GOPUSA ILLINOIS
  David John Diersen, GOPUSA Illinois Editor
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Weekly Poll
Welcome to CampaignSiteBuilder
July 10, 2005 News Clips
Posted by Diersen on 15-Mar-2007
FOR TEXT, SEE BELOW
 
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
-- Democrat Pearson blasts IRP and GOP gubernatorial candidates, again
DAILY SOUTHTOWN
-- Democrat McQueary blasts Gidwitz
-- Democrat Miller blasts GOP gubernatorial candidates, again
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
-- Durbin and Daley - Robert Novak
ABC7
-- George Ryan's lawyers seek to present death penalty efforts
CBS2
-- Young Republicans To Hillary: 'Bring It On'
COURIER NEWS
-- Birkett: Parents should know if kids have abortions - Katie Foutz
http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/couriernews/city/e09birkett.htm
SPRINGFIELD STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER
-- Governor's whereabouts - Bernard Schoenburg 
GOPUSA ILLINOIS
-- ICRC fills steering committee vacancies, elects officers, establishes a blog - Dave Diersen
The Illinois Center Right Coalition (ICRC) held its regular monthly meeting Saturday, July 9, at the Wheaton Bowl Banquet Hall in Wheaton.  Milton Township Trustee Sal Falbo graciously arranged for ICRC to have use of the facility free of charge.  Steering Committee (SC)  members Todd Black, Scott Bludorn, Dave Diersen, Lidia Downs, Joe Hedrick, John McNeal, Craig Simmons, Jeff Sykuta, and Jon Zahm attended in person and Joe Morris and Earl Gough participated by phone.  Norm Hill, Bill Leubscher, and Robert Redfern were voted in to fill three of the seven SC vacancies.  The SC hopes to fill the remaining four vacancies at its August 13 meeting in Champaign.  Zahm presented a list of twelve items he would implement if elected Chairman and he read a statement from John Cox on what he would be able to do if elected Treasurer.  Zahm was voted in as Chairman, Sykuta as Vice Chairman, Diersen as Secretary and Webmaster, Cox as Treasurer, and Simmons as Executive Director.  Diersen reported on his efforts to implement the resolution that ICRC passed at its June 25 annual convention that calls for the Illinois Republican Party to finalize and post as soon as possible its rules for electing State Central Committee members.  ICRC members in attendance included Dr. Sharon Rae Bender, Fran Eaton, Rich Johns, Bob Schmidt, and Mr. and Mrs. Ray Wardingly.  Zahm has already implemented one of his action items -- ICRC now has a blog at www.icrc.blogspot.com.
-- Questions for liberal Illinois political reporters - Dave Diersen
-- What do you say to those, including www.GOPUSA.com Illinois Editor David John Diersen, who believe that it is outrageous that liberal Illinois political reporters claim to be non-partisan, independent, objective, fair, and balanced, but they routinely highlight, downplay, ignore, spin, and create news to a) help liberal Democrat and RINO officials and candidates who are or would be the most efficient and effective in advancing the liberal Democrat platform and b) harm Republican officials and candidates who are or would be the most efficient and effective in advancing the conservative Republican platform?
-- Congressman Ray LaHood came all the way from Peoria to walk in Wheaton's Independence Day Parade, Senator Bill Brady came all the way from Bloomington, Senator Dan Rutherford came all the way from Pontiac, and Representative Ray Poe came all the way from Springfield.  Why didn't any of you report the fact that Birkett, Brady, Fortner, Furstenau, Gidwitz, Hultgren, LaHood, Mitroff, Oberweis, Pankau, Poe, Rauschenberger, Roskam, Rutherford, or Wegman walked in the parade?
 
CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Democrat Pearson blasts IRP and GOP gubernatorial candidates, again
GOP braces for battle in race for governor - Rich Pearson

Shortly before James Oberweis addressed a group of conservative supporters at the University Club a few days ago, he chatted about whether every Republican who had expressed an interest in running for governor would actually stay in the nomination race.

"Well, I think we all learned from last time," Oberweis said, reflecting upon the bitter and divisive 2002 battle for the Republican primary for governor. "At least I hope we learned."

The chances that a contested Republican primary for governor will be played by Queensberry rules is about as likely as Oberweis changing the name of his boutique dairy business.

