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Political oddities and ends

Thursday, Nov 7, 2013

* I didn’t know Bill Brady moonlighted as a comedian…

And all along I thought the longest running comedy show in the Midwest was Illinois government. He doesn’t run that yet.

* Three pensions? Yep

“Yes, it’s unusual,” says Robert Rita, a Democratic state representative from Blue Island. “But it’s not like we’re doing this because of the pensions.” “I’m from a family that’s dedicated to public service.”

The Ritas are like Blue Island’s version of the Daleys. The brothers’ father, John Rita Sr., was Blue Island’s mayor, while their mother, Rose Rita, was an alderman and supervisor of Calumet Township. Both parents are now deceased.

Sister Nancy Rita, 49, also is a Blue Island alderman, in addition to working as an administrative assistant in the office of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans. The $62,695-a-year county job comes with a pension.

As a state lawmaker, Robert Rita, 44, was paid $74,569 last year. His township supervisor salary is $67,000 a year – after a 23 percent raise that took effect in June, according to interviews and public records.

Up until last February he also worked as an administrative analyst for the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways, and is vested in Cook County’s government pension plan, as well as the retirement plans covering the General Assembly and townships. His annual county salary was $93,423, though he wasn’t paid when he took time off to handle legislative matters.

If Robert Rita waits until age 60 to collect his lawmaker, township and county pensions, his total benefit could exceed $118,000 a year, according to a Better Government Association analysis.

* A case of premature tweeting earlier this week…

That “earthquake” turned out to be a quarry blast. But it was a big one

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski has asked for a federal investigation into a quarry blast this week in suburban Chicago.

Lipinski has asked the U.S. Department of Labor and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to investigate the blast. It happened Monday at a company in McCook.

The congressman says he was in his Western Springs kitchen when his house shook for five seconds.

* Sen. Mark Kirk doesn’t want to loosen restrictions on marijuana

He said he was worried about young people’s academic achievement.

“In my own life, there were kids that in the ’70s we would call the ‘burnouts’ who were heavily smoking,” Kirk said. “Those kids, as they got to their 50s, were generally much lower performing in their careers and their lives.”

Or they became president.

Just saying.

* From an e-mail blast…

Rich -

I wanted to make sure you saw this week’s story. In response to Sheila’s campaign proposals to strengthen oversight of local government, Judy Baar Topinka decided to revamp her local government website. Some Illinois reporters don’t think that’s a coincidence.

Here’s what columnist Kurt Erickson had to say about it:

“…it wasn’t without irony that Topinka last week launched a seven-stop statewide blitz on the taxpayer’s dime to announce a new feature of her office that compiles information and records from, surprise, local governments.” (Bloomington Pantagraph, 11/3/13)

It shouldn’t take the attention of an election for public officials to do their job properly. Sheila has already helped change the way the comptroller’s office does business; imagine what she will be able to do if she is elected.

Dave Mellet
Campaign Manager
Sheila Simon for Comptroller

* Topinka’s response in that same story quoted above

Topinka told skeptical reporters that the new website was not created in response to Simon’s allegations.

“I think it’s nonsense, because we started working on this when Sheila Simon was still dreaming of becoming attorney general,” Topinka quipped.

* And LG Simon offered no praise at the time for Topinka “doing her job properly.” Quite the opposite

Simon criticized the site as a simple “repurposing” of information that was already available, saying the move was “too little and too late.”

* Simon, by the way, played a recent duet with Dan Ponce

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:28 pm:

    The McCook quarry is legendary for trunk music. Lot of problems have gone away at the bottom of that quarry, certain friends of ours will tell you.

  2. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:35 pm:

    - Or they became president. -

    Or they became wordslinger, which is right up there with president.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:38 pm:


    Sheila Simon knows that word well. It’s like a “Spelling Word” for the turncoat LG. Sheila used it in this sentence;

    Sheila Simon repurposed her Attorney General talking points to run for Comptroller, after ditching Pat Quinn.

    I learn a lot of new words.

    Thanks Sheila.

