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Friday, Feb 27, 2015

* These guys are in Springfield tonight, so you’ll know where to find me

Beautiful in go-go boots, she waltzes to the bar

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - More on the state grant suspensions

Friday, Feb 27, 2015

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Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser/event list

Friday, Feb 27, 2015

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How can we miss you if you won’t go away?

Friday, Feb 27, 2015

* AP

Former Gov. Pat Quinn says pushing consumer rights and organizing are in his immediate future during his first public appearance since leaving office.

Quinn addressed students and lawyers Friday at a Loyola University School of Law panel on forced arbitration.

The Democrat later told reporters that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget is the “worst” he’s seen in Illinois history because it’s unfair to “everyday people.”

There wouldn’t have been a problem in the first place if A) Quinn hadn’t made the income tax hike temporary, or had at least ramped it down in a more responsible manner; or B) Quinn hadn’t signed this fiscal year’s horrifically irresponsible budget into law.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      


Question of the day

Friday, Feb 27, 2015

* Stu Ellis at the Decatur Herald and Review writes about Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed elimination of the $1.8 million funding line for agriculture education

The elimination of that line item in his proposed budget apparently was made because his staff could see no need for agricultural education, despite the recommendation by the State Board of Education that the line item be raised to $3 million in the next fiscal year. So called “shared sacrifice” might diminish $1.8 million by several thousand, but it should not lead to total elimination.

The $1.8 million line item stimulates over $11.8 million in net earnings of agriculture education students in their yearly, work-based learning and agri-science projects. It generates another $2.1 million in partial matches from a statewide partnership. It spawns $1.7. million in funds and volunteer hours generated for local school vocational-agriculture programs. It pays for curriculum development that is used by over 50 percent of vocational agriculture teachers nationally. And it provides a pipeline for students to enter agricultural careers.

Elimination of the funds would mean deterioration of the agriculture education network which provides the structure to one of the top vocational programs in the nation. Data collection of programs, teacher information and student achievement will be lost. Professional education opportunities for vocational-agriculture teachers would be eliminated. Program growth would stagnate and would no longer provide employees for an important part of the Illinois economy.

The loss of the agriculture education line item would eliminate $620,000 in incentive grants that go to 321 local agriculture programs taught by 381 teachers at the secondary level. That money provides local programs with funds to meet goals for success and continuation of their program. While a local vocational agriculture program may not close in a school district due to the loss of the incentive grants, it would negatively affect program quality and the number of programs would deteriorate and decline.

* This will have a big impact on local FFA programs

First-year Flanagan-Cornell FFA Advisor Jessica Collins has a reason to be nervous about the upcoming annual auction on March 7. That’s because Gov. Bruce Rauner recently submitted his proposal for the 2016 fiscal budget for Illinois.

Among the proposed budget cuts is the elimination of crucial agricultural education funding. When the Flanagan-Cornell FFA program says it relies on the success of these auctions to fund future activities, nothing could be more truthful.

* From the Twitters…


* The Question: Caption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   78 Comments      


Supreme Court justice ordered to testify

Friday, Feb 27, 2015

* Crain’s

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier has been ordered to give testimony in a civil case that accuses State Farm Insurance of fraudulently concealing the extent of its involvement in his campaign.

Karmeier and State Farm had fought against requiring the justice to give a deposition in the case, which was filed in 2012 in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis and seeks $8 billion in damages. But Judge David Herndon rejected those arguments.

The plaintiffs can question Karmeier under oath “as to his knowledge concerning all aspects of his campaign including his decision-making process for running for the position in the first place and the persons with whom he consulted to make that decision, how the campaign was managed, how the campaign was financed, who was involved in the decision-making and strategy of the campaign,” Herndon ruled yesterday. “Without allowing the inquiry, there will never be light on the facts of this case and the federal rules will be thwarted.” […]

Herndon also granted the plaintiffs’ request to depose an attorney for State Farm, Robert Schultz, who served as a member of the judicial evaluation committee for the Illinois State Bar Association when Karmeier was elected to the Illinois high court in 2004. Schultz now works for State Farm.

Karmeier’s opponent in the election had written a lower court opinion upholding a $1.05 billion verdict against State Farm. After winning election, Karmeier cast the crucial fourth deciding vote to overturn that decision.

There’s whole a lot of smoke in this case, but nobody has yet even come close to proving that a fire actually exists. It’ll sure be interesting to see what he says under oath.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      


Chicago downgraded

Friday, Feb 27, 2015

* Greg Hinz

In a blow to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, one of the major bond-rating services today downgraded Chicago’s credit to just two levels above junk, saying the city has not been able to adequately control the soaring cost of worker pensions.

In a statement, Moody’s Investors Service moved city debt to Baa2 from Baa1, and kept the city on a negative outlook. The latter means that there is a likelihood, though not a certainty, that its credit will be further downgraded in coming months.

