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Morning Shorts: Good Friday Edition

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From Mike Murray: Just got a big MS for you today due to it being Good Friday and all. Enjoy the holidays and happy Easter!

Quinn Wants Votes on Ethics Reform; Other Ethics Related Stories

* Quinn’s new campaign finance reform: everybody start at zero

“I think we want the campaigns of 2010 to abide by the campaign finance limits proposed by the Illinois Reform Commission,” Quinn said. “I really think we have to say to everybody that whenever the start begins, that everybody is the same at the start and the rules are the same and we abide by the limits. I think that’s the best way to go for the people.”

Of course, wiping the slate clean also would benefit Quinn by erasing the wide campaign fundraising lead held by potential Democratic primary foe Lisa Madigan, the Illinois attorney general.

* Illinois politics: Gov. Pat Quinn wants candidates to start with zero in the bank

Such a proposal could greatly benefit Quinn—who at year’s end had $83,000 in his campaign fund—against, say, Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, who had $3.5 million. And Quinn wants approval from lawmakers who rely on their own fundraising advantages to stay in office to vote to unilaterally disarm themselves.

The latest proposal from Quinn , a self-styled reformer, illustrates a dual difficulty as Illinois leaders enter into what they say is a season of reform: Some proposals are bound to raise eyebrows because those pushing them would seem to benefit, and state lawmakers who might bear the political consequences of such changes are the very people who must sign off on them.

For example, Quinn also wants to move back the primary election date to June, shortening the campaign season and cutting down the political advantage held by better-funded candidates.

* Quinn Urges Contribution Limits for 2010 Election

Governor Pat Quinn says rules proposed by the Illinois Reform Commission should take effect before the 2010 election. The commission has recommended a $2,400 campaign contribution limit for individuals. Quinn says money is often the source of corruption in politics.

QUINN: If we don’t have clean elections, honest elections that aren’t based on pay-to-play or other kind of monkey business in campaign finance, then the public pays a huge price.

* Illinois Governor Favors Term Limits

QUINN: The concept of term limits is to have a turnover on a regular basis, bringing in new, fresh people who have their own point of view. That’s what democracy is. We don’t want to have a system where just a handful of people are running the show.

A spokesperson for state Senate President John Cullerton had no comment on the issue. Calls made to the office of House Speaker Michael Madigan were not returned.

* Quinn: Act now on campaign reform

* Panel prepares blue print to fight corruption

The Illinois Reform Commission has until the end of this month to finish its blue print for reform. One of the suggestions: to change the law so that local prosecutors can go after corrupt public officials.

On that score, the commission chairman on Tuesday pressed the governor who appointed him.

“It’s your commitment you’ll do all in your power to get in a vote up or down on the ideas we’ve presented?” asked Pat Collins, Illinois Reform Commission chairman.

“Yes. One by one by one. That’s our goal isn’t it,” answered Gov. Quinn.

* Quinn wants votes on reform proposals

Gov. Pat Quinn is calling on lawmakers to have an up or down vote on every proposal that comes out of a reform commission he created to clean up state government.Quinn says it’s a reasonable request to make of House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton.

* Quinn Wants Votes on Reform Proposals

* Gov. Quinn pushes ‘fundamental campaign finance reforms’ to Illinois Reform Commission as better-funded Madigan watches

* Illinois Reform Commission hearings continue: Oklahoma had a Blago, too. His name was David Hall.

The insulation, according to Tom Jordan, deputy director of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, means there is no way any one person – namely, any one governor – can gain control over the bureau or its work.

“We’re somewhat the envy of the nation,” Jordan said, noting that of the 41 states that have investigative agencies, none are as bullet-proof as Oklahoma’s.

Illinois Reform Commission member David Hoffman, a former federal prosecutor, asked Jordan whether he thought that was because the Oklahoma model wasn’t successful or whether politicians were fearful of the bureau’s autonomy.

“I suspect it’s the latter,” Jordan said, saying that most officials don’t want to surrender the control that they have over such investigations.

* PJ-Star: State needs better oversight on its contracts

The commission Gov. Pat Quinn picked to find solutions to the widespread corruption in state government came out with its initial proposals last week. They call for wholesale reform of our campaign finance system, freedom of information rules, and the awarding and oversight of state contracts.

