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Question of the day

Thursday, Sep 27, 2007

I noticed in our sometimes controversial QOTD yesterday that many of you said that as long as Lisa Madigan promised to live in the governor’s mansion there would be no issue made of her family in the campaign.

As most of you know, I find this mansion argument completely bogus. Jim Thompson moved out of the mansion as soon as his daughter was old enough to go to school. Jim Edgar moved to a “log cabin” after his wife complained about hearing gunfire at night. George Ryan spent time in the mansion, but he also had a condo in Chicago and a house in Kankakee.

There is no law that requires the governor to live in Springfield full time. The executive mansion is not like the White House - it’s not a place of work.

Should Gov. Blagojevich (and future governors) spend more time in Springfield? Without a doubt. However, I wouldn’t want my kids going to school in Springfield if I was governor. There’s no way they could get fair (or decent) treatment.

So, here’s the question: Convince me that I’m wrong. No goofy emotional drive-by comments, please. Use some reasoning and logic or find yourself deleted.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Leigh - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:20 am:

    Now, I am about to face a firing squad when I say this, but I think that if a woman with very young children is governor, she needs to live with them and she also needs to do her job in Springfield. It is different for a man, he can pop in and out with more ease. That is not sexist rhetoric, that is reality. Any good private schools in Springfield area?

  2. - Leigh - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:21 am:

    However, I don’t think they need to live in Springfield full time.

  3. - Napoleon has left the building - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:21 am:

    I can’t answer today’s QOTD because you’re right.

    The only reason why Blago not living in the mansion is a relevant and appropriate criticism is because of how little time he spends meeting with legislators and trying to actually work with them. If Lisa’s style as governor is different, it won’t matter where she lives.

  4. - Cassandra - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:26 am:

    How about a virtual mansion. The guv and family get to live wherever they want but whenever the voters have a hankering to see them in the “mansion” they pull up a website showing them in mansionlike surroundings. Speeches from the virtual mansion. Charity events. Jackie Kennedy type tours of the historical bits. Saves travel time and $$$$.

  5. - Fan of the Game - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:26 am:

    I can’t convince you that you are wrong because you are not. The comments are likely frustration at the current governor’s refusal to spend the amount of time in Springfield it takes to build relationships and work with the GA. It would be nice if the governor would use the mansion for state affairs, meetings, housing visiting dignitaries, etc. because we do pay taxes for its upkeep.

    However, where a governor lives, especially in this age of communications, is less important than in the past, but his/her presence in the capital is still extremely important.

  6. - Old Time Springfield - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:27 am:

    Why is the mansion not a place of work? To work out of the mansion rather than on the second floor of the Capitol seems, well, more gubernatorial.

  7. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:28 am:

    OTS, there are no facilities for staff at the mansion. There is a smallish ceremonial office, but that’s it. Working out of the mansion, other than making a few phone calls before going to the Statehouse or hosting some receptions for VIPs, is all but impossible.

  8. - Moderate Repub - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:31 am:

    I wouldn’t want my kids going to school in Springfield if I was governor. There’s no way they could get fair (or decent) treatment.

    I Partied with Edgars daughter in high school, she did just fine. Blago needs to spend more time in Spfld, we all agree on that. No, I do not think they need to completely reside here. However, I do believe that a split residience (that the three you have refered to have done) is a way to satisify public opionion, and after all, its an easy one. BY NOT doing it, your thumbing the downstaters, reguardless if its a valid argument or not, its just reality. Thats why the previous three have done it. Look at it for that perspective Rich.

  9. - Old Time Springfield - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:34 am:

    I guess I would argue that the governor already has ample staff in Springfield, and that staff is, at any given time, at least 200 miles away from the man himself. How many staffers does he have around him when he “works” out of his campaign office? I’ve just always felt that the mansion, whether used for work, ceremonies, or entertaining, is a great home-field advantage that our current governor is wasting.

  10. - Moderate Repub - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:34 am:

    Not to mention the mansion has been used (very well I might add) as a place to bring people together (leaders and others). Now its rarely used for much of anything.

  11. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:36 am:

    MR, I spent much more time in the mansion this summer than all my years combined.

  12. - Moderate Repub - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:36 am:

    Old Time Springfield - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:34 am:
    I’ve just always felt that the mansion, whether used for work, ceremonies, or entertaining, is a great home-field advantage that our current governor is wasting.

    Hit the nail on the head. Exactly.

  13. - Moderate Repub - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:39 am:

    MR, I spent much more time in the mansion this summer than all my years combined.

    well i spent many late nights there through Edgar (beleive it or not) and I think I may have been there every nite with Ryan organization (i cant remember how many times I heard the birds chirping). I have been there once under blago. Maybe its jsut the R next to my name now. However, I do sem to remember seeing your bearded (sometimes not bearded) face there almost every time I was there to. You must be keeping up the pace (increasing it I guess). My liver can’t handle it anymore, I rarely go out much anymore period. Could be that.

  14. - Central IL GOPer - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:41 am:

    if he knows he’s not going to be there, why didnt he put it up on the auction block like everything else, Thompson Center, ISAC, Tollway, Lottery, am i forgetting anything?

    If its sitting there useless, i think we should convert it into dorms for the General Assembly Members like we have living quarters for the State Supreme Court Justices on Monroe street. It would save the state a lot on per diem and mileage.