Even if there is success in narrowing the current potential field of at least eight candidates to a more manageable number, the fractious state of Republicanism in Illinois will likely play itself out. That's just what happened three years ago with Jim Ryan, Corinne Wood and Patrick O'Malley.

Absent a powerful political leader who can forcefully direct the GOP from the governor's office, the ideological and internal fault lines will be laid bare before the voters.

Already, the potential field is arrayed along ideological lines. The conservatives: Oberweis, state Sens. Steve Rauschenberger and Bill Brady, DuPage County State's Atty. Joseph Birkett and O'Malley. The moderates: Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka and businessman Ron Gidwitz. And there's U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood of Peoria, a social conservative with a vaunted independent streak.

So far only Oberweis and Gidwitz have formally announced for governor, but Rauschenberger is expected to join the race this month, with the others to make their decisions by August.

Though the field is likely to be truncated at some point, the sheer numbers will eventually force candidates to make the race personal if only to try to distinguish themselves from their opponents. And pity anyone who becomes a distinct front-runner when the eventual expected blast of negativity is launched by opponents.

Attempts by the candidates to portray themselves as the true reformers of a trouble-plagued Republican Party reveal the internal dissension over where the GOP, long ruled by moderates under moderate govenros, is headed. Some conservatives are looking to establish their credentials--often by blasting the previous party leadership at the expense of setting goals for governing the state.

Still, if a mud fight is inevitable, it's because some of the candidates are getting strategy help from some of the same forces that created the 2002 primary debacle in which a losing O'Malley never endorsed Ryan as the party nominee.

Who can forget some of the stellar moments of that primary fight, such as the pink-and-purple mailing that showed up in southern Illinois mailboxes over the last weekend of the primary campaign? One side of the card showed two groomsmen figurines atop a wedding cake, while the other side contended Jim Ryan had opened "the door to gay marriages" in Illinois, though he staunchly opposed same-sex weddings.

There also were the follow-up automated telephone robo calls placed to Republican homes by a fictitious Bi, Gay and Lesbian Federation urging that a vote for Jim Ryan was a vote for gay rights.

So far, the early stages of the Republican campaign have been downright congenial. Potential candidates smile and chat with their possible opponents and declare that any of them would be a better governor than incumbent Democrat Rod Blagojevich.

But as the field truly begins to take shape, something that will be more evident when campaign finance reports are filed by Aug. 1, the harder edge of the candidates will become more apparent. And Blagojevich will likely be waiting with a huge bankroll.

There is a real lesson for the potential contenders as they plan their upcoming candidacy announcements.

Usually, one of the first promises that a candidate makes in declaring a bid for office is to commit to run a principled, high-minded campaign. Unfortunately, the candidates know, and the voters also know, it's usually the first promise to be broken.
 
DAILY SOUTHTOWN
Democrat McQueary blasts Gidwitz
Slumlord or savior?  Now a gubernatorial candidate, Ron Gidwitz can expect more public scrutiny over a troubled housing complex he operates - Kristen McQueary
 
Evergreen Terrace is a hulking brick complex along the otherwise scenic Des Plaines River — a low-income housing development the city of Joliet calls dangerous and filthy.

The complex's problems have been aired in the local newspaper and through narrow disputes between the city and managers of the privately owned complex.

Stairwells serve as public lavatories. Smoke alarms don't work. The elevators have been broken for years.

In 2004, police were called to 657 general disturbances, 217 domestic disturbances, 344 property crimes and 49 violent crimes at the complex, according to city statistics.

But the city's complaints — which Evergreen Terrace officials vigorously deny — are about to become political torque in the 2006 gubernatorial election.

Opponents of Ron Gidwitz, the millionaire GOP businessman who announced his candidacy last month, will feast on headlines that have dogged Evergreen Terrace for years: Gidwitz runs the management company, Burnham Management, that oversees the property. He also holds an interest in New West, the partnership that owns Evergreen Terrace.

A former chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education and retired CEO of cosmetics giant Helene Curtis, Gidwitz now finds himself carrying another title as he prepares to campaign: Slumlord.

The city of Joliet — along with members of Gidwitz's own political party, U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller (R-11th) of Morris and former U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Inverness) — have been working for more than two years to oust Burnham Management and New West from Evergreen Terrace.

