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Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* LP

Come save us a runaway train
Gone insane

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Hinz: Rauner has “made his peace” with losing

Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Too soon?

He smiled. He cracked jokes, about himself and others at the table. He looked relaxed, rested and at ease with himself—more so than in years. In fact, he looked like a man liberated.

That wasn’t what I expected when Gov. Bruce Rauner, who now is in desperate re-election trouble, stopped by to meet with Crain’s editorial board for an endorsement interview the other day. Lots of people in and around state government have noticed the same thing recently. As one knowledgeable source summarizes, “He’s made his peace with it”—”it” being losing his job in the Nov. 6 election.

I won’t throw dirt on the casket yet; Election Day is still more than a month away. But even if he does somehow pull it out, a Rauner who lately has been ruminating in public about the mistakes he made in the past four long years won’t be the same. It’s not too early to ask how a governorship that began with such promise went so horribly off track. […]

Some Republican governors have thrived in blue states, including Charlie Baker in Massachusetts and Maryland’s Larry Hogan. Others, such as Florida businessman Rick Scott, made the transition to governing after a bumpy start. Not Rauner. “It all comes down to arrogance. He had to have everything,” says one top insider. Adds another, “I don’t think he ever was willing to try to figure it out.”

Too bad. Illinois needed a good, experienced CEO who could put his ego in check. It still does.

Go read the whole thing. This could explain the governor’s renewed willingness to talk so openly about “right to work” zones.

Or, it could just be that this is his last election win or lose and he’s doing what he wants to do.


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Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Question of the day

Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I got nothing. Illinois-centric open thread?


Um. What?

Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From JB Pritzker’s editorial board meeting with Crain’s Chicago Business

The Democratic nominee also appeared to signal the likely death of Rauner’s vaunted Discovery Partners Institute on Related Midwest’s 78-acre property at Roosevelt and Clark.

“It should have partners in private industry,” rather than just rely on a pending state grant of up to $500 million, Pritzker said. “There is no private support as best as I can tell,” despite several months of promises from Rauner, who told Crain’s that investors are willing to step forward if he is re-elected.

As a matter of practical politics, the DPI plan was the creation of Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Rauner soon could be out of office and Emanuel will retire after his current term ends in April.

So, there are willing DPI investors but the governor is keeping their names a secret because they’re only on board if Rauner is reelected?

…Adding… I posted this Democratic Party of Illinois press release on the live coverage post, but it also fits here…

One year ago to the day, Bruce Rauner said he came back from his trip to China and Japan with “nine projects that have a good chance of success here in the state of Illinois,” but today he’s coming up empty. Rauner was speaking at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce days after returning from what he dubbed a “trade mission.” But where are the jobs governor?

As WCIA and the Chicago Tribune’s Eric Zorn exposed, Rauner’s administration has been unable to show any real success from his Asia trade mission, or his more recent Germany trip. In fact, the only news Illinoisans are seeing is Japanese companies like Takeda and Daifuku Wynright moving 1,500 jobs OUT of Illinois. Zorn connected Rauner’s overseas flop to his overall jobs record – Rauner had blasted his predecessor as a “miserable failure on jobs” and promised to “get results,” but job growth has slowed during his tenure.

“After 1,500 jobs disappeared in six days, it’s clear why Bruce Rauner is a ‘miserable failure on jobs’ by his own measure,” said DPI Statewide Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Over promising and under delivering is a recipe for disaster, and it seems to be the only one Rauner has perfected.”

It’s kinda weird that the acronym for Rauner’s project and Madigan’s party are the same.


Who does and who doesn’t use non-disclosure agreements in their campaigns?

Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I sent this e-mail to all Democratic and Republican statewide campaigns and both state parties earlier this week…

As you may know, the Illinois Anti-Harassment, Equality and Access panel’s report recommends that campaigns not use non-disclosure agreements and mandatory arbitration. A panel spokesperson told me, however, that the report “isn’t calling for campaigns to not sign NDAs at all, but just when it comes to settling sexual harassment issues.”

    1) Does your campaign (or state party, as the case may be) utilize non-disclosure agreements that would in any way preclude, hinder or discourage campaign staff, volunteers etc. from reporting or speaking out about instances of sexual harassment? Please provide any NDA language to support your claim.

    2) Does your campaign (or state party, as the case may be) utilize mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment complaints, reports, claims? Please provide any mandatory arbitration language to support your claim.

The deadline was today at noon. Responses listed in the order they were received.

* Aviva Bowen from the Kwame Raoul campaign…

1. Nothing in our NDA (attached for background) would discourage someone from speaking out or reporting sexual harassment, particularly when coupled with our sexual harassment policy (also attached) and requirement that all campaign staff take anti-harassment training, for which they receive a certificate of completion.

2. No, we do not have any mandatory arbitration provisions.

Further, as you know I am on leave from the IFT, where I serve as the Ethics Officer. I bring to the campaign my additional training and experience in this role.

