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Friday, Feb 28, 2014

* One more big thanks to everyone who contributed to Special Olympics Chicago for my Sunday Polar Plunge!

* Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey turns 50 this weekend. He asked to pick the Friday play-out song, so here it is

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Unions launch new nursing home ad

Friday, Feb 28, 2014

* This is not the “killer” ad I’d heard about. That one may be coming next. We’ll just have to wait and see. I’ll leave comments opened for a few hours tonight so y’all can weigh in

…Adding… The above ad is not the ad which will run tomorrow on all stations. The spot above had to be edited to remove a reference to NBC after a legal row over at ABC 7.

…Adding more… Here’s the script for the ad which will be aired everywhere but on WLS…

Narrator: Bruce Rauner says;

Bruce Rauner: “We’re going to Springfield and run Illinois like a business “

Narrator: But NBC reports Rauner’s business operated nursing homes where residents died from abuse and neglect.

Narrator: Arlene Townsend. Fell 18 times.

Narrator: Juanita Jackson. Suffered from malnutrition and dehydration.

Narrator: Elvira Nunziata. Strapped to her wheelchair. Fell downstairs. Not found for almost an hour.

Narrator: Court after court awarded more than $1 billion to victims’ families.

Rauner: “We’re going to run Illinois like a business “

Narrator: Hasn’t Bruce Rauner’s business done enough damage?

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

Rothenberg moves governor’s race to “toss up”

Friday, Feb 28, 2014

* Stu Rothenberg has moved the Illinois governor’s race from “Lean Democrat” to “Toss-Up.” The ratings change was made because of Bruce Rauner’s strengths and Gov. Pat Quinn’s weaknesses

That doesn’t mean that Quinn can trail in all the polls and win once again. He has four years of incumbency and unpopularity to overcome, and can’t rely on third party candidates getting a sizable chunk of the vote this November. But it should give some pause at projecting Quinn’s demise.

It looks like Rauner successfully navigated the primary but the general election will be another story. His personal resources will be an asset but he has shown some vulnerability as a first-time candidate. Rauner’s critics point out his multiple stances on a minimum wage increase as a good example. And Democrats are likely to try and portray Rauner as the Illinois version of Mitt Romney — a wealthy Republican who is out of touch with regular people. Rauner has multiple homes and has already been criticized for trying to get his daughter into a exclusive charter school.

Quinn has been a political survivor. He looked like a loser in 2010 and won. He looked like he couldn’t get out of the Democratic primary this year and cleared the field. Quinn shouldn’t be counted out. That said, the governor’s poor job approval numbers can’t be ignored, and we have growing doubts about his re-election prospects. Because of that, we are changing our rating of the race slightly from Lean Democrat to Toss-Up.

Quinn trailed badly in most polls before the 2010 election day because most pollsters weren’t including all the third party candidates in their surveys. The ones who did include everybody had a much more accurate read of what was really going on. I hammered pollsters for weeks in the run-up to election day back then after I figured out what was happening. Yes, Quinn won when by all rights (huge GOP landslide year) he maybe should’ve lost, but the election was only a lot closer than most predicted because their data was garbage.

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      

Rate Rauner’s new attack ads

Friday, Feb 28, 2014

* Bruce Rauner’s campaign is up on the air with some hard-hitting 15-second TV ads against two of his three opponents. First up, Sen. Kirk Dillard, who “was a registered lobbyist while he was a legislator.” Rate it

* Next up, Sen. Bill Brady, who voted for tax hikes and pay raises, according to the ad. “Less money for you, more for him.” Rate it as well

Two recent polls have shown either Dillard or Brady (depending on the poll) bumping up a bit. These two ads appear designed to bring them both down a notch as we await what is billed as a new, killer ad by the Rauner-hating unions.

- Posted by Rich Miller   52 Comments      

Question of the day

Friday, Feb 28, 2014

* From Gatehouse Media

Cold and allergy medicines containing a key ingredient used to make methamphetamine would become available by prescription only under newly introduced legislation intended to thwart production of the illicit stimulant.

State Sen. Dave Koehler, D-Peoria, has introduced a measure that would make pseudoephedrine a schedule III controlled substance in a joint effort with police to curb meth labs.

Senate Bill 3502, which would amend the Illinois Controlled Substances Act to include ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, has been referred to the Assignments Committee.

“We think it’s going to be a game changer in Illinois for meth,” Pekin police Chief Greg Nelson said Wednesday at a meeting for the Peoria Multi-County Narcotics Enforcement Group (P-MEG) policy board. “Pseudoephedrine is the only required ingredient to make meth.”

Right now, in order to buy pseudoephedrine customers have to give their names and records have to be kept. The products are also not displayed on public shelves, but kept behind the counter.