In response, Emanuel’s office today noted that two other ratings services, Fitch and S&P, have affirmed the city’s credit rating, and characterized the Moody’s view as an outlier “out of step with the other rating agencies, (and) ignoring the progress that has been achieved.”

But the action adds another element of uncertainty for the city and Emanuel just days after the mayor was forced into an April 7 runoff election for a new term.

Moody’s, which also lowered its rating on some sales-tax and water debt, said it acted because of “expected growth in Chicago’s already highly elevated unfunded pension liabilities and continued growth in costs to service those liabilities.”

* Tribune

Even if recent state pension changes survive a court challenge, the ratings statement said, “we expect Chicago’s unfunded pension liabilities — and the costs of servicing those liabilities — to continue to grow, placing significant strain on the city’s financial operations.”

The drop, to a rating of Baa2, could drive up borrowing costs for the city and cause problems with some of Chicago’s current interest-rate swap contracts.

Those problems with the swap contracts could be severe.

* To the Moody’s report

WHAT COULD MAKE THE RATINGS GO DOWN

• Determination by the IL Supreme Court that the State of Illinois’s pension reform package is unconstitutional, which, depending on the court’s rationale, could increase the risk that the city’s own pension reform would be overturned

• Determination by a court of law that the city’s reform of its Municipal and Laborer plans is unconstitutional

• Continued growth in the city’s unfunded pension liabilities

• Growth in direct and overlapping debt

• Narrowing of the city’s financial reserves

Those first three are very likely. That last one is likely, too, if the state takes Chicago’s income tax revenue sharing cash.

Budget proposals have consequences, folks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   59 Comments      


Today’s number: 4-6 weeks

Friday, Feb 27, 2015

* Sun-Times

Derrick Rose had surgery Friday morning to repair the torn medial meniscus in his right knee. The Bulls said the surgery went well and Rose walked out after the procedure.

Bulls GM Gar Forman said Rose is expected to return in four to six weeks. […]

Unlike his previous two surgeries, Rose was “full weight-bearing” after this one, meaning rehab will begin Saturday.

Many folks thought he was gone forever after his latest injury.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      


Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Human service cuts and state grant suspensions

Friday, Feb 27, 2015

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Stating the obvious

Friday, Feb 27, 2015

* A Bloomberg story quotes some Illinois’ “debt investors” as saying the state can’t rely solely on budget cuts alone

“I’m very skeptical that his budget will be able to achieve balance by doing what he’s doing,” said Jim Schwartz, head of the municipal credit research team at New York-based BlackRock, which oversees $116 billion in munis. “The best way from his view is let’s cut spending, and I just look at it as very aggressive.” […]

“I don’t think they’re going to be able to get to the level that they need to with budget cuts alone,” said Dan Heckman, a senior fixed-income strategist in Kansas City at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, which oversees $126 billion. […]

Moody’s Investors Service said in a Feb. 24 report that the state’s political landscape will make it tough to enact the governor’s proposals without raising revenue. […]

“There’s going to have to be some balance between revenue enhancements and cutbacks on spending,” said Heckman, whose firm holds less Illinois debt than indicated in its benchmark. […]

“The feeling out there is that they have a lot of room to raise taxes, and theoretically they could,” said Peter Hayes, head of munis at BlackRock. “Eventually there will be some moment, some day of reckoning which makes everybody wake up and say we really need to pass something.”

* Related…

* $167M cuts to DCFS include major foster care program

* Home services program loses millions in Rauner’s proposal

* Social-service agencies fear painful cuts under Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget plan

* Gov. Rauner proposes hard-hitting budget cuts - University administration prepares response to proposal

* Western to ‘wait and see’ over Rauner’s budget proposal

* Supporting Efforts to Advance Adult Dental Coverage and Access in Medicaid

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 - Double-down *** They really make this too easy…

Friday, Feb 27, 2015

* The same editorial board which defended candidate Bruce Rauner’s refusal to talk specifics about his magic beans budget ideas during the campaign, and has since refused to write about specifics of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget cuts, is now demanding to know specifics about Chuy Garcia’s budget ideas.

* And that very same editorial board, which was so unconcerned about specifics during the 2014 campaign and the FY 2016 budget, is now demanding that Mayor Rahm Emanuel get specific and “tell us the whole truth” about how he’ll keep the city’s finances on an even keel.

Care to guess which editorial board that is?

*** UPDATE *** The editorial board doubled down this afternoon with a little ditty entitled: “Emanuel, Garcia: Tell voters how you’ll fix CPS”

We’ve been waiting — along with voters — to hear mayoral candidates tackle the budget issue head on, with specifics. […]

The campaign debate so far has focused on hot-button education issues — charter schools, the closing of those elementary schools, student standardized testing and whether to elect a Chicago school board. All of those are important. But none matters as much as the looming budget crisis.

