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Question of the day

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2009

* This has to be one of the most interesting photos of Gov. Pat Quinn that I’ve ever seen…

Keeping in mind my “you’ll be banned for life and possibly reported to the coppers” rules about violent imagery, what caption would you give this photo?

Best comment wins a ticket to the August 17th Chicago White Sox game vs. the Kansas City Royals.

* Yesterday’s winner was actually the very first comment. I decided right away to give it to hmmm…

12:00 PM - Governor Quinn, at a press conference in Chicago, announces he will hold his breath until the legislature passes a final budget that does not hurt families.

12:03 PM - Governor Quinn flip flops and takes a breath.

Please contact me to make arrangements.

- Posted by Rich Miller   132 Comments      

Campaign 2010 roundup

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2009

* Put this into the “I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’” file. The Illinois Republican Party whacks Democratic US Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias for talking out of both sides of his mouth…

Alexi: So I’m also proud to be the first candidate running for the U.S. Senate in the history of the state of Illinois not to take money from lobbyists or from corporate PACs…

Roma: In that spirit of swearing off corporate PACs and lobbyist contributions, what about all special interest money, from unions, from trial lawyers, from, zero PAC money, is that something that you think politicians should all do?

Alexi: I personally do.

But according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, Giannoulias already accepted union and special interest PAC contributions to his Senate exploratory committee.

Apparently, when Giannouolias said “I personally do,” he was referring to the question of “should politicians reject” all special interest money - and wasn’t trying to say that he actually does it.


The Giannoulias campaign attempts to explain…

“Mark Kirk has taken millions of dollars of special interest money and voted their way in Washington for almost a decade. Alexi Giannoulias is the first US Senate candidate in Illinois history to refuse money from federal lobbyists and corporate PACs because he believes that we will never change the way we do business in Washington until we change the way we elect people to represent us in Washington.”

* Comptroller Dan Hynes’ campaign has been whacking Gov. Pat Quinn for the past few days, but Hynes’ campaign Twitter page has lately focused on sports…

Upset that Charles Tillman is out for a while. Hope he gets better soon - Bears need his secondary help.
about 1 hour ago

Looking forward to seeing Mark Buehrle read David Letterman’s Top Ten List tonight.
about 22 hours ago

Lotsa red meat there, Dan. Way to get all controversial on us.

* Republican William Kelly has a bit of fun with his state comptroller campaign kickoff video…

Kelly’s background from a press release…

A Second City-trained humorist, Kelly is he host and executive producer of the TV series, “Sportsaholic” and the Emmy award-winning “Upscale TV,” which just completed a successful three-year run on FOX.

No stranger to Illinois politics, Kelly was previously the Executive Director of the National Taxpayers Union of Illinois. He is a former GOP candidate for Congress and currently oversees a non-profit reform organization, He has a long-standing history of anti-tax and government waste activism, which was the subject of the National Review article, “Rebel with a Cause.”

* Sen. Durbin apparently doesn’t know anything more than we do about Chris Kennedy…

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said Monday he was in the dark about any potential statewide bid of Merchandise Mart boss Chris Kennedy, the nephew of his Senate colleague Ted Kennedy. […]

Lately, media reports have said he is eying a run for governor after backing off a senate bid. That would put him in competition with Gov. Pat Quinn and Comptroller Dan Hynes.

Asked about Chris Kennedy Monday, Durbin said flatly, “I have heard so many rumors.”

“I don’t know where he is whether it is governor or senator or something else,” Durbin said.

* Democratic State Rep. Julie Hamos claims $200,000 in contribution pledges for her 10th Congressional District run…

“We’ve already received pledges of over $200,000 in just the one week that I’ve been making phone calls. I think that’s a great start and I think it shows again the strength of my support.”

Here’s her campaign video announcement…

Carlos Hernandez-Gomez ponders Hamos on Twitter…

.She’s bright, charasmatic w/ a great story, but how will her transit tax & Quinn tax vote play?

