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Rauner quietly signs Mendoza’s bill

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

* Heh…

This was the “off-shoring” bill, which requires the governor to put all of his staff in his office’s budget.

…Adding… Press release…

Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed legislation to bring greater transparency to state government finances, limiting the use of intergovernmental agreements to end the longtime practice of paying employees from one office out of other State agencies’ appropriated funds. At the same time, the Governor called for the provisions of the legislation to be applicable to the offices of all Constitutional officers.

“Transparent governing has been a hallmark of this administration and I support efforts to challenge status quo policies and practices, particularly those that are perceived to undermine the public’s confidence in their government,” Rauner said.

“Unlike previous administrations, we have been transparent in reporting headcount and salaries of all Governor’s Office employees,” Rauner said, “and our administration is spending less on total agency-wide payroll than the previous administration.”

“The same level of transparent accounting ought to apply to all State Constitutional Offices as a necessity for accomplishing their work for taxpayers,” the Governor said urging the General Assembly to extend the truth-in-budgeting principle to the Offices of the Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller, and Treasurer.”

“The taxpayers of Illinois need to know how their money is being spent,” Rauner said. “The state’s constitutional offices have an obligation to be accountable for their spending and this would be a major step toward achieving that goal.”

House Bill 5121 becomes effective upon becoming law, eliminating the use of IGAs with future appropriations enacted. It is anticipated those appropriations will be made in Fiscal Year 2020.

* And…

Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza’s “Truth in Hiring Act,” to bring all “offshored” employees of the Governor’s office back into the Governor’s budget, became law today.

For too long, Illinois governors – Democratic and Republican – have engaged in the deceptive practice of “offshoring” their employees’ salaries to other agencies – for example, paying an education advisor $250,000 from the Department of Human Services; or a deputy chief of staff $140,000 from the Illinois State Police’s budget – to mask the true size of the Governor’s budget.

“Offshoring is wrong. It was wrong when Governor Quinn did it. It was wrong when Governor Blagojevich did it. It was wrong when Governor Ryan did it. And it was still wrong when Governor Rauner did it. But all of that ends today,” Comptroller Mendoza said. “Thank you to the sponsors of this legislation, Representative Christian Mitchell and Senator Andy Manar, and to the lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who voted for it. I’m glad that Governor Rauner recognized the overwhelming bipartisan support behind this bill and signed it into law.”

The Truth in Hiring Act (House Bill 5121) passed unanimously in the Illinois House, and the Senate approved it 46-7. It simply says that if an employee works in the Governor’s office, they will be paid from the Governor’s payroll. Their salary will be counted in the Governor’s budget. Their salary will not be pulled from agencies that are supposed to protect the most vulnerable or put state troopers on the highways.

“Every time a governor shifts a new, unexpected six-figure salary onto a state agency’s plate, dollars that had been prioritized for important purposes – economic development, senior services and child protection, to name a few – are being diverted to a paycheck instead,” Senator Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said. “Governors should understand the importance of being transparent about their expenses. Taxpayers who foot the bill for government, and frankly the lawmakers who determine the appropriations for state agencies, deserve that accountability.”
A recent payroll analysis shows only 47 of Governor Rauner’s 110 staffers are actually paid from the Governor’s budget. MOST of his staff – 63 people – are hidden in other agency payrolls. If the Governor were honestly reporting all the people working in his office, he would have to disclose his office budget is nearly $10 million, instead of the $4.6 million that is budgeted for the current fiscal year.

“This practice subverts the appropriations process. It takes money away from state agencies that protect children, the environment, and public safety,” Representative Mitchell, D-Chicago, said. “This Governor, and any future governors, should present the true cost of their staff in their office’s budget and make the case for why they need that level of funding.”

HB 5121 goes into effect immediately and will apply to appropriations passed after this date.

In addition to having broad bipartisan support in the legislature, the Truth in Hiring Act also has the backing of newspaper editorial boards across the state.

“Truth in Hiring is pro-transparency legislation that empowers the General Assembly to better its oversight of agency spending,” Quad-City Times editorial board editor Jon Alexander wrote.

