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Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Question of the day

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007

First, the setup

Even though his drunken driving killed four people, Randy Visor faces no special penalties for driving with his license revoked.

But under a new Illinois House bill, the 34-year-old Aurora man could have been charged with a felony, because his license was revoked for committing reckless homicide.

Visor spent four years in prison after he was convicted in the 1997 drunken-driving crash that took the lives of four people, including three Waubonsie Valley High School students.

In March 2006, Batavia police apprehended him for driving with a revoked license. Under current law, he was charged with a misdemeanor, just like any other people caught driving while their license is revoked.

Rep. Joe Dunn, a Republican who represents the far east side of Aurora and Naperville, now is sponsoring a bill that would upgrade the charge of driving on a revoked license based on a reckless homicide from a misdemeanor to felony. On the first violation, the bill would prohibit reinstating an offender’s driving privileges for at least three years. By the third violation, an offender would have his license revoked for life.

I would assume you support this bill, so that’s not the question. Here’s the question: What other changes to DUI laws could you support? Or do we have enough? Explain

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


WATB

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007

I noticed something last night while doing a bit of instant analysis on the Chicago city council races.

* Brendan Reilly stomped Burton Natarus by nine points, but Natarus refused to concede.

* Sandi Jackson creamed Darcel Beavers by almost 15 25 points, yet Beavers also refused to concede.

* And Ald. Aurenda Troutman was absolutely steamrolled, losing by 30 points, yet she, too, refused to concede. Troutman even claimed there was some sort of evil conspiracy in the counting that somehow deprived her of a victory.

I’m wondering what you think of all this. Are these aldermen just isolated nutballs, are they just so arrogant that they couldn’t imagine ever losing, or do they have no respect for the voters’ wishes? Or is it something else?

We have a couple of other local election threads here, so let’s try to stick to the topic at hand. I really am curious what you make of these clowns (or “buffoons,” as the case may be.)

And, please, don’t try to claim that there weren’t enough results in last night for the three to realize what had happened to them. The Natarus race was over by 8 o’clock, as were the other two contests.

- Posted by Rich Miller   62 Comments      


Rate rage roundup - The morning after

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007

* We’ll start our coverage with today’s Tribune story

Lawmakers, school officials and mayors lashed out at utility companies Tuesday in a rare public hearing before the full House, saying skyrocketing electricity bills are forcing consumers to choose between food, medicine and heat.

“I can’t begin to describe the crisis and calamity going on,” said Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion), sitting by a bundle of constituents’ bills 2 feet high. “The scales of justice in this state are out of whack.” […]

The hearing unleashed pent-up rage over bills that began arriving in consumer mailboxes about the time House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Emil Jones reached a stalemate over how to address one of the biggest pocketbook issues the two Chicago Democrats have faced in years.

* Meanwhile, ComEd claimed they don’t have a rate problem up north, and blatantly threw Ameren under the bus

“Yes, there’s a serious issue in the state of Illinois,” Clark said. “But it’s not all over Illinois and 75 percent of the customer base in Illinois is not having that problem. Now do we need to address the situation in southern Illinois? Absolutely.”

* Sun-Times

Madigan said he’s “still very hopeful” that the Senate will support another freeze, even though Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago) stymied a similar plan in January.

Ameren and ComEd executives have said another freeze would wreak financial havoc on their companies.

* Madigan called the ICC-imposed “reverse power auction” nothing more than a fix

“That auction is nothing more than a fix,” Madigan said. “It’s a fix for Exelon and other large power producers that can produce power at costs so low that when you compare the cost of producing the power against the price set by the reverse clock auction, there’s enough spread (that) the financial houses from New York have become buyers and sellers of power in Illinois. That’s not right.”

* And Ameren offered up a “compromise“…

The president of Ameren’s Illinois utilities, facing a roomful of angry state lawmakers Tuesday, vowed one-time partial refunds to Illinoisans who have been socked with unusually high power bills this month — a $20 million gambit apparently designed to persuade the Legislature not to re-regulate electric rates.

* But as I told you last night, when I was the first to run a brief piece on the Ameren proposal, the Speaker turned thumbs down, claiming the Ameren offer (which totaled $35 million) was insufficient.

* Lawmakers comment on electric rate hikes

* Outlining the program options offered by ComEd

* And a Daily Herald semi-blogger registered his complaints.

Making the management of the proceedings even more questionable was the fact that it was 7:30 p.m. before the Ameren CEO took the witness stand to explain why some of his company’s customers are seeing power bill increases of 200 to 300 percent and tell lawmakers what he planned to do about it. Scott Cisel, the Ameren CEO, outlined an 8-point plan of customer relief only to have it largely dismissed by downstate members who openly accuse the company of lying to them about the effects of rate hikes.

