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I can’t believe I’m doing this

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* Sneed

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is the first mayor in recent Chicago history to take the Polar Plunge on behalf of the Special Olympics Chicago athletes — but Sneed hears only one candidate running for governor has chosen to dip his toes in the freezing water at North Avenue Beach on March 2.

The brave GOPer is gubernatorial hopeful Bill Brady!

◆ To wit: Neither Gov. Pat Quinn nor gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, the motorcycling man’s man, have signed up for the frozen follies.

* From Jimmy Fallon’s Twitter feed

Chicago - I’m wearing a suit and tie for the #PolarPlunge. Show solidarity by wearing a necktie. (I’m not telling you what else to wear.)

I’m also signed up for this. I pledged to do it in a weak moment as I was trying to raise money for Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. The weather forecast looks really bad. I hope I don’t die.

* I checked the website today and decided to create a page where subscribers, commenters and readers could all contribute.

So, click here to make your donation today!

Many thanks in advance.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


Haste makes waste

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* From an Illinois Auditor General’s report

On August 13, 2010, the Governor attended a violence prevention conclave in Roseland where ministers requested he declare a State of Emergency on the current violence problem.

Five days later, on August 18, 2010, [the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority] was informed that the Governor’s Office wanted to invest at least $20 million in violence prevention and was directed to develop a framework for the [Neighborhood Recovery Initiative] program. Less than two months later, on October 6, 2010, the Governor announced the NRI program; the program had increased to a cost of $50 million for Chicago communities.

* The Auditor General found

* Lack of Documentation on the Selection of Communities (IVPA and DHS could not locate the analysis used nor could IVPA provide any other documentation to auditors showing how Chicago communities were selected to participate in NRI)

* Lack of Due Diligence in Selection of Lead Agencies (While IVPA issued an RFP for a “Governor’s Neighborhood Recovery Plan” on September 8, 2010, to select agencies to administer the program, the RFP was only sent to those agencies recommended by aldermen five days earlier. Furthermore, auditors’ review of IVPA’s scoring of the RFP submissions identified numerous deficiencies, including evaluation forms with inconsistent criteria, unscored criteria, changed scoring, and undated evaluations.)

* IVPA not Adequately Staffed (Embarking on an initiative of the size and complexity of NRI without key personnel in place is illustrative of IVPA’s inadequate planning for the NRI program.

* IVPA Untimely Approval of Contracts (40 percent of the contracts (265 of 663) were approved by IVPA after the contract was executed by the lead and community partners)

* Community Partners’ Staffing Levels Not Met (Our review of quarterly reports found that community partners did not maintain the number of staff required by their contracts with IVPA. We found no documentation to show that IVPA took steps necessary to correct the staffing deficiencies.

And there’s more. Much more. It’s a freaking mess. Go read the whole thing. More here.

This was a feel-good program tossed together at the last minute to make the governor look like he was doing something. Yes, some people were helped. But there was way too much politics involved and some truly hinky accounting.

Oy.

- Posted by Rich Miller   57 Comments      


The art of projection

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* From Illinois Watchdog

“Gov. Quinn is an excellent populist politician, but while populists can gain favor for brief periods, it is hard to sustain it over the long run,” John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute said. “The essence of the strategy is to divide people, driven by resentment and bitterness based on false narratives that must hide the truth.”

Resentment and bitterness, eh? Sounds like a lot of stuff Tillman says.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* There’s a move afoot to consolidate the four pension reform lawsuits. AP

Lawyers representing the respective groups of state retirees who filed class-action suits have asked the Supreme Court to allow them to present their cases as one.

The groups share the common claim that the new pension reform plan violates the state constitution, which says benefits may not be diminished.

Because three of the cases were filed in Sangamon County Court and another in Cook County Circuit Court, the Supreme Court must choose a court to hear a case if the motion is granted.

* The Question: Should a Sangamon or Cook County judge handle these consolidated cases? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


polls & surveys

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      


Mo’ money

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* Sun-Times

The Illinois Unity PAC filed organization papers today noting it would back two Republican House members — state Reps. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove, and Ed Sullivan, R-Mundelein.