Hilarious.

- Posted by Rich Miller   60 Comments      


Crain’s: “Market-based” solution is rigged

Friday, Feb 27, 2015

* Exelon argues that its bill to keep its nuke plants open is a “market based” solution. But is it? An analysis by Crain’s is highly skeptical

The measure would slap an electric-bill surcharge of about $2 a month on the average household served by Commonwealth Edison and Ameren Illinois, creating more than $300 million of extra annual revenue to be distributed over the next five years to low-carbon energy sources. Those include obvious examples such as wind and solar—but also nuclear energy, which, unlike coal or natural gas, emits no carbon.

The legislation effectively would funnel most if not all of the $300 million to Exelon’s Illinois nuclear plants, the largest state fleet in the nation. But Chicago-based Exelon, which also owns ComEd, went out of its way to argue that the bill allows low-carbon sources of all types to bid for the special credits to be made available via an auction conducted by the Illinois Power Agency. […]

But the bill places such great limits on bidders other than Exelon’s Illinois nukes that Exelon is highly likely to win most if not all of the credits.

For example, generators with contracts of five years or longer to sell their output can’t bid. That keeps out most existing wind farms and utility-scale solar, which have such contracts. For those few wind farms that sell into the wholesale markets, they’re only eligible if they don’t already have renewable energy credit from Illinois or some other state. That’s a relatively small pool of projects, renewable industry representatives say.

The bill also limits eligible hydro producers to no more than 3 megawatts. The capacity of Exelon’s Illinois plants collectively is more than 11,600 megawatts. There are no nearby clean coal plants to speak of, so those won’t be bidding. […]

Once again, as it has before, Exelon refused to say whether its Illinois fleet as a whole is profitable. (In an analysis, Crain’s showed previously that it is.)

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      


*** UPDATED x1 *** Even more problems for Schock

Friday, Feb 27, 2015

* Drip, drip, drip

Rep. Aaron Schock attended dinner and drinks in 2011 at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace and at a swank nightclub London — and never disclosed receiving a single gift on his financial disclosure form.

This past September, the Illinois Republican held a golf fundraiser — the “Aaron Schock Golf Classic” — at Anne Arundell Mannor in Maryland, but never reported a payment for use of the golf course and facilities on his campaign finance forms. […]

On the multi-day trip to London in June 2011, Schock attended several elaborate dinners as the guest of a person invited by the Prince of Wales Foundation. Guests were also given a customized china plate with a personalized inscription on the last day of the festivities.

Schock cannot accept a gift — including food and beverage — exceeding $50 from any source. There is an exception for close personal friends. He would have had to get approval in writing from the House Ethics Committee for any gifts worth more than $250 from personal friends, and he would have had to report accepting a gift on his annual financial disclosure forms. […]

“It is the PAC’s understanding that all required expenses in connection with this event have been paid,” a spokesman for Schock said in a statement. “However, if it is determined at the conclusion of the review that any required expenses remain unpaid, the PAC will make prompt payment. Congressman Schock takes his compliance responsibilities seriously which is why he has initiated a proactive review of this issue and others.”

Schock’s trip to London is also part of his internal audit. His office is reviewing compliance procedures in his official office, campaign and leadership PACs, it has said.

* And if you missed it the other night, click here for the Daily Show’s take.

*** UPDATE *** What kind of a guy bills taxpayers for a $40,000 job to make his office look like Downton Abbey? Sheesh

Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock repaid $40,000 from his personal checking account for redecorations to his congressional office in the style of the TV show “Downton Abbey,” according to financial records reviewed by The Associated Press.

Schock paid $35,000 earlier this month to the owner of the Illinois decorating firm Euro Trash, and $5,000 more on Thursday, the records showed. His official House expense account had previously paid the group for its services.

- Posted by Rich Miller   129 Comments      


It’s just a bill…

Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

* But I like it

State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) has filed legislation that would give entrepreneurs and startup founders a kick-start into the market. House Bill 3091 allows the use of intrastate crowdfunding, a new investing concept that is capable of generating greater access to capital, allowing for entrepreneurs with ideas to make them into reality.

“Crowdfunding will be the way of the future and is the next step in evolution for startups and small businesses,” said Rep. Demmer. “There are a lot of entrepreneurs out there who have great ideas to start a business, but have no capital. This bill will give those people the opportunity to bring new and innovative business ideas to Illinois.”

The legislation creates an exemption from certain filing and registration requirements under the Act for intrastate securities offerings that meet certain conditions.

“We have to be competitive with surrounding states,” said Rep. Demmer. “Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan have already enacted this legislation, while Missouri and Kentucky currently have bills drafted. We have the opportunity to join these states to spur innovation, economic activity, and small-business job creation.”

