When Quinn is Effective



We’ve already been down the road of skipping pension payments and it’s how you get to where Illinois is.  Christie is unlikely to still be around when it gets to that point in New Jersey since he thought Disney World was more important than snow removal.  Ask Michael Bilandic about that.


Via Rich

Collateral Damage Last Night

I was on Collateral Damage on KDHX last night discussing the last few weeks of Illinois politics including Rahm getting the boot from the ballot.  You can listen in here It’s a spiffy new web site so I’m not sure where the podcast feeds are, but the site is a great improvement other than that small issue.


Even better sign up on the site and become a fan of the show.



Update:  A-ha Found the podcasts

Mark Kirk Smug?

It’s hard to decide whether to put this story in the category of things we already knew or DC navel gazing. Either way, it’s a waste of space.


According to Politico, Kirk has been rubbing his Senate colleagues the wrong way with smug behavior. Apparently, he’s too full of himself even for Ego Mountain, as the Senate is sometimes known.

In December, the Senate defeated a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, loaded with the earmarks Kirk campaigned against.

“As the most junior people, for those who don’t understand what just happened, did we just win?” Kirk asked, rhetorically. He knew the Republicans had just won, but wanted to rub it in. Kirk also got into a “heated discussion” with John McCain about their differences on repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Getting into an argument with John McCain pretty much means you exist and disagree with him on something. The guy had it out on the Senate floor with Peter Fitzgerald and Fitzgerald was one of the quietest Senators to occupy the office.

Huh. $11 Million Dollars Down the Drain?

Rahm still gets to appeal to the Supreme Court where I think he’ll still win, but this certainly raises the stakes and decreases his odds.

Worst possible outcome from this–Mayor Braun. Chico will still have time to pull this out if Rahm is tossed. Del Valle’s fundraising suck beyond any reasonable reason to back him at this point. I want to back him, but he’s got to raise money and he didn’t even raise enough to the be scrappy challenger.

Better Press Please

Fine moments in bad punditry:

I think I’m like most Chicagoans in finding it easier to understand how someone can go broke than how someone can magically earn $16 million in two-and-a-half years, as Rahm Emanuel did.

“The reality is that unlike Mr. Emanuel and Mr. Chico, who traded on their government relations for vast riches when they left office, I did not,” Moseley Braun said in a press release. “My tax returns are one measure of the fight I have waged to keep my business running. It is not unlike what many small business owners and regular Chicago families are going through.”

The one question I’ve always wanted to ask every politician is, “How has this recession affected you personally?” Now I know the answer for one.

Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/A-Mayor-As-Broke-As-We-Are-112934019.html#ixzz1ABdnjf4h

That’s one way to look at it–just a small businesswoman having a tough time in the economy.
Or one can look at it in context of a long string of failures by an incompetent tool:
  • Cutting her and her siblings check from an inheritance to her mother while her mother was on Medicaid
  • Hiring political workers on her way out the door at the Recorder’s office
  • Paying her boyfriend, Kgosie Matthews $15,000 a month while the campaign went broke and made a gimme election somewhat competive
  • Ignoring Sexual Harassment complaints against Matthews during the campaign even though the reason she got traction was based on Dixon’s vote for Clarence Thomas–quite a year of the woman
  • Visiting Nigerian Dictator Sani Abacha while a US Senator and not registering with the State Department
  • Advocating for Sani  Abacha’s government as a US Senator
  • Continuing her relationship with Matthews as he was a paid lobbyist for the Abacha government


There’s nothing in her past to demonstrate any competence or effectiveness other than enriching her own life or self yet she cannot even do that.  There’s a reason Bank One wouldn’t hire the woman–she’s grossly incompetent at anything other than aggrandizing herself.

It’s fair to take a whack at both Rahm and Chico for enriching themselves at the public trough.  It’s true and it’s an obnoxious practice both of them are guilty.  What’s absolutely unacceptable is to put Del Valle in that category.  He makes a decent salary as a public servant. He has no history of using that power to enrich himself or his friends which is directly counter to everything in CMB’s public career.  Making CMB some sort of person of the people is pure and utter bullshit.  She has sold out every principle she claimed to stand for and yet still can’t make money–that  is incredible, but not something to celebrate.  Complete and utter incompetence is something to marvel at, but not in an approving way.  Worse, it takes away credit from a good public servant like Del Valle.

I don’t think Del Valle can win because he hasn’t raised enough money, doesn’t have a really strong ground operation and is at least splitting his natural constituency with a better funded candidate.  However, if one wants to base the campaign on who has a clean and honest record in public service he wins hands down.