“Governors, both Republicans and Democrats, have engaged in this practice – which they call ‘offshoring’ – at least since the days of former Gov. George Ryan. Now is a good time to stop,” the Quincy Herald-Whig editorial board wrote. “A state budget is all about setting priorities. Concealing things from the public shouldn’t be one of them.”

The Truth in Hiring Act follows Comptroller Mendoza’s Debt Transparency Act, which passed last year with unanimous or near-unanimous overrides. The state is already seeing the benefits of that reform as legislators on both sides of the aisle have more up-to-date numbers to craft a budget with and regular citizens have a clearer picture of the state’s finances.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

Arlington Heights trustee just spent way too much time on the Board of Elections website

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

* I usually don’t bother with stuff like this, but I just couldn’t resist because it’s so weird and unusual. As of 4:08 this afternoon, Friends for John Scaletta had filed 29 amended D-2 forms. This feed caught my eye…

Scaletta is an Arlington Heights Village Trustee.

* The explanation today on his committee’s State Board of Elections page


Scaletta originally reported raising $2,122 in the first quarter of 2011, but today’s amended D-2 has him raising $2,622. He originally reported spending $1,323.40, then amended that today to $1,342.90, after adding $19.50 in not-itemized expenditures (how he figured that one out is anyone’s guess). He originally reported ending the quarter with $3,220.02, but his amended report put the amount at $3,700.52.

So, adding in the “inadvertent fee under $10″ he paid in 2015, he had to file amended reports for every quarter since the beginning of 2011 because his amount available had changed.

* But, wait. There’s more.

Scaletta filed a slew of amended returns earlier this month and provided this reason

Expenditures were inadvertently omitted from original report filings.

These appear to be $5 not-itemized expenditures each quarter, which, of course, lowered his available funds and necessitated re-dos of every quarterly report.

So, today’s filings were actually corrections to a correction.

* And then at 4:14 this afternoon, Scaletta filed this explanation attached to his second quarter report for 2018…


The first time he filed his 2018 second quarter report, on July 5th, he had $5,085.85 in his account. The second time he filed his quarterly report, on July 18th, he had $42.56 in his account. The third time he filed his quarterly report, which was today, he had $654.51 in his account.

Somebody is going to be drinking heavily this evening, methinks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      

“Pigeon-Feeding Woman Curses Out State Rep On Facebook Live After Being Asked To Stop”

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

* Just go read it.

Apparently, that Blue Line stop has a real filth problem that Rep. Andrade is attempting to address. But, man, he really went above and beyond.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

It’s just a bill

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

* Chicago Coalition for the Homeless…

An estimated 40,000 low-income community college students in Illinois are now assured access to food security through SNAP, thanks to Senate Bill 351, which was signed into law July 20 by Gov. Bruce Rauner. CCH advocated for this eligibility for more than five years, through its statewide No Youth Alone campaign. CCH worked with Heartland Alliance and the Sargent Shriver National Poverty Law Center through two legislative sessions to enact the College Hunger Bill.

* Illinois News Network

A state lawmaker is pushing for the governor to sign a bill that some worry would open small employers to frivolous discrimination lawsuits.

State Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, said there’s a problem in state law.

In “most small businesses around the state of Illinois, it is perfectly legal to discriminate against employees on the basis of age or gender or disability status, or religion,” Guzzardi said.

House Bill 4572, on the governor’s desk, would open up businesses of 15 or fewer employees to be investigated for various wrongful termination cases involving allegations of discrimination.

“We have the discriminator-in-chief in the White House who’s trying to ban Muslims from entering our country, who has a long track record of harassment and discrimination against women,” Guzzardi said. “We have an opportunity in the state of Illinois to stand up against those kinds of behaviors.”

National Federation of Independent Business Illinois State Director Mark Grant urged Gov. Bruce Rauner to veto the bill. Grant said many small business owners treat employees like family and don’t have the resources to handle additional regulations.