The campaign’s harassment policy (which she included along with the NDA) ensures that anyone speaking out will not be subjected to retaliation. That, she explained, would negate the NDA.

* Jason Helland

My campaign does not use any NDAs and we do not utilize mandatory arbitration.

* Will Allison at the Bruce Rauner campaign…

1. No.
2. No.

* Kara Highfill at the Michael Frerichs campaign…

All full-time staff on the Frerichs campaign including Frerichs have signed the framework policy provided by the AHEA panel. I added a clause to that policy that outlines that the Frerichs campaign does not utilize NDA agreements or mandatory arbitration clauses.

* Aaron Degroot at the Erika Harold campaign…

That’s a no on both questions for Citizens For Erika Harold.

* Travis Sterling at the Illinois Republican Party

1. The Illinois Republican Party from time to time utilizes confidentiality agreements that seek to preserve the confidentiality of sensitive political information (plans, processes and the like) that may be disclosed to an intern or employee. In no way would (or could) such an agreement be interpreted to hinder any person from speaking out against or reporting an instance of sexual harassment.

2. No, the Illinois Republican Party does not utilize mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment complaints.

* Christie Lacey at the Susana Mendoza campaign…

No & no.

* Sam Salustro at the Democratic Party of Illinois

Under our current policies, DPI does not use non-disclosure agreements or utilize mandatory arbitration.

* Rocco Claps at the Jesse White campaign…



* Galia Slayen at the JB Pritzker campaign…

1. Like most political campaigns, our campaign does have staff sign a privacy agreement to protect strategic campaign information. There is no expectation or mention of keeping information about sexual harassment private. All staff are required to receive sexual harassment training and our campaign has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment or retaliation of any kind.

2. No.

* Darlene Senger

1) No, we don’t use NDAs.

2) No, we don’t use mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment complaints

I never heard back from Jim Dodge.

…Adding… There was an internal mixup, so here’s Dodge’s response…

We don’t use NDAs. We do not require mandatory arbitration.


Rauner continues editorial board meetings

Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign reset speech was ready-made for editorial board meetings. Here he is with the Pantagraph

He admitted, however, he might have pursued “smaller wins” rather than push so hard that the state went more than two years without a budget — and said he’s now better equipped to handle Madigan, a Chicago Democrat.

“What’s different is two things. One, I’ve learned to work with him and also around him. That’s how we got a lot of things done in the last year, 18 months,” said Rauner. “Two, he’s weaker in his strength in the General Assembly than at any time I’m aware of. … There are now so many more legislators who will stand up and say, ‘I’m doing this because it’s right.’”

Rauner said that approach will help grow businesses and address the state’s budget problems. He said that’s a better approach than a graduated income tax, which makes the wealthy pay more — a proposal Pritzker has made central to his campaign but Rauner opposes.

“We can all have our dreams, but we’ve got to deal with reality,” said Rauner. “More taxes are not going to give us a better future.”​

As we clearly saw during the impasse, less taxes won’t balance the budget.

Also, what did he get done in the past 18 months by going around Madigan? I can’t think of anything offhand. Just the other way around, in fact. Also, those Democratic legislators who are standing up to say they’re doing something “because it’s right” are mainly liberals who have few policy agreements with the governor.

He also talked extensively about “right to work” and even claimed that the Toyota plant we lost to Mississippi will be staffed by union workers. I seriously doubt that. He claimed, as well, that factory workers in Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin make more than factory workers in Illinois. Not true.

* Anyway, speaking of editorial boards and Madigan, the Kankakee Daily Journal’s editorial board pressed former Rep. Lisa Dugan (D-Bradley) about whether she’d be voting for Madigan for House Speaker. Dugan is trying to regain her former seat after her 2013 retirement. She’s running against freshman Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee)..

Asked whether she would vote for Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, to remain as speaker, Dugan made no commitment. She noted that much of the GOP’s advertising ties her to Madigan. And she acknowledged she voted for Madigan four times during her nearly decade as a lawmaker.

“I worked with Michael Madigan for nine-and-a-half years and fought with him for nine-and-a-half years,” Dugan said.

As an example, she said she worked against Madigan’s transit bill because it took money away from the local transit district.

“What you have to do in Springfield is work with 117 other legislators and one of them is Michael Madigan. You have to work with leadership on the Democratic and Republican sides,” Dugan said.

Parkhurst, however, said her first vote in Springfield was against Madigan. She said Dugan voted for Madigan’s proposed tax increase and pension holidays, meaning the state delayed payments into the pension systems.

“(Dugan) will vote for Mike Madigan. Don’t let her fool you,” Parkhurst said.

Dugan was no shrinking violet when she was in the House. But she was also very popular with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle. The Republicans claim the Madigan stuff is damaging this year, though. We’ll see.

Also, the process is the two caucuses privately choose their candidates for House Speaker and then there’s a formal public election between a Democrat and a Republican. I’m not sure the Daily Journal gets that.


Here we go again!

Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This is exactly the sort of hypothetical speculation that got Pritzker into hot water over the mileage tax and the service tax…

Voters don’t do nuance. Pritzker fully understood that concept in the primary when he went after Chris Kennedy and Daniel Biss over their nuanced and limited kinda/sorta support for a maybe/possible tax on retirement income. He zapped them both with harsh TV ads and now he’s getting zapped by Rauner on the mileage tax.

* The Daily Herald, by the way, is not pleased that Pritzker is running away from the mileage tax that he suggested he could look at as a pilot project

There’s a great irony in Pritzker calling Rauner a liar. It is Pritzker who, with our Editorial Board earlier this year, raised the possibility of a tax on vehicle mileage — and now denies that he mentioned it. Even though it’s fully recorded. Denied it outright Thursday night even when Carol Marin gave him a chance to acknowledge but downplay what he’d said.


*** UPDATED x1 - McCann responds *** Rauner wants Kavanaugh delay, Pritzker wants FBI probe

Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tribune

Hours before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday said the process should be delayed after Thursday’s testimony of Christine Blasey Ford.

“Dr. Ford’s allegations are very serious and they seem very credible. I believe they deserve to be investigated and I believe a vote should be postponed until they are fully investigated,” Rauner said on WBEZ-FM’s “Morning Shift” program. […]

On Thursday morning, Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker was asked about anti-harassment policies proposed this week by a panel of women formed in the wake of allegations in longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan’s organization. In answering, he also raised the Kavanaugh case.

“I happen to think that in Washington, D.C., that the Judiciary Committee in the Senate should be handing over to the FBI the investigation of the allegations that have been made about Kavanaugh,” Pritzker said. “That’s the way to do it. I’m not sure that here in Illinois that things have been handled the way they should have, but under our administration, they will be.”

OK, everybody take a deeeeeeeeeeeep breath and then exhale fully before commenting, please. Leave your DC talking points out of the comment section. Something you saw on Facebook is also not an acceptable fact source here, so do an honest Google search.

In other words, don’t get banned for life.

...Adding… Speaker Madigan…

“Yesterday, we saw Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s courage in standing before United States senators and a criminal prosecutor to tell her story. The allegations against Judge Kavanaugh are extremely serious, and his belligerent testimony failed to address the concerns of women and men across our country. In fact, it confirms the concerns we’ve expressed about Kavanaugh’s fitness to serve on our nation’s highest court.

“Now, even conservative newspapers, the American Bar Association and Governor Rauner have joined us in calling on senators to stop this nomination on the floor and open an FBI investigation into the very serious allegations facing Judge Kavanaugh.

“I urge senators to do the right thing and allow for a full investigation.”

*** UPDATE *** Sen. Sam McCann…

In response to Governor Rauner siding with Senator Feinstein and the Democrats Sam McCann issued the following statement:

I am following the lead of the President of the United States, and the strong conservative leadership of Senator Grasley, who are intimately involved in the details of the allegations and hearings regarding Kavanaugh. I would not base any decisions on the slanted media and conjecture. Rather, I put my faith in our commander and chief who was duly elected by our electoral process of the United States of America. Unfortunately, Bruce Rauner has shown time and again, as highlighted this morning, when he sided with Diane Feinstein and the Democrats, that he has no faith in President Trump and the Republican controlled Senate. I call on the American people to put faith back in Government.


Blagojevich boasts about accomplishments in op-ed supposedly about prison reform

Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich writes about prison reform, but of course he makes it mostly about himself

Before my arrest and retrial, my life was the American dream.

Growing up, I had shined shoes, worked in a slaughterhouse, worked on the Alaskan oil pipeline, and delivered pizzas. I went to law school, I was a prosecutor for two years, I served in the Illinois House, the U.S. Congress, and was twice-elected governor. I won 14 elections in a row.

My gubernatorial administration made historic progress in Illinois on women’s and children’s healthcare. We opened free preschool to every 3- and 4-year-old. We also reduced repeat crimes by ex-offenders. My initiative, “Inside Out,” provided better access to education, job training, substance abuse treatment and counseling services to inmates and parolees. This led to the lowest conviction rate among parolees in Illinois history; a reduction in arrests among the parolee population; and reductions in repeat incarceration among parolees with substance abuse issues. The dramatic drop in recidivism even saved the state of Illinois $64 million in incarceration costs over a four-year span from 2004 to 2008.

Today however, I am living the reverse American dream – a bad dream that I share with other inmates at a prison in Colorado where I am currently serving a 14-year sentence. So what happened?

He got caught. That’s what happened. Anyway, he does make a few good points, so click here if you’re inclined.


Democratic candidate withdraws from Tribune endorsement session over McQueary column

Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Terra Costa Howard is running against Rep. Peter Breen (R-Lombard). This is a Tier 1 race and as I’ve been telling subscribers, tons of money is being pumped into it. Personal PAC is also heavily involved because Breen is totally against abortion rights…

Statement from Terra Costa Howard
Democratic nominee for 48th District State Representative

Several weeks ago, I accepted the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board’s invitation to attend an endorsement session today.

