The Daily Herald’s John Patterson is moving on.
Before he did, someone videoed the walls of his Capitol office. You can see the memorabilia in the YouTube footage here, I hope.
The Daily Herald’s John Patterson is moving on.
Before he did, someone videoed the walls of his Capitol office. You can see the memorabilia in the YouTube footage here, I hope.
The Chicago Tribune headlines ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich’s hiding from staff members who were trying to get direction.
Apparently Rod was bored with the top political job in Illinois.
He had the work ethic of a child.
A deputy governor sometimes decided whether bills would be signed or vetoed.
Hiding is not a new attribute for Blagojevich, however.
During the campaign he and Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Ryan conspired to hid from the Illinois League of Women Voters.
The League had set ground rules which said any candidate with 5% of the vote according to an independent poll would in their debate.
My campaign ramped up in August with radio ads and when the Daily Southtown took its early September, 2002, poll, I was over 5%.
What did ChickenRod and Bold Jim do?
The two decided to skip the League’s debate and go to Rockford instead. There organizers were happy to have the spotlight for the first debate and to ignore this third party candidate.
The day of the debate, we unveiled JimRod, the Two-Headed Chicken, in Chicago and, then, took the costume to Rockford to taunt the two power party candidates.
Neither were brave enough to enter the auditorium by the front door.
Both hid by going in another door.
It go worse in Springfield where the radio debate was held, sans Libertarian Party candidate, in the Old State Capitol’s House chamber.
Jim Ryan supporters were on the south side of the Capitol, where the Donner Party left for California.
Blagojevich’s fans (and future job hopefuls) were on the north side sidewalk, where my supporters and JimRod, the Two-Headed Chicken, stood.
That’s also where the TV trucks were parked.
All of sudden there was a commotion on the street. Blagojevich’s local people surged to there.
But, there was no Rod to be seen.
He had ducked down the stairs to the parking garage beneath the Old State Capitol. He was at the debate, so I guess he came up the stairs or elevator.
Good ‘ol ChickenRod.
Just another example of how candidates act in campaigns may predict how they will behave in office.
There were two more debates, one at WTTW and another at WGN-TV. At both, both Blagojevich and Ryan refused to walk in the front door past me. At WTTW, I had a little chat with Lt. Gov. candidate Pat Quinn, who used to work in Cary at Fox Valley Systems, I think, and to whom I offered advice on how to appeal real estate assessments.
After he took office, a Springfield columnist wrote a piece Blagojevich ducking out of his Capitol office through the back door, taking the elevator to the basement and ducking out the back door next to the dumpsters.
That was in May of 2003, just four months after he took office.
When I was running for governor on the Libertarian Party ticket, both of my opponents were soft on the Second Amendment.
Rod Blagojevich was downright hostile, having introduced a bill while we both served in the Illinois General Assembly to greatly increase the Firearm Owner Identification Card fee. Jim Ryan also favored more gun control.
I was advocating a Personal Protection Act and had a radio ad that was to ear catching that WGN radio talk show hosts introduced it by saying that they didn’t want to run the ad, but Federal law required them to do so.
It was inspired by an NRA TV ad I saw in the Travis City, Michigan, American Legislative Exchange Council Convention in 1992, the year I started my second eight years in the Illinois House.
In our version, a woman is calling 911 saying a man was trying to break into her home. She runs up the stairs and locks herself in her bedroom, calling again. “He’s breaking in,” she shouts. Then, a gun shot is heard. Next an announcer gave a pitch for the Personal Protection Act, which would have allowed the woman to have a gun in Chicago, and my candidacy.
That same campaign season, a woman had been killed (on the South Side, I think) by a home invader. The story got a lot of play.
Here’s the rest of the post with the beginning taken out and slightly edited so it makes sense…
* Mayor Daley said yesterday that more money to hire more cops would be nice to fight crime, but he has no extra money lying around and wants tougher gun laws…
“’This is all about guns — and that’s why the crusade is on. We hope to get their cooperation in Springfield.’
