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This just in…

Thursday, Jun 28, 2007

* 10:12 am - The House has adjourned until tomorrow morning at 9. There’s not much to do in that chamber while they wait around to make sure the Senate passes the one-month budget on Friday. The Senate convenes today at noon.

* 10:16 am - A leaders meeting is set for today, but an actual time has not yet been set. The topic of discussion will reportedly be potential new revenue sources, but some of the leaders haven’t even been told that.

There was no leaders meeting yesterday.

* 10:25 am - New census numbers are out, based on a July 1, 2006 count…

Springfield 116,482, up from 111,454 in 2000
Peoria 113,107, up from 112,936 in 2000
Chicago 2,833,321, down from 2,896,016 in 2000
Rockford 155,138, up from 150,115 in 2000
Naperville 142,0901, up from 128,358 in 2000
Aurora 170,617, up from 142,990 in 2000

* 10:53 am - AP: Census shows Joliet is fastest-growing city in Illinois

* 11:16 am - The US Supreme Court’s ruling today rejecting “public school assignment plans that take account of students’ race” can be downloaded here. (From: IP)

* 11:21 am - I’d like to take a brief moment to wish two people well.

* Chicago Sun-Times editoral page editor Steve Huntley has been a great editor - meaning he approved all my column ideas and never touched my copy. Huntley told me yesterday that he’s starting a new job at the paper as a full-time columnist, and he sounded truly excited about the opportunity. He’s been the edit page editor for ten years, so he wanted a change. He’s being replaced by books editor Cheryl Reed.

* Peoria Journal-Star political reporter/columnist Molly Parker is moving on to a new job in Charleston, South Carolina. I’ve known Molly since she was a PAR intern at the Statehouse, and she has become a pal. If you’re near Peoria, there’s a party for her next Friday starting at 5:30 at Seven on Prospect in Peoria Heights.

Good luck to both!

* 12:15 pm - The leaders meeting has been called off and rescheduled for tomorrow.

* 12:19 pm - The Senate is convening. The minister giving the prayer has asked members to put aside “personal and political opinions.” One can only hope he has a direct line to the Big Guy.

* 12:24 pm - Senate President Emil Jones is in the chair, which is a bit unusual. You can listen or watch here.

* 12:49 pm - The Senate has recessed to the call of the chair. There will be some floor action later, including moving the one-month budget from 2nd Reading to 3rd Reading so it can be voted on tomorrow.

Rockford, by the way, finally got its veto override vote. Background here.

* 12:51 pm - If you’re following today’s US Supreme Court case on school integration, the Wall Street Journal’s blog has a very good rundown.

* 1:38 pm - Word is, the leaders meeting will be held tomorrow at 11:30.

* 1:46 pm - Larry, aka ArchPundit, writes that the Wall Street Journal blog misses a key point…

The writer claims that Kennedy allows for race as a factor–he specifically says it cannot be a factor, but that other strategies may be pursued that produce diversity. That’s a huge difference and has very bad impacts on settled cases. I don’t think many of the writers have ever looked at a settlement agreement for a deseg case, but they almost always include race as a factor for several of the programs. This ruling
seems to invalidate all of those programs. It’s incredibly sweeping if Kennedy sticks by his decision.

Larry’s doing a lot of posts today on this subject, so head on over there for more.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - ZC - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 11:34 am:

    Joliet has added 35,000 more since 2000. A great deal of it is coming out of Cook County and Chicago. Between now and 2008, expect a couple of more thousand. The question is are these Republicans fleeing the city, or (more likely) Democratic-leaners taking their partisan leanings out to bigger homes and safer schools.

    In 2006 Jerry Weller defeated a lightly-funded, energetic-but-in-over-his-head challenger by about 20,000 votes. Can’t Rahm recruit anybody to take on this guy? Everybody talks about Kirk, Kirk, Kirk. Weller may be a balloon waiting to pop.

