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GOP Rivals Looking Up at Rauner PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 23 February 2014 05:17

Illinois state Senator Kirk Dillard told Chicago radio station WLS last week that Republican county chairs ought to try to get Bill Brady and/or Dan Rutherford out of the governor’s race so he could have a clear shot at wealthy front-runner Bruce Rauner. Dillard claims he is building strong momentum with recent endorsements, including the powerful Illinois Education Association (IEA).

But two polls taken last week showed that Dillard isn’t even winning the DuPage County state Senate district that he has represented for more than 20 years.

A Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll taken February 20 had Rauner leading in the district with 36 percent; Dillard had 30 percent. Brady polled 10 percent, and Rutherford was at 2 percent. Another 22 percent were undecided. The poll of 614 likely Republican voters had a margin of error of 3.95 percent. Twelve percent of the calling universe was cell phones.

I didn’t commission the poll to be a jerk, but because somebody slipped me results of a Strive Strategies tracking poll taken February 18, which had Rauner at 33 percent and Dillard at 26 percent in Dillard’s own district. The margins between the two men are almost exactly the same in both polls, so this is pretty solid evidence that Dillard is, indeed, losing his own Senate district, which he has represented since 1993.

What the heck is going on? Well, millions of dollars in campaign ads on Chicago TV by Rauner and pretty much nothing by Dillard is the simplest answer.

 
Treasurer’s Investigation Smells Like a Cover-Up PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 16 February 2014 11:19

Treasurer Dan Rutherford delivered a forceful, even believable defense of himself last week during a suburban press conference hours after he was hit with a federal lawsuit alleging sexual harassment and coerced campaign work.

Gubernatorial candidate Rutherford made a strong case that at least some of the accusations are untrue. There were some holes in his argument – some bigger than others – but it seems obvious that some of the charges are overblown.

For instance, accuser Ed Michalowski claims in his lawsuit that all the campaign and sexual pressure from Rutherford directly resulted in “leakage of cerebral spinal fluid in the brain,” which seems more than a bit of a stretch. Michalowski also takes a joking text message between himself and Rutherford’s campaign manager completely out of context. And Rutherford laid out Michalowski’s numerous financial troubles in an attempt to demonstrate that the plaintiff’s need for money was driving much of the lawsuit.

That said, I’ve had some real worries about Rutherford’s so-called “independent” internal investigation of these allegations. Rutherford announced the investigation weeks ago when he let the media know about the potential lawsuit.

 
Putting Big Brother in the Driver’s Seat: V2V Transmitters, Black Boxes, and Drones PDF Print E-mail
Guest Commentaries
Written by John W. Whitehead   
Thursday, 13 February 2014 13:27

It’s a future where you don’t forget anything. ... In this new future, you’re never lost. ... We will know your position down to the foot and down to the inch over time. ... Your car will drive itself; it’s a bug that cars were invented before computers. ... You’re never lonely. ... You’re never bored. ... You’re never out of ideas. ... We can suggest where you go next, who to meet, what to read. ... What’s interesting about this future is that it’s for the average person, not just the elites.” – Google CEO Eric Schmidt on his vision of the future

Time to buckle up your seatbelts, folks. You’re in for a bumpy ride.

We’re hurtling down a one-way road toward the Police State at mind-boggling speeds, the terrain is getting more treacherous by the minute, and we’ve passed all the exit ramps. From this point forward, there is no turning back, and the signpost ahead reads “Danger.”

Indeed, as I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we’re about to enter a Twilight Zone of sorts, one marked by drones, smart phones, GPS devices, smart TVs, social media, smart meters, surveillance cameras, facial-recognition software, online banking, license-plate readers, and driver-less cars – all part of the interconnected technological spider web that is life in the American police state, and every new gadget pulls us that much deeper into the sticky snare.

In this Brave New World awaiting us, there will be no communication not spied upon, no movement untracked, no thought unheard. In other words, there will be nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

We’re on the losing end of a technological revolution that has already taken hostage our computers, our phones, our finances, our entertainment, our shopping, and our appliances, and now it’s focused its sights on our cars. As if the government wasn’t already able to track our movements on the nation’s highways and byways by way of satellites, GPS devices, and real-time traffic cameras, government officials are now pushing to require that all new vehicles come installed with black-box recorders and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, ostensibly to help prevent crashes.

 
Allegations Against Treasurer Might Be the Tip of the Iceberg PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 09 February 2014 05:41

One of the reasons people near Treasurer Dan Rutherford are so nervous these days is because of the possibility that other employees might come out of the woodwork with even more allegations.

As I write this, the publicly revealed facts are still quite thin. A now-former employee of Rutherford has claimed, without producing any hard evidence as of this writing, that he was sexually harassed and told to do political fundraising work. Rutherford has flatly denied the allegations, claiming they are politically motivated and part of a shakedown attempt that’s being pushed by Bruce Rauner, his Republican-gubernatorial-primary opponent. The former employee, Rutherford claims, demanded $300,000 through his attorney to remain quiet. Rauner has denied any involvement.

The treasurer’s office has negotiated two previous severance agreements, a fact that the accuser’s lawyer alluded to last week when she told WLS Radio’s Dan Proft: “Their standard MO is to work out standard severance agreements. That’s what they do, and they’ve been doing that the last two or three years with employees.”

 
The Cost of Freedom of Information PDF Print E-mail
Editorials
Written by Todd McGreevy   
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 10:12

Late last year, I published a commentary on the questionable policy implementation by the Scott County Board of Supervisors, at the request of staff, to indiscriminately destroy e-mails more than three years old, beginning January 2, 2014 (RCReader.com/y/email1).This new policy was implemented in the wake of Assistant County Administrator Mary Thee issuing a memo to county employees about the increase of public inquiries and litigation requesting e-mail messages.

In the spirit of practicing what I was preaching, namely getting one’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in before the January 2 date (despite the county administrator extolling that her staff has been practicing said deleting for some time), I submitted a FOIA request about a topic this paper has covered more extensively than any local news outlet: the Scott County Emergency Communications Center, a.k.a. SECC911. (See RCReader.com/y/foia1 and RCReader.com/y/foia2.)

Keep in mind that the SECC911 project is important because it was sold to the taxpayers as a cost-saver, only to have its costs more than quadruple the original estimates, ballooning to more than $20 million. And the entity that was created under a 28E, or “emergency services” statute, is made up of un-elected appointees, who possess unlimited, or un-capped, taxing authority. I am still amazed at how few people are familiar, let alone concerned, with this black hole that flies completely under the radar. And, lest we forget, years later we still don’t have a consolidated 911 dispatch service.

This request was e-mailed to the Scott County Board of Supervisors as well as Administrator Dee Bruemmer. Below is the text of that request, and the response from Assistant County Attorney Robert Cusack. For those paying close attention, yes, Cusack is the son of William Cusack, one of the supervisors this FOIA request was directed to.

 
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