Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » 2014 » December
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Reader comments closed for the holidays

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014

* Another year has come and gone - and what a year it was. So, before the next crazy year begins, let’s all take a well-deserved break. I’ll be back Monday, January 5th.

As is our custom, we’ll close out the year with Suzy Snowflake

Frosty the Snowman

And Hardrock, Coco and Joe

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Question of the day

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014

* Should Illinois hold a special election in 2016 for comptroller, or should the next comptroller serve until January of 2019? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


online polls

- Posted by Rich Miller   60 Comments      


Feds sue after eight pregnant Chicago teachers discriminated against

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014

* From a press release…

The Justice Department today announced the filing of a lawsuit against the Chicago Board of Education, alleging that the board discriminated against pregnant teachers at Scammon Elementary School by subjecting them to adverse personnel actions, including termination in some instances, after they announced their pregnancies. According to the complaint, these adverse personnel actions were in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII is a federal statute that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion. The statute explicitly prohibits employers from discriminating against female employees due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

The suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, alleges that, starting in 2009, the principal at Scammon subjected female teachers to lower performance evaluations, discipline, threatened termination and/or termination because of their pregnancies. The complaint further alleges that the board approved the firing of six recently pregnant teachers employed at Scammon and forced two other recently pregnant teachers to leave Scammon. The department’s complaint seeks a court order that would require the board to develop and implement policies that would prevent its employees from being subjected to discrimination due to their pregnancies. The relief sought also includes monetary damages as compensation for those teachers who were harmed by the alleged discrimination.

Two teachers who had been pregnant while working at Scammon filed charges of sex discrimination with the Chicago District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC investigated the charges and determined that there was reasonable cause to believe discrimination occurred against the two charging parties as well as against other pregnant teachers. The EEOC was unsuccessful in its attempts to conciliate the matter before referring it to the Department of Justice.

According to the suit (click here), the principal in question targeted eight pregnant teachers, effectively forcing all of them out.

How the heck does this happen? Some of the teachers were tenured, for crying out loud. And why wouldn’t the Board work out a deal with the feds?

Insane.

* Meanwhile

A mayoral contender and the Chicago Teachers Union called Monday for the resignation of Chicago Board of Education member Deborah Quazzo.

They cited a Chicago Sun-Times analysis that showed companies Quazzo has an interest in have seen their business from Chicago Public Schools triple since the venture capitalist was appointed to the board last year by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

On Monday, the teachers union also renewed its call for an elected school board, but the mayor’s office would not say what Emanuel knew of Quazzo’s business interests before choosing her in June 2013.

“If she has any integrity, she has to resign,” said Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), a longtime mayoral critic who’s challenging Emanuel in February’s election.

The original story is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      


Caption contest!

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014

* State Sen. Karen McConnaughay and an Irish Santa…

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


“La-La Land”

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014

* Rod Blagojevich’s brother Rob has a new book coming out

The publisher gave The Associated Press an advance copy of the book, which is titled “Fundraiser A” and set for an April release. Robert, a Republican, agreed to work as chief fundraiser for his brother, a Democrat, in mid-2008 after accepting Rod’s assurances — naively, he writes — that he wasn’t under investigation. An initial complaint unsealed after the then-governor’s arrest on Dec. 9, 2008, referred to Robert only as “Fundraiser A.”

Before the brothers’ joint 2010 trial, lead prosecutor Reid Schar proposed that if Robert talked Rod into a guilty plea, charges against the elder brother could be reduced or dismissed, the book says. Regarding the odds of convictions, the book says Schar told Robert’s lawyer, “We’ve got the governor, but your guy can win this.”

“Why did they indict me in the first place if they thought I could win?” Robert asked his attorney, Michael Ettinger, in rejecting the proposal. “I was never going to ask Rod to plead guilty to save me from prosecution.” […]

Robert paints his sibling as sometimes delusional and persistently unapologetic about entangling his year-older brother in a legal nightmare. The title of one chapter, “La-La Land,” is Robert’s commentary on the world Rod inhabited.

This may be the first Blagojevich book that I’m looking forward to reading.

* Some excerpts

— The book blasts then-U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald for telling reporters on the day of the then-governor’s arrest that the feds had stopped a “corruption crime spree” that would “make Lincoln roll over in his grave.” Writes Robert Blagojevich, “As far as I was concerned, any idea of the presumption of innocence I should have had was long lost before the trial began — starting with Fitzgerald’s comment.”

