DIERSEN HEADLINE: WBBM 780 promotes Duckworth radio response
CHICAGO (WBBM) -- Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth Friday taped the Democrats' weekly radio address, to be broadcast Saturday morning, saying in the taping and to reporters that name-calling has been rampant this political season, and that she is tired of it.
Duckworth said that goes for both parties, although she said she gets especially testy with those who call opponents of the administration's Iraq policy people who want to "cut and run."
Duckworth faces Republican Ill. Sen. Peter Roskam for the 6th District congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill).
"Anyone who challenges our failed policies, or suggests a need for a new strategy is accused of cutting and running," she said in her taped remarks. "Well, I didn't cut and run, Mr. President. Like so many others, I fought proudly and sacrificed."
Duckworth said her helicopter was shot down over Iraq long after Mr. Bush proclaimed "Mission Accomplished."
The Army National Guard major, who lost portions of both legs in the helicopter crash, said military families are not being fooled.
"They know what we're doing isn't working and that it's time to change course," she said.
Afterward, she told reporters she approached the Democratic Party and asked to be allowed to respond to such statements.
"This is an issue I feel very strongly about," she said. "We have many brave men and women serving in Iraq.. I just kept seeing this name calling escalating, and I didn't think it was doing anybody any good."
Instead, she said, she wants both parties to assure that U.S. and Iraqi troops get the help they need.
"Where is that money going? There is tremendous waste ion terms of no-bid
defense contracts," she said. "but then there's also tremendous waste in the money that's going to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense that's not making its way down to their foot soldiers."
Duckworth cited stories reporting that Iraqi police and National Guard have not been paid in weeks and that many lack the equipment needed to do their jobs.
"How are they going to stand up and take over the job if they don't have the equipment they need," she asked.
Duckworth also said she hopes the detainee bill sent to the President by Congress gives interrogators the tools they need to protect both U.S. troops and civilians.
"My concern is to definitely make sure that we give our people the told they need to get information that will protect us at home and abroad," she said. Frankly, if I could get information that could keep us from having an aircraft blow up at O'Hare, I'd want that information."
She said she was pleased, though, that U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was able to insist on wording that requires the U.S. continue to comply with terms of the Geneva Convention.
Many congressional Democrats opposed the legislation because they said it eliminated rights of defendants considered fundamental to American values, such as a person's ability to protest court detention and the use of coerced testimony as evidence.
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Daily Herald promotes Duckworth radio response
Democratic congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth will strike a personal note when she responds to President Bush’s weekly radio address this morning.
Her remarks come in the wake of a weeklong debate over whether America’s Iraq strategy has increased terrorism risks.
“Anyone who challenges our failed policies is accused of ‘cutting and running,’” Duckworth will say in the Democratic response to the address.
“Well, I didn’t cut and run, Mr. President. Like so many others, I proudly fought and sacrificed. My helicopter was shot down long after you proclaimed ‘Mission Accomplished.’”
Duckworth, an Army National Guard major from Hoffman Estates, lost her legs in Iraq. She’s in a tight race against Republican state Sen. Peter Roskam, a Wheaton attorney, for control of the 6th Congressional District.
Bush is expected to address the flap over the release of the National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism today. The report states the Iraq war has became a “cause celebre” and generated deep hatreds among Islamic extremists.
The president said critics had selectively quoted from the document and called it “naïve” to believe that waging war against the country’s enemies has made it less safe.
Duckworth and many Democrats contend the White House has failed in Iraq and a new strategy to bring home troops while Iraqi soldiers are trained to take their place is needed.
The cut-and-run comments come in the context of a Sept. 22 debate between the two where Roskam said the 6th District was not a cut-and-run district.
Duckworth supporters called the remark a personal attack.
Roskam Friday said he respected Duckworth’s “service and sacrifice for our country.”
He disagreed that U.S. foreign policy was reckless.
“I don’t think America has made the world less safe,” Roskam said.
“Jihadism has been around for decades,” he said, referencing bombings of the USS Cole, U.S. embassies and World Trade Center.
Duckworth’s delivering the rebuttal reflects the high profile the race has.
Duckworth is receiving support from A-list Democrats such as former President Bill Clinton, who will help fundraise for her Oct. 23. Meanwhile, Bush is expected to stump for Roskam Oct. 12.
Secretary of state candidates Rutherford and White have plans for teen drivers - Tara Malone
(Not posted as of 6:00 AM)
State spending and borrowing: What a difference a decade makes -
SPRINGFIELD — As a loyal member of the Democratic political minority in the Illinois House during the mid-1990s, Rod Blagojevich helped block millions of dollars worth of spending on roads, universities and dilapidated state prisons the ruling Republicans wanted.
Fast-forward a decade and now that Democrats are in control, Gov. Blagojevich is blasting Republicans for the same thing - blocking state borrowing that would fund construction projects.
“We cannot let partisan politics get in the way of progress,” Blagojevich said after Senate Republicans last week refused to go along with borrowing $4 billion to build roads and schools.
Many Republicans were intrigued by his turnaround from opposing a $361 million borrowing plan in 1995 to supporting a $4 billion one now.
“It’s clear when the governor’s party leaders at the time deemed a similar Republican proposal too costly, the governor was willing to vote ‘no’ but doesn’t see the hypocrisy when he tries to make outcasts of Republican legislators who are fighting for fiscal responsibility,” said Senate Republican spokeswoman Patty Schuh.
