* This is not a problem for me…
Asked Thursday whether parents who stood in long lines trying to buy their kids tickets to the Dec. 8 “Hannah Montana” concert at the Allstate Arena should be upset that he and his daughters ended up with free tickets and a backstage visit — all courtesy of his buddy, state Sen. James DeLeo — Gov. Blagojevich said:
“I have two daughters and being a good dad is a heck of a lot more important to me than being a good politician. And when my little girls ask their dad how to find a way to get them to see Hannah Montana, I do everything I can to get them to see Hannah Montana. […]
“I got tickets the way a lot of people get tickets: You call a friend and say, ‘Hey, can you find some tickets?’ In that particular case, Sen. DeLeo did. I said, ‘How much do I owe you for the tickets?’ He said, ‘Don’t worry about it. You can get dinner next time.’ That’s what friends do.”
I know that some parents may be furious that he was able to score good seats while they got frozen out. But, I don’t have much sympathy. Regardless of his standing in the polls, he is the governor and he had a legit reason. Plus, he didn’t directly clout his way to the show. He asked a friend to help score some tickets and his friend (who has a longstanding relationship with the Rosemont folks) complied.
I did have a big problem when then Gov. George Ryan and a big entourage snagged a ton of tickets to see the Rolling Stones play a small venue in Chicago. It’s not like George was a huge Stones fan or anything.
* Overall, this isn’t a problem for me, either, but there are exceptions…
When tickets to the Rose Bowl went on sale to the public, they sold out in half an hour.
But a bevy of public officials and donors who hold the University of Illinois’ purse strings managed to get to the head of the line, and trustees — including Gov. Rod Blagojevich — didn’t have to pay a penny for seats at the hottest game of the year for the state’s football fans.
Administrators made sure there were tickets for Senate President Emil Jones (4), House Minority Leader Tom Cross (6), state Sen. Chris Lauzen (6), and 17 other public officials who paid face value. When contacted by the Tribune, Lauzen said he would rescind his request. […]
Blagojevich was offered four complimentary tickets for the game against the University of Southern California, but a spokesman said he will be staying in Illinois for a legislative session Jan. 2. But the governor’s general counsel used the connection to buy four $135 tickets through the university president’s office.
The governor’s general counsel should give those tickets back. [See the update below for explanation.]
As for the elected legislators, this is a bit of a gray area. They are VIP’s, so if other bigshot alumni are getting preferential treatment they should as well. And it appears that’s the case…
In all, the university set aside about 500 of its 26,000 tickets for use by the offices of the president, chancellor and development. Some of those were designated for purchase by major donors, lawmakers and other VIPs.
People often like to use these sorts of news events to tee off on politicians they don’t like. Try your very best to avoid that in comments today. Stick to the topic at hand. Overly zealous partisans and complete cynics will be deleted. I mean it. Don’t test me. It’s Christmas and I’m not in the mood for goofy drive-by commenters. Thanks.
*** UPDATE *** I just received the following statement from the guv’s office. Apparently, Quinlan, the governor’s chief legal counsel, didn’t score his tix as part of the governor’s deal, so I’ve changed my mind about his situation.
Bill Quinlan, an alumnus, was invited by the University of Illinois. He paid full value for the tickets, but doesn’t think he’s going to be able to go.