Sunday, June 30, 2013

Will we be safe?

The highly respected is reporting that some members of the black population may take to the streets in the event of Zimmerman acquittal. What steps should 19th ward residents take now in order to protect life and property? I'm looking for sincere advice here. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Another Pension Depletion Mechanism is Upheld

What is happening to the United States? Does this decision advance the common good? What does the future hold for our great country when absolute craziness is prevailing at the highest levels?

Today in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman, is unconstitutional. This decision compels the federal government (i.e. taxpayers) to provide  federal benefits to homosexual couples who have “married” in states that have jettisoned sexual complementarity from the legal definition of marriage. This decision does not require states to legalize same-sex “marriage.”
In a scathing dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia excoriated the presumptuousness (and incomprehensibility) of the majority opinion:
This case is about power in several respects. It is about the power of our people to govern themselves, and the power of this Court to pronounce the law. Today’s opinion aggrandizes the latter, with the predictable consequence of diminishing the former. We have no power to decide this case. And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation. The Court’s errors on both points spring forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution in America.
[S]etting aside traditional moral disapproval of same-sex marriage (or indeed same-sex sex),there are many perfectly valid—indeed, downright boring—justifying rationales for this legislation. Their existence ought to be the end of this case. For they give the lie to the Court’s conclusion that only those with hateful hearts could have voted “aye” on this Act. And more importantly, they serve to make the contents of the legis­lators’ hearts quite irrelevant….By holding to the contrary, the majority has declared open season on any law that (in the opinion of the law’s opponents and any panel of like-minded federal judges) can be characterized as mean-spirited. 
The majority concludes that the only motive for this Act was the “bare…desire to harm a politically unpopular group.”…Bear in mind that the object of this condemnation is not the legislature of some once-Confederate Southern state…but our respected coordinate branches, the Con­gress and Presidency of the United States. Laying such a charge against them should require the most extraordi­nary evidence, and I would have thought that every attempt would be made to indulge a more anodyne expla­nation for the statute. The majority does the opposite—affirmatively concealing from the reader the arguments that exist in justification. It makes only a passing mention of the “arguments put forward” by the Act’s defenders, and does not even trouble to paraphrase or describe them….I imagine that this is because it is harder to maintain the illusion of the Act’s supporters as unhinged members of a wild-eyed lynch mob when one first describes their views as they see them.
The unconstitutionality of Sec. 3 of DOMA must come as a surprise to the 342 representatives (including 118 Democrats) and 85 Senators (including 32 Democrats) who voted for it in 1996. And it must really come as a surprise to Rhodes Scholar, attorney, and former president, Bill Clinton, who signed it into law. IFI understands that people’s positions on an issue can “evolve.” What is baffling is that scores of attorneys could be so mistaken on the constitutionality of this law. In fact scores of Democratic attorneys didn’t notice the unconstitutionality of DOMA, including Senators Joe BidenDick DurbinHarry ReidMax BaucusChris DoddRuss FeingoldPatrick LeahyCarl Levin, and John Dingell, and Representatives Bob Menendez and Chuck Schumer, all attorneys who voted for DOMA.
Even though this decision reflects only a limited constitutional question, it will likely fuel the intellectually and morally vacuous state efforts to legalize so-called same-sex “marriage”—an oxymoron, if ever there was one. Intellectually lazy lawmakers who have no idea what marriage is or why the government is involved in the marriage business will use it for political cover.
The U.S. Supreme Court also decided with uncharacteristic voting alliances that the Proposition 8 case had no standing and to vacate the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Prop 8 decision.
Prop 8 was the ballot initiative in California that established marriage as the union of one man and one woman. After the people of California through Prop 8, in effect, overturned the same-sex marriage law, a lawsuit followed challenging Prop 8. A closeted homosexual activist judge, Vaughn Walker, voted against Prop 8 in a widely ridiculed decision (in which he potentially had a personal stake), after which he popped out of the closet and retired.
Today’s Prop 8 decision, though having the destructive result of allowing same-sex “marriages” to resume in California, did not decide on the merits of Prop 8 or Judge Walker’s infamous judicial reasoning. It merely decided on the jurisdictional issue of who has legal standing to defend Prop 8.
Today’s decisions will not contribute to a strengthening of marriage or an advance for equality or movement toward smaller government or a victory for justice or increased protection for children. Quite the opposite.
And while the red cape of this decision is fluttered in front of the charging marriage-destruction bull, Americans will continue to avert their gaze from the essential questions of whether homosexuality is really analogous to race; whether same-sex marriage is really analogous to interracial marriage; why marriage should be limited to two people; why the government is involved in marriage; and whether children have an inherent right to be raised by a mother and father, particularly their own their biological mother and father.
Marriage has a nature that the government merely recognizes and regulates. The state does not create something called “marriage” out of whole cloth. And the reason the state is involved in marriage is to protect the needs and rights of any children that may result from the particular type of sexual union that is marriage.
If marriage is solely constituted by intense loving feelings with no connection to sexual complementarity or procreative potential, there is no reason to prohibit government recognition of plural unions as marriages and, indeed, no reason for government involvement at all.
These are two more sustenance tubes yanked from the dying body that is marriage in America. It’s truly a sad day for America, and most especially America’s children.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I'm glad someone is speaking up.


