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*** UPDATED x1 - Video *** A little discretion, please

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014

* There’s a time and a place for everything. And a press conference about signing anti-bullying legislation was neither the time nor the place for this goofiness…


Both major party candidates in this race need to grow the heck up.

…Adding…
Apparently, the clown was dancing. Video coming soon.

*** UPDATE *** Yep, he was dancing outside an anti-bullying event

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      


White flight slows, black flight continues in Cook

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014

* Sun-Times

Cook County gained about 13,000 inhabitants in 2013 and remains the county with the largest black population in the nation, according to Census Bureau estimates of population, race and Hispanic origin released Thursday.

Most of the growth in Cook County came from the Hispanic and Asian communities, with the county actually losing 4,300 whites and 8,300 blacks, according to the estimates.

Total population also increased in the five other counties of the Chicago metro area. But in four of those counties — DuPage, Lake, Will and Kane — white population also declined. Those declines were more than offset by growth in Hispanic, black and Asian populations.

The US Census reported after the last major count that Cook had lost about 117,000 African-American residents during the previous ten years. The county lost 149,000 whites during the same period, so that flight appears to have slowed down quite a lot, at least for now.

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      


Today’s number: 6.1 million pounds

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014

* Progress Illinois

Industrial facilities discharged 6.1 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Illinois’ rivers and streams in 2012, shows a new report by the Environment Illinois Research & Education Center.

The “Wasting Our Waterways” report ranks Illinois as the 13th worst U.S. state for the total volume of toxic industrial releases to waterways.

At the national level, polluting facilities dumped 206 million pounds of harmful chemicals into American waterways in 2012, according to the report. And some 8.39 million pounds of toxic pollution were discharged into the Great Lakes watershed. Ammonia, chromium and lead are among the chemicals released into Illinois’ waterways, according to the report. […]

The biggest water polluter in Illinois was the Tyson Fresh Meats animal slaughtering facility in Hillsdale. The facility discharged nearly 2.6 million pounds of toxic pollution into the Lower Rock River watershed in 2012, the report showed.

The report is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      


On condoms, conservative consternation and construction companies

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014

* From the Illinois Policy Institute

Even though Illinois state government is essentially broke, it apparently knows how to have a good time.

In 2013, Illinois state government awarded two contracts totaling more than $1 million for the procurement of condoms and lubricant.

The bid solicitation document requested a variety of condoms, including “extra large” and even some in “assorted colors.” No ribbing was allowed – only “smooth surface” condoms were permitted.

Lubricant, however, was to be provided in “assorted flavors.” Scents were optional.

All in all, the state bid out for 4,453,000 condoms and 374,000 bottles of lubricant. […]

If Illinois has any hope of balancing its budget, it has to begin cutting low-priority spending. Is it too much to ask people to purchase their own flavored lubricant? I hope not.

* Commenters over at Illinois Review were not pleased

K Harris said…

    At least it’s nice to know that we are protected while they are screwing us.

The Observer said…

    Now, if the intended recipients would just USE them, both the welfare rolls and Cook County Democrat voter numbers might be reduced.

Jacob said…

    Lets look at the positive. In the long run it will saves us many millions having less of people sitting in the wagon being paid to exist.

* The Aids Foundation of Chicago responded to the original piece

Every new HIV case costs an estimated $390,000 in lifetime medical costs, much of which is paid for by the state. HIV cases are rising fastest among young gay and bisexual men (and particularly young African Americans and Latinos). Aren’t their lives worth $1 million?

Furthermore, Cook County currently boasts the highest number of gonorrhea cases of any county in the nation, and stands at number two for chlamydia and syphilis cases. This is but a fraction of the total number of sexually transmitted infection cases in the U.S. — 19 million every year — which accounts for an estimated $17 billion in medical costs.

Rasmussen also implies that condom availability programs aren’t effective or worth the state’s investment. In fact, the evidence is extremely strong that condom availability programs have “significant intervention effects… for the following outcomes: condom use, condom acquisition/condom carrying, delayed sexual initiation among youth, and reduced incident STIs.”