— Robert saw his brother at their 2009 arraignment and became annoyed that he made no effort to express regret about the legal morass his big brother found himself in. Regarding the meeting, Robert writes: “You expect that he’ll apologize for dragging you into this mess. … Instead, he leans over the table and says, ‘You don’t look like a criminal to me.’ You don’t smile or laugh. This day is not a joke. You look at him without emotion and say, ‘You look like you need a haircut.’”

— To illustrate the tension between them, Robert recounts how Rod once walked over during a court recess at their joint 2010 trial to say Robert was “coming off clean so far.” Robert snapped back angrily: “Of course I should come off clean. I am clean. … This has nothing to do with me.”

* And

Rod Blagojevich’s brother, Robert, says in a new book his relationship with his sibling has been so strained that the ex-governor even refused to see him when he traveled to Colorado to visit him in prison. […]

Robert traveled from Tennessee to the prison where Rod’s serving a 14-year sentence in 2012. He writes their relationship remains “completely broken.”

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


Loose lips sink ships

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014

* The AP on Mayor Rahm Emanuel

The former congressman and White House chief of staff works out daily, runs marathons occasionally and is as fit as a 55-year-old can be. But Emanuel was never much of a ballplayer — he wound up ditching soccer for ballet as a teenager — and is only so much of a sports fan today.

“He’s really smart, very funny, very competitive and he knows the legislative process inside-out because he used to do the work,” said Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, a longtime colleague. “He also doesn’t swear nearly as much as his reputation makes it sound.

“But sports? I doubt he gives it a lot of thought,” Cullerton added a moment later. “I went to the Cubs opener with him this year and he didn’t seem to know much about it.”

Heh.

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      


Toby Keith, Buddy Guy, Boat Drink Caucus will play Rauner inauguration concert

Monday, Dec 22, 2014

* From a press release…

The Illinois Inaugural committee announced the musical lineup for the Inaugural Concert on January 12, 2015. Tickets can be purchased online at www.IllinoisInauguration.com

Superstar Toby Keith will headline the concert.

From his first No. 1 smash “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” to his latest release Drinks After Work, Toby has been one of the most consistent self-directed hit makers of his era. At the core of Toby’s unparalleled success is his songwriting, which has powered an astounding succession of hit songs to the tune of more than 85 million BMI performances on commercial radio stations worldwide. He has been honored by the Nashville Songwriters Association International with its Songwriter/Artist of the Decade distinction, is a three-time BMI Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year and was named the American Country Awards’ Artist of the Decade.

His albums have sold more than 40 million copies, ranking him among the top-selling all-genre artists on Billboard’s Top 200 Artists of the Decade. Keith is also Billboard’s No. 1 Country Artist of the Decade and No. 1 Country Songwriter of the Decade.

Legendary blues musician Buddy Guy will precede Toby Keith on stage.

Buddy is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a major influence on rock titans like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, a pioneer of Chicago’s fabled West Side sound, and a living link to that city’s halcyon days of electric blues. He has received 6 Grammy Awards, 28 Blues Music Awards (the most any artist has received), the Billboard magazine Century Award for distinguished artistic achievement, and the Presidential National Medal of Arts. Rolling Stone ranked him in the top 25 of its “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

The Boat Drink Caucus – comprised of Representative Chad Hays, Representative Mike Tryon and Senator Don Harmon – will open the concert. The trio combine a Jimmy Buffett-like tropical style with classic rock favorites.

First they kicked off Phases of the Moon and now they’re opening for Buddy Guy and Toby Keith. Not bad.

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      


Question of the day

Monday, Dec 22, 2014

* Your favorite politics-related Christmastime memory?

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      


Congress finally does something

Monday, Dec 22, 2014

* An important development that I missed

Congress dealt a historic blow to the United States’ decades-long war on drugs [a week ago] Saturday with the passage of the federal spending bill, which contains protections for medical marijuana and industrial hemp operations in states where they are legal.