A Blagojevich spokeswoman said she was unaware of the 1995 details and that the two plans couldn’t be compared because the new one is so much larger. “That’s like comparing apples to oranges,” said spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff.
However, the argument opponents made then is the same as now - the state can’t afford it.
In both instances proponents did not come up with a new way to pay off the borrowing, instead relying on a rebounding economy sending more tax dollars to Springfield. Opponents, then and now, said it’s irresponsible when the state is chronically late paying health care providers and other state vendors.
Today’s Republicans suggested Blagojevich review his own voting record.
“All he’s got to do is rewind the tape, look at the argument they made from the mid-90s and be consistent,” said state Sen. Peter Roskam, a Wheaton Republican.
Ottenhoff said more is at stake now and the state money is needed to secure federal transportation dollars.
Don’t look for this debate to go away soon.
On Monday, House Democrats proposed borrowing up to $500 million to build schools. “It’s a great way of holding down property taxes,” said Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat.
But Republicans, whose votes are needed, were not aware of it, suggesting a dubious future for the plan.
“It’s just a pure political move,” said House Republican leader Tom Cross of Oswego. “Typical for around here. It’s a shame.”
Bean flyer provoked anger, not support - Daniel Darling, Round Lake
The other day, my wife received a mailer from the re-election campaign of Rep. Melissa Bean. On the cover was a young girl in a wheelchair and the words said something like, “If we want this girl to have a chance to walk, shouldn’t we give it to her?”
When I opened the glossy mailer, I found a full-throated attack on David McSweeney’s position on embryonic stem-cell research. Now, I know what Bean is trying to do. She’s trying to tug at the heartstrings of compassionate people such as my wife, but I’m afraid she evoked the opposite reaction. Anger. And my wife wasn’t the only angry woman in the 8th District.
Other friends we talked to got the same mail piece and were just as mad. Why? Not because we, as pro-life Americans, are against the destruction of life to save another life. We’re upset because Bean is making false claims that paint McSweeney as a cruel person whose sole desire is to leave that girl in the wheelchair.
It’s the same below-the-belt attack that John Edwards leveled against President Bush, when he famously claimed that Christopher Reeve would “get out of his chair and walk” if only Bush would lose the restrictions on embryonic stem cell research.
Its wrong, misguided, and devoid of the facts. McSweeney, like President Bush is against federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. But that’s not the whole story. McSweeney is in favor of the promising research of adult stem cells, umbilical cord cells, and other areas of science that can help those afflicted with fatal or crippling diseases.
David McSweeney is not against science, but he is against taking a life to save a life. But even if you don’t agree with Dave’s position — I think you would agree that Bean’s mailer was off-base at best and cruel at worst. At least my wife thought so.
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Wheaton Warrenville School District 200: Michael Milnamow from Warrenville blasts Joseph Mahady and Michelle Senatore from Wheaton
Group’s goal is to keep school in place - Michael Milnamow, Warrenville
Surprise! Educate 200, the small group that opposes moving Hubble Middle School from its current location, disagrees with yet another factual report that does not support their view. See James Fuller’s Sept. 27 article, “Hubble site gets clean bill of health.”
Here is a pertinent excerpt from the environmental reports on the new school’s proposed site and Educate200’s responses from Russ Henderson, Environment, Inc.:
“This is basically a pristine site. There should be no thought that this property might be a threat.”
Here is Educate200’s response to the reports:
Joseph Mahady: “I call the results in to question…”
Michelle Senatore: “It has never been about the dirt.”
This is a telling statement from Senatore as her issue has always been opposition to moving the school.
Previously, Educate200 had claimed that BP is a terrorism target with high levels of chemical emissions polluting the surrounding area. However, the DuPage Homeland Security director reports, “Based on current federal guidance and intelligence data, the BP site has not been identified as being an ‘at risk’ facility for a terrorist incident.”
The report also states that BP has had no significant chemical releases and complies with all requirements of the Illinois Chemical Safety Act.
I will not try to speak for all interested parties, but as a father of three children who will attend the school I ask Educate200 to stop implying that you speak on behalf of my children’s safety. You do not! Educate200’s motive to keep Hubble at the current location has not changed. If Educate200 truly believes what they are saying, they might want to put their words regarding the BP facility safety issues into action and picket the BP entrance while wearing hazmat suits.
I support School District 200, the school board, the superintendent and a new Hubble Middle School.
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Wheaton Park District: Mark Schobel blasts Jim Fuller, Christy Gutowski, their editors, and Daily Herald
Coverage of park district criticized - Mark Schobel, Wheaton
The Daily Herald’s founder Mr. H.C. Paddock’s motto of “Our aim: To fear God, tell the truth and make money” is rather ironic given the trend of the Daily Herald’s recent reporting and editorials. Certainly your firm may have two of the objectives right, but telling the truth is not one of them.
The reporting of Wheaton Park District board actions and/or comments has been, for the most part, inaccurate, incomplete and extremely biased with the sole objective of selling your papers and most certainly to make money as Mr. Paddock suggested. Sensationalism and embellishment is what I would expect from the National Enquirer or The Star tabloids.
James Fuller’s article of Sept. 22 attributed a rude comment to me that was not spoken and hence should not have had quotation marks encapsulating it, thereby attributing it to me. I did not say “butt out”, period. If Fuller and his editor are so determined to undermine this board’s actions and policies, perhaps your firm should consider petitioning the public to have the Daily Herald run the park district.
