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*** UPDATED x1 *** Biss won’t confirm report that he’s dropping out

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* Politico

State Sen. Daniel Biss is pulling out of contention in the Democratic primary for Illinois Comptroller, making way for Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, two top Democratic sources told POLITICO Illinois. […]

“We’ve known Dan Biss since his time in the House. We’ve worked with him. He’s a good, solid Democrat,” said Madigan spokesman and Illinois Democratic Party spokesman Steve Brown. “We’re just happy there’s not a primary. The party is always stronger when there aren’t primary battles.”

Biss could not immediately be reached for comment.

Madigan had foiled Biss at just about every turn. The county party chairmen’s endorsement of Mendoza was a major blow.

Brown told me he was told earlier today that Biss wouldn’t file petitions come Monday. So, this story seems pretty legit and I’ve also been able to confirm it.

* But here’s how Biss responded via text after I asked if he was out of the race…

We’ll see…will have more for you on this by Sunday night.

*** UPDATE *** Tribune

State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston on Sunday dropped his bid for the Democratic nomination for state comptroller, paving the way for Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza to challenge Republican Leslie Munger in next year’s general election.

Biss, a member of the legislature since 2011, said he had decided to drop out of the race to avoid a divisive primary contest that he thought would endanger Democratic efforts to capture the comptroller’s office.

“It was getting to be a more expensive and divisive battle,” Biss said. “I don’t think that’s what the party needs right now. There’s a bigger cause right now.”

Biss said he had set a deadline of Sunday afternoon to make a decision on whether to run. Monday marks the start of the one week filing period for most candidates in the March 15 primary to file candidacy nominating petitions with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Reader comments closed for the weekend

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* Galactic

It’s too late
To change the past

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

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Friday, Nov 20, 2015

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Dorothy Brown hire indicted

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* Well, now we may know why the G wanted Dorothy Brown’s mobile phone. From the US Attorney…

A Glenview man who was hired by the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office after purportedly loaning $15,000 to a company controlled by the Clerk’s husband lied under oath when testifying about it before a grand jury, according to a federal indictment announced today.

In August 2014, SIVASUBRAMANI RAJARAM purportedly loaned $15,000 to Goat Masters Corporation, whose president was the husband of the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk. The following month, Rajaram was hired by the Clerk’s Office as a level four Senior Clerk. Rajaram had previously worked in the Clerk’s Office but had been living in India for several years.

On or about Oct. 1, 2015, Rajaram testified before a federal grand jury that was conducting an investigation of possible criminal violations in connection with the purchasing of jobs and promotions within the Clerk’s Office. During his testimony, Rajaram said he had not spoken to the Circuit Court Clerk after his 2014 hiring. He also testified he had only spoken to another high-ranking employee of the Clerk’s Office “three or four times” since returning to Chicago from India, and that the conversations were not by phone.

The indictment alleges that both statements were false. According to the indictment, Rajaram spoke with both the Clerk and the high-ranking employee after being re-hired in 2014. His conversations with the high-ranking employee occurred dozens of times via cell phone, according to the indictment.

The indictment was returned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Rajaram, 48, of Glenview, was charged with one count of making false declarations before a grand jury. The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The Court has not yet scheduled an arraignment hearing.
The indictment was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Anita Alvarez, Cook County State’s Attorney; Patrick M. Blanchard, Cook County Inspector General; and Michael J. Anderson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Heather McShain and Ankur Srivastava.

The full indictment is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

Rauner, others write the president

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* The Miami Herald has today’s letter

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Our country has long served as a welcoming beacon to individuals and families who seek safety and refugee status within the borders of the United States. For years we have been proud to welcome refugees into our communities in their pursuit of a better life and future.

However, we are deeply concerned that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria may have exploited the generosity of the refugee system to carry out Friday’s terrorist attack in Paris. While the tragic event was a direct assault on the European Union’s refugee system, the potential for this situation to arise in the United States is escalated by information revealed by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey. In testimony before Congress, he admitted to certain inadequacies in the system that would prevent the thorough vetting of the 10,000 refugees your administration has pledged to admit into the United States.

As governors, we are charged with ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our citizens. In order to adequately fulfill this duty, we request that you immediately review the process by which you conduct background checks on all individuals applying for refugee status and address the gaps acknowledged by your director of the FBI.

In the wake of this recent tragedy, and until we can ensure the citizens of our states that an exhaustive review of all security measures has been completed and the necessary changes have been implemented, we respectfully request that you suspend all plans to resettle additional Syrian refugees.