The spending bill includes an amendment that prohibits the Department of Justice from using funds to go after state-legal medical cannabis programs. If the bill is signed into law, it will bring the federal government one step closer to ending raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, as well as stopping arrests of individuals involved with pot businesses that are complying with state law. […]

“Congress has finally initiated a drawdown in the federal government’s war on medical marijuana,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement. “This legislation makes it clear that the DEA has no business interfering in states’ medical marijuana laws. Taxpayer money should not be used to punish seriously ill people who use medical marijuana and the caregivers who provide it to them.” […]

Industrial hemp also received new protections from DEA intervention under the spending bill. The same plant species as marijuana, cannabis sativa, hemp contains little to no THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana associated with the “high” sensation. The farm bill, which President Barack Obama signed into law in February, legalized industrial hemp production in states that permit it.

Eighteen states have legalized industrial hemp production, and more than a dozen others have introduced legislation that would authorize research into the plant, set up a regulatory framework or legalize growing it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


Two brief insights on new Kirk poll

Monday, Dec 22, 2014

* The election is a long way away, but this new poll has some merit for at least two reasons

A new poll reveals that incumbent GOP U.S. Senator Mark Kirk is locked in a dead heat against U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who holds the slimmest of leads, in a 2016 general election contest.

The survey of 1,003 Illinois voters, commissioned by The Illinois Observer and conducted by We Ask America on Thursday, December 18 with a +/- 3% margin of error, has Duckworth leading Kirk 45.59-45.02%, with 9.39% undecided.

1) Kirk might be in for a real race; and 2) People are just done with Gov. Pat Quinn

Meanwhile, Kirk is swamping soon-to-be ex-Governor Pat Quinn 55.0-35.7% with 9.3% undecided.

60 percent of indies and 21 percent of Democrats back Kirk over Quinn in this poll.

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      


Today’s number: $12.7 billion

Monday, Dec 22, 2014

* From the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability

CTBA’s issue brief, The Pending FY2016 Fiscal Cliff details the significant—potentially over $12 billion— fiscal shortfall facing the next General Assembly and Governor-elect Bruce Rauner as they work to craft a General Fund budget for Fiscal Year 2016. The issue brief delineates the amount of recurring income tax revenue the state stands to lose when the temporary income tax increases under the Taxpayer Accountability and Budget Stabilization Act of 2011 phase down on January 1, 2015, as well as the worsening of other fiscal pressures that are projected to occur under current law.

Assuming no tax policy changes, if spending on services in FY2016 is held constant in nominal, non-inflation adjusted dollars at FY2015 levels, the state’s accumulated deficit in its General Fund will almost double, increasing from an estimated $6.8 billion in FY2015, to $12.7 billion by the end of FY2016.

The full report is here.

* From the report…

- Posted by Rich Miller   71 Comments      


C’mon, man

Monday, Dec 22, 2014

* There are those who believe that Treasurer Dan Rutherford believes he will run for something else in the future. Stories like this one, however, aren’t gonna help

More than 25 nonunion employees in state Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s office got pay increases ranging from 8 percent to 36 percent over the past year.

Rutherford’s office also awarded $88,966 in one-time payments to 35 nonunion employees on Oct. 31. Most were less than $3,000, but former chief of staff Kyle Ham, whose base salary was $125,004, received a $10,000 extra payment. Ham started a new job Dec. 15 as chief executive officer of Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council. […]

Among employees who didn’t get raises in the past year but who did get one-time payments were Curt Conrad of Springfield, deputy chief of staff, who makes $99,996 annually and got an $8,000 payment, and Bridget Byron of Chicago, chief investment officer. She is paid $114,996 annually and got a $9,200 payment.

His office claims the bonuses and pay hikes were based on “performance … job duty changes and more responsibility.” But some of those folks worked on his campaign.

* And what happened with the union workers this year?

Prochaska said AFSCME Council 31 represents about 30 workers in the treasurer’s unclaimed property division. The new three-year contract is retroactive to July 1, 2012. Members received lump-sums equivalent to 2.1 percent of salary for each of the first two years and 1.75 percent raises as of July 1. With changes in cost for medical coverage, the members at the treasurer’s office “about break even,” he said.

“They would not give these huge increases to management while they were at the bargaining table with us (saying) our request for 2 percent wage increases would not be fiscally responsible,” Prochaska said. “This was this administration’s final opportunity to profiteer off of state government on their way out the door, while the dedicated state employees who have and will continue to perform the actual work serving the public are left behind, literally and financially.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      


Unintentionally hilarious editorials

Monday, Dec 22, 2014

* From a Southern Illinoisan editorial entitled “Free Advice for Topinka replacement”

Well, Mr. Governor-Elect, you spoke a lot during the campaign about working “across the aisle” to get things done. Here’s your limited-time, risk-free opportunity to take it out for a spin while short-circuiting Democrats Pat Quinn and AG Lisa Madigan from creating an unnecessary special election two years from now.