Another example of your newspaper’s true intent was evident in a Saturday Sept. 23 Soapbox editorial and again with Christy Gutowski’s portrayal of a meeting, which she did not attend. The opening term “embattled” suggests the board is besieged with attackers, criticism and/or controversy when in fact there were exactly two people who spoke against the housing issue that night. A couple of other people took issue with the board relating to Mr. Robinson’s — again quote, unquote — “surprise resignation”. The people who spoke regarding these matters were misinformed about significant matters regarding the board’s treatment of Mr. Robinson and his family.
I have heard from several leaders and constituents in this community who support this board and our actions. Several have congratulated this board’s ability to have the foresight to anticipate what this community needs and then have the fortitude to bring them to fruition. I could ask them to come before you and us and state exactly their opinions and thoughts, but for what purpose? Your paper wouldn’t print their comments anyway because it doesn’t sell papers.
I will continue to do what I set out to do when I chose to run for the park district board — better the community I love, undaunted by your unfair and creative characterizations.
As for the Daily Herald, in the future I would at least ask your reporters and editors to please respect this board’s public comments and accurately report its actions and statements by “telling the truth”, as a reputable publication should endeavor to do.
Carpentersville: Ordinance Could Drive (ILLEGAL) Immigrants From Town Illegal Alien Act Would Prohibit Businesses and Landlords From Doing Business With Them - Katie McCall
http://cbs2chicago.com/topstories/local_story_272234212.html (Includes video clip)
Carpentersville, Ill. Friday evening, Carpentersville is a community divided over undocumented immigrants.
People in the Northwest suburban village are at odds over an ordinance that some claim would drive illegal immigrants out of town. Walk down any street in Carpentersville's East Side and you see evidence that the village's large Latino population is thriving.
But two civil rights groups say a proposed ordinance here is targeting immigrants.
"My initial reaction is just feeling really insulted," said Fred Tsao, policy director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
That's Tsao's reaction to the ordinance called the: "Illegal Alien Immigration Relief Act ."
It prohibits conducting business with/or renting to "illegal aliens." Violators face losing their business license and landlords would be fined $1,000. It also makes English the official language of the village.
But it's the language in the ordinance that has civil rights groups concerned.
The ordinance states: "illegal immigration leads to higher crime rates, contributes to overcrowded housing, and failing schools, subjects our village to fiscal hardship….and diminishes our overall quality of life."
"This ordinance is based on really caricatured stereotypes of immigrants," said Ricardo Meza of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund .
He says he is outraged.
"It's offensive because the findings are not based on anything," he said.
Meza wrote a letter to the village and he plans to pack next week's village meeting with citizens who feel the same way and says three identical ordinances in Missouri, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey have all been challenged in court because he says they are unenforceable.
"These types of laws are bad public policy and create divisiveness in the community," he added.
But Trustee Paul Hupfer who drafted the ordinance says the laws addresses a real problem.
"It is impacting us as a village, not only from a cost perspective, but also from a crime perspective," he said.
Carpentersville: Village Cracks Down On Latino Illegal Immigrants Latino Unemployment At Record Low; Latino Man's Web Site An Undeniable Hit
CARPENTERSVILLE, Ill. -- In northwest Carpentersville, village trustees are proposing to make English the town's official language and fine businesses or landlords who employ or rent to illegal immigrants.
It's stirring up quite a controversy.
Two village trustees said the influx of immigrants is hindering the community. The so-called "illegals" are draining the village's resources, they said.
Trustee Judy Sigwalt (pictured) moved into a home that once had 17 people living inside, and she said the evidence of overcrowding are apparent throughout the house -- there are melted electrical outlets, among other things, she said.
"It's such an issue," Sigwalt said. "Residents here have been writing in to local papers asking that something be done about this for a long time."
Some Carpentersville residents go so far as to say the illegal immigrants hurt the town's image.
The trustees are proposing the city fine businesses or landlords who employ or rent to illegal immigrants.
Mayor Bill Sato said the issue of illegal immigrants is "not up to local government, it's up to federal officials."
Sato also said the town couldn't afford to police the issue.
Some residents were appalled by the proposal, telling NBC 5's Anita Padilla that just because surnames are Spanish sounding doesn't mean they're illegal or even Spanish.
Latino Workers: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
Meanwhile, there is some good news concerning Latino workers.
Unemployment among Hispanics has dropped to a record low of 5.2 percent.
Wages are rising faster for Hispanics than any other worker, but they continue to have the lowest wage of any group.
Hispanic Heritage: Celebrating Entrepreneurial Spirit
He was appointed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich as managing director of the Illinois entrepreneurship network in 2003, but it's his part-time job that really makes him unique.
Jamie Viteri saw a demand and took action.
He started the Chicago Latino Network in 2002 after graduating from college with a degree in computers. He had collected many e-mail addresses along the way, and saw a way to put them to use.
"It was something people wanted," said Viteri. "I thought of myself as a middle person. I thought, 'OK, there is a need here, and I'm going to be the connector."
Subscribers to the CLN range from doctors to recent graduates looking to make networking connections.
Viteri credits his Ecuadorian immigrant parents for his entrepreneurial spirit.
"They've always instilled the humility aspect, the working hard aspect," he said.
Viteri said an added bonus are the emails e-mails he receives from those grateful for the connections made through his network.
SUBURBAN CHICAGO NEWS
Blagojevich vs. Topinka It's like they're living in two different states - Matthew DeFour
Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his Republican challenger, Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, paint vastly contrasting pictures of the last four years of Illinois government and, as a result, have divergent outlooks as to how to steer the ship.