Both members broke with their party in the Illinois House last year and voted in favor of same-sex marriage against staunch opposition from conservatives and some churches in Illinois — including the Catholic Church.

The independent expenditure PAC hasn’t reported raising any money as of yet.

Glen Schillerstrom is the committee’s chairman. He’s the son of former DuPage County Chairman Bob Schillerstrom.

By the way, Stand for Children Illinois just gave Rep. Sandack $10,000.

* In other news, Bruce Rauner hasn’t just been giving money to himself. His recent contributions include $25K to Illinois House candidate Mark “The Bat” Batinick (who hasn’t used his Batman logo for this election). He’s also given money to various county party organizations, including Fayette, McHenry, Logan, Ford and Adams, and that’s just in the past week or so.

* Meanwhile, NBC 5 took a look at a leadership PAC that spends almost half its cash on expenses

Take Peoria Republican Aaron Schock’s Generation-Y PAC, for example. According to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission, the fund started 2012 with $50,004.18 cash on hand. Over the next 24 months, the PAC had total receipts of $550,633.00. About half of that came from other PACs. But of the over $600,000.00 available to spend, less than half of GEN-Y’s disbursements went to candidates and committees. More than $250,000.00 went to expenses apparently involved in running the PAC itself.

That included over $56,000.00 spent at hotels. During the 24-month period examined by NBC5 Investigates, the Schock PAC listed three stays at the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, totaling $9,462.27. There were three nights at L.A.’s luxurious Mondrian, and other stays at the Luxe and Beverly Wilshire. Gen-Y dropped another $12,285.00 at the Wynn in Las Vegas. In Chicago, the PAC listed 14 stays totaling over $11,000.00 at the Peninsula, and another four stopovers at the Trump.

The Generation-Y PAC dropped over $26,000.00 on private aircraft. Fine restaurants across the country added another $36,909.00. They shelled out $11,604.00 at a Colorado ski resort, with hundreds more for snowmobile rentals - all during a 24-month period.

Who enjoyed the largesse? Schock’s staffers won’t say.

Yikes.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      


The explosion that never really happened

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* All those predictions that shutting the Tamms supermax prison would create mayhem at other prisons don’t appear to be panning out…

Although serious problems remain at the state’s largest maximum-security prison, a new report found the overall number of violent events at the Menard Correctional Center dropped in 2013. […]

Republican gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale has called for Tamms to be reopened because those inmates could injure guards.

In fact, the report showed an influx of new prisoners at Menard was offset by an increase in the number of guards who moved to the facility when Tamms closed. […]

Other changes include an effort to put more inmates to work. The report noted the number of inmates with job assignments had grown to 550 in 2013, up from 365 in 2012.

* Not everything is going well, however. From the report

Unfortunately, some positives noted in our previous report, such as availability of single-cells for many inmates in mental health housing, have been erased.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


Unclear on the concept

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* The Daily Herald on Bruce Rauner’s constant refrain about how he’ll shake up Springfield by using the governor’s constitutional powers to issue executive orders

Rauner has pointed to [Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’] use of executive orders to bypass lawmakers and get things done. In Illinois, though, lawmakers can have the final say on executive orders, perhaps tying the hands of a governor.

* There are lots of misconceptions about EOs. WBGZ radio

llinois Governor Pat Quinn has issued an Executive Order that would combine the Health and Human Service programs of Substance Abuse and Mental Health in Illinois. Lawmakers agree that’s a good decision but one State Representative from the Riverbend disagrees with the method through which it was done.

State Representative Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) says the Governor’s decision doesn’t give lawmakers a chance to do their jobs.

Kay’s quote…

“When you make a major change that’s going to cost some money at some point in time, that’s our job within the Legislature.

“The governor really today seized the legislative prerogative to hear a bill, debate a bill and determine whether that bill was best for the state of Illinois.

“And that’s not the governor’s job.”

