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Weekend update

Tuesday, Sep 3, 2013

Posted by Barton Lorimor (@bartonlorimor)

For those of you who got an early start to the weekend, rest assured I am not here because Rich was part of the White Sox rebuilding efforts. In fact, I’m told no other teams were biting when he was put on waivers. Rich is taking some time off and should be back this time next week. I’m filling in by tossing up a few posts and keeping the comments section up to code while Rich is, according to commenter “uncle sam…”

Training Oscar in one of two ways: (a) to be a ninja so that Oscar can secretly spy on legislators and lobbyists; or (b) how to go from “lightweight” to “super heavyweight” before veto session begins.

* As you may have noticed Friday afternoon, a late distributed press release announced Gov. Quinn has reappointed Aaron Jaffe as chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board. This weekend the Tribune editorial board heaped praise on the move…

We’ve always hoped that the lawmakers who fill their pockets with gambling industry contributions, and who want the independent Gaming Board to be anything but the independent law enforcement agency it is, would make a frontal assault on nominees such as these three. We cannot wait to see which senators would speak or vote against Jaffe, Holewinski or Gould and their stellar record of insulating the Illinois gambling industry.

We’re hard-pressed to think of another agency in Illinois’ often dysfunctional state government that has kept its head so far above political pressure, bureaucratic inertia and threats of criminal influence. Four times in its history the Gaming Board, its investigators and regulators have confronted the sorts of wrongdoing or inappropriate associations that in other states have erupted into devastating scandals. Four times the Gaming Board acted firmly, without regard for politics, and as a result this industry hasn’t suffered long-term embarrassments.

The editorial implies that anyone against Jaffe’s appointment wants the mob to takeover gaming in Illinois and zero government oversight. But Jaffe has been criticized in the Statehouse by legislators for his position on the gaming bill…

During the most recent legislative session Jaffe opposed a measure to add five casinos in the state, saying it didn’t give the board enough regulatory authority. That led to heated exchanges, including one hearing where Jaffe called a state senator “atrocious” and the senator returned the jab.

The press release also reported a new university trustee appointment for SIU…

Quinn on Friday appointed Joel Sambursky of Carbondale to a 5-year term at Southern Illinois University. The former quarterback was inducted into the Saluki Hall of Fame in 2012. Sambursky’s selection comes after the state Senate rejected previous Quinn appointments to the university board. That happened after a power struggle at SIU and a fight over the way the Senate provides advice and consent on appointments.

Former DFPR director Nikki Zollar was appointed to the Chicago State University Board of Trustees.

* This being Labor Day weekend, opinion pages were filled with commentary on organized labor issues. The AFL-CIO opined on the challenges immigrant and public sector workers face in today’s climate…

More than 11 million aspiring Americans attend school, work in our neighborhoods, raise families, own homes and dream of a better life. But their dreams will never be realized with the threat of deportation hanging over their heads and a path to citizenship so far out of reach.

While immigrant workers struggle to become part of a country that benefits from their labor but doesn’t protect their rights, unscrupulous employers abuse the system by exploiting workers with little to no protections — and pay them less.

The Tribune editorializes why the state’s unemployment rate is above nine percent…

The state raised personal and corporate income taxes just as other states moved to cut the tax burden.

Illinois borrowed and spent its way into massive government debt.

Think any employer doesn’t know Illinois has worst-in-the-nation credit ratings and unfunded pension obligations? Even as states from California to Rhode Island have dealt with similar financial crises, Illinois has stalled.

Many of our political leaders don’t welcome employers, they try to dictate terms to those who have the temerity to set up shop here. (Hello, Wal-Mart and Ford Motor Co.)

At the end, the editorial restates a campaign slogan the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago used in the mid-2000s.

* Other items for your review…

* Probe of contacts between Metra Board member and ex-CEO sought: Email and phone exchanges between Metra Board member Jack Schaffer and ex-CEO Alex Clifford should be investigated to see if Schaffer leaked confidential information that could have affected Clifford’s buyout, a Cook County commissioner has urged in a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn.

* Cook commissioner calls for probe of McHenry County Metra dissenter

* Cicero state rep allegedly complained to Clifford about ‘mistreating’ of husband at Metra job

* West suburban fire board pumped up chiefs’ pensions, promoted trustee’s partner: State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), whose legislative district includes the fire protection district, calls the pay-hikes-for-“pension spikes” deals “outrageous” and says they “should not be tolerated.”

* Reporter ordered to reveal source: Will County Circuit Court Judge Gerald Kinney on Friday ruled that patch.com reporter Joseph Hosey must hand over all of his documents relating to the January stranglings of Eric Glover and Terrance Rankins. If the documents do not reveal his source, then Hosey must provide Kinney with an affidavit telling him who provided him with the records, when and how, according to the ruling.

* Gay marriage push looking to unions, immigrants: “The immigration advocates, they really know how to get it done,” said Jim Bennett, a director for Lambda Legal, a gay rights group that’s part of the Illinois Unites for Marriage campaign. “We have a lot to learn from them.”

* Will County officials prepare for possible strike: A year of labor negotiations has failed to produce a contract for members of Local 1028 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents 1,260 of the county’s 2,300 union and non-union employees. | Union members are concerned because the county is asking employees to pay more for health insurance while offering small pay raises, said Dave Delrose, president of Local 1028.

