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Articles Archive for December 2017

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[7 Dec 2017 | No Comment | ]

Hollywood, networks and other businesses acted swiftly to fire sexual abusers. Congress? Uh uh.
Numerous Republicans (except Donald Trump) called for Roy Moore to drop out of the Alabama senate race after 9 women accused him of sexual abuse while teen-agers, one only 14 at the time. Democrats joined the chorus.

Moore’s winning poll numbers dropped down to a tie with Democrat Doug Jones–some showing a good lead for Jones. Moore denied all improprieties, inconsistently recalling the names of two of his accusers, now claiming he knows none.
Two other things happened. Trump …

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[6 Dec 2017 | 4 Comments | ]

“Marginalization” is a word coined by political pundits. It means on the edge, the periphery – a political faction or movement which is inconsequential, irrelevant and/or ridiculously impotent.

Like Republicans in Illinois, who are on the edge of the state’s overwhelmingly Democratic majority, which grows with every passing election.. Without Governor Bruce Rauner and his millions, there would be no Illinois Republican party.

He, and he alone, has made the party less marginalized that it would otherwise be. And he has done that by demonizing Mike Madigan, blaming the Democrats for Springfield …

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[6 Dec 2017 | No Comment | ]

[Bumped up for visibility.]
* Sun-Times…

A group of high-profile Illinois Democrats have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s case.
In an amicus brief filed Monday, the who’s who list of current and former Illinois Democratic congressional delegation members emphasized that they take “no position on Mr. Blagojevich’s innocence or guilt on any […]

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[6 Dec 2017 | No Comment | ]

Durbin vs Schumer? https://t.co/KdOpII2P1A— Senator JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) December 6, 2017

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[6 Dec 2017 | No Comment | ]

* Tribune editorial…

Three years into his first term after promising to “shake up Springfield,” Rauner continues to allow the most powerful man in Illinois politics — yes, it’s House Speaker Michael Madigan and let’s not feign surprise — to mess with his psyche. At a news conference Monday, Rauner offered a quirky assertion that even […]

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[5 Dec 2017 | No Comment | ]

Leaving SCOTUS now. Terrible argument for pro-equality side. Kennedy all but sure to side with anti-gay baker.— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) December 5, 2017

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[5 Dec 2017 | No Comment | ]

A pair of new polls taken for candidates in the upcoming Democratic primary suggest Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made progress toward rebuilding his standing with voters after the meltdown following the shooting of Laquan McDonald.

The surveys, taken for U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley and a statewide candidate who asked not to be named, indicate that Emanuel’s personal popularity now is back above 50 percent. That’s by no means high enough to guarantee him re-election if, as expected, he runs for a third term a year from now, but overall it’s not bad.

There are some asterisks in the numbers that I’ll explain in a minute. But they may help explain why Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who had been pondering another race against Emanuel, instead leapt at a chance to succeed the retiring Luis Gutierrez in Congress.

Here are the numbers. All are for likely voters in the March Democratic primary, a group that represents the single largest chunk of a likely mayoral electorate.

The survey in Quigley’s district, which once was represented in Congress by Emanuel and which covers most of the North and Northwest sides, found Emanuel’s personal popularity 57 percent favorable and 41 percent unfavorable—overall positive, or “above water,” as pollsters say. Emanuel’s job performance also was a net positive, though by a smaller margin of 52 percent to 46 percent.

Quigley’s numbers were considerably higher, 71 percent to 10 percent in personal popularity, 68 percent to 16 percent on job performance. But even if he’s not doing as well as the congressman, the figures, if accurate, indicate that Emanuel is viewed favorably at least among an area of the city that represents his political base.

The survey was conducted by pollster Brian Stryker of ALG Research of 500 likely voters and has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

The other survey—actually, results of two polls of 584 likely voters conducted in late October and then late November—was conducted by a national firm that has done work in Illinois. The pollster involved asked questions about Emanuel as part of his survey for a statewide candidate, and while neither will allow their names to be used, I spoke with the pollster directly.

