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Afternoon roundup

Friday, Aug 28, 2009 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I’ve heard these rumors as well

Rumors are circulating that Andy McKenna may be looking to jump into the race for Governor. The former chairman of the Illinois Republican Party would join a crowded field.

I asked McKenna about those rumors last week and he said he would be helping other candidates…

* Betty Loren Maltese is out of prison

Former Cicero Town President Betty Loren Maltese is out of prison and living in a halfway house in Las Vegas.

Loren Maltese was released from a federal prison in California yesterday after serving six-and-a-half years. She and other Cicero public officials were convicted of ripping off the town for millions of dollars in an insurance scam.

Loren Maltese will stay at the halfway house for several months. In an early 2008 interview , she said she would “never go back to Cicero.”

So, apparently, she can’t be blamed for this.

* Still think that federal campaign rules are the way to go? Really?

Over the past five years, Rep. Bobby L. Rush has spent more than a tenth of his campaign’s receipts on the church he founded, a tidy tithe totaling $152,777.

It’s an example of how the campaign finance system allows candidates and office-holders to redirect funds to institutions they care about.

* Quinn closes Howe…

Gov. Pat Quinn today announced he’ll order the troubled state-run Howe Developmental Center closed.

The Tinley Park center is home to about 250 developmentally disabled clients. Quinn’s predecessor, Rod Blagojevich, last year ordered the facility be shuttered after getting pressure from advocates for the disabled who blamed more than two dozen deaths at Howe on neglectful treatment there.

The center lost its federal certification in 2007 because it failed to meet basic standards, which meant Howe also lost all its federal funding.

* WTTW’s Chicago Tonight hosted a panel discussion about old and new media last night. I was invited, but couldn’t attend…

Part of the show was based on the Community Media Workshop’s latest study of Chicago and Illinois blogs. Several political blogs were included, big and small, except for this one. Not sure why.

* Speaking of online stuff, the IL Senate Republicans have a new campaign website. The Senate Dems have a new caucus website. Kirk Dillard’s campaign site has been revamped. The Illinois Supreme Court now has a new Twitter page.

And if you have an iPhone, you’ve just gotta watch this

Hat tip and more details: Travel 2.0

[Just tried it. Pretty darned cool.]


  1. - anonymous - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:18 pm:

    Startling line in the Howe closure report released today: “Members of the Howe Leadership team generally believe that DHS set Howe up for failure.”

    That is explosive. Yet the report recommends closure?

    Now Quinn is going to follow Blago footsteps, against the wishes of Crotty and Riley (whose district it’s in) and the families of residents?

  2. - From the Desk of Jim Edgar's Former Chief of Staff - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:34 pm:

    Our new website incorrectly states “Dillard for Governor” when it should say “Jim Edgar’s Former Chief of Staff for Governor”. We will be correcting this error shortly.

  3. - BigDog - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:34 pm:

    I’m just trying to come to grips with the concept of having a halfway house in Las Vegas. Isn’t that like going to a drug treatment facility in Amsterdam?

  4. - dupage dan - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:40 pm:


    Maybe PQ thinks there isn’t much that constituency (parents, residents) can do to hurt him politically. I wonder what AFSCME will have to say about it? Threaten a lawsuit?

  5. - unclesam - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:48 pm:

    I don’t think Quinn came to this decision lightly.

    If I recall, COGFA held some lengthy public hearings on the conditions of Howe (and the Tinley Park Mental Health Center) — and after careful review COGFA recommended closure.

    Quinn asked for COGFA to delay its final ruling — but statute did not allow for that to be possible.

    Then Quinn asked an independent consultant to review the conditions at Howe — and recommended closure.

    If all signs point to the closure of Howe for the health and safety of the residents it serves — then I think Quinn did what he thought was best.

  6. - Downstate GOP Faithless - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 1:52 pm:

    I am not certain where some of these campaign webistes comes from…dillards new site is 100 times better than his last one, but still not as good as the schillerstrom one…where as murphy, who i think everyone on the gop side thinks could gain steam pretty quick if he got ssome cash, bascially still uses a splash page (a bit more than that, but really not)…profts is a little busy but pretty good too…

  7. - anonymous - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:00 pm:

    No Uncle Sam, you DON’T recall correctly.

    There was ONE hearing - not “some hearings” - at which almost everyone who testified, including dozens of parents, opposed closure.

    There was not “careful consideration” as Murphy, McCarthy and Ryg all voted for closure despite not having attended the sole hearing.