FranksIn response to the large severance package granted to outgoing METRA CEO Alex Clifford, Democrat State Rep. Jack Franks (photo upper right) and Republican State Rep. David Harris (photo bottom right) are calling on METRA to ensure that Illinois taxpayers and fare-paying commuters are not forced to cover the cost of Clifford’s golden parachute.
Harris, DavidThe buyout pays Clifford $442,237 to cover the remainder of his contract, and includes a provision for an additional $300,000 if Clifford fails to find another job within 13 months. The compensation owed to Clifford for the eight months remaining on his contract, conversely, would only have been about $168,000.
“The wastefulness inherent in this decision is truly shocking,” Franks said. “The board could very easily have bought Clifford out of his contract or placed him on leave until it expired. Instead, they chose to give him more than his predecessor allegedly looted from the agency in the first place and send the bill to the taxpayers. ”
“It would have been a lot less expensive for Mr. Clifford to have been allowed to ride out the remainder of his contract,” said Harris, “even if day-to-day responsibility for the control of METRA’s operations were given to another executive.”
Franks and Harris see the recent deal as a waste of taxpayer and fare payer money. METRA receives annual subsidies from the State, and it recently imposed a fare increase of roughly 16% across all fare zones. The public funds and fares paid by riders should be used where they can be most effectively, not used to provide a golden parachute for a fired Executive Director.
Franks, the chairman of the House State Government Administration Committee, and Harris, the minority spokesman on the House Revenue and Finance Committee, are urging Metra to assume the cost of Clifford’s severance package internally, and not force Illinois taxpayers to pay any expenses beyond Clifford’s contracted salary of $252,500.

Monday, June 24, 2013

BAPA presents

Business Breakfast Targets Tips and Tricks for Marketing 

 (June 2013) -- Does web marketing pay off? How can a small local business stay competitive? What does your store say about your business?

Marketing consultant Caroline Dwan will answer these questions and more in “Own Your Mile: Tips and Tricks to Locally Market Your Business” at the Business Breakfast sponsored by the Beverly Area Planning Association, Morgan Park/Beverly Hills Business Association, 95th Street Business Association and the Mount Greenwood Community and Business Association on Thurs., June 20, 7:30 to 9 a.m., in the BAPA Community Room, 11109 S. Longwood Dr.

An accomplished marketing and sales professional with broad-based experience in marketing, print and digital advertising and non-profit fundraising, Dwan’s specialty is finding creative solutions for businesses of all sizes.

Dwan’s presentation will include how to apply big business marketing principles to small businesses, how to evaluate which media options are best for your business, and how to set goals and develop a workable and effective marketing plan.

