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*** UPDATED x1 *** Not a good sign

Friday, Jul 31, 2009

*** UPDATE *** The uproar got to them. From a press release…

CHICAGO - Governor Pat Quinn and Chief of Staff Jerry Stermer will hold a press availability to outline the FY10 Budget Allocation Plan.

The PowerPoint that accompanies this presentation can be found on at 2:30 p.m.

This press conference will stream live on satellite starting at 2:45 p.m. The coordinates are provided below.

To listen live online, please visit

The previously scheduled 2 p.m. reporter video conference and conference call has been canceled.

WHO: Governor Quinn

Chief of Staff Jerry Stermer

TIME: 2:45 p.m.

WHERE: 15th Floor Blue Room

James R. Thompson Center

100 W. Randolph


[End of update]

* An e-mail sent by the governor’s office about today’s announcement of $1 billion in state budget cuts is causing some controversy. First, the e-mail. All emphasis in the original…

At 2pm today, the Governor’s Chief of Staff Jerry Stermer will present to the press the FY10 Budget Allocation Plan via video and phone conference.

As a member of the Springfield media, you may designate one person from your outlet to be onsite in the Capitol Office 214 Conference Room to participate in the presentation via video conference. Other members of your outlet may participate via a conference call line.

There can be no cameras, no taping, no streaming live audio and no tweeting.

A PowerPoint outlining the FY10 Budget Allocation Plan will be distributed just prior to the start of the meeting, however that information is embargoed until the conclusion of the presentation.

If you are interested in participating in this call, you must RSVP by NOON. If you do so, that means that you agree to accept the embargo and information will be provided to you at 1:45PM.

* Ben Bradley at ABC7 is not amused

No video. No audio. Not even a single “tweet” is permissible.

Those are the rules reporters must agree to comply with if they are to be allowed to listen to a key briefing on Illinois’ troubled budget Friday. […]

For a Governor who spent the better part of two decades making transparency a cornerstone of his career, the cloak of secrecy is surprising. A cynic might wonder if Quinn’s team is hoping to avoid there being any video or audio record of the announcement of drastic budget cuts that could possibly be used against him in a future campaign?

While it is true former Governor Rod Blagojevich’s administration held background briefings for the press before publicly disclosing new budgets, those sessions proceeded by only an hour or two a public re-telling of the information by Blagojevich himself. Governor Quinn has a non-budget related press event scheduled for this morning, but no media availability after the budget bombshell is dropped. Quinn press secretary Bob Reed, a former reporter, was not immediately available to offer an explanation.

* And here’s an e-mail from the president of the Illinois Legislative Correspondents’ Association to all members…

I protested having the budget briefing embargoed on the grounds that it is far different from a briefing on the overall budget.

The embargo is an extraordinary action and is unacceptable in this matter. This is not like a budget address.

Results of the conversation with Reed, Marlena and Ashley Cross:

–The no taping was a mistake. So audio taping is allowed.

–They meant no videotaping. So they have a plan for a videotaped Q and A with Stermer with a Chicago news outlet and maybe a separate with Decatur here. I’d advise all ILCA TV folks to call Ashley in the governor’s office. Gordon was in the press room and was advised of this verbally. These Q-and-As are supposed to be made available—sounds like by the bird. They don’t think that print and radio reporters will be able even to view that live.

–They did not agree to a hard time to end the embargo. They said they would announce at the end of the briefing when it is over. I argued a hard time is needed so that everyone is clear when it is.

–They are supposed to send a clarification out.

–I argued for making the briefing live, but they won’t.

–They plan to put up a web site that will be given out at the briefing which supposedly will give answers.

–I argued this is not like a regular budget briefing,

–I said some of us might not go and then we’ll be asking questions afterward. They said the briefing is the time made available statewide for questions to be asked.

I’ll update if there are any changes.

CLTV’s Carlos Hernandez-Gomez just called to say that the governor has said video camers would be allowed, but only after Carlos pressed the issue with him during an unrelated press conference.

Still, this ought to be a live broadcast. Lots of people all over the state are anxious about these budget cuts and they ought to be allowed to listen or watch.