The latter accounts for about $10 billion in state business - a significant chunk of the annual $53 billion operating budget - so it’s vital to know that it’s being spent properly and that the process is as transparent and untainted as possible. Any changes that can better ensure that contractors are landing deals with the state for the right reasons - having the highest qualifications and the lowest bids rather than relying upon political connections - should be pursued aggressively.

* Accountability measure advances to state Senate

The plan calls for a Web site that would display state contracts, current pay rates of all state employees, and tax credits given out by the state, for all to see. The Central Management Services department would maintain the site and information.

The proposal was approved on a 177-0 vote in the House and this week picked up several suburban sponsors in the state Senate - Republican Sens. Pamela Althoff of McHenry, Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale and Carole Pankau of Itasca, who plan to bring the legislation to the floor when they return from break.

In an attempt to cut down on misuse of grants and tax credits, state Rep. Michael Tryon, a Crystal Lake Republican, developed a plan. “It will be the most comprehensive transparency Web site that has even been created,” he said. “We need to restore the trust of the people.”

He proposes calling it the Illinois Accountability Portal.

* Give us the ears to hear corruption, prosecutors say

Cook County and DuPage prosecutors made their case Thursday for why they should have the power to record political corruption suspects, but at least one legal expert fears the potential for abuse of such a power.

The presentations, by DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett and a representative of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, were made Thursday before the Illinois Reform Commission.

The proposal the commission has is to give Illinois state’s attorneys the same power federal investigators have: the authority to secretly record conversations, without a judge’s approval, when one of the parties to the conversation consents and prosecutors have a reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed.

* Sacrificing wealth to serve in government

Legislative Round-UP

* State Sen. John Cullerton: Finally, real progress in wake of gridlock

When I was elected Senate president, I pledged to do my part to change the tone and put an end to the distrust and partisanship in Springfield. I made these promises because Illinois faces tremendous challenges that must be addressed. The people want bipartisan cooperation. They deserve real ethics reform.

And Illinois needs a capital plan that invests in local communities and creates jobs.

It’s time for progress in Illinois. If the past three months are any indication, progress is happening now. We are only halfway through the legislative session, but, by working together, we have made significant strides in bipartisanship, capital and ethics.

The Senate’s first bipartisan action was to sit in judgment of the impeachment of Rod Blagojevich.

* Is speed-camera plan really safe?

The problem, some say, is those speed-camera tickets wouldn’t get reported to the state as long as the driver pays the $100 fine. As a result, drivers who normally would risk losing their licenses would keep driving.

“You can’t have a system where you have ticket after ticket and just pay a fine. There has to be some kind of reporting to the secretary of state,” said DuPage County State’s Attorney Joseph Birkett.

A plan pending in the state Senate would allow cities and villages to contract with camera companies to remotely issue speeding tickets.

* Rutherford mulls bid for state treasurer


* Foster finds face on local unemployment woes at job fair

More than 600 people looking for work turned out to a job fair at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove on Thursday. Some of them had an unexpected interview with Congressman Bill Foster, who attended the fair to see firsthand what impact the poor economy has had on local workers.

* Schock releases 2010 appropriations requests

* U.S. Rep. Schakowsky will speak at May Day Dinner

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a leading advocate for women’s issues in Congress, will be the featured speaker during the Peoria County Democratic Women’s annual May Day Dinner on May 3 at the Lariat Steakhouse.

* ‘Do what’s best for kids’

Durbin told us he’s “not ruling out supporting this” voucher program. He’ll await further evidence at hearings to be chaired by Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.)

Sen. Durbin, Secretary Duncan, the evidence is piling up on your desks. The burden of proof is squarely on you to prove why, after so few years, we should stop—and stop evaluating—a program that is showing certifiable prospects of changing the futures of disadvantaged kids. You gentlemen know the embarrassing truth of what we’ve said previously: Opponents of school vouchers don’t want to snuff the life out of this program because they think it’s failing, but because they fear it’s working.

This is an excellent opportunity for both of you to acknowledge that you’ve been too hasty—and that if vouchers do work, the Obama administration will want to expand them, not quash them. As the now-president put it, we need to do what’s best for kids.

