Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Defending the indefensible
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Defending the indefensible

Monday, Sep 30, 2013

* OK, you’re about to see something that you’ve probably never seen here before. I’m gonna defend Rep. Bill Mitchell and Reboot Illinois.

First, Kass

The Quad City Times reported that state Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, said he was having lunch with a friend when Cohen’s ruling [striking down Quinn’s veto of legislative salaries[ was issued:

“His first thought was, ‘When do we get paid?’”

That was Mitchell’s first thought? When does he get paid?


I called Springfield to speak with Rep. Mitchell about his first thoughts of getting paid, but he wasn’t available.

“His assistant is not in today,” said a lady on the phone. “She’s out. You try his district office?”

I called his district office. No answer. I left a message, then called again and again and again. Still nothing.

* The missing context from the original story

Mitchell is a full-time lawmaker, meaning he had to dig into savings to make ends meet during the impasse.

“It was a bad three months,” he said.

Unless you’re independently wealthy, if your entire income is based on one job and you aren’t getting paid for that job, then no paychecks can cause real hardships. I see no reason to pick on the guy for being honest.

* Let’s move on to a story about Reboot Illinois’ new legislative contact app

Here’s how Reboot describes itself on its website, “Reboot Illinois aims to encourage citizens to retake ownership of our governments. Through non-partisan digital and social media, Reboot Illinois intends to engage citizens giving them the information and tools they need to act on improving the jobs climate, schools, taxes and state debt.”

One of those things is a new feature allowing people to contact their public officials via email on certain issues. This includes their local lawmakers, legislative leaders like Madigan and Cullerton, and the governor. More importantly, it also allows a person to find out just who represents them in the General Assembly simply by typing their home address into the site.

So far, so good. The trickier part comes from the suggested messages to send public officials. The site has a series of issues listed covering such things as raising the minimum wage or pension reform or the progressive income tax along with a sample letter that can be sent to lawmakers. For example, you can send a message that you do not want the state to raise the minimum wage. Or you can send a message saying that the 3 percent compounded COLAs for pension benefits must end, along with raising the retirement age for workers.

Now, if you want to say you like the idea of a higher minimum wage or that the state shouldn’t change COLAs for retirees, well, you’ll have to compose your own thoughts on that. The site doesn’t provide that option. Also, it doesn’t provide the email addresses of the public officials, so if you want to send your own thoughts, you’ll have to add a step.

Actually, you can compose your own message and it’s pretty easy. You just select all, delete what Reboot wrote and write whatever you want. The group will then send your message for you. I tried it today by sending a test message to Rep. Poe’s office and it worked fine.

Now, maybe you aren’t literate enough to write your own message, but if that’s the case, then why bother at all? Or maybe you’re not computer literate enough to know you can delete Reboot’s message and replace it with your own. So, what the heck are you doing on the Web then?

However, Reboot might wanna just add a simple message saying you can write whatever you want, just to be clear.

Click here and see for yourself.

* I tried to get in the spirit of things by finding a recent state-related Tribune editorial I could praise, but had no luck.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - PublicServant - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 12:17 pm:

    ===you can write whatever you want, just to be clear===

    Yeah, if Reboot WANTED to be clear…and non-partisan…and not yet another tool/mouthpiece of the 1%’rs, they could…but they’re not.

  2. - otoh - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 12:49 pm:

    Don’t know Rep. Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth, but if he treats his GA position as a full-time job? More power to him.

  3. - Rusty618 - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 12:49 pm:

    It is interesting that Reboot makes it very difficult to read the message that you are supposed to be sending. I’m sure was not accidental.

  4. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 12:55 pm:

    “When do we get paid?” is what many of the Tribbies’ creditors were asking during four years of bankruptcy.

    I’m sure Kass thought less of them, too.

  5. - Just Me - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 1:03 pm:

    Agree with you on the pay thing. Full time legislators aren’t paid enough as is, and I believe unlike members of Congress they can’t loan money to themselves from their campaigns. I don’t know how some of them did it. We’re they supposed to start waiting tables at night in between going to community meetings and visiting with constituents?

  6. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 1:05 pm:

    ==start waiting table at night==

    That’s what a lot of retirees, about to get their pension whacked ask themselves.

