Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gov. Quinn and Mayor Daley

Gov. Pat Quinn brings out Mayor Richard Daley to rebut governor foe's criticism on tourism spending

Chicago Tribune

It may have taken him a week, but Gov. Pat Quinn brought out a high-profile political figure today to rebut his Democratic primary challenger's criticism about state spending on tourism during a budget crisis.Mayor Richard Daley stood with Quinn to talk up tourism's importance to Chicago after Comptroller Dan Hynes last week said that he was suspending payments on more than $40 million in state and lottery tourism advertising contracts.Speaking at an event at Navy Pier, Quinn called Hynes' decision "very, very short-sighted."
"As long as I'm governor, we're going to make sure that everybody in the world knows about Illinois and Chicago," Quinn said.Daley also came to Quinn's defense, saying tourism is a competitive business and the state must do all it can to actively woo visitors.
"You have to compete for these conventions," Daley said. "We're competing against Atlanta, we're competing against Las Vegas and Orlando, so you have to put packages together to get the conventions here. At the same time, you have to publicize. You have to do marketing, worldwide and throughout the United States. You can't just sit back and say 'OK, they're going to come to the city of Chicago.' It just doesn't work that way, and I think Gov. Quinn has realized that."
A spokeswoman for Hynes said the comptroller's unwillingness to pay the tourism contracts represents a "difference in priorities" from those of Quinn."Last week, Comptroller Hynes said the Governor had a decision to make," spokeswoman Carol Knowles said in a statement. "Does he want to spend $53 million on consultant and marketing contracts, or does he want to spend it on education and health care? The choice was his. If the governor believes that tourism contracts are a priority, then he should resubmit them and they will be paid."

Full Article...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Quinn to release 1,000 inmates from prison in cost-cutting move

Chicago Tribune

Gov. Pat Quinn is planning to release 1,000 inmates from prisons across Illinois the next several months in an effort to save money.An Illinois Department of Corrections prisons spokeswoman said only “low-level, non-violent” offenders who are in the last year of their sentence will qualify for early release and will be fitted with electronic monitoring devices.Officials with the corrections agency and the Quinn administration declined to provide specifics after announcing the plan late this afternoon. Corrections spokeswoman Januari Smith said the bulk of those to be released and placed on supervised parole will be drug and property crime offenders.
The move is estimated to save the agency about $5 million a year, Smith said, though Quinn is giving corrections an extra $2 million to monitor those who are released.The release of prisoners is another symptom of the state’s dire fiscal situation, and is coupled with Quinn’s plan to layoff approximately 1,000 prison workers. The department will layoff 419 workers effective at month’s end.Meanwhile, Quinn gave the department an extra $2 million to help divert offenders from state prisons. That money will go toward drug treatment and other community-based alternatives in an effort to reduce the number of people who receive short prison sentences. Prison officials say 47 percent of offenders released from custody each year serve six months or less behind bars.Another $2 million will be used to monitor the 1,000 inmates facing release, including assigning each a parole officer and providing drug treatment and other rehabilitative programs.


Announced or possible candidates for Illinois lieutenant governor:


• Mike Boland, state representative, Moline.
• Thomas Castillo, electrician, Elmhurst.
• Scott Lee Cohen, businessman, Northbrook.
• Goran Davidovac, Chicago.
• Rickey Hendon, state senator, Chicago.
• Sandi Jackson, alderman, Chicago.
• Kevin Joyce, state representative, Worth.
• Terry Link state senator, Lake Bluff.
• Arthur Turner, state representative, Chicago.