“The cops have a lot of tools to arrest people already. More gun laws might help, but the ones on the books haven’t stopped a whole lot of criminals from breaking the law so far. What’s needed, besides for the communities in question to get their acts together, is more cops on those streets – far more than Daley’s police superintendent wants – and a much more sophisticated use of city resources.” (Emphasis added.)
Notice that Miller does not align himself with those who think gun control is the be all and end all answer to stemming the outrageous violence in Chicago.
I count that as progress in the campaign to convince people that they ought to have a right to defend themselves with a gun, regardless of where they live.
And, the U.S. Supreme Court may provide that right before the end of summer.
Now, if the Tribune’s Eric Zorn would return to his pro-Second Amendment stance of the early 1990′s…
Maybe after John Lott’s successor to “More Guns, Less Crime” is published.
It hits the book stores in May, but can be ordered from Amazon for shipment today.
Today I heard this ever-so-positive ad on radio driving to pick up my son from school.
But Friday night’s and Saturday’s phone calls were something else.
A woman’s voice comes on the answering machine:
“Hello. I’m calling with an important election alert about Matt Murphy’s campaign for lieutenant governor.“Matt Murphy would like you to believe that he’s opposed to taxes when in fact the opposite is true.
“According to the National Taxpayers United of Illinois, last year Matt Murphy voted to raise taxes four times.
“What was he thinking about?
“Tell Matt Murphy we can no longer afford his bad judgment and tax increases by telling his campaign for lieutenant governor, ‘No thanks!’
“Paid for by Plummer for Illinois.”
Who paid for the phone call was barely audible.
First of all, the phone call means that Murphy is the only candidate for lieutenant governor who has a chance of beating Plummer.
Or, maybe it means Murphy was running ahead of Plummer in Plummer’s polling.
You don’t take the chance of alienating voters, as this phone call did my wife, by going negative… unless you think that’s the only way to win.
Both candidates are attractive, but obviously Murphy, who has served on the Harper College Board and in the state senate has more experience. Even I, at the same age as Plummer, had more experience when I ran for state representative. (I had worked for the better part of a year in the United States Budget Bureau—now the Office of Management and Budget—and four years as McHenry County Treasurer.)
My guess is that Plummer’s polling showed Murphy ahead.
I decided to do some research on the NTU scorecard mentioned in the robo-call.
Here are the four times Murphy voted “wrong,” according to NTU President Jim Tobin:
You can decide their importance.
Plummer, it should be noted, has the advantage first-time candidates always have; they have not had to take any votes on any issue.
But, Friday night’s negative call was not enough. There was another one Saturday while I was out passing out my recommendations and literature for every candidate I could find.
It came after a Matt Murphy phone call:
“Hi. Matt Murphy here again asking for your help in electing Andy McKenna as our governor. Andy and I worked together to fight Governor Quinn’s enormous tax increase and showed how we could balance the budget without raising taxes.“Meanwhile, Jim Ryan and Kirk Dillard have no trouble raising taxes.
“Ryan supported a $5½ billion tax increase and Dillard, like Todd Stroeger, voted for a $500 million suburban sales tax increase. And when asked about raising taxes in the past said, quote, ‘What’s the big deal? It’s not that tough,’ unquote.
“I know Andy McKenna can balance the budget and not raise taxes.
“So, please join me in supporting Andy McKenna for governor and, of course, Mike Murphy for lieutenant governor.
“Thank you for your time.
“Paid for by McKenna for Illinois.”
Next came another negative call from Jason Plummer Saturday from the same woman:
“Hello. I’m calling with an important election alert about the Matt Murphy campaign for lieutenant governor.“Matt Murphy would like you believe he is for real ethics reform when, in fact, he continues to display bad judgment by taking questionable contributions directly or indirectly from state contractors.
“What was he thinking?