“Small is the new big,” Dwan said of the popularity of small businesses that provide quality products and hands-on customer service. “Several of Beverly/Morgan Park’s small businesses have some very big ideas that are working quite well. Other businesses need to take a new look at what they currently do, and take advantage of the unique opportunities for businesses to work together for community-wide success. Local is trendy. There’s no better time for a small business to make a name for themselves in the community they serve. ”

For close to 20 years, Dwan has held a variety of advertising and marketing positions. Most recently, she was a Consumer Marketing Specialist for Ace Hardware Corp. Through Ace Hardware, she contributed to shaping national marketing programs while working with 900+ retailers on developing their annual local marketing plans and programs, brainstorming promotions, recommending advertising, and training associates and owners on the features and benefits of a loyalty program designed to create a one-on-one relationship with consumers.

Dwan’s career highlights include advertising sales for Chicago Sun-Times Media Group and Chicago Tribune where she focused on developing holistic marketing plans for small and medium businesses. At MNI (a Time, Inc. company), Dwan worked with Chicago's top advertising agencies and served high profile national clients including Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Panera Bread, Crayola and Disney.

Taking the initiative to dive into digital advertising, Dwan worked with two start up companies, becoming an expert on banner advertising, content management, newsletter marketing and direct mail.

Dwan and her husband, Dan Coogan, own Fat Tommy's and live near Kennedy Park.

Admission to the BAPA Business Breakfast is $10 or free for members of BAPA, the 95th Street Business Association, Morgan Park/Beverly Hills Business Association or Mount Greenwood Community and Business Association. Register online at For information or phone registration, contact Marcia Walsh, 773-233-3100 or

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ride a Bike

Ten years ago, a group of people got together in the south suburbs, ordered pizza and talked about creating a bike trail along the banks of the Cal-Sag Channel. Many meetings and many pizzas later, that trail is about to be built.
Wending its way along the water for 28 miles from Lemont to Burnham, the Cal-Sag Trail will connect 14 communities, giving cyclists and walkers direct access to half a dozen commuter train stations. Like a long, linear puzzle piece, it will hook up with other regional trails, making it possible for pedalers packing plenty of Power Bars to ride a nearly 100-mile loop on protected pathways in the Southland.
“Usually trails this scale, through an area like this, are 20- and 30-year trails,” said Steve Buchtel, executive director of Trails for Illinois. “This trail breaks ground this October, 10 years after that first meeting. That’s pretty exciting.”
The Cal-Sag Trail is oTne of several major projects starting construction this year, which is shaping up to be a busy one for bike-trail development.
Work on a couple of Chicago’s big-ticket projects — the Navy Pier Flyover and the Bloomingdale Trail — is slated to begin this summer. Same goes for key safety improvements, such as the bike and pedestrian bridge going up where Busse Woods Trail crosses Higgins Road east of I-290 — the same spot an Elk Grove Village cyclist was killed in May after she was hit by a car.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is developing the state’s first bike plan that, when finished in December, should help identify where route connections and other improvements need to be made. The public is being asked to weigh in with suggestions at a meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. July 9 at the Thompson Center.
Cycling advocates point to the bike plan and recent trail-related budget decisions as signs that the state is shifting gears and becoming more bike-friendly. The League of American Bicyclists seems to think so. Illinois cracked the Top 10 this year in the organization’s annual ranking of bike-friendly states, coming in at No.
In January, Gov. Pat Quinn awarded $49.5 million in federal transportation enhancement grants — the state’s largest source of bike-trail funding — for bike paths, walking trails, historic preservation and streetscape beautification throughout Illinois. The League of Illinois Bicyclists estimates that roughly half of that $49.5 million is aimed at bike-related projects. While the league would like to see the percentage skew higher (the national average hovers around 57 percent), executive director Ed Barsotti said it’s a vast improvement.
“When [Gov. Rod] Blagojevich came in, we dropped to 25 percent,” Barsotti said. “They just wanted to spread the dollars around more, so they picked a lot of cheaper projects, beautification projects and so on. We took a big hit.”
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources also took repeated hits, and it shows in the bike trails it manages.