"It's pretty easy for them when they know I'm a candidate for governor to attack me to accomplish all of their objectives," Gidwitz said. "The city is standing in the way of making significant improvements, which everyone agrees need to be done."

Joliet leaders, however, say they are fed up with conditions at the complex. Promises to upgrade the facility have not been persuasive.

Citing crime statistics and unsanitary conditions, Joliet is trying to block federal approval of a refinancing agreement that would keep Burnham Management in place and increase rent subsidies it receives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The increased subsidies would allow the company to invest in tighter security and apartment rehabilitation, Burnham officials said.

"The rent has been flat for 10 years," Burnham executive vice president Jake Paschen said. "Even HUD realized that (across the country) it needs to be adjusted."

But other than applying political and public pressure, Joliet has little jurisdiction over Evergreen Terrace, a privately owned complex. HUD regulates Burnham's contract and the refinancing arrangement Burnham is seeking.

The refinancing plan has been stalled for more than a year after Weller and Fitzgerald urged HUD officials to reject it.

"I continue to point out the folly of wasting millions of federal tax dollars in this unsafe, unhealthy, crime- and drug-ridden, outdated public housing project," Weller said.

Fitzgerald declined to comment for this story, but said after a 2003 tour of Evergreen Terrace that he was appalled at the "inhumane" conditions and stairways, which stank of urine.

With Gidwitz's entry into the governor's race and wider interest in Gidwitz's credentials, Joliet officials hope they gained new leverage to lean on Burnham Management."Three little girls were raped there," deputy city manager Jim Shapard said. "Is that OK with you? Because it's not OK with me. Is that happening in your neighborhood? There was a guy shot in the hallway with a .357 Magnum. Do you know how loud that is in a cinderblock hallway? He crawled outside and died between the buildings."

Gidwitz: Joliet 'exaggerates'

Gidwitz and Burnham Management officials point to the city's own Web site as evidence that crime at Evergreen Terrace is not as concentrated as Joliet officials purport.

"Do I think there's drug activity (at Evergreen Terrace)? Of course. There are drug transactions on the corner of Wacker and Madison," said Herb Halperin, president of Burnham Management Co.

But the city's rhetoric, Halperin and Gidwitz claim, is part of a sinister campaign to erase affordable housing from downtown Joliet altogether.

The pair rolled out a 1990 planning map from the city that showed Evergreen Terrace as park land.

"People don't want to live near poor people. It's 'not in my back yard,' " Gidwitz said.

The city, however, says it simply wants a mixed-use development with middle- and low-income tenants — an affordable-housing model adopted by many cities, including Chicago.

"If we were ever allowed (to buy) the property, HUD would make sure our development included Section 8 certificates," Shapard said.

City: Gidwitz talk 'nonsense'

Evergreen Terrace includes 356 units housed in several red brick buildings overlooking downtown Joliet.

Gidwitz's family got involved in the property in the early 1980s after Gidwitz's brother, a real-estate executive, decided the family ought to explore providing affordable housing to disadvantaged people.

The partners who invested also were in search of a federal tax write-off, according to Joliet officials.

Gidwitz insists this isn't a money-making venture. While HUD reimburses Burnham Management for monthly rents, estimated by city officials at $300 to $800 per occupied unit, the money is reinvested into the property, and the shareholders haven't received dividend payments in years — if ever.

Gidwitz said his involvement in affordable housing is more of a philanthropic mission than one for profit. He cited his generosity to groups like Boys and Girls Club of America, to which he has donated "probably millions," and his work on numerous boards and commissions.

"Yes, I think it's cynical to suggest I don't care about disadvantaged families," he said. "Naperville and Highland Park and Lake Forest don't need my help, but Hazel Crest and Rockford and Elgin, where youngsters are getting an inadequate education, do need my assistance."

"Nonsense," said Shapard. "There is nothing socially responsible about Evergreen Terrace. It's a hellhole. This is all about money. Maybe Ron Gidwitz needs to spend a week there and then talk about social responsibility."

Gidwitz, who lives on Chicago's North Side, admitted he had not been to Evergreen Terrace in a long time but trusts his management company to oversee the property.

Halperin and Paschen said they visit the property regularly.