Blago Fall Out

* Under tyranny of everyday hypocrisy

[Note from Rich Miller: This Tribune guest columnist has no clue. Seriously. No mention of the indictment allegations that Blagojevich conspired to pad his own pockets? He should be ignored.]

Though Blagojevich has been indicted on 16 counts, including racketeering conspiracy, extortion (and conspiring to extort), wire fraud and lying to federal agents, the court’s finding of guilt just might not be the slam-dunk result assumed.

* In defense of Jesse Jackson Jr.

I found myself wishing we had one Wednesday, when our front page splashed the headline: “JESSE JR. FACES ETHICS PROBE.”

Now I’ve had my tussles with Rep. Jackson over the years, but he seems to be a hard-working congressman, struggling to build that third airport we’ve needed for years.

Moreover, he’s got a future — maybe as a senator, maybe as one of the few who could challenge Mayor Daley. Now that future is in jeopardy, as the whirlpool around our former governor threatens to pull Jackson down too.

Underline “threatens to.” Let’s not jump the gun. Bad enough the press has tried and convicted Rod Blagojevich already — and I’m as guilty of this as anybody — but do we really want Jackson sunk in the same fashion?

* Blago broke? The Blago beat .. .

$$$$ Hmmm. Will the case against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich wind up costing the taxpayers on both ends?

• • Question: If Blago is basically broke — will a federal defender have to be appointed, which is publicly funded?

• • Question: Does the government want to fork over that much money for a lengthy federal trial of the Blago magnitude?

• • Question: If Blago’s only access to cash for his defense is his $2 million campaign fund, which was frozen by the feds, will the feds reverse their decision and let Blago use the funds to pay for the trial?

* Lawyers will discuss Blagojevich impeachment

The public is invited to hear attorneys from the Illinois General Assembly prosecution team discuss their experience in the historic impeachment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Attorneys David W. Ellis, Michael J. Kasper and Heather Weir Vaught will speak at 6 p.m. April 30 at Bradley University’s Baker Hall B51. The event is organized by the Pre-Law Center and is free and open to the public.

IL Stimulus $$$ Put to Good Use

* Hard Working: Training for Something New

The unemployment rate just keeps going up—which means more and more people are thinking about changing careers. There’s money out there to help make that happen. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Illinois is in line for about 26 million dollars to help pay for adult employment and training programs. How’s that working for Chicagoans? As part of our series Hard Working, WBEZ’s Adriene Hill went to find out.

* Stimulus Money Funds Food and Shelter

Here’s some more good news, Senator Dick Durbin says Illinois will get 4–point–7 million dollars in stimulus money to go to providing emergency food and shelter.

* Illinois to Get Millions More in Stimulus Money

* Peoria explores ‘green’ funding options

While the city is a very long shot for federal funding to help with its combined sewer overflow problems, it does have almost $1.2 million to use for energy efficiency. The Peoria City Council will consider a $2.8 million list of suggestions at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I think at this point we need the council’s input,” said Director of Public Works David Barber. “We’re giving them an array of things to look at.”

These funds also come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act but will be administered through the U.S. Department of Energy. In Illinois, more than $112 million will be split between 52 communities, 10 counties and the state itself.

* Mental health clinics: Centers stop seeing clients but will reopen, Daley administration says

* City Hall to use stimulus money to keep four mental health clinics open

* Stimulus funds to keep four mental health clinics open

The Daley administration agreed Thursday to use federal economic stimulus funds earmarked for community services to keep open four mental health clinics targeted for closing.

The closings were expected to save the city $1.2 million. Interim funding to keep them open will be drawn from a $4.4 million “bucket” allotted to Chicago under the community services block grant formula, Kawada said.

* Illinois will get $82 million for child care, vaccines

The Obama administration says Illinois will get $82 million in federal stimulus money to help children and prevent disease.

The state will receive $73.8 million to fund child care for families who can’t afford baby sitters while they work, get job training or look for jobs.

Another $7 million in funding and grants will be available to Illinois for children of low-income families to get the vaccines they need.

A separate vaccine program sponsored by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Chicago will get an additional $1.5 million.

