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Oberweis considering US Senate bid, touts poll results

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013

* Illinois Review

A new We Ask America poll shows U.S. Senator Richard “Dick” Durbin could be vulnerable in his 2014 re-election bid, and Illinois State Senator Jim Oberweis may be the GOP’s strongest challenger.

In a head-to-head, the poll shows Durbin at 49.97% and Oberweis at 38.67%, with 11.36% undecided.

Breaking down the data, Oberweis polls stronger among men at 47.13% to Durbin’s 45.16%. He also polls stronger among voters 25-44 years old, and beats Durbin in the vote-rich collar counties as well as downstate.

Oberweis told Illinois Review he was surprised by the poll and the results. He said he’s considering a run, but has made no decision.

I’m told that We Ask America didn’t do the poll directly for Oberweis, but he’s still touting it, as he should.

Considering some other numbers I’ve seen lately, the president’s popularity appears to be sagging in Illinois right now. That’s creating some headwinds.

* And just keep in mind that an incumbent at 50 percent this far out is gonna be really hard to beat, particularly one who has a lot of money to spend on himself.

- Posted by Rich Miller   45 Comments      

Rutherford rhetoric may be music to union ears

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013

* I don’t think he answered the questions, but I’d bet money that his kinda-sorta non-answer will please some public employees

When asked by members of the audience about his approach to fixing the looming pension crisis facing the state, [Treasurer Dan Rutherford] voiced his disdain for the inaction of others. He contends that even though Quinn raised income taxes in January 2011, he hasn’t used the added revenue toward pension funds.

“I don’t want it (continued income tax increases), but it may have to be on the table in part of a financial solution to the situation we are in,” admitted Rutherford. “I know that’s not a popular thing to say, but it is a realistic thing to say.”

Rutherford is against changing the state constitution to take away any pension funding, saying “pensions to teachers, university employees and state employees is a covenant. They deserve what they have coming.

“Everybody now has skin in the game, and we are all going to have to take a little of the hurt,” he added.

Rutherford attributed the pension problem to past governors who didn’t put enough aside for the pension fund, inflated portfolio rates set by the Retired Teachers Board, and people living longer.

“The pension system had to start selling its assets to make payments for retires,” said Rutherford. “That is a death spiral. We have to fairly and substantively address this.”

I’d sure like to hear how he intends to do all that. For now, though, he looks to have the best shot at convincing those Downstate and suburban public employee union members who also happen to be Republicans or lean that way (and there are lots of them) to get on board. But it’s early and we don’t really know what he’s talking about here other than his rhetoric is much softer than his opponents’.

* Meanwhile, Greg Hinz

GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner quietly has moved his legal voting residence back to the suburbs from Chicago — a move that may help him politically but risks rekindling a flap about why he came to the city in the first place.

According to Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office, Mr. Rauner changed his voting residence April 30 from a downtown Chicago high-rise condominium at 340 E. Randolph St. to his former official residence: a home on Rosewood Avenue in Winnetka.

Mr. Rauner’s spokesman confirms the candidate did indeed go back to the ‘burbs.

“He just wanted to make everything consistent,” said the spokesman, Mike Schrimpf.

* In other news

Today, we got notice that state Rep. JoAnn Osmond, an Antioch Republican who isn’t running for re-election in 2014, said she’s backing state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale for governor.

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      

Question of the day

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013

* The Kankakee Daily Journal’s Phil Angelo interviewed Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner

The Illinois budget: Would make cuts by inviting 30 senior business executives to examine state practices. “It is time to downsize and outsource.”

* The Question: Do you think senior business executives would have enough expertise to find significant state budget cuts? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

survey hosting

Also, sorry for the typo. Can’t get the poll to update my fix. Ugh.

- Posted by Rich Miller   87 Comments      

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Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013

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- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Let’s all try to remain calm

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013

* Buried deep in the Decatur Herald & Review’s story about ADM moving some top corporate jobs out of town was this nugget

Shareholder Martin Glotzer of Chicago, who was openly booed when he asked [ADM Chairman, President and CEO Patricia Woertz] last year about moving ADM’s headquarters, said he knew it would not be a popular question in Decatur. However, he thinks in the long run, ADM and Decatur would benefit from being able to attract higher-quality career people who would rather live and work in Chicago than Decatur.

