4:46 p.m. - Not two minutes after comments were closed for the weekend, the Governor’s Office announced the reappointment of Aaron Jaffe as chairman of the Gaming Board…
Judge Aaron Jaffe of Evanston, who has chaired the Illinois Gaming Board since 2005, has been reappointed to Chairman of the Board. Under Judge Jaffe’s leadership, the board has increased openness and transparency in the gaming industry, notably revoking the 10th casino gaming license in order to rebid the license through a fair and open process. He has consistently led efforts to hold entities that violate gaming regulations accountable. Judge Jaffe holds a J.D. from DePaul University.
The board’s vice-chair and former Rep. Michael Holewinski was also reappointed.
* Shirley Madigan, the Speaker’s wife, will also retain her role at the Arts Council…
Shirley Madigan of Chicago has served on the Illinois Arts Council since 1976 and has been Chairman for more than 20 years. Ms. Madigan actively represents the Council to arts organizations, individual artists, government officials, educators and the business and philanthropy communities. Ms. Madigan has a B.A. from Gonzaga University and a master’s degree in education from Loyola University.
* And the last open seat on the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees has a new candidate…
Joel Sambursky of Carbondale is a graduate of Southern Illinois University and a president of Liberty Wealth Management, LLC. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Carbondale Community Arts and is a former president and executive director of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Sambursky - Southern Illinois University’s quarterback from 2002-2005 - was inducted into the Saluki Hall of Fame in 2012 for having led the Salukis to three straight football conference championships and appearances at the NCAA National Playoffs. Mr. Sambursky holds a MBA and B.S. from Southern Illinois University.
That’s especially interesting given the fight between the Governor, SIU President Glenn Poshard, and a coalition from Metro-east that were frustrated by the lack of trustees with an SIUE background. So bad was that spat that Senate Democratic leadership helped knock down all of the Governor’s BOT appointments without a single “Yay” vote. As you know, that fight also lead to the ouster of board chairman Roger Herrin, a friend of Gov. Quinn. One has to wonder how that area’s legislators will feel about this Carbondale appointment.
* The Governor also acted on the Chicago State University BOT…
Chicago State University Board of Trustees:
Nikki Zollar of Chicago is the president and CEO of Triad Consulting Services, Inc. and also the president of SafeSpeed, LLC. Ms. Zollar is a former Director of the Illinois Department of Financial Regulation and holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. from The John Hopkins University.
Lottery Control Board:
Paul Schaefer (reappointment) of Edwardsville is a field director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881 and holds a B.A. from the University of Evansville.
Pollution Control Board:
Deanna Glosser (reappointment) of Riverton is the former president of Environmental Planning Solutions, Inc. and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. Ms. Glosser holds a B.S. from Illinois State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.
Prisoner Review Board:
Vonetta Rush of Swansea is a program coordinator for East St. Louis School District 189 and holds a M.A. from Lindenwood University a M.A. from Webster University, a M.P.A. and a B.S. from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.
Gotta love the Friday evening news dump.
5:05 p.m. - COMMENTS HAVE BEEN RE-ACTIVATED FOR THE TIME BEING.
There are plenty of happenings scheduled for this weekend. A commenter pointed out that the Chicago Jazz Festival started yesterday. That goes on through Sunday in Millennium Park.
For the capital city dwellers, stop by Brewhaus on Sunday night. Local music legend Tom Irwin, a friend of the blog, will be playing his weekly set. Joining him this time will be the CapFax Intern Caucus’s very own Owen Irwin. Come on out and hear them Irwin boys play. (It’s not like you have to work on Monday ;)
Also, if you are in the 618: Kansas will be playing the grandstand show at the Du Quoin State Fair along with The Fabulous Thunderbirds Saturday night.
I received quite a few song suggestions for this week’s post. However just before he left you and I to keep the state afloat, Rich sent this video my direction. I’m not quite sure what they are saying, but they have a decent sound…
Wishing everyone a fun and safe three-day weekend.