But by then, Mayor Daley was being declared the winner of yet another term in Chicago and across the state, media attention was turning to key local races, particularly downstate where there aren’t the resources in many media markets to cover both the hearing and the elections. And, unlike the hearing, the elections were producing results Tuesday night.

At nearly 11 p.m., ComEd’s CEO still had not testified or taken questions.

* Soundclips from committee of the whole hearing [Madigan’s full statement will be posted later this morning in the subscriber-only section]

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


Local Elections Roundup

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007

[Note: View Rich Miller’s commentary from last night on some of the aldermanic races, plus links to other stories by clicking here.]

* Reilly headed to City Council

* Rounding up other aldermanic races

* Mark Brown: Jackson’s win shocks political dynasty’s boss ‘hog’

* Night of upsets

If it was a bad day for incumbents, it was a good day for the unions that targeted them for opposing the failed big-box ordinance that would have required large retailers to pay their workers more.

“I don’t know how you spin this other than a very big night for organized labor,” said Jerry Morrison, executive director of the Service Employee International Union’s State Council, predicting that Daley will face a more independent Council. “This is a new day dawning, brother.”

* Incumbents struggle all election night

* Tough fights throughout the city

* Corruption hurts Troutman, Daley gets away unscathed

* Kristen McQueary: Some up some down in election

* Embattled Troutman (CBS2 video clip) ousted, and other aldermanic victims

* Rugai reelected to fifth term

* Upstart topples Natarus (CBS2 video clip), unions help many in northside

* Race summaries in the 10th, 14th, 18th , 23rd

* Expectedly low primary turnout numbers

* Incumbent Davlin pleased with results, far ahead of Strom

* Zion mayor trounces challengers

* No surprises in southwest suburbs

* Naperville mayor wins big in primary

* Mayors ahead big in Naperville and Zion

* Incumbent mayors win in Elgin and Hoffman Estates

* This was the easy part, says Daley

* Daley cruises to historic election victory

* Sun-Times Editorial: Daley has his work cut out for him

* Tribune Editorial: Chicagoans voting on Chicago with Daley

* Editorial: Victory comes much too easy for Daley

* Neil Steinberg: A vote for Daley in spirit

* DeValle keeps Clerk’s office

- Posted by Paul Richardson   18 Comments      


Morning Shorts

Wednesday, Feb 28, 2007

* HPV vaccine too pricey for many

For medical practices, however, sales tax and federal excise tax can increase the cost to almost $140 a dose. And then there is the cost of refrigerated storage, insurance and the time it takes to administer the vaccine.

* Bill aims to drop 5% sales tax from textbook sales

* Amtrack struggling to run trains on time

* Dan Hynes: Illinois poised to lead on stem cell research

It will allow the state to strengthen its international standing in the field of medical research and claim its place as the preeminent location of stem cell research in the Midwest. And it will spur the creation of thousands of new jobs and tens of millions of dollars in private sector investment.

* 2 admit fake minority venture in $49 million County contract bid

The contract called for 30 percent minority participation in the deal. Siemens said Faustech Industries was a minority business that had a joint venture in the deal. Prosecutors say it was a sham: The companies arranged to pay Faustech a flat fee of $500,000.

* More jobs cut in latest county budget figures, up to 1,700 occupied positions

* Stroger’s office defends healthcare cuts

* Lawmakers decry $70,000 of fomer state worker as chauffeur:

Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, wanted to know “how many more do we have in a position making a lot of money for doing a job that may not need to be done in the first place.”
Mautino sits on the appropriations committee of the House that reviews state agencies involved in public safety. He said he will question each of the agencies to see if they have people in similar positions.

* Rezko trial put off for a year, bond restrictions stay

- Posted by Paul Richardson   9 Comments      


FRESH RESULTS THREAD

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

* Sorry about that disappearing post. Luckily, Paul still had a copy on his browser and we were able to reconstruct it. Let’s start afresh, shall we?

* First, remember to tune into CBS 2 Live Election Coverage by clicking right here:  Live Video

* 9:33 pm - Daley won, obviously, but getting more than 70 percent was key. He showed his critics he can still rack up a landslide. The over-under for Dock Walls was 10 percent, and he didn’t make it. At least his delusion is over, for now.

