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Things that make you go “Hmm”

Monday, Nov 15, 2010

* Subscribers already know my take on this, but when Speaker Michael Madigan added several days to the January session, eyebrows went up all over the Statehouse

Why be in session in January when the veto session is just ahead?

There are a couple of reasons. One, all of the lame ducks in the legislature will still be in office in early January. Those lawmakers can pretty much do what they want, since they won’t be facing the voters again.

The other is changing vote requirements. If you want to pass a bill with an immediate effective date during the veto session, it takes a supermajority. In the House, that means 71 votes to pass a bill rather than the usual 60. After Jan. 1, though, the vote requirements go back to normal.

So if you’ve got a bill that you want to become law right away — say, a tax increase, just for instance — it will be a lot easier to pass after Jan. 1 than during the veto session.

That’s not to say such a bill is looming. Madigan still wants Republicans to put votes on a tax hike, and there’s no indication they are willing to do that, now or in January. But if you’re a lame-duck Republican who believes a tax increase is needed, you could vote for one in January and make a quick exit.

* I’d certainly like to know who sponsored this guy

Based on a tip, FOX Chicago News asked the Illinois Department of Transportation how longtime mob bookmaker and loan shark Ralph “Curly” Peluso was hired in as supervisor two years ago.

That’s right; you’re paying the $76,000 a year salary of a former associate of the deadly Frank Calabrese Senior street crew.

During that trial Peluso was named in more than two dozen pieces of evidence and was scheduled to be a government witness against Calabrese until he got cold feet. In one tape played for the jury, Calabrese Junior secretly recorded Peluso talking about his long involvement with Calabrese Senior.

Curly was placed on administrative leave in August and “discharged for cause on September 15th.” Odd.

* Abolish the death penalty and save $20 million up front? Interesting

Death penalty opponents said they will try to get lawmakers to abolish the death penalty during the veto session. Jeremy Schroeder of the Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty said $20 million a year could be redirected to other uses if the death penalty and Capital Litigation Trust Fund were abolished. He said public support to abolish the penalty is building as voters hear of death row inmates being exonerated.

* Small-time stupidity can land you in big-time trouble

A published report says a write-in candidate for President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat is being investigated for allegedly forging signatures in his attempt to get on the ballot as an independent.

Illinois State Police spokesman Scott Compton says authorities are investigating Shon-tiyon “Santiago” Horton of Alton.

The (Alton) Telegraph reports Horton was more than 600 signatures short to get on the ballot.

Horton hasn’t been charged.

He denies forging signatures. He says he signed petitions on behalf of those who were unable to write their names.

Unable to write their names? Hilarious.

* Heh

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has put up a billboard mocking Gov.-elect Scott Walker for his opposition to high-speed rail.

The Milwaukee billboard has a picture of the Republican along with the lines, “Dear Scott Walker, Thanks for the money & jobs! Love, Illinois.”

The message refers to efforts by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to persuade train maker Talgo Inc. to move its Milwaukee plant to Illinois.

I asked the Wisconsin Democrats for a photo of their billboard and here it is…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Way Way Down Here - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 2:49 pm:

    ===Based on a tip, FOX Chicago News asked the Illinois Department of Transportation how longtime mob bookmaker and loan shark Ralph “Curly” Peluso was hired in as supervisor two years ago.===

    The snark kind of writes itself.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 2:57 pm:

    Rich, do you REALLY want to know who put him on at IDOT? …

  3. - JakeCP - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 3:03 pm:

    If you’re going to forge signatures, at least forge enough to get on the ballot.

  4. - Conservative Veteran - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 3:12 pm:

    After Gov. Quinn signs a bill, to increase income tax rates, businesses will leave Illinois and move to bordering states. After that happens, the other states will thank Quinn for the tax money & jobs.

  5. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 3:25 pm:

    Have the WI Ds borrowed the same dolts who advised StateWideTom on their very powerful billboard campaign?
    P.S. any update on the progress of the “reformers’” questions to IL Biz on how much the gave U.S. Chamber, RGA, Crossroads,CaribouBarbiePac, etc.

  6. - Ray del Camino - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 3:57 pm:

    Hey veteran: Income taxes will still be higher in the surrounding states, even after the Illinois tax hike. Fear not.

  7. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 3:59 pm:

    Good to know that the Wisconsin Dems have money left over to put up negative billboardS AFTER the election.


  8. - lake county democrat - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 4:00 pm:

    If the national dems were as smart as Wisconsin’s, they’d be running tv ads dramatizing how much demand there was for workers under the Clinton era tax rates.

  9. - Ilinois - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 4:00 pm:

    Walker knows a waste of money when he sees it. He should be applauded. It only takes one hour to drive from Milwaukee to Madison.
    Since Quinn won instead of Brady, Walker will woo plenty of jobs from Illinois to Wisconsin.

  10. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 4:07 pm:

    Ilinois, I saw a quote the other day from a Wis GOP legislator who claimed you could drive 70 miles per hour all the way to Chicago from Milwaukee. He has clearly never driven to Chicago from Milwaukee. I was stopped cold dead on 90 near the 94 junction early Friday afternoon.

  11. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 4:12 pm:

    == I was stopped cold dead on 90 near the 94 junction early Friday afternoon–

    Try in the summer when people are going to Great America.

    Walker bs’ed that he could take the high rail money for something other than it was appropriated. Doesn’t sound very conservative to me. He lost.

  12. - Angry Chicagoan - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 4:35 pm:

    @Illinois. It’s 78 miles from Milwaukee railway station to downtown Madison, via 1-94. If you can do that in an hour, I’d be curious to see your insurance rates and your collection of paperwork from the Wisconsin State Patrol, among other things. The train will actually cover that in an hour, including stopping places along the way like Watertown. Google Directions, which I have found to be pretty aggressive on speed, estimates 1 hr 33 minutes to drive it — and that’s hoping for good traffic.

