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Unsolicited advice

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009

* Dear Gov. Quinn,

Please, don’t say stuff like this

“God has, I guess, seen fit to see that I’m governor.”

Patrick Fitzgerald is a lot of things, but God he ain’t.

* Dear elected officials with Internet sites,

Please, read this Chicago Public Radio blog post

Almost every politician I stumbled across had a “news” or “recent news” section. That’s a great service for the constituent. But if you do have that category, please update! In a very informal survey, 9 out of 10 sites did not update. State Representative Tom Cross has a big picture of his family and a banner exclaiming “Happy Holidays”. It’s late March Mr. Cross.

* Dear Gov. Quinn (again),

Your embrace of your old pal and former Blagojevich budget czar John Filan is simply beyond comprehension. Want more proof that you need to distance yourself from this man? How about this new Auditor General’s report on the Illinois State Police’s Division of Forensic Services, which concluded that, as AnimalFarm says, “case backlogs are up while the number of forensic scientists and trainees is down and more than a million dollars in federal grant funding was allowed to lapse”…

While [Illinois State Police] has notifed the Governor’s Office of backlog and and staffing needs, the Governor’s Office has not allowed ISP to replace lost headcount. Failure to maintain necessary staffing levels results in cases remaining unsolved and serial criminals could remain free to commit additional crimes.

Filan’s a bean counter who too often just doesn’t understand the consequences of his bean counting.

* Dear 19th Warders,

Calling off the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade next year is probably a good idea to let the craziness cool out. But check out Kadner and Tridgell for some much-needed perspective before you put the permanent kibosh on the event.

* Your turn…

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Will they even know they got a tax cut?

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - IL 2.0; Big news roundup; Budget notes (use all caps in password)

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009

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Question of the day

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009

* The setup

Video poker machines at taverns, restaurants and fraternal clubs throughout the state could pay out winnings legally under a measure pending in the Illinois House.

The legislation would allow every tavern and restaurants with a liquor license to have three machines that would be tied into a centralized system to track income. Fraternal organizations, such as the Elks and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, would be able to have five machines in their facilities.

State Rep. Frank Mautino said by taxing something that is currently being done under the table, the state could generate $300 million in revenue that would help fund construction of schools.

“They are there and turning your head doesn’t do any good for anyone,” said Mautino, D-Spring Valley, who is sponsoring the legislation. “We’ll take what comes in and use it for areas most in need.”

Anti-gambling groups call the proposal a massive expansion of gambling.

“It’s illegal, and if you legalize it then more people will participate,” said gambling opponent Anita Bedell of the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems.

* The Question: Good idea or not? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      


Dems encouraging GOP circular firing squad

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009

* As subscribers already know, the House Executive Committee attached hostile Democratic amendments yesterday to two GOP-sponsored open primary bills. The amendments are identical to SB 600, which is legislation backed by Republican insurgents to force a popular vote to elect GOP state central committee members. The state party, you will recall, is completely and unalterably opposed to the “reform” proposal, which is backed in the Senate by conservative state Sen. Chris Lauzen.

The amendments’ HDem sponsor explains his rationale, with tongue planted firmly in cheek

“I’m trying to give the Republican Party what it has insisted for the last six or eight weeks it wants: open and transparent elections,” said Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat who pushed for the change.

Lang, of course, was referring to GOP demands that a special election be held to force Blagojevich-appointed US Sen. Roland Burris out of office.

* The GOP reaction

Rep. Michael Tryon, a Crystal Lake Republican, said political parties are private organizations that should have the right to self-governance, and it would be “very wrong” for one political party to dictate to another how to operate.

Rep. Skip Saviano, an Elmwood Park Republican who also is a Republican State Central Committee members, said the Democratic leadership flat out is trying to retaliate against Republicans for calling them out on inconsistencies over how to handle Burris’ controversial appointment. It also would kick the GOP when it’s already down, when they hold minorities in both chambers and don’t hold a single constitutional office. “This is an attempt to keep the Republican Party in disarray,” Saviano said to Lang during a House committee this morning.

Saviano said there’s been a longstanding agreement that each political party could conduct its own business. “Now, they’ve crossed the line.”

Then again, the numbers favor the Democrats, which have enough votes to send the bill to the Senate without a single Republican vote. “If they want it to be a done deal, Democrats could pass it and hijack the Republican Party,” Saviano said. “I mean, that’s what this is all about.”

