kens*ten: a political blog

Archive for the ‘Illinois’ Category

Rahm Runs, Chicago Yawns

"Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dancer" or "Don't Stand So Close to Me"?

Former chief-of-staff (and 5′-4″ ballerina wannabe) Rahm Emanuel enjoyed a hugs-and-tears sendoff from the Obama White House.  He then immediately launched his Windy City mayoral campaign.  Well actually, Emanuel recorded a campaign video before leaving the capital. 

Despite the ensuing media frenzy, Emanuel is not a big hit with his potential constituents

Maybe, these Chicagoans know about Rahm’s “dead fish” message and “liberals are f**king retarded” comment.  Or, maybe they’re just as upset with Obamanomics as the rest of the nation. 

There are also concerns that “Rahmbo” is not a legal resident of the “City That Works”. I have no doubt that such pesky technicalities will be easily swept aside. 

An intriguing question is: Will President Barack Obama appear in ads or actively campaign for Rahm?  Given Obama’s reduced standing in his home state, maybe Emmanuel will avoid asking for the president’s help. 

African-Americans and Hispanics in Chicago see the end of the Daley Era as the perfect time for their ascension at City Hall.  Several such candidates have already began campaigns.  Chances are they won’t take kindly to Rahm’s carpetbagging.  Politics in Chicago is very local and very personal.   Absent unusual circumstances, Obama’s positive sendoff was likely the extent of his involvement in the mayoral race.  He’ll avoid the entanglement of hometown politics as much as possible. 

What are Emanuel’s chances of election?  With a gazillion candidates on the ballot, all Emmanuel needs is to keep any one of his opponents from gaining an outright majority (say through a slew of attack ads), finish second and force a runoff.  He may have a chance then.  

An as yet unannounced candidate, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, may be Rahmbo’s biggest obstacle to election.  Dart has support among Chicago “lakefront liberals” and the African-American community.  A Dart-Emanuel race would be fun to watch. 

© 2010 by kens*ten. All rights reserved.

YouTube / Elton John –” Tiny Dancer” (Nice toupee, Sir Elton!) 

YouTube / The Police — “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”

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Blago: Dead Man Walking

After all I've done for you &$#@ people?

Guilty on one count and a mistrial on the other twenty-three. Only in Chicago. 

Former governor Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) was found guilty of lying to FBI agents. He faces a prison sentence of up to five years and fine of up to $250,000. But, more importantly he faces a retrial on the remaining counts. 

I know the partial verdict has resulted in much gnashing of teeth and recriminations about the justice system in Illinois. But, I think a vital fact is being overlooked. If the media reports are true, and a single juror held out on the 23 counts, then Blago is a “dead man walking”.  His chances in a retrial are even slimmer. Ditto for his brother Robert. 

Blagojevich’s high-priced attorneys, father and son duo Sam Adams Sr. and Jr., must be telling him this. Their client survived by the skin of his teeth and his future freedom is hanging by a thread. 

Blago doesn’t have the personal financial resources to weather another long trial. After all, a lack of funds is what the impeached governor kept complaining about during those wiretaps. And, the two Adamses don’t come cheap. 

I can imagine them advising “Governor Hairdo” to cut his losses and seek a plea bargain. Maybe they can negotiate a shorter stay at a nicer “Club Fed” if he cops some lesser charges. 

I can almost hear the conversation… 

“C’mon Rod, this was a long-shot at best. You got lucky with one stubborn juror, otherwise you’re guilty on ALL counts facing decades behind bars. Plus, how are you going to pay us for a second trial? Don’t put your brother, wife and kids through anymore of this. Give us permission to approach the Feds about a deal.” 

Hey, isn’t making deals what got Blago in this jam to begin with? 

© 2010 by kens*ten. All rights reserved. 

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Written by kensten

08/17/2010 at 9:48 pm

Tribune: More Sky-High Local Official Salaries

Spending Your Tax Dollars Without a Care in the World

The Park District of Highland Park (IL) has joined the sky-high local government payroll club. The Chicago Tribune reports that the local taxing body significantly raised salaries and granted large bonuses to key administrators — in one case over 300% — specifically to augment their pensions. 