Governors Robert Bentley of Alabama, Doug Ducey of Arizona, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Rick Scott of Florida, Nathan Deal of Georgia, Butch Otter of Idaho, Bruce Rauner of Illinois, Mike Pence of Indiana, Terry Branstad of Iowa, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Paul LePage of Maine, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Pat McCrory of North Carolina, Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota, John Kasich of Ohio, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota, Bill Haslam of Tennessee, Greg Abbott of Texas, Gary Herbert of Utah, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and Matt Mead of Wyoming.

- Posted by Rich Miller   75 Comments      

Question of the day

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* Sometimes you need a decoder ring to figure out Steve Brown. Mine doesn’t appear to be working today. From Sneed

So what does powerful House Speaker Mike Madigan think of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s decision to block new Syrian refugees from Illinois?

“The speaker is out of town at the funeral of his father-in-law,” said Madigan spokesman Steve Brown. “But I think it is safe to say most people understand the governor has no power or authority over who crosses the border — especially if people keep leaving Illinois!”

So, is he talking about how the governor is in Las Vegas for the RGA convention right now, or the exodus of people retiring out of state or leaving to look for work elsewhere? Or… ?

* The Question: Your translation?

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

*** UPDATED x4 - Dems attack Rauner involvement *** As expected, it’s Rep. Sara Wojcicki Jimenez

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* Bernie…

*** UPDATE 2 *** Press release…

Sara Wojcicki Jimenez was unanimously chosen on Friday by the 99th State House District Representative Committee to replace former State Rep. Raymond Poe (R-Springfield).

Jimenez, Chief of Staff to First Lady Diana Rauner, was raised in Springfield and offers a unique profile to the Republican Party while demonstrating a compassion and understanding of state government, the legislative process and a key ability to be a strong advocate for Sangamon County residents in state government.

“Sara Wojcicki Jimenez is a rising star in the Republican Party who will be a unique voice for Sangamon County in state government,” said Sangamon County Republican Chairman Rosemarie Long. “Sara has served as an elected official in Springfield and is well known in the community. She has immense state government experience as a former state house reporter, Press Secretary for House Republican Leader Tom Cross and Chief of Staff to the First Lady. Sara will be able to hit the ground running on day one.”

“Sara Wojcicki Jimenez is a good choice to serve as State Representative for Sangamon County,” said former Rep. Raymond Poe. “Many good candidates applied, including close friends and supporters. The committee had a tough decision to make.”

“I am excited to see a highly accomplished woman represent Sangamon County in the legislature,” said former Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara. “Sara Wojcicki Jimenez is tremendously qualified and will be a terrific legislator. I am honored to have Sara as my State Representative.”

“Sara Wojcicki Jimenez has an incredible background – state house reporter, communications professional and senior state government official – and that background will be invaluable in the state legislature,” said Sangamon County Board Chairman Andy Van Meter. “As a woman with a young family and wife of a current state employee, Sara will be able to advocate for Sangamon County in state government unlike anyone else.”

The vacancy for the state representative seat was created when Governor Bruce Rauner appointed Raymond Poe to be Director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

The 99th State House District Representative Committee consisted of Sangamon County Republican Chairman Rosemarie Long and two Sangamon County Republican Precinct Committee members within the 99th State House District. On Thursday, the Sangamon County Republican Central Committee voted to appoint Mary Sneed and Collins Piper, both Republican Precinct Committee members, to serve on the Representative Committee along with Chairman Long.

Jimenez will be sworn in as the 99th District State Representative this coming week.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Another press release…

First Lady Diana Rauner and Governor Bruce Rauner issued the following statement regarding Sara Wojcicki Jimenez:

“We offer our sincerest congratulations to Sara on her pending appointment to the Illinois House of Representatives. As a key member of the Administration, she has been a tireless worker who helped advance key priorities from agency transformation to restoring the Executive Mansion. We will miss working alongside her every day.

“Sara is a true public servant, with a wonderful spirit and passion for serving the people of Illinois. We know she will represent her district admirably in the General Assembly and look forward to the contributions she’ll make on behalf of her constituents and all Illinoisans.”

*** UPDATE 3 *** Leader Durkin…

“I look forward to welcoming Sara Wojcicki Jimenez as the newest member of the House Republican Caucus. She is joining the Illinois General Assembly during a very important time in our state’s history, I am certain she is up to the challenge. Congratulations to Sara.”