In this survey, Emanuel got a citywide personal favorable rating of 50 percent positive and 40 percent negative. His rating from African-Americans was slightly better than among whites, 51/37 vs. 51/42, due mostly to a strong 56/32 rating from black women.

Emanuel’s rating on the North Side was 53 percent favorable to 38 percent unfavorable, fairly close to the results in Quigley’s district. The split was narrower on the South Side, 49 percent to 40 percent, and almost even on the West Side, 47 percent to 44 percent.

Those numbers collectively “look like the coalition that elected him last time,” said the pollster, asserting that Emanuel’s public efforts to get more state school aid for Chicago Public Schools, hire more police and help immigrants are having an impact. And overall, Emanuel’s numbers probably are stronger than they appear because the survey excludes Republicans, who likely would lean toward the mayor in a challenge from a progressive on the political left such as Garcia, the pollster said.

Emanuel spokesman Pete Giangreco said the mayor’s political operation would not comment on whether it’s done its own polling. But he hailed the figures as a sign that the mayor “has reconnected with his base.”

This survey has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

It’s hard to say anything for sure in politics these days. But these numbers, if accurate, at a minimum are not bad news for Emanuel, and may be considerably better than that.

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[5 Dec 2017 | No Comment | ]

* Lynn Sweet…
House and Senate negotiators will be meeting to resolve differences in the Republican tax overhaul bills, and an outstanding item is whether a tax-free college savings account can be opened for a fetus.
Will this legislation about unborn children and 529 plans — named after a section of the IRS code — survive?
One needs […]

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[5 Dec 2017 | No Comment | ]

* Mary Ann Ahern asked Gov. Rauner about a press release his campaign sent out earlier today attacking JB Pritzker for hiding money in off-shore accounts. Doesn’t he do the same?…

Gov. Rauner: Not at all.
Mary Ann Ahern: You don’t have any off-shore accounts?
Rauner: I do not.
Ahern: That was reported in your first term.
Rauner: Yes, […]

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[5 Dec 2017 | No Comment | ]

The federal government has put at least a temporary brick on plans for the first major new housing development in many decades in the historic Pullman area on the Southeast Side.

Developers say they believe the setback is temporary, and they hope to break ground this spring.

At issue are plans by local developer David Doig and Minnesota-based Artspace to build 38 units of affordable housing for artists at 111th Street and Langley Avenue in the new Pullman National Monument. Twenty-six units would go on vacant space that once was the location of a large tenement building used as dormitory space for workers at George Pullman’s railroad car factory. The other 12 would be in two existing buildings that would be rehabbed.

Though the city backs the proposal, it has drawn a series of objections from a local civic group, the Pullman National Monument Preservation Society, which hired activist lawyer Tom Ramsdell to plead its case. The group has raised a series of objections about whether the project is compatible with the historic nature of the area, most recently suggesting that the tenement be rebuilt on foundations that in some stretches still are visible.

The group recently found success when the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development informed state and other local officials that the project needed a new, fuller review by the state of Illinois’ historic preservation officials and that no work could occur without it.

Doig, in a phone interview, said his group believed it had done due diligence, but the feds concluded otherwise. So the group will engage in further review, including a public hearing, in an effort to be “more conclusive and deliberate.”

Doig’s firm, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, a not-for-profit, is the developer of the proposed project, along with Artspace and a local firm, Pullman Arts. Doig said his financing has held together and “I’m not anticipating any problems.” If all goes as expected, “our plan is to start (construction) in the spring.”

Meanwhile, though, pending changes in tax law in Washington could eliminate the historic tax credits the development group has been counting on. Doig said his group hopes to avoid that problem by submitting needed paperwork before Dec. 31, when current tax laws will prevail.

Still, the preservation society sounds like it thinks it’s winning.

“We have long asserted that the historic reviews . . . were seriously flawed and potentially unlawful,” President Mark Cassello said. “It was approved with a wink and a nod.”

In view of the federal action, locals really ought to give more thought to rebuilding the original structure, Cassello added.