* 9:40 pm - Lots and lots of runoffs, some more unexpected than others and a few that weren’t on very many radar screens: 2 (Fioretti-Haithcock); 3 (Tillman-Dowell); 15 (Foulkes- Simmons-Stovall); 16 (Thompson-Coleman); 18 is a possible (Lane-Stewart); 21 (Brookins-Jones); 24 (Chandler-Dixon); 32 looks like a runoff (Matlak-Waguespack); 35 also looks very likely (Colon-Colom); as does 43 (Vi Daley-Smith); and 49 is right on the brink (Moore-Gordon).

* 9:44 pm - Almost nobody had Brendan Reilly on their possible win lists. Maybe he was at the bottom, but almost no one saw this coming except those of us who bothered to look and get past the notion that Natarus was unbeatable.

Why did Brendan win? Simple. Reilly ran a great campaign. Nearly perfect, even. Ald. Natarus ran a terrible campaign. Right until the end, he was too arrogant to believe he was ever in any real danger. I may have more on this race in tomorrow’s Capitol Fax, or it will be at the blog, depending on space. It’s a heckuva story. Bye-bye, Burt.

* 9:50 pm - How is it possible that broken-down warhorse Bernie Stone may manage to hold on without a runoff against two very strong challengers?

Stone’s organization is vastly underrated. A couple of years ago, Stone ran a candidate against Rep. Lou Lang in the Dem primary. That candidate carried Stone’s ward against the veteran legislator. I always figured that if they could drag that guy across the finish line they could certainly do the same for the big boss. LATE UPDATE: Stone is just barely heading for a runoff with Naisy Dolar. She has a lot of ground to make up, but the unions could play a major role here if they choose to intervene.

* 9:53 pm - Sandi Jackson’s big win over Darcel Beavers was extra special for Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s organization today. The Shaw brothers brought troops in for Beavers. The Jackson’s and the Shaw’s are old and bitter rivals.

* 10:00 pm - Every Machine goon in town will be in the 32nd Ward for the runoff between incumbent Ted Matlak and Scott Waguespack. This is an old-time Machine ward, but Matlak ran a horrendous campaign. Daley had to bail him out today with 75 paid “volunteers,” but it wasn’t enough to avoid the runoff.

* 10:08 pm - Needless to say, it’s a huge night for organized labor. “I think we did OK,” Chicago Federation of Labor chief Dennis Gannon said tonight. “It was a big night.”

That’s an understatement. All but one of the runoffs forced tonight were the result of organized labor’s support for the challenger. Victors Brendan Reilly and Sandi Jackson were also labor-backed candidates.

Like I said… huge.

* 10:15 pm - That’s all I have for now, except to say I’m floored at how poorly Shirley Coleman and Dorothy Tillman did. And I’m amazed that Aurenda Troutman got just 32 percent (with 88 percent reporting).

Discuss away if you’re still awake. Check the results here.

* 10:25 pm - OK, one more thing.

According to Aldertrack, Natarus refused to concede tonight. He got thumped and he doesn’t have the stones to admit defeat. He said it, not me… the man is a buffoon.

Here’s an automated news feed for AlderTrack, which has some interesting stuff…

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      


Election Results Open Thread

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

CBS 2 Live Election Coverage Live Video

* 7:55pm

Ward 2

Bob Fioretti 865 26.1%
Madeline Haithcock 792 23.9%
David Askew 561 16.9%
Kenny Johnson 478 14.4%
Wallace Davis 359 10.8%
Larry Doody 259 7.8%

Ward 12

George Cardenas 898 59.6%
Carina Sanchez 375 24.9%
Jesus Salazar 73 4.8%
Alan Mercado 71 4.7%
Alberto Bocanegra 58 3.8%
Jesse Iniguez 32 2.1%

Ward 19

Virginia Rugai 3,680 56.5%
John Somerville 1,504 23.1%
Timothy Sheehan 1,328 20.4%

Ward 32

Ted Matlak 1,635 47.4%
Scott Waguespack 1,379 39.9%
Catherine Zaryczny 439 12.7%

Ward 42

Brendan Reilly 1,924 54.2%
Burton Natarus 1,627 45.8%

Ward 50

Bernard Stone 728 69.8%
Naisy Dolar 153 14.7%
Greg Brewer 123 11.8%
Salman Aftab 39 3.7%

* 8:01pm

Latest update: With 79% of preceincts reporting, Riley is ahead of Natarus in the 42nd ward by 800 votes. He won Natarus’s home precinct.