* Other bills…

* Zorn: Illinois lawmakers should allow secret recordings of conversations

* Rep. Jeanne Ives: Failing Bridget: How bureaucracy harms vulnerable Illinoisans

* New lottery game to benefit families of fallen police officers

* New automatic voter registration law won’t slow efforts to reach out to potential new voters face-to-face

* It’s unanimous; governor joins Legislature in protecting DCFS: Enactment of Senate Bill 3105 is a small, first step toward greater protection for DCFS workers. Let tougher penalties also be placed on the books, and widely publicized, to deter potential offenders from acts of violence.

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Afternoon Update: Poll; Wheeler; Wojcicki Jimenez; Bivins

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

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IPHCA called out for not issuing an apology

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

* Background is here and here. From the Illinois Collaboration on Youth

The Illinois Collaboration on Youth learned with dismay about the racist remarks made by the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Illinois Primary Health Care Association (IPHCA) against one of our own Board members, Raul Garza. We are even more concerned to learn that the IPHCA has yet to issue an apology despite the acknowledgment by the former executive that he did make those remarks.

Like the IPHCA, ICOY members serve a disproportionate number of people of color in our work. People of color are our clients, our staff, our volunteers, our executives, and our Board members. It is disheartening to realize in 2018 that a racist remark would be made by a leader in our industry and that our peers would not immediately understand that an apology and full investigation would be needed as a result. We all must do better, as leaders in our communities, to recognize and respect the common bonds of humanity which unite us all, and to reject and repudiate racist stereotypes, remarks, and behavior whenever they occur.

* From Sen. Martin Sandoval

Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago), Co-Chairman of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus, this week called for legislative hearings to investigate the trail of racism surrounding the resignation of Illinois Primary Health Care Association (IPHCA) President and CEO Bruce Johnson.

Johnson resigned Monday, July 16 after he admitted to making racist remarks during a meeting with an IPHCA member organization. Just four days later, six members of the IPHCA’s Executive Committee resigned.

“This isn’t just one incident of a racist comment. This was a sustained campaign of intimidation by not just Bruce Johnson but several members of the executive board,” Sandoval said. “I call for these hearings because we have an obligation to stand up for one another and what is right to ensure that racist conduct—no matter who engages in it—will not be tolerated.”

An official complaint of discrimination against Bruce Johnson and the IPHCA Executive Committee was filed last week by Raul Garza, President and CEO of Aunt Martha’s Health & Wellness. Garza is a U.S.-born citizen and 12-year veteran of the United States Air Force. Johnson allegedly made disparaging comments to Garza about his re-entry into the country after a recent visit to Mexico.

“The executive committee clearly failed in their duty to investigate these disgusting comments and it is disturbing that a handful of IPHCA members are now speaking in defense of the individuals who have rightfully resigned,” Sandoval said. “Their protest reflects poorly on the Association’s entire membership.”

Sandoval said a committee should investigate:

    • Why Mr. Johnson was allowed to behave as he did

    • Why it took so long for the Executive Committee to conduct an investigation

    • Why the Association has not issued an apology for either Johnson’s behavior or its failure to properly investigate the matter

Sandoval said he also plans to file a resolution to conduct an audit of the IPHCA’s adherence to its contracts with the State of Illinois.

“The IPHCA has multiple contracts with the State, and those contracts require the Association to comply with all civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination in any form,” Sandoval said. “We have to send an example that while increasingly common, this type of discourse will no longer be tolerated.”

An IPHCA spokesperson says the group’s new executive director (who is black) has talked with members of the Latino Caucus, but hasn’t yet spoken with Sandoval.

I’ve asked if the group plans to issue a public apology.

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      

Question of the day

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

* AP

Two California residents are suing a state senator for blocking them from a social media account in a case similar to a successful lawsuit that barred President Trump from blocking critics on his Twitter account.

Suzanne Rummel and Marlene Burkitt sued Democratic Sen. Richard Pan of Sacramento alleging that barring them from his Twitter account violates their First Amendment free speech rights.

Pan is a physician and both women’s accounts show they oppose his efforts to promote universal vaccinations of children.

Burkitt says in the lawsuit filed last week in federal court in Sacramento that she was blocked after using Pan’s Twitter site to discuss his efforts “to reduce medical freedom, parental decision-making rights, and other issues.”

I bet they were a real treat to deal with.

