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Morning shorts

Monday, Oct 30, 2006

* Blagojevich: ‘I want good, clean government’

* Election shrouded by Levine guilty plea

* Rhodes: Lawyers vet their cases for conflicts of interest within their firms. Reporters try to be similarly vigilant. Plus, Patti Blagojevich only has a few clients a year. What’s ridiculous is that a real estate agent whose husband is the governor wouldn’t keep track of whether her clients had contracts with the state. Unless she didn’t want to know - or already did.

* Plan links minimum pay in state to inflation - Gov, mayor urge $1 hike, yearly boosts

* Last toll on state open-road tolling project finished

* Topinka is limited by feuds and funds

* Blagojevich fights everyone

* Topinka hopeful she can catch Blagojevich

* Father’s son, his own man - Todd Stroger and Tony Peraica bring competing visions to the race for Cook County Board president

* Peraica to Stroger: ‘No one calls my shots’

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Democrat for Peraica - Monday, Oct 30, 06 @ 3:29 am:

    I find it interesting that Todd Stroger is now trying to get leverage in this race by calling Peraica a “George Bush Republican,” and himself a “Bill Clinton Democrat.” We all know that Stroger is a tool for Richard M. Daley. When President Bush was in Chicago celebrating his 60th birthday, it was not with Tony Peraica. It was with Mayor Daley. Put simply, there is a much larger connection between Stroger and Bush than Peraica and Bush. Stroger would have a much greater chance of getting Bush to come to the phone if he called the White House than Peraica. Further, it is Stroger who is the nominee of his party because of his family name, not Peraica. Stroger is the George W. Bush of the county board race, and Tony Peraica is the one who, like Bill Clinton, had to fight hard and work for what he has accomplished. The George Bush-Tony Peraica comparison is just another of many of Stroger’s lies.

  2. - state worker #1 - Monday, Oct 30, 06 @ 6:01 am:

    WHAT DID HE SAY (yes I am shouting)!
    “Don’t you think I’ve been a great governor?” he asks the reporter who has interviewed him on the ride to the airport. “You must believe that.


    in addition, Blagojevich: ‘I want good, clean government’

    You talk one way but your actions don’t convey that.

  3. - Pull the other one - Monday, Oct 30, 06 @ 7:02 am:

    ‘I want good, clean government’

    Rod is damaged goods and will not be able to function in office if re-elected. He will not be able to move an agenda due to Madigan and Jones holding back support, and every time he tries to use a press conference to complain about it, he’ll be hounded with corruption questions until the feds fnally come take him away.

  4. - Gregor - Monday, Oct 30, 06 @ 7:05 am:

    Rich, re: the St. Louis P-D poll, would you call this another outlyer? 800 people polled, 4 point margin of error, gives Blago a 9-point lead?
    Seems like more of an out and out liar poll to me.

  5. - Nickname - Monday, Oct 30, 06 @ 7:26 am:

    You forgot this hilarious headline typo:

    “Obama, Durkin rally in Waukegan Nov. 6″

    I didn’t know Jim Durkin’s district went all the way to Waukegan!,5_1_WA30_OBAMA_S1.article

  6. - fedup dem - Monday, Oct 30, 06 @ 8:55 am:

    Once again the Chicago Sun-Times has errored. This time, their story in which Gov. Sleazy says, “I want good, clean government” should have appearred on the comic pages next to Beetle Bailey or Luann.

  7. - Peoria Pal - Monday, Oct 30, 06 @ 9:45 am:

    Apparently Capt. Fax did not notice this item from the Word on the Street column in today’s Republican Paty’s local “news” outlet (aka PJS)

    Most are guessing these shenanigans were designed to:
    1. Allow Aaron the Wonder Boy to pay less for the “leave of absence” help (i.e. did they still pay health insurance, etc.)
    2. Did helper want to keep gettin vacation, pension credit?
    3. Did Boy Wonder pay the not for profit to somehow get a tax break? The whole affair is akin to Boy Wonder trying to sneak his pal Speaker Hastert into town for a funder. P.S. Congreats to MP for burying this item so WB doesn’t get whacked before election day. Some might have thought it was a news item.

    Freedom House fiasco

    Cartwright’s exit from Schock’s campaign didn’t have anything to do with poll numbers.

    The Freedom House board asked her to return to work after Grube of Peoria resigned.

    Grube - without the board’s permission - had worked out a payment schedule with Schock’s campaign to keep Cartwright on the not-for-profit’s payroll while Schock reimbursed Freedom House for all her expenses.

    Board members, who have largely declined to speak publicly, said they decided to bring Cartwright back because it just didn’t look good to have her working on Schock’s campaign while receiving a Freedom House paycheck.

