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Today’s word: “Productive”

Wednesday, Sep 4, 2019

* Sun-Times

Pritzker is hobbling around on crutches after breaking his femur. And he’s spending a lot of time on the phone, including with Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who put a lot of political pressure on the governor in her speech about the city’s finances last week.

Of that conversation, the mayor’s office said the two shared a “productive discussion late last week about ways to work together to address the shared challenges and opportunities facing our state and Chicago’s communities,” Lightfoot spokeswoman Anel Ruiz said.

The two “have productive conversations regularly, and they spoke again late last week,” Pritzker spokeswoman Emily Bittner said. “As the Mayor works to build support for her ideas among legislative leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers, the Governor expects that they will continue to have productive conversations.”

Do you buy it?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Skeptic - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 9:32 am:

    Since my thinking is still tainted by the previous 4 years, any progress, however slight, is indeed “productive.”

  2. - Occasional Quipper - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 9:34 am:

    It sounds like a standard generic answer for the reporters. Just more politician-speak. If it was actually productive it would be followed with something more specific than “shared challenges and opportunities”. What challenges? What opportunities?

  3. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 9:36 am:

    Do I think they are speaking? Yes.

    Do I think the Governor is ready to back a pension bailout of Chicago? No.

    Can the state find a short-term way to help the city close the $838 million deficit, buying time until after the 2020 election for a long-term fix? Hopefully.

  4. - Charlie Brown - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 9:37 am:


    When both sides use the same adjective, it’s an agreed-upon talking point.

    When there are no specifics, it means they have produced talking points about the talks and nothing else.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 9:38 am:

    ===“As the Mayor works to build support for her ideas among legislative leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers, the Governor expects that they will continue to have productive conversations.”===

    Break this down;

    “As the Mayor works…”

    Putting the pressure on Lightfoot, it’s her deal. Continuing…

    “…to build support for her ideas among legislative leaders…”

    Points to whom Lightfoot needs to bring on, not who is already on… continuing…

    “and rank-and-file lawmakers…”

    That Lightfoot herself needs to lobby the rank and file, again, it’s her deal… continuing…

    “the Governor expects…”

    Setting what all needs to be acceptable and accomplished “before”… continuing…

    “that they…”

    Not the governor, but the other parties before the governor is engaged…. continuing…

    “will continue to have productive conversations.”

    While not near any end game for the governor to be engaged.

    So…===Do you buy it?===


  6. - Al - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 9:40 am:

    Productive probably means Casino talk.

  7. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 9:40 am:

    I don’t buy it for a second. But it is nice to see a Governor and Chicago Mayor being decent toward each other.

  8. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 9:42 am:

    If you’re talking about talking, then you’re probably not doing.

    The Lightfoot Crew and the Mayor aren’t learning much.

  9. - OutOfState - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 9:45 am:

    I buy that they’re talking and that it’s constructive conversation (i.e. not just exchanging small talk or rude comments), but I don’t buy that they’re measurably closer to some sort of plan/bargain to ameliorate their agendas.

  10. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 9:51 am:

    Sure, but talking does not matter. It does not matter how well they talk together if they cannot accomplish anything.

    However, I do not think the Mayor should aim for a bailout. She should aim for new taxing authority. The Republicans will label that a bailout, but it is no bailout if it involves zero state tax dollars.

  11. - Dupage Bard - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 9:52 am:


  12. - Streator Curmudgeon - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 9:56 am:

    Meh. Whenever two politicians talk on the phone or meet behind closed doors, their conversation is always dubbed “productive,” even if they were throttling each other’s throats and gouging eyeballs.

    After hearing that kind of politispeak for decades, I believe what they actually do, not what they say.

  13. - Moe Berg - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 9:59 am:

    To the question: no. To me, it’s an open question if Lightfoot is learning that she needs to operate in a coordinated and cooperative manner with other elected officials, or if she prefers to see herself as bestride a Trib ed board/John Kass conjured white horse. Holier than thou and above it all.

    What they *should* be talking about is the city offering 50, 75 and/or 100 year bonds.

    In the present, yield-starved world, they will be scooped up and over-subscribed.

    The role the state could play would be in enacting legislation that diverts sales tax proceeds due the city in the event there becomes any danger of default.

    The city’s financial problems were decades in the making and will only be solved over decades. There is no quick fix or gimmick that’s going to save the day and that no one has previously considered.

  14. - RNUG - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 10:03 am:

    Talking - yes … but it’s a long ways from being soup.

  15. - Roman - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 10:35 am:

    == As the Mayor works to build support for her ideas among legislative leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers… ==

    Translation: “Those are interesting ideas, Mayor. Let me see your roll call.”

  16. - Telly - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    The two of them talking about potential action in Springfield beats the heck out of Lightfoot simply floating trial balloons through Fran Spielman. So, yeah…call it productive.

  17. - Say no to big government - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 10:56 am:

    I think he is being purposefully vague and positive in order to keep the communication channels open. I think if the public could have heard the conversations, it would be a qualified productive at best. I think the Chicago mayors have always viewed themselves above the Governor.

  18. - Montrose - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 11:01 am:

    I feel like Lightfoot thinks talking is action. She wants outsized credit for having conversations with people, as though she is talking to more people than Rahm ever did, so people should see her as different. She is wrong on two fronts:

    Rahm talked to lots of people. I don’t think he listened to any more or any fewer of them than Lightfoot.

    Talking isn’t action. What you write down and actually do is what counts.

  19. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    Lightfoot is talking, and what she is saying this week is not counter-productive, which is a big change.

    This is progress.

  20. - lakeside - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 11:35 am:

    What Charlie said.

    I don’t think Lightfoot quite recognizes how effective Pritzker was in his first six months. She’s going to be in trouble if she tries to big foot him because my impression is that he’s built some pretty good relationships in a short period of time in SPI, and she doesn’t have anybody who owes her anything. Yet.

  21. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 11:39 am:

    “Never mistake activity for achievement”

    - John Wooden

    If those you need on your side continually remind you about process without touting progress… that’s “probably” a signal to you that you aren’t doing things well.

  22. - SSL - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 11:39 am:

    Lightfoot is in so deep even a conversation looks like progress.

    Why anyone would want that job is beyond me. The financial straights the city is in can not be fixed, and the state isn’t much better.

    So pretend that they’re having good conversations, but know that neither one has a solution. JB’s first thought when taking office was to kick the pension can yet again. That’s probably how he broke his leg.

  23. - Arron shocked - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    Talking yes…talking about new tax increases….its all they have at the end of the day, nobodyvwants to admit it.

  24. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:41 pm:

    ===talking about new tax increases….its all they have at the end of the day, nobodyvwants to admit it.===

    … and yet, every suggestion towards that seems to lack support.

    If it makes you feel good typing that tripe, good on you, but being honest to what’s happening…

    They’re probably starting with the $838 million budget hole.

    Without that hole, there would be no need for any discussions.

  25. - Shark Sandwich - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:44 pm:

    You can have a productive day, but you can also have a productive cough.

  26. - Arron shocked - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:50 pm:

    They’re probably starting with the $838 million budget hole.

    Without that hole, there would be no need for any discussions.

    Correct…they’re talking about how to fill it via tax increases. Do you hear any talk of budget cuts? Even if you did they wont come close to filling 800 million. The voters approved it I guess with the results.

  27. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:12 pm:

    Productive: we talked on the phone and neither of us hung up before agreeing to talk again.

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