“Our sites really are suffering,” said Amy Madigan, the department’s greenways and trails outreach coordinator.
The 62-mile I&M Canal Trail in the south suburbs and the 92-mile Hennepin Canal Trail in northwest Illinois haven’t recovered after being clobbered by weather damage in recent years.
“The Rock Island Trail [in Peoria] has a ridiculous amount of washouts right now,” Madigan said. “It truly is sad because we just don’t have the funding to fix those.”
The department is a far cry from where it was a little over a decade ago when it debuted the Grand Illinois Trail, a 500-plus mile loop in northern Illinois made up of roads and paths — and some meddlesome gaps. “When we opened the Grand Illinois Trail in 2002, we were really riding a high wave; there was a lot of stuff happening,” she said. “And then the dark period came.”
For several years, the natural resources department hasn’t had the dollars to help local governments build new trails through its long-standing bike path program. “It was swept and used for other things [in the state budget],” Madigan said about the path program, adding that she’s hopeful money raised from a new $2 increase in license plate renewal fees will help the department get back on its feet.
Despite some improvements, it isn’t all good news on the funding front for bike-trail fans. The federal transportation bill passed last year slashed spending on transportation enhancement grants by 30 percent. That means less money for projects applying for a piece of the upcoming pie.
Another big source of federal funding, especially for projects in the Chicago area, comes from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program, or CMAQ, which is footing the bill for much of the Navy Pier Flyover and the Bloomingdale Trail.
A Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman said groundbreaking will begin in July on the flyover, designed to make it easier for Lakefront Trail users to navigate an often treacherous stretch between the Chicago River north to Jane Addams Memorial Park.
In August, shovels will start swinging on the Bloomingdale, an elevated park and trail built on nearly 3 miles of old rail line between Ashland and Ridgeway on the Northwest Side. The project is being renamed The 606 as a tie-in to the start of all the city’s ZIP codes, but the trail will be called the Bloomingdale.
Buchtel is banking on CMAQ dollars to come through in the fall for the eastern half of the Cal-Sag Trail, which would put it on track to be finished by the end of next year.
Demand far outweighs supply when it comes to those funds and the federal transportation enhancement grants that typically cover 80 percent of a project’s cost. Local governments are on the hook for the rest. A few north suburbs have tried and failed in recent years to get CMAQ funding to extend the Skokie Valley Trail south to Chicago — a link many say would be a boon for people in Lake and northern Cook counties who want to bike to and from work.
Andrew Kass, an attorney whose clientele includes injured cyclists, commutes daily on his bike from his Highland Park home to Northbrook. Kass rides the Skokie Valley Trail until it ends at Lake Cook Road, where he has to hop onto the street for that final mile or so to his office. “I’m now actually forced to go on the sidewalk just to avoid the danger of being on the road,” Kass said. “I’d be much in favor of having an extended bike path.”
Work is underway or soon will be to plug more holes in the state’s trail network, moving the cycling community closer to that holy grail of an interconnected web of paths instead of a collection of self-contained segments that go nowhere.
“These little-bitty routes in one community don’t get you very much,” Evanston Bicycle Club President Suzie LaBelle said. “It’s when you connect things up, and we’re making progress with that. ... There are a lot of places where you just need a mile or 2 miles and you’d have a great network.”

The Cook County Forest Preserve District is putting the wheels in motion to extend the nearly 20-mile North Branch Trail that runs from Devon and Caldwell on the Northwest Side to the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. Plans call for tacking on 3 miles on the south to Irene Hernandez Woods at Foster and Kostner, linking to the city’s Lakefront Trail via on-street bike lanes. On the north end, the trail will shoot an extra mile east to meet up with the Green Bay Trail and the Robert McClory, which reaches into Wisconsin.
The forest preserve district also is tying up three pieces of the Thorn Creek Trail system, linking it with Old Plank Road Trail and Burnham Greenway for an additional 5 miles of new path in Thornton, Lansing, Glenwood, Chicago Heights and Park Forest.
“A lot of these gaps, people have been working to fill them in for 10, 15 years,” said Leslie Phemister, suburban outreach manager for Active Transportation Alliance. “Now construction is starting and all that hard work is finally starting to pay off.”
In October, Illinois and Indiana officials will meet at the state line between Lansing and Munster to celebrate the long-awaited opening of the Pennsy Trail, a 15-mile route from Calumet City to Crown Point.
Work is supposed to begin later this year in Hammond to create a trail around Wolf Lake that will cut over to Chicago on 112th Street and link to Burnham Greenway, which feeds into the Lakefront Trail via on-street connections.
“It’s exciting times right now,” said Mitch Barloga, who’s in charge of bike and pedestrian trails for Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.
“We had about 13 miles that were rideable back in 1990,” Barloga said about the Indiana region that covers Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties. “We’re up to 130 miles at this point, and we’ll probably add another 10 this year.”