We’ll see you back here on Tuesday.
As subscribers already know, (Oh man, it feels good to say that again.) the master of the house is taking some time off over the next couple of weeks and has left the blog in the hands of his intern emeritus.
Blogging will be lighter than usual, but by no means non-existent. I hope you will keep checking in with us to get the latest information and read Oswego Willy’s most recent zinger. Rich is still receiving emails, though I doubt he will be replying as quickly as he would on a normal day. If the subject is more urgent, about the blog, or a potential news item, you can send an email to my personal account: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As many of you know, I am at the service of the state these days, which means I am limited to checking in and blogging during the lunch hour and before and after work. That said, I do remember how to make use of the comment section’s banishment hammer of death. Please don’t give me a reason to use it.
Question: What is Miller REALLY doing with his time off? I mean, seriously folks. Many of you have known him longer than me, so your predictions have more background than mine. Snark strongly encouraged. The best answers will be used later on.
Back in 1981, Illinois reported $164 million in debt service “interest” expense. By 2012, Illinois’ accumulating debt led to a reported $1.6 billion in interest expense — about 900% higher than in 1981, despite a 95% decline in general interest rates! To boot, Illinois has had a longstanding ‘balanced budget’ requirement in the state constitution, which theoretically constrained state borrowing.
In 1981, Illinois reported $8.4 billion in total liabilities. By 2012, that amount had risen to over $100 billion. And that is just the amount reported by the state under current government accounting standards. These standards have long allowed states to accumulate massive off-balance sheet liabilities for retirement programs for government employees. Truth in Accounting estimates these obligations totaled over $120 billion in Illinois as of fiscal year-end 2011 – an amount about equal to the state’s total reported liabilities.
$164 million in interest expenses in 1981 would be equal to $421 million in today’s dollars, and $8.4 billion in total liabilities in 1981 is equal to $22 billion in 2013 money, so the percentage increases aren’t quite as dramatic as claimed.
* SJ-R columnist Dave Bakke heard a persistent rumor that a single door at the newly remodeled Statehouse cost $240,000, so he decided to check it out…
I was directed to several offices that might know the answer: the Office of the Architect of the Capitol, House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office or the Illinois comptroller’s office. I eventually checked with all three. […]
While waiting for a reply [from the House Architect], I went on to Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Madigan. He answered my question by saying it couldn’t be answered, not just yet.
“I’m not sure those numbers actually exist,” he said, “because the itemization isn’t available. Suppliers haven’t turned in those numbers yet. When they do, they will be available.”
* Bakke didn’t think that sounded right, and he eventually got to the bottom of it when Capitol Architect Richard Alsop finally responded…
The total for the doors is $669,608. But, technically, it’s six doors, two for each of three doorways on the west end of the Capitol. So it’s more like $223,000 each for three doorways, not three doors. Just the cost of installation is $78,000, which is included in the total.
“We must remember,” Alsop wrote in his email, “that these are custom doors with carvings that do not exist on a shelf at the local home improvement store. Like many other materials in the building, it takes craftsmen to perform the work necessary to give us the desired and appropriate historic fabric.”
Those are also huge doorways.
* While noting that the money comes from a special bond fund for capital projects, Bakke has serious reservations about the cost…
On the other hand, this is a time of high emotion regarding the state budget. State employees are suffering, retirees are probably going to suffer, Illinois institutions are cutting services because the state can’t pay what it owes them, Illinois’ bond rating is in the toilet, and we are regarded as a leading candidate for the most corrupt, financially irresponsible state in the country.
That’s why it seems disrespectful and even arrogant for state governmental leaders to decide at such a time in the state’s history to spend more on one doorway than my entire house is worth.
(W)hen Durkin walked out of it the victor — beaming — Poe was by his side. Poe joked that he’s Durkin’s bodyguard; but he had, in a sense, protected him.