  4. - OneMan - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:45 pm:

    In response to Sheila’s campaign proposals to strengthen oversight of local government, Judy Baar Topinka decided to revamp her local government website.

    Considering she announced on July 30th if they revamped it that quickly (which even in it’s wording implies the data was already there, it is just now in a different format) those folks should be working on fixing the ACA website…

    Also does ANYONE really think this conversation went down..

    Judy: Oh man Sheila has some proposals out, we need to act now..

    Random Worker: We can modify the web site…

    Judy: That will work…


  5. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:47 pm:

    Sheila Simon? Please, someone stop her. Or help her stop herself.

    Just make it through this next year without saying or doing too much. Then you can drift off into the sunset before further tarnishing the legacy.

  6. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:48 pm:

    word, love the phrase “trunk music.”
    When I first read about the quarry blast, I also recalled the many times the quarry had been repurposed* over the years.

    *h/t Willy

  7. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:50 pm:

    Three pensions? One vested by the age of 44, with two more on the way?

    Apparently nobody works harder than dear old Bob.

  8. - Joan P. - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:54 pm:

    I knew someone who had three pensions: FBI, prosecutor, judge. Then he was of-counsel to a law firm. He didn’t starve.

  9. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 2:56 pm:

    - AA -,

    Very good!

    Sheila Simon should spend less time with duets, and repurpose her time to learn how Illinois Comptroller is different than Attorney General.

    @FakeJasonPlummer - making sentences with spelling words is fun, Sheila, need a study-buddy? #JustLikeOleTimesLG

  10. - Downstater - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 3:21 pm:

    Sheila will have plenty of time to “repurpose” her career, after next year. I see, SIU is looking for a new President/Chancellor!!

  11. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 3:22 pm:

    Formerly, don’t look now but you seemed to just say BGA did a good pension story on Rita.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 3:34 pm:

    Sheila Simon is going to repurpose her campaign scheduler to the booker of duets …

  13. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 3:49 pm:

    –“In my own life, there were kids that in the ’70s we would call the ‘burnouts’ who were heavily smoking,” Kirk said. “Those kids, as they got to their 50s, were generally much lower performing in their careers and their lives.”==

    Suddenly, a lot of my life’s mysteries have been cleared up, lol.

    I’ll have you know, though, I could clear ninety screens on PacMan, drink a beer, eat a Hawaiian slice, smoke a Winston and do a wicked air guitar to “Whipping Post” all at the same time.

    That’s multi-tasking I picked up at Northern Illinois University, home to the Midwest’s best college football team.

    Jordan Lynch for the Heisman.

    –I do mind, the Dude minds. This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man. –

    Sen. Kirk has himself some Reefer Madness. Meh, he’s still my guy.

    It ain’t easy these days to find a Republican to root for, so I’m going to let this one slide. Next time in DeKalb, Sen. Kirk, the beer nuggets are on me.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 3:52 pm:

    Sheila Simon is going to repurpose her Attorney General yard signs, and use the inside fold sides for Comptroller yard signs.

    Repurposing is so invigorating for Sheila

  15. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 3:59 pm:

    AA, my wife’s family is five generations deep in Leyden Township.

    Lot of “associates,” at the family Christmas Party, lol. Streets and San. Water Department. CPD. Sheriff’s Department. Mac Place.

    I always pass on the “investment opportunities,” but I confess to taking the bootleg smokes.

  16. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 4:00 pm:

    Sheila should take her banjo gig on the road. And don’t stop until she hits the Far, Far East

  17. - OneMan - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 4:12 pm:

    wordslinger — I didn’t know you were a fellow Husky…

    If you want to see a football team that can win a game in the Big 10, you need to drive to DeKalb…

    Keep trying U of I…

    But to the pot thing, yeah it makes some people stupid, but there a lot of things that make people stupid…

  18. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 4:16 pm:

    JBT was on the House floor the other day fighting the good fight for justice.

    That’s my kind of Republican. I’m ashamed at what an idiot I was to vote for Whitney for governor.