Compared with spending billions for medical care, isn’t it more cost-effective to provide the tools that can bring improve outcomes and reduce and medical costs — and save lives? These are the very things the state is providing, like male and female condoms in different colors and sizes, along with lube in flavors other than “plain.” And doesn’t it make sense to provide HIV prevention tools that are appealing and — gasp — fun?

There are links in both stories which support their contentions.

* Free condom distribution has been going on for decades. The oddest thing about the Policy Institute’s story, however, was this

One of the two successful bidders was a health care products company. The other? A Chicagoland construction company. A natural fit if ever there was one.

Um, what the heck?

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


Caption contest!

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014

* From a reader…

A photo, in case you want a caption contest or a question of a day, from the Taste of Chicago preview held [yesterday] in the Daley Center.

I wondered how many multiples of the quoted price a “Mayor Daley ‘Tribute Dog’” finally costs when the overruns are done.

How many napkins do you need when you are done with the overruns?

How many unnecessary ingredients were hired to be on it?

Etc.

* The photo…

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


Multiple Rauner oppo dumps

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014

* Mountain out of a molehill

A small investment firm launched by GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner was involuntarily dissolved by Secretary of State Jesse White last month because of what Rauner’s campaign characterized as an “inadvertent” paperwork snafu on the candidate’s part.

Gov. Pat Quinn’s campaign immediately jumped on the disclosure as proof that Rauner is “again cheating on his taxes” and is unfit to run state government, which he has said he wants to operate like a business.

Oh, please. It’s a fee. It’s not a tax.

* This is more serious, but pretty darned old. From the union-backed Illinois Freedom PAC press release…

Another Failure of a Rauner Company to Pay Illinois Taxes Discovered

Rauner’s former company, GTCR, failed to pay nearly $13,000 in taxes in 2005

Chicago, IL – Multimillionaire GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s company, GTCR, failed to pay nearly $13,000 in unemployment taxes in 2005, which resulted in the State of Illinois placing a lien on the business. Rauner was a principal at GTCR from 1981 to 2012.

The news comes a day after a Chicago Sun Times report on a “clear failure” by Rauner’s current company, R8, to pay the state’s business license fee.

Ironically, Rauner released a campaign document yesterday decrying special interests that do not pay their fair share in taxes.

“It’s the height of irony for Rauner to complain about taxes when his companies have failed to pay them,” said Neal Waltmire, Communications Director for Illinois Freedom PAC. “It’s further proof that Illinois’ middle class can’t trust Bruce Rauner.”

* And from the Quinn campaign regarding Rauner’s push to reform EDGE tax credits and other government incentives to business…

DECLARES WAR ON CORPORATE WELFARE AFTER PROFITS ALREADY MADE FROM CORPORATE WELFARE

Bruce Rauner’s pamphlet also addresses the issue of corporate welfare. News reports show that Griffin and his billionaire pals have directly benefited from corporate welfare.

Not only has Billionaire Bruce’s funder-in-chief Ken Griffin directly benefited from hundreds of millions of dollars in TARP bailout money, Rauner himself, through the GTCR vulture capitalist house he helped to found and build, received millions of dollars in largesse from taxpayers.

Examples include:

    * GTCR health benefits company APS Healthcare, which also is the subject of a current fraud lawsuit, has received more than $1.3 million in tax credits/rebates/grants/loans from New York since 2008. Read more here.

    * The GTCR outsourcing company Zenta got $8.5 million incentive package from North Carolina in 2010. Read the story here.



    * The GTCR electronic payment processor National Processing Company got $4.2 million from the Kentucky Business Investment Program in 2007 and 2010. Read about it here and here.



    * The GTCR company CuraScript Pharmacy received a $1.868 million Qualified Target Industry Refund in Florida in 2003. Later that year, GTCR sells the company to Express Scripts. Read more here and here. 