* Chatham, Sherman road projects given priority for stimulus money

Budget Related Stories

* Death penalty fund: Public defenders say they’re out of money and can’t defend man in death penalty case

Death penalty cases can take more than five or six years to go to trial, twice as long as typical murder cases. After more than a dozen Death Row inmates were exonerated by DNA and other evidence, death penalty reforms were passed earlier this decade, boosting the cost of capital cases even further. In response, state lawmakers established the Capital Litigation Trust Fund to defray the additional costs.

Cost is becoming as much an argument against the death penalty as wrongful convictions. New Jersey lawmakers cited the financial burden as one reason for their decision to abolish capital punishment in 2007, and other states are wrestling with similar legislation.

“It’s not a strategy. It’s a response to a situation,” Harmon said. “We may have to do it in multiple cases as the need arises. If there’s a reason we can’t do our job, we’re going to file the motion.”

The public defender’s 2009 allotment of $1.75 million was already exhausted this month, in large part because 60 percent of the money went to cover unpaid bills from 2008, Harmon said.

* Home care workers for seniors could be cut

With a state budget in financial disarray, the Illinois Department on Aging says it might have to scale back the hours some state-funded homemakers spend with seniors.

The Community Care Program helps 51,000 seniors at a cost of $8,000 per person a year. The department wanted $160 million more to handle projected growth. But Gov. Pat Quinn, who is wrestling with an $11.6 billion deficit, increased funding by about $77 million.

“The proposed funding level is tens of millions shy of projected need,” Kimberley Cox, legislative chair of the Illinois Association of Community Care Program Homecare Providers, said Thursday.

Quinn’s budget plan includes a 50 percent increase in the income tax to generate $3.2 billion and $1.3 billion in cuts. Those include $390 million in “reductions and efficiencies” — with $81 million from the Community Care Program.

* Tax Day Tea Parties Statewide

* Student filmmakers tell story of Pontiac prison closure fight

Two Illinois State University students have produced a short documentary about the effort, submitting it as their entry in this year’s Third Annual Socio-Political Film Festival this week at Illinois State University’s Schroeder Hall.

“This is a good story about a town coming together,” said Brian Seay, a former WHOI-TV photographer, who shot and directed the film.

Other IL Economic Stories

* Anti-trade agenda a real economy killer

In the lead-up to the recent G-20 summit in London, a letter from Obama appeared in 30 newspapers around the world, including the Chicago Tribune. It wisely stated: “As we go forward, we should embrace a collective commitment to encourage open trade and investment, while resisting the protectionism that would deepen this crisis.” The president must square his deeds with his words. If he does not stand up to the protectionist inclinations in his own party, America’s economy will only deteriorate further.

* Jobless Claims Down, Umeployment Up

The bad news is unemployment numbers remain at a record high.

The total number of laid–off Americans receiving unemployment rose nearly 200–thousand to 5–point–84 million.

* Boeing cutting jet production

Boeing has been hit by sharply lower orders for commercial planes this year as world economic problems intensify and air travel wanes. Airlines have cut flights and some have delayed orders and deliveries of new jets. Tighter credit markets have made it more difficult for potential buyers to get loans for new planes.

The Chicago-based company said Thursday it will reduce monthly production of its twin-aisle 777 to five airplanes from seven starting in June 2010. Boeing also said it will delay earlier plans to slightly increase production of its 747-8 and 767 planes.

* Redstone dumps WMS shares

Media magnate Sumner Redstone sold 1.14 million shares of WMS Industries Inc., reducing his stake in the Waukegan slot-machine maker to 5.8%.

Mr. Redstone sold the shares through a series of transactions on Wednesday, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The shares ranged in price from $22.60 to $24.34, so the sale would have totaled at least $25.1 million. It could not be determined from the filing how much Mr. Redstone originally paid.

WMS shares were up 6.9% to $24.14 in late afternoon trading on Thursday.

* Job Sprawl Revisited: The Changing Geography of Metropolitan Employment

Only 21 percent of employees in the top 98 metro areas work within three miles of downtown, while over twice that share (45 percent) work more than 10 miles away from the city center.

Job location within metropolitan areas varies widely across industries.

Employment steadily decentralized between 1998 and 2006: 95 out of 98 metro areas saw a decrease in the share of jobs located within three miles of downtown.

In almost every major industry, jobs shifted away from the city center between 1998 and 2006.