Grander plans include the Marquette Greenway, a 50-plus mile tri-state trail that would run from Chicago’s Calumet Park through Indiana and up to New Buffalo, Mich., hugging the lakeshore as much as possible.

“It’s a work in progress but it’s definitely coming along,” Barloga said, adding that he doesn’t see the recent cut in federal funding as an insurmountable roadblock to bike trail construction.
“It isn’t the money that matters; it’s the will. If the will is there, people find a way to get it done. And the will is there.” 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Rahm is sinking fast!

Sinking in the polls and pissing everyone off by being his typical contrary self. If it looks like he can't get re-elected he will call Obama and arrange to be airlifted to some kind of important federal appointment. Waiting in the wings.........Dart and Preckwinkle. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Does Obama have a problem with the Catholic Church?


One has to wonder, are parochial and Christian schools in America also on the President's enemies list?  From the Scottish Catholic Observer - 
Th-15NORTHERN IRELAND - The US President has made an alarming call for an end to Catholic education in Northern Ireland in spite of the fact that Archbishop Gerhard Müller told Scots that Catholic education was 'a critical component of the Church.’
President Barack Obama repeated the oft disproved claim that Catholic education increases division in front of an audience of 2000 young people, including many Catholics, at Belfast’s Waterfront hall when he arrived in the country this morning.
“If towns remain divided—if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to harden—that too encourages division and discourages cooperation,” the US president said.

The US politician made the unfounded claim despite a top Vatican official spelling out the undeniable good done by Catholic education in a speech in Glasgow on Saturday and in his homily at Mass on Friday.
Archbishop Gerhard Müller (below), prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, told an audience in Scotland that Catholic education provided a rare place where ‘intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment would come together’ while giving the presitigous Cardinal Winning Lecture on Saturday to officially launch the St Andrews Foundation for Catholic teacher education at Glasgow University. During Mass at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow, on Friday night he said that ‘the Catholic school is vitally important … a critical component of the Church,’ adding that Catholic education provides young people with a wonderful opportunity to ‘grow up with Jesus.’
Mr Obama is in Northern Ireland to take part in the two day G8 Summit at the Lough Erne resort in Enneskillen.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Quinn has got to go.

Quinn4CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn (D) is encouraging Illinoisans to use of the state's LINK card programs as a way of stimulating the Illinois economy.
According to the Governor, the taxpayer-funded state food stamp program "invests back into local economies." Presumably through a government-controlled weath transfer system that takes taxes from working families and redistributes them to individuals specified by the state government.
Quinn's announcement came as part of a coupon program LINK is currently running.
Just a another politician aiming for the low lying fruit. No 
leadership whatsoever. Pension crisis? What pension crisis? 
Just use your link card, everything will be ok. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Our Congress!


WU13F11_NORMALIn the midst of so many crises, it's comforting to know that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is focused on what matters: genderless bathrooms. Unfortunately, that's just one effect of a sweeping proposal that could destroy personal freedom in the American workplace. On Flag Day, Reid saluted the rainbow flag instead of Old Glory, becoming the 50th cosponsor of the Senate's latest Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), one of the most anti-business policies this Congress will consider.
After two decades of debate, the legislation has new legs under President Obama, who said earlier in the month that the Senate needs to get the measure "done now." Like most liberals, Harry Reid disguises the bill as an anti-discrimination policy when in fact, the bill itself discriminates against men and women who oppose cross-dressing or blatant homosexuality on the job. Although some people defend it as an innocent piece of anti-prejudice legislation, ENDA creates special employment protections solely on the basis of a person's sexual preferences. Businesses would be forced to comply (or face penalties), regardless of the impact on their organization.