Many friends and advisors warned me that I had no chance of getting a fair hearing, much less an endorsement. However, I thought it was important to give voters in the 48th District this opportunity to hear from me directly about my positions on the issues that matter most to us.

Then on Monday, I read Kristen McQueary’s column, which insulted every Democratic woman running for office in Illinois.

Ms. McQueary said the women running in DuPage County and other suburbs were “put up” by House Speaker Michael Madigan because we “poll well.” That’s offensive.

I’ve worked as an attorney in DuPage County for two decades, standing up for people who are vulnerable and in need. I’ve worked beside my husband to build a successful small business. I spent eight years on the Glen Ellyn school board, making sure our community’s excellent public schools serve the needs of our children – while keeping our budgets balanced, every year.

By any standard, I am more than qualified to run for State Representative – and to serve. Yet Ms. McQueary makes it sound like I’m some generic “woman candidate,” a pawn in a skirt whose name was randomly pulled from a hat.

She also claimed that any candidate who accepts support from the Illinois Democratic Party has to “give up control” of her campaign and winds up “subservient” to Madigan. That is absolutely untrue.

I’m proud to be a Democrat, and I’m proud that the Democratic Party of Illinois is supporting me.

I’m up against an incumbent who is backed by billionaires Bruce Rauner and Dick Uihlein (the top donor for Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama who was accused of sexually assaulting several teen girls.) Without the support of my party, I would have no chance to unseat an entrenched politician who has turned his back on our communities in favor of the wealthy special interests that support him.

But let me be clear: I am in full control of my campaign, and I am “subservient” to no one. When I get to Springfield, I will vote my district first, no matter what.

As for Ms. McQueary’s statement that Democratic women “have become adept at looking the other way” when women are abused or harassed, I will just say this: For 20 years, judges in DuPage County have chosen me to act as guardian ad litem for children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Those judges trust me to protect those vulnerable people to the absolute best of my ability – and they know I will never “look the other way” if my clients are in danger of harm or abuse. My integrity has never been for sale, and it never will be.

Every day, I grab a clipboard and walk from door to door in my district, talking to people about the issues that matter most to them and their families. I see no reason to waste precious hours of this campaign fighting to be heard in a room full of people whose minds were made up long before I walked in the door.

For these reasons, I am withdrawing from today’s meeting with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.

The column in question is here. I’ve asked McQueary via e-mail for comment and will post it if she sends one.

Did she do the right thing, or should she have attended the forum anyway?


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Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Londrigan demands Paul Ryan Super PAC ad be taken down

Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Today, the Betsy Dirksen Londrigan for Congress campaign called out the Congressional Leadership Fund, Paul Ryan’s Super PAC, for lying about her record on healthcare, and sent a letter to TV stations in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District demanding that their false ad be pulled. For a detailed explanation of why the ad is blatantly false, read the Londrigan campaign’s letter HERE and attached below.

“It’s clear that Paul Ryan’s super PAC knows Rodney Davis’s disastrous healthcare record has landed him in real trouble in Central Illinois. This ad is a desperate, fraudulent attempt to distract voters from that truth,” said Emma Brown, campaign manager for Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. “While this group lies about Betsy, here are the facts about Rodney Davis: he voted for a health care repeal bill that would have left tens of thousands of his own constituents without health care, weakened protections for those with pre-existing conditions and charged older Americans more for their care. This is who Rodney Davis has shown himself to be, a career politician who will say anything to distract from his record and try to get re-elected.”

More here.

* The ad in question

* Script

Liberal Betsy Londrigan is too expensive for Illinois.

Londrigan’s radical health care plan could put government in control of your care, cost $32 trillion, and nearly double the national debt.

It could end employer-provided insurance – and end Medicare as we know it.

Even doubling your income taxes wouldn’t be enough to pay for her radical plan.

Illinois can’t afford liberal Betsy Londrigan.


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Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Friday, Sep 28, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

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Your moment of Zen

Thursday, Sep 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* It’s been a rough day in this country and it ain’t over yet. So, in lieu of a question, here’s a little Oscar love…


Follow the Lincoln Hat money

Thursday, Sep 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Bruce Rushton at the Illinois Times

The year was 2007, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation was drooling over a collection of Lincoln documents and artifacts, including a stovepipe hat that’s become famous for all the wrong reasons. The hat was owned by Louise Taper, a denizen of Beverly Hills and a foundation board member. “From the onset, when Louise talked to me in my kitchen some three years ago, the price of her total collection was $15 to $16 to $20 million to whatever,” Julie Cellini, foundation board secretary, wrote in an April 1 (yes, April Fool’s Day) email to T. Tolbert Chisum, a foundation board member. “The price bounced around. But the ‘must haves’ were always in the proposed sale we discussed.”