  7. - John Galt - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 1:11 pm:

    If Reboot is paying for the app and it’s their infrastructure that a person is using to access their legislators, then Reboot can set up the rules as they wish. It’s a private non-profit advocacy group. Same holds true for a left leaning advocacy group or labor union if they designed an advocacy app for the legislature.

    That’s what people don’t get about these tax-free “non-partisan” advocacy or educational groups. Advocacy or educational content from non-profits don’t need to be totally even-handed. Otherwise we’d expect a pro-enviornment educational group to just as vociferously offer pro-Keystone pipeline talking points, or a pro-choice non-profit group to also vociferously offer pro-life talking points too. That’s nonsense. Non-profit educational or advocacy groups vociferously advance their view of an issue, and legislators or voters ought to seek out a different non-profit advocacy or educational group to get the vociferous argument on the flip side of the coin.

    Now, maybe an educational non-profit wants to seek out a brand as being totally even-handed and thus be fastidious in handing out “point/counterpoint” educational bulletins on any given issue. But whether they do or don’t (or whether they SAY they do versus they don’t really), is in the eye of the beholder.

  8. - Tom - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 1:15 pm:

    What’s happened to the Tribune’s circulation since John Kass took over as the featured columnist? It’s declined by more than half. Maybe some would interperet that as an indication that he “is not doing his job” and shouldn’t get paid.

    Obviously, it’s not Kass’s fault…the internet has robbed all newspapers of their readership. But the question is: who decides how well someone is “doing their job” and whether or not they get paid? If the Tribune editors don’t like Kass’ work they can fire him. But they can’t make him keep working for no pay.

    If the voters don’t like the job their legislators are doing they can fire them, at the ballot box.

    And what about all the legislators who, by Kass and Quinn’s standards, were doing their jobs and voted for pension reform? Why was their pay cut? And what about GA members who voted against pension reform but happen to work their buts off for their constituents?

  9. - John Galt - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 1:17 pm:

    “Agree with you on the pay thing.”

    Ditto. Actually, the “Illinois legislator is a part-time job” thing is a farce. They meet for a good chunk of the year Tuesday thru Thursday. If people are any good at their job or do constituency outreach, it’s more than that. No normal human being can hold down a “normal job” and be a legislator. Anybody working in a cubicle farm, as a teacher, as a clerk in a store, etc. could be able to hold down a full time job. Maybe if you own your own company or are OK working hourly part-time seasonal work you can swing it. But that’s far & few between.

    The legislature should decide what it is. If it’s full time, then just say so, add a few more weeks to the calendar, and boost the pay by another $5K per year. If it’s part-time, then cut the salary to $30K or $40K per year, get rid of the pension entirely, but trim the legislative calendar so that it amounts to a bunch of long weekends (i.e. Thurs-Sat) and/or a few one-week marathon stretches that folks can squeeze in with their vacation time in their other normal jobs.

    It’s really in a no-man’s-land zone right now.

  10. - Bill - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 1:27 pm:

    Legislators were doing their “jobs” by upholding the constitution they swore defend by NOT voting to diminish or impair pension benefits. They all deserve a bonus for a job well done so far. Keep up the good work, legislators!

  11. - Larry Mullholland - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 1:31 pm:

    Rich, Kudos to you and your straight talk within this post. Public servants almost always take it in the chin (or other painful places) from the media types. They are an easy target and many of the ’servants’ deserve what they get. However, as you indicate they don’t always deserve criticism, and I would add that at times deserve great praise. Government and its servants, often do as well as they can within the confines and restraints of laws and mandates and that story is often overlooked.

  12. - Just Me - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    @John Galt, I believe a part of your suggestion would require a change to the Constitution.

  13. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 1:52 pm:

    On Chicago “Week in Review” on WTTW last Friday, during a discussion on the Cornell Park shootings, Cheryl Corley of NPR was trying to put Chicago gun violence in perspective regarding recent history and neighborhoods.

    Bruce Dold of the Tribbies chimed in, saying that Chicago was the only place in America, recently, “where 13 people have been shot in one incident.”

    And he’s the brains of the outfit.

  14. - Demoralized - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 1:55 pm:

    Maybe somebody should withhold Kass’ paycheck for a few months and see if he has the same reaction as Rep. Mitchell.