* The Question: Should elected officials be prohibited from blocking their constituents on social media? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

bike trails

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      

Nazi tries to rehabilitate his image

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

* Ted Slowik at the Daily Southtown

Arthur Jones, the Republican nominee for 3rd Congressional District, tries to downplay his past affiliations with Nazis. […]

“I’ve got a winning platform,” said Jones, 70, of Lyons. “If (the GOP) would get behind me we would beat Lipinski.”

Jones mirrors the Republican platform on many issues. He holds a hardline view on immigration. He supports 2nd Amendment gun-ownership rights. He has a conservative view of gay rights and believes Congress should repeal Obamacare. […]

In many respects, Jones resembles the populist and nationalist views of President Donald Trump. Both seem to appeal to voters who feel grievance and resentment.

“I support 90 percent of what he’s trying to do,” Jones said of Trump. “We’re both getting attacked by radical leftists.”

* But he reminds me a little of the LaRouchies who ran as Democrats

I reached out the league’s Chicago chapter to ask about Jones and his attempts to distance himself from his Nazi affiliations.

“Arthur Jones, who proudly displays Holocaust denial, xenophobia and racism on his blog and website, has a long history of hateful, extremist and anti-Semitic views,” ADL Midwest Regional Director Lonnie Nasatir replied in a statement.

“For example, in 2009, he protested the opening of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center and continues to espouse absurd conspiracy theories questioning the deaths of millions of Jews. He has spoken publicly at numerous neo-Nazi rallies and events, expressing xenophobic policies based in racial and religious hatred. He is by every definition an anti-Semite and unrepentant bigot.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

Fairgrounds Foundation chairman blames fund sweeps, mansion renovation for horrible fundraising

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

* As we discussed yesterday, the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation is basically a joke - raising just $32,000 last year after promising to raise millions. AP

People have raised concerns about whether the money could be put other uses, [Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation Chairman John Slayton] said. Lawmakers have taken funds out of special state funds to balance the budget. But the foundation money is separate from those state accounts and cannot be swept by lawmakers.

“You have to walk them through the process,” said Slayton.

He said that some donors, including companies like John Deere, Caterpillar and State Farm, already contributed to the governor’s mansion.

“So the well’s kind of dry there for a few years,” said Slayton. “I think we’ll have to wait. That’s fine because they both had to be renovated.”


By the way, Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) told the AP that Gov. Rauner himself should ante up.

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      

Charles Thomas leaves WVON

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

* WVON press release from yesterday…

Veteran journalist Charles Thomas stepped down as co-host of the popular morning drive talk show The WVON Morning Show with Maze Jackson featuring Charles Thomas over the weekend.

Thomas joined the morning show 13 months ago with the intent of only staying a few weeks after retiring from ABC-7 following a 45-year career in journalism. Thomas tendered his resignation to Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s Chairman, Melody Spann Cooper. Spann Cooper states, “I thanked Charles for his tremendous commitment and contribution to the station and the community. We were honored to have him for such a short stay and look forward to assisting him in his future endeavors of building his brand in the Black media landscape. We know there are big things on the horizon for him.”

Thomas’ departure is the first of several major personality changes that will be taking place before the end of the year.

* Politico

Esteemed journalist Charles Thomas has stepped down as co-host of WVON’s Morning Show. The move comes a few days after POLITICO published the ties his co-host Maze Jackson had to Republican candidates.

* Robert Feder

Thomas, who joined WVON in April 2017 after he retired as political reporter from ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, cited the difficult hours of morning drive for suddenly walking away from the 6 to 9 a.m. weekday gig. He would not comment on the Politico story or say whether it figured into his decision to leave.

“I’m getting my life back,” he told me Monday. “When I retired [from ABC 7], I did not envision getting up at 3 o’clock in the morning every day and then having to go to bed every night at 7 or 8 o’clock. So it’s a good thing for me.” […]

WVON is looking to add a new morning co-host “in the very near future,” according to program director Todd Ronczkowski.

