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Quinn Round-UP

* Quinn to make Monday stops at Harper, Hoffman Estates

Gov. Pat Quinn is set to attend a brief public question-and-answer session at Harper College in Palatine Monday before heading to a fundraiser in his honor in Hoffman Estates.

At Harper, Quinn’s expected to address the state budget, his proposed income-tax increase, the ethics-reform package aimed at rooting out political corruption and the proposal to allow community colleges to offer four-year degrees, said Harper spokesman Phil Burdick.

The 15-minute question-and-answer session is scheduled to start around 4:30 p.m. at the student center - Building A at the campus at Euclid Avenue and Roselle Road - and is open to the public.

* Quinn Continues Call for Reforms at State Police

Last month, Quinn appointed former Army Capt. Jon Monken as director of the State Police. There has been some criticism of the choice, with some lawmakers saying that Monken lacks civilian police training.

Quinn on this week again backed his decision of appointing Monken while calling for reforms with in the State Police. He says Monken is looking into a backlog of forensic tests and the agency’s alleged failure to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests. The backlog was found after a scathing audit.

As for a timetable to get through the backlog of forensic tests, Quinn said, “as quickly as we can,” adding that the state “has a lot of problems.”

* Quinn forced to play quarter-back

Poor Pat Quinn. As if our new governor weren’t busy enough sorting through the rubble left behind by his predecessor, now the federal government is forcing him to mediate the eternal Chicago vs. Downstate feud.

I’m referring to the new state quarters. Having just run a popular, decade-long series of 50 commemorative quarters celebrating the 50 states, the U.S. Mint — in one of those spectacular failures of imagination that define our government — is going to redo the whole thing again, beginning in 2010, this time picking a “national site” in each state after inviting that state’s governor to recommend a location deserving of honor.

By that measure, Quinn should nominate Wrigley Field — historic, beautiful, it would look good on the back of a coin. But elsewhere in the mint criteria “sports” are specifically excluded, and, anyway, Downstaters would howl that Wrigley isn’t exactly natural, and lobby for some spot like Starved Rock — that would sure look impressive next to the Grand Canyon.

The old quarters allowed for compromise — Wisconsin’s design of an ear of corn, a wheel of cheese, and a cow basically covered every working adult in the state. With locations, it’s harder. I suppose Quinn could suggest a split design, with some noteworthy Downstate feature — they must have a mound, or a cave, or something they’re proud of — on one side, and the Chicago River on the other. Sure, it’s a compromise, like last time, but if the mint can repeat itself, so can we.

* Illinois historic site to be depicted on future coin

Gov. Pat Quinn is considering several designs, but no final decision has been made, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency said.

This month, the U.S. Treasury will make the final design decisions.

* Illinois officials mull images for 2010 quarters

* Quinn pardons 11, seeks clear clemency backlog

* Quinn begins to trim backlog of clemency requests with 11 pardons

* Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn reinstates Springfield Easter egg hunt

* Quinn hosts Easter egg hunt at Executive Mansion

GA and IL Legislation Round-UP

* Quinn ‘not really excited about’ speed cameras

* Consumer Protection Law signed

* Governor Says New Law Protects Alternative Gas Buyers

Governor Pat Quinn says customers in Illinois who buy natural gas from alternative suppliers will now get a “fair shake”. The governor signed a bill into law Friday that protects consumers who enter into those contracts. Still, Attorney General Lisa Madigan says there have been thousands of complaints from people about these companies.

MADIGAN: I would warn people, as I would with any type of service, be careful before you sign any contract. Read it, learn more information, if somebody shows up at your door and says, ‘You need to do this,’ no, you don’t.

Madigan says alternative natural gas suppliers often say they can offer consumers better rates. The new legislation prohibits these companies from giving false information to customers. It also gives people multiple chances to cancel their contracts if they’re unsatisfied with the service.

* Law freezes tuition, but fees keep rising

But the U of I has lost about 13 percent of its annual state funding since the high-water mark in 2002, making planning four years in advance difficult, Kangas said.

“To protect themselves the universities have started moving toward fees,” Bost said. “It’s sad, and I can’t agree with it. But it’s awful difficult to criticize them for doing that when they’re trying to survive but the legislature’s undermining them.”

State Rep. Shane Cultra, R-Onarga, cast one of six dissenting votes when the “truth-in-tuition” law passed out of the House in 2003. He said the law would force schools to err on the high side when looking at tuition increases.

