Scott for Congress? Figure Madigan mad money

Scott for Congress? Figure Madigan mad money

By Frank Schier

By Frank Schier

Editor & Publisher

Does Doug Scott want to be mayor of Rockford—REALLY?

Ask the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, Mike Madigan. He has held fundrasiers in Chicago and Springfield for Scott’s Rockford mayoral campaign. The real question must focus on whether these funds are for a mayoral campaign or a positioning campaign.

To help a questioning mind along, consider the fact that Illinois (because of the new census figures delineating a decline in population) will lose one national congressional seat.

The Madigan-favored Chicago districts certainly don’t want to lose that seat; therefore, downstate districts (yes, Rockford is considered upstate-downstate) should tremble as cowering high on the potential victim list.

As our Republican Congressman Don Manzullo for this 16th Congressional District knows, his strongholds are in the north and east. The 1990 census provided the 1992 remap of the district to include the largely Republican McHenry County. The redistricting of that map placed Manzullo in his seat.

Now, if you were a Democrat, specifically the Speaker of the State House of Representatives and an old ward boss from Chicago, your preservationist eye might wander over to the soon-to-be-retiring Rock Island’s U.S. Congressman Lane Evans’ 17th District seat.

As speaker, your strategy and clout would be aimed at preserving Evans’ district and removing Manzullo by combining both.

Also consider that the Democrats control the House, and the Republicans control the Senate in Illinois. Each legislative body will present their redistricting map to each other for passage. Accordingly, neither map will

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be accepted.

Enter here one of the real oddities of Illinois politics. When neither party dominates both houses (and the governor cannot veto because he has not been presented a bill passed by both houses), the top hat comes out. Yes, the top hat. The hat supposedly belonged to Honest Abe Lincoln.

As in 1992, when the last redistricting tie occurred, two capsules are placed in the hat. One contains a piece of paper that says “Democrat,” and the other contains a piece of paper that says “Republican.” An august Illinois citizen, such as the Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, puts his hand in the hat held by the governor (Ryan, if he hasn’t been indicted yet) and pulls out one of the capsules. This event occurs in the House of Representatives, and the side that wins stands up and cheers like a wave at a football game.

Last time the Republicans scored, hence Manzullo’s redistricted triumph.

If the Democrats win the draw, insiders say look for Scott to run for Congress as the mayor of Rockford or as state rep, if he doesn’t win the mayoral race.

Many observers marvel at Scott’s retention of his House seat while running for mayor, along with his public statement about a run for state attorney general or Congress.

Supporters say he’s comfortable; detractors say he’s arrogant.

Scott addressed his aspirations on the January edition of The Bottom Line—Truth, during the television show’s mayoral debate. Scott said he announced his mayoral candidacy after the deadline for filing for state rep, and with humor said he didn’t think he was the only candidate that had another job. As for his possible tenure as mayor, Scott said, “I am going to serve out that term.” He also said it was a “compliment to be able to run for state-wide office.” He dismissed any run for Congress as media musings.

With all these acknowledged options, any discerning muse must question his commitment to focusing on the problems of Rockford.

Most of our problems—the loss of the opportunity for N.I.U. downtown, the loss of a possible Ramada downtown, the loss of the first condo proposal downtown, the failure of the TIF-tax-backed Le Bistro, Main Event, Metropolitan and Brewery restaurants, the school crisis, the escalating property taxes, the decline of the west side, the exodus to the green rim around the city, the lack of rail and air passenger service—all occurred in the 20 years of the McNamara and Box administrations. Those problems will take a commitment to more than one term to fix, candidates Johnson and Scott, since they took 20 years to occur. Where is the commitment? Do you really care, or are you propping up and looking up a political ladder?

Clearly, Doug Scott has not distanced himself from the Box administration, and in fact was part of it. Anyone who is unhappy with the status quo in Rockford, must be unhappy with Doug Scott. He represents the status quo more than any other candidate.

At the end of this mayoral campaign, everyone must, as Deep Throat told Woodward and Bernstein, “Follow the money.” Scott’s list of campaign contributors on his D-2s shimmer eclectic.

Madigan fundraisers for Scott

The “breakfast reception” held on Jan. 11 at Andi a Moi Restaurant, 204 S. 6th Street in Springfield, was hosted by Speaker Madigan and Illinois House Rep. Jeff Schoenberg, Democrat, 58th District. That’s moneyed Wilmette—north lakeshore, Cook County. Probably per capita one of the richest areas in Illinois. Contributions were listed in the amounts of $250, $500 and $1000.

The invitation read, “If you cannot attend, but would like to make a contribution, please send this form and your check to: Citizens for Scott, 323 W. State St., Rockford, IL 61101.” After the slots for Name, etc., the form reads, “Paid for by Friends of Michael J. Madigan. Authorized by Citizens for Scott. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, IL. Contributions are not tax deductible. State law requires that we report the occupation and name of the employer of any individual who contributes over $500.”

According to this invitation, note that contributions from $250 to $499 are unreported.

Madigan held another fundraiser for Scott on Jan. 25 at Harry Caray’s Restaurant, MVP Room, 2nd Floor, 33 W. Kinzie St., Chicago, Illinois. Attendance at the two-hour “reception” went for $150 per person and $500 per sponsor. Madigan is listed on the invitation as “Honorary Chairman.” Chicagoans could attend or send their check to a post office box in Springfield. Two paragraphs on the invitation read: “Paid for by Citizens for Scott. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, IL, or the Winnebago County Clerk, Rockford, Illinois.”

Will Doug Scott swoop down to fight for the full utilization of the Greater Rockford Airport with all this Springfield and Chicago money and friendships in play?

Chicago Democrats don’t want competition for O’Hare and Gary. Springfield Republicans, and some friends of Chicago Mayor Daley, have invested in Peotone. Whose agenda will Scott put forward, theirs or Rockford’s agenda?

On The Bottom Line, Scott said he was the only Democrat for miles around on the state level, and he said he was proud of his ability to work with Republicans. Keeping the Rockford Airport and rail transportation down could be another fine dovetail of working together on the state Republican and Democrat agendas.

“I have a close relationship with Madigan,” Scott said. What about a true mayoral relationship with Rockford and our interests? We need a mayor who puts Rockford first and wants to stay here.

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