The legislation is here.

…Adding… Some folks are a bit unclear on this concept. Currently, startups can only legally raise donations through online services like KickStarter. This bill allows contributors to become investors.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      


Question of the day

Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

* The third chapter in this extraordinary Illinoisan’s public life is about to come to a close

Winston & Strawn announced Tuesday that former Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson will step down in early 2016 after 25 years with the high-powered law firm. The 78-year-old Republican served four terms as governor before joining Winston & Strawn after he left office in 1991. […]

Winston & Strawn says Thompson, as a chairman, played key roles in its expansion in the U.S. and abroad. Thompson will continue to work as a consultant for the law firm for two years after his retirement.

US Attorney, popular and accomplished four-term governor and then one of the top lawyers in the state.

* The Question: Your fondest Big Jim memory/story?

- Posted by Rich Miller   92 Comments      


What would toys be like without the civil justice system?

Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Since 1974, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued more than 850 recalls for toy products, many for hazards like magnets, lead and other dangers hidden in our children’s toys. In the face of such risks, and with so few resources at hand, American parents have come to rely on consumer groups and the civil justice system to serve both as an early warning system and an enforcement mechanism against negligent corporations.

Between 1990 and 2007, 196 children died from choking on toy parts, small balls and balloons. Nearly a quarter of a million children are treated at U.S. emergency rooms for toy-related injuries every year. A series of lawsuits in the late-2000s not only helped remove lead-tainted toys from store shelves, but also helped establish quality assurance programs overseen by the courts. A lawsuit filed by the family of a toddler who died after ingesting tiny magnets brought awareness to the hidden dangers of magnetic toys.

Civil actions by parents across the country have consistently forced corporations and regulators to take action. For more information, click here.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


EXELON 2014 Profits: $236,000/per HOUR and THEY WANT A BAILOUT???

Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

While the state budget crisis increasingly hits struggling Illinois families, Exelon demands a corporate bailout. This is exactly the wrong thing for Illinois’ citizens and businesses.

Exelon is a successful, profitable company. While we appreciate success, when they claim they need more of OUR MONEY, it’s time to be skeptical.

EXELON 2014 PROFITS: $2,068,000,000.00

That’s two BILLION with a B. And yet this wildly profitable company is asking US for a bailout while Illinois struggles. So let’s review:

In 2014, EXELON made $5,665,753 per day or $236,073 per hour

When legislators are being asked to slash everything from education to healthcare to mental health services, and when Crain’s Chicago Business says Exelon actually MADE money from its Illinois Nuclear Fleet, how can anyone think having struggling Illinois businesses and families bail out a highly profitable company is a good use of OUR money?

It just isn’t fair.

Just say no to the Exelon Bailout.

www.noexelonbailout.com

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      


Dueling press releases

Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

* From the Exelon folks…

A bipartisan group of legislators, along with business, labor and community leaders, today announced their support for legislation creating a state Low Carbon Portfolio Standard that establishes Illinois as a national leader in efforts to reduce carbon emissions with minimal consumer impacts.

Introduced in both the Senate as SB 1585 and the House as HB 3293, the legislation would help reduce carbon emissions, increase renewable energy and maintain affordable, reliable electricity for consumers and businesses. In addition, the measure will ensure continued operations of the state’s nuclear power plants, which are responsible for nearly half of all electricity produced in Illinois. The market-based solution is modeled after findings from a recent HR 1146 report prepared by four state agencies that analyzed the economic, environmental and reliability impacts of premature nuclear plant closures in Illinois.

Under the proposed legislation, certain electric utilities would be required to purchase low-carbon energy credits to match 70 percent of electricity used on the distribution system from qualified sources, which include solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, tidal, wave and clean coal. The legislation includes safeguards to protect consumers similar to those for Illinois’ other clean energy programs. For example, a consumer price cap would limit the impact to a 2.015 percent annual increase compared to 2009 rates, or about $2/month for the average Illinois residential electricity customer, less than the increase customers would face if the nuclear plants close early. In addition, if wholesale electric prices exceed a certain level, any excess revenues would be rebated to all Illinois electric customers on their bills.

* The opposition responds…

AARP Illinois and the BEST Coalition are urging state lawmakers to reject legislation written by Exelon Corporation lobbyists that would increase electric bills in order to bail out Exelon’s nuclear plants. Introduced Thursday, Exelon’s “Low Carbon Portfolio Standard” would force ComEd and Ameren customers in Illinois to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in additional charges on their electric bills.

The legislation is opposed by many groups including AARP Illinois and the Better Energy Solutions for Tomorrow (BEST) Coalition, a grassroots coalition advocating for smart energy policy in Illinois.

