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Business Opposition Torpedoes Viable Pension Plan PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 17 March 2013 05:51

“Pardon me,” said Ty Fahner to a nearby microphone that he had accidentally bumped during testimony to the Illinois Senate Executive Committee last week.

Fahner could probably be excused for apologizing to an inanimate object. The president of the Chicago-based, business-backed Civic Committee and self-styled pension expert had been forced to sit in the hearing room and wait for hours before testifying against Senate President John Cullerton’s omnibus pension-reform bill.

Cullerton was obviously furious with Fahner for helping organize the opposition to his bill, and he grilled former Illinois Attorney General Fahner mercilessly, tag-teaming with Senate President Pro Tempore Don Harmon, who picked apart the hostile witness piece by piece. Fahner tried to remain calm, but apologizing to the mic showed how much he was rattled.

 
Votes Show Pension Reform a Long Way Off PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 10 March 2013 05:40

House Speaker Michael Madigan was hoping on March 7 to avoid the same results as the previous week.

Back then, one of his pension-reform proposals received just one vote – his own. None of his other pension amendments received more than five votes.

That wasn’t supposed to happen. Members of his leadership team thought some of those amendments would get at least a few dozen votes. Oops.

Making matters worse, the House Republicans refused to even participate in the process, with not a single member voting up, down, or “present” on Madigan’s amendments.

Asked about the GOP refusal to vote, Madigan on last Wednesday’s Illinois Lawmakers television program said he believed the Republicans had made a “mistake.”

“They’re elected,” Madigan told host Jak Tichenor. “And their electors tell them to come here and vote. They don’t tell them to come here and not participate.”

 
Davenport Schools Shouldn’t Contract Out Custodial and Security Services PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Dave Stage and Jim Young   
Friday, 08 March 2013 09:55

As the Davenport Community School District considers a proposal to contract out custodial services and campus security, we want to make sure that parents and citizens know who we are, why we are an integral part of Davenport schools, and why contracting out would not be beneficial for our students, their families, and the public.

We have deep roots in this community and this school district. You may know us as Dave, the former wrestling and football coach, or Mr. Jim, the guy who volunteers to be the “dunkee” for the dunk tank that raises money for McKinley School at the Fall Festival. Between the two of us, we have almost 60 years of custodial experience: Dave, a Marine Corps veteran, has worked for Davenport schools for almost 30 years, and Jim started his career with Davenport schools in 1985; he helped open up North High on its first ever day of school. We have given our lives to this district. Many custodians and campus-security staff have children that attended or currently attend Davenport schools. Like us, many of our fellow custodians are heavily involved in school-related activities like Dad’s Club, Scouts, Boosters Club, and bake sales.

 
Speed Bump Ahead: Police and County Attorney Moved Too Fast to Prosecute Keith Meyer, While a Jury Trial Proved Common Sense Can Prevail PDF Print E-mail
Editorials
Written by Todd McGreevy   
Thursday, 07 March 2013 08:40

(Note: Links to PDF documents can be found within this article.)

This photo, entered into evidence by the Scott County assistant attorney in the jury trial of Keith Meyer, shows Meyer on his property at 1012 Marquette Street in Davenport.

Last week, justice was served in Scott County when a jury of 12 level-headed Iowans found Keith Meyer, Davenport’s former Ward 3 alderman, not guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor: “assault while displaying a weapon.” In November, Meyer was accused by his neighbor, John Fahs – with whom he has a well-documented history of trouble – and arrested by Davenport police. If convicted, Meyer could have been sentenced for up to two years in prison.

Meyer chose to represent himself in this matter, which necessarily consumed his time and energy for four months. It is no small matter to represent yourself in the administrative code system, because the rules are stacked against regular folks without attorneys. But Meyer is not your typical go-along-to-get-along citizen, and he is clearly smarter than your average bear. In addition, he is nearly totally deaf. Yet he prevailed, albeit largely because the prosecutor’s case was so weak.

The case against Meyer should never have been brought. There was no injured party. It was bogus from the jump. Back when courts made more sense, any charge that could potentially result in being jailed for more than 30 days required a grand-jury indictment. Today, however, under administrative procedural rules, county attorneys have effectively usurped the people’s authority by removing grand juries from the process.

 
Master Madigan Botches His Attempt at “Leadership” PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 03 March 2013 05:16

Nobody ever really knows what’s going through the head of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan except for Madigan himself. So the actual purpose behind last week’s highly choreographed gun-control and pension-reform debates – ordered up by Madigan – wasn’t completely clear to anyone.

That’s by design, of course. Madigan prefers to keep people in the dark until he’s ready to make his final move.

But I did hear one theory from a Democrat that made quite a bit of sense – at least for a while.

 
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