Blagojevich says his programs have balanced the budget without raising taxes on working families. Topinka says the state is "bankrupt" and the fiscal situation is "out of whack."
To fix the system, Topinka wants to build a Chicago casino. Blagojevich wants to lease the lottery. Topinka wants to trim spending. Blagojevich wants to support his social programs.
And then there's the finger-pointing.
Topinka pegs the state's budget crisis on unchecked spending. Blagojevich blames any shortfalls in his budget fixes on the previous administration which, he is quick to note, went unchecked by three-term Treasurer Topinka. With all of the back-and-forth rhetoric, voters may have to tune in to the debates this fall to better decide who's dealing in substance and who's dealing in spin.
This week, Blagojevich and Topinka each sat down for an hour with editors from the Sun-Times News Group. The candidates outlined their positions and arguments that will play out Monday night at the first debate at Millikin University in Decatur.
For all of their differences, both candidates framed the election around the same major issue: Blagojevich's record.
The governor boasts a successful term that has catapulted the state out of dire financial straits and into the lead on job creation, health care for children and achievement in education -- all without raising taxes.
"I think the proof's in the pudding," Blagojevich said. "You just look at the U.S. Department of Labor's statistics on job growth in America and see how good Illinois is doing relative to the rest of the nation."
Topinka contradicts the governor on the health of the economy, saying the state ranks near the bottom of the country in nearly every economic category. She harps on Blagojevich as having a record of "borrowing and debt" and not doing enough to avert a disaster.
Blagojevich takes issue with the claim that he has borrowed from the state's pension systems. He notes that he inherited a $43 billion pension liability and has added $13.3 billion to the fund in four years, more than the previous three administrations combined.
"It's remarkable to me how she can say that with a straight face when the reality is we've made real progress on these pensions to get ourselves out of the mess they left," he said.
Though Blagojevich maintains the budget is balanced, as required by law, Topinka quotes from a recent report released by Democratic Comptroller Dan Hynes of an operating budget deficit of $3.1 billion. She also worries about long-term projections showing future payments on programs like Medicaid outpacing revenues.
"Nothing will work if we don't get the budget under wraps," Topinka said.
Budget rescue plans
The centerpiece of Topinka's "budget rescue plan" is to use the state's 10th gaming license to open a Chicago casino -- something she sees as lost revenue for all the years it hasn't been in use.
She predicts the venue would generate $600 million for the state in the first year and $650 million a year thereafter. She also proposes to increase the number of gaming spots, so people aren't waiting in line to play.
"I'm not thrilled with gambling," Topinka said. "But if people are going to gamble, preferably let them gamble in Illinois, and let's make money off of it and use it productively."
Blagojevich has proposed leasing the state lottery for an estimated $10 billion to $15 billion of income, $4 billion of which would fund the government, with the rest going toward an education trust that would generate the $600 million a year currently raised by the lottery.
"We have found a creative way, which is a lot of how we've been able to do things for four years," Blagojevich said.
Blagojevich outlined how he already has cut the state payroll by 13,000 jobs and 18 departments for a savings of $800 million to taxpayers.
Both candidates argued against raising income taxes or swapping income taxes and property taxes.
Topinka also has called for a $2.4 billion two-year freeze on property taxes.
Health care has been a focus in both candidates' platforms.
Blagojevich signed landmark legislation this year guaranteeing health insurance for Illinois children, which he called "my proudest accomplishment as governor." He also takes credit for Illinois being the only state to cover seniors who fall through the gaps of Medicare prescription coverage.
Topinka criticized the All Kids program as exacerbating the budget crisis and wondered if it were "his push for national health insurance starting in Illinois." She wants to limit the program to families earning less than $100,000.
Blagojevich defended the program as being paid through savings in Medicaid that overlapped with federal Medicare coverage.
Topinka's plan for the next term calls for controlling Medicaid spending, which she said is projected to grow to 80 percent of the budget in 20 years. She wants to cut spending increases from 8 percent to 4 percent by better screening new patients.
As far as ethics reform, there has been whirlwind of speculation that Blagojevich could be tainted by federal investigations into state hiring practices. The governor has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
But following media reports linking Blagojevich to the investigation, Topinka has begun to draw the connection between Blagojevich and disgraced former Gov. George Ryan.
"I do not wish to make allegations, but the U.S. Attorney has or he wouldn't be calling the governor 'Public Official A,' which is a very nasty epithet for Illinois government officials," Topinka said. "We know he is problematic, he has trust issues."
Blagojevich responded that the investigations were the result of ethics reform he initiated, including the creation of an independent inspector general.
"Illinois government operates a lot more honestly and a lot more transparently than it did four years ago," Blagojevich said.
He also dismissed a recent report about a $1,500 gift from a childhood friend whose wife works in state government. He noted the friend was in his wedding party and was a pall bearer for both his parents' funerals. He said the gift was part of their natural friendship and added, "When you become governor, you don't stop being a person."
Taking credit for spending
Topinka was particularly critical of the governor's spending of lump sums approved in the budget that aren't connected to specific projects. She called out Blagojevich for "going after headlines" with announcements of $1 million for a burned-down church and $15 million for stem cell research.
When asked about the handouts, Blagojevich noted the legislature approved the money, which he then used for "good causes."
