. If this causes them to take their eyes off the road more than before the ban, then the bans may make texting more dangerous rather than eliminating it.”

I’ve held my iPhone down low when looking up phone numbers because I didn’t want to get busted for texting, even though I wasn’t texting. I stopped doing that when I realized what an idiot I was being.

* So, what to do? Ban cellphone usage entirely? Rep. John D’Amico, a sponsor of the Illinois texting ban, says that’s a way to go…

D’Amico said a ban on using cell phones while driving would be a better solution. Illinois currently bans drivers from talking on phones in school and construction zones. He compared a possible ban to laws against driving while intoxicated, which have become more strictly enforced, causing the drunken driving to elicit more of a social stigma than it did in past decades. He said people will eventually see using a cell phone the way people see driving drunk now, and will say: “‘Boy I can’t believe we used to be allowed to do that.’”

But the Institute says that won’t help much, either…

Fleming said another study from the institute found hands-free options to be just as dangerous as standard cell phones. However, the same study also found cell phone bans to be ineffective in cutting accidents. Fleming acknowledges that such results are disappointing to those interested in improving driver safety. But, she said, if police can find better ways to catch violators in the act of texting or talking on the phone, bans could help make roads safer.

* Mobile phone usage while driving is potentially very dangerous, however...

A Virginia Tech study last year found that among truckers, dialing a cell phone made a driver 5.9 times more likely to cause an accident, while text messaging increased the likelihood 23.2 times.

* The Question: Should the state ban cellphone usage while driving? Period. Not just mandate hands-free use, but ban it entirely. Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      


Not much “there” there

Thursday, Sep 30, 2010

* While written in a way that implies quite a bit, there’s a serious hole in today’s Tribune story

[Gov. Pat Quinn} has received political contributions connected to at least 77 of the people he has chosen for state task forces, agencies, boards or commissions since he became governor in January 2009, according to a Tribune review of public records. At least 20 of the donations from the appointees, their families or their businesses came within two months of the appointment.

We know via the story that three of those contributions were rather large. But we don’t know how big the rest of them were. We don’t even know their average size. $100? $500? $10,000? The Tribune doesn’t tell us, except to say that “many” are under the $25K asking price that Rod Blagojevich had set. They don’t define “many.” And until they tell us, I don’t think we should jump to any conclusions here.

* And of those four examples they gave? The first one was from the father of Mariyana Spyropoulos. Quinn supported her more than two years ago for MWRD. She lost the race, applied for an opening, Quinn gave her the appointment. Shortly before this year’s primary, when Quinn was literally desperate for money, her father contributed $25,000, then another $25,000 after the primary. She kicked in $1K.

While it doesn’t look great, Quinn appears to have known the father for quite a while, and dined with him twice in Copenhagen during the city’s Olympics bid.

Another appointee, William Brandt Jr., is described as a “high school chum” of Quinn’s. People with decent piles of cash often go in heavy for their oldest friends. No surprise The other is Steven Gilford, who worked with Quinn in the Walker administration.

* The last example shows you how much of a stretch some of these “connections” may be…

For an appointment to the Executive Ethics Commission, Quinn needed a Republican because state law required a degree of balance among political parties. He turned to retired Pinckneyville attorney Gayl Pyatt, a former member of the Illinois Gaming Board.

The job comes with a $37,571 annual salary and a ban on political activity. Quinn appointed Pyatt in October. Her husband, Richard, a retired funeral director, gave $500 to Quinn in November.

Gayl Pyatt said the “contribution was made because a very, very good friend” of her family held a fundraiser for the governor. If not, Pyatt said, “that check would never have been written.”

$500? Really? Move along. Nothing to see there.

…Adding… From a commenter…

Also, could the brain trust at the Trib let us know how many of those 77 received appointments to boards that PAY? Most don’t, as I recall.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


PPP: Brady up by seven, Topinka ahead by 20 and Rutherford up by 8

Thursday, Sep 30, 2010

* Two publicly released polls in two days showing a single digit governor’s race. Something’s up. Subscribers know one theory. From Public Policy Polling

Bill Brady continues to lead the Illinois Governor’s race but Pat Quinn’s pulling a little closer, trailing 42-35 in PPP’s newest survey of the race. Independent Scott Lee Cohen gets 6%, Green Party candidate Rich Whitney is at 4%, and Libertarian Lex Green is at 2%.

Quinn’s doing better than he was in an August PPP poll, when he trailed by 9, largely because of an improved standing with independents. He continues to trail Brady 39-27 with them, but that’s a significant improvement from his 25 point deficit in the last poll. Quinn is incredibly unpopular with independent voters, at an 18/67 approval spread. But those voters don’t like Brady either, viewing him negatively 32/38.

It’s amazing that Quinn’s still in this given his continuing incredible unpopularity. 60% of voters in the state now disapprove of the job he’s doing to only 24% who are happy with it. In addition to those dreadful numbers with independents only 6% of Republicans think he’s doing a good job and even with Democrats he’s at just a 42/38 spread. But he’s fortunate that GOP voters nominated a very weak candidate themselves. Only 36% of folks in Illinois see Brady in a favorable light while 44% have a negative opinion of him.

The two biggest things to watch in this race over the final five weeks are the undecideds and the 10% of voters currently leaning either toward Cohen or Whitney.

The undecideds are an overwhelmingly Democratic bunch. 67% voted for Barack Obama while only 20% supported John McCain. They’re planning to vote Democratic for Congress by a 44-17 margin this fall. They’re supporting Alexi Giannoulias by a 21 point margin over Mark Kirk. But they don’t like Pat Quinn- only 14% of them approve of him with 42% disapproving. Whether their Democratic loyalties outweigh their dislike of Quinn in the end may determine whether he can still pull out this race despite his very poor personal numbers.

The folks supporting Cohen or Whitney right now are also a Democratic leaning bunch. 52% voted for Obama to only 32% who supported McCain. They’re planning to vote Democratic for Congress by a 43-28 margin. But they really hate Quinn- 4% approve of him and 83% disapprove of him.

If you allocate all of the undecideds who voted for Obama to Quinn and the ones who voted for McCain to Brady, the Brady lead shrinks to 44-43. My guess is that most of the undecideds will indeed end up in the Quinn camp and make this a much closer race. Quinn’s path with the Whitney and Cohen voters is tougher though and he needs to hope those folks’ dislike of him isn’t so strong that they’ll go so far as to vote for Brady to get him out.

This is a pretty fascinating race.

Yes, it is. That undecided info is also quite interesting. The question is whether the Democrats can keep them moving their way and then turn those people out. From the company’s president…

“Things are starting to look a little more encouraging for Pat Quinn than they did earlier in the summer,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “He remains personally unpopular but the minor candidates are starting to pick up some of the anti-Quinn instead of it all going to Brady.”

That can happen in a multi-candidate race. You slam the other guy, but those voters don’t automatically go to you if they have other options. It’s the biggest reason why Rich Whitney scored 10 percent four years ago.

* Methodology…

PPP surveyed 470 likely Illinois voters from September 23 to 26. The survey’s margin of error is +/-4.5%.

* Crosstabs are here.

* Meanwhile, the pollster also had some very good news for Republicans Judy Baar Topinka and Dan Rutherford

Notice, however, that they didn’t poll the two third-party candidates. Not good.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


Morning Shorts

Thursday, Sep 30, 2010

* Home prices to take hit next year in many markets

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city index released Tuesday ticked up in July from June. But the gain is merely temporary, analysts say. They see home values taking a dive in many major markets well into next year.

That’s because the peak home-buying season is now ending after a dismal summer. The hardest-hit markets, already battered by foreclosures, are bracing for a bigger wave of homes sold at foreclosure or through short sales. A short sale is when a lender lets a homeowner sell for less than the mortgage is worth.

Add high unemployment and reluctant buyers, and the outlook in many areas is bleak. Nationally, home values are projected to fall 2.2 percent in the second half of the year, according to analysts surveyed by MacroMarkets LLC. And Moody’s Analytics predicts the Case-Shiller index will drop 8 percent within a year.

* Index Shows Increase in Housing Prices

* Mortgage companies may be contributing to delinquencies in foreclosure rates

Despite the passage last year of the federal Home Affordable Modification Program, foreclosure filings in Chicago’s six-county region rose 38 percent from the first half of 2009 to the first half of 2010, according to data from the Woodstock Institute, which tracks foreclosure activity in the region.

The program, part of President Obama’s comprehensive plan to address the housing crisis and restore economic stability, helps struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure by reducing their monthly mortgage payments.

Among other criteria, eligible candidates must have a monthly mortgage payment greater than 31 percent of their gross monthly income and have suffered a loss of income that prevents them from making payments.

But Katie Buitrago, policy communications associate for the institute, said actual delinquency is not a requirement.

* Marin: Feel Safer? Thanks to Cook County government, you’re not

* Chicago’s uninsured ahead of national average

There were more than 550,000 uninsured people — or 19.7 percent of the population — in the city of Chicago last year, according to the bureau’s American Community Survey. In Illinois, nearly 1.7 million people, or 13 percent of the state’s population, did not have insurance.

Nationally, there were 50.7 million uninsured residents, or 16.7 percent of the population, according to the data.

* Joliet Census data shows bump in population, steady poverty levels

Despite a 24 percent spike in the number of people below the poverty level statewide over the past 10 years, Joliet’s numbers remained steady over the years between 10 and 13 percent. In 2009, the number of people in poverty was 11 percent.

However, Joliet’s median household income did dip slightly from $61,061 in 2008 to $53,687 in 2009, likely due to an increase in unemployment.

* Median household income in Peoria County drops 7.8 percent

* State’s Attorney calls for probe into delinquent tax sale auctions in Madison County

Mudge’s request follows by two days the publication of a News-Democrat investigation, which showed that Bathon took in about $140,000 in campaign donations from investors who bought delinquent property tax debts.

Those investors were routinely allowed to buy property owners’ tax debts at an 18 percent penalty rate — the maximum allowed under state law. The investors took in up to $200,000 apiece in penalties for some years.

“State law affords county treasurers wide latitude on how to conduct these sales,” Mudge wrote. “However, I believe an independent review is in order in light of the recent concerns expressed about these former practices.”

Mudge, a Democrat, added: “Everyone should be careful not to politicize this exercise during a campaign season. These authorities are aware of the situation, and I am confident that they will conduct a fair, independent and proper review.”