“Tell Matt Murphy we want to clean up the corruption in Springfield by telling his campaign for lieutenant governor ‘No thanks’ on election day.
“Paid for by Plummer for Illinois.”
This time the “paid for” tag line was easier to understand.
While I was out knocking on doors in my precinct Sunday, my wife answered a positive call about Plummer. No details, just the tone.
And, today, I received my first phone call from Molly Murphy.
Apparently the tax hike charge from Plummer merited a response.
Molly wanted me to know that her Dad Mike Murphy “cares about my future.”
She said he had never voted to raise taxes.
“It’s not easy to be a kid,” she said, “but he’s always’ been there for me.”
First, the disclaimer.
I ran as the Libertarian Party candidate against Jim Ryan and Rod Blagojevich in 2002. I got so few votes that it did not affect the outcome. Ryan would have lost whether or not I had been in the race as a third party candidate.
After that race, I started writing articles for Illinois Leader. When my name became known as a reporter through the internet, I started getting calls from a man in Cumberland County about how a politically powerful Republican judge, Robert Cochonour, had looted a community foundation. He wanted me to write a story.
I got lots of information from him.
But this was a big story. I couldn’t wrap my arms around it with everything else I was doing.
I told him he really needed folks at a paper like the Chicago Tribune to take it on.
Low and behold, the Tribune did so…in a two-part story. Reporter Michael Higgins wrote the stories.
First there was a front page story on June 19, 2005. You can buy it here.
I remember a second article the next day, but can’t find it in the Tribune archives.
Then, on August 3rd, the crooked judge testified under threat of losing the sweetheart deal that Jim Ryan cut with him right before Ryan left office in 2003..
So, what about that “sweetheart deal?”
Take a look at the press release from Ryan’s office, dated January 3, 2003. The 2002 election was two months before. Ryan’s staff was packing up his office mementos.
The release announces that Cochonour “stole” funds from the Jay E. Hayden Foundation. It mentions he was a Circuit Court judge.
It doesn’t mention that the judge got to keep his pension as a former state’s attorney and to get his pension for being a judge.
An August 3, 2005, article by the Tribune’s Higgins says,
“The plea deal is crucial for Cochonour–and unpopular with many in Cumberland County–because it allowed him to keep a judicial pension of $76,650 a year.
“He also gets a pension of nearly $19,000 a year as a former Cumberland County state’s attorney, according to the transcript.”
If Jim Ryan is nominated Tuesday to be the flag carrier for the Republican Party, can you imagine the television commercial based on this plea bargain?
It could be a twofer.
I’m too cheap to buy the article, but my Cumberland County contact insisted there were elements to the fraud that involved Cochonour in his role as a judge. If so, prosecution could have resulted in his losing both of his public pensions, just as George Ryan did when convicted of a felony.
So, the case could be used to attack Ryan’s integrity.
And, then there is the pension angle.
The state is projected to have real problems paying its pension burden and here Ryan is allowing (how would such a commercial describe Ryan?) “a crooked Republican crony” (?) to keep “not one, but two” pensions.
That’s one reason I don’t think Jim Ryan can be elected governor.
= = = = =
As I was finishing this article, Jim Ryan called. He sounded really tired.
He was no more willing to talk to me today than he and Blagojevich were to debate me in 2002.
Twice Ryan mentioned “corruption:”
“…our culture of corruption…
“I’ll end corruption in Springfield.”
I’ll give him one point.
A Ryan administration starting in 2011 is bound to be less corrupt that one would have been had it started in 2003 when Ryan’s biggest lifetime contributor Stuart Levine would have been appointed to the same boards (the Downstate Teachers Retirement System and the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board) by Ryan that Blagojevich appointed him to.
You can’t convince me that Levine would not have been trying to cut the same illegal deals under a Ryan Administration that he did under Blagojevich.
= = = = =
Lots of other political stories here.
State Senator Kirk Dillard has been endorsed by the Illinois Education Association.