Our simple free advice: nominate Sheila Simon to be the state’s next Comptroller.

And to ease the time crunch involved in your transition, we’ve taken the liberty of drafting your appointment speech:

I am today pleased to appoint Sheila Simon to be the next Comptroller of the great state of Illinois. I again commend the accomplishments of the late Judy Baar Topinka and the service she gave to Illinoisans for decades. And, out of respect to Judy and a sense of commitment to our state’s future, nominate the next most capable person to replace her.

Oy.

Homers to the bitter end.

* From an Ottawa Times editorial entitled “Voters spoke, now here come the budget cuts”

As most people understand by now, Illinois does not actually have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. There has never been more money flowing into state coffers. There’s also never been more owed, and demand continues to outstrip supply.[…]

If Rauner has his way, the income tax rate will drop from from 5 percent to 3.75 percent on New Year’s Day.

It’s true that there has never been more money flowing into state coffers. But almost all that money is going to one thing: Pension payments. Until the Times figures out how to cut that gigantic bill, we have a revenue problem. Also, past due state bills are way down from where they were a few years ago. And the income tax is partially expiring on New Year’s Day regardless of Rauner, who won’t even be sworn in until January 12th.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


*** UPDATED x3 - More Garcia - Emanuel retorts - Garcia responds *** Emanuel lashes out at opponents after Tribune runs critical red light cam stories

Monday, Dec 22, 2014

* Tribune

Chicago’s red light cameras fail to deliver the dramatic safety benefits long claimed by City Hall, according to a first-ever scientific study that found the nation’s largest camera program is responsible for increasing some types of injury crashes while decreasing others.

The state-of-the-art study commissioned by the Tribune concluded the cameras do not reduce injury-related crashes overall — undercutting Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s primary defense of a program beset by mismanagement, malfunction and a $2 million bribery scandal.

Emanuel has credited the cameras for a 47 percent reduction in dangerous right-angle, or “T-bone,” crashes. But the Tribune study, which accounted for declining accident rates in recent years as well as other confounding factors, found cameras reduced right-angle crashes that caused injuries by just 15 percent.

At the same time, the study calculated a corresponding 22 percent increase in rear-end crashes that caused injuries, illustrating a trade-off between the cameras’ costs and benefits.

The researchers also determined there is no safety benefit from cameras installed at intersections where there have been few crashes with injuries. Such accidents actually increased at those intersections after cameras went in, the study found, though the small number of crashes makes it difficult to determine whether the cameras were to blame.

Go read the whole thing.

* More Tribune

Nearly half of the Chicago red light cameras included in a new Tribune study did nothing to make drivers safer and may have caused an increase in injury-related crashes.

Researchers hired by the Tribune to analyze the effects of the city’s cameras said the finding involved 43 of the 90 camera intersections in the study — the ones that averaged fewer than four injury crashes a year before red light cameras were installed.

The small number of total crashes makes it difficult to know for certain whether the cameras were to blame for the increases, but the scientists from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute said they are confident in their conclusion that the cameras offered no safety benefit at those intersections.

* Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s opponents respond

Chicago mayoral challengers Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and Ald. Bob Fioretti are calling for an immediate suspension of the city’s red light camera program.

Citing a recent Tribune study that found the cameras fail to deliver safety benefits long claimed by City Hall, Garcia, a Cook County commissioner running against Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the Feb. 24 city election, said on Sunday that the city should stop ticketing drivers “until the red light camera can be justified.”

“The simple fact is that all the money that was received from the red light tickets made this administration blind to their impact on drivers and residents,” Garcia said at a news conference.

He called the cameras “a runaway program” and said a thorough investigation by an independent academic institution should be done to determine the effectiveness of the cameras.

* The Emanuel campaign responds with an oppo dump…

Statement Attributable to Steve Mayberry, Emanuel Campaign Spokesman:

“Before Commissioner Garcia can attack a program that is critical to public safety and has helped reduce the number of serious crashes that result in injury or death, he needs to explain his own questionable record on red light cameras. Commissioner Garcia must explain to the public why he accepted a $1,500 donation from Safespeed, a red light camera operator company, on March 10, 2014 and voted to approve their installation of a red light camera the very next day. In fact, Mr. Garcia’s tie-breaking vote ensured the company’s success. With all of the tough decisions we as a city must face in the next four years, the voters deserve better from a candidate for mayor.”