* Investigation: Tax auctions look ‘like government-sponsored loan-sharking’

* Tax buyers, politicians benefit from tax sales

* Madison County Republicans call for investigation

* Madison County Democrats fire back on tax sale

* News-Democrat: What’s really up for auction?

* LORIMOR: Timing is right to push for southern Illinois MSA

Despite it being one of the larger communities south of Springfield, Carbondale and its surrounding area is not within one of those designated areas. That’s not uncommon, but most of the land within Illinois’ borders east of Interstate 55 and south of Interstate 72 is also outside of an MSA. That means communities such as Charleston-Mattoon, Effingham, Mount Vernon, Marion and, of course, Carbondale can be easily overlooked in government reports.

Seems like quite a blind spot, especially when talking about a region that relies heavily on government programs to get by.

* Unemployment Figures Improve in Some Counties

Franklin County dropped 1.4%, but is still ranked 3rd highest statewide.

Hardin County remained the same at 12.3 unemployed. Perry County dropped from 12.5% to 11.8% And Saline County is out of double digits now at 9.9% from last year’s 11.2%.

* Cook County Property Tax Bills Out Late This Year

Different officials are blaming each other for why the bills are going out late. But regardless of who’s to blame, Blue Island Mayor Don Peloquin says his city will be hurt by the late payments.

* Conrad Black asks judge to toss conviction

* Judge Posner: Conrad Black’s crimes ‘old-fashioned fraud’

* Demonstrators call for jobs program funding

* Some progress on Metra watchdog

Metra officials said they also want an independent watchdog but prefer someone picked by the Regional Transportation Authority, which has oversight of the three transit agencies in the region. Another option is an IG named by the people who appoint the Metra board of directors, who include the Chicago mayor, the chairman of the DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will County Boards, and Cook County Board members.

* 2011 CTA budget to avoid fee hikes, service cuts

Once again the CTA, which faces almost $7 billion in unfunded capital needs, will reluctantly use capital funds meant for improvements to help balance the day-to-day 2011 operating budget and avoid reducing services again, according to the proposed budget released Wednesday.

* CTA bus driver OT soars since layoffs

* Lehner: A Metra rider’s lament

* Pedestrians face local fines for ignoring train signals, crossing tracks

* Milbank: The power of Jarrett

Certainly, Jarrett fills an important role for Obama: She has deep and personal ties to the president, as well as undivided loyalties, and can talk honestly to him on a first-name basis. But current and former White House officials I spoke with raised questions about Jarrett’s effectiveness and judgment.

* Daley on Olympics: “It’s all about money”

* Southtown Star: Commissioners now free to just tweet it. But why?

* Aurora seeks to slash payroll costs

With a projected $18 million deficit looming for 2011, the city has once again offered its employees the chance to voluntarily leave city service, with incentives.

For those who stay, the city is requiring each employee to give up 10 percent of their salary. That money can come from wages or benefits. Chief Management Officer Carie Anne Ergo said that however it’s done, the city is seeking a total of $8.4 million in savings.

That amount, Ergo said, would minimize upcoming layoffs, but not prevent them.

* Mt. Prospect offers buyouts to avoid layoffs

* Carol Stream mayor defends red-light cameras

* Orland Square Mall tax objection could take more than 18 months to resolve

* I-Team Report: Cicero’s Super Car

* Tazewell County adjusts health plans

* Veterans Home receives second round of funding for construction projects

* Champaign schools budget shows deficit

* Grafton City Council to vote for annexation

* Vote fraud, tax trial resumes for former East St. Louis councilman

Prosecutors allege that Collins lived at 4382 Redfield in Swansea but voted from 22 Loisel Drive in East St. Louis in an election in which a federal candidate was on the ballot. Collins is accused of using the Loisel address to get work in and around East St. Louis and to be the Democratic committeeman in Precinct 26.

* Judge allows former ESL councilman limited mobility until sentencing

* Fairview Heights Mayor says council has formed voting blocs that harm city

* Tea Party to host rally Saturday in O’Fallon

* New Mayor in West Frankfort

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   2 Comments      


Morning Videos: Brady on property taxes, Hudzik and Thomas on the debate, WGN on Giannoulias and a repost of Quinn’s new TV ads

Thursday, Sep 30, 2010

* Yesterday, Gov. Pat Quinn claimed during the debate that Bill Brady had admitted his budget cutting plan for schools would raise local property taxes. Reporters asked him about his remarks after the debate and Quinn referred to a comment made by Brady at the State Fair. We posted that video back then. Here’s the relevant excerpt


Eric Zorn provides us with a transcript

REPORTER: How do you cut 10 percent out of school budgets or education money and not fire people?

BRADY: The local school districts will make those decisions.

REPORTER: And where do they get the money?

BRADY: Maybe they’ll have to forego some pay raises

REPORTER: Is that enough? If they’re getting 10 percent less money?

BRADY: We’re trying to drill down and see what the average pay raises are within those those things. So maybe they’ll have to make some decisions like the private sector’s made.

REPORTER: Like raising property taxes

BRADY: No

REPORTER: So less money for schools, but no layoffs but no property tax increases for them to operate?

BRADY: Well, there are some natural property tax increases that will go into effect. I mean, if you drill down to education funding the state of Illinois provides less than a third, OK? So that would be a cut of less than 2.5 percent by what we defined as our budget. I think if you look at pay raises and you look at some other things, there are various options at the local level. I will ask them to be responsible as we have to be.

* WBEZ political reporter Sam Hudzik provided his take of the debate yesterday. You can go to WBEZ’s website or watch the YouTube clip I made


* And here is the ABC7 report on the debate from Charles Thomas


* Lots more debate videos and a full news roundup were posted yesterday, in case you missed them.

* MSNBC asked Alexi Giannoulias yesterday about the Tribune’s latest story. WGN ran an excerpt from his appearance in New York and had some more analysis. Watch

 

* I posted Gov. Quinn’s new campaign ads yesterday, but they were both posted late so not all of you may have seen them. Here’s the positive ad


And Quinn’s negative ad


- Posted by Rich Miller   57 Comments      


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Thursday, Sep 30, 2010

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Quinn also has a new negative ad

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

* Bill Brady is hit again in Gov. Pat Quinn’s latest TV ad for being a “millionaire politician who somehow didn’t pay any federal income taxes.” But the big kicker here is that Quinn claims Bill Brady’s “plan” would “throw 128,000 Illinois people out of work,” and add a billion dollars to the deficit by “giving tax breaks to the wealthy.” He’s “wrong and reckless,” the ad claims.

Rate it


The 128,000 figure comes from a report by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability last year

If the state were to close its $4 billion to $9 billion budget deficit by cutting spending, it could cause the state’s economy to lose anywhere from 56,893 to 128,008 jobs, thereby worsening the recession and the state’s unemployment rate.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      


Quinn unveils positive ad

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

* I mentioned this new ad to subscribers today. Rate it


The ad features Mayor Daley, so I’m guessing this is Chicago only. It also features President Obama.

…Adding… Here are a few more videos for your perusal this evening.

* Gov. Quinn talks to reporters after the debate.

* Bill Brady talks to reporters after today’s debate.

* Gov. Pat Quinn announces extension of jobs program


* Rep. Susana Mendoza is gearing up for her run for city clerk


Related story

Watch for State Rep. Susana Mendoza and Ald. Ed Burke to target the latest physical assault weapon: Sulfuric acid.

• Burke’s law: Ald. Burke, who helped ban the sale of spray paint cans in Chicago — which had been used for graffiti desecrating city buildings — plans to introduce a city ordinance restricting and/or banning the sale of sulfuric acid. “I can’t think of any good reason why these chemicals should be readily available for purchase,” he told Sneed. “Clearly it’s as dangerous as knives and guns.”

• Mendoza’s message: Watch for Mendoza (D-Chicago), who is running for city clerk, to introduce legislation creating a “separate enhanced penalty” for using acid as a weapon and restricting its access. “It’s easy to buy . . . and victims of this crime feel they are living death in life,” she told Sneed. “They feel their disfigurement will discriminate against them in the workplace; specifically in upfront jobs. By the way, I just met acid victim Esperanza Medina, who is a magnificent person with a great attitude.”

• Sneed’s query: So would Mendoza hire Medina in an upfront job if she becomes city clerk? “Absolutely,” she said. “Just watch me.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


Poll: Two-point race for governor? Giannoulias ahead?

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

* CNN/TIME’s new poll of likely voters shows a very close race for governor

…40 percent of likely voters back state senator Bill Brady, the GOP nominee, with 38 percent backing Gov. Pat Quinn, the Democrat’s nominee.

Fourteen percent support independent Scott Lee Cohen, while four percent support Green Party candidate Rich Whitney.

The crosstabs have Cohen scoring 16 percent of Democrats, 19 percent of independents and 6 percent of Republicans. They also have Quinn beating Bill Brady in Cook County 49-26 (with a whopping 17 percent going to Cohen), losing in the collars 53-25 (12 percent for Cohen) and losing Downstate 45-33 (15 percent for Cohen). Unlike other recent polling, Quinn is leading among women.

Weird.

* The poll also has Giannoulias ahead in the Senate race

Forty-three percent of likely voters questioned in the poll say they back Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the Democrat’s Senate nominee, while 42 percent support Rep. Mark Kirk, the Republican standard-bearer.

Eight percent back Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones, while another four percent remain undecided.

Other polls of likely voters conducted this month also indicate the race is a dead heat.

“The key to this race may be Jones, whose support among liberals and independents is in double digits. Since 13 percent of the independents are currently opting for Jones, Kirk has a 16-point lead among that group,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

* Methodology…

The CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted September 24-28, with 1,504 adults, including 1,360 registered voters in Illinois and 828 likely voters, questioned by telephone.

The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for registered voters and plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for likely voters.

Anybody wanna take a crack at this one?

- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      


An easier way to watch today’s debate, or banjo players

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

* A reader loaded the Bill Brady vs. Pat Quinn debate onto his Vimeo account. The YouTube process was just taking too long. Watch it

* Progress Illinois has posted some handy snippets. Here’s Brady talking about being the “jobs governor“…

* Gov. Quinn attacks Brady for living in a “pretend world” which “doesn’t exist” regarding his budget ideas

* The governor blasted Brady for being a “career politician” in Springfield 17 years over and over again during the debate, including in this clip “Perish the thought if he was ever governor,” Quinn said of Brady

* And if you’re already tired of the debate, try watching Eric Zorn and Sheila Simon play “Old Joe Clark” on the banjo


* Coverage roundup…

* AP: Quotes From Gubernatorial Debate

* AP: Brady, Quinn trade barbs about economy at debate

* WBEZ: Sharp Differences Between Quinn, Brady in First Debate: QUINN: Last time I checked people in Illinois pay a lot of that money to get federal government in taxes. And we’re entitled to get some of that money back.