* State Sen. Rickey Hendon (D-Chicago) talks to Fox Chicago News about running for Congress…

* Memo to newspapers: Get your own houses in order before complaining about blogs. Case in point, the Naperville Sun gave GOP Congresscritter Judy Biggert sponsorship credit for a major local project

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that would allocate $1 million for improvement of the EJ&E railroad crossing at Ogden Avenue in Aurora.

The bill, H.R. 3288, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-13th), provides fiscal year 2010 appropriations for the Department of Transportation, included a total of $1.5 million requested by Biggert for a Metra Station in Tinley Park and freight-related traffic relief along Ogden Avenue. The bill passed the House on Thursday evening and now heads to the Senate.

Um, no

But the paper forgot one tiny detail — along with the rest of Illinois’ Republican delegation, Biggert voted against the bill. The Sun staff report also falsely asserted that she “sponsored” the measure (in fact, she did no such thing).

The newspaper story appears to be a clumsy rewrite of an official press release. Oops.

* Related…

* Dirty Money Watch: Rep. Danny Davis

* Al Hofeld, Jr., may seek state Senate seat: A Chicago lawyer whose father changed the face of Illinois politics says he’s getting ready for a possible race for the state Senate.

* GOP Businessman Dick Green Close to Announcing Bid for IL-10

* Giannoulias Kicks Off Senate Campaign In Marion

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      

Will Quinn “save” pre-school program?

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2009

* Gov. Pat Quinn appears to be already promising money from that $1.2 billion in magical cash reserves…

…Quinn said Monday he’s now hoping to reverse a recommendation by the State Board of Education to cut pre-school for 30,000 youngsters.

“Well the State Board of Education made that recommendation, but I have the final say. So we’re going to be reviewing everything,” Quinn said.

He didn’t exactly say he would “reverse” the decision, but whatever.

While good news for early education advocates and participants, that’s less money which can be spent elsewhere or used to keep next year’s horrific $10B+ deficit in check.

For instance, a new study reportedly shows

The percentage of children in Illinois living in poverty increased 13 percent between 2000 and 2007, from 15 percent in 2000 to 17 percent in 2007. During the same time period, Data Book indicators show that the percentage of children living in families without secure parental employment rose from 29 percent to 31 percent. While both measures are lower than 2007 national averages, the Illinois indicators increased at a faster rate than in the United States.

* Meanwhile, there’s been a minor uproar lately from the religious and non-religious about the projects in the state’s new capital bill which benefit religious institutions. Eric Zorn reveals today that not all those projects may make the final cut, however…

A spokesman for Gov. Quinn said Monday that individual state agencies will rule “on a case-by-case basis” which projects are constitutional as these agencies negotiate the specifics of each grant.

Great. The lawmakers pander to their constituents, state agencies get the blame and the rest of us get to pay for more litigation

That’s usually how it goes.

* Speaking of the capital bill, the Daily Herald demands that local governments in its territory opt out of the new video gaming law…

So far, there has been precious little discussion of the issue at area municipal board meetings and almost no hearings to understand what constituents think or to delve into the deeper implications. A DuPage County Board member did speak out last week when he said he would ask the board to ban the machines in unincorporated areas. We need more of that kind of discussion. As Anita Bedell, director of the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol & Addiction Problems, said, “Once this is in your community, you can’t stop it.”

To our mayors and village presidents, to our city councils and village boards, we have four words: End the silence now.

The locals certainly have that right. They’ll miss out on the gaming revenues, of course. But I also wonder whether you think capital projects should be moved down the priority list if the local governments refuse to help pay for it via this new gaming tax of legalized video poker.

* Related…

* Downtown Partnership tightens budget belt

* SJ-R: Re-examine how state imprisons criminals

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

Unsolicited advice

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2009

* Dear readers,

You might want to click here and head over to Amazon to help the site’s customers by “tagging” Rod Blagojevich’s new book.

When you click the link, just scroll down a bit until you see: “Tags Customers Associate with This Product.” Then click the tags that you agree with, and/or create your own.