And this matter of just giving a couple TV stations access to a Q and A is ridiculous.

What are Quinn’s people so afraid of?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - A Citizen - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:23 pm:

    Sounds like a National Security issue. Shhhhh!

  2. - A Naughty Moose - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:23 pm:

    This is lame, but at least media is GETTING a briefing. Stakeholders are completely in the dark, just waiting to be slapped upside the head. Or worse.

    Apparently “the only thing (they) have to fear is the truth.”

  3. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:29 pm:

    This is bizarre.

    If they want to reduce the number of people who will actually hear the news, doing it on the afternoon of Friday, July 31 is good enough.

    Do they think they’re going to rock the stock market?

    Whatever spin they hoped to achieve from this briefing is now being stepped on by their silly rules.

    It’s 2009, folks, and this ain’t China.

  4. - Lazy Intern - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:35 pm:

    By creating all of these rules for participation people are going be to more curious as to the reason why. Sometimes the best way to hid a secret is to hide it in public view. This administration is looking more and more like the previous administration which is more than a little scary.

  5. - Amazing - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:38 pm:

    Governor Quinn… Go ahead…have your private meeting with the press…. I understand…but keep in mind…I vote in private too. What irresponsible JERKS!

  6. - montrose - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:43 pm:

    This policy is symbolic of the Quinn administration overall. Nice people that really have no clue about strategy and are unable to think through how their actions can completely backfire on them. They really need to implement a “say it in your head before you say it out loud” policy.

  7. - Will County Woman - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:44 pm:

    this wasn’t bizarre. it is political manuvering, or an attempt at it. this was about quinn not wanting any of this to be used to make attack ads against him.

    ben bradley is right and all of his journalism/news broadcasting colleagues should report about this lack of transparency and latest in a long string of about faces that quinn has done since he became governor, that have only undermined his credibility and made him appear to be the complete antithesis of how he has fashioned himself for over the last 30 years prior to getting a taste of power.(if dan hynes is smart, he will blast gov. quinn about this little stunt.)

    thank heavens for the tenacious carlos hernandez gomez too!!!!!!!

  8. - Cindy Lou - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:46 pm:

    Did you gets ‘rules’ on how you must agree to ’spin’ it and avoid or enhance hysterics?

    The union emails in my box are heating up, I don’t expect ‘good news’.

  9. - Coach - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:48 pm:

    Is there any compelling reason why the guv’s chief of staff can’t stand in the flesh before reporters in the Capitol Blue Room (or in the Thompson Center), explain the cuts and then take questions from the media?

    This approach is nuts and, frankly, will cause media coverage to be far tougher on the guv and his cuts than it would be if they just stood and faced the media like professional adults.

    This blog post is a case in point - the guv’s goofy, Blago-esque approach has generated its own, negative story.

  10. - Concerned Observer - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:51 pm:

    Guess what we’re all talking about? We’re talking about the secrecy, not the actual cuts.

    So…you could make an argument that this is working perfectly.

  11. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:53 pm:

    –this was about quinn not wanting any of this to be used to make attack ads against him.–

    Quinn’s not participating. If you want to avoid attack ads, don’t run for office.

    This is bizarre. You have the press riled up on a summer Friday afternoon. Not smart.

  12. - montrose - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:55 pm:

    **Guess what we’re all talking about? We’re talking about the secrecy, not the actual cuts.**

    In a little over an hour, we will be talking about the cuts. We will just be talking about in a way that makes Quinn the bad guy more than we would have pre-secrecy attempt.

  13. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:56 pm:

    Montrose is correct.

  14. - Coach - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:56 pm:


    That’s a great point - if in fact that is the guv’s goal.

    But given Quinn overall lack of organization, focus, strategy and political sophistication, it’s hard to imagine that this debacle is deliberately designed to distract attention from the cuts.

    Also, putting the focus squarely on secrecy rather than on budget cuts would seem to undercut his reform theme/message, which is maybe the best thing he has going for him.

    Then again, anything is possible in the politics of this state. Maybe you’re right. They’re all a bunch of loons!

