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Dillard’s “I” problem

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013

* A couple of weeks ago, a few people I know were at a Republican gubernatorial forum. They decided as a joke to make a bet on what word or phrase Sen. Kirk Dillard would use the most that evening.

One bet “Jim Edgar.” Another bet on “Destination economy.” A third bet that Dillard’s most-used word would be “I.”

The third guy won. Big.

* With that in mind, check out this new video posted by WHBF TV of the “education” segment during a GOP forum in the Quad Cities.

Dillard’s remarks…

I have a 12 year old and a 10 year old and I focus every day and live and breathe issues of education. My father was a high school teacher, and I live the common core. My wife and I were very involved in a voluntary preschool in our community called Hinsdale. And so from early childhood education, which I’ve always supported, through, and I’m on my community college board’s foundation board where we work hand in glove with local manufacturers at the College of DuPage training our workers. I still stay incredibly active with Western Illinois Univeristy, Depaul University. Education is a lifelong thing, early childhood on through the community colleges on through our great universities like the University of Illinois. I have a written, best in class education program. Best in class education goes hand in glove with an ability to train our workforce. When I was a student at Western Illinois University I worried about competing for a job with somebody from Iowa. My kids, your kids, your grandkids and today’s workers are going to have to compete with kids from India and from other places in the world. So, I urge you again, not to bore you this morning, but go on, see my vision…”

Dillard does this all. the. time. Almost his entire campaign schtick appears to be about his qualifications, his experience, his whatever.

Voters do want to hear about a candidate’s life story, but they mostly want to hear what the candidates believe about them; their future, their state, their communities, their problems, their wants and needs.

Sen. Dillard, on the other hand, frames just about everything as being about Kirk Dillard. And that just aint’ gonna work.

Not to mention that none of what he said made any freaking sense. Sheesh.

…Adding… There’s been some furious push-back in comments, so I commented myself in reply…

(I)n reading some of these comments (was at a long lunch and didn’t monitor like I usually do) I’ve come to the conclusion that either I wasn’t clear enough or some of y’all are just obtuse.

Politicians can and do effectively use the word “I.” They can use it to identify with people, to state what they’ll do, to show that they mean business.

But look at how Dillard uses it. It’s just a bunch of half anecdotes that don’t add up to anything or even mean anything taken individually.

I don’t care that he works with the community college if he doesn’t use it to illustrate how that experience would help him lead Illinois, or informs him about Illinois’ many, many problems.

It’s a useless “I.” And if you can’t see that, well, “I” can’t help you.

* By the way, this was the question he was supposed to answer…

If the return on the investment of early childhood education is well-documented, what policies will your administration pursue to ensure that Illinois children are prepared to succeed in school and equipped to enter the workplace?

Instead, he rambled about himself.

- Posted by Rich Miller   143 Comments      


Question of the day

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013

* From House Speaker Michael Madigan’s statement yesterday about his opposition to the corporate tax break bill

The companies requesting these taxpayer-funded breaks currently pay little to no corporate income tax to the state, contributing little or nothing to help fund the very services from which they benefit significantly. Meanwhile, middle-class families continue struggling through a recession and job loss. So I find it very difficult to support tax giveaways for corporate CEOs and millionaire shareholders whose companies pay little in state taxes. I question our priorities when corporate handouts are demanded by companies that don’t pay their fair share while middle-class families and taxpayers face an increasing number of burdens.

* Senate President John Cullerton had this to say after the tax break bill passed his chamber

“We’re not giving any money to corporations, we’re bringing jobs to Illinois,” said Senate President John Cullerton. “These specific bills that we passed, they are new jobs that are being added. So we’re not taking any money away from anybody or giving money to corporations, we’re adding jobs that aren’t here now.”

