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Sound the Alarm***Updated x1***

Thursday, Jun 26, 2008

[Posted by Kevin Fanning]

* The Governor is continuing to gear up his PR blitz on the disastrous impact of budget cuts:

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration is escalating its public-relations blitz for more state budget money, pressing legislators directly and through the media to approve $1.5 billion in new revenue sources –- and warning that everything from Amtrak riders to AIDS patients will suffer debilitating budget cuts if they don’t.

“The House . . . (should) come back and finish what they started,’’ Deputy Gov. Bob Greenlee said today in a conference call with the Post-Dispatch editorial page. It was one of several such meetings administration officials are conducting this week around the state with newspapers, social agency heads and lawmakers themselves, in an attempt to pressure the Legislature into providing more money to the budget.

In newspaper meetings, and in an unusual mass conference call with lawmakers yesterday, Greenlee pressed House Dems to rethink their opposition to those revenue sources.

The administration has listed numerous potential cuts in areas like transit, health care, and education that he’s poised to make if the revenue sources aren’t approved early next month. And it looks like many in the media are eating it up

Joe Szabo, with the United Transportation Union, said the $28 million subsidy being threatened by Gov. Rod Blagojevich if revenue streams for the state’s FY09 budget aren’t delivered would wipe out all but the City of New Orleans train, which only arrives in Carbondale from the Louisiana city in the early hours of the morning.


All spring, the Illinois House rejected those ideas. The House then adjourned having passed plenty of new spending bills but none of the governor’s proposed revenue bills. It sent the governor a budget he claims is $2 billion out of balance. As promised, the governor this week released a list of cuts he plans to make to the budget. Unless, of course, the House changes its mind and passes all the things it rejected all spring.

THAT IS not going to happen, and that’s why we believe the only solution begins with the governor ordering the General Assembly back to Springfield for a special session.

* Rep. Washington, who participated in a conference call with other legislators and the governor’s office on Wednesday, jumped in the mix saying thats he’s leaning toward a vote on funding before the July 9 deadline:

“They’re reeling us in over Madigan’s objections,” he said. “They’re trying to weaken his leadership in the House and break the unity of the House. The speaker should really consider letting the proposal (seven bills proposed to offset the deficit) come to the floor and letting it fall or rise on its own merits.”

* However, many legislators aren’t buying it:

“I don’t think he’s capable of that,” said Righter, R-Mattoon. “He’s had six years to demonstrate he can be prudent with state money. Unfortunately, what he has done is demonstrate an eagerness to cut the budget in smaller areas that are particularly sensitive to downstate Illinois.”


“He goes after these popular programs to strike fear into people,” said state Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan. “He’s blaming the House, but we passed a barebones budget and there were even some modest increases in the barebones one.”

The question is, who blinks first in this game of chicken?

*** UPDATE *** The Governor plans on announcing a $14 million, statewide summer-jobs program today for 10,000 teens and young adults in violence-prone neighborhoods.

Steve Brown, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, quipped:

“He made the statement . . . about approving this budget would be like signing a bad check. How can a man make that statement and 48 hours later announce a new spending program?”

* It makes a doomsday scenario of deep budget cuts a little harder to swallow when you roll out a new $14 million dollar summer-jobs program for teens…


* Blagojevich in full-court press to get new funding

* If Blago cuts Amtrak, we’d have only an after-midnight train

* Blago’s Budget Cuts Would Hit All Over State

* Governor’s flip-flop on Pontiac prison closure draws skepticism

* Construction officials push to pass bill

* Odds are against using gambling revenue

* State Senator Steans Comments On Uptown Gang Violence

* Rep. Harris on Governor’s Budget Cuts

- Posted by Kevin Fanning        

  1. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:37 am:

    So, Mr. Governor - cut!
    Go ahead and cut!
    You say you will make these terrible cuts - so prove it.

    Sorry, but the threat that after you make these horrible cuts will mean that you could convince voters that these horrible cuts were forced on you and you really didn’t want to make those cuts - won’t wash. You made the choices, you made the cuts.

    You have no credibility. You are not believed. While you may make some groups wail for their spot at the trough, you don’t have enough voters believing that you care about your job, them, or anything else.

    You are in the hole you dug.
    Everyone sees you in that hole.
    Go ahead and dig deeper and pretend it isn’t your fault.