If the company is better off, Glotzer said it could grow and hire more people. [Emphasis added.]

That shareholder is probably right.

I totally sympathize with Decatur residents who fear what this move means for their beleaguered town. But the company’s CEO has talked for years about a possible HQ move, and if they’re going to move I hope it’s to Chicago.

* So what we have to guard against in the coming months is an intensifying regional battle over this ADM move. We can’t have angry Downstate politicians blocking state assistance solely out of spite. Yes, there should be a robust debate if the company wants any state help, but let’s keep it honest and open. The idea should be to keep ADM’s international headquarters in Illinois if the price is right.

* And, while I’m at it, I’m really getting sick (already, and it’s still early) of the Chicago bashing coming from the GOP gubernatorial candidates. Yes, we have our regional differences, but this is one state, people. Try to remember that.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

If the guy’s behind bars, there’s no retaliation, so no mass shooting

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013

* From a Mayor Rahm Emanuel press release…

“The men and women of the Chicago Police Department once again showed why they are the nation’s best by moving quickly to arrest four individuals, including the shooters, for their roles in the gun violence in the Back of the Yards neighborhood last week. But great police work is only part of a successful strategy to keep our streets safe. We also need laws that reflect our values when it comes to gun crimes and carry real consequences for illegal gun possession.

“We need a three-year minimum penalty for illegally carrying a gun on our streets. One of the shooters should have been behind bars rather than in Cornell Park on Thursday night.

“As we invest heavily in programs for youth, in new policing strategies, and in building supports for those most likely to fall into gangs, we also need a three-year mandatory minimum bill for gun crimes.” [Emphasis added.]

* This is the guy MRE was referring to

On Monday, Bryon Champ, 21, and Kewane Gatewood, 20, both of Chicago, were also charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm. Chicago police said the two “played significant roles” in the shooting.

A law enforcement source said Champ and Gatewood helped transport the weapon used in the shooting to the scene. Another source said the shooting was in retaliation after one of the suspects had been grazed earlier in a gang conflict in Back of the Yards.

Police identified Champ as a convicted felon and a documented street gang member. He was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon in July 2012 and was sentenced to boot camp at the Cook County Department of Corrections. [Emphasis added.]

* According to the cops, Bryon Champ was injured last week in a shooting, so the Back of the Yards shooting was retaliatory

McCarthy said motivation behind the Back of the Yards shooting was retaliation, stemming from an unreported shooting the week before in which Champ was injured.

“As a result, the retaliation took place at Cornell Park,” he said. [Emphasis added.]

* More on Bryon Champ

Champ’s criminal record includes a 2012 conviction for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and a 2011 conviction for receiving stolen property. He was sentenced to Cook County Jail boot camp for the gun-possession conviction and had received probation in the other case, records show.

On Monday, McCarthy pointed to the case to highlight the need for stricter gun laws.

“He received boot camp for that gun crime and was back out on the streets to be a part of this senseless shooting,” McCarthy said. “That is unacceptable. To truly address violence for the long-term we need state and federal laws that keep illegal guns out of our communities and provide real punishment for the criminals who use them.”

McCarthy continued to hammer the point at a news conference Tuesday, pressing the need for punishment for criminals who carry illegal guns: “If Bryon Champ is not on the street — as he shouldn’t have been — this incident likely does not occur.”

* So far, all Gov. Pat Quinn has done is talk about banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines. But maybe the governor ought to listen to Superintendent McCarthy and focus on keeping these criminals behind bars longer.

Champ gets boot camp for felony gun possession while he’s apparently on probation for another felony? What the heck?

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      

It’s a swing district

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013

* Rodney Davis launched his congressional reelection bid yesterday. Sen. Dick Durbin blasted Davis on Sunday

“He just continues to follow the tea party line in Washington,” Durbin said before a Democratic State Central Committee meeting in Springfield. “That may be good news in his Republican primary, but this is a pretty evenly divided district. Come the general election, he’ll have some questions to answer.

