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If this is the way they’re gonna play it, this thing will never pass

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Senate Democrats privately insist that Calumet City is in the strongest position to get a new south suburban riverboat, but Carol Marin is absolutely right to suspect that Bill Shaw’s Dolton is in the running.

The only thing about the Shaws to be grateful for, I suppose, is that their mother had twins, not triplets. These two have wreaked enough havoc on the notion of good government in 50 years of elective and appointed office.

That includes a civil racketeering suit against the village, convicted felons getting honorary police badges, and the testimony of a convicted drug smuggler in federal court saying he paid Mayor Shaw $30,000 to join the force.

In recent years, voters have gotten restless. Bob was deposed as alderman of Chicago’s 9th Ward, dumped as a commissioner of the Cook County Board of Review (but not before voting to reduce his brother’s property taxes), and defeated in a run for mayor of South Holland. Bill, meanwhile, only narrowly won a third term as Dolton mayor a couple of years ago after being clobbered by state Sen. James Meeks, who ejected him from his legislative seat in 2002.

So why be worried that these guys could get the cash windfall of a casino along the Little Calumet River in their south suburb?

Because, people, this is Illinois.

One of Mayor Shaw’s best friends is Senate President Emil Jones, and, as we’ve seen time and time again, Jones hasn’t exactly been shy about helping out friends and family this year. Jones has been pushing very hard for a south suburban casino in private leadership meetings and in talks with the governor - perhaps a bit too hard to take him at his word that his best buddy isn’t somehow in the mix.

Besides Dolton and Cal City, the other eligible towns for a casino in the Senate proposal include Harvey and Chicago Heights. Country Club Hills is too far from the Indiana border (the limit is eight miles from the Indiana border) to qualify, and Mayor Dwight Welch is not happy about that.

Country Club Hills has been a leading contender for a possible south suburban casino. Investors have a site chosen and a business plan that won high marks from state gaming board staff in 2004. And Welch has gotten neighboring towns to sign on by promising to share the revenue.

Welch is allied with Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., who is not exactly a major Jones ally. So it’s no surprise that his town was dumped.

Meanwhile, the Senate Democrats claimed that they’ve cleaned up the gaming bill, but it doesn’t look like they did nearly enough sweeping

A top Jones ally, Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago), said other controversial elements of the gaming package had been scaled back. A provision was removed that would have compensated investors in the failed Emerald Casino planned for Rosemont, he said, and plans to dedicate casino revenue to Chicago State University, a favorite of Jones, was trimmed to about a quarter of what had been an estimated $40 million. The remainder would go to other state universities, Hendon said.

So, Chicago State still gets $10 million a year while other universities split $30 million? That’s fair. Not.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:02 am:

    After 40 years of the Great Society pumping billions into the South Suburbs of Chicago, we see now that most of that money has been a waste.

    Lets give them gambling, but keep pretending that our nanny state socialist programs work.

    Taxpayers have spent billions in the belief that this or that social program was going to help the South Suburbs and end poverty.

    Now you look at the mass corruption within these villages and think gambling is the magic bullet?

    Giving Harvey, Chicago Heights or most any of these suburbs a casino is like giving a loaded gun to a toddler. They have shot themselves repeatedly and deliberately over the 45 years we have been providing social relief for some kind of turn-around.

    The schools are a mess, the infastructure in pieces, the local government officials in jails, the abandoned factories rot in brownfields full of toxic chemicals and nothing has changed. If you want a poster child of failed government policies, take a look at Chicago’s South Suburbs. They are nearly 90% Democratic and 90% destroyed.

    The Little Calument River has about 7 feet of toxic sludge smoldering in it’s lifeless bottom. The sludge is moving slowly towards Lake Michigan and Chicago’s drinking water supply. It will take millions to remove it to save our Lake.

    But a solution being proposed right now is to put a riverboat on it instead?

    What a symbol that would be. A gambling ship, authorized by this state, floating in a river of toxic sludge. Maybe they could put it next to one of the abandoned industrial sites. They could put a hurricane fence around the whole area, light it up after dark and try to keep the drug gangs from picking off the tourists.

    Haiti has nothing on us!

  2. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:10 am:

    === Haiti has nothing on us!===

    Cut out the crap, please.