* The Question: Do you lean more in favor of Madigan’s argument or Cullerton’s? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


survey service

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      


More Golden Horseshoe Awards

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013

* The 2013 Golden Horseshoe Award for Best campaign staffer - Illinois House Democrats goes to Kristen Bauer

I’ve worked multiple campaigns for House Dems, and my vote would be Kristen Bauer. She’s 8 am to midnite and beyond, seven days a week. She is 200 percent dedicated and loyal. It’s a chore just to get her to eat some food every once in a while. Very organized, very efficient, and very kind to her fellow staff and volunteers. She’s Boom Shaka Laka

* Runner-up is Julia Larkin, who was pushed hard by HDem staff…

When it comes to cool, calm and coordinated that is Julia Larkin all the way. I surely do not know how she keeps all the plates spinning in perfect sync without dropping one. In the thick of a competitive campaign, she is able to keep a smooth running campaign team without the normal drama of campaign egos. She does her homework and her recruitment is always top notch. Level headed and very rational she can get things done.

* The Golden Horseshoe Award for Best campaign staffer - Illinois House Republicans goes to Nick Bellini

Without a doubt, this should go to Nick Bellini. He goes above and beyond for his members and candidates. He’s who is called in when things go south and expected to turn them around. They can always count on him to be one step ahead of everyone else on a campaign and no one can beat “Bitter Bellini” or the “Angel of Death” when it comes to writing clever mail pieces. If everyone on their staff cared as much about campaigns as him, they might not be a super minority.

Bellini was the overwhelming favorite. He’s won this award so many times that I may just name it after him so we can move on.

* Runners-up…

My vote in that race is a toss up for Ray Soch, who ran Skip’s last campaign. Ray was everywhere and while he was everywhere, knew where everyone else was. He is organized, calm, cool and collected, and put up with so much poop. He has such a bright future ahead of his young life. My other vote would be for Garrett Hill. He’s the definition of cool, calm and charisma. He’s a computer geek with an uncanny ability to relate to people. He has a great personality, and a great personal story. I’m proud to call them both my friend.

* An important point…

Staffers from both sides of the aisle are unique human beings, that are underpaid, overly abused, but so desperately needed on every campaign. Without the word loyalty attached to these people, no candidate for office could possibly succeed short of a million prayers

Exactly right.

* OK, let’s move on to today’s category, shall we?…

* The Steve Brown Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Government Spokesperson

The winner can flak for legislative, judicial, executive or even local branches. Take your pick, but make extra sure to explain your nomination. This isn’t a contest of numbers, it’s about intensity of the nominations.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


Today’s number

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013

* I don’t know if this statistic is even close to accurate, but it’s fascinating. From a Reuters story about Michigan’s new “right to work” law

Tracy Bosman, a Chicago-based site selection consultant with Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co, says Michigan’s law has generated interest in the state.

Up to 50 percent of manufacturers automatically screen out any non-right-to-work state, Bosman said, so Michigan was out of the picture for many companies looking to add production capacity.

“While it does not guarantee success for Michigan, it does at least mean the state will get a second look from firms that automatically excluded it in the past,” she said. [Emphasis added.]

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      


Counter-intuitive

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013

* The dirty little secret of Chicago’s high parking meter rates is that many businesses love them. Why? Because the meters create turnover. Potential customers don’t park a long time in front of their businesses, so the cars of more potential customers then replace them.

And while some hailed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s renegotiated parking meter deal that included free Sunday parking, not everybody was happy

Six months after the City Council passed a renegotiated parking meter lease, business leaders and aldermen in some wards say free Sunday parking has led to low meter turnover — which means fewer customers are able to park and shop in the neighborhoods.

Kevin Vaughn, owner of a handful of restaurants and bars, including Lakeview’s Mystic Celt and Vaughn’s Pub, said he was trying to find parking outside one of his businesses early Sunday morning and most of the metered spots were filled — a problem that began after free Sunday parking began.

“Eighty percent of the spots were filled at 8 a.m.,” Vaughn said. “In Lakeview, Sunday is the second busiest commercial business day of the week. Ultimately [free metered parking] is bad for business.” […]

Back in June, the 32nd, 43rd and 44th Wards — which include Lincoln Park and Lakeview — filed requests to bring back paid Sunday parking. Smith, Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) all voted against approving the renegotiated parking meter lease.