* Maze Jackson defended himself on Facebook the other day. Excerpt

This story is a one-sided attempt to paint me as a Republican and to attempt to compromise who I am and my intentions. So instead playing their game I’ll share with my audience. Let’s FACT CHECK:

Chauncey Colquitt does not have a job and never had the job of booking guests for WVON. As many community and PR people do, Chauncey HAS scheduled HIS clients on the show. Additionally he is a 30 year friend and fraternity brother. He has worked with and for me on campaigns for 20 plus years. He is family…I would help him until it hurt me.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

Fun with numbers

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

* Greg Hinz

One study released each month is based on a survey of households. Known as the current population survey, it’s best known as being the basis for the unemployment rates that come out 12 times a year. The study also includes figures on local employment, and in the case of metropolitan Chicago the news is bad.

Specifically, the latest monthly survey indicated that compared to a year ago—click on Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights seasonally adjusted data to get an Excel file containing the numbers—the metro area has lost jobs, with employment dipping from an estimated 3,594,100 to 3,589,700. Given national growth of about 1.5 percent in that period, the drop here is awful.

However, BLS does another report each month that IDES uses to compile its metro employment report. In June, according to that report, employment in the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights area grew 42,300, almost 1.2 percent, to 3.829 million.

So, Chicago lost 4,000-plus jobs. Or it gained more than 42,000. Both can’t be right, can they? […]

A BLS spokesman emphasizes that the household survey uses a significantly smaller sample than the employer survey, so its margin of error is larger. With a current margin of error in metro Chicago of plus or minus 63,000, the finding that the region lost more than 4,000 jobs is compatible with the region also being found to have gained 42,000 jobs.

Emphasis added.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

More than half the state’s counties are on a poverty watch list

Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

* One Illinois

A study released this week by the Social IMPACT Research Center at Heartland Alliance placed more than half of the state’s 102 counties on a poverty watch list.

Considered an update to the organization’s poverty report issued last year, it placed 52 of Illinois’s 102 counties on a poverty watch list, up from 30 last year, while finding that almost a third of state residents are below the poverty line or considered low-income.

Using 2016 census data, the alliance issued a statewide map showing poverty widespread by county. The study found that poverty was increasing in Chicago suburbs, and that while all the collar counties are considered relatively healthy, with poverty rates below 12 percent, all had more than 20,000 people below the poverty line.

According to the alliance, its County Well-Being Index “highlights counties that are experiencing particularly negative conditions and trends on four key indicators: poverty, unemployment, teen births, and high-school graduation.”

* The map

An interactive map and more info is here. The full report is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      

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Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

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Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

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Tuesday, Jul 31, 2018

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Question: Do you know what you won’t find in a legal pot dispensary?

Monday, Jul 30, 2018

* Answer: An illegally “defaced” firearm possessed by an owner without a FOID card

Springfield Police Department executed a search warrant July 25 a 2:55 p.m. at an apartment on the 800 block of Ridgely Avenue.

Two men were arrested - Marcus Brown, 29, and Graylon Brown, 20.

Upon arrival, officers found over 50 ecstasy pills, marijuana and a firearm in the apartment.

Marcus Brown is facing charges of possession of a defaced firearm, manufacturing the delivery of cannabis, possession of cannabis and two counts of possessing a firearm without a FOID card.

The state and local governments would also be receiving tax money off of those sales, and the dispensary’s workers would be paying income taxes to the state.

Also too, no underage customers.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, Jul 30, 2018

* Kinda slow around here today. Open thread?

The usual Illinois-centric and kindness rules will apply, of course.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      

Local 150 endorses Pritzker and McCann

Monday, Jul 30, 2018

* Go figure…

At a semi-annual meeting of its membership and Executive Board this weekend, the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 150 formally announced its endorsement of both Democrat JB Pritzker and Conservative Sam McCann in the General Election race for Governor of Illinois.

IUOE Local 150 President-Business Manager James M. Sweeney made the following statement:

    Local 150 has a politically diverse membership in Illinois, with a nearly 50/50 split of members who identify as Republicans and Democrats. One thing we can all agree upon, however, is Bruce Rauner’s failure as Governor over the past three-and-a-half years. His inability to put the good of our state ahead of his obsession with attacking workers has left our economy, our infrastructure, and our reputation in embarrassing condition.