    That story won’t fly anymore.

  2. - Ghost - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:38 am:

    “The question is, who breaks first in this game of chicken?”

    My antecdotal impression is the Gov is not gaining traction with his media efforcts and threats. The vast majority think he is the one playing games and want to see him removed. Once you step away from blogs, political junkies and the media, the person on the street is focused on the Gov.

    Ironically you could cut out the increased spending just from the Gov’s intiatives and that would remove the 2bill gap. The spending problem comes from new programs created by Blago (without spending plans).

    Oddly the Gov was not worried about finding new revenue before spending when he decided to expand programs without either the legislature or JCAR approving the increase in spending. The Gov believes he can increase medical costs etc just by initiative without revenue, so this is his dream budget.

    This will not end well for Blago.

  3. - Cassandra - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:41 am:

    Well, all that doomsday talk worked with Chicago CTA funding and also as a prelude to Stroger’s ultimately successful sales tax increase, which seems to have gone down okay.

    So Blago is in good company.

    This is not to say that I want to give Blago/Emil
    $34 billion to play around with (aided greatly by “campaign contributors,”) or that I believe the
    state couldn’t cut $2 billion without imposing great suffering on Illinois citizens. And I’m strongly opposed to programs which rely heavily on gambling revenues which effectively soak the poor and uneducated.

    But we the taxpayers have to admit that we’ve fallen for this rhetoric before. And our Blago is nothing if not astute on how to pull voters’ chains. After all, we elected him….twice!

  4. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:46 am:

    That big meany Mike Madigan is picking on the friend of the working man Rod “the mod” Blago. All he wants to do is save us from ourselves.

    The problem is if Blago calls special sessions now, Madigan is sure to launch an impeachment investigation which would overshadow any budget talk.

    Maybe “the Mod” should go fill more sandbags for the summer, because I don’t think he wants the legislature in session anytime soon.

  5. - Ghost - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 10:57 am:

    === The Governor plans on announcing a $14 million, statewide summer-jobs program today for 10,000 teens and young adults in violence-prone neighborhoods. ===


    well at least he has a good sense of timing. As I recall that 14mill is close to double the money cease fire was seeking; and he is doing this to counteract the effect of his cutting money to ceasefire….

    After pardoning a women to be the head of a school so a fishy 1 million dollar grants could be slid to her he wants 14 million more to parcel out to the kids of his friends in chiago? enogh is enough.

    Impeach now.

  6. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:00 am:

    Reminds me of that old punch line “oh I got gamblin’ money.”
    It seems whenever the PR team needs a lift, the money magically appears. I’m sure they ‘found’ the money in some obscure part of the budget.

  7. - Dan S, a voter and Cubs Fan - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:00 am:

    I is way past time but it will never happen for this Governor to resign. Fitz, HELP!!!! Please

  8. - Leave a light on George - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:03 am:

    The compromise solution to all this nonsense is a bare bones, balanced budget coupled with a modest state income tax increase. The new revenue should be dedicated to pension obligations. NO NEW PROGRAMS, NO NEW SPENDING, Let’s pay our current bills.

  9. - Wumpus - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:04 am:

    I thought Amtrak business was the best it’s been in recent years?

  10. - Truth - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:06 am:

    Oh no. Now the budget is $2,014,000,000 out of balance.

  11. - GoBearsss - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:11 am:

    I am glad the Gov stayed true on his promise on summer jobs. While the heartless Mad-again and Charlie Brown go around whining about the need to preserve special funds for bankers, its good to see the Governor has his eye on the ball to what is important right now - getting kids into jobs this summer and off the streets.

  12. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:12 am:

    The timing for a PR blitz on the state budget couldn’t be better.

    Up here where I live, it’s going to be 85 and sunny today. Kids are out of school, Little League playoffs are heating up, pool passes are purchased, sports and arts camps are in full swing. Summer movies are out. Just got done with graduation parties. Lot of BBQs planned. Vacation’s around the corner.

    Just this weekend, the Cubs and Sox are playing on the South Side, Taste of Chicago is in Grant Park and there’s a big parade up on the North Side that attracts hundreds of thousands. Virtually every evening and certainly every weekend is packed with summertime activities.

