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Reader comments closed for Thanksgiving

Wednesday, Nov 24, 2010

* I’ll talk to you again on Monday. Have a wonderful holiday. Arlo will do the honors


- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Myths vs. Facts about the Tenaska/Taylorville (TEC)

Tuesday, Nov 23, 2010

Myths vs. Facts about the Tenaska/Taylorville Energy Center (TEC)  

Myth: The TEC will result in a small rate hike.

Fact: The TEC will cost Illinois ratepayers nearly $300 million every year.  More than $142 million will be paid by residential customers. The rest will be foisted on to Illinois employers.  For example, the Chicago Public Schools will pay at least $1 million more per year and have absolutely nothing to show for it.

Myth: The TEC will create jobs for Illinois.

Fact:  The Tenaska plant is a jobs killer.  Economic models show that forcing Illinois employers to pay hundreds of millions in higher rates will cost a minimum of 15,000 jobs statewide. Compare that to the 2,500 temporary jobs and “hundreds” of permanent jobs Tenaska claims its plant will create.  
Myth:  The TEC is green.

Fact: At best, the plant would have the same emissions profile as a natural gas-fired power plant. Also, underground sequestration of the CO2 is untested and unproven.

Myth: The General Assembly has all the information it needs to decide.

Fact:  The ICC has said that a number of important questions need to be answered before any 30-year commitment is made.  Tenaska has not provided those answers!

Go to www.stopcoalition.com for more information.

- Posted by Capitol Fax Blog Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Nov 23, 2010

* As you probably know by now, Gov. Pat Quinn has rehired Jerry Stermer

Gov. Pat Quinn rehired a former top aide who resigned following ethics violations that became an issue in the governor’s race, his office said today.

Jerry Stermer, who served as chief of staff before resigning in August, will return to Quinn’s administration on Nov. 29 in the role of senior adviser. He will make $125,000 a year.

Stermer, a longtime education advocate, will consult with Quinn on issues such as healthcare, education, social services and the budget.

“He is coming back at the governor’s request,” said Quinn spokeswoman Ashley Cross. “He has a wealth of experience and knowledge in these areas and has a long history of working with legislators and others that make him the best fit.”

* The rehiring comes about a week after it became public that the ethics commisison had investigated the firing of Inspector General James Wright, which led directly to Stermer’s resignation

The commission in charge of upholding the state’s ethics laws has decided not to launch an investigation into the dismissal of the executive inspector general who Gov. Pat Quinn fired after he drafted a report critical of Quinn’s top aide.

James Wright’s replacement, former federal prosecutor Ricardo Meza, told a Senate committee on Wednesday that he asked the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission to appoint an independent investigator to look into the matter shortly after he was hired by Quinn.

But Meza said the panel declined to appoint an investigator. Executive Director Chad Fornoff said Wednesday that the group conducted a preliminary review including e-mails regarding Wright’s replacement and found the situation “did not justify the use of limited resources involved in the appointment” of a special investigator.

Fornoff said Wright has not contacted the commission about the situation, and added that Wright’s status as a holdover appointed by ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich also factored into the decision not to investigate.

* The Question: Are you OK with Stermer returning with a new job? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   67 Comments      


Campaign overreaction causes huge surge in prison population

Tuesday, Nov 23, 2010

* The Tribune reports today that the state’s prison system is at a record high inmate population of almost 49,000 inmates. That’s up about 3,000 from just a year ago.

The reason? A gross overreaction by the Quinn administration to political pressure…

The reason for the rising numbers of inmates over the last year has nothing to do with more offenders entering the system — it has to do with fewer getting out as the result of a backlash against a policy change by Gov. Pat Quinn that allowed the early release of about 1,700 inmates over four months.

Under fire by an opponent in a heated primary fight, Quinn in January suspended the controversial program, called Meritorious Good Time Push, after news media reports that some prisoners sentenced to short terms of incarceration were freed after as little as a few days in state prison under the program. At the same time, Quinn also suspended the state’s regular Meritorious Good Time program, which had been in place for three decades and reduced the prison time of nearly two-thirds of the state’s inmates by an average of a few months.

