The scathing audit of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services that made such big headlines last week could be just the tip of the iceberg. The audit uncovered numerous problems at the agency, including some possible criminal activity, but inside sources say that there is much more to come.
Other than a handful of state employees, highway workers, Medicaid vendors, commercial-truck owners, and poor people, almost nobody out there in Voter Land has really paid much attention to the state's budget problems.
There's no violation of state law if a toxic-waste landfill is partly owned by one of the governor's in-laws, or even a nuclear-waste dump, for that matter. There's no problem with the law if a member of the governor's family owns stock in a regulated monopoly such as Commonwealth Edison or SBC.
Harsh statements and public and private threats by Senate President Emil Jones over the past two years have prompted Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson to reach out to some labor leaders.
Jones has been sharply critical of the construction trades unions, accusing them of freezing out African Americans and Latinos from apprenticeship programs and job sites.
Governor Rod Blagojevich's proposal last week to more than double the number of gaming slots at riverboat casinos in Illinois will require an enormous amount of leadership to become a reality.
Here's the rundown of the pitfalls:
• Almost all gaming bills eventually become giant legislative Christmas trees, and then usually perish because of their gross obesity.
With Stan Leach choosing not to run for re-election this year after 12 years in office, a pair of city-council members are seeking to replace him.
Although the election is nonpartisan, there's a clear choice among the candidates politically.
In the race for Rock Island mayor, challenger David Kimbell is hitting some popular municipal positions: better schools, lower crime, and lower taxes. But in terms of reconciling different components of his platform, he can't explain how he'd save the $1 million to $3 million he'd like to while still finding more money for police officers.
There are eight names on the list of candidates for the Moline school board, and only three will earn seats on the board. He might not win, but pay attention to Bryn Lawrence. He's a first-year student at Augustana College running for the board of a district in which he was a student last year.
She'd give him a real run for his money.
Illinois Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka has a new poll that shows her trailing Governor Rod Blagojevich by just three points in a head-to-head matchup.
Using just about any test, the numbers are real.
Dan Hynes is slowly working his way back to the top.
Hynes was once the brightest of Illinois' young political stars. After winning his first statewide race for Illinois comptroller in 1998, the then-30-year-old Democrat's future looked limitless.
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