    Here in the Great Midwest, summer’s are short, summer’s are precious, summer’s are booked. We allow for little worry or thought about the “real world” in summer, and right now that’s taken up by gas and food prices, possible recession and our Favorite Son.

    Rod, you could have had our attention all February, March, April and May. But you were in the bunker. We all have things to do now. Take the summer off, and let’s see what the trouble is in November.

  13. - bassman - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:12 am:

    Once again, semantics is getting in the way of discussing logical ways of budget resolve. The fine print of a recent article indicated that these severe budget cuts will affect the proposed increases in various areas of state government…Whaaa? Words mean something folks…a cut means less, unless of course it’s politics, where now cutting the increase is a cut. How about a little transparency, or maybe truth…something nearly impossible with Mr. Alfred P. Newman, aka Governor. Stick with real numbers and we can get through this.

  14. - enrico depressario - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:16 am:

    Have at it, Governor. CHOP AWAY! It’s about time Illinois state government lived within its means.

  15. - 618er - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:30 am:

    Wordslinger brings up a good point. How much could this guy accomplish if he spent anywhere near the time and energy in the middle of the budget cycle working with the legislators and finding plausible solutions to these budget shortfalls, as he does in these “they aren’t giving me money for my programs” hall of fame hissies?

  16. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:31 am:

    Give a gang banger spending money for the summer program.

    Spur of the moment, make the politician look good, throw cash to teens programs are about as big a waste of money as possible.

    The Governor announced the teens will work 5 hours a day cleaning up the graffiti they sprayed on the walls the night before.

    I hate to sound jaded but programs like this are a complete waste. Even to the sweaty, miserable kids who get the jobs hate them. Who wants to stand on the corner with a broom and shovels while some flunky supervisor who has no idea what to do decides what alley to sweep. At least some of the more ambitious delinquents could case the homes in the areas they are loitering in for future profits

  17. - Little Egypt - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:36 am:

    Blago complains about an unbalanced budget but yet he signs up an additional 1,000 in the AllKids program, plus gives them all $50 for gas. Where’s the money coming from? He offers a summer jobs program. Where’s the money coming from? Who will get the jobs - those politically connected to Blago or will he truly hire those in need and when will they get paid and will it be with a check or a voucher?

    This proves this man cannot be trusted with a Capital project. No matter what wording is put into the bill, he will spend money the way he wants, dole it out to contributors, and punish the districts of legislators who don’t support him.

    Wake up Illinois General Assembly and realize all you need to do is pass a working budget for the next 2 years and then we will have a different governor you can work with, one who can be trusted, one whose word means something, one who knows how to act like a governor. Blago is nothing but an appendage of politics. He just happens to be sitting in the governor’s chair.

  18. - fed up - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:38 am:

    Blago needs to cut the budget. NO NEW TAXES NO NEW SPENDING. Live within your means. Blago cant be trusted and all the state reps and state Senators but Emil jones and Deb Halvorson know this. God willing blago is indicted soon so that Ill goverment can begin the process of flushing the crap out of the system and get back to goverment.

  19. - Anonymous45 - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:45 am:

    I am so sick of this crap, I don’t even know what to say about this continuing game of chicken…where in God’s name is Peter Fitzgerald?

  20. - anon - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:47 am:

    summer jobs program now!? school has been out for nearly a month already. how long does it take to put the bureaucracy in place to administer such a program? but it is a heckuva pr move. i am sure thinking men and women journalists throughout the state are glad they don’t have to dig for some good “news” to balance the negative.

  21. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:47 am:

    Wumpus 11:04-

    The irony for Amtrak (and for Metra and the CTA, BTW) is that the more successful it is, the more it costs. If one passenger train operates at a deficit, three passenger trains operate at maybe triple the deficit. If there is a shortage of passenger cars, new ones will cost you about $3 million a copy. Such is the case with a subsidized, non-farebox recovering enterprise.

  22. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 11:53 am:

    Phineas, try not to call all kids in summer jobs programs gangbangers. It’s a bit much.

    Leave the kids out of it.

  23. - Big Mama T - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 12:39 pm:

    I think most people following politics in Illinois, and a lot of Illinois residents, understand we have a Governor who is a bit schizophrenic when it comes to budget add-ons and cuts. His Dooms-Day PR crud is being ignored, his pie in the sky PR is being ignored, but his mismanagement of money isn’t being ignored.