* Joliet casino betting on June reopening

* Census could jeopardize state funding: groups

Census figures are one of the factors used to determine how federal funds are distributed to state and local governments. Those funds are estimated at $400 billion annually, according to the Joyce Foundation and the Chicago Community Trust, two of the foundations leading the initiative. That means Illinois could lose $12,000 over the next decade for each person not counted, the groups said.

“We felt it was really important for the philanthropic sector to step up because everybody’s affected if (the census) is wrong,” a Joyce Foundation spokesman said. “Those numbers stick for 10 years.”

The initiative, called “Count Me In,” sent out requests for proposals to more than 200 civic, social and community organizations. Grants will be awarded to non-profit groups for activities such as public education campaigns, community outreach, training sessions and special events.

* Paying for online news: Sorry, but the math just doesn’t work.

Total 2008 newspaper online revenue was $3.109 billion. Newspaper sites averaged 67.3 million monthly unique visitors in 2008, nearly all of them to free content. Now suppose a switch were turned, and each and every newspaper started imposing a monthly fee on all those visitors. Whether in the form of a monthly subscription or micropayments, clearly, the UV count would drop significantly.

I assumed that an industry-average $1-a-month fee would reduce traffic by 30 percent, $2 would knock off 50 percent, $5 would chop out 70 percent, $10 would say goodbye to 90 percent, and $25 would wipe out just about all of it. And further, I assumed that the 2008 ad revenue level of $3.109 billion would be reduced by the same percentage as the visitor reduction (which is probably a generous assumption).

So the question becomes: Will the new monthly fees offset the lost ad revenue? Here’s what happens:

* Unit 5 approves $20 million in construction bids

* Macoupin declares disaster due to mine subsidence at school

Chicago and Cook County Governance

* Daley’s 20-year anniversary as mayor goes unnoticed

* Daley Reflects on 20 years in office (Web Video)

* City facing $51 million budget shortfall

Chicago is facing a $51 million budget shortfall — even after $31 million in spending cuts — but there’s a silver lining. The housing market might have turned the corner.

Chief Financial Officer Gene Saffold disclosed Thursday that revenues from the city’s real estate transaction tax rose to $5.3 million in March, up from $3.5 million in January and $3.3 million in February. Home sales were up 26 percent in March.

* Daley Says CTA Fare Hikes are a Last Resort

* Todd shoots an air ball

Former University of Georgia basketball player Tony Cole — a convicted felon who also was once charged in a rape case — scored a patronage job in October with Cook County President Todd Stroger’s administration.

But on Thursday, Stroger fired Cole from an assistant human resources post after being informed by the Chicago Sun-Times of Cole’s conviction for writing bad checks in Georgia.

“The president knew about charges Cole had been acquitted on, but was unaware of his felony conviction,” said Stroger spokesman Eugene Mullins. “He gave the order to fire Cole because that information was not included on his application. . . . [Stroger] helped someone who was turning his life around. If he would have just told the truth, he would have been OK.”

Cole was hired as a $58,000-a-year administrative assistant in the budget department. Recently, he was promoted to a $61,000-a-year human resources assistant post in the highway department. Some employees were concerned that Cole had access to their personal information, county sources said.

* Are hospitals passing off their low-profit patients?

Indigent and under-insured patients are turning to Cook County’s Stroger Hospital after not getting fully treated at non-profit hospitals, swamping the cash-strapped public facility while fueling the county’s sky-high sales tax, a Tribune investigation found.

Some of these patients arrive at Stroger’s emergency room bearing discharge slips, prescriptions, even Yahoo and Google maps from non-profit hospitals, according to documents obtained by the Tribune.

Non-profit hospitals, meanwhile, reap millions of dollars in property and sales tax breaks from the county, based largely on the promise that they’ll help the uninsured.

Yet non-profit hospitals in Cook County dedicated just 2 percent of their total revenue to charity care in 2007—1 percentage point more than for-profit hospitals that don’t receive tax breaks, according to an analysis of the most recent state hospital revenue data.

* Hospital charity: Illinois Supreme Court case questions how much charity care must a hospital provide to land millions in tax subsidies

“Tax breaks are a trade-off with the community,” said Claudia Lennhoff, a health-care advocate in Champaign County who helped push for the repeal of Provena’s tax-exempt status. “All along, through the good years and the bad years, patients’ tax dollars have been subsidizing these hospitals.”

