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Audubon School Should Be Saved PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Alexandra Elias   
Tuesday, 04 June 2013 08:04

(Editor’s note: After this commentary was submitted, the Save Audubon School coalition announced developer interest in the site.)

Does the Statue of Liberty pay her own way? Does the Chicago Public Library make money? The Rock Island City Council would have you think they ought to. Despite hearing overwhelming testimony in favor of retaining Audubon School, six council members voted on May 13 to destroy a 1923 historic treasure that has educated five generations of students in Rock Island. The building had been designated a city landmark until the city council stripped the designation to make way for a chain grocery store. This is terribly short-sighted and ignores this site’s value to the neighborhood that surrounds it and to the entire city. The school must be saved.

 
Goaded Senate President Punts on Pension Reform PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 02 June 2013 17:01

I told my newsletter subscribers several weeks ago that, without a doubt, if Senate President John Cullerton caved in to House Speaker Michael Madigan on pension reform, Cullerton’s legacy as Madigan’s junior partner would be forever sealed.

The two men have battled for months over the proper way to proceed. Cullerton has said that the state Constitution requires that public workers and retirees be given a set of options before their pension benefits can be reduced. Madigan has said that idea doesn’t save enough money, and he has looked for the most cost savings possible. With the pension system at $100 billion in unfunded liability and taxpayer costs rising by about a billion dollars a year, this has become the most important state fiscal issue of our time. It has to be resolved.

I ran into Madigan not long after I wrote that stuff about Cullerton’s possible cave. “Rich, you’re not helping,” he said to me.

 
Gun-Control Advocates Quietly Back Away from Concealed-Carry Bill PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 26 May 2013 09:54

Pat Quinn has loved to hold Sunday press conferences for decades. The governor discovered a long time ago that newspapers were desperate for stories on Sundays, so a Sunday press conference pretty much guaranteed coverage in Monday’s editions.

The problem, though, is that newspapers and other media outlets tend to send younger, less-experienced reporters to Sunday events. And sometimes those reporters miss something that others might catch.

For instance, two Sundays ago, Senate President John Cullerton said something pretty important that was completely ignored by the media.

 
The “Why” Behind the IRS Scandal PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by Daniel S. Brown Jr.   
Tuesday, 21 May 2013 09:41

Let’s begin with a premise: Challenging, delaying, questioning, or bullying organizations about their not-for-profit, educational purposes chills both free speech and a free press. The current ruckus involving Internal Revenue Service policies aimed at conservative political groups supports that notion to be sure.

What we are learning now is that not-for-profit political organizations connected to the network of Tea Party groups were not the only organizations targeted by IRS administrators. In the past few days, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) sent an open letter to President Barack Obama outlining its contention that it was subjected to discrimination because IRS agents investigated, audited, and threatened it with the loss of its tax-exempt status. To the current administration, the man who has appeared in Gallup’s Top 10 Most Admired Men in the World for 56 years needed to be investigated. So, too, did his son Franklin Graham’s not-for-profit charity, Samaritan’s Purse. The BGEA letter to the president states: “This is morally wrong and unethical – indeed some would call it ‘un-American.’”

 
Two Republicans Looking Seriously at Attorney General PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 19 May 2013 05:21

One of the worst-kept secrets over the past few weeks is that House Republican Leader Tom Cross has been considering a run for Illinois attorney general.

Cross has reportedly been asked by Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka and U.S. Representative Aaron Schock to think about a bid in case Attorney General Lisa Madigan decides to run for governor or simply not run for anything.

A former county prosecutor, Cross has long considered a bid for the office. But as recently as a few weeks ago, Cross’ people were denying that he would do it. Now, however, they are saying it’s a possibility. The calls from top Republicans and some major GOP fundraisers have apparently helped focus his mind. “Any time you have so many people requesting that you consider something, you owe it to them to do some due diligence,” explained one Cross backer last week.

 
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