    In this election, JB Pritzker and Sam McCann have stepped forward with their own ideas to stop the gridlock in Illinois, empower working families and get our state moving forward again. Local 150 has proudly endorsed both candidates to our membership in Illinois, and I encouraged our members to vote their issues with the confidence that a vote for either of these candidates will not be a vote against their paycheck, their rights on the job, or their union.

    It is no secret that many Republican union workers across Illinois held their noses and voted for Bruce Rauner in 2014 or simply sat out the election. This year, no matter their political affiliation, union members can choose between candidates who represent their beliefs on various issues without threatening their livelihood.

The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 is a labor union representing 23,000 working men and women in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. Local 150 represents workers in various industries, including construction, construction material production, public works, concrete pumping, steel mill service, slag processing and others.

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

Unprepared candidates

Monday, Jul 30, 2018

* The consent decree draft was released on Friday, so maybe we should give the governor a break for not taking a position…

You can listen to him avoid reporters’ questions by clicking here.

* But this project has been debated since the 1960s, so Pritzker should at least have something to say

One tollway project that is roiling Lake County is whether to extend Route 53 north to Route 120. The agency is studying the extension which supporters say will reduce traffic gridlock and boost the economy. Opponents say it is too expensive, will cause pollution and destroy established neighborhoods.

Pritzker didn’t commit either way. “I haven’t followed the debate on both sides of it,” he said.

A campaign about nothing.

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      

The Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation is basically a joke

Monday, Jul 30, 2018

* Last month, I took you back in time to show how the Illinois State Fair Foundation has been an abject failure. In 2017, the foundation’s chairman set a goal of raising either $2-3 million or $3-5 million a year, depending on the month he was making the prediction. More than $185 million is needed at the fairgrounds for infrastructure improvement.

The SJ-R updated us yesterday

The latest financial report filed by the foundation with the attorney general’s office shows income in 2017 was just over $32,000.

* And still no word about this promise by the foundation’s chairman in March

“We are extremely close to an agreement with an ag association in Illinois on naming rights for the Coliseum. They are ready to go, but they want to make sure of the timeline for the repairs to the Coliseum,” he said.

Money to fix the Coliseum was appropriated in this fiscal year’s budget.

The Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation was launched in August of 2016 and raised a whopping $100 that year, according to documents filed with the attorney general’s office.

* Meanwhile, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Caterpillar and CME Group - which all have strong agriculture ties to Illinois - gave the Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association at least a million dollars each, as did three separate branches of the Funderburg family and the governor himself. John Deere contributed between $250,000 and $499,999, as did JB Pritzker’s family foundation.

Such priorities.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

Today’s quotable

Monday, Jul 30, 2018

* Illinois State Rifle Association executive director Richard Pearson

“There is Chicago and then the rest of Illinois, which is like America,” Pearson said.

Um. Hmm. I wonder what he means?

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      

Pritzker, Rauner point fingers over cronyism

Monday, Jul 30, 2018

* Daily Herald

Democratic candidate for governor J.B. Pritzker jumped into controversy surrounding the Illinois tollway over potential political patronage Saturday while campaigning in Lake County.

“We’ve got to make sure we rid the tollway and every agency of government of the corruption that we’ve seen from the past,” the Hyatt hotel heir said after rallying volunteers in Gurnee.

Last week, state senators held a hearing into tollway procurement policies after reports by the Daily Herald on contracts involving firms with political ties to Republicans or connections with tollway executives.

“We’ve got to make sure we’ve got rules against nepotism, rules against people handing out contracts to friends without disclosure,” Pritzker said. The governor appoints the tollway board.

* Later in the story

Pritzker’s tour included Highland Park, Gurnee and the Lake County Fair in Grayslake. His rival Republican Bruce Rauner has also been dropping into the suburbs, visiting an Itasca manufacturer Thursday where he took some digs at Pritzker and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan on the same subject.