“The university doesn’t know what their reimbursement from the state is going to be, what their expenses are going to be.” Cultra said. “From a student standpoint, maybe it makes sense. But looking at it from the university’s standpoint, they don’t want to get stuck with huge increased costs and not be able to raise tuition.”

* Insure your kid up to age 26: a new Illinois law

Any young person under age 26 whose parents have a health insurance policy that allows for dependent coverage. There’s an important caveat: The young adult can’t be married.

Any young person under the age of 30 whose mom or dad served in the military. The young person must live in Illinois and be unmarried.

* Local lawmakers keep pushing bills forward

* Treasurer’s credit card proposal gets positive reception in Legislature

* Bill to help college students avoid credit card debt advances

* Two ways to cut violence vs. women: self-defense class, sound legislation

* The city could use some common-sense rules for cab drivers

For two years, state Rep. Renee Kosel has been trying to pass a law setting minimum age and driving requirements for cab drivers. The city of Chicago has fought her efforts.

Federal IL Elected Officials

* Funeral directors subpoena Burris

* Burris learns about Metro East issues in visit to area

* Halvorson’s wish list massive for district

Improvement of the Greater Kankakee Airport for $2 million; expansion of a new Kankakee Community College training program in energy technology for $876,000; another $1.5 million for a wind energy facilities for the Kankakee metropolitan sewage treatment system; $600,000 to upgrade the public water system for the south side of Momence.

They’re all among more than $420 million in appropriations requests made by U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, D-Crete, for her 11th Congressional District.

Requests specific to The Daily Journal circulation area include:

* Rising unemployment total concern for Rep. Halvorson

* Pizza shop owner Bobby Schilling to challenge Phil Hare

* Hastert to lobby for Turkey

IL Budget and Economic Stories

* Illinois struggles as economy keeps sputtering

* Economic times have changed in Rockford

* Local bankruptcy numbers soar

* Economy’s resilience can be depended upon

* Mini capital plan is only first step

* Mapping the stimulus money

* Fiat-Chrysler alliance good for Belvidere, experts say

Analysts say a Fiat-Chrysler alliance would be good news to workers in Sterling Heights, Mich., and Belvidere. Those two plants, and one in Toluca, Mexico, are the only ones out of Chrysler’s 12 assembly plants set up to build medium-sized cars.

* Even in tough economy, Illinois encouraging tourism

* Chicago’s top paid CEOs

Among the Chicago area’s largest publicly traded companies, Motorola Co-CEO Sanjay Jha stands to reap by far the highest public-company CEO payout in the United States — $104.4 million — if he can turn around the Schaumburg-based company’s iconic cell-phone business and take it public as a separate company by Oct. 31, 2010.

The next highest-paid CEO in the Chicago area is Robert Lane of Deere & Co., at $21.8 million, or about one-fifth that of Jha.

Meanwhile, Motorola has announced layoffs of 7,000 people since late last year, including 3,000 in the cell-phone division, while Deere has announced it is laying off several hundred workers amid a slowdown in its construction and forestry sales.

While workers are often the first to feel the impact of the economy, executive compensation generally shrinks when company shares take a hit, since the bulk of most CEOs’ pay is based on the company’s performance.

* Motorola calls former CFO ‘treacherous officer’

* Gary Airport Feeling Heat From Peotone

* Tribune faces Labor Dept. probe

* Tribune subpoenaed by feds over ESOP

The subpoena was revealed in a court document filed Thursday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. Tribune Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware on Dec. 8.

Thursday’s document asked a judge to permit Jenner & Block, Tribune Co.’s legal firm, to expand its scope to help cover the Department of Labor’s request. Jenner & Block has retained by Tribune Co. to represent the owner of the Chicago Tribune on certain litigation matters.

On March 2, the Department of Labor issued a subpoena asking Tribune to produce documents related to its employee stock ownership program (ESOP). The Department of Labor made the request as part of an on-going investigation under the Employee Retirement Investment Income Securities Act (ERISA), according to Thursday’s court filing.

The requested documents were turned over to the Department of Labor on March 31.

Tribune’s ESOP had a central role in buyout engineered by Mr. Zell. The commercial real estate billionaire crafted a complex transaction that would create an ESOP that would become the sole owner of Tribune Co. The deal saddled Tribune Co. with $8.4 million in new debt while avoiding corporate taxes.

* The Associated Press and Intellectual Property Protection

* Are Starbucks and Whole Foods Union Busters?

* Local farmers fear more regulation

Growing fruit in one state and selling it in another could put the Gundersens in the path of new federal regulations proposed by several food safety bills under consideration in the House. One of those bills, called the Food Modernization Act, would create a new Food Safety Administration with power to inspect and regulate food establishments.

Aides to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-CT, say small growers wouldn’t be affected by the bill because its focus is to ensure the safety of food sold across state lines. But even though the Gundersens’ business is small, they don’t fall into that category.

Harold Gundersen fears the bill could pile more regulations onto a list he says is already lengthy.

“We’re highly regulated by state government and federal government,” he said. “I can’t buy chemicals without a license. There are also days to harvest. Everything is regulated that we do.”

City Hall, Cook County Board, and Local Politics Round-UP

* Tax returns show Daley’s income slipped in ‘08

Mayor Richard Daley and his wife did not make nearly as much money in 2008 as in past years because Maggie Daley did not work, according to the tax return released Friday by the mayor’s office.

The Daleys’ net income was $183,992, down from $238,190 in 2007 and $363,647 in 2006. The majority of their income for 2008 was from the mayor’s city salary, with about $15,000 earned on investments, according to the tax return.

Maggie Daley stopped working in 2007, Daley spokeswoman Jacquelyn Heard said. She had been paid $50,000 in 2007 and $100,000 in 2006 as a consultant for the Academy of Achievement, a Washington-based non-profit, scouting locations for the academy’s annual conferences of outstanding graduate students.

Last month, the mayor’s office acknowledged the Daleys had traveled on a private jet belonging to EduCap Inc., another non-profit that provides funding for the Academy of Achievement. The Internal Revenue Service and Congress are investigating EduCap, which loans money to students.

* Lose one government contract, gain another

The Daley administration cited tough economic times when it canceled $55 million in contracts with 11 public relations firms last month — on the same day the Sun-Times reported that City Hall had signed a new, $5 million PR contract to supplement the city’s in-house army of media handlers.

Days after those contracts were canceled, the Chicago Housing Authority — a separate government body — hired one of those firms, MK Communications Inc., owned by longtime Democratic strategist Marilyn Katz.

* Developer can’t regain permit lost over Rio trip

Four years ago, City Hall revoked the permit and issued a stop-work order. That was amid opposition from businesses in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor and allegations that Cedicci had attempted to curry favor with city officials involved in the permitting process.

The foundation and 1.5-story building have sat unfinished ever since.

Two high-ranking city officials resigned after acknowledging they accompanied Cedicci and his brother on a 2005 trip to Rio. Two other bureaucrats with apparent knowledge of the trip also resigned.

The project would have been the first residential intrusion in Chicago history in a planned manufacturing district.

* Stroger Says He’s Running For Reelection

* Stroger on Secession Vote

* Preckwinkle needs Latinos in county bid

* Former Daley aide picked to replace Quigley on Cook County Board

* Cook County: Former Chicago City Hall official will succeed U.S. Rep.-elect Mike Quigley on Cook County Board

* Aon Exec to Replace Quigley on Cook County Board

* Report: Charity hospitals get more than they give

* What does urban success look like?

* Gorman’s challenger; O’Grady aspirations

* Winnebago County begins ballot recount

* Times tough for taxing bodies

Consumers’ cutbacks in spending has cities and counties suffering revenue shortfalls.

* Here’s my take on why people didn’t vote Tuesday

* Pekin fights smoking with liquor code

The City of Pekin has adopted a back-door approach to enforcing the state’s smoking ban from neighboring municipalities that have used it with mixed results.

* Campaign challenges come with reward

Other Miscellaneous, yet Interesting, News

* Dead goat found hanging on Wrigley Harry Caray statue

* Goat’s head found outside Wrigley Field

* Parking meter samaritan caught in middle of … crime?

“Well officer, I’m putting quarters in these parking meters and it’s making her mad,” I said in even tones, pointing to the PEA.

“He’s following me down the street and feeding other people’s meters and harassing me,” the PEA shrieked at the three officers who showed up.

After five to 10 minutes of questions, being patted down, emptying my pockets, explanations, and being scolded, the three police officers told me to essentially . . . take a walk.

The cops actually seemed more pissed off at the PEA, who from what I could tell, had radioed in a call of a city employee in distress or being attacked or something like that. Obviously, the police officers had better things to do than referee a sidewalk legal debate between an angry PEA and some self-styled doofus Robin Hood trying to keep a few cars from being ticketed.

* CTA buys 58 buses with stimulus funds

* CTA signs wireless lease with Cricket

Cricket Communications Inc. has signed a 10-year agreement to lease the CTA’s wireless communications infrastructure in the Red Line and Blue Line subways, CTA officials will announce Monday. The transit agency will be paid $22,250 per month by Cricket, officials said.

* Innermost workings of CTA explained

* Status Quo University

* Chicago State plans comeback from enrollment low

* Hundreds attend ‘Blessing of the Bikes’ in Bloomington

* Thousands participate in first Illinois Marathon

posted by Mike Murray
Monday, Apr 13, 09 @ 5:47 am


  1. ==Quinn to make Monday stops at Harper, Hoffman Estates==

    Quinn is spending a lot of time in Northern Illinois these days.

    How is he getting there? (i.e. is the state plane being used more or less since Blago left office?)

    Comment by Leroy Monday, Apr 13, 09 @ 9:11 am

  2. NONE of the stories and blog entries I’ve located on the selection of Bridget Gainer to replace Mike Quigley have facts on how the committeepersons voted. The best information I could find was here: Clout Street: and Provocateur

    Do you have any information on this Rich?

    Comment by Lou Grant Monday, Apr 13, 09 @ 10:32 am

  3. I’ll take the Lincoln Home and tomb as the options for the Illinois quarter, and give any one who wants to bet against me anything else in the entire state outside of Springfield.

    Comment by Capitol View Monday, Apr 13, 09 @ 10:35 am

  4. IL State Quarter…
    Gov behind bars? A silver shovel, Patrick Fizgerald?

    Comment by Wumpus Monday, Apr 13, 09 @ 11:06 am

  5. CV, you may be right, but I have few ideas:

    –Hull House, representing the groundbreaking work of Illinois’ Nobel Peace Prize winner

    –The Old State Capitol, site of Lincoln’s House Divided speech and symbolic of his rise.

    – Black Hawk Statue or The Eternal Indian by Lorado Taft, Lowden State Park, representing the largely forgotten culture and history of Native Americans in Illinois.

    – Sears Tower, the tallest building in North American, representative of the state’s contribution to modern architecture.

    Comment by wordslinger Monday, Apr 13, 09 @ 11:40 am

  6. For the quarter… go with something from Springfield. It would keep the downstate and Chicago people happy. After all, it is our state capital and we need people to rereconize it after all the years of people thinking it was Chicago.

    Comment by Farm Girl Monday, Apr 13, 09 @ 2:58 pm

  7. The ISP is not the only agency that needs reform. What about DHS and DOC? Corrections has thousands of employees and is in terrible shape. When is Quinn going to replace Roger Walker and all of the Blago appointees that don’t have a clue? The clock is ticking and there are lot of staff waiting to see some action.

    Comment by southern illinoisan Monday, Apr 13, 09 @ 4:39 pm

  8. Shame on the Board of Trustees of Chicago State University … .

    Comment by Smitty Irving Tuesday, Apr 14, 09 @ 12:09 am

  9. Regarding the Tribune being subpeonead by the feds because it is an ESOP: I worked for an Illinois corporation which was an ESOP that went bankrupt while oweing creditors in excess of $100,000,000.00 due to it’s CEO committing theft, fraud, etc. The CEO served less than 4 year’s of his 10 year sentence in a minimum security prison due to overcrowding in the nation’s prison system. When the Labor Department’s investigators came to my house to interview me, one of them actually nodded off in his chair until I woke him. I could tell how concerned he was about the company’s ESOP based on his indifference to what had just happened to over 100 former employees of the bankrupt firm. I was a director of the firm several years prior to it’s going bankrupt. The guy from the US Labor Department who was sent to my house WAS A BAD JOKE. He was simply pretending to go through the motions in order to satisfy the public.

    If I was a Tribune employee, I would not count on getting any justice from the US Justice Department. I am sorry but I am going to be the only individual to tell you the truth how things really work when it comes to protecting employee pensions with the US Department of Labor. Make sure you feed him “lots of coffee” when he comes to visit you guys..

    Comment by Beowulf Tuesday, Apr 14, 09 @ 9:24 am

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