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      


More trouble in paradise

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009

* Apparently, there are some problems with approving Gov. Quinn’s nominee to run the Illinois State Police. Jonathon Monken is 29 and has no police experience, which isn’t going down too well

Gov. Pat Quinn faces his first fight with state senators over a Cabinet nominee because the Iraq war veteran he nominated to lead the Illinois State Police has no experience as a policeman in Illinois. […]

But state Sen. Tony Munoz (D-Chicago), who chairs the Senate Executive Appointments Committee, said Monken’s military leadership does not outweigh his lack of police experience.

Munoz, who is on leave from the Chicago Police Department, and other senators commended Monken’s military experience but maintained he did not now have enough support from senators to win committee approval.

* And as if the guv doesn’t already have enough problems with AFSCME, there’s this, which I told subscribers about last week…

The union that represents Illinois prison workers is vowing to fight Gov. Pat Quinn’s plans to cut prison spending by about $65 million by changing work hours for guards and ending several programs. […]

Quinn also wants to make security staff work 12-hour shifts for three or four days each week on an alternating schedule. Those employees now work five eight-hour shifts per week.

DOC estimates the new schedule would cut overtime costs from $61 million this year to $13.1 million next year. That would help the agency hire 183 additional workers and give employees already working 12-hour and 16-hour shifts more flexibility.

A spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 calls 12-hour shifts an accounting trick that merely “redefines what is currently considered overtime as straight time.”

* Meanwhile, the SJ-R comes out in support of something I’ve been pushing for at least a year…

Quinn and legislators could craft a more gradual, realistic [pension] payment schedule beyond 2045, which would reduce the annual payments. If they do, the plan should be more akin to a fixed-rate mortgage, avoiding severe spikes in payments.

The 2045 goal of reaching full funding for the state’s pension systems is not something handed down from God. It’s just a goal, created by humans. Move the goalposts back ten or twenty years (or more, for all I care) and we can lower the state’s annual payments.

* Related…

* Quinn wants to do away with cost-of-living increases for top officials

* Gov. investigating ‘midnight’ pay raises

* Gov. Quinn To Reopen Historic Sites

* Business leaders urge Quinn not to hurt job creation

* Quinn’s budget a starting point; work to be done

* Committee To Reduce Comes Up With Nothing

* Deficit panel wrap-up: 4 weeks, no proposals

* Panel can’t find state budget solutions

* Starting points, but no consensus, yet

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


Indictment watch begins today *** UPDATED x1 ***

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009

*** UPDATE *** Natasha Korecki says the indictment won’t happen today

It’s no secret a federal grand jury is expected to return a formal indictment against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

But it won’t be today.

With an April 7 deadline looming, that leaves next week — likely Thursday — the day the grand jury considering evidence against Blagojevich and others meets.

Prosecutors could ask for an extension — but I’m told that won’t happen.
Sources say that prosecutors are calling witnesses back for the third and fourth time tying up small, final details.

[ *** End of Update *** ]

* I told subscribers about this possibility the other day…

Sneed hears a federal grand jury may be asked to indict Blagojevich, his wife, Patti, and his brother Robert today.

• • Translation: “The indictment is expected either today or when the grand jury meets again next Thursday,” said a Sneed source.

• • The big question: Will the feds ask for an extension?

• • Response: “I don’t know whether it’s legal help Blagojevich needs . . . or Lourdes,” said a top eagle.

• • Postscript: In case you didn’t know, Lourdes is a Catholic grotto in France known for miracles.

Could be today, could be next Thursday. We’ll all know soon enough. It’s just too bad the indictment wasn’t handed down yesterday during Blagojevich’s loathesome appearance on WLS Radio…

WLS Program Director Bob Shomper said listener response he received was “lopsided” along the lines of Blagojevich’s approval ratings, but that “you’ve got to take a few risks in life - and in business too,” adding, “The opportunity outweighed the risks big time.”

Whatever. I can’t imagine that many advertisers want to be associated with that clown. WLS ought to be ashamed of itself. This goes beyond a publicity stunt. Quite a few people believe Blagojevich is attempting to use his public appearances to “taint” the region’s jury pool, so WLS could be seen as aiding and abetting any such scheme.