For instance, I created a tag called “Moron.” Clicking the Moron tag shows that Rod Blagojevich’s new book is already the second most prevalent product with that tag at Amazon’s entire site. It does have a way to go to overtake the first place contestant, however, but Blagojevich is, in my opinion, far more deserving.

This is not a call to dishonestly tag the new Blagojevich book. As Illinois political observers, we’re simply the most qualified of anyone to create tags for this particular author. So, please be as honest as you possibly can. I don’t think we should hurt anyone. The idea is to illuminate the process.

Also, after you’ve tagged the item, you might also want to create a search tag, which is just below. If you’re not an Amazon customer, you can easily create an account.

Please, report back to us what you’ve done. Thanks.

* Dear Gov. Quinn,

Today would probably be an appropriate day to sign this bill

Creates the Elected Officials Misconduct Forfeiture Act. Provides that the Attorney General may file an action in circuit court on behalf of the people of Illinois against an elected official who has, by his or her violation of the Official Misconduct Article of the Criminal Code of 1961 or violation of a similar federal offense, injured the people of Illinois. Provides that the purpose of such suit is to recover all proceeds traceable to the elected official’s offense and by so doing, prevent, restrain or remedy violations of the Official Misconduct Article of the Criminal Code of 1961 or similar federal offenses. Effective immediately.

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

Mikva wants all trustees to resign

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2009

* The hearings aren’t over yet, but Ab Mikva appears to have made up his mind

The chairman of the state panel investigating admissions abuses at the University of Illinois stepped up his war of words on the school’s trustees this morning, saying they all should submit their resignations. […]

Mikva also linked the trustees to the “pay-for-play” mentality in Springfield, saying some trustees had contributed as much as $100,000 to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He wondered aloud what they thought they were buying.

It probably hasn’t occurred to Mikva that his own defense of Rod Blagojevich against corruption allegations in the 2006 campaign was worth far more than any cash contribution could’ve bought. Mikva allowed Blagojevich to use his good name to be reelected. That was priceless.

Still, after watching this thing unfold, Mikva is probably right about the trustees. They seemed to be of a class that bowed to gubernatorial and legislative authority far too easily.

* Meanwhile, White appears to have learned a lesson as a whole

University of Illinois President B. Joseph White on Monday told a commission investigating the effect of politics on school admissions that he found an environment in which who you know and what you can offer matter to a shocking degree when he took over at the university in 2005.

And he said the university’s reputation has suffered such a blow because of the role of political clout on campus that he and other university leaders have little choice but to insulate decisions about who gets into school from anyone but admissions officials — barring graduates, donors and anyone else from the process. [emphasis added]

It wasn’t just Rod Blagojevich and legislators representing antsy constituents who twisted arms. The pervasive influence of big donors and prominent alumni probably had more weight for a longer period of time anyway.

* This reform, however, is probably not a good idea

[Former U of I president James Stukel] said he would support a board that includes only three governor-appointed trustees plus additional trustees selected by the university’s alumni association. Currently, the UI board is made up of nine governor-appointed trustees, plus three students elected from each of the campuses.

The alumni association? You mean the group that White wants to rein in? The group which thought the biggest issue for years was saving that dancing white kid at sports games? Please.

Should we go back to elected trustees?

- Posted by Rich Miller   48 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2009

* Ill. spent less than U.S. average per pupil in ‘07

U.S. Census Bureau figures released Monday ranked Illinois 21st in the country in per-pupil spending. On average, each state spent $9,666 per pupil in 2007, the most recent year for which data are available.

* Midwest governors form high-speed rail group

Hoping to pool their clout to land billions of federal tax dollars, eight Midwestern governors and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley agreed Monday to work together to build a vast network of high-speed rail lines.

The agreement envisions a web of high-speed lines radiating out from Chicago to the Twin Cities, Green Bay, Detroit, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Iowa City, among other Midwestern cities. The signers, including Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn, hope the agreement will bring the region a large chunk of at least $8 billion set aside for high-speed rail in President Barack Obama’s stimulus package.

