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Question of the day

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

* From state treasurer-elect Mike Frerichs’ Facebook page

* The Question: Caption?

Additional challenge: No mention of the word “tall.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   64 Comments      

A quick look at Rauner’s new transition policy committee co-chairs

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

* From a press release…

Governor-elect Bruce Rauner & Transition Co-Chair Evelyn Sanguinnetti today announced the co-chairs of 10 transition policy committees. The committees, ranging from agriculture to government operations, represent diverse voices from throughout all of Illinois.

“It is essential for us to have the best and brightest and most informed group of talent from around the state providing input on how to make Illinois compassionate and competitive,” Rauner said.

* Education…

Tony Smith, Executive Director W. Clement Stone and Jessie V. Stone Foundation
Beth Purvis, CEO, Chicago International Charter School
Dr. Alice Marie Jacobs, President Danville Area Community College
Al Bowman, President Emeritus, Illinois State University
Karen Reagan, 2nd Grade Teacher, Century School District
Dr. Lazaro Lopez, Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, High School District 214

No teachers union leaders, of course. Bowman is a beloved figure, but U of I may feel a bit snubbed. And the Century School District is in Ullin, population 443, way down yonder in Pulaski County. I kinda like that idea.

* Healthcare and Human Services…

Eric Hargan, Former Deputy Secretary and Regulatory Policy Officer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP.
Ken Smithmier, President and Chief Executive Officer, Decatur Memorial Hospital
Neli Vasquez-Rowland, President, A Safe Haven Foundation

Greenberg Traurig is Victor Reyes’ old firm. It’s also Jack Abramoff’s former firm. Maybe that’s why its website declares

A law firm’s effectiveness is not judged on the past, but on the present and future.

* Infrastructure…

MarySue Barrett, President, Metropolitan Planning Council
Del Wilkins, President, Illinois Marine Towing, Inc.
Kirk Dillard, Chairman, Regional Transportation Authority

Barrett and Dillard are both good choices. Illinois Marine Towing does barge towing on the upper Illinois River.

* Agriculture…

Len Corzine, Past President, National Corn Growers Association and Illinois Corn Growers Association, Farmer
Heather Hampton-Knodle, Past President, Illinois Agri Women, Chair, Montgomery County Board Economic Development Committee and Farmer
Jeff Beasley, Past President, Illinois Beef Association
Corey Flournoy, Center for Urban Agricultural Education Director, University of Illinois

Seem like good choices there. But alt ag isn’t represented.

* Intergovernmental Efficiencies and Local Government…

Karen Darch, Village President, Village of Barrington
Jim Ardis, Mayor, City of Peoria
Chuck Griswold, Mayor, City of Fairfield
Ruben Pineda, Mayor, City of West Chicago

The goofy mayor who unleashed his police force on a Twitter user?


* Economic Development…

Doug Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO of Caterpillar
Ezequiel (Zeke) Flores, CEO, Flying Retail LLC
William Foster, CEO and Senior Pastor, Providence Development Corporation, Providence Baptist Church & President & CEO of Baptist General State Convention of Illinois
Alyssa Rapp, Founder and CEO, Bottlenotes, Inc.

Maybe Oberhelman will stop griping now.

* Energy and Environment…

Amy Francetic, CEO, Clean Energy Trust
Jerri Titsworth, Environmental Supervisor, Marathon Petroleum Company LP
Charlie Potter, President and CEO, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation

Maybe some good news for the state’s clean energy biz.

* Public Safety…

John Maki, Executive Director, John Howard Association of Illinois
Diane Williams, President Emeritus, Safer Foundation
Paula Wolff, Director, Illinois Justice Project
Chuck Peck, Shift Supervisor, Vienna Correctional Center

Good choices all around, including putting a prison shift supervisor on the team.

* Government Operations…

Deb DeHaas, Vice Chair, Deloitte LLP
David Kahnweiler, Chairman and CEO, Colliers Chicago
John Garabedian, Senior Partner and Managing Director, BCG

Not one government person on the government panel.