    If he wanted to help his image he should make some cuts and not threaten to cut programs that will hurt the “people”. We know he is full of BS. Go ahead Rod make cuts, it may make you look responsible. But we all know you will just sit around and vilify MJM, which BTW won’t work.

  24. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:08 pm:

    Sorry, your right. Just a poor attempt at humor. I know they are not all gangbangers.

    I also know that politicians play PR games with these programs all the time and they don’t amount to a hill of beans. The small article doesn’t specify, but I bet Blago plans on rolling this out this summer. If that is the case, there would be no possibility of any type of planning or worthwhile projects. No proper screening for need. No proper supervision hired. No training.

    I imagine he just wanted to get the PR hit and the program will never come about anyway.

  25. - OneManBlog - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:16 pm:

    Yeah a summer jobs program that starts when summer is 1/3 over. That’s the ticket….

  26. - Deep South - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:17 pm:

    Hey wordslinger:

    Down here where I am, it’s about 93 F today…humidity is about 98 percent. The kids have been out of school for maybe a month. There ain’t no pools, but we do have a lot of lakes. There ain’t no summer job program and Blago wants to cut our Amtrak trains…while somehow funding was found for all the trains in your area last year. Our roads and schools are crumbling because there ain’t no capital bill. Blago wants to give us 100 new IDOT jobs, but some folks up north don’t want us to have ‘em. There ain’t no fancy parades…too friggin’ hot. The Cubs and Sox are 350 miles away so we really don’t care. But the Cardinals are just up the road and my money says they’ll catch the Cubs before its all over. So while you may have your summer booked and have thrown your cares out the window, folks in the deep south are sweating it out…hoping the $4 a gallon gas don’t get to $5. Summer’s are long here and hotter than a sheriff’s pistol in October. But we have the best BBQ and the best wine in the state. You should come down and see for yourself.

  27. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:20 pm:

    I love Illinois. I chose to stay here when many others left in the 1980s. But I think Illinois wine is awful.

    Just sayin.

  28. - Princeville - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:22 pm:

    Reminds me of the year then Dir. of MB , John Filan, stuffed state workers paychecks with a letter of spin on why state workers should support Rod’s proposed pension cuts, assuring us it was a good thing, would not effect us, would give health care to those who most need it, help education ect. The letter didn’t go over well and I doubt many workers raced to their phones to call in their support. Pressure tactics and spins is about all we get from this adm. whether we work for the state or just live in it.

  29. - Anon - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 1:36 pm:

    Gobearss: “I am glad the Gov stayed true on his promise on summer jobs.”

    WHAT promise? And, assuming there actually was one, he hasn’t kept it yet. Not that there is any worry about that, based on his track record.

  30. - PhilCollins - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:41 pm:

    The state and federal governments should eliminate Amtrak spending. Amtrak’s only revenues should be from ticket sales. I haven’t ridden an Amtrak train within the past eight years, so my tax money shouldn’t be used to pay for Amtrak.

  31. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:57 pm:

    That is good economic practice. Use 14 mil for a temp job for kids but take 12 mil from an agency that will cause layoffs for a lot of full time tax paying jobs (DNR).
    What a smart move.

  32. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 2:59 pm:

    ==But I think Illinois wine is awful.==

    Many Illinois wineries have recognised this and resorted to slapping their label on other wines…. I think it just gets too hot here to produce good grapes.

  33. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:13 pm:

    ===I haven’t ridden an Amtrak train within the past eight years, so my tax money shouldn’t be used to pay for Amtrak.===

    That’s not exactly an intelligent rationale. Self-centered, yes.

    I’ve never been to Montgomery, Alabama, so let’s not give them any federal money. It should all go to Illinois.

  34. - 618er - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:18 pm:

    ==But I think Illinois wine is awful.==

    Dang guys it certainly isn’t ,Chateau Lafite 1787, but it ain’t necessarily Boones either.

  35. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:19 pm:

    I have been to Montgomery Alabama and you are correct. They don’t deserve any federal money. lol

  36. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:20 pm:

    ===Dang guys it certainly isn’t ,Chateau Lafite 1787, but it ain’t necessarily Boones either.===

    LOL. In a world where my choices are Boones and Illinois wine, I’d probably take Illinois wine. But we don’t live in such a world.

