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The good, the bad and the ugly

Thursday, Apr 14, 2011

* The good

The beating death of a mentally disabled man living in a group home, and the disclosure that officials knew the home was unsafe, could lead to increased protection of people with disabilities.

The Illinois House voted, 115-0, on Wednesday to toughen oversight of group homes. Abuse allegations would trigger state reviews.

New managers could be brought in to run unsafe homes. Employees would undergo periodic background checks.

More inspection records and abuse reports would be available to the public.

Hopefully, the bill gets to the governor’s desk soon. We can’t have any more murders and torture by state-subsidized group home staff, particularly in group homes where a staffer had already killed somebody else. Ridiculous.

* Even more good

The federal judge overseeing Tribune Co.’s bankruptcy case should reject both proposals to reorganize the media company’s finances because neither adequately protects Tribune Chairman Sam Zell from lawsuits, Zell’s attorney argued Wednesday.

Attorney David Bradford said such lawsuits threaten not only to injure Zell’s reputation, but also to waste the company’s assets. Bradford also said the reorganization proposals unfairly restrict Zell’s ability to have Tribune pay for his legal expenses if the lawsuits are allowed.

Pardon me if I don’t weep for Sam Zell.

* Long overdue good

The Illinois House voted on Wednesday to bar legislative scholarships from going to family members of members of the General Assembly.

House Bill 1353, sponsored by Rep. Robert Pritchard, R-Hinkley, forbids relatives – by blood or marriage – of legislators from receiving the scholarships.

“This is a first step – it doesn’t completely address a problem that’s been identified by media across the state where legislators awarded scholarships to employees, friends, contributors and others that weren’t selected because of objective criteria,” Pritchard said.

While he favors abolishing the scholarships completely, measures to do so have been unsuccessful so far, Pritchard said.

* The bad

Despite public outrage and calls for his resignation, a west suburban school board president tied to a drug dealer and a motorcycle gang member, refused to step down on Wednesday night.

Jeff Pesek, president of Morton High School District 201, which serves thousands of students from Cicero and Berwyn, made a brief statement Wednesday to more than 150 parents, students and school employees, who attended a district board meeting, in which he denied any wrongdoing but refused to answer any questions. […]

“To infer that a grant of immunity raises questions that I did something wrong is simply not the case,” he said.

Pesek’s statement was met with scornful laughter and loud calls from parents and students for him to resign.

Pesek’s brother, who was also involved, is a member of the Republican State Central Committee. We haven’t heard word one from the state party since this story broke. From the IL GOP’s website

By fighting to reform Illinois, we will regain the trust of the people of this state.

* And the ugly

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich criticized prosecutors on Wednesday for trying to bar his lawyers from telling jurors that wiretaps admitted as evidence against him represent only a fraction of secret recordings made on the eve of his 2008 arrest.

Blagojevich faces a second trial next week on corruption charges.

In a five-minute appeal delivered in front of his northside home and carried live on local news, Blagojevich said prosecutors were sabotaging his efforts to defend himself by blocking his attorneys from informing jurors of the hours and hours of FBI tapes not admitted as evidence by the court.

Emphasis added to the ugly part. What the heck were those Chicago TV stations thinking? Sheesh.

* Other stuff…

* Marin: Illinois GOP has new energy for 2012

* Blagojevich pre-trial status hearing set for Thursday

* Anheuser-Busch takes beer battle to Springfield - Proposed bill would allow some craft brewers to self-distribute their products

* Zorn: Anti-abortion proposal in Springfield encourages women to view fetal ultrasounds of their babies

* House panel OKs curbs on using FOIA for commercial gain

* Link looks to consolidate local governments

* Proposed Laws Say Foreclosures Count—and Don’t Count

* Report Details Which Legislative Districts Are Seeing Latino Growth

* Cuts To High-Speed Rail In Federal Budget Deal Hurt Illinois Projects

* State Sen. Kwame Raoul new ‘it guy’ in Springfield

* Average Illinois gasoline price exceeds $4 for first time since ‘08

* VIDEO: Sen. David Koehler on gay adoption ban

* VIDEO: Hiram Grau ISP appointment Q&A

* VIDEO: Susana Mendoza Passes HB2193 Designed to Prevent Acid Attacks

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Confused - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 11:29 am:

    Another episode in the Blago’s continuing efforts to influence the jury pool; and the Chicago television stations play right along with him. Wow.