“This bill rewrites Illinois energy policy to increase costs for public and private entities statewide and benefits only Exelon,” said Steve Davis, Legislative Co-Chair for Illinois Association of Wastewater Agencies, a BEST Coalition member. “Policy like this will increase the cost of doing business in Illinois and make Illinois less competitive.”

“Exelon made more than $2 billion last year, and here they are begging for a bailout on the backs of working Illinoisans,” said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois State Director. “This bill would increase rates for older adults living on fixed incomes, working families and small businesses in order to pad Exelon’s profits. We will work on behalf of our 1.7 million Illinois members to urge legislators to vote ‘no’ on this bill.”

An analysis by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2014 found that Exelon’s Illinois nuclear fleet is profitable. Despite seeking a bailout, Exelon has refused to disclose any data to verify its claims that the company’s Illinois nuclear plants are suffering unsustainable losses. In recent earnings announcements, Exelon CEO Chris Crane stated “Exelon had a strong year, both operationally and financially…our generation fleet and utilities continued to perform at high levels.”

“It’s unfortunate that Exelon has chosen to scare local communities by threatening to close Illinois nuclear plants when in fact those plants are profitable and about to get a huge infusion of additional ratepayer money from struggling Illinois consumers and businesses. Exelon simply does not need a bailout,” said Dave Lundy, spokesman for the BEST Coalition. “Exelon claims they’re not asking for a bailout. But you know what they say about a duck. If it looks like a bailout and acts like a bailout and quacks like a bailout, it’s a bailout.”

Even if Exelon has financial issues with its Illinois nuclear fleet, which is contrary to publicly available information, those issues will be resolved when Exelon begins receiving hundreds of millions more ratepayer dollars each year because of changes in grid regulation pushed by Exelon. Additionally, a recently approved rate increase for Exelon’s subsidiary ComEd took effect in January 2015 that will increase ComEd revenue by approximately $232 million.

The groups also have a fact check that you can read by clicking here.

* Crain’s tries to sort it out

The new low-carbon credits would establish a revenue stream between $200 million and $300 million, or perhaps more, according to sources who have been briefed. That would aid operators of existing plants like Exelon’s that are seeing revenues decline due to persistently low natural gas prices. Wholesale power prices correlate strongly to natural gas costs, particularly now with gas accounting for a greater percentage of power generation in the regional grid in which Exelon competes.

DISTRIBUTION COSTS INCLUDED

Utilities would be charged with collecting the surcharge for generators like Exelon on the portion of the electric bill that covers distribution costs. That would be a marked contrast with the set-aside for renewables, the cost of which is embedded in the part of the bill that covers the cost of energy itself.

That distinction has crippled the effectiveness of the renewable law. The Illinois Power Agency is supposed to ensure that increasing percentages of consumers’ electricity come from clean sources. But with a majority of households getting their power from suppliers other than Commonwealth Edison or other utilities, the IPA has been unable to spend much on renewable purchases.

In recent years, renewable energy companies have pushed for a change in the law to have the money collected via distribution charges the same way Exelon is proposing to collect the new funds for low-carbon sources. But those bills died, largely due to opposition from politically potent Exelon and its Chicago utility, ComEd.

…Adding… From the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition…

“There is only one comprehensive energy bill that costs less to consumers, promotes a cleaner environment and will create tens of thousands of new jobs in every part of Illinois — that’s the Illinois Clean Jobs bill. Introduced by Sen. Don Harmon and Rep. Elaine Nekritz with bipartisan support, when fully implemented the Illinois Clean Jobs Bill will create 32,000 new clean energy jobs per year by growing renewable energy and raising energy efficiency while giving Illinois a greater set of tools to help consumers, including the option of market-based strategies to reduce carbon pollution.

“The Illinois Clean Jobs Bill sets a long-term clean energy policy that creates jobs — rather than sunsetting soon, missing opportunities to create jobs and raising the risk that consumers will again be asked to pay more in just a few short years.

“We look forward to reading Exelon’s proposed bill more closely. But mostly, we look forward to discussing this issue in the months ahead, and we will continue to urge lawmakers to join their colleagues from both parties who have sponsored the bipartisan Illinois Clean Jobs Bill to enhance our environment and to create 32,000 new jobs per year.”

They also have a video. Click here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      


Hello, I must be going…

Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s news service

Illinois’ new Governor is sending a strong message to his cabinet, saying they have a moral obligation to report problems to his office. During a cabinet meeting at the capitol Wednesday afternoon Governor Bruce Rauner said the challenges facing Illinois are enormous and he encouraged department heads to look outside the box for solutions. Rauner says the team he’s put in place must report to him things previous executives may not have wanted to hear.

