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Lopsided Democratic Race for Guv Tightens PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 16 June 2013 05:53

In a sign that some truly awful publicity for her father may be hurting her possible gubernatorial bid, Attorney General Lisa Madigan has seen her poll numbers plunge in the past several months. And Bill Daley has considerably improved his standing since he announced his candidacy.

Back in January, a We Ask America poll had Madigan leading Governor Pat Quinn in a Democratic primary by 25 points, 51 percent to 26 percent. A Public Policy Polling survey taken in November had Madigan stomping Quinn by 44 points, 64-20.

But the newest Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll, taken June 13, had Madigan’s lead over Quinn at 11 points, 44-33. That’s still a big lead, but not nearly the cremation many were expecting.

 
Lack of African-American Support Dooms Gay-Marriage Bill PDF Print E-mail
Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 09 June 2013 05:17

There’s more than enough blame to go around regarding the failure of the gay-marriage bill during the final days of the General Assembly’s spring session, which ended May 31.

Governor Pat Quinn knew that African-American House members were reluctant to support the bill, mainly because of pressure from their churches. So, why did he pick a nasty fight with the Black Caucus over Medicaid? Quinn was offering projects to Republican legislators to entice them to flip, but he couldn’t find a few million Medicaid dollars to help poor people get wheelchairs and preventive dental care? That late-session fight over Medicaid spending was counterproductive. Instead of using the disagreement to his advantage, Quinn dug in his heels and so did the Black Caucus, which also initially refused to support a gay-rights measure several years ago after being cut out of a gaming-expansion bill.

Senate President John Cullerton said he didn’t regret passing the gay-marriage bill out of his chamber in mid-February, before the House votes were lined up. Back then, the House roll call was reportedly in the 40s. (Sixty votes are needed to pass.) Usually, proponents try to wire these things so they pass both chambers quickly. Cullerton said he feared opponents would begin gearing up and believed the bill needed to be passed as quickly as possible. But passing that bill without first making sure the House was ready to deal with it energized opponents and gave them time to organize.

 
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.

 
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