* From the Illinois Constitution

SECTION 11. GOVERNOR - AGENCY REORGANIZATION

The Governor, by Executive Order, may reassign functions among or reorganize executive agencies which are directly responsible to him. If such a reassignment or reorganization would contravene a statute, the Executive Order shall be delivered to the General Assembly. If the General Assembly is in annual session and if the Executive Order is delivered on or before April 1, the General Assembly shall consider the Executive Order at that annual session. If the General Assembly is not in annual session or if the Executive Order is delivered after April 1, the General Assembly shall consider the Executive Order at its next annual session, in which case the Executive Order shall be deemed to have been delivered on the first day of that annual session. Such an Executive Order shall not become effective if, within 60 calendar days after its delivery to the General Assembly, either house disapproves the Executive Order by the record vote of a majority of the members elected. An Executive Order not so disapproved shall become effective by its terms but not less than 60 calendar days after its delivery to the General Assembly.

Reorgs are the only executive order functions spelled out in the Constitution. And there is most definitely an available legislative check on that power.

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      


Pigs, wings, fly

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* Illinois Review

GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady claims new poll results show the Republican primary is now a two-way race between himself and businessman Bruce Rauner.

“We think our support is growing and Bruce Rauner’s support is waning, Senator Kirk Dillard’s has capped off,” Brady told reporters on a phone call Monday afternoon. Brady said his campaign planned to share their findings in the next few days. “Rauner’s support is very superficial,” he said.

* I happen to agree with Brady that he’s the second choice of lots of voters. I’ve been told about other polling that supports my theory.

But, really, so what?

If somebody magically gave Brady $2 million today I think he could make this a real race.

But the hard truth is nobody’s gonna give him that money.

* Dillard ain’t getting out of the race because he has the IEA cash keeping him afloat. Rutherford ain’t getting out because he doesn’t want to admit to wrongdoing.

This is all just fantasy talk.

* Maybe Brady can make a late run up the right side like he did in 2010, but Brady raised a whole lot more cash back then than he has this time.

Two members of my family are taking Republican ballots to “stop Rauner.” Trouble is, they have no idea what to do with that ballot. They had been for Rutherford, but not now. They don’t really know much about Dillard and they’re not exactly ideologically aligned with Brady (or Dillard, for that matter).

* So, hey, maybe there will be a gigantic surprise on primary day. But until Brady can demonstrate he can compete on the “real” playing field (TV) and not just show up for events and issue press releases, then what chance does he have?

Money talks, kids. And hope ain’t a plan, especially this late in the game.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      


Money ain’t everything, unless you don’t have any

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* Kent Redfield took a look at self-funders and campaign contributions from the last several Republican gubernatorial primaries…

2002 Republican

    Wood $7.808 million ($5.347 million self-funding – received as loans from spouse)
    J Ryan $6.379 million
    O’Malley $4.383 million

    Total $18.590 million

2006 Republican

    Oberweis $ 3.576 million ($3.338 million self-funding – some of it loans that were paid back)
    Gidwitz $12.478 million ($6.546 million self-funding – Gidwitz and family members)
    Topinka $ 3.150 million
    Brady $ 1.661 million

    Total $20.865 million

2010 Republicans

    Dillard $2.100 million
    McKenna $5.610 million ($2.687 million self-funding)
    Brady $1.451 million
    Andzejewski $1.440 million
    Schillerstrom $1.091 million
    J Ryan $0.858 million
    Proft $0.474 million

    Total $13.024 million

2014 Republican (2013 + Cash on hand + Money raised 2014 = Estimate primary spending to date)

    Rauner $12.77 million ($5.050 million self-funding)
    Brady $487,000
    Rutherford $2.12 million
    Dillard $1.15 million

    Total to date $16.527 million

So, what you see here is that Bruce Rauner’s spending is not completely out of line with past self-funders. He is totally dominating, though. It’s not that he’s flooding the zone as much as he’s Hoovered up most of the cash. And he’s run a far better campaign than those past self-funders.