    It really isnt fair how much guff we give him on the mansion, the school and children arguement is a very good reason. I would hate to be those poor kids in Springfield. And the Mansion does get used for parties, wedding, special events, so it does serve a purpose.

  15. - wndycty - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:42 am:

    As long as the Governor is in town when the legislature is in town I see no problem with the Governor not living in Springfield.

  16. - Wumpus - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:50 am:

    No issues, but don’t waste gas, money and leave a nasty old carbon footprint by flying to Shelbyville all the time. Are the children of public officials too ood for Public Schools?

  17. - Distant Observer - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:50 am:

    The mansion can be better used for its political symbolism than its value as a home. As other commenters point out, the “mansion issue” is much more about this Govs inability/refusal to meet/interact/develop relationships with the GA than where he actually sleeps at night. Downstaters and Splfd in particular view the issue of where the Gov lives through the prism of static/declinig population affects political power; population/power/$$$ are all moving NE to Chicago metro and those S of I-80/W of 47 don’t like it.

  18. - Slick Willy - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:50 am:

    I wouldn’t want my kids going to school in Springfield if I was governor. There’s no way they could get fair (or decent) treatment.

    Rich - What exactly are your concerns regarding the ability of “your kids” getting an education in Springfield? Please explain.

  19. - chicago Schools, No Doubt - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:52 am:

    She’s gonna send the kids to Chicago schools, no doubt about it in my opinion. Because of the “fairness” issue Rich brings up, but it’s also kind of a cultural thing. If you grow up in Chicago and have a deep and significant family history there, as she does,you’re going to want your kids to grow up there, too. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and all my sibs are still there, but my job drew me to Springfield, and I like it here. I think it’s a great place to raise a family, and there are great schools and great neighborhoods to choose from. But that’s not the choice that many would make, and almost certainly not the one she will make. She will want her kids to be “Chicago” kids, and grow up with Chicago friends and Chicago traditions, and there’s nothing wrong with that. BUT. . .she can still spend plenty o’ time in Springfield, which she should.

  20. - He makes Ryan Look like a Saint - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:57 am:

    If the schools in Springfield (and Downstate) are not good enough for a Governor’s Child, then should the Legisators and the Governor address this? Either Chicago is getting TOO much $$ for schools or Springfield is getting to Little, it shows that downstate doe not matter.

    As for the QOTD: Whether the people north of I 80 like it or not Springfield IS the state capitol. This is where the state should be governed from and is where the Governor and other elected officials should be to do their job.

  21. - the patriot - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:57 am:

    Well there is the problem, he is not in town when the legislature is. The mansion is just the symbol of the argument. I don’t care if he lives in it, and to be honest it is not a conducive family environment. The mansion should be turned over to a historical group and managed as many of the other historical sites in Springfield. Maybe maintain a meeting area if the Gov wants to host parties or meetings. Even take some of the money from tours of the mansion and give it to the Gov for a housing allowance to be used in Sangamon county.

    Can we tie the this to the huff over special sessions. How about a law that says, if the Governor is not in Springfield 65% of the days the legislature is in session, he cannot call special overtime sessions.

    I don’t if he lives in the mansion, but it is assinine for a guy who is in Springfield 10% of the time in the regular session to want absolute control over an overtime session his absence necessitated.

  22. - Butch - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:58 am:

    I have discussed this with many different types of people, and when someone makes an attack on Blago about this issue, I do bring up Thompson and Edgar (I’m a republican) to be fair. But, the difference that I would like to point out is that Thompson and Edgar, did make use of the mansion. As stated, Edgar did live there for a time, and the difference between Blago and Thompson is that Thompson would stay at the mansion when in town for the few days that he was here. Our current governor does not make any use out of the mansion. I believe that is what upsets the voters. Other people and organizations may be making use out of it, which is great! But our current governor refuses to ever stay in the mansion and instead prefers a hotel room…so not only are we, the taxpayers, paying for the mansion upkeep and his jet expenses, but now we also have to pay for a hotel room for when he does choose to stay more than 3 hours here in Springfield. I think this is the conflict Illinoisans are struggling with.

  23. - A Citizen - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 10:58 am:

    Edgar’s daughter did not go to Springfield public school - she went to Chatham Glenwood, and yes was a bit of a partyer.
    Living in Springfield/Mansion is not really that important, but being in Springfield enough to engage and establish working relationships with those who comprise state government is. Previous governors have balanced it out pretty well. The issue now more derives from guv’s inflammatory attitude toward the body politic than where he may reside.

  24. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:00 am:

    ===If the schools in Springfield (and Downstate) are not good enough for a Governor’s Child, then should the Legisators and the Governor address this? Either Chicago is getting TOO much $$ for schools or Springfield is getting to Little, it shows that downstate doe not matter.===

    Thompson and Blagojevich sent/send their kids to private schools.

  25. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:03 am:

    SW, that was a hypothetical. I have one child and she’s 21.

    I would rather that my hypothetical kid go to school far away from the seat of power so that they could have a chance at being treated fairly.

    And, frankly speaking, if I was governor I could probably get my kid into one of the best private schools in Chicago, which would be far, far superior to any education s/he could get in Spfld.