As an example, he recently attended an event sponsored by the Chicago Foundation of Women, which "has tried to make Illinois the safest place in the country for women and girls." After hearing various speakers talk about domestic abuse and sexual assault, he wanted to increase the state's commitment to the organization from $1 million to $2 million.
"Sometimes I'll call an audible," Blagojevich said. "I called my chief of staff and said, 'How much money do I have left in the budget to make these discretionary decisions?'"
Minimum wage increase
Blagojevich raised the minimum wage to $6.50 in his first term and wants to raise the minimum again if re-elected. He said he believes "you ought to reward work, and working people ought to get raises from time to time so they can support their families."
Topinka disagrees that the state should be raising the minimum wage because it puts Illinois at a competitive disadvantage with its neighbors. "If we're trying to get business back here, that would just be one more nail in the coffin," she said.
She does believe the federal government should raise the minimum wage because $5.15 is "way too low."
Topinka has a month to close a significant gap in the polls, but she's confident that the governor's support has stagnated and the debates will allow her to set the record straight on the state's economic situation.
Blagojevich wants voters to remember the way things were four years ago and how far the state has come since then.
"I just think we've made real progress for people and made things better for people without asking them to be the ones to pay for them," Blagojevich said.
"And it's not just a question of whether we build on that progress. Treasurer Topinka will take us back. We know what she will do, because when she was Gov. Ryan's treasurer, that's the mess they left us."
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Lynn Gilbertsen of Chicago argues against the parental notification law
Notification law threatens some teens - Lynn Gilbertsen, Chicago
I'm writing with sincere concern in response to the possible revival of a parental (notification) law that would be required for teens seeking abortions in Illinois.
As a voter in Illinois, I find it extremely disconcerting that this decision was made right before the November elections. I've heard lieutenant governor hopeful Joe Birkett (Judy Barr Topinka's running mate) use this complicated and complex issue within the political realm. He explicitly asked the Illinois Supreme Court to take this issue up. I'm sorry they succumbed to the pressure -- and given the timing, it feels like politics.
As a woman, I worry about the young teens who cannot talk to their parents because they live in abusive or dysfunctional homes. As a voting citizen, I worry about our government and courts dangerously taking away the reproductive freedoms of women and teens throughout the United States. As an educator here in Chicago, I worry about the young women I work with who come from less-than-perfect environments that fail to give them enough support and information to help them to delay unprotected sexual experiences.
Not every family is perfect, and not every young woman can adequately handle a crisis like an unintended pregnancy. I'm afraid this law will harm the young women who have not been given enough support to avoid pregnancy in the first place. While most teens who experience an unintended pregnancy do talk to a parent, some teens live in troubled homes, where there might be abuse or incest. Parental notification laws put those vulnerable teens -- those who most need protection -- in harm's way, or forces them to go to court. But these teens don't need a judge, they need a counselor and support. If Joe Birkett and the citizens of Illinois really care about keeping kids safe, they would foster prevention and strong family communication, not laws that endanger our daughters.
Making abortion illegal for those women under 18 whose parents don't give consent won't stop the young women from having sex, and it won't stop them from having abortions. It will force young teen women without parental support to receive illegal and outright dangerous abortions from people who don't have licenses to practice gynecology or obstetrics.
Why can't we put our state program funding and lengthy legislative efforts toward programs that support healthy families and the prevention of teen pregnancy? That would do a lot more to help teen women and their families.
42nd Senate District: Terri Ann Wintermute: Call to get tougher on crime - Justina Wang
AURORA -- Republican state Senate candidate Terri Ann Wintermute proposed an anti-crime package Tuesday that would prevent some inmates from receiving early releases for good behavior and monitor all sexually violent offenders with Global Positioning System devices.
During a press conference in Aurora, the longtime Will County Board member said she would focus on get-tough crime initiatives and would direct state money to programs that deter gang activity and sex offenders, if elected to the 42nd District seat.
The district covers Aurora and sections of Kendall and Will counties.
"We need to prioritize where state money goes," she said.
Her proposals include making it a felony to deface property with gang graffiti; increasing the distance from 500 to 1,000 feet that child sex offenders must keep from schools, parks, day care centers and playgrounds; and lengthening the sentence for offenders convicted of predatory sexual assault.
Wintermute said she also would work to change criminal sex assault laws to make the crime a more serious felony if the offender were previously convicted of any sex offense, not just criminal sexual assault. She also proposed eliminating good-time credit for criminals who were armed and repeat offenders.
"So many times gang members go to jail, and they're right back to what they're doing," she said. "We need to keep them away longer."
Wintermute said the cost of keeping criminals in prison longer and providing them with skill-training programs would save money spent on imprisoning potential gang members that could be recruited by an offender who was released too soon.
State government should also create more grants to help fund after-school programs that would keep children off the streets, she said.
Wintermute is running against Aurora Democrat Linda Holmes for the seat held by longtime Sen. Ed Petka, who is running for Will County circuit judge.
Responding to Wintermute's proposals, Holmes said Tuesday, "I didn't see anything that looked new or innovative that hasn't really been broached before. ... And I'm really not sure how you can address crime in the community without talking about gun control."
PEORIA JOURNAL STAR
Spears launches his first attack ad Schock to meet media today to refute charges - Molly Parker
PEORIA - City Councilman Bill Spears turned on his first negative attack ad against state Rep. Aaron Schock this week, accusing him in a radio commercial of opposing a rate freeze for Ameren customers and for taking campaign money from the utility companies.
Schock called the commercial a lie; he supports legislative action that would freeze rates until the underlying structural problems of the state's power industry are addressed.