*** UPDATE 4 *** From the Sangamon County Democratic Party…

Sangamon County has a long history of representation by legislators from both parties who have stood up for the rights of the working people. Unfortunately, those days are ending.

“Once again, the Governor has created a vacancy in a Sangamon County House seat and hand – picked the replacement” said Sangamon County Democratic Party Chairwoman Doris Turner. “No longer will the middle class of the 99th District have a true representative – one who will stand up for their rights while on the job and into their retirement” Turner added. If the track record of Governor Rauner’s replacements is any guide, State of Illinois employees, as well as other middle class families living and working in Sangamon County, have another Rauner clone who will vote as Rauner wishes and against the interest of local families.

What makes Governor Rauner’s influence in these appointments even more curious is the fact that the Republican voters in Sangamon County overwhelmingly rejected candidate Rauner in the primary. Despite that, he has taken over their representation at the Capitol.

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      

Did the RGA recruit Rauner?

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* Politico claims that “A relentless combination of big fundraising and recruiting just the right candidates transformed the Republican Governors Association into a political force”

The RGA has avoided congressional Republicans’ problems, especially in hard-to-win blue states, by playing a relentless but “quiet” role in recruiting candidates that fit their states, [Phil Musser, a former executive director of the RGA] said.

Moderate Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker started going to RGA conferences years before he first ran for the office in 2010. After losing to then-Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick in a three-way race, Baker was reluctant to try again four years later.

The RGA responded by organizing a barrage of phone calls from GOP governors and major donors to convince Baker another run would be worth it.

“He needed folks to come to him and say: ‘We’ll have your back,’” said Phil Cox, who served as the RGA’s executive director when Baker won in 2014. “And we were all over him.”

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner was a RGA donor for years before a similar recruiting pitch helped convince him to run for office himself in 2013. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey started attending RGA conferences four years before he ran and won last year.

I don’t know much about Massachusetts or Arizona, but that may be a bit of RGA resume inflation regarding Rauner.

Then again, now we know whom to blame, or thank.

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

New stuff!

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* If you scroll down, you’ll see we have two new widgets in the center column from the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform’s Illinois Sunshine database: Top contributions during the past 7 days and the top fundraising committees of the past 30 days. Combine those with the Tribune’s live tweeting of all contributions, and I think we’ve got some really useful information posted here, with some context.

* Meanwhile, I’ve been talking with the good folks at AlderTrack about how best to promote their Illinois Racing Form

The candidate petition deadline is coming up and Aldertrack is gearing up. Pre-order the Illinois Racing Form and guarantee yourself a fresh digital copy of the most current information the day after the first filing day as well as weekly updated candidate information throughout the entire 2015 election season. First Report Due Tuesday, November 24.

For just $15 the Illinois Racing Form will include:

    * Each Representative and Senate district with its own map and list of candidates, along with district’s past performance
    * Candidate filings
    * Weekly campaign funding reports
    * Candidate political committee tracking and independent expenditure committee tracking
    * Updates on statements of financial interests
    * Weekly updates on objections to candidates’ filings
    * Candidates’ social media presences, including websites, Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter

We’ll send an update email once a week with a link to download the most recent version of the Racing Form. And… if you subscribed to the Chicago Racing Form, you know that we’ll have plenty more surprises as the campaign season wears on.

It’s a great deal, so go check it out. I’m not making anything off of this, by the way. I just think AlderTrack does good work.

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      

Federal judge sends lottery case to settlement talks

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* This entire case could be moot if the House Speaker removes his hold on the funding bill and the Senate returns in early December to pass it

A U.S. District Court judge on Wednesday sent parties in a lawsuit against the Illinois Lottery by unpaid lottery winners into settlement talks while the case continues.

Chief Judge Ruben Castillo said he will refer the case on an expedited basis to Magistrate Judge Mary Rowland, who will oversee the discussions.

Illinois has not been paying lottery winners of $600 or more since October, due to a state budget impasse between the Republican governor and the Democratic-controlled legislature. The state has continued to advertise games, sell tickets and hold lottery drawings. […]

The judge set a briefing schedule that culminates with a Dec. 16 hearing. The case expanded earlier this month to include dozens of state lotteries participating in the Mega Millions and Powerball games. The amended lawsuit also included a motion to stop the other state lotteries from sending Illinois its share of multi-state lottery winnings.

As we’ve seen time and time again, federal judges don’t care much about state constitutional requirements.