Waguespack said city attorney Stephen Patton has assured him that the city would draft an ordinance to bring back paid Sundays meters to his ward, but he’s still skeptical.

“Even though the city’s attorney has said he’d do it, I think they’re going to ignore it because they think the deal will just go away,” Waguespack said. “But it’s never going away. You’ve created a problem that will never go away.”

* Meanwhile, from the Tribune

Across Illinois, sixth- through 12th-graders were asked some simple but revealing questions on a statewide survey: Does your teacher ask difficult questions in class? What about on tests?

Their answers were an eye-opener, with nearly 50 percent — almost 360,000 students — disclosing that they never or seldom are asked hard questions in their main academic classes, according to a Tribune analysis of state data.

As for exams, 42 percent said they never or only occasionally are given challenging test questions, raising concerns about the rigor of instruction at a time when students are supposed to be preparing for tougher state exams.

* But read down into the story

At New Trier Township High School’s ninth-grade campus, nearly 76 percent of students said they felt challenged most or all the time in their main classes

So, a quarter of kids at New Trier, widely touted as the top public school in all of Illinois, say they aren’t feeling challenged by their core classwork?

* This, however, is totally expected, despite the fact that a 2011 Tribune poll found that 77 percent of Chicagoans believed that their school board should be elected

Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be spared the potential political embarrassment of finding out whether Chicagoans would prefer an elected school board rather than an appointed one after aldermanic allies moved Monday to fill the March primary ballot with questions on taxi fares and gun control.

There’s room for three referendum questions per a state law meant to prevent overloading the ballot. But the provision also has become a tool that allows council members friendly to the mayor to block efforts viewed as anti-administration.

The council’s Finance Committee loaded up the March 18 ballot with advisory questions that won’t have the force of law. Voters would be asked if they want to pay higher taxi fares, ban high-capacity ammunition magazines and ban the carrying of firearms in all businesses that serve alcohol under the state’s new concealed carry law.

* Also totally expected. From a press release…

Nearly 65 percent of participating school district superintendents believe state funding for education is poor or in need of improvement, according to an online survey that will be released Thursday by Lt. Governor Sheila Simon’s office and Illinois State University. […]

Among the numerous findings of the survey were that 65 percent of respondents would support an increase in the income tax with or without a corresponding decrease in property tax, 75 percent of participants would support a local sales tax for the Education Fund voted upon by a district referendum and over 90 percent of contributors supporting a two year state budget cycle to improve fiscal planning. Respondents rated most services as being important to critically important, and gave ISBE and ROEs high marks in several areas, including leadership, communication, and responsiveness to requests for assistance. Participants indicated that they will need more support in the future for Common Core implementation, professional development, testing technology, and educator evaluations.

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      


Does ballot position matter?

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013

* SJ-R

State Sen. Bill Brady will have the top ballot spot in the March 18 primary for governor, due to a lottery conducted Wednesday at the State Board of Elections.

Following Brady — a member of the state Senate from Bloomington and the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee — will be state Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa, state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale and venture capitalist Bruce Rauner of Winnetka. […]

The statewide lottery — which featured numbered balls being picked out of a wooden box by Becky Glazier, assistant to the executive director of the state board — determined ballot order for candidates who were in line to file when the filing period started at 8 a.m. Nov. 25. People who filed later will generally be on the ballot in the order they filed.

One other GOP candidate for governor, Peter Edward Jones of Franklin Park, will be fifth on the ballot unless a pending objection to his petitions yields the removal of his name.

* But will this really matter much? Larry Sabato has probably the best take on ballot position I’ve yet seen. He examined eight research papers, some conflicting with each other, and came to some important conclusions, including

1. There is an advantage to being listed first on the ballot. Voters who do not have well defined choices prior to voting appear to latch onto the first name on the ballot for each office, a phenomenon we might call “first-listing bias.” In the split-second process of decision-making, they do more thinking about this candidate. For those voters truly on the fence, this mental consideration of the first candidate can produce an affirmative vote. (An aside: One wonders whether the first-listing bias is as great for absentee and mail ballot voters, compared to those who turn up at the polls on Election Day. Voters can take their time at home–they can even do some internet research on the candidates before completing their ballots. At the polls, many voters feel anxious and tense. Everyone is in a hurry and being watched. No one wants to hold up the line. Alas, there is no research of which we are aware on this subject, perhaps because absentee ballots pose further obstacles to researchers. As one study stated, “We were unable to analyze absentee votes because name order is rotated from ballot to ballot, and records are not kept of vote totals separately for the different name orders.”)

