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Quinn press conference live blog - Guv backs away from firing two holdout trustees - Cullerton will move fumigation bill - Hynes responds: “Failure to lead”

Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009

* 2:34 pm - Gov. Pat Quinn’s press conference on the U of I trustee matter is starting now. Click here for live video, or here for audio.

Please help live-blog in comments since I have several other things to do.

* 2:38 pm - Ben Yount of MetroNetworks is live-Tweeting. [Fixed link]

* Quinn announced Chris Kennedy and Lawrence Oliver (with Boeing, former US Attorney) as his newest trustee appointees.

* QUINN: “I am concerned that the university will be dragged into an interminable legal battle… with two trustees who don’t want to resign.”

“I don’t want a cloud of litigation hanging over the head [of the university]. Ancient curse: May your life be filled with lawyers.”

Here comes the retreat, campers…

LOL. The video feed conked out and I missed what he said. Sheesh. Ben had the same problem. If you’re having the same problem, check the audio feed.

* So, the logic seems to be that since the guv’s commission report suggested that the trustees should voluntarily resign, and the two holdouts don’t want to resign, then the governor is “moving on.”

* From August 12th

“I don’t intend to just act in a hasty way, but I will act,” Quinn said.

* From August 16th

“I’m a patient man but I don’t have infinite patience,” Quinn said Friday. “I’m willing to let them study the report, but you know, I think they better realize that school is beginning soon and it’s time for them to do the right thing.”

* Trib’s headline: Quinn backs down on firing 2 U. of I. trustees

* 3:13 pm - And that’s a wrap. Just like I figured, it ended the way his “Roland Burris should resign” crusade did. He’s getting awfully predictable.

*** 3:20 pm *** Senate President John Cullerton’s press secretary said she just spoke with her boss and Cullerton told her he will be moving the “fumigation” bill now that Gov. Quinn has refused to fire the two holdout trustees. The legislation would force the trustees (and a whole lot of other people) off the board and out of government.

However, Cullerton’s spokesperson also pointed out that there was no guarantee that the fumigation bill (which has already passed the House) would clear the Senate because of opposition from members of his own caucus and some Republicans.

* 4:08 pm - From Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno’s spokesperson…

Leader Radogno told reporters today that she’s disappointed the University of Illinois doesn’t have a clean slate and ability to put this behind it. But the Governor still has opportunities to demonstrate his commitment to reforming Illinois government — specifically by vetoing the sham campaign finance reform bill and working on an alternative.

She’s meeting with [Quinn] shortly.

* 5:11 pm - From the Dan Hynes campaign…

Illinois Comptroller and Democratic candidate for Governor Dan Hynes issued the following statement today in response to Governor Pat Quinn’s press conference on the University of Illinois trustee decision:

“Yesterday, Governor Quinn said he would act on the University of Illinois trustees issue with ‘certainty and with dispatch.’ Today he did neither. Unfortunately there is little that is certain about the ultimate resolution of a scandal first revealed last May, and acting with dispatch would have resolved this matter well before the students returned to class. The simple fact is that the Governor has let the entire summer go by, managing only to make the situation more chaotic as classes begin. This is just another example of Pat Quinn’s failure to lead.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   112 Comments      

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Hoffman campaign updates

Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009

* Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman already has a campaign website. David Axelrod’s former firm, AKPD, just sent out a press release announcing that Hoffman was resigning to run as a Democrat for US Senate. And he has a campaign video

…Adding… From Lynn Sweet

The [former Axelrod firm] –poised to represent Merchandise Mart mogul Chris Kennedy if he had jumped in the race– had clearly wants to cloister Hoffman at this stage and not repeat the mistakes made by Caroline Kennedy when she tested-the-waters for securing the appointment to replace then Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the U.S. Senate and found herself stumbling in the rough and tumble of New York politics and press.

*** 1:17 pm *** I just got off the phone with AKPD, and was told Hoffman has already retained Geoffrey Garin, the president of Hart Research, as his pollster. That’s Dick Durbin’s pollster, so they know something about Illinois.

*** 1:19 pm *** Laura Washington’s early take

The Pollyanna crowd will pooh-pooh that the Senate race is too important to become the plaything of race and gender politics.

But demographics have long been major players in the ups and downs of Illinois politics.