* Related…

* Illinois pilots grounded in budget fight: Yet, the same five pilots who formerly flew the planes were still on the payroll, earning a combined $39,500 per month.

* State rep calling for repurposing, reopening Illinois Youth Center in Murphysboro

* Tri-State communities affected by Illinois budget deadlock

* Illinois Hospitality Groups: Restore “Choose Chicago” Funding

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

Poll purports to show Illinoisans can be convinced to oppose ethanol

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* You may have seen ads on social media lately about ethanol. Here’s a video ad

* Illinois ag is not amused

Kenneth Harman, Jr., Illinois Corn Growers Association President; Richard Guebert, Jr., Illinois Farm Bureau President; and Raymond E. Defenbaugh, Illinois Renewable Fuels Association President issued the following joint statement today regarding the anti-ethanol campaign currently underway in Illinois.

“The anti-ethanol smear campaign currently underway in Illinois is heavy on rhetoric and short on facts. The timing is suspicious, as we’re just about ten days away from the deadline that requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s release of its final rule making on the Renewable Fuel Standard RVO requirement. Such a desperate, expensive spend on advertising reflects the precarious position of Big Oil. They don’t have a leg to stand on.

“We know that the Renewable Fuel Standard has been one of the most successful energy policies ever enacted. It has rejuvenated rural economies, created jobs nationwide, and lowered prices at the pump, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“EPA recognizes that corn ethanol provides a significant reduction in greenhouse gasses. In fact, global ethanol production and use is estimated to reduce those emissions by 100 million metric tons. That’s like taking 20 million vehicles off the road. U.S. ethanol production each year displaces the gasoline equivalent of 512 million barrels of crude oil. That’s more than we import annually from Saudi Arabia.

Illinois is the second largest producer of ethanol in the country, so we’re talking big bucks here.

* But the ethanol opponents have released a new poll of Illinoisans

How familiar are you with a federal law on the books called the Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates certain amounts of biofuels to be added to the nation’s fuel supply?



Question 8

Let me give you some information about the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS. The RFS is a federal program established in 2005 and expanded in 2007 that requires biofuels, such as corn ethanol, to be blended into your gasoline. The RFS requires more and more biofuels, particularly corn ethanol, be blended added to the nation’s fuel supply each year.

Based on what you know, do you agree or disagree with the RFS and the increased use of corn ethanol in our nation’s fuel supply each year?



Question 9

Now, let me tell you a bit more about the RFS. When the RFS was created, Congress included specific targets for how much ethanol should be added to the fuel supply each year, with the numbers going up each year. But earlier this year, EPA said that those congressional targets were too high, in part because demand for gasoline has actually gone down. That’s something Congress never predicted, and which wasn’t included in the original models.

Knowing this, would you be more or less likely to support the existing RFS and the HIGHER ethanol mandate targets?


Question 10
And, which of the following statements comes closest to your view?



And then it all goes downhill from there.

* From the narrative

After being presented with the key findings of the Princeton study, which found that corn ethanol production nearly doubled greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over 30 years, compared to conventional gasoline, 78 percent were less likely to support the RFS and higher ethanol targets. As the survey continued, 73 percent of voters believed that the ethanol mandate has an overall negative effect on the environment. 83 percent told us they were less likely to support the program once they learned of the Environmental Working Group study that found ethanol production in 2014 resulted in 27 million more tons of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere. 72 percent of Illinoisans were less likely to support the RFS and higher ethanol targets after learning that scientists at the Sandia National Lab, a federally funded research institution, found that producing one gallon of ethanol from irrigated corn could require up to 880 gallons of water. And 83 percent believe mandating that more corn ethanol be added to the fuel supply could decrease the country’s water supply.


- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      

Credit Unions – Helping families in times of need

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

Helping members reach their day-to-day financial goals. Providing unwavering support during crucial times. Every day, credit unions live out one philosophy: ‘People Helping People.”

Earthmover Credit Union in Aurora recently learned one of its member families was in a desperate situation. After a devastating electrical fire broke out in their home, this family of six lost nearly everything they owned. “Earthgivers,” the credit union’s charity committee, immediately jumped into action.

The goal was to raise $1,500 in one month. Candy bars were sold at all five Earthmover branch locations. Clothing donations were accepted from members and the community. Word quickly spread about this family’s plight and the credit union soon doubled its goal. In the end, more than $3,000 was raised for this family to purchase new clothing and begin to replace personal belongings.