Background: Commissioner Garcia’s $1,500 Red Light Problem

    In August of 2013, the Chicago Tribune reported that River Forest, Illinois officials needed Forest Preserve District of Cook County (FPDCC) approval for River Forest’s contractor, Safespeed, to install and operate a red light camera at Harlem Avenue and Lake Street, where the FPDCC’s headquarters are located.

    On March 10, 2014, Citizens for Jesus Garcia accepted a check from Safespeed, LLC for $1,500.

    On March 11, 2014, Commissioner Garcia voted in favor of an intergovernmental agreement that allowed for a red light camera to be placed on Forest Preserve property. Garcia’s vote ensured its success.

    From OakPark.com: “Drivers beware: The red light camera at Lake Street and Harlem Avenue will go online in a month. More than a year after the camera on Harlem at North Avenue went live, the River Forest village board Monday authorized an intergovernmental agreement with Cook County allowing for the device to be installed on Forest Preserve District property.”

* The campaign also defended the program…

Background: Facts on Red Light Camera Program

    The City’s red light camera program has reduced dangerous angle crashes, which are three times more likely than rear-end crashes to cause serious injury or fatality (IDOT).

    The reduction in this type of accident has had a very real effect on public safety overall.

    Mayor Emanuel fired Chicago’s red light camera operator and put in new accountability and transparency initiatives that have been monitored by the independent inspector general.

…Adding… A new one just came in about Fioretti…

Attributable to Steve Mayberry, Emanuel Campaign Spokesman:

“Alderman Fioretti is against the red light camera program, but voted for its expansion in the 2009 City budget. The alderman doesn’t support the $13 minimum wage, but voted for the increase. He is opposed the use of TIFs to benefit large corporations, but pushed for $15 million in TIF dollars for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Alderman Fioretti does not have a problem with the Mayor—he has a problem with his own record.”

From the Garcia campaign…

“Commissioner Garcia has built his public career on listening to people — not ignoring them. He believes strongly local people know what is best for their neighborhoods. In this case, the camera was requested by River Forest. They also chose the vendor to be used. Both of those actions took place in 2013. Commissioner Garcia simply acted responsibly in listening to one of the municipalities covered by Cook County and ratifying their actions a full year later,” said campaign spokeswoman Monica Trevino.

“Today, Commissioner Garcia called for an investigation into the effectiveness of the red light camera program. For Mayor Emanuel to respond by unleashing his paid henchman is typical of his style of leadership. We still believe Mayor Emanuel owes Chicago drivers a thoughtful response to our red light camera proposal as soon as he returns from vacation. Until that time, the lights remain on and nobody is home.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** The Emanuel campaign retorts…

Attributable to Steve Mayberry, Emanuel Campaign Spokesman:

    “Just a short while ago, Commissioner Garcia’s campaign released a fundraising email about red light cameras, asking for donations at the end. We guess it really is, as he stated yesterday, ‘all about the money.’

    Was he ‘listening to the people’ when he accepted $1,500 from a red light camera vendor the day before he cast the deciding vote in their favor to install a red light camera?

    Did Commissioner Garcia personally accept the check from the company?

    Did Commissioner Garcia discuss with the company or its lobbyists the vote that was taking place the next day?

    Or does Commissioner Garcia want the public to believe that this is all just a strange coincidence?

    These are simple questions that someone seeking the City’s chief executive position should be willing to answer.”

*** UPDATE 3 *** Garcia campaign…

“It has been 2 days since the Tribune’s devastating profile of the red light camera program showed it was neither safe nor fair. And still Mayor Emanuel has refused to answer those facts. What we have been saying is the Mayor owes the people of Chicago a response on why his red light program is not working, and when he gets back from vacation, I hope he will answer that question. Until that time, the lights remain on and nobody is home, and that’s no way to run a City,” said Monica Trevino, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia spokeswoman.

“Instead of researching his own government, Mayor Emanuel is researching Chuy Garcia, and he’s not even doing a very good job. The Mayor should spend less time researching his political opponents and more time researching how to effectively run the City.” That is what we are talking about here is research. The research shows the city’s red light cameras have not been effective. That means we should stop the program and reassess. We should not send out another ticket until we can look people in the eye and say this program works.”