Ex-alderman's son to run for Democratic state treasurer nomination

Chicago Tribune

It looks like former south suburban state Rep. Robin Kelly may be getting a Democratic primary for state treasurer after all.Justin Oberman, the son of onetime Chicago alderman Martin Oberman, today said that he will formally announce on Monday that he is pulling out of the crowded field for lieutenant governor and instead will make a bid for the treasurer’s nomination. The treasurer’s office is being vacated by Alexi Giannoulias, who is running for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination.
Oberman said he believed the treasurer’s job is “a very good fit for my background in the private sector and experience at the federal level” in putting a focus on encouraging job creation “as well as restoring integrity to state government.”Oberman, 35, of Chicago, said he had been encouraged to make the switch to treasurer by J.B. Pritzker, who for a time looked at running for the office. Oberman had been among more than a half-dozen Democrats saying they're contenders for the Democratic lieutenant governor nomination.Oberman worked in the federal transportation and homeland security agencies before co-founding a company investing in aviation, security and green transportation development firms. For a brief time, Oberman was a candidate to replace former Democratic U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, now the White House chief of staff, in a special March primary election in the 5th Congressional District.Kelly, of Matteson, left the legislature to become Giannoulias’ chief of staff in the treasurer’s office. She has been campaigning for treasurer since her boss made it clear he would seek the U.S. Senate seat now held by Roland Burris. She escaped one primary challenge when Kip Kirkpatrick, co-founder of a health-care equity group, dropped his bid for treasurer earlier this month.On the Republican side, state Sen. Dan Rutherford of Chenoa is the major candidate in the Feb. 2 primary elections.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We've seen a lot from politicians in Washington over the last several years. We're seen them break campaign promises, take the side of big business over the middle class, and vote to increase their own pay while denying working Americans a wage increase. But this week, Republican Congressman Mark Kirk gave us a first: even though he voted in favor of the so-called "Cap and Trade" bill in the House this summer, when confronted with jeers from his Republican base, he astoundingly stated that he would vote against the very same bill as a Senator.You have to see the brazen flip-flop to believe it:

Our Opinion: Congressmen behaving badly

Posted Sep 15, 2009

U.S. REP. John Shimkus should know something about respecting a commander in chief. After all, the conservative Republican from southern Illinois graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where the topic must have come up from time to time.
Shimkus walked out toward the end of President Barack Obama’s address on health care because he was “frustrated that the president was not offering any new ground…,” said spokesman Steve Tomaszewski.
Shimkus, who represents parts of the Springfield area, has been vocal in his disagreement with Obama’s plan. He’s a conservative Republican who is hewing close to his party’s values and seeking to represent his constituency.
“What I cannot support is a government-run health-care program that will inevitably lead to rationing,” Shimkus said.
THE DEBATE over how to fix an ailing health-care system is a valid one. Shimkus, and others, have every right to argue as passionately for their convictions as possible. That’s what they are elected to do. What we ask is that Shimkus and others who feel strongly about the bill do it respectfully and constructively.
To be fair, Shimkus wasn’t the only person to show poor manners. U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina audibly blurted, “You lie,” in response to a statement by President Obama that illegal immigrants were not covered by his proposed health-care bill.
Wilson offered a tepid non-apology apology for his boorish behavior. Then he opportunistically seized the moment to make a video trying to hustle up some campaign cash.
Some other members of Congress in attendance at the speech signaled their feelings by rolling eyes, fiddling with Blackberries and otherwise fidgeting.
SO LET'S REVISIT the West Point motto of “Duty, Honor, Country,” and apply it to this situation:
* DUTY: Show respect, even if you don’t agree with the person bearing the message. It’s a version of the old military adage of salute the uniform, not the man. There’s plenty of time to loudly and forcefully debate the bill or bills that will be before the House and Senate.
* HONOR: Honor your constituents by acting in a way that enhances the office, not distracts from it. This isn’t a reality TV show where acting out is video gold.
* COUNTRY: Health-care reform is one of the most important debates of our time. For the good of the country, Shimkus and colleagues at the speech who showed as much disdain as they could for the benefit of the cameras should act like they are serious about helping Americans address the train wreck that is our current health-care system.
Walking out of a meeting is a theatrical flourish worthy of kindergarten. When it comes as it did during a presidential address before a joint session of Congress, it rises to the level of cheap showmanship that is full of sound and fury, but in the end signifies nothing but a lack of manners and an inability to listen to others’ ideas.

Chicago Endorsement

9-11-09 Chicago Tribune

Cook County Democratic power brokers today endorsed Gov. Pat Quinn in his primary race with state Comptroller Dan Hynes.
The decision today came hours after Quinn appealed for the party leaders' backing, even though he had previously sought a provision in state law to prevent the Illinois Democratic Party from endorsing anyone in the governor's race.
“I am happy to receive today’s endorsement of my candidacy," Quinn said in a statement after the vote. "As I told the committee members this morning, I have spent the last seven months doing what I have been doing for the past three decades – standing up for the people of Illinois."
Hynes also appeared before county slatemakers at the Hotel Allegro but asked them to refrain from endorsing anyone in the Feb. 2 primary for governor. He went so far as to say he would decline the endorsement if he got it, a move that might have influenced the outcome.
The back-to-back appearances featured political flip-flops from both men.