“They love corruption … they have their cronies and their patronage and they hire their brother-in-law,” Rauner said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   12 Comments      

Speaker Madigan issues statement on Violence Against Women Act

Monday, Jul 30, 2018

* After searching with Google, I do not believe Madigan has ever done this before…

Illinois Democrats Say Violence Against Women Act Must be Reauthorized

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Michael J. Madigan, chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, released the following statement supporting the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

“Twenty-four years ago, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act, a landmark piece of legislation written by Joe Biden. Our culture began to change for the better on that day. Domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking were no longer considered a private or family matter. There is still work to be done.

“Today, we see relentless threats to women. With Donald Trump in the White House, women are constantly targeted as part of his agenda. As we saw with his recent Supreme Court nominee, women’s rights will remain under threat for years to come, making legislation like the Violence Against Women Act even more important.

“Illinois Democrats stand united in support of the critical effort by Congressional Democrats to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and ensure that federal safeguards exist for all who face domestic and sexual violence. Allowing this legislation to expire would constitute a moral travesty.

“Here in Illinois, we are committed to responsibly and boldly addressing the crisis of violence against women. Domestic and sexual violence harms our communities, our families and our state.”


- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 - “No plans” to use as TV ad *** Pritzker apparently to tape ads “working alongside regular people”

Monday, Jul 30, 2018

* Tribune

Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker was in the Logan Square neighborhood on Friday to launch what his campaign is calling the “Illinois Workdays” series.

The effort is aimed at showing Pritzker working alongside regular people in various jobs and industries. Pritzker, an heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune, is worth an estimated $3.5 billion, according to Forbes. So he might be trying to overcome campaign concerns about how well regular Illinoisans can relate to him.

On Friday, Pritzker was at the Sip of Hope Coffee Bar, video crew in tow, where he talked to the manager and workers. Proceeds from the coffee bar go to support suicide prevention and mental health education. Pritzker has spoken of the need for more state funding for mental health.

* Yep, this is actually a thing. From a Friday media advisory…

** MEDIA ADVISORY: Today at 1:45 PM **

JB Pritzker to Launch ‘Illinois Workdays’ Series at Sip of Hope Coffee Bar

JB Pritzker to launch new ‘Illinois Workdays’ series where he will work alongside Illinoisans in various jobs and industries and experience their day to day at Sip of Hope Coffee Bar in Chicago.

Friday, July 27 at 1:45 PM

Sip of Hope Coffee Bar
3039 West Fullerton Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647

* There was no mention of working with the employees in his lone tweet about the stop…

There is a photo attached to that tweet of him standing behind the counter, however.

*** UPDATE *** The Pritzker campaign says that as of now there are no plans to use this video in TV ads. They video just about everything and this is no different.

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

It’s time to get to the meat

Monday, Jul 30, 2018

* Rauner campaign…

“JB Pritzker’s entire campaign is based on a graduated tax hike, but a year-and-a-half after announcing his campaign, he won’t tell the voters how much more they will have to pay under his tax plan. With just 99 days left in this campaign, it’s time Pritzker came clean with Illinois voters about just how high he will raise taxes.” - Rauner Campaign Spokesman Alex Browning

JB Pritzker announced his campaign for governor 480 days ago, running on a platform wholly reliant on a graduated tax hike. Since then, he has said it will be a “theme of this campaign.” But he has yet to answer a simple question: how high will taxes go?

Pritzker himself admitted that he would raise the flat income tax rate on ALL taxpayers in the meantime (albeit without any numbers), and has often been criticized for his unwillingness to explain his tax hike plan.

For a candidate that talks about his “specific plans,” Illinoisans should be concerned that he refuses to tell them how much more they will be paying if he had his way. Pritzker has 99 days to explain himself to voters.

You can nitpick here and there, but overall Rauner’s campaign has a point, although Pritzker isn’t alone here. The governor’s promised tax cuts are so far completely based on magic fairy dust.

* So the Chicago Tribune editorial board also has a point

Yet the two major-party campaigns for governor, and whatever media traction the two camps do create, tend to focus on the transitory topic of the day, not on specific, ambitious or provocative policy proposals for voters to weigh. What will the next state budget look like? Where would each candidate cut spending, if at all? How would each address, again, the alarming unfunded pension liabilities that continue to rise? If tax increases or cuts are the answer, then what exactly should the next governor sign into law?