Actually, the 13th District has swung wildly between Democratic and Republican, depending on the year. Obama stomped John McCain 55-42. But Judy Baar Topinka beat Rod Blagojevich 48-37 in the 2006 off-year, and Bill Brady beat Pat Quinn in the next off-year election 54-37. On average, I suppose, it’s “evenly divided,” but in reality, it swings with the national winds.

One reason for this swing is the large number of college students in the district. It includes the U of I, ISU and tons of other schools.

* The wild swings back and forth are a big reason why Rep. Jay Hoffman and other bigtime Democrats decided to take a pass last year. They thought they could win last year, but figured they would have real trouble being reelected in Obama’s final off-year election.

That’s why both Charlie Cook and Larry Sabato have this race as “Lean Republican.” The only reason so far why it isn’t rated as “Likely Republican” is because the Democrats plan to spend lots of cash there. But I’m not sure they can pull this off.

…Adding… Some folks seem unclear on the concept here. Those election results are based on the new district lines, not the old ones. So, yeah, Davis had a tough race last year, but if the pattern holds, it won’t be nearly as tough next year.

- Posted by Rich Miller   66 Comments      

Quinn never said it

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013

* From a Saturday AP report

Gov. Pat Quinn said he’s open to sending Illinois National Guard troops or Illinois State Police to assist Chicago police with curbing violence if city officials want the help.

He told reporters Saturday after an unrelated event in Chicago that state police have helped in places like East St. Louis, but only when local authorities coordinate things.

Quinn said he hasn’t been approached by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel yet.

* However, Quinn never actually talked about sending in the Guard. He was asked by a reporter “Governor, have you had any conversations regarding the National Guard [and] the State Police supplementing Chicago?”

His response didn’t include anything about sending in the Guard. He talked about how he’d sent the state cops to East St. Louis and about working with local law enforcement. He was then asked a question about whether he’d talked to Mayor Rahm Emanuel about supplementing police on the streets, but the phrase “National Guard” wasn’t included in that question.

Listen for yourself…

* His spokesperson made that clear to CBS2 right away

Quinn did not specifically veto the idea of deploying Guard members in Chicago. A press aide later told CBS 2 the governor was speaking only about the possibility of using state police to help out.

* But because of that shoddy AP report, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy went through the roof

Speaking at a graduation ceremony for the latest group of police recruits at Navy Pier, McCarthy told reporters his department does not need the help from outside agencies, pointing to statistics showing a drop in overall crime, including murders.

“I say, ‘No way, no how,’” McCarthy said. “It’s not an issue of resources.”

McCarthy instead reiterated his call for a three-year minimum prison sentence for those caught possessing illegal guns, saying that changing the law, and not sending in state police, is “the contribution that Springfield can make to the city of Chicago.”

“If people don’t go to jail for possession of a firearm, they don’t learn not to carry a firearm. Carrying a firearm is the gateway crime to committing a murder,” McCarthy said. “We’ve got more than 130 examples so far this year … of individuals who would’ve been incarcerated if that law was in effect.”

“We’re doing good policing, we’re doing smarter policing, we’re getting better cooperation from the community. But without adequate penalties for gun violence, we’re churning them out and they’re doing it again,” he said. “They’re not learning not to do, they’re learning that there’s no sanction. Therefore they continue to do it.”

McCarthy said no amount of outside influence would sway him on bringing in officers from outside his department, even if “the rest of the country” thinks it’s a good idea, as one reporter suggested.

“The rest of the country is not Chicago Police Department … The fact is the National Guard is not a policing force, they’re a military force,” said McCarthy. “So let’s stop the hysteria and let’s talk about practical steps to move forward.”

The Chicago media really needs to take a breath. “The rest of the country”? Please.

* And today, the AP backtracked

A spokeswoman says Gov. Pat Quinn would be open to using Illinois State Police but not the Illinois National Guard if it comes to assisting Chicago police combat city violence.

Over the weekend Quinn was asked by reporters about the potential for deploying the Guard or state police to assist local authorities. The Chicago Democrat said state police help in East St. Louis, but that any state help would have to be through coordinated partnerships.

Spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said Monday that when it comes to Chicago’s violence, state help would not include National Guard troops. The governor is only allowed to deploy the Guard in specific situations like a terrorist threat.

- Posted by Rich Miller   52 Comments      

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