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Editorial: Debaters’ silence speaks

July 1, 1993

Editorial: Debaters’ silence speaks

By Frank Schier, Editor & Publisher

What Rod Blagojevich and Jim Ryan didn’t say, spoke, in volumes about Republicrats’ silence on real issues, as usual.

The lip service from the stage at the Coronado Theatre two Monday nights ago forked over the usual suspected issues, supposed education, supposed budget reform, supposed spending cuts (which they couldn’t delineate), and supposed anti-corruption, et cetera, supposedly. They showed they stood together, but apart, supposedly.

They really stood together by not speaking about the following:

l They didn’t talk about the other candidates for governor on the ballot. The other candidates weren’t invited to the Republicrats (Republicans=Democracts) debate.

Libertarian Gubernatorial Candidate Cal Skinner was left standing out on the sidewalk of the Coronado Theatre. But he’s right with to them on the ballot throughout the state, just not on the Coronado stage.

The Libertarians were reduced to ridiculous costume theater of their own to get attention. Rockfordian and former Libertarian Gubernatorial Candidate Dave Kelley was dressed in a big-bird-yellow, two-headed chicken suit—a comment on the brave-debaters-of-the-night’s willingness to debate the underdog.

Did you know the Rockford Board of Elections doesn’t even have the phone number for Independent Gubernatorial Candidate Marisellis Brown, so can we blame the Republicrats for not inviting that candidate to the debate? Yes.

Third party or independent candidates still must have at least 4 times the normal amount of signatures required of the Republicrats to get on the ballot.

Republicrats like the system that way because it makes an outside challenge to them that much more difficult. No, they didn’t talk about equal ballot access at all.

l They didn’t talk about how special interests will be curbed in Illinois, bringing an end to policy being bought by political contributions, rather than being formed in the public interest.

They didn’t talk about how the legislative big tops of the Republicrats control state contribution funds and disperse them to the faithful yes-mouths of the elite who make the contributions. If a legislator says “no” to the big tops, no campaign funds. No, they didn’t talk about campaign finance reform at all.

l They didn’t talk about renewable energy. Illinois is becoming a leader in corn/ethanol and wind farms. We have several solar industries in the state as well.

Will we expand Illinois’ renewable energy, bringing revenue and jobs into the state with this new industry? Nuclear energy, coal and oil-based industries are big energy powers in this state. How about farmers, landfill owners, and small-to-large manufacturers in the state giving them a run for their money by going over to renewable energy?

The National Renewable Energy Standard (NRES), the commitment of producing a certain percentage of overall energy use through renewable energy, translates into economic gain for the State of Illinois. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates the NRES would give Illinois the following: 1.) $215 million in new capital development. 2.) $10 million in new property tax revenues.

3.) $4 million in lease payments to farmers and rural landowners for windpower.

Even the mathematically handicapped could tell you our state budget and economy need the revenue. No, they didn’t talk about the promise of a new economy based on renewable energy at all.

l They didn’t talk about the pollution of the Rock, Kishwaukee, Sugar and Pecatonica rivers. What about the air quality in the state? No, they didn’t talk about the environment at all.

l They didn’t talk about real passenger service to the Greater Rockford Airport.

Blagojevich gave lip service to extending METRA to Belvidere, but not to Rockford.

Both Blagojevich and Ryan talked about Rockford as a reliever airport during the construction of the O’Hare expansion. They mentioned more cargo and charter flights. They both seemed to accept the construction of Peotone as fact. HEY, FELLAS! All the facilities of the proposed Peotone project exist at the Rockford airport NOW!

Why waste the money ruining the farmland in Lyin’ Ryan’s backyard? That amounts to a payback for his corruption. Who owns the land trusts in Peotone? The people in Peotone don’t want that airport, and the people in Rockford want to use ours.

The Republicans want to pay off their folks who have invested in Peotone. Some say that big Democrats are in there, too. Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. sure wants the project for his district. Mayor Daley doesn’t want Rockford to compete with his O’Hare expansion in any way. Those elected officials are working for their constituents. What are our state and national representatives doing besides setting up big-media meetings which fail to produce results—such as planes landing here?

The question for our area mayors and legislative representatives remains: who runs the Greater Rockford Airport, Mayor Daley, the governor-to-be or us? Are we trading out our airport for other agendas?

Blagojevich did answer this newspaper’s question at the press conference following the debate:

TRRT: Primary concerns in this area right now are property and real estate development and urban sprawl. How do you intend to curb urban sprawl throughout the state? Blagojevich: That’s a good question. It’s really challenging. In order to get a new model in this state, we have to get rid of the old model.

We couldn’t agree more. Especially about Blagojevich’s points that we have uncontrolled growth, and that families are stuck in traffic rather than spending time with each other.

That’s what the Republicrats have to realize—we are a big family of citizens, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Green Party, and Independents—we all deserve our place at the table, and at the podium, discussing the real issues that are not easy to address. If not, then democracy really is the farce that many believe is no longer worth participating in—look at the voter turn out, fellas—or maybe you like silence.

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