* Tribune: Brady, Quinn lash out at each other at Chicago forum

* Sun-Times: Gov. Quinn at debate: Brady ‘doesn’t have a heart’

* Progress Illinois: Job Creation Dominates First Guv Debate: Quinn wasted few opportunities to bash Brady for that tax platform, which he said would help “multi-millionaires” and Brady’s “friends.” He also called Brady out for his failure to produce a detailed budget plan, a criticism the Republican has faced for months. “We’ve got to have someone with common sense,” Quinn quipped, “not nonsense.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


Alexi Giannoulias’ ever-changing story changes yet again

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

* The AP sums up today’s big Tribune story

Alexi Giannoulias tells voters he left his family bank in 2005, but he got a major tax break by telling the IRS he continued working at the bank the next year. […]

By telling the IRS he worked at least 500 hours in 2006, Giannoulias qualified for a $2.7 million income tax deduction.

That $2.7 million was his reported business loss. He ended up getting $30,000 in tax refunds, which wiped out his income tax liabilities for the year.

* Anyway, on to the Tribune story

Saying he left in 2005 gives Giannoulias maximum distance from the bank’s questionable lending practices, the April takeover by federal regulators and other controversies such as a loan by the bank to convicted influence peddler Antoin “Tony” Rezko in early 2006.

But by reporting that he worked at least 500 hours at Broadway in 2006, Giannoulias was able to get a break that helped him avoid paying federal income tax for 2009.

Giannoulias said he has been clear that he left the “day-to-day” operations of the bank in September 2005 to prepare his first run for public office, but was on paid leave until May 2006 when he left completely to campaign full time for treasurer.

That 2006 work consisted of roughly 30 hours a week closing out his responsibilities before quitting as a bank officer, and didn’t involve making new loans, Giannoulias explained in a recent interview. It was more than enough to qualify him for the tax break, he said.

IRS regulations allow taxpayers to deduct business losses from certain types of corporations if they’ve logged significant hours there for five of the last 10 years. Giannoulias started at the bank in 2002, so working at least 500 hours in 2006 qualifies Giannoulias for the tax break.

As the article points out, Giannoulias’ campaign has been claiming he took a paid leave of absence in September of 2005. But a guy taking a paid leave worked 30 hours a week? That’s some raw deal.

Of course, when he was running for treasurer Giannoulias said in December, 2005 that he “currently serves as vice president and senior loan officer at the four-branch Broadway Bank in Chicago.” In March of 2006, he said this about his position at the bank: “I’m senior loan officer and vice president.”

First, he was a bigtime banker in 2005-06. Then he was on a paid leave of absence. And then we find out he told the IRS he worked 30 hours a week through May of 2006. He did mention that month back in September of 2006 when he was interviewed by the American Banker magazine…

He left his job at Broadway in May to focus on his campaign.

Focus on his campaign? His real campaign was the primary that year. He stomped a woefully under-funded Christine Radogno by 432,000 votes in November.

My head is spinning from all these story changes.

Hint to Alexi: Try telling the truth from the beginning and then sticking with it. That’s a whole lot easier.

* Campaign roundup…

* U.S. House: Don’t Penalize Illinois For Ethics Reform

* Quinn Pushing Equal Pay

* The Rhubarb Patch: Quinn v. Brady; judging the imperfects

* Pantagraph: Time running out; be sure you are able to vote

* PJ Star: Make candidates for top government posts public

* GOP Hopes to Win Big in Illinois, Wisconsin

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      


Two Democrats, two different NRA endorsements

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

* Gun control activist Jim Brady released a humorous statement today about the NRA’s endorsement of state Sen. Bill Brady for governor…

“Some years ago I had to parachute into Illinois and set the record straight when a candidate for the United States Senate said I was once in the business of selling machine guns. Now I’ve got to get involved in an Illinois political race again, because of some other guy named Brady.

“He’s probably a distant cousin of some kind, and if he is, he’s surely the black sheep of the family. Because no Brady in his right mind would be against keeping AK-47s off the streets and against restricting guns near schools. This ’shady Brady’ shouldn’t be in charge of Illinois gun laws, much less in charge of the great state of Illinois.

“If the voters in Illinois feel compelled to vote for an Irishman, then Pat Quinn’s the right candidate for them. I think he’s a cousin of mine, too.”

They’ve also set up a website documenting Bill Brady’s pro-gun voting record. The “anti-gunners” are pledging to push this story into the media bloodstream, but it’s so far been all but ignored. With everything else going on in Chicago, the news hole is pretty darned small these days. Editors want Rahmbo stories, not policy stories about a governor’s race that looks to be pretty darned lopsided.

* But another Democratic candidate is embracing the NRA

The political arm of the National Rifle Association on Tuesday endorsed Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson in a hotly contested southwest suburban congressional race.

The gun rights group chose the freshman congresswoman over her Republican challenger, Adam Kinzinger, an Air Force captain.

The NRA’s Political Victory Fund touted Halvorson’s record, including a vote she took in favor of an amendment that would allow permit holders to carry concealed weapons in national parks and wildlife refuges.

For Halvorson, the endorsement was welcome news as she seeks re-election following a recent overhaul of her campaign team.

* Ironically, Halvorson’s recent TV ad got major props from liberal pro gun-control MSNBC host Rachel Maddow last night. Pretty unwatchable, but go ahead if you must. And her Republican opponent whacked her today for a fundraiser with Speaker Nancy Pelosi…

On Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have breakfast with DC lobbyists at a Washington, DC bistro to raise money for Debbie Halvorson, a loyal Pelosi ally. Halvorson has supported every major facet of Pelosi’s agenda including votes in favor of the massive government healthcare bill, the jobless Stimulus bill, cap and trade energy tax and policies that have led to record deficits. It is not surprising that Pelosi would host an event for a loyal follower like Halvorson, but it serves as a reminder of with whom exactly Debbie Halvorson sides and where her loyalty lays.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


Question of the day

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

* The setup

Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker, was at the [Union League Club] Thursday to help raise funds for Adam Kinzinger, the Republican challenging U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson of the 11th District.

A few doors down, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was holding court at a party to raise funds for Illinois Democratic candidates.

When former Gov. Jim Thompson, attending the GOP affair, heard his friend Mr. Madigan was nearby, he pulled him out of the Democrats’ party to introduce him to Mr. Gingrich.

The men shook hands and shared a laugh, a club spokesman told me for my Taking Names column

* The Question: Unfortunately, we don’t have a photograph of Gingrich and Madigan shaking hands. So, you’ll have to just use your imagination. Caption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Jobs, jobs, jobs

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

* Scott Lee Cohen’s job fairs got some coverage by NBC5 today

The indy candidate is sticking with a formula that helped him win the Lieutenant Governor nomination in February — before he resigned from the ticket — by hosting job fairs like the one today.

He used today’s opportunity to announce yet another job fair for October 5 in Rockford, Illinois.

* I’ve been wondering what sort of jobs were available at Cohen’s fairs. Turns out, he has a Twitter page called Cohen Job Fairs.

According to that site, employers at the fairs include Mary Kay Inc, Blue Heron Partners, Arbonne International, EXIT Realty, PLS loan store and Syclo LLC.

You already know what Mary Kay is. Home-based sales. This is from Blue Heron Partners’ website

We are looking for sharp, driven, entrepreneurial minded, individuals who are in search of an exciting, dynamic career participating in and assisting others to achieve exceptional wealth objectives in the most profitable Real Estate Investment market in the history of the United States.

Ummm. OK.

Arbonne International

You have a unique opportunity to become an Arbonne Host and earn exclusive rewards when you gather friends together to learn about Arbonne and experience our botanically based products. You and friends will have fun learning and shopping for products, and the more everyone shops, the more rewards you earn!

EXIT Realty appears to base its pay on who you bring in to the company.

Cohen left out a word in one of the names. It’s actually called PLS Payday Loan Store. Etc.

I hope people weren’t expecting real jobs at these fairs.

*** UPDATE *** My parents just received a mailer from Cohen’s campaign about his job fairs. Click here to see the front.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Speaking of jobs, this came up in the gubernatorial debate today

Despite the state’s financial woes, Gov. Pat Quinn [yesterday] said he would pump about $75 million into a jobs program to keep it alive through the end of November.

The move allows Quinn to get through the Nov. 2 election without outcries about a potential collapse of the Put Illinois to Work program that places trainees in jobs with multiple companies, typically at $10 an hour.

Quinn said the state cash would serve as a bridge until Congress can send federal funds, which expire Sept. 30. The governor said he would use the broad authority lawmakers gave him to pay for the extension from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30.

Quinn said he did not want people in the program to lose jobs while waiting for federal money. In some cases, workers had suffered because paychecks had been slowed down due to various glitches.

* And even Jason Plummer got into the act in Southern Illinois

[Plummer] said that Illinois needs to focus on bringing business back to the state. Plummer said there is little incentive for businesses to start or continue in Illinois.

“The private sector has been cannibalized,” Plummer said.

* And now for the bad news

The new American Community Survey data from the Census is out, and it is not a pretty picture.

The Great Recession is being displayed in the numbers. Here are some initial statistics that demonstrate the hardship in Illinois:

* The Illinois poverty rate rose 24% from 1999 to 2009. In 2009 the poverty rate in Illinois was 13.3%, up from 12.2% in 2008 and 10.7% in 1999.

* Number in Poverty in 2009: 1,677,093, up from 1,532,238 in 2008, and 1,291,958 in 1999.

* Extreme Poverty Rate in 2009: 6.0% which rose from 5.4% in 2008, and from 5.1% in 1999.

* There was unconscionable growth in the number living in extreme poverty (below half of the poverty line) in Illinois in 2009: 759,761 which rose from 680,013 in 2008, and from 619,240 in 1999.

* The downward trajectory in median household income continues in Illinois: Illinois median household income in 2009: $53,966 which declined from $56,022 in 2008, and from $59,975 in 1999.

