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This just in… Hynes unveils new tracking website *** Sojourn in crisis mode *** Another candidate in Weller district announces *** Lipper whacked again ***

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007

* 11:40 am - The governor will reiterate his threat to call a mid-December special session during a press conference later today. From a press release…

As property tax bills are put in the mail to Cook County homeowners, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today will call on the Illinois General Assembly to reconvene before the end of the year to provide permanent property tax relief for Cook County homeowners. Earlier this month, lawmakers overrode the Governor’s recommended changes to a property tax relief bill and approved a version that takes relief away next year, and completely phases out relief in three years.

WHO: Governor Rod R. Blagojevich. Mike and Linda Vacala, homeowners, Local elected officials

WHAT: Gov. Blagojevich will call on legislature to provide permanent property tax relief for Cook County homeowners.

WHEN: 1:00 p.m.

WHERE: Residence of Mike and Linda Vacala

At least he didn’t call it a “property tax cap” this time. Sheesh.

*** 12:26 pm *** This is an interesting new development. From a press release…

Comptroller Dan Hynes today unveiled a user-friendly website that allows citizens to track political contributions made by companies that have state contracts.

Open Book” is a searchable database of state contracts and campaign contributions that combines information from the Comptroller’s accounting system with official semi-annual campaign disclosure reports filed by political committees with the State Board of Elections (SBE).

“The purpose of Open Book is to make it much easier for the public to ‘follow the money,’” said Hynes. “That should make public officials more accountable to the people they serve. In turn, it is my hope that some measure of the public confidence in state government that has been lost over the years can be restored.”

Go check it out.

* 12:43 pm - I’ve been meaning to drop off a check to Sojourn Shelter from the proceeds from our charity site for a couple of weeks. I’ll get it over there tomorrow. From an urgent e-mail message forwarded to my by Springfield Freecycle…

On Sunday, October 14 Sojourn suffered significant water damage when our sprinkler system was inadvertently activated by one of the residents. The resulting damage has forced us to close half of the client bedrooms, the kitchen, the pantry and the dining room.

We have managed to set up temporary sleeping quarters for all of the residents and are currently working to establish our conference room as a temporary kitchen equipped with refrigerators, toasters and microwave ovens. We need your help as we work to feed our clients throughout the demolition and repair period.

We currently have 4 pressing needs: 1) paper products including plates, cups, bowls and silverware; 2) microwave meals; 3) cold food items such as cereal, granola bars, sandwich makings, etc.; and 4) cleaning items. With 27 clients currently in shelter we are working to provide approximately 425 meals per week. These meals can only be prepared using either a toaster or microwave. It is estimated that the repairs will take between 3 and 5 weeks.

Please contact us at or (or call us at 217-726-5100 ext. 211 or 209) and let us know if your family, business or place of worship is able to help us with any the following meals or needs. Any support you can provide is greatly needed and appreciated. Please pass this e-mail along to anyone who can help!

* 12:54 pm - Lee jumps into the Weller replacement race. From a press release…

Former White House official and community leader Jimmy Lee has
announced his candidacy to succeed retiring Congressman Jerry Weller.

Recently, Lee returned to Illinois, from Washington, DC, where he served as Executive Director of the White House Initiative for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Having a vast amount of experience in community development, business, and public policy, Lee felt that his background would be essential in keeping the 11th District in the Republican column.

* 1:02 pm - From Mark Pera’s campaign…

Democratic Congressional candidate Mark Pera on Tuesday called upon Congressman Dan Lipinski to direct his staff to return to donors or contribute to charity the payments they received from a state political campaign fund controlled by Lipinski’s father — former Congressman and federal lobbyist William Lipinski.

According to the Daily Southtown (10/21 & 10/14) and the Chicago Sun-Times (10/07), Congressman Dan Lipinski’s chief of staff and director of communications collected $13,500 in consulting fees from the “All-American Eagles” fund — a state political campaign fund — during 2006 and 2007.

Making matters worse is the fact that William Lipinski misrepresented the fund as one that benefits charitable causes in a solicitation letter that was sent out in August (see attached).

Pera said the newspaper reports raise some troubling questions.