  26. - Just My Opinion - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:07 am:

    If you are the governor and have school-aged children, just exactly in which school can you enroll them where they will not be given preferential treatment? No matter where they go to school, there will be a plain clothed, armed guard accompanying them, sitting outside the classroom, driving the vehicle for field trips, walking the halls closely behind as they change classes. Don’t try to tell me this is not true because I personally was a teacher at Central Baptist Church’s preschool that Samantha Thompson attended for two years. I know the routine and there is no need to change it. In fact, there is probably a need to increase the security. This is not a normal life for school children of a governor, no matter where they go to school, public/private, Chicago/Springfield. The only safe place for them is for their mother/father to homeschool the children. In the absence of that scenario, they are out in the public, something they certainly didn’t ask for when their Ma/Pa chose to run for the highest public office in Illinois. But that’s the way life is for that particular office and anyone, including Blago, better get used to it.

    Personally, I really don’t give a rats behind if he lives in Springfield or not. He’s just saving wear and tear on the Mansion and extending its life for future governors.

  27. - Leigh - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:08 am:

    I think the private school option for high ranking public officials makes a ton of sense. Security and some privacy.

  28. - He makes Ryan Look like a Saint - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:17 am:

    One other thing to think about, How much money is spent on Security at their homes away from the mansion. I realize security detail is a perk, but the citizens should not have to pay for additional security cost just because they don’t want to live in the Mansion that already has security built in.

  29. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:24 am:

    This is not something that worries me. I am more concerned about what a governor does and accomplishes than where he lives. Blago living in Chicago means little to me as he can work out of home, the Thompson Center, a virtual office, etc. But when he doesn’t attend meetings or is always late to events or perhaps isn’t even trying to accomplish anything, his actions or inactions become the problem. If a governor lives in Springfield and doesn’t do his or her job, he or she is not any better than our current top dog.

    As for the schools, Rich, I disagree with you. Public officials who talk about the importance of public school funding while simultaneously refusing to send their kids to public schools are, in my opinion, hypocritical. I know they want the best for their kids, but when an elected official votes down every measure for charter schools and will not vote to support a private school initiative, they should practice what they preach and back up their support by sending their kids to public schools. That’s no different than the union-backing politicians who use non-union labor to build their house or run their business. It’s hypocritical and it’s sad that politicians think no one will notice their actions and real ways of thinking.

  30. - Slugo - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:29 am:

    Rich ~ “which would be far, far superior to any education s/he could get in Spfld.”

    While I don’t suppose to defend Springfield’s education system (don’t have any kids in it) I would hope your opinion is based on ISAT tests data or the current SB of Ed measures. Or is it just your opinion?

  31. - woodywine - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:31 am:


    I don’t know where you where 30 years ago but the Mansion was alive with work, life and play under the Thompson administration. Jane Thompson jokes about running into tours while in her bathrobe and some of the best parties ever held in town were at the Mansion.

    But the best part of it all was how he used it as a special place for meetings and conferences, getting peole out of the Capitol into the many little spaces and places that exist there. One fot eh most memorible was the big education settlement where both sides had their spots and the Thompson and key staffers moved back and forth form room to room over a two or three day period while the media waited at bay on the west drive.

    Thompson was in Springfield all the time and stayed at the Mansion and held court there so it seemed like he really was there more than he was. the private quarters (unless they’ve been changed) are really nothing special and kind of like rooms at an old hotel but he embraced the place and made it his own.

    The Mansion was a special place to work in and a special place to take people, it’s truly ashame that the current owner finds it so distasteful.

  32. - Lainer - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:32 am:

    I don’t think anyone would really demand that any governor or his/her spouse/children spend every single day in the Mansion. Wouldn’t he/she still have to have a legal voting residence somewhere else anyway?
    The problem with Blago went beyond his family not living in Springfield full-time, or not sending his children to school there. It was the fact that he often went weeks or even MONTHS at a time without ever setting foot in the capital, and on those rare occasions when he did stay overnight he chose to stay in a hotel rather than the mansion. That just seemed over the top, snooty and wasteful.
    I think spending three days a week in Springfield during session times — more when important budget or other negotiations are going on –showing up maybe once or twice a month when the GA is not in session, and using the mansion for overnight stays on a regular basis is sufficient. Just having a regular presence in the capital and not turning up his/her nose completely at the mansion would be fine with me.

  33. - Objective Dem - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:33 am:

    I don’t think being the Governor’s child is a make or break issue for children before middle school age. In middle school and high school, it would be more of an issue. But even then if I’m hearing correctly, Edgar’s daughter went to a large public high school in Springfield area. Likewise, I think Sen. Durbins kids went to public schools in Springfield. They may not get as good an education as the best schools in Chicago, but its a decent education.

    A second more important issue is I think it is very productive in a number of ways for the Governor to interact with all types of people and be accessible. The reality is the upper management in government too often shields the real story from the Governor. If the Governor is around, people will come up and say “you should be aware that there is a problem here.” Yes, that disturbs the Gov’s ability to get away from work, but to do the job right takes that type of commitment. I think one of the reasons Mayor Daley is effective is he is accessible.

  34. - trusting - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:36 am:

    Any Guv should stay overnight in the mansion whenever the Legislature is in session — instead of flying home or not coming to Springfield at all on session days.

  35. - Objective Dem - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:43 am:

    Another reality is the Governor’s role is partially symbolic. One of the issues in Illinois is keeping the state unified and working together. Too often Illinois suffers from the bickering related to what share of the pie Chicago gets compared to downstate. Living in Springfield provides a symbolic message that downstate is important.

    Here’s a example regarding the symbolic nature, what if the President of the United States decided that they would live in New York City. It is the financial capital of the US and the UN is there. The reality is DC is all about the federal government so the President’s kids would be better off in NYC.