* Over 581,000 children (18.6%) in Illinois are living below the poverty line – significantly higher than a decade ago (443,296).

* Well over 2 million Illinoisans (2,128,485) are now considered low income in Illinois – almost 17% of our state’s population (16.9%).

Oof.

* Roundup…

* Tax amnesty program starts Friday

* Illinois jobs program extended for two months

* Impatient Quinn will use state money to extend job subsidy for thousands, on eve of election

* Poverty rises slightly in Chicago area: Every county in the Chicago area except Kendall experienced slightly increased poverty rates during the four-year period, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Cook County’s rate was 15.9 percent in 2009, up from 14.8 percent in 2008 and 15.3 in 2006.

* Sangamon County poverty rate at highest in three decades, Census data show

* Brady says he’ll run Illinois ‘like a business’

* Whitney wants free higher education

* Small businesses, schools, health care top issues at Asian-American candidate forum

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


GOP poll has Hare behind; PPP poll has Kirk up by four, Obama upside down

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

* As I told subscribers the other day, I was polled on the 17th Congressional District race this week by The Tarrance Group, which is a GOP pollster. Expect the GOP to jump in with both feet now

Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL), viewed in strong shape at the beginning of the year, now looks to be ins serious trouble, trailing his Republican challenger by one point. […]

Hare trails businessman Bobby Schilling (R) 44% to 43% in a Tarrance Group survey that was conducted Sept. 23-25. When asked if Hare deserved re-election or if it was time for someone else, just 35% of respondents [said] he should be re-elected.

Hare’s own polling has showed this to be a super-close race for a while, so this is no surprise. And the DCCC is now helping Hare

The DCCC has reserved at least $200,000 worth of television time in the Quad-Cities. The Washington Post says it has also reserved time in the Springfield/Decatur market.

No ad is posted yet at the DCCC’s YouTube site. Stay tuned.

* There’s not a lot of news in the latest Senate numbers. Public Policy Polling’s fresh US Senate poll has Mark Kirk leading Alexi Giannoulias by four points. Unlike others, PPP actually included both third party candidates that have made it to the ballot. The crosstabs are here. From the pollster

The Illinois Senate race continues to be very close, but because Mark Kirk is doing a better job of consolidating his base than Alexi Giannoulias is he’s taken a small lead after trailing by 2 points on PPP’s previous two polls of the race. Kirk is ahead 40-36 with Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones at 8% and Libertarian Mike Labno geting 3%.

Our August poll found Kirk winning 74% of Republicans and Giannoulias getting 72% of Democrats. Now Kirk has expanded his support from his own party to 79% while Giannoulias’ support from his has declined to 68%. Kirk is getting 9% of the Democratic vote while only 2% of Republicans are planning to vote for Giannoulias. Kirk’s double digit lead with independents persists at 41-27.

This continues to be a race between two deeply unpopular candidates. Giannoulias’ favorability is 33/48 and Kirk’s isn’t much better at 33/47. 16% of voters have a negative opinion of both candidates and Kirk leads Giannoulias 35-16 with them, accounting for most of his overall lead. For many swing voters this is going to come down to choosing who they see as the lesser of two evils and right now Kirk is winning that vote.

A big factor to watch moving forward is whether Jones, the Green Party candidate, can maintain his support in the final 5 weeks as it becomes more clear that votes for him could push this race into the Republican column. On one hand Jones’ voters strongly dislike Giannoulias- 56% see him unfavorably to only 21% with a positive opinion. On the other hand they are a strongly Democratic leaning lot with 65% of them having voted for Barack Obama to only 28% who were McCain voters. If Jones fades Giannoulias will gain but if his support remains steady that’s going to be a big plus for Kirk.

Another factor that could result in the race tightening further as voters more firmly make up their minds is that 46% of the undecideds are Democrats compared to 27% who are Republicans and 27% who are independents. If those folks end up ‘coming home,’ that will move Giannoulias even closer.

This continues to be one of the closest- and depressing- Senate races in the country. Only 39% of voters say they’re excited about who they’re voting for with 45% saying they wish someone else was running. This is one race where you may end up seeing an enthusiasm gap on both sides.

* Methodology…

PPP surveyed 470 likely Illinois voters from September 23rd to 26th. The survey’s margin of error is +/-4.5%.

* As I told subscribers this morning, PPP also found that President Obama is upside down in his home state

Barack Obama’s approval numbers have dropped into negative territory even with likely voters in his home state. 44% approve of the job he’s doing while 49% say they disapprove.

Obama’s home state approval numbers had before avoided some of the trends dragging down his numbers in other states but that’s no longer the case. Independents strongly disapprove of him with just 35% feeling he’s doing a good job to 57% unhappy. Whatever support he may have maintained with Republicans has now evaporated, with only 3% of them approving of him. And although his 80/12 spread with Democrats is still pretty solid it’s not what it had been previously.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


Who really is this guy and where does he live?

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

* We’ve talked before about Republican congressional candidate Bob Dold’s problems with Internet tomfoolery and appearing to hide his perhaps “true” conservative side from 10th District voters. Yesterday, this briefly appeared on Dold’s Facebook site

I noticed it yesterday before the Dold campaign deleted the post. It originally linked to this Hotline story

The list of House races that could pose problems for Democrats this November is getting longer by the day, as leaders of the Tea Party-affiliated PAC FreedomWorks unleash a host of last-minute endorsements to “push the boundary of the competitive field.” […]

On Monday, FreedomWorks announced its support of Republicans Jeff Perry in the “lean Democrat” MA 10; Adam Kinzinger (IL 11), Andy Harris (MD 01), Brad Zaun (IA 03) and Todd Young (IN 09) in “Democratic toss-up” districts; and Robert Dold in the IL 10 “Republican toss-up” district.

Like I said, it’s gone now, but you can still see it at Right Nation 2010’s Facebook site. FreedomWorks is run by Dick Armey, a longtime Republican congressman/lobbyist who now touts himself as “the unofficial leader of the anti-Washington Tea Party movement.”

* The Sun-Times looked at some of the history of Dold’s game of hide the ball today

First came the Illinois Federation for the Right to Life and Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum rescinding their testimonials for Dold after the primary election when Dold clarified that he is “pro-choice” on abortion.

Then Conservative Magazine of Illinois reported in a voter guide that Dold’s “campaign asks that he not be rated highly by our voter guide [indicating that he wishes to be viewed as moderate.]”

Dold denied he or his campaign begged off a high rating from the magazine.

“I’m pro-choice,” Dold said. “I believe Roe v. Wade should not be overturned. I said that in the primary.”

Dold isn’t sure how he initially got the good reviews from the anti-abortion groups, except that perhaps they agreed with his stands against taxpayer funding of abortion; against partial-birth abortions and in favor of notifying parents when their minor daughters get abortions.

Yep. Stuff just always happens to him. For whatever reasons apparently unknown to Bob Dold, the Right just loves him. Poor guy.

* Meanwhile, the Sun-Times also looked at Dold’s curious residency claims, which have now resulted in at least a cursory look by the Cook County State’s Attorney

What was congressional candidate Bob Dold’s “primary residence” from 2004 to 2006?

He received about $4,000 in tax breaks during those years for claiming a homeowner’s exemption on his house in Chicago’s Roscoe Village neighborhood, according to the Cook County Assessor’s office.

But he voted in every primary and general election in Winnetka, according to the Cook County Clerk’s office. That’s in the North Shore 10th Congressional District where Dold, the Republican nominee, boasts he is a “life-long resident.”

When this apparent discrepancy was called to Cook County Clerk David Orr’s attention Tuesday, his office called the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office to turn over the information.

“When things like this are brought to our attention, we take it very seriously and we forward it to States Attorney’s office for review,” said Orr spokeswoman Courtney Greve.

* Dold repeatedly claims that he is a “lifelong resident” of the 10th District. But partisan blogger Ellen Beth Gill begs to differ. Gill dug up the info on Dold’s Chicago residence, and her further research indicates that Dold hasn’t lived very long in the district since he reached adulthood

It’s probably a safe bet he didn’t commute from IL-10 to Washington, DC while he worked for Bush I and Quayle (per his own Linkedin page 1991-1993) or when he worked for the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee (again per his own Linkedin page from 1997-1999). I found an address for Dold in DC at 5306 Nevada Ave. in the Chevy Chase neighborhood. There are other possible addresses in Alexandria and Arlington, VA.

Dold didn’t attend college or law school in the vicinity of IL-10. He was in the DC area for about 4 years keeping him away through 1999. In 2000-2007, he appears to be in Chicago working in Oak Brook at Exodus Communications from 2000-2003 per Linkedin, and we can absolutely verify those 2 years in which he obtained the homeowner’s exemption 2005 and 2006–which of course does not preclude it in other years. Prior years are not on the Internet.

While it’s likely Dold didn’t live in the district from college to 2007, at the very least, Bob Dold did not live in IL-10 for the years he claimed a homeowners exemption for the Roscoe Village property.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      


*** UPDATED x2 with VIDEO *** Quinn vs. Brady debate is expectedly tough

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

[Comments now closed. Head to our fresh thread.]

* Tough talk today during the first governor’s debate of the season between Pat Quinn and Bill Brady. The other candidates weren’t invited.

Click here to download the raw video file of the debate. This is a very big file, so I hope it doesn’t crash my site. If bad things happen, I’ll have to chop it up and post it on YouTube. [To make it easier to watch, I’m uploading the files to YouTube now. They’ll be ready after lunch.] Many thanks to the folks at Blue Room Stream for the file.

I’ll also be posting stories about the debate as they come in. From the Sun-Times’ take

The people of Illinois “need a governor with a heart - somebody who cares about them,” Quinn said. “Sen. Brady wanted to cut human services 50 percent. He didn’t have a heart then and he doesn’t have a heart now.” But Brady said Quinn’s announcement Tuesday that he was spending $75 million in state money to fund a program that gives 26,000 state residents $10-an-hour jobs now that the federal funding has run out for that program was heartless for the state’s social service providers, who are waiting six months or more to get paid by the state.

“Governor, where¹s the money?” Brady asked. “There is no federal money tied to the $75 million. Those 26,000 jobs should be provided by the public [he meant to say “private”] sector. Our human service providers, you don’t have the money to reimburse them - and they’re having to lay people off. This is a dishonest campaign ploy.” Among the other issues the candidates argued about are whether Quinn really lives at the governor¹s mansion. His predecessor Rod Blagojevich rarely visited the governor¹s mansion. Quinn said he was there Saturday night and he does live there.