* 8:08pm

Ward 7
67.69% of precincts reporting

Jackson, Sandi 4,798 57.32%
Beavers, Darcel (i) 2,767 33.06%
David, Ron 653 7.80%
Brown, Eric

Ward 20
48.0% of precincts reporting

Willie Cochran 2,108 62.7%
Arenda Troutman 1,042 31.0%
Edward Chaney 210 6.2%

* 8:12pm

All major outlets have just called it for Daley. Shocking.

* 8:14pm

Ward 43
37.3% of precincts reporting

Vi Daley 1,630 47.4%
Michele Smith 1,122 32.6%
Tim Egan 413 12.0%
Peter Zelchenko 173 5.0%
Rachel Goodstein 99 2.9%

* 8:34pm

CARBONDALE MAYOR
Precincts Reporting 26 96.3%

Sheila Simon 1042 53.19%
Brad Cole 759 38.74%
Jessica Davis 81 4.13%
Pepper Holder 74 3.78%

* 8:38pm

Ward 12
83.3% of precincts reporting

George Cardenas 2,230 58.4%
Carina Sanchez 1,088 28.5%
Jesus Salazar 169 4.4%
Alan Mercado 148 3.9%
Alberto Bocanegra 133 3.5%
Jesse Iniguez 50 1.3%

* 8:43pm

Ward 50
66.7% of precincts reporting

Bernard Stone 3,697 53.5%
Naisy Dolar 1,746 25.3%
Greg Brewer 1,078 15.6%
Salman Aftab 385 5.6%

* 8:55pm

Update: Expect a victory announcement from Brendan Reilly in the 42nd ward between 9-9:30pm

[Comments now closed. We’ve got a fresh thread above]

- Posted by Paul Richardson   8 Comments      


Ameren offers to pay up

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

Ameren IL CEO Scot Cissel just offered $35 million in rate relief and conservation programs. The offer came during testimony at the House’s Committee of the Whole meeting today.

But Speaker Madigan’s office immediately rejected the plan as insufficient.

More in tomorrow’s Capitol Fax.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


Election predictions open thread *** Updated x3 ***

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

[Comments are now closed. Use the thread above.]

*** IMPORTANT UPDATE *** A few items of note…

* I’ve added a list of results pages, live media and continuous coverage links in a new pull-down menu to the right. Lots of stuff there, so don’t miss it. It looks like the first radio station to go up with continual election coverage will be WBBM at 7 pm.

* We’ll have CBS-2’s live feed here at 10 pm.

* I forgot to link this earlier, but Crain’s has a new interactive feature that allows you to track Mayor Daley’s contributions in several different ways. Also, Naisy Dolar’s campaign is blogging all day today.

* The Reader’s Clout City blog is going gangbusters today with reports from citizen journalists. I’ve created a continuously updating, automated news feed so you can keep track throughout the day and into the evening. Earlier stories that aren’t showing in the feed can be found here

*** UPDATE 2 *** AlderTrack has this report from the 42nd Ward…

Several reports suggest that polling place administrators across the Ward have been agressively challenging the credentials of SEIU-related poll watchers. At 515 N. State St. the police were called. The diversion apparently allowed some precinct workers to distribute Natarus palm cards inside the “red zone”

Typical.

*** UPDATE 3 *** For those of you keeping track of Sheila Simon’s bid for Carbondale mayor, here’s a news feed just for you…

—————————————————————

I belatedly added a request for Chicago election predictions at the end of Paul’s local roundup this morning, but I thought I’d close out those comments and move everything to the top so we can consolidate it all here.

Use the comment section to predict results in local elections. Also, file any precinct reports, observations, etc. you may have.

Meanwhile, Irish Pirate, a regular commenter here, has produced a ton of YouTube videos blasting Ald. Helen Shiller. The pirate is backing challenger James Cappleman, the former president of Dignity/Chicago, which his website describes as “a Catholic organization for the GLBT community.”

A couple of things. First, some might find this video too harsh. I can understand and empathize, but it was too funny to pass up, particularly the Daley robocall schtick. Second, there are references to the League of Women Voters and Lincoln Park in the video. Shiller upset the LWV by breaking a promise to the group. And Shiller has been quoted as saying that if people don’t like her ward they should “move to Lincoln Park.”


“Because as I always said, there is nothing more wholesome than a fish.”

[Comments are now closed. Use the thread above.]

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      


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Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Enter your password to view comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

The fight to become the state’s “official” soft drink attracted just two bidders, Coke and Pepsi.

“We wish there were 25 bidders, because of the competition, but we’re satisfied there were two,” said Mike Klemens, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Revenue.

What, no RC?

We could have a serious debate about whether this is a good idea, or even whether it’s hypocritical of the governor to force schools to stop selling soft drinks (which brings in big bucks) while encouraging their use statewide so the state could bring in big bucks.

Instead, because I feel like something a little lighter today, here’s the question: Coke or Pepsi?

- Posted by Rich Miller   52 Comments      


“Real ID” program causing legislative concern

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

The Pantagraph has a good story today about the controversy over the federal Real ID program and a legislative resolution that expresses the state’s concerns over the issue.

Illinois could soon join the chorus of states to “revolt” against a federal law requiring standardized driver’s licenses across the country.

In the past months, a host of states have expressed varying levels of frustration with the Real ID Act — a law that would require citizens to have a federally accepted form of identification to get onto airplanes or into some government buildings.

Some have said having a massive national database of personal information could lead to identity theft problems.

Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the Illinois branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, characterized the states’ frustration as a “revolt” and hopes Illinois effort will get federal lawmakers to act.

A resolution that could be debated in the Illinois General Assembly would be similar to some other states in that if it’s approved, the rebuke wouldn’t carry legal weight. It’s designed to send a political message.

Go read the whole thing. Secretary of State Jesse White is scheduled to testify on the resolution this week. The resolution’s text can be found here.

RESOLVED, That the members of the Illinois General Assembly oppose any portion of the Real ID Act that violates the rights and liberties guaranteed under the Illinois Constitution or the United States Constitution, including the Bill of Rights;

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      


Reform and Renewal - The mess at DHS

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

OK, just what in the heck is going on over at DHS?

Carlos Estes claims Department of Human Services chief of staff Teyonda Wertz sexually harrassed him, threatening to fire him if he didn’t have sex with her. Wertz denies the charge but a judge ordered that the case continue against her last week.

Wertz is still the DHS chief of staff and has no intention of resigning, but Estes was fired about a month after the incident on what looks to be a trumped up charge of misusing a state vehicle. The governor’s office has completely backed up DHS Secretary Carol Adams’ decision to oust the accuser.

“The secretary did her job. When she learned an employee was misusing state resources, she dismissed him,” Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said.

According to the original Sun-Times article, Director Adams and chief of staff Wertz are “close friends” and chief of staff Wertz allegedly became upset about the same time Estes was fired because Estes was in a relationship with another woman.

Wertz has a history of misusing Estes…

Adams once disciplined her chief of staff for instructing Estes to pick up her dry cleaning on state time, court records show.

Estes was paid $70,000 a year to basically chauffeur the chief of staff around. His “official” duties were to act as a “liaison to DHS administrators, conducting site visits, research and as a policy-making advisor,” according to a DHS spokesman. But Estes didn’t even have a high school diploma when he was hired.

“Let’s put this in perspective,” Rep. Jack Franks told the Sun-Times of Estes. “He’s making more money than a member of the General Assembly for driving a staff person who has to report to the General Assembly.”

And even Sen. Carol Ronen, who is the governor’s floor leader and top Senate supporter, is having her doubts.

“The facts as they appear in the paper are very, very troubling. But I’d like to reserve judgment until I can learn a little more about them,” said Sen. Carol Ronen (D-Chicago). “It does raise a very troubling issue about the allocation of staff resources.”

When you lose Carol Ronen, you’ve lost all hope.

Director Adams needs to do a clean sweep over there. If she won’t, the governor should.

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      


Rate rage prompts Committee of the Whole

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

* Today’s House Committee of the Whole to discuss electric utility rates and deregulation will begin at 1 o’clock. You can listen live by clicking here.

* I’m not sure how much I buy into this lede

The leader of the Illinois Senate, who in recent months has been the Legislature’s top opponent of attempts to freeze electric rates, may be softening that stance in the face of intense downstate anger over skyrocketing Ameren electric bills.

A freeze “is one of many options that is being looked at,” said Cindy Davidsmeyer, spokeswoman for Senate President Emil Jones.

Jones is the main reason the Legislature didn’t freeze electric rates before they jumped dramatically in January, but there have been several indications lately that his thinking on that may be changing.

“Especially with Ameren, we have heard the concerns of a lot of consumers,” Davidsmeyer said Monday.

Jones’ apparent shift comes as the House convenes today a rare special hearing of all 118 members to consider the utility rate hike issue. The House passed a rate freeze once. It’s expected to easily pass a second time if it comes up for a vote, with lawmakers being inundated with calls from angry consumers who are getting their first look at the new rates.

There’s no doubt that Jones is feeling heat from his downstate members in Ameren’s turf. But remember that Jones still wants to protect ComEd, and he moved legislation out of Rules Committee last week that would impose a six-month rate freeze on Ameren only.