    Don’t you think people in the US would go bonkers?

  36. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:49 am:

    They’d go bonkers because presidents have lived in the White House ever since it was built. Not so with the mansion. And Downstate’s constant emotional insecurity - regardless of the facts on the ground - isn’t really a good reason for moving into that house.

  37. - pchappel - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:52 am:

    Well, for me it is not so much the Governor living in the mansion or not, it comes down to the taxpayer footing the transportation bill to and from the Governor’s place of employment (ie: Springfield). Live wherever you want, but if you choose to live far away, pay for your commute yourself, just like the rest of us. ‘course, just my opinion.

  38. - wndycty - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 11:53 am:

    It bothers me that the people of Springfield take Rod’s choice so personally. He definitely needs to be there overnight whenever the legislature is in town, but can anyone tell me why the people of Springfield are so offended by his choice to live in Chicago?

  39. - Question... - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 12:11 pm:

    Rich, what is this “attack downstate day” or something ? I for one am not “emotionally insecure” and do not have an inferior eduction to those from Chicago. I found a lot of people I went to college with and people I work with have similar opinions. I don’t understand where that kind of prejudice comes from.

  40. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 12:12 pm:

    The Governor should at least be in Springfield (and thus, presumably, sleeping in the mansion) enough for it to not be a major news story when he makes an appearance there. Why? So that he can’t try to “govern” as an outsider, as Blago has attempted to do.
    The Governor has to work with the legislature, and he can’t do that from 200 miles away.

    In many ways, public is a like a boss who says, “I don’t care if you’re here from 9-5 everyday, as long as you are getting your work done.” Well, Rod isn’t getting the work done, and that’s why the mansion has been such an issue for him. Yes, his GOP predecessors never lived in Springfield full time, but they were always able to get a budget approved on time (and they even had to deal with at least one chamber of the legislature that was controlled by the opposition party!)

    I don’t think we need to require the Governor to live in Springfield full time. But I do think he should be required to remain in town anytime he calls a special session.

  41. - North of I-80 - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 12:16 pm:

    If the Governor’s Mansion is not mandatory, then sell it or convert it to some other state-owned facility…. prison??. Since the State Police [and other jobs] have residency requirements for each work-reporting location, mandate that the Governor live within xx miles or xx minutes to the offices + legislature. If he/she wants to buy a house in Springfield AND keep his/her own house in Pekin or Joliet or Chicago, fine. Renting is fine too. But state-paid travel is limited to specific functions OR capped at $$$xxxx. We have to allow the Governor to represent IL but we cannot tolerate him/her flying a state plane 5 round trips each week from Metropolis to Springfield. Instead of the ISP staff + plane being available to conduct surveillance for Investigations, respond to police incidents or run air speed details throughout the state, they are chauffeurs and out-of-hours/unable to fly when called, all costs paid by taxpayers.

  42. - Cassandra - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 12:16 pm:

    I would imagine the choice of private elementary schools is more limited in the Springfield area
    than in Chicago.

    Time after time, the wealthy pols who run the state, Dem and Repub, demonstrate their contempt for the public school systems we are constantly asked to shore up with more wasted billions by sending their kids to private schools.

    Should they sacrifice the kids for the career?
    Absolutely not. It’s their choice. But it’s a potent indicator that our lavishly funded, union-and patronage-dominated and largely unaccountable Illinois public school systems don’t give anything close to decent value.

    Our public school are, by and large, jobs farms
    for the mediocre, not meritocracies. And our lead pols know it.

  43. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 12:17 pm:

    Question, your comment underscores my point. If there was no insecurity why would you be so sensitive?

    Seriously, though, I’m from Downstate. I live in Springfield. But I am fed up to “here” with the “Chicago gets all my money” etc. rhetoric. A complaint not based on even a semblance of reality should not be taken seriously.

    From all the numbers I’ve ever seen, the suburbs are net state tax donors, Chicago breaks about even and Downstate comes out ahead. Yet, the perception persists.

  44. - scoot - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 12:33 pm:

    I do think future Guvs should spend more time in the mansion. During the fall and spring session it would be nice to know the Guv is staying and working here. They do not have to be here 24/7 365 to make me happy.

    Where wouldn’t your kid get fair treatment if their parent was Guv? That argument holds no water…it’s like their parents have money, or is the mayor, senator, etc…SHG and Glenwood are nice area schools for the children to attend.

  45. - A. Guy - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 12:36 pm:

    Her kids would be walking distance from a decent private Catholic school, over at the cathedral, I think she’s Catholic, isn’t she? She’d be walking distance from the capitol as well. Quinn walks to work from Lincoln towers a lot. It’s doable. There’s a Y just up the street for the kids to swim and play at as well. The neighborhood around the mansion is quite safe and stable, now that the motel was renovated across the street. maybe they could rent a suite at the Mansion View for the hangers-on, um, I mean, ancillary office staff.

    I don’t require my governor to live at the mansion 365. I do want the governor there the whole time the legislature is in session, though. If Madigan becomes governor, I doubt her husband would need or want the mansion’s designated first lady’s office, she can put extra staff in there.

    The current gov staff are all welded together via crackberry anyhow; they communicate while spread out all over the state, so I find the argument there’s a lack of office space for them to cluster in somewhat specious. Like there’s MORE office space at the hotel across town that Blago uses when he deigns to arrive in Springfield?