That’s a good thing for him.
The IEA can put people on the street when it wants to and certainly can get the word out to its members.
It could also cough up good money, if it desired.
Here’s what the Chicago Tribune’s Clout Street Blog attributed to IEA President Ken Swanson in its story about the announcement:
“We believe at the end of the day, (Dillard) is interested in finding reductions and efficiencies that make sense.
“But if and when that’s not enough, he can pragmatically reach out to the other leaders and work out a (revenue) solution that’s good for the state.”
That sounds as if this teachers’ union leader thinks Dillard will support an income tax increase.
That would mesh with Dillard’s refusing to promise not to increase taxes.
Before he got the IRA endorsement, he called such pledges “gimmicks” on TV and in this interview. (I never signed such a pledge.)
As he said in the WTTW debate, he might want to rearrange the tax mix and he does favor increasing some source of revenue to pay for a road, school, etc., building program.
Thursday, the mailing below came from opponent Andy McKenna, who has taken the “no tax hike pledge.”
If you looked at the front page of the Chicago Tribune Sunday, you saw five candidates on top of the page.
They are ones that the Tribune’s poll found leading in both the Democratic and Republican Party primaries.
It was Pat Quinn and Dan Hynes for the Democrats. In that race, the Tribune endorsed no one.
In the GOP contest, the heads of Andy McKenna, Jim Ryan and Kirk Dillard appear. The Tribune has endorsed McKenna.
Maybe the supporters of a GOP candidate not in the top three (and who found less than 10% support in the Tribune poll) can surpass the three front-runners.
But, I don’t think it will happen.
If my analysis is correct, people who want to play a role in the decision-making process regarding who the Republicans put up in November have to select among McKenna, Ryan and Dillard.
Having run against Ryan (and Rod Blagojevich) as the Libertarian Party candidate for governor in 2002, I have seen him cozy up to Blagojevich to make sure I was not allowed to be any of the debates.
(If you are interested in the details, here they are. The Illinois League of Women Voters had sponsored debates for each statewide race for decades. in 2002, the League said everyone would be include who received at least 5% in an independent poll. The Daily Southtown, a newspaper, showed me slightly above 5% prior to the League’s deadline. Ryan and Blagojevich decided not to participate in that debate. For that reason, I know that Ryan is capable of cutting deals with Democrats when it is in his personal self-interest.)
Then, there is Stuart Levin, Ryan’s law school study partner, long-time supporter and largest lifetime contributor. To say that that relationship is a problem strikes me as something of an understatement.
It’s not that I think Jim Ryan is dishonest. It’s not that I think he knew his friend was a crook.
It’s that I know how large contributors often get rewarded.
If Levine had asked Governor Jim Ryan to appoint him to the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, I think Ryan would have appointed him. (Levine was involved in the licensing scandal involving the Mercy Health System hospital application in Crystal Lake.)
If Levine had asked Governor Jim Ryan to appoint him to the Downstate Teachers’ Retirement System board, I think Ryan would have appointed him.
After all, Levine contributed over $800,000 over Ryan’s career and he trusted Levine.
Therein is the problem. Levine would have been right where he was when he committed felonious acts during the Blagojevich administration.
So, here’s the question I ask of Jim Ryan supporters:
If Jim Ryan had been elected in 2002, how much less corrupt would his administration have been than Rod Blagojevich’s?
Certainly somewhat less corrupt. As I said before, no one thinks Jim Ryan is a dishonest man.
But his level of discernment about the motives of this man he had known all of his adult live was subpar, to put it as mildly as possible.
And, that doesn’t get into substantive issues like gun control. Ryan would never win the support of fans of the movie “Red Dawn.” I know. He wouldn’t appear on the DeKalb radio station in a forum about gun control when he learned I was in the studio.
That leaves two candidates:
I can enthusiastically support whichever one wins the primary.
However, Dillard has one vote that is just horrible, in my opinion.