  37. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:23 pm:

    Phil Collins-

    Amtrak takes in about $1.5 billion in fares and has operating costs of about $3.2 billion. It makes a little money off small parcel fast freight and selling some of its limited trackage rights to freight and commuter railroads. It also gets a federal subsidy of about $1.3 billion and some smaller state subsidies such as IL’s to help out and to add service that otherwise could not be added, given its overall negative cash flow from farebox recovery.

    If Amtrak had to have true 100% farebox recovery, it would likely need to raise its average systemwide fares nearly double, which in turn would chase away much of its business, which in turn would result in its paring off all but the most fare-generating lines in the NE Corridor (Washington DC to Boston).

    Most people in the US like Amtrak and are willing to subsidize it, even though they don’t use it or use it often. That’s why it has lasted since 1971.

  38. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:34 pm:

    Let’s see. Driving is getting too expensive for a lot of people, and flying isn’t much of an alternative with ticket prices going up and regional airports like Peoria, B-N, Springfield, etc. at risk. Do we really want to eliminate the remaining viable alternative (rail), or turn intercity travel into something only the rich can afford?

  39. - The Doc - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 3:49 pm:

    Let’s hope the GA holds firm and calls the governor’s bluff. Gambling, fund sweeps, and asset leases are high-risk, relatively low-reward solutions that marginally address short-term funding gaps.

    The silver lining here, perhaps, is that any number of ineffective and/or inefficient state-funded programs could get the axe. That’s a big “if”, of course, since history tells us that Blagojevich will likely salvage the programs of his allies, and cut those of his foes - the best interests of the state be damned.

    Agreed that a modest income tax hike is the long-term solution, from an operational budget perspective. However, it should be coupled with some mandate that new revenue is earmarked for existing debt. Responsible adults realize that fiscal responsibility will pay dividends in the final analysis; a lesson that our current regime is having difficulty grasping.

    Over/under on his next “lemons into lemonade” speech?

  40. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 4:14 pm:

    Anon 3:34-

    To be fair, intercity bus service of a similar capacity could also be subsidized for less $ than Amtrak. But people often prefer train travel vs. bus, when both modes are available, and the train is usually a little bit faster.

  41. - IDOT Guy - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:24 pm:

    Rich, don’t be bashing the Boones, finest wine you can get for $1.99!!!!!!!!!!!

    Strawberry Hill Flavor, Yummmmmmm!!!!!

  42. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:24 pm:

    I liked it a lot when i was 15. Srawberry Hill was a popular choice.

    Then, my family moved to Europe. Refined my palate.

  43. - Pony Shoe - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:29 pm:

    I always liked Von Jakob Vineyard in Pomona, Illinois.

  44. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 5:31 pm:

    Cmon guys, look at the big picture!

    You’ve seen the arguments right here on the Blog.

    The State has too many funds, so let’s just sweep out all these extra surplus balances and use that money to get more federal matching funds for healthcare. (Except when we spend it for education, or when the cash we swept is already a) federal, or b) matching for something else.)

    AA, say focused on the big picture! We’re going to invest $16 billion in the pensions and move their funded ratio to 75 percent overnight!
    (Isn’t this the same deal that was voted down 99-7 last year, only wagering $16 instead of $26 billion? How much money would the pension funds have lost this year if they had gone along with last year’s scheme? A billion with a B? Get out!)

    We need a capital bill-the roads and bridges are shot!
    (OK, then stop looting the Road Fund to pay off the Pension Bonds and God knows what else, and write a multi-year, logical, capital program, not the 21st century version of the WPA funded by a hinky gambling expansion, speaking of which..)

    The People of Illinois want twice the gambling they have now!
    (Not. Read that 486-page POS, as AA has, and tell me what you think, including the new Gambling Police independent of the ISP, the odd pricing for incumbent license renewals, and the very interesting rewrite of the Gaming Board membership qualifications.)

    Have all the conference calls you want, Bob. You can’t hide from the truth.

    Trotting out a summer jobs program in mid-summer is just another thing for the Speaker to bang you over the head with, like he needed one more.

    word and Deep are both right, people have dialed out Springfield for the summer.

    Give it up, you lost in May why on earth do you think you will win now?

