* 12:25 pm - The US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has denied an emergency motion by George Ryan’s attorneys to continue Ryan’s bail.
From the opinion…
The voluminous record here demonstrates that the appellants were guilty of the crimes with which they were charged. Although they would undoubtedly like to postpone the day of reckoning as long as they can, they have come to the end of the line as far as this court is concerned. Two different panels of this court have already decided that bail ends with the issuance of the mandate. Because we are affirming the district court’s judgment, the district court’s receipt of the mandate will not require that court to take any new action on the case. The motion to stay the mandate is therefore DENIED. By separate order, we also have denied the motion insofar as it seeks reconsideration of the decision to terminate bail with the issuance of the mandate.
The trial was riddled with errors that ultimately rendered the proceedings manifestly unfair and unjust, notwithstanding the production of overwhelming incriminating evidence against the appellants. Therefore, because the trial was “broken beyond repair,” there is good cause for a stay and the appellants have a reasonable probability of succeeding on the merits.
Trial Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer has said Ryan and Warner must report to prison Nov. 7. They now are expected to appeal for bond to Justice John Paul Stevens, the Supreme Court justice who oversees matters originating in the Chicago-based 7th Circuit.
But, please, no violent stuff. People can get in big trouble for that. Also, let’s try to keep it state and locally focused. Thanks.
…Adding… I posted this video a few years ago, but many of you weren’t around back then. Watch and listen closely and you can just barely make out a ghostly image that was accidentally picked up while a car company was filming an advertisement…
* Could there be some movement on the transit bailout bill?
The transit union that represents 600 bus drivers, facing layoffs on Sunday, was planning a news conference to claim that layoff notices were not sent out in a timely manner and the CTA has enough cash on hand to keep operating at full tilt. Those allegations could have been followed by a lawsuit, a work stoppage or some other type of job action, but all of the threats are now on hold, because Illinois’ political leaders are reassuring the president of the transit union that a bailout will be approved in Springfield this week.
“He is very confident that there will be a resolution, a legislative resolution, to the transit funding crisis,” said Melvin Caldwell, transit union lobbyist.
“The legislature will take action and will be responsible and not allow one of the largest mass transit systems become paralyzed,” Melvin Caldwell, ATU Local Union 241, said. […]
A spokesman for House Speaker Mike Madigan says he’s not aware of any breakthrough.
Another “super-secret” plan from the governor, perhaps? I’ll believe it when I see it.
* Meanwhile, this is a concern that most of us don’t think about when the topic of transit cuts is discussed…
Chicago Police are planning to pull desk-duty officers onto the street to help shore up patrols around schools that will be most affected by the upcoming CTA cuts.
Officials are bracing for more children being on the street for longer periods of time as they search out a new route or wait at a stop because of packed buses.
Another concern is that students will be crossing gang territories and walking in neighborhoods they don’t know. After-school programs that have youth staying well after dark are expected to be affected as well.
About 400 Steinmetz High School kids use the bus on Narragansett — not even a block away — to quickly get to and from the Northwest Side school every day.
But under the proposed CTA “doomsday” cuts on Nov. 4, they would have to scatter to new bus routes for longer commutes — some crossing through gang turfs.
One police officer in the area estimated there are more than a half-dozen gangs around the school.
* And the horror stories are really coming out with the deadline approaching…
Holding a cane in one hand and a piece of notebook paper less than an inch from her face in the other, Mary Anne Sullivan begged Chicago Transit Authority President Ron Huberman and the agency’s board Tuesday night to spare the bus routes she uses as they make budget cuts for 2008.
To make it to work on time, “I have to be [at a CTA bus stop] at 6:30 in the morning,” said Sullivan, 41, a Park Ridge resident who is visually impaired. “If I have to depend on Pace, I have to walk a mile and a half.”
NBC 5 was unable to track down Blagojevich to ask him directly what he thinks about the Madigan plan — but it isn’t for lack of trying.
In looking for Blagojevich, NBC 5 came first to his Ravenswood campaign office on the third floor. With no sign of the governor there or at his house on the Northwest Side, his staff finally told NBC5 Blagojevich was working out of the Thompson Center looking for a solution to the CTA crisis — just too busy to talk or for his staff to talk, either.
* That Tribune editorial musing about a possible recall is undoubtedly a big reason why he’s unavailable, but this governor has spent more time in the bunker than out during the past few years, so it’s no big surprise that NBC 5 couldn’t find him. Speaking of the Trib’s editorial, the SJ-R didn’t think much of it…
There is no doubt that Blagojevich has angered a lot of people, and that he has failed to act as an effective leader in many instances. But the Tribune’s insistence that Blagojevich is the last straw and that Illinois now must become the 19th state to allow for recall comes across less as a sound public policy than a personal vendetta.