"The claims are outrageous," said Schock, who is holding a news conference today to refute the commercial.
Rising electricity costs have become a particularly heated political issue in Peoria because AmerenCILCO customers are facing a 55 percent rate increase come January as a direct result of the state's power auction that took place earlier this month.
For the past decade, electricity rates have been frozen for Illinois consumers. That was part of the deal struck in 1997 when the state deregulated the power industry with hopes it would generate market competition. That never happened, but the rate freeze is set to expire anyway.
"I was 15 when this bill passed and they're now blaming the effects on me?" Schock said. "I'm not confident (a rate freeze is) the long-term solution, but certainly a 55 percent rate increase is outrageous and something we can't let happen."
Spears' commercial starts off saying: "His electric smile really lights up the room. He's got an electric personality and he's full of energy. There's a reason Republican Aaron Schock is so electric. . . . While your electric bill is about to go up by 55 percent, Republican Aaron Schock is hoping you won't notice that he's taken thousands of dollars from utility companies and done nothing to stop their rate increase."
Spears said he signed off on the commercial and does not consider it negative advertising.
"I see it as positive for the people of the 92nd District in trying to freeze their electric rates," he said, adding that he does not plan to pull the commercial even though Schock has said he, too, supports a rate freeze.
Spears said he hasn't proven his commitment since he has not signed on as a sponsor to HB5766, which would freeze residential electricity rates for three years. Schock said he wants to see what legislation is proposed during the November veto session to address the situation before committing to a bill; there are several pieces of legislation in the hopper, none of which advanced to the House floor for a vote in the spring.
According to records compiled by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, Schock did take $3,850 from the utilities companies, as did 172 other elected officials in Illinois from both sides of the aisle. Republican gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka took $126,500; Senate President Emil Jones, D-Chicago, took $89,055; Republican Senate minority leader Frank Watson took $70,560; and Democrat Gov. Rod Blagojevich took $66,775. On the local level, Democrat state Rep. Mike Smith took $4,550; Democrat state Sen. George Shadid took $2,200; Republican state Rep. David Leitch took $5,550; and Republican state Sen. Dale Risinger took $4,800.
Spears did not answer when asked if he planned to return any money given to him by the utility companies.
"My issue is that he has not signed on to HB5766 and yet accepts money from the utility companies," Spears said.
Spears' campaign also sent out a mailing this week with a cartoon picture of Schock that calls Ameren's proposed rate increase "an evil plan that will raise your electric rates by 40 percent or more."
On the other side of the river, in the 91st District House race Republican challenger Daryl Dagit is blaming Democrat Mike Smith for the rate hikes that technically resulted from a complicated auction process approved by the Illinois Commerce Commission.
"I am circulating petitions to repeal Mike Smith's electric rate hike," Dagit wrote in a letter to constitutions. "You may be asking why I call it Mike Smith's rate hike. Here are the facts: Rep. Smith worked with Chicago politicians for more than two years to draft the 1997 Electric Deregulation Law that Ameren is now using to raise rates."
Smith did vote for the plan, but so did 107 other House members, including the majority of the Democratic and Republican leadership.
"I think it's just a little free with the facts," Smith said. "It's not really telling everybody the full story."
In hindsight, Smith said he does regret voting for the deregulation bill; today, he's supporting a three-year rate freeze extension.
Dagit could not be reached for comment.
DuPage panel hears doomsday scenarios Sheriff, coroner say departments will go bust if 20 percent cuts materialize - Kathy Cichon
(Article includes quotes from Rev. Paul Hottinger, Bob Heap, John Zaruba, Peter Siekman, and Paula McGowen.)
Fearful the possible budget cuts could severely affect the quality of health and human services in DuPage, concerned residents filled the county boardroom Sept. 26 to urge officials to exercise caution.
"It's important to make the distinction between cutting fat and cutting into the bone," said the Rev. Paul Hottinger, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Downers Grove.
For the last month, the county Finance Committee has held hearings on the projected affect of budget cuts of up to 20 percent.
On Sept. 26, Chief Financial Officer Frederic Backfield said, if the county continues with its current level of programs and services, in two years it will be $50 million in the red.
Finance Chairman Bob Heap said a deficit is not an option.
"I guarantee you we will not have a deficit budget," he said. "We may cut programs, but it's fiscally irresponsible for us to run a deficit budget."
Questions of public safety were raised earlier that morning in a hearing with Sheriff John Zaruba, who said the only unmandated services that could be cut are the county's forensics lab, the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program and programs aimed at reducing the recidivism rate of inmates. Altogether, those areas represent just 2.5 percent of the department's budget, he said.
The sheriff's current budget is $37.1 million, with about $32 million spent on personnel costs. In 2004 the office experienced a one-time cut of 12 deputies that it still hasn't recovered from, Zaruba said, which means less employees doing more. Cuts of 20 percent would put the office out of business by August, he said, who also stressed the link between the offices in the county's criminal justice matrix.
"Cessation or reduction in part or in whole will immediately and directly impact every person in DuPage County," Zaruba said.
Coroner Peter Siekmann told the committee his office is operating "pretty much bare bones" right now, and any cuts would be detrimental to mandated duties.
The coroner's office has seven deputy coroners that rotate shifts around the clock. There is no place to effectively cut the budget and still do the job, he said. If the budget is cut 20 percent, Siekmann said, the office would likely run out of money in a year or so.