“You have a strong feeling in your heart as what’s right, you say so. You do not hold it back. And if you see something going on that you know is wrong you have a moral obligation to say so and bring it up. Don’t hold it back, bring it up. Let’s fix it. I can’t fix a problem I don’t know about. And I want to empower you. I’ve got your back. We’ve got to break some china, we’ve gotta change some things.”

Rauner said he wants his cabinet members to bring their disagreements forward so they can work through the problems facing the state. He also reiterated that he wants to reward employees who find taxpayers savings. The Governor says his job is to make his cabinet more effective and that in two years the state will be on a different trajectory.

* Tribune

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday convened what was billed as the first meeting of his Cabinet, telling agency leaders that they’ll be asked to do more with less, but that he’s willing to “take the arrows” along the way.

“I wish this year was going to be all happy, and you know, happy feet. This is not going to be a happy feet year,” Rauner told the group of about 50 officials gathered in a Capitol meeting room. “This is going to be pretty rough, but we’re going to get through it. And I tell you, in 24 months we’re going to be on a very different trajectory as a state.” […]

“I’ve got your backs,” Rauner said. “You do what’s right, you take tough decisions, you do what you know in your heart is in the best interest of the people, I will protect you. I will work for you. I will make sure you get support, and in time, resources.”

Rauner spoke for about 10 minutes with cameras rolling but then left the meeting, which was taken over by his deputy governor, Trey Childress.

* WUIS

At the end of his nearly ten minute, unscripted speech, the officials applauded. Then Rauner took off — more meetings, he said.

What the cabinet talked about next is hard to say.

Upon exciting, one of the attendees said they’d just been “instructed not to talk to the media.”

* Give the governor credit for generating positive media coverage of that dog and pony show. And ordering his cabinet members to keep quiet meant that nobody stepped on his message.

But, geez, that whole thing was nothing but a bunch of empty staged hype. Have a look

I want to listen. Come to me with your problems. I’m here for you, except I gotta split without taking any questions. Now, turn off the cameras and be quiet while my guy tells you what’s what.

- Posted by Rich Miller   85 Comments      


Digging into the mayoral numbers

Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

* Our old pal Scott Kennedy looks at the mayoral results

* In majority AA wards (by census) Emanuel (42%), Garcia (26%), Wilson (22%), Walls (6%), Fioretti (5%). In wards with an AA majority 32% of the vote went to candidates that will not be in the runoff so it will be interesting to see where these voters fall.

* In majority Hispanic wards (by census) Garcia (52%), Emanuel (37%), Fioretti (7%), Wilson (3%), Walls (1%). Only 11% of this vote went to candidates not in the runoff.

* In wards with a white majority (by census) Emanuel (52%), Garcia (34%), Fioretti (10%), Wilson (4%), Walls (1%). 15% of this vote went to candidates not in the runoff.

* In wards with no majority (by census) Emanuel (49%), Garcia (35%), Fioretti (9%), Wilson (5%), Walls (1%). 15% of this vote went to candidates not in the runoff.

* Reminder, the “2011” numbers in my tracker were reconfigured to match the current ward maps. In the majority AA wards the 2015 numbers for Emanuel were about 12-20 points lower than 2011.

* It was harder to draw conclusions about the Hispanic majority wards, some showed Emanuel improvement (10/13/14/31), others big drop (22/25/33/35).

* In only a very few wards did Emanuel improve over his 2011 numbers but somehow in the 13th ward he did almost 15 points better. Interesting.

* It appears that 19 aldermanic races are headed to an April runoff (2, 7, 10, 11, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 24, 29, 31, 33, 36, 37, 41, 43, 45, 46). So while the overall numbers were Emanuel (45%), Garcia (34%), Wilson (11%), Fioretti (7%), Walls (3%), if my math is correct in just the 19 wards that are headed to aldermanic runoff the numbers were Emanuel (46%), Garcia (31%), Wilson (12%), Fioretti (8%), Walls (3%). The Mayor did slightly better than average in these 19 wards but there is also 23% of the vote in these 19 wards that went to candidates that won’t be in the runoff so it will be interesting to see where those voters fall. Obviously these 19 wards are likely to have higher turnout in April than the wards without Aldermanic elections.

Speaker Madigan didn’t work his 13th ward for any of the mayoral candidates four years ago, but he pushed hard for Emanuel this year, which explains hizzoner’s much-improved result. I’m told, however, that Madigan’s captains had to practically beg for sign placements. That wasn’t in any way an easy get for an organization which is accustomed to easy gets.

* More

There has been a lot of attention given to the fact that turnout last night was significantly lower than four years ago, which is true, however that year was a bit of an outlier and this year’s numbers track pretty closely to the 2007 and 2003 Chicago Municipal elections:

With some valid late arriving vote by mail ballots left to be counted the total votes in the Mayor’s race last night currently stands at about 466K (very close to my projection last night) and a participation rate of a little under 33% on about 1.4 million registered voters. You can see that over the last four cycles the number of citywide registered voters has stayed within a band of 30,000 so it’s held pretty flat. The total vote last night held remarkably similar to 2003 and 2007. In other words last night’s election was nothing special, wasn’t a big turnout like 2011 and wasn’t a horrible one either, it just tracked well with other recent elections with an incumbent Mayor.