It is his vote to triple suburban collar county RTA sales taxes.
To solve DuPage County budget problem, DuPage County Board President Bob Schillerstrom and State’s Attorney Joe Birkett successfully prevailed upon Dillard and two other DuPage County state senators to vote for what National Taxpayers United of Illinois’ Jim Tobin calls the “CTA bailout.”
It was that, but it was also a bailout of DuPage County because, contrary to the first suburban “bribe” plan–allowing the collar county boards to spend one-quarter of one percent of the three-quarters of one percentage point increase on roads–after the DuPage County officials got involved, it could be spent on transportation or law enforcement. DuPage County had a referendum on the ballot at the time to raise the sales tax of law enforcement purposes, but, hey, if you can get your state senators to take the heat, why bother the voters.
Not only did Dillard’s vote raise our taxes, it rendered asunder the suburban bipartisan coalition on the Regional Transportation Authority put together in 1974. I can only remember a couple suburban legislators who voted for RTA who got re-elected. (Both the Republican Senate and House bill sponsors were defeated.) I guess I take that a bit personally.
Other than that, I find his and McKenna’s positions fairly similar, except that Dillard has not taken a no tax increase pledge and McKenna has. (I have to admit that having the Illinois Education Association, surely an income tax hike organization, endorse Dillard raises my eyebrows.)
One more thing about McKenna. At the GOP convention in Decatur, he heatedly criticized DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom, who just withdrew his name from consideration as a candidate for governor (but who will still be on the ballot) about his lobbying DuPage County state senators to triple the RTA sales tax.
Only State Senators Carol Pankau (now a candidate for DuPage County Board President) and Randy Hultgren (now running for Congress in Kane County and more) voted against the 300% increase in the RTA sales tax.
How hot was the criticism?
Most of the DuPage County delegation walked off the convention floor.
In addition, taking on Thompson’s continuing show of support of incarcerated former Republican Governor George Ryan, McKenna said,
“It disappoints me with a former governor lobbies the president to pardon a former governor.”
So, which of the top three are you leaning toward?
As I suggested after I got Mary Pat’s call on behalf of Andy McKenna earlier today, the race for the Republican nomination for governor has narrowed down to three candidates:
The Tribune’s Eric Zorn is reporting the results seen above.
17% reported still being undecided.
Among those with less than 10%, here are the results:
Bob Schillerstrom had 2%, but he dropped out in favor of Jim Ryan today.
In the Democratic Party primary, Zorn reports
As Zorn puts it,
Didn’t sound like the Mary Pat I know.
Turned out it was a robo-call in support of Andy McKenna for governor.
It talked about Jim Ryan’s having supported a $5.5 billion tax hike. I presume this was when he was on the board of the union-financed not-for-profit tax hike advocacy organization run by Ralph Matire.
Mary Pat told me how Kirk Dillard had raised taxes millions of dollars, presumably by being one of the three DuPage County defectors who supported the tripling of the RTA sales tax rate in the collar counties.
This quote was attributed to Dillard about some tax matter, but I didn’t catch which one:
“What’s the big deal?”
So, what’s the message of this little bit of campaigning.
First, it interrupted a call I was having with a Crystal Lake number on a different exchange.
Second, when talking to an acquaintance in southern Kane County, he had gotten the call, too.
So, it’s probably going to Republicans throughout the suburbs.
But there’s something more importantly.
It signals that McKenna’s polling shows the governor’s race in the Republican primary has narrowed down to three people:
In December, the Chicago Tribune poll said Ryan was leading by over 2-1, but still in the middle 20 percentage range.
So, if you think Jim Ryan can’t win in November and you want a Republican elected, the choice pretty much narrows down to McKenna or Dillard.
I had previously thought that Bill Brady might be one that could catch up with Ryan, but this robo-call does not indicate that is the case.
In the governor’s race, here are the figures offered up by Adrian G. Uribarri in Chicago Current:
He has an analysis in his article.