When it became clear Poe didn’t have the votes to clinch a win, he not only took his name out of the running, he was the one to nominate Durkin, for a vote by acclimation. “I think the whole message of the day is: we’re coming out of that room as we’re 47 strong,” Poe says. “And Jim’s our new leader and we’re going to elect more representatives and we’re going to elect a Republican governor. And guess what? The things that are important to Republicans, we’re going to be able to carry those out under Jim’s leadership.”
Durkin — still unable to stop smiling — and was equally complimentary of Poe: “Without getting into specifics, Raymond, uh, his point was that we’re a unified party today,” Leader-Elect Durkin says. “We are more unified today than we have been in a long time. And I can thank Raymond for that. We have a lot of … we have a very diverse caucus, but we’re going to use that diversity to our advantage .”
Durkin, 52, replaces outgoing caucus leader Tom Cross, who told members last week he is planning to run for treasurer. Cross held the leadership position for a decade, and came under recent fire from members following a loss of seats last November and a caucus campaign fund that stood at $21,030 in June fundraising reports.
“The positive thing that comes out of here today is that it was a unanimous vote,” Durkin said, following his election as leader. “We’re going to use that energy to move forward and win races.”
He wouldn’t endorse any particular proposal Thursday.
“I want to see what the product is first,” Durkin said. “This is one of many extremely important issues this caucus is going to have to discuss.”
* Rep. Durkin represents half of Senate Republican Christine Radogno’s district, and her public statement was laudatory…
“I have offered my congratulations to Rep. Durkin. I look forward to continuing our work together. We have proven to be an effective team for our constituents. Jim is thoughtful, pragmatic and extremely well versed in the issues of importance to Illinois citizens. I know he is particularly interested in working together with our Caucus to improve the state’s fiscal condition and jobs climate. He shares my view that a comprehensive solution to our pension crisis is critical to those efforts. I congratulate the House Republican Caucus on their choice and warmly welcome Jim.”
There’s no set deadline for when [Leader Cross will] step down, though the transition is expected to take a few weeks. Even then, the full House will have to take a formal vote when it next convenes in order to make it official. As that happens, Durkin will take on the perks of leadership: higher pay, extra staff, a bigger office
* The first real bright spot for Kirk Dillard in a while…
In next year’s governor primary, Durkin backs Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Hinsdale Republican who lost the 2010 primary by 193 votes.
…Adding… This was my advice to Durkin in comments yesterday…
First, heal the wounds. Cross’ search for another office has opened up some deep divisions in your caucus. Those divisions need to be repaired.
No need for retaliation. You won a majority in a matter of a few days and balloting lasted less than an hour. It’s obvious you have the support of a majority, so throw a bone or two to some folks in the opposition.
You have some good, dedicated staffers, but some new blood is absolutely necessary, at the top and at the bottom. Prune the tree carefully, but do prune it.
Before this election, you had a reputation among some members as being aloof and a bit of a jerk. You overcame that today. Don’t go back to that behavior. Keep an open mind and an open door. You don’t have to agree with a member, but be respectful.
Your caucus is obviously deeply split on the pension issue. Urge compromise. Don’t be bullied by Ty Fahner or the Tribune.
Speaking of Fahner, he’s toxic. Put some distance between him and you.
And speaking of the Trib, try to understand that getting a favorable Tribune editorial is the end, not a means. That paper’s influence is declining rapidly.
Remember that if you want any sort of Republican stamp on a bill, you have to work with the majority. Those who want to boycott and abdicate shouldn’t be listened to. Obviously, capitulation is out of the question, but be firm with Madigan and develop a close relationship with Cullerton, which can help you in your dealings with His Royal Highness (something that Cross never understood, but Daniels did with Rock).
Work harder than you ever have and expect the same from your leaders and your staff.
And, whatever you do, never put bananas in the refrigerator.
Quinn, seeking a second elected term as governor after replacing the impeached and imprisoned Rod Blagojevich in 2009, traditionally has gotten his strongest support from African-American voters, though Daley maintains that backing is flagging.