House Speaker Michael Madigan wants to extend the freeze to both Ameren and ComEd. As I told my subscribers last week, Madigan told me soon after Jones moved the Ameren-only bill that an amendment would be waiting for that legislation if it made to his chamber.

* Meanwhile, ComEd is offering up some token assistance to help “ease” its rate hikes.

ComEd promises to spend $30 million over the next three years on conservation programs and to help low-income and senior citizen utility customers cope with January’s 24 percent rate increase.

“We’ve done all the things we know how to do to soften the transition to the new rates,” said Frank Clark, CEO of the utility, which serves 3.7 million northern Illinois customers.

$8 per customer. Man, they really dug deep on that one.

* Illinois House set to discuss electric rates:

State Rep. George Scully, a Flossmoor Democrat who pushed for the special hearing, said it would last for several hours. “Consumers should be confident that their legislators are taking up this task,” he said.

* Editorial: Focus on real electric rate fix, not knee jerk response

These hikes are a real hardship for many, so a rate freeze may sound appetizing. But knee-jerk responses to complex issues are almost always a bad idea, and a freeze still won’t fix the underlying problem, namely that the Legislature’s 1997 deregulation plan failed to create competition, exposing residential customers to monopolized market forces. Ameren says a freeze would junk its credit rating, force layoffs and jeopardize service reliability.

For his part, Cisel says he will testify in Springfield today and hopes to offer a “workable compromise” on rates, the specifics of which will be divulged then. We’ll be all ears. House lawmakers should be, too. They should avoid posturing in this largely symbolic session and get to work on a real, long-term solution, which means compromising with Senate colleagues and exploring other avenues - including a serious study of re-regulation.

* The jolt of electric rate increases

Randy Huckelberry braced himself for a higher electricity bill when the state’s decade-old freeze on rates expired last month.

Huckelberry, 40, looked around at the new windows, insulation and siding he’d installed in his home in Downstate Carrier Mills. His highest bill in the winter months had been $300, maybe $400, so perhaps, he thought, it would go up a few hundred dollars. That definitely would be tough.

But he was floored when the bill turned out to be $870.

* And just remember this last point: February has been much colder than January, and Rep. Scully mentioned to me yesterday that usage is up over 100 percent. Those March bills are gonna cause yet another round of outrage.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


Local Elections Roundup & predictions open thread *** Updated x1 ***

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

[Note from Rich Miller: Despite today’s Committee of the Whole meeting in the House, we do hope to have some updates for you tonight on Chicago election results. Check back around 8ish.]

* Daley’s fundraising juggernaut

* Voter guide to city and suburban elections

* Daley confident, but not overly confident; poised to outdo his Dad

* Summary of today’s key races

* 2nd ward race heats up in final hours

* Final countdown to Chicago election

* Dist. 88 goes digital in plea for tax increase

The 10-minute DVD depicts crowded hallways, outdated classrooms and traffic congestion around both schools. Volunteers wrote and narrated the film, while the village of Addison shot footage and the district conducted interviews with local residents.
Sherri Amsler, District 88 community relations director, said the film is a modern way to get word out to voters.

* Late mailed postcards may be one of several factors to low turnout

A decline in the number of registered voters in the city — now roughly 1.4 million, down about 30,000 since the 2003 election — is perhaps the most significant factor, but bad weather, a one-sided mayoral race and many uncontested aldermanic races also may contribute to voter apathy. Turnout was about 34 percent four years ago.

* Illinois election involves few contests

* Low voter turnout may decide Naperville mayoral election

* Eric Zorn: Casting a vote against Daley

Traditionally, I vote against Daley purely on the theory that overwhelming electoral mandates–three times he has polled over 70 percent of the vote–are bad for the democratic process. A system in which the man or woman at the top can take re-election for granted might as well be a dictatorship.

* Three will lose today’s Hoffman Estates primary

* All eyes on 6 aldermanic races in Springfield

*** UPDATE *** Use the comments to predict the outcome of your local races, and any others you know something about. Also, give us an update on your precinct observations.

[Comments now closed so we can consolidate the posts. Go here instead.]

- Posted by Paul Richardson   3 Comments      


Morning Shorts

Tuesday, Feb 27, 2007

* Police office claims that Harvey Mayor forced him to return gun to suspect

* Human Services Dept. Chief of Staff scandal infuriates legislators

* Harassment charges dog Governor’s trade office chief

* Republicans try to ensure that state won’t sell tollway

The Republicans said the idea, originally floated last year, was “still on the table” and might be resurrected by Blagojevich or other legislators as a tempting “quick fix” for the state’s budget problems.