“My clothes are at the governor’s mansion - even my underwear are there. I think that establishes residency, doesn’t it?” Quinn said after the debate to chuckles from reporters.

* AP

Quinn accused Brady of “pie in the sky” promises. He says Illinois needs a governor with “common sense not nonsense.”

Brady blamed the “instability” of Quinn’s proposed tax increase for the state’s financial problems.

* NBC5

When asked whether he really resided in Springfield, Quinn replied with extemporaneous aplomb.

“The test is, where do you have your underwear,” Quinn said, before explaining unbidden that his skivvies are located at the state mansion.

*** UPDATE 1 *** The Tribune has a long story. Here’s part of it

Brady also contended it is time to end the “secret deals” like the governor’s agreement with AFSCME, the state’s largest employee union, to avoid layoffs until mid-2012. The deal, which Brady wants Quinn to nix, came within days of Quinn getting the powerful union’s endorsement in the race.

Further Brady lashed out at Quinn over Tuesday’s announcement to pump $75 million to keep alive a jobs program until Congress can act to extend federal funds by November. The federal funds are due to expire this week. Brady said the state money should have been spent on paying down billions of dollars in backlogged state bills.

But Quinn, more than once calling himself the “Jobs Governor,” argued he could not cut a program that has given jobs and hope to as many as 26,000 people in Illinois, part of training program that typically pay $10 an hour to people who otherwise might be unemployed.

Quinn called on the hundreds of people in the audience to consider how he has improved campaign finance laws, reformed pensions and won passage of a major construction program, saying he should be judged by his record and suggesting they should refrain from embracing the platitudes of “fast-talking politicians.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** The Union League Club explains why it didn’t invite Green Party nominee Rich Whitney

Supporters of Green Party candidate Rich Whitney picketed the event with signs reading “Let Rich Debate.”

According to Union League Club Executive Director David Kohn, Whitney was excluded because he hasn’t reached 10 percent in any recent polls.

“The ULCC’s policy for a general election candidate involving statewide offices requires candidates to demonstrate support of at least 10% in an independent , statewide poll conducted in reasonable proximity to the forum,” Kohn said, according to Green Party officials. “As the most recent statewide polls in the Illinois Governor’s race (conducted by Rasmussen Report, September 12; Chicago Tribune , September 3) show Mr. Whitney polling at 4% and 2%, respectively, Mr. Whitney does not meet this criterion and is, therefore, ineligible to participate in the forum.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Morning Shorts

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

* Chicago-area home prices up for fourth straight month

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index of Chicago-area single-family home prices rose 1.0% from June to July and was roughly even with its level in December 2002.

Chicago was among 12 of 20 U.S. cities tracked by Standard & Poor’s where prices rose from June to July, according to a report released Tuesday. An index of the 20 cities rose 0.6% over the same period and was up 3.2% from July 2009.

* Recession by the numbers: More jobless, less traffic

The number of people living below the poverty line in the state rose by nearly 8.5 percent in 2009, or nearly 131,000, to 1.68 million people from 1.55 million in 2008, the report revealed. Some 13.3 percent of residents in the state lived below the poverty level last year, up from 12.3 percent in 2008.

The 2009 poverty level was $21,954 for a family of four. Earlier this month, the bureau reported the poverty rate hit 14.3 percent nationally. Illinois was among 31 states that saw increases in both the number and percentage of people in poverty. In the Chicago area, the poverty rate rose to 12.7 percent from 11.9 percent.

* Marin: More dirt to come under Project Shield

* Burr Oak crime scenes expected to be scanned as condition of sale

Should any human remains turn up on the property identified as one of two crime scenes during the cemetery’s 2009 criminal investigation, the companies hired to do the work must notify the Cook County Sheriff’s Department before removing them.

Cemecare has offered to buy the historic black cemetery near Alsip where human remains were allegedly excavated so graves could be resold for cash.

* Birkett to apply for judgeship

The judgeship will become available with the retirement of Associate Judge Joseph Bongiorno on Oct. 4. His replacement will be chosen by the county’s 15 full circuit judges.

* Daley to win ‘green’ award

* Chicago Transit Authority eyes new system to take fares

* CTA to present ‘no drama’ budget on Wednesday

* Cook County tax bills to be mailed weeks after election

Bills will be mailed around Nov. 22, Treasurer Maria Pappas estimated Tuesday. That’s nearly a full month later than last year, when second installment bills were sent Oct. 28. Any increase in property tax will be included in the bill, along with the second half of the amount shown in the first installment mailing earlier this year.

* ‘Twitter Ban’ Falls Flat with County Commissioners

* Cook Co. board axes ban on Twitter

* County board: Tweet on, commissioners

* Ameren Illinois utilities to become one company, press case for more revenue

* Evanston City Council Lifts Ban on Raising Chickens

* Schaumburg lowers tax levy, drops stickers

Trustees voted to set a tentative levy of about $22.7 million, 4.4 percent lower than the property tax’s first year.

* Glenbard preparing for drop in enrollment

* State guarantees Kane County funds

Meanwhile, the state has not yet finalized contracts with the private health care providers that will take over the caseload of some 6,000 people who receive access to Medicaid through the county.

The new state contracts with the county provide payment retroactive to July 1 and going forward until Nov. 8. That’s the date all the county’s social services in the health department should be fully transferred over to the private sector. It’s also the date 62 health department employees will lose their jobs.

* Kane County files counterclaim against court clerk

The original lawsuit, filed by Seyller after the board voted against her request for addition funding, asks for a preliminary injunction to force the county to pay the $555,000 she wants until the court case is resolved. The initial court date was listed as Jan. 4, 2011; Seyller’s office could exhaust its funding next month if staffing remains as is.

* Kane County Board files rebuttal to Seyller

* Kane may sharpen focus of red-light camera policy

* Rolling Meadows examines what it could cut

* Fewer staff, fire department hours included in Moline budget proposal

* Council approves loan to Quincy Transit Lines

* Feds: FutureGen on track with $1B commitment

* Peoria City Manager dropped from Texas job search

* Peoria hires firm for city government reorganization

* AFSCME workers rally outside [Peoria] City Hall

* Illinois Invests $5.4 Million For Peoria International Airport

* $4.4 million approved for runway widening at St. Louis Downtown Airport

* Fairmount Park gets 75 live race dates, the first increase in years

* Mayor Cole: I’ll appoint new city clerk

* Tom Jordan sworn in as West Frankfort mayor

*** UPDATE *** Let’s put the Rahm stuff here…

* Rahm May Receive Rose Garden Farewell Friday, in Chicago Monday: Sources

* Chicagoans tell Emanuel to stay in D.C. until immigration bill passes

* Election residency requirements would not rule out some candidates

* Rahm Emanuel’s Got a Rent Problem

* Tenants in Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago House Refuse to Leave, Complicating Mayor Bid

* Does Emanuel Meet Residency Requirement For Mayor?

* Rahm moving back? Sorry, there’s no room at Dart’s house

* Rahm A Front-Runner For Mayor? Not Exactly

* Source: Emanuel Close to Mayoral Announcement

* Sneed: Resisting Rahm Emanuel

* Mayoral Hopefuls Take to the Web. Sorta.

* Cook Co. candidate criticized after using taxpayer money for tuition

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   3 Comments      


Morning videos: DCCC, AFF, Walsh, Quinn

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

* The DCCC is running some new ads in Illinois. First up, “Who’s Behind Robert Dold?” Rate it


We’ll have more on this topic later today.

* The next DCCC ad has been running for a few days. “Randy Hultgren - Springfield Politician.” Have a look-see


* The conservative American Future Fund is spending big bucks nationwide, including in two Illinois races. Background

Des Moines-based conservative nonprofit the American Future Fund is spending big in tight Congressional races around the country in the hopes of tipping the balance to the Republican.

The group says it’s spending $4 million in 13 districts, including spending $500,000 against Mark Schauer in Michigan, $325,000 against Mike Oliverio in West Virginia and $250,000 against Martin Heinrich in New Mexico. All the ads are identical and spend more time attacking Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for the federal stimulus and health care reform legislation.

American Future Fund is made up of numerous state and national Republicans, most of which have ties to Terry Branstad’s gubernatorial campaign and Mitt Romney’s 2008 Iowa Caucus campaign. As a 501(c)4 nonprofit, it does not have to disclose its donors. Following a recent round of attacks against him, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, R-Waterloo, called on his GOP opponent, Ben Lange, to return a $5,000 donation from the group’s political action committee. He also suggested the donation could be a violation of campaign finance law.

AFF’s website is here. FactCheck.org info is here.

* Here’s their ad targeting freshman Debbie Halvorson


* And this is the almost identical AFF ad that targets Bill Foster


* Republican Joe Walsh has posted an Internet promo video demanding that Congresswoman Melissa Bean debate him. Check it out


* Our last video is a must-see if you’re a “fan” of Gov. Pat Quinn’s rambling speaking style. Watch him dedicate new runway construction at a Metro East airport. But also keep an eye on a fidgeting state Rep. Jay Hoffman, who is standing behind Quinn. That must’ve been torture


“Planes are very, very important to all of us, especially when they produce jobs.” Hilarious.

We may not have these Quinn videos for much longer if the polls are right, so enjoy them while you can.

* More…

* Phil Hare conversation, Part 1

* Phil Hare conversation, Part 2

* Phil Hare conversation, Part 3

- Posted by Rich Miller   60 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


This just in… (Kinda)

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

* 3:42 pm - Subscribers have known about this since September 15th. From a press release…

On the eve of the first public gubernatorial campaign debate, former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar today endorsed Bill Brady for Governor, saying Brady will restore fiscal discipline to manage the state budget, reverse out-of-control spending that threatens the state’s financial solvency, and will support economic policies designed to bring greater promise and prosperity back to Illinois.

“Bill Brady is the candidate most qualified to change the reckless fiscal attitudes we’ve seen for too long in Springfield,” said Edgar, the state’s 38th Governor. “From discussing this with him, I know he will stop spending more money than the state takes in and bring fiscal responsibility back to state government. As a businessman, he understands the impact of state budget policy on job creation and will put in place policies that once again encourage business investment in our state.”

