* The “Boat Drink Caucus” - Reps. Chad Hays Mike Tryon - would like me to tell you that their rockin’ cover band is playing at the Bud Tent from 5-8 this evening. Their backup band today was the Blackhawks’ house band at the United Center. Should be a good time.
* Speaking of Tryon, here he is gazing in wide wonder at State Fair fashionista (or fashion disaster, depending) Dave Dring’s boots…
*** UPDATE *** The post hasn’t generated many comments so far, but I’m betting the addition of this pic will do the trick…
Evelyn Sanguinetti used the word “love” several times Wednesday when explaining what she thinks of Springfield and its people.
And the member of the Wheaton City Council, who is also running mate to GOP governor candidate Bruce Rauner, made it very clear that a leaked email she sent to a law school friend months before she was on the state ticket was not intended to be demeaning to the capital city.
“I’ve loved it,” Sanguinetti said of Springfield in a brief interview with The State Journal-Register after a closed-to-press meeting with Women for Rauner at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in downtown Springfield. “We come here every year as a family. We always have come throughout the years for Republican Day, and the kids have enjoyed the (state) fair as a whole. So we love it. And we love all the tribute to Lincoln, and the kids have loved to go to the (Abraham Lincoln Presidential) Museum as well as all the areas around here.”
Lee Enterprises newspapers recently reported that in a Jan. 1, 2013, email to a former classmate at John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Sanguinetti asked about any openings in his agency and ended with, “Isn’t cow tipping a work requirement in Springfield (LOL)?”
Many contend we cannot find common ground on key issues, but the recent discussion over Champaign’s failed ERI program reveals a lot of common ground between the Cross and Frerichs camps. For instance:
1. We all agree on Frerichs’ role in providing the data and analysis the county board used to make the decision on the failed ERI program.
From Frerichs’ response posted on Capitol Fax:
“…Frerichs provided us with an analysis that showed both costs and potential savings…” (Michael Graham, former Champaign County Board member and CPA)
“…the administrator asked Mike to review its advantages and disadvantages. Mike did so and presented his findings to the Board, who then adopted it in a bipartisan fashion…” (Steve Beckett, former Democratic Champaign Board and architect of the legislation to take over the Lincoln Library)
2. We all agree the program was a costly failure. At no point in Frerichs’ response does he or his fellow county officials dispute the program was a massive failure that ended up costing Champaign County taxpayers in excess of $3 million. Even though at the time Frerichs said the plan would “be a good tool to deal with budgetary problems for the county board.” (CNG, 7/3/03)
Now, there are a few points of disagreement.
1. Again, instead of taking responsibility for bad analysis and recommendations, Frerichs’ attempts to shift the blame to the market. But, just like the ERI debacle, Frerichs relies on bad math.
On the Champaign County early retirement initiative, many financial experts missed the continued recession that occurred after those decisions were made, not by Mike Frerichs but by other county leaders. The Champaign News-Gazette correctly pointed this out in its 2004 endorsement of Frerichs for County Auditor.
This is just wrong. The market rebounded after ERI was passed, but Frerichs did not account for the market losses in 2001 and 2002 in his analysis for ERI, and that’s why the 2003 ERI program was such a failure. As a result of the ERI and negative investment returns that were already known at the time ERI was proposed and passed, the county faced $2.5 million in new unfunded liability which prompted them to issue bonds in 2005 costing taxpayers over $3 million. (Source: IMRF Champaign County Historical Funding)
Take a look at the Dow Jones Returns. The market performed well after ERI. Frerichs never factored in the losses in 2001 and 2002. Dow Jones Averages
2. Frerichs’ Performance was definitely an issue in his removal as the County’s IMRF Agent
The County Board debate on this issue clearly outlines frustration with mistakes made by the County Auditor along with an office overly focused on politics. As noted also, Frerichs opposed his removal as IMRF Agent.
Before the vote to remove Frerichs from the position, Champaign County Board member Scott Tapley said “This is a move that is long, long overdue, I am not going to beat a dead horse but mistakes have been made in the past. This is a financial decision that should be made every year, politics should be removed and we should have these decisions made by administration.” (County Board Meeting – 9/21/06, Resolution No. 5643 – Audio)
3. On the patronage issue, that’s a debate between Frerichs and the Champaign News Gazette. But, the Gazette never made the claim Frerichs hired people, their extensive research and reporting argued that Frerichs used his significant clout to have those employees appointed to their positions. Once in the positions, their performances were described by the Champaign News-Gazette with words like “disaster” and “fiasco”.
“If you look at his record on almost six years, it’s almost as if he’s running for Rod Blagojevich’s fourth term right now,” Murphy said. “You’ve got the NRI scandal. Look, there’s no other way to put it – he took $54.5 million of taxpayer money to help buy his re-election. Nothing Rod Blagojevich is impeached or imprisoned for cost taxpayers that much money.”
On Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers congregated in Springfield for a brunch (and photo-op) that attracted about 1,400 people. Afterward the group descended upon the fairgrounds to continue a show of solidarity with Quinn, who’s facing a tough re-election challenge from GOP nominee Bruce Rauner.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin was there. So too were U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth and Quinn running mate Paul Vallas, who addressed the string of corporate scandals related to Rauner’s former private equity firm, GTCR.
Conspicuously absent? Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. He didn’t show up last year, either.
The Springfield ringmaster — who’s viewed as a shadow governor of sorts, the real power broker running the show — is also the chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois. Given his high rank, you’d think Madigan would be there with bells on, the first to arrive and the last to leave. His no-show carries a whiff of possible tension with Quinn.
First of all, yesterday was Governor’s Day, not Democrat Day. And a couple of years ago, after being loudly and roundly booed by AFSCME members, Madigan grew tired of the sideshow atmosphere and handed the event to the governor’s office.
And other democrats who made the trip to Springfield wondered why their state party chairman, powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, did not attend the events during a year with six statewide offices on the ballot.
ABC7’s Charles Thomas: “He’s the party chairman and he’s not here?”
Quinn: “Well, everybody in, nobody left out in my book, yeah.”
“He’s the hardest-working party chair the state has,” said Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
ABC7’s Charles Thomas: “So he’s not here, does that mean anything?
Lisa Madigan: “Apparently, it does to you. So you can comment on it.”
A Madigan spokesman said the party chief was away fund-raising, and Democratic officials knew he would not be at the fair.
“He’s been raising campaign funds out of state. He’s been doing that all summer,” said Madigan spokesman Steve Brown, predicting: “We’re going to be badly outspent.”
Brown said they’re keeping the fund-raising location close to the vest.
For appearance purposes, he probably should’ve been there. But Madigan isn’t one who cares much for optics, as his horrific approval ratings clearly demonstrate. And yet, considering those ratings, maybe it’s best that he stayed away.
Perhaps the most stinging anti-Rauner attack came from U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, the wounded Iraq War veteran who is seeking re-election to her northwest suburban congressional seat and was Wednesday morning’s keynote speaker.
She hit Rauner hard, later likening him to a “deserter” for investing some of his personal fortune in funds and stocks based in the Cayman Islands, a notorious tax haven.
“I think if you’re avoiding paying your fair share in your nation, that fits,” she said of Rauner when pressed on that label, considered in military circles to be the most derisive of all.
That’s disgusting and way over the line.
For crying out loud, it’s August and the campaign is already this ugly?
“If we use comments like ‘deserter’ and ‘traitor’ that normally those crimes have a capital punishment consequence, I’d say that rhetoric is probably too overblown for a country that wants to stick together and hang together,” Kirk said.
Rauner and other Republicans first will meet at a downtown Springfield hotel, where party leaders from around the state will hear out the candidates up and down the ballot.
They then will hold a noon rally at the fairgrounds — one expected to be peppered with political speeches from would-be officeholders and longtime veterans, such as Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who is seeking re-election.
The fairground event is billed as more of a true rally in the traditional sense rather than the family-styled format with picnic and performers that Quinn has adopted. The governor made the change from the traditional platform for old-fashioned stem winders on an outdoor stage following a run-in two years ago. Union workers booed him off the stage over a contract dispute.
* While yesterday’s Director’s Lawn event was indeed billed as a light, family-oriented festival, it contained lots of elements of the rallies of old, including several fiery speeches and a stage appearance by “Baron von Moneybags”…
“I don’t see this Republican wave they’re talking about,” [Sen. Dick Durbin] continued. “To be honest, the public is not very enamored with either political party at this point. I went through the races yesterday with Harry Reid — the Senate races — and we feel good.”
Durbin’s November opponent state Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, blasted Durbin, saying he had bullied the company into staying rather than fixing a broken tax code and that Durbin deserved “scorn” rather than praise.
“You know, where I grew up, bullies picked on little people. When I’m doing these battles for the state, I’m picking some of the big people,” Durbin told Early&Often Wednesday. “You know, and I think that’s my job, to call them out. I’m a customer at Walgreens. I love Walgreens. They were about to make a bad decision and they straightened it out. When the CEO called me and said ‘let’s get together,’ and of course we will. We can disagree without being petty about it. I think they were about to make a big mistake and I’m glad they didn’t.”
“Oberweis introduced a bill and said it should be illegal to give an increase in the minimum wage to anyone under the age of 26,” Durbin said. “You think I’m making it up, don’t ya? It’s a fact. Well, who did he exclude. All college students. Virtually all of them. A lot of struggling moms, struggling to keep their families together. And incidentally, returning vets under the age of 26 trying to find any kind of job. Jim Oberweis said no increase for them.”