"I wish there was a way to say we'd do just a little bit of an autopsy or plan to have people die between 8 (a.m.) and 4 (p.m.), but none of that happens," he said.
But Glen Ellyn resident Paula McGowen told members not to be swayed by the scenarios presented by Zaruba and State's Attorney Joe Birkett should cuts be made.
"I'm here to encourage you to stay on course with cutting county spending. Do not be fooled by Joe Birkett's scare tactics. The public safety and justice will not be jeopardized if the state's attorney's office and the Sheriff's Department are kept on a budget," she said.
Board members soon will be faced with the decision of making drastic budget cuts or seeking the state's permission to increase sales tax or charge a cigarette tax.
County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom, R-Naperville, is scheduled to present the budget Oct. 10.
DIERSEN HEADLINE: Theodore M. Utchen of Wheaton disapproves of a statement that Air Force Maj. Gen. Jonathan Gration made at Wheaton Leadership Prayer Breakfast
Let's keep God out of war discussion - Theodore M. Utchen, Wheaton
I attended the Wheaton Leadership Prayer Breakfast at The Abbington in Glen Ellyn on Sept. 8. As The Sun reported, Air Force Maj. Gen. Jonathan Gration told us of several combat experiences he had where many around him had died, he felt he was about to die and yet he was fortunate enough to survive. And he did tell us that "These experiences changed my life. I knew I was spared for a reason," as he now devotes his life to fighting terrorism and trying to eliminate poverty in America.
This type of statement always bothers me because in effect it is saying that God smiled on Gen. Gration and favored him with survival because God had a plan and purpose in mind for him (and not for those) who were as innocent as he. Would it not be best if we kept God out of these tragedies? Because I myself do not want to worship a God who acts arbitrarily by taking the lives of some while favoring others with survival. Perhaps it would be better to consider that God is simply not involved in these tragedies and what happens happens.
Duckworth v. Roskam: Cut-and-paste over cut-and-run - Dan Curry
I just listened to the WBBM podcast of the 6th District debate last Friday between Peter Roskam and Tammy Duckworth and one thing is clear — outside liberals are at it again.
With at least one local left wing anonymous blog putting out high-pitched liberal shrieks across the blogosphere, some of the national punditry has predictably responded with mindless propaganda like this and this.
They are trying to whip up a media frenzy over Roskam’s use of the term “cut-and-run.” They are saying that since Duckworth lost both of her legs in Iraq, the phrase was offensive. It’s a bogus argument, as the podcast undeniably shows. Roskam said in the debate that the national Democratic party leadership was running on a strategy of cut-and-run and the Sixth District is not in favor of that position. He never directed his comments at Duckworth and in fact made mention of national Democrats like Nancy Pelosi. It’s a perfectly valid argument because if Duckworth and a few other Democrats are elected, Pelosi and other far left Democratic members would ascend to leadership positions in the House.
The Tribune’s John Biemer, the Daily Herald’s Eric Krol, and WBBM’s Craig Dellimore apparently agree with my assessment because each wrote or aired stories afterwards that didn’t make an issue over the reference. Only the Sun-Times’ Scott Fornek, who wasn’t at the debate, bit on the story a day later after the Duckworth camp tried to make it an issue.
It’s too bad the Duckworth camp can’t just try to debate the issues without trying to manufacture a slur. It cheapens the performance of its candidate, which was quite credible. Both Roskam and Duckworth performed well and sharply defined the differences between in mostly civil tones. Roskam never will get the credit he deserves from the media because he is a social conservative. He is a graceful debater — sharp, soothing and respectful. He’d be a star if he were a liberal.
Duckworth did a good job, too, as a political newcomer, largely holding her own. It’s disturbing, however, that for the second time her campaign has tried to play the patriotism card in a false manner. The voters of the Sixth will not fooled so easily.
WEST CHICAGO PRESS
Vote for Mike Fortner, a man with experience - Don Earley, West Chicago
Shortly, we will be electing a State Representative for the 95th District. There are two men vying for the position. One man, Mike Fortner, comes with a great deal of experience about local challenges. The other candidate comes with no identifiable experience.
To put it in a more concrete way, Mike Fortner has served his apprenticeship. In the area of education funding, he was a member of District 33 School Board. He understands the needs of the schools and their students.
In municipal government, Mike Fortner has served in the planning commission who oversees the development of our community. Later, for almost eight years, Mike Fortner served on the City Council. This position leads him to recognize the budgeting and operations of the municipal government.
Later, Mike Fortner was elected mayor of West Chicago. During his term, he has lowered real estate taxes, reorganized the city staff and lead the development of the downtown area. As mayor, Mike Fortner was co-chairman of the DuPage Area Local Transportation Study and he served on the Board of the DuPage Mayor and Managers.
Mike Fortner has served our community in many governmental capacities successfully -- what can we say about the person running against him?
NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE
39 Day Until Election Day - Will Duckworth Take a Position? A little more than a month away from Election Day, Tammy Duckworth refuses to talk issues
WASHINGTON – Today is 39 days from Election Day 2006. It has been almost seven and a half weeks since Tammy Duckworth’s first chance to say what her positions on the important issues that Congress will be faced with in 2007 and beyond are. With only 39 days remaining before voters make their choice, why is Duckworth refusing to take a position on the issues?
“Will Tammy Duckworth give voters an opportunity to make an informed decision and state what her positions on the issues are,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Jonathan Collegio asked. “Without telling voters what Duckworth thinks about the issues, she is keeping voters from having an honest discussion on the issues.”