They are pushing HUD to approve the refinancing agreement. Critics say it would increase Burnham's revenues far beyond market price and reward the company for substandard housing.

A spokesman for the Illinois Housing Development Authority, which reviewed and supported the refinancing agreement, said in 2003 the agreement requires the owners to invest more than $1 million into the property the first year and $2.3 million in the first five years. The refinancing agreement would not allow the owners to take money for themselves until the complex has "stabilized" in fulfilling the needs of the residents.

Burnham Management hired former Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour's law firm to lobby on its behalf in Washington, D.C. Gidwitz also hired Barbour to lobby for Illinois schools when he served as board of education chairman.

The city of Joliet, meanwhile, has used its local congressmen to apply pressure in Washington.

"We finally put our foot down and said, 'no more.' The neighbors can't take it. It's too much of a drain on city resources, the fire department and police. Police are there at least five times every day," Shapard said.

Joliet also claims Burnham Management has stiffed the city on $300,000 for extra police protection at the troubled complex. On Friday, a judge declined to dismiss the city's lawsuit against Burnham seeking payment.

Clean or filthy?

While the city unfolds photos of feces-stained stairwells and overflowing garbage chutes at Evergreen Terrace, Burnham Management showed the Daily Southtown pictures of gleaming hallway floors and tidy landscaping.

"The city picks times to take pictures before the cleanup crews get in," Gidwitz said, adding that Joliet officials wouldn't have any unflatteringphotos if they would allow the refinancing to go through, freeing up money for Burnham Management to reinvest in the property.

The city stands by its portrayal.

"It is what it is," Shapard said. "It's as filthy at 11 a.m. as it is at 7 a.m. or it will be again by 9 p.m."

Shapard said the city has twice offered to buy the property from New West; first for $2.5 million and more recently for $5 million. Shapard said Burnham has not entertained either offer.

"The city of Joliet does not act in good faith," Gidwitz countered.

On a recent weekday around 11 a.m., the hallway floors at Evergreen Terrace were dirty and smudged, but garbage was piled into Dumpsters outside, not strewn about.

The parking lot was a connection of large potholes, and women and young men loitered near open doorways. A security truck was manned nearby, but visitors could walk freely into the buildings and around the property. There was no stench in the stairwells.

Residents complained of nonworking elevators, a two-week stint with no hot water and a flood from broken pipes that leaked into apartments below and wasn't addressed in a timely manner. They would not give the Daily Southtown their names for fear of getting kicked out of the complex. A young woman said she rarely left her apartment at night because of crime.

But Gidwitz and Halperin said the majority of residents support them.

"They don't like the crime," Halperin said. "It's not the residents who are the problem, it's (outsiders). The residents are very decent people who want safe housing."

As for the observations of Peter Fitzgerald, Halperin said: "Sen. Fitzgerald's frame of reference is Lake Forest. I would challenge the number of times he's been on Section 8 property."

The city disagrees, describing the Illinois Housing Development Authority report as "flawed" and describing Burnham's management as "a scam."

"It's a very bad, bad place," Shapard said.

Halperin said HUD could make a decision at any time on the refinancing agreement.

Weller said he is leading a bipartisan effort to persuade HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson to block the proposal. He hopes to persuade Jackson to meet with him and U.S. Sens. Barack Obama and Dick Durbin. The city of Joliet's plan for mixed-use housing at the site, Weller said, is worth considering.

In the meantime, as more Republicans pile into the gubernatorial race, the issue isn't expected to go away for Gidwitz — regardless of HUD's decision.

Democrat Miller blasts GOP gubernatorial candidates, again

http://www.dailysouthtown.com/southtown/columns/Acurrent/miller.htm

GOP gubernatorial candidates a mixed bag - Rich Miller

Last week, I told you about some Republican candidates for governor. We'll finish handicapping the long list of candidates this week.

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger. Apparently, running a strong third in the U.S. Senate primary last year has not paid off for Rauschenberger, who is in the low single-digits in every poll taken to date.

Rauschenberger is the darling of the "thinking Right" but the conservative wing is divided at the moment and its numbers simply aren't large enough in Illinois to accommodate two or more candidates (Jim Oberweis, Joe Birkett, Bill Brady, and, to some extent, Ray LaHood being the others).