    Paul Simon was the goods in my house growing up. JBT is the goods in my house, today.

    I only wish she were running for governor.

  19. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 4:30 pm:

    === the beer nuggets are on me===

    Man, I can’t remember the last time I had an order of those. I wonder if Sgt. Pepper’s is still open?

  20. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 4:35 pm:

    One Man, can you dig it?

    –Huskies, come on you Huskies
    and make a score or two

    Huskies, you’re Northern Huskies
    the team to pull us through

    Forward, together forward
    there’s victory in view

    Come on you Huskies, Fight on you
    Huskies and win for N.I.U.!–

    Jordan Lynch is having one of the greatest years of any college quarterback, ever. It would be a crying shame if the Downtown Athletic Club didn’t invite him to New York.

    He was coached up at Mt. Carmel by John Hoerster, who’s now the head coach at OPRF. Hoerster’s old man was a legend at Loyola.

    What. A. Guy. The kids love him, and so do their parents.

    Oak Park is football crazy right now, with both OPRF and Fenwick going to the second round.

    I’m an OPRF Huskie, but I love the Friars and am rooting for Robert Spillane — Johnny Lattner’s grandson– to bring some hardware home from DeKalb, site of IHSA Thanksgiving championship weekend.

    Ain’t no sin being glad you’re alive.

  21. - blogman - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 4:46 pm:

    These two have always been a joke even before they got to Springfield. Now with the help of the professionals in Springfield, they are taking it to a new level!

  22. - OneMan - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 4:49 pm:

    Word –
    I totally can, was actually on the athletic board when I was a student there… Can still remember the AD at the time referring to himself in the third person. Also did play-by-play and color for women’s basketball for WKDI (best color man on a cable radio station who was majoring in Computer Science in the country!)…

    Have had to explain to my son this is not ‘normal’ for NIU football, hope it become normal…

  23. - DuPage - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 5:22 pm:

    I thought they were gone.(I thought wrong). I thought they were converting the McCook quarry into a deep tunnel flood retention area. Is there more then one quarry in McCook or is the deep tunnel project far in the future?

  24. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 5:38 pm:

    Davis Hall, not David.

    Go NIU Huskies, Go OPRF Huskies, Go Fenwick Friars!

  25. - Sick of Simon - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 6:22 pm:

    Simon needs another gimmick. She should focus on her real job while she has one.

  26. - Just The Way It Is One - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 6:30 pm:

    Fine for folks’ loyalty, but the last SEVeral comments are starting to read like this thread may be turning into Huskies-dominated…So, even though their upcoming record in Men’s Basketball will be “up in the air,” as has been the case for TOO many years now, but since it is the ONLY UNIVERSITY in ILLINOIS to EVER WIN the NCAA Division I’s Men’s Basketball NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP (albeit back in 1963)–here’s a shout out to MY alma mater of which all can be proud (although admittedly they have no Football Program)–Loyola University of Chicago–GO RAMBLERS!!!

  27. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 8:17 pm:

    @Chicago Cynic - my interest was not attracted to the BGA’s work so much as Bob Rita’s unbelievable work ethic.

    What are the odds a politically connected individual like that would already be working on his third public pension at the ripe old age of 44? And one of those pensions already vested to boot?

    Goodness gracious, that Bob Rita must be one hard worker.

    He most certainly is doing it all for the good of the public.

  28. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Nov 7, 13 @ 9:29 pm:

    word, you really have to write a book some day. You have so much material to work with.

    The Illini football team is at best 4th in the State this year, not counting a number of high schools. Good to see NIU and EIU do well.

  29. - Huh? - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 7:40 am:

    It is likely that the reason the Rita’s have been able to qualify for multiple pensions is due to the reciprocity agreement between the various pension systems.

    The years of service in one pension system can be counted in another system. In addition, the salary paid under one system can be applied to another system.

  30. - OneMan - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 9:18 am:

    Rich it does not appear Sgt. Peppers is open anymore and if they are they moved… The strip mall they were in is now a drugstore.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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