  2. - Kiyoshi Martinez - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 11:42 am:

    Aurora’s number two still, eh? Having grown up there, it never really felt like the second largest city in the state. Although, places that I distinctly remember being fields of grass are now developed into stores and subdivisions.

  3. - Blame Rod - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 11:42 am:

    If only the Governor would live in Springfield!! That number could have been higher.

  4. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 12:05 pm:

    ZC -

    People will vote their interests first. The whole state is trending D, but the exodus from Chicago and Cook means that the suburban interests of these existing and new Democrats will start to gain influence on Chicago’s current stranglehold of the party.

    Weller is a union-friendly politician that plays well enough with the voters’ interests to get re-elected. With Bush gone in 2008, the Democrats will need to show a candidate with clout potential for the District to be competitive. With the area’s growth, infrastructure and education funding will be key. Is Larry Walsh interested? He and Weller usually make nice more often than not.

  5. - Eric Zorn - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 12:07 pm:

    Hiyo! Rim shot for “Blame Rod.”

    But my comment actually concerns Rich’s salute to Steve Huntley (whom I never dealt with and never met, for the record). You wrie that he’s “been a great editor — meaning he approved all my column ideas and never touched my copy.” Generally speaking, I don’t think that’s the hallmark of a great editor. Nothing personal about you, Rich, but a great editor every so often challenges column ideas, helps focus them or even rejects them; a great editor does touch your copy, though lightly and with Midas’ fingers, to help you say exactly what you want to say in the best way possible. There’s not a writer alive who always gets it right and can’t be improved with the help of good editor.

  6. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 12:12 pm:


    Aurora will probably top out at 200,000 or so. There’s not a lot of open space left to develop within its borders, and not a lot of room to expand with its neighbors hemming it in. Joliet will surpass it someday in the next 20 years or so, with plenty of room to grow into Kendall County. I predict Yorkville, Oswego and Plainfield will be the next towns to zoom above 100,000…they all have the land, if it is built out at typical suburban densities.

  7. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 12:22 pm:

    Is anybody willing to pause for a minute and ask whether it’s a good thing for more and more green space to be turned into suburban sprawl, draining the cities where infrastructure already exists and creating demand for new roads, new schools, new hospitals, etc. What a waste.

  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 12:25 pm:

    how can the city be losing all these pepole when there are condos going up everywhere and new homes being built on every available lot in the city.

  9. - Ferdy - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 12:49 pm:

    So what do you think about the Supreme Court decision? A blow for or against racism?

  10. - Mr. W.T.Rush - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 12:55 pm:

    Anyone seen the Governor the last two days —SPI or CHI sightings can count.
    Molly’s bash is 7-6 not this Friday, but people are more than welcome to go to Peoria Heights and drink
    Speaking of drinking…what kind of silly sauce is Zorn on these days?

  11. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 1:03 pm:

    Eric, I see your point, but you missed part of mine. Approving column ideas and helping one walk through the thought process are two completely different things.

  12. - Rockford fan - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 1:23 pm:

    Now will the Guv tell the Dept of Revenue to ask “Where’s Rockford?”
    This tax to fix Rockford’s roads was a mandate from its citizens, the governor should not interfere.

  13. - Moderate Repub - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 1:48 pm:

    - Anonymous - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 12:25 pm:

    how can the city be losing all these pepole when there are condos going up everywhere and new homes being built on every available lot in the city.

    Because those lots used to be projects with 10 people per 1.5 bedrooms. Not to mention they had to be in the census to get checks (I think I could be wrong about this and I dont mean it derogatory).

  14. - Ghost - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 2:44 pm:

    The racism decision impact will be hard to determine until we see how courts interpret and apply it. Basically they are saying not to use race for the sake of race as a criteria. If you can show a compelling governmental interest that needs to be addressed, then race can be a factor.