Rauschenberger was endorsed by just about every newspaper editorial board in the state during his U.S. Senate primary race against Jack Ryan and Jim Oberweis last year, which helped him overcome a terrible fundraising effort. Rauschenberger claimed in May and then again last week that his campaign committee will report having $800,000 at the end of June. That's not bad, but there are doubters out there who don't think the cash is "real."

Still, Statehouse reporters love Rauschenberger, whom they regard as a budget expert and cherish as a font of colorful quotes about Illinois leaders.

He can probably expect lots of positive coverage and will most likely use the media quite frequently in the coming months to paint himself as a reformer.

He also might be able to break out during any upcoming debates. But he first has to get those numbers up to a place where he can begin to compete.

Rauschenberger's biggest problem last year was money, so if the $800,000 is real, then he'll go a long way towards proving he can stay in for the long haul.

Joe Birkett. The DuPage County state's attorney just barely lost the attorney general's race in 2002 to Lisa Madigan, the most politically connected person to ever run for that office. You'd think that would make him a strong contender for any office he chose to run for in '06, but Birkett burned a lot of bridges back then and has continued to do so ever since.

Birkett is poised to put at least one negative behind him in the coming weeks when he indicts Brian Dugan for the murder of Jeanine Nicarico, which, frankly, he should have done years ago. Dugan confessed to the crime, you will recall, but Birkett's office continued to pursue murder charges against an innocent man.

Birkett has yet to overcome the lingering questions about what he is doing in this race. Lots of people suspect that Birkett is running for governor merely to retire the hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt from his '02 campaign.

Others think he is waiting for a brokered deal that gives him another shot at attorney general. He also is despised by most of the political press for the way his staff treated reporters in '02. So, don't expect a lot of help from that quarter.

He has tried so far to position himself as a corruption fighter and has taken some of the harshest shots of anyone at Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Birkett remains a breakout possibility, particularly because of his base in vote-rich DuPage County. But that tough-guy act of his is beyond old and makes him look arrogant. A little humility, if he's even capable of it, would be a good thing.

State Sen. Bill Brady. The Bloomington legislator reminds many people of Rod Blagojevich — but in a good way. He is relatively young and fresh in voters' minds and he has a burning desire for higher office. Brady also is a nice guy and people, myself included, tend to like him.

But Blagojevich did more than just showcase his freshness in 2002. Almost entirely under the radar screen, Blagojevich put together one of the strongest statewide operations ever. The campaign was a technological marvel, greased with millions of dollars and implemented by loads of field workers.

So far, Brady's operation appears tiny in comparison. He says he raised $500,000 in June alone, and that's a good start. We'll see how much of that cash came from other people at the end of the month, when candidates file their disclosure statements. He also doesn't have an organization, which only amplifies the problem of his incredibly low name recognition.

Even with that half million bucks, Brady needs to do a whole lot more to position himself for contention next year.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
Durbin and Daley - Robert Novak
Conservatives back woman for court - Robert Novak 

Conservatives are privately urging that President Bush replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor with another woman in an effort to disarm feminist opposition.

The principal conservative choice is Appellate Judge Edith Jones, who was considered for the Supreme Court by the first President Bush more than a dozen years ago but is only 56 years old. Judge Edith Clement, Jones' colleague on the 5th Circuit (New Orleans), has a lower profile, could be easier to confirm and would probably be acceptable to conservatives.

Left-wing feminists would oppose confirmation of either Jones or Clement, but their argument against President Bush of gender bias would be undercut.

McCain: 70 percent

Sen. John McCain's friends believe the probability of his trying again for president in 2008 has risen from 50 percent to 70 percent, with only the question of his future health raising doubt about his candidacy.

McCain, who has suffered skin cancer, is reported by friends to be in excellent health. But he is said to be pondering prospects for a man his age. He would be, at age 72, the oldest man ever elected president.

A footnote: Allies say McCain would skip the opening round Iowa caucuses in 2008, as he did in 2000. That did him no harm in 2000, when he went on to defeat George W. Bush in New Hampshire's first- in-the-nation presidential primary.

