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Late afternoon political update

Thursday, Jul 27, 2006

· UPDATE: ICPR has an analysis of Gov. Blagojevich’s Chicago TV ad spending since the primary.

The first wave, which began immediately after the primary and continued through mid-April, featured 30-second spots. In frequency and distribution, this wave was largely similar to the pattern he established in the primary, with a high concentration in news and public affairs and daytime programming. This wave included 453 ads at a cost of $732,000.

The second wave, which began in late-April and ran for about three weeks, featured 15-second spots bookended during ad breaks, including 1,365 ads at a total cost of $1.2 million.

The third wave, which ran from June 2 through July 3, appears similar in placement to the second: 15-second spots bookended during public affairs, news, and daytime programming. This wave included 1,764 ads at a total cost of $1.5 million.

All told, the governor has now spent more after the primary than before; this calendar year, he has spent nearly $4 million running ads in the Chicago market alone.

The campaign has been “dark” in Chicago since then, but ICPR reports that the ads will crank up again next month.

———————————————————————-

· The Daily Herald has a long Q&A with Barack Obama posted on its site, along with this story:

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama expressed concern about the growing number of reports of potentially illegal hiring under Gov. Rod Blagojevich, but said he’s willing to help his fellow Chicago Democrat’s re-election bid.

“I have not followed closely enough what’s been taking place in these investigations to comment on them,” Obama told the Daily Herald this week. “Obviously I’m concerned about reports that hiring practices at the state weren’t, at times, following appropriate procedures. How high up that went, the degree at which the governor was involved, is not something I’m going to speculate on.

“If I received information that made me believe that any Democrat had not been acting in the public interest, I’d be concerned.” […]

If the governor asks me to work on his behalf, I’ll be happy to do it,” Obama said.

· Topinka wants a special session. Didn’t George Ryan try this one? From a press release:

State Treasurer and GOP nominee for Governor Judy Baar Topinka today called on Gov. Rod Blagojevich to call a Special Session of the General Assembly to provide motorists with tax relief from high gas prices.

As a candidate for Governor, Blagojevich criticized state officials for inaction on gas prices — when gas was $1.99 per gallon. As Governor he hasn’t lifted a finger to help Illinois families fight prices that are as high as $3.30 per gallon.

· The governor’s latest press release touts his action to protect those vulnerable from the heat.

As Illinois prepares for the heat of August, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today that up to $9 million in cooling grants will be made available this Monday, July 31, 2006, to help protect the most vulnerable populations of Illinois including seniors, the disabled, and families with small children, from the dangerous weather conditions by assisting with household energy bills.

· The Cook County GOP has started a new website called BlagoWatch. It’s a spoof of the governor’s TopinkaWatch website. Check out the morph image on the main page.

· Speaking of morphing, the NorthWest Herald’s cartoonist had the same idea as the Cook County Repubs. Check it out.

· From a Radogno press release:

The two candidates for Illinois State Treasurer, Republican Christine Radogno and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, will participate in a candidates forum hosted by the National Association of Women Business Owners Chicago PAC on Friday, July 28. This is the first face-to-face debate between the two candidates. […]

What: Illinois State Treasurer Candidates Forum
When: 8 a.m. Friday, July 28
Where: Maggiano’s Banquets
111 W. Grand Avenue, Chicago

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      


Madigan looks at stonewalling

Thursday, Jul 27, 2006

I had a story about this subject in Wednesday’s Capitol Fax.

Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan’s office said Wednesday it is reviewing the policy of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration not to make subpoenas public that it receives from law-enforcement agencies or provide information about them.

Cara Smith, Madigan’s policy director and spokeswoman, said the policy runs counter to the attorney general’s interpretation that most subpoenas are public records under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

The governor’s office finally has an answer in today’s papers.

Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff defended the governor’s policy Wednesday, saying it is based on a legal opinion about the nature of subpoenas.

“The grand jury’s meetings are not public, their discussions are not public and the subpoenas they issue are not public,” Ottenhoff said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


All in a day’s work

Thursday, Jul 27, 2006

Yesterday, the Chicago city council passed the “big box” ordinance.

Defying Mayor Daley and challenging Wal-Mart and Target to follow through on their threats, a bitterly divided City Council voted Wednesday to require Chicago’s big-box retailers to pay employees a “living wage” of at least $10 an hour and $3 in benefits by 2010.

The 35-14, veto-proof vote is an overwhelming victory for organized labor and the latest in a string of legislative defeats for a corruption-weakened Daley.

…Decided not to force dog owners to implant microchips in their pets.

“Let me talk to you about defecation. . . . Dog-do is the caviar of rats,” [Ald. Burt Natarus] said.

…And voted themselves a pay raise.

Chicago’s $98,125-a-year aldermen would see their salaries rise with the inflation rate over the next four years, under an ordinance approved Wednesday by a City Council that gave itself political cover.

By mandating wage and benefit standards for “big-box” retailers, aldermen can claim they did more than feather their own nests.

It was the third time a “living wage” was approved on the same day as an aldermanic pay raise. The last two times, the increase for Chicago’s working poor applied only to employees of city contractors.

The aldermanic pay raise was approved by a vote of 27-16.

[Emphasis added]

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


Politics and child support

Thursday, Jul 27, 2006

The Tribune editorial board flushes out a recent press release.

Earlier this month, Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced that the state helped to collect a record $1.14 billion in child support payments in the last fiscal year. “Before I became governor, the child support system in our state was the worst in the nation,” Blagojevich said in a statement. “But this program has turned around. … More Illinois parents than ever are getting the payments they are owed so their children can have the childhood they deserve.”

Just how big of a turnaround has this state really made? The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement says that in 2001, when Illinois ranked dead last of all the states in collecting child support payments, only 38 percent of the $2.61 billion owed to Illinois children was collected. That came to roughly $992 million.

But compare that with the governor’s new “record” of $1.14 billion. Not a huge jump. Now consider that the new state total for child support owed has risen to $2.8 billion. So the collection rate since fiscal 2001 has improved by roughly 2 percentage points, give or take some deadbeats.

Which raises this question: Is progress in that order of magnitude worthy of all the crowing from the governor?

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      


Get out the milk carton

Thursday, Jul 27, 2006

We had a story about alleged attorney general candidate Stu Umholtz’s fundraising on the blog earlier this week. The AP takes it a little further.

Who needs television ads when you have the DAR newsletter?

Heading into the heart of campaign season, Republican Stewart Umholtz lacks the money for commercials, staff or the other trappings of a traditional bid for Illinois attorney general. He had just $44,301 on hand as of June 30.

But Umholtz insists he has a strategy for victory, one that relies on reaching people through the Internet, being included in newspaper voting guides and even getting mentioned in newsletters from Daughters of the American Revolution, boating groups and other clubs.

“If I get a newsletter in the mail of a group I participate in, then I’m more likely to read that newsletter, perhaps cover to cover, than I am to read ads in a newspaper,” Umholtz said.

Words fail me.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      


Question of the day

Thursday, Jul 27, 2006

Sorry for the lack of postings today. Consider this an open thread. I’ll be back this afternoon.

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      


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