"The gender identity provisions," FRC's Peter Sprigg warns in an op-ed for CNN, "undermine the right of employers to impose reasonable dress and grooming standards, by forbidding employers to use the most fundamental standard of all -- that people be dressed in a way [that's] appropriate for their biological sex!" Not too long ago, Sen. Reid's position -- which orders employers (like preschools) to hire transvestites, transsexuals, drag queens, and drag kings -- was considered "too radical" even for homosexual congressman Barney Frank!
And unlike past bills, Sen. Jeff Merkley's (D-Ore.) version doesn't include an exemption for bathrooms, which means that employers at daycares, public schools, and Christian businesses would all have to change their restroom and shower policies to accommodate men who dress like women and vice-versa. Can you imagine walking into your daughter's classroom and seeing her teacher dressed in drag -- or that same man using the ladies restroom with female students? Apparently Senate liberals can.
Apart from the bill's obvious problems, this legislation would be a magnet for lawsuits. "[W]ith the law in place, everyone who doesn't get hired or is removed for cause of any sort finds themselves with the opportunity to sue the employer under the new rules." HotAir goes on to talk about the financial drain this litigation would be on an already struggling and overregulated economy. "Dollars spent in such lawsuits and settlements are dollars not available to expand the payroll and get more workers off the unemployment lines."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) challenged the wisdom of such a policy in a statement last week. "By and large, I think all Americans should be protected," he said, "but I'm not for any special protections based on sexual orientation." Kudos to Senator Rubio for recognizing that this bill would be just another government club to beat businesses with. It wasn't too long ago that homosexual activists said they just wanted "to get the government out of their bedroom." Now we know why: they want to put their bedroom in the workplace!
To help people understand exactly what's at stake, FRC produced an important documentary that your church, family, and friends need to see. It takes you behind the scenes of communities where laws like ENDA already exist and exposes how destructive the legislation will be, particularly to the faith community.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Lipinski Press Release Suggest Idiocy

Updated: June 14, 2013 2:14AM

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski is set to mark the nation’s Flag Day by joining in support of a constitutional amendment aimed at banning flag burning, according to his office.
Lipinski (D-3rd) and U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, an Alabama Republican, are introducing the proposal, according to a news release from his office. If approved in Congress and later ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures across the country, the amendment would not prohibit flag desecration but would allow lawmakers the power to do so.

This man, with advanced degrees, is not an idiot. One wonders why he likes to act like an idiot. With all the problems facing the US Government, this is the best he can come up with? A simplistic approach to a worn out issue? What about legislation to help our in the tank economy? Obamacare? Corruption? Welfare fraud? Term limits? There are hundreds of issues more compelling than flag burning. It's time for Lipinski to roll up his sleeves and start working on something that is real, or else get out. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Did a story this morning about some of the houses in Beverly. Nice job.

Friday, June 7, 2013

What Happened?

Some people say our legislators Bill Cunningham and Fran Hurley, recently voted in a way which is contrary to the interest of our retired police and fire. I am writing about the vote to transfer medical coverage to Obamacare, during the spring session.

At this juncture, I don't want to draw any conclusions. They are invited to write in and post their reasoning for such a vote. Their votes may have been carefully considered and they are hereby offered the opportunity.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Governor Daley??????