The “must have” to which Cellini referred was a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln. That iconic – and presumably authentic – document, despite Cellini’s insistence, wasn’t included in the final sale, but the price tag stayed at $23 million. Who’d make a deal like that? Someone with buyer’s fever, which appears to have been contagious back when the foundation agreed to buy Taper’s collection, which included a hat that Pawn Stars would reject as iffy.

Thanks to a report last week by WBEZ radio in Chicago, we know that neither the FBI nor historians from the Smithsonian and the Chicago History Museum could authenticate the hat. That’s somewhat old news. Dave McKinney, the same journalist who broke the WBEZ story, reported in 2012 that an affidavit from the 1950s, once considered proof, doesn’t hold water. That shouldn’t have been startling to either the foundation or the state, given that an appraiser hired before the 2007 sale sent an email to Tom Schwartz, then state historian, and Taper, questioning the provenance of the hat, as well as a clock that is said to have come from Lincoln’s law office, as well as a fan that Mary Todd Lincoln is supposed to have carried with her to Ford’s Theatre. The same appraiser, who was paid by the state, also spotted a fake Mary Todd Lincoln letter (it was a clerical copy) and questioned whether Lincoln had actually signed a photograph bearing his autograph and whether invitations to White House dinners really came from Mary.

That’s a fair number of flags. Nonetheless, the foundation closed the deal, thinking it would be able to raise $23 million to pay off a loan so that artifacts would forever grace display cases at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

And now the foundation can’t pay back the loan and wants a state bailout.


Pritzker touts his proposed “cuts” when he’s never proposed any

Thursday, Sep 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* JB Pritzker today

He was asked how he’d pay for his ambitious plan for higher education he announced Wednesday. It includes big increases in state aid.

His response, “We can help pay for that thru cuts in state government I’ve suggested. I’ve proposed investments in savings that we could have both in our Medicaid budget and our education budget by investing in early childhood education. Finally, I’ve suggested we might legalize sports betting or look at other expansion of gambling in the state. And then legalize marijuana and tax it.”

He’s suggested cuts in state government? What?

I asked him last year where he would cut and he responded by saying he’d shift people out of nursing homes and into in-home care, spend more on homeless prevention and more on community-based intervention programs to lessen juvenile crime.

That ain’t gonna save much.

And spending more on early childhood education will likely have positive long-term fiscal benefits, but I wouldn’t predicate funding higher education based on that. Same goes for legalizing marijuana. We’ll save some money, but you can’t really bank that.

Also, this almost goes without saying, but Pritzker has said many times that he wants to use gaming and pot money for capital projects. He only started talking about using it for higher ed yesterday.

* More Pritzker

An audience member asked Pritzker how as governor he would support the middle class. He said his plan is to drastically lower taxes for most residents in the state.

“We ask people like Bruce Rauner and me to pay a little bit more. It’ll help us to pay for our k-12 education system. Today we rely on property taxes mostly to pay for our schools in Illinois and that is not how most states do it,” Pritzker said.

Paying half the cost of K-12 would cost the state at least $5 billion. All while “drastically” cutting taxes for most residents in the state. Right.


*** UPDATED x2 *** Rauner blames union-friendly laws for loss of Toyota plant

Thursday, Sep 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* There he goes again

Rauner, a Winnetka Republican, said company officials considered bringing a $1.6 billion joint venture between Toyota and Mazda that will employ 4,000 workers in Huntsville, Ala., to Central Illinois — but they didn’t want to deal with closed-shop rules that make employees at certain businesses join a union.

“We should be where the auto plants are coming. We’ve got the workforce and the people. You can’t get a new auto plant built in a closed-shop state,” he told the Pantagraph’s Editorial Board.

“I went to Japan to bring the Toyota-Mazda venture here to McLean County. … They said they love Illinois, they love Central Illinois, they love the workforce here.They were coming,” he continued.

“But the board members said, ‘This board of directors will not build a new plant in a closed-shop state. Can you make it so McLean County is not?’ I said, ‘I proposed it, but that’s not an option right now.’ So they said, ‘Well then, you know what, we’re going to another state,’” he said.

Alabama is a right-to-work state.

Um, “closed shops” were outlawed in this country in 1947.

* From October of 2017

Mark Denzler, vice president and chief operating officer of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, confirmed Wednesday that Illinois is no longer in the running.

“We are certainly very disappointed that Toyota is not coming to Illinois, but we also understand the challenges that plague Illinois,” he said. “We are not a business-friendly state.”

Stability and predictability are lacking, Denzler said. He pointed to the $15 billion backlog of bills the state built up during its budget crisis, unfunded pensions and a recent income tax increase as examples. Illinois has some redeeming qualities, he said, but not enough.

Hmm. “Stability and predictability are lacking.”

* Also, remember when Ford announced in late 2015 that it would be investing $1.1 billion into its Chicago-area factories? And the company made this announcement in April

Joe Hinrichs, president of global operations for Ford, said the automaker will retool the Chicago assembly plant after Taurus production winds down. There about about 4,000 workers at the Chicago assembly plant, and Ford expects demand for the new SUV lines to support the same size workforce going forward.