  15. - Demoralized - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 2:13 pm:

    I don’t have a problem with what Reboot is doing. They are setting it up. I just wish these groups would stop calling themselves “non-partisan.” All of these groups (on all sides) have some sort of agenda. I think they should call themselves an “agenda driven” group.

  16. - Downstater - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 2:14 pm:

    ===start waiting table at night==

    =That’s what a lot of retirees, about to get their pension whacked ask themselves. =
    Please the crocodile tears are about to short out my key board.

  17. - Chavez-Respecting Obamist - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 2:26 pm:

    Wow that was fun. I just used Reboot to tell my legislators to not raise the minimum wage to $10/hr, but make it $15. You’re right–it’s really easy to fix what they wrote.

  18. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 2:35 pm:

    So what that ReBoot app is really doing is compiling emails of people who self identify with a certain issue so that ReBoot can build contact lists and market itself and it’s information back to people.

  19. - Norseman - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 3:22 pm:

    Michelle nails it again!

  20. - T.T. - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 3:50 pm:

    Just read the Jack Franks quotes in the Kass column. Getting real sick of him pontificating on this topic. He’s one of the wealthiest members of the General Assembly…thanks to his family. Kass makes him a hero and tries to make a fool out of Mitchell, a member who actually needs his check. Yet, Kass still fancies himself a champion of the little guy. What a farce.

  21. - Patrick - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 5:11 pm:

    The point of the letter about Reboot was that they bill themselves as being all about good government - something akin to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform - when they’re really just there to advocate for the Republican wishlist. What exactly does “retake ownership of our governments” mean? To them, it apparently means “do things Republicans want.”

  22. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 5:19 pm:

    I wonder how much the Trib could save if they just fired Kass.

  23. - Matt Dietrich - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 5:21 pm:

    Oops. Sorry for the big block of text in post above. Spaces got lost in the process.

  24. - Apple - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 6:26 pm:

    Just to be clear, the Franks quote was taken from a lengthy WLS radio interview last Friday. If you heard the whole interview, it was not nearly as Draconian as Kass purports in his column.

  25. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 7:10 pm:

    And of course the ReBooters can pass it along to others for other inspirational messages…like hedge funds pitches, predatory loans, gold, survival meal packs, fall out shelters. A direct mailers Garden of Eden.
    Maybe we will all get invites to Ms. ReBooters fancy winter digs in FL for some R & R!

  26. - T.T. - Monday, Sep 30, 13 @ 7:26 pm:

    - Apple -

    Understandable. But this is not the first time Franks has chimed in on this topic. Like I said, real easy to back Quinn’s move when you can fall back on your family fortune.

  27. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 1, 13 @ 8:21 am:

    ==when they’re really just there to advocate for the Republican wishlist.==

    Which faction of Republicans? That party has several tents.

  28. - David P. Graf - Tuesday, Oct 1, 13 @ 8:34 am:

    Considering that a lot of people who do business with the state haven’t been paid for a lot longer than a few months, it’s not embarrassing that Mitchell first thought was for his paycheck. It’s embarrassing that the legislators do not think about the ordinary people who get hurt when Illinois does not pay its bills.

  29. - Kyle Hillman - Tuesday, Oct 1, 13 @ 9:01 am:

    Even if Reboot Illinois’s app didn’t allow you to edit and send your own comments - who cares?

    It is a conservative issue leaning website. What would be news is if they had prewritten action alerts that leaned liberal.

    (And it would go completely against thier mission.)

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Question of the day
* Madigan on GOP: "They don't wanna talk about their record because they don't have a record"
* Lottery sells tickets even after all prizes have been claimed
* It's just a bill
* This isn't about "family heritage"
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Because... Madigan!
* Don't believe everything you read
* Pritzker hopes to unload casino stake by December
* A Dock Walls, Jim Tobin gubernatorial ticket?
* Sun-Times makes "urgent appeal" for subscriptions, bashes Tribune
* *** UPDATED x1 *** "The family had a lot of buffers"
* Budget hype and budget facts
* Federal rules protecting net neutrality expire today! Support House Bill 4819
* *** UPDATED x1 - Brady: "It's not my firm" *** Rauner campaign paid Pat Brady's firm for consulting
* *** UPDATED x1 - Rauner responds *** Chuy Garcia endorses Madigan for another term as party chairman
* The going gets weirder with McCann's entry
* Why did Reinking have those guns?
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...









