Tag Archives: Chicago

Without a Passed Bill This Week, Chicago Must Announce School Closings by Saturday

No matter where you live in Illinois, your legislators will hear from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel this week. Emanuel’s Chicago Public Schools desperately wants a change in state law so it will have until March to decide which of up to 120 schools it will close as it struggles to balance its budget. If lawmakers don’t pass a bill this week, the district will have to announce all closure plans by Saturday

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On the Dockett for the Lame Duck Sessions? Casinos, for one.

Illinois lawmakers over the coming 10 days could cast votes to bring a long-awaited (and much coveted) casino to Chicago, among many other issues, as they begin their lame duck session. For 35 members of the General Assembly whose terms will end Jan. 9, this is a chance to cast controversial votes – like reforming the state’s public pension system – without worry of facing the wrath of voters. Not an especially courageous or efficient way to operate.

Journalist Natasha Korcecki: “Blago was radioactive” but politicians dealt with him anyway

Jesse Jackson Jr. was part of “a whole cadre of politicians who knew Blagojevich was radioactive, but dealt with him anyway,” writes Natasha Korecki.  Korecki covered both Blago trials for the Sun-Times and had a ringside seat as prosecutors untangled the web of corruption that defined the Blagojevich administration. Her book, “Only in Chicago: How the Rod Blagojevich Scandal Engulfed Illinois; Embroiled Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel and Jesse Jackson Jr. and Enthralled the Nation,” details a dark chapter in Illinois’ political history.

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Indicted State Rep Derrick Smith will Serve Through a Full Legislative Session While Awaiting Trial

Indicted, expelled and now reelected former State Rep. Derrick Smith will serve through a full legislative session as he awaits trial on federal bribery charges. His trial for allegedly accepting a $7,000 cash bribe has been set for October 2013. His House colleagues could kick him out again, but they can’t do it a second time on the bribery charges.

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The Educational State We’re In Isn’t a Good One

Only a third of Illinois students are proficient in reading after fourth grade. Only a third enter high school academically prepared. More than a quarter of Illinois students who enter high school won’t graduate. Those are among the facts noted in education reform group Advance Illinois’ new study, “The State We’re In,” which says education reform is moving at a glacial pace.

 

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Jesse White Hopes Derrick Smith Can Get Booted Out Twice

Secretary of State Jesse White was the political sponsor of indicted and now reelected former State Rep. Derrick Smith. Now he hopes the House — which kicked Smith out in August because of his pending bribery trial — can figure out a way to expel Smith a second time.

 

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Derrick Smith’s Turkey of a Reelection

It’s not about graft, it’s about turkeys. If State Rep. Derrick Smith is reelected on Tuesday, remember these words from today’s story on Huffington Post:

“I just vote Democrat all the way across. Whoever’s there, I give them a chance,’ said Percy Winfields, 74, a resident of an apartment complex that caters to seniors. Besides, Winfields said, Smith showed up before Christmas last year and delivered on a promise to provide turkeys to the tenants for the holiday.”

Illinois’ Infrastructure Needs

“Over the next several decades, Illinois’ infrastructure needs will likely exceed $300 billion, yet the state does not have a comprehensive plan to address this critical need. There are real costs associated with underfunding of infrastructure: shipping and travel delays, congestion, pollution, and diminished economic growth.” State Budget Crisis Task Force Illinois Report.

Illinois’ State’s Financial Dysfunction

Illinois is getting lots of national publicity today, though not the kind the state wants. A report issued Wednesday by a committee headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and former New York Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch is unsparing in describing the state’s financial dysfunction. “The culture of budget gimmickry and short-sightedness pushes costs off to the future, but eventually that will be impossible — retirees may lose their pensions as funds dwindle.” The New York Times also took note.

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