  15. - Just the Facts - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:57 pm:

    Gutless move by the Governor not stand up and personally make the announcement and respond to the questions. I suppose it’s a bit tougher to handle this type of press conference than it is to call a Sunday afternoon press conference to spout the most recent self-serving populist nonsense that you have determined might get your picture on television.

    Time for the Governor to govern.

  16. - Will County Woman - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:02 pm:

    “Quinn’s not participating. “— wordslinger

    understood, but stermer is an official representative of the quinn administration and is speaking for quinn. i agree that anyone in a top executive position who cannot take the heat for his actions or for what is done under his “leadership,” at his direction, should not run in an effort to retain the office.

  17. - Bill - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:02 pm:

    To the question:
    Quinn’s people are afraid of Quinn making a fool out of himself yet again. Maybe they are hoping people will take this terrible news out on Stermer instead of the governor. Whatever, 18 months and this guy is toast. They are not allowing questions because they don’t have any answers.

  18. - Will County Woman - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:06 pm:

    “Time for the Governor to govern.” —- Just the Facts - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:57 pm:

    are you serious? it was time for him to do that when he took the oath of office! after all it was he (quinn) who boldly proclaimed himself, in the days just before blago was removed, the following:


  19. - Concerned Observer - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:07 pm:

    Hey, I didn’t say it was a GOOD argument…lol.

  20. - Deep South - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:08 pm:

    If the reporters had any hutzpuh, they would, as a group, refuse to cover this event. In doing to so, they would advise their readers, listeners, viewers to call the governor’s office to get the info. Of course, this would never happen. Despite the pack mentality, one reporter would fear than another would ignore the plan and scoop everyone else. But clearly, the gov’s office is using the media for their own purposes, the media should turn the table. It would never happen again.

  21. - Will County Woman - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:13 pm:

    IS jerry stermer ready for prime time? i’ve never seen him give a press conference or make a presentation, so i dunno.

    but quinn, as we all know to well, has be giving press conferences for eons, and should be giving this one.

  22. - Bill - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:13 pm:

    Quinn: “…never mind…”

  23. - Been There - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:13 pm:

    ===montrose - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:55 pm:
    **Guess what we’re all talking about? We’re talking about the secrecy, not the actual cuts.**
    In a little over an hour, we will be talking about the cuts. We will just be talking about in a way that makes Quinn the bad guy more than we would have pre-secrecy attempt.
    - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 12:56 pm:
    Montrose is correct. ===

    Rich, are you saying that the news media in this state is not actually objective? They allow their personal biases to slant their stories? I don’t believe it.

  24. - Louis Howe - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:20 pm:

    If Quinn is restricting video access because he’s concerned about an opponent using the cuts in a political ad, then he’s concerned about the wrong end of the stick. It’s his 50% tax increase that Quinn should be concerned about. The cuts, except for the affected groups will be the least of his worries. In fact, he will need to establish in the public’s mind that he made SIGNIFICANT CUTS in order to establish creditability that Illinois needs a tax increase. His senior staff has had the wrong mind set from the beginning by thinking from a “tax eaters” point of view rather than from tax payers.

  25. - Downtrodden - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:27 pm:

    Can’t wait to hear how the furlough negotiations went with AFSCME.

  26. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:28 pm:

    ===refuse to cover this event===

    Some did at first. But I would’ve probably covered it regardless. This is big stuff. Too big to refuse coverage.

  27. - steve schnorf - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:37 pm:

    As we prepare to hear the actual recommendations, we need to remember that the Gov has very limited options because this is a zero-sum game. There is only so much money, no matter how you slice it and dice it. For ever winner of a dollar, there is a loser of a dollar somewhere within the finite number he’s trying fairly distribute.

  28. - RJW - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:37 pm:

    I shouldn’t be doing this right now (that is, writing this at work) but unfortunately I have to rely on Rich’s site for information. I’m a senior budget person at a state agency and we don’t even know what he is going to say. This will be a surprise for all of us.

  29. - montrose - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:41 pm:

    I agree 100% with steve schnorf, which is why Quinn’s goofy private press conference move was such a bad idea.

  30. - been there - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:42 pm:

    it must be hard to be a baby governor. especially in a war zone.

    apparently all those preceding years were just embryonic.

  31. - Reality Check - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:43 pm:

    The cuts, except for the affected groups will be the least of his worries.

    If you live in Illinois, you’re in the “affected group”.

  32. - Ghost - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:53 pm:

    === As we prepare to hear the actual recommendations, we need to remember that the Gov has very limited options because this is a zero-sum game. There is only so much money, no matter how you slice it and dice it. For ever winner of a dollar, there is a loser of a dollar somewhere within the finite number he’s trying fairly distribute. ====

    in other words, he is dmaned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

    I hope the media coverage embraces the true reality a bit and not just the human interest pain of the cuts side with Quinn in the role of evil landord.

  33. - Commonsense in Illinois - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:55 pm:

    I agree with Montrose and (can’t believe I’m saying this) Bill…Beginners at the helm and very afraid the Governor will flip-flop in the middle of the briefing, or worse get so off script that he upsets more than necessary. Steve is also on target when he says it’s a zero-sum game. It will be interesting to see how deeply the OMB went to secure savings across all agencies. There’s no more low hanging fruit, so all of this will be somewhat painful.

  34. - Stones - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 1:55 pm:

    Rich, All along I said this guy was a hypocrite. The past couple of months have proven me correct.

  35. - Cindy Lou - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:01 pm:

    Off topic question, does anyone know? How long can the Doc Director hold the ‘acting’ role before Senate has to reject or confirm the position?

  36. - fed up - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:04 pm:

    Sounds like Quinn is following Obamas lead on a more transparent and open goverment.

  37. - steve schnorf - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:05 pm:

    I’m not at all ready to call the Gov a “flip-flopper”. I think a far bigger piece of his behavior has been an effort to be unlike the rigid, autocratic, legislator baiting, hide from the real press antics of state government under his predecessor.

    At this point I would say he has been non-confrontational, willing to listen, responsive and willing to compromise. No “my way or the highway”, and I’m personally glad to see it. The past six years were very painful in so many ways.

    At this point let’s not just assume willingness to compromise is weakness weakness.

  38. - You Go Boy - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:06 pm:

    OK everybody….next time you hear the words “he’s a maverick”, understand what it means is “he’s a horse’s a–” - be it McCain, Quinn or whomever.

  39. - Jake from Elwood - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:06 pm:

    Hmm…it seems to me that Populist Quinn does not like being portrayed as the hatchetman. He knows that the cut-and-paste nature of political campaign ads will be used to scorch him during the primary. I would imagine that the Hynes camp is salivating at the opportunity to pop the populist.

  40. - Will County Woman - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:07 pm:

    “I hope the media coverage embraces the true reality a bit and not just the human interest pain of the cuts side with Quinn in the role of evil landord.”—Ghost

    Yeah, not unlike when Quinn tried to cast the IL GA as the evil overlords to the media for a couple of months right.

    You people (steve, ghost et al.) are funny. I hope you were this understanding of Todd Stroger and Barack Obama, both of whom inherited messes from previous administrations that some could argue left them in situations at times where they have been darned if they did and darned if they didn’t.

    here guys, try this on for size…
    a person should not be judged by his situation, but should be judged by how he or she handles his situation. The former is not always something that one can control, but the latter surely always is something that one can control.

  41. - Amy - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:11 pm:

    bad mishandling of a roll out. but, I don’t disagree on Tweet restrictions. Tweeting is not transparency, it’s ADD media.

  42. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:15 pm:

    ===Tweeting is not transparency, it’s ADD media. ===


  43. - Louis Howe - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:15 pm:

    To Reality Check…”If you live in Illinois, you’re in the “affected group””

    Here’s a political reality check for you….Quinn’s the only gubernatorial candidate on record for a 50% tax increase…I wonder why??? Must be a lot of Illinois voters that don’t realize they’re part of the “affected group,” or perhaps, they care more about a 50% tax increase than about the cuts proposed negative effects.

  44. - chas montoya - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:18 pm:

    For all of the confusion about the format of this afternoon’s conference, at least Quinn is not simply announcing the cuts via press release.

