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  • Quinn’s Best Shot Lies with Minimum-Wage Efforts PDF Print E-mail
    Illinois Politics
    Written by Rich Miller   
    Sunday, 24 August 2014 05:36

    Some recent Chicago Tribune poll results appear to indicate that support for raising the minimum wage in the state’s largest city may be enough to increase voter turnout for a non-binding November ballot referendum.

    The poll found that 84 percent of registered Chicago voters support a city-task-force recommendation to increase the minimum wage to $13 per hour over the next three years. According to the poll, 78 percent of whites and 92 percent of African Americans and even 71 percent of Chicagoans making more than $100,000 a year back the plan.

    Democrats have been hoping to use the referendum – which asks about raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour – as a tool to help spur turnout in what is rapidly developing into a big Republican year. And with the Tribune’s numbers backing a much higher minimum wage, it does seem likely that the issue can be effective, particularly among African Americans. Support above 70 to 80 percent is generally seen as having a ballot impact. Get above 90 and it’s sure to drive votes. Then again, the comparatively “stingy” state-ballot proposal, when compared to the Chicago proposal, might garner less enthusiasm.

     
    Edgar Gives Rauner an Unexpected State-Fair Boost PDF Print E-mail
    Illinois Politics
    Written by Rich Miller   
    Sunday, 17 August 2014 10:30

    I’m not sure why, but the surprise appearance by former Governor Jim Edgar at the Illinois State Fair’s Republican Day last week didn’t generate much media coverage.

    Despite the fact that Edgar is a Republican, this was not an easy “get” for Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner. I’m told it took weeks of careful wooing and negotiations through one of Edgar’s cronies. Edgar backed state Senator Kirk Dillard in the GOP primary against Rauner, and he has also expressed public and private concerns about how Rauner is portraying himself on the stump and about how that confrontational attitude could manifest itself if he’s elected governor.

    Another reason why I’m perplexed by the lack of coverage is that Democratic Governor Pat Quinn has repeatedly gone out of his way to praise Edgar since Dillard’s Republican-primary loss. Quinn consulted with Edgar before his post-primary budget address, seeking his advice on keeping the income tax at current levels and providing some property-tax relief. Quinn then mentioned Edgar by name during his actual address, saying the former governor was right to keep a tax hike in place.

     
    Backtracking Was the Right Move in Ford Prosecution PDF Print E-mail
    Illinois Politics
    Written by Rich Miller   
    Sunday, 10 August 2014 17:27

    As you might know by now, the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago has agreed to drop all felony charges against Illinois state Representative LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) and has charged him instead with a simple misdemeanor.

    The original 17 federal counts of bank fraud and submitting false information to a bank each carried a potential sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1-million fine – meaning that Ford was essentially looking at spending the rest of his natural life behind bars for allegedly obtaining a credit line greater than his eligibility and using part of the proceeds for things unrelated to the loan’s stated purpose.

    The new charge of delivering a false tax return to the IRS is calculated in the plea agreement to be a term of zero to six months.

    What the heck happened here?

     
    Davenport’s Planned News Site: A Bold, Unworkable Idea, Repackaged PR, or ... ? PDF Print E-mail
    Guest Commentaries
    Written by Jeff Ignatius   
    Wednesday, 06 August 2014 09:47

    How would the City of Davenport have covered the recent vetoes by Mayor Bill Gluba of the Dock development plan and the St. Ambrose University rezoning request for a new stadium? And how would it have covered Gluba’s proposal to bring illegal immigrants to Davenport, which was – to put it mildly – poorly received by the city council?

    These were the questions that came to mind with the revelation by the Quad-City Times’ Barb Ickes (on the same day as the vetoes) that the Fiscal Year 2015 city budget includes $178,000 for what she described as “a news-based Web site ... [to] shine new light on positive and negative city happenings.”

    It’s clear that the site is an attempt to, at least in part, bypass the traditional news media and speak directly to constituents about good things city government is doing and positive developments in Davenport – without that pesky “other side” of the story. And, given our local television stations’ tendency to air unsourced and vaguely sourced stories, one might infer that another motivation is giving those broadcast news operations easily adaptable material that would warmly present Davenport.

    But this idea was also pitched by city staff quoted in the article as “bold” and a “deep dive,” words that suggest ambition beyond marketing. As Davenport Business Development Manager (and former daily-newspaper reporter) Tory Brecht said: “As far as we can tell, no U.S. city has embarked on this effort.”

    The news site is supposed to be launched in the next few months, and of course it’s impossible to pass judgment on it without actually seeing the thing.

    Yet the twin aims of the initiative seem fundamentally incompatible, and it’s hard to envision how the nobler of these goals can be accomplished given the inherent lack of independence in a city-run “news” operation.

    And that’s why I return to the Dock, the St. Ambrose stadium, and the Gluba immigration proposal. These were the city’s big stories last month, and one can’t envision a Davenport news site ignoring them while retaining its credibility. But I can’t for the life of me figure out how it would have covered them.

     
    Quinn Campaign Spitting in the Wind PDF Print E-mail
    Illinois Politics
    Written by Rich Miller   
    Sunday, 03 August 2014 10:27

    Governor Pat Quinn’s new TV ad is 60 seconds of one positive message after another.

    “Pat Quinn sees problems, takes action, and gets the job done,” the ad claims. “Now, Illinois is making a comeback,” it continues.

    But the spot is being slammed by longtime campaign insiders in both parties as “spitting in the wind.”

    For instance, a Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll in June found that a mere 30 percent of Illinoisans thought the state was on the right track, while a 60-percent majority thought Illinois was on the wrong track.

     
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