“River Forest asked for a red light at that intersection — and they chose the vendor — because research showed there was a need.” Those are the facts, but Mayor Emanuel obviously cares more about trying to score political points than he does about the facts. Chicago can do better.”

* Related…

* Are Rahm’s numbers creeping up? New internals show him near 50

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      


Today’s quotable

Monday, Dec 22, 2014

* Kurt Erickson

Please file this Rauner quote from Tuesday for future reference.

“I’m a competitive guy. I don’t lose.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   52 Comments      


Rauner’s gonna miss JBT more than he may know

Monday, Dec 22, 2014

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

There’s little doubt that the late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka would’ve continued her straight-talking ways during a Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner administration.

Topinka was “good copy” for reporters. When she criticized a budget or a fiscal position, we listened.

Other Statehouse denizens respected her fiscal smarts as well. If she attacked a proposal, legislators and everyone else under the dome took note.

Rauner showed great deference to Topinka after the election, officing in her Statehouse suite and giving her chief of staff the authority to hire most of his new employees. I don’t think there’s any question that he grew to truly admire the quirky redhead.

But Topinka had called for a far more gradual reduction to the state’s 2011 income tax hike than Gov.-elect Rauner has said he wants. A particularly brutal package of budget cuts or one-time gimmicks proposed by Rauner next year wouldn’t have gone down too well with her. Rauner would’ve had to take her opinion into account before unveiling his budget, or suffer the consequences afterward.

She was also much more liberal than Rauner admits to. Topinka was expected to help build bridges between Rauner and organized labor, as well as to Democrats and left of center groups she worked with over the years and who have not yet become comfortable with the idea of a Republican governor.

Yes, many of us lost a friend this month, but we also lost an experienced, respected politico who could counsel the new and inexperienced governor about how to be a more effective leader, and one who could help nudge him, publicly or privately, to stay on a more humane and fiscally responsible fiscal path.

And with Topinka’s post-election passing, I don’t see any of Rauner’s fellow Republicans out there with the power or credibility who will also have the guts to stand up to the guy.

Some holes can be patched here and there. Both Republican state legislative leaders have ties to unions, for example. Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno is a former social worker who has championed human services causes.

But neither of those leaders have yet to show much independence from Rauner, whose money had a major impact on House races this year and could have an equally big impact on 2016 Senate races.

For instance, Gov. Quinn, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton have all forcefully argued for a special election so that Rauner’s pick for Topinka’s replacement won’t serve beyond a 2016 special election. A four-year appointment by Rauner, they all argue, is just downright undemocratic.

When the topic was first broached, Rauner claimed such an election would be unconstitutional, but the Illinois Constitution clearly says that the appointee serves until the successor is elected and qualified “as may be provided by law.”

The next day, the two legislative leaders, Radogno and House GOP Leader Jim Durkin, released what higher-ups in the attorney general’s office derisively dismissed as a “half baked” legal opinion about why a special session would be unconstitutional.

The opinion deliberately left out crucial words in important constitutional passages, defied logic by claiming “as may be provided by law” passage didn’t allow the Legislature to actually do anything, and ignored committee reports from and debate at the state’s Constitutional Convention which made it abundantly clear that the Legislature has the authority to act.

Not only did that opinion bode ill for the incoming Rauner administration (with one person at the attorney general’s office saying it reminded her of Rod Blagojevich, whose lawyers would often pull legal arguments out of thin air to counter the attorney general), it also showed an astonishing servility by the two GOP legislative leaders.

I don’t know whether Comptroller Topinka would’ve wanted a special election to replace her in 2016, rather than allow her successor to serve four years until after the regularly scheduled 2018 election. None of us do. She had her partisan leanings, so she might be wary of holding a special election in a presidential election year, when Democrats do much better than off years. But she was also a small “d” democrat and a four-year appointment sure doesn’t feel democratic to many folks.

I do know, however, that Topinka never would’ve signed her name to an obviously bogus legal “argument” like the one released last week.