2. The advantage for first-listed candidates varies widely. In some elections a first-listing produces just a handful of votes, though they can make the difference in an extremely close election. In other elections a first-listing can generate extra votes up to about 5% of the overall tally, according to some studies.

3. Offices at the top of the ballot, for president, governor, and senator, produce the fewest additional votes for a first-listed candidate. That is because the candidates for these high-visibility offices tend to be well known, and most voters have made a firm decision about which to support prior to voting.

4. Offices in the middle and bottom of the ballot are especially susceptible to the first-listing bias. Many candidates for lower statewide elected office (such as lieutenant governor, attorney general, labor commissioner, etc.) and other localized offices (state legislators, city councilors, and so on) are surprisingly little known by many voters. A voter may have gone to the polls specifically to vote for president or governor, and once in the voting booth be surprised to discover lots of other offices up for election. Some voters just skip these contests (which may be the responsible thing to do if one has not studied them in advance), and this produces a phenomenon called “voter fatigue” or “ballot drop-off.” The number of votes cast for president is almost always much greater than the number of votes cast for any other office, for example. Often, the number of votes cast per office drops consistently as one moves down the ballot. However, other voters feel an obligation to be “good citizens” and cast a ballot even in races where the candidates are unknown to them. First-listing bias can be a major factor for these voters. […]

6. Elections without well-known incumbents are more susceptible to first listing bias than those with such incumbents. Incumbency can substitute for a party label, in that less attentive voters may use name identification as a vote prompt where party identification is not available.

7. Primary elections are more susceptible to first-listing bias than general elections. By definition, party primaries do not contain a party identification prompt. All the candidates are either Democrats or Republicans, and so party voters lack a key voting cue. On the other hand, incumbency (if it exists and especially if it is noted on the primary ballot) can substitute for the party prompt, and thereby minimize first-listing bias. […]

9. There is some evidence that, in a long listing of candidates for a particular office, being listed last is almost as good as being listed first. This is somewhat biblical–”the first shall be last and the last shall be first”–but essentially, the suggestion is that the voter’s eyes assess a large, multi-candidate field by focusing on the first listed candidate and then the last-listed candidate, with those positioned in the middle getting short-shrift. The first-listed candidate still gets more “extra” votes, but the last-listed candidate does second best in this category.

10. Of all these principles that govern the first-listing bias, the most important are the degree of information held by individual voters and the position of the office on the ballot. Elections that draw a disproportionate number of well-informed voters have lower first-listing bias effects. And long ballots that ask voters to cast votes on an extended list of offices and candidates almost certainly exaggerate the first-listing bias for the offices toward the end of the ballot.

I think we can conclude from this that if Bruce Rauner gets his name recognition way up by March, then his fourth place listing won’t matter all that much. But if it ends up being a super-close race, then Brady might benefit a bit.

* There are obviously some races where ballot position will be important. Take, for instance, the 40th House District race. Rep. Jaime Andrade (D-Chicago) was appointed to replace Deb Mell. Andrade has six (yes, six) Democratic primary opponents. From Russ Stewart’s latest column…

(W)e shall see in the primary whether the Mell Machine is toothless and decrepit. Upon Deb Mell’s resignation, Dick Mell engineered the appointment of top staffer Jaime Andrade to her House seat.

In the primary, Andrade has six opponents—a clear signal of his political precariousness. He has multiple problems. First, Dick Mell’s clout has withered since his retirement. Second, Andrade is totally unknown, and must rely on Madigan money and Mell workers to persevere. Andrade backed the Quinn-Madigan pension “fix” so the speaker owes him. By doing so, he alienated Organized Labor; SEIU and AFSCME will spend heavily against him in the primary. Third, the Hispanic voter base in the district is only 30 percent of registered voters. And fourth, he exudes no charisma.