    A possible hypotheticals that would allow race as a criteria:

    Hypothetical: You have a community which had a long history of discrmination and can show that neghborhoods were set up and acted to exclude minorities. Therefore large swatches of the community lack minorities as a product of past discrminatory practices. School disctricts were created in relation to these neghborhoods and as a result of the past discrminatory housing practices the schools have no or very few minorites as they drew from the neghborhoods which intentionaly excluded minorities. In order to remedy the effects of the discrmination you move students about based upon race for a period of time until the effects of exclusion in the community have been balanced out (i.e. minorites become part of the previoulsy exclusive communites).

  15. - Ferdy - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 2:58 pm:

    Ghost, thanks for getting past the Springfield city limits to consider this issue of national importance.

    I think your interpretation is a good example. I hope it will be applied in that way and that the schools with plans now made illegal by the ruling have been working during the appeals process to implement a new plan that does not violate the Consitution.

  16. - Blaming Rod For Everything And More - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 2:59 pm:

    Eric: I liked the Pepsodent perspective, was going to buy some but went with the more obscure Gleem. By the way, whatever happened to Macleans?

    On topic, another set of eyes is usually a good thing. When I had an editor, if I was unsure of something, I would leave it in. If the editor’s suggestion was to remove it, then I knew it should be out.

  17. - Ghost - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 3:07 pm:

    Ferdy, one can only hope. There is (or was, I do not know its status) a very interesting case invovling our own Land of Lincoln filed by John Baker. Short version, they used race as a criteria to hire a less qualified applicant, but there was no indication that minorities had been discrminated against to justify giving a preference based upon race.

  18. - Ferdy - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 3:37 pm:

    I’ve been spending some time in the comments section of the Louisville Courier-Journal, and reactions are all over the board. People loved going to desegregated school, people hated being bused and separated from their siblings by a lottery quota system, hope for more community pride by having locals involved in local schools, not ones across town, others talking about how inner-city schools that have diverse populations but no books aren’t any better than segregated ones.

    What I’ve been reading shows me that the Louisville system that has been in place for a long time has done some good, but the root problem of economic and housing segregation has not been dealt with. The Jefferson County Public Schools are now going to continue the program based on the free and reduced school lunch program qualifications, so nothing will likely change.

    Kids should be able to walk to school, but if we can’t do something for our poor neighborhoods, then we’re still going to have to shift kids to ensure they get a better-quality education than they could get near home. I’m for any system that helps them do that.

    Baker case - interesting. Was it the company’s way to get out of hiring a guy with political connections, or to hire one with connections? Living in Illinois–that’s my first thought!

  19. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 3:54 pm:

    Forced bussing and integration is disingenuous. I know that makes me seem bigoted, but what does it prove? Vouchers need to take over in America, especially if we are ever going to break the cycle of urban poverty. Allowing parents to select which schools their kids can attend - such as attending a school with their older siblings or attending a school with a great science department - is better than forced schooling.

    Let’s not forget, too, that every teacher’s union will oppose this because it leads to less funding for the schools that are allowed to take in the selected students. Any such call by the IFT or the IEA to say their are only worried about race and integration should not be taken simply at face value.

  20. - Ferdy - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 4:06 pm:

    We MUST continue to support public education. As someone on the thread at the Louisville paper said, the United States is the only country that made a commitment to education everyone to the same grade level. Public education cannot be run like a free market enterprise. Honestly, what is so incredibly wise about the free market and choice–businesses fail all the time, people make lousy choices or have few or no choices because businesses pick up and go elsewhere. If you take your vouchers and send your kid out of the neighborhood, you’ll be helping your kid (perhaps) and only your kid, not your community. I happen to think communities are worth helping and investing in.

  21. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 4:38 pm:

    Anon 12:22:

    If the city were a more desirable and affordable place to live and raise a family (to those who are leaving as well as those who would move there) then there would be less demand for the housing being built in the far flung suburbs. And it’s not like there’s a lot of new public infrastructure being built out there with state money. Roads, schools, and public water and sewer expansions are being built by the developers or by the locals using developer impact fees, and some of the citizens have voted for additional bonding issues and sales tax increases that raise local money to build these things.