    Flak hit the fan when a local newspaper - the Bureau County Republican - printed an article in which unnamed employees charged that Cartwright was receiving a paycheck from Freedom House while working on a political campaign.

    Per their tax-exempt status, not-for-profit organizations are prohibited from engaging in political activity or making endorsements as an organization.

    What’s more, while Freedom House is not a state agency, its budget does rely heavily on state funding. It would be a violation for Cartwright to work a campaign while accepting a not-for-profit’s paycheck.

    But the story isn’t that simple, said Freedom House board president Melissa Sims, an attorney.

    Instead of Schock’s campaign paying Cartwright directly - as is the generally accepted practice when people take leaves of absence to work campaigns - Schock has reimbursed Freedom House for all her expenses.

    The recent campaign reports filed with the state did not require candidates to disclose expenses, but Schock’s campaign provided a receipt showing it paid about $5,500 to Freedom House in July and August. The remaining $10,000 wasn’t paid until October, several weeks after Cartwright left. The bill was late coming to Schock’s campaign because along with Grube, the CPA who suggested this financial setup was also let go for an unrelated matter; the bookkeeper left with her.

    “Nothing is illegal about that,” Schock said about the financial arrangement. He noted it was the Freedom House accountant who suggested the payment arrangement, saying it would be easier on the agency and Cartwright. Board members said privately the payment arrangement was a mistake. In the future, any worker wanting a leave of absence to work a political campaign will have to take a true leave of absence, meaning they will not receive a Freedom House check during that period.

    Sims did make the following statement:

    “The discretionary action of the former executive director was suspended upon her resignation and Stephanie Cartwright reported to work the day after. Freedom House has been 100 percent reimbursed from the Aaron Schock campaign.”

    Freedom House is not in Schock’s legislative district and Cartwright does not live in the district, either. She was encouraged by Grube to work on Schock’s campaign - and we’re told it was Grube who set up the payment arrangement.

    Adding to the strangeness of this whole thing is that Schock’s campaign manager, Steven Shearer, is a member of the Freedom House board and lived at the same address with Grube. Shearer said he had his own entrance to their living quarters and lived there for only a short time.

    Shearer also said he had no role in the payment arrangement. He said Schock and Grube sat down and worked the whole thing out before he even knew what was going on.

    “I never said a word about it in any board meeting. I did not advocate for it. I did not facilitate it. I did not ask for it,” Shearer said.

    Grube had been with Freedom House since 1998. Former employees describe her as a woman with imagination and unfettered commitment who more than doubled the agency’s budget during the time she was there. But her management skills were weak, her decision-making quick and her temperament hot, we’re told. The day after she resigned, eight employees filed a grievance with the Freedom House board, alleging sexual harassment and improper use of not-for-profit funds.

    Grube has not been formally charged with any wrongdoing. She did not return phone calls seeking comment. While this scenario is unusual, it doesn’t seem as if anyone - not Grube, Schock, Freedom House or Cartwright - benefited improperly from this transaction. One theory is that Grube - with a penchant to get involved in the town’s movers-and-shakers’ circle - may have wanted to have an in on Schock’s campaign. Apparently, she’s pretty good at getting what she wants.

    “She can buffalo a snake,” said one person familiar with the situation. (M.P.)

  8. - Walking Wounded - Monday, Oct 30, 06 @ 10:00 am:

    I read the PJStar article today and found it incredibly boring and burdensome. I can’t imagine any of the PJStar’s subscribers (outside of us political junkies) reading the whole article. The story wraps up that “Grube has not been formally charged with any wrongdoing” and “not Grube, Schock, Freedom House nor Cartwright benefited improperly from this transaction.” How much ink was needed to make that point? Then again….what was the point except to maybe try to take a slap at Schock?

  9. - Peoria Pal - Monday, Oct 30, 06 @ 10:16 am:

    The point seemed to be PJS wanted to make it appear they “covered” this kinky event without actually writing a new story about

  10. - HappyToaster - Monday, Oct 30, 06 @ 12:09 pm:

    Peraica and Proft should dial down the flame thrower. Todd’s best attribute is an affable persona that deflects the scorched earth. They come across as prospects for anger managment class. The caustic tone will drive potential crossovers back home.

  11. - Prez of the FTPC - Monday, Oct 30, 06 @ 5:11 pm:

    Here, here, HappyToaster!

    They have lost sight of their goal: to make unhappy, snarling miscreants of the voters, who would then go to the polls and unleash voter hell on the afore-mentioned stroger.

    Instead, they themselves have assumed said unhappy snarling persona…and its quite off-putting. Of course, most of what I have come to know about Phony Tony has been off-putting, but that is neither here nor there.

    Anyway, this entire election has given me the most annoying of headaches.


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