Jackson’s campaign knows that. […]

While she doesn’t want to push this button hard, she can also appeal to the “race men” who desire to “keep the seat” for an African American.

- Posted by Rich Miller   74 Comments      

Question of the day

Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009

* This is completely non-political, but it’s been bugging the absolute heck outta me for quite some time.

The scenario is played out countless times a day. We’ve all experienced it.

You’re talking on your phone and the connection drops, probably because one or both callers has a mobile phone.

You call the person back and get a busy signal or voice mail because that person is calling you at the same time. You hang up and call back again and the same thing happens. This repeats over and over until one side surrenders and the other side makes a connection - or both sides surrender and the conversation is over.

Frustrating beyond belief.

* The Question: What should be the protocol for situations like this? Who, in your opinion, should call back and who should wait? Explain your reasoning, please.

I’ve decided to abide by the majority vote, so there are consequences to today’s QOTD. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 - Axelrod firm behind him? *** Report: Chicago Inspector General to run for US Senate as a Dem

Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009

* If he can raise enough money to compete, this could be quite an interesting turn of events

Chicago’s corruption-fighting Inspector General David Hoffman has resigned to enter the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, removing a giant thorn from Mayor Daley’s side.

A former federal prosecutor who specialized in breaking up street gangs, Hoffman was hired away from the U.S. attorney’s office in 2005 at a time when Daley was besieged by the Hired Truck, city hiring and minority contracting scandals.

It wasn’t long before an office that had concentrated on low-level corruption and almost never conducted criminal investigations was working hand-in-glove with the federal government.

Not only does Hoffman bring real ethics and prosecutorial credentials to the race (which could conceivable hurt Alexi Giannoulias), but as the second white male to enter the race he could also empower the only African-American and the only female candidate to announce so far, Urban League President Cheryle Jackson.

Game changer?


*** UPDATE 1 *** The Tribune confirms

Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman said today he is resigning his watchdog role to seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

Hoffman told the Chicago Tribune that he is resigning officially today and told Mayor Richard Daley of his decision on Tuesday. He declined further comment.

*** UPDATE 2 *** From WBEZ’s Twitter page

Chicago’s Inspector General David Hoffman running for Senate, has Axelrod’s media relations company behind him

* Related…

* Brown: Pols now careful to split gov job, campaign roles

* Franks still mulling Dem race for guv

* At least State Sen. Matt Murphy admits it

* GOP treasurer candidate Rutherford hopes to use ‘bully pulpit’

* DeSart considering run at Senger’s 96th House seat

* Long Grove village president explores run in 8th District

* Another candidate in 59th District’s race

* Patlak to run for Cook Board of Review

- Posted by Rich Miller   77 Comments      

Hold everything?

Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009

* Is the capital project funding in jeopardy? Time will tell, but if nothing else, this development won’t make it easier to sell bonds

Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on Tuesday filed a lawsuit claiming Gov. Pat Quinn and other state leaders violated the Illinois Constitution when they passed legislation to increase taxes on alcohol and expand gambling to fund the governor’s $31-billion public works program.

The suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, claims the 2009 Capital Program rolls too many subjects into one bill and fails to adhere to a uniformity clause, because the new law imposes “arbitrary, widely disproportionate new taxes on beer, wine and spirits.” Mr. Wirtz, president of Wirtz Beverage Illinois LLC, wants a judge to declare the new law unconstitutional and stop the “use of state funds and resources in the operation and administration and regulation of programs created by legislation.” […]

Mr. Wirtz claims the higher rates will raise taxes on beer 22% and up to 90% for wine and spirits, and that state lawmakers have failed to provide “coherent rationale” for the “vastly disproportionate” increases.


The Wirtz suit could pose a greater threat to the public works plan, which would be hard to launch if a court blocked or stalled implementation of the tax hikes or gambling expansion. Legal challenges were expected when Gov. Pat Quinn signed the measures into law this summer. But in Wirtz, the program now has an opponent with broad political influence and the deep pockets necessary to mount an effective court fight. […]

The newly filed Wirtz lawsuit contends lawmakers violated several dictates of the Illinois Constitution in stitching together the building program, most prominently a mandate that legislation on substantive matters not pertain to a mishmash of unrelated subjects.