* The Question: Should the availability of pseudoephedrine be changed to prescription only? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

survey solution

- Posted by Rich Miller   86 Comments      

Today’s quotable

Friday, Feb 28, 2014

* Gov. Pat Quinn has launched a national search to try and correct his completely botched appointment of the resigned-in-a-huff DCFS head Arthur Bishop. This quote is spot on, but not exactly a ringing endorsement of Quinn’s reelection chances

State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, who chairs the House Appropriations-Human Resources Committee, said it’s important that Quinn’s next pick for DCFS boss be given a chance to run the agency long-term — regardless of whether Quinn loses the November election to a Republican.

“The right person would be the right person — whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, a Whig or a Tory,” Harris said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      

Rate the new ad

Friday, Feb 28, 2014

* One of Bruce Rauner’s new TV ads

I’ve heard there was another ad that specifically targets his three opponents by name. Still trying to get ahold of it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      

A changed man?

Friday, Feb 28, 2014

* Looks like an opposition research dump to me

U.S. Senate candidate Jim Oberweis, who cites his successful push to raise Illinois’ speed limit as the top accomplishment of his first year as a state lawmaker, has been ticketed for speeding 11 times since 1988, according to public records.

On average, that’s a ticket every 2.4 years, which is more than I’ve had, but I assume he can afford the higher insurance rates.

By the way, I decided earlier this year to label all oppo I receive as such.

* Meanwhile, a refresher to set up something else

Oberweis drew fire in his 2004 run for the Senate after TV ads showed him flying over Soldier Field in a helicopter and asserting that enough “illegal aliens” cross the border and steal jobs to fill the stadium every week. Also during that campaign, his dairy aired a TV ad that showcased him in the weeks before the primary. It led to a $21,000 fine from the Federal Election Commission, which called the ad an unreported corporate contribution. […]

Though the assertion in the Soldier Field ad was disputed, Oberweis in an interview stood by his math but acknowledged, “We did a lousy job in the commercial.” As for the doctored headlines, he said his campaign manager had placed the ad and it was “pulled immediately” when he learned of the inaccuracies.

* The something else

State Sen. Jim Oberweis, a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in the March 18 primary, says he favors a pathway to citizenship for children brought into the United States illegally by their parents.

“In this country, we try not to blame children for acts of their parents,” Oberweis told the editorial board of The State Journal-Register.

He said that for parents who did break the law, “I do not believe that we should provide amnesty.”

But, he added, “We don’t want to break up families. My … suggestion is that we look at a non-immigrant visa which would allow them … to be here legally. However, it would not provide them with a path to citizenship.” He also said such adults should pay Social Security and Medicare taxes while working, but they should not automatically get such entitlements.

“That’s the cost for breaking the law, in effect,” he said.

That’s what you call political evolution.

* Other stuff…

* At Issue: Jim Oberweis

* U.S. Rep. Schock endorses Truax in GOP primary race to unseat Dick Durbin

* Oberweis bringing three-restaurants-in-one concept to Bolingbrook

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

When will “another day” and “later” and any other real answers come from Rauner?

Friday, Feb 28, 2014

* Bernie has a great column this week about Bruce Rauner’s refusal to be specific about… well… darned near everything. He goes back to June with an exchange about the power of public employee unions

“We need to modify their power,” [Rauner] said. When asked how, he said, “I won’t go into it today. We’ve got a detailed plan on it.”

I mentioned that it sounded like legislative approval would be needed.

“We have a plan,” he said. “We’ll talk about that another day.”

* On education

I asked if he would want vouchers to be usable at religion-based schools.

“We’ll get to that plan later,” he said with a laugh.

* On pensions

I asked if it would be unconstitutional to make current workers change midstream, given that the Illinois Constitution doesn’t allow “diminished or impaired” pension benefits.

“Absolutely not,” he said, “We’re not taking away anything done historically. … I’ve talked to top lawyers in the state. Very constitutional.”

* Since many months have passed, Bernie went to see if he could get an update

[Rauner campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf] this week didn’t provide the name of any of those “top lawyers” or provide clarification on the issues about which I asked.

* Rauner also avoided directly answering many questions in last night’s debate. Coverage roundup…

* Debate video, Part 1

* Debate video, Part 2 [Waiting on valid link]

* Debate video, Part 3

* Debate video, Part 4

* GOP candidate debate takes on feisty tone: From the opening minutes, Sen. Kirk Dillard was particularly aggressive at making personal digs at the other three: Sen. Bill Brady on losing the GOP primary in 2006 and governor’s race in 2010, Treasurer Dan Rutherford on recent allegations of misconduct, and businessman Bruce Rauner for his massive fundraising and television ads that have dominated the airwaves.

* Debates start to heat up: It was Kirk Dillard who punched hardest, saying Rauner’s business associates were crooks. “More business associates from Missouri and Michigan in Federal penitentiaries than we have Governors, and that ought to be a red flag he’s unelectable”.