Hynes is the the heir to the longtime 19th Ward political family headed by his father, former county assessor and Senate president Tom Hynes. While he has sought the backing of county Democrats in previous years, today Dan Hynes asked them to refrain from making any endorsement in the governor's race for the Feb. 2 primary.
It's not uncommon for someone challenging an incumbent to try to persuade political powerbrokers to at least remain neutral in a primary fight. "If we as a party do not change the way we select candidates for higher office, we reduce our chances of winning. This is especially true given what our state and our party have been through over the last year," Hynes said. "The voters of Illinois are looking for us to set a new standard for our party. They're counting on us that the Democratic Party stands for openness and transparency." Hynes said he was still asking for the support of individual committeemen. Quinn, the former lieutenant governor who was elevated to the state's top job following the ouster of disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in January, appeared after Hynes before county slatemakers and said, "You just heard from somebody who wants to be governor of Illinois. I am the governor of Illinois." But Quinn offered little explanation to reporters why he sought the Cook County Democrats' endorsement when he had also pushed a provision to ban the state Democratic Party from making primary endorsements. He was repeatedly asked to reconcile his position on the state party with that of his position on the county party organization. "I think it's important to go before any organization, political or non-political, tell them where you stand on issues and ask for their support," Quinn said. "All politics is local. People in their own communities want to evaluate the candidates" Asked by reporters whether he still supported a ban in state law on state Democratic Party endorsements before a primary, Quinn said he did. But he also said he had been told by the state's Democratic chairman, House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago, that there were no plans to endorse in the race. Quinn has come under criticism from Hynes and some other Democrats for a lack of consistency on his positions. But Quinn said he was not being inconsistent in seeking county slating. "I'll tell you what the flip flop is. My friend the comptroller has been coming before the Cook County Democratic Party and other Democratic parties since he started running for office. He always asked for their support," Quinn said of Hynes.
In perhaps the trickiest decision of the day, county slatemakers snubbed Cook County Board President Todd Stroger by declining to endorse his bid for re-election against four challengers. The committeemen instead voted for an open primary with no endorsement for that race.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Obama's classroom message

Alex Burckle, 10, center, listens to President Barack Obama's back to school speech in his fifth grade class at the Hough Street School in Barrington, Ill. In his speech, Obama challenged the nation's students to take pride and ownership in their education -- and stick with it even if they don't like every class or must overcome tough circumstances at home.

Monday, September 7, 2009

“Outrageous” or “Inappropriate”

Happy Labor Day everyone. Below is the transcript of the televised remarks which President Obama will be giving to students from grade school through high school, at least to those schools whose superintendents and/or school boards permit the President’s remarks to be shown to their students.

Waterloo’s students will not hear this address because, according to news reports, the Superintendent says the remarks are “political.” I don’t know if the Waterloo School Board has instructed the administration to take this stance or if he did it on his own. At the moment, I do not know what the position of our other school districts are with regard to showing the speech.

I encourage each of you to review the transcript below and the actual speech (or replays of it) after it’s given tomorrow and draw your own conclusions. Please let me know what, if anything in it is of a political, controversial or inappropriate nature such that American students should not be exposed to it. I have obviously missed it if it is.

If you’re like me, you’ve heard all kinds of media reports about how “inappropriate” the President’s speech is for students to hear, how it is “brain-washing”, etc. You may have also heard such comments from your friends and neighbors.

I encourage you to share the transcript and the speech itself with your neighbors and friends who have expressed their concern (if not outrage) about it. I think it’s fair to say that, once again, some in the media and in our communities have distorted the message in an attempt to wound the messenger.

To think that one child, much less thousands, across the country might miss an opportunity to possibly be inspired by the President of the United States to stay in school and strive to improve is truly unfortunate to say the least.

I have heard (but have not yet confirmed) that President Reagan and Bush-One gave televised speeches to students. I don’t know if the same school districts or superintendents expressing outrage or alarm about President Obama’s remarks expressed such outrage with the previous presidents.

Feel free to provide your thoughts on this issue to school districts and newspapers (in letters to the editor, etc.) to let your feelings be known and to set the record straight. In doing so, I urge you to not let your emotions overcome you. We don’t want the tenor of our conversation to become the tenor of those who want to demonize everything Democrats or the President say or do.

Thanks, Alan Pirtle, Monroe County Democratic Chairman ,President IDCCA

Democrat Elected Officials

  • Effingham County Board Distric G-Doug McCain
  • Effingham County Treasurer - Steve Dasenbrock
  • Effingham County Board District C - Karen Luchtefeld

Effingham County Democrats Officers

  • Chairman - Audrey Griffith
  • First Vice Chairman - Dan Niebrugge
  • Second Vice Chairman - Allen Wente
  • Secretary - James Hammer
  • Treasurer - Shirley McEvers