* Editorial: Stem cells not a state issue

* Contractor wants $11 million for work done before being fired

IPAM argues it wasn’t given a chance to remedy any mistakes and was fired only after public criticism of Blagojevich and his department.

* Stroger uses first veto on sulfer-dioxide tax

* Editorial: Turn away the convicted corruptors in today’s election

* Editorial: Crosstown plan ignores reality of current needs

* Phil Luciano: Raise driving age to 18

As USA Today noted in a lengthy report on teen driving, “Evidence is mounting that a 16-year-old’s brain is generally far less developed than those of teens just a little older.”

* Critics say Springfield psychiatric hospital would harm downstate facilities

* Neal Williamson: Now is the time to revamp state juvenile justics system

- Posted by Paul Richardson   5 Comments      


PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Poll: 53 percent of Illinoisans disapprove of Trump, 64 percent say Rauner should "act to protect the reproductive health care of all women in Illinois"
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Question of the day
* Roll Call: Rauner race is "Toss-up/Tilt Democrat"
* Clear as mud
* Can CPS avoid closing early?
* *** UPDATED x1 - Biss responds *** Rauner says HB 40 is "divisive" and "we need to focus" on fixing other problems
* Signs of the times
* Blagojevich again denied
* Illinois is heading for junk bond status
* The "growth only" canard
* Biss criticizes Democratic Party, Madigan
* Democrat Manar blasts Bourne, Rauner
* Caption contest!
* SIU and WIU join EIU, NEIU and GSU in junk bond territory
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* Obama to deliver first post-presidency speech in Chicago
* EXCHANGE: 12-year-old student is president of a state club
* Gillespie, Monk, Ella celebrated at Chicago Jazz Festival
* Kids ride Metra for free on Take Our Children to Work Day
* Frank Lloyd Wright building tours planned to mark birthday
* Springfield children's hospital stages voting for new mascot
* 5-month paving project to begin on I-55 in Springfield
* Remains of Illinois man killed at Pearl Harbor come home
* Remains of Illinois man killed at Pearl Harbor come home
* Eastern Illinois University attempts to boost enrollment

* Lawmakers return from spring break; 'bargain' remains unresolved
* Illinois Democrats aim high with minimum wage proposals
* Lawmakers return to unresolved issues
* 2018 Illinois governor's race likely to be most expensive in U.S. history
* Next year's governor's race likely to be most expensive ever
* Springfield group seeks to help progressive women candidates
* Group seeks to help progressive women candidates
* Jacksonville drug treatment center to close
* Ratings agency downgrades credit of 6 Illinois universities
* Hearing probes Illinois auditor general's campaign spending

* Like our roundup? Share it around.
* Who's lending to South Side homebuyers?
* How big of a threat can a 13-hospital really be?
* These stock-pickers continue to outsmart the indexes
* Munoz's biggest challenge at United: fixing a 'toxic culture'


* Police: Gun found during traffic stop in Riverside
* Morel of the Week begins: And other notes around Chicago outdoors
* Jackson Street bridge in Joliet closes Monday for repairs
* Shot fired during robbery at Lincoln Park store
* Man charged with shooting friend in Elgin
* Smash-and-grab burglars hit Magnificent Mile store
* Police: Man tried to lure 4 boys to van in Gresham
* Dear Abby: Husband bought house, I do all the work
* Georgia Nicols horoscopes for April 24, 2017
* 3 robberies reported in Back of the Yards


* House call doctor accused of patient sex abuse — years after first reports to police
* Thieves crash car into Louis Vuitton store on Magnificent Mile
* Nearing 100-day mark, Trump says milestone not 'meaningful'
* Inundated with gunshot victims, Chicago doctors and nurses face 'compassion fatigue'
* Man jailed at 15 under controversial felony murder rule has sentence commuted
* Chicago visit Monday to start Obama's re-entry into public eye
* South Korea, allies brace for North Korea follow-up act
* Morning Spin: Rauner's improbable fundraising pitch: Balanced budget without tax hike
* Mainstream politics shut out as Le Pen, Macron win in France
* LINDA C. BLACK HOROSCOPES for 4/24/17