“Why are members of Congressman Dan Lipinski’s staff receiving income from his father — a lobbyist at both the state and federal levels? If Congressman Lipinski wasn’t aware of this relationship, he should have been. If he was, then why didn’t he move to end it?” Pera said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   77 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY (Part 2) - Cavaletto; Kotowski; Tracks (use all caps in password)

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Sen. Ronen makes announcement *** Updated x3 ***

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007

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Question of the day

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007

* The setup

Billionaire investor Sam Zell told a group of newspaper executives Monday that the industry’s woes result partly from complacency in responding too slowly to rapid change in the business, comparing it to Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

Zell, who will become a major player in the industry when an $8.2-billion buyout of Tribune Co. that he led closes, said newspapers must become more disciplined and focused and do a better job selling their product.

“I think the newspaper industry has stood there and watched while other media enterprises have taken our bacon and run with it,” he told the annual meeting of the Inland Press Assn., a newspaper trade group representing about 1,200 papers in all 50 states. “It’s too much complacency.”

He cited the rise of the Internet, the cross-selling of different forms of media and the advent of 24-hour news channels as serious challenges that newspapers have not met well.

The industry as a whole, Zell said, has been “standing there and letting this happen while Rome is burning.”

Question: What one suggestion would you offer to help the newspaper industry get back on its feet?

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      

Here comes the Kingfish

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007

* Gov. Blagojevich’s own state Rep., John Fritchey, compares our top office-holder to Huey Long

While there were some invocations of Long brought up by people following Gov. Blagojevich’s class-dividing budget address last year, I’m not sure that anybody has really thought about the extent of the similarities. Or if they have, I may have missed it.

* Fritchey offers up these items about the former Louisiana governor, with his own comments in parentheses…

In 1929, Long called a special session of both houses of the legislature to enact a new corporate tax, in order to help fund his social programs. The bill met with a storm of opposition. (can you say GRT?)

Denying that his program was socialistic, Long stated that his ideological inspiration for the plan came from the Bible. (where have we heard this recently?)

Long became ruthless when dealing with his enemies, firing their relatives from state jobs and supporting candidates to defeat them in elections.

* Here’s the big difference that Fritchey doesn’t mention: Love him or hate him, Huey Long was generally a success. He got things done. He was a builder. His means had actual ends. Yes, he was ruthless, dictatorial and maniacally self-obsessed, but after he was gone his supporters could point to real progress. Blagojevich may have the same schtick, but he hasn’t yet been able to close the deal.

Still, I’d take an ineffective Long wannabe like Blagojevich over an actual Huey Long any day. I don’t want to have to start my car with a broom handle every morning.

Does Blagojevich remind you of any other historical figures?

- Posted by Rich Miller   71 Comments      

What’s up with Hastert? Plus: Morgenthaler; Lipinski

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007

* I’m been wondering what the method behind this back and forth really is all about

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert is denying recent reports that he plans to resign before his term ends 15 months from now.

During a morning interview on WLS Radio’s “The Don and Roma Morning Show,” the Illinois Republican dismissed the reports, saying “rumor of my demise is greatly exaggerated.”

Hastert says he isn’t sure how long he will continue to serve in Congress. But he says he’s always planned to stay as long as he can get things done, and Hastert cited the energy bill he’s promoting as 1 of the things he hopes to accomplish.

He’s out. He’s in. He’s out. He’s in. This has been going on for weeks.

From what I gather, Hastert was ready to announce his resignation last week, but was very upset after House Minority Leader John Boehner leaked it to the press. Hastert had apparently told Boehner about his plans in the strictest of confidence, and was angry when Boehner flapped his gums.

“I think he just wants to go on his own terms,” said one person close to the situation. “He felt like he was being pushed.”

* Meanwhile, the Daily Herald has finally gotten around to covering Jill Morgenthaler’s congressional bid

Retired U.S. Army Reserve Col. Jill Morgenthaler of Des Plaines is expected to announce soon whether she’ll take the plunge and numerous political insiders predict her answer will be “yes.”

“She’s taking all the steps needed to prepare for a run,” said a campaign spokesman. “We will be making an announcement this week.” […]

Addison Township Democratic Chairman Art Remus believes Morgenthaler has “a very good chance. The way she speaks commands attention,” he said.

But Democratic organizer Bob Peickert, who heads the Operation Turn DuPage Blue group, said it’s early in the game to pick a candidate.

“We’re in the process of finding out where she stands on the issues,” he said.