  46. - Shelbyville - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 12:38 pm:

    The Ryan’s spent considerable time in the mansion. I would guess well over 50% of their time. Their KKK home was practically vacant for many years. Lura Lynn’s mother lived there with a caretaker for a few years. but they were by themselves.

    The problem that some governor’s have with the living accomodations in the mansion are that they are shabby. The galley kitchen is barely big enough to turn around in.

    The governor could actually work out of the mansion, in my opinion. Those offices are rather nice.

    But, as far as raising a family there, it is not suited for that. People need to look at the actual living quarters. The kids don’t normally bunk in the Lincoln bedroom.

    My kids went to school in PPHS, but I can’t imagine that district 186 can’t measure up to the Chicago public schools. What district is the mansion in, Lanphier?

  47. - Question... - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 12:41 pm:

    My question wasn’t asked because of sensitivity but rather an honest request for an answer for the sake of understanding.

  48. - Just My Opinion - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 12:43 pm:

    Cassandra - “Should they sacrifice the kids for the career? Absolutely not. It’s their choice.”

    Let’s reverse that a bit. Should they sacrifice their careers for the kids. Absolutely yes if their career is impacting the quality of life of their children. It’s their choice.

  49. - Objective Dem - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 12:50 pm:

    The mansion issue is also about politics and job security. I think a lot of the anger with the Gov. not living in Springfield is fueled by Republicans to help get downstate votes.

    I can remember about a year or two ago, two legislators from Springfield area holding or threatening to hold hearings on all the state jobs moving from Springfield to Chicago. (The reality is the decline was due to early retirements and not filling vacancies). I know people in Springfield who truly believe that the Gov. is trying to move the capitol to Chicago.

    I don’t think these are reasons the Gov should live in Spfld, just outcomes of his decision.

  50. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 12:59 pm:

    I’m with those who point out the symbolic significance as well as the need to work with the legislature face-to-face.

    I think the Gov ought to live in Springfield (or nearby) and work in the Statehouse when the legislature is in session. The Reps. and Sens. do it and go home to their families on the weekend, it’s part of the job.

  51. - Objective Dem - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 1:11 pm:

    I know this isn’t directly Illinois related, but I found this interesting article on the history of California’s governor’s mansion. The quick bottomline, Nancy Reagan wouldn’t move into the official mansion and had a new one built. Gov. “Moonbeam” Brown, rejected the new mansion and instead rented a cheap apartment. The new mansion was sold and now the Governor does not have an official residence.

  52. - Sanctimonious - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 1:14 pm:

    Dan Walker’s daughter went to school in Springfield.
    Thompson’s daughter - ditto
    Edgar’s kids - ditto

    Save your phoney-baloney bs about the quality of a Sprinfield education.

    Basically, I couldn’t care less where anyone lives. But if you are governor and the legislature is in session, you ought to be around once in a while. It’s fine with me if a governor leaves the brat children in the Chicago area.

    I think the residency-during-session thing really boils down to whether or not a governor is afraid of media questions. The current governor is afraid of unscripted media questions.

  53. - Wumpus - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 1:17 pm:

    From all the numbers I’ve ever seen, the suburbs are net state tax donors, Chicago breaks about even and Downstate comes out ahead. Yet, the perception persists.

    I am tired of you Chicago bums and the lot of ya south of I 80 taking my monies. I think the big city folk tend to look down their noses at those south of I80, hence insecurity.

  54. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 1:44 pm:

    You know, one reason for the insecurity is that downstate has seen more of a population loss than the rest of the state, so it has less political clout than it had 50 years ago.

    I would say that you can get a better education in Chicago than in Springfield. Not a public education, I would guess the Springfield public system does better on ISATs and NAEP than CPS. But a better private education. First of all, there’s simply a whole lot more choice in Chicago than in Springfield due to the larger market. Second of all, there’s the cultural advantages of Chicago and the ethnic neighborhoods which can give a youngster an eye into their heritage–such as Blagojevich’s daughters who can see what kind of neighborhood their Fa grew up in and try to see what it must’ve been like for the Serbian community at that time. I don’t know how Irish the Madigans are, but that might be a consideration, too. I was reared in central IL (but not Springfield so maybe Springfield is different) and the people there really don’t seem to have the same respect for the ethnic heritage that I’ve seen in the people in Chicago.

  55. - Shelbyville - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 1:52 pm:

    The blurb about where former governor’s kids went to school, is incorrect - as has been pointed out many times. I don’t know or care where Gov. Walker’s kids went to school.

    All of Ryan’s 6 kids graduated from Kankakee High School, which surely must be on par (or below) the Springfield schools. None were in school, while the Ryan’s were governor.

    I am almost certain that their dozens of grandkids attend public school in various areas.

    It is all what you put into your high school years, yourself. Virtual HSs are gaining ground and are a good option for many.

  56. - jwscott72 - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 2:10 pm:

    Edgar’s kids went to Chatham Glenwood. The only reason I know this is because my alma mater (Macomb High) used to play Chatham Glenwood in basketball back in the good old days. Edgar was SOS back then, but I doubt it changed when he became Governor.

    Taking office in January causing problems with the kids’ schooling. If I were elected Governor, I would move into the Governor’s Mansion during the legislative session. I would be there 24/7 during the session to keep my fingers on the legislature’s pulse. Darth Hairbrush has never done that and that’s why he’s in trouble.