Pritzker did roll out several substantive policy ideas during the primary, but since then it’s been a campaign about almost nothing by both men.

- Posted by Rich Miller   63 Comments      

Dems hope to stop Madison County’s slide to GOP

Monday, Jul 30, 2018

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

President Donald Trump visited an Illinois county last week that was once considered a Democratic Party bastion but has been slipping away to the Republicans throughout this decade.

Madison County, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, has been known for two things for as long as most can remember: Union workers and trial lawyers.

The area is heavily industrialized, with the Wood River Refinery towering over everything. And the gorgeous and gleaming white county courthouse in Edwardsville reflects the wealth that trial lawyers, particularly in the asbestos field, have brought to (and extracted from) the area.

The combination of working-class voters and trial lawyer money made the Democrats almost unbeatable until the national Tea Party victories of 2010 when the Republicans started making serious inroads. The county has also become more suburbanized, as St. Louis-area folks realized there was a better option across the river.

Democratic state Rep. Jay Hoffman lost his re-election to Republican Dwight Kay in 2010, and the Republicans picked up two additional countywide offices that year. Madison County voters also chose the Republican candidates for both governor and U.S. Senate for the first time in memory. All three of the county’s congressmen are now Republicans: Mike Bost, Rodney Davis and John Shimkus. The Bost and Davis districts were originally drawn to be Democratic.

Since 2010, just two statewide Democrats have won Madison County: Jesse White in 2014 and Tammy Duckworth in 2016. The Republicans now have a majority on the county board. And while Dwight Kay lost his seat two years ago in a stunning upset, the word is the House Republicans have polling showing him tied 45-45 with freshman Democratic Rep. Katie Stuart of Edwardsville.

Congressman Bost won his district after longtime Democratic Congressman Jerry Costello retired and the local party bosses handed his seat to a National Guard general who could only hold on for one term. The Democrats were unable to nominate someone who could do well enough in the rural, “southern” part of the district to build on their margins in the urban/suburban Metro East portion. But even that was upended in 2016, when Bost lost Madison County by only about 200 votes. Bost lost the county in 2014 by almost 10 percentage points.

Bost’s Democratic opponent this year is St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly, who seems to have a knack for connecting with the district’s rural areas that the last two Democratic candidates did not. But the president’s visit to celebrate the ultra-hyped news that the Granite City Steel plant is reopening (only partially because of the president’s tariffs, but you wouldn’t know that by reading most news coverage) should probably worry Democrats that their grip in the Metro East could be eroded even further.

Elsewhere, the 111th Illinois House District race between appointed Rep. Monica Bristow (D-Godfrey) and Wood River Township Supervisor Mike Babcock should be one to watch. This district is mostly in Madison County, with a smallish 1000-vote or so sliver in Jersey County. Babcock is a very aggressive campaigner who has embraced President Trump.

Trump won this district by 16 points in 2016. However, statewide Democrats Tammy Duckworth and Susana Mendoza also won it (by 11 points and 1 point, respectively).

Until Bristow’s appointment late last year, the 111th had been represented since 2004 by Rep. Daniel Beiser (D-Alton). Beiser was unopposed in 2010 and 2014, but he soundly won his 2012 race by 17 points, and then only managed to win it in 2016 by five points. The writing was on the wall and he left.

The Senate Democrats are not as worried as they could’ve been about the county’s 56th Senate District seat, currently held by retiring Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton). The main reason for their lack of anxiety is that they kicked the Republican candidate, Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton, off the primary ballot and he is now running as a third-party candidate.

Historically, it’s tough for a third-party candidate to win even though there is no GOP candidate in that race. Patton also endured a scandal last month when photos surfaced of him wearing blackface at a party.

Patton is up against Rachelle Aud Crowe, a criminal prosecutor in the Madison County State’s Attorney’s office. President Trump won the district by 10 points in 2016, but so did Sen. Duckworth. Comptroller Mendoza essentially tied her Republican opponent.

The 56th is swingy, going back and forth among both parties at the top and bottom of the ticket. Sen. Haine’s personal popularity made him a lock, so we’ll see what happens this time around.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      


Monday, Jul 30, 2018

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