Raoul, in an interview with the Tribune outside a downtown fundraising event, said he was not backing either Quinn or Daley but imagines he’ll eventually make an endorsement. “Just right now, I want to turn off (the politics) and focus on getting this job done,” he said.
“This job” refers to his role as chairman of a special legislative conference committee charged with recommending a plan to resolve the state’s $100 billion government worker pension debt. He said negotiators, who met again Thursday, are moving forward and that “it’s a very critical time” in efforts to come up with a plan.
As most of you observed yesterday, Raoul’s statement announcing he wouldn’t run for governor was a classy move.
The guy looks like he has a real future, but the stars don’t always line up as well as they seemed to be this time around. Maybe Lisa Madigan figures that her only way up the ladder is a 2016 US Senate bid, since she says she can’t run for governor as long as her father is the House Speaker. Lots of things can happen.
First, I want to convey my deep and lasting appreciation to the men and women, from communities throughout the state, who have expressed confidence in my ability to lead Illinois as its next chief executive. I am inspired by their determination to improve life for all our residents, and I am humbled by their desire to work with me to achieve that goal.
After careful consideration, I have decided not to seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014.
I did not take lightly the calls for me to join this race and provide voters with another option. In making my decision, I talked with my family and considered the timing of this potential step. I evaluated my existing and pledged resources and considered whether they would be adequate to communicate not only my record of service, but my vision for this great state. I took into account my sincere desire not to create unnecessary divisions, given the commitments that have been made.
I also considered my current role as chair of the pension reform conference committee. The office of the governor is a key position of leadership. In deciding not to seek that position, I acknowledge the pivotal leadership role that is mine today and that I must carry out to best of my abilities until the job is done.
While I will not be a candidate for governor in 2014, I pledge to do my part in this pivotal election to ensure that all who seek to be Illinois’ next governor hear the voices of people and communities who have been ignored or marginalized. To be their advocate will be a high honor, a worthy calling and a responsibility sufficient for this day.
“Let me tell you without divulging secrets, the people of Southern Illinois will be extremely pleased with who my running mate is,” Dillard said. “It is rumored out there that it is somebody who grew up in deep Southern Illinois and might even be a double SIU Saluki graduate.”
Dillard also dropped a hint that it was a woman. […]
State Representative Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) has been widely rumored to be Dillard’s choice for Lt. Governor. She was born in Carbondale, Illinois and lived in Anna. She graduated from Southern Illinois University with both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree. She has been in the State House since 2006.
Tracy said earlier this week an announcement would be made next week and Dillard says he’ll make his official announcement in southern Illinois sometime after the holiday.
* Years ago, I asked House Speaker Michael Madigan how his precinct captains were able to get majorities for all of his ward’s Democratic candidates in 1984, when Ronald Reagan won the 13th Ward.
Madigan said his captains were ordered to not talk to people about the presidential race. Voters, he said, like to make up their own minds about top of the ticket contests, so it’s best not to ever argue with them.
The race for governor is pretty much the same. A captain who gets into a long discussion at the doors over the governor’s race is not gonna be able to convince those voters to go along with the ward’s choices for judge, or some other obscure elected office.
That being said, in some wards, townships and suburban and Downstate counties, party leaders can have an impact. The late John Gianulis of Rock Island County was one of those guys. There are a few others.
Mostly, though, the party structure just isn’t all that effective. I remember when Dan Reitz ran his first election for the House. Local county chairmen actually complained that Reitz was walking too many precincts. Clueless much?
* The bottom line here is that Gov. Quinn’s slating by the Cook County Democrats will have some impact, but only in certain wards and with certain types. Same goes for his support by the vast majority of Downstate and suburban chairmen and chairwomen.
In a close race, that backing might prove crucial. But slating for top offices is a bit overrated, so I tend to at least somewhat agree with Bill Daley here…
While father Richard J. Daley perfected a political machine and controlled the slate-making process, the son opted to forgo seeking the endorsement of Cook County Democratic leaders this month and viewed it as a foregone conclusion that it would go to Quinn as the sitting governor.