* Gov. Rauner meets with Continental Tire officia.....
* Lt. gov. tours Continental Tire in Mt. Vernon, .....
* ADM hosts governor at German facility - Effingh.....
* Gov. Rauner visits tire headquarters in Germany.....
* Madigan re-elected as state Democratic Party ch.....
* Madigan re-elected as state Democratic Party ch.....
* Michael Madigan wins re-election as Democratic .....
* State paying bills, but not late-payment intere.....
* State paying bills, but not late-payment intere.....
* Legislators push Rauner for Quincy veterans hom.....

* Illinois AG files harassment lawsuit against bus company
* Waffle House slaying suspect arrested after massive manhunt
* The Latest: Official: Father could face charges over guns
* Judge asked to reject pipeline protester's evidence request
* Illinois sees increase in renewable energy developments
* State paying bills, but not late-payment interest
* The Latest: Police: Suspect in shooting had gun in backpack
* Champaign-area bus company faces harassment lawsuit
* The Latest: Police: Waffle House suspect arrested
* Police: Waffle House suspect arrested near his apartment

* Champaign-area bus company faces harassment lawsuit
* Michael Madigan wins re-election as Democratic Party leader
* State paying bills, but not late-payment interest
* Legislators push Rauner for Quincy veterans home improvement plan
* Michael Madigan expected to win re-election as Democratic Party leader
* Statehouse bills would increase drivers' awareness of bike safety
* Proposal would let more voters try to cut property taxes
* Illinois Lottery sells tickets for instant games after top prizes are gone
* Government consolidation efforts gain traction in General Assembly
* Bill: Put therapists, not armed security, in Illinois schools

* Esurance hikes auto rates again in Illinois as customers flee
* Aluminum drops most in 7 years after U.S. signals Russian sanctions relief
* With another $1 billion due, reality sets in at Sears
* A fallen Akorn is too expensive for Fresenius

* Airline passenger fined after keeping free airline apple
* Pete Rose’s second wife says he has ‘significant debts’ with casinos, IRS: TMZ
* Man wounded in Austin shooting
* Cubs’ Addison Russell hospitalized briefly in Denver for allergic reaction
* NBA Mock Draft: Who will the Bulls pick if they win the lottery?
* Emanuel cautions fellow Democrats to drop impeachment talk
* White Sox’ Danny Farquhar progressing after surgery
* Man charged with leading trooper on 100 mph chase on Indiana Toll Road
* Veteran who survived blast receives unusual penis transplant
* Wanted: New home for a retro 2 1/2-ton neon sign that hung near Six Corners

* Canada police say driver that plowed into crowd, injured 8, is in custody
* Sears' CEO proposes breaking up troubled retailer with offer to buy Kenmore brand, other assets
* Waffle House shooting suspect arrested; father also could face charges, Nashville police say
* Royal baby: Kate Middleton and Prince William welcome baby boy, depart hospital for home
* White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar 'speaking to doctors and family' after undergoing brain surgery
* Giants at No. 2 hold the key to an early run on quarterbacks — the ideal scenario for Ryan Pace and the Bears
* Investing: A fund to keep your balance in a turbulent market
* Naperville student charged with making gun threats against Neuqua Valley High School, police say
* 10 years later, thousands of risky air bags are still on the road
* The unspoken factor in Amazon's search for a new home: Jeff Bezos's support for gay rights

» CPS Plays Matchmaker To Link Teachers With High-Need Schools
» Measure To Expand Online Sales Tax In Illinois Faces Hurdles
» At South Side Cemetery, A Gathering For Confederate Descendants – And Protesters
» Official: Pop Tax Repeal Could Mean Late Tax Bills, Budget Headaches
» Casino Sale Raises Questions About A Windfall - Or A Conflict - For Pritzker
» Eliminating Golden Parachutes in Illinois; Children’s Author M.J. Mouton; Illinois Budget
» Obamacare Protection Measure Fails in Illinois House
» State Week: McCann Makes Three; Blagojevich Makes Appeal; Preckwinkle Makes History
» WBEZ’s Chicago and Illinois News Roundup: April 20, 2018
» From Columbine To Parkland: Art And Activism

