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Christmas schedule

Thursday, Dec 23, 2004

Blogging has been almost nonexistent lately because of the holidays. One of the best friends I’ve ever had was in town this week, as well as my brother from California who I haven’t seen in four years (he was in Illinois last Christmas, but I was in the Middle East at the time).

Don’t expect much next week, either. I need to quit smoking (again), and it would probably be too dangerous to write anything in that state of mind.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      


Patterson inserts zinger

Thursday, Dec 23, 2004

Every now and then, a reporter will insert a paragraph into a story that explains the context without overtly editorializing. John Patterson, of the Daily Herald, did so today in a piece about layoffs at the Department of Natural Resources:

Several environmental groups and the state’s largest employees union say it’s an example of how everyone is losing under Blagojevich’s latest layoffs, which will cut 87 jobs in the state’s conservation agency. Another 37 layoffs at the agency occurred last month.

“The closures and service cuts caused by these latest layoffs will be felt by anyone who hunts, fishes, hikes or bikes in our great outdoors, and they will hurt local economies that depend so heavily on tourism,” said Anne Irving, spokeswoman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31.

Department of Natural Resources spokesman Joe Bauer said it’s a matter of working within the $188.8 million budget the agency was given. Lawmakers and Blagojevich set the amount. The agency is under Blagojevich’s control.

“And to get down to that number we had to cut costs,” said Bauer, who joined the state in August and makes $75,000 a year. “Unfortunately, that has involved these layoffs.”

I almost never begrudge anyone’s state salary if they actually work. But this story highlights what many see as the real priority of the Blagojevich administration: Communication over governance. Patterson’s story is ostensibly about the site supervisor of Volo Bog State Natural Area, who made $56,000 a year until he was laid off.

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      


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