Quinn’s strong reception at the annual downstate Democratic county chairmen’s State Fair breakfast two weeks ago also is viewed by Daley as a show of thanks from job-dependent political leaders.
“The path to victory is not on paper with committeemen. It’s getting out there,” Daley said.
“This race in January, February or March is going to get all the publicity in the world. This is the big race,” he said. “If I am able to raise the money I need to raise, they’ll see plenty of messaging from me. That’s where voters for the big races get their information. They don’t get it from the precinct captain ringing the doorbell in Eddie Burke’s ward.”
Again, in a close race, it might turn out to be crucial. Maybe. It just depends on the reaction the captains and committeemen get at the doors, if they even walk precincts.
Daley needs to figure out how to crush Quinn, and all the door-knocking in the world won’t turn those votes around. It’ll be all about the paid media.
And, by the way, I’m still not convinced that Daley can actually turn those votes around. The path just isn’t all that clear to me.
* For some reason, reporters lately have been trying to pinpoint when Campaign 2014 began for Gov. Quinn. From earlier this week…
The busy chief executive of the nation’s fifth-largest state probably wouldn’t be expected to set aside time to attend an initial hearing in a lawsuit filed against him, but there was Gov. Pat Quinn on the 23rd floor of the Daley Center.
The Democratic governor had made what lawmakers contended was a constitutionally dubious move to take away their paychecks until they send him a pension reform bill. While not much was decided in court that day, the scene allowed a confident Quinn to flick the switch on his populist persona as the glare from a phalanx of TV camera lights shone on him.
“You don’t get paid if you don’t do your job,” the governor declared as though he already had won the lawsuit.
The moment this month marked the unofficial launch of Quinn’s re-election effort.
That was the moment? Really? How about when he vetoed the salaries in the first place? Or how about his splashy press conference accompanying his amendatory veto of the concealed carry bill?
Sometimes, however, an unexpected need arises. Recently, for example, the Illinois State Police and other agencies had to scramble to purchase goods and services to help implement the state’s new concealed weapons law. They also may have to declare an emergency if, for example, a tornado damages the roof of a prison.
Matt Brown, the state’s chief procurement officer, acknowledged a lack of manpower in some agencies might be playing a role. But, he said ensuring that contracts don’t expire without a new contract in place is a matter of good planning.
A “matter of good planning” would be to make sure that basic state contracts don’t have to be let on an emergency, no-bid basis.
In recent years, Poe has voted against several signature cost-cutting initiatives that would reduce the size of state government and the demands on taxpayers. He voted against every pension reform bill that came to the House floor this year — there were at least four. He voted against closing half-empty state buildings. He voted to protect free health insurance coverage for state retirees, an enormous cost. He voted against giving public school children in Chicago the freedom to choose their schools.
If you want to know where he stands on issues, ask the lobbyists for teacher and state employee unions. Poe has accepted more than $100,000 in union money for his campaigns during his tenure in Springfield. Sure, he represents a district with many public employees. But based on his fiscal voting record, he might as well move his desk to the Democrats’ side of the chamber.
* The paper’s political cartoonist piles on…
Poe represents his district and he does it well. To suggest that somehow makes him a Democrat is as ludicrous as calling his chief rival Rep. Jim Durkin a Democrat because he has voted with the trial lawyers in the past.
Illinois is in desperate need of leadership that is both principled and courageous. Every day/week/month/year that passes without such leadership results in the degrading progression of conditions that we’ve seen over the past many years. Without moral and enlightened leaders our state’s continued decline is guaranteed. Rep. Jim Durkin possesses neither the wisdom nor skills necessary to provide the kind of bold political leadership families across our state are demanding. […]
As with anyone who has held public office as long as Durkin has there are many questionable, even disappointing, votes. For example, Durkin has voted for tax increases and a massive expansion of gambling and against virtual schools.
The problem with the Republican Party is that too many of its factions believe they possess the sole authority to declare who is and who is not a “true” party member. That wrong-headed thinking has resulted in a long string of losses in this state.