* GOP candidates for IL governor square off at debate: When asked to comment on Rutherford’s weaknesses as a possible general election candidate, businessman Bruce Rauner would not bite. “I’m not going to answer that question directly,” said Rauner. “I’ve worked very hard in the race not to criticize my Republican opponents.”

* Rivals Rip Rauner in Republican Debate: And Brady also attacked the 6-year-old ad tying Dillard to President Obama. “He’s not a reliable republican,” said Brady.

* Owning assault weapons a right, three GOP candidates say: “We have to be aware that we have major crime problems in Illinois, and we make a mistake when politicians blame gun ownership for our crime problems. There are other issues, it’s not gun ownership,” Rauner said. “Pat Quinn has been a massive failure on crime in Illinois. Crime under Pat Quinn has skyrocketed throughout Illinois — not just Chicago, but in Rockford and many other communities, and we’ve got to take action with restoring our budgets to balance so we properly staff and train our police departments.”

* Rivals rip Rauner in raucous governor debate: Brady said Rauner’s tough talk about using the governor’s executive authority to challenge a Democratic-led General Assembly was “naïve” and threatened gridlock. “He doesn’t know what it’s like to make the legislature work together,” Brady said. “Look at the catastrophe that’s created in Washington, D.C. with Barack Obama dictating by executive order. Mr. Rauner thinks he can do that in Springfield because he doesn’t have the experience.”

* Governor candidates sharpen attacks on eve of early voting: The candidates largely avoided laying out specific plans to address Illinois’ disastrous finances beyond allowing the state’s 2011 tax increase to roll back. Rauner, for example, called for “comprehensive tax reform” and Rutherford said “everything is on the table,” including raising more revenue via taxes.

* GOP candidates talk gay marriage at debate: Republicans running for Illinois governor say they don’t object to gay marriage on a personal level, but they don’t support Illinois’ new same-sex marriage law.

- Posted by Rich Miller   82 Comments      

Hoffman wants to allow speed cams outside Chicago

Friday, Feb 28, 2014

* There are benefits to representing safe districts and not facing a primary challenge. For instance, you can introduce bills like this without much worry

State Rep. Jay Hoffman wants to expand Illinois’ speed-camera law so that not just Chicago can install the devices. […]

He said Thursday there weren’t any metro-east municipalities that approached him about wanting speed cameras.

“Some of the school organizations that represent school administrators talked to us about it, for safety purposes,” Hoffman said. “I don’t want to mandate it, but to allow the option statewide, instead of just Chicago. It would just give the option to local school boards and local municipalities, who would have to approve it if they have a safety issue and want these devices.”

The current law allows installation of speed cameras only in a “safety zone” — an area within one-eighth of a mile of a school or public park. It allows a fine up to $100 for a speeding violation.

Peoria, which is far from Hoffman’s district, is apparently interested in the speed cams.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

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Friday, Feb 28, 2014

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

My Chicago column has moved to Crain’s

Friday, Feb 28, 2014

* I hinted at this yesterday, but the always essential Robert Feder has the story

Rich Miller, the Illinois political reporter, editor, blogger and pundit whose Capitol Fax newsletter has been a must-read among power brokers for more than 20 years, is joining Crain’s Chicago Business as a contributing columnist.

Starting Friday, Miller’s column will appear twice monthly on and eventually will be seen in Crain’s weekly print publication as well.

The move marks a return to Chicago media for Miller, 51, whose eight-year run as a free-lance columnist for the Sun-Times ended in January.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my years writing for the Sun-Times and I’m looking forward to a new challenge with Crain’s,” Miller said Thursday. [Crain’s political columnist] Greg Hinz has been a good friend for a very long time, and his encouragement convinced me that I should embrace this change. So far, I’ve totally enjoyed dealing with the management, and I’m looking forward to the publication of my inaugural column.” […]

When Miller became available, [Crain’s government and politics editor Tom Corfman] and his colleagues at Crain’s didn’t have to think twice. “We looked at each other and said yes right away,” he said. “We’re really grateful for the opportunity.”

* And this is very important to remember

In addition to his work for Crain’s, Miller will continue to write his daily blog, his premium subscription newsletter and the syndicated newspaper column he distributes free throughout the state.

* My inaugural column is here. I’m not going to excerpt it because I want y’all to go over there and read it. So get to it. The headline is: “What does the far right wing see in Rauner?”

* Crain’s, by the way, endorsed Rauner today. Just to be clear, I have nothing to do with their endorsements.

- Posted by Rich Miller   63 Comments      

Protected: *** UPDATED x1 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - This just in… Agreement reached on outline of revenue and budget cuts

Friday, Feb 28, 2014

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