    I agree that a lot of green space is desirable to be kept, and the far-flung residents consistently support forest preserve bond issues, conservation easements and other preservation efforts with their tax dollars. Open space referendums typically pass with a 2-to-1 or better margin.

    Until the economics is prohibitive, or with severe government intervention, people will keep moving to and from the places where they want to go and leave. A lot of the farmers in development-land hate to see the region changing…but if someone (the government) were to draw a line saying “no development” on their side of the line, you would see their property-rights side coming out, wanting to be paid for the seizing of their development rights.

    That being said, it is inevitable that more efficient, transit oriented development and conservation design will be making inroads in the future. Maybe people can be convinced to move closer to the city as gasoline gets more expensive. But there will always be a good slice of people who prefer a suburban or exurban environment.

    Another potential growth area is the rural areas and small towns of the state and US, which have been losing population for decades. With modern telecommuting possibilities, “dispersion” may become as popular as “sprawl”. There are some environmentalists who think dispersion is the only way to sustainability, rather than urbanization or sprawl.

  22. - Cassandra - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 4:42 pm:

    Part of the problem with the housing segregation which leads to school segregation is the failure of public housing agencies (and legislatures, like ours) to force wealthy, white communities to accept public housing. How many affordable housing initiatives do we suppose there are in Barrington and Lake Forest? Compared with Chicago’s South suburbs, for example.Various court decisions notwithstanding, public housing tends to be built where there is already a lot of it and the result is that it’s scarce in wealthy white communities.

  23. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 4:49 pm:

    Ferdy, all Americans can make choices. We can choose where to live, a bank to obtain a mortgage, a college to study a specific degree, a company or business plan, etc. But we cannot choose where we go to school unless you live in an area that has several private schools. Frankly, that’s where forced busing and “quota” integration is a problem. It’s expensive and unncessary. Giving parents and kids a choice in the matter is more of the American way than sending a kid to a school a township or two over to meet certain standards.

    Growing up, the closest private school of note was 40 miles away, which made attending that school a near-impossibility. And there were two great public schools 15 minutes away from me, yet I was stuck going to my high school -which had almost no college-level classes and was run by incomptent boobs (can I use that word in that context?!). Had I been allowed to attend a school 12 miles to the north of my hometown, I would have been better prepared for college and life. Instead, no dice.

    If a school is run-down and has consistently failed the community and the taxpayers, something different must be done. Throwing money at a problem usually does little to solve anything.

  24. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 4:54 pm:

    It’s also interesting to note that the Chicago Public Housing Authority released a study yesterday and the study found that people who used vouchers were able to relocate to cleaner, safer and more hospitable areas. Those who stayed in the city were typically disappointed and were often worried about their surroundings.


  25. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 4:57 pm:

    ====Hypothetical: You have a community which had a long history of discrmination and can show that neghborhoods were set up and acted to exclude minorities. Therefore large swatches of the community lack minorities as a product of past discrminatory practices. School disctricts were created in relation to these neghborhoods and as a result of the past discrminatory housing practices the schools have no or very few minorites as they drew from the neghborhoods which intentionaly excluded minorities. In order to remedy the effects of the discrmination you move students about based upon race for a period of time until the effects of exclusion in the community have been balanced out (i.e. minorites become part of the previoulsy exclusive communites).

    No, this example would not be a candidate for using race under today’s ruling. That is dejure segregation and both the plurality and Kennedy today said that is not a compelling state interest. In fact, your example hasn’t been possible for some time.

    The issue today was far different and especially in the Louisville case has potentially far reaching implications. The issue was whether race could continue to be a factor after the vestiges of discrimination were done away with and they mean de facto segregation, not dejure. As such, if Kennedy is consistent with his ruling today, many programs that use race as simply a factor in school placement will have to change policies.

    Many of the settlements in deseg cases will be invalidated as well.