Garabedian works mainly in the healthcare field. But this is from BCG’s website

Done right, outsourcing and offshoring can do more than just lower costs. BCG helps companies achieve a lasting competitive advantage through the strategic use of outsourcing—which can improve quality and productivity, drive innovation, provide new sources of revenue, open up new markets, and deliver a sustainable cost advantage.

Colliers Chicago is a commercial real estate firm, so the state may be selling off some properties or trying to renegotiate leases.

From Deb DeHaas’ bio

Deb is chief inclusion officer and national managing partner of the Center for Corporate Governance for Deloitte LLP. As chief inclusion officer, Deb drives Deloitte’s strategy to recruit, develop and promote a diverse workforce and foster an inclusive environment where leaders thrive, a constant passion and focus of Deloitte for more than 20 years.

* Veterans…

Dave Leckrone, Colonel U.S Army (Retired)
Juan Pérez - Sergeant, United States Marine Corps
Brian Rowland, CEO, A Safe Haven LLC

* What else do you see in these lists?

- Posted by Rich Miller   78 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Minimum wage stuff

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Cross concedes

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

* From the Tom Cross campaign…

With the final votes counted, this election now has a conclusive outcome and I have congratulated Senator Frerichs on a hard-fought victory. Senator Frerichs has demonstrated time and time again his commitment to our state and that will serve all of us well as he becomes Illinois’ next State Treasurer.

My entire family is extremely grateful and humbled by the incredible amount of support we received from supporters and voters across Illinois. As I campaigned across Illinois, I was continually reminded at how great a state we truly have. I am proud of Illinois, I am honored to have served its citizens in the legislature and I look forward to new opportunities to make our state even better.

…Adding… From the ILGOP…

Tim Schneider, Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, released a statement today following the news that Tom Cross has conceded the race for Illinois Treasurer:

“I want to commend Tom Cross and his campaign team on a tough, hard-fought race.

“Tom Cross has given us more than two decades of service and principled leadership, and for that we are truly grateful.

“We owe a debt of gratitude as well to his staff, his supporters, and the countless volunteers who worked on his campaign, on Election Day, and in the days since, for their energy and their dedication to our cause.

“I wish Mike Frerichs well as he serves the people of Illinois as the next Treasurer.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   82 Comments      

Poshard the pension king

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

* The BGA has a story about how Glenn Poshard boosted his pension to over $200K a year

The key element in how Poshard built his enviable retirement cushion was winning election to the state Senate. Of all Illinois state pensions, none is as generous as the one legislators created for themselves — the General Assembly Retirement System, or GARS.

That allowed Poshard to start his retirement with a pension of 85 percent of his state salary when he started collecting his pension in 2003 after retiring for the first time from SIU.

Poshard also understood early on that there were ways to boost his pension. At 42, while running for Congress in 1988, then-state Sen. Poshard contacted GARS about his future pension. According to a handwritten note in his file at the pension fund, Poshard “was leaving town & wanted to know right away” what it would cost to buy pension credit for the two years left in his Senate term. The note said: “situation discussed at length during office visit of 11/17/88.”

Poshard paid $7,860 to get pension credit for 23 months of the Senate term he didn’t serve. That gave him credit for seven years in the Senate, though he served five. It was money well spent, boosting his current pension by $20,000 a year, records show.

Poshard later bought 1.25 years of pension credits in the State Universities Retirement System for jobs he had nearly 30 years earlier while an undergraduate at SIU. The credits cost him $5,598. They add $5,000 a year to his pension.

He also was allowed to buy 2.5 years of credit from the university pension system for his time in the U.S. Army in the 1960s. He wasn’t in the Army long enough to qualify for a military pension.

Poshard, of course, is a member of Bruce Rauner’s transition team. Rauner has repeatedly blasted state pensions, but they refused to take the BGA’s bait

“Dr. Poshard has a tremendous amount of knowledge about southern Illinois, as well as the university system, and is respected across party lines,” the Rauner spokesman said. “His role with the transition is voluntary and not focused on pension issues.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   68 Comments      


Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

By now, you have seen the recent stories about the Uber executive who threatened to use the personal data of a journalist to destroy her because she dared criticize them.