“There’s a hole in the hearts of the people of this state,” Gov. Quinn said at Topinka’s memorial service last week. That’s true. But there’s also now a gaping hole in the government which assumes power next month.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      


PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Poll: 53 percent of Illinoisans disapprove of Trump, 64 percent say Rauner should "act to protect the reproductive health care of all women in Illinois"
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Question of the day
* Roll Call: Rauner race is "Toss-up/Tilt Democrat"
* Clear as mud
* Can CPS avoid closing early?
* *** UPDATED x1 - Biss responds *** Rauner says HB 40 is "divisive" and "we need to focus" on fixing other problems
* Signs of the times
* Blagojevich again denied
* Illinois is heading for junk bond status
* The "growth only" canard
* Biss criticizes Democratic Party, Madigan
* Democrat Manar blasts Bourne, Rauner
* Caption contest!
* SIU and WIU join EIU, NEIU and GSU in junk bond territory
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............
<


Loading


* With tough race looming, rare pro-choice Republ.....
* Illinois Democrats aim high with minimum wage p.....
* Slowik: Rauner is like a performance artist pla.....
* Is the tollway getting cold feet on Route 53 ex.....
* On the Trail: Illinois Democrats guard district.....
* Morning Spin: Rauner’s improbable fundraising p.....
* Chicago’s cold shoulder to charters..
* Man jailed at 15 under controversial felony mur.....
* Morning Spin: Rauner's improbable fundraising p.....
* Illinois Democrats aim high with minimum wage p.....


* Obama to deliver first post-presidency speech in Chicago
* EXCHANGE: 12-year-old student is president of a state club
* Gillespie, Monk, Ella celebrated at Chicago Jazz Festival
* Kids ride Metra for free on Take Our Children to Work Day
* Frank Lloyd Wright building tours planned to mark birthday
* Springfield children's hospital stages voting for new mascot
* 5-month paving project to begin on I-55 in Springfield
* Remains of Illinois man killed at Pearl Harbor come home
* Remains of Illinois man killed at Pearl Harbor come home
* Eastern Illinois University attempts to boost enrollment

* Lawmakers return from spring break; 'bargain' remains unresolved
* Illinois Democrats aim high with minimum wage proposals
* Lawmakers return to unresolved issues
* 2018 Illinois governor's race likely to be most expensive in U.S. history
* Next year's governor's race likely to be most expensive ever
* Springfield group seeks to help progressive women candidates
* Group seeks to help progressive women candidates
* Jacksonville drug treatment center to close
* Ratings agency downgrades credit of 6 Illinois universities
* Hearing probes Illinois auditor general's campaign spending

* Like our roundup? Share it around.
* Who's lending to South Side homebuyers?
* How big of a threat can a 13-hospital really be?
* These stock-pickers continue to outsmart the indexes
* Munoz's biggest challenge at United: fixing a 'toxic culture'


* Police: Gun found during traffic stop in Riverside
* Morel of the Week begins: And other notes around Chicago outdoors
* Jackson Street bridge in Joliet closes Monday for repairs
* Shot fired during robbery at Lincoln Park store
* Man charged with shooting friend in Elgin
* Smash-and-grab burglars hit Magnificent Mile store
* Police: Man tried to lure 4 boys to van in Gresham
* Dear Abby: Husband bought house, I do all the work
* Georgia Nicols horoscopes for April 24, 2017
* 3 robberies reported in Back of the Yards


* House call doctor accused of patient sex abuse — years after first reports to police
* Thieves crash car into Louis Vuitton store on Magnificent Mile
* Nearing 100-day mark, Trump says milestone not 'meaningful'
* Inundated with gunshot victims, Chicago doctors and nurses face 'compassion fatigue'
* Man jailed at 15 under controversial felony murder rule has sentence commuted
* Chicago visit Monday to start Obama's re-entry into public eye
* South Korea, allies brace for North Korea follow-up act
* Morning Spin: Rauner's improbable fundraising pitch: Balanced budget without tax hike
* Mainstream politics shut out as Le Pen, Macron win in France
* LINDA C. BLACK HOROSCOPES for 4/24/17


» Photos: Cosplayers Descend Upon McCormick Place For C2E2
» Chicago EPA Workers Prepare For Budget Battle With Storytelling Class
» To Explain Change On Abortion, Rauner Cites Economic Agenda
» State Week: Abortion Flip, 'Junk Bond' Universities
» Appeals Court Denies Blagojevich Request For 3rd Sentencing
» How Chicago Public Schools Could Avoid Closing Early
» Southern Illinois County Suing Manufacturers Of Opioid Painkillers
» Undocumented And A Victim Of A Violent Crime: Looking At Problems With Obtaining U-Visas In Illinois
» Illinois Issues: The Trouble With Temp Work
» City Crackdown On Party Buses Doesn’t Ban Legal Guns