* Related…

* Governor a conspirator? Not this one

* Rod Blagojevich, media star: 2-hour stint on WLS used to attack Quinn

* Dueling governors: Rod Blagojevich, Pat Quinn snipe at each other on the radio

* Blagojevich: ‘I was hijacked from office’

* Quinn: Blagojevich’s Radio Debut Full of Fairy Tales

* Radio Rod: Ex-governor hosts local talk show

* A guide to Blago-cabulary

* Schoenburg: Blagojevich’s need for attention trumps good sense

* Attorney Terence Gillespie joins Blagojevich team

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      


VanillaMan surfaces

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009

* I’ve often pondered the identity of regular commenter VanillaMan, he of conservative wit and bizarro-good songwriting abilities. A couple of weeks ago, I thought I had figured it out.

I was pretty proud of myself until yesterday, when the “real” VanillaMan showed up to the Illinois 2.0 forum which I helped host. He wasn’t the person I thought he was…

Sorry for the poor pic quality, but we still need to keep his identity a secret. He’s way cuter than his arch-nemesis “Bill,” by the way.

Anyway, VanillaMan is a good guy and we had a very enjoyable conversation. He also got to meet a few other regulars from the blog, so I think he had a lot of fun as well.

* Thanks to all for showing up yesterday. We had a great crowd and the audience participation made the program far more interesting and informative - kinda like the comments here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      


Morning Shorts

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009

* Pension funds may not cooperate on subpoena

Trustees for at least two city pension funds are considering stonewalling Chicago’s inspector general over a subpoena for records involving their investments with a company co-owned by one of Mayor Daley’s nephews.

The funds invested millions of dollars in DV Urban Realty Partners, founded by Daley nephew Robert Vanecko and Allison Davis, a mayoral supporter whose law firm once employed Barack Obama.

The police fund has committed $15 million to DV Urban Realty, which has drawn $5 million of that so far. The investment has dwindled as the economy has tanked.

Many officers and detectives are outraged by the investment, which they view as a political favor to Daley’s family. Officer Mike Shields was recently elected as a trustee on a platform criticizing the deal.

* Ill. officials OK $69M rate hike for Nicor

The Illinois Commerce Commission has approved a $69 million rate hike for Nicor Inc., which distributes natural gas to more than 2 million northern Illinois customers.

An ICC spokeswoman says it means about a $2 to $3 monthly increase for residential customers.

* CUB to Appeal Nicor Rate Hike

* Economy dips at slightly faster 6.3 percent pace

* More than 5.5 million are getting jobless benefits

* Chicago parking meters: City rushes to fix meters and bill the company that leased them

* Amtrak has stimulus funds heading to Chicago

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $1.3 billion for Amtrak projects nationwide. The money will go toward hundreds of initiatives, including modernizing train-repair shops, improving security at Amtrak stations and spending almost $91 million to rehabilitate damaged locomotives and train coaches and return them to service, officials said.

Some of the restored trains would be put into service in Illinois, where double-digit ridership gains have been recorded on many routes recently and seats often sell out.

Almost $50 million will be used to improve Amtrak’s Chicago maintenance facilities and terminal near Union Station, officials said

* Amtrak in Ill. to get $80 million

* Mortgage fraud probe snares Southland residents

* 30% of contracts may go to women, minorities

Minorities and women would be guaranteed a combined 30 percent of Olympic construction contracts — and at least 20 percent of Olympic Village units would be made affordable — under a community benefits agreement hammered out Wednesday.

The deal includes no guarantee of Olympic jobs for community residents.

* Police union may picket City Hall during Olympic visit

The FOP is thinking about conducting informational picketing April 2 to protest the Daley administration’s recent decision to pull an offered raise of 16.1 percent over five years. The union also is upset Mayor Daley came to Police Supt. Jody Weis’ defense after the FOP gave him a no-confidence vote last week.

* Olympic committee visit: Chicago police union may picket during IOC visit

* 2016 Olympics: Chicago faces controversy before big pitch

The extent to which the rancor may damage Chicago’s bid remains to be seen, with much depending on how the dispute plays out, said Robert Livingstone, producer of GamesBids.com, which this week ranked Chicago last of the four bids.

But, he said, “there will be negative repercussions, there has to be.”

* Chicago Olympic team practices for big game

* Mayor shouldn’t duck tough questions

* Where in the world is Mayor Daley?