Daley may well agree with some or all of the Tribune’s assessment. But he’s not about to support removing the two-term governor from office.
“Calling [for] a recall is unnecessary. I may have differences with the governor. But I really believe his mind is on public transportation and on infrastructure as [much as] everyone else. You can’t say just because I’m upset with [him about] an issue, two issues that you’re gonna have a recall. I disagree with that,” the mayor said.
“He is very, very smart. He’s been a state representative. He’s been congressman. He’s elected twice governor of the state of Illinois. It’s unfair. He’s a very smart and bright and emotional governor. Let’s be realistic.”
Hizzoner really wants the Olympic games to go that far.
* The Tribune was apparently so pleased with the responses to that recall editorial that it’s now soliciting comments about another issue…
What do you think? Do you support a regional sales tax increase for mass transit? Why or why not?
I wonder how they’ll respond if the public disagrees with their position in favor of the tax hike.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is seeking the go-ahead from the Federal Election Commission to help write the final chapter in a high-profile family feud that has roiled Democratic politics in Chicago for years: the Jacksons vs. the Beaverses.
The Illinois Democrat wants the FEC to determine whether he can provide financial backing from his reelection committee to the campaign of his wife, Sandi, for 7th Ward committeeman of the Cook County Democratic Party. The post is currently held by William Beavers, whose daughter, Darcel, was crushed by Sandi Jackson last February in the race for 7th Ward alderman. […]
The seven-term lawmaker said he would be willing to give $100,000 or more to his wife’s party campaign if that’s what it would take to win.
* I’ve had the results of a poll in that committeeman’s race for a couple of weeks, but completely forgot about them. The survey of 382 respondents was conducted for Ms. Jackson in early October by Lester & Associates…
Suppose the democratic primary election for 7th Ward Committeeman held today and the candidates were William Beavers and Sandi Jackson — for whom would you vote?
Lean Jackson 3
Lean Beavers 1
(Don’t know / Not sure) 11
Total Jackson 72
Total Beavers 17
Generally speaking, would you say William Beavers deserves to re-elected as 7th Ward Committeeman or would you say it is time for someone new?
Someone new 71
(Don’t Know / Not Sure) 12
Would you say you approve or disapprove of the job William Beavers is doing as 7th Ward Committeeman?
(Don’t Know / Not Sure) 26
The poll also found that Mayor Daley was viewed favorably by 73 percent of people in the ward, while Congressman Jackson was viewed favorably by 82 percent, Ald. Jackson was viewed favorably by 75 and Bill Beavers was viewed favorably by just 36 percent and 42 percent viewed him unfavorably. Download the poll here.
* Meanwhile, if you had any doubts that the DCCC was serious in its targeting of freshman Republican Peter Roskam, then check this out…
Congressman Peter Roskam is one of seven Republican Congressmen targeted in radio ads by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for his vote backing President Bush’s veto of an expansion of a children’s health insurance program.
The DCCC said it bought a week’s worth of radio ads on a syndicated traffic and weather report that runs on dozens of Chicago radio stations.
The ad says “Did you know Congressman Roskam gets health care at taxpayers’ expense, but Roskam and Bush are blocking health care for 10 million uninsured children? Tell Peter Roskam to put kids first,” according to the DCCC. […]
In a prepared statement, Roskam said he supports reauthorizing SCHIP, but is opposed to its expansion, which he claims will cover “countless adults and illegal immigrants at taxpayer expense.”
* As I’ve told you before, Jill Morgenthaler is the Democrats’ candidate to run against Roskam. Morgenthaler’s primary opponent isn’t exactly a serious contender. Otherwise, she might have to answer for this…
Morgenthaler said that she normally backs Democratic candidates, but according to state election records, she voted in Republican primaries in 2002 and 2005, and only began voting in the Democratic primary last year.
You can see her voting history here. I’ve had it for a few days, but got busy with other things. Her campaign said in response: “If you want someone who can and will work work for people of both political parties, Jill is your girl.”
* Morgenthaler is resigning tomorrow from her state post as homeland security director, which brings up this problem…
She will also have to distance herself from Blagojevich, who has taken a beating over questionable campaign contributions and allegations he dispensed no-bid contracts to benefactors. […]
“She’s going to try and run as an outsider, but there’s stuff that she’s going to be tagged with in the Blagojevich world that could trip her up, message-wise,” said one Illinois Democratic operative. “It’s certainly not fatal, but it’s a distraction.”