Those subsidies, according to one group, are hefty. The Chicago-based Center for Tax and Budget Accountability is releasing a report Friday that found 47 of Cook County’s 72 non-profit hospitals landed nearly $500 million in federal, state and local tax breaks while providing $175 million in free or reduced care to the uninsured in 2007.

The hospital association says the CTBA exaggerates the tax benefits non-profit hospitals by hundreds of millions of dollars while underestimating the amount of charity care.

Heather O’Donnell, the report’s co-author, stands behind the numbers. “Tax benefits are an expense of public funds,” she said, “and hospitals are getting far more in public dollars than what they are providing in charity care.”

* Quigley’s staffer Walz is best to replace him

* A reform choice: Walz

* Speak Up! Show Up! For Uptown Red Line Funds

IOC and Olympics

* Bid committee’s marketing films impressive

Over four days of presentations and tours that ended Tuesday, members showed the commission about 20 slickly executed, hugely upbeat films ranging from a minute to more than five minutes. Unfortunately, the work will not be released to the public to ensure the films don’t get into the hands of bid committees in Rio De Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo.

On Thursday, we got an exclusive screening. We found the work to be of a very high quality. But what pleased us most about the new films, pulled together under the watchful eye of brand chief Mark Mitten, was how well they reflected on a number of Chicago ad agencies and film talents.

* Chicago Olympics: Olympic organizers detail downsized Washington Park venue after Games

But there is clearly still significant ground to cover before all sides agree on what “needed and appropriate” will mean. And the park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, placing some protections on its use. A major legal disagreement over the plan could endanger Chicago’s bid. Disagreements over plans for an Olympic stadium played a significant role in sinking New York’s bid for the 2012 Summer Games.

* Chicago Parks Advocates Want Olympic Legacy

Chicago chose historic Washington and Douglas Parks as sporting venues. After the Olympics are over, both parks are supposed to be left with improvements. Erma Tranter, of the advocacy nonprofit Friends of the Parks, isn’t happy with those plans.

TRANTER: The legacy projects as they currently proposed are going to be harmful to the parks. A velodrome in Douglas Park - I mean who is going to use - number one, no one uses a velodrome in the city of Chicago.

* Parks group rips city’s Olympics plan

In a downtown speech, Erma Tranter, president of Friends of the Parks, said that while her group backs a Chicago Olympics, current plans would misuse parks, leave little good legacy and potentially burden the Chicago Park District with facilities it can’t afford and doesn’t know how to operate.

“We think the Olympics are a great opportunity,” Ms. Tranter told an audience attending a Chicago Cultural Center lecture series. “But the legacy must be improvements that are of benefit to people and are sustainable by taxpayer money.”

Local Elections and Local Governance

* 6 south suburban mayors apparently shown the door

* Did immigration group affect Elgin city council race?

Voters this week ousted two longtime Elgin City Council members, both of whom were under fire from the Association for Legal Americans.

And the two candidates who won 4-year council seats - Richard Dunne and John Prigge - received AFLA support via advertisements, phone trees and people walking door to door.

So what was AFLA’s effect on the election?

It depends on whom you ask, but most agree it was more cause than mere coincidence.

* Gurnee mayor ready to help new peers

* Does support of Route 53 extension mean action? Not quite

Now that Lake County voters have voiced overwhelming support for a long-planned extension of Route 53, you might expect the Lake County Board and administration would put the decades-old proposal at the top of their to-do list.

County officials aren’t planning to lobby significantly for the project, raise money for it or study it.

Instead, they’re simply planning to mail copies of an still-to-be written - or adopted - resolution about the election results to state lawmakers and transportation officials.

“This is a state project,” County Administrator Barry Burton said. “The state would have to take the lead on this. There’s nothing the county can do.”

* Want Elmhurst mayoral results? Look no further.

* New Plainfield village president: Communication with residents and agencies is key, Mike Collins says

Mike Collins, handily elected as the new village president in Plainfield, is setting his sights on talking, something he believes has been lacking and hopes will help move some key issues forward.

He needs to select a village administrator and police chief. He also wants resolution on the long-debated Renwick Road bridge.

“I truly believe [communication] is going to be the foundation,” he said.