“We need a change in Illinois government, and Bill Brady will bring that change. I strongly endorse Bill Brady for Governor,” he said.

Brady said he’s honored to have Edgar’s endorsement, and pledged the same fortitude as the former Governor in addressing severe budget challenges. Edgar served two terms as Governor from 1991-1999 before retiring from elected office. He inherited a $1 billion state budget deficit and when he left office, the state had a checkbook balance of $1.5 billion.

“If I am fortunate enough to be elected Governor, I will follow the example set by Governor Edgar,” Brady said. “He prioritized and cut state spending, curbed programs that were not producing the needed results, and returned fiscal discipline to Illinois government.”

Edgar is the latest in a series of recent Brady endorsements. Others include the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Manufacturers Association, National Federation of Independent Business, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, ABATE, and former Governors Jeb Bush of Florida, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota.

Neither man is running for mayor, so we’ll see if the Chicago media covers it. Maybe they’ll ask Edgar if he’s endorsing Rahm, too.

Interesting that there was no big public event, however.

…Adding… Here’s something else to chew on. Lisa Madigan has an Interwebtubes promo video. More like a lecture with annoying background sounds


She’s done lots of good stuff. It’s just that nobody’s gonna get through that gigantic list.

…Adding more… My favorite part is the end…

So! I hope you can appreciate the work that one can do as your attorney general, and believe that I have done a good job serving as your attorney general.

She sounded just like her father there.

…Adding still more… I think this is one of those five-minute “candidate talking to the people” videos for ABC7. They’re popping up all over the place lately. This one was the most “fun,” however.

…Adding still more… Well, they took the darned video down. Too bad. It was a classic. Wish I had saved it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


Caption contest!

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

* I was gonna save this one for tomorrow, but I just couldn’t resist…

- Posted by Rich Miller   76 Comments      


Poll: Not a whole lotta change

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

* Pulse Opinion Research just did a statewide survey of 1,000 likely voters on September 25th for Fox News. Governor…

Bill Brady 46%
Pat Quinn 36%
Rich Whitney 8%
Some other candidate 1%
Not sure 9%

US Senate…

Mark Kirk 42%
Alexi Giannoulias 40%
LeAlan Jones 7%
Some other candidate 2%
Not sure 9%

Just like Rasmussen, they didn’t include the Libertarian Party candidates and millionaire Scott Lee Cohen. These people are goofballs. There’s just no other way to say it.

Complete results and crosstabs.

Those xtabs show Alexi Giannoulias beating Mark Kirk with women 42-38, while Bill Brady is leading Pat Quinn with women 44-36. There’s just no excuse for that poor showing by Quinn. He simply doesn’t know what he’s doing. And this is from TPM

The internals of the poll show both Obama and McCain voters from 2008 supporting [Green Party US Senate nominee LeAlan Jones] in the same proportions, suggesting that support for him could be more a matter of pure protest vote as opposed to support being siphoned from Democrats.

The same is not true with the governor’s race. Green Party nominee Rich Whitney is getting 9 percent of Obama’s voters, but just 5 percent of McCain’s voters. He is, however, taking 6 percent from both Republicans and Democrats. He’s also getting 10 percent from those making more than $60K and 11 percent of people who say they are moderates.

* More toplines…

* Regardless of how you plan to vote, is Alexi Giannoulias honest and
trustworthy?

25% Yes
34% No
41% Not sure

* Regardless of how you plan to vote, is Mark Kirk honest and trustworthy?

18% Yes
41% No
42% Not sure

That’s a big reason why Kirk hasn’t yet put this away.

* As you already know, Rasmussen released its US Senate poll last week. In the past, they have always polled the governor’s race whenever they’ve polled the Senate race. This time, though, they say they didn’t do it. Odd. Anyway, we won’t have new gubernatorial numbers from them until next week.

Also, we successfully Freeped PPP’s site last week and their new Illinois poll numbers will start rolling out tomorrow I’m told.

* Meanwhile, the gubernatorial candidates will debate tomorrow at the Union League Club. We probably won’t have live video unless I can rig up a quickie mirror site, but we will have raw video right after the debate ends.

* Other campaign stuff…

* New ‘Super Pacs’ bringing millions into campaigns

* New redistricting data suggests Republicans could gain ground

* Tribune: Third rail politics

* Fight for Jewish votes steps up in 10th Congressional District

* 16th District candidates split over health care reform

* Hare, Schilling ads spar over jobs

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      


Other states, other choices

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

* 29 states have increased taxes and fees this year alone. Click the pic for a larger image..

* Meanwhile, Illinois continues to drown in red ink. From the Tribune

All the providers want is what the state owes them, but as Illinois faces a $4.6 billion backlog in bills and no money to pay them, most often what they get is just enough to survive. Enough to meet the next payroll, keep the doors open for one more month and make payments on loans keeping them afloat as they wait for the state to make good.

“Every day is a triage situation,” said comptroller spokeswoman Carol Knowles. “There is a limited pot of money.”

And the situation isn’t getting any better. Knowles said the state has bills dating as far back as seven months and the backlog is likely to “worsen during the next several months.” Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget director, David Vaught, has acknowledged the state will end the year where it started — owing nearly $6 billion in unpaid bills.

And it’s having a ripple effect on employment…

The Chicago-based nonprofit [A Safe Haven] has had to cut services and lay off workers

* Rep. David Miller, the Democrats’ comptroller nominee, outlined his proposal to deal with the problem if he’s elected

Miller, a dentist from Lynwood, told the Tribune editorial board he would examine the backlog and move those owed money up in the line if they were about to go out of business and provide a unique service in the region, such as the only health clinic in a Chicago neighborhood or downstate Illinois county.

But Judy Baar Topinka didn’t approve of the plan…

“You can’t just group them into little sections of the state. That is social engineering, and that is unfair,” said Topinka, who lost a bid for governor against Democrat Rod Blagojevich in 2006.

Her idea…

Topinka said she would aim to provide more consistency in how the bills are paid so providers could count on them, even if they are months late. She said she would target human service providers to be up first after the state’s payroll and loan repayments are made under state law.

“You start with getting at those who are dealing with our most vulnerable citizens and try and give them something — if nothing else — predictability,” Topinka said.

Frankly, I think Miller’s idea is superior. And not just because he’s my cousin.

* More carnage

More than 100,000 Illinoisans hoping for Monetary Award Program grants to help pay for college have been denied since funds ran out April 19. […]

Of the applicants denied a MAP grant, more than 70 percent indicated a community college as their school of choice.

* And a spot of good news

Newly released U.S. Census Bureau figures show the percentage of Illinois children with health insurance grew between 2008 and 2009. But about 5 percent of Illinois children were still uninsured last year.

The national average is 9 percent. But if the Republicans win control and make good on their promise to severely roll back Medicaid coverage, we could see that number creep up.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

* Bill Brady is to ____ as Pat Quinn is to ____?

- Posted by Rich Miller   57 Comments      


Promises, promises

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

* Bill Brady made a promise to Rockton voters this week that he can’t possibly keep

“At one point in time this was the tool and dye capital of the world practically and we have an opportunity to move back to that,” says Brady

Yes, all will be flowers and butterflies if Bill Brady is elected. China, Mexico and India will no longer exist and we’ll be just peachy. Keep in mind, however, that the plant he was speaking at moved into Illinois last year.

* Brady also made the same argument that many make about Indiana

But other states are snatching our companies; Brady said Mitch Daniels, Indiana’s governor, comes to Chicago four times a year to recruit businesses to the Hoosier state.

But Indiana ain’t all roses and perfume, either

Indiana’s pool of workers shrank at a faster rate than did those of other states during the national recession, an expert told a committee of legislators and economic development officials Monday.

Graham Toft, of Growth Economics Inc., said this statistic is hurting Indiana’s recovery efforts. […]

Tuft said Indiana’s workforce peaked in January 2009 and since has dropped 140,000 workers – even briefly falling below levels from the 1990s.

“For some reason or another, experienced Hoosier workers are choosing not to stay in the workforce,” Tuft said, noting similar reductions haven’t been seen in other states.

And

As surrounding states are seeing their unemployment rates drop, Indiana’s remains unchanged at 10.2% — the same as it was a year ago.

Plus, we just beat them out on the Navistar deal.

* Illinois Statehouse News has a piece today about Pat Quinn’s Downstate troubles and his recent state excursions throughout the region cutting ribbons on new construction programs. David Yepsen of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale comments

Yepsen said it is going to be “a tough year for Democrats,” especially downstate. He says Quinn’s visits indicate the Democrat’s commitment to that region.

“He could either write off the area or redouble his efforts here,” Yepsen said. “And it looks like he is doubling down.”

If Quinn’s “campaign through governance” is effective, it could spell trouble for Brady.

“Brady needs a good margin,” Yepsen said. “In traditional Illinois elections, the Republican needs to do well downstate and in the suburbs.”

Brady is so far ahead in the region and has so outworked Quinn Downstate that it’ll take a miracle to run the governor’s fortunes around in that region. And I do mean a miracle. A few ribbon cutting ceremonies won’t, um, cut it. And if the governor truly was “doubling down,” he’d be spending campaign money in the region and developing a Downstate message. Right now, his Downstate message is the same as his Chicago message, and that isn’t going to work.

* For some reason or another, the Peoria Journal-Star thinks this election could be more like 1990 than 1994. To prove their point, they re-ran one of their 1990 editorials today, which predicted, among other things, that Democratic US Sen. Paul Simon could be unseated by anti-incumbent fever.

Perhaps they should be clued in a bit…

* President George HW Bush’s average approval rating in October of 1990: 57%

* President Barack Obama’s current average approval rating: 45%

* Number of US House seats lost by the president’s party in 1990: 8

* Number of US Senate seats lost by the president’s party in 1990: 1

Unless literally everybody in the world is wrong, then, no, this isn’t another 1990. Far from it.

* Related…

* Bill Brady Could Lift Death Penalty Moratorium If Elected

* Cohen Asks Voters for Chance to Prove He Can Improve State

* Candidates for Illinois Governor and Lieutenant Governor stop in Rockford

* Gubernatorial Debates Offer Illinoisans A Closer Look At The Candidates

* Brady Talks Transportation, Whitney Talks Education

* Gov. candidate Whitney defends big government

* Local teens weigh in on governor’s race, political rallies, more

* State AG offices launching investigations into Ally Financial foreclosures

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      


Kirk’s new TV ad plays up Downstate roots, SDems keep spending, but Rothenberg has a warning

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

* We have a new TV ad in the US Senate race. Rate it


Script…

Two candidates.