William Daley
His is starting to sound like a candidate. Will he run? Can he win? Can he do a better job?
SPRINGFIELD — Democrat William Daley says he is “stunned” the state failed to address the pension crisis in the spring session and indicated the legislative meltdown is moving him closer to announcing a decision on whether to challenge Gov. Pat Quinn in the 2014 primary.
“Where’s the leadership?” Daley told the Tribune in an interview.
Already sounding like someone in campaign mode, Daley said a strong governor would have found common ground between the rival pension solutions offered by fellow Democrats, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, rather than leave Springfield with a stalemate.
"They both had different ideas on this bill. So who's the one who's supposed to forge a compromise? The governor,” Daley said.
"I'm going to be honest with you: I was shocked,” Daley said. “The anticipation was that they would do something on fiscal solvency and pensions because I don't know how they keep kicking the can” down the road.
“I'm just stunned that this place is totally dysfunctional,” Daley said of the statehouse. “We have a governor who is like an observer, 'It's the legislature's fault.' Well, the legislature is supposed to compromise by virtue of the governor bringing the compromise together.”
William Daley is the son of the late former Mayor Richard J. Daley and brother of former Mayor Richard M. Daley. He most recently served as chief of staff for President Barack Obama after Rahm Emanuel left the post to run for mayor. A longtime banker, William Daley also served as commerce secretary under President Bill Clinton.
Daley has been plotting a Democratic primary challenge to Quinn in the 2014 governor’s race, but has been in a bit of a holding pattern as Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan ponders her own challenge of Quinn. Questions have long persisted over whether Daley would stay in the race if Madigan gets in.
Pressed on his political intentions Monday, Daley said, "Yeah. I'm inching closer toward action, as I've said, that I'm seriously considering running. I'm more seriously considering this by virtue of the debacle that seemed to happen with this legislative session."
Daley indicated an announcement would be “in probably the next week or so.”
Fitch Ratings downgraded Illinois on Monday, the first business day after the General Assembly adjourned its spring session Friday evening. The state’s pension systems are in the worst shape of any in the nation. The pension systems for rank-and-file state workers, legislators, university employees and public school teachers outside Chicago are nearly $100 billion in debt.
"I think Madigan's plan was the most realistic to help make this state fiscally sound,” Daley said.
The Madigan plan was designed to bring the pensions to full funding in 30 years and estimates put cost reductions at more than $187 billion. Cullerton’s version would save an estimated one-third of the Madigan plan and shoot for the plans to be 90 percent funded in 30 years.
The speaker pushed through the House a proposal that would require state workers to kick in more from their paychecks, increase the retirement age and scale back the automatic 3 percent compounded interest increase retirees receive. Cullerton won Senate passage of his own proposal, which would require workers and retirees to choose an option, such as reining in the growth in their pension checks in exchange for keeping retiree health care.
Cullerton, whose plan was supported by labor, said his version of reform was constitutional because giving beneficiaries a choice allowed the change to fit within the contractual parameters of the state constitution, which was long viewed as a document that would not allow pensions to be reduced once they were put in place.
Despite his constitutional questions about Madigan’s plan, Cullerton put the speaker’s legislation up for a vote last week in the Senate, and it was overwhelmingly defeated. Madigan has long said his plan would be upheld. But they all left Springfield without sending a pension plan to Quinn.
“Squeezy the Python was there, and he couldn't squeeze anybody,” Daley said, referencing Quinn’s cartoon character designed to illustrate how pension costs squeeze money from state programs. “The governor couldn't squeeze anybody. . . . Is that how things are going to work? We're looking at another five years of this? I don't think so."
Daley also lashed out at the legislature for failing to approve gay marriage legislation, especially when President Barack Obama urged passage during a fundraising stop last week in Chicago. “It’s crazy,” Daley said. Obama, having served as a state senator, could have been asked to personally lobby some of his former colleagues to help pick up the votes needed to pass gay marriage, Daley said.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Quinn continues to spend $$$$


RasmussenBy Kristina Rasmussen, EVP, Illinois Policy Institute - 
Illinois may be broke and its credit rating may be in the tank, but that isn’t stopping state legislators from creating a new “Forever Green Illinois Program” that would provide for the “maintenance and beautification of greenery” on state or local government property.
Just in case you were wondering, “greenery” includes grass, weeds, trees, shrubs, bushes, plants and other plant material.
Illinois’ fiscal house is on fire, and politicians are planting flowerbeds in the front yard. This is what happens when you bail out bad spending habits with a 67 percent income tax increase – the irresponsible behavior only gets worse.
Stay classy, Springfield.