“We’re investing heavily in the plant, and we’re going to keep it full and everybody is going to keep their employment,” Hinrichs said Thursday.

*** UPDATE 1 *** I don’t think McLean County was on the list of sites that the state was backing for that Toyota plant. Rochelle and DeKalb were the two towns in the running.

*** UPDATE 2 *** From that article about Rochelle and DeKalb is this nugget

Amid battles between Rauner and Democratic leaders, the state’s largest jobs incentives program —Economic Development for a Growing Economy, or EDGE, tax credits — expired earlier this year with no new legislation passed to replace it.

“The biggest challenge Illinois will face is competitiveness of incentives,” [site selection expert Bradley Migdal of Cushman & Wakefield] said. “If Illinois is competing with states like Alabama or Mississippi, at the end of the day the key tool is going to be incentives.

“To do something now would require special legislation, because right now there is no legislation in place for providing EDGE incentives.”


“Our college students are not stupid. They know how to do the math.”

Thursday, Sep 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Dusty Rhodes

As districts around the state begin reaping the benefits of Illinois’ new school funding formula, Democratic lawmakers who just happen to be up for re-election gathered today to remind voters that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner initially vetoed that funding, and likewise vetoed legislation that would raise minimum teacher salaries to $40,000 over the next five years.

State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), who sponsored the legislation and is seeking re-election, says it’s possible to get enough votes to override the veto when the General Assembly convenes shortly after midterm elections in November.

“I would anticipate, just from my own experience, that the outlook on controversial bills — though I don’t know why this one is controversial — is much different during veto session than it is during spring legislative session,” Manar says. […]

Under current law, districts can pay teachers as little as $10,000 per year. No district does that; starting salaries for teachers in Illinois’ lowest-paying districts are around $26,000 per year. But in hundreds of districts, beginning teachers still earn less than $40,000 — even if they hold master’s degrees.

* And teachers can work for decades and barely make more than $40,000 a year

Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill, Rep. Sue Scherer of Decatur and Rep. Christian Mitchell of Chicago all said setting a higher minimum wage for teachers in Illinois will help alleviate the teacher shortage.

They got agreement from Connie Charlesworth, who has a master’s degree and retired from teaching after 30 years, earning $45,000 a year.

“Our college students are not stupid. They know how to do the math,” she said at Wednesday’s news conference outside the Illinois Education Association building near the Capitol. “They’re taking a look at how much their education is costing them. They’re also taking a look at their starting salary as teachers. They are deciding in great numbers not to go into the profession.”

Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 2892, which would have gradually increased the minimum wage for teachers to $40,000 in the 2022-23 school year. The current minimum wage is $9,000 a year set in 1980. In his veto message, Rauner called the bill an unfunded mandate and something that would remove local control.

Emphasis added.


“For years, I blamed myself for what happened”

Thursday, Sep 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From January

The National Crime Victimization Survey, released last month, estimates that people in the U.S. experienced over 320,000 incidents of rape and sexual assault in 2016. That works out to 1.2 such assaults per 1,000 people age 12 or older. […]

Only 23 percent of incidents of rape and sexual assault were reported to the police, according to the NCVS, which makes these crimes the least likely to be reported of any type of crime recorded in the survey.

* Scott Reeder offers one explanation for why these crimes are so underreported

Regular readers of this column will remember that last December, I wrote about being assaulted when I was 12.

And it took me 40 years to talk about the attack I endured.

On a day when we were baling hay on our family farm in 1977, a man grabbed me in the barn, held me down, repeatedly kissed me and groped me. I was able to break away before worse things could happen.

For decades, it was a family secret.

Most folks who know me now think of a big man. But back then, I was slight, no match for a full-grown man. I’ve never had a more terrifying moment. Never.

At the time, I told my mother what happened. She listened quietly as we sat at the kitchen table. She told me to take a shower and then instructed me never to speak of it again.

For years, I blamed myself for what happened.

* The Cook County State’s Attorney offers more…


Rep. Cassidy: “I hope lessons have been learned. I don’t know yet.”

Thursday, Sep 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here. The Illinois News Network interviewed Rep. Kelly Cassidy about Speaker Madigan’s recent Tribune op-ed

A Democratic state lawmaker who filed a complaint against Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan alleging intimidation and harassment said she hopes lessons have been learned, but she’s still not sure. […]

Earlier this year, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, alleged Madigan and several of his key allies, one of which was let go following a separate complaint, were harassing her about her former employer’s position on a bill.

Asked for her reaction to Madigan’s op-ed, Cassidy said “it was well written.” […]

Former state Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, used to serve on the commission and said the body needs someone on board who’s not in the club. McConnaughay said legislative leaders can tap private citizens to serve on the commission, but haven’t.

“I think that having members of the public on the commission is one of those changes that we need to continue to look at,” McConnaughay said.

Cassidy agreed it’s a good idea.