And yesterday in Chicago, after two fires and a plane crash caused a traffic meltdown in frigid temperatures, Uber responded like it has across the country in similar situations – by stiffing their riders and raising “surge prices” over five times the normal limit.

Today, the New York Times ran a front page article on Uber detailing its abundant underhanded tactics and exposing a billion-dollar bully who plays fast and loose with its customers privacy.

All these stories above show how Uber has become a toxic, win-at-all-costs corporate culture that breeds bad behavior from the top down.

Yet, Uber still resists even minimal standards on how it should legally and ethically operate, like what is proposed in HB 4075 & 5331 – bipartisan legislation that would provide public protections like police background checks, drug tests and proper insurance requirements in Illinois.

Why would anyone support unchecked bad behavior – instead of supporting basic consumer protections in our state?

Override Governor Quinn’s veto of HB 4075 & 5331 and provide common sense statewide protections for all Illinoisans.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Save Ridesharing in Illinois, Vote NO on HB 4075

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner and Governor Quinn agreed on one thing during the 2014 Election: Veto HB 4075
Governor-elect Bruce Rauner spoke out against and Governor Quinn vetoed HB 4075 to protect consumer choice and promote job growth in Illinois.

86,000 Voters Urged Governor Quinn to Veto HB 4075
Voters from all 118 state house districts signed a petition urging Governor Quinn to veto the bill written by the taxi industry to limit their transportation options.

Mayors from every region in the state agreed: Vote NO on HB 4075
“The expansion of ridesharing in the state of Illinois should not be an issue that is debated in Springfield. Ridesharing is a local issue that should be left up to each municipality to govern and regulate in a way that supports the needs of our communities.”

The Chicago Sun-Times agreed too:
“The logical place to regulate ride sharing is at the local level, the same place where decisions traditionally have been made about taxis. A group of mayors, including those in Bloomington and Normal, has written to state legislators making just that point and asking that ride sharing oversight be left in their hands…Leave the steering wheel at City Hall, not 200 miles away in Springfield.”

But, the taxi industry is still fighting to push their bill to end ridesharing as we know it in Illinois, prevent local cities and towns from authorizing rideshare services, limit consumer choice and stunt an economic growth opportunity.

Vote NO on HB 4075. To learn more, visit

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

He’s good at what he does, but he can’t do everything

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

* Yep

After watching one Illinois House race where their candidate led by just a dozen votes on election night, Democrats appear to have retained their veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.

State Rep. Kate Cloonen, D-Kankakee, widened her lead from 12 votes to 114 votes over Republican Glenn Nixon in the 79th House District on Tuesday after Kankakee County officials finished counting provisional and late-absentee ballots.

* More

Democrats won veto-proof majorities in each chamber for the first time after the 2012 elections. Now, they’ll have them again when Rauner and the new General Assembly are sworn-in in January.

That means Rauner will have to find Democratic legislators willing to defy Madigan and Cullerton to allow his vetoes to stand — and that’s assuming all Republican lawmakers are on board with his plans.

I’m gonna push back on this just a bit because it’s become almost a Biblical truism that Madigan can override every Rauner veto.

* Unlike the Senate, Madigan has the bare minimum needed to override. He doesn’t have Cullerton’s cushion. And he has more conservative Democratic members than the Senate does.

Rep. Jack Franks isn’t exactly a team player on revenue and budget issues. And neither is Rep. Carol Sente. Rauner did really well in suburban Cook County and in Lake County, which puts legislators like Reps. Michelle Mussman, Fred Crespo, Sam Yingling, Scott Drury and others on the bubble.

Despite the folklore, Madigan can’t just order his members to vote a certain way. And he rarely if ever asks a member to take a vote that could harm a member’s district or harm a member’s reelection chances.

* This furious House campaign season wasn’t about overriding Rauner next year. It was about fighting off Rauner’s attempt to take seats away from Madigan. The Speaker is one of the most competitive people I’ve ever met.