    * GTCR medical device company Devicor received a $1.48 million Job Creation Tax Credit in Ohio in 2010 and $130,000 in other assistance in 2011 and 2012. Read more here and here.

* And speaking of that union PAC

A union-backed political group that spent more than $3.4 million bashing GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner during the Republican primary is back for a second swing at him, having replenished its war chest with hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent days.

Illinois Freedom PAC, whose heavy spending was almost enough to knock Mr. Rauner out in the March 20 primary, has raised a little more than $700,000 this month, with the bulk from two unions: $325,000 from an affiliate of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, and $330,000 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Another $50,000 has come from the national Democratic Governors Association.

The donation represents only about a quarter of the $2.5 million in new funding the Rauner campaign received on June 11 from Chicago finance mogul Ken Griffin, but it is still a nice chuck of cash that will keep Mr. Quinn and/or his issues on TV without having to dip into his own cash pile.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      


One standard for Democrats, another for Republicans

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014

* When operatives for Democratic state treasurer candidate Sen. Michael Frerichs sent Freedom on Information requests to the Illinois House Clerk for lots of files on his GOP opponent Rep. Tom Cross, the House complied. But Cross’ people have asked for most of the same documents from the majority Democratic Senate and have been denied.

In addition to those other documents, the Cross campaign also asked for this stuff

In a follow-up request from the Cross consultant, KEVIN WRIGHT, he asked the Senate for any electronic or paper correspondence from Frerichs related to a couple of controversies. One is the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative pushed by Gov. PAT QUINN and now under investigation by authorities including the Legislative Audit Commission; the other is “hiring practices and/or recommendations” involving the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The NRI, an anti-violence program in which more than $50 million was pledged toward fighting violence in Chicago, was announced shortly before the 2010 gubernatorial election. It has been the subject of a highly critical state audit citing lax spending controls. And some IDOT hiring over recent years has been criticized as improper patronage.

In a June 6 letter to Wright, of Old Dominion Research Group, Alexandria, Virginia, ERIC MADIAR, the freedom of information officer for the Senate and chief legal counsel to Senate President JOHN CULLERTON, D-Chicago, called the request for information “unduly burdensome,” as it would involve years of emails and other records.

“We extend to you another opportunity to narrow your request to a suitable scope and time frame,” he said.

Madiar also wrote that the communications requested of Frerichs regarding IDOT and NRI either are not “public records” under state law, or would be subject to an exemption to disclosure as being part of a “deliberative process.” That exemption, he said, “protects the communications process, encourages frank and open discussions within state government, and it protects deliberative communications pertaining to government action.”

The Cross people are understandably upset about this, particularly since President Cullerton is Frerichs’ single largest donor this year.

* The Senate Democrats’ response

RIKEESHA PHELON, spokeswoman for Cullerton, said, “We asked that they narrow the scope of the initial request that includes documentation that spans eight years. In response, they broadened the request to include documents that are not considered public records. We are still awaiting a response to (the) third letter that we sent to the opposition research company so that we can prepare the documents that can be released by law.”

Asked about the apparent different responses between the House and Senate to somewhat similar requests under the same law, Phelon said, “Different chamber, different process, different lawyers.”

Sigh.

Welcome to Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


*** UPDATED x3 - More evidence - Quinn responds - Rauner responds *** Rauner’s Payton Prep story still doesn’t ring true

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014

*** UPDATE *** Bruce’s daughter was admitted and enrolled in 2008. CPS changed the attendance factor in admissions in 2009. Here is a post about it:

“http://cpsobsessed.com/2009/09/28/attendance-wont-count-for-selective-enrollment-high-schools-any-more/”>http://cpsobsessed.com/2009/09/28/attendance-wont-count-for-selective-enrollment-high-schools-any-more/

From that story…

In light of the H1N1 virus that affected the attendance of a significant number of students, a notification was issued during the 2008-2009 school year stating that application procedures for Selective Enrollment and GEAP schools would be revisited this year in order to consider the extenuating circumstances. As a result, it has been determined that, beginning with the upcoming application process for the 2010-2011 school year, attendance will not be included in the criteria for the selection of students for Selective Enrollment High Schools, Academic Centers, and International Gifted Programs (formerly International Baccalaureate Preparatory Programs).