  2. - just sayin' - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 11:44 am:

    The IL GOP should just shut down and stop pretending. They aren’t even trying to get serious.

    Yeah, why should Jeff Pesek step down from a little school board post when brother Craig gets to keep one of the top positions in the Illinois Republican Party?

    How does gop state chairman Pat Brady look himself in the mirror with all the bashing he does of Democrats and all the silly stuff like “Madiganville”? Brady’s got a guy on his own committee with close ties to the treasurer of the Outlaws motorcycle gang as well as a confessed drug dealer.

  3. - Esquire - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 11:44 am:

    I do not like the look of things in Morton High School District 201. Nonetheless, if we are going to fault the Republican State Party for Jeff Pesek, who is a committeeman, why is it that no one is discussing the Chicago State University situation in similar terms?

    Emil Jones, Mike Madigan and Pat Quinn have either promoted the use of CSU as a patronage playground or ignored its threatened loss of accreditation. Unlike Pesek, the president of CSU (Wayne Watson) declined to meet with the media and delegated the task of responses to his PR flacks.

  4. - Esquire - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 11:45 am:

    I omitted to add that the Chicago State University audit was a major news story yesterday.

  5. - Irish - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 11:53 am:

    My favorite comment from one of the bystanders at the Blago “news event” was. “I could watch TV all night and not get as much entertainment as I did in the last hour and a half.”

  6. - John A Logan - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 11:55 am:

    The television stations were covering what the audience wants to see, and everyone loves seeing blago bloviate.

  7. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 11:59 am:

    It’s takes a lot of guts for those parents and students to stand up publicly to some of the entrenched, um, political/business interests in Cicero and Berwyn.

    Those guys have been around since Al Capone took over Cicero in 1924, and they play an extreme type of hardball.

  8. - Ghost - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 12:18 pm:

    Blago has a good point, what kind of legal system would impair his right to use the Chewbacca defense.

  9. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 12:36 pm:

    Ghost has a good point. Blago has been on just about every other show. Why hasn’t he been on South Park?

  10. - sal-says - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 1:19 pm:

    “Emphasis added to the ugly part. What the heck were those Chicago TV stations thinking? Sheesh.”

    1) Opens up that old Blago quit: “What ARE they thinking?”
    2) They don’t think; they just want a pre-’news’ promo to get more viewers.
    3) Most TV ‘news’ shows are as much or more about light-non-news-fluff than actual news.

  11. - Ghost - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 1:29 pm:

    Anon, apparently even south park has standards :) even if WIll and Roma do not….

  12. - PFK - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 2:30 pm:

    Pesek’s cronies kicked a reform candidate named Rita Maniotis off the ballot, despite the fact that she had more than enough signatures. Since there was no alternative, the insiders all got elected on April 5. Maniotis did get about 460 write-in votes, which is good for a write-in campaign, but no where near enough. Naturally, the Sun-Times waited until AFTER the election to run the article on Pesek.

  13. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 3:03 pm:

    - Naturally, the Sun-Times waited until AFTER the election to run the article on Pesek. -

    Yes, I’m sure the Sun-Times is in Pesek’s pocket. Can you imagine the conversation? “Go ahead, run the article showing the world what a shady guy I am, but just wait a week after the school board election to do it.”

  14. - Esquire - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 3:49 pm:

    Unfortunately, for the voters, local school board races, much like suburban village elections, library and park board races, are usually not covered by the major metropolitan papers. If there is any coverage, it is usually relegated to the weekly newspapers that have more print ads than news stories.

  15. - 3rd Generation Chicago - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 4:39 pm:

    RIP 42-year-old Paul McCann, who was beaten to death. That is truley the most heartbreaking story to date. At least it opened the eyes of lawmakers to try to stop any more sensless death, and abuse. It was so unfortunate that the workers saw an adult man, but he was really a child inside, a harmless child. What worries me is how many beatings and abuses lead to his death.

  16. - wishbone - Thursday, Apr 14, 11 @ 7:14 pm:

    “We can’t have any more murders and torture by state-subsidized group home staff, particularly in group homes where a staffer had already killed somebody else. Ridiculous.”

    Look, murder is already (and always has been) against the law. Rather than passing more and more new laws to deal with the obvious how about enforcing the current law for a change? If we don’t have the resources to deal with murderers how about removing some laws that punish victimless crimes like our drug laws? Ridiculous!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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