    Statute had nothing to do with not delaying the vote. COGFA considered a motion to delay which required a majority but deadlocked.

    The “independent” consultant was a former private-sector human service executive - by nobody’s definition an “independent” source on public sector human services. Competition for scarce funds tends to bias the sectors against one another, most unhelpfully.

    Now we get that consultant’s report, which is extremely thin. For example, as noted above, it states that “the Howe Leadership team generally believe that DHS set Howe up for failure”, but doesn’t address this explosive allegation anywhere.

    The railroad keeps rolling, right over Howe residents.

  8. - Shore - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:08 pm:

    who’s going to vote for mckenna? He drove out fitzgerald, his home base new trier, is now blue and I’ve had ham sandwiches with more energy.

    Desk, that’s good. props.

  9. - dupage dan - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:08 pm:


    Howe has had some much publicized problems in the past which has made it easier to demonize the facility. There is much pressure to move this population into small group homes which adds pressure, of course.

    I am not saying the facility deserves closure - even from my relatively close vantage point it is not so clear. Your points are well taken.

  10. - Quinn T. Sential - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:11 pm:

    Is Betty planning to invite Eddie V over for tea and crumpets now that she’s halfway home? Given the bullet that he dodged himself recently, I suspect that he is no longer as mad as a hatter, and would have to respectfully decline.

  11. - Give Me A Break - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:12 pm:

    Howe should close ASAP. The Feds, DHS, COGFA and numerous outside groups like The ARC, Equip for Equality and others have all called for the closure. These state ops. are 1950s and 1960s thinking when it comes to caring for the disabled.

    When both those inside and outside state government see the deaths at the place, they all know it is time to close.

  12. - Red Hawk - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:15 pm:

    McKenna…just can’t help himself. Clearly unable to do what is best for the party and go away quietly. Not surprising based on his previous actions as chairman.

  13. - cassandra - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:23 pm:

    Assuming Howe is actually closed–I suppose last minute changes and appeals are always possible–I think Quinn did the right thing. I must say, I thought he would cave to employee union protests and keep it open. So this is promising–again, always assuming he follows through. He’s not exactly reliable on follow through,

  14. - unclesam - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:48 pm:


    There was more than one COGFA hearing on Howe. One in Dec of 2008, Jan 2009, April 2009 and May 2009. Check the COGFA website on faciliy closures.

    As far as the Reps (that serve on COGFA) who voted for closure of Howe that may not have been at your “one meeting,” they likely read each report prepared by COGFA, so I am betting they were well apprised of the issues from both the proponents and opponents. Again, you can just go to the COGFA website and view most of the reports, letters and public comments.

    Last, many state agencies hire consultants from the private sector to do independent evaluations. As to whether it would have been better to find a consultant more familiar with “public institutions,” I see your point — but not sure if the outcome would have been different.

  15. - siriusly - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:52 pm:

    That iPHone app is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Thanks for that video Rich.

    I am not an iPhone user yet, the coolness factor is drawing me closer . . closer . too bad its on that crappy ATT network.

  16. - anonymous - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:54 pm:

    I wonder what GMAB and Cassandra know about the Howe center that the parents of its residents don’t. Forget pols, outside groups, union if you wish. Howe center parents have nothing at stake but what is best for their children, and they want Howe to stay open. Not sure how GMAB, Cassandra or Pat Quinn can argue with that.

  17. - OneMan - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 2:55 pm:

    Hey Rich, they didn’t rate me either… So I guess at least I am in good company.

  18. - anonymous - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:02 pm:

    There was more than one COGFA hearing on Howe.

    You’re wrong. The hearing was Dec. 11. Look at the site yourself.

  19. - unclesam - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:06 pm:


    I did look at the site. I checked it before I posted my previous comments. That’s how I determined those specific dates.

    Dec. 2008 - public meeting
    Jan. 2009 - follow-up meeting
    April/May 2009 - commission vote (they have to meet in order to vote)

    I hope this helps you.

  20. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:11 pm:

    Rich, does any state have rules that prevent money from being transferred from political committees to tax exempt organizations, including churches?

    What Rush did was unseemly, but has anyone even gotten to the stage of advocating rules that would prevent what Rush did? In any state?

    How would you even write rules that prevent Rush from doing what he did?

