* Did aliens take over the Chicago Tribune editorial board? The reason I ask is the paper ran two editorials today about state politics that were actually well-written and on an even keel. They didn’t once go all nutso on us.
* First up, an editorial supporting a civil unions bill…
There are two significant distinctions between what happened in Iowa and what [state Rep. Greg Harris] seeks in Illinois.
First, this would not be a case of the courts creating a right that’s not supported by the public. Harris’ legislation would be an expression of the public through their representatives in the Illinois House and Senate. […]
We do not think lawmakers in most parts of this state would face a backlash for a vote in favor of civil unions. The public largely is supportive. This doesn’t engender as strong an emotional response as gay marriage. A vote for civil unions in Illinois would be a remarkable step, a fair step.
Legislative action is “an expression of the public through their representatives in the Illinois House and Senate”? Well, yeah, but I haven’t seen the Tribune say that in I don’t know how long. Usually, legislators are corrupt, arrogant and completely unrepresentative of the public interest.
Whether you agree with civil unions or not, this editorial was, indeed, “a remarkable step, a fair step” by the paper.
* Hey, I’m not complaining. I’m just shocked, that’s all. Pleasantly shocked, but shocked nonetheless. Check out the end of today’s other editorial opposing the current policy of allowing seniors to ride free on mass transit…
We hope legislative leaders deliver to Quinn a more sensible means for handling senior riders. If Quinn issues a veto, we hope legislators override him and bring this notion of free rides to an end.
Not “We demand,” or “We insist,” or “We’re gonna stomp Madigan and Cullerton into oblivion if they dare disobey us,” but “We hope.”
Seriously, was there a coup over there or something? Whatever happened, I’m all for it. Reason, moderation, logic, intelligence, facts. The high road rather than the high hat.
I could get used to this.
* And I’m so ecstatic that I’m not even going to think about cynically suggesting that the Tribune Company’s 5 percent interest in the Chicago Cubs has anything to do with this new editorial board attitude. Nope. Not in the least. Not gonna go there. Nobody ever influences that editorial board.
Heck, this new Ricketts Field bond plan which will be sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton isn’t even a horrible deal for the state. See? I hate all things Cub, but this $300 million borrowing proposal to renovate the park has no direct state cash involved. The city and county might say different, but that’s their problem…
In 2009, the Cubs paid $16.1 million in amusement taxes to the city of Chicago and Cook County through a 12 percent levy on each ticket. The team proposes that the city and county would be guaranteed this amount for the duration of the bonds. But the incremental growth in amusement taxes beyond $16.1 million, either through increased ticket sales or increased ticket prices at Wrigley, would pay the bonds over time, Ricketts said.
The Cubs owner, though, is seeking a safety net in case the amusement tax does not cover the bond payments. Ricketts would like the bonds to be backed by revenue streams that are assigned to the facilities authority, including a 2 percent hotel tax.
The financing plan requires the approval of the Illinois General Assembly. Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, will sponsor the legislation and plans to move it forward in the veto session that begins next week, said his spokesman, John Patterson.
“The state has no credit risk here,” Ricketts said. “No one is losing anything. It’s not a new tax, and it’s not increasing taxes. It will allow us to keep some of the growth in a tax.”
I’d prefer they just bulldoze that decrepit stadium into the lake, which would be a whole lot cheaper, but I guess they could at least fix it up a bit.
Although I will admit that Msall makes an excellent point…
“The Civic Federation would urge caution before embracing any plans for $300 million in borrowing by a state agency if it does not relate to the overall financial stability of the state,” said President Laurence Msall. “The state of Illinois faces an enormous financial crisis and will be needing all of its borrowing power just to pay its bills and to continue to operate.”
Meh. Since when has the Tribune ever listened to Msall.
OK, I take that back. It was snarky. I apologize.
* Ricketts want city, county to finance Wrigley renovation
* Request for state funds for Wrigley will be a tough sell
* Sun-Times: Let the Cubs pay for their own fixer-upper