* Netroots activists appear to be holding their opinions in check until they see how Morgenthaler deals with her past flacking for the US Army about the Abu Ghraib torture scandals…

Democrats hope that they can put Roskam on the defensive in this Democratic-trending district, but it remains to be seen whether Morgenthaler has the right profile to inspire local activists. She was at the center of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal as an army spokeswoman, and a Web journal that she had during her time in Iraq features a good deal of criticism of the media for what she perceived as negative coverage of the war.

One such nugget from her journal: “As people get upset about Abu Ghraib, one thing that should never be forgotten: these are men who have murdered Americans and would continue to murder Americans if given the opportunity.”

* Speaking of the Netroots, the Tribune ran a piece yesterday about all the online huffing and puffing over Congressman Dan Lipinski…

Frustrated with Democrats’ failure to thwart Bush on Iraq and other issues after winning House and Senate control in 2006, Internet activists deride Lipinski and about 40 other Democratic members of Congress as “Bush Dogs” for their votes on the war and warrantless wiretapping. The activists have targeted those lawmakers with attack ads, scathing blog posts and, in Lipinski’s case, financial help for his primary foe. Pera, a Cook County assistant state’s attorney, outraised Lipinski last quarter, a rarity for a challenger, thanks in part to the $30,000 he raised online over a recent two-week period.

Democratic bloggers say they’re prodding Lipinski and other “Bush Dogs” to support key party principles. Lipinski and other aisle-crossing members of Congress worry the bloggers are trying to drive bipartisanship off Capitol Hill.

Some of that story is way off the mark, but that’s par for the course with a traditional MSM outlet like the Trib. Still, considering Little Lip’s old-style ward and township support, the blog onslought so far appears to be more of a harassment action than a true threat.

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      

Morning shorts

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007

* Illinois hopes to sell debt-ridden Collinsville hotel; more here and here

“Let’s not kid ourselves. This hotel was built on false promises,” said Giannoulias, calling the loans to developers Gary Fears and B.C. Gitcho a “sweetheart deal that never should have been made.”

Though the original debt stood at $13.4 million, the project fell behind almost immediately. Fears and Gitcho continued to renegotiate their financing and eventually won provisions that required them to pay only if they made a profit.

Their last payment was made in 1998, according to state records. Officials have said they believe that poor, and perhaps criminal, management led to the ballooning debt.

* Madigan drops Pepmeyer case - Attorney general won’t pursue charges, but federal harassment suit pending

* CTA reminds commuters of impending ‘doomsday cuts’

* Pace cuts coming

Senate Bill 572, which failed in the House, could save Pace from the cuts. It would triple the existing sales tax of 0.25 percent that supports mass transit in Will County and other suburban areas. But due to Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s resistance to sales tax increases, this is not likely.

In four years, $100 million has been transferred from federal capital funds to Pace operations. For 2008, Pace has decided instead to repair and replace transit vehicles and put $2.5 million into operations.

* Editorial: Chicago casino shouldn’t get special break

Daley has every right to seek the best deal for his city, but waiving the license fee is not in the best interests of the rest of the state. If Chicago’s fee is waived, then the other two casino sites are likely to ask that their fees get waived also. That would be $1.2 billion kept from the state treasury and might mean the capital plan would have to be scaled back.

After five years, the state can’t afford to wait or to approve a lesser plan.

* Editorial: Self-exclusion plan for lottery will help state, not gamblers

* City homeowners tax break is fleeting

The biggest difference between the old and new laws is the amount of homeowners exemption granted.

Although it is called a tax “cap,” the recently renewed 7 percent law is really an expanded homeowners exemption. It strives to limit the annual growth in a home’s value for tax purposes by increasing the exemption by a corresponding amount. The tax-increase protection, however, has a limit.

The old law allowed a maximum exemption of $20,000 each year for three years. The new law provides $33,000 of such protection in the first year but only $26,000 worth the second year and $20,000 in the third and final year.

County Assessor James Houlihan estimated Monday that next year, slightly more than half of Chicago homeowners will see their bills increase up to $200. An additional 16 percent of homeowners will see their tax bills jump by $200 to $500, while the remaining one-third of homeowners will get tax bills of between $500 and $1,000 more.

* Chicago property tax bills to be lower this year, then jump up in 2008

That’s because of a state battle over just how much relief homeowners should get in coming years. Once the Legislature agreed on a 7-percent cap plan, the County Board met Monday to approve it…

Assessor James Houlihan’s office said about 74 percent of Chicago homeowners will see a decrease of $1 to $250 this year. But unfortunately, they will see increases in that same range next year

* Editorial: A future in Ag for suburban teens?