Kelo politics

Rep. Harold Ford, one of the brightest young Democratic lights in the House and a Senate candidate in Tennessee next year, stunned colleagues by endorsing the Supreme Court's unpopular Kelo decision. That ruling permitted a Connecticut city to seize homeowners' property and transfer it to private developers.

''We have a lot of properties in my city [Memphis] . . . that are crying out for development,'' Ford said on a Nashville radio talk show. The congressman asserted, ''I've always been one to believe that individual rights is a big thing,'' but added, ''there is some real value to this decision.''

A footnote: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also went against the popular tide by defending Kelo. Opposing congressional efforts to nullify the court's decision, she said it was ''almost as if God has spoken.''

Durbin and Daley

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, who has claimed criticism of his remarks about the Guantanamo detention resulted from ''an orchestrated right-wing attack,'' has attributed to this column Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's description of the senator's comments as a ''disgrace.''

In an interview (with the Chicago suburban Daily Herald), Durbin was asked how his ''right-wing'' adversaries brought in Daley. ''Bob Novak,'' Durbin replied, asserting that I told Daley what is supposedly my ''side of the story.'' In fact, Daley made his comments in a June 21 press conference before I talked to the mayor.

''Unfortunately,'' said Durbin, ''the mayor didn't know that we had put out a statement . . . about this,'' adding: ''I don't think he knew the whole story.'' Actually, Daley was well aware of the senator's statement and regarded it an inadequate explanation of his comparison of U.S. soldiers at Guantanamo with Nazis, the Soviet gulags and Cambodia's Pol Pot.

Rangel's solicitation

Rep. Charles Rangel has written to lobbyists who represent corporate interests before the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, where he is the ranking Democrat, asking for contributions from $1,000 to $10,000 ''to underwrite'' his 75th birthday party.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and retired Gen. Wesley Clark will address the event starting at 6 p.m. Aug. 3 at the Tavern on the Green in Manhattan. ''I would like to be able to list your name on the invitation,'' Rangel said in his solicitation.

Rangel, in his 18th term representing Harlem in Congress, needs no funds for his own re-election. He distributes funds to other Democratic candidates through his National Leadership Political Action Committee, augmenting his influence and power in the House.

GOP youth on possible Hillary bid: 'Great for us' - Christina Almeida
LAS VEGAS - Young Republicans have one thing to say to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton about a possible 2008 presidential bid: Bring it on.

Members attending the group's biennial convention said it's not too early to talk about how to keep a Republican in the White House, and they think Clinton could help them win again if she were on the Democratic ticket.

''I think it's very likely the senator from New York will run,'' said Rick Veenstra, 27, chairman of the Illinois Young Republicans. ''She'll bring a lot of people to the polls. The name Clinton before a number of Republicans is akin to waving a red flag.''

Convention guests attended several panels and training seminars Thursday, including one on how to mobilize young voters by ''keeping it positive, not partisan.'' They were told the only demographic President Bush lost to Sen. John Kerry in 2004 was the 18-to-29 group.

''This party cannot afford to allow that segment of the population to be Democrat,'' said Frank Fahrenkopf, former Republican National Committee chairman and Thursday's keynote speaker. ''This is where the Young Republicans can be of particular value.''

Many here said they would welcome Clinton's entrance because she is a polarizing figure. ''It would be absolutely great for us,'' said Michele Mester, 26, from Cleveland. ''She's like a PR nightmare.''

Several of the 600 Young Republicans gathered for the five-day convention mentioned former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain as potential presidential contenders.

Others suggested Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee.

ABC7

George Ryan's lawyers seek to present death penalty efforts

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/news/070905_ap_ns_ryan.html

Attorneys for former Gov. George Ryan say they should be allowed to present evidence about the actions he took to prevent executions in Illinois during Ryan's upcoming corruption trial.

In a court filing Friday, Ryan's attorneys accused prosecutors of trying to present a "one-sided" and "distorted" view of Ryan's political career.

"George Ryan did not sell his office or abandon the citizens of Illinois, and the jury is entitled to consider evidence relating to his entire term in office," defense attorneys wrote in the filing.

As governor, Ryan declared a moratorium on executions and commuted the sentences of all 167 inmates awaiting execution after several people were released from death row for wrongful convictions.

