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*** UPDATED x2 - A bit of levity *** Temper, temper

Saturday, May 30, 2015

* Let’s go back to this report from yesterday

“You go right to the heart and cut that off because you want to go after collective bargaining,” said [Sen. Kimberly Lightford] following a tense exchange in which [Richard] Goldberg, Rauner’s aide, at one point tried to speak over her in an attempt to rebut her argument.

Goldberg received a scolding from Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat who chairs the committee.

“When a senator is speaking to you, I would strongly counsel you to close your mouth and open your ears and then you’ll have a chance to respond,” Harmon said.

Goldberg has built a reputation this spring as a super-direct, aggressive defender of Gov. Rauner. I’ve known him for about a year or so, and have seen his temper, but I also like the dude a lot, even though he has made more enemies among rank and file Democrats than just about any legislative director I’ve ever covered.

* So, I was pleased to see that Illinois Review posted the video of the above exchange. It’s a must-watch

The Rauner administration witness clearly deferred to Goldberg and Richard began answering the question. Yes, there was some subsequent cross-talk, but I’m not sure it rose to the level of deserving that particular smackdown - at least in this instance.

Taken in context, a blow-up was about to happen sooner or later, and a Democratic escalation could be in the cards.

Everybody needs to take a breath here.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Check out this video for an even harsher exchange between Democrats and Republicans during a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing



*** UPDATE 2 *** Not all is hyper-partisan gloom and doom. Watch this comedic exchange from around noon today in the House


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 10:36 am:

    Seems to me that it’s the Gentlelady from Westchester who has the temper.

  2. - ABC Lawyer - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 10:40 am:

    I think it was Goldberg’s turn to talk. Lightford seems to be the rude one. Oh well.

  3. - x ace - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 10:41 am:

    Seems like both the Witness and Mr. Goldberg interrupted the Senator. Thus, perhaps the intervention was appropriate.

  4. - Langhorne - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 10:41 am:

    It wasnt as forceful, on either side, as i expected from the description. Bad manners from goldberg, first by interrupting lightford, and then trying to talk over both lightford and harmon. Not the way to win friends

    Then again, we are told we need lessons from outsiders.

  5. - Been There - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 10:51 am:

    ===I think it was Goldberg’s turn to talk. Lightford seems to be the rude one. Oh well.====
    That statement shows how we all see things differently. From my perspective it was obvious that both witnesses talked over Lightford. Oh well

  6. - Team Sleep - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 10:52 am:

    Senator Lightford is one of the more curt and rude persons I have ever met in this business - municipal, state or federal. I was in no way “surprised” by any of this.

  7. - Anonin' - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 10:55 am:

    Speakin’ of mistakes it appears we have reached a limit on how many punative hits higher ed deserve for the goof at College of DuPage
    Daily herald says….
    Editorial: Local schools, colleges should be controlled locally, not in Springfield

    The Daily Herald Editorial Board

    Legislators’ efforts to meddle in the affairs of local community college districts stalled Friday and for all the right reasons. Liz Brown, of the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents, summarized the point precisely in testimony before a Senate committee Thursday.

    “I think this is reactionary legislation for one bad apple,” Brown said.

    The “bad apple,” of course, is College of DuPage. Its $763,000 buyout of former President Robert Breuder created a local uproar, and state representatives and senators from DuPage County have been falling all over themselves this spring to make a show of doing something about it.

    Among the proposals:

    • A cap limiting contract buyouts to no more than one-year’s salary;

    • Restrictions on country club memberships, housing allowances and other contract perks;

    • A three-year limit on the length of a community college president’s contract;

    • Provisions forbidding the placement of a former president’s name on a college building;

    • Limits on the amount of emergency cash community colleges can keep on hand;

    • And even a proposal requiring COD to send its trustees to professional board training.

    Space does not permit an item-by-item denunciation of these suggestions, but it ought to be clear to anyone who believes in local control of primarily property tax-supported institutions — including public K-12 school boards — that they share a common defect. They assign to the state authority that ought to be assigned and exercised locally.

    It can be persuasively argued that the College of DuPage Board of Trustees did not exercise its responsibility very well when it decided three years before his contract was up that it had had enough of Breuder and was willing to pay three-quarters of a million dollars to show him the door.