“It seems pretty clear that we aren’t doing best practices in regards to this commission,” Cassidy said. […]

As to if things have changed under the dome, Cassidy said that remains to be seen.

“When we start to see reports out of the LIG on newer cases, maybe we will,” Cassidy said. “I hope so. I hope lessons have been learned. I don’t know yet.”


Andrea Thome taking a lead role against Sterigenics

Thursday, Sep 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* A bunch of retired athletes live in Burr Ridge, including Jim Thome and his family

A meeting over Sterigenics controversy in Willowbrook wrapped up Wednesday at the Marriott and people are very upset.

Andrea Thome moved her parents to the southwest suburbs after Hall of Famer husband Jim Thome settled his baseball career in Chicago.

But that’s where the fairytale part of their story stops.

“They both moved here in 2007 healthy, vibrant,” Andrea Thome said. “Within seven years my mom died of liver disease.”

“Then my dad got a brain tumor this past December,” she said.

The family lives in Burr Ridge, within a couple miles of Sterigenics.

Bo Jackson and NBC 5 anchor Allison Rosati also live there. Ozzie Guillen used to live there.

Sterigenics is owned by the firm co-founded by Gov. Bruce Rauner. He retired from the firm a year after it bought the company.

This story is not going away.

* Ms. Thome has been speaking at public events about the poisoning of her and other communities. Here’s ABC 7

Andrea Thome sat down with ABC7’s Mark Rivera at her home just a few miles away from Sterigenics to have a frank conversation about the company she said has been slowly poisoning the community for decades and the personal costs to her family.

Thome’s passionate voice is on the front lines of a fight for clean air in her community.

“I have not been able to sleep since I heard this information in August about this company really slowly poisoning our community for the last 30 or so years without our knowledge,” she said. […]

“My mom passed away in October of 2014. She never smoked she never drank,” Thome said. “Little did she know there was a factory a mile away poisoning her. None of us knew.”

After her mother died, her father took up more outside exercise to cope.

“This Christmas he was diagnosed with a huge brain tumor that, thank God for the doctors at Rush Hospital, Dr. Burn cut out a giant tumor on Christmas Eve and saved my dad’s life,” she said.

Ms. Thome is a former TV reporter, so she knows that medium well.


“My mom liked to have her window open, half mile from Sterigenics. Coincidence? I’m not so sure,” she said. “my dad everyday worries about this tumor coming back. That’s no way to live. That’s waiting to die.” […]

“This is my new work now, to get Sterigenics out of our neighborhood,” Thome said.

* She’s also an author and has started a blog to write about the issue

It’s almost midnight, and sleep won’t come. My mind is racing. You see, our community is in crisis.

A real crisis.

We’ve been being poisoned by a company called Sterigenics, and it’s been happening without our knowledge since the mid-1980’s. Our cancer rates are disturbingly higher than the national average, but only in a several-mile radius surrounding this plant. Maybe it was more appropriate for them to be granted a permit in 1986, but we all know that this area’s population has boomed since then, and that our highly residential area is no place for them to continue to operate in present day. They burn and emit twenty-four-hours a day, seven days a week.

They’ve got to go before they kill any more of us.

No, I’m not being dramatic. They use a highly-toxic chemical called Ethylene Oxide to sterilize plastic medical equipment, burning off the residual toxic poison directly into the air from their twin smokestacks.

They are located yards away from the shopping center that houses our Target, Dunkin Donuts, Chipotle and the brand-new Marshalls everyone is so excited about.

* Related…

* Editorial: The urgent Sterigenics question in DuPage: How much cancer risk?: The Sterigenics plant isn’t isolated in some vast industrial tract. It’s next to homes, parks and schools — places where children learn, play and live, communities that people have been rooted in for years. Kelleher, of Darien, told Hawthorne, “To think the very place my wife loved, the place where we raised our children, might have killed her is devastating.”

* Residents discuss legal options after claims of cancer-causing emissions from suburban plant: One woman says she’s lived in the area for 40 years and has experienced respiratory problems amongst other ailments. “I’ve had blood in the urine and I’ve had things that I commonly don’t have. Just living in the area we loved it so much and I told my husband like a nightmare I actually was thinking of leaving,” says Kathy Scumaci.

* Ex-Willowbrook residents allege emissions from Sterigenics facility caused health problems: They are represented by attorneys Todd A. Smith and Brian LaCien of Power, Rogers & Smith LLP in Chicago, and John Libra of Korein Tillery LLC in Chicago.


Madigan reports raising $4.5 million in 16 days

Thursday, Sep 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Last night, Speaker Madigan’s personal campaign fund reported an $835,200 contribution from the Washington, DC-based International Union of Operating Engineers.

Since September 10th, Madigan has reported raising over $4.5 million for that one fund. Madigan busted the contribution caps on his campaign fund back in mid-August.

Madigan hosted a Chicago fundraiser two nights ago, so more is coming.