The suit also claims the video poker program, which would allow bars across the state to install video poker machines linked to the state through a closed-circuit Internet connection, violates federal gambling rules.

A companion plan to hire a private management firm to run the Illinois lottery similarly runs afoul of federal law, the suit alleges.

In essence, pretty much every single dollar raised to fund the capital bill is now being challenged.

* This is without a doubt the greatest problem with the new video gaming law…

The state’s top gambling regulator said [yesterday] it will be “absolutely impossible” to meet a mid-September deadline for drafting rules needed to roll out legalized video poker around Illinois. […]

“The video gaming statute creates not only a new branch of gaming, it creates an entirely new industry of gaming,” Jaffe said, estimating as many as 15,000 businesses across the state would be eligible to install gambling machines. “We are working on rules, but there is no way in the world that we will rush to finish rules like that unless we have the knowledge to do it and the ability to do it.”

The Gaming Board has no experience with stuff like this. The project probably should’ve been given to the Lottery, which already has a statewide network of machines and somewhat similar experience. The South Dakota video gaming law handed over authority to its Lottery, and things seem to be going pretty well there.

But keep in mind that the Gaming Board, like any state entity, is a bureaucracy, and bureaucracies always want as many resources as possible…

Jaffe said he was “disappointed but not surprised” that lawmakers failed to provide funding to get the program off the ground. The gaming board estimates it would need at least 75 additional staff members and $10 million just to implement the program. It would take even more resources to properly monitor and regulate, which he said poses a whole other set of problems.

* Somebody left this comment on the blog today, and I checked the IP address so I’m comfortable front-paging it…

Heard [Quinn] is also issuing an amendatory veto to reduce the number of signatures required for towns put the video gaming issue on the ballot. Using a horse racing related bill. Don’t know why he just didn’t AV the original bill if he wants that.

Expect more of this stuff.

* Related…

* Critics urge state to reconsider video

* Taxes going up on candy, shampoo, liquor

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      

Quinn: “You ain’t seen nothing yet”

Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009

* Gov. Pat Quinn issued an amendatory veto this week without any sort of fanfare. The AV creates sweeping new provisions to allow binding referenda on new municipal ethics ordinances

The Democratic governor and longtime fan of citizen initiatives put the issue on the legislature’s fall veto session agenda by using his authority to rewrite a bill lawmakers sent him. He has asked lawmakers to go along with his changes, but it may be a long shot when they meet in Springfield in mid-October.

“I’ve said many a time that we need to have an ethics initiative in Illinois that allows the taxpayers, the voters, to step in whether it be at the statewide level or local level,” Quinn said Tuesday. Asked to detail his strategy, Quinn instead said, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

“You ain’t seen nothing yet.” Where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah.

From Quinn’s amendatory veto language

The electors of any unit of local government may pass, by initiative petition and referendum in the manner prescribed by this Article, a binding ordinance relating to ethical standards that the corporate authorities of their unit of local government are empowered to pass.

As I told subscribers this morning, you won’t find any definition of what a “binding ordinance relating to ethical standards” actually is. That’s quite a loophole.

The state Constitution gives the governor a whole lot of leeway on amendatory vetoes, a fact that Rod Blagojevich took advantage of time and time again…

The Governor may return a bill together with specific recommendations for change to the house in which it originated.

More on this week’s action…

Still hanging are questions on how Quinn will deal with a bill to restrict political donations; he once called the measure “landmark” but now suggests it falls short of the broad reform needed. The bill would become law if Quinn doesn’t act by Friday. Some of his aides met with top Democratic lawmakers Tuesday to discuss possible changes to the measure.

Brace yourselves for the mother of all panderings.

* Related…

* Press release: Republican leaders in the House and Senate are calling on the governor to veto the seriously flawed campaign finance legislation (House Bill 7) awaiting action on his desk. They also pledge to work with the governor on a better solution.

* State Capitol Q&A: Quinn delaying effective dates

* Quinn says scholarships should be need-based

* The best politicians that money can buy

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Kennedy to U of I board *** Quinn to announce U of I trustee decision today - Cullerton says don’t fire them

Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009

*** UPDATE *** From the Naperville Sun

Gov. Pat Quinn will name Merchandise Mart CEO Chris Kennedy to the University of Illinois board later Wednesday.