  13. - Oh, Please! - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 4:36 pm:

    Hmmmm . . . wonder why we are bound to building highway expansions when we’ve learned they lose their effectiveness in short order?

    Is it surprising to find The Outfit where there are vast sums of money being spent with little accountability for results and a singular focus on roadway copnstruction projects?

  14. - George - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 4:56 pm:

    You can drink your Miller Lite on the train. That’s something I think even the cheeseheads would understand.

  15. - Ilinois - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 5:43 pm:

    Angry Chicagoan, I have driven the Milw-Mad several times. No tickets. How many people will take that train to make it worth the huge cost? Not nearly enough.
    Rich, leave at the right time of day and the trip to Milw is a breeze. Just slow down once in Cheeseland.

  16. - Old Timer - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 6:34 pm:

    Why would it surprise anyone that IDOT hired a mob bookkeeper.

  17. - Park - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 6:36 pm:

    Oswego Willie….don’t know about Rich, but I DO.

  18. - fed up - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 6:39 pm:

    Well at least the mob bookkeeper showed up for work unlike the ghost employee that Pat Quinn appointed to the State Parole Board. 17 months only show up once over 100k in salary and benefits. Not bad when Pat Quinn is your sponsor

  19. - Esteban - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 7:32 pm:

    Didn’t most-if not all-of the workers on the
    high-speed rail deal come from Texas?

  20. - Heartless Libertarian - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 7:53 pm:

    Wait? After I read the comments, I forgot what the story was about… A mafia bookkeeper was hired by idot to build highspeed rail in Wisconsin with leftover billboard money that was raised to fight the state income tax hike that everyone claims to want but won’t elect people to pass… or something like that. Combining Illinois news and Wisconsin news is exhausting….

  21. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 8:41 pm:

    Wow, I just went Hmmm. when I found out Levar isn’t running. Times they are a changin’

  22. - Check the record... - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 9:47 pm:

    No surprise that IDOT has hired a mob connected person, check out the entire maintenance division and a reputed mob connected guy that went to jail for the failed hit on Ken Eto in the 80’s.

  23. - Angry Chicagoan - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 9:49 pm:

    @Illinois, I call BS. One hour downtown to downtown is reckless driving, even in the middle of the night.

  24. - JustaJoe - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 9:52 pm:

    High Speed Rail.
    If REALLY, REALLY, high speed, maybe, if underground, maybe, if connecting like airports, like O’Hare & Midway…or Peotone? Maybe. Would have automatic customers. Otherwise, boondoggle. The way Illinois does things, Boondoggle.

  25. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 9:56 pm:

    Nothing of consequence happens in Madison anyway, so who cares what the travel times are?

    It is a fools mission to dump money on a choo choo.

  26. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 10:01 pm:

    I drive that section daily. Except for the rush moments and construction, the average traffic flow is 80+

  27. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 10:15 pm:

    Quinn is lucky that the Roger Walker ghost payrolling scandal didn’t break before the election. What is it with these DOC directors? Snyder went to federal prison for corruption, Walker did this immediately after jumping over to the PRB, and Randle had the whole early release debacle.

  28. - Liandro - Monday, Nov 15, 10 @ 11:54 pm:

    I think it takes a lot of faith to believe we are going to get that money, spend it wisely, incur little debt ourselves, and then get a good ROI on the whole thing. How big does our investment end up being? Where is the cost-benefit analysis?

    If we have extra money laying around to invest, why don’t we use it to pay off the bills we are behind on to schools, etc? I know for a fact that local schools in this area are cutting programs. What is our cost? What are the overruns going to be? How much will the annual maintenance run?

    This is the kind of thing that is easy to make stupid billboard ads over, and much harder to quantify and analyze. Illinois has proved time and again that we have no idea how to manage money. Whatever we DO have should go to pay our backlog of bills before more businesses fail, more schools cut, and more services end. How can we possibly be looking for new investments when we are so behind with the ones we currently have?

  29. - phocion - Tuesday, Nov 16, 10 @ 6:49 am:

    Oh Please, really? Let’s de-fund roads and bridges because a connected guy got into IDOT? I guess we should shut down Metra because of their recent corruption issues. Oh, and doesn’t CTA periodically get accused of being a patronage dumping ground? Let’s not fund them either. I heard there was corruption in Pentagon contracting. Let’s not fund national defense either.

    Oh, and your argument about “induced demand” might be more persuasive if you would cite some source. I say add lanes to the Eisenhower then charge people to use them. That’ll keep demand down. And add transit while we’re at it. By the way, Oh Please, how often do you use transit v. driving your own car? Just wondering….

  30. - Oh, Please! - Friday, Nov 19, 10 @ 12:10 pm:

    @Phocion: Here’s a source you might accept: Kristi LaFleur from the ISHTA. She indicated we “all know” additional capacity is needed. She concluded the thuogh by stating that the effectiveness of new capacity is diminished within 10 years . . . most studies completed suggest even less than that. If that doesn’t work for you, I suggest reviewing this work and the bibliography:

    If that still isn’t enough, just google “induced demand” and “generated traffic” . . . it’s an accepted fact that new lanes have become a losing strategy.

    Finally, pick up a copy of the CFR’s analaysis of the National Security Consequences of U.S. Oil Dependency, read it, and then come back to chat about highways and national security.

    Yes, we should charge fort use of *all* Eisenhower lanes, but we should *not* add more. Instead, the Blue Line should extend west to I-290/I-294, with the pricing revenue funding both transit and highways . . . win/win.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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