People before profits. It’s a credit union principle that remains constant – and another reason why members know their credit union will be there for them, no matter the circumstances.

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Report: Rush to run again

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* NBC 5

Congressman Bobby Rush called a news conference Friday to discuss his re-election plans and while most expect him to announce he’s running again, there is speculation he is considering retiring.

When asked if the event was Rush’s campaign kickoff, his press secretary said “you’ll have to come to the announcement.” Some speculate Rush wants to remain on the primary ballot, so that if he chooses to retire after the March primary, he can help hand pick his successor.

* But the Tribune obtained his statement

Rush to run again: House Democrat Rep. Bobby Rush on Friday plans to announce he’s running for a 13th term in Congress. The Chicago lawmaker will make it official at a 10:30 a.m. news conference at the Gary Comer Youth Center, 7200 S. Ingleside Ave.

The 68-year-old Democrat is declaring his candidacy for re-election as the deadline looms for potential challengers to file nomination petitions to run for his seat. A cancer survivor, Rush missed several House votes this year and last because of his wife’s poor health and has been the subject of retirement rumors for some time.

I think both outlets might turn out to be right. Time will tell.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Immigration groups to meet with Rauner staff on Syrian refugees

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* From a press release…

ICIRR Urges Governor Rauner to Embrace Syrian Refugees
Political, Religious and Immigrant Leaders Call for Acceptance

WHAT: The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) will host a press conference following our meeting with senior staff for Governor Bruce Rauner Friday morning. ICIRR and our allies will encourage the Governor to reconsider his decision to suspend resettlement of Syrian refugees in Illinois and to embrace Illinois’ long standing policy of welcoming and acceptance.

WHEN: November 20, 2015
1PM Press Conference

WHERE: ICIRR conference room, 55 E. Jackson, suite 2075, Chicago

WHO: Father Larry Dowling, Priests for Justice, Archdiocese of Chicago
Reverend Michael Mann, United Methodist Church, Northern IL conference
Suzanne Akhras Sahloul, Syrian Community Network
Lawrence Benito, CEO, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
Ahmed Rehab, executive director CAIR-Chicago
Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago

WHY: The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) will meet with senior staff of Governor Bruce Rauner Friday morning to discuss his decision to suspend resettlement of Syrian refugees in Illinois. ICIRR will encourage the Governor to both embrace refugees who are fleeing persecution and acknowledge the rigorous screening process refugees must complete before settling in Illinois.

Refugees are thoroughly vetted and must complete background checks, interviews, extensive screening and case file reviews to be considered for resettlement. The process can take over24 months, and thus far only about 100 Syrian refugees have arrived in Illinois.

On Wednesday, the Chicago City Council reaffirmed the city’s longstanding commitment to immigrants and refugees, and ICIRR is urging the Governor and all city, state, and nation leaders to do the same. At Friday’s press conference leaders from all backgrounds, faiths and perspectives will join together and reaffirm the importance of acceptance and diversity to the foundation of this country.

* Meanwhile

(T)wo Illinois Democrats joined a veto-proof House majority in Washington, D.C., on Thursday in passing a bill to require more stringent security checks on refugees from Iraq and Syria who want to enter the U.S.

The measure, drawn up after the Paris terror attacks, passed 289-137.

Joining all eight House Republicans from Illinois in supporting the bill were Democratic Reps. Dan Lipinski of Western Springs and Cheri Bustos of East Moline.

The state’s eight other House Democrats voted no. Altogether, the bill drew support from 47 Democrats. Passage came despite a White House threat to veto the measure, which is called the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act.

*** UPDATE *** Doesn’t sound like the meeting had any impact

“The Administration explained to the groups that while Illinois wants to be a welcoming place for refugees, the federal government is still not sharing critical information requested by states,” Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said. “We hope they will advocate with federal representatives to encourage more information sharing from the federal government to the states.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   52 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - Meeks shows up *** ISBE responds to harsh criticism

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* You’ll remember this press release from yesterday


Coalition Sheds Light On Governor’s Back-Door Move for Massive Charter Expansion, Demands Rejection of Federal Funds

WHAT: Parents, community organizations, school board members and elected officials will join together before the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) meeting on Friday, November 20th at 9am to protest the undemocratic decision making from ISBE to expand charter schools in Illinois without public input.

ISBE applied for and received a federal grant of $42.5 million to open 48 new charter schools – 24 for Chicago over the next 5 years and 24 for the rest of the state. But the grant only covers start-up funding, with no funds to run schools once they open, thus cannibalizing the same inadequate public dollars funding existing schools.

