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Heartburn and heart-warming

Monday, Apr 11, 2011

* Finke takes a look at a committee hearing that subscribers already know about. ComEd is trying to pass legislation to allow it to lock in rate increases to pay for a massive power delivery system upgrade. Finke has a good take on the hearing

The House Public Utilities Committee held a hearing on the bill last week. The plan was to focus on the economic benefits of the bill, spending on equipment upgrades and the workers needed to install it. For two hours, witness after witness testified about how his or her company would benefit if lawmakers approved the ComEd bill. More money and more workers for companies that do utility construction work.

For virtually that entire time, there was silence from the committee. No skepticism about the jobs and other claims. No nothing.

Then Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s public interest lawyers testified, explaining why they think state lawmakers should move cautiously and not rush into the deal. Suddenly, two committee members — Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, and Rep. Dave Winters, R-Shirland — piped up. They began peppering Madigan’s people with questions about why the state should wait and the dangers to the state’s economy if the ComEd bill isn’t passed.

You know, it’s always nice to see people willing to stick up for the big guy.

It’s ComEd’s world. We just live in it.

* Last year on the campaign trail, political newcomer Michelle Mussman described herself as just a “mom on a mission” looking to do good in the Illinois House. But the freshman Democrat appeared to run away from her rhetoric when she ran a bill last week which would cut legislative pay by ten percent

On her campaign website, Mussman says “politicians” are the reason the public doesn’t trust government. “Self-serving politicians have repeatedly abused our trust and misused our tax dollars,” Mussman notes. “Many of us have lost faith in our government and feel that elected officials no longer work for us.”

But, now that she’s one of the politicians, Mussman changed her tune during the debate on the floor. Instead of blaming politicians, she went after another favorite target.

“I don’t think that we get credit for the work that we do,” she told Davis. “The media has painted us in a very bleak picture.”
Clearly, Mussman is a quick learner. Let’s review:

Before you become a politician, other politicians are bad.

After you become a politician, it’s the media’s fault.

* But not everything is so overtly cynical at the Statehouse. Members do try to do some good. For instance, I talked about Rep. Greg Harris’ bill last night on WGN Radio. Harris was outraged at the murder of Paul McCann allegedly by a staffer at a Downstate group home for the developmentally disabled

In testimony before a House panel Thursday, state Rep. Greg Harris outlined a proposal he said would ensure group home residents are better protected.

“They deserve more from us as a state,” Harris said. “I think we as a state failed them.”

The proposal stems from the January death of Paul McCann from injuries he allegedly received at the hands of two workers at a Graywood Foundation group home in Charleston.

Records show the state had evidence of abuse at Graywood facilities for two years, including a death from an attack in 2008.

Dot points

1. Require the Department of Human Services to initiate reviews, and possible revocation, of funding and licensing at institutions where disproportionate claims of abuse or neglect occur.
2. Require assignment of independent monitors or receivers to operate facilities and protect residents where systemic risks of abuse are identified.
3. Require background checks of group home workers when first hired, and every six months.
4. Require families to be able to review documented cases of abuse or neglect, get access to all licensing, inspection and quality assurance documentation, as well as reports of substantiated findings of abuse neglect or exploitation.
5. Give families and residents instructions on how to report abuse.
6. Give residents the patient’s bill of rights.

Harris’ bill is on 3rd Reading in the House. Keep your fingers crossed.

* Heck, even Scott Lee Cohen is keeping promises these days

As candidate for governor, Scott Lee Cohen promised to hold job fairs to help bring down the state’s unemployment rate.

He made good on that promise Saturday.

“I made a promise to the people of Illinois, whether they elected me or not,” he said at Seward Park on the city’s near north side where hundreds of people gathered to meet with recruiters and drop off resumes.

There were small boutiques and large firms like Wal-mart among the recruiters.

One wonders, however, whether Cohen is now gearing up for a run for the state Senate. He said he might when he wasn’t picked to replace Sen. Rickey Hendon.

* But if you want a truly uplifting moment for your day, then make extra sure to read this Sun-Times story about how a former trouble-making kid turned his life around when a teacher turned him on to politics. Apparently, Rahm Emanuel can actually be a pretty good guy.

* Related…

* Cicero officials linked to criminals: Jeff Pesek, 38, president of the Morton High School District 201 board, which oversees several thousand students from Cicero, Berwyn and other suburbs, has been partners in business with admitted wholesale cocaine dealer Enrique “Henry” Rendon, according to court testimony and documents.

* Former public housing tenants honored

* Quinn Honors POWs

* Debra Silverstein ready to answer 50th Ward’s call

* How Cullerton held his seat in 38th while Rice went down in 36th

* Gay candidates win in Evanston, Springfield

* Thousands of pro-union supporters rally downtown for Wis. workers

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - just sayin' - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 9:05 am:

    Sun-Times: “Cicero officials linked to criminals”

    Can’t wait to see all the tweets today from Pat Brady and the IL GOP about how awful it is that Craig Pesek is a senior state party leader. Oh that’s right, it’s the REPUBLICAN party Pesek runs. Pesek is on the state central committee that Pat Brady chairs.