  3. - Leroy - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:11 am:

    As a proud alumnus of the Riverdale-Dolton Little League, I strongly support putting a casino in Dolton.

    Now maybe after all these years they could grade field ‘A’ so left field doesn’t turn into a lake when it rains.

  4. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:55 am:

    The funding issue angers me. My alma mater, UIS, is being forced to increase their total package cost to $16K a year because of state cuts. The irony, of course, is that UIS was founded to be a cheaper alternative to other bachelor’s and master’s-oriented institutions. Yet Chicago State is in line for $10 million? Why? Oh yeah, I forgot the words “pet project”. Sorry, Emil.

  5. - FED UP - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 11:07 am:

    Thanks Emil, Drinks and cruises for everyone
    Signed Chicago state admin

  6. - zatoichi - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 11:52 am:

    How about Chicago State skip any increases until their graduation rates are within 10% of the other state schools. Illinois just proves over and over “it ain’t what you do, it is 100% who you know.”

  7. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 1:21 pm:

    Vanilla Man, I don’t want to be accused of playing the race card, but I’m a history major, and your comments sound too close for me to the sentiments expressed more than a century ago as to why the benign and beneficial stewardship of slavery was good for African-Americans.

  8. - Levois - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 1:43 pm:

    Why don’t they put a casino in a struggling area. Calumet City, Dolton, and Country Club Hills aren’t struggling by a long shot. It should be in Riverdale, Harvey, and Dixmoor. Just an idea.

  9. - i d - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 2:19 pm:

    Why don’t we put all of 10 or 12 casinos in Decatur. It is centrally located so downstate pols could also steal, I meant share, the proceeds. I’d suggest Springfield but there’s already a cesspool downtown.

  10. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 3:09 pm:

    Mr. Schnorf -

    You don’t know what you are talking about. Try taking a few more history classes. Go for a post graduate degree. Grow up in the middle of the Calument region and be a witness to the entrenched corruption and stupidity living there.

    Then you will have caught up with me.

    It is fraudulant when I make claims I clearly know are disproven. We have known for over 30 years that redistributing income does not impede social decay. Yet we do not want to really help the poor. We do not want to get our hands dirty. Instead we mandate some government program to do the dirty work for us and let them take money from us and feel better. Still poor? How about more money? Sick? Here is free health care? Preganant? Here is free day care. Homeless? Here is Section 8 Housing credits.

    Stop pretending that supporting these social programs absolves you of any responsibilities. Stop pretending that those who question these social programs are just KKK members.

    You didn’t watch your childhood home go from a family home to a rental property to a crack house to an abandoned house. You didn’t watch your history teacher in high school apply a tourniquet to his arm to stop the bleeding from a knife wound during another weekly gang riot. You didn’t know any of the girls murdered and dumped behind your neighborhood in the Cook County Forest Preserves.

    Keep reading your books and pretending you understand.

  11. - Decatur Dave - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 6:49 pm:

    According to the U.S. Dept. of Education, Chicago State University has a 16 percent graduation rate. I’ll be that with another $10 million a year, they can raise that to 17 percent in no time!

  12. - Bill - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 7:26 pm:

    I have noticed that you are even more bitter than usual lately. So you lived in a changing neighborhood and went to a lousy school and now you have to live in the patch…big deal! Take a chill pill, dude. Life is too short.

  13. - Bill - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 7:28 pm:

    You know VM is upset when he starts calling you mister.

  14. - In the Sticks - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 8:19 pm:

    It isn’t only the operational funds that are just dropped on Chicago State - it has over $100 million in capital funding, for under 7000 student. Significantly out of proportion to all other 4-year universities. Also - take a look at the change orders and cost overruns on those projects. Also out of line with projects at other 4-year universities.

  15. - 'Lainer - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 9:03 pm:

    I’d like to know if any of this money going to help pay for Illinois Veteran’s Grants… which thousands of active duty servicemen and National Guard members have EARNED in return for giving years of their lives to Uncle Sam… but which aren’t being paid… leaving colleges and universities high and dry and forcing them to raise costs for everyone else? Hmm, where have we heard this before?

  16. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, May 30, 07 @ 10:23 pm:

    Yeah, no kidding, VM. What is your deal today? I think you need to go do some bench presses.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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