  21. - cassandra - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:12 pm:

    It was the loss of federal certification which persuaded me that the center should be closed. Not because of the (considerable) extra costs to Illinois taxpayers, although that has certainly been problematic, but my belief that governmental standards are generally the result of negotiation and consensus and thus usually set the bar low rather than high. And yet, despite promises that those in charge of Howe (the heavily politicized DHS and its chief) would regain certification, they apparently never did.

    It seems that recertification should have been a huge priority. But apparently, not enough of one to be successful.

    My criticism isn’t confined to the Howe staff. I think the entire top leadership of DHS, mostly if not all Blago appointees, or appointees/cronies of appointees, should be replaced.

  22. - anonymous - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:21 pm:

    Sam, apparently your difficulty is in understanding the difference between a public hearing to take testimony on Howe (one, held Dec. 11) and other COGFA meetings (no public comment taken).

    You may benefit from reading the State Facility Closure Act which created this oversight function.

  23. - Chi Gal - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:23 pm:

    - dupage dan - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 12:58 pm:

    Off topic - sorry - just learned that PQ just announced that he will be closing Howe Developmental Center in Tinley Park. Does this mean PQ now has a backbone? –

    No. It means that Bobby Rush and Jesse Jackson were ok with his decision.

  24. - VanillaMan - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:24 pm:

    Rumors are circulating that Andy McKenna may be looking to jump into the race for Governor. The former chairman of the Illinois Republican Party would join a crowded field.

    So the guy who couldn’t seem to promote the Illinois GOP to any statewide offices during his tenure, thinks he could run a successful campaign for governor?

    What would his qualification be?

    Last month it was the US Senate, and now it is the governorship? WOW - talk about the self-love.

  25. - Hon. Cranial Lamb - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:36 pm:

    Great point Cary Nyberg!

    Maybe the new “reform” bill should prohibit transfers of political money to NFP organizations, charities and churches. No offense to any of those organizations (I actually work for one) - but they sometimes get “used” by the politicians and worse. Many politicians use the NFP transfer clause to enrich their family members - it’s a back door way of transferring campaign contributions into personal wealth.

    This should be addressed. Seriously, if its political money - then it should stay political money - or refunded to the donors.

  26. - Hon. Cranial Lamb - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:36 pm:

    Carl (sorry typo)

  27. - Homey - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:44 pm:

    It would help if you told us that the new iPhone app. only works on iPhone 3Gs!

  28. - unclesam - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:45 pm:


    No difficulty, really. All COGFA hearings were open to the public — and comments were allowed at each hearing, whether written or oral (granted, the normal COGFA hearings were more structured and brief). I know because I was able to attend one.

    I really do not want to beat this into the ground any further. I appreciate the chat though.

  29. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 3:53 pm:

    Homey, you gotta get with the program, man.

  30. - dupage dan - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 4:13 pm:

    Chi Gal,

    Thanks - I should have known to follow the clout.

  31. - Third Generation Chicago Native - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 4:17 pm:

    As far a Loren Maltese goes, I don’t think Cicero wants her either.

    Too bad you weren’t able to make the Chicago Tonight Rich. You must have the biggest most active political blog in the State.

  32. - Joe from Joliet - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 4:38 pm:

    Maltese can run for Lt Gov and team with Proft on the “Out Of Our Minds” ticket.

    From the desk… Thank goodness Dillard is in. He’s the only one that can win.

    McKenna can notta be serious.

  33. - scoot - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 4:39 pm:

    Mckenna jumping into the race would not be a good thing. He had a good run as Chairman, but he’s just not that exciting as a candidate.

    He could always lay groundwork for the future.

  34. - Ahem...The REAL Anonymous - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 6:36 pm:

    Interesting discussion. Sorry I missed it earlier.

  35. - colt 45 - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 7:26 pm:

    hey andy. don’t go away mad…

  36. - Loyal Whig - Friday, Aug 28, 09 @ 11:18 pm:

    Andy McKenna for Governor? How delusional can one man be? Please run!

  37. - Elliot Ness - Saturday, Aug 29, 09 @ 8:35 pm:

    Maybe the ATM bandits were the same ones that snatched the ATM outta the Thompson Center on a weekend about 10 years ago. At least this time the CMS Police weren’t on hand to let ‘em in, hold the door on the way out, and help the mopes shove the ATM on their Ryder Truck.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Feds to provide more migrant funding... Just $19.3 million for Illinois
* Question of the day
* It’s just a bill
* Bill to expand IVF/infertility insurance coverage overwhelmingly passes Senate
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
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