Hinz on Racial Politics

He hits a fairly thoughtful note here on the African-American community seeking a single candidate:


But on he eve of Christmas Eve, he changed his mind, declaring that what’s really important is to a unify behind the black candidate, because Chicago needs a black mayor — not a qualified mayor, or a schools-savvy mayor, or a sensitive mayor (at least not according to what he said) but a mayor of one particular race.
A couple of days later, Rahm Emanuel’s campaign let it out that former President Bill Clinton — for whom Mr. Emanuel served as chief fundraiser and a top White House policy aide — would come here to campaign for him.
Mr. Davis and Ms. Braun could hardly contain themselves.
Mr. Clinton is trying to “thwart the legitimate political aspirations of Chicago’s black community,” Mr. Davis declared. Campaigning for Rahm would be a “gaffe, Ms. Braun said. “I think he’d be more sensitive…given the support that (the African-American) community has given him in he past.”
Heaven knows what they’ll say if President Barack Obama offers anything more about how Rahm Emanuel did a great job as chief of staff for America’s first African-American president.
Finally, after insisting he was in the race to stay, Mr. Davis pulled the plug and endorsed Ms. Braun. “In unity there is strength. In strength there is success,” he said.
Or, as Mr. Meeks not-so-subtly phrased it, “Unity is something our community desperately needs.”

But there’s another point here–these people didn’t come together in unity over the same policies.  Meeks is fairly different from the other two on social issues and education.  The guy with the most administrative success was Meeks.  Braun doesn’t support a state income tax increase which is at the core of funding the CPS.  What is it that brought these three together?

Harold Washington was a consensus candidate for a very different reason.  He made the African-American community show him they could pull together for a win and then he went out and formed a coalition with Latinos and liberals.
Braun appears to be running as a black candidate who hates the parking meter lease and has a bunch of vague policy pronouncements like:

Transportation Solutions

Support measures to DOUBLE transit ridership in Chicago

Support measures to DOUBLE bicycling usage



Really?  What is she going to do that Daley didn’t?  Other than wrought iron the man’s next obsession is with bicycles.  That doesn’t mean Chicago couldn’t improve, but there’s nothing in what she would do differently.


Web sites hit the high points, but compare it to Chico, Del Valle, or even Rahm.  She’s a candidate with few ideas or reasons for being Mayor other than her race.

Rahm at $10 Million?

Greg Hinz is reporting he’s around there

Unless Mr. Chico is blowing the money on expensive consultants, the totals should leave him with $1 million to $2 million to go on TV, something the candidate says will occur “in the first half of the month.”

Contender Rahm Emanuel is believed to have pulled in far more, perhaps $10 million, but isn’t releasing any numbers yet.

The biggest hope is that Rahm comes on so strong to turn off voters.  Chico ran a fairly decent and lean campaign in 2004 as I recall so I doubt he’s blowing his money.

For a Better Editorial Board

Sun-Times on the budget:


The governor’s office wants to pay back the $15 billion plus interest over time with new revenue generated by increasing income, cigarette and gas taxes.

We say some of that new re-venue should be used to pay the state’s bills directly over time. Skip the borrowing.

Proponents of the $15 billion borrowing plan say it would be cheaper for the state than the alternative — continuing to be a deadbeat. That’s because the state, by law, must pay 12 percent interest when it’s chronically late paying its vendors. Alternatively, if the state sells its debt, it may be or 5 percent.

We’re not convinced that those savings will materialize. Borrowing would be cheaper only if Illinois continued to pay its bills late for the next decade or more.

We hope the state ends that shameful practice far sooner than that. Borrowing would work only if legislators passed a permanent income tax increase. We urge them to do so, but a temporary one may be in the cards.

Finally, borrowing would do nothing to encourage the state to spend less, as it must.


The good of catching up isn’t only in saving money–which their estimate is questionable, but also getting vendors caught up and under 60 days as it should be.  Right now, the state is months behind in payments to almost all of their vendors and that means social service providers.  Remember, the State of Illinois has a fairly small number of state employees with many services provided by private providers and they are all in significant trouble because of the state’s inability to pay on time.

The Sun-Times is suggesting that state vendors, already cash strapped, loan money to the State of Illinois and continue to do so for years ahead.  The state is still borrowing money, but instead of doing it from a bank and having set terms, it’s from hospitals, non-profit service providers, local governments, and schools.  Given these entities seldom have enough extra cash to be floating the state government a loan, this means they often have to get loans to cover the shortfall where possible raising the costs for vendors.