  45. - Bill - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 6:39 pm:

    Richards Wild Irish Rose was real wine. Boones Farm was for girls.
    I agree that that Illinois stuff is really bad. I can’t believe people actually drink it.

  46. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 6:42 pm:

    ===Boones Farm was for girls.===

    Why do you think we bought it? lol

  47. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 7:35 pm:

    ===Boones Farm was for girls.===

    ==Why do you think we bought it?==

    Rich, you took the words right out of old AA’s mouth! LOL!

    However, God later revealed to AA that not only is He here, but has a wicked sense of humor, by sending AA not one, but three, beautiful daughters.

    Bill, you are more of a man than I if you could handle very much of the Wild Rose.

  48. - Pony Shoe - Thursday, Jun 26, 08 @ 7:36 pm:

    Richards’ Wild Irish Rose is not real wine any more than the others of that genre and is not even an Irish name.

    How about MD 20/20 or Thunderbird for fortified vino alternatives?

    Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill…there was an excellent Doonesbury strip from the early 70s where those four words were the punchline.

    Although, if a couple hundred cases of Richards’ WIR would get our state’s problems solved, it might be worth it (in addition to the legislature meeting every other year.)

  49. - Mark S. Allen - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 4:11 am:

    Open Letter to the Governor:

    Your decision may have already been made, but for the record, I wanted to make this last public appeal for the restoration of funding for the group Ceasefire. You may not know that a majority of the recent youth killings in Chicago were in areas that were once covered by full time Ceasefire intervention workers. As a volunteer with Ceasefire I have directly watched the successful intervention and prevention of acts of violence and shootings by Ceasefire’s hands on rapport in high crime areas. And I have had to watch people die who called Ceasefire for intervention help, and they were not able to respond in time. In Roseland, the Ceasefire office has almost been regulated to organizing marches, and prayer vigils AFTER an act of violence or shootings versus being able to answer the calls to intervene and prevent them.

    I have also had the opportunity to watch the groups that were funded by your new SafetNet grants and they are all deserving groups. Many of them are in Ceasefire communities, but they have their own specific constituencies and should not be expected to assume the role that Ceasefire played. These high crime areas need a combination of the SafetyNet groups AND Ceasefire if not more. There are still groups like Amer-I-Can, United in Peace, and other grassroots groups who are providing hands on youth crime intervention efforts with a lack of proper funding. People in the streets have become accustomed to calling on Ceasefire and at a recent march and prayer vigil, some of the participants were critical of Ceasefire’s lack of response to calls for intervention at Crane High School, Julian High School, Simeon High School where there were recent acts of violence and killings. It is so painful to attend funerals for people who called on you to help them before they died.

    You are to be commended for your extra efforts in making sure that needy kids and families have health care, but why not make the same effort to make sure that there are enough youth crime prevention and intervention resources in these high target areas this summer. Resources that Ceasefire has proven through their own documentation as well as other professional researchers. Nothwithstanding some of the internal criticisms of Ceasefire, think of the hundreds of acts of violence and killings that they prevented.

    Lastly, you stepped up and took the leadership in finding a million dollars to help restore the historic Pilgrim Baptist church, and recently you were willing to try and raise $40 million dollars to build a facility to commemorate the five college students killed at Northern Illinois University. If you can raise $40 million for 5 college kids, can’t you make the same commitment for Ceasefire budget where almost 30 kids have already dies?

    You can do this Governor. Don’t relegate Ceasefire to an after-the-fact march and prayer vigil group when their expertise is youth crime prevention and intervention. As my former boss, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr always says, “isn’t it better to invest in the front side versus the backside?” Whether it’s guns, knives, bats, or fists, our Urban communities desperately need the resources to prevent for youth killings, and not with more SWAT fire but more Ceasefire.

    Mark S. Allen
    Founder, The Black Leadership Development Institute, BLDI

  50. Pingback ArchPundit | Inane Editorial of the Day - Thursday, Jul 31, 08 @ 12:02 pm:

    […] this […]

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Kinda sorta slightly good news for the state, not so much for the city, CPS and Cook
* Question of the day: Golden Horseshoe Awards
* Caption contest!
* Illinois lost 45,116 people in one year
* But his e-mails...
* The hollowing-out of state government
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