    If I had school-aged kids, I would leave them in their current school until the end of the school year. That would give me and the wife time to explore our options. Caveat to that is the likelihood that my wife would also have a job of her own. I would be hestitant to uproot her as well.

  57. - JR - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 2:11 pm:

    I am curious, In all of the other states, how many governors live in the state’s capital? and how many do not?

  58. - Smitty Irving - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 2:34 pm:

    Sanctimonious -

    Half right, wrong, and wrong. Half right - Walker’s daughter attended Sacred Heart, a private school where the authorities do not have to comply with most of the laws public schools do.

    Wrong - Jayne Thompson moved the family to Chicago when Samantha became school age.

    Wrong - Edgar’s daughter attended Chatham Glenwood, which is in Chatham, a district which during her senior year had more Korean kids adopted by American citizens than African Americans.

    Rich, you are absolutely correct - as an immigrant to Illinois, I am amazed at how insecure the locals are. If everything north of I-80 and east of I-39 kept their tax dollars, college students, and criminals, there would be no jobs downstate, and this area would be as bad off as rural Indiana or Missouri.

  59. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 2:37 pm:

    Smitty, thanks for setting the record straight on the kids thing. I forgot to post something.

  60. - annon - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 4:04 pm:

    I don’t think the “mansion” is really the issue, more a statement …that I guess traditionally a governor lives in the governors residence. It’s home base, 2 blocks from work etc., etc. & the expense keeps rolling on, occupied or otherwise. Bladgo just needs to be in town more plain & simple & rather than incur expense beyond the norm, commuting, stay in the “peoples house” that’s provided. I think it goes without saying that they’re not locked to it…hell we all leave our own homes…but the Guv treats this as some kind of a part-time job, here when he’s not busy rolling around the state promoting yet another “program” & Springfield like a plague . It’s the seat of gov’t. As to those others mentioned previously ; may not have been there every minute of the day over at the ye olde’ mansion….but were here when it counted, engaging the process & doing the job.

    Springfield Schools…got me there but can’t be that bad. What difference does it make where “JR” or “Sis” goes to school, here or Chicago ; dad or Mom {speculatively} is governor wherever they are or wherver they go. There’s some nice private schools in Spfld if they have a mind to.

  61. - annon - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 4:22 pm:

    Blago….just come to work & the “mansion” & many other things won’t be an issue. As to downstate insecurity, don’t think so really, just wanting a fair shake & to be counted especially when sprerading the weath. Downstate needs are often overlooked & despite the fact a large % of poulation live north, several million , a large %, still live elsewhere around this big state. They like accountability & are used to seeing thier & engaging the elected officials.

  62. - Sango Dem - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 4:50 pm:

    Its a symbolic issue. Symbolic for the fact that it was largely central Illinois that got him through the Democratic primary in ‘02 (he lost Chicago) and delivered for him in the general election. His response was to stab central Illinois and state workers in particular in the back. Not living in the mansion just adds insult to betrayal.

  63. - 312 - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 4:53 pm:

    Rich, you are right.

    If I, in the private sector, had a job that required me to be in Denver for 50% of the year, why would I make my kids go to school in Denver?

    Now add in the governor’s prominence. Anywhere they go to school, they’re going to stand out ’cause of the security detail. Doesn’t matter if it’s Chicago, Cairo or Springfield.

    But I agree being the Guv’s kid in the ‘patch would be tougher when it comes to cutting jobs/programs that affect the other kids parents.

  64. - Dauthus - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 4:53 pm:

    The Illinois Constitution, if I am reading it correctly, says, “maintain a residence at the
    seat of government during their terms of office.” The full text is as follows,


    The Executive Branch shall include a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller and Treasurer elected by the electors of the State. They shall keep the public records and maintain a residence at the seat of government during their terms of office.
    (Source: Illinois Constitution.)”

    The link to the citation is here:

  65. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 4:57 pm:

    Maintain a residence doesn’t mean live there full time.

  66. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 4:59 pm:

    ===largely central Illinois that got him through the Democratic primary in ‘02 ====

    You’re kidding, right? That’s probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen posted on a subject like this.

  67. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 5:13 pm:

    From the Illinois Constitution:
    The Executive Branch shall include a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller and Treasurer elected by the electors of the State. They
    shall keep the public records and maintain a residence at the seat of government during their terms of office.

    Ok, so “maintain” might not equal “put your head on the pillow every night,” but you folks who think it’s optional to stay in the ‘Patch need to brush up on your civics.

    Blago has squandered an opportunity to build relationships by avoiding the Mansion. His cheesy way of evading the question of where he was going to live early in his term also didn’t help. He should have just been honest about the family issues and I think most folks would have cut him some slack, as they did with Thompson.

    Future governors avoid the Mansion at their own peril. Albeit, the living quarters are small, dark, and really need a do-over.

    BTW, what does the demographics of Chatham Glenwood High School have to do with this question? She went to school there because that’s the school district they lived in when Dad was SoS.

    Oh, and Smitty, as usual, you’re also full of crap on the “private school where the authorities do not have to comply with most of the laws public schools do.” Absolutely untrue. In order to be accredited by the ISBE, SHG and most Catholic Schools are in substantial compliance with most relevant State laws.

  68. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 5:16 pm:

    Sorry for the duplicate Constitutional Law lesson. Now, excuse me while I go ROLFMAO in re:
    Sango Dem’s 4:50 post.

  69. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 5:16 pm:

    OK, that was a bit harsh. Sorry.