  26. - Logic Monster - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 4:59 pm:

    Team Sleep says:

    “…all Americans can make choices. We can choose where to live…[]…But we cannot choose where we go to school”

    I have a problem with your logic TS. Don’t like the schools? Move. It is your choice. You said so yourself.

  27. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 5:02 pm:

    ===Forced bussing and integration is disingenuous.

    It isn’t a forced busing system in the sense you are trying to make it out to be.

    The system worked on a system of students applying within zones to their most preferred schools. A set of criteria regarding distance, other siblings and other relevant factors were used in a point system and then race was a final factor. In fact, in this case you might end up at a school closer to home and not have gotten your first choice.

    The point of these two programs and other programs like Boston is that the provide public school choice and allow parents a say within limits of which school to go to and keep transportation costs down. If you are for vouchers, I have no idea why public school choice is a bad thing.

  28. - Chingo - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 6:33 pm:

    I would NOT call the Rockford tax a mandate. Harldy anyone voted and it did not win by that many votes.

    Did I hear Fritchey was in Paris? Ummm… Why is he in Paris and why is he not at the capitol? Is he on some secret mission for Speaker Madigan?

  29. - Ronnie Dobbs - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 6:50 pm:

    Its disappointing that the State of Illinois is in the midst of a healthcare and education crisis and legislators like Fritchey don’t feel the need to be in Springfield doing the work of the people. I thought he was better then that.

  30. - Just Me - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 7:03 pm:

    Ferdy said at 4:06:

    “Honestly, what is so incredibly wise about the free market and choice–businesses fail all the time . . .”

    Exactly. There is no such thing as a system that will prevent failure. But when an institution in a competitive, market-based system fails, it disappears and the resources it was using are free to be used elsewhere. When a government program fails, the result often is that more resources are dedicated to it and wasted. All systems reward success. The secret to the market is that it deals with failure better than government, especially when “failure” really means that someone doing a good job can be pushed out by someone doing a great job.

  31. - anon - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 9:11 pm:

    Dobbs and Chingo…Illinois has been in an education crisis for over 30 years, so we are not in “the midst”, its on going! we will continue in the abyss until there is structural change. Pointing to one legislator is short sighted, specially a guy like Fritchey, who has sponsored and passed an array of legislation this year and over the years. Example HB1 and is one of the few Chicago legislators on 750.

    Give me a break.


  32. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Jun 28, 07 @ 10:21 pm:

    Yes, Arch, but those systems get manipulated and forgotten about. Bureaucrats and multi-term officials do not always harbor the best intentions, and some of those schools have detoriated and been underfunded.

    And Logic, I know that. But sometimes families can’t afford to move or don’t want to move, so the kids suffer. A voucher would allow a kid whose parents are sedentary to go elsewhere. That’s the whole point.

  33. - Squideshi - Friday, Jun 29, 07 @ 8:20 am:

    The link to the AP story is broken.

  34. - Ferdy - Friday, Jun 29, 07 @ 8:35 am:

    Just Me - Or sit and rot. When a business moves to remain successful, for example, the resources of the town often wither. There has to be a balance of what is good for the business and what is good for the community. The business world is based on winner-take-all, and that should not be what society is based on. The young turks of the Contract on, oops, with America changed the language of discourse from social cooperation to social competition. The most nimble in society–upwardly mobile, see, even the language reflects the ethos–had the means to get the best out of life. The rest for whatever reason–most would like to say they were lazy, but let’s just call it what it what they really thougt, social Darwinism–just were uncompetitive. As you put it, they were disappeared, and their resources used elsewhere, to fund a cooked-up war, pay corporate welfare, award no-bid contracts, turn thriving communities into Disneylands and condo caverns, etc.

  35. - ArchPundit - Friday, Jun 29, 07 @ 9:48 am:

    ===Yes, Arch, but those systems get manipulated and forgotten about. Bureaucrats and multi-term officials do not always harbor the best intentions, and some of those schools have detoriated and been underfunded.

    So you are against public school choice? Because it won’t work without some sort of tool to keep individual schools from being overprescribed.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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