But maybe they should. As a Daily Herald report on Monday noted, opportunities in agricultural careers abound, and some suburban students are beginning to take note.

In fact, a study done by the Illinois Leadership Council for Agriculture Education found that about two-thirds of the state’s high school students enrolled in agriculture classes last year live in either a city or suburb.

This unexpected interest on the part of suburban and city young people is a positive development because many agricultural jobs are being created — more than can filled by the dwindling number of young people who grow up on family farms.

* College costs rise faster than inflation

The average cost to attend one of Illinois’ private colleges this academic year is $23,613, up 7 percent from last year, according to the College Board.

Federal student aid for low-income students, meanwhile, covers a smaller percentage of college costs than it did a decade ago, according to the College Board’s annual reports on trends in college pricing and student aid.

* NY Times: Obama Criticized Over Singer

* State board OKs Edward Hospital cancer center in Plainfield

* Many examples of guards napping at Chicago’s water filtration plants

Honor Guard was hired to provide security for several city departments, including Water Management, after submitting the low bid. That’s even though Water Management officials ranked the company dead last among finalists. The $13.3 million contract is now being re-bid.

* Stroger a no show at key meeting on taxes

* Chicago Public Radio: Commissioners sour on tax hike ’sweetener’

* Officials: Chicago in not lagging in it Olympic bid campaign

* Chicago libraries need tax hike to avoid service cuts

* Opinion: Proposed cuts in energy could have chilling effect

Even in tiny DuPage County, an estimated 9,500 households will need help paying their heating bills this winter. They and others throughout the suburbs could be affected in 2008.

“DuPage County has a lot of working poor and fixed-income seniors,” says Brian Kuglich, the county’s community services manager, who oversees the heating assistance funds through DuPage County. “Seniors will sit in 55-degree homes and pay their utilities bills and won’t buy medicine or food.”

- Posted by Paul Richardson   3 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s Capitol Fax (Use all caps in password)

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007

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And the winners are…

Monday, Oct 22, 2007

I decided to pick the top three vote-getters in our “Illinois Pledge of allegiance” contest. I’ll be designing t-shirts soon. Any help would be appreciated.

The winners need to contact me so I can send their free shirts to them. Here they are…

* “The Curmudgeon”

I pledge allegiance to Illinoize
To the good old girls and the good old boys
Who run this State for a favored few,
And to their family members
Who will succeed them:
I pledge my wallet and my vote,
I pledge my car, I pledge my boat,
I pledge the Cubs’ famed Billy Goat.
I pledge to pay and pay and then
I pledge to pay and pay again.

* “train111″

I pledge allegiance to the Illinois flag
and to the politicians that top dollar can buy
To the corruption for which it stands
One cesspool
in the heartland
With favors and payouts for the few.

* “Poli-Sci Geek”

I pledge allegiance,
to the flag of the great state of illinois,
cuz some guy sent me,
to work this ward,
for some guy I don’t know,
so I might, someday, get a job.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, Oct 22, 2007

* First, the setup

Should a 10-month-old toddler, barely able to get around on two feet, be permitted to get a Firearm Owner Identification Card?

That was one of the questions raised last spring in several columns written by Howard Ludwig, the Daily Southtown’s Stay-at-Home Dad columnist. Ludwig applied for and eventually acquired a FOID card on behalf of his 10-month-old son, Howard Jr. - Bubba to his closest friends and readers of his father’s weekly column. […]

A spokesman for the state police said the proposed age limit was based on Illinois Department of Natural Resources guidelines that already require children under 10 to be accompanied by a parent or guardian when they attend gun safety classes.

It has yet to be determined whether the change would require a revision in state law or can be made as an administrative rule change. In any case, the Illinois State Rifle Association objects to any age limit, in part because the ISRA likes to start gun safety training when children are as young as 7. In our view, that objection is absurd. You can teach kids about gun safety without actually putting guns their hands. No one would argue you need real sex to teach sex education. The same applies to gun safety education.

The idea a toddler should be entitled to a firearm owners identification card also is absurd, in our view. There’s no reason for a 10-year-old to have such a card.

They should not be available until a youngster reaches a responsible age - perhaps 16, perhaps 18. Anyone under that age should not be permitted to possess a gun except in the presence of a parent or responsible adult with a valid FOID.

Question: At what age should children be allowed to legally own firearms in Illinois (in other words, obtain a FOID card)? Explain, please.