Mark Kirk: born in Champaign, attended college in Carlinville with mainstream Illinois values.

Kirk is a “deficit hawk” who’s voted to cut taxes 40 times.

Chicago politician Alexi Giannoulias pushes for more spending…bigger government…promises to raise taxes to pay for it.

I’m Mark Kirk and I approved this message because I will spend less, tax less, and borrow less to put Illinois back to work.

Sweet is right that Kirk is attempting to build his lead among Downstate voters with this ad, among other things.

* Alexi Giannoulias’ ad spending has caught some folks by surprise. He ended the last quarter with about a million dollars on hand, but he’s spending money like he has a lot of it. And the national Dems have jumped in big

POLITICO has learned that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has placed a $400,000 ad buy for the second week in a row in Illinois to boost Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias’s bid against Republican Mark Kirk.

The two consecutive media buys, coupled with President Barack Obama’s announcement last week that he will make a second fundraising stop for Giannoulias in October, indicate the party’s continuing faith that it can keep hold of the seat that Obama vacated in his move to the White House. With almost a dozen Democrat-held seats in play this November, the party has to choose which races will get its financial assistance for the remainder of the campaign.

Nonetheless, national Democrats’ latest investment on Giannoulias’s behalf is less than some of the other ad buys for the Illinois Senate race so far – especially in the pricey Windy City media market. The DSCC has bought $250,000 worth of ad time in Chicago this week, compared to the Kirk campaign’s $470,000 ad buy in the same market last week. Giannoulias’ campaign put up about $450,000 worth of ads in the Chicago market last week.

A spokesman for American Crossroads, the cash-flush independent expenditure supportive of GOP candidates, confirmed it purchased a weeklong ad buy totaling $482,000 statewide last week.

* But Stu Rothenberg makes some valuable points

You’d never know it from the avalanche of TV ads, direct-mail pieces and phone calls that voters will receive in October, but most campaigns have only another week or two to change the likely outcome of their contests.

Sure, the midterm elections are still five weeks away, but the combination of early voting in many states and the difficulty of cutting through the coming clutter means that the best opportunity for campaigns to change voter attitudes is quickly coming to an end. […]

Moreover, after weeks of advertising, voters already know the fundamental messages of the campaigns. A campaign trailing on Oct. 1 better have some killer new information in its October advertising if it is going to get attention from increasingly cynical voters. […]

A few elections will likely turn on late campaign developments, possibly an ad, a weak debate performance or an issue introduced at the last minute. And a big national news story can obviously have a significant effect on November’s results.

But for most races, the die will be cast around the beginning of October. Either the early ads changed opinion or they didn’t. And that is why the last month of most campaigns is actually less decisive than you may think it is.

Quite true.

* But Bob Creamer adds

My consulting firm participated in a study several years ago that showed that one door to door contact within 72 hours of Election Day increased the propensity to vote by 12.5%. A second one in the same period increased turnout almost as much.

* The Tribune has posted its US Senate candidate questionnaires online…

* Mark Kirk

* Alexi Giannoulias

* LeAlan Jones

* Mike Labno

* Dear NRSC,

Is this sort of blast e-mail to reporters really all that helpful?

Good morning –

In reporting on failed mob banker Alexi Giannoulias’ fundraiser with Vice President Joe Biden in New York City today, please consider the following response from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC):

“Help from Washington won’t save Alexi Giannoulias from his own record as a failed mob banker, and it won’t change the fact that his risky behavior led to the loss of millions of dollars in the state’s college savings program and the downfall of his own family’s business. Illinois voters deserve a U.S. Senator who will restore accountability, transparency, and respect to this office – not another Blagojevich crony who wants to raise taxes for families and small businesses, increase spending, and loaned millions of dollars to known criminals.” – Amber Marchand, NRSC Press Secretary

Sheesh.

* Related…

* Kirk and Giannoulias’ Moms Involved in Their Campaigns

* Appeals court rejects Roland Burris’ bid to run in special Senate election

* Lame Duck Senate Could be More GOP

* Tea Party Express reveals details of national bus tour

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


I wanna hold Rahm’s hand

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

* The Chicago media is bound and determined to cover every rumor, every possible angle, every twist and microscopic turn of the Great Rahm Emanuel’s triumphant return to Chicago…

* Sweet: Rahm might quit on Friday to launch mayoral bid

* Source: Emanuel close to deciding on whether to leave White House and explore mayoral run

* Emanuel decision near; likely to leave White House

* The Perambulations of Rahm Emanuel

* Rahm Must Decide Quickly on Mayoral Run, Obama Says

* The latest line on mayoral race: Rahm moving, maybe Gainer, too

* Sneed: Rahm Emanuel kept out of Chicago home by tenant?

* Rahm Emanuel Snubbing Luis Guiterrez?

* Gutierrez criticizes Emanuel on immigration

* Rahm “All But Certain” to Run for Mayor

Meanwhile, there are no articles on the governor’s campaign in the city’s news media today. No articles on the US Senate campaign. No columns. No editorials. The general election is five weeks from today.

They are amusing themselves to death with this media frenzy of theirs. It really is unseemly.

* The frenzy is so bad they’re even recycling month-old stories about Emil Jones, for crying out loud

Emil Jones Jr., the Chicago Democrat who retired more than a year ago as Illinois Senate president, said today that supporters and friends have begun collecting signatures on his behalf for a possible mayoral run.

In an interview with the Tribune, Jones said he is still “just looking” at getting into the contest to succeed Mayor Richard Daley, who is not running for re-election.

“A lot of my supporters want me to run,” Jones said. “I enjoy my retirement, but I will only run if conditions are right.”

When asked what those conditions are, Jones said, “I’m not going to tell you right now.”

Everybody who believes that Emil Jones will actually run for mayor, please, raise your hands. Anybody? Hello? Bueller?

* And while few think that state Sen. Rickey Hendon is a “serious” mayoral candidate, he said yesterday that he’s in the race to stay.

Hendon won every black Chicago ward in the lt. governor’s primary, despite running against Art Turner, who was endorsed by both Chicago newspapers, some bigtime labor unions and Personal PAC. Now, I might agree that Hendon ain’t exactly mayoral material, but he has long championed issues that truly resonate out there. Parking meters, red light cameras, free rides for seniors, the foreclosure crisis, etc. Remember his radio ad? Again, not exactly mayoral material, but he hit the, um, right notes for his community


Love them or not, Hendon and Sen. James Meeks are the only two candidates out there with definable public policy stands. If anyone thinks that Rahm Emanuel’s campaign will be anything more than safe, poll-tested bromides they’re fooling themselves. But he’s the superstar, so his every tiny move is somehow news. Kinda like when the Beatles used to get the girls screaming at their concerts when they’d just shake their legs a little bit


For those not old enough to appreciate that clip, watch how these two little girls react to getting Justin Bieber concert tix from their parents for a more up to date example.

This is truly getting embarrassing.

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      


Morning Shorts

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

* Downtown office vacancy rate drops, suggests tide is turning

The overall vacancy rate fell to 17.0% from 17.3% in the second quarter, which was the highest in more than four years, according to data from CB Richard Ellis Inc.

The rate could edge higher again, but is expected to slowly start moving landlords’ way after a staggering upward run when rates climbed more than 5 percentage points in a two-year window after hitting 11.9% in the third quarter of 2008. New construction has since halted, easing supply concerns, and many companies have already made their big recession headcount cuts and are no longer shedding office space.

* BARTON LORIMOR: Carbondale unemployment at 7.4%; JaCo now 8.3%

* Harvest time for area farmers

* ‘Burnham Plan II’ up for final vote — and may be just as big as original

At its core, the plan represents one gigantic bet that a region often fractured with rivalries has grown up, that it is willing to put aside internal wars and unite behind some sensible goals to help metropolitan Chicago compete against other global centers that lately have been literally eating our lunch.

In that vein, it calls for keeping zoning power local but consolidating local governments and government functions to keep costs down. It urges fewer big-lot homes but more public park space — “People are willing to give up part of their backyard, but only in exchange for parks,” CMAP Executive Director Randy Blankenhorn says — and less raiding of jobs and tax revenue by town against town.

* Daley: Chicago needs high-speed train from downtown to O’Hare

* Daley hopes Asian investors will bet on high-speed rail to downtown

“I think they are very interested — China, Korea, Japan, the Middle East — yes,” Daley said today when asked if business people he met in China and South Korea might fund the effort. “There are many, many interests. You have to have a high-speed train from the international airport downtown. What that would do is that would rebuild our commercial market and our hospitality industry.”

* Daley discusses high-speed rail after Asia trip

* Local educators, Obama agree: kids need more time in class

With the release of a new film called “Waiting for Superman,” an extended school year with more core instruction for students has jumped to the forefront for many educators, reformers and policymakers. The documentary on the state of America’s public schools was done by Davis Guggenheim, who also directed “An Inconvenient Truth.”

America’s top policymaker, President Barack Obama, addressed the issue in an interview broadcast nationally Monday, during discussion of America’s decreasing educational competitiveness around the world.

In Illinois, and even locally, there are those who would agree with Obama’s assessment that the idea of a longer school year “makes sense.”

* Colchester lawmaker continues cancer treatment

State Rep. Rich Myers, R-Colchester, announced Monday he is beginning the next phase of his treatment for prostate cancer.

He said he will continue to provide constituent services, as well as attend meetings and events within the district. His treatment schedule may interfere with these activities from time to time, but he is “confident his constituents will understand.”

* Ward Quaal, 1919-2010: Executive shaped Tribune Co.’s WGN-AM and WGN-TV

As news broke of Quaal’s death, it also was learned that 1970s and ’80s overnight WGN-AM host Jay Andres had died Monday morning of heart failure, surrounded by his wife, Virginia, and other family at his home in Sebastopol, Calif. Andres (born Joseph Hilbert Andres) was 86, just weeks shy of his next birthday.

* Tribune hires firm to explore suit against Morgan Stanley over buyout

* Paddock Publications to debut suburban business magazine

* No change in ride costs next year, Metra says

* Cook County Board to clash over Twitter ban

* Peraica, Schneider blow whistle with tweets

* District 300 OKs $6.3 million budget deficit

* Dist. 59 may investigate residency

* Schillerstrom highlights DuPage County’s success

For example, Schillerstrom said the board has approved a $70 million long-term infrastructure program that will create thousands of jobs, ease traffic congestion, reduce flooding and improve services to county residents.