» Photos: Cosplayers Descend Upon McCormick Place For C2E2
» Chicago EPA Workers Prepare For Budget Battle With Storytelling Class
» To Explain Change On Abortion, Rauner Cites Economic Agenda
» State Week: Abortion Flip, 'Junk Bond' Universities
» Appeals Court Denies Blagojevich Request For 3rd Sentencing
» How Chicago Public Schools Could Avoid Closing Early
» Southern Illinois County Suing Manufacturers Of Opioid Painkillers
» Undocumented And A Victim Of A Violent Crime: Looking At Problems With Obtaining U-Visas In Illinois
» Illinois Issues: The Trouble With Temp Work
» City Crackdown On Party Buses Doesn’t Ban Legal Guns


* Lawmakers return from spring break; 'bargain' remains unresolved
* Illinois Democrats aim high with minimum wage proposals
* Lawmakers return to unresolved issues
* Our View: Civil town hall meetings good for democracy
* 2018 Illinois governor's race likely to be most expensive in U.S. history
* Next year's governor's race likely to be most expensive ever
* Angie Muhs: Citizens Academy gives behind-the-scenes look at the FBI
* Bernard Schoenburg: State workers highest paid? A look at the stats
* Our View: The longer we wait, the worse it will get
* Statehouse Insider: Let the show resume


* PODCAST: State Sen. Scott Bennett 04-24-17
* New Parkland board member refuses to relinquish posts
* Illinois trails national average
* 19th Ebertfest receives a lovely sendoff
* Distracted driving a choice we make
* Clinton, Reynolds speak up at Tribeca
* Those Who Served: Bretz keeping father's memories fresh
* All or nothing on crime mugshots
* Pet Talk: Tears and repairs
* Area history, April 24, 2017


* Is the tollway getting cold feet on Route 53 extension?
* Harper College could ask voters to pay for building plan
* Images: Some of the best photos that you may have missed this weekend
* Elgin man who accidentally shot friend faces gun charges
* Dawn Patrol: Student's family, Wheaton College community lean on faith

* US Rep. Randy Hultgren accepting internshi...
* GOP congressman appears to distance himsel...
* Rep. Randy Hultgren on Trump's Foreign and...
* League of Women Voters event in St. Charle...
* Randy Hultgren to participate in League of...
* Rep. Hultgren asks Caterpillar to immediat...
* Hultgren Reacts to Missile Strike On Syria...
* Batavia's Congressman Holding Service Acad...
* Oswego's Congressman Reacts to Missile Str...
* Veterans seek answers at forum with US Rep...

* Durbin: Trump Will Be Shutting Down Gov't ......
* Durbin, Duckworth announce $16 million in ......
* Illinois receives $16 million to fight opi......

* Sen. Duckworth Pushes for Free Two-Year Te......
* Duckworth talks health care, Trump during ......
* Durbin, Duckworth announce $16 million in ......
* Illinois receives $16 million to fight opi......

* Help Day For Property Tax Appeals
* CPS and “Wrong-way” Claypool.
* Trumpen. 
* People with clout are still contacting Rahm on his private e-mail account, and other Chicago news
* Scenes from Saturday's March for Science
* Hitting Left.
* NEA’s charter position is okay but a little like closing the doors on an empty barn. No mention of vouchers?
* North Korea and the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. What message is Trump sending?
* Earth Sunday.
* A Republican moderate.


* IDOT Celebrates Earth Day by Distributing Trees to Schools
* Earth Day Honor: IDOT Recognizes Longtime Adopt-A-Highway Volunteers - More than 140 groups thanked in tree-planting ceremony
* The State of Illinois to Build a Digital-Ready Workforce - Partnership with the IoT Talent Consortium to Offer Data Science Training to Illinois Workers and Learners, with Cybersecurity Training Next in the Pipeline
* Governor Makes First #GovClassroomVisit
* New Siemens Charger Locomotives Begin Testing

  
* Deal: Get a lifetime of online protection from TigerVPN for $29
* [TA Deals] Get the Java Programming Bootcamp package for $39
* Samsung Galaxy Amp Prime 2 offers Android Nougat to Cricket customers at $150
* LG G6 arrives in India to rain on Galaxy S8’s parade, lower price, Quad DAC and all
* Alcatel A30 tablet gets rendered en route to T-Mobile, Nougat and LTE most likely in tow
* Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) has specs outed in several benchmarks, J5 (2017) swings by the FCC
* T-Mobile Galaxy Note 5 also gets Android Nougat

* In My Words: White Sox booth is Benetti's bliss
* White Sox snap out of scoring slump vs. Tribe
* Bats roar to life against Tribe in series finale
* White Sox snap out of scoring slump vs. Tribe
* Gonzalez eyes continued success vs. Royals
* Davidson out for fourth consecutive game
* White Sox turn to Holland in finale vs. Tribe


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