* Speaking of campaign money

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform was founded two decades ago by the late Democratic U.S. Sen. Paul Simon and former Republican Lt. Gov. Bob Kustra to address what it calls the “corrosive role of money in politics.”

“Today we are recommitting to our original mission, and are spreading our wings to expand our reach across more communities, tackle new (and oftentimes) thorny issues and collaborate with a diverse group of partners. And we will continue to be ever-vigilant about these three words: Transparency, Accountability & Integrity,” the advocacy group told supporters in an email.

But they’ll be doing it under a new banner: Reform for Illinois. The group said it will remain nonpartisan and not take sides in elections. […]

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported another round of ad buys to back Sean Casten’s bid against Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam. The latest filing brings the DCCC’s spending in the west and northwest suburban race to more than $1.1 million total. This batch includes nearly $10,000 for Facebook ads and more than $12,000 with Hulu.

* Related…

* Bill Daley gives $500,000 to his Chicago mayoral campaign: When Daley ran for governor five years ago, he quickly raised $1 million before abandoning that Democratic primary bid. This time, the former U.S. commerce secretary and White House chief of staff became the first candidate to formally enter the race after Emanuel’s departure.


Paul Ryan gets in on the Madigan bashing

Thursday, Sep 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From Paul Ryan’s Super PAC…

Congressional Leadership Fund (@CLFSuperPAC), the super PAC endorsed by House Republican leadership, today released a new ad, “Madigan-Machine Politician,” in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District. The ad describes Sean Casten as a Madigan-machine politician who is ready to raise taxes on Illinois families. The ad will run on television in the Chicago media market and on digital platforms throughout the district.

“As a CEO, Sean Casten lined his own pockets with corporate welfare, now he’s a Madigan-machine politician who is ready to raise taxes on Illinois families,” said Michael Byerly, CLF spokesman. “Casten says he’s open to a $32 trillion government takeover of health care that would rob from Medicare and almost double the debt. Shady Sean Casten is wrong for Illinois families.”

In addition to the ad campaign, CLF previously opened a field office in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District. Each CLF field office is supported by a full-time staffer and hundreds of interns and volunteers who engage with voters on a daily basis through hyper-targeted phone banking and door-to-door canvassing.

* The ad

* Script

VO: As a CEO, Sean Casten lined his own pockets with corporate welfare.

Now Casten is a Madigan-machine politician, ready to raise our taxes.

Casten says he’s open to a thirty-two trillion dollar government takeover of health care.

Robbing from Medicare, outlawing employer-provided insurance, almost doubling the debt.

Shady Sean Casten.

Backed by Madigan.

Wrong for Illinois families.


Rauner says something different about third airport during Southland trip

Thursday, Sep 27, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Chuck Sweeny a few days ago

Democrat J.B. Pritzker is open to building the long-planned, controversial “third” Chicagoland airport on state-owned land between Peotone and Beecher. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is not.

That’s what I learned Thursday while watching the first of three debates among the four candidates for Illinois governor. The hourlong program aired Thursday on Chicago’s NBC-5.

Moderator Carol Marin asked: “The state of Illinois has spent $97 million buying thousands of acres of land around what would be the south suburban airport… A lot of potential jobs are at stake, it’s been studied endlessly … As governor would you be for or against that project, really just a yes or no.”

Rauner said “No” when asked.

* Tribune yesterday afternoon

As traffic rumbled along Interstate 80 in the background, Gov. Bruce Rauner joined local officials to ceremoniously break ground on a $47 million interchange improvement project at U.S. 30 Wednesday morning in New Lenox. […]

When asked where the South Suburban Airport and the shelved Illiana Toll Road fit into his plans, he said the state has to have the right financing structure and the economic growth to support it.

If the economy “keeps booming,” “we won’t be debating a third airport. We will be saying we have to have a third airport,” Rauner said.

* Here’s what he said

Right today, we are evaluating a third airport in Peotone. We want to make sure we’ve got the right financing structure available and we’ve got to make sure that we’ve got the economic growth to support that so it’s highly successful. That’s a great opportunity for public-private partnership. We’ve got great airports at Midway and O’Hare and out in Rockford. But, this region, if we keep the economy strong and growing, we keep the economy booming, just the way the federal government has cut taxes and cut regulations on businesses and cut, uh, cut new trade deals to battle against unfair trade agreements with nations around the world, we keep on that track and we can continue to cut taxes and regulations here, we’ll get a booming economy and we won’t be debating a third airport, we’ll say we have to have a third airport because the construction opportunity is so big, the economic opportunity is so strong. We’re going to get there. And I’m committed to making sure we expand our transportation.


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* Isabel’s afternoon briefing
* Beyond the horse race
* Cannabis baron ridicules equity programs: "We’re going to give these assets to felons and people that have two heads and all this kind of stuff"
* IEPA says it won't do anything about polluting refineries
* Pritzker stands behind his messaging, claims support for candidates
* A quick Illinois history lesson
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* A massive failure
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