*** UPDATE 2 *** The Quinn campaign just called to point out that the attendance issue is a red herring. If you look at what Inspector General Sullivan said, you’ll see that the crux of this matter is that Ms. Rauner didn’t test high enough for admissions…

The bar was very high for white students. She tested very well, just not quite high enough to meet Payton’s standards.

And Rauner has been saying for months now that she tested well. According to Sullivan, she didn’t test well enough.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Sun-Times

A top aide to Arne Duncan — who was then the Chicago Schools CEO and is now the U.S. secretary of education — even kept a log of calls he fielded about would-be admissions from politicians and others, including current gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner.

After that call from Rauner in 2008, the aide called the principal of Payton College Prep, who then admitted Rauner’s daughter — even though her scores didn’t meet Payton admission standards that year, and even though the “principal pick” process had not started, Sullivan said.

So the principal angle is off the table now as well.

[ *** End Of Updates *** ]

* We all know that Bruce Rauner has changed his story about how his daughter was admitted into the high-performing, limited enrollment Chicago public school Payton Prep. Here’s Bernie’s story from January

Rauner told me in a Sept. 3 interview. She was let in through something called the principal’s list, he said, which at that time was available for 5 percent of admissions for those with “special circumstances.”

The clout part of this story includes an allegation that Rauner called ARNE DUNCAN, who was then CEO of Chicago Public Schools and is now U.S. secretary of education.

In that Sept. 3 interview, I asked Rauner:

“Did you talk to Mr. Duncan about it?”

“I did not,” Rauner responded.

* Rauner eventually admitted making that call. And he explained at the time that his daughter’s admission problem was due to poor attendance caused by ill health

Rauner admits making a call to former Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan to see how he could get his daughter into Payton, despite what he calls a middle school attendance record marred by illness. He says principals have some discretion in admitting a small percentage of students, and parents have a right to make an appeal like he did.

Back to Bernie’s story, which quotes Rauner’s spokesman

“So they … saw and spoke with Arne Duncan multiple times throughout the year,” Schrimpf said. “The exact date of when they might have brought it up, I don’t have that. But at some point, they said they were applying. … They knew their daughter had top grades, top test scores, but had the absences, and they wanted to go to Chicago public schools. So they inquired as to … if she would even have a shot at being admitted, and were told that she should go ahead and apply, and if she doesn’t get in via the first route … then she sounds like her situation is why the discretionary pool exists.”

* But that’s not what retiring Chicago Public Schools Inspector General James Sullivan found during his own investigation. IG Sullivan was on Chicago Tonight last night and here’s what he had to say

At the time there [was] a consent decree in place mandating racial preferences at the schools. Only up to 35 percent white students, 65 percent non-white students could be taken.

The bar was very high for white students. She tested very well, just not quite high enough to meet Payton’s standards.

Our investigation revealed that there was a phone call made to the CEO’s office by Mr. Rauner, and after that somebody in the CEO’s office called Walter Payton and his daughter was admitted to the school.

* OK, so her test scores just weren’t high enough. But were her attendance problems a factor? Nope

All students that were applying that year, 7th Grade attendance is no longer an element of the application process.

I don’t know what her score was in that 100-point range, but everybody was graded on the same scale.

* Video of the exchange

The full interview is here.

Obviously, we need further clarification about this story.

- Posted by Rich Miller   122 Comments      


Pride parade to be a “teachable moment” about Rauner

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014

* This banner went up last night at Roscoe and Halsted as the Boystown neighborhood preps for the annual Pride Parade…

* And this banner was hung yesterday outside a bar called Sidetracks…

That particular sign was paid for by the Quinn campaign because it owns the website listed. ADDED: I’m told that neither banner was paid for by the Quinn campaign. That particular banner was paid for by the bar’s owner.