  45. - Will County Woman - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:25 pm:

    is quinn a gubernatorial candidate????? He’s hinted and suggested that he will be, but hasn’t officially declared.

    When lisa was thought to be a gubernatorial candidate she had not ruled out a tax increase. in fact what she and others on the demcrat side said early-on was that before you go to the people of Illinois for tax increase, you’ve got to give them something too (e.g. reforms and cuts).

    If i’m not mistaken, I get the impression that Hynes and Lisa Madigan were on the same page, and righfully so, whereas Quinn’s was just for the tax increase as the only way to go.

  46. - Speaking At Will - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:25 pm:

    Blagojevich in 2010!

  47. - Ghost - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:27 pm:

    === I hope you were this understanding of Todd Stroger and Barack Obama ===

    Actually I defended stroger and Obama a number of times, and have been critical of Quinn.

    its almost like I judge the situation and not the person…..It of course being ironic that you have judged me personally based on my response to the situation.

  48. - Former State Employee - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:27 pm:

    Is this audio live yet? I can’t find it on the website.

  49. - Ramsn - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:27 pm:

    >>There can be no cameras, no taping, no streaming live audio and no tweeting.

    You guys have covered the major points. I’ll just chime in to say that I really hope a competitor to Twitter arises so that we can lose “Tweet” as a verb. We’re heading towards “xeroxing” territory, and “tweet” is an awfully stupid word.

  50. - lifeisgood2 - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:41 pm:

    seriously this is what we’ve been waiting for? If the discussion is like the powerpoint there is nothing there!

  51. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:48 pm:

    Looking at the PowerPoint slides, it is clear that he should have stuck to his original call for new revenue (income tax increase) and vetoed anything that came his way before he got it.

    They’re still playing hot potato, delaying the inevitable with no time left, and hoping for a miracle.

    This whole thing is STUPID. Borrow 3.4 million on the pensions and let the Gov. spend that as he sees fit? Quinn ought to have made the pensions and rejected the bonds as irresponsible.

    To the occasional legislator who reads this: $3.4 in bonding plus $3.9 billion in an unpaid backlog is a documented deficit of $7.3 billion. Setting aside Quinn’s claim of “unmet needs” that won’t be funded, this is clearly a case where more revenue is needed. And selling pension bonds is NOT a revenue source.

    Anyone present at a campaign rally over the next year or so should loudly chant “b*** s***” at any campaign event as soon as candidate claims to be able to solve the State’s fiscal situation without raising taxes. The press (and everyone else) should insist on a list of cuts when such budgetary nonsense is proclaimed.

  52. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 2:51 pm:

    ===rejected the bonds as irresponsible===

    Um, that was his idea.

    ===To the occasional legislator who reads this===

    Occasional? lol.

  53. - A Citizen - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 3:11 pm:

    This is absolutely going to kill Jerry Stermer’s gubernatorial aspirations.

  54. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Jul 31, 09 @ 8:27 pm:

    I’m just saying what I think he should have done, if he were a responsible leader. My thoughts clearly have no connection to reality.

    I mean who’s going to ask for a tax increase?


  55. - what the? - Saturday, Aug 1, 09 @ 9:39 am:

    Has everyone forgotten the intial budget briefing back in March? That information was embargoed until noon on the day of the address. A long standing practice had been to brief the Legislative Staff, Agency heads and the press on the night before the address. Not 15 minutes into the briefing, the entire details were released by members of the news media despite notice that all information was embargoed.

    Seems to me that because a particular media person let the details out too early last time, everyone pays the price this time.

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* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
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* Will Sony Xperia XZ Pro lose headphone jack? Dongle pictured in FCC docs
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* Moto X4 kernel on Android Oreo now on GitHub
* After a year of delays, cashier-less Amazon Go store to open Monday
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* Advocating for retired non-numbers
* Getting ready for Soxfest 2018
* White Sox seeking new flagship radio home
* Engel working to steady barrel in Year 2
* WLS parent company looking to end White Sox radio deal
* Inbox: Who replaces Rodon in the rotation?
* 2018 South Side Sox Hall of Fame Ballot

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