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

Monday, Jul 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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.


Question of the day

Monday, Jul 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Kinda slow around here today. Open thread?

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


Local 150 endorses Pritzker and McCann

Monday, Jul 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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.


Unprepared candidates

Monday, Jul 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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.


The Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation is basically a joke

Monday, Jul 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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.


Today’s quotable

Monday, Jul 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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?


Pritzker, Rauner point fingers over cronyism

Monday, Jul 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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.


Speaker Madigan issues statement on Violence Against Women Act

Monday, Jul 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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.”



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

Monday, Jul 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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.


It’s time to get to the meat

Monday, Jul 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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.


Dems hope to stop Madison County’s slide to GOP

Monday, Jul 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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.



Monday, Jul 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

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