As a result, the prison population began rising immediately and has gone up every month since, reaching a peak of 48,731 last week. [Emphasis added]

MGT Push needed to go. MGT should’ve stayed. Oh, well. Financial troubles are piling up as the population increases

With the Illinois Department of Corrections about $95 million behind on its bills, many prison vendors haven’t been paid for months. In some cases, fed-up contractors have stopped extending credit to prisons, causing shortages that have led wardens to barter among themselves to stay stocked with essential items like paper goods and soap.

Oof.

* More campaign-related budget trouble

The U.S. Senate did not authorize a new funding stream for jobs programs like Put Illinois To Work (PITW) as part of a vote on welfare programs [yesterday]. The decision raises the specter that thousands of PITW workers will be laid off around the state unless Democrats in Washington’s Upper Chamber find a way to approve additional dollars in the face of Senate Republicans’ intransigent opposition.

Some 27,000 people in Illinois — most of them young, female, and poor — found $10-per-hour jobs in the private and public sector through PITW; the federal government paid for most of their wages using dollars appropriated under the 2009 stimulus bill, with the states picking up the rest. PITW was one of the most aggressive jobs programs in the country, and when the initial round of federal funding ran out on September 30, Gov. Pat Quinn committed $75 million in state dollars to keep it going through the end of November.

Quinn’s extension was a big issue on the campaign trail and was a reason the Senate Republican Leader used to justify voting against a pension borrowing plan.

* Related…

* NFLPA warns Daley, Quinn of potential lockout: With 100 days remaining until the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement, the NFLPA wrote to Mayor Richard Daley and Gov. Pat Quinn to warn that Chicago stands to lose as much as $160 million in revenue and lost jobs if the 2011 season is canceled.

* Meat On The Bones Of The Neighborhood Recovery Initiative

* Influential Ill. group gets charter school grant: The United Neighborhood Organization has close ties to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. The group’s leader, Juan Rangel, co-chairs the mayoral campaign of Rahm Emanuel

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


What were the filing day surprises?

Tuesday, Nov 23, 2010

* Not too many surprises on mayoral filing day yesterday.

Roland Burris would be the one that could cause the most choking today. He’s apparently still listening to those voices inside his head which says he can win any campaign he takes on. They’ve been wrong before, and they’ll probably be wrong again this time. It’s a free country, so he can do what he wants, but the lack of self-awareness with this man never ceases to amaze me.

Rob Halpin, Rahm Emanuel’s tenant, also filed to run for mayor.

* There were some interesting developments in the aldermanic filings, though. For instance, State Sen. Willie Delgado filed to run for alderman in the 30th Ward. He’ll be up against Ald. Ariel Reboyras and a few others.

* Tom O’Donnell filed to run in the 47th Ward. O’Donnell is Ald. Gene Schulter’s right-hand man. There’s word that Schulter may be appointed to Joe Berrios’ current seat on the Board of Review.

* Something along those lines may also be happening in Speaker Madigan’s 13th Ward, where Marty Quinn filed to run against Ald. Frank Olivo. Quinn has been a longtime city aide to Speaker Madigan. Nobody has returned my calls and e-mails seeking comment. I’ll let you know what’s going on.

…Adding… I should’ve checked my spam folder, because that’s where the Madigan office reply was…

Olivo is awaiting final clearance from physicians, Quinn filed as a precaution. The expectation is Olivo will run and Quinn withdraws

* Ald. Sandi Jackson filed to run for both city clerk and reelection. She still has several days to make up her mind about what she’s going to do.

* Unopposed aldermen are few and far between. Everybody wants to get into the act. Fifteen candidates filed to run in the 16th Ward. Twenty-three candidates filed in the 24th.

But Aldermen Dick Mell (33) and Brendan Reilly (42) emerged unscathed.

* Speaking of 42, the ward’s Democratic committeeman, John Corrigan, had circulated petitions for citywide office but didn’t file yesterday. Corrigan and Ald. Reilly reportedly had a falling out over this and other things, and there may be retribution taken by the alderman.

* And, finally, perennial candidate Sylvester “Junebug” Hendricks filed to run for the 5th Ward. Hendricks has listed his address as “homeless” for years.

* Did you see anything else in the filings?

- Posted by Rich Miller   58 Comments      


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