- Posted by Rich Miller   42 Comments      


Caption contest!

Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

* From the Twitters…


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*** LIVE *** Session coverage

Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

* Watch the bouncing balls via ScribbleLive

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Today’s quotable

Thursday, Feb 26, 2015

* For whatever reason, Gov. Rauner repeated his claim yesterday that a fix for this fiscal year’s problems was just days away. He was promptly disabused of that notion, however

Gov. Bruce Rauner said again Wednesday that he is very close to reaching an agreement with legislative leaders to give him emergency powers to plug holes in the current state budget.

However, a spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said there are still “major issues” that must be resolved with the administration before the Senate will cede power to the governor to rearrange the current spending plan. […]

“To a large extent, the governor is asking for us to simply trust him,” [Cullerton spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon] said. “That is a relationship that is going to have to be built.”

After Rauner’s budget speech last week, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said an agreement with Rauner on giving him emergency budget powers was days away. On Wednesday, Madigan spokesman Steve Brown referred to that statement, but he added, “No one has defined how many 24 hour segments that is.”

Emphasis added for obvious reasons.

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PREVIOUS POSTS »
* Weekend news roundup
* React to Rauner's Friday vetoes
* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
* Rauner vetoes several major pieces of legislation
* Four leaders meet in Chicago, plan another sitdown on Tuesday
* Kennedy delivered an unusually somber Democrat Day speech
* Governor signs River Edge bill in Rockford... err... Aurora
* Caption contest!
* All's well that ends well, I suppose
* Question of the day
* SDems have most seniority, HGOPs the least
* Asked when he'll take responsibility, Rauner blames Madigan
* Do Your Job, Inc. puts latest online ad on TV
* *** UPDATED x1 - IDHS responds *** What's the holdup on domestic violence funding?
* Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez says she won't run again
* Rauner calls TRUST Act a "very reasonable" bill, won't commit to signing it
* Drury says he has a "good sense" of how government works
* The story behind that Facebook pic of Madigan
* Rauner explains his weight loss
* Today's quotable: “No one’s going to locate there"
* *** UPDATED x3 - Still hasn't seen it - DGA criticizes Rauner *** Rauner points to WVON host's defense of Illinois Policy Institute cartoon as legislators to protest HQ
* Yesterday's stories

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* State Journal-Register Reporter Doug Finke Weig.....


* Prosecutors: Prof killed boyfriend as part of sexual fantasy
* Fallen forensics: What a 2016 report has to say about them
* 2nd phase of O'Hare cargo development under way
* Illinois scientists hope eclipse sheds light on weather
* Fallen forensics: Judges routinely allow disavowed science
* EXCHANGE: Fire engine lifts spirits of Sycamore 7-year-old
* EXCHANGE: In Pana, there is a search for hope amid adversity
* Wear solar specs or make a viewer to safely watch eclipse
* Case dismissed against man in beating of Chicago officer
* Buddhist temple in Minnesota inaugurates new reflection pond

* Rauner signs law to eliminate township collector in Sangamon County
* Rauner signs bill creating agency to govern ALPLM
* New pharmacy rules in Illinois aim to improve patient safety
* Rauner vetoes plan requiring overdue bill reporting
* Rauner pays for private helicopter to public event in northern Illinois
* Rauner pays for private helicopter to public event in Aurora
* Sara Wojcicki Jimenez won't run for re-election to Illinois House
* Illinois governor says immigration bill 'very reasonable'
* Bloomberg puts $2 million into pro-soda tax ads
* Illinois Policy Institute cartoon sparks racial clash

* Join Crain's 40 Under 40 Alumni Network
* Like our roundup? Share it around.
* Coming soon to a strip mall near you: An MRI provider
* The biggest wallet in Chicago tech
* Peoples Gas pipes may not be exploding, but replacement budget is


* 20-year-old man shot in Austin
* Police: 1 dead, 2 wounded in Lawndale shooting
* From FG return TDs to onside returns, how Bears specialists benefited
* Miguel Montero on being called out by Anthony Rizzo, booed at Wrigley
* Man, 20, shot in Austin
* 49-year-old man shot, critically wounded on Far South Side
* Bears’ brand-new secondary will determine how good the defense is
* Man seriously injured while jet skiing near Calumet Beach
* In grand-scale ‘Gypsy,’ the fury of a woman with dreams denied
* NU grad Trevor Siemian appears to have won Broncos’ QB job again


