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Chicago Police Supt. wants Chevy Tahoes for officers

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008

* This article caught my eye today:

At a Chicago Crime Commission luncheon held in his honor Wednesday, Weis said he would like to update the department’s “horrible” fleet of squad cars in answer to a question about how he might help patrol officers on the street.

With Chicago’s rugged winters, a sport-utility vehicle might make more sense than the traditional Ford Crown Victoria, he said.

If Chicago police switched from the Crown Vic to an SUV, some might question the cost, maneuverability and environmental consequences of such a fleet, especially in light of the Mayor’s push to make the city green.

But some smaller cities, such as Plano, Texas, have moved toward SUV fleets, citing higher resale value and more room for police gear.

* The first thought that jumped into my mind was what about the fuel efficiency of the cars, and the added tax burden? Then I read this:

And an extensive annual test of police vehicles conducted by Michigan State Police and reported in Law and Order magazine in November showed that the police-package Chevrolet Tahoe actually “accelerates, brakes and corners like most police sedans” and has a fuel efficiency estimated to be the same as that of the Crown Victoria.

However, it turns out that the fuel efficiency is an abysmal 11 miles per gallon. Wow. Okay, how about we replace the Crown Vics, but with a more fuel efficient car?

Chevy Tahoe

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   42 Comments      


Question of the Day

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008

* Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica announced today that he will advance a resolution at the April 9, 2008 County Board meeting that provides for a November 2008 ballot referendum calling on the Illinois General Assembly to rescind home rule for Cook County:

“Cook County is the only Illinois county with home rule authority – and that authority has been abused by political insiders who continue to enact oppressive taxes on the county taxpayers,” said Peraica. “Home rule allows a governing board like the Cook County Board of Commissioners to vote to raise taxes without seeking voter approval. I believe that Cook County has abused the home rule powers granted by the 1970 Illinois Constitution, and that Cook County’s home rule powers should be repealed.”

Rescinding Cook County’s home rule authority would require voter approval for future tax increases.

Question:Is this a good idea?

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   27 Comments      


U of I approves tuition increase

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008

* On Monday I wrote a post on how U of I was considering raising its tuition at two campuses by 8%.

Well I was wrong. Yesterday they ended up approving a 9.5 % increase for the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

For the first time, new undergrads this fall will have to shell out more than $20,000 to attend the state’s flagship university. With the minimum cost to attend the school jumping past $20,000, families are going to react with sticker shock, some experts said:

“What you are going to see is more and more people are going to start getting more and more panicked about these things,” said John Immerwahr, a senior research fellow at Public Agenda who has studied public opinion about higher education.

* Joseph White, University of Illinois president, said “Quality education costs. There is no way around that.The $20,000 total cost of attendance at a top university like the University of Illinois is a very good value when you think the equivalent number at top privates is more than twice that.”

However, this decision comes at a time when elite private universities are guaranteeing that students from lower- and middle-income families will graduate with little or no debt. That sounds like a better bargain to me.

Many other Illinois residents are pondering the same question:

High school counselor Amy Thompson, whose daughter is a high school freshman, said she thinks that as prices continue to rise, students will turn to less-expensive community colleges for two years before transferring to a four-year institution.

“It just starts to get so ridiculously expensive that you start to think, ‘How are we going to do this?’ ” Thompson said. “I think more people will question whether it is worthwhile to do it right away.”

Thompson said her husband was shocked when he heard that U. of I.’s total cost will break the $20,000 mark. “He said, ‘We could just send them to Harvard. What’s the difference?’ ”

* At the University of Illinois at Chicago, fixed-rate tuition will also increase by 9.5 percent. Fees will be an additional $2,384 a year. At the Springfield campus, tuition will be $7,215 for 30 credit hours while fees will be $1,398 a year. The tuition increases at the three campuses will add about $46.5 million to the university’s budget, officials said

I spoke with a former university official, and they said that residents should keep in mind that the trustees have to keep enacting these increases because of the locked rate on tuition for students. They claim that inflation is around 3% each year, and the university has to keep pace.

Well I’ve heard it before on this blog, and I’ll echo it again. Maybe some should wake up the bureaucratic fiefdom that exists at U of I, and take aim at that. It’s time to start making some cuts, rather than to pass the burden on to Illinoisans.

U of I now ranks only second to Penn State as the leader in tuition rates within the Big Ten. Conversely, Ohio State costs $16,848, Indiana $15,311, and Wisconsin $13,835. How do they manage?

* Discuss

Other links:

* U. of I. freshmen to pay over $20,000
* U of I trustees approve tuition increase
* University of Illinois raises tuition again
* U of I will hike tuition at its three campuses

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   27 Comments      


White not interested in Senate seat

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008

* For all the speculators out there you can finally put this one to rest. Secretary of State Jesse White said he plans to seek one more term in office and denied Wednesday that he’s interested in a U.S. Senate spot if presidential hopeful Barack Obama were to win:

“There has been speculation that I would be considered the heir apparent to Barack Obama if he became successful in becoming our next president,” he said in an interview. “When I came on board in 1998, when I was running for this office, I indicated that I was going to run for this office and this office only.”