Prosecutors urged federal Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer on June 17 to bar defense attorneys from telling jurors about the steps Ryan took to prevent executions in the state, saying that "whether a politician 'courageously' reviewed the death penalty or not is not in any way pertinent to the issue of whether he engaged in acts of fraud and racketeering over a 12-year period."

Ryan is accused of accepting free vacations and other perks while doling out favors such as lucrative state contracts and leases to lobbyist friends, starting in 1990 when he was elected secretary of state. He has pleaded innocent to the racketeering charges.

Ryan's trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 15.

CBS2

Young Republicans To Hillary: 'Bring It On'

http://cbs2chicago.com/politics/politicsnational_story_189171632.html

Young Republicans have one thing to say to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton about a possible 2008 presidential bid: Bring it on.

Members attending the group's biennial convention said it's not too early to talk about how to keep a Republican in the White House, and they believe Clinton could help them win again if she were on the Democratic ticket.

"I think it's very likely the senator from New York will run," said Rick Veenstra, 27, chairman of the Illinois Young Republicans. "She'll bring a lot of people to the polls. The name Clinton before a number of Republicans is akin to waving a red flag."

Convention guests attended several panels and training seminars on Thursday, including one on how to mobilize young voters by "keeping it positive not partisan." They were told the only demographic President Bush lost to Sen. John Kerry in 2004 was those ages 18 to 29.

"This party cannot afford to allow that segment of the population to be Democrat," said Frank Fahrenkopf, former Republican National Committee chairman and Thursday's keynote speaker. "This is where the Young Republicans can be of particular value."

Clinton won't even talk about the presidential race, saying she is focused on her 2006 re-election campaign in New York. But many here said they would welcome Clinton's entrance in the race because she is a polarizing figure.

"It would be absolutely great for us," said Michele Mester, a 26-year-old member of the Greater Cleveland Young Republicans. "She's like a PR nightmare."

Several of the 600 Young Republicans gathered for the five-day convention mentioned New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain as potential presidential contenders.

Others suggested Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee.

Ashanti Gholar, president of Young Democrats of Nevada, said it was too early for all this speculation though.

"2008 is very far away," Gholar said, "especially in politics."

COURIER NEWS

Birkett: Parents should know if kids have abortions - Katie Foutz
http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/couriernews/city/e09birkett.htm

WHEATON - DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett wants Illinois to stop allowing minors to get abortions without telling their parents, which would reverse a state Supreme Court ruling that struck down the state's parental notification law.

Birkett wants the Illinois Supreme Court to revisit the case and posted a petition to do so on his campaign Web site this week. Birkett is considering seeking the Republican nomination for governor.

The struck-down law, passed in 1995, required the state high court to establish "bypass" rules, which allowed a minor seeking an abortion to go to court to fulfill the notification requirement if she chose not to tell her parents. It also granted a waiver if the girl was a victim of parental abuse or if the court deemed her mature enough to understand the consequences of her decision.

Without those rules, the state has no functional parental notification law.

http://a3.suntimes.com/RealMedia/ads/click_lx.ads/www.suburbanchicagonews.com/couriernews/city/e09birkett.htm/107365279/Middle1/default/empty.gif/34303063373430653432643130626330

"Of the other states that have parental notification laws, all have effective judicial bypass," Birkett said. "There's no reason why Illinois should not have it."

According to his Web site, "Illinois has become a haven for abortions by out-of-state residents" because Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin have parental notification laws.

About 3,107 Illinois residents 17 and younger had abortions in 2003, according to the most recent data available from the Illinois Department of Public Health. Of the 42,228 women and girls who had abortions in Illinois that year, 3,497 came from out of state.

Birkett said he would press the issue regardless of his potential gubernatorial campaign because state's attorneys prosecute people who forge parental notification documents. He also said the Illinois Supreme Court justices have changed since 1995 and should take another look at the law.

Support, opposition ahead

Birkett said he believes his move would have public support. A 2003 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll showed 73 percent of adults favor laws requiring parental notification for minors seeking abortions, and a 2005 Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll showed 78 percent of registered voters favor parental notification.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois filed suit shortly after the Illinois General Assembly passed the parental notification act.

The high court refused to create rules for the bypass provision of the law, saying the bypass was unnecessary and that lawmakers who still wanted it should assign the task to an administrative agency — not the courts. A U.S. District Court judge then barred enforcement of the state law.