* Champaign-area bus company faces harassment lawsuit
* Michael Madigan wins re-election as Democratic Party leader
* State paying bills, but not late-payment interest
* Legislators push Rauner for Quincy veterans home improvement plan
* Michael Madigan expected to win re-election as Democratic Party leader
* George Will: Gorsuch strikes blow against administrative state
* Statehouse bills would increase drivers' awareness of bike safety
* Proposal would let more voters try to cut property taxes
* Illinois Lottery sells tickets for instant games after top prizes are gone
* Government consolidation efforts gain traction in General Assembly

* Overturned semi ties up Market St. traffic
* This is why Highland is pursuing a new senior citizens center
* Illini offer four-star wing
* Check out the latest Macon County restaurant inspection scores, April 6-19
* Fire destroys plane at former Rantoul museum
* Class 1A girls' soccer tournament pairings released
* On the Town: C-U Schools Foundation Gala
* Highland agrees to shell out some green to help keep Silver Lake blue
* Waffle House suspect had his Illinois FOID card taken away, but not access to guns
* Tennis Bulldogs go 3-1 at Belleville East tourney

* Aurora police: Woman dragged store employee with vehicle during theft
* Plea deals reached in District 128 perjury cases
* Morgan/Harbour Construction expands to Wisconsin
* White Sox pitcher Farquhar 'progressing well,' and speaking to doctors, family
* TacoMadre opens new spot in St. Charles

* The Watchdogs That Didn't Bark
* The Watchdogs That Didn't Bark
* This RSS feed URL is deprecated
* Rep. Randy Hultgren recognizes Loyola men'...
* US Rep. Randy Hultgren visits McHenry's Pi...
* Are Illinois Congressmen safe in wake of D...
* It's official: If you prepaid your propert...
* A quick look at a few congressional races ...
* Underwood hopes winning primary formula ca...
* Group of Nearly 100 Iranians Stuck in Vien...

* Sen. Durbin warns educators of risks of fo......
* County official: Anti-poverty services wou......
* Booker, Durbin, Krishnamoorthi Introduce H......
* Durbin, Duckworth demand accounting of All......
* Area US senators' votes on Trump nominatio......

* Tammy Duckworth is uniquely privileged, bu......
* Tammy Duckworth makes fertility after 50 l......
* Few mothers could do what Tammy Duckworth ......
* What Tammy Duckworth really just taught us...
* Tammy Duckworth becomes first senator to v......

* Woman Missing From Buena Park
* Record Store Day 2018: here's what Chicago area shops are doing to celebrate
* When the blues electrified Chicago
* Dog Day brings out the best (in show) to Guaranteed Rate Field [PHOTOS]
* How we got all those pot leaves for our #420Day issue
* Ives: Pushes "b" word as option for debt-ridden local Illinois governments
* Governor Rauner visits Continental Tire world headquarters in Germany
* Wile E!
* Waffle House shooter caught; Lawmakers could attempt to close relative gun law exception
* Post Animal at Lincoln Hall and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

* IEMA Highlights Role of Volunteers in Disasters
* Governor Rauner activates State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield
* February Flooding Information
* IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather
* Governor issues state disaster proclamation for flooding in Iroquois, Kankakee, Vermilion Counties

* Asus launches a new midrange phone in India to compete with Xiaomi
* Alphabet tops Q1 targets on revenue of $31.1 billion
* Super Mario 64: Ocarina of Time mashes up two Nintendo classics into one wild combination
* UK council giving out Amazon Echo devices to elderly and disabled
* Survey: Amazon beats Google and Apple for ‘most positive’ impact on society
* Geskin: iPhone SE 2 glass back design will allow for wireless charging
* Why failing to recycle electronics leaves gold mines untapped

* Farquhar 'progressing well' after surgery
* Beck’s back!
* Farquhar 'progressing well' after surgery
* White Sox Weekly Minor League Update: Week 3
* White Sox place Gonzalez (shoulder) on DL
* Beck’s back!
* White Sox place Gonzalez (shoulder) on DL

Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller