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Friday, Sep 28, 2012

* By request, this one’s for the late, great Irish-American Bill O’Connell. Grab yourself a beer and/or a whiskey and stand the heck up

* Related…

* Don’t call him Ziggy

* Recalling Bill O’Connell

* William J. O’Connell Jr., 1929-2012

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Quinn can’t escape

Friday, Sep 28, 2012

* From AFSCME Council 31’s Facebook page

In late September, Gov. Quinn took a six-day junket to meet with CEOs and politicians in Brazil. Public employees and labor leaders there were waiting with their own “Pat Quinn Truth Squad”! The signs in Portuguese read, “Governor Quinn, Bad for Workers”. In this photo: Graca Costa (left), president of the National Confederation of Municipal Workers (CONFETAM), and Vagner Freitas (right), vice president of the Unified Workers Central (CUT).

Photo…

Here are a couple more…

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Friday afternoon updates

Friday, Sep 28, 2012

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


US Chamber runs ad for Dold

Friday, Sep 28, 2012

* From a press release…

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today launched a new voter education and grassroots campaign in Illinois’ 10th congressional district, highlighting Brad Schneider’s support for policies that will hurt Illinois job creators. The new ad features Darlene Miller, the U.S. Chamber’s 2008 Small Business of the Year winner, urging Chicago voters to know where their candidates stand on policies that will advance job growth and investment. This launch is part of the Chamber’s largest voter education campaign in its 100-year history to elect pro-business candidates to Congress.

“Voters need to know where their candidates stand on issues that promote free enterprise,” said Rob Engstrom, the U.S. Chamber’s senior vice president and national political director. “Unfortunately, Brad Schneider instead supports policies that will stifle growth and job creation in Illinois’ 10th district and across the country. He supports government-mandated health care that will raise taxes and hurt job growth. With small businesses facing prolonged uncertainty, tax hikes are last thing they can afford, let alone elected officials who support them.”

* Rate the ad

* Meanwhile, the Daily Herald caught Schneider in a big flip-flop

Despite his claims to the contrary, congressional candidate Brad Schneider’s public stance on extending the Bush-era tax cuts has changed since the Democratic primary.

In a recent Daily Herald candidate questionnaire, Schneider — who’s running against incumbent Republican Robert Dold for the suburban 10th District seat — said he supports extending at least some of those tax cuts.

“I have continuously said that, at the very minimum, the Bush tax cuts for income under $250,000 should be extended,” Schneider, of Deerfield, said.

Except he hasn’t.

When the Daily Herald asked Schneider about the tax cuts ahead of the March primary, he said nothing about extending them.

* Related…

* Is Israel a wild card in 10th Congressional race?: For the first time since Lauren Beth Gash lost by 2 percentage points to Kirk in 2000, the Republican incumbent — Congressman Bob Dold of Kenilworth — faces an opponent who has deep ties to the local Jewish community. Brad Schneider, of Deerfield, boasts “more trips to Israel than he can count” and past work in a kibbutz as he challenges Dold in a newly drawn, mAore Democratic-leaning 10th District. Dold, who has molded himself in the image of Kirk, is well-respected for his work on behalf of Israel over his 20 months in office, including pushing for tougher Iran sanctions and calling for fully funding the nation’s security commitment to Israel.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      


Question of the day

Friday, Sep 28, 2012

* Gov. Pat Quinn is to _____, as AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Henry Bayer is to _____?

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - IL Policy Institute files complaint *** Jimmy John’s founder now says family will stay in Illinois while he moves to Florida

Friday, Sep 28, 2012

* Here we go again

The founder of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches said during a Sept. 18 panel discussion in Chicago that he will relocate the company’s licensing division to Florida, where he plans to move in early 2013. Mr. Liautaud said in January 2011 that he applied for residency in Florida out of anger when Gov. Pat Quinn raised the corporate tax rate to 5 percent from 3 percent.

In remarks made last week as part of a half-day conference in Chicago on how tax policies affect corporate growth, Mr. Liautaud said the Florida move was just the first part of leaving Illinois for good.

“That’s what we’re going to do to start, but I think you’ll probably see us out of Illinois in the next four years and probably see us in Indiana or Austin (Texas), if I was to guess,” he said in the video. […]

While Mr. Liautaud said a year ago that the tax rate made him consider leaving Illinois, he said last week that it was state policy that cemented the move.

“What I mind is how they spend the tax,” he said. “I would stay, but the way they spend the tax is really driving me away.”

* Back in January of 2011, after the income tax was increased, Liautaud claimed he was already in the process of moving out of Illinois

Liautaud said he has rented a house in south Florida and his children started school there last week. He said he has applied for Florida residency and plans to commute to Champaign.

He said he doesn’t know yet whether he will put his home on West Armory Street on the market.

* But Liautaud apparently didn’t ever enroll his kids in a Florida school. At the event last week, he said this

“My wife’s gonna stay in Champaign with the kids and we’re gonna file separate income tax returns.”

* And instead of leaving Illinois himself almost two years ago, Liautaud became a Mitt Romney delegate in Illinois. Liautaud said last week that because of his delegate status, he’ll be around until January 1, when he’ll then move to Florida.

Or he won’t.

We’ll see.

* Video

Full video of the conference is here.

*** UPDATE *** As you can see if you try to watch the above video, the Illinois Policy Institute has claimed my excerpt is somehow a copyright violation.

This was a two minute excerpt from a 51 minute video, which was linked here and on my video’s YouTube page. Fair Use Doctrine ought to apply here and I intend to inform YouTube of this.

Ridiculous.

Anyway, go to about the 4 minute mark on their video and you’ll see Liautaud’s full comments.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Roundup…

* Jimmy John’s leaving Illinois?

* Jimmy John’s Moving HQ Out of Illinois - Founder says company headquarters will be out of the state in next 2-4 years

- Posted by Rich Miller   62 Comments      


Today’s map

Friday, Sep 28, 2012

* Tribune

Alexandra Anderson, a 25-year-old law student at Northwestern University, is among a growing number of people flocking to downtown homes in major cities across the United States, a group described in a Census Bureau report released Thursday.

The report found that the number of people living within two miles of Chicago’s City Hall rose 36 percent from 2000 to 2010. Though many of the largest U.S. cities experienced a similar trend in the last decade, Chicago outpaced them all in that category.

More than 48,000 moved to downtown Chicago in the last decade, according to the report. New York City saw a 9.3 percent increase in its downtown population, or about 37,000 people.

Anderson said she didn’t think twice about her decision to live in a downtown studio apartment when she moved to Chicago last year. Her apartment is around the corner from Northwestern Law School. A grocery store, a post office and multiple restaurants, bars and coffee shops are all within a five-minute walk.

I moved downtown in early 2001. There were no grocery stores, and lots of other stores closed at 5 o’clock because the Loop used to empty out after work. But things changed fast. I eventually moved back to Springfield, but from what I can tell, downtown appears to be a lot more liveable these days.

Despite some of the problems, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to walk to things like the ballet (I had season tickets back then). The lake was a short hike. Big festivals were more fun to attend because I could easily go home and rest up for a couple hours if I wanted. Getting to baseball games was super easy because the L was right around the corner. Covering downtown news events was a breeze. Back when Chicago still had July 3rd fireworks, I’d often throw a viewing party. You could watch the display in air conditioned comfort without dealing with crowds. I loved living downtown.

But then I started thinking about moving back to Springfield after the brutal 2004 overtime session. The commute was just killing me. The drive down wasn’t so bad. It was the drive back north, after long nights spent, um, “gathering information.” I moved a year later, and I’ve never forgiven Rod Blagojevich for that. Don’t get me wrong. I have a very nice place in Springfield. I enjoy my life here. But I do miss the action.

* Anyway, here’s a map produced by the Tribune which shows population change in Chicago

As the legend shows, the South and West Sides have lost huge numbers, while downtown has gained…

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      


New ad: “Polly”

Friday, Sep 28, 2012

* Democrat congressional candidate David Gill has a new TV ad about how an insurance company refused to pay for his late wife’s helicopter med-evac to St. Louis. Rate it

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      


Dem poll: Bustos within two

Friday, Sep 28, 2012

* Democratic congressional candidate Cheri Bustos has released new poll numbers which purport to show her race against Republican freshman Bobby Schilling is neck and neck. From the pollster, GBA Strategies

Democrat Cheri Bustos is surging in her race against incumbent Republican Congressman Bobby Schilling in Illinois’ new 17th congressional district. A new survey1 of 600 likely voters shows Bustos has closed the gap dramatically since advertising in the campaign began, pulling to within 45 – 47 percent—well within the survey’s margin of error.

But the pollster then did some weird voodoo, which makes me uncomfortable…

In a vote simulation where undecided voters are allocated by their partisanship, Bustos and Schilling are completely tied 49 - 49 percent.

I really wish campaigns wouldn’t do that stuff without at least offering up some detailed explanations. It undermines their numbers.

* Schilling released numbers last month showing him leading the race by 13 points, 50-37. But the new polling shows President Obama is doing very well in the district

President Obama leads Governor Mitt Romney by a wide 54 – 41 percent margin in this race.

So, the unmentioned bottom line here is that Bustos is still vastly underperforming the top of the ticket.

* Methodology

Survey of 600 likely voters conducted by GBA Strategies September 24-26, 2012. Respondents were reached on land lines and cell phones. Results have a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence interval.

* Meanwhile, the House Majority PAC’s latest TV ad blasts away at Schilling

* Related…

* VIDEO: Bustos and Schilling debate

* Chuck Sweeny: Cheri Bustos, Bobby Schilling on Rock River Rumble

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      


Democrats playing defense over cost shift

Friday, Sep 28, 2012

* Downstate and suburban Democrats are finding themselves on the defensive this campaign season over their Chicago leaders’ idea to shift employer pension costs to Downstate and suburban schools districts. Here’s one example from the Metro East

The Illinois Senate’s Republican leader said Wednesday she suspects Democrats in January will try to use a lame-duck session of the legislature to shift the costs of downstate teachers’ pensions onto local school districts.

Such a shift would likely force local school districts to raise property taxes.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, said she suspects Illinoisans will get a “January surprise” on the pension cost-shift because it was during a lame-duck session in January 2011 when the Democrat-led legislature passed a temporary, 67 percent increase in the state income tax.

Radogno made the prediction during a campaign stop in Glen Carbon with Republican Senate candidate Mike Babcock of Bethalto.

But Babcock’s opponent in the 56th Senate District, Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, said there’s been no discussion of having a pension-reform vote during the lame-duck session. Even if there were, there just aren’t enough votes to pass such a shift, Haine said.

“The Republicans and Democrats downstate are united on a few things, and this is one of them. It’s a no-go,” Haine said.

* But Radogno insists that history could be repeating itself

She and Babcock both said Haine voted for the tax increase during a lame-duck session after saying he would oppose such an increase.

Haine said he absolutely did not say he would vote against the measure, which eventually passed. He said he opposed a permanent income and sales tax increase but voted for a temporary tax increase of four years to avoid a statewide financial disaster. The tax hike will “sunset” in two years.

Haine said he opposed a permanent income tax increase bill, which also included several sales tax increases.

He said the temporary measure was the only way to save SIUE from closing its doors, to prevent nursing homes and hospitals from having to lay off employees and to keep school staffing intact.

“I find it odd that he (Babcock) is criticizing me for voting for a temporary tax increase that prevented teacher layoffs, but now he’s saying he’s opposed to a measure that he says could cause teacher layoffs,” Haine said.

If you’re explaining, you’re losing. Haine may not lose the election, but he could very well be losing this argument.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      


Stopping Smith

Friday, Sep 28, 2012

* My Sun-Times column

I first met Maze Jackson when he was running the Chicago and suburban ground game for Gov. Pat Quinn’s Democratic primary campaign.

He’s brash, smart, funny, with a mind that can go a dozen directions at once. I couldn’t help but like the guy. And now Jackson is running his toughest campaign ever.

Jackson is managing Lance Tyson’s uphill race against indicted former state Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago). Smith was expelled from the House in August, months after being arrested for allegedly accepting a $7,000 bribe.

There is no legal way to kick Smith off the ballot, and he refused to drop out of the race. If he wins, the House can’t use the indictment to kick him out of office again because the Illinois Constitution forbids such a move.

A poll taken two weeks ago showed Smith with a huge 47-9 lead over Tyson, with the remainder undecided, so things don’t look good for Maze Jackson right now.

Tyson was picked by the district’s ward committeemen to challenge Smith after Tyson threatened to spend thousands of dollars of his own money whether or not he was chosen. Some committeemen had their own candidates in mind, but they begrudgingly went with Tyson after Secretary of State Jesse White intervened on his behalf. White engineered Derrick Smith’s appointment to the House, so he’s being held responsible by the powers that be for defeating Smith in November.

White drafted Jackson as Tyson’s campaign manager. Jackson knows the West Side legislative district well, having run Ald. Walter Burnett’s campaigns.

Jackson thinks the poll, taken by We Ask America, showed lots of residents were choosing their candidate on party lines. If a pollster asks a West Side Democrat how he or she plans to vote, they will naturally pick the Democrat. Jackson says he has to convince voters that his candidate is “the real Democrat.”

So far, House Speaker Michael Madigan has decided to stay neutral because a Democrat will be elected regardless, according to his spokesman. But Jackson believes this campaign has potentially national ramifications, and he’s not giving up hope yet that Madigan and/or the local Democratic Party will come to his candidate’s aid.

That’s a lot of hope, but is there a plan? Election Day is in about five weeks.

