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Beaubien “gets it”

Sunday, Dec 19, 2004

Another flashy gubernatorial announcement ends with nothing happening. The State Journal-Register fills us in:

Santa Claus may bring books to your kids this holiday season, but Gov. Rod Blagojevich won’t.

His administration quietly dropped plans to partner with a Tennessee foundation to offer free, age-appropriate books to Illinois children younger than 5. The “Imagination Libraries” program was estimated to cost the state $26 million per year if all eligible children were signed up for monthly mailings. First-year costs were projected at a smaller amount, at least $5 million.

Blagojevich embraced the literacy initiative early this year during a news conference at a South Side church in Chicago. In a Jan. 11 news release, the Democrat was quoted as saying: “Illinois will become the first state in the nation to offer every child a personal library. That’s exactly the kind of commitment children deserve.”

But then the whole thing was dropped.

No news release was issued over the summer when the proposal became a casualty of overtime budget wrangling.

Rep. Mark Beaubien (R-Barrington Hills) deconstructs the situation nicely:

Beaubien said he considered the book program impractical but rapped the gover-nor for misleading people that it would happen. He said the governor tends to make big, splashy announcements without following through.

“These things kind of come up and they die away,” Beaubien said Friday. “The press loves it and gives him front-page headlines. … Instead of saying, ‘Here we go again,’ you say, ‘Isn’t that wonderful?’”

The meme is spreading.

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      


The evolving story

Sunday, Dec 19, 2004

So, why did the governor postpone his Naperville announcement that he wanted to criminalize the sale and rental of sexually explicit and violent video games to minors? The press conference was reportedly scheduled for Wednesday, then moved to Thursday.

This is what the Naperville Sun published on Wednesday:

“He wanted to delay a day so that the New York Times could be here to cover it,” read the District 203 e-mail announcing the postponement.

A representative from the governor’s office told the Sun on Tuesday that the governor had no public appearances planned for today. The representative from the governor’s office would not say why Blagojevich canceled today’s visit to Naperville.

On Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reported:

Officials with a Naperville school district said the governor’s office asked them to arrange the event for Wednesday but then postponed it for a day, in part to accommodate more national media coverage. The governor’s office denies the claim.

And today, Copley’s Doug Finke wrote this:

Blagojevich’s office said it was delayed because a new Internet Web site they created about the issue wasn’t going to be ready to go by Wednesday.

It sure took the guv’s office long enough to get its story straight, and even when it did, it screwed up the address of that aforementioned site. From the Tribune:

A public relations onslaught for Gov. Rod Blagojevich backfired Friday when state school officials mistakenly promoted the wrong Internet site for his new crusade against violent and sexually explicit video games, directing Web users to one that ridiculed the governor.

The erroneous site, which appeared to have been activated Thursday as Blagojevich announced his initiative to great media fanfare, also included links to pages on Amazon.com where games that the governor found offensive could be easily bought.

The “other” site can be found here. Its name is safegamesillinois.com. The guv’s site is safegamesillinois.org. Oops.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


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