But he could still win, primarily because the non-Andrade vote will be split among six others. Andrade’s most formidable foes, each of whom have a base in the district, and fundraising ability, are Nancy Schiavone, a Logan Square attorney who is the 35th Ward Democratic Committeeman; Aaron Goldstein, a criminal defense attorney who was second chair on Rod Blagoiavich’s first corruption trial, and lead counsel on the second; and Bart Goldberg, an attorney who ran for 38thWard Alderman in 2011, getting 7.8 percent of the vote. Also, on the ballot are CPS librarian Melanie Ferrand, Mark Pasieka, and Wendy Jo Harmston.

The 40th District extends from Argyle Street on the north to Altgeld Street, between California and Kostner, and is bisected by the Kennedy expressway. According to the 2010 census, it is 45 percent white, with most concentrated in the area north of Irving Park Road, which is decidedly upscale, and in Logan square, in the southeast corner. It is 45 percent Hispanic, who are concentrated in the southwest of the Kennedy expressway between Irving Park and Logan Boulevard. According to Goldstein, about half the Hispanics are non-citizens, and non voters. The remaining 10 percent are Asian.

In the 2010 primary, Deb Mell initially had a serious challenger, Joe Liacona. Mell had moved, but failed to change her voter registration. Liacona challenged her residency, but Dick Mell’s high-priced lawyers prevailed. She beat Liacona 4,335-2,242 (65.9 percent), in a 6,577 turnout. In 2012, Deb Mell was unopposed, and turnout plunged to 4,011. The district contains 68 precincts, of which 21 are in Mell’s 33rd Ward, 16 in in the 35th Ward, and five in the 38th Ward.

Goldstein’s “Blagojevich connection” is no asset, especially since he was 0-for-2. Invariably, convicted defendants blame their lawyers, not themselves, so he can expect no help from the Mell Clan. Goldstein is energetic and creative, and will use adjectives like independent, reformer and progressive to describe himself; plus, he likely will be Labor’s choice. Andrade’s strategy will be to run as the incumbent, focus heavily on the Hispanic vote, and let mailers and door-knockers do the rest.

* Rep. Andrade is second on the ballot. Nancy Schiavone, the 35th Ward Democratic Committeeman, is at the top of the ballot. Mark Pasieka is at the bottom.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


Decent money, if you can get it

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013

* I forgot to post this because I was on break at the time, but a longtime reader was waiting in line at Springfield’s Best Buy on Thanksgiving night and sent me a couple of pics. From his e-mails…

Paid circulators last night at Best Buy in Springfield working the line for term limit petitions. Looked like the amendment Rauner is backing.

The lady told me that she was getting 75 cents a signature, plus a bonus for complete pages. She said her stack was worth $500 when completed.

There were two of them working their way through the line until they let us into the store. They got to me right as we were getting into the store so pics had to be taken quick.

* The pics…

- Posted by Rich Miller   58 Comments      


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        * Kirk the Jerk is scared of Tammy Duckworth...

        * Durbin, Corker Introduce Water for The Wor......

        * Algonquin chief recommended to be next U.S......

        * Somos todos Ayotzinapa. Chicago.
        * The Better Government Association continues to spread the lie about public employee pensions.
        * Marion Barry has passed away
        * Sherman’s Maps
        * An Encounter Along Sherman’s March
        * Rethinking Sherman’s March
        * The Civil War’s Environmental Impact
        * Who Burned Atlanta?
        * The Burning of Atlanta
        * How Lincoln Won the Soldier Vote


        * Illinois Residents Asked to Put the Tobacco Down - Support the Great American Smokeout – November 20
        * Governor Quinn Statement on President Obama’s Executive Action
        * Governor Quinn Statement on Selection of New University of Illinois President
        * Governor Quinn Statement on Senate Committee Passage of Minimum Wage Legislation
        * Governor Quinn Statement on the Installation of Archbishop Blase Cupich




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