* The ISBE responds…

ISBE could never do what is being suggested in this release. ISBE is required by law to offer the money - once awarded - to start-up charter schools through sub-grants that are decided based on a highly regulated and competitive state procurement process.

This procurement process is governed strictly by the state procurement code to ensure transparency and fairness. The program will help educate and empower school districts to consider the ways in which charter schools can support and encourage educational innovation, community partnerships and improved student outcomes.

It will build on ISBE’s current initiatives to help all schools promote academic excellence by providing equitable options for all students to ultimately close the achievement gap.

In addition, I was told earlier: “There have been no decisions made on selection or funding for any expansion of a charter school at this time as it is still too early in the process. ISBE will release an RFP later this fall by which those determinations will be made. The purpose of the presentation in [today’s] Board meeting is to explain this RFP process.”

*** UPDATE *** Rev. James Meeks, the ISBE Chairman, interrupted the press conference at about the 5:30 mark on this BlueRoomStream video. He was polite, but some of the participants weren’t happy


- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

Sanguinetti committee passes optional collective bargaining proposal

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* A text message from a friend yesterday…

Someone keeps blaring the “Solidarity Forever” song on the conference call of the Lt. Gov’s task force to whack collective bargaining….lol

* Illinois Public Radio

The task force is made of legislators, mayors and a library trustee. During the meeting, they approved recommendations like incentivizing schools to consolidate and encouraging municipalities to share equipment.

Then, came this proposal “to make collective bargaining permissive, instead of mandatory.”

Before they could vote, they were interrupted by the song of a banjo, then a choir singing the song “Solidarity Forever.” The chorus repeats the title phrase, then goes on to say “for the union makes us strong.”

The task force’s chair, Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti, tried to pushed on, saying “I suppose someone put us on hold, without mute…” when the song again began to play. It happened several more times, including as a coda until the call ended after Sanguinetti adjourned the meeting.

Even so, the proposal passed 15-1.


- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

The least popular freshman governor

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* Morning Consult

While only a small percentage of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, the average governor’s approval rating is a healthy 54 percent. An average of 34 percent disapproved.

Running for president appears to be a good path to a lousy approval rating in one’s home state, the surveys show. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker – both of whom have an approval rating of just 40 percent — join Jindal near the bottom of the rankings (Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who sports a 59 percent approval rating, is the lone exception).

On the other hand, voters appear to give the benefit of the doubt to governors who have only recently won office: Less than a year into their terms, Baker, Hogan, Alaska’s Walker, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) all have approval ratings north of 59 percent. Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) both have approval ratings over 50 percent.

Only one new governor – Illinois’s Bruce Rauner (R) – is seen in a negative light: His approval rating, 42 percent, is three points lower than the percentage who disapprove of the job he’s doing.

Rauner never really had great numbers during the campaign, and these are 2016 voters, so it’s a more Democratic sample. I seriously doubt this poll would cause any sort of panic on Team Rauner.

But it’s nothing to be proud of, for sure.

The Illinois survey had a very large sample size, by the way. Click here to see ‘em all.

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      

Today’s quotable

Friday, Nov 20, 2015

* Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, Illinois’ richest man, on CNBC

“We live in Illinois, which is economically depressed due to an overreaching government that can’t control its spending.”

…Adding… Illinois’ population is 4 percent of the nation’s, but it gained 5 percent of last month’s robust 271,000 new jobs

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that Illinois’ nonfarm payroll employment gained +14,100 jobs and the unemployment rate in October held at 5.4 percent, based on preliminary data released by the Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

- Posted by Rich Miller   72 Comments      

* Study: Illinois has 8th most regressive state and local tax system
* Kanye West contributes to Chance-backed mayoral candidate Amara Enyia
* More dissonance on Rauner's right flank
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Fundraiser lists and a supplement to today's edition
* Rauner's minority hiring record checked, and new ads from both candidates on race
* Gov. Ricketts?
* Raoul heads into home stretch with new negative spot
* Question of the day
* Gov. Rauner campaigns with "extreme" Republican in Lake County
* Illinois Credit Unions: Giving Back to the Communities We Serve
* Downstate newspapers appear to be picking the lesser of two evils
* Caption contest!
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Plaintiffs holding press conference today
* Maybe have a long chat with the governor about this?
* Pritzker campaign touts party-building money
* Learn from this, please
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

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