    But that board was acting according to the authority properly vested in it by the taxpayers and voters of the College of DuPage district. And it was acting in what a majority of members felt was the best interest of the college.

    In the ensuing furor, the district’s voters responded in no uncertain terms at the polls that the board was mistaken. Sending a message that ought to reverberate to districts everywhere in Illinois, they handily elected a new board majority committed to reform at COD.

    The merits of this new board’s work remain to be seen, and we’re in no way prepared to sign on with every action it takes. But whatever policies and practices emerge, they ought to come from this board, the duly elected trustees answering to the property taxpayers who are overwhelmingly responsible for funding the school’s operations.

    To be sure, executive salary creep is an issue in community colleges. It’s also an issue at four-year institutions and at elementary and secondary school districts. The blizzard of legislative proposals following the COD scandal take none of this into consideration, and they virtually ignore the precedent they would set for other locally supported governments.

    We understand the outrage over the Breuder buyout, and we share many of the concerns other critics have expressed. The response, though, should come not from a hasty political show in Springfield, but from the thoughtful actions of local board members listening to the direct voices of local communities that elect them.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    Gotta give big props for standing up for your guy.

    This session was a pressure cooker, this was steam for both sides.

    This ain’t bean bag.

  9. - White Denim - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    After the initial “I’m not talking to you,” the video jumps ahead in time. So the “first” witness had not interrupted Lightford and was not talking over her. He was at the end of his statements and deferred to Goldberg to answer another specific question. Then she* talked over him*. That’s the way I see it, at least.

  10. - Louis G. Atsaves - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 11:24 am:

    That was it? That was the big explosion everyone be was aghast about yesterday?

    Have the adults in Springfield stepped up getting? If not, what are they waiting for?

  11. - Arthur Andersen - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 11:25 am:

    No one dignified themselves in that exchange. I didn’t hear a question being asked by Sen. Lightford that would have justified Rich and the other witness starting up. Perhaps a couple more minutes’ video of the proceedings would clarify.

    Sen. Lightford speaks 20 seconds of absolute nonsense, then after she is “interrupted” can be heard saying “Rich, you’re so rude,” among other things. Hardly senatorial.

    Sen. Harmon seemingly did what needed to be done to restore order, albeit in a heavy-handed manner.

  12. - Rod - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 11:39 am:

    This was the discussion of SB 1046 as amended in the Executive Committee was it not? Or am I confused? This bill effectively is the Scott Walker plan to contain property taxes as revised for Illinois that so restricts the right of public sector empolyees to collectively bargain that being a dues paying member of a teacher union or a municipal employee union would be a waste of money. Which is clearly it’s intent.

    If you think I am being excessive in my characterization of Sen. Radogno’s bill just note this small extract:
    “In any unit of local government or school district to
    which this subsection applies, as provided in Section 4.5 of
    this Act, public employees or a labor organization may not bargain collectively on . . . any pay increase, either through changes to the pay schedule or as a result of accumulated years of service, in excess of the amount specified by ordinance or resolution of the governing authority of the public employer.”

    Given the scope of this bill and its intent I am not in the least surprised that an exchange would be heated. I think many of the major cities and towns in our State slipped in opposition as did even the Chicago Public Schools. I went through the slips in support of the bill and I could not find one slip filed by either a school,district or a municipal entity.

  13. - lord stanley's cup - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 11:48 am:

    Sorry to be the outlier but sticking with Senator here. Members consider committee to be their turf, esp during the last week of May when everyone’s tired, crabby and ready to go home. I hear Kim ask for the floor and Rich continue to talk, and that’s a no no.

  14. - Citizen A - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:02 pm:

    Please keep on posting the videos!!! This is what the general public does not get to see. I hope there is more.

  15. - Namaste - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:02 pm:

    These were kindergarden tiffs compared to Sen. Muñoz and Sen. Duffy going toe-to-toe, literally, during Senate Executive Appointments hearing to confirm Terry Cosgrove a few years back.

  16. - Team Sleep - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:21 pm:

    Citizen A - I truly believe that is why most Reps and Senators from swing districts are NOT very vocal or aggressive. People like Mike Bost and Kim Lightford can yell/scream/holler about their concerns because they are in safe districts. But you rarely see perennial targets do the same. There is a reason for that. What does Senator Lightford care if someone sees her being cross with a witness during an end-of-session hearing? The trap of Governor Rauner’s ad campaign would NEVER ensnare her.