* Some gay activists are obviously hoping to turn this year’s parade into an anti-Rauner event. From a press release…

LGBT Couples & Leaders Call for “Teachable Moment” on Rauner’s Record at 2014 Pride Parade

CHICAGO- As organizers prepare for this year’s Chicago Pride Parade, expected to attract record-breaking numbers past last year’s one million mark, LGBT couples and leaders will gather on Thursday, June 26th to make a significant announcement regarding Bruce Rauner’s record of opposition to marriage equality.

    WHO: IL Representative Greg Harris, Lead Sponsor of Marriage Equality Bill
    IL Representative Kelly Cassidy, Co-Sponsor of Marriage Equality Bill
    Bernard Cherkasov, CEO, Equality Illinois
    Art Johnston, Co-Founder, Equality Illinois
    Jim Bennett, IL Unites for Marriage
    Other elected officials and LGBT advocates and allies
    Illinois families

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   86 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - Quinn “no intention” to testify *** Question of the day

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014

*** UPDATE *** From our old pal Charles Thomas…


[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* A transcript of part of last night’s Chicago Tonight…

PHIL PONCE: Here’s what’s happening in Chicago tonight. Republican State senator Matt Murphy wants Governor Pat Quinn to voluntarily testify before a legislative commission about the scandal-plagued Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. That’s the anti-violence program under investigation by federal and county authorities as well as a state panel.

GOP SEN. MATT MURPHY: When is the governor going to explain to the taxpayers of the state what he did with $55 million of their money that went through the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative program? That week after week we get a new story of embarrassment and scandal. And I’m here today to call on the governor to cooperate with the Audit Commission in every way possible and to go as far as to actually himself show up at the hearings in July, put his hand up, testify under oath, and answer the questions of the taxpayers of this state.

Video…

Click to view

Both the transcript and the video were supplied by the Illinois Republican Party.

* The Sun-Times followed up with Rauner

Gov. Pat Quinn should be hauled before the Legislative Audit Commission to testify about how decisions were made with regard to a $54.5 million anti-violence program as well as give a full public accounting of his role in decision-making about the troubled initiative, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner told the Sun-Times on Wednesday.

“I think he should come forward in every regard. This really looks corrupt. He should come forward and make clear what’s his role in it,” Rauner told the Sun-Times on Wednesday. […]

“This anti-violence program looks like a massive abuse and fraudulent. I think he’s got to come forward, come clean in-depth,” Rauner said. “His office, the governor’s office has been in the detail of picking some contractors who have been doing the work on this anti-violence program. It was the day care center that was picked to do reentry work for prisoners….It really looked like it was political, get out the vote.”

Quinn has submitted to a lengthy question and answer session with reporters regarding the program that’s been under attack for months. Quinn maintains it was set up to combat violence in Chicago. But revelations over the NRI have continued and evolved since then. […]

“There is no investigation of the governor. The governor shut the program down in 2012 and abolished the agency. He has made clear that those who are asked to participate by the commission should participate,” the governor’s office said on Wednesday. “Employees who were involved with now-defunct program no longer work for the state.”

* The Question: Should the Legislative Audit Commission subpoena Gov. Pat Quinn to testify about his own role in the anti-violence program? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


web surveys

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      


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Thursday, Jun 26, 2014

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« NEWER POSTS PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Rauner vetoes second bill to address gender wage gap
* Munger moves to DCEO
* Preckwinkle mayoral announcement roundup
* Follow the money
* Empty threat? Or does somebody know something we don't?
* A couple of quick debate clips
* Supremes side with hospitals on property taxes
* Report: IEPA stonewalls AG until HGOP leader steps in
* A TIF primer
* Raoul's new ad blasts Harold over abortion rights
* Debate coverage roundup
* Question of the day
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