Again, below the NRCC has provided the candidate with a lineup card of roll call votes from the 109th Congress. As in Congress, only ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ is an acceptable answer.
ISSUE Roll Call Vote YEA NAY
Death Tax Repeal RCV#102
Medical Liability RCV#449
Lawsuit Abuse Reduction RCV#553
Tax Relief Extension RCV#621
Victory in Iraq Resolution RCV#648
Defense Appropriations RCV#665
Border Security RCV#661
Duckworth ducks two more debates Duckworth Chooses Hollywood Fundraiser Over 6th District Residents - Ryan McLaughlin
WHEATON - After turning down an invitation to join Senator Peter Roskam to address students from Jay Stream Middle School in Bloomingdale, liberal Democrat Tammy Duckworth can add school children to the list of residents she refuses to speak to. Duckworth has also refused to attend a debate hosted by Our Savior Lutheran Church in
Carol Stream this Saturday, September 28, 2006, in favor of raising money
with Hollywood liberal Burt Bacharach.
"Organizers had hoped to have both 6th District Congressional candidates present," said Nicole Grimaldi, Social Science teacher at Jay Stream Middle School. "Unfortunately Tammy Duckworth is unable to attend."
Duckworth, who has been described by the Daily Herald as "shaky when pressed on issues," continues to focus on raising money from outside the district while avoiding debating Peter Roskam.
"Tammy Duckworth shows her true allegiance
tomorrow by turning down the tenth opportunity to speak to voters in order
to court another Hollywood liberal," campaign manager Ryan McLaughlin said.
"Who will Tammy listen to if elected to Congress, Hollywood or the 6th
Duckworth "Ducked" Debates
1. Village of Addison (August 9)
2. Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce/Kiwanis (August 15)
3. Fox News Chicago
4. ABC 7 Chicago
5. AARP (September 7)
6. WLS 890
7. Streamwood Chamber of Commerce (September 23)
8. Iraq Debate (September 13)
9. Jay Stream Middle School (September 29)
10. Our Savior Lutheran Church (September 30)
Tammy Duckworth has sent out yet another mailer lying about Peter Roskam. Now she says he wants to privatize Social Security and claims that his voting record backs up this claim.
Duck Tales RE: Social Security
- Peter Roskam has NEVER voted for privatizing Social Security, particulary since it's a federal issue and he serves in the state legislature.
- Has NEVER answered a survey in favor of privatization.
- When Duckworth accused Roskam of supporting privatization during a recent press conference (9/22/06) - not a single reporter bought her lie, and not a single reporter has accused Roskam of supporting privatization.
- During this press conference a member of the media clarified Roskam's position stating "he says he is for portable accounts, personnel accounts, he is not for allowing individuals to invest their funds the same way as a 401k."
- Roskam was heralded as a "fighter for the elderly" by the 60 Plus Association, a national non-partisan senior citizens advocacy group.
Peter Roskam is on record stating "I am against privatizing Social Security, I am against raising taxes for Social Security benefits, I am against raising the retirement age for Social Security and I'm against benefit reductions for Social Security." (WBBM post debate press conference, 9/22/06)
What Tammy Duckworth doesn't want you to know is that her Amnesty plan for illegal immigrants will cost taxpayers $5.2 billion for guaranteed Social Security benefits for illegal aliens.
And she wants to represent us in Congress?
GOP Doesn’t Need Saving From Its Base - Bobby Eberle
In a news story running this morning, former Missouri GOP Sen. John Danforth is hoping to take the Republican Party back from the religious right. The report, which is headlined “Ex-senator wants to save GOP from itself,” misses the point. The GOP does not need to be saved from its conservative base. What it needs to be saved from is its leadership which has driven the base to apathy.
The news story goes on to note that Danforth feels energy is “wasted” debating issues like gay marriage also “diverts attention from important matters like the budget that are the proper province of government.”
The Christian Science Monitor, which served as host to the Wednesday breakfast in which Danforth made his comments, quotes the former senator as saying, “I am not going to give up on my party. I just want it to get back to its moorings … I just want them to disengage themselves from the Christian right.”
In another similar attack, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), blasted religious conservative leaders such as Focus on the Family’s James Dobson.
“The national representatives of the social conservative movement used to be sophisticated and tolerant. Today, they are sophomoric and angry. It’s an embarrassing spectacle seeing leaders bullied around by the likes of James Dobson, or watching the Christian Coalition team up with MoveOn.org in support of bigger government.”
Now is not the time to be blasting the very people whom the Republican Party is counting on for votes this November. Republican leaders should be reaching out to their constituents, not trying to alienate them.
As a Christian, I appreciate the Republican Party’s attention to issues such as protecting innocent human life. I see these issues as a core part of our platform. To blast conservative leaders for putting these issues at the forefront is not only bad for the Party, it is bad politics this close to the election.
From talking with Republican leaders, there are definite problems out there, but it has nothing to do with core Republican beliefs and everything to do with a lack of leadership. Counties are having problems staffing phone banks and organizing volunteers. Apathy is rampant. Conservatives are frustrated because Republican aren’t acting like Republicans, and now we have Republican leaders blasting the religious base??? This just doesn’t make sense.
Now is the time to come together. We have our team of candidates in place. We must support them and work hard to get them elected. After November, we can do the proper analysis and see where changes need to be made. Now, we need every vote we can get, and those with the large microphones should be using it to rally the base, not keep it home on Election Day.