* And, of course, this…
Meanwhile, her involvement as a spokeswoman for the Army during Abu Ghraib drew controversy even before she announced her candidacy.
In the first six months after Hostmark Hospitality Group began running it, the hotel showed a profit of more than $927,000.
During the same six-month period in 2006, the hotel showed a profit of only about $126,000, said Scott Burnham, spokesman for Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
Profit margins are important because the hotel was built with the help of a state-backed loan. Under a refinancing deal, the hotel’s owners had to make payments on the state loan only when the facility showed a profit. Giannoulias’ office said the hotel had made only two payments on the loan since 1998 and none in the past four years.
“That has to make you ask questions,” said Jack Jennings, head of the Washington-based Center on Education Policy. “It could be the schools are just highly focused — and that can be a problem if all they’re doing is preparing kids for the test. Another possible explanation is the test is too easy.”
Illinois education officials deny that’s the case, saying coursework closely tracks the concepts tested, giving teachers a clear roadmap — and better results.
Stroger can fill about 500 jobs at will, and spokesman Ibis Antongiorgi said he’s left dozens vacant and can fire anyone from those jobs at any time.
He did that this month when the Sun-Times revealed he had hired Patty Young, girlfriend to his ally, Commissioner William Beavers. Stroger called that hiring “a red herring” that didn’t reflect actual hiring patterns.
When you crack open and pour a beer you’ve already paid the city 9 cents for your six pack. If the mayor has his way, you’ll pay 17. The city wants to raise its taxes on beer more then 80 percent. The tax on wine and liquor would jump 50 percent. The city hopes to bring in an additional 13 million dollars.
The Sept. 29 report by the office of the executive inspector general alleged Shalabi used his state computer to arrange for a “Governor’s Reception” dinner last month to raise money for Blagojevich’s campaign committee from the Arab-American community. […]
A spokeswoman for Blagojevich said that as soon as the governor’s office received the report, Shalabi was put on paid leave until his rights to hearings are exhausted and he can be fired.
“We have no tolerance for the kind of activity that was alleged in this case,” spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said. “When there are allegations that someone isn’t playing by the rules, there’s a system in place to investigate it and make sure that problems don’t go ignored.”
Apparently, the administration also has “no tolerance” for whistleblowers.
* Senate support for the transit bailout bill may be waning. From the Trib…
If the [transit bailout] package does not pass the House on Friday, Madigan said he plans to call it again for a vote Monday. Madigan predicted that the bill would be approved in the House and suggested that there is a “high level of support” for the sales-tax plan in the Senate.
“I think more people in the House and Senate have come to realize that this is a good, solid bill that ought to pass,” he said.
* Madigan claimed that everybody except Rod Blagojevich was on board with the negotiated bailout plan…
“Again, with one exception, there’s been no criticism of the bill,” Madigan said.
Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson sent a letter Monday to Regional Transportation Authority Chairman Jim Reilly saying that a tax increase, by itself, is a poor solution.
“A tax increase is NOT the only answer,” Watson wrote. “It is a disservice to everyone to present the current situation as a tax increase — or transit meltdown. There are alternatives that to date have only received lip service.”
Watson proposes fare hikes to raise part of the cash.
* Meanwhile, Peter DeFazio, who chairs the US House Highways and Transit Subcommittee was in Chicago yesterday and had some harsh words….
“There will be no Chicago transit system upon which to build, if the Legislature and the governor don’t get their act together, plain and simple. From what I understand, they’re looking at catastrophic cuts here, and when you make catastophic cuts to a transportation system, things happen that take years, if ever, to turn around.”
[CTA President Ron Huberman] estimates the CTA will lose 100,000 riders a day due to the fare hikes and service cuts. […]
[DePaul University traffic expert] Joseph Schweiterman said “We’re going to see a bit of a crush on … the highways. There’s going to be demand for taxicabs and it could throw traffic enough that we’re all going to feel the pain. This is really going to be a tough time.”
House Speaker Michael Madigan made one of his trademark chess moves Monday, a smallish gesture with big implications for mass transit, casino expansion and capital spending to refurbish the state’s infrastructure. Our hunch is that Madigan has his eye on big prizes: stylish legislative outcomes that would finally — finally — break the impasse with Senate President Emil Jones and Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Or make them wear the jacket for failure. […]
The political intrigue on Monday tended to overshadow Madigan’s proposal. With Chicago Transit Authority service cutbacks scheduled for the weekend, is Madigan positioning himself as the lone grown-up, the leader who fashions the grand compromise that Jones and Blagojevich cannot? In this scenario, Madigan cobbles together a veto-proof bloc of urban House members (who get transit funding from a small regional sales tax) and Downstate members (who get capital spending on roads and schools). Broadly expanded gambling (with more muscular state oversight from a new and improved Gaming Board) ostensibly helps pay the bills.