    But, really, central Illinois was not “largely” responsible for the Blagojevich primary win. Metro East was very, very big. The fact that Roland Burris, who had no chance but stayed in anyway and therefore took votes from Vallas that would’ve gone that way, was essential. Labor was very, very huge. Money. Staff. Candidate willing to do whatever it took to win. Central Illinois is far behind any of these factors.

  70. - Anonymous - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 5:28 pm:

    This state runs better when Blago isn’t downstate. Let the kids alone, they don’t make their own decisions, yet. Chicago got that clown elected TWICE, so let them keep his carcus there. The mansion is exactly as stated–a maintained residence for the Governor and whoever else he wants to stay there and be a guest. Rich, I think you are beginning to start to really becoming a Blagojevich “good buddy”. It’s true that politics have strange bedfellows.

  71. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 5:32 pm:

    OK, now THAT is the most ridiculous comment ever.

    I’ve had this position on the mansion since it became an issue in 2003.

  72. - Gecko - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 5:51 pm:

    I went to school with Edgar’s daughter in the Springfield area, Chatham specifically, and I think she did just fine. I don’t remember students really treating her any differently from anyone else and the school was a good school. Of course, people in the Springfield area liked Edgar.

  73. - Smitty Irving - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 6:15 pm:

    Arthur Andersen -

    Would you tell me which Central Illinois private school totally complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act? Does any private school in Central Illinois have totally blind students? Totally deaf students? Developmentally disabled students who will never function at a level above a 5 year old?

    What would a private school do if students acted in the manner of the Decatur students in 1999 (or so) in the incident that brought Jesse Jackson to town? Would they, at no extra expense to the student’s family, educate them at an alternative location. Or would they just show them the door, wash their hands of them, and leave them to public schools?

  74. - District 186 alumnus - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 6:47 pm:

    I was ignoring this as a pointless “bait-the-downstaters” game (don’t we have enough other serious things to talk about?), but as someone who attended a public high school in Springfield I feel compelled to say something.

    I can’t say enough good things about the quality of the teachers I had: they were committed, intelligent, and interesting, and they pushed us awfully hard. [On a side note, I’ve graded papers from graduates of “good private schools” that I would have been ashamed to turn in to any teacher in Springfield.] And I know quite a few people in my class who ended up in top-flight graduate programs in whatever fields they ended up studying…despite the supposed inferiority of the schools down here.

    There are plenty of problems here (like anywhere else), but motivated students will get an extremely good education. Of course, if you ARE interested in an educational environment that isn’t quite so meritocratic, then I see your dilemma…

  75. - Anon - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 6:50 pm:

    Mr. Arthur Anderson Springfield Southeast High School complies 100% the ADA. And by the way, my daughter is DD and I don’t care for your shot a school district with many disabled children who are thriving. And, I’m a fan of the Governor but don’t go where you just did. You are wrong.

  76. - Loop Lady - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 7:07 pm:

    I think everyone is cranky cause nothing substantial has happened legislatively for months now and we have started picking on fellow bloggers…

  77. - annony - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 7:37 pm:

    Bottom line folks, mansion or 1 bedroom apt.; this guy needs to come to work , be at the seat of gov’t & be there when matters or it’s critical. I don’t especially like living away from home either, but the job I have means be close by & it’s closer & easier to stay than commute it every day. It’s called making a living, responsibilities & keeping a job. Whether the “Mrs.” comes down to Springpatch or not is inmaterial to us, that’s something they need to work out. He(or she) knows what the job entails when they run, or should. I’m sure every legislator that spent all summer down there, away from families is well aware. The state &/ or the mansion society “maintains” this home, the guy ought to use it. It’s quite a nice place & not bad “public housing” if you ask me.

  78. - Aaron Slick from Pumpkin Creek, Il - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 7:54 pm:

    Sell “The Executive Mansion” which is too costly to maintain for a state which is on the ropes financially. Instead, let the taxpayers pay for “The Executive Apartment” for those few and far between times that Rod and Peppermint Patty are in Springfield. It would be far more cost effective. Plus, it would show our Governor to be a shrewd and frugal financial state administrator to the other state governors. Hey, it may not be the truth of the matter but what the heck, they say perception is everything in politics.

  79. - Way Northsider - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 8:06 pm:

    Where someone lives is pretty irrelevant and becoming more so everyday. So long as they are productive they could be in Springfield, Chicago or Timbuktu.

  80. - ChuckAmuck - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 8:41 pm:

    Just to clarify, Rich, it is your belief that everyone who can afford to send their child to a private school should do so, even if a high quality public school is available, convenient, etc? Is there no value to having your child (and yourself) mix with people of different income levels, levels of education, etc? Don’t public schools, in general, better reflect the diverity of Illinois? Wouldn’t being exposed to that diversity be a appropriate for politicians who can become insulated and out of touch?

    Just asking.

  81. - Dauthus - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 8:59 pm:

    Here is a little history of the constitution as it relates to the governor living in the seat of government.

    1848 Illinois Constitution

    “The governor shall reside at the seat of government and receive a salary of fifteen hundred dollars per annum, which shall not be increased or diminished, and he shall not during the time for which he shall have been elected, receive any emolument from the United States, or either of them”

    1870 Illinois Constitution

    “The executive department shall consist of a Governor, Lieutenant governor, Secretary of State, Auditor of Public Accounts, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Attorney General, who shall, each with the exception of the treasurer, hold his office for the term of four years form the second Monday of January next after his election, and until his successor is elected and qualified. They shall, except the Lieutenant Governor, reside at the seat of government during their term of office, and keep the public records, books and papers there, and shall perform such duties as may be prescribed by law.”