  17. - x ace - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:27 pm:

    In the days of yesteryear :” Senator Sam ” countered harsh words with action.

  18. - Not the A Team - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:35 pm:

    Goldberg could have professionally waited - and had his say once the Senator finished. Rudely talking over someone doesn’t fit in a hearing, at the dinner table, or anywhere else but reality TV. Should know that - or not be in a position to even be in the chair.

  19. - walker - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 12:37 pm:

    Thanks for the tapes. I overreacted to the reports in criticizing Goldberg. Team Sleep had the better view yesterday.

  20. - readingisfundamental - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 1:17 pm:

    Many members are sick of the snide remarks and elitist attitude they get from the Governor’s staff. They assume that “business as usual” is always a bad thing and forget some of these members actually know what they are talking about. Lightford’s comment that Rich was rude isn’t necessarily limited to this interaction. I think she simply had enough of him.

  21. - Oswego Willy - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 1:36 pm:

    Mmm. Cannoli…

  22. - Walter Mitty - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 2:06 pm:

    Wow… who cares about that exchange!? What’s the deal with Raoul? I must admit, he’s not my senator so I know little about him. What I just saw, I am thankful for that! What a temper tantrum. Embarrassing.

  23. - Capitol View - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 2:36 pm:

    now children,play nice…

  24. - anonymous - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 2:39 pm:

    Sen. Raoul has had other equally tense exchanges with Republicans in committee this spring. He did the same gavel-pounding-Take-The-Record! move on another bill a couple of weeks ago. It’s unfortunate. I really give credit to the legislators who can keep their wits and temper in check and truly lead their committees, not just shout down their colleagues.

  25. - House - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 2:58 pm:

    Once again, Harmon thinks he’s a big-shot. A legend in his own mind. Just another liberal thinking he’s the smartest person in the room. Shameful to speak that way to someone more accomplished and smarter than himself!

  26. - Enviro - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 3:06 pm:

    After listening twice to the video it seems clear to me that Senator Lightford was rudely interrupted by Mr. Goldberg. Senator Harmon did his job as chairman of the committee and corrected Mr. Goldberg.

  27. - Norseman - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 4:40 pm:

    === Many members are sick of the snide remarks and elitist attitude they get from the Governor’s staff. ===

    I’m sick of the snide remarks and elitist attitude by the Governor, Governor’s staff and the members of the General Assembly.

  28. - low level - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 4:42 pm:

    Mr. Goldberg and the Governor have 20 votes in the Senate.

    I’d think he’d be trying to pursuade the members of the majority party but I have long since given up trying to figure out Republicans in Illinois.

  29. - Politix - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 5:10 pm:

    Lightford was talking first so I don’t see why anybody would criticize her out of anyone in that exchange. Sheesh. And I’m happy to see Kwame showing some teeth. He’s typically quite mannerly. We’ve listened to Rauner’s insults and bossy remarks for months. Deal with it.

  30. - Politix - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 5:14 pm:

    Very cute exchange by the Italian Caucus!

  31. - Not in the Know - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 6:19 pm:

    Looks like the pressure is starting to hit home with a lot of these Dem. legislators who have been playing with monopoly money over the last several months.

  32. - Quill - Saturday, May 30, 15 @ 8:18 pm:

    In a day and age where Netflix, for example, must provide captioning, it’s time for the State, the legislature and the Blue Room to step up.

  33. - Cindy - Sunday, May 31, 15 @ 12:16 am:

    Thank you for sharing the videos. The Governor’s staff needs to understand that they were not elected and keep their egos in check. As for the Italian Caucus, I was happy to see them in action.

  34. - zonz - Sunday, May 31, 15 @ 11:04 am:

    According to his on-line profile, Richard Goldberg’s first real job began 11 years ago: Deputy Campaign Manager, Kirk for Congress
    July 2004 – November 2004. He worked for Kirk for 10 years, mostly in DC.

    So he is a ~30 year old steeped in his own true-believer juices.

    That is at the heart of this rukus, and is why he needs to learn to bend over backward to show respect.

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