Madigan could hand this mega-package to the Senate and head home, essentially forcing Jones and Blagojevich to capitulate — or answer to all those citizens who will be infuriated by Springfield’s failure to solve the CTA’s problems.
Monday’s proposal by Madigan could be seen either as a promise to Cross that Madigan will deal with casinos after a transit bill is passed, or the exact opposite: a poison pill to kill any new casinos.
From a timing perspective, Madigan’s proposal would further delay attempts to put a statewide construction program on a fast track. In order for the gambling expansion to move forward, the state would have to first identify and approve the new members of the gaming board, as well as hire a new enforcement guru and staff.
* The Tribune editorial board asked its readers on Sunday whether Gov. Rod Blagojevich should be recalled. Apparently, the ivory tower crowd doesn’t get out much because they seem surprised by the results…
In a remarkable outpouring of exasperation and disgust, readers lashed out against the cascade of new tax increase proposals and the failure of elected officials to cut spending or trim patronage workers from their bloated staffs. You railed about broken campaign promises, gridlock in Springfield, legislative indifference to critical needs such as education or pension reform and the uncertainty over whether we’ll have a mass transit system come Monday. Yes, you’d like the opportunity to recall Blagojevich, you said, but why stop there? Good question.
* Now, I know that at least one member of that august body is on this site quite a bit, so there should be some comprehension of how the public feels over there. Still, this is the same edit board which professed this ignorance a while back…
We might as well admit it up front: The first time we heard of the liberal blogging network known as Daily Kos was when Bill O’Reilly dissed it on his show.
Daily Kos is only a blogging pioneer and probably the most successful political site on the entire frickin’ Internet. Did you guys sleep through the Howard Dean campaign? You do get the Internet, don’t you?
And you’re going to tell us who to vote for?
* Blog reaction was mixed to Sunday’s editorial. Archpundit…
What is the Trib thinking?
Wanting to get rid of Rod Blagojevich is a natural and perfectly normal impulse for anyone paying attention, but ultimately, we are talking about the structure of state government. If you are going to have set election terms and separate branches between Executive and Legislative, the stability lost in recalls is a significant problem.
When your most respected–not to mention most conservative–citywide daily labels the governor as “inept” and calls for the state’s founding document to be rewritten to allow for his ouster, you know the status quo is straining to its limit.
In light of yesterday’s Chicago Tribune editorial, the Illinois Republican Party is calling on state leaders Mike Madigan, Emil Jones, Senator Barack Obama and Senator Dick Durbin to take a stand on the Tribune’s question as to whether Illinoisans should have the right to recall their statewide elected officials.
Madigan refused to take a question about that very topic yesterday.
I’m wondering what you think of the Tribune’s reaction to its own question.
Former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar said Illinois Republicans are likely to gain more from the early primary than Democrats. With the GOP nomination up for grabs and no favorite son in the Republican field, the entire array of candidates is more likely to come courting Illinois voters.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve really been involved in the primary,” said Edgar. “This gives the Republicans in particular a chance to have some input in the presidential race.”
* Editorial: Delays in Ryan going to prison test trust of Illinoisans
In case you have lost track, it has been nearly four years since former Gov. George Ryan was indicted for misdeeds while he was secretary of state and governor.
He was convicted of all charges - racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, false statements, tax fraud and filing a false tax return - more than 18 months ago.
He was sentenced to 6½ years in a federal prison more than a year ago.
And still he hasn’t served a day of that sentence.
* Editorial: Take a moment to reflect on ill conceived law
Allowing the correspondents’ association to manage press credentials is a classic approach to occupational licensing–let the incumbents control entry to the profession. I’ve never paid much attention to the subject of press credentials in legislatures. When I looked this subject up in Inside the Legislative Process, I found that it’s a fairly common practice: press associations determine accreditation of reporters in 27 of the 99 state legislative chambers.
As the saga of bloggers’ press credentials unfolds, it will be interesting to see if bloggers are less likely to get press credentials in chambers where the press associations are responsible for accreditation than from others (presiding officers, rules committees or appropriate staff offices) who perform this task.