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The Mechanics

Democrats Tue Dec 08 2015

"Fiddling While Rome Burns"

A downstate lawsuit filed shortly before Thanksgiving sums up what's wrong with Illinois government right now. Hitting local radar via a press release suggesting an action by SEIU Healthcare, the request for a temporary restraining order against the State was brought by more than a dozen public employee unions, including lead plaintiff AFSCME Council 31, nurses, and police officers, over the State of Illinois's failure to pay for health insurance for state employees.

The suit may have been overlooked here due to more sensational events, or because lawsuits against the State over its fiscal mess are no longer news; half a dozen have been filed, and court orders are part of how Illinois keeps spending money despite no budget in place. However, unusual in this case is the judge's language used in granting a TRO. In his order, Judge LeChien wrote on Nov. 25 that the inability of "the Governor and the General Assembly to perform duties makes essential services and assistance headed for a chaotic bust." The court charged both the executive and legislative branches of Illinois government with adopting a "fiddling while Rome burns posture" that forces the courts to act.

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Jeff Smith / Comments (1)

Election 2014 Mon Oct 27 2014

Bruce Rauner and the Illusion of Reform

Bruce Rauner has been running on a promise of shaking up Springfield, which is not shocking from any political candidate. Candidates often run on the promise of making progress or taking back the seat they are running for.

Rauner seems to be using particularly strong rhetoric about how he will change Illinois. His slogan is "Shake up Springfield. Bring back Illinois." He once put together a campaign ad where he picks up a sledgehammer after picking up a tiny hammer, which feels more like performance art than a serious campaign ad from someone who wants to be the next Governor of Illinois.

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Monica Reida

Election 2014 Thu Oct 02 2014

Rauner Firm Selected Randy Michaels to Lead Media Company

GTCR, the private equity firm started in part by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, brought on disgraced former Tribune Company executive Randy Michaels in 2011 to run Merlin Media.

At the time Emmis Communications sold a controlling interest in Merlin Media and transferred ownership of three radio stations, two of which were in Chicago, to GTCR.

Michaels was an executive at the Tribune Company from 2007 until 2010. The New York Times published an article in October 2010 detailing the behavior of Michaels while he was at the Tribune, which included sexual harassment of female employees.

Michaels resigned from his job later that month.

Merlin Media created an FM news station on 101.1, replacing the alternative rock station Q101 at that same frequency. The station failed and has subsequently been replaced by another alternative rock station at that frequency.

Rauner retired from the firm at the end of 2012. His campaign did not return requests for a comment.

Monica Reida

Election 2014 Tue Jun 24 2014

Rauner Donor's Hedge Fund Group Received $200 Million in Bailout Funds

The Sun-Times reported on Friday that Citadel, a hedge fund founded by Kenneth Griffin, received $200 million in bailout funds in 2009 from AIG.

Griffin recently gave Bruce Rauner's gubernatorial campaign $2.5 million in campaign contributions. Griffin has also given more than $1 million previously to Rauner's campaign as well as allowing Rauner to use Griffin's private jet for campaigning in Illinois.

Griffin was able to give $2.5 million to Rauner's campaign due to a loophole in campaign finance laws, according to Ben Joravsky and Mick Dumke of the Chicago Reader.

Chicagoist explained in 2009 that Citadel received the bailout funds from AIG due to investments made, including those such as bonds, securities and mortgage-backed securities. As a result of the investments made by Citadel, AIG owed the hedge fund money.

Rauner notably described himself as being part of the ".01 percent." He has given $6.5 million to his own campaign according to the Reader.

Monica Reida

Election 2014 Wed Apr 09 2014

Guzzardi Victory Gives Chicago Progressives Hope

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In what was perhaps Chicago's most-watched primary this year, young idealist Will Guzzardi beat machine candidate Toni Berrios in the race for State Representative of the 39th District.

Guzzardi's victory went against dominant political assumptions--the previous incumbent's father is machine heavyweight Joe Berrios, the Cook County Democratic Party Chairman and Cook County Assessor. House Speaker Michael Madigan backed the younger Berrios in full force.

Guzzardi showed that someone who is not part of the machine, and who may not be the traditional idea of a politician, can overcome the powers that be. His win showed that grassroots campaigns can be stronger than political influence and capital. Due to his bottom-up campaign and his seemingly staunch progressive stance on the issues, progressives throughout Chicago are thrilled about Guzzardi's triumph.

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Rachel Anspach

Op-Ed Mon Mar 24 2014

The 99 Percent in Illinois Cannot Afford Bruce Rauner as Governor

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The Illinois gubernatorial race is now officially between incumbent Pat Quinn and Republican Bruce Rauner. Rauner's political strategy seems to be a focus on the economy and budget, with the hope that social issues will not come to the forefront. Yet the electorate deserves to know where both candidates stand on all issues that impact their everyday lives, and this undoubtedly includes social issues. Additionally, our state's economy and budget do not operate in a vacuum--financial and social are inherently tied in politics. A look at the little he has said reveals that Rauner's election would have disastrous impacts for the 99 percent in Illinois.

Democratic governors in Illinois admittedly do not have the best record when it comes to the law. With the economy still struggling, it is not surprising that voters may be susceptible to bids for a change in Springfield. This means that Rauner has a dangerously realistic shot at beating Governor Quinn in the elections this November. Some influential Democrats have even come out in support of Rauner. This is shameful. For those of us who value the progressive laws Quinn has passed, along with those such as raising the minimum wage that will inevitably come up in the near future, it is vital that Quinn is reelected.

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Rachel Anspach / Comments (10)

Election 2014 Thu Mar 06 2014

Put Down That Latte - You're Running For Governor!

There's a good chance that, right this very minute, you've clicked on a link from Facebook or Twitter, and gotten to this article, while enjoying some sort of hot caffeinated beverage at a local establishment. Maybe you're seated at some sort of weird little round antique table, and you've got some paper to research, or some spreadsheet to format, or just some "work" to "do"... but you're easily distracted, and, hey, you secretly like being easily distracted.

Clearly, you should be running for Governor.

Or, if you're not feeling quite that ambitious, just run for Comptroller.

I'm serious here. Who would joke about something like Illinois state government?

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Phil Huckelberry

Election 2014 Tue Feb 18 2014

Berrios Slings Mud at Guzzardi

By Amien Essif

If you received Illinois State Representative Maria Antonia "Toni" Berrios's campaign mailers this past week, you might think she's defending her seat against Ted Bundy. But no, her opponent in the March 18 primary elections is Will Guzzardi, a journalist and Springfield outsider who came within 125 votes of ousting her in 2012, campaigning with a fraction of her funding and political connections.

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Mechanics / Comments (1)

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Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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