* Chicago, 8 states form high-speed rail group

* Midwest Governors Pool High-Speed Rail Efforts

* Second, faster high-speed rail line suggested for Springfield

* Agriculture grants available for Illinois farmers

* Disaster loans available for residents

* South Side Ford plant could grow

An analyst says Ford’s South Side assembly plant could grow to two or three shifts after the Explorer SUV moves production here next year.

* Applause for Oak Lawn

It concluded the village needed to adopt a merit-based pay raise system for nonunion employees and tweak pay grades for both lower level and mid-level jobs, among other recommendations. The village is considering privatization of several village departments, refinancing bond payments, cutting travel expenses, laying off 11 firefighters and, possibly, requiring retired employees to pay a portion of their health care premiums, which the village now covers at 100 percent-a rare perk indeed.

* Buyouts, furloughs won’t be enough to balance city of Aurora budget

* US House panel says cemetery oversight needed

* Ex-Berwyn alderman sues over incident at Wal-Mart

One-time Berwyn alderman Michael Phelan filed a battery and malicious prosecution suit Monday against Wal-Mart and its security staff at the Forest Park store in connection with a year-old incident.

* Obesity carries heavy cost

Extra weight linked to $1,400 a year more in medical expenses

* Tweet about apartment mold draws lawsuit

It was a not-so-sweet Tweet about a Chicago apartment.

So Horizon Group Management LLC filed a libel lawsuit Monday against former tenant Amanda Bonnen, claiming one of her alleged Twitter posts “maliciously and wrongfully” slammed her apartment at 4242 N. Sheridan and the company managing it.

* Mayor Richard Daley appoints Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado to replace Ald. Billy Ocasio

Daley took issue with reporters who asked him if he had snubbed Ocasio by not picking his wife.

“Why did I pick Roberto Maldonado? That is the question,” Daley said. “And I picked him because of experience, his commitment, his working with people, his private-sector as well public-sector [experience].”

* Daley appoints Maldonado as 26th Ward alderman

Pointing to Maldonado’s role in founding the first Hispanic-owned mortgage brokerage firm in the Midwest, Daley said, “In the Puerto Rican community, we forget there’s many, many entrepreneurs, professional people. There are all types of small businesses. … There’s a large entrepreneurship in that community that people don’t realize.”

Although Todd Stroger and Bill Beavers moved from the City Council to the County Board in recent years, Maldonado said he relishes the move in the other direction, which comes with a $25,556 pay raise.

* Cook Co. commissioner leaves, jeopardizing sales tax cut

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley appointed Commissioner Roberto Maldonado, a Democrat from Chicago, alderman of the 26th Ward, and the city council is expected to approve the appointment Wednesday. That means Maldonado won’t be around for the county board’s next meeting, Sept. 1, when it must consider overriding Stroger’s veto of a half-percentage-point sales tax cut.

* New Alderman Vows to Fight for Equality

* Durbin: Senate Committee Close to Health Care Bill

* Southlanders: We need more health care services

* Sculpture to mark 1908 riot to be unveiled

SPRINGFIELD — A sculpture that resembles two ends of a burned-out home will be unveiled next month to commemorate the 1908 Springfield race riot.

* Buehrle presents the ‘Top Ten’ on the ‘Late Show’ tonight

- Posted by Mike Murray   11 Comments      

* Illinois payrolls were up just 0.5 percent last year
* Vitriol continues in Durkin's primary race
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Judge clears courtroom in Rauner lawsuit hearing
* You can't "fully inform" voters without money
* State agrees to a $400 million consent decree
* Rate Prizker's new online ad
* Rauner gets another property tax press pop
* Emanuel pokes Rauner over Amazon comments
* Rauner's new Pritzker ad cost just $11,900
* Kennedy unveils health care plan
* Gov. Rauner gets his own blog
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* Noon update: Mostly sunny, American Pickers' 8th season and Linda Cook's instant reactions
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