Quinn mentioned the appointment Wednesday morning after speaking at a labor breakfast at Local 176 in Joliet.

[ *** End of Update *** ]

* After postponing the event several times, Gov. Pat Quinn intends to take action on the U of I trustee issue later today. From a press release…

CHICAGO- Governor Quinn will make an announcement regarding the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

To listen and watch the press conference live, please visit

WHO: Governor Pat Quinn

TIME: 2:30 p.m.

WHERE: James R. Thompson Center
100 West Randolph Street
15th Floor Blue Room
Chicago, 60601


Quinn said [yesterday] he will detail his plans for the board and holdout trustees Montgomery and Frances Carroll, who have refused the governor’s call to resign. The governor wouldn’t say what he plans to do, but he promised to act “with certainty and with dispatch.”[…]

Montgomery told The Associated Press that if Quinn removes him, he’ll seek an injunction to stop the action, then try to force the governor to prove in court that he was incompetent, neglected his duties or was guilty of malfeasance. The state constitution says political appointees may be removed for those reasons.

“I’m not going to take the responsibility for conduct that I had nothing to do with, and I don’t want to voluntarily acknowledge that I did something that I did not do,” Montgomery said.

But Senate President John Cullerton is advising against firing the two remaining trustees

Cullerton said his advice to Gov. Quinn is not to fire the holdout trustees now — “they’ll sue, they should sue, and it’ll cost us a lot of money to fight it if nothing else” — but to wait to see if the state Senate passes the fumigation bill, which would have the same effect but in a much more pro-forma way that would be unlikely to prompt a lawsuit.

Cullerton wants the two holdouts to resign on their own. If they don’t, he threatened to advance the House-approved “fumigation” bill. The Tribune originally reported that Cullerton would move a bill targeting only the U of I trustees if they don’t all resign, but Cullerton said that was incorrect.

* Meawhile, the Associated Press has a story today about the governor’s numerous flip-flops and Quinn’s defense of himself…

Quinn, however, argues that most of those actions amount to maneuvering over details as he focuses on the big picture — getting a tax increase to balance the budget, for instance, or toughening Illinois ethics laws.


Christopher Mooney, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield, said Quinn risks weakening himself by being seen as indecisive. Lawmakers, for instance, are less likely to concede to him in negotiations if they think he’ll fold soon.

But Mooney doubts the average voter pays much attention to the kinds of issues on which Quinn has been accused of flip-flopping. He said they’re not big, fundamental issues, such as presidential candidate John Kerry’s 2004 statement that he voted for war funding before he voted against it.

They’ll likely pay attention if the issue is effectively used in TV ads and if the meme continues in the media.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

Morning shorts

Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009

* Mayor culpa: Daley catches an earful at public hearing

Keep city mental health centers open. Expand foreclosure outreach programs. Increase funding for youth jobs and mentoring. Fix giant sinkholes. And dump Jody Weis.

Those were among the litany of suggestions — and demands — Mayor Daley received Tuesday night at the first public hearing on his 2010 preliminary budget that’s marked by a $520 million shortfall.

* Budget Cuts Not an Option at First Budget Meeting

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says the city needs to “go on a diet” to fill a more than $500-million budget deficit. But residents attending this year’s first budget meeting had service increases on their minds.

* Daley hears critics on Olympics, budget, parking

* City digs itself into hole with resident weeks after water repair work

* Latest Chicago recycling program offers rewards — with possible payoffs for city, recycler and residents

* Illinois ranks second in bank failures

* Workers strike after health care yanked

Unionized workers launched a strike at SK Hand Tool Corp.’s Chicago and McCook sites Tuesday after the company dropped employees’ health insurance coverage without notice, according to a Teamsters official.

* United Airlines move: Northwest suburbs to feel the financial pain

* Chicago home prices rise in June

* Digital divide: Internet-access speed varies across Illinois

* Chicago Reader’s new owner is a hedge fund

* Rezoning aims to save Loop gems

Alderman hopes to spur re-use of historic sites

* Oak Lawn trustees approve union concessions to save jobs

- Posted by Mike Murray   4 Comments      

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Morning video

Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009

* A short blooper reel from the Dan Proft for governor campaign

Destined to be a classic.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

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