ACLU of Illinois spokesman Ed Young declined comment on Birkett's statement. Speaking to The Associated Press in 1995, Colleen Connell, then director of the ACLU's Reproductive Rights Project, called the law "punitive, counterproductive and burdensome."

"The (U.S. District Court) ruling rescues Illinois teens from an untenable choice between an unworkable judicial process and being forced to tell unsympathetic family members about their pregnancy and plans for an abortion," she said.

A member of Birkett's own Republican Party doubted the current Illinois Supreme Court would resurrect the 1995 law as written. State Rep. Joe Dunn, R-Naperville, said the court, General Assembly and governor still lean Democratic and for abortion rights.

Dunn said young teens can't have major elective surgery without a parent's permission, so it should be the same way with abortion. But in those cases when a family is not supportive, he said minors should be able to go to someone else.

"No 16-‚or 17-year-old is going to petition the court for a bypass," he said. "Certification from a school counselor, professional counselor or doctor is a more reasonable way to accomplish what we want."

Birkett said the General Assembly would have to pass a new law to allow that option.

SPRINGFIELD STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER

Governor's whereabouts - Bernard Schoenburg 

http://www.sj-r.com/sections/opinion/stories/60613.asp

I dutifully reported after the spring legislative session that the governor spent at least parts of 20 days in May in Springfield. Well, he hasn't spent a night in the Executive Mansion since - including all of June.

He did spend some days making appearances in southern Illinois. So it can't be said he was in Chicago the whole time.

GOPUSA ILLINOIS
ICRC fills steering committee vacancies, elects officers, establishes a blog - Dave Diersen
The Illinois Center Right Coalition (ICRC) held its regular monthly meeting Saturday, July 9, at the Wheaton Bowl Banquet Hall in Wheaton.  Milton Township Trustee Sal Falbo graciously arranged for ICRC to have use of the facility free of charge.  Steering Committee (SC)  members Todd Black, Scott Bludorn, Dave Diersen, Lidia Downs, Joe Hedrick, John McNeal, Craig Simmons, Jeff Sykuta, and Jon Zahm attended in person and Joe Morris and Earl Gough participated by phone.  Norm Hill, Bill Leubscher, and Robert Redfern were voted in to fill three of the seven SC vacancies.  The SC hopes to fill the remaining four vacancies at its August 13 meeting in Champaign.  Zahm presented a list of twelve items he would implement if elected Chairman and he read a statement from John Cox on what he would be able to do if elected Treasurer.  Zahm was voted in as Chairman, Sykuta as Vice Chairman, Diersen as Secretary and Webmaster, Cox as Treasurer, and Simmons as Executive Director.  Diersen reported on his efforts to implement the resolution that ICRC passed at its June 25 annual convention that calls for the Illinois Republican Party to finalize and post as soon as possible its rules for electing State Central Committee members.  ICRC members in attendance included Dr. Sharon Rae Bender, Fran Eaton, Rich Johns, Bob Schmidt, and Mr. and Mrs. Ray Wardingly.  Zahm has already implemented one of his action items -- ICRC now has a blog at www.icrc.blogspot.com.
 
Questions for liberal Illinois political reporters - Dave Diersen
-- What do you say to those, including www.GOPUSA.com Illinois Editor David John Diersen, who believe that it is outrageous that liberal Illinois political reporters claim to be non-partisan, independent, objective, fair, and balanced, but they routinely highlight, downplay, ignore, spin, and create news to a) help liberal Democrat and RINO officials and candidates who are or would be the most efficient and effective in advancing the liberal Democrat platform and b) harm Republican officials and candidates who are or would be the most efficient and effective in advancing the conservative Republican platform?
-- Congressman Ray LaHood came all the way from Peoria to walk in Wheaton's Independence Day Parade, Senator Bill Brady came all the way from Bloomington, Senator Dan Rutherford came all the way from Pontiac, and Representative Ray Poe came all the way from Springfield.  Why didn't any of you report the fact that Birkett, Brady, Fortner, Furstenau, Gidwitz, Hultgren, LaHood, Mitroff, Oberweis, Pankau, Poe, Rauschenberger, Roskam, Rutherford, or Wegman walked in the parade?

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