    So another day of Pat Brady tweeting about how bad Quinn and the Dems are while his own committee falls apart. Enjoy.

  2. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 9:26 am:

    Sure glad I get my power from CWLP … at least it’s easier to vote them out if you don’t like the policies.

  3. - Obamarama - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 11:11 am:

    ===Sun-Times: “Cicero officials linked to criminals”

    Can’t wait to see all the tweets today from Pat Brady and the IL GOP…===

    LOL, how about some tweets from Proft?

  4. - amalia - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 11:15 am:

    “Cicero officials linked to criminals” Is this a permanent headline? sounds oh to familiar and predictable.

  5. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 11:20 am:

    Mussman’s self-righteous babble is just nauseating. If she want’s to see a self-serving politician, she can look in the mirror.

  6. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 11:40 am:

    “Cicero officials linked to criminals…”

    I have been led to believe this is a distinction without a difference…

  7. - just sayin' - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 12:03 pm:

    Good point about Proft, Obamarama.

    Yes, Proft and the Peseks are very close, and they are all tied to Mayor Dominick. He’s the conduit through which they milk the residents there dry.

  8. - cermak_rd - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 12:10 pm:

    There’s a lot of linkages going on in that Cicero politician story, but no actual allegations that Mr. Pesek himself, is a criminal. In fact, it looks like he’s a professional straight man, the kind of guy who can buy businesses and get licenses for stuff.

  9. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 12:11 pm:

    ===the kind of guy who can buy businesses and get licenses for stuff===

    Yeah, on behalf of some shady types.

  10. - just sayin' - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 12:18 pm:

    Read the linked transcripts too.

    Yeah, the brothers are real Boy Scouts.

  11. - cermak_rd - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 12:37 pm:


    Yes, that was implied. Why would anyone on the up and up need a professional straight guy?

  12. - Ghost - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 12:43 pm:

    The ComEd isue seems easy to solve…require the entire rate increase to go into a State trust fund under the AG’s oversight. The actual cost of salaries for workers (not bonuses or raises for current management) and equipment would be paid by the fund. Once all the work is complete the rates would be reduced down and any surplus would be placed in a fund to pay heating costs for those in need.

    Afterall ComEd saya the increase is to pay for infrastructre not to line their pockets with even higher profits, so they should have no problem.

  13. - Obamarama - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 1:06 pm:

    Cicero is one of those towns that keep getting kicked when they’re down. After Betty it was “well, at least it can’t get any worse.” When Gonzalez became President there was a little hope that he would turn things around before he started hiring his entire extended family to be on the Town payroll. Then they get Larry Dominick who was welcomed to office with allegations of sexual harassment, and paved the way for, ahem, “professional service providers,” to bleed the Town dry. I say, bring back Betty.

    It almost makes you miss the old First Ward.

  14. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 1:20 pm:

    - Obamarama - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 1:06 pm:

    “Cicero is one of those towns that keep getting kicked when they’re down.”

    Hard to kick them when they’re UP since they never seem to be, as you document in your post.

  15. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 4:03 pm:

    Rich, whose show were you on on ‘GN?

  16. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 4:04 pm:


  17. - Lundstrom - Monday, Apr 11, 11 @ 7:20 pm:

    I had to really think the Rahm story through. Having observed Rahm through the media here are my thoughts…

    The story about Rahm and the trouble-making kid sounds odd to me. First, Rahm has a very cozy relationship with the charter school community. The head of one even cut radio campaign commercials for him. Second, I don’t doubt that the kid spent a lot time in front of TV. which enabled him to learn about Rahm, but seriously how many little kids do you know who watch a lot of TV pay attention to commercials other than those for toys or McDonalds? (We’re talking about a kid who the story makes out to be aimless, by the way.) Third, do charter keep up with unmotivated and disruptive students? Those who oppose charters are always going on about how charters are selective and don’t cater to or serve students who perform poorly academically or who have issues. Fourth, Rahm is very good at spin. He ran his highly effective PR machine at the White House, even throwing the President under the bus on occasion. Fifth, there is some speculation in the African-American community that Rahm is behind the effort to get Father Pfleger, who is an influential and beloved figure in the African-American community, in a less visible and quieter role. If that’s true, we’ll never really know. But, Rahm needs the African American community behind him or at the very least quiet; his first year in office will be a crucial test. A nice feel-good story like this one buys time and sympathy, but more importantly keeps African-Americans quiet and undermines any criticisms that they may have?

    I hope that my thoughts are wrong and totally off base. I am a touch too cyncial at times.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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