Among CPS parents, 57 percent backed Lewis, who led an eight-day teacher strike during Emanuel’s first year in office, while 27 percent supported Emanuel. Similarly, 56 percent of union household members backed Lewis, who has headed the CTU for four years, while 31 percent backed Emanuel’s re-election.
Younger voters tended to back Lewis over Emanuel, with 51 percent of those ages 18-35 favoring the potential challenger compared with 36 percent for the mayor. Those numbers were nearly flipped among voters ages 36-49.
Lewis, a controversial and outspoken union leader, was viewed favorably by 38 percent of the voters, compared with 24 percent who viewed her unfavorably. Another 38 percent had no impression of her, leaving Emanuel room to try to help voters make up their minds if she runs against him.
White voters were divided in their impression of Lewis: 36 percent unfavorable, 31 percent favorable and 33 percent with no opinion. Black voters, meanwhile, considered the African-American union leader favorably — 46 percent, to only 13 percent unfavorably. Parents of CPS students who took part in the survey viewed her favorably by 49 percent to 19 percent who viewed her unfavorably.
Emanuel probably knew that this poll was coming, which could explain why some unfavorable stories appeared this week about Lewis and Ald. Fioretti, who is almost completely unknown to voters but is still getting a quarter of the vote.
Lewis isn’t as wealthy as Emanuel, a multimillionaire who made his fortune during a short stint as an investment banker. But she makes more than $200,000 a year and has an ownership interest in three homes, records show.
That includes vacation homes in Hawaii and in the upscale “Harbor Country” area of southwestern Michigan, where Emanuel has a second home, property records show. […]
When she first ran for CTU president four years ago, Lewis promised not to make more than the highest-paid teacher. […]
Chicago Public Schools’ payroll records show no teacher makes as much as Lewis’ $136,890 CTU base salary.
Ald. Bob Fioretti says he’s thinking so seriously about challenging Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the February election that he plans on hiring campaign staff now. Want ads were posted online last week.
If you’re looking to apply, though, you might want to know this: Two staffers who worked on Fioretti’s first campaign didn’t get paid in full until he was halfway through his first term as the 2nd Ward’s alderman.
Former Fioretti staffers Emily Miller and Jane Deronne didn’t receive all they were owed until appealing to the state agency that helps workers who’ve been shortchanged.
Miller said Fioretti’s campaign stiffed her out of $3,000. An administrative law judge for the state sided with Miller and ordered Fioretti For Alderman to pay up, according to records obtained by Early & Often, the Chicago Sun-Times political portal.
Kolenc most recently served as campaign manager for Yes For Independent Maps, an organization that ran a failed bid to launch a statewide constitutional amendment referendum on state legislative redistricting. First, opponents challenged whether enough of the group’s petition signatures were valid, then a Cook County judge tossed it from the ballot.
Today Illinois Freedom PAC released a new video highlighting billionaire gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s record of outsourcing American jobs. The video comes as Rauner faces criticism for stashing some of his vast fortune in a foreign tax haven and as an executive of a Rauner-created business faces criminal charges for wire fraud committed via a subsidiary in Bermuda.
The video features TV clips and other footage from a July protest of Rauner held at site of an abandoned wire plant in Rockford, which saw some of its production move to Mexico in 2002. Rockford is a community not unlike many others throughout Illinois and the nation, which has fallen victim to CEOs who outsource jobs.
Tom Gaulrapp - who found himself out of work in late 2012 when Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital outsourced his and 169 of his co-workers’ jobs to China and closed the Sensata Technologies plant in nearby Freeport - sums up the sentiment of the day in one particular clip.
“This is about keeping one of these vulture capitalists who thinks it’s a good idea to pack up our jobs and move them somewhere else, to keep him from being in the governorship of Illinois,” Gaulrapp tells local reporters.
Rauner was a director at H-Cube, a self-described “premier global business outsourcing firm.” In 2006, 4,000 of its financial service jobs were located in India.
Rauner was a director at the Polymer Group, a company which produces feminine hygiene products, wipes, medical fabrics, and industrial material. The Polymer Group increased its profits by $13.4 million in 1995 by expanding its operations in Mexico after NAFTA.
Rauner’s company financed VeriFone, a maker of retail credit card terminals. In late 2001, 100% of its manufacturing workforce was outsourced to China, Mexico, Singapore, and Brazil. Rauner’s company made $800 million from VeriFone in just three years and Rauner called it his “biggest financial winner.”
Rauner was a director at ERO Inc., a company that produces slumber bags and flotation devices. In 1997, Ero contracted with manufacturers in China, Taiwan, Italy, and Indonesia..