Madigan didn’t actually try to win a super majority two years ago, but once he obtained it, he wasn’t gonna let some guy like Rauner (or anybody else) take it away from him. He could’ve just let Cloonen’s seat go and focused on more winnable races, but he dumped a ton of resources into that district, including 50 or so of his best 13th Ward captains.

* Rep. Cloonen, by the way, earns mad props for her own door to door efforts. She’s one of the hardest workers Madigan has in the House, and that’s why he rewarded her with such an intense push.

Signs don’t vote, but they can be an indication of a strong organization, and as I told subscribers before the election, I was astonished during a cruise through my grandma’s old Kankakee neighborhood at how many Cloonen signs I saw.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

Rahm Emanuel launches first TV ad of the season

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

* From a press release…

[Yesterday], Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s re-election campaign released a new television ad entitled “Clean Air” and unveiled its new website—

The television ad features Kim Wasserman, a Pilsen community activist who was among the leaders of a longtime fight to close two coal plants believed to cause asthma. This is the first in a series of ads where Chicagoans will share their stories on a range of important city issues. The ads will air on both broadcast and cable television stations.

The new website,, highlights programs and initiatives in Chicago, offers users various ways to take get involved with campaign activities, and provides the latest updates from the campaign. The homepage features a map with stories and successes from every neighborhood in the city and encourages visitors to share their own stories about themselves and their neighborhoods.

* Rate it

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

The more things change…

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

* A subscriber dug up the late Bill Campbell’s portrayal of Big Jim Thompson from back in the day…

Background on Campbell is here, by the way. He was a great mentor to a lot of us in the biz, myself included.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      

*** LIVE *** Session coverage

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

* Both chambers convene at noon

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

So, what happened with the treasurer’s race?

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

* From Scott Kennedy’s updates last night on the state treasurer’s race

The most surprising news of the day came in the collar counties. In the 5 traditional collar counties overall Cross beat Frerichs 57%-38%. I expected that the updates in the 5 collar counties would give Cross the net gains he would need to keep this race close. That was not the case.

We haven’t had a public update in McHenry County since 11/5 and did not get one so far today. DuPage had a large public update on 11/5 as well, both producing large margins for Cross. However in today’s updates it was Frerichs who came out with a net gain in Lake and Will (472 and 376 votes respectively) while Cross’ net gain today in DuPage was only 48 votes. The Kane County part outside of Aurora updated last night Cross gained 215 votes while the Aurora election authority update today gave a net gain to Frerichs of 235 votes. In these most recent collar county updates it was Frerichs who had a net gain, when I was expecting a large net gain for Tom Cross.

In the overall statewide vote the 5 collar counties made up 25% of the vote in this race, while the Cook County suburbs made up 19% of the total vote. Cross needed gains in the collar counties to blunt the gains by Frerichs in Cook County and what is expected in Chicago. Unless McHenry comes in with a very large update, that didn’t happen.

After Cook County’s numbers came in, Frerichs picked up another 2,263 net votes. The final coffin nail came from Chicago

The Chicago numbers came in just before 9pm and as expected it boosted Frerichs lead by over 6,000 votes. I did a complete check of all the election authorities again and the only other update was Marion County. On my tracker I still have not yet confirmed the final totals for 50 of the state’s 110 election authorities. Of that number 14 don’t have websites and the other 36 just haven’t updated their websites yet with final totals.

The current margin is Frerichs by 9,439 votes.

Consider this race called for Frerichs.

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Wednesday, Nov 19, 2014

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

* Progress Illinois on the brink of extinction
* Thursday afternoon Oscar the Puppy break
* Question of the day
* "Manning" bill clears Senate
* Quinn appears to brush aside Rauner request for hiring freeze
* Government job cuts, weak private sector job growth in new report
* Uber is apparent big winner
* Today's quotable
* Red light cameras win by default
* Can you please help me figure this out?
* Today's most valuable lesson
* Minimum wage gains momentum in Senate, loses steam in House
* Understatement of the week
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Veto session news could be dwarfed today
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Frerichs declares victory in treasurer's race
* Duckworth announces new arrival
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* *** LIVE *** Session coverage
* Yesterday's blog posts

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