…Adding… There is some misinformation in comments by a couple of people. The law has a clear exemption for minors from the FOID card requirements. Under “exemptions” in the FOID law

The provisions of this Section regarding the possession of firearms, firearm ammunition, stun guns, and tasers do not apply to

Unemancipated minors while in the custody and immediate control of their parent or legal guardian or other person in loco parentis to the minor if the parent or legal guardian or other person in loco parentis to the minor has a currently valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card

[Emphasis added]

- Posted by Rich Miller   98 Comments      

The never-ending mess, Part 9,287

Monday, Oct 22, 2007

* There are no definite plans yet on when the General Assembly is coming back to Springfield, according to the Post-Dispatch. I’m hearing the House may return on November 1st, but that’s not certain yet….

“People have lives to live. This whole five or six months we’ve spent with people being yanked around like yo-yos is kind of ignorant and disrespectful, so we’ll try to avoid that going forward,” said [Speaker Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown].

With budget issues still unresolved and Chicago-area transit systems insisting they need a state bailout by Nov. 4, it is expected the Legislature will be back before the end of the year.

But Brown said it makes no sense for the House to return until an agreement is reached by negotiators on a mass transit bailout.

Madigan believes it is up to House Minority Leader Tom Cross of Oswego to negotiate a deal with Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Some Republican votes are needed for the bailout because the measure needs a supermajority to take immediate effect.

But Republicans say the bailout and a proposed statewide construction plan must be tied together.

* Cross’ mass transit proposal may be unveiled soon, and it could include fare increases

Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross says he expects a possible funding solution will be introduced early this week

CROSS: We think it’s one that members of the general assembly can vote for and the bottle line is that it doesn’t raise taxes. And that’s what we need to do. We’ve got to come up with some solution that doesn’t raise taxes. People are getting sick and tired of every time they turn around—another tax increase. So we feel like we have to find a different alternative.

Cross says it’s not unreasonable for the CTA to raise fares since gasoline prices have also gone up. The CTA will cut nearly 40 bus routes and increase fares if it doesn’t receive additional funding by November 4.

* Rep. Julie Hamos points out the shortcomings in the capital projects bill that passed the Senate not long ago…

* The capital budget bill that the Senate recently passed contains 10 times more funding for roads over mass transit than the last capital bond program passed in 1999.

* “The capital bond program passed by the Illinois Senate in SB 1110 is totally inadequate to replace broken-down buses, or fix the CTA “slow zones”, or allow Illinois to compete for federal transit expansion dollars — even if SB 572 is passed for transit operating budgets.”

* Cross was set to propose a gaming proposal as well, but that may have been put off for a bit. Finke touches on something that I went over last week in the Capitol Fax…

[A gaming expansion] bill will almost certainly call for at least one new casino in Illinois and allow all of the existing riverboats to expand their operations. What’s the big deal? Just that in 2005, the House voted 67-42 to get rid of riverboat gambling. Not limit expansion, get rid of it altogether.

Yeah, it was a symbolic vote related to other budget issues going on at the time. It had no chance of passing the Senate, so there was no danger that the state would lose its gambling cash cow. Still, 56 current members of the House are on record as voting to eliminate riverboat gambling.

Don’t think that old vote will be ignored. The anti-gambling Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems is distributing copies of the roll call. ILCAAAP is also distributing copies of its candidate survey from last year’s election. Thirty-one House members responded, and most of them said they oppose new casinos. Most of them also said they oppose slot machines at horse-racing tracks, another idea being floated.

It’s a good bet that at least some of these people will be changing their tunes if an expansion bill tied to capital comes along. That’s when we’ll see some real fancy footwork.

* More stuff, compiled by Paul…

* Rich Miller: Legislative session brings out a different side of Dan Hynes

* Schoenburg: Can’t predict what the future holds with Blagojevich

* Editorial: Time to send in replacement leaders?

* Rep. Eddy not surprised by 900 failing schools

* Country Club Hills Mayor upbeat about casino odds

* Editorial: Lottery limit not a real cure for gamblers

* McQueary: Charity is the new way to reach politicians

* Erickson: Topinka racks up campaign fund violations in run for Governor; and other statehouse news

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Two views of silence law and a waiver request

Monday, Oct 22, 2007

Two very different takes from newspaper editorials about the state’s new “moment of silence” law…

* Bloomington Pantagraph, which appears to have actually read the bill

You would think teachers and school administrators would relish a moment or two of silence in a building of boisterous children.