Stateline writer Dan Vock did a great piece on this:

It’s a safe place in a neighborhood troubled by gang violence. Two years ago, two participants at the Youth Service Project were killed, and two more were injured, in the fighting. The youth at the center, which runs an arts education program, responded to the deaths by painting an indoor mural of their memories of that summer’s events. It shows a SWAT team van, a church cross against a blue sky and a funeral home — although the center’s staff, fearing that the funeral home would be a distressing image for the kids to see every day, have moved a bookshelf in front of it.

The center plays an important role in the life of Humboldt Park. Indeed, the state of Illinois, which provides 95 percent of the Youth Service Project’s funding, expects the center to provide all of the services under its contract. The catch is that, with all the state’s fiscal troubles lately, no one knows when the state will actually hand over that money.

In the past, the center has had to wait a month or two to get paid. This year, the center went six months without receiving a single check from the state. To get by, the center exhausted its line of credit, cut back on services and laid off seven of its 32 staff members. Only half as many children were able to take advantage of the Youth Service Project’s programs as did two years ago.

This summer, gang violence picked up once again. Three police officers were killed, including one who guarded the mayor’s house. While overall homicide rates are down in Chicago, the brazenness of the attacks prompted two state legislators to propose calling in the National Guard. The adults who work at the Youth Service Project have noticed more aggressive behaviors among the teens they serve, making them more difficult to work with.


There’s a good sidebar on a pharmacist as well.  But why should the state be borrowing from vendors and not banks?  Has Illinois gotten so weird that people just expect it to operate this poorly now?

“Because I don’t want to.”

At least she isn’t trying to make an excuse up:

If Braun had chosen to match their disclosures, she could have exploited a vulnerability of Emanuel and Chico, who have both been accused of cashing in on their political connections.

But when reporters reminded Braun on Monday that she has yet to let reporters see her tax returns, the newly-minted consensus black candidate for mayor slammed the door.

“You won’t either until after the election. No. Not until after the election,” she said.

Asked why, she said defiantly, “Because I don’t want to.” With that, Braun ended the news conference called to repeat her promise to take Chicago parking meters back from private investors.

As she was walking out the door of her campaign headquarters, Braun was asked why she would refuse if she has nothing to hide.

“Oh, get out of here,” she said.

Braun’s refusal might have something to do with the still unpaid $250,000 loan she got from controversial former campaign contributor Joseph Stroud.

Please Save Us Gery Chico

Carol Moseley Braun?  Really? Doesn’t anyone remember that she couldn’t run her Senate office let alone the City of Chicago?  When she was leaving the Recorder of Deeds office she hired several campaign workers on the way out the door.   Admittedly, nothing compared to Daley, but Daley can run the city at least.  And of course, the Nigerian dictators or generally no sense whatsoever, she is in the final four candidates and as a sole black candidate has a shot.  Rahm appears to be Daley without the charm.  Del Valle looks interesting, but doesn’t seem to be able to compete.

Leaving us Gery Chico who appears serviceable at running large organizations, is too cozy with Daley, but given the alternatives, and is quite progressive on many issues coming out for gay marriage in his 2004 run.

This is not a good field of candidates.

Rahm Control

Rahm Then:


Rahm inbetween and now:

This spring, President Obama promised Mexican President Felipe Calderon that he would work to deter gunrunning south of the border. Behind the scenes, White House officials were putting the brakes on a proposal to require gun dealers to report bulk sales of the high-powered semiautomatic rifles favored by drug cartels.

Justice Department officials had asked for White House approval to require thousands of gun dealers along the border to report the purchases to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. ATF investigators expected to get leads on suspected arms traffickers.

Senior law enforcement sources said the proposal from the ATF was held up by the White House in early summer. The sources, who asked to be anonymous because they were discussing internal deliberations, said that the effort was shelved by then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, a veteran of battles with the gun lobby during the Clinton administration.

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Emanuel, who is running for mayor of Chicago, said Emanuel “did not stop the policy from being implemented.” Emanuel “has never taken a back seat to anyone when it comes to standing up to the NRA to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals,” LaBolt said.


LaBolt may have technically been correct, Rahm didn’t stop it, he just delayed it.  This is a no brainer in terms of the law in question.  Gun dealers have to do paperwork on every sale, having to report a bulk sale would be of no great burden.  The benefit of the move would be that once the ATF and other agencies know who is purchasing the guns so when they show up in the hands of cartels or other criminals, they have the tools to track down the suppliers.

What’s most disturbing is that Rahm wants to try and position himself as the next Daley, but this Daley never took a day off on gun legislation pushing it when it wasn’t popular because he was tired of the violence.  Daley went far enough where there were even some proposals I thought would be ineffective, but he never stopped pushing because it wasn’t convenient.   This was a benign rule that had an important role in both domestic gun running and foreign policy with Mexico and Rahm tried to delay it.  Nice.