* Review: Michael Mina lands in Chicago with a ritzy take on 1920s Paris
* Suspects' 'sex fantasies' led to fatal high-rise stabbing, prosecutors say
* 170 rape kits, no investigations until Cook County stepped in to seek justice
* White Sox shut down Rangers for 8 innings, hold on for 3-2 victory
* Balmoral wraps up summer season with $200,000 horse jumping grand prix
* Notre Dame's Daelin Hayes works to carry big spring into fall
* Spanish town struggles to reconcile locals as extremist cell
* Five shot as violent weekend wears on
* Man gunned down outside church was witness to fatal shooting last year
* Barns burn in two-alarm fire


» Northwestern Professor, Oxford Staffer Extradited To Chicago
» Prosecutors: Chicago Slaying By Northwestern Professor, Oxford Staffer Was Part Of Sexual Fantasy
» City: Graffiti Complaints Down 18 Percent
» Rep. Wojcicki Jimenez Not Seeking Reelection
» State Week: Fair Rallies, Fox News, Funding Schools
» Chicago Charters Seek To Grow As CPS Enrollment Declines
» Bloomberg Funds $2 Million In Ads Backing Soda Tax
» Rauner: ‘Nothing’ Stipulated On School Funding
» How Chicago Homicides In 2017 Stack Up Against Years Past
» Illinois Officials Warn About Phony Eclipse Glasses


* Statehouse Insider: Rauner tells reporters to not question wife's role in the administration
* Our View: General Assembly needs to override veto of Debt Transparency Act
* Bernard Schoenburg: Kennedy gets poetic at Democrat Day brunch
* Scott Reeder: Hate with a haircut
* United Way: Community health centers provide quality, affordable care
* Regie Dale: My testimony is my resume
* Rauner signs law to eliminate township collector in Sangamon County
* Rauner signs bill creating agency to govern ALPLM
* Thumbs Up: To statehouse action that should lead to a better Illinois
* New pharmacy rules in Illinois aim to improve patient safety


* Multiple-vehicle crash reported on I-57 near Curtis Road
* Illinois Sen. Daniel Biss brings gubernatorial campaign to Moline
* Q-C airport to hold emergency drill
* Upcoming Services
* NWS: Clouds might hinder view of eclipse in B-N area
* Man injured in shooting in downtown Champaign
* Man injured following shots fired in downtown Champaign
* Thousands gather at eighth annual Edwardsville Rotary Criterium Festival
* Blaze destroys hay bales at Wilton, Iowa farm
* UI Soccer vs DePaul


* Cloudy forecast could threaten eclipse experience in the suburbs
* High speed thrills at Winfield Criterium
* Downtown Mount Prospect plan sparks parking, traffic concerns
* Lake Zurich Police honored
* Volleyball players dig in the dirt at Elburn Days

* Hultgren backs change to Voting Rights Act...
* Oswego Pastor Gives Prayer on US House Flo...
* Illinois lawmakers blast President Trump's...
* Genevans respond to Charlottesville event ...
* Naperville's Lauren Underwood to run for R...
* Congressmen Randy Hultgren and Peter Roska...
* Local Officials Forming Taskforce Amid Cat...
* Hultgren asks FEMA to help in Kane, McHenr...
* Local Legislators Speak Out on Charlottesv...
* Hultgren marks 'Startup Day' with stories ...

* Three Senators Ask The DOJ To Investigate ......

* Senator Duckworth Tours Union Station Ahea......

* Business Partners Invites You To Their August Backyard BBQ/Member Mixer
* Electronic Recycling Date In September
* To Infinity And Beyond!
* EXTRA: 66 years since Gaedel had his "moment" in the baseball sun
* Crain's: Rehabs stabilizing market in this South Side neighborhood
* Our catalog of Hitting Left.
* You fascists are bound to lose.
* Construction To Begin On Lawrence & Wilson Viaducts September 18
* The vandalism of an Abe Lincoln bust...
* Chicagoetry: Ozymandias In High Definition


* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
* Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

  
* Big deals for Google Wifi and Google Home at Google Store, Amazon, Target
* Register for first OnePlus Open Ears Forum in London by August 27
* Nova Launcher dev chucks Android Oreo name out the window for Orelletes
* Google needs to pay Apple a small fortune to remain the default search engine on iOS
* Let’s review some of tech’s big second quarter financial stories
* LG G6 After The Buzz: Still one of our favorites?
* Is Google’s mistake our gain? Android Oreo hinted at in teaser video filename

* Gonzalez beats the heat for scoreless outing
* Rodon faces Twins in twin bill opener
* Gonzalez paces White Sox in finale victory
* Gonzalez paces White Sox in finale victory
* Renteria hopes White Sox embarce spoiler role
* Renteria hopes White Sox embrace spoiler role
* Getz enjoying role helping develop prospects


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