* While previous holders of the position, such as Jim Edgar and George Ryan, have used the post as a launch pad for other positions, White claimed that he has no intention of seeking higher office:

“I believe when you take on a job, you take on the responsibility that goes on with it,” he said. “I’m a former military man … When I have a duty, or commitment or mission, I’m going to see it from its beginning to its conclusion.”

Furthermore, the secretary gave his two cents for who would be likely to fill the vacancy:

“Probably the person who has campaigned the hardest for that position is Comptroller Dan Hynes,” White said. Obama beat Hynes in 2004 for the Democratic Party nomination for U.S. Senate.

Carol Knowles, a spokeswoman for the comptroller, said Hynes was currently focused on the state’s fiscal issues and helping Obama’s presidential run.

While Jesse White expects to run again for secretary of state, there’s no clear opposition yet and Sen. Dan Rutherford said it’s too early to discuss another run.

* White also said he would not support lowering the drinking age, an issue currently being debated in other states like Missouri and Wisconsin:

“I could not support (lowering the drinking age) because I want to keep the roads of Illinois as safe as ever,” White said. “The greatest cause of loss of life for our young drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 is automobile crashes. I think if you lower the (drinking) age, those numbers will come off the chart.”

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   14 Comments      


BREAKING NEWS: Radio Legend Wally Phillips dies at 82

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008

* Wally Phillips, one of Chicago’s most popular and influential radio personalities of all time, has died this morning.

Phillips had been battling Alzheimer¹s disease since 2004. He died at his home in Naples, Florida, at the age of 82.

At the peak of his popularity at WGN Phillips attracted half of all Chicago area radio listeners, an audience of nearly 1.5 million each day, making him the most listened-to radio host in the country:

“When we say ‘WGN Radio is Chicago,’ I quickly add that ‘Wally Phillips is WGN,’” said Wayne Vriesman, vice president and general manager of the Tribune-owned station. “He is the most creative, humorous and innovative person I have ever met in broadcasting. . . . (with) a lifetime of great radio listening and a public service never equaled in broadcasting.”

* My condolences to the Phillips family. Wally will surely be missed.

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   Comments Off      


Morning Shorts

Thursday, Mar 27, 2008

* Downtown CTA stop to get $67 mil. facelift

* Court fight threatened over Children’s Museum

Mayor Daley has the 26 votes he needs to win City Council approval of a new, $100 million Children’s Museum in Grant Park, according to influential aldermen, but opponents are threatening a protracted court fight to block construction.

* Under the pressure, it finally cracks

Motorola Inc. intends to reinvigorate its floundering business by spinning itself off into two separate companies while still maintaining its suburban and Chicago operations, the company announced Wednesday.

* Elk Grove Village officials lament apparent Chicago victory in O’Hare land game

* County will lobby for its portion of capital bill

* Michael Jordan’s ex-lover stymied by Illinois Supreme Court

The Illinois Supreme Court declined on Wednesday to hear an appeal in the long-running legal dispute between Michael Jordan and a former lover who claims the retired superstar promised her $5 million.

* Longtime judge was known for his integrity

* ‘Earth Hour’ campaign will dim lights on Chicago landmarks

* State begins assessing flood damage in 19 counties

* Union files charge against school

Illinois’ largest teacher’s union has filed a charge against the Cambridge Lakes Charter School for a Feb. 25 meeting at which the union claims the school violated teachers’ right to organize.

* Legislator pushes bill to help Fairmount

* Proposed bill for state buildings to go green

Representative Mike Boland’s law would require new state offices and buildings constructed with 40 % of state money, to be built with energy-efficiency in mind.

* Rutherford pushing for recall amendment

* Bill would extend child-porn reporting requirement to computer techs

* One degree of Stuart Levine

* 2nd Blago fundraiser to go to trial

Today a federal judge set a trial date for Chris Kelly, former fund-raiser to Gov. Blagojevich.
Kelly’s trial is set for Nov. 10.

* State gets bids for Collinsville hotel

* SIUC coal plant study details to be discussed

* Political consultant convicted of perjury

* Ozinga prepares for election

* Green candidate gets into race to succeed Rep. LaHood

* Keyes bolts GOP; announces yet another presidential bid

* Meghan McCain has offbeat campaign blog

- Posted by Kevin Fanning   7 Comments      


« NEWER POSTS PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Empty threat? Or does somebody know something we don't?
* A couple of quick debate clips
* Supremes side with hospitals on property taxes
* Report: IEPA stonewalls AG until HGOP leader steps in
* A TIF primer
* Raoul's new ad blasts Harold over abortion rights
* Debate coverage roundup
* Question of the day
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