* Atty. Gen. Madigan takes on Dish Network

* Scott Reeder — Books and guns, and politicians’ last wishes

* 2 inches of snow possible Saturday

* Peoria could be forced to raise taxes

- Posted by Mike Murray   20 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax

Thursday, Mar 26, 2009

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


« NEWER POSTS PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Open thread
* DHS slammed after care disrupted for "thousands" of mentally ill
* Mendoza wants emergency Deloitte contract review
* The plot thickens on Rauner's AV
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Important update and a supplement to today’s edition
* Frerichs: Don't use new federal rules on 529 programs for state taxes
* "Watchdog" flatly denies getting money from Illinois Policy Institute, but group funded 98 percent of budget
* Governor promised "superstar" appointee a year ago, hasn't delivered
* Chicago survives the first cut in Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes
* Rauner to air entire Blagojevich/Pritzker audio this weekend
* Adlai III endorses Biss
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

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* Rauner to Air Nearly 15-Minute Ad of Rival, Bla.....
* Rauner to air ad of Pritzker, Blago on wiretap .....
* Illinois governor to air ad of rival, Blagojevi.....
* Rauner to Air Nearly 15-Minute Ad of Rival, Bla.....
* Illinois governor to air ad of rival, Blagojevi.....
* Illinois governor to air ad of rival, Blagojevi.....
* Illinois governor to air ad of rival, Blagojevi.....
* Illinois governor to air ad of rival, Blagojevi.....
* Illinois governor to air ad of rival, Blagojevi.....
* Illinois governor to air ad of rival, Blagojevi.....


* Indiana city denies wrongful conviction amid lawsuit
* 80-year-old accused of bank robbery has decades-old record
* Lawyers support man's lawsuit in wrongful murder conviction
* U of Illinois trustees approve 4th-straight tuition freeze
* Chicago mayor vows to step up Amazon second headquarters bid
* U of Illinois withdrew 35 job offers after background checks
* Chicago man dies 4 years after suffering gunshot to head
* Man freed from prison after 23 years fails drug test
* Rockford mayor says he'll seek limits to home rule powers
* Congresswoman collecting Valentine's Day cards for veterans

* Under the Dome Podcast: More Blago-Pritzker talk, Rauner confirms Duke is racist
* Rauner to air extended ad of Pritzker, Blagojevich on wiretap
* U of I withdrew 35 job offers after background checks
* Frerichs: Can't get tax break for using college savings plan on private K-12 tuition
* Illinois governor to air extended ad of rival, Blagojevich on wiretap
* Chicago a finalist for Amazon's second headquarters
* 2 Illinois governor candidates spend $26M in last 3 months
* 2 Illinois governor candidates spend $28M in last 3 months
* Statehouse bill would connect rural schools to high-speed internet
* Statehouse bill would connect rural schools to high speed internet

* Rauner to air ad of Pritzker, Blago on wiretap
* Amazon's rejects groveled for months only to be left out in the cold
* Go behind the scenes of our exclusive 40 Under 40 party
* Chicago makes first cut for Amazon HQ2
* Now we know the top contenders for Amazon's HQ2


* Jason Van Dyke lawyers to hire pollster for motion to move Laquan McDonald case
* Citing evidence of torture, judge orders man convicted of double-murder released
* Congress strains to pass stopgap budget, avert shutdown
* Changes to dangerous curve aim to make Lincoln Square safer for pedestrians
* Man killed in I-80 crash near New Lenox
* Officials: Man died 4 years after being shot in Lawndale
* The Mirage tavern 40 years later: Sun-Times special event
* Archdiocese announces closure of five schools
* STEINBERG: Pritzker joins scary bogeymen Capone, Blago and Madigan
* Pritzker joins scary bogeymen Capone, Blago and Madigan


* Of course Chicago made Amazon's short list for HQ2. But now what?
* Man on drugs drives onto Metra platform, escapes path of freight train that destroys his car: police
* Female relative in custody after allegedly stabbing woman in Wilmette: police
* Samantha Bee on #MeToo backlash: 'It doesn't have to be rape to ruin your life'
* Help Squad: Diminished value claim in car-sharing now a legal tangle
* Amazon HQ2 contenders down to Chicago, 19 other cities
* Trump tweets create confusion for Republicans trying to avert government shutdown
* LINDA C. BLACK HOROSCOPES for 1/18/18
* HuffPost shutting down contributor section
* U.S. withholds millions of dollars in promised Palestinian food aid