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      


What goes around, comes around

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* I was on my way to a speaking event yesterday when I received this e-mail from Chicago Ald. Jason Ervin…

In 2012 prior to my wedding, there was an event held by family and members of my wedding party. This event was my private bachelor party.

Let me be clear, I never used City or campaign funds for this event. This event was not held in my Aldermanic or political office, but on another floor of the building, where neither City nor political funds are spent.

I am deeply disappointed that an individual, whom I regarded as a friend, would attempt to extort me, my family, and the residents of the Ward for personal gain. I apologize to the residents of the 28th Ward for the attention that this has brought and I do not want this private event to overshadow the good work we have accomplished in the 28th Ward.

My wife and I are committed to continued service of our community and we shall move forward.

It was so bizarre that I read the first two paragraphs to the audience as an example of some of the weird stuff I deal with. They got a good chuckle out of it.

* I looked it up on Bing’s news search when I got back home. NBC 5

Chicago Alderman Jason Ervin (28th) is denying he did anything wrong after a YouTube video surfaced of a bachelor party involving female strippers.

The 2012 video was shot in what appears to be a film screening room. […]

Ervin is sitting on a chair on a stage during the video, which ends when a female voice can be heard telling the camera operator to shut it down. […]

Cratic would not confirm any details of the alderman’s extortion allegation or if a police investigation has been launched.

The not safe for work YouTube video is here.

* Ald. Ervin has repeatedly claimed with extremely flimsy evidence that 10th House District candidate Eddie Winters (D-Chicago) is a wife beater. Winters has flatly denied the allegations, but Ervin, who is backing Pamela Reaves-Harris in the crowded primary against indicted Rep. Derrick Smith, has not let up.

So, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this was some sort of payback. And I’m not saying he deserves this karmic backlash, but stuff happens when you say things like he has.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


*** LIVE SESSION COVERAGE ***

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* Watch stuff unfold or unravel

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Rate the Callis and Gollin TV ads

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

* The National Journal reports on Democratic congressional candidate Ann Callis’ new TV ad

Callis’s TV ad will build her name recognition for the March 18 primary, in which Democratic professor George Gollin has already started TV advertising. But the spot is also an opening play for the general election eight months later.

Callis’s non-partisan judicial experience was one of the things that first got Democrats excited about her candidacy, but Republicans have since used elements of Callis’s tenure — including a low rating for local courts from a tort reform group and a low rating for Callis personally from lawyers at the beginning of her tenure — to attack the Democrat.

Her campaign’s ad pushes back with a career highlight: Callis’s formation of a “veterans’ court” to help process and treat honorably-discharged, non-violent offenders. The program won praise from, among others, Republican Rep. John Shimkus, who nominated it for an award a few years back and has since complimented Callis’s judicial tenure.

The new TV ad featuring the program has broader appeal than a typical spot targeted at a Democratic primary. It’s the sort of thing you would expect to see at the start of a general-election race — and it’s a reminder that the campaign is well under way, only a few months into the year.

* The Callis ad

* The Gollin ad

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


Credit Union (noun) – not-for-profit, consumer-focused cooperative

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. They were first exempted from federal income taxes in 1917 to fulfill a special mission as valuable and affordable cooperative alternatives to for-profit banks. Even though credit unions are exempt from income tax, they still are subject to, and pay, property, payroll, and sales taxes, and a host of governmental regulatory supervision fees. Since their inception, credit unions have more than fulfilled their mission, as evidenced by Congressional codification of the credit union tax exemption in 1951 and 1998. Though the range of services has evolved to effectively serve their members in an increasingly competitive financial marketplace, the cooperative structure, which is the reason for their tax exempt status, has remained constant. Nationally, consumers benefit to the tune of $10 billion annually because credit unions are tax-exempt. In Illinois, by most recent estimates credit unions annually provide nearly $195 million in direct financial benefits to almost three million members. In an era that continuously poses economic and financial challenges, credit unions remain true to one principle - people before profits - and represent a highly valued resource by consumers during these uncertain economic times.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition, crosstabs and a roundup

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today’s edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)

Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014

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