Jackson described an expensive campaign plan of mail, black radio and cable TV, but I haven’t seen much of an uptick in Tyson’s lackluster fund-raising.

A recent event hosted by Gov. Pat Quinn helped bring in some bucks, Jackson said. “People just wanted to see a sign that there’s going to be a campaign,” Jackson said. And now that the wheels are “getting in motion,” more cash should begin flowing. Some outside groups reportedly will spend money attacking Smith, Jackson said.

Jackson said he needs to persuade 30-40 percent of voters in the heavily African-American 27th and 28th Wards to break their lifelong habit of automatically voting for Democrats. The 27th is White’s ward, so that should go somewhat smoothly. The 28th is run by Ald. Jason Ervin, who, after some early trepidation, is now on board, according to Jackson. But the former Democratic committeeman there is Ed Smith, and he’s working against Tyson, so trouble is afoot.

The idea is to “run up the score” in the district’s other wards, which are more racially diverse. The walk card Tyson’s campaign is using features a mock “Wanted” poster with a mugshot of Smith, who is “wanted” for “disgracing the Democratic Party,” “Crimes against the residents of the 10th District,” and “Federal bribery.”

If only it were that easy to win a crazy campaign like this.

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


Lawyers cite support, law and health in last-ditch bid to help Cellini stay out of prison

Friday, Sep 28, 2012

* Lawyers for Bill Cellini sent out a press release quoting from some of the hundreds of letters they’ve collected on their client’s behalf. Some were from major players, others were from small fry. But they all praised the man, who faces sentencing on a federal corruption conviction. The press release is here.

* Jim Edgar

“On many occasions I did not agree with Bill’s position on an issue and I would often take action which was contrary to Bill’s position. In all of this time and in all of these issues, I never personally saw nor did I hear on any of those occasions that Bill acted improperly in any manner. Bill never asked me to take any action which I deemed inappropriate.?

* Gene Callahan, who was Alan Dixon’s top guy…

“Never and I repeat N-E-V-E-R did Bill Cellini ever ask me to do anything illegal, immoral or unethical. Nor have I heard of anyone I respect say that Bill Cellini was anything less than honest.”

* The SJ-R has more. Former Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara

“Bill never once asked me to take any action that was not ethical, honest, or in the best interest of my constituents.”

* Back to the Cellini press release

Citing the trial record and jury verdict, the lawyers said that the government’s theory of his presumed political influence was rejected by the trial jury that acquitted Mr. Cellini on the two counts of the charges related to the widespread corruption alleged during the terms of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. They argued it would be a legal impropriety to allow that theory to infect the sentencing and it would be fundamentally unfair. […]

[Cellini’s attorneys] also said the nature and circumstances of the offense support a probationary sentence.

“…Mr. Cellini stands convicted of some participation in a conspiracy to extort Tom Rosenberg, but it is undisputed (and likely almost without precedent in cases involving comparable facts) that Mr. Cellini was never even informed of and did not participate in the most critical aspects of that conspiracy, including the actual decision, planning, and alleged attempt to extort Rosenberg by providing him a choice between paying a kickback and making a campaign contribution. Indeed, it is uncontroverted that at least for a time, Mr. Cellini actively attempted to aid Rosenberg and defeat the extortion efforts of the mastermind of the conspiracy, Stuart Levine…Against that background, the evidence at trial and jury’s verdict established that Mr. Cellini did no more than act as a middle man for the purpose of smoothing out a situation he knew little about involving corrupt individuals with unknown plans and ulterior motives.

* And Cellini’s lawyers are also playing up the health angle

In addition to a recent heart attack and persistent heart disease, they wrote, Cellini, 77, has had prostate cancer and is treated for “a frequently crippling neurological disorder, cervical spinal stenosis, that has twice resulted in his losing feeling in his arms and hand and needing to undergo emergency evaluation as to whether he had actually had a stroke.”

He has also been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis, another degenerative disk disease “that can result in weakness or numbness in the limbs and difficulty walking,” the memo says.

Cellini suffered a heart attack June 4 while undergoing a heart catheterization, the document says. Tests showed afterward that his heart had been seriously damaged, it states.

“Mr. Cellini has not been able to commence full cardiovascular rehabilitation as yet … because following the heart attack and stent implanting, an acute (blood) clot was discovered in his leg and groin, which was deemed by his physicians to be a life-threatening health risk,” the lawyers write.

“Medications have contained the clot in the area, but a doctor has told Cellni that ‘he has a propensity for clots for form, which can be deadly,’ and if there are any symptoms of clotting, ‘Mr. Cellini must immediately obtain emergency treatment or risk the possibility of a stroke or death.’”

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      


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Friday, Sep 28, 2012

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