* Lawmakers return from spring break; 'bargain' remains unresolved
* Illinois Democrats aim high with minimum wage proposals
* Lawmakers return to unresolved issues
* Our View: Civil town hall meetings good for democracy
* 2018 Illinois governor's race likely to be most expensive in U.S. history
* Next year's governor's race likely to be most expensive ever
* Angie Muhs: Citizens Academy gives behind-the-scenes look at the FBI
* Bernard Schoenburg: State workers highest paid? A look at the stats
* Our View: The longer we wait, the worse it will get
* Statehouse Insider: Let the show resume


* PODCAST: State Sen. Scott Bennett 04-24-17
* New Parkland board member refuses to relinquish posts
* Illinois trails national average
* 19th Ebertfest receives a lovely sendoff
* Distracted driving a choice we make
* Clinton, Reynolds speak up at Tribeca
* Those Who Served: Bretz keeping father's memories fresh
* All or nothing on crime mugshots
* Pet Talk: Tears and repairs
* Area history, April 24, 2017


* Is the tollway getting cold feet on Route 53 extension?
* Harper College could ask voters to pay for building plan
* Images: Some of the best photos that you may have missed this weekend
* Elgin man who accidentally shot friend faces gun charges
* Dawn Patrol: Student's family, Wheaton College community lean on faith

* US Rep. Randy Hultgren accepting internshi...
* GOP congressman appears to distance himsel...
* Rep. Randy Hultgren on Trump's Foreign and...
* League of Women Voters event in St. Charle...
* Randy Hultgren to participate in League of...
* Rep. Hultgren asks Caterpillar to immediat...
* Hultgren Reacts to Missile Strike On Syria...
* Batavia's Congressman Holding Service Acad...
* Oswego's Congressman Reacts to Missile Str...
* Veterans seek answers at forum with US Rep...

* Durbin: Trump Will Be Shutting Down Gov't ......
* Durbin, Duckworth announce $16 million in ......
* Illinois receives $16 million to fight opi......

* Sen. Duckworth Pushes for Free Two-Year Te......
* Duckworth talks health care, Trump during ......
* Durbin, Duckworth announce $16 million in ......
* Illinois receives $16 million to fight opi......

* Help Day For Property Tax Appeals
* CPS and “Wrong-way” Claypool.
* Trumpen. 
* People with clout are still contacting Rahm on his private e-mail account, and other Chicago news
* Scenes from Saturday's March for Science
* Hitting Left.
* NEA’s charter position is okay but a little like closing the doors on an empty barn. No mention of vouchers?
* North Korea and the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. What message is Trump sending?
* Earth Sunday.
* A Republican moderate.


* IDOT Celebrates Earth Day by Distributing Trees to Schools
* Earth Day Honor: IDOT Recognizes Longtime Adopt-A-Highway Volunteers - More than 140 groups thanked in tree-planting ceremony
* The State of Illinois to Build a Digital-Ready Workforce - Partnership with the IoT Talent Consortium to Offer Data Science Training to Illinois Workers and Learners, with Cybersecurity Training Next in the Pipeline
* Governor Makes First #GovClassroomVisit
* New Siemens Charger Locomotives Begin Testing

  
* Deal: Get a lifetime of online protection from TigerVPN for $29
* [TA Deals] Get the Java Programming Bootcamp package for $39
* Samsung Galaxy Amp Prime 2 offers Android Nougat to Cricket customers at $150
* LG G6 arrives in India to rain on Galaxy S8’s parade, lower price, Quad DAC and all
* Alcatel A30 tablet gets rendered en route to T-Mobile, Nougat and LTE most likely in tow
* Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) has specs outed in several benchmarks, J5 (2017) swings by the FCC
* T-Mobile Galaxy Note 5 also gets Android Nougat

* In My Words: White Sox booth is Benetti's bliss
* White Sox snap out of scoring slump vs. Tribe
* Bats roar to life against Tribe in series finale
* White Sox snap out of scoring slump vs. Tribe
* Gonzalez eyes continued success vs. Royals
* Davidson out for fourth consecutive game
* White Sox turn to Holland in finale vs. Tribe


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
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

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress




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