But some educators are apparently perplexed by the “brief period of silence” that they are required to have with their students at the start of each school day.

The silence became required after lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto of a bill that changed its observation from optional to mandatory.

In vetoing the bill, Gov. Rod Blagojevich said he and his wife are teaching their children to “pray because they want to pray - not because they are required to.”

But nothing in the bill requires anyone to pray.

The law states, “This period shall not be conducted as a religious exercise but shall be an opportunity for silent prayer or for silent reflection on the anticipated activities of the day.”

* SJ-R, which emphasizes the title…

The First Amendment of the Constitution establishes explicitly that government won’t force any religion on any citizen. And it guarantees the government won’t interfere in any citizen’s practice of his or her religion.

While the First Amendment generally is most closely associated with free speech, the protection it affords both in favor of religious choice for all citizens and against religious meddling by government are no less significant.

Given this country’s long history of carefully demarcating government and religion, the Illinois General Assembly’s decision last week to force a symbolic moment of silence on every public school student in Illinois is genuinely puzzling. It would be infuriating, too, had it not so quickly become a joke to many students and a petty nuisance for school administrators.

After the country’s founders fought a war with England to protect religion from government, lawmakers in Illinois found a way to sneak it in. Sure, the new call calls for a “moment of silence,” not a daily prayer. But the bill also bore the title the Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act. Who are we kidding here?

Not noted in the SJ-R editorial is that the law with that very same title has been on the books for years. The only thing changed was “may” to “shall.”

* Meanwhile, Sen. Schoenberg wants one of his school districts to apply for a waiver from any administrative rules mandating the moment…

State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, an Evanston Democrat, has written a letter to officials at Evanston/Skokie School District 65 urging them to seek a formal waiver of the new state law requiring that their teachers begin each classroom day with a “brief period of silence.” […]

Schoenberg pledged his support for any effort to petition the Illinois State Board of Education for a waiver of a requirement that his letter calls “onerous…troubling…(and) coercive.” Such requests are somewhat routine — more than 4,000 have been granted since 1995 […]

But if certain schools decide to try to opt out — the District 65 board will take up Schoenberg’s request at the regularly scheduled meeting Nov. 5, according to the schools’ communications manager Pat Markham — will the majority of lawmakers who backed the mandatory silence and overrode Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s veto go the extra step of compelling an unwilling school district to perform this daily ritual?

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      

Minorities upset about cut of the pie

Monday, Oct 22, 2007

* The Illinois Association of Minorities in Government has a new study which claims minorities are underrepresented in the state government’s work force…

…(M)ost minorities who do have state jobs are clustered in a handful of agencies that often serve low-income residents, according to the study, which was compiled from data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, the Secretary of State’s Index Department and other resources. […]

In 2006, the latest full year where figures are available, minorities comprised about 27 percent of the 70,513 state employees, the report states. While 20 percent of state employees were African-American - a figure higher than the 15 percent of the state’s population - only 5 percent were Hispanic, compared with 15 percent of Illinoisans. […]

One-third of the 19,463 minority employees worked at the Department of Human Services, which provides help for low-income Illinoisans or other at-risk populations.

About 12 percent worked in Corrections, 8 percent in Children and Family Services and 4 percent for the Department of Transportation. Three percent work for the Secretary of State’s office, which is headed by Jesse White, an African-American who is the only minority statewide constitutional officer. Those five agencies employ 62 percent of state government’s minority workers, the study shows.

* Meanwhile, in Chicago

The gravy train of contracts tied to Mayor Daley’s massive O’Hare Airport runway expansion project has left the station — and African Americans are being left behind, aldermen complained Friday.

Black aldermen unloaded on Rosemarie Andolino, executive director of the O’Hare Modernization Project, after learning that only 8 percent — or $96 million of the $1.2 billion in contracts awarded so far — has gone to African Americans.

That’s compared with 69 percent or $838.7 million for whites, $214 million or 17 percent for Hispanics and $60.4 million or 5 percent for Asian Americans.

Of the 20 construction contracts advertised so far, not one black firm bid to become a general contractor.

For years, black aldermen have railed about the 9 percent share of overall city spending going to African Americans. They were furious that the O’Hare project was even worse — even though city officials said they have done everything they could to recruit minority companies.


- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

Morning shorts

Monday, Oct 22, 2007

* LaHood’s take on his potential replacements

* Carol Marin: Splitting headache for North Shore Dems in Congressional race

* City crime down for first nine months of the year

* Buyout could save $30 million in Cook Co. salaries

* Editorial: Stroger makes bad tax proposal worse

* No complaints filed against McHenry Co. GOP chair

At a fundraiser Thursday, party Chairman Bill LeFew told supporters that he would resign within 60 days. He said that was because a pending investigation into State’s Attorney Louis Bianchi would force him to choose between his position as county treasurer and Republican chairman.

A letter was sent Thursday to both the attorney general’s office and the Chicago Crime Commission, calling for an investigation into Bianchi, LeFew said. He declined to say who sent the letter. Officials from the Chicago Crime Commission, which generally investigates mob activity, declined to comment Friday.

* Candidates considered for McHenry Co. Republican chairman

* Tribune Editorial: Plagiarism with an asterisk

* Editorial: Perfume applied to a pig

But those “incorrect practices,” 25 of them in a 110-page paper, ought to be allowed to be fixed and SIU President Glenn Poshard should be able complete a new dissertation, the panel said. And the old document should be removed from the SIU Library and replaced with the “corrected” version.

In other words, Poshard gets a big, fat do-over, history is rewritten and the president of the university is given an extraordinary break from a group with an obvious conflict of interest that no one else would get.

And Southern Illinois University’s already diminished academic reputation takes another hit.

* Alice Armstrong: Maybe Glenn Poshard is really a genius

* Clout City: In or Out Congressman Jackson?

It’s just too bad you didn’t have enough commitment to this idea to step up and run your own campaign for mayor.

Look, don’t get too full of yourself: I’m not saying people see you as a savior. I’m not denying that lots of people can’t stand you simply because you have the name Jesse Jackson. I’m not saying you or anyone could get into position to beat Daley in an election.

But I do think that there’s a pretty good chance that if you stopped waffling and started to consistently show that you’re in this fight, you’d win a lot of respect and support. People might even decide they like you a little.

* Chicagoans protests potential tax hikes

* Aldermen to ask judge to release cops’ names accused of excessive force; more here

* Illinois law to protect student media, free speech

* Restructuring today press release: Is Illinois energy marker really open for business?

* State invests $10 million to make Illinois coal more competitive

- Posted by Paul Richardson   8 Comments      

* More shenanigans!
* Saturday campaign money report
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Shenanigans!
* Tribune drops bombshell on Biss running mate
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Rauner: "Madigan has rigged the Democratic primary for Pritzker"
* New Ives radio ad claims Democrats are trying to help Rauner, while Brady does Rauner robocall
* *** UPDATED x1 - DGA responds *** Elections board says DGA should file disclosure for Ives ad
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Jones; IEA/IFT; Reis; Mitchell; Edgar
* ISRA, Drury both try to claim Raoul inserted "poison pill" into gun bill
* Pro-life group launches GOTV effort for Lipinski
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner opens new online track against Ives
* Erika Harold still can't remember comments, but says "I was wrong"
* Rauner calls Madigan "a unified force of bad, of evil"
* Sen. Duckworth gets involved in another state central committee race
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Has Pritzker gone to ground?
* Illinois House Bill HB 4900 Wastes Government Resources
* McCann, barred from SGOP caucus meeting, claims Rauner threatened to "destroy you and your family"
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Caption contest!
* Obama mailer kerfuffle in Lipinski district
* Rauner attended Quincy campaign event after Quincy veterans' home presser
* After spending millions in Dem primary, Rauner accuses "Washington liberals" of "hijacking" the GOP primary
* Yesterday's stories

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» A Feisty Debate, Offshore Accounts — And Some Side-Eye
» WBEZ’s Chicago and Illinois News Roundup: March 16, 2018
» The Week in Review: Pritzker Slammed Over Offshore Holdings
» Web Extra, The Week in Review: American Airlines Changes Stance
» How Parking Ticket Debt Punishes Black Drivers In Chicago; The Best Illinois Movies
» State Week: Rauner's Gun Veto; Dem's Mean Debate
» #642 Songs About the Music Industry & Antibalas
» March 15, 2018 - Full Show
» Illinois Has Issues: Gov Candidates Talk Marijuana
» Rauner: Replace Legionnaires’-Stricken VA Home With New ‘Ultra-Modern’ Facility

* As primaries loom, downstate Democrats look for a way back
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* February Flooding Information
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