» A Prescription For Fruits And Veggies: One Solution To Food Insecurity in Illinois
» A Call For Transparency
» 2 Illinois Governor Candidates Spend $26M In Last 3 Months
» State Board of Education: Double School Funding Now
» Lawmakers Demand Fast Internet For Rural Schools
» 2 Dreamers Discuss Helping Other Immigrants Amid Uncertainty
» Rauner Spokesman: 'Governor Believes David Duke Is A Racist'
» Rauner Signs Law To Help Women Behind Bars
» A Poor Neighborhood In Chicago Looks To Cuba To Fight Infant Mortality
» Democratic Candidates In Lockstep At Justice Forum


* Under the Dome Podcast: More Blago-Pritzker talk, Rauner confirms Duke is racist
* Rauner to air extended ad of Pritzker, Blagojevich on wiretap
* U of I withdrew 35 job offers after background checks
* Frerichs: Can't get tax break for using college savings plan on private K-12 tuition
* Illinois governor to air extended ad of rival, Blagojevich on wiretap
* Chicago a finalist for Amazon's second headquarters
* 2 Illinois governor candidates spend $26M in last 3 months
* Our View: Focus on cost-cutting, then turn to taxes
* 2 Illinois governor candidates spend $28M in last 3 months
* Statehouse bill would connect rural schools to high-speed internet


* 26-year police veteran tapped to lead Moline Police Department
* Noon update: Mug shots and 'balmy' weather
* Moore? Noe? Finke? Bevy of options for Player of Year
* Likas' Ballot Breakdown: SJ-O, Milford boys enter discussion
* Amanda's picks: 6 things to do this weekend
* Big story: At Joe's, 50 years of haircuts and life lessons
* Food fare: McLean County restaurant inspections Dec. 1-15
* IDOT displays plans for Chain of Rocks Bridge replacement during meeting
* Most agree Chain of Rocks bridge needs replaced, but right now there’s no money
* Bulldogs easily pin Hilltoppers in dual meet


* Jaguars-Patriots Capsule
* Study suggests building second Hollywood sign to ease crowds
* Twins hire ex-pitcher Jim Kaat as special assistant
* Lawyer: OJ Simpson is golfing a lot, staying in Las Vegas
* Endangered whale's calving season peaks, but no babies seen

* Our view: End patronage at Algonquin Towns...
* Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and...
* Lawmakers back renaming Warrenville post o...
* Teacher raised in Yorkville running agains...
* Tioga State Bank leader addresses Congress...
* Dissident artist Ai Weiwei and US Rep. Ran...
* Suburban Democrats line up to challenge Ro...
* Kane County assessor: No guarantee your ta...
* This RSS feed URL is deprecated
* Letter: Talk to tax preparer about GOP tax...

* This RSS feed URL is deprecated...
* Do Democrats really care about Dreamers? N......
* Graham suggests 'outliers' in Trump admin ......

* This RSS feed URL is deprecated...
* US Lawmakers Warn Any Strike Against DPRK ......
* WHIP COUNT: Senate vote on shutdown looks ......

* Sketchbook.
* 9,000 teachers are among those that face deportation without DACA.
* Chicago's ‘clusters’ of unsolved strangling deaths near Washington Park and Garfield Park, and other news
* From the archive: Remembering radio storyteller Joe Frank
* City Announces Start Date (2019) And Staging Area (Parking Lot) For Complete Rebuild of the Lawrence Red Line Station
* CBS Chicago: Englewood school plan still a tough sell
* Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, and the question of when we get to say the hell with the rules
* Kalak is a vodka that drinks like whiskey
* City Council Approves Cappleman-Sponsored Program To House Homeless
* Life In Chicago: Grant Fraud, Boot Bribery & Unnecessary OT


* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
* Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

  
* How to Add a Quick Drawing or Sketch to an Email in the Mail App in iOS 11
* Instagram Adds New Feature Showing When You Were Last Active
* Google’s Ivy Ross shares design thoughts in recent interview
* [TA Deals] Get started building apps with the Complete Android O Developer Course
* Huawei partners with Google to bring RCS messaging to their devices
* Best cases for the Honor View 10
* WhatsApp officially launches its app for businesses in select markets

* 2018 South Side Sox Hall of Fame Ballot
* Collins ranked MLB's No. 9 catching prospect
* With maturity comes lofty expectations for Eloy
* Pirates rebuild not met with enthusiasm
* Moncada guiding Robert during mini-camp
* White Sox announce player development staff
* Robert at ease during Sox hitters mini-camp


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