    1970 Constitution of the State of Illinois

    The Executive Branch shall include a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller and Treasurer elected by the electors of the State. They
    shall keep the public records and maintain a residence at the seat of government during their terms of office.

    So until 1970 the Governor was required to live at the seat of government. I guess I can’t prove Rich wrong on this one, but I could sure put up another arguement regarding the intent of the language in 1970 vs the modern interpretation of “maintain residence….”

  82. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 9:51 pm:

    Some days it doesn’t pay to post.

    Smitty, the ADA is a Federal law, not State. I have a bit of experience in this area and there are plenty of public buildings way out of ADA compliance, starting with the State Capitol.

    Your point about the visually/hearing impaired and DD students is also rooted in ignorance. Even the most devout Catholics, etc. would of course send their children with special needs where they can get the best education. That is going to be the public schools, where we have a very good program in District 186.

    Anon 6:50, I’ve re-read my first post several times and can’t find one word that is derogatory about District 186. In fact, 186 isn’t mentioned at all. As far as “don’t go there,” apparently you’ve read a second meaning into the phrase “family issues.” I’m talking about the ones like having a school-age child, a growing family, extended family close to home, all mixed in with the demands of being Governor.

    If Blago (or any Gov) had said up front, family comes first and I will spend more nights at home up North than in the Patch, but I will be there when the job requires, and stay for the duration, this would be a non-issue. He didn’t and that’s why it’s still festering.

    Good luck with being a fan of the Governor. The last guy around here that admitted that took a lot of hits before he had an epiphany a few weeks ago.

  83. - Charlie Schlenker - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 12:46 am:

    I think there is truth in the posts about time spent working in Springfield outweighing the importance of actual residential use of the mansion. But there IS a value to the mansion that makes its non-use a powerful symbol even (and perhaps especially) for those who do not pay attention to every legislative breath. We poor human creatures relish our traditions, our orisons, and ceremonies. This pageantry offers a patch to the thin covering of civilization obscuring what is often solely predatory politics. This ceremony also inspires hope that politics WILL, on occasion, be more than horse trading…that our society can aspire to something noble, permanent, and fine (even though the kitchen is a bit dowdy if you look too closely at it). It’s the same reason they build big domes on top of and put gold leaf and marble inside governmental buildings. The Governor may have made his decision with purpose…to declare his independence of the state tradition…much as his campaign rhetoric tried to distance him from “business as usual.” But, by implicitly rejecting a traditionalist view of the institution of the Governor’s office, he may also undercut public trust in his administration out of proportion to the act of using a hotel room instead. He could have satisfied tradition, cultivated faith, not by living there…but by making use of the structure to signal the lay public and the professional political priesthood that he values the mechanisms of state. He has affirmed otherwise for his own reasons.

  84. - anno - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 5:15 am:

    Looks pretty much since about 1848,,,folks of Ill. would like to see the “Big Guy” in Springfield more & close at hand. Maybe the mansion has outlived it’s usefulness & needs to be turned over to an historical society & for historic preservation. Stick old boy over in Lincoln Towers for the duration, rent the mansion out for weddings & such & cut that state expenditure…period. If it such a hassle, get rid of it, but take the keys to that airplane away while your doing it.

  85. - KiR - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 8:17 am:

    I think the real issue here is not whether the Governor lives in the mansion full-time or part-time. I believe the issue is that this current Governor refuses to be where he is needed to broker a deal and do his job. Springfield, as the capital city, is the place, during session, where the deals are made. When the Governor is not here, he is not conducting the business of the people because all the other interested parties (Senate and House) are here during session. He can stay at the Comfort Suites for all I care; he just needs to get to work and know his role.

  86. - South of I 80 - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 8:47 am:

    From my simple mind-the issue is not so much where the Governor’s kids should go to school,(mom can stay home for that job-thousands do every day)(or they have “people for that”) but the fact Blago blantely flys back and forth to Springfield on our tab. The government would move along much smoother if he were there to put out the small fires before they become big blazes.

  87. - Smitty Irving - Friday, Sep 28, 07 @ 11:29 am:

    Arthur Andersen -

    The Capitol building being out of ADA compliance does not relieve public schools in Springfield of their obligation to be compliant. Even if it is a federal rather than state law, compliance is very expensive - and private schools don’t have to be compliant (even those that get public vouchers, as in Milwaukee).

    Care to comment about public schools being require to deal with / private schools not being required to deal with kids with emotional problems, and those (to use Gabe Kaplan’s memorable line from his Welcome Back Kotter days) who would be classified “pre-criminals” ??

  88. - Perkith - Sunday, Sep 30, 07 @ 8:31 am:

    This is in regards to the Executive Mansion not being a working area. This is untrue there are several offices in the Mansion and under the other Govenrors they did have a fiscal staff that oversaw everything and audited everything before it went out for payment. They handled payroll for the staff at the Mansion. There is an office for the Governor, the First Lady and housed another office for the Director and 3 other staff that handled appointments, vendors and alot more. Of course in order to utilize these areas the Mansion would actually have to be used unlike it is today. The reason people did not notice them if they were there attending events is because the doors would be closed. Wake up people and pay attention to what is really going on.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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