Meanwhile, the county has unveiled a proposed spending plan for next year “that continues our commitment to sound long-term financial planning,” Schillerstrom said. The nearly $460 million budget is $5.4 million below last year’s spending plan.

“Unlike the state, our fiscal year 2011 budget reflects the belt-tightening but maintains established programs and services,” Schillerstrom said. “It is balanced and it does not ask the taxpayers for more money.”

* Kane rethinking red-light cameras

* Kadner: Are 4 elected offices too many for 1 man?

Cook County Circuit Judge Mark Ballard on Monday issued an order stating that each time Price accepted a new position he “ipso facto” resigned from the previously held post.

That means Price, who was sworn in as a member of the Harvey School District 152 Board on May 9, 2007, vacated that position when he assumed the post of Harvey alderman on May 14, 2007.

* Harvey politician gets to keep 4 elected posts

* Sitting pretty in Schaumburg

The Village Board will consider Tuesday a 4.4 percent reduction to the 2010 property tax levy. In a double dip of potentially good news, residents could also see their garbage fees and vehicle stickers eliminated if the proposal is approved.

Village officials are following through on promises made to residents when they established a property tax last year for the first time in the village’s history. Because sales and hotel taxes are higher than expected, officials said Monday that they believe they can make ends meet with less revenue.

* Sgt. becomes Hebron chief

* AFSCME offer will keep 8 East Moline staff employed

* Questioning school salaries

Information in the ITEF press release included a “Top 50” list of public school salaries and pensions. The top salary listed is Dr. Peter Flynn, the Freeport School District 145 superintendent, who is paid an annual salary of $187,973. The top annual pension was another District 145 administrator, totaling $115,508.76.

* Aventine to move corporate office to Texas

* Council approves loan to Quincy Transit Lines to help with delay in receiving state funding

* Interim supt: Jacksonville state schools too much like state agencies

* St. Louis Downtown Airport projects to create 178 jobs

* Mourners remember Staff Sgt. Powell at visitation

Powell, 25, a 2003 graduate of Pleasant Plains High School, was among nine service members who died Sept. 21 in a helicopter crash during combat operations in Zabul Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   6 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition and more legislative campaign news

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

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        * AT&T to start selling LG G3 Vigor on Sept. 26
        * AT&T to carry Samsung Galaxy Alpha, available on Sept. 26
        * CyanogenMod 11 nightlies land for international Galaxy S4 Active
        * iOS 8 is still no Android when it comes to third-party support
        * THAW transfers smartphone files to PC by screen contact
        * Apple Watch spotted out in real-world testing
        * iPhone 6 record sales, Google Nexus 9 plans, AT&T Galaxy Alpha & more – Pocketnow Daily

        * Google Play Store Set To Show Price Ranges For In-App Purchases
        * iPhone 6 Plus Pitted Against 50-Caliber Shot
        * Potential Breakthrough In “Electronic Nose”
        * Aurora Helps The Blind To Get Around
        * GelSight Sensor Allows Robots To Be More Dextrous
        * China Report Points To New Redmi Flagship
        * iPhone Speed Test Compares Every iPhone Apple Has Ever Made

        * Bassitt twirls gem, blanks Tigers for 7 2/3 in first win
        * White Sox 2, Tigers 0: Chris Bassitt picks up first win
        * Avisail realizes V-Mart will be highly coveted as free agent
        * White Sox announce dignitaries for Paul Konerko Day
        * Johnson prepared to work for second-base job in spring camp
        * Johnson prepared to work for second-base job in camp
        * White Sox old and new share Konerko memories


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        * Gov. Quinn - Belleville News Democrat..
        * Rauner gets support from black Chicago pastors..
        * DePaul: Some female students' phone numbers pos.....
        * Rush demands jobs, contracts on CTA's 95th Stre.....


        * Ohio grand jury to review highway shooting case
        * Prosecutors seek time to review ex-lawmaker's past
        * Quinn, Rauner differ over 'common sense' on guns
        * Quinn, Rauner promote community investments
        * Illinois medical marijuana applications due Monday
        * Suspect in Joliet double murder waives jury trial
        * Chicago museum only US site for Bowie exhibit
        * Slain girl's mother speaks at Watson memorial
        * U of I Foundation receives increase in donations
        * Illinois city marks birthday with mega bratwurst

        * Governor candidates differ over ‘common sense’ on guns
        * Quinn, Rauner differ over ‘common sense’ on guns
        * Rauner gets support from black Chicago pastors
        * Don’t bet on gaming expansion — yet
        * GOP's Rauner gets another $1M from hedge fund CEO
        * Former Illinois prisoners get help reintegrating
        * Court: Lincoln inmate must use $20K settlement to pay incarceration costs
        * Deadline ahead for Illinois marijuana businesses
        * Gov. Quinn picks up Sierra Club endorsement
        * Statehouse Insider: Rauner hit with double whammy

        * U.S. cracks down on overseas tax moves
        * United cutting winter schedule long before snow falls
        * University of Illinois donations jump 10 percent
        * Ex-Im Bank's D-Day spurs lobbying campaign to save it
        * Five reasons to brave crowds for the David Bowie blockbuster


        * Defendant in Joliet double-murder waives right to jury trial
        * Bishop Blase Cupich: ‘I’m going to love this city’
        * Parents who want to attend school fair asked to provide names, emails
        * Truck driver arrested after allegedly holding children hostage near Midway
        * Feds want severe punishment for man charged in credit card scheme
        * Cardinal George’s successor back in town Monday
        * NU student starts petition backing senior charged in deadly drunken driving crash
        * ‘Hello’ in Riverside ends up getting South Side man a DUI charge


        * Rauner avoids nursing home questions as trial starts
        * Niles man killed in motorcycle accident in DesPlaines
        * Evanston police investigate overnight shooting
        * Police: Man arrested after holding children at gunpoint in truck
        * Cupich vows to aid poor, help Chicago neighborhoods
        * Indicted commander credited with saving neighbor's life
        * Teen run over by car after falling off hood
        * Lawndale shooting wounds 2
        * Police: Galewood neighborhood bank robbed
        * Indiana man dies while hiking with brothers at Grand Canyon


        * Polls Showing Illinois Governor's Race A Draw
        * Cupich to be next Chicago archbishop
        * Listen to State Week - September 19, 2014
        * Chris Mooney: More Evidence-Based Policymaking Needed
        * African Drumming At Southwind Park On Saturday
        * Investors gather in Chicago seeking cannabis businesses
        * Climate, Space Create Challenges For Local Food
        * Can A Governor Really Create Jobs?
        * How do you find high school dropouts?
        * Governor's Race Has A Third Contender; Judge Keeps Libertarians On Ballot


        * Kathleen Parker: Mark Sanford’s ongoing saga with himself
        * Quinn, Rauner differ over ‘common sense’ on guns
        * Rauner gets support from black Chicago pastors
        * Don’t bet on gaming expansion — yet
        * Thomas Schneider and Jay Scott: Building strong families to curb child abuse, neglect
        * GOP's Rauner gets another $1M from hedge fund CEO
        * Former Illinois prisoners get help reintegrating
        * Court: Lincoln inmate must use $20K settlement to pay incarceration costs
        * Deadline ahead for Illinois marijuana businesses
        * Gov. Quinn picks up Sierra Club endorsement


        * Missing man found dead near Herrin Lake No. 2
        * Two injured, kids unharmed in house explosion near Maryville
        * Pentagon: U.S., partners begin airstrikes in Syria
        * Award-winning Southern Illinoisan journalist dies
        * HS Volleyball: Heritage vs. Chrisman
        * Pentagon: US, partners begin airstrikes in Syria
        * Tuesday rally opposes St. Elizabeth's move
        * The music man
        * Rural schools to hold reunion
        * PHOTOS: Barclay Public Library volunteers


        * Wainwright wins No. 20 as Cardinals beat Cubs
        * Montini plays like it's in a hurry
        * Woodridge police investigating attempted child luring
        * Missing Glen Ellyn woman found safe at restaurant
        * Mustangs hope to draw more soccer fans to Sears Centre

        * Ray Nagin, William Jefferson profiled on M...
        * Patrick Cannon defense strategy rare but n...
        * Feds fine Jesse Jackson Jr.'s campaign com...
        * Ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. faces sen...
        * Democratic candidate Mason says he's 'flip...
        * Hultgren, Roskam to Host Service Academy D...
        * Ask Peter: Obamacare's Broken Promises - I...
        * Peter Roskam pushes for Alzheimer's resear...
        * Congressman: 'Some good stuff is going on'...
        * Ray Nagin, William Jefferson profiled on M...

        * Illinois firms keep $100 billion in foreig......
        * Illinois firms keep $100 billion in foreig......
        * Illinois firms keep $100 billion in foreig......
        * Illinois firms keep $100 billion in foreig......
        * Illinois firms keep $100 billion in foreig......

        * Democrat Giannoulias backs Republican Cros......

        * Eric Metaxas on the future of America's religious freedom
        * Lois Lerner and the IRS Scandal: An Update on the Investigation and Cover-up
        * Wash clothes and empty pockets at Manteno's new gambling venue
        * Hypocrisy: Harry Reid said in 1993 what GOP says now about Illegal Immigrants [video]
        * Illinois Dems shed "little guy" persona with pricey reception for Mike Madigan
        * Chicago Faith Leaders Sing, Pray For A South Side Trauma Center (VIDEO)
        * Emanuel, National Group Launch Youth Anti-Tobacco Video Contest
        * Higgins: Conservatives should vote for Quinn
        * Obama Signs Executive Order To Tackle Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
        * Worker Advocates Fearful Of Rauner's 'Anti-Labor' Agenda


        * The Economic Empowerment Forum Endorses Rauner for Governor
        * State Director on Aging Says September Observances Stress the Importance of Healthy Aging - September is Healthy Aging Month; September 23 is Falls Prevention Day
        * Governor Quinn Breaks Ground on First Veterans Home in Chicago - New Facility Will Care for 200 of the Nation’s Heroes
        * Quinn still refusing to fire 20 political cronies
        * Illinois Chamber of Commerce Endorses Rauner for Governor




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