Park District executive director Ralph Volpe received a 2005 salary of $138,733, the Park District Board raised his total compensation 313% to $435,203 by 2008. Volpe’s total compensation in 2008 was greater than the $400,000 salary paid to President Barack Obama

The 2005 salary of David Harris, district facilities director, increased from $135,403 to $339,302 including bonuses in 2008 — an increase of 250%.  Kenneth Swan, the district’s finance director, 2005 salary increased 174% from $124,908 to $218,372. The total compensation paid to both Harris and Swan in 2008 exceeded the $155,600 salary of the Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn

Running a $20 million park district deserves compensation exceeding what we pay the “Leader of the Free World”? I don’t care how rich your town is, that is just insane. 

Couldn’t the park commissioners in Highland Park have found a better way to spend nearly $1 million of taxpayer funds? Maybe, on playground equipment or sports fields… or here’s a crazy thought… charging less to participate in park district programs. 

No, they chose to reward their “employees” with a retirement of luxury… on the taxpayer’s dime. 

The good citizens of Highland Park should follow the course of their brethren in Bell, California. They should seek the immediate resignation of the park district commissioners who approved this gross misappropriation of public funds.

© 2010 by kens*ten. All rights reserved.

Written by kensten

08/01/2010 at 4:00 pm

Blagojevich Goes Quiet: What Took So Long?

"I know it was you Fredo."

When submariners need to hide out from those searching for them, they adhere to radio silence and are said to have “gone quiet”. Former Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-IL) has never been one to go quiet. Until Wednesday.

His lawyers are quite aware that their client is the “World’s Loosest Cannon”. They may not be able to say that publically, but you know they believe it in their hearts. Heck, even Blago admitted at a press conference that he talks too much. 

Now he gets it. Da Guv couldn’t figure that out when the authorities practically told the world — via the Chicago Tribune — that they were recording his conversations?

So the defense team “persuaded” Governor Big Mouth to give up his right to testify on his own behalf. The circus that was a federal fraud trial is now over. They loudly proclaimed the usual “government didn’t prove its case” line.

What else could they do? They couldn’t risk putting the guy on the stand. He might tell the truth… or worse, his own crazy version of it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by kensten

07/22/2010 at 5:15 pm

Governor Clueless Digs a Deeper Hole

Is this hole too deep?

The first rule of holes is stop digging.  Governor Patrick Quinn (D-IL), recently dubbed “Governor Clueless” by the Chicago Tribune, is immune to such common sense.

Quinn dug himself a huge hole by calling on Illinoisans to share in the pain of budget cutting.  Then he not only didn’t cut the budget, Quinn gave his staffers large raises!  With leadership like that Illinoisans will soon be yearning for the return of impeached and indicted former Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-IL).

Not content to leave bad enough alone, Quinn decided to explain his actions so the public could better understand the situation — with predictable results.

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Written by kensten

07/18/2010 at 2:20 pm

ChiTrib: Illinois’ Governor Clueless

In an earlier KEN’S TEN post (“NYT: Land of Obama Drowning in Red Ink“), I noted that even the New York Times smelled something rotten in Illinois — besides the Asian Carp.  The State of Illinois has stopped paying bills for the simple reason that they have no money.

Now the Chicago Tribune reports that Governor Patrick Quinn (D-IL) rewarded his staff for this tour de force of public administration with large raises.  How do Democrats sleep at night?

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Written by kensten

07/09/2010 at 6:12 pm

NYT: Land of Obama Drowning in Red Ink

Things are looking very dire in the Land of Obama.  The New York Times reports that Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes (D-IL) has stopped paying the state’s bills.  The Comptroller is the elected “chief accountant” for the state government.  So, he qualifies as an expert on this issue.

Should we blame Arizona legislators, the BP oil spill or that pesky Ghana soccer team?  No wait, it would have to be Bush 43’s fault, right? Surprisingly (to liberals) it is none of the above.

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Written by kensten

07/05/2010 at 10:18 pm

Posted in Illinois, States

Tagged with , ,