* SIU president: Lobbyists crucial to protect school interests: “I know it’s probably hard for the public to understand, but it’s like anything else: We have to keep the legislature alerted to the bills that are passing through, and how they affect us. If we don’t do that, and we miss a very important bill that adversely affects our university, I’m to blame for that,” Poshard said.

* Widow who pushed for medical marijuana law not allowed to use it

* Deadbeat Illinois: Payment delays force schools office to borrow

* State, city budget woes help investors find yields

* How a $200 million township school treasurer’s office stuck it to taxpayers

* Madigan sues phone company she says scammed customers

* Concealed-carry instructor applications available

* New proof of insurance law raises questions

* Emanuel announces 50 speed camera locations

* Analysis: Overpromising could come back to haunt Emanuel

* Former Chicago Police Superintendent LeRoy Martin dies at 84

* Chicago crime down in August 2013

* CTA, Pace Announce Key Dates in Ventra Transition

* City harbors only 76% full; economy took wind out of sails

* CPS dumps ‘probation’ label for schools not making the grade

* New Lenox revises sales tax rebate

* Aurora City Council approves water bill hike

* Rockford police may get $400,000 to better track parolees

* Morton rethinks video gaming

* Peoria preparing new bid for power

* Poll: Majority still oppose (Peoria) buyout of water company

* State report recommends removal of Danville dams

* Fertilizer plant decision weeks away; Tuscola is finalist

* Council may vote on sales tax hike in Urbana

* Springfield awarded $14 million for 10th Street rail underpass

* Schoenburg: Mooney’s winding road to academic stardom

* Margaret Vaughn, lobbyist

* U of Illinois consider future of online courses

* Former Saluki Rounds Out SIU Board of Trustees

* Right to work: Boost to economic growth or path to lower wages?

- Posted by Barton Lorimor        


13 Comments
  1. - Anonymour - Tuesday, Sep 3, 13 @ 7:19 am:

    Yup, nuthin’ going on with Rich gone.


  2. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 3, 13 @ 7:36 am:

    –Think any employer doesn’t know Illinois has worst-in-the-nation credit ratings and unfunded pension obligations?–

    What do they care? Two-thirds of Illinois corporations pay no state income tax. Plus, the big dogs like Sears, CME, Motorola, etc., can shake down the state for tax breaks or “economic development” grants just by saying “boo.”

    Small business and wage-earners pay the taxes. The other guys have no skin in the game.


  3. - OneMan - Tuesday, Sep 3, 13 @ 8:34 am:

    Reappointed Jaffe, the regulator who hates what he regulates….

    Wonder if he changes his route to work to avoid driving by any location with video poker?


  4. - ZC - Tuesday, Sep 3, 13 @ 9:05 am:

    Tribune: “Even as states from California to Rhode Island have dealt with similar financial crises, Illinois has stalled.”

    California just enacted a 12.3% rate on individuals earning above $500,000, or couples above $1 million. California also raised its sales tax.

    Is the Tribune endorsing now a progressive income tax structure for the state of Illinois with a super-rate for the top 1%? Help me out, Tribune. I’m so confused.


  5. - Publius - Tuesday, Sep 3, 13 @ 9:57 am:

    You are doing a great job as pinch hitter. One minor item. You said that a tribune editorial inferred something about the mob. I believe you should have said implied.


  6. - downstate hack - Tuesday, Sep 3, 13 @ 10:30 am:

    Agree with One Man, Jaffe is a poor choice in that he is anti gaming to the point of making him blind to positive expansion for gaming in a cash starved State.


  7. - None of the Above - Tuesday, Sep 3, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    Nikki Zollar? Who knew? This person has been making a livelihood off of appointed positions since Harold Washington was mayor.


  8. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Sep 3, 13 @ 10:53 am:

    I’m honored that my union is now joining the SSM lobby. I’m disappointed to read this morning that new House Minority Leader Durkin will not vote for same-sex marriage.


  9. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Sep 3, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    ==You said that a tribune editorial inferred something about the mob. I believe you should have said implied. ==

    Hey Barton. The grammar police are after you.


  10. - walkinfool - Tuesday, Sep 3, 13 @ 11:13 am:

    The tribbies remain woefully ignorant of how and why large companies make decisions whether to stay in or move to Illinois. The State’s credit rating, and corporate tax rates are never in their top five criteria — as they will tell anyone who seriously asks them, (i.e. not the Chamber, IPI, or other lobbyists).

    Effective overall tax rate (what they will actually pay) often is. On that measure, Illinois is in the middle of the pack, (and better than Wisc., Mich., Ind.), for most companies.

    To be fair, high personal tax rates have some impact on their sense of attracting/holding senior managers and other talent. We are in the middle of the bigger states (except Texas) on that as well. These concerns are often overridden by other factors, like housing, schools, and cultural assets.


  11. - Barton Lorimor - Tuesday, Sep 3, 13 @ 11:47 am:

    They always are, Demoralized. But, hey, it’s a good way to know someone is reading.

    They are correct by the way. Writers and speakers imply. Readers and listeners infer. Learned something today.


  12. - Capitol View - Tuesday, Sep 3, 13 @ 11:57 am:

    Jon Stewart returns today, and Rich Miller is coming back soon. And the weather is beautiful.

    All is well with the world — other than Illinois state government.


  13. - Anyone Remember? - Tuesday, Sep 3, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    None of the Above

    Don’t forget her exquisite taste in wooden furniture.


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