Collins, who defeated two challengers, replaces James Waldorf, who chose not to seek re-election and has come under fire from some Village Board members for not being forthcoming. Those same board members said Collins—who was a village trustee from 1999 to 2007—will help improve the situation.

* Unofficially, Kral is the official winner in Frankfort Twp.

It’s almost official. After reviewing all the 4,024 write-in votes cast in the Frankfort Township assessor’s race Tuesday, Will County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots said Joe Kral received 3,930.

His opponent - current assessor Paul Ruff, garnered 2,682 votes, according to unofficial totals.

Voots cautioned, however, that the results of the election are not “official” until all provisional, absentee and grace -period ballots have been tallied, too, which will take place at 9 a.m. April 21. Then her office will canvass all votes by April 28.

* Tuesday’s loser for Shiloh mayor is Wednesday’s winner for same job

im Vernier was apparently defeated for mayor of Shiloh in Tuesday’s municipal election — but apparently re-elected to the post on Wednesday.

Preliminary results Tuesday night indicated that Vernier, the incumbent, had lost to challenger Bill Sankus 536-446. But what the St. Clair County Clerk posted online didn’t make sense to the two-term mayor.

* How My Blog Beat the Mayor

* Election breakdown: What swayed local voters and nonvoters

ndependent Mayor Larry Morrissey dominated an election this week that failed to generate much enthusiasm, winning 13 of the city’s 14 wards.

Morrissey won all but 10 of 96 precincts in the city where Democrat Doug Block was able to make a small dent, according to a Rockford Register Star analysis of unofficial election results. Block also was able to capture the 6th Ward in southeast Rockford. Neither Republican candidate John Harmon nor Green Party candidate Jesus Correa VII made much noise.

* Alderman: Let twp. pay for Dems’ dispute

It started with a few tongue-in-cheek comments. But now one Aurora alderman would like to see Aurora Township pick up some of the legal bills stemming from the township Democrats’ controversial caucus in January.

The city has been stuck with roughly $30,000 in attorneys’ fees, due to the Aurora Election Commission’s role in the controversy.

Township Democrats nominated Trustee Christina Campos for the supervisor position at their caucus in January, but two of her opponents — current Supervisor Annie Craig and attorney Paul Greviskes — filed challenges, alleging violations of election law and township rules.

Under state law, the Aurora Election Commission board was tapped to hear the objections and is required to pay the legal bills.

* Kane looking at ways to stimulate local economy

* New mayors: Suburban challenges await

Newly elected leaders emphasize economic growth

* Elk Grove cuts ribbon on new village hall

* Davlin: City better off than most in state

* City’s minority recruiter doesn’t live here

* Election loss should not end civic involvement

* Investigation of Gulfport mayor leads to lawsuit

A former police officer from Gulfport, Ill., has filed a federal lawsuit in Rock Island claiming he was inappropriately fired after disclosing the former mayor’s relationship with an exotic dancer.

In the suit filed in U.S. District Court, Rick Gerstel claims he was fired Jan. 11, more than six months after former Mayor Rick Myers committed suicide.

Gulfport is a village of 200 residents that sits across the Mississippi River from Burlington, Iowa.

Other Stories

* South Side Irish parade: Evergreen Park bows out as host of South Side Irish Parade

* The shell, the coffee table and more–top nickname suggestions for the Millennium Park pavilions

* Law and order at the park

Umpires still are custodians of decorum. “As the umpire,” Weber writes, “you are neither inside the game, as the players are, nor outside it among the fans, but . . . the game passes through you, like rainwater through a filter, and . . . your job is to influence it for the better, to strain out the impurities.”

Baseball is, Weber notes, the only sport that asks an on-field official to demarcate the most important aspect of the field of play—the strike zone. Although defined in the rule book, its precise dimensions are determined daily by the home plate umpire.

Umpires are islands of exemption from America’s obsessive lawyering: As has been said, three strikes and you’re out—the best lawyer can’t help you. But because it is the national pastime of a litigious nation, baseball is the only sport in which a non-player is allowed onto the field to argue against rulings.

* Ex-U.S. Sen. Adlai Stevenson III comes bearing gifts at ISU

* CDC to call for overhaul of U.S. food safety system

* Carp barrier must work BETTER than advertised

posted by Mike Murray
Friday, Apr 10, 09 @ 9:01 am


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